30 June 2006

Laundry Discoveries

Last night I did Thing 2's laundry. Afterward, here's what I found at the bottom of the washing machine (except the quarter, which is just there for a scale reference). I don't know what the greenish things are--some kind of fruit or nut, I guess. It could be worse--sometimes she puts things in my purse without telling me.

29 June 2006

What the &*@% Is That??

Here is a blurry picture of my current KIP. Can you guess what the &*@% it is?:

And it wouldn't particularly help if the picture were clearer, either. Even Ruthie is confused. And maybe a little worried.

28 June 2006


At long last, it's a pair of socks!

I do love this pattern. Because of the mosaic and fair aisle knitting, the socks are double-layered. Just the thing to wear with Birkenstocks on a chilly Berkeley morning, perhaps?


Today the US Supreme Court handed down what has got to be one of the most convoluted decisions ever. In fact, this really ought to be called an indecision. In League of Latin American Citizens v. Perry, a case involving redistricting in Texas, here's how the voting went:
Kennedy, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of
the Court with respect to Parts II–A and III, in which Stevens, Souter,
Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts I and IV, in
which Roberts, C. J., and Alito, J., joined, an opinion with respect to
Parts II–B and II–C, and an opinion with respect to Part II–D, in which Souter
and Ginsburg, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and
dissenting in part, in which Breyer, J., joined as to Parts I and II. Souter,
J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which
Ginsburg, J., joined. Breyer, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and
dissenting in part. Roberts, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part,
concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part, in which Alito, J.,
joined. Scalia, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and
dissenting in part, in which Thomas, J., joined, and in which Roberts,
C. J., and Alito, J., joined as to Part III.

I'm not sure what makes me more ill, the thought that these 9 people are entrusted with so much power, or the knowledge that put-upon law students everywhere may be called upon to decipher this mess. The case does, however, confirm my belief that Texas Is the Root of All Evil.

I dunno if it's much help with this case, but a great website for understanding what those crazy Supremes and their lower court colleagues are up to is QuizLaw.

27 June 2006

Frozen goodness

Still not quite done with that sock.

But in consideration of our current heat wave, here's what I did make:

The glop on the left is cinnamon-chocolate ice cream. Thing 1 chose the flavor, and it's pretty good. The glop on the right, though, was my choice, and it's to die for. It's blueberry-lemon sour cream ice cream, from a recent issue of Sunset. I know, it doesn't have those 2 major food groups, chocolate or caramel. But it does have 3 others: fresh blueberries, lemon, and sour cream. I could gorge on this stuff. But hey, it's healthy, right? All those antioxidants? And calcium?

I love ice cream makers.

Oh, and I finished another book today, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. I love this book. One of the funniest I've read in a long time, but also sad and insightful.

24 June 2006

Book Binge

I'm about to turn the heel on sock #2, but I've taken a little break from knitting and gone on a small reading binge instead. I've managed to read 3 books in 3 days. The books are totally different from each other, and I enjoyed them all. They were:
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, the second-latest book in the No. 1 ladies Detective Series. I'm not normally much of a mystery fan, but these aren't really mysteries anyway, and they're a lot of fun. They make me want to go to Botswana.
  • The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls's memoir of growing up with 2 very eccentric parents. Dad was an alcoholic, Mom was an (probably bipolar) artist, and they both had odd ideas about how to raise children. I like how Walls is able to relate all the details of a very difficult childhood without ever seeming to feel sorry for herself.
  • The Sea of Trolls. This one is a fantasy, probably aimed mostly at the young adult market. It's a saga that takes place in about the 8th Century AD, and includes trolls, dragons, and some really great characters. In fact, the sword and sworcery aspects definitely take a third place behind character development and real moral issues. The author has taken care to make the story historically accurate as well. And the book includes several Irish Wolfhounds in supporting roles.

We also took the Things to see a movie today, because there's only so much time you can spend in the pool, it's too hot to play outside, and they will eventually drive us crazy in the house. We saw Cars, which wasn't my favorite Pixar movie, but it was cute. The Things liked it.

23 June 2006

Global warming schwarming

Yesterday it only got up to 104.5, but as you can see, we've topped that today:

And it's not supposed to get any cooler for several days at least. And what do you do when you're a Saint Bernard and temps top the century mark?

Go for a bit of a dip, of course! Actually, the pool is about the only way I can persuade Ruthie to momentarily leave the air conditioned comfort of the house. And yes, we have an actual in-ground pool, but she can't quite get up her courage to step in.

22 June 2006

Thank you, Secret Pal!!

I'm participating in the One Skein Secret Pal exchange, and my first skein arrived yesterday, complete with a very cute notecard:

Yay, it's Kureyon! Kureyon's just about my favorite yarn in the world. Anytime I'm in a store that carries Noro, I find myself quickly and irresistibly drawn to the Kureyon. And I love this colorway, too! Thank you, Secret Pal!! I'm thinking this skein may end up as a felted bowl.

The cactus, incidentally, has nothing to do with anything; I just noticed that the flowers matched one of the colors in the yarn and thought it would make a nice picture.

I don't think we quite hit 100 degrees yesterday. Here's the thermometer when I got home:
The top number was the outside temp. But today and tomorrow it's supposed to hit 107. Plus, that means we're having "Spare the Air Days," in which the heat turns our car, industrial, and agricultural emissions into a nice thick soup, which gets trapped in the valley by the high pressure system, marinating us all in lovely toxins.

21 June 2006

Missing the Big Picture

This happened several months ago, when we were in London. But it's funny, and I've been meaning to share.

We were at the Tate Modern, which is in a huge building that was once a power station. This museum has particularly good signs about its art. In addition to the title, artist, and media, the signs also tell you quite a bit about the meaning and context of each piece. As we walked around, a couple in their early 20's was more or less keeping pace with us, and they were very carefully reading each sign and discussing the meaning of everything. Very sweet.

In one room, I came across them standing near one wall, earnestly discussing the sign. Here's where they were standing:

What you may or may not be able to make out is a tiny little sign on the larger wall (not the bigger sign to the left). For several minutes, they were standing in front of that sign, which described a work entitled "Hanging Figure." And they were looking down at the three objects on the floor, talking with great animation and interest about why the artist had entitled the piece the way he did, and what it all meant. They had some great theories.

Unfortunately, they were so engrossed in their discussion that they failed to look up. If they had, this is what they would have seen:
(scroll down slowly)
(a little more)
They were critiquing the room's air vents.
I thought about telling them to look up, but I knew if I tried to talk, I would've collapsed into incomprehensible American cackles. So I snorted quietly into my clapotis and waited for them to leave for the next gallery, so I could tell hubby (who'd missed the whole thing).

Wednesday Stuff

The second sock is coming along slowly. I'm glad I'me working on something small and light like socks, because the temp's supposed to hit 106 here by Saturday. True, we have air conditioning, but still, even the thought of 106 makes me sweat.

While I was in Portland, I learned of a new yarn called "Meditation", by Skacel. It's infused with lavender scent so you get aromatherapy while you knit, and the scent is supposed to last through 40 washes. It's a pretty ribbon yarn. WEBS carries it, so I'm thinking I may need to give it a try, maybe for a sort of plain sleeveless shell. Plus, I understand Austermann makes a sock yarn infused with jojoba and aloe.

Thing 1 continues to amaze me with her ability to ask difficult questions in the car. Yesterday during a 15 minute drive she managed to ask:

  • Is there such thing as God?
  • Why don't some people believe in God?
  • Was he the first person?
  • Did he create the universe?
  • Did he pour that stuff into space that makes you float?

[At this point I explained the concept of gravity]

  • Did God make gravity?
  • Is gravity in the middle of the planet?
  • What's the biggest planet in the universe?
  • Is Pluto the smallest planet?
  • What would happen if she jumped up on Pluto?
  • Why isn't earth the biggest planet?

Maybe I'm inadequate as a parent, but I found it a bit taxing to navigate in traffic while teaching theology, psychology, physics, and astronomy to a 6 year old.

17 June 2006

We're baaaaack!

We survived our vacation, and now I can blog with pictures again.

Here's my yarn haul from the trip. Up top is mohair from Farmhouse Knit Shop's own label. Then from left to right, Mountain Colors Bearfoot, 2 colorways of Socks That Rock, Knit One Crochet Two 2nd Time Cotton, 2 colors of Himalayan Yarn Tibet (rayon), and 2 colors of Lanaknits Hemp for Knitting.

Now, be warned: below are non-knitting-related vacation pictures.

First we see Ruthie enjoying the garden with Herby, my parents' corgi puppy.

Herby loooooooves Ruthie!!
And here's an impressive sight: a Saint Bernard and two Irish Wolfhounds. For the first time in her life, Ruthie looked petite. Thing 2. I have no explanation for this picture. And this is at Enchanted Forest. Too bad you can't rent the cage by the hour....

16 June 2006

Vacation Almost Over

Today is our last day of vacation. I managed to fit in another yarn shop visit yesterday, this time to Farmhouse Knit Shop. I scored some Blue Moon sock yarn there.

The other day we took the Things to Enchanted Forest. This is a theme park just south of Salem. I hadn't been there in over 20 years, and I was delighted to discover that it's still almost exactly the same. It's a low-key sort of place, and it's still nicely kept up, but it hasn't become any more commercialized either. The Things loved it. How fun to find a place from childhood memory so intact!

13 June 2006

Still on Vacation

I've visited 3 yarn stores in the last 2 days. Two of them were old favorites: Yarn Garden and Northwest Wools. The third was new to me. It's called Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks, and it's very nice. Big space, good selection, nice people. There's a cafe there, too.

And today Ruthie got to run with 2 Irish Wolfhounds. It's not often that a Saint Bernard looks petite, but she did today! The dogs had a really good time together.

Later, we made a trip to my favorite bookstore, Powell's. It was just the Beaverton one, not the main one downtown, but still a treat, and I still found plenty of books I had to have.

11 June 2006

Blogging from Oregon

We all survived the trip north. Ruthie and the Things were very well-behaved; the Things watched videos, and Ruthie watched the scenery. My parents' corgi puppy, Herby, has decided that Ruthie is the best toy ever, and Ruthie has been very patient.

I plan to visit some yarn stores while I'm here!

08 June 2006

Sock's Done

So I finally finished the sock. When you look at it like this, it looks like I have deformed feet or something. I don't. They're just not very big (size 5 1/2) so the foot section of the sock is short. One of the nice things about knitting my own socks is that they actually fit! No bunching up by the heel or around the toes.

Now, of course this means I have to start the second sock. Is there any harder thing to begin than a second sock? Too bad wildly mismatched footwear isn't stylish, so we could all get away with knitting single socks.

On an unrelated note, I'm leaving this weekend for a roadtrip, complete with Things and Ruthie. Oh what fun! I'll try to blog, but doubt I'll be able to post pictures; my Kodak seems to get cranky when away from its home computer.

07 June 2006


You Are a German Shepherd Puppy

Intelligent, quick witted, and a bit aggressive.

You've got the jaw power to take a bite out of anyone you choose.

06 June 2006


I am making socks. The idea was that this would be sort of a quickie project, but what you're looking at here is a week's worth of knitting. It's going very slowly for several reasons. First, the maze pattern involves slipped stitches, ans the stripes are fair isle, both of which take me forever to do. Second, I have had many distractions that are keeping me from knitting, including a writing deadline and Thing 1 being out of school. And third, I've actually been reading some books, and I can't manage to read and knit at the same time.

Those are my excuses. In any case, I do love the pattern, and I think they will be very nifty socks whenever they're done. It's not like I'll be wearing socks for several more months anyway.

The pattern, by the way, is in Sensational Knitted Socks, and the yarn is Louet Gems Opal.

05 June 2006

Pierced Ears

Thing 1 celebrated the end of first grade by getting her ears pierced. Look closely and you can see the earring. She was very brave.

03 June 2006

Pigeons & Other Pests

It's fairly breezy today, and I discovered this among the debris on the back patio. Apparently those %$#@ pigeons on our roof have been doing something besides just crapping all over everything. I'm all in favor of nature and everything, but just what we did not need was more pigeons.

Speaking of things we don't need, when did campaigns start using automated phone calls from celebrities? Hubby and I are currently playing a game called Who Got Calls from Better Celebrities? I'm winning for today--I've had Sally Field and Jerry Brown, and he's just had Martin Sheen.

Today was graduation on my campus. I got to sit there for 3 1/2 hours wearing a silly hat while the names of 2100 graduating students were read. The joys of academe.