30 December 2006

Irony Time

Tonight, Hubby is hosting some sort of Fantasy Football party thing (it involves pizza, beer, poker, testosterone, and, of course, football).
And this is the fortune Thing 1 got in a cookie today:

27 December 2006

"My First Story" by Me

Thing 1 wrote me a story yesterday. Here it is, verbatim:

My First Story by me
to: mom
for: mom
from: [Thing 1]
Once upon a time there was a princess named Kina. One day, she found a prince. She said hi and he said hi. then they danced together until they grew tired. then, he asked, "Whats your name?" And she said, "Why, my name? My name is Kina." she said. What's your name? she asked him. The prince said, "My name is Ajeta." he said. Well, they fell in love as usual with girls and boys. But one day Ajeta moved. Kina was sad. When would he call her again? Not yet, anyhow. One night, they called each other. Ajeta called Kina over for dinner. So the next night, at eight o'clock, they met each other in front of a cafe. then, together, they went inside and ate dinner with eachother. then, when they were finished, they got out of the cafe and once again, they went home. The next day they got married. People were there. the threw flowers as they waved and said "Good-bye!" Then Kina and Ajeta lived happily ever after as long as they didn't get into any more problems.
The original is illustrated with a drawing of the couple, arms around each other, standing among flowers and with hearts floating overhead. I like this story very much. I especially like the last line. Can you see why we believe Thing 1 has a promising career ahead of her as an attorney?
She is currently writing a sequel that has something to do with evil samurai kings.

26 December 2006


A pair of simple fingerless gloves in Kureyon. They're basically just tubes of 2x2 ribbing with a thumb slit.

24 December 2006

Fish and FO

As a present to her fish, Thing 1 made a decoration for the outside of their tank.

And I finished another Lizard Ridge block. I particularly love this colorway of Kureyon (but the ballband has disappeared, so its identity will remain a mystery).

22 December 2006

Peppermint Bark Recipe

Peppermint Bark
This candy is quick and easy to make, and, packaged in a tin, makes a great little gift. I made a couple batches this year to give to neighbors, but the Things have managed to nibble quite a bit themselves.
8 large candy canes
2 packages (12 oz. each) white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Line an 11x17 baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the unwrapped candy canes inside a ziploc bag. Crush them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until pieces are less than 1/4 inch long. Melt white chocolate chips in top of double boiler, stirring often. When chocolate is completely melted, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint extract. Mix well. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly in baking sheet. The mixture should cover about 3/4 of the sheet. Melt semisweet chocolate in top of double boiler (or in microwave, using 50% setting and checking and stirring often). When semisweet chocolate is completely melted, use a spoon to drizzle and splatter atop white chocolate mixture. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until bark is hardened (about 30-45 minutes). Break bark into pieces (I use the point of a large knife to crack the bark). Package--or eat yourself! For best results, store in refrigerator.

Two-fer and Tuco

I actually completed one project yesterday and sort of completed another. That's what happens when you turn in your last grades. :-)

The sort of FO is a second block for the Lizard Ridge afghan. I've already begun a third block. Knitting these things is like eating potato chips, plus I feel virtuous because I'm working out of my Kureyon stash.

My second item is a sushi change purse from a Pick Up Sticks kit. I added a lining made from this great fabric you see here. What fun! And I just found this pattern on their web site, and am feeling that I must have it. Must...control...self.... And hey, Knat! Check out this hat! You could make it in an adult size and be the most stylin' jeune fille in Quebec.

Finally, I have to share with you this incredible gift I received yesterday from Susan, my Secret Santa from the canine-l list. Susan has such a wonderful job that I'd probably hate her from envy if she weren't also a wonderful person. ;-) She actually sent me a whole bunch of really great things (like a photo album with paper made from elephant poo!) but this was the topper:

Ruthie is admiring a painting made by Tuco, a jaguar who lives at the Houston Zoo. Very, very cool!

21 December 2006

Exciting Wednesday

Another image-heavy post, folks!

Yesterday, both Things had school performances. Thing 2 and her preschool class sang a medley of holiday songs. Unfortunately, I had to miss that, but Hubby caught it on camera. Can you pick her out of this lineup? I think they were still getting ready here and not everyone was seated yet.

In the evening, Thing 1 had two parts in a school play. Those kids (and their teachers) worked really, really hard on the play, and it was adorable. That's our Thing 1 in the top pix as the Telegraph Operator, and that's her in the green in the group shots.

As if that weren't excitement enough, there were packages! This one wasn't a surprise, because I'd ordered it myself off eBay. But I'm still thrilled about it. It's a Print Gocco!

And then came the surprise packages! Here's Ruthie modeling a gift from my Secret Santa. The shirt's actually for me, but Ruthie is a prettier model.

And to top it all off, I got a wonderful package from Ivy in Singapore! A bunch of treats (including White Rabbit candy, which I'd received in a previous swap from Singapore, and which is delicious), yarn, two great Japanese knitting books, children's books, Tiger Balm (perfect for this time of year!), a lipstick case, a pen, a magnet, and a snowglobe for Thing 1's collection. Wow! Another great swap! Thank you, Ivy! And seriously, I have the most interesting and global collection of junk food right now you've ever seen. :-)

18 December 2006

SP 9 answers

Here are the answers from my SP9 spoilee (who lives in Switzerland!):

Well the oddest gift as some silver thing my husband and I got for our
(8years ago) and we still didn't find out, what it is for! The
first year we
showed it to every one, but noone could says, well thats an
XXX! So we still
don't know and it shure was expensive......!

oddest gift I
have ever asked for........don't know any! Maybe a rain
blanket for my horse?

The oddest gift I ever gave - maybe a little yucca
palm with a lot
of vouchers on it!

the worst gift I ever got - once
for christmas
I got a pullover from the wife of my father and it was ugly,
but also 3 sizes to
small, I really couldn't go in. Every one saw it, that
it was to small. But she
said that I was only telling that, because I don't
like her ! Finally she cried
and was angry with me and the pullover was
still to small...... she never could
admit, that may be I was to tall for
that pullover!

And from my spoiler:

1) the oddest gift you have ever received (not asked for) Oh, man....I don't
know. I answered the other questions first and still can't think of
one. I'll get back to you if I do!
2) the oddest gift you ever asked
for I am having trouble with the word "odd". I asked my parents for spoons
this year for Christmas. Because we moved so much over the last few years,
we have a hob-knob of silverware. Somehow, we have a ton of forks and
knives, but only 2 or 3 large spoons. We haven't gotten them yet, though.
We'll see. I always end up asking for really boring practical gifts for
3) the oddest gift you ever gave My boyfriend and I gave his
younger brother a self-contained synthesizer musical instrument made out of a
cigar box. Odd to some people, maybe.
4) the worst gift you ever got I
had a boyfriend in college (before this one) who didn't get me anything for
Chrismas the year before I left to go study abroad in Italy. We had broken
up a few times prior because he couldn't deal with me leaving. (and it was a
pretty bad relationship to begin with). The absence of a gift was the worst
gift, bacause he was so selfish and insensitive.

This is fun! :-)

6 Weird Things

I got this from the Keyboard Biologist.

Here are THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

I'm not going to tag you in your blogs' comments, but if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged. :-)

Here goes:
  1. A portion of the genetic material on one of my chromosomes is upside down. All the right stuff is there; it's just reversed from the usual order. This runs in my family, apparently.
  2. I never learned to tie my shoes properly. I can only tie bows via the rabbit ears technique.
  3. Since I was about 2 or 3, I have always been in school as either a student or a professor.
  4. I'm phobic about heights--but only over water, and only if there's no fence or railing. Even a really flimsy railing will do.
  5. When I got married, I kept my last name but took Hubby's last name as my middle name. This confuses people.
  6. I skipped third grade (never missed it, except I've never been great at my times tables. I guess that's the only important thing they teach that year).

16 December 2006


Sorry--this will be a picture-heavy post.

Today was another great mail day! Look what arrived in my mailbox, courtesy of a certain generous person and Canada post:

The inside's even better than the cover.

And I also got a swap package from Amirah in Malaysia! Thanks to Homeland Security, I can be assured that it is a safe package:

The box was just chock full of goodies, including Malay sweets, tea, and spice packets (can't wait to make those--mmmm!); batik fabrics; a wooden bookmark; a children's book in Malay; a snowglobe for Thing 1 (not pictured here because she'd already whisked it away); beautiful postcards; and a gorgeous bracelet, card, and personalized picture frames Amirah made herself. Big thank you to Amirah!!

Thanks to these swaps, I now have a bowl filled with the most delicious and interesting mix of international candies you've ever seen. It's a trip around the world in sugar.

And now for some picture of the holiday festivities. We acquired a T Rex (which roars and makes stomping noises):

And royalty of some sort:

I made that set out of some nifty sparkly vinyl I found.

Finally, this is a picture I took a couple weeks ago but couldn't post then. Thing 1 drew this picture on burlap and then embroidered it herself, with only a tiny bit of help from me. It is her present to her grandparents, and you can see she's very proud of it.

12 December 2006

Devil slipper socks

Just finished these for my MIL. They're in Lion Homespun, which isn't my favorite yarn anyway, and hurt my hand as I was working with it. It has zero elasticity, yet you have to watch the tension carefully because the boucle tends to unravel. But it's quick to knit with, it was easy to find, it's soft, and it's machine-washable. And now my holiday knitting (which was pretty minimal anyway) is DONE. Wish I could say the same for my paper grading....

Pirates ahoy!

Last year I knitted myself the Skully sweater from one of the Stitch 'n Bitch books. It's in charcoal-colored Lamb's Pride Bulky, with white skulls on the sleeves. Spiffy. So the other day it was cold enough to wear it. Thing 2 took one look and cried, "Is that sweater for ME????" Thing 2 is a little over 3 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds. Somehow, I think this sweater would be a trifle big on her. So she then pleaded, "Please please please please can I have a pirate sweater?!?" So as soon as the gift socks are done, and before my surgery, I'm going to have to try to whip out a tiny skully sweater for her. The latest Knit.1 has a pattern in baby size; I think I can pretty easily size it up a bit.

10 December 2006

15 seconds of fame

Lauren has just pointed out that Solresol is one of three patterns in the December bag project at Let's Bag It. That's so cool! Thanks, Lauren, for leeting me know. :-)

09 December 2006

Another great package

Liz in Thailand sent me a package so very full of goodies I could barely get them all in one picture. And I don't even know where to begin listing them! See those CDs in the lower right? That's three CDs full of music and pictures and videos! There are packets of spices (I love Thai food) and candy and gum and dried fruit and tea. There are postcards and stickers and a bunch of fun little things, and a stuffed cat, and soap, and beautiful chopsticks, and that gorgeous paper beneath the pile. And, of course, a "God save the King" shopping bag--I don't know how I've managed to survive this long without one of those. I had such a great time just pulling all of these wonderful things out of the package! Thanks so much, Liz!!

Another FO!

This is Yorick, from the Fall 05 Knitty. I actually knitted it many months ago. But the instructions say to do most of the felting by hand. I tried, but after about 20 minutes I had sore hands, puddles of water all over the kitchen, and about 3 inches felted. So I put it away for "later". Yesterday I admitted to myself that I was never going to hand felt the rest of the thing and I decided to try it in the washer, since it wasn't going to do me any good unfelted. Well lo and behold, it felted just beautifully. In fact, I really love the way this yarn feels felted. It's a 50/50 angora/wool, and it felts up quite thick and sturdy, yet with a soft soft hand. I still have to cut the nose holes, but it's otherwise an FO!

08 December 2006

Socks done

I finally finished this pair of socks. The pattern is Butterfly Bows from Socks Socks Socks, but I added a fur cuff. The sock's knitted in Regia 4-ply with a Berroco Sizzle Bright cuff. These are going to a family member who has much longer feet than I do, so they took me longer to knit and they look sort of dorky on my home-made sock blocker. But I'm pleased with the result. I think they look festive. :-)

Winter Knitty is up today. Lots of cute patterns, but not, of course, my own Solresol. But I've put a permanent link to Solresol here, off in the left-hand column. And the Berroco email I got today had a link to free patterns for very cute tiger and dog puppets. Susan, it's supposed to be a Siberian tiger! Also a pattern for catnip mice, but who really needs a pattern for that?

07 December 2006

My poor hand

The pile in the forefront is everything I have to grade in the next week or so. Notice the pen giving a sense of scale (sorry for the crummy cell phone pic). Woe is me.

Ignore the pile in the background--that's part of my "filing" system.

06 December 2006


I don't crochet. But if I did, I'd want this pattern for a turkey tote bag and drumstick coin purse.

Bulgarian goodness!

Ruthie is of the opinion that these dog cookies from Bulgaria are the most wonderful treats ever. I will have to take her word for it. I, personally, am enjoying all the other goodies sent to me by another Ruthie, this one being a generous Spanish girl currently living in Bulgaria. Her package was waiting for me at the post office this morning, and I very patiently waited until I got home after work to rip open all the cutely wrapped contents:

Inside there were two beautiful bundles of wool for felting, several rose scented toiletries that smell so good, chocolates, books, and, of course, those dog cookies. The books look like they're meant to help Bulgarian kids learn English, which is great, because the Things and I can use them to pick up a little Bulgarian. Luckily, I can read Cyrillic; I'm just going to have to hope that the letters are pronounced the same in Bulgarian and Russian. What a fun swap! Thank you, Ruthie!!

05 December 2006


I love packages! Today I received a box of little goodies from Lynne in Australia, a thing I ordered for Alvina in Singapore (who's actually currently on vacation in japan, lucky her), and a notice from the post office that they'd tried to deliver a registered mail parcel. I was heading for the post office in the morning anyway, so I'll pick that package up then. Oh, and I also got 20 yards of fabric that will become new living room drapes when I fix my sewing machine and have time to sew them, or else break down and take them someplace to be sewn.

04 December 2006

Christopher Moore

I love Christopher Moore. His books are more likely to make me laugh out loud than just about anyone else's, with the possible exception of Bill Bryson's. Today when I should have been doing work I visited his blog, which is as funny as his books. Check out his October '06 posts from England, as well as the I DO NOT READ entry from April. Think wistfully about other careers you could have if you could write like that. Sigh.

03 December 2006


I've been seeing this around lately. You can only type one word; no explanations.

1. Yourself: tired
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: married
3. Your hair: curly
4. Your mother: patient
5. Your Father: helpful
6. Your Favorite Item: photos
7. Your dream last night: children
8. Your Favorite drink: smoothie
9. Your Dream Car: expensive
10. The room you are in: kitchen
11. Your Ex: who?
12. Your fear: failure
13. What you want to be in 10 years: rested
14. Who you hung out with last night? Thing 1
15. What You're Not? thin
16. Muffins: poppyseed
17: One of Your Wish List Items: books
18: Time: scarce
19. The Last Thing You Did: tucked-in
20. What You Are Wearing: sweats
21. Your Favorite Weather: spring
22. Your Favorite Book: varies
23. The Last Thing You Ate: lasagna
24. Your Life: busy
25. Your Mood: grouchy
26. Your best friend (s): Hubby
27. What are you thinking about right now? work
28. Your car: comfy
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: short
31. Your relationship status: settled
32. What is on your tv? Hogwarts
33. What is the weather like?cool
34. When is the last time you laughed? today

02 December 2006

Saturday Night

It's that time of year when time is in extra short supply. I wish people could give me festively wrapped hours and minutes as gifts. I've managed one and one-quarter socks for family member with long feet lately, and that's about it.

Today we did escape to Berkeley for a few hours. It was a pretty day there, low 60's and sunny. We visited Black Oak Books and then we ate at Saul's, a deli on Shattuck. This is is the area known as the Gourmet Ghetto. Quite a few people were picnicking today in the grass in the median strip down the middle of Shattuck.

I guess because I'm just generally tired and stressed lately, people are ticking me off. Among the latest miscreants:
  • everybody who attempts to drive while yack yack yacking on their phones
  • the woman yesterday at the post office who saw the loooong line of cars waiting for a parking spot, walked ever so slowly to her car, and then sat there and read her mail
  • students who repeatedly miss class and then email me to ask questions I've already answered in class
  • academic administrators
  • the postal service--or maybe it's customs--which is taking frigging forever to get me packages from overseas
  • people who walk into my office, see me trying to do 4 things at once, and then ask, "Are you busy?"