30 September 2007


We took the Things for a weekend near Monterey. We stayed at Asilomar; I've been there a couple times before, but Hubby and the Things never had. Alas, we never made it to the yarn store in Pacific Grove, but we did do a lot of other things. We stopped at Casa de Fruta, which has a pumpkin patch.

Of course we spent a lot of time at beautiful Asilomar Beach.

We hung out on our balcony. If you look very closely at the picture below, you can see two of our neighbors (you'll have to look very closely to see the second):

A whole bunch of deer spend most of their day right around the building we stayed in. There was a buck with pretty big antlers, but our favorite was a doe with two half-grown fauns. Mama Deer spends a lot of time grooming her babies, but doesn't seem to mind to0 much when there are somewhat noisy human children quite close.

We spent most of Saturday at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have 3 species of otters, plus, of course, the beautiful jellies. And currently, a great white shark, too.

We topped off Saturday with ice cream at Ghirardelli.

What could be better than to sit and eat a cone while you watch the kayakers and seagulls and otters and sea lions in the Bay?

27 September 2007

I want salmiakkilakvitsikuvio!

I recently participated in a candy swap via Swap-Bot. I sent candies to someone in San Diego; I think she enjoyed them, but that couldn't have been very exotic for her, since I live only 400 miles away. Lucky me, though--I received my candies from someone in Finland, and they arrived today. Now, I haven't actually eaten any of them yet, but I'm already pleased as can be because of the packaging. Here are some samples:

Wikipedia tells me that Snork is a character from the Moomin cartoons. I don't know if this as as funny in Finnish as it is to an English speaker, but you try saying "snork froken" with a straight face.

Next, we have two samples from a genre of candy that doesn't exist in the US:

Another couple of Wikepedia searches reveal the fact that Horna and Lordi are both Finnish heavy metal bands of the sort that wear lots of makeup. Heavy metal candy! Which makes the name of this next candy especially funny:

But it is not named after a makeup-wearing metal group. The Horna and Lordi candies are salty licorice, by the way. Mmmm. I like salty licorice--and nobody else in the house does, so I don't have to share. The next candy is licorice, too, but it relates to automotive metal rather than musical:

And than there's the Krapu candy, which has a picture on it of a lobster/crab creature:

I hope it's not crab-flavored! Finally, there's nothing really odd about this last candy, except that my brain insists on reading it as latka. Latka candy is a taste sensation I could live without.

There were lots more candies as well, and some teas. I haven't received such a fun thing in the mail in a long time!

26 September 2007


I just noticed that September is the 3rd anniversary of this blog. I just read that half of all blogs don't make it past 2 years, so I guess 3 years is worth celebrating. I haven't borken the internets yet.

I'm so hapy with our solar electric system. Even though we had a week of 100 degree weather in late August, our electric bill for the end of August and beginning of September was $11.50. It's actually fun getting a bill like that!

Please forgive the crappy camera phone picture, but I wanted to show you this cat. He's one of the semi-feral cats that roam campus. They actually have a pretty good life--there's a group of people who feed them and look out for them, and of course students give them food too. And they get to spend their days wandering happily around or staking out gopher holes (which is what this guy is doing) or watching the ducks. Unfortunately, they are probably responsible for predating some of the baby waterfowl, but to be honest, I wouldn't regret a few less Canada geese around here. The geese claim a couple of key sidewalks, poop on them, and hiss at and chase people who try to walk by. Anyway, this cat is my favorite. He usually hangs out very close to my building, and he's unmistakable because he has one bad eye (he had an infection when he was a kitten, several years ago). He especially likes to nap right next to the outdoor stairway I take to my office in the morning. He always has an air of peace and contentment about him.

24 September 2007

Genius mom

Thing 1 and I have busy schedules this fall. I'm spending more time in meetings than in the classroom. And, depending on the day of the week and my meeting schedule, T1 might take the bus home after school, or might have art class, or might go to the afterschool recreation program at school. It's a schedule that's hard for me to keep track of, let alone a sometimes-forgetful 3rd grader. I was afraid someday she'd accidentally take the bus home while I was at work, and then, unless a neighbor happened to be home, she'd be stranded.

So I had an idea--and a brand new Xryon machine that laminates. And I made these:

Now all I have to do is attach the appropriate tag to her backpack each morning (or, better yet, the night before), and she's all set.

Hmm. Maybe I should make some as reminders for Hubby, too....

19 September 2007


Fall has arrived in the San Joaquin Valley. It's only in the low 70s this afternoon, and we may get some rain tonight or tomorrow. People around here always panic the first couple of times it rains each fall, as if they've forgotten what that wet stuff falling from the sky is. When Thing 1 heads out to the schoolbus in the morning, it's quite chilly--low 50s this morning--so, just in time, I've begun a sweater for her. It's this one, in the "midnight oasis" colorway, which T1 chose herself. It's fun to knit--round and round and then some short rows. And the yarn is really nice and soft. So far, I'm almost done with the front, but it'll be a while before I'm done because this sweater has lots of different little components. And a bunch of stitches that need picking up--bleh.

I like almost all of my students a lot. Most of them have to juggle work, family, and school, and a lot of them haven't been prepared very well for college, but they're overall quite enthusiastic. My Intro students this semester have the opportunity to serve as decoys in a local police department's underage alcohol sting, and the students were very excited about this. I have other students mentoring at-risk school kids or helping make an educational video about car theft. Still, there are a few I really have to wonder about. We're now in the 3rd week of classes, and yesterday a student came to my office because he had just realized that, while he was signed up for my Intro class, he had been sitting in a totally different course, taught by a different professor, for 3 weeks. And also yesterday I spied a very pregnant student standing under a tree and smoking a cigarette. She wasn't one of my students and I don't know her; if she were one of mine, I would have chewed her out.

I missed ceramics last week due to my cold. I wonder what I'll get to make tonight?

10 September 2007

Ready to send

I finished the last of my items for Afghanistan tonight--another colorful hat to brighten someone's winter. I'll be shipping a package off this week. :-)

Singapore Socks

Alvina in Singapore and I have swapped several times--I think we just completed our fourth. Look at the cute socks she knitted for me this time. They're very soft, too. Perfect for wearing around the house when the weather turns cold. Thanks Alvina!
I am happy to read in my last post's comments that some of my Republican friends have Seen the Light regarding El Presidente. Now, did you ladies see this article today? ;-)
Ginny, I got the vest pattern right off the afghans for Afghans site. It went quickly (other than the crochet, anyway) and used up bits of stash yarn. And I'd be thrilled to send you crochet edgings in the future. It's not that I have anything against crochet per se. It definitely has its uses, especially as an edging. One of my grandmothers crocheted, and well into her 80s she could whip out a blanket it nothing flat. But to me, it's like endless picking up of stitches. And I hate picking up stitches. I like all my stitches to be worked to be lined uyp, all orlderly on my left needle.

09 September 2007


Today I finished the vest for afghans for Afghans. I used a variety of yarns from my stash--some green and black New Zealand wool, some pink and orange Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies, some black cherry Kool-Aid dyed, and some Peruvian hand-dyed purple. I like the sort of stained glass effect of the front. Here's Thing 1 modeling the front and Thing 2 modeling the back.

I should note that this vest was completed amid some personal suffering. The entire vest and armholes have 2 rounds of crochet edging, and I'm not a crochet fan. And, what I was telling myself was simply allergies or the effects of the smoke in the air (there's another fire to the west, adding more blech to the valley air), is now, undeniably, a cold.

05 September 2007

Quick update

I've been neglecting blogging in favor of far less important things--like the beginning of the semester. Tomorrow I teach an Intro class to 100 or so 18-year-olds. I can't complain to my department Chair, either, because she is me.

So here's a quick round-up of what's up:
  • I'm close to finishing a sweater for afghans for Afghans. I like how it's turning out--very colorful--but I'm not honestly looking forward to the crochet edging.
  • Tonight I start another 8 weeks of ceramics class. Maybe this time I'll learn wheel throwing. And manage to produce something slightly less caveman-like. Or maybe not.
  • We went to Ikea last weekend--oh, how I love going to Ikea!--and bought an area rug for the family room. Of course, we also came home with a car full of other Ikea stuff. The rug is an Oriental rug with geometric patterns. I'm happy with it.
  • I walked out of my office this afternoon, having been locked up inside since 8:30, and just about choked. It seems that a fire in Plumas County, something like 170 miles from here, is sending smoke our way. You may be able to see a nifty satellite image here. It's quite hazy out and smells strongly of fire, which I know can't be good for anyone's lungs.
  • Zappos rocks. I suddenly decided rather late Sunday night that I needed new shoes. So I went to Zappos, which has a great selection and nice search feature. I placed my order, and, despite the holiday on Monday and Zappos's claim that they can't ship on holidays, those shoes were on my feet by 7pm Tuesday. And shipping was free.
  • Watch this cute video on Neatorama.