31 October 2007

Trick or Treat

Thing 1 had 2 costumes today. For school, she was Jenny the cat from the book Jenny and the Cat Club. I improvised the costume myself. Her tail is part of a feather boa.

This evening. T1 was Cleopatra and T2 was Ariel.

Ruthie helped me pass out treats. She loves Halloween because it means children + candy. Here she is waiting for the next group to arrive.

We went through a LOT of candy. We had probably 300 trick-or-treaters tonight. People drive their kids into our neighborhood on Halloween. Ruthie thought it was wonderful. Almost all of the 300 kids petted her. But her very favorite was a little girl, maybe 6 years old, with Downs syndrome. Ruthie gently and methodically covered her face in kisses, and the girl (who has 4 dogs of her own) was ready to take Ruthie home with her. :-)

Last night, the earth played her own trick on us, and we had an earthquake. It was centered near San Jose, over 80 miles away, and didn't do much damage, but we felt it pretty well here. It didn't wake up T2, who was asleep. T1 thought it was "cool." Ruthie didn't seem to notice.

30 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

We love Halloween! Here are the Things getting ready.
Yes, Thing 1's pumpkin has "blood" dripping from its mouth. And T2's has really big purple ears. But you know what's really scary? Two monsters hopped up on excitement and too much sugar!

28 October 2007


I'm working on a scarf from a Habu Textiles kit. It's going to be a while before I finish it. Life intrudes. It's too bad, too, because I have a fairly strict 1-project rule (Lizard Ridge blocks being the exception to the rule). And Friday I received the newest Blue Moon Sock Club package, which had nifty blackish yarn and a pattern for fun gothic socks. In the meantime, last week, Ruthie turned 9. The average lifespan for Saints is 8-10 years, so 9 is getting up there.

Can you tell she leads a hard, hard life?

22 October 2007

Strange Coincidence

I'm on Postcrossing--a wonderful project that I think Emily pointed me to. I never know when the mail will bring me a postcard from abroad, or where that card may come from. Today I lucked out with 3. And here's the slightly odd part--the first card was from Finland, but the sender attached a cute little Saint Bernard sticker (my profile on Postcrossing says I have a Saint, so that part's not so strange). The second one was also from Finland, and that person's screen name is "Saint." And the third card came from Switzerland. All very appropriate, considering my Ruthie turns 9 this Wednesday. It must be All Saints Week. ;-)

21 October 2007


I believe this is block #16 of the Lizard Ridge afghan, which means I'm 2/3 done with blocks. It's an interesting colorway--kind of like Noro threw in whatever dyes were leftover from other things. I like it anyway, especially the blues and purples on the right.

Yesterday was a busy day. T2 has soccer in the morning.

She pours her whole little heart into playing. In the afternoon, we went to see Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D. It was cute. The theater even had the entryway done up like a haunted house, and an employee wandering around in a Jack Skellington costume. Tim Burton + 3-D. What's not to love?

18 October 2007


Today I have a couple FOs to show from my ceramics class. I'm quite fond of them. First, a pumpkin bowl with lid:

And then, this funny character:

Unfortunately, I managed to break her cauldron handle. I hope she doesn't put an evil spell on me. I love that black glaze, and I'm quite happy with how she turned out.

I only have one more ceramics class left, and I didn't sign up for the next 8-week session because this time of year is always so especially busy. I'll miss it. Last night I threw a couple bowls on the wheel. One of them I had a lot of help with and it turned looking like a slightly misshapen cereal bowl. The other I did all by myself and it looks like a wobbly cat food dish. I'm enjoying the wheel. :-)

Thanks for the nice comments on the pinwheel sweater. And Knat, Hubby wore shorts in winter in Nebraska (in the snow!) so I'd bet he would in Ottawa, too. WHat can I say? He's a 3rd generation Californian.

16 October 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

THE GOOD: I finished T1's sweater last night. I think it's really, really cute. The front and back were lots of fun to knit. And the yarn is scrumptious: soft soft, lofty, and lightweight. I like the colors, too.

THE BAD: The pattern has lots of fussy finishing. You have to pick up stitches four different times (for a total of nearly 400 stitches). The sleeves have to be swen in and then two long seams need sewing as well. And I'm going to have to do some blocking to correct that curl at the hem.

THE UGLY: The pattern is one of the worst I've worked with. In the sleeve shaping, decreases leave you with 11 stitches, but then the pattern calls for a bind-off that requires 13. The collar part says to work back and forth in garter stitch for 20 "rounds." The worst part, though, is that the shaping is quite eccentric due to the unusual construction of the front and back. At one point, the pattern says to sew a shoulder seam before picking up the neck stitches, but the pattern doesn't give any hint as to where that seam might be. And if you look at the pics to try and figure it out, good luck, because it turns out that in one of the pics the model is wearing the thing frigging backwards. It took me a long time to figure this out. A diagram or a few words of explanation would have been really, really helpful.

T1 celebrated her 8th birthday last week. Doesn't she look happy and grown up?

My inlaws came for the weekend to join the celebration. My SIL came with Melinda, one of her foster daughters. Melinda loves animals. As you can see, Ruthie considered this pure torture.

One Sunday, T2 and Hubby visited the pumpkin patch. Is tayed home with T1, who'd over-celebrated a bit the day before and was extremely cranky.

Fortunately, the crankiness was gone by yesterday. Last night, T1 helped me make turkey meatloaf.

12 October 2007

SP11 Package

I got back from Reno last night. It was beautiful. It'd snowed the day before, and they'd plowed the road, but there was a nice bit of snow on the ground. It's rained a good amount here today, which means snow at Donner Pass--I'm glad I got home yesterday. While I was in Reno, I did visit Jimmy Bean's Wool, and I might have managed to acquire a little yarn.

Today's mail brought me a wonderful package from my SP11 pal!!

I can tell she really spent a lot of time reading my blog and choosing my favorites. There's my favorite yarn in my favorite colors, really pretty sock yarn, a Saint memo pad, and See's caramels which I cannot share with the children. Plus, my pal included treats for the Things and spectacular cookies for Ruthie. Here's Ruthie badly wanting the ghost cookie, which was in my hand:

Ruthie was so funny when I gave the cookie to her. She spent a good 10 minutes wandering around the house with it "hidden" in her mouth, trying to find exactly the right spot to eat it. I think she coouldn't believe it was really all hers.

Thank you, Pal!!!

Hubby's family is visiting this weekend. Hubby decided to barbeque, weather be damned:

It's a good thing my MIL was willing to be Umbrella Holder. Note, too, Hubby's attire. He wears shorts year round.

09 October 2007

Conference time

I'm in Reno for a couple of days for a conference. It's a great time of year to drive here--there's a little snow in the mountains, the leaves are turning color, and the nights are nice and crisp. There is a nice yarn store here, Jimmy Bean's, but I don't know whether I'll have time to make it there. Pesky conference, you know. I didn't even bring my knitting, because I won't have time for it and there wasn't much room in the car. Below id a crappy pic of the view from my window, taken with my camera phone. You can see me and the phone in the reflection. It is a nice view--there's just a dusting of snow on that mountain top.

05 October 2007

And the winner is....

My Mom has noticed I haven't been blogging much lately. Instead, I've been spending my life in meetings and doing 1,001 work-related projects. It's a busy semester.
Thing 1 has been taking a digital photography class in school. Here's a self-portrait:

Her 8th birthday is this coming week, and we bought her a real, grown-up, digital camera. Shhh. Don't tell her. Tomorrow is her birthday party, so if any of you hear loud noises coming from this direction, you'll know why.
Yesterday a student presented what may be the new winner of the Best Excuse for Missing Class prize. The previous champion was "My brother's foot got run over by a car." That one replaced the two-time favorite, "I got arrested and I was in jail." (I teach Criminal Justice, by the way). This time, I actually saw the student sitting and reading the textbook shortly before class. Five minutes before class began, though, she came to me with the new contender: "I just realized that I have cat pee all over my shorts." Apparently, her cat had peed on the shorts after she took them out of the dryer, as they were in a pile on the floor waiting to be folded. So she started noticing the pee smell as she was reading, but couldn't place it. When she finally realized the source, she went to the bathroom and tried to get the shorts wet, which only made the smell worse. I could smell it as she stood in my office. The class is in a crowded, windowless room, so I sent her home with my blessings. What do you think? Do we have a winner?

04 October 2007


Last night in ceramics class I finally got to use the potters wheel for the first time. I:
  • made a small, funny-looking bowlish thing
  • tried to make another one, but chunks of it kept flying off and I eventually gave up
  • managed not to step on the revolving platform thing, and therefore managed not to fling myself across the floor

For a first attempt, I consider it a success, especially with regard to point three above. I am a major klutz, so not hurting myself is a major milestone for me. Anyway, it was fun, and the more advanced students were very supportive. And it was really goopy and messy, which can be a good thing once in a while.