Saturday, November 03, 2007


One of the hazards of being un- or under-employed is that after a while, all the days kind of blend into each other, and unless you make a terrific effort to keep track, you can find yourself suddenly standing there saying, whoa! How did it get to be Saturday?

Or worse, you start wondering why people are so fond of Fridays. Well, okay, I never did quite understand that one. You know, if you're looking forward to the weekend, you might be glad when you are leaving work on Friday night, but on Friday morning? You still have to work all day!
Well, I did have one job where my work week was Sunday through Thursday. So, yeah, Friday was a day off and therefore worth celebrating with a TGIF.

It's kind of getting to be that way now with months, I think.
How did it get to be November?

Particularly since, here in SoCal, one month and one season is pretty much like another.
Hot, dry, windy: hey, it's Fire Season! But it could just as easily be July or August as November.
Case in point: I went to The Mall today and as I was leaving, with the a/c blasting away in the car, I happened to look up at my onboard thermometer:
95 degrees.
In November.

The irony? Well, I had been buying Christmas cards and ornaments!

Yeah, I know. Insanity rules.

But it wasn't all my fault. Honest. I was there doing a charitable deed. I have a friend who suffers from CFIDS and doesn't get out much. In fact, for her, a trip to the mall is pretty much out of the question unless there's someone to drive her there and back.

Today was my turn. She's fun to be with, especially when she's got that kind of excited-little-kid glow which comes from an outing, especially one that's Christmas-related. So, we went, we shopped, (thank you Hallmark!) and even had lunch.
No pictures of the outing, and the only knit-related activity was that I pulled out my Cash Island scarf to work on while we waited for our food.
Did you know that knitting in a restaurant makes the food come much more quickly??
Yeah, I wouldn't have thought it worked that way either. Who knew?

Tonight I'll pull out the knitting again. I've got an idea for another square for the NETA afghan, and they gave me the go-ahead to knit one, so I think I will.
I seem to need that kind of instant-gratification knitting right now. A 12" square? Bring it on! I've finished one, so I'm game for another!

The vegetation is what's currently available in my yard. The consolation prize for not having fall color. I was just listening to the radio and really "heard" the words of the song:
"It's not having what you want,
It's wanting what you've got."

This is what I've got. It'll do.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fall Friday Cat and an FO

Computer cat--I guess he's my Friday Cat this week! He really loves to perch on the mousepad and paw at the screen if there's something there he likes. Cards, for instance--playing solitaire is fun when you have a kitty kibitzer telling you what to play.
Not so much fun: trying to write an email when the mouse is being "hatched" by a furry hen!
My FO!! Ta Da! Cue the trumpet voluntary! Drum roll!

She finished a 12" square. Even got it washed and blocked! Now to get it dry so it can get mailed off. It's going to go to NETA to become part of an afghan which will be raffled to benefit the Ships Project.
Yarn is Bartlettyarns in cream, the pattern is my own combo of Horseshoe Lace and a 3x3 cable.

Hey, a homesick New Englander has to do what she can to keep herself feeling New England-y! Especially since my trip east was cancelled. No fall foliage for me, sigh.

Since I'm really missing fall this year, I thought I'd try to see what was available in my yard to make me think it's autumn.

The Christmas cactus is budding out.

There are leaves on the ground. The color isn't spectacular, but it is color.

Out here, we take what we can get!

You can also see the sad state of my lawn. St. Augustine grass (semi-domesticated crabgrass) and assorted weeds, kept mowed.

Apricot tree leaf.

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trick or Treat?

For Halloween, we celebrated at the home of a very pregnant ladybug:

Or , as one of her coworkers put it, lady beetle. She said she kind of walked out halfway through the entomological lecture. (Her antennae were tired, but they are up there.)
Dr. Grandcarrot was there. So was his daddy-the-referee. Mom was a rather glamorous witch, but she'd had it with the hat by the time the camera came out to play.
There was an interesting person waiting outside for the trick-or-treaters. I wish I had been able to capture all of the decor, but, well, it was dark out there. Daddy-to-be Ladybug loves to decorate on Halloween and has a great assortment of props. There's a little pirate guy, and a skull that rotates, and a sound system to play chilling music, as well as an air gun that blasts loud noises. It's remotely operated, though, so the littlest kids don't get it.
The Lollipop Guild checks out the scene. They were rather tired, and really really sick of posing for pictures, so these were the best ones I got.

Three adorable little boys in cute costumes, plus pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream--what more could you ask for on Halloween?

Now for some treats:
the garage door is in!

The mechanism that makes it go up and down. Yes, that is an orange extension cord. Right now, I have a choice of raising/lowering the garage door or using my laundry equipment. This will be corrected next week, when I get a return visit from the House Medic.
I wish I could say the cobwebs are just atmosphere for Halloween, but they're not. How does one dust the rafters in one's grungy garage anyway?
The boxes on the rack? That's part of the glass collection, and all needs to be repackaged. Fun days ahead!
Garage door from inside. It lets in a lot of light, which is what I was hoping for.
It also will keep out the critters, which will be even better.

And, lastly, from outside. Next week, the framing will get painted--or at least primed--so it will be ready for winter. It will be interesting to see how the new driveway handles the rainy season, always assuming that we get rain. We need it badly, but of course it will also cause problems in the burned areas, so if and when it comes, it will be a mixed blessing.

So, that's the news from here for today. Sorry for the lack of knit content--hopefully, the needles will come out tonight. I've got a project that is approaching FO status, and I have to block my square.

Meantime, I hope you're enjoying All Hallows Day, and here's to a good Dia de los Muertos for tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is It Knitting If...

All you do is rip? And then don't even take pictures? Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

Today was Knitting Day and I went, actually did a little knitting on the Chevron Scarf (it's actually Feather and Fan but it's easier to write Chevron) and then, when the felting gurus arrived, I pulled out the Giant Purple Boot and the felted swatch. What? Didn't I talk about the Giant Purple Boot before? Oh my. Well, fear not, it is no more. The general consensus was that the boot wouldn't felt down to a size that would fit any normal female foot, so I spent the rest of the session frogging it.

(Cue the music: "A Froggy Day... in Pasadenatown...) I wasn't the only one frogging, though. Mary's scribble lace project didn't inspire the love, so off it went to the frog pond as well. No pictures of that, either, so you only have my word for it that these projects ever existed.

So the purple (actually, Plum Heather) Cascade 220 is now back into a couple of very large balls, and I'm going to break out the Felted Clog pattern and turn it into a different style of slipper. Hopefully, the friend I'm making them for won't mind clogs instead of boots; knowing her, she's going to love them and is too nice in any case to say anything but how thrilled she is!

Distraction from lack of real knitting content in the form of cute cat photos: Hi-Hi with one of the spiders that came in the Socks That Rock package this month.

Rest assured that the stash is safe from spider incursions.

The other ongoing project around here is Garage Door Renovation. Today was Stage One: demolition of the old door. (Okay, so Stage One was probably cleaning out the garage, but that doesn't really count, does it? Except in sore muscles and sweat?) Tomorrow the new door comes in. Want to see some in-progress shots?

I thought you'd never ask! Warning: graphic content ahead!

For instance, dry rot and centuries of old paint on the base of the framing:

Pretty, no?


Top headers and the bottom of the garage door itself. One thing I learned is that this wasn't the original garage door--which I had figured, since the house was built in 1921.

The original door would have opened from the center, like a barn door. They showed me where the hinges likely were--the patching still showed.

And, of course, back then the owner probably wouldn't have had a couple of cars. Maybe an early version? Or would this have been a place to keep the tools needed for the nursery?

Stuff headed on out of the garage and out of my life! Yay! The rocking chair that collapsed under me one day when I was quietly nursing D3... buh-bye!

Also, there's my old stroller. Gee, since the youngest of my kids is now getting ready to welcome her own baby, I guess it's time to say adieu.

The remains of the door. And yes, that's my contractor over there in the corner, sweeping up after himself.

Can you believe that before he left today, he had even hosed off the cement slab, so it all looks clean and nice?

Gotta love a tidy man! (Hush. He's younger than my sons!)

The newly framed opening, ready to get the new door installed tomorrow.

Then, next week, some electrical work (takes juice to run those motors to open and close the door, woo hoo for automatic doors!) and a coat or two of paint on that raw wood, and the job will be done.

More pictures at Flickr.

Isn't it amazing how doing a couple of things stirs the juices to do even more?

Tonight is Halloween, and we'll be at D5's for dinner and fun and games. I've been told that a certain Dr. M will be in attendance (aka my grandcarrot) as well as the Lollipop Guild. Photos tomorrow!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Actual Knitting Content

Believe it or not!
Of course, since I'm leading off with flahrs, you can be forgiven for wondering. However, I just suddenly realized that this was happening right next to my front porch, and I wanted to share it!

Yes, this is my earliest camellia. I do not know what variety it is--I suspect that, like a lot of the camellias on this property, it is a one-of-a-kind hybridized by the original owner of the house (ca. 1920-21) who owned a nursery which covered most of the blocks around here. At any rate, it's about the only sure sign of fall here: the camellia begins blooming, and the liquidambars turn gold and drop their leaves. Of course, when it's been hot and dry the way it has been lately, with the devil winds blasting us, the leaves go directly from green to brown shriveled things all over the lawn. They still crunch nicely, though, and I get lots of opportunity to crunch them since I have to be out watering!
We didn't get much from the fires, thank God, other than a sprinkling of ash. I just can't begin to fathom how it must feel to be away from home, not knowing if you have a home to go back to!

Another sign of fall around here. (Yeah, I know it's backwards. What can I say? Flowers are supposed to mean spring!) These are little purple oxalis flowers--kind of like a cute oversized clover, and related to the noxious weedy oxalis, but much prettier. These little bulbs dry up and disappear during the summer months, but as soon as the air cools down they sprout again.
Minor interesting factoid, at least to me: this property grows purple oxalis. Our former house (about 3 blocks from here) had bright pink. I tried moving some of the pink ones over, but they didn't take. I've planted white and more pinks, but only the purple will grow and thrive. I guess they are Debby-flowers!

At last--yarn!! And what luscious stuff, too!
This is Lotus Yarns' lovelies, two skeins of Nirvana (and it is!) and one of Aura. The pink is called Love My Way and both skeins of pink are the same color but different yarns. Can you see the lovely sparkles in the Aura? It's merino, silk, nylon and pure silver! The red is Nirvana in Ruby Soho and this entire purchase was promulgated by Dim Sum Mary, who waggled a skein of the Ruby Soho under my nose at knitting one day. I love love love this color. Well, can you tell? it's posed on my bathmat... which is, sigh, dark red. (I will treat you to a digression one of these days about living with a bathroom that's tiled in pink. But not today. My stomach isn't that strong!)

Then there's my Yarn Pirate Killer Bees. Nifty nifty stuff. I can hardly wait to see how this is going to work up.
Have I mentioned that I love Yarn Pirate yarn?? Oh, is it that obvious?

Next up, the newest STR yarn. I love this colorway! I want a dozen skeins of it so I can make myself a sweater! I want to knit thousands of teeny tiny stitches and fondle this gorgeous stuff every inch of the way.

It's called Lenore. I love the Poe reference for Halloween! I just hope it doesn't mean that they are making this colorway just this once, and then... nevermore.... Please note, I did find a pink towel to pose it on!

There was a spider in the package. It fell out and startled me. Not that I thought it was real or, not at all.
Although this house does grow huge mutant spiders.

Enough spider talk. I'm spooking myself!

For Madgik, who wanted to know what books I had just gotten:

and these...
and these! The newest Discworld novel--I am addicted, I admit it--and what is probably only the first book about Dan Brown's new thriller-to-be. One of my guilty pleasures is reading semi-trashy novels, and I got a lot of mileage out of The Da Vinci Code with like-minded friends. I'm particularly thrilled when a book purports to explain a book that isn't even out in galleys yet... Isn't that the definition of chutzpah!

More yarny goodness! One skein of Colinette Jitterbug in Lapis. This skein leaped out at me when I was in Unraveled a couple of weeks ago, but I resisted. Womanfully. Strongly. I was in charge. But ET was also hanging around, so I didn't have a chance. I had to make another trip for it!
Oh, way to go,posing the Skye Tweed on a bathmat that's almost the same color. That's to fool La. It's camouflage. That way, when she breaks in here (assuming Attack Cat will let her) she won't be able to find it!
Next up, my score (or should I say, ET's score??) from See Jayne Knit. From the top: Waterlilies (100% mercerized wool), Espressoberry (100% Peruvian wool), and Meteor Shower (70% cashmere, 30% wool). These are incredibly luscious and soft and wonderful. I especially love that Jayne does a heavier yarn, since it gives me some versatility in projects. Still great yardage and wonderful colorways. (Yeah, I know. The Espressoberry should have posed on something else for best results. When it's an FO or WIP I will remember that!)

Finally, this is my "free gift" for subscribing yet again to the Rowan magazine. I love the Rowan books, and a subscription is about the same price as buying them individually, less the cost of gas to run around from store to store, less the heartbreak of realizing that due to busyness or illness or whatever-ness, I've left it too long and the new one is nowhere to be found.

I'm almost done with a project, which is a 12" square and you'd think would have been a quick easy knit. Well, it's nearly done, and when it's washed and blocked it can have its turn on the bathmat before it gets mailed off. I am pretty pleased with it so far. (It's going into an afghan for NETA, which will be raffled off to benefit the Ships Project. As a Navy mom I am all about the Ships Project!)
There's another project underway, too, some house renovation. I've done the before pictures and will be taking progress shots along the way. If you can't stand the suspense, or want to see some truly repulsive dry-rot pictures, they're up on my Flickr page--just click on the badge on the right.
And now to go curl up with my quilt, my cat, and find out what's happening in the Discworld. I will let you know what I think about that book, too!