Friday, December 26, 2008

March of Progress

Yay! I asked Daniel if he would want a sweater, and he said yes. :) He also ended up picking out EZ's "Hand to Hand" sweater (Rav link). I also got him to pick out a pair of socks for me to make. Luckily, he liked my red STR "Rare Gems" skein that I'd picked up at OFFF this year. No need to go buy more yarn (yet)! :) He also picked out a pattern - actually, he liked two out of Interweave's "Favorite Socks" book, though just one is shown. I figured I should have some knitting for him lined up, since he will be leaving me much sooner than I care to admit. :( (For Japan...not because he is tired of me or anything. :) )

Here is a shot of my first pair of the ubiquitous "Monkey" socks, by Cookie A. (I just pre-ordered her book on Amazon, by the way). I am using STR Lightweight in "Fire on the Mountain". The chart is easy to read, everything is going well! :)

Next up is a picture of the "Dog's Paw shawl" I am knitting for my mom. I spun the yarn several months ago (and I probably will need to make more at some point). It is a 2 ply, drumcarded blend of merino, tussah silk, and our dog's down. The picture shows about 7 or so inches of knitting? It is a delightful pattern, from a back-issue of "Spin-Off" magazine, designed by my lovely online friend, Jeanine Bakridges (Spinning Spider Jenny). I need to continue the chart on my own - Spin-Off only provided so many pattern repeats. :)

Here is my progress so far on my "Tangerine Dashings", from Knitty. I am using Cascade 220, and making the "M/L" size here. They are fairly quick, I put them down last night because I was too tired to cable. ;)

Finally, progress is showing on my Wisteria sweater. After taking pictures, I am definitely seeing a change between skeins of yarn, but that's ok. I'll live with it. I am surprised, though, since they were the same dyelot, but I guess kettle-dyeing isn't exact! :) I just put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn on both sides, and have begun knitting below that. I hope I did the backwards-loop cast on for the underarm stitches correctly... I just used EZ's backwards loop M1 method. It looks huge to me, but probably because I've never knit anything that big before.

Merry Xmas!

Today is my parent's anniversary (Dec. 26). Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! I believe this is Year # 38!


I was supposed to fly back to Louisiana 6 days ago. The short version of the story is that my flight got cancelled... after we had been sitting on the plane for 4 hours, and had already been at the airport waiting through other delays. I had called Continental's customer service, and got a refund, though they wanted to place me on a flight that I was pretty sure would get cancelled as well (no de-icing companies or de-icing fluid to use on the planes, since Seattle just went through the Blizzard of '08). Anyway, my mom was pretty sad about it, and I was, too. The upside is that I got to spend Christmas with Daniel, which was even better since he actually has time off right now, and his brother, Joey, and SIL Dawn were out here visiting for a while! :)

Here are some pictures. This was taken Christmas Eve. Our friend Kris' birthday is on Dec. 24, so she usually goes out with Randy to celebrate. We gathered up Jeanelle, as well, and met at the Brooklyn steakhouse downtown for dinner and drinks.

Here is some evidence of the snowfall. Daniel and I made a snow-punk (with mohawk) and Snow Needle on the 20th, after I got home from 13 hours of trying to travel somewhere else. The Needle has started to tip over, since there was a brief rise in temperature that morning. (This is in Daniel's front yard. He saw about a foot of snow. His neighbor's snowman, beyond the fence, was sprayed blue. I hope they used food coloring and not Windex.)

Christmas day arrived to Daniel's lower back being sore, and my neck still hurting from his new foam mattress. We went to the only open grocery store near me - Safeway - before it closed down for the day, and bought plenty of food. I cleaned my fridge out before leaving on the 20th... Here he is, on my computer, wearing the sweater I bought him.

He was extremely generous with me this year, and it was pretty freakin' amazing! I love this guy (and not because he has a generous cash flow ;) ).

Gift 1: 8 GB iPhone. All I can say is "It is TEH AWESUM."

Gift #2: Somewhere between a 4 -6 quart size Mario Batali enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven, in a cheery butter-yellow. WOO! (I made Moroccan beef stew in it on Christmas day...very very tasty!)

Gift #3: Gold necklace with a diamond-encrusted cupcake charm. In a cloissone -style ceramic gift box. This was for our anniversary, and extremely beautiful & thoughtful of him. :) I love it. All of it. :) (I got him a pair of Oakley sunglasses for our anniversary. It is difficult to buy him "stuff" when he is leaving for Japan so soon; I don't want to burden him with extra things to make the Navy move and possibly break, etc...)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Current Knitting Progress

FO: Cashmere Socks
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden cashmere, ~2 oz, 400 yd
Pattern: "Daydreamer", from ZYG's "Sumptuous Sock Yarn" club
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm), 2 x 24" circular

FO: EZ's Snail Hat (from "The Opinionated Knitter")
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool
Needles: US #11, 16" circular (Knitpicks Options)
Notes: It's a little big, but it fits fine. If I made it again, I'd consider a smaller needle or less stitches... or both.

WIP: Wisteria sweater, from Twist Collective Autumn 2008
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, in colorway "Cuarzo" (purchased from WEBS)
Needle: US 8 (I think)... 24 or 32" circular (Knitpicks Options)

Other notes:

- I am taking a risk and ordering a gluten-free pizza crust from ZAW pizza for delivery. Let's hope I don't die from the crust! (In case you don't know, I have not eaten any grains - rice, wheat, etc. - for several months (save for some very occasional oatmeal).

- It has been snowing in Seattle for the past couple of days (since about Tuesday / Wednesday). It did not snow for me today in Ballard, but the weather report anticipates additional snow on Saturday & Sunday. All of which is fine with me, but I would like a) sand on the sidewalks & SIDE ROADS, and b) my flight to leave Seatac on Sunday as scheduled (for Houston).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sneaky Sunlight

It's currently 4:05 PM. I am looking outside my window, and I can see that the sun WANTS to shine it's countenance down upon us Seattleites, but the black-chalk clouds that are being bruskly moved along by the wind are dutifully prevent this.

The wind is blowing enough that I can see waves forming in the rain puddles that collect on the building roof below my window. It whistles ferociously through my balcony. I think the scaffolding outside is only causing the wind to sound more fierce, as it rushes past the metal piping and wooden gangplanks.

I had today off, so I headed over to Daniel's last night. I parked in a 30 minute spot near the ferry for 40 minutes, and prayed I didn't get a ticket for it. Luck was with me this morning.

I came home, and clucked around, tidying up my house, doing dishes, putting away dried laundry and generally making the place look and smell nicer. After that I showered, and was perusing some business hours online when my mom called me to inform that the Earth's north and south magnetic poles were going to rearrange themselves in 2012. I remember reading about this phenomenon in various physics classes and nerdy books I enjoy. It happens, on average, once every 26 000 years. She also wanted to say that several stories, each in their own essential dimension, were possibly unfolding, and that the shamans were being called to focus on a particularly positive outcome - that the Goddess and the Feminine would rule once more.

I would rather look at the picture of Sarah Palin that has the caption: "The Mayans were right. The world will end in 2012."

After my morning enlightenment session, I headed out in the wind and heavy (for Seattle) rain. It reminded me of the rainstorms when I first moved here, in January 2006. I remember wandering around Belltown and getting soaked, even to the backs of my jeans.

I drove down to Salumi Cured Meats, and bought several salamis (for various Christmas - and self - presents), then I went to Weaving Works.

Oh, Weaving Works.

I wandered happily in it's warm and friendly confines for a while. I consulted store copies of books I owned at home to look at yarn requirements. I picked up a copy of "Handknitting with Meg Swansen" and carried it around with me. I ended up picking up the following items:

- aforementioned book, which holds the secrets of the Spiral Yoke Pullover

- one skein of Rowan Big Wool, for an Elizabeth Zimmerman "Snail Hat" in a satisfyingly rich red

- one skein of Dale of Norway Baby Ull (fingering weight wool), in a great deep magenta for a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend living back East

- one skein of Cascade 220 Heather in an olivey tone, for a pair of Dashings from Knitty

- two skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas' "Melange", 100% luscious baby alpaca, in a beautiful robin's egg blue that basically matches my condo. I am thinking: Hat. Either make Porom from this, or perhaps the Argyle Lace Hat from "Boutique Knits". I think what happened was that I saw the model for Porom, and she looks like my sister (curly hair and all), and I think the slouchy hat would work for my sister's large mass of curls.


Today could have been worse. I could have spent my salami-and-yarn money on crack. :)


[By the way... it's now 4:30 PM, and the sky is inky-blue-black. An ominous weather sign if I ever saw one. Snow is actually predicted this weekend for the Seattle area & Kitsap peninsula].

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Media Restructuring

I am tempted to restructure my media usage.

I get some decent employee discounts, so I am seriously considering switching up my current media.

Currently, I pay $67 / mo for land-line telephone + DSL internet. I also pay $65 / mo for my Verizon cell phone.

I am thinking of switching to an iPhone. With my employee discount, it would come out to $75 / mo (plus taxes), and then I was thinking of getting Clearwire (which is a wireless internet service here) and I can get that for $28 / mo.

$132 / mo vs $103 / mo (probably more like $110 / mo).

The trick is to make sure I am out of any obligation to Qwest or Verizon.

Fitness: When Triceps Attack

My arms were pretty sore after Monday's CF. I think I ended up doing about 85 of everything, instead of the full 100 reps.

So what do we do on Tuesday? This is after the warmup:

10 rounds of:

- 10 straight leg deadlifts
- 10 reverse rows (you are leaned over in the straight leg deadlift position, and pull the barbell up to your ribs)
- 10 pushups

We had 20 min to do everything. I think I completed everything in 15 min, so that was good.

For the weight, I used women's bar + 10 kg (so 25 kg total - this is important because you need to keep the weight light enough for the reverse rows, which are the limiting factor here, not the deadlift). I used that weight for the first 10 sets, then I lowered the weight to the women's bar + 8 kg (23 kg).

Note: I was supposed to attend a GE Christmas party last night. After CF, I went and bought soup at the store, then went home. It hurt to wash the dishes! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Knitting Fiesta

It has been a knitting fiesta around here the last few days!

I am still plugging along on the cashmere sock. No pic of that because, well, it looks the same as the other sock. I should start carrying the other sock around so I know when the second one's leg matches the length of the first...

Here is a picture of my Wisteria sweater, coming along nicely. I came up with a brilliant plan that I am sure millions have thought of before. I am going to aim to knit three rounds a night on the sweater. I figure those tiny bits of time will add up, and soon the sweater will be pretty far along! I am loving the Malabrigo soft! I wonder if it pills? This picture shows the finished neck and beginning of the yoke pattern, where the cables trail off.

Next up is a project that I started, oh, either last Friday or Saturday. I didn't work on it on Sunday, and last night I got about 3" up the hat. It is Habitat, by Brooklyntweed. The cable pattern is, like Wisteria, involved but not difficult. You just have to pay attention (notice the multiple stitch markers, denoting each repeat). I am using my handspun Gotland for this, and hoping that it will show stitch definition sufficiently.

Next up is a silly knit I started today. I am using the same one row lace pattern as the last scarf, but this is a much bigger scarf. Last night, for some reason unknown to me, I decided it was a good idea to gather up all the leftover bits from spinning or knitting with my handspun, and tied them all into a big ball. I tried to make it go in a rainbow-type fashion, and this giant ball of yarn is what resulted (for reference, those are US 17 needles in the picture, and they are probably 12-15" long). I was originally thinking of making a perpetual crazy quilt-style blanket, but decided a scarf would be... giftable. :)

Finally, here is my first one-row lace scarf, done in handspun approx. worsted weight, two-ply yarn. I loved that the color changes pretty much made big horizontal swaths of color.

I am off to knit my three rows of Wisteria. And watch "Home Movies" (the cartoon) on DVD.

Fitness: EMOTM

What the hell is EMOTM, you may ask?

"Every Minute, On The Minute".

Oh yes.

Scott's 5-6 PM workout today?

Warmups included a good 15 pullups, running around the block, k/b swings (2-handed and 1-handed), "Around-the-World"s, which are basically you passing the kettlebell around your body as if it were a satellite, and some clean and presses with k/b's. I started with 2 x 12 kg kettlebells, until we got to the clean and press part, and I switched to 2 x 8 kg kettlebells.

Now for the EMOTM workout.

5 x clean & squat (and you clean every time you squat)
5 x burpees


We did it for 20 minutes. I was effing tired. The way I modified it was that I eventually went down to 4 reps of each, and then 3 reps for probably the last 8 minutes.

The idea behind EMOTM is that you should finish your reps with about 20-30 sec to spare, and to REST, so you are barely ready for the next set. If you get to the point where you only have 10 seconds left, and you aren't done, you probably should either reduce weights used, or reduce reps...

I was pretty proud - I used 2 x 8 kg kettlebells for this workout, which seem really puny, until I looked at some girls who were using the 10 lb weights. (Remember, 8 kg = 17.6 lb). Hey, I was there once, too (and I still am, for some exercises). There was one really in-shape girl who could do three dead-hang pullups in a row (NO rubberband). Holy S. And I think she used 15 lb barbells for the workout... so I don't feel too bad. Of course, I think she did the full 5 reps for all 20 minutes...

Dead-hang pullups and strict pushups are my new goals. Also, to climb the rope all the way up (I think they have 20 ft ceilings or so in the gym?)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Buzz Beginnings

I am starting to get in the holiday spirit...Trader Joe's was already playing contemporary holiday music when I went in yesterday.

I think (!) I am done with my holiday shopping. Except for tiny things. I got Daniel, my brother / SIL, sister / BIL... ok, I'm not done. But I know what I am getting for my mom's cousins, my dad, step-grandpa, and a few select friends. I even have a few boxes ready for faraway friends!

Last night, I hauled out the Christmas decorations (which consists of one medium sized moving box, and the tree itself packs into a remarkably small space). I think I am going to get a Rubbermaid plastic box to store away all the ornaments this year, and possibly upgrade the wrappings to bubble wrap? I managed to hang the Trader Joe's greenery on the front door (can't beat $6-7 for a spray of evergreens), and also put up the base for the mantel's white swag.

To attach things to walls, I have fallen in love with the 3-M temporarily-sticky hanging hooks (they have that glue-tab on the back that you pull down when you're done, and it all - magically - comes off the wall / paint / etc.).

I'll show pictures when I'm done.

Tomorrow night, I'm having a Holiday Party! I'll be making mulled wine and mulled wine cupcakes (with chestnut butter frosting!) to go with it. Gotta love Trader Joe's - I snapped up two bottles of Chuck's finest Merlot...for $6. (OK, so I also dropped $25 on 5 bottles of their 2008 Ale...but it is always very good, and is quite tasty if you leave it alone for a few months). They even had (wait for it) steamed and peeled chestnuts! Sweet Jeebus!


In knitting news:

I finished the scarf. Yesterday, I broke down and bought the pattern for Habitat, by BrooklynTweed. His patterns are awesome. I cast on for it last night, using my two-ply handspun Gotland. The yarn is kind of fuzzy, so I am praying it shows stitch definition... if not, this hat doesn't need to be supremely cabled, and I can just make a ribbed hat and buy some smooth (or spin some smoother) yarn for it.

Off I go!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Scarf + RSC Nov 08

Here is my almost-finished Spectrum Scarf. It's the one-row lace scarf that I started a few days ago. The thing is addictive because it's almost mindless, and I love seeing the color changes in my handspun.

I also wanted to show off the final 2008 shipment of the BMFA Rockin' Sock Club. The colorway is called "Muddy Autumn Rainbow". I love these colors. I am tempted to order another skein of it, as well as the "Tidepooling" and "Incredible Shrinking Violet" colorways.

Thanksgiving 2008

I am thankful for flexible friends. :)

Earlier in the Thanksgiving week, it turned out that Daniel's schedule changed, again, so he would have to work over Thanksgiving (and not even a normal shift; he'd have overnight duty. Egh, the poor guy takes it really well, I am fairly certain it sucks).

So, I was still planning on having Kris and Randy, and maybe Joanna, over for Thanksgiving. Monday, I went and bought all the food I was going to need to cook - a large turkey breast, sausage, ham steak, prosciutto, sage, etcetera.

Tuesday, I received an email and call from Kris, that they were inviting me to come with them to her mom's boyfriend, Larry's, house in Auburn (south of Seattle). Since I was going to Daniel's Wednesday after working out, I hightailed it back to the grocery store, and was able to return everything I bought on Monday, except for the prosciutto, which I had ordered specially cut from the deli section. (This is what I call "customer service", by the way, although I had invented a great story that Boeing was sending me to England for testing on Thanksgiving morning, since the Brits didn't celebrate Thanksgiving...)

I ended up making flourless chocolate / ancho chile cupcakes. The only recipe modifications I made were to use curry powder in lieu of the ancho chile. Here is a shot of them, resting at Larry's pre-dinner. (I used plain whipped cream, to great success.) Note: the marbled cupcakes were just not thoroughly mixed with the melted chocolate that gets folded in. Beautiful, though!

I should mention that Larry is very into motorcycles, Harleys specifically. He currently owns five bikes. Here's a shot of the ones in the garage:

And here is a shot of the still-steaming turkey, fresh from the oven:

A delightful dinner was had, and we attempted to watch "Wall-E", since Larry and Ginger (Kris' mom) had just bought it, but his TV's sound was on the fritz. I think Kris and Randy got me home by 7 PM. A relatively restful, stress-free Thanksgiving! :)
Daniel came over on Friday morning, after he got off work, and we had a lovely time of it. Basically, we sat around, read a lot, watched some TV (disc 1 of "Tripping the Rift", a quasi-naughty CGI cartoon that was on the Sci-Fi channel late at night a few years ago), and I knit while he surfed the Interwebs or had a nap. :) Sometimes, that is the most fun of all - being lazy! (Especially since we don't indulge in it that often).
By Saturday evening, I was able to start the yoke of my Wisteria sweater. You can kind of see the bell shape the knitting is starting to take on in the following shot:

He did make me put it down while we watched "Iron Man" last night, though. :) (Although he was nice and let me finish the few stitches on the round I was working on before he turned the lights off).
I had a nice time knitting a few rounds on the ferry this morning (at 0620...since, yes, Daniel had duty again today). I love the early morning ferries on the weekend, only because they are so empty and quiet, other than the obligatory safety announcements. I can knit and I don't have to put on my iPod to drown out other passengers.
After I got home, I had pilates, then I came back (eventually) and got to work on making some pumpkin curry cupcakes for a second Thanksgiving dinner that started earlier tonight, and is hosted by my friends Chris & Melinda. I was only around for an hour, but they were gracious and let me take a "to-go" plate of food, so I could get home in time to wind down and wake up on time tomorrow. (The turkey is very good, by the way!)
I also decided to show progress on my cashmere sock. You can see I'm well up the leg, after having to rip it out to where the heel gusset ended. I would like to finish these before I go home for Christmas. :)
That's what I've got, for now! I hope everyone had an equally restful, or entertaining, weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

I am getting ready to make some flourless ancho chile / chocolate cupcakes.

In the meantime, here's some cute Sesame Street clips I came across. The star cameos were always my favorite, even when I was little.

- 30 Rock(s)

- Jack Black defines an octagon

- Neil Patrick Harris has Telly's new shoes

- LL Cool J goes on an addition expedition

- Johnny Cash and Biff (the construction worker) sing "Five Feet High"

- Anderson Cooper on Grouch News Network

- Patrick Stewart "B or not a B" (my personal favorite...I love his random acting)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fitness: From Sao Paulo

Fran got an email from Guy (yes, that's his name), who is currently on study / vacation in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He met up with another dude who does CF in Vancouver, BC, and they came up with a workout to do in the hotel gym:

5 Rounds Of:

10 x burpees
50 x box jumps
5 x pullup
10 second L-Sit
10 x "clean, squat, push-press" (or you could do a thruster)

Guy says they finished in about 15 min and were dead.

This is the workout that I finished first on. I think partly because I gave up on box jumps after the first round and resorted to stepping up on the box (still damn tiring), although I did everything else. Oh yes, and after the second round, I went from 15 lb dumbbells to 10 lb dumbbells.

My time? 24:30.

A note: This is the first time that I recall doing burpees. Dawn's trainer, John, seems more fond of them. Burpees are when you squat, jump out to a pushup position, do a pushup, jump your legs back in, and jump up (and clap, of course). And Fran had us yelling "YAY BURPEES!"

I also learned what tabatas were. I think Fran just calls them something else, but tabatas are apparently when you do whatever it is you're doing for 20 sec as hard as you can (aka sprint), then rest for 10 sec. Repeat.


A note about my body: I seem to have gained a few pounds. But, ironically, Daniel says I look a tad thinner. Conclusion? Pints of cream make you skinny! (HAAHAA...wiping brow from laughing-induced-sweat).

Seriously... I do believe I be gainin' some muscles (not mussels...then I would be some sort of stationary ocean rock!). And that is F-I-N-E with me. My clothes don't fit any differently, so it's not fat that is encroaching (thank god; I think I'd cry). It's been about four months since I started CF, and Dave said to give it about 6 months to see real changes, so I expect to be seeing changes around the start of 2009.

What a great way to ring in the new year! With a shiny new body!

Oh yes - this week, I can't go 4x since they are only offering a 9 AM class on Thanksgiving day... but next week will be awesome!

What to Do, What to Do...

I got home from Crossfit tonight, showered, and drank some tea as I prepared part of my lunch for tomorrow. (We had an office potluck today, and even though I didn't bring anything, they encouraged me to come eat... so I got a free lunch. I was stuffed even though I didn't finish my plate of food. I got a piece of fudge and skedaddled out of the conference room, so I wouldn't be tempted by the mounds of desserts).

Crossfit was pretty amazing; our workout was so hard I really think one guy threw up somewhere (hopefully nowhere I'm going to be stepping!). And.... I was the first one done. Which is unsettling, because I am never the first one done. Fran said to "just be happy about it". I feel like I miscounted, but I was pretty sure I did the whole 5 rounds. I will detail it in the following post.

Anyway... so I am home and it's barely 6:30 PM. I am sitting, looking at my pile of yarn (I also just received my November Rockin' Sock Club shipment... the last of 2008. I will definitely be signing up for the 2009 club!) I am thinking about my current projects, and also about what I want to accomplish here.

Long Term:

- Wisteria sweater. Definitely long-term, although it is still holding my interest because of all the cabling.

Shorter Term:

- 2 at a time Magic Loop socks in STR "Fire on the Mountain"
- Entangled Gloves in Noro Kureyon Sock
- 2nd cashmere sock leg. My coworker, Marni, recently mocked me because "that sock is taking an unusually long time to knit!".... she is right. I am resisting and I should just finish it.

Easy-Peasy Mindless Term:

- one row lace scarf in my yellow handspun

But here is what's on the current To-Do List:

- socks for Daniel. He actually wears my last pair (the handspun / millspun combo socks) a surprising is awesome. I love him even more for that. And I even have a couple of skeins of yarn specifically for him. I really should knit him another pair. (I have the feeling he'll be getting lots of socks from me while he is in Japan...). One thing I need to do is make sure I have his "master numbers" handy. I am thinking something out of the "Knitting Vintage Socks" book, or maybe the IK "Favorite Socks" book... something with handsome cables, or clocks (cables up the sides). I bet even the Cat Bordhi diamond socks that I made for myself would work for him - the pattern is pretty asexual, and they might feel good on his arch. And I can do a short-row heel this time, since I won't be inserting an afterthought heel! Woot!

- socks for Priscila. She asked for a pair, and I am tempted to use my Duets DK weight yarn - the main skein has variegated rosey tones, and then the solid heel/ toe skein is an olive green. I am thinking something with a nice lace pattern down the front? Maybe one of those with the central cable...

- hats out of Dale of Norway Hauk. I am intrigued by this yarn - it is coated in Teflon for waterproofness. I wonder how that stands up against the old-timey wool that is left full of lanolin. Probably leaves you less greasy. :)

- Dog's Paw shawl for my mom. I have three skeins of yarn ready; I could potentially start knitting it and see what happens. :) I love shawls because if it turns out too big, that's not a bad thing. :)

So, as you can see, I have plenty to keep me busy in the way of knitting!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I took a few spare moments today, and cleaned out some items.

A large Macy's-style sack of books to sell.

My model car paints.

A pilling acrylic knit scarf from Panama (of all places).

I also re-posted my printer on Craigslist again, for $60 instead of $100. I just want it out of here!

Turns out my Gotland fleece fits inside one of the boxes I removed from the top of my Murphy bed, which looks better than the shopping bags which previously housed it.

I spackled up the holes from the first attempt at installing a hidden-support shelf in my wall. I'll paint over it tomorrow, and also drill some more holes, lower down, and using a smaller bit so I can use the original wood screws that came with the kit.


I should mention that I am cleaning out slowly, with the eventual goal of being able to put this place up for sale with a minimum of effort (other than cleaning things like baseboards).


And now I am going to relax for my final hour of wakefulness, and knit some more on my one-row lace scarf. I am a good 8" into it. My coworker commented that my cashmere sock seemed to be taking "forever". :) haha.... I explained that I had to rip out over 3" of sock leg, and she said, "Yeah, but still..." She is not a knitter, and neither am I a fast knitter... I enjoy it, is all.


I hope everyone has a great night! I am vaguely sore from Crossfit today. I'll be doing a food post on my Thanksgiving feast. I am thinking of making a stuffed turkey breast. I found a sausage (grain-free!) stuffing recipe on Food Network. I'll also be making a ham steak. And some cupcakes. Possibly some roasted squash, since I have two small ones.... and I hope Daniel brings some wine to Seattle with him. I'll be excited to see him... I really can't wait till we live together..

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am Knitting, I swearz it!


Well, winter has crept up with a bang here in Seattle, and like many knitters, I have returned to the roots of why I knit (other than reasons like "I enjoy it / something to do / excuse to spin lots of yarn")... it's time to make things that keep me warm!

[I apologize for the lack of knitting content recently... I am considering making other offshoot-blogs in order to better organize my thoughts, but perhaps those who read this blog may find the occasional tangent somewhat refreshing...(?)...]

First off, an FO: Ms. Marigold vest, from ZephyrStyle. It only took me 10+ months to complete. It's, uhm, heavily modified.

In my defense, this is the first article of clothing (other than hats / scarves / mitts / socks) I've ever attempted, so there were bound to be oddities. The first one being that I let it languish for so long in the WIP pile that my knitting gauge got considerably smaller between the top and bottom of the vest. (It happens right under the boobs, or thereabouts).

Instead of the ribbed collar the pattern calls for, I substituted a really easy ruffle border from a Nicky Epstein book (I think I may have mentioned it in a previous post...). I also omitted the ruffle details on the tops of the armholes. you can tell, I knit the V-neck portion too now it really looks more like a Rennaissance Faire bustiere than a work-appropriate vest. Although here it is included in an otherwise entirely work-appropriate outfit (shirt from Express, skirt from Filene's Basement).

All in all, I am glad to be done with it. I almost considered ripping it out at several points, but after a while I was reduced to thinking "Fuck it" and wanted to get it off my Addi #5's so I could put something else on there. Or at least get it out of the WIP basket. I finished it when Daniel and I were up in the cabin with Tori & Crew for Canadian Thanksgiving.

(Embarassing note: my eyes are pretty messed up in this picture - think "possessed-looking rolled back into my head" - so I took creative license to crop 'em out!)

Other Relevant Pattern Information for "Ms. Marigold"

Yarn: KnitPicks Elegance ( 70% alpaca /30% silk) in Barn Red
Needles: Addi US 5, circular (24", I think)


Next up: Wisteria, from the Fall 08 Twist Collective.

Yarn: Malabrigo merino worsted, in Cuarzo (bought mine at WEBS)
Needles: KnitPicks Options US 9, cable needle

I cast this sweater on pretty much immediately after weaving in the ends to my Ms. Marigold vest (yes, on the same day, up in the mountains near Mt. Rainier). I quickly figured out that I needed tons of stitch markers - which is no shame, mind you. It helps me actually keep track of repeats and when the stitches shift - the cables travel back and forth, and you have to pay attention to the chart to make sure you are shifting stitches back and forth between the beginning of rounds as appropriate.

I love working with the Malabrigo yarn - it is soo soft! This is my "on the ferry" project, or when I am sitting on a couch with Daniel and/or TV going. I can't actually watch TV while I'm knitting this - the cables take a little more concentration than that - but I can listen to my iPod or an equivalent background noise.

I had a Mexican woman come up to me at the laundromat last night, and tell me how pretty the knitting looked. Good thing I speak Spanish! :) She asked if the yarn was from "orro"... I don't know what that means. She stroked her hair as she said "orro" to indicate something hair-like; I ended up replying that the yarn was lambs' wool, essentially (since I forgot the Spanish word for "adult sheep". You would think I would have paid more attention to my mom teaching me Spanish, since I do speak it fluently, despite reports to the contrary...)


Winter Gloves

Here is the progress on the Entangled Stitches gloves (Ravelry link). Yep. Not much progress 'tall. I think I only like one fingering-weight project at a time... right now I have three (these, the leg of the second cashmere sock, and the two-at-a-time-magic-loop socks which have been sitting around for a month or so now, lounging in the Basket).

I am using Noro Kureyon Sock for these gloves. I don't mind Kureyon's less-than-perfect softness on my hands, for some reason. I bet the tougher wool would make good socks, too. (I also seem to remember that the Kureyon Sock has nylon in it? I originally meant to grab the Silk Garden Sock yarn, but the colors in this one must have swept me away...).

One thing I still don't understand: how in the heck are you supposed to accomplish a "ktbl" [knit through back loop]. I keep Googling and Googling, but no video or tutorial really explains it. It's ridiculous; one of those super-basic things I should know, but I don't, and everyone assumes you already know what the hell it is so they don't bother to explain it to you. Oh sure, there are bazillions of videos on cabling, and colorwork, and other things that seem to merit explanation...but I want someone to show me what the heck the action of KTBL Looks Like!!!

If I figure it out, I think I'll rip them out and start again. Right now, I've been sort of...knitting through the front loop. (Which I am just doing as the first half of a "kf&b" increase...the "kf" part...)

A picture of some 100% cashmere I bought from Colourmart. It feels like it still has sizing in it (the mill ends sold at Colourmart were originally destined for weaving mills and knitting factories, so they generally have sizing to keep the yarn a little stiff and easier for the machines to handle.) Thankfully, sizing washes out - if you order from Colourmart, you have the option to pay a few bucks more and have them wind off the cone into a skein and wash it for you, or to "spin up" yarns and ply them with other yarns on the site, a la Yarnia. This color was "green-black". It is pretty accurate to the picture, actually. The great thing about Colourmart is the price - $35 for 300+ yards of cashmere, fingering weight, including shipping from the UK or China or wherever they hold these skeins (I think it's the UK).
I think this might be for something for Daniel... it is a good color for him.

I found a one-row lace pattern in an older Knitting Daily (I think it's by Eunny Jang). The pattern for the lace is thus:
Over 27 stitches:
k3, *p1, yo, k2tog* rep from * to last 3 st, k3
Just keep doing that over and over. To start and end the scarf you knit a few rows in garter stitch.
I decided this would be a nice easy pattern to show off some handspun. This is from my Travelling Rhinos fiber club batts. It's got all sorts of stuff in it - different wools, Tencel, silk noil probably some white icicle...
The resulting fabric so far is really "sproingy". I like it! :)

So that's my knitting news for now. I am hoping maybe I can finish the leg of the second cashmere sock in teleconferences at work, by the time Winter Break rolls around. I want something different to take on the plane ride to Louisiana for Xmas. (I am pretty sad that Daniel can't come with me... sigh...)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Twist Collective Winter 08 Issue

I love the new Twist Collective issue.

I even succumbed and bought three patterns, this time.

- Lotus Leaf mittens, with their intriguing modern pattern

- Sylvi overcoat, with it's beautiful huge flowers overlaid on the cables winding up the back

- Vivian zip-up cardigan, with the gorgeous all-over cablework

Oh man! So much eye candy! I also appreciate that, this time, they included their free pattern as a PDF download the first time. (It's the "Fourth Grade Hat", in case you haven't found it, yet).

I kind of liked the "Rebecca" sweater and "Harika" socks, but I figured I'd spent enough for now. Plus, they seem to be leaving all their patterns available in the shop. I wonder if they will organize them into categories later, or just leave them as a giant listing with pictures.

I wasn't too impressed with the "Winter White" design story. The lace sweater was impressive, but otherwise the other two patterns were kind of "blah".

Overall, I am very impressed with the quality that has gone into Twist Collective so far.

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fitness: Workout Updates

04 NOV 2008:

Workout: weights day

Backsquats, sets of 5 (using a barbell)

- 20 kg
- 30 kg *20 kg + 20 lb*
- 35 kg
- 40 kg
- 45 kg
- 50 kg max
- 45 kg - 2 additional sets of 5

Military Press, sets of 5 (using a barbell)

- 15 kg
- 20 kg
- 22 kg push press x 3 sets of 5


05 NOV 2008

Workout: "Cindy, Part 2"

As Many Reps As Possible in 20 Minutes:

- 5 x wall-ball
- 10 x box jump
- 5 x KB swing

10 Reps Done

KB weights:

- 20 kg x 1 set
- 16 kg x next 5 sets
- 12 kg x last 4 sets


10 NOV 2008

Workout: "Helen"

3 Rounds of:

- Run 400 m
- 21 KB swings
- 12 pullups

For time.

Time: 13:14 (5 sec slower than October)

KB weight: 12 kg

I should mention that Scott taught this class, and our warmup was pretty intense. One half of the class would hold a squat while the other half did 10 squats in time, then they would hold the squat while our half did 10 squats, then we alternated with 9, 8.

Same deal with pushups, except you held a plank while the other side was working. 10, 9, 8...

Then we ran 400 m before starting the workout. We paired up for the workout, and I volunteered to go first! I hate waiting to be tortured!


11 NOV 2008

For Veteran's Day, we did a special "Veteran's Day" workout known as "Josh", to honor a fallen soldier who was a Crossfit-er, too.

For time, do:

- 42 pullups
- 21 OHS (overhead squats)
- 24 pullups
- 12 (?) OHS
- 18 pullups
- 9 OHS

Time: 7:04 (I did jumping pullups, which Fran said she preferred to rubber band-assisted pullups).

Happy Veteran's Day

Take a moment today to honor anyone who has served our country.

officers from the SSN 711

I know I'm proud of them all, even those who were never in any danger because they are behind a desk or a music stand all day:
Daniel - USN
The other guys at Bangor / Bremerton I know - USN
Sonja Mathena - USAF (Iraq / Afghanistan)
Adam Bienas - USMC (Iraq / Afghanistan)
Dad - USN (Guantamo Bay)
Mike Bravin- USN / US Army
Dan Williams - US Army (Korean War)
Mike Moran - USAF
Carrie New - USAF

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dentist v 2.0 + Random Updates

First off, a link to a natural humidifier: an Areca palm


This morning, I went to a new, quasi-randomly selected dentist who is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. He is semi-retired. He basically said that I was NORMAL, and everything was in normal limits, and come back and see him in 6 months. Woot!


Went to Canadian Thanksgiving with Daniel, Tori & Igor, Chris & Melinda, Greg & Rachel, Dave & Chiako, and Ryan over the weekend. Tori found (another) great cabin near Mt. Rainier, down in Ashford... we were 11 but had food for 30! :-)

Pictures to follow.


During the trip, I finished my Ms. Marigold vest! (FINALLY!) and I cast on for my Wisteria sweater! I am so excited. Pics also to follow. The Malabrigo is really nice to work with, although the pattern up at the neck is very involved - there are travelling cables on every row!

I have to weave in ends for the vest, but everyone seemed to like it. I'll wear it to work soon! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank You, Library

Dear Library,

Thank you for being within walking distance, and preventing my purchase of many inane books over the last several months. I will continue to exploit your services in times to come.

I have a newfound love for the library. The Seattle Public Library is amazing and has a vast array of books I never would have expected.

Their knitting selection is especially broad! :)

I think my new project will be to transfer my entire Amazon "wish list" of books over to the SPL's "hold list", and that will probably weed out 90% of the books I thought I wanted. :)

I also think I am going to sell my Harry Potter hardcover collection. I am going to keep the last two, since I haven't read them yet, but collectively they consume almost half of one of my bookshelves.


On another unrelated-yet-related note: Daniel is mulling over selling a bunch of his material possessions before he leaves for Japan. I am sooo proud of him for doing this! Plus this means we can get better, fewer items upon his return! :)

CrossFit: 04 NOV 08

Election Night workout:

Backsquats & presses.

I will have to update this when I get my note paper from CF today. Hopefully Fran saved it.

I maxed out at 50 kg for the backsquat, but we had to do multiple sets at that weight, so I backed it off to 45 kg.

I think I switched from press to push press at around 20 kg, but I maxed out there around 27 or 30 kg - will have to check my notes! :)

Then I went home and got cupcakes, beer, and went to the election night party for a couple of hours. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Obama

Years from now, people may ask where I was when I learned that Barack Obama became President of the United States on 4 Nov 2008.

I was in my old apartment building's common room with my friends Kris, Randy, Jeanelle, and Ken when we saw CNN tallying up more and more blue states, from East to West coast.

I was driving home from the party after stopping at the grocery store when I heard that McCain had called Obama to concede the election.

I turned on my TV when I came in the door around 8:30 PM, and caught McCain's concession speech on PBS.

And now, I am blogging on my laptop, listening to the PBS feed and Obama's acceptance speech, talking about a 106 year old black woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta today.

Thank you to everyone who VOTED. Since you voted, now that elected officials don't do what you want, NOW you can bitch about it. ;-)

I am very excited that America decided that a young, intelligent, progressive mixed-race black Democrat was the right choice to lead us for the next term.

Vote Today!

Please go and Cast Your Ballot today!

Make yourselves heard!

And, if you're in CA, please VOTE NO ON PROP 8 (if you vote YES you repeal the law that allows gay marriages).

And now, for some fun links:


Yes We Carve (Obama pumpkin carving)

Knitters for Obama (link to

Knitters for Obama (Ravelry link)

Democratic Stuff (you can buy weird ..Democratic...stuff :) )


Yesterday, while listening to NPR on the drive to pilates, they were talking about voting. In many other countries (Latin America, for example - Argentina being one of the countries I remember) voting is mandatory, and you face a fine if you don't do it. Other places do not have a fine, but people feel compelled to vote, "just like Americans feel compelled to pay taxes" ( a direct quote from the show).

And some people CAN'T vote!

So please feel lucky, even if you have to go through the annoying step of registering to vote, and go make yourselves heard!

(A side note: A lot of countries with compulsory voting, or with higher voting rates in general, have simplifed voting schemes. In a lot of places, apparently you just show up with your National ID card and you are eligible to vote. Personally, in the US, I would amend that to "if you have a SSN and a valid form of picture ID - e.g. military ID, drivers license, state-issued ID card - you can vote."

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I had the first dentist appointment in (ahem) a while today.

I am very unhappy with the results.

I went to a dentist highly recommended by friends of mine. I was really early for my appointment, as I had overallotted for driving time. They took me into the back fairly quickly.

The first lady who attended to me was fumbling with the x-ray equipment, because it is apparently a new digital system. Biting down on the digital panel assembly was quite uncomfortable because it is large, ungainly, and weighted heavily on the outside of your mouth so it presses into oral bits.

After that was finally over, the dental hygienist came in to clean my teeth. She did a fine job of cleaning my teeth. Then she poked my gums to measure them at each tooth, on the inside and outside. (This is apparently a newer fad amongst dentists, because the last time I went, there was no mention of the measuring). She also mentioned that the dentist was on vacation and would return Monday.

After she finished cleaning my teeth, she started going over the X-rays. This part is what bothered me. According to her, I have "bone loss due to misalignment" of my lower teeth, which she said could be corrected by Invisalign (the "adult braces" that are clear plastic retainers - a rather expensive option), or at least a nighttime mouth guard to prevent tooth grinding. According to her interpretation of the X-rays, I also have two cavities, and the gum on one tooth has receded enough that she recommended a skin graft be done. Oh yes, did I mention that she also recommended a "deep cleaning"? This procedure has the patient numbed with local anaesthetic so they can clean under the gumline. After I was done, they made me an appointment for two fillings and the graft.

Does Anyone See What's Wrong With This Picture?

#1: The HYGIENIST is recommending all these things. The hygienist is not licensed to recommend ANYTHING procedural.

#2: The receptionists should not have made me an appointment based on what a hygienist said.

#3: A general dentist should probably not perform a periodontal (gum-related) procedure. If there is any question, there should be a referral to a periodontal or gum specialist, and they will make the call.

#4: The Invisalign and "deep cleaning" are probably up-sells. According to a friend, dentists make most of their profit from braces. I checked the Invisalign website, and they quote "average cost" of Invisalign retainers as being approximately $5000. I checked my insurance, and for corrective procedures like that, only 60% is covered. That means I would be paying $2000 out of pocket to these people (and it might not even be eligible to be reimbursed through my Flexible Spending Account).

#5: The bone-loss thing sounded the most questionable. It has been a few years since my last set of X-rays. I bet my last dentist has them and I could have them transferred. She is assuming that the spaces between my teeth indicate bone loss. What if that is how my teeth are naturally formed? She also commented many times about the "beautiful teeth" I have, and that they were "very strong and healthy". That seems to directly counterindicate the issue of bone loss, doesn't it??

What I Am Going To Do About This:
#1: I spoke with my family, because after considering what the hygienist had said, it all sounded a little fishy. My father is an opthalmologist, my sister is an anesthesiologist, and my uncle is a periodontal / orthodontic surgeon. They were all appalled that a hygienist was making these assessments in lieu of the actual doctor being available, and that she was using fear-mongering to up-sell me to expensive and invasive procedures.
#2: I am going to call the office tomorrow, and do the following:
- cancel my appointment for fillings / graft
- write a letter complaining about the inappropriate actions of the hygienist in the doctor's absence
- inquire as to what they charged me. If they only charged me for a cleaning fee, that is fair. But I will demand a refund if they charged me for a doctor's consultation, because, uh, NO DOCTOR WAS THERE, and they freely admitted it. (In fact, it turns out his wife was the one who administered the X-rays).
#3: Next step: Find A New Dentist. While this one came highly recommended, I may go the random route now. In fact, there are two dentists within a block of my condo. I think there is even one (or an orthodontist) in the bottom floor of my building. My sister chided me for driving a half hour north of Seattle to find this guy in the first place. Once I get to this person, I will:
- have them request the X-rays be transferred from the original dentist
- ask for a second opinion regarding the cavities, "bone loss", deep cleaning procedure, and "gum loss". Also ask what the long-term prognosis is with regards to the "bone loss" and "gum loss" - if it is positive to marginal, then there is no need to undergo an expensive and painful retainer procedure for the next TWO YEARS or so, and also to go under the knife for a skin graft.
- if the gum loss is deemed an issue (there is no pain or swelling evident there), then a recommendation to a periodontist or gum specialist would be the next appropriate course of action.

The Lesson Here:
I feel really badly for people who do not have the healthcare connections I have. My family is riddled with medical professionals, so I can turn to several different sources of knowledge when I have a question. I am also intelligent enough to perhaps catch on to when someone is trying to swindle me. I mean, these are my TEETH, people. I want to care for them, but I also don't want to be charged thousands of dollars for procedures that would have little to no benefit in the long term. My sister said she is somewhat encouraged when patients ask her questions, but she often sees that they are so uneducated in the procedure they are about to undergo, or their general health, that they are asking entirely superficial questions that have no real bearing on their long term prognosis.
My recommendation for people who do not have such close connections?
- Ask Questions. Write down their answers and then go do some research and see if you can corroborate what they say. If you don't understand what they are talking about, keep pressing them. They should be able to answer in a cogent way without being demeaning.
- If you have any question about a procedure, please seek a second opinion, ESPECIALLY if a non-qualified person recommended it to you. Do Not Be Fooled by people who take too much authority into their own hands. It doesn't do anyone any good.

Thank You. I'll get off my soapbox now.
DISCLAIMER: My friend who recommended this dentist has been seeing him for many years, with satisfactory results for herself. I do not know if she is biased because they were first friends outside the office before she became his patient.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gotland Spinning

I am loving my wool combs! I bought the St. Blaise combs from Carolina Homespun at OFFF.

The Gotland is responding really well to them. The last few nights, I have been relaxing by combing out some fiber and winding it into nests, and then spinning most of it. :) The fiber that remains on the comb, and is not something like a second-cut or nep, I put into a plastic bag for later carding. Most of the fiber that ends up in the bag is a light silver color - I wonder if that is a down layer?

Spinning the combed fiber is awesome. It just floats through my hands.

Something I find interesting is that, even though I have a fair amount of twist in the Gotland singles, once they are on the bobbin, they still have a tendency to pull apart if I tug even remotely on them. I hope this won't happen when I am plying them.

I must say that the color is freaking gorgeous. I love it! I bet overdyeing it would be amazing, since most of the wool is dark grey, but there are flecks of lighter colors throughout - I can envision a lovely heathered yarn.

So I think I am going to make a 2 ply worsted-ish weight yarn with this fleece. I haven't really decided on any projects yet, but I am thinking a nice cabled hat or maybe mitts? The wool is fairly soft, but I can't tell if I am cheating because it is still somewhat greasy?

Oh well! It's still fun to spin! I highly recommend this breed! :)

The only downside to combing is that it is a very near threat to stab yourself. I've already done it once, and was lucky the large drop of blood didn't land in my wool. :)

CrossFit: Angie Smokes Crack

Sweet Gentle Jeezus, today's workout was hard!

Fran stole the workout from the 6AM class' trainer.

Workout: "Angie Smokes Crack" (a variation on "Angie"), for time

- 100 calorie rowing (or 6 min., whichever comes first. I did 57 calories in 6 min. The in-shape guy next to me did 100 calories in 5:20 or so... it is HARD.)

- 100 kettlebell swings (used 12 kg KB)

- 100 wall-ball (used 6 lb ball)

- 100 box-jumps (used box that was ~16" off the floor; stepped up because my knee still hurts a tad)

My Time: 21:10

Incidentally, this is the first workout that I've finished FIRST! There were three of us. The guy took the longest, because he used the 15 lb ball, and also I am pretty sure he was using a 20 kg KB...and his box was higher. The other girl used the same weights as me, but she was jumping onto a higher box.

It was still fun to finish first. ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CrossFit: Another 6 Month Goal Bites The Dust

My second goal to be busted!

I deadlifted my own body weight (150 lb or 68 kg) today! (Hint: the 150 lb D-L was the goal!)

And here is visual proof:

Here is a weight breakdown:

- Men's Bar = 20 kg
- Black Weight Plate = 10 kg x 2 plates
- White Weight Plate = 5 kg x 4 plates (2 white plates per side)
- Blue Weight Plate = 2 kg x 4 plates (2 blue plates per side)

Here is a shot of me lifting a slightly less arduous 64 kg (lacking the final 2 blue plates). A random side note: I never knew my skort was that reflective!

I also have a video of me running with the truck tire behind me; I will try and post that to YouTube soon. :)


My friend Mark's dog, Nick, passed away this morning.

Mark was one of the first people I met after moving to Seattle, outside of online dating and pilates class. He was the first one who took me to the mountains to snowshoe. I remember my sister being concerned because she thought he had a thing for me, and he was "so much older". :)

Nick was a great, if Stinky, dog. :) I never let Mark forget that Nick always made my hands smell - even though Mark would always deny the odiferous nature of his dog, and claimed to not be able to smell Nick.

Here is a picture from April 2006, the first time I went snowshoeing with Mark. Nick is in the foreground. Mark would let him off the leash when we would hike through the mountains, and I would see Nick running back and forth across the trail, enjoying himself the way only animals without inhibitions can.

And here is a horrible picture of Mark and me. :)

Mark adopted Nick from a shelter in 1997, and later on he started the website Lumpy Dog Cookies, because, as I remember it, he said that he looked over at Nick one day and just saw a lumpy dog lying on the floor. (Maybe that is not the true story, but that is what I remember). (where you can see more pictures of Nick and other Lumpy Dogs).

Nick lost a fight with cancer, which seemed to begin with the Boeing IAM strike. (Very odd coincidence, but there you go). I guess that really let Mark spend the last 7 weeks with him, instead of being stuck at work in a machine shop.

There is not much you can say to a friend who has just lost a pet, except offer your condolences and know that they don't mean much because being on the outside is Not The Same.

Hopefully Nick is eating steak and drinking beer, as Mark provided him on his birthdays.

Anyone who knows Mark will miss Nick bounding tirelessly around the house / yard / car / pier / mountain trail/ etcetera.

And I will even miss my stinky hands.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Famous...

Check it out!


Random Musings

Daniel and I had the most awesome lazy Sunday morning yesterday. My pilates class had been moved to 4 PM, so we slept in. I got up around 8 and showered, then knit for a little while. Daniel woke up briefly and motioned for me to get back in bed, so I obliged, and we snuggled and laid there for a long while. Eventually, he woke up and, although I offered to go pick him up a bagel at the store, he came with me. We got back and made breakfast - his bagel was accompanied by 8 oz of bacon I had bought on Friday, and some fruit and yogurt for both of us - and we surfed the internet. Shortly after breakfast, we got back in bed and watched some Discovery channel videos and I sort of half-napped. :) Awesome!! I think Randy and Kris opined it best, that when you have so much to do, that is when you enjoy doing nothing the most. :) The only sad part was that Daniel had to leave at 3 PM in order to go back into work, but that was fortuitous because I had pilates, after which we stopped for dinner at the Elysian brewery.

And here are some WIP pictures for your pleasure.

First up is the progress on my 2nd cashmere sock. :) It is the perfect thing to work on when I have semi-weekly two hour conference calls that start at 7 AM with Rolls-Royce in England. Good lord, those Brits talk a lot!! :) But that just means some good knitting time at work - you can see the lace pattern is well established on the top of the foot.

Next up is the Ms. Marigold vest, from ZephyrStyle. The wiggly-ness you see between the needle tips in the picture is the lettuce-ruffle edging I added to the collar instead of ribbing. I used a ruffle edge from Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond The Edge book. The only downside to the ruffle edge is that there are SO many stitches to bind off!!! I am using Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, since it's so stretchy and easy, to boot!

I swatched for the Entangled Stitches gloves, and found that I got gauge with 2.25 mm needles, so that is what I am using. I cast on and had the requisite 68 stitches on my needles, but I found out that I had not been following the charts for the cuff, so I ripped it out and am waiting for patience to strike again. :) That is not a "tv knitting" pattern!!

I am also spinning up my Gotland fleece. I think I'm going to end up with a worsted weight two-ply balanced yarn... at least, that is my goal. Combing the wool is really fun, until you spear yourself on a comb and a large drop of blood barely misses the wool! Ah well.

What else... oh yes, I partially finished processing my Lincoln lamb fleece from... uh... 2006 (guilty face). I washed and picked through over half of it. I have about a pound or so left to wash, but it is a dirty, dirty fleece. Even after picking the burrs out of it and putting it in a bag, I noticed dirt on the wool. The sample that I originally cleaned was Hand-washed in a sink, so I think I took a lo-o-ong time with that little handful (which, of course, came out snow-white). I figure flick-carding or drumcarding will open up the locks, and anything else will either fall out when I am spinning, or when I wash the yarn.

I am also finally working on updating the pictures in the digital picture frame that Daniel got for me last Christmas. It's such an awesome gift, I totally feel guilty about not doing it before. I actually loaded up some resized pictures into it over the weekend, but the slideshow and thumbnail features on the frame weren't working. I'll have to find the directions and peruse them...

Friday, October 24, 2008

CrossFit Notes

This last week, I finally decided to start recording my statistics at CrossFit. I think it's important to start recording stuff, so I can actually see progress written down. Some people carry in notebooks, but at least the staff has a bunch of clipboards available, with recycled papers and pens for writing.

Here are my results so far:


17 October 2008:

Workout: "Fight Gone Bad"

Explanation: "Fight Gone Bad" is a workout where you do max reps of an exercise for 1 min. at a time, and then you do the entire rotation 3x. You add up the totals of each exercise, and the total is your "score".

Exercises / R1 total / R2 total / R3 total:

Wall-Ball/ 32/ 26/ 28

Sumo Dead-Lift High Pull/ 20/ 20/ 18

Box Jump/ 24/ 23/ 22

Push-Press/ 17/ 14/ 17

Rowing for Calories / 7/ 8/ 8

Total: 284


21 October 2008

Workout: Backsquat & Military Press

Weights used:

Backsquat (using men's bar, 20 kg, as a base): 27 kg / 30 kg / 35 kg x 4 sets of 5 (max wt)

Military Press (using aluminum training bar, 7 kg, as base): 7 kg / 12 kg / 16 kg / 21 kg / 22 kg (max wt)

22 October 2008


45 kg deadlift (75% of max)

push-press - 15 kg each hand

Do the following rounds 5x:

- 12 deadlift

- 12 push-press

- 12 pull-ups

- 12 dips

Time: 19:50 (I dawdled on this one, I know..)


23 October 2008

Workout: "The Filthy 40"

40 x lunges w/ kettlebells - used 2 x 8 kg KB's

40 x pushups - used dip handles instead of barbell, 10 holes down on barbell stand

40 x left-hand KB swing- used 12 kg KB

40 x airsquat - went down to black medicine ball + 10 kg weight-plate (under ball)

40 x situps

40 x 2 KB cleans (one in each hand) - used 2 x 8 kg KB's

40 x right-hand KB swing - used 8 kg KB

Time: 19:33


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Anybody Want Some Yarn?

I have some yarn to Sell or Trade! :)

It is super bulky cotton chenille tape yarn. I am guessing it might get 4 wpi, but haven't examined it.

The yarn is great for blankets!

I don't have access to my home picture repository, so here is a link to a picture of the blanket that the yarn came from:

Here is a photo of the yarn after I re-skeined it.
I also posted the yarn for Trade or Sale in my Ravelry stash here.

I am in the process of counting yardage right now, and tagging each skein.

I would sell the yarn for $40. I originally seem to remember paying around $140 for it, and I bought it from Rumpelstiltskin's LYS in Sacramento, CA. could trade me! :)

Here were the items I listed for trade on Ravelry:

- luxury spinning fiber (silk, alpaca, merino, kid mohair curls, etc.)
- some nicely dyed fingering or worsted weight yarn (e.g. Blue Moon, Sheepaints, Dream in Color, etc.)
- a skein of Handmaiden something-or-other
- Malabrigo yarn (lace, worsted, the new Sock yarn...)
- some interesting handspun art yarn

Anyway, leave a comment if you are interested... I would love to give this yarn to a new home! :) I might post it on Etsy... we'll see. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Kind of Jewelry

I am one weird woman.

I have such eclectic tastes, that I love both tension-set, modernist jewelry, and vintage curliques in bronze... (I bought this book recently...)

I love things like aircraft-grade titanium rings.

Stainless steel watches.

Niessing steel rings.

But I also love opulent things like this Tiffany $350,000 necklace. (OK, so it's a necklace that would cost almost as much as a house in Seattle. Leave me alone. I'm dreaming!) :)

Or fun vintage jewelry.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is this place called You & I in Manhattan (I think this website is the same company) where I stocked up on colorful, cheap (cheap!!) costume jewelry.

That leads me to a whole discussion of wanting to live in Manhattan, but the problem there is I'd be broke because I'd constantly be needing new walking shoes since I would be shopping all day long...

Sunday, October 19, 2008 boldly go...

Daniel got his orders on Friday to report to Japan in February.

I definitely have mixed emotions about this, but the predominant ones are:

- I am proud of him for getting this post

- I am happy for him that he got the posting he wanted, because I love him and I want him to be happy

- I am so sad that we'll be apart for a while, and I know it's OK to be sad. A friend of ours is getting deployed to Iraq in August, and his wife told me we'd have to hang out when both boys were gone. Done! :)

- A saying my mom likes to recite is: "If you want to keep the bird, you have to hold it gently", or "you can't squash the bird", or something like that. Something about not preventing a bird from flying away and leaving yourself open for it's return. I'm sure it's more poetic spoken in whatever language the saying originated.

On the positive side... I've always wanted to visit Japan! :) And this is a perfect time for me to concentrate my efforts on my masters degree, when I get in. (Positive thoughts, people!) And I can reconnect with many people who I may have inadvertently neglected over the past two years... *wow*.

My friend Olivia called me today, and I told her about Daniel moving and asked her for advice. Some of you may know Olivia - her and John spent a couple of years separated by oceans as well... and now they are married and oh-so-happy because they are finally together in one apartment! Her big advice is to basically chill and trust that if you have a strong relationship with the other person, then you will come through this with flying colors and you will both come out on the other end as better people. And to write or call on the phone a lot whenever you can't physically be there. :)

So, even if I cry a little bit over the next few months and think about how much I'll miss him, I know in my heart and my mind that the incredible life experiences ahead are worth a little bit of sadness.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

G-Rad Skool Update

I just finished my first draft of my personal statement, and sent it to several people for reviews.

It's really interesting what different people pick up on...

The first person to get it back to me was my current lead, Bob. (Hehe, when I typed that, I imagined Bob the dinosaur from the Dilbert comics). OK, so Bob basically rearranged my essay so it went in the order the instructions gave: Background, Technical Areas of Interest, Future Career Goals.

Dawn was the second person to come back with critiques. She is valuable to me because she is currently in grad school and writes a lot. :) She helped break up some of my longer sentences, and took out a lot of gushy bits.

It will be interesting to see who else a) responds, and b) has critiques that are different.

Ah, grad school by consensus.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Fine Blog...

...that I am occasionally contributing to.

It was started by my ex-coworker-now-at-Stanford-for-grad-school, Elizabeth.

Food For Foodies (formerly known as Northwest Foodie).

When I contribute, I am trying to include photos, as well as concise recipe instructions... If you ever have any questions, please leave comments! :)

DIY Flowers

I was walking around the farmer's market on Sunday, waiting for Daniel to finish getting his hair cut, and I came across the cutest autumn flower arrangements: Flowers in little pumpkins!

I did not have cash on me (probably a good thing), so I didn't have the $10 or so that these arrangements were commanding. However, later in the day, I went to Trader Joe's to stock up on normal groceries, and decided that I could make one with Trader Joe's supplies.

I found a bunch of sunflowers for $6, and a sugar pumpkin for $2. So altogether, I spent a little over $8 on this... and had to do the labor of prepping the pumpkin and flowers...which is entirely fine with me!

Step 1: Cut the top off your pumpkin, and scrape it out really well.

I saved my seeds and intend to roast them tomorrow when I get home from Crossfit. (Notice the orange plastic bowl: that is my food waste, going to the food waste bin! :) )

Step 2: Cut your flowers down to size.

You want the stems to be short enough so that the flowers don't stick really far out of the pumpkin.

Step 3: Add some water to pumpkin (about halfway up).

I added a few drops of bleach to help keep the water from stankin' up the joint in two days. Then add your flowers! If you added bleach to the water, either be sure you aren't going to drip water somewhere, or arrange your stuff in the safe and don't bleach your clothes / kitchen towels!

Step 4: Admire your ingenuity at blatantly copying something from a local business!

Cookin' With Coolio

Sweet Gentle Jesus!

Cookin' With Coolio

Episode 1: Coolio Caprese Salad

Episode 2: Fork Steak & Heavenly Ghettalian Garlic Bread

Episode 3: Spinach Even Your Kids Will Eat

Episode 4: Game Day Turkey

Episode 5: Cool-A-Cado

OK, there are more... I just am tired and don't have time to link to them all... :-) Coolio is freakin' hysterical, though.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fond of my Origins

As part of my shopping excursion on Friday, I stopped off at the Origins store in the mall.

I picked up a spray bottle of their new deodorant, and also bought a bottle of their acne clearing gel.

I don't like normal antiperspirants because the aluminum salts in them can traverse your skin and cause bad things to happen, like an increased risk for Alzheimer's (granted, the source I link to is not a health study site, but they do cite a health study done with regards to aluminum's toxicity). Regardless, I do use an antiperspirant when I go to work in the summer...but when I work out, I don't care whether I sweat or not. Now that it's winter, I am not nearly as sweaty, so I just needed something to keep the funk away. Most of the other natural deodorants I have tried over time don't even keep away the smell...and they are sort of a slick gel (usually). My mom uses milk of magnesia, but she doesn't wear sleeveless shirts, so the white residue is not a problem for her.

The Origins deodorant is a spray-on blend of vinegar, alcohol, and essential oils. Today was my first day using it, and although I sweat a little bit on the ferry ride over to Daniel's (it was warm inside the main cabin), I still smell pleasantly herbal.

I am also very impressed with the acne clearing gel. It is a mix of witch hazel, salicylic acid, and essential oils - mostly clove and oregano, both of which have grand antibacterial properties. In fact, oregano oil is a powerful anti-viral, too, and something I take whenever I am sick. (Full disclosure: none of the herbs I take when I am sick taste good. Oregano oil is no different - it tastes like hell). Anyhoo, I dabbed on the gel last night and today on some errant zits, and they have already hastened their retreat....for some reason, the old routine of benzoyl peroxide and the acid toner was not helping me out as much as it usually does. Plus the cold has really dried out my skin, and at least the essential oils don't exacerbate that condition.

A personal note: I use natural products because I am generally cautious about what goes in and on my body. Often the price point of these products reflects that they are made differently (ie they are expensive), but I believe the price is worth it. :) Everyone has to do what works for them...