LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE Monday Oct 22

Or, as I like to think of it, last day to register to vote so that you too can complain about the administration. If you don't vote, you don't get to complain. (If only that was enforceable.) You can register online until midnight.

What I Did Over My Su(rgical) Vacation

Blog pix 2388Blog pix 2386

Impressive, no? Well, maybe not. If not, completely the fault of the camera. (And not the cameraman (me), pattern, Crown Prince Stole (Nancy Bush) or yarn (Cupcake Fiber Co).)

 

It was virtually the only thing I could do while recuperating. I couldn't read so much as a magazine article or fluff novel (much less the stack of continuing ed stuff I'd planned on reading!) I did watch some television (because hello, still me).

 

So I knit. Row by row. I scaled it down, it's a scarf rather than a shawl because I only had 700 yards but isn't it beautiful?

Just nod yes.

 

 

Thankfully, since then, I've been able to read, and to work, and as of last week, tie my shoes.

WATCHING: Once Upon A Time (oh, how I want all their costumes), Dancing With The Stars (I'm not sure I care who wins, as long as it's Gilles. Who coincidentally, is also on Switched At Birth. Season Finale tonight!!

...and Castle, NCIS, NCIS LA, The Big Bang Theory, Haven and Blue Bloods. Oh, and Covert Affairs. And probably more. What's your favorite show this season?

READING: Assembling California by John McPhee. Really, really interesting! it's a look at how California was assembled over the millenium geologically. I'd always thought, if I thought about it at all, that California was submerged and just, I don't know, rose to the surface during and Ice Age, maybe? All the water locked up in glaciers? But shifting tectonic plates (is that an oxymoron?) pieced California together over time. More when I get through more than the first two chapters but already hooked. He has a very accessible writing style.  

 

 


Unconcious Mutterings:

 

  1. Authorize :: Engage Blog pix 2382
  2. Plunge :: Headfirst
  3. Work :: Work Work
  4. Throttle :: Choke
  5. Drill :: Down
  6. Toot :: Whistle
  7. Conference :: Knit
  8. Hodgepodge :: Desk
  9. Bumble :: Politicians
  10. Scandalous! :: Tell Me

Also go here and give generously. Prizes! Great cause! (or directly at Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Spectrum Disease at Guthy Jackson if prizes don't interest you).

 

 


Great Googly Moogly

  1. Exorcise ::demons
  2. Theory ::chaos
  3. Possible ::improbable
  4. 1600 ::1666 Great Fire of London *
  5. Feeling ::Groovy **
  6. Excuse :: Reason
  7. Mortality ::inevitable
  8. Trivial ::pursuit
  9. Pupil ::dilated
  10. Challenge ::confront

From LunaNiña but shamelessly copying Shut Up and Knit.

Blog pix 2379I live! I stand, I sit, I'm back on my feet, I still can't tie my own shoes but thank heaven for sneakers and boots. It's amazing how much bending, twisting and lifting we do without giving it a second thought. Well, how much I did and didn't.

Haven't knit a thing since my scarf sized Crown Prince Shawl (well, a top hat, but I still have to felt and probably shellac it). Anesthesia brain cleared up a bit so I was able to read Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Llosa Vargas for Aarti's A More Diverse Universe book challenge (although reading and actually participating was a little bit beyond me, when your surgeon says 6-8 weeks, they might know what they're talking about. 

Anyone have any thoughts on the Mirkarimi debacle?*** I'm not sure I'd care at all who San Francisco appointed Sheriff if the defense for him didn't keep running along the lines of former SF Mayer Art Agnos saying"....“Anyone who knows Eliana Lopez knows she is not a woman who could be or has been abused..."

Wha'?? Not a woman who could be or has been abused?  Because you can tell by looking? One caller to KGO radio this morning dismissed it because "it didn't require medical care." Pat Thurston rightly queried if it would still not be abuse if he'd socked her in the face or punched her in the stomach because those wouldn't require medical care either. (He demured.)

Maybe a bruise on the arm of a Latin American actress doesn't sound like abuse but why doesn't it? Because she's an actress? Latin American? Her husband is part of the Progressive party? Because it really is political hash? I'm not sure I want to know for sure. All those scenarios are too depressing. And smack in the middle of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

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* Although I should have thought of Pennsylvania Avenue.

** Fair Warning: YouTube.

***Notice how I don't care at all about Lance Armstrong?

 


Where I Spend Three Days Knitting and Reading And Finishing Nothing

Blog pix 2179....typically. I did pick up approximately 810 stitches, knit 27 rows and frog about four times, if anyone else is counting. And I finally got the letters I'm going to use in Mom's vest on Exel and charted. More or less charted. I may change a few things there as well.

Finished reading In The Shadow of the Throne: The Lady Arbella Stuart by Ruth Norrington and meant to read Jack Higgins new thriller but.....Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder by Mary S Lovell insisted I hear her side first. Bess really did have an interesting life but her 4th and final husband sounds like he had his hands full with Bess, Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots. Wife, queen, prisoner. Prisoner who might be the next queen if the current one didn't make it. That sounds like a thrilling tightrope to walk.

Someone thinks she should be an outdoor cat again. Someone who rolled around in the dirt.

She was not amused.

 


James Bond and explorers

Blog pix 2091James Bond and explorers are a big thing in book collecting.I know Robert Silverberg wrote madly but have you tried to find any of his books lately?

Oddly, at an event called the Antiquarian Book Print & Paper Fair, most of the books I was really interested in had a price tag of about $975. Or more. A lot more. $25,000 for a 3-volume set of Wealth of Nations? Considering its provenance, yes.

 

 

Blog pix 2092 Blog pix 2097 Blog pix 2104  Blog pix 2109Captain Cook featured prominently but honestly, he was the tip of the iceberg. Heh. If I'd thought of that earlier, I'd've hunted down a copy of Shackleton's book.

Guess where I spent a few hours away from my desk? And why did I not remember/know that the Cliff House served popovers? YUM.


California is Crazy

Blog pix 054 Someday when that 'grows up' (it's already taller than the zucchini plant), it's going to be a sunflower.

There are teeny tiny little birds ripping out holes in the leaves to feast on - which, bad for the sunflower, good for the pepper plants, because they're leaving them alone this year.

I'd have some cute pictures of the leaf thieves -  and the four adult quail and their baby that wander through the backyard - but it turns out birds are annoyingly camera shy and the iPhone camera sucks for "quick" and "furtrive".

The garden is all greens and yellows now. The splash of red from the tomatos and peppers probably won't happen until August.

Any bets on whether I'll have any FO's by then or more projects cast on? I do get to spend the day at the hospital with my Mom on Tuesday (just invasive tests that I plan on never needing to take but I'm game to go with.)

In the reading arena,  recently caught my eye. David Hockney's thesis in his Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters argues that camera obscura was used much earlier than previously thought. (Don't ask me, my take on art tends to be "ooh, pretty!" and "what the -? What's that supposed to be?" The more it looks like a photograph, the more impressive I find it. Hate Monet. Although his work looks like a photograph too, if I take off my glasses.)

Can you name the paintings in this video? Recognize any?

 

 

 

 


WIP Wednesday - wait, what?

It doesn't feel like a Wednesday. Possibly since it's Thursday. But it doesn't feel like Thursday either. It feels like next Monday. Why do short weeks seem so very, very long?

Blog pix 046 In the spirit of WIP Wednesday, and, to a lesser extent, rummaging for something I felt like knitting, I took a fearless and searching inventory of my WIPs.

Ahem. I started to. 

< - - - See that? There are at least three charts with highlights.

I do not want to "read" my knitting. I want to knit.

Maybe I should mark where I've STOPPED rather than where I STARTED.

Has anyone read any Alain De Botton? (Have I asked that already? He's my new litcrush). I'm rapidly aquiring all his books, the latest, How Proust Can Change Your Life. (That's a New York Times review that won't pop up in a link but can be Googled).   By george, I think Proust might. If, mind you, I actually read Proust.

(My other litcrush, Simon Von Booy has a new book out this week, Everything Beautiful Began After. He is the most lyrical writer.)

Uh oh.  Hez is inside.
I am out. 
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Clearly I'm going to have to take Aldous Huxley's pretentious drug trip saga inside and.....watch TV.
 
 Hurray for Summer! I wasn't even planning on watching Necessary Roughness, the new USA series. Football? Even peripherally? But
Callie Thorne is a likeable, believable, semi-bitchy competent psychiatrist who lands a pro football player as a client during a messy divorce.
Besides. Marc Blucas (Buffy's old flame). Scott Cohen. 'Nuff said.
Switched At Birth (Monday 9pm ABC Family) has an interesting premise.

Blog pix 019 The child that they raised IS their child. Just one that they, horrifyingly, somehow have to share, and the have just met their own child on the verge of adulthood. Just thinking about it makes me slighly teary.

It has the obligatory opposites, wrong side/right side of the tracks, married vs single, recovering alcoholic vs socialite, deaf vs hearing but it's all so seamlessly woven. Lea Thompson and Constance Marie play the mothers.
 


Rain on Tuesday /100 Degrees by Sunday. On the average, it's good weather.

 Hmm. Blog pix 2080  Not the best angle. Too late at night for a good light ....  but check out the shadow of the new tree by the window. Gnarly. I think the tree is going to get moved though - it looks way too close to the house.

At least it has branches that naturally point to the sky. The gardener has landscaped all our fruitless mulberries in the front yard into basically a cat's lion cut. Hate it. I like leafy overhanging branches, not trees that are manicured into a phallic symbol.

Cupcake Fiber KNITTING: After basking in the glow that was finishing Curve of Pursuit and I'm back to my bad old ways of finishing nothing, starting many and tweaking some sweaters that haven't really worked. Apparently this slows progress. Who knew?

Oh, and just to clarify, I begged the gorgeous picture of fibery goodness from The Cupcake Fiber Co  and was graciously granted the use of said photo by the Cupcake's Fairy Godknitter and it was spun up by Cookie.  One of these days I'm going to learn to spin, but I haven't yet. And I just wish I'll be that good.

BOOKS: Saturday I tore through Godmother: The Untold Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon that Emily of Telecommuter Talk read and reviewed, not very favorably. I might have liked it more than she did.... but not by much.

I do love re-imagined/retold fairy tales but I was expecting more magical realism than realism. The book is told by Lil, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, who for her sins, (she had fallen in love with the Prince herself) has been banished to human form. I suppose it could be a fable about dealing with loss of all kinds, youth, beauty, love, but in keeping Lil's secrets, her author has to keep the tale murky. More than likely I'll be reading Mermaid soon. She's got interesting ideas.

I was recently introduced to Alain de Botton via his lecture on Pessimism at The School of Life on Pessimism through Jodi of Caffeinated Yarn's link. (And not, say, at a tea, worse luck). I'll try not to quote too extensively from The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work, a photo-essay philosophical and physical exploration on various endeavors from biscuit manufacture Blog pix 004(English for cookies), cargo shipping to accountancy..... but it's going to be difficult. I was really enamoured of this book and Alain's dry wit.

Let's see..... "It seemed that one might squander one's life chances because of a high-handed disdain for books with titles such as The Will to Succeed, believing that one was above their shrill slogans of encouragement. One might be doomed not by a lack of talent, but by a species of pessimistic pride."

It does explain so much.

And my favorite: "Levels of commitment that in previous societies were devoted to military adventures and religious intoxication have been channelled into numerical needlework."

I'm reading his Architecture of Happiness.

Joy For Beginners was a quick cozy read. It was a bit simplistic - i was bristling by the end of it that Karen could come up with challenges for her friends that would change their lives - from learning to bake bread to traveling alone, but I suppose your friends really do know Blog pix 034 you better than you do yourself. She had survived cancer and her daughter wanted to take her on a white rafting trip. She agreed to go - if her friends would also meet a personal challenge. 

 Poor Hez. She was so annoyed at me for making her stay inside yesterday. I even stalked and trapped her at the neighbor's and carried her into the house - the indignity! the horror! She was NOT mollified by the all day rain. She probably thinks I made it rain on purpose to thwart her.


Math Trumps Blocking.

Blog pix 1976Birdsong of A View From Sierra County has a new venture, natural dyeing, she's named Nature's Cauldron. This intrigues me, I've always liked natural colors - undyed wool mostly but dyeing with organics is a nice alternate. (Possibly there are exceptions to the natural rule.)

My adorable brother calls me up Saturday to check to see if I was raptured (alas no) but also lets it slip that he'd gone to the Prosperous and Beautiful Sheep & Fiber Fest that day and had bought Nerissa (one of their kitties) a sheepskin rug but his own sister??

Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Darn. I've been collecting natural wool as souveniers from various places - I'm planning on making a Cowichan style sweater out of them eventually, or possibly a Lebowski style pattern

Literary-ClockStefanie of So Many Books has a nifty link. The Guardian UK is (was?) asking for help building 24 hours of fictional time using lines from literature. Here's the link to the Literary Clock to date.

(entirely different literary clock link - picture used without permission so it's possible I'll have to remove it. But isn't that cool?).

Blog pix 2048  

When the Boogyman goes to sleep at night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books, he stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

Guns sleep with a picture of Chuck Norris under their pillow.

Crop circles are Chuck Norris's way of saying to the aliens "Don't make me come up there".

Chuck Norris is what Willis was talkin' about.

The only thing fear has to fear is Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris can roll a stone and make it gather moss.

Chuck Norris can stand at the bottom of a bottomless pit.

Chuck Norris made the forest petrified.

I may have spent all day last Monday knitting the final interminable rows of my Curve of Pursuit watching Walker, Texas Ranger.

Math trumped blocking but it came out pretty nicely. Oh phooey, that's a picture of the first felting go 'round. The wrinkles have been erased and it's felted to a more consistent blanket-like texture AND the washbasin in the garage is sparkly-clean, not that it helped, I had to toss it in the washing machine and dryer again.

  Blog pix 2051 Mom's project continues apace. One of the downsides of using a cross stitch pattern for a chart is that not only do you have to repeat every third row but it's not set up to knit easily. I've been wrapping the yarn a stitch or two in advance of a color change on some of the return rows - one advantage is that I'm going to felt the whole thing to make the book bag sturdier. Felting means that I can whack the occasional (see pic) loose end.

READING: Not so much. I've started and stopped a number of books (Here, There & Everywhere, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (which I hope and pray portrays them as such imcompetent evil buffoons because Tim Weiner as biased as the CIA says or the good stuff is redacted and protected by secrecy acts, because otherwise we are doomed).

I'm cheating on both of them with Juliet and despite the fact that it's a pretty sure thing that it's going to be a love story, (I'm psychic that way) I think Juliet is going to get read more or less in one sitting. Wow, it looks like it's going to be a movie. (No. Book trailer). Weirdly I don't have a copy of Romeo & Juliet in my bookshelves. iPhone to the rescue! Online text. I was looking for the forward but I'll pick up a copy somewhere today.

Blog pix 2052 LatelyI have had this strange feeling that I'm not getting anything done.

Strange because normally, outside of work and its incessant deadlines, I rail against the mindset that one has to accomplish something every hour of one's day.

But there it is. My stash isn't discernibly diminishing (and considering that wool prices are about to rise and the economy continues to flounder, that may be a good thing).

My bookshelves are spilling over with books I haven't read yet.

Oh no. I just realized my entire problem with that is that I have no good excuse to buy anything new. Sheesh. I do not need/want anything new! Plenty on hand! I've beeen brainwashed by my culture.

Hez sez, "Shhhhh. You will fix me tuna, draining the tuna juice into a small glass bowl when I awaken. And be quiet about it."

 



For Love of the Glove

Blog pix 1856 It begins.

It began well enough too. Look at the darling beads and how nicely the rosewood dpn's (double pointed needles) look with that stitchmarker. Sweet, eh? 

(The beads are left from my Georgia O'Keefe Beaded Scarf kit I won (and have already knit up, thankyouverymuch) in a contest at The Fairy Godknitter's - she's now got an Etsy site, btw, Cupcake Fiber Company for "beautiful batts of hand dyed spinning fiber".  (I quote because that's a perfect description of those lucious swirls.)  Hmm. I think I need a closing parenthii. Parenthesis? Parenthetiwhatchacallit? Yeah. I do.)

Blog pix 1858

Uh oh. The beading - that originally I hadn't planned on doing - is coming along nicely. It only took me approximately two weeks two days a couple of hours to figure out how to get the beads on the yarn (Cabin Cove's Merino/Nylon in Olive). 

Julia's instructions for using thread & a needle to place the bead on the stitch as you knit (and not pre-stringing) is probably faultless but.....it took me long enough to realize I could use a bead needle, much less something new.

So. Where was I? Oh yes. The two stitch bead cable is winding nicely and I'm clipping along......uh oh. After the hem turn, there's a four stitch bead/cable. As the pattern reads. It appears to be missing.

Hmm. Anyone seen any good movies lately? I can't wait for The Mechanic  to come out (Warning: a slightly starling clicking noise but no music, thankfully. Why do sites do that? Do they think we're all at home surfing the net?), even if no one can replace Charles Bronson and they've already tried in the Christian Bale version - whoops, no, I'm thinking of The Machinist.

Blog pix 1879

 

  Sigh. Do I always do this? Is it on purpose? It is fun to unravel the stitches and then work them back up differently - it's a small version of magic -  but it's got to be faster to do it right the first time.

So. Read any good books lately? I finished Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha Nussbaum. I agree with her premise but.....I started arguing with her in the margins. It was taking me weeks to finish a 158 page book. (Actually, I think it was 143 pages but who am I to argue with the Library of Congress?)(Incidentally, awesome link to find out the actual published date of a book. It's maddening to look up say, Pride & Prejudice and read that it was published in 2004. Really? Really?

Blog pix 1880 Oh sure, re-published. I want to know when it was written. Voila, Library of Congress catalog.)

Anyway. Not For Profit...I completely agree, we need to have liberal arts/humanities in the schools. It's important for scholarship and citizenship. I'm not sure where anecdotal evidence vs a representative sample falls on the proof side but I concede her point. We shouldn't teach solely for the profit of the economy. Society needs more than that. I'm just not sure how far we'll get if we don't have jobs to support our philosophical pursuits. I'm sure the target audience travels in more rarefied circles than I do in any event.

Blog pix 1887 There are the followers and the followed. The sheep & the shepherd. The wolf & the lamb. The fiber & the dye.

The metaphor and the muddle.

(I admit, the point where that might have come close to making sense was rewritten but I'm too enamoured of it to edit it out. Yeah, I'm like that. It was deliberate. So there.)

Now I'm reading Eifelheim. Cool! Takes place in the present and 14th Century Germany, I'm not quite sure how yet.

 

 


Bits & Pieces

Behold the knit on puffy sleeve. Marvelous, I took a picture of the good side. The back checks are off a row. I still can't decide if I care. After all, I've worn puffier clothing. I went through a sewing phase (back when I still did any sewing) where I made a number of tops/blouses out of wedding dress patterns. (I like wedding dresses. I just don't like wedded bliss. Since it mostly wasn't at all blissful.)

Blog pix 1811 Okay, there's a picture of the back. Too off? I can always knit it flat. Then I can use a two color braided cast on. Undoubtedly I'll finish knitting the whole sleeve before I decide I can't stand it, rip and redo.

CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY MIRACLE STUFF: Or links. Stacey is having a contest to support Collin, who is having heartbreaking problems with Neuromyelitis optica right now and/or fellow sufferers. Just donate, don't read. It'll make you cry. He's so darn cute too. Contest/Drive ends December 31.

Chris, aka the Evil One, sent me a link for this contest: The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor: Vampire Hunter. Contest ends December 22.

Blog pix 1812 Vampires! Argh. I've been boycotting them. But Elizabeth Tudor. How can I resist?

I can't. It's shameful. Don't tell anyone.

READING: (Not vampires, I assure you. Until I win the contest.) I just finished London by Edward Rutherfurd, I liked it, I was a little unnerved to realize I started it November 28th and finished it December 16th (I'd say "yesterday" but who knows when I'll actually post this) and I'd been carrying it around, picking it up and putting it down for a week. I'd lost impetus, the sprawling nature of it makes it easy to walk away from it and by the end I would have really appreciated a genealogy chart (googling didn't turn one up). I couldn't keep the Barnicle's, Bulls, Carpenters, Doggetts and histories straight - except for the webbed fingers and actual names. The Merediths, Pennys and Silversleeves were pretty straightforward but I liked old Silversleeves much better than his descendents. I did like the conceit of following the few families throughout London's history, from the Romans to the Blitz. (Actually, pre Roman. Sorry).

It was a bit like a tour bus ride - lots of short stops for some familiarity with the terrain and the background, but no real depth. 

Luckily it was the historical bits were what I found the most fascinating and kept me reading. The storylines were sometimes mercifully brief (like I said, all the descendents of Silversleeves except for his sons, whose stories I enjoyed, distasteful as they personally might have ben, were sleazily dull. You'd think that Hilda's genes might have made some impact) or too short. I'd've loved to read a bit more about Henry Doggett, paternally cheeky of him to send off his son into the Lady St James arms or to discover what came of Elfgiva and her capitulation. I'm not even sure if the book followed her line. I wanted Vilolet to appreciate/acknowledge her mother's life. Hmm.  I can't even think of half the characters that showed up. All in all, not a bad read. I was absurdly happy that they unearthed Julius's lost treasure finally. Too bad the legend of the lost treasure hadn't stayed in the family lore.

Now I need to decide: George R R Martin's Game of Thrones or Deanna Raybourn's latest Julia Gray outing, Dark Road to Darjeeling? Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall?

Gift basket from the landords! Huh. it posted way down. Grrr. I knew I'd delete it. Blog pix 1813 Ha. There it is. It's still intact, I have plenty of sweets at home to eat. What I'd really like is eggs and bacon, which I've been craving ever since the annual building's holiday breakfast went from eggs, hash browns, bacon, fruit, muffins, etc to fruit & muffins last Tuesday. Traditions, they must be kept alive. Particularly if they involve bacon.

Eating eggs & bacon at Black Bear Diner on Thursday didn't satisfy the craving either, even if it involved a biscuit the size of my head. (Warning, that link has birds twittering and the sounds of a babbling brook) but the good news is, no robbery occurred. (There've been a rash of restaurant robberies and one took place there).

 

Okay, Hez X Blog pix 1805 X pic Yeah, still posted far, far down. Watch meI manage to delete them. Oh that mel.

 

"It is raining outside. Make it stop. And no, you can't have your paper back."

Fat chance, Hez. I like the rain. My current working theory is that global warming has been caused by all those chirpy weather forecasters gleefully announcing "It's another beautiful day!" when the sun is out and dolefully "We'll have some bad weather today" when it's not. Thoughts are things, you know.