News of My Demise Shouldn't Be Much of a Surprise

Blog pix 1141 Or: How I Survived Two Weeks of Pain. I don't know how really ill people can stand it. I'd give you the TMI version but suffice it to say that one week I was doubled over in agony and the next week I had the most awful non-migraine headache ever. I never thought I'd miss a migraine but at least w/a migraine I'm out in a dark, soundproof room and it lasts maybe 3 days tops. This headache was sufficient to make me wish I'd never been born but not enough to stay home from work, especially with the IRS looming over a client or two.  

Unfortunately the IRS was all I could handle a day. I dragged myself out of bed, dressed, worked, came home, went to bed, rinse and repeat. I missed concerts, birthday parties, two friends from out of state, two weekends - the Maker Faire! Grrr!

Blog pix 1148 New month, new health. I'm back to my regime of exercise and good eating and maybe it was my iron plummeting that caused the headache (it was something like 12 when I saw my doc which is why I've got a gastroenterologist appt coming up). Cross your fingers it works this month.

I was watching Unwrapped: Deep Fried  Monday night (what? Doesn't everyone?)  and it ocurred to me how mind numbingly dull it must be to work on an assembly line. As much as my job fries me (hahahaha), it's good to think. (Although I'm sure you can't totally zone out - easy way to lose a finger/arm/limb/etc).

Also I really want to go to the Minnesota State Fair and eat a deep fried candy bar. Blog pix 1149

Books read in May:

  1. Suits Me: The Double Life of Billie Tipton by Diane Wood Middlebrook (L) (1998) 326 pages. Wow. Her life as a man was both easier and harder. Just goes to show how dumb gender stereotyping is.

  2. The Periodic Table by Primo Levi (1975) (233 pages). Excellent, excellent book by a chemist who lived through the Nazi regime and told about it in this charming novel/autobiography.

  3. Cattery Row by Clea Simon (L) (2006) 238 pages. Music and cats, what's not to like? And the ending is fabulous.

  4. 1632 by Eric Flint (L) (2000) 597 pages. I really liked this time traveling geo-shifting tale although it's sent me on a binge of historical background digging. My knowledge of 17th century Germany is vague at best.

  5. Blood Will Tell by Dana Stabenow (L) (1997) 257 pages. Another mystery w/Kate Shugak. I was seriously bummed by one of the character's death in this book. So much so that I haven't brought myself to pick up the next in the series yet, but that won't last long.

  6. Her Husband: Hughes & Plath-A Marriage by Diane Wood Middlebrook (L) (2003) 350 pages. Hmm. Maybe they were a match made in - - poetic justice.

  7. A Concise History of Germany by Mary Fulbrook (L) (1990) 263 pages. Nice background on Germany! It covered too little of the early centuries, which is what I was interested in and too much of WWI and beyond but very helpfu.

Now that I'm done with Mary Tudor, I'm at a bit of a loss. Okay, what I really should be knitting is my Dad's cardigan and my mother's stole but they are boring. Notice how even after knitting this repeat eleventy billion times, I can still manage to muck it up (by the cast on edge). It's a design feature. I used to have two skeins of the yarn too and now I can only find the one. I'm hoping the other is somewhere in my stash.

Blog pix 1151

Mary Tudor, she is finis.......mostly

Blog pix 1139 Well, almost. She needs her buttons sewn on and I got bored weaving in ends before plunging her into her bath (I wove most of the ends in while knitting - except the sleeves. They have a lovely fringed effect)  but other than that? Done!!

Much thanks to Marina, who sent me a picture of a sample she knit of the mitered corner along with a chart - it turns out I'd neglected to do the picking up of stitches on BOTH right and wrong side rows. Thanks also to Joan and Lorraine for their help.

There's still one more update to come - when the buttons are on, but the knitting? She is done. I had a Blog pix 1142 bump on the road to progress when I put in nine buttonholes for eight buttons - I knew I shouldn't have picked her back up Saturday night while watching Suspicion, but oh well. It worked as a swatch for the buttonholes  - typically horrid - but serviceable. Too bad the mitered corner with the buttonhole is going to be the side that shows - it's wonky, but oh well. (Second picture of the corners is the buttonhole miter.)

TV: Law & Order: Criminal Intent and In Plain Sight on Sunday nights. The season finale of 24 tonight, which I'm going to miss because I'm going to see my niece unwillingly sing opera, much better than finding out how Jack saves the world this time, don't you think? The season finale of NCIS is tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Cross your fingers Ziva doesn't die or get deported and we're stuck with that flirty chick Jules. Even Abby fell for her! Feh.

Blog pix 1140 Chuck was renewed! Yes! The Dollhouse got the nod too. I really hate how CSI:NY ended, killing off one of the characters is getting so cliched. Like Lost. No one is safe.......unless it's Jack or Kate, the two I'd really like to see die. I didn't actually watch Gray's Anatomy closely enough to realize they did the "which one will die?" bit either until Opal filled me in. (Okay, I admit I was expecting Izzie to die and I didn't feel like bawling my eyes out so I basically had it on as background noise).

Wow, the big networks have dreck on their schedule for summer. Give me cable. The only thing that looks good to me is Glee, and I refuse to figure out why.

Reading: After The Periodic Table I thought I'd go for something light so I picked up Cattery Row by Clea Simon, one in the series about Theda Krakow, music journalist and Musetta's mom. Theda is on the trail of catnappers and kitten mills and it had a fabulous ending. She waffled too much about her love life - the proverbial struggle between the Good Man and the Bad Boy but that's probably aggravating just to me.

Blog pix 1144 Currently reading - and loving - 1632 by Eric Flint. It's the first in his Ring of Fire series, a small West Virginia coal town is flung back in time 400 years to 1632 and smack into the middle of the Thirty Year War in the Germanic principalities. I'm sorry to report that I know practically nothing about this piece of history even with my half German descent. I love that it's unabashedly pro United States and that we're the good guys. I also love that the originally rallying cry was for the United Mine Workers of America.

Hez sez: "Geez, you're finally done with my blanket? It's been exhausting watching you all these years. Wait. You're not casting on another member of the English royalty are you? I give up."

Have a good week!

Mitering Mary Tudor

I've joined a reading challenge! Eco-Challenge at Chris' Book-a-rama. I like that the rules say between 1-5 books and I can justify my choices with a spirited debate. Starts May 1 through Sept 30th.

I've gone from saying "Cool" to saying "Excellent." Not so much in a Ted & Bill Adventure way but more in a mad professor style. What I want to know is why? Am I going to start cooing  "darling" soon?

Blog pix 1120 In knitting news, stupid mitered corner. Evidently you're supposed to pick up the edge stitches of the body and miter the corner of of the buttonhole band while you're attaching it.

Somehow, I don't think this is right.

She has a "marked stitch" at the end that I read as it's knit together with a picked up stitch from the body but then I still have only the one marked stitch and I'm supposed to be adding five stitches to the band. Shouldn't there be slipping in there? And picking up of more stitches?

It's the mitering one side and picking up the edge of the already knit part that's confounding me. I can miter a corner while I'm knitting the whole thing but half done? Argh. Any suggestions? (Not including setting it on fire. I'm too close to being done).

READING: I've been reading The Periodic Table by Primo Levi - I ran across it in a used bookstore Thursday night and it’s just fabulous so far. It’s the semi autobiographical novel of his life as an Italian Jewish chemist up to and during WWII (so far) and he’s done the fascinating twist of sectioning off pieces of his life using various periodic elements as the anchor to those memories.


Is anything sadder than a train
That leaves when it’s supposed to,
That has only one voice,
Only one route?
There’s nothing sadder.

Except perhaps a cart horse,
Shut between two shafts
And unable even to look sideways.
Its whole life is walking.

And a man? Isn’t a man sad?
If he lives in solitude a long time,
If he believes time has run its course,
A man is a sad thing too.

–Primo Levi
January 17, 1946
From Collected Poems
Faber and Faber, London, 1988.

I Only Work the Days that End in "Y"

Thanks for all the well wishes formy sil! I didn't want to post the particulars for privacy reasons but she's doing well and is coming home today.

A moment of silence for the slain Oakland policemen.

 The wildfowl has just been astounding around my house. Down the block on someone's front lawn, these lovely critters. I think they're turkey vultures? Blog pix 1074_edited

I had to pull over and snap the picture with my iPhone on my way into work, so that is literally by dawn's early light.

They're probably in mourning too about the neighbor on the top of the hill taking out his four dying pine trees and the eucalyptus. The eucalyptus was really beautiful but they're basically matchsticks and in a drought inclined hillside? Not such a good idea.

The latest pet in the neighborhood. (Btw, urban chicken raising will never replace knitting. Never, never, never. At least not in my house. Unless they stay adorable cute chicks) Blog pix 1071_edited  I took this picture through the slats in my blinds but dagnabbit if he didn't spot me anyway and come running up onto the porch. I attempted to lure him back home - he followed me like a puppy dog - but he didn't want to stay there.

If it hadn't been freezing, 7am on Sunday morning and I'd been wearing more than my nightgown, I'd've pounded on their door and demand they they  feed their rooster post haste. As it was, I ran home and cowardly hid in my house. I barely managed not to feed him canned corn. There's something about hunger that makes me want to fix it. 

There's something about crowing under my bedroom window at the crack of dawn that makes me want to pop him into a boiling pot.

KNITTING: The number one sleeve is done on Mary Tudor (not pictured - that was the day before finishing)  and sleeve number two is underway. Two rows a night basically means glacial progress but better that than none at all and two rows is all I can manage after a day of wrestling taxes.  My mother spotted the perfect buttons for her at a Quilt Fair. Blog pix 1078 

Found at Educating Petunia:

How Dysfunctional is Your Reading? You got 11 out of 13. Shame you'll never get a book deal.

Ha. Little do they know. Now go bombard Petunia on the wonders of mindless television. Oh! Speaking of television, the series finale of Life on Mars will air on April 1st. I really tried to watch nothing that'd get cancelled early this year but Life on Mars was irresistible. Even w/CSI NY and Law & Order up against it. I hope the ending stays true to the show. Battlestar Galactica's finale was .........well, it was. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either.

Books: Y'know, I've got this humongo post going where I've reviewed, somewhat haphazardly all the books I've read this year. I'm debating if I should just post the thing, en masse, on December 31st.

Insert Not Too Clever Title Here. Thanks for the Tip, Typepad. Gah.

Blog pix 1050  Button choices for the V pointed charmer, currently sporting buttons from [gasp] Joanne's Fabrics. I know, I know. I'm a button snob.

And because it's been a long long time:

TV: Not that' I've been awake the last week to watch much or understand any of it - was it just me or did Lost, *The Dollhouse or Battlestar Galactica make no sense whatsoever? This week the TV is going off at 10pm. Stupid Daylight "Saving" Time.

*The Dollhouse makes no sense to to me under the best of circumstances. I've grasped the concept, it's the relationships/point that eludes me.

Tonight (Sunday March 15) Kings has its two hour debut at 8pm. I'm really looking forward to this one.

Monday: 24. Finally, no one on the show that I have to flip the channel the second they appear, although the FBI couple are starting to work my nerves.

Tuesday: NCIS, of course.

(The structure is the new Walnut Creek LIbrary. Eventually) Blog pix 1054_edited Wednesday: Life and Lost. Why are they both on at the same time? Life wins, Lost is better when they repeat it with that scroll catch up at the bottom.  I love that scroll catch up bar. (What's that actually called?)

Thursday: Bones at 8pm and then heaven help me, Gray's Anatomy at 9pm. I hate myself but there you are. Plus it looks like Izzy is actually dying! Dying! Be still my heart.

Friday. Oh, Friday. Friday is a very sad, sad day. So. Sad. Battlestar Galactica is repeating their Monday (the 16th) special at 7pm and then the very final two hour season FINALE episode at 9pm. (I think they're airing last Friday night's ep beforehand which is very very nice because I have no idea what was going on. Thank you Daylight "Saving" Time. Everyone! Run up your heating and electric bills in the morning and DO NOT SHOP in the evening.  Blog pix 1067_edited

Somewhere in there is also endless hours of Senate/House/Congressional Hearings that I'm finding endlessly fascinating and Being Erica, a CBC show but airing in the US on  Soapnet. Fun premise. Her shrink sends her back in time to work out her issues.

There's been knitting but not much progress. I finally took Mary Tudor's sleeves off the two circs and onto dpn's thus decreasing the time it took me to knit one row from 30 minutes down to ten. I still can't believe it took me thirty minutes to knit one row of a sleeve. Practically at the cuff. Mind you, I'm a whole five more rows since last photographed but considering I'm working day and night and still actually reading some blogs (in the most haphazard manner EVER), not half bad.

Brigitte sent this darling thing to Hezekiah.

Blog pix 1068_edited Hez sez "I know it's not a real mouse but it is fun to carry around and torment. Never in front of a camera though! The Oath of the Hunter, y'know" (which is very annoying, let me tell you - The Blog Photographer).

Little of this, little of that

Blog winter0809 078 The following are links I ran across trying to track down a place (other than in front of my TV) to watch the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday.  Not many in my neck of the woods, other than Walnut Creek, oddly enough but FYI for anyone else that might be interested in the area. Possibly the Sunday papers will have some more that aren't already sold out.

San Francisco: Inauguration West at the Metreon in SF Morris Day & The Time?  Cool.

San Francisco Public Library in the Koret Auditorium.

There's a special viewing in front of the Civic Center.

Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration Skaters' Ball San Francisco.

Burlingame Public Library

Inauguration Day at Lark Theater, Larkspur (although it's sold out)

Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek (sBlog winter0809 076_editedold out)

Oracle/McAfee/Whatsis/Oakland Coliseum, Oakland CA

Barack'n Roll Inauguration Party, Oakland CA (East Bay Young Democrats)

 This is Dad's cardigan. The bizarre patterning is a purl diamond pattern that I really wish I hadn't bothered with but no way am I redoing it now. I'm hoping it blocks out. I'm reasonably sure it's never been blocked. Just stuffed into a pillowcase.

The sleeves are plain stockinette and cross your fingers I have enough yarn because I think it's Pingouin, not that I have a ball band, and I know I got it on sale at Betsy's in Lafayette when she closed her doors. (After a woman who must have thought she was in reverse drove a few feet into the store, barely stopping at the counter at a bearing post)

If it is Pinguoin, it's scarcer than hen's teeth. So it's going to get stretched w/Cascade 220, if it comes to that. 

Don't even start on the bizarre shaping. There are ends to be woven in that make no sense to me at all. I'm trying to figure out when I did this. I'm pretty sure it's not the first year I learned to knit, but it might as well be. There's a lot of short rowing going on though, thankfully. Dad is, well, Santa Claus shaped.

Blog winter0809 077  Mary Tudor in her corrected (and heavenly lit) state. See? I did reknit some of it. I just haven't knit much more.  The shaping looks a little......more like shaping. Oh! Did you see the Virtual Yarns drawing?

Lisa at Knitting by the Sea came up with what I'm going to adopt as my slogan for the year (sshhh to all of you who are asking incredulously - year?)

TELEVISION: Did anyone catch Battlestar Galactica last night? Wowza. Poor Psychon USA.  I'll be watching you later.

Sunday night "Keys to the Castle - France" in on HGTV. I can't wait.

24 on Monday - I wasn't going to watch this season but I injudiciously flipped it on and was immediately sucked in. Just pray that Audrey doesn't show up this season, I'd like to be able to get through the whole season for a change. House is back Blog winter0809 079_editedon Mondays at 8pm, finally it's not up against NCIS on Tuesday (a repeat this week). I'm still enamoured w/Leverage at 10pm on Tuesdays, I just wish they'd tone the pairing up down a notch. Wednesday at 10pm the second season of Damages has started. Glenn Close is just mesmerizing. Thursdays: Bones at 8pm on its new day. Grey's Anatomy at 9pm although geez. Is it possible for this show to do ONE storyline that I don't feel like heaving shoes at my TV set?  Burn Notice starts its new season at 10pm. Finally! (Thursday, ( also my mom's birthday. Hmm. It may be too late to knit her anything.)

Hez sez: "mewp mewp mewp". But very, very quietly. (translated mostly means no way is she going to come back in the house *this morning, she was trapped! all day! in the house! when it was sunny out yesterday. The horror. 

*this morning being days ago. Yes, we've been suffering through 70-80 degree weather all week. I know you feel for us.

Wicked Witch of the North Pole/Mary Tudor Poll

Wicked Witch of the North Pole

It seems there was a reason I was running short of yarn and the sleeve was taking so long.

I neglected to do the double decreases every fourth row and now I'm knitting a sleeve that has 44 more stitches that it's supposed to at this point.

Why did I check the directions last night at 11 pm? I had a sleepless night.

(Why didn't I doublecheck the directions before knitting 2/3's of a sleeve that I was thinking "boxy" and was meant to be more or less tapered? Good question. Moving on.)

I'm taking it on faith that the poll is showing up. It doesn't in "Rich Text" on Typepad but it is on the preview.

Christmas! The Season of Creatures of the Night

Blog winter0809 034_edited At least that's how Christmas generally feels to me. They take a perfectly lovely time where it's dark early and cold, a time when sitting in front of the fireplace and knitting and reading would be the sensible thing to do and insist on throwing all these parties and ceremonies and then the gifts that you must bestow on your loved ones - all your loved ones - and they'd better reflect both your love and the recipient's taste. Gah. (Note: this does not actually mean that I do all this, I just feel the pressure to do all this. It's possible I haven't sent out Christmas cards since........I'm not sure I've ever managed to send out Christmas cards. I know I did once in March. In the 80's).

The best part of Christmas? All the baked goods.

Wow. If Typepad "improves" any more, I'm not going to be able to blog at all.

Witness the SNOW on Mt Diablo! Half the mountain is behind the clouds, that's a really low snow level for us. 

And speaking of creatures of the night: (I'd been thinking of the unstirring mouse, myself), from Stumbling Over Chaos:

Which creature of the night are you?
Your Result: Cthulu Spawn

You are really an alien thing, aren't you? I can't describe you because you are beyond. We say "left field" and you say "Krn Grth Thchrang." You are the wild card of the bunch, the unknown quantity







Which creature of the night are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Knitting update! Sleeve Island. I think I'm marooned on sleeve island. Hey. Progess. Who knew? Blog winter0809 032_editedBlog winter0809 044_edited Christmas knitting has turned into birthday knitting, or abandoned altogether (see, that's what happens when your birthday ISN'T around the holidays. You don't get it at all.)

I've finally found something to read, Vicious Circle by Mike Carey, chronicling the adventures of exorcist Fix Castor. But since it's a hardback, my walkaround book is Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III by Michael Hicks, a biography of Richard III's queen. I went through about 15 books without one catching my interest for awhile there. Book update to come, probably in the year end wrap up. Also: IT IS TOO EARLY TO DO A BEST OF 2008! It's not over yet!

I feel the pressure to fill in all this blank space. OTOH, it's cold, it's - sort of early, my bed still isn't made, I think I'm going to crawl back into it and knock out a few rows. Wonder who's on BookTV this weekend?

From Mindfull:

You Are an Argyle Sweater
You are contemplative, brainy, and serious.
You don't take much lightly - life is too important for that.

You are a very determined person. You don't let anything stand in your way.
You think out your actions and act deliberately. You don't waste time, money, or resources
Clearly I cheated on this one. Wasting time, money and resources is one of my favorite occupations.

Blog winter0809 045
Hez sez "I am Queen of all I survey! Look on my works ye mighty and despair!" Maybe it was Ozymandias who said that. Hard to say.

It Had Better Be Friday

Because I am DONE with this week. (Well, it was Friday. I'm good with it being Saturday. Can it stay Saturday?)  Blogsummer08 087I've spent the better part of the last three weeks packing up the old office and unpacking in the new office (which I love. I have a HUGE desk now, most of whose surface is pretty much covered as usual but more spaciously.) But yikes, what a PITA. Not only was I having to do actual physical labor, I had no online access the first week and It turns out I had practically no work access either because most of my programs are web based. Who knew? And then new wireless mouse and keyboard were giving me fits. I was practicing a little percussive maintenance on the mouse when I finally tried new batteries last night. Oddly enough, new batteries were helpful.

Now I'm spending the better part of my days trying to get all the non profits done by next Monday and then, hopefully catching up on my blogs. Google Reader has declared that the latest shall be first. (Okay, I can actually change that, but it's handy. I lurve Google Reader. But wow, posting is out of control this month. What happened? it got dark and everyone took to their computer?). Blogsummer08 089_edited

TV: Life moved to 9pm on Wednesdays. The show might be on the bubble but it's pretty good. They can't think too badly of it, moving it to Wednesday from a Friday-Night-Kill-This-Show slot, where Fox is putting The Sarah Conner Chronicles next week. I can't say I blame Fox, while I'm still watching the show, I mostly feel like slapping John Conner upside the head and sending him to his room. Who wants to watch some mewling whiny teenager? Save the world, moron.

I hear My Own Worst Enemy was cancelled. That's another show I wanted to like and was watching but really made no sense at all. Sons of Anarchy is my new favorite show. [Warning, that page has a loading time and a really, really annoying chugging soundtrack] And LIfe on Mars is the other, although I really wish I could see the BBC version.  I'm also being forced to watch Gray's Anatomy for Kevin McKidd who was just added as a series regular.

Blogsummer08 090_edited Knitting: There's some progress on Mary Tudor's sleeve, amazingly enough.  Have I shown a picture of the beaded scarf Joan sent me? A little progress there too. (Not that you can tell by the terrible lighting and it'll need to be blocked when I'm done, but the beads!) The cabled cardigan is seamed and the collar safety pinned on while I figure out how to attach it (I want a reversible kind of i-cord). 

A mindless knit  was required for a Knitting Retreat aka Continuing Education last Monday and since I cannibalized the original Curve of Pursuit yarn for the cable cardigan, I picked up some burgundy Cascade 220. I wanted burgundy in the first place but the LYS didn't have any. [Yes, that flaming red is dark burgundy IRL]. And I'm surreptiously knitting on the super secret cable scarf for my SIL (hopefully she likes hunter green but there is no way I'm knitting that pattern in black, you'd never see the cable work). Blogsummer08 093_edited

The stupid weather is back into the 80's - I want winter! But I'm loving Standard Time.  I drove over the Benicia Bridge right around 5:30pm and the full moon was just enormous, lighting up the Mothball Fleet and the Suisun Bay. Glorious. I'd've taken a picture except for the whole life threatening aspect of it.


The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo. A werewolf with a conscience. Grittier than most but an excellent read.

The Last Queen by C W Gortner. A fictionalized account of the life of Juana of Castile, aka Juana the Mad. I knew she was Catherine of Aragon's sister and therefore Henry VIII's sister in law and that she was madly in love with her husband but I hadn't realized just how long she had lived or how her children were raised. Interesting.

Blogsummer08 068_edited The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire by Andrew Wheatcroft. I'd picked the book up to find out more about Philip, Juana's husband but they were barely mentioned. The Habsburgs? were a wee crazy.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale. I was practically halfway through this book before I realized it was non fiction. It did read a bit dryly but I thought that was a novel choice. It's the story of an unsolved crime involving a young child in 1860.  - Wilkie Collin's The Moonstone was loosely based on the crime. The beginning of the Age of the Detective and the last gasp of a man's home was his castle.

The Plague Tales by Ann Benson. The book tells the story from alternating viewpoints of a 14th century Jewish doctor Alejandro Canches (Hernandez)  in the court of Edward III and Janie Crowe, a doctor living  in a futuristic 2005 (the book was written in 1997), a post newfangled plague world where millions have already died from a mysterious flu - which makes the 2005 characters actions particularly perplexing, however they did move the plot along.  A not half bad read (thanks to Alejandro) but The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis along similar lines was far better.

Poison Pen by Sharon Lowe, the first in a new mystery series featuring Claudia Rose, a graphologist (as is the author). The book was a fun romp, after I got over Lindsay Alexander being bad, more or less. [It took me awhile to realize I kept thinking of the Alexander Lindsay Wildlife Museum that has evidently dropped the "Alexander"], Peculiarly enough, I keep trying to analyse my handwriting now.

The Optimist's Daugher by Eudora Welty Bridget reviewed this book (back in early Sept if you want to look up her original review), thought I might enjoy it, and she was right. It's a short story about a young widow dealing with her younger stepmother and her life during her father's final days and funeral. It's hard to describe (for me, coherently, like everthing else)  but I came away feeling that I knew so much more than the story seemed to say. Eudora Welty was a genius.

Okay all that and it's all TV, books and some knitting pix? Harumph.