Friday, June 29, 2007


Quietly she slipped out the back door - the baby was sleeping, the boys inside playing one of their favorite video games. Perhaps she wouldn't be missed, if only for a moment. She slipped off her sarong, and slowly dipped her feet into the water. It was cool and inviting. Gently she slipped beneath the cool water and with a slow lazy stroke came to the side of the small back yard pool. Turning onto her back, floating in the water - completely alone. She looked up into the blue sky, then closed her eyes to savor this one perfect moment of solitude and peace.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A little of this and that...

Yay! My computer is fixed! It seems to have been a problem with connecting to the web...which is of course nearly 2/3rds of what I do on a computer these days. Is that bad? Hmmm. Don't answer that.

I am happy to announce that I am finished with my Retro Shrug!!

It was a really fun knit, and I would totally do it again. I may try to make one for Maia with the leftover yarn ( a skein and a half ). We'll see.

I think that I can now say that I am once again on good terms with the Knitting Goddess, for not only has she has answered my prayers (Knit Picks sent me another copy of my pattern for the Lace Edged Tee), but as my lovely friend across the continent would say, my "mojo" is back. Yay! Now if we can only steadfastly ignore the politics that boil my blood (Did anyone hear me say Dick Cheney & Co? No, of course not, I would never point fingers...), we shall all live happily ever after!

Speaking of Happily Ever After, we managed a trip to Disneyland recently to celebrate Maia turning 2 years old. And she has delved into the terrible twos with great aplomb. She has taken the use of the word NO! and all of its myriad subleties to heart. She practices all the time. I am sure she will be a woman to reckon with when she is grown. But for now, she is smitten with Mickey Mouse. Isn't the world a fun place?

We went through the line in Mickeys house, had some trouble with Donald and Goofy (apparently they were ignoring Maia as she told them in no uncertain terms to come down from the projecter room and talk to her) and finally had our turn in the photo room with Mickey Mouse. I had to hold her back as the children in front of us had their picture taken, and then she raced right up to him and gave him a hug. I kicked myself for an idiot for not having my camera on at that point, but we managed to get her to stand still for a moment with her brother (Liam was riding the fast coaster with Dada - ever my little dare-devil).

Right after this picture, she fell over the step running back to me. As she cried in my arms, and I assured the workers there that all was well, and she was just two, and two year olds did not necessarily look for steps, I asked her to say bye bye to Mickey, so as to avoid the shock that he was gone when we left the room. She looked over my shoulder and cried out in her broken little voice "Bye Mickey" as we left the photo area. It had the helpful people in there with Mickey in stitches. It was really the most tragically cute thing we heard all day.

And so begins summer. Swimming Lessons have once again begun in our home, and thus herald the true beginning of Summer. Brandon is quickly getting the hang of things this year, and I live in the hope that this is the year that he will be swimming on his own in Grandma's pool. One more step toward freedom again. I understand this is a LOOONNGGG journey for those with children. Longer I think for those of us with three. Liam is working on getting his head under water, and Maia... well, we shall be happy when she finally decides to blow bubbles. Yes. Bubbles. In the water. It is apparently a very important step in learning to swim. Swimming lessons also mean sun. Lots of sun. I am currently looking into buying stock in sun block, but for now I am quickly on my way to burning to a crisp. Yes. Even after slathering on all kinds of waterproof 50+ sunblock. My lovely multicultural brown children, however are turning the color of fresh baked gingerbread. Sigh. I knew I picked good genes when I married their father! And to add to my excess of sun exposure this summer, for the first time, we have an above ground pool. I am actually really happy to have it. It has been fun to play around in it with my children - and maybe eventually by myself - and my little amphibians are quickly becoming fluent in their new water habitat. I may actually manage to beat the heat this year without blasting the A/C all summer. Now, if only I can manage enough shade....

Now, onto secret knitting...

I have brand new addi-turbo's and lace weight- aren't they the beauties?
I have one month to complete this project. Wish me luck! (I'm going to make another batch of Fudge, just in case though)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oh woe is me...

My computer is not happy. Not happy I tell you. In fact, I think it is down right depressed. It can hardly hold it's head up long enough for me to read a single blog post. I have taken drastic action, and resorted to using the kids computer to post to my blog, seeing as how it is taking my brilliant yet extraordinarily busy husband a while to sort this out. My lovely laptop suffers from that most awful of mac maladies...the spinning beach ball of death. Less than 5 minutes online, and away it goes. Unable to stand the awful sunlight of the blogsphere. Sigh. What's a girl to do?


We are off to my MIL today, for a lovely swim and family visit. These visits are particularly wonderful when I get to go through her extensive yarn stash. WARNING:To the faint of heart, or the simply prejudiced...LOOK AWAY! She is a crocheter. She is a wonderful crocheter, and I can say with some familial pride that she has won ribbons on everything she turns in for judging in the country fair. She makes lovely baby blankets and has made me some lovely things to wear as well. And, just like me, only began her craft some 2- 3 years ago. It is so much fun having someone else in the family who is passionate about yarn, even if she does pull it round with a hook (I keep telling myself that one does not give this to ones MIL as a birthday present, but I might just fall down and have an accident round about August for that one.. How can you resist?) It is also good for giving my husband a -um- reasonable benchmark for what a stash should REALLY be. My paltry basket (or three) is nothing. Don't worry that the yarn is taking over the bedroom. It's wonderful fun! Multi-purposed, strong, soft, flexable, bending to your will, as you insert the stick in the hole....

But I digress.

I have been having a particularly wonderful morning knitting on my Retro Redux Shrug from the Lace Style book I got at my LYS the other day. I finally figured out how to NOT drop the stitches on the Brioche pattern, and even better, how to correctly pick up said stitches when they do fall, so as not to disturb the crossings that make up the lace between the chained rows. It has been fun. I got to stitch up the sleeves yesterday, and have been working on the ribbed edging that creates the collar and borders the opening that your arms go through. One of my particular interests has been in the purl stitch. It has always seemed less graceful than the knit stitch, and yet so vitally important to knitting. So as I continued my continental purl I decided to switch it up a bit and do the combination purl stitch that I have heard so much about from Annie Modesitt on her knitting site and on her Knitty Gritty episodes. It is indeed wonderful fun, very smooth, and yes, graceful. But it seats the stitch differently on the needle. This is fine for back and forth knitting. But not so smooth for in the round. I found that I could purl through the back loop when going in the round, much the way you need to knit through the back loop to right the stitch and not cause a twist on the back side of the purl. But this made the movement somewhat less smooth and graceful for me. Soooo, now what? I remembered a fairly recent post to the Knitlist about a new (to me) purl method called the Norwegain Purl. I am intrigued. Could this be the answer to my quest? (And wouldn't it be just too cool to be able to say "yes, I can purl 3 different ways in the continental method" Okay, so I'm a geek. But I am a knitting geek, and I know that I am in good company. So I stretched my fingers, and employed my best google-fu. Norwegian Purl. Cool. Knitting Help had a very cool tutorial, I checked a few others, and went to work. Once you get the hang of it, it is actually very smooth, and if anyone is actually watching you knit they will do a double take as you do this little dance with the needles, and ask out loud "how did you do a purl stitch with the yarn in the back?" Ahhhh. My knitting kata has you perplexed? Cool. let me show you how! So I am really enjoying this final part of my little shrug, gleefully doing my 2x2 ribbing, and waiting for someone to notice. Ultimately, for grace and ease, I have to go with the combination purl, but I think I will only use it when I need to go back and forth. The Norwegian purl is it for knitting in the round. And bonus, both produce a neat, tight stitch without a lot of extra tugging in order keep tension even. Yup, I'm in knitter geek heaven today!

On a side note, after visiting one of my best friends online today, I learned that she was invited to Ravelry, and I have just one question...How do you get invited to Ravelry? Do I have time to be invited? Ah screw that... from what I hear Ravelry is like dessert, and there is ALWAYS room for dessert.

So, without further ado I"m...

"Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go..."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shake, Rattle, And Roll!

Brandon has had a very busy weekend. This Sunday was his bridging ceremony from Tiger Cubs to Wolf Cubs, and the start of the real cub scout work toward becoming a Boy Scout. He was very excited, but the best part was that he won 2nd place for his race car in the Pinewood Derby! It was a lot of fun, and a very nice picnic was had by all.

Brandon also did a spectacular job on his spelling test, and brought home the proof on Monday after noon. So in the midst of our preparations for celebrating Brandon's first 100% on a spelling test, we had a rather unsettling guest apper in our back yard. Now, we are used to all kinds 'round here. A skunk got Charlie a few months ago. Gophers have manuevered a brilliant hostile take over in the back lawn, squirrels abound, along with hummingbirds, woodpeckers, doves, hawks, and a breeding pair of Oriels (very beautiful birds those). We saw bats over the house last week. An owl lives across the street. Mountain Lions have been sighted at the neighbors yard, and a California Black Bear regularly turns over our trash. All of these things, I think I have taken very well. But we also live in Rattlesnake country. Western Rattlesnakes.
I know they're all around, but I don't think I have actually seen one since the baby rattler slitherd over my bare foot while I was getting the mail about 3 years ago. Prior to that, the last one I saw was a youth my Grandfather caught and kept in a trash bin for us to get a good look at, so we would know in the future what to avoid. That was at least 20 years ago. They generally leave us alone. I know they are out there, but don't worry about it too much, except for when Javier is running in the mountains, and getting rattled at every other day. So needless to say this old gent was a bit of a surprise to me, when I turned off the garden hose.

I had never seen one so big. He has at least 11 rattles on his tail, which makes him about 5-7 years old, I think. He had a lovely even shake as he rattled his tale at me. I admired that for a split second as a percussionist, and then I think my heart leaped into my throat as I darted inside. JAVIER! Guess what's outside! When I say it's a rattlesnake, and a big one, he says "Get the camera!" My husband. Gotta love him. I would never have gotten these pictures without him. We admired him for a bit, figured that he had eated a whole squirrel or maybe one of the myriad gophers living under our lawn. Then, after we showed the boys and Maia what a rattlesnake looks like and sounds like and talked about what do if they see/hear one, we figured that we didn't want him to continue residence in our back yard. So we called the Police.

The Sierra Madre Police Dept. is an anacronism of days gone by, and one that I truly appreciate. They are honestly there just to help. They will pass the time of day with you, hand out stickers to the kids, wave to you from their car, and also take away naughty rattlesnakes.

It was really quite an education talking with the Officer that came to remove our snake.
Apparently because he was so full, he could hardly move. His strike range was reduced from roughly 2 feet, to about 4 inches. And he was a bit dopey. So much so, in fact, that the Officer was able to pose with the snake! I could hardly believe it. This one is definitlely going down in the our family history books. Even Maia was excited about the "atal 'nake" and kept reiterating how it was "all gone" now that the police had come. Javier kept getting her to talk about it again, and again, just so he could hear her say "atal 'nake"...we both had to agree it was the cutest thing at that moment.

So after the snake left to go digest it's meal for the next few weeks up in Chantry Flats, we went to go ingest our own supper over at Applebee's. Brandon's reward for a perfect score.

Moving on, I am in a bit of a knitting quandary. More like, I'm about ready to roll up into a fetal position and cry. I have been knitting the "Lace Edged Tee" from a pattern I got at Knitpicks. A now discontinued pattern.Why, you might ask, is this important? I cannot find my pattern anywhere. I have sifted through every pile. Looked under, around, and over. I have begged the knitting goddess to shed light upon my unfortunate soul, and bring back my pattern. There is no way I can finish this piece without the pattern. There is still lace work at the edges of the sleeves. I've never knitted a V-neck before. I KNIT 11 INCHES OF STOCKINETTE IN THE ROUND IN AN ITTY BITTY GAUGE! It almost drove me crazy, not having anything else to do but one knit stitch after another. The upshot is that I can now knit and not look. But now that I'm ready to do shaping, now that it's about to get really interesting again...THE PATTERN DISAPPEARS!

My mother might say that the hawaiian menehune took it. Or house gnomes perhaps? I'm pretty sure I have a few of those. Too many things disappear and then turn up in the most unlikely places. Perhaps just an errant fairy named Puck decided to play in my knitting basket (which would explain why I spent an hour last night trying to straighten out balls of yarn). What ever the cause, the result is that I am getting desperate. I have several more skeins of this waiting to "become". It really wants to become a Lace Edged Tee. The rest is just weeping as I try to imagine myself ripping back all that I have accomplished for no good reason. Except the lack of a pattern. Sigh. Does anyone know where I might get a copy of this pattern? Anyone?

While I fuss and cry about my missing pattern, I have cast on and begun a lace shrug from my new book "Lace Style" from Interweave knits. It is meant to soothe my knitty soul, as I am stymied at my current "large" scale project. Then I realized I started the pattern on the wrong side. The whole set up. It was ribbed wrong, if such a thing can be. The cast on edge I wanted to be the "public" side of the work was not. I frogged and reknit. I have dropped no less that 3 lace stitches that had to be carefully worked back into place. And this is a really easy pattern. Anyone have any ideas what to do to appease the knitting goddess? Does she like fudge?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Let us ponder this for a moment.

A description of the term avoidance says that "In avoidance, we simply find ways of avoiding having to face uncomfortable situations, things or activities." Well, yes. Thank you very much. I am avoiding thinking. Also cleaning. Lots of avoiding cleaning. Lots.

It also states that "Avoidance may include removing oneself physically from a situation. It may also involve finding ways not to discuss or even think about the topic in question." Ah yes. Here comes the fun part. As I avoid my thoughts and my unkempt home, I knit. I have been knitting like a fiend. In the last week I have finished one sock, cast on, finished, and frogged another sock. I have knit a purse (I did this yesterday. Finished it in less than 8 hours. WOOT!) I have cast on and frogged (and frogged, and frogged again) something that I think wants to be a summer tank for Maia, but seeing as how she violantly hates the last sweater I made for her, I'm not so sure right now. Maybe that is why it has not come to be on my needles. I cannot completely visualize the finished object yet. But that didn't stop me from casting on three times before I put the yarn back in the pile. Sigh.

On a particular high, I found patterns for some secret knitting that I am doing, and ordered yarn. The first shipment of yarn arrived today! Isn't it beatiful? I feel a little bit of the Harlot seeping into my bones as I too channel Smeagol, thinking to myself, "We loves it. We pets it. We knits it!" It is a beautiful blend of Mohair, wool, and silk. It is lovely to behold, and I cannot wait to see the thing that it is to become. But that will likely take a while. I do not knit as fast as our lovely Harlot...yet. Give me another 10 years of practice, and then maybe I'll take her head on in a knit off. But for now, there is just no way that I can compete with 3 complete baby sweaters in 2 weeks. Sigh. If you haven't seen them yet, you should go look. They are cute as buttons, and I wish that I could make a trip to Toronto to go get one. And sit in on the knit night. I don't think I could go through that city and not go. It would be like being in New York and not seeing the statue of liberty. You just couldn't do it. Well, I couldn't.

So. Avoidance.

"Avoidance is a simple way of coping by not having to cope. When feelings of discomfort appear, we find ways of not experiencing them." Uh, yup. That's what I'm doing.

"Procrastination is another form of avoidance where we put off to tomorrow those things that we can avoid today." I should seriously have a degree in this. It might be hereditary. I understand from my mother that my father has a degree in this as well. I have a lot in common with my father. Many have said that the fruit hasn't fallen far from the tree when they get to know us. Seriously. Girls are supposed to marry men like their fathers, because they are just like their mothers. Well, I married a man just like my mother...because I am just like my dad. Sigh. It works, in a twisted sort of way.

Oh yeah. Avoidance.

"To get someone to face what they are avoiding, you may have to corner them or otherwise present them with a situation where they are unable to avoid the situation. " This is what my brilliant husband has done.

So, Saturday is Maia's 2nd birthday. For once, I had agreed that we would do just a family thing, because Javier doesn't really like having to entertain. He's a very private kind of person, and finds it difficult to come up with the energy to be a host. So imagine my surprise when I discover that we are getting a cake. On Saturday. From Costco. BIG CAKE. Lots of cake. Strangely, I thought "okay, lots of cake. We'll just give the rest to my parents, or my brother to feed to his friends." No. My husband is simply a coniving, and clever man. He was not finished. "So are we having everyone over on Saturday? We have all that cake...." Damn. Now I have to clean the house. He knows I will do it. I cannot have our family over, and NOT clean the house, at least a little. Fucking Brilliant. My husband. Gotta love him. I'm getting kind of tired of swimming in Charlie hair anyway. I have to say though, this is the best thing he has ever come up with to get me to clean the house. Not a word in anger will be spoken. I will simply get it done. And he knows it.

He forgot one thing though. Now I'm going to make him mow the lawn. I cannot have our family over with the lawn 3 feet tall. I am not the only one in our house to practice avoidance it seems. But the company is good.

A final note...Happy Birthday to me! Another year older. I hope a little wiser. Carry on.

What am I avoiding thinking about, you ask? I'm avoiding that. Maybe later.