Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here be Dragons!

Due to my deep and abiding love of Dragons and of critical thought, I give you


This is long but worth it. Brian Dunning (the host/narrator) does a weekly skeptics podcast skeptoid and is involved in the collaborative effort that is the skepticblog.

And now I am off to find some dragons.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! uh, and some socks!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope your holidays were wonderful. Me, after a long day filled with overindulgence and too many presents to count I sat down to check email and found myself laughing.

Sing along if you love handknit socks!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Princess...

Your result for The Princess Bride trivia Test...


Inconceivable! You scored ###!

A respectable score. This movie is probably nestled in your dvd collection, and its not gathering dust either. You are a big fan, if not yet utterly devoted. A few of the questions may have stumped you, but instead of being annoyed, this just makes you want to watch it again to find out the answers. Well done!

Take The Princess Bride trivia Test
at HelloQuizzy

Monday, November 10, 2008

The tale of David...

David verses Goliath. The ultimate story of triumph - to beat the odds and all expectations and come out victorious. That is David. And now I hope that it is also my local yarn shop.

Unraveled is a lovely little store in Monrovia that just feels like home when I go in there. I have to admit that I am guilty of a lot of petting and very little buying. I do not have much to spend, even on the good days. But where this downturn in the economy is pinching my pocketbook (and my yarn funds) it has put a chokehold on very life of this store, and I would dare say many others.

The ladies of Unraveled have come up with an astoundingly clever idea to stave off death, and defeat the Goliath of global economic downturn to save this store - create a co-op where one becomes many. Create a living interest in the life and health of the store. $40 a month for 5 months is the cost of the life of this store. Just $40. $40 to buy a living room filled with women and men who understand some intimate corner of your soul is wrapped in wool and fiber and will never mock you for it. $40 for the joy of fondling yarns and dreaming of what they could become upon your very own needles. $40 for expertise or moral support needed to finish that one special project. $40 to say that this is my yarn family, and that this family will not let you down. It seems so little - and yet so much. If you are a knitter in this area of California, all I can do is urge you to consider joining our ranks. There is nothing to lose in asking - everything in not.

And if you do not live in this area, please, give a thought to your own local yarn shop and go buy a little yarn to help take the edge off.

Goodnight all...

Saturday, November 1, 2008


In four days we will change the face of our nation. I, for one, have enormous hope that it will be for the better.

Some inspiration for those of you out there...

Yes we can!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


There are many things that I want to say about this upcoming election. I feel that it is likely to be the most momentous and important vote of my life, and that the result will affect this country for good or ill in dire ways, depending on the outcome.

As I turn introspective about the future of this, my country, my home, I offer you this thought for next Tuesday....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Awesome Violins...

I bumped into this and after I finished picking my jaw up off the floor (a result from pure amazement that this exists...) I knew I had to share...

So, for your viewing pleasure... Nuttin' But Stringz!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Lazy Summer passes and brings a Fall Surprise

Summer under the fairy moon passed slowly and pleasantly, sleeping in until 8am whenever possible (and yes, post children 8am really is sleeping in...). We enjoyed our backyard, sprinklers, and swimming with Nana and Grandma whenever possible. It was, quite simply, my favorite kind of summer - the one with nothing to do.

Then September came, Liam turned 6 years old, and school started. All in the same week. The alarm rudely awakens me each morning at 6am (gah!) and I dress children and pack lunches each morning once again. Liam LOVES being a first grader, and is digging into first grade with gusto. Brandon is a proud 3rd grader, and finding things in common with his new teacher, like a love of the environment and caring for animals. Maia is now in Group II over at the pre-school and ecstatic to find our neighbor and her "best friend" Grace in her class. The only bad thing about school is that I have to wake everyone up for it. All in all I am hopeful for the next school year. It feels good.

And of course, the L.A. County Fair is now in full swing, and we decided to take full advantage of the "kids free Friday" yesterday, and went to see the animals, and the Heritage Square which is filled with bits and pieces of American history. I love it there. There was spinning wheels (FIBER!!!) a black smith, gold panning, rag dolls, and broom making. A little Red School House, and a frontier home filled with all the necessities of a home at the turn of the century (facinating...). We wandered over to the Pirate Show "Pirates of the Columbian Carribean" and discovered one of the most daring and facinating feats of acrobatics on a high wire. Completely worth your time. Sit and enjoy. Serioiusly. I could have sat and watched them all day. And night. And... well. I don't think I would have gotten tired of it soon.

Brandon tried his hand at roping a "dogie"

We saw a mother duck,

a Sow and her piglets

Maia was a princess...

And met Barbie Princess at the Princess Dream House

And Brandon was excited to find himself with power tools! (in a cut-out picture...)

Maia played in bumper boats

Liam rode the Dragon (Coaster...)

and Brandon worked to conquer the mountain tops (he almost made it too!)

It was wonderful fun at the Fair.

One of the stops we always make when we go to the Fair is Tapestry. Tapestry is a display of all the different needle craft artists who have entered their work for judging. My MIL usually has at least half a dozen entries, and we go to see each piece. She has had at least one piece place each year - usually more than one, so we have been very proud. Well... this year there was a surprise. For me! I made her a stole for Christmas. The Estonian Garden from Fiber Trends. It was my very first piece of lace, and it was made with care and love. Do you see where this is going?

She entered it without my knowing, and I placed first in the lace competition!

And not only that, but it received a Judges Award of Merit - which basically means that it was in the final pool of needle crafts (this includes knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery, etc) for the Best in Show ribbon. Amazing.

I can't believe that my humble (but lovely!) piece of lace was in such vaulted company. I was nearly dumbstruck. And I had to re-evaluate my own skill level. Maybe I can be considered an advanced knitter now?

I had also given her a pair of socks which managed to place second. So two entries - 3 ribbons. Unbelieveable.

I'm also thinking about what I will enter next year....

Hope that everyone's school year is off to as wonderful a start as my own.

Happy Fall everyone!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Spinning at Mach 1

What an afternoon! My husband gifted me with a couple of hours today so that I could head on down to Unraveled and meet Janice (Janro on ravelry) and her lovely spinning wheel - the Mach 1 by SpinOlution

Last September the spin bug bit me, and I came home from the L.A. County fair with a simple little spindle and a tiny bag of roving. I played with it for a bit, but nothing took until I got the book Start Spinning by Maggie Casey a few weeks ago. Then I was off and running. I am now the proud mother of a couple of mini-skeins of hand spun yarn, and 1 4 oz skein that I truly hope will make a hat for me soon. I am by no means an expert at this stage of infancy in my spinning, but when I heard from Janice that she was going to be demonstrating a spinning wheel at my local LYS I knew I had to be there.

The Mach 1 is sleek and solid - two very good things as far as I'm concerned. Especially with small children in the house! I really liked the look of the wheel - it just seemed to scream efficiency. There was no wasted wood, or extra do dads to get in the way. I really liked the open hook at the front of the bobbin - the less fiddly a thing is the better I usually like it. Janice sat me down with some BFL wool and within a few minutes I was spinning a single that was passable - definitely needed work - but passable! The draw seemed smooth, and I had more fun than should be legal without alcohol for the couple of hours that I was in Unraveled this afternoon. I was able to try coarse short fiber wool, and the silken long draw of a 100% bamboo roving in addition to the initial BFL. Each was truly a unique feeling and experience, and through it all I felt like the Mach 1 performed wonderfully!

Things I liked as a beginner... no little hole to dictate how large or small my single had to be, and therefore no threading. I liked that it had multiple ratios available without having to change out whorls - you just pull up the drive belt and set it in the groove you wish. The tension was easy to find, and easy to adjust. There is nothing moving about in the back where I can't see it (and therefore have children get into when I am unawares...). And finally, the bobbin is HUGE. I have read all over Ravelry about spinning wheels with bobbins that hold 2 oz, or 4 oz, but never one like this at a whopping 8oz. My eyes glaze over just thinking about the amount of yarn that will fit onto that thing. Truly wonderful. I only wish it came with one or two more bobbins. It will be kind of hard to ply with only one bobbin....

For my first time at the wheel, it was a resounding success, and I will be putting away my pennies for a wheel starting yesterday.

And the best part of all? Christine will be selling them at her store Unraveled, in Monrovia!

It just doesn't get better than that - unless you add lessons...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Totally unrelated obsession...

Dr. Horrible's Sing A Long Blog.

Go watch now.

"You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll kiss 3 bucks goodbye!"
-Hardware Wars. ca 1980

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obsessions, day 2

And on the second day, a beautiful baby handspun was born, hand wound and plied on my drop spindle. Totally Obsessed....

For perspective...

A second mini-skein plied. The colors are truest in this photo.

I don't think I have ever been happier just looking at a tiny ball of yarn. I'm a proud mama.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obsessions, day 1

Today I am obsessing with finding yarn for a BSJ. A friend of mine from college is due for her third in November, and I just can't pass up the opportunity to knit this little wonder. I'm planning on checking out one of my LYS when I take my boys to their summer tutoring session - we'll see. I have found myself falling in love with Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop, based on this incredible picture I saw over at Ravelry (where else)... but alas it is $18 a skein. Of course, part of me says "what's $36 for a lovely baby sweater... sigh. I think I am sinking into the depths of the dark side of yarn snobbery. I must resist! Resist the dark side... but the dark side has chocolate. Chocolate is good. Dark chocolate too. Hmmmm.... maybe I could just take a peek at the dark side. Just a little peek....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Spider sense....

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Just for laughs -- I always thought that I would love to be MJ, sigh....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A tale of a mighty dragon...

There he sits. Rojo. Mighty dragon. He carries my family from place to place, does battle in our streets keeping us safe from harm as he wings down the black highways of L.A. And yet, there he sits. Why, you might ask, does he sit? Just sit... he rumbles and groans, but the ease with which I would guide him has been hindered. Rojo, the mighty dragon, does not want to move. His engine roars, but his wheels stay firm. His hand release for the parking brake is broken, the once strong cable torn and the handle pulled loose in my hand. We are going nowhere today.

It could have been better timing - couldn't it always - but it could have been worse. I am in Palm Dessert, visiting my parents time share, and we had just finished buying a boat load of groceries, loaded them into the cavernous rear of my mighty dragon, and were about to take off - so I thought. It was at this point that the aforementioned handle came loose into my clutch. Thankfully, it was AAA to the rescue. Liam and I went with the tow truck driver, Sam, to Palm to Pines Automotive where they would unclench the parking brake, and my mother waited with the groceries for us to return. Thankfully Maia and Brandon were with my father - but unfortunately he could not come to my mother's rescue because the car seat necessary to move Maia in a vehicle was, of course, with me. So off we went. And the brake was released, and I went to get my mother from the store. We drove back to the timeshare in triumph and joy. We parked. And that is when it happened. I stepped on the parking brake again. After having spent 3 hours of my afternoon working to free Rojo from the parking brake's grip, I engaged it again. Habit. And I have never felt so stupid in all my life.

So after several minutes of wailing and screaming, and crying to the gods about a simple lapse of mind, I turned and went into the house. I knit. I chatted with my dear friend online. I went swimming. And in the best words of Scarlet O'hara, I decided that "I'll think about that tomorrow."

The knitting is from a kit that my wonderful husband procured for my birthday, another beautiful design by Ann Hanson of Knitspot. And sitting atop that lovely mountain of fiber? The cutest little sheep that ever graced my needles, thanks to my lovely Jen, who is today sporting a new look herself.

Here's wishing you a better day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


So as I toodle around the internet, reading blogs and boards, reflecting on life's little subtleties, that little voice in the back of my mind starts reminding me about the fact that I have not added anything to this blog in maybe a month - not counting our backyard fire, of course.

So, what have I missed?

Brandon turning 8. This was a HUGE blow. Don't ask me what's so different about 8 than 7, but suddenly he seems much too grown up. Sigh. I keep telling myself I will let go when I need too... hope I don't end up with empty nest syndrome instead. But then again, I do love those little squishy babies.. sigh.

We had a birthday party for him in the back yard a week after his birthday. It was small, but it was a load of fun. Everyone enjoyed pizza, and Javier was out there playing a game of... of... well, I don't really know what they were playing. I just know that it involved lots of pool noodles, and ambushes by the children.

Much hilarity and joy was had by all. It was a good day.

The preschool had their carnival, and Miss Mary Mac had her last year as the Childcare Booth Chair. Mary is a hoot. I love to be around her. At least I'll still bump into her at the Elementary school for a few more years and a few more laughs. The kids had a blast riding ponies, and bouncing, and buying their own treats with the handful of tickets I got each of them this year. It was a wonderful day had by all.

Brandon competed with his Cub Scout Troop in the Pinwood Derby. He had a blast, but didn't win a thing. I love youth.

We got kittens. 3 of them. They are beyond cute, and I can't even begin to express how adorable it is to see my rough and tumble Liam curled around a baby kitten. He is more attached to his kitten than either of the other two, and he makes sure that she is fed, and comfortable, and in his arms about 2/3rds of the day. It is beyond cute. We have Fluffy Kitty (aka Dr. Pepper per my hubby), Tiger (that's Brandon's), and then the dangerously beautiful Kiki (Liam's pride and joy.)

My older brother turning 47. Dude. No words. But I have to mail his present soon...

My siblings turning 31 - David and Danae - somehow them being over 30 just makes me feel really old. Sigh.

(That's David Girlfriend, Lea)

Then my best friend (from across the continent) Jen getting yet another year older thousands of miles away.

Javier and I celebrating our 12 anniversary. Yah, all of you who bet we would last a year...ya'll can suck it. :D

(Anyone getting the feeling there are a lot of celebrations for us in May?)

And Liam got is very first Spotlight Award at the school - for "Asking great questions, and getting the answers!" This is very much my Liam. I love it.

And that kind of brings us up to date - at least on the big stuff. My birthday is coming up. Maia's birthday is coming up and we are planning a little get together in the park. I hope it goes off well. My secret weapon of choice? Costco. Cake. Pizza. Cheap and good. Doesn't get much better.

Well, off for now!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Round the Home Fire...

So I'm finally back at the keyboard, armed with pictures of the fire that was right behind our house. The Firemen did a fantastic job, keeping the fire moving slowly behind our hills, treating almost like a controlled burn - reducing the risk to all of us later in the fire season. Not one house was lost, though the fire burned right behind the northernmost homes across the breadth of Sierra Madre. There were helicopters, spotter planes, and hand crews. It was a tremendous and impressive effort. How to send enough thanks to the brave men and women who battle heat and flame to keep your home safe, I will never know. But I will continually try.

This is what we saw by day...


The tanker diving...

dropping fire retardant foam...

one helicopter....

hand crews working....

fire trucks being stationed....

second helicopter

smoke on the hill...

spotter plane...

And at night ...

The window you see here is our kitchen window...

At this point we packed up the children and left for my mother-in-laws, who was kind enough to take us all in - cat, dog, and bird. I will always be grateful to her for being there for us, without question. I will never get over how lucky I got when it came to my in-laws. I only hope they know how much I appreciate them, and every kind thing they do for us.

We were with my MIL for a little over two days total. It was a grand vacation for the children, and a good place to wait for news while the fire fighters worked so hard for us day and night. It was really good to get home.

More tomorrow on what we've been up to. Promise!