Sunday, June 29, 2008

Birthday Beagle!

In the fall of 2005 before we moved to CA, we adopted a little Beagle named Trouble from the local humane society. She came to us in not the greatest shape. She was suffering from heart worm and was so severely overweight that her trachea had collapsed and she had trouble breathing. Her first night with us she was so tense she spent it staring at my husband, unable for hours to relax enough to go to sleep.

Over the next few months we taught her that she wasn't going to live tied up outside and that going for walks was fun (Riso, our other dog taught her not to try to steal his food). In turn, we learned that even Beagles with very short legs can run really, really fast and that when Charles Schultz drew Snoopy doing the celebratory Suppertime Dance, well, he wasn't exaggerating. Meal time for Trouble is quite the party!

Here she is, on one of our first adventures with her, at the top of Putney Mountain, in Putney, VT.

When we got her, she weighed over 40 pounds; her goal weight, according to the vet, was 25. Fortunately, she loves to run and go for walks; that harness she's wearing in that picture is long gone - it's way too big. Here she is now, down to a svelte 27 pounds.

"See how adorable I am? Don't you want to feed me?"

And clearly she has learned how to relax.

Tuesday is Trouble's 9th birthday. Happy Birthday, little pointy-nosed girl! We're glad you're part of our family.

Grumpy And Glad About It

This Thursday was a tough day at work. Nobody did anything nasty or wrong, but it was one of those days where everything was slowed down for stupid (and mostly technical) reasons. I spent the day running around like crazy, and accomplishing very little. Everyone has those days, and I'm usually able to laugh it off, especially as they don't often happen. But this time I was irate and frustrated. I realized late in the day though, that due to the craziness, I'd had to bail on my planned workout. And that pissed me off. And then I realized, I think I was grumpy because I missed exercising. A milestone! I celebrated by kicking butt, both at work and working out the next day.

Bad Pictures, Good Progress

Black yarn just doesn't photograph well. But I'm making good progress on Ariann; I finished the body yesterday and will start the sleeves this evening. I love the Colrain; it's soft and shiny (ooh! shiny!) and not very splitty. I highly recommend it.

Ariann so far is a great pattern; I'd learned the hard way that Bonne Marie's patterns often will give instructions for a few paragraphs and then say " the meantime, work the increases...." so I read ahead and didn't end up having to frog or fudge anything. It took only a little while to memorize the pattern, so it moves along pretty quickly. If I could only remember that yarn over after the ssk near the sides, it would move along even better (ahem)!

I'm also making progress on the Haruha Scarf - though as it's my car project, it's going a little more slowly:

Picture #1 shows progress. Picture #2 shows the color more accurately. The Lana Gatto VIP is awfully nice stuff; super soft (that would be the cashmere content) and not splitty at all.

Let The Games Begin

We have our first zucchini off the vine. Judging from the amount almost ready to pick and blossoms on the plants, we'll be playing "see how fast we can run away after leaving ungodly amounts of zucchini at our neighbors' door" very soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Wonder I'm So Popular

Totally stolen from Donna.

Your Slogan Should Be
How Do You Handle a Hungry Man? Rachel.
The Slogan Generator

Either that or my Jewish Mother, must-feed-everyone-in-sight heritage is showing through...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Mishmash

Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes! Here's my favorite card:

Would you believe my father sent it to me? Our family doesn't believe in mushy, treacly cards. Except once when my oldest brother and I spent a year trying to out-schmaltz each other with gooey greeting cards. I think this explains a lot.

Thanks also for the encouragement with regard to my new workout plans! It's going really well, and while it's too soon to see any physical change, I'm pretty damned pleased with myself which is an upgrade in outlook for sure. Here's something else about which to be pleased:

My last iPod broke about 3 months ago - the screen got trashed somehow in my gym bag and while the thing still played, there was no way to make a selection. Yeah, that was fun. To repair it was going to cost nearly the same as a new one, so yesterday we went out and got this. The clip/case has a hard protective cover for the screen, and I whipped up this little pouch to protect it while it's in my bag.

The Miracle That Is Port

Of course as I was in a screaming hurry yesterday to get the new iPod all set up, Murphy's Law stepped in and decided to slow me down by having iTunes show up for me in Dutch. It's a little hard to set up one's preferences when one can't read the language in which they're listed. I called Customer Service and really threw them for a loop. They couldn't figure it out (yes, we tried to update Preferences - it wouldn't register). So I uninstalled and reinstalled iTunes twice. Still Dutch. I was so pissed I was practically vibrating. My husband suggested I step away from it for a while. I did that long enough to pour myself some port, then sat back down with it. It spontaneously changed back to English. Which only proves, port cures all ills. Remember that.


As mentioned in my last post, I met up with The Minions of the Pointy Sticks on World Wide Knit In Public day on Santana Row for a little outdoor knitting. It was pretty hot out but Jasmin had found a great shady spot so it was actually quite comfortable. The multiple iced coffees from Peet's didn't hurt either. We had a fine group!

Jasmin and Ursula

The men: Andrew and Michael (Greg was there too but I didn't get a shot - sorry!)

Ursula, Erica, Cynthia

And the instigators of the event, The Knitmore Girls, Jasmin and Gigi (Dahling).

We KIP'd (K'd IP?) until about 5:30, then headed over to Cynthia's for pizza, wine and more fiber fun. A totally lovely day!

Start-Ups (Let's Hope I Finish-Up)

I've had a hard time lately deciding what to knit. What I want most to wear is what I least feel like knitting, and what I want most to knit is what I need the least in my wardrobe. Oy. I finally bit the bullet and made some decisions:

I've joined the Ariann bandwagon. I wouldn't have chosen to make this based on the picture on the pattern, but I've now seen two knit and worn by friends and it's incredibly flattering on a multitude of body types. I'm doing this in Valley Yarns Colrain - worsted weight Merino/Tencel. Black usually washes me out but I think the open pattern will let the color of my clothes show through, and that will soften it up.

I have also started this:

The Haruha scarf. I'm using the Llana Gatto VIP that I dyed recently. So far so good on this one.

I also started and finished this - my second Montego Bay Scarf from my own handspun - this time, Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in the Albatross colorway.

I think I love this pattern!

Parting Shot

Miguel would like you to know that even though he's 19 and not as strong as he used to be, he can still paralyze you with his stare of death.

Friday, June 13, 2008

World Wide Knit In Public Day - Tomorrow!

Tomorrow (Saturday the 14th) is World Wide Knit In Public Day! I'll be joining Jasmin and crew on Santana Row from about 1 - 4. Join us if you can. My other knitting group will be in Memorial Park in Cupertino tomorrow starting around 9; I may be there for a little while too.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fifty, Fit and Fab

It's my birthday today but no, I'm not fifty. But next year I will be. Most of the time I'm ok with that. But. I'm not so happy with how I look. The past 5 years have been tough on me physically; first I had cancer and the treatment for that pretty much trashed my thyroid and metabolism so I'm no longer the slim tiny person I used to be. When I behave like an adult I know I should be grateful I'm even here to bitch about my weight and appearance. But we all know I rarely behave like an adult and I doubt that's going to change anytime soon.

What will change is how I feel about my efforts to fix the problem. I've eaten quite well all along, and I've been exercising. Hell, last year I trained for and walked the 39.3 mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (2 days not 1 - we're not that crazy). But after doing some in-depth reading, I've come to the conclusion that maybe I'm not getting the right kind of exercise in the right amounts. That is going to change. Instead of just walking, I'm doing interval training. I'll do more than the treadmill at the gym. I'll lift weights again and really push it - I used to do it like crazy years ago and loved it; I'm not sure why I ever stopped.

I have no excuses. California weather is such that you can comfortably be outdoors most of the time (especially if you're from VT and don't consider 50F to be 'freezing'). I belong to a very nice gym that has so much equipment you never wait in line for it. There's a little gym at work that I can (and do) use for free. My office is very close to an entrance to the Los Gatos Creek Trail. And I live a half-block away from the Santa Teresa Foothills, on which there are hiking trails. Could it be any easier? Probably not. So here's my promise to myself: with the exception of days that I'm sick (and I mean a fever, not just a sniffle) I am going to do something to move or stretch my body every single day. I'll walk. I'll do intervals. I'll use every cardio machine in the gym (not all at once though). I'll use the weight machines and do free-weights. On days that are tougher to fit it in, I'll do pushups, crunches and lunges, lift small weights and stretch at home. I'll do something. Every day.

So what do I expect this will bring me? Well I hope it'll bring some semblance of my waistline back. I'd like some muscle definition. And while I can hike for 10 miles now, I'd like my recovery time to be faster when I do something to the point of exertion. Dropping a clothing size or two would make me happy too. All of those would be great. But what I also want to be able to say one year from now is that no matter how I look, I am doing everything within my power to be as fit and fab as I can. At fifty.

I actually started this a week ago, as soon as I came up with the idea. So far I've kept it up and I feel pretty good about that.

Ok, enough of this maturity crap.

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

Considering my last post, I'm amazed it's even that high a level.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Voting For Dorfus Featherbutt

Though my body will turn 49 next week, apparently my brain is 12, if that.

My new name: Goober Chickenboob. My son's? Doofus Rhinohiney. I can't stop laughing.

What's your new name*?

1. Use the third letter of your first name to determine your new first name:

A = snickle
b = doombah
c = goober
d = cheesey
e = crusty
f = greasy
g = dumbo
h = farcus
i = dorky
j = doofus
k = funky
l = boobie
m = sleezy
n = sloopy
o = fluffy
p = stinky
q = slimy
r = dorfus
s = snooty
t = tootsie
u = dipsy
v = sneezy
w = liver
x = skippy
y = dinky
z = zippy

2. Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:

A = dippin
b = feather
c = batty
d = burger
e = chicken
f = barfy
g = lizard
h = waffle
i = farkle
j = monkey
k = flippin
l = dippin
m = bubble
n = rhino
o = potty
p = hamster
q = buckle
r = gizzard
s = lickin
t = snickle
u = chuckle
v = pickle
w = hubble
x = dingle
y = gorilla
z = girdle

3 . Use the third letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:

a = butt
b = boob
c = face
d = nose
e = hump
f = breath
g = pants
h = shorts
i = lips
j = honker
k = head
l = tush
m = chunks
n = dunkin
o = brains
p = biscuits
q = toes
r = doodle
s = fanny
t = sniffer
u = sprinkles
v = frack
w = squirt
x = humperdinck
y = hiney
z = juice

Using this formula, the lying, arrogant maroon in the White House (Me? Bitter?) is Fluffy Chucklefanny. John McCain is Farcus Battyface. And Barack Obama's new name is Dorfus Featherbutt. Where's my bumper sticker?

*From Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pilkey

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Road Trip!

Saturday a bunch of us piled into a couple of cars and made our way to the Retzlaff Winery in Livermore, where they were having a fine little fiber event. Jasmin let me borrow Andrew's Prius to check it out, and Tika rode with me. Since it wasn't my car I didn't drive in my usual assertive manner, so I'm pretty sure I didn't scare her.

It was a pretty cool little gathering. Literally - all morning it was overcast and windy - I was freezing! But I didn't let that get in my way, and I spent some time wandering around, checking out the vendors. I came away with some serious loot.

Remember this Alpaca? Well I bought 8 ounces of this to go with it. It'll all go into a striped sweater, using naturally colored fiber. I'm not sure of the style yet, but it'll probably be a light cardigan of some sort.

Then this little bag of Cashmere/Tussah Silk blend called out to me:

"Take meeee hooooome!!" (Could you blame me?)

Then I picked up this funky mix of roving with shots of red BLF and bling. It's totally not my style but it looked as if it would be really fun to spin, so I went for it. It'll eventually be a gift for someone else.

Close up: Ooh! Shiny! Pretty!

Just to prove there was more than just gray roving for sale (it'll probably be easier to see if you double-click):

This is Pin-Drafted Rambouillet with Bamboo Silk running through it. I seem to be attracted to the shiny. All of the above were purchased from Morro Fleece Works.

Jasmin and I each bought yarn from Nebu Rock Textiles to match our hair:

A close up of mine - it's 5 skeins of Kid Mohair, and just gorgeously soft and shiny. It'll be a sweater - or, as I have 1500 yards of it and I'm freakishly short, a sweater and something else.

After the shopping frenzy and a wine tasting (Some port followed me home. Dang! Everything wants to follow me home! What's up with that?) we settled down to spin for a bit. I worked on this:

It's Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in the 'Touch Me' color way. It's going to end up a 3-ply, possibly fingering weight.

I left the event early to go to Mary's house for our monthly spinning get-together. As usual, there was a great crowd there, including Lisa who tried out a spinning wheel for the first time. I can't believe I'd forgotten to bring my camera for both events. I'm a bad, bad blogger. Anyway, a couple more hours of spinning and then I headed home to make this:

A stir-fry made mostly with veggies from Mary's vegetable box which she let me adopt last week since she was away. Thanks Mary!

Other Pretty Stuff On The Home Front

The little apricot tree we planted last fall is doing well.

California living is pretty sweet.

A Couple Of FO's

The finished hand-spun from Pigeon Roof:

Since I've spent so much time trying to spin fine yarn, I thought I'd check to see if I can still spin a little thicker. It seems I can. This is two-ply, and about a worsted/heavy worsted weight.

And finally (Sil), the reason I didn't felt my Booga Bag right away: I had another one on the needles! I just didn't want to waste energy and run the washer twice.

These are from Noro left over from my Lizard Ridge. Though the one on the left also uses the Cascade 220 that I used for the border. I love the stripes!

That's it! I hope you all had as nice a weekend as I did.