Monday, January 31, 2011

Ahhhh, I am sitting here with a cup of coffee, and it's cold and quiet outside. The zoo-parade of animals has been tended to and MyFavoriteKid is off on his way to school. I have a huge to-do list today, but blogging is at the top (finishing that damn plying is 2nd), and so here I am.

Thanks for all the comments and support lately. Things here have been really strange. When people ask me how things are going, I am tempted to say, "fine"...but only because when I scan all the little "issues" spinning around in my world, every single one of them feels manageable. On it's own. What I keep forgetting is how many of them there are. Even TheMostImportantGuy called it ThePerfectStorm at some point a week or so ago. There are so many that I can't even see how to fit them all into one post, and writing multiple posts seems so daunting, that's why I keep not writing anything at all. Lame, I know. But deer in the headlights and/or procrastination are a pretty typical m.o. for me. The things on the list are so intertwined it's also contributing to that "stopping dead in my tracks, paralyzed," feeling (although it's usually stationary with tears dripping down my face), but the good news is that I am starting to be able to untangle things and sort them into "groups". I'm not sure why categorizing things seems to be working for me, but it is. Maybe it's like organizing my emotional closet or something.

So one of the categories is definitely related to death. Guernseygal definitely had a point when she mentioned that some of this is probably backlash to TheMIG's dad passing away in early December. No doubt at all that I have been thinking about him much, and at the oddest of times. I really miss him. Lots. But there's more in this category.

About two weeks ago, I got a phone call from the ExMotherInLaw that GrandpaG had died. This would be MyFK's great-grandfather (so this is TheEx's father's father). GrandpaG was a hoot. I have never met anybody so funny and snarky since, and when that blog/book/tv show/whatever came out....Sh&% My Dad Says...I was positive that GrandpaG was involved somehow. Now see if you can follow along here, but the last time I saw GrandpaG was at GrandpaKen's funeral (TheEx's dad). Ken died a couple of months before my car accident, so that was about 7 years ago. TheEx and I were already long separated, but of course I went to the funeral, as did MyFK who was in 1st grade at the time. At the funeral home, the family was seated on the "stage" where the open casket was, just off to the side. GrandpaG was sitting behind us, and as people were filing in and crying and expressing sympathies, GrandpaG leaned into us and said, "When I die?? Just SHOOT ME OUT OF A CANNON, will ya'??!! BOOOOM!!" Both MyFK and I started busting up, because how could you not, which of course was inappropriately appropriate. He made jokes like that the rest of the afternoon, except for when Ken was lowered into the ground, and I saw GrandpaG turn away with a tear in his eye, and he said to me, "No one should have to bury their own kids," and walked away.

I never saw him again. TheEx is exactly that, my ex, and I've always left it up to him to figure out his family stuffs. I always thought he'd take MyFK to see him over summer break or something, but he never did. Just a couple of months ago I was thinking that I'd probably need to do it myself, and that needing to wasn't even the right word for it, because quite frankly, I'd like to see him again myself.

Wellp, too late for that.

What really blows me away is that we didn't hear until several weeks later, and missed any opportunity to go to the funeral or send (timely) condolences. I guess the remaining sons had a difficult time tracking down TheEx, let alone me, and only finally got word through TheExMIL, who had been divorced from TheEx's dad for years and years herself. How is it that GrandpaG's family was so out of touch?? It's baffling to me.

So the fun layer to all of this was breaking it to MyFK. He actually really remember GrandpaG, and a lot of his jokes, actually. Funny what sticks with us. When TheEXMIL called to tell me, I phoned TheEX and asked him if he would please tell MyFK. I had just gotten over TheMIG's dad passing and working that though with MyFK, and it was time for TheEX to step up and do some parenting, no? Well, do you know that TheEx saw MyFK twice and "forgot" to talk with him about it?? I mean, I know death is hard, and denial is a part of the grief process, but for crying out loud. TheExMIL and I finally talked about it, and she agreed to call and talk to MyFK. And then of course, I followed up.

And so that was that.
And then....
there is James.
He's my buddy that I visit at the convalescent hospital that I was matched up with 6 or so years ago by the volunteer organization??
James had to into surgery for some changes to his pacemaker, then he got pneumonia, and then the other day I found out they are putting him on oxygen at night, which is good, because when you look at him he is pale and his lips are blue.

Somewhere in all of this is recognizing the fact that my dad's mom is what, 96 now?? And that my mom's mom, who was moved to a convalescent hospital this year, sent me a Christmas card but singed it "Aunt" instead of "Grammy".

And now last week I get a call from TheBon that her dad passed away unexpectedly.. I mean, he'd been sick last year, to be sure. But he had been treated and was on the upswing and was even talking about going back to work...and then blammo. Didn't feel good in the middle of the night, and was gone within a couple of hours. Unbelievable.
(please do send her the mojo...she has flown back home and is in the thick of it all as I type this)

Yah. And so. There's the death part of my organized emo-closet. There's also a bunch of other drawers and bins in the closet though.
But that's enough for now. No?

I'm not going to proof or edit this, because if I do, it may never get posted (funny how that works with me) please pardon if it's rambling or full of typos. It's raw. Like me. !

Sunday, January 30, 2011

vintage me

That's me in the closest lane.
First swim meet, age 7.
Backstroke always was (and still is) my favorite....breaststroke a close second.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

snaps on saturday

Did a little spinning yesterday. It soothed my nerves and I have almost reached my goal for the month. I just need to ply the second bobbin of singles. This was my first real Navajo-ply (I'd only done a small bit once in a plying class). My goals is to have two similar skeins of yarn that have long runs of color to make some fingerless gloves.

Today TheMostImportantGuy went to the morning practice at the zen center, grabbed a quick breakfast to go, and jetted straight over to the vet to pick up Teeny. She went in yesterday to get spayed and to have a couple of baby teeth removed that didn't come out when the adult teeth came in.

Check her out.

Coned. And stoned.
Pain meds for a couple of days, cone for two weeks ;-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

another freebie friday!

So the winner of last week's giveaway is KarenTheDancingLurker!! (Karen, seems silly to mail it to you....I'll bring it in person to dance class next week, yah?).

The winner of the giveaway from the week before that was "suenapse".... and I still have not heard from you! Well, you've commented once, but I still need you to email me your mailing address ;-) Let me know where to send your awesome monster towels!

This week's favorite thing of mine that I am passing along is tea...

...specifically Peet's Winter Solstice Blend. I know we're a couple of weeks past the solstice, but from what I can tell, most of us are still feeling the effects of winter.

This is a loose tea (not tea bags. It's a blend of black teas from Sri Lanka, India, and China, blended with cinnamon, clove, allspice, vanilla bean, citrus, and awesomeness (ok, that last ingredient is not listed on the label). It's a lovely blend. One of my favorites, and I look forward to it when comes out every year.

If you would like to enter, just say so in the comments. Elaborate if you want to, but don't feel obligated. If you're shy just say "yes! enter me!" or something of that sort. Easy breezy! If you don't want to be entered into the contest but want to chime in, you can do that too...just let me know not to throw your name into the hat.

I choose a name on Thursday at noon, and announce with winner on Friday when I show then next thing up for grabs.
Have fun and thanks for playing along! I'm having fun with it. I feel a little bit like the GoodieFairie or something ;-)


I have way more to say besides showing shiny boxes of tea. There will either be a second, longer post today, or I'll be typing today and editing and posting tomorrow.
Love you guys.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Sorry about handing over my blogging responsibilities last night. That was TheMostImportantGuy that actually took over for me because I was completely flipping out.

It's official. I'm having a mini-meltdown. Well, let's hope mini. It seems like it's getting bigger.

I'm anxious, I'm crying in the supermarket on the frozen foods aisle, I'm yelling at the people I care about, I'm tired, and I cannot find one friggin' minute to myself. It seems like every. single. movement. I make is made to do something for someone else. Whether it be the zoo-parade of animals, or the people I am closest to, or various entities that require volunteer help.

I need a moment.
I dont even know how long of a moment.
And I dont have any idea where in the F%&$ I am going to find said moment.
But I need a moment of aloooooooooooone time.

I just need to get my head on straight, because something is not quite right.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest blog by TheMIG's cat "Tad"

I love the wet food, I hate the dry food.

More wet food please. Yes I see the dry food pile... And your point is....?

I will now eat all the dry food and leave the wet food untouched. Throw it away, yes. More of that last type of dry food please.

Where is the wet food? I shall not touch this dry food until I first have some wet food!

I am parched. I glance at the water dish near the food. Of course I have never touched it... How could I drink from that foul thing? Itturn away. There now isanother water dishnear the door which appeared recently. FEH! I am not fooled. I shall walk as usual out to the kitchen to drink from the glass humans use , which they always leave out for me.

Mrrroowwwl... Mmrrowwwl... I call mournfully for no reason while stalking the small glass of water on the floor.

mmmmm... Yes, this water is good. Not atall like that swill in those containers of inferiorshapenear the food.

I retire to the loft area to wait for the stinky man-human to come provide warmth.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's what's really going on with me. Vaguely. In that I'm not sure I can get into great detail given my current mental capacity.

I'm freaking out.
Everything feels like too much.

* MyFavoriteKid's symphony program keeps sneakily adding to it's list of required things the families (that would be me--singular me) must do in order for said kid to participate. Volunteer requirements and fundraising (of large amounts) are not voluntary. They are required. I'm already feeling too spread thin with volunteer stuff, but now I'm roped in or the kid has to quit the program.
* MyFavoriteKid also has a bunch of mandatory meetings that must be attended regarding a trip he will be taking to Washington D.C. in a few weeks with his school.
* Let's not even get started about his teen angst, or the amount of homework he has.
* The wee little chihuahua. I love the little doggy, but integrating her into the household is definitely taking up any extra energy or time I might have had.
* I had a very difficult an uncomfortable situation last week (that carried over into this week) where a neighbor caused me much stress and grief, and it sent me reeling.
* I have a whole list of one-offs on my own to-do list that must be tended to by the middle of next week including renewing my driver's license (I have to take the test again), getting the little dog spayed, and going to some state appointed doctor for a medical review.
* I'm supposed to go on a trip next weekend to see TheMIG's band play down in Los Angeles, and it's also my birthday weekend....but getting things set up so that I can actually go is taking so much effort it's not feeling like that much fun anymore.
* I am feeling a bit of the failure in that I am not living up to the goals I set for myself around so many writing more and spinning more and practicing meditation more, etc. I'm trying to stop myself when I catch me beating myself up, but I usually don't catch it and stop it until I've thrown a solid left hook at myself.
* And last, but certainly not least, is the stress associated with this:

chateau de freakout

TheMostImportantGuy and I are in escrow on that house, and I cannot even begin to describe the many layers of fear I am experiencing around it's potential purchase.

As cute as the house is, and as much potential as it has, it needs far more work done to it than you can see from the outside. We are still figuring out if we can swing all the repairs, and there is a second round of inspections tomorrow to help us determine that. What really has me flipping is that it's bank owned, has been vacant for over 6 months, and it seems like it has been (and from what I can tell, continues to be, as in recently) hit by vandals who are stripping it of anything they can get their hands on.

All of this...all of it...well, it's causing me to lose sleep, lose my cool, and write craptastic blogposts that don't really say much of anything, and I am sick of it. And I don't know what to do about any of it except to maybe "take two of these, and call me in the morning," which I am off to do right now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

" i'll gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today."

Today has been thing, stacked on top of thing, stacked on top of thing....and it aint over yet. I still have more to do before sleep, and it's already 10:15.
Nothing is bad.
It's just endless, is all.
I'm wiped...and I am on the dancer's conference call as I type this...and it's proving to be consider this today's post.

Lame. Sorry.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

vintage me

Well, ok...vintage me AND my mom...the real star of the photo ;-)

April 1968...which puts me at about 14 mos. old

Ya' know, I'm gonna have to take a closer look next time I am over at my folks house, but I think that bookcase in the background is one of a set that my parents still own and use!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

snaps on saturday (his 'n hers style)

I am doing a 3-day meditation retreat at the zen center.
Since I am staring at the floor, that's really all I have to share.

TheMostImportantGuy, however, is doing some rehearsing with his bandmate for an upcoming gig they have in Los Angeles.
He is also "dog sitting".

Sent (with love) from my iPad

Friday, January 21, 2011

fridays here are fun

Here we go! Round Three.

Last week there were 6 entries for the monster hand towels. The random number generator chose #6, "suenapse". Please shoot me an email (see sidebar) and let me know where to send them! Enjoy!

Up for grabs this week is the Elizabeth Zimmerman book , "Knitter's Almanac: Projects for Each Month of the Year".

the original version, not the commemorative edition ;-)

I have most of EZ's books, but this is the one I've been flipping through for months now. I'm not too shy to say it's the bathroom book of choice right now LOL. It's also the book I quoted from on New Year's Eve, and it's also the book that had me believing that maybe I really need to just cover myself in knitting (knitted leggings at least, to be precise---that would be EZ's "Nethergarments" which you will find in September's chapter).

I'm guessing a lot of you may have this book already, but I had to add it to the mix because I just love it so. If you'd like to enter the drawing, just leave a comment. Or if you feel like commenting about the book (or whatever else is on your mind) but don't want to be entered, leave a comment anyhow and just let me know that ;-)

I draw at 12-noon on Thursdays, and on Fridays I announce the winner when I post the next item up for grabs.
Have fun!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

maybe it's the dog that needs to evolve

New little dog has mostly been doing okay. She still has some potty training issues, which I am not tickled about at all but I am willing to work with, but if she thinks she is gonna make in at home in this house here with me???
She had better not pull this crap again:

Ooooo, I am soooo pissed I have to show it twice.

That is (was) a cake of Twisted Fiber Arts "Yummy". I believe the base is new to the dye artist, as I don't even see it available on her website yet, but it's that ever popular Superwash Merino/Cashmere/Nylon (80/10/10) that's been going around. This is a custom club colorway called "Dazzle" and it was dyed in the "Evolution" design. I've used the evolutions style yarn before on the Mara shawl, and also on a Clapotis. Oh yah, and also on a very silly hat.

I love knitting with the evolutions yarn. It's quite addictive to knit through the color changes.
I love watching the colors change AS THEY COME OFF THE BALL.


I am happy to report that at least the yarn does not appear to be chewed through. And if it was, at least I know how to pull of a pretty clean looking Russian-join now. But this was a pretty substantial cake, and I don't believe my ball winder can handle rewinding all of it, which really irks me (once again, AmpuTeeHee wishes she had a jumbo ball winder).

I guess I'll just wind by hand and bury the color changes into the center of the ball. Maybe as I knit and the colors come off the ball, it will be like a whole new surprise again.
Or so I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'm sure you guys don't come here for screen shots of my teevee, but sometimes I see something so stupid, I just have to share it.

From tonight's evening news and a report about the rise of accidents cause by laser pointers:

"Shining a lazer at an aircraft may seem like a harmless prank...but even a weak laser like this one...can cause a blindness. Lasers can even cause permanent eye damage....."

(which she then flashes several times at the camera, making my eyeballs scream)

She then goes on to report how the incidents have increased, and how serious it is, and while she is doing so, they are showing a clip of someone actually pointing one AT and airplane.

And it aint no youtube's like, a professional shot.

And so who took THAT???!

I don't know why I find stuff like this so odd and stoopid and funny.
But I do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The traffic lady:
"And now we'll move over to Highway 4 where traffic appears to be moving at the limit...."

...and then up pops the "traffic cam" which is immersed in the DEEP ARSED FOG we've been sitting in for days.
It appears to be moving at the limit, alright.


I realized this morning that perhaps my crabbypants is somehow related to the fact that I haven't had a moment to sit with my knitting since a week ago Saturday.
This will not do.

Monday, January 17, 2011


There's a whole long list of things that are making me crabby. When I listed them off to TheMostImportantGuy and I pointed out that the last item on the list was that I was verge of the PMS-zone, he said it was A Perfect Storm.

I'll be fine. I just got to looking at the next few weeks and seeing a whole lot of insanity mushed into very tightly scheduled spaces, and I'm not sure how I'm going to keep needing to breathe deeply into a paper bag or something.

I'm going to see if a cup of tea and an earlier bedtime helps.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

state of the chihuahua address.

Let me tell you where I'm at with the little dog.

I keep telling everyone who asks that I am fostering her. I say that she was found by some friends of ours about 5 weeks ago, and that the wee little thing was running down the street dragging a leash behind her, but our friends couldn't figure out who her owner was. Since our friends seem to collect wayward dogs already (I think at present they have four..?), they couldn't manage another. We agreed to take her in for a bit, and whether she worked out here or we had to send her back, we were willing to pay for her to get to the vet, get her shots and get fixed. Teeny came for a visit a week earlier and it seemed to go okay, so we took her in Wednesday night.

Thursday I took her to the vet (how's that for a fine how-do-ya-do). She weighed in at 3 lbs 15 oz, and she was estimated to be about 18 months. She didn't have a microchip, had not been fixed, and when some of her adult teeth came in, they missed the baby teeth, so there are a few lingering teeth that should probably come out. She was also deemed to have luxating patellas (floating kneecaps). One is a Grade 2, the other is somewhere between a Grade 3 or 4, which explains the twist in her funky little walk (she's not in pain, and she has no difficulty walking, but she may as she gets older). Oh. And it was also determined that she had never had a litter, but that she had either just been in heat, or was just about to be in heat (Well, guess what. She's officially had a visit from Aunt Flo today). She had her first round of shots and will get the second round to finish the series in three weeks. The plan at that point is to also have her fixed and I am considering taking out the baby teeth while she's knocked out.

She seems to be fitting in just fine here. The cats aren't too upset by her presence, and the existing dog doesn't seem too jealous. She seems pretty smart and listens really well. I only had to tell her twice not to go near the cat food, and I haven't seen her make a single attempt since. She doesn't know any commands like "sit", but I'm going to see what I can do about that. She responds to her name, so I'm not about to change it. She walks well on the leash and doesn't have a problem with my wheelchair or crutches. My only big training issue is that she was paper trained. I'm not a big fan of that. I've been keeping a pee-pad thingy out, but she's been using it less and less and favoring the fact, she didn't use it today at all, now that I think of it.

She's super snuggly. She likes to hide under blankets, and at night she likes to sleep way under the covers. She seems pretty playful and interactive with Riley, but I think I'm going to need to reassess that once she is not longer in heat. She doesn't bark much (if at all) in the house, but is a bit more vocal when out of the house if she is feeling nervous.

I really think she's a sweetie, but if someone I trust fell in love with her and wanted to make her a nice home? I don't think I'd get in their way if they wanted to adopt her.

I aint sayin' I don't adore her. I'm just sayin' I think I am forcing myself to not get attached, is all.

Hope there aint' too many typos. I'm beat and I'm not even going to reread this LOL.
Off! To bed!! :-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

fork-it over friday, round two

Checking back to see if you scored??!!
Well, there were 12 of you in "the hat" for last week's item, and the number generator came up with #9. That makes Jen Anderson the winner! Please email me your snail mail addy (my addy is in the sidebar), and I will ship it out!

For the rest of you, no pouting please, because there is plenty more cuteness around here. Check out this week's item:

This week is awesome Monster Hand Towels that I picked up from ShanaLogic , a website that sells goodies from indie artists. The craftsperson who appliqued the towels is Kathy Steig, and the illustrator of the monsters is artist Keith Walsh of Dublin, Ireland.

Now, let me explain how I chose what I am giving away and why. Sometime last year, when I realized I was nearing a big blogiversary, I started collecting a large pile of items for a raffle, and I realized pretty quickly that I was gravitating towards things that were close duplicates of my own favorite things. This does not make me Oprah, and none of you'ze is gettin' a car or a vacation ;-) But you are getting things I love. Cute project bags are serious fetish of mine, and almost all of mine are made by indie artists (like last week's bag). Bags are such a fetish, you can expect to see a couple more.

The towels this week are a representation of my own "guest towels" (I have "guest towels" in quotes because even though they are hung up like guest towels, but they are in the master bath where guests never go LOL). My towels were also purchased through ShanaLogic, but I'm pretty sure the images were made by a different artist. Maybe the applique craftsperson who did the applique work was the same, but I honestly have no idea, because I've had them so long.

Okay! So there ya' go. If you like 'em (the monster towels...not my towels are...well....MINE!!) just leave a comment. Or if you feel like commenting but don't want to be entered, just say that ;-)

I draw at 12-noon on Thursdays, and on Fridays I announce the winner when I post the next item up for grabs.
Have fun!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

vintage me


lots of time spent on the ski slopes....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


chihuahua ears, Riley and TheMIG in background
sorry so dark :-( taken after 9pm

The chihuahua is here overnight for a test drive.
And I am still doing the "tight practice" of repeating a mantra 1000 times everyday.

Tomorrow's mantra????
Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...Are you insane...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

kinda chill.

photo experiments in the produce department:
rainbow chard
(oh....and it was dinner, too)

Tuesdays are always a mad rush around here. It's the day for convalescent hospital rounds and driving MyFavoriteKid uptown to symphony rehearsals, then running a mess of errands up there until I pick him back up again. But today was the first Tuesday back at it since the lovely three-week winter break, plus it's cold and rainy, so it kinda sucked a bit.

I'm cozy-ing up with my wool blanket tonight, drinking tea as a method for defrosting my nose, and working on writing some about volunteer work (it's proving to be just as hard as I thought it would be).

Monday, January 10, 2011

playing with the camera today

mirrored egg shapes behind chain link
on 5th Street, South of Market, San Francisco

I particularly like the first shot, because if you look closely at one of the shards of mirror, you can see part of my face in it ;-)


Today was MyFavoriteKid's first day back at school since the winter break. The morning was a bit of shock, both because of the early wake-up call, but also because it was 29-degrees when he headed out for the bus stop. Sunny California??!! Yah. Right.

Tonight I've been working on some writing for the blog (preliminary convalescent hospital stuff), but I keep being interrupted by parenting issues. I have a defiant child making waves around here, and it's making me crabby.

My teenager has become quite the teenager-ish teenager as of late. It's no surprise to me that he would at some point grow into the years where he would find fault with everything I do, I just have not quite figured out how to respond to it yet.

I am no longer cool, I can't do anything right...and I know that this part of his growing up, and I know I'm not supposed to take any of it personally. But I also refuse to take any of his bullshit. And it's also easier said than done.

Once again, he is having a growth spurt and my parenting skills sadly lag behind a beat.
It's been like that since he was a baby, really.
Just when I got used to parenting a baby that could sit up, he started crawling, and whole new set of parenting skills were required for that. And just when I figured out the parenting skills that went with the crawling behavior, he started walking, thereby requiring new skills. On and on it went like that, and he would always leap first, and then my parenting would have to catch up to him. Over the years the leaps got further and further apart, but in this last year or two, as he's grown into becoming a teenager, it's felt like the changes are happening almost as fast as when he was a toddler! (and it times it kinda feels like I am dealing with a toddler sometimes!---a creature who you cannot reason with, who is trying to become his own separate entity, who is prone to unwarranted outbursts, who wants to do everything himself and thinks he knows it all... but also still want his mommy--whee!)

I'm sure, like always, I will figure this teenage thing out just in time for him to be done with this phase and be onto his next great thing.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

vintage me

back of photo says 7-1976

Nine years old and not sure where it was taken or what the heck I am doing on red telephone at a restaurant table.
What I do remember was that blouse. It was a favorite of mine.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

snaps on saturday

Not great photos, but a nice record of fun times spent and lots of laughter.

From Friday...

MyFavoriteKid and I went over to my mom and dad's to play a round of Boggle.
I won. (Scrabble makes you stronger, it will, young Jedi).

And then from today, the niece gets angry playing Angry Birds on my iPad:

Friday, January 07, 2011

fork-it over friday

Ready for some fun??

Last year I hit a couple of milestones with the blog, and the plan (a very half-assed plan, as it were) was to have a huge giveaway contest. I had many items to raffle off. So many in fact, that the task became too overwhelming for me and I ended up not doing anything at all (common theme in my life).

Well, here's what I'm gonna do. This year, I'm gonna give an item away every Friday until they are all gone. I have lots of interesting little things, but let me be honest: most of what is in the giveaway box are knitting or craft related, and if they aren't, they are somewhat girly-focused. That's probably just fine given who I believe my average reader is. I do have some non-crafty, more gender neutral stuff in the box, so stay tuned each week and I'll mix it up some (but hey, if you're here and you are a non-crafting dude, things here will make great gifts, I am sure....or learn how to knit!).

First up!!!

It's a wee little tote bag. I figured it would make a great little "sock in progress" bag, but it would also make a cute little purse or catch-all. I picked it up locally at a shop in Berkeley called Home101. I don't have info on who made it, but I do remember from the sign that it was a local artisan. The bag is made mostly of denim and flannel with a red cotton lining. The handle can be removed (buttons), and has a few cute little details:

All you have to do? Leave a comment!
I will toss names in a hat and draw at 12-noon on Thursdays. Fridays I will announce the winner when I post the next item up for grabs.

The post office is going to love me this year ;-)
Add Image

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Thursdays are always pretty hectic. All I have is something funny I spotted today at the pet store.

Crazy Pants!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

super fun, but super lame

The kids are still out of school this week, so I took MyFavoriteKid and his buddy to The Exploratorium today (it's free on the first Wednesday of the month, too--woot!). I suspected they would want to ditch me straight away (and they did), but I had planned for that. I brought my camera to experiment and take some fun and interesting photos!

Photo #1: playing with a self-portrait of my reflection in a big shiny silver ball.

Photo #2: Wait. There IS no photo number two. Why. Why?? Because I didn't charge the friggin' camera battery, THAT'S WHY.

So with my plans blown, I sat down and started a sock. Thank god I had planned for that at least. I was able to eek out onnnnne last photo before the battery entirely crapped out.

Taken from my little perch on a wooden bench where I sat, knit, sipped tea (look, I planned for that too), nibbled, and people watched.

My people watching was partly about watching people watch me. The bench I was sitting on wast stationed between a bunch of exhibits, and several little kids (non-maliciously of course) approached me as if I was the interactive "One-Legged Lady Demonstrates How to Knit" exhibit.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Drinking lots of oolong tea today, and playing with the camera...

..which means I am so hyped up on caffeine, all I can see in that photo is the little red thread that needs to be snipped. Tweaker.

Small updates to previous posts:

Brooke commented on my "Spindown" post saying that her inspiration/invitation was actually inspired by Janel, on her blog. Check it out if you are interested in joining the fun and spinning along---she is even offering prizes :-)

Yesterday was the first day of "tight practice" (zen meditation). Most of it went well, but I'm not too sure about the "mantra" portion of my commitment. It took a whoooole lot longer than expected to repeat a simple phrase 1000 times (one thousand! eeep!), and when I tried to speed it up, I felt dizzy and my lungs hurt LOL. Who knew chanting could be aerobic.

I might need to divide it up into chunks throughout the day or something....? Maybe get in a few (slow/non-dizzy) rounds while driving or something...?
I'll let you know what I come up with.

Monday, January 03, 2011

heart kyol che

Yet another thing that smacks of "New Year's Resolution" that I am participating in!! Seriously though, it's just odd timing that it's happening at the beginning of the year, and's only a three month commitment.

Filched directly from the flyer, but with the addition of links and notes (in italics), by me:

Kyol Che is a traditional Korean Zen retreat. The name means “tight dharma”(I have also heard it as "tight practice") or “coming together.” In Korea, it is the three-month winter and summer periods when monks and nuns do intensive sitting practice in the mountain temples. Providence Zen Center (which is the international head temple for the school of zen I practice with) holds two Kyol Che retreats annually, with students sitting up to three months in the winter and four weeks in the summer.

The Heart Kyol Che is an opportunity for students who cannot sit the traditional Kyol Che, or who can sit only part of it, to participate by doing extra practice at home and practicing together with others as they are able. This will run concurrently with the traditional Kyol Che (Monday, January 3rd through Friday, April 1st). By doing this Heart Kyol Che together, we will strengthen our own practices, and provide support to our fellow students who are able to sit the traditional Kyol Che. We in turn can draw inspiration and energy from their commitment.

If you are geographically distant, you can still participate in the Heart Kyol Che through your commitment to practice at home. Try to attend talks, sittings, and retreats at another center of the Kwan Um School of Zen
(which for me, would be my local hangout, Empty Gate Zen Center).

My personal commitments:
-Daily practice as suggested (recitation of the Four Great Vows, bowing, chanting of the Heart Sutra, and sitting for 15 minutes....equates to about half an hour a day).
-Daily mantra practice (suggested minimum is one thousand repetitions).
-One personal day of silence.
-Long sittings, by way of the January and February retreats at my local zen center.
-Work practice, at my local zen center.
-Listening to dharma talks (teaching lectures) weekly, primarily online.

The MostImportantGuy has also committed to his own version, and he faxed over our sign-up sheets today. On the forms we noted the personal commitments that we are keeping during the Kyol Che period (January 3 through April 1), and this way the folks who are really sitting at the zen center through the entire three month meditation retreat (?!) will know we are there with them "in spirit".

Hey, I had my camera on hand very early this morning:

Early morning sunshine. First blue skies in weeks. Looking out my kitchen window. A glass hangs in the window.

(note to self: shown just as snapped)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

year long projects anyone? (not resolutions!)

I'm not a fan of making New Year's Resolutions....buuuuut there are a few things I would like to accomplish this year that need to start in early January in order to feel like they "count", and now they seem to carry the "ResolutionVibe". I am fast relabeling them "Year Long Projects".

The resolution coaster. About all a resolution is good for, in my world LOL

My first Year Long Project is blogging. It's decided. I'm blogging again for another 365 Days. (So cheer. Or run.) With two years already under my belt, it's ingrained behavior for me to post every day, so that's no biggey---but the real goal for me is to play with the way I write. I would like to organize the way I put content together so that the blog is more fun for me to keep up, and hopefully for you, too (should you decide to come along for the ride). I am making it a priority to set aside more time for writing each day, because it is actually something I enjoy doing. But the real "Project" part of this is for me to write more about the people I meet while volunteering in convalescent hospitals. I have always felt that I lack the skills to do character writing any justice, but this is my year to be brave and just take a crack at it. I plan to do some research and homework and learn some writing techniques that might help me capture personalities and moments with people better.

Here's my second "Year Long Project". A few weeks ago, my buddy MissyB asked me if I wanted to join her in a little goal setting to do more spinning this year, and I agreed. Her idea is that we do something similar to the YarnHarlot's "Self-Imposed Sock Club" at the beginning of the year, we begin by bagging up 12 spinning projects, one for each month, and each month pull out a bag and DO IT. I'm aiming to spin an average of about 4oz a month. This might be chump change for some of you, but for me, it feels like something I can reasonably pull off and still have time to knit and play with the new loom. It's certainly more that I am currently spinning.

Last night I set my 12 months of fiber aside in a box. I haven't determined any particular order (I think each month I will just grab the color that is most inspiring...although when you see the photo below, you will see that I have a lot of the same colors, so I might run out of options pretty quickly LOL). I am completely reserving the right to take something out of the box and throw in a substitution, and I am also reserving the right to adjust my goal of how many ounces I can spin in a month (up or down) once we have a few months under our belts. In other words, I don't want to get all cuckoo regimented about this, I'm just using this as inspiration to spin more regularly.

Edited to add: Brooke commented that her inspiration/invitation was actually inspired by Janel, over on her blog. Check it out! You can go there, join in the fun, and there are prizes!

Below is a list of what's in the box, and it is for me so that I have something to refer back to. The details, for most of you, will be boring. Sorry about that. I just felt like it might be handy for me to blog about this so I can refer back to it over 2011 ;-)

It's a craptastic photo, and it does not at all show the more subtle color variations, but we don't seem to get sun here anymore in "Sunny California", so I'm not sure what to do about that. Even if the subtle variations did show up, you'd still be seeing lots of pinks, plums, purples, turquoises, and then several deep-dark-muddy-ish braids that have colors blended together with blacks and browns (ohh, how I love them so). Clearly I my have preferences. They are all colors I love to wear, though...and apparently I shop in a way that has me being quite the selfish spinner. No real surprise there though, because I'm quite the selfish knitter, too.

Alrighty, here we go! Accountability! My 12 little bundles of joy:

left column, back to front:

1) 4oz Organic Merino in "GaGa!", Funky Carolina, Oct 2010 Fiber Club
2) Un-labelled fiber, but I think it is 4oz Falkland in "Chamber", Funky Carolina, regular purchase in Sep 2010.
3) 4oz BFL in "Painful", Funky Carolina via the TheSweetSheep
4) second braid, same as above
5) 4oz SW BFL in "Ooh-La-La-Tropical", Spunky Eclectic, Feb 2010 Club

down the center:

6) 6oz BFL/Tussah 75/25 in "Princess Plumy", Blue Moon Fiber Arts, purchased 7/2010 at Knot Hysteria Retreat

right column, back to front:

7) 4oz SW Merino/Cashmere/Silk 75/15/10 in "Waits" (ie Tom Waits), Funky Carolina, Sep 2010 Fiber Club
8) second braid, same as above (I loved it so much I asked for second braid).
9) 4oz SW Merino/Cashmere/Silk 70/20/10 in "Dragonskin", Funky Carolina, regular purchase in Nov 2010
10) 4oz 21.5 micron Merino Wool Roving (although I bet it's top--I need to open the braid) in "Vampire Holiday", Black Trillium Fibre Studio, purchased 11/2009
11) 4 oz Baby Camel/Tussah 50/50 in "Corvid", Blue Moon Fiber Arts, purchased 7/2010 at Knot Hysteria Retreat
12) 3oz BFL/Silk 80/20 in "Electric Jam", Spunky Eclectic, August 2010 Club

I'm starting with this one:

Last but not least, this year I'd like to improve my photo taking skills. I do not believe you will see me jumping on any Photo-A-Day bandwagons this year (although it's very tempting), but I would like to at least try keeping the camera handy every day. I would also like to try to learn how to use more of the features on my camera, and I would like to try to learn how to use photoshop (did you know that every single photo you ever see on my blog that is taken by me is shown exactly as it was taken??? ha!).

So here's my first feeble little attempt today. I cropped my very first photo! Woot!!

That's a closeup of Charlie the blind chihuahua. Charlie came for a visit today and brought along his friend, "TeenyTiny".

TeenyTiny is not her permanent name because she was just rescued about a month or so ago by TheMostImportantGuy's bandmates. They are trying to help get TeenyTiny into her new "forever home" and keep her out of the dog pound.

Guess who they came to first.
I must have sucker written all over my face.
She went home.

I'm sleeping on it.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

snaps on saturday

Me, my iPad, and my latte...
sitting in the coffee shop across from
the hotel we stayed in New Year's Eve

I woke up around 8am, and couldn't stop staring at the ceiling thinking about too many things. Around 9am I slinked out as quietly as I could, and left TheMostImportantGuy sleeping. I then had a nice quite time with my coffee, watching the rain, catching up on email and blogs, and keeping an eye on the window of our room for signs of life (see the arrow?! LOL). Around 10:15am or so I decided I'd better just head back and wake TheMIG up, because check-out time was noon. I got in line and ordered his beverage of choice (a large, triple shot, soy latte). While the barista was brewing his drink, TheMIG texted me, "What doing?"

Perfect timing.

I told him to look out the window, because there I was crossing the street with one of his most favorite things ever.

A good way to start the New Year.