Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How good is your vocabulary?

I was sent this link today to Free Rice. It's a great vocabulary game, and you're helping the world's hungry at the same time! Warning though - it's pretty addictive; although, that's a good thing because you'll be sending more rice for each word you correctly identify.

I'm consistently around Level 43 (out of 50), and I've donated over 800 grains today. How about you?

Wild Ride

Well, sorta! And I'm not talking about the new car, either.

We had an earthquake a little bit ago. More info here. The Dork and I were in the market at the bakery counter, as Hubby wanted something a bit sweet for dessert. A sharp jolt, then a rolling motion for several seconds. Everyone looked at each other, said "wow" and then went about their business. As The Dork said, "That's Californians for you!"

Hubby had just gotten home and punched the button to close the garage. It shakes a little anyway as it's closing, but he thought the shaking was the garage door needing repair. The Dog wasn't happy inside the house, as she hadn't been let out of her kennel yet.

No knitting tonight, though. Maybe in a bit - if I can stay awake.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm back!

Can anyone guess the city I was in?

There was some knitting - one Pink Dot sock is done and the 2nd is cast on. Monkey socks were cast on, then ripped out because I clearly don't understand that when you use a smaller yarn than the called-for fingering weight, you get smaller socks than you expected; then I was too tired to figure out whether adding one repeat was going to work.

Got some good ideas from the conference, but I was a little disappointed that there weren't as many people attending as I've seen in years past. Really wished I could have chosen a yarn conference to go to, but I don't think school would have paid for it!

Where the conference was located wasn't too bad smoke-wise. There was enough of a sea breeze to keep the smoke out of the area. But down near my parents' house and up by my sister's, there was more smoke in the air, and my lungs knew it. Saturday morning on her street, the fire damage wasn't really obvious. No houses damaged in the Foothill Ranch area, but it was close. The hill wasn't really blackened, even though it was clear that the fire had come through.

Back down the hill, I took this shot which showed that the fire was still going strong.

Glad to be home; glad to get back to my regular routine; glad to drive my new car!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Doin' the Happy Dance!

A little light reading:

My new toy was delivered tonight:

I'll be out of town this weekend; going to SoCal for a conference, so I won't get to drive it much, but that's okay - it's mine for a long time!

Yes, I'm taking projects. In my pink dot socks, I'm only a couple inches from finishing the cuff of the first. I may also cast on for some Monkey socks in some Opal yarn that I have (not sure yet about this). But I'm planning on only taking my purse and a large tote bag. I don't need a suitcase for just 2 nights. Couple changes of clothing and toiletries, and I'm outta here!

Cross your fingers that the fires will be out soon, and pray for those who have lost everything. Luckily, my sister's and my brother's homes were fine (Santiago fire in Orange County), but it was a little scary to see her pictures of the fire coming up over the last ridge before the homes began.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Now, where was I?

My intention was to be updating this more often than every couple weeks (okay Mari?) but life seems to have gotten in the way.

So, what has happened...
Dryer is fixed - laundry is going right now, and no squealing! [Of course, now the dishwasher is acting up...]

Foster Dog has gone to another foster home; hopefully one in which she doesn't have to bark and discipline upstart territorial dogs. Good luck Lena!

Got my Ribby Shell finished in time to wear to Purlescence's birthday party. Great pictures taken by Tony!

Had loads of fun & laughter at a Build-a-bear party with the Purl Girls. See the recap here. This is Booker T. Bear and he is going to live at school for the kids.

Jury duty (on call) is finally over. Apparently, US District Court is now asking for a 2 week commitment, not just the one week that I normally get called for. Life was made even more interesting, as my clerk at school also got called for THE SAME DATE! Actually, we got a little lucky, as neither one of us even had to go in, but I had already postponed mine. Frankly, I was a little disappointed, because I could have used the knitting time! I called the courthouse and was told "of course" to bring in my knitting. In fact, the guy who answered the phone sounded a little surprised that I would even ask.

That time could have been used on this project: started and almost finished a stockinette shrug to wear for our anniversary (17th) dinner last night at Sent Sovi (love you, sweetheart). As of 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I had just joined for the 2nd sleeve, but there was no way to finish it by a 5PM dinner date. Dream in Color's Classy yarn in the color "Good luck jade".

Spent all afternoon at a fencing tournament (foil) today at which The Dork got put in a round robin pool with some really strong fencers. He's not one of them! He and his coach have now decided that foil fencing is not his strength and he'll do better at epee fencing.

Pink dot socks are moving along. I've already turned the heel and am headed up the cuff now. I'm trying to decide if I want to go further up than my usual 3" or so. If I do, I'll have to figure out how to work increases into the waffle stitch pattern.

Started a new crocheted baby blanket for a "Grandma shower" in a couple weeks. The funny part is that the yarn originally came from the new Grandma a couple years ago in a secret pal swap at work!

Oh - and I'm getting a new car (finally)! A Mazda3 sedan should be heading my way within the next 2 weeks...can't wait! My current car has 306,000 miles and is 21 years old. It's been so long since I bought a car and there was lots of research, Internet surfing, test driving & second guessing myself. With any luck, I'll even get it in my preferred color - you guessed it: purple! A great plummy purple called "Phantom Purple Mica". For a while I was going to settle for a Toyota Corolla, which felt a little staid and boring inside, but it had the better gas mileage and trunk space. But my ideal Corolla LE doesn't exist - manual transmission, ABS brakes and side curtain airbags -- at least not in California. The Mazda3 feels more updated and I know I can get the safety features that I want in it. After all, The Dork is almost driving age...be very, very afraid - I've seen how he steers a cart in the supermarket!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Well, the excitement (!) of yesterday evening got even more interesting after 2 AM. Dog, who was not on my good helper list last night, is more-than-ever not on my good-helper list this morning, after she barked and whined for over 2 hours. In her defense, she thought she was doing the right thing in protecting our house from the intruder German Shepherd that we put in the backyard for the night (foster dog).

Wrong thing to do. Dog was not happy with this other dog in "her space" and kept barking. Even when foster dog was taken away to another venue (thank goodness for Motel 6 that has pet rooms), Dog kept barking, thinking FD was still out there. At 3:15, I had to let her outside to see for herself that the intruder was not around - she wasn't satisfied...and kept barking!

Neighbors - I'm sorry if FD woke you up. We'll try not to let it happen again!

Needless to say, I haven't been fully awake today, even with coffee, 3-1/2 hours of sleep is not adequate. Yawn!! Thank goodness for the student who had a birthday today and gave me a doughnut to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Is it over yet...?

[Edited to add: here are the pictures]

Okay, I'm mad at the world right now - I knew life would decide to get me....

Grading papers is the bane of my existence. Even though I'm a librarian, I have to assess my students somehow. So, I just have to deal with it. Doesn't mean I have to like it though.

I HATE THE LAUNDROMAT! Actually, normally, I'd look forward to it because it's a guaranteed couple hours of crocheting/knitting time. The Dryer is dead and has been since last week - needs a bearing, otherwise it makes a horrible, worse-than-stuck-pig, teeth-on-edge, the-neighbors-hate-me kind of squeal. Turns out the part showed up today in the mail, but can't have the repairman come for another couple days because we can't be home.

So, I have laundry to be done. I know that the local laundromat is open - big sign in the windows "Last Wash 8:00 PM". I roll out of the house at 7:40, arriving there at 7:45 to find the door locked. Finally get the attention of the older man who is slowly sweeping the floor. He comes over, pulls the key out of his pocket, looks at my laundry bag, shakes his head and walks away. Now, what #@$%@#$ part of 7:45 PM means 8:00 PM?! I'm knocking on the window, making a spectacle of myself, and he ignores me....grrrr! Don't know of any others nearby... Guess which place is getting a polite but angry call tomorrow!

Last straw - come home to try and find another place semi-nearby that would be open later (no such luck) and realize that there's a skein of yarn on the floor. I pick it up to find this ... [Arrggghhh - Blogger is out to get me too - it won't load any pictures and gives me a gobbledygook error...]

Imagine if you will a blue hank of sport-weight alpaca. It no longer looks like a smooth hank, but has LOTS of ends sticking out of it - you guessed it, chewed up!

Also imagine if you will, that I posted 2 pictures of possible culprits - one is of a dog, and one is of a Dork. Somehow though, I think I can eliminate The Dork, because he is old enough and human enough to understand that you don't mess with my yarn. Besides that, he was at school!

I think I'll go climb into bed, pull the covers over my head and whimper for a while. Someone please let me know when it's safe to come out!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Birthday shenanigans

Had a wonderful birthday weekend, spent with "my people" - fiber fiends! Went to TKGA/CGOA and hung out in the marketplace with Sandi and her family. Saw some wonderful yarns and things, but was very frugal in my spending. Some people can't believe that the only yarn I bought was 2 skeins of Pacific Meadows alpaca in periwinkle (for my secret pal at school). But having done the Great Yarn Inventory of 2007, I realized how much I have and that I can't possibly make a very large dent in it before next February and Stitches West.

As my birthday present to myself, I did buy a lovely shawl pin from Gita Maria. It's not pictured on her website, but this one is called "Granite."

On Sunday, I bought myself a yummy chocolate mousse birthday cake from Bijan bakery and took it to Purlescence where I shared it with the Tea & Sympathy crowd as an advance on Nathania's birthday next week & for her Kevin's birthday a few days ago. Kinda celebrated Sandi's birthday, too, even though she wasn't there! She was at the Renaissance Faire, which I need to get back to one of these days...

Actual knitting:

After the Great Sock Fiasco of a few days ago, I chucked everything back in its bag, with the exception of the size 2 needle. That I pulled out of the old sock and started (with the other size 2 - I triple-checked!) on some Claudia Hand Paint fingering weight yarn in Pink Dot for some basic toe-up socks. So far, so good!

I've found that I'm really good at being in denial about my crafting. I'm such a process knitter and crocheter that I've found that I can ignore an issue until it has become glaringly obvious that I'm not going to be happy with the end product. For example, take the Ribby Shell that I've been working on. It was literally within an inch of the front being completed when I realized that I would not be happy with how the ribbing was lining up front & back at the shoulders. I had noticed that with the back that there weren't the same number of ribs on each side, but figured that no one would notice, so I went on with the front. The right front was done, and I wasn't happy about how poorly the ribbing was lining up with the corresponding stitches in the back, but I still ignored it. When I was close to finishing the left front, I finally had to admit to myself that it wasn't going to work there either and I was just not going to be happy with it.

The issue that I ignored was that I can't count to bind off the correct number of stitches on either side of my marked side stitches. When you are supposed to bind off 7 stitches either side of the marked stitch, and you bind off six on one side and 8 on the other, of course the subsequent ribbing that travels up the side of the armholes doesn't match at the top after all the decreases. There are no pictures of the ensuing carnage, but I did reknit the back today, with the correct number of bound off stitches!

However, I really should head to bed - work calls tomorrow!