June 30, 2004

Candygram!

No posting Friday or Monday, Dear Readers! Frankie and I will be under a bed, hiding from the nightly firecrackers.

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A shout out and a thumbs-up to all my Dear Readers who confessed to trying out the the new Mossy Cottage medical terminology, “mammygram,” especially to Greta who apparently wasn’t even able to make a mammygram appointment because she had a fit of the giggles halfway through the phone call.

Whatever your experience with mammygrams, I’ll bet a skein of cheap acrylic yarn that no one has a story to beat mine. As people who know me and long-time readers of the blog know, I am hellaciously endowed “up top"—and not in the nice way. Accordingly, the last time I had a mammygram, my “girls” actually fried the machine. Yep, fried it good, and apparently fried it in a way that it had never been fried before since, when the equipment stopped working, the technician walked over to the console, paused, and said, “Well! I’ve never seen that message before.” Come to find out I had overheated the machine, taxed it way beyond its high-tech capabilities, in fact, so we had to wait for it cool down and recover before we could try again. At which point it died again. And again. And again. It didn't help that it was my first mammygram ever, and I was already feeling awkward and uncomfortable and nervous...and then I go and kill the machine. (Nor did it help that later I heard the technician in the hallway regaling her co-workers, with loud hoots of laughter, with what had happened. But I can’t blame her. In retrospect, it really was pretty frickin’ funny.)

Knitting Knews
Not much Knitting Knews today. I've been swatching a scarf using a truly heavenly periwinkle blue alpaca yarn and white opalescent beads. Now I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that the scarf has two ends, and I may have to knit it two directions from the center, or cast on using a provisional cast-on, and I don’t wanna.

In the meantime, make sure to visit YarnHarlot where the Dublin Bay socks she is knitting are traveling around much like the gnome in the Travelocity ads.

Dye Garden Dyegest
Our grown-from-seed indigo is thriving and is now about 10” or 11” tall. I’m surprised there are any leaves left on it since, every time it grows even one centimeter, one of us rushes out, yanks off a leaf, crunches it between her fingers, and smooshes it around in her palms to see if we can espy any blue. So far, nothing.

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Woodworking World
A pile of oak that will soon be a Very Special Thing for a Very Special Person. I’ll post pictures as soon as I can but there is a one in a million chance that The Very Special Person may read the blog—once she figures out, bless her heart, that, no, we don't have to send her new URL every time I update the blog and, yes, the URL we sent her six months ago still works fine—so The Mysterious K and I are hesitant to post anything prematurely.

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Posted by Ryan at 10:14 AM | Comments (11)

June 28, 2004

I Betray My Age…

Let me set the scene: The Mysterious K and I are on the phone discussing the various regular checkups a woman should have to maintain her health. A serious conversation, one would think. But, no, especially not when your partner insists on saying “mammogram” the way the landshark used to say “Candygram” on the old Saturday Night Live shows. Try it. I promise you at least one, good, big belly laugh. (And if you do find yourself sitting somewhere quietly whispering "mammogram" to yourself in a landshark voice, I wanna know!)

(For those of you too young to remember the original Saturday Night Live, or those of you who have never seen the show, period, the premise of the skit is that a shark is preying on women. To get them to open their apartment doors, he says in a clipped, high-pitched, and quasi-innocent tone, “Candygram!” The women fall for it, open the door, and get attacked and eaten, and you find yourself rooting for the shark because the women were just Too Stupid. It sounds lame in the telling but believe me, it had you on the floor. And now, even after all these years, if someone says “candygram,” you’re gone. And now, unfortunately, "mammogram" is starting to have the same effect.)

Knitting Knews
My poor brain, which only thinks in words and only sees in black and white, is about ready to short-circuit (be prepared for a puff of smoke, some sparks, and a strange burning smell) with this Fair Isle color and pattern design stuff, but I keep plugging away. Below a picture of the next part of my swatch with some new pink and midnight blue swirly bits added on top.

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I finally understand the occasional mention I’ve seen of dark colors “showing through” under light colors. Because of the long stretches of pink (up to 13 stitches), I had to catch the blue floats in the back. When I was giving the swatch a good eyeballing, I noticed the pink looked a little “muddy” in parts, and then I realized it was the effect of the dark blue peeking through between the pink stitches, a eureka moment if I ever had one. I have now added some more design elements to the swirly thing so my blue floats can be shorter. (Well, that certainly is empowering, saying nonchalantly, “I have now added some more design elements.” Me, hesitant me, adding design elements with wild abandon! Next, I'll be knitting in the nude!)

A question for any Fair Islers out there: What do you do when you transition from one pattern to the next? Always put a small peerie in between? Forget the peerie and just start the next pattern? Insert a couple of lines of plain color, the way I did with the yellow section above? Or, all of the above?

Woodworking World
Things have been a-brewin’ out in the backyard shed, the result of which was a beautiful mirror for over TMK’s mantle. I love it, TMK loves it…Frankie, not so much.

TMK brought the mirror into the house to see how it looked over the mantle (and, I suspect, so she could drool over the truly lovely objet whenever she felt the urge) and then just propped it up against the wall until she had acquired all the bits and bobs she needed to hang it. Although Frankie has seen many mirrors in her lifetime, this one seemed to completely throw her for a loop. Every time she walked past it she, she would grow very still, creep close enough to the mirror to smear doggie-nose-slime on it, and would start growling in a quiet but ominous way. We captured one of those moments for posterity:

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We finally took pity on her and turned the darn thing around, but not before crossing our fingers that she would walk past it just…one…more…time.

Posted by Ryan at 10:20 AM | Comments (13)

June 25, 2004

Day Three of Ryan's Excellent Adventure

I think the high point of the family’s visit—I know it was for me—was the trip to the Ballard Locks. When Big Sister and Little Niece came to visit two years ago, they gently but firmly pooh-poohed the idea of a visit to the locks since the family had just returned from a cruise through the Panama Canal and our comparatively puny locks would have left them rolling on the sidewalk. But by this visit, enough time had passed since the cruise, and they were, if you’ll pardon the pun, on board.

The locks allow boats to navigate from our landlocked lakes to Puget Sound and out to the ocean and vice versa. Every conceivable type of boat passes through the locks, from kayaks to huge, sleek yachts to quite sizeable ships. On the day we visited, we were entranced by this tugboat which looked like something straight out of a children’s storybook. It was small and chunky, yet perfectly in proportion, lovingly painted in bright blue and yellow, and quite earnest about its task of towing two huge barges through the locks (although, due to a little mis-navigating, barge #2 actually scraped a considerable number of barnacles off one wall). The only thing missing from the tugboat picture was cartoonish puffs of perfectly shaped gray smoke coming out of a smokestack.

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The kids were also fascinated by this railroad drawbridge which opened as if on cue to let a tall sailboat go through, despite Little Nephew and Little Niece’s earnest and vehement insistence that there couldn’t possibly ever be boats that tall. Never ever ever. Never. Ever. Oh.

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The locks also have viewing windows for watching migrating salmon climb up the man-made stairs built into the locks. Usually it’s a spectacular display with salmon leaping desperately and wildly up the stairs, but that particular day the tide was low so the salmon were just milling about as if they were waiting for the next subway train. I almost expected them to be clutching a briefcase in one fin and a folded newspaper and a double-tall latte in the other.

So, the slideshow of Ryan’s Excellent Summer Adventures is over. I leave you with a picture of Mount Rainier behind our two sports stadiums.

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Knitting Knews
I surfaced from Pillow Swatching Land long enough to finish the first sleeve of the Baby Norgi. It’s not perfect—trust me, this is the good side—but I’m still pleased with it, despite the ugly jumble of loose and tight stitches in the armpit area where I changed colors and switched needles at the same time. Oh, wait, a thought occurs to one: Maybe the next time I use dpns for stranded knitting, I should put the color-changing spot and the needle-changing spot in two different places. Why didn’t I think of that before? Because, silly, you are A Woman of Unswerving Habit.

(Note the creative way I kept the curling end of the sleeve in place. Yep, that's a metal circular needle skewering the purled hem!)

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Posted by Ryan at 09:29 AM | Comments (3)

June 23, 2004

What I Did This Summer, Part II

We spent a goodly portion of the first day of my family’s visit at the Pacific Science Center, the ultimate kiddy nirvana, in no small part due to its insect display and butterfly house. I won’t go into any details about the insect display since I’m sure my more-sensitive readers don’t want to hear about giant walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, carrion beetles, or the plastic mock-ups of foods made with edible insects, like, oh, grub omelettes, but the butterfly house was wonderful.

The lush greenery in the butterfly house.

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Here is one of the butterflies, a sizeable dude who, just before I pressed the shutter button, clapped its wings shut and stubbornly insisted on displaying only the drab brown outside of his wings, not the brilliant metallic blue inside, but since this was one of my first days of using the digital camera on my very own, just like a big girl, I was pleased with the photo nonetheless.

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This, my favorite photo, shows a diaphanous white butterfly—also a sizeable dude—that we think had just come out of its cocoon because its wings were still a little crumpled, and it was vibrating them vigorously, as if to dry them off (unless, of course, it was in fact the rare Bornean White Crumple-Winged Vibrating Butterfly).

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But most fascinating of all was the volunteer whose job it was to put plastic sandwich boards, like the ones in the supermarket that say “Caution. Wet Floor” (or, for you Californians, “Cuidado. Piso mojado"), over any butterfly that was resting on the floor. But butterflies are by nature restless critters so they would only stay under the sandwich board for a brief moment and then flit away, which meant Volunteer Boy spent his days constantly picking up, moving, and placing the little sandwich boards. That’s it. That was his job.

Friday, the Ballard Locks and world’s perkiest tugboat!

Knitting Knews
At the Soiree, Janine helped me pick out colors for my "Janine Pillow." I first came out of the Wall O' Yarn room proudly clutching the skeins of yarn that I thought made up The Best Knitting Color Palette Ever in the History of Mankind. Janine took one look, guided me back to Wall O' Yarn room, made a few gentle suggestions, and fifteen minutes later I came out again with an entirely different palette, containing not one of my original skeins of yarn, and yet somehow my ego wasn't the least bit ruffled. She's a very talented girl, that Janine. Let's hope she doesn't have any plans to take over the world, 'cause she could do it, and we'd enjoy the ride.

So, in my stumblebum way, I've spent the last few days making my first attempts at knitting the pillow. Not being one to swatch, once I had found a Celtic design I liked, I leapt right into knitting the pillow. Although my "Janine palette" consisted of five colors, for my first stab at the pillow, I could only realistically wrap my head around the thought of using three, and here are the results:

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The yellow is actually a very light, tweedy yellow, a combination of super-light yellow and medium-coral fibers. The green is just a medium green, pretty close to what you see in the picture. The blue is a midnight blue.

I slept on this color design for a couple of nights, showed it to my pals at Feral Knitters, and slowly found myself mulling over the idea of—gasp!—using four colors and—double gasp!—knitting a 32-stitch swatch instead of the entire frickin' pillow, and here is what I churned out last night:

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In real life, this swatch is much prettier and the color changes are much subtler. The pink yarn in the picture is actually a beautiful, light, tweedy peach, very similar in feel to the yellow, and the green in this swatch is lighter than the one I used in my first attempt but not tweedy. My true test was to show it to The Mysterious K, the Color and Design Queen, and she, too, gave it a thumbs up. All is right with my world.

Posted by Ryan at 10:37 AM | Comments (6)

June 21, 2004

Hello Again, Everyone!

(Warning: Image-heavy posting, Dear Readers!)

There’s nothing like a visit from family to bounce you straight out of a rut you didn’t even know you were in. Just when The Mysterious K and I were starting to think endless days of work, gardening, knitting, eating, and video games were the ultimate in excitement for two middle-aged ladies, whammo! I think I did more—and learned more about Seattle—during the three days my sister and her family were here than I have in the last 20 years of living here.

In today and Wednesday’s entries, I’ll share photos of some of our adventures. My apologies if this smacks slightly of Slides of our Summer Trip, but perhaps local Dear Readers will find them interesting and I know I can count on StalkerAngie to read every word (wink, wink, StalkerAngie, wink, wink).

Our Really Big Adventure was a trip to Tillicum Village on Blake Island where you can visit a huge, breathtaking Native American longhouse, eat wonderful Native American food cooked the traditional way, and watch a theatrical production about Native American crafts, stories and customs. On the boat trip over, I was wincing inwardly, fearing that the whole thing would measure high on the hokey-meter—a la luau and hula dancers with bodacious tatas—but it wasn’t. It was very tasteful and interesting. Local readers, if you haven’t done this yet, it gets my thumbs up.

The north side of Blake Island with the Olympic mountains as a backdrop:

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The boat docked at Blake Island:

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Two views of the longhouse. (Note the white path made from bleached clam shells. When you arrive on the island, you are served a bowl of steamed clams and are asked to throw the empty shells on the path, which is great fun and very liberating—sort of the Native American version of throwing your peanut shells on the barroom floor. Of course, Little Nephew wanted to keep his shells, complete with the little smelly bits of half-eaten clam that were stuck to the inside. His maw and paw did an admirable job of convincing him to trade the fresh shells for some of the clean, bleached shells from the path. Phew!)

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The food—salmon, chicken, wild rice, veggies, potatoes, sweet black bread, and a piece of salmon-shaped chocolate—was wonderful, as was the thoughtful and beautiful dance production. Everything felt very legit and from the heart and was pleasurably educational. The one jarring note? This:

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Native American espresso? Native American Sno Cones?! Um, I don’t think so…

Knitting Knews
Continuing the Native American theme, as I mentioned before, I finished the Vision Quest Socks in time to send them off to the recipient. Here is a photo of the finished socks, showing how they look cuff-up and cuff-down.

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The recipient finished her quest a few days ago, and reports that the socks were crucial to the success of it since she had to remain outdoors continuously for four days and it was much colder than she thought it would be. It warms the cockles of me little heart to think that I was able to participate, on whatever level, in this important event in her life. All together now: Knitting rocks!

On a completely different subject, here is a photo of Sheila's bundle of fuzzy love, Sherlock, taken at the Soiree a week ago Sunday.

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The Soiree, as always, was fun and very knitting-communal. I had the pleasure of teaching Rebecca how to knit the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset for her First Pair of Socks Ever. The poor dear had unknowingly chosen an online pattern that was unforgivably riddled with errors. Ryan and LindaK to the rescue! It was fun for us to watch her go through that moment that all sock knitters experience at one time or another when you realize, hey, it actually looks like a sock! In fact, I believe those were the exact words out of Rebecca's mouth.

Of course, the Soiree would have been a lot more fun if, halfway through the day, I hadn't broken a molar completely in half. Yup, first a burnt cleavage, now this. Oy. But my dentist, whom I adore, quickly got everything well in hand and soothed my jangled nerves. Life, as always, goes on!

For a more in-depth info about the Soiree, including a photo of me, pre-broken tooth, trying to rescue some delectable edible from Sherlock, and a photo of Rebecca and her First Sock Ever, see Sheila's June 14 entry.

Posted by Ryan at 02:01 PM | Comments (9)

June 11, 2004

Who Invented This Stupid Day Anyway?

Vacation next week, so no blogging but I hope, when I come back, to have many stories of sightseeing adventures with my fambly. StalkerAngie, you will survive, I promise. :-)

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Father’s Day is always an emotionally awkward and complicated time for The Mysterious K and me because both of our fathers are gone and sorely missed. It’s perhaps even more difficult for TMK because her father had the chutzpah to die on Father’s Day, a fact which got even worse the next year when Father’s Day, which is a moveable feast, split into (1) Father’s Day and (2) the date of his death, which were no longer one and the same. That double-whammy made TMK quite the Miss Crankypants, let me tell you! After that, however, we decided to apply a “lemon/lemonade” philosophy to the situation and, rather than wallow lugubriously in our memories and stick our heads in the sand on the day of, we opted to meet this sappy holiday head on by declaring it “Dead Dad Day” and holding the annual Mark and Vincent Memorial Barbecue. At first, TMK and I were the only attendees but, over time, we gathered together a collection of similarly fatherless friends who were more than happy to be able to join us in this slightly macabre celebration, and the barbecue eventually became the Mark and Vincent and_______and _______and_______and _______and _______ and _______ Memorial Barbecue. We eat, we reminisce, we play lots of games, including the most insane version of croquet ever, we watch videos and, before you know it, the day is over. This year we actually have other, different plans but I suspect we will revive Dead Dad Day next year.

I wasn’t really sure where I was going with all of this but, while I was writing it, a new comment from Mouse led me to her blog, at the bottom of which I found this quote which sums it all up perfectly:

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. -George Bernard Shaw

Mouse, if you only knew how my family has a history of funny things, some contrived, some by happenstance, occuring during funerals, cremations, and ash-scatterings! Thank you bunches for posting this, and a nod, of course, to GBS for his brilliance.

Knitting Knews
I’m too busy to knit right now (and am storing all my knitting energy up for Sunday) so I will just leave you with links to two amazing pages on my two favorite miniature knitting sites. Many of you may be familiar with these sites, but if you aren’t, you are in for a fantastic treat!

Miniature ganseys and arans

Miniature intarsia socks (To give credit where credit is due, I found this particular page through blogdogblog.)

Posted by Ryan at 11:09 AM | Comments (8)

June 09, 2004

Say Whut?!

It’s probably not surprising that our American Sign Language lunches frequently disintegrate into something akin to a game of “Telephone,” where one person says something to another person and ditto on down the line, until the last person gets a message that doesn’t even vaguely resemble what was originally said. Yesterday was no exception. At lunch, I mentioned that I will be on vacation next week since Big Sister and Family are coming up from San Diego to visit (woo-hoo!), so we got into some rapid-fire conversatin’ about sightseeing in San Diego. Somewhere along the line, what with the rapidly changing topics, the signing, and the finger-spelling, we completely lost one of the participants. Finally she blurted out, in complete seriousness, “So Shamu lives in the Museum of Art now?” We tried to clarify what we had said but apparently we failed since her next question was, “He lives in a museum of art in Idaho?!!” Lord only knows where she got “Idaho” from, but, after a good laugh all around, we reassured her that, no, Shamu was not in a museum in Idaho, but was still alive and well at SeaWorld in San Diego. Perhaps a peek at the ShamuCam will further reassure her…

Sadly, this week, we learned that our deaf mentor at the lunches is moving to South Dakota, so no more of our weekly get-togethers. We are all terribly disappointed. Speaking for myself, the signing lunches truly added dimension and depth to my job and my life. Sigh. I am bummed.

The Mysterious K signs, too, since her ex- was deaf, and I’m afraid that we use ASL in ways it was never meant to be used. We’ve found that it’s very helpful when your mouth is full, so we can eat and talk without inadvertently spitting little crumbs across the table. It’s also useful when you’re standing at opposite ends of a supermarket aisle and don’t want to yell “WHAT size of tampon did you say you wanted?” And, once, I believe we used it in slightly suspect manner to win a game of Cranium.

Knitting Knews
Since I am between projects, today “Knitting Knews” will be just some disparate odds and ends, sort of the writing equivalent of those small leftover balls of yarn stash.

Vision Quest: Finished the socks at 11pm last night, with two days to spare! TMK has offered to facilitate the transfer of the socks from Here to There so they are now, literally and figuratively, out of my hands.

In retrospect, the doubled yarn on the heels was overkill. In fact, the heels feel disappointingly like stiff leather, but I suspect they’ll soften up with washing, which is the one thing I didn’t have the time to do. Ignore my whining in the last entry—this is indeed a yarn/pattern combo I’d knit again, but perhaps with more time next time so I don’t get all pissy!

Pillow: A couple of entries ago, I mentioned a Celtic pillow design by Dear Reader Janine but couldn’t provide a link at the time. Here, thanks to Two Swans Yarns, which sells a kit for knitting the pillow, is Der Link (it’s a pdf file). The first version of the pillow shown in the pattern is my next project, as I simultaneously continue to whittle away at the Baby Norgi. Send good thoughts as I try to pick out colors at Sheila's Soiree on Sunday!

(An aside to the Seattleites: If any Seattle Dear Readers who live in the Northend are going to go to the Soiree, be aware that there will be major graduation activities going on at the Udub. I say get an early start or go up around the top of the lake. Traffic alert brought to you courtesy of Mossy Cottage Knits.)

Feral Knitters: At Feral Knitters on Monday, we were joined unexpectedly by Betts Lampers, a local knitter and member of the Guild, who designed and knit the Autumn Color Fair Isle Cardigan sweater on the cover of Sweaters from Camp. Betts had The Actual Sweater with her, and I swear my heart actually started to beat faster when I saw it. Dear Reader LindaK was talking to me about things that I’m sure, under other circumstances, would be extremely interesting, but all I could respond with was a distracted “Uh-huh,” as my eyes glommed on to the sweater as it got passed from person to person. Truly, that is the sweater that separates the men from the boys (or, in this case, the women from the girls). Amazing!

As Sheila mentioned in her entry about Ferals, Betts dedicates one entire binder to each sweater she designs which, in a way, is comforting because it shows me that picking the right design and the right color scheme is a mountainous task for everyone!

This Feral meeting was also our farewall party for Janine, complete with a card, a gift certificate and a triple-layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and chocolate chip icing. Oh…my…God. I vote that pivotal members of the Ferals group should move to California more often!

Janine, the Baby Norgi and I thank you for all your help these last few months. Good luck with your move and your new life!

Posted by Ryan at 01:45 PM | Comments (8)

June 07, 2004

Bee Careful!

This weekend we traded burns and blisters for bees. Of the stinging kind.

The Mysterious K spent most of Saturday working in a corner of my yard which needs major clean-up, no thanks to a neighbor who decided to tear down the fence in that corner—which I’m not totally convinced was his to tear down—and, in so doing, knocked down my lovely, winding, personality-rich, 50-year-old hydrangea vine which subsequently was deemed a lost cause and had to be chopped down. I got as far as the chopping up and piling up but no further which, as the months passed, was more than TMK could stand. So Saturday, I busied myself in the house, and TMK busied herself in the yard. About an hour into our separate activities, I heard a muffled shriek come from the yard, immediately followed by the TMK-shaped blur racing into the house, yelling “Bee! Bee! Bee!,” as she danced around on her toes in considerable pain. And, sher ‘nuff, she'd been stung on the back of her left shoulder.

Now, I’m the first to tell you that I am no good in an emergency. I’ve had first aid training but most of it flew out of my head when the EMT who taught the class started telling us what to do in the event of a beheading, which is ridiculous ‘cause the victim’s dead, dude. Besides, eeeeeeeuuuuuwww. However, somewhere way back in the recesses of my brain I heard my late mother’s voice whispering, “Cooooorn staaaaaaaarch. Use cooooorn staaaaaaaarch.” So I grabbed the box of corn starch, a little glass prep bowl, and ice water from the fridge and started mixing. First, I made a very dry paste “button” which sat on TMK’s shoulder for a nanosecond and then popped off onto the kitchen floor. Then I made a very watery paste which dribbled down back of her arm and dripped off her elbow, making her giggle insanely from the tickle. Finally, I made an adequately paste-y paste which stayed on her shoulder, looking very much like bird poop. (TMK wants to report that corn starch works very well, BTW. Not an old wives' tale. As does the Heimlich maneuver, which we also had an opportunity to try out recently.)

TMK returned to her labors. Five minutes later, a second muffled scream, a second TMK-shaped blur, more exclamations of “Bee! Bee! Bee!,” and more toe-dancing. She had been stung again, in exactly the same spot but on the opposite shoulder. Half a box of corn starch and one Motrin later, TMK headed off to the dump in her truck, looking as if she had had tangled with an entire flock of sea gulls and lost.

Not the restful day of puttering around the house either one of us had had in mind...

Knitting Knews
Vision Quest socks: 90% done. 1” of the foot left to go, plus the toe, plus the infernal weaving in of ends.

Not being of a religious bent, I know I will never be the type to knit a prayer shawl, but it did occur to me that I was coming thisclose to doing so by knitting these socks for a special friend at a special spiritual time. Unfortunately, if the theory is that you knit well-being, healing, and peace of mind into a prayer shawl, due to the short timeframe, I think I knit stress, irritation and anxiety into the socks. I will have only myself to blame if our friend comes back from the vision quest an emotional and spiritual wreck…

On the Norgi front, here is a photo of the first band of color:

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The holes right above each green diamond are the places where I did the M1s* to start the increases. Since the pattern didn’t specify which type of M1 to use, I picked the bar up between the stitches…and got these ugly little holes. Any suggestions? Would there have been a better type of M1 to use?

The fact that this cuff doesn't look puckered, despite my whining in my last entry, is because (1) the hem is folded up inside, depuckering it somewhat, and (2) a nice plump ball of all my loose ends is also stuffed up inside, depuckering it even more. ("Depuckering?" What the hell kinda word is that?)

And, lastly, for once, from my yard, a picture of a flower, specifically, a miniature rose, acquired during our trip to Flower World:

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*(For non-knitters, M1 stands for "make one stitch.")

Posted by Ryan at 10:45 AM | Comments (14)

June 04, 2004

Burn, Baby, Burn!

On the health front, the burns are healing amazingly well, thanks to liberal applications of first aid cream and the discreet stuffing of gauze pads between “the girls.” Nathania suggested calendula cream, which made me wonder if I could grab a handful of blossoms off our calendula plants and smoosh away, but I suspect I’d just end up with a Cheetos-orange décolletage and nothing to show for it.

Thank you to Sheila and Rachael for your funny “scalding coffee in my nether regions” stories. If it is evil of me to laugh so at your suffering, by way of self-flagellation, let me share this: As I mentioned in one of my comments, I once sat down in a patch of poison ivy while wearing a skimpy bathing suit—and I am unusually allergic to poison ivy. I will leave the rest of the next two months from hell to your imagination. (Still, this was better than the time I used a weed whacker to plow through a stand of poison ivy—in my defense, I didn't know it was poison ivy—and sprayed liquefied poison ivy all up and down my legs. I am pleased to say they don’t have poison ivy here in the Northwest, which makes me a happy camper. Literally.)

In other news, it continues to be Camera-In-Yo’-Face Week. In fact, for Bron and LindaK, here’s another picture of Frankie’s playmate, Rico:

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And, here, a photo of a bee on a delphinium. Anyone else besides me find this photo very Zen-gardenish and soothing?

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Greta, in response to your question about what kind of camera The Mysterious K bought, it was a Nikon D70 6.1 MP Digital SLR. TMK says just saying it makes her want to have a cigarette.

Knitting Knews
My three books from Dover Publications arrived and I am in design heaven. The “Saxon Transylvania” book is particularly fun. Lots of ultra-detailed, some kicky, some elegant, all fun patterns, perfect for knitting.

The Baby Norgi has not been forgotten, despite my intense focus on the Vision Quest socks (5” of the Sock #2 cuff on deck!). Here is the beginning of one of the sleeves. So far, not very impressive...
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Since the time I took this photo, I’ve finished the first band of colorwork and I have to say, stranded knitting on dpns is downright yucky. The transition from one needle to the next always causes puckers no matter how carefully I check my stranding (which in and of itself is annoying, since you have to pause every few minutes to fix the stranding instead of being able to just churn along. Janine, you and your dratted circular needles have spoiled me forever!). MaryB, you’re the queen of two-color socks. How do you deal with this? I think I need a one-on-one lesson on your techniques. (A note on the Baby Norgi if you're thinking of knitting one: Despite appearances, this is not a pattern for a Norwegian-style sweater for a baby. It’s just a small version of a grown-up sweater. I don’t think it would be possible to get the finished product on an Actual Baby, especially an Actual Baby with an Actual Baby Melon Head, without great fuss and muss.)

Posted by Ryan at 09:58 AM | Comments (7)

June 01, 2004

Two Boxes of Kleenex Later...

The Mysterious K and I frequently get asked how we Make Things Work, especially maintaining two completely separate households. I'm here to tell you, after five days of being flat on my back with what my sister would call “a coad in by doze,” it’s The Small Things.

When one of us develops a cold or the flu or pneumonia, the other one instantly activates the Compromised-Respiratory-System Emergency Plan which entails going to the store and buying orange juice (in the small bottles to up the Fun Factor), lemon, honey (in the plastic bear bottle, of course) and chicken soup. On Wednesday, while I was at work deciding how crummy I actually felt, TMK executed The Plan and delivered the goods to my house. When I came home, I found standing on my counter a veritable army of cans of chicken soup—in fact, give or take a couple of kinds the supermarket was out of, every chicken-and-carb soup Campbell’s makes: Chicken Noodle; Chicken Double-Noodle; Chicken and Stars; Chicken Noodle-Os; and Chicken and Rice. This made me smile and produced an instant lifting of the spirits, which I’m sure led directly to my getting better sooner. See? It’s The Small Things.

(However, my delight in the soup took an abrupt detour when, two days into my quarantine, I sat on the couch, tried to balance a bowl of freshly boiled soup on my chest and proceeded to pour the scalding hot broth and noodles down my cleavage. Yep, I now have second-degree burns, complete with blisters, on my chest, all the way down my cleavage, and on my stomach where the runaway soup finally puddled in a pool of ultra-hot liquid and star-shaped pasta. Ooooo, I am a sexy mama! Ha-cha-cha!)

Knitting Knews
The positive side to my confinement was that it enabled me to finish Sock One of the Vision Quest Project:

shannonsock2.jpg

A repeat of the gory details: Cascade 220, size 4 dpns, doubled yarn on the heel since I don’t know how well Cascade 220 will wear, and the Railroad Track Sock pattern using the 56-stitch version. The verdict: If there’re any Seattleites out there looking for the ultimate in thick, scrumptious, rainy-season survival gear, this combo is it! Now I want a pair for me for next winter in something perversely bright like, oh, international orange or Pepto Bismol pink.

Despite the fact that anything red is notoriously difficult to photograph, note the abundance of detail in the photo. That's because TMK got—drum rrrrroll!—a new and very spiffy digital camera! Yep, it was a Camera-In-Yo’-Face weekend for me, the dog, our friends, their baby, their dogs, the backyard wildlife, the flowers, even TMK’s soda can. See? I exaggerate not!

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Another photo taken with Der Neue Camera showing the male of the chickadee pair nesting in TMK’s back yard, just after he delivered a mouthful of something delectably pre-squished to the chickababies:

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And some pansies from TMK’s yard for MaryB:

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And the even better news? Her new camera means I inherited her old one, the faithful sidekick I've been using to take photos since the birth of this blog. Woo-hoo! Thank you, snookums!

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Finally, a big thank you to my blog hostess, Sheila, who made all the nasty spam disappear with a flick of her magical database wand. Now, if she could just make all the nasty spammers disappear...

Posted by Ryan at 09:14 AM | Comments (14)