September 30, 2005

Home, Home on the Range

On the way back to Sedona, my inveterately uncooperative bladder demanded that we stop nownownow, which is how we found ourselves here. Sure, we originally stopped merely to answer the call scream of nature but, as an aficionado of the weird, the extreme, and the mutated in the animal kingdom (don’t get me started on the recent photos of the giant squid…), I was compelled to shell out five smackers to see the white buffaloes, and dragged poor, long-suffering TMK along with me. (I think this is about when this started to qualify for what Anne of Creative Text(iles) would call an “aventure.”)

Quasi-philosophical, quasi-religious musing: These folks have, at last count, four white buffalo. Personally, I think much of the mysticism and symbolism of the white buffalo vanishes when you know they’re deliberately being “manufactured,” if you will. The buffalo don’t exist as the result of supernatural happenstance, a rare conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, or a visitation by White Buffalo Calf Woman; they exist because of calculated animal husbandry, because male buffalo A is allowed to chat up female buffalo B who is known to carry the white gene and eight, nine months later out pops—surprise!—yet another white buffalo! Exploitative and disrespectful of the Native American tradition, or a way of injecting, albeit artificially, more harmony and spiritual balance into the world, if you believe in that sort of thing? Discuss amongst yourselves. And have some kawfee.

Here, one of the white beige buffaloes in question. I believe this is the matriarch, the mother of the other three white beige buffaloes. (The brown males are in separate pens in the back. One of them stands 7(!) feet tall at the shoulder and is apparently murderously aggressive. We hustled past his corral quite quickly, stopping only long enough to pat Molly the Donkey because, really, who could resist that face?)

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Here, gifts and ribbons left by those who have come to pay their respects to the buffaloes…

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The truth be told, we bilagaana (Navajo for white dudes) were more intrigued by the pygmy goats, one of our most favorite farm animals, mostly because when Frankie stands near them—which she has had the opportunity to do—she doesn’t look so freakishly short. When I gave this very friendly cutie-patootie my patented “Ryan scritch”…he fell asleep standing up, right there in the back of the cart. Imagine him just as he is below, only with his eyes closed. (Note the prayer stick (?) behind him, again covered with offerings left by visitors.)

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So, an unexpected aventure involving mutant mammals under our belts, we arrived back in Sedona and declared, what a Splendid and Magical Day; we must top it off with a Splendid and Magical Dinner! So off we motored again, confident in Sedona’s ability to provide us with a fabulous meal, one worthy of a day spent at the End of the World. Restaurant One: A half-hour wait. For pizza. Restaurant Two: No parking. Restaurant Three: Severely unappealing food, including “Beef Head (yes, “Head”) Burrito.”

So, after a day of soaring through the skies, looking upon the face of God, and humbly and completely revising long-held opinions about the Grand Canyon, a day full of awe-inspiring experiences and of making dreams come true, we hunkered down in our hotel room, each of us jealously guarding her Lunchable, her cup of chocolate pudding, and her plastic spoon.

Okay, I lied. Monday I’ll finish up the slide show, with Girls Go Shopping (during which time I make a dream I didn’t even know I had come true), a wild adventure/aventure with Mr. Ed (not the horse), Jerome, the Verde Canyon, more of Mongol LEE, and the Headcold That Ate New York.

In the meantime, so I don’t bore the bejeebers out of my readers who could care less about the Grand Canyon and think I’ve fallen completely off the knitting bandwagon, a picture of the Opal sock (colorway “Lollipop”) I worked on during vacation. Oddly, the colors in this sock echo exactly the colors of Arizona: The white of the aspen tree trunks and the clouds; the mustardy, golden brown of the deserts; the variegated greens of the cacti, the pines and the mesquite; the intense, clear blue of the skies; and the red of the rocks, the prickly pear cactus fruit and the bright flashes of color on the ruby throated hummingbirds. A coinkidink? I think not.

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(P.S. A note to Patti. Don't let the photo of The Squirrel Who Lives at the End of the World fool you. Grand Canyon squirrels are shaped exactly the same as all other squirrels. This squirrel, however, was really serious about warming his belly. Five seconds before, he had been sitting up all round and three-dimensional like a normal squirrel; then he just flattened himself completely down to get as much of his furbelly as possible in contact with the warm rocks. Note that his front legs are sticking straight out in front of him and, in fact, although you can't see it in the photo, his hind legs are sticking straight out behind him. Methinks a squirrel can't get much flatter than that, unless he's been run over by a car.)

Posted by Ryan at 09:35 AM | Comments (14)

September 28, 2005

Eh, Just More of the Same

(Picture-heavy post, Dear Readers!)

Everybody settled? Everybody have popcorn? Everybody have the dog, cat or significant other of choice in their laps? Everybody have their knitting? Good. Off we go, then.

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A confession: All my life, I’ve thought of the Grand Canyon as, well, tacky, overrated, Disneyland-ish, Las Vegas without the neon. I have no idea why I thought this (most likely it had something to do with my mother and her over-inflated idea of what was “done” and “just not done.” Don’t ask.), but suffice it to say I have been humbled. In a big way.

Here is a picture of our first exposure to the Grand Canyon, a photo taken from the airplane. Keep in mind that we hadn’t started to descend yet and that this photo was taken from 32,000 feet, the height from which entire towns just look like tiny smudges. You do the math.

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Since I was sitting in the aisle seat, in order to see the Canyon, I had to stand up, lean waaaaaay over, squash myself into TMK’s personal space and scroonch my face cheek-to-cheek with hers to peer out the eensy-weensy airplane window. Then began the squeals and the uncontrolled and slightly-too-loud exclamations of: “Look over…” “Did you see…?” “Oh, my goodness!” “I never imagined…!”

When I had thoroughly covered the window with greezy nose prints, I straightened up, and looked up and down the plane in an attempt to enjoy vicariously the excitement of the other passengers who were surely all standing up and squashing and scroonching and exclaiming the same as I was...only to discover that we were the only ones making such spectacles of ourselves. Whut the...?! I didn't know whether to feel embarrassed about being so naïve and uber-touristy or sad for the 138 people too caught up in the latest email, latest Top 40 rap hit, or thoughts of joining the Mile High Club to realize what was playing out beneath them. Sure, a lot of the people on the plane were jaded business travelers who’d flown over the Canyon umpteen times, but surely at least one other person on the plane was a Grand Canyon virgin like us and willing to squash and scroonch and exclaim and play the fool? Um, apparently not.

Exeunt Saturday and Sunday. Monday, after we had recovered from Cuzzin Tom’s Nature and Pictograph Petroglyph Ancient Drawings Tour, we drove the 2.5 hours to The Big Hole in the Ground, climbed into this helicopter…

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…and put our fate in the hands of a pilot who couldn’t have been more than eight years old. Okay, maybe twelve. But certainly prepubescent, and certainly had never had a reason to buy a razor.

(While I will declare unequivocally that a helicopter is the only way to see the Grand Canyon, and while I will give the helicopter experience an A+++ and declare it worth every penny, we could have done without the hokey music piped in through our headphones. Think about it. The Grand Canyon is spread out before you in all of its five-million-year-old grandeur…and you’re listening to the theme song from “Bonanza.” Or “The Marlboro Man." Or “High Noon.” Or “Gunsmoke.” It made me want to bounce along like a cowboy on a trotting horse, and say "Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk" with a western drawl. Not appropriate behavior.)

During our flight, for effect, the pilot flew somewhat close to the ground, and then shot straight out over one of the deeper parts of the Canyon. And that, dear friends, is when I realized I was looking into the face of God. Truly. There is no other way to describe it. Amazing. I had no clue. I had no idea. “Tacky?” ”Overrated?” “Disneyland-ish?” “Las Vegas without the neon?” Fie on me! I should be pelted with piñon nuts and poked with saguaro thorns. (Oh, wait, I forgot; there are no more saguaros. They're extinct.)

A photo of a frumpy me which belies the excitement I was actually feeling, because I lerv flying in helicopters, and I knew we had a huge adventure ahead of us:

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TMK literally on the verge of having a dream come true:

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Just before The Big Moment:

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The Big Hole:

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The confluence of the Colorado (brown from all the recent rains) and what I think is Blue Angel Creek:

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After the helicopter flight, we headed in towards Grand Canyon Village. About half way there, we pulled over along the road, parked and got out, since that seemed to be what everyone else was doing. Clueless yet again, I walked a few feet through some scrubby piñon trees, crossed a sidewalk, and screeched to a halt with, I’m sure, a gasp, as I realized I had reached The End of the World. I had no idea you could just walk right to the edge of the Canyon, but there it was, a mile straight down, and 18 miles across, right at my feet. With no railings. At this point, I believe TMK actually exclaimed, “Zoinks!” I kid you not.

Here, proof that I have no fear of heights:

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TMK took the photo. Notice how far away she was standing. She did become braver later on.

The Squirrel Who Lives at the End of the World, warming his belly on the Low Stone Wall at the End of the World. (The squirrels were fearless, mostly because they received endless treats from the tourists, despite the many signs that admonished, “Do Not Feed the Squirrels Who Live at the End of the World.”)

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More photos of the End of the World.

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And my most favorite photograph of all, taken by TMK herself...

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On Sunday, about an hour into the hike with the Robed One, I think he realized that the high altitude and exercise were getting the better of his two out-of-shape companions because he stopped, flapped his hand at the stupendous flora, fauna and geological formations laid out before us, and let loose with the greatest understatement of the trip: “Eh, just more of the same.” This instantly became our motto for the trip, which is why after we had walked along the edge of the Canyon for a while, and needed an excuse to turn our backs on all of its magnificence and go find some much-needed lunch, we both flapped our hands at the parts of the Canyon we could never hope to reach and said, “Eh, just more of the same.”

And so ended Part One of our Day of Dreams.

On Friday, white buffaloes, Jerome, the Verde Canyon train and more of Mongol LEE!

Posted by Ryan at 10:33 AM | Comments (28)

September 26, 2005

Grandpaw Hauls Out the Old Slide Projector Amid a Chorus of Groans

The only downside of our trip:

The car we reserved: A Ford Mustang

The car we actually got: A Chevy Malibu

Which leaves me looking back at a week that combined the ignominy of driving a Dorkmobile with the knowledge that we had truly looked upon the face of God. More times than I can count, my head felt ready to explode with the extremes of our trip which, further, has left me with absolutely no idea where to start with the recounting of our adventures.

Oh, wait. Yes, I do. With what, to me, is the most important picture of the 150+ we took:

Me ‘n Der Cuzz!!

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And next, our completely unexpected but very happily received gifts from Der Cuzz:

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On top, direct from Mongolia, a felted camel made from...er, camel. He was immediately named “Mongol Lee,” or more accurately, “Mongol LEE,” with emphasis on the “LEE,” and became our constant companion during the trip, sort of like Stephanie’s sock...only not.

Underneath Mongol LEE, a gift worth its weight in gold: Two balls of Mongolian camel yarn. Grown on a Mongolian camel, sheared from a Mongolian camel, spun by a Mongolian in Mongolia, and now in my possession. Amazing. And, yes, it's soft, although it's hard to tell because the balls are dense, solid, hard, like two cannonballs—which tells me that there is a buttload of yarn wrapped up in there.

And now, on to the trip. And since we know this is the modern-day equivalent of holding friends and family hostage while we inflict upon them endless hours of grainy slides, some sideways, some upside down, don’t fret—we won’t include all 150+ pictures. But, dang, it was hard to narrow it down.

We arrived in Phoenix on Saturday, and drove the two hours to Sedona. Within five seconds of taking this photo...

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we received our first lesson in Arizona flora, that being that anyone, scientist or not, botanist or not, who tells you that saguaros are rare, priceless, and thisclose to disappearing from the face of the earth, never to be enjoyed by future generations, is full of hooey. To him I say loudly and with great vigor and with emphatic pointing of a finger, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Saguaros are weeds, weeds, I tell you! Granted they take 60 years to grow one "arm," and 125 years to reach full maturity, but they, and the prickly pear cacti, were everywhere. Every. Frickin'. Where. Right after we congratulated ourselves on having seen and photographed a Rare Saguaro Cactus—one of the two remaining on this earth, we were convinced—we drove over a hill...and there it was—saguaro as far as the eye could see. Tens of thousands of them. And it continued in this vein for miles. And miles. Rare and endangered, my arse.

And this photograph captures the exact moment when we realized how absolutely clueless I was about our trip, what we were doing, where were going, what we were going to see. Sure, our hotel web site had boasted that they were located near “the red rocks,” so this “red rock” business seemed important, but this is the moment when I actually said, “Oh, red rocks!” Out loud. Like a dweeb.

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And proof that the hotel was, indeed, near the red rocks. I present the view from our window, at sunset:

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Soon after the above photo was taken, we hit The Long Day of Travel Wall and very shortly after that were face down in bed, drooling and snoring, I'm sure, but getting rested up for the next day when our true adventures began. We rendezvoused with the Robed One in the a.m. and he took us on a marvelous hike which took us closer to the red rocks and which gave us a chance to see more of the Arizona flora and fauna, like, yes, even more prickly pear cactus, but how can you resist something as beautiful as this?

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And we saw lots of this, alligator juniper. Cool, no? At least it was cool until the moment, three days later, when I realized that that was exactly what my skin was feeling like.

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And a coupla more photos from Part 1 of the hike:

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Part II involved a trip to a cave to see some petroglyphs pictographs petroglyphs pictographs ancient drawings.

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This photo shows some petroglyphs pictographs ancient drawings made in an area where the Native Americans burned fires, the soot from which caused the petroglyphs pictographs ancient drawings to naturally turn black:

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...What's that, Maw?! It's time to go home already? But Sis and Bobby Joe and Tammy Lee and Jim Bob haven't had a chance to see the slides of the Grand Canyon yet! What's that you say? We're invited back for Wednesday vittles? Okey-doke, I'll bring the rest of the slides back then.


Posted by Ryan at 12:29 PM | Comments (29)

September 16, 2005

Knit-In!!!!!

As MaryB predicted, there will be no postings to the blog next week, althooooough TMK informs me she has located both (a) an Internet café and (b) a yarn shop in Sedona. She seems inordinately proud of herself for having located the yarn shop and seems determined that I will go despite my protests to the contrary. In fact, I think her exact words were you, “You will go, and you will enjoy it, damn it, or I’ll tell your father when he comes home and he’ll whup your sorry ass.” Which would be a neat trick since he’s been dead for, oh, 20 years.

So, in the meantime, I will just leave you with an announcement:

The First 2006 Seattle Dulaan Knit-In!!

knitclipart.GIFWhat: A casual, open house-type gathering of knitters who want to drink, eat, chat…and, oh, yeah, knit for Dulaan.

When: Saturday, October 22, 2005, 1pm-6pm-ish. (The “ish” is a nod to the Garden Party where we lingered so long that TMK had to barbecue us some dinner and eventually it got too dark for us to even see our knitting needles. We know how knitters are...)

Tentative Location: MaryB’s house in Madrona. I say “tentative” because if we get a big response we may look for another central-to-north Seattle location to hold the party.

buffet.GIFWhat to Bring: The party will be a "snack luck" so bring snack food to share, plus your beverage of choice; yarn and patterns to share; any Dulaan projects you want to work on; and any finished Dulaan items you want me to mail. (TMK assures me that there will be at least one chocolate tofu pie. And you will eat it, and you will enjoy it, or she’ll tell your father when he comes home and he’ll whup your sorry ass.)

RSVP: Even if you only think you might come, please email me to RSVP so we can get a general idea of how many people will be there and can decide if we need to find another place. We’ll send out phone, address and direction information after I get back.

kitten.GIFNote to Folks with Allergies: Mary does have two kitties, so if cat dander, cat fur and you do not get along, you may want to take that into consideration when deciding whether to participate. Her house has hardwood floors and no drapes and she says in the past she’s had guests with cat allergies over with no ill effects, but she recognizes that some people may be more sensitive than others.

Lisa from Oregon: Did you get my email about the party?

Now, off to develop a sudden passion for alcohol so I'll be calm enough to get on the plane. Two strawberry daiquiris should do the trick. Maybe three.

Posted by Ryan at 10:11 AM | Comments (15)

September 14, 2005

Making Dreams Come True...

WHASSSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPP on this fine Wednesday, Dear Readers?!!

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, this weekend TMK and I are heading off to Arizona. Long-time readers may remember this entry in which I talked about the two things, achievable or not, that you dream of doing in your lifetime. TMK surprised me when she revealed that one of her “two things” was the very achievable goal of seeing the Grand Canyon (18 years together and I had no...frickin'...idea), so we now have a helicopter ride over the Kaibab Plateau, the North Rim, the South Rim, Marble Canyon, Point Imperial and the Dragon Corridor in our future, not to mention a day trip to the town of Jerome, a trip to the Painted Desert and the crater thingy, a ride on the Verde Canyon railroad and, per TMK’s insistence, lots of time in the hotel swimming pool. We will not, however, be spending any time in a pink jeep.

I’m pleased to report that, preparation-wise, everything is proceeding true to form: TMK packed four days ago (four); me, I’ve sort of spread stuff around my bedroom and am wondering if I can get away with wearing the same t-shirt for five days or if I really have to do laundry. Perhaps I could overnight all my dirty laundry to the home of Mr. Washy. (Although, apparently, if I can get my laundry there today, there's a good chance it will be washed by Pierce Brosnan in the nude.)

And, of course, this all means I will be spending time with your friend and mine, Cuzzin Tom, in person—although, I’m not sure what there is left for us to talk about since we spent two hours on the phone last night, gabbing away like a couple of old biddies, if old biddies talk about such things as the positive and negative sociopolitical impact of the departure of the Communist Russian regime from Mongolia; just how much damage a golden eagle could do to your arm with its talons if you were stupid enough to get in the cage with it; and whether or not we should open up an old-style British pub called "The Lesbian and Monk." Okay, that last—made it up.

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Thanks to CafePress, I’ve been crapping my life and my wardrobe up with all sorts of Dulaan items. I now own a Dulaan t-shirt, a Dulaan totebag (which proved to be roomy enough to hold everything from my other two knitting bags with room to spare)...

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...and a Dulaan teddy bear, shown modeling my second Dulaan contribution, the hat made out of leftover Lorna’s Laces Worsted and dribs and drabs of Cascade 220. The pom-pom on the top? Really wispy. Really lame. Really floppy. Needs a major infusion of Viagra.

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(Update: During lunch I realized that this sounds suspiciously as if I'm taking the profits from CafePress and turning around and buying CafePress stuff for myself with it. Er, no; as promised, all the profits—er, all $44 of it so far—are being reserved for F.I.R.E. Me, I just wanted to deck myself out in Dulaan crap!)

Speaking of Dulaan—and when am I not?—truly, my most favorite part of this project is when someone designs something specifically for it, as in the case of Lyssa Kaehler who recently designed this. How cute is that? Not too feminine, not too masculine, not too plain, not too overdone, and chock full o' whimsy!

Also, I’ve tweaked the Mafrash Pattern ever so slightly and have posted the new version under Free Patterns. In the meantime, I’m desperately trying to think of a new name for it since, in my head, Marfrash keeps coming out “wharf rat,” “marsh rat,” or “maf rash,” which I imagine to be some fatal third-world disease characterized by large, red, extremely itchy spots. While I wait for inspiration to whack me smartly on the head, I’ve started knitting a Marsh Rat Hat based on two repeats of the pattern (92 stitches) using black and terra cotta Cascade 220. The design is lookin' purdy, if a little more squashed and horizontally spreading than I thought it would.

Posted by Ryan at 11:21 AM | Comments (17)

September 12, 2005

In Which I Realize It's Scary How Much the Dear Readers Remember About What I've Written

StalkerAngie, CarolineF—right on the nose! (Right now, I’m tapping my nose with one hand and e-pointing at the two of you with the other...which is harder than it sounds since one of you lives in Texas and one of you on the East Coast, which means I’m twisting back and forth like a madwoman. Or a really bad disco dancer.) My answer to the “23rd Entry/Fifth Line” meme came from the day we took Frankie’s ball and made a cheap-o Victorian gazing ball out of it. But the rest of you weren’t far wrong because, soon after that entry, the ball did indeed meet its demise. It has since been replaced with something of the Sponge Bob Square Pants ilk, although she is now on Sponge Bob Square Pants ball #2. Or maybe #3. Or maybe #9. It’s scary how many sharp nails are lurking about in your yard—but Frankie and her ball seem to zero in on every single one. We hammer one into submission and another one pops up somewhere else, its one true mission to make Frankie's ball go "pop" and "phhhhhhhhhhhhhhht."

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My nascent interest in Turkish designs and symbols led me to chart one of the designs I found online. Here is the original image from this site, Marla Mallett Textiles and Tribal Oriental Rugs.

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I cropped the image so it looked like this:

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Then I used this free online application to overlay a grid on the image to help me get started with the charting process. Here is the file KnitPro generated, in pdf format.

Then, using Excel, I charted what I now call the Mafrash Pattern (the item that inspired this design came from a mafrash, a Middle Eastern woven bag or container), crapped it up with a bunch of peerie-type thingies to make it useable for stranded knitting, and pdf’d it. Ta-da! Feel free to print and use this pattern for your own wild and crazy designs, my fellow knitting addicts. If you want the Excel version so you can tweak it yourself, lemme know.

The design is 42 rows high by 46 columns wide. It might translate well to a hat knit in a lighter-weight yarn like a sport weight—which didn't stop me from trying to knit it in a worsted weight...which led to this moment when I realized the hat was way, way...way too big.

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(Good Lord, how scary do those needles look? I had no idea until I saw this picture how close I was to a blood-spurty and gory death. And now I'm a little concerned about the fact that TMK, who knew I was thisclose to a blood-spurty and gory death because she took the frickin' photograph, didn't warn me.)

Posted by Ryan at 11:53 AM | Comments (14)

September 09, 2005

Friday Miscellanea

I was so entranced by the unique pattern in the Turkish Hat that I spent considerable time yesterday surfing the Net to learn more about Turkish textiles, designs and symbols, hoping to find something that would translate well into another, similar hat. I found a few sites and pages with lovely patterns, like this and this (scroll to the bottom) and this.

...And then there was this—a lovely, colorful, intricate sock pattern, a truly astonishing and wince-worthy pattern name. I can just see it: Someone walks up to me at Guild and says, “Cool socks/hat/scarf/whatever!” And I say enthusiastically, “Why, thank you so much! It’s the Cow Piss Pattern!” ...And my Guild membership quickly and mysteriously evaporates, and knitters I have come to know and love somehow "lose" my phone number and email address. Even sanitizing it to “Bovine Urine” doesn't help much.

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StalkerAngie “tagged” me for a meme, one which has been floating around for quite a while and which, I'm afraid, Dear Angie, I Just Don’t Get. The task is to go to your 23rd blog entry, find the fifth line, and report what that line is. Whuh? Why? And “whuh?” again, followed by another "why?" But StalkerAngie is a snookums so, for her, I’ll do this. The answer is:

“In fact, she had been maniacally chasing it around the yard a mere 30 seconds before.”

Thumbs up to anyone who can tell me who “she” is, what “it” is and why "she" wasn't chasing "it" anymore. And two thumbs up to anyone who first imagined TMK maniacally chasing something around the yard—but you’d be wrong.

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On a depressing note, TMK tells me she thinks we only biked five miles round trip last weekend. (Seriously, I think she enjoyed telling me that much more than was warranted. How else do you explain the gleeful twinkle in her eye?) But, as she also noted in a comment, she bought a cyclometer which will now do the measuring for us. We refer to it variously as “The Moderator," “The Arbitrator” or “The Marriage Counselor.” We bike again this weekend, weather permitting. I’ll be sure to let you know who gets to keep Frankie after the split-up.

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And, lastly, I wanted to share with you my latest blog find. How could I not be enchanted by someone who puts a mouse in her bra to keep it warm? My kinda woman! (She now reports, however, that the mouse has gone to mouse heaven. Pooh. Reminds me of the demise of Barclay.)

I certainly can't end my Friday entry on that awful note, so here, something to make you smile.

Posted by Ryan at 11:02 AM | Comments (19)

September 07, 2005

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde

To those of you (StalkerAngie, Libby) who were concerned that your heretofore simpatica blog mistress was going to spontaneously sprout a tightly coiled bun, cat-eye glasses and a birch whip, whack you sharply on the knuckles and give you a pop quiz on the blog, nah... Yesterday I was having problems with the blog’s comment function and the “test” comments were just attempts to ferret out the bug. And so far I’ve been too lazy to delete them…and now that I know that they’re actually scaring people, I’m even more inclined to keep them. (A million thanks to my very accommodating blog hostess for her help. She only had to tell an agitated me, “shush, now, and be patient” once…)

In between bouts of watching the Katrina footage on TV until our eyes welled and we felt physically ill (don’t even get us started on the images of the dogs that had to be left behind. Suffice it to say, this led to an intense emotional debate about what we would do with Frankie under the same conditions.), we had quite a few minor successes this weekend:

TMK ate a Fudgesicle without getting it stuck to her lips. Next week, how to use a knife, fork and spoon.

steephill.gifWe biked 12 miles. (TMK said it was 10; I said 12. She said 10 a little louder, I said 12 a little louder. She said 10 even louder; I said 12 even louder. Can this marriage be saved?) I don’t think, however, that I quite have a handle on this exercise thing, judging by the fact that, at the turnaround point—the Starbuck’s at a local mall—I had a Frappuccino and a piece of lemon pound cake. The last time we rode that same route, we noted gleefully that, to reward us for our virtuousness, God had seen fit to make the way back to our starting point all downhill. This time it felt...well, you know those road signs showing the silhouette of a truck struggling up a very steep hill? I felt like that truck. After it had eaten a Thanksgiving meal. Downhill, my ass.

I taught my new amiga Courtney, TMK’s young and giggly pseudo-intern, the basics of knitting. She is a brand spanking, virginally new knitter who wants to learn how to knit specifically to make a hat for Dulaan. How cool and big-hearted is that? (Courtney, tuvo buen tiempo enseñandole a tejar. Si tiene preguntas, email me.) Do ignore the fact that I look completely snockered in the picture. I was in no way prepared to have the picture taken so I just flopped over into camera lens range and didn't have enough time to rearrange my face into something resembling sanity. The results speak for themselves. (And I know, I know: Now anyone Googling on “virgin” and “spanking” will now get my site. Sigh.)

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I finished my first Dulaan hat, here modeled on the only thing that came close to working, a large coffee canister (thank God for PhotoShop’s crop function):

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And the top:

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This is the Turkish Hat from “Hat’s On” knit in white and coral pink Cascade 220. I love the exotic flavor of this pattern; not a Norwegian snowflake to be seen.

And I started a wee stashbuster watch cap for Dulaan.

lotsocolor.jpg

The brim (in the middle of the picture) is done in my leftover Lorna’s Laces worsted weight in the Rainbow colorway. The top of the hat will be done in coordinating stripes, using the leftover balls of Cascade 220 shown. (Since I took this picture, I have progressed quite a bit on this hat and I’m loving it. The colors are working excellently together!)

Of course, I can’t finish today’s blog entry without addressing The Really Big News. As those of you who read Cuzzin Tom’s blog know, he has been called back to the United States by his lama and will, in fact, be flying back tomorrow (or today. Or Friday. Darn that International Date Line.) On the one hand, TMK and I are very disappointed for him; on the other, this now means that when we go to Arizona the week after next, we’ll be able to spend some quality time with the Family Monk. (What? Doesn’t every family have one?) Note that this does not in any way affect Dulaan, Dear Readers! Cuzzin Tom was The Idea Guy, and he can keep on being The Idea Guy wherever he is, so keep knitting, keep making blankets, keep sending me emails and pictures!

Some Knitting Housekeeping...

Like a lot of the other knitter-bloggers, I'm compelled to spread the word about this link.

Also, because I have the ear of so many generous knitters, I have been asked to get the word out that the deadline for the Afghans for Afghans project is near. It was originally September 16 but is now September 26.

Similarly, although, for me, the thought of knitting for more than one charity at a time is exhausting, again because I have the ear of so many generous knitters, I have had a few requests from folks to ask that, if you have the time and the inclination, to remember local American charities as well.

Lastly, Dear Reader Irina Makarow sent me this email:

“I do have a possible donation to make to Dulaan: I have 4 or so lbs of a jacob-cross fleece that has already been processed into clean roving ready to be spun. it is soft enough for outer clothing, and a nice brown grey natural color. However, time to spin the stuff just eludes me. So - here's the deal: if someone is willing to spin it up, I'll send it to them (better yet if they're in South Puget Sound could probably arrange delivery), and they can spin it up into nice medium-chunky wool that would then be further distributed to knit Dulaan items (tho I'd like some to knit a Dulaan item myself from it, seeing as this fleece has spent considerable time in my own stash and I've grown attached to it, as have the dust bunnies).

Interested persons can contact me at: olyweaver@comcast.net."

Posted by Ryan at 10:58 AM | Comments (25)