June 29, 2007

Urling, Assing and Icking

While, unlike Franklin, I didn’t do this in public and didn’t adorn anyone besides myself with the unintended results, this morning I did pick up and shake a bottle of Frappucino........after I had removed the top. The top was not on and loose, it was off, it was elsewhere on my desk, far distant from the place where it could have done any preventative good. Thoughts obviously elsewhere, I gave the bottle a vigorous, manly shake and sent a wave, a deluge, a volcanic eruption of thick, sugary, milky liquid pouring out of the wide bottle mouth and all over me and everything around me. I had even, as is my habit, put two fingers over the top of the bottle to hold the, um, “top” in place and yet the message never got from my fingertips to my brain that what I was feeling was the cold, round, glass rim of a bottle that had no top.

p2.gifI killed the letter “p” on my keyboard. One measly key, but that’s all it takes to force you to confess to the PC technician what you did and grovel for a new keyboard. PppppppppppPPPpp. I grovel well. And thank God for that, or I’d be reduced to writing about knitting and urling. Or I might have to write about “assing a stitch over.” Or “icking up stitches.” Both of which, now that I think about it, I’ve actually done.

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Like Erika, I have to make sure that you’ve read Rachael’s Kitty Miracle Story (with the priceless title. Read it twice; I guarantee you you'll get it wrong the first time). I almost feel as if all the knit blogging in the universe should end here and now on this amazing note (which, granted, may or may not have a happy ending but will remain miraculous no matter what). (I also am personally quite miffed at Rachael since, Wednesday, driving home, I misted up three times remembering her story and, Thursday morning, misted up twice. It makes driving a challenge when the road signs go all blurry and watery.)

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These 17 more people are marked “done” on the Dulaan 10,000 list. I have about 21 more names to go, and I will have turned over every e-rock and every e-leaf and found every possible e-message in every e-nook and e-cranny that I can. I hope to have those last 21 names updated on the list by Monday.

Danielle
Donna (knitonepurltoo)
Hope Cooner
Janine Bajus
Jayme Stahl
Jean Y.
Jessie Morrow
Kara Moaratty
Kasi
Kathleen Conery
KnittyOtter
MaryB
Otter
Suzanne Treadway
Teresa Cornwell
Victoria H. Gaskell
Zanna

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

June 27, 2007

TMK Visits the Mole People

Despite her obsession with all things sunny and outdoorsy, TMK has been getting a surprising amount of spinning done when she spends time in the dreary, dark and moist underground world of us Mole People. Here, her Blue Moon "Rooster Rock," a goodly portion of which she spun this past weekend at Nearby Neighbor Naomi’s:



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The roving for this yarn has, bar none, the most unique color combination imaginable: burnt sienna, scarlet, sand, eggplant, gray—colors that, in my opinion, you would only put together if someone were dangling your first-born over a cliff, but they work beyond all conceivable workiness. I find both the roving and the singles completely mesmerizing.

(Okay, now this is weird. Since the Rooster Rock colors make me think of a painted desert at sunset (I'm not known for my originality), I went to find a picture to link to for illustrative purposes, because that’s what we bloggers do, don’t y’know, and the first link I clicked on was for a photo taken by Dave Edwards—the photographer who founded F.I.R.E. Spookay! Anyhoo, here it is.)

Speaking of F.I.R.E., no Dulaan goal-number update today but I’m about 95% done gleaning from emails and comments the names of people who Finished Their Dulaan Five (Or More). As of today, I’ve added the following 37 people. As always, the list is sorted alphabetically by first name and, if you indicated you wanted to be referred to by nickname, that’s the name I used:

Abby d'Ambruoso
Ann Andersen
Annette
Ashley Clayton
Bullwinkle
Caroline Foty
Catherine Ngo
Curran Mulholland
Deb Bouchard
Diane Turk
Diann Lippman
Drea
Elaine Haig-Widner
Gail
Jeanne Dowling
Jen Umlas
Jessica Kilgore
Josette
Joy Bury
Judith Scott-Hammerquist
Julia Collins
Kimberly Hutchens
Laura Walters
Linda Harris
Lisa Isgitt
Lynda D.
Marcia
Marianne Robinson
MaryB
Melanie Clark
omly
Sarah Schira
Susan Jones
Susan Molen
Susanna Eve
Wendy Colbert
Zonda Belmont

If your name doesn’t appear, fret not, comment not, email not; I’m still working on this and have about 20 more names to pull out.

(This would all be a lot easier if, a couple of months ago, my Excel spreadsheet hadn’t gone all postal on me. Now, I’m an experienced Excel user, especially in the area of sorting because I love me some data manipulation, but something went gruesomely wrong one day and, by the time the dust settled, not a single email address was next to the name it belonged to, and the names of people who had finished their five were back to being interspersed with the names of people who hadn’t. And the ca-ca version of the file had been saved over the not ca-ca version. Four hundred and something names—all kaplooie.)

Now, please, a moment of hushed reverence for the Grand Master of All Dulaan Grand Masters, our Nancy O., who knit and mailed 157 items for the project. Can I hear a "HOO-AH?" This is the kind of number usually reserved for participants who get their entire women’s church group, or an entire school—students, teachers, parents—to knit for an entire year, then gather up all their items and ship them off, but, no; Nancy did this by her lonesome. Perhaps I need to set up a little shrine to her in my stash room.

I also learned recently from Kimberly Turnbow of Warm Woolies that, as of June 4, the Warm Woolies knitters had donated 2,449 items with another 200-300 in the hopper. I’ve seen a lot of Warm Woolies items in the pictures, and I knew that knitters were availing themselves of the Warm Woolies vest pattern on our pattern page; I just had no idea the Warm Woolies knitters themselves were churning out so many items specifically for Dulaan. Thank you, Kimberly, and all your fabulous Woolie-ites!

Another big producer has been Magic Mongolian Mittens, a grassroots group in Oregon similar to Dulaan. Last year, however, MMM lost their NGO liaison in Mongolia, certainly frustratingly bad news for them but fantastic news for us since they are now sending their items to Dulaan. This year they have sent 477 items.

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On the BSJ front, success!!! Unless, that is, the same thing that happened to my Excel file happens to the BSJ in the next four rows. One of the rows does involve buttonholes so a small mushroom cloud could certainly appear between my needle tips at any time. Don’t forget, I’m the person who almost ripped out an entire sweater because she forgot that the buttonholes were holes she had put there on purpose.

Posted by Ryan at 12:18 PM | Comments (13)

June 25, 2007

BSJ: Things are Looking Up

A follow-up to TMK’s “seven:”

(As an aside, Mel, we adored your fantasy travel itinerary. Much discussion ensued. Destinations were added, destinations were discarded, different modes of transportation were considered: car, train, bus, camel, Segway... But don’t hold your breath. I don’t think even your close-up picture of fox poop is enticement enough for homebody TMK.)

I used to travel from Washington to the East Coast to spend Christmas with fambly. Upon my return to the Great Northwest, I was often jet-laggy and not pleasant to be around for a couple of days. Never having been out of the Pacific Coast time zone, TMK did not “get,” did not, as it were, “believe in” jet lag so she accused me of using this questionable and mysterious “jet lag” condition as an excuse to get away with general bitchiness. Until she took a trip which crossed one (one! one!) time zone and came back feeling ever-so-slightly edgy, draggy, crappy and, why, yes, bitchy. To her credit, she apologized profusely.

Wait until I get her to the East Coast. TMK with jet lag, let loose on the mean streets of New York. Fun times.

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Just when you thought I was done with ordinal linguistic personification, anyone ready for my take on the number Zero? It’s a doozy.

First, Zero is a ghost. I mean, look at it: A thin outline around the outside and transparent in the middle. What does that say to you?

Secondly, if he were alive, Zero would be a god, not a demigod like One. Which explains why One doesn’t like being a demigod—because he knows he’s any kind of a god simply due to happenstance, that he’s merely a substitute for Zero, and he’ll never be good enough to be promoted to a true god.

One definitely has issues.

Told you it was a doozy.

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Hallelujah! I can’t begin to tell you how vindicated I feel after watching the Baby Surprise Jacket DVD (thank you again, Janine)! I’ve now seen the pattern interpreted five ways: my way, two ways posted on the internet, Jessica’s way, and Meg Swansen’s way. And they are all different. And they are all correct. And, who knows—they may all be wrong.

But I must be doing something right because my BSJ is currently so amorphous and so twisted and tangled on the needles that I can’t take a photo of it that would begin to make sense. Er, that’s good, right?

And, so help me God, I’ve started looking at color possibilities for my second one. (Hah. Funny typo: I first typed “pissibilities.” How apropos.)

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The Dulaan number is going through the roof, Brigadiers! The last time I reported, it was 9,101. A mere two days after, I received another update. Grab ahold of your britches, folks:

11,519!!!!!

That means that, as of that count, we had only 597 items to go. Piece a’ cake.

This week, I’ll be working on putting together the prize or prizes for “Dulaan 10,000 or Bust.” Some unexpected but wonderful items were given as prize donations so—this could be fun!

Posted by Ryan at 10:31 AM | Comments (18)

June 22, 2007

Speaking of Numbers, I Present TMK's "Seven!"

Above and beyond the thrill of finding out that other people anthropomorphize numbers—and not just lightly, but truly, deeply, madly, just as I do—I very much enjoyed reading the “number stories.” They were so fun, colorful, detailed! Who knew that the number three could be a foster child, a cookie baker, eager to go on with things without enjoying the present, or two’s big sister? Made complete sense to me. Although we all agree, of course, that my number stories are the only accurate ones. ;-)

But, wait, there’s more.

Fellow synesthetes—which we officially are, as you will see—I've discovered that there is an actual name for our “condition:” ordinal linguistic personification. And the condition is common enough—or rare enough, depending on how you look at it—that we merit our very own Wiki-frickin-pedia entry. Read away! And then let’s form an organization, distribute leaflets, sew a flag, and take over the earth. Who’s with me?

To MaryB—who teased me ever so slightly and, as always, good naturedly at Guild on Wednesday for this latest weird revelation about me—emboldened by this new information, I now I say, neener, neener.

To TMK, who is astonished to learn this about me after 20 years, another neener, neener. I have a "condition." I can’t be held responsible for my actions.

And to Lee Anne, number six is the often overlooked younger brother of number five, Prince Harry to Prince William, Cinderella to her ugly sisters, Harry Potter to Cousin Dudley. Which explains why it’s the one number I forgot.

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And now, TMK's Seven Random Things! For those of you who have straight-girl crushes on her, here's your chance to learn more about The Mysterious One:

1. Numbers: In response to Ryan’s post of 6/20: After 20+ years together, her anthropomorphization (is that a word?) of numbers came as a complete surprise to me. I had no idea that she felt this way about numbers. When I see a number, I see...a number.

2. Reading: When I read a novel, I actually see the story I’m reading as a movie with sound and everything (in my head, of course). I get so caught up in what I’m reading, that I don’t hear anything around me. Ryan has to stomp on the floor or clap loudly to get my attention before she can talk to me. [Ryan's Note: We liken this to when Whoopie Goldberg tries to get the attention of the deaf nun Alma in "Sister Act." I have been known to yell "ALMA!" at TMK to get her attention. It works very well.]

3. Travel: I’ve never been further east than Denver/Phoenix. Because of this, I’m convinced that all those landmarks you see in movies (Empire State Building, Capitol Building, etc.) are simply sets on a studio production lot and that the East Coast doesn’t actually exist. This has been exacerbated by my ever-hopeful denial of the existence of the current White House occupant.

4. Ghosts: When I was in college, I lived next door to a hard-living Brit named Robert. One day I looked down the hallway of my apartment and saw an elderly woman in a blue dress watching me. When I tried to talk to her, she disappeared. I was telling Robert about it the next day. He said, “Oh, that’s my grandmother. She checks in on me by visiting my friends.” It turns out several of his friends over the years have seen her, but Robert never has. But descriptions of her are always the same. This was almost 25 years ago and it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

5. Dialysis: My dad was on dialysis for 11 years so I grew up with a dialysis machine in the house. This was a miracle in itself as he was a Type 1 diabetic. In the 70s, machines were in short supply and diabetics were not high on the list for a dialysis machine; he was one of the first to receive one. My mom was an awesome caretaker and gets a lot of the credit for the number of years he survived. He opted not to have a transplant due to the high risk of rejection. The man who invented the artificial kidney was from the UW; when he died I thought about going to his memorial service to tell his family what he had done for mine—but I chickened out (see #7 below).

6. Career: I do quite a bit of work for a company whose whole business is travel and vacationing. When I first met with them, I told them one of my selling points is that I’m always available for projects as I don’t take vacations. Silence in the room. Then someone said, “Never? Never ever?” That’s the year Ryan and decided to go to Sedona for a week.

7. The Bottom Line: In reality, I’m not really a very interesting person. I’ve never traveled, I’m a Type A workaholic and I’m a homebody. Until 4 or 5 years ago, I would have anxiety attacks before social engagements and would often back out at the last minute (read: coat on, ready to walk out the door to go to the event). This was very annoying to everyone I ever went out with. [Ryan's Note: Then I got ahold of her. See "Sedona" above.]

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Things are looking up with regard to the BSJ, mostly because at Guild, Janine quietly slipped her copy of this in front of my nose. I had no idea such a marvel existed! (Although, in a way, it validates what I'm feeling. One pattern that requires an entire class taught on it and the production of an entire DVD? I rest my case.) I haven't watched it yet but I'm sooooo looking forward to it. I'm toying with the idea of making TMK watch it with me to make up for all the endless hours of baseball she makes me watch. Good plan, n'est-ce pas, knitters?

Posted by Ryan at 10:40 AM | Comments (18)

June 20, 2007

Seven Things

The meme I was tagged for was the Seven Random Things. (Thank you, Naomi. I love me some memes!)

1. Please don’t avoid me on the street and at Guild and at Ferals and online after I confess this crazy thing, but I anthropomorphize numbers to the nth degree. Watch: Seven and eight are married, but seven is weak and whipped and eight is bitchy and domineering. Nine is an in-law of some type to seven and eight. Five is handsome, courageous and successful. Four is a younger sibling of five. One is a demigod of some sort but doesn’t like the responsibility. Two is young, sweet, nice and a little naïve. Three is a foster child.

I hear there’s medication for these kinds of problems.

2. Before I met TMK, I was in three other relationships. Doesn’t that sound weird now, since all you’all’ve ever known is me ‘n’ her? But, no, before her, there was Lise (the college relationship and The First Big Heartbreak), Nan (the body builder; oo-la-la), and Mary (the lean and hunky yet irresponsible and shiftless playah).

3. After my precious kitty-of-my-heart Savannah died, both TMK and I saw her ghost sitting halfway up my spiral staircase. She “visited” on and off for a couple of months and then stopped coming. After my equally precious kitty Courtenay died, TMK felt him jump on her bed. Without thinking, she reached over to pet him but...

This is all the more curious because I don’t believe in ghosts, although TMK does because she’s seen one, a friend’s deceased grandmother, I believe. If you really want to creep her out, ask her to tell you the story.

4. I am fascinated by ethics, morality, the grey areas of right and wrong, and how different cultures and religions can see one issue two or more completely different ways. This led me, in my younger years, to apply to law school. Although I was accepted, I ended up not going. TMK drove me to the school for my first day of orientation…but ten minutes later we found ourselves at the zoo instead. To this day, I’m still not sure how that happened.

5. On one of my many field trips when we lived in Asia, I watched a sea turtle lay eggs. I feel lucky, lucky, lucky for having seen this.

6. I’m funny about money. I tend to be very tight with it 95% of the time, but then, occasionally, I go crazy overboard—which…ahem…explains the Chrysler convertible. Let's just say, when I impulse buy, I really impulse buy.

7. When we lived in Brazil, we lived halfway up a high hill. Further up the hill lived some “black magic” Macumba people. As a rule, the local Brazilians were suspicious of the Macumba and warned us to stay away from them but, instead, my parents made an arrangement with the Macumbas that if they guarded our house, we would supply them with water. From what I remember, it worked well, although they may be the people who ate our turtle.

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Despite the rules of this meme, I’m only going to tag one other person, with her permission. Take it away, TMK!

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I’m still plowing through the emails and comments from folks who’ve met their "Dulaan 10,000" or Bust goal but, as of today, I’ve marked these additional Brigadiers as “done:”

Amy Maceyko
Amy Skopik
Carol Frank
Celeste Grant
Cheryl C.
Christy Moyes
Deb Wagner
Elizabeth Morrison
Eunice Chang
Jackie Gorman
Jennifer Hall
Josiane Richer
Kathleen Day
Kathy Clark
Kristine Taylor
Laura Graham
Laurie (ladybugwrangler)
Lucy Willingham
Lydia
Marianne Frost
Michelle Dimon
Nancy Grant
Rita Noetzel
Romy Russell
Ruth Wylde
Sharon Wagner
Susanna Hanson
Suzie Racho
Toya McClurkan

If you don't see your name on here, and you've sent me an email or left a comment, just know that I'm still working through them. In the meantime, thank you all so very much!

The latest report from F.I.R.E. is that they’ve received 9,101 items. 2,985 to go! I mailed two boxes last weekend, have four more ready to go today or tomorrow and—oops—last night, stumbled across one more bag of items. Urk. It will go out this weekend. And for those of you who worry, and I know many of you lovelies do, about my shouldering the cost of all this mailing, although it is usually my absolute pleasure to do it, this year an Anonymous Donor gave me a check large enough to cover it all. You know who you are, Anonymous Donor; this big hug and smooch is for you.

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Thank you to everyone who is nurturing and supporting me as I make my way through the Baby Surprise Jacket House of Fun Mirrors. I can almost see you at the end of the tunnel, waving me in like a third-base coach. As Erika said, I'm mostly glad to see I'm not the only one. I'm determined to keep going, though, because this is one project I've wanted to do for years, and I'm not going to let some iffy instructions get the better of me.

I had found the knitwiki info and the Dawn Adcock's cheat sheet but those were the things I mentioned that interpreted the pattern just differently enough from me to reduce me to eating my hair. I'm doing my own version of notes now, and am ever hopeful. And since apparently I don't think I've been punished enough, Sweet Caroline, I'll take you up on your offer to send me your spreadsheet. Will you mail it to me at rymorriss AT yahoo DOT com?

Posted by Ryan at 02:08 PM | Comments (24)

June 18, 2007

Surprise!

Note to non-knitting partners, spouses or SOs of obsessed knitters: If you don’t want to get The Pregnant Pause of Mild Annoyance followed by The Withering Look of Instant Death, don’t say to the knitter, as you’re both heading out the door, “Oh, gee, I don’t think you need to bring your knitting with you…”

I don’t know what TMK was thinking. Perhaps she was trying to keep things simple; perhaps she was trying to save me the trouble of hauling so many bags around; perhaps, after six years of my knitting, she still doesn’t get quite how this’all works; perhaps she wanted to hear the Pregnant Pause of Mild Annoyance and get The Withering Look of Instant Death, in which case I was happy to oblige...

Did I knit during that particular outing? No. Not a stitch.

Did I carry more bags with me than I needed, and were those bags inconvenient, especially the overly large, pink, supermarket-type one which rustled loudly every time I moved my legs? Yes.

Was this a very short outing for which I could have easily left my knitting at home? Yes.

Did I know there was a snowball's chance that I would get to knit even one stitch? Yes.

Was TMK right? Blah, blah, blah, Fifth Amendment. Blah.

But that’s not the point.

Harrumph.

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The highlight of the weekend: Buying a cordless controller for TMK’s PlayStation II. The idea is great in principle, and TMK reported that the controller worked very well...until the moment she plopped herself back into her recliner and settled in cozily, ready for yet another round of fighting evil phantoms, shadows, wraiths, imps, and other soulless creatures, and pointed her hands at the PlayStation—only to find that she had left the controller in another room. Apparently I don't have the copyright to the Pregnant Pause of Mild Annoyance...

On the up side, if TMK gets particularly worked up fighting uber-demons while using the corded controller, she has been known to yank the entire PlayStation off the shelf. This is no longer a problem. Frankie and I—who both startle easily—are grateful for this.

As for me, while TMK busied herself fighting evil phantoms, shadows, wraiths, imps, and other soulless creatures and not pulling the PlayStation off the shelf, I busied myself wrestling with the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern.

SURPRISE! Just because a million other people have knit the pattern and say it's easy doesn’t mean I can do it.

SURPRISE! This is the first pattern ever, in six years, for which I’ve had to use this. And it doesn’t help. It just gives you two places where your count can be off, instead of one.

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SURPRISE! This is the first pattern that made me think garter stitch was confusing. Garter stitch, people! The simplest of the simple, the ABC's of knitting! In fact, the garter stitch was getting to me so much that, at one point, as I was perusing the last few rows, I discovered I had accidentally purled half a row, resulting in some stockinette. How do you purl accidentally? It takes a lot of concerted effort to purl: Bringing the yarn forward, inserting the needle from top to bottom instead of bottom to top, inserting the needle in front instead of in back, wrapping the yarn around all catty wampus… And yet.

SURPRISE! As much as I love my copy of “Knitting Without Tears,” sometime Elizabeth Zimmerman drives me loco. Now, don’t go getting out your torches, pitchforks, hot oil, tar, and feathers, Dear Readers and EZ fans. If you’ve ever seen this pattern, you will know that there is much increasing, decreasing, shaping, and picking up of stitches, and your stitch count changes every row. And yet the pattern is very casually written, as is EZ’s wont, to the point where crucial details are left out. Argh. (Perhaps a light should've gone on when Jessica told me she teaches a class on this sweater. An entire class. On one pattern.)

SURPRISE! Because the original instructions are so sketchy, other kind-hearted souls have tried their hand at filling in the gaps and have posted their discoveries and notes online. Which I then find, only to discover that they've interpreted the pattern completely differently from the way I have, by which point I'm left sobbing in the corner.

SURPRISE! EZ can in no way be blamed for this, but knitting from the stash can sometimes lead to color combos that are ass. Proof:

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However, if my calculations are right, when this thing gets folded up origami-like, the stripes should stop being so stripey and straight and frigid-looking and become more organic and accent-y. Please God.

On Wednesday, a new meme that I was tagged for so you can, yet again, learn more about this complete stranger than you ever knew about your own family. In the meantime, off to update the list of Dulaan 10,000 or Bust participants who finished!

Posted by Ryan at 11:30 AM | Comments (26)

June 15, 2007

The Pictures Just Keep Coming!

The problem with being too sensitive to nature and living things:

antart.GIFI spent considerable time this week digging grass out from between the cracks in my driveway because I realized that my house was starting to look abandoned, even white trashy. My choice was either to haul in a rusted truck on blocks, start planting everything in gilded tires, and git me some chewin’ tabaccy, or actually clean up the yard. My efforts came to an abrupt halt when I discovered that I had disturbed an ants’ nest and had to work gingerly and ineffectively around the ants because I didn’t want to kill or hurt any of them. But, as always, TMK, who does not suffer from this hypersensitivity, was sitting on my shoulder, stamping her foot and saying, “For God’s sake, Ryan! They’re ants! You need to get this grass removed. Just keep going!” So I did, wincing every time I smooshed an ant. And then...what’s this? What’re they carrying? What are those little white…? Oh, my God, they’re ant babies!

That was it. I went inside. I have to draw the line at ant babies.

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Knitters, raise your hand if you’ve ever done this:

You’re driving along and you see a green light turn to red ahead of you. And you speed up so you can spend more time at the red light and knit a few stitches.

My hand is raised. My face is red.

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A few more pictures for you.

I thought I’d start with this one not just because of the priceless face but also because this gives a good idea of the condition of the clothes we're trying to replace. Take a good, long look at that jacket, Brigadiers.

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I have a personal thing against pixie hats. I don’t know why. Probably because I don’t understand the logic of knitting something so far removed from the actual shape of a human head. However, this picture goes a looooong toward helping me understand why people knit them:

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This picture made me chuckle because adults and kids are the same everywhere:

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Look at the sweater in this picture! Handmade? Not handmade? What do you think? And that’s definitely a Dulaan hat.

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Here, I may have struck gold. Look at the the picture of my Cloud Hat; look at the picture of the man. Yes? No?

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Even though I know it's not the case, this picture just says "abundance of warmth" to me, and makes me proud of all the work Dulaan has done.

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Lastly, a picture of what it's all about, clothing the children so they can go to school:

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

June 13, 2007

More Pictures!

To the people who are coming to Spawndog’s bbq, if conversation starts to lag, just ask TMK how I got dog poo on my elbow last weekend. Oh, and just how much she laughed and laughed and laughed. Good for a relationship, that. (Thank God for boiling water, strong soap, scrub brushes, sandpaper, Purell and eau de cologne. And the fact that it's physically impossible to put your elbow up by your nose. Try it.)

In the meantime, as much as TMK thinks her tuteurs are for growing tomatoes, pole beans, clematis and honeysuckle, she could not be more wrong. Tuteurs are for photographing scarves. I present the finished Scarf in Drag, my last thing for Dulaan this year (which means the Yo-Yo Sweater didn’t make it in but, eh).

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Interesting side note: If you roll the scarf up and turn it on its side, you get a rose:

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Seriously, if you’re looking for a scarf to make for yo’ man—or for a woman who breaks out in hives at the sight of lace, satin, glitter, makeup, or anything pink—this is it, although in, you know, some slightly more macho color than bubblegum. If you knit it, though, be prepared for some weird reactions from other knitters. Despite how easy the pattern is, even experienced knitters fell silent when I hauled this thing out of my bag. This was usually followed by a thundering rush in my direction, major fondling, the use of loupes for up-close inspections, some “ooooo-ing,” and the inevitable in-depth stitch-analysis. Which was further followed by great confusion when they realized it was just a basic k2p2 rib and the simplest of alternating cables. Needless to say, all the credit goes to the pattern’s designer, Diana.

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Are you ready for more Mongolia photos? I know I am.

First, a close-up of the face of the elderly lady whose photo I posted last time. I cannot get enough of this woman.

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Another face that mesmerizes me:

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Get a load of the kicky clown vest on this punkin’, which has been joined, I’m happy to see, by a fleece hat and a sweater.

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An adorable picture followed by a close-up of a most amazing hat:

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When was the last time something this simple made you this happy?

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Something has gone majorly wrong with this hat. I suspect there’s a whole other band of green crumpled up in there somewhere—but the face, look at the face!

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This child is seriously kitted out:

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Lastly, although I promise more photos on Friday, another child who is (a) also seriously kitted out and (b) apparently the third recipient of a frog hat. (By the way, see the little sticker on the hat? I did some sleuthing via the zoom feature in Photoshop, and determined that it says, “Handmade in Canada,” so, apparently, somewhere to the north of us, there’s a Canadian knitter churning these madcap (pardon the pun) things out.)

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Posted by Ryan at 11:40 AM | Comments (14)

June 11, 2007

Pictures!

Looks like we’ll have a reasonable turnout for our first (and most likely only) Knitting and Spinning Retreat and Barbeque with Buddhist Overtones. So far, I’ve heard from:

MaryB
Gail
June
LindaK
Camela (from Portland, and whom I have yet to meet, "ships in the night" and all that)
Moirae
ElaineandLeslie
KT (whom I may have met, but only fleetingly, at Madrona. Yes? No?)
Maybe Kathleen

There was a quick moment of heart-stopping excitement when Norma of The Green Mountain State said she was considering coming, until I reluctantly put the kibosh on that by ‘llowing as how, before he came here, Cuzzin Tom would actually be on the East Coast, in, and here’s the kicker, The Green Mountain State. So I’ll let the two of them hash that out.

Anyone else? If you’re interested in coming, lemme know. (The vital stats: July 15, 1 p.m., TMK’s house, bbq, free monk given away with every ticket.)

P.S. KT, you asked for a phonetics primer on Cuzzin Tom's first name. As far as I know, the “Kon” in “Konchog” rhymes with…hmmm…okay, “lawn” or “spawn.” And the “chog,” rhymes with, well, “dog” or “frog.” So, if you can say “lawnfrog”, “lawndog,” “spawndog” or “spawnfrog,” yer on your way.

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To spur you on as we reach the mailing deadlines for Dulaan (in other words, please mail now, not June 30th, dear knitters!), I have pictures from Dulaan 2006! Unfortunately, I know nothing about the images; they just arrived in the mail on a big, shiny disc from Meredith with no 'splainin' but, trust me, they speak for themselves. Some even shout.

As always, have tissues at the ready, perhaps even one inserted up each nostril in preparation, since many of these pictures, even the ones that make you smile, will undoubtedly result in spontaneous waterworks.

Anyone recognize anything they knit in either one of these pictures?

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For those of you who remember the pictures of the male prisoners from last year, here’s a better picture of our informal “mascot,” the man sporting the daisy hat:

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Some Dulaaner out there is apparently churning out these cheerful fleece beribboned—or perhaps bebutterflied—hats:

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If ever there was a picture that was worth a thousand words, this is it. The face, the eyes, the crossed legs, the telltale cane, the plastic sandals, and the Dulaan hat, scarf, and socks. How can a picture be moving, inspiring, humbling, and satisfying all at the same time?

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Proof that, no matter what the size of the knitted item, it will always find a wearer:

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To wrap up for today, although there will be many more pictures to come, two pictures that will make you smile:

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Posted by Ryan at 01:44 PM | Comments (26)

June 08, 2007

Ho Hum.

That’s the thing about blogging. Just when you reach that dreaded day when your life has been so dull and you've done so little knitting that you literally have nothing to write about, that ignominious moment when you’re going to have to write, in red, at the top of your blog, “No posting today, Dear Readers, because I’m an empty-headed ninny,” you get to post this instead:

Anyone in Seattle or environs want to meet Cuzzin Tom?

Our illustrious and robèd leader (har, har; that’ll go to his head and then he’ll have to do all kinds of penance, which is my primary goal in life, to put obstacles in the way of his journey to spiritual fulfillment. Excuse me while I go polish my tail and horns.) will be here mid-July. We’re planning a bbq at TMK’s house on Sunday, July 15, at 1 p.m. Being a knitter is not required, although I suspect large amounts of knitting will accidentally occur because a Venn diagram of the knitterly/spinnerly/ Buddhist/Cuzzin Tom people in my life would show an overlap something like this:

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The details of the event still need to be ironed out but in the meantime, email me if you think you might come so we know how many kegs much soda to buy.

Oh, and if you’re going to be there, I advise you to start practicing his real name now: Konchog Norbu. It’s pronounced like Flonchog Shorbu, only not.

Note to Elaine and Leslie: Saturday is your Sacred Day of Rest that weekend, knowhut’m sayin’?

Note to Franklin: Cuzzin Tom, knitting, food, good coffee, gay-friendly city, photogenic state with water, mountains, desert... Need I say more?

Posted by Ryan at 11:33 AM | Comments (19)

June 06, 2007

What is This Thing You Earthlings Call Knitting?

What’s the opposite of an intervention, when you need to talk someone into something, not out of it? Perhaps an “into-vention?” Whatever it is, I need one. I need to be talked back into knitting. Haven’t touched my needles since the Dulaan-a-thaan. Worse yet, haven’t wanted to, don’t have that old, familiar itch. What’s that all about? Even TMK is starting to panic a little since our entire social structure, on which she has come to depend, rests on my desire to loop string around two sticks. Sunday night, she, who feels nauseous with a capital naus when she sees me frog, said, almost pleadingly, and as if frogging actually turns back the hands of time, “Don’t you want to frog the Baby-Surprise Sweater you cast on during the Dulaan-a-Thaan and start again? You know, start fresh? Don’t you? Huh? Please?

Looking back, my new aversion to knitting notwithstanding, the Dulaan-a-thaan was the best possible way to wrap up the Dulaan 2007 push, with newbies who brought with them that enthusiasm and positive energy we all feed on, and those really super-special knitters who’ve been with us since Day One. The night was spectacularly productive, with items being finished and added to the pile literally by the minute. However, for those of us who stayed until 5 a.m., it all became quite surreal by the end, what with my coming closer to having a seizure than I have in 15 years (you can feel those little pissants coming, I tell you whut), with our being googly-eyed tired, with our being in a yarn store (!!!) surrounded by people in pajamas, with Red Dwarf blaring in the background to keep the more desperate among us awake (as if we could understand the Liverpudlian accents, the way we were feeling. Puhleeze.), the birds singing, the sky starting to lighten, a corgi wandering exhaustedly around (and there’s nothing sadder than a corgi with droopy ears), and me deciding all of a sudden to engage in major retail therapy at 4:45 in the aye em. I had all night but, no, somehow 4:45 a.m. was my witching hour. I think I panicked when Kim said she was going to close the till.

Recovery was not pretty, much like a roller-coaster ride, in fact. TMK and I crashed for four hours, got up for a pancake breakfast (note to Elaine: blueberry pancakes for her, banana pancakes for me. I owe you.), crashed again, woke up again, and then, while TMK somehow managed to soldier on, I crashed uh-gain, and woke up uh-gain. Final crash: 10:15 p.m. The final crash for Sunday, that is. I blearghed my way through Monday and crashed one more time Monday night at 8 p.m. and slept until 7 a.m. How did we do this in college…and then take tests?!

But did you see the numbers? By the end of the evening, counting items that had been brought in and items that were finished during the 11 hours, we gained 100 items for Dulaan. Astonishing!

My favorite picture of the night/day/morning/whatever was this one:

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Doesn’t Kim look maidenly, as if she’s sitting in a field of flowers, wearing a crown of daisies, singing, “Hey, nonny, nonny?” Kidding aside, I really think this is a lovely picture of her and all our “loot” (which, incidentally, she took home to mail. She is a Champion of the Mongolian People if ever there was one.)

I’ve gotten serious about packing up the things that I've received for Dulaan and, given F.I.R.E.’s request that we focus more on adults now, I was tickled to be able to pack up a box of 40 adult hats! There were 13 children’s vests in the Avalanche Vest box, then I counted about 25 children’s hats, and then some miscellanea that I’ll have to poke at and mull over tonight. Good work, local knitters, good work. At the risk of offending some people who haven’t seen the movie and may not understand the sentiment behind this, to quote our favorite line from “Babe,” “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

P.S. Last week I tweaked my blogroll to add some new blogs and remove some that weren’t being updated. Very sadly, that included Creative Text(iles), the blog that made me fall in love with blogs and which was one of the major impetuses (impeti?) behind the last four years of Mossy Cottage inanity. Anne, TMK and I will miss you, your lovely writing and your quirky, loveable humor. Er, not that you’re dead or anything, it’s just...the blog...no longer...oh, never mind.

Posted by Ryan at 11:17 AM | Comments (15)

June 03, 2007

Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hour Eleven

(Monday Morning Kwikkie Update: I'll be leaving TMK's six Dulaan-a-Thaan entries up until Wednesday. (You may need to click on "June" in the left-hand column to see them all, blogs working the way they do.) For me, for now, suffice it to say I could still use some more sleep. Yaaaawn! See you all then!)

We are out of here! It's 5am, the birds are singing, the sky is starting to lighten up and the five six of us (Frankie counts!) that are left decided we could fudge the last hour. We're extremely proud of ourselves for doing 11 hours! Time to go to bed.

We collected 100 items for Dulaan!

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Thank you everyone who came to the Dulaan-a-Thaan and to everyone who has supported Dulaan this year!

And a huge thanks to Village Yarn & Tea for hosting this crazy event and Kim Myhre for the idea!

You all rock!
TMK

Posted by Ryan at 05:17 AM | Comments (13)

Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hour Nine and Ten

If you're a dog and you see people you know on the other side of a plate glass window, what do you do? Walk straight into the window, of course. No harm done, but we've all discovered that anything is funny at 3:45 in the morning.

There are still 7 people here! ... and they've all been here since the beginning: Kim, LindaK, Ryan, Ginger, Jessica, Gail and myself. However, we are so very, very rummy.

Jessica finished her sweater! The photo's blurry because she's tired. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Kim finished a hat made from her own 3-ply handspun, llama and alpaca, and LindaK finished one of her unique tricorn hats:

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And Joanne finished an orange and gold cap and was then wise enough to call it a night, unlike us.

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Posted by Ryan at 03:50 AM | Comments (2)

Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hour Seven and Eight

d;alstk. Oh, sorry...I dozed off.

It's 1:06 am and there are still 16 people here! And they're still knitting with enthusiasm, tinged with a bit of hysteria. We've sucked down lots of tea and 4 pots of coffee so far.

Kim had her first taste of the chocolate tofu pie...we left her to herself while she recovered. She thought she might need a cigarette.

We've been here seven hours...and this is all Ryan has done.

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Projects continue to be finished!

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Jessica has both sleeves and the body of the sweater she started at 6pm finished. She's working on the yoke now. (How impressed are you guys that I, the non-knitter, can give you viable, legit information about a knitting project?)

Frankie has crashed. She stayed awake as long as she could. But this is her very first all-nighter. She didn't make it.

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And in answer to Rabbitch's doubting, of course we're going to make it all the way to 2am 6am!

Posted by Ryan at 01:53 AM | Comments (2)

June 02, 2007

Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hour Five and Six

We just received a phone call (and comment) from the elusive Rabbitch who couldn't be here tonight. She reports that she's knitting along from the northern branch of the Dulaan-a-Thaan in British Columbia which officially makes this an international event.

On another note, Frankie has joined the party to the delight of everyone, which officially makes this an inter-species event.

The "eat the brie rind vs. don't eat the brie rind" controversy continues. Kim blatantly ate just the rind, no brie, to gross out Ryan and myself. She walked up to the plate, grabbed a piece of rind from the pile o' rind...and ate it.

Gail treated everyone to a big platter of sandwiches from Subway, plus I spied another platter full of fresh-baked cookies. Mmmm. (I don't knit. I have to find something to occupy me.)

Things are starting to be finished:

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It's only 11:46 P.M. God help us all.

Posted by Ryan at 11:46 PM | Comments (4)

Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hour Three to Four

Highlights during hour two:

LindaK has no pants on. Did you ever wonder what a knitter wears under her nightshirt? We don't know, but if she bends over we may all know soon.

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Some of the ultimately 22 people who are crazy enough to join us:

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Food and donations keep pouring in:

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A door prize was awarded to Leslie. She won a needle felting kit.

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Proof that (a) Ryan really is wearing her pink satin jammies...

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and (b) she's not alone.

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Guess who?

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Ryan made a very moving and funny speech about Dulaan and her involvement (I'd never seen her in "public speaker" mode before. Very cool.)

Everyone is watching a documentary about FIRE and Mongolia at the moment. I sense kleenex in the near future.

People are still pretty chatty and awake. We'll see how everyone's doing around 11:30pm or so. ;-)

Janine wants everyone to know that she bought new PJs just for this event. We live very exciting lives.

Over and out.

Posted by Ryan at 09:44 PM | Comments (4)

Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hours One and Two

TMK here reporting from the Dulaan-a-Thaan, Hours One and Two. Kim, Jessica, Ryan (in her pink satin jammies, as promised), SandyP, Janine, Judy, Ginger, Sarah, Lizabeth, myself, and a few other brave souls are here and have already started grazing on the great spread (rumor has it someone's going to order pizza later, and Gail has promised us Subway sandwiches). Jessica's casting on a sweater as I type, and she is going to try to finish it by the end of the event. The knitters have brought a lot of items made from Avalance yarn. It's fun to see all the different things people have made with the same yarn.

The food, including potstickers and the Food Of Our People, Mangled Brie:

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The mountain of Mongolian Kazakh bags, some of which have already found new homes:

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The knitted contributions:

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Running home to feed the dawg. Will post again soon!

Posted by Ryan at 07:27 PM | Comments (1)

June 01, 2007

Where's My MaaaaaaaMaaaaaaa?

So that I have a touch of fiber around me at all times, I’ve been keeping this sheep in my office:

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A few days after I brought it in, one of my male co-workers declared, tongue-in-cheek, that I was practicing bad "land management," that I’d left the sheep in one place too long, and that it was, as it were, “over-grazing” that part of my desk. (Don't ask. We're state workers. We get our entertainment where we can.) From that point on, whenever I left my office, I would come back to find the sheep had moved. I found it on other parts of my desk, on my bookcase, chair, window sill, filing cabinet, and behind my door. I enjoyed all the well-meant teasing but, one Friday, I just tossed the sheep in my drawer and left for the weekend. I came back on Monday to find this (which, I assure you, does have four legs; you just can't see a couple of them):

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In fact, there were three of these googly-eyed, cotton-ball lamb-monsters, all made by my employee, who'd been sucked in by the other prankster, and all pining for MaaaMaaaa...who has now returned to the flock:

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It being June Foist, and June 15, the recommended shipping date for Dulaan, looming large, I’ve started to moosh around the oodles of Dulaan things I’ve been given to see if I can make any organized sense out of them and, right away, this lovely collection floated to the top, an entire box of Avalanche Vests:

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Here’s one that falls into the “do I reeeeeeeally have to mail it?” category, a vest knit by Evelyn Clark. Note the pockets—not part of the pattern, just echt Evelyn.

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Also, in response to a presentation I did at their monthly meeting recently, the members of the Eastside Knitters Guild have all turned into raving, slavering Dulaan maniacs (Dulaaniacs? Dulaniacs?). Let’s just say we have some tranquilizer guns on stand-by.

To feed this insatiable, uncontrollable need, I threw a pile of kits for Avalanche Vests into the cage, threatened the more aggressive among them with my cattleprod, slammed the door shut and stood back. Sure enough, two weeks later, I was handed a stack of seven vests. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed all the variations on a theme, like these.

A vest with i-cord ties instead of buttons:

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A vest with just one, large button. Very Paris.

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A trompe l’oeil vest that has been seamed but still sports buttons:

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My favorite from the Eastsiders, Western style buttons with yarn threaded through the middle for a very Bonanza look:

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But, even though I haven’t seen this vest personally, my all-time favorite Avalanche Vest is this one, knit by Renee Stauffer of the Dulaan Yahoo group. I just love how the colors threaten to break out into a complete riot, only to be subdued by the midnight blue.

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Myself, I’m trying to squeeze out two more items for Dulaan before the 15th, the Yo-Yo Vest, which you saw on Wednesday Tuesday and the Steam Scarf which, true to its name, has mysteriously evaporated and disappeared over the last couple of days. Seriously. Didn’t frog it, just can’t find it. I do, however, have photographic proof that it existed:

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P.S I forgot to mention on Tuesday that one of the people driving up from Portland for the Dulaan-a-Thaan is hoping to find a place where she can crash for a couple of hours before heading south again. Please email me if you can oblige her and I'll put you in touch.

Posted by Ryan at 11:30 AM | Comments (23)