December 31, 2009

Through the Looking Glass

With enough knitting squeezed out to, I hope, maintain my street cred in the knitting community, more about the trip to San Diego. Mostly it was helping with—or getting in the way of, I’m not sure which—the last minute hustle and bustle of Christmas, punctuated by occasional fun side trips to better acquaint Auntie with San Diego. Then there was the day we took The Little Neighborhood Walk.

So, I’m sitting by myself, eating some lunch, and thinking, “Hey, I feel a little sluggish. Maybe it would be nice to take a little neighborhood walk.” Coinkidentally, five minutes later, Big Sister strolls in and says, “What do you say to the idea of taking a little neighborhood walk?” “Sure!,” says I, trustingly, naively. After all, she is my Big Sister.

To be clear, my definitions:

     Little: Brief, short

     Neighborhood: The immediate area, around local houses, on local sidewalks

     Walk: A casual amble

My sister’s definition…well, I’ll let a picture or two do the talking for me.


Let your eye follow this one up, up, up!


You can imagine how dumbfounded I was to find myself hiking up the steep, rocky dirt paths, deeply rutted due to recent rains, of Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch, wondering what had happened to “little,” “neighborhood” and “walk.” In retrospect, perhaps the fact that she filled up a water bladder “just in case” and instructed me to put on sturdier shoes than the already-sturdy ones I had on should’ve been a clue.

Despite my shock at finding myself on the other side of the looking glass, the truth is it was a tremendously interesting walk. For starters, take a look at this:


Looks as expected for Southern California, right? Dryish, greenish, brownish? Howzabout when I tell you this: 95% of the area was destroyed in the 2003 fires. (Click on the link to see amazing pictures of the destruction and put things a little more in perspective. Don’t click on picture 2; it’s a fried bunny. Sorry.)

Despite the greenery, there were still many reminders of the destruction:


At the end of the path were grinding holes where Native American women of the Kumeyaay tribe used to grind acorns to make meal.



(Side note: Just found this site about cooking with acorns. Who knew?! Not that I'll be experimenting with this any time soon given last month's Adventures with Stir Fry.)

Around this time, the evening shadows and colder temperatures started to creep in so we traipsed back, but Niece is under strict orders to create for me a definitive glossary of my sister’s vocabulary so I’ll be better prepared next time. As Niece, who knows whereof she speaks, said, “Just be glad she didn’t ask you to go on a hike!” What would that've involved? A quick hop across the Andes? A visit to the International Space Station? A submarine dive to the Titanic? Walkabout in the Australian outback?

Until the next adventure, Friends, Family and Dear Readers—


Posted by Ryan at 10:20 AM | Comments (8)

December 29, 2009

Maintaining My Sketchy Membership in the Knitting Community

That scarf I finished on the plane? The real truth is, no thanks to a lack of a Chibi, the scarf wasn’t…ahem…completely finished. It had dangly bits. It was wearable but, by even the lowest of knitting standards, I looked like a complete chucklebutt. Since then, however, I've made myself an honest woman; the dangly bits have been woven in and snipped off. (Goodness, that sounds painful; somewhat like a vasectomy, no?)

To be honest, the scarf is barely worth all this narrative, being nothing more than another one of those easy-peasy K2P2 scarves I seem to be stuck on at the moment (this was #3). And it's an unpretentious, heather-y denim blue to boot. But here you go:


A little more knitting was completed before I went on vacation, this slightly lopsided miniature sweater destined to be a Christmas ornament for sister and fambly:



Each side was knit flat using 14 stitches, size 1 needles and a wee ball of leftover sock yarn, I’m guessing Lorna’s Laces or Blue Moon. God only knows what wacko forces were at work on those oddball sleeves but it was—as my motto goes—good enough. As intended, it now resides in Southern California.

Then, while in San Diego, I managed to squirt out a Ballband Dishcloth in solid purple and yellow but forgot to take a photo.

cloth-crop.gifA thought occurs to one: A dishcloth is the one piece of knitting you give someone hoping that they do abuse it: Get it dirty, greasy and dusty; rub it on counters, floors, sinks, tubs, even on rough surfaces; use harsh soaps and cleaning agents on it; agitate it vigorously in both hot and cold water; wring it out fiercely; and run it through both the washer and dryer as often as needed. Think about doing that with a delicate, lacy qiviut scarf. Painful image, no?

Long live the humble dishcloth. I, for one, hope the one I gave my sister looks like crap in a week.

Posted by Ryan at 09:32 PM | Comments (8)

December 27, 2009

One of These Days, My Brain Will Explode

Newly back home with only this thought for now.

On the flight home, at one point I suddenly realized I was:

1. Eating
2. Drinking
3. Listening to my iPod
4. Tapping my foot and humming due to Item 3
5. Knitting
6. Doing a crossword puzzle

...all more or less simultaneously (and all while trying to avoid shimmying or elbowing my way into the personal space of the nice grandfatherly type to my right).

My poor brain. Perhaps one can occasionally multitask a little too much.

(On the other hand, I got on the plane in warm-ish San Diego with an unfinished scarf which I didn't need anyway; got off in cold Seattle and was able to wrap a completed scarf around my neck. There is some putridly awful pun in there about "in the knit of time" but I won't go there. I will settle for feeling smug. And snug.)

[Next-morning afterthought: It occurs to me that I'm glad I wasn't also trying to get a pill out of its bubble pack, or with all that blazing kinetic and mental energy, I might very well have pinged Mr. SnootySnootSnoot in First Class in the back of the head—and I was sitting in the very last row in the plane.]

Posted by Ryan at 10:09 PM | Comments (5)

December 23, 2009

When You Don't Know Your Own Strength...

Howdy, Dear Readers. Writing to you from sunny-but-not-so-warm San Diego. Flight down was fine...except for the part where I tried to push a pill out of its bubble pack—and shot it smartly across the aisle. Heard no startled "eep" or snort of laughter so I don't think anyone (a) was hit or (b) saw, so I just made myself really, really small and fished out another pill. This time I didn't put quite so much muscle into it.

Posted by Ryan at 11:53 AM | Comments (6)

December 18, 2009

I Win.

Last year for Christmas, my sister gave me a pink floral metal lunchbox. Is this not squee adorable? (Even if you’re more the black leather and metal studs, goth, or grunge type, work with me here.)


However, the way I handle my lunch is efficient and unsquee-esque. No Rockwellian popping of a fresh-made sandwich and thermos of hot soup into a lunchbox and sending the lunchbox owner off to preschool with a loving pat on the fanny. I buy ten boxes of something frozen, lob them into the freezer at work, and I’m good for a coupla weeks. Welcome to the dietary habits of the busy modern professional; no lunchbox required.

Simultaneously, the cats continue in their quest to eat my entire stash and are growing smarter, à la Flowers for Algernon, by the day. Remember how, when I first adopted them, they learned immediately how to open drawers? Now they’ve figured out how to open zippers, rendering any and all of my (shamefully many) project bags useless. Example—the remains of four balls of leftover yarn that were in a zippered tote bag:


So, drawers aren’t safe, zippered bags aren’t safe, magnetically-closed and drawstring bags would make the Dastardly Duo keel over with laughter, and bags with Velcro closures, on their own, snag yarn in a way which makes this knitter clutch her chest in pain. Which leaves...not much. So, over the last couple of weeks my subconscious has been grinding away on finding a solution to this dilemma. This weekend, I was at a local nursery/high-end tchotchke store, thinking about anything but knitting—when apparently my brain reached the “L’s” in its database because it suddenly screamed, “LUNCHBOX!,” loudly enough to make me wonder if anyone else had heard. Voila, the Fort Knox of knitting-project storage:


And what makes it so perfect:


Bring it, cats.

[Update: After I took the photo of the yarn inside the lunchbox, I forgot to close it. Cats took one of the balls of yarn.]

Posted by Ryan at 11:35 PM | Comments (21)

December 13, 2009

Dreaming of Christmas in San Diego

It has been weirdly cold, in an unSeattle-like way, for the last week and a half. No snow, no rain, in fact, no wet at all, but everything has frozen determinedly solid in a way that makes you know that spring will never come again. These pots are a good 9" deep and frozen through and through; none of this 1/4" of crackly thin-ice-on-the-surface crap:


Me, I've been living in front of a heater turned on and pointed directly at me. The cats are doing their best to cope as well. Benny, however, missed a spot.


Posted by Ryan at 11:48 AM | Comments (9)

December 11, 2009

In Private, This Would Have Been Easy to Fix

You go to the hospital for some tests.

You lie down on the gurney-bed thingy.

The radiologist tells you the process will be longish and, once it starts, you can't move, the x-ray/camera gizmo needing to take good pictures and all.

You say, “Ok.”

He asks, “Are you comfortable?”

You answer, “Yes.”

He asks, “Are you ready?”

You answer, “Yes.”

He pushes some magic button, and leaves, and from that point on you have to lie perfectly still.

Which is when you realize that, in the process of lying down, you gave yourself a hellaciously intrusive wedgie.

Posted by Ryan at 02:35 PM | Comments (16)

December 09, 2009

Sometimes the Truth Hurts

I woke up to a bone-chilling 13 degrees this morning and bethought me of my warm, cream-colored cashmere-merino-angora sweater-coat (store-bought, for those of you who can’t help but ask) that’s perfect for days like today. So I dressed, put on the sweater-coat, draped the luxuriously soft hood over my head in preparation for heading out into the chill—and felt transformed. I was certain the angora halo gave my face an enchanting glow, that the heavy drape of the hood accented my cheekbones, that I looked rich, famous and fabulous—every inch the fairy-tale princess. I was even convinced my hair had turned blonde and developed tousled ringlets.

Until I made the mistake of looking in the mirror and realized I looked, instead, like the Unabomber.

Ever have one of those days?

Posted by Ryan at 08:57 AM | Comments (14)

December 07, 2009


Hot-water bottle waits
To warm my icy toes
But thieving cat wins.


[Comments arbitrarily working again. Have at.]

Posted by Ryan at 06:02 PM | Comments (12)