Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hello, Goodbye

This seems to be a theme lately, at least I know I'm not the only one to pick up stakes and move over to other hosting sites. I've had this blog a long long time. I've outgrown the name, I've outgrown the idea and really, I'm just more than ready for a change... so off to Wordpress I go and I do hope you'll come along with me

Please update your Bloglines and other feeds to http://eightfoldrabbit.wordpress.com, and join me over at Honey and Ollie, I'd hate to lose you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome Back to the PTA

Back when my kids were in elementary school, I was a busy PTA mom. I chaired committees, held Book Fairs, went to meetings, led a Brownie troop, coached soccer (two kids, two divisions, 4 years of hell) and did Little League.

And then the kids went to middle school and I stopped doing everything. Had a long bout of crippling depression. Spent a few years letting myself gently come back from that. Got separated from Mr. Yarnpirate. Went back to work. Didn't have any time.

So now we've come full circle. #2 Daughter's new school has a very active PTSA and involvement, while not mandatory, is strongly encouraged. And what the hell, right? I can pay my $10 annual fee and show up to a few meetings. While I was ponying up the annual fee, I noticed two words on the Student Interest packet. "Knitting Club" they read. Those two little words.

"Oh you have a knitting club?" I asked the parent volunteer.

"Actually, the parent advisor moved away at the end of last year. We need an advisor to run the club, I left it on the list because it was so popular I hoped someone would step up." she said.

That's when my hand shot up in the air and I began jumping up and down and squealing, "Oh! Oh! ME! MEMEMEMEMEMEME!!!" and doing the pee pee dance in the hallway.

I'm supposed to contact her in a few weeks, when things calm down, to set it up.

#2 Daughter is still not speaking to me. Because apparently NOTHING is worse than your mother jumping up and down and squealing "memememememe!" in the hallway on registration day, in front of everyone. Not even khaki is that bad.

So yeah. Welcome back to the PTA. I'm kind of excited. It feels good to be stepping up and back into that role. I'd missed it. I just hope that they don't make me wear khaki!

Also as an aside? Nothing is better than sending your ex husband a text that says, "By the way, you just joined the PTA." and getting back a panicked "I just did WHAT???" I suppose that eventually I should tell him that I wrote "Can not volunteer." next to his name on the membership roster.

Eventually.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We drove to #2 Daughter's prospective high school this morning for what we thought was an early appointment with the registrar to attempt to register #2 Daughter for the upcoming school year, which starts next week. It was unsuccessful. We are going back tomorrow when the registrar will hopefully show up for work which she didn't do today.

We *did* get more paperwork to fill out, the student handbook and all manner of Very Important Information.

The new district has a uniform dress code policy. Khaki pants, white or black collared shirts (polo or button up), black, brown or white shoes (no heels), no fun socks, and only black, grey, khaki or green/gold sweaters (no hoodies).

This came as some surprise and the shock prompted some tears on the part of #2 Daughter who, like her mother, is a bit of a nonconformist. Once the tears passed, there was The Ranting.

"It's like, that movie. Jump back. Kevin Bacon. Oh my god. Do they allow music at this school? Dancing? I bet there's no dancing. And it's like that movie with that guy in front of the bank yelling 'Attica! Attica!'"

"It's a school uniform. It's not like you're going to be rattling a tin cup across the prison bars, dear."

"KHAKI PUTS BARS ACROSS YOUR HEART, MOM."


And so it went, at length, for several hours. I took her out for French toast and we went on a quest for khaki. Which was somewhat fruitless, however going online I discovered that Lands End had a couple of pieces. I did get her several cute white and black blouses at H&M, all in uniform code. But I am stuck for where to find really super cute junior sized uniform appropriate khaki bottoms. Gap was a total strikeout. Kids sizes abound, but junior sizes, not so much.

Why not black? Or grey? Why khaki???

"I'm spending the next FOUR YEARS in KHAKI, mom. I might not make it to NYU. I might DIE OF KHAKI."

"No one in the history of EVER has died of Khaki."

"Well I'm a TREND SETTER. Actually? No. What I am is a khaki covered loser who will never get a boyfriend because why? Oh yeah. KHAKI"

"That's okay dear. All the prospective boyfriends will be khaki covered losers too."


That's when she threw a sausage link at me and I decided I probably should stop talking. Unfortunately, because I was driving, I could not ask the waitress to pour a healthy slug of pre-khaki whiskey in my coffee. Shame.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Disgruntled

Not that I need it? Not that I'm particularly deprived? It's pure impulse and desire speaking here...

I am never going to ever get a skein of Wollmeise to knit up.

Just one little skein of Wollmeise, that's all I want. Please oh please shoppers at The Loopy Ewe, couldn't you just leave one little skein for me when stuffing your carts full of ginormous Wollmeise purchases? Pleeeease?

Hmph.

"Of a little,
take a little,
manners so to do.
Of a little,
leave a little,
that is manners too.


My grandmother used to say that. She was talking about Congo Bars, not yarn, but you know the principle is the same.

It truly is a case of sour grapes, because I'm just crabby over missing the update by like, an hour. It's not like I lack yarn. I am surviving just fine without Wollmeise. Maybe this is a life lesson in being happy in the face of lacking The Most Glorious Sock Yarn In THE WORLD, Ever, In The History Of Ever.

I could actually get some Wollmeise and maybe hate it after all that fussing. Somehow I doubt it, but I'm going to try to convince myself that it's possible.
There's been a change in the wind this year. Something in the water? I don't know. But it is a shift.

Blocky Pink Cardi

Getting things done. Not letting things languish. Finishing what I start. It's kind of nice and feels a lot like moving forward. Moving out of Culver City and up to the Fortress Of Solitude (aka Casa Fabulous) was a real kick in the pants. I registered for college, three weeks into the semester and I am doing well in my classes. I think I can. I know I can. I am. It's here. It's now. I started.

I signed up for yoga. I signed up for 8 weeks of bellydance. I decided I wanted to do and live and be rather than have a lot of plans and unfinished business, and then I went out and began to do.

I've struggled with crippling depression on and off for my whole life, and I don't know what's shifted in the last year, but I don't feel like I'm struggling quite so hard anymore. Maybe it's just that I've accepted certain limitations and so I don't spin my wheels in the deep soft sand now. I find the places where I can get traction, where I can move, and I focus there.

I still spend huge swaths of time alone, quiet, nurturing my need for down time. But I've learned that it is possible to get out and do, around those islands of solitude. In fact, it may even be that it is necessary to get out and do, to balance the quiet.

Loksins detail

Things seem more in focus. I feel pretty good. I think I'm actually pretty happy, though it's hard to quantify because it isn't a feeling I'm really used to. But I think that's what this is.

Callie Cardi start

It is a lot of work this being happy. It takes effort. I have to kick my own arse a lot of the time to get that stuff on the calendar, get in the car, get it done, to do. Maybe that's the point. Maybe that stuff isn't supposed to be easy and the point is to make it work anyway. I have no idea. I just know, it seems to be working.

It feels a lot less like trying not to fall off of a tightrope and a lot more like easily walking across something a little more substantial. Actual rocks under my feet. Stepping stones that stay where I put them. I don't want to get too cocky because that is when you fall down, and I don't want to fall down... but I feel like maybe, I won't fall down? If that makes sense.

Of course the beautiful thing about depression is, you don't trust it for a minute and you're always looking out for that thing that's going to knock you on your keister, right?

I'm trying not to go there. And just keep walking forward.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things are heating up here in the San Gabriel Valley and I don't mean temperature. I mean, I'm getting BUSY.

There has been a lot of driving about, proving residency, getting permits and applying to our school of choice in the new district. We don't want to go to our home zoned school - the state took it over last year. If Gov. S can't make a budget, I don't want him in charge of my daughter's HS education. That is for the youngest. The oldest is going to homeschool her final year of high school, and take classes at the local junior college concurrently. Actually, because she has taken extra courses all along, and because she's met all but 4 senior requirements and passed her CAHSEE, she'll be graduating in December. Her second term at college in the spring will be her first term as a fully fledged college student, a full semester early.

Go girl!

I am really hoping she will parley this into admission as a junior at a local state uni and continue until she earns a BA, but she has some hare-brained plan to "travel the world!" after graduating with her AA degree in Graphic Arts, then move to Canada and finish her BA up there as a guest of the folks who brought you the Yarn Harlot.

I am also registered in college classes this fall. With any luck I'll be applying to nursing school in about 3 semesters, once I get a few math, chemistry and bio classes out of my way.

Anyone know a good algebra tutor in the SGV?

On Monday, one of the cats sprouted massive allergies, swelled up, got scabby, explosive in all the wrong ways, and had to be rushed to the vet. He is okay, though we're still not sure what he's allergic to. At $400, I will not be running the blood panel to find out. A shot of steroids, an overnight in the hospital, fluids and some special hypoallergenic food will hopefully help. Between Senor Scabbersons, the kitten and the other two cats all needing their own special snowflake food, breakfast time is exciting around here now.

And of course... knitting.

blocky cardi

The blocky pink baby cardi is coming along nicely. The other front panel is going to be a darker pink, with contrasting pockets and sleeve bands on each front panel to tie them together. The button band, neck and hem will all be that pale pink. I think it will be very modular and cute when it's done.

I am also really enjoying the Loksins! pattern. Lace socks are always a lot of fun and knit up so quickly.

Loksin

I am knitting this one up in Dream in Color Smooshy. The charted parts are extremely simple and fast. I got this pattern from a secret pal a few rounds back and am finally getting to enjoy the knit. A great on the go sock!

And now I'm off to help #1 Daughter get sorted for her college assessment tests, and then to go buy birthday presents for #2 Daughter, who turns 14 tomorrow and expects something wrapped in ribbons to commemorate the occasion.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

EZ FAIL

There are times when you look at something you've been knitting and it is so lopsided, so wrong, so completely NOT the way it obviously was intended to look, that you can only mutter something dire under your breath and rip it off the needles.

RIP, Baby Surprise Jacket. We'll try it again when I am not quite so full of EPIC FAIL.

Hello Baby Garter Stitch Cardi from Erika Knight's Cherished Babies book... you are my old friend! Please assuage my ego and heal the wound inflicted by Baby Surprise!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Well, Oliver Rumblestein, PhD in Prrrrr seems to be settling in just fine and has, in fact, made a conquest.

little spoons

Oh Mittens. You're so easy.

I took this for Lucia when I was up Eureka because I always enjoy her flower pictures so much and wanted to share one back.

Trinidad rose

Have opted for no fringe on the Lady E, as I think my friend would probably appreciate something a little less fussy (and less apt to dangle ends into a teacup) so it is washed, gently blocked, dry, all the ends are woven in and I'm calling it completely perfect.

Lady E

It's so dramatic and amazing looking and what really blew me away was how much the Silk Garden relaxed and softened after a soak in some woolwash and a gentle blocking (by which I mean, I stretched it gently into place on towels spread on the rug, but did not use blocking wires or pins or get aggressive at all.) The piece really grew!

It totally got the woolwash treatment because of the kitten spit issue. Mere steaming would not do. While I was knitting it over the last year, Mittens would curl up on the seat next to me and knead/nurse on the end. So I really hope that my friend doesn't mind her knitwear being a surrogate kitten mother in a previous incarnation!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Have embarked on Baby Surprise Jacket. Stop. Am dubious. Stop. Not sure, but think I am knitting origami. Stop.

Y'all... I'm going to get a sweater out of this, right? It's not like some huge cosmic Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting joke, right?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Finishing last, but at least I'm finishing.

I've sort of been on a finishing frenzy over vacation and since I got back. Lady E, Charade and my spiral rib socks are all cast off the needles and done. No pictures yet, but soon. The Rosebud Cardi is next up to get finished, and then I'm casting on a pair of Loksins and a Baby Surprise Jacket.

It is really nice to get all the old stuff done and off my needles and out of the back of my head!

Photos soon, particularly of Lady E. She's so dramatic, I need the help of one of my teenagers to play model.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Of course there is fiber in Northern California!

It was not all beaches, trees and good eats. Oh no. I was a good knitter, too!

I finished my Charade socks:

Charade socks

I am so pleased with how they came out, the yarn and the colorway and the pattern are really a perfect mix. They remind me of men's suit socks except those waves of green, turquoise and fuschia/purple subtly spiraling through make them very unsuitlike. It's good I finished them. For all that we had the blue skies, it never made it above 70ish and my feet were cold all the time. I ran out of hand knit socks on the day I cast these off. Talk about timing! Go me!

While I didn't find any stores that had the kind of wide and eclectic selection that you might find at A Mano or at Wildfiber, I did find a few yarn shops on the North Coast. One of them was particularly excellent.

Boll Weaver sign

Boll Weaver in Henderson Center was a fantastic fiber resource. The owner was knowledgeable, the store was well stocked with a wide selection of what I like to think of as basic foundation yarns for knitting and weaving, there were plenty of spinning fibers (including locks from local sheep!) and the largest selection of Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks (semi local dyer/spinner in Willits, CA) I have ever seen, hands down. Yarns and spinning fibers, all in a myriad of weights and colorways from that artist, who is one of my favorites. The shop also carries a nice array of Ashford wheels and some spindles.

Boll Weaver

Shipwreck in Old Town Eureka (on Third between F and E) had a small selection of commercial yarn. What rocked my socks was the small but respectable array of local handspun yarns in different fibers. Also a fantastic collection of handsewn bags, aprons, dresses, and vintage treasures. I was enchanted. And the owner sells on Etsy! If you want whimsy? Go here. Their prices are insanely good for what they're offering.

Foggy Bottoms Yarn in Ferndale CA (on Main St.) was a yarn store I was really excited to visit. I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed overall. The store was very dark, had a really horrible pervasive mildew smell upon walking in and those two factors didn't make me want to buy a lot of yarn. They did have a large selection of Mountain Colors yarns and an impressive wall o' Noro. A skein of Bearfoot did make it home with me from this shop, as my goal was to spread my tourist dollars to as many LYS as I could, while traveling.

LOOT

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

I did not make it to either Fabric Temptations in Arcata or Generations Yarn in Fortuna and I'd hoped to. Next time for sure. I hear that the former is quite spiffy.

Anytime you can combine vacation with yarn shopping, I really think you should.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We are home again, after our wonderful trip through California's wine country and up into the Redwoods. I hadn't been home in over 6 years, so this was long overdue and very much anticipated.

It is very hard to live without all this, even though I love Los Angeles.

Trinidad grey rock rock plus woman Trinidad mist detail

I probably do not want to eat again for another week. I think I'll spend the next month fasting.

bovolo summer pizza Los Bagels and fish Ramones Babetta's marsala

There are some amazing places to eat up in that area and we hit a lot of them while we were there!!

One really amazing thing about the North Coast this time of year is that there are flowers blooming all over. It's a coastal area, gets a lot of rain and fog, and so the flowers are not year round. One of my favorite things is all the wildflowers near the highways, and how people's yards become a riot of color. You learn to appreciate these things when they are not all the time. I love LA's eternally blooming jasmine and hibiscus, but there is something precious when the blossoms are fleeting.

Ferndale grave Eureka lavender Trinidad roses

And of course, you really can't visit the North Coast without paying homage to the coastal redwoods.

up canopy big blue ox

Or, the, um... livestock. In this case, Babe the Big Blue Ox who stands at the Trees Of Mystery just outside Klamath, CA. Total tourist trap but every child who grows up in Humboldt or Del Norte Counties gets forced to pose under Babe's big blue self eventually.

Dorothy Annie and Grandpa

We people come and go, but the rocks, beaches, headlands and redwoods endure.

It was nice to be home. And then nice to come home to LA, even though the drive was 14 hours. I will probably not let 6 years stand between me and the North Coast again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please sir... we'd like some more.


IMG_1595
Originally uploaded by Kimberly Jennery

Meet Oliver.

Formerly known as Zang, he will be making his home with us upon our return to LA. Because... how can you resist that face???

We are quite ready to be heading out on our road trip. Just getting a last few things done here and there, washed, sorted, packed... Trying to decide which yarns and patterns to take which is always difficult. I want to pack a million things, but honestly how much knitting time will I have?

The plan is to leave early tomorrow and get as far as Healdsburg. It used to be that when you saw the sign for Healdsburg, it meant that Santa Rosa was coming up soon and that meant Denny's, a burger, and a chance to pee. Now apparently Healdsburg is synonymous with wine, Michelin starred restaurants, and is sort of a fantastic Wine Country destination type place.

Who knew?

There is also a yarn store in Healdsburg, according to the internet. I am ridiculously excited. I have this feeling that the entire drive will reveal a very changed Hwy 101.





See you in a week!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where The Wild Things Are. And I ain't talkin' a Lisa Souza colorway, either.

Day before yesterday, my daughter was sitting on her porch (she has a small porch and backdoor) and walked back into her room to grab something. She noticed a small face peering in her door and then a raccoon walked into the room. They stared at one another for a brief moment, while the penny dropped that OMG a raccoon was standing. in. her. bedroom. and then they both took off in opposite directions (fortunately that meant outside for Mr. Raccoon.) Also, I got in rather late the other night and as I pulled into my driveway, I noticed a rather fat skunk waddling across the lawn. It walked under my car and I had a rather bad moment of, "What to do???" but fortunately Mr. Skunkersons eventually waddled out the other side and disappeared into the neighbor's yard. I also saw a bat.

Then I read this and this and this [contains dead Mrs. Deer picture] and holy shit, THISI realize that, um... We Are Not In Kansas Anymore.

Or rather, We Are Not Alone.

Whatever movie tag you want to use, the fact remains that it is somewhat exciting up here. But in a kind of in a "Gosh I hope it remains exciting in other neighborhoods and not actually in mine or in my yard or anywhere near where my kids walk home from the bus." kind of way. Because I am really not all that Back To Nature.

All we ever saw in West LA was the occasional possum.

The kitties will, of course, be remaining Indoor Only Kitties.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

nos·tal·gi·a [ no stáljə, nə stáljə ]
noun
Definition:

1. sentimental recollection: a mixed feeling of happiness, sadness, and longing when recalling a person, place, or event from the past, or the past in general

2. things that arouse nostalgia: something, or things, intended to arouse a feeling of nostalgia or to evoke the past in a way that arouses nostalgia

3. homesickness: a longing for home or family when away from either ( dated )

[Late 18th century. < modern Latin, "homesickness" < Greek nostos "homecoming" + algos "pain"]


There are times when I miss the Humboldt Bay area so much it hurts. So much that it is like a fist in my stomach, tears well up and I have to take a deep breath, just stop in my tracks for a minute and wait for it to pass. I haven't been home since 2002 which seems like such a long time. I have lived in other places longer than I ever lived there, but it is still my home in a way that no other place on earth will ever be.

The air smells right there, in a way that no where else on earth smells. Mingled scents of forest and ocean, the cool grey fog and occasionally the funk of pulp mill coming from the bay. The streets and the structures there are imprinted in my cells. I don't need a map to find my way about town. I have an internal compass, always orienting me towards home, never letting me lose my way entirely.

I'm desperately homesick. Nostalgic. I can't wait to go home. And I am going home, finally, for a week at the end of this month.

The funny thing is? Part of me is really dreading the drive up there and I am dreading being away for so long. I will miss my little house in the San Gabriel foothills, I will miss my kitties and my dog. The idea of 2 days on the road with nobody else to share the driving does not charm and excite me the way it did when I was twenty and loved nothing better than the battle cry of "Dude! Road Trip!"

I think that's just a matter of sucking it up and getting my head around enjoying the drive. I'm going to make it a slow 2 days, stay in a hotel and take the scenic routes (mental note: bring dramamine for the kids.) I will be driving up with the youngest, and the oldest will fly in about midway through the visit. I will take them to my favorite beaches, redwood groves, and marshes. We'll walk on shady trails of russet and emerald and I'll bitch that the blackberry vines are not ripe yet. Maybe we'll see some elk.

There will be pictures.

I don't actually have any good pictures of home myself right now. But I thought I'd link to some flickr streams from people I like who were recently up there. I don't have permission to put the pictures directly in this post, but I do recommend that you take a look at them. They're amazing.

Nisaa's pictures are lovely. And so are Klwaltons. And then of course, Joe Decker's work is beyond compare.

This is where I came from. This is what made me. What I'm missing so hard today that I can barely breathe. It's at times like this I think to myself that I want to just rent a moving van, throw us all into boxes and flee to the north. Then sanity prevails and I remember that the kids love LA, their dad is here, our lives are here, I love Pasadena and my little cottage in the hills, there's no work in Eureka and also no pho.

Nostalgia sometimes just trumps sanity is all. I am glad I am going home this month. Not a moment too soon.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A pet peeve

You know what bugs the shit out of me?

People styling themselves "Lord" this or "Lady" that in everyday life, when they aren't actually some kind of peer.

It never fails to put my teeth on edge.

About the only exception to this rule for me is if someone is playing Faire or SCA and the title is a matter of the character they are playing. And then it only doesn't bug me as long as we're at an event, IN costume, in character. Once the closing bell rings, I ain't playing no more.

Certain Wicca groups also use titles as a matter of degree, and IN ritual space, IN that context, it doesn't bug me quite as much (though I've never been a fan of degrees) as it does when some random schmoe goes around calling themselves "Lord or Lady So and So."

I don't know why this makes me want to throw cake at them, but it does. It makes me want to yell, 'Look, the internet is NOT a magical fairy land of golden make believe!' very loudly, and that's not nice, and it also takes their fun aw
ay. And why do I care? Why would I want to do that? It is a classic example of "whatever floats your boat" and really, if Mary Sue Pootieschmidt from Topeka wants to style herself "Lady so and so" on teh intarwebs, I really should not care. But it never fails. Teeth, gritted, eyes, rolling so hard they could be marbles.

We all want to be the pretty, pretty Princess. We all want the fluffy dress. Maybe it's that? And hey, that's ok.

This is a very small concern, in the face of rising oil prices, cost of living, elections in Zimbabwe, and the fact that I need at least another plastic tub to get my yarn unpacked and there's honestly no place in my new house for another plastic tub to reside.

It just itches me and I'm not sure why I care. I can't solve it. But I think I just thought of where another plastic yarn tube might be hiding.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I am piggybacking off of a post from Faith which answered the question, "Okay LA folk... time to tell me... what are your favorite things about/in Los Angeles? Especially your favorite hidden secret stuff that maybe only locals know of. Or super good deals or scenes that make you happy. Stuff that actually makes you stop for a second and think, "Man, I love this place" whether you want to or not."

Oh man, there is so, so, so much that I LOVE about Los Angeles. I love this town so much. Actually, I historically have had sort of a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles, but ever since I moved to Pasadena it has turned into pure love. Sure, I wish there was more choice in the way of easily accessible tribal bellydance classes (unlike the Bay Area, tribal capital of teh world) but it's a small complaint when stacked up against the bounty that is spread out before me on any given day.

I love The Hollywood Bowl. I've seen many shows there, but the best was when I took my mom to see Willie Nelson two years ago.
A Mano Yarn Center
The Original Farmer's Market
All the other farmer's markets!
Surfas
Mr. Marcel at The Original Farmer's Market (they get their own line, the cheese counter alone is worthy of high praise!)
Landmark theatres!
Cafe Brasil, on Venice Blvd.
Cafe Buna, on Washington Blvd two blocks west of Lincoln.
Hiking in Solstice Canyon
Griffith Park, specifically Fern Dell
The Huntington Library
The Tudor House
Craftsman homes in Pasadena.
Pasadena!!!
Olveras Street
Philippes french dip sandwiches.
Dim sum in Chinatown
Wacko Soap Plant in Silverlake.
Pho in the San Gabriel Valley.
The Shack in Playa del Rey for burgers.
The beach.
Westminster Dog Park.
Little India crawls in Artesia.
Dodger Stadium
and all my friends who live here and make it home.

These are just a few of the things that make Los Angeles/Southern California wonderful, to me. There's so much more to do and see.



Like Randy Newman says... we love it!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pasadena stories

Took a bit of a walking tour around parts of Pasadena today, culminating in this nifty Yucatan style Mexican restaurant called El Portal. Very delicious eats. They had cochinita pibil.

Yes, the chef is still alive.

Yes, I will marry you if you know what movie I'm talking about.

yucatan sampler hot day hot salsa

After some hot salsa, cool margaritas and a split Yucatan sampler platter, we decided to walk around a little bit more. This place reminded me a lot of Diagon Alley, done California style and I think when referring to it as a place to go, that's what we are going to call it.

nifty place books too? yes, please!

Oh yes, these are a few of my favorite things. And how delighted I was when I walked out the other side onto Colorado Blvd and discovered a few more of my favorite things...

best books tea shop tea shop window

The little tea shop wasn't serving hot tea, but they had a huge selection of loose leaf teas and all manner of teaware.

Something tells me we'll be heading back to that stretch of Colorado Blvd pretty soon.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A quiet and crafty Fourth of July

I woke up this morning with the sensation that someone was driving Mr. Pointy right into my skull by way of my right eye socket. As a result, I did not much feel like driving down to the Westside for The Handsome Cabin Boy's block party. No fireworks, pour moi.

I've been a little at a loss, all up here in the hills in mi Casa and today was no exception. I haven't been really sure what to do with myself, with one kid at camp and the other out being a social butterfly. It occurred to me that a time will come in the not too distant future, when I live alone and quiet will be the default setting. And I will have to eat balanced meals and go to bed at a normal time and deal, anyway, without the children to keep me on track. Perhaps this is what they refer to as "empty nest" syndrome. If so, I'm here to say, it is a weird adjustment.

I suppose there is no time like the present to adjust, however.

My friend K posted a link to a recipe for brown sugar glazed ribs recently, and I decided to give them a try. Had to alter the recipe slightly as I started them late and lacked some of the ingredients, but even altered, I gotta say that these were some of the best ribs I have ever made. You should try them if you are of the meat eating persuasion.

I should have taken some pictures. But. Um. I ate them. The ribs, I mean, not the pictures.

There is also a peach/blackberry cobbler

blackberry peach cobbler

which came from this recent Kitchn post. The plan is to eat that with some ice cream, but I'm so full of ribs and my Grandma's potato salad that I may have to wait and have it for breakfast.

No knitting. But a little crafting did occur while I watched me some Harrison Ford in Patriot Games.

subversive cs

So yeah, it's been an all American Fourth Of July here at Casa Faaabulous, with BBQ, cross stitch and action movies. Who says you need a crowd to have a party?

couch testing

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moving...

porch

We have finally moved OUT of Casa de Slumlord and IN to Casa Fabulous.

There is squee.

window

It is so totally serene and lovely.

pots

And all our stuff is there.

There's a little cafe with free wifi near my house, so I came down to post an update, check my email, do some banking... and realized that my outgoing email is totally not working. If you've written me lately, there may be a reply sitting in the box not getting to you. Please don't feel ignored! No internet at the house until the 30th sometime, so I am not available via email. If you are fortunate enough to have my cell number, by all means give me a call or a text if you need to get a hold of me. And I'll keep trying to get those emails out.


The best part? Realizing, slowly, that we really DO get to live there. That we really ARE going to wake up there every morning. That it really IS our porch, our yard, our kitchen, our fireplace. Sometimes you don't realize how awful things are until you are out of them, and all I can say to that is, we are well out of the awful.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I did not knit in public yesterday.

We have two bathrooms. One of these bathrooms is "the cat's bathroom" by which I mean, the litterbox sits on top of a vinyl cover in the shower stall, and we use the master bathroom to shower. This is a space saving tactic in a small apartment and it has worked well for many years.

I thought.

The children are responsible for cleaning the litter box. And I thought that they were carefully sweeping up any excess cat sand that may have tracked out of the box and depositing it into the bag with the rest of the cat mess, and then putting *that* in the trash.

Imagine my surprise when I removed the vinyl cover to start scrubbing tile and get the bathroom ready for our pending move-out, only to discover that the children have very carefully been lifting the vinyl and sweeping the excess sand into the conveniently located hole in the bottom of the shower.

No, no, it's okay. I'll just wait here while you process that, and then you can laugh.

Because as we all know, clumping cat sand + water = cement. In my drain. In a rental. So you can imagine my dismay. You can maybe imagine the yelling that might have taken place, and the pulling out of my hair, and the gnashing of my teeth.

I believe the words "What the FRAK were you thinking? Augh!" might have been uttered. Once or twice. As well as "Kitty litter plus water make CEMENT!! AUUUUGH." and also "You have just cost me THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO FIX THIS. AUUUUUUUUUUUGH!!!" and then there was some more gnashing and rending and tearing and we worked back around to "What were you THINKING?" and that was fun.

So I did not spend yesterday knitting in public. No, I spent yesterday with a shop vac, a length of flex hose, a roll of duct tape and an actual real Rocket Scientist, sucking clumping kitty litter out of my shower drain.

Actually, the Rocket Scientist did all the work. One thing I have learned when an engineer is on the job, just back the hell off and let them do their thing. Answer all calls for flashlights, lengths of garden hose, screwdrivers and cold drinks with alacrity, but otherwise, bugger off.

This task took the Rocket Scientist longer than you might think. But the drain, it is clear.

Then, I went out with a cute boy, and I drank mojitos in public. And I ate a Warm Chocolate Thing. And I had a steak. And while I was doing this, the children got to stay home and have leftovers. And I did not feel one bit guilty.

So I guess yesterday, for me, was WW Drink In Public Day. And after the kitty litter in the shower drain, I can only say that I earned it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Get Up And Go... Let Me Show You It.

Oh wait. No. Never mind. I have none.

That's right. Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful and full of floppy arms and flailing. I keep looking at all the cleaning and packing yet to do and my only thought is... DO NOT WANT. Also, MEH. It is noon and I am still in my pajamas, looking at furniture on the internet.

Very similar to how I react to it being finals, actually.

Knitting has slowed to a glacial pace and it is the same boring projects, all the time, around here. Lady E is coming along nicely, if slowly. I have about another 9 inches to go and then she will be ready to wash, block and THEN I will add some fringe and THEN I will give her to my friend M and there will be much rejoicing. I actually got Charade #1 mostly finished at last week's Stitch N Pitch game, but then it sat around in my knitting basket waiting for a Kitchener. Which it finally got during the Traditional Friday Night Scifi Channel Palooza.

But I will not post pictures because well... you've seen 'em. And wouldn't it be more interesting to see them finished, in some arty sort of photographic display? Sure it would.

And then... on Saturday... there was the senior prom. OH MY GOSH, prom. In this case, a picture is absolutely worth a thousand words.

portrait

But just in case? Here's a thousand more...

very happy

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Life. Put your art into it.

cookbook shelves china cubby half done china cubby detail

Shelves are painted and now we move on to embellishment fun. I'm sort of making this up as I go and I really don't know what I'm doing until I do it.

I have this friend who I met through another friend via the internet, the way you do these days. And this friend, she lives such an artful life. From jewelry made out of reclaimed bits, button tables to the book she is writing, she is this little dynamo of creative energy, always coming up with something and I think she is probably one of the most soulful people I know. She is just always on fire with some idea or another.

I kind of aspire to be her when I grow up. And it is so easy to compare oneself to someone else, isn't it? To think, "Oh one day I'll be like that and then things will really be amazing and I'll live this artful life too and be a creative amazing person. One day." and I think it is sort of our human condition, really. To project into the future.

Except I started looking around my house, because, you know, hel-LO? And I realized, I kind of already do live that life. It comes and goes in waves, but I do, and I am, and I can.

teapot bowls mug

I am not an uncreative person. Yet I constantly hold myself up to other people and come out wanting, come out short somehow. And I just wonder why the hell that is.

What scale exactly am I using? Where the hell did it come from? Why do I constantly sell myself short?

I don't think I'm the only person who does that. I think it may be a very common human condition. Personally, I think I'd like to be quit of it. I think I'm going to look around my house more often and think proudly, "No shit. I made that."

I think that the trick is really to live like that too. To look at your life and say, "No shit. I made that. Ain't it grand and in out loud color?" and I think the secret is, you have to do it now. You can't project it into laters.

torture the children

My artful life may not be making me rich, but I need to remember that I am actually living one.