Friday, February 29, 2008

Perhaps when one leaves this on the counter:

baking tins and flour on counter

One should not be shocked to find this on the cat:

flour on cat.

Finished and cast off the first FIL sock, and cast on the second. Yay! I have a toe!

and the air was so thick you could chew...

looking out towards santa monica at sunset, from Hollywood

Is it so wrong that even with air quality this hazy, I love my city and all the views? This is looking out towards Santa Monica from the top of the Grove parking structure, and the two tall hazy buildings are in Century City.

Yesterday was all grey and shades of blue, hanging in veils over the buildings in the distance.

In other news, "chronically ill child" and "school district bureaucracy" do not mix well AT ALL. I just can't even go in to how difficult this whole situation is and how unwilling these people seem to be to work with us or even really return my phone calls.

Frustrating.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Camera Emergency

Why this method of cat dancer storage:

cat dancer

is no longer a good idea.

I can has cat dancer? Oh hai, I can has cat dancer!

Bad kitty. NO cat dancer.

Oh noes! They be takin my cat dancer!

Seriously. Mittens stood there on the ground looking at it and meowing, and Honey went and got it for him.

uh oh This are serious cat toy. I are serious cat.

It has been a big day for the squirt bottle of God.

After, of course, I got the pictures safely in the camera.

I Can Haz Heel!

Yesterday was all about climbing that socky Mt. Everest, turning the heel. Two heels, actually. A short row heel for the second spiral rib sock and a flap and gusset heel for the Falling in Love sock.

two socks

Actually, I really like to turn the heel. I begin to get impatient and excited as I pass the toe and begin to get close to my goal. I try the sock over my hand, "Is it ready now? Now?" and I measure it with a tape measure, "Well it doesn't *have* to be much longer does it? Now?" and I have to coax and negotiate with myself, "Just one more pattern repeat and then you can start." and ignore myself asking "Okay now? Are we there yet?" yet again when I'm only halfway through the agreed upon repeat.

falling in love detail

Turning the heel makes me happy. I carve out space to do it, sit down and give it my whole attention. Oh hai, this be serious sock knitting. I are serious sock knitter.

two heels

It's that all important midpoint of the sock that indicates to me, "In fact, you will not be knitting this forever." and usually by the second sock I need that reminder. Short attention span, party of one.

short row

While I am still full of love for the short row heel which fits my narrow feet better than anything else, the gusset and flap heel is beginning to grow on me. I do not hate it as much as I used to. There is an elegance to the gusset increases, the way it gently arches up beneath the pattern.

gusset detail

After two gusset and flap heels in a row, I've become quite comfortable with the technique - which will open up that world of nifty patterned heels that I've seen on Ravelry and in magazines. I am dreaming of heels with delicate cables, intricate stitch patterns, heels that do more than just sit there. I am thinking about heels that kick ass and take names.

gusset and flap

Yes, see, that's rather plain. I am thinking about garter stitch or seed stitch. There's all manner of ways to dress up a flap heel, aren't there? I being to see the light.

two socks too

If this keeps up, I may have to invest in a pair of clogs to show off all this socky goodness.

Monday, February 25, 2008

my new favorite pattern

The One Day Beret pattern is my new favorite pattern for hats. SO easy, so fast, so great to fit over my big curly hair without giving me hat head.

beret colors

It truly is a joyous thing. I've already cast on another in Beaverslide Fisherman's weight, in the prairie aster colorway. I think that one is for a gift.

January's spiral rib STR socks in Spinel have succumbed to Second Sock Syndrome. Ribbing gets old after a while. Ho hum. Yawn. SO, you know, naturally.... I cast on another pair of socks to cure the ennui.

falling in love sock (1 of 2)

Falling In Love socks from MagKnits. Which pattern I have adapted with a figure 8 cast on, knit on 4 needles rather than 3. Not sure about the heel. I'll figure it out when I get there. In this case, I may need the extra room from the gusset and flap. Colorway is "Pin Up Girl" which was featured last December in the Tempted Handpainted Yarns sock club. This is the softest, squooshiest yarn ever, not to mention the colorway is PERFECT for little lacy hearts and cables. Yum.

My youngest has been kind of sick lately - well, really sick - and she's missed a LOT of school. So we're consequently kind of screwed with the school district and they are threatening legal action. I am not sure what to do. I am unbelievably stressed out and the conflict between trying to deal with this AND keep my job is sort of ripping me in two. There really isn't a solution except to stay the course and try to have as much grace under pressure as I can. So that's what I'm doing.

And knitting. I'm knitting a lot. Because that helps.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It has been pretty darn cold all this week. Naturally, every single wool hat or cap that I've knit in the entire last few YEARS of knitting has disappeared into some teenager's (or the other's) room, not to be found. I don't feel safe excavating in either of those sites, not to mention I haven't got the right permits for a dig of that magnitude.

But I digress. "I'll just whip up a little something." I thought to myself early this week. And so I tried casting on my own improvised slouchy beret, then I tried the pattern over on CAP's site (but since my yarn and needles were different sizes, that involved math and I ended up with a beret that would have fit a bull elephant) and then it occurred to me... OH! Ravelry. Duh!

And thus, the One Day Beret pattern was discovered and cast on and it was Good.
one day beret side

The pattern was originally knit up by the designer using two separate skeins of handpaint, alternating each row. I liked that idea. I also liked the idea of using up the 3 skeins of Noro Cash Island that I had in my stash, but they were all the same colorway. No problem, this being Noro, they all wound up into balls with the colors starting in different places. I can work with that! The result is a hat that is sometimes sharply striped with alternating but complimentary colors, and sometimes (there in the middle in particular) the stripes are so close as to blend almost perfectly together. It's exciting to see how things are lining up.

one day beret


Plus the center is nifty and the increases create this lovely spiral/nautilus effect.
center one day beret

Thank you Ravelry! Thank you previously unknown knitwear designer!

Also? I just wanted to say, it's not that I'm accusing anyone? I'm just saying it's suspicious is all, when the bowl of flowers that usually sits on the DVD player isn't all of a sudden and there are cats up there instead.

evidence?

The dog obviously pushed it over to make room for them. Maybe I am accusing someone. Bad, bad, bad dog.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

J'accuse!!!

Now, really, I'm not accusing anyone of anything? But....

evidence bad Mittens

bad kittens smug honey

I'm just sayin, is all.

Things I Love About My City

or, The best view in Los Angeles

looking out towards santa monica at sunset, from Hollywood

I didn't know we were having a lunar eclipse last night until I got out of work and rode the elevator up to my car on the 8th level of the Grove's parking structure.

"Huh. Moon looks weird." I thought to myself. I was tired, I was hurting, I just wanted dinner, so I took a moment to appreciate the view, got in my car and didn't think another thing of it.

I didn't know we were having an eclipse until I stopped for the light at Fairfax and Venice a few minutes later, looked up and realized the shadow had grown to cover almost all the moon.

"Huh. We're having a lunar eclipse. Go figure. " I thought to myself. Naturally every blog in my feeds list was all "OMGlunarECLIPSEcool!!!!1!1!eleventy!!1!" later that night.

Living under a rock, party of ONE. Thank you.

It was a pleasant surprise and a little reminder that magic creeps up on you sometimes when you don't expect it. That the natural world is still a mystery and still has the power to affect people profoundly. My attention was briefly captured, enchanted by the changing moon, and then the changing lights dictated that I had to drive in the wrong direction to watch it any further. But I knew that the mystery was still unfolding behind me in the sky, and I smiled to myself the rest of the way home about it.

The eclipse that I didn't realize was happening was gorgeous there at the top of the parking structure at The Grove. That is one of the most magical locations in all of Los Angeles, by the way, if you've never seen it.

First off, I love it because only one time in my entire year and a half of working at The Grove, has that floor ever been "full" with no parking spaces. You can always find a parking spot on the roof at The Grove. Always. They close off the roof during the week most of the time so you have to have a pass card to park up there. It's empty and safe. I love it. The public usually only gets up there on weekends and Fridays. Otherwise? It's ours.

That really isn't the main reason why I love the roof of that particular parking structure though. The main reason I love it is... the view. It is hands down, probably the best view in Los Angeles. On a clear night, you can see 360 degrees all around. From downtown and Dodger Stadium to the east and Century City to the west, the hills in the north and Park La Brea popping up just to the south, with all the city laid out like a jewel box all around - you cannot beat that view. On the 8th floor of The Grove parking structure, the noise of the city falls away and there is instead a hush. The sounds of traffic and people are muted to almost nothing, maybe a vague hissing like the ocean when it is very very quiet. You're in your own private world up there.

I call it the deep breath at the end of my day.

I wrote this to a friend a few months ago, trying to explain how important that moment is to me, the moment where I step off the elevator. Before I walk to my little car and get in to drive home. The moment where I just stand on the roof and breathe and let 8 hours of retail slide off my shoulders and come back into myself, not me the shopgirl, not the smiling persona I wear in the store, but just... myself. It is my favorite moment of the day, in my favorite spot in Los Angeles, and lucky me, I get to do it a couple of times a week. It never gets old.

"When I step up onto the roof of the carpark, I am surrounded by light. It is high enough that the noise and stink of the city are filtered away, fall down, there is nothing but clarity, silence and the shiny jewelbox that is my city at night. I can see to the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other sides. The buildings glitter all 'round. I take a deep breath and that is when I exist. It's the moment where it all falls away, there at the end of my day. I step between the worlds and come back to myself again."

I love My City. And it somehow doesn't shock me that one of the most magical, beautiful places to appreciate this city, with our love of the automobile and all things new, shiny and for sale, would be.... at the top of a parking structure in the middle of a shopping center.

Somehow, it fits.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

17

17 years ago today, I was waking up (about now, in fact) and realizing that "Oh holy shit, the baby is coming." Seeing as how I was several days overdue, that made me happy. Because, you know, I was kind of done feeling like I'd be pregnant forever. I wanted to see my feet again. I'd missed them.

16 hours later (and no drugs) my life changed forever in the best possible way.

Happy 17th birthday, baby girl.

BW

You're just as beautiful today as you were the day you were born. But more verbal. And you have more hair.

I love you more than words can say.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

C is for...

"C" may be for "cat"
C is for catC is for Cat

but "C" is also for "cow"
C is for cowC is for Cow

and for "Cranes"
C is for craneCranes
I folded 1,000 of these back when the US first invaded Iraq and prayed for peace with each one. Some went to friends, some went to the graveyard at Manzanaar and some are still in my house. So far, my wish hasn't been granted. I may have to fold another 1,000.

"C" is also for "complete" as in, it feels good to COMPLETE something like a pair of socks!
Twinkle toes completeTwinkle toes complete
Twinkle Toes completeTwinkle Toes complete

I love these socks, I love Cookie's patterns, but I really really do NOT love the heel gusset and flap. They don't fit my feet well, too wide, as is obvious in one of the pictures. This is fine and comfy in a pair of house socks, but if I'm knitting a pair to wear with shoes, I'm definitely going to stick to my tried and true short row heel. That one never fails to fit juuust right.

Now I'm off to the salt mines, where we are doing our post holiday, pre-fiscal-year-end inventory from hell all night. Please God, let there not be a million recounts. I've been precounting all week. I might just cry.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In which I am a big damn geek.

I've finished February's socks! Twinkle Toes by Cookie A in STR heavyweight... the yarn that wears like cast iron. These are the BEST house socks. I want to make a couple pairs of these in different colors, they're perfect for warm feet on a cool evening.

Now? I just gotta finish January's. Ahem. I'm about 40% into the second sock of that pair. I'm such a slow knitter. But I think I'll get them done by the end of February and still be caught up. It occurs to me that maybe I want to knit more medium and heavyweight socks if I'm angling for a pair a month. "Knit like the wind!" is not an axiom that applies to me.

Today at Chez Couch Potato, in the name of getting knitting done, we've watched 3 eps of Dr. Who, caught 2 eps of Torchwood, watched Hitch and then watched all 3 Sarah Plain and Tall movies on the Hallmark channel. This truly was a day of doing fuck all.

Blink is quite possibly one of the scariest, most nail biting eps of Dr. Who I have *ever* seen. Sweet creepin zombie jesus. At once point I jumped, screamed and almost impaled the cat with a knitting needle. I am going to be SO very sad when David Tennant's turn is up and we get a regenerated Doctor. I really like what he's done with the role. I loved, absolutely ADORED Christopher Eccleston in the first season, but Tennant? He has totally become my Doctor.

Picture of socky goodness tomorrow when I a. have decent light for my camera and b. find my memory card. Also "C" is for...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chain me to the sofa...

Oh well never mind, I'll just hang out there of my own free will!

Took today off work and spent it sleeping, knitting, drinking tea and watching action movies because I have been nursing Teh Ick and wanted to nip it in the bud. It was a fantastic idea. I feel almost human again. And? I finished the first Twinkle Toes and cast on the second. This is a miraculously quick knit. Word.

So unfortunately, #1 Daughter didn't get to go on her once in a lifetime trip with The Sojourn Project because she actually caught Teh Ick and is home flat on her arse with a bad case of strep throat. We're trying to get her in on the next trip in March if they'll let her piggyback on with another school. Fingers crossed.

Stay tuned tomorrow (or Saturday) for "C" is for....

Oh, and if you're anywhere near the Austin, TX area? They just announced the 2008 Browncoat Ball. Better get yer tickets fast though, because they've only got 250 of 'em!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free to a good home

in the enchanted mushroom forest

One slightly used chicken wire, paper mache and googly eyeball fungus, about 4.5'x3.5', has been living in an art museum and now needs someplace else to live.

Bonus if you can come get it.
I recently wrote a rant about periods and "have a happy period" and pads with wings and I am discovering that this is a very universal issue for a lot of women. I've seen a lot of similar rants and complaints, but this one? This takes the cake. This WINS. This woman should get cake.

This letter, an actual letter written to an actual person at a maxi-pad company, won some awards and I want to kiss the woman who wrote it.

Or, you know, just send her some chocolate and back away slowly.

Best. Letter. EVAR.

I'll be in my bunk

And then I'm moving to France.

Eat more fruit, y'all. [NSFW - and if you don't want to see hot girl on girl on boy on figs, lemons and bananas action, you probably shouldn't watch it. Also, if you don't like fruit, just skip it.]

I love the French.

I LOVE THEM.

Please pass me a papaya.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spinning is a little like alchemy.

Smoky Mountain detail Smoky Mountain
Smoky Mountain singles Smoky Mountain singles close up

Fluff plus twist equals string. Can't wait for string plus twist to equal two ply. That's my favorite part.

Delicious!

February's socks (even though technically I didn't finish January's pair yet.)

twinkle toes foot

twinkle toes stripes

I gotta confess, I'm not nuts about this particular yarn with this particular pattern. The striping thing does not work with the lacy thing. I'm beginning to really feel like about 75% of the time I am not so nutty about the striping STR colorways. I like the solids a little better. Of course, I've got more of the striping colorways in my stash, natch! But it's a fast knit and this is the only skein of heavyweight STR that I've got in my stash. And that's why I'm doing them, so I can finish both February's and January's pairs by the end of the month and be caught up. Heh. They're house socks. House socks are good. Of course it's February which means we're edging up into the 70's and 80's in Southern CA so I won't be needing house socks again until November, but....

call me a Girl Scout.

This website made tea come out my nose.

wee

I ganked this image from the folks over at the Be My Anti Valentine where you can get hysterical cards to send your most precious loved ones on this upcoming day of celebration.

Now, don't get me wrong. As much as I hate Valentine's Day? I LOVE Valentine's Day. It is always big heaps of fun for me to play with paste and pink glitter and when I think V-Day, I think "Oh yay art project!" and make with the paint pens for days. And that, for me, is about it. Valentines Day is, to me, another excuse for glitter, chocolate and silliness. Or not, if those things aren't really where my heart is at on that particular day.

I love it because it is fun. I loathe it because people make it into an obligation. I loathe that I spent so many of my years buying in to that crap. I celebrate the fact that in rejecting it, I could reclaim the parts about it that I enjoy.

For one thing? It doesn't necessarily have to be about couplehood. My favorite VDay ever was the year we all dressed up as fairies and handed out toys, candy and cards to random strangers on Hollywood Blvd.

not the pixies you're looking for

If I could do that every year? Oh my god, I'd be so happy. Best Valentine's Day EVER. Just a big group of friends doing some random act of silliness, with pizza thrown in after and waaaaay too much body glitter.

I do not like the idea that it should be about Big Expensive Things. Having this obligation that you've gotta get all decked out in slutty lingerie you paid too much for at Vickie's Secret and ya gotta blow someone because they gave you a diamond? NOT FUN. Feeling like you have to give someone a diamond or feeling like THEY have to GIVE you the diamond or they just don't love you? NOT FUN. How about, all manner of WRONG. I mean come ON. It's a Wednesday. Or a Tuesday. Most years, it's a work night. You might be tired or have a headache and suddenly there's this whole expectation that you're gonna ante up a bunch of crap or put out and pay huge bundles of cash for a prix fixe dinner at a restaurant you normally wouldn't eat at, well that whole expectation puts me right in a crappy mood.

NOT FUN.

I'd rather go have a fancy dinner some night for no other reason than I wanted the fancy dinner right then in that moment.

I'm kind of about keeping it simple, really.

Forget the diamonds. Forget the slutty, overpriced lingerie. Forget feeling like you are obligated to make it bigger, better, more expensive. Unless these things make you authentically joyful, turned on and happy and you're not doing it out of some sense of obligation, in which case, hells YES make with all that stuff.

Forget feeling obligated to put out, because sex is never fun or nice or really great when you're doing it from the standpoint of the calendar, Hallmark and Madison Avenue all dictating you should. Sex it up because you really want to. Or not. It's okay. Let it be juicy and real and great because you are really happy to be there with each other, which may or may not be that particular calendar day. Seriously, it's okay. Don't do it just because they spent two months salary on a piece of rock so now you have to or you're ungrateful. Don't expect the best blow job of your life because you ponied up with the good stuff from Skip and Steve down at Robbin's Brothers.

These are crappy expectations to put on someone you love.

Don't get your knickers in a wad if they *don't* spend two month's salary on a piece of rock.

Question why the rock matters.

For the record? I like diamonds. Think they're pretty. I think if diamonds were given to me by a lover or partner out of nothing more than, "Hey this is beautiful and it gave me joy to buy it and it didn't set me back or put me in debt or damage me to get it, and I hope you like it." then I might just jump for joy. I'd probably do that joyful jumping over a bouquet of flowers or a hot cup of tea, too, so long as the flowers or tea did not cause debt, came in love and it made the giver happy to procure it for me.

And I wouldn't care if they came on VDay, my birthday or on a Tuesday or - in the case of diamonds at least - never at all. I think I'd be really sad if there were never hot cups of tea or random flowers. I think on the scale of what I'd rather have more of in my whole life, I'm gonna go with the tea and the occasional dandilion.

It's the expression of love that is authentic, that makes me happy.


How about a blow job for the sheer damn joy of giving (or getting) the best blow job ever! Just because it's fun and it feels good and you're happy to be there!

Dinner, or not, at a place you feel comfortable, which might just be pb&j in your living room, over mutual laptops or with Dr. Who on Sci Fi. In PJs.

Pink glitter, or not.

Whatever you do, or don't, just have some damn fun, ok? Have it be what's real for you, and that may be on the 16th or the 23rd or it may coincide with the 14th. Have a nice time.

Even if it's just with yourself. Because that's the other loathesome little piece to the Valentine's puzzle. The insinuation that you are broken or less than okay if you don't have someone to put all these expectations on.

It's okay to be alone on Valentine's Day. Or not alone because you're actually hanging out with way too many cats, but the cats are the only ones keeping you company and they'd give you diamonds if they could but do you *really* want to go digging in the litterbox for diamonds?

And go check out the Anti V Day card site, just for giggles. But maybe put the teacup safely away from the laptop, first.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Got chunky weight yarn?

Mix it up a little and make some yarny dreads if you're sick of knitting!! These are made up with a combination of Cascade Magnum, some Noro Lotus and some handdyed thick and thin dready looking yarn that I got from Ashbet over at PsySheep (sadly not making dreads these days, alas) and it is lovely and UV reactive.

Naturally, the grrrl looks better in my blue dreads than I do. Hmph.

Dready Gal

I've actually had these for a while, but she looked so good in them, I had to show 'em off again. I'm working on a pair in acid green/yellow. Woo!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Day Of Spoiling

When I got back from the funeral, I decreed that the girls and I were going to have A Day Of Spoiling. And so we did.

It started with taking the oldest to Velvet Grip for her 17th birthday present. More ironmongery.

17th birthday present

That is, she says, all the ironmongery she wants on her face. Thank god, sez I.

Then the next day, we all shlepped out the door to the Santa Monica Promenade and The Day Of Spoiling Commenced. This started with a lavish breakfast at Cafe Buna, with berry french toast, mexican mochas and bacon, but we inhaled our breakfast before I remembered I had the camera in my purse.

Day of spoiling Day of Spoiling
They both look really sad to be there, I know.

Pretty! Post-Sephora Post-Sephora Post Sephora Yet more post Sephora primping

No trip to Sephora is complete without a little streetside primping, after.

Day of Spoiling And naturally there is some spoiling for Mama on a Day Of Spoiling. Bath bombs, Karma soap, Cupcake and some Angels On Bare Skin, please!

Day of Spoiling There was also some Urban Outfitters and a trip to Borders to spend gift cards, but nothing particularly photo worthy happened in either location.

It was not a day of spoiling for one organ grinder and his monkey. It was a day of making lots of money.

No spoiling here

I wish I'd gotten pictures of the ice cream, strawberry, banana and dark chocolate crepes we had to tie off the Day Of Spoiling, but we kind of inhaled those before I remembered we had a camera. That seems to be a theme with us.

It was a lot of fun. We're all pretty game to make this a tradition!