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, 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.


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."


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


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?


"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.


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


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.


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.