Thursday, August 31

ducks in a row

I am relieved! The Nerd's part-time school situation was looking a little iffy, but today things are looking up. He will be able to take three classes without having a break in between. (He would have to leave campus. what were we going to do? meet at the donut shop down the street for homeschool lessons? every day? yikes!) Well, at least that's the word today. Cross our fingers it still works out next week when school starts.

Part of the scheduling dilemma is that he qualified for Wind Ensemble, the most advanced band and he really wants to be in it. At first the registrar was all "well that's a huge class, I don't think Mr E will take anyone else, but you can ask him." So I did and he replied that Zach could be in any band and that he recommended Wind Ensemble. The principal had said last week that if he would take Junior Band things would work out better, but no, he'd rather give up the Japanese than be in Junior Band. Today the counselor said "Why not Senior Band? It is much smaller so he would get more personal attention." But then it did sink in that yes, he took Beginning Band last year, so he is going from the most elementary to the most advanced band. Yeah, helloooo... since both directors seem to think he is qualified for this jump, don't you think Zach would want to pursue it? He worked hard all last year on his music. When I mentioned the "smaller, more attention" aspect of Senior Band to Zach, he said "Mommmmm, they factor that into their recommendations. If a kid needs the more personal attention, they put him in Senior Band." Anyway, he plays the French Horn for crying out loud, he's going to be counting a lot of rests no matter which band he's in.

So I ran across town to pick up the form I need --- not literally, I drove. School's closed tomorrow, so first thing Tuesday morning I need to get to school, have the principal sign this form, then get it over to the Enrollment office which is going to be swamped, given that classes start Wednesday. Tuesday will be one of those very rare occasions when Franz needs to drive the car to work. Guess it's bike or bus for me.

Thursday Already?

Purchases from the Farmer's Market on Lopez: Zach loves the market for the jam. This year we also looked for fiber. There wasn't much, but I did pick up a little Romney for a scarf.

While I did take two socks in progress to Lopez, both are second socks from a generic winging it toe-up pattern and I failed to bring either of the first socks with me. How many stitches to increase after the heel, when to start the ribbing, what kind of ribbing? What the heck, who needs matching socks. I worked on the blue striped sock anyway, but promptly lost a DPN. Continued with only 4 needles, but didn't get very far.

Got my electric bill yesterday.

Monday, August 28

Weekend Sky on Monday

Saturday sunset looking southeast over big beach. Small island is a wildlife sanctuary full of seals. Large ship with tug escort behind. Hard to tell from the photo, but that's one of the largest tugs we've seen. So that boat is Huge. In addition to the ubiquitous seals, we sometimes see river otters, deer, and herons. We almost always see orcas and always see the bald eagles.

Friday sunset looking over north low beach.

10 years of babysitting co-op camping weekends on Lopez Island. 10 years ago the median kid age was 3.5. Almost all were out of diapers; a good thing since there's only a couple of outhouses available. All water must be brought in, all trash taken away. The bigger, sunnier beach is below a 25 foot cliff, accessable by a driftwood ladder. A scary thing with so many little kids, but after a few years, we parents relaxed as all the kids proved themselves capable on the ladder. Last winter must have had a huge storm, since the ladder disappeared and the largest of the driftwood on the beach moved for the first time in family history. We arrived to find a new solution to beach access. Can you see the ropes? Gulp. That driftwood is 30 feet away from the photographer. This year the kids ranged in age from 11 to 18 and all scurried up and down a rope without any problem. (parents? well we coped, but some of us with less grace.)

twenty acres with two beaches owned by the family of one of the co-op moms. She spent her summers here as a child; her husband did as well. He was good buddies with her older brother. She was the easily ignored, best friend's younger sister until he grew up, went away, came back and discovered she had grown up as well. Even though they live only an hour from the ferry terminal, they don't get out to the island often. Two kids, jobs, gigs (he's a musician), soccer, track, drama schedule... Life's more complicated these days.

We had 8 families this year --- 12 girls ranging from 12 to 18 and 2 boys; Zach at 12.5 and a boy a year and a half younger. While there have always been more girls than boys, this was the first year the ratios were so extreme. Zach and the other boy haven't gotten along that well in the past, as the age difference always seemed a gulf, the other boy being more... well, perhaps all-boy is a fair adjective. He's grown and mellowed, so this year they were mostly pleasant with each other. 10 years ago the little girls ran around in clumps squealing and the collection of My Little Ponies seemed endless. (and yes, I'll admit that a three year old Zach helped chase the girls to get them to squeal.) Now the girls still squeal, but are calmer (and curvier!) and the ponies are long gone. Zach prefered to work on a fort than sift the beach for pretty rocks and discuss Project Runway, but did play cards and The Mafia Game with the group. He declined to participate in the teen girls' homemade spin on truth-or-dare --- a cooperative game they call "pass the kiss". (lots of personal questions and cheek kissing, dunno how he could resist :) )

Lots of kayaking in the fleet of boats. We brought our kayaks (the red one and another just like it) 10 years ago and over time more folks have purchased and brought kayaks. 10 years ago the kids all got paddled around by the grown ups. Now they all are competent with the boats.

We used to chase the kids into the tents then stay up around the campfire late. This year it was the kids hanging around the campfire while the parents all turned in.

10 years ago the ferry meant carefully watching the preschoolers, keeping them close. These days the parents play cards or rummikub and the kids? Well, they are somewhere on the ferry and they'll all find the cars when the crew says it's time.

Thursday, August 24

August 24th

There won't be any saturday sky here, since I will be out under the sky on Lopez Island. Perhaps if we remember to take the camera and perhaps if we remember to take pictures....

After completing Cinxia, I was surprised to find I felt incomplete without having a sweater on the needles. A sweater? I don't know why. I dug up some UFOs and worked a bit on Cozy, but still, I needed a sweater. I want to make Pippa; I purchased the pattern and swatched with some DB Baby Cashmerino I had lying around. Got perfect gauge and love the fabric. But I don't have enough yarn or the right color, so that will have to wait. My birthday is soon and at least one (perhaps more) of our LYS offer a birthday discount. So that will wait.

I did happen to have in my stash some Bollicina. I found it on sale and loved the color. Cashmere and silk. Yum. I do have enough for a simple sweater, a top-down, knit in the round with negative ease. cap sleeves unless the yarn goes further than I expect.

This fine gauge yarn knits on US 2 needles at 8 stitches per inch. That's a lot of stitches. Should keep my need for sweater knitting going for a while.

Other knitting? I just don't know about socks. Just don't seem to have the yearning burning desire to knit socks. But I am camping this weekend, roughing it, no running water, so have no desire to take a cashmere/silk fine gauge sweater to knit, maybe a sock will get finished.

Wednesday, August 23

Why we can't paint the room divider

and why The Nerd has been eating quarts of yogurt and granola, sleeping til noon and complaining of Sever's Disease.

ISO: KFI Cashmereno

Does anyone have any KFI Cashmereno in color 07 dyelot 90 just lying around?

Does anyone know a more effective way to search for this?

three or four more skeins would be a mighty nice find....

Tuesday, August 22

Cinxia Finished

I finished Cinxia and while not a smashing success, I think I will wear her. Yes, I ran out of yarn. Hand-dyed --- when I was out, I was out. I had enough yarn for a minimally bearable collar, but I think the jacket would look better with at least another inch of collar. Here's what I had leftover.

Pattern: Cinxia, from Overall, I like the two stitch patterns --- nice fabric that works well with a kettle-dyed yarn of subtle color changes.

There are errors in the pattern. Some stitch counts don't add up, and I needed to modify the instructions to get the nice finished front edge to work. The instructions say the slip-stitch pattern in the round is worked on 4x+3 stitches, but I don't see how. I worked it on 4x stitches and it looks right.

Several bloggers noted that they didn't love the yoke decreases. I did a raglan decrease instead, which I do like. However, I might have worked a couple rows straight after attaching the sleeves before starting the decreases. Hard to tell in advance what will give you the right amount of ease around the armpits. My raglan decrease was k2tog tbl, k tbl, slip marker, k tbl, k2tog. Note that the second decrease, to make it right slanting, is a regular knit stitch, unlike every other knit stitch in the (flat) twisted stockinette pattern which is done through the back loop.

Yarn: I used a slightly lighter-weight washable Merino than called for, so I didn't get gauge. I used smaller needles (US5) and adjusted the stitch count accordingly. The twisted stockinette makes the fabric thick. I like the drape of this one. Using the recommended yarn would perhaps be better, but I also noticed several bloggers used a heavier weight fabric. That would make a much thicker jacket.

Yes, the sleeves are too long in the photo, I would wear it with the sleeves rolled up a tad more. It also needs some sort of clasp to hold it together in front.

I think the back collar could stand to be a little closer to my neck. There are short rows in the pattern to add a little fabric to the back. I did these as indicated. If I were to make the pattern again (and have enough yarn!) I would do another set or two of the short rows for better shaping.

Monday, August 21


Yesterday we hiked a small portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, heading north from Snoqualmie Pass. We did not make it all the way to the usual landmark for this dayhike --- the catwalk at 5.5 miles in. We came close, so it was probably a ten mile hike. Although F & Z had done Pilchuck earlier this summer with the scouts, it was my first hike of the summer. Shocking, yes, but weekends have just flown by. September usually has good hiking weather, though.

We didn't make it to the catwalk because we were all starting to get a bit sore and the last half mile was over talus: in the sun with the rocks radiating all the heat stored up from the day. We'd just encountered more than a half mile of talus and I just didn't want to add an extra mile. Still, a nice hike, nicely graded, nice woods, nice views, minimal bugs, lots of people, some blueberries.

Will it improve my technorati rank?

A comment on my post mentioning my site meter findings:

I'm probably the one who find your blog via the Technorati search for "rankism". I maintain Robert Fuller's web site (, and I try to keep an eye on references to rankism I find on the Internet. Your earlier post is going into my next update of Fuller's bibliography page. I also came back tonight because I'm going to give Fuller an overview of interesting discussion of rankism, and your earlier post is on that list. :-)

OMG! this is what blogging is all about, isn't it? Being part of a larger conversation about the world and ideas? This is what bloggers want, right? To be noticed? Why oh why then when I first read this comment did I feel like deleting the post in question? How uncool would that be? I have strong opinions; I don't always share them diplomatically. That's why I usually just limit my ranting to my husband and son who know me well and expect it from me. But I figured it was safe to start blogging about such things, after all, who would find my dinky little blog out of the masses? And it's one thing if just any old person reads my blog, but Fuller himself?

In thinking about my post on rankism, I am remembering a comment from my husband, that I could have been more clear on a few points. (of course now I am not sure what he said, so I would have to ask him to reread the post and clarify what he thought I should clarify) So.... would it be cheating to go back and edit the old post? Probably. Therefore I won't.

Saturday, August 19

Sky and Saturday

well, this is a Saturday and this is a sky, just don't expect one to correlate with the other. Seattle has its typical summer sky today: blue, blue, boringly blue. Turns out we did get a few photos back east. This view is from the top of the Hatteras Lighthouse taken a week ago Wednesday.

Cinxia? I am a couple rows into the collar and still have yarn left. To make the collar look right, I have to knit at least 4 inches of collar, I think...

Friday, August 18

Friday's Flowers

Do you call them Amaryllis Belladonna or Surprise Lilies or (my favorite) Naked Ladies? One of my remaining legacies from Mrs. Varesco is in bloom again. They've survived being moved and mistreated multiple times as we've worked on the back yard. I love their rich perfume and robustness when all else is wilted or dormant during these waning days of our seasonal summer drought.

Cinxia is coming along. I modified the pattern to have raglan sleeve shaping and I think it looks good. Faithful readers may recall that I hand-dyed the yarn for this one-of-a-kind garment. My camera skills do not do this yarn justice. It is a beautiful mix of coral and salmon with burts of orange and red. Well... I don't know if I have enough yarn to finish.

Thursday, August 17

Fifteen years ago today

As the Soviet Union was collapsing and Hurricane Bob was making its way to the NorthEast (soon to be wreaking havok on all the guests' travelling home plans), in the sleepy hamlet of South Tamworth, New Hampshire, we said "I do."

I'd do it again too.

Monday, August 14

Blogging Behavior

Bloggers are all a little bit self-centered, otherwise, why would we be blogging? I blog for lots of reasons, but does it really boil down to wanting attention? Perhaps. I do find my site meter statistics fascinating; who are these people all over the world who end up at my site? Who are my four private bloglines subscribers? That person at Microsoft who searched technorati for Rankism --- what did they think of my post about it? Occasionally someone will find my site by searching for CeCe or warshrags, and I feel useful. When Ryan linked to me after Stitch & Pitch I got about a hundred hits and I freaked. I didn't feel prepared, my blog was way too boring for such a crowd. Guess I am not ready for the big time yet.

There's a common blogger behavior that irks the hell out of me. Why is it when some folks blog about reading a book, or seeing a movie, instead of telling us straight out what it is they are talking about, they use generic terms like this book and make it a link to Amazon? Are they so important that they can command every reader to take that extra step of popping up a window to Amazon in order to understand their post? You can't even just highlight the link and read the url, the amazon links are long and in gibberish (well, I think they are by ISBN, but who knows those by heart?).

I see this a lot, and sometimes by folks I have met in person and liked, so I won't name names. Except this one. Yup, good old Yarn Harlot in her folksy, friendly way wants to chat about some DVDs, but won't even say what they are. Does she think it's cute to be coy? I don't get it. Doesn't seem cute to me, seems arrogant. Especially because these are special amazon links that let amazon know you have been redirected from her site. That means that if you follow her link and buy something, she gets a small kickback.

(From the comments, it appears the Harlot is Watching Battlestar Gallactica, but haven't verified that.)

Sunday, August 13

Home, Sweet Home

Happiness is when, right before your vacation, your son and husband disappear to boy scout camp, allowing you to finish redecorating the guest room and clean the entire house. Then, before the family has had a chance to mess it up live in it, the whole family travels to the beach. After a fun week with extended family, a 4.5 hour drive to the airport and many hours in the air you are greeted with a still-clean home.

Yes, we enjoyed a week at Nags Head with most of my siblings, their spouses and many nieces and nephews. We had fun. What we don't have is pictures. While we brought the camera, we just never thought to get it out. It was hot but we didn't melt. We climbed a lighthouse, kayaked in the (cloudy) moonlight and played in the surf. We played everything from Apples to Apples to Scattergories.

I made a second Booga bag and got lots of compliments on both it and bag one. I worked hard on Cinxia, and am almost ready to attach the sleeves. Photos of that to come.

Fortunately for us, the airport madhouse had occured midweek. We did check most of the bags to make the security check easier. All the knitting got checked. I had Cat's Cradle to read, Zach had a book and his Nintendo DS, Franz had a book. The DIY check-in kiosks made checking in bags very fast. Then security was a piece of cake. One PM on a Saturday during vacation season and there was no line at all for security. One of the security guys thanked Franz for having an easy bag. The woman who looked in mine commented on the Vonnegut, saying she'd reread it recently and wasn't it a great book? I agreed (I am rereading it also). Kinda surreal conversation though, since the story involves a dangerous liquid and has an apocalyptic ending (ok, liquid is debatable, but still...)

A woman right ahead of us was caught with about a half dozen tiny bottles of perfume in her carry-on. They tried to be nice to her and suggest she take them back to her checked bags, but she said she'd done curbside check-in over an hour ago, no way would the bags be conveniently found. So they had to throw them away. I don't get it. She clearly knew the rules, since there was no make-up, toothpaste or deodorant. Why the perfume? I wonder if it was expensive? Not being a perfumy kinda gal myself, I don't know how to tell from looking at the bottles, but I do know that sometimes those little bottles have big price tags.

Our flight from Richmond to Atlanta was delayed due to being overweight. (overweight because they added fuel due to some "weather in Atlanta." oh great, good thing I had taken dramamine.) Some bags were taken off the plane, but I don't know if that included ours. We made it to Atlanta just in time to run from gate C36 to gate A24 to catch the plane to Seattle. I was not surprised that our luggage didn't show up when we did.

Figuring I could be efficient --- why wait for bags that won't arrive?--- I went directly to Delta's baggage claim customer assistance and said that my bags were most probably not on this flight. She looked at the claim tickets and assured me that the computer had them listed on the flight. So we waited. While the luggage was being unloaded, a Fellow Traveler (an older fellow for whom English was obviously not his native tongue) told me he thought he had heard that bags from some connecting flights would be in later. I hadn't heard this, so went back to the counter to ask, Fellow Traveler with me. She told me no, she had only announced that some luggage arrived on an earlier flight. As I left the office, she said to another clerk "some people just do NOT listen!"

When it became clear that the bags weren't coming, I went back to the office. This time there were several folks following me, including the Fellow Traveler. I was first, but when I walked in she made a point of ignoring me. I tried to get her attention, but she brushed me off to go into the other room for just a sec. Not long enough to do anything, just long enough to show she could keep me waiting a bit longer. This time, however, she admitted that our bags were scheduled to arrive on a flight a couple hours later. She took down the descriptions and our address and said they would be delivered. At this same time, a second clerk had come out and was talking with Fellow Traveler. I did not hear the whole conversation, but did hear him ask if his bags would be delivered to him and for her to answer "no." I have no idea why we were treated differently. Perhaps I misheard; perhaps there was a legitimate difference in our situations.

This morning, after a good night's sleep in my own bed, I walked to the store for a latte, then found some old abandoned knitting to work on. Just a simple linen hand towel, loosely based on Mason-Dixon's. I contemplated the odds of the bags disappearing forever. I contemplated all that work on Cinxia. I contemplated losing CeCe so soon after finishing her. Then the phone rang and the Runway Express guy said he was on his way. Everything arrived. Everything had been rifled through by TSA, but all was intact --- not one stitch dropped. I suppose we were lucky to get them back so quickly though. The delivery guy said that this week had been chaos for baggage handlers and bags from over a thousand flights had gotten mixed and scattered all over the country.

Saturday, August 5

Blue Sky with Angels

Can you spot the Angels?

They actually come way way closer and sometimes bank a turn right overhead, but in Friday's rehearsal they mostly stayed to the south of us. Plus, with a digital point and shoot, it is way hard to capture them as they swoop past.

They're here every year. I love them in all their macho scariness, but ever since becoming a mother that love has been mixed with more worry, knowing that each of those pilots has a mom somewhere.

Our quiet week without the Nerd is coming to an end. He is due home within the hour. I'll grab his duffle and start washing his clothes, because we leave for the East Coast at the crack of dawn. Yup, we Seattle-loving, heat weenies are going to the beach, where the expected Lows are about 79 degrees. Hell, except for our brief hot spell our daily High temps don't exceed 75 degrees!

I don't expect he'll be in the mood for blogging til we get back next week. (well he just got home, more from him later)

Highlights of the week for F & me included meeting Erika. She's selling things in anticipation of moving and we were lucky enough to score her Futurama DVDs. It was really nice to put a face and voice on someone who keeps such an interesting blog and has similar interests. I hope we can see more of each other in the future, especially with more knitting content. I suspect we approach knitting in similar nerdly ways so I think it will be fun to share techniques. I am especially interested in the entrelac she does.

My neighbor Lisa (yo, Kathleen, Lisa was Parkdale class of '80. small world, eh?) works for the Seattle Chamber Music Society and gave us comps for last night's concert. A small nicely appointed theater, we had seats on the end of a row, meaning there was room and enough light to knit by. My wooden DPNs were quiet enough, I hope. Franz said he didn't hear them and he did hear the guy snoring a few rows ahead of us.

The Beethoven trio was fun, all three musicians really got into the music and moved their bodies way more than I would have expected or would be required. It reminded me of playing a snowboard game on the gamecube. All you have to do is sit sedately and move fingers on the controller, but somehow it is impossible to play without flailing about, putting your whole body into banking those turns. Turns out Franz thought the exact same thing. I think of Beethoven as being one of the ancients, but the work seemed fresh, even modern in parts, and it was startling to realise that he was a contemporary of Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin. (We've been reading the O'Brian Sea adventures out loud as a family, up to book 6 by now.)

The Frank Bridge string sextet seemed forgettable, but the piano duet by Stravinsky was wild. Rite of Spring is from 1913 and seemed to evoke the Jazz age. Not that I know anything about Russian Nationalism music, but that's what it reminded me of.

No blogging for a week now, since we will be away -- probably with very limited internet access. I am still trying to decide what to pack --- knitting, that is. I got about an inch done on the second sleeve of Cinxia at the concert last night. Can I finish the sweater on the trip? Photos to come.

Wednesday, August 2

August Second

Franz got back from boy scout camp last night and is off to work. Said that Z was having a good time. Some challenges with the swimming --- he's working on the swimming merit badge --- but he seems to be persevering.

I managed to watch the second episode of Deadwood. At one point, one of the ladies that lives over the saloon advertised her services as the best b---j-- ever (or something like that). According to wikipedia, that phrase was not used in that way until the 1960's. It might be minor, but that sort of lack of attention to period detail irritates and distracts me.

I also watched some more Northern Exposure. I wasn't clear yesterday, anyone not in Seattle would probably not know that this show was filmed in Roslyn, Washington, about two hours east of Seattle. None of the scenery is Alaskan. So, yes, now that I know the local mountains better, it is a distraction watching the show, but the writing is so clever I can overlook it or even enjoy the anomalies. I just saw the episode where they visit Snoqualmie Falls and make some Twin Peaks jokes --- something I would not have understood first time around.

My striped painting experiment worked out quite well, I think. Now to pick up the picture frame glass today, assemble the frames and finally hang the watercolors my mother in law gave me over a year ago.

Knitting? I've been back in log cabin land. Relaxing easy knitting for tv watching. I'm progressing on my first sleeve for Cinxia too, but slowly. I really wanted it done for my trip back east next week, but it won't be. However, given the weather on the east coast, I bet I won't miss it.

Tuesday, August 1

August First

Just a quiet week here. F & Z went to camp on Sunday. F comes home tonight, Z on Saturday. I rediscovered how much I enjoy cleaning the house when there is no one around to disturb things. I also finished painting Zach's old bedroom, the new guest room. The before picture is here. Saturday afternoon (before camera got packed for camp) it looked like this:
After picture will have to wait til the camera comes home.

I rented several dvds for my mini vacation: Deadwood, Grey's Anatomy and Northern Exposure. I was surprised at how much I did not like Grey's Anatomy. Perhaps the writing and acting and plots got better as the season progressed? I was looking for something more realistic, less formulaic, more nuanced characters, less caricature. The dvd had five episodes. I made it through 2.5. Deadwood? Refreshingly not broadcast TV, but almost too dark for me. I was surprised at the language. Did folks really say the F word so much in those days? I don't mind the word really, but long for historical accuracy. And did anyone use the term due diligence? That just seemed weird and made it seem less likely that they are striving for accuracy. Perhaps they are, though? By the end of the first episode, I was intrigued enough to watch the second one. Alas, the rented disk has a scratch right at the beginning of the episode which my player could not deal with. I would have had to skip the entire first chapter with no guarantee the rest would play. (I did miss a few minutes of the middle of the first episode due to a scratch). Good old Northern Exposure was a winner though. Even though I watched the show when it was broadcast, even though I knew what's going to happen, it's still refreshingly quirky. Bittersweet though, all the foreshadowing of development and change, now Roslyn is facing that development, losing something in the process. And when Joel is golfing, he's clearly on a logging road, in front of a previously clear-cut field, weeds growing up around the stumps and debris left behind. But they try to say it's some beautiful natural Alaska wilderness meadow. sigh.