Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How do you do it?

During a really lackluster workout this morning -- I did it, but did the minimum, with minimum spirit -- I wondered how folks like my bud Suzee do it. How do you make yourself work out when you'd just rather not? That's why I was working out today, actually, I'd just rathered not yesterday (although the entire house got clean plus multiple laundry loads). I know why I work out, but some days I just can't muster what it takes.

I know how Thing 1 does it! She relies on team spirit.

Even with perpetually cold feet, she assures me that she had a lot of fun.

And I'm really almost (again!) done with Pearl's sleeves and almost to the waist shaping on Cobblestone. I did knit yesterday, even if the treadmill was lonely. And I knit today, after the lackluster workout and after struggling through borrowing and carrying again with Thing 2, because we walked up a hill to visit Sarah, Percy and Bill.

No adults showed up while we were there, but I'd definitely like to go back again. And there's a lovely organic bakery right around the corner. The Things were all for that!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Answers to some questions and what we did yesterday

1. No, I don't usually knit while on the treadmill. I try to go fast enough that it would be a Very Bad Idea. I have, however, knit while on a recumbent bike.

2. We boiled the leaves for a good long while for the eucalyptus, and it smelled like eucalyptus but worse, if that is understandable. I'd personally like to try a different kind of gum tree and (thanks Tamiami) chop the leaves.

3. Thing 1 is heading home -- they cancelled the end of the tournament because there was too much snow on the ground, but she told us last night that while her feet were cold in the snow, she was having fun.

Yesterday, Thing 2 and I went on a walk with some new friends.

Our new friend, Brady, was a little nervous because the other four-footed ones weren't in his herd -- he was visiting. So he hummed nervously throughout much of the hike, which sounded a lot like my daughter complaining as we went uphill.

I learned that, to my intense relief, my reaction after a day spent with these lovely animals was: "Eh." I can totally take them or leave them. Since I usually come home from an interaction with any large fiber/fur/meat/milk animal thinking, "I will die if I do not immediately move to a farm and procure X," this was delightful.

Thing 2 worked hard to get enough fur for a hat, though.

We have been offered one of Brady's herdmate's last shearing, though. I may have to take Kate up on it. Then I'll teach Thing 2 to card!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Some things longer, some aren't

Yes, things are in flux here.

I tried a new dyeing experiment, so a few branches of an eucalyptus tree are a bit shorter:

Although the dyebath looked a bit like strong coffee or tea, it yielded what I consider a fairly insipid yellow. I was hoping for at least an honest khaki.

In addition, all of the children objected strongly to the smell. It's a dye worth heating outside.

Cobblestone is growing apace. Still life with sweater and treadmill:

It's actually a few inches longer today. I'm loving this knit. Really, the yarn, Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed, is so nice and such an honest wool that it's a treat to hang out with, sort of the same way that digging can be satisfying. I plan to have it done by my sister's 40th birthday, and it will, actually, come in handy. Summer evenings here can be downright cold. While I don't think the short row section will be the blissful coasting that the body is, I'll manage. Waist shaping -- either with or without nipping in the side garter details -- will be happening.

As is regular working out. I'm not hitting the treadmill five times a week, as I'd hoped, but I'm not flaking out completely either. Just like putting one stitch on needles after another, it has to yield results in the long run. Like endless stockinette, nothing exciting yet.

And Thing 1 headed off to Seattle today with her Ultimate team.

I'm happy for her, and sad that I can't go, but sitting on the sidelines in sleet and rain and perhaps even snow doesn't seem as attractive as running madly after a Frisbee under the same conditions, and that's saying a lot. My lack of angst about her departure isn't a huge surprise to me; I'm not the overly-angsty type. She'll probably have a good time, and she's in safe and caring hands. Her growing independence is, as far as I can see, a wonderful illustration of the young woman she's becoming. As is the reminder that she's always been, in striking ways, her own person.

This haircut, for example, was all her own idea. She seems to be enjoying it, and relied on both practical and aesthetic reasons for it. She loved shocking her friends yesterday.

I look forward to parenting her actively for a while and then transitioning to a more partner/supporter role. Goodness knows I have enough years of active involvement ahead of me with the others. And any kid in my house who wields a sponge with efficacy can wear their hair any way they want.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Found it!

Not in the bedroom, last known location, but on a dining chair. Who knows? At any rate, it's safe and sound.

Isn't that a pretty yarn? It feels just right after its wash and block, too, so now all want to do before starting is to get my sister to measure her favorite sweater around to see if the new one will work. . . no, she says she is a measuring failure. I'll ask her to bring one over and I'll measure it.

Thank you for the opinions about the Pearl Buck sleeves. I think maybe since my torso is actually on the long side, my arms also seem long. I also just like 3/4 length sleeves. So knitting them down in the round isn't going to hurt me -- thank goodness for more yarn -- and I'll like it more.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ach, Crivens!

Guess who's been listening to the audio book of Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men lately? If it's not you (too), I can't recommend it highly enough. Of course, if you're the impressionable type, you'll soon be talking like a 6" blue man also.

However delightful the book is, it has given me vocabulary appropriate to my current situation. I mostly finished -- not all ends sewn in and in dire need of a re-block and maybe some front closures -- with Pearl Buck. However. However, however, however, and as the Feegles would say, "Waily, waily, waily."

I think I'm going to have the wonderful experience of picking out the cast-on portion of each sleeve and adding at least 2" to them. The one on my right arm in the very-flashy picture most accurately reflects the length in use. My spouse thinks the difference between the body and the sleeves is distracting, and they're not really 3/4 length. Many of the folk on Ravelry have mentioned that the sleeves are a strange length as written. Could this be one of those patterns that looks great on the first person, but is difficult to translate out?

They're more like elbow-length to me and I don't wear bracelets or anything like that. I think they'll be more flattering longer. Part of it is that I have the forearms of a person with zero body fat. Skinny and veiny (am I going to be a gorgeous old lady or what??) and so they seem to attract a lot of attention when sticking out of a sleeve like this. Maybe it's all the pushups I'm doing these days. It's just one more of those things. . .

And I lost/misplaced/was the victim of cat depredations on the swatch I had actually made, washed and blocked before starting Cobblestone for my sister. With 7s, it was too big, and 6s got gauge but I was worried the fabric would be too stiff. After washing, though, the Felted Wool seemed to settle down quite nicely. I'd hoped to spend some time tonight sort of fondling it and thinking about the sweater and then casting on, but I'm not sure casting on without that is a good idea, nor do I wish to make another swatch because it's here somewhere, I know.

I think I'm going to deeply enjoy knitting it, not only because it's for someone I'm thrilled to be knitting for, but because it's such an honest wool and the little flecks of color in the tweed are so very pretty.

In happier news, the playground rings (instead of expensive plumbing) have been a real hit downstairs with the swinging set:

Looks like he's flying, huh? You ought to see the wonders they can perform on these. On the other hand, in my bedroom, it sounds as though large squirrels are gnawing on my floor. Tradeoffs.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Got Pieces?

I do!

I've been lucky enough to have a few really golden days lately -- not perfect days -- the kids still do insane things, but nice enough in my head that these things aren't difficult to deal with. I even got them to help me mulch our front yard.

Some of them could lift an entire shovelful at once.

We made pizza,

and afterwards the kids and I biked to the beach. It was hot enough that the water felt great, and we slathered sunblock on our winter skin. While there, I finished the fiddly bind-off for this

and now I'm planning to block it tonight, and seam it up this weekend. Maybe in time to wear to the Ravelry get-together on Sunday. Wouldn't that be nice? Now I can launch into the Cobblestone for my sister.

But first, pie for dessert (clearing out the frozen Ollalieberries before we go and pick another 40 pounds in a month or so. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This and that

Yes, I love the movie "Raising Arizona." I wouldn't say it gets quoted here daily, but at least monthly, with occasional flare-ups. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

I've been busy lately. I'm trying to learn to crochet, at least a little bit. This is my first attempt, and now I think I know how to avoid the gradual narrowing I've achieved here. Maggie Righetti is my good friend.

And see all these lovely diamonds? They're about 5 rows past the armhole shaping. Guess what I forgot to do. . . Time for some rippage.

The yarn really was closer to the end of the cone than I'd feared. Fortunately, my new order from Artfibers showed up today -- talk about blindingly quick customer service! I can knit right past any shaping with confidence now. I may even have enough for tiny frog closures -- I think it's going to need something.

Now to find time to clean the house thoroughly and work out tonight. Guests tomorrow!

Monday, April 7, 2008

That Movie Meme

So people are doing that ten movie quote identification meme. I have read a few, and I'm sort of a very occasional movie watcher, but I finally figured out a way to participate. So here goes!
  1. Well, sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real hard.
  2. I love him so much!
  3. Son, you've got a panty on your head.
  4. Chairs, you got a dinette set! No chairs, you got dick!
  5. No one sleeps nekked in this house, boy!
  6. But the doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.
  7. That was 1954 dollars.
  8. You wanna find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop.
  9. Maybe she can help me and Dot; there's somethin' wrong with my semen.
  10. Gimme that baby, you warthog from hell!
So, okay, it's not exactly in the spirit of the thing, but this is something that takes up a lot of mental energy at my house. I hope you enjoy.

And maybe I'll finish that sweater back today, but I'm starting to wonder about having enough yarn! High drama abounding.

Friday, April 4, 2008

In My Dreams

So far, this morning, I've relocated a small bee swarm from one friend's yard into another friend's yard -- from which a hive of bees absconded for reasons I don't understand, have emptied the dishwasher, made two breakfasts, ate one, had three cups of tea, roused five children (mine plus a buddy), read two newspapers -- but not the sports sections -- showered, peeked at the chicks, brushed my teeth, sent children to brush their teeth, read some blogs, gathered some books for schoolwork, and now I'm pausing to do this.

But the very first thing I did this morning, according to my dreaming self? Well, I went to church at the church I grew up going to, where George Bush was preaching. Suddenly, he launched into Neil Young's "Southern Man," in an attempt to use the song to justify the war. This disgusted me, but what was more important at that moment was that my twin biracial sons were acting up. I think they were about 3, and I was trying to keep them quiet in church. So the three of us wandered to a back staircase, behind the choir loft, and found that half of the church wasn't being vacuumed regularly. Horrors!

Then I had an interesting conversation with my sister and a Nobel Laureate who happened to be hanging out on this unvacuumed staircase, and then I woke up. Whew! That's probably more work than I'm really up for. I deliberately don't try to figure out where these dreams come from usually. I just enjoy them. But I am NOT enjoying having the song -- in George Bush's voice, no less -- stuck in my head this morning.

One thing I did not do this morning was knit (yet). Yesterday I managed a few rows, including ripping and redoing three or so. I can mostly knit and talk, but not without casualties. Just for Allison, here is Almost Two Diamonds (out of five) Done!

Now I'm going to go buy milk and yogurt and then work out. More schoolwork and some sweeping somewhere in between. And I'm supposed to make a prioritized list of the "around the house" chores for the weekend. Thing 2 and I are going to unstick the sink she's clogged up with pistachio shells. I do not ask, I only respond.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yes, you can!

Freeze eggs, that is. And thanks for asking. When young hens are laying a lot -- like an egg a day for four months or so, and you have a number of said young hens, the amount of eggs can exceed your eating capacity unless you are outrageous devotees of meringues, custard, and lemon curd.

They keep very nicely and I've discovered that 6 eggs fills a 12-cube ice cube tray perfectly. Then you pop them out, and put them in a freezer bag, and when you want to cook, you take out two per egg in a recipe and let them thaw (or if you're in a terrible hurry, say your children are perishing form hunger? you can put them right on butter in a hot pan. They melt and cook.)

Muffin tins hold 2 eggs per cup nicely.

Some cookbooks say to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per egg before freezing for savory, and the same amount of sugar for sweet, but it doesn't really matter. Do it if you're organized or it appeals to you.

Now I'm off to the park and maybe I'll complete yet another diamond on my sweater! Odd, though, now I'm not spinning so much. Go figure.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

From small things come. . .

I promise not to keep posting pictures of ten-row increases of the Pearl Buck sweater: "Look! I'm halfway through the second diamond! Woo hoo!" But I know, like you know, that little by little, stitch by stitch, is how things grow.

I'm having actual doubts about it. I don't know -- I just looked at it this morning and thought, "Eh." Not joy, not yarn-lust, which have been my usual responses to it. I think I'm mentally done. I bet I finish, wear it once and then let that sweater age nicely for a bit, like a cheese. Then I'll love it.

Listen to me! Talking like I'm almost done. Funny girl.

Another sign of spring popped up in our basement:

Not so mad as one might think. Once they're past the cute stage, it's not much more work than the aged hens out there now. And with eggs as expensive as they are -- I'd rather freeze extra for winter than buy them.