Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ahh, Friday

Baskitfull-o-naps. I has it.
Hooray for Friday! Hooray for impending weekends for all! Except for DH who has been stuck with mandatory overtime. BOOOO!!! Major bummer for him. And we were hoping he could get some extra rest before the cruise, because the cross-country flight is grueling, and he's prone to motion sickness. Oh, well, we'll make do. I am carrying ginger cookies in my bag. Ginger is a soverign remedy against motion sickness. And I am carrying trail mix. And bandaids. And a note book and a pocket book and clean underwear and our prescriptions and some OTC meds and my knitting and a spare pair of glasses in case I lose my main pair, and as the trip progresses to warmer climes, I will be peeling layers of clothing and stuffing them in the bag . . . My purse is 24 inches by 30 inches by three inches and can weigh in at about thirty pounds by the time we reach San Juan. Of course, on the way home, it lightens up as I add extra layers, eat the food, abandon the completed paperback book . . .
We are leaving in a week. Excited? Me? You betcha!!
The weather gurus are predicting a winter storm with snow, then big winds. The rain has been hitting the windshield in suspiciously thick drops all day. Just as long as the freeze holds off till we get home from the concert, I'm happy.
I sent off four poems to a poetry competition today. Getting back on the horse as it were. May your weekend be full of rhyme and reason!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shoesday catch-up

Did I mention that I'm disorganized lately? I totally forgot that yesterday was shoesday. These are my grown-up shoes. I wear them for dressy occasions only. They aren't very comfortable, but they do make me look like a lady. These shoes are old enough to vote. There's a lot to be said for investing in the timeless classics!

Knitting has been going on. Here is another baby surprise sweater with matching hat to go to the orphans in Romania. I'll have to start hitting the garage sales for buttons pretty soon. Either that, or buy some Fimo and make my own.

Speaking of giving, the pay it forward thing ? If you want to play, just copy and paste the paragraph about it from yesterday's blog, post it on your own blog, and send me your address. You have to actually ask to be included before you get committed to giving three hand-made gifts away within 365 days. You can't get roped into this by accident. And oh, you adorable over-achievers out there - it will be a gift to the rest of us if you rein in your tendencies to excell past all bounds. You know who you are. The people who knit a tea-cozy, then have to include a tea pot to go with it and a matching cup and saucer and sugar and creamer set, and a silver spoon, and a pound of white Dragonwell tea, and six different kinds of home-made cookies and. . . . Just slack off a bit, OK? So the rest of us don't feel pressured? I thank you, and your recipients will thank you as well.

And we must have the mandatory kitty pictures. Aren't they getting big? The hunt for the red bug always shows them at their best. Ben is long and skinny right now. Pepper is solid, compact and faster than the camera can handle!

I'm listening to Mannheim Steamroller CDs right now. DH bought tickets to their up-coming performance. They do a rockin' show!! What to wear, what to wear? Comfy shoes, since we likely will walk several blocks from the parking lot. So I build up from there. It will be a cold night, probably wet. Boots to start with. And how about a long white skirt since we will be pedestrians and it's safe to be visible. Hmm, turtleneck because the auditorium is always draughty. Oh, the silver turtleneck sweater, and my white chiffon poncho with silver sequins! An ear warmer, a parka, and we're good to go. I know there are cities where people have pretty dress coats to wear to special occasions, but Portland isn't one of them. Everyone wears parkas everywhere. Unless you want to be readily identified as a recent transplant. Then you may as well just carry an umbrella, too. No one who actually lives here owns an umbrella.
NOw I am going to watch the finale of Dancing with the Stars and sign Christmas cards. Happy trails to one and all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

pay it forward

I'm in the game, too!

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

In fact, if you want to play, and haven't been able to get to a blog in time to sign in, if you ask nicely, I may take more than three joiners. And handmade poetry counts, Linda.

I'm having trouble focusing. Too many things to do and I don't know where to start, so first I make a list. And the first thing I put on the list is, "Make List." That gives me something to cross off right away and starts me off with a nice sense of accomplishment.

I thought I had one more day free in this week. silly me - I forgot about the 6 hour day of Tax board tests. Good time to knit, not so good for baking, packing, cleaning the house, doing laundry, shopping for those last-minute gifts . . . And I'm a week behind normal for my christmas cards.

So, much as I would loooove to stay and chat, I'll catch you all on the flip flop!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's on sale!

I just got an e-mail from Grandma Flea in Australia. she says, "Hi Roxie, I ordered Sanna and the Dragons from Amazon a few minutes ago." So anyone who has been holding off can go for it now! both Amazon and Author House have it available. The international shipping is pretty awful. Amazon has better international shipping rates. Author House has better prices.
Dave suggested I sell signed copies, but I went and shipped a bunch of cookies yesterday, and holey crow! Shipping rates are harrible!! Next year I think I'll send a check and a recipe.

Dave Daniels suggested that I sell signed books. I'd be happy to, but can't imagine how to price them. I mean, I'm worth it, but still can't justify the necessary shipping and handling fees. If you want a signed copy, let me know, send me your address, and I'll sign a book plate for you to stick in the book you buy from Authorhouse.

On the knitting front I am working slowly on a baby surprise sweater, and thinking about what I want my latest batch of hand spun to be. And what will I knit on the plane. In two weeks, we will be getting ready to embark on the Carnival Destiny for a Caribbean cruise. (Don't worry. We will have a house and cat sitter.) Much as I hate knitting socks, they really are the perfect travel knitting. But maybe something a bit less than perfect would do. Maybe the green silk mitered modular top . . .

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How to set the table

In order to spread your best tablecloth neatly on the big table you will need assistants. You will stand at one end of the table, unfold the cloth and fling your arms up and forward to loft the cloth smoothly over the surface of the table. Your assistants will catch the other end and help you center it evenly on the table top.

Then you and your assistants should carefully smooth all possible wrinkles and creases out of the cloth. It was at this point that I fired both of my assistants. Undaunted, they continued to add their own personal touches to the setting. Silverware kept winding up on the floor. (It makes such a splendid sound when it hits the hardwood.) I had to cover the butter with upended bowls to prevent the dreaded tongue prints. Was there a paw print or two on the plates? If my guests are looking that close, they are being way too fussy. Halfway through the meal, Pepper jumped up on the table and streaked the length of it, giving it one final check as she went. I yelled at her as she flew past and she stopped to look over her shoulder as if to say, "What?" with that adloescent tone of voice we all recognize.
And, like all teens, they disappeared when it was time to do the dishes.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Oh turkey coma, oh suffering fatness

Dinner at Bistro Maison was delightful! Our reservations were for two so we could finish and DH and I could start the drive back home before total darkness overwhelmed us. Well, at least we got started on the way. Everyone else had turkey. I had wild Chinook salmon with chantarelles. Fish and mushrooms? What more could I ask for? Maybe poached pears for dessert? Maybe an appetizer of shrimp simmered in pernod? Perhaps a simple salad of mixed greens (local weeds) with candided walnuts and pickled beets? Oh my gracious it was good!! The sun was setting as we left the restaurant, and the moon was rising in the east ahead of us. DH is such a hero that he resisted the urge to curl up and nap, and manfully drove us safely home. An hour long drive from C&J's who live a further 30 minutes from the restaurant. DH is a trooper!!

And J is a sweetie as well. He is a computer wizard who taught my new laptop how to find the internet. Poor C. never gets to see her husband's eyes because his job requires him to spend just about every waking hour facing a computer. She was looking forward to enjoying his company when we arrived, and what's the first thing I did but hand him my new laptop and say, "Make blog go?" Luckily, he is so good at his job that it took him only half an hour, and that because the air card is a slow loader.

So now I am blogging from the new laptop. I love it. It's tickety, tappety, shiney and (whispers) it seems to work.

Here is our beloved big Ben explaining to DH just how big the dustbunny that got away actually was. Pepper, as you can see by her shiney eyes, is reserving judgement.

It takes forever to load photos, but if I'm patient, I can get some up.

This morning, DH and I virtuously rolled out at seven AM to go do our mall walk and then hot-tub. Sure, we knew there would be some early sales. I guess some places even opened at four AM! But really, how many sharks could there be involved in this shopping frenzy? We're idiots, aren't we? I have never seen the parking lot so full. It was seven in the morning, and we had to park clear out on the far end of hell's half acre. Geeze, we walked a third of a mile in just fighting our way in from the parking lot. Have you ever seen that video game called "Frogger" where the animated frog tries to make it across the freeway? I felt a lot like that frog. People were who saw even a hint of a brake light indicating someone might be pulling out would just floor it to try to get to the space before anyone else stole it, and God help anyone on foot! The mall itself was packed, all the stores were open and that effing little drummerboy was pahrumppapumpumming on the loudspeakers. At the food court, there were men and boys, casualties of the first wave no doubt, heads down on their arms, surrounded by piles of packages, while women and girls kept coming and going in a steady stream, bringing more treasures, collecting more cash, and dashing off for another attack. ("And when we get to Sears, I'll go stand in line right away while you pick up those towels that are on sale and then swing by the girls' section and find something for your cousin Pat. Then you stand in line and I'll go to the tool department to get that cordless drill for your father. After that, you check out and I'll see if auntie Mim is done at Penney's . . .")

So we did one lap (DH enjoys this sort of thing. I start to suffer sensory overload. The noise, the lights and color, the jostling, and the jarring cacaphony of strong perfumes . . EEEEK! I was more than ready for the hot tub!!

Somehow, this had whetted DH's taste for adventure, so for lunch, we went to a new dim sum restaurant. We were just about the only round-eyes in there. We were standing and waiting to be seated, and three young women who didn't speak English stood and offered me (grey-haired old woman that I am) their seat. Their three narrow little butts fit on to ONE comfy chair seat. They were squeezed together, but they could get out without assistance, so it couldn't have been that tight a fit. I couldn't argue with them, so I took the seat. With bitter pangs of envy for them being so young and slim and dressed so hot! One had three-inch stilletto heeles on her over-the-knee black leather boots. Another was wearing a pair of jeans so low cut - well, that sliver of flesh between the bottom of her sweater and the top of her pants could have been kept warm by the furtive glances of every young male in the area. The third was wearing a pink and orange horizontally striped babydoll dress and was cute enough to pull it off.

The restaurant uniforms were interesting. The ladies running the dim sum carts wore lavendar tops with mandarin collars and elbow length sleeves, alone with black knee-length straight skirts, black tights, flata shoes, and little lavendar caps. The hostesses wore the same skirts and tops, but flesh-colored hose, no caps, and a one-inch heel. The manager progressed beyond the lavendar top and graduated to a white shirt and black vest.

The service was fast, fast, fast! The food was tasty, but completely a mystery. The ladies running the carts, bringing their dishes of miscellaneous bites around and around, spoke very little english. I recognized hum bao, so we got a plate of those. And there were some lovely translucent dumplings with shrimp in them showing through the wonton wrapper, so we got those. And then, well . . . DH doesn't care much for fish. Shrimp maybe if it's nice and fresh. We got a plate of ummm, I'm still not sure. It looked like rigatoni in tomatoe sauce. It tasted like oysters with garlic. And the texture was very much like gnocci. I got to eat all of that, and rather liked it, but still wonder what it was. Then we got a beef dumpling. Again with the shiney, gultinous, almost transparent wonton skin wrapped around the dark savory filling. Yes, it was beef. It was a sort of minced and seasoned and pureed sausage. the texture thre DH completely. It was like beef and onion and garlic and five-spice flavored oatmeal. Amazingly enough, I was stuffed after only four dishes. And DH was ready to go, so we called it good and motated home.
And last, but surely not least, Knitting content!
Behold a six-fingered glove. Thanks to Amy Lane for the yarn!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Yippee! Yayyyy!!! The book is available!!

What a wonderful Thanksgiving! My second book, Sanna and the Dragons is now available from Authorhouse Books!

It's cheapest from Authorhouse, and won't be available from Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or any of the other on-line stores for a couple of weeks yet. If you were looking to give someone a sweet Christmas gift, you have time to order it now!

Today is Thanksgiving in America. DH and I are sleeping in this morning, then getting dressed all purty to drive out into wine country and share a feast with C and J at at ritzy french restaurant. Cafe Maisson, or Bistro Superb or Le Feedbagge or something. We usually spend thanksgiving with C&J as they are also childless and family free. We can enjoy stress-free celebrations.

Yesterday, I had a 9:30 dentist appointment to get a fourty-year-old filling excavated and replaced. I am SUCH a sissy about dentists! But my current dentist is a dear, gentle, young mother, who speaks softly and encouragingly to me, chats quietly about all sorts of distracting things, and gives me lots of painkillers. The old filling had begun to errode and a new cavity was developing on the "buckle cup." (Say that out loud. Doesn't buckle cup want to be in a nursery rhyme?) She replaced the old silver composite stuff (which was made with traces of mercury back in the day I was getting fillings) with a nice white substance which matches the color of my tooth. Wow - cosmetic molars!!

So I took myself home with half my face numb and stiff, sat down on the sofa to plan the rest of my day, and fell asleep for three hours. Woke up when DH got home, then fell asleep for two more hours. Ate dinner, went to bed early, and slept for nine more hours. Woke up feeling quite rested! I think I may have had a benign reaction to the painkillers. At least I didn't gnaw my tounge while I was sleeping. Sometimes, when I'm up and about, and anesthetized, I wind up biting the inside of my cheek or the side of my tongue by accident, and don't realize it till I taste blood. (that may be too much information, Roxie.)

Did I mention that my book is now available? Squeee!!

Tomorrow is known as Black Friday. I have been told that it is the biggest shopping day of the year, and for many stores has historically been the first day when all their expenses for the whole year are finally balanced by income, putting them, "in the black." All income from now till New Year's Eve will be profit. No wonder retailers hit Christmas so darn hard! You don't need to go to the mall to buy my book, though. (grins!)

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday, and may every turkey you encounter be stuffed and roasted!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

at last, a minute to blog!

Saturday night was fabulous. All the men were wearing tuxes. Men look so NICE in tuxes. I dressed to the nines. because how often do you get a chance to do so? The hosts were urbane, highly educated, convivial folks. He was an architect and the dinner was served in their fascinating 6 storey house in the upper-class West Hills of Portland. This is such a high-tone address that it's ABOVE the right side of the tracks! The house is six stories, staggered back and forth along a steep hillside, with a firepole from the kids' sleeping loft to the livingroom, kitchen, dining area. The bathroom has the bathtub on a platform over the door, so you need a ladder to get to it. And it's a glorious clawfoot painted red on the outside. When I saw it, I turned to DH and said, "WANT!" He laughed at me as well he might, but the lust for a red clawfoot bathtub has been planted in my heart.

Dinner was an epicurean delight! We started with local chantarelles, porccinni and cremini mushrooms sauteed in butter and wine, and served on a garlic souffle for everyone else, and on toast for lactose-intolerant me. It was yummy! And then duck breast with a caper sauce, with potatoes augratin on the side and asparagus spears. Then a salad with fresh ripe figs, pomegranet seeds, butter lettuce, and a superb dressing made with balsamic vinegar, concentrated orange juice, and rice wine vinegar. Then a cheese plate. Then creme brulee with raspberries (just raspberries for me. Poor baby! I lurves fresh raspberries!) Then coffee. We went through several many bottles of wine and laughed moderately and got to know one another. I played party pooper at 11:00, remarking that we had to get up in the AM to cook a turducken. It was after midnight before I got to bed. That's more than four hours past my bedtime. I was a sleepy baby!!

Up at 7 to start the 17 pounds of cajun bird. Then back to bed for a few hours. I have pictures of kitties helping me set the table. Up again at 11:00 and steady work until the first guests started arriving at 1:00. Oh, what a feast! TW brought black-eyed peas and dirty rice. MJ brought collard greens. People brought presents. PW agreed to carve.The beautiful, golden,fragrant bird was boned except for legs and wings, so carving was simplicity itself. But - I think they sent us just a turkey. If there had been turkey AND duck AND chicken, I would have expected a LOT more meat. Hard as we tried, we could not find the duck meat. It was yummy. The rice and cornbread stuffing was good. Everyone ate ourselves into a stupor, but the intrigue of turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken did not materialize. I think we'll order locally fo rht next bird. Sheridan Market, if any of you local folks are interested, offers turducken.

Then we tried to play Botticelli, but the L-tryptophan induced post-turkey sommnelence overwhelmed us, and the party broke up about 6:00 PM. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. These are party vikings who, in their youth, in a fit of drunken eccstasy, created chocolate mousse at three AM and ate it with the sunrise. (I was not at that party, but I hear that it was epic!)

I fell into bed at 7:30 and slept like the dead till 5 the next morning. Off to the jail at 6. I composed thank-you notes and managed to keep myself awake, but just barely. Home by 3. I sat down to write out the notes, and fell asleep in my chair. DH woke me for dinner. It was left-over turkey. Quite tasty!! Another 7:30 bedtime for me! Tuesday, up at 5, and from 8 -5 I was in training to take over for one of our happy coterie of proctors who will be retirining in Dec. She is soo efficient, competant and knowledgable tht I know she will be sorely missed! I can't take her place, but I could use a few more hours, so in January, I will be working all day on Tuesdays. Time to knit, but not to blog.

When I got home, my new laptop had arrived! Happy dances! cries of glee! All I need to do now, is figure how to get the internet connection to work, and I'm good to go. Blogger, meanwhile, is being a real pisser about posting photos, no matter how hard I try, but with a shiney new Dell, I might stand more of a chance!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I love my friends

Thank you, folks, for giving me perspective and cheer. It's hard to get a real pity party going for myself when I'm in touch with so many wonderful people!

DH and I went to the mall for some early exercise. Some of the stores are open already at 7:30. Everything except Nordstrom's is decorated for Christmas. Santa is sitting for photos starting today. We have a full month of hohoholiday. I don't think it's such a good thing. I have heard that in the old days (1930s) Stores didn't decorate for Christmas until Dec. 1st. Can you imagine? Why, you wouldn't even have time to get sick of the carols. (Swertogawd, one more parumpahpumpum and I'm gonna HURT that little drummer boy!)

I still don't have anything for mom, though I'm looking for a long, dark, soft, machine-washable cardigan sweater with pockets and something sparkly on it. If I can find the sweater, I can always add the something sparkly. Don't tell her though. She likes it so much better if it's not handmade.

And does anyone else put together a few generic sort of presents to keep on hand in case someone unexpectedly gives you a gift and you didn't have anything for them? Thank God for rumballs! They solve a lot of gifting problems. When your friends reach a certain age, their tastes have become specific, they don't need more - stuff - and yet you still want to give them something. Rum balls. At worst, they can pull them out when company drops by, or take them in to the office. At best, they will eat them all in the car on the way home.

I love Dole's canned peaches in the jars. And I have been saving the nice big jars all year, so now I have many air-tight small containers to fill with rumballs. Just add a ribbon, and it's a gift! Tahhdahh! Sometimes, the jars even come back to me with interesting home-made goodies therein. Jams or bath salts pickles or such. I love recycling gifts. One friend and I used the same piece of gift wrap, passing it back and forth, for five years till someone's husband threw it away.

Today is DH's birthday. I got him a shirt and a book and an exercise machine. It's hard to find toys for big boys who buy whatever they want when they see it. He keeps saying tht it's just another day for him. I can NOT accept that. In my heart of hearts, I know that birthday's are the most important day of the year. How could someone not care? Is it a defense against being disappointed? Or is he really telling the truth and just doesn't care that today is his day? Ask him? Well, he expects me to believe what he says. But a great portion of my inner committee simply can't believe it. It's like arguing with my inner compass. I know that north is over there and you can tell me it's not, and you may be right, but my compass insists that it's is north over that way.

So does anyone else truely, truely not care when your birthday rolls around?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hate November.

Grey, gray, damp and cold. Short days, dying light, flagging spirits, ebbing energy and are you sure humans don't hibernate? All I want to do is eat and lie supine in the recliner, huddled under blankets and cats, reading or watching Perry Mason re-runs. I'm normally a cheery person, and I will soon be gearing up for the holidays and then, after solstice, I can always tell myself that the days are getting longer. That invariably helps. I count my blessings and keep myself hydrated and think positive thoughts, but man I hate November!

This weekend should mark the turn-around for my grumpiness. At a fund-raiser auction, MJ and Rick bought a black tie gourmet dinner with conversation at a local celebrity's home. Since the dinner was for four guests, and since it is scheduled for DH's birthday night, Rick and MJ are inviting us along. We will get out the tuxedo and one of my formal dresses, and put on our shiniest manners. I will turn the "Charm" knob up to "dazzle," and with any luck, this should be a delightful birthday dinner for DH. bless his dear, dear heart!!

That's for saturday. Then on Sunday, DH is cooking a turducken. That's a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. This one has cajun spices. We are inviting a crowd, because there's 17 lbs of meat to dispense with. This should be another fun party. I just have to clean house and set the table first. Oh, and bake a carrot cake and make a salad. Gleep!! And all I want to do is lie supine in the recliner, huddled under cats and blankets, eating cheese and almonds, and reading or watching Perry Mason re-runs. Hate November!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

pattern for six-fingered gloves

This glove is knitted flat, then folded in half at the thumb side and sewn up around the sides and fingers.

Appx 200 yds worsted weight yarn
size 8 needles.
Gauge: Give me a break! These are six-fingered gloves. Who cares what gauge you get? They won't fit anyone anyway.

Cast on 40 stitches.
Knit 8 rows (4 ridges)
Bind off 13 stitches, (This is the front half of the little finger )knit five, turn and knit back (short row)
*Cast on 15 stitches, knit 8 rows (4 ridges), bind off 15 stitches, short row five stitches down and back. *
Repeat between * * two more times. You have four fingers now.
Cast on 15 stitches, knit 8 rows (4 ridges), bind off 25 stitches, (fifth finger)knit a 5 stitch short row, cast on 13 stitches.
Knit 16 rows (8 ridges) then bind off 13 stitches, (thumb)
work another five stitch short row, and cast on 25 stitches.
knit 8 rows, bind off 15 stitches and work another five stitch short row.
Again repeat between * * three more times. You have the front halfs of five fingers, a thumb that folds in half, and the back halfs of four fingers.
Cast on 13 stitches, knit 8 rows, bind off all the way, fold and sew.

These are lovely gag gifts. Present them with great eagerness and exhort to recipient to try them on. It takes some people literally minutes to figure out what's wrong. Then they look at you as if you are insane. Smile brightly and watch them get the joke. I gave a pair to my brother the salesman, who is quite the practical joker. He left them lying around his office, and everyone who came in was shown the nice gloves his sis had made for him and encouraged to try them on. Those gloves brought a lot of laughs to a lot of people for almost a year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's shoesday!!

Aren't they sweet? $15 at Pay-less and comfy enough for all day walking. I search and search for good walking shoes that won't make me look like Minnie Mouse. And now I can sing "Blue Suede Shoes" with Elvis. "well you can mock my car, slap my face, slander my name all over the place, but don't you - step on my blue suede shoes. You can do anything but stay offa my blue suede shoes!"

The fir tree is stillupright and firmly attached to all its limbs. The kitties have forgotten their fright entirely, though Pepper spent about twenty minutes in the middle of the night sucking on my neck and kneading with her needle-sharp claws. You know how it is when you really don't want to wake up, but there's some annoyance that won't let you sleep? I tried hard to ignore it, because it makes her so happy and finally she quit without having to be thrown across the room. But I woke up with a big kitty hickie on my neck this morning.

And after the storm, we had a bit of sunshine, so rather than run the vacuume, I took photos in the garden. Here is the finished odds and bobs scarf. The coral edge makes it look tidy.

And here is half the Fantasy Fibers Mystery batts, with one ply from each of three batts. It's rich, grey/blue/plum/purple tweed and soo soft. About worsted weight. I think I'll have about 520 yards when I'm all done. I don't remember if that's enough for a sweater or if I'll need to add in something else. But it's going to be simple and sophisticated to let the glory of the yarn shine through.

I had every intention of adding in beads, but then couldn't figure how to get them over the hooks on the flyer. I may just thread them up and add them in as I knit for a little extra sparkle. My inner magpie likes things that are shiiiiney!

By the way, thanks to the folks who told me how to cook pumpkin. It sounds yummy and I think I'll give it a try.

On a more serious note, I have been loving the pictures of children that their parents post on their blogs, but there are weirdos out in the world. Is it safe to put your darling's photo on line?? And when does the baby bathing in the sink become child pron? There's a hysterical shot of a little guy having breakfast, sitting on the floor with his legs spraddled around his cereal bowl, and his little dingle dangling in the Oatie-os and milk. It's so innocent and cute, but I can see where a predator might have other thoughts. (Ewwww!!) So what do you think is appropriate?

Monday, November 12, 2007

doesn't windy come after shoesday?

We have the first good storm of the season blowing in. Over the course of the morning, the walnut tree has been denuded! There are douglas fir branches down across the street, and the mist, being driven by 30mph gusts, will penetrate saran wrap! Oh, and all the kitties want to sit on me. I have tried typing one-handed while holding one cat on my lap and one clutched against my chest, but when a third demands to lie down across the wrist at keyboard level, never mind that there is no desk-top underneath that wrist, I pretty much have to give it up and take all the kids to bed. Imagine me covered with nervous cats, all napping on the side of the house away from the big fir tree that has been yearning, lo these many years, to blow down onto us. I have a thousand things to do today, but evidently all of those things involve comforting kitties. (Yeah, right. Suffer, Roxie. Suffer!)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

squeezing out some photos

A seasonal shot from the last local farmer's market of the year. These are eating pumpkins, not jack-o-lanterns. Anyone have any recipes for how to cook a pumpkin?

Mandatory kitty photo. This is Candy, nested on DH's lap blanket. Candy's motto is, "Don't make me cut you." She has grumpy old kitty down to an art.
At last, the orphan sweater! It's fluffy and oh, so warm! Got to get it delivered right away!(Medical teams International.) It should fit anyone from a very small woman to a child with several other layers underneath, and the sleeves rolled up. I am crocheting a belt for it.

In Dave Daniel's blog, I always admire his wonderful atmospheric photos of the beautiful old buildings in Boston. Portland is about a century and a half younger than Boston, but we still have a nice old building or two. This is our Multnomah County Library. It really is a monument to education and literature. High ceilings, awesome marble staircases, gracious enormous windows, and acres of books that anyone with a card can borrow and read! Also, on cold and rainy days, it's a warm, dry, safe place for bums to come and doze. Compassion lives here as well as nobility and knowledge.

Across the street from the library is a nice old three story brick house (Now a legal firm) which has been covered, freaking COVERED with ivy! Pretty impressive. And rather pretty. But the ivy is probably prying the bricks apart, and will one day tear tha whole place down. The power of implacable growth. Entropy rules!!

The laptop screen can be seen, through a glass darkly, with the use of strong light. I was able to pick up these photos yesterday by holding the screen in the last rays of the setting sun. Hooray for good solutions!!


Monica tagged me with a meme. More fun than fighting with blogger to get photos posted.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
Ben (cats are too people!)
2.What were you doing at 0800? Headed for the hot tub at the gym. a lovely way to start a Saturday.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Soaking in the hot tub at the gym.
4. What happened to you in 2006? Lessee - this is 2007 so last year - I had a birthday. I went on a cruise with DH. We got a Christmas tree. Oh, I published Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice> and started blogging and made a slew of new friends!
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "I love you. Have fun!" (DH is going out for breakfast with the guys.)
6. How many beverages did you have today? Just the one cup of tes so far.
7. What color is your hairbrush? Black.
8. What was the last thing you paid for? Parking downtown
9. Where were you last night? Home with DH
10 What color is your front door? varnished wood color
11. Where do you keep your change?In a collection of old milk bottles or floating around in the bottom of my tote bag.
12.What’s the weather like today? 52 degrees (11C), 96% humidity, overcast - but not raining
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Real, home-made strawberry. Made with eggs. And Hood strawberries. But I'm lactose intolerant, so it doesn't matter anymore. My favorite frozen yogurt is green tea.
14. What excites you? DH, sunshine, attention, presents with no strings, good stories, going for a ride with DH, talking with friends.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? Not quite yet.
16. Are you over the age of 25? ROFL - by more than twice!
17. Do you talk a lot? How much is a lot? I do like to hold forth, but I like to listen as well.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yep
20. Do you make up your own words? Sure, doesn't everyone?21. Are you a jealous person? Only occasionally.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Alice. Anne.
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Katherine, Anne's mommy
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? My what?
25. What does the last text message you received say? Do I get text messages? where do I find them?
26. Do you chew on your straw? Nope.
27. Do you have curly hair? Yes, and I'm proud of it.
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
sully's for a solitary breakfast. It's a treat!!
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? I prefer to forget these people.
30. What was the last thing you ate? A chunk of corn bread
31. Will you get married in the future? I plan on dying before DH does so I don't have to live without him.
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? ::mumbles:: Haven't seen a movie in the past two weeks...
33. Is there anyone you like right now? What sort of twisted soul do you think I am? I like lots and lots of people right now. I adore DH!
36. Did you cry today? It's a glorious day, I'm warm, well fed, safe, and loved. Nothing to cry over.
37. Why did you answer and post this? Because I like Monica and it's easier to meme than to fight over the photos. (Oh, but wait till you see the nice orphan sweater. Really, I do have to get that photo posted somehow.
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.

Donna Lee?

Ya don't have to do it if you don't want to.

Oh, and I woke up this morning with a very clear vision of a weasle wearing a t-shirt that read, "I am Mr. Shatner's toupee wrangler." any dream intrepretation readings on that?

Friday, November 09, 2007

blogging blind

Still fighting with the desktop that won't allow photo posting, and the laptop with an almost black screen. But I got a couple of photos! First is Ben supervising the stacking of the rum ball bowls. The biggest steel bowl, (which I rarely use for cooking but still love to own) is just the right size for a young cat to chase his own tail around and around and around until he is so dizzy his eyes spin. The rum ball bowls stack up inside the big steel bowl. After the cat gets out.

Regarding rum balls: Corn syrup goes into the recipe to keep the melted chocolate from seizing. (that's when the sugar in the chocolate all hardens up into lumps.)

Fourteen batches is not excessive. My rum balls are a decades long tradition, and no matter how many batches I make, there are never enough.

Chocolate and beer? Eeeewww! No thank you, Queen of all the Snowcows! LOL

I spent most of the morning melting and mixing and rolling rumballs. I now have four BIG tins full, ripening up. It's important to let them sit in their air-tight tins for at least several days. Six weeks is not too long. The flavor blooms.

And yes, in the midst of all this confectionery, knitting does go on. Simple diagonal scarf using up odds and bobs of angoras, alpacca, some kid mohair, and some super-soft mystery fiber.

What next? I'll have to toss the stash tonight. Want my pattern for six-fingered gloves?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I took photos, but . .

this has been really quite a splendid day. I finished the latest orphan sweater and took photos. Ooo, it turned out so NICE! And then I loaded up a few books I could bear to part with and headed for Powells downtown. Sold books. Bought books (one for DH, and The Art of the Discworld for me.) and then I meet LG for lunch and giggles and guffaws and knitting. It was too brief. LG and I are identical twin daughters of different mothers. Except she got the good hair. Waist-length, thick, glossy, strong. If she weren't so adorable, I could hate her just for her hair alone, but she's also funny and sensitive anda gifted writer. We got the knitting straightened out. (Why don't they show diagrams of how the finished pieces look before you sew them together?) She gave me a wonderful cup, and three knitterly lapel buttons (Which I immediately had to pin on my chest right then and there because I loves them.) And she laughed when I offered to grab the waiter by the booty, which made me feel young again! The waiter never got within reach of the table after that.

Lunch breaks are too short. Maybe I can begin getting her to my writer's group somehow.

After that, I bought vanilla wafers, a primary ingredient for rum balls. It's time to start my Christmas cookies. I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to "The Beak of the Finch" and grinding 14 boxes of 'Nilla wafers to dust.

To make rum balls, first crush vanilla wafers to a fine powder. You can do this by taking the tea towel embroidered by your aunt Honoria, pouring the wafers into it, folding it into a nice package, and running a rolling pin back and forth over it for about twenty minutes. If you don't crush the wafers to a powder, you will get lumpy rumballs and the only thing worse than lumpy balls is a cold cockle. Good rumballs will warm the cockles of the heart of the crustiest curmudgeon.

If you are making more than one batch of rumballs, you could take the pillowcase embroidered by your aunt floradora, dump in three boxes of wafers, tie the case closed and throw it on the floor. Then put on your wooden soled shoes and practice clog dancing on it for about twenty minutes. Stomp on all the corners, and fluff the pillowcase once or twice in mid-process to be sure you thouroughly crush those cookies.

Once you have made and shared these rumballs, all your friends will be wanting some. So take the king-sized bedspread that was tie-dyed by your aut Euphoria, dump in fourteen boxes of cookies, fold up the edges and secure the package wit bungee cords, then visit your friend Max the tap-dancing elephant, and let him rock out on the bundle for at least twenty minutes. It's important to completely pulverize each and every crumb.

I ran all fourteen boxes of cookies through my good old hand crank meatgrinder. You can never find a tap-dancing elephant when you need one.

for a single batch:

6 oz choc chips (1 C.)
1/2 C. sugar
3 Tbs light corn syrup
1/2 C. rum
2 1/2 C finely crushed vanilla wafers

Melt choc chips . Add sugar and corn syrup. Mix. Add rum and cookie crumbs. Mix thouroughly and form into small balls. Allow to ripen in an air tight tin several days.

No baking. The hard part is shaping all those little balls. I bought a tiny ice cream scoop and saved myself hours of work and mess.

I mix everything in a big glass bowl. That way, I just dump in the chocolate chips, and stick the whole thing in the microwave to melt them. Saves cleaning the double boiler.

I use different kinds of alcohol for different batches. Bourbon is nice, as is Amoretto or Grand Marinier. Be creative. What doesn't go with chocolate? OK, gin leaps to mind as an appalling option. I would NOT make a batch of chocolate gin balls. but Drambuie or Bailey's Irish Cream could be nice.

So my shoulder is sore from an hour of cranking - the meat grinder - for the cookies, you filthy-minded pervs!But finagling photos onto blog just hasn't happend today. Tomorrow, with any luck . . . then I can also show off the scarf I'm whacking together out of bits while I decide what to knit next.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

posting from two computers at once.

I am loading this photo blind. DH has figured a way to get the laptop to run, but the screen is so dark I can't see the picture. Still, it's a picture loaded! Yayyy!
OK, now on the desktop I can see that it's a picture of the yarn I am spinning. Nice plummy, purplish singles.. Wow, I am so happy to have the laptop sort of up again! The new battery was the culprit. The old battery brings the hard drive back to life, but is too weak to hold a charge for more than an hour or so. And the screen really is bad. I need to use a strong light at just the right angle to see sufficient shadows to navigate. Still, I have a second chance to rescue photos! Thank you, thank you, all the powers that be!
So, with any luck, and a lot of fiddling, I should be able to post a picture of the little jacket I am knitting. Pictures won't let you squeeze it and see how warm and soft and fluffy it is, but at least you can see the sophisticated red and purple colorations. Yes, knitting does go on, amidst all the other stuff.
I had such a lovely experience today. I got done with a testing session and had time to fill before the writers group started, so I settled in one of the quiet lounges with a book. A young man came in, carrying a guitar case, and asked if I minded if he practiced. What the heck, I figured. If he's dreadful, I can always go elsewhere. He was gifted! Classical guitar wrapped me round, filled my head. Each note flew through the air like a scintilating bubble, like a humming bird, like drops from a golden fountain. I got a private concert for one solid hour. I put down my book, folded my hands, closed my eyes, and swam in music. I realized that there were no words in my head. An extremely rare thing for me! And then it was time to go. All I had was five dollars to offer him as token of my appreciation. He smiled charmingly and said, "I should be all modest and turn this down, but I'm broke. Thank you very much!"
It has occurred to me, that it must be as much a pleasure for a musician to make sweet music as it is for me to make a warm hat or a beautiful shawl. To create, from things and heart and skill, is something magic. While he played, I was enchanted. And we are awash in such magic. It's all around us and daily we work it ourselves. Whether it's creating a meal or a sock or glorious vibrating in the air, or a garden or . . . it's magic, magic, magic! Abracadabra and alakazam!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Shoesday without pictures

I used to have a pair of electric blue snakeskin pumps with three inch high spike heels. I often wore them with a severe charcoal grey suit and looked like some Norwegian steel magnate's extremely expensive mistress. The shoes didn't fit well and kept popping off my heels unless I took hobbled mincing steps, which may have contributed to the kept-woman effect. Now I wear sensible flats and look like mistress of my own destiny. A much better fit and suitable for striding!

I got up this morning, read everyone else's blogs, then made a list of the things I need to do before Christmas. It scared me so much I went back to bed. Some things are better not viewed as a whole.

Actually, many things are in flux right now. My bowels among them. LG and I had an appointment to fix knitting issues today, but I had to cancel and she has been immensely gracious about it. You young people, here is your official warning: You will reach an age when the state of your bowels is not only vitally important to you, but a fit topic of conversation with others of your age group. You may as well get used to the idea right now.

So LG and I re-scheduled, but in the course of our converstaion, LG confided that she has taken the NaNoWriMo challenge and is writing a poem a day. Yayyy, LG!!!! Scansion ho!

And Norma, of Now Norma Knits and Red Scarf Fame, has agreed to do a blog interview about my first book, Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice. How too cool is that? Anyone else doing the NoBloMo? I happily volunteer to give you similar blog fodder in exchange for wider publicity. Book 2 should be out in early December.

Man, my head aches, too. Is there a bug going around?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

building castles with my writing blocks

November is a time when writers are encouraged to overcome their blocks. First was NaNoWriMo. The National Novel Writing Month in which people agreed to write a fifty thousand word novel in one month. It's do-able, but only if you just sit down and write without letting your inner critic have a say in the matter. It's totally OK to write fifty thousand really bad words. (but you won't. There are bound to be some brilliant things that get discovered after you have finally thrown out all the garbage.) It gives you experience with writing to deadlines and with taking your writing seriously. If you actually DO get your novel written, (Even if you have written, "I can't do this," twelve thousand, five hundred times.) you are invited to a big NaNoWriMo party with others who have succeeded. I hear that these are pretty astounding parties. I've never gone, though I have written a novel in a month. (I was sitting with my mom and daytime TV is mind-numbing, so I got in two thousand words a day and revisions over one long August.)

And now is the NaBloPoMo for bloggers. I can't participate in this one because I know I will be unable to post on Mondays or Wednesdays, and the rules stipulate that you post to your blog every day. But it's a great exercise even if I can't do it. (Skiing is great exercise, too, and I'm never gonna do THAT!)

What I have is marketing block. But I have promised myself a lottery ticket each time I mail off three query letters to agents and/or editors. You can't win if you don't buy a ticket is my motto for November.

Great suggestions for the presents for DH. I'm gonna go with them!

T&PW gave him a welding unit one year, and he has enjoyed it thouroughly. In fact, the son of a friend is asking for welding lessons now. Seems he crossed a fence with the family car and the fence needs repair.

Other great gifts have been a quilt I made for him before we were married, two gold coins I sold my diamond earrings to buy (I don't care for sparkling stones, and the earrings were a relic from my first marriage.) and a weekend at the beach that turned out to be incredible. (A warm, calm weekend in mid-November? We lay in the hot tub with the waves breaking wildly in front of us and a full moon rising behind us. It was amazing!!) Nothing I can count on duplicating now. And the problem with buying tools is getting the right tools. Much as I love yarn, I don't want $50 worth of acrylic, and he doesn't want just any old implement of destruction to plug in and make noise with. Though maybe, if I could find a flame-thrower . . .

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Best laid plans, and all that . .

DH (and almost everyone else in the shop) has mandatory overtime this weekend, so I am left to my own devices. I have frittered away hours trying to decide what to do with my day. It's an embarassment of riches. So, after I blog, I am going to put out a few more query letters for the western, and then I am going to spin to books on tape. And wait for DH to come home. He really is the center of my universe; the sun of my planetary orbit; the axle of my wheel; the god of my idolatry. I didn't intend to build my life around him, but he brings me such happiness. And I can't even think what to get him for his birthday. He's hard to buy for since he doesn't want much. His inner heater is too efficient for him to want wool socks or sweaters or other knitterly stuff. He has most of the tools he will ever use. He likes computer games, but gets what he wants when he wants it. His birthday is the 17th. What to do, what to do? Maybe some coupons . . . One thing I will NOT do today is go shopping for presents. Saturdays are too crowded.

Thursday night was our first freeze. On Friday, headed to the GED training session, I had to scrape frost off the car windows. I couldn't find the scraper because, since I was carpooling with two co-workers, I had cleaned the floating mass of detritus out of my car and thrown a bag of dreck away. I think the ice scraper was lost amidst the dreck. So I used a credit card. Cold fingers but clear windows. Note to self: Get ice scraper.

I got a LOT of knitting done at the training session and have the body of the orphan sweater finished. Shades of red plus purple elicit varied responses from people. I think I'm falling into the stage of life where I will put any colors together if I want to, whether it's chic to combine them or not. Also, my stash goes back decades, so I can combine colors from many different eras. I remember when turquoise and a certain shade of olive green was THE coolest color combo. I know people would definitely blink at it now. And remember the mauve phase? Red and purple (and certainly these shades of red and purple) are quite pretty, but still a bit startling, especially to the young. Ahh, if only I could get a photo.

The season has brought poetry out of my subconscious. Here ya go:


A room
all mine
with windows and a chair;
an oversized, overstuffed, grandmother’s lap of a chair
yellow as a ginko leaf in autumn.

A quilt like a calico hug.

A side table big enough
for book, reading lamp,
cozied pot of darjeeling, steam
dreamily rising from the spout.

Amber light pooled around me,
and outside
in the sharp dark . . .

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saint's Day

We had fourty two trick-or-treaters last night - pretty much a record. We might have gotten more, but I go to bed early (8:30). I could hear yelps and shrieks coming from the neighbor's front yard for at least another hour. That remote-control spider was getting a work-out. The grandpa controlling it had sense enough not to frighten the little kids, but the late-coming teens got their adrenalin thouroughly stimulated!!

The nice thing about my sparse decorations is that I got all the Halloween stuff cleaned up in one minute. Just open the yard debris bin, and toss the pumpkins in. Other folks will have to spend hours taking down, and figuring out where to store all their stuff. I mean, where does one keep a remote-controled spider the size of a pug dog?

DH has taken the remaining candy in to the locusts at work, so temptation is out of the way. Except for the two packages of Skittles I grabbed and stuck in the back of the napkin drawer. And the three packages of M&Ms that have materialized in his magazine rack. But other than that, we are a candy-free zone. Unless you count the Twizzlers I keep in the car for those long road trips on Mondays.

Thank you, thank you for all the good advice about VISTA. I shall heed your words and look for anything else. Retro-fit XP into a new laptop perhaps, or maybe even a refurbished government surplus something. Wish it was as much fun to shop for computers as it is to shop for yarn.

Speaking of yarn and knitting stuff, I have turned out a purple fuzzy hat and scarf, and am 1/4 of the way through an orphan sweater made with purple fuzzy yarn held together with red mohair that shades from carmine to maroon. this is going to be a warm darn sweater!!

Tomorrow I have more GED stuff, so will likely not get a posting done. And Saturday, when we are not out and about, DH is on the desktop. But he sleeps in Sunday, so perhaps I'll see you then. Happy November to all!