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.”

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Last Saturday in ought seven

This is the time of the year when good housewives sort through, inventory, and organize for the coming year. - Oh, surely you don't think I'm talking about myself, do you? I've been lying around reading Terry Pratchet novels, eating tropical Cotlets, and doing jigsaw puzzles. But MJ cleaned her linen closet and found sheets that were no longer being used. So she invited me to come play. We merged our fabric stashes in a glorious day of stitching. I tore and pinned and pressed, she sewed, and in about six hours, we made a quilt. I tied it, and here we have a gift of love for someone who needs it. We are a great team for quick and dirty strip-piecing.
Today, Saturday, DH and I hosted our annual holiday party. We hold it in a hotel downtown because there is room enough for everyone and no cleanup afterward. And it is SOOO wonderful to gather those that we love into one place. Next year,, we'll have to figure a way for you to come, too. The caterers do a soup, salad and sandwich buffet for us with cookies for dessert. Wine, beer, sodas, coffee, tea. It's perfect!!

See all the smiling happy people? It was a marvelous party. The laughter and merry chatter echoed down the hallways. And TW brought her knitting! Why didn't I think to do that? Probably because I didn't have to think about anything for this party. I didn't have to clean house, prepare food, wrangle kitties, or fret about parking.

I felt so rested and pretty.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

tropical dreams

Here is DH, enjoying a motorboat ride in St. Lucia. People who know DH will be surprised to hear that he enjoyed a boat ride. DH is someone who usually can get seasick on a wet lawn. But here you see him in a bouncing little boat and suffering no ill effects. He is wearing Sea Bands which are elastic wristlets with a small plastic button the triggers an accupressure point in the wrist. He has been taking Bonine. And every night, when I would go to the sushi stand for my dose of raw fish, he would eat some pickled ginger. Whatever it was that worked, it worked well! This is a happy place for me to go to when I'm cold and sad. Tropical dreams.

More sunshine.
Dominica (NOT the Dominican Republic) is a volcanic island with three hundred and 365 rivers - "One for every day of the year. On leap year, we go to the beach." The longest river is eleven miles long. Clear as a baby's soul and purely rainwater fresh. It rains every day in Dominica. Not everywhere, and not all day long, but everyday, somewhere. Potable water is not a problem here. Finding arabal land is. As with many volcanic countries, the the land is all crumpled up. If you flattened Dominica out, it would probably be the size of Cuba. As it is, you could walk around the whole island in a couple of days. The people are poor. The country is beautiful, and there is almost no tourist development. If you want to go somewhere beautiful, peaceful and with nothing to do but relax, look into Dominica.
Faithful fans of LOLcats know that the walrus is looking for his bukket. As you can see, he even stopped in to check out our cabin. (For $14.95, you can buy a book from Carnival Cruise Lines showing you how to make a variety of towel animals just like the ones the stewards leave in your cabin every night.) I do not dream of a wandering walrus. Does anyone?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What did you do on boxing day?

There is a young fellow at the Clackamas county jail who is scheduled to get out on the 21st of January, and the only way he can get all five of his GED tests taken in time is if we administer one today (since Wednesday mornings seem to be the only time the jail has available for this.) So I volunteered to git 'er done. Three hours at the local county lock-up, even though the college is closed till January 2nd. It wasn't really a big sacrifice on my part. DH was back at work and it's not like I had something more important to do. January, I will be having a lot of work which will be really nice for the pay packet the first of March. Just in time for taxes. Yayy!!

When I got home, I transferred all birthdays and other dates to my new calendar (thank you, DH!) and reminisced a bit about the year gone by. What a wonderful year it's been! But then, every year with DH is a wonderful year. Surely I am among the most fortunate of women!

On a tropical note, here is a shot of Antigua. I am such an ugly tourist that I didn't even learn the name of their major port city. Shame on me. It was a pretty island, though so poor. But all the people I met seemed cheerful and healthy. I would like to go back and spend more time some day.

Now, time to seam mittens, knit ear-warmer, and take a nice brisk nap. Happy boxing day to you!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oh the weather outside is frightful

I know you folks in the northeast and midwest will be amused at my furor, but we get snow so rarely down here in the valley. The temperature is above freezing, so this is melting almost as fast as it hits, but none the less, we have a white Christmas this year!!

Since I hate snow, I am bringing out a few more tropical photos. Check out these flat-coated Carribbean sheep. The owner turns them loose in the morning, they wander around happily eating their way through vacant lots and along the verge of the road, and go home in the evening. They are not raised for their wool They are walking mutton chops.

Has everyone seen the Pirates of the Caribbean? Does this ship look familiar? Yep, Jack Sparrow's Black Pearl is moored in St. Lucia and does wonderful tourist excursions. The Black Pearl is a motor launch by the way. Yes, it is also a sailing ship, but the engine gets it around the bay quite handily.

And here, for all those of us who are sick of cold and clouds and snow, here is tropical greens and blues to rest your eyes. This is in lovely Antigua.

So whether you like it snowy or warm, Christian or Pagan or Jewish or none of the above, may this day bring you wonderful things, and may all your wishes come true.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The cruise isn't over till all the photos are posted

In Antigua I swam with stingrays. This one wanted a hug. It felt like cuddling fifteen pounds of wet leather, in a rather pleasant and exotic sort of way. I love nice, hand-tamed stingrays.

Today, in Portland Oregon, it's fourty degrees and raining. The geese are veeing overhead to go graze in the grass at the local parks and school yards. Sometimes the grass is gray with grazing geese. (I really want that to fit into a poem somhow, but it hasn't jelled yet.) DH is sleeping. All the fur faces are sleeping. The neighborhood is sleeping. It's just me and the geese. Maybe I should put on my down jacket and go out for a waddle in the rain. After the dinner we had last night, it couldn't hurt. It was the ginerbread pudding cake that did me in. Two huge helpings with whipped topping. Yum! Holidays are feast time. Let's all be merry!

garden window as play structure

When the window guys were doing their installation, they left huge gaping opening in the house for quite a while. And thought I had attempted to corral all the cats into the computer room with me, Pepper had managed to elude my grasp and crawled up inside the sofa. I figured she would come out when the guys left, but she didn't. I began to fear that she had slipped outside, and as an indoor cat, didn't have much in the way of survival skills. I was ready to print up popsters when I realized I didn't have a decent photo of her. It's hard to get good details when photographing a mostly black cat. So when I saw her playing with Ben in the kitchen window, I grabbed my camera
There are spaces at the ends of the shelves to allow the side windows to slide open. Ben has discovered that he can dangle his tail through this space and tease Pepper with it.
Equal opportunity tail swatting.

There's our pretty girl.

What cha doin?

Pepper, by the way, had darted into the bedroom, and crawled into the deepest, darkest corner of DH's closet where she fell asleep. When it came to be dinner time, I heard outraged caterwauling from the closet and here she came, not a hair out of place, and acting as if we were utter imbeciles for not having come to get her sooner. But now, just in case, I have decent pictures of all our cats.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What's knittin'?

I proctored a tax board test on Friday. four hours of good knitting time. Blessings on DH for helping me figure out how to use the colors that had been requested. They just didn't play well in stripes or Faire Isle patterning. Color block was definitely the way to go.

I finished all of one and this much of the second one. It even looks as if it will fit.

What is it? Mittens, kittens. Mittens for our wonder-accountant, and if there's enough yarn left, a matching headband to keep him warm while jogging.

DH remarked today that while it hadn't made sense to go get a tree the day after Thanksgiving the way we usually do, he kind of missed it and felt a lack in our holidays. Then he went out for his usual last minute shopping spree, and I had a mission! I stopped at the neighborhood lot which has beeb thoroughly picked over, and bargained with the guy for a little, scrawny, flat backed tree that no one wanted. I got a fourty dollar tree for fifteen, brought it home, cut it down, wired in extra branches, and set it up. I had just finished stringing the lights and was starting to hang ornaments when it hit me that what DH missed was not the tree, but the hunt for the tree. Sometimes I am thick as two bricks. I apologized all over when he came home, and he laughed at me because It wasn't THAT big a deal to him (and because that's the sort of darling man he is) but next year, we will again hunt down the wiley Christmas tree as a team!!

Meanwhile, maybe we can go hunt down a wreath.

Lyssa, yes, Christmas cactus cuttings would be gratefully and gleefully received. Thank you for the offer!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

memories in black and white

Today is winter solstice (or summer solstice if you're in the southern hemisphere.) We teeter on the cusp of the year. Longest night, or longest day, and the worst of the season still ahead of us. In one diresction is history, and in the other is possibility. So, since my brother sent me some old photos, I'm taking a stroll down memory lane.

Fourty years ago, in the spring of 1967, a family friend had his hounds out hunting bobcats, and killed a female that obviously was nursing. Knowing that my mom had always wanted to raise a wild cat, he tracked the female back to her den and found four kittens with their eyes still closed. Mom fed them with a doll bottle practically around the clock for three days untill dad could find someone with a barn cat who was nursing. The barn cat took the bobcat babies as her own and mothered them pretty well until they got bigger than her. Eventually, they would knock her over and hold her down to nurse. Poor, poor kitty! She was so relieved when we took those kittens away from her.

Mom kept the runt of the litter. He pretty much had the run of the house. We used to have an upright piano in the family room until the bobcat grew into his hormones and sprayed it. We took him to the vet to be neutered that very day, but the piano had to go. Peeeyew!

"Babe" liked to play with the dripping tap in the kitchen sink. And he loved perching on top of the refrigerator. One of Dad's business partners used to just walk in the back door and hollar, "Anyone home?" One day, he walked in, and the cat snatched the hat right off his head. After that, he would always knock and wait till someone would come and tell him that the cat was put away.

The folks got a vacation home and mom would shuttle Babe back and forth in her station wagon. She never put him in a cage, just let him roam around the car. One time she stopped at a truck stop for lunch, and left Babe in the car. As she was eating, she saw two young men pull up and start going through all the cars in the parking lot, grabbing what they could and moving on. Then one of them opened the door to her car, and Babe rose up from the back seat, yawning. The kid slammed the door shut and practically ran into the arms of the police who pulled up right then. The truckers all admired Babe and mom got a free meal.

Until he got old and cranky, babe was just a big pussycat and loved to have his fluffy spotted belly rubbed.

Every time I came home from boarding school, I was Babe's devoted slave. I've gotten more damage from kittens than I ever got from him. He lived about twenty years, till his liver failed and he just got too sick. He had a cat run outside, and in the winter, Dad would put down straw in the run to cushion the cold wet ground. Quail used to wander through the meshes of the cat run, and Babe would crouch quietly in the back of his doghouse until a whole covey was scratching and pecking through the hay. Then he would spring out and have fresh quail for lunch. One spring, a gopher came up inside the run. Babe was sitting and watching the ground for over and hours, then suddenly, SWIPE, the gopher never knew what hit it!

One of the photographers on the cruise specializes in black and white photos. Don't we look like 1930's movie stars? "Just kiss me, you little fool!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Roxie's got a brand new bag!

Way back last spring, I sent Dave Daniels some white yarn in exchange for his glorious hand-dyed Cabin Cove yarn. Then I offered to weave some of his hand-spun, hand dyed. When he sent me his yarn, he also returned some of my yarn with a dye job on it. Since I had the weaving mojo up and running, I used that yarn for my warm-up work and turned out a nice runner. I stuck it in with Dave's Christmas cookies. He used it to make me a bag of many colors, like Sanna's bag that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. If I were as generous and open-hearted as Dave, I would embroider white cats on it and send it back to him. But he's a better man than I am, and I am keeping this little jewel!!

Look at the wonderful brass clasp! Look at the meticulous stitching! Look at how perfectly the design makes the fabric happy!

Look at the glorious, PURPLE lining!! Isn't it just to die for? And better yet, this is not just any ordinary flat little bag such as my skills would be capable of creating. This bag is above and beyond that. This bag has pockets! I can find my cell phone! I can find a pen. I could even keep a little notebook in a pocket to write down all the stuff that falls out of my fallow brain.

The strap is tightly braided lining fabric. The bag makes me smile all over my face! Thank you, Dave.

Also new in my life is a garden window. I know, this is a lot like giving a kennel full of puppies to an alligator. I have such a black thumb that I have been known to kill plastic ivy. But DH wanted me to have it, and I can deny him nothing. Now, I stand in front of it, hypnotized by the light and the space, and wonder what to put in it. Part of me says, "Succumb to the inevitable and just put in cat beds." Part of me longs to promote something green and growing. What would be happy in a shaded west-facing window? What is hardy and thrives on neglect? What would endure kitties? (How about a big spikely cactus for the little crapweasles?)


From your Caribbean correspondent

Proud PuertoRican glutes

He was moving so fast I'm lucky the shot isn't blurred.

My favorite fanny on the right.

Cruise ship officer making the uniform look good.

Cheeky lad

This kid must be a gym rat.

Equal opportunity AW

This is the most gawdaful outfit! What was she thinking?

One of the ship's dancers. Bet she could crack eggs between those cheeks.

And last, but certainly not least, the Donald.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the aftermath

How about a sweet sunrise to start the day? This was off the coast of San Juan. I am still waking up in synch with these sunrises, four hours before the sun gets around to this quarter of the globe. It will take the inner clock a few days to adjust. But at least the floor has quit moving underfoot. And all the laundry is washed and in a huge pile on the table, awaiting folding.

Lest you think I was entirely given over to frivolity and bobbishness, I display for your eddification the knitting I accomplished while on vacation. Size three needles. Dilligent stitching. I was a good knitter.

And just a little something to make us all jealous. Here is Gdude with his nightly ration of three desserts, following two entrees and three or four appetizers. And he doesn't gain weight!! That's baked alaska, chocolate cream cake with caramel sauce. and a big bowl of peach custard ice cream.

I put on five pounds. I guess the self-serve frozen yogurt machine wasn't really my friend after all. Thank God there isn't one available to me now.

Of course, as I was unpacking, I was supervised by the suitcase inspector. Is this suitcase empty enough sir? May I close it up and put it away now?

Today, Tuesday the 18th, we have workmen infesting the house, replacing our 40 year old aluminum frame windows with new vinyl frame windows. They are, ofcourse, scaring the cats spitless, and since this house is well built, the windows were securely installed, so it is taking the poor guys more time and work than they had anticipated. Meanwhile, the house is open to the elements, and I am trying to figure out where to go to stay out of the way. Thank God for laptops and knitting!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thank Goodness we took Monday off!

Our flight landed in Chicago, we hustled straight over to our departure gate, stopping neither for food nor bodily functions, and made our flight to Portland just before they shut the door. Thank you for all your good wishes, because the whole trip back home was lucky like that. Things could have been bad, but they turned out OK! We got to bed by midnight thirty, slept without moving till the kitties woke me at 7. I got up, fed them, cleaned litterboxes, and went back to bed. Finally, at 11 we rolled out and started trying to deal with the day. It's a nasty shock. I can still feel the ship rolling. There was no baked apple for breakfast. And the suitcases are full of dirty laundry. No one is picking up after me or refilling the ice bucket or making my bed. The rain is cold, and the views are not sunny. I have been SO spoiled!!

So her are a few photos from the cruise.

Here is Idad. You can see why he is so much fun to be around.

Ababe, with me on the far left.


Family E at the Captain's Welcome aboard party.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

on the road

Sunday, Dec. 16 – Disembarkation

It used to be that I never counted the cruise as finished until the photos were back from the processor. Thanks to cranky, I can hold off considering it done until after I’ve gotten all the photos posted, so even though we have to get off the ship in a few minutes, the cruise will not be done till you have seen all my photos!

Yesterday was bittersweet. People were racing around the ship, doing all the things they hadn’t had a chance to get around to. The photo gallery where you pick up the professionally taken pictures, was honest to God jam packed. Back to belly and elbow to ribcage. Glad I had sense enough to check things out as we went along. I got four of the professional photos. Wait till you see how romantic they made us look! DH has been eyeing a watch all the trip and finally broke down and treated himself. Yayyy!!! I hung over the rail of the balcony till I saw flying fish. Love those little fishies. We ended the day with a magic show – really well done. The guy looked like Bruce Willis, and had a quirky, warm stage persona. He had two little kids aged 8 and 9 help him with a trick. He was talking to the little girl, “Where are you from? How old are you? What’s your name? Are you married?” She gave him the most pitying look, and patiently said, “I’m not married. I’m only nine. Didn’t you hear me tell you that?” And as for the poor little guy, the magician had him pose like a weight lifter, then made farting sounds every time the kid moved. The young fellow was giggling so hard he nearly wet his pants. They helped him make a ring disappear, then reappear on the magician’s key ring. It was sweet and silly and really rather good illusion.

Sunday morning, we got up, dressed, cleared the room, had breakfast, everything was going swimmingly until the US Customs computer broke down. Three thousand people, frantic about missing their flights, waiting an hour and a half until Customs is back in operation. The cruise director was brilliant. He started running Funniest Home Videos on the big screen in the show lounge. It doesn’t need translation and it kept people entertained and laughing.

When we finally got cleared and tried to find our bags, one was missing. The cabin tag had been ripped off, so it was left in the lost luggage corner. However, it had a bright red pompom tied to the handle, so as soon as we knew where to look, we found it instantly. Then , as we were dragging the bags off the ship and across the street to the taxi station, I caught the toe of one foot in the cuff of the other pantleg and fell full length in the street. I was touched by how many people leapt forward to help me. I picked up a touch of gravel in my palms, a smear of grit on one cheek, and bruised knees. Thank God it was no worse than that!

And then, during the screening process, I was one of the random Xpercent that got pulled aside and frisked. Our flight has been delayed on departure to Chicago. Well, the adventure continues!

Ha! Eureka! I have upload! Here is a sunworshipper on the ship.

Here is the mandatory kitty picture - a little lady we met in St. Lucia.
For Warrior Knitter, here's sailing in the sunshine.
And for anyone interested, here's a little beefcake.