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.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some more pictures from the street of dreams

The views are truly stunning. Click to embiggen.

The big mountain is Mt Hood- just about due East from Portland.

And then, there's the massage room . . .

If you can afford this place, goodness knows you can afford to have the massage therapist come around on a regular basis. He can take his meals with the landscape maintenance people and the housekeepers and the pool boy. You certainly don't expect to keep up eleven thousand square feet by yourself, do you? Maybe the massage therapist can hitch a ride with the personal trainer. there's an exercise room, too. Right next to the wine celler.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trying to go with photos

I took a mess of pictures this weekend, and Blogger is really throwing a hairy cat fit when I try to load them, so here's what I've managed so far. On Saturday, DH and I went to the Street of Dreams - a showing of palatial homes built in a single exclusive location as a ready-made neighborhood for the more than well to do. This year there were only 6 homes. five of them had views to die for! Our favorite, a three storey little cottage of eleven thousand square feet with an indoor pool and pretty much a second home in the basement, costing just under three million dollars, had a 180 degree view out over the valley. You could see four snow-capped mountain peaks and a great deal of the city from the back decks. My only complaint is that the ceilings were so high that you would feel cold and exposed unless you had the place packed with people. So the cozy nook I photographed her was all the more appealing.

The colors were. for the most part, subtle, comfortable, and unremarkable. Except for this one child's room in screaming willow green with hot pink "Girly" crap. Good shades to turn your three-year-old princess into a shrieking virago.

And there was a very modern house all done in shades of dark-grey and white. Not a good idea in a country where nine months of the year the sky is so overcast that you can go outside at noon and there isn't enough light to cast a shadow. The bathroom on the main floor of this place was painted a browny greenish color which would never have been selected by anyone who had ever faced fresh cow shit. But they did have some neat sculpture in the stairwell.

On Sunday, we spent most of the day at home, and I whacked together a drag-around quilt for an anticipated great-nephew. Drag-arounds are not works of art. They are the quilt you throw in the yard for the infant to roll in the shade, the blanket you take to the beach. They are tents and forts and super hero capes. They go in the car and out to the park. No one cares if the stained pumpkin gets smeared into a drag-around. Just toss it in the wash.

Ben and Pepper insisted on helping me sew. They particularly wanted to help me arrange the pieces. This made things rather more difficult, since I am capable of sewing in two or, on a good day, three dimensions, but cats create in at least five. Naturally quite a lot got lost in the translation, and Ben in particular, mourned the failure of his plans.

I pieced the front,

and the back. It was a weekend project because I used scraps left over from other quilts. Drag-arounds love tidying up the left-overs!

I have lots more photos. I'm even going to edit in photos of the honey spot on the previous post. And next weekend is the state fair. Photogazurkis time! Blogger, get your act together!

Lots of work next week. I start my new temp job at Multnomah county jail, and head back to Clackamas county jail again as well. Woohoo! (think paycheck. Woohoo!) No knitting time while at the jail (you don't want to provide pointy sticks to people with a proven history of poor impulse control) but plenty of time to work out story lines. It's all good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

say something sweet

On Saturday, we ran out of honey. I had gotten a gallon of honey at Costco lo these manymany moons ago, and for months we have been chiseling crystals out of the bottom of the jug because the sucker is too big to fit into the microwave and there's a limit to my patience for heating the stuff in a big pot of water on the stove. But on Saturday, I finished off the last of it and was trying to convince myself to buy one of those wildly expensive squeezy bears at Safeway. You know, the plastic bear full of honey with an incongruous yellow cap where the honey squirts out? I hate to pay sooo much for it when you know the profits all go to middlemen. Anyhooo, DH had spotted a sign in the neighborhood reading "Honey ->" so we followed the arrows and wound up down a quiet side-street with the final arrow ppointing to a cupboard next to a garage.
"How good can this be?" I asked myself, supremely unimpressed by the utter suburban low-keyness of it all.

We got out of the car and opened the cupboard. It was like opening a jewel chest! There were shelves and shelves of pint jars filled with liquid amber, arranged neatly on spotless white shelf paper. The jars held lables like, "Fireweed" and "Lavender" and "Roses" There were quart jars holing chunks of comb swimming in golden suspension. There were clear plastic tubs with sheets of honeycomb - each little capsule of sweetness hermetically sealed and untouched by human hands. There were pie-plate sized disks of beeswax, yellow as crayons and oh, so fragrant. And on the bottom shelf were half-pint jars containing honey mixed with berry juice. Raspberry and blackberry and blueberry . . . And, drat the luck, we hadn't expected to need cash. So we got two pints of honey and plan on making a return trip soon! (It's on the honor system. You just slide the payment through the mail slot!)

I always thought the notion that the flowers influenced the taste of the honey was a fluffy sort of marketing fairytale. Doggone, I was WRONG! Lavender honey tastes distinctly different from wildflower honey. For the next knitting gathering that I host, we are having scones with a great big honey sampler!

The fun thing we did on Sunday was to tour the local Boeing plant. A dear friend of DH works there and they were having an open house, so he invited us. DH, being a machinist, had a ball. I just wandered around in awe. They have drills and mils and lathes that are the size of trailer houses. An ingot of metal goes in one end and at the other end, a single-piece wing strut emerges in mirror-bright glory. Or a landing-gear brace. Or - a fricking huge mysterious part of a jet plane. And they work with such close tolerances that they have to keep the plant at a constant 72 degrees so that the expansion or contraction of the metal doesn't change the size of the part of the placement of the slots and holes. And the assembly plant where the planes are put together has to be kept at 72 degrees as well, or the parts won't fit. I assure you, your airplane will not randomly come apart in mid air. Aside from all the welds and bolts and rivets, simple friction of such closely fitted parts should get you safely down to earth. They have seperate plumbing systems for each different kind of coolant, and they recycle all the bits and chips and scrapings they take off those ingots to shape the shiney, shiney parts. I was wayyy impressed!!

Hey, guess what else is impressive? I finally hit my 10% with weight watchers. I have lost 10% of what I weighed when I started. Yayyyy me! Guys, that was 19.8 pounds! In fact, I have made it to 21.2 pounds lost. Whoop, whoop!! I'm headed for 160, down from almost 200, so I'm more than half way there. Great big green salads are my friends!!

Blogger and I are again having fights. No pictures today, but at least I got on. Sorry I have been so erratic.

I filed the applications for the temporary job. It takes an hour to drive out to the new place. And the hoops to jump through - my God, you need a college degree to apply for a position as toilet cleaner. Well, OK, my situation is complicated by the fact that I will be working for one department, directed by another, and paid through a third. I'm replacing someone who is out on medical leave, may or may not return, and never let anyone else mess with her work. No one is quite sure exactly what she did or how she did it. And there are the college hoops, the GED hoops, and the jail hoops. Tomorrow I jump through the jail hoops, and I will be done and ready to start on Thursday.

In Oregon, it's easy for anyone to get a driver's license, so if you want a job with any sort of security clearance (As in handling paperwork containing people's ss#, names and addresses) you need to have multiple pieces of identification to prove you really are who you say you are. I didn't have adequate info with me on the first trip, so I had to drive back today, an hour out, an hour back, and fifteen minutes of showing my passport, birth certificate and Social Security card to augment my driver's license. See. This is me. Now they have to run a background check on me. Wonder if they'll find I'm an award-winning poet? Wonder if they'll care? (Just little awards, but right there if you google me.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Q Team

MJ and her mom, Jean, and I got together today to sew a quilt.
So we started out with the design part of the process. We are sewing a quilt for the AIDs orphanage in Africa. The school colors are brown and yellow, so we started with those colors from our stashes. And I went to JoAnne's yesterday and found a few things to go with them. So here is our design process starting.

I found some vintage Mickey Mouse print. Ain't he cute? The colors don't come through as well as I would like. He's brown and his gloves and shoes are yellow!!

MJ gave me a lovely pincushion and it makes me happy to use it. I even got fancy pins to use with it.

Here's MJ and Jean and Shadow, who has been such a big help! He has been lying on pieces to make life more interesting. When we get things laid out, he sits down and looks at them with his butt. We can't get him to ferry pieces from one room to the other, though we tried. He's rather ADHD about it all.

Here we are with the finished quilt. Three women, and a whole quilt - start to finish - in THREE hours! We are the Q-team. Q because we are so cute. One pins. one sews, one presses. And voila, a quilt materializes. Yeah, it's big squares, and it's quick and dirty, but it's fun, fun, fun!

And here is what we are doing with the left-overs. I had to leave at three, but MJ and Jean are going to sew on. And some day soon, we will take quilts to Medical Team International. Yayy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

summertime, and the living is breezy

When I go out to get the paper at 5AM. it is dark and often the sky is star-bedecked, and I wish for God's will in my life,(because I still trust that God has my best interests at heart) and I wish that I could be the best possible wife for DH, and I give thanks to all the powers that be for bringing us safely through another night. After breakfast. while I am working on the computer, sometimes ai will notice that the light is changing and perhaps, on the other side of the house, maybe the sun is coming up. Today, the light had such a quality to it that I grabbed the camera and scampered outside, grey hair all a-tousle and bathrobe slouchy, and startled the hell out of a passing dog-walker. We are having a bit of a heat wave. It's only up to 100 or so in the afternoon, but still, the early morning is definitely the time to get the fur-bearing friends out for a bit of exercise.

Or you could take him for a ride. The driver saw me steering with one hand and aiming the camera with the other and she laughed! "Romeo," she yelled over her shoulder to her companion, "You have a fan!" Romeo just smiled.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

eye candy

The sun sometimes sneaks in sideways in the back yard, and lights things up from behind. Oh, pretty greens.

Oh, pretty, pretty nasturtiums!

And this is our old girl cat, Candy, who really appreciates us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And then they threw more money at me

You guys are wonderful! Thanks ever so for your input. Yes, even compared to most people's commute, that drive will be a bugger. I wrote and told them so. And then they threw more money at me. I make $13.50 an hour at my happy little bit of a job at Clackamas Community College. I was asking $15 an hour for this long commute which would have me taking GED tests to yet another county jail. When I expressed my reluctance to make the long drive, they offered me $17 an hour. For two ten hour days a week. For six weeks. The ugly weather rarely starts before mid October, and I'll be done about then. For six weeks, I can manage it. And this, even after taxes, will help with our credit card debt. Lordee I do hate paying the interest! So I will likely be less available for the next month and a half, and I likely will whine and whinge about how weary I am, but come our vacation in December, I will be so glad I did it!

On an agricultural front, does anyone have any idea what kind of apple this is? Our tree is throwing down pounds of them. They are nice and crisp, not terribly juicy, and about as delicious as a potatoe. Not mealy, just not sweet or tart or apple-y flavored.

Here is the blue cotton baby blanket, all finished and edged with crochet. Yes, I do wander on the dark side when it seems appropriate. A simple crochet border handily uses up every freaking last inch of the yarn. When you are doing ch3, sc in the loop mesh, you can stop anywhere after the first three rows, and no one can ever tell.

Last photo. This is what August looks like to me. If you are arachnaphobic, go leave me a scathing comment and do not look any closer or read further. If not, look carefull in the center of the photo. See that little golden dot? See the regular highlights around it? The young spiders with their webs set in the sunshine, gathering insects and glints of light are all about August in my mind. They stretch out their tablecloths, and food comes to them. August is so causually abundant! I should have gotten a shot of our cherry tomato plants but I was too busy stuffing my mouth with those shots of sweetness while the hose filled the planters. The early morning cool, the smell of the happy plants and the water on the driveway, the passionate caress of sunshine on my skin . . .Oh, I do love August!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

how far do you commute?

I'm negotiating a possible temporary part-time bit of work, and the only problem, besides 10 hour days twice a week, is the sixty mile round trip. Am I being too much of a spoiled whiner here? I'm just not that keen to burn such a lot of fossil fuel. Anyhow, they won't give me milage for more than 12 miles of it, and then only 58 cents a mile. And it's rush hour. And I hate to drive. Whatta ya think? How far do you drive to and from your job? How hairy is the traffic?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hello, do I know you?

On Saturday, MJ hosted knitting at her beautiful house. The familoy dog, Shadow, was working security and had to verify everyone's identity.
We're old friends, but you never know, I could have been an imposter. I'm just glad Shadow isn't doing ID checks at the airport.

If I had the wits God gave a gopher I would have gotten photos of the gorgeous table MJ set - peach placemats and white china on the glistening cherry table - and the awesome treats she put out. She made a fruit tort with a chocolate filling that is so good that in the past, two women who hated her asked for the recipe. It had creamcheese or I would have completely blown my diet and throws myself upon it in an heroic effort to save the rest of the guests. Being lactose intolerant does preclude a fair ammount of that type of heroism. But there was also fruit salad with oranges, melon, and coconut. And finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and my reliable old friends, fresh veggies (with a demonic tarragon mayonaise to tempt me.) We laughed ourselves silly and ate to satiation and showed off our current knitting projects and just enjoyed ourselves vastly. There was a bouquet of peach roses that perfectly matched the peach placemats, but were too tall for the table, so we put them off to the side in the reading nook. MJ has such a knack for decorating!

ME: Knock, knock.
You: Who's there?
Me: Obsessive micro-manager. Now you say, "Obsessive micro manager who?"

Friday, August 08, 2008

Everything is better with a kitty

Here's the baby blanket I have been knitting for Teresa. On pound of cotton done in 10 stitch basket weave with seed stitch borders. Not a bad picture, even if I do say so myself. And a nice ever-so-easy blankie. That cotton is sooo soft and squnchy. Squnchy is a good feeling for a blankie.

Of course, since I was fiddling around in the backyard, Mr. Fly had to come and supervise - and critique. "No one wants to see how much yarn is left, Mom. Hide that ball of yarn. And you need something to give the picture a sense of perspective. Something elegant and sophisticated. Ah, I know! This shot needs a black velvet tuxedo. I just happen to be wearing one. Here - I'll model it for you. Note how closely it fits? Neither too snug, not too baggy, perfectly comfortable, and always, always in the best of taste."

I might want a black velvet tuxedo of my own, but I've seen how much trouble it is to keep clean. I'll stick with my saggy pink skin, thank you.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

life with the crapweasle

The neighbor's have the prettiest gladioli. Did you know they smell nice, too? The glads, not the neighbors. Well, actually, I shouldn't say that because I don't really know. They may perspire attar of roses. We're just not that close. But they do grow nice posies.

A friend of mine joined Greenpeace back in her youth, and after chaining herself to a harpoon gun on a Japanese whaler, was arrested for piracy. She's going to speak at her Unitarian Church on "A pirate's life for me," and the possibility of godly civil disobedience. So I'm loaning her a hat. (sings) Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!

Speaking of hats, I wore a red hat all through the writer's conference, and was the only woman there wearing a hat. Makes me easy to remember, and certainly takes care of the worry about a bad hair day. Also, made those glaring overhead fluorescent tubes a lot less annoying. I have a lot of red, white and navy seperates, which makes it easy to get dressed in the morning. Everything goes together and looks businesslike. Then there are the pink and purple clothes. More - Bohemian shall we say.

I have been getting out the submissions and query letters. Next, time to make a GREAT website. Meanwhile, I left the beaded top with Teresa who dyed the yarn. She's going to use it as a sample of what you can do with her goods. And she's also pleased with the cotton babyblanket I'm turning out for her. Photo tomorrow.

We have an apple tree outside the kitchen window with limbs overhanging the back patio roof. Evidently the bees were busy amongst the blossoms this spring, because we are getting a lot of apple drop. When there are two apples growing on one twig, gradually, slowly, one will push the other off. Thunk! Exciting enough when they hit the ground, but when they fall on the aluminum patio roofing, it's more a case of CRASH! Rumble, rumble, rumble,Thunk! Makes the cats nervous. They all want to sleep with us, and then they spend the night twitching and muttering. I wonder what they're dreaming. Are they fighting? Hunting? Dancing the rhumba with Carmen Miranda? They'll never tell. Cats never do.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dropping off shots on the fly

Let's start with a little eye-candy. We had a few cool, damp days around here, and the roses took it as an engraved invitation to spread their petticoats a bit. Aren't they lovely?

And here's the bamboo and tencel top I knitted during the conference. I got the beaded part of the top done before I got there, and after the armholes, it was just knit2, p2 untill you can't stand it any more. I had one skein that was redder than the other two, so when I had a ball about the size of an egg, I started alternating rows with the yellower skein. Worked out quite nicely, didn't it? Teresa dyes SUCH nice stuff!

Embiggen to check out the beads. They're SHINEY!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hammering down

Oh wow, the writer's convention was a blast! I met lots of great people, made some valuable contacts, learned a scrambled brainload of stuff (MUST type up notes before they dissolve) and am sending out two submissions today.

When I'm done with that, I am going to reward myself with a treat of writing up the short story we slapped together by committee. It's a picture book so will be brief. Title, "The Unfortunate Twitch of Anthony Mitchell." Anthony never did his homework until one day his hand began flying up every time a general question was asked. And he didn't know the answer!!

Go ahead and write your own version if you like. No more than 800 words.

I also have to work on my web site, register a slew of domain names, thank a gazillion folks, and photograph the top I finished while sitting and listening avidly. Thank you ever so for your good thoughts and encouragements!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Disappearing act?

Today, Saturday, and Sunday I will be attending the Willamette Writer's Conference here in Portland. I will be pitching my books to three different agents, taking workshops on how to build a better villain, access my mythic spirit, develop the young adult fantasy heroic journey,and, just for fun, write a short-story by committee. Wish me luck.

I will, of course, take my knitting.