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.”

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last blog-o-'08

I am the last (wo)man standing in the testing dept, all others having betaken themselves off for party-er places. But I, as a certified senior staffer and old fogey, am planning on an early night, so am perfectly willing to take the end of day shift. Now, instead of sorting and filing, I am blogging, because I have spent most of the last two days sorting and filing and my brain is oatmeal. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I am delighted to still have a job to get back to.

But, having opportunity to blog, and no access to my pictures, and a mind of pure oatmeal, well-cooked, instant variety with no texture and markedly bland flavor, I can't think of anything great to say. Except, may you all have a good safe night, and may 2009 be full of little happinesses and big successes. May smiles wreathe your faces, and may hope color your dreams. May you win a lottery somewhere, somehow, and may your kindnesses all rebound upon you fourfold. Oh, and may the yarn fairy ddrop a load in your stash.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Are you like me?

Do you sometimes succumb to the temptation to buy that convenient "box-o-greens" rather than creating your own salad from scratch? (I want more than one kind of greens in my salad, and I can't eat up two heads of anything except butter lettuce before it starts to go limp and brown-edged on me. So I tell myself that buying a box of lettuce is better than throwing out half a head of romaine a week.) And having finished the vitamin rich verdure within, have you, too gazed at that crystal clear box and said, "I oughtta be able to do something with this."

Yarn storage! For those itsy bitsy odds and sodds and 15yards of the end of the ball that you just can't bear to throw out, any more than you can bear to throw away those perfectly good clear plastic boxes. (Or the cottage cheese containers, but that's another issue all together.) These boxes stack, make all your yarns visible, and are not only free, but give you that marvelous glow of righteousness because you are - recycling. Run out and buy boxes of salad. It's a good thing!

Meanwhile, for those of us poetically inclined (Limericks count as poetry, too!)check out You can even get on the mailing list for weekly challenges. This might be a fun challenge for everyone who has been saying, "I really ought to write more." Seventeen sylables a week is a nice, easy way to edge into it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lazy days - I love 'em

We met MJ and RW for breakfast and a gift exchange. RW, who truely gets it that I am three years old inside, got me a pink plaster dragon with purple glitter on her belly. MJ,a long-time enabler of my writing, gave us two cereal bowls, and a jar of oats labled, "Cleonie's grains. Nothing like a bowl of grains and syrup to put the legs under you." and she also included three kinds of syrup. Yum! She gave DH a lovely fruit bowl with real fruit in it, and RW gave DH a tiny remote-controled helicopter which has given DH and the cats many hours of entertainment.

Then we went home, settled to digest a bit, and wound up taking nice little post brunchial naps.

When I woke, I finished a hat using left-overs,

Then got out the drill and pierced my new pearls. Here's the newly amplified necklace. I need to re-think the design. It's getting more elaborate than I ever imagined. I may seperate it into more than one string, but it's got to keep the pendants. Hmmmm. . .

The snow is all gone1 Hoorayy!! Tomorrow I need to get my dead battery jumped, and take myself off for a new battery and maybe an oil change. And then it's back to reality in a limited way. New Year's Day brunch with dear friends - "the usual suspects," work on Friday, and a mid-day caroling party on the 3rd. Gleep! And knitting here the week after that. I'd better start making plans. You want to come?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things that make me laugh out loud

1. Crows on ice.
2. Cats confronting DH's new tiny remote-control helicopter.
3. Dogs on ice.
4. Cranky geese dealing with small yappy dogs. (wish I could get away with chasing those rat-dogs while hissing and flapping my wings!)
5. Squirrels on ice. WaHooo!

Friday, December 26, 2008

I got to go in the car today!

It has been almost two weeks tha we have enjoyed this wintery weather. Except for walking to the mail box or over to the grocery store, I have kept happily and safely in the house. We did not get a Christmas tree before we left on our holiday, and we have been snow-bound ever since we got back, so Christmas came and went and we were treeless. But I LOVE a Christmas tree! We have five boxes of Christmas decorations, and four of them are decorations for the tree. So, on the 24th, I got creative. This net of lights usually wraps around the tree along with a couple strings of colored lights. I plugged it into the wall and spread it over a few picture hooks. (The pictures got Christmas off.) Then I took ornaments that wouldn't break upon impact with the floor, and hung them here and there. It's not a tree, but it is a representation of what I feel about a Christmas tree. Lights and color and shiny things.

In the dining room, we have a potrack light-fixture. Not especially good lighting, but we like it. I took some breakable ornaments with lots of bling, and racked them up. this is actually rather pretty.

Except for walking myself to the mailbox three blocks away, or to the grocery store half a mile away, I have been happily housebound. But today, temperatures are above freezing and the major streets are just about passable. Side streets, where no plow nor sanding truck intrudeth, are still essentially skating rinks, but the major streets show bare, wet pavement. So DH loaded me up with promises of Christmas presents, and took me out for an airing. He is the world's best driver and very gentle with me, so I wasn't frightened much at all. We stopped for breakfast, and the restaurant parking lot was the worst driving we dealt with all day. (I had a German pancake with mangos and ginger. Omg it was good!)In fact, the parking lot was so ugly that DH just drove across the sidewalk and over the curb onto the street. We had places to go!

Cars which were parked alongside major streets when snowplows go by wind up buried in snow and street scrapings. The snowplows throw up a berm which today was about three feet high and at least as wide at the base. This makes pulling into on-street parking very interesting. But doggone, DH managed it! He found us free parking within a block of Lush (my favorite bubblebath store) and if that wasn't good enough, when we walked inside, we discovered a 3 for 1 clearance sale going on for all the holiday products. "How much can I choose?" I asked my Santa. "At these prices, you can go nuts," he replied.

I did. This is about thirty pounds of bubble stuff. When the basket got too heavy, I decided it was time to quit. Lush stuff, lush stiff, two bags full! The bubble bars have names like, "Frothy the Snowman" and "Jingle Spells" (It's got glitter in it!) and "Snow Fairy." I'm going to smell luscious for months and months!

On the way back to the car we passed a tea shop. I had mentioned once seeing a fun sort of tea that was well - like those little sponge dinosaurs that grow when you put them in water? These are servings of tea leaves that are sewn together with dried flowers and rolled up into balls the size of big marbles, but when you drop them into hot water, they bloom into floral arrangements. And the tea is pretty darn good, too.
DH spoils me inordinately!

I got him some solid shampoo at Lush, and a body pillow at Costco (we had to go to Costco. We were out of everything.) And he is also getting gift cards from Sears, MacDonalds, and Jamba Juice. What do you get the man who doesn't want anything?

So my first expedition into the world at winter has been successful. In a week, I need to get in the car and drive to work. Need to get a new battery first, though. And wait for the snow to melt off.

So, Happy Boxing Day to one an all, and best wishes for the next ten days of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What can you do when the snow falls

I have been spinning. Spinning soothes and calms me. Somewhere in a past life is a Cro-Mangnon who froze to death. I see the snow come down, and next thing you know, the dire wolves are at the door. But spinning makes all that go away. I paly with the lovely merino I bought at the Oregon Flock and Fiber and the soft warmth gentles my angst and softens all my icey crisp edges. Here's two days worth of spinning and TVdom. I watched "Top Hat" and an NCIS marathon, and all 6 episodes of "Blush" (think "Next top makeup artist") and I spun.

I have always like heavier yarn with lots of texture, so you will not get any photos of my lace-weight singles strung over a penny for perspective. I two-plied and created soft and smooshy yarn fit for a wunnerful vest/sweater/shawl in PURPLE to go with my imperial purple pearl earrings.

At Hilo Hatties' they have a buy-an-oyster place. And things were slow so they were giving out discount coupons, DH got a 70% off coupon. And the oyster he picked had - twins! Two 6mm, identical dark purple pearls. I never get my pearls set because I bring them home, drill and string them, but he dropped the $$ to have a set of earrings made for me. They are luscious!! So now I need more purple clothes to wear with my imperial purple pearl earrings. Hence the spinning.

The neighbors, however, took the kids and the dogs out for a run.

The lead dog knows his business and is just thrilled to finally have a job to do!

In fact, he's jumping for joy!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

If I ignore it, will it go away?

Dark Horse Comics is located about two miles away. They were instrumental inbringing back some of the good old comic-book pizazz to movies, and have a couple of full size characters in their store-front window. I couldn't get any sort of photo of Sigorny Weaver's nemisis, the Alien, but here's Predator in a Santa cap. Rather emblematic of this spell of weather we are enjoying. Hohoho. Put on some Christmas spirit, and it's still fairly deadly.

We had a few inches of snow, then we got some freezing rain. A fair ammount of freezing rain. In fact, here is a chunk of freezing rain from off the top of our snow. (We hates it, we does!) squirrels, cats, and small children could scamper about on top of this icy crust. Larger children and adults would break through and sink four inches into the powder beneath. I noticed a hole in the sheet of white in the yard. The photos don't do it justice, so let's turn on the screen of our imaginations: Visualize a sheet of ice coating the backyard like lineoleum made with powdered diamonds. Now imagine a gopher-sized hole sort of toward the center of this immaculate surface. As I stood, gazing in wonder at the hole, a squirrel skittered down a nearby tree, skidded over to the hole, and thrust his head and forepaws deep into its recesses. Then he sat up, busily rearranged things in his mouth, and shoved his head back into the hole. The light dawned in my head. I had put a plate of birdseed out before the snow fell. Squirrels love birdseed. He had remembered where it was, had excavated his way down to it, and was industriously filling his larder with the bounty, cramming his face, runnng off to his nest, emptying the goodies, and running back. He has a brain about the size of a lima bean. His cheek pouches are probably larger than his entire brain. How could he (she?) remember so perfectly? Well, good cess to him.

I have birdseed scattered on the front porch where the snow doesn't fall and the cats can watch the feasters through the windows.

Today, the snow has continued. We are breaking records. This is definitely a once in a decade storm, and working it's way up to best in the past fifty years. DH saddled up and rode out like the western hero he is, and then was thoughtful enough to call me and let me know that he made it safe and sound to work. He is a prince among men!

On the whole, I would prefer to be in Na'alehu at the Punuluu bakery, eating lilikoi and drinking superb Hawaiian tea. One of the local college teams played some sporting event in Hawaii and are now stuck there since so many flights have been cancelled. Bummer. Poor them!

But thank God for dear friends! Janette in Oz has sent me a fabulous, extremely generous gift of three skeins of blue/purple/brownish Fleece Artist yarn and a glorious, gorgeous shawl pin. (The 22nd is HER birthday, and I'm getting presents. Go figure.) I have cuddled this yarn, rubbed it against my skin, and just about taken it to bed with me. It's yummy!!

Now I am going to spin and watch Fred Astair musicals and think warm thoughts. I would never, never have made it as a pioneer. I am SO grateful for electronic communications and distractions! Stay warm, stay safe and let me know how it is in your baliwick.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday morning, six AM

After the snow and the below freezing temperatures, a layer of warm, wet air has slipped rolled over the top of our dry cold air layer. This results in freezing rain. No one is going anywhere today unless it's absolutely necessary, because the whole world is covered wit about a quarter of an inch of ice. it's ugly for trying to get around, but it's beautiful to look at. Here's our dogwood tree under the streetlightthis morning.

Yestereday, if I had been Matha Stewart, I would have gotten up bright and early, baked scones and a quiche from scratch, and my husband would have eaten it because, as Martha Stewart's husband, he would have no balls at all. After washing the dishes and leaving the kitchen spic and span with every pot in place and the hand-embroidered linen dishtowels meticulously draped on their antique drying rack, I would have disassembled, steam cleaned, and polished the cats before re-assembling them in apple-pie order. Then, when the domestic staff arrived, I would have them all wash the windows, inside and out, to admit that glorious Christmassy glow and glitter from our exquisite quarter-sized, electic village errected outside. Then, while they were all distracted, I would have sat down at my Chippendale desk and caligraphed graceful, sincere notes to go along with their Christmas bonuses, which I would tuck into envelopes hand made from re-cycled Christmas wrap. Then I would go fix a delicious hot oyster stew with home-made biscuits for lunch, and everyone would eat it and they would like it because I'm GOD!! Hahhahha!!! I benign dwpot of the universe and you will all . . .

Umm, yeah. As it is, I slept in, slopped around in my bathrobe till DH woke, and then we went to Sully's for breakfast as usual on a Saturday. We gave them presents. They gave us presents. It snowed. The geese were circling low, trying to find a nice green sppace to settle and graze in. There are no greenspaces. Everything is WHITE. DH and I envisioned goose bitterness. "Cindy said, 'oh, let's stay in Portland this winter. We don't have to fly all the way south. The slugs up here are the size of dog poops and the ponds never freeze. We'll be living on easy street.' Is this easy street, Cincy? Is it? We've gotta sit in the freakin' snow and my BUTT's cold! I'm wearing down-lined panties, and my butt - is - cold! And it's all your fault, Cindy." People at other tables were laughing at our vision.

Breakfast was, as ever, delicious. We drove home on the white streets, and as we turned into the grocery store parking lot, our SUV fishtailed a bit. As we picked up a few groceries to get us through the next week, we discussed weather and driving conditions and seasonal expectations and decided that it would be much better to avoid the idiots on the highway and do our shopping when things thaw.

So we went home, and DH killed demon cows, and I watched movies and spun for the entire afternoon. Martha Stewart would have gone insane! WE had soup for dinner and watched TV till bedtime. Gosh life is good!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let's think warm thoughts.

tropical flowers and balmy days. Think balmy days. Think broiling in the sunshine by the swimming pool. It would be a kindness if you folks in Oz would post some nice warm photos. We have a "Winter Storm Event" blowing in (waht did they call all the snow and stuff we've been having?)

DH and I went out for breakfast today, and the road was sufficientsly slick that he re-considered his plans to go shopping. We discussed Christmas presents and decided that since it's just us, we could do presents whenever we choose and probably will get more bang for our bucks after Christmas. So we will have a quiet 25th and rip it up when the world thaws. (DH loves to hit the malls on the day before to enjoy the crowds and lights and bustle. I would sooner clean toilets in a busy gas station.)

So think warm. Think happy. Think safe and cozy thoughts. Take care of yourselves and take no chances.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My father's paperweight

Years ago, my father would get together with his stock broker and discuss investments. Dad would always say, "How's this one going to perform?" And the stock broker always said, "Well, Phil, if I had a crystal ball I would tell you." And they would laugh.

One day, dad was walking past a pawn shop and saw this paperweight in the window, bought it and took it to his broker. Dad slapped the paperweight down on the broker's desk, and said, "There's your crystal ball. Let's start making investments."

They both laughed uproariously and went out for a multi-martini lunch. They retuned to the office a few hours later to find the fire department there, the broker's secretary in tears, and the office full of smoke and water-soaked papers. It turns out that the sun, shining through the paperweight, had focused on the papers on the desk, igniting them.mmThe broker promptly returned the paperweight to dad, saying, "I can clearly predict more trouble than I can handle if I keep this thing."

Dad kept the paperweight in his office and told the story over and over. After he died, I let my brothers have all the guns, and I took the paperweight, and the dresser and handmirror that had belonged to dad's parents. I passed the mirrors on to my nephew's children, but I have held on to the paperweight.

And over the years, I have rescued a couple of its friends from estate sales. Solid clear glass with a few bubbles. I love the way they play with light and images. I predict visions of brightness and joy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ok, it's not THAT bad

I am gradually getting braver about this fluffy white stuff. This morning, it mostly melted at our elevation so I even got out and ran a few errands. (Your presents will be late. I remember ten cents stamps, and I can't bear to pay for express mail. I'm sorry, but there it is. And stamps are going up again in May. Gronch!) On the way home, it began to snow again. Big scenic fat flakes. I realized how very pretty it really is, thanks to all of you who pointed it out to me.

We get snow like this about once a year. It shuts down the city for a couple of days, then melts. That's winter. About once a decade, we get a lot more snow, and a prolonged cold spell. Last happened about nine years ago. We may be due.

How hard is it snowing? I laid out this piece of dark wool and waited ten seconds. That's the size of the flakes, and that's how fast they are coming down.

And here's a slightly blurry picture of the latest completed scarf.
Again the scrap of brown wool comes into play. Hand=dyed cotton in my beloved miter squares. Fun, fun and easy peasy hydrangea squeezy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some pleasant things about snow

I am trying very hard to see the bright side, here. So here are some pleasant things about snow: Below freezing temps for over a week will kill many of the slugs and bugs outdoors.

Snow is outside and I am inside.

Crappy weather makes everyone grateful for sunshine! Snow magnifies sunshine.

Snow is very scenic - if you like that sort of scenery.

Another day off for me. I'm putting finishing touches on a few scarves (forgot to pack a crochet hook.) Comcast on the desktop has gone belly up, and it's my turn to get on the phone and request, implore or demand help in recessitating it. I am staying on top of the laundry in spite of the crapweasle's best efforts (throw rugs and sofa covers save a lot of hands and knees scrubbing) and I'm almost finished with Christmas letters only three weeks later than I usually get them done. Love and joy to you all this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where's Roxie?

We left this - seventy eight degrees, sunshine, lush beautiful tropical flowers and gentle fragrant breezes.

And we returned to this. I have been spending a great deal of time under the covers, sucking my thumb and refusing to acknowledge reality. There's also the little facts of litterboxes, laundry and food that take up an inordinate ammount of time. But, sigh, I guess it's time to grow up and put on my big girl panties. I'm supposed to go to work today. The street outside our house is s sheet of ice, and DH, who can drive anything anywhere, did an interesting little bob and weave as he pulled out in his four-wheel drive Ford Explorer this morning. Wahhhh! I'm scared and I don't wanna! Back to bed!

Added later:
I pulled my socks up, channeled my inner Xena, gathered my courage from all the scattered hideyholes it had ducked into, put on my long johns and my wooly socks along with gloves, hat, boots, pants, turtleneck sweater, down-filled parka and any other layers I could come up with, and went out into the cold. The car doors were frozen shut. The lock worked just fine. I scraped the window clear and could see the buttons go up and down, but the doors were fricking frozen shut. I called AAA and they said they could be there in three hours but I should try shoving the door to see if I could break the ice. I shoved, kicked, and pounded to no avail. I nearly gave up, then realized, I could unlock the trunk, push the seat backs forward, and crawl through. Which I did, much to my bruised regret. Unlocking the trunk was the easy part. I then needed to writhe into the trunk in such a way that I could kick at the seat backs. Having popped the backs forward, I crept, like a geriatric eel, through to the backseat, then did an excellent imitation of a synaptically challenged crab to wriggle into the driver's seat with keys in hand. The battery was dead. The battery was dead. All this earnest effort, and the dinking battery was dead. By the time AAA got to me, my shift would be mostly over. I took it as a sign of mercy from heaven above and went inside to e-mail my boss, cancel my call to AAA, and cosset my bruises.

And the weather people are telling us that the BIG storm is due on Sunday. Up to a foot of snow. I may not leave the house till after Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What to do on a rainy day in paradise

There's a typhoon blowing through to the north of us, and we're getting the trailing edges of the storm. DH and I took a nice walk down to the beach. It was 70 degrees and just misting a bit. I was in a sleeveless top and a light skirt. D"H had a rain shell and shorts.
How would you like this for a camping site?

Aren't these tiny dark orchids lovely? They're just roadside weeds.

More weeds. Can you believe these? Nine foot tall hibiscus plants. And the pointsettias run to the same scale.

Occasionally the menehunes, the Hawaiian spirits of mischief, get bored and start building things. Here's a simple little pile of stones that appeared on the beach overnight.

We went out for lunch and stopped at the local market to pick up some zip-seal containers to bring some bakery goods home. And there was this bit of beefcake. I asked if I could take his photo and he was bemused and embarassed but obligingly posed for me. DH told him, "You're picture is going on the internet and will be seen all over the world." "No way." the lad said, but we convinced him that yes, my friends in Australia and Maine and Massachutes and California would all see him. He laughed and strolled out. His pants were rather low slung and displayed a couple inches of dorsal clevege. When he left, the checker looked at me and giggled. I told her, "He's just lucky it's not Ass-watch Wednesday. He has a cute keester!" She laughed and laughed!

viewing the volcano

The viewing areas and Volcano House are all at about four thousand feet in elevation. That puts you right in the belly of the clouds. for this reason, among others, viewing is limited. But the Jagger Observatory is right at the lip of the main crater. Inside the main crater is a smaller crater which is now vigorously venting sulfer dioxide. A lot of the paths, trails, and some of the roads are closed because when the concentrations of sulfer dioxide get too strong, it becomes toxic. (combined with water, sulfer dioxide become sulferic acid. It's raining through those fumes, ergo . . .)

Not so good for the local vegetation.

Due to the sulfer, it smells quite fartish.
(Oh, and combined with the moisture in your lungs, sulfer dioxide becomes sulfuric acid in your lungs. Not a good thing.)

But when you get far enough away from the vents, the vegetation lushes up. I saw all these pretty little flowers scattered through the grass like daisies.

They call them grass orchids. Just growing wild and weedy. Orchids, fer crysakes, growing like weeds in this inhospitable section of the world! nature is freaking awesome!
And the ferns do rather well, too. It's a rainforest up here. You almost expect T-Rex to come crashing through the undergrowth.

Volcano House is also sited on the lip of the main crater, but not as close to the active vents. Volcano House is a hotel which has been here since about 1830. (I'm not good at remembering dates. Somewhere around that number. Look it up yourself if you're interested.)Mark Twain stayed there during his trip around the world. In those days, people would go out at night and hike across the surface of the big crater to get close to the smaller vent where the lava was boiling and churning quite actively. They had to go at night because there were hot cracks and vents in the surface of the big crater, and at night, those cracks and vents glowed. Twain wrote about the hissing, bubbling sounds of the molten lava, saying that if you closed your eyes, you could imagine yourself to be at the side of a balling brook. There was also a strong scent of sulfer "which is not unpleasant to an accomplished sinner."

The most active vent these days is south and east of the main crater, and tourists are not allowed close since it is still errupting ash and occasional lava spatters. I am so fond of my skin in it's current condition that I am reluctant to get any closer than I have. And it was pretty neat to get that close.

Meantime, the driving to and from all these sites is allowing a lot of knitting to get done. Another scarf, done in hand-dyed cotton.

I cast on the long way and worked seed stitch till I was bored and it seemed wide enough. Very soft and lightweight scarf.