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.”

Sunday, February 28, 2010

busy weekend

We took Bucky and Bobby through the carwash. They have never been through an automatic carwash before and found it wildly exciting.

On track and entering the process.

soap sprays

Here come the brushes!

Yeeha! Look at those suckers go!

They begged to go through again, but we told them that once a week was all that was allowed. But if anyone wants to take them through between now and Tuesday, give us a call.

So we got home, and I took them out in the yard to pull weeds and burn off some of that excitable energy.

Bobby was really pretty good at it.

Bucky sort of took his own approach. Hey, eat 'em or pull 'em, I don't care.

I took a nice picture of the boys amidst the daffodils to send home to their mother.

Now, are there any entomologists out there? This lovely big brow and yellow butterfly was flitting about and i don't recognize it. I couldn't get cloose enough to get a good photo, but it has blue spots alonng the bottom edgeof its wings, and it's about the size of a Monarch.

I checked the internet history on my laptop and found that someone has been checking out lingerie sites. Bobby confessed that he wanted to buy a pretty present for Lulu, and was trying to find some sheep frills.

Thank ghu he's not smitten with Dolores. I asked if he knew who Dolores was, and he admitted that she pretty near scared him spitless. "She looks like she's been rid hard an put up wet one too many times," he told me.

I'm trying to decide if the boys should go in the checked luggage or if I should squish them into my carry-on. In 50 hours, we'll be heading for the airport.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

a little spinning

Spinning is a great way to deal with -- anticipation -- so I pulled a Fantasy Fibers Mysery Batt out of the stash.

Mystery Batts are what you get when you strip the leftovers of several batches of combing off the carding drums. This one is mostly wool, with some sparkle woven in and a hint of angora here and there.

I am actually making an effort to spin it smooth and fine. You'll notice I haven't slipped a dime under a single strand to show HOW smooth and fine it is. No way am I that good. Making an effort is not the same as succeeding so well that you want to show it off.

So the batt was up on the shelf where the cats wouldn't get at it. But have you ever known tow boys left alone with a bat of wool that didn't start making facial hair out of it?

Bobby went for the Mennonite look, sans moustache.

Bucky preferred the Mountain Man look. You will notice that he even has hair in his ears.

This is the scene I came home to. They're not Bahhhd boys, but they sure are rambunctious. I told them, If they have so much energy, they can pull weeds in my garden on Saturday. They cheerfully agreed.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I had an appointment in downtown Portland yesterday at the main branch of my bank. There are some great old buildings downtown. Buildings with presence and grandeur. Buildings with details like these:
You just know that this is an important building where significant work is done. It has honking big columns!

Other buildings might put bars over the window to ensure security. This building has much too much class. They have ornate brass grillwork. Bars are for prisons, not secure financial institutions.

And how's that for fancy lighting? This is NOT some little hick-town hovel of a building.

Even the flag standards are impressive.

You know, in your very soul, that anyone who walks through these doors is SOMEBODY.
Aand all this brasswork may have been shipped 'round the horn. I'm not sure we had foundries doing this kind of work back then. It was important enough to the people who built this building to go to CONSIDERABLE time and expense to make the building look "Impressive" and "Prosperous" Now builders just go for the bottom line. No elaboration or pomp. Most banks could just as well be warehouses now a days. You don't feel special when you walk in. But in the main branch of my bank, they have a dapper gray-haired gentleman in a suit who greets you if you look the least bit dazed, and is delighted to help you find what and who you came for. He made me feel VERY special!

Now-a-days, we make a big deal of shipping slabs of stone from Montana and Brazil and Italy. In those days, you didn't bring in Italian carved granite pediments. You brought in Italian stone masons and used your own local granite. There was a significant Italian community in Portland because the all stone masons then brought all their families, and the aged uncles were gardners and the Nonnas started bakeries and restaurants, and the cherished daughters became shop clerks and married Norwegian loggers . . .

And someone started making ornamental cast iron.

When is the last time something was constructed with this much pride and beauty lavished upon it? I'm all for clean lines and modern materials, but I cherish the elaboration of pomposity, too.

I had invited the Bahh Boys to come downtown with me, but they preferred to stay at home. Bobby said he needed to write some e-mails to let his folks back home know they made it this far OK. I hope he didn't abuse his internet priveledges.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Look what arrived!

Amy Lane, the wonderfully generous woman that she is, sent me a copy of her latest book RAMPANT (woohoo! My favorite of the series so far!) and stuffed in a few little things to feed my addictions.

She purged her fabric stash. Look! Kitties!

Look! Fishies!

Look! Half a Holstein and complementary fabric!

And as if that wasn't enough to make me giddy with sewing frenzy, she sent me a half-finished quilt top.

Look at those beautiful little seams! I have yet to sew a straight seam. Mine wander over about a quarter of an inch as they go along. One of many reasons my quilt tops are so cheerfully slapdsah!

all I have to do is sew the pieces together, add a back and a batt, and it's a quilt! Now I have at least three weeks to be itchy to get it done. Having something to look forward to is the key to a long life.

And now I would like to make an introduction. I am pleased to present the Bah Boys - Bucky and Bobby Merino. (Bobby on the left, Bucky on the right. Bobby is skinny and high strung. Bucky is solid and steady)

They grew up on an organic herb farm and potter's commune outside of Estacada, Oregon. Like many healthy young country boys before him, when Bobby celebrated his first shave he said , "Today I am a ram. I'm gonna be makin' my own decisions and payin' my own way from here on. I want to get out and see the world a mite before I settle down."

His parents scoffed, but Bobby was serious. He got on the internet and started looking up sheep in other countries, and lo and behold, he saw a photo of the lovely LuLu of Canberra. Australia. Bobby was smitten. He decided that somehow he was going to go to Australia and meet miss Lulu. He began making plans and considering options. When it was clear that he was going to follow through on this, everyone on the commune suggestedd that maybe Bucky should go with him to keep him out of trouble.

So, yesterday, two pastel sheep arrived on my doorstep (the natural food store near our house was getting a delivery of organic herbs, and the driver agreed to give the boys a ride, and really, they didn't eat more than just a bite or two of the basil, and then they hoofed it up the hill to our house.) Because they had seen on my blog that not only was I going to Australia, I was going to Canberra, and wonder of wonder, I was going to visit the very house where the lovely Lulu lives. And they asked, very nicely (that Bobby is quite the smooth talker) if they could come with us. I checked with DH and he said that if I wanted to smuggle a couple of sheep into Australia . . . Oh, go ahead.

(The unusual color of their wool may have had something to do with the special herbs their mother browsed while she was carrying them. They aren't really as Piglet pink as they look in this photo.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The sun is done

We are back to steady rain, now, and it should continue through June. You can't count on sunshine for any given day until after the 7th of July, but the rain is warmer now. Trees are blooming, daffodils are cheering and our un-pruned roses are leafing out already. Fool that I am, I didn't wear a raincoat to work because it wasn't raining when I left. Wise woman that I am, I keep an umbrella at the office. It was raining cats and dogs when I left work. Really. I stepped in a poodle. (booo) Have to remember to take the umbrella back today.

The sap is rising, and all living things are getting restless. Yearling cats and possums are slinking around, trying to find their own territory now that mom has kicked them out to make room for this year's litter.

For my friends in Oz, let me say that American possums are not the pretty, fluffy, big-eyed creatures you know as possums. American possums look like giant marsupial rats. Naked pink tail, beady eyes, naked pink claw-like feet, tiny ears, and horrible crooked, pointy teeth. Go ahead, imagine a 15 pound grey rat with yellow teeth hunkered up in the corner of your porch and hissing at you. Wouldn't you run for the broom? Well, I run for the broom, because it's not leagal to use the shotgun, by if I thought I could get away with it, I just might take out one of those nasty, verminous, cat-killers. Yes, they are God's creatures, too, and life is sacred, but I am a human, and I, by God, exert some control over my environment when I can, and my environment is not gonna be overrun with possums! I can't shhot 'em, but I CAN make them feel unwelcome! A smack in the face with a broom makaes just about anyone feel unwelcome. Of course, the neighbors and local dog-walkers may wonder about me beating through the bushes with a broom , wearing a bathrobe and slippers in the pouring rain, and cursing, but at least the neighbors don't take me for granted, and the dogs no longer crap on our lawn. And the possums do NOT feel welcome.

And it's almost the season for raccoonus interruptus, too. I'd better stockpile a few missles for discouraging treetop romancing. And maybe I should get one of those plastic atlatl things they sell at the pet store for throwing dog balls. Hmm - for throwing balls for dogs. Anyhow, if I'm going to be throwing rocks, it's just as well that I have a puny arm because I might accidentally hit the neighbor's house, but if I had one of those atlatls, I could throw pinecones and actually hit something. Like a pair of raccoons in flagrante delecto. It bears consideration.

Monday, February 22, 2010

fotos from the neighborhood

I know most of the US is still starved for color, so I went for a walk with my camera yesterday.
These little guys make me want to plant crocus. They are so, SO happy in the sun shine!

One of our local gardening experts refers to violets as, "invasive little thugs." I'm rather taken with something so small and delicate that self-seeds and makes itself happy wherever it can. Thses are colonizing a patch of lawn, and since our lawn is mostly moss and weeds, the violets are quite, quite welcome to invade.

Here is one of the older homes in the neighborhood. It was built back when this area was still mostly orchards and broccolli fields. Back in the thirties. The early American decoration and the tower have been added over the years.

This house is actually on the national historic register. It was built in the 1900s. As you can see, there are some big lots in this area. This place sits on over an acre. We have gotten a lot of infill and development in the past few years, so the neighborhood is a happy mix of post-war ranch-style homes, tiny grandmother bungalows on huge lots, single-level apartments, and very modern single-family-dwellingss tucked into what used to be large backyards.

A developer set houses side by side for a mile, then realized that kids would have to walk clear around the development to get to the school on the other side. So he took easement from both sides of a couple of lots and built this acess path. It feels quite magical to me. A portal to something wonderful!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wasn't that a party?

IE and his lovely wife YE are Russian. Well, she's Russian and he's Ukranian. And they have a daughter who has just returned from a year of study abroad in Japan. So we had a Russian, Japanese dinner which was quite delicious and absolutely sabatoged my weight-watcher's plan. Potato boats - discs of potato with "sails" of bacon speared on a tooth pick, baked in the oven - oh yum! And Japanese curry over rice. And Russian Goulash. and little sausages wrapped in crescent rolls. And a Kiev cake. Oh, WHAT a cake that was! Discs of crispy meringue sandwwiched together with hazlenuts and buttercream. And they blended their own tea with a touch of hibiscus, some ceylon and some oolong - deelicious!

I knew they have a couple of birds, so when we arrived and I heard calls from upstairs, I remarked on it. IE went upstairs and brought down an adorable little green conure. He was just like a three-year-old. First he was all shy and hid his face against IE's neck and refused to even look at us. Then, when we ignored him for a bit, he got interested. For my early birthday gift, the Es gave me a lovely pearl necklace which I immediately put on. Oh, my but the parrot was fascinated by those shiny things! And I had on a pair of dangly enamel earrings that were equally intriguing. YE was showing us photos of her trip to Japan to visit their daughter when suddenly this little green bird marched across her shoulders, hopped over to my shoulder, and tried to eat a pearl. He was scolded and put in time out in a little open basket with food and toys on the far side of the room. His wings have been clipped, so he can't fly. Every time I glanced over his direction he would bob his head enticingly, dance and hop and flap his wings, clearly saying, "Hey, look at me! Come over and play with the bird! Play with the bird!" DH finally renented and went over to the basket, picked the bird up, and carried him back to the party. DH wears glasses. Bird was fascinated by the glasses. Wound up clinging to the earpiece with both feet and the beak, little tongue working like mad trying to get something loose. Then I gave DH an earring which he hung from the earpiece. Parrot sat and muttered and worked and cursed quietly, trying to get that tempting bit of shiney stuff to come loose.

And then - without a sign of warning, he vaulted from DH's shoulder to mine and went for the pearls. I slapped my left hand over the necklace. Ooooo, shiny wedding ring! He got his beak completely under the ring and made a darn good effort at biting it off. I blew in his face. He rared back and fluffed up like a duster. I laughed at him so hard I almost choked. What a dear, engaging little scamp he is. I can see why the E family is so fond of their birds. SUCH personality!

The cockatiel stayed upstairs because he doesn't like people.

I fold early. I'm usually up and about around 5 AM. We had such fun with IE and YE that we stayed till 9. Cake and pearls and photos and bird company and deelicious dinner . . What a treat! Now to write a nice thank-you note.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

cluster luck

On Mar 3, our friend I.E. turns 50. On Mar 4, I turn 60. On Mar 5th, Dr. J. turns 80. On Mar 8, DB turns 65. We used to get together with the usual suspects and have a Big Pisces Party. But Dr J is in Denver and I'll be somewhere over the international date line, and DB will probably be at the beach, so DH and I are headed over to IE's house tonight for a smaller Big Pisces Party. We are taking 2 lbs of See's chocolates, 18 goldy-orange roses, and a very dashing new golf shirt. Since it's his fiftieth, I also stuck in a handful of gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins, and wrapped the presents with gold paper and gold ribbon. My inner magpie is quite pleased with the sparkle.

What this dinner is going to do to my diet, I can't begin to guess. It took me all of last week to recover from the knitter's tea, and even at that I was up two tenths of a pound. Well, I'll just have to walk more to make up for it. That's it! I'll just get more exercise! (Are you buying this? I mean, if you believe that I'm actually going to - shudder - exercise, then you might be interested in buying the ocean-front property I own in Idaho.)

We went to the mall to get the chocolates. It's a gorgeous sunny day! So why is every teeny bopper in two counties hanging out indoors at the mall? Why are they not walking hand in hand in the sunshine and stealing forbidden kisses 'neath the blossoming cherry trees? Why are they surging in packs between the Gap and American Eagle Outfitters with segues into Abercrombie and Fitch, or posing in attitudes of profound ennui over their lattes at the food court? I never have "gotten" the whole concept of "cool." Of course, no boys ever asked me out while I was in highschool, either, but that may have had something to do with being 6 ft tall, or perhaps the fact that I went to an all-girl school had something to do with it.

I was never asked out by any guy I shared a class with in college. I'm SO glad DH likes his women intelligent and bold. I can't fake stupid and shy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

For well over a month, now, I haave owed Em a hat. I got all ambitious with the pink thing that would not shrink, and failed. So I started again. With some warm Merino handspun. Finally, after the blizzards are done, I have a hat to send her. From the time this hat arrives, it will no doubt be balmy until November. Timing is SO important!

I decided that yesterday was the day to get the taxes pulled together. I now have a sparkling clean kitchen and re-conditioned litterboxes. I will do anything rather than face the taxes. Numbers hate me, and all the important tax words are somehow in a foriegn language. "Realized general debt." I understand the individual words, and even sort of guess what they're talking about, but where are the numbers they want to go with this? I don't think we have a realized general debt. Our accountant is the most PATIENT man! I should hand-deliver our grocery bag full of receipts and take him a big plate of cookies at the same time.

(I worked as a receptionist for H&R Block for a After the first of April, desperate people began showing up with madness in their eyes, and a paper grocery sack full of receipts.The accountants, if given the least warning, would run screaming from the room and lock themselves in a bathroom stall rather than deal with those clients. Those sessions always ended in extensions and tears.

So I gave myself a treat when I finally whipped the forms into as much shape as I could manage. It was 60 degrees and sunny. I went for a walk. Here's some color for those of you still snow-bound.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Ides of February

Every February, we get a few warm sunny days that tease us with promise of spring. The Ides of March were a warm, mild period in mid-march, so I call these days the Ides of February. We are looking for a high of 60 today. Teenagers will be going barefoot and stripping down to tank tops. (I know, when it gets to 60 in LA people are putting extra blankets on the bed and looking for the heavy sweaters. It's all a question of what you're used to.)

I administered a GEDteat at the jail today, so all the primo parking spaces were gone when I got back to campus at 10. I parked in the "Other" lot which meant a short stroll through the woods. And Joy, Joy, there was still sunlight when I left to go home!

Is this not a lovely sight?

You can almost hear the buds swelling. In some sheltered areas, Flowering plum and cherry trees are starting to bloom, and Japanese quince is blushing vividly all over the place.

I don't know what these green flowers are called, but they are so welcome when they bloom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

initiate pre-trip frenzy - - - now!

Two weeks from today, fourteen days from this very minute, We will be enroute to HongKong on our way to Sydney. OMG I haven't begun to pack! Eeep, jibber, fremeltz!I'll need clean underwear, traveling knitting, medicines, back-up knitting, glasses, back up glasses, alternate back-up knitting, clean shirts, and pants and probably a skirt and socks, a book. another book, brush, toothbrush, shampoo, real poo, PRESENTS!! WheredidIputhepresents? I need to make a list of places to look. Gleef!

And I can't even get fully into frenzy mode because I have to be at work. One of the girls fell yesterday and broke her toe, and the doctor wants her to put her foot up today. Well, the extra $$ will come in handy for me, and there's a limit, really, to how far in advance I can pack. I start finding "Handy" things to stick in. It would be "Handy" to have extra knitting needles - just in case. It would be "Handy" to have a little notebook to jot down insights while I'm out. It would be "handy" to have some scarves and belts and sashes and a sarong and a warm sweater and . . . I need to remember that if I NEED something, they have stores in Australia.

Monday, February 15, 2010

too much rich food

Does this count as eye candy?

I was up and down all Saturday night with indigestion. DH and I had Valentine's breakfast at Sully's - Strawberry waffles for him - oatmeal for me. Then we went grocery shopping and discovered that Winco is nearly empty at 9AM on a Sunday. We visited with TY for a while, then had lunch at Rose's by the lloyd Center. DH had pastrami dip. I had matzoh ball soup. Usually I order something more zesty. He took a good look at me aand said, very kindly, "You look tired." I was. We cancelled a date to see Avatar in 3D and went home. I lay down for a nap at 2PM. He came in to check on me a couple of times, woke me to see if I wanted dinner, woke me to kiss me goodnight. I woke up at 5 this morning and I feel SOOO much better. My mouth tasted like The hordes of Ghengis Kahn had driven their Yaks across my tongue, but aside from that, everything is fine today. Off to work! Tra-la!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Welcome to the party

"Sit anywhere you like," says your cheerful hostess.

The table is replete with goodies.

And tables are positioned conveniently in the living room as well.

Pat and her beautiful daughter Hallie brought cashew shortbread. YUM!!

Tamara brought her world-class biscotti with dried cherries and cranberries in them. What a treat!

Next time, I make pain in the butter cookies, I'll just make simple little solid shapes and not bother with those fussy but pretty window pane cutouts. And I won't put on the jaam until the day I serve them because the jam soaked into the tender cookies and made them way too fragile. The macarons were a great success, and the chocolate cake - well, people were shy about devouring entire slices in public, but many folks were willing to take some home. Luckily, there are a few teenage boys who can be counted on to help clean up the leftovers. Another happy party!