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.”

Monday, May 31, 2010

when am I?

Saturday DH and I were out shopping and we passed the big Asian supermarket. "I'd like to go through that place sometime," I remarked. He turned the car around and said, "Why not now?"

It was fascinating! Whole roast ducks hanging in the butcher shop, heads and feet and all. Whole cooked carp. Pints of pig's blood. And the vegetables! Bins of wrinkled, warty mottled things. Piles of long, smooth white things. stacks of sundry leafy greens. Tanks full of live tilapia and lobsters and oysters. Aisles of freezer cases, and more aisles of canned goods. If I ever need a pretty tin of fancy tea cookies, this is where I'll come. And I might pick up a box of mochi balls (sweet rice paste with various fillings) just to give it a try. By then, we had been wandering for more than an hour, and my head was full. We didn't even check out the non-food aisles. Oh, and how can I forget the bakery? Trays of cookies higher than my head, flavored with mango and lychee and ginger and green tea and . . . I was dizzy by that time.

On the way out, we passed a shop selling marble statues, between three and four feet tall. Chinese lions and dragons, rearing horses, and many versions of the holy family (Mary Joseph and baby Jesus.) I had to go back and double check - yes, every one of them had asian features. Joseph with the traditional full thick beard and almond eyes. I liked it!

DH, being the dear man that he is, had gone on line and checked out the nutritional analysis for the TacoBell Fresco meals, and took me out for a Mexican treat for lunch. One Beef Fresco crisp taco has only 139 calories (or something like that) so I tried one. It has so few calories because it's so darn small. Lots of chopped tomato and lettuce, a fried taco shell, and about a tablespoon of seasoned beef-like substance. And, when I looked it up on the Weight Watcher's site, it turns out to have 6 points. DH and I agreed that it would take about three of them to feel like a meal. I get only 23 points a day. Soooo, I'm not gonna blow 18 of those points on crispy taco shells, no matter how well marketed. Still better off with a Burger King Whopper Junior without mayo. Only 6 points, and you feel as if you've eaten something.

Grocery shopping on Saturday was a madhouse. Was it where you live, too? Why should having one more day off work make shopping for food SO much more confusing? People leave their carts crossways across the aisle and wander away, blocking everyone else's path. And women who leave their purse in the cart, wide opeen with the wallet sitting like a plum to be picked . . . It drives me nuts! And of course, at any given time, somewhere in the store, some child is having a melt-down. Those steam-whistle shrieks go right through my head. The bored, resigned husbands tagging along because they have the money and want to see how it's spent, and the newly retired husbands who want to examine every item on the shelves . . . Oh my I was glad to get home!

I submitted my first article for Write on Demand Studios. Finger crossed. "How to Crochet Different Hats" And I proposed a topic for "How to set a pretty table with mis-matched china" that I am working on now.

Sunday, quite unlike myself, I slept in till 8 AM. That's three hours of extra sleep! I must have needed it. It was just a lazy day. I frogged the decreases of the cable cozy I'm working, and started over. I can not seem to count to five.

And it rained. Low 60s and intermittant showers all day. We have the same weather as Sydney Australia and it's autumn for them. Our high was lower than the low for Boston. All you folks in the midwest, enjoy that sunshine for us!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rose Festival weather

The weather has been persistently cool and rainy. My roses love it.

Party dress is getting ready to bloom.

And the Pink Peace is bursting with blossoms.

I wish I could share the fragrance with you. This one sits by my desk, and the whole area is heady with langourous perfume.

I put these three in the garden window, and Pepper acted like it was her job to snort all the smell out of them. For ten minutes, all I could get a picture of was cat butt.
Doncha love my vases? Two empty perfume bottles and a balsamic vinegar bottle. Hey, that stuff's expensive. I feel happier if I can make use of every thing I paid for.
I hit a milestone at Weight Watchers yesterday. I lost ten percent of my starting body weight. 19.7 pounds!! (Yes - I was close to 200 lbs when I started.) So I'm halfway to my goal of 160. I CAN do this!

Friday, May 28, 2010

After the arborists

Brace yourselves. This is going to be rather shocking. We had the apple tree and the pear tree given an orchard cut.

Apple tee before cut.

pear tree (on the left) before cut

apple tree now. The arborist assures me that it will come back just fine. And in the meantime, our black-spotted roses will get some sunshine. We might even try planting vegetables in the backyard garden.

Pear tree post-trim. It's now as tall as the apple tree. No more ripe pears dropping into the neighbor's yard.

It was fascinating watching the process. The guys used ropes and engineering to stabilize the limbs as they were cut. A long limb leaning out over the yard was secured to another limb so that, when it was cut half way through, it didn't crack and split under its own weight. and the butt didn't lurch up and hit the guy with the saw. It was then lowered safely to the ground, sliced into managable bits, and dragged away by the eye-candy (who was evidently a trainee - because the boss was teaching him about the knots used to secure and release the limbs, and showing him how the chipper worked. And he never got to use the power tools.)
Limbs pointing straight up were brought down in sections from the top down. These guys knew what they were doing, took the time to discuss rigging each limb, always used their face shields, and left the yard spic and span. If you want it done right, get a professional to do it.
Meanwhile, I went out to lunch with LG. What a treat! Then I walked her back to her building because the Button Emporium is there. Time flew. I bought only 6 buttons of the hundreds I coveted. (Vintage enameled blue lizards about an inch long for $25 each. WANT! Porcelain circles with hand-painted carp - I couldn't find a price, but was pretty sure that if you have to ask, you can't afford it.)

I settled on these to adorn the tops of the tea cozies. Only $1.50 each, and won't they make charming little lifters when sewn onto the pointy tops?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The tree trimmers are here

What, pray tell is going on in the back yard? It looks like a mountain-climbing team is suiting up.

Or maybe it's a new movie - mountain-climbing chainsaw massacre.

No, today is when the old apple tree and the pear tree get serious haircuts. Arborists Northwest are the guys we hired. I prefer them because they are serious about their safety stuff. They wear hard-hats and ear-protectors, and full climbing gear. They work in practiced teams, and watch out for one another. Our neighbor hired a guy who had no safety harness, fell out of the tree, broke the neighbor's chainsaw (didn't have his own) and wound up taking the neighbor to court over the medical costs of the accident. You get what you pay for!

The apple tree drops apples onto the porch roof for several months. The nice neighbor on the other side is a war vet, and the repeated percussions really interrupt his sleep at night. And the apples aren't all that tasty.
But the clean-up team is.

The boss is dragging the branches around to the front where the chipper makes mulch of them. Some of the limbs are big enough to be firewood.
The blonde guy in the sleeveless T is in charge of hauling out the firewood.
Applewood fires on a frosty winter night. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

reversable cozy

Lo the reversible tea cozy - green side out.
Behold the cozy - rust side out.
This goes into the county fair. I took out mistakes to make it fair-worthy. And boy is this a toasty cozy!
I don't know how well this yarn will felt. I've hand-washed it in the bath-tub and it fulled and softened nicely. Still too scrachy to wear next to the skin, but better. On the needles right now is a rust cable knit version of the cozy duplicating the single stitch lattice. Then I'll turn out a sample swatch and run it through the washer and dryer. Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

slightly soggy

Our little dogwood tree is thriving.
DH bought it for me years ago when it was about three feet tall. It makes me so happy to live here long enough to watch it grow.
Still working on tea-cozies. Right now, half-way through a reversible green and white, and rust and green construct. Being double layer of stranded wool, it's gonna keep it hot till you drain the pot. I may enter this one in the county fair. Next, a rust-colored cable knit cozy. I'mbeginning to visualize a series of cozies displaying different kniting techniques. Intarsia, tucks, maybe even I-cord. No entrelac. I don't like entrelac. I have more ideas than fingers to knit them with.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

sooo quick and easy

These tea cozies work up fast - and I figured how to make the top miter the way I wanted it. I would put this one in the county fair except for the fact that I can't count up to 120, so one side of the square is shorter. And there is no wonky cozy category. (heh heh - how's that for a new name for the Peter Heater?)

I have pounds of this wool that a friend gave me. She got it in Africa from the native women who raised sheep, had the wool spun at a co-op mill, then dyed it with vegetable dyes and sold it to the tourists. It's rough and hairy, too scratchy to wear next to the skin, and DH really hates the colors. Anyone want to share the bounty? It makes a great tea- cozy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good lord I'm dull!

I spent the entire day alone in the house listening to recorded podcasts of "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" and spinning.
I spun up some moss-green merino and some misty gray mohair.

Then I pulled out a treasure from a couple years ago when Fantasy Fibers sold out of Mystery Batts before I even got there, so i had to spend the money on something else. I got grey and rose merino and tussah silk. Oh, I want to rub this on my body and wallow naked in it, but that would be rather unhygenic and render the fiber unsuitable for spinning. So I spun.

It's enough for a tank top I bet, and will be soft enough for underwear. (There are days at work when they turn up the AC to the point that I'm sure they're trying to keep the vegetables fresh.)

Meanwhile, Fly happily tucked himself into my tote and supervised my spinning and listening
untill he got bored and let himself out of the bag.
I am so dull, I can bore a cat. How do you like THEM mouse fritters? (cats don't eat apples.)
This has been a typical spring day. Sunshine, clouds, rain, hail, more sunshine, clouds again, wind gusts, falling branches, more rain, sunshine, and fluctuating temperatures. Oh, and snow in the passes. Who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You won't hear that in Las Vegas

The radio is going in the background. I just heard an ad that keeps Portland weird. "Rent a goat." Goats are great for brush control. You can rent a flock of goats, the owner trucks them to your lot and camps in his RV with them till the brush is gone. Talk about a green solution! He might even milk them while he's at it. And the only carbon footprint is trucking them in and out. Can you rent goats in your town?

As for the tea-cozy . . . well, experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted. I may rip out the top and re-work it. I didn'tplan on the goofy point. On the other hand, it has a certain off-beat charm. Hmmm - I can always use another tea cozy. I may try re-working this in another color combo. County fair entries anyone?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

cozy re-do

I don't often do this, but the tea cozy just wasn'[t working out, so I ripped it out and started over with a simpler pattern which reads much clearer, and suits the pretty nature of the new teapot.

Thirty years ago today, Mt. St. Helen's errupted. The entire top of the mountain blew off. It was a sunny Sunday and I went to a function on the Lewis and Clark campus. There was a porch on the mannor house with a great view of the mountain. People were lined up, eager to see the spectacle, laughing and excited. People leaving the porch were stricken and somber. Seeing that mushroom cloud of ash dwarfing the mountain, spreading inexorably across the sky, was the sort of thing that will put a sense of perspective into your soul. You may be successful, beautiful, smart, and rich, and you still are at the mercy of nature. You think you have it all together? It can be snatched away in a moment, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Having learned that, I resolved to enjoy what I have while I have it. If you're going to have some chocolate, ENJOY that chocolate! If you're going to kiss someone, kiss their socks off! Dance like no one is watching. Appreciate your warm, dry house. Rejoice in the health you have. Share with those less fortunate than you. You are incredibly lucky. Appreciate it.

I don't remember hearing the boom when the mountain exploded. I do remember the earthquake about a week previous. Just a small one, but enough to make the floor shake and the hanging lamps swing.

And then, I remember the ashfalls. Ash got into the ATM machines and made them inoperable. Ash covered the city more than an inch deep on several occasions. Mixed with water, it settled like cement. Car windshileds were scratched by it, and people could exhaust the contents of their windshield washers in an hour. The Rose Parade that year was dry and overcast, and I remember the little kids lined up on the curbs wearing their particle masks. All those annonymous masks got pretty creepy pretty fast, and soon people were drawing smiles or writing greerings on theirs. If you ever try this, do not use a red sharpie to put full scarlet lips on your mask, then wear the mask before the ink has dried. Your head will get all swimmy and you will need to sit down for a while. It's not fun.

Ash filled the gutters on houses, and with the first rain, it set up and clogged the drains. I remember seeing a friend on his roof and asking him what he was doing. He dug out a handful of thick grey mud, dropped it into a bucket on the ground, and replied, "Oh, I'm eaves-dropping."

May you never be under the volcano.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Iron Man 2 Rocks

We had a movie date. I had mentioned that IronMan2 looked like fun, and DH indulged me. And it WAS fun. This is live-action comic books, so I don't care that the bad guys are two dimensional and the romance is barely sketched in. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is cheeky, cocky, and the iconic American self-sacrificing hero. And I loved the teasers for the upcoming Nick Fury Movie . As the Marvel comics frequently do, the movie incorporated characters from other stories. And then, after the longest credits I have EVER seen ("Mr. Downey Junior's stand-in's hair and make-up artist" "Second crew camera B back-up operator") there was a quick clip for an upcoming Avengers of America movie. Oh yeah. I wanna see that too.

The movie was whizz-bang, with broad jokes (though I was often the only one laughing out loud. They may not have been broad enough.) and lots of bright, exciting special effects. But if you want escapist entertainment rather than a profound, life-changing, emotional journey, it's a wonderful summer movie!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I love uninteresting times

DH and I had our usual Saturday breakfast at our usual favorite spot. They bring our coffee and tea without even asking when we sit down. Then we went grocery shopping and after we got the groceries put away, we took some tomato plants to a retired friend and planted them in a box on the sunny south side of his modular home. He loves those fresh tomatoes and enjoys puttering with the plants.

On the way home we stopped at a couple of estate sales. I do not need another teapot. I couldn't resist. It's good solid porcelain and too charming for words. And only $8.

Is this not too adorable?

There was also a pretty plate for only a dollar. And of course, everything always looks better with a kitty.

Home again, home again, jiggety jog. I did some spinning, DH killed video monsters till it was time to go to the awards banquet for his job. DH works closely with a guy who has been working for the same company for 35 years, and was getting his 35 year pin. So up we dressed and off we went.

The freeway was backed up, so they delayed serving dinner, so the show started late. People get cash awards for ten years of service and for every subsequent five years. Not everyone comes to the banquet, so that speeded things up a bit. You can tell the ebb and flow of the company by the survival rate. There were 16 people who had been with the company for 25 years. For 30 years, there were 161 names to call. That means that they had enough seniority during the mid seventies to survive the layoffs. Of that 161, only 32 came to the banquet, to walk forward, accept their bonus check, and get a group photo for the company newsletter. (The company mailed the checks to everyone else.) Ten people had made it for 35 years. The woman presenting their awards had a brief resume to share for each of them. And the night got later and later. Finally, awards for people who had been with the company for fourty years. Two of the 5 guys showed, received their checks, and were applauded. (Fourty years in the same job. The mind boggles) And at last, after the drawing for the door prizes (one winning ticket was 188930. We had 188903.) we were finally released. It was well past 10 PM. I'd been awake since 5 and usually hit sheet street by 8. But it was worth it!

I have started a new tea cozy for my new teapot. Just a nice dusty pink thing in a simple stranded pattern. It's been a long time since I've done stranded color work. My fingers have lost the tension mojo. This will be a nice, warm cozy, but it's gonna need major blocking. Knitting one strand continental, and one strand American really shows off the tension variations I've developed. (American is tighter for me. Continental is much more relaxed.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

monster shawl

I have, for weeks been knitting on this shawl. Simple mitered triangle, back and forth, back and forth. CherryTree Hill yarn that Lyssa gave me. Brown and grey with green sparkles. So when I got bored with back and forth, I started a ruffle knitted perpendicular to the body of the shawl. And then, after I was about a quarter down the side, I realized there wasn't enough yarn to finish the perpendicular ruffle all the way around. So, by golly, I made a deformed, assymetrical monster of a shawl.

And damn it looks good!

frolicking in the spring

We have sunshine.

I wish I could write that in fancy script with flowers, butterflies and hearts floating around it. I wish I could write it in fragrances, with birdsong and and the sweet whisper of leaves in the breeze. I wish I could illustrate it with smiling girls in pretty dresses and young men in spandex on bicycles, with middle-aged women in sun-hats sipping iced lattes in front of coffee shops, and businessmen carrying their jackets and turning their faces up to worship the light. Such days are intermittant. On Monday, it poured with rain. And today, Friday, it looks like it's gonna be GORGEOUS!

Yesterday I took a bag of books down to Powell's and got $30 in cash. Powell's is the largest new and used book store in the US. Imagine a full city block, two to three stories of books. The knitting section is at least thirty feet of shelving ten feet high. All the new books, and an astounding variety of used books from all the decades! Years ago I got a fabulous 1917 book featuring miters that has strongly influenced all my subsequent knitting.

So after wandering in paradise for a while, I paid for my purchases, and headed toward Pastini's to meet with LG for lunch. Oh, but on the way, I passed Knit/Purl and was powerless to resist the pull to just peek in. YUM! Gourmet yarns everywhere you look. OK, I spent more of my book sale money on a small skein of teal blue silk and bamboo yarn. I have mitered squares planned . . .

Lunch with LG was, as always, a feast for the spirit as well as for the mouth. I walked back to my car, just radiating joy. You know how, as you are walking along the street you catch a glimpse of a person off to the side, and then you realize it's your reflection in the shop window? I took a second look, because I thought that the woman I glimpsed looked so happy. And it was me!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a sunny Mother's day

Yes this IS my butt. If you have a couple of axehandles, we could measure it.

DH found a wonderful place for us to start bicycle training. He loves to ride. MJ and RW love to ride. I would rather eat worms, but I try to be a good sport. On sunday we took a lovely easy sunny ride on a nice flat two-mile track with no traffic and lots of other beginners. (There was a largish party including two toddlers who still hadn't taken off the training wheels, and a dad towing a kiddy trailer just in case.) It was breezy enough to be cool and pleasant. I had really a rather pleasant time. And then DH had to get this shot to go in my "Ends" album. Oh well. It is what it is. If I keep riding the bike, will my butt get smaller?

The boss is on vacation right now, and work has been perdition on a skate board the past couple of days. The math department is abusing us with make-up midterms, and people are going nuts trying to finish up a year's worth of stale tests before the end of the term on June 11. And no one wants to do it OUR way!!

How many 18 year olds does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. She holds it up to the ceiling and the whole fricking universe revolves around HER!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Shades of snowballs

As ever, I find lighting a challenge. The color of the snowballs shows up bes in natural light, but then you can't really see that it perfectly matches the border on the pale yellow china. This snowball has been taking up color for 48 hours.

These snowballs have been taking up color for 5 hours. Each petal has just a thin, thin edge of teal, which gives a hint of color to the whole bouquet. Ben likes the way they contrast with his snowy white belly and brisket.

After I got the dishes all washed up and thedining room table shrunken down to seating for 6 insted of seating for 12, DH asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of the afternoon. It was the prettiest day we have seen in a long time. (Portland had 28 days of rain in April)

"Let's go for a walk." I suggested. I was thinking a nice leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.

We went for a walk by the river. Can't complain about that. On the way, we spotted this family group out for a hike.

There were two ladies herding the brood, and traffic waited patiently while the ducklings waddled across the street. OMG they were cute!

Then we got to the river. This is a lovely city park down by the sewage treatment plant.

We had not realized that it went on for quite a ways.

With vistas across the river

And views down the river toward the city. I bet you could see the Fourth of July fireworks from here.

The river beaches are kind of muddy. (DH sure is a scenic lad, isn't he?)

Another family on an outing.

We got out to Elk Rock Island and hiked around.

There are some big old trees on that island.

And on the way back we passed a play structure witha fish-eye mirror. I did a self-portrait. Straw hat, purse slung across the bososm and loose, breezy over blouse. If, when I was 18, I had known I would dress like this at 60, I would have killed myself. I'm at the age where comfort is foremost.
The walk wound up being a lot longer than either one of us anaticipated. I have sore calves and ankles today, but it was worth it!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Too much fun!

Heide beat me to the post. It was such a treat to see her, and she has documented things splendidly. She got a bit disoriented, which is easy to do in our neighborhood, and called her DH, and he sent me an e-mail saying that she was lost and afraid that we might have planned a hazing ceremony where we tie her down and lay acrylic yarn on her. As if! That would mean that someone would actually have to HAVE acrylic.

Chocolate hazlenut cupcakes.

almond macarons (macaron with one O and no coconut) and peanut-butter cookies

Seven of 12 of us. Heide is the brunette third from left. The chicken/cashew sandwiches disappeared (oh crap! I still have about two sandwiches worth of filling in a zip-lock in the fridge. Now I have to eat it.)
Maggie, third from right in blue shirt, brought a phenomenal waldorf salad. and Tamara, 2nd from left, brought her world-famous hazlenut biscotti. They are the only left-overs I did not share.
Barb came a bit late, and, having an eagle scout at home, consented to take home some of the extra calories. And Heide, after some arm-twisting and stern looks, took cupcakes and cookies home as well. "Now I won't have to cook dinner!" she exclaimed.
"Cookies aren't a full meal!" I protested.
"Well, I'll give them milk, too, of course." she assured me. And now, she says that they have eaten everything, and turned the bags inside out and licked them. It does a cook's heart good.

And as if the joy of good company and celebratory women was not enough, Heide brought me a skein of "Socks that Rock" in Undertoe, and Diane, as is her wont, has generously given me some orphaned sock yarn.
Oh, and everyone said very nice things about the new china which occasioned the nutty theme of the menu. I did not need another set of china. I went nuts!