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, January 31, 2012

Good thing my head is attached

It's time to renew my driver's license.  so I drove to the express renewal office, but when I got there it was gone.  Oh yeah.  I saw last year where they had to close that office due to budget cuts.  So I drove home, and looked up the next closest office on the internet.  About twice as far away.  I drove out there, got in line, and when I got up to the counter the nice man said, "And you have your passport or birth certificate?"Oh yeah.  About two years ago we got that law making it mandatory to prove that you're really an American Citizen before you can get a state identification card (driver's license.)  So I drove home, got my passport out of the safe, drove back again, got back into line, twinkled at thence man behind the counter and displayed my passport, then proceeded to have my eyes checked, my documents verified, my picture taken, and my current driver's license punched.  The new license will be in the mail in about two weeks.  And I need to fill my gas tank.

I could have saved a great deal of time and travel if I had just read the full directions on the renewal notice, but I've been renewing my license for 40 some years now, and I thought I knew how to do it.  Things change.

Moreover, I have been listening to the Patrick O'Brian seafaring books.  Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, at sea against Napoleon.  Life on board a warship in the king's navy -- fascinating, horrifying, astonishing.  Based all on fact, woven in with rich, complex characters, and exciting, engaging story lines.  So, when I should have been paying more attention to the task at hand,  half my mind was on board a sailing ship on the way to China, wondering how they were going to manage with everyone coming down with scurvy. Talk about a window into a different world!  The 15-year-old midshipman gets his arm broken so severely that it might need to be amputated.  The captain writes home to the loving parents that the lad has done remarkably well in difficult circumstances, they should be proud of him, and they can take  comfort from the fact that not only is the ship's doctor "A capital hand with the saw," but also that it is the young man's left hand, so loss of it will not in any way hamper his career.

Things sure are different now.  Imagine sending your 12 year old son off to sea to make his living in the world.  I know 12 year olds that won't leave home to take out the garbage!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

calling all carnivores

Do you expect to need your camera in a restaurant?  Wish I had taken mine yesterday.  We had dinner at the Brazil Grill (1201 SW 12th downtown Portland.)   You go through the salad bar, then the servers start coming around with grilled meat on skewers, cutting off slices as you request.  Tri-tip beef roast, mouth-watering tender lamb, chicken thighs marinated in cognac, mouthfuls of  fillet mignon wrapped in bacon, grilled shrimp, bacon wrapped chicken, linguisa sausages, and  cinnamon grilled pineapple that was the nearest my tongue has ever come to heaven.  It's an all-you-can-eat establishment - the servers wear mid-calf boots, black shirts, scarlet belts, and wide-legged black pants tucked into the boots.  Very dashing - gaucho look.  I really wanted to get a shot of the lad carving slices off the lamb.  BIG flashing knife and big flashing  eyes. Ahh- urge to tango!

Afterwards, we saw Hal Holbrook performing Mark Twain Tonight.  He's 85 years old and has been doing this show for fifty some years, off and on.  I imagine the makeup is a lot easier now.  It was enlightening and entertaining and impressive as hell. He took a nice long rant, in Mark Twain's own words,   about the stupidity, cupidity and venality of the members of congress and ended by saying that they should all "be put on the street as  a convenience for dogs."  Practically got a standing ovation for that.

Unfortunately, DH has this fabulous little cowboy butt, and the auditorium seats require the audience to provide their own padding.  He wound up in such pain that we had to leave before the end of the show.  Does anyone else have this problem?  How do you solve it?  He won't allow me to carry a cushion for him.

By the way, that color work object that you are all calling a hat (or two hats) is intended to be a double-sided tea cozy.  I don't make a hole for the spout and handle because heat escapes through those holes.  I just pluck the cozy off when I pour, then pop it back on to keep the tea hot.

I make these by casting on 100 (or so) and working a few inches of k2,p2 ribbing, then knitting to the shoulder of the pot and decreasing to a close.  Then I go back to the bottom, pick up 100 (or so) from the cast-on edge, and work the second half, closing to the top.  You wind up with a tube closed at each end.  Just tuck the one end inside the other, and pull it over your tea pot.  It keeps the tea hot for about two hours.

Did your mom let you have comic books?  I remember the first issue of Spiderman.  And pounds of Little Lulu, Archie and Veronica, Caspar the Friendly Ghost, Superman, Dr. Strange.  We spent summers at the cabin with no electricity, so we got to read anything we liked.  And having older brothers - well . . . I was reading Mad Magazine when I was six.  (25cents cheap)

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Tim and Cindy gave me yarn for Christmas- Cascade 220 - in colors that I rarely use.  Nothing like something outside the typical palate to inspire a girl.  This is the brown side, with some color work in hand-dyed woo I bought becauseI don't use these colors.  I made up the patterns with my graph paper and color pencils.  It makes me think of vines.  In Blues and greys, it would look like waves.
And to my great delight, the hand-dyed yarn shows on the orange side as well, looking even more vine-like.  This was a fun, fast project.

It inspired me  - for the first time ever in a long knitting career - to think about double knitting.  I'm wrassling a practice swatch right now, when I should be knitting short-finger gloves for DH.  Bad Roxie.  No self-discipline.  (She smiles blithely.  Nope.  No discipline what-so-ever when the muses beckon.  La la la!  I'm learning and creating and duty will just have to wait.)

I am so enjoying hearing what people read while growing up.  I'm wondering if what we read shaped our adult selves, or if we were already shaped and reading what best pleased us.  I had older brothers and a literate father, so the boys books were much more readily available.  I had Nancy Drew, too, but compared to The Fantastic Island, and She,  Nancy Drew was mostly milk-toast.  Did anyone else read,The Bobsey Twins?  Slice-o-life from upper middle-class America circa 1930.  Wonder if the library has copies?

Friday, January 27, 2012

another quilt finished

MJ and I got together and used some leftovers to make a cheery crib quilt for Medical Team International.  We work really well together and design on the fly.   Fast and fun - just what I hope for the Piece-a-thon.  Getting lots of good responses already.  It's going to be a FUN birthday!

Dave asked how long it took to make the Aran sweater.  I had it at two different knitter's teas, so that means it took over a month.  I lost several good knitting days to second sleeve syndrome.  I get so annoyed with having to do exactly the same thing all over again that I just give the whole thing a time out.  Since I wasn't knitting, I was picking at my cuticles and chewing my fingernails.  When I got down to the quick I realized what was going on, bit the bullet, and finished that silly sleeve.  Then I whipped right through a stranded color work tea cozy - double-sided.  Now I am inspired to try some double-knitting for another tea cozy.  No seconds of anything there.  I also have some black sock weight alpaca for short-finger gloves for DH, but at least I have a 40" circular so I can magic loop and knit them both at once.  I do best with one project at a time. Well, andI  like to have something mindless to knit in the movies.  So two projects at a time.  I'm thinking of setting up a seed-stitch moebius scarf, but there really aren't any movies I'm dying to see in the near future.

BUT, When John Carter of Mars opens, I want to be there.  I read everything Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote when I was in my early teens.  He was terrifically prolific.  There was Tarzan, of course.  There was the John Carter of Mars series.  There was a series set on Venus and another series set in a wild hidden country inside the earth's crust (Pellucidar).  All with mighty, noble heroes and beautiful, succulent, noble heroines and all strictly PG but just voluptuous with sensory details. A great deal of my sense of How a Story Should Be was shaped by Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Rider Haggard.  Ripping tales from the turn of the past century.

Who did you read when you were growing up?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My latest knitting project - cables for the daughter of a friend.  I hope it's long enough.  It was a pleasure to make.  Cascade 220. Mostly knit on size 5s.  The collar is knit on 3s, then 5s, then 7s to make it spread over the shoulders.  It has four plait cables on the front because the family, mother, father, son and daughter, are a close-knit family.  The sleeves have a six plait cable because the son and daughter are old enough to engage additional members.

And here are the buttons.  This picture has the most accurate color for the yarn.  I shopped for the right buttons for ever so long.  And finally, I found these in JoAnnes of all places.

I made afterthought buttonholes.  So handy for when you are winging it and don't know how long the button band is going to be.

She's a buxom lass.  I hope the placement of the cables is flattering.

Now I'm working a little tea cozy in brown and orange, and I will use the left-overs for a hat.  And then I'm on to a pair of alpaca short-fingered gloves for DH.  Knitting is such a comfort.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mark your calendars

On March 3rd, 2012, you are all invited to a grand stash-busting piece-a-palooza at the Milwaukie Community Center on Rusk Road.  I will teach you quick and dirty techniques for piecing quilt tops, and the results of our work will be donated to Medical Teams International.  Bring your portable sewing machine if you have one.  Come anyway if you don't.  We will need planners, pinners, pressers, and sewers. Husbands and children are also welcome.  If you have old blankets that we can use for batting, they will be welcome as well.  This is a great ending for those tired old mauve paisley sheets you are sick of.  We will provide pizza, tea, coffee and cookies.  From 10 till 3 -   come when you can.

This is my 62nd birthday party.  We're gonna have FUN!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I has new boots

Ever since I was a teenager I have wanted knee high boots, but always found them to be prohibitively expensive.  And used to be, large sizes were only basic, boring styles.They didn't even MAKE sexy boots in my size.  But girls have been getting bigger, and tall boots have been getting more stylish.

And then, DH and I went for lunch at the deli in the chichi neighborhood.  As we were standing in line, waiting for a table to clear, a couple of ladies came in and showed their new purchases to the waitress. (her mom and sis-in-law it turns out) and the boots were cute and OMG cheap and the shop was just down the block. The waitress had called everyone she knew.  After lunch, DH and I sauntered on to this tiny shop and wedged our way in and my boots were there!  For - can you believe it - $30!  I've seen similar boots (in earlier decades) for ten times that.  I snapped them up!  And I also picked up a pair of shorter boots with buckles and straps on them for $20.  I know these aren't made in America.  I doubt they're even real leather.  (DH says they're ratskin) They probably won't stand up to a year's hard wear.  But - but- but -  they are a fantasy I've had for fifty years.  And don't they look hot?  I can totally ROCK these boots!  I will look for excuses to wear them.  I am jazzed beyond words.  I has new boots!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's all gone now

 DH now has photographic proof that I have been seen confronting snow.  He got this picture on Sunday. As you can see, I was not happy about it.  I know that there are people who will gleefully frolic in this stuff, who find it serene and ethereally beautiful.  Well, bloody good for you!  We hates it, we does. Nasssssty sssnowsesss!  We're GLAD it's all melted now!

My pajama day was blissful yesterday.  My bones no longer ache, and my eyes no longer roll shut whenever I stop moving.  Thank you for validating my down time.  Used to be, I knew when I was sickening for something.  It was so rare to feel less than tiptop that I recognized it instantly.  Now, I'm draggin' tush by the end of every day.  My inner critic says that there are women in their 80s who have more vim than I, and it's my own fault if I'm not as fit and vital as they are.  My inner comforter reminds me that there have always been women with more ______ (vim, strength, success, beauty, intelligence, self-discipline, etc. . ..pick one - or several )  than I have.  And there always will be.  We have different strengths, and we pay different prices for the things we cherish.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Worser nature

A quilted tea-cozy, because it's raining on the snow, and I wanted to see something bright and cheery.

 I'm glad the snow is going away.  I'm glad I'm not going anywhere today.  So far this morning, I have lain fallow, done Jack-shit, flopped around in my bathrobe, petted the kitties, and napped.  This may wind up being a pajama day, and if DH weren't out working his butt off, there would be many more of the same.  I am slothful by nature. I wallow in indolence.  I am an Olympic quality layabout.  I haven't even turned on the TV yet.  I can spend a whole day with no more entertainment than a blanket, a sofa and a window.

Maybe I'm coming down with something.  I have been bone-achingly weary the past few days, and though I know I OUGHT to exercise, clean house, run laundry, write, knit, sew, be productive and contribute to society -  the siren song of the recliner is so sweet and loud that it's almost impossible to deny.  The only thing that might keep me from more sleep is some food.  First I'll eat, then I'll nap.  You know, sometimes you just gotta give in to your worser nature.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


We interrupt this previously scheduled report with some late-breaking news.  It's snowing!  Eeeeeeeeeeeee!  The sabertooth mammoths are going to come down from the glaciers and hunt me down and tread me into the tundra because they're mean bastards.  Being extinct will do that to a species.  HATE snow!!

OK, back to our previously scheduled report.
We were twenty two at the knitter's tea yesterday.  Ten in the dining room, and twelve in the living room and laughter and joy for all.  Here's the best part-in-action photo I got.
Individual cheesecakes with cherry topping, and fancy wrappers.  When DH saw me assembling the wrappers he asked what they were.  I told him they were party dresses for the cheese cakes.

I'm quite chuffed with myself over the tiered plate I made.  A round mirror  on the bottom, then 3 champagne glasses supporting a glass turntable from an old microwave. Space was at a premium and I needed to stack the food.

From the top down, almond macarons, middle tier: shortbread cookies with marion berry jam filling (YUM!) and peanut butter cookies. Bottom tier: Dark chocolate brownies and milk chocolate brownies with cinnamon.

There were lots of clementines left over.  Go figure.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

love it

Rosy-fingered dawn.
Rosy-footed Roxie

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's a cat's life

Don't you wish your life was this perfect?

As for the Wednesday photo, no, I did not know the fellow.  No, I did not ask if I could take his photo.  No, he never realized his southern exposure was being memorialized.  I never even saw his face.  I was just in the right place at the right time with the camera in my pocket.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It's ass-watch Wednesday, and the Bad Grannies are at it again!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

prepping for the party

 For some reason, January is the month when everyone is able to make it, and I will be seating first-comers at the table and late-comers in the living room.  I have 21 acceptances!  Woohoo!  Individual cheesecakes,  almond macarons, hazelnut scones,  marionberry cookie sandwiches, clementines, deviled eggs, and little bowls of cashews.  Sounds like the theme is nuts to winter!  One of these days, I will get the macaroons RIGHT!  Hmmm - with so many people, maybe another cookie would be good.  Peanut butter!  Nuts to winter indeed!

Wish you could be here and see the lovely winter sunlight slanting down through the branches of the plum tree.  The shadows are so stark and the afternoon light so golden and warm-looking.  It's cold enough to give me nip-ups when I run to the mailbox, but is sure does look purty out there.

Remember the magnolia branches I said I was going to try to force?  5 buds are popping open today!  This is so cool!  I didn't think anything would happen, but the branches looked so artsy that I though I'd just leave them there.We shall see how the buds blossom out.

We have a new roof.  The house was re-roofed just before we bought it, 17 years ago.  This winter, I noticed spots where the plywood under the shingles was starting to rot, and I lobbied for a metal roof - successfully.  We're looking at retirement, and we don't want to be facing roofing expense every couple of decades or so.  The metal roof is supposed to be good as long as we live.  It's tile red, and and I loves it!
If we decide, down the road, to do a water catchment system, it will be easy to install.  And if we decide to add solar panels, they'll fit right between the ridges of the roofing. There was a honking big industrial sized drop box in our driveway for the better part of a month, and I was parking in the driveway of the un-occupied house next door.  And of course, Since this was all done over the holidays, it took twice as long as we had expected.  But I have realized that any time you have contractors in, it is GOING to take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expected and that's just the way it is.  I need to get over being surprised by this.  It didn't cost quite twice as much (there was more rot than anticipated, and they wound up replacing the skylight as well) but I'm still satisfied with the results.

And that does it. No more changes in the house for the foreseeable future.  DH is talking about retiring to Hawaii.  He's found a real-estate website and is feasting his eyes on the tropical properties. If he continues in this vein, I'll have to talk him down. Hawaii is paradise, and I love to visit, but the idea of packing the whole house and moving is just too daunting.  Sorting out which teacups I want to take and which I can bear to part with would be more than I could stand, just for starters.  Then there's the yarn stash, the fabric stash, the books ... No, I think it'll be easier to just stay here till I die.

 (If you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans. I'll do whatever I need to when the time comes.)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

making - do!

Pay it forward 2012. I will send something handmade to the first five people to comment on this. The only condition is that you repost and pay it forward. It can be as simple as you wish but must be handmade by you. I will gladly send stuff anywhere in the world ♥

Friday, January 06, 2012

Love these socks some more.

Dave is so right!  The trick to theses socks is to wear them proud and LOUD!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Another quilt finished

 Using up some of the fabrics that LG passed along to me, I took some pre-cut squares and sewed light to dark.  Just sort of scrambled together, but it turns out kind of cute.  And the big border makes the finish easy.  I am having such fun using other people's palates.  There was one chunk of farmyard print that I pitched in because it's a kid's quilt.
Every square looks different depending on the animals that show up.  Dogs,pigs, chickens, geese - -
Sheep, cats, bunnies, cows - -
And then we got a cat of our own on the quilt.  Ben is sure that I made this just for him.  Isn't that a happy face?


I can tell a robin from a pigeon.  I recognize wild turkeys, pheasants, quail, Canada geese and and a few other birds you can eat if you really have to (like starlings.)  A turkey vulture is the bird hanging way high with wing feathers like separate fingers.  Blue herons look like pterodactyls when they fly. I have a light and passing familiarity with the larger  birds, but lately, I have become interested in these LBBs - the Little Brown Birds that are partying at the feeder.  Juncos and finches and chickadees and bush-tits. LG, bless her heart, is going to give me a bird-watching outing to introduce me to some more of the little feather dusters.  But in the meantime, can anyone recommend a book like, "Little Brown Birds for Dummies?"

(Brace yourselves.  This could lead to blurry shots of leaves and shadows with the proud caption, "The little brown spot in the upper left corner is either a Clemson's Warbler or an El-Ay Wrapper.")

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I really do love these socks

Dave Daniels was right.  The black acetate knit gaucho pants just didn't do the socks justice.  But if you match them with a nice pink print skirt  -  -   cunning, donchathink?  A woman walks down the street wearing this outfit, you know she's not afraid of anything!

Monday, January 02, 2012

We took a walk

New Year's day, DH found that our favorite deli (Kornblatt's)was open so we drove over that a way for lunch.  As we passed the Jaguar dealership we saw that they have gone all holiday on us, putting antlers and a red nose on the leaping logo. Merry Christmas, ho, ho, ho!

We parked a ways from the deli and sauntered around in the dry, relatively warm day.  I strolled DH through a neighborhood where I used to live and bored him rather silly with tales of events that had occurred here and there.  Like the restaurant where I first found out that for some people, me included, drinking schnapps and eating pickled herring at the same time results in disastrously low blood pressure.  The only time I have ever passed out in a restaurant.

These doors belong to a middle eastern restaurant where we have been a couple of times, and each time, they have forgotten my order and left me without food.  Everyone else got served, and there I sat with nothing.  Once could have been an honest mistake.  Twice?  They don't need my business. But the doors are cool.

This neighborhood is upscaling considerably from the time I lived here.  There are a hundred little boutiques where once there were scruffy bars.  run down old houses have been converted to chichi salons, and the shoe repair shop with the resident cat that used to sleep in the window, is now a trendy coffee bar.  This used to be slums, but now it's where successful lawyers bring their husbands to dine. And yet, these bits and pieces of the old days still show up  here and there.

This is the front of an art studio. But I could swear that old guy lived behind the dumpster of the warehouse that used to be here.  You could tell when it was spring.  The bums would try to hit on you before they would spare-change you.  "Hey baby, ya wanna party?  You sure?  Well, could you spare a couple of dollars so I can go party?"  Back in those days, if I had a couple dollars to spare, I would go to the grocery store and treat myself to a box of Earl Grey tea.  Quiet parties.  My apartment had a south-facing bedroom and one Sunday morning when I treated myself to breakfast in bed, the sun broke through the clouds and filled the room like honey.  I just lay in bed sipping my tea and basking.

Yeah, doesn't take much to please me.  And it doesn't take much to amuse me, either.
Wish we had gotten closer.  This van is a rolling work of art.  "There's a lion above the fender./ You can offer legal tender, to help to make the van go/ so art in Portland can grow."  I love living in this city!

Oh, lunch at the deli was delicious!  I have fallen in love with their matzo-ball soup.  It tastes like comfort.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

OMG it's a whole new year!

Last night, DH and I lounged in front of the TV with another finger-food feast and champers, watching Johnny Deppin "On Stranger Tides" and then I took a bath and went to bed before 10 PM.  I am SUCH a lightweight!  I'm the one for whom matinees  are made.  And "EarlyBird" dinners.  And even though I wasn't awake and alert to bring it on, never the less, the old year passed and the new one arrived.  The neighborhood has changed enough that no one blew things up or fired guns last night, so I slept through all those changes.  Did I miss anything?

We have a magnolia tree in the back yard that has grown so large that in the summer, when the boughs are heavy with leaves, they almost reach the ground.  Makes mowing the lawn a pain.  So DH decided that he would go prune the tree yesterday.  I got my new, long handled clippers and joined him outside, and we gave that tree a wicked trim.  Then I went for the denuded Christmas tree, chopping it into pieces that would fit in our fire pit.  We spent hours playing with the fire.  Gasoline was brought into play to start the flames since everything had been doused with two inches of rain in the past two days.  I had been folding boxes to recycle, but cardboard boxes make great chimneys to make the fire draw harder.  Then I figured that, instead of blowing on the coals, I could use a small flattened box as a fan, and we were able to get the trunk of the Christmas tree to ignite.  There is a certain primal pleasure in playing with fire.  Eventually we ran out of dry fuel, and things smoldered to an end, but if we ever have to survive on a reset island, we do know how to make things burn.

I saved a few of the magnolia stems and have them stuck in a vase full of water  in the living room to see if they will bloom like forsythia when brought into the warm.  The yard debris can is full, and there are still loads of branches if anyone else wants to try.