Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
|Shirley's teddy bear, photo taken by Shirley|
|[stuffed] cougar, photo taken by Shirley|
|Shirley and the cougar|
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I'm making a S-twist fingering weight single out of it, which I plan to "menace" slightly to make it more stable. I've never tried this particular spinning technique before, so it's interesting to see what happens.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Or so I thought. But as I was listening to the radio today, I actually heard the commentator say with all seriousness, "Now that the 2010 election is over, there's only 735 days until the 2012 election, so it's time to start campaigning!"
Friday, October 1, 2010
My mind was wandering a bit, so it took a while for the question to register. "I'm pretty happy with my current job--wait do you mean "family planning," by any chance?
"Yeah, that sounds about right."
Monday, September 13, 2010
I've been commissioned to make a baby hat, booties, and mitts for a friend, and she's paying me. I don't usually make baby things, but I will for her. Hooray for yarn money!
Monday, August 23, 2010
I've gotten some spinning done lately, but much less than usual. Why? Because I, dear friends, have had the glorious, incomprable experience that is strep throat. When your joints hurt so badly that you start to wonder if your thighs bend, and your tonsils are so swollen that you're concerned that you may accidentally swallow them, anything activity more intense than pouring yourself another shot of NyQuil generally doesn't happen.
I'm feeling better now thanks to antibiotics, but I may never like soup again!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
She sent me about three pounds of fiber, and all of it was pretty. I've mislaid the sheet I wrote everything down on, but here's a general idea:
Spice-colored wool roving, with streaks of cinnamon, orange, red, and dark brown. Two batts of Finn/Merino wool in the lightest of grays. Three "Audrey batts" of alpaca/wool that she dyed and blended herself. The infamous "Electric Popsicle" roving. Organic alpaca roving from a small farm in Kansas which has the names of the responsible alpacas on the package! Eight ounces of alpaca locks, some superwash wool, and an absolutely exquisite bump of merino/tencel from Th'Red Head Designs in green and gold! The spinning wheel is calling to me.
Brian says this should keep me in spinning fiber for about a week.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
For the Fourth of July, we visited Brian's parents and did the traditional barbecue on the beach. For me, it just doesn't seem like Independence Day without lighting marshmallows on fire. (I've never had the patience to toast them "properly" for smores. Light 'em up and blow them out before they completely turn in to charcoal, I say.)
We introduced the Mimi to her first-ever smore. "I'm covered in sugary goo and I want to share!"
She also recently learned how to feed herself semi-liquid foods with a spoon. Oatmeal got everywhere, but she did it all by herself.
I saw this sign at the Black Sheep Gathering last month. It's an important distinction, but there were so many shops selling handmade baskets that I can't help but wonder if it's just a clever bit of PR.
We visited Mom last month. It's hard to tell what the Mimi's expression is when she has her fingers in her mouth, but note the matching maniacal grins. Insanity is hereditary--you get it from your kids!
If I spend weeks and weeks knitting a sweater out of lace weight yarn on size 3 needles only to get to the armpits and find out that my bust is more than 26 inches, I can rip it out. I can turn it back to yarn, I can use it for stuffing in a decorative pillow, I can cut it up and make coasters out of it. Why? Because it's yarn! I've never punished a failed project by setting it on fire, but I've removed the needles from more than one and just thrown it in the Dumpster because I was that disappointed with it. No one died, and I went on to happily complete other projects.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Mimi also loves cats. She spends a lot of our Sunday visits with my sister in law chasing her four cats around. Three of them treat her with a good-natured tolerance (and ever-present hope that she'll drop food for them.) But the oldest cat, Shakti, is short-tempered and doubtless the reason that my nephew recites House Rule Number One as "cats are sharp--and fast!"
Our neighbor has been feeding a paranoid gray alley cat for the last couple of years. At this point he's no longer completely feral, but he's understandably still a bit twitchy. As we were out gardening last week, he slinked home after discovering his place in the local feline hierarchy. He moved as though every joint in his body ached and was missing a large section of one ear. Large patches of his fur were newly absent and replaced by healing scabs.
The Mimi looked at him with wide eyes. "Kitty has owie!"
"Yes honey, the kitty has lots of owies."
Comprehension dawned as she put new ideas together. "Shakti!"
But true to Brian's theory, he still let the Mimi pet him!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This month, the only other nurse at my work quit abruptly, leaving me to cover three clinics. They got a temporary nurse to help out for two days a week; as she's the woman who held this position before me, I'm confident that she's really good at the job. The bosses say that they're trying to fill the empty position as soon as possible, but given the reality of government budget cycles, it will probably be at least three or four months before they hire someone.
And then just as all the turnover and schedule changes were happening at work last week, our family got food poisoning. If you want to lose a couple of pant sizes, there's nothing like some spectacular gastrointestinal distress and no solid food for 60 or so hours to make it happen!
In the midst of all this chaos, however, I have found time for yarn. I may be spinning it instead of knitting with it, but yarn is yarn, right? The first few pictures are of my most recent dyeing escapade. I originally tried to dye the wool less saturated shades of pink, blue and grass green, but the dye struck much faster than I'd anticipated. I sorted the wool by color and intensity and then handcarded it. Then I laid out all the batts in order of color progression.
I also bought wool from a local vendor, Hungry Hill Farm, and intentionally tried to spin a big fluffy single on the wheel with a Z-twist.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
As I was commuting one morning several months ago, I found myself day-dreaming about how to paint the countryside with watercolor. (Daydreams about welding are pretty normal for me.) I realized I really want to get back into painting. My preferred medium has always been oil, but in my current situation, it has several drawbacks: I have a four room apartment, with no room to dry canvases. (And I'd like to retain my damage deposit when we move next.) Oil paintings generally take (depending on climate) anywhere from several days to several weeks to dry. Add in some toxic paints and turpentine and a small person who has just barely finished the "It's pretty, can I eat it?" stage, and you've got a recipe for disaster.
So I decided watercolor was the safest and least messy way to get back to painting. Finances are still tight for us, but I have a birthday next week. My in laws gave me $20 and an easel, both of which should help quite a lot. I've been checking out the various online art vendors and making a shopping cart of supplies to compare prices, and I found this:
Monday, April 12, 2010
I thought the plan would be politely laughed off, but it spread. Before I knew it, I was getting e-mails from other departments (everything from WIC to the developmental disabilities department) wanting in on the fun. (Yes, I work in a mostly female environment. However did you guess?) One of the men who works in my office asked if he was invited, and all I could think to say was "if your life has been enriched by birth control, you are certainly welcome."
"Great--it's because of birth control that I don't have to pay any child support!"
On Friday, when I got to work, the secretary had papered my office door (I have an office! It's awesome!!!!) with flyers about the potluck that afternoon and the accomplishments of Dr. Pincus. think they like me here.
The potluck itself was fun. We had lots of food and we shared about labor experiences, theories of childbirth preparedness, recipes, STDs, and discussed menstrual troubles. (As one of my male co-workers said "Thank you for inviting me, but I draw the line at gender reassignment surgery!")
We plan on doing another in September to celebrate Margaret's accomplishments.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Last week, the county's infectious disease department, whom I used to work for, had their required H1N1 debriefing and requisite planning for the next mass vaccination pandemic.
Even though I don't work for their department anymore, they still invited me to come--and then badgered my current bosses into letting me come, and paying me to go! I love public health! So we went to Seaside, where I just had to snap a pic of this famous statue of Lewis and Clark. Don't they look impossibly heroic? It says "End of the Trail" on the plinth, but I can't escape the feeling they're saying "Well, Bill, looks like we're lost again!"
When I got back from the conference, I had a fiber package from Silfert waiting for me. (Every six months or so, we do a fiber swap. It allows both of us to rotate our stashes, and cuts down on the nagging from husbands about "you spent HOW much on fiber?") The Mimi promptly rifled through the box, grabbed the baggies labeled "Shirley's girly goth batt" (pink in the photo) and danced around the house with them.
I also got a stunning superwash wool/tencel blend from a dyer I adored in Kansas, but haven't been able to get her products here, as well as some amazing roving dyed by Silfert herself. The brown bag in the above photo is a wool/tencel blend from the spectacular Traci Bunkers of Bonkers Fibers, who has a wonderful eye for color. It turned out to be too slippery to spin on the wheel, so I've been spinning it on the drop spindle instead. It's great fun to spin, and I think I see a shawl on the horizon.
The Mimi turned two a couple of weeks ago. One of the gals from San Francisco sent her this adorable vest. Pink is always her favorite color!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Because Mother Nature has a sick and twisted sense of humor, this does not seem to be the case for the Mimi. The first time we put her into a dress when we were near a full-length mirror, she ran over to the mirror to twirl around and admire herself. Many toddlers disassemble their link-a-dink toys, but she's the only one I know of who wears them as bangle bracelets!
So it's no surprise that her first multi-syllable word is "Jewelery." She likes to climb in my lap, pat my earrings, and say "jewelery, yeah!" with a blissful expression.
As I'm sure many spinners do, I've got a fiber stash of odds and ends that's too small to "do something" with, but I'm reluctant to throw out. You know what I mean: the half ounce of alpaca from my first wash/dye/card experience, 15 grams of recyled silk fibers, half yards of handspun yarn, etc. So I thought I'd card it all together and make some fun batts with them.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
With the job giving flu shots, my schedule was flexible. Some days it was 9-3, some days it was 1-8pm, but generally it was 11-5. This job is 8:30-5, and that's taking a bit of getting used to. (I can't stay up past midnight any more--not if I want to be a nice person in the morning.)
The Mimi has been having some trouble with this. She looks so confused when I leave for work at the new time. I know there's a small voice in her head that says "Mama is wearing her nice clothes and leaving already? I just woke up half a sippy cup ago!"
Saturday, January 30, 2010
"It is rude to try to stuff an emery board in someone's sock--especially while they're still wearing it."
"Give me back the DVD and I'll let you play with this hatchet instead."
"You're being a jerk. I don't pick up jerks."
"I am Ma-Ma. Da-Da is the one with the beard."
"We do not disassemble the furniture for entertainment."
"Must you be a punk [this early in the morning, in Fred Meyer, at the library, just because your barette fell out]?"
"Go ahead, throw a fit--you really think anyone's going to notice a screaming toddler in Wal-Mart?"
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
She doesn't really seem to care what it is (apart from an obsession with "kitty puppy TV" (Garfield and Friends). However, even though I am fond of Garfield, I can only take so much. So we've been watching a fair share of random documentaries. They meet the Mimi's need for background noise, as well as my need for something resembling intellectual stimulation.
So far, we've watched John Cleese's Wine for the Confused (just what it sounds like), Shakespeare's Women and Claire Bloom (a talented theatre star discussing the female characters in the Bard's work) Food, Inc. (how agribusiness is no longer family farms) and the Botany of Desire (what if plants selectively breed themselves to get us to spread them around more?) as well as countless others which weren't particularly memorable.
As long as it's not too violent, I'll watch anything that looks interesting to me. (Except for horror movies, which one might argue fall into the "violent" category.) Is "omnivorous" a word which can properly be applied to TV consumption?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
We had a lovely immediate family Christmas Eve celebration at my sister in law's house. After trying desperately (and failing miserably) to keep Shirley out of the Christmas tree, we finally let her help decorate it. There was a definite line of ornaments all along the tree showing where she could reach!
For Brian's adopted grandmother Shirley, I knitted a variation on the Ice Queen cowl from knitty.com. I hate working with mohair, so I used my silk handspun yarn. And since it was my first time working lace from a chart, I left the beads off.
I forsee someone getting an especially vibrant hat for his birthday...