Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finished socks

I'm in a blogging rut. Since I've had the pure pleasure of spending most of the last week at home napping, knitting, watching movies, and walking the dogs, there's not a heck of a lot of interesting blog fodder.

I finished the socks I started on the trip to Chicago. I lurve them. So pink! I have a ton of yarn left, so I may try to make Eunny's Endpaper mitts if I have something in my stash that coordinates.

Meanwhile, I'm currently knitting on my interminable complicated sweaters, a pair of socks for Trent out of some of the Fleece Artist yarn I got in Chicago, and a baby sweater. The baby sweater is almost done (yay!) but I ran out of yarn (boo!). Back to the Fiber Gallery for me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas decorations

We decorated, in a small way. (That tree's about a foot and a half tall, with the pot.)

Some of the decorations didn't last very long.

It's been a very low-key holiday season. I've been sick since my birthday (the 19th), so we haven't been as festive as usual. But now I have antibiotics, and the doctor's encouragement to sleep as much as I want, so I expect to feel better soon.

I'll try to get back into the blogging groove with a report on wooly holiday presents in my next post. Maybe I'll even finish something...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I will not mock the meterologists

They weren't kidding. The storm was terrifying and dangerous. (I feel bad about the title of my last post, because there really were fatalities from the storm.) The winds really picked up at about 10 pm. We lost power somewhere between 11 and 12. Stella conked right out, but Chloe was pacing and nervous, and all of us jumped up everytime something thumped against the house. I finally convinced Trent to let me break the one sacrosanct house rule, and I heft Chloe up into bed with us. I couldn't handle being anxious about my house and my dog, so I found it reassuring to have her taking up 2/3 of the bed.

In the morning, we were pleased that no windows were broken and the roof wasn't leaking. Here's what was waiting at my front door:

No, I didn't artistically lean them there - that's where they landed. Here's the spot where I usually park my car:

And here's the roofline of my block of townhouses.

We've got a little bit of damage to our siding and the weather stripping around our bay window, but I feel really, really lucky. Our power was back on around noon the next day, our local Fred Meyer's had generators and hence stayed open, and our phone stayed on.

In happier news, I gave Melissa her red scarf, and she loved it.

I finished spinning by Tahiti BFL from Spunky Eclectic. I randomly 2 plied. (The colors are right in the first picture, and the second is for scale.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Killer weather!

I'm really going to have to change the subtitle of the blog so it mentions weather, since god knows I seem to post about it all the time. We're currently at home wondering how long the power will be on. I should be at school teaching the final film and lit class of the term, but the power went off at work just before class was due to start.

The wind hasn't been quite as ferocious as our (admittedly hysterical and paranoid) local meteorologists predicted...not yet anyway. According to one forecaster, the worst of it will come late tonight. My favorite visual so far comes from

I think what this map really needs, though, are some "here there be dragons" or "here there be the waves of death" illustrations.

Grace and style
It hasn't been my week for trousers and pockets. First there was the key episode on Monday (thank you for your support). Today's trousers have a hole in the right pocket. While teaching, I tend to wave around my dry erase markers while I'm lecturing. To keep track of them, and also try to limit the number of times that a marker slips out of my fingers and pelts a student, I frequently stick them in my pocket. Since I'm right handed, at some point during today's writing class I forgot about the hole and stuck my marker in my right pocket. A minute later I reached in the pocket, only to discover that the marker had made a break for it.

I kept talking about introductory devices while idly taking a couple of steps to help the marker work its way down. When I felt it slither out past my ankle, I calmly bent down to pick it up, still talking. If any of my students noticed, they were kind enough not to point it out.

Maybe I'll wear skirts all next week.

I finished my second batch of Soaring Eagles Project hats and got them off in priority mail today. It looks like Rachel is going to make her goal of a hat per student, which is fabulous news. I hope she posts pictures of the hat distribution assembly.

In other knitting news, I'm working on the Chicago sock. I still can't seem to concentrate on sweaters. Meanwhile, I'm spinning my second bobbin of Tahiti BFL. Yummy. I can't wait to finish it ('cause, you know, I need more sock yarn).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chicago, now with pictures

I'm safely back home, and have downloaded the pictures from our trip. We didn't take many, but here they are.

It was really damn cold. Bracingly cold. Bitterly cold. The kind of cold that makes you think your eyeballs could fall out. We were bundled, but it still didn't feel like enough, even standing in the CTA tunnels to catch the red line.

One of the best parts of the whacky jazz show at the Ice Factory? They have a cat named Ernest Borgnine, and he wears a bow tie.

Trent was totally horrified by the rack rates for our hotel room (it wasn't THAT nice).

I was just impressed with the view from the 46th floor.

Seattle's public library is cool, but Chicago's is by god imposing, with really cool statuary on the top (and check out that blue sky!).

The fiber report
I spent our travel time working on a sock from some lovely handpaint that my tea swap buddy, Tawana, sent me. It's from J. Knits and it's lurvely. I'm using 2 mm needles because it seems skinnier than most merino sock yarns.

Here's what I bought at Loopy Yarns. That's 3 skeins of Fleece Artist 2/6 merino sock yarn; in Blue Lagoon, Burgundy, and Rainforest; lounging against 8 oz of roving.

Meanwhile, my sweet Sweetie gave me an early birthday/anniversary/Christmas present, some roving from Spunky Eclectic. I dived right into the Tahiti-colored BFL. Mmmmm, tropical.

A tale of great clumsiness
Today I went to work wearing trousers that have fairly shallow pockets. I went to the restroom. My big wad of keys were in my pocket. In one of those totally automatic series of motions, I stood up from the toilet and flushed while silmultaneously pulling up my pants. My keys fell out of my pocket, straight into the flushing center of the toilet.

It turns out that the movies really have moments like this right. Time slows down, and your mouth forms a perfect O as you desperately grab at the thing you've dropped and shriek "Nooooooooooooooooo."

But yes! They flushed right on down. The nice folks at my workplace called plumbers, but it was to no avail. I learned that commercial pipes are 4" wide (with a 3" p-trap), so my keys are, presumably, now making their way through the sewer system. Like Clementine, they're lost and gone forever.

A kind coworker gave me a ride home, and another coworker will take me to work tomorrow so I can retrieve my car using Trent's keys. Unfortunately, my car has a microchipped ignition key, so I'm going to have to shell out some pretty substantial bucks to get another one from the manufacturer.

The best part of this tale of woe is people's reaction when I tell them I flushed my keys. They feel like they should be sympathetic, but usually the cackling hysteria wins.

Readers are encouraged to improve my day by leaving a comment about the dumbest or clumsiest thing they've ever done.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Chicago, cont.

We had a fabulous night out on the town last night. We caught a taxi in front of the Marriot, which was a total chaos of cars, limos, cabs, and honking horns. The cab driver decided that, by god, he was going to get us to dinner on time no matter how many traffic laws he had to break. I didn't really think we were going to die or anything, but I did have to squeeze my eyes shut periodically and try to hold back the nervous giggles.

We had dinner at Le Bouchon on the recommendation of a friend. We decided to just order appetizers, so we (collectively) had: french onion soup (Trent thought it had too much cheese), a sweet corn soup, a braised leek salad, escargot, boudin noir with caramelized apples, and mussels. Mmmmm. It was all excellent. The steaks and other main dishes that were coming out looked delicious too.

After dinner, we migrated to The Map Room for a drink. They have Rodenbach Grand Cru on tap, y'all, and it's not marked up to the ridiculous prices that Seattle pubs charge for Belgian imports. The place was hopping and didn't have any fancy pub stuffiness; the music was loud, people were playing pool, and the televisions were showing sports.

Then we caught another (more sedate) taxi to a not-really-club called the Ice Factory. It seems to be an industrial loft converted into living space and unofficial concert space. Trent's old friend Jeb Bishop, the trombone player, played first with a bass player and percussionist. Then there was another group. I'm not all that familiar with free improv, so I'm going to quote Trent's summary of the show:

Jeb's group was tres cool--kinda minimalist free improv, but really well executed and interesting in a textural way. The second group was a nuthouse: six musicians (guitar, upright bass, drums, violin, cello, vocalist making dolphin noises). They all looked steadily down and not at each other and weren't communicating musically as well in any readily parseable way. The guitarist was way too loud and spent most of the time noodling; the violinist was playing interesting melodies and developing them in a classical kind of way, but was barely audilble; the cellist was trying mostly to wring interesting / breathtakingly ugly sonic textures from her cello (and succeeded, loudly); and the vocalist communicated with dolphins. Oh, and the vocalist also rang some chimes intermittently, I suppose when the dolphins stopped paying attention. It was not a great advertisement for free improv as a listenable musical genre, though I must admit I was struck by the fact that (a) Jeb and I were likely the oldest people there by a stretch, (b) there were a lot more women there than I expected, and (c) they were mostly hot. None of these things were things I would have expected from a free improv show, which are typically the province of guys who look like they're sartorially auditioning for the jazz review slum of the Village Voice or, alternately, wear secondhand corduroy overcoats and sandals even in the dead of winter because they, too, are free improvisers and are currently without an indulgent girlfriend.
We made it back to the hotel and collapsed.

Today, we got up late and had brunch at Heaven on Seven, a Louisiana style restaurant. My creole eggs benedict were delicious. Trent's shrimp and grits were good, but not as good as the shrimp and grits he makes at home. Then we wandered off shopping. Trent procured a new tie and cufflinks, and bought several jazz cds. Then I dragged him to the yarn store.

We went to Loopy Yarns. It's a lovely shop - great selection and super friendly employees. They even have a husband couch with some nearby reading materials that aren't yarn related. I ended up splurging, and came away with 3 skeins of Fleece Artist sock yarn, plus 8 oz of roving. I'll post pics when we get back home.

Oh, I also got a cute pair of red Dansko shoes at Nordstrom Rack. They'll look great with all my red sweaters.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


We're currently happily tucked into our top-floor room at the downtown Marriot. It's plush, with a killer view. The trip here wasn't much fun. Chicago had high winds, which delayed our departure from Seattle by almost 2 hours. The landing (in the winds, with some ice and snow on the runways) was terrifying.

The meeting materials promised that we'd be met by someone with a sign to direct us to our special shuttle bus. I was really looking forward to being met with a sign; it made me feel all posh. I was heartbroken - okay, really more like overtired and hypoglycemic - when there was no sign. After a series of grumpy phone calls and much wandering around outside in the shuttle bus center, I finally tracked down the bus. With the delays and the bus hunt, it was rush hour, so it took over an hour to get to downtown.

Since then, though, it's been nothing but lovely. My employer and the Marriot are taking excellent care of us.

Trent found out that an old friend from his college days is playing at a club tomorrow night, so we'll be going to hear free jazz with drums, bass, and trombone (his friend, Jeb Bishop, is the trombone player).

Does anyone know of a can't miss yarn store in downtown Chicago, since I'm here?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

FO and upcoming travel

I finished a Christmas present scarf. I'm going to give it to the lucky giftee tomorrow, since I'm really bad at waiting for designated holidays (and I don't want Chloe to think that she gets to keep it just because she models).

This is the leftover Crystal Palace Kid Merino (from my Wool Peddler's Shawl) and a pattern of my own invention. The body is herringbone faggot, and the ruffle is the knitted fluted edge from Knitting on the Edge.

In travel news, Trent and I will be heading to Chicago on Thursday morning. I won an award at work, and the prize is a fabulous business trip to Chicago in December. Lucky, lucky me. (Honestly, it's not really that bad of a reward. They're putting us up in a nice hotel, and we have a lot of free time. But still. Why couldn't it be in, oh, San Diego or somewhere sunny?)

I'm trying to decide what to take with me. The sweaters in progress are all unwieldy at this point. Hats don't take long enough. Maybe I'll start a new shawl...