Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Meme!

Kathy posted another meme that is a fun one for we knitters!

Are you finishing a project before the New Years? I don't think so--I'm smack dab in the middle of four of them!

Did you donate your time/knits to charity? No--I need to do more of this--and participate when friends call out for people to do charity knitting.

Did you meet up with any bloggers? Um no. I'm not doing well on the meme.

Did you take a yarn class? I'm not big on classes--trying to think now if I learned a new technique--no? I do prefer to teach myself though.

Did you knit in a Doctor's waiting room? Yes yes yes of course! I knit at the dentist's and at the GP's. And at my eye doctor too.

Did you buy more yarn, needles or patterns in 2015? I tried not to buy anything---but probably patterns if truth be told. I only bought yarn for projects that needed more yarn.

Did you go to Ravelry often? Yes I spend a lot of time there--I look for new patterns (especially free ones) (especially ones that are free for a few days and then cost $6) and I spend time on the board dedicated to professors who knit. I love the Rav! I also tried to sell a bunch of yarn but the value of Rav for yarn sales has sort of dried up--maybe I'll try again after the New Year when the purge continues.

Happy New Year 's Eve everyone! Meme with us!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Journeying

I'm making The Turtle's Journey for Tim--instead of making it in one solid piece, though, I'm making it in three pieces and will sew them together.

This is because of the yarn--I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and this yarn is known to be a bit bleed-y--the dye runs for the first several washings. So I'll wash and block them separately and then sew them together--I'm using three different colors--two blues and a neutral.

I did the third panel first--the 'waves' that the turtles journey to:


This is a good approximation of the color

And a close up of the waves:

I am not a bit fan of lace but I can definitely do lace if I'm not using lace weight--I'm pretty sure that this is pretty much error free and if it was lace weight it would be incredibly wonky.

I hope your knitting is going as well as this!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tot: The Pride One

Carole asks--what are ten things I'm proud of from this year? This is unexpectedly hard--either I don't feel a lot of pride or I don't do things that make me proud--but let's see what I can come up with.

1. The waterfall rafting trip in New Zealand--you may recall we took a raft trip that had a 22 foot high waterfall in it. I was pretty scared and apprehensive but we did it and it was truly an accomplishment.

2. Three journal articles published this year! Given that there are years when I'm doing other things and get no research done, three articles in a year is something that hasn't occurred since I before I was tenured. So three this year is a good thing.

3. Strong relationships with grad students--I have some great grad students and they're great to work with. What makes me really proud is when they tell me that other PhD students complain--a lot--about their advisers and they feel very smug that they have nothing to add. I didn't have a great adviser myself and so I do work hard to be the kind of adviser that I would want to have.

4. I stood up to a bully at work. Let's just leave that there as the situation is ongoing but I did that.

5. I overcame a pretty big character flaw and worked hard on being a better person and I think I did well at that. Working on myself is something that is ongoing--and I'm fine with that.

6. I'm proud that I taught myself how to needle felt after many falst starts.

7. I'm proud that I've started the decluttering project and can already see the benefits.

8. I'm proud that I have worked so hard on saying 'yes' instead of saying 'no.

9. I'm proud that our dogs and cats are healthy and happy.

10. I'm proud that I've been married to an incredible man for 20 years. Here's to 20 more!

Happy New Year everyone!







Monday, December 28, 2015

In between

The days in between Christmas and New Years are always sort of odd when you live far away from your birth families. And when you've been sick. Tim is much better and he rallied for Boxing day.

There is a bit of knitting going on but somehow I spend more time playing Papa Pear than I do knitting. I do love a good computer game during the holidays!

We went to the framers today to frame one of my Christmas gifts:

Tim's boss/adviser (and my friend) Dominique painted this watercolor of bunnies and a pear, and we are having it matted and framed and will hang it in the dining room. I love this! And I think the frame and mats will look great.

Also on the Christmas gift lift: tickets to "Book of Mormon" in February. Very excited for that!

I'm off to tote some friends to the airport and then home for the Broncos game!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing day!

We had a lovely but quiet Christmas--Tim has a horrible cold and he was relatively out of commission yesterday--we mostly ate leftovers and hung around. But we gave eachother lovely gifts--many with a New Zealand theme--and they were appreciated on both sides!

Here was the table for Christmas eve dinner--set with the mason jar candles!
On our walk on Christmas eve, we found a few wild red berries (one from a tree with thorns, another was wild rose I think) and we brought those home for the jars so we had red in the water and no ribbons were needed.

After dinner I moved them into the cozy room:

I put them on top of the stove. You can see our bells hanging from the window too.

That ends my hubris over my extreme decorating for the holidays.

I'm continuing with knitting although it seems to be going slower! I have knit a bit more of the winging it scarf:

 This is the newest bit:


Today I'm going over to some friends' for Boxing Day--hopefully Tim will feel well enough to come too.

Enjoy the weekend!


Friday, December 25, 2015

May your days be merry and bright--

--and may all your Christmas bones be chewed with gusto!


Merry Christmas from Kim, Tim, Pilot, Comet, Jessie, Stella and Capt. MacGregor!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

EVE!

Merry Christmas Eve! This is one of my favorite days (and my Twinnie's) too!

Yesterday was a cookie day--we made three kinds including chocolate crackles, a sugar cookie that we refer to as 'Schwetty Balls', and toffee. Today we'll make one more kind (spritz), Tim will make his famous chocolate dessert, and we'll take it easy and enjoy the day.

My wish for you is that this Christmas you'll create wonderful Christmas memories with those you love, and my wish for me is this:



Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Krafting with Kim

I subscribe to a blog called "Craft Gossip" which is basically an aggregate of every craft blog post in the known universe. So I get about 20-40 posts per day with craft ideas--most having to do with either polymer clay or printable stuff (to color? to put in scrap books? I have no idea). Today for example, here are five representative posts:

-DIY tree skirts you will love
-Anti Aging Natural Emulsified Soap Scrub-DIY
-70 Free Last Minute Christmas Printables
-Little Clay Jewels
-Yarn Bow Necklace (this, THIS, is the type of 'knitting' craft that this blog provides: link to yarn bow necklace).


You get the idea.

But yesterday one of the posts caught my eye--it was for an easy table decoration. Basically, you take a glass jar (although any wide glass would do), put some greenery in it, fill it with water, wrap a ribbon on it, put a votive candle in it (it floats) and ho ho ho. So I tried it and it is really cute:




I used a mason jar (a small size) and clippings from two plants in the back yard. I'll make the bows smaller tomorrow night (Tim says it doesn't even need a bow--the blog post suggested some cranberries in the water to add some red and I might try to figure out how to do that--my neighbors have some red berried plants so I might borrow some from them). (Borrow as in steal).

Lest you think I'm a Martha Stewart in the making, please note that I had a Biscotti fail. I had heard and read that one could make home made biscotti using box cake mix that you cook twice. I found several recipes that all said the same thing--you mix up cake mix with LOTS of eggs, you spread it out on a jelly roll pan, you cook it til it is light brown, you let it cool, you flip the whole shebang over and cook it for ten more minutes and then flip it again and cook it again. So I did.

It tasted awful. Awful. Tim said he sensed a 'burned sawdust' flavor and to me it just tasted gross. So into the bin it went.

Today I'm going to make chocolate crackle cookies and try some fudge. I wrapped everything yesterday so cookies and dinner tomorrow are all that I have left to do.

I'm reading "Boys in the Trees" -- Carly Simon's memoir. I'm about 1/4 of the way in and she's dropped out of college to tour with her sister. She is older than I thought (shouldn't she be, like, my age? She's close to 70 I guess and looks absolutely gorgeous. Anyway--it is OK. Not great.

It continues to rain. We went out for Thai food last night and then came home to watch "North by Northwest" last night--Tim had never seen it--and it is a wonderful movie!

Are you ready?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tot: After the Holiday Rush

In response to Carole's question today--what am I looking forward to after the holiday rush--I planned to do a Neil Young parody for a hot minute until I realized that a. many people may not get the musical reference to a 70s song and b. I got really stuck after the first line ("Well I dreamed I slept all night and slept in next morning). So no clever parody for you today, so sorry!

But I am looking forward to:

1. Boxing day with our friends Steve and Jen and their kids--we have a good time eating finger foods and catching up.
2. Netflix movies and generally hanging out in the cozy room with the fire on with TIm, dogs and knitting.
3. Maybe some walks in the snow because the rain might turn into snow on Christmas! Maybe we'll even get out the snowshoes!
4. Getting my decluttering project into high gear. I've been doing a bit of this here and there and it really is a good feeling.
5. Reading--I have probably a dozen books lined up on the Kindle.
6. Jigsaw puzzles--post Christmas is just about the only time of the year that I have patience for this!
7. Leftovers--I make a delicious stuffed tenderloin for Christmas eve and the leftovers are often even better!
8. Sleeping in. Because sleep.
9. Days getting a bit longer, a few minutes at a time.
10. A good and peaceful new year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Solstice!

Today is the Winter solstice--the shortest day of the year (and to my friends in the Southern hemisphere--I guess this is Summer solstice--the longest day of the year!). One thing I do like about the Winter Solstice is the idea that each day gets a bit brighter--a bit more hopeful. And for many people that relates to the idea of the birth of the Christ chid. It has been a dark end of the year but I thought I'd take a moment and think about some of the things that are signs of hope at the Solstice.


  • Oregon (and I guess much of the West) is now officially 'drought free' after so much rain this fall.
  • Our knowledge of treatment of disease is improving: the number of people who survive a cancer diagnosis is currently 14.5 million and will increase by 33% by 2024.
  • Global demand for ivory is decreasing and the price of ivory has fallen by 50%. Yay elephants
I truly believe that people--that individuals--can make a difference and try to remember every day to make a positive impact on the world, even if it is just a simple 'thank you' to someone who isn't expecting it or smiling at someone instead of looking down at my phone. The introduction to the novel "Howards End" (one of my all time favorites) starts with the words "Only Connect" and I do think if we worked harder at that the world will slowly be more hopeful. 

"Live in fragments no longer."-EM Forster

And in knitting news--the first third is about 2/3 done (Quick! Math People! How much of the entire blanket is done? I think it is 2/9!


It looks like waves, yes?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Eye searing blog redesign

It is bright, yes? Merry and bright?
I will keep this up through Christmas and then calm it down a bit!
Tim is home safe and sound!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Discombobulated

That's me!

For whatever reason yesterday afternoon was a hot mess--it was that type of organizing that just looks like things are even more disorganized when you finish than when you started.  I started getting ready for the party at 5 (it was from 5-8) and as soon as I got finished I realized I hadn't cleaned the cat boxes (something I like to do before the animals eat dinner--at 5--I guess I am a bit OCD about it). So I scooped and for some reason instead of taking it outside like I do every day of the year and put it in the bin I flushed it.

Not flushable litter, btw.

So yeah, it jammed up the toilet. Bad. I plunged (in party clothes) for half an hour and then gave up and went to the party. The house was in a neighborhood that I had never been in before and it was all dark and rainy streets and no street lights and straight up hills but I finally got there (in a bit of a sweat).

And I walked smack into the glass front door. Yep, I made an entrance!

I had a fun time visiting with people (after having my nose attended to), came home, called Tim to find out where the drain snake was, found the snake, and then spent about an hour snaking out the drain (ie removing clumps of litter). By about 10pm, the drain was clear.

So all is well--Tim's flight leaves in about half an hour and he'll be here in about 2 hours so that's good. I didn't wake up with black eyes so I know my nose isn't broken (it does have a fetching bump and scab on it though) and the sun is shining. All is well.

Here's that scarf.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Kitten

I made this needle felted kitten yesterday as a gift for a friend:


It is a bit hard to see because its head is sort of tucked in its little tail. And I think the ears need a bit of trimming. But it is very sweet (clearly I need to straighten out the whiskers too!)


Tim was supposed to come home this evening but his flight got cancelled and there are no seats on later flights (a Friday evening flight from SFO during Christmastime--who would think?). He is now booked tomorrow afternoon so that gives me a bit of time for straightening up the house etc. Some friends are having a get together this evening so I'll go to that by myself (sad face). I really would like him to come home! Please hold a good thought that he gets home safe and sound tomorrow.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Getting there

Christmas eve is a week from today! I think the challenge with Christmas on Friday is that I think Christmas EVE is on Friday and then Christmas is on Saturday but that is not so...so this morning I finished up my cards and later today I'll do the shopping list for cookie materials.

Which will be somewhat of a challenge since I'm eliminating milk from my diet so I have printed out several vegan recipes. I do not hold out a lot of hope though after this morning's Almond Milk in the coffee experiment. It tastes awful. I will try coconut milk next.

I don't think 'they' (whomever that is) should be able to call that stuff 'milk' because it is basically flavored water (and we drink skim so there's that).


First: two favorite ornaments:



And a bit of knitting--the mitts are progressing--you can see the two pink markers that show where the thumb will go.
And I watched Elf again and got a bit teary at the end--

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday What's Up!


All kinds of stuff happening at my house! OK not really--it is pretty quiet because Tim is away and I'm done with school and ON SABBATICAL yay! I met with one of my co-authors yesterday and got a few things organized. Another co-author is reviewing the organic chapter that is due in January. And I even looked at a third piece that should be done in March, kind of sighed and thought 'maybe later'. So that's kind of on top of things, right?

I'm going to knit "A Turtle's Journey" blanket for Tim. I had a bit of a dilemma because I have yarn for it--Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece--but then I remembered that some of my yarn is 'seconds' and apt to bleed. Since this blanket has three distinct sections in three distinct colors (one of which will be white) I had a moment of panic thinking 'what if one bleeds into the other'? 

Then I realized that there are three major sections of this and even though I could knit them together I could also knit them separately, wash and block them separately (and get all the color out!) and then sew together. So I started:



This is the 'last' section which is waves (the first is sand and the second is turtles). Here's a close up of one and a half pattern repeats




There's five stitches of moss stitch on either side. So basically know I have four major projects on the needles in various degrees of mindlessness:

-Koto (pretty mindless)
-Colorwork Vamping scarf (semi mindless)
-Cable mitts (concentration required)
-Lace part of blanket (concentration plus)

That seems like a good variety of things but there are two things I also want to cast on: a Kieran Foley shawl in turquoise kidsilk haze and a slip stitch cowl in a rainbow sock yarn. Plus my cable shawl. But I'll try to finish one of the above before I cast on.

In other news--I won a contest and got this beauty:



560 or so yards of silk/wool laceweight that is just gorgeous! What should I make with it? Suggestions welcome.

In OTHER news--I got a call last Friday to see if I would be interested in doing a workshop for the Lane Arts Council (Lane is our county) on "Marketing your art". It is about--marketing art for artists. I met with the Council yesterday and went over some of my ideas and their ideas and have an outline for the workshop--which should be very fun! I'm excited to do it and to give back to our community.

I know some artists read this--so if you have any marketing success stories/tips let me know!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

10 Gifts from the Grocery Store

Carole asks: Have I bought gifts from the grocery store? Hell yes! Oh that's not very Christmassy--is it? Heck yes!

Here are ten gifts that I've given (and will give again) from the PC Market of Choice--my neighborhood grocery store--a small chain in Oregon. It was once the Price Chopper, but given that it is based in a Northwest College Town 'PC' in a good name for it.

1. Chocolate--the PC has all kinds of good chocolate including one of my favorites (Ritter Sports) as well as Moonstruck chocolates (Portland) and Euphoria Chocolate (Eugene). At Christmas there is a table when you walk in covered with high end chocolate.

2.Wine including champagne and saki. They have a lovely wine section run by a lovely man who will help you pick out wine--ranging from $6 to $100 a bottle.

3 Microbrews--mostly PNW and Cali but from other lands as well. Plus a huge variety of hard cider. No ginger beers though.

4 Burts Bees stuff---yes the company is owned by Clorox and when Clorox bought the company they really screwed over Burt but having a variety of BB stuff (for adults and babies) makes a nice little basket for a gift (and they don't have the baskets here--but I bet they would dig one out of the back).'

5 Organic cotton socks. Often in Tie Dye. Because Eugene.

6 Buckwheat filled flannel bags that you can throw in the microwave to heat and use on sore muscles or as a foot warmer--wonderful gift.

7 Water bottles and tableware with UO logos (go Ducks!). You can even get animal crackers frosted in green and yellow (because Go Ducks!).

8 Coca-cola from Mexico--I guess they use real sugar in that soda and it is quite a treat.

9 Small baking dishes -- those white ceramic ones that you (not me though) could bake a little yummy thing in and give as a gift.

10 Dog toys--they're organic and made of hemp and Comet will destroy them in minutes.


I didn't mention the flowers or the plants or the coffee cups and coffee makers or the fruit baskets. And keep in mind this is a pretty small store--not the size of a  regular store--and the lovely things are there because they only stock 5 types of tortillas instead of 75 and only 35 kinds of breakfast cereal--you know what I mean!

Monday, December 14, 2015

All the things

One thing I know about myself is that as soon as the stress of fall term is over that all I will do is cast on for All the Things.

There is even a dedicated bag where All the Things from last Christmas live, unfinished. But let's not think about that. Let's think about All the (new) Things.

Here's one:

This is the first Traveller's Mitt (Rav link) that I'm knitting with the same pink yarn for that big old sweater. It is a bit thicker than the pattern requires but that's OK. They will fit and be nice and warm.

Other things on the to-do list:
-a new cowl from Knitty (cache cache)
-socks for Tim out of Calmer
-I think a Kiernan Foley pattern called High Seas except maybe not
-that Stole that I wrote about a month ago.

In other news: I am starting a Decluttering Project. I have a lot of clutter. I wouldn't call myself a Horder but I have clutter. So I'm trying to declutter one small piece of my life each day. Saturday I did one of the drawers in the bathroom. Today I did the other drawer. I feel better.

So I must ask you: what do you do with stuff that you shouldn't throw away or give away but it just SITS there? Stuff you'll never use like a belt that your mom wore when you were a kid and you liked it but you would never wear it? Or costume jewelry that's just ugly? Do you give it all the Salvation Army?

I'm thinking I could keep one small 'shoebox' sized box for certain themes (one per vacation, one for stuff my mom gave me but I feel bad about throwing out) but then in twenty years time I'll have a bunch of boxes of stuff.

Please give me your decluttering tips!

Thank you!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

The fair isle scarf

This is coming along:

I'm still vamping on it and there are so many different combinations it is going to be on interesting scarf!

We saw and heard Yo Yo Ma last night--he was incredible! I had tears in my eyes when he was playing his signature piece, Bach's Suite Number One for Cello--you probably heard him play it on a West Wing Christmas show. :-)

In other holiday news: here is my favorite ornament on the tree:



We bought this at a little store "up the McKenzie" (ie about an hour from our house) many years ago.

Christmas Quiz: which family member is pictured in this photograph (species required, exact name optional):



Friday, December 11, 2015

Meme time!

From Kathy at http://irisheyesknitters.blogspot.com/:


1 Favorite way to show your holiday cards off: This one has always stumped me--I really don't know--sometimes we put them on ribbons and sometimes not--I kind of want one of those wreaths where you stick all the cards in it--what do you do?

2 Music solo: piano or violin or guitar? Love them all but probably guitar!

3 Fingerless or mittens? Fingerless! I have many pairs and love them--they are generally perfect for weather here. I do have mittens for those times when mittens are needed.

4 Tinsel or garland? We use neither one--tinsel is bad for cats and we don't have places to drape garland.

5 Ham or turkey? We do a beef tenderloin for Christmas but if I had to choose it would definitely be turkey

6 Snowman or Santa? Depends on the context but I'll go with snowman.

7 Brunch or dinner? One of my favorite foods is eggs benedict and if you put spinach on it and serve it with hash browns I'm in heaven--so that would be brunch

8 Placemats or tablecloth--placemats for most of the time (I have counted cross stitch placemats that I made years ago from a Mary Engelbriet pattern.

9 Wrapping paper or gift bags? Again--neither! We wrap the gifts for one another in fabric that we reuse every year. I guess gifts for others (that aren't mail ordered) are in paper though.

10 Candles or fire in the fireplace? We have a gas fireplace and we love it--candles tend to be used for blackouts!





Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thunder only happens...

...well pretty much never in Oregon, but we are in the middle of a thunderstorm right now (if you don't pay attention to Northwest weather--and why would most of you?--we are having a very rainy period right now. Lots of flooding. It is, however, turning to snow in the mountains which is WONDERFUL for many reasons--but mostly to ensure we have adequate snowpack in the spring--for that is where we get our water in the summer).

So yes, we are having a thunder storm. Pilot is freaking out and Comet is wondering why Pilot is freaking out. Jessie cat is hiding out behind my computer monitor and Stella is clueless so she is in her regular Stella spot in the guest room.

I finished the Tucker sweater (except for the underarm grafts) and:


It is small. I am hoping that this stretches out when I block it (given the high % of cotton I am hoping that it might) but if not, if there is a size 6 or 8 that wants this sweater let me know.

In other news: I am currently at 'grade 0' which means I have nothing to grade ONLY because people haven't submitted their stuff--I have six student prospectuses to review but the class only gets a P or a No P and so all they have to do is turn stuff in--I can review things at my leisure (one or two a day)--and I have a few students who have told me that their stuff won't be in til the weekend (they had this option so that's fine). A week ago I was anticipating 39 papers to grade and only have seven left so I am feeling accomplished.

The tree is fully decorated and most of the geegaws of the holidays are now up (we don't go overboard). We need to do outside stuff and our final inside task--the hanging of the silver bells (which sounds more grand than it is) will happen this weekend.

I hope you are having a beautiful sunny (or rainy) day (whichever you prefer).

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

ToT: Joyous Holiday Edition

Today Carole asks what are ten things we truly enjoy about the holidays.

I must admit that I am a person who in her head demands that the holidays be absolutely perfect and generally end up somewhat disappointed when the perfect holiday did not happen. I've really been working on that--to repaint that kind of messed up picture. Thanks Carole for helping out in that regard! Here is my list:


  1. The tree-I really love our Christmas tree. Most of the ornaments have a special significance and I love how they look with the lights. Interestingly--I'm a bit insistent that the tree come down on January 1 (or the 2nd at the latest).
  2. Christmas movies--not the cheesy ones but we have a tradition of watching either "White Christmas" or "Polar Express" during the season--I know a lot of people think the Polar Express is creepy but we like it.
  3. Christmas eve tradition: movie (see above although this year might be "Love Actually"), opening one gift, and a beautiful tenderloin dinner.
  4. Christmas cards--I like getting them, I like sending them.
  5. "Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel"--the most haunting carol of all time (although it is actually an advent song right?)
  6. Putting bows on the dogs (we used to put them on the cats but no).
  7. Peppermint everything.
  8. Our tradition of making a gift for each other. You've seen Tim's gift for this year and I am ready to start on his gift for next year!
  9. Pictures of babies in Christmas outfits--I think seeing pictures of kids is one of the reasons I like getting cards so much.
  10. The way the world seems to truly go silent on Christmas eve.
I look forward to reading yours!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Completely Discombobulated

Usually on Mondays we are up before 6:30 and showered and dressed and out of the house by 7am (Tim) and 7:25 (me) and we're in our work clothes and the coffee is organized and the house is straight and the work it happens.

Not today! Today is the first day of finals week and I stayed in my pjs til 9am doing things like grading! And I didn't use the flat iron on my hair! And Tim is home working and I'm working and I'm getting stuff done! BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DAY IT IS!

Plus today we are having All. The. Weather. It has poured down rain several times and it is VERY windy and it is FREAKISHLY warm. So that's disconcerting too.

Today I graded 11 graduate portfolios, one student final paper, reviewed two award submission and wrote a recommendation for which one should win and reviewed a dissertation proposal. And talked to my publisher about marketing my new book. ALL THE WORK! So proud of myself.

Here was the status of the tree last night:
And here was Miss Jessie Cat's reaction as she has inserted herself behind the sofa cushion:


And here are flowers that were sent for Thanksgiving but are still beautiful:

I think I need structure.


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Beginning to look---

 a little like Christmas here!

So this is step one in Operation Christmas Tree--you can see Koto on the coffee table!

Today has been a lazy day (or perhaps better to say I have been very lazy--) as I'm all organized to start grading tomorrow and getting to the end of fall term.

I gave up on two books yesterday--Stacy Schiff's "The Witches" about the Salem witch trials and then also a book called "Among the Ten thousand Things" and they were both totally put downable after the first chapter (yay library books!). Then I remembered one of my reading goals is to read some of the   classics that I've never read--Edith Wharton and Henry James, to name two. It is interesting because I've read other novels from the same period that they write about (like Howard's End etc) but I've never read certain authors like Wharton and James--so I checked the Kindle and indeed have several from both. I started "The Buccaneers" last night and I really like it. So that will be a nice sabbatical plan.

Last night we watched the last episode of "Indian Summers" and there's not a nice person on that show. Except maybe the (highly stereotypical) drunk Scotsman.

AND I wrote the Christmas letter and I'll probably post it here at some point!

So a good weekend all around.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Powering through

Yes, I didn't blog yesterday. WEIRD!

Thursday and Friday were busy days--the last two days of classes so everyone tried to cram in as many meetings as possible, many visits from students about final papers, and the like. I also had some errands that HAD to be done Thursday (drug refill for Stella, library book to be picked up) and we had the symphony Thursday night (it was great--it was really more of a 'pops' concert with works from Copland, Gershwin and Bernstein, two opera singers singing some of the "American Songbook", a world premiere by a Puerto Rican composer and our favorite, four pieces from Duke Ellington's "The River". Next Friday we'll hear (and see!) Yo-Yo Ma and I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, well here was my day:
8am: reference phone call for one of our PhD students
9-12: class
12-1: office hours with nonstop students
1-3: faculty meeting
3-4: making arrangements for candidate visits next term

Luckily I had a bit of downtown in the faculty meeting to catch up on email.

I had said to myself Thursday morning "you just need to power through til 4:00 Friday and then you're on easy street" and so hello, Saturday, I'm on easy street! Just 29 papers and 11 teaching portfolios to grade and then I'm done!

I have worked a bit more on this tube infinity scarf:

Making it up as I go along is really fun!

We watched the fall 'finale' of "Empire" last night. Have you ever seen that show? We started watching it last year because my college roommate Nealla Gordon had a small recurring role. The whole show is incredibly outrageous and makes NO SENSE AT ALL but the crazy characters, the good music, the wild clothes, and the sheer nonsensicalness of it (I know I'm repeating myself) make it compelling mindless viewing for me.

I'm reading a book called "Posh" which is fine. Whatever.

Anyway---we are going to start working on the tree this weekend. Tim finished a huge hurdle yesterday and is a much more relaxed state. Yay!



Thursday, December 03, 2015

Thursday Catch Up

It is 7am here and still very very dark--I think it is raining out too--and I guess we are officially in the 'pre winter' season as the planet prepares for the solstice in a few weeks. We (especially Tim) are so busy (ok Tim is really busy, I'm just kinda busy) that we'll pack all of our holiday-ing in the week before Christmas (although we might get the tree up this week).

First as promised: a (an?) FO:


This is the 'Father Hat' from Ravelry done in the 'large slouchy' option. Tim has kind of a large head and needs a big hat. I'm not sure if he will wear this as a 'slouchy' hat or if he'll pull it down over his ears and turn up the brim for extra warmth. He'll like it. The cables were fun to work and this hat went pretty fast. I like knitting hats and find I tend to wear them more than I did as a younger person. I think I'm less worried about Hat Hair (still get it mostly though I just don't care).

Books: I gave up on "Undermajordomo Minor" and instead read "The Other Sister"  which was sort of interesting but got really dull at the end (here's a twist NO here's a twist NO here's a twist). Now I'm reading an older novel (2007) called "Posh" which is OK. I have the new book on the Salem witches that I might dive into this weekend before the grading begins.

Tonight is the symphony--an all American program with singing of some of the American songbook. That should be fun. Next week we have tickets to YoYo Ma which I'm really looking forward to!

I knit on the sweater with the cable yoke yesterday and figured out if I use a removable stitch marker (safety pin) I have a bit more control over the pattern. I have a LOT of 'wrong' crosses on it--but that's life isn't it? I'll deal with it at some point (hello duplicate stitch!).

So that is all from here--for now---



Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wednesday What's Up?

It is Wednesday so what is up?
I feel weird about not blogging but I don't have a lot to tell you. But I have an FO to show you tomorrow!
Today was the final day of my undergraduate classes and Friday is the last day of my graduate classes! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

ToT: November Recap

Today's topic: ten things I did in November (oops just reread prompt. It is supposed to be the ten best things. These are all ten interesting things. You will just have to deal).

1. Well, I did an awful lot of blogging.
2. Last night I introduced my friend Lauren Kessler at a reading of her new book. You might enjoy it (there is a wee bit of knitting in it): "Raising the Barre" at Amazon .
3. Finished the big pink sweater (only it needs blocking).
4. Got our Christmas tree (it is in a bucket on the patio but still it is in the 'house').
5. Checked the ice rink schedule because when I'm on sabbatical I"m going to go ice skating during the public sessions at our indoor rink.
6. Finished a really really really long book.
7. Wore the boots (twice) that are really cute but I keep forgetting that I own.
8. Put the flannel sheets on the bed. Heaven!
9. Made peace with not getting to 10,000 steps every day (see #5. I will CRUSH the fitbit during my sabbatical).
10. Enjoyed reading about people's adventures during NaBloPoMo!

I might take tomorrow off.
Might.
I might.
We'll see.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The ABCs of NaBloPoMo

Inspired by Kathy!

A is for almost as in--we're almost done!
B is for blog--where I've spent time this November.
C is for creative--I've loved reading all the creativity on everyone's blogs.
D is for damnit--what I say on the days I forget to blog!
E is for every day blogging, how many of us will keep this up?
F is for friends--new friends--that I met through blogs.
G is for geez--as in 'geez I have nothing to say'.
H is for help with ideas for blog posts.
I is for inspiration--thanks to Carole!
J is for Just Do It, my unofficial mantra douring NaBloPoMo.
K is for all the Kims/Kyms that I now follow thanks for NaBloPoMo!
L is for leftovers because we still have them from Thanksgiving--but no leftover embargoes posts!
M is for maybe I will try this next year---
N is for--or maybe Not!
O is for OMG not that spinning wheel of death which suggests that my blog post might not be saved and might be whooshed into the ether!
P is for pictures because they are worth thousands of words during NaBloPoMo
Q is for quick, which is what many of my posts were this month.
R is for running out of things to write about!
S is for super, how I feel writing this last post (SuperBlogger)!
T is for The Twinnie and her blog
U is for unusual, which some blog posts can be this month
V is for visual, I love seeing pictures on blogs!
W is for weather--we had so much rain this month--hoorah!
X is for  Xcited for December and a bit of a blog break!
Y is for yarn--the subject of this blog!
Z is for zoom--which is how quickly November went by!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

29!!!!

Today is day 29 of NaBloPoMo! Do you know what that means? Today and tomorrow and then we bid NaBloPoMo a fond farewell!

Yesterday was a nice and interesting day. Tim is still working very hard to get his schoolwork done (and he has less than two weeks) so he's busy. I went to the library, then went out and got us some lunch, then went over to meet a new baby. In between I read and knit, and then last night we watched the first episode of Season 5 of Boardwalk Empire.

I'm still not enthralled with this:

But  I will continue with it. Other knitting news: I'm about five rounds away from finishing Tim's Christmas hat and I've done a few more rounds on Koto. So it has been a good knitting weekend.

Yesterday I read a pretty lightweight book called "The Knockoff" about a woman who took a six month leave from her job as a magazine editor and when she comes back to work she finds that the digital revolution has passed her by. It is meant to be lightweight but it has some good reflections about what happens to a society when speed and disruption are more valued than good stories. Kind of what the communications professions are living through right now.

I'm also reading "Undermajordomo Minor" which is--well---odd and interesting at the same time.

Tomorrow starts the last week of classes--hoorah!--and then finals week (grading) and then I get three and a half months 'off' for research time (I have four projects that need writing up during that time). Next week should be very busy with end of term meetings and the symphony on Thursday. Also, I'm introducing my friend Lauren at her book reading tomorrow night. If you like ballet or are a ballet mom, you would like her book: http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Barre-Dreams-Midlife-Nutcracker/dp/0738218316 . And there's a character in the book named Kim.

Hope your weekend was wonderful!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kinda dark?

I did some more work on the fair isle cowl and took some pictures with the iPhone and they came out kind of dark but you can still tell that I did some work!


I'm not that great at fair isle but it does look better from a distance.

Yesterday watched the last duck game (Go Ducks!) and finally finished "City on Fire". As I mentioned it was long but pretty good--but it did sort of drag on at the end.

Other than that, and leftovers, it was a beautifully quiet day.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday after!

It's the Friday after what was sort of a relaxing and sort of a frenzied day at home yesterday.  We hung out in the morning and took the dogs for a walk, and then watched the dog show. Then Tim scrambled around getting the turkey on the Big Green Egg and I scrambled around prepping the side dishes. We watched football while getting up to check on things (we felt that one of us was popping up every five or ten minutes) and then came the last half hour frenzy of pulling it all together. Which we did:

I forgot to take the picture of just the table so you get the table AND Tim! The beautiful flowers (from yesterday too) are from our friends Joonghwa and Soojung. We are their 'adopted' parents--Joonghwa was an exchange student at UO many years ago and went on to get his Masters and PhD in the US. We would catch up once a year at the American Academy of Advertising conference. He met Soojung, a PhD student at Minnesota, several years ago at one of the conferences and they got married last year.  They are both wonderful people and we're thankful for them although we wished they lived closer than North Dakota (they are both on the faculty at UND). The table runner is also a gift from Joonghwa from several years ago. And the china is my mom's china, and the stainless steel round serving piece and the gravy boat (which has to be on the table somewhere) are two pieces from my grandmother's house (the salad plates too). The white serving pieces were wedding gifts. WOW that is one table filled with memories--I hadn't even realized it til now!

OH I think Tim might be holding the gravy boat.

I did get a start on the cowl that I'm vamping on--

The colors aren't quite as saturated as the one in the W1A but this is a good start! I found a chart of a variety of fair isle patterns so I'm using that. And I'm much better at fair isle in the round than I am at flat fair isle (which says to me I'm not good at fair isle purl if we take that to its logical conclusion).

Today I'm watching the final Duck game of the season and I WILL finish "City on Fire" as I have only 100 pages left (out of 900!). What is your Black Friday day like?




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday What's Up?

It is what's up Wednesday! Yes i just made that up. Anyway--it is the day before Thanksgiving and here is what's up:

-the Koto sweater is moving right along--this sweater has a hem that is lower in the back than in the front and the short row back is done--but you really can't tell:

-we finished both 'seasons' of W1A on Netflix (the BBC show) and lest you think we spent a lot of time binging, two seasons is only 9 30 minute episodes. One of the characters wore this scarf through much of the second season:

From what I can tell it is an infinity scarf done in some type of fair isle or slipped stitch that I think was knit in a tube. I thought to myself--hmm self--is there anything in the stash?

-And the stash delivers:
I bought a lot of yarn a long long time ago and started some mittens but never finished them and scrapped the whole thing. I think the browns and the blues and the orange colors will work just fine. How bout that!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ToT the Thankful Version

Yes I'm thankful for family, friends, our animals, food, health, freedom, safety--I'm fortunate to have most of Maslow covered. But when I really think about it, I'm thankful right now for:

1. My flatiron. I don't know how I survived 54 years without this little magical machine.
2. My thermos. It is my constant friend in the morning, my cheerleader, my strength.
3. The Cars. I woke up with "Victim of Love" in my head this morning and thought that if I only could listen to Cars songs for the rest of my life the day I'd be fine.
4. Rain. Rain rain rain. Rain is our blanket in the Pacific NW--it lulls us to sleep, it makes our world beautiful, it puts out fires. We need rain, and I'm so happy it is back.
5. Lint rollers. Because I love my dogs.
6. Our dog sitter Zach. He comes by a few times a week when Tim and I have full days and runs around with the dogs. They are happy and the opposite of stressed. So thankful!
7. Emergency vets. Because things happen, and things get fixed.
8. Cheap reading glasses. I can't wear bifocal contacts (well I can but I won't) and these are all over our house to help me when I need to see something (which is all the time).
9. Leaf scoops, which are the most genius thing invented in recent times.
10. Number ten is tied--you all reading this and chocolate. I appreciate everyone who reads this and I appreciate chocolate, so there you go.

Happy Thanksgiving (although let's be real, you'll get two posts wishing you that tomorrow and the next day!).





Monday, November 23, 2015

Retro Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving will be the two of us (the way I prefer quite honestly) so the table will not be overstuffed: we'll have the bird, stuffing, mashed potatoes, steamedgreen beans, a hearts of palm salad and a chocolate pot de creme for dessert.

OK that's a lot of stuff.

But here are some of the things I must say I miss from my youth (I grew up in the 60s)  (and please note I would never do these unless we were doing a retro thing with lots of people):

Green Bean Casserole

 Sherbet Punch

Cranberry Jello Salad


Did you ever have a non traditional Thanksgiving? One time in Boston I went to my friend Liz's house and we boiled lobsters. Once I made paella. I think we've also made chinese food. Sometimes though it is just easier to do the classics!

What are your favorite Retro or Non traditional Thanksgivings?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Visual Evidence!



Yesterday during the Duck game I picked up the Tucker Sweater and did 1/4 of the cable rounds. Here is what I ended up with:




 Apparently there will be an awful lot of crossing cables in the next 18 rounds.

And yes it took me more than three hours to do 6 rounds. There's a lot of stitches on this thing!

Other than the football game, I read more of "City on Fire" which continues to be really good and last night we watched "The Candidate"--an old Robert Redford movie that is just as significant today.

So here's my question for you football fans: here on West Coast, Duck games start at either 12:30, 4:30 or 7:30. Which start time do you prefer? I prefer 4:30--7:30 is too late and 12:30 eats up the whole day. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday Sky (and birthday recap)

I'm not a 'Saturday Sky' person but this was the sky or lack of it this morning:

We had incredibly thick fog an hour ago and I was sort of excited that the Ducks might play USC in a fog bowl (we'd have a clear advantage-right--ha ha clear advantage) but it seems like an hour later the fog has lifted and it will e a clear day. Anyway-GO DUCKS!

Yesterday was a busy day, culminating in Tim's birthday celebration. I had a three-hour graduate class Friday morning, then a new PhD student needed to talk as he was having some moments of doubt   (I think he's in a better place now), then a faculty meeting that I snuck out of when we got to the 'Strategic Plan' part (I was there for 'important' votes but honestly---stuff like strategic plans make me nuts). Then home to take dogs for a quick walk and then to correct manuscript proofs that were due two weeks ago (I never did check the due date). So it was a full day, and then Tim came home.

Tim's friends and colleagues know him well:

He got three different kinds of beer.

From me he got the Christmas stocking, as well as tickets to the Peking Acrobats in January and a Christmas ornament from New Zealand. The stocking is now hanging:


The binding on the top worked out really well, if I do say so myself.

In other news:
-I'm reading a GREAT BOOK called "City on Fire" by Garth Risk Hallberg. I have it from the library on a three week loan and readers--it is almost 1000 pages. I am glad I have a long weekend next weekend so I won't worry about finishing it (yet). It is really good, very much in the Donna Tartt school of writing. It is about New York City in the 1970s, which is when I first discovered NYC (my best friend in college lived there). So I'm really enjoying it.
-We have been watching "W1A" on Netflix and so glad I found it! There was a short comedy series on the BBC called "Twenty Twelve" about the London olympics and Lord Granthan (Hugh Something Or Other) (off to Google) (OK Hugh Bonneville) played "Ian Fletcher"...the person doing the arranging of the Olympics. So W1A is a continuation where Ian Fletcher joins the BBC as 'head of values'. There are some great characters in both series and it is very tongue in cheek--kind of like the British version of "The Office". And the voice over narration is done by David Tennant and he's hysterical. So watch that if you have Netflix!
-I'm going to revisit the teal sweater as I feel less exhausted today. We'll see.
-Only nine NaBloPoMo posts left! We are all awesome!



Slowly getting back to normal