Monday, August 31, 2015

Hello fall!

The rain has brought with it beautiful fall weather---it will probably heat up again (I read somewhere that the first week in September is usually ridiculously hot here) but for now I'm enjoying the clean air and the cool temperatures (the house got down to 68 last night for the first time since last spring--it felt good to huddle under the blanket).

Tim left for a trip to St. Louis and Augusta Georgia yesterday early so we didn't really sleep that well--I was in a bit of a daze yesterday. Plus, even though there are many days when I'm not around Tim for 12 hours a day, it always takes me a bit of time to adjust to him being 'really' gone, so I felt a bit at sixes and sevens. So yesterday after a good walk with the dogs, I worked on a work project for a few hours and then read the September issue of "In Style" (I don't read magazines anymore, really, but I do make an exception for the September issues to see what the 'trends' are for fall. Apparently the trends are furry stuff, pastels, and red plaid. You are welcome.).

Then I made a "Rich and Charlie's salad" (aka a St. Louis chopped salad) for dinner; you can find the recipe here and please note that I use Tarragon vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and I do not put ham in it. And I do put the cheese right into the vinegar and oil dressing. I use Kraft grated parm in the green can for this (I actually buy Western Family brand but it is the same thing).  I watched the Video Music Awards while enjoying my salad.

Not that I"m a big music video fan, but I read somewhere that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were performing. Not that I"m a big Macklemore fan, but our nephew Stephen works for M&RL (he is an audio engineer...when they tour I think he works the recorded vocals but I'm not sure) and Stephen posted a photo of him at the outdoor stage so I knew he was there so I watched it with a hope of seeing him. Didn't see him. Saw and heard a bunch of stuff I can't unsee/unhear so yeah.

This is almost done-a few more rows and then decreases for the top.

And some more shells for you:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

One down

One sleeve that is.

Sleeves aren't very exciting but it IS exciting to have one sleeve done--one more sleeve and this sweater is done--except for the collar and the blocking and the sewing up.

But yay! I like a lot. I do like the moss stitch and it keeps the knitting from the evil 'rowing out' that can occur.

Not much else to report: it did rain last night and it was lovely to lie in bed and listen to the rain, along with the distance little rumblings of thunder. The air is fresh and clean this morning--and cool--and there is a great breeze.

I finished a 'cozy' mystery about a knitting shop called "The Postman Always Purls Twice"--it was in the new book section at the library. It was by (I believe) Anne Canedo and it is a series about the Black Sheep Knitting Group and how they solved a mystery. Spoiler alert: they solve this one too. But I needed a nice light thing so that was just the thing.

Now I am reading Black Chalk which is as far away from a knitting cozy as you can get. I got this book since reviews mentioned it was like "The Secret History" which is one of my favorite books ever. It is a mystery set in Oxford (in the 80s) and NYC (present day) and that is about all I know so far (I don't even know what the mystery is!).

Also today, Tim and I played around with some potential shadowbox arrangements of the tiny shells we found on a beach in Paihia in New Zealand. I'll end with one arrangement.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Around and around

The hat continues.

It needs to be blocked and stretched out, obviously, as opposed to beret looking but I think it will turn out well. I'm almost out of the ball of yarn so I will finish this up with the black. It is still fun but the fun is slowing down and now I just want it to be done.

I finished "Contrition" was a good book but wrapped things up too neatly. As I mentioned yesterday, the story is about a woman who was adopted at birth and as an adult learns her father was a famous painter and her sister is a cloistered nun. The characters are good and it wasn't too religious-y but I kind of disliked the overall idea that the main character's two life choices were a. nun or b. tabloid reporter.

I am also reading "Swann" by Carol Shields which is about an undiscovered poet and what happens when she is discovered. It seems pretty good. I haven't read any Carol Shields (how did I miss the excitement over "The Stone Diaries"?) so I'll keep going with this for a bit.

Other than that, just spending time walking the dogs and waiting for the rain to come!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Day Late

Yesterday was National Dog Day (or some such) and I forgot to post something, but let us celebrate today, shall we?

Pilot! Note his bright and shiny new collar with airplanes and stars (pretty much like his old collar except not filthy). We love this guy so much, even when he's grumpy and when he eats all the good stuff off the counter. Yesterday we celebrated with a bath and watched him go nuts because being wet is not one of his favorite things. He's so soft and smells so nice now!

Comet! She's become such a self-confident girl after a horrific start to her life. She loves Pilot and Jessie (cat) but of course loves Tim and I the most. She's starting to calm down around strange dogs too. We love her energy and her playfulness. We also love that when Pilot gets tired during their rough and tumble sessions, he lays on his back and lets her wrestle with whatever she can get her jaws on (legs tail cheek ear etc).

Jeanie! Obligatory knitting picture.

So here's what's new here:

1. WEATHER! We are supposed to get rain tomorrow---more rain than we have had in about six months. Delirium ensures.

2. READING! I'm reading "Contrition" about a woman who finds out her birth father was a famous artist and her previously-unknown twin sister is a cloistered nun (main character adopted at birth). It is an interesting book about religion and vocation and art and destiny.

3. WATCHING! We finished "The Affair" last night. The last two episodes were incredibly rushed and it left us with a cliffhanger but still good.

4. WORK! I concentrated on a revise and resubmit yesterday so I feel less slug-like.

How are you?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My brain on summer

This time of the year, I love the 'quarter system' which means we start at the very end of September and go through the beginning of December, and then have a lovely three week break.

It all quickly goes to hell when we go back the minute New Year's is over and trudge through til mid-June, with only a week of crazy catch up aka "spring break" to give a little relief. But for now, I'm just going to love having my Summer Brain be fully (dis)functional for a few more weeks.

I have little piles of work--some coding for a project over there, an outline for a project I really want to work on over here, a major grant-funded project that I need to get moving on more than I have wayyyy overrrr therrrrrree but all I really want to do is reading knitting books and do craft projects.

Here's the front of the  Catholic sweater with its confusing 'placket'. I also jumped in on the first sleeve and have it about a third done--yay me!

I also found the PERFECT Christmas knitted gift for Tim and I also have yarn for it but it is sort of a big project and so I probably won't have it done til next Christmas. I already have a Christmas idea for him but you will learn more about that next week, during EXPERIMENTAL CRAFT WEEK!

Yes, my summer brain and I are going to have an experimental craft week next week since Tim is going to be out of town and I will need some fun things to keep me entertained. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 24, 2015


Much of the smoke has dissipated and it seems better out today--our morning walk was much less hazy than yesterday. There's also a chance (hahahahah) of rain at the end of the week so that could clear some stuff out--we need the rain so, so bad.

This is coming along nicely:

I am working on the fourth row--hopefully there is enough  yarn to do maybe eight rows? That would make a nice slouchy hat--I think--and then I'll finish it off in black.

I am in the Entrelac Groove and can knit on this without the instructions and can get a row done in about 90 minutes watching stuff on TV--so this could get finished relatively soon.

The yarn seems like the perfect choice--mini mochi--hooray!

Other than that, it was a quiet weekend. I read 'The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge--it is one of her children's books that JK Rowling really loved--it is fine but a bit twee. I also made a bit of headway in "The Luminaries" and have been reading "China Rich Girlfriend" by Kevin Kwan--he writes these comedy of manners novels about asian culture which are delightful. Teaching at a west coast school, we have quite a few asian students and many of them seem pretty well off--  mostly I see nice cars and the women in high heeled Christian Louboutin shoes (you can tell by the red soles).
We don't have a big asian population in the Journalism school--I think many of them are in the business school and in the art/architecture school. So the book helps me understand them a bit more.
Plus it is just a hoot.

Other than that, we watched A LOT of The Affair and it is so, so twisted. I love it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Smoky Sunday

There are many wildfires in the Pacific Northwest this year, and while none of them are close to us (thank goodness), the smoke has been sucked down into the Willamette Valley. The Air Quality was at unhealthy levels by the end of the day yesterday and currently it is at unhealthy levels already (10am on Sunday). So my guess is that we may be pretty sedentary today--we may try a paddle early afternoon before it gets too bad.

I've been working on the 'front' of NDDG, and have much of it done:

There's a 'henley' type opening and a 'placket' and i can't quite visualize it right now but I think it will be good once it is done. It will take a few more hours for the other side and then comes the JOY OF KNITTING SLEEVES but this knits up pretty fast.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Heart Entrelac

So this happened yesterday:

I really love entrelac--it is just knitting but it seems to go faster than regular knitting and just looks so fun. I've never been afraid of picking up stitches and when you did entrelac in the round you do need to pick up stitches from the wrong side--as long as you *remember* to do that it works out fine.

My first Entrelac piece was the Lady Eleanor shawl but I didn't do the fancy fringe.  I also did the Stain Glass bag which isn't really entrelac--I could have sworn I did an entrelac bag but I'm not seeing it anywhere in my house.  Anyway--I love knitting it but in reality it is a little 'too much' in terms of design and color for a woman who prefers to wear black and grey. So the hat should be a good compromise.

OH and I missed my blogiversary this month--as of August 2nd I've been blogging for 11 years. That kind of astonishes me--that's a long time to be knitting as well as blogging. I feel like I should be a better knitter (oh I'm a brave knitter but I'm not a great knitter) but hey. I enjoy it and that is the important thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Not much

Not really much to write about today; I think I got a bit thrown off with no Ten on Tuesday yesterday. I've been knitting and it is just more of the same--more of the leg of Pepita, more of the double seed stitch of the Catholic Sweater, seven or eight more rows of Jeane--oh and this:

A bunch of black ribbing.

So this is the 'base' for my entrelac slouch hat which I'm vamping on...I have a pattern for entrelac in the round and so I'll start that on top of this ribbed hat band. The entrelac will be in burgundies and greys--both yarns are mini mochi. So soft...but this black yarn is SO black I have to take it over to the window to make sure I'm not messing up on the ribbing.

OH AND READING shall we just call this my summer of books about depressed women? OK we'll do this. I finished "Woman with a Secret" (not A woman as in my previous post) and I rushed through the ending. It was a mystery ish story with police detectives and there were TOO MANY DETECTIVES and there was sub plot involving the detectives and I just didn't care.

Last night and today I read "Trompe L'oiel" which is a story of a family that suffers a tragedy and then kind of falls apart after it--as famiies do. It was beautifully written but just so sad and tragic. Ah. I need something to cheer me up! Not sure if "The Luminaries" is the best choice to move on to since it is by all means NOT cheery but I have "The White Horse" on the Kindle so might try that.

OH AND TV we are watching "Rake"...the Aussie version...on the Netflix. So funny and so irreverent. I guess FOX did a US version with Greg Kinnear that just didn't cut it. But Rake is so good.

OK your turn!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend Recap

We had a quiet and nice weekend. Tim sadly has a bad summer cold so that put a bit of a damper on some original plans but it ended up we spent a lot of time hanging out on the patio outside, reading and talking. So we can't complain too much!

And this:
It looks like something now.

Let's see what else? I have a hankering to do entrelac, so I think I will ditch my "Blue Hands" glove idea (the yarn I wanted to use was too think) and make an entrelac slouchy hat out of that. I also have some chunky purple yarn for another slouchy hat and maybe then use the yarn from NZ for gloves.

-finished "Green Dolphin Street" and loved it, I wonder if I would have been brave enough to take a sailing ship to marry a lad in 1840.
-returned to "The Luminaries" and I like it so I need a break. My break is "A Woman with a Secret" by Sophie Hannah. It is about....wait for it...a woman with a secret (although I just started it and I sort of know what her secret is but there's stuff that needs more connections). Anyway. It is in that "Gone Girl" "Girl on a Train" mode (and I"m surprised it isn't "A Girl With a Secret") so it is a fun page turner about a woman who makes all the wrong choices.

-we watched the second match of the Bledisloe cup where our All Blacks DEMOLISHED the Wallabies (rugby). The Rugby World Cup starts in a few weeks so maybe I'll understand the game by then.
-"Slow West"--streaming on Amazon. A very different take on the American West (filmed in New Zealand)
-"The Affair"--I guess this was a Showtime series? It has Dominic West in it (who plays American better than most Americans) whom I love and also Ruth Wilson who honestly scares me completely in everything she is in (which has been the remake of "The Prisoner" and a few episodes of "Luther" in which she is terrifying. Anyway...just watching her terrifies me. But after one episode I'm pretty hooked.

That's our life!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Going fast!

Don't you love a project that goes fast?

This is the back of the Catholic sweater (NDDG). One of the best things about the Double Seed Stitch (which BTW goes much faster than regular seed stitch) is that you don't get those awkward 'rowing out' situations and it really looks quite good. This needs a bit of a block (could use about another inch in length which I will be able to get in blocking) but not much of one.

I'm not sure when I started this, I'll have to go check, but I feel I've haven't been working on this that long (interpretation: I"m not bored with it).

Note the corrugated shoulder which is a nice styling touch!

This was also made this weekend:

Ratatouille. I had peppers, onions and an eggplant in the CSA basket (oh and tomatoes) so all I needed was a zucchini (yes I"m shocked there wasn't one in the basket) and made this up.  I used this recipe and it tastes great. I believe the secret is a really, really fresh eggplant--a farmer's market eggplant--because the freshness make it taste king of sweet.

Friday, August 14, 2015

OK Bored Now

I know myself as a knitter and I knew that Jeanie would get a bit tedious but man oh man:

 I finished another repeat and it doesn't look any longer than before. It is maybe 40 inches long (and I measured it stretched out as it does need a really hard block) and it needs to get up to 70 inches.

It is really pretty when you look at the dropped stitches:

Turn your head sideways please. And this is pretty bleached out for whatever reason.

It is a tedious knit because it combines two things that take a bit of time: reverse cabling meaning that the pattern is k1 p1 so the cables get reversed, and the drop stitches mean that out of every eight stitches, four are knit or purled through the back (it goes like this: k1tbl p1 k1 p1tbl k1tpb p1 k1 p1tbl) (OK I could have done that in four stitches but the cables are a 4/4 so yeah) and it just takes so long. So long.

Anyway, I will persevere. I would really like to get this done by the end of summer break, which gives me til the last week in September, so I might be able to do it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A 'Me' Day

Today is a 'me' day--I have no appointments on the schedule which is pretty rare. Even though I technically am 'off' during the summer, lots of 'things' keep popping up. During the summer, in addition to my regular research, I review articles for journals, write tenure and promotion letters, put together proposals, work with my grad students, and try to catch up on academic reading. So right now I'm caught up with all the 'things' and even have two out of three syllabi done for the fall term (and that is still six or so weeks away--maybe four, maybe five, not sure).

So today I'm doing stuff around the house, thinking about research (which I have to do to get my mind around do I proceed from here with what I have...especially on this kind of complex ethics research that I'm doing) and do some knitting and reading.

Speaking of knitting, this is done and I think it looks great:

It is still a bit damp so I couldn't take a picture with it on--but I really like how it turned out.

Books: I finished two books and am really enjoying two others. I finished "Second Life" bySJ Watson--it is good but a bit creepy and I got a bit frustrated with the main character who is sort of a horrid person. The second one was "Master Thieves" about the Gardner Museum Heist in Boston--I'm kind of fascinated by art theft and forgery, perhaps it is a legacy of my one year as an Art History Major in college. I also would love to do a program in art crime and believe it or not there is  one in Italy--maybe some day.

Now I"m reading two books with New Zealand themes. First is "The Luminaries" which won the Man Booker prize last year. It has lots of characters but is really good--set during the NZ gold rush. The second is a classic: Green Dolphin Street--written in 1944 by Elizabeth Goudge (GOUGE?) about a woman who goes to NZ for love (a bit more complex than that) and it is set in the 1840s. It is really good too--it shows up on lots of lists of 'classics' but I've never read (although I've heard of it, and the song that goes with it).  Interestingly, Goudge (Gouge?) (OK just googled it is GOudge) never went to New Zealand.

I've also been doing the annual visits to the vets for the summer--it is just easier to get their annual exams in summer than during the school year. Pilot had to have some glands expressed (and if you are a dog lover you will know WHICH glands and why the vet has to do it) but still seems 'bothered' by his back end. And so:

He has on the inflatable doughnut of love (there is no shame at our house!). It bothers him not at all. He's a great dog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Rare Food Post

I'm not a big cook (understatement) and I'm not that good of a cook (oh, I have a few things that I can whip out but not a lot) but this is one of my favorites--a blueberry 'cobbler' from the Jane Brody cookbook.

It is easy, it tastes delicious (especially with ice cream) and it looks fancy!

Here is the recipe: Jane Brody cobbler see? I told you it was easy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

ToT: the Country Edition

I don't really go to the country--I live in kind of a small town and the 'country' is a few blocks away--but let us do this by thinking about the 'country' as going to a quiet peaceful place--the coast. (There was just an Internet thing about how Oregonians call the coast the coast and not the beach. It always amuses me to see families get out with their umbrellas and beach pails and sunscreen and discover why we call it the coast. Brrrr.)

  1. The exhale--as soon as we turn into whatever parking lot near whatever ocean spot, I have a huge exhale of stress leaving and peace arriving
  2. The food--different enough from day to day but familiar enough to always look forward to it
  3. The noises--the surf and the wind and the seabirds
  4. Finding treasures on the beach--shells, sand dollars
  5. Unexpected surprises--like coming across a group of horse back riders enjoying a sunset ride
  6. Wearing fun boots (mine are black with polka dots) for tromping around the water
  7. Sunsets
  8. Fires in the fireplace whatever time of year
  9. Just watching the ocean
  10. Tired happy dogs at the end of the day

Monday, August 10, 2015

Needs a good blocking

I'm about 75% done with this cowl (I will probably publish the design on Rav if I can remember what I did) and it needs a good block. But I guess I should finish it first!

We had lovely weather this weekend and we took advantage--a long walk Saturday morning, lunch out and a visit to the Saturday market. Sunday a short walk followed by a great paddle at Fern Ridge--so many birds even though we were there late morning (early morning seems better for birds). We did get a look at one of my favorites--one white pelican (a flock live near the reservoir) and we also saw a few grebe (love those) and a huge blue heron (and quite a few white ones too). Just a great trip.

I've been feeling a bit like a slacker because my big project for the summer (research wise) is going very slowly. I have to remind myself that since NZ I've written parts of two papers (someone else wrote the rest), finished a book and sent it off, and also wrote a piece with a colleague that will show up on MediaShift sometime in the next few weeks. So that is kind of unslackerish, right?

Friday, August 07, 2015

NDDG and more

So far I love Notre Dame de Grace but find the name very clunky. Perhaps I will just call it the Catholic sweater. About five inches in:
And lest you think I'm a slacker, I have been knitting on Pepita too:
Please turn your head sideways now.


Is there a famous person you'd like to knit with? Or watch knitting?

Then come play with us in the annual "Knitter's Hunk/Knitter's Chick" contest hosted by my Twinnie at her blog!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Picture and plans

Another repeat has been completed on Jeanie so that is rolling along. I do think it is more than halfway done but I need to do a measurement.

I did think of two projects I want to do for the end of the summer. The new IK (saw it on the Rav since I no longer subscribe) has a great sweater (imho): the Tucker Sweater which is reminiscent (sp?) of the Tangled Yoke Cardigan which I also love (and made).. I have some Paton's "natural" wool for this one. I also have a hankering (ha!) to make a henley (a Henley Hankering!) and I have about 1500 yards of merino and I think I'm going to make Notre Dame du Grace! It will be a bit slow going because of the seed stitch but I like it.

I also have plans to make Blue Hands but one hand will be black with maroon and one will be maroon with black. And hats from the yarn I bought in NZ. And I also just saw a pattern on Rav for socks that I MUST make: drachenschwingen!  So I think my knitting mojo is back.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

ToT: Visiting Cities

Today's Ten on Tuesday is 'what I love about visiting cities' and Carole talked about visiting Boston. I thought I'd do my ToT about Auckland!

  1. Auckland is very clean--so clean that there are people with giant vacuum cleaners walking around vacuuming.
  2. Teeny tiny restaurants with amazing food all over the place--we had great Indian food at a little restaurant that had maybe eight things on the menu and maybe ten or fifteen seats.
  3. Little surprises everywhere you wandered--turning a corner and seeing a cool light fixture or smelling some incredible food.
  4. The wharf--kind of the heart of the city.
  5. Nods to maori culture in carvings and signs and everywhere.
  6. The multicultural atmosphere--such a nice break from the hipster vibe happening in Eugene.
  7. Birds everywhere. Beautiful birds.
  8. Being able to walk everywhere and feeling safe doing so.
  9. Museums that were very visitor friendly--really well set up.I also love that Auckland residents get free admission to most museums.
  10. Not having to tip at restaurants and in taxis. 
I miss living in cities. I lived off of Michigan Avenue in Chicago and sort of in the South End in Boston (I lived off of St Botolph if you know Boston) and I also lived between Central and Harvard squares in Cambridge. There are downsides of course to city life but when you're young it is pretty awesome.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Great weekend

Even though it is only noon on Sunday, I'll just go ahead and declare this a great weekend.

Saturday started with a long walk with the dogs and ended with a river trip even though it was close to 100 degrees (our river trip was kind of short, and the sun was behind clouds for much of it so that make it tolerable). We haven't been out on the Willamette yet this season so that was great to get in the water (very shallow) and run a few (tiny) rapids in our little blow up kayak.

Last night we watched "Charade" (such a fun movie) and I finished this:

It needs a good blocking and some weaving in but I really like it a lot.

Today we slept in (because my good friend Jett Lagge seems in no hurry to leave) and took a 3.5 mile walk with the dogs (it is cloudy)...came home and had bagels and coffee on the patio, and as soon as we finished it started to sprinkle a bit. Yay for that too!

I finished a book called "Where they found her" which is good---an infant is found, dead, in the woods near a college--who is the mother, who is the father, and what exactly happened? The person investigating is a reporter who had a miscarriage and so is carrying that trauma with her too. It is a good mystery and there's an interesting twist at the end. So I recommend it. It is fairly quick to read.

Not sure what else is on the agenda for today but even if I just lay on the couch, it was a great weekend.