Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Lizards!

It is Leap Day! And Kathy  has a bunch of questions!

Before I start though--I like what Kym said on her blog--today is an 'extra' day so do something risky--something you wouldn't do on a regular day! I'm not sure what it is I'll do but I like the positive idea that this is a 'special' day that doesn't come around often (which it doesn't!) as opposed to 'oh just another day'. So I'm going to hold on to that specialness today.

Thanks Kym!

1. Do I have special fridge magnets? Well I have some, and they're mostly free ones from repair people. The others all have a 'critter' theme--there's a gecko, a little shark, a crab and a butterfly. I'm sure they are all from somewhere special but I can't recall!

2. My favorite color combo: grey and pink. Or purple and white (Go U Northwestern). Or dark blue and white. Or black and red. Depends on my mood!

3. Am I ready for March? We had a mild February (and a pretty mild January) so yeah, go ahead. Bring it on.

4. Have you ever knitted something with leftover that you liked as well as the original project? I can't recall (maybe I should just answer all of these questions with 'I can't recall'!).

5. Do the pets watch TV? Not really--not the dogs or the cats, but I think the bird might. Comet the dog is very aware of sounds--she gets all upset if there is a buzzer that sounds like a doorbell (like on the debates!) and she  hears the dogs in the background on NPR (sometimes they interview people and the dog is barking way in the background). 

6. What's the biggest knitting needle I own? Probably a 15. I don't think I could be very nimble with anything larger.

7. Cake or frosting? Frosting!

8.When was the last time we did something free? We went to a home show and that was free. Also walks with dogs etc. Can't recall (of course) the last time something was free free---some friends took us to the black tie gala so that was technically free but not really.

9. Have I knitted (total) more hats than socks? Definitely socks.

10. Do I know someone with a leap year birthday? No! I even checked FB to be sure.

Happy Leap Day!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Update

March is almost here--and technically I have only two weeks left of the sabbatical (although finals week adds a third week and then Spring break is there, so it is a month til I have to 'go back to work'. Although this week I have a honors defense tomorrow and a Honors program info meeting on Thursday, so there's a bit of 'back' going on there anyway.

But that's all good. I've met a bunch of goals and while not everything is 'done', I've finished more stuff than I imagined I could or would. The important thing is that everything with a firm commitment--book chapters, papers that are funded by grants--those things are all done. The stuff that isn't done doesn't have that level of reporting, so that's good.

In other news:  Ellen suggested a nice navy for the contrast color of the Trachenwhateversocken and I knew in the back of my head I had some yarn that was the same yarn base as the one I was using (did you follow that??). So I dug it up and indeed it works:

So the heels will be knit in the navy, then I'll do as much sock body as I can with the reddish brown and then finish off the toes with the navy. It will be fine. These are fun socks and are going quickly.

I got a lot done on them last night as we watched a movie called "The Big Blue". It was done in 1988 and directed by Luc Besson who went on to direct La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element. It was about two free divers (people who dive really deep with no oxygen). Then there's Rosanna Arquette, who seemed to be reprising her 'Desperately Seeking Susan' character with no real value. Anyway--it was a weird movie. There's quite a bit of unusual dolphin love happening. Let's leave it at that. AT least, as I said, I got good knitting time.

I read "The Past" by Tessa Hadley over the past few days too. It was a bit of a slow and rambling book about family issues. There's a bit of a twist that is kind of interesting and overall the book is pretty short so I kept going. I've read other things by her but I'm not sure what. :-) Anyway--if your library has this then try it.

Yesterday we went and got passport pictures taken--both our passports expire in April and even though we aren't going anywhere right away it has been in my head to get them renewed. And there's no easy way to do it but to get the pictures, fill out the forms, and send them in--do they even do them at the Post Office any more? I'm not sure. Anyway, I took care of all that and so that's done.

I'm looking forward to the Academy Awards until I get all bored in the middle, so it will be a High Seas night!

Friday, February 26, 2016

High Seas

I finished one ball of the yarn (I have plenty) and it is looking good:

Look at how the shawl matches my shoes!

Anyway, let me say again--I'm not a big lace fan but I really like this pattern. I think because it is mostly knit 2 togethers, only a bit of ssk at one end and a few knit 3 togethers here and there. I did leave out a few repeats because I wanted more of a scarf. But I really like how it looks and it isn't even blocked!

I read "Girl Through Glass" by  Sari Wilson--it is pretty good. A good short read.

Today I'm moderating a session at the UO's grad forum and that should be fun/interesting. I already have a problem where one student has 26 text-filled slides for a ten minute presentation. She'll be sorry.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Socks

I've started on Trachetensocken for Tim.


I don't think I have enough yarn. How disappointing! Tim says I can do the feet in a different color.

I lost the label so I don't even know what the yarn is, but I do have a tan yarn that is a contrast to it. It's such an unusual color (a rust that has more blue in it than this shows) that I really don't know what to do to complement it. I may just do a plain foot since it will be in a different color. Or I could frog (but I don't want to). I guess I'll just keep going and measuring (thank goodness for scales!).

Yesterday I gave a talk at the Lane Arts Council on creating and promoting a 'personal brand' for artists. It was fun--a great engaged group of about 40 artists from the area, ranging in age from about 25 to 80. Very lively but I had too much stuff for a two hour talk. Anyway, I enjoyed myself and it is a good thing to 'give back' to our arts community.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tot: Things I like right now. RIGHT NOW!

Not to be outdone by the quizzical Kathy, Carole wants to know ten things I like right now. Ready?

1-3. Surprises! I'm part of the Ravelry ITFF swap and my surprise package came yesterday. These fun things were from Stacey (aka Jukeboxheroine on Ravelry) and I'm delighted!

  1. Aslan Trends Santa Fe--this is great yarn, much like Koigu, and I"m going to make some mitts from it (maybe with beads).
  2. A fun felting kit to make a hamster.
  3. A hand thrown pot in gorgeous colors.

4. My aerobics shoes. They are Ryka N-Gage, they were pretty cheap on Amazon, and they feel great when I'm aerobicizing.
5. Naan. I have been in a naan mood lately. They have a nice prepackaged naan at the grocery store.
6. Cider, in particular Spire Mountain Dark and Dry cider--it is a PNW brand. I'm not sure about the rest of the country but hard cider is very big here these days--there are even cider places that only brew cider. Who knew? Is cider a thing?
7. The red headed woodpecker that is hanging out in our yard.
8. Murphy's oil soap. I cleaned floors yesterday and this was a god send. It is muddy out there and the dogs love the mud.
9. Downton Abbey. I'll be sad next week when it is over.
10. My last few weeks of sabbatical. I feel like I rocked it out!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Kathy's Monday Meme!

The ever inquisitive Kathy wants to know:
My favorite:
*space  to knit in: the sofa with a dog on either side

*a favorite commercial running now: the Pedigree dog food ad where the dog gets to go home from the Shelter

*A favorite Disney song: Tom Waite's version of "Heigh Ho".

*A favorite Summer Olympic event: this year it will be Rugby!

*A favorite Charity: Greenhill (our local animal shelter)

*A favorite first sign of spring: daffodills!

*A favorite thing to get in the mail: yarn shop catalogues!

*A favorite accessory: watches--I have many.

*A favorite candy: anything chocolate.

*A favorite cleaning supply: oh Kathy, you assume I clean! OK--Bon Ami.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One more? Really?

Solo Sleeve.
My HEAVENS I have been knitting on this sleeve for a long time. And I still have one left!
But then this will be done--all I have to do is sew on the sleeves (assuming I ever get the other one finished) and the seams are already done on the body--I think it has some type of fancy schmany collar too.

Sleeves. Ach.

Anyway--I finished the book I wrote about yesterday and it was fine. I'm now reading "Swans of New York" about Truman Capote and Babe Paley (it is fiction) and it is fun. Kind of a romp, a sad romp.

Last night we watched "The Man from Uncle" and it was fun. (That appears to be my word today, fun). Henry Cavill and Arme Hammer are good in their parts, it was fun. A romp. Not a sad romp.

Do you like the new layout? I'm not sure how to make the picture smaller so apologies for that.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

This Scarf

It is done!

Here it is blocking--I'll get a big picture when it is dry. This will need at minimum a steam press but it may take a block with blocking wires. However, it is too cold and damp to use blocking wires so we'll see what happens.

I'm not sure what I'll start next, but I'm guessing it will have to do with socks. Nothing is jumping out at me as a must knit--there is also a summer top from Knit Picks that I have bamboo yarn for but that looks like nonstop stockinette so yawn on that.

I'm reading a book called "What She Left" which is kind of interesting--it is a mystery about why a young reporter died (found in a cold river) and it is done through emails, texts, blogs etcetera. Kind of fun. And at the center is a college professor (a very stereotypical sleep-with-your-students professor) so there's that.

Oh--the symphony. It was interesting. The percussion thing turned out to be a piece that was primarily percussion. There were big bowls of water and some of the 'music' was percussionists flipping their hands around in the big bowls of water. And then at the end the bowls of water had dry ice put in them and voila fog. It was a bit gimmicky. But some of the percussion stuff was cool--the three percussionists used an instrument I had never seen, which looked like a bird cage.  I just googled it but I can't find out what it was. So anyway, it was kind of interesting but also gimmicky. Not my favorite. But the concert ended with 'Suite from the Firebird' so that was nice.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Winter's back!

Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees and today--right now--it isn't even 50 and it is cold and blowy and rainy. I'm glad we have a bit more cold (or cold-ish) weather but it is really kind of miserable out there. We did a quick walk around the block after lunch and I felt bad because the dogs wanted to sniff around and we just wanted to walk quickly and go back home.

We have the symphony tonight--the performance is supposed to feature drums in pots of water? And the pots of water are lit up? I'm not really sure. It ends with the suite from "The Firebird" so that should be fun.

The waves thing is coming along:

It is starting to look pretty good!

I finished "The Portable Veblen" but pretty much speeded through the last third. I didn't like it much. Now I have "The Swans of New York" and I hope that's better.

What's up with you?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My own private ToT

Ten on Tuesday is on vacation--WHAT WILL I BLOG ABOUT?

So I'm creating my own private Ten on Tuesday--although you are more than welcome to join in. My topic is ten things I take for granted and really need to not do that.

1. My health. I take my health for granted less now than I did since I'm dealing with a slight thing that needs to be managed. But how lucky am I to be past the 50 mark and I'm still able to life weights, do aerobics, take a good walk with the dogs, pick up stuff if it needs picking up, etcetera--and feel OK the next day.

2. The roof. I should thank it every day for keeping everything I love dry and safe.

3. Tech people. Anyone who answers my anguished cries with a calm response and a fix. I have great tech people at work and a pretty amazing one across the dinner table as well.

4. Electricity. I tend to freak out when it goes out so I do take it for granted.  But electricity--it is awesome.

5. Tenure. Yes, I'm lucky I'm employed by a place that finds it important to guarantee my job unless I do something like kill a student or something. I question the value of tenure for people who are horrible people but whenever things get tough (as they are at my University right now), tenure is a big sigh of relief when budgets are being cut right and left. I worked hard to earn tenure (and work harder than many to keep it) so it isn't like tenure is a weird gift---but I do take it for granted.

6. Rain. We missed it last year (not so much this year) and I have to remember to be thankful for it when I'm straightening my hair for the fourth time in a day (first world problem alert!).

7. Fiber stuff. I take it for granted that I can walk into the fiber room and easily start just about any project that tickles my fancy. I'm knitting down my stash (only a few fill-in yarn purchases in the past year) and this helps me to not take it for granted.

8. Amazon. I tend to assume Amazon will have everything I need and be able to send it to me within days. What a lucky world we live in to have Amazon! Even if you never use it, just the ability to have something to find something strange is wonderful.

9. Music. What would our world be like without music? Yet we assume it will always be there when we need it. I'm fortunate to be able to expand my musical horizons with a man who is also musically adventurous.  That helps me not take things for granted

10. Relationships. This is something I work hard on all the time---I guess I'm getting to that point in my life where I start thinking  "what will the world be like without this person in it". I think I have a bad history of taking some people for granted and I don't want to be that person.

So there is my little attempt at ToT. You are welcome to try it as well!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mondays are for Memes

According to Kathy!

I didn't get a whole lot of interesting knitting done so yay for Monday meme!

#1 Write on the pattern you are using or keep it clean as a whistle?
Write on it. I print out another one if I knit the thing again.

#2 Trick for Keeping track of a plain round or a complicated round? 
I use a row counter for everyting.

#3 You've decided you cannot stand the yarn you are working with......
you : rip it out and donate it.

#4 What is your current favorite television show to knit during? 
It used to be football but now it is whatever.
#5 How do you like your coffee? Just a little bit of skim milk.

#6 How many pairs of hand knitted socks do you rotate wearing currently?  
I have a huge drawer--probably 30 pairs? I need to knit more for Tim.
#7 You are taking a road trip.  Do you listen to the local radio stations on the way or your own music?  Our own music!

#8 Do you bring your own grocery bags to the store?  
95% of the time. But this is one of my research areas and I feel really, really guilty if I forget.

#9 What wildlife have you seen that is considered rare?
 Bears in Alaska--bears in Montana too.  Are they rare? One of the bears had two cubs--so cute. 
I saw a kiwi in New Zealand but it was in a kiwi house so that probably doesn't count.

#10 Someone just gave your family plane tickets to anywhere in the US for next week.  Where will you take them ?   I think Boston--I haven't been back since I left and I miss it!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

Here is what Valentine's morning looked like:

Cards and chocolate. Just the way we like it. Toffee to Tim from me, a chocolate covered tart cherry and a block of dark and white chocolate stamped with lovebirds for me. And very sweet cards.

Last night we watched "The Martian" and I continued with the Whakata Shawl . The beta version was supposedly free only through 1/29 but you can still download it for free today--it is a nice pattern.

It is actually fairly easy to knit while watching tv, even complex tv like "The Martian."

I hope everh day is lovely and love-filled.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Before seaming

Here is what the blanket looks like:

I'll hopefully get around to washing these (separately) and then seaming this weekend.

Tim brought home a cold on Wednesday and passed it on to me. It isn't that bad today but I sort of feel like I was hit by a pretty small truck. Good times!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Grey & Blue

It is a grey grey day here: we are having some rain and we've been kind of dry for a while. I like rain more than I like the sock-in fog that we tend to get, so not too much complaining on my part.

High Seas? Well here it is!

I'm one repeat plus in right now and this is going well--I have to say this pattern is pretty forgiving (for a lace pattern) and I've had a few time where the stitch count in a section was off my one and I could vamp and make it work. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!

I'm not a big lace fan but patterns like this I can deal with! At least that's what I am saying now. Early days.

The yarn is Rowan Kidsilk Haze, color 609, also called Atlantic.  It appears to be discontinued although you can still find it online. AND friends! I'm making "High Seas" using "Atlantic". IT IS MEANT TO BE!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On Wednesdays I knit!

I haven't really had a proper post for a few days, so this one will be a long catch up.

For starters: I'm almost done with the 'sand' section of The Turtle's Journey . This is the final section and then I'll wash the three sections separately and sew them together. This is because I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and one of the sections is seconds and that means it will bleed.

 I think this will be done by the weekend so that's good. There's a few other things on the needles and I will start some socks--I haven't knit socks in a long time.

So the weekend was really busy. It started with the Gala on Saturday that was interesting. We're just not Gala people. Then Sunday we went to brunch, I went to a Mary Kay training party (another interesting thing), home for the first half of the Super Bowl, and then we went to see "Book of Mormon" which was terrific. But it was busy!

Reading: I read "The Guest Room" by Chris Bohjalian. I really like his earlier novels (especially 'The Law of Similars' and 'Midwives' and the one about water rights) but I'm not a big fan of his historical novels or some of the creepier ones. The Guest Room is more like his earlier ones but pretty brutal in places. But if you want a tough and serious one that shines a light on an issue we tend to ignore (sex slavery) then you should read this one. It is a fairly fast read and focuses more on a family falling apart because of a poor decision by the main character.

Exercise: one thing that I wanted to do on the sabbatical is work out every morning, and I've been doing that! So I'm pretty proud of myself there. I have a couple DVDs and also work out to one of the Gaiam TV routines that are on demand. I do between 10 and 25 minutes of aerobics followed by weight exercises: I really enjoy the workouts by a trainer called Amy Dixon--I guess now she is involved with the Oprah network. I do these three exercises every day:

Dentist: I went to the dentist yesterday and he told me I had some teeth that would probably get cavities--but he also gave me some prescription toothpaste that he said would put the enamel back. Really? We'll see what happens. I hate the dentist but I love MY dentist--Richie G (I call him Dr. Gabriel). So we'll see how that goes.

I've been finishing up some projects--doing the citations etcetera--and I have started getting some work I finished at the start of the sabbatical BACK with revisions and such, so that's a good thing.

Enjoy today!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


Carole asked who would I want to save me if I've been abducted in TV land. Let's see:

1. Dr. House: he would know immediately if there was something oddly wrong with me. Plus he could beat people with his cane.
2. Liz Lemon: she would get to the bottom of it, immediately.
3. Jim from the Office.
4. Pam from the Office. Just because they would calm things down.
5. Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey. He could loudly call my name and find me.
6. Mrs Patmore from Downton Abbey. She would beat up someone with her spoon.
7. Tom the Chauffeur/Son in Law from Downton Abbey. Just because he is one of two people with a lick of sense there.
8. Violet, the Dowager Countess. She's the other.
9. Luther, because Idris Elba.
10. Jimmy from The Wire, just because he is so likeable and so bad.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Kathy's Monday Member

Kathy asks more questions!

Ssk or Knit2tog? K2together--one reason I like the High Seas pattern is because it is almost all K2T!
Double your yarn or knit faster? I don't relaly like doubling yarn.
Ravelry or Pinterest? I'm a Rav girl, Pinterest is too overwhelming

Stop n stretch or drive right through? I'd rather drive right through!
Mountains or desert? Definitely mountains.
Watch sunrise or watch sunset? Sunset I think!  But that's a West Coast thing.

Flu shot or no flu shot? I HATE SHOTS so no.
Tissue with lotion or plain tissue? Plain please.
Mosquito repellent or cover up? Depends--if we're going on a hike or a paddle and we know there will be mosquitos definitely the repellent but I'd prefer to not put that stuff on my skin.

Walter Payton or Peyton Manning? Oh this is cruel. Both please.
Pets in your bed or close the door? Comet sleeps in a crate at the foot of the bed, Pilot sleeps on a bed on top of her crate, Jessie the cat comes in and out as she pleases.
Wash your fruit or not? I have tended not to wash fruit with skin that you don't eat but am changing my tune on that.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

In which we channel 80s rock stars

Tim did his best ZZ Top:

And I honored my inner Stevie Nicks:

And off we went to the Eugene Symphony's 50th Anniversary Gala. It was fancy and not at all in our wheelhouse but it was fun to experience. And dress up.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Hi there High Seas!

I started Kieran Foley's High Seas (with a modification or two--not quite as many repeats of some of the sections since I prefer a scarf rather than a shawl) and it is slow going (lace) plus I really do need to focus while doing this. I love the color--it is Rowan Kidsilk Haze is a lovely vibrant cornflower blue.

And in other news:

I'm reading "Mrs. Queen Rides the Train" and it is a good book. But then I'm a sucker for royalty.
We started watching "The Leftovers" but gave up on it. I think it is based on Tom Perrata's book (sp?) but the book wasn't that ugly that I recall. And that show is ugly.
We have a busy weekend coming up--going to our first black tie event and attending "The Book of Mormon." Kind of busier than I like but it is just one weekend!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Sleeves. Sigh.

I have pretty much come to grips with the fact that the grey sweater (I can't even remember its name--I want to say it is Cato but I think that is wrong) won't be done for this sweater season.

This is just the first one--I'm about 52 rows in and bored bored bored. It looks like it would make a nice beer can holder though.

I finished a book called "He's Gone" by Deb Caletti (??) and it was...fine. About a woman who wakes up and her husband is gone. So the rest of the book is half 'where is her husband' and half 'here is all the stuff about our relationship that no one knows.' Definitely fine. And longer than it needed to be (sorry Deb Caletti).

On the plus side, I sent off an article to a journal today that I didn't even plan to do on my sabbatical! So that's a good thing

I did cast on for a new shawl and I just downloaded another pretty cowl called Lissome. It is free on Ravelry until midnight tomorrow (Friday) and you should check it out!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Back to Knitting!

Look what I finished!

Well almost--I need to seam this together, but then I'm done!
The colors are really quite a bit more vibrant than see here--I'll post another photo after I blocked it and seamed it so you can see I'm not a liar :-).

Also, please note the needle that I used to knit this. Luckily it didn't break but man, I am muscling that yarn, yes? Is muscling even a word?

Life is fine--some recurring issues at work that aren't getting resolved, and some people wanting to meet even though I'm on sabbatical. I'm getting some good research done and that's good.

Are you watching London Spy on the BBC? BBC America? We started it last night and it is good! Take a look!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

ToT: sorry I have to opt out of this one!

Today's ten on Tuesday is: 10 Moments/Events/Days In Your Life You’d Like To Repeat.

And my friends, I'm going to opt out of this one. I work hard to look forward and not back, so that's one reason. And when I think of some beautiful things and days, they are often tainted by something dramatic having to do with birth family and various issues.

I'm so lucky to be married to a wonderful man and I would live every minute of the past 20+years with him again, even the bad ones, because he has taught me so much and made me a better person.

So there you go. I'll return tomorrow with my regular knitting content.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Monday's Meme: Guessing!

This morning Kathy gave us a little guessing game!

*Guess how much a skein of sock yarn costs me? I think $24 is the top price I'm willing to pay, and I'm kind of freaked out that there are sock yarns that cost upwards of $30.

*If you had to guess how long it takes me to make a pair of socks ......what would you guess? That is a hard question, as I have lots of projects going at once. I do think I could knit a pair of socks in thick yarn in 16 hours.

*What do you guess is my worst knitting failure? Sweaters that don't fit. 
*Is yarn free? Ever? HA! Yes. I'm part of a swap on the Ivory Tower Fiber Freaks and my swap partner will be getting a lovely skein of Miss Babs as part of the Swap!

* Guess Who is the most popular designer on Ravelry? I don't know--Isolde Teague? Tin Can Knits?  

*Guess one of the most popular yarns on the Ravelry yarn page today and then guess a very popular pattern : Cascade 220, and some hat?
Oops just checked--no 220 on today's list. Damn.