Thursday, May 31, 2018

Satamran on a Thursday

Lots of randomness today, my friends!

  • The white top fits! And it is long enough! And it looks good! Pictures soon.
  • LITTLE WOMEN! Did you watch it, on PBS? It is one of my favorite books of all time. THis was a nice adaptation, imho. Marmee was a bit more prickly than I imagined, and there wasn't enough Aunt March, but other than that I liked it. I think we got a much better idea of who Father was in this adaptation. Costumes were wonderful, and the house looked--to me--much like the Alcott's house in Concord:

Above: Orchard House in Concord, the Alcott home. Below: the house in the PBS show.

  • I'm reading "The Death of Mrs. Westaway" by Ruth Ware. If you haven't read Ruth Ware's mysteries, you should. This one is good, very gothic even though set in modern times. 
  • Weeds. Weeds weeds weeds weeds weeds.
  • Here's a bit more of the scarf I'm working on:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Last push til summer break

It has been so nice to separate a bit from j-school---the end of the academic year is always fraught with tensions and this year is the same. It is always kind of a surprise to see what needle will break the camel backs of the faculty and this year's needle involves someone who got enough rope to (hopefully) hang himself. Enough metaphors? Basically, an admin in the jschool who is constantly frustrated that no faculty will pay attention to him told two retiring faculty that they had to vacate their offices by the last day of their contract. This day is the day before graduation and four days before grades are due. And there's not going to be anyone moving into those offices until August. It is just a rude power trip that diminishes the 50+ years of service those two faculty members have provided to the school. What an ass.

On to other things. Will this top ever be done? No I don't think so.

It is hard to get a good measurement on it but I'll just keep knitting til the ball is gone.

It was a fairly relaxing weekend. Tim did a lot of work, we did a lot of weed pulling, I did some knitting, we smoked chickens in the smoker (yum), took long walks with the dogs, and of course visited the house.  The weather was beautiful.

On our walks, I'm picking up bits and bobs of moss:

Apparently the white moss (the 'big' moss) makes a brilliant hot pink natural dye. We'll see!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Happy Day

It is the middle of Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you are having a good one!

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to see the house. We hadn't been for a few weeks and we knew some stuff had been done so we knew there would be a lot to see. On the way, I knit on a sock for Tim that I think has been exclusively a 'knit in the car' sock (usually Tim drives over, and I drive back).

 This yarn is "Indulgence Six Ply" that Kathy has made some socks from, and it is lovely. Obviously the two pairs won't match at all.

OK now some pictures of the house. First is the Tulikivi. This will be the main heating element of the house (we do have other heats just in case). This is a masonry stove meaning it holds in the heat, so if there was a fire burning in it you could touch the stove, unlike a regular wood stove.  This was a 'given' in designing the house and we're so excited that it is now in! It needs a chimney, of course, and our Tulikivi guy, Uwe, wants to come out for the 'first burn' which will probably be later this summer (I don't think we've ever been to the coast and not had a fire in the fireplace, regardless of the time of year).

The custom cabinets are in! We have alder cabinets in the kitchen, the master bath, and the utility room. Our viewpoint on the kitchen to date has been concern that it was too small, and now we see tht there is plenty of room in it for two people and a dog! Probably two dogs! Yoiu can also see the trim around the windows and doors and that the tile has been laid (but not grouted).
 A close up of the tiles. These are in the kitchen, bathroom and utility room. It is off white with flecks of brown (to match the cabinets) and grey (to match the stove).

It is fun to see the other stuff we've picked out--the tile and wall for the shower and the sinks, for example--sitting around waiting to be put in.

We are maybe six weeks away from finishing!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Long and Longer

Long: It's a long weekend! Hooray! Next week is week 9, the second to last week of the term. Hooray! AND I don't have class on Monday because of the holiday, and Wednesday is a work day, so next week is truly the calm before the storm. I expected to have three theses in my email box this morning, but so far---crickets. Not sure what that means but it is OK--I will have ample time next week to read theses (famous last words).

Longer: I added a few inches to the Construction Zone top and now it is soaking and I'll block it and see what's what with that. I think it should work this time.

Belong: I'm part of an Office Supplies Swap in an academic group on Ravelry and I received my swap package the other day (I have the things to send to the person I'm swapping with, just need to package them up and mail them, maybe that is a good thing to work on this weekend).

Behold: office supplies including a journal from the Writer's Museum, some bookmarks, and Office Supply themed office supplies! There are file folders (which I love) and some envelopes too. What a great swap!

Long ago: I'm reading "Chasing Hillary", a book written by a NYT reporter assigned to Hillary during her recent campaign. It is pretty interesting, and gives some insight on what happened, but not in an overly serious political analysis way. Mostly in a personal, "I don't connect well with her" way.

This weekend we'll head over to the house on the coast. There's been a LOT of activity surrounding that, including the installation of the Tulikivi, which is our soapstone stove:

There's also tile and we've not sure how much of that is in, and there are cabinets in as well. So it should be starting to look like a house!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Everything is too short

I don't know why I have such trouble with lengths of things---I follow directions, I measure, but often tops are just way to short for me. It just happened with Construction Zone--and I have more yarn and I can add on, and that's fine, but WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME?

Maybe that is why I like cowls and scarves so much. Like this one.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

SHAWL we have some fun?

You know that Kathy's quoras are one of my favorite things about the blogaverse! Let's answer some questions.

*1.  The 3 robin babies are growing so fast.  Do you peek at a nest or leave it be?
I rarely see birds in a nest. So I leave it be.
*2. Have you chased a dream to find you really didn’t find the PURL  in the oyster.
NO? I'm not sure exactly what this means.
*3. When was the last time you SLIPPED?
Oh lordy I slip all the time. 
*4. Name the photo below if it were a skein of yarn. 
Planting the Garden. And it would be a great colorway!
*5 My winter knits are washed and  put away.  (2 scarves, 8 hats, 3 vests, one sweater, 2 shawls, 12 pairs of socks) Where do you put your winter knits during hot weather?
In the cedar drawer. 
*6 Have you had a favorite doctor in your life?
Ich I hate doctors. I did have a crush on the guy who fixed my collarbone. Dr. Sheeran.
*7. Pets: purebred or heinz 57. ?
Any pet that needs a home!
*8  Favorite state fair food is….
When they take a whole potato and fry it to a giant french fry.
*9 Have you ever been in the audience during a Television taping or live show?
Yes. I went to SNL many moons ago (I think Bruce Dern was the host. Eddie Murphy was still in the cast).
*10. I like the sign below.  Do you have a sign in your house?
No but we'll have a latitude and longitude sign for the new house.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Everyone at my school has senioritis--students, faculty, staff. Everyone just wants the whole darn school year to just finish. NOW. These last few weeks are so hard--mostly because the first half of the calendar year is intense. We start back right after New Years, have a ten week term and finals, have a week off (where faculty basically have to plan out the spring term), then start it all up again at the end of March for 11 weeks.  And now, everyone is scrambling to get stuff done by the end of the year.  I keep reminding myself it will be over soon, but it is hard to teach a 2 hour class when it is so clear that everyone doesn't want to be there. Oh well. Almost done.

All my knitting seems to be like the term--never ending. Here is the white top, which I really want to wear:

But it needs probably another six inches. It will be cute though.

Lots of house stuff happening--the cabinets are in, the Tulikivi is being installed this week, and that means the tile is in. Can't wait to see it! We'll go visit this weekend.

Thanks for listening to me blather.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Whiplash Week

Someone used that term on Ravelry---to describe a week when you whip around from thing to thing to thing. That was last week, whipping around from classes to meetings to defenses and back again. Friday was hard, because a student who was anticipating getting a 'distinction' on her honor's thesis got a 'with honors' instead. Basically, a student in the University Honor's program (which differs from the program I run, at the J school) does a thesis and most students (about 85%) get a pass 'with honors' while about 7% get a pass 'with distinction' (the highest one) and the rest get a 'pass' (which is basically, dude, you phoned it in). Anyway---this student's friends are all in the University Honors program and several of them (including her gf) received a 'with distinction' so when she got a 'with honors' she was first devastated and then really angry.

It was hard, because we all (there were three of us) think highly of the student and she did work hard on the thesis, but she didn't quite get to the 'distinction' place (you know it when you see it). And we can't pass her with distinction just because her gf for the distinction (two of the three of us were on the gf's committee as well). I knew it would not go well, I just didn't realize how upset she would be.

There has been a bit of knitting stockinette on the Construction Zone top and now it just looks like a big grey blob:

I went out to the farm yesterday to check on everyone. There were a lot of plein air painters there and the alpacas were very busy posing for their fans. Below is Calypso's mini-herd--right now he is with the castrated boys who are a bit gentle but still will do some roughhousing with him. From left to right--Atom is the white one (he's mine as well), then Griffin (the brown one), Calypso behind him, and Navarre.

He's still smaller than the rest but getting bigger.

Atom is becoming more used to me.

And finally, some pretty flowers in the garden:

 Foxgloves, all volunteers.
 POPPIES! (Say it in your best Wicked Witch of the West voice). They get so big that they can't hold their heads up!

More foxgloves.

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Let's try a new craft!

Shall we?

I bought the basket wrapping with sari silk 'kit' from Darn Good Yarn--it is basically a bunch of sari silk ribbon and a somewhat confusing pattern with really bad photographs. Anyway--I figured I could find a YouTube video to help figure out how to make a basket and I did, so I gave it a try;

It is the bottom of the basket, and photographed way too dark, but you can see the spiral of the basket.

I kind of bore easily, and I got bored doing this. But I will continue, as it is kind of a nice change from knitting and it is a bit of instant gratification.

Tim is back, safe, yay!

This is the busiest week of the year for me: in addition to my classes, I have 64 papers to grade, three honors defenses, and a two hour advisory council meeting this morning. I'll be gla when this week is over.

More on the basket when I have it in good l ight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

When there's just no good knitting going on

I have been busy but the knitting is boring. Usually when Tim is away I knit up a storm, but a variety of things (work, not sleeping) have meant I've just worked on boring stockinette and finishing stuff. I did finish the black top and need to weave in ends (I added about two inches to the bottom). I knit it at a looser gauge so I will need to wear a tank with it, but that's OK.

One of my morning rituals is a quick glance through the "Craft Gossip Newsletter".  I'm not sure who all these crafty people are (oh ok, yes I do, they were all the people I saw at Michael's last Thursday when I went to buy a glue gun) and I don't know what they do with all their crafty crafts, but I do love a bit of inspiration (and laughs). Today brought both.

Inspiration: this is such a simple idea and I don't know why I haven't done this:

BRILLIANT! Select colors for a project based on a book cover. I even like the book they picked here! 

And this is the laugh:

A crocheted oak stump! For the baby's room!

Monday, May 14, 2018

So much finishing

It was on my to-do list for the weekend to finish several items (tops) that needed finishing, and I did get the ends weaved in on these two:

I did take photos of me wearing these but will not show you as 1. I was wearing hideous yellow shorts that I only wear around the house and 2. I did not blow dry my hair yesterday and I looked like Einstein and 3. It was hot yesterday and I was all glowy.

These combined make a bad photo.

Tim's big meeting is today and he's home tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it, mostly since the dogs will stop waking me at 5:45 every morning. We've had some great walks though.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Happy Saturday! The dogs let me sleep til 6:15 this morning, and then we were up and out on a long (almost four mile) walk. It's 9am and we've done the walk, I've made breakfast, read a dissertation proposal and reviewed a manuscript. BAM!

Yesterday morning was a good day at the farm:

Calypso is growing very quickly---he is all legs as most teenage boys are. His fleece is already growing back and is quite soft.

This picture makes me so happy! On the left is Atom, my huacaya fiber boy. On the right is Calypso, who is a suri--you can see the difference between the two here! Atom is a bit bigger but Calypso is uphill from him so they look about the same height.

This guy had a good day:

This is Kokopelli (with Ann). He had a good day BECAUSE we bred him to Tinkerbell! We are going for a third cria (Calypso is their second, Georgia is their first, and now hopefully we'll have a third cria!). I'm excited, of course, and hope it all goes well.

When a male and a female breed, the male 'orgles' which stimulates the female to be accepting of his gift to her. If you've never heard orgling, you are in for a treat (not really):

The first spit test will be next week, so maybe next spring we'll have another cria!

To end, here are a few photos from the walk this morning:

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday is Friday

For whatever reason, I spent most of yesterday thinking it was Friday. I know I was tired because of my dog sleeping friends, but to miss a whole day? Anyway, I'm actually kind of glad that I thought it was Friday because it made me take care of all the little things that needed to be done by the end of the week. I would finish a task and think 'oh I'm too tired to do anything else' and then I would play a round of Cookie Cat Pop (don't judge) and think "ok one more task" and by the end of the day, all the tasks were done. Which means today I can get a bit ahead and finish off a few details for the undergrad class and re-read some of the challenging chapters coming up in the grad class.

I went into the stash because I wanted to knit something out of navy and white yarn. Oddly, the stash didn't produce but I did find a wound (yay) skein of sock yarn in summery colors:

And cast on for a smaller version of the caprino wrap and it will be either a scarf or a shawl.

It was chilly this morning---I was up and out with the dogs by 6:10 and had to get my winter jacket--it was only about 46.

You might remember Tim and I stayed at Volcano National Park two summers ago and now it is closed yet again because Kilauea may explode. I'm sending positive energy to everyone on the Big Island except Pele--I'm not sure she needs any more energy right now.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

So so so so many things

So many student problems. So much laziness and lack of responsibility-taking. So many lame colleagues. Is it summer yet? I just need to hang on for a few more weeks of classes and then finals week. Actually, if I can hang on for two more weeks (which of course, I can easily do that) I'll be fine. After Memorial Day it's pretty much 'teach yourselves' around here (not really).

Tim is gone for about a week--he has a Big and Important meeting in DC on Monday and left early to go visit family before. His sister and BIL live in Columbia, Maryland, and our niece and her husband and two great-nieces live nearby so he'll have a nice time with family. The dogs already freaked out--last night Pilot slept glued to my back, and Comet slept on my one foot while Jessie cat slept on my other.

Knitting has been pedestrian:

The Irises are blooming and are quite lovely:

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A Really Really Really Good Surprise

Our builder says the house will be done sooner than we thought.  Definitely by the end of JULY! Maybe even by the fourth of July!

Most of me is thrilled beyond belief, and the other part is saying 'but furniture. Appliances. Yee!' But we have A Plan and as Tim points out, as long as we have towels and pillows and sleeping bags we'll be OK.

It is painted inside too.

It was warm and sunny here on Sunday, but cool and damp on the coast, which reminds me clothing-wise I'll need leggings, jeans, shorts and sweatshirts and I'm good to go.

Other updates: I read "The Perfect Mother" which was OK (yay another unreliable narrator) and we're watching the new season of "Shetland" on Birchbox. And my work to-do list is getting out of hand, so I better get going on that.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Who doesn't love a QUORA?

Blogger doesn't seem to want me to link to Kathy's post (ok it just let me) but happy birthday Fireman and yay for Tauruses! Taurusi? Taureans?

Anyway. It is QUORA TIME!
  1. When’s the last time you rode a horse? In Costa Rica, in 2005, and I fell off and broke my collarbone and had to go to the hospital in Limon and then fly back to the US where I had surgery four days after I got back. Good, good times.
  2. Did you knit as much as you wanted this weekend? I did a good deal, but I always want to do more.
  3. What is the last thing you made with Bisquick.? Probably pancakes, probably a gazillion years ago.
  4. Are you watching out for romaine lettuce problems?Yes and that makes me sad because I love romaine and dearly want a ceasar salad but I'm avoiding.
  5. When your sister gets a new puppy do you want one?  When anyone gets a puppy I want one. Kim Spence Dean, do you have a new puppy?
  6. Do you add salt to taste to your food? If I taste it and it needs salt, yes.
  7. What’s your favorite summer dessert? Pavlova!
  8. Have you memorized a knit pattern? Yep. I can knit socks without a pattern because I ROCK HARD.
  9. Did you keep a plant alive from last year inside until this Spring? Nope.
  10. Does your hair misbehave more in summer or winter weather? Winter, because we have no humidity here in the summer.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Flower Power

The black t is done, but I worry it is not long enough. However, I can see a fairly easy 'add on' to it that will make it OK. Tim is going on a business trip next week so I think I'll have time to finish everything that needs finishing (and  there is kind of a lot).

Thursday I made tacos al carbon for dinner, and then Thursday night around 9pm I started getting really bad cramps as something was moving through me. It didn't move all the way through until about 2am. I was up at 7am with a horrible headache that just got worse through the day in spite of both aspirin and ibuprofin.

It was wonderful to wake up this morning headache free and feeling better.

Now, for some pictures of the garden. First, if you very very very closely, you can see a little blossom from the wisteria. This wisteria just hates to give us any flowers. It is very demoralizing.

On the other hand, we are fortunate to have a variety of columbine (there are pink, red and purple in this picture) and to have bleeding hearts that have naturalized nicely. Plus, DANDELIONS! WEEDS!
 That's it from here!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Getting there!

This top is getting there:
and it may be finished this week (maybe).

The house is getting there: the inside and outside are painted (blue outside, white inside), cabinets and counters are getting sorted, the tile is about to go in--pictures soon.

The term is getting there: even though we have five weeks of class time left, the last week is presentations and the second to last week is Memorial day and 'work day' so I really only have three weeks left of teaching. That is doable (although lots of grading and 12 theses to be defended).

I read a good book: The Feather Thief which is pretty much The Orchid Thief with feathers (jk) (but not really). Really really interesting story about someone who stole a bunch of beautiful bird feathers from a natural history museum. For fly-tying. You can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Ever so festive!

Yesterday was my birthday, and honestly I wasn't that excited about it. The idea of actually being 60 (and it freaks me out to even WRITE that number) seems so NOT ME. I know it is all about how you feel, not whatever the calendar tells you, and I always generally hear that I look and act much younger than other people my age, but just seeing that NUMBER is not a happy thing.

My birthday, though, was incredibly happy. I guess it started Friday with coffee with my good friend Lauren--we're both so busy it is hard to find time to catch up, but we did. She is an inspiration--a well known author who publishes literary nonfiction and just finished this amazing book about a recent project (I'll tell you more when it is published, as it is her story, not mine). Anyway, she is off to Vienna and then Greece for a month so it was great to catch up.

Sunday we had dinner at a lovely little restaurant called Cioppino House (it isn't open on Mondays). It is an 8 table restaurant where the husband cooks and the wife waits tables and it was amazing. I had cioppino (I mean, you have to, right?) and Tim had scallops and we had chocolate mousse for dessert.

Yesterday--I woke up to cards and chocolates from the dogs, then went to work (Mondays are busy teaching days). One of my PhD students took me out for a mocha, and I got a lot done. I got home and Tim made potstickers for dinner. And there were these:

A big surprise, and a lovely necklace, and lots of cards and phone calls, and chocolate cheesecake, and it was a great day.

So maybe 60 isn't too bad. Maybe.