Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Think My Bee Done Died

I think my mystery stole is now officially D.O.A. I wonder if I will ever want to resuscitate it?

Meanwhile, socks rock! Mine looks like a footlet right now, but I'm almost finished with the heel (a Turkish heel). I am liking toes up socks much more than top down. Funny thing happened while I was in my sock class tonight - we suddenly quieted down and the woman across from me said, "We're moving." No, she's not moving from the area, we were really moving! There was a 5.6 earthquake in San Jose. We just sat there, riding it out, seeing if it was going to get strong enough to merit sliding underneath the table. After the earthquake, we had an interesting discussion as to whether or not a yarn store was a good place to be during a shaker. On one hand, the bags of yarn won't hurt too much if they fall on you; on the other hand, the shelves would probably leave a mark!

By George, I Think I've Got It!

The secret to consistent blogging...stockpile posts on the weekends to use during the week.

Halloween is tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. Really... truly...I'm not being one bit sarcastic. . . Honestly!

Sorry, I have to go. My nose is getting uncomfortably long.

Yay! Sock class tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The fires in Southern California have brought some memories of another firestorm rushing back to me.

I remember it as if it happened yesterday. On Sunday, October 20, 1991, I had been lolling around, having a lazy day, debating whether or not I should drive out to Berkeley to see my boyfriend in his new apartment at the Parkwoods complex. Then I got the call. "Honey, stay where you are; don't come to Berkeley. I'm o.k., but my apartment and the hills are on fire." WHAT?! I remember running out my condo and looking west, toward the Berkeley/Oakland area. All I could see was a gigantic plume of black smoke.

Panic began to engulf me. Fire scares me like nothing else. Earthquakes, I can tolerate. After all, I have been extremely lucky with earthquakes. I get a ride that spikes the adrenaline momentarily; but I have had the good fortune to be in safe structures during "tremblers" (A small sampling: the Whittier earthquake, Loma Prieta, Northridge, and countless other small shakers). Fire is another beast altogether; it has a life of its own and leaves very little in its wake.

I spent the next few hours, worrying and trying to get any information I could on television. Why was it taking so long for my boyfriend to get to my place? Was his sister o.k.? Did they get the cat out? It was really windy, was the fire going to jump the hill and come towards us? Eventually, my boyfriend and his sister made it to my apartment safely. They were unscathed, but lost almost everything.
Including this poor guy. I still miss Oliver.

We spent the next few days looking at scenes like this. Word finally came that we could go back into the area, to see if there was anything salvageable. When people describe firestorms, they often say that it looked like a bomb went off. It's true, it looked like Armageddon. But fire is a funny thing, it can take one structure and leave another one untouched five feet away. As we went back into the apartment complex, we were stunned to see the lobby of one of the other buildings untouched. The entire structure had been gutted, but the lobby and its white sofa were pristine. While my boyfriend and I stood looking at the burned and rusted shell of his sister's car, our jaws dropped as a man drove his shiny sports car out of the building's garage. Life sometimes is really just the luck of the draw.

I don't think that people affected by that firestorm would have been able to get back on their feet without the help of the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross. These two organizations were our lifeline during the first few days following the fire. They mobilized quickly and helped with the most pressing needs of the fire victims. Later on, FEMA (they were good in those days) and countless others pitched in at offices, churches, and fundraisers. If you have the means to help, please do. You may not get a thank you note, but you have the eternal gratitude of the people you are helping! Hmmmm...I wonder if any knitters have a group up for this? *I just found the San Diego Wild Fire Blanket Project via the 25 Things for Charity blog. I believe the group is also on Ravelry. (Good thing I took that granny square class!) If you know of any others, please let me know!

By the way, if you live in a wildfire area, the Red Cross can help you get prepared. Cleaning the gutters and clearing a 30-100 foot safety zone around your house may seem like an odious job, but it does pay off in the end.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Love California in the Fall

California is known for its warm weather, but I love it the most when the weather begins to cool down and the fall colors appear.

Fall seems to bring out more wildlife as well. I saw these characters on my way to the dentist's office.

Wild turkeys are everywhere in the Bay Area. I know this sounds preposterous, but I once saw a pack of them use a crosswalk to cross a busy intersection during my morning commute. They almost made me late for work, but I was so busy laughing about it that I really didn't care!

The last of the summer blooms.

Back to the Blogosphere

My life has started to follow a pattern that goes much like this:

Wake up, hit snooze button (it's cold outside and the bed is cozy).
Wake up again, get ready for work.
Commute, teach, work some more after the kids leave, go to gym.
Go home, feed angry animals ("Human! You're late with my kibble!"), crash in the first place my bottom hits (I fear I am becoming my mother, who's notorious for falling asleep on the couch).
Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'm busy, work is good, but admittedly, this schedule is making me boring. I don't know if I can make the mundane interesting, like the dillydallyknitter can (by the way, cpurl, thanks for the comment!). I'm also facing the fact that only Crazy Aunt Purl can get away with blogging about cat poop, cat litter, and the lack of fancy panties due to the growing mountain of laundry. I don't know if I'm emotionally ready to tell the world about resorting to using the ugly underwear because I haven't had time to run a load of laundry.

But every so often, I leave the hermitage to do something interesting. I took a crochet class at Article Pract, so I could learn how to make a granny square. The class was fun; it's always interesting to see what other people do with the same pattern. I initially signed up for the class because it said the teacher was going to teach how to read a pattern. I have some Japanese craft books that use crochet symbols, so I was hoping the class would help me with that. Unfortunately, she taught us how to read a pattern that was written out in words and only touched on pattern symbols. Still, it was a good class!

The class was packed. With the amount of interest in crochet, I hope the instructor comes back to teach a more advanced class that addresses symbol reading and trickier stitches.

I'm also taking a class to learn how to knit toe-up socks on two circular needles. I know I could learn from one of my books, but honestly, I was feeling the need to get out more! There hasn't been enough progress on the sock to merit a picture yet, but when there is, it will give me an excuse to write something for a change.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Are You Doing? A Call to Action

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day. What are you doing to help the environment? It's not that difficult, really. You can start by following the 3 R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle. As knitters and crafters, we certainly been known to reuse and recycle things by incorporating objects into our work. Many of us even use knit dishcloths instead of wasting paper towels.

Knitting gives us the perfect excuse to turn down the thermostat. After all, keeping the temperature in the house turned down allows us to use the fabulous knitted socks, sweaters, and throws that we have made for ourselves! What better way to show off?

But why stop there? Here are 50 simple things you can do to start helping the environment. Want more? The Green Guide offers tips for a green home makeover. Little changes, like cleaning green, are not only healthier for the environment, they're healthier for you. (If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, check out the Chron's Green section on SFGate. )

We managed to make some significant changes in the 1970's. For our own sakes, we need to do it again.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Knitters' Coffee Swap 3 Questionnaire

I'm so glad I made it in for another round!

1. Whole bean or ground? Either is fine. I generally use whole bean during the summer; but since school started back up, I have been using ground (for drip or french press).

2. Fully-loaded or decaf? Fully-loaded! I need all the help I can get!

3. Regular or flavored? Regular, please.

4. How do you drink your coffee? With milk. I'm a latte kind of girl.

5. Favorite coffee ever? A friend of mine gave me this coffee from the Pacific Bay Coffee Company, a local coffee roaster. It was wonderful. I always thought I'd be faithful to my Brazilian blends, but I've been seeking out Nicaraguan coffee since I was gifted with those beans.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? I'm a bit of a coffee snob, since we have so many great local roasters (besides, my mom lives in Seattle & always brings some good stuff when she visits!)

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? I tend to go for pastries or cookies. I'm a sucker for a good oatmeal raisin cookie!

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? I like medium to dark roasts.

9. Yarn/fiber you love? Wool, alpaca, bamboo, soy, silk blends. I like soft yarns.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate? I'm not fond of novelty/eyelash yarns.

11. What's on your needles? A chemo cap, a baby gift, and a couple of scarves.

12. Favorite colors? I like strong colors, especially reds, blues, or greens. Light colors (khaki, beige) tend to wash me out, so I'm not crazy about them.

13. Allergies? Nope.

14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? If this wasn't enough information, all my swap questionnaires are on the sidebar. Oh, and I'm on Ravelry. My user name is hapagirl.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Bookstore

I blame Borders and their email coupons for feeding my addiction. Amazon is also an enabler. Seriously, I should just quit my job and open up my own book/yarn/coffee shop. This book makes me want to become a better knitter. I like how the Beyond the Basics columns are interspersed throughout the book, so that they are near the patterns that would use the highlighted techniques.

~ sigh ~ If it's not the yarn that gets me, it's the books!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fall Forecast: Music and Knitting

MY SP11 PAL ROCKS! Well, at least she is helping me to rock out. I received a generous iTunes gift certificate this month. I've had an iPod for a while, but I never purchased any music off iTunes. Her gift was the nudge I needed to get off my keister, set up an account, and buy some music to get me moving. Thank you so much, Sassy! My new music will keep me going at the gym (I just have to remember to restrain myself & not start dancing right there)!

I've missed knitting. This past month has been so busy, I can only manage to fit in a few rows here and there. Hopefully things will start falling back into a routine, so I can have the time and energy to knit, blog, and read blogs. On that note, I am so going to knit this hat! The pattern was on Crazy Aunt Purl today.
Laurie a.k.a. Crazy Aunt Purl makes me laugh and always makes my day (you should see the giant cat toy pattern in her book). She also has a great roll-brim hat pattern on her site, with a formula for calculating the number of stitches/gauge/head size. I think I could probably size it down for a child, if the math doesn't hurt my head too much. With the number of bambinos being born to my co-workers, I may be knitting a lot of these as baby gifts!