Saturday, February 28, 2009

Irrefutable proof that I am an idiot

We are a weird American family in that we have only a single car. (Oh, the horrors! Yes, we alone are responsible for the collapse of the American car industry because we own only one car, paid it off, and continue to drive it instead of leasing or constantly upgrading.)

 I took the car in to the mechanic this morning for an oil change and tune-up, and, by the way, the car is making a rattling sound, can you investigate that? Well, that rattle is luckily not the car's death rattle, just a very expensive rattle, and so I decided to walk home because there really isn't any interesting way to pass four hours in the local of the mechanic shop.

I walk home from the mechanic (about 30 minute walk), approach our house, and my first thought is "hey, the car isn't here. I wonder where Oscar went?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

I thought memes were passe but not on Facebook...

'cept on Facebook, they're called "notes" and it seems they are the second most popular thing for people to do, only slightly less popular than sending coffee/drink/plants/superpokes to people. 

Anyway, here's the latest:

This is the Layer Cake, covering different parts of your life.

11 Layers of Me

--Layer One: On the Outside

Name:: Lee (my last name)
Birthday:: January 18
School:: University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA (undergrad); University of Washington, Seattle, WA (grad)
Major:: Geology (undergrad)/Scandinavian Studies (grad--unfinished)
Minor:: none
Current Location: Tacoma, WA
Eye Color:: Blue-grey
Hair Color:: brown
Righty or Lefty:: Lefty, baby!
Zodiac Sign:: Capricorn

--Layer Two: On the Inside

Your Heritage:: Northern European mix--German, Norwegian, Scottish
Your Fears:: Rats
Weakness:: sweets, video games, yarn
Goal:: day to day goal--to make it to work on time, long term goal--to finish graduate school
Regrets:: dropping out of grad school, taking financial advice from someone dearly unqualified
Change one thing about your life:: learn to wake up early on a regular basis
Relieve Stress:: I'd really like some tips on this, 'cuz right now even alcohol isn't working
Hardest thing ever dealt with: realizing it really was me, not you
What upsets you:: duplicity
Vent about something:: I really wish my neighbor's would stop parking their two ton truck on my lawn AND pick up their dog's shit from my lawn

--Layer Three: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Your thoughts first waking up:: How many hours before I can go back to bed?
Your bedtime:: 11ish
Your most missed memory:: staying up late with Katze, talking to the wee hours.

--Layer Four: You’re picking

Pepsi or Coke:: Jarritos Tamarindo 
McDonald's or Burger King:: I have a weakness for McDonald's Happy Meals.
Single or Group dates:: Group
Adidas or Nike:: Keens
Lipton Tea or Nestea:: freshly steeped Sencha from Peet's
Chocolate or Vanilla: strawberry
Cappuccino or Coffee:: coffee, black

--Layer Five: Do You?

Do Drugs:: besides Tylenol?
Have a crush:: only on various actors, although I had a lovely dream about the lead singer from Franz Ferdinand the other night.
Think you've been in love:: I know I have
Want to get married:: already am.
Believe in yourself:: More than I used to, not as much as I wish
Think you're a health freak:: I have a healthy diet. 

--Layer Six: In the Past Month

Drank alcohol: Yes
Gone to the mall:: dear god, no.
Eaten Sushi:: Yes
Gone skating:: does slipping on ice count?
Dyed your hair:: Yes
Done something exciting:: I met with a college friend who was on town for business. A lovely evening!

--Layer Seven: Have You Ever?

Played a stripping game:: nope
Gotten beaten up:: Yes, more than once.
Changed who you were to fit in:: Sadly, yes. I don't think it worked, though.
Hid something from someone:: Yes, and I'm not telling you.

--Layer Eight: Getting Old

Age your hoping to be married:: I got married at age 24.
Age to start having children:: not likely 
Want to travel to:: pick a place, and I will likely want to visit there.

--Layer Nine: Perfect Mate

Best Eye Color:: brown
Best Hair Color:: no real preference
Short or Long Hair:: as long as it's well groomed, the length makes no difference. Even bald is fine (but comb-overs are not.)

--Layer Ten: What were you doing...

1 MINUTE AGO:: letting the dogs in 
1 HOUR AGO::enjoying a beer at Harmon's
1 DAY AGO:: lounging around in my PJs, staving off a cold
1 YEAR AGO:: nothing stands out

--Layer Eleven: Finish the Sentence

I LOVE:: my  husband, my friends, and my pets
I FEEL:: stressed out
I HATE:: being stressed out
I HIDE:: my anger
I MISS:: my friends
I NEED:: to start going for walks again

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


My colleague finally had her baby. He was due Feb 4th (I think) but didn't arrive until Feb. 12. Check out the link for baby and new parent cuteness.

Gotta finish up that Baby Surprise Jacket now...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Rowan's Scottish Tweed DK yarn smells like Crayola crayons. 

Decluttering little by little

I put my Xbox and Xbox games up on craigslist. $50 for the full system, three controllers, and nine games. The Xbox 360 plays some original Xbox games but not all. I was surprised that it read "Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy" because it wasn't very popular (although quite fun) but really surprised that it didn't read "Deus Ex: Invisible War" because that was a high-profile game that got great reviews (and is one of my favorite games of all time. It's got an intelligent story AND it gives you the option of playing through without having to actually to kill any enemies. This is actually the much harder option, by the way. You can try to sneak by them and hope they don't come after you or knock out them out with a tranquilizer gun (after you find it) and hope you can run fast or hide until the tranq. takes effect. It makes for very tense encounters.)

I'm getting rid of the system because I never play it anymore (and am seriously thinking of getting rid of the Playstation2 for the same reason) but I have the same feeling now as I did when I got rid of the VHS. I kept the VHS for much longer than I probably needed to because I had a lot of things on VHS that I'd never be able to see again, like the great travelogue of La Paz Oscar made for me when he visited his family right after we started dating. And the Tick cartoon episodes that Oscar taped (My favorite quote from the series is when the Tick says to the supervillian du jour: "You can't blow up the Earth! That's where I keep my stuff!").

It's almost worth keeping the system just to be able to play "Deus Ex: Invisible War" or "Otogi: Myth of Demons" sometime in the future. I love both these games.

I also realized I have far more beer bottles than I need at this point so I put a notice on Freecycle. Not that I'm too worried about those. If no one wants them, they go into the recycling bin on Thursday. Anyone need four dozen 12oz. amber beer bottles, suitable for bottle conditioning?



Imagine my surprise upon discovering that the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival--which is one of the best in the United States--is held right here in Tacoma. 

Yes, Tacoma. Vendors, teachers, and visitors come from ALL OVER THE WORLD for this festival and it's held in the lovely Hotel Murano, a mere 2.5 miles from my house. (And local people...if you haven't visited this hotel, go and check out the lobby. The hotel was renamed and redesigned to celebrate Tacoma's role in glass art, and the lobby is just beautiful, and full of individual glass art pieces.)

I didn't take any classes--most fill up the same day registration opens--but it's fun to go to the Marketplace as well as to hang out in the lobby with other people who are knitting, spinning, plying, felting, whatever. The vendors are a nice mix; there are some brick and mortar local yarn shops who set up booths with a miniature version of their shops*, as well as plenty of indy vendors who sell primarily online or at fairs. There were several familiar vendors like Philosopher's Wool, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and Toots LeBlanc as well, as well as some new faces like Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs (who had some wonderful self-patterning sock colors but who sadly** was sold out).

I met up with Kat and her husband Crash. They'd come the previous day and Kat made a list of things she wanted at the marketplace. She mulled over it that night and pared down what she really wanted--a shawl kit from Philosopher's Wool and some yarn from Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. Her first stop was RDWD, and said there was a gorgeous red yarn and was bummed when she couldn't find it. She turned to ask the seller while I rummaged through the display and found an intense blue-based red called "Bloodletting" buried under a few other skeins of a different color. Happily, it was, and I understand why Kat liked that yarn so much. Kat has a good sense of color and knows what looks good on her and I hope she makes a hat or a scarf from that yarn because that color would look stunning around her face. (I'm pretty sure she already had matching lipstick.)

I also had a mission, but it was not for me. Some of my friends had gone on Thursday (the first day) and Rachel had fallen in love with some dark grey alpaca/silk roving but decided against it. And she regretted it. At Knit Night on Friday, she couldn't stop talking about that fiber and how it felt "better than sex" and how the color would pair beautifully with some rose pink yarn she had and and was pondering the logistics of going back to buy it. So I offered to get it for her. I made that booth my first stop, but apparently wasn't fast enough. It was all gone except for a small amount of light brown (which would not go well with rose pink). The vendor was completely out. Apparently there had been a great demand for that fiber blend but he couldn't create more while he was at the festival. "Wednesday! I'll have more by Wednesday. Your friend can order from me online!"

As for me, the only thing I wanted to buy was some Noro Kuyeron yarn. I'd made a scarf for Gusano Medidor while she was here and I really liked it. I was secretly hoping that she didn't like it so I could keep it, but dammit, she liked it so now I need to make one for myself.  It's a very simple pattern and alternating colorways every two rows. The yarns is self-striping and the color changes are really beautiful. The great idea with this scarf is that since one of the colorways is neutral (either creams/light grey or tans/dark brown/dark grey), the stripes harmonize quite well. My LYS used to carry Noro but replaced it with another company that made a similar yarn but was cheaper. I did buy some of this yarn from her but the scarf just didn't look very good. The yarn quality was just fine, but the colors weren't as intense so the color effect was very subtle, and I wasn't getting the effect that I wanted. 

Since it is a fiber festival, everyone was showing off their projects. Quite a few women were wearing Bohus sweaters (they ARE beautiful), but since Tacoma really doesn't get all that cold, there weren't too many people wearing wool sweaters. Instead, there were lots of people wearing shawls or scarves (there were several of the Noro scarves I just described). Me? My only knitterly object was the hat*** I was wearing, which I only wore inside so that Kat could find me easily but forgot to take it off and ended up wearing it throughout the day. However, several people came up to me and complimented me on it. The woman at Philosopher's Wool said it reminded her of a sea urchin and later in the day called out to me "hello, sea urchin lady!". :)

I also ran into my friend KittenLion who was going to make a sweater for her friend from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn but wanted to make sure her friend loved it before KL bought it. The friend was made to fondle the yarn, and to make sure she loved how the yarn felt against her skin before KL would buy it. BFMA yarns are beautiful (even Crash, who really couldn't care less about yarn, admires Tina's (BMFA's master dyer) craftmanship and art sense) but they are not cheap and I think my eyebrows rose when KL said she was making a sweater for her friend from this yarn. KL just smiled and said, "this is why" and showed me a picture of a stunning quilt that this friend had made for her. Ah yes, now I understand.   

*The first year I went I thought this was a silly idea...why go through all the trouble to recreate to set up all the displays with so many generic needles and notions and books? I'm not talking about the special "art fair" needles hand-turned from rosewood ($30) or cast from glass ($50)or the hand made stitch markers made from silver, crystal, and gem chips ($25-$50 a set). I mean the mass-market Inox, Clover, Susan Bates, and Addi brands that you can find anywhere. But now I think these are savvy sellers because there is so many people are inspired to start a brand new project RIGHT NOW but dammit....I don't have the right size needles, or stitch markers or...hey, that booth has lots of needles....

**For me, not for her. All she had left of that yarn was her sample sock. 

***Link to the designer's site. That is not a photo of me. My hat is orange (naturally).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh so Lost.

Dear "Lost" writers:

I've been with you since Season 1. I've never found TV particularly fascinating but your show was very intriguing and entertaining. Not because there were a bunch of people suddenly stranded in a remote location, trying to figure out how to survive and get home. Any generic horror film does that. Ho-hum. What made "Lost" so worth watching were the people whose back stories and personalities were so carefully crafted. I watched "Lost" because these people were real to me, and I cared what happened to them. I stuck with you faithfully through season 2 even as your network nearly killed the show by repeating most of season 1 instead of showing new episodes. (Plot was secondary but still necessary.) I have never been as interested in finding out what the mysteries of the island were except as how the characters dealt with it. Does knowing that the "smoke monster" is a type of "security system" make it any less terrifying to the people on the island? It was more fascinating that these Western, intelligent, mostly well educated people would automatically refer to a frightening unknown as a "monster" than what the "unknown" turned out to be. (BTW, isn't Cerebus also a type of "security system"? Does that make it easier to understand?)

Admit it. You were making this st*t up as you went along, playfully experimenting with the 'fish out of water' theme...'hey, what if we put in a polar bear on a tropical island?  How about a shark with a Dharma logo?'  But the show was a huge hit and you felt compelled to force an story arc about the "mystery of the island" instead of "how are the desperate castaways dealing with such stuff that they could have never have imagined?" are some of my issues that are making it harder and harder for me to tune in every week:

1. Ben has never been a very believable bad guy. A manipulative and possibly evil man, yes. But he grew up in isolation in a small community. How could he know how to maneuver in the "real world", to "outcon" other con men far more experienced than he ever was?

2. The time travel thing? Not buying it. It has the unpleasant whiff of a Deus Ex Machina.

3. Overarching conspiracies are so 1990s. The X-Files already did that, and much better.

4. With the exception of the smoke monster, none of the mysteries of the first season are answered--the polar bear (an escapee from the Others' zoo?) Why was Rose cured of her cancer? Why the hell can John walk (not that you haven't injured his legs several times since). Why was it so important that Claire's baby be born on the island? The frakkin' numbers? 

5. If the island turns out to be Atlantis, I'm sending you hate mail. 

That will be all for now,


P.S. Kate is not very believable in business suits and heels. Put her in jeans and shoes she can run in.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Brewfest 2009 results are IN!

I had a friend who was very weight conscious and would perform a cost/benefit analysis for every morsel passing her lips. In short, "is this worth the calories?"

I find myself thinking that as I sip my freshman brew. Yes, folks, January 2009 Porter has now finally aged enough for drinking and wonder if it really is worth drinking. It's not so bad that it made me grimace and spit it out, but neither is it a very pleasant experience either. 

It's perfectly drinkable in that "if this is the only liquid available for me to drink over the next few weeks" (and I mean that there is NOTHING else to water, tea, coffee, etc.) But drinking it as purely a pleasurable experience? No, not at all. 

Is it worth the calories? Not really. 
Is it worth drinking because of all the time that I put into it? An excellent question.
Should I drink it because otherwise I'd be wasting the $35 spent on the ingredients? I'd say that yes, I should, but I can't truthfully say that I've never tossed out food before--even expensive food.

I think I'll toss it. It really is not very good at all. 

Dig a garden for Victory!

Just don't depend on me, 'cuz then the terrorists have already won.

I'm giving this garden thing another try this year, with a little bit more planning and education this time. I learned several things from last year's fiasco, which I guess is a good thing. 

Here are the things that I will not do this year:

1. try to share garden space with Oscar. We will each have our own raised bed. Oscar is a tomato maniac and he needs an entire bed just for those. 

2. Use a product called "Gardening Soil--great for fruits and flowers!" to try to grow root crops, and then wonder why none of the radishes, carrots, or beets are growing. (Hint--the nutrients needed for fruits and flowers are different than those needed for root crops.) Longtime readers may remember the pornographic radish from last year; that was grown in what has since become Oscar's Tomato Madness raised bed. 

3. Use flattened cardboard boxes as the barrier between the grass and the garden. Supposedly, the cardboard works to smother the grass, but I didn't have much success with that. My friend Latin Man gave me some landscape fabric, so I will use that this year.

4. Build the raised bed out of cinder blocks instead of lumber. It really was a great idea but it didn't work out for these reasons: a) they were not mortared together, and the ground was a bit uneven so there was some shifting from the weight of the soil, b) concrete is really porous and the bed dried out really fast

Here's what I will do this year:

1. Construct a 4' x 8' bed from lumber generously given to me by my friend HippieChick. (I'd asked her if she had any scrap lumber for building a bed, and she didn't but she's a very encouraging soul for anything gardening related so she bought me some "scrap" lumber for my birthday. Think that's a weird birthday gift? I don't. She once got a truckload of horsesh*t as a birthday gift and she was thrilled!)

2. Make the garden soil mixture per SFG recommendations.

3. Plant some pots with flowers that attract beneficial bugs and bees, and set these around the garden.

Oh well, we shall see. Wish me luck.