Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Several days of heat. Today it is 104F (40C). I swear it's nearly as hot inside the house. 

I think I'm going to brave the packs of Giant Raccoons that hangs out in the alley and sleep out in the backyard tonight.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

more random photos

view from the 32nd floor of the building I work in. Qwest field is in the left background, and the Port of Seattle is on the right. I love watching the cranes.
The "employee health center" at my office. Although I work for a state agency, I am co-located in a consultant's office and this is what they provide their employees. It's a stark difference than the first aid kits at the agency offices, in which great and passionate arguments arose about what kind of first-aid kit to supply. By law, the office must have a first aid kit, but so many of them come with aspirin or other mild pain relievers and apparently, we aren't allowed to "buy drugs with taxpayer money." So, if you are in an agency office, you are covered if you get a compound fracture, split an artery, or have a heart attack (there are defibrillators on each floor), but if you have a headache or cut your finger, you are on your own.

Contrast that to the consultant's cabinet, in which there are six different types of pain reliever, three types of throat lozenges, cold/flu/sinus medicine, eye drops, antibiotic cream, iodine and alcohol wipes, burn cream, several sizes of bandages for minor cuts, anti-diarrheal medicine, tablets for upset stomach, antacids, and many others. (They do not have anything to counter nausea. I guess they figure if you feel like throwing up, then go home.)
I love that someone decided to plant vegetables in an empty spot in an otherwise "professionally landscaped" area next to a building. Here are some beans.
And tomatoes.  First Hill, Seattle
Got pie? First Hill, Seattle

This is not my bike, but college classmates may remember that I painted my bike a similar color. Pioneer Square, Seattle

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Male knitting population increased by two

Here's Mr Softball working on his scarf. He caught on really quickly. Did four rows all by himself.

No, Mr Softball is not in agony. He's laughing at someone's comment. To his right is Alpaca Boy, who was a more typical beginning (meaning every knit stitch was accompanied by a lot of swearing).

And yes, I kept my end of the bargain. I played softball that evening. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let's make a deal...

In spring, young men's thoughts turn to love; but in summer, the young men's thoughts turn to softball. 

And, my goodness, do they really want to play softball. There are office leagues within the Agency-That-I-Work-For, but all the costs come out of the players pockets. Although the ATIWF does not support the players financially, it still provides the rules: 

1. Slow Pitch softball
2. May not play during working hours
3. There must be at least three women on the team and at least two in the field during each inning.

And when you work in an office when the men outnumber the women by, um, about 12:1, you suddenly get very, very popular. (Guys I didn't even know existed were emailing me asking me to join their office league. You see, the project that I'm working on is an Agency project, but most of the people working on it are consultants. And there are about six different consultants, each with their own leagues. Dear god.)

Well, I ignored all the requests except from one of my colleagues in the ATIWF, because he's a nice guy and most importantly, he did not call me a girl. (You want a girl to play softball with you? Then recruit from an elementary school.)

So I signed up, but told him I am as flaky as a croissant and not to be surprised if I backed out. His response? "Hmmm, I'll put you down as tentative."

Well, true to (my) form, I decided I didn't want to spent several nights in Renton playing double-headers, so I informed my colleague that I was dropping out. His response? "No, you can't. I won't allow it. Please, don't." Apparently, just about every other women who had signed up had also backed out that day. I reminded him that it was tentative anyway. 

But he was glum. 

Apparently, my defection brought the team's estrogen level below critical levels.

I felt kinda bad (not too much) but later I spied an opportunity. I'd make him a deal. A devilish deal.

The next day, I told him that I'd play softball if he'd let me teach him to knit. On game days, he had to join me at lunchtime, out on the patio (i.e. IN PUBLIC!), and knit. He knits, I play. He doesn't knit, I don't play. He was a bit startled by my offer but it didn't take too long for him to realize that his love of softball was greater than his fear of knitting, and he agreed.

So yesterday, we went to So Much Yarn during lunch, accompanied by another (female) colleague who wants to learn, as well as a male colleague who already does knit (!), and one other male colleague who thought we were going to Pike Place Market.

In the shop, I told the story to the owner and she laughed. KnitBoy raised his arms in victory and all the women in the shop cheered. 

Now, the funny thing was that when the guy who just tagged along found out we were going to a yarn shop, he started to complain (in a joking way). But when we got to the shop, he was transfixed. Yarn shops and yarn projects run the gamut from lowkey to elegant, and SMY is definitely on the elegant end of the scale. He was transfixed by all the sample scarves--"wow! you can make these?" and while he was standing around waiting for the others to make their purchases, I snuck up behind him* with a skein of baby alpaca/merino wool blend and rubbed it against his neck.

If you've ever touched alpaca, you know how silky soft it is. Baby alpaca is even more dreamy. My colleague turned around with a look of wonder on his face and asked "I can make something that soft?" "Yes." "I want to learn how to knit!" 

And he bought the yarn and some needles, too. And he's full of enthusiasm to make a scarf out of that baby alpaca/wool yarn.

And while I am as pleased as punch that I am increasing the world's male knitting population by two, I am a bit bummed they both chose the same yarn and the same color--gray. 

*This is the reason Oscar does not like to accompany me in yarn shops anymore. He keeps complaining that everything itches and I really have a hard time believing that, so I wait until his back his turned and then shove a soft (to me) skein of yarn down his neck, asking "Is that scratchy?" I have since come to the conclusion that he is allergic to everything except luxury fibers.

Thursday, July 16, 2009