Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

I regret that with all good intention, there is no Saturday Night Movie this week. We went to an REM concert tonight, and will not cooperate and let my post my snippet. Poop. Sorry.

So, here are a couple of pictures. They had two opening acts, and we missed the first one. This picture is of Modest Mouse.

Modest Mouse in Concert

They were ok - must be that I'm getting old. The picture does show the stage at the venue, which was the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley, donated by William Randolph Hearst in 1903, I think. Very cool, except for the concrete seats.

Here is REM.

REM in Concert

For the distance and the lighting, it's a little crappy, but at least I can say we were there.

The videos were ok, considering I took them with our Canon Powershot, which is a 6 megapixel camera. If only I could have snuck in the video camera. Oh well.

Friday, May 30, 2008

FO Friday

It was a busy week.

Wild Kat

Wild Kat, pattern by Deby Lake. Knit in Tofutsies #739. I did these using the Magic Loop method, which worked out much better than I had thought. I have to revisit the use of the dpn's. I'm not a convert yet.

Chenile Hat

3-4 years ago I discovered all kinds of cool kits on eBay. This was a Fiber Trends kit with the recommended yarn included. Other than one being a cotton chenille and the other being a cotton/rayon blend chenille, I can't tell you much. This is the first time I have made a hat with a brim. I probably won't wear it until the winter.

Chemo Hat in Crocus Chemo Hat in Cherry

And, of course, chemo hats. I am anxious to get through the yarn I purchased for this project, and I'm getting closer. Since the pattern uses about 1 1/3 skeins, the leftovers are going towards an afghan. I have now competed 100 squares towards that afghan. I need to make the calculations to see how big it might be.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm going to make this one quick, because I have to study. More about that later.

In a word, one of my favorite things is cheese. I love cheese. I could happily munch on cheese all day. My two favorite's are Jarlsberg and Smoked Gouda. Yum.

In fact, I think I'll go have some cheese now!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's On The Needles

It's become a week about hats. I've been working on Chemo hats, and I broke out an old kit for a chenille hat that I thought would be a quick project. On my goodness, it just killed my hands. They ached all through the night on Sunday. But it's done, along with two more chemo hats. I also finished knitting Kevin's sweater, but I need to block and fit that, so I doubt I will have that ready by Friday.

I was rather surprised when I realized that I finished two big sweater projects in the last month. Not bad for me! I'm busting through some stash!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do Something Different

I've decided that I need to do something different. I've tried to find work in the Mortgage and Real Estate industry, and there isn't anything that would work for me. I've looked into Secretarial/Admin work, possibly an Office Manager or something, but I'm hard to place because of my upper management background.

It sucks to hear you are either over qualified or have non-transferable skills.

God, I hate this.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorable Moments

I barely remember making this:

One old blanket

It's a crocheted throw in Red Heart. I probably made it when I was 14-15 years old. I thought most of these "old" throws were long gone. Even Red Heart will eventually give in to my mother's rigorous cleaning rituals. This was found in one of the cabinets in the garage where my mom keeps excess linens. I haven't seen this is in at least 15 years, so imagine my surprise.

Mom said she doesn't use it much, she thinks it's too pretty for regular use and I may want it someday. I asked her if there was anything else that she might have that I thought was long gone. "I'm not sure, dear. What do think I have?"

I wish I could get her out of the house for a few hours so I could snoop. I know my old Barbie's are there somewhere.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Quotes

I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.

-Elvis Presley

Saturday Night Movie

I've always like Robert Downey Jr., and the "Tony Stark" looks is good for him. Jack Black just makes me laugh. Ben Stiller - it depends. And Gladys Knight, well, she's awesome. This is a cool video. If you didn't watch the American Idol finals, here is Gladys Knight and one version of the Pips.

Friday, May 23, 2008

FO Friday

As I mentioned on Wednesday, this has been a hats and socks kind of week. Last weekend, I was pretty industrious and finished two hats.

Chemo Hat in Cream Chemo Hat in Grass

These are both Chemo Hats, pattern by Kelly Petkun of Knit Picks. The yarn is Knit Picks Shine Sport in the colors Cream and Grass. I have now knitted 28 of these. All of them are charity knits meant for the Cancer Society.

I didn't get my socks done, but I have a feeling they will be done by next Friday, so check back!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Velvetta Mac & Cheese - cold. I don't like it reheated. I never had mac and cheese as a kid, until maybe high school as part of a cafeteria lunch. We never had anything close to it in my house growing up. American cheese was not something my parents ever bought and the only type of pasta we had was spaghetti - also good cold. Pasta wasn't part of a Norwegian diet back then. Even a Norwegian-American diet. My parents were not good at experimenting. And why do I bring this up? Because I am having it for lunch, along with my slices of cold London broil. Mmm, tasty.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's On The Needles

Back to socks and hats this week. This weekend, I put some real effort into my Sock Madness Round 3 socks, Slippin Stripin is the name of the pattern.

Slippin Stripin Socks WIP

You use two lace weights. In this case, Jojoland Melody and JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool Silk. The Jojoland had long variegations, and the Jaggerspun is a solid. The stipes are based on a AA, AB, BB, AB, AA color combination. The Jojoland is very thin, and I was almost tempted to triple up on it, but it's working out ok anyway. After finishing the first socks, and burying alllll the ends, I moved on to an old WIP that has been languishing since last July.

Wild Kat WIP

This pattern is called Wild Kat and is by Deby Lake. I don't know why I was so apprehensive about this pattern. Once I got through the first patter repeat, it was smooth sailing. These are knitting up very quickly. I really only started working on this Tuesday night, having completed the ribbed cuff and stuffed it in a bag almost a year ago, and I have the first sock done today. Not bad.

I think that once I'm done with these, I'll still be taking a break from the lace weight socks. The pattern is easy, but those needles are very stabby.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

Every time I turn on the news, there seem to be reports on the ever increasing cost of oil and the rising cost of fuel. What amazes me, as I hear the poor oil company executives complain about their narrower profit margins, is that as oil goes up the cost of gas goes up. What we are pumping now was refined months ago. The cost should be based on the cost of that oil. But, no. I'm sure there is something my poor brain hasn't figured out.

Those of us who remember the oil crisis in the 1970's should have learned something, but we didn't. Brazil learned. They made a concerted effort to reduce their oil consumption and are using sugar cane Ethanol, which is 7 times more efficient than corn based Ethanol. They are not feeling the effects of the current oil crisis, and that's what we looking at, folks.

The US, and I know I'll catch heat for this one, has a government that doesn't give a crap about those that are struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck. Our economy is in the tank, and Bush thinks we're going through a "rough patch". The Democratic party is more concerned about keeping special interests groups happy than in doing what's right for the constituency. In a word, we're screwed.

As individuals, we kept our rose colored glasses on too long. I'm in that group. Obviously, I'm a consumer of things that I don't need. Do I need 50 skeins of sock yarn? Do I need those 5 knitting magazines? Do I need that new blouse? Do I need those CD's? No. Do I need to save money for a rainy day? Do I need to save money for retirement? Yes.

One thing I can honestly say that we did right comes to our cars and driving habits. When Kevin was in his accident last year, we weighted the idea of fixing his car instead of buying a new one. The $2,000 to fix the Subaru would have made sense if it weren't for the fact that we knew we would have to replace it in the next couple of years. It had 267,000 miles on it, but it was still getting 38 miles to the gallon. We were more concerned about it's reliability on long trips, which we made several times a year. So we bought the Honda. It was the first time we had had a car payment since 1996.

Now, I drive a car that is 20 years old. Granted, with freeway driving, I only get about 17-18 miles per gallon, but I'm not driving 20-30 miles one way to work. I take BART to San Francisco. I try to consolidate my errands to make it as economical as possible. This is coming from someone who loved just to get in the car and drive somewhere just to get out of the house. I've spent less than $2000 in upkeep in the last 2 years. It killed me to fill it up for $60, but my monthly cost for maintaining the car is exceptionally low.

When I think of those people that drive their huge SUV's and trucks that get less than 15 miles to the gallon, with their $500+ a month car payments and their $2000+ a year car insurance bills, I don't know how they do it. I read about one man that is a contractor and when taking the three factors I mentioned into consideration, he's spending over $2,000 a month just to use his truck. How much more does he have to work to make up for that? I have also read about many people that are just leaving their gas guzzlers in the driveway with the keys in the car, and have told their lien holder to come and get it.

Last year, there was a bill before Congress to raise the fuel efficiency requirements. Lobbying from the car industry and oil producers was sufficient enough that Congress didn't nail them as they should have. It all comes down to CAFE Standards, which is the bar that car manufacturers are supposed to achieve. As of early 2004, the standards for cars had to be 27.5 mpg and light trucks 20.7, otherwise the manufacturer would have a fine. The manufacturers pay the fines instead of working towards the creating more fuel efficient cars. Since 1983, they have paid more than $500 million in penalties. In 1974, the standard was set to double the average by 1985 to reach 27.5 mpg. In 1978, it was set to 18mpg, and then it was raised each year until in reached the goal. Standards were dropped slightly between 1986 and 1989. They were set at 27.5 again in 1990 and remained unchanged until last year when the first new goal was set in over 30 years. The manufacturers have until 2020 to reach a standard of 35 miles per gallon for both cars and light trucks. This is a bigger change than the one seen in 1973, because standards for trucks was not imposed until 1979 and the set yearly without a specific long term goal.

So auto makers have 12 years to improve fuel efficiency by 6.5 mpg. In comparison, auto makers previously had 12 years to double their efficiency. Granted, that was around 13 mpg and they were working with engines that had carburetors not fuel injection. One question - the Japanese have been doing it for years. The Japanese have never paid fines. I am reminded of that old quote "if you build it, they will come". The Japanese imports have kicked US manufacturers butts for years. US and European manufacturers can build fuel efficient cars, we've seen them on the road. Here's a novel idea - instead of just fining the auto makers, add a usage tax to the inefficient cars.

Ok - I'll stop my rant. If you want to see where I got my info - here are the sites:

CAFE Overview - NHTSA
Corporate Average Fuel Economy - WIKI

Monday, May 19, 2008

Memorable Moments

It seems I'm in a rut here. The only types of pictures I decided to look at were of the dogs.

Heidi and Fen 1995

Heidi and Fen in 1995. Heidi was used to being on her own after 5 years. Then this little, annoying furball showed up.

I kilt it

This look tells me "Look, Mommy - I kilt it!" The novelty of playing with "it" wore off after a week or two, when she realized "it" wasn't going away. The main problem was that he didn't respect 1) her sleep time, 2) her cushion, 3) her special time with Mom and Dad, 4) her toys, 5) her food. He learned over the years, and he paid dearly for his indiscretions. He was completely devoted to her, though.

Every once in a while, I could really use a dog fix.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Quotes

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

Roger Caras

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

I really needed an Elkhound fix tonight. I found this video on youtube:

Two things that are true about this video. Yes, elkhound pups will chew on anything. I still have the evidence of that on a number of bookshelves that were perfect for teething. Yes, they love to wrestle. It gets more interesting when two of them are doing it in your living room when one weights 75 lbs and the other 55 lbs. The lighter one was my old girl and she would kick his 5 year younger butt every time.

You have to admit, they are awful cute as puppies. It almost makes me want to get one. Then I have to remember the training, housebreaking, teething, and basic mischief they get into. A bored elkie is a wiley elkie.

Friday, May 16, 2008

FO Friday

This will have to be brief, but at least it's a post. Earlier this week I sent my socks of doom to my target in Australia. Yes, I am participating in Sock Wars III. I completed them in decent time. I used Regia 4 ply on US 2 needles. The pattern is called Detonator.

Sock Madness III - Detonator - Finished!

Now I can say that something I made is in Australia. I can check another continent off my list.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Any day that is between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Perhaps some fluffy clouds in the sky. A light breeze. Sandal weather.

What we are having today sucks. God, I hate sweating while I'm just typing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Are you well read?

I found Library Thing about a year ago, and thankfully have not become obsessed with it. It could happen, very easily. There has been a meme going ‘round, and this is one of the lists being been used. Since the count changes with people joining and adding their libraries, you can only hope for so much continuity. So here is my breakdown of my list of the top 106 books tagged “unread” on LibraryThing. The rules:

bold = what you’ve read ( ) school reading requirement, which I added
italics = books you started but couldn’t finish
crossed out = books you hated
* = you’ve read more than once
underline = books you own but haven’t read yourself

1.            Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

2.            Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

3.            One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

4.            Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

5.            Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

6.            (Catch-22 by Joseph Heller)

7.            The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

8.            Don Quixote by MIguel de Cervantes Saavedra

9.            (The Odyssey by Homer)

10.       The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

11.       Ulysses by James Joyce

12.       (Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert)

13.       War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

14.       Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

15.       A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

16.       The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

17.       Moby Dick by Herman Melville

18.       The Iliad by Homer

19.       Emma by Jane Austen

20.       Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

21.       Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

22.       The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

23.       The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

24.       Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

25.       The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

26.       (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

27.       The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

28.       The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

29.       Life of Pi by Yann Martel

30.       Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

31.       Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

32.       Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

33.       Dracula by Bram Stoker

34.       (The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck)

35.       A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

36.       Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

37.       Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

38.       Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

39.       Middlemarch by George Eliot

40.       Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

41.       The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

42.       Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

43.       The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

44.       Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

45.       Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

46.       American Gods by Neil Gaiman

47.       Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

48.       The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

49.       Wicked by Gregory Maguire

50.       A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

51.       The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

52.       Dune by Frank Herbert

53.       The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

54.       Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

55.       Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

56.       The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

57.       The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

58.       The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

59.       Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

60.       (The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand )

61.       To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

62.       A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

63.       (Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy)

64.       The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

65.       Persuasion by Jane Austen

66.       One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

67.       (The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)

68.       Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

69.       Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

70.       The Once and Future King by T.H. White

71.       Atonement by Ian McEwan

72.       The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

73.       A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

74.       Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

75.       Dubliners by James Joyce

76.       Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

77.       Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

78.       Beloved by Toni Morrison

79.       Collapse by Jared Diamond

80.       The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

81.       (In Cold Blood by Truman Capote)

82.       (Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence)

83.       A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

84.       Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

85.       Watership Down by Richard Adams

86.       (The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli)

87.       The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

88.       (Beowulf by Anonymous)

89.       A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

90.       Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

91.       (The Aeneid by Virgil)

92.       Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

93.       Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

94.       (David Copperfield by Charles Dickens)

95.       The Road by Cormac McCarthy

96.       Possession by A.S. Byatt

97.       Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

98.       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

99.       Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

100.   The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

101.   Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

102.   Candide, or Optimism by Voltaire

103.   Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

104.   (The Plague by Albert Camus)

105.   Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

106.   Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

The tally:

What you’ve read: 46 (14 while in high school or college)
Books you started but couldn’t finish: 2
Books you hated: None on this list – there are books I just hated, though
You’ve read more than once: I’ve only read two books twice – The Stand by Stephen King and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Books you own but haven’t read yourself: 20

I surprised myself a little. It also reminded me of how much I loved to read and how little I have read this past year or so. I need to exercise my brain.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Global Warming?

I can't remember the last time in was nearly 100 during the month of May. In our little corner of the world, it doesn't get that hot until July or August. Well, it's coming early this year.

It's supposed to be 100 by Thursday. I am so not looking forward to that. We don't have air conditioning, and our electrical system can't handle it. I have errands that I need to run over the next few days, but I'll get those taken care of in the morning. I don't want to be out in the worst of it in the afternoon.

Those who think Global Warming is myth need to wake up.

I was reading an article in Newsweek written by a man who has lived in Alaska since the early 70's. The valley he lives in has a glacier at one end. It has receded by more than a mile since he moved there. No one can say that's normal.

We are looking at drought conditions this year. The Sierra snow pack was lower than expected, our spring rainfall way off. We're pretty good about water conservation anyway, so I don't know how we're going to cut back anymore than we have.

It's just depressing any way you look at it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Here it is

The biggest thing I finished so far this year...

Einstein Coat and Hat

The Einstein Coat!

The flash washed it out, the colors are much deeper than that. I tried to take the picture in natural light, and it came out too dark. As you can see, I also knitted a hat to go with it. Now I'm going to put it in the laundry room, mist some Febreeze on it and hope the smell of the dye goes away.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I'll miss you Bob

Every Sunday I update my iPod. Part of the end of weekend ritual. I listen to Podcasts. Lots and lots of podcasts. My iPod is occasionally used for music, but when I am commuting, out shopping by myself, or home alone, I listen to podcasts.

The podcasts are related to 5 topics - Knitting (duh - Lime N Violet are the sole reason for my sock obsession and enormous sock yarn stash), Disney (it's an illness - you move away and you become infected), Las Vegas (I have my reasons), Cruising (research, I swear), and NPR (it just happened one day, I don't know why). I do listen occasionally to podcasts unrelated to these five topics, like the Galactica Watercooler (BSG Fan cast) or Norwegian news podcasts (though very similar in presentation to NPR podcasts). They help me fall asleep at night too. No reoccurring insomnia anymore.

One of the podcasts I have been listening to, since receiving my iPod for my birthday in 2006, has been The Dis Unplugged. They are an Orlando based team, and two of the team are owners in a travel agency. They love Disney World - and Disneyland. There are a couple of other podcasts that have a similar loving respect for the first park, the one that Walt walked in, and that's what made them special. One of the podcast team, Bob Varley, passed away suddenly on April 28th. I found out about it today. When there were no podcasts to download again, I knew something had to be wrong.

I can't say how stunned I was to find out about Bob's passing. He was only 58. After reading the message boards at The Dis, the memorials from his team mates, I had a good cry.

Bob was a true character, in all the good ways that can be. He had the heaviest Boston accent I had ever heard. He mangled the English language almost every time he spoke. He had a huge heart, and an easily expressed love for his family and friends.

I regret that I will never be able to meet Bob. I knew that if I ever did, I would have a wonderful and instant friend. Listening to The Dis Unplugged will not be the same without his charming banter with his friends on the team. I will miss the ribbing he would get for any number of things. I will miss his thorough research, sage advice, and mispronunciations.

The world is a little less bright right now. I'll miss you Bob. I'll be thinking of you next time I have to wear the boot.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

We went to the Drive In tonight. We're lucky we still have one, and it's a 5 minute drive from the house. With the penny pinching we have to do, a picnic dinner and two movies for $13.50 is a bargain.

We saw Speed Racer and Baby Mama. We thought we might hate Speed Racer, Rotten Tomatoes showing a less than 40% favorable rating. With all the seizure inducing flashing colors, like a neon festival on crack, we didn't expect much. But we were pleasantly surprised.

It borrowed enough of the original cartoon series to provide some nostalgic comfort (for Kevin) without alienating those who weren't fans, or watched infrequently (like me). At 2hrs and 15 min, it was a long movie, but didn't drag much. It was a popcorn kind of movie, though we ate fried chicken and broccoli salad. Popcorn came later, as did Scharffen Berger chocolate. Mmmmmm.

The movie was rated PG, and there were a lot of kids at the Drive In. There were a lot of people in general. The last time we were there, we saw half as many people. As the summer warms, we will go back, with camping chairs and more picnic food.

Decent plot, not too hard to follow. It's colorful, but not strobing. I would say this is a family movie, but little boys (size or disposition) may have a need for speed after this one.

Baby Mama with Tina Fey and Amy Pohler was a fun little movie, had it's moments. If not part of this double feature, it would have been a DVD rental for me. Movies that try to be funny and meaningful miss more than hit a home run. Steve Martin had a memorable role, but that's only because we live in the greater San Francisco Bay Area community and experience that kind of character in real life. Infertility is a sensitive subject, and I have mixed feelings after watching this. Probably because I'm childless and the whole subject is a touchy one with me already. The parts were well played, and the characters were interesting.

I wonder what we will see next week. Probably won't have time to see one, since we are visiting my mom. The weekend after that - watch out! Here comes Indy!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Freaky Friday

I'm shaking it up this week. It's been a weird week in general.

I had errands to run today. I was freaking out a little because I didn't get my Sock Wars dossier, but then again, a lot of people didn't. The pattern was posted, so instead of staying home and getting started, I went out to enjoy the day. I had one bit of nastiness to get out of the way.

I hate getting lab work done. I am not crazy about blood tests. I hate the needles, and the variety of experience labs techs have - and don't have. I expect bruising now. I find especially nerve racking when they claim they can't find a good vein. One crazy person wanted to drawn three vials from my hand!I figure if you can see the vein, you can draw from it. Of the hundreds of vials I have had drawn in the last 15 years, only that one woman thought the ones in my arms were inadequate. It hurt a bit more than usual today, and it looks like there will be some mild bruising. Goody.

Next, to the dry cleaner. That wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. Less than $35 for 8 pieces. Can't complain.

Treated myself to Jack in the Box for lunch. I know it is just awful to some, but I love the Sourdough Jack. I have been a good girl for weeks!

It has been 3-4 months since I filled the tank in my car. I would put in $10 here and there to keep me going to and from the train station. With barrel prices going over $120, and possible job interviews over the next few weeks, I figured I might as well bite the bullet. It literally felt like I did.

We have a Costco here with a gas station. For those of you unfamiliar with Costco, it is a membership discount warehouse store chain. Gas there was $0.11 cheaper per gallon than the station in our neighborhood. I have a 16 gallon tank, so that saves some money. I pumped 15.88 gallons. I was much lower than I thought. I did manage a perfect pump without looking at the meter. Landed on zeros. Of course the expletive I uttered at seeing the total took all the mirth out of the moment - $60.00!! Sixty freaking dollars!!!!! I have never put that much money into my tank. When I bought my car 20 years ago, I was complaining that it was $1.25 per gallon. It wasn't all that long ago it was under $2. It makes you want to stay home.

I just don't know how people are doing it. Everything is going up because of gas prices. Food is more expensive. I heard one guy on the radio say that when he went to pick up a bottle a vodka it cost a $1 more than it had a few weeks ago. When he asked the store clerk, he was told that it was due to increased cost of gas. One whole dollar increase? Seriously? They only deliver a few bottles at a time? There are those that take advantage at times like these to increase their profit margins.

They rest of my day was a bit tainted by the $60 of gas in my tank. I wasn't down shifting to stop, I tried to coast. No quick shifting and revving, slow and steady increase instead. It's so aggravating. And this whole thing with Ethanol is supposed to be the way of the future? It's a joke. In our land of plenty, more and more people are going to food banks to get assistance. We're turning our fields into a gas alternative that studies show is not a cost effective solution.

Enough of my soap box - I just wanted to share my pain at the pump.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


My favorite color is purple. When I Googled purple, this was the first thing listed. Completely useless, but I thought it was kind of funny. Someone is paying to keep this site up, and registered the name - for a site that has nothing but the color purple!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What's On The Needles

No pictures today. Sorry. I am close to finishing my Einstein Coat, and should have it done tonight. Pictures should follow on Friday. I think I may have enough to do a hat as well. That would be nice. I took a quick fitting last night, and discovered that the sleeves would be too short if I followed the pattern. I am adding 2" to be on the safe side. This thing is going to be really bulky, but I don't know how warm it will be. The yarn is chenille, cotton and rayon. It seems to be very roomy, so I can always layer!

Sock Wars starts on Friday. Have no idea what yarn I am going to use. The suggested yarn is Tofutsies, but I'm not crazy about that yarn. The pattern is also calling for 32 stitches to 4" on US 2's. That seems awfully big. They are trying to cover a large group of people, and I have a feeling these socks will be similar to my last swap socks - bed socks. Too big to wear with shoes, but great for keeping my feet warm at night!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yarn Review - Interlacements

I thought I would try something different. A yarn review seemed like fun.

I have had the opportunity to try 3 different yarns from Interlacements - the colors are gorgeous! I have made socks with Tiny Toes a 100% Superwash Merino, a stole with Arizona a nylon ribbon and the Einstein Coat with a chunky chenille/rayon/cotton blend called Santa Barbara.

The nylon ribbon was very cool. I loved the colors and thought that I had accomplished the look I was going for. It was easy to work with and handled better than expected.
Arizona Stole
I used a honeycomb stitch to open up the space. This would have made a very dense fabric, if completed in stockinette or something similar. It was colorfast and left no dye on my hands.

Heelless Sleeping Socks
Heelless Sleeping Socks - great pattern - quick knit - truly comfortable sock. It pills like crazy and every time I wash them, they bleed. The amount of dye that came off on my hands was amazing. I was very disappointed with the fuzziness after washing. I use these as sleeping socks - not too much walking around and no slippers and shoes are worn. Pretty much, I put them on right before I go to bed. Personally, I wouldn't trust this for a daily wear sock. Again - the color was wonderful! Now I'm concerned that it will fade more and more. Yes, I did set them with vinegar.

The picture of the final item will have to wait for later this week, but it is the Einstein Coat from The Knitting Experience: Book One: The Knit Stitch. Lord, it took me for-ev-er to get this one done. It's heavy, it leaves dye residue on my hands and because of the cotton or chenille it generates sneeze inducing fuzz gnats. It smells funny too. I like the colors, but it is a very bulky coat. Of course, I finish it just as it gets to be too warm to wear it. The dye stained my hands and nails. A regular hand washing didn't help, even with a strong soap.

As I mentioned, I like the colors. I also like the texture of the fabrics these yarns create. The bleeding dyes are an issue, and will probably give me second thoughts in the future when considering a purchase.

If you have used Interlacements, I would love to know if you have encountered the same issue, or is it just me?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Memorable Moments

Pfeiffer State Beach - Big Sur

There are days when I just want to get in the car and go to the beach. Since that is further away than it used to be, and with gas at nearly $4 a gallon, it's an expensive "just 'cause I feel like it" trip. So I have these picture to fall back on.

This is at Pfeiffer State Beach at Big Sur, a couple of hours drive south of Monterey. It's so beautiful. I always mean to spend a few more hours there, but it seems I arrive towards the end of the day, and I'm heading home or spending the night in Monterey. There's a mystique to Big Sur, an other-worldly feeling. The air is so clean, tinged with sea mist.

If you ever make it out to California, go there if you can. You'll understand why we put up with the living in other parts of the state!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday Quotes

If you see a defense team with dirt and mud on their backs they've had a bad day.

John Madden

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday Night Movie - Review

Today was the start of the Summer Movie Season. We went to see our first matinée in many months. We got our tickets, popcorn and soda. One word describes this movie - AWESOME!

Iron Man
Official Website

I was surprised that Iron Man ran 126 minutes - it felt longer. That isn't a bad thing, though. Having read Marvel Comics, mostly X-Men, I have enjoyed a story arc or two of Iron Man's. They hinted at SHIELD and War Machine towards the end, which could make for interesting sequels. The story, just as with most Marvel movies, doesn't fall completely true to the Marvel Universe, but in this case, that's ok.

Robert Downey, Jr. is fantastic, and even if you don't like movies based on comics, he's worth seeing. He is a wonderful actor and brought a great performance. If you like comic books, Downey is Tony Stark. If they pursue the Marvel Universe story, the sequel could deal with Tony's alcoholism, and I think Downey could bring a lot of depth to the role under those circumstances.

People get blown up, there are scenes of Tony being tortured by Arab terrorists, there is death. There are no body parts, but some of the scenes may be too intense for small children, though there were plenty at the theater for a 2:30 pm show. It has a PG-13 rating, because there is some "adult content" (Tony hooks up with a reporter - no nudity).

If you want a story were someone finally "sees the light" and wants to "change their ways" and "do the right thing", this is one of those movies. It's a popcorn kind of movie - go see it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 93%, their highest of the year!

Friday, May 02, 2008

FO Friday

I have no finished objects today, as I already showed them off. However, worth noting is the fact that I am working on a scrap blanket.

Chemo Hat - Knit Pick Shine - Apricot

I have made a lot of Chemo Caps for charity. A lot - almost 3 dozen. I have made them all from Knit Picks Shine Sport. They just came out with new colors that I have to order. Darn. Anyway, the cap calls for 2 skeins, which you only use about 1/3 of the 2nd skein. That makes for leftovers.

A Whole Bunch of Little Squares

A whole bunch of 4" squares. I now have about 80 of them, enough for a baby blanket. With the new colors that Knit Picks has released, it will add some additional depth to the the blanket that I am going to make. I spent some time this weekend and re-knit some of the obviously misshapen ones.

For these squares, I start by casting on 2 and knit one row. At the beginning of every row after that, I knit one into the front and back of the same loop, thereby increasing one. I continue this until I have 30 stitches. I knit one row with no adds. On the next row, I knit one and knit 2 together, knit to the end. I make this decrease at the beginning of every row until I have three stitches left. I slip the first stitch, knit 2 together and slip the first stitch over and pull the tail through. I knit these on US5 needles, and it makes a 4" square for me.

I am going to be making blocks of 4. The garter stitch in this case makes for depth and interest since, when sewn together, it will form squares and chevrons and pleasant geometric designs. I still have about 7 hats to finish, and of course, whatever my next order from Knit Picks will include!