Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End Re-Cap, Part I

Since I was so lousy at actually posting the last few months, hence re-cap, in parts. This is mainly "what I did in my spare time" project wise. For those who need to know, you know?

In August, I finished up pair #12 in my attempt to reduce the sock stash. Ha! That's a battle I have little hope of winning.

Basic Sock & Sensations

Basic sock pattern in Joann's Sensations Soles & More. I've worn these several times already and like how they are holding up. No pilling or felting.

#13 was a kit that I got years ago when I signed up for a sock club sponsored by a shop here in the Bay Area.

Pedicure Socks

Pedicure socks in Interlacements Tiny Toes. As my sister-in-law commented, they think of everything. I concur. I made these simply for the fact I was tired of moving them from one project pile to another. I might try to wear these with my sandals, since I don't get professional pedicures.

Pair #14 was a joy to do. The yarn is from my favorite podcaster, Miss Violet of LimeNViolet.

Lacy Mock Cable / Lime & Violet

The cables are a little hard to see, but it's a beautiful pattern by Kat and the pattern can be found here. The pattern is called Lacy Mock Cable Socks. The yarn is Lime & Violet Sasquatch Superwash in the colorway John the Sword Swallower (Miss Violet's hubby).

#15 comes from two of my favorites - Gigi Silva (aka MommaMonkey, Monkey Toes) and Georgia Schlegel of Yarn Pirate fame. Gigi passed away a few years ago and her wonderful talent is missed.

Eleanor & Yarn Pirate

The pattern is Eleanor and the yarn colorway is Rain Shadow. I found out that Georgia is expecting her second child and taking a hiatus from the Booty Club. No monthly sock goodness for me for a while. However, her timing is excellent. My Yarn Pirate stash is slowly disappearing. I love her base yarns!

And that's it for socks. Worth noting, I only finished two pairs for Socktober. Need to do better next year. I have two other pairs on the needles, but they'll be done in 2010.

Part II forthcoming.......

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Grief and understanding

My best friend's father passed away this past Saturday. His funeral is tomorrow. I've been weepy all afternoon.

I spent some time with the family at the hospital last week. I hate hospitals. He was being well cared for. I couldn't help but compare it to my own father's hospital stay before they sent him home to die. The people at Hoag in Newport Beach are stellar.

They had the viewing tonight, and my friends daughter posted that her grandfather didn't look the same. It immediately brought to mind when Mom and I went to view Dad's body at the funeral home. I wish I could take back that moment. I wish I hadn't done it. How can you try to comfort a 15 year old when you couldn't take it, and you were 36. When you try to remember the sound of his laugh and you realize it's getting harder to remember.

In trying to comfort a friend, all the old emotions have resurfaced, and they're just as raw as they were nearly 8 years ago. He is fortunate that he has a wonderful family and they are close by. His mother will have the support of her children and grandchildren and what a blessing they will be in time.

I came across this poem earlier today. It seemed rather appropriate.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free

Miss me a little - but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me - but let me go

For this is a journey that we must all take
And each must go alone
It's all a part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home

When you are lonely, and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me - but let me go

- Anon

Rest in peace, Mr. Pyles. I'm sure you and Dad will have some tales to share about a couple of teenagers that somehow managed to make you proud.

And for my father, one of his favorites that he often sang.

"And I'd give the world if I could hear that song of his today"

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

United Spiral Pipe Dedication Ceremony

This is the place that I have been contracting this year. The plant went live yesterday. It was a wonderful ceremony and we got some great press. Here is the link from

New factory creates Bay Area jobs

And for a little background and clarification:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Project Linus Blanket

I started this two years ago, and I decided it just had to get done.

Project Linus in Red Heart!

This is taken without the flash so you can see the texture.

Project Linus 8/7/07

This is an early picture of the project that shows the true color and stitch definition.

I used - sitting down? - Red Heart!! I still of a ton of that plastic crap in my stash. At least it's done. God, it felt awful knitting with that stuff. The pattern is from Knitting for Peace, and excellent resource for charity knitters.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Goldilocks Market Bag

Bernat Market Bag

I started this bag three times. The first one was too small. The second one was too big. The third one was just right. I'm really happy with the outcome and I've used a big chunk of my worsted cotton stash. The yarn is Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Ombres & Prints, 470 yard skien. Colorway is Meadow. I used the ballband pattern, modified heavily, of course.

Waves and Piers in Trekking XXL

Waves and Piers in Trekking XXL

This pattern is from Little Box of Socks by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrot. Easy pattern to remember and a quick knit.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday Night Movie

Here you go - parody of Nickelback's Rockstar (my current ringtone 'cause it's awesome!).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dancing Bamboo Socks in Trekking XXL

Dancing Bamboo in Trekking XXL

These socks are from the excellent book Pints & Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter. I received this book from my mother-in-law for my birthday and about half the patterns are on my "must-knit" list.

The yarn is Trekking XXL, which is one of the most durabe sock yarns I have every used. Loved this project!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And the winner is.....

No first place finishes at the California State Fair this year. Can hardly wait to see who my competition was this time. I had 5 - 2nd place finishes and an Honorable Mention. I was also told that a couple didn't make the final cut. Live and learn. Here are the entries and the results:

Mini Mystery A

Mini Mystery A, design by Martina Weber of Chatelaine Designs. 2nd Place.

Red Jewels

Red Jewels from a kit that I can't find the label for at the moment - not selected. (Honestly, do they understand how difficult it is to knit I-cord with beads? I think not.)

Needle Nick

Needle Nick, a kit from Lizzie*Kate. My most awesome finishing job to date. The judges were full of praise - 2nd Place.

Be Mine

Be Mine, a kit by Twisted Threads. 2nd Place

Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star, a traditional kit from Norway. 2nd Place

Playing Tour Guide

Playing Tour Guide - not selected.

Pansy Scissor Fob

Pansy Scissor Fob, a kit from The Heart's Content. Honorable Mention.

Mystic Light Shawl

Mystic Light Shawl by Anna Dalvi - Comments from the judge: “Lovely. So many elements working together. Great finishing, blocking. Try a more complicated pattern to place higher. You can do it!” Try a more complicated pattern? I wonder what she considers complicated. 2nd Place

If a few of my comments sounded snarky, well, I guess I'm feeling a little snarky. Five second place finishes?!? Seriously? Fair opens in a few weeks. Need to do some scouting for next year. I want that damn bear! (Best in Show gets a Golden Bear Trophy.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A weekend on the Coast and the 6R Brewery

We had a lovely weekend in Brookings. It was a quick trip, but well worth it. The drive is absolutely beautiful and enjoyable (unlike the desolate wasteland that is the 5 freeway through California's Central Valley). My in-laws are in the process of building a home in Brookings, and it will be nice having them closer. We can visit whenever we have the opportunity! (We'll try not to wear out our welcome.)

We took a walk down to Mill Beach Friday and Saturday, the latter being prior to sunset. I saw something I have never seen before.....

Skunk on the beach

Skunks on the beach! There were four of them and we gave them a wide berth! We also saw a fair amount of Black Tail Deer. They graze through the yards around town.

The sunset was lovely...

Sunset - Brookings, OR

I think we'll be enjoying this view quite a bit in the future!

Though short, we had a great time. Brookings Harbor had a Kite Festival, but parking was a bear, and we didn't get to see it. But, from afar, it didn't look like there were all that many kites being flown. We had some good chowder, observed that the farmers market was more craft fair than fresh produce, and spent some quality time with two people we love very much.

On the way home, we stopped in McKinleyville so we could check out Six Rivers Brewery. This did not disappoint. We ordered a round of tasters, and this is what we got:

6 Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville, CA

40 ounces of beer for $12. Kevin had me drinking most of it, since he was driving. Boy, did I find my happy place! The food was great, I had the Halibut Sandwich and Kevin had the Fish & Chips. A lot of food! Our two favorite beers were the Raspberry Lambic (awesome) and the Chili Ale (with a bit of a bite). This is my new favorite brew pub. I could drink that Lambic all day! This is definitely a must stop on our trips up North.

Eel River Brewery is not that far away, and we enjoy that pub as well. But, the brews they offer at 6R (as they refer to it) are more varied and unusual, and that's what we like. When Eel River has the Hazelnut Porter restocked, we'll stop there again.

Here is the beer menu -

6 Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville, CA

6R isn't much to look at from the outside, but it has some distinction. That glass block is so retro!

6 Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville, CA

At least the bar and dining area is open and airy. The brewery is back to the right of the bar, and there is a pool room as well. They have live music on the weekends.

6 Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville, CA

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Waterfall Scarf

One of my favorite series of knitting books is One Skein Wonders. The pattern for this scarf came from Designer One Skein Wonders.

Waterfall Scarf in Abalone

This was an easy pattern, and an enjoyable knit to work on in the car. I like dropping stitches on purpose! The yarn is from Chasing Rainbow Dyeworks in the colorway Abalone.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beer Me!

Heading up to Brookings for a weekend with the in-laws. An excellent opportunity to enjoy some refreshing beverage and tasty dishes. We stopped in Fortuna at a little gem we found a couple of years ago, Eel River Brewery.

Eel River is the first certified organic brewery in the US. We really liked their Hazelnut Porter, which we found out was a seasonal beer and not currently on tap. We bought our first growler from Eel River because of said porter. The food was good, as it was last time, and the tasters were tasty, but none quite worth getting a growler to take with us. Maybe next time. Here are some shots of the beer and bar....

Eel River Brewery, Fortuna, CA

Eel River Brewery, Fortuna, CA

I like their motto - Be natural, drink naked! I was tempted to buy a t-shirt. Kevin would wear it.

They sure have a lot of ribbons. I like ribbons.

Wendelin Socks

I'll be honest - the main reason I decided to knit this pattern is the name was similar to a nickname my friend Chris had given me in high school. The pattern is by Rosemary Waits and the pattern can be found here.

Wendelin in I Want Candy

For those of you that have been following me for a while, you know that I don't like toe up sock construction. The heels, for the most, don't suit me and cause the sock to wander around. I reversed it, constructed the ribbing to match the pattern, and added a heel flap. Tada - a sock that suits me!

The yarn is from my favorite dyer, Yarn Pirate, in the colorway I Want Candy. I wasn't crazy about this colorway because I'm not a "pink" girl, but if I had my druthers, all my socks would be purple. Yarn clubs are the only reason I have variety in my stash.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our wonderful wetlands - and Mothball Fleet?

Across the Delta from Concord is the city of Benecia. On the shores of Benecia is Suisun Bay, where the National Reserve Defense Fleet is moored. We call it the Mothball Fleet.

Here are some links to get some history and local color stories. There is even a video, located here.

But, I digress. There was another point to this, but before we get to that, here is a picture:

Wetlands & Mothball Fleet

It was a really beautiful day, and we were coming home from Sacramento when Kevin thought we should stop and take a look. He's been a bit fascinated by that odd looking tan thing with the square back. Here's a closer look....

Hughes Mining Barge - Mothball Fleet

When I was growing up in Long Beach, Howard Hughes was a name that was often discussed. For good or bad, the man made history. One of his "engineering marvels" was brought to Long Beach a couple of years after we had moved to Orange County. It was called the Spruce Goose, the plane made of wood. Well, in Suisun Bay is another of this marvels, the Hughes Mining Barge.

The story of CIA Project Jennifer is an interesting one from the Cold War. I would invite to look at all the links I have posted this time. It is an fascinating bit of history, and it's literally in my back yard!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mystic Light Shawl

Pattern by Anna Dalvi.

Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy, colorway Dusky Aurora.

Mystic Light Shawl

I started this way back in March of last year. A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to submit it to the California State Fair. I entered it with a fifth of the shawl undone! I have to take it to Sacramento this weekend. Think I finished in the nick of time? Yup.

Procrastination - the spice of life.

This is the first charted shawl I have done and I am quite pleased results. Let's see how I do.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Darkness falls across the land......

Get yourself a beverage. This is going to be a long one probably. I'm also taking my mother-in-law's advice and enjoying my Widmer Hefeweizen. Knitting will come later. Appropriate post about my very awesome birthday present later.

Yesterday evening, I took myself for a drive. Kevin was out for the evening, and though it was knit night at Border's, I was too antsy to sit and knit, especially in those god awful plastic torture devices they call chairs. I needed to see water, feel the wind on my face. The Delta is just a few miles away, and I often forget that it is easily accessible.

I drove over to the Martinez Marina, and went for a walk. It isn't the walk along the beach that I need, but it was still a comfort hearing the water break on the shore. As with any other wharf or marina, the smell of diesel and decay wasn't completely unpleasant. It reminded me of my trips into San Pedro when I was a child. The salt marsh made me think of Bolsa Chica and the restoration project to restore their wetlands. As the sun was setting, it just seemed wrong. It was setting on the salt water, but there was too much land and not enough sand, too many ducks and not enough Cormorants. I headed back to the car and headed into the hills above the wharf.

I came across the old Alhambra Cemetery. It holds many of the early settlers of the area. The gravestones had dates from the mid-1800's. Oddly enough, I thought of the dead rising from their graves, as in Thriller.

Alhambra Cemetery, Martinez, CA

This would be a little spooky at night. It sits at the edge of a residential street. It is surrounded by a chain link fence and barb wire. It seemed so sad. All those buried here walked, lived – here – at some time in the past. Do they have families that think of them today?

This morning we received the news that Farrah Fawcett had passed away. This was sad news, but she was obviously very ill and at least she is now at peace. But it didn’t end there, did it.

I was listening to talk radio, as I do every waking hour at work, and around 2:30 they broke the news that TMZ had reported that Michael Jackson had been taken to UCLA Medical Center, having possibly suffered a heart attack.

As the afternoon progressed, he became the story, as he is even tonight as I write this. On my way home, I thought, “this is the Elvis of my generation”. But as Keith Olbermann has pointed out, he has been part of our cultural lives since 1969. I was four. I don't remember the performances, but I do remember the cartoon from when I was little.

Then there was Thriller.

I graduated from high school in 1983. There was this thing called MTV that I had heard about, but these were still the days of TV antennas, and you just didn’t pay to watch TV, at least we didn’t until I ordered service in 1988.

…they’re showing clips of the Jackson 5. Oh my, the fringe, even for the 70’s…….

These were the days of Freeze It Hair Spray, leggings, big belts and big shoulder pads. I worked at May Department Store at Westminster Mall. I was the Assistant Manager in the Women’s Social Dresses and Fur Department. Yes, we sold fur. We sold a lot of it. We made not one cent commission, and we kicked the ass of our sister store in Costa Mesa. My personal favorite was Afghani Red Fox. Had I lived in a cold climate, one worthy of wearing fur, I would have bought it in a heart beat. Such was not the case.

I worked primarily in the evenings, because, quite frankly, I hate mornings. That is one thing that hasn’t changed in 20+ years. I was taking my dinner break, and headed out of the store into the mall. Next door to May was an audio/visual store and they had a TV set at the entrance. Thriller had just started.

….time for another beverage. Be right back…..

….that’s better……

….now I’m being interrupted by my friend Chris IM’ing me

….jesus, it’s going to 101F on Saturday……

I stood in front of that TV for its entirety. I loved Vincent Price, and I was so thrilled to hear his voice, talking “street”. It was an amazing film. It was more than a video. It became iconic for that time and it changed us. In a word, it was bitchin’.

I bought the Thriller album. I listened to it over and over. My friend Leslie worked in the Junior’s department. It was next to my department. Sometimes we were the only ones on shift for the evening. They played a local radio station in Junior’s – so Leslie and I would dance around – moonwalk on occasion. When Purple Rain was released, and When Doves Cry became a hit, we had our own little stroll that we would do through the department. Another friend I had at work, that I still fondly remember as Koci, because I had one too many Chris’s in my life, worked in Men’s which was across the aisle from my department. I remember when a couple of guys ran out the door with a bunch of Member’s Only jackets (I think) and Koci took off after them.Security was not happy with that.

After work, Koci and I would hang out down at Huntington, have a few beers. His family rescued desert tortoises. I really loved his truck, even that awful minty green color. He was fun and he was a good friend. He was one the last people I saw before I left the states back in 1984. I’ll never forget that day.

May had the first 18 hour sale – I worked it. Somewhere in this house is a letter of commendation issued by the President of May thanking me for participating in retail history. They were the first department store to be open on New Year’s Day – I worked it. The first concert I ever went to was Bruce Springsteen during the first leg of his Born in the USA tour. I went with one of the guys from receiving.

Whenever Chris would come roam the mall, I suddenly got a migraine and had to leave. Chris has ever been a poor influence on my life. I feel safe in writing this since I am fairly confident that he doesn’t ever read this. If he does – just remember – it’s all your fault. Always. (insert sound of throaty chortle here)

I was always running late for work – literally running for the time clock. That hasn’t changed either. A couple of years ago, I went back to Westminster, to walk the mall and see what was the same, and how much had changed. This was before Robinsons-May closed, but the store had been remodeled so many times, it had little resemblance to my store. I’m always disappointed when I take these walks down memory lane. But then we also view the past through rose colored glasses.

Whenever I hear Thriller, or see it, it takes me back to those couple of years that I worked at May, to those last couple of years of my teens. Though Michael went off the rails a while ago, he was amazing back in the day. I want to remember him from that time. In the words of Bob Hope, thanks for the memory, Michael.

If you want to take your own walk down memory lane, here is the link for Thriller. Do a little moon walk. If nothing else, dance like a zombie.

The Chemo Cap Rides Again

It's been awhile, and I started to feel bad. I only have about 8 of these left to knit to hit my goal.

Chemo Hat - Knit Picks Willow #2

Knit Picks Shine Sport in Willow, pattern also from Knit Picks.


My friend Kelley owns Ceallach Dyes. She uses a sustainable dying process for her yarns, and I would encourage you to take a look at her site and learn more about the process. I had the pleasure of helping her in her booth at Maker Faire this year, which was a blast. I brought this project with me to show off her sock yarn.

Phineas in Ceallach Dyes Irises

The colorway is Irises. I wanted to use a simple pattern, so it wouldn't compete with the yarn. The pattern is from Rosemary Waits and can be found here. I knit these on Size 0 needles, so they took for-ev-er! (or two weeks)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An excursion to the shore

I really needed to take a trip out the coast. I needed to see the ocean - feel the sea spray on my face - breathe in the air. I told Kevin we were going for a drive and off we went. It was good to be behind the wheel for a trip longer than the usual drive to work or the grocery store.

We headed down to Half Moon Bay. We haven't been there is quite a few years. It was nice to walk around down town. There were some nice little shops - even a yarn store! There were some empty store fronts. I found this ironic:

Ironic - don't you think?

Didn't they violate their own request?

There were a few murals around town, but it was rare to see one actually in progress:

Mural in Progress - Half Moon Bay

After we had seen what there was to see - and the stores were closing as it was 5 pm - we headed over to the beach and decided to talk a walk. We started on the beach and ended up on the paved path. But, as you can see, it was a beautiful day:

On the Beach - Half Moon Bay

Doggies in the surf, horses with riders on the shore.

We also saw quite a few pelicans - all of them in the air! We saw at least half a dozen groups/flocks fly by.


We ended our day in Half Moon Bay at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

We enjoyed our tasters. Instead of ordering full meals, we ordered appetizers which consisted of the Fresh Seafood Sampler and the Fried Seafood Sampler. The Fresh Seafood Sampler was excellent! Is consisted of Ceviche of fresh fish, Bay shrimp, lime juice, cilantro and spices from the Yucatan. A wonderful raw Ahi was also served that was nicely seasoned. This was served with a mango salsa, fried won tons and tortilla chips. I would highly recommend this sampler and look forward to trying it again should we have the opportunity to go back. The Fried Seafood Sampler consisted of Calamari (tender, not chewy), Beer Battered Mahi Mahi (good, but I prefer Halibut or Cod) and deep fried oysters. I have never liked oysters, and thought this might be a good way to try them in a different presentation. I still don't understand why people like oysters. Ugh.

Of the tasters, I would say we enjoyed the Sandy Beach Hefe the most. Close behind was the Mavericks Amber Ale and Pillar Point Pale Ale. As usual, the IPA was too bitter for our taste.

Another great brew experience. At least we know where to go when we're down on that part of the coast!

Getting ready for some tasters

Everlasting Bagstopper #2

I liked the first one so much, I did it again.

Everlasting Bagstopper #2

Again, need bag handles and a shopping trip to break it in!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lettuce Vanda

I mentioned this one last month. I really love this yarn and I'm looking forward to wearing it - when it's cold! This is a very warm sweater.

Lettuce Vanda

I thought I had added enough length to make them full length sleeves, but they're 3/4. Oh well. Considering I push my sleeves up all the time, I'll save myself a step.

The pattern is from Knitter's Magazine, Summer 2008. The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway Lettuce.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quill Lace Socks

Another pattern, and my favorite sock yarn.

Quill Lace in Yarn Pirate Smoke Rings

The yarn is Yarn Pirate (surprise!) in the colorway Smoke Rings. I knit these in four days. The pattern looks like it would be difficult, but it was easy-peasy! Pity the weather is getting warmer - at least too warm for socks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rare Happenings

We don't often have company. It seems our friends don't travel much, at least in our general vicinity. (LOL) My BFF visited this weekend!

Mr. Powers

Sun burnt from driving up here with the top down in his Mustang, Mr. Powers seems suited in this element. He looks a bit devilish in this photo. Chris, Kevin and I spent the day in Gold Country visiting San Andreas, Black Chasm Caverns in Volcano and finishing the day in Angel's Camp and Murphys.

In Murphys, we had dinner at Growler Craft Brewery. They share the space with a pizza place, and the combination was good. We enjoyed a round of tasters and then settled on individual pints. We all picked something different, which is fun. All of the beers were good, but nothing stood out as exceptional. My palate is becoming too refined! Over the last year I have been spoiled by the riches of micro brews we have tried. We ordered a half and half pizza, which was excellent.

Here are some more photo's from our day in Gold Country...

Murphys, CA

These were throughout Angel's Camp, but this one was in front of Growler's.

A Prince kissing a Frog

My Prince Charming kissing a frog.

Black Chasm Caverns

Inside Black Chasm Caverns - this part of the cavern is "dead", there is no more water coming into it.

Black Chasm Caverns

I love these formations!

Black Chasm Caverns

It's hard to believe this is rock.

Black Chasm Caverns

This is the entrance to the cavern. The stairs about killed me coming back up. My left knee just hates stairs.

San Andreas, CA

Tranquil scene from the bridge in San Andreas.

It was a wonderful weekend, made more so by the company of a friend.