Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh sweet nothing

I have nothing worth blogging about this week. But next week, next week I'm hoping to have plenty. That's because in exactly one week's time, Mom and I will be visiting Monika and Ben in California. I don't quite know what's on the agenda yet, but I am definitely going to see some ocean (ocean which I will not enter because I don't want to risk an encounter with the Humboldt squid).

I mean, I've been to ocean before. A lot. It's just that my ocean is the Pacific Northwest ocean and that's almost always gray and cold and windy and sans-dolphins.

And even on nice sunny days, it's still fairly cold and windy.

All righty! Back to thinking about trips and packing and tiny plane-ready toiletries. And succulents and citrus and heirloom tomatoes that grow all year long!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Boot and boys...and hats and socks.

I finished up two separate knitting projects over the weekend.  This past weekend also marked the end of my spring break.  First up, I used the eco alpaca (half of it) I purchased in Tucson earlier this year to make a hat. It's a very comfortable, slouchy hat. I do not hate it.

Next on the list was finishing up Nicholas' socks.  I went ahead and did just that.  The socks are cozy and cute.  He better wear them or else I will steal them back and wear them myself.  This yarn was also purchased at Purls in Tucson.  Nick picked out the color...obviously, he loves orange.

Both of these projects were documented at my Ravelry site, so if you're at all interested in knitting and the like, you should signup there.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It would be spiteful to put a jellyfish in to a trifle

This is my friend Jim. We met on the plane when I was flying home for second Christmas. He was also flying home for second Christmas. We had a lovely enchanted flight and are now thick as thieves.
Photo entitled, "Baby 'n Me"
This is not a real baby, it is a doll. Sadly it is not his doll, it belongs to another. I believe it's one of those training babies, it must be because someone had it at work. Still when I think of that it doesn't sound right because having a real baby at work isn't appropriate so basically someone is practicing how to be a bad parent. Most adults workplaces aren't baby friendly and quite frankly I would complain so hard if I had to deal with a baby at work. Get a pretend babysitter already. 

Here are some things you should know about Jim:
  1. He really likes the dog whisperer, lucky for Olive and Lucca
  2. He frequently has dreams featuring Snoop D-oh-double-G
  3. Like me he does not like to go out after dark or drive in the dark
  4. He is in 'the industry' 
  5. He enjoys radio broadcasts and podcasts
  6. Ben and I are smitten with him, though he apparently doesn't have a favorite between the two of us, as he put it yesterday, "One's as good as the other". 
There are a lot of other things that are great to know about Jim, but you'll just have to wait and uncover 
his haunting mysteries and sparkling majesties yourself.

felted fungus

I felted a little toadstool rattle for a friend's daughter, but I'm not quite sure (and Catherine agrees) if the rattle will stand up to baby fingers and baby strength. I mean, I've shaken the hell out of it, but I haven't tried to rip it to pieces or put it in my mouth (both big time baby activities). Should I try to reinforce it? Make it thicker? Or should I send it off to the middle of corn country (Iowa) and let nature take its course?

The stem is actually pretty sturdy, but I have my doubts about the mushroom cap. Send it along or back to the drawing board?

And honestly, Matilda couldn't care less.

And yes, I realize that in real life, red cap toadstools (Amanita muscaria) should not go into baby mouths, but this is woodland pretend life, and the mother in this instance, knows her mushroom business.
This little toadstool rattle will cause no hallucinogenic crises. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rust Fish

My lovely and amazing friend, Maya Jewell Zeller, is officially a published author! I mean, she's been publishing in literary magazines and anthologies for quite some time, but now she's able to add a book of poetry to her list of achievements. The long awaited Rust Fish arrived yesterday.

You know how cool Maya is, right?

I mean, she's the one who recently discovered the frozen sap on the T.J. Meenach trail along the Spokane River. She's also a finder of presidents, a picker of berries, an eater of coconut cupcakes, a maker of muffins, a chopper of downed trees,  a receiver of felted foxes, and a sender of kickass postcards.  And that's just her life inside this blog. She has a whole other life outside--in the real world--where she's a mother and a teacher, a wife and a runner, and a terrific poet.

from Rust Fish
First Friday of Spring

This evening I cut your hair
in the kitchen while we listen
to Bob Seger tell us
it's funny how the night moves.
I could sing along, add
a bar or two about the way dark
brings its heavy water
against my bones like lake
to driftwood. Today we walked
a rim of indigo
and counted the subalpine buttercup,
the first stars of Idaho blue-eyed grass.
My hands slide through the light
brown of your now-short hair,
finding your skin
like fingers sinking to reach
new sand. This
is my favorite part, your breath damp
through my shirt,
your eyes an open sea
calling me in.

Yup, she's a keeper! And if you're in Spokane on 7 April, I know of a certain book launch you should attend... 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sometimes you just have to make pretty.

I knit a little sonnet for my neck.

Flecked with navy, black & white.

I used my favorite yarn. I believe it's a wool blend. I can't quite remember now. I purchased it several years ago at Canvas Works in Olympia when I was visiting Catherine. I love it because it felts.


This is my first attempt at knitted jewelry, I am sure there are better tools but I used
a very pliable wire so I could manipulate it with my fingers. 

Primal knitted balls.

Next step was to create some knitted adornment, I used US 1 double pointed needles.
After the balls are finished I felt them so the gauge is smoothed out and the texture is all around softer.

Refined felted balls.

To felt knitted projects you need warm water and friction, some suggest a little soap as well, but make sure
it's good for delicate items. I like to hand felt the balls. I run them under some warm water, for these I used
a nice lavender soap in the felting process, and you basically just roll them between the palms of your hands.
It's very therapeutic and makes your hands really soft. Similar to when you are using a gas mower
and your hands vibrate on the push handle (is this a real thing to anyone else, I hope so).

Pretties on a pike.

Next come the skewering. I just made all of this up. Basically you need to cut a piece of wire, impale
the ball through the center, secure one end and make a loop on the other. Sometimes they look a little
wonky but you can fix it if you mess around with it. When I actually get tools I should outgrow
this problem. But for now this is to me as sewing a straight line is to Christine.


Then you string them up and arrange them to you hearts content. 

& Tada

And your heart will feel contented.


Yeah, the blog title is driving me crazy to the max. I want to use a picture (because the plain background is boring snore), but they all turn out GIANT, and I can't seem to find any way to edit them down. Do any of you dear readers know a remedy? Or do any of you not hate the giant picture? Because I'm pretty sure I hate its giantness.

I'm going to leave it up for a day. Tell me if it makes you want to puke your guts out. Or if you have a suggestion. I'm very open to suggestions. That goes for you too, sisters.

In other news: it's so very sunny in Spokane this afternoon and warmer than it has been in quite a while. I have a couple windows open, and Matilda is running from the bedroom to the office checking out the various bird gatherings and squirrel goings-on and lounging in the fresh air and sunshine. She's having a grand old time.

Also, in my newly arrived Bust magazine I found this ad:

What? How is it that? Who... I don't... I can't... I have no idea what to make of this. Please explain, Universe.

Lunch time yarn winding!

My order arrived this morning, so I spent my lunch hour winding my new sock yarn with my new ball winder and yarn swift! Hotdog!

Peanut was part of the photo shoot.

New sock yarn.

New sock yarn on swift.

Ball winder!


Peanut was so intrigued.

She only attacked it once.

Finished product.

The birds watched from above.

Peanut ruins a good photo of my newest knit.

My shawl that I blocked last week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Perigee: so close, yet so far...

Yes, as in the moon on the evening of 19 March. And if you're interested in a rundown of perigee (gee as in gee whiz), check out NASA's Science Cast about Super Perigee Moons here. It's science! As for moon pictures, I didn't get any because I was driving to Tacoma at the time.

Wait. Tacoma?

Yes, Tacoma.

Anyway, I missed the moon as it came over the horizon (the Cascades were in the way--aren't they always?), so it wasn't as impressive as it could have been if, say, I'd been 20 minutes later going over Snoqualmie Pass and had arrived just as the moon came up over Keechelus Lake. That would have been stellar (Oh, almost a pun.).

But I did have a swell perigee moon experience nonetheless. While I tried to fall asleep at Mom's house, a slice of moonlight fell across my face through a gap in the window shade. And you know how moonlight is...all cool and silvery and magical, like the tips of fox tails and fish bellies, muscovite mica and quartz. So dreamy.

Of course, it only took like 6 seconds of moonlight for me to start thinking about olden tymes (time was spelled like that back then), when a scorned widow would be stoned for looking at the moon's reflection in a rain barrel or whatever.  Naturally, this led me to consider the possible consequences of falling asleep with the moonlight on my face, like maybe the Devil would come to take me, and I'd be made to eat the fruit of the netherworld; or I'd wake up with a hair-face and wander the earth subsisting on yarrow and pumpkin rinds; or turn into a raven and land on a stump and be eaten by a wolverine; or birth a wolf-child and be forced to live in a cave somewhere in order to keep the locals from killing said wolf-child. (In these scenarios, my hair was all crazy with leaves and beetles and other forest detritus because that's what I assume happens in these situations. Except probably not to ravens--although, I'm sure I'd contract some nasty bird lice.) But, as it's 2011 and not 1210, I made it through the night without supernatural incident. Lucky me.

Since I brought up the subject of ethereal natural wonders, check out this frozen sap Maya showed me a couple weeks ago. (She always knows where to find the best nature specimens.)

Awesome, right? Don't you kind of want to spread it on toast? I do.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My father's life in dreams

Today is our dad's 65th birthday, or would have been if he had not died almost two years ago. It's a strange moment when you realize that your parents had lives before you, stranger still when those lives become distant and mysterious and, ultimately, unknowable. And, I suppose, even stranger when you never had a sense of those lives even as they intertwined with your own.  From the time I was old enough to think things like this, I always thought of my father as a ghost in our lives.

I was a dark fourteen-year-old. Well, who wasn't?

If you've lost someone, you know that in the aftermath everything the person wore, touched, or looked upon becomes precious. Everything becomes a relic, and you want it all because that's what remains. Sometimes those things are enough, like the denim jacket that still smells like his cigarettes. Sometimes I think I could smell it forever.

But the physical items are more like snapshots than anything else. They might evoke a memory, which can be wonderful; they might be imbued with an essential quality of the person who once owned them, but they don't go beyond that. What you need are stories.

Unfortunately, there aren't many stories about my dad. I suppose people stop telling stories because they're too painful, or because they can't remember--because it's been 40 years and those moments didn't seem important at the time. Or maybe there are no good things left to tell. Maybe they want to hold something back. Maybe they don't see the point in telling. Or maybe we just haven't asked the right people. For whatever reason, what we have--this random information--is more than likely inflated, fragmented, mangled by our memories and the memories of others, utterly unverifiable.

Here's what I think I know:

He used the word capricious. He's been cross-country skiing. He was a cancer survivor. He answered his cell phone yo when his friends called. He would never have admitted they were his friends. He was an Army medic but never made it to Vietnam. He could make anything from a piece of wood. He had a brother who died at birth and who was meant to have his name. He worked on an oil rig in Louisiana. He skipped school, wrecked cars, smoked and drank. He wore cowboy boots whenever he wasn't in combat boots. He went white water rafting in Germany. He pointed a gun at a man during the race riots in DC. He crawled, with my mother, into a diamond mine run by two brothers in the South. He worked at the Pentagon. He advised generals. He often felt unworthy of praise. He had a pair of iguanas named Antony & Cleopatra. He smirked. He wore a pink tuxedo shirt on his wedding day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


It doesn't take much for this to happen to me. As I've said before, I feel like I'm living a divided life. Tacoma keeps half my heart tied to partially-burned wharf piling along Ruston Way.  And in all likelihood, it's a combination of home and spring-sickness. How much longer until things get green? I'm so tired of all the wilted and soggy lawns and the dirty, leaf-crusted rinds of ice mucking up the curbs. Sigh. Big time sigh.

I know. I know. That's just me being a grumpy Gilda.

But I want some Tacoma pronto.

Flowers and fruit trees, pollen and grass spiders, bumblebees and spring snakelets. Now please.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monika's birthday and some stitches.

It's about time I blogged about the craft I made for Monika's birthday.  As I blog this I'm listening to Monika's beau's beats.  It's the best to blog to. The next tiiiiiimmmmmmme, I promise the next tiiiiiiimmmmmeeeee...anyway. I now present you with Olive's personalized pillow!

The inspiration!
Less inspiring but still dog-related.

I chose some fabric.

I cut out an Olive.

I sewed on an Olive.

Assess the supplies. Make a plan.

Sew together.

Wrap and send.

I think it's cute. Monika said it's cute, but the real test will be when I ask Mom and Christine if they see it out on display when they visit Monika and Ben in Burbank.  She better not put it out just for show. I think a Genevieve or Peanut-Pillow is in the future.

This would be a good picture to pattern-off of.

Stitch update.

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