i’ve moved!

Saturday, 20 May 2006

I've moved over to my new server! You're invited to check out my new site at www.jennhx.com!

This one won't be updated anymore.


this ain’t corny

Thursday, 18 May 2006

It's cliché to say you are what you eat. Journalist Michael Pollan examines the huge impacts of what we eat in his new book called The Omnivore's Dilemma. I haven't read the book yet, but I listened to two interviews with Pollan, introducing his exploration of the food cycle and its impact on public health, the environment, the economy, and the landscape. In particular, he focuses on corn, the premier agricultural product of America.

In the numbers

  • A farmer can sell a bushel of corn (equivalent to 56 lbs of food) for only $1.45 today.
  • At the supermarket, one dollar can buy 2,500 calories of processed foods (crackers, cookies, etc which are laced with corn products) or only 250 calories of carrots.
  • Over a few decades, we went from spending 18% of our national income on food to spending 9% now. During the same period, our spending on healthcare went from 5% to 16%.
  • Agricultural companies' investments in corn: they buy a raw ingredient at 4¢ and sell a value-added product at $1.00.
  • Production of each bushel of corn consumes 1/4 to 1/3 a gallon of gasoline.
  • A full one-fifth of our fossil fuel use goes towards our food!

Some tantalizing quotes from the interviews:

  • "Corn is the perfect industrial and capitalist plant."
  • "Corn is sipping fossil fuels."
  • "We prize cheapness in our food over quality, and we're paying the price. The irony is of course that a cheap food economy is incredibly expensive."
  • We are paying an "irresponsible price" for our food because its cheapness belies the huge costs in public health, environmental health, and your own health.

Take a listen to these fascinating interviews and check out the book too!

Michael Pollan on NPR's Fresh Air (as always, the wonderful Terry Gross really draws out her subjects and creates a riveting, flowing interview.)

Michael Pollan & others on Radio Open Source

The book The Omnivore's Dilemma at Powells.com

jeff’s socks completed

Monday, 15 May 2006

Socks done! Just in time for 85 degree temperature today! The photo is on My Flicker.

Yarn: Trekking XXL.
Needles: one 40" circular size US 1.
Method: Magic Loop.
Based on this pattern, 72 stitches. Cuff is K3, P1. Stockinette stitch foot.
Time: almost two months.

And I completed the May dishcloth for the monthly dishcloth KAL. You can see it here.

In other knitting news, have you seen that Keeping You in Stitches has a list of all Knit-Alongs?

if you didn’t know already…

Monday, 15 May 2006

i am a total geek

matriarchs and cannibals

Sunday, 14 May 2006

In honor of mother's day, I wanted to post a photo… taken last summer of my "matriarchal" family. But since I am unable to post a photo, you'll have to go to MyFlickr to see it!

"Matriarchy is a form of society in which power is with the women and especially with the mothers of a community."(-Wikipedia) My writing teacher has a fascinating, hopeful poem called Sarah and Hagar, about the mothers of the Jewish and Arabic peoples, respectively, and what could have happened differently if the mothers had changed the laws which left all property to the eldest male.

I've been cannibalizing some old blog entries because wordpress keeps giving me this message: "Sorry, you have used your space allocation. Please delete some files to upload more files." And I keep deleting and deleting image files and it keeps giving me the same message. I'm beyond frustrated with it. This is why I am trying to switch servers. I love photos, but I am not a techie, and I don't want to get bogged down in endless tech manipulations. My domain name jennhx.com has been down most of this week because of my new server setting up stuff. Their tech manipulations should have been done by now, but alas, no news… it tries my patience. My posts have thus been limited lately.

I love posting photos. I want to write, possibly professionally, but it's hard. It's much easier to post a photo and be done with it. I love taking photos and want to learn more about how to take good ones. But the lack of photos space on this free blog means I've been frustrated…

Too much is going on in my life that I'm unable to write about. Too many thoughts are swirling my brain

(I'm digging a hole/And the walls are caving in behind me/Air's getting thin/But I'm trying, I'm breathing. Come find me… –Joshua Radin)

making clarity difficult, nay impossible. Why this lack of clarity, I've many guesses but no certainty. I've been spending my time (with my counselor's support) meditating, walking a lot, trying to think positively, listening to Louise Hay, having tea with friends. And I've been spending my time (on my depression's urging) banging my head against the wall*, missing old friends, getting mad at friends who moved away from Seattle, wishing the past away, wishing the past back, cannibalizing the tiny bits of happiness I find, despairing at any change in myself…

…and knitting. I'm almost done with these infernal socks. I'm going to get them done today. I almost got them done last night but then realized I'd made a mistake on the toes so I had to frog.

…and reading. I finished (re)reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the Knit the Classics read/knit along. This was one of my favorite books and I still love it. Austen's wit and social criticism ring well with me. I got complètement sucked into this book this week, could not put it down!

…and watching movies. I (re)watched La Gloire de mon Père, based on the Marcel Pagnol novel and featuring my first love, Provence! It's the sweet story of a boy discovering his father is only human, set in the beauty and mystery of the provençal countryside. I'm savoring watching the second movie, Le Chateau de ma mere!

In my writing class, I met a woman from Québec this week. We spoke en français for a few moments. I miss speaking French so much! But I was awkward and didn't exactly know what to say.

*not literally

save the internet

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Save the Net Now

Fellow bloggers, help keep the internet free!

"If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to iTunes either pay protection money to get into the "fast lane" or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can't let the Internet–this incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech–become captive to large corporations."  MoveOn.org

service disruptions

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

this site may be down sporadically the next week or so as I move to another server.

this one’s for Jeff

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Have you seen this…?

knit tank

I just had to post this knitted tank (cover) because well… my hubby is a tank aficionado. Click the photo for more info.

Jeff says…

This [knitted one] isn't the first pink tank, the original is the Pink Panther. The French Army used German Panther tanks they commissioned to be built immediately after the war. There is no known photograph of the Pink Panther but it is said to have been a newly built Panther in red oxide primer that was sent to Indochina to be localized (painted, fitted for hot weather) and evaluated for use there by the French. It ended up not being used and sat in a plantation for years. In 1971, from the air, a crewman from an airborne gunship claims to have seen it and it was faded to pink color.

pink tank

Also, an artist used a Russian T-34 tank of WWII vintage as a canvas:

BTW, that one is based on an updated WWII American tank, the M24 Chaffee in case you want to impress any knitters.

Yes, I'm a tank nerd.

Didn't think you would learn all that on a knitting etc blog, did ya?


Monday, 8 May 2006

Last Monday, I took my study, which looked like this:

before reorg
…and transformed it into this:

reorg 8 reorg 6

It's difficult to take pictures since the room is really narrow, but it looks and feels a lot bigger, and I have much more desk space for collaging now.

cat chair

I was inspired by a big cushy armchair which I got for FREE by the side of the road! We were driving around the north end of Lake Washington, in some richie neighborhoods, and what to my frugal zealot eyes should suddenly appear? A FREE sign on a big overstuffed armchair with little ottoman! With some maneuvering, the chair fit into the back of my Saab (thanks to the amazing 56+ cubic square feet of storage once you fold down the back seats!).

The original upholstery is in great shape except for a large tear on the seat. The cover washed up beautifully and now it looks like new. The cats love the chair and are fighting over who gets to sleep on it. Here, tiny Jasmine grabs the big chair and big Cooper, the small ottoman!

The chair reminded me that we can get what we need. I have a very difficult time believing this with my heart. But, I am not working so money is tight, and I have been really thinking about how a comfy chair would do wonders for my study. Et voilà!

We just heard our apartment building sold, so we don't know what will happen to us. We knew it was a possibility. We are just hoping they don't increase our rent substantially or ask us to leave. On the other hand, it might be time to move soon anyway because Jeff's work is moving to Kirkland, which will be a longer commute for him.

My ear has been acting funny for the last 24 hours, so please send me some good ear vibes. I've got a loud ringing in my right ear. It is very uncomfortable. 😦

you guys rock!

Saturday, 6 May 2006

Safe from the Shade WalkathonMANY MANY thanks to generous friends and family who contributed towards my participation in today's Safe from the SunWalkathon sponsored by the Melanoma International Foundation. You guys rock!!!

Together, we raised money towards melanoma awareness and education… and also won the Mark J. Scharke Memorial Award for Top Circle of Friends Fundraising Team!




For more information on why I participated, click here. Today's event included free skin checks, a 3K walk, freebies (sunscreen, hats, etc) and awards. (Click for larger images.)

walk9 walk8 

walk6 walk5 walk3

walk1 walk2

There was even knitting time as we waited for the closing ceremonies.

Sure, you were raised to think a tanned body looks better than a pasty white one. But once you learn the facts, you realize there is no healthy tan. I hope you'll help spread the word.

pride & prejudice project planned

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Over at Knit the Classics, we are starting Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, one of my very favorite authors. Love that subtle wit. And my project to knit along with P&P will be..

flower hat pattern & yarn

The Flower Hat from Interweave Knits Winter 2004 issue. The P&P sisters always wear bonnets, and this Flower Hat has a bit of the English countryside to it. The younger sisters covet ribbon; this hat has a silk ribbon flower on it (although I may do a knitted flower). The yarn is Yorkshire Tweed Chunky in color Damp (teal). Damp seems like the perfect color to represent those moldy old English homes.

As if I didn't have enough to do, I joined this:

dishcloth KAL

for small, mystery projects which could be good gifts. I need some easy cotton dishcloth knitting for meditative reasons!

sock update

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Second sock started. Jeffhx's birthday is on Sunday…. Can I get this done in time?

2nd sock started

My guess is, no. Since it took me over a month to do the first sock. But now I don't have to make any decisions, so in theory I can just knit, knit, knit! Ok, so I have a few other things to do too, but…

In any case, I missed (by far) the deadline for the Cirque du Socks KAL. The pair of socks was supposed to be finished by the end of April. I did manage to finish a single sock in that time! Bravo to Cara, who knitted four pairs in one month. I am in awe.

50th post!

Tuesday, 2 May 2006


My weblog owns 31.25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

About a month ago, I took this quiz and discovered that my weblog owned 18.75% of me. Today, the day of my 50th post, I scored… Well, a bit higher. Should I be worried?

One question on the quiz: If you see something interesting or unusual on your way to work/school, you'll immediately think of blogging it (YES/NO). I had to answer yes to that one.

Well, if you saw this, wouldn't YOU want to blog it?!



barber drive thru?

tiny door

I made Jeff pull over when I saw this. That's right ladies & gents, a barbershop hauler. Need I say more.

Would YOU get your hair cut here? Leave me a comment (YES/NO and WHY). Or, the very brave could call 206 579 ROGG.

Rogg it!


(sad) rabbits

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

rabbits 01
There is a large park in our Seattle neighborhood called Woodland Park. It has a zoo… but in the regular park section, rabbits are living in the "wild."

But they aren't actually wild animals; rather, they are abandoned pets and their descendants. This was going to be my urban safari part 3, but after reading up on this issue, I'm too sad to make light of it.

People are abandoning domestic rabbits to the "wild." Once there, the animals are ill-equipped to survive. Earlier this year, volunteers started rounding up animals to take them to the Rabbit Meadows Sanctuary. Eight days later, they were forced to stop the round-up. Too many animals were already pregnant; but, even more importantly, the temporary housing for the rabbits at Magnuson Park failed. As the Seattle Times reported, "Part of the building where rabbits have been held for medical care has been rented to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Gun noise from the agency's training practices is scaring the rabbits and unnerving volunteers." The Parks department apparently is angry with the volunteer organization for releasing this latter information to the news.

A not-so-funny bunny life: Some humans adopt you for Easter. After the Easter fun has faded and they realize you need loving (and time-consuming) care, these humans abandon you in a park. Dogs and other predators chase you and you almost get hit by a car. Finally, you're rounded up by loving humans. They are taking care of you when other humans start shooting guns next door.

More about the Woodland Park rabbits in the news.

These photos were taken April 1, one month after the roundup began.

rabbits 05 rabbits 02 rabbits 03 rabbits 04

i love mail

Monday, 1 May 2006

Sara's card

I received this in the mail on Saturday: a wonderful quilted & beaded card created by Sara! I love getting personal mail, and especially when it is so lovingly crafted. Thank you, Sara!

VOILA. This ends April's project spectrum colors, orange and yellow. Watch these pages for May's color: GREEN!

crafty days

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

ps april

Now that Sara has received it, I can post my April (orange & yellow) Project Spectrum postcard:

card small
I made it a greeting card instead of a basic postcard because I wanted to include the knitted thread heart, which wouldn't travel well sans enveloppe. It has been fun connecting with another knit blogger (and genuinely nice person), someone way across the country in New Hampshire even. Check out her blog and her beautiful quilted art, like her "postcards from the edge."


Today I practiced more craftiness in making Julie's birthday present:


On the right, you see the little plastic envelope with hand-punched confetti. The card, on the left, is the "key" to what each punch symbolizes.

Julie's birthday is tomorrow, but it's safe to post a picture here now because she is completely internet-free and even email-free. Can you believe that? Even though I am enjoying the blogging life and have been using email since 1991, I have to admire Julie for her low-tech lifestyle. She must have so much more time for knitting!

urban safari part 2 (turtles)

Monday, 24 April 2006

Yesterday's urban safari part 1 (ducklings) was wildly popular (according to the stats of my lil' newbie blog), so here's part 2.

Turtles at Greenlake! (Click)


Click the picture above to go to the… gulp… movie. Make sure your sound is turned on. Watch carefully.

EDITED 4/26/06: If you cannot view the movie when you click the link above, you may need to download the FREE QuickTime player (both Mac and PC versions available).

Look, ma! Look what I made! A quicktime movie!! Ok, so I'm pretty proud of my technical advances. The way I see it, you gotta pat yourself on your back or no one else will :).

Photos by me
Music by Elliot Goldenthal, from the Frida soundtrack.

urban safari part 1 (ducklings)

Sunday, 23 April 2006

Lately I've seen many different kinds of wildlife here in our beloved Seattle! And some outside of Seattle. It seems as if, over the past six months, I've seen more animals in the so-called wild than I did the rest of my life (excluding zoos). Okay, I admit it, I grew up a city kid. So I'm excited to present my animal urban safari photos, in installments. Today's episdoe is the Ducklings at Greenlake, sighted this Saturday morning.  Awwww…

duckling 05

duckling 01

duckling 02

duckling 04

duckling 03

duckling 06

knitting group/soup

Saturday, 22 April 2006

Wonderful knitting group on Wednesday! And wonderful Joe Bar soup (creamy asparagus) with messages written…

julie 'n' soup Julie ordered the soup… joe bar soup Yes, the soup says "Joe Bar" in crème fraîche. (In photo on left: Julie with the soup; Christine in the background with her knitting.)

louise's soup And Louise too… Hers says "I Heart Soup." Note the mitten-knitting too!

Louise & Carol

Louise reading her pattern and Carol in the background with lovely knitted hat on head and charity knitting in hand.

Joe Bar is one of the (or the?) best cafe in Seattle with awesome food, personable staff (the owner is often serving up yummy crêpes himself), and art on the walls. They were featured in a recent Seattle Times Pacific Northwest article, "Social Scene Brewing." And our knitting group was mentioned!!

divertissements #2

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Definitely time for some divertissements… Fun stuff from the 'net.

Ron MueckArtist Ron Mueck makes really, really big sculptures of people. They look real too! As they call it in the art world, "Hyper-realist."

This guy, zeFrank, makes a daily videocast called Knowledge, "thinking so you don't have to." Lots of silliness, cynicism and sarcasm, interspersed with his opinions on news items. Now that's an alternative news source. Also, all you singles out there check out his pre-date confidence builder.

Can't believe how cool this Manmade Notebook is! I find some of their links simply hilarious… like Microsoft repackaging the iPod. Some links are educational, fascinating… like Gapminder's Human Development Trends. And then there's just cool stuff you didn't really need to know, but hey! Why not… like Aaron Koblin's visual of flight patterns across the U.S.

And last but not least, cat humor, check out these two cat videos. Ok, maybe cat humor is the least form of humor, especially when your're working on a couple hours sleep because your cat Jasmine's boyfriend-kitty was yeowling through the window all night. Come out and play!
Talking cats

Herding cats
Oh, zeFrank has cat humor too.

in other stuffffs

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

I've only been posting about knitting lately so I thought it was time for other things. I've been struggling emotionally lately and can't really see an end in sight. But this is part of why I quit my job, so I could have the time and space to delve into all this crap… so it's a good thing, really. I sort of believe that…

gl 01I get my stitches out Thursday, that will help. I haven't been able to exercise because of these icky stitches in my lower leg.

Jeff and I did walk a bit at Greenlake on Sunday and it was a splendid springtime day: rainy/ sunny/ big dark clouds/ big puffy white clouds. Here's one photo I took but I can't seem to get wordpress to upload the others now. You can check 'em out at My Flickr.

The melanoma walkathon is coming up soon on May 6. So far, I've raised a bit more than half my goal thanks to my generous friends and family members!! Thanks all!! If anyone else wants to donate towards this important melanoma education and awareness, go here.

I've started going to Al-Anon for support. Still deciding what I think of it, but I think it's helpful already.

Also last night I started this cool class called Self-Discovery for Women through Creative Writing. It's taught by Pesha Joyce Gertler, who was recently elected Seattle's Poet Populist. Already on the first night, the class was funny, sad, interesting… Great community of women.

I'm into this new singer/songwriter called Joshua Radin. You can listen to some clips of his music on his website (click on Music). He's got this great mellow folksy sound and his lyrics are poetry:

Way down, in New York town
Thinking about the way she loved me
There's a hole in my pocket
That's about her size

I wish my car
Could drive to her tonight
Then I'd know everything
Is gonna be alright

The rain in New Orleans forgot to end
But the mouths of the people are dry
And we watch and wait
And do nothing but sigh
And hope everything
Is gonna turn alright
But I don't know
If it'll be alright

I'm digging a hole And the walls are caving in behind me
Air's getting thin
But I'm trying, I'm breathing.
Come find me.

It hasn't felt like this before
It hasn't felt like home before you.

I'm leading someone else's life
I cut a star down with my knife
And right now I still see the way the moon
plays this tune though our night's died

I'll make tonight our own
Show you every way I've grown
since I met you
And right now
I'll be the boy in your next song
I'll learn the parts and play along
If you let me

more knittin’ stuffs

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

sleeve one done

I've got one sleeve done on my topdown sweater… So close now…

sock nearly done
This sock is nearly done, although I'm worried about several things: 1) is it too small? 2) will I get an entire other sock done in time? The Cirque du Socks KAL deadline is the end of the month, and Jeff's birthday is May 7…

I feel like a really slow knitter. I'm not even working right now, what is up with that? Ok so I get distracted by things like my Project Spectrum orange'n'yellow project:

orange heart

Knitted out of crochet thread stuff… Isn't it sweet? Just gotta figure out how to weave in all those ends without making it look all twisted.

first KTC project done!

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

I finished my first Knit the Classics project for the Daniel Defoe book Moll Flanders: a shocking red coif. Red symbolizes Moll's many loves ("husbands" and lovers), which were indeed shocking for the times. The coif style seemed like something they might wear back them too.

moll coif done close up moll

Knit from the Knitty pattern Shocking Pink Coif. I knit it in Sensations Beautiful yarn (acrylic/nylon blend) on size 10 needles. It's super soft and warm!

I finished reading the book a few days ago too. It was interesting and sometimes humorous, but I found the second half a struggle to get through. Once Moll turned to thievery to survive, the stories were a bit repetitive. I guess her machinations and manipulations got to be a bit much for me when they weren't strictly necessary: she admitted to being well-off financially by then but could not stop the game of thievery.

There have been some great discussions about motherhood and feminism over at the KTC forum. Thanks to the KTC members for a great first experience!

independence from junk mail?

Thursday, 13 April 2006

Declare your independence from junk mail is a new campaign sponsored by the Center for the New American Dream. On their site, you can send an e-mail to your elected officials asking them to support the creation of a junk mail opt-out registry similar to the Do Not Call telemarketer registry.

The production and disposal of unsolicited mail wastes trees, pollutes our water, and consumes more energy than 2.8 million cars at a time when energy security is more important than ever. Worst of all, it forces citizens and local governments spend more than $370 million per year to collect and dispose of unsolicited waste and it violates the privacy of our homes.

The Center for the New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice.

knitting update

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

At last I was able to take photos today. One of our camera batteries is completely dead. The other works a bit, so I was able to take these. Now wordpress is being fritzy about uploading photos! Grrr…

sockheel photo
1. Jeff's sock. The heel turned out really cute! The colors changed right on cue, without my planning it! The gussets were troublesome but I'm happy with them now. Overall, it's coming along, but I'm getting a bit bored with this lil' bugger. Oh wait, and I have to knit the same thing over again? I'm going to look into that "two socks at once" method. My friend Cheryln has knitted two socks at once on two circular needles — and at the beginning it looked like a bikini top. 🙂 Too late for this pair though.

right sleeve
2. Top down sweater. Right arm progressing.

Moll coif
3. My new project, Moll Flanders coif. (Based on Knitty's Shocking Pink Coif, but done in Shocking Red!) Super fuzzy & soft! Very fast to work up, since I'm using size 10 for the main part. Ahhh, relief from those other two projects…

orange & yellow mosaic

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

orange & yellow mosaic

moll flanders project

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

shocking pink coifI have chosen a small knitting project for Knit the Classic's current reading, Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe. Knitty's Shocking Pink Coif. But I chose the color Shocking Red to represent Moll's… um… lovers. The yarn, which I dug out of my stash, is quite different than Knitty's coif, but I think it will work up well.

I was stumped about what to knit at first too. I am enjoying reading Moll, which I find alternately amusing and just sad, but couldn't find a project that felt exactly right. Plus, I wanted to avoid biting off more than I could chew right now (I'm feeling swamped with other projects). I am feeling like a sloooow knitter these days. I'm still working on Jeff's sock (first of the pair still!) and my topdown sweater. They are dragging along. I'm bored with them. The Shocking Red Coif seems like a nice breather!


Sunday, 9 April 2006

Divertissements, distractions or fun things. Here are some links:

1. Where the Hell is Matt? This guy traveled around the world and made video of himself dancing in each place. To add to the humor, he's not even a good dancer! Brave soul.

2. Word project. There are no words to describe it.

3. Make your own snowflakes. Here are a couple I made!

snowflake 2 snowflake 1

4. Cats in sinks. Just what it says. (Thanks, mrk.)
Here's our Cooper in our sink, and another of his favorite places:

Cooper in sink Cooper on pot?

latest colors & news

Friday, 7 April 2006

This month's Project Spectrum colors… Orange & Yellow!

orange books yellow books
I think there aren't many things representing orange and yellow in our house other than books! So I'll have to get creative. It's about time!

Knitting News
On the knitting front, I finally feel like i'm making progress. I turned the heel on Jeff's sock — it's the neatest looking heel because the stripe color changes right at the edge of the heel by coincidence! As for the top-down sweater, I completed the torso and am now working on one of the arms. These should go more quickly since they are much narrower than the torso section. Unfortunately I can't show pictures right now because both our camera batteries seem to have died. Grrr…

knit the classics
I'm delighted to be taking part in the Knit the Classics reading and knitting group. Reading classic books and knitting projects that fit the books… wayyy cooool. This month's book is Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, which someone at KTC says is the first modern novel. Don't know what my project will be yet, because I've got a number of projects on the needles and some in the queue already — but I'd love to knit the Eleanora Socks by Miriam.

In Other News
The reason for my increased knitting time is… Yesterday morning the dermatologist took another mole off my right calf. It's one that was already taken off twice, yes two times before!, but kept growing back weird. Here it was in all its weirdness (I was calling it the dark crystal mole):

dark crystal
Despite the fact that the previous two times the pathology reports came back negative, the dermato wanted to take this off completely to make sure, because of my history with melanoma. She took off the mole plus all the scar tissue around it. Stitches come out in two weeks. The lower leg causes several problematic logistics because 1) blood tends to pool up in lower extremities and 2) the skin is pretty tight there. Suffice to say, I have to sit with my leg up as much as possible.

Anyways, I'll spare any more details (although later I might just have to flash some stitches images once I can take the pressure bandage off!). For now, I'll try to soothe any grossed-out readers with a sweet image of Cooper resting on the back of the couch– I think he thinks he's taking care of me!

Cooper on the edge of a snooze

hello to happiness

Friday, 7 April 2006

Hello to All That by John Falk Hello to All That: A Memoir of War, Zoloft and Peace by John Falk (2005), a fascinating memoir of Falk's battle with depression, reminded me of my own here-now-gone-again depression issues. Falk lives what most would call a charmed life, but finds himself unable to appreciate it. For years he is filled with self-loathing because he cannot make use of the many advantages life gives him:

I became hyper-aware that I was somehow shut out from whatever it was that made other people tick. What the fuck did I have to do? I had tons of friends, family that loved me, had accomplished things, but it meant nothing. Why the hell did I feel so dead inside? I had tried so long and so hard to keep it together. (p 114)

For Falk, Zoloft is the magic bullet, bringing him out of clinical depression. However, living with depression for a decade and a half meant he did not learn to fully live and connect with people. He seeks a way to live deeper, fuller experiences, he has to push the envelope in order to catch up on all the living he's missed. Passing himself off as a war reporter, he enters beseiged Sarajevo, where he discovers that connections with other people — especially through helping others — are necessary elements of his recovery.

For some, Zoloft isn't the magic bullet it promises to be. I took Zoloft for eight years, but still struggled with these issues. So the search goes on. It's about learning, establishing habits that keep me healthy, and always, seeking inspiration to keep me going.

Harvard professor"Finding happiness in a Harvard classroom," a recent story on NPR's All things considered, discusses the most popular course at Harvard these days. According to the course description, it covers the "psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life." While some laugh it off as not serious enough for Harvard, students are flocking to this course; required readings include philosophical treatises on happiness, Ellen DeGeneres comedy, the Dalai Lama, and articles from the new field of positive psychology. If I were there, I'd probably enroll too. During my student years at University of Washington, I took an honors seminar on The Examined Life. While it didn't focus directly on happiness, the seminar asked the question of whether we are better off living without thinking, or if examining our life can lead to more understanding and awareness. I guess I believe the latter. Hence, writing this journal on-line…

The Harvard course's instructor, Tal Ben-Shahar, offers NPR listeners the following advice:

Six Tips for Happiness

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions — such as fear, sadness, or anxiety — as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do — or don't do — with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

I guess ultimately it's a balance between getting your biochemistry in place and the hard work of learning to accept life while taking care of yourself.

By the way, the Center for Positive Psychology at UPenn is looking for on-line study participants.

Memes, middle school, and music

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Memes are like middle school question books. Remember those? You’d staple together about 30 lined pages, write a question at the top of each page, and number each line. Friends wrote their answers to the questions on the same line of each page. I'd write my responses on, say, line 21 of every page.  Questions ranged from Who is your favorite actor? to What is your favorite memory? to Who is your best friend?

Question books were pretty interesting, at least for my junior high friends and me — a way to glimpse inside someone else’s brain. They were silly, sure, but also culturally fascinating, particularly for a 12-year-old like me who was already starting to suffer the hyper-self-and-other-consciousness of clinical depression.

Maybe that’s why I’m interested to see memes propagate in the blogosphere. Same mentality, same fascinating interest in trying to figure out how others respond to the world. If you look up memes on wikipedia, you’ll find a long discussion of memes in anthropology and biology… and links to chain letters, jingles, and viral marketing. But I think they are more like the middle school question book than anything else.

Here’s a meme from Jenn at knit 'n lit. It combines the question book thing with music and random chance, making it even catchier.

Put your iPod on shuffle and ask it the following questions. NO CHEATING.

(Links are to artist’s websites.)

1. How does the world see you?
Vuka jona sithandaze by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Interesting that it’s in a foreign language, what does that mean?! But it has a nice, mellow, rolling rhythm to it. And I love their harmonies. So I’ll take it.

2. Will I have a happy life?
Pacific Coast Party by Smash Mouth
Seems pretty positive! "If you’ve got to work today, get yourself a new vocation!” I already quit my job!

3. What do my friends really think of me?
Rumba: Extranjero by Matt Messina (from Pottery Barn: Let’s Dance CD)
Extranjero means foreigner, foreign, abroad… Hm…

4. What do people secretly think of me?
Greensleeves by Mozart
Per Wikipedia, this is a traditional English folk song associated with Anne Boleyn.
“Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.”

5. How can I be happy?
Bad by U2
“If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day
To let it go
And so to fade away”

6. What should I do with my life?
Cool Blue Reason by Cake.
Confusing. No wonder I can never figure out the answer to this question. Thirty-three years old and still trying to figure out what to do when I grow up! Does this mean something about writing?
“Cool blue reason empties on the page […]
Cool blue reason I'm just rearranging hell”

7. What is some good advice for me?
Blue Orchid by White Stripes: “I guess there's just no pleasing you." Unfortunately, this is true. Perfectionism. A blog entry about perfectionism has been forming in my mind lately. Watch for it soon.

8. How will I be remembered?
We Want a Rock by They Might Be Giants

9. What is my signature dancing song?
Comfort Eagle by Cake

10. What do I think my current theme song is?
La Llorona by Lila Downs (From Frida soundtrack)
Witch, siren, harlot, virgin… hm… Check out this interesting website about the myth of la llarona here.

11. What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Sahara by Moxy Früvous

12. What song will play at my funeral?
Cluck Old Hen(reprise) by Bill Frisell
At least this seems to indicate I'll live to a ripe, old age!

13. What type of men do you like?
I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet) by the White Stripes

14. What is my day going to be like?
Ghost by the Indigo Girls

flash your stash

Sunday, 2 April 2006

flash your stash

Thanks to Zibibboisgood for promoting Flash your Stash 2006. Well, I am a day late and a dollar (or two) short, but I'll show you my yarn stash…. At least, a sampling. This was a great opportunity to organize — I've got most of it fitting into three bins plus one bag. Incredible! Mostly this made me realize I am certainly not allowed to purchase any more yarn (never mind that I was already trying not to because after all, I'm not working right now…). I've got a lot of yarn I've purchased for specific projects, but a lot of other yarn was purchased on impulse, no project in mind.

sock yarnsstash binsblanket yarn
silver'n'blackblueORANGE & YELLOW

While I was at it, I sorted out all the various Orange-Yellowy yarns I have in honor of Project Spectrum's April colors! Last month I didn't knit anything in Red/Pink, even though I have a number of yarns meeting those specifications. This month, I plan to at least start something in the Orange or Yellow colors of the month.

ORANGE & YELLOW project spectrum

wip it out

Friday, 31 March 2006

WIP marchThanks to Elspeth for suggesting we post our works in progress to keep us honest and for encouragement to get some stuff done!

WIPs (Works In Progress): There aren't as many as I'd thought… or I can't find them all… Thank goodness I got a couple things done in the UFOlympics.

Simply Cardigan (almost) top down sweatermagic loop sockribbon drop-stitch scarf

  1. Interweave’s Super-Simple Wrap Jacket (Spring 2002). Only one more sleeve to seam in, plus the other side seam… This was one of my Knitting Olympics UFOs, but I didn't manage to finish it. I hate seaming! I also have to knit a belt for it. I think I started this sweater two years ago. It is dragging on, partly because I hate seaming, but also because I don't think it will fit very well on me.
  2. That cardigan is getting overtaken now by my Neckdown Pullover for Women by Knitting Pure & Simple. I'm about done with the body of it, and then need to finish sleeves and neck. Yarn by Teseo.
  3. I love portable projects! I love Magic Loop socks! I love my husband! So here are socks I'm knitting for him! 🙂 Part of the Cirque du Socks knit-a-long. Yarn is Trekking. Size 1 needles.
  4. Drop-stitch scarf in colorful ribbon yarn. But the ribbon isn't quite as colorful as the photos make it seem. The colors are more autumnal than the photos show. I made an identical scarf for the Bicycle Alliance auction last year; it was a hit; and since I had more yarn left over, I thought I'd make another one. Turns out it's boring to knit… And boring to knit exactly the same thing again. Plus the yarn constantly twists itself as I'm knitting. In reality, every yarn twists somewhat since I learned continental (pick) knitting, but this ribbon stuff is the worst.



IKQ (In the Knitting Queue): Just a sampling… I realized I've got many more projects in the queue — I bought the yarn and have every intention of making the project but haven't started. And keep buying new yarn for yet other projects…

  1. Silkroad's DK Tweed to make a sweater for Jeff. He wants me to "recreate" a sweater which was his dad's and which is disintegrating now. This is obviously a challenge. I bought this yarn last year. But for Christmas, I found him a similar sweater at Eddie Bauer, so I bought that. We'll see what happens with this yarn…
  2. Pretty purple Sirdar Snuggly Bubbly yarn for making snuggly baby blankets. Two of my girlfriends are pregnant, both are due in July. I haven't determined what pattern to use yet. Any suggestions? I'd like to do something that brings out the bubbly texture of the yarn.
  3. Red sock yarn which I'd like to use to make these beautifully-patterned Eleanora Socks. The red is very different than the heathered brown Mim used (hers look antique like the socks they are patterned after), but I love the pattern and the yarn, so we'll see how well they match up.
  4. – 4,000 All the other projects I've bought yarn for and havdn't started yet.




socks and more

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

sock cuff

I'm almost done with the cuff!

I'm really enjoying this Magic Loop (one long circular needle) method. Easier than two circs, even. Although I think it helps to have worked with two circulars to understand this method. The Trekking yarn is great to work with, it doesn't split at all. I did a K1P1 ribbing for a bit and now the main pattern is K3 P1.

cooper's new toyHere's Cooper with a new cat toy, the Feather Flutter Wand, I just bought today. It is: plastic stick + long fleece string + red feather. The fleece part is really long, so it's got a great reach for attracting lil' nervous kitty Jasmine. It's made by Posh Feline, makers of their other favorite toy, the Glitter Pom Wand.

Saturday I stopped by my friend Ruth's house and she wasn't there… But cutie kitty Ginger was! And they have a sweet flower-filled window box I just had to share.

Ginger Ruth's windowbox

maghrebin pastriesThe New York Times is reporting that the French are eating more maghrébin — north African — pastries. And they provide some yummy-sounding recipes including the classic baklava and cornes de gazelles.

spring burst

Sunday, 26 March 2006

spring has sprung.

springburst 1 mosaic

springburst 2 mosaic
See more of my bloomin' photos at Flickr

book lovers

Sunday, 26 March 2006

I love books, too. But I'm not crazy! Most of the books I read these days are from the library, so I don't have the $5,000 per year book storage costs that this couple had before they built shelves on every wall of their condo.

lotsa books The Washington Post story about true bibliophiles. (Thanks for the link, Mom.)

I am on a book-buying moratorium (which I mostly adhere to), since we ran out of additional shelf space years ago. I even donate books occasionally! Jeff sold an entire bookcase of military history books on Ebay over the last six months. But I guess that just seems to have made room for more of my books. I have to admit that all my Russian textbooks are still in boxes somewhere. But that's because… what if I want to start studying Russian again? And all the French language books my grandmother sent me on birthdays and Christmases… I can't get rid of those because, well, it would just feel wrong to get rid of them. And so on…

Speaking of books, I just finished reading the Autograph Man by Zadie Smith (a library copy). It's the story of a 30-something (alcoholic) man searching for the autograph of his career. On the way he (drinks a lot,) discusses Zen and Judaism with his childhood friends, (drinks some more,) travels to New York for an autograph conference, (gets completely drunk there,) hurts everyone he loves, and searches for the meaning of life (while completely plastered). Just like real life, huh?The writing is beautiful — both colloquial and lyrical.

For a better review check out Powells.com.

sock progress and Lucy

Friday, 24 March 2006

Thank goodness for Knitwit‘s photos and instructions for Magic Loop sock knitting. I read through the instructions in the pattern I have and they made absolutely no sense! But seeing the photos at Knitwit’s site helped me get going. And then I remembered I’m supposed to be doing K2 P2 ribbing. Rip, rip.

So this evening while watching The Godfather movie part one, with Jeff, I got to here:

take 2

Yesterday my niece Tabitha was sick, so I picked her up from school. She was in the nurse’s office, oh, remember those days? She was asleep underneath blankets and her coat. She awoke right away, we gathered up her coat and bag and walked through to the main office. I had to sign her out, and as I signed I recited, “Date, 3/23/06. Time, 12:25. Student name, Tabitha Potatohead.”

“Heyyyyy!” she laughed.

Back at her home, she snuggled up on the couch with their dog Lucy so we could all watch Madagascar (I hadn’t seen it yet).

Tabs & Lucy Lucy 01 Lucy 02

It’s hard to get a photo of a niece when she’s sick. But a niece’s dog, piece of cake!

sock “started”

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

I was feeling left behind by the other knitters at Cirque du Sock, so I finally bought the proper size needle to start the Knitalong. Size one needles. I’ve never knitted with anything smaller than, what, a size two… Ones seem a lot smaller. Especially since my two recent projects were on size 9 needles. Espcially since it’s a 40-inch long circular needle for doing Magic Loop socks.

Anyways, I did a small gauge swatch at knitting group tonight. sock swatch I know, I know, I should do a larger gauge swatch, and do ribbing on the edges so it lays flat, but hey. The fact that I even swatched at all is an improvement over past projects. So there.

I think I made gauge…

lego knitting machine

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

On this description of the top ten strangest lego creations, scroll down to number 4.  Yes ladies and gents, that’s a fully functional knitting machine made entirely out of legos.

gnarly knitters?

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Check out the recent Seattle Times article on “Gnarly knitters” which includes photos of a knitted digestive track and some zombies!

melanoma walkathon May 6

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Safe from the Shade Walkathon

Please join me for the second annual Melanoma International Foundation’s Safe from the Sun Walkathon! The walkathon will take place on May 6, 2006 in three US cities, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle.

Seattle’s event includes a 2-mile walk through the scenic Lake Sammamish State Park, a Kid’s Dash, free skin cancer screenings and a Health Fair with focus on skin safety and skin cancer prevention. The MIF Walkathon is in memory of Warren R. Olson. Last year’s walkathon raised over $200,000 towards melanoma awareness, education and research in addition to providing support to families suffering from melanoma.

If you cannot join me in supporting this important cause, please consider making a donation in my name. No amount is too small; your support is essential to stopping this deadly disease. The link for donating is: http://www.active.com/donate/SeattleSITS2006/JKogut14

Why am I working for this cause? See my skin cancer page for additional information.

springtime in Seattle

Monday, 20 March 2006

smith tower My jaunt downtown last week: Smith Tower with Columbia Center (black box) in the distance behind it. Check out the website, where you can see a slow animation of ol’ Smithee being built, with photos from the period. “The Smith Tower opened on July 4, 1914. At the time, it was the fourth tallest building in the world and weighed 48,650 tons. It remained the tallest building west of the Mississippi River for almost 50 years.” Oh, and Jeff and I got married in the Chinese Room, on the top floor below the point of the Smith Tower. I just found some cool new virtual tours of the Chinese Room and Smith tower on VR Seattle!

This photo also illustrates why they created the song “The bluest skies I’ve ever seen are in Seattle.” In March, at least, when the smog hasn’t started to build up yet.

Here are some interesting murals I spotted on the construction site on the block west of the new City Hall and Civic Plaza.
Think! mural ostrich mural

And springtime by our house:

springtime mosaic

(Mosaic created with Flickr Toys. Lots of fun stuff to try out!)

Lastly, the cats: Cooper on the cat tree, enjoying the setting sunlight.
Cooper in setting sun

Jasmine found her spot in the sun:

Jasmine in the sun stretch in the sun black and white

springtime in Paris

Monday, 20 March 2006

CSM is reporting that the US loves France again. Mais oui! Vive la France!

Jane and Brian are in Paris right now. Lovely, lovely Paris in springtime. Although it appears they’ve got mist or light rain for a few days.

And you know what? Jane sent out her thank you notes already — the wedding was Saturday and the thank you note arrived in the mail on Thursday. Now that’s organization. Yes, it was personalized! It even had a photo of us taken on Saturday!

They really deserve this springtime honeymoon in Paris.

lighten up

Friday, 17 March 2006

It’s been a tough week, after a difficult counseling session Wednesday morning. I feel confused, frustrated, furious, terrified, vulnerable. Last night reading Sark’s A Creative Companion I came across the page called Welcoming a New Baby. It includes these words: “You are deeply wanted. We’re so glad you’re here… How do you like earth?” I cried. How long has it been since I’ve felt welcomed like that? Ever?

I wrote that paragraph this morning feeling so sorry for myself…

Then, I just listened to a Weekday interview with Eman Ahmad Khammas, an Iraqi journalist and human rights activitst. She said that under Saddam, “It was bad, but it’s worse now.” A beautiful, impassioned woman, Eman is now visiting the U.S. as a member of the Iraqi Women’s Delegation. Code Pink organized the delegation as part of the Women Say No to War campaign and International Women’s Day recognition.

Eman Ahmad Khammas

Here is Eman’s profile from Global Exchange:

“Journalist, translator and activist. Married with 2 daughters, she lives in Baghdad. Eman is a member of the Women’s Will organization which focuses on defining and defending women’s rights outside political party interests and opposing incarceration of women as hostages. Eman regularly publishes articles on women’s conditions in Iraq under the occupation in a monthly newspaper called Oqol (Minds). For the past three years she has been documenting crimes committed by US and Iraqi forces. She will be bringing video documentation of these crimes. Eman is also involved in mobilizing emergency relief (medicines, food and clothing) for victims living under the occupation, especially women and children living in refugee camps.”

She will be speaking tomorrow night (March 18 at 7:30pm) here in Seattle, at Trinity United Methodist Church. More info here>>.


The world feels way too big and scary sometimes, but listening to strong women, mentors, helps me feel and act stronger. This Iraqi journalist was discussing horrible conditions, including the mental trauma many Iraqi citizens are now living through, and yet she remains hopeful and active. She sees that she must act, or die. She must act, and might die trying, but otherwise there is nothing but the dark deep hole.

Lighten Up

Lighten Up collage is about trying to climb up and out of that dark hole, where I try to protect myself with a plastic coating because I can’t deal with the world. Even knitting can help, I can surround myself with cloud-soft knitted protection, and still go out there. I can seek out powerful women, strong positive statements, and feel glad to be here on Mother Earth. And with that as a foundation, I can act.

Lighten Up collage (click image for larger view).

OTN: top-down sweater

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Knitting stuff at last… here is what I’ve got on the needles (OTN) right now: the Neckdown Pullover for Women by Knitting Pure & Simple. I’m taking a class to learn this top-down method at the Fiber Gallery.

The sweater relaxing after I’ve separated for the sleeves (the sleeves are held on yellow waste yarn):


Teseo yarn (55% wool, 45% microfiber), is so soft it feels like knitting a cloud. And gotta love those random stripeys. I can’t wait to see how different the stripes are on the sleeves, since they should be taller stripes.

close up top down center close up top down

Jane & Brian

Monday, 13 March 2006

Saturday was my dear friend Jane & Brian's wedding. It was held in their beautiful freshly-remodeled house in Edmonds. Jane's dress was designed and made in Korea.
the house

Jane & Brian roses
the favors (too cute!) favors candle
the beautiful bride orchids
single rose papparazzi

Jane & Brian (parents-to-be) with the papparazzi.

And the cake was… a replica of their house!! Très cool! I figure the window slice signifies a window on the new life of a married couple.
house cake cake! window on a new life together

Jeff and I on the deck overlooking an Evergreen backyard… And friends Kojay and Priti (also parents-to-be…).

J&J at J's wedding Priti & Kojay

red stuff part 2

Monday, 13 March 2006

A few more red things I forgot! My car, called “Platy,” since she looks sorta like a platypus. She’s not as shiny now as when this picture was taken…

And the VERY best red item I have: the “I CAN” doll Cheryln made for me! Very happy, sweet doll with a twisted-hanger body, yarn hair and a red knitted dress. How could you not love her?
I CAN doll

color the world red! (and pink!)

Friday, 10 March 2006

project spectrum Project Spectrum is a neat way to explore color, or “notice the colors in your world” as project creator LollyKnitting says.. Not sure what I’ll knit that is red yet, but I think my clapotis can cover for the pink part! Here are some items around the house. (Clickez les photos for a larger view.)
red bowl red tools

red box inside red box telecartes rouges telecartes roses

red ladies red ladies & ladle

russky made in USSR

Photo Descriptions (starting top left):

  • Red bamboolicious bowl (made by a fair trade family workshop in Hanoi) given to me by Christa – with the red poppies Cheryln gave me in the background!
  • Red tools: swiss army knife, Richard Nixon Library pencil given by my mom & Fred, and Jeff’s shiny 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Red box – this was the first gift Jeff ever gave me circa Dec 2001 (with loose leaf tea in it)
  • Red box contents – telecartes, European (predominantly French) phone cards collected by my grandmother
  • Red télécartes
  • Pink télécartes
  • Red ladies! Russian nesting dolls.
  • Red ladies and ladle
  • Red tag special: The Russian tag on the bottom of one of the Russian ladies. (I used to call these my Polish dolls since I’m half Polish until I finally noticed this Russian tag!)
  • Red ladle: made in USSR but printed in English. Huh.

Lastly, I just luuuv this little mouse knittin’ his red sweater.
knitting fan

feelin’ socksy

Friday, 10 March 2006

cirque du socksI’m excited to join the Cirque du Socks knitalong which Elaine just created! See Jeff, I really do plan on knitting your socks… And now I have a deadline of April 30.

Here is the yarn. It’s called Trekking (XXL), made in Germany, 75% new wool, 25% nylon. It calls for size 2 – 3 mm needles.

jeff sock yarn

true experiences

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Escape to Peace

Today, Keri Smith discusses really getting to know a work of art. Museums don’t encourage our taking the time to understand a work of art, or to grok it as I like to say. It might be more fruitful to delve deeply into a work of art, by spending more time in contemplation of a few pieces, rather than skimming the surface of an entire gallery. “How many things,” Keri asks, “are missed at first glance?” Complex works need time and space if we are going to get to the deeper meanings.

One of the commenters of her blog states, “You’ve reminded me that I need to go for true experiences instead of experiencing everything.” But long contemplation of a work might seem, in some ways, contradictory to true experiences. Personally I tend toward the intellectual, trying to wrangle out meanings, rather than enjoying something in the moment. If I don’t have much to say about a book I’ve read, I feel guilty, as if I read too fast: someone’s blood, sweat and tears treated like fast food. It feels disrespectful. The contemplation of a work seems to honor it more.

On the other hand, sometimes I read too much into things, and might be happier if I could skim the surface more frequently, enjoying a book as a pleasurable fictional experience, without struggling for deeper meaning. How to accept what comes and not analyze it to death?

I’ve been wondering what my purpose is in writing this blog. It’s fun to experiment, try out new technologies, and communicate my ideas. Is there an audience? I’m not sure, and not sure it matters at this point. But the quote about true experiences — and Keri’s blog in general — reminds me that I aim to dig deeper, to look for more full experiences. Part of writing is about figuring out what truly I think and feel about something. I often don’t know what my ideas are until I try to write or talk about them. Writing can be a primary way to grok, for introverts like me.

I have wondered if writers don’t experience as fully as they could, because they are always sifting experiences in their head, watching for documentable moments. Instead, I want to drink deeply and be full from the moment as I’m experiencing it, whether it is sorting socks after the laundry (feeling the static-filled heat of the dryer as I try to distinguish dark blue socks from the black ones) or learning the crawlstroke at Greenlake Pool (I can scarcely tell what my limbs are doing, since there is not yet a habitual pattern to tell me if they are in the proper position or in sync).

Living in the moment is the only way we can truly experience something. After the moment is over, isn’t it simply a memory? Contemplation — of a memory, a work of art, or a book — can feel ivory-toweresque. I quit my job to figure out what I really feel, but the most deeply useful intuitions in my life are those which come from the gut or the heart, rather than from the head.

In a counseling session a couple months ago, I re-experienced and then released from a traumatic experience.  After, I intuitively created this collage, Escape to Peace, as my visual cue to releasing the trauma. This was not my head speaking, but my body.  It feels true to me.

on the wire 9 Mar 06

Thursday, 9 March 2006

According to a recent UN agency report, almost 20% of the world’s population (one billion people) still lacks access to safe drinking water. Also, 2.6 billion are without adequate sanitation. Currently, almost 70% of freshwater is used to irrigate agricultural crops, and as our population increases that figure will only increase as well, drawing more freshwater from our drinking sources to our food sources. Source: BBC News.

And many sarcastic thanks to Congress, which has caved yet again… this time, on investigating Bush’s unwarranted wire-tapping of US citizens. As Slate magazine’s Patrick Radden Keefe points out, doublespeak is rampant and “Orwell would be proud.”

gold juggler

Thursday, 9 March 2006

My mom forwarded me this link – check out this movie of a wayyyyy cooollll juggler! Requires Flash plugin. Keep watching, it gets better and better.


a blustery tuesday

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

On this chilly, blustery evening, Jeff and I drove to the Hilltop Pub at the top of Queen Anne to grab a bite to eat — and I wore my new clapotis wrap. I know you still can't see it very well but there wasn't much room for Jeff to take a picture.
hilltop wine

I got my participant certificate from the Yarn Harlot. Remember, boys and girls, the words I CAN are in PARTICIPANT.

olympics certificate

Here is what Jeff worked on during the olympics: an M.C. Escher jigsaw puzzle. He deserves a medal for this!

Escher puzzle

And Cooper was working on… his tan! Lazy-bones kitty.
Cooper by the fire Cooper lazybones!

Last night I finished reading Fannie Flagg's Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. A sometimes laugh-out-loud, sometimes tearful coming-of-age story, Daisy Fay is a quick read providing interesting commentary of 1950s US society.

voila, clapotis

Monday, 6 March 2006

It’s all finished up! With suggestions from folks up at the Fiber Gallery, I snipped the stitch I’d forgotten to drop; dropped it; and needle felted the snipped ends together.

Woah, was that a scary moment before cutting! But later when I was showing Jeff, it took me a couple minutes to figure out which one was needle felted. Pretty awesome to have learned this new “magic.”
Here are the photos (I’ll get Jeff to take one of me wearing it soon):

1. Surgery Arena The arena prepped for surgery.
2. clapotis done Close-up of the newly dropped area. See if you can see the stitch I cut! I can’t anymore! 🙂


  • Clapotis Pattern available on Knitty.com, by Kate Gilbert.
  • Knitted in Debbie Bliss Soho (100% wool), color 37508. Seven skeins I think…
  • On size 8 US (5mm) straight needles.

That random number 4 above was typed by Ms. Jasmine Catminski. I had to shift in my chair and she dashed off, typing that mysterious code as she fled. I guess Jasmine gets her photo here too. If she looks a little sad, I think she’s actually grumpy with me for moving when she was all comfy on a warm lap.

scarfie, c’est fini

Saturday, 4 March 2006


Scarfie is complete!

Knitted and then slightly felted in the washing machine. This was the first item I’ve ever designed myself. At times I wanted to scrap the whole thing, but I’m fairly pleased with it now.


  • Lion brand Landscapes for large sections and fringe, 1 1/2 skeins
  • Rowan 4-ply Soft Daydream stranded together with Rowan All-Seasons Cotton Pale Lime for thinner sections (used leftovers of this from other projects).

As for Clapotis, I’m going to do it. I’m going to CUT the one stitch I forgot to drop, then needle felt it. Wish me luck!

new beginnings

Friday, 3 March 2006

Olympics Sunrise
Today was the last day at my job. Or, as my counselor puts it, my J-O-B. Part of me hopes it will be my last day at any job, but let’s not get out of hand (yet). This is the third job I’ve quit since 2003, and I’m still grasping at straws to understand the dynamics at play. At least I’m now committed to not rush back into the fray until I learn more about what I need and want.

Somehow, I’m simply not “made” for the 40-hour per week, 50-week per year “traditional” US job. I find it frustrating at best and completely stifling many times. Efficiency and dedication I’ve got in spades, and every former boss would label me one of their top worker bees, but somehow I can’t continue with it. Essentially, I can’t be myself in the traditional work structure.

Worker bee revolts!

My counselor encourages me to accept that the System doesn’t fit everyone. I guess that’s difficult for me to accept because the American Work Ethic is so deeply ingrained in our society, and in me, like it or not! Gotta save for retirement, buy a house, live the American dream, have 2.5 kids and a mortgage, or you won’t be fulfilled or safe.

But what could I really do if I had the freedom, the space? Who would come out and play? What ever happened to sitting under a tree watching it bloom… to petting a cat without a care in the world… to drinking deeply of the spring-scented air? In this modern world of cell phones, e-mail, faxes, cost-efficiency, and rushed living on the clock, what ever happened to savoring real life? With all this modernity, we’ve lost something to peace and tranquillity.

Lynsey said to me this morning, “Happy Freedom Day!” I hope to keep my new freedom open, unrestrictive… This new period sans work is a blessing for which I’m extremely grateful. Why work when it’s driving you to distraction? Why work when your partner is willing to support you for a while, it’s completely do-able, and the only thing holding you back is societal convention and a four-letter word spelled F-E-A-R?

What could come out of this fertile new ground? Kitschy hand-knitted gifts for every acquaintance near and far? A cleaner house? A new career in editing or French translation? Art? A book? Political and practical renewal? From where I now sit, anything is possible.

camellia - cherry blossoms

View from our deck: camellia and cherry blossoms join in their own riotous new beginnings.

racing stripe?

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Ta-da! Here we are, ladies and gents, with the proof. The double-wide section of my nearly complete clapotis:

clapotis close up

Clapotis w/stripe but maybe you can’t really see it in the overall view?

Ruth suggested I take it up to the Fiber Gallery for advice.

o so close…

Monday, 27 February 2006

At about 8:30 last night, I had finished the knitting of Clapotis, and was helping the dropped stitches all drop down, when o! what a horrible sight to behold!  I’d forgotten to drop one stitch.  There it was, a beautiful and complete Clapotis with its beautiful, regular sections betwixt drop-stitch ladders… And one double-wide section.  Ack!  (Photos will come tonight, I didn’t have the nerve to do them last night.)

I lost my Olympic medal only inches before the finish line.  I had no more energy, no gumption to rip out.  Jeff said, encouragingly, “It looks like a racing stripe!” 

Scarfie still has some ends to weave in (thanks to the UFOlympics host, but I had actually already knitted scarfie and just had the finishing to do for the UFOlympics).  Cardigan still has some seams left.  I had abandoned those projects to focus more narrowly on Clapotis, which I thought would bring me a medal.  And I was o so close!  I finished all the knitting. But alas, I didn’t finish all the “dropping.”

Besides, how do I even rip out?  I’ve already dropped all the other stitches.  I’d have to rip out about 6 inches.  Does that mean I have to PICK UP all those loooooong ladders which are stretching down the body of the clapotis??  Is there a way to do it without having to pick up the entire ladders?

Otherwise, I’ll just have to settle for imperfection and a racing stripe.


one day left

Saturday, 25 February 2006

…’til this UFOlympics is finally over. Clapotis is almost finished (hope the different dye lots won’t show…), scarfie is done except for fringing!, but alas the cardigan seaming is stuck. My true challenge. Can’t remember how exactly I attached the first sleeve, because I did it over a year ago. But, we struggle on.

Just checked the UFOlympics host, and if I complete one of my declared projects, I’ve got a silver medal! Inspiration sandwich!!!!!

On the web front, I have links to larger photos now (on Flikr) for your better viewing pleasure.

At last, an update on my weekend at the Oregon coast UnFinished Objects Knitting Olympics participation! Things get busy when you are trying to work on three projects, you get a bad cold, and you have a three-day weekend trip to the Oregon coast with your husband to fit in!

I’m done blocking the scarf… but sadly, I guess I missed the deadline for the auction. On the other hand, this means a Christmas gift is complete months early! As for my sweater, I’ve sewn two more seams, and I’m pretty pleased with them. I’m not adept at sewing skills so these are taking me some time. Lastly, Clapotis – which traveled down to the Oregon coast with us – only has about two more repeats of the straight rows to go. Then just the decrease rows which hopefully
should go quickly.

Risky Clapotis

Obviously it will be a big push this last Olympics weekend to get all this done. That should be ok since I’ll be attending some workshops at the Women of Wisdom conference – lots of sitting and listening to inspirational speakers while my hands stay busy too.

Here are some beauties of our weekend trip. We stayed in Rockaway Beach and drove up and down the coast near there.

Lake in Oregon Pacific Sunset Pacific Sunset 2

Cannon Beach is very built up these days, but there was a knitting shop going out of business. Yes, 50% off sales. Jeff learned about this at the information center while I went to use the bathroom… and he even shared it with me (brave soul)! After patiently waiting for me to go down the shop’s three aisles about 50 times and helpfully carrying my ever-increasing purchases, Jeff even bought everything for me! The woman at the register asked me, “Are you two married?” “Yes,” I replied. “Okay,” she laughed, “if he was just your boyfriend, I was going to say, ‘Make sure you hold onto him!'”

At least Jeff will be getting a pair of socks out of that knitting-shop-closure. I told my co-workers about this yet-another-knitting-shop-closing-sighting, they groaned. Somehow I seem to be at the right place at the right time, in terms of bargains — and yet it saddens me to see these fabulous shops close down. I don’t know what it is. Yarns are expensive, and yet they are highly addictive. There are ever increasing numbers of us addicts worldwide. What’s the problem? Oh wait, “world wide” reminded me that many people are ordering yarns on the www now. Maybe I’ll try to shop in person more often.
Some more photos. Can someone help me make these “clickable,” i.e. so you can click on them to see a larger version?

Rocks near Cannon Beach Cannon Beach Cannon Beach 2

Hello world!

Saturday, 11 February 2006

I’m giving the blogosphere a whirl finally! What do I have to say to the world? Better stay tuned and find out!

Mostly this is about my knitting obsession, but I’d also like to write about other topics which are on my mind lately.

Baby steps.

Going to the…Olympics?!

Friday, 10 February 2006

So what led me to finally start my blog? The UFO’lympics, of course. No, I’m not going to Torino, I’m participating in a new worldwide phenomenon called the Knitting Olympics.
Yarn Harlot (a.k.a. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee or the quintessential crazy-knitting-blogger-and-goddess), started the Knitting Olympics on her blog recently. Join in the spirit of the athletes to challenge yourself to do something you wouldn’t otherwise attempt with two sticks and some string. Your project should be a stretch, but at your own level.

And then another knitting mastermind suggested the UFOlympics: challenge yourself to work on UnFinished Objects (UFOs), those many partial projects languishing in the knitting basket, and attempt to finish them in the 16 days the Olympic torch is lit. I’m just crazy enough to join in!
Here are my three goals:

1) Finish the multi-yarn scarf I designed to submit to Pasados Safe Haven‘s upcomingPasado's scarf auction. The scarf is entirely knitted, but needs blocking and then all ends woven in, plus add a fringe.
2) Finish my first sweater ever, Interweave’s Super-Simple Wrap Jacket (Spring 2002). Again, I’ve finished the actual knitting but need to complete all the finishing.

Simply Cardigan (almost)

It was super-simple to knit, but…man, that finishing! It’s been sitting in a bin for over a year now, waiting for some loving attention.

3) finish Knitty’s Clapotis (I’m about halfway done).


Time: Starting at 7pm tonight, when we watch the Winter (athletics) Olympics opening ceremonies, till the final ending ceremony — that’s 16 days!

Wish me luck.