Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallow's Eve '08

My town is sort of built into a canyon and where I live now I don't get trick-or-treaters because it's just too far uphill, followed by a trip up stairs that most people pass by even when they want to find my front door.

I'm not much into the Halloween party scene anymore either, so for my one little acknowledgment of the day I always check out the town's annual Halloween parade.  Organized by the parents and schoolteachers, it's really all about the kids - which we have plenty of!

I think my favorite is the young lady dressed as a diver with her lobster baby - what's yours?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Public Service Announcement

With Halloween just a few days away, it seemed like a good idea to share this vital public service announcement from the creative geniuses at Common Craft. I hope you will find this video both educational and entertaining!

Monday, October 27, 2008

U is for Unloved

As in - The Unloved Gifts Shop, Avalon's only thrift store, run by the Avalon Hospital Auxiliary.

I deliberately took this photo on one of the days that it was closed because during the few hours on the few days each week that it is open, the tiny store is usually packed with shoppers. Not just inside but also those browsing the double row of hanging clothes racks, book bins, and occasionally a holiday merchandise table, all clustered outside the door.  So you wouldn't be able to see anything except a mass of people!

This is where you go to drop off your unloved items - you name it, they've probably sold it.  If it's small enough to fit in the door, they'll take it.  And this is also the place where if, like me you are somewhat cheap thrifty, you will visit regularly to see what treasures you can find. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Sky slacker

I admit that I've really slacked off on the Saturday Sky.  I expect anyone who surfed the ring on Sunday looking for interesting sky pics has long since given up on me. When I first signed up it was fun, sharing lovely bits of the skies overhead with people from all over the world, and looking to see what their skies looked like on that same day.  It also gave me a good reason to get up and out of my house on the weekend, because I figured there's only so many times I can get away with taking the shot from my balcony!  But it's been a bit more challenging lately. You see, Mother Nature just hasn't been on my side in this endeavor. 

This is what the sky looked like on a Monday:

And this was a Tuesday:

A Wednesday:

And a Thursday:

But come the weekend our skies look like this:

A solid, cloudless light blue.  I know I can't complain and there are plenty who would envy me.  But it doesn't make for a very interesting photo does it?  In fact, that is a rectangle I drew in Photoshop and filled with red 102, green 153, blue 204.  But that's exactly what the sky looks like.

I think perhaps Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.  I mean, it's late October and I've had weather in the 80's how many times in the past few months?  So it's not a far reach to imagine that the gorgeous fluffy clouds and intensely colorful sunsets only happen during the week - and weekends just get the leftovers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You want to trade WHAT?

Okay, so here's the story....

This little goodie:

Is a TI-83 Plus graphing calculator. Painfully obvious to anyone who is currently or has recently taken a Statistics class, or possibly even Trigonometry, Physics, or something else equally heinous. (In which case you have my deepest sympathy.)  There are newer, fancier models out now, but this one gets the job done, is on the list of models approved for use on SAT, AP, and other exams, and I've heard you can even load games onto it.  (Hey, now how's that for a selling point???)  It comes with a little USB cable and an instruction book that is bigger than the calculator.

As far as I know, it has absolutely no application for knitting.  Yes, I know there is math involved in knitting (I got the memo) but using this baby for simple calculations of gauge or pattern repeats is definitely overkill.  Kind of like turning on your laptop to check the date. (Oh, like you never did that?)  If there is knitting that actually requires the use of a graphing calculator, I don't think I want to know about it.  I certainly won't want to do it.

I am thankfully, blessedly, coming the end of my Statistics course. (Happy happy joy joy) I have the last "midcourse" exam next week, and a cumulative (hurl) final shortly after that.  And you know what?  I have TWO of these freaking calculators.  Why you ask?  Ummm...because I am a dumbass maybe?

Now, just to bring any newcomers up to speed - I live on an island approximately 26 miles off the coast, to go over to the mainland I have to get on a boat, the trip takes over an hour, and then I have to drive to wherever I want/need to be.  We square now?  Okay.  So, the last time I went to take an exam for this class, I'm on the boat, knitting and listening to the various conversations swirling around me, and suddenly it hits me - I have forgotten to bring my blankety-blanking, frick-fracking calculator!!!!  @#$%@#&%@&$%@!!!!  It's not like I can just turn around and go get it - the boat is chugging merrily across the ocean towards the mainland.  And taking the test without it is absolutely not an option, not if I have a prayer of passing.

So as soon as I was within cell phone range I called the testing center and told them I'd be a little late for my appointment. (This is the relaxed mellow testing center, the uptight super serious testing center probably would not have been so understanding. More on that some other time.)  Then I drove to a big box office supply store, one of the same chain from which I had purchased my oh so beloved TI-83 Plus graphing calculator months earlier.  I walked in the door, picked up a brand new TI-83 Plus, slapped down my credit card, and headed off to take my exam.  My rational was that A) I most certainly did not have time to figure out all the buttons and functions on a different model and B) since I only needed to use it once, I could probably sell it on our local bulletin board.

I did fine on the exam.  Selling the extra calculator - not going so well. I priced it under what the big box stores sell it for and when I put the ad up I thought it was perfect timing, back-to-school season in my town, when everyone's getting stocked up & buying supplies for the new school year.  But no takers, no interest at all.

Our local bulletin board is usually the primo spot for buying & selling random items, everyone looks at it. (Oh, now there's some blog fodder for NaBloPoMo!)  I suspect trying to sell it on eBay will be more trouble than it's worth.  So what are my options? Ideas anyone? Know any college students with healthy yarn stashes and less than healthy bank accounts? I'm open to suggestions!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A satisfactory swap

About a month ago someone gave me a copy of the latest MaggiKnits pattern book, "Irish Fashion Knits".  I flipped through it briefly and decided that while it was a very attractive layout, absolutely none of the designs in the book were of interest to me. 

My thrifty soul prevented me from just tossing it in the trash so on a whim, I posted an offer on a couple of the Ravelry group boards, including the one for fans of Maggie's work.  Which is where I quickly received a response.

So I was able to trade a book I absolutely did not want for this:

Mmmmm....pretty pretty! Blues, purples, a bit of grey - definitely my colors. I don't see how my partner in this trade could have done a better job of selecting something I'd like.

It's Zitron Trekking XXL, a sock yarn I've heard of but haven't tried yet. It's been on my list of yarns I'd like to try so I'm looking forward to finding a suitable pattern for it.

Now I have to wonder, what do you suppose are the odds I can swap this for some yarn?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another contender for the Oval Office

Something to consider between now and November 4th:

So - - have you stimulated the economy today?

Friday, October 17, 2008

This is a test...

of the Emergency Posting System.  The author of the this blog, in cooperation with Blogger, has developed this system to keep you entertained in the event of an emergency.  If this had been an actual emergency, you would have received an engaging and informative post.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

The point of that silliness?  Well, this post and the one before it were actually written the night before they posted.  (Seriously - anyone who knows me at all isn't going to believe I actually wrote and posted anything of substance before 9:00am.)  I wanted to test out Blogger's post scheduling feature to see how well it works and if I could use it to my advantage. You see this is October, so next month is November, and that means....

Post every day, for the entire month of November.  That's all you have to do. Doesn't sound that hard does it?  It's not like trying to write a whole novel, or knit an entire sweater, in just one month. (Although I've heard some wacky folks are giving those ideas a whirl.)  Just post to your own blog every day, for one month.

I did it last year and succeeded.  Didn't win any prizes but I did get the sweet satisfaction of knowing that for once in my life something I started turned out the way I wanted it to.  Oh, and I got me a cute little button to stick in my sidebar.  I like buttons. And mine has a kitty on it. I like kitties.  Double the goodness there.

For me, the big challenge is the few days of the month when I go over to the mainland to take exams for school.  There aren't as many boats running this time of the year, so quite often in order to take just a single 1-2 hour exam I have to leave my home before 7:30am and I don't get back until close to 7:30pm. I know, big whoops to those who commute for work every day, but I've just never been one of those long commute kinda people.  So when I get home from the 12 hours away I am beat.  And completely brainless. (Did I mention the point of the trip was to take an exam?) There are also those days when my life is just so completely frigging boring that absolutely nothing of interest to the outside world has occurred and I figure there are only so many times I can get away with "look how cute my kitty/her doggy/this bug is" posts.

So I came up with a Plan.  Now, while I have the brain space and the time, before the pressure of NaBloPoMo is upon me, I will "prep" a few posts and save them in draft.  Hopefully, they will be interesting enough that you, dear reader, will not notice when I have pulled one of these out of my pocket and utilized the Emergency Posting System.  I think the ability to set up a post the night before and schedule it to post the next day is going to save my bacon on those times I'm gone all day and be a significant factor in the success of the Emergency Posting System.

So I think I'm going to give this a shot again.  Maybe this year I can do better than just a button.  A tee shirt would be nice, or perhaps a sweatshirt.

What about you, are you in?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

T is for Tilta Swift

I can't take credit for this marvelous invention, all praise should be directed to Webecca. She had the brilliance to figure out how a small assortment of items that most of us already have in our homes:

Plastic hangers, clothespins, a small cardboard box (it's flattened out in this shot), a lazy Susan, and a bit of elastic.

Could be assembled to create this:

The purpose of which is quickly obvious to any knitter when you see it like this:

Absolutely wonderful and works like a charm! My only modification is due to not having one of the gripper pads suggested to keep the cardboard box from sliding around on the surface of the lazy Susan.  Instead I put a couple of small flat rocks inside the box, they weighed it down enough to do the job. I'd also like to get a better lazy Susan, this one is cheap and sticks occasionally. A better quality one would turn smoothly.

Winding yarn was so fun and easy with my Tilta Swift I just couldn't stop grinning and laughing. I used it a while back to wind the Lorna's Laces yarn for my lovely lavender Artichoke socks. Unfortunately I seem to have lost the love for these and stalled a bit.  However, I have it on very good authority that it is perfectly acceptable to have more than one sock project on the needles.  So in the next couple days I'm going to break out my trusty Tilta Swift and wind up the yarn for something else.  Now I just have to decide what that'll be - hmmmm.....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Alphabet Soup...again

I appreciate your understanding when I skipped "Q" but I think it's time for me to get caught up.  So:

R is for Radio Flyer

This little wagon is sitting forlornly in the patio of the summer house next door.  It's used regularly during the season by the various family members that visit the island, to haul their chairs, umbrellas, and other miscellaneous beach paraphernalia down the hill to the sand. Usually it's put away in storage by summer's end, but it looks like this year it was forgotten. It's probably not as old as it looks, the salty sea air is hard on things here. After spending the rainy season outside it's going to look worse, but even now, doesn't it look sad?  Needs to be filled with bright colored geraniums or something!

S is for Statistics

Or that which has sucked up the month of September and driven me to the edge for so many months prior.  I knew long before I started this class that it was going to be a monster, but even still...wowzer.  I do have to say that it is a damn good class, it does an excellent job of breaking down the information into the smallest possible nuggets and making absolutely sure that you have them down before adding on more.  What I'm not loving is that along with all the assignments, there are three midcourse exams, each one covering a third of the course, and then - there is a cumulative final exam. Sick & twisted I tell ya.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Choppy seas & September chapeau

So, yeah I admit it - I have been griping about the weather a lot lately. (You - in the back row - I heard that sniggering!)  Truth be told, the heat wave broke last week and I finally had the chance to wear my hand knit socks, along with my beloved jeans & fleece pullovers.  Then the forecast turned ugly, the words "Santa Ana" were uttered, and this morning I woke up to this:

The first few shots were taken from my balcony while I was still in my jammies, but once I saw the boats pitching back & forth on their moorings and choppy seas with whitecaps to the horizon, I hurriedly dressed and ventured out with my camera. I took a couple more pictures at the bottom of my hill, where the spray was so strong I got wet just making it to the end of the street and around the corner. The wave action hit hardest on the portion of the seawall between the Terminal Building and the Via Casino archway.  I know I took a ton of pictures just of that area, from a few different points including the end of the pier.  Although I'm sure any liveaboard, shoreboat operator, or harbor patrol officer would disagree - it was a great way to start the day!

Tomorrow?  The forecast is for temperatures in the low 80's.  Whoopee!

But this time I am ready, I have plenty of ice cream and even more importantly, I finished my Sweaty September Tam.

As was previously noted I have rather a lot of hair!  I tried the tam on a few different ways and finally discovered that it really looks best on me with all my hair tucked up inside.  And all my hair does fit inside!  Which makes this possibly the most marvelous hat I've ever knitted because it A) gets my hair up off the back of my neck, and B) perfectly manages any bad hair days, even better than a baseball cap does.

Looking at it from the back, you can see a little jog where I bloopered one of the decreases.  I didn't see it myself until I started to block it.  But at that point, I wasn't about to rip the whole thing back and you know, there's that whole "horseman riding by" rule.   And in regards to the blocking, I think someone will be interested to know that upon completion this tam did have a substantial "point",  the whole yellow center section actually.  I blocked it twice, once just flattening out the pointy area, and then a second time doing the traditional "stretched over a plate" routine.

I think I need a few more of these, and maybe in more neutral colors? The only change I'd like to make is tightening the band, but other than that I am quite pleased! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Yes, that's right. It's over 80 degrees and it's night time.  I've never wanted to live in a place that has actual weather, you know - crisp autumn days with colorful leaves, etc., etc.  But I am done with summer, really.  I'm over it and ready to move on.

After all, I choose to knit socks not just because they are small, portable projects but also because I have faith that even if I live in bare feet & sandals for many months, eventually, eventually - I will get to wear them.

So maybe when Mother Nature gets her act together I can put these on my feet:

My Fabulous Fake Isle socks, using Red Heart's Heart & Sole in the Toasted Almond colorway. After I was about halfway on the second sock I noticed something interesting about the color and pattern sequence.  Now that I'm finished, it's easy to see:

Yup, that's right - it's going the opposite direction on each sock.  Here, let me give you a closeup:

I know what you're thinking, "Whoops, she accidentally knit one sock from the outside of a skein and the other from the inside."  Actually, no.  I couldn't find the center pull on one of the skeins, so I deliberately knit them both from the outside. Uh-hunh, it's like that.

But I'm fine with it, and actually I even like it.  Something about how random the patterning looks when the two socks are next to each other on my feet is appealing to me.  I think if I were to knit another pair of socks in a self-patterning yarn I might even do it this way on purpose. Which for someone with my "matchy-matchy" issues is quite a step forward!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Even spectators are not safe

Didn't I just say that I had decided not to participate in Hat Attach 2? I really thought that it would be better to just sit this one out and watch the carnage from the sidelines.  I had absolutely no idea that this competition had gotten so dangerous that not even spectators are safe.

I had a yellow slip in my post office box the other day, and along with the box of textbooks I was expecting I received an odd little package.

What is this?

Oh ye gods no! It cannot be...

I struggled valiantly to hold it off...

But was finally overcome...

Here she lies, felled by lovely lavender & indigo knitted hat.  (As a heat wave was currently in progress, it is suspected that she may have drowned in her own sweat. Official cause of death still pending.) The chocolate treats & teas included will certainly go a long way towards consoling her next of kin.

But be warned my dear friend and assassin - revenge is a dish best served cold.

Mwahhh hah hah hah!!!!!