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29 posts from March 2004

Noro PrepMarch 31, 2004

Okey-dokey. Now awake after a pretty okay sleep. It was my first day sleep in the new house, and I’m SO pleased how vastly quiet it is. I still have to wear earplugs, since my cats are so tromp-ey around the house, but there was no noise underneath. Well, that was until the doorbell rang, leaving my shutterfly order. Why did I install a doorbell again?

I’m SO bad at sleeping. But today, I channeled Joanna, who is a Master Sleeper, by her own account. Seriously, I woke up every hour or so, and each time I woke, my brain threatened to wake UP. You know, the kind of brain noise that renders it impossible to ever get back to sleep (have to order some Manos Cotton Stria, I should go to Trader Joe’s before work, check to see if I have cash for that, oh and check the bank account to see if the rent’s gone through yet, I wonder what time Christy’s coming by for her bike). Every time I woke up, I hugged the pillow determinedly and thought, sleep like Joanna, sleep like Joanna. I willed myself to sleep today. And it worked pretty dang well. Thanks, J.

Here’s Noro Prep for you.


I’m actually wearing it right now. I was tired and wasn’t really thinking when I picked up the stitches for the neckline – that was the point at which I could have made the cardigan decision, but I missed my window of steek-ability and now have a pullover. I’m glad for it, too. It’s quite cozy and just the right size, and I love the neckline in this pattern. See?


That's my manic "smile fast, you're late for work" smile. Yipes.

Pattern: Retro Prep, Interweave Knits, Fall 2002
Yarn: 9 balls Noro Kureyon 55 from the Threadbear Boys
Gauge: 24 st/4 inch
Needle size: 3US

My needle size is going to get me killed someday.

It's 5am, and I just got off a 12 hour shift. Tonight’s shift is 9pm to 9am, so I can sleep ALL DAY, or at least give a good approximation of the same.

I finished the Noro Prep. But I’m too tired to download the photos, so you’ll have to wait. It’s cute, though.

I feel like a Whack-a-Mole test mole on a carnival fairway. Go read Alison. Bras by the pound, baybee.

Blah. I mean bra.

Jackpot!March 30, 2004

I had a Very Good Shopping Day yesterday. I mean it. Please don’t hate me.

First of all, I got lots o’plants. Lots of ‘em. That’s what I like most about a convertible. Technically, it’s a car. But in reality, it’s an SUV, a Super Unique Vehicle. You pop that top down and you can haul tons of stuff around. Here’s the front of the car, taken with the camera phone. What you can’t see is the five bags of potting soil and four more boxes of flowers and veggies in the back.


Then I went to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, an amazing repository of JUNK. I got a ton of old pots and an old wooden ironing board for my outside gardening table. I got some tiles and low tables for adding various heights to the plants (which I’m going to keep in pots until I commit to their placement).

But hold your breath. This is where the magic starts. The Depot always has some yarn in the back bins, crap piles of half balls of acrylic. You know the kind. Red Heart sticking to clumps of fifties mohair.

Yesterday I hit the jackpot. Here’s my bag:


And what was inside the bag:


That, people, is EIGHTEEN skeins of Crystal Palace Sierra in the softest wool ever, 95 yds/skein. I did an internet search on it, and the only stuff they make now called Sierra is undyed wool, so I think this was discontinued before the online yarn revolution. I can’t even find another reference to it. Anyone know it? Used it?

I also scored those two skeins of Scottish wool and that lovely green merino from Italy, Lana Borgosesia dal 1850 (okay, I really got it for the sheep graphic). Socks anyone?

This is where it gets CRAZY. I carried a couple of skeins up to the counter, heart beating fast, and asked how much. He shrugged and said, “Fifty cents each?”

Oh, lord.

I took my twenty-two skeins up and said emphatically, “I have twenty-two skeins. You said fifty cents each. That’s eleven dollars!” This was in case he had forgotten me from the minute before or couldn’t do the tricky math.

He shrugged again and I think he felt sorry for me. “We can call it ten.”

You know that look you get on your face when something really good has happened but you’re trying not to overreact? I almost ran out of the store, the bag clutched to my chest, fighting my face. It wanted SO much to beam, but I played it cool, man. Yeah. It wasn’t till I got to my car that I did the happy dance, punching the air, hopping a little. People walked WAY around me.

TEN DOLLARS for a lovely (someday) sweater and two pair of wool socks. I’m tellin’ you.

And you’re right, that was a little much for one day. So I rested for the rest of it, only tidying the yard a tiny bit and leaving all the potting for today. Tonight I go back to midnight shift, so I’ve got to take it pretty easy today, and make sure I get a nap in (I’m SO bad at naps).

Still beaming. Woot! as La Brainy would say.

BetterMarch 29, 2004

Feeling a lot better today. For the first time my energy feels “real,” not something brought about by coffee. Not that I’ll squander it, mind you. Not messing about with pneumonia, I promise. But I know I do have enough energy to go buy some pots and some soil and then to tamp my little plants into them. No more than that. But if I don’t get Out There, I’ll get sicker. I know that. Must. Be. In. Garden.

I promise I won’t go look at statuary. Ahem.

Hey, I was going through pictures last night, while I was making a new banner (you like? It's a detail of one photo, although it looks like two. I’m standing on a small pier jutting into the canal, looking San Marco-ward. It reflects my current passion for orange.....) and I found a picture of Bethany’s sweater. Did I ever show you?


It was for her birthday and it matches the design of Christy’s Harry Rodgers sweater (see Finito gallery). I think I made it and mailed it without ever posting the pic. That makes me feel a little better about my gallery which hasn’t been added to in a LONG time..... Oh, Cromarty....

And this is what I’ve been working on lately, while waiting for the new dyelot from Koigu to finish Cromarty:


It’s the Retro Prep from the Fall 2002 Interweave Knits, in Noro 55. I tried it on last night, the needles hanging around my neck, and I think it may turn out to be a wee bit boxy on my already boxy frame, and I may cardiganize it, like I do everything else. I’ll finish it and let you be the judge.

Off to play now. Mwah.

Jiggety-JigMarch 27, 2004

It’s an odd light outside – that warm late afternoon brightness hitting the leaves, a sullen cold darkness underneath. Do you know what I mean? It’s spring, but the light has that early autumn look to it. I have the window all the way open, and Digit is sitting at the screen, licking his chops, satisfied that he woke me from my nap in time for dinner.

Yes, nap. No, I wasn’t at work. I did go in yesterday for ten hours and left more tired than can be imagined. On my doorstep at home was a gift of SLIPPERS from one of my favorite people, so I was very cheered. Today I got up, feeling like hell, like a cow had slept right ON my chest and I couldn’t move the beast. I went in to work. At hour eight, I went home four hours early. Luckily, the people who had to cover for me did so cheerfully, and almost voluntarily. I think my cough is fierce and alarming to those not used to it. And I realized that eight hours, while it’s a short shift for me, is long damn enough (I think I meant “damn long enough” but I like it better this way).

I think I’ve been a little naive in thinking that it goes like this: You get sick. You get better. ‘Tisn’t like that. It goes more like this: You get sick. You get a little sicker. You get a little better but still feel sick. Maybe a little better after that, but don’t PUSH it. Then you feel pretty sick again. I push things. Why, yes, I do. Surprised? Why not?

I was supposed to go to dinner tonight with friends, after my shift (I know, I know. I push). I was so sad that I would miss them (and the steak they were cookin’ for me), but when I called to cancel, my lovely friend said she’d drive my dinner over later. That’s what you get when you listen to your body. (OMG, speaking of listening to bodies, did you read Greta’s post today (March 27th, Stars on Ice)? Holy cow. She is dialed IN, people, and I’ve seen it in action.)

I get almost three more days to rest up, don’t have to be back at work until 5pm on Tuesday to start back to midnights. I’ll be good and strong by then. And now, I’m off to enjoy watching the light change in this dusk.....

The Nake-id Glass House!March 26, 2004

See, the secret to Typepad is to compose your blog posts whenever you want and then just time them to launch whenever you like. If I write this post right now, this Thursday afternoon, and have it show up tomorrow morning, I’ll be golden till Sunday. I can’t post from work, because I can’t download PICTURES at work. But I want to write right now while the skies are recovering from a massive downpour (what are the odds of that? In a week of sun, pneumonia-girl goes out in the rain?), with the heater on, both kitties washing themselves, the promise of Zachary’s pizza in my future. Much better writing now than in the morning between phone calls.

Without further ado, may I present:

(red-eye reduction by reader Steph - thanks!)

This is Leslie, of Nake-id Knits (and of the p.12 piece in the new Vogue Knitting! Whoo hoo!). Just how cute is she? We got the chance to get together today. (I mean yesterday, must remember posting time....) We had chai, and knitted together (her Must-Have really is a must have, in Arucania burgundy), and did a little yarn shopping at my LYS, Article Pract. Always a great store, it was made even more fun when checking out and the counter-person said, “Are you Rachael?” Well, she had heard the owner, Christina, say hello to me when we walked in. Okay. There’s that. But she HAD put me together with my blog, and she also reads Leslie’s, so it was a fabulously fun moment. Hi, Amy!

And Leslie gave me this which I LOVE:


(Digit likes it, too.) It’s Interlacements Little Toes, color 216, and she got it for me because of that gorgeous orange in there. She knows I’m into orange lately.

I don’t know if she knows HOW into orange I’ve been lately:


She’s just like you’d imagine, sweet and funny and smart as a whip, and it just goes to promote the Not Weirdness that occurs when like-minded bloggers meet. For some reason, Oakland seems to be a knitting hub of an odd sort, and I’ve been lucky enough to quite a few of you. But I want to meet all of you! Can’t we have some big knit-blog party somewhere? (Say, Fiji?) Where we all sit and drink and knit and laugh. That would be a party, all right. What I liked was that a bunch of her family members were with her when I picked her up, and I shook everyone’s hand, and then when it got to Leslie, we hugged and said “Nice to meet you” at the same time. I’ve never met a knit-blog friend and NOT hugged immediately. Nice, that.

Physically, I’m feeling better. The outing with Leslie was just about at my limit, and I came home feeling pretty worn out. But happy. As I hope you are. Happy Friday.

On Doing NothingMarch 25, 2004

Man, mornings are the hardest right now. I swear when I went to bed last night, I was feeling pretty good. But this morning, I’m wiped out again. Completely. Terribly. To the point where I don’t even want to get up to download the (kitty) photos that are on my camera.

Sigh. That’s my grumble for the day. Overall, I’m much better, and I think I’ll be up for a day at work tomorrow. We change shifts this week, so I’ll only work Friday and Saturday, then have two days off and start back on midnight shift (9pm-7am) on Tuesday night. Six months of midnights! I’m happy about that because it means I’ll have Sat Sun Mon off for the summer, and I have LOTS of things to do on the weekends in summer. Three music festivals, Pride, my BIRTHDAY (the day after July 4th)....

But I have a new plan. We’ll see how well I implement it, but I’ve discovered something this last sick week. This may be a “duh” moment, but I’ve found that it’s very nice to do nothing. (I never do nothing.) And towards the end of my recovery here, it’s been difficult to keep myself down, but when I succeeded, I found it was very nice to move from the bed to the couch and back to the bed again. My new plan is to give myself a day or two like that a month. For people with families and great big houses to maintain, I understand this would be an impossibility, but for me and my two kitties, it’s do-able. I don’t even look to these days as knitting days, because that’s Doing Something. If knitting happens, so be it, but if just reading happens, so be that, too. It’s been a wonderful quiet time here at casa del’Rachele and I want more of that in my life.

We speed up so fast, don’t we? It’s hard to slow down. I want to practice.

But on the flip side, today is the day I get up. No, really, I know I’m ready. First, I’m going to do laundry (which is easy, just walk it down the corridor outside to our machines). Then I’m going to have coffee with a friend (more on that tomorrow, hopefully). And maybe a spot of grocery shopping. We’ll see about that one. That’s it. But for a gal who has done NOTHING for a week now, that feels like a hell of a lot.

Well, I’ll confess. I did one thing Monday night. I realized it was a bad idea about ten minutes into it. But by then I’d made the commitment and had got out all the tools, and I didn’t quit till I was done. I hung my white twinkle lights (thanks to Gina’s generosity)! It might seem silly, but I always need my white lights (I turn the twinkle off) wherever I live. They make me happy and they let me know I’m home. I was covered in sweat and shaking by the time I was done, but I just took a bath and then relaxed on the sofa, under the happy lights. Damn, now I HAVE to get my camera. Hang on.

Okay, see?



And because every day that I stay inside turns into a photo op with the cats, here's a sun shot of Adah. She's a rolly little tub, but somehow she manages to stay on the sill:


Sigh. Do as little as is possible today, okay?

Driving in VeniceMarch 24, 2004

Oh, Livio, I love you. This gallery just made me soooo happy. A Venetian artist, who drives his CAR through the canals, oh happy sigh. I'm going to go visit him next time I go, to thank him for this kind of joy, shown in my favorite photo of him just passing the Rialto, here. Thanks, Yvette...

Feeling better, but feeling tired and not much like posting (or doing anything else, for that matter). So ciao, all.

Daily UpdateMarch 23, 2004

Nope, I didn’t even notice that Mary-In-My-Wine below until I came home from Italy and printed out my pictures. And I have to admit that I didn’t even notice her. Bethany, who has a scary-good eye for the Strange, pointed it out to me. Love her. Hello, Madonna.

Feeling: Tired. Cough-ey. More tired. Feeling not much like writing, so I’ll give you some photos.

These little cats have been my saving grace this week. Did you read the new Atwood, Oryx and Crake? Where, in the future, the cat’s purr is found to be healing? She had something there. Today was the day, in my plans, that Digit and perhaps Adah went outside for the first time. Two factors are holding me back. One, I’m just too tired to deal with worrying about their first foray and when/whether they’ll come back. Two, Digit really hasn’t seemed to mind it much yet. I’m considering keeping him inside! I don’t think it’ll last – he’s the kind of cat that usually gets desperately depressed when not allowed to go outside, but he hasn’t started his frantic behavior yet. He howls, but only for a moment and it seems to be more for show than anything else. I’m enjoying so much the camaraderie that they’ve found being stuck together in a foreign place. Used to be that Digit couldn’t be closer than three feet to Adah or he’d hiss and whine. Now look:


Those are the flowers Christy gave me, aren’t they lovely? I’m passionate about anything orange right now, and I love tulips.

In fact, let’s frame those gorgeous kits against them:


And this one below kills me. I got up from the couch last night to make yet another cup of tea. When I walked past this composition I had to slap my hand over my mouth from laughing out loud in delight. Oh, I WISH I could have seen it happen. Digit would never have got up on the chair if Adah were there, so he must have been there first. And I can just imagine his long-suffering look when Adah jumped up. But he stayed!


All right, for not feeling like typing, I’ve typed enough. On the mend, truly. I promise. And I’m not overdoing it. Too tired to overdo it.....

Off to rest again. Mwah (I’m not contagious anymore....).

Happy Birthday, dear Em!March 22, 2004

I can say unequivocally that today I’m feeling a little better. Yesterday I felt so badly that I just couldn’t tell if I was getting any better. Today I am. I still feel green and weak and jelly-limbed, but I’m coughing SO much less this morning, and the fever has finally broken, I think. I’ve spent the last three days constantly bathed in sweat and freezing at the same time. I have mountains of laundry to do, mostly sweated-through tee-shirts. Ew. But today I’ve got the same tee on that I slept in, and my Must-Have over it, worn with my favorite sweatpants. I swore, when I wasn’t happy with the miniscule size of my Must-Have, that I would wear it as comfort clothing, knockin’ around the house being a slob clothing. That’s today, for sure.

And god help me, I keep looking into the garden, making plans. I really want to get out there into the dirt. I won’t, I SWEAR I won’t. I’m not strong enough, and I know the danger of a relapse. But I’m getting mightily bored of reading and watching TV. Haven’t knit a stitch. Maybe today, although my arms feel too heavy to hold anything. Oh! I did buy some flash yarn when dear Greta was here, some Crystal Palace Splash in orange, meaning to make a scarf. I never buy novelty yarns, but this stuff is too much fun to resist. I may make that scarf now. Never been a better time to do row after row of garter stitch, right?

I swear I WON’T run right out and get the new Vogue Knitting, even though I believe I’m quoted in it. Hee. Giggle. Too exciting, non? Go, Leslie! But I believe it’s a true illustration of how tired I am that I know I won’t go buy it. Damn it.

And Lisa in Oregon is right, again. Y’all make me feel loved and so blessed and thought of and watched over. (Hum it with me, There’s a somebody I’m longing to see.....) I won’t work in the garden anytime soon, because I know you would be almost as mad as my little mama would be at me. Here’s to another coupla days, at least, of lying around being pale and uninteresting. Lotsa juice and tea, I promise. Yup.

Because you deserve it, here's a snap from last year. I'm sitting on the Grand Canal with my glass of prosecco, watching the traffic. But look at the Madonna who came to visit me in my glass! I love this one.


How I'm FeelingMarch 21, 2004

Like hell. In my comments, Lisa in Oregon said pneumonia is a big wipe-out. That’s about it. This morning, so far, I’ve managed to feed myself a bowl of cereal, feed the cats, and I’ve steamed my head twice. That’s it. And I'm worn out. I feel five times worse than I did when diagnosed on Friday. But I think I feel a wee bit better than I did yesterday (Saturday). I can’t really tell. It’s hard to grade feeling this poorly.

I don’t mean to be such a baby. Whinge. I’m annoying myself.

Just a couple more sentences, ‘cause I’m ready to retreat to the couch again, but I have to quote Nakachi’s comment which made me laugh (bark) out loud:

“goddamn, rachael. new moan ee ah? you run your lungs like you do your tires or what? you and those close calls of yours. i swear. well, i do swear, obviously, but that's beside the point.”

Hee. I guess it’s not that funny, because it runs right on the edge of Truth I Should Pay Attention To, but the thought of running both my lungs and tires right down to the metal cracks me up. And makes me wonder what else in my life I should have looked at by a professional....

Y’all rock. Thank you.

I Didn't See THAT One ComingMarch 19, 2004

You want the good news first or the bad? Okay. The good news is I don’t have bronchitis. Yay! The bad news is I have pneumonia.

For god’s SAKE. I don’t even know how I got it! I wasn’t even feeling badly till Wednesday, remember? And even then, I didn’t feel that badly. Yesterday I napped a lot but felt well enough to go out (but thank GOD I came home early and didn’t party like the rock star I wanted to be).

Today I felt pretty darn bad, but I’m training someone at work, so I got up and went. But my lungs hurt so awfully that by nine o’clock, I actually decided to get not only an appointment, but also the head honcho’s approval to use my trainee as a real 911-answerin’ body so I could go to said appointment. I was 99% sure I had bronchitis and she’d give me a scrip, and I’d get back to work. Nope. Not allowed to work until Monday. And she said I’d had a narrow miss, that if I hadn’t come in and waited till next Tuesday after my work week, as was my original plan, I’d be in the hospital. Apparently we’ve caught this early and it’s only infected one part of my lungs. Damn. I’d hate to see late. This hurts like an em-effer. Only when I cough, though, and the antibiotics should knock that out in a few days.

Pneumonia. Sheesh. I am SUCH a lucky girl. Lucky that I live now, when the right medicine is available that will make me better. Lucky that I live in a region of the world where I can obtain that medicine. Think about it. We have to count our blessings, ‘cause there’re so damn many of ‘em. Yeah?

My doctor (gotta love this) gave me eucalyptus oil as I left the office, so I’ve already steamed my lungs once. And I hit the grocery store on my way home, so I have juice and nilla wafers and tea. I have TiVo. What the heck more could I want? Usually wracked with guilt over missing work (especially in the midst of training), for once I have none. And with no guilt comes the ability to enjoy sitting on the couch watching Queer as Folk and lying in bed reading Ms. Montgomery. Too bad no one’s allowed to come and play, but maybe I’ll blog-cruise later. If I don’t, though, or if I fall (further) behind in email-answering, forgive me. My eyes feel hot and I’m off to rest.

Oh, and Bethany is stunning today. If I do say so meself.

March 18, 2004

We went to an oyster/cajun place in the Richmond district of San Francisco. Tonight was Boys’ Night Out. Okay, it’s all girls, technically, but we like to play like we’re the swingin’ bachelors, living it up, beer and curse words flowing freely. When we sang Happy Birthday to Brooke, we were astonished how loud we were.

It’s nice to be around people who have fun. It’s nice to be out and about, especially in the evening of a day that wasn’t too great (I spent most of my time in bed, napping fitfully, reading more L.M. Montgomery journals). It’s good to have people laugh with you, to laugh until you hurt.

I swear that my lungs actually feel BETTER for all of this. I didn’t overdo it. I was very careful. Two beers, some nice snapper (I’m not thinking about the two jello shots. What? Isn’t that cajun?), and back on the Bay Bridge before ten. And now, to continue my Being Good, I’m off to bed. Up early – my week starts tomorrow (Friday). So g’night. And happy weekend to you!

Now I Get It

I like knowing myself. I really do. Yesterday I was so off, so out of it, that I knew there was something wrong. I don’t normally get so blah feeling. I don’t normally feel like my words don’t matter – usually I know as long as they matter to me, that’s enough. And it was odd, as soon as I closed the computer and pouted around the apartment, it hit me. I didn’t feel so hot.

Yep, getting sick. Not your typical cold/flu sick, but bronchial sick. All of a sudden (and I do mean just like that, out of the blue), my lungs started to ache and I started to wheeze. I have to tell you, I was almost relieved to have something upon which to pin my case of the mean-reds. THAT was why I was in such a horrible mood. Oh, okay.

So I didn’t go anywhere, I didn’t go to the nursery, I just crawled onto the couch with a blanket and my mindless Noro knitting and watched TiVo all morning and into the early afternoon. Know what I watched? Oh, man. Can I really admit this? I watched like four episodes of The Real World, San Diego. I know. But it was perfect.

Then, of course, I had to get up and go to work. Not only was there political drama at the department, but I got stuck working a ten hour shift instead of the 4-6 hours I was originally scheduled for. But it was fine, it got done, and the political storm turned into a mild breeze. I felt sick, but hung in there. I found the DayQuil I always keep in my locker, and I was grateful to the gods that be that I’m so well stocked. Three hours later, I was complaining that they just don’t make DayQuil like they used to. “I don’t feel any better. I think that stuff might have expired or something. Damn.” *cough cough* About an hour later I found the two gelcaps still in my pocket. Yep. Drugs often work when you REMEMBER to take them. Uh-huh.

Got poor sleep (Rachel-with-no-a, that’s partially your fault – you SO owe me a beer the next time you see me – so glad you’re okay, darlin’), but today I have NOTHING to do until this evening when I have a splendid night out in the City planned with splendid people. I had toyed with the idea of doing all that backyard-planting curtain-making white-light-stringing stuff today, but screw it. I have hours more Queer as Folk captured on TiVo, and I’m staving off bronchitis. Just the ticket, don’tcha think?

Thanks for the wonderful, adorable, loving comments yesterday. I appreciate each and every single one. Man, I’m in a better mood today. Whew.

Eh.March 17, 2004

Feeling rather blah today. I hate feeling blah. I keep asking myself why I feel this way, since it’s the middle of the weekend, and it’s going to be a gorgeous day, and then I keep remembering: I have to work this afternoon/evening. Overtime. WHY did I agree to that? Ugh. I don’t have to go in until 3pm, but it’s going to shadow my whole morning.

I’m just feeling a little off. My brain isn’t working right. A moment ago I just had a bright thought – I’ll take myself out to breakfast and then to the nursery! Yeah! Then I remembered I just ate breakfast. Dang, damn, dang. I traded a potential bacon and eggs breakfast for a bowl of Cheerios because I’m thinking backwards.

I bought fabric for curtains yesterday. But I don’t feel like sewing. I also worked on the garden a bit and hung my FOUNTAIN! Did I tell you about that? (Just the thought of it cheers me up.) Mom and I went to a funky nursery last week, with odd bits of statuary and old fountains everywhere. This particular guy had a price of $217 written on the back, but he’d been hanging around the nursery for a long time, it was obvious. His basin was kinda sludgy and he had been turned off. So the guy working the counter called the boss and then said, “Is thirty-nine okay?” Shrug. Yeah, I guess. Inside I was twirling with delight. I had been going to make an Italian-like fountain, but that would have taken time and even more money than this cost. And this guy, oh, he’s Italian all right. Just look:


I need to get some rocks for the basin, since right now, he LOOKS good, but he runs so smoothly that there’s no splashing sound, thus defeating the whole Fountain Idea.

I bought some plants for the garden, too, but I really need to talk to my front-unit neighbors, and soon. When I was thinking about moving in, they mentioned that they’d like to use my backyard to store a shed for their bikes. I was waiting for the landlord out front, hadn’t even seen the backyard, and agreed that of course, if I moved here, it wouldn’t be a problem. I’ve been here a month and no shed has appeared, making me wonder if they’ve come up with an alternate solution. That would be fabulous, because I’ve in the meantime become very jealous with my garden. It’s mine. I don’t want to share. And I didn’t know about the sliding glass door then, either, and didn’t understand that if they did put an ugly ole shed there, they’d be looking right into my home every time they went back there.

Looking up at this entry, I’m a little grumpy again. I feel like I just ramble and babble on about things that don’t have any earthly interest for another human soul. Who CARES about a bike shed in my backyard, ‘cept for me.

I think I’m dehydrated. Must. Drink. Water. Wish I didn’t have to work. Bleah. I think I’ll go buy a few more plants.

And a shot of Adah. She’d cheer anyone up, I think.


PopMarch 16, 2004

When I’m tired, I’m such a dumb-ass that I scare myself. Yesterday work sucked. Big time. The phones are being upgraded. Unfortunately, that meant they weren’t working well, if at all, for most of the day. Imagine a 911/police department communication center without working phones. I got so stressed out that I went beyond stress and entered this amused zen zone. I just giggled. The new 911 ring-tone sounds like that Close Encounters tone, and it cracked me up every time it rang. Boo-bee-boo-BOO!

Worked overtime, too. And trained all day on the radio, on a really busy day. I was driving home when I realized I had my cell phone open and to my ear. I had been holding it to my ear for at least seven blocks. There was no one there, it hadn’t rung, and I hadn’t dialed anyone. I was just listening. This was so funny to me that I called work (hoping they’d be able to answer) and while I was waiting at the stoplight for Brandy to answer, the guy behind me honked for me to go. I looked up to see if I’d missed the green light. I WAS AT A STOP SIGN. Not a light. And I only go through that intersection eight times a week. So when Brandy picked up the phone, it was to the sound of honking and a maniacal giggle.

I came home and didn’t sleep. No, that would have taken the fun out of my sleepy-high. Instead, I sat on my couch and went through all the ring-tones that I had downloaded to my new-fangled cell phone. Oh, my god. The choice! But technology hasn’t quite caught up yet, at least not with the $79 (upgrade) phones from Verizon. You can download almost any popular song, but each one sounds like it’s being played by some guy with stringy dark hair playing his 1985 electronic keyboard in his mother’s basement in Bakersfield. Pretty much only Coldplay and 80s pop/techno tunes sound good. And if I had Coldplay as my ringtone, I’d.... I’d..... Well, I wouldn’t be me. Let’s just say that.

But 80s tunes, hey. Let’s talk. I could NOT decide between Depeche Mode, the Cure, and A-ha. Oh, the Psychedelic Furs were in the running, too. (And my GAWKs, Cannonball was way up there, but sounded kinda stoopid. Must stick with 80s electronica.) Finally went with "Close to Me" by the Cure. Upbeat. A little silly. With that nostalgic I-wore-Madonna-bracelets-and-I-know-you-did-too kind of thing goin’ on. I would call myself, just for a thrill, but my home phone decided to break today. Lord.

It’s the (my) weekend! Yow!

TrainingMarch 15, 2004

It’s going to be at least a week before I get the new color Koigu Kersti from darling Rob, which will be a closer match to my dye-lot, hopefully. I love Cromarty. I adore Alice Starmore. But hell, I’m tired of eensy cables. I started the Retro Prep (see IndiGirl Amy for fab examples of this one) in Noro 55, that stone beach colorway. It’s the most muted Noro I’ve ever worked with and I’m in love. TOO excited that I’m going to be doing miles of stockinette. Could not be happier.

I actually cast it on Saturday night, knowing that I’d be training for the next four working days (SMFS). This is the same trainee that I had about four months ago. I got her at the beginning, when she knew nothing. Police dispatch is such a ridiculously detailed, difficult job that it usually takes 4-6 months to learn, and it’s a slow learning curve. At the beginning, I talked all day. I had four weeks of just talking. Just teaching. I never knew you could talk for ten hours at a time, teaching, and still have a million more things you’ll never cover. You’ll never go over every contingency, every emergency, every way things can go wrong. But she’s back with me now, an (almost) proficient dispatcher, and I’m merely listening to her while she dispatches on the radio. I can’t type for her, I can’t talk for her, I can only correct her when necessary. I must have yarn in my hands for this. And I tell you, Noro in stockinette? The perfect thing to keep me from wringing my little hands together. The trainee is really doing amazingly well, but almost every dispatcher is an opinionated person who does things her way, which is, of course, the only right way. It’s SO hard to not take over when things get heated. To let her flounder a little. Oy.

I want to show you a picture of the finished front of Ms. C. But that means I have to dig out my camera, plug it in, download the snaps, choose one, resize it, save it, yadda yadda. Don’tcha just get freakin’ lazy sometimes?

Oh, all right. Hang on.

There. Here y’are:


And one for scale:


Thanks for all the condolences sent to Christy. It shows (again) the loving side of blogdom, and it means a lot to us. Really. Think of her some more if you can. It’s lonely, losing a friend like that. Love you, Christy. I’m proud of you.

My heart has joined the Thousand*March 13, 2004

The kitties are adjusting. Slowly. Digit howls a lot in the morning. Oh, does he howl. Oh, do I howl back. But in the old place, they were NOT buddies. Occasionally Digit would accidentally sit next to Adah and then think better of the choice. When they're at my Mom's house, however, they're the best of pals. Any friend in enemy territory, I guess. I'm going to try to foster that here. It may mean letting Adah outside sometimes, along with Digit, even though I hate to do that. She has a bad habit of moving in with other families without asking. She doesn't care who loves her, as long as someone does. Slut.

But in this new territory, they're still pals. I love this one:


They're sleeping, by George.


And this one's good, too:


And in the next one, they're bonding over their inability to KILL THAT HUMMINGBIRD that's just outside the screen.


And I had to get a new cell phone for embarrassing reasons like
1) discovering that tile floor really IS that hard
2) needing to get a phone number off old, broken phone (Verizon dumps your old numbers into your new phone - tell me your cell phone isn't your real phone book, too).
So, while I was there, I upgraded for $79 to the photo phone. I know it's crap quality, I'll be kicking myself when the technology's better (in about thirteen minutes or so) but here's one of the first snaps:


So, as you see, my kits are doing well. BUT-

RIP Sebastian

My sister Christy's kitty Sebastian, however, had to go over the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday. He was a rescue kitty - Christy adopted him from a vet's back room. He had been dropped off and never picked up. Bastards. But their loss was her gain. He was just shy of nineteen years old. She loved loved loved loved him so much that she made up for the time he had spent in that little box waiting for his new, loving mama.


With her permission, I give you the email she sent family and friends. I was going to paraphrase it, but she says it just right. I daren't change a word.

Hi friends- I am sad because yesterday I had my little kitty Sebastian put to sleep. he became really sick pretty quickly, until he could not longer sit up or hold up his head, so instead of more expensive vet treatments that were not likely to prolong his life more than a few days, I made the very hard decision that he had lived his life and it was time to go. Thank you all for being so kind and nice, and for caring about my little kitty. I only had him for a year and he was in pretty beat-up shape when I got him, but he was a darned good cat, tough as nails and sweet as pie, and I will miss him. He was probably about 20 years old. Good night, Sebastian. -Christy

* "My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today." Richard Adams, Watership Down.

Cats and SealsMarch 11, 2004

Home now. We had a lovely warm drive up the coast. The cats and I both do better with the top down. They don’t cry as much and just stare out of their carriers at the trees flashing by. It must seem like a really great big TV. Or maybe they’re so terrified that they can’t open their mouths to scream. I don’t think it’s that, though.

They’re prowling now. Digit is upset. But hey, he’s always upset about something, isn’t he? Adah has settled right in, and she went straight to her new scratching post and scratched it. How does she KNOW to do that?

Mom and I had a wonderful day yesterday, chock full of things neither of us had to do. The best kinds of things, like lunch at Robin’s in Cambria, sitting on their outdoor porch, avocado and melted jarlsberg on a wheat croissant.... Shopping idly at Ball and Skein, buying nothing (what is this world coming to?). Wandering up the coast a little farther, to Piedras Blancas, where the elephant seals lay out. Holy cow, I love those things. They’re just too silly looking to survive, and yet, they do. The big males are pretty darn disgusting (they can reach over nine thousand pounds), but all the moms and babies are hysterical. They yell and bawk and squish over each other, and they make me laugh.

A bunch of 'em:


One smiling:


Two smiling:


March 10, 2004

Yes, the shower is fabulous. I was rather ridiculous, really, adjusting the way it [what – pulses? Jets?] shoots water out, depending on what I was doing. I used the pow-pow action for my back and neck, the reg’lar old hard shower for most of the body, then switched it to gentle mist for my face, and back to pow-pow to wash the soap out of the washcloth.

That kind of routine could get old really quickly. But it was fun for the first time.

I’m right now sitting on Mom’s back porch, my laptop on my knees, my two babies at my feet. Digit didn’t RUN at me this time, he kind of ambled thoughtfully when he heard me calling. “I want to go see her, but I know what she did. And she might do it again.” He’s forgiven me now that I’ve shared a little clam chowder with him.

It was the most remarkable drive. I think I always forget how perfect this time of year is for driving down the coast. It was warm inland, but not broiling. I put the top down about two hours out of San Luis, just north of King City. (Then I had to pull over and repack the pillows which threatened several times to lift off.) The low hills are so violently GREEN, and the sky is that clear pale blue. My favorite wild flower, the mustard blossom, is everywhere, making golden swathes across the green. Cows and sheep and the occasional llama, oh my! When I came over the Cuesta Grade and dropped in San Luis Obispo, it got a little too warm. But the best part of being too warm here is coming up the slight grade out of San Luis and catching your first sight of the Pacific since San Francisco. The air instantly (no exaggeration) cools and I pulled off the freeway to drive the surface streets. Joanna wrote about it recently – the way convertibles offer so much more in the way of olfactory fun. It doesn’t make that much sense – you would think you would smell almost as much with all the windows down, but you don’t. And in Shell Beach, I could smell salt and fog and dirt and fresh mown grass and gas from the freeway and lumber from a new hotel being built. And jasmine.

Oh. Oh, oh, oh. My friend Trish said the other day, “Rachael, I think you have a good life.” I’m scared when people say something like that, lest we jinx it and I end up horribly maimed and/or paralyzed after being struck by a sink stopper that has fallen from a passing Southwest jet in need of bathroom repairs. (If that does happen, however, I am opening a psychic center, and you will all be my first customers.)

But I don’t think we jinx ourselves. Or if we do, we can also jinx ourselves into happiness. It is such a goddamn beautiful kind of world, and people are so INTERESTING. Go out today and see something fabulous. Then tell me about it, kay?


WeekendMarch 9, 2004

Ahhh. It’s the weekend. My weekend, that is. I slept late this morning (till eight), and I’m now sitting in the living room with the blinds drawn, eating apple pie that Kira made, and drinking strong Italian coffee. I’m going to blog, pack, and get the hell outta Dodge, so I’m not even bothering to open the blinds. I’d just have to draw them again in an hour. And even with the blinds closed, this new apartment is still so light. I adore it. I’ve always considered myself something of a mole, having always lived in places with very little natural light. I thought I liked it that way. But I like it this way, too. It’s a happy sun-dance kind of place.

Anyway, this morning I’m off for a drive down the coast to the little mama’s house. She’s doing super, for those of you keeping track. A couple of weeks ago the endocrinologist determined what Mariko’s wonderful friend had already figured out – she had had a virus attack her thyroid, causing the thyroid dump which then led to the five months of being so terribly sick. Now she’s just getting better and better.... And she was better enough to watch my kitties while I moved! I had hoped for a two week break from them, but actually got a three week one – what with moving, visitors, and DMV woes, I haven’t been able to leave town until today. I miss those stupid cats soooo much. I’ve been sleeping like a rock, no Adah to claw my lip at three in the morning when she wants food, no Digit to howl at the windows at five, but I miss them like CRAZY. I’m a little worried about moving them into the new place, but hey. They’ll adapt. Right? All their stuff is here (and a new scratching post, too!), and everything’s unpacked.... The only trauma they’ll have to deal with is adjusting to the space itself. And one of my favorite things in life is to get to Mom's after the kitties have been visiting, if I've been out of the country or somethin', and to walk to the back door, calling Digit. He gallumps gallumps gallumps all the way up from the back yard, tearing up to me as if I'm The One. Then he brakes, skids, takes a pet to the ears and saunters away, all cool again. But those little thumping feet, racing toward me..... I love that.

But before I leave, I have to take a shower. When I moved in, the water pressure out of the shower was pretty bad, but in the last week, it’s become just too horrible. I stand every morning under this drip of water, half the time skipping washing my hair because it just takes too damn long to get all the soap out. Last night after work, I went to the miracle all-night Longs and bought a shower head. I looked at the four dollar ones, which looked just fine. Matched the one I already had. Then I looked at the Cadillac, the WaterPik Adjustable Mister Spa Handheld. Yup. I got that one. AND put it in by myself, thank you very much. When it comes to knitting tools, I’m no slouch. Real tools, eh. I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. This required a wrench, which I don’t believe I own. But my hand and an old washcloth seemed to get it tight enough, and it worked on its trial MistTheTub experiment. And oh, the pressure!

In fact, I have to go now. The Mister’s calling. And I ain’t talking ‘bout no mister.

(I put up some Bethy pictures....)

Hey there.March 8, 2004

Jon's a founding member of GMADK (Gay Men Against Drunk Knitting). Hee. And he has a great new New York knitting site. His reg'lar blog is cool, too. Go say hey.

All Knitting, All the TimeMarch 7, 2004

What not to do:

After two beers, sit on the dim couch, watching previously TiVoed Airline episodes with sister Christy, knitting Cromarty. When you suddenly and very unexpectedly come up a stitch short in one of the patterned areas, don’t fret! Just make one, purl it as you should, and go merrily along.

I didn’t think I was that affected by beer – after all, I’ve been drinking it for years and years and knitting under its influence at Stitch’n’Bitches for a long time. When I woke up the next morning, before I even got out of bed, I though, oh shit.

I found that dropped stitch, yes, I did. Worked it back up the seven or so rows and fixed the problem, but I’m amused at how blithely I just whipped up that extra stitch without even THINKING that a missing stitch might be something to worry about. Lord.

And while we’re praying, please help me with the dyelot problem. I got the yarn from the BoyWonder Rob (and another slew of Noro 55 – I mentioned to him that it was a good thing he didn’t sell drugs – he laughed his evil laugh and inferred that the skeins might be laced.....) Koigu Kersti is one of the best yarns I’ve ever worked with, but one of its magical properties is the color – it’s hand dyed, and I knew this dyelot might be a little different. But it’s quite a lot different:


It’s the difference between a coffee with a splash of cream and cafe au lait. In certain lights, it’s not very noticeable. In others, it is. So. Now. Help me out.

** Here's where I originally had a long What I Could Do entry. But then Marvellous Rob emailed me, saying, Oh, I have some of the darker, too. Send me your old one and we'll match it.

See why I love him? I want to marry him. Although Matt might not like that. And you know this pesky country of ours won't let gays marry.


I *heart* Rob.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?March 6, 2004

Got this from Bethany -- hers was totally her, and this is totally me. Gotta love a stupid quiz.

You are a neurotransmitter. You believe in the
good-naturedness of man's biology and soul.
You're happy, everyone's happy, and no one will
ever take that away from you. Or else you'll
make them go insane.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Heh. March 5, 2004

With all the news on TV lately about the sub zero weather and snow that the east coast and upstate NY areas are experiencing, we shouldn't forget that Southern California has its share of devastating weather also. I've attached a photo illustrating the excessive damage caused to a home from a west coast storm that passed through the Los Angeles area a couple of days ago. It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!!!


* Don't know where this originated -- my sister Christy forwarded it to me in my email. Love it.

DMV. Oy. Where do they find them? I understand that their job is to deal with unhappy people. But come on, that's my job, too. No one calls the police department when they're ecstatically happy.

But I needed to pick up my plates (I YARN). I had an appointment last week to pick them up. Appointments rock. If you have one, you usually wait less than an hour. But when I went to remove the old plates, right before the appointment, I couldn't get them unscrewed from the car. It was like those stupid bolts had rusted right to the car. I sat in the driveway, in the rain, after being up working and moving for 30 hours straight, crying because I was skinning my hands on the damn screwdriver. There was a gardening crew working across the street, and when I started disgusting myself by hoping that a big ole gardener would come help me I gave up, went inside and sat on the couch. I breathed.

So earlier this week, after getting a friend to remove them for me, I went to DMV without an appointment on my day off. (Appointments take about three weeks to get, and plates are cancelled and returned if not picked up after 30 days, so I had a time crunch.) I waited in line for about thirty minutes to get my slip of paper that said I would be number B140. The wait time on the scrolling marquee said I had a two hour wait. So I left and had lunch. Came back an hour and a half later -- they were up to B40. I went and ran errands for an hour. When I came back, they were at B55. Two hours later, I gave up and just sat there for another hour, working on Cromarty. Basically, six hours later, they were only up to B95, and I had to be somewhere and left. Frustrated out of my mind. And it smelled funny in there. Hot and stuffy. Way too much hair product.

Yesterday, I went back for my last attempt. I arrived at 7:30, half an hour before it opened. There were only about a hundred people in front of me. When the doors opened, there were at least two hundred behind me. We waited in the ticket line, which took till 8:30 to navigate. Then I sat down to wait my turn. I watched an elderly man with limited English skills deal with the woman who was going to issue him the driving test.

She said, "You're late. I can't help you."
He said, "But I wait in line."
Loud, exaggerated words. "You're late! Your appointment was at eight. It's eight-thirty. Make another appointment."
"But I take day off work for this."

Luckily, he had a friend who advocated for him, who pointed out that he had been in line since 7:15, and it was only the sluggishness of the lines that had made him late. She still insisted that there was nothing that she could. She was SO rude and SO curt. His friend asked for a manager who said to let him take the test. Oh, that chapped her hide, all right. I was so pleased.

But the pleasure left when they called my number at 9am. Yep. The plate was wrong. It said "IYARN," no space between the words, and it was all grouped over to the right. So the second half of the plate was blank. I even thought about accepting it for a minute. I couldn't bear thinking about dealing with this all over again. So I asked the woman helping me. "How does this look to you?" She raised an eyebrow and said without hesitation, "Stupid."

All right. I waited another hour for them to cancel the plate and re-send my corrected request. So in six to eight weeks, I'll be doing this all over again.

March 4, 2004

We had a marvelous day yesterday, and it was just like we thought. It was sunny, right up until the middle of the afternoon, when it clouded over. First thing, we went and looked at the most beautiful city in the world (next to Venice) from Alameda.


Then on to BART, where we went straight the Sony Metreon, a huge glass building that houses Sony shops and arcades and a theatre and restaurants. We gazed at the wonderful floors and high glass walls, buying nothing but touching everything, and spent a brief raindroppy period in Mel’s Diner next door. We’re talking big ole french dips and a sundae the size of my head (this is becoming a welcome trend, I think).


After lunch, the sun came out again! It was one of those perfect rare San Francisco days when the wind dropped and the sun shone and people smiled. We headed, of course, to ArtFibers (our second of three yarn shops), to see my friend Kira. Greta barely got out of there alive. It is only the size of her luggage that restricts her shopping at this point. She’s already putting a box together for me to send after her. This is what makes life, good, yes?

March 3, 2004

Two big YIPPEEs today.

Yippee #1: The Boys have extra Kersti for Cromarty. Different dye lot, but I SO don't care. And thanks for all the comments -- for a minute there I was feeling like the Wicked Sinning Knitter (forgive me, Father, I'm off in my yardage again). It's a good lesson. For Starmore, buy eighty-seven skeins too many, and you'll be all right.

Yippee #2: Greta's here again for a couple of days! We're going to play all day. It's crazy when we're together. We could sit and just talk. All day. Not exaggerating here. My friends have always thought of me as not a glass-half-full person, but the-glass-is-overflowing-all-over-the-table person. And Greta's the same way. Wonderful, lovely, beautiful things will happen today, just because we know they will. If it rains, we'll take shelter in a yarn shop somewhere and drink tea. And she and daughter-bird are the first two to stay with me in my new home. Two more perfect guests I could not imagine.

** She just said, "I love Hermann Hesse. He cracks me up. Especially when you read the German."
She's so fabulous.

Coming Up ShortMarch 2, 2004

It’s now official: I’m going to run out of Koigu Kersti for Cromarty. I’ve sent a panicked note off to the Boys to see what they can do, since the Koigu people apparently want to adopt both of them (which is so great – whenever I go into my LYS (mentioning no names, as I have several LYSs), the owner is complaining about how the Koigu people won’t work with her. Well, duh, lady. You’re such a whiner! Be nice, sweet, and utterly fabulous like they are, and Koigu will work with ya. Till then, get over your LYSelf).

Here she is right now:


I’ll need eight more skeins, if I’ve done my math right. What the bleeding hell? I got three extra skeins originally, just to be on the safe side. My row count is a little off, but I never really worry about that. The stitch count is spot on, and the sweater measures to the right proportions. I’m done with both sleeves and eight inches up the front, and it keeps eating up the yardage. Any ideas? Is it because I’m such a loose knitter and working on such tiny needles to get gauge that each stitch is eating up more yarn that it normally would? Can that be true? Was Starmore’s yardage off? Somehow, I doubt that. She wouldn’t be off by such a massive amount. Can anyone tell me how many yards were in the Rowan DDK the pattern originally called for? I thought they was pretty comparable to Kersti’s 114yds/skein, so I’m shocked at this difference. And scared. I know the dye lots won’t be the same. But will they be close?

It’s yarn. It’s color in yarn. It ain’t a national crisis. But I’m a little worried. Erp.