Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bleeding Heart Lace Socks

This was a quick knit. The pattern is Bleeding Heart Lace by Evelyn Clark. The pattern is done nicely, you can see the distinctive bleeding heart flowers in it pretty well. Next time I'll use a more accurate color. The yarn is Knitpicks Kettle Dye in Eggplant. Normally a kettle dyed yarn would have more obvious variation, I am disappointed with it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Since so many people expect me to speak Spanish and since I am brown and then there's that whole thing about how it's the second most spoken language in the US and it will make me more of an asset when applying for jobs *big breath* I signed up for a Spanish class starting Monday. I'm looking forward to it, it will be good to get out of the house and meet new people.

A local college is offering Chinuk Wawa, a language spoken by tribal people throughout the Pacific Northwest. The beginning class isn't offered this spring but I think it sounds interesting, so I'm keeping an eye out for it this summer and Fall. Like German I may not have many opportunities to speak it on the streets but I still think it will be educational.

Anyway, now that I'm taking up Spanish (again) I need to do something that involves speaking in front of people. My position at my last job helped me a bit with this, but I need more work. That and being more assertive. Any ideas on what I could do that will teach me to be assertive at the appropriate times?

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'd like a kay-sah-dill-uh please? Oder ein Käsebrot? Hallo?

Today Aimee, Apollo and I went to Izzy's (one of many po-man buffet's from my childhood) for lunch. A young Hispanic male was sitting at the table next to us. I should preface this by saying we have quite a few migrant workers in this area who do not speak English.

The owner walked up to us, looked at me and said, "Can you ask him when he's coming back from lunch?"


The owner looked perplexed but then the young man asked me in Spanish if I spoke Español. I know that much and told him, sorry but no. The owner of the restaurant (an older fellow) asked me again and then asked Apollo the same thing. (Someone please tell me why Apollo is confused as a Mexican...this has happened once before in San Diego by some tourists.) Finally, Aimee, the only Caucasian at the table, mumbled something about "finito" and "trabajar" to the poor guy who finally understood and told us (in Spanish) he would be done in a few minutes. We relayed that info on to the owner who then complained that he would pay for the kid to take English classes but said he refuses. I'm thinking, maybe he doesn't understand what you're saying? Further, why did he need to ask us about his employee's lunch break?

Anyway, I just thought it was funny how no matter where I live, So Cal included, people expect me to speak Spanish. I think I'm going to start talking back to these people in German and then act appalled that they don't know what I'm saying. Maybe even start gesturing wildly while talking louder and slower. That should result in some interesting reactions.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ready, set, go?

Today Aimee and I bought seed potatoes (including some Adirondack Blues), onion sets, two late season blueberry plants to complement my two early and two mid season plants, a couple packs of strawberry plants, bush beans, sugar peas, spinach, radish, bunching onions, and collards. Oh, and two raspberry plants! Needless to say, they should keep me busy. Oh, and we're not done either. We have to get squash, carrots and tomatoes! There may be more, depending on space. Thankfully we have a large backyard that can handle it.

Now we just need a couple warm days that will allow the soil to dry enough for me to weed and begin planting. Phew!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cloves of my labor

Look what I did!


That's right! Rows of garlic, every single one of them is up and reaching for the sky. I'm so excited, I check in on them every few days. Sure, they're growing in rough rows that will probably need to be weeded once we get some sun, but I was in a hurry to put them in the ground so I worked with what I had (a run down garden full of dead plants and soil so wet it was almost mud). Considering I was a couple months late putting them in the ground, they look pretty good to me.


The rows are working out perfectly too. Garlic likes water, but not so much they sit in it and rot. You can see that the top part of the hills are dry while the bottom is still holding the water. Perfect!

The rest of this garden (we plan on having at least three garden areas) hasn't been weeded yet, but I need to get busy with that so I can put in my four blueberry plants and plan out my planting schedule. My goal is to have so much produce that I'm forced to give it away. Of course I shouldn't count my chickens before they're hatched but....ah hell, why not!


Early morning rambling

I don't have anything to talk about, unless you want to hear about my attempt to decide between Washington Mutual or Wells Fargo, both of which I have accounts with. In this day of poor economical news, who wants to hear bitching about bank fee's charged when a bank fee takes your savings account below the minimum account resulting in yet another bank fee? This complaint might lead to whining about said bank's outsourcing customer service to a country that you can barely understand when I call to talk to an agent about my accounts and fee's.

Instead, look, socks! First is Knitpicks Felici Putty in a simple stockinette ($3.99 - $5.29 a ball, I used about 1.5 balls). I love self striping yarns for the same reason I dislike them. Unfortunately there's not much more you can do with them other than stockinette before the pattern is obliterated. But they're good for those days when you don't want to think about what you're knitting. The stripes knit themselves. Felici is pretty soft and washes without any noticeable pilling. Then again, I've only washed my other pair a couple times.


I finished these a while ago but didn't get the photos uploaded until recently. Purple is one of those colors that's incredibly hard to photos of and always needs some tweeking in your favorite photo retouching program. Hence the reason I've avoided uploading them. This is Knitpicks Essential African Violet in Knitty's Spring Forward. After you knit the repeats a couple times, it's easily memorized. I haven't had the opportunity to wash and wear this yarn so I don't know how it holds up, but for only $3.49 - $3.99 a ball (and these took about 1.5 balls), you can't beat the price.

Spring Forward

I'm all for inexpensive good quality yarns, so these two fit right up my alley. Don't get me wrong, today Faythe and I talked about plasma and how it could help inflate a sock yarn budget (or toilet paper). Yes, I will do what I have to do to get good quality, hand painted indie yarns (or soft TP)! I'm also saving soda cans to fund the conversion of our carport into a garage. You've got to have dreams!

Speaking of saving, I need to decide between banking with an organization that is conveniently located near my house but makes poor decisions and is charging me excessive fee's or an organization that is in an inconvenient location, has offered me a great banking package and whose banking customer service agents are all in the US (I like supporting businesses that keep jobs in the country, especially in our poor economy).

Plus, I just realized it's almost 2:00am. Er!

Monday, March 09, 2009

The irony of going green

Some Oregon fun:

--Representative Wayne Krieger has an idea on funding road improvement - force adults to register their bicycles! Registration ($54 every two years) would be the same as it is for automobiles. The usual miscellaneous fee's apply. (If you like reading dry material, check out House Bill 308 here.) I'm not sure if bicycles would be treated like hybrids (tax benefits please?) or if insurance will be required next.

--Did you know Oregon denies us the right to pump our own gas? We can't even push the pump button while the hose sticks lifelessly in our car, instead we have to wait for the attendant who's helping all the other cars waiting in line. Proponents of this idea use the "but then you don't have to get out of your car into that horrible weather" argument. I guess they forgot about paying for the gas, which is done outside the vehicle. And not by an attendant. Oh, and gas attendants only exist as an answer to job shortages.

--Speaking of gas and cars, there has been talk of taxing mileage with a GPS installed in the car. It gives a person a warm and fuzzy feeling to know you're always being watched.

Anyway, just thought it was interesting all the crazy stuff that's going on here in the state of Oregon. Especially after everyone here has worked so hard and prized themselves on being green. I guess the government didn't realize going green means losing green.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Another pair of Monkey's

I finished my third pair of Monkey's while visiting Mom this week. She requested them for her friends daughter, who's also named Rayleen. (Mom's friend liked my name so much she asked Mom if she could use it for her own daughter.)

Monkey's seem to be pretty popular as I've had another request for a pair. Thankfully, I've memorized the pattern and it takes no time at all to whip them out.

The other Rayleen requested purple and though I'm a solid color type person, I decided to "risk it" and try Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Baroness. I'm rather pleased with how they turned out too, the colorway is striking.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Blockbuster - MAJOR FAIL

I subscribe to one of Blockbuster's Total Access Premium subscriptions. I don't even know if it's offered to new subscribers anymore, but basically I am allowed three unlimited online movies at a time which may be exchanged for unlimited rentals from a store. It sounds great but I pay a hefty fee for this wonderful service. Being unemployed, I consider this to be one of my sacrifices.

Normally, after I turn in my online rental in the store, the next movie in my queue would get shipped out. I love this feature because I can get hard to find or girlie movies online and Apollo can exchange them for man movies at the store.

However, without a word to their customers, Blockbuster changed their policy today. I only learned of the changes when I saw something strange going on in my queue and I called a local store to ask questions. I was informed the corporate office isn't planning on notifying customers and is letting the representatives at the store answer any questions customers may have. Classy! Reminds me of my last job...

Anyway, as of today, when I exchange an online movie at the store the next movie in my queue doesn't ship. Instead, the movie I received from the store is added to my Titles Shipped! This means the next movie in my queue doesn't move up at all and now I get half the rentals for the same bloated price. BTW, my Blockbuster rental rates nearly doubled about a year ago.

Blockbuster is stating they're doing this so the in-store rentals won't have a due date. However, if I remember correctly, some time ago they promised "no late rental fee's" but side-stepped this by charging a "restocking fee." Either way, they get their money, eh? We'll see how they work out this no due date gibberish.

It looks like I'm going to have to check out Netflix or Blockbuster's lower plans. Or even consider not renting movies at all. Hmm, actually Blockbuster is really doing a good job at making me rethink my finances. Maybe the smart thing is to relinquish my three+ year long subscription. Yes, I think that's what I'll have to do. Thank you Blockbuster for opening my eyes!

Yay to Blockbuster for shooting themselves in the foot! Good thing they hired attorney's today to discuss how they're supposedly not going to file Chapter 11!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

First socks

I was surprised to see Mom putting these socks on today, I had totally forgotten about them. They're the first pair of socks I knit almost four years ago. This was before I knew anything about gauge, superwash wool or compromising with the recipient regarding colors.

Because I had some issues with gauge, the longer Mom wears them the further they slip down her ankles as they stretch. But she still wears them.

Mom is the perfect knit-wear recipient. Even if it's hideous, she'll wear it. She doesn't put it away for safe keeping out of fear of hurting the item - instead it gets some serious wear, as indicated by the hole in one of these socks. Check out the fuzzing and felting caused by wear and tear!

Thankfully I've graduated on to finer hand painted yarns. I think Mom likes them better too but it's good to know she actually puts everything I knit her to use.

And just to be clear, I will NEVER knit this colorway again though it is fun to traumatize people like Faythe when they innocently check my blog for updates. HeHEheeEEHEeeeEEE!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

My aching back

Under the hideous carpet in this house lies original to the house Northern Red Oak hardwood floors. Apollo removed the carpet from the room that will be my office, only to discover that someone at one time had laid linoleum on it. Old adhesive covered the entire floor, including about nine squares worth of tape still on the floor.

At this point I had worked on the floor for about half a day. I used only water, sponges and putty/paint scrapers.

Aimee stopped by to chat several times but she made no offer to help out.

Nasty adhesive - feel my pain!!

The carpet tack strips took a long time to remove. Nails and staples were stuck randomly in the floor, usually in unsuspecting places like under my butt, knee or foot.

And the final product, only a day and a half later! This summer we'll sand and smooth out any blemishes and refinish the floor to match the living room (though I wouldn't mind something a little lighter than the aged amber look we have now). Only two more rooms to go - one is currently being used for storage and the other has a bed and dresser in it. It's going to be a challenge to work around them but I don't mind, especially knowing it means we'll be rid of nasty dust mites and what appears to be almost thirty years of icky. Hopefully the other floors won't be as bad as this room!