Stories About Stuff

musings, ramblings and some unintelligible mutterings....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Devil Dog

Oh - hey there - I'm back again. Work was crazy this past week and it looks like the speed of crazy will be keeping up until Friday at least - then I get one whole day off and start over again. Can I just say that, while working on holiday weekends does prove to be lucrative at times, it also sucks a bit to be missing out on all of the Q'ing and whatnot? There. I've been good to myself this summer though - I'm taking two of the big weekends off for vacations. Just not this one.

A little knitting progress has been made - one devil hat completed - one pair of devil pants to go. I am going to try to knit them from the top down ala Barbara Walker so I willl be inspired by the Stich 'n' Bitch book, but figuring out the pattern on my own. Hopefully I can cast on for those tonight (the dog probably WON'T be modeling those - her thighs are too shapely).
Our favorite model says, " I don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day".

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The House That Jill Built

Not too much knitting going on around here, I've been working on a new-ish project this week. See that - I built that! (Not the deck, a friend and I did that a few years ago - the BRAND NEW railing.) I decided that this year the "room" I was going to fix up was the backyard. Granted, a lot of progress was made when we put the deck in - first on the back of the house and later when we built the platform - by turning two little fenced off yards into one big one, but there were definitely a few things lacking. So I cleaned up the older chairs we had and got ourselves two of those lawnchair La-Z-Boy equivalents (hoo-boy are those nice) and a little dining set with an umbrella (which has been worth every single penny as it saved my head from the most enormous bird poop EVER last Sunday while we were eating breakfast - what the hell did that bird eat?) to inspire us to be outside. THEN I told Sweet Babboo my plans...
Put a railing on the deck
Brace our crappy fence
Paint our crappy fence to look less crappy (there's a lot of crappy fence)
Plant vines on the crappy fence to hide it
Make a patio area where we can barbeque and have one of those fire-pit thingys so we can have pretend bonfires
Plant pretty stuff that the dog can't kill easily (she runs around like a crazed monster, things get trampled back there)

All this while keeping the yard a place where Livi can play and poop.

He only twitched a little. Turns out he likes making stuff or at least starting a project that I finish while he's at work. To be fair, he HAS been working, so I don't really mind because I like doing that stuff too. It is tricky however to balance an 8 foot 2x6 level and screw it onto a post at the same time by yourself. But damn it looks good - check out all of my angly angles - I'm thinking I can build decks if my other job doesn't pick up soon! And yes, I know it's about four different colors. That's what happens when you start a job on Sunday when the lumber yard is closed and have to go to Home Despot to get sub-par wood and return later to the lumber yard. Also, it turns out pressure treated 2x2's, while common in Michigan are NOT common in California. I think they gave me the redwood by mistake, but I wasn't going to a) complain b) go back. Looks like we'll be adding "stain the deck" to the list.

This house is my baby - it's my first one and just the fact that I managed to do that in Northern California is enough to be proud of, but those of you who know me have seen the 'befores" and "afters". I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought an abandoned house (empty for 50 years - yes 50), I also had no idea that I'd find something I loved to do so much. the hardest part is that when I'm ready to move on and try the next one, it means leaving one of the biggest projects of my life - only my career has been worked on for longer. Sometimes we get lucky and life gives us this great balance - saying goodbye and getting ready for something new. No real plans here just yet, but I'm starting to get the itch.

Oh, and if you're wondering - those are MY tools - not the man's. When I say I've done the work on this place, I'VE done the work unless it was dangerous for me not to hire someone - sometimes even that didn't stop me - just ask me about shingling the side of the house someday.... There's a clue there to prove I did it too - can you see them? I mean, what man wears a size small pink work glove? Wells-Lamont - you rock my home demolishing/renovating world!

Friday, May 05, 2006

More Action Knits! Live at 5!

This is going to be a brief post because in addtion to my knitting, I am working on another little project which I will show soon. For now, a few more photos of my past projects...this is my adorable little niece (like I had to tell you that) in her pumpkin hat. The first thing I ever knit was the strawberrry hat from an Ann Norling pattern for myself. I soon figured out the pumpkin thing all on my own and was pretty proud of it until I realized everyone else had it figured out too. Oh well. I felt better after I read somewhere that nothing in knitting is original anymore. Anyways, my niece has many knitted gifts but for some reason I never receive photos of her wearing those things (ahem, hint hint - I know you read this sister dear....)so for now, this is it. Also not pictured are the matching socks that I gave with this - I figured those out early on too (with the help of a booklet) - so why did lace scare me so much? Well, I've gotten over the fear of lace and Mrs. Yarn! has promised to show me how to do steeks when the time comes, so it's on to new things to conquer.

Here's another shot of the scarf - finished and truly in action at my birthday party. Gina is so cute and I think the colors worked out perfectly for her. Please don't laugh at the face I am making - I was most likely trying not to fall in this photo. Do note however, the fabulous "bling" on my neck. That was a lovely charm from the machine in the lobby of the skating rink. I felt like a rap star, I almost went out and got spinners for the draggin' wagon and some gold grills (you know, for the teeth - I have to explain this stuff to the family in the midwest who I am sure are very sorry they miss out on all the gangsta style we have here in Cali) unfortunately, I was too busy putting cream on my neck from the rash the chain gave me.

Getting a Jump Start?

I have already started my Christmas knitting for 2006. If that makes me seem a bit ahead of the game, perhaps a wee bit obssessive or maybe just nuts - fear not, I'll still be rushing around in December just like everyone else. This just makes me FEEL like I'm pre-planning. Plus, I'll drop this when the arriving babies become a little more "apparent" because I'll be panicking about getting THAT knitting done (since that's what I'm procrastinating about now).

It seems like the only time I get anything actually done is on knit night and I'm gabbing half the time I'm there (and it's questionable whether or not I'm making any progress) so this will be a repeat for anyone who saw me Wednesday night, but this is a knit blog (supposedly). Therefore I present my first attempt at lace knitting (going rather well if I do say so myself). It's for the boyfriend's mom - red is her favorite color - and it's from some stash yarn that I got in a bag from one of my tenants a few years back. It's a mohair/acrylic/something blend and from the looks of the ball band, it's "vintage", but it's the perfect color for her and I figure the mohair will hide any tiny mistakes (not that there are any - well at least not anymore). I'm a little worried about the blocking - I've heard you just pull and stretch the heck out of lace, but I've never done it and I'm not sure WHERE I'll do it - so suggestions are welcome, but I've certainly got time, there's at least three balls left of this stuff and I figure I'll need all of it. Hopefully I won't need more than that because I'm out of luck there!

Stay tuned for more action knitting photos to come!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fame and Riches and SEALCAM!

I promised SEALCAM to my loyal readers - and I will deliver - but I think I need to respond to my dear-friend-in-the-computer, Heather and her wish for fame. Heather stated that she would love to be famous, not rich (at least not necessarily), but famous. I can understand the appeal of fame, but no thank you for me, please. I don't mind a mild bit of "notoriety" - such as having a few readers on my blog or having people recognize that I am good in my career and therefore want to hire me (which is ironic, since the one thing I prefer not to discuss on this blog is my career - but that's mostly because I do this to get away from work and it's craziness). I mostly think of that as a form of popularity though - or success (which is what I feel will land you on Oprah, Heather!).

I probably have a different perspective on fame though. In the course of my work, I deal with many varying levels of famous people - famous in the Northern California area, famous as a professional in my career (not me-other people), famous as professionals in their career circle, going to be famous one day, used to be famous, used to be famous and trying to be famous again and even, that most desired of all levels of fame, extremely famous. I've seen more than my share of what fame will do to a person and sadly, most people have a hard time dealing with it. I don't think this is because people are inherently monsters or even just jerks, instead I think it's because we're human. Fame plays upon one's security in who they are - to be famous, you have to do what others wish of you - or you get lucky because what you're doing is what people want at the time. This applies to designers, actors, models, anyone who is selling a part of themselves to the public. When tastes change, those who were famous must either change themselves to keep up with the times or be secure enough to let it go. We all know that popularity is addictive, especially when it brings with it wealth or at least ones way to make a decent living - now it's not addictive only for the way it makes people feel, but also for the fact that it gives one the ability to support themselves. People end up wondering if they could still be famous if only they lost 10 pounds more, if only they discovered the next art movement. In the end, there is so much falseness and fear that people lose touch with what they really believe in, and really do we need any more of that floating around out there?

So Heather, you can have my share of the fame - but know that if you get all uppity and what not, I'll be calling you on it - I think I'd prefer quiet unknown wealth. I don't need any crazy people knocking on my door unless I invited them, besides signing all those autographs makes my hand cramp.

OK, a shift in direction....A couple of weekends ago, me and Sweet Babboo went to Ano Nuevo to see the elephant seals. I read about this a few years ago and have always wanted to go, so we packed up one rainy day and headed out to the beach. This area is one that the seals return to every year to fight, mate and give birth to their young. They leave and the young pups grow and learn to swim here (I had no idea that seals had to LEARN to swim!) and slowly leave, only to return again later in the year. You can hike up and get right up next to the seals - they only ask that you remain about 20 feet away - and there are docents there to answer questions and tell you all kinds of cool stuff. The docents are great too - not annoying at all, you can tell they are there because they love watching the animals and they'll chat with you and point out spots where you can get closer to the animals. One seal was not doing so well and it made me sad, because I am a softy for critters, but there was a volunteer there watching over him and making sure no one harrassed him. They won't intervene there unless there is some extenuating circumstance, instead they let nature take it's course and encourage the herd to get stronger through survival of the fittest, but you could tell that the docent was taking it hard. My favorite part of the story is the one of Seal Island where there was once a lighthouse and caretaker's cottage. The seals would come up on the island and they started taking over, breaking into the house and damaging everything, including the foundations of the lighthouse, eventually the people had to just leave the island and now it belongs to the seals. Seals 1 - humans 0! Every once in a while, I think it's good for humans to see that they can't just take over everything. Hopefully, it teaches us a little respect for Mother Nature.

SB and I got some great shots, but it wasn't too hard because the area is beautiful and the seals are super cute. If they aren't playing and fighting, they are laying around like fat little logs yawning in the sand. I can't wait to go again in winter to see the big guys come in! Oh yes, as promised...SEALCAM! Live at 10:30! When you go to the site, click on the video icon and you can see the beach live during daylight hours - seals and beach without the sealy, beachy smell!