Archive for 2011

sweatered: finished Kerouac

Monday, March 21st, 2011

A favorite yarn in a favorite color… it only took a year and eleven months. How life has changed since then.

Yarn: WooBu by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Pondscum and Meet Brown, Joe colorways.

Pattern: Kerouac by Jenn Jarvis (NipperKnits) from Twist Collective.

3.7 – 3.12 lots o’ lists

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Wouldja look at that? A little quiet stint. It’s interesting to me how my writing ebbs and flows with my mood. Or is it the other way around? This week did not see the same success I’ve had previously this year doing 30 Days of Lists, 750 Words and Health Month. My gut reaction is to quit and beat myself up for never seeing anything through and finishing (um, yeah, big overstatement, and I have the race medals to prove it). So here I am, early Saturday morning, sitting down to jot out the past five lists and catch up on today.

3.7 – blog goals

  • just to write regularly – I’ve been doing this on and off since 2000 (where my Diaryland peeps?), and it has never been with a goal other than personal gratification and smidgen of sanity.
  • document snippets of my life – I’m not a collector of photographs, ticket stubs or dried flowers, nor am I a paper journal fanatic (although I LURVE paper journals), so typing out a few words to remember what happened and/or how I felt.
  • entertain my mom – Every now and then I get goaded to “update my website” because she’s my most loyal reader, and that Twitter sidebar just isn’t enough for her.
  • future goals: post my designs, play more with video, maybe give back with a little tutorial action (since this is allegedly a knitblog).

3.8 – what’s inside my bag
This is going to be a really short one… I don’t have any baggage. Or I don’t tote one around with me, since I work from home and have not successfully managed to go work at a coffee shop. My “bag” consists of my kitchen table.

That said, I do travel up to Portland every 4-6 weeks so my florescent pink Timbuk2 messenger bag with computer sleeve carries everything, including: my liquid toiletries, work computer, work notebook/cahier, iPad, power cords, headphones, iPod with a beloved TinyMeat sleeve, housekeys, Clipper BART card, and a smaller musette (made from old Clif Bar banners) with my current travel knitting (often a sock, imagine that!), some pens, a tiny reporter’s Moleskine that holds ideas for designs, wallet, phone, and perhaps a tube of something for my lips.

3.9 – favorite websites (all are “.com” unless otherwise noted)

  • connection: gmail (and a handful of other google bits), twitter, flickr, ravelry
  • work: bluemoonfiberarts, sockclub.bluemoonfiberarts, socksummit and various iterations of Zen Cart, InboxHQ, Expression Engine, Drupal, BaseCamp, Constant Contact
  • friends (who happen to knit): Sean, Tammy, Mel, Rachael, Stephanie, Clara, Franklin, Joe

3.10 – wish list

  • more time
  • more naps (Janie Sparkles and C optional, but preferred)
  • more cooking
  • more writing
  • more designing
  • more reading
  • more running/yoga/moving
  • more letter writing
  • more friend dates
  • more frequent visits with familiy
  • more travel (Iceland, Japan top the list, and the good ol’ New York, Paris + Berlin)
  • less stuff
  • less mortgage
  • less wanting
  • more action

3.11 – date night ideas

  • coffee, dog park with Janie, cooking together, dvd
  • museum, cocktail, new or favorite restaurant, walk home
  • movie theater and popcorn, beer or nightcap out after
  • drive out of town, remote sunset (ocean or body of water optional), quiet night reading side-by-side by the fire
  • something new, something quiet, something moving, something memorable

3.12 – weekly rituals

  • daily chemex coffee and a soft-boiled egg in an eggcup waiting for me at the breakfast table
  • monday or wednesday night burrito takeout from Papalote after C’s swim practice
  • “the sauce” on pasta or ravioli
  • afternoon coffee at sightglass (typically on weekends at 4 and random thursday or friday after work) with Janie Sparkles
  • saturday or sunday trips rainbow grocery, trader joe’s, safeway
  • sitting knitting while C is out on an early morning photo excursion
  • not weekly, but regularly enough: bread baking and caramel making

3.6 – Least Favorite Words (day late)

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I tend not to be word-reactive. It’s always struck me as odd when friends have problems with words like “moist” or “panties.” Ideas or concepts have more impact on me, but in keeping with the letter of the list, here goes:

  • procrastination
  • robust (often paired with dialogue)
  • empower
  • oversensitive
  • lifestyle
  • community

That’s all I got.

ETA: squee, woot, OMG, WTF, and most LOLspeak. However, I find “o hai!” endearing.

ez swatchy mc bog jacket

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Rowan British Sheep Breeds Chunky in Suffolk

4.0 mm / US size 6s (on top)
5.0 mm / US size 8s (on bottom)

winning gauge:
4.25 sts / inch using the 4.0 mm / US 6s.

3.5 – Weekend Goals

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

This one is going to be a tough one. Not because I haven’t any goals, but because I tend to have too many. In my mind, time is plastic and expands to fit whatever task I set out to do. Should I try to be realistic?

Writing down “goals” causes me to pause. What’s the difference between goals and plans? Is one a sure bet? Is the other necessarily aspirational? Do they have different levels of grandiosity?

Here goes (with a mix of both):

  • bake bread. I prepped the leavening past night and will have two Tartine Breas loaves by the days end.
  • enjoy a social Saturday night out. This is another rarity for homobody me. Wendy, who replaced me at Clif Bar, is having her non-bachelorette party tonight. This means trying a new restaurant for drinks (Bar Agricole), seeing lots of former coworkers and neglected friends, and hopefully not hurting on Sunday morning (because there’s no way I can keep up with this hard-drinking posse, including s former Cal Rugby player.)
  • make truffles. Not really anything of my doing, I was simply invites to join Felice and Suzanne for a chocolate extravaganza and lunch on Sunday. Hence, the bread-baking.
  • swatching for an impulsive EZ KAL with Sean. A prime example of unrealistic expectation of my free time to knot for personal pleasure and not professional gain.
  • and last, but not least, sweat. Fine, I’ll ‘fess up to trying to be a smidge more active. No circus freak or marathon dreams. Just a couple sweating occasions. Run, yoga, DVD, something. Really hoping to hop back on the fitness train, not for size reduction as much as the feeling of being more alive in my body and that delicious whispering ache of muscles well used.

(written as part of 30 Days of Lists)

3.4 – Today’s Playlist

Friday, March 4th, 2011

It’s oddly fitting that this is the topic for today’s 30 Days of Lists. You see, I’m not typically a playlist guy.

Call me old-fashioned, but I listen to albums in their entirety. And when I think of albums, I mean cassette tapes. That’s what I was raised on. I’m not going to pretend that I’m a vinyl snob, but, golly, I loved my tapes. I held out on CDs until the early 90s, fearing it was just a marketing ploy for me to pay upwards of $15 for music. I no longer have a tape player (though my double-decker was very useful when I used to teach spinning—the kind for which you need padded spandex shorts and a water bottle), and I barely tangle with CDs, except to rip them to my computer.

I had lunch today with a former suitor (“ex-” sounds so harsh). He has one of the largest vinyl collections I’ve ever known. He’s a living encyclopedia of British and US music from the past twenty, nay, thirty years. He would put High Fidelity‘s protagonist to shame. Side note: he also happens to be a Brit. Another side note: he’s also how I met WonderMike in 1998, before we were knitters. Roy lives for music and I know he’ll know who’s about to break and what’s next, long before we read about it or hear something on the radio. (Do people still listen to those things, besides NPR?)

But before lunch, and before I saw today’s list, I just happened to ask my computer to make a new genius playlist this morning so I could have some mellow music as I worked. I’m lazy that way. I don’t curate my own music into playlists or mixes. I’d rather listen to something than think about what I’m about to listen to. If I am not going to listen to something as a whole, I’ll do it randomly or ask another entity to compose a collection for me.

It’s too much to type it in, but if you can’t see the picture, it’s a lot of Sigur Ròs, Thom Yorke, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, with some Bloc Party and Björk for good measure.

Have a musical weekend.

3.3 – I am looking forward to…

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
  • …going to Rachael‘s book launch tonight. She was a blog-spiration of mine from 2004 and the teacher of my first-ever knitting class (that I didn’t need to take, but did, because I wanted to meet her in person and not just be interweb friends). Now she’s a two-time published author, with book three on the way. I’m moved and inspired by people who make their passions into reality.
  • Camp Jabberwonky sock knitting camp at the end of the month. It’s become an annual tradition for me and my mother. Sadly, I’m no longer just a student. (Sad because I’ve never taken a class with Anne Hanson, but learned her mom’s special cast-on from her, and I enjoy learning from the gigantic and technical brains of JC Briar. Of course, I enjoy taking from Stephanie and Tina, too, but I talk to them almost every day.) I’m thrilled that we have a special guest this year, Anna Zilboorg! My first knitting book was the hardcover version of her Knitting for Anarchists
  • …finishing the many projects on my needles. There’s a cardigan that just needs a button band and sleeves attached, there are at least three active pairs of socks (one may be a gift), and two wraps (one for me, one my first lace project to go to Suzanne). As much as I am a process knitter and enjoy the action of one or one hundred stitches, I do all that work to get to an end product.
  • Sock Summit 2011, again, it’s not just because it’s my job. I love teaching. I love meeting, laughing and learning from the students and other teachers. I love seeing a project be realized. And, it’s no understatement to say that the first one changed my life.
  • …visiting Iceland one day. I’ve been slightly obsessed with Sigur Ròs’ Heima since I’ve seen it. I’ve considered attending my manpal Franklin’s Knitting Iceland trip in October (more so to hang with him and meet Ragga because I do not foresee many lace edgings in my knitting future). Here’s a peek at the concert documentary, that’s as much about the music as a love song to the landscape of Iceland:

(I’m glad to see Debbi, Carrie, Marcy and Sam are all doing 30 Days of Lists too! I look forward to seeing what they are jotting down.)

30 days of lists, days 1 & 2

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I’m going to try to wake up this little bloggish space with a little listy-loo project, called 30 Days of Lists. Goodness knows, I’m a fan. Pinning ideas down to paper in an orderly fashion bring a greater sense of control and optimism to my life.

Also, low investment of effort, plus easy successes seems apropos right now. I’m no art journal-er, so don’t expect much more than ten or so items each day.

I know, I know there are other things to write about, knit, design, do, research, but I’ll keep those on a list too and maybe they will see the light of day soon.

3.1 – things about me

  • didn’t start this on the 1st day
  • a guy who lives in San Francisco
  • gay married to a photographer
  • in love with Janie Sparkles, the French Bulldog who owns me
  • knitter
  • bread baker
  • caramel maker
  • sporadic runner, writer, artist, athlete
  • former ballet dancer, ironman, ultramarthoner, aspiring circus freak
  • son of a minister, eagle boy scout, ivy league graduate

3.2 – things I’m good at

  • typing
  • sleeping
  • eating
  • procrastination
  • aspiring
  • curating
  • remembering
  • feeling
  • connecting
  • starting

A big thank you to Tammy for making me aware of #30lists.

If you love something, set it free

Monday, February 7th, 2011

For those who follow me on twitter or flickr have heard that we were approved to adopt another French bulldog from French Bulldog Rescue Network in January. This is Lindy.

The smoochable softness of Lindy LobsterRoll

We had applied back in November for another dog, but didn’t end up getting her. The rescue sent a lovely follow up that asked us to go into more detail about what we may be looking for in a dog, beyond the one we applied for. After filling it out and looking at who was available, we decided to apply for Lindy. Although she was an older girl, and beyond what we thought we were comfortable adopting, there was something about her that both C and I wanted to try and be her forever home.

We went through the application for her and were lucky enough to be contacted by her foster mom. After a few emails back and forth (and nothing set in stone as to whether or not we were approved) she asked to see if we wanted to meet her. This was just before the New Year and we went over to Concord, a suburb about an hour away from San Francisco, to see the old gal.

She was being fostered in a home that also ran a pug rescue. There was a resident Frenchie (also a FBRN graduate), four resident black pugs, Lindy, and two other foster dogs (one a Frenchie, the other a pug). Janie loved being in a house with tons of toys to grab and steal, plus the joy of a backyard. We got to me the slightly overweight, hard of hearing, visually-impaired, poop-eating sweetheart. We learned about how she was working on losing her weight, she enjoyed exploring and didn’t really engage with the other dogs. I could tell C was smitten when she fell asleep in his lap, like a 30-pound sack of flour. (Just one that happens to snore and fart a lot.)

Well, fast-forward through a home visit with another FBRN volunteer and more waiting, I finally received a voicemail from the foster mom to say we were approved and Lindy was ours, but could I please call her immediately. A cryptic message, but she said everything was OK. I was down in Long Beach at TNNA at the time, so I called as Wendy and I drove back to her place.

Apparently, Lindy had been attacked by her foster brothers and sisters. It wasn’t clear who was responsible, just that there was a squabble and she received the brunt of it. She had an emergency vet visit and was pretty wrecked. She had stitches and drains in her wounds from bites on her front legs and ears. The vet said there was no nerve damage and she would make a full recovery. But first, the foster mom wanted to keep her for a few more weeks to get her all healed up and stitches removed. She was happy to hear that we still wanted her. It didn’t matter to us. We had already fallen in love with Lindy, now nicknamed LobsterRoll, and were eager to help her through her recovery.

Who wouldn’t?

We were invited to visit her a week or so later and she was quite the sight. Shaved front- and hindquarters, mangled ear, and an even more pronounced limp/hobble. The poor thing was so beat up, I with I could make her an “It gets better” anti-doggie-bulling video. During our visit she tottered around the backyard; according to her foster mom, a big improvement since the attack. She was obviously hurting, but still a hungry little hippo in her porkbelly body.

After another two weeks, she was cleared to come home with us and we eagerly welcomed our newest family member. She was slower than we realized and quietly explored the apartment. In all over our previous visits, we spent as much time with the bossy extroverted other dogs of the house as we did with the regal grand dame. She isn’t one to force herself on you, but loves to snore beside you. She was given two beds, her own food bowl and a prime spot on the couch each night.

In going out on walks, it’s clear that a leash was no replacement for a doggie door and unfettered saunters around a fenced in yard. She also seems upset by the noise of the traffic (we live near a busy on-ramp to the freeway in an industrial area of San Francisco). She perks up at any indication of food, but mostly hugged the wall along buildings, even when lured with treats. There are a few quieter streets that she enjoys, as evidenced by her trotting, otherwise, she freezes up stops at a standstill. We’re also in a mostly concrete environment, so we tried different surfaces, such as patches of dirt around trees, landscaped areas, anything soft that may resemble her former environment, to encourage her to be “productive.”

Her energy level is so vastly different from Janie’s, that walks had to be separate. She is perfectly housebroken with a doggie door and access to the outside, but in a second-floor loft with an elevator, surrounded by sidewalks, it’s a bit of a challenge. She’d walk for up to 50 minutes without going, but then be too exhausted to go out later. All the love in the world couldn’t make up for her impaired mobility and preferred environment. It wasn’t fair to her to force her into a new schedule with less than ideal potty conditions, per her taste, and put her in a home with a sibling that wants more playing than she’s willing to give.

As you can guess by the title of this post, our home, it turns out, is not the perfect match for Miss Lindy. On Saturday, we returned her to her foster home. After much consideration and tears (well, body-shaking sobbing) we knew it would be best for her in the long run. I feel like we failed her, but she deserves to be comfortable and happy. Lindy just isn’t cut out to be a city girl.

Luckily, there is another family who was interested in her. And whether it’s them or someone else, my wish for Lindy is her own backyard, perhaps as an only dog, with a stay-at-home guardian who can make sure she’s fed (which should be a problem for such a chowhound), continuing to heal (and maybe lose a few more pounds), and well-loved.

For us? My heart’s not quite ready to look for another dog. I need to know that Lindy’s going to be alright before I go down that path again. Janie would love a spunky sibling to run around the rough streets of South of Market one day, but until then we will just have each other. And, Lindy’s old bed, which Janie’s taken to as her new favorite spot in the sun.

Janie misses Lindy LobsterRoll, and sleeps in her bed.

Good morning, Lindy LobsterRoll

Monday, February 7th, 2011