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Life keeps moving

It’s been a bit busy with work life going full steam: research & policy work and preparing to teach my first classes ever next Jan-June as an adjunct lecturer.  I like to be stretched and challenged, but it can sure be stressful!

Still crafting, though these days I mostly knit.  On the needles:  Tangled Yoke cardigan and a freestyle cardi using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby in black.  Been going to stitch and bitch at a local tea shop/cafe, quite a wonderful gathering of women organized by a very crafty young woman.

I’ve been so preoccupied with work and raising a puppy (now 55 pounds of boundless energy) that I haven’t had much time to stop and take stock.  My partner and I have the routine down, but it takes LOTS of effort to give Henry enough exercise.  But it’s worth it, and the training, too.

Henry is a goofy clown who only ever wants to play and is a champion moper if mommy and daddy don’t oblige.  He loves belly rubs, playing fetch at Point Isabel dog park — the largest in the country! — and wrestling with his buddies in doggy daycare twice a week.   My favorite moments:  calling him into our bedroom in the mornings for a spazzy nuzzle;  seeing him look up in the middle of a walk and lean his head against my hand with an expression of sheer joy and affection, bordering on craziness.  Weekend mornings are the best because Henry is so happy to have us both home with him.

Been missing those afternoon walks during the week since I started my job in October!  Ah, but the week between Xmas and New Year’s is all mine.  Time to knit, catch up on interesting academic reading, and take the dog on off-leash hikes in the East Bay hills.  And of course, long afternoon walks around Lake Merritt:

From Drop Box

Happy holiays!

Puppy craft

Our puppy Henry is now 7 months old, in full power chewing phase.  None of our furniture has fallen prey, thanks to rigorous chew toy training.  But we were forced to have Henry sleep on a folded up towel because he started to eat his crate pad.

I had a bed custom made for him, but that didn’t solve the chewing problem.  So I improvised a cover that goes over both the bed and the tray underneath, so that he can’t get at any of the bed with his molars.  (Some dogs pick away at things with their front teeth, but not Henry.)  Found a great fabric by the yard from Ikea, measured and cut, sewed two hems, and then basically laced the thing tight using a makeshift cord (crochet chain of mercerized cotton yarn).

Henry was so excited he tried to jump in before I was done adjusting it.

O Canada

My partner and I recently took a two week trip to Seattle, WA and Vancouver and Whistler in BC with my partner.  We ate so much wonderful food that our waistlines will take weeks to recover.  The following is a selected list, believe it or not:

  • twice-baked almont croissant and pear-almond-cherry tart from Bakery Nouveau, a 5-star French bakery in the “West Seattle Junction” district
  • savory Asian street food on sticks at the Summer Night Market in Richmond, BC.  Used to be the Richmond Night Market but there was some shuffling over permitting issues.
  • fresh, delicious tuna and sake (salmon) nigiri at Sachi Sushi in Whistler, BC
  • spicy pasta puttanesca at Nook, a new restaurant on Denman St. in Vancouver
  • Lebanese food at Nuba Cafe on West Hastings in Vancouver
  • Tuna tacones at Go Fish, a shack on the seawall just across from the fisherman’s dock near Granville Island in Vancouver

Vancouver and Whistler were gorgeous despite frenetic pre-Olympics infrastructure development activity and cloudy skies.

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The first couple of nights, we stayed with our friends Judy and Jenny who took us to the Night Market.  Their dogs were a total bonus for us.  In Whistler, Ulysses and I rode a gondolas to the peak of  Whistler Mtn. It was frakking cold and windy, and the Musical Peaks trail was closed.  So we took the Peak 2 Peak gondola to Blackccomb mountain, where a couple of trails were open for a stretch.

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The next day we hiked the (badly marked!) trail that leads from Brandywine Falls to a suspension bridge, which we sadly didn’t quite get to see because we ran out of time.

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Then we lazed around Vancouver for a day or two, before my friend Diana very kindly showed us around. Vancouver, which (like the trails near Whistler) are all very steep.  It’s the glaciers that formed this landscape. Everything goes UP very quickly.  Thankfully, the hike to this lovely viewpoint above Hidden Cove was not too long.

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The next morning, when the sun finnally came out, we kayaked in False Creek which divides downtown Vancouver from the southern reaches of the city.  The waterfront in this town is lined with high-rise condos, most of them recently built and looking the same.

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That afternoon my camera battery died as we slogged up the BCMC trail to the top of Grouse Mountain, climbing 2800 feet in 2 miles (oh, the pain!)

rode a couple of gondolas (enclosed lifts) to Blackcomb Mtn to in Whistler hike around at the top;  hiked on the trail from Brandywine Falls to the suspension bridge; hiked 2800 feet in 2 miles (oh, the pain!) up Grouse Mountain (the BCMC trail, not the insanity of Grouse Grind).biked around Stanley Park;

So am I a knitter now?

Peonies

I return to this blog with serious intent to start posting regularly again. It was a busy season of conference-going and conference-organizing, and I’m so happy summer is here.  Went on a 7 mile walk through lovely Golden Gate Park with my hiking meetup yesterday.  Today my partner and I strolled down to the farmer’s market for lunch.  They had pizza from a portable wood-fired oven, can you believe it.  Then a few blocks to the Temescal Street Fair on Telegraph Ave (the part in North Oakland, not Berkeley).  Dozens of local artisans and more food, yum. I HELLA HEART OAKLAND!

I’ve finally downloaded Picasa onto my MSI Wind (my beloved little 10″ netbook that could) and taken some projects pics.

For some reason I’ve gotten into a lot of knitting lately.  It took a couple of weeks to knit up this bag, which needs lining.

Messenger Bag WiP

Pattern:  adapted from Guitar Messenger Bag in Greetings from Knit Cafe by Susan Mischer. Yarn:  TLC Heathers in purple heather .  Needles: Knit Picks Options Size 6.

Maude Louise WiP

I took a dive into my first knit sweater project involving knitting pieces in the flat: Maude Louise. The cardigan pattern calls for expensive drapey yarn, but I went with Cascade 220 in Flamingo Pink from my stash. The waistband pattern was a bit slow going but fun and easy once I got the hang of it. Working on the right front now, a bit scared about what the set in sleeves will be like to sew.

First of all, many apologies to those who left questions, tips and encouragement and never got a response; and to new visitors whose comments took months to get approved.  I hand’t posted in so long, I didn’t realize there was still traffic.  Truth be told, I’ve hardly had a minute to even lurk on Crafster or Ravelry for the past few months, having been buried under an avalanche of busy-ness.

But thanks for all the encouraging comments!  Gives me heart to start crafting and posting again.

Forgive me as I kavetch about my life:

Moved back in with spouse. working out okay so far.

Otherwise my life is all about going to or putting together conferences: going, speaking, writing, fundraising, organizing, organizing, organizing, worrying about head counts for the caterer and things like that.  It’s been cool in some ways.  I wrote an invitation to a high ranking congressional staffer and she shocked me by returning my call.  and then everyone started beating down the door to get in.  I have such a hard time saying no.

The one crafty highlight is that I joined a fantastic weekly stitch ‘n’ bitch organized through Meetup.com, that wonder of online/real world social networking.  Really friendly group of women; diverse too like an Oakland stitch ‘n’ bitch should be, race/ethnicity, age, and craft-wise.  And it’s in a fabulous tea shop.  What more could I ask for?

The Curse of the Sweater?

I finished the charcoal raglan sweater just in time for Xmas.  Guess who it was for?  Er, my spouse.  We’ve been hanging out a lot, and I dared the curse of the boyfriend sweater to make it.  Apparently I dodged the bullet, will explain later.

I will try to skirt TMI territory, but suffice it to say that relationships are complicated and hard to explain to oneself, much less anyone on the outside.  And then there are the anxieties of parental units (mine and the in-laws).  To whom I say unequivocally, “Back off, you evil demons!”  Okay, maybe not the demons part.  But you get the gist.

Chacoal Gray Men's Raglan Sweater

Here is a pic taken on my sister’s crack delivery vehicle iphone.  Fuzzy resolution, but doesn’t it fit beautifully?  Many (grumbly) fittings en route.  I even did short rows at the shoulders and to make a kind of shirt tail in the back :)

I’m stunned that it’s been so long since my last post.  At least I’ve been keeping busy crafting.  Finally wrapped up Babette.  Just the first 9 panels, then I ran out of steam and figured it would make a good lapblanket for the couch.

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Truncated Babette Blanket

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Also knit up a brimmed cap in three evenings using the Page Boy hat pattern from Stitch Diva and Lion Brand Landcapes, a beautiful bulky weight yarn.

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Knit Pageboy Cap w/ Brim

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Knit Pageboy Cap w/ Brim 2

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Here’s a another top down raglan I’m working on.  Lion Wool-Ease Chunky (works up fast!) in a beautiful dark charcoal gray that does not show in this pic.

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Men's Top Down Raglan WIP

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But let me vent:  I will never do a top down raglan again.  It’s supposed to be easy, but I never end up with the right number of stiches for body and sleeves, no matter how many times I rip back.  And I dislike the squared off neck.  Next time I’ll try a top down yoke with evenly distributed increases.


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