30 March 2008

time is relative

right now we're in this transitional period where light equals daytime and dark equals night. it's kind of a weird sensation really. i'm so ready for spring, even though i have no idea how march is already over. since the new year i've been in this time blur, where one day feels like forever, but then the endless days blur into one and seem to have gone by fast. terry pratchett said something like that once.......i may have to look it up.

but anyway. somehow march has whizzed by and i still have pictures from the beginning of february that i haven't posted yet. ajajaj.

there was the ice park, which was held a couple weeks early. the temps were in the 40s for a whole week, so they panicked and moved the contest up. a bunch of sculptures ended up classical styledue to bits and pieces melting off. we went with our 3 stepbrats (and a dad but he's not in any pics)
ice canoeslide ice bathseal
the 18month old decided halfway through that it was way past his bedtime, he was bored, and maybe if he screamed *nonstop* he would get to bed faster. he did. so we didn't really get to see the multiple block sculptures, and only got a few pictures.
chameleon odd couple
a chameleon and a very odd abstract couple.
seafood dinner teardrop
and my favorites: a different kind of seafood dinner, and a teardrop. i love how the carvers can make such realistic drops of water.

the two older stepbrats stayed the night. i read them a grimm's faery tale for bed, which they repeated almost verbatim to their dad when he picked them up the next day *raised eyebrows*. since it was warm out, we went outside for a bit. their dad was literally throwing them around.

they crunched into the snow and disappeared from view. they seemed to like it thoughafter (finally) finishing the snowflake headband, i jumped right on another quick fix, the army helmet hat. that went so fast it didn't even make it up on the sidebar. the fit is a bit snug, right on the line between just right and a little too short. the pattern picture only shows the side view, but i noticed on ravelry that the hat looked a bit small on almost everyone, so i wasn't that surprised. the applied i-cord in front was kind of fun and really topped off the helmet look. i love the yarn, but noticed it has very little twist, so it might pill. that's the sort of thing i've been noticing more about yarn, how it's spun, but alas not until after i've got it home. so far no problems though. i may frog the top and add a couple rows before the decreases, just for a little more height. some day. right now i'm just happy it's done and cozy to wear.

and speaking of being done, i even picked up the FFF shawl this week. knit night at my house, and i figured the pleasure of company would dull the irritation of the shawl. and i finished it this weekend. off the needles. whoo-hoo!!! technically i still have to weave in the ends, but as far as i'm concerned it's done. thank goodness.

limited knitting time has forced me to focus on one thing at a time, which inwardly makes me horribly twitchy, but does get results. i also finished a sleeve for chuck's sweater he says it looks like a sting ray. i could see that i guess. i even cast on the second sleeve yesterday.

a couple weeks ago now, i gave a presentation at chuck's rotary group about alaskan archaeology. it went pretty well despite my swedish computer refusing to play nice with the projector (after a week or so getting it all together *sigh*). the group was small enough that they could still kind of see the powerpoint slides on my laptop. i think the problem may have been the screen resolution, so i'll have to figure out how to change that.

still, everything seemed to flow really well, and nobody got the glazed-over look of too much detail. archaeology is very fun, just in very short bursts. i was glad i could explain what field work really is like yet still keep everyone's interest. they even said i could come back in the summer and do it again! so it was fun, and i was flattered.

another compliment i got recently was at the doctor's office. i was waiting for chuck and knitting (on the snowflake headband i think) and some guy walking by thanked me for keeping a tradition alive. he said it's lots of work and most people don't bother anymore. so even though it was totally random, it was kind of cool to get a sincere compliment for doing something i love.

24 March 2008

just for tanya

about a month ago now, i called tanya for her birthday. we met freshmen year of college, in the dorms, although thanks to a psycho roommate we didn't become real friends until the next year. we were roommates through junior year when we both went on missions (her to taiwan and me to sweden). after our missions, tanya lived in her family's condo and i kept jumping apartments til i graduated, but we still hung out.

now tanya lives in minnesota, and i'm in alaska. yet no matter how much time goes between our conversations, we talk like it was just yesterday we were walking all over provo late at night, jumping in puddles and laughing at the paperclip our roommate glued in the thermostat to stop me from turning it down. we talked for two hours the other night like it was nothing.

amazingly, it's been over 10 years we've been friends now. sometimes i think tanya made sure we did out of pure stubborness, because i've always been slow at making friends and most of my friendships seemed to have a 2 year expiration date. she sure showed me ;)

and on her birthday, the only thing she asked for was pictures of my door. so i figured if i was gonna do it, i'd do it right. the door is made of thick boards, with old school hingeswith a lift latch (the inside door has the lock)the crossbeams have studded bolts in them, so they have this castle fortress look about them. unfortunately the stain at the bottom is bleaching out. but that's the door. like it tanya?the sky was beautiful when i was taking the door pictures, so i grabbed a shot for the hope of spring.

tanya almost always calls me out for not taking pics of myself. every time she asks, i'm struck dumb with astonishment, thinking, i swear i took a picture. . . . . . . .as i think back and realize, no, i didn't. i never remember to. she knows what i look like, i know what i look like, it's the same no matter where i am. but since she asked, here's a shot of me (and chuck) from a painful church activitywe're still not sure what the point was, but we were "royalty" for the night. complete with scary outfits and gilt crowns. and that blonde wig. they pulled our names out of a hat for the privelege. at least it was only an hour.

happy birthday tanya. enjoy the pictures :D

20 March 2008

and the third fifth one fit just right

the snowflake headband, my quick stash busting project, is done. after about five tries. by the time i finally had the fit and (more or less) the look i wanted, i was starting to feel a bit like goldilocks. this one's too tight, this one rolls too much. and this one, and this one and this one.rolling snowflakethe first plain knit cast on border rolled something awful, the seed stitch border rolled (and looked weird with only 3 rows anyway), the picot edge didn't roll quite so bad, but halfway through it i tried it on. it went on ok, but you can see the stitches were stretched way more than is good for them (and the rolling, can you see the rolling?).too small snowflakethe stranded knitting had a tighter gauge than my stockinette swatch. *sigh* so that version went away too, and since i was starting over anyway, i racked my brains to think of an edge that absolutely positively would not roll. the light clicked on late one night - duh! ribbing. i started over with one more pattern repeat and ribbing. which rolled almost worse than any of the others. so i went back to the picot, since it did the best job of them all. it still rolled a bit, but not as much as the other edges i tried. oddly enough, the heavily stranded snowflake bit in the middle never once tried to roll away from me. guess that extra layer kept it in line.

all in all, it turned out pretty wellblocking helped smooth the wavy picot a bunch, but i can the edges wouldn't need much encouragement to get their groove back. oh well. i still like it. there's a couple spots where i knitted a bit too tight, but overall i'm proud with the results for my first try. you can't say i didn't get enough practice in either, i think i could have knit 2 or 3 headbands for all the ripping back i did. the floats are fairly even, and the reverse imaging looks cool. although that blocking crease doesn't. i need to get one of those foam heads for blocking circular objects.

after my glamour photo shoot, i realized it may be a bit wide. my head looks a couple inches taller (and blockier).but i can live with that.

i used less than 1 skein of each of the colors, a little more of the lighter color. there might be enough left to make a narrower headband out of the smaller snowflake motifs.......

19 March 2008

spring's here!!!!........isn't it?

that's what these fellers thought anyway we found 3 of them in our living room this weekend. all sorts of questions sprang to mind: where did they come from? do they eat yarn? did we miss these huge caterpillers eating our plants and turning into cocoons? where on earth did they come from? is there more of them?

luckily the internet came to the rescue on some of those questions. they're apparently called compton tortoiseshells and are true butterflies (ie they won't eat my wool. whew.). the adults hibernate in groups over the winter. three isn't a very large group, but whatever. that lovely +40F weather we had a couple weeks ago must have woken them up. . . . .and they hit the snooze button a few times.

someone at chuck's work said she's gotten them before too - apparently they like log houses for their winter beds. we've been calling them chuck's butterflies, because (like chuck) they don't know how to sleep late when it's good for them. how long they'll last i don't know, cuz we're a little short on butterfly food.

the only down side to having butterflies around is they are just as likely to be underfoot as fluttering around the lamps. and if you've got a butt-ugly 70s rug, well, it can get hard to spot them.can you find the butterfly? talk about camouflage.

i don't think we've stepped on them, though. *yet*

but if you're anxious for spring like those butterflies, go check out aksunflour's contest: when will the snow be gone from her (alaskan) yard? go get your guesses in quick quick cuz the contest ends tomorrow!

07 March 2008

your voice sounds like hers, but your phone doesn't

the other day i was driving home when the phone rang with a number i didn't recognize. i thought maybe it was chuck on a different bank phone (why i don't know) so i picked it up. the voice on the other end wasn't quite chuck's, but then the combination of highway white noise, my music, and a little static might have been responsible for that. i mean, i don't want to say i don't know my own husband's voice, right? and the voice assumed i knew him, and even had a slight southern edge to it like chuck's does sometimes.

so i played along, looking for clues to verify if it was chuck or not. the voice was talking about a clinton-obama debate (and i'm thinking why would chuck call for that? he talks big about voting, but really he's just as politically apathetic as i am). but then he says he has to study for a test, and that was the clincher. so i asked who he meant to call, and after we figured out what he dialed wrong, he said

"your voice sounds like hers, but your phone doesn't"

you suppose it was the static or the tupac playing in the background that didn't sound like hers?

05 March 2008

reflections on the black hole that was february

today's temperature of 40F was a pleasant reflection of the -40F weather we had about a month ago. comparison does make all the difference - those 80 degrees makes +40F feel like short weather.

february was a long, busy, boring month that somehow went by really fast in retrospect. i stayed home a couple days when the temp hit -47F (it sounds impressive but after -20F you can't feel the changes in the cold except by noticing how fast you lose feeling in the extremities), and even got a bunch of knitting in and took pictures of it.

although somehow actually getting the pictures up never happened. *sigh*

remember the 3F shawl? that i ran out of yarn on? at the end of 3 skeins it was still just an inch or two shy of elbow length. arg. and then i went for more yarn, and they actually were sold out of that color. is that allowed? so they put it on order for me. the break was probably a good thing, cuz the shawl and me were getting tired of each other.

while i was at the store, i wandered around a bit (of course). the owner must have had an epiphany because there was all kinds of new yarns in there. louet gems, koigu, noro, more solid color sock yarn (yay!), and mirasol, the very yarn i was drooling over in anchorage a while ago. there's a hat i've been wanting to make, and chuck said i could get some mirasol sulka for it. so i was just waiting and waiting for that baby ull to come in. which it did last week.sulkaand that's the hat yarn. black, with some blue highlights, and super soft. hopefully it doesn't pill awfully. amazingly enough, the baby ull colors are a perfect match again. i can't believe i'm on my third dye lot and there's no color change line in the shawl. although i didn't actually start working on the shawl again yet, so i might still be surprised. but so far i've got to say that baby ull is the yarn to run out of.

some other things have been distracting me. lots of frogging, a couple (relatively) quick projects, and life.

i frogged the anastacia sock i had started. then the wound was too fresh to cast on right away, so i started an irish moss sleeve instead. sleeve rows go way faster than front and back rows. irish moss sleevealthough i haven't worked on it for a couple weeks now, so who knows if chuck's sweater will be done before the snow melts. luckily here i've still got till april. maybe may.

the half clessidra i had got frogged too. the pattern got too fiddly with the yarn i substituted, but i will try again sometime with normal sock yarn (and thus no fiddliness). and i've been pondering the silk cami tent i made last summer with knitpicks shine. . . . .lovely yarn, nice drape. . . .i think it would make awesome curtains :)

there's a candlelight lace pattern in barbara walker i've been wanting to try, which would be a good match with the yarn for our bedroom windows. i'm not totally decided yet, but chuck won't let us go curtainless in the bedroom cuz he can't sleep in the summer for the light. but all we've got are the super-fugly 70s curtains we inherited with the house. if i gotta have curtains, i might as well have fun with it.

one of the life distractions was the yearly Air Force awards dinner, a banker affair. i don't mind the banker affairs so much except for dressing up. but even with a skirt on i was underdressed there - the people not in uniform were decked out in prom dresses. so everyone's all fancy fancy, and then they start calling out the award winners.

suddenly i was re-living a high school assembly. the cheers were an odd contrast to the otherwise high tone of the evening. my very favorite moment was when both of the two MCs used the phrase "best of the best." MIB anyone? i would have laughed out loud except everyone was so serious so serious for that part. i love how will smith mocks the military guy at the beginning of men in black, i would watch the whole movie just for that one scene.

speaking of watching movies for one little thing, we went and watched national treasure 2 just so i could see riley. darned if i know the actor-dude's name, but i love his character. he makes watching nicolas cage bearable. he's smart, hot, and funny - if i wasn't married to chuck i'd go hunt him down and marry him. just like that. seriously.

and (spoiler) why oh why did they have mayan gold in the dakotas? the mayans didn't even get into texas. my archaeology self wouldn't let me enjoy the end of the movie with the ridiculous hordes of clearly mayan artifacts thousands of miles away from their natural habitat. at least in the first national treasure they explained how the templar treasure made its way to america. ajajaj. it was too implausible, even for the movies. lesson: you just can't trust hollywood.

between work (very busy and very dull, but still not as bad as subbing) and life i really haven't got much knitting time in. it's a horrible bummer, my fingers itch to do it and it just seems wrong not to knit in the dead of winter (february always feels like the dead of winter). while i added an inch here and an inch there, i was dreaming of the next project. awful, isn't it?

tahoe is already up next for sweater project, once chuck's sweater is done (and i finish that turtleneck, but i always manage to gloss over that bit when i dream). my delaying strategy is wearing thin though. the yarn is all picked out for it, the persian violet incense at elann.com. i was waiting for the checkbook to say i could buy it, but chuck got our tax return done already, so the checkbook's given the go-ahead. i'm trying to hold off, cuz once the yarn is in the house it'll be much harder to resisit casting on. if all my knit thoughts added inches, all sorts of things would be done already.

one project that's made it through the black knitting hole of february was the dark mark scarf for sara (the second project is blocking as we speak). it's been so long since i made a scarf, i forgot how fast they go.darkmark donefirst time illusion knitting, and i love it. way easy, even with following charts, and i love seeing the pattern emerge. i almost wish i wore scarves, i'd keep this one for myself. but sara will give it more love than me, so it'll be heading off to her this week. the back is almost as cool as the frontdarkmark reversei (accidentally) knit an extra inch between charts, and left off the fringe, with very little yarn left over. the pattern almost exactly uses both skeins, especially if you have fringe, and still makes a decent length scarf.chuck darkmarkdoesn't chuck look cute in it? i call that his scary joker face.

and as long as we're on harry potter topics, if you're not sure which camp to join, why not this one?republicans for voldemortnot sure if it's pointed at a specific candidate, but it made me laugh. why can't i ever find the stores that are selling these things???

03 March 2008

happy anniversary to us!

and happy birthday to sara! (not that she ever looks at this, but she is my sister and all)

since we got married two years ago, we've been struggling to pay off debts from chuck's previous marriage. slowly, and very agonizingly, we've been making progress, enough that the last few months we started thinking we might actually pay it all off some day. so for our anniversary we decided that rather than buy each other presents, we would do something together and give the checkbook a rest (i'm not sure that actually worked, but that's totally ok).

so today we both took the day off, and slept in. chuck crept out at 8 (cuz despite my best efforts, he has not learned to keep his eyes shut much later than that) and got me theseanniversary flowersso pretty, so pretty.

chuck made us breakfast, then we headed out for chena hot springs. we figured out that the last time we were there was almost two years ago when sara was up for the summer. then we tried to figure out how to get our very own hot springs in our back yard because they are the most amazing thing ever. turns you right into a limp noodle and you couldn't be un-relaxed if you tried.

the coolest thing was seeing the temperature contrast: steaming water next to frost-covered rocks and trees.after the hot springs (and showers to rid ourselves of the wonderful sulpher perfume), we went to the turtle club for dinner. that's the best steak restaurant in the world i think. and that coming from a non-steak person (i hardly ever eat it on purpose). chuck could eat it every day though. you've heard of steaks that melt in your mouth? i think the turtle club was the origin of that phrase. they are, however, a bit spendy (even for fairbanks) so it was a special treat to go there.

we also got the coolest surprise of the day there. we're waiting for the check when the waitress walks over with 2 cakes, which she lights and gives one to our neighbors - and one to us! when we came into the restaurant, chuck was on the phone with his son and mentioned it was our anniversary. the hostess picked up on it and sent us a "turtle cake."cool huh? now that's customer service. a great ending to a wonderful, relaxing day. spending the day together was the perfect gift to each other.