Friday, October 19, 2012


Happiness is working at something and having it go your way.

When I picked out my apartment in March I paid a down payment and was given a receipt and a handwritten form of the deceleration of the rent. We had discussed everything and the final number included everything, the pet rent, my not getting the apartment upgrade, no carport, ect ect. 

The walkway to my apartment. Photos taken labor day weekend after the rain.

When it came check in day I was informed that the amount didn't include the pet rent and they slapped an extra $15 a month onto my lease. She was real nice but the pet rent spot was blank. I weakly argued it at the time, but mostly I was in shock. I felt trapped. Although, this was hands down the nicest apartment I looked and the most economical. Who am I kidding. It was down right the cheapest. The extra $15 a month barely brought on par with the tiny or nasty places I had looked at. I signed the lease at the new price.

The view from my apartment door

My budget is tight but $15 dollars doesn't effect it too much. It's next year that it's an issue. For the first year you get 1/2 a month free and that amount is divided by 12 so each month is less. I know how much it will go up next year. Add on the $15 to that and possible inflation and next year the rent might not be doable for me. At that point $15 is make it or break it and I hate moving.

There is always color. wildflowers, turning leaves, new growth

Every month as I went into pay my rent I sat down and brought up this issue. In only six visits I now have a new contract printed and signed with the original amount. I'm happy that I'm quietly stubborn. I'm a rock, a wall, and my loyalties and convictions are just as solid. I don't disagree with people but I don't go away or change my mind or give in. Sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes I stubborn myself into breaking something (mostly computers). But most of the time it does.

Where the Blue Heron fishes at dawn.

But this happiness isn't about my being stubborn. This is about this apartment I love having the blemish erased away. In doing that they have just gained my devotion. My happiness in this place is no longer tinged with sour. It is all sweet.

Just like the cookies I made. The cookies are stupid sweet. Baking is happiness too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nerd Wars

um, right, so I mentioned Nerd Wars in my last post. I should probably explain that.

Except that it's unexplainable so I'll sum up. It's like a college literature class mashed up with the hands on work of a college art/design class. Only the subjects are pop culture, it's usually TV but also novels or movies, and it's all expressed in knitting. At the end we are graded on a point scale for our team. The team with the most points wins.

Below is the dissertation I submitted and received approval.

Name: TangledThread

Team: Browncoat

Summary: Knit 8 baby, toddler, and kiddo sweaters.

Category: Geek Pride

Yes. Great. I wish you hundreds of fat children.

Aw, could you imagine that? Me with a whole
passel of critters underfoot? Hell, ten
years time I could --

With only 14 episodes and a movie we never got to meet any of the children and as such I’m knitting a sweater for each member of the crew of Serenity from the TV show Firefly. I’m knitting 8 instead of nine because Wash and Zoe will be sharing a sweater.

I have a detailed description of why for each sweater but that write up is for the reveal and I'm keeping the proposal to the point.

I don’t give a good gorram about
relevant, Wash. Or objective. And I
ain’t so afraid of losing something
that I ain’t gonna try to have it. You and
I would make one beautiful baby. And I
want to meet that child one day.

So let’s meet the sweaters.

Shepard Book is a man of the cloth gets with a mysterious past. His sweater is simple garter stitch with no fussy details made of sturdy brown hemp yarn but it has an unusual construction.

Baby’s Pure & Simple Pullover & Cardigan
Elann Canapone held double to get gauge
before washing

I’m more visual than numerical so before washing I drew around the swatch and shrinkage is obvious at a glance.

after washing and trip through the dryer.

Jayne is the hired muscle with a mom that knits. This is a scrappy vest knitted in the muted colors of Jayne’s tee-shirts.

Encore Worsted Solids & Heathers

no change with wash

Inara wears beautiful things and is always poised and proper. I’m making a little girl’s party dress with inspiration of Inara’s dress in Shindig. The white linen yarn and lace pattern are fussy to knit with and it hurts my hands but with washing it softens and has a swirling drape like the sleeves of Inara’s dress. Being linen it’s also very strong and can handle the cleaning needed to keep it white. All of that, the discomfort for the final result, the flowing strength are perfect representations for Inara.

M&K Linen

before washing

 after washing and trip through the dryer.

Wash and Zoe are the married couple of the crew. Wash favors Hawaiian shirts while Zoe wears black gold and browns. Their sweater will be a black, gold, and brown Hawaiian shirt.

7-10 Split
South West Trading Company TOFUtsies

 yarn held double to get the Hawaiian shirt look

Kaylee, the ship mechanic, is unassuming, smart, capable and sweet. In the episode Out of Gas when she joins the crew she wears a dress out of a Chinese print but in a sundress style and wears it again later in the season. I’m using indigo dyed denim yarn that is also unassuming, smart, capable and sweet. The sweater pattern is the male casual style to match that sundress.

Organic Guernsey
Rowan Denim

before washing

after washing and trip through the dryer.

best scene that never was. River pretending to be pregnant and states to Simon. ”I’ll Knit.” in the deleted scenes of Our Mrs Reynolds

Simon, the ship doctor, is out on the fringe by necessity, not by choice. Rather than relaxing to ship style he consistently dresses in buttoned up vests.

Pepo Pie
Encore Worsted Solids & Heathers

 swatch just to check color of fabric- see above for gauge.

River is part messed up teen, part superhero. She wears soft clothes, combat boots, and usually needs a bath and to brush her hair. I thought about a mandarin style sweater but they were too fussy. Fussy to knit and even fusser to wear. River is many things but she is not fussy and would rather a Baby Kimono much like the kimono Inara wears a in the episode Serenity Part 1. Knit in a silk cotton yarn that is soft but can also take the heat of the dryer in the shades of pink River favors.

Baby Sachiko Kimono Sweater
Rowan Summer Tweed

before washing

 after washing and trip through the dryer

Mal, the caption of Serenity, fought for the Independents army during the Unification War. He may have been on the losing side but he strongly believes he was on the right side. He still wears the brown coat that gave the Independents their nickname. This sweater is a Baby Browncoat knit in a never wears our acrylic wool blend.

Baby Albert Coat and Bunting
Encore Worsted Solids & Heathers

 swatch just to check fabric- see above for gauge.

Yarn: I chose yarn fibers that should be readily available in the Verse. Hemp, Linen, Cotton, Wool, Silk, Acrylic, Soy, and Chitin are a combination of old world and space age. I put more thought than was probably sane on what would be grown and manufactured on the desert planets that make up the majority of the fringe worlds. Then I raided my stash and worked with what I had available in the pioneering spirit of making do.

Time Justification: Going to my knitting spreadsheet I found that I average 1000 yards of knitting a month. The 8 baby sweaters come in at 3200 yards per the patterns. Since two of the sweaters I will hold yarn double I’ll be knitting 4100 yards from my stash.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grab Bag, Galaxy Nails, and Games

Grab Bag

I enjoy watching the 24 hour t-shirt sites. One of my favorites to watch is tee fury. I've been unwilling to buy from them because they will run a theme for a random number of days and every day I will think is this the BEST shirt for my fandom or will tomorrows be better? Also, I've heard bad things about their shirt sizing. All the 24 hour t-shirt places have sizing issues but I really heard about it with tee fury. Combine the two and I could never pull the trigger.... until Grab Bag day.

I'm a sucker for grab bags. The super secret surprise present in the mail is so tantalizing. Now I'm a sucker for them but I never buy them. My first and only grab bag, a yarn grab bag, back in 1996 was enough to keep me away forever. But this one came along when my defense was low and my susceptibility high. That's right, after a crappy day of work.

I logged on at 11:40 and there was only 20 minutes left until it was gone forever. I looked at the 60 possible designs on the shits. There were 25 I was very sad I missed and really really wanted. There were 10 I hated. The other 25 were plenty nice. The price was very very low. I could use this as a chance to try out the different shirt sizes without gambling on a shirt I loved. That was enough justification for me. With only 4 minutes left I was entering my credit card and looking up my new address to be sure I typed in right.
No whammies. Come on... Nooooooo Whammies.
nice heavy fabric.... so far so good....
Edgar Allan Poe and the raven after a bender. Cool.
Where the Wild Things Are mashup with Adventure Time. Double cool. With the passing of Maurice Sendak this summer there was a week of t-shirts dedicated to him. Knowing more were coming I just couldn't commit. It was one of those shirts that I missed that made me sign up for the grab bag in the first place. I was kicking myself over that shirt. This shirt is lass sappy so more wearable in the years to come. I'm really glad I have it.
My favorite is this Aliens t-shirt with the Weyland logo and the facehugger. It's also the woman's extra large and is on a softer cloth. It has great shaping and is a really nice length. However, it's a bit snug around the waist so for any shirt that I hope to wear for years I had better stick with the men's medium.

3 solid shirts. None from the 25 I wanted but no whammies either.

Galaxy Nails

I read on Ravelry that if you layer a China Glaze polish from the Prismatic Collection over black you get a Galaxy Nails look without the effort. I happen to have Liquid Crystal from that collection and last week I was wearing a blackened purple for the Halloween theme we have going all month at work. So Friday night I gave it a go. I try to do something extra fun for the weekends. I must have missed a step in the directions because it looked exactly like this. Except louder. It duochrome shifted pink to lavender in the sun and baby blue to aqua inside. It always flashed silver. Disco balls are subtle in comparison.


Saturday I had lots of errands planned. I hoped to end up at Half Price books as a treat or maybe Dusty Bookshelf if I got the call about a meet up at the Yarn Barn. My t-shirt from Ript (another 24 hour t-shirt site) Horton Hears a Doctor Who, is always a hug hit in book stores and it's white and tones down the disco-fest on my nails just a little so it's a shoe-in for the day.

One stop was the neighborhood game shop to buy an expansion pack for the game Killerbunnies (all sold out at the supplier level, just sayn'). The staff was very helpful, the place wasn't full of boy teenyboppers playing Magic, and there wasn't a Captain Sweatpants in sight. As I was checking out I took a deep breath and asked if they had a dedicated board game night. Turns out they do, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

I get home and start doing my dull, mundane, weekend work. After two hours of that I had enough and I was bored silly. It was almost 6pm so really still 5 in the gaming world I'm sure. The pizza probably wasn't even ordered yet. Hmmmmm the rain had stopped. The owner should remember me from the afternoon. Ok, if I was to go, tonight would be it. Of course, while I wanted to go I also really didn't. New things in a questionable place with new people and this is the polar opposite of a yarn shop, well, staying home looked really good.

I checked myself out as I pshyc myself up. I can't change clothes because that is trying too hard and I would run the risk of not being recognized. That's ok since Horton Hears a Doctor Who is perfect, but the nails... too late to do anything about those. Might as well own being a girl.

I pack up my knitting since pick-up games can mean a whole lot of waiting for an opening. Hours sometimes. There is no way I won't knit. I cringe a little that my knitting is Baby Browncoat for Nerd Wars. That's coming off as maybe a little too strong and creepy and hard core but I decide to own that too. A place that displays action figures and has orc painting contests doesn't really have room to judge anther person's use of creative time.

I show up and there are about 10 people playing but there aren't any boardgames out, or any women. The pizza has been delivered and I can tell everyone has a plan and it looks more in line with orc painting than board games that night. The owner greats me and is shocked I'm there. However, he wips out a board game, rounds up a third player, and in less than 20 minutes we are immersed in Yggdrasil. It's a cooperative game that is put out by the same company as Pandemic, Z-Man Games.

No, I didn't know that before showing up. No, I don't even care a little. But I smiled and nodded and made eye contact as I listened because they were just telling me the gaming version of the information on yarn ball bands. This being polar opposite or rather exactly the same as a yarn shop.

And something else that was the same as a yarn shop. As the evening went on more and more people came in and I was still the only woman. I think the night topped out at 15. I had expected some women to come in and shop, or with a book, or even to play, but no

Everyone was super nice, no-one was weird or asked why I was there, but I spent the whole evening flushed, and sweaty, and sitting on my too bright fingernails to keep my hands from shaking so much. I hid it well and was chatty and involved in the game and only pushy with my viewpoint of the strategy a few times (We beat the game.). But I also kept an eye on the door so I could bolt if needed. I now completely understand the man that won't leave the doormat of the yarn store and needs the yarns brought over to him. It is terrifying to be the minority.

But not one person even blinked at my knitting.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Favorite Color Swap

This swap need a little back story. Having moved into a new apartment I suggested to my spoiler that a home warming theme would be welcome. My bedroom is burgundy and pink and my bathroom shaded of tan and brown and both are finished. However, my kitchen is being revamped and when I signed up for this swap my living room was an empty room.

I picked turquoise as my favorite color because it works for both rooms and posted two photos for my spoiler.
Vintage Fire King dish that I received in the Retro swap. It's in my favorite blue turquoise color and I have plans for a vintage kitchen.

For the living room a swatch photo of the rug I bought and the pillow fabric I've knitted and woven. This is a more yellow based turquoise, leaning toward sea glass and teal. It's not a color I would wear but it looks really sharp with the yellow sand colored walls in a way the blue turquoise doesn't.

Everyone gather around and look at the awesome things jamsticks spoiled me with!

First it’s worth noting that the box weighed over 15 pound! I had my 14 pound dog in one arm and this box in the other while walking up my apartment stairs. The box was much heaver than Joey. Look why.
All packaged up fancy…

 with ribbons…

and sea glass. My little Midwestern heart melted at sea glass. We don’t have that here.

First there was the vintage Pyrex. I just love vintage Pyrex. I squeeeeed and clapped my hands when I pulled this out of the box. The color is exquisite and look at the gold scrolling on the lid but really it’s all about the color. This is beyond perfect!
Turquoise utensils! More squeeeing.

Polka dotted dish towels that reflects my kitchen inspiration photo! My other inspiration photo . The photo I'm using as my own inspiration. The polka dots are my color pallet. 

Handmade soap!

In the perfect color with gold shimmer! It smells great too.

Why, Yes, I am.
It’s post-its and a pin. Super cute.

Organic Chocolate bars and gluten free. jamsticks was extremely consequence about the yummies. I’m so very touched by that.

Locally made candy. I’ve never had soft saltwater taffy before. I’m eating the last piece right now and I love it.

Yarn. I love the yarn. It’s the color of sea glass and the sky and the ocean. All my favorite colors! I can’t wait to knit it …after I horde it in my stash for a good long while as Too-Special-to-Knit.
This all shows that jamsticks is a truly talented spoiler. But wait! There is more.

Now for the hand made.

A place mat of my “Junk Drawer” There is the nail polish, Tardis, a key, marbles, candy, buttons! I could tie each image to a swap I was in. Things I sent and things I received . That is some crazy scary super good stalking.

These place mats are painted with acrylic and then heat set to be washable. Look at the sweet robins eggs and feathers. I have a sweet story about robins eggs and the robins egg blue one of the shades of turquoise I like most.

Sea Glass!

Here’s a closer look.
And to finish the set, YARN!
Thank you, jamsticks! Everything is perfect and thoughtful and generous. Words just don’t do it justice. I love it ALL!

Monday, September 03, 2012


I just had my first checkup ever. I decided that I was probably old enough that I should have my cholesterol checked and everything else that comes with the blood work. Also, I live off of eggs, vegetables, and candy. After just a few years of being good for us, this summer eggs are now rated with poison with all the cholesterol again. I was a little worried about the candy and maybe being diabetic since I've had sweaty awful blood sugar attacks this summer too. The vegetable I know I'm doing right.

I'm quite pleased I had it done. I was given a 3 page print out with graphs that all show pretty green with one large red spike at the end.

My cholesterol is excellent. I'm not diabetic. The doctor said that I'm probably Hypoglycemics and just to eat small meals through out the day. I already eat the small meals but it was nice to have the doctor brush the attacks off as unpleasant but not worrisome and that I should just pay attention. He said we could do a glucose test and when it came back positivist he would tell me to eat small meals and pay attention. Ok. So we will skip the test.

Finally, he told me my Vitamin D was extremely low and he wrote a prescription for a supplement. He told me I could expect my lethargicness and poor sleep to improve. I never told him about my poor sleep or my low energy. I thought it was my normal. If it improves my vitamin D deficiency might be the best news of all.

Another thing that pleases me is my Bento Box and my egg molds. They are small frivolous things that I would never allow myself to actually buy so they were the first thing I used my Amazon points to get.I really enjoy using them. I got them last April and have been using them all summer.

My egg timer in action. Very helpful for the egg molds since the eggs need to be cooked clear through. I really enjoy my egg timer. I get impatient and this allows me to be sure they are done.

Then quickly peel the hot egg, slap it in the mold, and place in the fridge.

The bunny face is my favorite since the bears ears never fill in well.While taking the time to mold smiley animal faces into eggs is a bit silly, it brings a smile to my face. It also is the only thing that makes me take time to peel the eggs at home and that makes eating them on my break at work more enjoyable too.

The vegetables and the candy. I use a bunny cookie cutter to keep them from mingling.

My first break I eat an egg and the fresh vegetables. My lunch I eat an egg, the vegetable main dish and the warped candy over to the right. My last break I'm not hungry but the day is wearing on me and I need a pick-me-up to sooth me and to get my brain going again. The trail mix with chocolate does the trick.

And it all fits into a container about the size of a pop can. This is just the coolest thing ever.

It's also not terribly well made so I use the thick rubber band off of the broccoli to seal it. It will never hold soup or do well upside down holding something juicy.

Speaking of juicy. It's the end of our dry streak with 36 hours of rain this weekend. There had been cracks in the dirt so wide that Joey would loose a whole leg down one. He would be toddling along and his chin would hit the ground because his legs just fell out from under him.

If it's too hard to imagine Joey legs, the cracks were large enough that a match box car would be lost in them and deep enough that fingers wouldn't reach and they would need to be retrieved with a stick. About halfway through the first day of rain the water started bubbling out of the cracks and not long after they filled with oozing mud.