Sunday, April 29, 2007

Back on the needles

Once long ago I started Mim's Adamas shawl, knitting straight off a cone of Zephyr. Sadly, at the beginning of December when I really needed a soothing project that I wouldn't accidentally finish too soon Monkey pulled the needles out and did quite a bit of unraveling.
Lucky for him, it was bed time when this happened, so I put him in his room and locked the door instead of beating him.

I tried running a thread through the stitches that occur before the incident, but that is not an easy thing to do on lace. Finally, to avoid getting any more angry, I folded it up and stuffed it in a ziplock bag with the cone. Hid it under my bed.

This weekend, I finally decided I wasn't mad any more and pulled it out. Rip, rip, rip; I tore out two or three inches. Delightfully, it was surprisingly easy to get the live stitches on a needle after ripping back. So Adamas is back in action. Only like a million more rows to go. But that is ok, because it is already hot here so my shawl needs are rather small for the next 6 months or so. Or more.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Declaration of War

Attention Squirrels that live in the trees around my home:
I really do think you guys are adorable. I loved watching you leap from tree to tree, playing grab-ass and other squirrely games. I was tickled to find out you actually make tiny purring noises at each other. I loved leaving you peanuts on my bedroom windowsill so I could watch you eat.
But that is no more.
It was one thing when you kept eating the blossoms (and a great deal of the plant) off the Impatiens and Petunias I planted near the front door. I was fine resorting to a little chemical warfare: planing garlic among the flowers (it is probably too late to actually get a crop of garlic if they grow; but I know the plants smell garlicy and I hoped it would deter you).
I was completely willing to overlook that. Hey, it might not even be you, I have no proof.
But building a nest on my engine block, from my cars insulation, is TOO MUCH. What if had caught fire? Really not good for my car, and less than ideal for the tiny squirrels you intended on placing there. Thankfully, I discovered the nest in an un-squirreled state.
I try to use my car as little as possible to be kind to the environment and save on fuel costs. Not to create a squirrel hotel. Stay the hell out of my car. I know you are just rats with personality.
No peanuts for you!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


The garden is coming along beautifully here at chez artiste. All the tiny plants I bought are doing very well. The tomatoes are going crazy and have blossoms all over, as well as half a dozen smallish green tomatoes that seem like they are taking forever to ripen. Must be patient! The crookneck squash greets me every morning with beautiful golden male blossoms that are spent by the evening like morning glories. There are some small female blossoms developing, so there should be some tiny yellow squash soon, nature willing. The zucchini, which were so tiny when I bought them, are getting bushy and healthy looking. The bell pepper is getting tall and looks great, but I think it needs more heat before it will blossom. Still waiting for the eggplant to do something fabulous, but it will catch up. The cucumber is reaching desperately for the fence, and the cantaloupe is covered with little blossoms.

The seeds I planted are doing better than I expected too (I don't seem to have much luck with seeds). Monkey and I planted carrots and radishes last week, and the radishes have sprouted in a cute green little stripe that I've already had to thin. I highly recommend anyone plant radishes, they sprout in no time giving you the instant gratification that I rarely experience with seeds. Plus, when you thin them you can save the sprouts and throw them in a salad-super delicious! I had nearly given up hope on the carrots when they all seemed to spring up in a furry little row yesterday. We started a rotating crop of assorted lettuces Monday and will plant more once a week, so we will have constant fresh greens all summer.

All this growing and I really wish I had blocked off room for more. I've sent off for some purple carrot seeds, having looked everywhere for them. I'm reading about growing potatoes. Monkey and I started some peas and melon in little cups yesterday. Apparently, after 12 years of living in apartments, I am ready to be a farmer (at least in my head).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Striped Socks

The first pair of socks actually knit for me! Some simple ribbed socks, with a cute little cable down one side. Knit from a ball of Opal that the fabulous Margene gave me when I left Utah for parts unknown. Short row heal brought to you by an exquisite tutorial from Misocrafty. These socks have been a security blanket for months now, being carried everywhere as the perfect "just in case" project. I'd better start some more socks pronto.

So now that these are photographed and posted I can pack them away with the lavender I picked last summer, because wool sock season has passed me by.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Finally my interview, questions by the lovely and talented Eliza.

1. Do you like living in Floria? What do you miss most about Salt Lake City?
I love living in Florida, but I really miss the mountains in Utah. I miss hiking every weekend, and the ocean just is not as good for keeping you oriented as the mountains were. I also really miss our geek-fest Saturday nights with our best friends Jeff and Mary. We got together virtually every weekend for about 7 years to cook dinner, RPG and let the kids get together. I miss all my Salt Lake knitting friends too, people just aren't that into wool here.

2. Who taught you to knit and how old were you?
My grandma taught me to knit when I was 5. I was a patient kid with an unnatural ability to sit quietly, and since my grandma was frequently knitting I wanted to learn too. I lived with my grandparents for a while then, and I always wanted to be around my grandma. She had this amazing gift to make everyone feel like they truly were her favorite person. Or maybe I really was her favorite grand kid. My first project was a doll blanket, made patchwork style with a block from every skein in her stash.
I resisted learning to knit continental for years because she taught me to throw. She died almost 10 years ago and I still miss her almost every day. Strangely, I wanted to knit the way she taught me, as though it would somehow be disloyal to do otherwise. It was my lady Mary who convinced me to pick, which has an awesome circularity because I initially taught her to knit.

3. How long have you been playing the guitar? Do you play any other instruments?
I've been playing guitar (well) for about 5 years now; I took a guitar class in college but it taught me nothing. A friend moved in with Marc and I when he was having marriage trouble, and the guys wanted to form a band. To avoid being stuck as the bass player I practiced really really hard. (Nothing against bass players, I sleep with one. It's just that if a band has one girl, she is ALWAYS playing bass. I refused to be a stereotype.)
I also play Mandolin, which is what I practice most now. I also took 6 years of clarinet in school, but that was a long time ago.

4. What is your favorite food/comfort food?
Initially I would say lasagna; but last week we went out to dinner at a place on the beach where you order a bucket of steamed clams, mussels, shrimp, oysters, lobster and other goodness and that was definitely in the top 1% of meals I have ever eaten.

5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I have this lovely image of visiting Greece by way of sailboat. The ancient Greeks were so closely connected with the ocean, this seems the best way to see the country. There are some places there aren't roads to, you have to take a boat. Plus, this was suggested to us by a Greek couple we met in Rome. We just need to convince a few other couples to go with us, and it is a pretty reasonable way to travel.
I would also go back to Japan in a heartbeat. Or Switzerland, that was another favorite. Really, in all our world travels the only place I wouldn't return to was the Bahamas.

That was fun! Anyone else not been interviewed who would like to, just ask. Although I'm pretty sure I am the last one to this party again.


The lovely and talented Eliza was kind enough to interview me last week; unfortunately I was unable to answer until now (by now I mean sometime tonight when I finally get everything together.) Last week Monkey started having a new kind of seizure, not quite the grand mal seizures he had last year but extended absence seizures. We ended up at Sacred Heart in Pensacola having a long term EEG-the first 30 minute EEG he had turned up NOTHING and his doctor was smart enough to realize that was not right. The Valium he received in the ER was suppressing them so the immediate EEG was useless. After 18 hours of having the leads glued to his head the doctor reviewed results and it turns out my sweet little monkey is having tiny seizures that exhibit no outward signs every few minutes.

This sounds like terrible news, but that EEG gave us more information to help him than anything else we've done.

He is now on some new medication that has prevented any noticeable absence seizures since Sunday, the longest he's been seizure free for months. The bruises from falling during seizures are starting to turn green. And we are set up for re-testing him concerning speech deficiencies and Autism in a few months; his really awesome doctor suggested that we see what his brain will do after a month or two of not interrupting itself every 10 minutes.

Despite how crappy all this sounds, the last several days have been the best we've had in a while. So later tonight I'll post my interview, along with some finished knitting (I had a lot of time in the hospital where a knit sock was the perfect thing to hold myself together with). Hurray!

Monday, April 02, 2007


Green really is a perfect color for the April and May Project Spectrum. Everything around my has exploded with bright greens in the last weeks, astounding considering how green everything looked when I got here in December.

Monkey and I installed some vegetables in the garden this weekend: tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, cantaloupe. We still have room leftover to put in seeds for carrots, radishes and peas, as well as cucumbers and eggplant when I get over to the nursery to pick some up.

Green is also the little lizard hanging out on my bedroom window ledge this morning, looking all charming and tail-challenged. And fast, almost too fast for my s l o w camera. We get geckos here too, cute little guys with round sticky toes on windows at night, but they are too fast for my camera.