29 December, 2010


One of my Christmas gifts was a visit to the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum.  The museum in Paris is being renovated and while that is happening the collection is touring.  I was looking forward to visiting some old friends.  I went to that museum quite often because it was close to my apartment and I just loved the pieces.  There are so many pieces in that collection, his personal one, that the pieces are changed out often.  Anyway, I did get to see a few of my very favorite ones.  Unfortunately I became a bit overcome at one point and my eyes started leaking.  Very embarrassing.

It is snowing as I type.  It doesn't look as if it is going to stick, or if it does there won't be much.  Which is good because I have a lot of running around to do today.  My sister and her boyfriend are coming for their visit tomorrow and I've got some grocery shopping to do, as well as getting my nails done.  The salon opens at 10 so I should be able to get out of here soon and get going before it gets worse.  I don't drive in the snow so .... fingers crossed it stops soon.

24 December, 2010

23 December, 2010

It's a little Christmas miracle

Well, that could be a slight exaggeration but still it's pretty funny.  I had a dream last night about doughnuts.  I never buy them, and always resist when they are brought to work.  I dreamed about Christmas doughnuts -- green and red sprinkles and I resisted them.  Then this morning as I stopped into our coffee room to put my milk in the refrigerator what do I see on the table?  Yes!  Christmas doughnuts.  And today I did not resist.

I worked from home yesterday as I had planned.  And good thing too because I was up all night with insomnia and didn't drop off until about 6:30 am.  I slept for a couple hours and then got up and  got the day going.   I received an email late in the afternoon from a professor who teaches a class once every two years.  This is the year on and I had totally forgotten about it so I didn't have any of the files I needed on my laptop.  I wanted to work from home again today but instead I am here to finish up the last bit of work before the vacation begins.  It shouldn't take too long and I would imagine people are going to be buttoning things up early today anyway, plus I have a hair appointment at 4 so it'll be a short day.

Yesterday evening I put the knitting on hold and spent a few hours wrapping presents and listening to my audio book.  I finished the book and loved it!  I did not finish the wrapping and must put in a few more hours tonight to get it done.  Maybe I can finish the hat and baby socks today after I get my work done.  I brought them just in case I could grab a few minutes at lunch time.

It's rainy here.  No white Christmas for us.  And that's okay.

21 December, 2010

First day of Winter!!

Yay!  Now the days get longer.  And it is a beautiful day.  It would have been perfect to bike in but I have to pick a friend up from the airport -- his sister has broken ribs and can't drive -- and so I drove in.  It is so very quiet!  All the students are gone and it seems like most of the staff are on vacation as well.  I had my phone forwarded and I didn't get one single telephone call yesterday. 

It was a busy weekend.  I was going to finish my Christmas shopping on Saturday but realized that the mall would be a mad house so instead I worked on knitting up my last gifts and took a long lunch yesterday and finished up.  This weekend I finished my nephew's scarf and also did a hat, and yesterday I started a pair of baby socks for Mr. M's daughter's baby.  They are so cute!

With all that knitting there was also a lot of listening to audio books.  I finished the Jane Smiley book and I really enjoyed the story but never did quite like the narrator.  Then I started "The Unlikely Spy" and it is wonderful.  It is set in London during WWII and is historical fiction so we have Churchill and Eisenhower and all the nasty German characters and spies and double spies.  Right up my alley.  The only thing bothering me about it is that there are a few anachronisms that bother me something fierce.  I think that is ultimately the fault of the editor, is it not?  But they are small things and not taking away from the story at all.  I am almost done with the second of three parts.  I don't want it to end but I want to know how it is going to end.  That is the trouble with good books.

I've got a nice little cocktail party to attend tonight.  I think I'll work from home again tomorrow.  There's nothing I can do here that I can't do from home, especially since 2 of the three people I'm working with next quarter are gone.  All my ducks are in a row.

17 December, 2010

An observation

It seems to me that the older I get the bigger my mistakes are.  Does that seem right to you?  Don't you think we should be learning from our mistakes and making smaller ones instead?  I wish that were the case for me.

I worked from home yesterday and took a nice long shopping lunch.  I am finally feeling that I have control of the situation.  Almost everyone is taken care of except my sister and my  nephews and I am planning on getting that taken care of tomorrow.  And I am furiously knitting gifts.  One of my friends here at work was complaining at the luncheon that he had lost his hat and had borrowed his wife's so I knit up a nice  hat for him  -- started it Wednesday evening and finished it up yesterday evening.  Then I cast on for a scarf for one of my  nephews -- he wants a black scarf and I can't see buying one when a hand knit one is so much nicer.

It is very quiet here.  The students have one last final this morning and then next week this place is going to be pretty much empty.  I'm not going to have much to do next week.  Thankfully it'll be a short week. 

15 December, 2010

It's Holiday Party day!

Typically this would be noon knitting day but that is preempted for our staff holiday lunch and gift exchange.  We have a very small group this year - some people are out sick, others out of town and I don't know what other excuses but it's going to be lunch out this year rather than potluck.  And that's fine with me because I just couldn't think of a thing to make.  It's been too crazy lately.  Tinkerbell had an appointment for a grooming so I dropped her off this morning and after our lunch it'll be time to pick her up.  Short day in the office for me.

I finished up the Waves stole last night but got distracted and so tonight I have to weave in the ends an block it.  I have enough of the wool and silk blend and the mohair to make a hat, so I think I'll make a beret using the wool/silk blend for the band and the solid mohair for the hat part.  It'll be pretty.  But before I do anything tonight I must do my Christmas cards.  I'm so late this year. 

One last exam to give tomorrow and then I am done with exams.  I have three web sites to get ready for the first of the year and one is completely done and I should be able to finish up another today or tomorrow.  That leaves me more than enough time to finish up the third and I'll have an entire week between Christmas and New Years with no worries and a visit from my sister to look forward to!  yay!

14 December, 2010

Get out the boats

Talk about rain!  We have been having a lot of it.  Yesterday morning the trail was closed in a couple of spots because of mud slides.  This is almost due east from my house, but I don't get on the trail until around 100th so it wouldn't have impacted me had I biked in.  There was no way though -- much too windy and wet and dangerous.  Last night another storm blew through and there was thunder and pouring rain and wind.  The wind was so fierce I had to close the windows for a few hours because I couldn't sleep through the noise of the shades smacking against the window. It's a mess out there.  I am lucky I am so close to work and/or can work from home.  I had to proctor an exam yesterday, today I have to proctor a single student who can't make one of the scheduled final exams.  I would have worked from home today for sure if not for that.  We had the Histo final yesterday and one student missed it because he is stuck in Chicago, which is having its own winter mess, but for them it's snow.  He's supposed to be back by Thursday.  We shall see.

I tried hard to finish that waves stole I've been working on, in between mittens.  I don't know who is going to get it but I'm tired of it and want to have it finished.  I worked on it during the football game last night but couldn't quite finish.  I'll give it an hour at lunchtime today and then maybe tonight I can get it done.  It is really quite pretty, if you like orange ... well, more like apricot.  And it's soft.  I will find just the right person for it.  But that still leaves me with quite a few people to get gifts for and not a single clue about what to get!  I'm not usually like that.  Usually I have a good idea what I'm getting for everyone on my list in plenty of time.  But I no longer have plenty of time.  I've got to get this nailed down this weekend.  Time to make some lists.

Maybe the reason I'm not on top of my game with Christmas is the sleep troubles I've been having.  I don't know if I'm blue because I can't sleep or the other way around.  No matter.  There is nothing to be done for it at this point.  I'll have to ride it out.  And I'd better start working on a game plan because coming back from vacation and having to face February ..... that's going to be the real test.

13 December, 2010

I am just about there

I did, finally, finish the convertible mittens.  Well .... I didn't knit the thumbs and I haven't woven in all the ends, but I got the pop tops done and it is evident that making the tops longer than I had on the other two prototypes is the key to keeping them from opening on the palm.  Also, the construction of them by picking up stitches (with the help of a lifeline) on the top of the hand is also a key design feature.  There are two things I will do differently when I make the first 100% perfect pair and that is to rib on both sides of the mitt portion where it ends.  I only ribbed the palm side of the mitt and that was stupid because the top of it curls and makes a little bulge.  And I will start the decreases for the top of the mitten top another few rows longer.  I am afraid of having too much space up there and trapping the cold air but a couple more rows will make it even less likely that the top will gap from normal finger and hand movements.  It is unfortunate that I am sick and tired of knitting these.  But I have some lovely Noro yarn -- not Iroha but Maiko, I think -- in a beautiful peridot color and that is what I shall use next time.  Or the cashmere.  hmmm

Saturday we went to see the Nutcracker and then out to dinner at that new (for me) restaurant called the Stumbling Goat.  The ballet was nice, but I wish Mr. M hadn't purchased matinee tickets.  I don't like matinees, especially of the Nutcracker because there are so many noisy children.  We did have nice seats though.  The dinner was great, again.  This restaurant has the BEST mushroom soup I have ever tasted.  The secret, according to the server, is the stock.  I have a friend who makes his own stock.  And I have plenty of recipes.  I should give it a try some weekend.

Oddly I woke up Saturday night and thought it was Sunday night so imagine my joy when I realized I had another day of rest and sleeping in, which I did.  I slept, then turned over and slept some more.  Football wasn't much fun to watch because the Seahawks were on the road in San Francisco and got crushed.  I have a slim chance of winning my  matchup tonight but Joe Flaco is going to have to produce some big numbers.  And speaking of numbers -- I've got 5 and 5 for the Monday night game.  That is going to be pretty hard to get.  Hopefully next Monday we'll have better numbers.

10 December, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

Things have been just WAY too busy lately.  And combine that with my sleeping problems .... I am wrecked.  I worked from home yesterday and I was hoping to have a few minutes to get my sister's birthday present sent off but that didn't happen.  I'll walk it up to the post office at lunchtime today.  I got all of my work work done by about 4 yesterday afternoon and then went about re-arranging the living room to accommodate the tree and setting that up and decorating it as well.  It was quite a job but I wanted to get it done while Mr. M wasn't around.  It would have been nice to have the help with the heavy lifting but then I would have had to argue every little move.  This way he will be presented with it - fait accompli.  I think it looks quite nice.  The tree is in front of the big window, the couch is at an angle with the fire place and looking out to the tree and my comfy chair is next to the tree and facing, at an angle, the fireplace.  VERY cozy.  I am looking forward to sitting there and doing a little knitting sometime soon.

There was no knitting last night.  My mittens are not finished and I wanted to finish,  but that cotton yarn is so unyielding that it's making my arm sore.  I just rested last night but have high hopes for finishing, or getting very close, tonight.  As for the weekend.  Sleep.  Sleep would be good.  Just some sleep.

08 December, 2010

Why hitting the snooze alarm is sometimes a good thing

Yesterday evening I met up with the faculty and TAs of the Histology course to celebrate the end of the quarter.  The meet up was in a restaurant at a nice shopping mall close by the U, so I went home and cleaned up and then drove over there early so I could shop for my sister's b'day present.  I got just the perfect thing for her and a few other little things and then headed to the restaurant we where all had a really really fun time.  The TAs are so sweet and gave us cards and little packets of candy.  After dropping one of my friends off at her house I made it home by 9:30 and just went to bed to read.  I must have been asleep by 11 or maybe 11:30 but in the middle of the night it started to rain and it woke me up, so I was a little groggy when the alarm went off at 6 or whatever ungodly hour I have it set to.  I hit the snooze button a few times and managed to drag myself into the shower about 10 or 15 minutes later than usual.  The rain had stopped and I could even see bits of clear sky in the east, so I put on my bike clothes and got all ready to ride in.  As I was packing my panniers I heard a rumble but thought it was a truck maybe or ... ?  I went to the garage, and as the garage door rose up Mr. M went closer out near the opening and turned to look at me saying, "It's pouring"!  And indeed it was pouring, and that had been thunder I heard and then there was another clap.  And I turned off my bike lights and trudged upstairs to change and drive in.  If I hadn't slept in I would have been out in that downpour, and rain gear or no, it wasn't a storm to be out in.  Took me ages to drive in as well, what with the slow traffic and the standing water.  Thunder and lightening in December! And tomorrow -- I am working from home so it can rain all it wants.

My sister is getting excited about their visit on the 30th.  We have decided that we would go out for an early-ish dinner on the 31st and then host a nice open house on New Year's day.  So I've got to start inviting people. 

Noon knitting today and I think I'm going to break with the latest tradition of working a row or two on my Cloisonne jacket and instead take up my convertible mittens to see if I can finish them up today.  I would dearly love to because the cotton yarn is making my hands hurt and I want to see if my modifications work the way I need them to work. 

07 December, 2010

My new thing

This is the second morning in a row when I've woken up thinking it was the middle of the night only to have the alarm come on while I'm trying to get back to sleep!  It is so completely dark, not even a hint of a sunrise.  It's just so annoying!!  And since it was POURING rain and I've got a dinner to attend this evening, I figured I'd give myself a break and drive in.  But the rain stopped and it was just beautiful, so now I'm crabby because I could have ridden in.  I guess, when you come right down to it, I'm just in a very bad mood.  And for no good reason, either. 

After listening to the wonderfully narrated "The Help", my current listen is Jane Smiley's "Private Life".  I love Jane Smiley's books, however the woman reading this one is just awful.  Thankfully the story is engaging because if it weren't I wouldn't be able to stand to listen to that voice.

I didn't win any of the quarters  last night and have ended up with terrible numbers for next week too.  But, I did win  my fantasy match up and that's almost as good!  And during the game I finished up the mitt portion of the convertible mittens.  My next move is to thread my metal circular needle through the stitches on the back of the hand.  This is going to be a challenge because the yarn is cotton.  I should have chosen a different yarn, in retrospect, because the cotton has no give.  I can only try. 

Well, I'd better see what I can do about this bad attitude.  It's going to be a looo-oooong day.

06 December, 2010

I've been here for 30 minutes ....

and I am still not warmed up!  It is only 37 degrees out side and with the wind chill ... it's cold!  My upper body stayed warm, in fact I was quite warm.  But my legs are not yet warmed up.  I really should look for a different pair of cycling pants.  The ideal pair would be a cross between my running pants and my current cycling pants.  Maybe after Christmas I'll look.  I'll have the week off between Christmas and New Years and my sister will be here visiting and she's a perfect shopping partner.

It was a good football weekend for a change!  I got all of my running around done on Saturday in plenty of time to settle in and watch the Huskies.  It was a good game from start to finish.  And they won, so they are going to a bowl game for the first time in six years.  I had lots of running around and chores to take care of before the game yesterday, including a trip to the mall.  I just wanted a couple pairs of stocking and it took me nearly 30 minutes because the woman running that counter was new.  I just wanted to get home and watch the game, but  I had students sending me emails complaining that the images weren't coming up in the online practice quizzes.  Obviously, if 150 students are all trying to access the same quizzes there is going to be a slow down.  Pretty much nothing I can do about that so I sent the class and faculty an email explaining the problem and then I sat down to watch the Seahawks.  They did not look good at first but after the half they came out and won the game.  I am winning my fantasy match up this week, too.  Now if I could win a couple of quarters tonight, that would make it a SUPER football week.

I cast on for yet another prototype of the convertible mittens on Saturday and by last night I had the hands done through the thumb gusset and a couple rows beyond.  I have one last thing to try and hopefully this will solve the problem of the hand part creeping up and leaving the palm open.  I am going to run a life line through the stitches on the back of the hand and then when I have completed the fingerless mitt part I will pick up stitches along that line with one circular needle and cast on stitches to the other circular needle and then work the top of the mitten from there.  There will be a little overlap on the top of the hand to give it a bit more structure.  It's kind of hard to describe.  I just hope it works.  At least this time I am using yarn that I won't mind wasting if it doesn't work.

03 December, 2010

Audiobook voices

Yesterday I finished listening to "Help".  This book was narrated by a few women, all doing a fabulous job.  It's funny though, whenever I am listening to an audiobook the accent colors my thoughts at other times.  This book took place is Mississippi where the southern accent is very strong and my thoughts come, from time to time, in this accent. And this makes me laugh at some inappropriate times.  I downloaded two more last night.  I wonder what my thoughts will sound like this weekend?

I took the entire night off from knitting.  Did not pick up one single WIP.  I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home, thinking it wouldn't be crowded.  Ha!  It was packed!  But I managed to get out of there without killing anyone, which I consider a triumph.  And now we're stocked up for a few weeks.  And then after doing a few chores I just cuddled up with Tink and watched some TV and went to bed early.  I slept great, too. 

Yesterday I ran at lunchtime for an hour -- well, it was run and walk and run because it's been quite a few weeks since I've been able to get out there.  It felt great, but I'm a wee bit sore today.  I rode in since it's nice and mild.  A friend of mine is stuck in Ireland because Dublin airport has been closed.  I understand there's a big snow storm over there.  Funny, since we had it just last week.  Not as bad, obviously, because our airport didn't close (as far as I know).  It's so strange that it's so mild here now after that bitter cold.  I don't care if it gets cold again though.  I've got the Caribbean to look forward to in January.

Huge football weekend for the Huskies.  It's the Apple Cup Saturday and if they win they will most likely get a bowl game.  It's being played in Pullman this year and it is going to be C-O-L-D.  I will have plenty of time to get my errands run on Saturday and then I can settle down and watch the game at three.  Go Dawgs!!

02 December, 2010

I know it's a day early ......

but what with time differences and all that, I'm going to throw my happy birthday wishes into the ether today so they have plenty of time to travel.  Big one this year.  Officially now you have reached the "old fool" state.  I'll raise a glass to you tonight.  Cheers to you, wherever you are.

I found out that a faculty member is going to be taking early retirement effective in a few months.  His office is down the corridor from mine about 5 doors, but across another corridor and it has a window!  I know we are getting one or two new faculty soon but I thought I'd at least put the bug into the Administrator's ear that I would dearly dearly love to get out of this closet and into an office with a window!  Even if the area is noisy I could close the door if I had a window.  But she had already promised that office to another investigator whose lab is across the door from that office but his current office is way far away.  *sigh*  I understand.  And she continued that everyone is aware of my situation .. noisy, small, cramped, airless ... need I go on?  I had a student in here last week and she said, "We've GOT to get you a new office"!.  I asked her who she  knew.  ;-)  Long story short, it's not likely I'll be moving any time soon.  There are other office staff that are down 5 floors and they should really be moved upstairs before I get to move.  I am low man on the totem pole no matter how much the Administrator denies it.  Frankly, I am grateful to have a job in this terrible economy so I don't make waves.  Anyway, she said that since I can work from home my situation is not considered that desperate.  And I like to work from home so .... there ya go.

I brought my convertible mittens to noon knitting yesterday to ask the advice of the other knitters and we agreed that making the "flip top" a bit bigger might solve the problem.  Only way to find out is to knit another prototype.  This time I'm going to use cheap yarn rather than the nice stuff.  And bigger needles -- don't need to make another prototype out of sock yarn.

I am looking forward to the weekend.  It's going to be nice and quiet.  Mr. M is out doing a big show every night starting from tonight and also part of Sunday.  I am not going to be rehearsing for the next couple weeks -- whether they know it or not -- so I can do lots of fun things and get some rest.  I am stressed and I don't think I've yet completely recovered from that sleepless Sunday night.  I slept okay last night but was up at 3 to let the dog out.  Thankfully I fell back asleep but I was a hard go to get out of bed.  Since I have to stop at Trader Joe's and refuse to shop there on the weekend, I caved in and drove again so I can stop on my way home.  Tomorrow though I'm going to ride in.  I think I sleep better when I've had a 16 mile ride.

01 December, 2010

Rethinking the convertible mittens

I drove in yesterday since it was POURING buckets and I needed to bring stuff with me.  I figured I'd run or at least walk/run at lunchtime.  But it didn't quit raining.  I'll go out in sprinkles or even a light rain, but a downpour ... nah.  I felt pretty good considering that awful night of insomnia Sunday.  I managed to stay awake all Monday with the exception of about an hour when I couldn't keep my eyes open.  I laid down and 60 minutes later I was wide awake.  That's probably good because I did get a nice solid  night in Monday as well as last night.

I worked late here, then threw in the towel and headed home.  I knew I had lots to do at home and wanted to get some squash in the oven before 6 so we could eat at a decent hour.  I didn't sit down until 7:30.  It was just one of those days.  Simple dinner and asleep by 10.  And I stayed asleep -- yay!  I wanted to ride in today -- it's been well over a week since I've been able to ride because of the snow -- but I had an early meeting and it's so hard for me to ride in and cool down and change and get to an 8:30 meeting.  It's doable but it's not fun. 

So I drove in again and I wore my Coquille scarf/shawl thing with the matching convertible mittens I finished.  The modifications I made this time were closing the thumb since I noticed when I was walking from the bus last Monday in the freezing cold that my thumbs were not warm at all.  Duh.  And I kept the 4 extra stitches (2 on a side) rather than bind them off for a little tab to attach.  And finally I did a star decrease rather than the decreases just on the side.  It makes it less pointy.  I thought also that by doing the thumb gusset evenly on the two needles would keep the mittens from twisting on my hand.  And it does help a lot however I still noticed today that as I use them the top part twists and then they are open at the palm. I made the ribbing longer inside and out thinking that would help but no, it doesn't.  I believe that the problem may be that I am not making the hand and convertible top part long enough.  I don't want there to be too much space around the fingers to keep out the cold air.  There must be some sort of compromise.  I am going to have to make yet another pair.  I will not use nice yarn this time though.  I have yarn from that grab bag I could use ... well, I've got lots of bits and bobs.  I'll do another pair on size six needles -- it'll go fast and it won't kill me if I end up with yet another pair that is not completely perfect.