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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Luna Moth Takes Flight

C'est fini! I can't believe it. I have actually finished my very first shawl!! I had attempted a shawl 2 years ago which only made it up to the 7th repeat and then got dropped. I think the problem there was trying to do it with fingerling yarn. I definitely set myself up for failure there. I do plan on trying the Flower Basket Shawl again, someday. I think I need to do a few more worsted weight shawls like this Luna Moth Shawl, Shui Kuen Kozinski's wonderful design and well written pattern. I had no trouble following the instructions at all. Of course it helped that there were row-by-row instructions. :-) There were a number of shawls I was interested in knitting for the Elann Shawl KAL, but I couldn't choose them because they were too difficult and/or they came in chart only. I really do need to get more comfortable with chart reading, someday...

I worked the pattern as written, without adding any extra repeats. I interpreted the pattern instructions as knitting rows 1 to 14, then 15 to 34, then 15 to 34, then 15 to 34 (3rd repeat), then the final section of 15 to 24 before the edging row and bind off. I hope that was the correct interpretation.

The finished shawl is 46 by 28 inches. It's fine for someone petite (like me), a light extra layer for a little more warmth without anything dangling to get in the way ... but extra repeats would definitely be necessary for a larger person. Or perhaps I didn't stretch it out enough when I blocked it? That could be part of it. I have very limited blocking experience. Perhaps I should have soaked it for 20 minutes or more. Anyhowz, it's either a very large triangular scarf or a very small shawl. In either case, when would I ever wear it? What would I wear it with? Such a pretty shawl doesn't quite fit the looks-like-a-bum SAHM who has a toddler in tow. Hmmm....

If I knit Luna again, I will make the following changes: add an extra repeat or two; soak it for 20 minutes or more before blocking; try to stretch it even more while pinning it.

Here is a close up of the shawl. I love how it turned out, and I still can't believe it... did I really knit this?!

Finishing this shawl has given me the confidence to tackle another shawl, perhaps another Luna Moth since I really love this pattern, but definitely other patterns as well! I want to knit Sun Ray and Moonlight Sonata too. And I have to thank Lisa for giving me that extra push, I would not have done this if she had not organized the Elann Shawl KAL. Before this KAL, I looked at this pattern and thought omigosh that's just too hard! Go check out the KAL blog where you'll find a plethora of gorgeous shawls knitted by other people.


As we're going to move into a new house before the next Ice Age, I find myself thinking about all the crap we own. I guess I'm a bit of a pack rat. Of course not in the yarn dept, I'm talking about all the non-yarny crap. ;-) I was thinking about the small collection of garbage (well, one of many in the house, lol) in one corner of our dining room ... empty wine bottles. Why do I have them? I kept them for sentimental reasons, much like how other people collect match boxes from places they've visited. My empty wine bottles are just taking up space...

I didn't discover wine until the mid 90s when some friends introduced me to the world of wine. My wine education started out with Bordeaux (and I still feel a bit partial to Bdx), but I have explored other regions since then. I couldn't remember which bottles I kept, so I decided to take a lookie. Of course these bottles weren't easily accessible. I had to climb over other storage boxes and move 5 boxes of Spiegelau wine glasses (the "poor man's Riedel") to get to them. Why do I have 5 boxes of wine glasses (30 glasses) when I am the sole wine drinker in the house?! Anyhowz, I moved the wine glasses and found a few wine bottles sitting on the floor and most of them in a Davis Bynum box. Here's what I found:
1985 Chateau Cos d'Estournel (St Estephe)
1988 Chataeu Cos d'Estournel (St Estephe)
1990 Chateau Cos d'Estournel (St Estephe)
1988 Domaine de Chevalier (Graves)
1990 Chateau de Pez (St Estephe)
1990 Chateau Haut Batailley (Pauillac)
1986 Chateau Haut Brion (Graves)
1990 Chateau Haut-Marbuzet (St Estephe)
1990 Chateau La Louviere (Graves)
1989 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion (Graves)
1989 Chateau Lynch Bages (Pauillac)
1990 Chateau Lynch Bages (Pauillac)
1993 Chateau Lynch Bages (Pauillac)
1989 Chateau Meyney (St Estephe)
1990 Chateau Meyney (St Estephe)
1989 Chateau Pape Clement (Graves)
1993 Chateau Pinchon-Longueville (Pauillac)
I don't really need all these empty bottles. I've already thrown out the 5 bottles that weren't in the box. Now I need to work up to throwing out the remaining 12.

The wine bottle you see above is my last bottle of 2002 Kahn Winery Sauvignon Blanc. I picked up a case when I passed through their tasting room in Los Olivos, CA (near Santa Barbara, CA) in May 2003. My in-laws aren't big wine drinkers, but I think they got a kick out of seeing their surname on the bottle ... well, that'd be the surname of DH's parents, and maiden name for DH's dad's sis. So now you know what the "K" stands for in "smariek", if you hadn't already guessed it from my free patterns ... ;-)

Unfortunately Kahn Winery went out of business so there are no more bottles to be had. :-( I will probably not open this last bottle because I suspect it is already corked. :-(


V wrote: How about a knit for the bff?

Can't really blog about stuff for people who read my blog... :-P

Cate wrote: I have an iPod nano and wish I had been able to afford the regular iPod. It is amazing how quickly the nano gets full. I wouldn't have believed I owned 1000 songs and it turns out I have way more than that. By the time you add in part of an audio book - whoosh, all the space is gone.

We have about 22 GB of stuff so far. I know it would all fit in the smaller regular 30 GB iPod, but I wonder, do I really need access to all of our stuff at any given time? DH has the 20 GB iPod and he says that's plenty. I do find the size of the iPod Nano very attractive. I carry enough of M's stuff as it is, and don't really need something big/heavy. One of these days I'll have to enumerate all the crap I carry around in my bag. And whatever is in my purse or diaper bag is definitely going to take a beating.

I do want something so I can listen to audio books while knitting. Watching TV while knitting usually means not getting very far in either. However I'm starting to wonder how much I will use it for audio books while knitting now that I've started watching HGTV and using those HGTV shows as background noise while I knit. Funny how you get into HGTV after buying a house, huh?

Lisa wrote: I knitted and thickly felted a sweet little case for mine with a long felted icord handle that goes over my shoulder/cross the body sort of for me.

Hmm... tempted by the idea of a small felted project!!! I've never felted before. You're right about the 30 GB iPod being great for watching videos on long flights. I think you do a lot more traveling than I do, lol.


I am still experiencing computer woes. Yes, the same intermittent power problem. Laptop drops to battery power and I have to wiggle the cord to get it back to AC power. A few seconds later, it's back to battery power. It's driving me nuts!!! I had mentioned upgrading to a T60 a while back. Well, I am still in the process of upgrading. Nothing involving computers is ever simple. I think we tried installing WinXP and all that other crap (security patches, IBM software, etc) three times on that thing ... and there was always some problem! The last annoying thing was not being able to move the cursor or have keyboard control when rebooting. It was random. It was annoying.

So we tried configuring a different T60 (yes, a different laptop of the same model). Same problems. Sigh...

I hope to upgrade to the T60 soon. The smaller lighter weight laptop will be a welcome change.

Earlier today I had a partially unresponsive keyboard. I think this laptop knows I'm trying to get rid of it...


Not much to report on our house buying adventure. Our Loan Papers should be ready to sign, and we will probably have an appt next week with our Loan Person and the Lender to sign a gazillion papers. I just hope it isn't an early morning appt cuz that means driving to the south bay in rush hour traffic. We did this a few times when meeting our Realtor and it was not fun for me. I'm just not used to driving in those conditions.

I think we need to secure some sort of home insurance before escrow closes -- or was it before we sign the papers with the Loan People? I forget which. Although DH is looking into the insurance, it seems to be causing me a bit of stress. Well, the whole house buying process is causing me stress. I can feel it in my shoulders. It is keeping me up at night.


Remember that vest pattern I was looking for, for my mom? Well I finally showed her some of the vests I had in mind and she likes the Lion Brand Patchwork Textured Vest I was originally thinking of doing. It calls for Lion Cotton, but I'm leaning towards Adara or Pasticcio. I showed Mom the snips of both and she prefers Adara in Garnet Rose or Hyacinth. I'm hoping that this yarn is a good substitute (thickness) for Lion Cotton. And I'm hoping that the variegated yarn will not drown out the textured pattern of the vest.

Imagine this vest:

In one of these colors:


Utopia (218)

Another hat for the Cap Karma Chemo Cap Project. This is my own design. I love how it is a unisex cable hat. Hmm... I guess most cable patterns are unisex, lol. Sorry, no models for the hat, they're all sleeping in the crib right now.

My personal goal is to meet or exceed the previous year's number of hats. This is Cap Karma's 2nd year, and the blog was started in Oct 2006. So I will consider a "year" to begin in October. Hey, who says the year has to start in January?

In Cap Karma's 1st year, I was only able to knit 10 chemo hats, 9 of which went to Cap Karma and 1 went to someone I knew. I'm doing much better this 2nd year, I think it's because M is no longer a newborn and I managed to find a little more knitting time. The hat you see above is hat #18 for this year. I hope to make a few more before the end of September...


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Luna Moth Shawl - blocking

C'est presque fini!!! My Luna Moth shawl is finally blocking, not elegantly, but it is blocking. It's probably not an exact triangle (with straight edges where they should be straight or evenly distributed pointy edges where they should be pointy) cuz I eyeballed it while I pinned it down. I still haven't found time to stop by Toys R Us to pick up those puzzle mats. I'm hoping this will dry overnight so I can remove it from the floor before M does any damage...

The pattern instructions say to soak the shawl for 20 minutes. Why for such a long time? I'm just wondering what difference 5 minutes would make vs 20 minutes...


On Wednesday, I mentioned trying to decide between an 8 GB iPod Nano or a 30 GB iPod. I'm leaning towards the iPod Nano, thinking it'll definitely survive being abused inside my purse or diaper bag. And there's also the plus of choosing from more colors. You can never go wrong with white, but the pink looks nice too. I just wish they had a purple one!

I guess the question is ... will I ever use an iPod to view video???


Works in mind ....

-- Vest for my Mom.
I had mentioned 3 possible vest patterns here, and I'm really leaning towards that Patchwork Vest.

-- Jayne Cobb Hat for T.
I need to find the right shades of red, orange, yellow for this one. Also need to learn how to make a pom pom!!!

-- Luna Moth Shawl for MIL.
I really enjoyed knitting my first shawl, I can see myself knitting another. I think I'll have to do a few in worsted weight yarn before I can work my way down to DK or fingerling.

-- Cable Hats!!!!
I've got the cable bug and I'm thinking of a cable hat. I want to get back into the chemo hats. I seem to get more inspired to do them in the fall/winter, but I need to start thinking about them now.

-- Doctor Who Scarf
A long term project. I'm still trying to find a line of sport weight yarn that comes in all the colours I need.

Knits I need to work on before Christmas, but have no specific pattern in mind ...

-- Scarf for my SIL

-- Scarf for my Aunt

-- Scarf for my Cousin

-- Scarf for my FIL

Patterns I want to knit ...

-- Grace Yasokic's Diamonds and Lace Scarf
I want to try knitting this from chart. I've always been intimidated by charts, but I think her chart might be doable since the WS rows are worked as you see them (instead of that counter-intuitive method that throws me off)

-- Shui Kuen Kozinki's Moonlight Sonata Shawl
This would be an ambitious project for me, especially with the Baby Silk fingerling weight yarn.

Pattern still needing to post ...

-- Miranda Cable Scarf
You've already seen this here, but probably didn't realize it; I just didn't mention what it was in that post. I'm just so lazy when it comes to typing up pattern text, especially when I need to jump through a few more hoops to get it into PDF format and then upload it here and there.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Down payment woes

I always thought that the whole making an offer part of buying a house was the most stressful part, but now I see than the loan process is also stressful. Same shishkabob, different texture. Besides what I mentioned here, I later discovered that DH's stocks -- a good chunk of which were going towards the downpayment -- took a 20% dip on Wed when the company made some sort of earnings announcement. Ack!!!!!


I'm not sure what that will mean. Probably less ready cash on hand if we can't get enough of our down payment from the stocks he planned on selling.


Not doing very well in the knitting dept, but I hope to have my Luna Moth Shawl finished this weekend. Hopefully that means an updated photo too. I feel like such a straggler here. You can see everyone else's finished shawls on the Elann Shawl KAL blog.

Despite not knitting much (or knitting very fast), I am itching to buy more yarn. It's not like I need more yarn, I've got plenty. I really need to go on a yarn diet and start stash busting, especially since I should watch my expenditures now that we're buying a house. But why am I always desiring yarn in a weight, fiber, or color that I don't already have?


Lynn from the Monthly Dishcloths KAL sent me birthday greetings which surprised me since I didn't think anybody knew when my birthday was. Did I mention it somewhere? Hmmm. Anyhowz, that was a pleasant surprise from Lynn. Thanks!!!

Bets wrote: Is Tanforan the one with the two story Target?

Yup, that's the one. It was neato mosquito to see the shopping carts go up and down, but the newness has worn off now. I'm not liking how they've remodeled and moved the diapers upstairs (away from the section downstairs where you find soap, shampoo, lotion, etc) cuz that just means I have to walk by the toy section to get there. That's not good with a toddler in tow.

Don't know when you last visited Tanforan. They've remodeled it in somewhat recent years and it is looking much better than the old mall, although I have to say it is still not a very interesting mall and definitely poorly designed in terms of where they've placed their escalators (think casino, you can never find your way out or you have to walk long distances to get there).

G-Girl wrote: once escrow closes, when will you be able to move in??

I'm guessing we get the keys once escrow closes. We won't be able to move in immediately. There's a bit of work (repairs) that needs to be done to the house first. And then DH wants to remodel the bathrooms because they bug him more than they bug me. At least the kitchen doesn't need help... unless we convert to a gas range. Not sure if that is even feasible. We'll need to shop for a fridge, washer and dryer since the property doesn't come with those things. And of course we'll need to clean it up a bit before moving in. Am thinking of knitting a bunch of swiffer mop covers since all of the flooring is wood.

Sarah-Hope wrote: Is your mom a knitter herself?

Nope, she's not a knitter although she might have dabbled in it when she was much younger. I have vague memories of playing with some of her old metal knitting needle which she brought with her from Hong Kong. Can't say I recall ever seeing her knit with them though. She's more of a casual person, so I'm leaning towards that patchwork vest.

TracyKM wrote: It doesn't look as big from the picture. Four bedrooms? Are you going to fill some up with more little ones? LOL.

It's a "cozy" 4 bedroom house at 1800 sq ft. House #2 (picture here), which we lost in the bidding wars, was 2400 sq ft, 5 bed 3 bath. The house we didn't even get a chance to bid on (picture here) was 1550 sq ft, 4 bed 2 bath, definitely way more cozy that I would have liked but it was attractively priced at $888,000.

The downside to DH needing a home office is that we lose one room as a bedroom, so it's really 3 usable bedrooms. One bedroom for us and one for little M. I'm guessing the third room will be the guest room, however it will probably end up being the junk/storage room until (if) we have baby #2. Would love to have baby #2, but I have so many trying days with M that makes me doubt I can handle being pregnant with baby #2 or even managing both of them without going crazy. But then I have to remind myself that millions of other women have done this before...

I don't think DH would like me to turn that 3rd bedroom into a yarn/craft playroom, but I suspect most or all of my stash will go in there.

I didn't know that mercerized cotton wasn't as absorbent. That's good to know!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ipod Shuffle 05/24/07

I can't believe half the songs came up French this time.

1. The Winner - Crystal Method
2. Tant Que C'est Toi - Natasha St. Pier
3. Il Me Dit Que Je Suis Belle - Patricia Kaas
4. The Wild Boys - Duran Duran
5. Symphonie Pour Une Dingue - K-Maro
6. Elle Est D'Ailleurs - Pierre Bachelet
7. Symphonie Nr. 2 D-dur Op. 36 IV Allegro Molto - Beethoven
8. Sous le Vent - Garou et Celine Dion
9. Fat Boy - Jewel
10. Union of the Snake - Duran Duran
Patricia Kaas is one of my favorite French female singers.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Loan worries

I've been feeling a little stressed lately... ever since I found out our Loan person is on vacation until Friday 6/1. Our Loan papers should be ready to sign after Memorial Day 5/28. Our Loan person says we can make an appt with the Lender (not sure who this is) to sign the papers anytime after the loan papers are available or wait until she gets back on Monday 6/4. I'd feel better if our Loan person was present.

Normally this would be no big deal but .... DH has Jury Duty on Mon 6/4 to Fri 6/8. Aaaaaaahhh! Timing could not be any worse...

I'm hoping DH can somehow get his Jury Duty postponed...


Thoughts for 05/23/07

I was rummaging around for something and stumbled upon these knit booties my MIL's friend or neighbor made for M when she was a newborn. They looked huge when I got them, but they fit M nicely now. Good thing I found them now and not a year from now! Here's what they look like on her feet:

Do you know how hard it is to take pics of M's feet when they are never still???

And while we're on the topic of foot apparel, I also found these which my in-laws brought back from Taiwan. I never knew when these would fit either. They're size "23". Not sure what that means in Taiwanese sizing. I had M try them on, they are definitely a bit big/loose on her. She keeps telling me, "shoe fall down," when she needs help getting it back on. I've told her these are slippers or house shoes. We make a distinction in our house (see below). I don't think the soles of these shoes will survive outside, not with the way M abuses her shoes. The shoes are suede-like. M calls them her "reh" (red) shoes. I'm not sure if I should just go along with that or tell her they are magenta or fuchsia.

I just received a new knitting book, along with M's first potty chair. I've been wanting this book for aeons, it really is a must-have if you love cables. Now I don't have to keep checking it out of the library! :-) I love the easy-to-clean design of the potty. We haven't used it yet, although M is pretty happy with sitting on it as a chair.

I haven't mad much time for knitting pursuits... neither knitting nor knitting blogs. Now that I am about to become a homeowner, I find myself reading up on home related topics and trying to learn more about that sort of thing. We're thinking about remodeling the bathroom(s) before we move in and I need to do some research on that. While searching for more info, I stumbled upon a fun little discussion on the Gardenweb forums about wearing shoes in the house. I never imagined that people would think it rude to be asked to remove their shoes. Of course one wouldn't bring mud/snow/etc into anybody's house (I should hope ... people do have common sense don't they? oh wait, common sense isn't so "common" anymore), but that isn't usually an issue where I live.

Being Asian (ancestors from Hong Kong & China), removing shoes when entering the house is a cultural thing so the concept is as normal to me as brushing my teeth in the morning. And although I was born in the United States, I still retain some of these Old World customs. I wear slippers in the house (and a different set of slippers when downstairs in the garage) or socks. M understands the concept of slippers, she calls her indoor shoes "slippers" or "house shoes", it's really cute when she says it. She'll even remind me to change her shoes when we've just come home and I'm getting her out of the car. :-)

My in-laws are from Taiwan, and they have a no-shoes policy in their house too. We wear guest slippers when we visit. The only person who doesn't remove shoes is DH's grandmother (who will be 91 yrs old this year); she uses a walker (can't remember whether this was a side effect of her last hip surgery; she used a cane before the walker) and wears special shoes due to uneven leg length.

I guess being accustomed to removing shoes at the door when entering a house makes it feel normal to me when realtors at Open Houses to ask visitors to remove their shoes before looking around a house. I'd have to say most of the Open Houses we went to had a no-shoes policy.

Even though we've found our house, we are still casually going to Open Houses. We saw 4 houses in Fremont the last time we visited the in-laws. DH & I remarked at how enjoyable it was to look at houses when the foremost thing on your mind is not how's the layout?, what's wrong with the house?, or how much are they asking?, LOL. So now we're just looking to get remodelling/decorating ideas. Two of the houses we saw were in the Mission San Jose area of Fremont, where I noticed a bicyclist wearing a helmet. That's way cool. I would like to live in a neighborhood where people are safety conscious, where they'll wear helmets when riding their bicycles. It would be a good influence on M when she becomes of bike-riding age. I'm not sure if the neighborhood we will be moving to has such safety conscious people; I have the feeling it will be a mixed bag where some will wear helmets while others will not.

I've been thinking about window coverings. I saw these white wooden blinds in one of the Open Houses. I think they look nice and seem easy to clean (compared to the thin vinyl/metal types). Need to look into those more.

I found a nifty little bathroom planner, where you give it the shape/dimensions of your room, pick some things to put in it (shower, tub, toilet, etc) and see how it fits. It's not perfect, but it gives a rough idea of how things will fit. Of course you have to start out with the correct dimensions. Since I don't have specific measurements of the bathroom in our new house, I took a guess. It didn't work out after I placed the shower, toilet, & sink. Need to go have another look at our house. It's too bad that they don't provide you with a layout/diagram of your house with the dimensions of the rooms. This bathroom planner had limited choices for shower/tub/toilet/etc, I wonder if there are any websites with an interactive bathroom (or kitchen) planner.

This is a photo of the kitchen in my new house. That's all staging furniture you see. It's hard to see the cabinet/counter color in the photo, it's really quite boring.... think putty color, like what you see on old computer casings. They tried to get the Corian counter to match the cabinet color. It's pretty blah. In our current house, we have green Corian counters and pink maple cabinets.

The cabinet to the far right of that section you see in the photo is where I suspect the Sellers kept their garbage can. When I went to the Open House, I randomly opened several cabinet doors and could detect a strong garbage can odor coming from that cabinet at the end. I will need to find some way of getting rid of that smell. Yuck...

The stove is somewhere behind you. I don't recall which stove it was, only that it was some sort of electric type and that the surface showed some wear. At least it isn't the electric coil type, which is what our previous dream house had (I've added a photo of the front of that house). I doubt it is one of the newer magnetic induction type stoves, and as cool as that would be (plus safe for M since the surface doesn't get hot itself) I would really find that inconvenient since I just tested my cookware with a fridge magnet and discovered that it would not work on an induction stove.

I've never had an electric stove before. I've always had gas and I am pretty happy with gas. I wonder whether it is possible to convert to some sort of gas range instead. I wonder whether it is too painful or expensive to do...

You can see the dishwasher. I've never had one of those before. I'll probably use it as a very large drying rack, lol.

What you see beyond the kitchen counter is the family room. There is a sliding door to the back yard.


My latest question is .... which iPod would you get?

I'm trying to decide on the 8 GB iPod Nano or the 30 GB iPod.

Judging from capacity, the 30 GB would be a no brainer since it costs the same as the 8 GB Nano. But the Nano has no moving parts (it's not a hard drive) so it could take a good beating (tumbling around in my purse or diaper bag).

We still haven't converted all of our CDs to MP3s. All our CDs are in one of several 12-gallon storage bins (the same kind I use for my yarn). Looking for something specific would be a pain. We currently have 21+ GB of music on the desktop hard drive.


Anyone here know French? I've discovered a French knitting forum here.


The news has been depressing lately. I wonder whether I should be slightly comforted that what is wrong here in California is not limited to California, after reading about some stupid people in Bet's neck of the woods.

What bugs me today...

The DeAnza College rape (click on link to read about what the rape witnesses say), where members of the DeAnza College baseball team raped a 17 year old girl. It's disturbing that DeAnza College is in Cupertino, CA ... one of the cities I would have liked to have gotten a house in because they are supposed to have a great school district. The school district is partly why the majority of houses there are over 1 million dollars. It's one of the cities you move to when you can't afford the nearby cities of Los Altos and Saratoga. Geez... you'd think that people living in this highly desirable area would have more common sense or better upbringing. Are parents teaching their boys that it is OK to rape girls? Oh, and the DA is not prosecuting, so that sends a message to people that this sort of behavior is Ok...

And on Tuesday, there was a big-rig accident on 101 around 1 PM where it jack-knifed and burst into flames. The concrete from the center divider went flying into oncoming traffic, resulting in the death of this woman at 4:30 PM. The driver of the big-rig was not hurt. It's unfortunate when any type of accident happens, but why is it so common that drivers who cause an accident are unhurt/alive while other innocent people who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time get hurt/killed? It just doesn't seem fair...


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thoughts for 05/20/07


One of my main thoughts today is wondering whether Elann's Sonata or Sonata Print would make a good choice for knitting dishcloths. I love looking at the colors. And it is great how they have even enumerated the coordinating colors.

I think I need to install some sort of stickies (post-it notes) software on my computer so I can have a running "to do" list that is easily visible while I'm in front of my computer. I tried keeping a paper list by the computer (the plus being accessible while the computer is off), but it always gets misplaced or buried underneath stuff. I'm losing my mind and suffer from CRS, so I need lists!!!

Items on my "to do" list include calling Carolyn to wish her a happy birthday. Her bday was on Friday. I know, I suck. I was out and about with Mom all day on Friday and didn't get a chance to call until late in the evening. Carolyn lives in Maine so I have to consider the 3 hour time difference. I didn't call on Saturday; yeah, I'm lame.

Another thing on my "to do" list is to give Lisa my phone number so she can contact me when she arrives in San Francisco. I've been meaning to do this for weeks.

I've also been trying to catch up on blog/forum reading. Don't ask me how many entries I have in my blog reader. Gosh, I'm so tempted to mark everything already read and start over from a clean slate. And I'm forever trying to catch up with email. I thoroughly suck at that, just ask anybody who knows me and they'll agree.

On the upside, I did manage to meet up with V on Saturday. Yay! :-) We went to Barnes & Nodle where we tried a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frap which was pretty good. She was trying to tempt me into one of the Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes in the display case and I could hear KT Tunstall singing, "no, no, no, no no no, i said no, no, you're not the one for me." Those cheesecakes are sooooo good, but they're also sooooo bad. We looked at home improvement books while sipping on our mocha fraps. There's a whole new learning curve for me now that I'll be a homeowner. She also showed me how to get to Ulta at the Tanforan Shopping Center. I've seen their sign from outside, but had never been able to figure out how where the store was. Well, it's one of those stores that is only accessible from outside the mall. No wonder I could never find it. I always park on the Target side of the mall and never did managed to walk by it while inside the mall. I found some nice lipstick colors which I'll have to pick up when I run out of what I'm using right now.

Oh, I don't get to listen to my music anymore, but before M started to consistently demand her music whenever I turn on the radio, she would sing along to Black Horse & the Cherry Tree whenever it was on. She'd go, "woo hoo." It was really cute.

I finally watched last week's American Idol results. All I have to say is that it appears people are voting for their Idols the same way most people vote for their politicians...


I eventually returned the needles I mistakenly bought the other day due to M's needle switcheroo, and picked up the Clover bamboo needles. I've never used bamboo needles before so this will be interesting. They're 29" 4.5 mm circular needles. I don't have many US7 size needles. I only had 3 of them... one stuck on a baby blanket forever-wip, and the other two needles were rotated among more than 2 wips. That's why I'm trying to add 4.5 mm needles to my stash. I've never used Clover needles before but I imagine they'll be on par with Susan Bates since both these brands are sold at Joanns... which leads me to presume that the highbrow would touch neither with a 3 meter pole. I suppose I'm becoming a bit of a needle whore (with way too many US1 to US4 size needles than I'll ever use simultaneously, lol) and will use almost any brand of circular needle, even the Susan Bates & Boyes. I do have some Addi Turbos and Inox Expresses in my collection. And I'm currently leaning towards getting a KnitPicks Options set. I understand they're like the Denise set. I have to look into both sets to see which one is better for me.

I finally did cast on some cotton yarn and feel like they move more slowly on these bamboo needles. The points are very sharp so I have to be careful not to hurt my fingertips when I push off with them. I didn't notice this as much with my regular metal needles. I imagine the bamboo needles will work great with the more slippery yarns ... Baby Silk comes to mind.


My mom keeps hinting/mentioning that I should knit her a vest, so I finally looked into some possible patterns. I've never knit a vest before so this will be quite a challenge for me. There'll be seaming involved. Eeks!!! I was never very good at that. Mom is quite a critic so there would be extra pressure to make something that fits her and also wearable in public. And this would by my first attempt at making something "to gauge". I guess I better figure out how to do a gauge swatch.

Mom's vest criteria: v-neck; straight bottom hem; button front (viz. not a pullover type vest).

Here are some patterns I'm considering:
Lion Brand Patchwork Textured Vest
Berroco Luella Vest
Coats and Clark Casual Friday Vest

These ones seem to meet Mom's requirement, and I'm guessing they won't be too difficult. Yes? No? Maybe? I'm thinking the Luella Vest might be the most difficult one of the bunch. Which vest would you choose for a first vest project?

I'm kinda leaning towards the Patchwork Textured Vest. I haven't thoroughly perused the pattern instructions but I think it might be doable for me. I'm not sure I would want to use their suggested yarn, Lion Brand Cotton, even though I did pick up 2 balls of the stuff the other day. If I do, I would need to pick up an extra ball or two of the same color & dye lot. What are the chances of going back and finding that? When I picked up my 2 balls, I am pretty sure I found at least 3 different dye lots in that color. Of course I'm not sure what color Mom would like for her vest. She likes greens, and we recently had a discussion about clothing and agreed that lavender suits her. So I'm thinking a lavender colored vest would be nice. I am so sick of knitting with green...


The idea of owning a house is sinking in. Now I'm thinking about window coverings, floor coverings, possible bathroom remodel, M's furniture, gardening, and stuff like that. V has offered the sage advice of throwing out the crap now so I don't have to move it to the new house, and also to start packing now. Somehow that seems much easier said than done...

Of course the whole house thing is not a done deal until escrow closes...

Not sure what exactly happens now. I wish there was some sort of house buying checklist so I know what's coming down the pike. As I understand it, everything got punted into the Loan Black Box where something happens and then it spits out loan papers for us to sign. I hear that the loan papers should be available after Memorial Day (May 28). DH has jury duty the week of June 4th, so I'm hoping we can get the papers signed sometime between 5/28 and 6/4, cuz I'm not quite sure how this is gonna work if we have to do it during the week of his jury duty. Our loan broker is an hours drive away.

Let's see... another thing I heard is that our Realtor will do some sort of walk through of the house next week(?). And I believe we get a walk through sometime later, probably just before close of escrow(?).

And sometime soonish we'll be writing the biggest check (or cashiers check) we've ever written (viz. the down payment). Eeeks!!!


Several people have suggested keeping the bathroom door that leads to the back yard. I'm really warming up to that idea now. I had not thought about how convenient that door would be with kids. So I think we'll just get the door replaced (since the current one is deteriorating, and there's a huge gap underneath).

Hakucho wrote: I have an idea for you closets...could you get a piece of remnant vinyl flooring or those self sticking vinyl tiles?

That's definitely an option. Sounds like a low maintenance solution, definitely toddler-friendly. She's such a crumb/food dropping machine...

Bets wrote: Take a look at the carpet stores for swatches and remmnants, maybe in Home Depot!

I also like this idea too. Thanks! I have the feeling I'll be visiting Home Depot & Lowes a lot more.

The Knitorious Mrs B wrote: Iceice-baby? Are you a baby boomer?

Oh, I dunno about that. I guess it would depend on how you define a baby boomer. Do my iPod Shuffle posts (currently 3 posted so far) peg me for a boomer? If I am, it'd be a late baby boomer...


M is awake, need to go do the whole morning routine with her, and then it's off to visit the inlaws for the day.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nearly Perfect House Offer #3

Here's the latest house we've been considering...

Fri 5/11: Look at the house with our Realtor. I wasn't wowed at first, but I did think it had a sensible layout (bedrooms together on one side, and public areas together on the other, more or less). House was located in the slightly less "hot" area of the city (read= slightly less desirable), which probably contributed to my luke warm initial opinion of the house. But we asked our Realtor to get us a link to the Disclosure Package so we could look it over.

Sat 5/12: Finally got a chance to read over the Disclosure Package. This seller had all their ducks lined up because all the parts were ready, including the Property Inspection. The house looks like it is in pretty decent shape, just the usual things to repair, nothing really major. The bathrooms could use updating, but it's not a deal breaker.

Sun 5/13: We decided to take a second look at the house during the weekend Open House. We liked it more. Oddly enough they got a staging company to furnish the house; the house was completely empty/unfurnished when we saw it on Friday. We were amazed at how quickly that could be arranged for the Sat/Sun Open House. The house showed much better with the furniture in place.

We met the Selling Agent, who was present at the Open House. She mentioned that offers are due on Thurs 5/17 at 1 PM.

Mon 5/14: Our Realtor confirms that offers are due on Thurs at 1 PM.

Tues 5/15: Met with Realtor in the morning to sign all the paper work involved in making an offer. Here we go again. We're getting quite good at this now and can do it blind folded, lol. Our Realtor is going to submit our offer on Thursday when we might have a better idea of how many other interested parties there are, that way we can better decide on an offer price. There were currently 4 interested parties, including ourselves, at the time we met our Realtor.

Thurs 5/17 12:15 PM: DH calls me to let me know he just spoke to our Realtor. The Selling Agent claims that there are 5 interested parties in the house (including us), but also mentioned that, "the phones are ringing off the hook." Not sure what to make of that. How would you interpret that? Anyhowz, 5 is a good number to us since the last several houses we were interested had 10 to 15 interested parties. The lower number no doubt had something to do with the slightly less desirable part of town.

Now the rule of thumb for offer price is generally 1% over asking price per offer. So that would be 5% over asking price. We wanted to pad this a little more to give us that extra edge we may need, so we offered somewhere between 7% and 8% -- thank goodness we weren't doing 10% or more, like all the other houses we were looking at were going for -- with an easy "as is" (no contingency) type offer.

Our Realtor had an appt at 1:45 PM with the Selling Agent to present our offer. I know, she said they were due at 1 PM. Not sure how that is going to work.

Thurs 5/17 3:15 PM: DH calls me to inform me that the Sellers were considering our offer and 2 of the other offers, but eventually accepted ours. Huh? What was that? I had to have him repeat that cuz I wasn't sure I heard that correctly. Our offer was actually accepted!!!! Woo hoo!!!! No more spending time looking at houses. Yay!!! Don't have any other details right now, but I am relieved that this part of the journey is over. Now it's the whole rush to close escrow part that is coming up. Having never bought a house before, I'm not quite sure what this involves.... but it'll be a welcome change. I think...

Now I can really start planning more fun stuff. Window coverings ... furniture arrangement ... knitting stash hiding places ... etc...

The house is on what looks like a quiet cul-de-sac. It's a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1831 sq ft house.

No carpeting anywhere, it's all wood, so I guess I better start knitting a bunch of swiffer mop covers. The closet floors are some rough unfinished wood type surface, need to figure out what to put in there. Maybe small rectangular patches of carpeting?

There is an electric stove. I've always had gas stoves so it'll take some time learning how to cook on one of these. I hope the cookware I have will work OK.

The garden is medium maintenance. I have a brown thumb. I will need to learn how to do some gardening and not kill everything that is back there. I think there was a lemon tree and orange tree.

Need to decide whether to remodel the hallway bath. It's a weird setup where you walk in and there is a sink. Then you walk through a second door where you will find another(!) sink, the toilet, and bathtub/shower. Is it better to keep two sinks in the bathroom, or get rid of one? And how much would it cost to get rid of the plumbing of one sink?

The tub is a whirlpool type, and there is a sliding door. I really hate those types of sliding doors because crud gets into the track and it is a pain to keep clean. The tub is also high, so even without the door, it would definitely be awkward to kneel on the floor to give M a bath in that tub. We're thinking of replacing the tub too.

DH wants to get both bathrooms redone. They seem to bother him more than they bother me. They're not ideal, but I think I can live with them for a while. I'm just concerned about the cost of remodeling 2 bathrooms.

Oh, there is also a door in the hallway bathroom (in that second section) that leads into the back yard. That was kinda strange. We're not sure whether we want to keep the door there, or replace it with a wall.


Better off shopping online


I trekked over to Joanns today, with M in tow, with the intention of picking up a 4.5mm circular needle. M was busy moving stuff around the shelf/hooks while I looked at knitting needles and crochet hooks. They had Susan Bates and Clover knitting needles. I decided to get the Clover bamboo circs since I had never tried bamboo knitting needles before, and they had 4.5 mm circs in stock. Yay! So I picked up one of those and proceeded to look at crochet needles.

I only own one crochet hook, a Skakel G/4.5 mm with metal hook & plastic handle. I haven't quite gotten into crochet but think I need a few more sizes on hand in case I need it for knitting. I was just too overwhelmed at the choices ... plastic or metal? which sizes to get? ... so I decided to skip the crochet hook.

Onwards to needle point protectors. They seem like such a great idea now that the stitches on my Luna Moth Shawl are threatening to fall off my 36" circ. The simple cone types ones look like they would do the trick, but the store only had "large" and I wasn't sure whether this would stay on a smaller needle. I've been using 4.5 mm needles lately (hence my desire to buy an extra one today), but my range has tended towards 4 mm to 5 mm for most of my knitting. Then I saw these sock shaped point protectors...

Aren't they cute? I chose red thinking they would be easier to find when they wander off in the house. It wasn't until after I purchased them when I realized that I wanted to use them for my Luna Moth Shawl which I'm knitting on 6 mm needles. I hope they stay on ok...

Then I turned the corner and wandered into the yarn section where I saw some Lion Brand Cotton which I decided to get because I have never worked with LB cotton before. I found a shopping basket nearby (somebody sure planned that well!) so I dropped all my stuff in there. M, having a thing for carrying stuff (bags, baskets, etc), wanted to help hold the shopping basket. We eventually made our way from the far back corner of the store to the front where the registers were, and I made my purchase.

Ok, if you were paying attention here, you would notice that the knitting needles pictured above are not the Clover bamboo needles I intended to get. How did I end up with Susan Bates 10" 5.5mm straight needles?! I did not notice this until much later, after we had left the store...

I don't know what happened. Somewhere between needles/hooks, yarn, and the front of the store, M must have swapped items on me and I was so out of it that I did not even notice it at the register. My mind registered that they were knitting needles, but I didn't notice that they were the wrong ones. That's what happens when I shop with toddler in tow...

So the question now is.... do I keep these short straight US9 (5.5mm) needles? or do I return them?

I don't have US9 needles, so this would make the first US9 needles in my collection. I suppose I could keep them. But I really hate using straight needles. I use circular needles for 99.9% of my knitting, even for flat knitting. And are 10" straights too short for an all-purpose needle? I wouldn't know. My other straight needles are 14" US11 (8mm) needles, and I think they're too long, heavy, & cumbersome to work with.

So the lesson learned today is... I'm better off shopping online...

Teatime ... I'm enjoying a cup of Yamamotoyama green tea right now, while M is napping; she is going to wake up soon.


Ipod Shuffle 05/17/07

Here's Thursday's iPod Shuffle. I don't think my "shuffle" feature is very random today... I got Erasure and U2 twice!

1. Ice ice baby - Vanilla Ice
2. London bridge (oh shit) - Fergie
3. Who do you love - Whitney Houston
4. Black balloon - Goo Goo Dolls
5. Lets take one more rocket to the moon - Erasure
6. Breath of Life - Erasure
7. Exit - U2
8. With or without you - U2
9. Nervous - Crystal Method
10. J'ai tout quitté pour toi - Patricia Kaas


Beverly's Chemo Hats

Look at all these beautiful hats! Beverly knitted these chemo hats with Lion Brand 100% Cotton yarn. I'm posting her photos here because she doesn't have a blog of her own; click on the photos to see a larger version. She did a great job with the Fair Isle patterns! It's a technique I should become better acquainted with. Hats look more interesting with in more than one color...


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts for 05/16/07

I wish I could knit faster. I wish I could knit faster!!! I'm making very slow progress in everything I'm trying to work on. :-( I've got some deadlines to meet and wish I had Hermione's Time Turner. Thanks Grace for the great advice, I had forgotten about that possibility. It's so obvious after you mentioned it. BTW, I haven't had time lately to keep up with Elann/blogs, but will try to do so soon; I hope things are improving in your neck of the woods.

I wish I could read faster. I wish I could read faster!!! I'm way behind in all the blogs and things I want to read in Internet Land. And I'm not doing any better in the book dept. I am on Chapter 5 (pg 46) of The Ice House by Minette Walters which I started a month or so ago.

I wish I had the will power to organize all the photos I've been meaning to go through. They're all of M. I've been meaning to post them on my other blog which is for the in-laws to see, since I wanted to be able to add commentaries on photos so they would understand the context, etc. It's also supposed to keep them informed about what is going on in M's world. But they don't visit the blog often (or at all); DH says they don't bother because it's just more English they'll have to read. So now I'm even less motivated to post photos of M in a more timely manner.

The ladies at the SF International Airport are trying to organize another get together. We had lots of fun at our last meeting. They were considering May 18, June 1, June 8, or June 15. Not sure which date it will be, but I'm guessing it probably won't be this Friday... perhaps I should go check my email. Since these dates are all Fridays, I have a higher chance of being able to attend... we probably won't be rushing over to meet with our Realtor to sign offer papers on a Friday. Most offers are due on Tuesdays, but we have also seen them due on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The current house we're bidding on are looking at offers on Thurs.

One of my readers informed me that my Quicksharing link to the Chessboard hat was not working, so I have fixed it by reuploading the file and fixing the link to the file. I guess I should periodically ping all the links to make sure they still work.

I've been having intermittent computer problems and am currently in the process of ~~~ gosh, should I even mention it here? will my poor laptop sense what I am typing and retaliate? ~~~ upgrading to a pre-owned IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T60. It's not that I don't like my Sony Vaio PCG-GRV680, but I have been experiencing some problems for a while and it is definitely getting worse. My laptop keeps dropping to battery power, I jiggle the cord to get it back to AC power, and seconds later it drops back to battery power. It's very frustrating. It doesn't matter which AC adapter I use (I have two), so I'm guessing there is something going on where the cord connects into the laptop. And no, I am not going to get the motherboard replaced to see if that solves the problem.

The Thinkpad will be a refreshing change as it is light enough to lift with one hand. The Sony weighed a ton and had to be carried with two hands.... probably a slight side effect of having a 16" screen too. The Thinkpad has a smaller 14" screen and is much slimmer. The Thinkpad also has a much quieter fan.

Upgrading to another computer is never as straight forward as one would think. We installed WinXP, a gazillion security patches, a bunch of extra IBM stuff, and then configured wireless before it went kablooie and wouldn't reboot again. So it is back to square one...


Sarebear wrote: I love the sims! I have the sims 2 though, is yours 1 or 2? We could trade houses!

I was addicted to The Sims 1 -- before baby -- and had spent many hours glued to my computer. I associate Bath & Body Works White Tea & Ginger lotion with The Sims because it is one of my favorite scented lotions and I used to use it a lot back when I played The Sims. I have all the expansion packs and still haven't tapped into all the features or tried everything. I'm still playing it "as is", that is, I haven't downloaded/installed any 3rd party hacks/objects/etc. I am looking forward to playing The Sims 2 after I have exhausted The Sims 1. There are two reasons for waiting.... (1) I don't have time right now (side effect of having DD) and (2) I'm not sure whether I will buy the PC version or Mac version.

How do you trade houses? I didn't know you could do that.

Joan wrote: You need a bigger cord. I use Knitpicks so can change out the cords as I go along.

I was looking at the KnitPicks Options set (which I assume is what you were referring to) and it says it comes with 24" and 32" length cords. How do you get the longer length? Can you connect two cords together? I'm warming up to getting one of these sets (how does it compare to the Denise?), but I think what I would really want is more needle tips of the same size, and the set sounds like it comes with only one of each size.

I think 40" in US7 is the longest needle I own right now; I bought that to work on Marisa's baby blanket. Never thought I'd ever need anything longer, but you're right, I'll probably want a 60" cord someday, lol, especially now that I seem to have caught the shawl bug.

You mentioned that my Luna Moth Shawl in Red Maple HW looked a little pink. That's probably because I can't take photos that show a yarn's true color. I can send you some of the Red Maple if you want to see what it looks like. (The colors on Elann don't show up accurately on my screen)

Sandra D wrote: Wow, that IS some sticker shock to me. Houses go for a fraction of that here, especially with many moving out-of-state to where the jobs are.

I bet they're moving to Silicon Valley, lol. It's sad when I think about how we can buy a way more affordable house -- and a much larger one too! -- almost anywhere else in the United States, and might even get away with paying the full amount upfront or getting a very minimal loan. Of course sometimes I think we could live like Kings (or Queens) in another country ... :-)

I can only imagine how stressful it must have been for you to move house. I'm hoping we can move house before having #2. I'd be too stressed out trying to do both simultaneously.

Wow, I had never heard of someone taking a photo of a real object (in your case, a lamp) and somehow importing it into The Sims. Now that's way too complicated for me! lol.

No, I am not using end stoppers. I suppose I should get some, huh? :-) I'll have to see whether I can make it out to a Joanns/Michaels with M in tow, but I'll probably order some online for the convenience... besides, I'm itching to buy some more Highland Wool. I haven't looked yet, but surely they must sell end stoppers too...

Benne wrote: When my girls were little, I always said I wanted the inside of the house to be rubberized with big floor drains so I could hose it out. ;-}

LOL! When M was a newborn -- when she was just an eating/sleeping/pooping-machine -- Jim told me to put her in a plastic bag and poke a hole. Now that M is older, I love love love your idea, it is exactly what I need in my house!!!

Lisa wrote: Last night at hospital one of the nurses I taught to knit last year decided she's ready to do cables and when i showed her your site and the 3AM Cable Hat, she downloaded it for her first cable project. Look at your influence on knitters as far away as Alaska!

That's so cool that you're teaching others to knit. Thinking back on all the people I have worked with, I can't imagine any of them knitting or wanting to learn how to knit. I hope the nurse has fun knitting the hat, it's really pretty easy to knit, and I bet it helps knowing that she has you to turn to when she has any questions.

Trish wrote: Do you have any balls left? It's hard to believe that scarf could use 800 yards. I have some weighing to do with that Marly.

I still have no idea how much yardage I used for the Ariel Hat or Scarf. I used 6 balls for the scarf, and less than 3 balls for the at, so I must have 1 ball plus some scraps left of Marly (since I started out with 10 balls).

How do you figure out yardage by weighing yarn?

Beverly has made some beautiful chemo caps. I will post the photos soon so y'all can see. And Kelley sent me a photo of her Vine Lace Cloth, which I will be posting soon also. Sorry ladies, I meant to move on these sooner, unfortunately I'm just currently moving slowly -- more slowly than usual, lol -- in all aspects of my life right now.

TracyKM wrote: I like making it straight across the top (you'll have to graft one 'half' to the other 'half') and add a pompom or tassel to each corner.

I had never thought of doing that. I imagine that would be cute for a kids hat. I'd have to figure out how to make a pompom. Never made one of those before. But I'm gonna have to figure it out on the sooner side since I'm planning on making a Jayne Cobb hat for a Firefly fan.

Pheelya wrote: What book it that in the background??

It's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker.

Bets wrote: Are you using all the child names/dog names you like, so your next mouths to feed can have names like Ken or Rover? ;-)

Ariel is a name of a planet in Joss Whedon's Firefly.

Rhoda wrote: Are you guys willing to move outside of SF or is it still too high?

We're trying to move closer to where DH works so he doesn't have to spend an hour commuting in each direction (there have been times when it took him 1 hr 40 min to get home). That time could be better spent by living closer, getting home earlier, and spending more quality time with family. :-) Unfortunately there's the higher cost of living close to work. Living in the "outer" East Bay would probably be more affordable, but that does not improve his commute.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Luna Moth - 3rd Repeat

It's starting to come together. This is after finishing the 3rd repeat; I'm on row 17 of the final repeat. I know this because I kept getting stuck on row 17. I made a mistake at the beginning near that first k3tog, then realized the mistake when I reached the center stitch and had the incorrect number of stitches to work. Tinked back. Started row 17 again, realized a mistake as I got close to the center stitch again. Read my work and saw that I made the SAME mistake at the same place. Grrr. Tinked back again. That's when I decided it was time to put it the shawl down and try again later.

I'm starting to worry about the stitches falling off my short 36" needle. What length needles do most people use for knitting shawls? The rows are taking longer and longer to knit, especially when I have to tink back because I made a boo-boo somewhere.

Sorry about the bad photo and the teapot lid holding down the bottom end, I had to use something to prevent it from curling up on the table.


What I'm listening to right now .... Mauvaise foi nocturne de Fatal Bazooka. It's some sort of French rap. No idea what these two guys (it features some dude named Vitoo) are saying cuz they seem to be rapping at the speed of Public Enemy, plus it's probably 100% French slang which I have no hope of ever getting since it is hard enough to pick up on "proper" French. Anyhowz, I find I like listening to the sound/rhythm of their song...

Another good song I've been listening to lately is ... Musica by Paolo Meneguzzi. He sings in Italian. Again, no clue about what this song is about, but I like how this song sounds. I took one quarter of Italian in college and I don't remember 99% of it. :-(

I know, I'm kinda strange to listen to music in languages I don't understand. I've been meaning to check out Karen Matheson's latest album; she sings in Scottish Gaelic.


We went to look at a few houses in cities E, F & G.

House #1 (4 bed, 3 bath, 1758 sq ft) was OK and seemed to be in a relatively nicer neighborhood of city F, but there was one thing I didn't like. They transformed a room (what was formerly the living room) into a huge master bedroom with a bathroom. They might even have knocked off part of 2 bedrooms to make this huge master, cuz I can't imagine one of these Ranch style homes having such a huge square-ish shaped living rooms. I would never use this as a master bedroom; maybe a large office & storage room. And it looks like they merged 2 bedrooms (in the bedroom wing) into secondary master bedroom with its own bath, but they way they did it made the room feel awkward.

House #2 (4 bed, 2 bath, 1831 sq ft) in city E seemed fine layout-wise. Need to drive around the neighborhood to get a better feel and look at the Disclosure Package for more info. It's in a cul-de-sac so you know there won't be much through traffic... this makes me think it'll be quiet enough for kids to play in the street. I'm thinking the neighborhood is just a hair less desirable than the house we lost, but it is also not in the neighborhood where we absolutely refuse to live. So we're more open to the possibility of living here.

House #3 (3 bed, 2 bath, 2000+ sq ft) is in the more desirable part of city E and the layout seems fine, but the wall in the backyard is actually the sound wall adjacent to a busy freeway. Eeks! You can actually hear the soothing sounds of the freeway from outside the house, and even from inside the family room. I suppose it is somewhat similar to the sounds of the ocean? I guess I could always set up a hammock & a water sprayer, and then pretend I'm in Hawaii. The master bath has a 2-person shower, it's so huge you don't even need a shower curtain or door.

House #4 (3 bed, 2 bath, 1525 sq ft) was in a nice part of city E. Loved how the bedrooms were in its own wing. I really don't like bedrooms that are separated, where some are on one side of the house, and another (usually the master bedroom, which is usually an add-on) on the other side of the house (especially if the add-on required walking through the kitchen to get to the bedroom). I didn't like the living room, I thought it felt small & awkward, perhaps because the window was along the short wall instead of the long wall of the rectangular room. DH thought this house was OK, except for the asking price of $948,000.

And just for fun, we looked at House #5 in what must be the "slums" of city G (because it was one of the lowest priced houses among those on the market in city G) ... a 3 bed, 2 bath 1781 sq ft house, all for the nice "low" price of $1,375,000. No, there is no typo there. You read that one correctly. Sticker shock, huh? I think part of the lower price was due to being on a slightly busier street.

Since we probably can't find our absolute dream house, I decided to launch The Sims (which I hadn't done in many moons) and build my own there. It's a modest 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with open floor plan (living room, family room, kitchen, dining room). Great opportunity to add a second level; I've already planned for the 2 stairways. Lots of trees & shrubbery outside. Sims selling price is slightly over $23,000. Not sure which one of my Sim families will move in, but I have the feeling it'll be the MacKenna family (Aedan & Dubhlainn, both members of the Committee) who are currently the most affluent family and will be able to afford the house sooner than the others.

Ok, gotta go. M just woke up from her nap and I need to find a snack for her...


Monday, May 14, 2007

My Knit List

I copied this from Mary Tess.

Bold for things you’ve done, italics for things you plan to do one day, and normal for things you’re not planning on doing.

American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Continental knitting
Domino knitting (modular knitting) ~ I'm not sure what this is, so I may or may not try it someday
Drop stitch patterns
Entrelac ~ I've tried it and don't have the patience for short row knitting
Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting ~ what's this?
Garter stitch
Kitchener BO
Knitting with circular needles ~ that's pretty much all I use 99.9% of the time
Knitting with DPNs ~ I don't own any, and seem to be doing fine with circs, so am not sure I'll ever add DPNs to my stash
Knitting and purling backwards ~ I might enjoy entrelac and other short row techniques if I figured this out
Knitting smocking ~ what's this?
Knitting small tubular items on two circulars
Knitting a circular item using the Magic Loop ~ I haven't tried this yet because the 2-circ method is working fine for me now
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO ~ sounds tricky to me when you have to figure out how much yarn you need before starting
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting ~ what's this?
Provisional CO
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns
~ I think it's something I might try one day
Stockinette stitch
Swatching ~ I know, it's a bad habit not to swatch...

Textured knitting
Swiss Darning ~ ???
Thrummed knitting ~ ???
Tubular CO ~ ???
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting ~ ???

Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn ~ sounds interesting
Knitting with banana fiber yarn ~ never heard of such a thing before
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn ~ sounds interesting?
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with cotton
Knitting with dog/cat hair ~ OK, where does one find this?!
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Knitting with silk
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn ~ does frogging something ancient count?
Knitting with wool

Baby items
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers

Hair accessories
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down

Shawl ~ Currently in the process of knitting my first!

Shrug/bolero/poncho ~ not yet sure if I'd do this...
Socks: top-down

Socks: toe-up
Stuffed toys
Toy/doll clothing

Charity knitting
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street) ~ never heard of this
Knitting art
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting a gift
Holiday related knitting

Designing knitted garments
Dyeing yarn with plant colors
Dyeing yarn with acid dyes
Participating in a KAL

Publishing a knitting book
Knitting to make money
Knitting for a living
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Machine knitting
Olympic knitting ~ what's this?
Resizing patterns
Spinning on a drop spindle
Spinning with a spinning wheel
Teaching a male how to knit
Teaching knitting classes
Writing a pattern ~ just a few simple knits... ;-)
Knitting in public ~ it's lots of fun when someone notices and shows genuine interest. :-)


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ipod Shuffle 05/10/07

Here's what I get in tonight's Ipod Shuffle. I got Mozart twice! What are the chances of that?

1. Just a little bit - 50 cent
2. Cry for me - Paula Abdul
3. Contribution - Jurassic 5
4. If you wear that velvet dress - U2
5. Symphony No 14 in A Major Menuetto - Mozart
6. Everybody wants to rule the world - Tears for Fears
7. Tears are falling - Angelina
8. Divertimento No 13 for 2 oboes, 2 horns, & 2 bassoons in F Major K. 253, movement 3 (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik) - Mozart
9. Party's not over - Love & Rockets
10. What do you hear in these sounds - Dar Williams


Luna Moth - 2nd Repeat

I've made more progress since my last Luna post, and I think I can make out the pattern now. Slow but somewhat steady progress. Gosh, I hope I'm not going to be the last one to finish a shawl for the Elann Shawl KAL! So many people have already finished their shawl, go to the blog and check it out.

The second repeat was much easier to work despite having more stitches on the needle. There's a certain soothing rhythm to the pattern. I do love the respite of purling wrong side rows. And Ive figured out that I absolutely must count my stitches after working each row. I usually have the correct number of stitches when I count them, so not much tinking back involved. However if I get a little over confident about my knitting and decide not to count my stitches, then I will invariably run into a problem working the next row due to not starting with the correct number of stitches. Must be a knitter's Murphy's Law.

Before starting the 2nd repeat, I had some concerns about knowing how many times to do the "repeat" sections of each right side row, but it all fell into place as I worked it. Shui Kuen Kozinski is a great designer and her pattern is well written. So if there are any wrinkles in my shawl, it would be a case of PEBKNAC.


Problem Exists Between Knitting Needles And Chair. It's a variation of the geeky acronym PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair).

I really love this color, it's Highland Wool in Red Maple. Of course the photo above doesn't really show its true color. I think I'm leaning towards reds right now because I seem to be knitting with too many greens which seems odd to me since I'm not a big green person. So why do I have so much yarn in various shades of green? Hmmm...


M, my Mom, and I were at the mall one day. I left them by a small fountain with koi & turtles (M loves to look at them) while I stopped by the Disney Store (cuz it is usually not a good idea to enter that store with M) and found a little something for her. I came back with the bag which M spotted immediately. She wanted to get her hands on the bag and take a lookie. All she did was open the bag slightly, saw something like what you see above (except that she didn't open the bag that wide when she did it), and immediately said, "Pooh bear!" I hope she identified Pooh bear by color and not by his bottom! LOL. She didn't actually take him out of the bag. She was content in holding the bag... which also meant dragging it on the floor cuz she couldn't hold it high enough to clear it. She has a thing for holding bags, but I also like to think that she's just trying to help Mommy. :-) Can't tell you how many bags we have with "floor burns" on them...

I thought I got a great deal though. This is a giant Pooh bear, regularly priced at $24.50, marked down to $19.99. I got it for $10 with an additional 50% off. Pretty cool even if he's been dragged around, stepped on, and who knows what else while he was in the store. I'm gonna throw him in the washer before I give him to M. The regular size Pooh Bear has survived the washer (placed in a pillow case first), so I'm assuming this one will survive it too. The tags don't say whether you can wash it; it doesn't even say the surface wash only. I think all kids stuff should be machine washable. I mean, what do you think will happen with toys? Like they never get stuffed into mouths, dragged around who knows where, or pawed at with sticky hands. Besides sticky hands, M is a walking crumb dropping machine. We've been house hunting lately, and as much as I like hard wood floors, sometimes I think our entire house should have lino/vinyl floors until M is old enough to keep messes contained in small sections of the house.

Anyhowz... fortunately for me, by the time we go home, she had already forgotten that we picked up that giant Pooh Bear .... :-)


I've been meaning to follow up on my biopsy & ultrasound results. I've just been so busy with other things and I keep forgetting to call my doc. It usually crosses my mind after business hours. Of course my doc could call me, so I suppose no news must be good news...

Well, I finally finished watching Pride & Prejudice (Keira Knightley) and have to say I did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping. It was so disappointing that I didn't even watch the special features on the DVD. I will go back to my favorite version of Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle) which I can watch countless times without ever getting bored of it. DH always makes a comment about Darcy having the the same or only one expression on his face. Ah well, Jane Austen really isn't his thing. I guess it really isn't a "guy" thing to watch.

I was watching disc 4 of Firefly and paid close attention to Jayne's hat in the episode "The Message". I was thinking of knitting up the hat that Jayne wore in that episode; it's a hat he receives from his Mom, and he wears it throughout the episode. It would be a gift for a Firefly fan; who else would be interested in such a hat? LOL. While trying to get a better look at the hat, I discovered how to pause and zoom with the DVD remote. :-) Of course this didn't really help me see the hat considerably better. Although a bulky/chunky weight yarn will probably knit up quickly, I will probably do it with worsted weight yarn since I'm just so much more comfortable working with that for hats. Plus I don't have pairs of large circular needles in the same size, which would preclude making a bulky/chunky hat (since I use the 2-circ method). Now it's just a matter of finding the right shades of red, orange, and yellow. Yep, those are the colors of the hat. The hat is not much to look at, so I will just leave you with this quote from the episode:

Wash: "A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." Jayne: "Damn straight."

I am in desperate need of a hair cut. Hair cuts are a Monday morning thing cuz I can usually get in without having to wait long. Of course going to get my hair cut depends on whether I can get up early enough and whether DH's morning is clear of any meetings (so he can watch M while I get my hair cut). I missed this past Monday because DH had a 2-day managerial off-site on Mon & Tues and was out the door before I even got up so he could make it to the meeting at Hotel Los Gatos in Los Gatos, CA.

We'll be getting up way early in the morning tomorrow to meet with our Realtor to look at a few more houses. What fun it will be driving to the south bay in rush hour traffic. The last time we did this (also to meet with the Realtor), I was convinced that Eric was correct about the 380 connector between 280 and 101 being a death trap as I attempted to change into the right lanes that would get me onto 101 while trying to avoid getting side-swiped by the crazy commuters and the gargantuan psycho Marin airporter coach who was also vying for the same lanes. Lane changes are definitely not my forte. I can't do it unless I have a 15 km buffer between the two cars where I'm trying to insert myself into. So lane changes are quite stressful for me when there's barely one car length of space for me to squeeze myself into.