Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tomorrow starts today!

We've done it! Thousands of letters of support have flooded in, and Senator John Edwards is running!

He says:
We know what we need to do. Changing our country means:
Providing moral leadership in the world -- starting with Iraq, where we should begin drawing down troops, not escalating the war
Strengthening our middle class and ending the shame of poverty
Guaranteeing health care for every single American
Leading the fight against global warming
Getting America and the world to break our addiction to oil

Today there's an Online Town Hall live from Des Moines, Iowa. Visit to participate. The event begins at 6PM ET / 3PM PT.

See you there!

Monday, December 25, 2006

HBO saves TV's reputation

Okay, enough with the politics. Want to have some fun? I've been highly impressed by the HBO series I've seen. Carnivale, Deadwood, and Rome were all exemplary TV. Great characters, a bit of history, terrific acting, sets, costumes... each hour has the production values of a feature film. Finally - TV worth the time to watch it! Last night I started Six Feet Under and again, I applaud. I'm far too much of a cheapskate to actually subscribe, so I'm going to have to track down more of their work and pop it in the queue. Bravo!

Oops - he's WHO? And what YOU can do.

Someone screwed up, bigtime. Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert was tapped to speak at the 2006 White House Correspondent's Dinner. They were clearly unfamilar with his work, because the announcer pronounced the "t" in Report. My favorite part is the reaction shots. This is a perfect example of the flaws in our intelligence management: Colbert is one of the smartest enemies this administration faces, and they blindly invited him to their party. The coverup must have been sucessful, though, since this took place in April and it's the first I've heard of it.

My hero, John Edwards, is trying to assess if he has enough support to warrent running for President. He has asked for your emails: PLEASE let him know you are behind him, or are at least willing to give him a chance.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas crafts

Since we had Christmas yesterday with the girls, I can now post their prezzies:

Maddie got a strange little green hedgehog sort of situation. She has a heart on the front of that sweater (red & orange yarn was spun by Holly) but my favorite part is her tail. There's a row of fuzz along the top.

Gillian scored a felted & flowered dog, modeled after her own long dog, Mitzi. See that yarn collar? Gillian spun that on my wheel. Okay, I did the pedals, but still it's pretty impressive. Her first spinning ever. *rubbing hands gleefully* She's only 10 but I've got her hooked already.

Before you guys ask, sorry, no, there aren't patterns available. I made them up as I went along.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

6 Weird Things About Me

So I'm supposed to post Six Weird Things About Me. An interesting proposition, narrowing it down to just 6.

1) I am not above stealing cats and people to rescue them from an abusive / neglectful home.

2) I used to be a bodybuilder and am still far stronger than I look.

3) I can fly an airplane and my car is right hand drive.

4) I'm an excellent shot with a pistol.

5) I hate to cook. I'll gladly do dishes / knit / etc for you if you cook for me.

6) I poke holes in people and they like it.

We'll stop here and leave my sordid past where it belongs. ;)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Philly & Edwards (again)

The trip to Philadelphia went very well. I'll deliver more details once they solidify, but Matt was basically offered a great job. Yay! We had a stunning view from our hotel room, and the historical section was terrific. It's good to remember that the revolution was a crazy, treasonous uprising (which partially took place in these rooms!).

In the spirit of rebelling against an unfair goverment, please take the time to check out John Edwards. I sincerely believe he is the one guy who is honest and smart enough to bring the nation back together (red and blue states) and make us ALL proud to be Americans again. He's also charismatic enough to carry the election. PLEASE read his site. Watch his "Behind the Scenes" episodes. Learn about One Corps. He's our best hope. Get behind him and spread the word!

PS: After sending out a letter to many of my friends, I got this from David, a professional pilot:

I was flying Learjets back in 2003 before the Iowa caucuses and was assigned a trip to pick up John. This was before he was picked to be Kerry's running mate. Flew into a small uncontrolled airport east of Des Moines. John met me with a warm handshake and a smile. Very personable.

I wound up flying him to Washington-Dulles that afternoon, then in the evening to Roanoke, VA then finally to Ashville, NC. I remember when we landed in Dulles that he wanted a few minutes to "freshen up" before he went inside the FBO. He pulled out his suitcase, pulled out what looked like a small gift, combed his hair, then finally headed inside. I noticed in his suitcase he was carrying a pair of well-used (in a good way) running shoes and running shorts.

Halfway across the ramp, a little child came running out of the building. John crouched down, arms out wide and caught the little kid in an embrace. One of his. That's where the gift went. Nice guy. Family guy, too. It was a pleasure being his "limo" driver that day and evening.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Oops - I completely forgot I was supposed to be at Village Yarn & Tea today. I really did want to go! It's a good thing I was home, though, since we found a wonderful family to adopt Feathers. He'll have a fun and useful life on Bainbridge Island. Next week we are off to Philadelphia for Matt's interviews. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A wonderful little poem

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
- Arnold Lobel

A true healer

I recently heard from my friend Karah Pino. As the picture implies, she is wild with zoinging energy (hey, she's the kind of girl you feel compelled to make up words for). She also runs deep with an extraordinarily sensitive and powerful soul, the kind you develop from surmounting impossible odds. She's an artist, a shaman, and an acupuncturist. Now she has a blog, and WOW is it worth reading. Start here. Readers in Portland, watch for her on the street. She's likely to be smiling, and she often wears orange.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

John Edwards - our next President?

The Senator ran as VP with Kerry back in 2004, but I was so disgusted with politics at that point that I failed to pay attention. Back in college, I was extremely politically active. I attended appearances by both Reagan and Bush Sr. I shook Clinton's hand. I marched, I wrote letters, I recruited other activists. Then I got a job that introduced me more intimately to Capitol Hill. Everyone was so morally putrid, on both sides of the aisle, that I was completely disillusioned. For the past 10 years I've detached myself from the electoral process. I hate to admit it, but I didn't even vote last month.

Then I saw Senator Edwards on the Jon Stewart show a few weeks ago. I was enthralled with his wit and intelligence. More importantly, he was a real person. A genuine human being, not a dissembling mouthpiece. I went to his website and learned a bit more. He came to Seattle today on a book tour. All the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity and other charities. He talked a bit about his book, then took political questions from the SRO crowd. I just about fell in love with this guy. His honesty and integrity simply shine. He's rekindled my belief. My bull**** detector is pretty finely honed, but it didn't go off once. Sitting in the audience I suddenly realized this must have been how people felt about Kennedy.

I wish I had money to contribute to his campaign. Given our current situation, I will instead volunteer once he declares. And I sure hope he does soon: America desperately needs a leader with his character.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Magnificent Manos

My red sweater is finally done. The colors are more of a deep red than they look in this pic. I did the sleeves at the same time on a long circular needle, which was awesome. Automatically identical decreases, and it seems to go more quickly. Definitely a repeatable technique.

Friday, November 24, 2006


It's the Best. Bond. Film. Ever.

And Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Grateful Thanksgiving

The girls came for a four day visit. In addition to the spectacularly superb feast my astoundingly amazing husband cooked, we watched movies, talked about poetry, amused the critters, and generally had a cozy family holiday. We couldn't resist the turkey cake at the grocery store. :) For fun, we felted a bunch of thrift-shop sweaters, then carved them up to make new projects while Daddy slept off the Tryptophan. Maddie's purse isn't quite done. Gillie produced a sock monster in a fetching two-piece suit, while I generated a Needlegrrl bag: If you follow the storyline around, you can see the sheep with its fleece, roving being spun into yarn, dye dripping down, knitting needles at work in the colored yarn, and then the final sweater... on the shorn sheep. A little nod at my heros, Wallace & Gromit. The teal lining is from a wool coat also found in the Goodwill bins. A side note: The blue wool came from what was obviously a handknit back piece of an Unfinished Object. I "felt" sorry for the original knitter, but at least it found its way into another project.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Austins for sale

Feathers has a happy new life, but we still need to find a home for Wallace. He's a reliable daily driver and quite gorgeous. Tell your friends!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Features of a Coon Cat

If calculating genetic engineers were to design the perfect cat, it would be a Maine Coon. Their coats are supersoft clouds, but they don't shed. They can tell if you want to play rough or not. I can pick Fig up and muss him, juggle him, whatever, and the claws never come out. Yet Matt (who appreciates DangerCats) will regularly be savagely bitten in the middle of the night. The Monster Under the Bed uses the sharp bits on him, but I get soft paws. He loves to sit squished up next to me on the couch for belly and head rubs. MCCs require more than average attention and stimulation, so it's best to acquire them in pairs or at least have other critters. They bow to bunnies but trounce cats and dogs. Identifying characteristics: Ear tufts, saber teeth (click pic to enlarge and see), huge paws, toe feathers, fluffy tail, bloomers, tiny chirpy voice constantly in use, and a second growth spurt at 2 years that results in giantism (20+ pounds).

The Bodies Exhibition

This show should be required viewing for anyone with a human body. Utterly amazing. My two favorite pieces: The one pictured here, which actually has the discs separated from the vertebrae, and one that has a skeleton facing the rest of the cadaver. The dissections are simply brilliant. Run, don't walk, to get your tickets! The audio tour is useful for laypeople, but medical types can skip it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

We plan, God laughs.

Changes, changes! Matt is taking more time off from work. Feathers is for sale (spread the word!) We are casting our nets to find the best combination of a med school for me and a residency for him when he's ready. I've been laboring over research rather than knitting, so my sweater has halted in its wooly tracks. Here's a pic of the progress so far, along with Peachy and a sneak peek at a secret project. Sharp eyed readers will note that our stripey cat has a perfect top view of the USS Enterprise on his forehead. He's always had it, but I've avoided posting it for fear of being deluged by deranged Star Trek fans. :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween 2006

Portland's Stephen and Nicolle hold the world's best Halloween party every year. It was last weekend... all weekend...! The theme was "Heroes and Villans." Everyone complied beautifully, except for us (dorks!). We wanted to do something medical, so we chose organs. I was a gravid uterus. It's hard to see in this pic but my shirt bears a near-term fetus. Matt was supposed to be a prostate. We put a huge effort into his costume, complete with ureter. At the last minute we realized it wasn't going to fit so he wound up using his standard pirate duds. I took the fire pic, but the other two are Stephen's work. We took over the Dalles Ranch for the weekend. Let me just say that if you ever need to hold a large party, this is where you want to do it. Highlights: Mongo bonfire, pettable "wild" deer, copper tub perfect for two, movie theater, museum-quality fossils on the walls. All in all, it made for a fantastically relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

When will it stop?

Our dictator has signed new legislation today. The Supreme Court ruled in June that military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay violated US and international law. No problem! Let's have the Ministry of Justice update the law to suit our current needs, shall we?

The BBC reports that the new law "gives the president the authority to decide which other techniques interrogators can use. The law does not require that detainees be granted legal representation. It also bars non-US citizens from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal court. [...] There are about 450 detainees at Guantanamo, according to the Bush administration."

Hmmm... I wonder if that number is accurate?

Reuters says "The Military Commissions Act of 2006 sets standards for interrogating suspects, but through a complex set of rules that human rights groups say could allow harsh techniques bordering on torture, such as sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia [...] The new law means Bush can continue a secret CIA program for interrogating terrorism suspects whom he believes have vital information that could thwart a plot against America [...] It establishes military tribunals that would allow some use of evidence obtained by coercion."

Um... HE believes???

This pales in comparison to the rights violations of American citizens here at home. Hey, girl, time to open those eyes!

Monday, October 16, 2006

More socks made just for me!

I'm so excited... not only did I just submit my application after rehashing the essay all day, but FiberQat just gave me a sneak peak at the purple toe-warmers she's knitting up for me. I'm so lucky!

Our shrink-inating plan for Thoth is working. He's getting slimmer and more active. Note the lack of toothy weapons on Peachy. He just gums you fiercely, and roars his battle cry, which sounds like a small squeaky toy.

PLUS... a friend told me a secret that makes me very happy. It's about time! (You know who you are!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

USS Turner Joy, explored

The girls came to visit this weekend. We took them out to see the USS Turner Joy, a naval destroyer docked at Bremerton. You can get a tour, or just climb around and touch stuff, which of course is what we opted for. We also did pumpkins. Gillian (10) did the traditional scary face. Maddie (13) did the fluffy cat. The rabbit is mine - my first pumpkin carving ever!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

MCAT scores are in!

Finally! I've been going nuts... but they were released electronically today and I did just fine. In fact, my total score was a 35, well above the UW average of 31.5 (93.1 - 95.1 percentile).

I can't even find an image that expresses my happiness and relief, so just use your imagination. *SIGH*

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fairy Tale Fibers

My good friend Holly in Portland is an eclectic artist. She does everything from iron welding to spinning, and her creative efforts are as gorgeous as she is. Take a look at her fun and funky hats. I have one - sage green with furry white trim - and love it. Her long-term goal is to have a self-sustaining farm, so act now while she's still a part of civilized society!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Angry Red Lobster of Death

Matt bought this adorable giant lobster for Blackberry and me. She loves to play with ballons: She grabs the string in her mouth and runs through the apartment with them. Here's the funny bit... I don't know if it's the big eyes or what, but the cats are terrified! The two stripey boys are still hiding in the bedroom 24 hrs later. At least it's an improvement from their previous hideout behind the toilet. Thoth is simply too lazy to get that excited, so he's here on the couch with me.

UPDATE: After 36 hrs they were still under the bed. We got worried about dehydration and litter box issues, so we brought the lobster into the bedroom, hoping to chase them out. Unfortunately it just entrenched them deeper. We had to lock the ARLoD in the bathroom for a few more hours before they would come out from under, and it still took a forcible extraction to make them leave the bedroom. Compare that reaction to the bunny's: She took one look, went over to it, and immediately turned her back and began grooming. That's rabbitspeak for "I am so cool and unafraid of you that I can ignore you and clean my feet." She's completely fearless. :) I think it was the eyes that made a difference. Previous ballons were towed by Blackberry and ignored by the boys.

Other amusing livestock stories: Fig learned how to work the lever-type latch for the bedroom. It wasn't long before Blackberry started herding him over there to make him open the door for her. We had to replace it with a round knob, and we have our fingers crossed that he doesn't realize the outside door works the same way.

Oh - that last picture? Sometimes the news actually reports the truth!

Friday, October 06, 2006

I've gone to the big yarn stash in the sky.

Sock Wars is still booming along, but I had a fast, experienced English knitter as an assassin. This means a) I got a GREAT pair of heathery purple toe-warmers, and b) I got knocked out in the first round. I was able to commit a little mayhem myself before death, as evidenced by the rainbowish pair. Sock-cess! They were my first ever, but came out pretty darn well if I may say so myself. Karen, my NY victim, was appreciative and enthusiastic, although her response may have been influenced by the local chocolate I enclosed, as well as pain meds for her dental surgery (owiee!). The third pair, crafted by another sock warrior, is an example of what too much time, creativity, and talent can achieve.

Preparations for SWII are underway!

Monday, October 02, 2006

An abundance of creative riches!

My trusty Kodak finally died last month. It served me well for years, but I just wore it out. I really liked Grandpa's micro last weekend and it got me wanting a replacement. I've been struggling along with Matt's camera, but it just doesn't suit me physically and the shutter lag is far too long for me. Today I made a new friend at the local camera shop and came away with the coolest toy ever. It does more tricks than Cirque de Soleil, yet its CASE is smaller than my old camera. I had intended to pick one out at the store, then go home and buy it online, but I got 18 free classes this way. Plus instant gratification! Kirsten, the manager, was brilliant and incredibly helpful. I'm looking forward to making some big prints at her store and putting them on the walls.

I'll most likely be quiet for a while as I:
1) finish off my med school essays
2) knit like a demon
3) learn my new toy!

I'm so excited I need rubber pants!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

This internet-tradey-swappy-make-new-friends thing is addicting!

I just discovered the Spin to Knit Handspun Secret Pals Swap. This is going to be SO... MUCH.... FUN!!!!!

Last weekend I flew back to the Right Coast to visit my family. We had a huge party: Grandparents, aunts and uncles, the whole schmear. Mom is a Naturopath and Nurse Practioner. Dad is a semi-retired telecommunications engineer. That's them to the left. Grandpa is big into Spinoza. Grandma broke her hip a month ago. We've been very worried about her but I was gratified to see her moving better than expected. It was great to see everyone looking so happy and healthy. My aunt Joan surprised me with a lovely fiberholic's care package, including some incredible firey mohair yarn which has inspired me to attempt my first lace project.

Yesterday I ventured out to Village Yarn & Tea for a Sock Warrior meetup. I met some great girls (some of their blogs to the right) and had a great time while deciding on a project for the mohair. Unfortunately, I will have to avoid the shop in the future because they carry roving (Must... use... stash...), but they do make a mean cup of Bamboo Maiden.

I came to a little decision that's made me very happy. I really want a big homemade cozy sweater for the winter, but I've been putting off making another sweater for myself because I'm trying hard to lose weight and I don't want to invest all that effort on something I (hopefully) will not be able to wear next year. Lying in bed last night it struck me that I should use my Manos. I bought it 2 years ago, before I learned that fat single-ply yarn wouldn't hold up to much use. I've been unable to sell or trade it because I LOVE the colors (varigated reds). So here's the plan, quite obvious in retrospect. I'll make my luscious, amazing sweater and wear the heck out of it. By Spring it'll be a pilly mess so I'll pack it away until Fall, when I'll FELT it to fit my new & improved body! If it felts funkily, I'll just make a purse out of it and cherish my memories. And that makes me feel warm and cozy already.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Donations needed! Urgent!

The London Transport Museum (Our favorite museum, and that's saying a lot!) is auctioning off the chance to be the couple in the back of a 1930's taxi display. .

They will take a mold of the winning faces and put them on mannequins.

Matt says for another GBP1000 we can have our souls transferred into them after we die. What better place to be for eternity than in an shiny old taxi in London!

Opening bid is only GBP12,000! :) Surely we can scrape together enough pennies!

What the heck is Sock Wars, anyway?

I've been getting emails asking about SW, so here's the idea:

You sign up with HQ. You are assigned a victim. A sock pattern is distributed to all warriors, with adjustments for size of your victim's feet. On the start day (which was 9/22), you start knitting furiously, then mail the finished socks. When they arrive in the mail, your target has been killed. S/He then sends his/her socks in progress back to you, and you take on that target as your new mission. Unless, of course, your assassin has already killed you... in which case you send your unfinished socks to your killer. Hypothetically, a pair of socks may change hands repeatedly and be knit by multiple people.

Eventually, only one knitter remains. Their personal (unfinished) pair of socks is mailed to them. They have to complete them, but win the honor of being the Sock Wars Champion and get some awesome prizes (yarn and such). Everyone else gets a pair of handknitted socks and at least one new friend.

The amazing part is that the internet has introduced an international twist. My 1st victim is in NY. My assassin is in the UK. There are participants in Australia, Hawaii, Korea... all over the world! Since the matchup was random, some people delivered the Socks of Doom personally, while others had to mail across hemispheres. How cool is THAT!? The organizer - the magnificent Yarn Monkey of Belfast, Ireland - suffered a hurricane just before the start. As a result, there were some communication blips since she couldn't send out the dossiers. Instead, we just emailed our victims and assassins for the mailing info. Most people are taking advantage of the opportunity to enclose local postcards and treats. It's been really wonderful to take part in the message forums, too. I can't wait for SWII!

I have already mailed my first pair (my first pair EVER knit, BTW - I am very happy with them!) and am waiting for some half-finished socks to arrive. Meanwhile, a deadly pair is on its way to me. Which will get here first? It's anybody's guess. Pics will be posted when they will no longer ruin the surprise. :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Are your fingers nimble?

Sock Wars starts tomorrow! In celebration, I have updated my links (to the right) and provided shortcuts to my Cafe Press stores, in case you need some cool clothing. Requests cheerfully acommodated!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Adopt Victor! Save Dust Bunny! UPDATE!

Victor has found a new home with a lovely woman named Kathy. I hope they are very happy together. :)

Karen sent a bittersweet email upon receipt of her newly-spun Shabbit yarn. She loved the color: The dye came out a gorgeous autumn red. Unfortunately, one of the Angora buns who donated to said Shabbit has been diagnosed with cancer, so please cross your knitting needles for Dust Bunny. Prayers helped Matt recover, I say the same can happen again!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Deadwood and other stories

Bear with Deadwood's awkward pilot - it gets better immediately. It's a Western based on the beginning of said town, involving real people like Wild Bill Hickock & Calamity Jane as well as the obligate invented characters. I've been reading up on my history and like how they have tried to stick to the truth in tone, if not in story. Wild Bill never met Seth Bullock in real life (they only shared residency of Deadwood for one day), but it's true that WB was "courtly with women and fond of children," and that he wrote lies to his wife about working hard at prospecting when he was really drinking and gambling. Anyway - I recommend this series highly based on the characters and their realistic reactions to their lawless situation. It's a nice ensemble piece with multiple intermingling subplots. I think Bullock was miscast, but otherwise they are dead on. Great dialogue, sets, costumes, lighting... I've taken to watching the episodes once with subtitles to catch all the snide mutterings, then again with Matt to appreciate the beauty and rhythm. Another part of the fun is Googling the references I don't know and learning a bit of history. Consider yourself warned: Deadwood is not for the young or delicate. Much of the action centers around the town brothels and the commerce within, and nearly every sentence contains at least one vulgarity.

I've just fallen in love with Mae West. My Little Chickadee is pure genius. She wrote much of her material: This is the woman who originated "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" She's voluptuous and captivating in a very mature way, and of course laugh-out-loud funny.

Other recent movie favorites: Breakfast on Pluto is adorable. 12 Monkeys is a wild ride - nobody does insanity like Brad Pitt - with a different take on time travel. David Macaulay's Castle is a detailed yet entertaining look at the form and function of the medival fortress.

The SuperNanny gets smart!

Okay, so it had more to do with location than a design choice. Still, they shifted from their usual LT1 (the boring new London Taxi) and rented Wallace for a day of shooting in central WA. The episode will air sometime next year and yes, you will see me driving him around in my chauffeur's cap. There was a constant cloud of activity around the cab as they refitted him for the next section of filming - applying tint films to the windows, changing lights, rigging electronics, etc. The guys were very careful and highly professional (props to Tobias in the green). As a huge movie buff, I loved listening to the crew on the walkie-talkies coordinating the cameras and other stuff. Great behind-the-scenes day! It was a very long shoot but I had a blast and hope they follow through on their desire to use us again.