Saturday, December 31, 2005

It's the End of the Year, As We Know it...

Did I mention I'm still having the whole "song in my head" problem?

Whatevers (as my students used to say)...

Sickness is happening and I'm done and tired of it. I got hit with allergies yesterday and they finally pushed me over the edge and into full-blown sick-girl mode, urgh.

So, no parties. I'll be amazed if I make it to midnight.

May 2006 bring us all more good times and happiness.

Friday, December 30, 2005

2 o'clock Tick Tock

The problem with being sick (or maybe it's just "being me") is that you just conk out at like 9 PM, right? (If not 6 PM.) Then for no explanation known to man (and/or especially my mom who would LOVE to get in 16 hrs of sleep a night) you're WIDE AWAKE at 1:34 AM. By 2 you're actually UP trying to figure out how NOT to wake your housemates, especially the one who hasn't been able to sleep until 4 AM the last few nights.

This is the reason your doc prescribed those 7 DOLLAR A PILL "sleep aids" that you haven't needed because you've been forcing yourself to stay awake until at least 10 or 11PM so you can sleep "through" the night. Can't force that when you're sick, tried it, failed...and when you're falling asleep on your feet, who can remember to take those more-expensive-than-silver-per-ounce pills?!? So I've been looking at the unfriendly side of the 2 AM world for the past couple days/nights. If I were to take a pill now, um, yeah, sorry Charlie, that's 8 hours you need to let it run its course...urgh.

What is the world doing at 2 AM? In North Lake Tahoe, definitely SLEEPING. Not a sound can be heard besides the tapping away of the keys of my keyboard.

So I'll just blab for a bit and maybe that'll make me sleepy? Trying anything at this point :).

I work with a woman at the TC branch that lived in Tahiti and Hawai'i for a few decades up until almost 5 years ago. She was on the Big Island as well, over on Kona side. Yesterday she described how teary-eyed she was when she opened a gift from her son who got her Kailua-Chocolate. I shared that when I got the Big-Island Candy Chocolate Covered Shortbread Cookie box this morning, I felt...sad. Ecstatic I'd heard from a friend! Nostalgic about the time I spent there, but sad too. No real explanation forthcoming, sorry, I'd have to have hours and motivation to write that essay up, and it's not quite here yet. SO to take our minds off of it, we instead spoke about my "knitting adventures."

She was quite a knitter herself before the tropics. SHE'S SHOWN ME TWO SWEATERS SHE MADE, wow! But she insists she likes my anal (my word) style better. My "even stitches" and etc. show patience... I laughed so hard! She'd shown me an itty-bitty little beaded purse she knit...I couldn't do that! That would REALLY require patience that I DO NOT have, and might never attain. HELLO! I've just about given up ever finishing my vertically-challenged-scarf! 23"'s on the floor by my bed. I keep it close, even take it to work with me...but I started something else instead.

Have you all heard of the Panta Brazilian Headband thing? I'll find a link for it later, Deceptively Packaged made one, or three, I can't remember at this hour. I've been putting off socks and/or "crown-down" hats until I learned how to add more stitches to my needles. I'm pretty good (if not a little loose) at making stitches go away, but adding them has been a problem. So I'm trying the Panta. It calls for US 5 needles and low and behold, an impulse buy at Target, months ago, to the rescue, or so I thought.

Target has these "Dollar bins" like Pick-N-Save used to. I loved Pick-N-Save. Now they're named something else and everything is far too different for me, sorry, creature of habit here. I run into Target for something completely non-addiction related when I see they have little rolls of fur and NEEDLES at the dollar bins! So I go, I grab two tubes (cuz yeah, they're in taped tubes), I buy. They seemed straight, they had points, they're made of wood, I could do this. Okay, so they're painted a gawd-awful pinkie-purplie in that what-red-wine-looks-like-when-it's-going-out-the-wrong-way-fast pinkie-purple color; I can live with it, no biggie, they're a dollar!

Laugh, go ahead, laugh! I know better, now. They're made out of dowls or something, very little bend to them. They are TOO pointed. OUCH, hurt when I stick myself, oh yeah. And then the splinters. Yes, MORE THAN ONE. I got one on the palm of my hand the night before last and "sanded" them both down with a nice dry scrubbing pad that seemed to smooth everything down. Happy me. Go on, laugh some more. Yesterday I just wasn't all that sure my m1s (make 1 stitch where there was naught before) were cutting it. I looked in a couple books and looked on-line but it was one of those moments when you needed someone to just show you. So on my lunch break I got someone to show me...and she ended up with a splinter in her hand.

Right. 9 dollars later I am the proud owner of some Brittney US 5s. And IF I'm not zombie-girl, at about 10, 7 hours from now, I get to invade my coworker's house and look (sort) through her needle collection and take what I'm lacking. Seriously! I'm stoked.

So back to the cookies. Remember the cookies? Big Island Candy Company? A few paragraphs above? So I haven't broken into the box yet. It's all elegant and gold-looking and sitting on the "bar" of the kitchen. My boys will eat all my Gouda, my Wheat Thins, my bananas even, but they haven't touched my "sweets" unless I've said to please devour the muffins, fudge, pumpkin pie, etc. Quite a nice thing. But the cookies...I've been invited to a "Chakuanamas", or whatever, party tonight at the same coworker's home, and may just have to bust them out as my contribution. Share the Big Island Love so as to keep my spirits up, and my pants size down :). As well as be a big thank you for any donation to the cause of my poverty---I mean knitting!

I don't know if she reads my blog, she's too busy playing mommy and teaching undeserving (no, more ungrateful, yea that's it) middle school students math, and doing the wife thing on the Big Island, but thank you thank you thank you for the cookies! Know that they will be enjoyed to the last crumb, no matter how or by whom they are consumed. Hopefully NOT ALL BY ME.

O-Kay, 3 AM...I'm gonna try to lie down for a bit more...maybe sleep just needed a coffee break and I can sneak a few hours in before dawn? Happy New Year's Eve's Eve!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sickness & PRIZE!

Welcome to my flu...cuz just as my HS Physics teacher, Dr. Todd, once cryptically noted that "it's always your very own personal rainbow;" it really is always your very own personal bout of influenza. When it hits me hard, I'm always reminded that people DIED of this thing less than a hundred years ago! Happily I am so Airborned/Zicamed/Echineciad-out (I really miss Wellness Formula) that I'm only just slightly suffering. I was able to make Shepherd's Pie last night for my boys (the two-overgrown kids I live with who are up and outta here at 7:30AM to try to hit the snow before the tourists), but I was so dizzy (I'm trying to ignore the inner-ear infection looming at the edge of my being) eating was a chore and I fell asleep on the couch immediately afterward.

Enough about suffering! Not like I can skip work or anything.


So I entered a contest. If you remember from WAAAAY back I LOVE to enter contests. My favorite contest entry (and win(!)) to date was the Santa Cruz Good Times' Shakespeare Santa Cruz contest. Basically every week the local rag would have embedded Shakespearean text somewhere in their articles. Your job, should you choose to accept it, was to discover the line and then say what play, act, scene, line, etc. it came from. If correct, your name would be entered into a drawing and you would get a chance to win two tickets to a showing of whichever play (one of three) that the Shakespeare SC troupe were performing. Soooo...with nothing better to do, and really, not expecting to find anything, I read the paper. Low and behold, when reading the movie review for "Conspiracy Theory" (yes, this was years and years and years ago and I still remember it like yesterday---I'm lame, I know it) I was told that the Mel Gibson character was only mad "when the wind was north by northwest, but when the wind was southerly he knew a hawk..." from a whatever, handsaw???---I don't know the line exactly anymore, it's been YEARS since I read the play, and my collection of Ole Willie's works is in storage at my mom's house. But oh yeah, HAMLET! So I entered, and I won! And I got to see Richard III! I was a Literature Major, I'm sorry, this kind of stuff gets me excited on many levels. Yeah, add "dork" to my lame-ocity.

Soooo, where was tangent girl? Ah yes, when last we left her she was telling about a contest. Well, Birdsong had a contest. The only requirement was to, um comment on her blog. Could even the wiliest and most non-contest-entering of you resist that? And, um, I won.
So what'd I win? (Cuz try as I might, my little cybershot is not the best at low-light/winter/indoor/closeup pictures, if any at all.) Vogue Knitting PILLOWS book, enough yarn to make Ruched Velvet Pillow, and even an incentive, THE BACK of the pillow, all done!

So, will I expand my horizons beyond hats and scarves to try this pattern out? Quien Sabe. But the yarn is so RED and I've never done anything this complicated with two needles...I actually have crocheted a number of pillow slips in my time. We'll just have to see. But thank you thank you thank you Birdsong.

My head is telling me it's time for some painkillers and maybe a decongestant or three (better living through chemistry), so I'll have to leave this post at that.

Happy Flu Season!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Stripey Hat

Did you know you can do a "magic loop" with a 16" needle? Neither did I, but it is A-MAZING what you will try when the snow is coming down and you ~so~ do not want to go out and drive too many miles to find US 8 DPNs*.
*(Double Pointed Needles for my non-knitters--and I know you're out there, I got your xmas cards, luv you lots ;))

Today, however, as I already had to go to Tahoe City to earn the BIG money (ha) I stopped in at Three Dog Knit to purchase that which I lacked for that final row:

Yes, DPNs in US 8, thank you, very much. With almost NO effort (read as I panicked no less than three times that I was doing it bass-ackwards) I strove to knit those final rows--okay so it was like three--before jetting off to my Kings Beach shift.

So, behold, what one can do with 5mm-16" circular needles and equally sized DPNs:

It's my very first "stripey" hat. 100% Peruvian Highland Wool from Cascade 220. Made from my own, almost the same one I used for my "skinny skull caps." I'm just not sure now if I want to keep it. I just got an xmas card from a friend who moved Wisconsin and its too super cold temps many many moons ago; it was actually SNOWING when they took the picture! I'm thinkin' I might make an even smaller version (I only cast on 85 stitches), and send the similar (but never the same) pair of hats to a couple little frozen popsicles in the picture...unless they're allergic, um, you might wanna let me know, eh girlfriend whose initials are S.C.? Formerly S.W.? (I'm all about keeping the innocent, you know, innocent :).)

It'd be no trouble, I literally finished the hat in less than 12 hrs, that's like lightning speed for me! I mean, what else am I gonna do with all this extra yarn? (Don't you dare say "make a matching scarf...cuz I'm not going there. My horizontally challenged WIP (work in progress) scarf is making me go BATTY. I'm obviously more of a hat person.

Maybe it's my dragon cursing me with its magical dragon powers so I'll get off my duff and knit him a scarf...or socks, or a sweater...

Okay, one more picture, sans needles so you can get the full craftiness of the hat:

Monday, December 26, 2005

Impulse Knitting

Okay, so there was a long car trip involving windy roads (that's wine-dee, not win-dee), so keeping track of the basketweave of my "not growing fast enough") scarf was out of the question. So I did it, I cheated, I started something else...this wee little hat for my ginormous head.

It's my first time using circular needles too! (US 8's) Only one problem...I don't own any dpns to match for when I get to the top...and, yeah, it snowed again last night...and, um, help? Would it be just total ridiculousness to hold several other-sized dpns together to get the width I need? Again, more emphatically this time, HELP.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Noche Buena, or Why I think Xmas is TOO Commercial

Happy bitterly raining anniversary of the birth of Jesus! Happy pagan holidays! Or Merry Christmas! Whichever you prefer.

As others have been using their last few posts to relate stories and convey trivial knowledge, I thought I'd do the same. Before I forget though, I'd like everyone who's interested to go and read my friend Richard's Blog. He relates an xmas story that's really cute.

Okay, so, trivial knowledge, cuz my stories are all kinda fuzzy and will only depress me right now. I hope this will also clear up the reason I'm bothered by the xmas "frenzy."

I confess, I love getting gifts. My parents did their best every year to make sure my haul was a nice looking bunch of presents under the tree. I felt spoiled and giddy and all the things little kids celebrating xmas in the states should feel. Then I went off and spent several xmasses in the town my dad grew up in, down Mexico way. Wow. What a difference. There was no Santa Claus. Xmas was Jesus' birthday, period. And it wasn't just ONE DAY of celebrating! We started out about 9 days before the 25th for the Novena (means, nine days, can you believe). You got up at WAAAAAAYYYYY too early to attend mass in the morning. In the evening there were "posadas" where you went caroling, sort of. You'd go and stand outside peoples' houses and sing your heart out hoping they'd open their door to you, feed you, and if you're a kid, get an "aginaldo"--a lovely parting gift of sorts: a bag filled with nuts and sweets and maybe chocolate if you were lucky.

Everyone's main decoration in the house WAS NOT the tree. Sometimes there was no tree in sight! (Where you gonna get a pine tree in those parts of Mexico where there are no trees???) The main event happened around the Nativity scene. Everyone was there, Joseph, Mary, the animals, shepherds, a manger...but NO Jesus. Duh! He doesn't show up until the 24th around midnight or so!

Did you know the lil' baby Jesus didn't get any presents on the day he was born? That's right little Jose, that's why we go to midnight mass and lay the baby in the nativity scene and have the candles and sparklers and the fireworks galore in the plaza, but no presents, no, little Maria, that's saved for Noche Buena, 12 days after xmas. (Or so that's what it used to be like on Christmasses of old that I spent in San Simón, Michoacan, Mexico.)

It was the "los tres reyes" (the three kings of the "We three kings of Orient are..." fame that followed the star and got to the barn and the manger 12 days after the birth of the child. Or so the holiday calendars have us believe. On that night (5th of January, at midnight of course) they showed up and gave the sleeping child money, perfume, and essential oils to be used when he died. Fun stuff, huh? So on the night of the 5th we add the three fellows to the Nativity scene, cuz, well, hi, they just arrived! And of course, you leave out your shoe (how this came about I don't know) so that the kings will be able to leave YOU a gift in or under it (if it's too big) as well. They're kings, they're loaded, they share the love.

The morning of the 6th you wake up to your gift (usually just one, but it's usually what you really really wanted cuz you wrote your letter to "los tres reyes" or to your favorite one: Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar--Baltasar was always my favorite, he wears a turban!).

That evening you eat tamales, hot chocolate, and slice up the rosca de reyes (ring of kings--yummy sweat bread), hoping you don't get the little baby Jesus figurine. If you do, you get to host the party on the 2nd of February, Candelaria (Candle Mass), and provide the baby Jesus a new outfit (the nativity Jesus' are BIG in Mexico, not like the ornament-sized ones we have in the U. S., these guys are like the size of newborns, well preemies, and they get a new little robe every year!).

So, the holidays don't end until February 2nd! And the last person to get their final gift really is the baby Jesus. No man in a red suit, no elves, no rushing to get the hundreds of gifts wrapped and under a tree. You have until January 5th to get the ONE thing you think your child/partner/whomever you're celebrating with would really really want. Cuz really, it's all about commemorating the little guy in the manger, right?

And yes, I know, I'm in the US and not in Mexico, and the last time I was in Mexico there were fat men in red suits walking the streets and giving out candy. Some kids even knew who the crazy Americans (cuz, yeah, they were retired Americans doing it) were supposed to be. There were trees and ornaments a la Americann style. There was commercialism creeping in.

And so, now you know. If I can't find one pre-made, I'm pretty much determined to make a rosca de reyes, I'll consider it my first resolution for the year...along with finishing those xmas cards that yeah, are still waiting to be filled with my words o'greeting...but heck, if I finish before Candle Mass, I think I'm still in the clear :).

Festive wishes to you all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"The Eggplant That Ate Chicago..."

Okay, so here's the deal, I think my brain is just too tired. Seriously, maybe I have dengue or some brain fever; thinking straight has been rather difficult the last couple days. The main problem? Songs keep drilling themselves into my head and WON'T LEAVE!

Case in point: I was just reading Knit & Tonic and thanks to her title, all I could think of as I read was that bloody Napoleon XIV song! As I posted in her comments, in HS during my sophomore year we did a Speech unit and I performed "They're Coming To Take Me Away" for my class. Which then led to remembering the album (because yes, I owned the album) of Dr. Dementos Greatest Hits (Vol. 6 or so...I dunno). Yes, "The Eggplant that Ate Chicago" (wack-a-do, whack-a-do) was on the same side. (heh, remember when albums had "sides?" Hoo boy, I just alienated someone, I'm sure...)

Yep, hard to concentrate on checking books in and out when your head is filled with songs that have infiltrated you to the core. My own fault, I think. See, as part of the whole "clean up and clean out" project I have begun with myself now that I'm settling out of the "crazy" and returning to the
pseudo-normalcy of my life, I decided to make my parents the CDs I was going to make LAST xmas (and now George Michael sneaks in...."the very next day, you gave it away..." eep.)

Where was I? Right, so a little history: my mom and I had spoken back when I was in Mexico, really (in 01-03), about my gathering up some music she liked and me burning a CD of it so she could play it on her brand new CD player (in her brand new car). So I did. Gather. In October of 04 I'd gotten enough to fill a few CDs. So I narrowed down the focus and the plan was to burn her a trial copy of one singer's stuff for an xmas present. It wasn't a surprise, we don't really do surprise gifts in my family, we're lame that way, I know. Then, of course, that same month my X dropped the big "we're no longer traveling down the same path" bomb and I promptly forgot everything, as I was a bit busy trying to figure out the whys and hows of my situation. It's great fun when your X's play-thing tells you, "You know, when he first told me about you, he described you as a monster." Thanks, no really, may Karma bite you some place special. Even more fun when you confront X and he doesn't believe you, cuz well, right, you've only known one another since you were 18 (and it's 12 yrs later), and she being the new thing in his life of course she'd NEVER say something like that, and etc. Can we say "bitter much?" Yeah, the wound is only scabbed you see. So if I'm not careful it reopens and the bitterness just flows.

Right, well, tangents galore yeah, anyway, as I was looking through my hard drive this last weekend and wondering where the heck my memory had gone (computer memory, that is), when I ran across what I lovingly labeled: "Mami's old-people music." Soooooo, I figured, what the heck, I have to listen to something as I work on everyone else's presents...(oooh I didn't mention, since I slammed about it so badly in one of my last blogs, my computer was giving me SOUND again!!! Then the housemates blew a fuse yesterday and my computer'd been on and yeah, no more sound...I figure it was its last hurrah). So I strapped on the headphones and listened to almost FOUR HOURS worth of Lola Beltran, Vicente Fernandez (and sons), Pedro Infante, Javier Solis, and a whole bunch of other people probably long-time gone; culling the recordings that were too scratchy (some had been digitized from vinyl) or badly recorded. It so ruined me.
This is Lola, the Queen of the Ranchera songs for 40 years!

You see, if you don't recognize these artists immediately, it's probably cuz you're not Mexican or of Hispanic descent. (Not your fault :).) These guys (and girls) were the shiznit of the 30s, 40s, 50s, maybe even up to the 70s for old "Chenche" (as my tia Tere calls Vicente Fernandez).

The man, the myth, the legend...Vicente Fernandez. He's still goin' strong...or at least still goin'. He's got his sons doing most of the singing now. This man owns most of the state of Jalisco

But man oh man all these people must have led some horrid lives. Lemme tell you this much, Mexican music is all about one thing: sadness. My horse died, my girl ran off, my man is gone (that's Gershwin too), my heart is broken, my town is not my town anymore, sad, sad, sad, sad. It's like country music with an accordion (or a big old mariachi band depending on the presentation). I mean, HI, my parents used to just go off on my music (I had the HAPPY experience of a DAILY 2-hour rush-hour LA commute to/from my HS with BOTH my parents FOR FOUR YEARS... We listened to A LOT of my teenage angst music, poor things). How could I listen to this garbage about death and who knew what else (Yeah, The Cure, Depeche Mode, I wore a lot of black too...) WELL, after four hours of listening to the songs they grew up with... HELLO, I was so lonesome, I could cry. If one of them wasn't lamenting a girl that had left them (Por tu MALDITO Amor (Because of Your Damned Love)), they were comparing their relationships to crops that flat-out FAILED (La Milpa (The Cornfield)). How did these people get out of bed in the morning?

Right, they were artists, they had money and fame...I forget.

So my dear readers, your humble narrator now desperately needs something to kill all the music embedded in her brain. I know they say that if you get a song stuck in your head the best thing to do is to hum the tune to "The Girl From Iponema." Which has now started playing in my head....but I'm afraid it too might get stuck.
Pedro Infante
I had to add a second Pedro Infante picture, he's my mom's favorite, but shhh, don't tell my dad :). He was born in 1917 and was one of those "singing cowboys" of the big screen. His movies totally had you on the edge of your seats sometimes, but you knew he'd live, cuz, well, he had to sing the song at the end of the movie, right?

With that ladies and gents, I leave you to happily celebrate whatever it is you're celebrating these next few days. A friend came up with the word but I'ma gonna totally mess it up, ready? Happy Chakwanamas (?) and all that :). Much more fun to say than "holidays." See ya in a few.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Oh my, yes, King Kong. Wow. Of course I bawled my eyes out. They made a 25 ft gorilla cute and lovable, so I REPEAT, of course I bawled my eyes out.

My housemates (whose incriminating pictures they took of each other tonight, hee hee, maybe I'll post them tomorrow) and I went and sat through the THREE HOURS of movie last night. And here's where the OUCH comes in...MY BACK HURTS, tonight. Why does it feel like my spine wants to come out of my tummy? So this post is short, cuz I HURT. I'm foregoing the spellcheck even and going for some muscle relaxers. (Can we say, "Hello oblivion, how's the wife and kids....")

Monday, December 19, 2005


So I'm hoping that curiosity got the better of them....


Love you both!



I did trek through the squishy snow and got to the PO today. And it is squishy, in that ICEEE sort of way, but without the Cherry flavor. The nice postal worker even said my stuff MIGHT actually get there BEFORE xmas! If that's true I think my family might wonder who has possessed their sibling/daughter. Cuz I haven't been "on time" with stuff like gifts or cards in decades. We're talking 4 weeks early or, um, 4 weeks late here is SOP at the Tactless Wonder Planning Commission.

If I can get the all the digital equipment to operate I might even have a pic of my haul...wait, not a haul in the traditional sense...this is stuff I'm mailing out. Oh, I'm so jonesing for a new camera. I don't need a new one, like I don't need a new computer, well, actually, as my lappy is turning 6 next week and has blown its battery, disk drive, speakers, sound-in, screen isn't so bright anymore...there's argument that yes Virgina, if Santa's listening, we need a new lappy in the Tactless Wonder house. But the camera...hmm, it's actually only just turned 4, and as I found out, they still make memory sticks for it...but I'd really like it's great great great great grandchild with the Carl Zeiss lens that can take indoor winter photographs that I don't have to manipulate so hardcore in Photoshop...

Anywho...where was I? Oh yeah, convincing my little cybershot to play.

There we are: one gift for my brother and his family, one gift for my mom, dad, & lil bro, & cards galore. That's it. Isn't being the "black sheep" nice? I know it's at least affordable on my poor excuse for pay as I'm not expected to get anyone else gifts :).

So, done? Not quite. There are still people on my card list to be crossed off. But if I do that before New Years I think I'll have done awesome. I mean, well, hey we're all being told it's the "holidays" and all, that means more than one day a year, right? So if I'm sending "holiday" cards I can pretty much make them part of any of them right? Let's not forget 12th Night isn't until Jan 5th, (aka Noche Buena) so I'm way set on time :).

Speaking of Noche Buena, does anyone else celebrate it? I'm all about procuring the ring of bread (Rosca de Reyes) and some tamales and hot chocolate for the occasion. I dunno if I'm up for making the tamales myself...maybe if I make sweet ones instead of traditional pork ones (which I can't eat anyway...)...but KB HAS to have someone making the bread...

I'm obviously procrastinating again...don't I have cards to finish? I've wasted a good hour already playing on Neopets. Like the apple trailers, I thought I was no longer able to play any games, but since I updated to Firefox 1.5 and upgraded the flash player, I'm doomed....cuz my favorite games are once again functional. (I didn't mention I was a big geek in my profile did I...see, you learn something new every day.)

Okay, must go write, or knit, or something that takes me far enough away from the lappy to get SOMETHING ELSE done today. Good luck to the rest of you, we're on the last stretch of the madness, promise.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Snow and Finished Tasks

Well, there's snow outside again. Dare I take a picture? Dare I post it? We're at the "light rain" part of the weatherunderground forecast, but it's starting to look awfully flaky for rain again.

I know, I'll just take another picture of Andy's car, as it has not moved since the emergency Oreo Cookie Run last night. It helps to keep the camera handy. Please note the good 5 inch covering the poor corolla-sickle has accumulated.

I love Tahoe, if you note the house across the street, they've added to their possessions. Not only are they prepared for summer with the sailboat, they now have a snow-mobile-thingie (read as: I dunno what it is but it's got skies and stuff to get you through the snow) for winter!.

The Subaru is out and about with the boyz en tow up at Northstar, I think. Did I mention I don't do "snow sports?" It's not for lack of wanting to learn so much as the knowledge that I probably WILL break something if and when I try. So I live vicariously through others.

But I am being semi-productive. It's hard when it's like snowing and all you want to do is stay in bed and blogstalk and forget about the fact that you need to WALK through all this white stuff tomorrow so you can post things for xmas...cuz I've finally finished them, the gifts (Alfred, you'll want to NOT look at the following pictures) that I've been slaving away at for the last couple weeks...

No, these are not full-blown full-sized stockings. That would have required the use of my sewing machine and that baby is still in storage at my mom's house (I miss you!)
These little guys are about 7.5" long and almost 3.5" wide. I STILL have to attach the little pieces of ribbon so they can hang them...but they're kinda meant for hanging on the xmas tree more than anything. Hand stitched, as is obvious from the OH SO EVEN blanket/edge stitch on the green one to my left here.

I ended up using the glitter-glue as, after consulting with the child-safety committee (my housemate) it was decided the glue looked nicer, and besides there were no sharp corners or pointy bits to it. Just nice uniformed old-fashioned glitter-sized bits. As two of these are going to "under-threes" I played it safe.

So I made four, one each for: my older brother, SIL (the double initial ones), niece and nephew (they have the triple initials). I contemplated making one for my little brother, but he's 13...somehow a cutsie little stocking doesn't scream out to me telling me a 13-yr old would care for it...At least these little guys can turn into ornaments until they fall apart or something.

I'm trying to figure out how to pack and mail them now...See the candy-canes? Yeah, hmmm, fragile is an understatement.

So I'm done with xmas tasks? Hahahahahaha...those darling xmas cards that I try (and fail) every year to mail off before new-years are sitting there laughing at me. But there's snow to watch...and, and, well, I should try to finish my scarf before spring, right? (It too has grown, almost 19"! Only 50" to go!!!! ugh. No picture as I'm bummed by how loooooonnnnnngggg it's taken to get to only 19.")

Happy snow day...maybe I can go shovel? (Can we say procrastinate?)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Can we say, "Where did Friday go?"

So um, yeah, did you know there is NO WINDOW SERVICE at the Kings Beach Post Office on Saturdays (i.e. they are CLOSED Closed closed! Until Monday). Um, yeah, well, that's fine, no problem. EXCEPT THAT IT'S THE 19th ON MONDAY...and I have a birthday card to mail that's gonna be late...sorry nephew(name withheld to protect the innocent and underaged).

So tell me people, whatever happened to glitter? I looked high and low in this little mountain town and was handed "glitter-glue" which may or may not serve my purposes, but glitter? The 99cent (and more) store came to my rescue, phew. But it's not QUITE glitter as I remember it. You remember glitter? Tiny itty bitty squarish or roundish pieces of shiny stuff to cover your glue creations and then presto! Martha Stewart would be so proud? This is all I found:

And I really and truly hope that they mean it when they say "Conforms to ASTM D-4236" and/or "NON TOXIC" These are children's presents I'm making afterall. The glitter itself comes in all shapes and sizes maybe it's what's left over from making the real glitter? I can't complain too much, after all, I mean, it's the ONLY glitter I found!

We'll see in a bit, is all I can say.

So, I know, I know, you've been on the edge of your seats waiting for pictures of the Vets Memorial Hall and I'm sorry yesterday kinda slipped by too quickly for me. I woke up early enough to finish the sewing part of the gifts I should have mailed yesterday...Then I don't know where the day went, honestly. I went to work...Next thing I knew I was two glasses of wine into my evening and ready to hit the sack. Anyway, here's what I saw in Auburn:

100 East Street. I thought, grand, I'm like 3 minutes early! It took me 5 to find the only door that was actually UNLOCKED. Hi? Signs would have helped. A LOT.

They had 2 of these out front. They were real! Though plugged up with cement long ago. And if they hadn't, you KNOW there'd be trash plugging them up instead. We Americans are really good at "slap your knee" antics such at that.

This little guy was kinda out of place. Isn't this what they had on board fighting ships more than land cannons? But I'm bad at all the war history stuff anyway.

So I wonder if they considered giving the test in this room? I was in the room across from this scary place. It looked like something out of a court-room crossed with that chamber from Harry Potter 4. I mean, well, it would have fit much better. I could have felt small and unimportant BEFORE the test instead of after. At least it would have been more honest....moving on...

This little guy, about the size of a flag pole (or um the LIGHT POST that's duh, already there), was near the entrance to 80E. I was getting gas at a Tesoro that I highly don't recommend. Their credit card readers at the pump don't seem to work right so you have to go inside anyway. I thought it was a temporary thing but they were like, "don't you want a coffee or a soda?" If I did, I woulda' gotten one, no? Anyhow, I spotted the statue just as I was leaving so I decided to take my time pulling away from the pump and take a picture, as they'd already wasted my time in paying for gas INSIDE.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


(something's up with the spell-check -- ritual apology for this post...)

Okay, okay, I admit it, I was the kid who loved loved LOVED getting A's. I believed my dad when he said all he wanted for xmas or his birthday were good grades and a good report card. When he was not-quite sober he'd add that we were already all the gifts he could have ever asked for. (He still says that, said it last month when I wished him a happy 60th.)

So today I had the lovely opportunity to advance myself in the Placer County system. Though I still actually have to be approved to have taken the test, more on that in a bit. I got up BEFORE THE SUN, people (weeellll, not actually all that hard to do in winter is it?), so I could be on the road to Auburn to take the Spanish Bilingual Proficiency Exam for Placer County Employees (and applicants as I found out during the test).

There is more construction on HWY 80 than there is road, I'm almost convinced of it, but only if you're going West. So buahaha if you're trying to get home from Tahoe, TRAFFIC is your punishment for getting away from the weekend! Or, your punishment for trying to get to Auburn 15 minutes before your scheduled exam. I didn't know a little Corolla could do 75 on mountain highways....oh HI ANDY, umm, no, of course I'd never drive over the limit in your car, don't be silly!

Amazingly I did park and turn off....(still working on a name for the Corolla) 3 whole minutes before my scheduled meeting with Personnel at the Veterans Memorial Hall. I have pics, I'll try to load them in a bit. The oldest man still working was there, I've forgotten his name, but he helped build most of the building (to hear him talk). He graduated from the elementary school that was once on the spot the hall is now. He still takes care of it, he's 90-something. Looked great but I'm not as camera crazy as some people I know so I didn't snap any shots, sorry. Had I the audacity, or a secret spy camera, you know this blog wouldn't be lacking in visuals.

So, as I stated to the ladies checking my ID and reading me "the statement." The longer I work for this county the more I dislike it. I work at a library in Kings Beach. I'm sorry this community is now made up of ESLs and non-english speakers who work for all the ski resorts and hotels in the area, I really am. Some days I feel like the county is blaming me personally. I'm sorry this is no longer a hippie-haven-commune-rich area, really! But what can I do about it? The reason I was hired at the local branch was because I speak spanish. I think that pretty much put me above the next applicant. I was promised Bilingual pay at the interview, back in June. Then I found out I had to take a test, sure, no problem. It was scheduled in September. Then they cancelled it and rescheduled it to today. All this time I was all about "no worries" cuz I thought (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAaaaa) that as I'd been using my super-power spanish skills since I was hired, they'd compensate me from the beginning. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAaaaauumm.) Right. Well. Umm no. In fact I may lose out on yet another pay period depending on when I get my results. 6 months I've been good and speaking spanish when needed (daily) and I find this out now.

Now I also come to find out that they may not approve the bilingual certificate, even if I pass (more on this in a bit) unless the area I work in really and truly DOES need the use of a second language. I mean, heck, no OTHER branch of the library system needs spanish speakers, why should we be so different? Just because I've already been asking for library card apps in SPANISH and have all the signs up in SPANISH. Nooooooo, not really and truly needed, right? I know I'll get some flack from people who believe in the "this is America, let them learn English" theory. But if we look to history and the Treaty of 1848 with Guadalupe Hidalgo, one of the tennents to California becoming a part of the US actually states that we will not deny the language and culture of the original peoples here. This kinda includes the Mexicans that had made this part of Mexico their home, as well as the Russians, Asians, and OH YEAH, the "Native Americans." But we're super good at forgetting these little tidbits of history. Heck, even I can't point at the specific paragraphs or the actual date of the document, but that's because history is usually rewritten by the winners, and the treaty was about losing.

And speaking about losing...and back to the title of the post...I was told, as I was given the written section, that there were three versions of the test I could choose: legal, medical, or social services. So I could answer questions and translate phrases about legal, medical, or social service topics. Ummm, where does the library fit into this? Oh, there is NO LIBRARY test. Pick one. Yes, you'll struggle through it (she said this) but I'm sure you'll be fine. It's like me going in to take a British Lit. exam and being told it's actually going to be about the Roman Empire. I practiced (with my patrons) any and all questions and problems and phrases that we commonly use in the library (#1 being --I kid you not--"¿Adonde esta el baño?"--Where is the bathroom?). I don't know vocab for a legal office. I don't know vocab for a medical office. And believe it or not, even though my parents are both immigrants from mexico, I do not know the vocab from social services (WELFARE, people). Which is what this lady from personnel recommended I choose, because I would probably be most familiar with it. (As my SIL would say, "SHE DIDN'T SAY THAT, tell me she didn't say that." I only wish I could.)

And, um, what do I need to pass? Is this a hard question people? Is it? Cuz I swear the look on her face was priceless. "Well it's a combination of the written and oral exams." Right. So what do I have to score on them? "Well, that's hard to say because they have to take into account your written and oral exam." Ummm, I missed something somewhere, I know it. Maybe it was part of the test?

The written test was about something from Social Services. I learned something today, everyone! Social Services needs to review the information they give out to their patrons. The paragraph was confusing and lacked a TOPIC SENTENCE. I finished it 10 minutes faster than the 15 total they gave me. Funny thing is they left me in a room all by myself. I guess they trusted that I wouldn't pull out my trusty spanish/english dictionary to help myself out. Or maybe they didn't care? Or maybe they knew the oral part was so hard that I needed every chance I could get?

So, yeah, the oral part. Did you know there is a word for "the documents needed to verify your income for the year?" I guess if I used my savvy experience with social services (i.e. 0) I'd know this. They gave me words and sentences to translate. I think they could have cut me some slack. Maybe if they had picked words from all three areas? I dunno, I did NOT do well when it came to translating welfare forms. HELLO, most people can't figure out the English versions! {sigh}

SO, I may have driven all that way AND BACK(THREE HOURS) for not. I know when I got back all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and forget the whole thing even happened. Why? Cuz I KNOW I am bilingual. HI, español es mi primera idioma! No aprendi ingles hasta que empeze la primaria! (Spanish is my first language. I didn't learn English until I started grammar school!) And hi, do you think you'd be reading this if I wasn't at least semi-proficient in the English language? That makes me bilingual, no? And I HATE failing...or even getting really close to it. I did miserably on this test. I know I did. I did not leave feeling good about it. I felt like a total loser.

Okay, 'nuff for now. NO I did not finish the cards or the gifts, I have failed yet again. But tonight, yes, and maybe tomorrow morning too...overachiever down in the dumps right now. But there's a glass of wine calling out to me so I'll go now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Must. Keep. Going....

On a roll...fat man cards and -- don't read this Alfred -- gifts for my niece and nephew. Pretty much must finish by tomorrow so they can like, get the stuff before new years...Procrastination, I will conquer you some day.

So that's my apology for this non-post...

But leave you of a shot of the queen of the castle here:

She's taken one of my needle point-protectors hostage.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Parents! URGH!

Certain things chap my hide. There's no other way to describe it. It must be the way I was raised. Or the place? I dunno. I wish there were home movies. Maybe then I'd know how I acted and how my mother reacted? Or it's the new-fangled idea that kids will learn by having books and vhs tapes falling on them? Could that be it? Point is, I hate hate hate having to play parent to a kid when theirs is inches away from me.

So there was a complaint today. I bad library page, no biscuit. A parent complained to my branch manager because as I stopped her kid from pulling out some books by (I'll use her words), "Grabbing my son's arm! Next time she should just tell me!"
Or something.
Her TWO-YEAR-old's arm. many of you have ever done that to a 2 yr old? If not grabbed, how about just touched a two-year old when they didn't expect it? (on their arm people) What oh what is the general reaction? I'd say SCREAMS! (And I'd be right.) TEARS? (Oh yeah.) HELLO, who in their right mind would do that when mom is 12 inches away from the kid?

I was shelving and the kid pulls out a book and drops it on the floor. (Yes, mom right next to him; her reaction? Nothing.) His arm goes in for another one. I put my hand in front of the book (stopping it from flying) then move his hand, with my finger, out of the shelf, while saying, "No, sweetie, don't do that." I'm SMILING even. I look up at mom and smile some more. He looks up at mom all huffy, no scream, no tears. But that "she just stopped me from doing something look." He says something in 2-yr-old jargon.

Mom gets all funny, "Okay, let's go." They'd been in the library for a while. The kid had RUN all over the place. He toppled over a good 10 vhs tapes and I didn't need to clean up after him with the books too. Was mom near him during his escapade? HECK NO. Was mom making him STOP the pulling of books and movies and whatever he could get his hands on, onto the floor? NO.

Let the kid run around unsupervised. I know this isn't a big town or anything, but it is a ski/resort town. (And the sarcasm is mounting so I warn you now) Not like there aren't all kind of weirdos that hang at the library(hi, I had my own stalker living BEHIND the place this summer), or strangers, or foreign kids and out-of-towners that come to work the resorts, or drifters that are warming themselves up before they thumb it out of town. LET YOUR KIDS RUN FREE...I was raised mostly in L.A., so okay, I'm jaded, I guess. But at that age and size you don't let them run rampant. If anything can we remember IT'S A LIBRARY not a DAY CARE CENTER! I'm not there to watch the kids! I'm not their to clean up after them. HELLO, we're not even allowed to have volunteers under 16 without parental supervision!

AAAAUUUUUMMMMMMmmmmm....(deep breath).

My supervisor says I need to let this go, move on. She's behind me 100% and knows me well enough to know I would not GRAB a kid shy of stopping them from climbing the bookshelves (yes, I've done that before) fact....hmmm, yes, I've stopped this particular kid from climbing up on the tables. Carried him down and placed him next to mom. She didn't have ANYTHING to say that day...hmmm, what a revelation. My point here is, I guess, that I would happily let this go (I would, honest) IF I'D ACTUALLY GRABBED HIS ARM! I would have apologized. HI, teacher training, you don't touch the kids, period. Heck, at my last school admin decided we all needed to learn the way to "hug" students if you needed to. A one-handed-no-body-contact-funky-posture-teacher-student-pat/hug-thing. My reaction, of course, was well, umm, I don't touch kids, period. I mean, EEEEEUUUUUUWWW. I think I mentioned the whole issue I have with kids, especially at the under 10 size, they have a tendency to be sticky and/or leak. Over 10 they're sticky and/or stinky. UGH, okay, enough ranting.

Your Christmas is Most Like: The Muppet Christmas Carol

You tend to reflect on Christmas past, present, and future...
And you also do a little singing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Off the "Cuff" and Nowhere Near the "Pulse"

I was just forwarded a powerpoint doc, "Your 2006 Calendar." Apparently it's got all these tight-shorted/brief-clad guys in it, as well as some fully clothed Brad Pitt pictures. Seen it? Received it? Right, that one. As I looked through it, I realized something, it was after looking at the presentation TWICE that I even recognized Brad Pitt. If there were other celebrities, ummm, couldn't tell you. All I could actually keep thinking was, "I wonder how many of these cuties are straight?" I'm bad that way, shoot me now, too much time with beautiful people who no habla heterosexuality I suppose. So, how many people have I offended with this paragraph? I'm tactless, 'member? I don't mean it, promise.

Anyway, I'm so out of the loop (magic or otherwise) that I'm pretty clueless about the people out in the media right now. This is coming from a person who has a number of friends who work in holly-wierd. I keep feeling rather guilty that I don't watch the shows they work for, or catch them when they're guest stars on a show(cuz, um, I don't even own a TV). I'm pretty lame that way I guess.

Try being a middle school teacher and explaining to your students that you don't own a television, go ahead, try. IT BLOWS THEIR MINDS. Sometimes you have to repeat it several times, it just won't register. "Miss, Miss, did you see "American Idol" last night?"
"Kalani, I don't have a TV."
"Yeah wasn't....WHAT!?!"
"I don't have a TV."
"You don't have a TV?!? What do you do at home?"

Right. My bad, shouldn't mess with the youngsters of America that way. Bad teacher, no biscuit.

When I would tell them, "well, I read, knit, and correct your homework at home," they swore off becoming teachers. HOW BORING!!! These were middle schoolers in Hawai'i after all. There's 10,000 things you can do that do not involve reading, arts'n'crafts, or euwwww correcting stuff.

So on my day off (today) I spent really and truly trying to catch up with the scarf project. I'm finally on the second ball of yarn. I did some of them maths stuff and I may run out before I finish the 60+ inches I'd like it to be. Well, actually I want 70+ inches, definitely running out. I really wish I could knit faster, the scarf is taking FOR-EV-ER! Longer than a hat!

Oh, if you're at all curious, and it's okay if you're not, I know I'm boring...the hats I posted before were done on straight needles. They have a seam. Since that point in time I've learned how to play with circulars. Now I'm being told I need to make someone a new hat with the circs. Sure, AFTER the scarf. I'm pretty adamant about being monagomous about my projects. I read about 7 books at one time, but knitting? Don't make me think about more than one style/pattern/size of needles/amount of yarn needed at one time, my head will explode.

Short and sweet tonight cuz I need to go knit more. The exciting life of a Tahoe Library Page! I should have my own TV show! (That I'd never watch, cuz, um, yeah, what I said before.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Blogging Etiquette??

Hi everyone.
I've been getting comments and emails and stuff, and I'm really not sure how I'm supposed to respond, blogging etiquette being mostly concerned with how one comments vs what one does to acknowledge comments, so I decided to post a big


It's nice to know I'm not just blabbing to the ether. I really need to catch up with some chores, reading, and knitting tomorrow (Sunday) so I'm not sure if I'll be turning on my little 'puter, much less updating, but I do hope you'll take my invite to post your music selections.

Meme's Are Useful Sometimes...

So, not only do these blog memes force you to dig through your brain to bring out some creativity, they also force you to dig through your room to find that iPod that you hadn't seen in a few days.

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.
Just "listing" is hard. I'm one of those weirdos (according to my housemates) that listen to the words and have reasons for listening to the songs I'ma gonna embellish and then call this a post :)

-"How it Ends" Devotchka
Before my computer officially became "too old" to play the previews on the site (no link, I'm too bitter), I saw the one to "Everything is Illuminated." Could not could not could not get the song out of my head. I found their website (NOT DevotchkaS with an "s," they are an all-girl punk rock band while Devotchka is too cool a la old school Modest Mouse.) I finally found their site and I think was the last person to download this song! I'm hunting for their CD TO BUY (hear that evil recording industry?!?) it. I'm entranced by the lead singer's haunting voice.

-"Haiti" Arcade Fire (oops, I had the wrong song name earlier...need more sleep)
I guess this song would dash your hopes that I only like listening to guys sing. The female voice in this one keeps me going. It beautifully melds into the next 2 (last 2) songs on Funeral (the name of the album). Not a happy-go-lucky tune though...hmmmm what's that sayin' 'bout me?

-"First Breath After Coma" Explosions in the Sky
Do you like Steve Martin? Did you know he writes? That movie, Shopgirl, came out a bit ago...or is it still coming out? I live in a small mountain town, forgive my not being on the pulse here. Anyhow, he wrote the book, Shopgirl. He's written a couple books now. But the preview, again, here I go with being easily swayed by a 2 minute clip...I loved the tune. So top 40s I know...shoot me, I grew up with Casey Casom and his top 40s TELEVISION show. (I hear he's still on the radio, somewhere/everywhere...)

-"If You Were Here" The Thompson Twins
Speaking of the 80s...I have an unnatural need to hear this song every few days. "If you were here, I could deceive you..." Not your typical TTT song. I'm stuck on echo-y haunting voices, what can I say?

THREE MORE TO GO....lemme keep clicking's not that I'm iPod doesn't exactly have a "history" of "most played songs" the way iTunes does, and I've gotten really good at hitting the >> to skip one of no consequence. Why skip so many? Well, along with being too old to play previews, my soundcard(?)/speakers/thing that lets my laptop make noise? it doesn't seem to work anymore. So it's hit or miss to make playlists when YOU CAN'T HEAR THE SONG... This puppy will be 6 come January. Good 'puter, love you...where was I?

-"Iko Iko" The Belle Stars
I walk to work. This is a GREAT song to open the door and walk (don't run) to work. Especially when it's only 30 degrees out these days. Gives you that energy you had when you first heard it at, what, like 7 or 8 years old? And why don't kids feel cold the same way? I keep seeing these crazy kids running around Kings Beach in their shirtsleeves and shorts. SHORTS!

-"Pepper" The Butthole Surfers
Okay, so my taste seems to be a bit eclectic...It's all about the drum beat and the violins. I wrote an essay about my musical taste in college. No, it wasn't a music class. It was grad school actually, which was when I first heard and fell in love with this song. Don't ask me what class though, that 12 month teaching credential/masters program melted my brain. It was some class about bringing lesson plans into the perspective that students would care about. You know, teaching them stuff they actually wanted to know? Weird concept I know. I never said I wasn't a weird teacher.

-"Nothing But Flowers" David Byrne
I'm told (by web experts everywhere) that I should hate hate hate this song. And sometimes, like the girl I am, I start to cry when I listen to it, damn hormones. My X introduced me to this one. "If this is paradise, I wish I had a lawnmower." It's actually quite a cute song, and rather telling. I don't know if our friend Mark had heard it before or after he met X, but I swear he used this line to describe him "Years ago, I was an angry young man. " and I could add, "And I'd pretend I was a billboard. Standing tall, by the side of the road, I fell in love, with the beautiful highway." Cuz in a sense he did. Traveling is key, cuz someday he'll find the place he can call home. For his sake, and that of my xMIL, I hope so.

Bonus entry, cuz it just came on and it's definitely one I "groove" to:
-"Ring the Bells" James
I love James! (The band. Well, I love my friend James too, in that protective sisterly way I have, 'kay?) So after I cry because I'm a wus and still can't keep the old feelings away, I LOVE LOVE LOVE listening to this song. "When you let me drown, through gills and fins, now I'm as deep as the sea." If there was ever a "screw you hippie I'm gonna take your s*** and make it into something I can use" song, this is it. But don't let Johnny Cash's version of "hurt" come on after, if anyone can drag you back down into the abyss, it's the Man In Black.

Whomever is interested in sharing. I hate making people do something they don't want to. And feel free to use the comments section iffin you don't have a blog. I wanna hear what your "top grooves" are.

So I really thought this was going to be SUPER hard, but as you can see, near the end stopping was so very hard! Maybe I'll post my top 100 someday...not hard, I am pretty much stuck listening to music I grew up with (80s trash rules!), with only a sprinkling of things discovered in recent DECADES. I love giving my lil' brother music to listen to, he's 14, I've mentioned this before. His connection to 80s alternative music i.e. from before he was born, yeah, from me, weirdness.

Friday, December 09, 2005

"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like" Fat Man Day

I jest. Outside, dry. Snow? Gone. I won't even bother with a picture.

It snow-rained for about 15 minutes yesterday. Winter? Lake Tahoe no habla winter. Cold, yes. Very. If my best friend from HS were to come up and visit I think she'd resemble the Michelin Man trying to deal with the whopping 28 degree weather this morning. (MJ your description of you in Paris had me rolling. Pun not intended...)

Tim saw me writing my "fat man" cards and commented, "I should get around to doing that, some year." I'll stop quoting cuz I'm no good at remembering exact words but he said something like, 'what would I write? Merry xmas from Scrooge?' We're all obviously not in the same spirit of the holiday. At work we decorated for autumn. Winter stuff is hard as a "public" facility can't have too much in the way of specific icons that would offend anyone. So at one branch there are poinsettias (sp?) at the other are the little pumpkins from autumn. My coworkers don't really feel like it's 16 days and counting.

16 days?!? I've gotta get a move on...fat man cards, little gifts...I had a plan, once. I'm not sure what's happened to it. Why did xmas in the tropics seem more festive? I don't own a television, so it's not like I'm being inundated with the horrid commercial aspect of it all (I hate hate hate that. I used to fly down to my dad's little itty bitty town in San Simon, Michoacan and do the midnight mass and laying of baby jesus (that's "he(soft e) sus) in the manger and trying not to burn anyone with the candles or sparkelers. That was xmas. Being around family and just being happy everyone was doing well.

Last year, my first xmas "alone," I ran away to Tahoe from Hilo to my friend Andy's house so he and I could run up to the middle of nowhere (our friend Randy's house) to have a pseudo-fat man day. Randy was raised Jewish. He had xmas decorations galore and we made tamales from scratch, eating sometime after 2 am. I had a blast!

The drive home was quite memorable, involving us, in a 2WD Corolla outrunning a snowstorm, adventuring down/up a "local road," blasting out a tire, and meeting some really nice folk in Susanville. Warm place in my heart for Susanville.

This year? I think I might end up working xmas eve just to avoid thinking about "the most wonderful time of the year..." (as an aside, when I think of that song, it's been forever transformed for me by the Staples commercial. You know the one they played like, a decade ago, in August where the dad was running down the aisles, jumping and dancing while his kids are s-l-o-w-l-y dragging their feet behind? It was a back-to-school sale or something? Yeah, you 'member.)

Okay, starting the day now...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Teenaged Angst BS

One of my favorite "noir" movies of all teenaged time has to be "Heathers." In it Winona Ryder's character scribbles furiously in her diary (while wearing a monocle, how cool is that?) about her teenaged angst bs having a body count.

Was that when it started? The whole kid-as-violent-entity-of-society?

What was that song..."Only a Lad?" By Oingo Boingo? "Society made him what he is....we hope he'll go away, he'll go away-ay?" I suppose that added to the teenager-as-not-Beaver-Cleaver anymore...

Why am I dwelling on this? Well, yesterday I had a kid (and I just stopped myself from writing "punk") who came in and jumped ahead of the SEVEN people waiting for an internet terminal. I had no knowledge of this until I checked the computer out to one of my darling little trouble-making girls. Five minutes later she comes up and says,
"'scuse me, the guy is still on B." "The guy?" I thought, but he'd given me his card. "No one should be on B right now, I JUST checked it out to you." She shrugged her shoulders in that "The bandits, they are invading the village" kind of way so I called out (you can't see computer B from the desk), "Whoever's on computer B, you need to check out that computer first, and there's a LONG line ahead of you." My girl smiled and walked back there. 15 minutes later her friend comes up with the card. "The guy is still on, my friend told him something and he said something back and she left."

Am I really that protective?
I suppose I am.
I went back to computer B and a teenaged boy was typing away.
"Excuse me, it says right on the computer you have to check it out at the desk."
Not once taking his eyes from the screen, "Yeah, I'm almost done."
I walked over to the mouse and said, "No, you're done now."
"NO, you can at least hit send!"
"No, I can't."

And that apparently gave him license to blow up at me. I thought I might get hurt even. But no, his teenaged angst BS did not have a body count...yet. He stormed out of the library and slammed the door behind him. All was quiet. I turned to one of the girls and smiled. "All yours."

Can we say NO ONE stayed over their allotted computer time yesterday?

So now I've made an enemy. Maybe. I really can't tell. This last summer I had my very own homeless stalker. But "French guy" as we called him, limped. I could outrun him if need be. (He's moved back to Reno as it SNOWS here and being homeless in the snow is no good.) This kid though, I dunno. When we were kids did we blow up at librarians (or lowly library pages?), teachers, people in authority? I mean, maybe we wished we did, but I know my friends and I were pretty mellow-yellow about the whole thing. And here I grew up watching "The Breakfast Club" and all manner of "bad boy in the group" movies from the John Hughes crowd. I know I CHEERED for the "bad boy" a whole lot, but to act like them? Well, #1 I'm female, makes it hard to be the "bad boy." But #2 I was taught to respect my elders just a little too well...maybe? Of course I blew up at my parents, but they're my parents, right? But complete strangers? Part of the joys of working in public service?

Speaking of which, must get on the road to go do that.
Here's hoping we all have a nice peaceful non-violent filled day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It's the noise a troll club makes when crushing in a dwarf skull, or when a dwarfish axe cleaves a trollish cranium...
I'm a Terry Pratchett fan, oh yes, I am. Have been now for...umm, gulp, more than HALF my life now. I read The Colour of Magic (thanks Karin!) my freshman year of high school and didn't understand a bloody thing. I read The Light Fantastic soon afterward and was really confused. So I shelved them and continued enjoying Douglas Adams' hitchhiker "trilogy." During "fat man" break that year (my endearing term for Xmas), my best friend from elementary school asked about reading material as she was bored. I gave her all of my copies of Adams and found Pratchett sitting there very dusty. So I reread him. What a difference a few months of school make, I laughed, A WHOLE LOT. My older brother probably thought I'd finally gone off the deep end.

Pratchett loves taking the goings on in the sad universe we live in, and twisting it so that we might get a laugh or 10 out of them. Set on a disc-shaped world riding on the backs of four elephants who in turn are riding on the back of a huge turtle, Pratchett has created a universe we can all enjoy, with witches, trolls, gods that will answer, loudly, a DEATH THAT TALKS LIKE THIS, wizards, daemons of all sorts, and of course, a city watch that's less than perfect but seems to get the job done.

So, many years after The Colour of Magic, Thud! being #30* in the series, has me all a twitter. I'd say go out and read it! But only if you're familiar with at least the "Watch" books. Otherwise, even with as many footnotes as included, you'll not have as much fun as I did with this book. Though the reference to "secrets" being hidden in a painting and such lovely terms as "eminent domain" being defined for us the discworld way, would still bring a grin to your face.

The sound I make when I slip on the frozen driveway in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY between shifts at my libraries.
Hi, remember me a few days ago? Expounding on the agility and grace I must have exercised to get myself to and from work WALKING down streets slippery enough to entertain playing ice hockey on? Well, thank goodness that was an anomaly, my ol' Damage Girl self was shining brightly, as only it could, walking from the car to the front door! And so biting it big time.
Can you see? The car's at the very top of the pic. Such a short distance to the safety of a warm house, lunch, a bit of a rest, then the rest of the day, HA!

The moral of the story, don't drive! You get lulled into a false sense of security! It's WARM and SOFT and COMFORTABLE in your little cocoon while right outside your thin little shell, lurks the evil of COLD HARD ICE.

Can you sense it just LAUGHING at all of us from this picture? The ground is so frozen you can't even see where I landed, but, that really black bit, centimeters from the cement quasi-porch on this house, yeah, that's where my sorry left hip, knee, and ELBOW (OUCH!!!!) met the asphalt. The right side of my body, so Andy says (but he was using his "tech support voice" so I take it with a grain of salt) "hyperextended" itself to react to the fall, so my right side is sore sore sore too.

Snow is fun, it falls and is pretty and soft and stuff, not that I have much experience with it, but ice? Ice bad. I no likey. Ice needs to go away, now!

*Actually, if we count Once More* *with footnotes, it's more like his 31st or 32nd discworld book; though there is debate whether to count Once More as it's a collection of his work (discworld-esque and otherwise) that I'd LOVE to own...but the price and scarcity of it conspire against me constantly.

**On a completely off topic side note...When I first thought of the title of today's post I remembered when my little brother and I would drive around LA (he was about four). (I'm 18 years his senior, eep!) My parents live on this cul-de-sac which would be easy to turn around in if it weren't for the fact that it's LA so there are like 10,000 cars are vying for parking space there. Well, when I owned a sleek 89 Toyota Camry (whom I named Edgar) and would take my brother places when visiting home, we had a little ritual at the top of the sac. I'd make my turn adding in "sound effects." You know, eurrrrrnnnn, squeeeek(of the brakes), BOOM! Ha ha ha! Pretending we'd crashed into one of the many cars parked up there. My little brother used to join in on the "BOOM! HA ha ha ha" part. Yes, this would be AFTER the state of California had already issued me my teaching credential. Safe around kids, honest :).

Oh, and just in case you're reading, HAPPY BIRTHDAY THANE!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Country Cheese VS City Cheese

So I'm no dairy farmer. The closest I come to the actual cheese-making process would be a great aunt who makes it in San Simon, Michoacan, Mexico...hmmm, pretty close actually. Oh well, here's hoping I don't offend too many family members...but I just couldn't shake this thought as I had my shower this morning.

In Mexico, there is a difference between Country cheese (del rancho) and City cheese.
Cheese sold in an open air tiangis(market)

Cheese is, well, that hard milk stuff that folk make from the cows' milk, duh! In the olden days on the big ranches in Mexico, it was (and still is really) a way to preserve the milk a little longer and is yu-uu-mie with your fried beans (you know, they're only fried once, I dunno why they call them re-fried...maybe when you re-heat them?). I found out though, that all my life I'd been bamboozeled. Or at least uneducated.

I grew up in LA, did I mention this already somewhere? But my house may as well have been "little Mexico." I knew all about "American Cheese food"-- it's the orange-y cheese that comes in the plastic thingies (kids LOVE this stuff), Mozerella Cheese -- the white melty cheese my mom used when she made lasagna (once a year), and Monterey Jack -- the white cheese that goes into Chiles Rellenos, and, of course, what I lovingly referred to as "stinky feet cheese"-- the white crumbly cheese from Mexico that goes on beans and enchiladas & etc. This last bit is the "country cheese" in Mexico...but really, I think all the cheese I grew up with was, well, a little bit country.

It wasn't until I moved away from home to go to college that I was introduced to such things as Provolone, Gouda, REAL Cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere(or however it's spelled) Muenster, Blue, Brie, & etc. ad infinitum (thank you nice people at "Shopper's Corner" that never laughed at me when I bought new (to me) cheese). I grew up in LA! How did I miss that?

Then as an adult I went down to Mexico and was educated once again by the lovely cheese lady in La Paz, Baja California (so I guess it's not quite Mexico--to hear my dad, Baja is Baja, and Mexico is Mexico to each their own). What a concept, they too had different cheeses for different (well I was trying to see if I could rhyme it, but it's not gonna happen) dishes. I've forgotten most of their names as they were very region specific, but the nice cheese lady was oh so patient as she explained how you used this really melty one (asadero) for quesadillas while this other one, Corazon de something, was better for Chiles Rellenos, and the other one with the word valley in it was great for the crumbling.
(asadero cheese, note how silky, ready to melt in your hands...)

Standing in the aforementioned "big-name-craft-store" in the Carson City Strip Mall the other day, I felt like the "cheese lady" coming upon ladies that had eaten country cheese all their lives. They were shocked that I wasn't picking up one of everything in this 50% off sale. They recommended three other "big-name-craft-stores" and named off yarn they just loved. I hoped they wouldn't, but they did ask where oh where I, in the tiny-ness that is Kings Beach, was I hoping to find yarn if I didn't buy it right there, right then. I mentioned the two little LYSs I've gone to; in Tahoe City, "Three Dog Knit," and "Jimmy Beans Wool" in Truckee. They looked perplexed. The names didn't ring a bell. Instead they tried to get me to take home some really pretty looking yarn that had more plastic in it than some of the knitting needles I've got stored in LA. That's when it hit me. I'm a yarn snob.

I used to use this yarn! I DID! My mother would never have let me learn how to crochet using silk (or the really nice cotton thread I have stashed). I crocheted Barbie clothes galore with the baby yarn handed down to me in such fabu colors as electric pink and baby chick yellow! I had miles and miles of white yarn to make blankets, toilet roll dress covers, doilies galore...what happened? When did I change? I suppose I could blame my college town once again.

"The Golden Fleece" in Santa Cruz was where I found my first $6 (or was it $9?) ball of yarn for my very first knitting project. Surprise surprise, a scarf. It was a charcoal tweed. Wool. Weird, with its bits of hay and twisted in colors of things. I almost immediately frogged that scarf and then crocheted it. Unless he's burned it, my X has it somewhere in Hawai'i. But I remember using 3 balls of yarn for that thing, he wanted it "Dr. Who" length. Then came some fluffy yummy stuff for (yup) another scarf. We were doing secret Santa's at the now defunct Joseph Gambetta Middle School where I taught 7th grade English/ESL. 2 1/2 balls of a $10 angora-something to knit that one up, and I did knit it. I remember going to K-Mart for something a short time after. I looked at the yarn, yes, I confess, I shrank back from it. You can never go back? It was too late for me; I'd had my fill of "country cheese" and was looking for the city stuff.

Should I go on with my confession? Just a few lines needles. Yes, I've gone off the deep end. I "inherited" all of my mom's needles. (She's still around people, I just got her needles is all.) These are wonderful metal/aluminum, and maybe a pair of plastics as well. All really long for sweater and blanket work, I'm guessing. I convince myself I'm not replacing them, no, not really, I'm buying ones I need as I've stuck to short ones, you know, for scarves and small projects, yes, that's it...but I tend to only go for the wooden or bamboo now.

How did a country girl like me get so city?

And if you've read this far you get a prize: a game link I "borrowed" from another blog, it just fit the whole country/city angle so nicely. The Egg Game try play. Though a few glasses of wine might help it/you along much.

Monday, December 05, 2005

NAKED Dragon & A Trip to a Carson City STRIP Mall

What? Naked things on a blog? Where are the censors! It's true, I never did say what my blog was rated. I keep the explicit language to personal emails, but my dragon is such an exhibitionist, I couldn't stop him if I tried:
This is "Chamuco." Roughly translated, that means deamon or devil. Chamuco keeps me company everywhere I travel. Yes, I know, I'm how old and I have a stuffed dragon. I also believe in the boogie man (Cucuy) if you read back a few days. I never said I was NORMAL. Would a normal person blog about all the personal things going on in their head? Right, where was I? Oh yeah, so Chamuco is around to make the Cucuy go away. Anyone who has not gotten up and slowly walked away from their screen, cuz I'm sure I've alienated most of my friends by this point, will surely be a bit bemused (or bothered) by my next bit. Chamuco has been overhearing me search for (and find) the dreaded beanies that are being frogged in the next few days. He's been jumping up from the little nook I've made for him and trying to get my attention to remind me that I mentioned I'd be trying to make something small to figure out how such ungodly projects as sweaters could get made. Things that would just maybe cover his naked self. (Last night, for example, I noticed that he'd folded his tongue into his mouth instead of letting it hang out like he did for his picture. I'm not kidding here, nor did I do any tongue folding for him. And no one in the house admits to having laid hands on him, they swear...he's just trying to get attention, I know.) I may make him socks too, as I need to figure them out as well.

Speaking of socks! I've been meaning to make at least one...maybe it'll be my xmas stocking. But a lovely patron at the library mentioned I should look for Knit Socks! as it would get me going. While I was at it (as she'd seen me in the process of knitting up my brother's cap) she also recommended Knit Hats! I'd looked both up online ('s why I have their pics...) But I'm both lazy and get daunted about buying things online when I can't flip through the I put it off. I'm super good at procrastination.

So I went to Carson City with Andy yesterday, woot woot! A car ride outta town! Those are rare up here in small-mountain-town-land. Especially once the snow makes its presence felt for the winter. Andy's all about researching root-kits--no, he's not a dentist, or a gardener, it's a computer thing. But that meant a trip to "big-business-book-store" which was my last try at finding these books I was super curious about. (The independent The Bookshelf in Tahoe City didn't have 'em either.) If not there, then online, you see. Or not at all, most likely.

Once again, whoo hooo! Yes, more hollerin'. It's a hollerin' morning I guess. I found knitted socks book rather quickly and grabbed it. The helpful girl at their Cust. Serv. desk said there was ONE copy left of the hat book, but looking high and low and even in between...and backwards into metalurgy and forwards into luck. I was bummed, but not bummed enough to pick up Knitted Scarves! Which I found several copies of. Sorry, I no makey the big money anymore. A library page is about the lowest rung on the county payroll, and as mentioned before, I'm struggling to get more hours (16 hrs a week...grrr). I would save my cash (or credit really) for the hat book online and pay shipping. Then a nice lady, "Thank you nice lady!" asked if I'd gone into the big-name-craft-store down the strip mall way, they carried all kinds of craft and knitting books. I had not, and as Andy had an "appointment" at the big-name-electronics store (can you tell I hate advertizing for big named places?) I was dropped off at the craft store and proceeded to NOT BUY ANYTHING BUT THE BOOK...and lost. I found some cute stickers for my niece, a ROW COUNTER! cheap cheap so I'm not all that sure I like "spins" kinda easily. Good for my arthritic fingers, but not so good if it turns by itself, you know...we'll see. Then, there, at the front of the store I caught sight of that tell-tale shape. Yes! Hats. But the book looked like it'd been dumped in a bathtub full of water and set out to line dry! No worries, they had others, phew. But yeah!!!! Got it! I had to wait about 10 minutes for them to dig one up from the back, and then I get told, "You know they make a Knit Mittens! one too...did I want them to get that out of the back too..."NO, thank you"...could not spend anymore money! Well....

So why futz with online pics when I do own a digi-cam? This is my half-hearted transition/self-reasoning to the electronics store purchase. I got my little sony cybershot 1.3MB digi-cam:
in 2001. (It was "last year's" model) Just before leaving on that sailing adventure to Mexico on my 32' sailboat. In fact I think it pretty much was the last purchase, except for the peanut butter that my XMIL procured for us last minute. Right, well, it CAME with a whole 4MB memory stick. No lie! We UPGRADED to 16MB, my my. For the non-MB savvy...4MB at the highest resolution gave us, um, 6 pics. 16MB a WHOLE 24! SO I basically had your point-and-shoot 24 exposure camera. This is great if you like wasting battery to go in and delete bad pics because, well, you won't have unnumbered thousands like you do today! So I don't take pictures. This was fine as long as I traveled with Andy or Tim or anyone else with a camera not from the stone-age of digitals....So as Andy pondered over drives I wandered over to the camera section and asked if they even made memory sticks for my digi. Curiosity you see...bad curiosity, it costs money sometimes. Success! 128MB! OUCH, $30! 225Pictures at highest resolution! Ouch, almost 4 hours worth of work to pay for it! And so I debated with myself, while the camera guy looked on...maybe a little scared that this lady was freakin' out on him...

I bought it. I figured I DID NOT buy those other two knitting books, DID NOT buy any yarn at the craft store (and they were having a 50% off like everyone else seems to be...and they had yummy soft wool too...) And...and...I am working a WHOLE 16 hours a week now....Justify, justify justify...but now I can go out an take a zillion pictures just like everyone else :). That seems worth it, today. Buyer's remorse won't set in for a WHILE yet. Like when my credit card bill is do, maybe? Yes, that's it.

I need to go read or knit now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

So I Knit Too...

It has been one L-A-A-A-Z-Y Saturday for me. Sorry people who work 7-days a week (Alfred, Andy, Richard). I have done nothing but blogstalk and slowly but surely watch, as I get NO votes for the You Knit Too Much contest (I'm #5, okay). Ce la vi. I did dig up some knitting pictures though.

The Icebreaker Beanie that Tim brought home sometime in February influenced these puppies.

I am a novice knitter. I go for easy over complicated any chance I get. I’ve knit more scarves than I can count…well, no, I think I can count them, and they all have one thing in common: garter stitch galore.

I had “experimented” with a pattern and a design only once before. There is a WIP in storage in my mom’s house in LA that I began…4 years ago…a “sweater.” Due to the fact that I was in Mexico at the time, I did not seek out any wool or even any acrylic, as I’d roast myself donning a SWEATER in COASTAL (read as TROPICAL) Mexico. So I used cotton. Do you have any idea how much moisture cotton absorbs? Of course you do. It was a heavy and damp project. Then I moved in Hilo Hawai’i. Um, 132 inches of rain a year. Yes, well, that’s about when I sealed it in a plastic bag and put it into deep storage.

A beanie was my next move into the world of “no more garter stitch” as well as “no more rectangles.” These little guys are made from Lorna’s Laces Sock yarn in Pin Stripe, Layette, and Safari. I used 2.75mm needles and knit in stockingette stitch for miles and miles (the headband is folded under and knit into place). Then I did math (!) and figured out the gradual decreasing. I will not lie; I didn’t get it right the first time by a LOOOOONG shot. I have 2 “practice” beanies floating around somewhere to prove it. Yes, that’s right, they don’t even have pictures, and when I find them will probably be frogged so I can knit my stuffed dragon a sweater or something. Right. That black and grey one, that one was supposed to go to Andy. Ah, well, it was SO SMALL; I changed my mind and decided my nephew should get it. I purposely went out and bought the Layette (purple, yellow, etc) yarn to try to make a bigger one for my niece. Then, and only then, after figuring out those little things like GUAGE and how many decreases should go where and how…multiples of 4 people, that’s the clue, I endeavored Andy’s hat:

He wore it up Half Dome when we did a little road trip to Yosemite Nat'l Park in September. So I know the hats work! They keep people warm. No, I did not attempt the 17 mile hike of doom. I played at the bottom looking at dried up waterfalls and stuff.

After all the trials and tribulations I asked my brother if he wanted a hat too, I mean, may as well match the kids, right? And so the Camouflage was cast on:
And joined the crew:

And so now, after all this experimenting and moving on in the world of knitting, what am I attempting next? HA, can you believe, another scarf :), but this time for me. I originally began “Mom’s Sophisticated Scarf” from SnB Nation, but the yarn was too big too soon. I went from sock yarn with the beanies, to almost bulky…size US2 needles to US8. I couldn’t deal! So I put that aside and found some Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton on sale (US3 needle size) and yeah, I can handle this. Only, I’d returned the book to the library by then and so I’m kinda using the pattern, at least the edge stitches and basket weave pattern, but not the number of repeats or the interlude of k1 all the way across or p1 all the way between the sets of rows. Too complicated to keep track of when you’re trying to watch a movie.
And yes, that's right, I'm using stitch markers and giant pin(stitch holder?) to play the role of row-counter. Some people call me frugal, others cheap, whatevers. My nearest LYS is too far to drive to when the streets are all icy and icky, and it's worked so far....

So I just joined this ring, and if you could have sworn this pic wasn't here before, well, yeah, that's right, it wasn't... This is me manipulating time so I can have a gif on my sidebar, ain't the internet grande! You can time-travel too :)