Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hand Dyed.

This past weekend I took a wonderful yarn dying class from a local artisan (who produced the amazing yarn in my honeymoon knitting post below). On Saturday at MisKnits she offered a class where she discussed dying technique and let us play with her dyes. The result:

Today was my last day of work at the job, although I interviewed for a perm position, so we'll find out about that in a week or two. Meanwhile, I've been packing like a mad woman. My sister arrives in the morning and we head off for California. In a mere 9 days I'll be a Mrs!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Still here.

Desperately trying to finish this before I leave:

So I can start this.

And packing and last-minute wedding planning. And.... oh yeah! Sanity.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quick report.

Things are crazy here, what with the last minute wedding preparations, frenzied knitting (to finish samples before I go), the diminished space in our apartment (due to wedding packages!)

Posting will probably be a little light in the next few weeks. I'm working at my temp job until this Thursday, and then the little sis flies in on Friday morning and we head for LA - we're driving so I don't expect to get there until Sunday night. With the hassles of travel these days, I'm glad we're driving, but right now I'm trying to pack for the next three weeks of wedding, honeymoon, and a few different climates.

I'll try and check back in as I'm able, and will post pictures when I can find the cable, a laptop and myself in the same room! For now I leave you with a few photos of the weekend. The first is what I came home and found yesterday. Apparently Wes has rescued him (Bob the Box Turtle as he became known) from the middle of a busy road. Somehow he thought it would be fun to scare the bejeezus out of me by bringing him home. Needless to say we will NOT be needing a turtle-sitter while at the wedding. We took Bob to a nearby lake last night and let him go wild.

The last two are photos of yarn I've been hoarding in my stash. The yarn is dyed by a semi-local artisan and each skein is one-of-a-kind. I actually took a dying class from her yesterday and will be posting pics of my own hand-dyed once I skein it up. However, these two are destined to become socks on my honeymoon and will also constitute my vacation knitting pictures for Summer of Socks. LOVE this yarn.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Difference Between Girls and Boys.

This morning I got this:

Dear Laura:

Tomorrow, I plan to go to the Men's Wearhouse, but I need to know the color tie and cummerbund you'd like me to get as a first choice. Was it white? Ivory?


I sent this back:


Ivory. :) If you want to match the groomsmen they got something called Tuscany Bisque.


Dad replied:

Hey, I'm a guy. Guys don't recognize colors like "Tuscany Bisque". (Ask Wes if you don't believe me.) We only know seven colors: red, green, blue, orange, yellow, purple and brown. Oh, yeah, and the non-colors: black and white. But, because I love you, I will go to the Men's Wearhouse, screw up my courage, and ask with my best straight face whether they have "Tuscany Bisque"!

I forwarded this response to Wes and this is what I got back:

Hey I thought bisque was a soup.

Duly forwarded to Dad. His response:

Told ya!

Men: 2, Woman: Hey they're wearing it aren't they?



When I made the decision to quit my job in Los Angeles and relocate to the Midwest, I knew certain things wouldn't be easy. Since starting work after college, I hadn't given much thought to what it actually takes to get medical insurance coverage, since I was always eligible for the group plan at the company for which I worked.

I've made no secret on here of the fact that I struggle with anxiety, and sometimes a bit of depression. I was diagnosed in college and have spent a lot of years working with some great health care professionals to the point that I'm not constantly in therapy any more and my medication is simple and consistent. For the most part I don't wake up every day (or go to bed every night) really even thinking that I have a problem.

But try and apply for individual medical insurance these days, and it's a problem. When I quit my job in January I immediately went to apply for coverage at a large, well-known insurance company, which promised great individual coverage. Now I'm a moderately fit young woman. I fit into my weight percentile, I exercise a little (ok not enough, but I have no physical limitations), my blood pressure is normal and I don't smoke, use illegal substances or drink to excess. I'm young and healthy and you would think that I'd be an insurance company's dream.

But I knew it the minute I hit that part of the application: "Have you ever been treated for mental illness? If yes, please give us some additional information." My application came back denied. No rider, no offers of a different plan, nothing. DENIED.

It was then I learned why so much of America is not insured. It doesn't matter if you have money to pay the premiums (which is saying a lot since the premiums are VERY high). It doesn't matter if you're sick and need treatment and are willing to pay extra for that - in fact, it makes you worse off. You just can't get covered.

Now don't go thinking that I've not been covered by insurance for the last 6 months. I went ahead and enrolled in what I could: a catastrophic policy through my alumni association. It won't cover anything, unless I fall victim to a bus crash or a magician's slicing trick that goes awry, but I'm covered. Sort of.

But that policy is now coming to an end, and I find myself in a weird place again. I have no permanent employment yet, and though I'm getting married next month and the coverage on my fiance's insurance could be retroactive, it would appear I have a few months before I can reliably give a sigh of relief at being covered again.

So today I filled out another application for health coverage. I filled out the application completely, even though I know that the section on Mental Illness is once again going to be my doom. So here I sit, waiting again to be denied.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Knitting update.

There is not enough knitting happening at all. However, I did manage to take another step forward in my Winnie the Pooh project. Here is Eeyore:

He joins Pooh and Tigger. Next up: Piglet!


Weekend in photos.

We managed to accomplish quite a bit this weekend. Yesterday we did wedding and clothes shopping, ran errands, and found a tasty lunch. Last night we saw Hellboy II - I liked it a lot better than the first. This morning we got up really early and went out to kayak at Longview Lake. We trolled near the shores looking for wildlife, and enjoyed photographing a beautiful water lily garden. Then we came home and I started working. I have irish soda bread baking right now, and I just turned the rest of our CSA peaches into a healthy peach cobbler - I'll post the recipe if it turns out well. Now for some knitting and maybe a nap. Oh yes, and the pictures:

1. Dock, 2. Wes & I Kayaking, 3. Shadow Water Lily, 4. Water Lily, 5. Water Lily Garden, 6. Water Lily, 7. Gnarly tree, 8. Tree & Sky, 9. Fresh peach cobbler!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Positively HILARIOUS

I decided to take a short break from the heavier non-fiction I've been delving into last week, and picked up a copy of Tony Hawks' Playing the Moldovans at Tennis.

I first learned about Tony Hawks some years ago during an NPR interview he did during the launch of his book Traveling 'Round Ireland With a Fridge, which if you haven't read yet, you MUST read. The premise of his first book is simple. One night, while both men are exceedingly drunk, a friend bets Tony that he can't hitchhike around Ireland with a dorm-size refrigerator as a traveling companion. The rest of the book you can imagine - I have never laughed so hard in my life.

In this book, Tony seems to fall prey to the same problem. While exceedingly drunk, the same friend bets him that he can't beat the entire Moldovan Football (Soccer) team at tennis. And so, with 11 names on his list, Tony sets off to Moldovia, a small country in the former-USSR area of the world, to win 11 games of tennis or sing the Moldovan Anthem in front of a crowd while buck naked for failing. I have to say that the second book isn't quite as inane as the first, but was a truly funny and quick read.


Positively HORRIBLE

I don't know if you've heard too much about it, but Dr. Horrible is the new craze that's sweeping the (geek) nation. Dr. Horrible is the latest series from Joss Whedon, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion. They sing, they dance, they do their laundry a lot. So far only two 13-minute episodes have been released on the Internet, but Act III premieres this weekend and I can't wait. The show is utterly and totally bizarre, but completely endearing. I'd suggest you give it a try!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well Whaddya Know?

Guess who's getting married on Elizabeth Zimmerman's birthday? How perfect is that? Couldn't be better if I'd planned it that way....

(which of course I did.... NOT!)

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Fresh sourdough bread.

I'd mentioned to Wes a while back, that now that I'm living in Kansas I thought I would like to join a CSA. (Los Angeles isn't exactly rife with farm life...) If you're not familiar with the term CSA it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically you join a group and deposit some money and then you receive a share of one or more farms' fresh fruits and vegetables each week, usually throughout the summer.

So Wes texted me last week, in the middle of the work day, to announce that his company was one of the sponsors of a CSA and that he had signed us up on his lunch hour. Our pickup times would be Monday evenings at the local grocery and for the lean price of $25 per week we would dine in farm fresh foods!

This past Monday night we reported to the market, two canvas sacks in hand, and were duly loaded up with a half gallon of skim milk, 8 ears of sweet corn, 4 large tomatoes, 1 lb of ground chuck, fresh rosemary, two green peppers, a dozen peaches, a loaf of FRESH sourdough bread and some lip balm, as well as some recipes to try with these ingredients. All of these came from local farms and arrived in minimal packaging.

So far the produce has been varied - one of the tomatoes didn't fare too well, but the rest look great. We haven't gotten into the corn yet (but it looks great!), and the peaches need a little time to ripen. But what I like about this is that it isn't preserved with pesticides or chemicals - it's real, fresh, natural vegetables. And the Sourdough bread, I'm happy to say, is FABULOUS!

I like knowing that we're doing our part to support local farms and since I've been listening to Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma I've been starting to at least think more about the way we eat.

More updates on this soon.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

A summer steal.

This weekend was fairly quiet. Yesterday I got up on the early side and commenced to working on my to-do list, writing wedding gift thank you notes and, of course, knitting!

I whipped up my own little contribution to something new, something blue for the wedding:

Pattern: Eloping from Knitty Summer 2008

Yarn: Lily Chin's Times Square

Needles: US 3's

Verdict: It's a pretty easy pattern that only took me an hour or two to finish. It will be the perfect addition to my wedding ensemble - something new and something blue (and even a little sparkley!)

Last night we decided to have a date night. We found a local movie theatre and headed to a showing of Get Smart. It wasn't much like the original, but it was still pretty funny. I love Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway made a pretty decent 99. After dinner we grabbed some Thai food and did a little shopping for gifts for the wedding party.

Today I slept in a little. When I woke up there was a brand new bike in front of the couch and Wes was grinning a little sheepishly. Apparently this one was marked down a little and seemed like a good deal, so it's mine. So I got dressed and we headed out for a short ride. It's been YEARS since I've been on a bike and apparently the stationary bike at the gym isn't a good approximation. After 2 miles I was tired and after 4 (well we had to get home!) I was downright exhausted.

Then we headed out for a bit more shopping and some lunch. Wes had suggested that we try to get some off season deals on 3-in-1 winter coats, to be used on our honeymoon in Alaska. We managed to get a total steal on one for me - a Columbia jacket with a great removable fleece liner for only $75! (Then I came home and found one online for him for $100.)

Tonight was a simple dinner and some relaxing in front of the TV. I did manage to get photographs today of another knit I completed this week:

Pattern: Knit Impressionism by Kennita Tully from Creative Knitting, July 2008

Yarn: Tahki New Tweed

Needles: US 8's and 9's

The Verdict: This is a sweet, easy to knit cardigan for summer. The hem and waist detailing give it nice shaping without increasing/decreasing. The yarn is super soft and gives a real mock tweed look - I'm dying to try it again in a burgundy colorway. This is a sample that's off to LA tomorrow! The designer, Kennita also owns a yarn shop, Wildflower, in Manhattan, KS (where my in-laws are) that I love to visit.

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Friday, July 11, 2008


In the beginning (at least what I term the beginning of my consciousness of the internet - circa 1996) there were only a few ways to "chat" online. I remember my friends in high school talking about AOL Chat Rooms, but we didn't have AOL. Although my dad was an early adopter of technology, I really didn't discover the internet until I went to college.

So in the beginning, I discovered Talk. Then I found ICQ and then AOL Instant Messenger which I still use today. Then I discovered the wide world of html and coded my first web page (Hello World!).

Then I have trouble remembering what came next. All of a sudden I was reading blogs...lots of blogs. Then I had a blog. Then I had multiple blogs. Then I was using an aggregator for all my chat services - first Trillian and then Adium (gotta love the green duck). Then GMail arrived. Then came social networking. I joined MySpace. In grad school we all joined LinkedIn. Recently I joined Facebook. Then yesterday I jumped in whole hog and joined both Twitter and Plurk. (Let's not forget that Flickr, YouTube, and Ravelry happened in there....)

And THEN I needed something to manage all of this crazy content. And I took the recommendation of one of my tech gurus and signed up for Netvibes and spent some time configuring it.

And frankly? I feel oversubscribed. Excused me while I go bury myself in updates.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Things that make me happy:

  • Listening to this song on repeat.
  • Wearing my new work appropriate Madden Girl shoes to work and being able to wear handknit socks with them. (And the fact that Wes suggested I buy them a little big specifically so that I could do this!)

  • That Wednesday night is knit night EVERY WHERE I like to hang.
  • Last but MOST DEFINITELY not least, I'm getting married to my favorite person in the whole world one month from today. YIPPEE!

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The answer to life, the universe and everything.

Los Angeles, CA - Douglas Adams fans were shocked today to learn that the answer to the life, the universe and everything was not, in fact, 42, but rather the sage advice of California lawmakers: hands free. "It's a whole new world!" one young woman exclaimed. She declined to have her real name published here, but noted that this should "definitely increase her knitting time whilst in traffic."


Sunday, July 06, 2008

A little bit o' knittin'

So I actually have been knitting over here, but I just haven't been that good about documenting things. I even forgot to take a pic of my last finished sample before I delivered it!

Right now I'm working on a few things. My favorite so far is a snazzy little pair of socks I'm working on. It looks like a simple stripey knit out of some gorgeous yarn, but it actually has a twisty little pattern. You can Ravel yourself a pair of these - just look under the Mockery socks.

This weekend we headed down to see my in-laws which left me with tons of knitting time. I managed to start a cute little cardigan for A Mano out of some tweedy wool/silk/viscose yarn. Aside from a bit of foliage in the yarn, it's knitting up very nicely. I've assembled the body - it just needs some sleeves and it will be good to go. This is a closeup of the patterned waist and hem.

Lastly I'm starting on a new sample for The Studio... a lacy wrap with some GORGEOUS yarns from Lorna's Laces. It's a Duet's kit - using two different colored/textured yarns to create a shrug-style wrap. I can't wait to get started on this.

I've also got a couple of other projects still kicking around - the Winnie the Pooh baby blanket, some other socks and one more sample for A Mano. It should be a busy month!


July 4th Weekend

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here goes!

1. Summer's best fruits!, 2. Climbing through the fields., 3. Bushwhacking for treasure., 4. Kansas isn't flat!, 5. Mortimer the Rhibra, 6. IMG_1732, 7. The cool water feels great!, 8. Cooling off at the lake., 9. Fireworks, 10. Ferris Wheel in Motion, 11. Riding the tractor, 12. The car wash?

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Food for thought, or thoughts about food?

The last two days I've been sucked into some of my library check-outs. Yesterday I went down and returned Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. After trying for a week to read the book on my lunch hour, I found that I just couldn't get into it. It may very well be a brilliant book with fabulous insights, but I was sort of "eh" on the whole thing. So I made the very grownup decision that if I can't get into it, I should just move on. I happily returned the book yesterday and checked out two more books on my reading wish-list.

Yesterday at lunch time I began reading Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's Freakonomics and I can already tell that I'm going to love it. What do you get when you take a young Chicago PhD economic genius and let him start to answer life's tough questions? Questions like: What's more deadly - a swimming pool or a gun? Well you get some really interesting answers. I've only read the first chapter so far, but Levitt pretty much takes all our preconceived notions about just about everything and spins them on their heads. It's a fascinating book so far and I'm sure this will be one of my favorite reads!

The second book that I checked out was Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. I might add that I actually didn't check out the BOOK per se, but instead I got the audio version. I'm not usually a huge fan of audiobooks (depending on the reader they can be supremely boring) and I LOVE the experience of reading a book, holding it in my hands and turning the pages. However, the library's copies of the book were checked out and I have a 45-60 minute commute twice a day every day now, so I decided to give this a try. The reader of this book isn't the best - I find him a little monotone, but the material is excellent. I'm only one disc in (of 13) but I'm already sucked into his exploration of the fundamental question, "What should we eat?" Especially since this question always arises in my own home! Again, so far I'm really sucked in and I can't wait to get back in the car and listen to more!

Today I'm working a short day, and then this evening we're heading down to my in-laws for some kayaking, watching of fireworks, and hopefully some knitting and R&R. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and I'll be back soon with knitting photos! (Yes between reading and working and PackRatting [Rattin' as we in the know call it], I have been managing to get some knitting done too!) (By the way, can you tell I like parentheticals?)

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