Thursday, June 14, 2007

Knitter's Virtual Vacation

Borrowing the questionaire from Knitter's Virtual Vacation Swap. The swap was closed before I discovered it, but I'm happy to do my own virtual vacation. If anyone wants to join me, I'm glad to do a swap too. 1. If you could visit any state in the US, which would it be and why? I’ve been dreaming of an Alaska cruise for a long time. The woman sits next to me at work is on an Alaska cruise right now, so I got quite an earful of her planning for the last few weeks. I’m sure there will be interesting pictures when she comes back. Two of my friends had driven to Alaska (8,000+ miles from California) on extended trips through Canada. I’d love to be able to do that one day. 2. If you could visit any country in the world, other than your own, which would it be and why? I really should take Henry to China (and his dad too). They haven’t had a chance to meet my dad and my hundreds of relatives. Maybe that’s why we haven’t made it. After the obligation of visiting China, I’d love to take a nice long tour of Europe. I’d like to rent a house or apartment somewhere, live like the locals for a few months. Then move to the next spot. That’s my kind of travel. 3. Have you ever driven across several states/providence/countries? For our honeymoon we drove from Tahoe, where we got married, to Yellowstone, then went up to Montana, Idaho and came back through Washington and Oregon. Couple of years later we drove to Oklahoma for a genealogy trip for my husband. 4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it? I traveled across Hai Nan island in China when I was in college. We rode on the back of motorcycles through the mountains and visited villages. It’s a very undeveloped part of China. 5. What was your favorite "travel" vacation? Why? Two summers ago we went to Shady Creek Family Camp for a week. It’s an all inclusive camp in the Sierra foothills, with lots of planned activities, movies, kids games. A whole week with no cooking, cleaning, looking for things to do to entertain my family, I can do that any time. I was going to link to the Shady Creek website, but I found this instead. Apparently they couldn't make enough money to keep up with the loan and now have to sell the camp. I'm glad we didn't have plan to go there this year, but very sad such a wonderful camp had to close its door. 6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain. I went on a city hike with some friends in San Francisco a few years ago. It was my first time to see Crissy Field. I even had a picture taken at Golden Gate Bridge. 7. Are you a museum visitor, beach comer or an amusement seeker? Museum any day. 8. What's your favorite type of yarn? Hand painted high quality wool, alpaca, or cashmere. 9. What's your least favorite type of yarn? Craft acrylics. 10. What items do you like to knit/crochet? I mostly knit sweaters for myself. I knitted for others before and it’s just too hard to figure out what people want, and lucky if they’ll still want the same thing by the time I’m done knitting. Not worth the work. 11. What do you pack, knit/crochet wise when you go on vacation? Socks, or fine gauge sweater if it’s not too big yet. 12. What other crafts do you do/would like to do other than Knit/Crochet? I try to do some scrap booking, or at least keep all the pictures organized. 13. Are you allergic to anything? (Yarn wise or treat wise) Not allergic, but my body doesn’t handle large amounts of diary or alcohol very well, especially when combined. 14. What is your favorite color? Least Favorite? I’m into purples, greens and blues lately. I don’t dislike any color, as long as they don’t clash with each other. 15. Sweet or Savory (Treat not personality)? Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Endless Garter

Previous mention of this sweater is here, very bottom picture.

Body and one sleeve is done, the other sleeve is in progress. I will be so glad to finish all this straight garter stitch. If it's not Ellen's yarn I probably would have put it down much more often. The way it is, it's going to be nearly a year by the time I finish it (I casted on last September).

You didn't expect Bucky in the picture, did you?

Progress on Pagode

Previous postings are here, here and here. This is posted on Hanne Falkenberg Knitalong as well.

With over 300 stitches per row, it's quite a slow going. But I'm glad to see the pattern emerging. This is half a front and one sleeve. Fun to knit and lovely yarn.

And of course Bucky has to be in every photo shoot.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Recent Reads


- (audiobook) The Measure of a Man, autobiography by actor Sidney Poitier and performed by author. Very well written and very entertaining at places.

- Teresa Teng biography, in Chinese. Teresa Teng (Deng Li Jun) was one of the most popular Chinese singers through the 70s, 80s and early 90s. She died in 1995 of asthma in Thailand and this book was written for the ten year anniversary of her death. One of my favorite songs of hers is "Wishing We Last Forever", a poem by Su Dong Po from Song dynasty. An English translation of the poem is here. You can find lots of her videos on YouTube, mostly ripped from Karaoke discs. This is one of the better ones.

Started but didn't finish:

- (audiobook) Dubliners, short story collection by James Joyce. Joyce's book was one of the recent bookclub selections, but for whatever reason I never got the selected book from San Jose library (my queue was very long at one point, maybe someone decided to help me shorten it a bit). One thing about audiobook listened during commute hours is that the book needs to be very engaging. Unfortunately this book is not one of them.

- (audiobook) The world is flat. Another popular social study business book like Freakonomics. We lived through the dot com boom and bust, still living through the outsourcing, the job loss, the corporate global view, yada yada yada. Interesting to hear what the economics say about all that. I stopped when there was a little too much praising for our heavily accented friends on the other side of the earch, and the book was due with others waiting, so I gladly sent it back.

- (audiobook) Copy This, autobiography by Kinko's founder Paul Orfalea, read by the author. Now that I know what a big cheese thinks of his "co-workers", time to move on.

- (audiobook) Me Talk Pretty One Day, another book club selection. Had to stop when human waste showed up.

- (audiobook) Running with Scissors. This book has been on New York Times best seller list for many weeks. Mental illness is a big deal, especially if it happens to oneself or in ones own family. I can stand domestic violence, gay sex, girls with potty mouth, but had put a stop to it when it comes to bodily functions, again.

On deck:

- (audiobook) The Innocent Man by John Grisham. I used to be a huge fan of Grsham, but disappointed with his more recent books. So far this one sounds promising.

- (audiobook) Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons. I've liked every book I read by Siddons, so please let this be a good one too.

- Children's poetry by Robert Louise Stevenson, night time reading with Henry.

- (audtiobook) Harry Potter book five, The Order of the Phoenix. Listening to it with Henry when we are in the car together, like on the way to school every morning. Sometimes we end up stopping in the drop off line to finish a few more sentences. I make him explain all the stuffs I either don't remember or don't get.

- Poetry from Song dynasty, in Chinese of course, with an attempt to wake up and maintain my knowledge of classic Chinese literature. My heartfelt thanks to my online knitting friend Karin for reminding me that poetry is an important part of my life and being able to read and write Chinese poetry is something I should be very proud of. See Karin's blog entry here and comment on my blog here.

- The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson. When I have a few minutes at night, when I'm not crunching numbers, reading the paper, playing on the computer ....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Trinket the Dark Lord

Sometimes little dogs do the kind of things you shouldn't know about.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm still a stranger here myself

Outing, per Merrian-Websters online dictionary:
Function: noun 1 : a brief usually outdoor pleasure trip 2 : an athletic competition or race; also : an appearance therein 3 : a usually public presentation or appearance (as in a particular role) 4 : the public disclosure of the covert homosexuality of a prominent person especially by homosexual activists
Per Wikepedia:
While outing often refers to an outdoor excursion, in the late twentieth century the term acquired an additional meaning: taking someone "out of the closet" - that is, publicising that someone is gay.
Not knowing the subtle meaning of this word, I created a new email handle and announced it to some of my friends. First my husband gave me a weird look, then people stopped replying to my emails. I have no closet to jump out of, no stone to turn over, just a foot in the mouth and a big mess with my emails. I used to think baby shower had something to do with washing a baby, and driving in a carpool may involve getting your car wet. America, just as I thought I could fool everyone but myself, you prove to me that, after all, I'm still a stranger here.