Friday, May 30, 2008


If you stare at Mom long enough, there will be cookies.

When in doubt, bark!

Take you beauty rest, you never know what might happen in the next five minutes.

Eat while you can.

All toys are mine. MINE!

Humans are here to serve me. Reward them with sneezes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

East Bay Tour

On Saturday we took a day trip to Berkeley. First we hit Solano Ave:

Had lunch at Zachary's. Their Chicago pizza were voted best pizza in East Bay for a number of years. The walls are decorated with huge poster size paintings in Zachary's pizza theme.

Pegasus bookstore is next door to Zachary's. Nice selection of used books, though not much on knitting.

Then the guys dropped me off at Stash so they can go to some card stores to trade baseball and basketball cards. I have read some very positive reviews of Stash on Ravelry. The store is large and well organized, with both high end fancy yarns and regular every day yarns. The hardwood floor is beautiful, and there is a nice sitting area in the back, where I took a break after shopping. It was a cold day so I wore my newly finished Dickinson Pullover and the ladies in the store appropriately wooed and ahhed over it. They even found me on Ravelry and immediately friended me.

The guys dragged me out of Stash, time to hit Telegraph. It was hard to find parking, and we ended up on the top floor of a garage. Here is the view from the garage:

Corner of Telegraph and Channing:

Cody's Books has closed this location, or it'd require a visit. Tho they only sell new books which is less interesting than a good selection of used books. Now only a huge flower stand in front of the store.

Moe's is wide open and packed with books. Bill is very familiar with these bookstores as he grew up in the East Bay and always comes back for his "book fix". But then he also calls Moe's "the old hippie hangout", what does that make him?

Didn't have time to go to Shakespeare & Co. It's not as big as Moe's, so hopefully not much missed.

Across the street is a big music store, Amoeba Music, a rather messy, chaotic place. Bill has bought me some CDs here over the years, so it's worth a visit.

Amazingly large selection of classical music upstairs. That's where my Bocelli CDs are from.

While we were there, Bill drove further down the road to show us his old dig. This is the apartment he lived in when he was four years old.

His aunt lived in this Victorian home behind the apartment building. He used to play on those front steps. The buildings are still the same color as before, but no telling who's living in them now. His other aunt lived across the street, and an uncle further down the street. My family would have blown up the street if they lived this close.

We passed Article Pract in Oakland along the way, but we were running out of time and it wasn't a good neighborhood, so I decided to skip it.

Final stop, Lacis Museum. This is Jocelyn's recommendation and it's heaven for anyone remotely interested in lace, textiles or classic European culture. Of all places, I forgot to take a picture of the store front of Lacis, so here is a stock picture from their website:

This is a corner of the book area in Lacis. The knitting book selection is huge. I could have lived there for days. Instead I read till five minutes before they closed, while my guys waited in the car.

The loot:
1. Bill Bryson's African Diary from Pegasus. I didn't know this book existed.
2. The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book from Moe's. I have been wanting this book for a few years and now I have it.
3. Creating Original Hand-knitted Lace by Margaret Stove from Lacis, published by Lacis.
4. Alchemy silk purse in Mediterranean (deep aqua green)
5. Claudia Hand Painted merino in Midnight (purples and blues)

Thursday, May 22, 2008


When I started this blog two years ago, I was working at Netflix, 0.4 miles from my home, running their Ad Sales on the finance side of the house, and feeling completely empty. The boss was a micro manager and eventually the project fell through and I was axed.

I'm two years older and wiser. After much digging in what's left of my brains, I began to figure out a few things that didn't make me happy:

-- Having the bragging rights for working in a "cool" company was not my life time goal
-- Working for an accounting manager certainly put a big dent in my happiness, worse yet, it happened before and I had temporary memory loss at the sight of the big number on the offer letter
-- Participating in the Netflix initiation dance and act like a fool brings one's ego to a new low
-- While doubling my salary in one year was an accomplishment, it's important to remember I was seriously underpaid for many years and chasing a fatter pay check should not be a reason for changing jobs
-- Watching the company stock tumble and 5% of my salary disappear was very sad
-- Free soda and plenty of company gears does not make up the lost pay, tho I do appreciate the plastic utensils available everywhere except for Seagate
-- Leaving my child to be brought up by care givers feeds the ego but damps a mother's heart
-- Unfortunately, Jocelyn, adding my stash gives me a small satisfaction, for a short time (but that obviously didn't stop me from buying yarn)


Happiness is coming downstairs on a Sunday morning and my husband gets up from the breakfast table, big grin on his face, saying "There is my family!" and plants a big kiss on my forehead.

Happiness is seeing my child all hot and sweaty from playing basketball.

Happiness is watching my child grow up all boy and reminding him a millionth time, "Scrub your neck!"

Happiness is to be able to focus and multi-task at the same time.

Happiness is getting comments on my blog, and watching the number of little hearts grow on Ravelry (being added as favorite by other Rav users).

Happiness is handing my Muir to Jocelyn and watching her go all misty.

Happiness is floored by Jocelyn's stash.

Happiness is to plan where I want to be in ten years.

Happiness is to look up the boss's boss's boss's home address on Zillow and go "I thought he was much better off than that!"

Happiness is to tell the boss " Screw you, I'm outta here!!"

So, my friends, leave a comment and make me happy :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

White Lies Designs Heather

I have always enjoyed Joan McGowan-Michael's designs. Every year I see her booth at Stitches West and I always stop to admire her samples, and couple years ago this pack ended up coming home with me.

This is the Heather pullover, size medium. Comes with seven skeins of Joy, a soft merino wool in lilac, and two glass leaves dangles.

Started the front last week. The body length in the pattern is 22.5 in. and I’m thinking about making it a little longer, more like 24 in. I would just add couple of inches before decreasing for the waistline. I might have to buy an extra skein of Joy just in case.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dickinson Pullover Finale

Pattern: Dickinson Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman, Interweave Knits Fall 2007

Yarn: Yellow heavy worsted weight wool from knitswap, a very long time ago

Needle: Size 7

Started: January 2008

Finished: May 2008

Total Cost: about $40

Previous Entry: In progress

Notes: I didn't realize that this is actually my first raglan sweater. Even though the pattern called for, I ignored the one slip stitch that supposed to be carried on the decrease edges to create the neat raglan seam. Next time. I've done a few Viking or other Aran type sweaters before. I love cables. We all have something in life that seem to come naturally. My friend Sarah can knit two-handed fair isle in her sleep, and Jocelyn can shop for yarn with her hands tied behind her back (well, you get my point), cable is my thing. I knit from charts, but usually dump the charts by the third repeat and figure out where the cables go from the previous sets. They make perfect sense to me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bucky's New Habitat

We bought this new dining table set. The table is counter height (36 inches), much taller than the usual 30 inches for regular tables. The chairs are matching height of course, to accommodate the tall guy in the house. Now the tall guy is finally comfortable sitting at the dinner table with enough room under the table for his legs. Henry seems fine climbing on the chair, although it makes him look like he's back in a highchair, which he left behind when he was 2 1/2 years old. One thing skipped my mind when I ordered the table, MY FEET can't touch the floor when I'm in the chair! And there is no hope I will be growing taller any time soon.

The table is square, and when all four chairs are pushed in there is a small square left in the middle. Guess who claimed it? When Bucky decides it's time for a good game of chase, we have to get under the table to catch him.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Look What I Got for Mother's Day!

(Usually I post Henry's writing on his blog, Otter World, but he wrote this for me and I'm very proud of it!)

My Mom
by Henry

My Mom is completely super
She is great to me
She gets me things I want
And is as happy as can be.

She helps with my homework
And she tells me I'm bright
I can tell she likes me
And I can tell you she's right.

She nags me to tell dad
That we need a bunny
She never understands
That a bunny is too funny.

She always depends on me
To help take care of the dogs
She never understands
That I really want a hog!

She is sometimes down
She is my mother
She is sometimes not nice
And I still love her.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Books and DVDs

My 18-mile-one-way daily commute over the mountain continues to to provide amble time to listen to audiobooks. Some days the drive is particularly hairy, or work situation is particularly stressful, in that case my mind skips a few tracks or chapters. Forgive me if I don't review the entire book, as I can only hear what I want to hear. The last Recent Reads was posted in February, so this is going to be a rather long list.

1. The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy (audiobook). Picked it off the shelf at the library, thought the author's name seemed familiar. We read Conroy's The Prince of Tides as book club reading a number of months ago, before Toni moved to North Carolina. I even got the Barbara Streisand movie. But my, she's ugly! This book is Conroy's chronicle of his year spent teaching on Yamacraw Island off the coast of South Carolina. An island of blacks, world away from America. Conroy fought for their and his own rights to make their lives better. Great book.

2. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner (audiobook). The author traveled the world looking for a "happy" geographical locale -- The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, etc. Can happiness really be measured in mathematical statistics and scientific terms? It's an interesting book nonetheless.

3. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (audiobook). The book is more about food industry than food. Go ahead and feel bad about what you eat, and worse, what you feed your family. Amazing we are all alive today. The every day question for me is how to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time while working enough hours to keep the job. If my family is willing to live on a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, be it. Oh believe me, they are in high heavens when that happens!

4. In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan (audiobook). I love food, and in all fairness, I have a big problem with the industrialized food system, or what I consider as the American way of eating and thinking about food. I have had this conversation with many friends and acquaintances, since every other person I know is on some sort of diet and people tend to attack me for "always eating". What does your body want to eat? Train your body to like the good food if you skipped that lesson when you were a small child, and teach your brains to talk to your body, know when you are hungry for what and when you should stop. Your body will thank you by not having to visit the doctors and swallow pills.

5. Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen. Zelda's pick for our book club April meeting. A Vietnamese girl's account of her growing up in midwest in the 80s. Interesting that some of us think of this book as memories from the 80s, and I seem to hang onto the growing up in a foreign country part. The food is delicious just reading about it.

6. Middle Class Millionaire by Russ Alan Prince and Lewis Schiff. The book defines middle class millionaire as households with a net worth between $1 million and $10 million, including primary residence. Now look around if you are a home owner in Silicon Valley, see a few of them? Compare to the regular middle class, who has a regular income but a net worth less than $1M, these people work more, spend more, live in bigger houses, and supposedly set the trend in various markets. Don't like them? too bad.

7. How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman (audiobook). The book is very dry, full of medical cases, but informative if you have the patience to go through it. It comes down to the same ol' common sense thing, doctors are human and they make mistakes, with all manners of hows and why's. You have to think for yourself.

8. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (audiobook). My pick for the book club for May and I'm reviewing it since it's been awhile that I last listened to it. The scientific name for stereotype or instinct, Thin Slicing, helps us make many decisions in seconds. Another reminder that we need scientist to tell us what we already know (in this case social scientist), but it doesn't hurt to understand the natural response that we all have towards gender, race or simply how people look.

9. Why is Sex Fun by Jared Diamond. This book should go with the book that explains what's in a Twinkie -- some things you just don't want to get so scientific about, like why men can't nurse. Skip the book and keep your libido. (sorry Sarah)

I cancelled our Netflix membership after downgrading it to the lowest level and still can't seem to return the DVDs in time to get more than one movie out of them per month. On the other hand I discovered there are good selections of DVDs at the two libraries we visit weekly. I can just grab something off the shelf. If we have time to watch it, great; if not, renew or return it next week. The best part, it's free. I don't feel hurt if I return an un-watched movie when I didn't have to pay a dime. In the past couple of months we've watched:

1. Chocolat. Almost a fairy tale. Beautiful French village, Johnny Depp is sweet and Juliette Binoche is pretty. But where did she get all the chocolate and equipments? They can't possibly fit in her little suite case.
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Very funny.
3. The Pelican Brief. My first John Grisham adaptation. They sure put in a lot of work to make Julia Roberts feel good.
4. To Catch A Thief. Forever good looking Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Eye candy costumes by Edith Head. Lovely French Riviera to die for.
5. Big Love, part of Season 1. I ran the ads for Netflix for this show during my time there and have been wanting to see it, but the show troubled me a great deal. Not a pleasant thought to share a husband, not to mention the minor logistics problems that trouble me, like whose money they live on.
6. De-Lovely. Watched this by myself last time and Bill got me a used copy so we could watch it together over and over. I'm totally smitten by Cole Porter's music.
7. Run Away Jury. Another John Grisham adaptation. Always entertaining.