Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Twas the day before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse

Monday, December 14, 2009

GAAA Squares Done, Pre-Edging

Pattern: Great American Aran Afghan booklet
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool (worsted weight)
Needles: US Size 8
Previous entries: Squares One to SixSquares Seven to Twelve, Squares Twelve to Seventeen

There are twenty four squares in the booklet and I knitted every one of them, in the right order. The biggest square came out about 14"x14". Next I will add black edging to the other twenty three so they match in size. When it's all done, the blanket will be at least 56x84, which is more than seven feet long (with final boarder). I think it's big enough.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pups Update

Since Bucky's birthday a few weeks ago, the weather has suddenly turned cold, and Bucky started having a lot more trouble walking. One day he simply stopped walking on the hardwood floor in the kitchen. He has severe arthritis in both hips. When he can't get a good foot hold, the hips just give out and he sits down, legs stuck under him, and he can't move at all. This gives him a bad temper and he hollers till someone picks him up and unstuck him. He can still walk around on the carpet in the living room and bedrooms, or outside on the stone walk way. But I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and he always wants to be with me. Lately we got in sort of a routine -- we carry him to his food bowl, to the water bowl, to the big potty outside, to his bed. As long as his humans are within eyesight he's fine, within ear shot is not good enough.

Some days he feels well enough to enjoy the sunshine in the garden.

With all this going on with Bucky, Trinket becomes the much ignored big brother. As they say, sometimes no news is good news. He will be 15 in less than two months and we are all happy that he's gingerly chugging along.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Happy 14th Birthday Bucky!

We made it through another year, and wishing you many more happy days with us! So much we've learned in 14 years, since the cold winter day we found you in the flea market, with a flea, the tiny 2 lb 7 oz bundle. You were all mouth and belly, kept eating, (pooping!), and growing, doubling your weight in three weeks. When you were a youngster you made your brother and sisters chase you to no end, until Mom caught you, and you gave her a dirty look and called her a "Traitor"!

Life was good so we gave you a human little brother that you so deserved. Dog, was his second word, right after Mama, and the first word he learned to spell. You inspired the little boy to be a puppy dog, cause you got away with being you.

Old age is giving you the dignity, and plenty of excuse for your obnoxious ways. A pug that eats is a good pug. A pug that barks is a healthy pug. A pug that gives us the stare demanding attention is a happy pug.

We are happy to have our pug.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Charity Knitting

The latest batch of knitting from my mom. I didn't take pictures for everything, only a select few interesting ones.

This, and another batch from the summer, netted us altogether:
- 18 vests
- 2 ponchoes
- 1 pair of baby pants
- 1 scarf
- 1 pair of socks
- 1 baby sweater

They were all donated to our local charities. Three big bags full!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Henry and Bucky

and Trinket too, hiding in the background.

From the little dogs and boy's perspective, carpet is the best thing since the milk bottle (or what it replaced). We keep the living room carpeted for the old dogs. With sheddy little dogs, dirty little boy, dirty big guy, the carpet is always a dirt and fur heaven. Once in a blue moon I have it cleaned. Dogs are kept away for couple of days. As soon as they are let back on the carpet, Bang! like clock work, one of them throws up in less than five minutes. This time I was pretty sure it was Bucky. It was next to his bed. What can I say, he needs his smell. Apparently the sniffer still works.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Lena's Diamonds -- Pattern Draft

This is one of my mom's child size vests. I wrote up the pattern from notes I took while she talked about how she knitted it, and I have not had the chance to test knit. I hope by putting this up on my blog someone will be able to test knit it so I could make changes to the pattern. Ultimately I hope to publish it on Ravelry or other places as free pattern for charity knitting.

Yarn: various colors of baby yarns
Needle: US Size 4
Finished Size: About 28 inches chest, 19 inches long

Triangles on the bottom:
  Row 1 (right side): pick up 6 sts, place marker, pick up 6 sts, total 12 sts per pattern.
  Row 2  and all wrong side rows: purl and decrease 1 on each side of marker
  Row 3 and remaining right side rows: knit
  When 2 sts left k2tog on the right side

  Row 1 (right side): pick up 9 sts from neighboring triangle or diamond, place marker, pick up 9 sts from the other neighbor, total 18 sts per pattern
  Row 2 and all wrong side rows: purl and decrease 1 on each side of marker
  Row 3 and remaining right side rows: knit
  When 2 sts left k2tog on the right side

Triangles on the sides:
  Row 1 (right side): pick up 12 sts
  Row 2 and all wrong side rows: purl
  Row 3 and remaining right side rows: knit till 2 sts left, k2tog

  Cast on 77 sts, k1 p1 for 1 in.
  Pick up for the first triangle. Knit one triangle at a time and leave 2 sts open between each triangle.
  When picking up for the first set of diamonds, anchor the center 2 sts on the ribbing. Do the same when picking up all the diamonds (pick up 8 sts from the side of a diamond, 2 sts from the diamond below). This way the diamonds look more connected.
  Arm hole shaping: decrease 1 st per row at each end for 2 rows.
  Neck is natually shaped by the diamonds and triangles.

  Cast on 77 sts, k1 p1 till it's same length as front with no shaping for armholes or neck. Back will pull in a bit and that's ok.

A Lively Bucky

See what his mom has to endure while serving him breakfast? I bet no one would want this pug even if I pay them.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Fifty years ago today this little boy was born in South Carolina.

Seventeen years ago today this little girl became a pretty young bride.

Today the man and the woman are Together, happily ever after.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

How to Wake up a Puggy

Things that only a mother would care, like watching your baby sleep. Listen carefully and you can hear Bucky's snoring. I felt kinda guilty for having to wake him up so I could make a video. The other day I took three separate clips, about a minute each, of Bucky sleeping, because he was deep in la la land and wouldn't get up on his own.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A to Z of Me

Apple sorbert -- I made the last batch of apples into apple butter, and now it's frozen into sorbert. Perfect for the hot weather next week.
(Andrea) Bocelli -- loads of good clips on Youtube, ear candy.
Chinese -- that's who I am
Dogs -- most of my children belong in that catagory
Email -- the current inbox count is 4643 unread, and I thought I was hopeless when it went over 1,000
Facebook -- I can't believe how much I'm addicted to this website which I wasn't even using a year ago. I really should spend more time dealing with that inbox instead.
Godiva -- one of my favorite chocolates
Henry (or Husband) -- the men in my life. I was going to put in Hot fudge sundae, but Henry erased it.
Italy -- hope I can visit some day
June -- the month I was born
Knitter -- need I say more
Lemonade -- we've been making fresh lemonade this summer with the lemons I bring home from harvests, delicious stuff!
Merino wool -- preferably handpainted
Nuts -- walnuts, peanuts, pinenuts, cashew, almonds, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, love them all
Oatmeal -- plain with walnuts and raisons. I can have it every day.
Pug -- we are one
Quail eggs -- get them from Chinese market for $0.99 a dozen, hard boiled, taste much more tender than chicken eggs.
Retreat -- our annual knitting retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains. Knitting, eating, talking to friends.
Stitches West -- my annual shopping spree, the only time I set myself loose, shop till I drop.
Trinket -- the little dog that came with a name, that's in the URL of my blog, that's more than happy to eat off of my hands.
Union Square -- shopping heaven in San Francisco
Vivian -- the name I call myself
Watermelon -- don't come between me and my watermelon
Xi Dan 西单 -- Western District in Beijing, an area I used to live in when I was a child
Yoga -- one of those things I always try to do more and will never be good enough
Zillow -- was very disappointing this week

Saturday, September 12, 2009

GAAA Squares Twelve to Seventeen

Pattern: Great American Aran Afghan booklet
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool (worsted weight)
Needles: US Size 8

Square Twelve center piece was posted here last time. I finished the braided borders, but didn't have enough yarn for the garter stitch edge. So I switched to black to finish it off.

Still a million ends on the back side.


Square Thirteen: designed by Georgia Vincent. I don't have a picture of my square, but it's a rather pretty lace and bobble mixed square that worked from outside edge towards the center. The decrease is irregular and I had to keep track of the stitch pattern row by row.

Square Fourteen: by Suzanne Atkinson. I had looked forward to knitting this square since the beginning. The little church house, tree and sun look so cute together. The sun rays are six individual icords sewn onto the block, more ends to weave in.


Square Fifteen by Hanna Burns. I was very happy to be back to regular cables, familiar territory. No wonder this is rated one of the easiest squares.


Square Sixteen by Ann Strong. Another easy square, but the seed stitch in the cable makes it rather interesting.


Square Seventeen by Janet Martin. The placement of this square will be interesting. The fish was worked from tail to head, but if you place the square that way the fish would be standing on its tail. If you turn it the way in the picture the square would not match the direction of the other squares. The pattern book cut off this square in the completed pictures. I'll have to play with it when the time comes.


I blocked all seventeen squares and this is what they look like in a rough arrangement. Since I'm using size 8 needles for all of them, some squares are much smaller than others. The smaller ones will get extra edging to match up the biggest size before I make a final color arrangement and sew them together.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Que Sera Sera

A few years ago when self striping sock yarn was all the rage I accumulated a decent size stash of it. The Tiger print, the top strip in the picture below, was very hard to find. I had to buy directly from a woman in Germany who sold them as part of a bundle with other sock yarns. Henry looked so cute in those colorful socks. Alas, the feet grew bigger and kiddie now stays away from all those "baby stuff". Doesn't help the last pair was worn out in less than a week, thanks to a few sessions of socks on concrete basketball games.

The sock yarns decided to become a miter square blanket. The squares are 32 stitches on each cast on side, decreased in the center. Subsequent squares are picked up on the edge and casted on. Each 50g ball makes about six squares. I haven't sewn any strips together, so they can be rearranged when all the strips are done.

A similar project, Sock Yarn Blanket, designed by Shelly Kang, is available free on Ravelry.

Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Will I be a rainbow
Que sera sera

Thursday, September 03, 2009

More Childhood Picture

Another oldie but goodie. Henry was about two, Bucky five, Trinket six. Henry called basketball B Ball for a very long time, his beloved sport at Gymboree. Bucky just started getting a gray chin. Trinket didn't get along with Henry very well, it was a precious sight to see all three of them sitting together on Henry's bed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trinket's Childhood Pictures

When we were both 14 years younger.
The other dog was Lucy, a rescue we fostered for a few days, until she bit Trinket in the nose and we sent her packing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Staycation -- CAS

Day three of our Staycation, the third Wednesday of August, we hit the newly opened California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on their free admission day. We got there right after it opened, and the line was couple miles long. They kept broadcasting on the mega phone that everyone waiting in line would get in, so we waited. The guys found entertainment with sticks and wadded up paper. Three hours was a long time in the cold.

Once we got in it was pretty nice. It took me sometime to study the albino alligator, to make sure he's alive. This shot was taken from the view on the side of the tank, with his reflection hitting the top of the water.

The Living Roof was a big so what. Barely a few plants to call it a garden.

Had to wait in line again for the rain forest exhibit. This time it was much faster and warmer.

There were a lot of cool stuff in this exhibit, I'd say it's the best of them all. Here is a scary looking green Basilisk. To the Potter fans' surprise, he's a lizard, not a big snake.

All in all, CAS is a nice museum, but I wouldn't pay what they charge admission for it, nor would I wait three hours for a free pass again.

Staycation -- No Golf

Day two of our Staycation, we planned a day of golf at Peter Hay Golf Course on the scenic 17 Mile Drive in Carmel. To our greatest dissappointment, the course was closed for the month of August. Since we were already in the area, we decided to play tourist and hit a few vista points. A walk from Spanish Bay beach to Asilomar beach.

The Lone Cypress.

I like standing on a step when I talk to the tall person, something about being more equal.

To make up for the lack of golf activities, we closed the day with a round of miniture golf in the dark.

Staycation -- Golf

The short cut to an unrealized vacation is to yak about it months ahead of time, and taking polls on blog. As I was able to convince the guys to visit central coast for our summer vacation, we went ahead with the planning, checking out hotels, golf courses, bike trails, restaurants in the area. Couple of weeks before we supposed to pack our suitcases, my mother-in-law was scheduled for surgery on the Thursday before our vacation. We better stay around town for that. So last week we joined this year's fad and toured around town -- call it Staycation.

Monday was golf at Deep Cliff Golf Course in Cupertino. Henry started learning golf earlier this year, after many early morning hours in front of TV watching golf channel. Bill played in his youth and it took the guys only a few months to convince me to join the game. Hey I don't have a job, might as well play golf!

Henry teed off in perfect form.

Hole #7, my ball made a splash. Not to lose second or third or fourth ball in the day, Bill fished it out of the creek.

Flying dirt.

Almost in the rough.

In our family this is called a Bucky Ball (the ball is about three feet in front of Henry, after a full swing). We used to play baseball when Bucky was a tiny 2.5lb baby. A Bucky Ball is a little hit that the 2.5lb baby could manage.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Audio Books

Henry and I listened to a few audio books while field tripping. Here are some of the good ones, with comments provided by Henry:

1. On the Course with Tiger Woods by Matt Christopher -- This book is about golf superstar Tiger Woods. Matt Christopher, the best sports writer for kids, gives us the inside on Wood's life. This book is a must-read for young fans of legendary Tiger Woods.

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl -- This is a masterpiece about a boy named Charlie and his love of chocolate. One day, the mysterious Willy Wonka sends a note saying he will be admitting five children, and only five, to tour his factory. There are five Golden Tickets under five Wonka candy bars, anywhere in the world. And so, the race begins......

3. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson -- Autobiography of the author's childhood in the Midwest in the 1950s. Like millions of his peers, Bill Bryson grew up a superhero, in this case with a old football jersey and 'laser' vision that will hold you to your seat. This book is laugh out loud funny!

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Field Trips with Henry

Week two of field trips with Henry. Monday the 3rd was Carmel to visit my mom and beach. Thursday we went to Steinbeck Center in Salinas with Sarah and her kids. Henry really needed the kiddie time, obviously hanging out with me was a bit more boring than I realized. Rocinante, the converted pick up truck that Steinbeck drove across the country in Travels with Charley was on display. Even with a life size Charley in the cab. On Friday we made the two hour drive up to Santa Rosa for the long anticipated visit of Charles Shultz Museum. I've been wanting to visit it since its opening in 2002, when Henry was small enough to enjoy all the little kids things. It took me only seven years to plan it. I left my drawing in the visitors book. This is one of Henry's favorites.
In two weeks, we made two long trips (Sacramento, Santa Rosa), two smaller trips (Carmel, Salinas), and assorted other local trips to the libraries, book stores, etc. On the longer trips Henry almost got car sick more than once, so on the way to Santa Rosa we decided he's big enough to sit in the front seat. Heading home after the Shultz Museum must be one of his best trips ever, sitting next to Mom, like a big shot. On the other hand, my trusty little green engine gave out after we got through Friday evening traffic jam in San Francisco. Turned out there was a part in the power steering system had to be replaced. I had to drive the last twenty miles or so on city streets, but we made it home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trinket Gets Wild

Trinket is a hot tempered little guy. When he gets excited, he loses his mind. This was what we had when we got home yesterday. He was jumping and barking all over us. When Dad picked him up, he was panting so hard we thought he might have a heart attack. Took a few tries to get a clear picture cause he was wiggling so much. What does he look like here? An ancient wild dog? A fox? A coyote? A hyena?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Carmel Beach

My mom lives a few miles from the scenic Carmel beach. Sometimes if we have extra time after visiting her, I take Henry to the beach to walk about. I love the ocean. I love the sound of the waves, the salty smell, the endlessness that brings me peace and calm. Henry likes throwing things into the waves. Here he is throwing a rock into the ocean during Christmas break. This was last week. He found a big stick on the beach. Throwing. Gone.