Thursday, January 29, 2009

M Is For Mutt

Picking up this game from my fellow CIC knitter Lynn, who blogs at Never A Dull Moment. She assigned me the letter M to write ten things I like that starts with the letter M.
1. Money, in any form, shape, size and currency
2. Mid night, cuddled in warm blanket, watching Boston Legal, knitting
3. Mute button, wish it comes with most people and objects
4. Mutts like Trinket, who will turn fourteen years old tomorrow
5. Memories start with "when Trinket/Bucky/Henry was little ....
6. Magazines: love to read them and always wanted to be an editor
7. Moonlight: symbol of romance and peace in Chinese literature
8. Merino yarn, preferrably handspun handdyed
9. Massage, helps me go to sleep and wake up every morning
10. Mama, Henry's first word at five months old
If you'd like to play the word game, just leave a comment and I'll assign you a letter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Twenty Five Things About Me

My friend Lori tagged me on Facebook to write twenty five things about myself and pass on the tag. It's a rather tall order, but pick up the tag if you like the challenge.

1. I've been blogging for almost three years, and there are still new material every day.
2. When I joined Facebook last year I thought I wouldn't spend much time on it since I already have a blog. Famous last words.
3. Our first house on Bufkin was my longest residence. We brought up three kids there, two of them walk on all fours, and at one point had four dogs. I miss living in a ranch house.
4. We now live in an imitation Arts and Crafts style home. After four years I still think of it as "our new house".
5. Walking down West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, which curves along the Pacific Ocean, is one of my most cherished enjoyments.
6. One of my friends at work introduced me to Buttery in Santa Cruz, which is now my favorite bakery.
7. I belong to a book club that has been running for seven years. Lately people are bailing out. Don't!
8. I met my husband through a dating service, when he was getting ready to sue them and ask me to be the witness.
9. We got married instead. The full story is here.
10. We got married on my husband's birthday and now we celebrate the anniversary a month later.
11. I've been doing this online social networking thing since 1995. We adopted Trinket in April 1995 and Bill joined a dog group at work, and they referred him to an online terrier group, Terrier-L. I'm still part of Terrier-L.
12. Bucky and I are spiritually connected.
13. For years I only drank coffee from Columbia. Now I almost don't drink coffee at all.
14. I like almost all chocolate, especially hand crafted truffles.
15. I'm far more comfortable writing than talking, in any language.
16. Although my formal Chinese language education ended in high school, I'd like to think that my Chinese is on par with grad students.
17. I baked cookies from scratch for the first time during the holidays.
18. I came to America with one suit case and a carry-on bag. Most of my belongings were lost when I left China.
19. I ran away from home when I was fourteen, only for a day, but successfully scared everyone.
20. Bill and I have been watching Boston Legal reruns. I want to grow old like Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen), not afraid of my age, with grace and dignity.
21. I learned to knit, crochet, embroider, type on a Spanish typewriter, read and write in Chinese, both in characters and in Pin Yin (Chinese spelling system) between the age of five to seven. I was very ill and had to be kept at home. My parents home schooled me on all these subjects instead of letting me "sit around and do nothing".
22. The only vegetable I don't like is eggplant.
23. I force feed all of my children, including the crab. For a few nights I put the crab in his food dish instead of leaving him alone to hide next to the heater; now he appears in the food dish at midnight looking for food.
24. I never knew I was a dog person until we got Trinket, now I can't imagine ever living without a dog.
25. In the summer of 2006 Henry and I flew to Indiana to meet up with our Feb99 friends. It was our first and only venture out by ourselves and I'm so glad we went. I have known the ladies in Feb99 group for over ten years. This is an amazing group of women.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trinket's T Shirt

The only sweater I knitted for Trinket. I downloaded a free pattern and added an intarsia T on the chest, just in case Bucky wanted to steal the sweater.
Trinket had surgery to remove three tumors from his chest, side and leg (cancerous mast cell tumors) in October 1998. After the surgery he was wrapped in gauze around the chest and stomach, with the tumor site shaved clean. He looked pitiful. It took me a good day and half to crank out this sweater to cover up the gauze and later the shaved area. Made him look rather cute if I might say. Trinket was about three years old in the picture, and Bucky about two.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dragon Square

Knitted this square for my friend Cris. Cris organizes the South Bay Knitter group, schedules all the meetings, sends out all the reminders, and oh yeah, she pulls together our annual retreat in January. She's the heart and soul of the group. Cris loves dragons. So when one of our members, the talented spinner/knitter/weaver/instructor Nancy, suggested that each of us to contribute a square for an afghan, I thought something in the shape or theme of a dragon would be proper.
The intarsia flying dragon stitch pattern was found on Ravelry. I reversed the original pattern so the dragon would fly both ways, and enlarged it for the big dragon in the middle.
Nancy and Cris both love this square, and Nancy put it as the center piece of the afghan. It's a huge honor for them to consider my knitting worthwhile, and I'm not saying this to make anyone feel good, as I know most of the South Bay Knitters don't read my blog. It was eleven years ago that I picked up knitting again and joined the group. For years I was intimidated by the talent and creativity in this group, yet at the same time I couldn't drag myself away. I needed this group to push me to constantly pursue the next knitting challenge.
Thank you Cris for keeping us together.
Thank you South Bay Knitters for being there.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bucky Stumbles into 2009

Thanks to all who asked about Bucky and wished him well. Bucky had another episode of back problem over the holidays. For couple of days he had a terrible limp and had trouble getting up. This picture was taken on new year's day. I was able to get him go outside on his own, but it seemed that he could no longer get his legs through the doggie door. Sometimes we had to carry him all the way out to the backyard, put him down gently so he could do his business. Poor guy can't keep the back leg up any more, how humiliating.
This is the third year in a row he has back or neck problem during the winter, I'm beginning to think maybe the cold and wet weather is doing a number on the old bones. We need a winter home in Vegas.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Charity Knitting

Henry and I went to visit my mom in Carmel over the holidays. She had heart surgery right before Christmas. One of her arteries was 90% blocked and they put in stents so it would expand, which hopefully will help prevent any future blockage. She's recovering nicely, with some help from friends around her and couple of on and off home care ladies. Thank you to those who sent good wishes for my mom. Her birthday is coming up next Tuesday. If anyone wants to send her a card just email me: vhkeys at yahoo dot com, so I can send you her snail mail address. She lives alone in a senior community away from any other neighborhood, sometimes she doesn't get out for days. Any outside communication is always welcome. Here are some of the knitting she'd done in the last couple of months. They are going to various charity groups in our local hospitals and shelters.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Irish Diamond Shawl Finale

Pattern: Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk Shawl by Cheryl Oberle
Yarn: Newton Yarn Country Cashmere Merino, 50% merino wool, 50% cashmere, fingering weight, about 2,000 yards, purchased at Stitches West a few years ago
Needle: US size 7
Color: Olive green, looks a little darker in life than in these pictures
Cast on: July 2008
Finished: November 2008
Precious entry: in progress
Cost: about $60
Notes: This is a beautiful shawl! The pattern is straight forward. The two lace sections are fairly simple yet not boring. Cast on starts at the neck edge, increase between each section, and cast off at the bottom long edge. The end result is a square with opening diagonally in one of the sections. The yarn is very nice to work with -- it's the same yarn I used for Muir and Chinese Red Vest -- and gives the shawl a nice drape.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Furlough Score Card

Two weeks of forced company furlough, how did I do? 1. Sent out all the Christmas cards, including our very first family letter, put up all the decorations +1 2. Shopped, lots of it, as planned +1 3. Spent too much money -1 4. Bought Henry his first video game, a Play Station Portable -1 5. It made him very happy +1 6. Henry is addicted to Yogi Bear clips on YouTube. We spent at least an hour a day watching Yogi. +1 7. Took my family to see The Phamton of the Opera in the Orphem Theatre in San Francisco +3 8. Henry got scared and couldn't sleep that night -1 9. We watched the Phamton movie +1 10. Henry got scared again -1 11. Now he can't stop talking about Phantom and wants to understand everything about it, which gives us a chance to discuss fantasy versus fiction +1 12. Had a lovely relaxing Christmas, including our tradition of opening gifts in the morning, having lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, and taking a walk in the neighborhood +3 13. Saw Marley and Me on Christmas day and cried my eyes out. It's a good movie. +1 14. Fixed Henry's loom and helped him start the first project +1 15. Didn't write as much as I planned, but Bill came up with a writing project that I will be involved in, and I'm very excited about that. +2 16. Didn't exercise nearly as much as I should -1 17. Did fifteen minutes of stretching at least every other day +1 18. Took two long walks and hiked up the hill at the knitting retreat +1 19. Ate way too much -2 20. Worked too much -1 21. Paragard :-) +2 22. Tried my hand at baking cookies, in the toaster oven because the electronic control for the oven was broken +3 23. Everyone loved the cookies +3 24. Had the oven fixed so it's ready for the next batch of cookies +1 25. Visited my mom, who recently had heart surgery, and helped her with some errands +3 26. Took Henry to Carmel beach and he loved it +3 27. Found out Henry has vision problems and had to get him glasses -1 28. He looks so handsome in them +1 29. Bucky was not well -1 30. Didn't knit as much as I planned -1 31. Had a wonderful knitting retreat +2 32. Slept in almost every morning +1 33. Henry scored two baskets in his game today +2 Ending score is positive, so I am rather satisfied with myself.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Word Play

A page from Henry's homework: Use these words in a sentence: prepay, prefix, precede, prevent Henry: I had to prevent from letting him prepay to have the teacher precede with the prefix lesson. Mrs. S: Henry, Nice try but each word needs to be in its own sentence. I might be biased, but I think Henry must be pretty smart to come up with a sentence using all those words together. Another word game. We have this board in the kitchen for our random thoughts (mostly mine). We did this word association awhile back (click on the picture to see a bigger version): All three of us participated. I started with appreciate, then it went like: appreciate -> celebrate -> chocolate -> ingredient -> culinary -> knives (this is from Henry) -> lightening -> rain -> check -> housework -> contribution (this is deffinitely mine) -> money -> cash -> June (this is Bill's) -> sun -> astroid -> rocks -> mountains -> trees -> forestry (this is mine, since I was doing research about my maternal grandfather at the time) -> dentistry (this is probably Bill's, after a dental appointment) -> teeth (this is Henry's) -> threaten -> robber -> justification -> facts -> history A new Word Association is currently on the board, with the condition that words need to be more than three syllables or five letters. The first word is enjoyable. Anyone wants to play? Just go from this word, or the last word you see in the comments.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Here Is 2009 Already

I welcomed the new year in my sleep. It's rare for me to be asleep at that hour, especially for a new year's eve. In fact, I can't remember when was the last time I didn't stay up to welcome the new year. But consider I had three hours of restless sleep the night before, extra slumber time was very needed.

May your 2009 plentiful, peaceful and profitable. May your children behave. May your fur kids healthy. May your knitting and stash grow as you please. May your computer bug free. May the gas price stay below $2. May the companies keep their workers. May the workers keep their same level income and benefits. May all the committed couples remain committed and enjoy each other's social, economical and legal existence. May the country go upswing. May the world a better place.

I will end on a positive note and share couple of pictures I took the other day at a Chinese super market. Dried sharks fin on sale for $199.99 per pound (regular price $269.99). To the left on the second row, dried scallops $49.99 per pound.

On the right, triple X large dried scallops $99.99 per pound. On the left, sea cucumber on sale $99.99 per pound, regular price 129.99.

If you are still with me, Happy New Year!