Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Should Have Called; I Should Have Written ...

... but I have been incapable of doing anything but knit. Knit. Knit. Knit.
But what glorious results. I have a real sweater.

Onyx Heather. That's a fancy way of saying "charcoal gray ALMOST boring enough to make you want to cry but just enough specks of lighter gray to keep you marginally sane." Especially when you are fantasically proud of yourself for producing such a fine example of knitted woolen wear in a particularly adult size.
Really. It WILL be adult size when complete. Really. I hope.

I knitted 770 yards of worsted weight Onyx Heather over the course of a week.

Child added for scale.

I knit at home.

I knit on the trolley. I knit in the movie theater.

Now I'm out of yarn. And you all know why I've been so quiet. I've been besotted with myself. And my very fine sweater.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Get Me Out of the City - Quick!!

Knitting is a very tactile craft. It's amazing how a thin little wisp of yarn being drawn across you finger and knit into the fabric of your piece can feel so different one yarn to the next. This is no secret to knitters who pay sometimes exorbitant prices for particular silks, cashmere ... and the new favorite: alpaca.
Alpaca is divine the way it floats, softer than cashmere, warmer than wool.
And pricey. So I figure: why not just go straight to the source:
That's right. I will cure my desire to get out of the city and my hunger for yummy yarn all in one fell swoop. I'll be an alpaca farmer.
Of course I'll need to move out of the city, find a job to support my habit, wait until the kids are done with school ... there's lots of planning involved. but doesn't it sound marvelous??
I think I need a vacation.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweater Saga

Every once in a while, inspiration strikes and I decide to continue down the Path of Crazed Knitting. Could be the wee hours between 2 and 5 and all of the books I drag to work with me. Could be the chill in the air, begging for turtlenecks and cozy wool sweater. It might even be the yearning for the quiet, rural, farm-like atmosphere of my childhood (am I really old enough to have "way back when" memories?) Whatever it is, working yarn into wearable shapes

Over the past few weeks, I have made several "model" sweaters to experiment with styles. I quickly decided that knitting a sweater in pieces and then sewing them together is a fairly silly idea. I embarked upon my first sweater knit upon circular needles. I scaled it down so that if i didn't like it, I wouldn't have to spend the rest of my Useful Knitting Life discovering this fact. So I cast on a lower-than-normal number of stitches and knit away ...

Finally I had something resembling a sweater with 2 sleeves which I proudly posted on facebook:

To which a Friend posted, "Well, dear, at least you tried."

Apparently she didn't know it was not yet finished. So I posted a finished photo.

I did NOT at this point receive any messages saying, "Well, NOW that looks remarkable." I am completely aware that the sleeves are different lengths and of slightly different construction. I am, after all, the one who knit them all cattawampus.

Now we get to the part where we discuss scaling. I have clearly posted that this is a small sweater. I do this without fear because my cousin reminded me that she learned from sewing Barbie clothes that "smaller" does not mean "easier."

But folks were apparently shocked at the actual appearance of "small" when I posted a shot for scale:

Yes. This was not a "size small"; it is "small."

This sweater was worked on my breaks at work and the ladies at work were kind enough to humor me with a few bits of attention. Without fail, they would pick it up, put it on their hand, and kindly try to think of something I could do with it. Stuffed animal. Doll. Really small doll. Ummm. They were baffled at the concept of knitting something with absolutely no purpose (other than figuring out how to do those should decreases.)

I assured them I was perfectly happy to put it on the shelf with my Class Sock (also useless.)

But the really cool thing about THIS sock is it's Universal Appeal:

At least Noah knew enough to not try to make it any more useful than this!
P.S. Coming up: The Virtual Yarn Shop returns!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Look, Kids - Bigotry IS Alive and Well!

Yes, we have had a processional of "Yes on 8" proponents; those people who would choose to violate our constitutional rights to Equality for All.
I didn't have any rotten tomatoes and I wasn't about to waste even a single organic egg (especially after my expensive vote FOR Prop 2 ... those things are PRECIOUS!) so I didn't throw anything, as tempted as I was to indulge in a little freedom of expression.
(Especially good - that's one of my co-workers there, keeping the peace ... and one of our squad cars there on the right side of the photo!)
Didn't we decide after a bloody civil war that Constitutional rights should apply to "people of color" as well as whites? Then a not so bloody revolution and we figured out women were people, too? Are we so dim-witted as a whole that we need to "test" each group? Can we please just efficiently settle on "human" rights?
Besides, as my dear Crazy Aunt Purl put it:
"Everyone should have the legal right to fall in love and get married and spend twenty grand on a divorce which has to be stipulated three years later to include custody of the dentist! EVERYONE."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happiest Dog on Earth!

We couldn't find a puppy sitter in time for our trip to Disneyland so we just took Lily along!!
She was GREAT - didn't knock over any small children, didn't puke on anyone ... even went potty where she was supposed to!!
Look - someone's happy to see Lily!

Ready for her first ride:

And her second:

She even rode on ...

The Pirates. In a boat. In the dark. Thunder Mountain, here we come!!

Followed by a break at the Exercise Run at the Kennel Club.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ever Wonder?

Sometimes I wonder what my camera does when I'm not around. It doesn't look like it's moved a bit and then I download the picture (of knitting, which no one needed to see, anyway) I just took ... and it's newfound friends who have appeared from nowhere.

What's that she's wearing??? Dont' worry, Camera had the same question ...

Oh! Must have been Bath Day!!

Something's Just Not Right Here ...

There is something terribly wrong with this sock.
Don't get me wrong - knitted goods rarely look GREAT right off the needles but this is horrid! (Lily didn't mind, though.)

I jumped up from the computer thinking, "I know! I'll take a picture of that sock I finally finished - my Blog-Friends will be so proud to see that it's done. Not so much. But I am not too proud to show you all my pathetic attempts!
Awww, Mama!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

General Life Update ...

Oy. So very tired. The only reason you're getting this little tidbit is that I desperately need something to do to keep me awake long enough to drop the kids off at school!

Work is fun .. there's always so much to learn and think about! I've also kept busy in my off hours ...

I've been to yoga every week except the one I was sick.

Oh yeah. Got frightfully sick with a migraine ... my doctor invited me to go to the hospital but I politely declined. I did however accept an invite for a shot of torpadol the next day. Ahh. Relief.

I've also picked up my knitting and am kicking myself yet again for beginning these two at a time socks in a size intended for Sven. I'm working my way to the toes but often wonder if they will EEEVVVVVERRRR end???! That pretty self-striping yarn is begging me to cast on a new pair but I'm getting to be pretty tough up against the soft little pleas of wool blends. I really want to knit a sweater ... I'll wait for that urge to pass before go near a yarn shop.

Last but not least, I've had the MannersMinder out again and have been trying to get some obedience practice in with Lily. She's all in favor of anything food related so that's been easy ... if only there were more hours in the day.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fascinating Facts ... And MORE

First, a simple thing I always forget: What does i.e. really stand for??

ie: (id est) That is (to say)", "in other words", or sometimes "in this case", depending on the context. Never equivalent to exempli gratia (e.g.), although frequently so used.Id est, i.e., "that is", is commonly abbreviated "i.e."; in this usage it is sometimes followed by a comma, depending on style

And how was my day, you ask?

Well today I took my first live calls at SDPD. That's right, I just un-muted myself and started taking calls. "San Diego Police, this is Anniessa." and answered a few questions. Cancelled a call, etc. Yep. I am a real rock star now!

I'm happy to report that I'm still at the stage of looking forward to going to work each day. I don't feel the need to struggle to the next outpost. I don't need to: earn a degree, secure a teaching position, earn a paralegal certificate, or sell more ads than the whole department put together.

I just go to work, learn my job, and do my job. Does this mean I've finally found my fit? I look forward to seeing where this path leads. I happen to think it will be one of the more calm periods in my life!

But for now, the Ultimate Prize for any dispatcher:


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Aaah, a day at the beach! Lily and I went to Cornado dog Beach today and had a wonderful time. I packed up our lunches, forgot all of her toys, and we were off!
We met Judy, Rina, and Ricochet there (I wasn't great with the camera, but that's them down there, next to my beach chair!)

And the worst part about having to go back to work tomorrow? The fact that I don't get to spend the day in MY department. Three of us have New Employee Orientation and will be at the City offices all day.

Apparently these people don't know how experienced I am at being a new employee ... they'd probably let me stay home! : ) Truth is, the City of San Diego has a fantastically complicated HR/ benefits / retirement system and it will take at least a day to figure out how best to manage it.

I think I will leave the knitting needles at home, just in case it turns out to be as dull as Notary class!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Choose Your Crime

It's my Friday and I'm about to collapse! This week we learned more type codes, played "What's My Crime" and generally discussed ... crime.

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that when I go to work at the Police Department we are a little crime-obsessed - but it does! Sometimes I want to ask, "Can't we just go out there and help the woman?"
The answer is no. We have to poke and pry and try to find out if a crime has been committed. Stalking is about the only thing we'll dispatch on before the crime occurs - but only because stalking in itself is a crime.

I understand now the jokes our neighbors made about how the Sheriff's Deputy had better be married to a DA ... criminal defense would NOT work! Because all day, every day when these officers take to the streets they are focused upon crime, criminals, and preserving the peace so that normal, everyday folks like you and I (do I belong in "everyday" anymore? It doesn't feel like it.) can go about our days, safe and oblivious.

On a funnier note, I was told yesterday that I can go up to Crime Analysis and they will provide me with a map of criminal incidents in the City. Then I can use that information to decide which crimes I want to live near ... a game we play called "Choose Your Crime." It's lovely!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lil-Leeee!! Don't Eat the Table!

Is there anything more I might need to say? Good grief. TG for IKEA!


Yes. Lily lives a good life. I was worried about how to stick to our home-cooked diet AND get kibble-sized yummies to fit into the MannersMinder when ... I decided it would be faster to just cut out a kabillion little cookies than to think any longer.

It was actually much easier than I first expected. This was the second batch ... a little boring and definitely not as tasty as our first batch of Peanut Butter Pumpkin yummies.
We now return to our regularly scheduled obsessions...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Criminals - Again

I have been super-duper busy trying to keep track of day and night and up and down since beginning work at the Police Department. It is fascinating and stressful (not getting enough sleep is the easy part - spending the day thinking like a criminal is HARD!) but the days fly by and I'm having a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Criminal Intent

Ok, I know this involves knitting but I promise not to be too esoteric. Today is for the tale of where knitting has taken me ...

I had to appear in court this morning. I packed accordingly: about 5 pages of case-related documents, a puppy training book, my knitting work in progress (WIP) and, of course, a knitting book. Court days can be long and dull.

I was looking forward to a morning of knitting as my needles have been untouched the last week or two with Miss Lil to occupy my time. I even took some little scissors with me in case I finished the socks and needed to cast off. I was enthusiastic!

So I settled into my seat in the court room and started untangling my yarn. (This is the downside of working two socks at one time - you have two working yarns that stick to one another like super glue.) Within just a moment, the bailiff (a nice woman with beautiful red hair - she's been bailiff in that courtroom as long as I've been going there) came over to me, approaching me in kind of a crouch.

"Oh." I thought. "Does she knit, too? It looks like she's coming to chat about socks on circulars."

Oh yeah. That's what she was thinking all right.

"I have to see your needles."

For your benefit, Dear Reader, they look like this only with two giant black socks hanging from them:

"OK. They're ..." What I didn't get out is : nickel plated circulars - 2.5 millimeters in diameter with a 47" cable connecting them. I'm doing two at a time socks. It's my first time and I messed them up at the gusset ...
"I'll need to hold those for you."


"Did you happen to see who was screening at the door?" she asks.

Ruh-roh - they all look like this:

Minus the logo. They sometimes step away from the logo.

"As if." My smart-aleck, now deprived of a morning of knitting brain chimes in silently, "As if I could stand here in the courtroom and WHISPER a description of this negligent screener to you so you could march down there are report her to the Screening Authorities. She already took my scissors!"

Oh. I forgot about that part. That darned screener - to whom I now felt somehow faithful because I KNEW the scissors were iffy and took my ready-to-toss travel ones on purpose - took my Fiskars kids scissors! I should have known I looked like trouble when they wouldn't let me through security with 3" safety scissors!

I was very brave, all things considered. I put my knitting back in the bag, handed it over to the bailiff and started in on my puppy book. I put it back. crossed my legs. Went to the bathroom. Took a drink of water in front of the "No Eating or Drinking Sign", reworked my calendar for the summer. Then I gave up all hope and just listened to the attorney's stumble through their morning.

As soon as the attorney's were done, the Commissioner went back to the Department list. I was #4 on the list but I figured that due to my little delay in security I'd probably get pushed to the bottom.

Imagine my surprise when I heard my name NEXT!? Yep, it's my turn - apparently they let those suspected of "criminal intent" go first!

So I took care of business. When I got up to leave, the bailiff was holding open the gate. I glanced at her desk and my knitting bag WAS NOT there. She motions toward the door and says, "Deputy Really Cool Black Hair will carry it for you to the door." (That wasn't a direct quote, but the Deputy DID have great hair!)

I had an ARMED (with a GUN) escort to the doorway of the courthouse. Where, for some reason, they must have decided that I was no longer a danger to myself or others because they handed me my socks and sent me on my way. In public. With my needles.

In public. With knitting needles. Where I am still At Large.
You know, they really don't look all that dangerous after all ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nachos Flambe

My dear cousin Lisa (who never seems to learn where these things get you) asked:

"What? I need to know about the Nacho Fire Incident! Sounds… eventful!

Do tell."

So I had no choice but to respond:

Oh ... it was a doooosey!

We had my friends' daughter with us - Talen was babysitting .... We went to Fallbrook and played and played ... thought we'd heat up a pizza when we got home. Then it turns out Sven had eaten the pizza we thought was in the freezer so we settled on nachos.

A big, 9x13 inch pan chock full of nachos ...

So I put the nachos in under the broiler about the same second that Bella asked for help with the knitting she was trying to get started ... (yes, cue ominous music) I went to help her and of course it had to be completely re-done ...

After only a few minutes (I swear!) of undoing, I asked Noah to check on the nachos.

"Mom. They're on fire."


"On fire, mom. Like with flames."

Crap! I jumped up and ran for the kitchen to find, sure enough, a 9x13-shaped fire in our oven. The chips were completely engulfed and had flames about 6-8" high curling up and out of the oven. Our really high-tech fire alarm starts blaring. I realize we have about a dozen sprinklers in our apartment about to go off and destroy everything we own.

I thought, "Fire needs air." and shut the oven door.

I opened the door to check. Apparently our oven isn't really airtight (especially with the door open) because that fire was burning along merrily.

So I grabbed a dish towel and thought to smother said fire. I also thought, "This isn't very smart. What if the towel catches on fire?"

THEN it occurred to me that we have fire extinguishers in the hallway. So I pull it together like a crisis-trained lifeguard: "Noah, run down the hall and get a fire extinguisher." Yep, assign a task to an individual (Do I have to ask Talen to call 911? No, not yet.) and get them on their way. It's the Lifeguard Way.

Talen arrived in the kitchen a moment later. I say in my most authoritative voice, "Talen, you go with Noah. Help him hurry." She runs.

As the door shut behind her, another thought crosses my mind: "Water puts out some fires."

So I grab a 2-Quart Batter Bowl (God Bless the Pampered Chef) and head for the sink. As it starts to fill (rather slowly, I think to myself over the rather incessant screeching of the fire alarm) I realize that if I toss this bowl of water onto the nachos that are burning away quite happily in my Pampered Chef 9x13 Stoneware Baking Dish (the one with the fabulous French Vanilla finish on the outside) it will probably break.

Now, that wouldn't do.

But we have spray bottles under the sink. I open the cupboard and try to recall which of them are empty, which are filled with (flammable) cleaners, and which might have water. Luckily I had my plant water spray bottle right there with it's happy little green and yellow top. And it had water in it. So I picked it up, turned around, and spritzed a few squirts of water onto the by now burnt-out wreckage of cheese and tortilla chips.

Ahh. I pause a moment.

Oh yes.

The kids.

I open the door to the sight of Talen running frantically down the hallway, fire extinguisher in hand, Noah right behind.

And I yell, "Water! WATER puts out fires!"

Talen stopped, turned quietly, and returned the fire extinguisher to it's cubby.

Crisis well-managed, I'd say.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wrappity Towels!

Laying it all out and making patterns ...

Results in - well - patterns.

See that one that looks like a bib? It's just about right for Ricochet, Kalani, and the other babies. This week at least ... then they'll be ready to upsize! (The other ones are folded in half so they just LOOK smaller!)

A few quick zips around with the serger and here we go ... ready for a fitting!

Legal Advice

Ha! Not really ... I am NOT a licensed attorney!

I think this page does a good job really outlining some different perspectives on legal careers.
Even in a saturated market, there is a demand for quality attorneys with specific experience: patent, medical malpractice, and bankruptcy are always in demand. I can't imagine working BK, but that's just me.
Then it's easy enough to run the mathematical calculations: Most law students and beginning attorney's I have worked with graduate with $120k in loans. They aren't really able to work much to offset their loans because the internship requirements are so stringent. Starting pay for our superstars ranged from that $30k average (that's the CA stat: first year attorney starting wage) up to $72k ... but that $72 k took a year to come along, and in the meantime he was clerking for $20 an hour. So you're also looking at 3 years of school plus up to a year for a decent job offer.
Paralegal programs run about $6500 and take 14 - 16 weeks. You can graduate, work in legal field for $45k - $60k (I have received offers in that range so know it's reasonable in today's market.) Paralegals are in high demand. Working as a paralegal not only gives one experience in the legal field but also will help you get the better jobs after law school, allowing one to rise to the top of the new market field.
I suppose it's worth mentioning that law school does NOTHING to prepare one as to how to be an attorney. It doesn't even get you ready for the bar exam. It simply marks you as qualifed to take the exam ... just about everyone takes a Bar Exam Prep Course in order to actually pass the thing (chalk up another $5k.) In Jim's office, he took 3rd year law students who were the top of their classes and taught them how to actually get the work done as an attorney must. Students who graduate with a less spectacular intern experience are simply not ready to practice - that's why that starting salary is so low ... they simply aren't able to do much of anything that first year without proper experience!
You can see how that paralegal experience would certainly help increase employability ... as man have said, it's how they learned to practice law because paralegal programs are oriented to teach HOW TO ... law school focuses more upon the historical WHY.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How To Knit: The Beginning

If you want to try knitting, might I suggest borrowing a good beginners book from the library: Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting or Knitting for Dummies are good.

Then get some basic needles and some worsted weight yarn in a light color. Don't get too caught up in choosing - your local craft store should have Lion Brand Wool-Ease or Paton's Classic Moreno. Get needles in a size 8 or 9 ... either will work. Also, don't worry about wood vs. metal ... it's all personal preference. They should be around $5 per set ... if you're really curious, then buy one of each. If you're not only curious but also clever, buy them in different sizes so you can see the difference it creates in gauge.

Then just follow the book, cast on 20 stitches, and knit back and forth until you are ending up with an even product. Then throw in the purl stitch and go until it's comfy and even.

Then start looking at projects, because you're on your way!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Brilliant Girl!

For those of you who have been following the Puppy Prodigies as instructed, here's a quick shot of the glory they grow into!

Super Dog!

Yay, Ricochet! Good girl!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sven's Puppy

Apparently Sven misplaced his puppy:

I found her lounging at the Humane Society's mobile adoption event yesterday.
She was getting lots of attention

The light was bad - it was so hot and bright! I'm sure you can get some idea of how cute she is!
And we thought he was organized! Just leaving his dog like that!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Am a Miracle Worker!

Undaunted, fearless knitter that I am ... I decided this morning to try to figure out how to knit a sock on circular needles ...

I scrounged through the stash, dug up some needles, cast on and ... put it down.

I cleaned the bathrooms, walked to the library (took the long way home), went to Costco, got my haircut.... And then picked it up again.

It didn't take me long to figure out this was working up quickly ... So I planted my flowers and wrote up that last blog entry. I am a masterful procrastinator!

Finally I knew I just had to finish this thing. It isn't pretty .... it is a pattern that's meant to be a practice pattern, not a wearable sock. It just so happens that I was using such huge needles and yarn that when I followed this recipe:

I ended up with this sock:

Yes, that' my giant foot in there, fully ensconced within the sock I knit TODAY. And the next time a pattern says "Be sure to check your gauge." I will pay attention. Size DOES matter!

Farming - City Style

Well gollee! It's bustin' out like springtime out there. I oughta get to plantin'.

Where's the dirt again? Ah, there it is!

Proper farming tools always ensure the job is done right.

All done!!

Is it wrong that I spent more time blogging than planting?

Now where is my dog? I obviously need more to do!

P.S. The ficus - already upset that we went on vacation and it's outside - is going to HATE this!