Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What's on Your ...

Now that I'm reading again, with some consistency, I like to read cakes, tea and dreams even more. She always has a crazy list of books and summaries and just good posts and energy in general. Last visit she had a post titled, "What's on Your ..." that she got from a few other blogs. Read her intro, even that is succinct and spot on. Well, I'm going to warn you, I'm not nearly as organized as she is. But you already knew that!

Here’s what’s on my…
VANITY | No vanity. I can tell you what the top drawer of my dresser is lacking ... surface space. I have moisturizer, BB cream. Costume jewelry, which I don't really seem to wear. There are bead projects my son gave me 6 years ago and a few business cards.

PERENNIAL TO DO LIST | Laundry, clean surface spaces - make more surface space, put away "pseudo clean clothes" from the morning indecision dressing sessions, dishes. ugh. dishes -- by hand.

REFRIGERATOR SHELVES | Well first there is the mother of food happiness, butter. Then 'tis the usual suspects; milk, cheese, leftovers, blackberries, strawberries, lots of salad (my husband is part rabbit), 1 individual serving of kozy shack pudding and sad, ignored Greek yogurt, oh and more condiments than should be allowed. But this is what happens when a person of Thai heritage shacks up with a person of French heritage. You have to have the Dijon AND the refrigerated curry paste ;)

ITINERARY | The boys are going off to visit my husband's GPs in Phoenix in a few weeks. I will have to figure out how to enjoy the silence, woe is me. As a family we are supposed to go to NYC in August. This is due to the husband's work schedule. I think it's kind of crazy. I've been to NYC in August. Mug city. I can take it, but I hope they can. Also, NYC and no ballet season? Not knitting season? I dunno ;) But I'm game. I can eat my way through 5 days in the big apple NO PROBLEM. And I hear they have lovely museums, ha! I do love the museums there! Goal is London Spring Break 2014.

FANTASY ITINERARY | Cinque Terra, Paris, London - Bath - Manchester (London City Times, Jane Austen Times, Barclays Premiere League Football/Soccer Times), Belgium, Thailand with my family which includes sisters, mother, children, fathers etc. Tropical Vacation anywhere. Drive from Denmark - Germany, and last for this list at the moment, but not of my fantasy trips, Iceland.
PLAYLIST | I have been listening to Romeo and Juliet. Sometimes ballet music helps me be more productive. Though my usual "go to" classical is Leonard Bernstein Nocturne I and II. Otherwise I am pure top 40. I have no musical taste what so ever. I just like a syncopated beat and a catchy chorus.  My kid is snobbier about his music than I am! I would like to say I have no shame about my love of top 40 and hip hop, but I would be lying. I don't really offer up that tidbit about myself at PTA intro night ;)

NIGHTSTAND | Chapstick. Softlips in cherry right now. Vicks because I am constantly stuffed up, Night cream, and a new edition; eye cream, a pen, radio alarm clock, a cheap, tacky lamp, stitch markers and the ever important remote controls. I am one of those fools that watches t.v. in bed.
WORKOUT PLAN | Zumba. This I am shameless about, because I always feel better after I do it. ALWAYS. No matter how crappy my day was or how mad I am or how mad my "roomies" are at me. I find a little joy, and it's exercise. I shoot for 3 times a week it usually shakes out to 2. I like to run events, and try to keep myself on one every month. Living in San Francisco, we walk ... a lot. Even if I can't do anything else or have an exercise walk, I'll try to walk from my son's school to work to get a quick mile in. I tell you people, to stay positive we have to think, "something ... is something." and then we keep going :) I miss swimming.
IPHONE | BBC News, Barclays Football, Fantasy (Barclays) 12/13, Just Wink (this is a GREAT app - you can make cards to people, insert photos from your iPhone and then THEY will send it out for you in the REAL post! Yes it costs money -- about what it costs to buy a card. This is SO worth it.), FIFA 13 (see a soccer/football trend, non?), Yarma, Wooly, Blogger and the last of anything I use Bejeweled and (damn you littlesnoopy!) Candy Crush.

TOP 5 LIST | The family -- even when we drive each other nuts, especially on board game nights, Knitting with sports or a good movie on, duh. The smell of fabric softener or Murphy's Oil Soap - you know, the CLEAN smell, a sense of completion and a sense of doing good. I like a good wholesome girl's night. You know wine and snackies and chatter. Oh! And I like the sound of the baby I can't see next door laughing outside on Sunday mornings. I don't know that kid, but damn, it makes me smile even before I've had a cup of coffee. babies, kittens and puppies. like kryptonite to my cranky pants.

BUCKET LIST | Travel, Be good at something, write a book or a screenplay or even a story, learn another language more sufficiently, I used to be able to get by in French -- but just get by like a toddler. Raise a self sufficient compassionate, smart, considerate human being I can unleash upon this world with a minimal therapy bill.

MIND | I perpetually wish I was knitting when I'm not. That I will bake something when the weather cools down. When will I get a chance to visit my father who is close, but seems so far. Things I need to do and organize for the school. Putting away those damn pseudo clean clothes ...

BLOGROLL | I need to break this into topics, I'll try to be brief and don't judge me for how much time I spend on the Internet ...
Knit/Yarn: Kathy B's Yarn Garden, Knitspiring Odyssey, My Sister's Knitter, Polka Dots & Sparkles (new find!), Project : Stash,
Soccer: KICKRS, The Dirty Tackle
Food Stuff: The Kitchn, Tastespotting, The Pioneer Woman
Celebrity Gossip: (I'm horrible and shameless, I know) Lainey Gossip, Celebitchy

WALLS OF YOUR FAVORITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE | Dude we are so boring. Our walls are white. We have a few things of minimal interest (our "style" I may have said before is Distracted Graduated Student chic -- which is to say, NOT chic at all.) So I will go with the door jam between the living room and kitchen. It has these mini frames with my son as a tattertot. I like the one where he woke up from nap and is tucking into a slice of watermelon with his stuffed tiger. Sappy, just go with it.

LIQUOR SHELF | Wine. White wine, rose, red wine - usually medium body, low alcohol, French and some Californian. I'm enjoying Spanish right now, but am not shy of  New Zealand white or tasting Italy. Random booze: Framboise (for the sparkling), Bailey's Cream - for XL grown up coffees, Aperol - aperitif.
LAST CREDIT CARD STATEMENT | Bar Agricole for drinks/food, WorldSoccerShop.com (for the kid cause I can't pull it off), Summer Camp - rat bastards it's expensive, but important.

SCREENSAVER | Don’t have one

Sports: SF Giants, MLS SJ Earthquakes, Premiere League - I'll take what I can get, Fox Soccer Report 
Other: Game of Thrones, Elementary, Masterpiece Mysteries - this includes reruns, CSI, CSI NY, Deadliest Catch, I think it just depends, but as you can see, I like TV.

What’s on your…?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Reading

Friday night, in lieu of knitting I finished Ender's Game. I haven't read a good science fiction book in a while. Harrigan recommended it. And I truly enjoyed it. Science fiction is a human nature study, even if it's set in space or alien wars. It was hard for me to read about a child being broken down by his peers and neglected by adults that were raising him with "tough love". But it made sense and I couldn't wait for each moment I had to pick it up and lose myself in the story. That's what it's about right?

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield are starring in the movie version set to release at the end of this year. The Trailer will be revealed at the new Star Trek movie. 

And of course because I volunteered at school to organize and level classroom libraries , I had to start a new book. Unusual Uses for Olive Oil.

It was an easy read and funny. The main character is such a dorky professor, completely lacking self-awareness at his social awkwardness. I finished this in about 2.5 days. It was also a very sweet book. Last paragraph, without spoilers, just sentiment:
"It's true," she said, reaching out over the back of the seat to place a comforting hand upon his forearm. She felt the olive oil on the fabric of his sleeve, but did not worry about that, because sympathy -- and friendship -- can rise above, can negate, the  misfortunes that so consistently and so unfairly beset others. Sympathy and friendship can rise above these things -- and almost always do.
The other parent I partnered with in the classroom and I skipped down memory lane, looking at the 5th grade library. We talked childhood books as well as current reads. I told her I had just finished Ender's Game which she really liked, and she recommended this book, outside of the Ender's Series. Reading again has been awesome.

Next up: Continuing to learn perspective with Raising Cain, a few chapters at a time and then I return to the nightstand stack. I think either Death Comes to  Pemberley which Peppermint Mocha Mama seems to be endorsing! Or perhaps, I'll delve into Beautiful Ruins which many knitting bloggers seem to have enjoyed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kid Status: A Mom's love letter.

The Kid is just growing so much, and it freaks me out, a lot. I'm having a total midlife crisis with HM's baby being born and mine just so ... TWEENY. Today as he was running off to morning line-up I said, "Hey, can I have some sugar?" He plodded back towards me all heavy footed and gave me a goat kiss, which is just leaning one's head into the other person's gut or torso area. Sigh. Then he was off.

He started brushing his hair in the morning ...

*what the french toast?

He rolls his eyes like a 15 year old girl that can't go to the mall.

I miss the bright colors of Hot Wheels and Transformers on the living room floor. I miss the sight of endless train tracks looping through all the shared spaces of our mini world. I miss the sounds of action figures battling and imaginary explosions ... exploding! I miss random super balls waiting for me to slip on them in the long hallway, like elementary school booby traps. Okay, I REALLY don't miss that last one.

He's growing up, and for all the times I told him to focus, pay attention, admittedly, to let go of something he didn't play with or use; I am kicking myself for letting his younger self go so fast.

But then, I will see him with his friends making fart jokes and I will be over it ... right? I love who he was. I love who he is. I love him.

I might make this my latest ravelry avatar. Is that too dorky? We're wearing hand knits!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ida Elisabeth: My rambling review and experience

I believe I read about this book ... on a blog, or it was recommended to me in my Amazon shopping cart. Somehow I purchased it on Amazon et voila! I read it.

It is a book about a woman who doesn't always make the best choices in life, but toils ahead with the life she has. She does her best. She wavers between instinct and principle but she is not confrontational. There is love and there is loss and there is an appreciation for simple things and individual spirit in her story. It is very much a character study.

This book was a strange emotional read for me. I started out, not liking this book, the character, or any of the other supporting characters very much or at all.

I stuck with it. Why? Because there would be little quotes (I'm sorry I don't have examples. I didn't mark the pages) of narration or dialogue that would just jump out at me and I would think, "Yes, I understand!" or "Yes, that is how I feel." or "I bet a lot of people feel that way on the inside." *very child like thoughts, I know, but this is a true account of my brain.

In the beginning this didn't matter for me and Ida. It didn't sway me from how I felt about the character. Though I admit I began to like the book.

Then slowly I realized, a lot of the things I disliked about the character were things either I saw in myself, or my pet peeves about other people  (not the one and the same. I mean either, or). For example: Afraid to aspire to anything more than what is (me). Passive Aggressive Martyring (pet peeve in others).

See, this is another great thing about reading outside your comfort zone. You think you know ... but you don't. It's not that simple, these things, such as life, and love. No doubt we love our partners and our families, yet how we love them, how we support them, how we define what each needs and how we are capable of answering that need is different.

Before the last few chapters, Ida and I ... our relationship had evolved. I was looking at this book with different eyes. I was still kind of cursing at it under my breath and shaking my head a lot but I felt like it was my journey now too, and I couldn't judge with the same harshness I had before.

I paused before the last two chapters or so.

And then, I finished it. And I felt deflated. It wasn't a bad ending per se. I realize that I had hoped for more. It was most definitely a character study.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cherry Blossom Parade

San Francisco has the second largest cherry blossom festival in the US. I haven't taken the kid since he was in preschool. Sunday was the last day of the 2 weekend event.

So in an effort to get my bookworm outdoors and some culture, we grabbed some drinks and sandwiches for a curb side picnic to watch the Cherry Blossom Parade.

It was a lovely day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Non Knitting Group

Last night, after almost 3 months of a knit meeting hiatus, and a year since we last made it outside the building for a meal, my work knitting group met up for dinner.

Well technically we were a (wo)man down. Ms. DA has been out recovering from knee surgery much longer than we had all hoped, and she had a family function to attend.

We went to Citizen's Band which is:
  • Close to work
  • Close to public trans (for those that commute this way)
  • Fun with nice staff, tasty comfort food -- something for everyone
A good time was had by all. We shared a bottle of white wine, an Asparagus & Caesar salad with soft egg, Poutine with Pork Belly, Fried Chicken and sauteed greens and biscuit, Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato soup and a Chocolate Mousse Cake with Caramel & Sea Salt drizzled on top.

In between cramming some tasty post-work eats in our mouths.
  • We caught up on our lives as they are Shing is transitioning to owning her life and time again after nursing her sister through a health issue and she's just about to tackle her annual non profit event. 
  • We talked about travel plans. HC is up next for a whirlwind back to the east coast!) 
  • Told candid stories and confessions. (I still think older sisters get a bad rep! And I'm not sure which one SDS is!) 
  • And of course we talked knitting!  I pulled out the Colour Affection in progress, Lu passed around potential pattern print-outs and lamented her Boyfriend Sweater story. She had never heard of the curse of the Boyfriend Sweater! Obviously she needs to read some knitting blogs ;)
As the evening came to a close, we reminded each other how nice this is. It seems everyone is almost too busy at work to consistently meet to knit, even once a week. It's also hard without our sunshine and knitting task master DA.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I remember how to read.

Yes, I am using a take-out menu as a bookmark ;)

So, I finished Hotel Bemelmans. I lost some pace on it about 1/3rd of the way in, but made up for it later. It didn't blow me away, but it was an enjoyable read and a good pace to keep me engaged in reading.

I took a deep breath after that and went to the nightstand and picked up When We Were Romans. This moved a little better than I expected. However it's told from a 9 year old boy's perspective. His mother is suffering from some mental illness and paranoia and he and his little sister get caught up in a journey to be safe and happy ... yeah you see it coming. Anyhow, the problem is, they use misspelling in his first person narrative. Technically he is not keeping a journal, so I find it a bit distracting and unnecessary. I don't know if I would recommend it, if there is nothing in the general concept that interests you. I did walk away thinking about how I have to protect The Kid from my anxiety and all my flaws but also be honest about it. We've talked a bit about how I worry is not right, and basic things I try to do to keep perspective and focus on being more positive and constructive.

Which leads me to a parenting book. Lady H. recommended and lent me Raising Cain. You know, often when kids are small, you pay better attention to the "right way" to do things, take the good, let go of the bad, and find your way. And then somewhere along the parenting way, you just rely on you. Well, the me could use a new perspective, and not one that belongs to my husband. I like him, but just the fact he's my husband, sometimes peppers these conversations with bias and pre-determined defensiveness. Not that it should. But I am going outside of MY box, so to speak. I'm intrigued by what I'm reading, and I'm not despairing. So far so good, but I'm only a few chapters in ...

Up next? Possibly some fiction that I don't know how I got this "Ida Elizabeth", but it's on the nightstand now.

The Kid and I finally finished Artemis Fowl. He seemed to enjoy it, but then again everyone loves a soil eating dwarf with powerful farts right? He continues to read The Dark Is Rising series at school for silent reading and is rereading the Alex Rider series at home. We haven't decided on our next "read aloud together" book.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Knitting Plans

In another weekend of whirlwind family oriented plans, I still managed to find some time to knit, along side a hefty glass of white wine ... or two. I also managed to read a few chapters (with less wine, but that's for another post).

The color affection is "getting there". My affection for it wanes because I do not think the color choices will work for the person I wanted to give it to, and also I fear I have pulled to hard switching colors ... again. I'm okay though, I truly believe in the journey, and I'm well aware I could've stopped and frogged at anytime. I'm also giving myself a small pat on the back for shopping within the stash on this one.

I like to take pictures of my knitting crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (north bound). It is usually the beginning of some fun times. Napa, Sonoma, camping, family picnics, swimming in the Russian River. Anyways, this time it was Santa Rosa a nephew's 12th! birthday party bbq. Good times for sure.

I had planned on visiting a yarn store (for the first time) up there, but there just wasn't time. That's ok. I should stick to the stash as much as possible and I will get a chance to visit the North Bay soon, I'm sure.

As the end of a project nears, I am beginning to think of what I want to knit next. I somehow got it into my head that I really want to do these gifts for two of my friends. However they don't know that, and I feel a little pressure about getting it right since ... the last attempt wasn't very successful.

Coming off of Saroyan, in a similar scarf-esque interest:

Based on my current ravelry shopping cart, it appears to be the year of the shawl. And that's just fine with me. I'm still drawn to the same short row stripe structures, but I am trying to get over my fear of lace.
French Cancan

I know, many things have been previously mentioned...

I still have dreams of knitting my first pair of socks. My friends keep telling me about the magic of the Magic Loop but I feel like I need to study or read a bit on that first. I think I should do this before I race out to the yarn store for 40" circs on my lunch hour :)

On knitting and prison escapes:
George Blake, a British double agent, used a ladder made of rope and knitting needles to escape Wormwood Scrubs jail in 1966, five years into his 42-year sentence for treason. With the help of accomplices, he made his way to the border of East Germany hidden in a secret compartment inside a camper van. Blake ended up in the Soviet Union and still lives in Russia, where he receives a KGB pension and last year celebrated his 90th birthday.
* Source: SFGATE

one more puddle of color affection going north ...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Random Thursday

In the interest of catching up with posting despite the fact I have been kind of cranky and unreasonable, and have been lost in a world of work and tasks ... I am left to listing again.
  • An iced mocha (sans whipped cream for me) is the best grown-up chocolate milk. I had my first one Tuesday in a year, and I think it made me not only hyper for the last bit of my work day, but also incredibly cheery from the inside out and satisfied.
  • I love the link sections in Knitting Blogs. I read one knitter (possibly A Friend to Knit With?) talking about getting rid of hers in order to reclaim her site's real estate and keep it uncluttered and fresh. I remember thinking Oh No! Many of the comments encouraged her to do so. But I say don't! I don't do RSS feeds and Facebook. It's just too much for me to maintain, I barely maintain my household and Ravelry page!
  • I love My Sister's Knitter's link section. Honestly, I use her site as a portal to other fantastic places to visit. That is how I found Project Stash, Knitspiring Odyssey, Knit the hell out,  and lately Polka Dots & Sparkles (goodness I love that name). There are more wonderful sites on her list, and crazypants, she actually maintains the list! So in case anyone is wondering. I'm one of those people who uses those side navigations of external happy knitting links. The whole point of visiting other people's blogs is to see what other people do and how they think and what interests them, and look! they're pointing us to even more exposure and exploration ... swoon.
Oh and regarding knitting, here are a few better pictures of my latest F.O.s.
In fact I think the picture is good enough to see the error in my Yarnster hat, ha! How do you think this would look in all white? I might give it a go.

This one is of the baby knits I finally managed to get to the family this morning at school line-up.

  • I have no shame in admitting I have found some nice shapewear  at Target. We all do what we must to hold things together: inside the self and well, inside the clothes. hehe.
  • Another purchase, new sunglasses. Kate Spades. I am usually a Ray Ban girl but I felt like something different, and this is what the sweet counter girl suggested at Bloomingdales. Bloomingdales, my best friend for sunglasses and bras.  They are nicer to me in the sunglasses section. Shh.
 Some girls like shoes and handbags. I like sunglasses. I know that I don't deserve to spend this much money on them since I trash them and lose them. (never with the cheap ones, that are crooked and don't look so good on my face -- why is that?)

And that my friends, is Thursday's random.