30 December 2008


We tend to the melodramatic introspection over here around this time of year -- all this re-evaluating of actions and priorities. I am reluctant to admit we are really that cliche, but there it is. We are self help 101.

So this year, we began to wonder about the internet. Have we allowed this 'stream' of information to become a flood? Are we really getting out of it what we think? And, in short, is this magic box with all its instant and its answers a joy? Or just noise?

Which led us to -- with no small amount of trepidation -- has the time come to go analog? (Cue dramatic bum, bum, BUM)

And then, with the weight of these wonderings hanging in the air, we left. And went to our neighbors' cocktail party. (You know, what else to do when you are getting pretentious, or curious, or dangerous, or whatever it is?) Only, when we came home, something very important had changed.

Our computer...died.

And we are left with our twinges of guilt: Did it hear us? Did we make it feel so unloved that it just skulked away?

Oh, sweet computer, come back. Come baaaaack!!!!! (in extra-dramatic slo-mo style)

(I will don trench coat and boom box if I need to, my sweet, sweet machine.)

The good news here is that it will come back. We'll be taking it in the first of the year for some extensive TLC. The bad news is it won't be well enough to come home for a while.

So it appears I will be on a blog vacation. But I can post at work, I guess (I suggest coyly, like I've never posted from work before), so I'll see you next week.

Happy New Year everyone!

And don't forget to kiss your computer. Tell it how much you love it.

26 December 2008

Gift Craft

To exploit the sewing skills freshly honed from my intro class, I thought I'd whip up some zippered pouches for the girls on my list. And two short days of sewing and cussing and tweaking and re-sewing later: viola! two pouches.

(I will master those damn zippers though. Soon they will be forced to acknowledge my mad, zipper-taming skills. Take that! wily zipper! I will not cower before your snarling teeth!)

Where was I?

Yes...number 1:


i (heart) pleats
pleats! I squee!

a bit like a disco

a zippered pouch, manufacted with guidance from this tutorial.
The snazzy pleat detail I borrowed from here.

And number 2:

like holly
looks a bit like holly

test drive

it's better than bad, it's wood

a boxy pouch in faux woodgrain!

And I am all ! about it. I had to resist !ing every word up there. (It's a lot of goodness for one short sentence.)

I thought the pleats would be my hands-down favorite. But, nope. I am sucker for the cube, I discover. And if, perhaps, you are as well, the tutorial is here. Full warning though: these will multiply like tribbles.

Give it a try. You'll see what I mean.

25 December 2008

Christmas, Circa 1960


Yeah, I know. It's like A Christmas Story. But real.
I love the blur of the mighty, present-unwrapping action arm.
Oh, and the cowboy hat. Of course, the cowboy hat.


Merry Christmas!

Happy feasting and family-ing!
Or just happy day off!

However it works out for you...enjoy.

All best,

24 December 2008

Last-Minute Elves


But we are -- finally, finally -- wrapped and ready to go.

Hope your evening is cozy and warm.

23 December 2008

Starlight, Starbright

mosaic8826631 copy
our illustrious tree topper
Beneath Holiday Stars!; Wallpaper #9 - Stary Night

My favorite part of Christmas? Can you guess?

22 December 2008




This looks like Lila as she waits for Christmas.

(Or, it would if I had her stocking made already.)

19 December 2008

For The Love Of December


There I go: prattling on about the stress, the finals, the nostalgia, the bittersweet, and I completely neglected to mention the good stuff December has given. So here goes.

Indie Sacramento (do you remember that forever ago? When I was all excited about the craft bazaar?) was wonderful fun. A little bit smaller than the previous year, and a little less rowdy (or maybe it's just that I showed up late). But excellent all the same. In fact, in ways, even better this year. Well curated and spot on.

These cool Christmas craft fairs always make me wish I had a shopping list full of people who loved cool handmade gifts. You know? Somehow, when I’m there, I feel like Rick and I are the only people in my real life who would appreciate the time, the special, the craft. And it seems wrong, really, to transfer these wares from the hands that lovingly made them into hands that think “oh, this?” (Have I underestimated my family? I hope so.)

So, I spoiled the shit out of myself.

I bought one skein of handspun, in a colorway called Valentine. And a super-sweet print that conjures for me all the soft joys of hanging laundry out to dry in Bologna. Don’t laugh. That’s one of my favorite memories of my six weeks in Italy. Kendra and I would stand on either side of the balcony to give her black pants a good lengthwise tug. Or else they'd – I don't know – become shorts, perhaps. And we'd pull the laundry line back and forth, clipping wet clothes or collecting dry ones and patting them into folds. It was one of the few real quiet times when we could gossip and share intrigues. (Also, I remember how pretty her underwear were. Is that a universal that I’ve missed out on? Am I the only woman in the world who clings to her uber-practical, uber-uninspiring cotton briefs?)

And – oh and this is a big one – I won something too. I never luck out when it comes to raffle prizes. But this time, not only did I win, I won the exact prize I was wishing for. Proof? I took only one picture at Indie Sacramento, and it was this:


Meet my new squishy bear. Yippee!

18 December 2008


Hunh. So that’s what breathing’s like. I feel like I have written my way through a marathon these last two weeks.

But it turns out, I miss it now. Now that I’m not signed up for the second half of the class next semester – now that I realize I’m looking at a hiatus rather than a holiday break – I am obsessively clinging to how exhilarating it was. To write papers again. To feel compelled to continually impress a professor who, I am very lucky to say, I respect immensely.

And when I turned in my final, and he asked me whether or not I’d be back next semester, I was struck that he looked (briefly) visibly disappointed I said no.

Yeah, that was good.

Because sometimes this half-hearted life in a cube makes you forget how smart you are. That all those distracted, half-cocked answers you give to questions you should know better how to answer happen because you are simply disinterested. And maybe a bit lazy.

Which, in a weird way, is comforting. Because it means you actually haven’t forgotten that some things in life are worthy of putting in time and effort. But rather that you generally don't.

Sorry. I know this isn’t very Christmas-y. No last minute craft turmoil. No wrapped packages or pretty bows.

But still about a gift, I suppose. Nonetheless.

15 December 2008


In the throes of finals here. Will check in mid-week.

11 December 2008

Homework Haiku

The Civil War lives,
menacing specter in class --
paper due today.

I will add, unnecessarily, that it is not quite finished.

Um. Yet.

(Uff. My energy wanes faster than the semester does.)

10 December 2008



Call it defacing property. Call it blight. Call it an urban scourge.

But I have a soft spot for graffiti.

Especially when it's sweet.

09 December 2008

This Is Not A Motto

“Be regular and orderly in your life
so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Gustave Flaubert

I haven't decided yet whether this is an elaborate justification for cubicle life. Or a recipe for greatness.

08 December 2008


yellow leaves at twilight


This weekend was all soft violet blue and golden.

And today? There is rain.


06 December 2008

One. Day. Only.

Good morning, Saturday. I see you will be a day full of goodness. Not only do you have in store for me the mother of this semester's sewing labs (um, did I ever mention I've been taking a sewing class this semester?), but you also promise all the joy and delights of Sacramento's second annual indie craft bazaar.

I can hardly wait!

So, for those of you who are nearby, get off your duff and go already!

Oh, I kid. -- Mostly.

But do go if you're able. And I'm not saying that because I'm selling anything at the bazaar. Rather because I am so darn freaking thrilled that things like this are finally happening in my home town. So I'm anxious to drum up support for it; I would love to see this bazaar thrive. And maybe even, as has been rumored, become a monthly event.

How rad would that be? Very.

05 December 2008


An ode to sock yarn:


Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn
color 03
Birds in Paradise

What do I love most about it? (Besides everything, I mean)

Giddy, unabashed color.


I love how, wound, it is a rainbow spectrum of plaid.


My new thing, it seems, is to head to the LYS without a plan, and just pick up whatever strikes my fancy. And here's how it's worked out for me:

I've been quite the active yarn hoarder this Fall. And I want my needles in all of it. All at once.

04 December 2008

Making Christmas

mosaic4422220 copy

red pink green by maryse ro
Untitled by mms0131
crochet poinsettia by me

Four poinsettias in. Only one to go.

I'm not sure I'll make it through the fairy-tale bunting project this year. It's still early, I know. Going by how quickly December 2nd has become December 4th, and accounting for that pesky little 'objects in motion' law...I may find I'm hard-pressed for time when it comes to the actual bunting part.

That's alright. Truth is, I'd miss my gussied-up, poinsettia-bedecked nightstand if I did finish on time.

So, win win for me. No matter how the making goes.

03 December 2008


I love road trips. I love the long hours in the car with nothing but good company, gas-station snacks, and the view.

Is it strange to say it quite that way? Maybe. So let's be clear: I don't enjoy the knee cramps, the 'saddle sores,' or the traffic. Just the long aimless hours to simply be. To talk about stuff, nothing, and everything. Or just be quiet and look.

I am always struck by how different each state is. How they are each almost entire countries of their own. There may be a bit of blending at the edges, but each has its own landscape, character, feel.

I have driven cross country four or five times. Never the northernmost or southernmost routes, but that is an oversight I hope to correct. Someday. I have taken the train across, round trip. And, in some distant future, I hope to do it by bike. Even if only one direction.

I have flown too, of course. But it's never the same. I never arrive at my destination feeling like I've actually gone anywhere. Only that I'm seeing new parts of the town where I live. Visiting the friends that live on the fringes of the city limits.

All this to say: the view from the car on our trip to Oregon last week was amazing, as always. And it felt like an end in itself. A distinct, complete, and happy part of the entire break.

Her majesty the mountain looked radiant as ever on our way up.

towering over the freeway

And downright regal on our way back.


shasta sky

Lest I seem mountain obsessed, the clouds put on a pretty impressive show too.


gold farm

Especially at night.

fire and water

02 December 2008

On Little Cat Feet

The fog has crept in. It’s been here all week.

I hope it stays put. There is something magical about looking out the window into a cocoon of dew.

Maybe less so on those days when you have to go out and drive in it.

But magical nonetheless. For its power to make everything around you more snuggly. For the extra glow it gives streetlamps and Christmas lights. For its demand that you bundle up in cozy handknit scarves and hats.

Magical also for the way it makes me think of an assembly I went to in seventh grade. The school had invited actors to recite monologues and poetry. I think they were trying to sell us on the arts -- convince us that the arts were cool.

What I remember is one actor in particular. He had a Shakespearean voice and Firebird feet. He tiptoed and glided about, and performed for us, with his dynamic range of boom to whisper, a short poem on cats and fog.

When I sit still and really think about it, I can still hear him. I can still feel my amazement at his grace.

I am constantly tempted to attribute this poem to e.e. cummings, and I attribute that particular moment as the very time and place in time my love of cummings was born.

But it's not, is it? It's Carl Sandburg instead.

(Funny memories. Cradled in a fog all their own.)

01 December 2008

My Grandma


Actually, she is Rick’s grandma. But I am adopting her. Or, perhaps more accurately, appropriating her. (sorry Rick) Because she is full of magic and spunk.

Also because she makes a very fetching blonde. Which you can plainly see – even in a cell-phone-quality picture.

What you can’t see here is the pink lace bustier she presented to us moments later. The one that she wears when she becomes “Elvira.” Along with the blonde wig, that is.

This is the newest in the string of alter egos she adopts for the benefit of the kitchen band she’s part of. And when she's not playing funny to the emcee's straight-man routine, I think she plays the washboard. (Her mother, she bragged, used to play the saw. No small feat, I gather.)

Ah! To be 93...

P.S. Thanksgiving was lovely over here. I hope yours was too.