Thursday, July 30, 2009

multi topic post no title applicable

Knit night- popcorn and m&m's mixed as a snack food. Must. Try.

Stray-Much to Liza's delight and Annabelle's dismay, there is a stray cat-very loving- hanging around the house. I mention this because Neghbor Marilyn told me that it and another neighborhood cat went "a$$ over tincups" down the hill in a territorial dispute. "A$$ over tincups." That cracked me up.

Yesterday was Rain Day here in the 'burg. For the 5 years that I've lived here, it's not really rained any significant amount on Rain Day. Usually around 4:00 pm you'll hear someone say "I think I felt a raindrop." or "Someone said it rained at the airport." (why yes, we do have an "airport" of sorts.)

This year it was pouring in the morning. Threatening around the afternoon. Mr. Sophanne and I discussed going for street fair food and he said "but it's raining" and I said "but that's the point." It was all very confusing.

We went with Liza but were stopped abruptly when I saw the "No Pets" sign. He got some fair food and I listened to the "wife calling your husband with a rolling pin" contest. This mostly consisted of screaming and the words "Get Your Butt...." etc.

As we sat at the side of the courthouse finishing dinner two young girls (7-10ish) approached to pet Liza. Then they turned into the "Look what I can do!" kind of kids. This "do" consisted of falling to her hands on the pavement and kicking her feet up in the air.

I told Neighbor Marilyn about this and she said "Where do these people come from? It's just not the same group of people there anymore" (or something to that effect.) Later I asked her if she had seen Neighbor Ellen and she replied "She's probably at Rain Day." Crack me up? yes.

And in news that is yet to be seen as good or bad, my Michael Scott is leaving. In an effort to list all that we've been through she mentioned that we didn't meet AYP standards (classy) and that we were no longer the county's best kept secret. She was tearful and apologetic about leaving. Most had no reaction as we had already learned this from the county's job-posting site. Best wishes Michael. Now I might friend you on Facebook.

Tomorrow I'm adventuring to Mountain Mama's house to pick blackberries and maybe play the flute. She lives way out there and going over always feels like a secret vacation. Last year we accidentally planned lessons for the start of the school year so anything is possible.

Monday, July 27, 2009


eta- there was not enough yarn to bind off-in spite of my best efforts. I believe at some point I will undo the bind off and go for the single purl to make sure I get to the end!

Angry KG must have moved East. Maybe it's just the Wicked KG of the East.

What you see here is the Forest Canopy Shawl in Stitchjones' one of a kind only skein sold Daffodil. The second photo is where I thought I saw trouble ahead and switched from the pattern bind off (which called essentially for twice as much yarn for a heavier edge) to a regular purl bind off.

I will fix it someday. Go back. Take out two rows from the bottom edge. Put it back on the needles. Reknit. Cast off. Not today. For now, it's in Time Out.

Friends, this is much worse than running out of yarn on a long-tail cast-on.

Though secretly I am impressed that I came this close when guessing when to start the bottom edge which means this will likely happen again and that's just sick

Friday, July 24, 2009

A week's worth

Seven pairs of socks so far. Although I'm not sure I'm counting the first pair on the left. They're made of AlpacaSox and may or may not be superwash- hence not appropriate for the weekly washing cycle.

The way I see it, I have maybe seven more pairs to knit and all sock yarn will be accounted for.

Also in progress is the incredibly colorful and warm though possibly not at all attractive Sockghan.

I don't love long socks. A six inch top means that I can half it and do the heel so I stick with that formula. As a result, there is usually about a sock's worth of yarn leftover. I could cast on a third (as suggested by a knit night friend) for those just in case times but really, who wants to cast on for a THIRD sock?

This is a work in progress. I'm pretending that the black will "pull it all together" and make it looked like stained glass. It's the basic granny pattern from Babette- only I'm not paying attention to square sizes and ragtag attaching them as I finish.

Central Park Hoodie the Two has one front ribbed band completed- left to do is the other side, some sleeve attaching, side seaming, and blocking.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This Just In

Girl and Dog Reunited.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Rewards for Survival

We found the rental car place- a short 7 mile drive with a google map on the itouch. Too bad the cab driver that took us back to the hotel didn't have it. He turned it into a 15 mile drive on highways at 90 mph. I'm sure he's now thinking "those people from out of town NEVER tip." Cabbies should think twice about scamming the tourists with all of the techno-gadgets there are revealing their dishonesty.

It's a 7:00 am flight and we'll get the dog on the way home (around 7:00 pm tomorrow)

With an afternoon to kill, Mr. Sophanne's bloodhound-like nose found a casino a block or two from the hotel. His reward for a week survived. (and yes, there is an apple pie in the hotel fridge and some sushi for lunch for me)

I plan on working/finishing my daffydil Forest Canopy Shawl- what a nice break from socks it will be. I also downloaded myself a little reward for the flight home. For $23.99 I got all of season one of"Flight of the Conchords". Hotel internet made for speedy downloading and I've divided them up on the itouch, the ipod and the computer to make the battery life last. I'm actually looking forward to the long flight!

It's second best only to your reassuring comments and stories that got me through the week!

Fairfield is Good

We are in a hotel near SeaTac. Last night I slept on a couch and Mr. Sophanne slept on a twin bed mattress. We made an executive decision to spend two rather than one night in a hotel.

Ten days of family seemed to do it for everyone. Three of the five may come to swim at the hotel tomorrow. I may have understated the meltdowns. Or else maybe they are looking bigger in hindsight. Full-blown screaming temper tantrums may be a more accurate description. And now we are done for the year and maybe they'll grow out of them next year. Democratic versus dictatorial parenting. Democracy leads to temper tantrums when the rational breaks down. Someone's probably written a graduate thesis on this but having lived it, I think I'll pass. Sometimes "because I said so" should just take precedence.

As the non-parent in the mix, I still have a little eye twitch that I'm sure I'll recover from by October or so.

There were plenty of good and smiling times and like many other adventures I've had, I'm sure eventually I'll remember this one fondly. Right now, I'm going to knit and try not to think about finding the rental car place, finding our way back to the hotel and getting on an airplane for hours and hours. Maybe it would be best to watch some video of the dog.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Issaquiet in Issaquah

We've left the beach house and 3 of the 5 youngun's behind. We're now at son and DIL's house. I am decompressing. I imagine they are too.

There is a distinct difference between parenting techniques between the two families. There are advantages to both but I'm glad we're ending our visit in this quieter place. Any more whining crying meltdowns and I was pretty sure I would throttle someone.

Two nights here- and some quality time with Walter Longfellow the dog- part retreiver part Great Dane- what a mix! Head like a lab- body like a Dane- ball chasing skillz of the lab- relative stoicism of the Dane. He's a most peculiar pup.

I am beginning to return to my own body.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


T-ball and Tacos and lots of sun. Two more socks to add to the mix.

some poetry

I forgot momentarily that in between refereeing we found some time to write a poem based on two favorite phrases of Lily (9) and Levi (7)

Lily went off to the ocean.
Levi went off to the sea
They thought that they would catch some fish
But neither did succeed.
Lily said, "Whatever."
Levi said "So What."
Becky said, "What's wrong with you kids?! I'll give a big kick in the butt."

Levi climbed a mountain
Lily climbed a hill
The saw a goat carrying a boat
take an awful spill.
Lily said, "Whatever."
Levi said "So What."
Becky said, "What's wrong with you kids?! I'll give a big kick in the butt."

Levi went to Pluto
Lily went to Mars
Fortunately for both of them they remembered
their peanut butter jars.
Lily said, "I like this."
Levi said, "Me too!"
Becky said, "Get Back here you kids I'm so lonely without you!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

from Frederick Galleries titled "Ice Cream Meltdown"

and for the record, no matter how good they are with kids, boys will be boys. Just as the peak of the tantrum subsided, Mr. Sophanne called the tantrum thrower a "baby" and said we'd get a plane ticket and leave tonight. Eventually apologies were exchanged and all is well with the world but, well... you know.

Blackjack anyone?

Nothing says "family vacation" like an early morning blackjack lesson.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day is Done

I am glad. Called the dog. She's o.k.

We spent the afternoon at the pool.

I'm really not so much a people person.

Monday, July 13, 2009

new beach houses

Mr. Sophanne and entourage returned from the store with poptarts, fruitloops, and 3 bags of gummy worms ignoring the fact that they just had eggs, soy milk, and toast as per what the mama recommends.

This for children whose dietary sugar is limited generally to one small candy/piece of gum a day. I was not amused and almost became the tsk tsk'er but then figured- what the hell-it's vacation for them too. If we keep feeding them sugar, we can prolong the meltdown. So far so good but I feel really bad for the mama and the papa tonight.

After amply supplied with empty calories we explored at the shore. No crab was safe. I insisted that Bob explain the Buddha's "Hurt no Living Thing" premise to them and without complaint, when we left, the crabs were returned to their natural habitat. They may need some trauma therapy after being banished to the "punishment shell" within the rock circle of crabness.

Mr. Sophanne also introduced one of his favorite pastimes- "Nature Art."

We're looking forward to watching the tide slowly decimate this abode in "our" back yard. It was all we could do not to throw rocks at it to speed up the process.

We drove down the road a bit to explore swimming options for tomorrow and found more shore very similar to that in the back yard.

I learned that you can do the same thing in a different place with kids and to them it will feel different. (I knew it was true of the songs we sing in kindergarten-same tune-different words-only the very brightest will pause and say "hey... that sounds like...") The house building continued.

After the youngest said "I'm Hungry" we skipped the trip to the grocery store- I was oh so wary of the meltdown potential- and ate at a nearby Mexican Restaurant- a stroke of brilliance on the part of Mr. Sophanne and stupidly- something I wouldn't have thought of. And now here's the kicker... we didn't have a doggie bag. All kids ate all food (each other's and/or their own) and there was no food trauma.

A public thanks to all of the experienced mamas reading and commenting and joining me on this trip. It has reduced my stress level considerably to know you're out there and have got my back.

New Olympic Event

Much like its predecessor, Volleyshoe is an excellent beach game. Played with a size 2 purple croc (specs can and do vary) there are fewer volleys and skilled play is based on the drama of the hit more than the accuracy.

"Getting Under the Shoe" and "Setting the Shoe" is encouraged as is "Diving for the Shoe." To date the record number of successful volleys is three.

The advantage to Volleyshoe over it's more traditional Volleyball is that the shoe does not go rolling off into the water. Volleyshoe appears to have the effect of keeping seven and nine year old siblings bicker-free (and occasionally apologizing for poor volleys) for OVER FORTY MINUTES.

For those of you joining me on this journey, here is a map of where you are. The beach in the photo above is Alki Beach in West Seattle. Our cozy cottage is a few blocks south of here.

And now, because you are my friends and I feel I can trust you, I have to tell you that sometimes kids make me crazy and impatient. While I'm sure the impression I've often given is one of absolute patience and kindness (and I have maintained this external illusion thus far here on Fantasy Island), I may start to lose it pretty soon.

Mr. Sophanne is experiencing some slight reaction with some of his food allergies and and is certain that his heart will likely explode any minute in a way that only a man with some discomfort can be.

This left me large and in charge for about 3 hours this morning. While I know I should be the good and patient wife, I struggle. I forced him out of bed this morning and said "It's nine o'clock." He seemed distressed that I was more concerned with the time than with the pain in his side (NOT near his heart.)

He has now decided to push his way through the pain and I've got a little down time as they are adventuring in the car. If there is something seriously wrong, I'll have this post to make me feel guilty for the rest of my life. If not, then I'm guessing many of you know exactly where I'm coming from in the Mars/Venus world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

For the past 5 years of marriage, Mr. Sophanne and I have taken this family trip, visiting, trying to create good family memories etc. I am not the evil step-mother. I'm not even old enough to be the mother of his children- which in many circumstances could be (and in the beginning- was) slightly awkward.

I told him on our journey here that for the first time, I felt welcomed, loved and that family was looking forward to seeing me and that my only real anxiety was the air travel and kid overload.

I shared this with his daughter as well when we went shopping and we had one of those "yea, we're o.k." moments.

During the trip I took note of the lovely cut flowers and knew that while we were paying for the food, adding flowers to the mix would be considered less than frugal. No biggie.

This afternoon, when daughter's husband and smallest child came back from taking the mama to work, they delivered these.

They are the nicest flowers I've ever gotten with the most sincere sentiment behind them. I got me some in-laws and they're pretty awesome.

I found a more better vase but would feel a little self-conscious taking another picture of them. Know that they are now appropriately housed.

AND- I made pasta, sausage and toasted bread for 5 adults and 5 kids and there was enough and it didn't suck!

Also there was a dead red jellyfish in "our" backyard. Coincidentally enough- it looks like the sauce we had with dinner.

Former selves

Dear Pre-Vacation Self,

Thank you for packing the BullFrog no deet and Benadryl


Vacation Self

p.s. if you ever need 9 year old "slightly aloof" kids to get all huggy and cuddly, tell them that you miss your dog and you need someone to take her place for some "I love you" time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Puget Sound

Every now and then the camera can make things look more dramatic than they really are. Things aren't quite this dark but there has been some thunder and it looks promising.

Also missing are the sound effects of Mr. Sophanne talking about his ancestry and the book he's been working on about it, 5 laughing screaming children and one daughter-in-law talking about what she wants to do to her house next. You can filter the pleasant and unpleasant sounds for yourself

Steak, salmon, and an avocado salad with some water chesnut-like crunchy addition (that I can't remember the name of) for dinner with fresh green beans and bread. (now I feel like I'm twittering but I told you I was going to share the experience-and it's keeping me sane.)

Groceries for lunch and dinner purchased along with a small package of Fran's decadent award winning gray salt caramels. Daughter of Mr. Sophanne (not the house talker) is an herbalist and I'm not sure if this is a standard PMS cure but it certainly did not hurt.

we let the little people carry the bags.

A good night's sleep- some bagels and a walk to Miller Park a block away.

Heading to Puget Sound this afternoon.

We let the little people carry the bags.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Zoo

I only carried one bag- Mr. Sophanne wore shoes- The hippo went in and out of the water.

Old Dog- New Tricks

Lessons learned from Seattle '08 and '07.

1. Get a hotel room the night you arrive and the night before you leave. This relieves all pre and post travel anxiety and keeps everyone fresh and happy for meeting and greeting. It helps if you're Mr. Sophanne and you search the credit card companies for bonus Fairfield Marriot night points. This hotel has wifi- yippee.

2. Don't quit reading and writing blogs. It may be the only thing that keeps you sane.

3. Not every flight is as bad as the last few we've had and we've arrived safely and in relatively decent humors. I recommend 50 mg of xanax and 3 ibuprofen to take the edge off.

Ya'll are coming on this vacation with me- not just reading about it later.

Another lesson from Seattle '09

When your flight takes you from Pittsburgh to Seattle via Dulles in Washington DC, the actual flight time to Seattle is extended by about the same time it took you to get to DC. doh.

Mr. Sophanne can find treats (ice cream, muffins, milk, chexmix, and yogurt) anywhere. If he were ever to go on Survivor, they would all have apple pie as a bedtime snack.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Let the lessons Begin-Seattle Adventure '09

As we prepare once again to trek across the country, I've learned a few things and we haven't even left yet.

1. It's much harder to leave your dog the second year than the first (when she was still doing annoying puppy things.) Can you say Niagra Falls? Oy. Didn't see that coming.

2. I can fit all of my leftover sock yarn as well as enough for 3 pairs of socks without even an extra bulge in the luggage. Much wiser than trying to haul a whole sweater from ocean to ocean.

3. It is possible to convince Mr. Sophanne that he does NOT need to pack Four. Pairs. of Shoes. for a ten day vacation. We've got it down to two. I may regret this later but at least he'll get a new pair of shoes out of it.

4. The cat doesn't look so bad when the dog's gone.

We're going to the zoo on Friday. If see you a Steve Martin/Herman Munster/Ralph Kramden sort of friendly looking guy playing around at the Seattle Zoo with 5 monkeys of his own, be sure to stop and say hi. I'll be the one carrying all the stuff. He'll be the one with no shoes.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Dear Winter Self

In addition to 5 pairs of socks, I knitted you some giant mittens. I hope you like them.

Debbie Bliss Chunky Cashmerino- size 10 dpns- cast on 30 stitches- used Ann Budd's How to knit everything book and the 30 stitches column.

The last few pairs I've knit (not with the same yarn) have been too short at the top. (nothing to do with her pattern- plenty to do with me not measuring accurately at all.)These are a little too long at the top. 23 rows from gusset to decrease was about 3 too many. Maybe summer self will make another pair.

The green is some duplicate stitching because that can be so enjoyable. Yea, the thumbs don't have any decoration but big deal.

Who says I don't knit for others?

Friday, July 03, 2009

If Mr. Sophanne says it, it must be so.

This afternoon, my dear husband called me a "bag ho." This is no surprise. It seems that the bag bug hits just before travel time when I am hoping to get the perfect travel bag bags.

I loves me some Namaste. I had three of these pieces- I just got the Hermosa, the mini-clutch and the needle cozy this week from Scout and man oh man does she understand the need for a bag fix. My order couldn't have arrived any faster if she had gotten on a plane and delivered it herself.

I'm not even going to try to justify these purchases- we're traveling again soon- the laptop fits in the big one. The miniclutch is a perfect wallet. All Completely Unnecessary. All I can say is that I had to label this picture bagho2 because bagho was already taken in the picture file.

insert *i could have had a v8 * sound- really loud

Remember how when I got a new computer I was too impatient to save for the MacBookPro and instead figured a regular MacBook would do the trick?

Remember how I was a little peeved at Apple for not mentioning that the regular MacBook did not have a firewire?

Remember how I was disappointed that my new computer did not recognize my dv video recorder?

A series of events (which included Mr. Sophanne getting lucky at his favorite casino and the acquisition of a compatible video camera) sent me to the applestore to find video editing software. Seeing that the software I was looking at was $400 (and slightly out of my price range) I clicked on "education store." There I found my school and discovered that I could get the same software at a 60% discount. I also found a MacBookPro for the same price as the lesser machine I am using now.


At any rate, August may very well bring some "amateur high tech" video editing. Something that I was not able to do with last summer's vacation video plans. I really don't know what I'm doing but I think it's all so cool.

In knitting news- Matilda has her third pattern repeat. I am on sock number 10.2.