That Seattle Sunshine

Such an atypically productive Saturday! I scrubbed the deck, tables and grill, so that when I went out to see my new strawberries and basil, I wouldn’t have to look at the muck cast down by the cottonwood tree.

Meanwhile, Kevin cleaned his closet! The photo on the left is all of the 90’s clothes headed for a new home, and on the left is him finally parting with that horrible orange t-shirt that he used to wear as an undershirt for his fraternity formals in college (nothing ruins a nice dress and high heels like that orange shirt).

And now here’s the gaping loveliness that is his half of the closet:

Way to be, kevin!

So Close!

May I just say how encouraging it is to finally see a ball of yarn looking like this?

I’m judiciously avoiding posting daily progress on Branching Out, but I have to say that it is enormously gratifying to finally see this ball shrinking. I have four more left in this color, and this first one was taunting me by never ending. Finally: victory at hand.

An REI commercial

The original plan was to do a long hike in the snow up by Mount Baker with Larry and Raechel, camp overnight with a group of ex-intern friends, and then do a mini hike around Picture Lake before heading back on Sunday. However, fate intervened in the form of a delayed start due to waffles and an hour+ scenic detour due to missing the Rt 9 turnoff. Oops. Extra car time meant extra knitting time, though, so I wasn’t as sad as you might expect. 😛 Here was the scarf an hour in:

When we got up to the campsite, the rain stopped, so we joined the group and pitched our tents. This shot is terrible, but it’s supposed to convey how much I liked our campsite: level, without rocks, firepit, nice picnic table, Brian and crew had already strung up a huge tarp to keep off the rain, and there was a bathroom right across the road. My kind of camping. 🙂

The best part of our site was that there was a river running behind it, with small rapids. The noise was beautiful. I actually woke up earlier than most of the group (stunning for those that know my sleeping habits, and for anyone who knows how comfortable that sleeping bag was), and took my chair, tea and knitting over to read by the river. The sun was out and it was beautiful:

Apparently the color of the water is due to glacial runoff. It looked otherworldly to me (in a “wow, nature’s amazing” way, not a “toxic sludge!” way), much like the lakes that we saw in the last camping trip I was on, three years ago in the Olympic mountains with a lot of the same group. (Aside: that’s where I met Kevin! 🙂 ) There used to be a crayola crayon the color of the water here and I thought they just made it up (I always sorted it with the florescents instead of with the blues) until I got to the pacific northwest.

The crowd we were with was exceedingly well-equipped, which was awesome. I’m a fan of convenience-camping. Here’s the makings of breakfast:

Hopefully there will be more trips this summer!

Tank Update

A few tank pictures, just in case you thought I’d lost interest… 😛
The xenia has completely split. The original “tree” is on the left, and the new branch creeped over a few inches away and then somehow severed the foot joining it with its parent. It’s extremely cool to have seen the process, which took about two months. They now act as completely independant creatures, and I’ve seen several times when one curled up it’s hands in irritation and the other stayed completely outstretched and pulsing. We’ll have to figure out if we want to start breeding them for resale.

I tried to take pictures of the fish, but they wouldn’t stay put. There’s a great shot of the gramma behind the mushrooms, but other than that it’s just the clowns bouncing off the walls.

And I finally got a great picture of the sunflower zoos and the yellow polyps:

You can see that there are some very tiny new faces, the zoos reproduce by budding, and so ours is growing! The yellow polyps (at the bottom right) have been getting bigger since we started feeding them the same chunks of meat that the fish get, so hopefully, they’ll start spreading soon, too.

Third time’s the charm

In yet another illustration of why I wasn’t a math major in college, I’ve redesigned my Branching Out redesign for the second time in three weeks. Here it was before I ripped:

This scarf has been giving me problems. My original problems were just memory- and skill-related: I kept forgetting yarn-overs, and I didn’t realize that “sl 2, k1, psso” meant that the first two stiches should be slipped together (so the middle one is “on top”) instead of sl1, sl1. My middle line was very knobby, and it wasn’t until I was four inches in that I discovered the error. (See left, below.) I tried to take command of my knitting and rip back selectively with a crochet hook a la Elizabeth Zimmerman, but gave up after three rows – yarn overs are too complicated, I couldn’t keep track. Cowed, I left the jig in and decided to think it was quaint, but then I realized that my third set of leaves wasn’t quite looking right. I didn’t have yarn-overs all the way around the leaf, the bottom had two points instead of one, and it was higher than the diagonal formed by the others so I lost my pretty diagonal line. (See below right, from the yellow diagonal and down.) I’d been so busy trying to follow my pattern that I hadn’t stopped to consider whether it was correct. So, on the trip home to Sharon’s graduation, I packed graph paper for my carry-on and worked away at a fix. I arrived at something different, but after a few rows clearly still not right. (see above the yellow diagonal.)

Sooo, down I sat again, and I’m delighted to say that my brain is apparently finally catching on to lace! I started over completely this time, and it’s looking quite pretty. I wish that I could say I had an ETA, since I’m not ripping back every row anymore (and consequently have gotten faster), but with only two inches done, no guarantee. 🙂 Hurray for progress and sticktoitiveness, nonetheless!

All together now: “ooooh.”

Life is pretty exciting when you get a bucket organization system:

The left container is for fresh water, the right is for salt water, and we’ve finally found a place to put all of our airline tubing and nets and little boxes of spare parts. The only downside is that instead of lifting the buckets straight up and down (which somehow still resulted in near-constant spills whenever I was involved), now we have the extra step of sliding them out off their shelf first. It doesn’t bode well.

Despite this, I’m psyched. A great find by Kevin, and we even got Larry’s approval when he was over the other night. Perhaps now he’ll stop telling everyone about the marvels of our downstairs bathroom. 😛

On again, …

I planned to wait to post these until I made enough progress for them to look like something, but somehow this has been one of those months where the projects get started but never really wrap up. So, in the name of procrastination and a large enough apartment to get away with it, here’s the new circulation system for the tank (thanks to silicone & pvc master, Kevin):

(and somehow, those looong pvc pipes fit in the mustang. allegedly with the windows closed. wow.)

and here’s the design for the quilt-to-be:

The mountains were giving me problems (I want them to look like the view of the Olympics from my street), until I decided to turn their grid 45 degrees. It won’t be a traditional log cabin anymore, but I’ve decided I’m completely fine with that. Upon further consideration, I decided that this actually has multiple upsides. Not only are they now recognizable, but I think they really have the potential to “pop” now. I haven’t been able to figure out how to make them command the attention they should (for example, it’s dangerous to drive when the real ones are out, they’re so exceptionally mesmerizing.) The grid shift won’t completely solve this, but will certainly help draw the eye. Perhaps a good stitching pattern for quilting would solve the rest?

Home again

While I was back to the east coast, I got to spend a few days in New Hampshire at my parent’s house on Winnepesaukee. The house is a lot more full now, since most of the things that didn’t make it to Florida with my parents ended up there instead. I felt like I’d done a decent job paring down my room in Weston and moving stuff out to Washington last summer, but my room had 12 boxes of stuff when I arrived. Luckily most of it was standard packing excess (a hair elastic and single earring on my dresser warranted 2 sheets of packing paper), and I spent a day unpacking, enjoying, and throwing out the contents of the boxes. Going through my room has always approached archaelogical dig status — I’ve definitely inherited my share of pack rat. Once I was in the mode of not keeping things because I recognized them, I was left with this in my NH Closet:

The rug and painting on the right are my parents’, and other than that we have two boxes of books, one plastic tub of art projects, one white basket of the surviving stuffed animals, two envelopes full of all of the clippings and cartoons and pictures that I had stick-takked to my walls in high school, two boxes of dollhouse furniture, computer games (challenge of the ancient empire, operation neptune, sim city, oregon trail, etc, all on floppies), and a few bits of extra clothes that I always keep up there. (Not pictured is the large dollhouse my grandfather made me and my sister when we were little — that’s in a corner of the room.) This seems like a manageable amount of things — it’s nice to leave it all in a guilt-free state.

Congratulations to Shar!

My sister graduated from Brown this weekend, so I took a week to head back to Boston, Providence and New Hampshire. Somehow, my camera wasn’t the one in use, so I have no good graduation or family pictures. The best I can offer is Sharon (on the right) lining up with all of her class:

And after the department ceremony, talking to Dave (our brother) and finally getting sandwiches and something to eat at the biology reception:

She and her friends all had bright sunny flowers, so they were very easy to pick out in the crowd. Hopefully you can get a sense of what a cool, smart, funny, stylish person she is, even though the photos leave a bit to be desired. 🙂