Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anticipation (and octopoda)

We spent the last day of summer vacation wondering if was really the last day of summer vacation.  The school district and the teacher's union have been in labor negotiations--I don't know all the details, but they didn't come to an agreement before their contract expired.  There was supposed to be a meet-the-teacher-and-bring-in-school-supplies night on Wednesday evening, but it was canceled because they were having a meeting to vote on whether they were going to start the new school year without a contract, or go on strike.  So we didn't get to meet Kate's teacher, and we didn't know even whether she would be starting school on Thursday or not.  They were keeping parents informed via robo-calls and emails, but couldn't really give us anything definite beyond "We'll let you know as soon as we can."

At about 4:00 we finally got everybody out of the house and went to the zoo for a while.  There's a Giant Pacific Octopus that doesn't usually do much--most of the time it's just hiding squished under a rock, but this time it was out and moving around.  It's amazing to see how loose and fluid their skin is, and how thin.  It just ripples constantly as they move.  There was also a little octopus that I hadn't seen there before.  We were just fascinated watching it moving around in its tank, and we even got to see it change color a couple of times.  (Nothing as impressive as this video but pretty cool nonetheless.)  They are amazing animals.

Octopus is another one of those pesky plurals.  "Octopi" is apparently out of favor (since the word isn't actually Latin).  "Octopuses" is acceptable but kind of makes it sound like you have a stutter.  (Octopoda, which I used above, is the order.  Phylum Mollusca, class Cephalopoda.)  Maybe we will just avoid talking about more than one octopus at a time. 

In the evening, when I was supposed to be getting the kids' bath ready, I found a reporter tweeting on the strike vote and camped out on his feed, waiting to see what would happen.  We finally got the word just before 7:30--no strike!  School is on!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cream Pineapple Crochet Sweater

I got my sweater all blocked and dry in time to enter it in the fair!  I took it down to Puyallup today, along with Kate's little yellow sweater.  It's kind of fun to drive onto the fairgrounds while they're getting things set up.  And the ladies at the Home Arts section are always so nice. I took Andy along with me and he got to flirt with everybody.

The pattern is from Let's Knit #16 (one of the Japanese books that I got).  It works up quickly but I would definitely call it an advanced pattern.  It only shows half of each piece, so you have to extrapolate the turns on the other side.

I used DMC Senso (cotton/wool blend)  and a G hook with pretty loose tension.  I think it's just a teeny bit too big. But it'll work.

Update: I got a blue ribbon!  Woo hoo!

I get a lot of hits on this post from people looking for crochet sweaters... if you have any questions feel free to email me!  helenajole at netscape dot net

Thursday, August 25, 2011

All Summer in a Day

We are finally having our Pacific Northwest summer.  It's been very cool this year, but the past couple of weeks have been warm and sunny (just in time for the ripening blackberries!) Not uncomfortably hot like that record-breaking heat wave we had a couple of years ago (that was just miserable), but great swimming weather.  Most days start out a little overcast in the morning and then it clears up.  It's been very nice.

Kate got to go swimming  with her friend Molly's family.   They have some family-in-law with a pool, and  invited us to go over with them. It was the first time Kate had ever used a raft float like this and she thought it was just the coolest thing ever.

Kate isn't much of a swimmer yet but she rocks those arm floaties.

The other kids (not Kate) had fun on the slide, and I had fun taking action sequence shots.

We had a sky full of interesting clouds that day.  I had to take a picture of this one because it had dragon spikes.

After swimming we went over to Molly's house and hung out for a while.

Molly in a tree. 

Every back yard should have a swing!

Kate meets the cat.  (Molly says, "Let her sniff your hand.")


What a great day--swimming, swinging,  and running around barefoot in the back yard. I feel like we're packing in as much summer as we can before school starts!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

귀환 기념 날

I got home from my mission 18 years ago today.  (18 years on the 18th--it's like the golden birthday of my return!)

We've been trying to save money, since Doug doesn't get paid again till October, but I had some money in my PayPal account and I really wanted some naeng myun (or maybe some kimchi jjigae) so we went down to Chung Ki Wa in Lakewood.   In the end the naeng myun  won out.  As Doug pointed out, you can get kimchi jjigae any time, but naeng myun is pretty much only available in the summer.  I had some for coming-home-from-mission-day a couple of years ago (when I got a  much better picture) but I don't think I've had it since then. Did I really go two years without naeng myun?  It was so good.  Cold and tangy, and it even had a piece of bae (Asian pear) in it, which I'm pretty sure I didn't get last time.  Yum.

Everything was fabulous.  My tummy is happy.   I really enjoyed talking to the two ladies who served us (one was from Busan and one was from Mokpo). We should go there more often.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UFO (unfinished object)

I started this sweater a couple of years ago.  (At least I think it was a couple... the details are hazy.)  I got it almost finished, and then I hit a snag and left it to languish in the yarn bin next to my computer desk.  (Fortunately this has a lid on it, or it would have gotten very dusty in that amount of time.)  Poor neglected sweater.

One of my friends recently commented that the finishing-up details always seem to be the parts that are the least fun.  In this case I had one sleeve that turned out bigger than the other, so I needed to re-do one of them.  And there was one other problem--I'd stopped right in the middle of that picot edging, and when I picked it back up later, I couldn't remember exactly how I'd done it.  ("Let's see... like this?  No, that doesn't look the same.  Oh bother.  I'll figure it out later."  Much later.)

The Puyallup Fair is fast approaching.  I do have one little thing that I can enter, but I started thinking about this sweater and wondering if I could finish it up in time to submit.  Grandma Mary left on Monday, and that afternoon while Andy was napping I pulled out the sweater and took a good look at it.  I spent a while contemplating the mismatched sleeves and decided that, yes, I really did need to do one over.  So I got to work.

This pattern uses a medium-gauge yarn and works up pretty quickly.  We took the kids over to the Tot Lot (which has a fence around it!) and I sat in the shade and crocheted while Doug kept Andy from plummeting off the equipment.  I got the sleeve almost done, and then decided that my tension was too tight and ripped out almost the whole thing.

The next day was Movie Day.  While I sat on the couch and crocheted, we watched Monsters, Inc, then watched it again with the commentary, then Tangled, then The Incredibles with commentary.  (I'm still ticked that our Ratatouille didn't come with commentary... apparently there's one on the Blu-Ray.)  I got the sweater almost finished, but the kids didn't get out of the house all day and were pretty cranky by dinner time.  (I did manage to take Andy out for a while--Kate was too cranky.)  Nothing like suffering for Mom's art.

I finished up the last bit of edging the next morning, got all the loose ends worked in (that's one of those "least fun" bits) and then started blocking.  I spread the sweater out on a towel laid over my big masonite board, got everything smoothed and flattened and aligned just so, and then sprayed it all with water.  Now I just have to hope that it dries in time for fair entries next weekend.    My red sweater took more than a week to dry.  (Ha!  Yes--at the end of that post I said "I have another sweater that's about 80% finished."  See, it was two years ago.)  I tried to go a little lighter on the water this time, so maybe it won't take quite as long. 

My sister Barb just had some big wins at their county fair.  Go, Barb!

Incidentally, I hear there's a Monsters, Inc. 2  in the works.  I was saying it should be about Boo after she's grown up and gone through years of therapy, but apparently it's going to be a prequel. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forest Park (and a cool mosaic)

We went up to Everett to see Aunt Erika and Cousin Sabin, and we all went to Forest Park for a picnic lunch.  After eating we saw the animals (this section was called the Animal Farm so Doug had to make some "House of Pain" jokes) and then let the kids play on the playground.

Andy was happy--he found some letters!

Andy high-fives Daddy on the swing.

There was also this big planter with a mosaic all around the outside.  I thought it was very cool and had to get some pictures.  (I like all the little details like the birds and bugs, and there's even a lizard in there.  Or perhaps it's a newt.)

Erika took pictures too!  Cool park!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Point Defiance Flowers

The rose garden at Point Defiance has this gorgeous archway.  I dream of taking pictures here some day with perfect lighting and cooperative children.  I take what I can get.


Kate in the Dahlia garden. 

Are all kids this fascinated with grates?

Hooray--a nice picture with Grandma! (My camera battery ran out right after this.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Wright Park

Grandma Mary is here!  She was with Melody's family for a while, and then stopped to visit Brian in Portland, and now we have her for a few days.  She got here on Monday and we all went down to Wright Park.

Wright Park has changed a lot!  We hadn't been there in about three years, and then a couple of weeks ago Doug was supposed to do some fencing with his SCA group for the Ethnic Fest.  It ended up getting canceled (not the Ethnic Fest, just the fencing) but we didn't get the word in time, so we went to the park and enjoyed some of the festival (free bouncy houses!  The kids liked that).  There's a big playground that's all new, and a water (spray ground) area too. So this time we thought it would be nice to go back again and enjoy the park with fewer people around.  It was still pretty busy.  Wright Park is the place to be!

This wooden xylophone thing is tuned pentatonically. This means that I can play Arirang on it. (Though the lowest note is a bit flat.)

Swinging with Grandma.

He really does enjoy this.  He just looks worried.

The sun kept coming and going.  Makes for awkward photography.

Andy says, "Dad, you're cramping my style! I want to get down and throw rocks in the water!"

Andy was also quite put out that we wouldn't let him go play in the spray ground.  We kept having to pull him away from the water every time he made a break for it. That's what he likes--water and rocks.