Previous month:
March 2007
Next month:
May 2007

April 2007

Color Arrives




The pansies and violas were planted for the monk's visit, but the coleus and begonias were planted today. I haven't planted anything on the balcony for a couple of years, so this is a sign of ... something good, but I don't know what. Maybe the new job is affecting me more than I thought, or rather, perhaps the old one did. A few herbs were planted in the sunny corner, and 4 kinds of mint to keep Hotei happy. One of them even smells like chocolate.


He's also got pineapple sage and lemon balm to sniff, for when I forget to burn incense for him. I think as long as I rub his head, he's pretty happy, but the aromatic garden around him doesn't hurt.

And this arrived today as well:


It's the seasilk that Kay sent as a reward for suggesting the shawl pattern she should use for a friend. It's gorgeous! I still haven't used the seasilk I bought at Stitches last year, so this is kind of a nice way to dive in - since it was free and all. Now I'm searching for a nice 400m shawl pattern. Maybe Swallowtail. I need to get going on nups at some point, since a lot of shawls have them. I'm kind of tempted to do tiny bobbles instead, since I got so good at those. Dunno yet.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday, and that colors are blooming where you are!

Festival Season

I've never been to a fiber festival. Most seem to be in the Northeast, and are too far for a weekend trip from St. Louis. But through Knitter's Review I saw a link for one a lot more local:

Heart of America Sheep Show and Fiber Festival

Anyone been to this? Since it seems to only be for naturally colored wool, I'm guessing that companies like Blue Moon and Brooks Farm don't go. I don't recognize any of the names on the rather short vendor list. I don't think I'm going to duplicate the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival experience at this one. But if someone has gone, please comment and tell me how it was.

They do have a bobbin-lace making class, which I would quickly pay the $65 for, but it's from 9-4, which means that this trip would have to be an overnighter if I wanted to see anything else. That kind of defeats the purpose of finding one close to home.

If I have to stay overnight, the Great Lakes Fiber Show looks pretty enticing. Lots and lots of vendors, interesting classes. But it's quite a drive - all the way across Illinois, Indiana and most of Ohio. That would probably require at least 2 hotel nights.

If I can hold off until September, there's the World Sheep and Fiber Arts Festival in nearby Bethel, MO. But it's Labor Day Weekend. Me, give up the Japanese Festival? I don't know if I could do that. The next 12 months might feel a little off. If I don't have my Japanese fix... I don't know what might happen. But maybe for just one day....

Anyone have festival experiences they'd like to share? Or any other festival virgins like me looking for a "starter festival"?


I was interviewed by Mai, who was interviewed by Kara, who was interviewed by....

1. you recently mentioned on your blog that you want to eat healthier, go on walks more often, and cut out soda for health reasons. do you cook and what do you think will be the hardest thing to change?

I cooked for a living in my previous career. I’ve done everything from working under a CIA trained chef and having a fancy French title that I didn’t know how to pronounce to slapping together sandwiches for drunks at 1 am for a sandwich chain. I grew up on Julia Child and Justin Wilson and whoever else had a cooking show on PBS in the ‘70s. So, I do know how cook. But I grew up in a house where the same 10 weeknight dinners were rotated for decades, and food was just boring. (Baked chicken, mac and cheese, baked chicken, brisket and barley, baked chicken, hot dogs, and more baked chicken.) Meals were a necessity to be eaten quickly in front of the television without thought. On weekends my Dad cooked, and bread was baked, pasta was made by hand and elaborate desserts involving lady fingers were constructed in tiers. And it looked like a lot of work and made a big mess, delicious as it was. Once Daddy perfected a recipe, he lost interest in it and never made it again. Now I live in a small apartment with a tiny galley kitchen and without a dishwasher. Garlic and onion and oil smells linger in the apartment for a day, which I don’t like. I don’t have central air, and the air in the kitchen doesn’t circulate from the rooms with the window units, so it’s too hot to cook during the summer. And I cook for one, so unless I want to eat the same thing at least 4 times, cookbooks and recipes aren’t much help. So I eat convenience and fast foods. The exception is when I cook Japanese food. (And you’ll see more of that soon….) Or when I get a special request. The monk asked for cream puffs for his birthday a few years ago and I spent 10 hours with choux paste and pastry bags and custard cream and Italian meringue. And I had a blast. I like trying new things and cooking for other people. There’s so rarely anyone to cook for, though.

The hardest thing to change? I really don’t see it changing as long as I live where I do, and it’s too cheap there to move. If I ever get married, though, I’m turning into Donna Reed.

2. what is your favorite finished knit?

I had to look in the album to see what I’ve finished! It would have to be Kiri, though I’ve only worn it once. The rest is mostly scarves or gifts. It’s definitely not Bobble Hell!

3. if salary were not an issue, what would be your dream job?

To provide people with clean drinking water. I’d dig the wells myself. Unfortunately, those kinds of jobs don’t have a 401K.

4. if you won the lottery (enough that you do not HAVE to work), would you ever work again? what kind of car would you drive? where would you purchase a home to settle down (no vacation homes! they don't count!)?

I don’t know if I’d keep working. Probably not. I might go back to school to study linguistics. Just for fun.

I would purchase 3 homes. One would be here in St. Louis. I’d also get a flat in London. Then I’d build a house about an hour outside Tokyo. This is theoretical, of course, because I’d only live where my cats could, and I don’t think they’d like to be in quarantine all the time as I moved around. I would live in all three of these homes, about a month at a time, depending on what was going on where. These would be my bases and I’d explore the world.

5. one of my biggest flaws is that i am often low on patience and often find it difficult to sympathize with other people (if i had a nickel for every time i've been described as a "cold-hearted bitch"...). however, one thing for which i'm very grateful is that my parents raised me to be a very confident person (no self-esteem problems here! i think i'm awesome!). what do you consider to be your biggest flaw? and what do you consider to be your best trait?

My biggest flaw? Well, whatever it is that keeps men from wanting to take me away from all this spinsterhood, I guess, but darned if I know what that is. I’d fix it if I could. Second to that, it used to be that I had a vicious temper, but my time with the monk and all the knitting seem to have diminished that. And I’m desperately shy, though no one believes me. My best trait? That would be empathy. I’ve always been able to put myself in others’ shoes and see things from their side. That sounds kind of conceited, though, doesn’t it? It also makes me very sentimental, so much so that I’m teary much of the time. And that’s not a good trait. So instead I’ll say that I try to explore new experiences whenever I can, and not pass any open doors. That’s how I ended up knitting and studying with a Buddhist monk and learning Japanese and meeting nice people like all of you.

okay, now if you want to play, leave me a comment saying, "interview me." i will ask you five questions by email if it is available to me, or via the comments on this blog post otherwise, so be sure to check back here if you want to be interviewed. i get to pick the questions (i will try my best to come up with five interesting questions, but i make no promises!), you will update your blog with the answers to the questions, and include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. when others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I Could Drop Dead at Any Moment

Remember how I went to the doctor a little over a week ago? Well, since I hadn't been to one in a really long time, he did some basic tests. I am chunky, after all, so a cholesterol and blood sugar were in order. And he has a thing for Vitamin D, so he tested that too. Other stuff too, but not relevant to this.

So, I got the results back this weekend. Turns out I'm a time bomb. No, really. Well, not really, but that's how I feel. I asked my Dad who is on Lipitor how high his cholesterol was when his doctor put him on it. It was lower than mine is. By like 15 points. It's a miracle my blood still flows at all. And the blood sugar? Not bad enough for me to have to start shooting myself up, but bad enough to be pre-track-marks girl.


I mean, I know I live on junk. Green items in my fridge tend to turn to unidentifiable mush before they could turn into dinner. I hit the drive-thru A LOT, but usually in the interest of time savings (eat while driving, not have to clean kitchen) than because I actually like the stuff. I am not a grease junkie, I am a convenience junkie. There is a difference! And then you get your lab results back.


And I know that I have more strength and endurance than people a lot younger than me. I may get sore and tired, but I don't let it stop me from doing anything I want to do. I'd rather move than sit any day - that is, until this knitting thing came along. But I wouldn't call my activity "regular exercise" by any means.

So, some menu and activity revamps are in order. (Really? Ya think????) Breakfast will no longer be skipped, and will consist of oatmeal. Walks will be taken every other day. No more drive-thru food. (That one isn't so hard with the broken window.) Therefore, I will be making and packing my lunches. This part will be fun. Really. You'll find out.... And no more soda, diet or otherwise, free or otherwise. 3 cups of green tea a day.

That sounds pretty doable, right? I mean, I can honestly say I don't care how long I live, as long as it's a good life. But sticking myself with needles, or having to shop in one of those little motorized chairs? No thanks.

(Is doable a word?)

Anyway, there's one more:


That little Vitamin D test that I thought nothing of? Well, it's a miracle I don't have rickets. Normal is 20 - 100. Mine was a 7. I think only vampires have a level that low. So now I'm on prescription Vitamin D, which I'm nervous about, because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and can build up in your system to toxic levels if you take too much. (If you didn't know, A D E and K are fat soluble, B and C are water soluble. Water soluble vitamins don't hang out in your system and it's really hard to get too much. That's why you can take all the Vitamin C you want when you're sick and it won't hurt you.)

So, the point of all this personal information that you don't need is to tell you that if you think you're doing OK, you might not be. If you don't have a regular doctor and you have insurance, get one. Ask him to test your Vitamin D if he doesn't mention it. Many of us live in our homes and office buildings and only see sunlight in the parking lot. And if we're only eating junk... well ... it's fixable, but only when we know what has to be fixed.

This concludes my public service announcement. Carry on.



I've joined the Slog-Along put on by Mason Dixon Knitting. I've been thinking about this afghan a lot since preparing for the monk's arrival, and even more so since he gave me that gorgeous table. I am going to finish it, if only to prove that I can. In Stephanie's second book she talks about a 5'x8' afghan, and I laughed so much, not realizing then that years later I would have made so little progress. I really do want to work on it, so I'm going to try to do 1 row (1/2 an hour) every day. That means it will take a month to do each stripe. I should be finished in.... August 2008. I'm gonna go lie down now.

Summer '07 IK Preview

The new preview is up. I'm feeling pretty tepid over it. There isn't a single thing in there that I want to knit. But you know what? I'll probably buy it anyway just so I'm not missing an issue. Is this the first issue that Eunny edited, or will it be the next one? Curious.

Stitch n Pitch

Blatantly ripped off from Undercountedsassy's blog:

Monday, August 6 vs San Diego, 7:10 p.m. - Calling all knitters, needlepointers, crochetters, embroiderers and cross-stitchers! Join the Cardinals in celebrating the Needle Arts community at the Inaugural Stitch N’ Pitch Night. Tickets are just $22 each. Your purchase includes a Pavilion Box ticket and your own Cardinals Stitch N’ Pitch tote bag filled with supplies! You can also come early and learn a new needlearts technique at the Stitch N’ Pitch expo prior to the game in the Group Sales Corner.

I am not a baseball fan by any means, but I'd love to hang out with some knitters. Who wants to go?