Monday, January 30, 2006

Socks in Progress

Here are the socks that are ready for toes.  I don't know why, but this time it was more difficult to make sure the feet were the same number of rows.  Finally! After counting about 3 different ways, they are ready for toes.  Here they are:

Socks out of Sock It To Me yarn

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cat Bordhi's books & Birthday Yarn

I recently added two more books to my library...

First Treasury Second TreasuryCat Bordhi's A Treasury of Magical Knitting and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting.

She has a way of casting on for a mobeus ring that is unusual, so I'm looking forward to trying it.  Both of these books are full of ideas for things to do with a mobeus strip... lots of scarves, hats, cat beds, baskets, bags, etc.

Bordhi's Jeweled Merino Cap Kathmandu Aran Originally I bought the second book because I thought I wasn't interested in the pattern ideas in the first.  (The first has many, many more scarves in it than I need.)  Then I decided I wanted to knit a chemo hat for a charity donation and remembered a nifty hat pattern in the first book.  Shoot!  I had to have the first book too - happy me.  I chose a nice merino/silk/cashmere blend from Kathmandu in a lavender heather (color 130).  So, I have my next project all picked out.  I'll start just as soon as I'm done with the socks, which are up to the toes now.

Birthday Yarn

Amazing Ball of Yarn Recently we went to some friends house to see if I could get rid of the virus infestation on their computer.  I had no luck (need better tools and knowledge).  To reward me for my failure, we had a great lunch and I received some birthday yarn.  The yarn ball is huge, and it comes with a "learn to knit" DVD.  I hope the DVD has some information about how to knit up this thin-ish yarn.

You can click on the small images to see larger ones.

There are 320 yards of fancy yarn in this giant ball!  I think this is the kind of yarn that knits up nicely when carried along with another strand of something.  I'll keep my 320 yards in a safe place until I can think of some scarf gifts to make.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

Click to see NY Times ReviewFinally, one of the best films of the year is in Chico.  We saw Brokeback Mountain (A+) today.  It's a love story.  There is a little sex, but mostly it's about two cowboys falling in love in 1963.  The story follows them for the next 20 years.  The setting is supposed to be the mountains in Wyoming; however, it was shot in the Canadian Rockies.  The scenery is beautiful.

The two men are beautiful too, and they both play their parts well.  I just saw Heath Ledger in Casanova a couple of weeks ago.  This is an entirely different character.  When an actor can do that, he's good.  I also saw Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead recently and he, too, is a different character in this movie.  More good acting.  Ang Lee directed this movie perfectly.

The sad, sad part of the story is that these men had to keep their love in the closet or literally be killed.  Both of them married and tried to live a "normal" life, but the attempts failed because they were not being real.

The Larry McMurtry/Diana Ossana screenplay is based on Annie Proulx's story.  Proulx's story was originally published in the New Yorker, but it is also in Wyoming Stories.  I read the story before seeing the movie and the screenplay did it justice.  Both were good.

I don't know how two manly cowboys would react if they were surprised by their love for each other, but I imagine this story could be spot on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lunch in Graeagle

Deer Creek on Hwy 32 Last week it was the ocean.  This week it was the mountains.  Our plan to get out of town at least once a week is back in full swing.  Of course, it's easier to take a little day trip when the weather is nice.  Yesterday was beautiful.

Chico is nicely situated in the center of the state, so one can go west to the Pacific Ocean or east the Cascade Mountains.  Traveling east on Hwy 32, it didn't take long before we began to see accumulations of snow along the road.  I'm a true California driver - terrified of snow and ice.  Our response is either to drive too fast, or drive too slowly and irritate the drivers going too fast.  I chose the too slow approach so we could see the scenery and not slip on whatever ice was on the cold spots.  Fortunately, there was no ice on the road and we got to see lots and lots of Mother Nature's handiwork.  (Yes, I was good and pulled over to allow the too fast drivers and the locals to pass.)

Graeagle MillworksIt took us 2.5 hours to get to lunch in Graeagle, but it was worth it, as usual.  Every time we go there I pester Cathy, the owner, to publish a book of her soup recipes.  I think when Hell freezes her book will be published.

I've been trying to avoid refined carbs.  Both of yesterday's soups were good and contained no refined carbs:  White Beans with Ham, and Zucchini and Cheese.  Yum!

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Movie PosterWe saw Munich (A+) today.  The NY Times said, "An unsparingly brutal look
at two peoples all but drowning in a sea of their own blood....
"  Yes, that's it.  I hated this film, even though the acting and the film making were excellent. 

I would have walked out, but there were people sitting on either side of me and I would have had to disturb them in order to leave.  I had my eyes closed during about 40% of this film, because it's about terror and killing and blood.  It's about the vengeance had by Israel after the Israeli athletes were killed in Munich in 1972. 

It's about how bloody vengeance begets more violence.  I think it is an anti-terror film.  Never mind who has been wronged and who did the crime, violence doesn't solve the problem.

It's my choice next, and Brokeback Mountain is in town :-)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bodega Bay

Bodega PointFour of us went to Bodega Bay, CA, yesterday.  It was a perfect day for it, and when one is retired one can decide what to do the next day based on what the weather will be.  Life is good.

The picture to the left shows the view looking N. from Bodega Point.  We didn't see any whales; however, there was a couple having lunch there on the cliffs, and they said they come every day and they had seen one earlier.  I did see a seal playing in the surf.  At least I assume he was playing.  More likely he was looking for lunch.

After driving through Bodega Bay and stopping at Bodega Point, we drove up the coast and turned inland at Jenner.  By this time we were all pretty hungry, so we stopped for eating and shopping in Duncan Mills.  The restaurant, Cape Fear, is good.  We've been there before and will go again, given a chance.

Living in Chico, I miss the N. California Pacific ocean where I grew up and lived most of my life.  It was good to soak up some coastal air, sounds, and smells.

These pictures show all of us posing with our eyes looking directly into the sun.  I'm the one in the sun hat.

J & D

P & D

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Movie PosterSeveral reviewers think The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (A) is just for kids.  The NY Times says, "... we grown-ups, being heavy, are not so easily swept away by visual tricks...."  Well, excuse me!  I guess I'm heading early on into my second childhood, because I thought this was a good movie.

There is much made of C.S. Lewis's writing as it relates to religion.  Let some university class spend time on the symbolism.  I was enjoying the story of god against evil, though I did dread the final battle scene that always comes in a movie about good vs. evil.  Fortunately there was no blood in the battle, though there was plenty of violence.

If you don't know the story, go find the book.  My favorite part was that of Aslan, voiced by Liam Neeson.  What a lovely voice he has.  Tilda Swinton was very good as the White Witch.  And Jim Broadbent, as the Professor, is wonderful.  I'll just bet Mr. Broadbent is a very nice man.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bidwell Park

It's winter in Chico, and Bidwell Park is gray on top and green on the floor. 

Chico Creek Bidwell Park It's nice that each day the park is a different place.  These pictures were taken on January 8th, after a rain that washed over the banks of Chico Creek.  This is how Chico looks all winter long...
gray.  Mostly it is overcast and rainy all winter, but for a change
sometimes it's foggy.

Occasionally there is a bright day with blue sky
and sunshine, like yesterday which was a glorious day.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Robot Joke

A  man  enters  a  bar  and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender.  The  robot  serves  him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The   man   replies  "150"  and  the  robot  proceeds  to  make conversation about global  warming  factors,  quantum  physics  and  spirituality, biomimicry, environmental      interconnectedness,      string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities.

The  customer  is  very  impressed  and thinks, "This is really cool."  He decides to  test  the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for  another  drink.  Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man responds, "about a 100."  Immediately  the  robot  starts  talking,  but this time, about football, NASCAR, baseball,  supermodels,  favorite fast foods, guns, and women's breasts.

Really  impressed,  the  man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more  test.  He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies, "Er, 50, I think."  And the robot says... real slowly, "So.............. ya gonna vote for Bush again?"

(I don't know who wrote this one.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Casanova & King Kong

Since we can't see Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, we went to see him in...

Movie PosterCasanova (A).  It was good, lighthearted fun.

It is set in Venice in the 1700s, when the Catholic church was busy stamping out fornicators and heretics.  Casanova is a notorious lover of women who swoon at the very sight of him.  He keeps slipping out of the hands of the Bishop, but finally the reigning monarch tells Casanova he must marry a respectable woman in order to avoid being hung.  The confusion, assumed identities, and happy ending that follow are a treat.  The NY Times said it was "... a lively, sly and altogether charming farce."

The cast does a great job.  Oliver Platt with buck teeth is believable.  Lena Olin is gorgeous.  Jeremy Irons is wonderful.  Sienna Miller is perfect.  And, of course, Heath Ledger is gorgeous and wonderful.

Movie PosterJan went to see King Kong yesterday.  She said the special effects were wonderful.  All the monsters and giant insects were good.  She left at the point that King Kong was captured and ready to go to New York.  She said it was a good movie.

I didn't go because I have come to a point in my life when watching animals being mistreated is not fun, even if they are just images generated with special effects.



Monday, January 9, 2006

The Squid and the Whale

Still waiting for "Capote" and "Brokeback Mountain"....

Movie Poster We went to see "The Squid and the Whale" (A+) at our local art theater, The Pageant Theater.

It's the story of a family in the process of falling apart.  The mother and father are both PhD's in Literature.  The oldest son is trying to emulate the father.  The youngest son is just trying to find his place.  The father is a passive-aggressive jerk who lies to most people about what's happening in his life.  The mother decides to put some distance between her and dad, so they separate.  The boys both act out in weird ways.  It was hard for me to watch.

The acting is quite good from everybody.  See the NY Times for details.

Friday, January 6, 2006

The Family Stone

Capote and Brokeback Mountain still haven't come to Chico :-(   So...

We went to see The Family Stone (B-) today.  It's harmless, and sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it's sad.  It's not memorable, and the characters aren't all that likable.

The previews that we saw in theaters gave away most of the good parts of the movie.

Waiting for something better....

Monday, January 2, 2006

Catching Up

Thought I'd catch you up on my knitting.  I finished the Spiral hat I wanted to make.  Persimmon likes it much better than I do.  I started it in a different yarn last November.  That yarn was wrong and ended up being  a scarf and headband instead.  I tried again in this yarn - Volare (51% Merino wool, 49% Acrylic).  I don't like the hat.  Knit buddies Laurie and Suzanne pointed out that the variegation hides the swirling stitches that travel around the hat.  Right they are.

I received Charlene Schurch's new sock book for Christmas and I'm enjoying the useful sizing tables.  I started a pair in "Sock It To Me", Italian yarn I got at  The yarn is easy to work with, but I'm not in love with the pattern it is creating.

By the way, this simple sock is not from Schurch's book, but I did get the sizing info there.

I'm up to the heel flaps and at this point I'm going to try a trick I received from Ted, a wonderful knitter.  Last May the email group was talking about how to get rid of holes at top of the gusset.  Most people, including me, will pick up a couple of extra stitches on the first row after the gusset completion in order to fill in the hole that naturally develops.  Ted offered the following excellent advice, which he invented and for which he should get all the credit.

"Or, you can work 2 wraps on the first 2 rows of the flap.... With
right side facing, work across the flap on its very first row. When you
get to the end of the flap stitches, work a wrap around the first
stitch of the instep sts. Turn and work the wrong side row to the other
side of the flap, and work the wrap with the instep stitch. Finish the
flap; turn the heel. Knit up sts along the side of the flap, work the
wrap together with the first stitch of the instep group, work across
the insteps sts, worth the wrap together with the last instep st, knit
up the sts on the side of the flap. Clean, neat, tidy, no holes.

Thanks, Ted!

Here is a picture of the new book which is resting upon my favorite winter knitting tool, the Visual Mate.  Without it I would not be able to see small stitches in dark yarn during these dark winter months.