Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Sentinel

Image We went to see The Sentinel (Satisfactory) today.  Based on the movie trailer I thought I knew who the bad guy was.  If I had bet with Jan I would have lost my nickel.  After a few minutes into the film, Jan knew who the bad guy was, and she spoke up a few times during the show to point out some inconsistencies.

It's not a great movie, but it was okay.  Michael Douglas, our hero, still looks good.  Eva Longoria, from TV's Desperate Housewives, has a small part and acts well enough so that she isn't the same character in the film as she is on TV.  Keifer Sutherland doesn't do so well.  He plays the same character in the film as he does on TV's 24.  Kim Basinger plays the first lady in an unconvincing way.  I think she was miscast.

The NY Times says, "Why would a star of Michael Douglas's stature and intelligence attach
himself to a Washington thriller as deeply ridiculous, suspense-free
and potentially career-damaging as "The Sentinel?
"  That's maybe a little harsh, but not too far off the mark.  You can click on the movie poster to read the NY Times review.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Peonies are blooming

Peony BushPeony The peonies, which came to live in the front court yard last spring, are in bloom.  The picture on the left shows the happy bush, but you can't see the blooms because the white flowers are so bright.  The picture on the right shows one of the blooms close up (you can click for a larger image of the close up).

Since the peony bush is my favorite flower in the garden, it should have a name.  No wait... maybe the wisteria is my favorite flower... or maybe the roses.  Well, I can't name them all, so the peony will go unnamed.  But, dear Peony, today you are the favorite one.

Next day, Thursday...

Speaking of wisteria, I went to the hardware store and bought one of those long pruning things on a pole, so I can trim the wisteria growing up the side of the house and around the network phone line.  There was a warning on the pruning thing's package about being careful not to electrocute yourself on wires.  Smugly, I thought only a fool would cut through wires.  Can you see "fool" written across my forehead?  I cut the telephone wire.  I called the repair company.  They are coming to splice the wire back together on Friday.  The satellite dish works just fine, but it needs the phone line for communicating with the network company.

Note about the weather:  It's 9:30 at night.  It's 78F outside and 80F inside.  We skipped by Spring quickly and went strait on to Summer.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fudge and Quilting

Table Yesterday we had friends over for fudge making and quilt making.  I have started a tradition of bringing something home baked into the library every Saturday.  This week it will be Pat's Mama's Fudge Cake.  We had some for desert yesterday and it's yummy and gooey. 

Donna tried to teach me how to do a little quilting.  P&D gave me a small wall hanging kit for my birthday this year and I hadn't done a thing with it.  Donna's mission was to help me learn enough to put it together.  We traced the design onto some iron-on sticky paper, cut out the little flowers and stems, peeled the sticky paper off, and then stuck the flower stems onto the background cloth.  So far, so good.  Then came the sewing.  With Donna's expert help I attempted to zigzag stitch around the curves and points of the plant.  I'm terrible at it!  Donna says she'll come back again to help some more.  In the meantime, I'm going to try and find a clear foot for my sewing machine so I can see enough to zigzag in the proper place instead of blindly sew where there is not little plant stem or pointy place.  So far I haven't decided to give up knitting, but I will finish this thing.

The yard is finally showing its Spring, so yesterday I hooked up the fountain, blew the fallen wisteria petals off the patio, and refilled the bird feeder.  Here are some pictures taken yesterday.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lucky Number Sleven

Click for NY Times Review Lucky Number Sleven (Satisfactory), was today's escape from bad weather.  It's rated R and it is a very violent movie.  Thank goodness it doesn't take itself seriously or I would have had to leave shortly after the movie started!

Both Roger Ebert and the NY Times gave it a bad review because they didn't like knowing from the beginning that the plot was a con.  They are right; you do know right from the start that the whole story won't be told until the end, and what you see along the way cannot be believed.

The only thing that makes this movie worth watching, even a little bit, is the acting.  Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Ben Kingsly (with a Bronx accent), Josh Hartnett, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis... all fun to watch.

Don't make a special trip to the theater for it, but if you want to get out of the house on a rainy day, it beats shopping at the mall.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Knitting for big me

Image I'm working on the back of my Gentle Breeze Tee, almost done with one of the balls of yarn.  I'm 5 inches up from the bottom.   So I figure it's going to take about 1000 yards of yarn just for the back of this effing sweater.

If I weighed 100 pounds less, then I could buy about four balls less and save myself about $56(US).  And, I could save myself having to knit a whole bunch of stitches!  It seems like I knit and I knit and I knit and I knit, but I'm just creeping along in stockinette.

And then there is the fear that I have miscalculated the number of stitches to cast on and it won't fit around me... or I'll get to the armholes and screw up the shaping, because I have had to modify the pattern significantly in order to make it a bigger size than the pattern allows for.

And then there is the little voice that talks in my head and says, "You are going to go on a diet and then this sweater that you are working so hard on won't fit any more."  Or the voice says, "By knitting this sweater to fit you now, you are just giving up on being a smaller size.  You should wait and knit it when you are smaller."  Shut UP little voice!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Oh, what a beautiful day!

Upper Bidwell Park We took a walk in Upper Bidwell Park this morning.  This must be the most beautiful day so far this year!  I took a few pictures.

We saw lots and lots of wildflowers... redbud bushes, fiddleneck, blue dicks, fields of yellow tidy tips(?), a monkey flower, new lupine, and more.  The birds were out and happy... flickers, wood peckers, a few big white ducks(?), lots of little birds.  We saw migrating butterflies.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

This year's summer top

I finally decided on my summer top for this year.  It's a short sleeved, scoop neck top made from Bamboo yarn from South West Trading Company.  I chose a color called "Sahara", which is a nice, muted mixture of beige, pink, green, and blue.  Here is my swatch:

Bamboo swatch This is what it looks like before washing.  The gauge is: 8.5 rows per inch & 6.5 sts per inch on 4mm (US 6) needles.   I knit continental style on slippery metal needles, so I knit this swatch tightly.  It drapes well, stretches widthwise but not so much lengthwise when I pull on it.  The yarn info says I should be getting 5 sts per inch.  Hmm.  Should I maybe go up a needle size?  I'm not a big fan of swatching, but this one feels good.  I'll have to adjust the pattern because I'm getting more stitches per inch than the pattern calls for... at least before the swatch has been washed.

Summer Top Here is the photo of the "Gentle Breeze Tee" from Fiber Trends.  As usual, you can click on the pictures for  a larger image.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Knitting for P & D

We traveled to  Pat and Donna's house for lunch and a good visit.  I worked on finishing Donna's fingerless mittens while Jan drove.  About an hour or so after arrival they were finished!  So, it was early Christmas.  Donna got some mittens and Pat got some socks :-)  In the pictures below you can see Donna, looking lovely, but Pat is showing her feet only.  (Click for larger images.)

Donna Mittens Socks

P&D's house is on the market, but the housing market stinks right now.  If the rain ever stops then more people will come out to look, but right now there are over 60 houses for sale in their large, gated community.  Phooey!

Note:  The sock pattern is based on Nancy Bush's basic sock in "Folk Socks", and the mitten is from Kim Salazar's Fingerless Whatevers.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Wisteria On The Corner, April 6th

wisteria The wisteria isn't progressing as fast as I had hoped.  Last year (by March 20th), the wisteria was already beautiful.  We are way behind in all blooming things!

This picture was taken from inside the house... won't go outside because it's been raining for weeks, and the forecast says rain for about two more weeks.  We are not happy campers.

Monday, April 3, 2006

National Library Week

Change Your WorldThis week is National Library Week.  At our public library in Chico today is "Hat Day".  One wonders what wearing a hat has to do with promoting libraries, but I don't wonder out loud... don't want to upset the person who spends a lot of time promoting this week in our library.  I'm working today, so I'll wear a hat, and I have a T shirt that says "Libraries Check Them Out" so I'll wear that too.

Lately I've been wondering about the book reviews in the NY Times.  Words like "rollicking", "rambunctious", and "sprawling" are commonly used.  What do these words mean?  The Free Dictionary says:

rollicking:  Carefree and high-spirited; boisterous (e.g., a rollicking celebration).

rambunctious: Boisterous and disorderly.

sprawling: Spread out in a straggling or disordered fashion, untidy.

So, "rollicking" is probably a compliment, but we can't be sure whether the reviewer likes books that are "rambunctious" or "sprawling".  Reader beware.

Happy National Library Week!

Why do cats purr?

This Scientific American article says maybe cats purr not because they are happy, but as a way to communicate or do some self healing.

My cats purr when they think they are going to be fed, which isn't often enough for them.  Here are some old pictures of our cats on

I finished Pattern 5 of the Lace Sampler last night.  I'll scan it and find something in the book that talks about it, then share.