Friday, July 28, 2006

Culture in Chico?

Dan Nguyen-Tan's very good blog about Chico, etc., talks about Chico's first ARTOBERFEST.

Sounds like fun, and it ought to be cool enough by then to enjoy an outing in Chico.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pirates and Superman

Image Image Today
we saw Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (Dead Man's Chest) (** Satisfactory). Last week we saw Superman Returns (** Satisfactory). I don't think either one was good enough for going to the big screen theater - unless you want to sit in some good air conditioning.

The acting in Superman was ho-hum. The story was ho-hum.

The acting in Pirates was pretty good, but Johnny Depp's Captain Sparrow was just a pinch over the top this time.

I say wait for the DVD.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Doing the best you can

I surf the web (a lot), and there are some really good knitters and designers out there.  I won't add any links because I'd leave the wrong person out.  On some sites the finished work is just beautiful.  On others (here comes the whining)...

The workmanship is bad (and these people are not beginners).
The fit is bad.
The color choices are bad.

Finishing is part of the work.  Do it right.  There are several good knitting reference books and web sites on finishing.  Look it up.

The fit being wrong comes from denial, I believe.  Do a gauge swatch and alter a pattern so it fits the intended recipient.  Don't just make a guess and hope for the best.

There are some hand knitted things that are well made (beautiful workmanship), fit perfectly, etc., but the color choices turn your stomach. has some articles on color.  Sally Mellville has an entire book devoted to color.  You can do better.

If you knit for meditation therapy, and don't care all that much about the results, try knitting afghans with just one natural fiber color.  It's really hard to screw those up.  You can give them to charity.

I think, for me, the goal of perfect finished objects has come with
time.  I certainly didn't care about it when I was beginning.

If you knit wearable objects, do the best work you can - be a perfectionist.  Going through learning processes is a good thing.  Don't settle for mediocre work.  You'll be so happy with the result!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Now it's hot

It's 5:45 says it's 84F / 29C outside (feels like 85F).  It's supposed to be around 104F / 40C this afternoon... and humid, about 20%.

It's hot, but not as hot as it's going to be this weekend.  The forecast is for 110F / 43C on Sunday.  I see a Sunday movie in our future, maybe Superman Returns.

Monday, July 17, 2006

On Vox: Composed for the 1st time

View Diane In Chico,CA�s Blog

I'm trying a new blog tool, VOX, which has the ability to link to my flickr photos. Whoopee! This post was created on VOX and cross posted to Typepad. How does it look on Typepad?

� Read more on Vox

Friday, July 14, 2006

New Kitchen Floor

The house I live in has bad kitchen floor karma.  It is in the process of having it's 4th kitchen floor since the house was built:  White linoleum, cheap wood like laminate, expensive stone like laminate, and finally expensive stone like Congoleum.  The first floor looked cheap.  The second floor looked better, but the workmanship and product were so bad that after a year I decided to replace it.  The third floor looked okay, but the refrigerator leaked and the wood core warped. 

Image Here are the pictures from yesterday and today (click on picture for larger image).  This is a Congoleum DuraCeramic floor.  It is laid like tile.  The tiles I chose look like slate.  Chuck, from Carpet One, is doing the work.  He's a 65-year-old chatty fellow, but a hard worker, and he does good work.

Image After the first day, this is what the kitchen looks like.  The old floor has been removed, and the smell from the trapped fridge leak dampness was truly awful.  Chuck said there was no mold, so he dried out the floor with fans and commenced to lay the new floor.  The stove and fridge (yes it has been repaired) are waiting at the far end of the room.

Image Image While Chuck worked in the kitchen, the kitties fretted.  Ruso hid and whined whenever anybody would listen.  Persy watched the work from a distance.

Image After the second day, the tile is all down, the stove and fridge are at home in their spots, and part of the grouting has been done.  Sammy and Persy are more concerned about their late dinner than they are about the new floor smells.

April 8, 2007, edited to move review out of comments and into the blog entry:

Yes, I'm happy with the floor.  It cleans easily, is quiet, and looks good (I think).

I went with the grout option instead of no grout. The installer
wasn't happy with all the work he had to do in order to make the grout
look good, but I am. He did one grout and then bubbles developed. He
had to come back in a couple of weeks and re-grout, but now it looks
good. (He could have come back sooner, but his schedule was busy.) Just
tell your installer to be careful with the grout.

Also be aware that the joins to the surrounding area might be a
problem. My installer had to go to the hardware store and buy some
plastic strips that match (well enough for me), because there are no
joining pieces available to buy. I don't know what joining pieces are.
Just make sure you ask about how you are going to transition from the
new floor to the old.

Once again, I like this floor and I'm happy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Knit Simple, fall 2006

I haven't written about knitting for a while... I am plugging away on my Gentle Breeze Tee.  I'm within two rows of finishing the back.  The front is done just past the arm hole shaping.  I'll take pictures of it and post progress when the back is done.

In the mean time, I have received knitsimple as presented by Vogue Knitting.  This issue is devoted to "flattering looks for fuller figures", "easy, easy cables",  "a whole new breed of afghan", plus, the cover says, 30+ projects.  I wonder what new, hip style of grammar dictates a total lack of capital letters in titles?  Would I be more cool if I left out upper case letters?

I liked this issue much more than the first issue I received, but....

Article about upsizing

The technique article, "A GUIDE TO RESIZING KNITWEAR FOR LARGER BODIES; the upside of upsizing" (they used all their quota of caps in one title!), is a fine introduction to how to modify patterns for big people.  You won't learn enough to do your own designs, but you do learn the types of changes you would have to make in order to upsize a pattern.  There is an introduction to bust darts, and some discussion about sleeve shaping.  The entire article is three pages, so this isn't meant to be an in depth tutorial.

There is a recommendation for "big girl knits" by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer.  This book appears to be quite popular with younger, full figured women.  (It must be for younger women, there are no caps in the book's title on the cover.)  I haven't taken the time to look at this book yet.

There is a list of resources, including: web sites, blogs, mailing lists, pattern publishers, and books.

Shelda Eggers, who hosts the Ample-Knitters web site and mailing list is quoted.  Unfortunately, the mailing list hosted by Shelda will be disappearing soon.  The web site is staying and Shelda has plans to enhance it.  The mailing list appears to be migrating to a yahoo list as I write.

Note:  many of the patterns in this issue have extra large size options, but I think patterns done with fat yarn on big needles only makes one look bigger than you already do.

Leigh Witchel article

Leigh is an entertaining writer who does a lot with the time he has in his life, so he's a good choice for writing an article about managing your time and doing holiday knitting.  (already???)

His advice?  Start early. Think small projects (pattern for ribbed hats included).  Make a to do list and use it to manage your progress.  Maximize your time by knitting everywhere, all the time.  Be realistic and trust your intuition's warning signals.

And then he has an amusing summary of various knitting acronyms: TOAD, FO, AFO, UFO.


Lots of cabled sweaters done with big needles and fat yarn.
Cabled afghan, dog sweater, scarf, vest.
Crocheted chevron skirt and granny-square sweater.  (ack!)
Side to side sleeveless top and creatively shaped coat.
Bell sleeve top (still?  we should be done with bell shaped sleeves by now!)
More afghans.  Several pillow covers, some nicely ribbed with buttons.
More short sleeve tops, one with a cowl collar.
A double-breasted jacket.
A cute dog blanket with pictures of various dog breeds.
... and on and on and on.

article about making cables

Really quick intro, with pictures, about making cables... includes "how to read a chart."

article about slip stitch color knitting

Introduction.  If you're serious about slip stitch knitting, get Barbara Walker's "Mosaic Knitting" from schoolhouse press.

New books

Vogue's "Stitchionaries" 1, 2 and 3.
"Never too old to knit" (this one looks interesting.)


Sunday, July 9, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

Link_to_ny_times_reviewWe went to see The Devil Wears Prada (*** Good) today.  It was a terrific way to get away from 100F weather, and many others thought the same thing... the theater was full.  It was a fun movie (here is link to NY Times review).

The devil in this story is the editor of a New York Fashion magazine (Meryl Streep).  She plays a tyrant of a boss to a wannabe journalist (Anne Hathaway).  Streep is just wonderful as the boss, and Hathaway manages to look innocent even as she takes on the image of a fashion magazine editor's assistant.

Stanley Tucci is wonderful as the editor's right hand man... a sympathetic character in a world of shallow, anorexic women.

The man who plays the star in "Entourage" on HBO (Adrian Grenier) plays Hathaway's boyfriend... very hot looking.

I recommend this one for fun.,

Friday, July 7, 2006


We saw Cars (*** Good) today.  This one is for you, car racing fans.  It is safe family fun.  The animation is good.  There is a moral to the story that is good for kids to see.

Paul Newman (1950s Hudson race car) and Owen Wilson (hot rookie race car) are good in their parts.  Everybody was good in their parts.  The surprise for me was Tony Shalhoub as Luigi, the Italian car.  I never would have guessed the voice of the little car speaking with an Italian accent was the same actor that plays Monk.

One of my favorite things about the movie is that Randy Newman did the music.  Also, the over the top corny one line jokes are worth a smile; for example, "I'm as happy as a tornado in a trailer park.", etc.

Roger Ebert and also the NY Times give it a mixed review.  They say it plays it too safe.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Deer Creek

We drove east about 50 miles into the mountains where it is cooler. At lunch the car's dashboard said it was about 75F (29C). We parked at a campground near Deer Creek in Tehama County, CA.

We had a nice picnic at an empty camp site. It was nice to hear the water, still rushing since the winter snow is still melting. There were several fisher people, but I didn't see them catch anything.

By the time we got home to Chico, in the flat valley, it was 90F (32C), so it should reach about 100F (38C) today.

No, you may not take my picture

When you have been taking somebody's picture for more than 20 years, they evenutally lose patience with being the artist's model, cease to be the writer's muse, etc.

It's not a pretty picture.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

A Prarie Home Companion

Image We saw A Prairie Home Companion (**** Very Good) today.  If you like the radio show you'll like the movie.

Garrison Keillor wrote the screen play and so it's a fun visual version of the show.  Keillor plays himself very well.  Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep are wonderful as the aging Johnson sisters.  Kevin Kline is Guy Noir - once you get over the fact that he doesn't have Garrison K's voice he is fun to watch.   Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly play Dusty and Lefty, cowboy singers and joke tellers.

There are more excellent people in the cast, like Virginia Madsen as an angel of death, and Tommy Lee Jones as a corporate takeover guy.

One of my favorite cast members is Tom Keith, the sound effects man.  He is the originator of most of the sounds you hear on the radio show.

I recommend this one to those who appreciate A Prairie Home Companion on PBS.

The Golden State

This is why they call California "The Golden State". We have our annual draught every year in the summer and all the grasses dry up and turn a nice shade of beige. Of course, the fire danger is high now.

Bidwell Park, in Chico, has some of the most lovely oak trees!

This morning's walk in the park was nice. The sun was still low so the temps aren't hot yet, and we were wearing enough bug juice to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Have a nice 4th of July holiday, everyone.

Bidwell Spice Bush

20060702 Bidwell Spice Bush

The park has big bushes with these blooms on them.  I have no Idea what the name of the bush is.

(Update after looking in Sunset's Western Garden Book)...

The name of it is Calycanthus occidentalis ("Spice Bush").  It is native to California, diciduous, and has a fragrance of an old wine barrel.  The flower color is brownish red.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Is That All There Is?

What do you want from retirement? 

I always had the feeling that people who work for many years retire and live happily ever after.  Here are some things I think one should have in order to live happily:

  • Friends, people you enjoy being with.

  • Family (For better or worse, they matter.)

  • Money, enough to live on without having to work a second career

  • Activity that makes you happy

I'm finding the "Activity that makes you happy" isn't going to be the same as it was when I was young and fit.  Joints ache.  Stamina is reduced.  I can handle the reduced stamina, but the achy joints definitely put a crimp in my physical choices.

So, are there any older people out there who have found an activity that makes you happy and which doesn't require all that much physical effort?

(Just so you don't think I'm a total couch potato... I swim and walk, but can't do as much as I used to.)