(Fewer than) Six Degrees of Separation

You know the theory that every person is separated from every other by only six degrees of relationship? Well, among certain circles, I believe its much fewer. Two nights ago I was shocked and surprised and thrilled to see Carlos Alcala, one of my good friends from college, competing brilliantly on Jeopardy. He’s a journalist in Sacramento and this link is to his non-disclosing disclosure about his experience. So, therefore, me and Alex Trebek — only TWO degrees of separation!

Actually, I know another former competitor, Susan Keller from Santa Barbara who also performed in the annual musicals at UCLA School of Law produced by the wonderful Ken Graham (evidence scholar and trombone player). Unfortunately for Susan, she competed early in the run of Ken Jennings, that freakishly smart guy who won a zillion games in a row. She wrote about her experience as well in the Santa Barbara Independent — I’ll have to look up the link….

Knitting content: I finished the Monica tank for my friend’s daughter! Next step is to make the tulle costume skirt to accompany it. (pix later)

Right now, though — bedrest (still recovering).




1000 Words and Time Warp


This photo says a wealth about me (1000 words at least), if one knows where to look.
1. First it says that I have no recently finished objects to post (see previous posts about feeling unwell and misplacing projects, which I just found under my desk BTW) so I’m resorting so something that’s … less interesting IMHO.
2. I have this great blond streak in my hair (courtesy of Henry) that’s given me the nickname “Rogue” from X-Men among some high school students and that suits me (at least on the inside!).
3. I’m wearing my Johnny Most jacket (see Feb 16 post “What Not to Wear”) with the subtly embroidered skulls all over it. More of that “look deeper to see the real me” impulse I always have.
4. I’m also wearing my reading glasses hanging on my “glasses thong” (purchased at Borders). I don’t think you can see that the beads are purple, one of my favorite colors.
5. My top is from Anthropologie, acquired with my dd’s employee discount. It’s super thin and comfy and stylish and makes me feel pretty.
6. My jeans are a little baggy, which is why I was so thrilled to discover True Jeans (see May 16th post “Arietta and Great Jeans”) so I can finally find stuff that fits.
7. I’m standing there to provide perspective on the space for a refrigerator in the rental property my dh and I just bought in Oceanside just before going to purchase a refrigerator at Costco. I had just written down the measurements in the notepad in my left hand.
8. I discovered about two weeks after this photo that having tenants is like being a parent to someone else’s difficult children! Don’t misunderstand me — I’m thrilled to have the investment and rental income (eventually — we’ll run in the red for a few years, probably), but c’mon folks. Learn how to re-light the pilot light yourself!
9. Ummmm — there must be more, but it’s hardly profound and even the above was a stretch!


Knitting content: in my unwell couch potato state I’ve been listening to a lot of past podcasts of CraftLit: the podcast for crafters who like books. Heather Ordover spends part of the podcast philosophizing about her life (one which bears interesting parallels to my own), setting up great background info and trivia on the current literary selection, and most of the time playing Librivox recordings of the current selection. It’s been really fun listening and knitting. Doing so many in a row makes me feel like I’ve been watching Heather’s life in speeded up time, but, paradoxically, I’m not caught up yet. And I refuse to cheat at “peek” at upcoming episodes. I want to write to comment to her about what she broadcast in March, but it’s like being in a strange time warp. She doesn’t seem to mind, fortunately….


Hope you’re having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. (I have surgery at 7 in the morning on Tuesday, so I’m not expecting to relax at all — oh well).



The universe bombards us constantly with the answers to our questions, if only we just raise our heads and open our ears and listen…. Actually, I don’t really mean “answers” because that implies we are asking specific questions (like “what is the meaning of life?” or “did Floyd Landis take synthetic performance drugs on purpose?”) and we usually aren’t. What I really mean is that humans inherently seek PATTERNS in order to make sense of our world, and sometimes those connections just have to hit us in the head before we notice them.

This afternoon I had a “slap upside the head” moment in which I connected a question my dd asked me last night with an amusing solution I heard on an old CraftLit podcast (thank you, Heather, for your relevance last December!). My dd asked for help on an assignment to essentially do a “MadLib,”
that is, to copy an author’s style by keeping his/her grammatical structures but replacing the words. For example, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy red dog” becomes “article adj adj noun verb(present) preposition article adj adj noun” which can be replaced with “A fast-moving thunder cloud disappears behind the steep, rocky mountain.” OK so it’s not great lit-ra-chur. Episode 33 (I think) of CraftLit referenced a random postmodern essay generator that spews out intellectual drivel that sounds like it SHOULD make sense. Highly entertaining! Go check it out.

Knitting content: I was knitting while listening to about 3 episodes in a row before going to my doctor’s appointment. (I was home sick….)


Cupcake Therapy

Being sick sucks. Being chronically sick sucks big time. Without going into gory detail, suffice it to say I’ve been chronically sick with bouts of acute illness for a few years now. Bottom line: a partial, hopefully mostly total, solution is an outpatient procedure that my doctor originally scheduled for the summer. But in a cryptic phone message last Thursday, her office called to say, after reviewing the situation, they want to reschedule it within TWO weeks. Slight freakout on my part until I could get home and talk to a live person on the phone. It turns out they just want to minimize the risks of waiting and I’ll just have to deal with the fact that I’m still teaching school. OK, whatever… what can I knit on that’s soft and cuddly?

The next best thing to soft, cuddly knitting or hugging the dog therapy is SPRINKLES CUPCAKES! Pictured is a Red Velvet one atop the box of 4 it came in, courtesy of my dd’s prom date. He made her promise to give me one of them so — happy, happy, joy, joy! (I would counsel her to marry this one right away cuz he’s a keeper except she’s only 18 and he’s going to the Air Force Academy in the fall.)

Also picured is a “cupcake condo” sold by Sprinkles for protected transport of one’s gourmet cupcake to locations such as work where it can be flaunted in front of envious co-workers. 🙂 I had it for breakfast on Friday.

Hmm — no knitting content so far. I have knit a Ben & Jerry’s carton cozy, but a Sprinkles cozy would be quite a different challenge. Oh, wait — I’m hoping to attend picnic today on a bluff overlooking the beach which will be a convergence of several knitting and spinning groups. Last year we enjoyed great weather, yummy food, fabulous fiber (I mostly spun), entertaining juggling, curious onlookers and wonderful fibery fellowship. (I have to see how the chronic illness/behind in work scenario plays out.)

Happy remainder of weekend!

Spacedude Sally and Friends

I go to an awesomely diverse and fun knitting group most Thursday nights. Last weekend two knitpals and their pals scored kewl stuff at a swap meet, including a set of authentically ORANGE NASA overalls (think “easy to spot during rescue”). That’s our long tall Sally with short and purply me. We’d agreed to support Sally’s public display of this awesome outfit (she’s still working on finding an appropriate helmet) by dressing up ourselves.

The second shot is Diane in her Maleficent headdress (you have to know how un-Maleficent-y Diane is to appreciate the irony). We welcomed a new member (hi, Lou Wanna) and drooled over Sou Ying’s purchases. Lori helped rescue a messed up sock, and Amanda showed up after a dinner without her own knitting, so we gave her a swatch to do. I brought my Monica in all stockinette and still managed to mess it up because I was talking and not paying attention. Oh well. All this and great gourmet grocery food, too. Life is good….


99 Bottles of Water on the Wall

Ugghh. First the good news: my doctor’s office had a cancellation so they called to schedule me today (instead of Monday) for an ultrasound. Now the bad news: where to start? I’ve been feeling unwell, but I’ll spare the details. To prep for this procedure I had to ingest 32 oz. of water in one hour before the appointment. I don’t even really like the taste of most bottled waters (forget tap!), esp. the three I purchased at work. Also, I wasn’t actively teaching, just proctoring an in-class essay, so I had nothing to distract me from the vision of my ever-ballooning bladder and my aging and un-toned sphincter muscle. Fortunately, all this undistracted time permitted me to actually READ the LABEL on my water bottles where I learned that each was a whopping 20 oz., so I didn’t actually have to finish the second or even open the third. Yay for reading and math skills….

Happily for all involved, I made it to the doctor’s office and through the procedure in fine form. I’m STILL running to the bathroom until the system flushes completely.

Knitting content: this is Monica, the older girl’s version, from the latest Knitty. I’m doing the top in the pattern yarn (Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece) in size 4 for the daughter of a dear colleague who simultaneously gushed over my Merry Maiden’s Dress (see previous post) for another colleague while expressing extreme green-eyed daggers of jealousy that I hadn’t yet knitted anything for HER daughter. Ya gotta love her… and I do! 🙂 I’m going to purchase the tulle for the skirt but plan to ‘fess up to my seamstressly shortcomings. My friend may want to sew the skirt for herself since I have no pattern. The top is going well — my mods were to stitch in the round instead of seaming the identical front and back together (duh!) and to knit slightly tighter than my usual so the fabric is pretty smooth. I think I’m going to pick up my lacy Hedera socks to alternate with this because straight stockinette (now that Gilmore Girls has ended — sob, sob!) can be pretty boring.


Arietta and Great Jeans


Here’s a shot of the Knit Picks Shine Sport colors I’m substituting in the Arietta pattern from the last Knitty surprise. I took out the darkest (Sand) and added the lovely Butter yellow.

Only marginally knitting content: got this info from Grumperina’s blog (May 9 post)! Also pictured are the best-fitting jeans I have EVER owned in my entire life. Grumperina blogged about a site called True Jeans that has some algorithm to match exact and truthful(!) measurements against the jeans that best fit. Unfortunately many of them are designer pricey, but I decided I was willing to pay double ($150) for ONE pair of jeans that truly fits and flatters my short body. These Christopher Blue “Lloyd” jeans fit great and are also slightly stretchy. I’m in heaven.