15 August 2009

Folding bike adventure with mommy

Mommy suggested that I ride bikes with her today to make up for not going to a triathlon this weekend. Since she offers to do anything remotely athletic with me about as often as I wear high heels (that would be never) I couldn't refuse.

Of course, the prospect of a bike ride meant that she stayed in bed extra long this morning, leaving me to try out iPhone blogger apps and take silly pictures of myself for over an hour.

See, toes! In toesie shoesies!

I brought some knitting too.

Anyway, I had to pull out my folding bike since she was going to be riding her ultra-cool tikit. My folder is pretty clunky and slow and she seems to appreciate being on a much faster bike than me. I really should save up and replace a bunch of my bikes with a tikit, but for now I can drool over hers.

Our bikes are cute. Mine's the green one.

Any bike adventure with mommy needs at least one food stop. We turned around after lunch and she came back via my house to see the fuzzy babies and decided to leave her bike with me rather than taking it back to her office, where she stores it instead of hauling it up all the stairs at her apartment. The great part about the tikit having a sleepover at my house is that she has to come back tomorrow and ride with me again!

Thanks, mommy!

-- All spelling errors and bad ideas are from typing this with my thumbs on my phone.

20 January 2009

A crafty way to pay it forward

Thanks to Zeegrindylows, an exceptional fanfic author, I now have another fun thing to do. The first 5 responses (and given my readership this might take all year) will get something crafted just for you. You don't get a choice about what it is, so be ready for a surprise! The only thing I require in return is that you make the same offer on your blog.

Bake, sew, paint, write... I can't wait to see what we all can come up with!

02 June 2008

18. Make a pair of knee socks


FINALLY. I hadn't intended for these to be knee sox, but the balls of yarn were endless. They're Baudelaire from Knitty, and I started them last summer but had to keep putting them down due to sheer boredom. The vareigated yarn was fun to work with but doesn't show the pattern well.

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25 March 2008

65. Submit an item to SIGGRAPH

Bleck, I hate failure. I especially hate failure when it's outside of my control.

I had this grand plan to submit one of my wearable computing items to the SIGGRAPH fashion show, but it seems it hasn't existed for the last two years. Of course, being SIGGRAPH, this information is incredibly hard to find and their moronic website design certainly didn't help, either. At least I participated in Seamless this year!

If they just happen to decide to have a wearables fashion show next year, I'll submit. It seems pretty unlikely given the state of wearables right now but I can at least hope, right?

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23 December 2007

15. Keep track of all expenditures in an online program like Mint

Just like my love of cataloging things and tasks, I love keeping stats of my spending. Whenever I vow to do this, I usually make up a hideously complicated spreadsheet and do spectacularly well for the first few months. That is, until I miss a few entries and I can't remember what they are and the whole perfectionism of the system blows up. I had several months of success last year with Conto, a simple OSX application that kept my perfectionism at a minimum due to the simple functionality. I lasted much longer than I expected and learned a lot but finally got derailed by business travel that made me too busy to remember to enter things manually.

I've been wanting to try Mint since it's so pretty and free, and it also has the benefit of being web-based so that I can make some progress on '71. Find a way to make a portable technology system for work that I can carry on the bike' because it doesn't rely on either the contents of my laptop's hard drive or on a very powerful device to access it.

They really don't lie that it's very fast to set up- mine took less than 10 minutes including a mishap I made in selecting the state a bank account was in (therefore not being able to log in), and for some reason not seeing the total in my savings account. I was also very impressed at how Mint categorized my transactions since it was right 90% of the time. I did experience a minor fright when a message popped up to tell me I had spent nearly $500 on food in the last month. After some sweating and trembling, I noticed it put my Spice Girls tickets in the food category - taking my food total down to a much more reasonable $160. Phew.

Other than the odd desire to spend money so I can play with the stats on more transactions, I'm very happy with Mint. The only thing that I have to be persnickety about is where my cash goes, but at the very least I have a list of all of my withdrawals. Even if I forget to say what I spent it on, at least I won't forget the total amount that's passed through my hands.

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24. Knit socks for somebody other than me

Giftmas sox

To tell you the truth, I chose this task because of the challenge involved in making something with a narrow tolerance range for fit. Sure, you can buy socks at the store and expect them to fit passably, but thick socks need to fit well and I have the silly idea that handmade socks should fit perfectly. I had to be creative in using a stretchy stitch pattern and trying to approximate the size of somebody's feet with only a guess at their shoe size and width. I'm not in a hurry to do this again unless I can measure the recipient's foot and it better be a small one. Knitting big socks is boring.

About the sox: they're made from Nashua yarns 'Creative focus superwash'. I did a simple 2-at-once toe-up design with a K2P1 alternated with plain knit rows to make a seed stitch rib. It has the distinction of being stretchy while drastically reducing knitting time over a regular ribbing. I finished them less than 5 minutes before heading to the train station so the best I could do for modeling them was stuffing them over a hand. Overall, I'm very happy with the finished product; and I'm most happy that they're finished.

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17 December 2007

14. Start making a monthly donation to a cause I love


On a recent trip back home to Texas, I saw miles and miles of beautiful turbines turning along ridges throughout the western part of the state. There were billboards along the highways selling the economic benefits to ranchers, and there were quite a few semi trucks moving massive blades around. West Texas is an absolutely beautiful place, and the addition of thousands of white turbines looked amazing against the clear sky.

Looking at my NOAA weather forecast and seeing the picture of a wind farm to denote a windy day got me angry and thinking- why is the largest wind farm in New England only 28 turbines? Cape Wind is effectively dead thanks to rich vacationers like Ted Kennedy and the region is generally unsuitable for solar.

A look around the internet told me that it's impossible for me to buy 'green' energy in this region since there's virtually no capacity for it. Therefore, the next best thing I could do was to start making a monthly donation to New England Wind for advocacy and small-scale projects.

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09 December 2007

What's in my bag?

Bag inventory 20071209

I've always been fascinated with the sets of objects that we use for different situations. I love reading packing lists that others create for all sorts of adventures, and I get a kick out of the format and presentation of the Flickr group "what's in your bag".

It seems that even though I'm a real packing minimalist (going to Vienna and Prague for a week in the middle of winter with a messenger bag, for example), I seem to carry more around town every day than most others. Maybe it's that being carfree means that I tend to make one big trip where I'm out all day and have less access to home so that I carry EVERYTHING with me. It might also be because I feel like there's a lot of correlation between what you feel like you should carry every day and what you need when you're traveling somewhere else. I think that for most traveling I would change very little of the photo above; I'd probably take a smaller knitting project, add a small ziploc of toiletries, a small outfit to sleep in, and a poncho for rain. I don't carry many extra clothes with me when traveling because I wear all nice-looking synthetics in lots of layers and can wash everything at night and have it mostly (if not, a half hour of wearing will dry them completely) dry by morning. I promise I don't stink and I look pretty well put together ;) !

What's in the picture above (I have it fully noted if you click on the pic): Pacsafe bag, zipper bag of papers, two knitting projects, my internet tablet, phone, ipod, and camera, and a little bag full of pills, band-aids, and other little necessities.

What do you carry in YOUR bag?

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08 December 2007

25. Learn how to knit the proper way

blocking goodness

I learned how to knit from my grandmother, who is both left-handed and a little short on patience. Through some combination of trying to follow her and learn from a really awful book I learned how to knit 15 years ago. I picked up knitting again last year and even went to my very first formal class- magic loop socks(!)- where the teacher noticed something funny about my knitting. Something combination about my knitting, after I had thought for years that slanted decreases just naturally had to go the other way when you were working in the round!

Combination knitting is great for making shockingly even stockinette and for knitting in the dark, but it means that you have to think about the orientation of slanted decreases and can make for some awkward maneuvers in garter-based lace, which I'm addicted to right now. I loaded up the knittinghelp.com videos and spent a few evenings getting continental knitting to feel natural.

I'm so glad I learned. I may stick with combination for flat stockinette for the machine-like evenness, but now that I have another tool in my box I feel so much more empowered.

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14 November 2007

101 goals in 1001 days

Marina Martin over at Sufficient Thrust has come up with the super idea of 101 goals in 1001 days. We even have a few goals in common, like wanting to do a split and wanting to carry all of our digitized info along with us (gotta have the bits!).

Knowing a good way to productively waste time when I see one, I've been working on my list and I'll be posting it here as it nears completion. I'll be cleaning this list up and adding links to progress and steps as I go along.

1001 days from now: Wednesday 11 Aug 2010
Organization and House

1. Declutter all of my clothing and leftover boxes from moving to fit in my closet
2. Get down to two bikes (I'm at five right now)
3. Declutter workspace so I can actually work in it
4. Get rid of all the books that I don't love
5. Finally sell that guitar that I don't love
6. Catalog my media
7. Finally paint the lab walls in chalkboard paint
8. Paint something (anything!) else over the living room's baby bile chartreuse
9. Redo the bathroom
10. Make the kitchen stuff actually fit in the kitchen storage


11. Save $10,000
12. Finally open an investment account and invest savings
13. Have a no-spend month (other than grocery)
14. Start making a monthly donation to a cause I love DONE
15. Keep track of all expenditures in an online program like Mint DONE


16. Finish a large lace project like the Princess Shawl
17. Get yarn and fiber stash to fit in 15L box
18. Make a pair of knee socks DONE
19. Spin a lace yarn on the wheel
20. Dye my own yarn
21. Design my own pattern and post it on the internet
22. Knit a sweater out of handspun yarn
23. Knit a square for a charity project
24. Knit socks for somebody other than me DONE
25. Learn how to knit the proper way DONE
26. Post all of my projects to Ravelry
27. Knit a hat for Headhuggers
28. Learn double knitting
29. Teach a knitting class
30. Write a knitting technique article and post it to the internet


31. Go to Russia
32. Pop over to Manchester, UK to look at the old stone buildings
33. Visit somewhere very northern in the winter
34. Go to Montana
35. Go to Nova Scotia


36. Be 115 pounds again
37. Go on a 10+ day bike tour
38. Run a < 4:30:00 marathon
39. Do a split
40. Bike a 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k brevet series
41. Run every day for 30 days
42. Learn to unicycle
43. Run the Bandera 100k
44. Ride in a bike race
45. Do a pull-up


46. Memorize a John Greenleaf Whittier poem
47. Read a Neal Stephenson book
48. Finish reading The Wheel of Time
49. Read The Arrogance of Power
50. Read three books on Texas history
51. Read a Larry Niven book
52. Read three Jane Austen books
53. Read all of the books by Lawrence Lessig
54. Read Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur
55. Write my own > 10,000 word Harry Potter fanfic (DORK!)


56. File three patents (LONG overdue!)
57. Work through Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's Gravitation
58. Read a whole book in Japanese
59. Do an online college course
60. Have a non-food-related conversation in Spanish
61. Work through Haberman's Applied Partial Differential Equations
62. Work through Holland's Applied Analysis by the Hilbert Space Method
63. Get my Rubik's cube time down to 45 seconds
64. Design a PCB all on my own
65. Submit an item to SIGGRAPH N/A
66. Play a song well on the guitar
67. Learn to play a funk song on the bass
68. Draw a landscape with pen and ink
69. Work through a book on Abstract Algebra
70. Write an Instructables article
71. Find a way to make a portable technology system for work that I can carry on the bike
72. Get my Morse code copy speed up to 20 words/minute
73. Write a program for a 32-bit AVR
74. Win a crossword race with the BF
75. Do a cryptic crossword
76. Finish my tiny house design
77. Design a radio circuit
78. Finish the whole Pencilwise in a Games Magazine
79. Take the Math GRE
80. Learn how to use my Wacom tablet with Photoshop
81. Write legibly with my left hand
82. Write an application for the Nokia n8xx tablet
83. Finish three chapters in my Russian book
84. Read three books about the Middle East
85. Figure out how to make everything for an extended working trip fit in one backpack


86. Fly a kite
87. Blow off work and explore Boston for a day
88. Get laser hair removal
89. See a country music concert
90. Hike Austin's Greenbelt end-to-end
91. Brew a porter
92. Go to a nightclub and order a really girly drink
93. Take a ride in a small plane
94. Wear my really skimpy running shorts - even if I'm fat
95. Take my foldable skateboard on vacation with me
96. Brew a barleywine
97. Dye my hair pink, purple, and blue
98. Bike to a fiber festival
99. Get sterilized
100. Throw an "I'm not having a baby" party
101. Learn to juggle

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10 July 2007

Stash inventory, 10 July 2007

Continuing in the spirit of recording things, here's an inventory of all of the items I have in the stash. Currently unused balls for WIPs are marked as such.


1 skein blue Stork cotton

1 reel of spandex

1+ skein Sirdar Just Bamboo, dusty blue

1 blue/yellow/green SWTC Tofutsies

1.33 skeins Cascade Yarns Cloud 9 Angora blend, black

0.4 skein Schaefer Lola in burgundy/green/blue

2 x 140m GGH Safari purple linen/polyamid

2 x 93 yds Plymouth Yarns Royal Bamboo, black

2 x 126 yds Maggi's Multi Linen cotton/linen in orange/pink

4 x 93 yds Knit One Crochet Too Jam nylon in pink/blue/green novelty

2 x 58 yds New York New York in lavender multicolored nylon novelty

1 skein lavender Rowan Calmer

2 skeins of SWTC Soysilk Pure, one black, one red multi

1.75 x 400 yd skeins of blue/green handdyed Merino/Silk

1 x 400 yd skein of green/purple handdyed Merino/Silk

2 skeins of Lion brand acrylic, white and black

1 x 5g ball of DMC tatting thread in powder blue, size 80

WIP - 3 x 50g balls of red DMC Cébélia, size 10

Update - oops! I might have picked up a 96 gram skein of bamboo/silk lace yarn today. I swear, it just fell into my bag!


1 lb(ish) of wool/tencel blend top in grey, magenta, and powder blue

4 oz of natural charcoal grey roving

8 oz of natural medium grey roving

8 oz ramie

8 oz white Soysilk, + about 8 oz yellow Soysilk(?) as a bonus

4 oz bamboo top

8 oz Tencel top

6 oz blending nylon

Whew! That's a lot of stash. Any suggestions on how to use it without leaving leftovers?

09 July 2007

WIP roll call

The current WIP list:

-A dressy Buff knockoff in blue 2-ply Euroflax linen. This is only about 2" long right now, partially due to apathy and partially due to the 000 needles.

-Baudelaire socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, currently arch-length and growing fast.

-Eunny Jang's Print O’ The Wave Stole in red DMC 10 weight Cébélia. I just started this, but I can tell that it's going to be addictive!

-Cablenet socks in Tofutsies. Stalled not so far into starting the pattern on the first one due to really, really needing to magic loop these on some Addi size 0 needles that mysteriously have become impossible to find in all the stores around here.

-Various and assorted spinning; my 15 liter stash limitation box is about to blow the lid across the room due to the tight packing. Time to spin!

-Armwarmers that are done except for picking up a few stitches and finishing the thumbholes. Oh, laziness.

-A Shedir hat in lavender Calmer that I only have the ribbing done on. I remembered that tiny detail that I get seriously bored repeating a pattern that I've already done.

-The star arm socks in crappy acrylic that I've been putting off for five years and that are approaching perpetual UFO status.

-A secret project using the skein of yarn I got from my 'No sheep for you' secret yarn pal. Shhhhh! It's secret!

-A pair of socks and a beer cozy that need nothing more than the very final end woven in. I can't believe I'm admitting to this, and would rather type them in as WIPs instead of just weaving in the ends. (Edit: finished 7/10, the next day)

I can't believe how lazy I am about finishing. It's really that one string of yarn that's left at the end of a piece that gets me- I walked around with the modified Clapotis that I put so much time into with one end tucked into my jacket for a few weeks because I hadn't sewn the end in. Lazy!

I seem to have a serious stash size problem, too, since both the knitting and spinning 15L boxes are threatening to blow their lids across the room. It doesn't help that I've been doing projects with bitty yarn that don't do much to reduce the stash volume, or that much of the better yarn in the stash is also bitty. Oh, the stash!

28 June 2007

OMG! Yarn!

After two weeks of family reunion and subsequent family medical emergency hell, I can finally play with the yarn I got in the No Sheep for You yarn swap! I'm SO excited. It's SWTC Bamboo, in some bee-yoo-tee-ful greens- Mooshes told me to pair bamboo yarn with bamboo needles.

Thanks, secret yarn buddy and moosh!

15 May 2007

A small bit of idiocy

The 400k is over. We came in at just over 24 hours, and it was the longest, hardest ride I've ever done- squeal! I'll flesh a ride report out shortly.

24 April 2007

Beans and rice, rice and beans.

I've been looking at ways to bring the grocery budget down while encouraging myself to eat out less. So far, the desire to use my pretty reusable bulk bags has kept me going back to the grocery to peruse the dry bulk section. Beans are cheap! I'm getting a lot better about soaking and cooking them ahead of time so that I always have something on hand to eat.

The last few weeks I've been eating at least one taco a day, stuffed with good cheap things from the fridge. The tortillas at the coop are somewhat more expensive than I'm used to, but the prices they have for tofu, dry goods, and veggies totally make up for it. I usually make a taco with:

homemade hummus, see Creamy hummus
a slab of tofu
black beans
cheez, this is one of the more palatable uses for VeganRella that I've found
homemade salsa

The last batch of salsa was a little bit off due to accidentally picking up whole peeled ground tomatoes instead of the intact variety. It's a little too close to ketchup for my liking, but the standard deal is:

1 can whole peeled tomatoes
2 jalapenos or 1 habanero, boiled to soften it for about 10 minutes
1/2 onion
1 bunch cilantro
lots of garlic powder
some salt
crushed red peppers

...and so on. I love my new blender (thanks, grandma!) because it actually manages to get the contents of the bucket rather than just liquefying whatever happens to be 1/2" from the blade. I'm actually kind of glad that the old blender finally gave up because I'm finding using a decent blender so much more pleasant and that I want to use it more.

I've also been trying to eat more local food and that means that I've been having a lot of kale. Kale's one of the most awesome foods out there- it will grow through snow and is packed with goodies. I've always tended towards anemia so the iron boost from having lots of kale in my diet is important to me. Also, I love playing with the bumpy edges of the leaves because I'm still about five years old.

29 March 2007

I can't believe I've changed this much in three months.

At the beginning of the year, I decided I would try to bring myself out of a rut and actually set new year's resolutions for myself for the first time ever. Three months out, I've:

-Kept the kitchen clean (thanks for the shiny sink, Flylady!)
-Started cooking delicious and healthy food at home almost every day
-Approached a mainly vegan diet because I couldn't believe that even with all of my carfreedom and conservation that meat-eating was making me into an eco-piggy
-Started knitting again and have been cranking out the knit goods
-Decluttered a lot, with a huge amount to go
-Stopped buying crap
-Started tracking my spending
-Started putting money into savings and extra into the mortgage
-Have made an effort to run more, but I've kind of been sucking at this one. Still, not too bad for three months' work.

It's amazing that almost all of these snowballed from tracking my spending and shining my sink. That led to a shiny kitchen, more food at home, a desire to make my home a more crap-free space, spending time here knitting, thinking about the consequences of what I eat, and so on. All of these relatively domestic changes have been reflected in my work, and I'm set up to bring in more this year than I'm used to (PSST... it's going into savings and the house!). I'm pretty gosh darn content and find myself wanting for nothing beyond toned thighs and more free time.

What's more, I've discovered that I wasn't as far off as I thought before these changes were made. Sure, I wasn't saving anything, but I had managed to keep myself out of debt except for the ridiculous mortgage. I don't have so much stuff that I feel like I can never dig out. My diet wasn't too awful. So, in getting better, I've been feeling better about how I'm doing all around- It's a pretty neat feeling.