Thursday, December 30, 2010


I may have killed a spider. The other day I saw two medium big spiders in the bathroom, and they made me real nervous. Then they were gone, and no one knew where. Then right now I saw a medium big spider in the other bathroom, in the tub. I saw it after I had reached in to the tub to fan out my sketchbook that is drying after being left in the rain. The bathtub is white and showed the details of the spider. It had what looked like two truncated curled front legs. But, I counted the legs on that side and there were 4. So the front things were something else, and I was scared of them. What if they were for biting me? Why was it in the bathtub? Was it stuck? Should I free it? Maybe I could rinse it away instead. But to do that I would need to get my sketchbook out of the bathtub and that would be getting close to the spider. I didn't want to smash it because I might need a spider for a resin project I might do. So I got hairspray that I bought to use as fixative for charcoal drawings, but stopped using because the scent was so strong. I thought about what I was going to do. I knew it was wrong for me to do something I think is wrong, but I looked at its mouthparts and I sprayed it and sprayed it. And it crawled away pretty slowly. Even if it wasn't getting poisoned that much hairspray should stiffen it. I was surprised it could crawl so far. The spray was choking me but I have sprayed it on my own head before (but with the windows open) so I knew I would be fine. Then I stopped spraying it and it went back to sitting still. Then I waited a bit, fussed with the top of the bottle which was coming apart, and sprayed it with a little test spray to see if it was dead. It wasn't, but this time instead of crawling it just drew in its legs. I am going to go check on it. It was upside down, curled up. The face legs were still huge. I took a picture with a shaking hand. I was somewhat surprised that I managed to get it in the frame. I guess I am a late in life arachnophobe, unless this is a one-off.
This morning I went in to look at him, and he was still curled up but flipped back over. I kicked the side of the tub to see if he moved, but he didn't and I relaxed. Then right now I wanted to get a good look at his mouth parts so I got two microscope slides and tried to scoop him up onto one using the other. Well, he reanimated and tried to drag himself with a couple of his legs so I made a loud two part noise- the first part was fear or surprise, and the second disgust- and left him. Now I feel incompetent for not being able to kill a spider yet keep it intact, guilty for making something spend so much of its life blind and poisoned, and a little scared. Well, my skin is. I'm tingly all down my legs and back and the back of my arms.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

blue and orange herringbone socks

modeled by the recipient, Dad.
I learned two color knitting and it was easy. And I memorized a pattern:
It took me about 7 hours to learn. I might not be a very good memorizer. After I got the hang of the pattern it only took me 10 hours to knit the rest. I finished by Christmas morning, which I then slept through. I had imagined I would have two pairs done in time to mail one to my nana for Christmas. Well, her pair are coming a long a lot faster and her area is pretty cold in Spring.

fortune cookie fortunes

I don't eat chinese food but I found these fortunes in my mom's house and she said I could have them. When I lived at home and my family got chinese food they would let me have a cookie and the fortunes were a different kind, just predictions about luck, and I prefer these. There's something that feels authentic to me about a platitude on a bit of paper that I found on the tv stand that got there via a cookie, my family members, a delivery person, and before that I don't know but presumably a print shop and a restaurant.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Dress

I kind of know that at some point someone has paid full price for most of the wonderful things thrift stores are stuffed with, but it wasn't me. And yet, on Christmas Eve I bought myself a dress at a discount retail store, Ross Dress for Less. I hung it over the rail of my bed to take a picture, and now it is off-gassing a sickly sweet smell. How novel.

I tried it on for something to do while I waited for my brother to finish selecting gifts, and it suited me very nicely. But, I already have a sleeveless party dress with a sash that I don't wear because it's not warm and it's fancy; I don't need two.

I reasoned that I should put the dress back because I will only be young enough to wear a frothy pink dress for like 2 more years, and there is no way I would get twenty five dollars of use out of a fancy dress in 2 years, and that made me sad because I want to go to a lot of parties and look glamorous. So I convinced myself that I would wear it just absolutely all the time and parties could take me or leave me. But I think if I wear it just one day a week until I am too old it will have been worth it.

Standing in Christmas Eve line, I had time to reconsider and I went to put it back, and then I changed my mind again and joined what I thought was the end of the line. Two girls made really indistinct sounds to each other but I worked out that they meant to be in line but were just standing far away from the rest of the line. So I apologized, and they were gracious and asked me if I was an elf. I was very pleased they could tell because by my standards my costume was a little half hearted. Anyway, on my second try at the line I made it to a cashier, who was extremely friendly and efficient.

And then it was done! I had paid basically full price for a dress!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea

I visited my mom and wanted some tea, and I found Candy Cane decaf green tea. As soon as I opened it I started to covet this narwhal.
I made a plan to come over after they put the box in the recycling so I could scavenge the narwhal, but it wasn't a very solid plan because all I know is my mom and brother don't drink very much tea.

So the next time I came over I asked if I could have a couple of bags of it, and mom sent the whole box home with me.
The tea is good. It tastes like nothing with an aftertaste of mint, and it smells amazing, like candy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Herringbone Socks Progress Pics

I am knitting some socks for my dad as a christmas gift. I knit him some solid blue acrylic socks a few years ago and he took very good care of them and wore them out instead of losing them, so I felt it was time to knit him a pair of nice wool (wool needs a bit of washing attention or it will shrink) complicated socks. The free pattern I chose was knitty's Red Herring sock, which was on big needles (by sock standards, that is- I just don't love anyone, including myself, enough to make them socks on smaller than size 3 needles.) I spent perhaps 8 hours over the course of 3 weeks knitting the first 5 inches of the sock. Every other row is easy, 2 stitches in each color all the way around, but the other rows were so hard for me. The chart is 12 stitches wide over 72 stitches and I had to recheck it every 6 stitches. I was thinking about ending the stranded colorwork part early, because it was quite tedious and you have to knit love into handknit things or they are no good.

Then I went to my brother's hockey game, and I brought the sock because my Christmas deadline is looming. I accidentally left the pattern in my car, so I had to use the knitting as it's own pattern. The chart is only 4 rows long but I could not memorize it or see any pattern to it. (it goes A BB AA B A BB AA B which was much too complicated for me to remember)

So what I did is count 4 rows back and knit the same colors as that row for 12 stitches, then repeat that order for the next 60 stitches- the rest of the round. That was tricky because 4 rows back in knitting is hard to keep track of, but I realized that it also has to be opposite color of the pattern 2 rows So then I only had to look back 2 rows, and I knit two rounds counting in my head,
"opposite, opposite, opposite, opppoooosssiiiite, opposite, opposite, opposite, opposite..." Then I realized how the pattern works! I have no explanation for how long this took me to work out, except that I have not knit in a few years and my major prizes ingenuity not decoding. So, here is how to knit herringbone pattern:

-rows need to be a multiple of 4 and columns a multiple of 12-
1: 2 stitches of the main yarn, 2 stitches of the contrasting yarn, all the way
2: start with the same color as the previous row. One stitch in that color, then:
2CC, 2MC, 2Mixed; start with the color that contrasts with the most recent 2 stitches, repeat.
3: there have to be 2 stitches of the same color vertically so it's time to switch
to the contrasting color as the start of the round. 2CC, 2MC around.
4: start with the same color as the prior row. One stitch in that color, then
2/2/1/1/2/2/1 around, and each unit has to be opposite the previous one.

I am very relieved that I learned this pattern because I also bought the yarn to knit my Nana a pair and now I will be able to in time. It's okay that it's not in time for Christmas, because that side of the family gathers on Epiphany, which is January 6th. Presumably she would still love me if I knit her striped socks, but we are good at similar but separate handicrafts so I know she can tell the difference between a beginner sock and an intermediate sock and I am very glad to be able to send her an intermediate sock.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This summer I read for days accounts of birth mothers and analysis of the process and system, and it seems bad. I know only a few adopted people but all of them have told me they were very happy to be adopted, so I feel a bit conflicted. But adopting someone's baby instead of 1. adopting an orphan or 2. using the same money to make the same child comfortable but without including them in your day to day life seems bad. My bloglines whatever got transfered to merchant circle and now it's way different? So I have been browsing blogs looking for new feeds and I found one called rageagainsttheminivan and the blog author had a guest poster, Jennie, who writes at, and wrote about her "6 children" 2 biological, 3 pending adoption, and one that she didn't adopt at all but just loves. And- I feel bad for writing this, but- feels entitled to. She wrote, "That day we faithfully began praying, and that week our daughter's birth mom conceived... When we were matched and heard about our birth mom we were ecstatic. She was 14 and had been in and out of the foster care system. " Wow. I don't believe praying makes things happen in strangers' lives but this woman does and she writes that "her daughter's" (not her daughter's) "14 year old birth mom concieved". 14 year olds are very much children, maybe not in terms of how clever they are or how much say they need regarding their life circumstances, but they should be protected as much as other children are. And it sounds very much like this girl was not. Then Jennie writes that,
"instead we got a call that the birth mom had changed her mind and wanted to parent, so she ran away. What I want you to know is that we mourned the loss of our daughter. I mourned as I had never mourned before. I didn't matter that our DNA wasn't the same. She was our child. We had prayed for her since before her conception." and then,
"We have forgiven the birth mom for the pain she's caused, and we realize that she was in a lot of pain, too. We still pray for our daughter", and I feel like, you are "forgiving" someone who is not culpable. Partly because of her extreme youth, and also because what she did wrong is not realize (maybe not acknowledge?) that she wanted to parent her baby.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Presents from the Past

I am going through everything I have left at my family home. It is surprisingly easy. I haven't used the things in so long they don't quite feel like mine, so I feel like I am sorting through several caches of trash and presents from my past. Some of the presents from the attic were: 2 umbrellas (plus 2 that I don't feel attached to so I was happy to bring them down to be up for grabs), more than a hundred good books, meditation cds, a bellydance cd, my grandmother's wool and fur coat, a half dozen mostly empty sketchbooks, two frisbees, a curling iron, a hand crank emergency flashlight, pens, an address book, a pretty good knife, luggages, and a pair of orange tint ski goggles that I am going to use in the evening to help me produce melatonin.
The presents from the trailer were: my "keeper" textbooks and assigned books, a curling iron, straightening iron, and blow dryer, hangers, a shoe rack, a cheap chest of drawers, acrylic paint additives, a bit of clothing, a purse made from a license plate, and some nice yarn.

I feel weird about bringing all this home to santa cruz. It will fit fine if I get a bookshelf or two, but I have never had all my things in one house since I moved out. What if there is a fire or flood? Then I won't have any backups of anything. I won't have any clothes and I won't have an umbrella and I won't have any books. At the same time, though, it will be nice to know that if something isn't there it isn't anywhere.
I hope no one gets me one single thing that needs storing for Christmas. I haven't got any material needs. My grandma understands, and sent me food and socks for my birthday which was lovely. I told my parents I don't want anything but I think my mom thought I was wrong. So I am going to ask for an oil change and trader joe's gift cards for when I run out of money which might be soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

When you grow up, your heart dies.

Which is why when I went to take a shower and saw this:

I said a curse and pouted before coming around to the excitement of a surprise christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dressember 7th

The first week of Dressember has been fun! I love dresses and it's nice to have a motivation to wear them. Santa Cruz has been having a little bit of a warm spell (mid 60s) so I have taken advantage of that by wearing summer dresses for the past three days. Two of my housemates are informally Dressembering with me (that is, not documenting it and not worrying if they don't feel like wearing dresses) and we all look so cute all the time. I didn't go as far as the mailbox today since I had to study for Thursday's final but getting dressed made me feel more productive and less like lounging.

This is my first internet fashion challenge and I actually really like it. I like seeing the British Dressemberers being creative with layers upon layers of warm accessories, and i love that a couple of men are participating. And it's fun having strangers "like" my clothes. I hope I'm getting styling ideas from how cute everyone is but it doesn't seem attainable. The things I like are like having pale skin and dark short hair, or mixing disparate colors perfectly.