Tuesday, December 26, 2006

never mind the blue blanket...

... I have a new niece!
Linnea Anne Block arrived just in time for Christmas on 12/23.
Here she is!

And here she is with her Auntie,

stoned Auntie.

manic Auntie. (you're glad I removed the red eye)

Auntie getting frustrated with how long this is taking.

And finally Auntie looking like a human being.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A quick, but cozy baby blanket

My procrastinating lifestyle extends to knitting as much as anything else. So as the months of my sister's pregnancy went by, my baby blanket plans were pared down more and more. Ultimately I used a bulky alpaca with and easy stitch that took me less than three weeks to complete. That lightening fast for me! And, if I say so myself, it turned out great.

I used Plymouth Yarn's Baby Alpaca Grande in blue mix (2564) and turquoise mix (2566). I cast on 60 sts. with size 15 needles, started each row by slipping one, and otherwise used a 1x1 seed stitch. The 1x1 seed stitch involves alternating 1 knit and 1 purl; knitting the knit sts and purling the purled sts on subsequent rows. I changed yarn every 15 rows to make the stripes. Changing yarn was actually the trickiest part. I started by just knitting with both colors for about five sts and then putting down the old color. But the sts made with both yarns were bulky and my eye was immediately drawn them. Ultimately the best way I found was to slip the first stitch of the row, like I did for every row, then make a slip knot in the new color and pull the loop through the next stitch. Then I cut the old yarn and pulled it through the second stitch too. I know knots are less than ideal, but they were less obstrusive than the double knit sts. What do you think? Are knots in knitting bad?

Anyway, the blanket turned out great. The seed stitch is really stretchy, so although its a little small, it can be wrapped around the kid easily. And the alpaca is soooo soft, everyone at my sister's shower oohed over it.

By the way, if anyone out there decides to try making this blanket, let me know, I'd love to see it!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More on HI

After my mom went home, I had another 2.5 weeks in Hawaii visiting the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. It was a nice visit, I had a lot of time to chat with the scientists there and with the volunteers. HVO would grind to a halt I suspect if it weren't for the volunteers, most of whom seem to be recent college grads and who work for free. I think they should at least be called interns and given minimum wage, it feels like the government is exploiting them. The volunteers were so happy when I gave them my leftover food and one of them said he would pick up the recycling at my house so he could get the deposits! Moreover, I think HVO's reliance on volunteers is a big reason why they don't have a lot of grad students hanging around; I would have thought the place would have at least a couple grad students from UH working there. Grad students would stick around for a couple years and publish papers with HVO scientists, which would be good for the Observatory. Anyway, enough of that.

During my stay abby and nick came to visit. I went back to the Lae'puki lava entry with them and this time we hiked out as far as the rope barrier that the park service put up. As you can see by comparing the photo below with the one from the previous post, we were quite a bit closer.

It started to sprinkle while we were out there, so nick suggested we head back. I thought it would pass, but within 20 minutes we were in the middle of a huge downpour. Then the thunder and lightening started. The lava rock was so black it was impossible to see any definition outside the range of our headlamps, then there would be a flash of lightening that would blind us for a second. It was so easy to take a mistep that it was like playing freeze when I was little; when the lightening struck I would just stop, midstep or whatever. Luckily none of us were struck by lightening, but we were soaked down to our socks. The next morning, the backseat in A and N's rental car was still wet where I had sat during the ride back home. I hope there wasn't a butt shaped mold spot when they returned it.

The next day you would never have known it had been rainy, we had beautiful weather for our hike out to a green sand beach.

The sand is green because it is made of olivine fragments. When the surrounding lava rocks are eroded to form sand, the lighter basalt is carried away by wave action and the heavier olivine crystals are left behind, creating an almost all olivine beach. abmatic has more pics on her site.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kick ass haul

Well I didn't go to Rhinebeck and I was in blog embargoed HI, so couldn't participate in kweaver's "didn't go to Rhinebeck". But here are some pics of my Mountain Hardwear sample sale haul.

I didn't find out that this was sample sale weekend until Saturday afternoon, which was the afternoon of my sister's baby shower, so I really couldn't drop everything and run over there. On Sunday, I arrived only an hour before it was all over, which is pretty foolish since most of the good stuff is likely to be gone, but on the other hand, some things were marked down even further. The T-shirts were all 2 for 1 at the sale price, so they were $5 each and my roommate got a tent for $50 that was being sold for $100 on Sat. (retail ~$230, I googled it). I'm not sure which find I'm most excited about, the $25 fleece or the $15 Men's hiking Kilt. The kilt kind of rocks, but its an XS and I probably could use a S.
What did you get at the sample sale/warehouse sale?

btw, there will be some knitting on this blog sometime. I recently gave my sister the baby blanket I knit for my nieceephew without getting a picture of it first. I was up too late trying to finish it before the baby shower to think about photographing it. But it turned out really nicely, so I will try to get a picture soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lazarus the plant

I wish I'd taken a picture of this plant when I first returned, but I thought it was a complete goner. It was totally flat; all the little stems were flopped over the pot. Now its starting to come back.

I suspect the leaves that look blackish are really gone, but I'll continue to keep track of its recovery.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back from blog embargoed Hawaii

Oh the hopefulness of my last entry! Little did I know I would be under a blog embargo for my entire trip. I had only work internet access, and work has decided that blogs (including my own) aren't appropriate for their employees! But now I'm back and I can tell you all about it.

My trip started with a week's vacation with my Mom. We had three days in the Hilo area, where we stayed in a rental house. The first day we didn't do too much, but went to see some waterfalls near Hilo and swimming a Richardson's Beach. A woman lent my mom her snorkel gear and she got to see a sea turtle! I was pretty surprised since Richardson's Beach is really close to town, we drove right by where the cruise ships dock in order to get there. The next day, it was looking really rainy (not just usual rainy) so we went up to Volcanoes NP and drove around the caldera where we got some great views of the fog. In the evening we hiked a little bit out to see the lava ocean entry (Lae'puki). It was clear out there, so we had a good view.

Can you see it?

The next day had better weather and we went out to snorkel at the Kapoho tidepools (actually Wai O'Pae).

Then it was on to the Kona side which is much more touristy. In fact it was kind of a shock to go from sleepy Hilo to Hard-rock-cafe-bubba-gumps-cruisin-by-the-beach-loud-music-whistlin-at-girls Kailua. But when in tourist heaven, do tourist things. We went on a snorkeling trip out to Honaunau and another spot which was not Kealakekua. The recent earthquake triggered a landslide at Kealakekua and the hillside is still considered unstable, so it was off limits. I don't know what I missed, but the snorkeling where we went was amazing anyway. I think you could jump off the side of a boat anywhere on the Kona side and see some pretty amazing things. I don't have any pics, because I wasn't taking my cool new camera anywhere near a splashy boat ride. I took some with a waterproof camera, but I will have to wait for those to get developed. We also went to a luau at the Shearton Keauhou, which was pretty good. The food was very good; they served poke and poi as well as pork and prime rib. The show was ok. My mom liked it a lot, but I'm a fan of more traditional Hawaiian dance, which is much more fierce than what you usually get in shows (and I mean that in both the literal and the Tyra Banks way).

Note the old people in the background, I wasn't the youngest person there, but everyone else my age was also there with their parents.

After that I was ready to get a break from vacationing and do a little work. Some guys from UH were putting in some GPS monuments in the Kona area, in response to the recent Kiholo Bay earthquake. I tagged along and helped them a bit, which was a lot of fun and a really good way to see the island.

This is what the monuments look like. One of them was sited on the estate of the man that invented the pacemaker! He was very cool and interested in having science happen on his property. If only everyone were as excited to help us.

The next day my mom went home and went up to Volcano for the work portion of my trip. But that will have to be saved for the next post.

Monday, October 16, 2006

New Camera

Blogging without a digital camera is difficult if not impossible. I blame my lack of a camera for my sparse (and somewhat unexciting posts). But this Wednesday I am off to Hawaii for 3.5 weeks and this December I am expecting a Niece/Nephew, so the time was right for a new camera!

Unfortunatly taking a picture of the camera is impossible (ok not impossible, but flash+mirror is tricky (and stupid)), but here is a picture of Ferdinand taken with the camera. A black cat on a light background doesn't exactly show off what the camera is capable of, but its more interesting than the pictures I took of my feet.

Hooray for more blog entries in the future! (And more knitting entries)

Monday, September 4, 2006

Crafty glass tray

When our cute ikea clock broke I was very sad. Taking it apart was pretty interesting and I was able to see how the clock was supposed to work. But I couldn't see why it wasn't, in fact, working that way. So then I had all these parts lying around and started to think about what else I could do with them. I decided they might make a nice little glass tray and the clock lives on!

First I glued the glass face into the metal rim. It was previously held in place by these plastic wedge thingys that broke off when I was taking it apart. Then I put on the cute little wired ribbon that is currently held in place only by the little lip on the top of the tray. Perhaps I will have to permanently attach it if it keeps falling off. The final touch was three little no skid pads to keep the glass from scratching. (Ingo's tip: three points defines a plane = no wobbling)

I'm a little disappointed by how ugly the glue is (see third picture), but oh well. I bought the one that said it was best for glueing together fabric and metal, because I thought I was going to glue the ribbon. If I had gotten the one that said it was best for glass on metal, maybe it wouldn't be so visible. Nonetheless, I think its pretty cute and was really darn easy to put together. I might actually start looking for broken clocks.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Time to start again!

Ok, this has been going around my friend's blogs, so I'll start mine up again by reproducing it. It's kind of a random list, probably specific to some forgotten original blogger, but I'm too lazy to make my own.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink if post QE beer counts, then I've done this.
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive - soon!
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it - does my dog count?
09. Hugged a tree - you must try this if you haven't
10. Bungee jumped - Never!
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game - can you believe I haven't done this?
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg - I think a glacier counts
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity - Not too hard if you're a grad student, but I probably didn't really miss it so I'm not going to count this one.
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment - I'm not really a giggly person
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run - Maybe, but probably not
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day - I'm not an idiot
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer - uh, it's called a backup
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk - I guess I'm not that nice.
42. Had amazing friends - of course!
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe - really depends on your definition of backpack... I stayed in youth hostels but there was a car involved.
47. Taken a road-trip - see above
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach - I went to college in LA
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them - Actually it was the other way around because he didn't speak any Russian, so my sister ordered for him.
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cd's - God no!
57. Pretended to be a superhero - When I was seven I had a towel with a hood and it made a great cape
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day - Yes, I went to college
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites - This ones pretty vague, don't you think?
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days - No, but I did 3 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason - It's nice to know someone who likes giving flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music - There is recording of me playing music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents - depends on your definition of buried
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently - Why is this in the past tense?
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge - only half way
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication - is Geophysical Research Letters a large publication?
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray - I petted a manta ray at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
110. Broken someone's heart - probably...
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone - your nose isn't really a bone, but its all I've broken (knock on wood)
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol - yeah baby!
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours - hmm.. I've probably come close
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states - I'm not really sure what this means, but I think the answer is yes.
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper - not photogenic
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach - no!
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions - So far so good
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language - Who does this?
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream - I think my younger self would be happy about where I am
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts - PC?
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life