24 April, 2009

Vacation Recap, Episode 2: All the Other Stuff, Plus What I Forgot The First Time Around

Let's see. We flew into Ontario airport, met up with The Rest of the Fam and headed straight for Disneyland. I don't really have a huge amount to say other than we had a great time, enjoyed ourselves immensely, and that if a picture is worth 1000 words, then my Flickr set is worth about a quarter of a million.

Highlights? Well, if you insist!

Doing our time

The Three Alexanders (yes, three Alexanders, they say they are birds of a feaaaatheeeer)


She was very perplexed by my existence.

THB's best girl-catching face

So yea, Disney was awesome as usual. Plus I got a bunch of crying baby pictures, which is a double-bonus. What can I say, I've been to Disneyland a bunch of times, and it gives me something to do!

OH! Guess what!!! Take a look over at the sidebar of WIP's and tell me if you can see what's missing. I'll give you a hint - it's something that has been there pretty much for-ev-er. And it's donedonedone! A virtual cookie for the first person to figure it out!

Also, I finished my Papa Socks. They're sort of unphotographable (Mozilla doesn't think that "unphotographable" is a word, but phooey on Mozilla!), but I'll try. For now, I'm claiming my yardage: 361. I'm going to bundle them up to send to Alaska tomorrow.

And I've been working on my Scarf #21 (Rav link for Cathy!). I'm thisclose to having the bloody center repeat memorized, and I'd say I'm about 1/2 way done with the body. Once I get pretty close to running out of yarn, I'll just graft the second end piece on, and block, and voila! Done! I have noticed, however, that it's difficult to judge how many inches I've put on the stole in a sitting. I've reached that interminable point in the ball of yarn where it doesn't seem to be getting smaller - even when I've been knitting steadily for an hour or more. So I've taken to putting a locking stitch marker on at the beginning of my knitting session, and now I can admire how much I'm getting done with perfect accuracy. I'd take pictures, but it really looks exactly the same as last time I showed it to you - only now it's a bit longer.

Let's see, what else? ManCandy and I have spent the last week scratching our heads as to how Panza is getting off of our netted-in porch. We pushed on all the slats, wired the outer door shut despite the fact that Panza won't push open a regular door (he's a bit of a wuss), and used IKEA technology to secure the netting even more.. securely... to the stucco wall. Meanwhile, the litter boxes are in the living room and neither kitty can go outside without direct supervision. Tonight we opened the porch and let them outside to see if we could figure out how the little pooper is getting outside - there had to be a cat-sized hole somewhere!

And there was. The netting leaves a space about 1.5 feet between its top and the porch roof. He's been climbing the porch support posts, hauling all of his 15 pounds over the netting, and jumping down onto the concrete. Now I know I should have probably thought of this before, but I've never had a cat that climbed things. I know they like to go up trees and such for fun, but none of my felines has ever been inclined that way, including Panza. But apparently the lure of the Great Outdoors was enough, and now we need more netting and an industrial staple gun before they can go outside again. Bloody cats!

Mr. Darcy, I feel it necessary to add, has made no attempts to climb fence posts. He says it might wreck his nails.

I came home to a bunch of presents! And then I opened them, and it was just like Christmas without the turkey and the quiet contemplation of the tree in the middle of the night and the gifts you don't really like. So I guess it wasn't like Christmas much, but I did get to unwrap stuff!
Can you guess what these are?

They unwrapped to become this:
You're looking at the aftermath of the Crown Mountain Farms sale I mentioned before I headed to Mom's, and it completely erased any vestigial sadness I felt about spinning up more of my CMF stash. Now all I need to do is spin thinner so I can get 1000 yards out of 4 ounces like Miss Alice Faye! I think I just need to dedicate 4 ounces of nice stuff to get better at spindle spinning. Maybe I'll go digging and do that now instead of school work...

20 April, 2009

Vacation Recap, Episode 1: A Bit of Anne Accident

I am returned home! Whew. This last week was vacation turned on its head: the relaxing part was at the beginning, and the running-around-all-crazy part ended about 22 hours ago. I'll begin at the beginning; I hear it's a very good place to start.

Last Saturday, loaded down with clothes, laptop, and Jasmin's Louet Victoria, I hopped a train to THB's house near Sacramento. We hung out at his place for a bit, then went to the home of some old family friends, where we played poker into the wee sma's. They tried to convince us to just stay the night - THB's fully sanctioned relationship with Chickadee, their eldest daughter, may have had something to do with it - but a call to our Mother Ship ended that idea. She (Mom) bartered with Pauline with me as an intermediary, and because she's our mommy, she won. Her victory was sealed unwittingly by Chickadee, who announced quite indignantly that, should THB and I go home instead of staying over until the next day (not actually a bad idea, as we were all going to have Easter dinner together), we wouldn't even eat breakfast until around nine in the morning. The shock! The shame! We might starve by then! THB promptly pointed out that in order to have breakfast at nine, we'd have to be up by about 8:30, and that a 10 or even 11 o'clock start time would probably be more likely. So we went home to the Mother Ship, where we and our sleeping patterns are understood.

Our breakfast was at 11. They ate at 7:30.

We trekked back to their house for ham, more poker,

and an old-fashioned Easter Egg Hunt the next day, then Mom and I settled in for a few days of nothing but hanging out. It didn't go exactly as planned, but it was close enough! I finished my Mysterious Mirror Socks with only about 500 mistakes in the leg of the second sock, which I'm calling a win because they fit anyway:

Pigeonroof Studios OOAK Sock yarn, 336 yds.

I also managed to spin, ply and set some of my mountain of Crown Mountain BFL:

"Ivory Coast" CMF BFL, 296 yds.

It's not as thin as I had hoped, but it pretty much spun itself so I have no complaints. Plus I have approximately my own weight in unspun CMF. More on that later. This is 1/2 of the 8 oz. bump; the rest is already divided in 2 and waiting its turn on the wheel.

In addition, I started some socks for my dad out of some ancient Lorna's Laces from my stash - I think it's "Pioneer," but I'm not certain. Any road, it's a color that doesn't photograph well, so no pictures until I can get some awesome light. They're my plain vanilla sock pattern with a k3p1 rib on the instep and up the leg; I turned the second heel at work today and should be done with the pair by tomorrow.

I'm quite proud of my packing prowess this trip. I only packed one set of sock needles and just brought yarn that would work. I also only over-estimated how much spinning I would accomplish by about 12 ounces, which is a step up from my precedent. I planned to spin more, but I got interrupted by a Super Secret (Unfinished) Project that will have to wait for my next trip to the Mother Ship before I reveal it.

But, as usual, my acquisitions out-weighed my completions by oh, a bunch. Maybe a lot. Perhaps even a ginormous amount. I may have had a Schaefer Accident. It started innocently enough; Mom's old boss now runs a yarn store, and we stopped in to see her. I didn't notice the Schaefer at first, but I knew she carried it because that store is where my addiction began with a skein of Lola. So I asked, and received.

And received again:

I may have clutched them to my bosom and announced to Mom that one does not leave one's children to the mercy of strangers, no matter how nice they may appear to be. I have never been accused of being undramatic.

Mom dropped me off with THB on Thursday night, but we got to his freeway exit really early and it just so happens that he lives around the corner from a big yarn store. So of course, that's where we whiled away the time it took THB to get home from work. They were having a sale, and Mom picked up some Tofutsies and some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed for half off, while I stuck to the full-priced yarn because that's how I roll. And because it's what I couldn't live without, really.

The best find was 2 skeins of the same colorway of my very first skein of Anne. That one's been sitting quietly on the shelf in pride of place, refusing to tell me what it wanted to be. Now it's been rejoined to its sister skeins, and perhaps it will start talking.

On Friday morning, THB, Chickadee and I all hopped a plane for Ontario, CA, where we were met by my dad, youngest brother, and ManCandy for 3 days at Disney. Then I came home to a plethora of boxes, including a really big one that I can't unwrap until this weekend. More to come!

Also - I'm podcasting tomorrow. For real.

09 April, 2009

Rolling In It

Lately I've been on a spinning kick. The 10 Minutes Per Day group on Ravelry has probably had some thing to do with it, but it's also likely due in part to the fleeces from the Wool Auction looming on the horizon.

When I arrived home today, it was to a big ol' box of puffy, gorgeous coils from Sherri at Morro Fleece Works:
Cat added for scale.

It contained bag after bag of beautiful, squooshy, wool that apparently smells like sheep, 'cause it took Mr. Darcy all of about 2 seconds to go from sitting quietly next to the box to this:

And believe me when I say that the usual amount of hand clapping and "HEY!" had absolutely zero effect on either his purr or his enjoyment of the new wool.

So for comparison purposes, this became this:
3 lb. 14 oz of CVMxRomedale from Patti Sexton

And this became this:
2 lb 14 oz of CVM from Fredine Johansen

And I don't really recall, but did I show you the 1/2 fleece I split with Jasmin? Here it is:
CVM fleece from Patti Sexton

I know I said in the wool auction post that I'd wait to visit Terry Mendenhall until spring, but since it took 8 months to get the fleeces back (Sherri was wicked busy!), I think maybe next spring might be a better idea. It'll take me at least that long to spin up all of my bounty!

A couple of other things have been going on. I joined the Spunky Eclectic fiber club back at the end of January, so I've gotten 2 shipments of her club so far. The first offering was... well, let's just say I didn't like it. At all. In fact, I loathed it so much that I put it back in the box and promptly forgot all about it until I stumbled across the "trade me" thread on the Spunky Ravelry board. I found someone who wanted all 8 oz and we arranged a trade - of which I'm pretty certain I got the better end of the deal, but I'll let you be the judge.

I traded this:
Spunky Eclectic Feb. 09 Fiber Club: "New Day" Corriedale

For this:
4 oz. Spunky Eclectic BFL, "Rocky Mtn. High"

and this:
Spunky Eclectic BFL, "Neapolitan"

The March offering was 8 oz. of BFL as well, in "Myrtle," which is blue and red and green and brown. I'm not 100% sold on it, but I like it much better than my first club colorway. I'll give it another month, and then if I'm not thrilled I think I'll drop out. So far the only consistently awesome color-of-the-month club I've been in is the Black Bunny Fibers Club 2 (we're the second group). Carol puts a ton of thought into each mailing, and everyone gets their own colorway of the group fiber. For example, this last time around she sent us about 6 oz. of this a-MAZ-ing merino/bamboo, and this one is mine:

Stunning, isn't it? Every colorway that Carol has made for me is absolutely gorgeous. Someday I'll start spinning them up... /facepalm

Now, if you'll excuse me, Crown Mountain Farms is having their yearly Spring Sale, and I may just conveniently forget that I spent an entire post telling you about how much freakin' wool there is in my living room...

07 April, 2009

The Last Straw

4/7 @ 11am **There's an update at the bottom of the post!**

::Italics and !!! and ALL CAPS warning::

So graduating from SJSU has been what most people would call a "challenge." I started there in fall of 2006, and my transfer credits weren't applied until mid-spring in 2008, which shot my 2-year plan to hell. However, my credits were finally applied and I was finally able to turn in my graduation plan in summer of '08.

Then, as I began my third year this last fall, I got a message from Financial Aid that I had been at SJSU for too long (ya think?!?) and thus they were not giving me any more financial aid.

After writing them a somewhat snotty letter saying that if they wanted to blame someone for my lack of graduation, they should take it up with the transfer office because clearly they - the transfer office - had nothing better to do than sit on student transcripts for TWO YEARS, Financial Aid replied that they would grant me one more year to graduate. Fine.

The thing about applying for graduation 2 semesters in advance is that there is little-to-no schedule planned for that future second semester. So my advisor and I made up class numbers, and I planned to turn in what is called a "substitution form" in the spring, telling my graduation advisor which classes have changed. Because clearly she is INCAPABLE of looking at my transcript herself and figuring this shit out for herself. But she's new, so I filled out the form. Without, I may add, the help of the Art Department's graduation person, who quit in October after 35 years. The position is rumored to be open sometime this summer for applicants.

In early March, I trotted over to the graduation office and tried to turn in my form. No dice, they replied, it has to be signed by the department chair (whom I have never met) and also by the department secretary person in charge of such things. Who, you may recall, quit.

I got the required signatures - apparently the department secretary can sign for the empty seat - and went straight back. I turned in the form, the nice girl at the graduation desk stamped it, and handed me my graduation advisor's card.

And then I waited. And waited.

And waited some more.

Finally today I could stand it no longer and emailed my advisor:

Hi Advisor,

I turned in my substitution form back before spring break, but I haven't heard anything from you regarding my graduation status. Could you please fill me in on the status of my graduation? I'm getting a bit anxious, as you can imagine.

Thank you,

This is the email I got back:


As of today, this is what you need to take. Just for your information I don't contact the students when updated are done to your file. You can contact me if you have any questions.

B2 Biol 10
F3 Pols 1
Area V & Major Arth 193A
Z 100W
Arth 294, 152, 183B
Art 2A need De Anza transcript can't locate this course

There are so many things wrong with this response, beginning with the fact that every class on the list is either a class I took last semester (Bio, Pols, Arth 152/183B/193A) or one I am currently taking (100W and 294), and ending with the shit-poor grammar. Also that she doesn't contact people to tell them their grad deadline is coming up and they still have a year's worth of classes on the requirement list, or for that matter that she never initiated contact with me at all. Also that I turned in my form in the beginning of March. Which was a month ago.

There are 6 weeks left in the semester. Six weeks, and my 12-year stint as an undergraduate is supposed to end, and it will, despite any challenges this so-called "advisor" puts in my way.

Dear Ms. Advisor,

I will be on campus tomorrow (Wednesday) from 9:30 until 1pm. Please let me know when in that time I can come see you, as this is a fairly important matter and I don't believe it will be solved by email. You can reach me at [redacted], or by email until 9am. Also, could you please send me your manager's email address and phone number, as I would like to address a couple of items to that office.

Thank you,

Tomorrow, if my advisor doesn't give me a signed piece of paper saying that I will graduate in May, I will file a formal complaint with the school. And likely write a Very Angry Letter to the school paper. And maybe make an appointment with the school lawyers. Tomorrow is a makeup, skirt, and glasses day; stay tuned.


All is well. The classes I am taking are the only ones I still need, and everything will be fine provided I can get through this final semester without choking. Or falling down the stairs. Or.. you get the idea.