Thursday, May 31, 2007

Female Intuition vs. Tech Support: 1-0

It worked!
It really, really worked.
The package was delivered shortly before noon.
And now my Powerbook is once again humming happily.
Watching the post-install countdown to restart was extremely nervewrecking.
If I were a nailbiter, I wouldn't need any dinner. For a few days.

So I guess this is 1-0 to Female Intuition vs. Tech Support
The nice young man at AppleSupport wasn't exactly convinced, but still happy to play along and send me the upgrade.
And I promised to let him know if I was right.
And I was.
And I will.

I need to go get some ice cream!
I got a bit hot and bothered by all the excitement.

The waiting room

Today I will not leave the house.
Not until I have received my care package from Apple.
I called Apple on Tuesday.
I told them about my problem and what I had so far done to fix it.
And I told them about my suspicion that the trouble is caused by a recent security update not working with a recent iTunes update on OS X 10.3.9.
My intuition. Not valid proof, just .... intuition.
(The iTunes update makes it impossible to verify Permissions in Disk Utility on 10.3.9 - and that's a known problem.)
And now there's an OS X 10.4. upgrade on its way by courier, and it should be here today.
They regretted they could not deliver it sooner.
During my 8 years as a Mac-lover I've only had reason to contact them twice.
The first time because I had spilled wine into the keyboard of my then 4 years old iBook and needed a replacement, as the spacebar and the n had stopped working.
It was with me within two days.
I was prepared for some sniggering because of the age of the iBook and the wine, but it never came.
I was also prepared for it to cost a small fortune, but it didn't.

I would never dare fiddling with the roots if I had a PC.
(Actually I would never even dare go on the internet with a PC, I see too much trouble with worms and Trojan horses and .... germs amongst my PC-using friends).
Not to mention all the fun you can have with Windows Vista.
I have never had a Mac freeze on me until now.
At work I have a visit from Dr. Watson at least once a day.
I have never had a Mac refusing to restart either. Not until now .....
Or ask me to restart it. In the middle of something important.
I have never had to search for a driver.
This may be why the PowerBook is breaking my heart.
But it is also why I still love and trust it.
Oh, and I have never bought the AppleCare. I have thought about it, but never actually gotten around to doing it.
Still they give outstanding and very caring service.
Just a few reasons for my hearting Apple.
And now I'm all dressed and ready to run down and hug the courier once he gets here.
I may get some knitting done, while I wait.
And ponder my back-up procedure in the future.

And because there's more to life than reading and writing, knitting and waiting, I also have a very secret project to play with.
Involving this:

And sorting through the old photos I found one of kitten Laurenz.
When he was a wee one still living with his sister and the rest of his big cat family.
And was called Lorentin.
"Who's a cheeky little monkey?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

When all else fails, there is always knitting - and tuna

Well, now I have finished knitting the back of the Waist-cincher top.

And I knitted most of it while running Disk Utility, attempting clever things in Single User mode, and doing Hardware tests, as my beautiful Powerbook has refused to restart since Monday.

No errors, no nothing, there is absolutely nothing wrong, and as such nothing to fix.
But my beautiful machine nonetheless refuses to restart.
In spite of everything saying that a healthier and happier computer would be hard to find.

Tech Support suggests tuna. Tuna is always good.
And this is no fun as the deadline for two large exam-papers is Thursday, and I have not set up a proper back-up process, even if I knew I should.
Well, the deadline was Thursday, as I have just returned from the university where I handed in the signed slip of paper cancelling the exams.
End of that story.
I'm awaiting a package from Apple which may/may not bring my PowerBook to move beyond the lovely startup sound, the pretty grey apple, and the promising progression wheel to actually letting me access my computer.
So now I'm back on the faithful little old iBook.
And I can concentrate on the Cézanne paper.
And it really makes no big difference anyway.
A small difference, but not in the great scheme of things.
So I may/may not have to rewrite the other two + one exam papers, but if that's the case at least I have until January to do so.
And they'll probably be better for it.
At least that's what I've decided.
And with help like this, I will be just fine.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Waist-cincher top

I have already finished the first sleeve for the Waist-cincher top.
And I love it so far.
However I have found a few annoyances with the book at this point, as I find the schematics a bit lacking.
It has very nice drawings of Front, Back and Sleeve.
But the Sleeve drawing only shows measurements for the width at cast on edge and the widest point and the length of the sleeve before decreasing for the sleeve cap.
There is no measurement for the full length of the sleeve, nor for the sleeve cap. And in the pattern this part is only given in number of rows.
And this bugs me a bit.
Same with the front, which gives only the measurement of the height of the lacy part - as also stated in the written pattern.
No waist width, no indication of the width of the overlapping parts or the height from under the bust to the shoulder.
And add to this that the pattern itself is also written without an indication of the finished measurements.
Of course I can calculate my way to these measurements counting rows and stitches and using the gauge given.
But then it had been handy if she had also given her gauge for the part using the smaller needles.
This may not be super important, but sometimes it's nice to assure yourself everything is right by using your measuring tape.
And sometimes it's nice to be able to adjust for a narrow waist by knowing beforehand if adjusting is needed.
(And again I think I have been spoiled by the Domiknitrix, as her patterns and schematics are extremely detailed.)
So I'm slightly annoyed - but still very, very happy with the book.
And the sleeve.

And the best morning sunshine is found leaning against the book case.
And I really, really need to chase away some dust bunnies.

Friday, May 25, 2007

When a knitting book makes the bookseller blush

I have been very good today and have worked very hard on my exam papers, and so I allowed myself to go to the book store to get my very own copy of Joan McGowan-Michaels Knitting Lingerie Style.

The very nice man at the book store was business as usual until he looked at the cover again:
"But it's a knitting book?!"
"Yep, it's a knitting book."
"My aunt used to knit."
"Oh, did she?"
"Yes, but mostly sweaters and they were usually itchy, and ... this is not .... sweaters ... (another glance at book cover) and not itchy .... I hope".
There is something rather endearing about a middle aged man blushing because of a knitting book.

And the fun didn't stop there, I also allowed myself to buy yarn for the Waist Cincher-top.

As I simply cannot imagine wearing an angora blend next to the skin I found a very nice cream coloured cotton/wool blend which should work. With black for the edges and stripes.
Because I'm boring.
I did fondle a lovely dusty lavender angora/wool blend, which would perhaps have been suitable for the waist-cincher top, but will instead be perfect for the bed jacket.

And there are pretty socks. Many pretty socks. But these are the laciest.

And these interesting leggings would very likely be perfect for both yoga and cold winter days.

And there's a gorgeous skirt.

Of course I think about knitting this in a cotton/linen blend, as I apparently lack respect for yarn choices - even if I should know better.
But my excuse would include that none of the yarn used in the book is available here. None.
And there are no suggested alternatives, nor a description of why the yarn is chosen or what to look for in a substitute. Or whether it is deliberately knitted loosely or tightly compared to the standard gauge for the yarn.
The brilliant Domiknitrix has spoiled me in this regard.

There are also plenty of bras and beautiful sleeveless tops.
And while I do not do sleeveless myself (thanks to being overly self conscious about my arms, having suffered from a bad eczema most of my childhood and teenage years), there may be made many fine gifts for the girlie friends.
And now I can knit and watch Judge Deed and McCallum on the Granny Channel and drink a bit of wine.
Sadly, or maybe not, that's very much my idea of the Perfect Friday.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mmmmm, merino

Vincent likes wool

Laurenz is little better

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Vincent and the Purple Roving

Actually I am not sure if it really is roving.
Was roving, that is.
(If roving is the correct term.)
It was a lovely purple merino wool and according to the sign in the yarn store it was perfect for both felting and spinning.
And I meant to send it to someone in Germany along with a yoga dvd.
But that was before Vincent found it.
While I was in the shower.
I don't know if the wool benefits from being grunted into, chewed and stomped on (I know next to nothing about spinning).
If not it is beyond salvation.
And in that case I could just as well just let the happy cat stay happy - and just document.

Still suitable for spinning?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

You cannot make a silk purse ....

Well, actually you can.
I have been wondering what to do with the gorgeous recycled sari silk yarn Linnea gifted me. (Bearing absolutely no resemblance to sow's ears, except perhaps for a fuzzy softness)
I thought about Calorimetry, as I could use a headband to keep my hair from falling into my face while doing yoga.
But the sari silk didn't want to be a Calorimetry. Nor did I really want it to become all sweaty.
But by then I had become fixed on the idea of bringing the sari silk yarn with me to the shala. In one form or another.
And so it became a purse.

I have for a long time wanted something to hold my money, phone and jewelry (and keys and iPod) during practice, as the changing rooms are most often unlocked and unguarded.
Shoving them into the bottom of my yoga mat bag is possible, but not ideal, and I want to keep the things with me without disturbing visually or otherwise.
And this is perfect.
The yarn became a bit fuzzy, probably from all my petting it lovingly.
And it was amazing to see the colours appear and blend.
It still is.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Seven Random Things Bandwagon

I don't want to be the only one not doing the seven random things thing.
After many, many years of trying I still cannot tell left from right without thinking it over first.
When I just started doing yoga this meant that when our teacher said "and left leg ...." (for example) I would just start with whichever leg felt right.
And when he said " and right leg", there was a good chance I would choose the same leg. No time to think.
And I would be wondering why we always started with the same leg....
After my having been corrected a few times and after explaining my lack of ability to tell left from right, my lovely teacher started saying "and left leg - wall - ....or "and left leg - window".
As one side of the room had windows, and the other did not, and that solved it. For me.
At least in the shala.
I still don't have a driver's licence.
I not-so-secretly dream of moving to Sicily to live in a small cottage near the ocean, and do nothing but yoga, read, knit, swim and eat much pasta and much fresh fish.
When not playing with my cats and my mohair goats.
I don't really need an MA to do so.
But I would probably need a bit of money.
I'm not very tall. 164,5 cm. But then I'm also not very wide.
So I manage to look taller, most of the time.
And these help a lot.
When working at Big Investment Bank, I was asked to find something special for the Friday's After Work Glass of Wine as it was someone's birthday, or we had a new big client, or something. I've forgotten exactly what.
But it was something needing special celebration.
And so I hired a balloon clown.
He was a big success once the initial surprise wore off.
Although I was later told a plate of tapas or something had been enough.
I have such a huge crush on Roland Barthes.
I nearly blush speaking about him.

I cannot eat anything I cannot clearly identify.
And I am generally suspicious when it comes to Chinese food.
I have danced with Pablo Veron. A complete tanda.

The clothespin theory and the Wonder Wash

This is mainly for Linnea.
I think you may very well be right about the clothespin.
If only one is being used. And I wonder how I can find so many things wrong with a pattern - and still want to knit it.
When hardly any of the original pattern will be left unfiddled-with.
But then it is beautiful.

As for the bathroom - no I don't think I will get to use it.
It is for my Gorgeous Landlord's very own use.
But it will be beautiful.
And now I think I have found the perfect solution to my laundry problems:
The Wonder Wash Portable Washing Machine
As a child I would spend my summers with my grandparents in their summer cottage.
No electricity, no hot water - and the bathroom was not much more than a bucket in the shed.
(But I cannot imagine a better place or a better way to have spent those childhood summers.)
And my grandmother had a washing machine very much like this.
While I do have hot water, and electricity, and a fine bathroom of my own, this would still be very useful.
And once the laundry room is done, some day, this wonder machine would still be fine for attempts at dying fabric and wool, I would think, and for the quick little pile of laundry.
And for felting!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

That Chevron sweater - and the big hole

Some time ago I fell in love with a picture of the Chevron sweater in Erika Knight's Glamour Knits.
Finally getting hold of the book, thanks to the lovely library, I'm no longer quite as infatuated.
It is constructed by something as simple as rectangles with no shaping at all.
And being anything but rectangular myself that will no doubt need some shaping to work for me.
In particular as I do like a bit of shapeliness and a good fit to my clothes.
And I always get a bit distrusting of the fit of a pattern if the front and the back are shaped the same, as my front and my back definitely are not.
But I still think it is beautiful.
And I think I could make it work, with a bit of tweaking here and there.
And it may well become my simple mindless knit while writing the last two papers and waiting for the time to come for the second Elfin.

And the great big hole:
My gorgeous landlord is converting the old laundry room into a beautiful bathroom. While the space under the stairs will become the new and improved laundry room.
But now, after five weeks, this is the state of the new laundry room: big hole.
(bad lightning + bad camera + less than talented photographer = bad photo of hole in ground)
I may very soon need to find a laundromat.
But it seems that this neighbourhood, while being lovely, is too bloody affluent to support one.
And as I have not yet felt the urge to take my laundry for a bus ride, I've been keeping myself with clean clothes with the help of a bucket in the shower. For quite a few weeks now.
And I probably will until I run out of clean towels and bed linen.
In a few weeks.
Not sooner.
I hope.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Doing a bit of catching up here and there in blogland, while being incredibly bored at work, I found this:
The most beautiful, simple and elegant peace button.
Created by the beautiful and very, very talented Erica.

In love again

"Everything we see disperses and vanishes, doesn't it? Nature is always the same, but nothing remains of it, of what we see. Our art has to inspire a feeling of permanence while still showing the elements of all its changes. It has to make us sense it as eternal."

I am reading Paul Cézanne's letters.
A small book, very small, published in 1942.

I have decided to let the Cézanne paper be a somewhat "pure" dialogue between the master's own words (and works) on one side and cognitive and perceptive theory on the other.
This way I will be able to focus on the subject, which is first and foremost neuro aesthetics, and I will not be tempted to touch upon the subject of cubism.
I'm so thrilled to be thrilled about a paper again.
And happy.

"They like having their portraits painted. It's as though they sought your forgiveness for becoming discoloured. Their essence is emitted with their perfume. They come to you in all their odours, speaking to you of the fields they've left behind, of the rain that's nourished them, of the dawns they've witnessed. In defining with fleshy touches the skin of a beautiful peach or the melancholy of an old apple, I glimpse in the reflections that they exchange the same tepid shadow of renunciation, the same love of the sun, the same recollection of dew, a freshness."
And this was the man they called Le Sauvage
"Still Life with Curtain and Flowered Pitcher", c. 1899, Oil on canvas, 54.7 x 74 cm, The Hermitage Museum, Leningrad, Venturi 731

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Very pretty kitty

I don't know why, but this chair is the cats' favourite place for throwing up.
It's also good for napping, and for looking pretty, but there's a reason it has two removable, washable covers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Some days are better than others

And so today has been very good so far.
I've baked oatmeal biscuits and done laundry (in bucket in shower).

And I've had my synopsis approved and made progress on the paper on Cézanne - Cézanne put into a neuro aesthetic frame with focus on cognition and perception.
The dying of the harddisk allowed me to reconsider the subject of this paper. And I chose to make a complete change.
And now I'm flirting with Cézanne again.
I fell in love with him last year and am strangely excited about this paper, especially as I'm still in the process of making up things and finding out and investigating.
And reading more than writing. Other than the stray thoughts and things to remember and wild ideas.

And I've done the dishes and knit a few rounds on Clessidra, (which looks black and boring right now and is covered in cat hair, but will be lovely and warm and is at some point to meet the lint roll).
And I've invited our gardener up for tea (and biscuits) as she's really, really interested in meeting the cat who barks at her.

And I still have a few hours left to do things before going to the library (to pick up Erika Knight's Glamour Knits and some more neuro psychology - and returning a few overdue books) and then to work.
And the sun is shining.

Oatmeal biscuits (Hello Grandma!)

I seem to be on a crackers and biscuits roll these days.
Most likely there is still a lingering hand to mouth impulse connected to a certain degree of stress, and as I am no longer smoking, that means munching on something.
And that something may as well be just somewhat healthy and rich in fiber.
The crackers recipe needs some perfecting still, but in the back of my grandmother's cooking book I found her recipe for oatmeal biscuits.
And I remember and loved her oatmeal biscuits.
They are not as sweet as the ones you buy.
But they are better. In my humble very biased opinion.
And they're square! Nearly.

And I love my cheap blue tea cups from IKEA.
Mostly because of the large saucer-turned-plate, leaving plenty of room for something to eat while easily being held in one hand.
And the colour. Of course.

I am as bad at writing out recipes as my grandmother was, but here it is:
Oatmeal biscuits
250 g butter (I used half butter half margarine, for lack of butter)
2 dl milk or water (I couldn't decide so I used half of each)
- melt butter and add water and milk.

6 dl oatmeal
7 dl flour
2 teaspoons baking ammonia aka salt of hartshorn (baking ammonia gives crispness and lightness and during baking it smells as if a fox just took a pee in the kitchen - if not available, or not appealing, substitute with 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda, it's almost as good and not stinky)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt.
Add the still warm butter/milk/water and quickly gather into a soft dough, which feels funny and warm and very delightful between your fingers.
Divide in two and roll first part out directly on to the baking sheet, cut into squares and prick with fork or similar.
Bake 15 minutes at 200 degrees (celcius!)
And then you do the same with the second part.

Depending on the size of the squares you cut (genius!) and how many you eat before counting, you should get anywhere between 60 and 80 biscuits.
Good sized biscuits, that is, plus some odd looking side biscuits, you had better eat first.
I'm not sure if they would not benefit from a bit more sugar and maybe some vanilla and perhaps even some ground almonds, ... or orange zest and a bit of cinnamon, ... or raisins ... just for the days when the sweet tooth is on the prowl.
It takes little more than half an hour - a bit longer if you forget you have biscuits in the oven.

But Laurenz is only happy to eat the burned ones.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Guard cat extraordinaire

While Laurenz is beautiful and sweet he is not the brightest cat.
He is very good at fishing edible things out of handbags, though.
Vincent on the other hand is a very good guard cat. And a very patient one.
And I wonder if, with proper training, the two wouldn't make a brilliant addition to Airport Security. Laurenz could search through handbags, and Vincent could stare down the suspects untill crumbling under pressure they would admit to trying to sneak through too much handlotion - or worse.
(And so they could help bring home the tuna and I could switch to working only part time.)

Vincents motto could very well be constant vigilance (something Laurenz thinks interferes too much with quality nap time - and besides we would wake him if something important was happening).
For half an hour Vincent sat like this, staring intently at something on the roof:

Not making a sound.
Which is very unusual and so I got curious as to the object of his stare:

And then it moved.

And a bit later it left.

And Vincent could go get a snack in the kitchen knowing he had saved the neighbourhood from being taken over by a pack of pigeons.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


So it is Saturday evening and in the ideal world I would probably be out in the world getting drunk on gin and being very charming.
Instead I got fed up with writing and took the longest shower in the western world before finding my very old grey flannel pyjamas and the Pride & Prejudice DVD.
Mind you it is the "new" version (with the incredibly adorable little stick insect Kiera Knightley) and I had not seen it before for lack of time and so I did a lot of skipping back because it is beautiful and because I had decided to treat myself to some sock knitting, and Clessidra is an interesting thing to knit and easily competes with even a beautiful film.
And I have red wine.
And crackers.
And cats sleeping.
And I didn't even miss Colin Firth. Or the wet shirt
Thinking about it I did miss the wet shirt.
But then again, you cannot always have it all.

Friday, May 11, 2007

High on crackers

I've baked crackers.
Just because I could.

And because I felt a need for something crunchy while writing like a mad woman trying to make up for lost time and lost hard disk.
I am trying to do some sort of stream of consciousness-kind of writing, hoping that it is all stored on my hard drive.
If I don't think too much or too hard while writing, it may all come out.
If not I'll switch to hard thinking - and much of it.
In the meantime the crackers are incredible.
Crunchy and a just a bit crumbly and very, very delicious.
And fun to make. And easy. And quick.
And strangely meditative once I got to the cutting and pricking.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

From tablecloth to tunic

I have not had much to show these past months with regards to the Pledge, but I hope next semester will be more refashioning-friendly, timewise.
While the thrifted tablecloth was much smaller than the tag said, I have now a finished, albeit shortish, tunic top, with the help of a very old Burda pattern.

I actually think finding the pattern sheet took me longer than the actual sewing.
I am (at times) both lazy and practical and thus let the woven edge of the cloth be to form the edges of both body and sleeves.
And the subtle woven pattern shows itself beautifully in the simple shape. But does not photograph well.

And while it is a bit big I love the way it has turned out, and I'm sure the linen/cotton blend will keep me cool and comfortable on the hot summer days to come.
I like the thought of the table cloth having been witness to (hopefully) many happy family dinners.
And now it will come out with me to see other parts of the world.

Of the two white shirts one has found a new home with a friend of mine, who was quite terrified I had thought of "doing things" to it as it was
A. his size
B. a very expensive brand.
And I've just started using the other one to sleep in.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thrifty goodness

I have not had time to do much about The Pledge.
But as I'm still waiting for the verdict on the hard drive, while still swearing at Vogue Knitting and, more important, still pondering whether or not to start the great rewriting of exam papers, I may get just a little bit done in the sewing department.

I brought home a bag full of goodness from the local thrift store yesterday.

Two men's shirts, in luxurious white cotton, which I intend to turn into something much less masculine and much more suitable for the hot summer days ahead.

And I found a white table cloth which may become a dress or maybe just a tunic-like thing, as it is a bit smaller than I thought (cats helpfully wandered in to indicate scale).

And if this wasn't enough I also got a set of bedlinen, with one stripey side and one blossomy side. This is now destined to become a pajamas.

All for the Danish equivalent of $10. Benefiting the Red Cross, and thus making me feel a little bit guilty for not paying more, but the lovely little old lady insisted that was the price.
I hope to get something done about it this weekend.
Starting with the first white shirt, once washed and ironed.
Even if laundry these days is something done in a bucket in the shower.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Yes, Laurenz...

.... your behind does look big.

Pretty and very pink

My seven years old orchid is blooming again.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

That leaves only three

No wizardry at the exams office.
Not that I expected it but I was indeed very hopeful.
And since the paper & project due yesterday was closely tied with one of the papers due end of May I now only have to rewrite three papers, if the tech wizard is magicking away in vain.
And no news from him yet.
As consolation I've started working on Elizabeth I again.
Which does in a way make "her" Elizabeth II.
First yarn choice was rather bad.
And Vincent has decided that the best sunny spot is in the top drawer.
Which would, if not for him, be sadly empty by now, as we have not been able to do laundry for four weeks.
Making for rather interesting combinations in the wardrobe department.