Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28

Dawn, Thursday

Sunset, Thursday

So, I have a diagnosis on the ankle. There is marked heterogeneity with focal discontinuity consistent with short-segment full-thickness tear of the peroneus brevis at the lateral melleolus where there is a 1.5 cm gap between the regular tendinous ends.

Translation: a torn tendon.

Treatment: immobilization for 6 weeks. I picked seasonal orange for the cast.

Wish me luck. I already hate it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26

teaI have been a busy bee, working away on my Christmas list. Fifty cards made: check! Four batches of cookies in the freezer: check! Gifts for twelve made or bought: check! I am sustained by tea.

I did get out and have some fun last weekend. On Saturday night Josh and I attended Messy and Brave. The art was all awesome, and we came away with a print of one of Trevor Meeker's pieces. Very very cool. I am very inspired to paint again.

On Sunday night we went to the Dexter wrap party. Last year, Rhea was Josh's date. This year, Ian was going to go, but changed his mind at the last minute. So I put on my glad rags and went along. The night started with a couple of tequila shots, which put me in the mood for smiling and dancing, so I had a great time! I've finally learned how to enjoy a night club, where the music is too loud for conversation and the lights are too dim for lip reading. Yep, the key is alcohol. Took me long enough to figure it out, right?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Serger woes

serger woes
It's been ten months since Josh gave me a second hand serger. Sadly, we have not become intimate. I just don't understand it. I spent $105 getting it serviced, hoping it would come back all set up correctly, but no .... the first time I tried to sew, it jammed up horribly. I'm sure it was my fault.

Today, I decided, was the day to make my peace with the machine. I have two garments I want to make on it. So, fortified with many cups of tea, I approached my de-cluttered sewing table with a clear mind and a calm demeanor. I slowly followed the threading instructions, and tried it out.

Half an hour later, I am giving up. How on earth does that needle become unthreaded as I sew? (It's not in my trouble-shooting list!) Why can't I get the loops to have even tension, no matter how I fiddle with the knobs?

I need to learn to understand this beast. My local sewing shop gives a free class to new owners; perhaps if I pay them they'll let me bring in my stubborn baby and get some lessons in serger wrangling.

It can't be THAT hard, can it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15

I didn't realize until I searched just now that it was in February that I saw a doctor about my ankle. I was thinking that I'd gone in June, because I know that it had been hurting for at least six months at the time. But it was February, which means that I've been having ankle pain for a goddamn year or more. The cortisone shot I received back then relieved the discomfort for a couple of weeks, but the pain came back, and, over the last eight(!) months, it's steadily got worse. So much so, I no longer want to walk for exercise. And that sucks.

I have (a) a high tolerance for pain and (b) a distinct lack of desire to see doctors, which is why I've been putting up with this for so long. But I'm tired of it now. I want to find out what's wrong, and have some treatment options. I didn't get any today. Dr Lee said the bones look fine on the xray, so I need an MRI to determine what's going on.

And, of course, I couldn't just go over the road to the hospital and get an MRI. They need to clear it with my insurance company, then I can make an appointment. Then the radiologist needs to report back to the orthopedist, and then they'll call me to come back for treatment. This could take a while.

Meanwhile, I am grateful that my only health concern is a minor one. Apart from my right lower extremity, I'm fighting fit. And happy. Even though my scaling & foreshortening on the above illustration are WAY off.

P.S. I saw another movie this evening. I know!!! "Nowhere Boy", about the teen John Lennon. I liked it! Maybe I could get used to this 'going to movies' idea.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 14

have you ever?
I find it somehow charming in its naivete that the government would ask questions like this. They are trying to determine if I am a person of 'good moral character'. But if I weren't, wouldn't I lie? How can they expect honest answers to these questions?

Then it gets even more 'serious'. The questions boil down to:
"Are you a terrorist?" "Do you want to overthrow our government?"
In short, are you a bad guy?
As if I would say yes, if I were.

And just say I lie, and later on get caught red-handed in the act of overthrow. What are they going to accuse me of? Lying on Form N-400?

Of course, I checked all the 'No' boxes. I didn't lie. But then, who would say 'yes' to these questions? I really don't get how this means anything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13

Chilean miners rescueLike many others, I've been riveted by the saga of the Chilean miners. Watching them today, rising forth from the earth, one by one, to their loved ones, was so incredibly heart-warming. What a tale they have to tell. I couldn't stop smiling. Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thread sketching

Thread sketching
I've been playing with Christmas card designs for a week or two; this is getting close. I tried hard to make a Photoshop design work, but it just wasn't me. I need that element of hand work to make it truly a Hashi original. It seems I nearly always end up with a tree on my cards, which is not really surprising: a lit-up tree in a dark room is one of my favourite things about Christmas.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

October 9

Ginger cookiesThis year, I'm participating in an American Christmas tradition; I'm making multiple kinds of cookies to give as gifts. The plan is to bake a batch (or two) a week, and freeze them. I picked up Better Homes and Gardens' Ultimate Cookies & Bars at the supermarket yesterday, and I'm going to work my way through the freezable recipes.

First up: Giant Ginger Cookies, which are cooling as I type. I think I could have cooked them for another minute. I think they will be chewy, not crunchy. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, just different from the Ginger Nuts of my childhood.

Next: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies, which will probably look just as uninteresting when sketched, at least if I just draw a cooling rack full of them. I'll have to add props next time. I'll work on that.

Friday, October 08, 2010

October 8

The Social Network
I saw The Social Network last weekend. I know, it's a shocker, right? Me, going to see a movie. And on the opening weekend too. Wonders will never cease.

I liked it. A lot. I thought the acting and the direction and the photography were pretty wonderful. I've been thinking about it quite a bit in the days since, which to me is an indication of a good flick ... it's stuck with me.

Have you seen it? If so, what did you think?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

October 7

masking tape
For someone who really isn't into 'stuff' per se, I have a lot of it. I don't think I'm materialistic; I moved halfway around the world 13 years ago with a computer and a few sets of clothes, and I could easily do the same again. But still, the stuff somehow accumulates. Periodically, it's good to push back.

I'm feeling the urge to purge. Well, maybe not PURGE, but reduce the pile-up. Use the cool art supplies. Make Christmas gifts from the materials on hand. Release cool things to others who might appreciate them. Let the 'stuff' flow, not stagnate. Keep it cycling. "I might need that one day" or "That will fit me when I lose ten pounds" doesn't cut it these days.

Maybe it's time to buy this book, and take its advice.

Do YOU have too much stuff? Does it bother you?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

October 6

Lunchbag styles
What kind of lunchbag do you like? I've made quite a few foldover types, secured with either velcro or a button, and I've decided I'm not a fan, mainly because they're not easy to grab. I think handles are the way to go. I quite like the 'tied at top' idea, because it's so NOT a handbag, and it evokes furoshiki, a current crush of mine. Votes?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

October 5

My desk
Twelve weeks till Christmas. I'm working on a week-by-week checklist. First thing on the list: make week-by-week checklist.

I'm looking at my gift chart, and there are an awful lot of blanks. Help me out, family. Give me some suggestions.

Monday, October 04, 2010

October 4

Info meetingI was the family representative at the 8th Grade Washington Trip info meeting tonight; asking questions like "Do you take parent chaperones?" for Josh (no) and "Do the kids have to share a bed?" for Lauren (yes).

Plum tuckered out This wee one was bored to snores.

The trip itself sounds like something Josh and I would love. Museums! Monuments! Battlefields! Re-enactments! Historical documents! But would Lauren? Her interests lie more in Getting a Dress than the Gettysburg Address. Would we just be buying a very expensive kid-free week? Or would she actually get a lot of value out of it?

Advice? Did you go on a similar field trip at about that age? Or did you send your kid? Is it worth it?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

October 3

Cooking dinner
Dinners have become trickier in this household. Once upon a time, the four of us ate dinner as a family, with placemats and napkins and glasses of water. One kid set & cleared the table, one kid did the dishes. There was an orderliness, and we all knew it.

Earlier this year I finally had to face the fact that family dinners just didn't happen any more. Josh was in Atlanta, Ian was working at Starbucks, often at nights. I got home from work at 7pm to find that Lauren had been snacking all afternoon and had no interest in dinner at that hour. The fact that I am vegetarian and she is not made it even less likely that we were going to sit down and enjoy a meal together.

So, very reluctantly, I changed tactics. Now, I make several (veg and non-veg) re-heatable meals on Sundays. People can eat them when they are hungry. I've had to let go of my attachment to family dinners, and just stock the fridge, and hope that the love comes through regardless.

Today's efforts resulted in Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken and Spinach Casserole, and Ratatoille.
Emeril's Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni
Chicken and Spinach Casserole

My other 'output' today was a bunch of flannel burp cloths. Josh requested a couple of sets to give to workmates who have recently spawned.

Burp cloths
burp cloth tag
I usually strive for 'gender neutral' patterns/colors when I make generic baby gifts. Which leads me to a new rant: why on earth are some colors and patterns considered 'boy-suitable' and others taboo? Why is a caterpillar OK for a boy, but a butterfly is not? What about flowers? And shades of pink? The spotted flannel above contains several pinks; does that make it a 'girl' fabric? Does anyone care? If so, why?

Also, why is it more acceptable to give a girl "boy" stuff, than give a boy "girl" stuff?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Because it's for sure getting me a bit agitated.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

October 2

Chapel bell
Oakwood Memorial Park is located in a somewhat remote part of the northwest San Fernando Valley, surrounded by rocky hills that served as a backdrop to many cowboy movies. Rattlesnake warning signs abound. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are buried there.

I had been sketching the chapel for a few minutes when a nicely dressed young man approached.

"You can't draw," he informed me.
"You can't draw the church. We don't allow painting here."
"Er ... "
"But that's OK, I'm a painter too. If anyone asks, I will tell them you are reading."
"Er OK ... thanks!"
And off he went. Very odd.

Pretty Thing

Pretty Thing
I asked my lovely knittery sister to set me up with a project while I was visiting her in Canberra. I wanted something small, but not too quick, with a bit of a challenge. We settled on a lace cowl, using Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Pretty Thing pattern.

This is my first knitted lace! Woohoo! Sister very patiently taught me some tricks and fixed my mistakes and dropped stitches for the week I spent with her, then I was flying solo. The project spanned my vacation nicely; I completed it on the plane ride back.

I used a hand-painted sock yarn from Fibre Webs that sister had in her stash (40% bamboo, 40% wool, 20% nylon) which felt lovely in the ball, but turns out to be somewhat scratchy on the neck. So the finished item is not really wearable; however, I learned a lot, and I've decided that knitting is not boring after all :-)

Friday, October 01, 2010

October 1

1001Big Draw L.A. starts today! Inspired by the 'wildly popular' Big Draw in London, this is an annual, month-long season of drawing activities. There are lots of cool events lined up, and I hope to attend several. But my major participation will be right here, where I plan to post a drawing a day, just like I did back in the old days when I first started this blog. It feels far too long since I've drawn on a regular basis, and I'm excited by the idea of getting back to it.

About this piece: As an ex-patriot, people sometimes ask me, "Where is 'home' for you? Is the U.S. your home, or is Australia?" I've never had a firm answer to that question. I demur and say, "It's about the people, not the place", and that's true to a large extent. But I can't deny the comfort, the familiarity, of the things and smells and vistas that I've known since birth. Eucalyptus. Kookaburras. Wattle. Vegemite. School uniforms. Huntsman spiders. I am not nationalistic, but I am very proud and privileged to be Australian. If I had to choose tomorrow, to stay in one country for the rest of my life, I would not hesitate to head Down Under.

Luckily, I don't have to make that choice right now. Luckily, I have people who love me, and whom I love, in both continents. But this good fortune is a two-edged sword, because, while my house and my spouse are here in America, I no longer know where my home is. And sometimes, like tonight, I would like to be sure.