Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2006

I've had more fun working on my Halloween costume for the last few days. Microsoft invites all of the families in for Trick or Treating in the hallways, and costumes are strongly encouraged. Both for the burst of color and the fun of the sewing project, I decided to be a fall tree.

I bought felt and a few batik prints, and then found an ideal leaf in a neighbour's yard to use as a template.

I spent Saturday evening catching up on NPR and cutting and sewing. In addition to the more complex felt shapes, I cut simplified and smaller versions in the batik fabric. While I was at the fabric store, I'd lived it up and bought new sewing scissors, which turned out to be an excellent addition to the evening. Two hours of cutting and no bruises! (It's good that my new scissors are such a good fit for my hands, since I'm still stewing over the unfortunate demise of my last pair of sewing scissors -- Kevin borrowed them over the summer to cut sandpaper.)
Here are the pretty piles of felt and fabric leaves waiting to be sewn together:

...and the piles of leaves in the sunlight the next morning:

Even the scrap pile was vibrant and pretty!

I spent the football time on Sunday handsewing the leaves onto a hoodie with metallic thread.

I tried getting a finished shot in the mirror, but only got horrible flashes -- maybe I'll be able to get one at the Brown dinner tomorrow. I wore it to work today, and ended up getting the costume prize for my group -- neat! One guy came in with a very cool and very credible imitation of one of the guys from the Blue Man Group, so I felt honoured. :-) Definitely couldn't compete with all of the little kids for cuteness, though.

Not horrible for a first try

October 28, 2006

I drove the mustang for the first time. Eek.

We have a tandem spot and I don't know how to drive stick, and so whenever Kevin is parked behind me he has to come out and move his car. I needed to go to the bead store, and so he dutifully tromped out with me... and then offered to give a reverse/parallel parking lesson. We live on a hill, so it's a bit more complicated, but it's probably the only manual driving skill I need to learn and his car isn't brand new any more (a year and a half old), so it was time.

The first try, I gave it way too much gas and it stalled dramatically, the second time I let the clutch out too fast and stalled again, but the third time I made it back and parked at the curb. Whew. :-) My left foot just isn't coordinated, so the clutch thing is tricky to me. And I forgot to turn the tires for the hill, I was so happy to be done. :-)

Here's Kevin, either squinting into the sun and secretly admiring my work, or vowing not to let me near his transmission again.

Week Seven

October 24, 2006

I wish that I could say that week seven was as successful as week six, but unfortunately it was another loss, 62-111. Steve was tied for first, so it would have been quite the upset if I'd won, but still. No love.

Jon Kitna, Det 18
RB/WR Laurence Maroney, NE 2
WR Deion Branch, Sea 6
WR Terrell Owens, Dal 15
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 13
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 3
D/ST Seahawks 0
K Jason Elam, Den 5
RB Shaun Alexander 0
RB Marion Barber, Dal 3
WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ 8
WR Reggie Williams, Jac 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson, Car 4
K Rian Lindell, Buf 8
D/ST Patriots 15
QB Alex Smith, SF (BYE) 0

The good news is that Jon Kitna has completely won starting QB status. I really like Alex Smith, but it's too emotionally draining to watch him rack up 15 points then interception and sack himself back to nothing. I'd been thinking it was a horrid mistake to play Maroney (2 points), until Barber only came out of Monday night football with three. Clearly the deeper issue is that I don't have ANY running backs. Branch came off a great week last week with an iffy one this week -- Hasselbeck didn't even look at him and then he did a mediocre job connecting with Seneca Wallace. Next week will be interesting. TO and Reggie Brown were solid, if not amazing. LJ Smith was disappointing. The Seahawks D have lost their starting spot on my team to New England, despite being initially given the benefit of the doubt, and kickers are still a tossup. The only consolation is that even if I'd played everything perfectly, it still wouldn't have hit 111.

Next week is going to be horrible, since I'm playing Josh, who owns Donovan and many of the Eagles. Given the loyalties in my house, I can't cheer against the Eagles, but it will make fantasy-acceptable ways of moving the ball tricky. It's such a pity I don't play him on the Eagles' bye week.

And, of course the knitting:

I actually finished the back of the vest on Saturday while rewatching "Walk the Line". I cast on for the last potholder during the Sunday games, and finished it while watching "Match Point" in the evening. No pictures, though, until I get a chance to felt all of them.

Sunny and Fall

October 23, 2006

Kevin's hamstring is finally getting better (he got cleared for the gym by his physical therapist! yeah!), and so we walked down to Kirkland for ice cream on Saturday. It was really a perfect fall day -- such fun to have a sunny weekend after all of the recent gloom! The leaves are still mostly unturned, but the smaller ornamental trees are brilliant.

Here's an orange tree:

And a red one:

And a picture of a deliriously happy lab -- we stopped at one of the parks and hung out on a bench just watching all of the gorgeous crisp colors. This family was throwing a frisbee into the lake for this dog, who'd race out to get it, then bounce around onshore until they threw it again. Sadly, the bouncing meant that I only got his tail.

They made him sit before they'd throw it, but it was on the beach and I couldn't see him. If you picture a soaking wet lab turning circles over the fun of coming back with the catch, you'll have the idea. We gave up and headed for home before they did. :-)

The sunsets keep coming

October 20, 2006

We had yet another gorgeous sunset tonight. To change up the inevitable photo, I walked up the hill one street over.

Ooh. :-)

The only sad (depressing, really) part of it all was that this photo was taken at 5:40. The days keep getting shorter.

Week Six

October 18, 2006

Finally, the sort of week I've been waiting for! Everyone was amazing, I finally played the right players, and I won 115-95. Wow. Neat.

Alex Smith, SF 9
RB Marion Barber, Dal 11
WR Deion Branch, Sea 20
WR Terrell Owens, Dal 22
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 28
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 10
D/ST Seahawks 6
K Jason Elam, Den 9
RB Shaun Alexander 0
RB/WR Laurence Maroney, NE (BYE)0
WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ 0
WR Reggie Williams, Jac (BYE) 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson, Car 4
K Rian Lindell, Buf 7
D/ST Patriots (BYE)0
QB Jon Kitna, Det 10

TO, with three touchdowns, got his act together (not that I expect it to last, but still good to see). Reggie Brown was awesome (and double points, since anything that's good for the Eagles makes Kevin happy). Deion Branch finally got in the Seattle groove. And even if the Seattle defense wasn't amazing, at least they weren't negative. 115! And somehow on Monday night, despite the two touchdowns by the Bears D (which Ross had) and the 83 yard run and touchdown off the kick by the Bears special teams, I managed to hold onto the lead. What a relief. :-)

I have no knitting to show -- I brought some for the trip and never even touched it. So I'll just have to revel in the football goodness for this week, with a crafty ending (hopefully) for next week.


October 17, 2006

While I was relieved to graduate, and while I don't think anything could compel me to trade age 25 for 21, I have to say that going back to Brown is always wonderful. I wasn't expecting to know anyone when I went back other than my brother, and yet I ran into all these people. I saw Crew Matt (nickname, not real name. also back to visit) on the way to Keeney. A kid who'd been a really boppy freshman in the CS15 section I TA'd senior year is now a grad student. A fellow CSer was recruiting with me. And I kept running into the interns from last summer who are now seniors, which was friendly and fun. I went to the Ratty for sunday brunch and read the BDH, lurked in a bunch of classes, scoped all of the new stores on Thayer, and sat on the green watching people swing by the tables set up to promote loving your body and valuing women (yay, college).

I think I felt older on campus as a senior than I feel now, which is kind of fun. Clearly I'm on the path to becoming a true alum -- still feel like I belong. A kid in the stairwell invited me to a "don't talk about your job party" in his suite for all of the seniors that haven't decided what they want to be when they grow up -- he didn't seem phased to hear that I'd graduated and had one already. :-)

Such nostalgia and good fun. I enjoyed cutting across Lincoln Field from Wriston -- a constant for four years:

And worked late at night (on my slides, for the presentation I gave on Tuesday night about Content Publishing) in the CIT with my coffee and my music:

And met Dave for dinner at his favourite bar off Wriston (picture taken as he was saying "Suze! What're you doing? No pictures!"):

Yay, brunonia.

In-flight entertainment

October 15, 2006

I rarely seem to fly during the day anymore, since red-eye flights are always cheaper. But since Microsoft was paying, I decided to live it up and take an early afternoon flight on Saturday. The bonus of this was, even though Seattle was all cloaked in dismal low clouds, Rainier and its foothills were totally visible. I was completely entranced -- 45 minutes of excellent entertainment. I used to have a computer background of the Appalachians -- swell after swell of blue mountains rising from the mist. This was the plane/volcano equivalent. If you click for the larger version, you can even see the silver river winding towards Rainier.

The plane passed it, and just as I lost my view, we turned south, so then I had a view of Rainier's east face, with Mount St. Helens behind it to the right (you can see the flat top still from the eruption if you click for the bigger version) and Adams behind to the left.

Gorgeous. :-)

Out with the old, in with the new

October 12, 2006

In the last round of east coast visiting in July, my wonderful suitcase finally gave up the ghost. The zippers had been failing one by one (you can see that the front pockets are held closed with safety pins), and the main compartment zipper gave its last zip when we got home (you have to admire the courtesy of that timing).

My parents offered me new luggage as a birthday present over the summer. When I found out that I'd be flying back to my college on the east coast to talk about my job at the end of the week, I got a bit more active about looking.

After many successes with their backpacks and bags over the years, I decided to go with LL Bean. The suitcase and flight bag showed up last night -- they're so pretty! Shiny and new! And they are dripping with pockets, which I think is so useful. There's even one on the back!

I'll be so stylish for my flight on Saturday! :-)

Also, LL Bean sent yet another copy of their Christmas catalog. I was kind of miffed, since it still seems really early for Christmas and they've sent three already, until I turned it over and saw the cover.

Awwww. :-) Forgiven.

Not exactly the posting queen

I've always posted in batches, but the habit seems to have gotten a bit more exaggerated of late... oops.

No good excuses, I've just been busy, mostly with work. They've been buying us dinner, so I've been staying long enough to eat, then going home and burning some midnight oil there. The futon/laptop combo is so appealing (especially since I can knit while I research. :-) and wear pajama pants while I knit.). There should be another month of craziness, and then everything ought to simmer down for a while over the holidays...

As for the posting, it feels an awful like when whatever teacher would check your journal at the end of the month in middle school to see if you'd been doing your daily entries. I always stayed up late that last night to write twenty of them at a go, and now isn't any different. Rock on, procrastination. But it's still that same feeling of achievement and catching up, and the blog is fun to me, especially as a personal reference. So the posting in batches will continue. :-) Hope you don't mind reading a week's worth or so at a time.

Week Five Results

October 10, 2006

Week Five was another close-until-the-end matchup, that I once again ended up losing. I was playing Paul, our editor, and the final score was 67-78.
Alex Smith, SF 17
RB Laurence Maroney, NE 3
RB/WR Keyshawn Johnson, Car 12
WR Terrell Owens, Dal 4
WR Reggie Williams, Jac 11
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 6
D/ST Patriots 12
K Rian Lindell, Buf 1
RB Shaun Alexander, Sea (BYE)0
WR Deion Branch, Sea (BYE)0
WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ 4
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 15
RB Marion Barber, Dal 10
K Jason Elam, Den 9
D/ST Seahawks (BYE)0
QB Jon Kitna 6

I'm feeling pretty good about, for the first time, having played the right quarterback. It's good to see that the Raiders didn't disappoint. :-) Laurence Maroney had the inevitable low week after last week's 26 points, but it was good to see the Patriots' D do so well.

The Philly game was difficult to watch, from a fantasy perspective. (though of course we're all celebrating that the correct team won) TO seemed like a really iffy option (could be amazing or could self-destruct), but after debating it, I played him anyway instead of keeping Reggie Brown. Clearly, that was unwise. He and Bledsoe are just so far off -- it's clear that TO missed all of training camp, they completely don't connect. LJ Smith had numerous opportunities to be great (including an endzone pass that bounced off his chest, and a long run stopped at the 1 yard line), but they were all near misses.

So, instead of pondering the choices that should have been made, I'll leave you with a picture of the vest:

Not bad progress considering that we only watched the Philly game instead of all three!!

Oh, the sunsets

October 08, 2006

Fall is Seattle's sunset season. The days are utterly dismal when you wake up, with low, dark clouds. Things clear a bit later every day (but usually by lunch), and then it's an 80/20 mix of clouds and sun all afternoon, before the gorgeous sunset.

I love these photos in particular. The weather always comes from the west, and if you look at the Olympics from our apartment, you'll know what weather will be arriving in the next three hours or so. This photo has the overhead clouds and the low clouds in the hills, but that clear break speaks to a starry night.

I love the way the mountain peaks emerge from that low bank of clouds.

We've been looking at real estate (90% seriously/10% recreationally, or vice-versa depending on what came on the market that day), and I'm already missing the Olympics. Perhaps a bit too proactive, but they're completely my totem mountains. Most of the houses we'd look would be Cascades-oriented instead. It's completely not the same thing. I love our sunsets now.


October 06, 2006

We didn't do anything in particular to add or encourage starfish in our tank, but the little (1/4" or smaller) brittle starfish have proliferated. They are supposed to consume detritus, so the more the better, in my opinion.

They're wildly light-shy (not to mention camera shy), but after cleaning the tank, I found this guy on the rock and managed to snap a relatively clear photo.

He's all curled up, but probably at max 3/8" across in this photo. Most are smaller. When we clean the tank, we vacuum out the sand, and we always end up with scads in the waste water bucket. I always feel guilty about the prospect of flushing them down the tub drain and spend nearly an hour fishing them out and putting them back in the tank. (which, judging by body language, they truly don't appreciate. ingrates.) I use a pipette to suck them up -- when they're shot back out into the water, they curl up into a ball and drop straight down, so that they can burrow back into the sand. Our fish are fraidy-cats and wouldn't touch them, but it's a neat survival instinct.

Week Four Results

October 04, 2006

I played my boss this week, and lost by a measly point, 48-49.
Alex Smith, SF -4
RB Laurence Maroney, NE 26
RB/WR Keyshawn Johnson, Car 6
WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ 12
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 6
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 3
D/ST Seahawks -6
K Rian Lindell, Buf 5
RB Shaun Alexander, Sea 0
WR Terrell Owens, Dal 8
WR Deion Branch, Sea 5
RB Marion Barber, Dal (BYE) 12
WR Reggie Williams, Jac 21
K Jason Elam, Den (BYE)0
D/ST Patriots 12
QB Jon Kitna 11

This wouldn't rankle quite so much if it wasn't so obvious after the fact that I played the wrong quarterback (negative four?!), and definitely played the wrong defense. I'd sort of been thinking that since Chicago is known for its defense and Seattle prides themselves on theirs, it could be a really interesting game. Instead it was a flat-out romp. Bummer. Also worth noting that, once again, I played the wrong Reggie.

The major bright point in this whole affair was watching Laurence Maroney run his way to 125 yards and two touchdowns! Yay for the New England rookie!

Also, I'm to the shoulder decreases on my vest! Here's a photo after Monday Night Football:

It's SO the little things in life

October 02, 2006

I bought a new tea strainer for $2.19. It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase in the grocery store. Truly throwing caution to the wind.

I've been coping with my rusty, leaky tea ball for a good six years, and now I have a brand new utensil that scoops tea and holds it securely while it brews. :-) (Shown above with my all-time favourite tea from the Thayer St tealuxe.)

The best part is that it's tall enough to fit in my travel mugs and be removed without the aid of additional utensils! And, at this height, you can even use it to stir so that the tea brews faster! Oooh.

Pretty exciting for a saturday.

Friday night fun

October 01, 2006

Last week was incredibly long, mostly due to work craziness. Lots of late nights at the office (not my norm). Kevin tore his hamstring playing football last weekend (poor him :( it looks incredibly painful, especially after a full day of trying to sit in the chairs at work), and so that's added a lot of carpooling into the mix since he can't drive. Add in our typical mess of projects and activities, and a touch of wedding (I think we have a photographer!!), and it was just one of those weeks where I wasn't feeling coherent anymore by late in the day on Wednesday. (I went through a full pad of post-its trying to keep a handle on things -- a feat that usually takes several months.)

So, it really made me feel incredibly happy and appreciated when my team's manager showed up in my office Thursday evening with a pair of Mariners tickets. :-) Such a fun pick-me-up. The seats were great:

And the crowd was a lot of fun. There was some group of teenage girls in matching outfits and taking up several rows out in center field that got a wave going (after a few false starts) that lasted *well* over ten times round the park. They were cheering the crowd on so determinedly -- perhaps that made the difference? Here's Kevin shaking his head at the wave that wouldn't die: