Saturday, June 26, 2004

pretty kitty.

I've been knitting for a while now. I learned to knit while I was living in rural Baja, Mexico, where there was one grocery within an hour's drive and nothing else to do but fish for crabs and read and laze around and study. We would sit on the sand (in a sandy place, where there is no pavement, everything is sand and sand is in everything) and knit for hours. In the end, I got a nice golden brown tan and had lots of blocks of sandy knitted squares. I will forever associate yarn with sand and salty sea smells. Isn't that weird?

So I learned to knit, and then I came back to the US and stopped knitting. Because there were so many channels of TV and malls to shop at and internet to niffle through.

Then, a bit back, knitting became trendy. And I like feeling trendy. So I started knitting again.

I knit slowly, and unravel often, and the things I knit almost never turn out as planned. Last Christmas, I thought I would make a scarf as my gift for our office gift exchange. I ran out of yarn three quarters of the way through and couldn't find (for the life of me!) another skein of the stuff. So the scarf ended up rather short. And of course the largest possible man in our office picked it out. And all winter, when I saw him wear it, I would cringe a little inside. Like, "Sorry world, for the ridiculously short scarf on this poor, sweet man! My bad!"

My latest project was the kittyville hat from the very popular stich and bitch and I am actually quite proud of it. The side string pom-pom things are a couple inches uneven, but I've decided to call this flaw "quirky" and "charming" and leave it at that.

*I posted this with the weird wrong date, and now I can't remember when I actually posted it, so to those who are sticklers for accuracy and stuff, sorry!

posted by m at 11:45 AM

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

crafty. or something.

I like to think that I am very crafty. But I am not, really. Religiously reading blogs like this and this and this allow me to live to the fantasy vicariously through others; I browse the projects on craftster longingly for hours.

B calls me a craft geek. But it's worse than that. I'm a wanna-be craft geek. I sigh.

My projects tend to start out as BIG ideas that take a disastrous turn, and then end in me calling them "art."

Most recently, there was the incident of the lovely smushable "egg surprises" that I found on not martha which didn't stencil properly and turned my hands pink and made the house reek of vinegar. I started with a box of a dozen eggs, and only four didn't break into a million pieces before I was finished.

To begin with, I had had lovely visions of small children and their parents exclaiming over my lovely easter surprises. "Oh! However did she MAKE these! She's SO clever!"

To end, I stuffed them with small things from my desk, and presented them to a friend.

"It's art," I explained.
"I see," he said, shaking his head.

posted by m at 10:36 AM

Monday, June 21, 2004

Reasons for Maddy to go to bed earlier: So that she doesn't ever again have to stay up through the night (at 5 AM, you start to cut your loses!) to catch exciting events like this. And then fall asleep and MISS it. Poo.

posted by m at 3:23 PM

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Eight years later, things that still remind me of you:

Pronounced rah-moo-neh (ramune), this weird fizzy drink is one of my favorites and reminds me of childhood summer roadtrips with my Grandpa. My mom's dad, he passed away when I was in college. His are all happy memories, and ramune is one of them.

There are a few different brands of ramune, but the bottle design is always generally the same, as is the general concept: a carbonated marble gets pushed from the plastic top into the second chamber, fizzing up the soda. (No one seems to know how they carbonate the marble... But the mystery is part of the fun!) This one is made by Shirakiku. (Yes, they also make rice and about a zillion other Japanese food products.) About half of the excitement is in pushing the fizzy marble into the drink, the rest of it is in trying to get the marble OUT of the bottle, once you're done drinking it. The closest thing I can think of to the way ramune tastes is Fresca--the official grapefruit soda of the Coca-cola company--but it's not very close at all, really.

Other fun people who like ramune, links from this guy's japanicana blog: here and here.

Maddy looks up and thinks: Happy Father's day, Grandpa!

posted by m at 10:56 PM

Friday, June 18, 2004

My boy got a schmancy new treo pda phone thing today. He, who is a gadget whore, is marvelling at its smallness.

I feel that I should point out that while the phone is, indeed smaller than other models, mini-vending machine Barbie is even smaller. Vending machine Barbie, therefore, wins.

The boy is NOT amused.

posted by m at 10:18 AM

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

movin' on up!

When you start to think about moving, finding a roommate, you begin look differently at all the people you know. Sizing them up for their potential living-withability. Do they have cute clothes to borrow? Would they eat up all your best snacks? Stiff you on groceries? Hog the TV? Make out with unsavory characters on your couch?

I posed this to B, and we had this conversation:

B: So when do you think WE might move in together?
M: (wrinkles nose) Not any time soon.
B: Why do you say that?
M: Because you're a gross, dirty boy!
B: I am?
M: Yes.
B: I don't think I'm THAT bad.
M: You never take the trash out until it smells, you're growing 8 different species of mold in your refrigerator, you wash dishes once a month, your shower is a seething pit of slimy filth, and you leave a trail of dirty clothes everywhere you go! I adore you... but you are, in fact, a gross dirty boy.
B: But I CAN be neat!
M: Mmmmm. But you're not.
B: (pauses thoughtfully) I guess I AM a gross dirty boy.
M: (nods) Well, that... and you have no cute shoes for me to borrow.
B: Ah, nor you for me.

posted by m at 10:30 AM

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Standing, smushed up against the side door of the train car, in the crushing tide of people flowing on board. An occasional grunt from some brave soul trying to wedge themselves into the car, as the train sits on the tracks, idle, delayed for half an hour. An accident further down the line. I hear this news and my irritation jumps up a level--probably some jerk driver trying to beat the train. Stupid jerk driver. Stupid train.

The train finally jerks forward, and the doors close in on us. For the next half hour, I stand pinned to a back window, as a steady trickle of intrepid train riders squeeze themselves into every available inch of space. Stop, after stop, after stop. We are on top of each other, pressed into each other, a tangle of packages and elbows and unhappy glares.

We are smushed. We sigh.

Then, something happens. A young couple at the other end of the train throw back their heads and begin to sing. Suddenly the train car is filled with their voices--a deep, sad gospel song. Chatter ceases, and necks crane to find the source of the sound. An old man sitting down near me smiles, and we exchange a brief looks of happy wonderment. He closes his eyes, and nods his head in satisfaction.

And so do I.

posted by m at 11:10 AM

Monday, June 07, 2004

Confession: I live at home. WITH my parents. It embarasses me a little, that I do. I haven't always lived at home. After high school, I moved out and into the dorms, and was on my own for pretty much the next seven years. In that time, I lived in seven different apartments, in four different countries, with varying combinations of a dozen or so roommates. I know how to do my own laundry and pay utility bills. I even have my own furniture, and my own set of pots.

I moved back into my parents' house after returning from an extended time abroad in Africa, when the condo I had been subletting was suddenly sold by the owner. I was too tired to move again--to look for a place, to find a roommate, to start over. Again. So I moved home.

My bachan and jichan (in English known as "grandparents") also live with my parents, inhabiting a small guest house on the side of our garage. They moved in when I was nine, and have been there ever since. My brother, now in his senior year of highschool, has the bedroom down the hall from mine, and concentrates most of his waking hours on mastering the final levels of disgruntled teenager-dom. Late last year, after my uncle lost his apartment in San Fransisco (and unable to find any last scrap of affordable housing in the city), he retired and moved in with us. He now spends most of his day harassing my brother.

I've been at home for nearly nine months now, closing in on a year. It's been an interesting exercise in closeness and patience, and the daily habit of preserving humor and getting along. But between the seven of us, things seem to work themselves out--daily life takes on a workable pattern, and we go on.

But then again, there are days like this:

Maddy takes the day off work for a mental health preservation day of mall food and shoe shopping.

Jichan: Where you going?*
Me: To the store.
Jichan: Why you no ask us, we need stuff? You stay go store and you no ask us, we need anything? You supposed to ask!
Me: (Sighing, loudly, in head) Do you need anything?
Jichan: Orange juice. We no get orange juice.
Me: Okay, I'll pick up some orange juice. Is that it?
Jichan: Eh. You try wait.

(Goes and argues with Bachan through the screen door for a few minutes, while I stand by the car, waiting.)

Bachan: (sticking her head around the screen door) You going to the store?
M: (how do you explain that not all stores are GROCERY stores?) Um... yeah. I guess.
Bachan: Okay. Stay wait! I come!

I briefly consider telling her that I am going shopping for non-grocery items, but decide to forgo the 20 minute lecture on "wasting money." Because then I'll just feel guilty about going shopping, and end up taking Bachan to the grocery store, anyway. It's a lose-lose, all around. Rar.

Ten minutes later (and twenty minutes after I initially decided to go shopping), we're off and running, and I spend the next two hours of my precious day off at the chinese grocery market and the 99 cent store.

(arriving home.)

Jichan: You get orange juice?
M: Yes, we bought orange juice. It's right here.
Jichan: This small!
Me: What do you mean, small?
Jichan: You supposed to get big!
Me: What?
Jichan: Big! Like gallon! This small!
Me: That's all they had. (This is a lie, but I'm NOT going back to buy ANOTHER bottle of juice.)
Jichan: (grumpily nods and stalks off.)
Me: ARARARARARARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Reading back over this, I realize that it makes my grandparents sound like they don't know how to use helping verbs, which in fact, they don't. My family is from Hawaii, and so they speak like they're from Hawaii, and while I hate writing in accents, if I didn't, you might be left with the impression that my grandparents are both totally normal, and they're not--they're loving and wonderful, and totally crazy, and drive me crazy, and the craziness which with they cause my head to explode is all spoken in Hawaiian pigeon. And that's the closest to reality that I can get.

posted by m at 1:56 PM

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

drink me.

Today I got the very last (mine!! all mine!!) Diet Dr Pepper from the first-floor building cafeteria. The cafeteria is owned by the state, but operated by various entrepreneurs with disabilities--part of the state's small business development outreach program. Joe, who had run the cafeteria since the building opened a few years ago, recently retired, and the ensuing management change has left much to be desired. Mostly in the area of soda management--also fondly known as: "stocking Diet Dr Pepper." This is my favorite fizzy drink in the whole entire universe. The main reason that I ever passed my graduate comp exams is that I was able to study for 72 hours straight on 36 cans of Diet Dr. Pepper. I took the exam, and then I pooed. For days. Thanks, Dr Pepper!

The upside is, that the disappointment of so often NOT finding Diet Dr Pepper has made the rare finding-of-Diet Dr Pepper into a brain-busting, heart-pounding exhilarating event.

Or maybe I just need some new hobbies.

posted by m at 9:45 PM

albertus brushy mcbrush

Consumer lust! A Japanese-made shaving brush, with eyes and a nose. Just a dollar at the Melrose Trading Post.

posted by m at 5:25 PM

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