Sunday, July 23, 2006


I am turning 50 this year in September, and Jaya and I are throwing a big birthday bash on at Cafe de la Paz in Berkeley. I am sending out my Save The Date emails, hope to get it all done before we go off to Lark in the Morning music camp.

I am planning a GREAT party, one not to miss! If you don't know this restaurant, you should. The food is fantastic. So, that's ONE reason to come. I am having a great band, Greenbridge, play. Tim Hart on whistle and bodhran, Michael Mullen on fiddle and guitar, and Tom Wagner on guitar and vocals. Michael does vocals too, and I've asked him to sing Isn't it Grand at the party.

Next, the White Rats Morris team are going to dance. When Jaya first saw morris dancing, he said, "Oh! It's Monty Python cheerleading." And for most morris teams, that's pretty accurate. But the rats bring a bit more to it, as you'll see. Their costumes, for one thing, are not the traditional morris garb. I'm glad I have become involved with the team as a musician (or Muso) and I've been very impressed with their dedication and skill.

After the rats perform, the party will continue with a regular open irish/celtic music session. Dancers are welcome to dance, singers are welcome to particpate, sangria will flow and great food will be available throughout.

Now before you all go shopping for a great birthday present for me, I have decided to ask folks to contribute a charitable donation instead of bringing a gift. I have chosen the Family Path organization (formerly Parental Stress Service), where Shay Black is
Administrative Program Supervisor. This group offers a 24-hour Family Support Resource Hotline, a 24-hour Foster Parent Advice Line, Emergency Respite Child Care, CalWORKS support counseling and Positive Parenting Classes. They also provide counseling for infants, children, adolescents adults and families.

Shay helped produce a cd a couple years ago celebrating the parent-child relationship, “Hold My Hand”. This includes contributions from such noted artists as Joan Baez, Mary Black, John McCutcheon,
Maria Muldaur, Steve Seskin, Linda Tillery, and others. The cd will be available at the party for a contribution of $20 or more.

I'm very excited to be beginning the second half of my own personal century on this planet. Gathering friends together to share music and good times is the best way I can think of to get it started.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Chained to my desk

Well, at least it's a nice desk! OK, I'm not actually talking about the DESK, which is just a piece of laminated wood propped up on a filing cabinet and sawhorses. I'm talking about the SPACE. Thanks, Lisa! (Lisa moved to Boston, so I moved into the nicest space in the office.) I have a window to my right, and one behind me, so I have light and air and... oh yeah, work.

Which is why I'm spending an inordinate amount of time in front of this desk. For the time being. I get to sit on the big green ball, and bounce a bit. And when nobody else is here, I listen to Cast On, Brenda Dayne's knitting podcast, or I turn my Irish music up. So there are good things. And putting together the magazine is actually fun. It's just NEVERENDING at this point!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

ANOTHER new project

This silk twisted wonder yarn I got on Ebay has been calling to me. And the loopy mohair came, too. So I looked through all my books and magazines, and I found this pattern. I am thinking if It fits at all, I'm going to love to wear it. And it seems to be quite forgiving size-wise. So here I go:

It is knitting up soft. Mostly purple in appearance with every other color in the rainbow showing through. Jewel tones. I'm excited. And it's kntting on size 10 1/2 needles.. shouldn't take forever. I'll keep you posted!

I didn't have time to post this picture from our last session here. Jaya and Jason both do marial arts. At some point during the evening, Jaya stood on one leg while playing a tune. Not to be outdone, Jason stood up and joined him. I couldn't compete in THIS arena, but I COULD snap a picture!

Last weekend, the Dunsmuir House Scottish Games were held. I went on Saturday to man the session tent, only to arrive and find... No tent! My friend Vic Entriken has been arranging this session for the past several years, and he's tired. We had a circle of chairs under the trees. This was not the best, but we did have a lively session, at least for part of the day.

Our neighbor, the stone carver, decided to take a nap. The music must have been soothing, because he was out for a couple hours!

On the way out, I stopped to see Molly's Revenge. I bought their new CD, Raise the Rafters.

Here's David Brewer in his element. I did a motion blur in the background, so it really looks like he does, running around on stage. He jumped off the stage at one point, playing his pipes. This kind of energy is what Celtic music is all about.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Memorial For Sid

We had a memorial for Sid the cat on Saturday, July 1. Attending were the three Sid moms, Janet, me, and Alison; Sid dad Jeff, and friends. Pictured above are Linda, Anne, Cordelia, Bruce, Janet, Alison and Jeff. Phil, Jaya and I were sitting at the picture vantage point.

Janet wrote 'The Story of Sid's Nine Lives' which she read. She and I provided some music, but although we HAD rehearsed, we didn't rehearse what we actually played, and I'm afraid I floundered around for the beginnings of the tunes. Luckily we were among forgiving friends, but I don't want to do that again.

From 'The Story of Sid's Nine Lives'

Sid found his favorite toy at Sharon’s – The Bear. When Sharon’s daughter Magda was born 22 years ago (or so) Sharon sewed this teddy bear for her firstborn. Sadly, “nobody really loved this teddy bear” said Sharon, “but Sid did.” Sid had been “fixed” a little late in his maturity and he would occasionally do this “happy dance” of kneading the bear’s legs and then gently moving his back end up and down. After he’d “done the bear” he would hop off the bear and give himself a short bath. The behavior seemed alternatively peculiar, amusing or natural – but it wasn’t the least bit messy and generally didn’t last long. It seemed to go along with Sid’s masculine physique. Anyway, once each of his Cat Moms got used to it – nobody really minded – and the teddy bear never complained.

Sharon's note: He may not have complained, but he showed the signs of being a REAL bear after he became Sid's bear. Notice the missing eye. Anyone who loves The Velveteen Rabbit will know what I'm talking about.

After the memorial, we went back to Bruce and Anne's for a potluck. Lots of Sid stories were told. Bruce threw some chicken and salmon on the barby, and we had a nice evening. Sharon and Julie joined us there, and we did a musical recap for them.

I made a chocolate cake in the shape of a bear, I should have taken a picture! It was frosted with whipped cream with ground chocolate mixed into it. I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe for Chocolate Sheet Cake. It makes the BEST chocolate cake.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Finished Projects!!

Jaya left yesterday morning for Tel Aviv. We talked on the phone this morning, but I won't hear from him again until tomorrow. I had a worried moment in the shower tonight, had to reassure myself that he'll be home on Tuesday, and everything will be fine.

I'm taking the opportunity to catch up on my blog. The first order of business is THE FINISHED PROJECTS!! I love it when a plan comes together. First: The BAG.

Here it is, handles and all. And filled it with the same kind (different colors) of yarn I used to make it. There are probably 12 skeins in there. I'm so proud of this. I know now that I picked up the stitches wrong when I made it, but after felting you can't tell at all.

Here is Andrew's scarf, all complete:

It's actually two stripes short, but I ran out of yarn! The last burgandy stripe is a couple rows short. I probably ran out of yarn because I made all the stripes one or more rows too long.. but actually I don't think that accounts for a whole stripe short of each color... there are only 9 burgandy stripes.

Anyway, i think it's plenty long. And because it was knit in the round, the fabric is doubled. This sucker is WARM. Andrew may be able to get by without a jacket when he wears this in the fall!

I have some leftover fringe. I have some leftover fringe from the very first scarf I made, too. I just saw a 'scarf' in the OneSkein book made from pompoms. What a good way to use leftover fringe! But it's either very edgy or downright hokey. I think the pompoms would have to be made out of very wonderful stuff for this scarf to be wearable. By me, anyway!

Next, is the whistle sock. MONTHS ago, Jaya asked me to knit him a tube that he could put his low D pennywhistle in. He was using an old knee sock, and he thought it would be cool to have a custom knitted 'sock' for it. He puts the whole thing into a plastic tube, the fabric cushions the whistle. This is the whistle he bought when we were in Galway.

I used some very soft yarn that I got in the bargain bin at the knitting show. Was it April? I still haven't used most of that yarn, but this skein was perfect for this project. This blue is the color of Jaya's eyes.

I used #3 DPNs and knit the tube in the round, just like a sock. He wanted it longer than the whistle is, so it can fold over at the top. I closed the bottom just like I make a sock toe, with short rows. And for a refresher of Kitchener Stitch to close it up, I went to the Knitting Help website. These movies are wonderful! They take you through everything with very clear verbal description and the visual as well. Just a fantastic resource. My mother found it, I've bookmarked the site, and I go back to it when I want to see something again. I wish she had a movie for Tubular Bind-Off. That's one I can't seem to master.

And now, THE STASH

I have discovered shopping for yarn on EBay. I have to stop, because I now have purchased 3 lots of yarn and some needles, and I just have to pledge I will use it before I buy anything else. Well, SOME of it.

I have only received one of the lots so far. This is 10 skeins of handspun silk from Sari remnants. So it's recycled. And the colors are gorgeous. See?

The yarn isn't very soft, and the seller recommended knitting it up with mohair to add some softness. So the other two lots I bought are to use with it. They should arrive next week. I got 10 skeins of Purple and Blue loop 80% Mohair, 20% Wool.

I think it will be gorgeous with the Sari Silk. I'm thinking of knitting a kind of loosish shawl, but I really haven't decided.

And then I got some 50% Angora 50% Wool yarn, 6 skeins. While I was shopping for the Angora, I discovered a seller who spins 100% Angora yarn from her own Agora Bunnies. Drool. But it is much more expensive than the commrcial stuff I bought, and I've gone a bit overboard as it is. I'll buy from her another day.

The angora yarn I bought is pink. And I think this will work very well with the bright Sari Silk colors, too. So maybe two shawls? Scarves? I have enough for a larger project, so I'm not sure. Anybody have any pattern ideas?

Now, of course, this isn't everything. I'm still working on Jaya's socks and the Christmas socks. But I couldn't help myself, I started ANOTHER sock. The mosaic pattern from the Sensational Knitted Socks book by Charlene Schurch.

I think this pattern is yummy, but it's late, and I am not going to take the time right now for a picture. I'll post one later on.

I have more catchup to do, but I just am out of steam, so I'll tell you all about the Dunsmuir Scottish Games and Sid's memorial service another day. Probably Monday. Oh! and I learned how to spin last night! My first lesson, anyway. More pictures to follow. Goodnight.