Sunday, August 24


Fiona has gone to live with a university professor who has been waiting all her life to be adopted by a 2-year old girly girl cat.

Let me introduce you to Lulu, fearless 6-toed tabby kitten that came home with us a week ago.
She is fearless. She is cuter than all get-out. 85 pounds of Chuy (the dog) mean nothing to her. She loves watching Guitar Hero Aerosmith with a bunch of 10 and 12-year old boys. Occasionally, she talks politics with Chris Matthews and with our resident Cuban author. One of these days, she'll kick my butt.

I'm in love.

Friday, August 15


Please excuse the blur--I had to use the purse cam as the battery was dead on the big boy.

Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn

Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn, col. S252

That little bit of lime green surrounded by charcoal grey and cobalt gets me everytime. The yardage is good (100gms/300meters) for a thicker sock, but I got 2 skeins for Mr. Mary's doublewide pontoons. I don't have a particular pattern in mind but that will change now that I have discovered the "friend activity" button on Ravelry. This is genius, sheer genius. I consider my 'friends' to have exceptional taste and so it is with great pleasure that I can track their favorites, the latest additions to their queues and newest photos. This way I can piggyback on other people's time. It's like gawking with a purpose as opposed to, um, randomly looking at stuff while hours pass by.

And look what I found!

cute crocheted hawaiian flowers, the Wendy Moreland Penispoopcakewaffle socks, the Eden Scarf from "Knitalong," Brella's Townhouses Lego Needle holder, and Pamela Wynne's free pattern, "February Lady sweater." OK, all of y'all knew about this already, but we're among friends, right?

Uh-oh. Look at this. It calls for the Noro Kureyon sock and Kureyon. It's stash time here at the Ponderosa.

Monday, August 11

Land, Sea & Air

This is the middle of nowhere past the BBQ joints in Elgin and before the Bluebell ice cream factory on the highway between Austin and Houston. Hell, even dogs aren't sleeping in the road. And then...

This is Yarnorama which is in Paige, TX, aka 'the middle of nowhere on the highway between Austin and Houston.' Jane and Alexandra are a couple of crazy knitters that I hang out with on Sundays. I drove and they navigated--you can't expect me to do everything, sheesh. See those shit-eating grins? Yep, we've got a couple of satisfied customers here. Let's go inside and see why.

Oh, my. It's a treasure trove of yarn, fiber, looms, wheels and all sorts of goodies. There's an adjacent cafe where the local construction guys get their sandwiches. Anyone who remembers the Diet Coke commercials will catch my drift. And, yes, there's herbal tea and cookies. And Malabrigo, Jojoland, Louet fibers, their own hand-painted fiber/yarns, wood floors, skylights and lots of good karma. I picked up some Louet 60/40  wool/linen blend fiber for spinning and then I saw the charkhas. Susan, the owner, graciously showed me how they worked and I practically swooned. They have a ratio of 100:1 and they're what Indians use for spinning cotton, linen and silk. The wheel is flat inside a wooden case and folds up into a small laptop sized box. You spin the wheel with your right hand and use a long draw with your left. She made it look effortless and...I'm on the waiting list for the next shipment.

All that excitement got us good and hungry so we paid up, loaded up and drove back to Elgin, the one city that Texas Monthly did not mention in their recent BBQ round-up. Cartwright's BBQ(formerly Crosstown BBQ) is on the main square in Elgin and they have really good barbecued chicken. Smoky, moist and falling off the bone. That, with some sauce and white bread will put you in a very happy place. Jane and Alex sampled the brisket and sausages and it looked like an 8 on the BBQ Meat-o-meter. We flipped through the Fall Vogue Knitting for dessert.

A few days later, Mr. Mary whisked me off for a weekend in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Una michelada mas, por favor.

I treated my Noro Kureyon sock to some deep sea fishing and thought I'd take the the rod myself. Woohoo! I nailed a 90-inch sailfish which was simply stunning when it crested. This unfortunate creature swallowed the hook and could not be released back into the sea which is the normal custom and my preference. As a result, it will have a place of honor in our foyer in about three months' time. I plan to knit a cover for the bill.

It was a marvelous trip until airport security confiscated my size 2 Addi turbos and a pair of size 6 Crystal Palace bamboo needles. Hellooooo, I was able to enter the country with them so why can't I leave the same way? This is the first time in 7 years that this has happened, so I shouldn't be surprised. Luckily, neither of my projects was that far along. But, pulling  the twin leaf shawl off the needles without a lifeline was, well, not pleasant. You could say I experienced "yarn rage." Even my Spanish got a little testy. I did ask them why they just didn't take the sharpened pencils out of my purse while they were at it.

I went to Gauge today, bought some new needles, and put the sock and shawl back on their respective sizes. All better. And now I'm off to bed where dreams of charkhas, cotton and glistening water await.
Should I should sign up for a yoga class?

Wednesday, August 6

We interrupt...

this sporadically posted blog to report that I'll be back after a whirlwind trip to Puerto Vallarta this weekend. It was a big surprise from Mr. Mary (to make up for the debacle in Belize) and I just cast on for the Jojoland Twin Leaf shawl using Sea Silk for the plane. Oh joy!
What's that? You mean it's a romantic getaway and not an excuse to knit in airports and on airplanes. Oh, come on, who wants to knit on a beach full of, you know,  sand with ice cold beverages? And no kids?

But the real news is about my field trip to Yarnorama in Paige, TX. Now,  that's my idea of a romantic getaway.

Monday, August 4

Summer Reading

Summer Reading, 2008

I list these in no particular order, but now realize that I have, um, diverse tastes in reading material.

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Thirty-something NYC divorcee roams Italy, India and Bali in search of self. I was all set to hate this one but a good friend insisted that I give it a try. "At the very least, you can come up with some fun theme meals for each of the sections," she suggested. I told my brain to be open-minded and started reading. I had a couple of smirks in the first couple of pages and sailed through the rest. Gilbert's willing to laugh at herself while going solo on her own vision quest. And, yeah, I want to have a beer or chai or whatever with Richard from Texas.

Echo Burning, by Lee Child. I read a couple of his books on the plane to France and now I'm craving another. It's a 100 degrees here in Austin and it's going to be Fahrenheit 551 by the time one-man-destructo-derby Jack Reacher is finished with El Paso. Warning: lots of guns, blood, and all hell breaking loose.

Love Is A Mix Tape, by Rob Sheffield. Remember that college boyfriend who spent hours making the perfect mix tape for the next byob party in your ratty old studio with the crappy AC? He was cute and all, but you kinda wished he'd just STOP IT and get naked or something. Well, Rob Sheffield was that boyfriend in the 90s and he married that girl with the thrift shop clothes and funky hair. They were all over the alternative music scene, writing about it, getting published, hanging out in Charlottesville, VA and making mix tapes. And then she died. Sheffield writes a memoir that captures the essence of those times, the music and and his survival. Hey, I'm all fired up and getting my mix tapes put on disc--80's indie rock for me, baby.

Deathnote 3, by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. I don't have time to track this stuff down on TV, so I buy the books instead. I call these books 'snacks' because you can pick one up and finish the whole thing before you know it. I am fascinated and repelled by Ryuk, the Shininami death god.

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett. I know. Another violent thriller, but this one's got a buddhist cop. Consider this the love child of Elizabeth Gilbert and Lee Child or Christopher J. Koch and Dengue Fever.

Nasa/Trek: Popular Science and Sex in America, by Constance Penley. I was interested in the origins of slash fiction. Penley does a nice job of covering the history of Nasa and Star Trek and how they are not mutually exclusive. Her feminist perspective of slash fiction explains how this genre has flourished.

Wonder Woman: Love and Murder, written by Jodi Picoult. How cool is this? I just want to crank up Us Amazonians, sung by Kirsty Maccoll, put on a bustier and some bullet-proof bracelets.


Mes Accessoires Signes and La Droguerie's Babies (Creation La Droguerie). I picked these up at Le Bon Marche in Paris. The accessories are clever( gorgeous leaf scarf), the baby clothes should have adult sizes(kimono with flat ribs) and I love the colors. Tres chic.


Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, by Padma Lakshmi. Ok, everyone knows she's the host of Top Chef, a model, and Salman Rushdie's former girlfriend. But her recipes are fun and not too Eurofusion. In fact, they're quite good. "Sea Scallops with Crushed Peanuts and Cucumber Relish" is next on my list.

Moro East, by Sam & Sam Clark. My DH picked this up when he was in London, but I'm sure it will hit the States pretty soon. Moro is one of my all time favorite restaurants in London (St. John is another) and I have the two previous cookbooks written by the Clarks. This one is based on their garden plot in the East End and their diverse plot neighbors--Turks, Cypriots, Greeks, with recipes influenced by all corners of the Mediterranean. I've been on a vegetarian binge lately and those recipes are truly stellar, but there's yummy stuff for carnivores as well--"pigeon salad with figs and pomegranates," "fish stew with yogurt and vine leaves," "squid, celery and preserved lemon salad." Be still, my growling tummy.