Friday, February 26, 2010

Day #15... No End In Sight.

You'll notice that the sweater has MOST of its body and 1 2/3 sleeves. That's how it stands. I'm not going to meet the Ravelympics deadline on Sunday night.


Meanwhile, I keep having computer problems. My laptop is the most expensive paperweight I've ever owned. I find myself listing off reasons why we need computers.

1. They help with health care.
2. They help me communicate with family and friends around the world.

And the best reason yet:

3. They are teaching me inordinate amounts of patience.

Or maybe they have just worn me down and I have given in. I will no longer fight. I will let them control my universe. I am a weak person.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Universal Truth #85

Nepotism belongs in the arts. Not in plumbing.

Who cares if your last name is known? Can you actually tie your own shoes?

Day #13 - but no pictures

Ravelympics Progress Report:

1) The body of my sweater is *nearly* done to the underarm, where I would join the sleeves in for the yoke.

2) I have one sleeve about 3/4 done.

What I don't have done:

1) 1 1/4 sleeves.

2) Yoke, collar, finishing.

Can I get this done by Sunday night? I'm still going to try. If you see someone knitting on the train between Lacey and Portland on Saturday, surrounded by teasing friends, you'll know it's me, still trying. ;) I'm supposed to go to Portland on Saturday for lunch and siteseeing with some friends. I'm hoping the train ride will provide knitting time. Otherwise I foresee a few sleepless nights in the near future.

Pictures of my progress tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Universal Truth #109

The maids know everything.

If you don't want your secrets to get out, clean up after yourself.

I got the joy of being a maid for my former boss. The stories I could tell!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Knitting Ranger Makes Progress...

The sweater in the picture above is NOT one of my Ravelympics projects. Rather, it's a sweater that I started almost 2 years ago and finished maybe 2 weeks ago. It thick, warm and was easy to knit, once I got over the anxiety of not purchasing enough yarn the first time. Thankfully, Seattle has yarn stores. I like the sweater. It's warm enough to wear here in the winter - and big enough that I can get 2 layers of long underwear on underneath. :)

The little socks ARE one of my Ravelympics projects. And they are done! Woohoo! (The pattern will be available next month.) For this grand accomplishment, Ravelry links my page to this award:

Who ever said Knitting wasn't cool?! ;)

And last night, Mika hosted a girls' night Bunko party. 16 women eating lots of food, drinking a few beers, and playing a game that slightly resembles Yahtzee. Oh, and screaming every time they got a good score. It was fun. I donated a hand-knit hat as a door prize, which was won by my friend Jill. (For Ravelers, it's the Alaska Cable Knit Stocking Cap II - Bulky project.)

Now on to the sad news, my beautiful sweater that's my main Ravelympics project has had a set back. I started in on the shaping for the bust and decided I didn't like it. So I'm now ripping back 2" tonight and starting that section over. Can I get this done (and pattern written) by Friday?

Wish me luck! And wish Apolo luck. He skates again tonight. ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


He did it again. How cool is that?

Quote of the Day:
"If I have given my all and still do not win, I haven’t lost. Others might remember winning or losing; I remember the journey." -Apolo Anton Ohno

I love inspiring quotes. They make me happy. They give me something to think about and the inspiration to strive.

Sometimes in life, it may seem that what you do is useless, or no one cares, or it (whatever you're working on) will never make the difference you hope to make. Believe me, working in a government office, I understand this mentality! And sometimes it seems that those who strive the hardest are marginalized, because someone else is afraid to be shown up, or is lazy and doesn't want to put in much effort. It could be a lot of things. Several times this past year I've been told such things as "Don't worry about XYZ. It's not your job."

But please. This country needs us. And not just the gold medal winners (although they are mighty fun to watch!). I heard a story on NPR a couple of weeks ago about the 'Moral Underground' - people who things to help their coworkers, neighbors, etc. in times of need, even though these things might be frowned upon by bosses, corporate America and sometimes even popular culture.

If you see something that needs to be done, and YOU are the one who sees this need, do it! Don't wait for someone else to come along. That would mean you're just like everyone else.

"Nothing happens until something moves."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

At least the van is ok...

Amidst other things today, I took the office van to the shop to have the spare tire fixed and remounted. I'm not sure when the mounting broke, but we need the room inside the van for snowshoes; the tire must go back to its correct location.

After looking at the van for less than a minute, the mechanic at the park's shop said nothing was actually broken; he could have it all fixed in less than 30 minutes. And so he did.

Meanwhile, everything else today seems to be going south. I woke up late. I slammed my finger in a drawer this morning. While working at the Longmire Museum, I had 3 men come in, rather impatiently, wanting climbing permits. Since the museum is not my normal duty station (and no one showed me where anything is), the process of getting their permits, registering their climb and routes, and reserving their spaces at Camp Muir (base camp on this side of the mountain) took a bit longer than it should have taken. I had to call a coworker to ask for help; he's now upset with me and will be telling tales of my ineptitude for months to come. Oh, the permits and registration all worked out in the end and everything was done correctly (and by myself, thank you very much), but this coworker will continue to pass judgement.

At least Lindsey Vonn got a gold medal at Vancouver today. And tonight, I will be knitting, having a drink and watching Shaun and Apolo do their things.

And I will forget this day ever happened. Until Mike gripes about it (again) to me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 4 - Progress and another RAK!

Pictured above is the progress thus far on my Ravelympics sweater. I've worked through the bottom 6.5" of the body. Today, I'm hoping to make it to the bust/underarm area. Last night I wrote out the basic pattern for a V-neck sweater. Part of this event challenge is not only designing and knitting the garment, but also writing a complete, publishable pattern for said project. My pattern will include two versions of this sweater: one "by the books" standard V-neck pattern for girls without curves like mine, and the "real" sweater - with alterations for girls who have actual curves, like I do. :)

I did have to put my knitting down for a time to cheer on Apolo on Saturday night. Ah, sport. I love the Olympics.

In other news, I got another RAK package this weekend! Lizzird, a Ravelry friend, sent me a set of U.S. #5 DPNs. :) Can you believe that there are still some needle sizes/styles that I don't have?! Thanks to Lizzird my collection is a little closer to completion! :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last night I parked myself in front of my friends' TV set and watched the commentaries, interviews and Opening Ceremonies of the XXI Winter Olympics from Vancouver.

And I started on my Ravelympics sweater. The pictures above were my preliminary notes (NOT started before 6 p.m., at the time the ceremonies started in Vancouver!), and the waistband. I have changed the name of the sweater. I've decided to call it my "Wine and Roses Sweater". A V-neck, worked in the round from the bottom up. Sleeves worked in the round too.

I'm not sure how much I'll get done tonight; Apolo is racing!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ravelympics Events

I have found myself, during the past 24 hours, coming up with more and more projects I could either do or finish to add to my Ravelympics Team agenda. It's a chance to challenge myself. And to work through some projects that I've promised myself.

Why do we promise ourselves things and then never follow through? Have you done this, and then, months later, feel a bit let down because you never achieved said goal?

I know that there will be athletes at these games who use questionable means to achieve their goals, but there are also athletes who work hard, day in and day out, training and practicing endlessly to get where they want to go.

I'm hoping that I can make use of some of the pent-up energy I feel, because of the waiting and uncertainties of life at the moment, and direct this energy into achieving some of my other goals.

Some of you know that I started, over a year ago, the program 101 Goals in 1001 Days. I'm not really folllowing that website, but at least you can get an idea about the program. Some of my goals have been achieved. Others are still in progress. And of course, some I haven't begun to work on yet. A couple of these are knitting-related.

The next 17 days should provide me the opportunity to test myself and my skills. The goal isn't a gold medal, but finished garments, published patterns and a new spin on my creativity.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Knitting Olympics

Just a side note, I guess I have taken on the challenge. I have given up the next 17 days of my life. I have made a pledge to train and work diligently. I've found a way to ignore all of that upon which I must wait.

I have signed up for the Yarn Harlot's 2010 Knitting Olympics challenge. I successfully avoided all such challenges made on Ravelry, but Stephanie just made it too funny; I read her blog today and had to promise. Maybe I'm just lonely and need some companionship in this, my hour of desperation.

Want to see how many other suckers (read: knitters) have signed up similarly? See? I'm not alone!

This is a good incentive for me to finish up that striped sweater. I've only to got finish maybe 10 rows on one sleeve. Surely I can get that done tonight and tomorrow's knitting time (and TV watching time) during the Opening Ceremonies can be devoted to the lovely yarn I've set aside for the V-neck pullover.


I'm hoping that the next two weeks will happily divert me from the waiting game I've been playing as of late.

Will Apolo bring home the gold (again)?

Freakin' cool. Dude.

Countdown is T-31 hours and counting. I'm going to be watching the opening ceremonies at Mika and Tom's tomorrow night. The only problem is that I'd like to be glued to their living room couch, knitting needles in hand. Mug of coffee on the table in front of me, remote laying nearby, and the freedom to scream and cheer as our team scores, swishes, spins, and soars their way towards another set of records and medals.

Yes, this might be the only time this year where I want for a TV bad enough to invade a friend's house regularly. I can't be bothered to watch football, but these alpine events are enticing. I'm just a Mountain Junkie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


That seems to be the underlying theme right now.

As I look out the window here at my office, the sky is is a greyish-green sort of matte color. Although I haven't checked the weather today, I bet we're going to be getting some weather. I'd be ok with that. We need snow; it hasn't been a real winter here in the Cascade foothills. But still, we keep seeing signs of weather. And waiting. And 'the big one' never materializes.

At least not like it has done the past week near Washington, D.C., where my parents live. Mom and Dad are home-bound right now. Dad, in part, because of his knee surgery last week. But the 2+ feet of snow they've gotten since last Friday keeps them off the roads. Mom is going stir-crazy. And poor Charlie the dog doesn't have too many places to walk right now. They are waiting for sunny days to melt the snow. Or the neighbor to get home and use his tractor to plow out the road (since neither Mom nor Dad are up to it at the moment). So they are waiting too.

I'm waiting to get feedback on the NPS ranger jobs I've applied for this summer.

We got some so-so news yesterday here at Rainier. The Sunrise staff this year is being cut by one position because of funding. So they will have 3 actual staff this summer to run a visitor center & program operation. Can you bet that the district ranger is praying for a miracle? A miracle in the form of full-time experienced volunteers. That location really needs a staff of 5-6 people full-time. We are hoping for a grant to come through - but waiting on that. Ohana will have 5 staff, including the district ranger (her permanent office is there).

And my medical bills from the surgery in November (was that really 3 months ago today?!) are still not entirely sorted out with the insurance company. Part of this is finalized, but part isn't. I'll be glad to get that behind me too.


So what is it about waiting that is so hard? Is it the unknown? Is the inability to prepare? Is it the confusion and loose ends?

Like any good knitted item I make, I like to weave in all of my loose ends seemlessly. I even take the time on nearly every piece to weave in all of the ends using duplicate stitch, so you can't even tell where my ends were.

I like the details to be taken care of, dealt with in a reasonably timely manner, all loose ends cleaned up and packed away out of sight. I feel better when I have things taken care of.

Which is not where I'm at right now. My apartment is always a wreck, but everything that has to get done, does get done. And sometimes ahead of schedule. I really like being ahead of the curve whenever possible. And that's not possible right now.


Speaking of which, I better cut this off for now and get up to Longmire to pick up our supplies. If a storm comes in, I want to have everything unloaded back here at our office already so nothing gets wet.

Good luck dealing with your loose ends today, whatever they might be!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday afternoon... still so much to do!

Rumor has it that it's snowing at Paradise...

It's not snowing down here at Park HQ. Sigh. A winter without real winter. El Nino or whatever you choose to call it. The Varied Thrushes were singing earlier this week. Last spring, I remember when I first heard them. It was probably a month later than this. I thought they were car alarms going off way too early in the morning. Now I just think it's a sign that spring is coming - too early. I'm hoping we have some more winter here. We need it.


As for the task list that I put up here on Friday? Well, I have made progress in the yarn department. I have nearly finished a sweater that has been 'in progress' for two years. (Thanks to Ravelry, I actually KNOW that the sweater has been WIP that long... It's embarrassing.) I figured out how to use more of my yarn stash too. Two more skeins have been assigned to projects that will have homes within the next three months.

Cookies. Well, I made more. And they are sitting on my counter. The chocolate ones are good. But the oatmeal have yet to be baked. That will happen tonight. I'll have to get to the post office tomorrow at some point.

I have two more care packages that I want to send out as well. Things that my friends will like (and I have promised to send), and will clear up a bit more of the clutter in my apartment at the same time!

Dinner at Mika and Tom's on Friday was fun. Homemade sushi, miso soup and shrimp. Everything I love. And good conversation with some park folks that I don't always get to talk to. You know, the park archeologist is really interesting. I wish the cultural and social sciences weren't so side-lined around here. There's so much more going on here at Mount Rainier than the bureaucracy lets on to.


So I guess I've gotten some of my work done. But there is still much to do.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Working Weekend

The parking lot, looking east, at Paradise from the cam inside the Jackson Visitor Center.

I'm not sure where the past couple of weeks have gone. Ever feel like you must not have done anything, because you can't remember what you did? I've lead a couple of snowshoe hikes, I've sat through a few boring meetings, and I've eaten the cookies that I made to send to my dad for his post surgery care package.

Yes, I'm a great daughter. I didn't really eat ALL of the cookies.... ;)

It hardly seems like it's been this long, but it's been almost a year since I got to Mount Rainier National Park. I have learned about volcanoes and glaciers. I have learned about Banana Slugs and varied thrushes (which were singing unseasonably early yesterday morning). I've added several species to my mental plant taxonomy chart. How about Rubus spectabilis? Raspberries of any variety are always yummy, and the salmonberries out here were a nice snack!

In the next couple of weeks, I have quite a few projects to finish up - and pack up - before moving to whereever. My internship is over in two weeks, but they've found the resources to keep me until they hire my replacement. I'm still hoping to go to Denali this summer. Two of their job announcements closed today. I'm hoping that I make the list of eligible candidates.

This weekend, I need to:

  • bake replacement cookies for Dad's care package
  • mail Dad's care package before I eat all of those new cookies
  • sort and shred old bills/paperwork
  • take out the trash and recycling
  • pull my yarn stash together and see what can become of it (I've been knitting furiously at night, trying to use up the odds and ends of my stash so I don't have to move it... LOL)
  • write out plans for accomplishing/finishing all of my work projects (trust me, this is easier to do at home, away from the office!)
  • have dinner and sake with Mika, Tom and a few other friends tonight ;)
  • work extra hard tomorrow since I won't have accomplished anything tonight but a full stomach

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


As taken from the writing of a friend (explanation to follow):

Rain pattered the windshield. I was parked at a rest stop: a gravel parking lot with an outhouse pushed up against the forest. Nobody had stopped or even driven by for a few hours. The highway that brought me to my survey location was also gravel, and there were no towns in the hundred mile radius that surrounded me.

I was hired on for the summer as a research aide for the Natural Resource Management Department at the University of Alaska -Fairbanks. We were partnered with BLM, trying to find out what activities recreationalists were using BLM land for, and where money should be allocated for future projects. It was my job to drive to these isolated locations where people try to get away from it all and give them a three page survey with questions about what areas of the highway they were using and what activities they would be participating in.

In the back of my car I had a tent and enough food and supplies for the week. I sat up front with a clipboard on my lap, looking at the completed surveys, drawing conclusions from the results. While my job was to merely collect the data I took more interest in figuring out what it meant. I took more interest in taking notes and observing than I did in surveying. While waiting for someone to stop at my location, I took notes on extrapolating factors like weather and traffic volume. While they weren’t able to be used in the survey, they gave me greater insight into what we as a research group were studying. For example, there is much more traffic on sunny days, implying that people are deterred by weather from recreating. Many of the recreationalists were driving motor homes, and truck drivers never stopped for the survey.

That summer I realized that I wanted a career in research. I had had no previous experience or interest in Natural Resource Management. Even now, I’m not interested in NRM. What made the experience so wonderful for me was the process of finding an unknown. We started out with a question and we were able to devise a procedure for finding the answer. The process of learning and discovering was what made me want to become a researcher.

I remember at the end of the summer thinking to myself, I could study anything, and I would be satisfied. By the end, my summer job was not a job. I didn’t care about being paid; the money wasn’t important. It was the experience that was so satisfying.

This was written recently by one of my research assistants, Nicole, from the summer of 2007. Our lives have all gone different directions since that summer. But, like Nicole, there are things that happened to me that summer that impressed my life and still bring a smile to my face. Despite some obstacles, Alaska was good to me.

Nicole could have been writing about many of our survey locations, but here's a shot along the Denali Highway, where I sent her regularly:

A couple of times since that summer, Nicole has sent me things she's written or thought about, and they always bring a smile to my face. How could I forget the Blonde Hoss?

Another Paradise Picture

So here's today's webcam capture. The view from yesterday was looking in this same direction, except the cam was in the building you are looking at here, so you saw the road behind it. Today, you see the building itself. Between Thanksgiving and New Years, I spent many, many, many hours in that building!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Snow At Rainier

How about a little picture for today as well? Stolen from one of the park's webcams. Looking west, along the road that leads up to Paradise.

More Surgery, Just Not For Me

Today my dad is having his knee replaced. True to his engineer/mechanic persona, I logged into my email this morning to find a letter from him with the subject of "Parts". Yes, he sent me a link to the website showing the replacement parts from Biomet being put into his knee.

It's all about the tools and parts. It's no wonder I collect knitting needles and accessories like I do - they are TOOLS. I have a genetic predisposition for this habit.


Although he'll be fine, he's nervous. I just reminded him that at least he's not losing an internal organ. ;)