Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guess who signed up for yoga class?

It's been a quietly unhappy week chez Doris. It's mainly driven by my monthly swing in hormones. This week things seem not as shiny as when the new year started.

Edda's school has lost a few teachers. None of Edda's teachers left, but a few on her floor and I didn't notice until 3 weeks into the term when I saw that one of the classrooms was quiet. I opened the door - the lights were off, chairs scattered and all the artwork down. And then I found out through the grapevine that another teacher left and a few students I was fond of also went away. I didn't know these people well, I don't know where they went, but I'm sad just the same. Arg, why do things have to change?

Jeremy is preparing for our eventual move back to the US. The company that we've rented the car from has been notified, Ruby's vet is readying the paperwork, air travel is being considered (Jeremy did have an idea that we'd take the Queen Mary so we wouldn't be jet lagged, but we'd have to dress in a tux and gown for dinner and god knows that we aren't good for that..). I am a little snappish when Jeremy asks me detailed travel questions. I think I'm still in la la land, thinking that I can procrastinate on planning and maybe it will never happen, or that it will happen so slowly that I won't notice too much and then one day I'll look up and there will be a mug of hot tea in my hand and snow falling outside and I'll think, that's funny, where did the pool and palm trees go? Ha ha ha!

Vince is alternating being excited to look at real estate online with Jeremy (another task that Jeremy is enjoying and I'm sort of avoiding - Hello, my name is Doris and I like to avoid things) and saying that he wants to stay in Singapore forever.


Tonight is the first class. No flirting allowed!



Scientific name: Allamanda cathartica
Common name: Golden trumpet
Location: Singapore

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why Women Carry Purses....

I think I finally figured out why women carry purses. It's actually quite practical ... in a way. Like guys, girls have to carry stuff. Things like cash and ID and key and a phone. Of course, most women carry more stuff than guys. Things like possibly make-up or other things.

Now guys just carry stuff in their pockets and are done with it. The trouble is that if you're a girl, and you want to wear those sexy, ass-hugging, $200 pair of designer jeans to show your booty off, well that's all well and good for showing your smackable butt, but it ain't no good for shoving your iPod in your pocket when your jeans are skin tight. It's just not practical or comfortable to have things in your pockets. So then? Of course, women have to create another fashion item, the purse, to carry their junk in, so they can still show off their butts to the guys.

Ronnie just pointed out to me that purse is actually from the latin, puris savus, for "satchel for carrying bits of your dinner that you didn't finish but want to take home". It's funny how the word has evolved...

Cabbage day.

It's been a cabbage kind of day.


Do you see the Joy of Cooking in the background? It was the only cookbook that I brought to Singapore. I love this cookbook, so classically American, it just is a pain that a lot of the ingredients can't be found at our local supermarket. I heard that they came out with a new edition that is more of a homage to the original, more folksy tone. The edition I have (early 90s) is the more worldly one - more ethnic recipes and culinary tips and I think they got rid of the game section. I wonder if they brought it back for the newer edition - you know recipes for rabbit and squirrel. (Have I ever eaten a rabbit? I can't remember.)


Look at this terrible join I did a bazillion rows ago. I just knit the two yarns together for 20 stitches and then dropped the yarn from the first cone. Somehow it's gotten itself tangled in a lifeline and now it's a bunched up mess. There is no way in hell I'm going to rip back a bazillion rows, so this is what it's going to be.


But! I used the internet to figure out how to do it better! A Russian join.

Lookie here (I apologize for the photos, I was using natural light, but these are just ugly):

Two ends, in love:


They intertwine:


You thread the first end onto itself:


Go a few inches:


Do the other side:




It looks like one!



I have no idea what this is, but it's so cool!
Location: Singapore

Monday, January 29, 2007

Things about Doris - (#11-20) Personal Hygiene

That's right, I'm sticking my tongue out at you!


11. My favorite personal hygiene procedure is flossing.
12. I can tell I'm off kilter when I don't bother to floss before bed.
13. I can take a 30 second shower to get ready in the morning (soap the dirtiest areas and wash hair and face.)
14. I have never: had a perm, tweezed my eyebrows, colored my hair or gotten a pedicure.
15. I don't like getting haircuts.
16. I don't shave because I have very little body hair.
17. I don't use deodorant because I think I don't smell.
18. I like keeping my nails trimmed and unpolished.
19. I love baths. A hot bath and a good paperback book is all I need to waste a few hours.
20. I wear a mouth guard at night because I grind my teeth terribly when I sleep.


I'm almost out of yarn on this cone. I wonder how I'm going to attach it to the next cone? Hmmm..


I was again at the library looking at stitch patterns. Normally I'm not into bobbles, but look how cute!





Scientific name: Tabernaemontana
Common name: Pinwheel Jasmine
Location: Singapore

Weekend Update...

I guess it's always a busy weekend, but this weekend was fairly busy.

Friday night I skipped out on having dinner with Arif and the gang, cause I needed to cook for a potluck on Sunday night. (More on that later.) But I didn't end up doing much cooking at all since my roommate had some folks over for a dinner party and I didn't want to interrupt their fine dining.

Saturday, was ski day. My other roommate, Frank, had his first snowboard day! He just bought a snowboard in December, but never got a chance to use it, that is until Saturday. We went to a small place, Dodge Ridge near Yosemite. When I mean small, I'm talking small. JT and I, who are intermediate skiiers, basically skied the entire mountain in about an hour, 15. Of course, the conditions were crap. 12 inches of base snow. I think I gougedd my skis on some rocks. Sigh. Frank did really well tho. We hung out with him in the afternoon. He could turn heel side and toe side, but like any beginner tooks some tumbles. It was worse cause either he couldn't slow himself down, or he just liked going fast, so all those tumbles were at a fairly good clip. He's sore today. :)

Sunday was just some shopping in Gilroy. I got some bib tights (biking shorts that have suspenders and go down to your ankles) for 25% off. And then we found a coupon for the store and went back and got another 15% off. That paid for lunch. I'm finding that you can stillget pretty good deals not even working at the shop. :)

Sunday night was Yi-Ling's monthly potluck. January's theme was "starters". Get it? :P Heh. I made some bacon wrapped scallops and a dessert of lemon squares. Dean made a yummy stuffed mushroom, with garlic and turkey stuffing. It was pretty yummy. Tho now I have to start training for this triathlon... Need.... to... lose... weight...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sad but that Is Life

Jen was my colleague in Singer Simulation. His two kids played with Doris & Donald occasional back in the 70s.

Unfortunately or fortunately, he has had lung cancer for almost 5 years. Last Thanksgiving, we invited Jen, his wife and many other friends to our house. He was fine and we enjoyed our food, conversation and gathering a lot.

However, on Thurday last week, I received a phone call with a very bad news to tell that Jen's wife was in coma right after brain surgery on Jan 22nd at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

She was perfectly healthy just about one month ago. It happened so suddenly that right after Christmas, she lost her short term memory. Then she was diagnosed brain tumors. It was later found to be cancerous and also was the most aggressive kind.

Today, I received words that she is still in coma. Doctors and people around her realize it is really very bad indeed.

One more sad thing, the kid, across the U street, has some kind of illness that he can not move around easily. I asked his father yesterday about his situation. He is not improving at all, just hanging there. And his father said "That Is Life". Life? Very unpredictable...

Good grief, we're grumpy.

This weekend was a bit strange. Jeremy's been a bit off - he's over caffeinated and therefore doesn't sleep well. There is a lot to think about and do over the next few months - moving back to the US, starting up a new job and setting up stuff for the kids. We've moved so many times before, I'm hoping this will be the last one for a little while (and when I say little while - I'm hoping for at least 3 years!)

None of us are sleeping that well. Vince, Jeremy and I all get up at least once in the night to switch beds, Edda wakes up at least twice asking for a parent, none of the wakings last long (usually), but they are disruptive. We all wake up in different rooms than when we started.

Today, Jeremy met up with Zeng-Gang, his adviser from graduate school. He was doing an eight hour layover in Singapore on his way to India and he managed to squeeze in a visit with Jeremy. We waited for him at the Esplanade - downtown along the waterfront. I asked Jeremy to take the quintessential Singapore tourist photo.



I love lifelines. I haven't needed to use one yet on this project, thank goodness, but they are all still there. Does this mean I am afraid of risk? Perhaps.




Scientific name: Cordyline terminalis
Common name: Ti Tree
Location: Singapore

High K? High K?!!??!!

In an interesting announcement, Intel and IBM have developed the supposed "biggest change in semiconductors in over 40 years". I'm a little dubious about that claim, however, when looking at the diagram, I notice that they use a high K dialectric for their gate material. I thought everyone was all hyped up on low K stuff. Or am I getting my transistor structure totally confused here. Perhaps someone from a highly respected competitor would care to chime in?

Ah I see. I just need to do some research on wikipedia. High-K good for transistor gate material. Low-K good for interconnect material. Hrm, but really? 40 years?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mom's post.

Mom is having trouble logging into her account, so I'm posting this for her..

I have moved into my two bedrooms apartment and last night, I cooked my first meal at apartment. I have soup, fish and green beams. Cleanup lady comes once a week. But I still want wash my cloth by myself. The washer works very well. The dryer is very very small. I use cloth line and dry naturally.

The air is not clean so I closed windows. Some items are not cheap. I bought some CD. The average price is $6 each. One is about $12. Food is relatively cheap. Some fruits are not cheap.

I had allergy reaction the first day I moved into apartment due to dust. I had swallow eyes. They toke me to the company's healthy clinic. The lady doctor is very nice and she gave me some eye drop and some medicine.

First week was bit rough. Now I am settle down. Yesterday, I took subway, and went to TEEMall. It is a very nice mall and the lady's room is very clean. I like that.

I think, this is my last job and ready to retire and run MiniSystems leisurely.

My date with Vince.

Today Vince and I went out on a date. He took me to our neighborhood mall for some sushi. Decorations for Chinese New Year are all up and they are playing terrible, terrible Chinese new year songs in all the retail stores. Blech!



My Icarus is continuing smoothly. I put in some good knitting time today and I'm almost done with Chart 2, the first section of the border. The feathers of Icarus are starting to form!


I mentioned that when I was doing the paired yarn overs that one seemed to use a lot more yarn than the other and it did result in lopsided eyelets. The one on the right is larger than the one on the left because I had to go further around the needle to reach the next purl stitch. I guess the blocking will take care of it.


I was in the library today when I looked at 50 New Milanese Lace Patterns by Patricia Read. I know this isn't knitting, but I loved looking at these lace projects.




Maybe something like this can be incorporated into a lace knitting project? Hmmm.



Scientific name: Oxalys
Common name: Wood Sorrel
Location: Austin, TX


Sweet. I just picked my first double sided lock.

JT, Frank and a friend of his are going off to Tahoe in about 5 hours. JT was busy at home, putting stuff in his car, and he went to go put his snowboard up on his SUV, and doh! He found the ski attachment was locked. Well, no problem, he'll just find the key and open it. Unfortunately the key was stuck in the other ski attachment - or rather I should say, half of the key was stuck there. Last season, JT managed to rip his key in half in his haste to come inside from the cold. So he was stuck...

He calls me up and luckily I had some spring steel that I had ground down into a lock pick at the bike shop. So I went over there and picked it. Sweet. I'm proud of myself, and have promptly earned a ton of, as Allen Iverson would say, street cred.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Timed photos.

Yesterday I taught Vince how to use the timer function on my camera. He experimented. Jeremy wasn't home yesterday for the timed photo so tonight Vince wanted to show off his new skill and propped the camera on our electronic keyboard for a family photo.


"You were standing right in front of me, Vince!", said Jeremy. So Vince runs and tries to set up another photo. He grabs for the camera and resets the timer and balances it on the keyboard again but this time I see the camera slide off the keyboard and smash onto our marble flooring, which is pretty hard, just ask Edda who still falls and hits her head on it every once in a while.

Does it still work?


(Look at Vince's face of concern. He did apologize quite promptly and rubbed my cheek with his little hand.) Apparently it still focuses and takes pictures although the outer case is a bit dinged up and it's a little difficult to push the power button. Oh well, remind me again how I should never ever buy a super expensive camera.


I'm making progress on my Icarus shawl. Thank goodness the main part of the shawl is over, it was really quite boring after I got over the initial shock of starting my first real lace project.

I've copied the pattern and I'm slowly crossing off the rows. I always imagine people knitting without patterns in front of them, but somehow I can't manage this. Maybe someday...


The repeats are pretty easy to remember but I have to remember not to fly by the center spine which is slightly different than the body of the repeat. In the past I've actually had the stitch marker on the needle and I had to slide it from one needle to the next and I hated doing this, so I stopped marking the center spine. Then for about 5 RS rows, I completely knit past the center without noticing and I would have to backtrack. So I went back to marking, but this time, just a little under the needle, so no sliding and I can see when the center is coming up! So lame not to think of this earlier.


The fringe part is filled with unusual yarn overs. From a knit stitch to a yarn over to a purl stitch to a yarn over to a knit stitch. The first yarn over seems a mile longer than the second yarn over, but I guess it will all even out with blocking.




Scientific name: Solanum rostratum
Common name: buffalo burr
Location: Austin, TX

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Spaghetti night.

Thursday is spaghetti night. Spaghetti is our favorite family meal, everyone loves to eat it - no one complains. Edda eats it all chopped up, Vince and Jeremy like to twirl with a spoon and I just shovel it in.


Sausage first. I cut it up into disks when they are frozen because I usually forget to put them into the fridge to defrost the night before. Today we had no onions, I usually throw a chopped one in. Then we add our favorite sauce.


I always laugh because Vince loves Paul Newman! I tried to explain that he is more famous for being a movie star but Vince thinks that he is the sauce man. I don't think I've ever seen a movie starring Mr. Newman, but I've eaten gallons of his sauce. We have to go downtown to the fancy supermarket to horde up on this stuff. It's good.



I started knitting Pomatomus from


It's my first time doing twisted stitches and so far the 1P, 1K tbl is working out just fine. I'm embarrassed to say that sometimes I forget which way to wrap the yarn around the needle to make the stitch straight or twisted so I'm hoping that I don't screw up the pattern too much.

I'm using Sockotta yarn, which has a high cotton content and I think that will make the details of the sock show up better. Normally I'd feel a bit nervous about using a striping sock yarn on this textured pattern, but I think it'll turn out fine. I do love the denim-y feel to the yarn.

Also, the pattern called for size 2 needles which is pretty standard for socks, but I find that the stitches turn out too loose for my taste, so I switched to size 0.



Scientific name: Agaricus
Common name: mushroom
Location: Singapore

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Falling asleep.

Edda fell asleep in the car today. Unusual for her.


So Vince picked up the slack at physical therapy.


Today Edda told me that she had to go to the potty - by ripping the "toilet" PECS sign off the wall at her school! It could not have been clearer.



Scientific name: Thunbergia grandiflora
Common name: Blue Skyflower
Location: Singapore

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Things about Doris - (#1-10) Food


1. I love McDonald's and when I am there I usually order a Big Mac.
2. I love oranges, peaches and cherries.
3. I would like to be a vegetarian, but cooking with meat makes meal planning and cooking easier.
4. When I was in college, I had pretty bad heartburn which went away after I became vegetarian for about a year.
5. I did not know how to cook when I got married.
6. I do not drink coffee but I go to Starbucks often.
7. I prefer salty snacks over sweet snacks - Doritos over Hershey's any day.
8. Now I can cook pretty well.
9. I didn't eat avocado, mayonnaise, or sour cream regularly until 1996.
10. I like to try new things so there is nothing on my absolutely-will-not-eat list.



Scientific name: Gardenia coronata
Common name: Yellow Gardenia
Location: Singapore

Monday, January 22, 2007

Doris, You Will Be Happy...

Bath, originally uploaded by blehargh.

I have officially joined the Flickr Nation. Woo hoo. What's my most viewed and popular photo? Why of course, it's a picture of my most favorite, extremely photogenic nephew, Vince. :) 119 views in like a week. All my other photos are at a scrapping 3 views.


Edda has a tendency to not sleep well if she doesn't eat a good dinner. Since we have very poor memories, we relearn this lesson every few weeks or so - including last night. So to insure a good night's sleep for everybody, here's Jeremy encouraging Edda to have "just one more bite!" (Jeremy looks funny because he's sucking in his tummy! Why? I have no idea.)


I started knitting some socks today. My shawl is getting too big to carry in my purse and I like having a portable project with me.




Scientific name: Bixa orellana
Common name: Achiote, Lipstick tree
Location: Singapore

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ruby on the prowl.




Scientific name:Antirrhinum
Common name: Snapdragon
Location: Austin, TX

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Family portrait.

Vince needs a family photo for school on Monday.


Today was the first time I heard Vince explain to a stranger why Edda keeps sticking her hand into her mouth and is a little tippy when walking. We were at the park and he was playing with another family (for a total of about 30 seconds) and Edda walked over and he launched into enthusiastically introducing Edda (She's my sister!) to them and explaining why she mouths. It was kind of cute, but also a lot of information for some folks you've known for less than a minute.


Did you know that aloe grew this red flowers?



Scientific name: Aloe (about 400 species - not sure which one this is)
Common name: Aloe
Location: Austin, TX