Sunday, December 28, 2008

Being Resolute.

It's almost that time of year. Maybe you're the kind of person who has the same old resolution every year. Go to the gym, eat less, smile more . . . I'm not a resolution keeper. I don't even make them. Why bother, really? Telling a bunch of folks about the things that I'm going to do when I know deep down that I'm not going to do them just seems like a perfectly good waste of a lie.

This year will be different. It already is. I'm starting out fresh in February. New workplace, switchin' up the job. I'm excited and I've already been planning. The three things I resolve to do this year fit in quite nicely.

The first is for me, and only me. I've been reviving my knitting habit, and I'm really happy. It's been fulfilling me in a way that it never did before. Maybe it's knowing that it was men and sailors who were among the first knitters, maybe it's just knowing that knitting is a portable project that I can take on board with little hassle. (And odds are good that no one will steal it until it's finished.) But this year I resolve to finish a sweater. I have chosen the February Lady sweater, a popular pattern based on a baby sweater. I was lucky enough to win a blog giveaway from Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farms of a whole pound of gorgeous kelly green Cormo wool. By the end of my deployment (whenever that is) I should have a finished project to be proud of, and I will have kept a resolution.

Resolutions 2 and 3 to come . . .

Friday, December 26, 2008

Let's Talk Coffee!

So it's been well established what I do for a living. Along with life at sea comes long hours in cold, boring spaces (that's what we call rooms on ships.) My job on a ship, by and large, is not that exciting. (It does GET exciting, but not very often, for very long, and we're talking about the boring parts.) So how do we do it? For me, it's coffee. I drink coffee all day long. I can drink anything, any roast, cold or hot, weak, strong or burnt. Even *shiver* instant. But let's face it, I can, but I'm a coffee elitist at heart. So this Christmas, El Jefe got me one of these babies.

It's a burr coffee grinder, and I am completely in love. I love trying new coffees, and the Greenie in me loves Fair-Trade, Organic coffees. But the problem is that often these small, home roasters offer their coffee in whole bean form. To have it all ground and sitting on my counter (even in an airtight container at room temperature) would be to lose some of the freshness. Most roasters will grind for you, so please try some, but if you LOVE it, get a burr grinder.

Once upon a time, I had a small blade grinder. You've seen them - small handheld, pour the beans in and flip it over because the top is the ground-bean vessel. It was good while it lasted, but it's grind wasn't consistent, it was a pain to clean, and it was really loud. The other problem with blade grinders is heat. The amount of time it takes to get a consistent(ish) grind burns your beans, causing bitterness.

Of the two kind of burr grinders, cone and disk, mine is a disk grinder. Great for home application (yay) and easy to clean, and affordable, now I can have freshly ground coffee when I want without having hit hit the drive-thru. Now I just need a cup like this one:

Available at Fred Flare for $22, made of porcelain with a silicone lid.

And some of this, which I have been lusting over FOREVER:

Brainscan Fair Trade Organic coffee!

I hope you enjoyed my "I love what I got for Christmas post", there's more to come!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Business of Selling Yourself in America

Many of you have probably heard of the law (H.R. 4040) passed in August which seeks to establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (legalese.) Unfortunately, an unintended effect of this law may very well be the end of many small businesses. There is lots more information to be had on the subject, my jumping off point was the Handmade Toy Alliance . This proved to be an excellent resource for all of the information I needed. The actual law itself is 68 pages long and can be read in it's entirety here. There are also wonderful abridged versions here and here by some crafter momtrepreneurs.

To make a long story short, it would appear that SOMETHING is being done in Washington. I recieved a well written email this morning from my congressman Providing me with a place to provide feedback to the CPSC. Here's a copy of the letter so that you can provide your comments too.

December 22, 2008

Jennifer Lastname
123 House Street
So Cal, CA

Dear Jennifer:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding consumer safety. It's a pleasure to hear from you.

As you know, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040 (Rush-IL), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act, which seeks to establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC's mission is to protect children and families against unreasonable risk of injury and death from over 15,000 types of consumer products.

Like you, I am concerned by the uncertainty many Americans have with the safety of products that are imported and sold in the U.S. For this reason, I voted in favor of H.R. 4040 when it passed the House of Representatives on December 19, 2007, by a vote of 407-0. President Bush signed H.R. 4040 into law on August 14, 2008 (P.L. 110-314).

I agree with you that this bill, while favorable with respect to enhancing the effectiveness of the CPSC, also has several provisions that may harm small businesses instead of solely focusing on increased product safety. I am currently unaware of any legislation at the present time that has been introduced in the House to address these concerns, but you will be interested to learn that the CPSC is currently accepting comments on Section 102 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, Mandatory Third-Party Testing for Certain Children's Products until January 30, 2009. I would strongly encourage you to email your comments to

Thank you again for contacting me. Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.


Duncan Hunter
Member of Congress

Low Standards Tee by Fatamerican at

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Review of SmartWool Saturnsphere Socks - Women's

Originally submitted at REI

Multicolored socks are simply more fun, and these striped Saturn socks from SmartWool fit that bill.

The only socks I have ever loved.

By Sailor Jenny from San Diego, CA on 12/19/2008


5out of 5

Gift: No

Fit: Feels true to size

Pros: Durable, Good Design, Cushy, Comfortable, Stylish, Regulates Temperature Well, Wicks Away Moisture, Colorful

Cons: Pricey

Best Uses: Travel, Daily Use

Describe Yourself: Casual Adventurer

These are the socks that I put on after wearing dress shoes all day. I love the colorway(s) and the patterns because I can be funky and comfortable. My feet don't get hot and sweaty like they do in cotton socks, and they're WAY more comfortable than even hand knit socks (which I still love, just not under shoes or to walk in.) Every trip to REI, I scour the clearance bins for just one pair. Definitely my favorite!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Get outta my dreams . . . .

And into my blog.

Seriously, every day whist sitting in the inevitable traffic I come up with something that I MUST SHARE! And then get home and forget it all. I spend a good amount of time waiting for laundry and reading blogs, or ducking work and reading blogs (shhhhhh . . . Jeff, don't tell on me!) or waiting for baby to settle and sleep and reading blogs. I comment on some, am ravenous about a few, and I feel bad that I'm not the web presence I wish I were.

So instead, here's a comprehensive list of all the other places to find me on the web. Most link to each other somehow, but here they are in one place.

Facebook. I spend a lot of time here reconnecting with old friends. Not so much making new ones.

I do that here on Twitter! If you really want to know how I am right this minute, that's the best place to find me.

Often I'm on Etsy, shopping for wonderfulness. Lately I shop for yarn and other fibery goodness. Which I then share . . .

On Ravelry. Or will, anyway, once I'm a little more comfy there. It's knitting time, what with the cold, the rain, and the fact that I'm not sure how much time/energy I'll have on the ship.

So until I get that voice recorder I've been wanting, check me out in these places and please try and keep up with my sporadic updates. Meanwhile, check out Petra's blog for laughs and that acrid New England attitude you've come to love.

(Yarn by simplytwisted, who rocks.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The List

The List
So I came across this list on and thought I would take part too!
You're just supposed to go through the list and bold the things you've done. Bolded more than I thought I would, but a few of those are still on my list of things to do before I die. (Old Faithful, Niagra Falls . . .)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Bucket List earrings by bearrunroad.