Monthly Archives: November 2004

Excuse me while I wipe the eye boogers out of my eyes

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I am beat.

I’ve been running on empty for a few weeks now. Which means I’m running on negative empty at this point. Last night was the topper on the cake. I stayed out until 11:30 on a school night. Whew. Call in the adult police and give me a ticket for irresponsible behavior. I’m crazy I tell you.

Sweet Elisa had Keiko and me over for some tasty soup and salad. We got to eating, knitting, and talking. Before I knew it I was stumbling to my car, turning it on, and getting my first peek at a clock in 4 hours. Sorry Elisa! I had no idea it was that late. But, damn did I ever have a good time. It was good company and we sorely missed Jackie who apparently was in desperate need of a shower.

I cast on for a pair of fingerless gloves for my brother. I had abandoned the idea that somehow, in addition to my other crafty projects, I was going to knit a long cablely scarf for him. I figured fingerless gloves would be just the ticket. The yarn that I got, which I love (and is not in front of me right now, I’ll update it later), knits up at 10 sts per inch. After much befuddled confusion trying to figure out how many stitches to cast on I realized that this wasn’t going to be a quick knit project. Alas, they will just have to be for me. Poor me.

Thanksgiving was filled with lots of thanks and some giving. The highlights included:

1 – A sweet “family” moment during T-day dinner. In addition to my immediate family and grandmother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins were all in attendance. Oh, and the dogs. There were five dogs there.

2 – Yarn Stores. Okay there was only one, the other was closed (still biter.) It was a great one (Spirit Work Knitting and Design) and there was coffee and couches which perfectly fit the asses of my father and husband while my sister, mom, and I ohhh’d and ahhh’d over the fun.

3- Teaching my sister to knit, she’s going to be a maniac.

4 – The Polar Express movie in 3-D at the IMAX. It was my first 3-D movie and I loved it.

5 – Purchasing Molly Pops and proceeding to eat three of them in a row. Yum.

6 – Eating a homemade fabulous meal orchestrated by my brother. Who the hell knew he could cook?!

7 – Sending Rob into a room filled with hundreds of guitars and watching his eyes swim.

8 – Seeing lots of men with big hair, tight jeans, and pointy boots at that same place. Man, it was like being in the 80s. Some of them even wore make-up and THEY WEREN’T PLAYING DRESS UP.

9 – The fact that the yarn store and the guitar store are STEPS from one another!

10 – Spending every minute of four days with my wonderful Husband who gives really good massages that don’t ever render me unable to walk straight.

11 – Sleeping in, there was lots of sleeping in!

There really isn’t any exciting knitting news. Flogging away at the Christmas gift list. Almost there…. one gift finished, four in progress.

Best Of…

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It’s that time of the year again. I l-o-v-e the holiday season. I just do. I love it so much that the unbelievable embarrassment of commercialism that takes over doesn’t bother me. I just go on one of my anti-capitalism campaigns* after the holidays and all is right in the world. I love so many things about it that I think I’ll list them periodically. Just to relish the feeling.

I love the end of the year “Best Books of 2004.” I love books and I love to read about new unknown books. These lists are usually stacked with titles that are obscure. I saw my first today via Bookslut. I have no idea who this guy is (Neal Pollack, should I know him?!) but I will record his top five here because they (for the most part) are titles that are lesser known. Most importantly, they sound good. Go to his website to read why they were chosen.

1. Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames

2. My Old Man by Amy Sohn.

3. I, Fatty by Jerry Stahl.

4. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth.

5. Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman.

What are your favorite books of 2004? Mind you, these are books that were published this year. I have to try to figure out if I’ve even read any!

*I am famous for these campaigns. Okay, famous in my own head. Which really is the most important place to have any level of fame. The campaign consists of not buying anything that isn’t needed (food, etc.) in an effort to thwart the big commercial boxes of the country. The longest I’ve ever gone – 8 months. For real. No cloths, shoes, books. Nothing. I haven’t tried this since I’ve started knitting.

Hey Alison – I would love some bath bomb making resources…point me in the right direction. Which Alison are you?!

A Little Consideration Please

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It’s days like today that I wonder, WHY THE HELL DON’T YOU PEOPLE UPDATE YOUR BLOGS MORE OFTEN?!I mean, once a day is not enough. And those of you who limit yourself to a few days a week, how do you expect me to pass the long hours of unmotivated time at my computer?! Have some consideration people.

In case you were not aware (I most certainly was not) Christmas is in three weekends. Yes, I measure my time in weekends. This and the previous paragraph should give you some idea of how much I’m enjoying my job lately. I will wisely digress. It is a small, small world. And yes, if you look at a calendar you will see that there are actually five weekends until Christmas. This weekend does not count. What kind of horrible family member would actually work on a gift in front of the recipients face? Why, I would. However, I will not “count” the time spent.

Let’s talk knit gifts. I have the following things to complete:

1. Mom’s caplet (25% done)

2. Dad’s scarf (1/8 done…someone stole my calculator and I’m too sick and tired to figure out the percentage. Yes, I am a scientist and no I don’t know my alphabet unless I recite it in my head first. So what makes you think that I would know the percentage of 1/8?)

3. Sister’s Banff (85% done. There is a story in this epic sweater…it’s stuck on my computer at home, it will be liberated and the truth will be told)

4. Brother’s something (hat or scarf…haven’t decided yet. Which logically means that 0% is done.)

5. G-ma’s scarf (85% done)

I’m also going to get a bit crafty and rewrap some homemade soap. Make some wire angels. Write our wedding Thank you cards (yes, I know..these should have been done a long time ago.) Write Christmas Cards. And knit up a few Christmas Dishcloths for packaging the soap. Oh, I also want to learn to make bath bombs.

I think I’ve figured out why I’m unmotivated at work. There is no more of me to go around. Tapped out I tell ya!

Monday, Monday, da da Bah da bah da

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Either you all have started to de-lurk or I picked up some commenting readers. Which ever it is, it’s pretty damn fun. Thanks for the feedback. I love to write this stuff. I do it for me but it is much more fun when it’s a conversation. The only thing that stinks it that Blogger, unlike Typepad, doesn’t have a way to email people from their comments. I suppose that leaves me conversing in the comments, which is more fun anyway.

Bah da bah da da da
Bah da bah da da da
Bah da bah da da da…
Monday Monday can’t trust that day
Monday Monday sometimes it just turns out that way

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

I made some new friends! This is huge! I think they actually think I’m semi-normal. I know, this must mean there is SOMETHING wrong with them. Really, I am willing to take what I can get. Totally kidding girls, you too are perfectly normal.

On Saturday I met up with these two jokers and a third joker who somehow managed to escape the lens of my camera. This is Jackie and Elisa. Keiko is lingering on the other side of the yarn store drooling over some blue yarn. They are great women. I am impressed and starry eyed at their intelligence, humor, and talent. This is the first time I’ve embarked on such an endeavor, meeting people I’ve only known through the Internet (don’t worry, I called Emily and let her know where I would be, JUST IN CASE.) We had a pretty great time and I was absolutely dumb-founded to learn that an entire morning and afternoon had passed before I thought about going home. I’m looking forward to a “second date.”

I decided to make the Heart Scarf from the Knitty Fall Surprise for my G-ma’s Christmas Present.

click for close up

I picked up the called for yarn (Reynolds Blizzard) on Saturday and cast on as soon as I got home from my social day out. I’m just about 3/4 of the way done. I had no idea that the yarn for this was so bulky. It’s a quick fun knit. I must say, the yarn sheds quite a bit. It’s quite fluffy and it has made its way into my throat! I feel like one of the cats trying to hack up a hairball. Good thing I started this AFTER I met the new ladies, huh? What an impression that would have left! I’m sure G-ma will love the scarf but I’m going to have to warn her about the hacking thing.

In Finished Object news. Robby’s stocking is finito!

I taught myself the Kitchener Stitch (you inspired me Elisa!) It really is quite easy, although I am not sure that I did it correctly. I suppose I will have to get the master Elisa to give the nod of approval. I hope to finish another (this one will be for me) before Christmas. I think it will go faster now that I have all the quirks of the pattern worked out. It took me forever to find a simple and classy stocking pattern. I don’t love working with the Lopi, too damn scratchy. I’m not sure I would substitute though, I think that you need it for its stiffness. A softer yarn wouldn’t stand-up as much. You need a stand-up kind of yarn for this project. Kind of like needing a stand-up kind of man in your house. Definitely a fun knit and I suppose I am now prepared to tackle human-sized sock.

Knives, Puppies, Babies, Cables, and Fuzzy Yarn

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I’ve been working on Robby’s Christmas stocking. I had another late night yesterday unfortunately, which leaves me with no pictures. I’ve ripped the toe about 4 times. Again, I have to mention how proud I am of myself. Typically I wouldn’t rip and I’d just convince myself that it would work out. Like Magic. I’m really learning and enjoying the process. I think having multiple projects going at once really helps this attitude. When I get frustrated, which is often, I can put the project in Time Out and move onto something else. Knitting is making me a better person. I swear.

I’m super excited for tomorrow. I get to meet JKC of the Project and I get to see Elisa who is a bit Tongue Tied and her friend Keiko again. We’re meeting up for fun in the grand city of Milton with a possible side trip to Jamaica Plain. Yarn stores and food are in order. I will bring lots of pictures of puppies and babies to bring Jackie over to the fuzzy side and I will bring a cable needle to bring Elisa over to the cable side. Keiko shall escape my wrath for now. I’ve warned them of my Curious George head knife wielding tendencies. Apparently they are not afraid.

Which brings me to a funny story. Rob and I started dating about three years ago. I met him at a Dog Park in Athens, Georgia. This was as cheesy and movie-ish as it sounds. At least for him it was, I was a bit timid and overwhelmed at the time. I was finishing my thesis, applying for jobs, getting over a relationship, and getting ready to move back to civilization (the North.) Rob, on the other hand, was in love and ready to marry me after the first date. Really, he was very vocal about this. Thank God he stuck around. I was a bit slow to come around to his many charms and qualities. In fact, for the first couple of months of our “relationship” I would sidle up to the passenger side door as we pulled up to my driveway with my hand on the door knob ready to jump out as the car slowed in order to avoid the dreaded kiss. Eventually this kiss came and the rest is history.

My friend Emily came to visit me during this rocky beginning. The three of us spent some time one evening in a bar. Drunk Emily, who is always amusing, had a sudden thought, “Wendy is down here all alone. What if this guy does something bad, like kill her? We don’t even really know if he is who is says he is.” She mumbled something about not believing Rob was as old as he said he was. Rob whipped out his license and Emily proceeded to memorize his full name and address. Just in case.

Arrr-right.

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Notice the buttons on the right. Robby did these for me. I love the book spines. They list the titles of some of my favorite books. We’ve still got to tweak a bit and there are more to be made but I am one lucky duck to have Mr Photoshop in the house!

Arrr-right.

This is the midwestern way of saying all right. I learned this in college. I learned other things too but this was by far the most annoying. Nails on a chalkboard I tell you.

First, this is Susan:

She is my mom and is she ever a good one. My parents live in upstate New York. As far upstate as one can get, you’d be in Lake Ontario if you were any more up the state. Rochester, New York. This is where I was raised. (Born in Texas. When I was off to graduate school in Georgia my dad told me, “Don’t worry, you’ll fit right in you’re really a red neck at heart.” Didn’t float there. Could it have been the carpetbag I was carrying around?)

Susan is a worrier. In fact, she has created an imaginary hat called the worry hat. This hat is probably a bit worn down and thread bare, it gets a lot of work. She called yesterday morning to ask me about the tires on our car.

Mom: “How are your tires?”
Me: “Good how are yours?”
Mom: “Kevin Williams is predicting a snow storm for Thanksgiving and I just wanted to check to make sure your car was all set.”
Me: “Well, it’s been in the shop twice in as many months and it’s on the heavy end of 100,000 miles. I’d say is not quite all set.”
Mom: “But your tires, how are your tires? I don’t want you two coming home without good tires on the car.”

Okay, I should interrupt here for some background. My mother is obsessed with the weather in the winter. This is understandable. Rochester is a miserable place in the winter and one can only watch and hope that it can get better. Kevin Williams is like an old family friend. And he is trust worthy. The mom says he’s pretty good, good enough to predict a snowstorm a full week before it will happen. Rochester also gets an unbelievable amount of snow largely in part due to the mysterious “Lake Effect”. There is so much snow that it’s hard to get excited about it and/or worry about when and if it will come. It just will. If you’re in the car on I-90 driving west from Massachusetts it will start at Rome, New York (there are a lot of Italin cities in Upstate New York. There are a lot of Italians in Upstate New York. Fabulous food!) and it will continue until you pull in the driveway…at which point it will stop. Really, this is no lie. Rome, New York. Regardless of this certainty the worry hat comes out in full force this time of year. The emphasis usually falls on the tires. The tires will get you through. In fact, while I was living in Georgia my parents financed new tires often. Just in case I drove the 15 hours home AND hit a snowstorm on the way. If and when that happened, I would have good tires to get my through. It never did. Everyday these whoa-fully over qualified tires hit the steamy streets of Georgia without a purpose. It was horrible to watch.

After assuring her that the tires were okay, and yes, I would go check them as soon as I got off the phone. And yes, I would call if they were worn down even a little bit, and yes, and yes, and yes. And mom, will you go bury the worry hat in the closet?

I hang up the phone. I get back to work. The phone rings again.

Mom: How about your AAA, is that current?
Me: Yes, mom we just used it last week, and about three weeks before that. It’s current.
Mom: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, I’m sure.
Mom: Well, maybe you should call and check. Because I think I used to renew it for your Christmas Gift.
Me: I will call and check to make double sure. And mom, will you go bury the worry hat IN THE BACKYARD before the permafrost sets in? It will have to stay there all winter, ‘kay?

She is a great Mom. And because of her, I will always have good tires, a clean bed, lots of love, and clean teeth. To show my love and appreciation I am making her a caplet for Christmas (also named Susan.) The mom has a bad neck and back and she has to keep them warm and covered. She picked out the yarn a few months ago. I cast on this weekend. I started with stockinette stitch because that’s how I did the other. It didn’t work with this yarn. My other caplet was made with Ribbon and it didn’t roll in stockinette. Maybe because of its weight? The Interlacements that I’m using is primarily wool yarn with a bit of nylon. Roll city. I ripped and started it in garter stitch. This is a big step for me. Usually I fool myself into believing that it will work itself out and get better with time. The garter stitch looks awesome.

Click on the picture below for a close up.

This is the perfect stitch for this thick and thin yarn. The variegation has worked out perfectly so far, no flashing, pooling, or puddling (The Harlot has a great definition of each.)

I love working with it and I’m really excited to see what the mom thinks of it over Thanksgiving. You can bet we’ll get there all in one piece because the tires will get us through.

BTW – check this out…my first pie. Cool, huh? I’m obsessed with pies. A few years ago I had the best pie I’ve ever had. I realized then that a good pie is hard to come by. I decided I would learn to make one. This is the first. (The mom says you’ll always remember your first pie, she does. Good thing I got a picture. Someday I’ll be able to show my daughter.

) The piecrust dough is store bought (gasp.) I only wanted to deal with one variable at a time. It’s apple-cranberry and it’s delish. I used a recipe in Baking Illustrated. A fabulous book, I would recommend it to anyone who likes to cook/bake and is interested in the how and why of the process. The bread is out of my bread machine. Second loaf…the first didn’t rise. Total bummer, I had forgotten the oil. You must have fat for bread. Fat good.

Lastly, Rob and I are creating a Christmas CD for our friends and family (The Stompers do Christmas.) Really, Rob is creating the CD, I’m just an advisor. We’re in pre-production right now:

What’s with all the green? For crying out loud.

I can’t sing. But apparently I have to on We’re a Couple of Misfits from this movie. We’re going to do a punk version where you don’t really sing so much as YELL and SCREAM. I can’t wait. Part of pre-production is figuring out how to edit out the swear words in some of the songs we want to do. What’s a Christmas song without the occasional, fuck and hell thrown in? We don’t think the right-wing contingency of the family would appreciate these shenanigans. Maybe Rob will just pause at the parts where these words fall. That way when we do the family sing along we can all YELL THEM REALLY LOUD and spread the REAL joy of Christmas around.

Money you can’t buy me love

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I got home from work at 8:30 pm last night and was back at work at 6 am this morning. I ain’t complaining. Work = money. Money = food, heat, wine, books and YARN.

It does not equal love, for money you can’t buy me love.**

Bookslut reviews a handful of the holiday issues of cooking mags. Her wit is perfect for the early morning lull and I’m thankful that I no longer have to read any of the magazines. Because, really, who has the time? I have at least four knitable Christmas gifts to tackle.

** My new goal for this blog? To get a song stuck in your head at least once a week. Elisa has a most curious method of heading off such torture. Check out her comment on this post.

Lockerbie Squashed Derrida

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Two sites that are amusing me right now.

The first (found via lyc fyi) is 10X10.

This site takes the most popular images from three RSS news feeds (NYT, BBC, Reuters) and puts them together into a postcard format. The most popular is in the upper left hand corner, least popular in the lower right hand corner. Words are also ranked to go with the images. It’s a very interesting snapshot into our hourly news. Lots o’ pictures of Arafat right now and war. Lots o’ war. I wonder if there would ever be a day where only flowers were pictured, or puppies, or babies smiling. There I go again, being fuzzy again (sorry JKC, it’s like a disease or something

).

The second site, I found via the 10×10 site. This is even more fun. Word count: Tracking the way we use Language.

WordCountâ„¢ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonality. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.

The first word I scrolled to – Number 28,897 – FART. Hmmm, only 28,897? They obviously haven’t been monitoring my language. The most common word? THE. Not surprised there. My name is listed! Number 8,453, my name is more popular than Arafat‘s.

Other amusing combinations of words:

Lockerbie squashed Derrida Tubular

(numbers 17,070- 17,071- 17,072- 17,073). What is the state of our society if Derrida is more popular than fart? Uneducated masses my arse. You also have to admit that it is somewhat ironic that his name appears on a web site that deals with language? Tubular dude.

Narrowest Withers Sobered

(numbers 33,138- 33,139- 33,140) This just makes me laugh, I can’t even crack a joke about it. It’s just plain funny.

Texas Erected Colitis

(numbers 7,031- 7,032- 7,033) Now, is it okay to equate colitis with our president? I think this combination endorses it.

Did you know W is a word?

Yup, number 2,571.

It follows Liability. Speaks volumes I say, speaks volumes. I’ll just leave it at that.

Feminist Who May Have Lost Her Way

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Robby shouted at me from the bathroom this morning, “You know what stupid song I have in my head?”

Now, when someone asks you this question I would like to think the answer would be, no and don’t tell me. Because really, who believes that once you tell someone it goes away? No, it just spreads the pain.

So, of course I say, “No, what song?”

“Oh, Culina you’re so fine you blow my mind. Culina! Culina!”

Yes, this is the song that I was yelling through the house as I embarked on my first Culina adventure. Little did I know then that it would bite me in the ass now. Incidently, this entire Banff/enough yarn thing has just about killed me. I’m hoping to record the evidence this weekend and will post about it soon.

As a non-related bookend to that, I find this Dear Prudie exchange to be absolutely hilarious. Playboy a gateway drug, pallleeeze.