Thursday, August 30, 2007

When Vacations Attack!

Oh the tug of war of vacation days! Half of my brain is singing "Holiday Road" louder and louder as my final hours of work tick away toward 10 days off IN A ROW! Visions of doing nothing (and liking it) dance through my head, each vision resembling a Sandals Resort ad: me thin and tan in a bikini lounging and gazing at jelly-belly-blue seas.* It makes vacation seem spectacular, doesn't it?

First, I live near the sewage treatment plant, so the seas are not jelly-belly-blue, but more frothy-poo-puce. Second, Senor is not on vacation, so I'm not planning to head off for Jamaica alone. Third, I don't ACTUALLY enjoy doing nothing. I only think I do. I am incapable of really really indulging in nothingness because the other half of my brain is droning like the Wicked Witch's soldiers, "Oh-Wee-Oh, Oooh-oh! Go to the gym, Oooh-oh! Put away your clothes, Oooh-oh! Write a brilliant song, Oooh-Oh! Organize the canned goods, Oooh-Oh!" You get the idea. My practical side can't get over how much I could and should get done in a 10 day period, but my realistic side knows that I'm setting myself up for sulking because I haven't done enough of nothing OR enough of something.

So what I need is a plan. How to balance slacking-with-impunity and revolutionizing a life that resists as though crouched behind a hydraulic barricade (I hear the people sing)?

Anyone got some ideas? A plan that fairly combines responsibility and whimsy? "The pressure on my eyes is indescribable."

*For the record, this does not at all resemble the reality of me doing nothing. Me doing nothing looks like 3 days in the same jammies, watching shows I don't care about, pouting about the dishes in the sink and the spare tire around my waist. Not pretty!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Starting and Finishing: Black Cascade

When you've got three skeins of Black Cascade 220 and you've been surfing the blogs looking for projects NOT on your list of projects to start, what do you do?

Make a Hemlock Ring Blanket, of course.

Cast on Wednesday night. Cast off Sunday afternoon. Wish you'd had the patience to knit a few more days before casting off. Block too-small blanket, regret impatience, cast on hat to use up the remaining offending yarn.

Pull wool over eyes in shame.

El Segundo Car Show/Pub Crawl 2007: A Photo Essay

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

O Matrimony!

I missed a lot of the high points of the wedding, like the wedding itself. I guess I was actually watching it for a change. ;) Here are some photographs of the rest of the evening. The ceremony took place on the lovely dock (where Senor and I had our photo taken) in front of Shawn and Penelope's cottage and was performed by one of their friends. Senor was one of the groomsmen. The neighbors watched from a respectful distance on their boats and blew air horns at the end.

The bride designed and made her own dress, and while I do not have a full length photo of it (what was I thinking?!), it was absolutely beautiful! She let me make the hairpiece for her. I didn't get a great shot of that either... shoot! I really fell down on the job.

The mosquitoes were probably up my skirt biting my buns during this very photo. Seriously, I was the other buffet at this wedding.

I'll leave you with well-wishes from the flower girl.

Good wedding, People.
Happy Day.

O Canada!!!

The time has come. To keep the knitting readers satiated, I will begin with Canada: O The Yarn!
We arrived at Pearson Airport at roughly 9am Friday. Senor had not really slept since he woke at 6am Thursday to go to work.


I wasn't feeling much better.

We sought caffeine and bread products at Moonbean, a cozy, perfect coffee house in Kensington Market. Though I was tired, a little frisson of excitement persisted. I was within blocks of Lettuce Knit, a place of legend and mystery. We paid with our crisp colorful Canadian dollars and took off. A helpful woman sipping coffee in the sun gave us directions to Nassau street. "You go down that way, turn and go up a little way, and then go over there and it's just down the way," she said (roughly) with her arm snaking through the air. Somehow, I knew what she meant. Of course, now that I've been there, I'd say to a lost stranger (with my arm as visual aid), "You turn right at the fruits and vegetables, go down past the sunglasses, make a left at the fruit and vegetables, another right at the sunglasses, past the nuts and Canada patches, and it's just down that way." And though it may not sound like it, I thought Kensington market was very fruity, very nutty, and totally sweet!

We walked along, naming nuts (Pine Nut. Pistachio Nut. Macadamia Nut.), and then we saw it.

Still closed, but really really there. Lettuce Knit. I perched on the steps while Senor snapped some photos for me.

(Does anyone know how they decide what yarn goes in there?)

After only a few minutes, a friendly girl named Alexis let me in. And there was sock yarn EVERYWHERE!! They just don't have that kind of selection in California. I grabbed myself some Socks That Rock in Red Rock Canyon. Now that I think back, there were other skeins I wish I'd gotten also, but I was pleased with my choice. We browsed a bit more, and then it was time to say goodbye.

Next we went to Romney. I was too tired and overwhelmed when I walked in and saw this:

I didn't purchase anything here, 'cause I just couldn't process this amount of yarn on 2 hours of seated sleep. I wish now that I'd been brave enough, but I just couldn't take the stimulation.

Besides, it was time to head to Huntsville and the time on our meter was running out (we think).

Off to the wedding!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bad Gift Getter

I blew it. Let all the knitting world know that I am sorry for not mentioning it before this:

This photo, which I borrowed from Noteworthy Knits, is of the beautiful project bag that she made just for me for winning a contest on her blog. I love it so much that I've used it almost daily since the day I got it, and I kept putting off photographing it until I could press it back into brand new shape.

Now I feel like a total heel because I didn't get to it sooner. The lesson has been learned (the hard way, rats), and I am going to do her generosity justice just as soon as I get home from work today.

I LOVE IT, NOTEWORTHY!! You rock the sewing machine!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh Baby You, You Got What I Nee-ee-eed!

I'm only asking because I've seen what asking knitters for stuff can accomplish... Crazy feats of fundraising, generous donations for the needy, artistic participation on a Grand scale...

So what sad story have I got to make you want to give me stuff? None at all, I'm sorry to say. I have nothing but an itch that wants scratching.

Do you have any wool sock yarn leftovers that you'd like to get out of your house? Are you stashbusting and wondering what you'll ever do with all these little golf balls of sock yarn? I want them. I have this sudden uncontrollable urge to make more more more squares for my quilt, and yet the sock yarn I have is all waiting to be socks. I don't want to borrow from the skeins before the socks are knit because I may get down to the end and find that I can't complete the toe. You've been there, right?

I just spent my weekend travelling and knitting three squares and my hands are itching to do more. If you're reading this and thinking, "No way, Lame-O!" that's fair enough, because I'm sorta thinking it too.

But if you're thinking something else, let me know.

In the meantime, I'm working on socks furiously so that I can have leftovers sooner. How backward is that?

O Canada content to come...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Here We Go!!

T minus 15 hours until the Toronto knit shops open. And I WILL BE THERE!!

Enjoy your weekend, eh?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On the Other Hand...

... There is always the yarn to keep me centered. Wanna see my new goodies from Twist Yarns?

Some Malabrigo laceweight ought to straighten me right out!! I'm planning two (one of each color) lacy neckerchiefs for a little brightness and warmth this winter. I can't believe how soft these are!! And reasonably priced!

And 140 yards of some beautiful handspun by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. Yummy!!

My mom and I will share the resulting scarf. USC Football here we come!!!

Attempt #2 of the Retro Redux Shrug from Lace Style worked like a charm!! It's Cascade 220 in Straw with an added crochet edge in black Cascade 220. I LOVE IT! I'd wear it every day, but then again, it's wool and the weather won't quite permit... Darn! Where is Fall already?

I started a new pair of socks. Hedera from Knitty. I like this pattern! Jawoll Cotton blend. The yarn hides the stitches a bit, but I think once it's on a foot, all will be quite well.

And last and possibly least, the first 4 inches of the Notre Dame Pullover from Interweave Knits Summer 07. Double Seed Stitch in white Cascade Superwash. Not much to look at right now...

Not that soft either... Hoping for a miracle? Or using what I've got? Yes.

I CAN DO IT MYSELF!!! And other such nonsense...

(This moment of neurosis is brought to you by the number 9 and the letter C. Any similarity it bears to actual recent events or conversation is merely coincidental. Actually, the plot and characters ARE inspired by a conversation that was just had here at work, and I want to assure those involved that this post is in NO WAY an attack on you. Our conversation was merely the catalyst by which I have recognized my need for serious therapy.)

What is it about receiving unsolicited suggestions that makes everything less fun for me? Maybe not for you, maybe you like the collaboration, maybe you never thought of that and think it's a really good idea thank you.

Not me. (This is another case of being the Most Easily Bugged Person in the world, I think.)

It doesn't apply to everything. Cooking? Yes, tell me how to make a really good devilled egg. I seriously don't know anything about it, and don't feel the need to reinvent that wheel. Directions? Which way do you go to get to your house, 'cause I don't go there as often as you do. Movies? Yeah, which one is going to be worth the $20 it costs us to see it? I don't want to find out by trial and error. I don't mind seeing what everyone else has seen. Or reading what everyone else has read (except Da Vinci Code. Not gonna do it.)

But so many other things lose their interest for me as soon as someone else shows enthusiasm for my doing them. I felt this way about the wedding. I didn't want anyone else to tell me what they thought would be perfect or "so you". It makes me feel crowded and panicky. I think it has to do with one or more of the following a) never getting the chance to find out what I empirically would actually LIKE, b) having my excitement overshadowed and thereby nullified by the excitement of someone who's not even involved, or c) not getting to discover anything first hand.

Some other examples:

I don't want ideas on how to decorate. I think I might be good at it if I ever felt sure the suggestion didn't come from someone else. It's something I feel Senor and I can handle on our own, and only we know how our personal traffic patterns work. If you think our couch would be perfect here or there, it only makes me feel uncertain about where we chose to put it.

I don't want color suggestions when I am trying to choose yarn. You're not going to be wearing it, are you? So butter yellow and forest green are beautiful to you. You know what, on second thought, I don't like these colors either, nevermind.

I don't want the car you want to sell me. It's not "Me" unless I choose it. You don't know me.

I don't want help when I walk into a clothing store. I want to shout at the saccharine sales girls, "I WON'T LIKE ANYTHING YOU BRING ME AND IT WON'T FIT AND I CAN'T AFFORD IT!!!!"

I can do it myself, people. I can. When you help, I feel like you don't trust me.

Here's why I bring this up: I'm FREAKING OUT!!

It is generally acknowledged that we are planning to have little ones soon. Soon is a relative term, of course, but "Soon" is the danger zone. As long as there are things in my future that haven't happened, there is still some hope to influence me, I guess. I feel paranoid just having something in the offing. Already I'm getting input about pregnancy and birth-giving... and that puts me in a pickle because here are some of the things that I now don't want to do simply because they were suggested to me instead of my thinking them up:

Have the baby in the summer (or fall, winter, or spring).
Have the epidural. (I can do it myself.)
Not have the epidural. (I'm not stupid.)
Let people touch my belly. (It's mine.)
Not let people touch my belly. (Babies are for everyone!)

I have a problem. It's not you, it's me, seriously, it's not you, I'm not being sarcastic here.

There is no way that I can prevent helpful input from others. Input is merely a way for people to show that they care, that they're moved, that they want to play a part in something wonderful, that they want me to enjoy my experience as they did, or to enjoy mine more than they did. I realize that it will come from family, and friends, and doctors, and nurses, and neighbors, and people waiting to cross the street with me, and drive-thru window attendants. I know I can't stop it, and I realize that I don't know everything, and there are things that will be helpful and necessary to find out from others. I need to figure out how to not let the helpful hints make me feel trapped.

I feel trapped already by this pregnancy. You know, this pregnancy that doesn't exist yet. That's not a good sign.

If I spend 9 months feeding a child this kind of panic, it's going to come out looking like Woody Allen.

(For all of you with whom I am in regular contact, please don't take this as a Gag Order. It's not that at all. I've just discovered a need to vent. Maybe by venting now instead of later, I can get it out of my system, and then we can have some fun. I do want to be a fun person, honest. I just didn't realize how complicated this whole "having babies" thing might turn out to be.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What a Change of Diet Can Do in 3 Days

First, what a change of diet can't do. It can't return you to your wedding weight in 3 days. It can't give you a reason to pull the "too small" bag out of the garage. It can't keep your jeans from cutting into your tummy all day as you sit in your office chair. It can't make you want to go to the gym. Not in 3 days. It can't really make you look any different at all.

But what it can do? It can apparently make you want to blog again. It can help Anxiety move out of the master bedroom of your mind and take up residence in the guest room (still living with you, still in the way, but not necessarily a permanent cohabitor). It can make you want to talk to people again. It can bring you back from hiding.

Eventually, if we let ourselves go too far and we live with the guilt of that for too long, we start to lose pieces of ourselves. I've been chipping away at my enthusiasms and interests for a long time. I've been gradually receding into my own background. I have not been comfortable there... I miss me. On our wedding video, I informed myself and the cameraman that, "I am pretty much the funniest person in my life." I have some funny friends and relatives who may take issue with this remark, and I'm not really sure that it's true myself, but the fact of the matter is that a mere 15 months ago, I thought I was a funny person and enjoyed being with myself. I had something I was proud enough and sure enough of that I was willing to brag about it on camera. That's really something. That's a belief that goes to the core if I'M willing to brag about it.

So where has that funny girl been? This sad, chubby girl sat on her, I guess, or shoved her in a closet and piled yarn on top of her.

I'm not saying I'm funny again. I don't think a change of diet can do that in just 3 days. But I do believe I've opened the closet door (not that kind of closet) and let some of the yarn roll out. I feel a bit less embarassed of myself, a bit less consumed with my own worry, a bit less obsessed with being invisible.

I don't want this blog to turn into a diet blog, all I'm saying is, if you're wondering how it is that I've managed to post 3 days in a row after narely posting once a week for a while, it's because I ate a little more stuff that I don't have to deny.

I'm a long way off yet, but I'm on a good road. I'm starting to remember that funny girl.

*************** Okay, I'm done now. For now.**************

Let's knit some stuff! Started and frogged some Hedera socks from Anyone have a comment on the brands of yarn that have worked for this pattern? I liked the 3 inches I knit yesterday, but it wouldn't have fit the foot of even my smallest friend. I guess the yarn was too fine. What would work better?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

(Yarn For) The Knitting

I've been up to things.

(almost) Finished Object! Senor's custom made socks. I maaaaaade it!! These were knit with 1+ skeins of Colinette Jitterbug in the Toscana colorway. I have a lot left, which I will most likely use to make squares for the sock yarn throw I'm slowly working on... so slowly. I still need to weave in the ends, but I suspect it will be a while before Senor wants to pad about in wool socks. Right, Senor?

A Very Harlot Scarf. It's based on a pattern invented/posted by the Yarn Harlot long long ago. I will add a link to her pattern as soon as I can find it. This yarn is Mandalay Pure Silk in some pink color. I'm not going to lie to you, this yarn has been voodoo in my stash for a long long time. It was the yarn chosen for the recently aborted Retro Redux Shrug, and before that it was an aborted Onesy. It just never seemed to work for anything. It feels good, it looks pretty, but it just never cohesed (?) with any of the patterns I tried. So I opted for this scarf "just to get the yarn out of my house."

Now it's not going anywhere.

(The extra skein IS going back to the shop, though.)

And speaking of shops, how often does one get to say this?

There's a new yarn shop in town!!! It opens TODAY, and we are walking (walking!) to it on our lunch hour!!! Now, we have one LYS within walking distance of work already (4 blocks, danger!), but this one is even closer than the other. (1.5 blocks)

If you are doing the math, that does mean that these two yarn shops are roughly 5.5 blocks apart, very close, but hopefully their personalities will be individual enough to fill two separate niches. Welcome to town, Twist Yarns!!