Tuesday, August 31, 2004

GB is out of town once again, after a rather lengthy stay at home - I think he was here for ten days last time! This time he's searching bags at the train stations in honor of the GOP Convention. He has strict orders not to do anything that might be construed as supporting Bush, but when he's out there with his buddies, it's tough to tell what's going on.

Jen, one of my favorite people ever, sent me a digital camera (don't let anyone tell you whining like a three year old doesn't work) and it arrived last night. I know because I have the worlds worst mail-person, who apparently takes it as a personal affront to suggest that things might not fit in the tiny cubicle of a mailbox we have (it's sort of like a postal apartment complex)
and remedies any concerns about "fitting" by wadding up the mail and stuffing it into all corners so that when one opens the box, one is greeted by a wall of mail that could deflect bullets, and requires crowbars to remove it from the box.
So after prying it loose from those silly bills (aka "junk mail"), I found the box with the camera in it, and quickly set about trying to figure it out. I loaded the disk, but didn't see anything titled anything reasonable like "Amie this is what you need to open to install the camera". I plugged the camera in and was told that it couldn't find the right driver. I tried GB's computer, but the plugs didn't fit. I called GB, coming home from dinner with Andy, who I assume is a very gruff looking man with a gun, and not Andi, the cheerleader who's had too much to drink, but he couldn't help without seeing the plugs and what messages the computer was giving me.

So of course I got mad at him.Pissed

Because clearly he was supposed to have some deep psychic connection that allowed him to not only see what I was seeing, but know instinctively how to fix it, and at the same time be able to create software that could be transferred via telephone lines using voice commands alone, to load the digital camera. And his saying "I'm sorry, but I can't help if I'm not there to see what you're talking about" was completely unreasonable, because of course I know he's not here, that's the whole problem, right?

I don't think that's asking too much, do you?Blushy Girl

Oh, fine, so I didn't have a right to be nasty. Fine. See if I ever stand up for you when you do something stupid to your husband.

Okay, Googly Bear?
I'm SorryShy I Love You

But I finished off a disposable camera, and planned to drop it off at the one-hour photo place I see signs for on my way into work, then pick up the photos on a quick lunch break and have actual knitting content Shock 2 for you this afternoon. So I did that. Filled out the little envelope, tossed it in the little drop-slot, and then saw a sign that said "we no longer have one-hour photo. All processing will take two days." The fact that this sign was right next to three other signs that all claimed one-hour photo didn't seem ironic to anyone else. So no pictures today.

So I was feeling sort of grumpy, when I checked my daily reads, and tripped across this little tidbit of sheer, unmitigated joy. It's hard to be down when you've got that much pure beauty to look at.
Stephanie? You Are The Woman

Monday, August 30, 2004

I'm feeling a bit secretive. A bit "woman of mystery". Or possibly "woman of stupidity" as this may all stem from a fall I took Saturday morning. Yup. Just stupidly tripped on a broken bit of sidewalk out front of my house, and went down hard and fast... well, hard and in a weird slow motion kind of state. I hit with my left knee first - the one that's already sensitive to weather changes, and nearly required surgery a few years back. Then I attempted to catch myself with my hands, and jammed my wrists pretty good. And it didn't even help, because my temple slammed down onto the cement anyway, just to the left of my left eyebrow. I'm sure the whole thing took a fraction of a second, but it felt oddly slow and methodical. Didn't break the skin on the knee, hands, or head, and I put ice on my head right away, so no bruising shows, although the area is still very tender, and I've had a headache ever since. Sure, I'll recover from the pain, but the stupidity of falling on my own front walk may haunt me forever.
In any event, Saturday I saw Garden State with Nancy. I really enjoyed it, which was a relief, since about ten minutes in I was thinking "oh, I really don't want to hate this I really don't want to hate this."

You see, call me a prude if you want, but I don't consider drugs, or drug use, to be cool at all. At all. Really. And I get very angry when I see celebrities talking about it like it's normal and healthy. I do believe celebrities have a great responsibility and obligation to be proper role models. We talk about a so-called "war on drugs" and then we put it out there all over the place - celebrities smoking pot all over the place, drugs for every condition you can imagine all over the television (and medication absolutely has it's place, but adding chemicals into your body should never be a first choice) and it's no wonder kids think "everyone is doing drugs". This said, I have almost always had friends who used drugs (when I wasn't around) and I don't judge them for it. I don't like it, but I don't hold it against them. But I do hold it against people who present it as popular and glamourous.
Blurry Drunk
And within the first ten minutes of the movie, there's a party with heavy drug use going on. I don't want to watch a movie about doing drugs. But it turned out not to be about drugs, but about feelings, and reality, and how sometimes feeling means pain, but that's not a bad thing. The relationship between Zach Braff's character and Natalie Portman's character is just precious, and I found myself really enamoured of the movie when I left.

So go see the movie if you're feeling a bit contemplative, and introspective, and get past the first ten or fifteen minutes before you make a real decision about it.

And otherwise, I'm working on a few other things in my (aching) head that I may let you in on later this week...

Friday, August 27, 2004

What a great way to start the day! I slept pathetically late - but so did the dog, so no barks or scratches at the door woke me up, just the gentle grunt of a cat being kicked in my sleep (Trevor likes to sleep at my ankles). Despite my drive towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on a Friday morning, traffic was light and easy. "KnitSteph" sent me an adorable Hallmark e-card featuring Hoops and Yo-Yo, who are pretty much my heros. I'm almost caught up in work (sounds like a great excuse to slack off for the rest of the day, right?). My dear friend Nancy is coming to visit tomorrow (if you look at my wedding pictures, she's the yellow bridesmaide) to meet her nephew Oscar, since I haven't seen her since the wedding! We'll take him for a walk, and go see Garden State tomorrow evening, during which I fully expect to laugh, to cry, and to feel that, yes, actually, it is better than Cats.

I spun about an ounce of the green/red/gold merino/silk blend last night. Could definitely see the sections where I should have predrafted a bit more. But Tanya just got a new room for all her knitting toys, and asked people to send her mementos to decorate with. I think I'll use some of that... though maybe I'll use a few ounces that are better spun than that ounce.

I've got seven more to play with.... What should I make? I'd like to make something really unique - and this stuff has the most amazing sheen to it... ideas? a simple scarf? A doily type thing?

(I'm sorry, "doily" is just one of the dumbest words on the planet. Doilies themselves are fine, in the proper arena, but the word "doily" You know some snotty ghost somewhere is just laughing it up because they've got the whole English speaking world using the world "doily" when really it's just the noise they made when they sneezed and tea came out of their nose)

I tried to start on my lace hat last night, but could only find one size five cicular needle (I know I have about 17 of them, that's what I use most often) and it was in my Follies sweater. I very cleverly dug out my first pair of wooden needles, some lovely rosewood handcarved ones that I got when Trevor was a baby kitten. They have to stay hidden or they get mysterious puncture wounds in the tips. I don't know how that could happen.

But dig them out I did, and carefully knit from the circular in the Follies sweater, onto the straight wooden needles, then set about casting on the lace hat-to-be.... and discovered that the circular needle is 29".

Confident I may be at times. My head is NOT that big. And since I couldn't find a second size 5, I'll just give in and buy a 16" 5 today or tomorrow, and go back to the 29" circs on the Follies sweater. Hopefully I'll be able to finish the front and get started on the sleeves this weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Heaven, thy name is Canada.Canada

I've commented that if a certain folliage-prone politian is elected for the first time I might leave the country. I now know I will go to Newfoundland, and not just for the super sweet dogs.

Steph, Yarn Harlot extraordinaire, took this picture with the now famous Dublin Bay socks while on vacation last week.

That's right.

In Canada, they know.

They know that sure, sleep, food, that stuff's important. But when you're going to post a sign with some of the benefits to a certain exit, you gotta go with all the important ones.

Yes, my friends. That there's a ball o' yarn, right on that sign.

Oh, jeez, I promised myself I wouldn't cry.... (again)
Today's post is brought to you by 80's hair band WhiteSnake.

"Here I go again, on my own..."

GB's trip to the GOP Convention got bumped up a day, so he left with little warning this morning, instead of tomorrow. Which made us both very grateful we'd chosen yesterday to bomb the house. We went to dinner while the house was airing out, and the waiter called me "sweetheart".

Now, any woman is used to those little "sweetie" "baby" "honey"s that we get. Most of us dislike them, though they can be quite endearing in the right context.

This, a man around my age or younger, who had shown no personality of his own, or developed a rapport with me at all, had not chosen the right context. I thought GB's head was going to explode. Instead, he left a small tip and a note along with it that "sweetheart" might have been a wee bit inappropriate.

On the way back, we stopped at my parents to pick up Trevor and Aslan. Trevor went back into the crate for GB with little difficulty, and I put Aslan on the leash, then GB took Trevor in his car, and I took Aslan in mine. And there began the Amie/Aslan Medley of Showtunes.

It went very much like this:

Pigtails There were bells
Cat 10Raow.
Pigtails On the Hills
Cat 10 Raow.
PigtailsBut I never heard them singing
Cat 10Reeeoww
PigtailsNo I never heard them at all
Cat 10Raow.
PigtailsTill there was you.....
Cat 10MMMmeeeeeooooowwwww....

I knit a whopping 2 rows on my sweater, and they were short rows, too, maybe 30 stitches total. My hand is feeling much better, so I think I'll start on my lace hat tonight, using a modification of the pattern for the Wavy Lace socks in Interweave Knits (I think) Summer 2004. I'm finding that doing the front half of the Follies sweater by picking up the stitches is effective, and relatively quick, but not FUN. So I'm going to do the "force myself to knit on it for 15 minutes" and then let myself play on something fun. I also think the red merino-angora in yesterday's picture will become a hat and mittens for myself. I'm picturing lots of cables.

And since GB is gone now, I'll try to finish up another roll on the disposable camera, and maybe have more pictures up in the next few days... I swear, I'm really close to giving in and buying cheap coffee or whatever to get one of those free digital cameras that I.B. Huge is trying to sell me in spam....

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Trevor and Aslan went to a kitty day spa for today. Okay, not really. They went to grandma and grandpa's house. With very vocal complaints. It's amazing how a 15 minute drive that you take regularly can suddenly seem to take three hours when there are two cats voicing their discontent in your ear the whole time.
Cat 10Cat 7
We're flea bombing the house. You have no idea the joy it gives my husband to be able to lay claim to bombing our house.
But that's what we're doing, and it takes three hours for the fog to clear, so Oscar will be outside as usual, the fish will be covered carefully, and Trevor and Aslan are visiting their grandparents for the day.
Buggie 2
Trevor, despite his reputation for being a bit of a rapscallion, will walk right into a cat carrier on command. However, he's unhappy in the car unless he's in mom's lap. When he was a wee little kitten, he got into the carrier and I didn't perform any security checks first. You can't tell me he wasn't packing a file, because I don't see how a two-month old kitten could break out of a cat carrier, but he did. So I learned then that the best way to travel with him in peace is to put a little harness on him, tie that to the back seat so he had access to most of the car, but not the floor of the front seat. With this method, he spends most of the ride in my lap, dozing, and a small portion on the back dash, growling and hissing at the cars who pull up too close behind us (to their great amusement). But we couldn't find his harness this morning, just the leash. And since Aslan is far more docile, we decided that Aslan would have the leash attached to his collar, Trevor would go in the cat carrier, and I would drive to my parents' while GB set off the bombs, after carefully covering the fish tank, which I've just now realized I forgot to remind him to do... oh, dear...
In any event, hopefully, we'll get home to a house free of little critters that make Aslan sick.

We also got a new leash for Oscar (lots of furry people news, but not so much knitting, you say? Watch how I tie this together into a little bundle of knitting blog). It's one of those that extends out many feet, but can be held short if you push a button. He quite likes it, as do I, although I'm not used to it just yet, and when I went to take Oscar out this morning, he took off the step at high speed, and I went to grab the leash to stop him. This was silly. I should not have grabbed the leash, I should have pushed the button. Well, now I know that my self-preservation instincts are not as strong as my dog-preservation instincts, because as I stood on the step, feeling for all the world as if someone was slicing my hand in half, it took a good 20 seconds before I remembered the button, and was able to stop Oscar. I realize now he wasn't going full-speed, or we both would have been a mile away in that amount of time, but nevertheless, I am typing this now with grooves in my fingers where the skin was literally burned off my the friction of the leash. Which means that knitting and spinning will be quite difficult tonight! (see, told you I'd bring fiber into it!)

So I'll show you pictures of what I won't be working on tonight, while my hand heals. Maybe I'll practice button pushing in the meantime, so that I can stop the dog before losing skin. Wasn't his fault - when a guy's gotta go, a guy's gotta go!

But in the meantime, I probably won't be working on the Follies sweater, on which I'm about halfway up picking up stitches along the front...

Note the adorable furry knees at the bottom of the photo... 

It's likely I won't do more on this bobbin of merino/silk, that's close to lace weight.

I doubt I'll be able to start work on the lace hat I'd like to make with this, handspun from Jen's superwash dyed and an undyed superwash.

And I almost definitely won't start work on this, which I dyed myself at Jen's last weekend.

The red is Merino/Angora, the green/gold/red is some of the Merino Silk (there's another braid of all green Merino Silk)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

GB was a very good boy and did indeed remember his camera... but then he went out with a buddy and didn't get home until after dark, and it's too tricky to light the cave, er, house enough to take pictures, so I'll try to get them today and have some up tomorrow. I wasn't in a knitting mood, but I wanted to spin, so, master of my own destiny that I am (should that be mistress of my own destiny?) I did just that.

At Bess's suggestion, I'd been thinking about entering somethings into the arts competition at the Fall Fiber Festival and wasn't sure what to enter, so I dug around in some of my stash, came across a bag of merino/silk blend gifted by a benevolent benefactor, and figured I'd give it a shot. It's heavenly to spin, and I'm spinning nearly lace weight... and almost wearing a line permanently into my index finger! I did an ounce last night, and had to stop because my finger was hurting. I think I'll also enter the lace hat I'll make with what I showed Bess this weekend, and maybe a felted bag I designed as well... I'm curious as to whether or not they give constructive criticism when they judge, as I would LOVE to be the case, or if they simply mark and move on. I've not done something like this before, and while I have no idea what my knitting and spinning is like compared to most others in competitive form, I think it's fairly proficient, and it will be interesting to see what happens.

Otherwise, my co-worker has been whistling the same song for three hours now, and just came into my office with some (I felt) fairly rascist comments about a Chinese program we run. I didn't laugh, and was told I'm too serious and have no sense of humor. A 50+ year old man who's idea of high quality humor is putting stickers of screws over the heart on "I {heart} my cat" bumper stickers is telling me I have no sense of humor. Hmm. The difference between man and woman can often be a lovely, exciting thing.

Or it can be mind-bogglingly absurd.

Well, I will aspire to being amused by the mind of a pre-adolescent male. In the meantime, pictures tomorrow, and I leave you with true comedy (or so I'm told):
Moony 2Club Me

Monday, August 23, 2004

What a fun weekend!

My beloved husband, who is about 5% jerk, 90% really, really good guy, and 5% saint, kicked that 5% saint right into gear and took me shopping Friday night.
ALL new under garments. I can literally throw everything else out, and start life anew. Is there a woman on the planet who doesn't want to do that? I get to!

Also Friday night, I got a package from Shelia, who sent me some superwash merino to spin. I had asked on Knitters Review for a good source for superwash, since I'd bought those two ounces of it from Jen in a beautiful colorway, and thought I'd ply the single from that with a simple white, which would give me enough for a hat. I'd asked for two oz, but I think Shelia gave me three, because I have nearly half again as much white left over. But it was SO sweet of her to send it, and I really do like the stuff, so I may end up getting more and returning her favor... The finished yarn is just lovely, and I took it with me, still dripping from setting the twist, when the fellas and I went to spend the day playing with Bess. She praised it highly, and I was quite please with it as well. It'll make a beautiful lace hat, if I can find the stitch pattern I'm thinking of using. I'll try to have some pics up tomorrow, if GB remembers to bring the camera home from the office.

We had a wonderful day, all of us. When we got there, we found other friends, including two boys just DSS's age, so he went off to play with them, fishing and chasing things and generally being 12. GB spent the day talking man stuff with BD and M, and Bess and I played happily with fiber, and talked books and movies and past lives and just everything....

I had brought along the pattern and the beginning section of the Follies sweater, but in thinking about it on the carride up discovered an error, and asked Bess about it. I was right (yay, me!) I'll explain. Here's the picture again:

It's a Berocco pattern, and I plan on adding sleeves. Well, I finished the back, and then the left front, and started what I thought would be the right front. But then I realized that it had wanted me to cast on as many stitches as the left front. Hmm... So it looked to me like the right front was just the mirror image of the left front. What's wrong with that? Look at the picture again. The way they want me to make it, it's not really a "wrap look" sweater so much as it is a wrap. In aran weight yarn.

Kate Moss wouldn't want a double layer of fabric in a giant triangle right over her stomach.
I am no Kate Moss.

So Bess looked at it for a bit, and figured out a way for me to avoid this and described it carefully for me, and lightbulbs so bright I could have blinded someone were glaring over my head, the solution was so clear. How exciting!

Dinner was scrumptious, and LD and GF came over for that, so we got to chat with them a little, and suddenly is was way too late, and I would have loved to stay for hours and hours longer, but we had to get in the car and head for home, promising it should all happen again soon.

Sunday was a day for late-sleeping (well, 7:30, but that's late for a lark!) and we went to lunch and an early movie with my parents. Saw The Village again, and found it just as interesting, and I was very impressed that DSS seemed to follow it all quite clearly, as I would have thought it boring for someone raised to like blowing things up. Sometime earlier in the day I realized that the lightbulbs I'd had glaring away the day before were now dull and dark, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what Bess had been talking about. So while GB took DSS home, I sat in my parents basement, and decided I would simply start at the bottom of the left front, pick up a stitch with every row, and work my way up, until the left front became the whole front. I am now about 6 inches up, and it seems to be working. I'll try to get pics of that, too. An added benefit is that saving me the time of knitting the unneeded stomach padding means having extra yarn, so I'll most likely be able to add full sleeves on, since I was sort of guessing about how much yarn to order to alter the pattern by adding sleeves.

I was pretty pooped after such a full weekend - I get tired SO easily - and for some reason I've been breaking out - not my face, but my arms and legs - so it seems I have some sort of allergy. Blech. Time for a doctors appointment, I suppose....

Friday, August 20, 2004

It's Friday. DSS came home from a trip to see my FIL last night, and we usually get him on Friday, not Thursday, so I was up late watching the Olympics when it suddenly occurred to me I would have to come into work today.
I am more than ready for the weekend, as I have a wonderful day planned, spent out in "the country" with friends. It feels so much more like living when it isn't done with neighbors right on top of each other, gazing into their windows (intentionally or otherwise). Sunday GB and I will double date with my parents, as he and I want to see The Village again, and they haven't seen it yet. Today GB and DSS are at Six Flags, riding roller coasters and generally being "boys" without even a hint of guilt at my coming back into this place. I feel slightly better knowing today is supposed to be the hottest day of the summer, but then again, they are boys, so on top of my "serves 'em right" feeling is the knowlege that they'll both be dehydrated by now.

And sadly, that has nearly completely summed up my life so far. Aslan is home, but apparantly bitter about being taken to the doctor. Dispite the rave reviews of his behavior there, he has found a new hiding place in the house that took us three hours to discover, and keeps going back there whenever pulled out. I didn't even knit, as it's tough to do that when you're paying attention to gymnastics!

So since my life is so depressingly boring right now, I'll tell you a little story to entertain you for the weekend:

You see, I had a dream the other night that I was walking through some woods. I could hear the hoot of an owl, the fluttering of leaves and wings, and all kinds of lovely noises one hears in nature. I was walking carefully, picking my way through the brush, when I noticed a trail of ants, making their way purposefully, deeper into the woods.

As I followed them into the brambles, I realized they were headed towards a snuffling, grumbling noise. Wondering what it was, and why on earth ants would go closer to such a thing, I followed timidly, and burst into laughter when I discovered that silly noise was a pig, munching away on a pile of vegetables.

No doubt the ants wanted in on that action!

Something small and light-weight landed briefly on my cheek, and then launched off into the woods before I could see what it was, rather than just catching the motion from the corner of my eye. Then, motion again, and this time I caught the blurried view of a beautiful, ruby-colored hummingbird.

I followed it quietly, until the sound of running water caught my attention. I turned slightly towards the gurgling, and saw a beautiful burn, glittering in the sunlight. A turtle was waving its flippers playfully in the shallow edge, looking quite as if it was waving at me.

I laughed at that, and a glimmer of gold caught my eye further into the pool of water... How could that be? Here, in this small body of water, deep in the middle of the woods... But it sure looked like... yes. An adorable, tiny octopus!

Just then, my attention was caught once again my something landing gently on my cheek, and vanishing again. Certain this time that it wasn't the hummingbird, I gave my little water-friends one last gaze and bid them fairwell, venturing off into the woods again. And it was wings that distracted me again -- this time, the owl that I had heard hooting earlier, sweeping casually through the branches.

It was just after the owl was no longer in sight that I heard an all too familiar sound - an angry cat. As quietly as I could, I followed that noise, which was quickly overridden by another, loud, foreign, almost trumpet... There was the cat, looking every bit as angry as he'd sounded.

It seems he'd been following his little feline instincts and chasing prey. Unfortunately, he'd chased the prey into the line of danger for himself, to a degree. For when I reached the small clearing where he stood, back fully arched, tail lashing back and forth furiously, I saw a small mouse, no doubt his prey.

But it was just beyond this mouse where lay the danger for the cat. Or so I thought at first. It soon became clear that the frightening trumpeting noise I'd heard earlier was not rooted in violence, but in fear. Not fear of the cat, but of the mouse. For there, in the clearing, wide-eyed and hollaring, was a gigantic elephant, on whose toes had just "trampled" the silly mouse!

It must have been the shock of that that awakened me, as I woke up laughing at my silly dream. But just then, still giggling, still wiping the sleep from my eyes, I felt the now familiar flitter against my cheek, and this time was able to turn fast enough to see what it was that had been landing on me...

Marriage is love.