Monday, February 28, 2005

Only for Jen...

... because she often tolerates my long "getting to know you" questionaires...

1. Total number of music files on your computer:
I refuse to answer myself on the grounds that it might incriminate me. Besides, it doesn't count, because I'm in radio, so it's my job. Let's just say take the numbers you've seen from everyone else's answers, add them altogether here, and then max out your computer so that you have to do weekly backups onto CD. For personal use, basically none.

2. The last cd you bought:
Hmmm... I RARELY buy CDs. I got them free for ages at various stations (being music director doesn't mean more money but it does mean pick of the disks.) so it was a matter of pride that I didn't buy anything... it's been a while... but I think Gary Allen... the vast majority of my CDs are musical soundtracks or classic jazz...

3. The last song you listened to before reading this message:
Do the words "Hold me Batboy, Love me Batboy" mean anything to you? Me either, but they were the lyrics of a musical I saw yesterday. I do audiobooks in the car, so unless you count Beyonce-fest (aka Oscars) last night, that would be it.

4. Name 5 songs you listen to often or that mean something to you:
Ahhh... now this is tough, because music really does mean so much to me... just five? Alright, in no particular order: (if you click on the title, you can listen to a section of the song on Amazon, if you want...)
1. Suddenly Seymore (from Little Shop of Horrors) - it's sort of a signature duet my brother and Laura sang a lot in college, and it always makes me cry ...
2. Love of My Life (Sammy Kershaw)... early in our relationship, when our committment to each other was still very much unspoken and in denial, the first thing GB and I ever danced to was this song, alone in my living room, with no music playing, just him singing in my ear (he's a dreadful singer, but it's one of my favorite sounds) "You are the love of my life/ You are the reason I'm alive/ And baby baby baby/ When I think of how you saved me/ I go crazy"
3. Friends (Michael W. Smith). It was a special song for my youth group in high school but what makes it most special was my brother asking me to sing it with him at his final college recital... it was the first time he told me he loved me, and the first time he acknowledged me as his friend.
4. Hymn (Adiemus) Absolutely one of the most haunting songs in existence. I had my bridesmaids walk down the aisle to it at the wedding. To me, it is about finding love, and the adventure and mysticism involved in that, about how in losing oneself completely in the love of another, one finds oneself instead. I say "to me" because the lyrics are actually part of an invented language - more on that here. Listening to this song never fails to bring me to peace and comfort.
5. Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & the Waves) This song always makes me feel bouncy and happy. When GB and I were planning the wedding (okay, when I was planning the wedding and he was saying "yes, dear") I asked what he thought about us going down the aisle to that instead of the traditional Ode to Joy... it was the first thing that he said "OH! I LOVE that idea!!!" to... it's fun, and joyful, and about realizing you're in love after not being sure you were ready to take the plunge - perfect for our relationship!
X. Anything my brother has ever written makes me cry enough that people ask if I'm okay. He's learned to stash boxes of kleenex under my chair when he performs.
Y. Each of my animals has a song that makes me think of them... They're kinda private, though I used to sneak them on during request hours ("going out to Trevor in Milford") but they are highly attitude based.


Someone called the store this weekend while I was there teaching to ask a question. She had a mitten that she knit twenty years ago, and the match to it which she'd knit halfway (just past the thumb) and she couldn't remember what to do. This was of dire importance to her and she simply had to find the solution this very instance, could she come and interrupt my class so I could look at it? (sure, it waited twenty years, but can't wait another hour!!!) So she did that, drove it, interrupted my class and showed me ratty, stained yarn, with stitches taken off the needles and split and broken, and said "how much will you charge to finish this mitten?" I looked at the mess, thought about how much else I have to do, and calmly said "$25"

"Well, I could buy a new set of mittens for that!"

"Yes, you could."

"That's not worth it" and off she huffed.

I turned back to my class, who all looked a little nervous, and after I was sure she was well out of hearing, said "Once people find out you knit, they'll come to you with projects. If you don't want to do them, give them an outrageous price." They sort of chuckled, and one of them said "my roommate knits and charges $75 a scarf" to which I replied "well, in that instance, the mitten was in horrible condition, and it would have taken me about two hours. I have plenty of other things to do, and I don't think $25 for two hours is really extravagent" and they all agreed. What a lovely class.

To top that off, my super slow student FINISHED her hat. It was a roll brim, all stockinette, and is large on her, and I had to finish the decreases when it got to DPNs, but we don't care. It goes over her head, and it took her two months to figure out the knit stitch, and even at the end she was still throwing in yarn overs and getting confused. She was so proud she gave me a huge hug, and I almost cried. This means next week we have to start purling again.

I rewarded myself with goodies from Spirit Trail.

... goodies which were immediately searched for my protection by my bomb-cat Trevor.

He's double checking here, but you can see two skeins of silk/wool in a gardeny pink and green, and a matching green mohair, which Aslan hasn't found yet. The top is a dark red sock yarn, because everyone needs scarlet socks, and the next below it is bright green sock yarn, which I think will be used for the Saxony sock pattern that I also got, and make fun St. Patrick-y socks. And there's a little bag of 2 oz of GORGEOUS red silk roving, which will become a very special gift for a very special friend who reads this blog, so while you will see the progress as it is made (I think it'll be the next thing I spin) no more will be said about it's recipient, and it will henceforth be known as the "mystery silk".


I got to see my brother in a performance this weekend (see #3 above) in which he played the title character. He sings a lot in church, and did theatre growing up, but hasn't done too much acting outside the church since college, so it's been a long time since I've sat in an audience listening to the comments of people around me, while they discussed my brother. It was fun. I'm so proud of him, for everything, and I was so pleased during the curtain call to hear that the cheers were very clearly loudest for him - he deserved it. But here were some of the conversations I overheard before the show started, as I sat knitting on Aslan-the-sock:

(from a man about four rows back)
"Those are the tiniest damn needles I've ever seen! She's not even F$%^$ing looking!"

(from a man directly behind me, about my brother)
"Hey - he went to Dickinson! Hey, he was Billy in Anything Goes! Hey, he's a minister! Hey, he's celebrating his tenth anniversary with..... hey, do you think that means he's gay?"


I got home from my brothers in time to catch the Oscars, during which I finished spinning this

218 yards of light worsted-weight princess blue, and could have kicked myself when I didn't notice a funky tangle in the center pull ball, which meant the plying did NOT go easily, took nearly the entire Oscar show, was a big pain in my patootie, and didn't go as well as I would have liked. I ended up breaking off this

and joining in the ends, which I'll doctor up a little bit before shipping the yarn off to Jenni. It's hanging in my shower now, drying from setting the twist, and I'll do the doctoring tonight.

While I was doing that, Aslan found the Oscars more entertaining if he watched upside down.

The show over all reminded me of a discussion on Knitters Review right now, which has gotten a bit nastier than needed, but it's about the book Stitch 'n Bitch. (yes, David, just one apostrophe, filling in for the "u" Winky 2) That discussion is about how it seems our society feels like things need to be "young" and "sexy" to be valid. I felt like the show tried a little too hard to be edgy. Not that it was tasteless or crude or anything, it just felt strained over all to me. And I'm still not sure who Beyonce was sleeping with to do all those performances. She's a beautiful woman with a lovely voice, but what does she have to do with the Oscars in any way, shape, or form???

Oh, well. I leave you today with a photograph which I've entitled "Kitty Vertigo"

Friday, February 25, 2005

Due to complete lack of inspiration and way-the-heck-ready-for-the-weekend-ness on my part, I give you only something stolen from a new-to-me blog, Little Turtle Knits. It's the Bookish Game!

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you

The sensation from the fire, that warmth which affects us in a manner wholly different from touch, and yet it is material like the blow of a stone.
(from Pascal's Thoughts, translated by W.F. Trotter)

What are yours?


Hours Spent Knitting: 15
Rows Completed (of 222): 30
Estimated Time of Completion: 111 hours

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I took a fantastic picture of Oscar this morning - really showing off his muscles and adorable coloring - out playing in the snow... and I forgot to load it. So you'll see that tomorrow. I'm still spinning the Princess Blue, and will finish that (including the plying) this weekend, and ship it off maybe Monday. I'm also working on the Christmas stockings (remember them?) which I stopped when it became clear I wouldn't get them done before Christmas no matter what I did (and the customer didn't mind that) I got to the toe of the first one, and decided I didn't like it. Turns out the sample she gave me was at a much tighter gauge than the pattern, and the pattern gauge is too loose for a stocking. So it's back to step one. They go pretty fast, actually, so I don't even mind. I'd rather it be right than give her less than my best. I'll be focussing on them for now, setting aside the great Time Space Contiuum Shawl, and my brother's afghan (which I'm sure he's given up hope on ever seeing anyway) for now, to get the stockings finished.
To answer Erica's question from yesterday... I don't know.
Lauren and I are going to talk a little about library school, since there are a few good ones, and I'm desparate to not be doing this job anymore (I started composing my resignation letter yesterday. I don't have a reason to do this, but it made me feel better). I know and love quite a few librarians, and I love books and libraries in general. But it doesn't feel right. I tend to be (and this is going to shock you) a very decisive person.
(Hey, I warned you)
I don't generally have a hard time making decisions. I tend to go with my heart pretty easily on most things, and usually if I can't make up my mind, it's because the outcome doesn't matter to me. (This characteristic, by the way, is what caused me to be told no less than 78 gazillion times that I was the calmest bride ever when planning my wedding. If it mattered, I already knew what I wanted, and if I didn't know, it was because I honestly didn't care.) When it comes to my career, I feel horribly indecisive, but career obviously matters a great deal, and I'm dreadfully uncomfortable not knowing what steps to take.
So I'll talk to Lauren and keep an open mind... even if I don't think that's where I'm headed right now, I'm not opposed to the path, and maybe she can give me information that will make the path more clear. And in the meantime, I do have a little something brewing which I think IS closer to the direction I want to be pointed, but I won't know more until after March 5. And I won't say more until then!
So as pennance for not having pictures today, how about this fun thing that Shaggy started on KR. Name three things most people don't know about you. Here are mine:
1. My birth certificate is wrong in two pretty important places (birthdate and name)
2. I have a deep seated adhesive-tape phobia. Seriously. It sets me into a freakish panic. Mock if you must, but don't show me tape.
3. I am sincerely surprised when people seem to like me.

Hours Spent Knitting: 15
Rows Completed (of 222): 30
Estimated Time of Completion: 111 hours

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Believe it or not, this is an action shot. It's Jenni's Princess Blue Merino/Silk that I was spinning more of this morning. And why not multi-task and play with the action shots feature on my camera, I ask you? So I did. Which resulted in a slight over-twisted section from my trying to spin one handed and hold the camera steady with the other. I got it worked out, and I'm back on track now.

Oh, and I was right - it's Meg Swansen's Knitting that has the special arch shaping for the sock. She says her mother (the illustrious Elizabeth Zimmerman, of course) never wrote it down really, so this is all she could glean from a few notes. I hope I didn't infringe on any copyrights there- I just wanted to show which arch thing I was talking about, and what book it's in.

Someone's at the door!

It turned out to be DHL, arriving with the software GB ordered Monday night... less than 48 hour delivery to get us our word processing system, and they can't get a radio show to us within a week down at the station. Hm..

Anyway, I'm fighting a sinus-y thing now (yes, to answer all your questions, I have called the doctor, and her next available appointment is March 18th. I made that appointment, figuring the way this winter has been going I'll have come down with seven or eight other ailments before then, and still have reason to go.) I also have an icky dentist's appointment for next week, which I'm not looking forward to at all. Anyone want to go for me? I'll give you handspun!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

One foot, Two foot, Amie foot, Snail foot.

Well, it's taking forever, but considering that it's been worked on almost exclusively during previews at the movies and in waiting rooms, that doesn't bother me too much. Here's Aslan-the-sock #1, as I'm just now turning the heel:

I worked a little on this at home this week - just the gusset increases and the actual heel turn - and it will go back in my purse once I've joined back up and start up the leg. I was thinking I might do something exciting, depending on the pooling. As you can see, it's actually not pooling at all (no one tell the Harlot, okay? She's been kinda stressed lately, and I don't think she can handle the news) and since I don't want stripey cables, I don't think I'll do anything exciting up the leg after all...

I've still got about ten rows of the heel turn to do before I really have to commit, so if you know of any to-die-for lace or cable patterns that would look breath-takingly-stunning-people-will-be-falling-over-themselves-at-the-beauty-that-is-my-calves with the varigation, please feel free to let me know.

I still have another pair of socks-worth of the Aslan colorway, and I think for that pair I'm going to try to modify Elizabeth Zimmerman's stocking foot... I think it's in Meg Swanson's Knitting that she mentions it, a sort of sculpted arch for stockings worn by those with high arches. You can't tell from the photo, but I have very high arches. If I ever wanted to hit on a ballet dancer, I could simply walk into a room and point my toe. Seriously. It's worked in the past.

One last shot, this one expressly for Vi. This is one of the snails, as seen from the underside (it's crawling up the tank). The little pink dot between the two antennae is actually it's mouth, and I get great enjoyment watching them eat up the sides of the tank. The black snail, I'm sad to say, moved out. It's shell is still in the tank, but empty. I'm sure it's living the good life in Vegas, or wherever snails go when they move out of their shells. It left behind about 15 babies, so it won't be forgotten soon.

(and Vi, Aslan's middle name comes from his endearing habit of drooling like a St. Bernard. It's an emotional thing with him, and when he first moved in with me, he was so grateful and emotional all the time that I actually tied a bandana around his neck as a bib, to prevent quite so many pools around my apartment! He's more settled now, but can still work up a bit if you scratch him in just the right spot, or if he's been angry)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Yes, I am still enjoying the new camera, thank you!

I met a new friend yesterday - yet another fantastic person that Knitters Review has brought into my life. Her name is Sarah, she's new at KR, new to knitting, and lives near me. I offered to come by and help her with some knitting basics so she can make herself some hats and things. She fed me a scrumptious lunch (and I took home some leftover soup, which will be lunch for me tomorrow, as I forgot to bring it today) and we talked and laughed and had a great time. So thanks again for a great day, Sarah - can't wait to do it again!

This used to be this

and this was this

They've both been done for a while, just hanging up, not skeined, and I didn't take pictures until this weekend. (I'm also doing a little of this Princess Blue that Anj gave me.

That's pretty close to the color - it's a rich midnight-y blue which I quite like. I have a pound of it, and four ounces is going to Jen, unless she voices any major complaints. She mentioned on KR that she was having a hard time motivating herself to finish a sweater for her brother's birthday, and in addition to my suggestion that she force herself to work on it for at least 15 minutes a day until it was done, I mentioned that I would give her 4 oz of my handspun if and only if she finished it in time. I'm sure it was the character-building advice I gave her, and not the blackmail of free yarn that caused her to finish on time, aren't you? Anyway, it's a merino/silk blend and if there hadn't been extra boys in the house this morning (who gets off for Presidents Day???), I might have finished the 4 oz, and been able to ply tomorrow. As it was it might take me a bit longer.

Here we have something that's a bit of a puzzle to me. Of course, the picture didn't take well, so it'll be tough for you to tell. But there are flecks of copper in the green, and flecks of green in the copper (and the green is far more an earthy deep green than that sort of washed out color there). I picked these up thinking I'd make myself a sort of spirally mobius scarf, and now I can't decided if I really hate the colors together or not. I like each color a great deal. But together... ??? ...and again, the picture isn't a great one, so it'll be tough for you to tell too.

This is about half of my stash. Maybe more than half. Those are thirty gallon tubs, and there's a basket full on top as well, so I think the main point here is that this is not my entire stash. The top tub is all cotton and sock yarn. There's an entire tub of alpaca spinning fiber, then other spinning fiber, and other yarns, many of which are alpaca... There's a large storage coffee table in the living room which is full of yarn (I think that's all specifically for felting) and a million and one bags which have various projects in them. What do you think, do I need more?

To close, some shots of the other fiber producers in my house:

Oscar Tobias, aka Oscar, Ozzie, Oscar-Doodle, and Doodle-bug.

Trevor Miguel (with the man who calls him "Son" at left) aka Trevor, Monkey, Spud and the Spudinator

and Aslan Bernard (with his handknit mohair blanket that he loves) aka Aslan, Baby, and BadAss.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Why? What's in your desk drawer?

A peek inside the desk of the manager of a radio station... who happens to be a knitter...

And in case you're starting to think no actual work occurs ....

Ah, but that IS work related, sort of. If you've ever wondered where radio stations find the cheesy guests they have on, it's publications like this. Anyone who has anything moderately spectacular (there's an oxy moron for you) that they can hock on the radio (usually it's a cheesy book) pays a rediculous amount of money to get put into this mailing... which then gets sent unsolicited to radio stations.

We don't use it at my station, because we're brokered (which means each host you hear on the show has to pay for their time on the air. Essentially, we're sign-on to sign-off of business infomercials because the hosts are on exclusively to draw business to their accounting, stock options or mortgage firms.) However, we still get the rag sent to us, and I enjoy browsing through to find out who wants to talk about being found face down in the gutter on 3rd Avenue in New York

or dead daughter's Valentine's messages, or Vegas weddings, or that sort of thing....

Trevor seems to like Mommy's camera better than Daddy's camera, as he's been modeling for me a great deal lately... isn't he handsome?

And this is the very best thing about my job - the view every day as I leave. Since my hours are based on the sunset, it really is what I see nearly every day....

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Customer Service

This morning I went to the Post Office to mail my brother hat #2 (the one of the Rit-Gone-Wrong dye job, which did soften up a great deal thanks to a little TLC and Dove shampoo & conditioner - Intense Moisture formula). As I stood in line, I started to realize that the entire office was starting to smell like pepperoni. I don't really know what that means, but it bothered me a great deal. There's about 4 people in the world that know me well enough to remember with prodding that I have no sense of smell to speak of, so if I can smell something, everyone else in the room should be unconscious. And pepperoni at 9 in the morning is worrysome, because I think maybe it wasn't pepperoni but the kind of body odor that would tip cattle. So, ew.

So anyway, I stood in line and watched my all time favorite retail blunder occur. Someone tried to pay with an unsigned credit card. Fine, none of mine are signed (they all say "please see ID" or some such variation) but the clerk said "I can't take this without a signature" and handed it back to the woman. Also fine. I understand that it says "not valid without signature" on the back of the card. The woman looked at the clerk, signed the card (in front of her) and handed it back. Whew. Now that's security. The card's signed - that makes it valid.


A word of advice for all those who might call a radio station to try to make a sales pitch.

Don't do the small talk thing. We don't care, and we don't have time..

Someone called yesterday at the busiest part of the day and wanted to sell me something. What did he want to sell me? I don't know. Nor do I think he knew. He wanted to be connected to our business department. Well, I'm the only one in the building (AC had gone home) although we do have a separate location where payroll and that sort of thing are handled (once I send the hours to them). But this guy didn't want to answer any of my questions that might have allowed me to connect him to someone who gave more of a damn than I did.

He starts by asking if we're WXXX or WYYY (about twenty years ago, station WXXX went out of business and we, WYYY took over the signal.) and then cleverly moves into "Like, you know that room, where people talk? The radio room?"

"I'm familiar with it," I say, drier than the Sahara, and standing in the "radio room" at the time (yeah, it's called a "Studio" ya moron)

"Like, we sell stuff for that, and I need to talk to the guy who's in charge, like who's that guy?"

"That GUY would be ME."

"Oh, my bad" (can I tell you this is the dumbest expression ever? You mean to say "I apologize, that was my fault" and you end up sounding like a two year old with a boo-boo saying "my bad")

"um, well, we sell this like, book, that like, the hosts can look at..."

"Yeah, we're, like, not interested" and I hang up.

That guy, my ass.


At my lunch break I had a cute thing happen, though. First, some backstory.

When I moved up to NY a few years ago, I had to leave a bank that I had previously liked, because there weren't any branches or ATMs within three hours of the place in NY, and the station there refused to do direct deposit. When I did that, I notified the companies that were automatically withdrawing money from my bank account for memberships that I would be changing banks. I alerted them in writing, giving them the new information. Two such companies ignored my requests. So I closed my bank account and opened the new one, and two companies kept taking money out of the old (closed account) Because I was no longer at the address the old bank had for me, it took nearly six months for them to reach me to tell me that in the meantime, I had racked up several hundred dollars of overdraft fees because of this. The companies that made the withdrawels in error wouldn't do anything to help, and meanwhile I've established a lovely debt for myself. Now, as soon as I discovered the error, I paid the bank back. But it was still a pretty big blemish on my account, and one that has prevented me from being able to open accounts since, so my bank is still in NY state - no so convenient when I need cash.

Well, I'm saving up for that Norman Hall spinning wheel, as you know, and have coins building up in my little sheepy bank, and all my money from my knitting classes and fiber play are going to that "fund" so I went down to a Federal Credit Union that has an office just around the corner from my work today to open a savings account. I'm elligible for that account because my grandfather was a member. The first member, actually, because the day they announced the Union had opened, he was the only one who hadn't paid his bills yet. He passed away a few years ago, but is still my grandfather, so I'm still elligible.

I went into the bank and filled out the application, and was nervous that I wouldn't be accepted because of that mess above (and here where my grandfather was a bit of a celebrity it would be even more embarrassing) and the young (younger than me!) man at the desk looked sort of puzzled at the section that defines my elligibility where it asks for contact information of my relative. I saw the puzzled look and said "I can give you his account number if it will help!" and he smiled and said "no, it's account number 1. I knew your grandfather. Just talked to your grandmother a few weeks ago - she's in Florida now, right?"

Why, yes.

The account was opened minutes later, and he was very friendly and pleasant.

What a difference customer service makes.


No pictures today. Oh, I took them, including a shocking expose on the contents of my desk drawers at work, but it didn't occur to me until I was late this morning that GB was the one who figured out how to get the pictures from the camera to the computer, not me. So the camera and computer have been left alone to discuss their differences, and we'll see if they've worked things out by the time I get home tonight.


Hours Spent Knitting: 15
Rows Completed (of 222): 30
Estimated Time of Completion: 111 hours
I'm still learning the ins and outs of the new camera, but the software is loaded (which was accomplished by me sitting on the couch playing with animals, and GB doing the work at the computer) and we (he) got things set up so that you can see some of the pictures I took while playing with the different features! I didn't get to all the features, and there are still plenty more things for me to play with, but in the meantime, I give to you a photographic essay of a boring Tuesday:

You know these sweet gentlemen...

This is the leopard-print, feathered and beaded pen that is on my desk. It is (oddly) the only pen in my office-of-which-I-am-the-only-woman that has never been stolen. I love it.

This is what I look at all day - piles of boring paperwork (that's the log that we use to verify that all the commercials have run at their appropriate time, sitting on top of CDs of PSAs for Tsunami Relief with Bush & Clinton) and audio files needed to be edited (that's a sixty second file of sound). It's all fairly mind numbing.

A little refresher is right next to that though - sitting on my computer speaker is the saxony wheel I bought at VA Fall Fiber Fest the weekend I won my novice spinning ribbon, the castle wheel that GB bought for me on one of his business trips without realizing it's actually a pencil sharpener, and the tiny ball of yarn, spun by Bess on her spindle out of fibers I carded at the 2003 KR Retreat.

This, as they say, is "where the magic happens. It's the computer that runs the station when we aren't there, and the volume controls for when we are there. Again, pretty boring.

Here you see AC's little corner of OCD glee. No fewer than fifteen post-it notes with messages like "New show coming in March, Alan will e-mail with more information" and "Wish List: phone extention in bathroom" and "I Robot out on DVD Tuesday". You can also see his bag of pretzels, on which he has written the date he opened the bag, and his "airname". He's not on the air, and doesn't introduce himself with this name, but he writes it on everything in site. The creamer in the fridge, his box of kleenex, all his food (with dates), his mousepad... On everything the station owns, he's written "station property" including the promotional mugs that stations give away at events, the coffee maker, and each and every copy of the stack of papers that sit in waiting rooms all around the city and are free.

And here's a last lingering glance at Monday's romance...

Marriage is love.