Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Encore! Encore!

And so I give you the traditional Birthday Song:

this is an audio post - click to play

HAPPY BIRTHDAY !! A guest post by GB

I'd like to begin by wishing my lovely and talented wife a Happy Happy Birthday!

I'm GB, the workaholic, traveling husband and I love her.

This morning I sang her 'Happy Birthday' when I woke up. I sang it, just above a whisper, so only she could hear it. I think I woke her up and I feel bad for that. But, she wasn't the only one to hear it. Trevor heard it from the other end of the house and came running. He jumped on the bed, said hello and started purring. Then he went into attack mode.

We had rain and wind last night so my hunch is that he spent the majority of of his nocturnal awareness watching leaves blow by the windows and across the yard. They look like stuff thats supposed by chased, caught and played with. He's quite the hunter. That leaf fever bloodlust thing he had going on imposed itself into the quite and intimate birthday morning song. Fingers, toes and flicking eyelids weren't safe as he was 'on the prowl'. But thats Trevor. Sweet and cuddly as a kitten one moment, indifferent feline sun absorber the next with an interspersing of Cujo-esque attack and destroy then flee scenario's.

I won't dwell on what birthday this is but I will dwell on the fact that this birthday is a turning point, a time of transition. This past year was especially tough. No one should have to have dealt with whats happened in this span of 365 days which includes cancer, the death of a family member, the death of a dear dear friend, an extended absence from her spouse, a crappy co-worker, the threat of permanent voice damage, yarn misrepresentations, traffic tickets, moody loved one's and other bits of negative energy. She's been through alot and although there's some scars, nicks and scratches I know she's going to be fine. She's going to sing again. She's going to get her dream job which entails her using her voice to make money. She's going to redirect the negative energy thats been dealt to her and re-focus it to make something positive and lasting. She has an amazing circle of friends that love her and gave forth every well wish and positive vibration they had. Their generosity and heartfelt sympathy was beyond what anyone could have hoped for. She's truly blessed to have y'all in her life.

So, on this day of happy days lets all come together and give her one more mighty charge of positive energy. This is my birthday wish for her and you all can help. Take a moment and think happy thoughts, wishing her well with prayer and good karma. She'll feel it as she tends to be very 'in-tune' to those around her. Then, in your dealings with society on this day, do something nice and random for someone - anyone. Propagate that positive energy and karma. Pay it forward. The goodness that comes out this is will be exponentially better that any trinket wrapped in shiny paper.

There's an old adage that says "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." She's a survivor. She's also, among other things, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a wife, a cat-mommy and an accomplished fiberphile.

I love her.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

THANK YOU. I can't tell you how much it helped to have you all back me up.

I should have been a little more clear in my head-explosion-inducing anger about what happened. Andi was not rude or bitchy, just disappointed (understandably so) She did originally give me her stocking while I searched for yarn that was as close as possible color-wise, but took it back before the knitting. I did not measure it (which I should have) but simply assumed that following the pattern would give me a near match. The white toe was her fault, but whatever. She did pay for the yarn, and she did pay me (about 25% of what anyone said I should have charged her) for the labor. There is one more stocking to go, and I do feel bad that they didn't match, so here's what I wrote to her in response to her disappointed e-mail:

Oh, Andi, I'm horrified! I didn't measure your stocking before I returned it, so I was going only by the pattern, which I did match. As for the toes, when you hand wrote the changes of the color in the foot on the pattern, there was no white tip, unless I misunderstood to start back with the printed pattern at a point?

I'm so sorry! If you can measure your stocking side to side across the name and then from the top down to the lower edge of the tree section, I can start William's over and knit it larger. My concern then is that would cause the fabric to be much less firm, and will stretch a lot when things are placed inside - generally stockings are knit very firmly, as the fabric for the four completed was. As an apology, please don't pay me for William's stocking.

Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. What would you recommend?

I think pretty much that's the only solution I'd be happy with. If she wants them knit again, I'm sending her to you guys, cuz no way in hell am I going through all that again (here's bitter irony for you - I've already knit William's stocking once, but threw it out last week because it didn't match gauge or the others - it was way too BIG). So that's my attempt at a politically correct solution that won't leave anyone angry or exploding in the head.

If it really comes down to it, GB has said he would give me the money to pay her back for the work (since I've already frivolously spent it on bills) and I will wipe my hands of the whole affair, merely cursing her name with every breath.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I just got an e-mail that included, among expressions of dissatisfaction, this picture:


Apparently following the pattern isn't what was required here. She would like me to "advise, please." I would like to tell her to stuff the stockings where the sun don't shine, but I think that might not be in the true spirit of Christmas.

In the meantime, there's so much fuming going on in my head, I'm getting worried.

Seriously, what do I do? Homicide is likely not an option, since we know them through my husband's work, which is law enforcement, so not so great on the escape plan....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Another 101

1. I feel like a completely different person than I was a year ago
2. 2005 drove me into therapy
3. I like my therapist, and hope to continue on even after I’ve recovered from this year
4. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the end of May 2005
5. One of my best friends, Sharon, was pregnant and had several birth-defect scares at the same time
6. We found out six times after the fact that we’d had tests on the same days
7. I lost my voice from the cancer surgery and took about 4 times as long to get it back as anyone expected, and it’s still not back where it was pre-surgery
8. Losing my voice has always terrified me
9. I have a deep fear of not being heard, both literally and metaphorically
10. My dad’s mother died two weeks after my surgery and I was unable to sing at her funeral
11. On September 15 I answered a questionaire that one of my worst fears was that the last time I said “I love you” would be the last time.
12. On September 16 I got a phone call that Sharon had died on the 15th - that the last time I said “I love you” to her was the last time.
13. I got through the cancer, my grandmother’s death, and Sharon’s death really well, I thought.
14. When I got back to work after Sharon’s funeral my co-worker said something so inhumanely disgusting about her death that I snapped.
15. I stopped crying very shortly after that, and didn’t cry again for two months.
16. I don’t think I’ve ever gone two months without crying in my life
17. The first time I did cry after that time was watching the movie Rent
18. I think seeing people deal with life-threatening disease and death of loved ones set to music that I know and love well, and knowing that I could walk away two hours later was very important
19. One of my dreams is to play Maureen Johnson on Broadway
20. I hate tape - it makes me gag
21. I have no idea why this is, but it’s been that way my entire life
22. I love to watch movies
23. I hate going to the movie theater
24. People being inconsiderate really irritates me and ruins the movie for me
25. I love going to the theatre and love musicals
26. I could sit and watch movies all day long if I had some knitting
27. I will watch movies four times in a row if there are three commentaries on the DVD
28. I lwatch the commentaries for movies I can’t stand in any other way.
29. I have an embarrassing amount of knitting and spinning works in progress
30. I tend to feel very passionate about knitting as long as there is a challenge in the project, and once I’ve figured out that challenge, I move onto a new project
31. My New Year’s Resolution this year is to not start any new projects larger than socks
32. I also would like to resolve not to buy any new yarn or fiber, but don’t know how good I’ll be at sticking to that
33. I collect books like I collect yarn
34. I daydream of owning a house with a fiber room with lots and lots of windows and a beautiful view
35. In that house, there is also a warm and cozy library, lined with bookshelves
36. I want to live near water but in a very forest-y setting where I can’t see my neighbors unless I really want to
37. Right now I live way too close to my neighbors, and they don’t like me at all
38. They like my husband a lot, but most people do
39. My husband is FAR better with people than I am
40. It’s okay, because I’m better with animals than he is and I like animals better than people.
41. There is almost no point in time when I wouldn’t rather be at home with my animals
42. I think I should probably be careful not to become a hermit, because the idea is very tempting to me
43. I have two cats and a dog, all are boys
44. I need another female in my life.
45. I always said I didn’t want children, but now I’m thinking I want a daughter
46. I sort of suspect that if I got a female pet that might tone down the baby cravings
47. I had a cat that felt like a daughter, a beautiful calico named Misha who died in 2003
48. I want another calico, but I know it will never compare to Misha, and that’s hard
49. I unofficially collect spinning wheels
50. I think typing that made it official
51. The weirdest thing in my collection is a spinning wheel salt shaker with a spinning stool pepper shaker
52. I only like one thing about where I live right now
53. I like the Baltimore/Washington area very much (that’s the one thing)
54. I didn’t appreciate how much I liked this area until I lived in southwest New York State for a year and a half.
55. I like being close to “country” and close to “city”
56. I’m not a fan of suburbs
57. My left hip is falling asleep right now
58. There’s a cat on it, but I won’t make him move for my comfort
59. My husband travels way too much for his work.
60. This causes a lot of stress for us
61. In a lot of ways it’s a good thing, because he likes to travel more than I do, so this gets a lot out of his system without dragging me away from my animals
62. I have five pairs of socks in knitting right now
63. I still have my wedding bouquet
64. We used silk flowers so that we could keep them
65. One of our groomsmen (my uncle-in-law) left behind his bouteneer and I have it in my car so that I can remember my wedding everytime I get road rage
66. I get very easily angered behind the wheel of a car
67. I do not get aggressive or shout things where other drivers can hear me
68. My favorite fiber is alpaca
69. I curse far too much
70. I don’t like to hear people curse in public
71. I like to cook for myself
72. I don’t like to cook for other people
73. I have almost no sense of smell
74. I think my sense of smell affects my sense of taste, and I tend to over season food for other people
75. Once I was in a restaurant when someone set off pepper spray and they had to evacuate
76. Everyone else was gagging and coughing, and I had no reaction at all
77. My cat Aslan has learned how to make the fax machine ring when he’s not getting enough attention
78. The fax machine is ringing right now.
79. My cat Trevor gets very mean when he’s hungry
80. He’s normally a big momma’s boy and likes to cuddle a lot
81. Trevor’s best friend is our pitbull, Oscar
82. They wrestle and play together a lot, and Oscar always lets Trevor win
83. I’ve been a vegetarian two separate times in my life
84. Both times gave up meat it was for political reasons
85. Both times I went back it was for health reasons
86. Not eating meat didn’t make me unhealthy, but I was limited on healthy foods otherwise
87. I don’t like the thought of eating animals at all, as I consider them equal beings
88. I can’t eat meat off the bone because it grosses me out too much
89. I have a very modern looking spinning wheel - it’s a Lendrum
90. My Lendrum is named Fiona because she looks like a troll but spins like a princess
91. I also have a little antique parlour wheel named Loireag
92. Loireag is a celtic water fairy known for having little patience for those who lack spinning skill
93. I have twice in a row had items misrepresented to me in online fiber swaps
94. I don’t think either person did so intentionally at all, but I won’t participate in such a swap again.
95. After years of using PCs I recently bought a Macintosh computer
96. I did so for a variety of reasons, but one reason was that they are known for doing better with audio editing programs, which I need for work.
97. A lot of people I know are strongly preferencial towards Macs
98. I’m not. It’s different from a PC, but not better or worse.
99. I hope 2006 is better than 2005
100. I keep telling myself that, statistically, it has to be.
101. I’m not sure I’ll be able to come up with another 101 next Thanksgiving, so enjoy this now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Yippee for Kim!

Kim was the first commenter, and was also correct about the order of stocking knitage. Patrick came first, then Emma, then Matt, followed by poor little Kiley, for whom I have no ill feelings I was just pretty damn done with the things, and I'm sure Santa will reward her with bigger gifts that won't fit in her anorexic little toes, whereas Patrick will likely be stuck with a load of coal or something.

Anyway, Kim has requested some of my handspun in a vaguely sport or worsted weight, so I'll be going through the stash tomorrow morning and picking something out and spinning it just for her. I probably should have warned her than while I'm good at finishing tasks (*cough* stockings excluded) I'm pretty lousy at getting things to the mailbox. But it's my contest, so no deadline, and wouldn't it be lovely to completely forget about yarn and have it show up at your door? There are worse surprises, right?

In the meantime, I do have one last stocking to go (for William - the little bugger can't even go by "Bill" I gotta knit WILLIAM on the blasted thing) but I'm on vacation now. I'll start William's stocking Friday afternoon, but yesterday after the delivery, tonight, and tomorrow, I'm on a break. This means that, without any regard whatsoever for deadline or responsibility

I knit this at work today (the watchband, not the actual face. I'm good, but I'm not THAT good). A very beloved someone gave me this watchface I saw but didn't buy during a visit. She went back the next day and bought it for me. (you can't see it, but the face is a pale limey green) I knit the band out of another special someone's sock yarn, leftover from the St. Patrick's Socks.

I also did a little of this with Aslan helping to predraft. I decided I didn't like the sample yarn I made, so I went a little thinner, and I'm liking it better. I have a solid apple green (which I'm sure shocks everyone of you) and a solid copper color, and as I spin, I daydream about the variety of ways I can ply those combinations together. I'm picturing a beautiful gradual change from one color to the next...

And just for fun I'm doing this sock - I'm playing with some variations on the Strong Heel, which I really like, but isn't toe up, which I prefer. So we'll see what happens. And I kinda like the way this tweedy look kinda stripes, kinda doesn't with the green flecks and the black flecks. The observant among you may recognize that as the "carrot yarn" - the yarn that sat in my eyeline while I forced my way through the stockings. It apparently worked, since I have three days to play now, so I am quite thankful for this yarn.

Now wasn't that a great segue into Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving Smiley Flag Turkey

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

With Apologies to Lady Macbeth (and a contest!)

Out! Out, Damn Stockings!!!

I finally wrapped this in a bow and delivered these, via GB, to their proper owner today. One more to go, but hey, knitting one stocking is a heck of a lot less daunting than knitting five. Or six. But that's another story.

No, they aren't all the same size, thank you for noticing.

It would appear that the angrier I get at stockings I hate, the tighter I knit. I got angrier the longer it took to knit them.

So the first commenter who can correctly guess the order I knit the stockings (from left to right, one through four) will win a prize - yarn, fiber, or my own handspun, winners choice.

A small prize, mind you - I can only enjoy mocking my own pain so much, but nevertheless, have at it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I've got GAS

... ah, that would be God Awful Stockings.

I spent all weekend doing this
That's Aslan, of course, under the blanket with me. I keep trying to tell him that his breed hails from Scandanavia and so he should be happier in cold weather, but he disagrees. Particularly in regards to that blanket, a favorite among felines in my family. That blanket is probably twenty years old. I remember begging my parents for it as soon as I saw it in the catalog, labeled "Sheep Dreams" (the white blobs are sheep, and there is one black sheep on there as well, and no, I wasn't a knitter by any degree at that point), and they gave it to me for Christmas. It's still one of my favorites to snuggle under. Just beyond Aslan's ears you can see a ball of sock yarn. This is no accident. This is the carrot before the horse, since I'm not allowed to knit anything else until these are done, the tempting yarn is there to keep me motivated. Sort of.

But it did help me to get to this

which means that last night was spent turning this

into this

Because these stockings will be used, and she didn't want lining, I'm gluing in the ends once woven, just to be safe. So the glue is drying now, and I'll seem up the backs of the legs tonight. There's still one more stocking to go before I'm officially done, but I'll be happy to have these out of my house.

We've had such warm weather here I'm all screwed up in the head (okay, there are a lot of reasons I'm all screwed up in the head, but I'm choosing to blame the weather for this particular screwed-uppiness) and can't seem to believe it's late November. I'm fighting the urge to decide now to start some Christmas gifts, as I do have a deadline for another thing I'm working on, but I suspect there will be a few pairs of last minute socks. We'll see.

I can't do too much because for some reason this month is the first in ages that has any movies I'm particularly interested in, and there are about 5 that I really want to see, and I knit slower in the movies....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm In Love

.... and that makes me a bad blogger.

I discovered something on Yahoo! a few days ago that has kept me completely obsessed while online at work. Fortunately, what I discovered isn't compatible with Macs (Damn you, Mac!) or I would be carrying my laptop with me everywhere and likely have not knit a stitch in a week.

What could have me so obsessed?

The Perfect Game.


It's pro-animal, no blood, no gore, no nudity, no killing (well, you can sort of kill the zookeeper but they come back two seconds later so it's really just a slowing them down kinda thing), complex, multi-leveled (I believe there are 150 total), and requires some serious logic/problem solving skills.

I don't know what I'm going to do next week when I have off for Thanksgiving. That would put me four days without my beloved Tik-Lling (they named the panda)

Oh, sure, I might grow tired of Tik-Lling and her silly escapades. But for now, you'll have to excuse me, I have a panda to rescue.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


The new rule in my house is to never tell my father behind-the-scenes theatre jokes until the show is completely over.

We went to see Fame! at the school where my mother teaches. The school normally puts on really terrific productions, and there's the added benefit of having my mother whisper "he's such a quiet little math geek normally" with great affection.

This show was horrid. There are a lot of shows known for their dance that you can fake and put on quite successfully with non-dancers. Anything Goes, for example. Heck, I've seen A Chorus Line with none of the main characters played by dancers. Fame! is not one of these shows. Or at least it wasn't here. It seems to me if dance is your weak spot, you cut those scenes. You trim them. One of the best way to make an actor who can barely walk and chew gum look like a spectacular dancer is to give the actor extremely short dance numbers. Not five minute dance numbers. Because if he can only do four steps, and only two correctly, five minutes is a lot of repetition. When you are a huge fan of theatre, when in fact bad, terrible theatre is far better than no theatre at all, when absolutely any day can be made better by theatre, and the highlight of your theatrical experience is the two small girls sitting behind you, one of which wraps her arms around your husband's neck to prop herself up so she can see better and the other spends a good portion of the show braiding your hair (without your permission) you know this is not a good show.

At intermission I leaned over and mentioned to my father one of the spoofs used in a previous production (at another high school) of Fame! I don't think I've ever been in a musical that didn't come up with various word changes to mock their show. This particular one is based on the title song, the correct words to which are "Fame! I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly!"

When you're in the show, it becomes "Lame! I'm gonna limp forever! I'm gonna learn how to cry!"

But don't tell my dad that until the show is over, because when they begin singing that song in the curtain call, he will begin laughing so hard that tears are streaming down his face, and people around you begin asking if they should call 9-1-1.

Today I had the house to myself. I spent a good portion of it unraveling the tangles yarn I dyed in the dye workshop at the retreat last weekend. I took it home and followed my recollection of the directions for the final rinse, but I think I missed a step (I haven't actually looked at the directions yet to see, but I think it's a safe assumption) because what started out as four lovely hanks ended up as this

But it's okay, because I actually enjoy untangling yarn. Why wouldn't I? I get to play with the yarn and no one cares if it doesn't fit at the end!

Then suddenly after all that fiber-detangling, I was struck by an urge to spin. It has been a Loooonnng time since I've done any spinning. I didn't even bring Fiona to the retreat (which was fortunate, since Martha gave me a ride home and between the two of us we managed to stuff her station wagon to the brim (we blame the extraordinary bulk of Dulaan project donations and not lack of will power on our part) and though I did spin on several other wheels while there, I hadn't spun in months before hand. It's complicated, but the easy explanation is that the last thing on the bobbin was a lovely blue/pink wool for a special baby toy.

Nevertheless, Fiona called to me today, and for some reason so did one of the balls of fiber I bought at MD S&W so I dug through my stash and pulled it out so it would stop yelling.

Before long I had this on the wheel and a fake-three-ply sample that looked like this

As I continued spinning I was thinking that I must have accidentally set my chair on top of the roving, because it wasn't coming off the ball very smoothly. A quick glance explained that it wasn't actually my chair, but the fact that the roving is mohair that was causing problems.

The mohair police had attacked.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Several Thousand Words (or: My Week in Photos)

KRR Group 2005 small

And best of all

Marriage is love.