Sunday, August 31, 2008

No more day counts; how will I make up titles now?

I'm not sure, actually. I was crap at title-making-up before, the day count gave me an out. Oh, well, back to the drawing board....

Speaking of drawing boards, I was all giddy this weekend, contemplating the $300 I have coming up with my next paycheck--a $300 which is unspoken for, and which I have given myself permission to spend with wanton abandon. I was thinking of all the yarns, the lace needles, the books, the patterns, all of it. "Giddy" doesn't even begin to express the emotion; my head was swirling in shopper's ecstasy, visions of silken yarns dancing in my head.

Well, not completely, actually. I have a pattern idea that's been chewing on the corner of my processing centers for the past three or four months, and I've figured out which yarns from I want to use ($30 for more than one version), and I realized I need more lace needles (considering how many projects I have on needles at any given time, and how many more I want to start up; another $30-40). Then I started to contemplate silks and alpaca and merinos in laceweight for any of the patterns in my lace porn book (which, in true pervert fashion, I tend to keep hidden).

To distract myself, and because it needs to be done, I decided to finish up the baby sweater (I've got the ribbon, I just need to sew it in place) and to do so, I needed my needles which are in the bag with my dragon scales shawl which got shoved in my toy box last week in a spurt of "hide the evidence!" guilt. I take all the junk off the top (no small feat; I've got at least 25 books on there, my cd holder, the Who scarftainer, my pile of lace porn, etc.) to get in the box, and lo. The beauty of my yarns!

I've already got a ton of really nice stuff in there! I just keep forgetting! I've got my yarns for the Knit Spot 'Little Nothings", I've got my new Yarn Pirate in my eye searing fingering weight (which is perfect for victorian lace--they were pretty garish at times, themselves, I hear), I've got my alpaca and the Knitpicks Palette in an incredible array, my Frog Tree alpacas and the lovely teal-blue Cosetta bulky. There's a wide range of colors in kitchen cotton and kitchen cotton spatter colors, and other lovelies just sitting there, waiting patiently for me to remember them and make them up into something.

Ok, ok, ok, you forlorn little yarns. I'm going to have to set myself a schedule and avoid all patternly temptation for a while until I can cut my stash down to a reasonable size. Oh, I'm not going to sell or trade it--good grief, no, whatever gave you that idea? I'm very greedy of my fibers--I'm going to knit it. I'm going to knit it all. It's not something I could do in a year (or probably even two; there is the yarn for the second Who scarf in there, remember?) but I'm going to set myself a list. So far, this is what I've got:

Kidsilk Haze = Woodland Stole
Random sock yarn = Little Nothings Tudor Grace
Knitpicks Felici = Little Nothings Rivolo
Cosetta = Hemlock Ring Blanket
Knitpicks Gossamer (green) = Cheshire Cat Stole
Knitpicks Gossamer (brown)= either Adamas Shawl or Barbara Shawl
Misc. alpacas = self-designed scarf
at least two of my Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarns = Catherine Purse from Knitting Little Luxuries

That's a good...year, year and a half right there, unless I hit the lottery and can quit the day job and get to knit all the live-long day (which sounds just like heaven, if you want to know the truth). But it's a good place to be starting from, I should think. And it's not as if my intention is to completely deplete the stash. I just want to start knitting up the older yarns, making them into the projects I've been lusting after, before I restash. While I restash. I just want to get my queue moving, so to speak, instead of finding new stuff and forgetting the old. I want to keep the stash from getting stale.

Which, I'm sure you'll agree, is an admirable goal.

So *claps hands together, then rubs them in a 'down to business' gesture* here's how this will work: I will have three things on the needles at any one time (minimum; I may go crazy and have up to seven, I'm sure). The Who Scarf currently takes priority as it's been on the needles forever and a year. I'm also banging out two bibs for Baby October (one is more than half done, the other is a garter stitch square, like that will take any time at all), and I've got the scarf and the Dragon Scales shawl. Hopefully the alpaca scarf will not take a very long time (if one repeat is five inches long, and if I managed to finish that one repeat the first time in under one hour--a time that is sure to get shorter and shorter as the repeats progress, and if I want a scarf that's ten feet long, that's....less than 20 hours for the scarf, which, all in all, isn't bad), and then I'll take one project from the list to replace it (probably a Little Nothing, or maybe the lace pron project using the Yarn Pirate), and so on and so forth. I aim to have...three finished projects by the end of this year, not counting the baby junk that needs to be done by Saturday next so I can go to the shower.

I can do this, too, I bet. I mean, I paid off over $3000 in three months and some small change, and, as the song says, looking back, it was easy.

I guess I'll just have to tuck that extra $240 up in my savings account for a rainy day without yarn.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yeehaw! (Day 2, actually)

I won a yarn!

Tua Bella ran a contest to destash and raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. I donated some cash in honor of the fact that she was willing to take a walk on what looked like a very beautiful day, which really probably isn't a fair comment; I've done enough walks for the diabetes foundation to know how they go, she did a drawing and I got my choice of three skeins of sock yarn! I took almost ten minutes to ponder then chose this fellow. It's a bit shocking in color, I agree, but there's something pleasing about the small chunks of lime green tucked in between the emergency yellow and sooty black. I'm not sure what, but there it is. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but one thing at a time.

I've partially finished the Le Petit Trianon for friend's grandbaby. By that, I mean I'm done on the knitting. It looks a bit like the dog's breakfast (which is a meaningless statement in my house; my dog's breakfast looks quite tasty) at moment, but I intend to get some ribbon and gussy it up. I've moved on to the bibs. Hopefully, I'll have a meaningful start on the bastards by the time the new Mythbusters airs tonight. I love that show.

I'm going a bit insane with the payoff day being so close and all, but I've been doing deep breathing and some meditation right before bed which, surprisingly, helps a lot on getting me to sleep without the night terrors and sleep paralysis (I'm a lucid dreamer, and consequently I am quite prone to night terrors), which is really quite nice as the other tips I'd read (milk, soothing music, staring at a bright light for a few minutes before trying to sleep) weren't working. I'm starting to self-soothe with the mantra "It's only for a couple more days and then we'll be financially free!" which isn't quite true, as I'll be completely broke until my next paycheck, the 12th. Oh, well. Small price to pay for the knowledge that past this point, my money is my own.

Oh, yeah, and the bit a few days ago about my sister getting me a credit with the vet? Yeah. It's gone. Dog decided to cultivate a dreadful...don't-know-what on his little toe of the rear foot. It was hellishly grotesque (I'm sparing you a picture; frankly, I don't want to see it up close, it's that nasty) and I flipped out when I saw it. Thankfully, Mother talked me down from the tree and I calmed down enough to cope until I could get Dog to the vet. She couldn't figure out what it was, but we've got him cranked up on antibiotics, we're soaking the foot in Betadyne every night (and that's a ton of fun, let me tell you) and it seems to be getting crustier and lighter, like the middle is dissolving. I really hope so, if it doesn't go away on its own and if the x-rays suggest it, he might lose the toe. Not that it's vital (she called it a 'turning toe', which I took to mean it's a toe he uses during high speed maneuvers; as he's more a...Toyota Camry than Lotus 2-11, I don't think he really needs it at all), but it's a matter of vanity. Like anyone'd notice, really.

My life is so exciting! How unfortunate. Ah, well, if nothing else it will make for an interesting biography at some point....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Newly updated: Day Five

Friday I go to my bank on my lunch hour, pre-addressed envelope in hand, complete with instruction letter and other information, purchase my cashier's check and send it off.

Friday. Technically, only four and a half more days, considering the scheduling of lunch hours and whatnot, but still. This week.

I will celebrate Labor Day as a liberated woman. For the first time in years, the vast majority of my income will be my own. Mine. I am, quite literally, in awe of what I have managed to accomplish. I feel vaguely like the Brave Little Tailor, trotting around the village with my belt reading "Seven At One Blow" (get your minds out of the gutter; it's a fairy tale!), everyone thinking I've slain seven bandits or seven monsters or seven giants, when all it really was was seven flies.

I still can't believe I've (almost) done it. So close, I can almost smell the minty fresh air of liberty. It's heady, quite heady!

I need to go write out the check for my depositing bank, find out how much my issuing bank will charge for the cashier's check and address and stamp my envelope and write out my instructions to go with it. So much to do, so much to do....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who the hell am I, and what have I done with myself?!?!? (Day...oh, who knows anymore!)

The day count is rapidly becoming irrelevant--I will have the money to pay the last of my debts on Friday next. I will be updating my debit to pay off at that point. No sense in waiting. I just have to move my cash around and email my new debit form to the credit counselling people and Bob's your uncle, Fannie's your aunt. I just...want the whole thing over with, frankly. I'm quite tired of it. The whole event has been quite an event. At this point, I think that's the best I can say. Ask me Monday after next what I'm feeling, and I'm sure it will be different, in the meantime....

So, yeah. I'm beginning to wonder what happened to me. I got all that nice alpaca yarn that I showed you in the last post, remember? Anyway, I've been wanting to do a scarf with it so I've been scouring my stitchionaries (I have lots) trying to find one that will serve. And then I did something very unlike me:

I swatched. And then I bound off the swatch and staked the barstard out good and tight. Sorry about the checked nature of the blocking "board", but I hadn't planned on needing to block lace for a while yet and had to make do with the stuff to hand.

Then, being a knitter with a blog, I took tons of photos, because I'm weird like that, yo. I begin to realize just how badly I need help.

Anyway, I unstaked it today and looked at it.

It's blocked unevenly because one of the pins wasn't in as tightly as the others and pulled up, but otherwise, I think it works as a stitch pattern, and for a wonder I think I've managed to use a needle size that I'm going to keep (I had it done up in a size larger needle, but I didn't like the swatch so I frogged and reknit it on the smaller needles). It's four inches wide and almost five long in one repeat. I think I'll just make the scarf one repeat wide (therefore using the yarn for length, making for a long, narrow scarf), and then do a ruffle at the ends. Maybe a double ruffle? I don't know, I'll have to ponder the wonder that is the yarn.

Right now, I've got two teenaged girls doing their darndest to be loud and ignore the poor pre-teen boy who is the younger brother of one of the girls. It's very hard to think about yarn and gauge and scarves and stuff when there's giggly silliness. I just have to wait another hour until I can take them to the movie theater, stick them in a dark auditorium and wait for the credits to roll. I love movies; they last almost long enough to get me through until the owners of these children return and they shut them up like nobody's business.

I think there's Jet Li, too, so I should be entertained as well. If I'm not in the papers for trying to sell three children on the black market tomorrow, then you know it all went well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Birthday Hangover (Day 25)

I love birthdays. I truly, madly, deeply love birthdays. Either mine or someone else's (if they'll let me celebrate with them), it really doesn't matter. Cake, ice cream, the excitement of gift giving, all of it. I've never lied to anyone about being a grown-up, so I don't feel bad about being so enthusiastic.

So, with the latest turning of my annums this past weekend, I was geared up for some major partying. You saw the pretty sparkly nails I got (which were nice), but I also got Victorian Lace Today, by Jane Sowerby, which is lace knitter porn. I love that book. I may never knit anything from it (which is a lie; I have clear designs on at least four of the patterns), but I'll love looking at it forever and ever. Then I got Sweeney Todd on DVD, and Bach The Art of Fugue by Pierre-Laurent Aimard which is simply....ethereal beauty via piano. I might have to start collecting Aimard's backlist. Check that; I will have to collect Aimard's backlist. No "might have" about it. Then I got some other nice freebies, which I will tell you about as we go along, yes?

I have a big family, and we're famous for generosity.

Anyway, I took a four day holiday this weekend (took Friday and Monday off) and my mother and I went out to visit our cousin. She's a nun and has retired out to the Mother House at St. Mary of the Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana. I've wanted to go back there for a while--when I was in high school, we would do week long choir camps out there, and I have some really good musical memories on that campus--and I really wanted to go back after Mom came back from her last retreat, burbling with enthusiasm for the newest inmates of the convent:

Llama! Well, alpacas. But they're related. This is an assortment of the colors available on the campus. The college is incredibly self-sufficient, which is not amazing when you consider that they have a very large agribusiness department (animal husbandry, farm management, etc.) They've had an equine program for as long as they've been a college, and they recently decided to expand their animal husbandry programs. Yes, I know, unusual in a traditionally all-women's school, but what can I say, until recently Terre Haute was quite out in the boonies; the campus has always been rather contained. They've also got their own biodiesel generator and biodiesel production plant, in addition to medical facilities that are highly impressive. Unfortunately, as the sisters age out and retire, this becomes more of a necessity than luxury.

We stopped at the alpaca shop, White Violet (the shop is under the "fiber sales" link), and I got this:

Alpaca, oooh. Handspun, looks to be somewhere between a sport and worsted. The best part is that each skein is labeled with the names of the alpacas who gave the wool. The white is Campeonato, the tannish is a blend of wools from Cecelia and Soulaines, and the gorgeous heathered gray is from Theodore Guerin. It was from his first trim, which makes it better (or so I'm told; all three are filthy soft and beautiful, I can't really tell much difference). They're beautiful, and I'm excited to do something with it. I've picked out a stitch pattern and am thinking of a scarf with Theodore ruffles at the end. All three together are 450 yards, so it should be a decent length (considering I've chosen a lacey pattern for the body of the scarf.) Very excited to play with this stuff!

I've been thinking about doing one of the Little Nothings over at KnitSpot, as I may have said before, and she's got a beautiful little piece called Tudor Grace. The yarn she used she describes as "light through stained glass", which I find odd, as it's so muted and sedate. I am far more accustomed to stained glass like this:

A window in one of the chapels at St. Mary of the Woods. I felt bad taking pictures in there; some of the nuns were at their offices, but I was reassured by my cousin that people do it all the time. So I took this one and a shaky one of the main altar:

Beautiful. I felt...vaugely disrespectful, all the same. Oh, well. Supposedly they're used to it.

Anyway, refer to the window above and check this:

MUCH more stained glass like, in my humble opinion. I'm not sure how it will do in pattern, as it's got more bounce and some nylon in it (it's a sock yarn after all) so it won't block properly, but it should work if I just use bigger needles. Eh, we'll see.

I got this (and the subsequent pictures' worth of yarn) using my brother's gift--a gift card to Joann's. Yarn, yarn and needles, and I've still got $20 worth on the card. Not too shabby!

One of my friends is going to be a grandma for the first time (yeah, scary, I know, but she's older than me and her daughter is only 18/9) and I wanted to make something as a gift. So I'm going for the Le Petit Trianon baby kimono by SockPixie. It's a gorgeous (and fast) pattern, and I wanted to use a yarn with which I have familiarity. I went for Cosetta from the Bellezza Collection at Joann's--I've got a bunch in blue for a pair of Cleaves for me, and I love the way the yarn catches the light and just glows and shimmers. So I got a bunch of purple for Le Petit Trianon:

It's actually a darker array of purples--my flash has washed it out--but you get the gist, I'm sure. Here's another shot, just for good measure:

Beauty! Shower's in two and a half weeks, I best get casting on, hadn't I?

Anyway, I also got gift cards to Big Box Bookstore, which I've already burned through on their website (the green Big Box Bookstore, if you're curious). I've got a couple of pre-orders in on a couple of my favorite authors and am getting an old Miranda Sex Garden disc that I've been wanting forever. I don't like waiting, but I'll be patient--I really can't do anything else at this point; no one carries Miranda Sex Garden in their cd sections anymore, and I'd have to wait on the books anyway. Then I got a gift card for the second hand bookstore (which is really sweet--I'll go a lot farther on that cash) and a copy of The Cruise, which is a very strange, lost but unbelievably sweet little love poem to New York. I quite sympathize with most of the things the main character ranted on. It was an unexpected little joy, actually--I'm so rarely surprised in terms of birthday gifts anymore. Then my sister pre-paid at the vet's for me, so I don't have to worry for the next 25 days. Well, slightly longer than that, as it will take me another 14 days to have seriously disposable income, but you know what I mean. I might let my mother have my credit if I don't use it before I have disposable income again. Either way, since I'm going to start paying for her vet bills once I can, it's going to be used on my behalf.

All in all, a tidy little haul. The benefit of a large family, I suppose.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sparklies! (Day 31)

I went out today with Mater Gloriosa. I needed some stuff from the store (and didn't get everything I needed, either--must remember to stop tonight), so we went to our favorite market, Target. I don't know why I love Target so, but I do. It's the only place I used to work that continues to receive my custom.

Anyway, we're out shopping and she decides she needs to get her toenails cut. She's a diabetic, and has a particular salon she goes to for nail clipping because a) they're gentle and get her nails short, b) they check her feet out and let her know if she's got any cuts or bruises to watch, and c) they only charge her $5 for this service. So we go down (it's a walk-in business; you can set an appointment, but hardly anyone's there at that hour on a Saturday) and she gets in the chair, and the nice lady who speaks the better English asks if I want mine done up, too. Tomorrow's my birthday, so I say what the heck. I got the full jobbie on my toes, and then, just to make it all purtier than purty:


My nail lady (the one with less good English) is apparently good at flowers. So they sell me on flowers on my big toe. Can you see it there? Here, let me:

Isn't it pretty? That's right big toe, with the bigger flower and bigger flourish. This is left big toe:

I quite like them. They make me feel almost girly. Which is quite an accomplishment.

Anyway. I've got pretty toes now, and was inspired to clean up and polish my fingers to match, although I got that varnish too thick so there's bubbles. They're small, though, so I'm not going to redo them unless I have to.

Sigh. So pretty!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wheee! New stash! (Day 32-ish)

I got my trade yarn from the nice Ravelry lady, and it's perfect.

I loves me some blue. There are two skeins, and it's more than enough for a Little Nothing from the Knitspot shop. I'm thinking of Rivolo for this colorway. I am so going insane in that shop when I have money for spending again.

Found an interesting website the other day, a photo blog called Dark Roasted Blend, which appears to have disappeared. Google it, see if you can find it. If so, you will be richly rewarded. There is a thread called "Nightmare Playgrounds", which present images of toys and statues from various playgrounds around the world that would probably interfere with the healthy mental development of just about any child that wasn't already destined by genetics to be a sociopath. I can't get all the pictures I played with to download, but I did have fun with this one:

Heh. Ebbil debil teddy bears. Tell me what child wouldn't have nightmares of little black things with glowy white eyes?

I may have some nightmares off this, and I'm supposed to be a grown up! Ok, so supposed to be a grown up. I'm big enough to admit that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

W00t! (Day 36)

Yeah, I know. I did the maths at work and realized I had my days on the blog off by one day, and I'll go in and fix that, but first....

One chunk o' debt down, one to go!!!!


*does happy dance of joy* *but only metaphorically, because she's eating dinner*

And the other one is only $10 over my payments for the next two months, which is better than I anticipated! Squeeeeeee!

Sigh. I have to contact the credit counselling company that's dealing with this to find out how to deal with that $10 overage (can I just...bump my second payment--call the credit card people and find out the balance and then update them 3 days before my autodebit? Or do I have to pay them $10 in October, when I'd rather be done with the whole damn thing?)

I'm so excited. I really wasn't pleased with the prospect of the strangling vine payments, but now that I'm only a little over a month out and so close to having it all gone.... Yeah. I'm glad I did this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bet you didn't expect to see me again so soon! (Day 37)

But I had to let you know about the fun and frolic I had today. I was in a domestic way. Wait, that sounded wrong. I wanted to get a running start on the scarf again, trying to get through the darn thing before Christmas. Any Christmas, this millenium. So I spent a lot of the day knitting like a fiend, literally KNITTING, back and forth, back and forth, like a typewriter all day long. Good Lord, can I just say I'm really sorry I started this up? I mean, I want one for myself, actually, and I will make the second one, but I'm going to take my own sweet time on it when time comes for my scarf.

Anywhoo, I also made a wonderful, wonderful, incredibly delicious Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing from Smitten Kitchen. For what it's worth, I have yet to pull a loser off her recipe roster, and I have gotten quite a few exquisite dishes I plan to make several times over, whenever I can. I also have her Lime Meltaways on queue for the baking. I love limes like a pervy lime lover (and I find it strange that she thinks it strange that her husband loves to eat limes; what's so strange about that? Limes taste way better than lemons, imho), and while you can always adjust a basic sugar cookie recipe to use lime juice instead (substitute for the lemon juice), I think it's good to have a recipe tailor-made for the lime lover.

Yeah, so, cabbage salad. I made it using the pre-fab coleslaw in a bag mix, and it worked wonderfully. I would have taken a picture, but I snarfed it down. Urp. Good eats (although I did add a little extra dressing; I had a bit too much cabbage from the bag).

Then, I did something quite unexpected: I made a recipe I got in a chain e-mail. You'd think I was smarter than that, but.... I was quite shocked, actually, by the result. The recipe is for Cake in a Cup, and here's how it's done.

4 Tbsp cake flour (I used regular flour)
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk (I used whole, because I love whole)
3 Tbsp oil
1 mug (I used a Christmas mug with a jolly Santa on the side, and I suddenly begin to sense a theme)

Mix (in the mug) and microwave on high for 3 minutes (1,000 watt oven).

Now, when I say "Tbsp", the picture in my e-mail shows (and I mean) a silverware tablespoon, like a soup spoon, not an actual measuring spoon tablespoon. Slightly heaping, but not outrageous. Just aim for something approximating an actual tablespoon, and you will get the same results:

A heaping tube of chocolatey goodness. Who knew? Next time, though, I will put it in the microwave for a little shorter time, use a little less flour (not quite so heaping), and maybe use more milk. I like my cakes a bit more gooey inside. It's edible as is, though, and I will tinker with this to make again. Actually, I think the most egregious error I made was to let it cook for the full 3 minutes. Tomorrow night, we cut it down to 2.

Anyway, here's the progress I made on the scarf:

The red, gray and yellow stripes and part of the huge chunk of green up there towards the needles are brand spankin', and I'm getting ready to do a massive run (the largest chunk of one color in the whole scarf; 54 rows) in the light tan. I'm not sure the wee bit of tan skein I've got attached will make it all the way through, I'll probably have to tie a new one on at some point. But then I'll be almost halfway through, and I have a bottle of wine from Ohio (Ravenswood Winery Blackberry Wine) earmarked for the "I'm halfway through the first damn scarf and haven't killed anyone yet with a garrote of 100% wool yet and perhaps a piano wire or two for tradition's sake" celebration.

Here's a full-length, reclining shot. Isn't it sexy?

And look! 37 1/2 inches! Wooo-hoooo! I'm nowhere near half done, but I'm close enough to taste it. It tastes like moth-proofed yarn, but it's mighty tasty.

And one, final, brief gripe. Yeah, so I've had lots of telly playing lately and every time the Brideshead Revisited commercial comes on I grind my teeth in a fashion that would make my dentist most unhappy if he knew. There's this little quote that just makes me want to commit vehicular homicide on a certain, snotty movie reviewer: "The movie the intelligent moviegoer has been waiting for...." What, you're not an intelligent person if you prefer movies that don't leave you feeling psychically unwashed from the overdone "people who have money are wonderful" message and the heavy handed religious message (not that there's anything wrong with religion, as I have one, I just don't particularly like it slapped across my face like a wet herring)? And the main character's soppy, and (frankly) boring ruminations that made the last chapters of that book just so impossible to read? So, because I'd prefer, on the whole, to go see The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor because, even though it's not high-tone drama and, yeah, the plot is pretty lame, there's lots of explosions, Jet Li and Brandon Frasier looking all googly cute in it? Just because I prefer eye candy, I'm some sort of troglodyte? Or, if you prefer the literary version of it, I'm some sort of morlock? Bite. Me. Once I graduated with my master's, I declared myself done with suicide literature. I read nothing that does not entertain me, because I'll be damned if I'll waste any more good money on books that bore, then exhaust, me into depression so deep there's not enough Prozac in all of Eli Lilly's manufacturing facilities.

It's almost enough to make me dislike Emma Thompson. Only Stranger Than Fiction absolves her of this particular choice of roles.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lesson Learned (Day 38)

I guess it's the sign of advancing age, but I actually managed to food poison myself. With raw cookie dough.

Now, I've been eating raw cookie dough for ages, since I was a wee sprog sitting at Mom's feet while she did the cut and bake tube cookies. Well, and the homemade stuff as well, which is far superior in terms of taste and freshness. I love raw cookie dough--more than I love the baked cookies themselves, and since my nickname in high school was "Cookie Monster", I guess you can tell what depths my love of pervy, uncooked doughy goodness must plumb. I even love raw bread/biscuit/pizza dough. I've eaten so much of it down the years, I can tell when the dough is on its last proof and ready for the final kneading and baking by the taste of the dough. My absolute favorite of favorite raw doughs, though? Lemon tea cakes. Mmmmm. There's just something about the fresh tartness of the citrus (I've used lime before, with excellent results) and the sugar.....

Anyway. I was heartily ill (well, actually, not so much ill as inconvenienced--in fact, I had to force myself to, ahem, purge the offensive goods from my system because I was suffering the hateful nausea, swirling internal agony and--no doubt the worst symptom--the feverish obsessive thoughts that kept me from sleeping) overnight Wednesday to Thursday, so I called in on Thursday and schlumped around home all day, dozing and doodling and knitting at random. I did get out in the bright, warm-but-not-too-warm sunshine to send off some of my stash to a fellow Ravelry member who saw my stash pics and asked for the Knitpicks Gossamer in Red Hat. I was glad to send it off, since I wasn't completely happy with the red shades (too orange for me; I've got a Winter complexion). In trade, I'm getting some nice sock/fingering yarn in blue colors, which is moste excellent.

Anyway, it freed up some more of my lace needles, which is good. I want to cast on some other lace items, and I think I really need it. I loves me some lace knitting, particularly while working down that Who scarf (made another four inches, by the way--I've committed myself to knitting on it when I don't particularly want to pick up my lace, and further committed to knitting at least 20 minutes daily--which is four rows, or slighly less than half an inch). I completely forget how to purl when I do that scarf.

Although (and I feel rather stupid for only now realizing it) I finally realized that, no matter which stitch you're making, knit or purl, you're carrying the yarn over and to the back. *palmface* If my knitting instructor had only told me that up front, in the very first lesson, I would have been able to knit better from the very beginning! It wouldn't have taken me three months of avoidance to get over my angst and terror of feeling like a fool (and an uncoordinated one, at that) to pick up my needles again and start over. Yeesh. Oh, well. Maybe it's best I took the initiative to teach it to myself. That way, I finally learned the meaning of "back" and "front" as distinct from "wrong side" and "right side." She didn't explain that, either. Well, she did explain "right/wrong" sides, but since it doesn't become apparent for several rows of knitting, it wasn't really a good concept for the bare beginner. I'm beginning to think I could have taught that beginner class better than she did! If nothing else, I'd have started the class on slightly smaller needles and yarn. Those 15s are a total bitch to knit with, and chunky acrylic is a bear to knit.

I'm going to take a nap, now. Just on general principles. I was supposed to go to a booksigning this afternoon (a co-worker of mine is a friend of the author of Knock-Down Knits, and I certainly will be much nicer to him from now on, because she doesn't look like someone to be angered) today, but then I balanced my checkbook and remembered, Oh, yeah, I'm broke. Oh, well. The book will still be in print two months hence, and as I know him, I can always get it signed later, at my leisure, by her. Bonzer.

and later, after the nap....

This afternoon, my mother called me into the main part of the house, saying I had to see the pretty picture. And, lo;

Ain't he adorable?

I just couldn't resist--I mean, look at that cute little back toe! It's just so...fluffy. And his two paws, dangling over the edge, all nonchalant. I had to point out the back toe, which turned out to be a mistake. Immediately, he turned his attention to it:

Ewwww! Soggy toes!

After squishing him up in a warm, fuzzy, ill-tempered ball and hugging him until he grumbled at me, I went back out to my sunny room and found this:

No, your eyes do not decieve, that is two, count 'em, two boxes of cookies. One opened, the other not. And a box of crackers. And three projects, sprawled in voluputuous Kidsilk Haze and Merino wool abandon. Sigh. So, I took five seconds or so and did this:

Much nicer, overall. Now I don't have to listen to anyone grumble about what a pit my work area is. At least for a while.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Yeah, so sue me (Day 45)

I went shopping today. It was naughty. But...the yarn was on clearance. And it's pretty. Those are good enough excuses for me. Here's what I got: Debbie Mumm Reminiscence in color Licorice. I don't like licorice, but I like the yarn. I'm not sure the pictures clearly convey why it's so beautiful and wonderful, but I'll try:

Can you see the shiny white and blue strand? There's the matte black and white wool, plied with the shiny blue/white acrylic strand. I think it's lovely.

Maybe this picture makes it more clear?

Anyway. I'm just sitting here, waiting for 9:00. The Robin Hood season finale. I'm anxious to see it, because I am looking forward to a resolution to the season, but I'm also not looking forward to it, because then there's no more Robin Hood except what's on my DVR and if I can get the DVD set out of someone for my birthday upcoming. I'm so torn. I'm like that at all season finale times, actually. It's rather pathetic.

Speaking of pathetic, I got back into my schedule today, and it felt good. I felt good. I missed my regular Saturday behaviors last week while in the country. I guess I didn't really need an extra vacation all that much. I wonder if I'll be as eager for a weekend away in October, when I go back for the Renaissance Festival in Harveysville. Yeah, I'm a bit of a geek. But there's crafts! And Theater in the Ground! And jousting! And blood makes the grass grow, kill, kill, kill. I'm a bit...bloodthirsty, I guess. I prefer my sports to be noisy, dangerous and really, really cool.

I always enjoy it, actually. I've been for the past three or four years in a row, and it's tons of fun. I carry my own kib, though, and I always make sure to be slighly dehydrated before I get there, because I refuse to use the port-o-lets (the staff has to have better options; you're not going to tell me they can get the big pile of skirts they wear into one of those things). This year, I might get a Green Man statue for the (possible) new home I might be moving into this fall. I've got crosses and such, but I feel it might be best for all concerned to invite all positive powers into one's home that are possible. Besides, they're cool.

Anywhoo, vis-a-vis the new home: I'll give you more information when I find out more info. Hopefully, I'll have more information later this week. Don't know, though--we shall just have to see what will be seen!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Exhaustion (Day 46)

I never thought, really, I'd make it this far in my quest to pay everything off in the hardcore fashion. But here I am, mostly sane (to be fair, this is my usual mental state) and fairly sound. I'm tense beyond belief, but holding it together. I'm not sure if the stress is from...well, no. I know I'm stressed because there is no give in this plan. No out. I had to blow most of my savings on tires last month (trust me, it was necessary to replace those tires) and that ate my cushion. Rather like an angry terrier, really.

To my credit, I managed to restrain myself last weekend. I went to visit a friend (a friend who provided excellent hospitality, although I did learn I haven't the nuts to live in the country--I am so thoroughly urban it's rather sad) and, even though I had extra cash on hand and we went to a most excellent used bookshop (a shop which extended into L-Space, mind you) I did not buy anything. In fact, the only things I purchased while in visitation were a pint of chocolate Hagen Daazs, a bottle of Odwalla Blueberry B Monster and a package of cheese crackers. Not bad, really, not bad at all.

I've been proceeding apace on the dragon scale shawl. Well, not apace, really, just as well as I can considering I've now gone more than 14 days without any appreciable time away from people. Going insane, I am. Simply bonkers. I've a strong urge to find a cave somewhere and crawl in. I don't dare knit anything vexing or requiring thought because I'm so tired from the constant supervision of other humans.

The problem, you see, is I'm a Jungian Introvert, which means I get my mental rest from solitude and being in my own company. As I've not had any solitude, other than my drives to and from work (which stress me out for the money it's costing), I'm strung out. I need to get away, get some quiet. And I can't really get my daily walk in, either, as the dog can't handle the heat and humidity.

So. Exhausted. I've been lying about, reading, trying to get myself some mental space. I've also been daydreaming up some interesting ideas for knit designs, if I can manage to make them work (I'm sure they can be made to work; it's amazing what you can do when no one tells you they're impossible before you try). I just.... Yeah.

I'm just waiting for That Mitchell and Webb Look and then I'm going to bed. And remember, if you fall into L-Space while enjoying your local lending or cruising the shelves of a Bosch-like bookstore, there are three rules of proper behavior:

1. Silence
2. Books must be returned by the last date stamped
3. Do not interfere with the nature of causality

And don't ever, ever, ever call the Librarian a monkey. He really doesn't like it.