Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Whatever broodiness I was suffering is gone, long gone.

I started my job yesterday, although tomorrow is my official start date. The boys and their mom were all sick, so I went over to help her wrangle youngin's to the doctor and then get her a nap. I now have the near permanent smell of rancid baby formula in my clothes (granted, formula always smells four days old and slightly green so that's not all that difficult to achieve).

I love taking care of the boys, really I do, but whatever romance there ever was about motherhood and what it's like has vanished into hour-long temper tantrums, repeated viewings of Sesame Street's "Shapes" show and baby spit of the consistency of egg whites. Full time mothers should earn some sort of public service award, seriously. Or at least earn money. Them's some hard rows to hoe, people.

I think I'm going to try the media diet next week. A limited diet -- going cold turkey might cause the DTs, and people die of the DTs, you know -- , maybe cutting my watching time down to two hours per day. Sundays (since they don't count in Lent, I don't think they should count for a media diet) can be for viewing runs of tv series on DVD while knitting. My online hijinks are to be limited to blogging (three times weekly), email and Ravelry. I need my peeps during this difficult time, you know.

Wish me luck.

Now I have to get to bed. I've fallen, oh, so low -- I have a chronic cramp in my lower back, which cramps up my one glute (and this is why you should never rock climb without ropes, kiddos) so I took a heavy glug of wine to relax the muscle. But I didn't have any clean wine glasses, so I drank it out of my recycled glass Starbucks coffee mug (Made in Spain, according to the bottom of the cup) and I think I got a wee bit too much in the mug. Ooopsie.

Anyway, I'm going to take my sore butt up to bed. Hopefully, I'll be feeling much less sore tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Have you ever had a really great thought...

then went to write it down and it was gone?

Granted, as a writer, my best thoughts tend to get lost in the ether (or at least that's what I think happens, they have to go somewhere between my head and the page, 'cause the Gods know they ain't makin' it all the way down my arms) but I had an interesting thought this morning right before it fled for warmer climes.

No worries, I got it back. Hey, I'm here, telling you all about it, aren't I?

This is an illustration of all the tv watching I "need" to do -- minus the billion hours stored on my TiVo. I spend at least an hour a day online, surfing Ravelry, free knit patterns and just hanging out reading stuff. I read a lot, although probably not as much as I'd like.

And then today, I was catching up on some of my TiVo backlog and started musing on the lives I see people on tv lead. Granted, most of them aren't earning the money they'd need to spend to support that lifestyle in real life, but they all seem so excited. So engaged. And I started wondering how I can be that excited about and engaged in my own life. I mean, I can be pretty happy with very little, so why shouldn't I be excited and engaged?

I started watching more and more shows, but this time watching them in the same way I read a really good book -- what's really going on, what do I think about this or that or the other, how do I connect emotionally and what does that mean -- and I noticed something...interesting.All the people on tv who seem the most engaged and excited are doing things. Not sitting and watching, but up and doing. As in, they don't seem to own a tv. Or spend that much time in a movie theater, come to it.

I know I had a problem with my CSI jonze, and I gave it up cold turkey (the shaking stopped after two days). I don't know if I could give up all tv and movies cold turkey, though. I'm a story teller and I enjoy a good story myself now and again. I also like to keep an eye on the competition.

But, perhaps, I need to strictly limit my tv time. Only watch shows I know I want to watch and rely on friends to keep me up to date on the new stuff upcoming. Maybe if I could get rid of my story addiction (the intake part), I could increase the stories (in quantity and quality) I put out? At least, I might be able to get out more, although I'm not sure I really care to do so. But I could, if I wanted, and it's the freedom that's key.

I have a bad feeling I've replaced CSI with Bones, and that's not a good thing. Maybe I'm getting too passive. Maybe I need to become more active in my life. You know, actually go out and live it instead of sitting in my chair, under my blankets, watching someone else do the living in my stead.

Sigh. I don't know why I'm posting about this, other than..this blog is my diary (of sorts) and I need to organize my thoughts a bit. I don't know if I'll be able to go on a complete media diet, although I might be able to do a week-long purge, but it's something to think about, no? And what would I do if I gave up all tv for even a week? Probably read, although isn't that just replacing one media format with another? Where would I go? What do I even want to do that I'd be willing to give up tv and books for?

And I have until May before the new season of Sherlock airs in the US, so that would give me two months to make up my mind, do a short term purge (or two or three) before I'd have to break my media diet for some yummy, yummy, yummy Sherlock and Watson action.

Sounds like I'm cheating on my diet before I even begin it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

So, how's that French going?

Uh, it's not.

I've been using Live Mocha. It's nice -- the exercises are interesting so far, and I like hearing native speakers as I read -- but it's an adjustment in terms of how I've learned languages in the past. Plus you need a microphone to complete the exercises. I have one. Somewhere. I don't know where, though.


In other news, I did get some work done today. Go me! I feel like I've been doing heavy lifting, which is utterly ridiculous, I haven't.

Although my back does hurt.

Anyway, I'm exhausted, so I'm going to go watch the rest of this disc of the "Bones Season Three" DVD set I got from the library and drink some hot tea. And, just because I know people like looking at pretty pictures:


Monday, January 23, 2012

It's a Monday again, isn't it?

How does that happen? Seems like it was just Friday. Sigh.

I need to get myself in gear. Next week I start my nanny gig and I've still got four books or so to go through. At least I'm finding a focus on my research -- I know what I need to know. Now I just have to...well, learn it. Wish me luck.

In other news:

I'm trying to pick up my French again. Last time I studied, I was 13 or so, but I recall being fairly fluent in conversational settings. The grammar was fairly easy. If you're learning a new language, pray to God the grammar is simple. Vocabulary is the overlay; that's...simple. Grammar, though, now grammar is tough.

Don't believe me? Try learning German. Everything conjugates. Everything. It's like trying to recite Shakespeare while doing a semaphore rendition of Beat poetry from 1956 at the same time.

Also, I went and got supplies for Nieceling's European Trip Scarf:

I liked these -- they're topaz colored, not gold, per se. They work well with the yarn:

I almost went with a clear glass bead with a silver center, but changed my mind when I pulled these off the hook. The clear made the yarn look cold, but the topaz makes it a bit warmer.

I'm going to have to knit the scarf in two pieces and seam them in the center. The beads will be heavier at the ends, then random father up the scarf. I don't want to over-weight the bottom -- I love my Little Loki, but the weight at the ends makes wearing it impractical at best, a choking hazard at worst. I'm hoping if I spread the weight of the beads along the length of the scarf, it won't be quite so choky-choky.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

I get myself into some of the worst situations.

Oh, nothing fatal, just...embarrassing. And why do I, on reflection, have such a hard time spelling "embarrass"? I always forget the second 'r'. Now, that's embarrassing.

In other news, no new knitting. I've been shockingly lazy. I did a couple more rows on my shawl -- which now takes quite a long time all on its own -- and got the final design on Nieceling's European Vacation Shawl. Simple chevron and I'm going to have to figure out how to place the beads where I want them. And figure out how I'm going to handle knitting in the eye-searing yarn.

I'll also have to buy the beads. I'm thinking...iridescent. Lovely. Gold or silver won't work, not with such an insanely colored yarn. Let me see if I can remind you of it's full, horrifying glory:

Ok, ok, I like it. A lot. It's just a hot jade with neon pink, yellow and orange strung through it.

Eh, wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crap left to do this week.


That's the pile of books I have to finish going through before Friday this week. It's amazing, you know, how quickly you forget your research skills once you get out of school! I've had these things for the past little while and have been slowly skimming them. As I do, the focus of my researches changes as I find new things that lead to other new things.

Oh, darn my insatiable curiosity!

The upshot of it all is, I've gone through...three of those books. Three. I've got four more, and one of them I'm going to try to keep longer. I have notes of all the titles and authors and call numbers (so I can find them again if needs be), and I know what direction I ultimately want to take the research in, but all that information is just dazzling to my teensy-weensy little mind. God help me, I want to read all those books cover to cover (which, in the course of regular research, I wouldn't bother with).

But I must be getting on with it! I begin half-time nannying in two weeks, so I can contemplate trips to further my researches, as I'll actually have money for gas. And I also want to save up so I can take a longer trip to a place that will give me the right atmosphere for the book I want to write -- Montreal. Well, anywhere in Quebec, actually. I need to get the sounds and culture right, and the closest I can get anymore (if I don't want to get Yellow Fever on the bayou) is Quebec.

You know, I don't even speak French. This is going to be complicated. But dream big! If you consistently dream small, you only ever accomplish small things. I'm going to try this out -- what the hell, I've got nothing but time -- and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but at least I'll have no regrets.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I even knitted some stuff.

Really, I did. To wit:

Betty's new clothes -- a tea cozy for Betty. The stitches are a bit loose, yes, but the fabric of a cozy doesn't need to be absolutely solid. That is especially true for this one, as it's made of pure wool. It works well, I've made three pots of tea and kept them warm in the time since I made this cozy.

Now I'm planning a second and a third cozy for her -- I think I'll do a traditional welted model out of some of the great masses of Knit Picks Palette yarn I have, maybe these colors:

and then maybe use my leftover Mochi Plus to make her a woven-looking one with an i-cord bow on top. I have a pattern for a tea cozy where the fabric looks woven, although it's just garter stitch that's had leftover yarn run up and down through the stitches. I like the effect, and I think the colors and thick-and-thin nature of the Mochi will work well with the pattern.

Also, I've made progress on my shawl.

This is a macro view, stockinette and lace pattern section. I tried to get a picture of the lace pattern, but I had the camera too close to the shawl so all the pictures turned out blurry. This is the best one I could get:

I really need to work on my photographic skills.

My allergies have been working overtime this month, so I've gotten little enough done on everything: Writing, reading, knitting. My face feels swollen (that's actually just my sinuses beneath) and one of my eyes is so bloodshot it looks like I haven't slept in months. Tonight before bed I intend to use the anti-mold spray (ok, ok, Lysol makes a stink-spray for the purpose, although I wonder if vinegar won't work just as well) so that, hopefully, my allergies won't be as big of a problem tomorrow.

Actually, I did some work on my big 2012 writing project today. I've started on my research and have found about seven books to work through initially, a few places I need to actually visit for further research using items that are only in those locations and some basic plotting I need to do, but at least I got started on my research. I'm getting the shape of the knowledge I'm going to need to pull this off, and I'm fully aware of how much I don't know, which is a little daunting. But at least I know how much work I'm going to have to put into this. I've got two full weeks and two week days before my day gig starts. That's quite a bit of work I can get done.

If nothing else, it should keep me quiet.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm blogging, I swear.

Not that anyone really minds if I take a holiday, but I'm trying to get back into a schedule of some sort so I can feel human again. Those holidays, whew.

I've made no progress on the tea cozy (although now I think I need to dig a second ball of yarn out of the stashtainer, to whit the second one of these:

 which is delaying me a tiny bit), but I did get some research done and take back some books to the library. Go me! Now I just have to keep going with it.

Sunday I'm taking the morning and taking myself to cinema. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is playing at a theater close-by that my friend gave me passes for, so I'm going to have a mini-day off. I can't tell you how excited I am, and how I truly hope the movie isn't a disappointment. I built up the idea of a certain movie to such an extent that I'm hard pressed to believe any movie could keep up with it, but this one has Gary Oldman in, so it can't be that bad.

Today I had my first day of nannying. Oh, yes, didn't I say? That's what I'm going to be doing for the next little while for cash. It's my cater-cousin's children, so...pseudo-nephews (one of whom is my godson). The older one tried to play me today. My, my, how soon they forget that I did earn the sobriquet "Evil Aunt K" for a reason! He did not win. I won. I am full of win. :-)

And now it is time to go eat some dinner (before my blood sugar drops so low I start singing to you), watch the end of the CSI episode I was watching before I left and read a bit before bedtime. I might even knit some -- although probably on my shawl, not the tea cozy -- before bed. Tomorrow is Saturday, a busy, busy day.

But let me leave you with a Photo of Zen:

(I love this thing! Am I weird or what?)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Snow on snow

I remember singing that song in college and hating the soprano soloist for doing something I couldn't do: sing alone. I have a...well, a thing about being visible. Heck, I blog but very few readers know who I am in real life.  I don't advertise that I blog to most of my friends and family, either. I like to keep myself to myself, if you know what I mean.

Very Victorian of me, really.

Why the bleak midwinter reference? This:

Snowed like the Dickens yesterday. All day long, really. Kinda pretty, although it made me a bit sad. Why?

My poor metal flutterby! He looked so cold, particularly with the snow drifts covering his wings. I wanted to make him a little muffler, and maybe an antennae warmer or two. Don't really know why I didn't; wouldn't have taken long, would it?

So I got out my boots from last year (the boots that saw more wear in one week last January than they've seen thus far this winter) and trudged about once the snow started really falling to take pictures. Then I came in, shucked them and got myself a hot drink (cocoa, you drunks, just cocoa). When I came back, I realized what a charming picture the below made:

and got a shot. Well, all except the bag of shoes hanging next to the tree. Still and all, the tree makes me feel a bit more jolly -- which is an accomplishment, as January sucks like a Dyson. I hate winter, hate it like oatmeal, and I can't wait for spring again. January, in particular, is a hard month for me. It's the trifecta of things I hate: cold, dark and colder still. Blech.

Almost makes me long for April, despite tax season and all.

I haven't knitted in a while. I've been to hell and gone today (got up at 7:15 -- barely a Christian hour, if you ask me -- walked, did my newest volunteer gig, took my laundry to my brother's house as our washer is kaput, nabbed the children and took them to the historical society to see the exhibits -- which was cool -- and then took them home, got my mother, took her home, went out to get dinner. Ate. Logged on to blog. Feh.) I've gotten nothing done in the last day or two.

I was going to finish up the reading I need to do from last year, finish it yesterday, in fact. Then I glued 8 of my fingers together (Don't. Ask. No, really, don't ask.) It took an hour with acetone-based fingernail polish remover to stop looking like a burn victim. And I learned a very important lesson: When working with acetone, if you pour it down a sink, don't, for the love of Baby Jesus, stand over the sink and turn the water on. The acetone fumes will curl your hair. Or burn your nostril hair out, which is what happened to me. Cough, cough.

Whatever, what with de-glue-ifying my hands, I got less read yesterday than on any regular day in my life. Then today...sigh. Running all around.

The argument could be made that I shouldn't be online blogging, I should be offline, curled up in my blankets, doing my reading. I have an awful lot of it to do, you know. Perhaps I should, but I had to blog. I have to get myself back in the writing habit again. I took the holidays off (mostly because my mother drives me to distraction with the holiday hysteria, and it was just too much to ask for me to be both creative and a crutch for my mom -- besides, she's had recent bereavement this year; it was a kindness) and now I have to somehow find the willpower to get up on that pony and get going again.

To inspire me, a picture of warmer weather:

Oooh. Doncha just imagine some sort of crazed but beautiful sea witch living in that cave? What crazed but beautiful sea witch would say no to such incredible water-front property?

Not me, that's for sure.