Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Our Dear Heather

Has a birthday today! Huzzah!

This lovely lady is *unknown* years old today (I can't remember, so I'm not going to make any claims in public). She is driving back to DeKalb from Door County today with her medium-sized family in a small-sized car, so send her calming thoughts.

She is a Mom-mom, a wife, a soap maker, a crocheter, a new knitter, and embriderer. She is funny (gut-splittingly so), creative (as you may have noticed), and thoughtful. She has the best advice (after my mother) about things like cooking, cleaning, setting up one's kitchen, the appropriate colors for that kitchen, and children. She helped me through my first stint as a crochet instructor (thank you!). She is a fantastic friend and has excellent taste in cake. She is going to kick my ass for posting those pictures.

Happy Birthday Heather!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Escape from CornFest

It was a long weekend. Long and noisy and smelly.

Roads were closed, garbage was everywhere, and strange people invaded my town.

It was CornFest. [Shudder]

I'm guessing your town has its own annual YayForUsFest, in some incarnation or other. My actual hometown (the one in which I grew up) had Old Settler's Days, which celebrated the--yep--old settlers who settled the area. We generally celebrated with beer and funnel cake and oddly-named carnival rides (which, when combined, often resulted in the celebratory puddle of vomit). I, being 6 or 7 (high on cotton candy and not needing the beer), loved loved loved the bouncy castle. I could flip around and bounce really really high and it was the coolest thing ever. EVER! And the best thing about it was, because you were a little kid, you could totally crack skulls with another kid and there was no problem. You were having that much fun.

Well, now I'm old and crochety (and crochet-y! My god, I'm so punny) and I really dislike these 3-day long wacky-fests for the following reasons:
(1) The noise. It was a block away from my apartment. I could hear every darn song played by the goofy cover band (and the PA system). And the sound bounced off the surrounding buildings which really messed with my attempt to sing along with the cover of "Sweet Child of Mine." This happened at all hours (meaning, of course, 10am to 11pm). God, I'm old.
(2) The smell. I'm vegan, I haven't had meat since 1999, and the smell of roasting whatever-the-hell was completely disgusting. I nearly contributed to the celebratory puddle of vomit. Thank god I didn't, because I'm 25 and that would have been extremely embarassing.
(3) The people. There were new NIU students hoping to experience a slice of rural midwesternism (you suburban yuppies!). There were farm families here to experience a big town party. There were Army and National Guard recruiters hoping to entice anyone they could into a new t-shirt and a contract to fight to protect Big Oil Interests. There were too many people. I hid in my apartment and watched them through the blinds.
(4) The corn. Now, our town sits in the middle of a veritable ocean of corn. It's what we're known for (that and barbed wire). Ever drive past a field and see the little signs at the end of rows that say what hybrid the farmer is using (that's what the little signs mean, by the way)? You know the flying ear of corn with "DeKalb" on it? Yeah, that's from here. And CornFest is all about "hooray corn!" (because we must appease the corn gods, apparently) and the Kiwanis give out free corn to anyone who wants it. But the dumb thing is, THE CORN COMES FROM IOWA, not from the fields a half mile away. WTF?

And that's why I'm glad the weekend is over.

There are no pictures of CornFest because I only experienced it accidentally when Nick and I had to do laundry on Sunday and forgot that the landromat sat right across the road from the freaky carnival rides.

In other news, I just placed my first order to KnitPicks for some Merino Style and Wool of the Andes. It should be here in 5-14 calendar days, they say. I can't freakin' wait.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stuck, Unstuck

Wow. I just wrote a bunch of stuff that seemed like it was going one way, but then totally took the fork in the road and went absolutely nuts. It was just ... gah! It was all wrong and I erased it.

The erased blathering went on and on about how I feel stressed and stuck and unable to really get moving on things (wedding planning, work, family meltdowns, etc), and it was so unbelievably negative that it had to go. Goodbye, negative post.

So, yes. In an effort to become unstuck (as though I were snared by a tasty-but-sneakily cunning PBJ sandwich) I have decided to take up running again. I ran track for 4 years in high school and played rugby for 2 years in college (really), and after foot surgeries that were embarassingly long ago (2.5 years?), it's time to get mobile. Not only do I have my health to consider, I have adorable red pants that are one size smaller than I currently wear. And a wedding during which I insist that I look f-ing amazing, dernit!

My girl Lara and I have been running this week. Excuse me, walking and running. About 3-ish miles. And getting up early to do it (6am! I'm up at 6am!! Mom, are you reading this?! Because it's amazing!!). I've been running every day so far this week. There are muscles that are buried under other muscles and I had no idea that they were there, but they hurt like hell. I love it.

Another way I've found to get unstuck:

Those are the shoes I wore today. They are fun and cheery and cost me eight dollars. The picture also encompasses part of my desk at work. And my feet and shins. The camera has no zoom (but I am very grateful for the use of it, Mom!).

Oh, and the color change (which you can hopefully see) is due to the long-awaited temperature drop and imminent autumn.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I Love Sit-n-Stitch, continued

Alright, finally viewing pictures of last night's SnS made me forget about avoid thinking about Pat Robertson (except to say that, while listening to Cornwell's Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed, I heard a description of psychopaths and sociopaths and their inability to care about the consequences of, say, murdering a nation's leader. Sound like any twit we know?).

Right, back to the SnS. We had such a good time last night. To those who don't know what we've been up to (no good!), we've been crocheting squares for the Very First Afghan. We will either give the blanket to an organization in need, or raffle off the afghan and give the proceeds to an organization in need. Last night we settled in to join the squares. Here are most of the squares, at the beginning of the night:

Tammy took the first column (it would have been on the left) to her son's Cub Scout (or Boy Scout?) award ceremony to stitch together between applause. (Thank you!) She actually got most of them joined, and returned about 8:00 cursing the scoutmaster's penchant for slide shows and accompanying darkness.

After Tammy left, the 5 of us (Julia, Anna, Janice, KathyT and myself) stood around the table and looked from the squares to the joining yarn, and from the yarn to the squares. I mentioned my complete lack of experience with joining squares and was delighted to hear that such was the case with my fellow stitchers. 45 squares to join and no one knew how. And me without my Donna Kooler's. Eventually we decided to just wing it and join with sc (using the fabled and plentiful RHSS White).

That's Julia (proud mom of various children and a new puppy), Sandi (proud mom of various children and a new puppy) and myself (proud). Anna (proud mom of vacationing children) is in the foreground. Thanks to Emily (one of the various children--Sandi's) for taking the picture.

Here are Anna, Janice and KathyT joining two columns together. Look at the dedication! The intensity! The fervor with which they work!
Now look at the other side of the table:

Ms Sandi's allergy meds made her a little nuts, which made the evening just that much more delightful. There's nothing like having a crazy woman on your right to make the square-joining just fly by.

This is Emily (of the photographs). After spending most of the night making about five different projects (ripping out and beginning a new chain, but not getting much beyond that crucial point), Emily decided to help, joining two squares together. This is a feat in itself because not only did she just learn the art of crochet in July, she is also a lefty crocheting right-handed. The girl is amazing. And has decided that if we can't offload the afghan, she wants it. We have entered into negotiations.

Our Dear Heather was not there, due to husband error and resulting lack of dinner. She was with us in spirit and plans to be with us next time, corporeally and with a properly functioning spousal unit.

This is what we came up with at the end of the night:

The left column is as yet unattached, but the two on the right are joined together, and the two in the middle are as well. Gives us something to do in two weeks.

*Cough* You may have noticed that the squares in the almost-finished afghan photo do not occupy the same places they did in the pre-join photo. Yes. Well, when you get 6 or 7 chatty ladies round a table, order and method often fly out the proverbial fenestre. (Plus Sandi was high on allergy medicine, so it's probably all her fault.) I think it looks fabulous. Well done, ladies.

Pat Robertson, you twit

And lots of Americans think this guy is not insane and makes a really good point. I'm baffled.

I heard this story on NPR's Morning Edition this AM, right before the bit about church-goers being more supportive of the war. I must have grown up with a different kind of church than what's being preached these days (as I brandish my cane and hitch up my shawls around my stooped shoulders).

If Pat Robertson thinks he's on god's team, and Pat Robertson says our country should assassinate the leader of another country, does that mean that god is all for murder and death and chaos? Because I've seen depictions of that god, and he's mostly with the horns and fire.

Argh. I'm all grumpy. I'm going away to deal with the concept of America as Nazi state.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

One of these things is not like the other...

Today's post is about soulmates. Not in the cheesy, hearts-and-flowers romance novel sense (though romance novels have their place); in the sense of finding someone or something you're comfortable with and can stand to be around for a long long time. The length of time it takes to you crochet a scarf, for instance.

I have found a solution to the Sparkly Scarf! It turns out that the Brilliant (the sparkly yarn) just wanted to be worked up with another yarn. A cheap yarn in this case, thank gods. I'm thrilled. I no longer have to worry about what my darling little Brilliant was going to be when it grew up; it wanted to be married. I get it, little buddy, I want to be married too.

So I'm working the scarf in griddle stitch (sc, dc, sc, dc--until you die), with the Patons Brilliant in Glitter Green (honestly, I can't see much green in it, but then I might be colorblind. No, seriously, I have trouble with greens and greys when they're subtle and all sneaky) and in the fabled and plentiful RHSS White. The Sparkly Scarf may have to be called something else, now that it has another component. Not "The Marriage Scarf," though, because that's just too cheesy.

In other not-like-the-other news, Chuck Liddell fights the crap out of Jeremy Horn tonight live on pay-per-view. (How to tie this in to the post theme....? Liddell and Horn have fought before and it didn't go well, and now they're fighting again. That's kind of like soulmates. Right?) I get to be there to find out how it all turns out, and I'm very excited. The scarf is sad because it won't be coming along. Too much chance of it coming unraveled (but I didn't ravel it, I crocheted it. Is there a word like "uncrocheted" or "unknit"? There ought to be.) during a stopper toe hold or rear naked choke. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll bring the scarf along and show it the finer points of mixed martial arts. The scarf could learn a few things.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Learning New Words

I woke up Thursday morning with a sense of guilt and horror. Had I bashed poor Nick's head in during the night? Had I destroyed all the dishes? Had I *gasp* chucked the stash out the window in a fit of somnambulist idiocy? No. I dreamt that I had left my wedding planning to the very last minute and my Mother ended up planning the whole thing.

Now, my Mom has fabulous organizational skills and fabulous taste and a good head on her shoulders. In reality, Mom planning my wedding helping to plan my wedding would be an exceptionally good thing. In my dream, however, everything was in the wrong place and the wrong people were there and the wrong officiant was there and when I asked what was going on, she said (in her MomVoice--there's nothing like it) "Well honey, you just didn't get around to it." Hence the guilt and horror. Good god, it took me like an hour to feel better. When I told Nick, he pointed out to me that I really have yet to experience a wedding dream where everything goes well, so this one shouldn't be any worse than the others. But this one had my Mom in it, telling me I was bad at planning. [Shudder] This is when I learned the true meaning of the word "guilt."

So I went to work with renewed purpose, called my friend Amy (check out her website, PS) and arranged to go dress hunting and caterer-tasting sometime in the near future (she's getting married soonish too).

After that adrenaline rush and subsequent burst of virtue, I settled in to stitch on my half of the couch/futon, which looks like... well, a stitcher stitches there:

It's cozy and next to a bright lamp and I can put my feet up and watch Ultimate Fighting Championship DVDs while I crochet. And knit. Did I tell you I started knitting? Well, I did. I am. And here is the beginning swatch/dealy/thingy:

And it quickly became this as well:

I won't show you the rest of the swatch because I tried all (all) the basic stitches (garter, seed, more stockinette, different ribs) and it ended up looking supremely bizzare. But it's mine and I'm proud of it. Even if I cursed like a damn drunken sailor on 'roids as I was knitting the darn thing. My gosh, knitting is so bloody difficult--how do people master this and create such beautiful things? Just when I think "Hey, I've finally gotten the hang of this knitting thing!" I immediately drop a loop, or lose a needle under the futon, or explode in a furious rage over my complete lack of ability. My yarn stash is learning new and colorful words, and I have probably shocked years off my houseplants. Thank god I don't have any children yet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pleased as Punch

And I am, because my beloved got a job offer this morning. !!! This may seem unexciting to everyone else, but it's my blog and I'll gush if I want to.

Jobs are a bit thin on the ground for newly-graduated law students--everyone wants 2-3 years experience, but does not offer to provide that experience. Anyhow, after searching and searching, my extremely brilliant and devestatingly handsome fiance received a job offer this AM at a lovely firm in a town far, far away. Not very far. Forty-five minutes away (by car, of course). It sounds wonderful: not high-pressure, decent salary, delightful benefits (for me, too!), and a comfortable work environment.

I'm terrifically proud of Nick all the time, and just thrilled beyond belief that things are working out so well. Hooray!

Forgive my less-than-coherent-ness. It's all the joy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Good Times

Man, this weekend has been awesome, for a plethora of good reasons:

(1) I got to hang out with my friends Mark, Joe and CornBred (it's a long story and almost worth telling) in Chicago on Friday night. We went to Chicago Hot Glass, where CornBred's college buddy was showing his latest work and putting on a glassblowing demonstration, like this:

I was far away and the camera doesn't have zoom, so you'll have to take my word for it that the demo was awesome. The orangey thing on the end of the long stick is superhot glass being shaped. It was really amazing to watch. I learned a lot without even trying. Beauteous.

(2) My friend Annie called. This may not sound like amazing weekend fun, but it is because Annie was in NYC for what seemed like a long time, and now she's back in Illinois (which is a fact I didn't grasp until we were almost at the end of the conversation). Huzzah! Annie's lots of fun and I'm super excited she's back in the Midwest, although it is the Midwest.

(3) I'm in the Crochet Blogs ring! I've had the button on my page for a while, which was part of the joining process, and now it works and I'm in! O frabjous day! Calloo Callay! Tres exciting. Check out the whole list. Go do it now.

On top of all those delights, I've got my Autumn is Not for Wimps scarf well underway:

It's not as orangey as it looks in this picture. Or maybe it is. I don't know. I may have become blinded by its outrageous colorway. It is fairly obnoxious, isn't it?

In other crochet news, I finished Margaret's sunshade hat and put it in the mail. The FO:

I hope she gets the package before she reads this post. When did I send it? Thursday? Or Tuesday? I have no idea--keeping track of days is difficult. I try to remember what day it is based on which crochet UFO I'm working on, but then that plan falls to bits because I don't work on the same UFOs on the same days. This is why I'm marrying Nick; he's the most organized person ever and I hope some of the organizational skill transfers to me via close contact. Kinda like a cold. But better for me.

Anyhow, that's the hat. Perfect, I hope, for sunny Florida. And that sums up my weekend. Or perhaps more than the weekend (the space-time continuum is warping again). Do I seem indecisive to you? I can't tell.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Listen to your Inner Hooker!

So, remember the baby blanket from yesterday? The one I worked up, then ripped out, then began to work up again? That one. Well, I think it's unhappy being worked in Red Heart Super Saver yarn. I think I'm unhappy working it up in Red Heart Super Saver.

As charming as the blanket is, I don't think it's reaching its full potential. It's rough, it's kind of scratchy, and the color just isn't turning my dials. And this is all my fault. When I was purchasing the yarn for the baby blanket (and yes, I did purchase all the yarn), I was definitely second-guessing my choice.

Me: I guess I'll go with the RHSS. Money's kind of tight just now, and this is pretty okay.
Inner Hooker: Are you serious? RHSS makes good grown-up afghans, but for a baby?
Me: Well, it's got these pretty colors.
IH: C'mon, you're smarter than that. Other yarns are just as pretty. Prettier, because they're softer.
Me: But they're more expensive.
IH: You twit. It's like 60 cents difference per ball.
Me: Nope, I've made up my illogical mind and I'm buying the Red Heart.

Now, months later, the Inner Hooker has spoken up and I'm beginning to see her reasoning. She's completely right. I was a twit. I will dispense with the RHSS and seek out new yarns, softer yarns, yarns compatible with baby! I will prevail!

However, now I'm stuck with all this damn RHSS white. Which reminds me...

Reminder to DeKalb Sit-n-Stitchers!
When next we meet, which will be 22 August 6:30-8:45pm, we will be Joining the Squares. It sounds all weird and mythical, but involves nothing more eerie than all of us converging on all those squares we made over the spring and early summer. We will be putting the afghan together (and this is where the RHSS White comes in handy) with RHSS White.

I have, as you may be aware, tons of spare RHSS White. Don't bring any of your own, I have plenty. Please bring: Yarn needle and crochet hooks (H through J, please). Thanks ever so. We'll have fun fun fun till the librarian kicks us out. I'll see about sneaking in some snackies for us, too.

That's all for now, but I leave you with this delightful photo, which my friend Tony took for me when he was in Hawaii last summer. Having missed his submarine (Navy man), he was forced to spend an extra 8 days on the islands (which you and I paid for, by the way). My jealousy and my tax-payer anger were abated somewhat by his promise of digital flowers. They abated completely when he followed through and sent them to me. He's a doll.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Zenning Out

Mmmmmmm.... Be the mohair, be the mohair

You are Mohair
You are Mohair.
You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with
others, doing your share without being too
weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely
refuse to change your position once it is set,
but that's okay since you are good at covering
up your mistakes.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

It's kind of spooky how Mohair I really am. Perhaps this is a sign to get off my butt and work up the Grey Mohair. It sits in my stash, waiting patiently for me to find the right pattern and stitch combination. Soon, my love, soon.

This week feels extra weird. I think it may be that my hours at work have changed a little this week. Or I've been staring at the computer for 7.5 hours straight. Or the space-time continuum is warping and will snap back so hard it'll fling me right off this planet, Donnie Darko-style (you don't know--it could be happening right now). I'm pretty happy that tomorrow is a 9-5 day (sometimes I work 12:30-9pm) and that I don't work over the weekend. Joy is in the little things, my dear.

Joy is also, apparently, in ripping out the baby blanket that one is making for the baby due in November.

It looked really nice, except... I got about 18 rows into the blanket when I noticed for the first time last night that the sides were warping (much like the space-time continuum) and there was nothing to be done but to rip it out and start over (dammit!). So, I took a few deep breaths and a few pulls from the Michelob AmberBock and began to rip. it. all. out.

I have come to terms with the blanket. I realized that I was asking something of the blanket which it did not want to do. Instead of being worked in rows, it wants to be worked in rounds, thus:

So, I have become one with the blanket and am blissed-out pretty hardcore (that phrase probably shouldn't exist, but does, thanks to my bizarre little brain) because I have worked this particular pattern before. So I know how it all turns out in the end. And I can freak out slightly less now. Zennnnnnn...

Joy also exists in getting a new kitty, as my good friends Margaret & Wade did last night. Their new fur child came home last night, is a beautiful grey calico/tortoise-shell girl kitty (9 months old) who likes to lick Margaret's eyelid and is named Sabaka. It means "dog" in Russian. My friends are funny that way.

Joy is also in joining a
set up by Cara (Hooray!). I'm all excited, as this is my first group crochet/knit-along. Scarves are pretty much always my go-to project when I need a break from whatever larger UFO I'm working at the moment. Scarves are good people.

There, I've found joy in four things today (well, two, if you don't count the sarcastic finding of joy). That's more than average (is there an average?) and I'm going to celebrate with malt liquor. Give it up for King Cobra.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I love Sit-n-Stitch

I just love it. Last night was so much fun. Look at the fun here.

This is Janice and Kathy (the Other Kathy), and Sandi's arm. Janice's shoulder is sporting an antique crocheted dress (decorative, as you may have noticed), and her hands are holding a pair of crocheted bloomers made by Kathy's husband's grandmother. The bag on the table is full of antique crocheted doilies, hot pads, trivets, and all manner of goodies. The saint who made them (Other Kathy, does this wonder woman have a name?) made them of thread and they are beautiful. Amazing stuff. Here's what came out of the bag next:

It is a filet baby blanket. Beauteous. Thank you, Kathy, for bringing along such lovely things for us to drool over (send us the cleaning bill, dear). Fabulous.

After the day I had Monday, Sit-n-Stitch was a wonderful thing to plop myself down into and ignore the rest of the world for 2 hours. It was great to catch up with people (after my infamous non-presence last month), and we even had a new member, Fran (Hi Fran!) who cross-stitches. So much fun was had, I'm not sure it wasn't bad for us. Here we all are at almost the end of the night with our projects:

That's the Sparkly Scarf; Emily and her lovely crayon drawing; her mom Sandi and squares for a baby afghan (I'm told the baby came last week); Janice with her new cardigan; and Kathy with the beginnings of a bathroom rug. That's the left side of the room, and here's the right side (which sounds political, but isn't at all):

(The Scarf wants to be everywhere) Tammy with her thread bookmark; Heather with Mail Art for the Farmgirls; and newbie Fran with her grandson's Christmas stocking in cross stitch. We're amazing. Huzzah!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Busy Like a Bee

I'm just a hookin' fool. I've been doing nothing but crocheting up scarves (hopefully to sell) the past few days.

Saturday night was the UFC cable TV event, and the silver sparkly scarf had the best seat in the house ... on Nick's chest.

The silver sparkly scarf has been giving me grief. I wanted it to be a silver scarf with ends of Fun Fur, but the scarf didn't want to play ball. Then I wanted it to be a Tunisian crochet scarf. The scarf wasn't having any of it. In its present incarnation, the scarf is now a V-stitch sparkly thing, but I'm still not convinced that this is The Stitch (the scarf has its doubts too). I may just rip it out (... again, sigh) and start in on it from a different angle. Or it may just live at the bottom of the workbasket for a week, to escape my attempts to make it into something it's not. I feel like an awful parent. "Be an accountant!" "But Mom, I want to be a sculptor!" And such.

To avoid further tears and recriminations, I went yarn shopping yesterday. My dear friend Heather and I sat in the yarn aisles of Michael's and Wal-Mart (budget considerations!) on a lovely Sunday afternoon and just drooled. I found tons of stuff I want to work with, but the budget did not permit (it was mostly Moda Dea, those crafty bastards with their silky-feeling, seducing-the-unaware, heavenly yarns. I hate them! I love them! I will love them more when I have more money!). But I did come home with some delightful and budget-conscious yarns, after hours and hours of blatant yarn fondling.

I got some lovely Bernat Baby Lash in Baby Blues, which immediately insisted upon being turned into this:

How can you argue with the yarn? It will be a fuzzy winter scarf with eventual hat to match. The yarn is much warmer than it looks at first glance, because it's got all these fuzzies sticking out which are synthetic and trap heat like a dream (or nightmare, if you're crocheting it on a sticky-hot Sunday evening)

(Here are the fuzzies. See?)

I also picked up some of that ladder-type yarn. Lion Brand calls it Trellis, and Caron calls it Fabulous. Sweet. I call it "that ladder-type yarn" and have done with it. I decided to blend the Fabulous in Bubblegum with RHSS ombre in Berries, and it's looking pretty good. You can't see it because the camera didn't take a pretty picture. Operator error, of course, had nothing to do with it.

I also picked up a ball of Lion Wool-ease (ww) white with silver, and Lion Trellis in blue, and RH pseudo-Homespun in a pretty soft pinky-mango-white ombre, and ... some RHSS purple (excuse me, Dark Orchid) to blend with the Berries. There may have been a slight over-budgetness. Very small. Nothing at all to worry about. Just a matter of five dollars. Ish. It's not like I ran over the budget with a pickup or anything.

Tonight I get to bask in the glory of the DeKalb Area Sit-n-Stitch, and for that I am grateful. After the day I have had at work, I'm completely looking forward to seeing all my yarny-type ladies and having a grand ol' time. Too bad we can't have beer in the library... Alright, that's my next business venture: yarn shop, book shop, bar. All in one. Fabulous.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hitting the Jackpot

Everything's just coming up roses the past few days.

This past Thursday, Nick and I went up to Davis IL and Lake Summerset to check out the Lodge they have there as a possible wedding & reception site. Being the godless heathens that we are, we don't belong to a church and finding a place to have the ceremony has been a bit fraught. Some places don't allow alcohol, some are too small, some too boxy, some too churchy, some have stuffed (taxidermied) animals in the foyer. We've been feeling a bit like Bizarro Goldilocks--we were doomed to never find anything that was just right. Then we saw the Lake Summerset Lodge.

This is the Lodge. Isn't it pretty? It's really one big room (one really big big room) set on a curve, to take advantage of the beauteous views of Lake Summerset...

I have poor picture-taking skills. Obviously, if you were standing in the lodge and looked out, the view is amazing and the walls and curtains aren't pitch black. But the view is stunning and the whole south wall is windows. You could even see my Grandma's house from the Lodge. Not in this photo, though.

This is the other end of the room, opposite the stage end. The doorway beyond Nick leads to the entrance & foyer & possibly kitchen and bathrooms. Here is the courtyard entrance from the parking lot:

And there you have it. This is where we're getting married. I feel kind of light-headed. I might need to have a little lie-down and a cup of strong tea. Anyone have a fainting couch?

This is turning into an actual thing. We've been together for so long (8 years, no eight-and-a-half years!) that The Wedding was always something very far in the future that was nice to talk about and plan in a vague and dreamy way, but never real enough to actually make decisions over. Now it's here (or here in the sense of less than a year away), I mean, we have an actual date picked out and everything. Wow. Where's that tea?

To combat the stress of wedding-type stuff, I'm keeping busy with the crochet (keeps me from biting my nails, at least). I finished the Tunisian Skinny Scarf, which was my first real venture into the Land of Tunisian Crochet (for more, check out this fabulious site), and I totally love it. I'm going to have to do up more scarves this way. Here's a wide view of the scarf...

So that's exciting. To top off all this tremendousness, I got the new Lion Brand yarn catalog the other day (I'm planning many new projects with their many new yarns, some of which aren't even on the website yet); I am going yarn hunting tomorrow with my good friend Heather; will be watching Spike TV's UFC event tonight; and will be seeing Sleater-Kinney in a month's time. Wooo-freakin'-hoo, baby.

Some might question the combination of hobbies in one medium-sized woman. Ultimate Fighting Championships and crochet? Yarn hunting and punk-ish rockin' awesome grrrl music? You betcha.

And you thought crocheters were dull (well, maybe you didn't, but I bet your friends did).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hit the Gong

Last night, after having been to our favorite local bar (The Annex), Nick and I came home and (rather responsibly, I feel) drank some water to combat the effects of demon drink. Somehow I convinced him to watch 2 episodes of Sex and the City--a feat unheard of in our relationship--and he cracked up a few times and thought the writing was dead funny ("parts of it"), so I feel oddly vindicated. By now it was nearing 1:00am and I had to be at work at 8:30 this morning... I was trying to call it quits, in the responsible and mature manner to which I have become accustomed, but my beloved was playing Hit the Gong.

We have a gong hanging in the space between kitchen and living room. It is this gong. Nick received it as a gift last Christmas from our friend Emily (thank you!). He was throwing a pen at the darn thing from the living room, missing, and nearly hitting me in the kitchen (not a body part, a geographical area of the apartment). He did this 8 times or so (and missing) while I was getting some water. I, on my way into the bedroom and as an afterthought (snorts of derision from the crowd) tossed the pen at the gong. And hit it.

(Again that odd feeling of vindication.)

This is exciting only because I rarely outdo my beloved at anything involving hand-eye coordination. I mean, I'm not bad--he's just brilliant. All that Nintendo. (He did hit the gong on his next 5 tries, to be fair.)

But I did it first!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

When is a Book like an Armpit?

I ask you.

Libraries are delightful places. I love working at my local public library... seeing familiar faces (I've worked here for 5 years), helping people find stuff they need, teaching crochet classes... ah, it warms the cockles of my heart.

Unfortunately, that's about all that's warm here right now. Because of the sauna-esque weather we've been having in Northern Illinois the air conditioning in the Library building gets cranked down to what feels like 43 degrees and gets even cooler in the basement from whence I write these dainty missives (but never on work time, of course). And why? The books need to stay dry (like an armpit) in order to not rot and be disgusting (mold on books is the most icky thing going, by the way. Avoid it at all costs). And in this climate, dry = cold. And that, my friends, is why I sit here freezing my *ahem* off: for the love of books.

Finally, I have pictures!

This is the sun hat for my Margaret-type friend:

It still has 4 more rounds to go on the brim. The end result will be less Gilligan-y and more sunshade-y.
This is the first sunshade hat, which is my very own:

And here is my granny-square scarf (merino... mmm)

I took these and some other FOs into a local resale/vintage clothing/gifty fun shop (Cracker Jax) today and will soon be putting some of my designs in the store for sale. I am near swooning with excitement (does anyone swoon anymore? Can anyone define swoon? I'm almost certain my sister Laura can swoon on command). This is the second time I've discussed money for my crocheted goodness, and the first time I've dealt with a store as the middle-man. Woohoo! Cash! Man, is that stuff ever helpful.

Reminder to DeKalb Area Sit-n-Stitchers
Despite the recent lack of attendance on my part, we will indeed be having a meeting this coming Monday, 8 August 2005. Doors open at 6:30 and close at 8:45pm. Bring your fabulious projects, your fabulious chatter and your fabulious self (fabulious [fab-oo-lee-us] is the invention of a friend of mine). I haven't seen you ladies in about a month and I'm jonesing for a good chat. As always, we will be meeting in the Meeting Room (imagine that) of the DeKalb Public Library. What could be better--books and hooks at the same place. Can you stand it?

I think I may have found my next project. I mean, after my thirty current projects are complete. Yes. Crochet Me just put up their latest issue, and here is the fabulious pillow sham which I hope will grace our futon/couch in the near future. Or the far-away-type-future. Whatever comes first.

Monday, August 01, 2005


The moving part of moving in together is done. The unpacking part is still in progress, and it mostly consists of my stuff. How is this possible, when I lived in the apartment before Nick and I myself have not really moved? There are a few reasons for this. (1) I'm a horrible person and never fully unpacked when I moved in a year ago (2) Unpacking these boxes involves me sitting on the floor, going through my old (really old) school papers (like from freshman year of college... c'mon, Keyes!) and re-reading them. All. And considering re-writing them for fun. Or just keeping them around as monuments to my evolving genius (snorts of laughter from the crowd). Needless to say, Nick finds this all extremely charming and not at all annoying as crap. But now that the big stuff is done, we actually get to spend time together at night, instead of collapsing face-down onto the carpet at the end of the day.

On the crochet front, I have stashed the stash in an old bureau. 4 drawers filled and yet the stash still runs amok in the study. The nicer yarns are in the drawers (merino, mohair and chenille), and the acrylic is left to fend for itself. Perhaps it will run away and turn feral, like cats in DeKalb and Sycamore. Boy, do I loathe acrylic. It's handy for those quickie give-away gifts or donations, but I'm not a fan. It makes my teeth hurt when I touch it, and if that isn't one of nature's danger signs, I don't know what is. Happily, most of my projects are of the cotton or wool (or blends) variety.

Uberthanks are in order, as two of my fellow Sit-n-Stitchers bailed me out of a jam last month. I had a display in a window at the Library, and it was totally last minute, and these two ladies helped me out by filling up the window. Sandi and Anna, you both are amazing and fabulous.
This is Anna's stocking hat (in Chicago Bears/Illini colors, natch)

And this is Sandi's small purse, which got lots of attention. (It sits atop my washcloth.)

Thankyouthankyouthankyou both for your help. See me for further goodies.

In other news, it's August. We now have a reason for the foul beastie heat we've been having (and continue to have). In June and July we had absolutely disgusting weather which was shocking to everyone, including myself, despite having lived in the area for my whole freakin' life. Humid, hot, sticky, completely still wind. It was terrible, and made even worse because "it's only June" or "it's only July." Well, now we have to just bite the darn bullet and say, "Gosh, this weather sure is awful, but what do you expect in August." Because the turn of the calendar page makes all the difference.

Midwesterners rule.