Monday, October 31, 2005

Our True Geek Natures

And part of my geekosity is that I'm a grammar nazi nut and general linguophile (is that a word? I love it!). If you needed further proof, witness:

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English
20% Upper Midwestern
15% Yankee
5% Midwestern
0% Dixie

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

but none of the questions asked about "wash" vs. "warsh" or "crick" vs. "creek." I was disappointed. Ah well, at least it's accurate (if indeed there is a difference between Upper Midwestern and Midwestern). I got this from Crazy Aunt Purl.

This weekend, the Beloved and I revealed some last secrets to each other (a neat trick, having been together for eight-and-a-half years already). He learned that, given time enough and yarn, I will sit on the couch and do nothing but knit for nearly three days straight (Yarn Geek). I learned that he has a whole crapload of Magic:The Gathering cards I didn't know about in various configurations (he calls them "decks") which involve spell-casting cards, creature cards, colors, freaky monster-beasts and a super-high level of geekdom (Magic:TG Geek). We revealed these truths, felt shaky and vulnerable afterwards, but love each other even more now that we know our true geek natures. It's sweet. And slightly nauseating, yes.

Right. I was going to upload pictures of knitting and crochet and the Noble Sit-n-Stitch, but either Blogger or my computer is being a wingnut of the highest order and is determined to eat my brain (zombie computers on Halloween... naturally!). I cannot post pictures right now. Please forgive the lack of illustration, but note my Geek status--Yarn, not Tech or Computer or Useful and Optimized for Gainful Employment Geek-dom.

My family weeps along with you.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Long Weekend

But in the best possible sense. Ever.

Let me start off with this about Sit-n-Stitch, which was Monday the 24th: It was amazingly fun and knitting and crocheting both go amazingly well with wine (Thanks to Anna and to Kim for sharing their wine stash, and to Kim for bringing tasty hummus!). We had a grand old time in my living room chatting and working on Christmas presents, and I have pictures (but not of the presents!) which will have to wait until I retrieve them from my camera.

And this about my adult beginner crochet class: They're all improving wonderfully! The first class was a little shaky, but we all rocked out and everyone went home from the second class (Tuesday night) having learned at least one new stitch--some learned everything from sc to tr! I'm so excited. We're going to start a scarf project in 2 days, which means I have to come up with some basic patterns for them. Not a problem, really. I think I'll just make some stitch pattern suggestions and let them go for it in terms of color and whatnot. We only have two more classes, which means that Sit-n-Stitch may be more full on the 14th. Hooray!

And the weekend was lovely. Here, let me tell you about it.

I had four days off this weekend. Four. Days. Off. Music to my ears. And for most of 3 of those days, I did nothing but knit and crochet. (I know, if I weren't me I'd be blind with jealousy too.) Nothing else, except make food and eat food and watch a little movie here and there. It was perfect. I got so much done--a certain ScarfMe scarf was completed, and turned out better than I hoped (my own design, created on the fly); much farther along on the knit 4x4 ribbed scarf in the Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (which is remarkable, because I thought this yarn wanted to be 10 other kinds of scarf--seed stitch, double moss stitch, stockinette with borders of seed, the list goes on); cast on and worked up a bunch on a new scarf; created a new gift idea which I cannot discuss because the recipients (if indeed there are any) may or may not be reading this blog. (Jeez, Kath, could you vague that up for us any?)

So that's what I did for most of my time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday night the Beloved and I hung out with lawyer friends which was so much more hilarious than it could possibly sound. But today is when the fun really started.

I got a phone call at 5:00am and almost snarled horrible things into the phone until I remembered that I'm on call for a labor. And it was the midwife (who else calls at 5am? With good news, I mean), telling me to get on over to the lady's house, which was fortunately here in my town (so I could wake up on the drive over). And about 5 hours later I met the most lovely baby, born at home, who has the most lovely parents and the most lovely big sister. All are well, and I got to help catch, which is a first for me. Amazing. Beautiful stuff, birth.

Last thoughts: (1) My sister Laura is one of the more hilarious people I know. (2) It turns out that Sigur Ros is the best stuff to listen to after a birth that I've ever heard. And on that note, I'm off now, probably to catch up on my sleep. Pictures tomorrow (of knitting, not of birth).

Monday, October 24, 2005

How to Make Me Swoon

As we're getting ready to do laundry, tap out a beat on my butt and when I protest say, "It's my job as the man in your life to touch your bottom at every opportunity."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Who let Bob Barker in Here?

This place is like a game show today, and I have no idea why.

First Round - Memes for All!
I'm sure you've seen this meme elsewhere... you google (yes, it's a verb! and I've de-capitalized it!) your name and the word "needs," and you post up the first 10 or the most weird. I'm not sure how that part of it works, so I'm just going with the funniest. Here's what "Kathy needs"

1. Kathy needs ...a nap
2. fix (primtrk table for histograms--whatever the hell that is) (I swear I'm not making this up)
3. ...advance notice
4. ...Eating In
5. stick to lower risk funds
6. take advice
7. somehow ruin her squeaky-clean image in order to seem like less of a threat (I have a squeaky-clean image? And I'm more of a threat with it?)
8. enter it to the system (someone set us up the bomb? (warning: animation & sound))
9. ...a hug
10. ...a four to beat Sharon
and my very favorite,
11. ...her gays more than ever.

Thank you for playing the You Need Meme! Prizes will be distributed at the desk, be sure to ask for Carl.

Second Round - Bathmat Construction!
Ms Titanium Rose (whose ScarfMe scarf is currently eating my brain but will be done and in the mail by November 5th if it kills me!!) asked about the t-shirt bathmat, so I decided to give a photo demonstration. We'll see how that goes. (click photos to embiggen [- a word I cannot take credit for, but whose provenance I have forgotten. Provenance.])

First, find a batch of old t-shirts (I'm not sure how many, because I'm still working on mine. At least 7. That's a good number.).
Second, prepare the victim!

Cut across just below the armpit part...

Like so.

Now, take your orange-handled scissors (you have some, I know it) and cut the hem off. Cut it right off!

(The hem being cruelly taken from its family, the shirt)

Here we see the first cut into the t-shirt. Cut at an angle or slope (think on-ramps on the highway) and continue cutting around the shirt in a spiral. Around and around and around. This will take a while. Wine is helpful. So is Sex and the City.

Here are the strips, joined together in holy stitchimony. Join with a square knot and a kiss, and crochet away!

Basic Pattern
ch however wide or long you want your bathmat to be.
sc in ea ch across until the bathmat is as long or wide as you want it to be.
weave in ends.
sip wine while in bathtub; let feet enjoy cozy cotton when you're done!

Prizes for all who complete an actual bathmat and send me photos. Be sure and ask for Carl.

Other Random Trivia Round!
Congratulations, you've made it to the Babblings lighting round! Here I'll discuss nothing of particular value, and you get the chance to tell me how valueless it is! Everyone wins!

1. Pekin Insurance (Beloved's carrier) just now started covering the Pill. Just now. Late 2005. Wankers. But what can you expect from a company based in a small rural (that's rural spelled "c-o-n-s-e-r-v-a-t-i-v-e") town whose high school mascot was, until the late 1960s (and possibly the early 1970s), the Pekin Chinks. (I am only using this word to illustrate the dumb-ass nature of the past. You will never see this word here EVER again).

2. I always forget how hard it is to teach beginner crochet when the students come in expecting to leave that very night with a sweater.

3. Bedazzling seems to be back, but only if you pay sixty bucks to let someone else do it. On a related note, pants for women seem to come in either Too Tired to Care (elastic waistband) or Whore (1.5-inch zipper, top-of-thong-showing low riders). Both come Bedazzled.

4. I just saw my friend Elasa. She is charming and funny and happy and smart and sweet. She might join us for Sit-n-Stitch (I told the Internets! You have to do it now!) Hahahah!

5. I finally got in touch with my Navy friend. He wrote a one-sentence response, the bastard.

You made it to the end! Now you get to spin the wheel of fish!
Prizes for this round can be found in the comments section of the show. Be sure and ask for Carl.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This is not High Drama

But it you can see it from here. Here's why:

(1) My crochet class starts tonight. Am I ready? I haven't got the handouts printed up, I don't know where the teaching hooks are, I think the teaching stash is on the third floor of the Library (hopefully un-invaded by dust), and I've got people calling asking what they need to bring when they aren't even on my class list! No m'dear, you can't just show up! Much as I would love to teach the world to crochet in perfect harmony, I can't handle the entire population of DeKalb all at once. I'm not sure I can even handle 10 students all by myself tonight.

(2) My Beloved informed me that he wants to change our reception location now, 9 months before the wedding. We find ourselves back at square one--finding a new ceremony site, finding a new reception blah blah meh. I nearly had a freak-out in the shower this morning (where I do most of my heavy thinking) trying to figure out (a) if our deposit on Site #1 is refundable (doubtful) and (b) what the bridesmaids are going to wear and (c) all the other details that make up a wedding, which at 8:30 are so very, very important.

My advice to all not-yet-marrieds: Elope. You still get presents if you throw a party afterward.

(3) I can't get in touch with my friend in the Navy. He's on a ship, the ship is on its way or already in South America, and I can't email him. He gave me his shipboard email, and what I send keeps getting sent back. I may have written down the email address wrong, or maybe it won't work while they're underway (although he left 3 weeks ago... how long does it take a big ol' Navy ship to get to South America?).

I normally wouldn't freak out so much (yes I would--who am I kidding), but I had a dream the other night in which I saved my friend from War. Yes, I saved him from War. Not a specific war, but War in general. The concept of war, the idea of war... but in my dream there were swordfights and archers and soldiers dressed in jester costumes. Does that still count?

To balance out the tizzy I'm having, here are some good things. Pictures of Sit-n-Stitch, only a week late:

Anna, really embracing the first part of our name. We visited The House cafe on open mic night. We enjoyed most of the acts, but we didn't enjoy the smoke. Next meeting at my house.

Here's Wendy's doily, the one she was working on last time. It is complete and completely lovely. The woman has magic hands.

And Julia, working on an afghan (I won't say for whom, because apparently her family reads this blog. Hello, Julia's family!).

This is what I worked on all night (and into the next week, and am still working on): a new bathmat. That is a Q hook you see before you (and my feet, if you look carefully), and the tamed remnants of old T-shirts. Yes, T-shirts. If ever you want a shoulder workout for very little money, crochet T-shirt scraps together. A close-up:

Why am I making a new bathmat, you may ask (I'll pretend you did)? Because our old one looks like this:

I'm ashamed! I'm a poor housekeeper! I've had the bathmat too long (3 1/2 years!) and now it's horrible. That's why I'm making a new bathmat. I'm making one, instead of purchasing one, because I really really like cotton under my feet instead of commercial bathmats of uncertain fiber content. And because my grandmother and great-grandmothers made rugs and other useful things from old clothing and it's nice to feel that I'm doing something (however small) that they did.

The walnut tree on the corner of my street says hello

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Little Homesick

A photo essay about missing my parents' house (and envying the crap out of their new deck).

(This is 1/4 of the front yard. See the tiny brown smudge at the top of the picture? That's where my parents live. I live in a 2-br apartment in the middle of concrete, with trains running two blocks away every 20 minutes. You understand my longing.)

(The backyard, where camp-outs and easter-egg hunts have taken place. Again, only about 1/4 of it. The barn used to house sheep--sadly, before I developed my fiber addiction--a horse, a wonderful golden retriever, barn swallows, and various woodchucks who met an early death after innocently poking their heads out from under the barn at the exact moment when my Dad was looking out the back door. Timing is everything in life.)

(The new deck, which I covet. The old deck was lovely, but this one has an octagon--charmingly suggested by my Uncle David, much to the delight of my mother and the chagrin of my father.)

(Taken just beyond the front door.)

(Taken from the octagon (I so want to host UFC events now, in our their octagon)... the seating at the far end is just outside my parents' bedroom.)

And--I can't boast enough about this--the whole deck was designed and built by my very own Dad. He had help building it (and Uncle David did suggest the octagon), but he designed it and made it the thing of beauty that it is. My Dad. My Dad. He's the very best. I love him tons and tons.

All this happened on Saturday, when I went home for half a day (I only live about an hour from my parents). Also happening that day were: apple orchard trip and The Finding Of The Perfect Wedding Dress. More on that later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Swag and The Aftermath

Ah, yarn. ::gleeful bouncing about my home now ensues::


And this...

And this

And much, much more all came from my friend Emily. Her mom works at Village of Progress, a vocational training center for handicapped adults. Yarn companies from all over the country send yarn samples to VOP for color-card making. And they don't want the yarn back! I've been getting lots of yarn from Emily's mom and using it mostly in my classes and in other projects. But about 2 weeks ago the VOP had a gigantic 3-day long yarn sale. One Dollar A Pound, ladies and gentlemen. And it's not just stuff that you'd expect to see in a dollar-a-pound sale, it's mohair (witness the bottom-most picture), it's wool with silk or alpaca and mohair (witness the orange-y ball in the middle-most picture), and it's all kinds. I couldn't go myself, so Emily went and returned with two enormous garbage bags full of yarny goodness for me (and for Heather, as it turns out; I gave her about a third of the total swag). (And it's extra exciting (or not, depending how you look at it) because none of the yarn has a label. I have no idea exactly what it is, or how best to care for it. The mystery makes it more thrilling.)

This caused a massive reorganization of the stash. I took all the wool and crammed it into an under-bed storage box (Tupperware, I think) using a bungee cord (finally, a practical use for that thing!); I rearranged the drawers in my yarn bureau (I know, who the heck says "bureau" anymore?); I kind of organized the baskets sitting on top of the yarn bureau, and I looked askance at the bags of projects loitering around the yarn bureau. I kind of stuffed them in between the DVD case and the bureau (now I'm just using "bureau" gratuitously. I'm trying to bring it back. I have high hopes.) and told them that they should probably think about finishing themselves if they ever wanted to see the light of day again.

And I did all this sorting and reorganizing and integrating before Nick came home from work. (Don't worry that I'm hiding my yarn addiction from my beloved. He's a neat freak very organized guy, and I want to maintain some cohabitational harmony in these first few months. After that, it's a crapshoot.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sleater-Kinney Rocks Hardcore, And I am Old

I completely loved seeing Sleater-Kinney live. Loved.

This picture fails utterly to capture the awesomeness. Ah well.

The opening band (The Ponys) was pretty darn cool. The Metro was cool, the lack of locking doors on the bathroom stalls was not cool. But Sleater-Kinney was the coolest. This guy thought so:

I completely fell in love with Sleater-Kinney again (and specifically with seeing them live), especially after hearing them cover "Fortunate Son" and rock the shit out of it. Hearing their own stuff rocked like dirtbikes as well ("Fortunate Son" was an unexpected and delightful bonus).

I have to admit (and here is the part wherein I discover that I am an old lady): the between-bands downtime (and only then! The rest of the show ruled!) got a little tedious when I kept getting squished away from my friends, and the very tall dude behind me breathed directly down my neck, and I was beginning to lose feeling in my legs, when I thought, "Jeez, I'd so much rather be home knitting right now."

Someone get me a cane and whippersnappers to shake it at. I've hit senility.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Very Harlot Saturday

Alright, I'm finally able to talk about last Saturday. Not only was it the day that Nick passed the bar (still in total puppy-wiggle mode over that one), but it was also the day of Yarny Goodness.

I took my friend, co-worker, and knitting instigator Donna with me to Arcadia Knits in Chicago. From the get-go it was a lovely time, driving with very little traffic (I didn't have the intestinal fortitude to take blog pictures while driving), then driving with lots of traffic down Lawrence Avenue, but we got there in plenty of time (a first for me!) and we saw this:

The whole store was set up in rainbow colors (you smart Arcadia Knitting cookies, you!). It was great. I walked in and I immediately saw red yarn, orange yarn, yellow yarn... I was completely in yarn-induced bliss. It was great.

What was even better was seeing/hearing Stephanie speak. (This was my first author reading/signing/thing, and I have liked this woman from afar and I was so excited that I'm amazed I didn't pee my pants. I'm such a dweeb.) After being assured that she would mock me just a little for being a crocheter, I brought crochet projects to work on during her talk, but was having too much fun to stitch. Nice power--the power to stop and start others stitching just by speaking!

There I am with The Harlot. Proof of my very awesome adventure in Chicago involving scatterbrained driving, geeking out on yarn, and meeting some very excellent people.

That is so close to being a Hallmark card. Does Hallmark make yarny cards? For sympathy when your favorite yarn is discontinued, or for congratulations on finishing that afghan you've spent 3 years of your life working up, or for "just thinking of you" including a set of 5 dpns? I think they're missing a huge market.

Anydarnhow, I had an absolutely fantastic day (thanks, Donna!) and received lots of advice on how to integrate my fiance into my yarntastic crafty life. Pictures of the swag tomorrow.

(tonight is Sleater-Kinney Night at the Metro!)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This is Insane Troll Logic

I have about a hundred things to talk about, but this came up and I have to talk about it first.

This is a link to a story about Indiana legislation (make sure to click on the link to the pdf of the actual amendments to the actual laws. Pay attention to pages 5 and 6). This Indiana legistlation is trying to make it so that those people trying to conceive a child outside of the usual way (meaning, they have to undergo various fertility treatments: IVF, artificial insemination, surrogacy, etc) must be married. People who want to bear children (or enter into an agreement in which another woman carries and bears the child for the intended parents), must be married. They can't be long-term-relationship-commitment heterosexuals, they can't be single women, and they sure as heck can't be gay.

Is that goose-stepping I hear? I'm serious. I hear it.

They're trying to make it sound like this is okay, that doing a background check and application process is normal in adoption situations so clearly it applies to assisted reproduction. That this is for the better well-being of the children. That it's okay to restrict parenthood only to those women and men who are in a state- and church-sanctioned marriage. Ugh, this makes me want to vomit all over the place. Here is the Indiana state senator who is backing this bill. She has two phone numbers. Use them as you see fit.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Insomnia, situational

I hate the crap out of this weather. It's October 3rd (or it was for most of the time I was awake today... or yesterday... time is weird), and it hit bloody 88 degrees today. With mind-melting humidity on the side. Same tomorrow (Tuesday), then 77-ish Wednesday, and 55 on Thursday. Thanks, Weathergods!

I have apparently angered the Weathergods in some way (surely not with my sarcasm!)--I got a lovely migraine that started Sunday night and lasted most of Monday. Brilliant. This is part of the reason I'm blogging at 1am Tuesday. The only medication that kicks the crap out of my migraines is one that has caffeine in it. I rarely otherwise consume caffeine, which is why I was lying in bed thinking of 8 million things that need doing: crochet and knit projects for Christmas gifts ("I could be working on them right now!"), updating my Christmas list with new needles and hooks, bills, books to be read, and getting some damned sleep because I have to be up at 6:30 to run with Lara and Emily. And of course, sleep never happens when you need it to.

So here I am, considering more drugs (the sleepy kind), but only theoretically. I'm trying to get the ol' corpus working on its own. Hence the running. In 5.5 hours. Dammit.

Ever notice how the most deep-down and heartachey thoughts come about when you can't sleep? I was just thinking of my total lack of self-confidence (and individuality) in my early high school years. Very uncomfortable stuff. I wish I could go back in time and kick my own arse for being so stupid. I wish I had been a better person to everyone. I wish I could stop thinking these thoughts and get to sleep.

Alright. I just decided not to go running, and instead get some sleep. I feel slightly better. Will feel even more better (you see the state of my mind here?) if I can actually fall asleep. Sleepy sleep sleep. Change one letter and it's sheepy sheep sheep. Then, following the natural course of my melted brain: sheep>wool>knitting>christmas gifts>lack of time>worry>insomnia. My mangled mind conspires to further freak itself out. Well done! And with accompanying nausea! Terriffic!

The sarcasm content is a little high tonight.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

With Flying Colors

This man that I love, he is wonderful. He cooks, he cleans, he is learning to accept the yarn stash. And yesterday we found out that he is amazing at something else:

He passed the Bar Exam!

(wild applause and much dancing around the house in a gleeful manner)

After waiting 2 1/2 months to get the results, they were posted yesterday. He passed, he passed, he passed!!


I love this man.