Thursday, December 29, 2005

Defying the Laws of Physics and Women's Wear Daily

Among my Christmas haul this year were many gift cards to such places as Old Navy and Target, which normally I shun but now I have requested in order to help me rebuild my wardrobe (currently: 2 pr shoes that I wear to work, both have holes in them; 4 pr pants that I wear to work, one pair is verging on too casual and one pair has holes). As you can see, I need an urgent clothing infusion or I may end up at work barefoot and naked. And that's not the way one wants to present oneself in a public library.

A little backstory.

I'm not good with clothes shopping for myself (yarn shopping is, of course, never a problem. It all fits). I look, I see too much trendy crap, I stop looking and go home. I'm not a trendy girl, so most of what's on the racks make me feel confused (I thought that bedazzling one's jeans was so over. Why has it come back? How do I make it go away again?) or angry (This is why American women have body image issues, you bastards, because these stupid jeans called "hip huggers" only look good on women with no hips!) and then I don't want to spend my money on anything and I return home to the same sad clothes and think, "Well, these aren't so bad... I can get along with just these." (It took me six months of shopping to find a wedding dress that wasn't too beady, too poofy, to frilly, too expensive, too awkward, too binding, or too freakish. I ended up with the most stripped-down dress it is possible to have and still look like a bride.)

So, it was time to expand the wardrobe to include items that (a) were new and (b) fit me. I went out on Wednesday night after work to run my gift cards into the ground. I went to Old Navy first and --hells yes!-- they were having a sale. I grabbed 12 (twelve!) pairs of women's pants in two different sizes and headed to the dressing room. Of the eight pairs of jeans I tried on, a whopping NONE fit me, and of the four pairs of dress/casual pants ONE pair fit me. Yes, I went into the fitting room with TWELVE pairs of pants and came out with ONE. I almost cried. Why didn't these women's pants fit me? What makes it impossible for PANTS DESIGNED FOR WOMEN to fit me?

Answer: my womanly figure. Yes, I am an average(?)-sized woman (complete with the hips for the child-bearing) and I cannot wear most jeans that are supposedly created so that they will do nothing else other than fit and possibly enhance the female form. Even if they are in my size. The problem is, once the pants are ample enough to fit over the hips for the child-bearing, they are freaking enormous in the waist and there is no belt on the face of the earth that can make that gap go away. (You know what I'm talking about, right? The gap between your jeans and the small of your back that--no matter what you do to thwart it--always shows off your undies when you bend over or sit up straight.)

At this point I'm thinking screw it. I got one pair of pants, and Oooh, here's a pretty top (that I don't need, but am buying to mitigate the sense of failure)... when I wander over to the men's department and see they're selling extra-loose jeans (appealing! why don't they have these in the women's section??!). I grab two sizes and head to the dressing room, where I learned an interesting (though "bizarre" is not inappropriate here) lesson:

Men's jeans fit my womanly curves better than the women's jeans.

I give up.

(but I don't have to go pants shopping for another year at least!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Little Change of Scene

Things are a bit different around here, as you may already have noticed. I've been out of things today and whee! my blog suddenly (not to say impulsively) has a new look. I'm not sure if I completely dig the new banner, but I like the look of the main page more than the old one.

I had a pretty alright Christmas. I'll go into more detail later, but: Nick's cousin had a baby on December 1st, so I got to hold a 3-week old baby girl on Saturday.

Bliss!

(I hope everyone else had a rockin' good time and got their stockings filled with goodness and cheer.)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hey Look, it's the Twenty-second!

And why am I sitting here typing?

I'm really not. I'm just saying hello. And that I've decided to add two kitchen sets (potholders, dishcloths) to the list. Why? I think it's best we don't ask too many questions of the crazy lady with the needles, hmm?

Here is another wintery-wonderlandy picture, as I am not posting pictures of my projects for another, oh, three days.



(This was taken in the Reference Room of the Library.)

Merry Stitching!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Yarn Gods Spoke to Me

And they mostly said, "Okay, that was your one freebie. Mock us again and you'll get the exploding wires inside your house. Now go make stuff."

I started the Lloyd Scarf on Wednesday night, just like a good little knitter (I'm going with knit instead of crochet because Lloyd likes the look [...snerk, I'm sorry, that started to get a little silly with the alliteration] of a knitted rib pattern, although Pica is right--crochet is by far the fastest). Of course, I have no pictures because I'm busy knitting the dern thing (maybe tomorrow. or not.). It's going well, and it will be done on time. I know it will, because it has to be.

In the spirit of getting my shit together (because there are 4 days left, people. Four freaking days!), I started making a list last night of the Christmas gifts we're giving to our family this year:
  • My Mom -- Clapotis in Malabrigo 100% Merino (still a soft and loving but totally impractical triangle of doom. No hope of being done for Christmas. I'm buying her something else. I think this shows remarkable maturity on my part. Or a total lack of discipline in not being able to get it done. Either way, I don't have to think about it for 3 weeks.)
  • My Libraryschool-student Sister -- chenille scarf (done!)
  • My Nursingschool-student Sister -- Whatever it is, it will also include her Seven Brides for Seven Brothers DVD, and (and this is where my heart just burst with happiness and left pieces of happy bits all over my insides) I get to teach her how to knit!!! She asked me to teach her on Christmas Day, and I'm just freaking out with joy. I thought about buying her fabulous beginner yarn and fabulous needles, but she's not sure she's going to like it (I think she will!) so she didn't want me to buy her the stuff. But maybe I will later. Like, after she totally falls in love with it. Mmm, yes.
  • Lloyd (nursingschool-student sister's boyfriend) -- the Lloyd Scarf (which, fortunately, I can keep knitting until Christmas Day afternoon! Woohoo!)
  • My Dad -- possibly a Brian Wilson CD. Possibly something else altogether. Nothing yarny.
  • Other member of my "family" who reads this blog -- I'm totally not telling. But it's not all the way finished (85% so far).
  • My friend who took me to the ballet -- the scarf from last post, which I showed to her with the explanation that no, it won't be done for Christmas, but thank you for taking me to the ballet. She likes it.
And then I started thinking about the Beloved's family. And that's when I wondered if the Yarn Gods were just joking when they said I got a freebie.
  • His Mom -- ??!!!
  • His Brother -- ??!!!
  • His Sister-in-law -- ??!!!
  • His Dad -- ??!!!
  • His Stepmother -- ??!!!

But then I thought of my workbasket (okay, one of my workbaskets. I have four. Don't even ask how many workbags I have.), and how I made a bunch of scarves that I was going to sell (never got around to that) and that I kept them! They are still in my house! Now I have some options! Fortunately, he was thinking about gifts too, and we have everyone taken care of now. I can't go into further detail because my soon-to-be SIL reads the blog (Hi Wanda!) and it would be lame to kill the surprise.

Now that I'm all organized I have to go make stuff, as bidden by the Yarn Gods. (only one more day of work--today--and then I have 6 days off! I have time to knit and crochet, and I don't have to worry about getting caught at my desk!)

And here is another wintery picture full of cheer. (I'm very into trees, these days)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Bold "Neener neener" to the Yarn Gods

I'm throwing caution to the wind.



I started another scarf last night. (Yes, last night--when I should have been working on the Lloyd Scarf. What? Like you've never done procrastination knitting. Don't judge.) I justify this bout of start-itis by reminding myself that I have finished the scarf for Laura (chenille, I need futz with you no longer!! Huzzah!), and that I have all this time left. So much time! And I've been meaning to make something for this friend for a year and have failed thus far. This friend has invited me to see the Joffrey Ballet do The Nutcracker on Saturday. I have deluded myself into thinking hope that the scarf will be done on Saturday. If not, it will be lovely train knitting.


(as you can see, I have mastered the heck out of seed stitch)

Funny thing about this scarf... I went home today on my lunch hour to knit (eating was an afterthought) and while I was taking up my needles I heard a huge explosion outside my building. Knocked out the power, mostly (I didn't know that one could get only one-third of one's normal electricity supply--I thought it was all or nothing), and freaked me out. After a bit the girl down the hall pointed out a flaming bit of electrical wire. Yes, the cable leading to our building (that connects to the corner of the building that holds my bedroom) was on fire (but the bit on fire was at least 25 yards from my building. At least.).

The explosion was the transformer freaking out. Nothing at all supernatural about that. Nope, everything nice and scientifically explained here. Absolutely no connection between my desire to knit and the big ol' electrical kerfuffle. None at all.

I'm starting the Lloyd Scarf as soon as I get home from work.


"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, [she'd] be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are bastards'." --Terrry Pratchett

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh, I Love My Sister

Everything was going so well on Thursday.

I had the day off, I slept in till 10:30 (no kids! no pets!), I knit like a crazy woman on the scarf for Libraryschool-Student sister (I discovered that when knit on size 13 needles, chenille cooperates rather nicely). I noticed the snow (lots!) and rejoiced in my enforced stay-homeyness. I shoveled (twice), and I made tasty dinner for the Beloved and myself. Huzzah, Thursday was a success.

Then came Friday.

After work I came home and picked things up (we had friends coming over), then sat down to knit on the chenille scarf for Libraryschool-Student sister. Then I get a call from Nursing-Student sister. Chit-chat, blah blah, do you have my Seven Brides for Seven Brothers DVD? (don't laugh... every group of siblings has its own quirk) What do you want for Christmas? Do you want me to make something for you (please say no, or at least say "Oh yes, a hat!" or "One mitten would be lovely!")? Then she says, "Did you find yarn for the scarf for Lloyd?" (her boyfriend, a lovely and charming guy, for whom apparently I was supposed to be making a scarf). Um, what?

Turns out he had admired a scarf I was knitting (the 4x4 rib scarf) (I remember him admiring it. Like I'm going to forget that) and said he wanted one in camoflage colors. I THOUGHT HE WAS JOKING. Lloyd is a jokey kind of guy. I didn't think he was serious. Now I'm supposed to find yarn, find a pattern, and whip up a scarf for him in two weeks?! TWO WEEKS!

All this is running through my head while I'm trying to get the whole story from Nursing-Student sister (maybe he didn't really want one, maybe he was just joking, maybe she made the whole thing up) and running to my stash to find yarn for the scarf (because I know I have some bulky-weight Wool-Ease in manly colors somewhere). I got her off the phone, cursed my stupidity for not starting an "extra" scarf for those "just in case" giftings, and rummaged through the bag of Wool-Ease. Huzzah! I have found 2 balls of "Walnut" and 1 of "Bay Harbor" -- the scarf is possible!

I spent a good part of friends-over-for-drinks time last night trying to suss out a pattern that would look decent on the bulky-weight yarn (much harder than I thought, possibly due to the "drinks" part of the night), finally abandoning it after the 2nd beer thinking that there are more important things in life. Like friends. And Mad-Libs. And Jameson whiskey. And we all know where that thinking gets us... not very freakin' far on the Christmas knitting! (I'm good at self-guilt).

I was going to sort the situation out tonight, but the snow is falling like bra straps after a senior prom and I'm not sure we're going to make it up to my hometown. Ah well. More knitting time!



Your gratuitous Christmassy picture of the day:


(it's Humpty Dumpty as Old Man Winter, outside the Library)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Only the Second Circle?

Just in case you were wondering what level of hell you might expect to inhabit (if you believe in that sort of thing), I present you with The Dante's Inferno Test. And my score.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:


LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High



Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

Hmmm... not a bad place to be, really. Apparently Cleopatra and Helen of Troy share my fate. It's rather disturbing to see that I scored "High" on violence, pandering and treachery. Because I don't pander. (Except when it comes to yarn and yarn-related things. I'm a yarn pimp.)

In which level of hell do knitters & crocheters who can't finish their Christmas projects find themselves? (2.5 weeks left! Holy Crap! Is that swearing? Does that put me in another circle of hell?)

This charming piece of time-wastey-ness comes from my library-school-student Laura (who should have her own blog, don't you think?)

Monday, December 05, 2005

If I Ran the World...

Every woman would be given a change-the-traffic-light-to-green button so that when she comes out of Borders at 10:30pm in sub-zero weather and her bladder suddenly contracts and starts threatening to expel its contents in a highly un-ladylike manner, she can get home without having to pause at Every Single Stoplight which causes her to concentrate on her bladder, making the problem even worse.


(you may notice that my name at the bottom of the post has changed. It's still me. I don't have a catchy handle [nickname, if you didn't experience the CB era] [I didn't really. I just absorbed my parents' lingo], and wanted to make myself a little more standoutish [I was going to make a really lame joke about Miles Standish and name changes in America, but it was only funny to me, and only because I'm rather jacked on caffeine just now]. That is the story of my name change. Wow, I babble a helluva lot when I'm jacked on caffeine [is that how you spell it? Do you think I can possibly stop typing? Maybe I'll just babble all night and make this the longest aside-post ever. Ever!] Now I'm done.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Freak-Out Time

... everywhere you go!

I've been Miss Busy lately, what with all the Thanksgiving rigmarole, the visits to Mom&Dad's house to cut down trees (insert "The Lumberjack Song" here), the everything else. I barely even noticed that it was FREAKING DECEMBER this morning when I typed my last post. Granted, that was before I looked out my window and saw the 8,000 inches of snow (I'm measuring horizontally here... it really only got to be 3 inches? Maybe?) and had to go shovel. That'll bring you nose-to-nose with Reality (which, for me, inevitably ends with me getting Reality's vicious uppercut).

So color me gobsmacked when I realized that I have only 24 days of stitching time left. No, wait. Twenty-three. Today doesn't count because I squandered my precious time (I took some time off the early part of my work day) in useless sleep. C'mon, girl, you don't need sleep. Anna apparently doesn't need sleep (Oh, and Anna? Sorry about Heather and I hijacking your blog there). Anna is rocking the house when it comes to FOs, and I have only this to show:



Not sure what it is? To be honest, I'm not certain either. So far it's a triangle of doom, frustrating the living snot out of me (ewww... gross!). Eventually it will be Clapotis, both the reason for and bane of my existence. This is the blue Malabrigo 100% Merino that I mentioned a while back. I've been working on it in secret (and, yes, ripping it back and cursing its name and throwing it in a dark corner while I wept over my inability to stitch both quickly and accurately--there was a stitch marker incident which I will not discuss here). If you look closely at the picture, you may notice my high school class ring on the right, finally finding its purpose in life (because it certainly did me no good while actually in high school).

Speaking of rings (and of distracting you from the fact that I lack adequate stitchy accomplishments), I ordered Nick's wedding ring today. It is the most beautiful ring I've ever beheld, and he's going to wear it in 8 months. (Holy hell, eight months!) It's sterling silver (he picked it! He's wonderful!) with a thin band of gold running through the center of the band, so it looks like two silver rings squishing a tiny gold ring. It's beautiful. I'm so very very excited!

Did you forget that I haven't been stitching? Neither did I. Crap. Well, I get to leave work early tomorrow which means I'm heading to the yarn store to buy some Lion Chenille Thick & Quick for Laura's scarf. She gave me some worsted weight chenille, but it has entangled itself and refuses to be worked. I've even sent it to the corner in the hopes that it will want so badly to become a scarf that it will unsnarl itself and beg for forgiveness. No dice. Now that there are only 23 damn days of stitchy worktime left, I gotta use all the tricks I can to prevent further unnecessary freakouts. (Ha! Haha! Silly girl. There's nothing you can do to stop them!)

Bonus Lesson Learned: I found out how to purl f&b from the Clapotis. I don't really think it's worth knowing, as I have to wrestle the damn thing to the ground and beat it senseless every time I get to the dreaded "pfb" part of the pattern.

Thanksgiving and the Aftermath

First of all, I didn't get drunk on the cooking wine this year, but there are still pictures. Not as many, and not as inappropriate as there would have been with the wine, but still.

Thursday morning the Beloved and I cooked a vegan risotto and a vegan version of broccoli & mushrooms florentine, to take to his aunt's house that afternoon. Now, the vegan risotto is a lovely dish and a favorite at Chez Hook despite its labor-intensive production (for those unlucky enough to be unfamiliar with risotto, it involves all of the stirring. All. The. Stirring.). The florentine, however, was a new dish. We arrived at Auntie Potty-Mouth's house (it's the name she gave herself, due to the blue streak that wraps twice around the house whenever she's awake), cheerfully bearing food and thankfulness and goodwill. We visited, we chatted, we sat down to eat. We vegans loaded our plates with the risotto and the florentine, and the salad, and just as I was thinking, "my, what a good job we did with the food," the Beloved proclaims the florentine to be horrible. Out loud. And encourages others to scrape it off their plates and into oblivion.

Now, making the florentine was his idea and mostly his domain that morning. I didn't have much to do with it, so I wasn't reduced to tears when he made his proclamation. I didn't think it was bad, and everyone else said it wasn't bad, but we do have a heck of a lot left over, and it's not exactly a hot commodity here. Lesson learned: don't bring a recipe you've never made before to Thanksgiving dinner.

We did have the most amazing pie, thanks to the other Aunt. She bakes and bakes and is fabulous, and makes truly lovely cherry pie with vegan crust. Hooray!

That night we went to my Mom's house where we found all of her side of the family (6 brothers and sisters, and all my cousins, and their children) and (treacherous woman!) more dessert. I hadn't seen some of these relatives in a hundred years, and it was a bit insane (the Beloved kind of hid round the corner from the main action).

On Friday we got ready for Saturday (The Day of the Keyes!). We chopped, washed, rearranged, boiled, thawed, and baked. We were champions of Thanksgiving preparation! We also got some of Grandma's jewelry and sterling appraised, and I made my sole purchase on Black Friday. I know! I didn't want to buy anything, but we were in this locally-owned gem shop in my tiny hometown and they had The Perfect Gift for someone at a price which caused me to say, "My Goodness, This Is Fantastic! I Cannot Pass This Up!" (seriously, I spoke in capitals). I felt horrid for purchasing anything on that Day of Evil Commercial Madness, but felt comforted because the shop was local, the owners were local, the price was amazing, and it was indeed The Perfect Gift. See how I justify? Isn't that an excellent example thereof? Yes, yes it is. Oooh, watch how I distract you with pictures of tasty goodness!



The baguette that ate my brain. I forgot that there are eight million risings and proofings that go into making this damn bread, and started it at 9:30pm. Why didn't I just make pain ordinaire? Because I am an overachieving perfectionist freak, that's why. And please don't make fun of the misshapen loaf on the right. It's not his fault he's ugly.



This is one of my favorite parts of the holidays: the PieBlob. Somehow, Mom invariably fills one of the pie crusts just to the edge and the filling goes everywhere. It's still damn tasty, but we just turn that side of it to the wall.

Saturday is kind of blurry to me. I was cooking and baking (yes! more bread!) and for the first time, ate my dinner cold. Now I know what Mom's been going through all these years that she's hosted. We had 23 people, and it was kind of a madhouse. Kind of. No, it was a total madhouse. I was lucky enough to sit next to the cousins I like the most, and who appreciated my now-famous potato bread (no pictures--I was frantically running from table to kitchen to check on the bread baking).

And this is my all-time favorite thing to see on a Thanksgiving:



In our family, the men wash the dishes after the meal. We had more participants than just these (my uncles and cousins and various boyfriends of cousins), but this is my favorite picture because here you can see (L-R) Nick, Lloyd (nursing-student-sister's boyfriend; he's a wonderful guy), and My Dad. Nick is blurry because he's Mister Efficient Action Man!!

That was my Thanksgiving: tasty food, family insanity, and being home. Yay!