Wednesday, May 31, 2006

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Wednesday

1. Have the server that holds the circulation module for all the libraries (20+) in your system come crashing down sometime over the weekend. Do not attempt to solve this problem or even notify affected libraries until Tuesday morning.

2. As a library patron, refuse to believe that anything is wrong and take it out on the library staff. Because we only live to annoy. Alternately, call to ask what is wrong with your record and spend the next five minutes telling me that you won't keep me, that you know I'm very busy, and that you will check your record tomorrow. Repeat at least three times.

3. When you find and fix a problem with the ancient AC system in the library on Tuesday night (a problem due to which the AC has been turned off), neglect to turn the AC back on so that library staff are overheated and sweaty as they try to catch up with the backlog of books when the server comes up. Extra bonus points if the books start to mold.

4. As my co-worker, tell me "I'm not officially here" when I try to tell you, 2 minutes before your shift begins, what is going on with the giant mess at the circulation desk when I am trying to leave for my lunch break.

5. Ask me how my wedding plans are going. Beware the rusty knives I throw in your direction as I run screaming away from you.

6. Be sure to leave me the car with the least gas. Extra bonus points if the "low fuel" light comes on.

7. Skip your normal workout session because you have left all your wedding invitation putting-together-stuff till the very last minute. Grumble because you think your dress won't fit or that your arms will still have that tricep jiggle. Stop grumbling because really, this is your own fault. Remember that you are crocheting a shawl for your wedding day and it will hide a multitude of sins. Rejoice.

Edited to add:

8. Check out a book from us. Allow your cat to urinate all over it. Decide not to confess your blatant irresponsibility and own up to the fact; instead, cover the offending odor with equally offensive perfume. Hope we don't notice.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Penelope's got nothing on me

I don't know where I got the idea to make my own wedding shawl. It was probably based in a mad delusion in which I am better at both knitting and time management. I was thinking romantic thoughts involving the words "heirloom" and "fond memories" and imagining a stunning shawl that would make people who know me only as the tomboy anti-domestic-arts girl say "You made this? You made this??" So I suppose it's all one big ego-stroking exercise, when you get down to it. But really, is that so wrong?

In the process of creating "fond memories" and an "heirloom," there have been many many incarnations of the wedding shawl.

First it was this knit pattern, then it wasn't.

The demise of the knit... it was taking too long. Plus, knitted lace? A big step up from where I stand now, which is in the kiddie pool of knitting.

Then it was this crochet pattern,

and then it wasn't.

I didn't like the solid look anymore. Because I am fickle and also a masochist?

And then it was going to be a crocheted wedding-ring edging (kind of like this edging, but less red and green) on a piece of store-bought fabric... and then it wasn't, because for the love of yarn, I've been crocheting for 3 years now and I have taught people how to crochet and I can DO THIS, darnit! I can make my own wedding shawl and it will be awesome!

I had checked out A Gathering of Lace from the library, and was drooling over the circular shawls in there (Feather & Fan Shawl is my life's ambition at the moment) and shazam! I saw before me a crocheted circular shawl. I picked up my hook and my yarn. I had no idea what I was doing--no pattern, just an idea. I've never designed before, but I started making a solid circle in double crochet stitch. It got pretty big and I got pretty excited.

(Do you know that kind of creative excitement? When you see the end result in your head and your breathing comes up a little short? I used to get it all the time when I wrote craptacular poetry in highschool, when an idea would hit me and I realized it was the perfect way to express my angst and inner turmoil about my wildly over-dramatic and truly awful relationship with an emotional troll named Brian)

Anyway... back to the shawl. This is what happened after a day of "I wonder what it would look like if I do this."

I had no pattern or plan, just a day off work and an unlimited supply of patience and yarn. It was only after I had completed the 5th round that I noticed the star/sunburst thing in the center has 13 points. Oh no! Unlucky! And on my wedding day! Gasp! I considered ripping it back, but decided that would ask more of my sanity than I'm willing to give, here at nearly 60 days to my wedding (good god!). Then I named it the You Make Your Own Luck shawl, or I will when it's finished.

It's not very big still, and I had the whacked-out idea of making it into a rectangle (don't ask), but I'm working on it and trying to get inspiration from knitted circle shawls and crocheted doilies. I think the next round will be some combination of shells and net, but we'll see. I'm completely making this up as I go, and I have no idea of the current stitch count on that last round.

But it's mine and I'm really really proud of it and have high hopes for making snooty relatives' jaws drop in 61 days.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What The Hell?

There seems to have been a dearth of knitting/crochet content on this blog of late. (Of late? Dearth?) And it's because I've been sick with a minor cold, from which I have nearly recovered. There are still some residual brain-full-of-snot moments when I don't remember my name, much less what I'm knitting. I think I went 4 or 5 days without stitching there, and it was horrible.

But, I'm feeling better and last night I went to Borders to stitch with the SnB ladies. For a while it was just me and Sandi, and we had a surprisingly calm stitch-fest. She was working on a crocheted hat for her daughter (or she wasn't, if her daughter is reading this...) and swearing a lot. I was trying to untangle yarn for the wedding shawl and swearing a lot:

Good times.

I eventually renounced the glittery, mocking, knotted up yarn for the Tempting, which is coming along nicely stuck in the black hole of knitting (aside: If you google "black hole of knitting" a bunch of unrelated astronomy stuff comes up, but the Harlot gets the first two results. glee!). I've been knitting for eleventy-hundred years on that thing (minus the time I was sick, of course) and it's. still. the. same. Always with three inches left to go to finish the pattern. Always three! Why? Why three? Is there some mysterious connection between my orange ribbed sweater (a 2x2 rib) and the number three?? And if there is, am I going to find a hatch or a black rock at some point? And maybe a sexy Matthew Fox?

Right.. what? Sexy...? Right, the sweater. Well. Here is a picture of it, well and truly settled in the black hole, and not budging one little bit, the wretched thing:

Okay, that's where I was well before the cold hit, and that's where I remain, after 4 (? or maybe 3? Three!! ARGH!!) more days of good knitting. I picked it up last night after banishing the glittery wedding-shawl yarn to its bag and what do I find?

This! I found this on my knitting. What the hell is it? I HAVE NO IDEA. It happened when I was joining new yarn, and possibly also drinking the beer. I can't tell what is attatched to anything, or how that little float managed to exist (although when a sweater dwells in a black hole, all manner of weird things can happen to it, I suppose). I don't understand it. Fortunately it's on the inside of the sweater, and on a sleeve (I really don't know if it is fortunate, but I'm trying to make the best of things, alright?). When Heather came to SnB I showed it to her and she declared a need to tink back and correct it. Are you kidding? I don't even know what it is or how it got there! I'm not going to mess with it now. Plus, the black hole will only get worse and then I'll be trapped there forever and dammit, I just want the sweater to be done at this point.

Sigh. I'll look at it later today and see if it's horrible. If it's not horrible, though, I'm probably not going to fix it, as it's on the inside of the sleeve and doesn't appear to be pulling or pinching or any other annoying verb.

(And Thursday I'll tell you all about this:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

You Know You're On the Computer Too Much When...

... you read normal, everyday things on paper (like inter-office memos, ad copy, and books) and immediately think to click the link whenever you see things underlined.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Building good memories

The building up the street from my building is undergoing some constructions in its parking lot? sidewalk? I'm not sure what you'd call it. I've seen cars parked there, so I assume it is for parking. And of course I don't have a before picture to show you, only the in-progress

I walked by the newly-poured cement on my way home for lunch today, and the smell of construction took me back to being 5 or 6 years old, when my parents performed feats of remodelling on our tiny house. I don't remember what made them do it, except that they had two small-but-likely-to-get-bigger children at home, and about 2 months into the pre-construction & deliberation phase they realized that they would soon have three children.

Watching the house get bigger was so dang cool for a 5-6-7-8 year old (it was a long process). When my & my sister Laura's room got knocked out, we slept in the basement on couches (so very fun--like camping but with less outdoors), and the first night we did that I woke up and had to pee and forgot where the bathroom was and peed on the couch (so mortifying). When the new front door of the new part of the house was put in, we didn't have steps and instead had to walk up a plank to get inside (very pirate-y, which I loved). I also got to see how walls are made and how wiring is put in (which, in the case of this house and because we were saving money by hiring relatives with minimal wiring experience, provided amusement for many years afterwards). I probably annoyed the living hell out of the contractors: "What's this? What's it do? Why is it here? What's that? What's it do? What's that other thing? What's it do?"

I'm sure it was hard for my parents--living in 1/3 of a house, trying to make sure the kids don't fall down the new staircase that doesn't have a railing--but I had the best time ever. I had all kinds of new places to explore and hide in and make up stories about, and now the smell of cement reminds me of being small, and I love it.

I remember the torn-up muddy yard full of tire tracks, too. Just not as fondly.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

This is my Mom, and she is amazing.
She has three children and also another full-time job.
She went back to school not only for her Bachelor's degree, but also for her Master's degree. She started the BS when I was a junior in High School and took night classes, and worked, and made sure three kids got lunch and homework help when they needed it.
She knows how to pluck a chicken, can a winter's worth of food, and drive a circa-1966 tractor.
She can sew anydamnthing you ask her to (including the occasional "I'm A Flower In the School Play" costume). Witness the photo, in which she's holding a pattern she's never seen before and saying, "Oh yes, this is this and this is how that goes and it's very easy, Kathy, just try."

My Mom gave me my first lessons in healthy and natural eating (though at the time I thought it was a cruel joke--sorry, Mom).
My Mom is teaching me how to plan a huge party for 250+ guests, and how to be organized and not crazy while doing so.
My Mom taught me all the rules, and kept her cool when I decided to break almost all of them.
My Mom will tell me my birth story as often as I ask her to, and it never ceases to amaze me.
(My Mom bowled the best game of her life about 5 hours before going into labor with me -- that's my favorite part!)

Thanks for being amazing, Mom. I love you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Singing the Praises of Housewares

My sixteen-year-old self would hate my current self.

Maybe "hate" is too strong. Young Me would definitely look askance at Current Me. She'd probably point and laugh as well. And possibly poke fun.

For I now spend much of my time thinking about housewares and how much I love them.

This is my new wok. I love it, almost to the point of illegality. Should a woman love her cookware this much? My sixteen-year-old self says Absolutely Not You Insane Freak, Now Get Out There And Party Like A Rockstar. My current self says Are You Nuts? It's Calphalon, Fool! (But You're Right, I Should Party Like A Rockstar.)

At the shower last Saturday I (we) received lots of amazing goodies, including a pretty bamboo cutting board, kitchen towels, and a ceramic spoonrest (!!!!). Couldn't you just die! (There is no sarcasm here--because I really do love my new housewares--only self-mocking. I accept that I have a love for housewares, but I refuse to let myself get away with it.) (It's a subtle game I play.)

And we got these as well (Nick has already made them do headlocks and stuff):

Little Bride and Groom bears. They are sitting like that on our couch, holding hands. I'm going to die of schmaltzy cuteness, but in a good way (or maybe not a good way?). Oh, and see that fuzzy glowy halo around Ms Bride's feet? That's the wine residue on (or inside?) the lens. Just pretend like it's not there, mmkay? Thanks.

But this stuff... it's amazing.

It's Koigu sock yarn. In Very Kathy Colors, according to the Heather who gave me this treasure, and also a pattern called "Kathy's Socks." I love it. I love it. And I love that her boys made me cards with pictures of me knitting on them (completely their idea, I was told). Eldest Boy drew me knitting a scarf, and Youngest Boy drew me knitting a sock (something I've never done, but which he's seen his Mom-mom do many times). I love it. Love!

Does sock yarn count as housewares?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Smaller than a breadbox

Guess whose digital camera fits in a wine glass?

Yes, that would be mine. I found this out on Saturday night at my first-ever bridal shower. While Nick & I were taking really cute "we're in love and in a garden" pictures. While I was holding a half-full glass of wine.


Heather was helping us out by taking the pictures (and doing a damn fine job of it, by the way) and when she handed me my tiny-ass camera, I promptly slam-dunked it into my wine (it's a slippery rectangle--no place to grip at all) (and may I say that I wanted to buy the bigger camera with the grippy thing, but that I caved to my Beloved's desire for a tiny camera that will fit into a pocket and also A WINE GLASS).

So I'm standing there in complete shock, paralyzed by my idiocy, for what feels like 10 hours. Meanwhile, Nick grabs the camera and runs to the house, asking for paper towels. I slam the rest of my wine (now camera-flavored!) and follow, thinking about how much that camera cost and how pretty the pictures are that were on that memory card. As soon as we get to the house, our Lovely Hostess announces that it's time to open presents. Of course it is.

I ask her to delay the presents as our most expensive co-purchase lays dying (because at this point, more wine is coming out of it than I thought possible), and I hover as Nick works. Hovering always helps, right? Right. I finally had to go open presents, but Nick stayed on the porch, pressing wine out of the highly expensive digital camera that wasn't yet 6 months old. He came in later and sat next to me and when I asked about the camera he just shook his head and looked grim.

The camera was dead.

Or so we thought until the next morning (after drinking heavily to combat the gloom)! He turned it on just before leaving for Best Buy and the damn thing worked! Everything works! Everything still works! And our pictures were there! Holy hotdamn hell!

So I'm not out $$$, which is nice. I am going to buy my camera a good cleaning, though. And possibly its own velvet bed. Probably also a lifejacket. But no wine.

Pictures taken both before and after the dunking:

Ed.: This was all ready to post yesterday, but Blogger was playing a little game called "Let's Screw Everything Up And Drive Away Our Users." I was not having fun.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Wedding is 78 Days Away

I'm getting closer and closer to panic.

It's doing wonders for my wedding-related productivity: I have successfully talked both my Mom and my Mother-in-law-to-be into cutting people off the guest list (270-ish, down from 325--hooray!); I have ordered the invitations and they should be here on Tuesday (thank gods for the internet and its bounty); I have scheduled a second appointment with my hair stylist for another go at the... um, hair style; I have begun an exercise regimen that is completely kicking my ass.

I joined the local YMCA (even though I am neither a Young Man nor a Christian) and have this crazy dream that if I go 3 times a week I'll be svelte and toned and able to dance all night at my wedding. Right now (day 4) I would feel lucky if I can get through the day without running into a wall due to complete loss of coordination. (Even my typing sucks worse than usual... you should see the crap I'm coming up with.) I'm going with a friend of mine (I'll call her Miss Fitness) who used to be a dancer (I used to be a rugby player. A small one, but a rugger nonetheless). She's in much better shape than I am (did I say "ex-dancer" yet?) which could suck in the confidence-boosting department, but doesn't because she's super nice and supportive and helpful. I do feel awesome when we lift weights though, because I have bigger muscles than she does and at least I have that over her, dammit.

With any luck I'll have non-flabby arms and back by the time the wedding rolls around. In seventy-eight days.

What I have also been doing (and this is related to panic too, because panic means "active, but senseless behavior") is watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs and reading random books and not working on the wedding knitting. Except on Monday, when I did knit 4 stitches on the Orange Black Hole of Knitting while at the unofficial Stitch-n-Bitch at the bar with Heather and Anna and Sandi. Yes. We met at a bar to stitch. No, no one got any stitching done except Anna and that's only because she was in denial of all the beer. Sandi tried to stitch but kept getting her yarn caught in all the beer. I kept getting my mouth caught in all the beer, and Heather learned that she needs to learn to love beer, for it is happy and cheap. And did I have my camera? Of course not. I left it at home that night. So until I can scan Sandi's regular-ole-pictures, you won't see all the crazy fun we had.

(and oh my gosh, don't you just love Wikipedia? Because seriously, I went from the entry on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the entry on Received Pronounciation and I learned so much! Sweet! Knowledge is just floating around out there, waiting for us to grab it and absorb it into our minds! .... okay, that got a little weird.)

So, yes. Seventy-eight days. That's so much time. I have acres of time. Huge tracts of time. I can accomplish so much in the space of all this time!

Stop laughing.