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Archive for August, 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pat Robertson, you twit

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4177664.stm

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.

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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.

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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.

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