Archive for November, 2008


While it has come to my attention several times today that the holidays are restful and happy and full of good cheer ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT HOSTING (or helping to host), I am trying to maintain a thankful and positive spirit because if I don’t I may beat the crap out of several family members this weekend.

(If you’re new here, my family gets together on the Saturday following big holidays. My Mom and Dad are hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow. I am at their house helping clean up and cook and arrange furniture to fit THIRTY PEOPLE OH MY GOD into this house, after their big kitchen remodel got finished, oh, about 12:30 this afternoon.)

I’m thankful for:
… the wireless internet my parents installed recently.

… my sister who, even though she makes me crazy, bought me and our other sister Belgian waffle irons while she was out grocery shopping today.

… the home my parents brought us up in. Not just the physical house, but the home that they made.

… all of my friends (see photos of my friend Amy’s newest show!) and my parents’ friends, who I know I could turn to if I need help of any kind.

… most of my family.

… having more than enough to eat, and realizing that this puts me in the category of Very Well-Off People, globally speaking.

… knitting and its wonderful ability to preserve sanity.

… the quiet. My parents live in the country, and I can hear coyotes at night when I get into my pajamas without worrying that there are no curtains on the windows — it doesn’t matter! There’s no one to see!

… this view at 8:00 this morning:


… and I’m most thankful for whatever confluence of events led to the following still life that I saw when I walked in my parents’ kitchen last night:

Still life with earwax relief

I just wish I had been invited to that particular party.

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My past fits in boxes

Admittedly, a lot of boxes.

When my parents generously brought us this antique, sliding-glass-door bookcase…

Glass-fronted cabinet

… which I love and to which I give more dusting-and-polishing attention than all my other furniture combined, they also brought boxes of my old crap. I think I now have everything from my parents’ house that is mine. Except old childrens’ books and toys. They’re holding those hostage until grandkids arrive.

What was in the boxes? I will tell you:
1. Every piece of mail I received during my first year of college. Apparently I had a harder time than I remembered, because quite a few of them were along the lines of “Your mom said you needed some cheering up…”

2. A sketch pad full of doodles from high school and early college. I am no artist, and this is the proof:

random doodles

But it’s also proof that my love for bright and rainbow colors is not a new one.

3. A copy of my birth certificate. Why? Don’t know… it was just in the box.

4. A copy of my Grandpa’s patent, which he shared with the father of a friend of mine (weirdly small world), for a machine to keep organs cold/fresh/viable (or something?) during transplant surgery:

Patent office
Figure 1

Yay Grandpa!

5. Old day planners. Because I felt my future self would want to know what I was doing in 1999? Turns out I really don’t.

6. $2.00 in an envelope from 2001. SCORE!

7. My high school letter jacket.

letter jacket
Letter jacket

The funny thing about this jacket (aside from, you know, the fact that it exists) is that it cost probably over $100 with all the sewing of letters and customizing of embroidery, and that I chose purple (the color that the boys usually got for their jackets) over white (what the girls’ jackets came in) because I didn’t want the dirt to show (plus, I was kind of a gender-role rebel) — and I never wore it after my senior year. Hilarious, right? My Mom is probably laughing her head off at the waste of it all. The school and the sports shop that sold me this jacket is probably laughing the most.

And now I have a big purple embarassing jacket that I’ll never wear again and never be able to sell. Way to market, High School!

Ask The Readers: What would you do with this mortifying piece of high school?


Have a great holiday weekend, all my American friends, and a great regular weekend to everyone else!

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Okay. Today has been better than yesterday, in that I wore proper shoes and didn’t scrape my side-view mirror off the car when I left for work. Also the sun was shining, and that helps.

Today I learned that NinjaHusband and I can take advantage of the craptacular economy and refinance our house, just 4 months after buying it. We can lower our interest rate, save ourselves $80.00 a month or so, and chuckle madly to ourselves while doing it. What will we do with this extra $80.00 a month? Save it? Put it towards the evil credit cards? Put it back into the house to pay off our mortgage faster? I don’t know, but having extra money every month is now THE SEXIEST THING IN THE WORLD. I’m in the middle of setting up our household budget (yes, yes, I know it’s a bit late in the game) and because we could be saving an extra 80 bucks a month I now have the option of adding a line item for savings, a thing I’ve never done before. And that is hot.

Today I am thankful I have a house and that I have the chance to make this crapconomy work for me.

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I had planned to make this week a week full of posts all about the many things for which I’m thankful and how much I love the whole world and everyone in it, but because the universe is being a douche by (a) putting holes in my shoes that are undetectable until it’s wet and snowy outside, (b) cursing me with a sub-surface zit on my chin that causes stabbing pain in my face every time I answer the phone, (c) announcing that the superconservative and fundie relatives whom we haven’t seen in 15 years are coming to my family’s Thanksgiving, (d) plotting the demise of my painstakingly knit Clapotis by letting me snip the long ends of my latest Russian join, which will probably unravel and come apart at the blocking stage, and (e) allowing me to walk out my front door this morning with, apparently, the common sense of a concussed duckling and scrape my passenger side-view mirror off my car as I backed out of our garage…

… well, I’m just not up for it.

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1. Dropping stitches has become my new hobby.


I’m knitting almost exclusively on the Clapotis these days, and it’s starting to look like an actual shawl/scarf/wrap/thing. While I’ve been a little bored with this project lately, now that I’m dropping stitches so far down the length of the piece I am fully in love with it.

Clap progress
Pardon my flash… it’s hard to get good lighting this time of year

It doesn’t hurt that every time I pull the Clap out at knit night the girls all ooh and ahh over it. Bonus knitting self-esteem!

2. I’ve overhauled my Ravelry organization. When I first got into saving patterns that I love and want to knit someday, I threw them into my queue where they would languish and make me feel guilty about not knitting them righthisminute. Which, really, was impossible because the queue was like 7 pages long or more. Now I’ve put all the patterns I want to knit but for which I don’t have immediate plans into my favorites (eleven pages long) and have less guilt and more excitement.

And if you were wondering, all the baby and maternity stuff in my queue has nothing to do with me. I’m not pregnant. Empty womb. I just know a bunch of babies and pregnant women. That’s all.

3. I finished the curtains.

Our former window coverings involved a red top sheet held over the curtain rod with clamps (witness:)

How we used to roll
How classy is this? VERY. IT’S VERY CLASSY.

Now, after a million visits from my Mom to hold my hand through the process of planning, starting, and finishing my first-ever sewing project, we have curtains that actually look like curtains.

curtains - wide
Again with the flash, and now the dust motes. I am an exemplary housekeeper.

The casing (the part the curtain rod runs through) and its tiny ruffle

And as a bonus, my Mom gave me the sewing machine (hers) that I’d been using on this project! Hooray! Now I can make curtains all over the place! Next: my office. After that: NinjaHusband’s office, if he lets me (or if I stealth-decorate)!

4. I’m considering buying these boots in the khaki/khaki colorway. Any thoughts?

5. Christmas is fast approaching, and I’m trying to figure out ways to decorate the house that don’t involve a tree. We’re not Christians and while the tree has become a decidedly secular icon, NinjaHusband protests that it makes no sense and I’m meeting him halfway on this. I still want to use the many strings of lights and many, many ornaments I’ve collected over the years to make the house look all pretty. My plan is to decorate with faux pine garland and lights and ornaments in the garland — I just don’t know how to arrange the garland in the house. I have it in mind to tack it to the walls at crown molding level, up by the ceiling, but I’m not sure. I put it to you, dear readers, to tell me how best to set up my seasonal decor.

That’s all I have to report at the moment. Further updates as events warrant. And so forth.

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::shakes fist at sky::

Last night at Stitch-n-Bitch I had some hot tea. Normal thing to do on a cold and snowy (!!) night, right? Right.

Except, if your usual caffeine intake is 0.0 grams (or mL or however you measure that stuff), the caffeine (which is apparently a psychoactive stimulant drug, according to Knowledge God Wikipedia) will catch up with you at 3:30am.

So yeah, I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. Woke up at 3:30 this morning, couldn’t fall back asleep, tried to sleep for about an hour and a half, and finally gave up, got up, and went to the gym from 5:30 to 7:15.

I anticipate very little productivity today, and much sleeping tonight.

How was your weekend?

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After a week of celebratory dancing around my house (President-Elect Obama! Nice power, America!) and angrily stomping around my house (Proposition 8 passed in California. Way to restrict the rights of people, California.), I’m back in blogland with an update on my knitterly progress.

I have indeed been knitting.

The entire thing
Pardon my flash. The light is rapidly disappearing from my corner of the globe.

Clapotis (Ravelry link) is coming along fine. It’s actually a lot farther now than it is in the picture. I’m halfway through the work-even section and repeating 12 rows 13 times is starting to eat at my brain. Like a zombie.

Dropped stitches — not aggrivating!

It’s not a boring knit, it’s just that I want it to be done so I can move on to other knits. I have a hooded scarf in mind, for which I charted the cable myself (didn’t design the cable, just charted it out), and the Emerald cardigan (Ravelry link) to get started on, and forty-seven other things I want to work on while I’m wearing my soon-to-be fabulous Clapotis.

And of course, because this economy is the pile of steaming poo that it is, I’ve decided to make it a handmade Christmas for those family members who want to exchange gifts. Mittens, a tea cozy, a hat, and some other things are dancing like sugar plums in my head. Which is awesome because I have what, 6 weeks till Christmas? Totally doable. Yes. As long as I just keep knitting.

I have Entrelac'd!
The beginnings of the tea cozy. All entrelac’d and stuff.

So if I knit furiously for the next 6 weeks…

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Yes We Did

Nice power, America.

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election day 2008

I voted this morning at 9:45, after a brisk 3-minute walk from my house to the polling place where I encountered cheerful election judges and no lines. That was kind of disappointing, because I was hoping to see a whole bunch of happy voters-to-be who would share their voting excitement and stories and wisdom, plus I brought my knitting and a water bottle.

Anyhow, if you haven’t voted, GO VOTE! One of my best friends in the wide world voted for the first time today (she’s 30 years old), and she reports feelings of civic pride and a hint of smugness. There may have been a bit of STFU toward me and Anna and others, who have been talking about this campaign season non-stop for a hundred years.

Go vote! Bring your knitting! Bring a book! Bring whatever you need to be comfortable in the event of a long wait. Give yourself a high five for performing your civic duty.

Tell me about your voting experience (today or early voting) in the comments. If you’ve had a crappy experience with voter rolls not being up to speed, or election judges not being up to speed, you can call several voter hotlines, one of which is 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or help NPR report on these problems by following instructions here.

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Zombie Love

I decided to buy candy for the little demons, and we had about 10 kids come to the door (anyone want 4 pounds of Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops?). Some were hesitant to knock or ring the doorbell, and some were really nice (“Can’t go wrong with Tootsie Rolls!” which makes me think that yeah, maybe I did go wrong and the kid was just being polite in the same way he’s polite to his auntie who gives him crew socks for Christmas), and overall it was a good time. A good way to start being part of this neighborhood we live in. Participating, and all. I didn’t dress up for the trick-or-treaters, though.

I had this great idea for a Halloween costume. I was going to be Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, because I heart her (don’t talk to me about the first half of Season Four, I haven’t seen it yet) and I like her style. I often wish I had the nerve to punch the daylights out of my authority figures, too.

This was going to be a good costume. I was considering dyeing my hair blond and had it in mind to purchase the tank tops that the BSG military wear under their uniforms (I’m such a geek). Turns out, though, that time moves forward whether or not you’re paying attention to it, and sometimes it moves faster than you think. I didn’t get any part of my costume prepared.

So on Saturday, the day after Halloween, I decided on a new costume and went to the local resale shop to find something suitable. Miraculously, I did in fact find something that sort of matched what I wanted. NinjaHusband asked me what I was going as, and I gave him this long and sort of rambling response during which his eyebrows got higher and higher on his head, as if the looking askance at me wasn’t enough and they wanted to be as far away from my crazy as possible.

I dressed up in Day of the Dead makeup & clothes. Day of the Dead isn’t a zombie movie (as was guessed by many of my fellow party-goers), it’s the Dia de los Muertos holiday, blah blah blah, it’s totally not worth going into the whole thing. I looked like this:

Face paint

It’s not that crazy, though I’ll give you that it’s hard to explain. Whatever. I had fun and NinjaHusband said my makeup looked good and I did it all myself and though I did not win best costume at the party, I managed to scare and then enchant the wee Mad Cow at the party:

Zombie & Mad Cow
Her parents were Zombie Cowgirl and Zombie Cowboy, zombified when their cow got mad cow disease and bit them. Backstory is essential to a good Zombieween.

She cried when she first saw me, but then wanted me to pick her up many times throughout the night and delighted in yelling “SKULL!!” at me whenever she saw me. Good times.

You can see all our Zombieween pictures here, including the one where CornBred dressed up as a zombie version of my husband.

Adam and Beth were the best hosts ever, and Zombieween 2008 rocked hard. Well done!

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