Monday, October 31, 2005


Let's just say, I didn't go dressed as the United Nations Headquarters building. I really did mean to. I had even bought all the materials I needed to make the costume. But somewhere around Sunday morning, I realized I had a choice: I could (a) spend the entire day working on a costume that probably wouldn't look right and might fall apart at any moment, not to mention winning my own personal prize for Geekiest Costume Ever (and that's saying a lot); or (b) return those (as yet untouched) costume materials to the craft store, spend under $18 on raffia, duct tape, a straw hat, and a plaid shirt, and have a rockin' Scarecrow costume. Um, yeah. I went for option b. Instead of spending a whole day carefully measuring and cutting foam core board, I spent 20 minutes before bed sticking pieces of straw-colored raffia between strips of duct tape. I made two bracelets and two anklets, with plenty of "straw" left over to stuff in my shirt. I even got a crow to attach to the hat, to show what an ineffective scarecrow I was. Then it was off to the office party this afternoon:

OK, so here I just look like a hick, but trust me,
there really was straw sticking out everywhere.

Believe it or not, by complete coincidence, our head of publishing dressed as Dorothy, and our HR person dressed as a witch. Read into that what you will. Unfortunately, there were no other even remotely decent pictures taken on my camera phone, and all the other cameras at the party were (oh, the horror!) not digital. So I may get copies of those other pics on here in about 20 years, after my co-workers develop the film, scan the prints, and e-mail them to me.

I dashed out of the party to catch an early train, in the hopes that I would get home in time to give out candy to the trick-or-treaters. Well, I guess I missed the after-dinner rush. There were exactly three knocks on the door, one of which was the same kids coming back a second time. (To their credit, I don't think they were being greedy, it's just that we live in a condo complex where all the houses look pretty much the same. So in the dark, while looking through two slits in a mask, and already high on candy and spray confetti fumes, I can imagine how they got confused). I left the light on until 9, but no one really came after about 7:45. All the while, I could hear the candy calling to me from the bowl by the front door. But I was good. I only ate a couple of pieces right after giving candy to the first batch of kids. The bowl is still sitting down there by the front door, but it's cold down there now, and it's far enough away that I can't hear the sugar's siren song anymore. Now if I can just stay strong long enough to stick it in a bag and leave it in the kitchen at work (not on my own floor, though) I should be OK. I feel a little sugar-sick right now anyway, after quite a dose of candy at the work party, and a piece of yellow cake after dinner. Ugh. I would say something like "thank goodness this is only once a year" except that I realize there is a Candy Holiday just about every other month. Christmas. Valetine's Day. Easter. I'm starting to feel queasy just thinking about all the sugar.

I'm going to go watch the Wizard of Oz. Though I might have to fast forward through the "We Welcome you to Munchkin Land" part, though. What with the Lollipop Guild and all.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Merci, fée de laine!

For those who (like me) don't speak French, that's "Thanks, fairy of wool!" Yup, my Secret Pal sent me a package, and it arrived yesterday. From Belgium! I am absolutely thrilled with my gifts--such generosity! Unfortunately, this is not the best picture, but it was late at night, I was tired, and I wanted to get a picture before the cats disemboweled the skeins like they did before:

Ivy loves the silk merino blend and the bamboo needles.
I think what has her puzzled is the "Yarn Songs" CD.

The color is far too dark in that picture. The yarn isn't black. The color is called "Raisin," and they really couldn't have picked a more accurate description. Not quite brown, not quite dark purple. Truly gorgeous. And sooooo soft? I just want to put my face in it. Too bad balaklavas are out this year. But I definitely want to wear it next to the skin, so maybe a scarf? We'll see. As someone always says, the wool will tell me what it wants to be. I haven't had a chance to listen to the CD, but I'm very curious to hear what constitutes "knitting music." Thank you so much, Woolfairy! You totally rock!

I was hoping to have FO pictures for you of the thing I was making with the Kidsilk Haze, but it's not quite done yet. So instead, I will proceed to show you just how geeky I am. Halloween is on Monday. Up until yesterday, I had no plans for Halloween, except maybe to give out some candy if I happen to get home while the neighborhood kids are still trick-or-treating. But then we get this e-mail at work. Something about a Halloween party. And a costume contest.

As anyone who "knew me when" can tell you, I have come up with some pretty weird costumes over the years. In 4th grade, I found an old cape in the attic, made a tiara out of construction paper and went as the "Lady of Lost Love." Don't ask. There was also the year I went as a crow. Not too weird in and of itself, but by the end of the night, no one could have guessed what I was. You see, in my hometown, it almost always rains on Halloween. That year, I made my own costume, by gluing black feathers to a nylon cape (probably originally intended for a vampire costume). Not too many people had glue guns in those days, so I just used regular old Elmer's, which, as you may recall from your kindergarten paste-eating days, is not only non-toxic, but also water-soluble. I left a trail of little black feathers around the neighborhood that night, some of which could still be spotted in people's shrubbery after the snow melted in April. I have also done some more "normal" costumes, such as ladybug, bat, mime, sailor, gypsy, fairy princess, elf and witch. Then there are the geeky costumes. One year (6th grade?) I went as a sheet of music. My mom totally did all the work herself helped me make a sandwich board style costume out of while posterboard, complete with a real piece of classical music stenciled onto it. It was even a piece I knew how to play on my flute. But this year may top them all on the geekiness scale:

The United Nations Headquarters building in NYC. Thanks to the UN for the pic.

What can I say? It's a work party. I work at a UN-affiliated NGO. Someone else is going as Harriet Miers, so I won't be the only geeky one. Besides, the materials for this at the craft store were much less expensive than all the leaf garlands I would have needed for the "autumn tree" costume.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ah, Monday...

I'm actually in a surprisingly good mood for a Monday morning. Today is Zarzuela's first day on the new job, and we took the train together this morning. I knew that having pleasant company for the commute would make the time go faster, but I didn't realize just how much faster. It seemed like one minute we were sitting down, the next minute I was pointing out how pretty the sunrise looked behind the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry (I wish I had gotten a picture of that--it was truly lovely), and then we were suddenly in NYC. Between that and having had time to sit down to breakfast with Taz before he left, it was a really good start to the week!

The weekend was lovely, too. Friday night we went to a cool place to listen to some great folk singers. It had been a long time since I'd heard live folk music, and it was a real pleasure. I even bought a couple CDs to give my mother for her birthday. I also got a lot of knitting done on x-mas surprise #1. In fact, on Saturday, I finished it:

A large wool hat (recipient to remain nameless).

It looks a little tall and square in that picture, but it really looks like a normal shape when someone puts it on, I promise. It was made on US #8's from the gray and blue two-ply wool I had, the brand of which I don't know. The pattern was basically made up, though I did use a free pattern from Red Heart to help me figure out the basics. Since my gauge was between gauges for their pattern, and the head I was knitting this for is larger than any of the sizes offered, and I was knitting it in the round rather than flat, I basically had to wing it. I did do 2x2 ribbing for 6 inches and then stockinette for another 4 inches before starting my decreases, but that's about all I did that was in the pattern. I wanted to decrease down to fewer stitches than called for so that I could have just 4 sts left over to go straight into the i-cord. Anyway, I started out decreasing 4 sts per row, and about halfway through, I began decreasing 8 sts per row. If anyone wants a more exact explanation of the pattern, let me know.

Anyway, getting that done with allowed me to begin x-mas surprise #3, and to put an end to my kidsilk haze virginity:

I swear the picture's not blurry--it's the yarn that's fuzzy!

I'm not telling what it is, or who it's for, but many of you can probably guess. In case you're curious, it's color #595. Everyone refers to this stuff as fiber crack, and I agree that it's very soft, especially for something that contains mohair, which I often find scratchy. However, counting cast-on stitches for this stuff was really difficult, because the stitches are very hard to see when they're close together on the needle. In addition, you may have noticed that I'm using the magic loop for this, and all I can say is that joining the first round on metal needles was like wrangling an eel. Now that it's started, though, things are going smoothly, and I kind of like the sensation that I'm knitting cotton candy. OK, so maybe it's cranberry-wine flavored cotton candy. Mmmmm. If my next post includes a picture of me coughing up a hairball, you'll know why.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


OK, I'll be honest about it. I haven't made lots of progress on x-mas surprise #1 in the past few days. I'm not yet done with the book I'm reading, so I'm not ready to let you know what I think of it. I don't even have a lot of pictures to provide you with visual distraction. But I do have needs, at least according to Google. This is a meme that I've seen on several different blogs. You just google "[your name] needs," and pick your ten (or so) favorite hits. There weren't many hits for Sneaksleep, so I had to go with Bryna instead. So, apparently, Bryna needs:

To create miracles amidst the pain
A workout
To guard the back door
To be updated
To sell out and work for the Man
Transportation solutions
To know there is a plan
A scooter
To find her personal tipping point
To stay cool under all the protective gear
To make him think more
A janitor
Some action

Only a couple of those are totally off the mark, actually. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which ones.

And now, in case that didn't distract you enough, a word from their royal highnesses Ben and Ivy:

"The only reason we're not locked in a deathgrip
with each other is because we're sick of coughing
up each other's hairballs. And this sweater smells
like a prey animal. And we want you to think we're
cute and feed us greenies."

Picture courtesy of male cat staffperson Taz. Foot courtesy of female cat staffperson me. Just be glad I posted this version of the picture, and not the one that shows my big behind whole leg (Taz took this while I was sleeping like a log).

What? You still want knitting and spinning and book content? Too bad. No soup for you! Or yarn. Whatever. SnB's not til tonight, kids. So hold your horses. Or your llama (duck). More fiber and letters soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Lusciousness

So, you all wanted to see my haul from Rhinebeck. Ask, and you shall receive, because here it is. I apologize in advance for the low resolution, and more importantly, for the less-than-accurate color in most of these pictures. What can I say? Now that we're into late October, even skipping out of work a little early doesn't get me home in time to take pictures using natural daylight. And no, my camera phone, though it has been very good to me, does not have a flash. Anyway, the show must go on...

The first thing I bought was actually for myself. Some beautifully dyed wool mohair to knit myself a hat and scarf set (pattern still to be decided):

Wool Mohair from Kid Hollow Farm in Colorway "Fiesta."

Next, I stopped by the Morehouse booth and got a treat for my Secret Pal. I don't think she's ever done lace knitting or used yarn this fine, so I wanted to make sure I got her something simple:

The Bijou Scarf. Not sure which colorway.

After those two purchases, I spent a really long time fondling different yarns, trying to decide what was the best thing to get for the x-mas surprise I'm going to make for Taz. Since it will be worn next to the skin, it had to be something soft, but of course all the softest yarns were also very expensive. Then I remembered the leftover charcoal gray alpaca I have from Jessie's wristwarmers, and I decided to look for another shade of gray to match that. I finally chose two skeins of this gorgeous angora (the bunnies were right there at the booth for me to pet, too!):

From Cozy Rabbit Farm. The color here is totally off.
But trust me, it's a very pale gray color.

I also bought him some venison jerky, but I didn't bother to take a picture of that. I know better than to think anyone visits a books-and-knitting blog hoping for pictures of dried out mystery meat.

After all that spending and decision-making, it was time for me to get my spinning lesson with the Queen of all Enablers. Under her sage eye, I picked out the following:

Roving in "Merlot" and " Heather" (just picture
these colors with a little more red and purple in them)
and a bottom whorl spindle.

If you want to see pictures of the actual lesson, check out yesterday's post. I have managed OK on my own since the lesson, but I still have a great deal of trouble getting the spindle to actually spin in the right direction for more than two seconds. So I've been doing a lot more of the pre-winding and then drafting thing with the spindle held between my knees. Oh well, with any luck, I'll get another lesson from Eklectika soon, since she seems to know her bottom whorls so well.

And last but not least, after a long day of fiber fondling and yarn ogling, I arrived home late at night, to find that a package had arrived for me:

Hand dyed by Judy. For a better idea of the color,
go here (though it's actually a little more muted
than her pic shows).

Yes, it's the yarn for my Hanging Vines Stole. It is every bit as luscious and beautiful as I had hoped, and I can't wait to use it. But I am going to be good and finish my holiday knitting first. And I'm thinking it will probably be a good idea to knit up this shawl, the kit for which I bought back in February, to get a feel for lace before I attempt the stole.

By the end of the day on Saturday, I was feeling quite fibered-out. But after a full day yesterday away from my pretty new purchases, I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms. Now I am feeling jumpy and my fingers are itching to cast on for all these new projects. But I must have some self-control. I'll just have to learn to knit like a speed demon so I can get done with all this pending stuff first.

Monday, October 17, 2005

In which I meet some wonderful people and am introduced to a gateway drug

What a wonderful weekend! Taz and I went on a lovely fall hike yesterday at Sleeping Giant, which, though full of amazing views and lots of fresh leaf-scented air, took away all my energy. Seriously, I know I'm out of shape, but there was no explanation for how tired I was. Or maybe there is...

Saturday at Rhinebeck was spectacular, despite it taking the seven of us New Haven SnB-ers much longer to get there than we expected. When I pulled into the parking lot with Zarzuela, who grew up in the area, she noted that the lot was almost as full as it gets at the height of the Dutchess County Fair in the summer, which is saying a lot. And we got there just an hour after it started. After taking care of our hunger with some yummy food, we all went off in our separate directions. I was supposed to meet someone at the fleece sale so I could be introduced to the wonderful world of spinning. Not only did I get to meet her in person, and find out that she really is as awesome and funny and down-to-earth as you would think from reading her blog, but I also got to meet a couple of other knitbloggers, including Juno and Asia. They're both really cool, and I feel compelled to note that Juno is much taller than I ever imagined. Our very own Woolybuns was at the festival too, though I had no idea she was going to be there, and didn't get to see her.

Anyway, back to the story. While Cate was in the "Filene's Basement for spinners" (her words) fondling the prize-winning fleeces and filling up her hands with lanolin (I swear, fleeces are greasier off the sheep than on), I wandered around and found fiber to satisfy most of the needs on my list (see the end of my last post). I would show you what I bought, but I want to milk this for all it's worth, so I'm going to show you tomorrow instead. That, and I didn't get a chance to take pictures of it all yet anyway. So after some big spending, and tasting some wine that was waaaay to sweet for me, I met up with Cate again, and she advised me and Zarzuela in the buying of roving and spindles. I couldn't believe how much cheaper roving is than yarn. Then we all went outside to have a spinning lesson, and I realized that yarn is more expensive because that pretty, even fiber doesn't happen by accident:

Learning how to draft. [Photo courtesy of Zarzuela]

Getting the "hang" of it? (p.s. See those bags behind us?
That's her haul from the fleece sale. And I do mean "haul,"
since she didn't get around to taking it to the car and
instead carried it around all day slung over her shoulder).
[Photo courtesy of Zarzuela]

Thank goodness Cate is so patient. See that little halo over her head? It's gonna take me a while to get this right. Noting our frustration, she did tell us that the learning curve is steep at first. I think she just wanted to make sure that we don't give up before we get addicted. Nothing to worry about on my account--it is just so cool to make fiber! Who cares if it's lumpy and thick-then-thin and if some parts are a bit on the fuzzy side? I'll just have to learn how to ply it, and then if it still looks weird, I'll knit something funky with it.

The New Haven gang met up at the last possible moment of the day to carpool over to dinner across the river. Good thing Lauren was wearing her bright yellow sweater or we may not have been able to see her in the flood of fiber lovers leaving the fairgrounds. Just as we were leaving, it rained for about 30 seconds, which was just long enough to give us the perfect parting gift to end the perfect day:

OK, yeah, so some of us got lost on the way to dinner. And a couple of us who had already blown our budgets got sort of delirious waiting for others to finish picking out their treasures at this place, where we stopped on the way home. But we all had a good time, and we all made it home in one piece. And believe it or not, there was actually room for five people's yarn in the way back of the station wagon. So either we all had incredible self-discipline, or we all opted for small-but-expensive. I would like to say that I am in both categories. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the yarn p0rn lusciousness.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pre-Rhinebeck stash check

OK, here's the deal. Even though I have every intention of being good and not spending a fortune this Saturday at Rhinebeck, the upcoming fiber orgy did make me think about how much yarn I already have. Although I have far less than some people, I still have far more than I will probably ever use. This is mainly because a good portion of my stash consists of things like this:

Red Heart, Lion Brand Microspun, and other random acrylic

rounded out by a bunch of this:

Homespun. Need I say more?

And let's not forget the freebie I got from Bernat. Don't ask what I'm going to do with this:

No comment.

Then, there are the leftovers, none of which, at this point, go very well together:

Everything from Hip-Hop to King Tut Cotton.

Luckily, I do also have so really nice yarn. For example, I have all this stuff that is already destined for various different holiday gifts:

Kidsilk crack, alpaca tweed, merino blend, and plain old wool.

I also have a basket full of yarn which is either waiting to become a gorgeous shawl (the steel blue lace weight merino) or is waiting to be used in a WIP (the purple lace weight merino, the Lion Brand Trellis, and the blue-gray two-ply):

More of the plain wool two-ply, two colors of lace weight merino,
Lion Brand "Trellis." Oh, and some wool tweed that is actually leftovers.

Finally, there are the future felted bags:

Mmmmmm. Lopi.

And yes, there will be more than one, because not all these yarns match, and even if they did, can you imagine how huge that bag would be? Oh, and let's not forget the hand-dyed fiber crack I just ordered (low-res camera phone pic to come when it arrives at my door). That's gonna be a Hanging Vines stole.

Phew! So assuming I find a way to get rid of use up all that crap yarn bright acrylic, I will have plenty of space for new treasures. However, I need to be nice to my wallet, especially if I plan to afford that trip to India. So this is a list of what I am allowed to buy on Saturday:

1. Yarn and other small treats for the second package for my Secret Pal
2. Yarn for the x-mas surprise for Taz
3. The bare necessities for sticking my big toe in the water of a potentially addicting new pool--spinning. (Though I'm sure certain people will make every effort to see that I fall in and get completely soaked).
4. A small amount of really special yarn for a small project for myself.

And that is absolutely IT! I must force myself to stick to that, or I'll have to start knitting my own pork chops and salad if I want to have a decent dinner. Do you think Metro North would accept a knitted monthly ticket? It would be good intarsia practice...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm knitting in the rain

Just knitting in the rain... What a glorious feeling... OK, I'll stop singing (now that you all have that song stuck in your heads *evil cackle*). Anyway, you might have noticed that I'm happy. It rained all weekend, and it's supposed to rain most of the week. The drought is over. Our garden is happy, despite the lower temperatures (thanks here is due not only to the rain, but also to Taz, who has been using his two weeks off for the betterment of our living conditions). Also, rain is just plain beautiful (at least when it's not causing flooding like this). And best of all, I was able to take off the wrist brace for long enough intervals this weekend to make some very respectable progress on x-mas surprise #2! Which, I've decided, I can feel free to show you. It's for my mother, and I'm 99.9% sure she never has time to read my blog, and even if she does, she already knows what she's getting, since I had to ask her for her foot measurement. In case you haven't figured it out by now:

Socks. My second pair ever, and I'm proud. It's really true that once you get an idea of the "architecture" of a sock, the pattern seems soooo much simpler. Cuff...heel flap...heel cup...gusset...foot...toe! Yay! And the holes in my gusset corners aren't even that big this time (though, perfectionist that I am, I may still decide to go over them with a bit of extra yarn at the end). The color reminds me of a late winter twilight. Perfect for a Christmas gift. Now if only I can figure out what to give her for her birthday, which is a month sooner. Leave it to me with my holiday knitting obsession brilliant time management skills to start the Decemer due-date project before even thinking about an inkling of an idea for the November due-date. Doh!

I also promised you a book review. Last week In finished Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. In under seven hours. Two round trip train rides to NYC (plus about 45 more minutes). Yeah, it's a quick read, to say the least. Did I like it? Yes. Love it? Almost. It was fun. There were a few parts that made me laugh out loud. And the solution to the mystery did surprise me, partly. But the mystery itself didn't quite draw me in as much as I expected. By the end of the book, I did really like the protagonist and her best friend. But for some reason, I found that mostly, the book made me feel I should be very wary of marriage and especially of having kids. The outlook was so negative and depressing. Now, I don't think of myself as a rose-colored-glasses kind of woman, but I do still honestly believe that marriages can be real loving partnerships, and that it's possible to find and make friends with other women (mothers or otherwise) who won't expect me to define myself through my partner or my (potentially-someday-but-not-yet) kids. I guess a good first step is not marrying someone you only like because the person you love isn't into you. Lucky for me, that's a non-issue, since the person I love with all my heart also loves me.* Anyway, not a bad book, but I think I'm going to have to read some more before I can issue a verdict on how I feel about chick lit as a genre.

Now, there have been several quizzes going around, and I felt compelled to take two of them. First, thanks to Zarzuela's link, it appears I am a knee sock:

Knee length sock
You quite like socks, but you're not overly-obsessed
with them. You would have been a pair of
knee-length socks in any colour, and probably
stripy or something to make you that little bit
more interesting.

What type of sock are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Then, I take the next quiz (thanks to Jenn's link), and much to my surprise, I discover that I am:

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can't imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I just soooo don't feel I deserve that title. But hey, fake it 'til you make it, right? Or something like that...

*Disclaimer: This is not some subtle way of trying to tell everyone I'm getting married--I'm just talking about the concept, okay? So cool yer jets, any anxious family members (especially of the elder generation) who might be reading this. All in good time, all in good time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Other places

Someone asked recently in this discussion forum what people had learned from living in other places and teaching, and it really made me think. I have only lived* in two other countries in my life, though I've traveled to a few more, and I've also only lived in three other states, aside from the one I was born in.

That may be impressive by some people's standards, but by the time he was my age, my dad had already lived in five countries on three and a half different continents. Anyway, whether I am well-traveled by your standards or not, I have definitely learned some stuff from teaching and from living in other places:

Patience. Lots and lots of it.

Tolerance for heat and cold and wet. Even when I'm not on a camping trip.

The importance of sunblock when you're living under an ozone hole.

If you don't want to eat 10 times your body weight every time you visit someone, you had better eat really slowly and always make it look like you're taking seconds without actually taking much food. Same goes for alcohol consumption.

Most of the time, it's actually nicer to have a friend show up at your door unannounced than to make elaborate get-together plans the week before.

When to laugh at myself, and when to stand up for myself.

Always to carry a packet of kleenex or a small amount of toilet paper with me. Always.

Food from street vendors is usually delicious. Even if it makes you sick.

It's good to try anything once. Unless I have solid proof that it will kill me, get me incarcerated, or do that to someone else.

Even people with strong stomachs and lots of travel experience get altitude sickness. Coca leaf tea is a good thing. Other coca leaf products not so much.

Drinking with friends around a bonfire on the beach beats a nightclub any day. Especially if there's a guitar involved.

Rotisserie chicken and french fries are soooo much better than fast food.

Teaching others is a great way to learn about yourself. For me, it showed me that I am braver, smarter, more adaptable and kookier than I had ever thought.

Getting lost is a part of life. Asking for directions is a good idea.

Politeness and courtesy are highly underrated, especially in the US. However, this doesn't mean that they aren't sometimes used to mask meanness or incompetence.

You don't really want to know how polluted the air and water are, at least not if there's nothing you can do about it personally.

Not all American traditions are bad. Recycling and Thanksgiving are both awesome, but also rather hard to reproduce on other places.

Poetry is good for the soul.

Dancing is good for the soul, too.

And knitting,** of course!

It is possible to accept and be accepted by another culture, and to have elements of it become a part of me. Even if I will never truly be completely a part of it.

*For these purposes, I'm defining "live somewhere" to mean staying in a place for more than a month, with intentions beyond being a tourist (such as study or employment).

**For the fiber-obsessed, I apologize for the lack of knitting content. I've been resting my wrist. And anyway, the only project I've been working on is a secret until December.

***Thanks to NASA and Globe for the pics.
Next time: a book review and some knitting content. I promise!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm a dork

Why am I a dork? Well, first and foremost because I am a very forgetful and flaky person sometimes. I finally figured out where those lovely gifts came from, since they were NOT from the Woolfairy (see yesterday's comments). It had completely slipped my mind that I won a prize from the Give a Little contest! The yarn was from Elizabeth, and the stitch markers were from Folkcat. So thanks to both of them for donating prizes to the contest, and thanks to Margene and Susan for organizing it in the first place.

The second reason I'm a dork is because even though I was telling you yesterday about some pain and stiffness in my arm and hand, I decided to knit all the way home last night. After having that massage cancelled on me at the last minute. By the time I went to bed, my wrist was really hurting, and I had made a very hard decision: I left my knitting at home today. And on my way to work, I stopped by the drugstore and bought this:

Between the mouse and the knitting, I guess my wrist is just demanding a break and some extra support. I must obey, or I won't be able to get back to my holiday knitting, and I just know time will fly extra fast between now and December. Yeah, I'm almost done with one project, but that still leaves four more to go, minimum. You just watch me, though, I'll get it done! So what did I do with my train time this morning, if I had no knitting? This might give you an idea:

Last night when I got home, Taz handed me two books he had picked up. Chick lit books! I started reading this one on the way in this morning, thinking I would read the first few pages and then take a nap. But I actually stayed awake and read several chapters. It's fun so far. There might not be a Nobel Prize in her future, but I'm enjoying myself.

Oh, and one last thing: check out this article about our local SnB group!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Last night I arrived home to discover that I had been visited by the Woolfairy! No, really, that's what she (or he) calls him/herself. Woolfairy is my Secret Pal, and s/he knew just what to send me:

Yes, that's right. Two big honkin' skeins of yummy soft alpaca in a greenish gray tweed, and the cutest little glass bead stitch markers ever. I already have plans for all of it! So, Woolfairy, thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!! You are totally awesome! May the SP6 god(desse)s rain many fiber-related blessings upon you!

Tonight after work, I have a one-hour massage. This is something I would love to be able to afford on a weekly basis, but since that's not happening any time soon, I was happy to take advantage of a coupon I got through my gym. (Let's not talk about how long it's been since I went there to actually work out. Hey, I've still managed to lose weight!) I'm especially happy about the massage because my shoulder and "throwing" arm are quite stiff and sore today. I choose to believe that the soreness is the result of the lack of a good wrist-supporting mousepad at work. It has absolutely nothing to do with the furious pace of my holiday knitting. No siree. In fact, I've been very healthy about my holiday knitting. I even called a hotline to help me out: 1-877-SOS-KNIT. If you don't think that's a real number, just call it. Trust me. It was brought to us by someone who has a very good sense of humor. And speaking of holiday knitting humor, you really need to read this poem.

Books-wise, I'm still working on Joyce's Ulysses (yeah, like anyone thought I would already have finished it). It's kind of strange because I almost feel like I'm reading another language. I mean, I understand most of the words. English is, after all, my first language, and I would venture a guess that my vocabulary isn't smaller than average. But the way the words are put together requires a lot of concentration and I keep having to go over certain parts again to make sure I understood. I'm enjoying the experience, but I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't have some lighter reading on hand for when my brain needs a break. Maybe it's time to actually go out and buy one of those chick lit books people were so kind to recommend to me...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bad apples, fun times, good news

When I say "bad apples," I'm not talking about a bunch of bratty kids or young hoodlums. In fact, I actually mean bad apples. Red Delicious to be exact. A more inaccurately named apple cannot exist. Red? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely not. I have never liked them. I will admit, they're pretty to look at:

However, I don't eat them. To me, they are bland and have a bitter aftertaste. Why all this ranting? Becuase Taz and I decided to go apple picking on Sunday, and rather than going to the same orchard we went to last time, we thought we'd try a smaller, closer one. Big mistake. It was swarming with people, and they had a really narrow selection of apple types. There were about 70% Red Delicious, with a few trees each of McIntosh, Gala, and McCoum. All of those last three can be very good, but in this case they were either scarce, underripe, or uncharacteristically mealy. In the end, we returned our paper bag to the counter and left empty-handed. Taz, who understandably didn't want me to take my frustration out on him, gently suggested that we go to the supermarket and buy some Granny Smiths so that I can still make an apple crisp while he's home this week. Always practical, with his eye on the prize. One of the many many reasons I love him so much.

This brings me to the many reasons my weekend was so great. First of all: Taz. Not only is he a wonderful man who loves me and knows all kinds of random things about me that no one is supposed to notice, but he is also a man who will be home all week this week! He will cook yummy spicy food for us. I will get to snuggle next to him as I drift off to sleep every night. Hungry cats will not be the only ones to greet me when I get home from work. And I will get to start each day with the sight of his warm (if sleepy) smile. Since I normally only get to see him Friday through Sunday, this is a real gift, and I plan to treasure every moment of it.

The other thing that usually happens when Taz and I are apart all week is that I don't see much of my friends on the weekends. I certainly never want to be one of those people who totally ditches their friends whenever they are in a romantic relationship (causing pain and confusion like Medea describes in this post in Spanish). And during the week, when Taz is away, I would like think that I am quite sociable--at least as sociable as my long commute allows. Still, most Saturday afternoons find me enjoying my limited time with Taz. But Sami invited me over for tea this Saturday and I didn't think twice. And I'm so glad I went, because it was a really enjoyable, relaxing afternoon, and I hadn't seen her in a long time. She went a little overboard with the treats (especially the baked goods), but I managed to pause from stuffing my face long enough to chat with her about all kinds of things and to make significant progress on x-mas surprise #2. (Sorry, no more pics for that one until after it's been gifted). She even helped me figure out about my nose ring situation. Talk about a good friend!

And, as a matter of fact, talking about another good friend, a big Congratulations to Zarzuela for landing a wonderful new job! She can tell you about the details on her blog if she wants, but suffice to say, it looks like I might have a commuting buddy. But train company aside, I am just super happy for her. She has worked hard toward this, and she really deserves it. Rock on!

As if all this love, fun, and good news weren't enough to make my weekend awesome, it was also the weekend when the first legal same-sex civil unions took place in Connecticut. OK, so it's not marriage, but I'm still ridiculously happy about it. I mean, my state is the first state in the country to have civil unions initiated and approved by the legislature rather than the courts! No one can go off and rant about "activist judges" on this one. It might not afford couples federal rights like green cards for non-citizen partners and so forth (you don't want to get me started on that issue), but at least it guarantees people a whole bunch of rights they didn't have before. I realize there are some people who might say that it's not enough, that the rights not covered by this law are just as important. And I agree wholeheartedly. But I still say something is better than nothing.