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January 23, 2008

Consolation Knitting

I'm not normally a product knitter. What this means is that I enjoy the process of playing with the yarn. In fact, I've often said that I only knit so that I have an excuse to play with yarn. I'm rarely concerned with finishing anything and most often I'm knitting things that I won't and don't wear.

I don't think this is a big shock for anyone that regularly reads this blog considering the few pictures of finished objects I show and the large amount of pretty yarn I gather.

But I really wanted this. I really wanted to have this to wear this week while it is so cold. I wanted to look cool and bohemian (this is a sickness with me) and be warm and practical at the same time. This was knitting with a purpose.

Which is why it is is such a bitter disappointment to have the cabling go horribly horribly wrong. I have marked the path the cables are supposed to take. It is clear there is no relationship between where it is supposed to be and where it has gone. I am beyond off track. I am not in the same state as the track. It is like I was drunk and never cabled in my life. Neither of which was necessarily true but might have made the whole experience better.

I shall persevere because I still believe this hat is the key to making me look cool and bohemian (no need to tell me otherwise, ignorance is bliss) but I'm consoling myself with some hand-painted yarn I got at Knit in South Carolina. I've been wanting a feather and fan scarf. It seems like a classic and I'm using the Last Minute Knitted Gifts pattern that I've seen others use and like. The yarn is a Schaefer Yarn called Judith. 100% prime alpaca (no more plebeian alpaca for me) in a colorway called Elena Piscopia. The color is part of a series named for memorable women.

Mmmm, soft and pretty...

I didn't even read Elena's biography when I bought the yarn. I went strictly by passion for the color. But I think it is interesting to read her achievement because I bought this yarn on a trip where I decided to go back for my doctorate.

I guess I got a little nod from the universe backing up that decision!

January 17, 2008

ho ho uh oh

This year's Christmas was a good year. I must be a much more vocal bitch than I realize because everyone got it right and gave me just the right amount of things I need and then the rest in hardware store gift cards (yes! bathroom renovation here I come!)

I'm getting so off Christmas in the traditional sense and it is making me SO much more cheerful over the holidays. It is all becoming about seeing friends and family since we all get a little time off at the same time. I love it.

But as far as my giving gifts, I gave Trader Joe's gift cards to folks. The perfect balance of practical and a treat. They could use it to buy groceries or something special. But they don't need to dust it and they don't need to find a place for it in their house and because I knew the exact amount of my holiday expenditure I was able to give more than I would with random gifts and I could save up so I don't have bills to catch up on now.

I like to make and give things throughout the year. I don't like saving it up for just one day of the year. I like folks to know I am thinking about them all the time (this is especially important to convey since I suck at getting birthday cards out and I never call people). I hate waiting until Christmas because the gesture just gets drowned out in all the white noise.

How much nicer is it to be surprised with a little thing for no reason? That is lovely.

Also, and I have some friends who may be shocked and horrified by this, I'm not feeling the religious aspect of Christmas anymore. In fact, my house was decorated but I decorated with a lot of greens and candles and pretty sparkly glass. I just have a hard time with the "people forget what Christmas is about" because Christmas is more related to pagan celebrations that a lot of folks would like to admit.

"The specific date of celebration for Jesus' birth is...generally believed to have been influenced by the dates of pre-Christian festivals...rather than having been based on historical data or reference." - Wikipedia

Winter festivals celebrated the fact that less agricultural work needed to be done in the winter and December 25 was the birthday celebration for gods such as Mithras and a huge Roman festival called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. In fact, Christmas was banned by Puritan rulers (causing pro-Christmas riots), Boston outlawed it from 1659-1681 and after the American Revolution, Christmas fell out of favor because it was seen as an English custom.

father christmas

So Christmas, as we know it today, is fairly modern and doesn't actually mark the day Christ was born. It is used to celebrate his birth, but the church really had to find a Christian holiday during winter or those danged pagans would continue to have a holiday of their own and they couldn't have that!

I'm not trying to make this an anti-Christian thing, just looking at the history and finding my comfort with the holiday. I prefer to spend this time focused on my relationships and lighting up the dark winter days and nights.

Oh, and peppermint ice cream. It is all worth it just for the peppermint ice cream.

January 15, 2008

I did be attracting boyfriends

First of all, look what has now become a form of exercise! I totally rocked at this when I was a kid so I'm makin' my own hoop and gonna be hooping! Yes!

And then, just so Juno knows she is not alone in receiving creepy, bizarre emails from men:

Hi cutie,
I must confess God must have taken a rest after he created you, never have i seen someone so perfectly created,You are like a song written by the hands of
God,Bacause in those eyes of yours everything pauses, I need not look to far to find an angel cos i have one right here in front of me.
Just one night in your dreams would be like spending
eternity, Staring at the face of an angel,
I will sweep you of your feet and make God regret he
forgot an angel behind,cos heaven wont be complete
without you.....i choose to be a prisoner in your captivity of love,can we please chat if you dont mind... my private email address is raf_carl101@yahoo.com,
i did be looking forward to meeting you,

This wasn't from any singles site. This guy just found my myspace page, which I don't use and haven't personalized. I only have it to comment on my brother's myspace blog. I shared this with my brother who said he threw up a little when he read it. I might have also.

And to show it isn't a fluke that I attract the strange foreign men (who I suspect sent these. They obviously lifted pictures and some text from somewhere. You can see where they tried to add to the text.) I also share this other email:

I am An Environmental chemical Pollution Consultant; I'm a self employed environmental Engineer and also a Geologist.
I basically work on contracts with most multinational oil companies like Chevron, Shell, Texaco. and Halliburton . I have couple of contract to execute within short period. We need to carry out lots of Test on the Areas where there are oil Spillage. This areas could be farm lands or habitats for living being, the test are been carried out on Soils and Water so as to know the right Bioremediation chemicals and the Proportion that would fit for the treatments and Clean Up. This is basically about my Job.

Presently, I am working a contract worth $1.2million for Texaco Oil Company and it really a pleasure working for them. Is a very big contract that I will make profit worth $451,000 after paying the skilled laborers and some consultant, I really need your prayer now. I wish you were here with me. I will scan a copy for the contract ward certificate to you by Monday when I will get it from the directors.
i will still tell u about my self but this is all about my job.my name is Stancey

This little fella didn't even bother trying to match the profile name to the name he provided here. I wonder what they would do if I responded? It is highly likely that this is part of a phishing scam. But in the meantime, I'm entertained.

This is what they think will attract US women? Does it?

January 11, 2008

Wool afghans and dogs

OK, questions for any knitters lurking about here. I shared this picture before of Frankie. He is my Mom's foster and very well could be coming to live with me. Not that what I'm about to ask is about his being my dog. I would be asking this regardless of his future home.

Scar the greyhound

Frankie went to a veterinary eye specialist yesterday and he has glaucoma in his bad eye which causing him quite a bit of discomfort. So the best course of action seems to be removing the eye. The cost of that surgery is going to be more than the rescue group can absorb so they will be holding some fundraisers. I thought I might be able to contribute. My first thought was a gorgeous, hand-painted mitre square afghan. Finish up this one I started.

Scar the greyhound

But the rescue group is in Arizona and it would be offered up to a huge bunch of dog people who may not feel a wool afghan would work in their home. (although ironically, I noticed I took this original photograph, on one of my dog blankets)

So my questions are, should I come up with a dog-friendlier, warm climate-friendlier knit project? Should I go ahead and give them the hand-painted wool afghan? Or should I raffle off the afghan to my knitting community? I feel sort of guilty doing this when we already have so many worthy charities we support.

Just a note on how Frankie is doing? He was absolutely petrified at first. He has some reduced vision in his good eye and when your whole world changes, it can really be a scary time. But thanks to Mom's ambassadog, Korde, he is socializing with the family a little, he will go outside and play with Korde and is beginning to follow Mom around a little. So really, he is doing very well.

January 06, 2008

Home sweet home

The conference and Charleston were incredible. I mean that...they were not to be believed. I hob nobbed with the most exciting and interesting people. I learned so much that I'm more than a little overwhelmed. I also got to cruise around Charleston some more.

I found the old cemeteries enchanting and could have spent days walking around trying to read all the headstones.

This little plaque was above a fountain in one of the lovely little gardens. I wish I knew what the story was behind it. Some allegory I'm sure. He who rides the pig gets a horn serenade.

The food was wonderful. I tried everything new I could. Grits (bland), fried green tomatoes (tangy and good!) and, of course, she-crab soup (rich).

All travel days sucked. I hate flying because they cram us into tiny spaces and we have to hold still for too long. I have long legs so those spaces are torture. Of course, Murphy's law states that since I can barely squeeze my knees behind the seat in front of me, I will always have someone who puts their seat back in that seat. Then I just sit there and stew. Yeah, I get a little crabby while flying.

When I wasn't flying (and crabby) I was driving...with white knuckles. I was heading north trying to beat big storms. I didn't quite beat the first storm and had to spend the night in Redding. The storm didn't play favorites. I was checking into the hotel at the same time as Patrick Duffy. He looks exactly the same as he has looked for years. It is a little spooky.

I made a break for home Friday morning and despite some hairy winds and some scary moments I made it through. The trucks that usually plague the interstate really couldn't get through so it was kind of nice not sharing the road with them for a long time. This is what it looked like going over the Shastas and the Siskiyous. There were other cars on the road, but not a lot.

It is SO nice to be home and back to the normal crazy routine rather than the super-crazy routine.

Knitting news:

Grandmother's socks have been gifted and well-received. I wish I had made them a little longer. I try to keep them a little low because I don't want them to bind her leg but I think I can go longer than this.

The entralac scarf was finished but never sent. The recipient has a February birthday though so I have another opportunity to gift it. I do have a few new babies on the horizon. They are all being born in late spring or early summer though so I'm restricted to mostly blankets and toys.

This is my next project. I have seen too many of these to be able to resist. Besides, I really need a change from my usual roll brim I always wear. And I have the most luscious shade of blue Noro Cash Iroha that has been waiting for the perfect project.

Anyone else sick to death of the New Year's resolution-preying diet and exercise industry? They put smug idiots up to sell their product and I can't imagine it working on anyone. You want to sell me the nutrisystem program? Try getting someone who lost more than 7 pounds and who isn't a blonde bubble head. Want to sell me a BowFlex system? Try using a spokesperson who isn't smug and narcissistic. These ads just end up emphasizing that if you were personality-deficient to begin with, the best, thinnest body in the world won't fix anything.