Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kicking ass and taking names

Do you ever just want to be someone else? Something else? Just like magically transform in another person entirely? (uh, besides physically)

I'm tired of feeling all wussy and inadequate; it's time to let that inner bitch out again.

Helpful socialization hint of the day:
If you're riding public transit, DO NOT DISCUSS your private sexual kinks in loud voices. They do not turn me on. Slapping each other and various riffs off "you know you want it bitch" and "you sure know how to please a man in bed" make me want to puke out the window. Except the window doesn't open.

The best part was when the girl said "you know what I hate, when the cops push you down and then shove their knee in your neck. I hate that, it hurts." "Yeah, that hurts a lot" replied her boyfriend. Then they got off and headed to the Nordstrom Rack.


I've been taking a photo a day (or more, or sometimes forgetting) this year. Some random meme I ran across. Mostly it's just an excuse for me to take as many pictures of anything that I feel like. It's also a way to recapture a little bit of the time that seems to be slipping by so quickly. Bah. Too much wine, too much philosophizing.

New apple blossoms

Flowering plum

Glorious unapologetically orange ranunculus

Leo needs a new pair of shoes

New rose leaves in the morning after a rainy night

Not quite so menacing

Monday, March 26, 2007

Does not play well with others

Ann & Kay of Mason Dixon Knitting are visiting Portland this week -- Wednesday afternoon. The yarn store isn't close by but it's not far either. To go or not to go.

I'd like to meet them and hear them read/talk/throw mitered squares into the air, since I find their blog entertaining and I think they'd be entertaining too in person. Some people have mentioned how their book makes them feel free to play around with yarn, to experiment with pattern and color and texture. I think that's fantastic, because it's my personal belief that my entire culture is losing that feeling of playfulness. People don't sing, because they're not good enough and the message is that they should Leave That To the Professionals. Or dance or joke make movies or write books. Because we're just amateurs and why bother when THE PROFESSIONALS do it so much better? Anything that encourages people to be creative, to think on their own - I think that's valuable and useful. Just because I don't do dishclothes (another story, not for now) doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy listening to Ann & Kay.

But I'm hesitant and torn, see? Because the last time I did one of these Big Author Events (last year's Yarn Harlot signing), I felt so profoundly alienated I felt alone for days. It's perverse, considering I was, for the first time, completely surrounding by masses of knitting women. My people. People who laugh at the cardigan/pullover joke. People whose eyes glitter and shine when you talk about yarn instead of glazing over with boredom. People who understand your obsession with decreases.

Yet in all that crowd, they all seemed to know each other, and nobody knew me. They were all very polite, I'm not saying otherwise, I just felt as if it was at a big cocktail party for the wrong company. Everybody was there with their own friends. And I didn't know how to break in. Did I even want to break in?

It's me, OK, not anyone else who's doing this to me, but just me. I don't blame anyone but my nasty twisted psyche. If I weren't quite so sequestered into my own personality, if I practiced harder at my socialization skills, I would have joined into the conversations, been less on the fringes and more involved. It's just hard, and I don't know if I have the energy for it. I don't want to cope with the alienation again right now (I also would prefer not to stand again for 3 hours, but hopefully I could get there early enough to get a chair. Or a bit of floor).

I know part of my reticence is because I work almost entirely with men. I'm extremely bad and out of practice with talking to women, face to face. I'm also, how do I say this?, not so good at the acting-like-a-girl thing. I identify as female, I just don't do a lot of the same things most women I know do. I don't even want to get into some gender-identity argument, I'm just staing facts. My mother-in-law, who is much better at the girl thing, and I get along best of all when we're both extremely drunk.

So there you go, too much information about my psychological hangups. I should just get over myself and go, huh?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wax Philosophical

I could, but no. I'm feeling all babble-ey. Babble babble babble. After almost a week of feeling not full of words at all. Now, lots of words, just not useful ones.

The moon is waxing. Good enough?

First I am sad because I can't make it to the ASK hookup in L.A. this weekend. I had this crazy insane scheme of flying down there and crashing the party with some Kahlua fudge. I was looking forward to actually meeting some of these cool people in person, despite that I am terrified they would think I was boring and annoying and a killjoy. The Scheme was not so crazy, really, because sometimes Alaska or Southwest offers these last minute el-cheapo plane fares, but there was no joy in Mudville for this weekend. So. lame.

Second I had hot pot for lunch (shabu shabu - uh, like the scene in Lost in Translation where they are at the restaurant and she says "you have to cook your own food? This is the worst restaurant ever". It's really pretty good ("really" "pretty"-- arggh, SUCH descriptive adjectives), like a cross between a buffet salad bar and fondue (broth, not cheese).) But I go there with these coworkers and they are very snarky and bitter and really I can't take so much cynicism right now so I can only handle lunch with them once a month or so. This also makes me sad because I miss eating lunch with people, but people don't seem to do it here (except snark group).

Third, Faina is blocked and I wove in the ends. The alpaca was more slippery for end-weaving than I was expecting. I didn't use Russian joins because they look like ass when I do them for most yarn. The blocking really evened up the stockinette but did nothing for my somewhat wonky decreases. I'm over it.

Third.5: I am afraid of The Fringe, which I have never done before. I am afraid I will be VERY ANAL about the length of The Fringe and position of the knots.

Fourth, I'm inexplicably reluctant to just forge on ahead with the whole blog hosting thing. What am I scared of?

Fifth, Spring proceeds apace. My peas are up. HOORAH! Still waiting to see if the Echinacea seeds are a complete bust.

Sixth, Wen sent me yarn and other cool stuff! Fabulous red Lacey Lamb that I have been lusting after for ages and ages. She also sent a plethora of fabulous things (the candy is already gone gone gone). I was floored when I got the box. I gotta post pictures. Thank you!

Seventh, Zoe sent me yarn too! Floored #2! It's wonderful, wonderful Socks that Rock, a whole other skein to finish off the Pomatomous socks (and another pair after that, there'll be plenty left over), and TWO (2!) other skeins in a gorgeous pinky-peachy-brown. Thank you!

Eighth, I have news. I sold a pattern I designed! I'm still reeling. I'm working on the sample now.

Ninth, messing about with the camera. This one was the best of the bunch. I think I look kind of worried.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Woop woop!


I cast on for some socks last night, my own pattern, and worked more than an inch and was just about to start the pattern when a big yarn mump appeared before me. One of those big unspun bits that you can NEVER disguise. I'll have to cut the yarn and start over.

However, I DON'T CARE, because it's FRIDAY! HOORAY!

And it was actually a productive day for me, AND the weather is GORGEOUS today (hello, sunny and 65 degrees), AND I will be walking to a microbrewery for dinner tonight, oh yes, I will NOT BE DENIED. The air is perfumed with the scent of jasmine and sweet box and weigela and the birds are... well, the birds are asleep, but the possoms and raccoons are trundling about.

Even wild blackberries look beautiful when they're popping out new leaves.

Aw, the hell with it, I'm in a good mood. Let's post another flower pic. Call it dye inspiration:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mental Meh

It has been a loose ends kind of week.

The Daylight Savings Time switch, better known as Jet Lag for the Entire Nation, did me in. I still haven't caught up. Every day I have to rip myself out of bed and I'm just not feeling like negotiating with the universe today. I'd rather have stayed in bed.

Every day's work feels like more and more pedantry. I'm proud of my efforts and I like to do a job well, but lately it's hard to make myself care. Yo ho ho and a bottle of ruination.


Faina's main body is DONE. Woop woop! I cast off Tuesday night. Now she just needs a block and some fringe. Block and Fringe! It always sounds like "lock and load" in my head. I think block first, then fringe, but I have never done The Fringe before. I might have to re-do the cast-off first, it looks a little too tight.

Now I'm casting about trying to figure out what's next. What with my lack of concentration and just general flightiness lately, I really want something IN PROGRESS RIGHT NOW. Something I do not have to think about. Lace is fine, lace can be Follow-The-Charts,-You-Automaton which is great because I still feel as if I'm accomplishing something even though I'm plopped on the couch, vegetating. Geez, I haven't even felt like starting the new video game K bought lately.

There are several things I *want* to do, and several UFOs, but I just don't feel enough energy to care. And I need a new commuter knit, dammit. K's raglan needs some love, and there's a partially finished baby sweater that looks at me sadly from the knitting basket. I've thumbed through sock recipes and everything is looking distinctly meh (it's just me, they looked a lot better pre-loose-end-period).

BAH. Need more braincells! Send neurons fast!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Looking for Yarn in All the Wrong Places

Thank you for the suggestions on what to do on the Pomatos. Heh, signature orange toe. I would feel better about doing that if I hadn't already finished and woven in all the ends on the first sock. Also I might be more inclined if I happened to have some complementary sock yarn lying about, but I don't. I may just suck it up and buy another skein. I can always just make another pair of socks, some plain vanillas that don't slurp up as much yarn as do all those twisted stitches in the Pomatomus.

I'm flirting with an idea right now of making a need yarn/got yarn website. It would superficially similar Good Yarn Karma, but allow you to post requests for specific kinds and dyelots of yarns that you needed. The site would also also allow people to offer extra partial or odd balls for swap or payment.

The site would be MUCH less hands-on than Good Yarn Karma, as I don't have that kind of time in my life. Instead of a blog, it'd have a more automated format: submit a request or offer by form, then let people respond to that request or offer. The site also would NOT be involved in arranging and guaranteeing payment and shipment -- it would only help connect the yarn-less with the yarn-enabled, who'd then figure out their own exchange. There'd be a search functionality so you wouldn't need to comb through all the posts to find something.

It'd be somewhat like the skein list that yarn store owners keep. The goal would be to connect people with extra skeins with people who need them. I see requests all the time for needing just one extra or partial skein of X in dyelot Y. What do you think? Would such a service be useful? Or would it be unnecessary or easily abused?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I didn't make it.

And not even close enough to just fudge the decreases.
Anyone got about 10 yards of Socks That Rock lightweight in the color Puck's Mischief?

Yeah, didn't think so.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Night Sock Smackdown



LameSockKnitter Co. Presents:

The End of the Sock

Big Alice & her Pomatomus socks go HEAD TO HEAD! You've NEVER SEEN this kind of action!

Marvel at the 24 decreasing rows left to the final sock -- only the toe to go!
Gasp at the dwindling yarn supply!
Wonder at the seething inner passions and denouement of the Pomatomus socks!

Will she make it!? Will she complete the pair with a SINGLE SKEIN of SOCKS THAT ROCK?

This Friday night only! No repeat performances!

We'll sell you the whole seat, but you'll only need THE EDGE!


I don't think I'm going to make it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Roses, before and after

These are kind of bigger-than-normal images, so click for bigger. I apologize that they're somewhat hard to see, too.
Roses, before prune.

Roses, after prune.

(The stuff underneath is St. John's Wort, which grows wild here. I like how it looks and I REALLY like the big yellow blossoms in summer, so I let it be)

They look decimated, don't they? They actually prefer it and will grow much better and stronger after this. Pain in the bazunga to do it, though. Just because I imagine I can hear plants screaming.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Whole lot of nothing

Roses: pruned
Faina Scarf: slightly over halfway (about 20 rows into the 3rd main chart)
Floors: vacuumed
Tasty Sunday Brunch: consumed
Yarn: fondled
Guest Room: cleaned out of all the junk that accumulates there.
Studio: disaster area
Weather: too nice to be stuck inside today.
Peas: pre-sprouting

Hmm, I guess I accomplished more than I thought I did this weekend.

Ugh I hate pruning roses. The inner perfectionist makes a play for dominance and I spend hours squatting down looking for outward facing buds and agonizing over which branches to cut. I like roses and all but I once read a quotation calling roses the "Poor sickly children of the flower world" and boy howdy do I resonate with that. They get EVERY disease. I think the black spot and rust is endemic now. And the camellia is trying to eat the red one (perhaps because the camellia is also red?).

On the other hand, the blooms are nice and my goodness you can cut those suckers down to nothing and they don't care, they LIKE it. I always feel like I'm decimating the roses when I cut them. Ha. Sickly yet tenacious. It gets easier to prune as I go along, once I get the first few thorn puncture wounds.

I didn't put them in, we purchased the house avec rose bushes, and when I first hit the Net trying to find out to prune them - HA HA HA. Because every pruning manual ever written assumes you have perfect new roses and not hoary old things with stems that are inches thick. INCHES. I have to use a saw to cut things out sometimes. No way can I form a "perfect 5-fingered open hand" or cut them down to 1 foot. So I just kind of try to thin them out, cut them down to not very tall but generally not into the old wood. Whatever. Only one's died on me so far. And that was probably from the black spot, rust, and lack of light. Yeah, for sure. Not me at all.

The old(er) previous owners had a Thing for Pink, as ALL of the flowering things in the backyard are pink (except the lilac, which I think was planted after the era of the pink-lovers). Roses? All pink. (And all hybrid teas. FEH). Rhododendron, azalea, even a Mountain Laurel (Kalmia) - pink. Let us not forget the pink tulip bulbs. Oh yeah, and except for the hydrangea. Which can be made to bloom pink.

I gotta go to Powell's technical tonight because Microsoft is making my life HELL and it'd be nice to know why, and please please please to make it stop.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Public Knitting

It's raining today (as it has been all week, not to make you think that the weather's unusual), but it's heavier than a drizzle and steady and the air is completely saturated. I wore my full hazmat raingear to walk to work today: 100% waterproof ripstop nylon, baby, and none of that breathable crap either, that stuff leaks after 10 minutes. I may make a dorky swishy sound with every step, but by heaven and hell I'll have dry jeans.

Some extremely stoned-sounding man on the train today said "Yo, what you knittin', bro?" He then apologized once I turned around and revealed my gender. I displayed the current sock and described its sockiness (I'm used to the excuse-me-sir by now. I doesn't annoy me, I'm kind of big and it's any easy mistake. What pisses me off is that the catalog for Patagonia had many women's clothes that crested in a size L but their men's clothes went to XXL. Thanks, Patagonia, I see there's no double standard AT ALL). He told me his grandmother had taught him how to knit a long time ago but he'd kind of forgotten. I should have encouraged him to knit again but I wasn't feeling very chipper this morning and I don't think on my feet quickly, especially in the morning.

Now that the current sock has its heel turned, it actually does look like most of a sock and not some stylin' fabric tube. Which is a boon to identification during random train encounters. That makes 2 this week, a bit of a record: Wednesday was the "Oh, look at YOU! You're doing needlework!" lady, who really was quite nice despite how she came off in that exclamation.

My favorites were the teenage girls who were completely engrossed in what I was doing. They kept asking these questions in awed voices. And people, I am not cool. I do not look cool or sound cool or act cool. But they thought my knitting was cool. There's a reason why I stick with DPNs--makes me look like some kind of badass look-what-I-can-do-with-toothpicks knitter.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I'm flattered by all of your attention in my Random Things I Like list; it was fun to compile. Run with it, I love reading all your lists! I get these great mental pictures reading them, like Pacalaga sitting on the deck and scratching her dogs' ears and laughing with her kid.

And nah, I'm not terminally depressed, it was just a bit of a cold grey day and I'm doing something at work that isn't exactly attention-grabbing and I was (ahem) daydreaming a bit since Spring's been a kind of fickle mistress this year and keeps tease, tease, teasing. Hey, I stayed late afterwards. Also, I can't seem to stop writing as if I were a nature-obsessed prose poet. Shoot me now.

Kristen made an impassioned plea to escape the tyranny of blogger comments and use haloscan, but I've just been too damn lazy to figure out why I don't have the necessary options on my interface. Or even to switch hosting. Um, yeah. Maybe this weekend?

She also pointed out this awesome little utility which will generate email-me pictures so as to foil spammers. How cool is that? However, I'm going to keep my pleasantly techno-crude current image for now, mainly because it made her laugh :)

Carol, if you're ever up in Oregon, or I ever happen to be in Florida, we're on for a Twilight Zone marathon. Yes, we've got stars at night here (when it's not cloudy. Which is a lot of the winter), though not a whole lot. It's still in the city-ish, but it's not that big of a city.

Thanks all for the comments on Faina, I appreciate the love.