Monday, March 23, 2009

I am such a dork...

So, there I was. Saturday night, happily watching Doctor Who on BBC America. And suddenly a commercial for Graham Norton's talk show. With Greg Kinnear. And they mention that Greg's last has name has become a verb...

Well, heck! I knew all about that appearance. And that they talked to Stephanie, AKA The Yarn Harlot, and sent her a picture of Kinnear "self-kinnearing".

Between Doctor Who and Graham Norton were two episodes of "Ashes to Ashes" (which I enjoyed greatly). And... well... I was ready to go to be about half way through the first episode of A2A. And I knew, having stayed up to watch Graham Norton in the past, once I started that show, I'd watch to the end.

But... Well... It was THE Harlot! Had to stay up just to listen to her phone conversation!!!

I'm such a dork....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So, there I was thinking that the blogs I love to read are currently not getting updated with much frequency. And I was thinking that I was so missing them. Then it occurred to me that if I wanted to read updated blogs, perhaps (Just perhaps, mind you), I should update my own! Been quite a while, and quite a bit has happened…

Hospitalization. Such fun. My thighs stopped wanting to keep me vertical, and the express care doctor I saw was worried that it could be something very bad – Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Which, yes, could have been quite bad indeed. Luckily, I responded nicely to potassium being intravenously pumped into me, and all seems okay. I still seem to have some issues with electrolytes, and will have a follow up appointment with my regular doctor. After I get a bunch of blood drawn. And I have found a most marvelous sugar- and dye-free electrolyte replacement: It will be so nice not to have all that sugar and dye going into my system. I’ve had a couple of quarts so far, and it seems to be very effective. And it really tastes icky when I don’t need it. So, life is grand!

Single and available. Once again, I’m on the market. Guido and I talked and determined that we were both miserable and yet both wanted to remain friends. I find that totally awesome, because I do care for him and his son very deeply. And I would hate to lose his friendship – or his son’s. It was perhaps the gentlest and quickest breakup in my existence. I think we decided to split about 5 minutes into the conversation. And then continued to talk for over half an hour. Awesome. Sad, though. He really is a very special person, and I’m going to miss getting those big hugs on a regular basis. But, I’ll still get some hugs. Just not regularly.

Projects started and projects finished. And what is it with all this knitting I want to do? I’m up to my eyeballs in plans for making things. And I keep putting aside the complicated things for instant project gratification. Really have to stop doing that! One pair of socks that were supposed to be a Christmas present for 2008, that I wrapped on the needles!, ended up fitting my much bigger feet. So, I have started a second pair, having analyzed all the issues with the first pair that caused them to be too long in the foot. And made some changes that will make the work flow a little better for my sensibilities. I’m going to try very, very hard to get the Christmas socks done ASAP. Why? Because the first sock kit of the 2009 Tsock Flock is about to arrive and I want to knit it something fierce!! “Fearful Symmetry”. Oh, baby, what a sock!! And then I want to immediately jump into a sock in the same pattern, but a different color scheme – Panther in the Grass. Bertimus Maximus Tsocks! Evil Tsocks! Happiness and joy will abound!!

And now that I have my weekends back again, I’m going to try to kick the furniture creation and refinishing into high gear. What furniture? Let’s see… I have to strip a small rocker, a large rocker, a chair with arms and a small shelf/cabinet. Then, I need to repair the large rocker and refinish it. I won’t actually know what I’ll be applying until I see what the wood underneath looks like. The small shelf/cabinet needs another shelf and/or doors. The armed chair needs a wood finish and reupholstering, as does the small rocker. Just reupholstering, we have on deck a recliner, a Danish modern living room set, consisting of a couch, two chairs and an ottoman. I have a bench seat that needs a new cushion. Window treatments for 4 rooms. And (and this is really interesting), other than stuffing, I have pretty much everything I need to do all of them. I’ve had much of the fabric for a very long time. Very long. Especially some of the windows. And I just keep putting everything off, because it’s really hard to cart everything for a reupholstering job to my ex’s house. And it also seemed wrong to take a project with me that would consume an entire weekend. So, I just kept putting them off. “Maybe I’ll stay home next weekend…” I’d say. But I wouldn’t . So, the goal for the next several months is to get caught up on all the projects I’ve planned. Oh, I forgot creation: two blanket chests (2 sizes, from a single sheet of birch plywood) and a little writing desk that will be designed after the one my brother has in his house that used to be in my bedroom at one point (a family of 5 children – I think at least 3 of us had claim to it at some point in its life!). It’s just about the perfect size for my intended use. And I can hardly wait to design and build it. First, I have to get someone back in Pennsylvania to take some pictures of it so I can work on plans! My poor brother has a crazy job that can’t really been done in a normal workday, and is working at home a lot. So, I’m going to see if I can get my nephew to come through for me! Oh, please! I really would like to get that desk soon.

Why do I want the desk so badly? I want to have a little writing nock, and little space that’s just for writing, and not for getting online, or for eating, or anything else. I want to start writing again. (Yes, I may use the little net book that I’m using right now to type this blog entry to do writerly things, like type blog entries, but I have bigger writing fish to fry!)

I think it’s time to start The Artist’s Way again. Now, when I’m single. Now, when I keep having dreams that would make excellent books, but don’t follow through on them. Now, when my head is full of a ga-jillion knitting patterns that I want to make and write up. So, yes, it is time to be creative. To reawaken the creative side of me. To find that joy that I used to have when I would sit and write. And, yes, I can sit and write for a long time, as evidenced by this blog entry!

So, there’s a glimpse into where I am in the Universe. I’m looking forward to seeing how It unfolds!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oh. look! A blog entry! It has been a while, hasn't it? And my little blog is supposed to be a nice place for me to babble at my leisure. And I haven't been babbling much. Bummer, man...

Things have been up and down. We're going to gloss over the downs and focus on the ups, because it does make life seem a bit sweeter that way!

One nice little up - I broke down and bought myself a new portable computing device. Now, I know that I should have invested in a laptop, but so many of the ones I've found out there are way more computer than I need. I just want a little bit of power, not a huge honking chunk of it. (Well, no... world domination wouldn't be bad, so long as I had good underlings...). Enter the Acer Aspire One. This thing is so darned cute! The keyboard is wee, but it's not really that much more wee than the ancient laptop I had been using. So, not a problem. The screen is wee. Ancient laptop. Need I say more? And really it has a decent amount of memory and disk space. And I found out that, yes, I could connect to the internet via the Ohio University wireless network in my office. That doesn't suck. Not one bit. And, did I mention it's cute? I did try to mitigate the cuteness factor slightly by going with the metallic brown (they say it's copper, but...). Anyhoo, I'm typing this entry on the wee net book whilst relaxing in bed. Can it get much better than that?

Knitting. Oh my friend, my enemy. Somethings have gone really well with knitting, and somethings have gone poorly. And somethings which have gone poorly have in fact gone well. The socks I was knitting for my niece Ashley are now the socks I'm finishing for me. The foot seemed a bit long when I was working it, but I just kept going. Now that the heel had been done (and I made a mistake there by accidentally doing the heel flap in stockinette), I have found that the foot is in fact too long for a women's size 7 foot. But, it's just about perfect for a women's size 9. That would be my foot. Things I find that I"m not liking in the pattern: you're supposed to do slip 1 knit 1 on the heel flap, and continue the resultant ribbing-like pattern up the foot. But... there's an even number of stitches. So, there'd be a "purl" on one side of the flap and a "knit" on the other (corresponding to the knit and the slip, respectively). This does not appeal to me. Also after 5 rows, you're supposed to start ribbing on the instep stitches. Also an even number. So, I'm going to do a second pair for Ashley and keep these for myself. On Ashley's socks, I'm going to put an odd number of stitches where the flap and instep are (between cable patterns). And then I won't have these problems. I'm knitting most of the ankle on my socks in stockinette, and I'll figure out how to do groovy ribbing when I get there. I'm supposed to add a stitch in the cabe pattern portions; I think I'll just subtract one from the instep and "sole" stitches...

I haven't finished Dad's argyles. I think the fack that I have to start out with 4 frelling inches of ribbing is somewhat off-putting. But, I intend to get over that very soon...

So, what have I been doing? Playing. I knit another pair of camo mitts to replace the ones I left behind in a Subway restroom somewhere in Maryland. I knit a pair of mitts out of a really groovy yarn that had a navy chenille strand and a variegated eyelash strand for my friend Karen. They are lovely, fluffy, and toasty. I started a baby blanket for one of my office mates, because I could.

And... I started a net book bag! I'm kind of winging it on that one, since I couldn't find a pattern that mostly fit the dimensions I wanted (this sucker is 9 inches across its largest dimension!). A lot of patterns for knitted bags that I have are worked in stockinette, but since I prefer knitting to purling, I decided that garter would be just fine. And. I bought the knitting edition of Piecework. (Finally!!), so I have printed instructions for Portuguese knitting. Which is kind of funky and fun. I tried a couple of times, and it was okay, but not great. However, for some silly reason, reading the article and looking at the minimal pictures included (really... no cast on, just how to knit and purl), suddenly things clicked and made sense. And I even managed to do a knitted cast on! Anyhoo, by knitting this bag entirely in the Portuguese method, I hope to learn it. I'm having problems with keeping my right had relaxed. It's so used to doing so much of the work (I knit English style, just in case you were wondering). My right forefinger keeps wanting to crook to get ready to throw the yarn, which is the role of the left thumb in Portuguese knitting. And once that happens, I develop a death-grip on the yarn which really messes up the tension. But, I'm persevering! I'm going to do this whole bag via Portuguese knitting. So there. Nya!

I've also started working on other things I shouldn't be working on - mitts for a friend of Karen's (who saw Karen's mitts and thought they were awesome... and who has problems with circulation in her extremities, so these might help...). And I'm working on the socks that correspond to what my "students" are (or will be) knitting. Sort of. Corinne showed me a different heel turn which is very boxy but simple. And I think I'm going to suggest the the students use that turn rather than the tapered one I always use. Will I also do that heel turn? Only time will tell. I'm still pretty far from the heel flap right now.

I've also been smittien with the fountain pen bug again. I found a seller on eBay that has some dirt-cheap, made-in-China pens. And they're actually not bad at all. Bought two pens for the whopping sum of $2.49. They're nice and weighty, though the nibs could be a little smoother. Still, pretty decent writing implements. Also, from same seller, 50 cartridges of brown ink that will fit any of the fountain pens I own. Decent, though not permanent, ink. I'm digging it. I'm still waiting on a glass pen I ordered to arrive. Had to try it. Couldn't resist. And found a pen that came with two bottles of ink for a reasonable price. Also bought scented ink sampler. Hopefully, the synthetic scent won't mess with me. If so, then I already know who would like them!

There's still more stuff to write about, but I'm finding that I'm starting to get drowsy. The old eyelids are trying to close. And yawning has commenced.

But, I had so much fun writing this in bed, that you can be sure there'll be another blog entry soon!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

45 for the 44th

Wow. It actually happened. I actually saw it (sort of - the video of the feed was a bit behind the audio). I know the nation did not actually decide to give me the present of an historic occasion for my birthday, but nonetheless, that's what I received. I'm a little stunned. In a good way. I was alive for the first time an African-American became the Chief. What was it like to be alive the first time an African-American could vote? The first time a woman could vote? What was it like to be alive when slavery was declared to be at an end? I was alive for the end of segregation by law, but I was very young and it didn't sink in.

I hope to be alive when we truly look at a person and judge them on their actions, words, and deeds. And not by the color of their skin or their religious beliefs.

That is what I have been given. Hope. That this presidency will be the answer to all our problems? Nope. That the minds of my fellow citizens may open more, may embrace their fellow humans as equals. Yep.

And that...

That is stunning.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Losing Battles - with myself!!

Crud, this looks like a lot of fun. And I really need to learn a new craft right now. Yeah, like I need another hole in my head...

It's weird to look at something on line and watch two sides of me begin battle....

Side One: Weeeee!! Look at this stuff!!! Isn't that cool!! And I have that little square loom that I could maybe use for some of these projects!!! Or I could build a little loom!! No problem - I've had all that woodworking practice of recent!!!

Side Two: You have got to be kidding! Haven't you looked at the massive pile of unfinished projects? And don't you remember that some of those projects are to build things to help organize your overflowing craft/fabric/yarn stashes? Haven't you looked at the house which so needs to be cleaned?

Side One: But, but, but... Doesn't this look like fun? Can't I just maybe do one simple project? And I can use yarn that I already have, so I would actually be reducing the stash! That's sort of like cleaning and organizing, right? And think how much fun it will be!! Fun, fun, fun!!!

Side Two: Get a %$*%^ grip! You'd tear apart the house looking for just the right yarn, which is pretty much the antithesis of organization, and you know it.

(I think Side Two makes an excellent point, there...)

Side One: Just one? One small project? Maybe a bag or container or something to organize my life a bit?

Side Two: Really... something that would organize a part of this crazy world of yours?

(yes, this is where the tide turns...)

Side One: Sure! It'll be great!!

Side Two: Well...

Side One: C'mon... you know you want to see something done this way, too...

Side Two: Yeah, but... But... Well, okay. But, first you have to finish the Christmas presents that didn't get done. And clean the litter boxes.

Side One: Yay!!!

When will it all slow down? Never????

Guess what?!? I get to write about something medieval for a change! How exciting is that? Yes, sometime last year I got the hankering to teach at a medieval event. So, I offered to teach two classes in my favorite stuff: nålbinding and sprang. Yeah. The first weekend after all the Christmas running around is done (which is not saying the projects are done, just all the traveling), I’ve got to have my fecal matter assembled sufficiently to teach. Oops! What was I thinking?? Wasn’t I thinking that I’d have to finish Christmas projects? Oh, well.

I’d done precisely none of the prep work before getting home on Sunday. And everything seems to be taking a long time. Possibly because I’m a little wiped out. But!! But!!! I now have 8 sprang frames and I rather like this construction: ½” dowels used for the sides, glues into holes drilled into 1 ½” x ¾” boards. What I really like about the new frame is that I could take it to Pennsic in an unglued-state and easily glue them. I think that I could even let people glue the frames together themselves! Suddenly, teaching at Pennsic has become much easier – much less bulk to transport! All the handouts have been printed and collated. Just have to determine which yarn I’m surrendering and wind them. Then assemble the little kits to hand out.

I also have 9 cute little nålbinding needles. I rushed them a little, so they aren’t as smooth as they normally are. But, they are done. 8 teak (for the students) and one reddish wood (maybe redheart?) that I didn’t like at all until I rubbed in the beeswax. Ah, beeswax! Beeswax rubbed in with a little nålbinded “cloth” that had a lot of lanolin in it! Ah! Beeswax and lanolin. I’d love to be able to say that the printed material for the nålbinding class is all done, but I’m having some issues with my printer. I can’t complain too much, because it was free, and came with a full cartridge of toner. And it’s a laser jet, which I like better than ink jet. But, the darned thing keeps thinking there’s a paper jam when there isn’t. I know what you’re thinking – something must be in there somewhere. That’s what I’m thinking too. But, why, then, will it print 4 sheets before thinking it’s jammed? Open the cover, close the cover, 4 more sheets, “I’m jammed!” Seriously. This is way so annoying. Especially since each handout has 8 sheets printed on both sides (and the printer does not have a duplexing unit – I am the duplexing unit…). I’ve gotten halfway through the job (printed all of the “backs” of the sheets, now just have to print the “fronts”…)

2 more nights. I think I can pull it all together in two more nights. Better still would be pulling it all together tonight. But, I’m not going to force myself to do that!

And then, I get to work on getting ready to teach sock knitting. At least I won’t have to really jump into that for a bit – the first actual knitting session isn’t until January 20.

January 20th. Inauguration Day. My birthday. Should be an interesting day!