Last night was opening night. Opening night! We all live for it in theatre: the energy of the crowd and the free drinks at the party. The other great thing about opening night? The day off the next day. I've spent mine in an extremely glamorous fashion.

Today, I unclogged two of my drains and got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the bath tub. Sometimes simple cures are the best, so I mixed up a special cleaning paste for the tub: baking soda and vinegar. My inner third grader was tickled when I combined the two. Somehow, I'd forgotten that they're the primary ingredients in erupting volcano science projects. Probably because I never made a volcano when I was a kid. I mixed it to a pancake batter consistency and applied to tub. Then I got a little angry and gave the tub a good, Dutch scrub. A little bit of anger really helps when attacking soap scum, though my poor knuckles might disagree. The results have me pleased: tub de-scuzzed, without having to buy any fancy cleaners that can't be used in enclosed spaces.

You would think that I would work on one of my non-traveling projects, since there is no travel planned today, but I'm still plugging away at the Colgate socks. I'm almost at the heel, and I'd prefer to work that when I can give it my undivided (or at least less) divided attention. The progress is also helping me to stave off a bad case of Startitis. It's not cold yet, but a look at the calendar suggests that Fall will soon be here. Fall, the perfect time for cozy, wool sweaters, and the perfect time to start warm sweaters. I'll keep telling myself that I should finish some of my season appropriate UFOs. Maybe I will, when I'm not spending my days in luxury: yelling at the bank for changing my pin, going to the DMV to get a new license, challenging a parking ticket, and doing laundry. I can barely stand all the loveliness.

This morning, I was doing a bit of research online, when I discovered that I'm listed as a Chicago knitblogger on the Yarncon website. Links like these always strike me as odd (though I'm not complaining). I don't think of my blog as a knitblog. Sometimes, it's hard for me to work knitting into it because of all the other things that are going on. Also, I'm still getting used to the idea that people who aren't related to me (hi, Dad!) read my blog. For about five years, I'm sure that my readership numbered in the single digits. After I worked at a popular LYS and listed my blog through Ravelry, it topped a dozen. I'm not sure that I'll go to Yarncon this year, though I had a great time last year. Well, sort of. I am not in the market for yarn. I'll keep saying that until it sinks in. Also, I have a matinee that day and can't be rushed through fiber. So, I think I'll just send good vibes to Natalia and all of the others who work so hard to put Yarncon together.


Shiny Happy Beetle

I am sitting in front of my glowing computer screen, glass of Gewurtztraminer in hand, after the first preview of a fabulous little show. Maybe I've been staring at the screen too long, because my cat just did the "are you in there?" sniff of my face.

Some of you may recall the unfortunate run-in my car had with a concrete barrier in a parking lot recently. Volkswagens aren't made of steel like Buicks. The car got a little dirty (okay, filthy. Yellow shows dirt so much better than metallic tan) while waiting for the bumper to be fixed, as I was afraid that the undercarriage blast might dislodge the bumper screen entirely. Well, mellow yellow has been to the mechanic and the car wash and looks as good as new. Sure, the guys at the garage teased me about needing curb feelers (seriously pimp), but they also fixed it in less than an hour and charged me next to nothing. Now when I park, I leave some room for the holy spirit!

My tickets for the season have started arriving in the mail, which is very exciting. I've already had to give away one ticket, due to work conflicts, to San Francisco Ballet. I was really bummed, but I can't exactly skip last dress to take in some dance. I gave the ticket to a friend who really loves ballet, but rarely attends. All of my other tickets look good. There's plenty of opera and ballet ahead!

There's been a lot of political discourse around the theatre, which has been interesting. We're all Democrats, so there's a certain freedom to state one's opinions without fear of reprisal or disagreement. Sarah Palin has been an especially popular topic of conversation, which was probably the reason why she was chosen for the veep slot. She's a damned effective distraction from serious politics and important issues. I am horrified that she is running for national office and not because she gave her children horrible, made up "Scandinavian" names, or that one of them is knocked up (though the irony of that in light of Palin's abstinence-only stance is delicious), but because her politics are naive, insulting, and dangerous. She's a wolf in sheep's clothing. What kind of woman believes that abortion shouldn't even be allowed in cases of rape and incest?

I'm not very excited about Obama, but I can't wait to vote against McCain/Palin in November. I heard on NPR today that most people will vote as they did in their first presidential election for the rest of their lives. That really gave me pause, since I've yet to back a winning horse. Let's hope that changes, as I'd sooner die than vote Republican. Not too much danger of that in Chicago. You can still vote when you're dead here.

I'm trying to keep this upbeat, but lately I've felt pretty misanthropic. When I say it that way, it seems so much more sophisticated than "people suck". Not all people suck, but I keep coming across ones that do. Why must people park in front of the mailboxes when they are not using them? This has happened twice in the past week when I've need to mail something and it made me surprisingly angry. Yeah, it was inconvenient to have to get out of my car, but did they have to give me weird looks for using the mailboxes that were so close to their vehicles? I also got stuck behind some drunks in the McDonald's drive-thru. So selfish and careless to drive while drunk, but they also met up with friends (yes, in the drive-thru, in another vehicle. It involved honking and shrieks) and refused to pull up to the second window. Crazy.

Still, none of that was as irritating as being stood up by one of my friends. I felt like shit as I waited for them, unimportant and forgotten. Also a little angry at myself for putting myself in that position. It wasn't the first time they'd blown me off, but I was still surprised by the disappointment I felt. No apologies or explanations have been offered, and frankly, I doubt any will be accepted.

Now for some fiber talk. If you managed to get through all of the above, you deserve a little yarn time. Last weekend was Renegade Fest here in Chicago. Also torrential rain, which was not very conducive to shopping outdoors. My pal Bianca got soaked to the skin while merching for a friend, and I was pretty wet when I made my way back to the theatre. As tempting as curling up with a book or knitting busily on my Colgate socks were, I was on a mission to find Jennie the Potter. I'm a big fan of her buttons and spoke to her at Stitches about the perfect buttons to go with the Peace Fleece in my stash. She was tucked away in a cozy, dry tent and she had the buttons I wanted. She's really awesome and I'd suggest that you check out her wares. She makes fiber inspired pottery and distinctive buttons. She also has a tee shirt that says "Uff Da" on it, which is the height of nerdy chic.

The Colgate socks are flying along. The first one was finished during all of the hurry up and wait of tech. This involved a desperate phone call to a true knitting friend, Meghan, when I forgot how to do a sewn bind-off. She looked it up online and read off the instructions to me so that I could finish my sock and get started on its mate. She's a good egg. I'm really pleased with the patterning in the Ravelry colorway by Spunky Eclectic, but I'm not so sure about the base yarn. It already looks a little shopworn in the garment, and I've yet to wear it. It hasn't even suffered purse abuse, since it lives in the Pretty Cheap Bag that Carol gave me. Perhaps a quick dunk in Soak will revive it.

I'm also knitting a Felicity hat out of Dream in Color Classy that I bought at their factory sale. Now that I've started knitting with it, I understand why they'd pulled this yarn aside as seconds. It's not as squishy as their yarn usually is, but it's not horrible. Soon, it will be hat weather again, which has inspired me to start knitting this year's hats. Also, a few sets of dpns arrived in the mail from Knitpicks. Knitting hats in magic loop is such a pain in the ass that I finally admitted defeat and bought some dpns. Mysteriously, all of the appropriate sizes in my collection had only three needles. No good. My experience with Knitpicks' metal needles has been very good (wonderfully supple cables, great for socks), but I prefer wood for dpns. I don't want to kill my wrists. The Harmony needles are fabulous. Riotous to look at, but their finish is as smooth as silk. I definitely recommend them.

Now that I'm into my second glass of wine, I think I might lie down and listen to some old records. I'm listening to Jacques Brel a lot these days. He's really reawakened my interest in the traditional chanson.


Oh no

My local VW shop closed. The one that was near my house, had an awesome service writer, and never lied to me or dodged my calls closed last Thursday. I learned this today when I called to inquire about a maintenance manual for Mellow Yellow. I know that I wasn't keeping them in business, since I only bought parts there, but I planned to have a long relationship with their shop. I might even have bought a car there if they'd had one I wanted when I needed one. The salesman also made an unfortunate Hitler remark and called me a girl... Still, I'm sad that they've closed. I don't want to go back to the dealership where I bought my car, as they turned out to be tools, and I don't know the other VW shops in the area. Keep your fingers crossed that my independent mechanic can fix my bumper this time around, because I don't want to shop around for another one.

I'm knitting a secret project, so not much to say on the fiber front. My mom let me borrow her swift, so I wound two sweaters' worth of yarn into balls over at my grandparents' house. It was pretty amusing, the way they all sat there looking at the swift spin around. About as interesting as watching paint dry, I'd say, but my grandfather especially liked the swift. Apparently, the ball winder would be excellent for loading fishing line onto a reel. Or the swift, I couldn't quite follow. It's been at least a decade since I went fishing and I've never loaded a reel. The yarn had been in my stash for ages, but the weather suggests a cardigan as the next project. So, I wound eight skeins of Peace Fleece for an adaptation of the 28thirty jacket. I also wound some Malabrigo worsted the stash, that I'd bought on spec. It's definitely going to be a cardigan, because I have buttons to match.

This is the time of year that I start thinking about Christmas presents. Honestly, I'm not sure that I want to knit any this year. They're not appreciated* and I always end up giving people scarves and hats. You can only have so many scarves and hats. I have tons of them, but tend only to wear them for a single winter. Maybe I'll pull some from the collection to use as gifts....

*The not appreciated part sadly includes other knitters and former knitters. Example: the lace socks I made my mom for her birthday still sit sadly on her coffee table. Also, I made a cardigan for my grandmother last Christmas and she complained that it got saggy. She lost 40+ pounds, of course it looks saggy! It's too big!

I know that I sound really grumpy. I've been out of sorts for the past week or so, acting like a hermit. I've had to deal with two cat caused disasters. Which do you think is easier to clean up: a full bottle of laundry detergent knocked onto the floor by a rambunctious feline, or a full bottle of red nail polish patted off of a desk where the cat did not belong in the first place? I can actually answer that question, since these events happened within days of each other in my house. The detergent required floor swabbing and involuntary cat washing. The nail polish looked like a crime scene and caused permanent damage to the tile, involving the use of acetone polish remover in an enclosed space on acetate tile. It was a shame spiral. I've come to realize that the question, "why does it smell like ____ in here?" does not predict happy times.

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