That's Where the Broken Glass Comes In

Have you noticed that often the tasks we assume will be easy turn out to be the biggest headaches? That's how it seems, lately. Maybe it's because Mercury is in retrograde. I write that as though I understand astrology, which I don't. For example, one of my college friends was in town last weekend for a conference. We made plans to get together for drinks and I put him on the comp list. Easy enough? No. He was shanghaied by the organizers (who don't seem to have organized shit), dropped off without any idea of his location in the pouring rain. So, no drinks, no show, and some anxiety and disappointment for both of us.

The price of gas has dropped in my area, to the difference of $10 less for a full tank than a few weeks ago. This drop has basically negated my financial incentive to take public transportation. I love driving my car. It goes conveniently where I want to go, unlike the RTA, and in a more timely fashion. That said, I kind of need the knitting time to work on all of my xmas presents.

On the present front, I have already finished one pair of socks. Swift progress is being made on the second pair, possibly because I am knitting them out of sport weight yarn on size 4 needles instead of sock weight on size 2s. Much faster. The second pair of socks are for my grandfather, who cares for them so dutifully that it inspires the making of more socks. The yarn is Claudia's Handpainted Yarn, which I believe to be dyed on a Louet Gems Sport base. It's really cushy and the colorway, A Walk in the Woods, is incredibly beautiful yet masculine. I originally bought the yarn to knit socks for myself, but since the socks are too large for me, the temptation to keep them is nil.

I'm still trying to sort out gifts for the other people on my list. It's been a steady rotation of hats and scarves the past few years, which is easy but wearying. A knitter can have a hundred scarves, but most non-knitters don't think along those lines. So, I'm thinking of committing the ultimate craft sin: matching sweaters. Well, sort of matching-- the same pattern, but different colors and yarns. This sounds very ambitious, I admit, but the pattern calls for bulky yarn and large needles. I'm talking myself into it. I'm also trying to do all of this from stash, which is kind of tricky. My stash is spoken of in whispered tones of awe, but I am often hesitant to divert yarn from its originally intended project. So, I've been thinking it over and have decided to destash a few things. Well, swap them with other Ravelers.

As for the blog redesign-- I've decided that I like it. It's just the right amount of quirk, without being too busy, and not too serious. The perfect design for New Yorker reading, Mac using, occasionally acerbic bloggers like me. Or as Tyler would say, bloggeuse. This wasn't the type of design that I had in mind when I went looking for a new one late last night. It was a monumental screen suck begun when I admired the redesign of another Raveler's blog. Of course, I had to look at scores of designs before going back to the first website I visited.


Oh, Fall. You trick me every year. I love your crisp, clear days, the colorful foliage on the trees and underfoot, and the return of sweater weather. All of your romantic, golden light makes me want to walk through Central Park and drink raw cider. I used to fall in love in the autumn. It seemed so full of possibilities. I'm a little more world weary now. Fall's great sucker punch comes around every year: grey, rainy days, and that annual drop in serotonin levels that I frankly don't need.

It's been really rough lately. I wrote a very self-pitying post that I decided not to upload to the blog last week. All of that negativity was too much. Everything gets under my skin these days: people on public transportation, public transportation, constant technical problems, waiting for itunes to recognize my season pass for Mad Men, being broke. Ideally, I would stay in the charming bubble of my car, cozy in my heated seat, and listening to NPR. Instead, it's been the RTA lately. It gives me an extra couple of hours of knitting time a day, and my ipod and I have become best friends.

Must knit. Must knit quickly. Must knit ever expanding list of xmas presents and warm garments because it's Fall. It's hard to balance my desire to knit sweaters for myself and my need to get things done before xmas. I discovered today that one of my few remaining commercially made sweaters has a developer stain on it, so I feel a real urge to knit myself a cozy sweater. Fortunately, I have one in the rotation. In contrast to the tiny needles and yarn of all the gift socks, the sweater knits at a cool 3.5 stitches to the inch on size eleven needles. It's wool, dyed a semi-solid green, the bright sort of green used in children's books for happy caterpillars. While pawing through my stash the other day, I discovered that I'd also bought unwittingly bought the same color in a worsted weight. You'd never guess that green is one of my favorite colors, would you?

I did something unusual the other day. I took a big swing at the hornet's nest and had a political discussion with my grandparents. I'm a dyed in the wool democrat and they're republicans, you see, so we don't talk politics. I was curious. This election cycle could have--should have--prompted meaningful political discourse, but instead we've been bogged down in the cult of personality and the parsing of speeches that would make Lacan weep. Everything is so polarized; no one seems willing to hear the other side. Well, that is precisely what I did and it was very interesting. There were no raised voices, but real discussion of the issues. My grandfather was impressed by my willingness to listen to other points of view. He didn't change my mind and I doubt that I changed his, but it gave both of us a new perspective. I'm not suggesting that everyone go out and hug a Republican, but I think that we can all gain from taking St. Augustine's advice. Let's try to take a larger view of things for the next two weeks. Let's be excited about the political process. Let's treat the right to vote like a privilege, because it cost men and women their lives.

My mom recently returned from a trip to Canada. You know, where hippies and Democrats flee. I think Canada is neat and wish that I could have gone on a shopping trip to the big yarn shops in Toronto. Toronto! It's the mecca of all things wool. I hinted at a gift from one of the shops there that has its own color of Socks that Rock, but maybe I should have been more explicit. I'm not ungrateful for the souvenirs she brought me, but it did smart when she said that she didn't bring back any yarn because I have all of the sock yarn in the world. heh. Maybe she's taken a peek at my stash on Ravelry. I have a ton of sock yarn. Well, more like several kilos, but considering how rarely I wear socks, it may as well be all of the sock yarn in the world.

I had the most heavenly brunch last Sunday. I can't remember the last time that I ate a brunch like that. I was a food critic friend's plus one at Shaw's Crab House. Now, I may not seem like an obvious choice, given my total aversion to all fruits de la mer, but it worked out quite well. There were many things for me to eat, enough to fill my hollow leg with the best bacon ever, sublime potatoes au gratin, and beef tenderloin. The service was impeccable, so discreet that I lost track of my coffee consumption and drank entirely too much. I also drank a damn fine blood orange mimosa. Normally, mimosas are a dumping ground for cheap champagne-and not enough of it-but these were a little tart, a little dry, and full of good bubbly. I wasn't sure that I would like Shaw's, but I really enjoyed myself.


Sometimes I Should Quit While I'm Ahead

After writing about psyching myself up to finish my long lingering UFO, I started work on the sleeves. I even finished one of them. It was after starting on the second that I realized I'd made two mistakes. 1. The second sleeve was definitely a different color than the first. Since this yarn is veil dyed, that shouldn't be so obvious. 2. I accidentally skipped a few decreases in the sleeve, having misread the pattern and run the risk of running out of yarn. I took a deep breath and started frogging. Both sleeves have been ripped back to the decreases in question, which was a big pain in the ass. I'd dutifully alternated between two skeins of yarn, so I couldn't just pull mindlessly. Now, I can correct the baggy sleeves and do a bit more color mixing between the skeins, but it might be a nail biter on the yardage.

This morning, I was chillaxin' in bed, trying to save my strength for the evening, when I heard a knock at the door. My doorbell must be invisible, because no one ever uses it. Apparently, some dick in a van who works for the town where I live was driving around writing notices. As in, we've noticed that your grass is too long and you must remedy the situation. They gave me a single day. I'm still not 100% and I have a large yard, some of which had not been mowed at all this summer. I'd like to claim that this was due to my love of wildflowers, which were plentiful, but mostly it was laziness. Thinking unprintable thoughts about the local government, I mowed and mowed and mowed. Insects bit me and the sun shone oppressively on my pale skin. I felt like I needed to lie down. Miraculously, I did not need a scythe to take care of the back yard-- though I didn't go all the way to the back where the poison ivy is. I was full of self-pity, aches, bites, and had an unnaturally rosy tint to my cheeks. Then I realized, the town doesn't care that I'm sick. It's especially inconvenient for me, but unlikely to get any kind of extension out of them. Then I thought, what if I had a 9-5 job, which would leave me even less time to attack the problem. Also, my backyard is not visible from the street. That creeped me out.

I'm having a bit of a relapse on the sinus front. Now I feel stuffed up and a little wheezy. That could be from allergies, which were certainly taunted by all that yard work. My ears feel like they're stuffed with cotton, like an aspirin bottle. That made troubleshooting a new mic very challenging. Fortunately, everyone was very nice about it, but it frustrates me. The next couple of days might not be the best time to ask me, "what's that sound?". I'm going to go another round with the decongestants and try to get some rest.

There were a couple of good things that happened today. I set up my first swap on Ravelry! I am trading a skein of Mamablue Sea Merino yarn for a skein of Madeline Tosh! I'm sure that both parties think they are getting the better end of the deal. I really like the Sea Merino base yarn, but the pink color turned out to be kind of ho-hum in person. The Madeline Tosh yarn is gorgeous (I googled, as well as looking at the provided pics) and green. I love green.

I also bought cheap gas today. Cheap gas sounds bad. I found a really great price for gas, thirty cents cheaper than all the stations near me. Some would argue that driving out of your way to get a better price on gas doesn't really save you anything because of the fuel consumed getting there, but I spent $3 less than I would have buying from the price gougers down the street. Regardless of the price of crude oil, their prices remain the same. High.


I meant to update sooner, but I've got half a head cold. Or maybe it's sinusitis. Sunday night, after a long, inconvenient commute home on public trans, I felt an itch in my ear. Not the kind that can be soothed with a well-aimed q-tip, but an itch behind my ear drum. Monday, I awoke a mess. My sinuses may be my Achilles' heel. When they hurt, I am useless. So, I made my way to the local Walgreens and bought some sinus drano, which required a state ID. Thank god I finally replaced my old, broken in half license. Still, if a person has liquids issuing forth from their nasal cavities, can't you assume they're not going to use the one box of decongestants to make meth? The drug in question "may cause drowsiness", which is a crazy understatement. It knocked me out cold and I awakened miraculously in time to take the next dosage. So, I slept through Gossip Girl, No Reservations, and any other thing I might have wanted to do in the past couple days. I'm not complaining--it worked. I can breathe through both of my nostrils now and don't feel like my head may implode at any minute anymore. Fucking sinuses.

Yes, I finally replaced my driver's license. The last one was issued in 2000 and looked it. Really, it was fine until this year, when it cracked. The crack spread until the license was in two pieces. This does not amuse bartenders, and it occurred to me that it could cause trouble if I were pulled over for speeding. I suppose I could not speed, but that would be a waste of fine German engineering. After getting my hair cut last week, I snuck off to the secret Secretary of State express office and got a new license. The picture still looks like shit, but my hair looks great. Some time in the past eight years, they redesigned the licenses in Illinois. My new, legit driver's license looks like a total fake to me, even though I know it's not.

The hair. It's short. This is the shortest that my hair has been since my mom forced me to get a pixie cut in kindergarten. I wouldn't want it any shorter, since this is still a bit of a shock. My previous haircut hadn't grown out very well. It was a mess, probably because I rarely did anything with it. Despite being shorter, the new cut is one that has to be styled. "You just have to get up ten minutes earlier," the stylist told me, which I found quite amusing. Some of my friends may think that I get up early and read the New York Times over a cup of coffee and toast. Really, I am possessed of the handy talent of waking up at the last possible minute. I'll have to train myself to wake earlier for a more high-maintenance morning routine.

On the knitting front, I finished the pair of socks for myself that got me through tech and have started my Christmas knitting. I am knitting a pair of socks in Socks that Rock for an appreciative female relative. I'm using the same pattern as my last project, so it's as close to mindless as anything with cables and seed stitch can be. Also on deck for the holidays: another pair of socks, in Claudia Handpainted Sport, a feather and fan cardigan in Malabrigo Worsted, a pair of wrist warmers in Dream in Color Classy, and a Tuscany shawl in Manos silk blend. Yes, that's an ambitious amount of knitting. Maybe even unrealistic. I've decided to take public trans instead of driving to work, so I'll have another couple hours a day to knit previously spent in traffic.

I'd love to squeeze in some knitting for myself as well, but I'm not sure that will happen. I picked up a long neglected UFO, a wrap cardigan in Dream in Color Classy, but it's fallen into disfavor again. I'm knitting the sleeves on dpns, picking up stitches from the body. It doesn't travel well. Lately, I just sleep, shower, and play on the internet at home, so little progress has been made. Maybe I have to psych myself up for a new sweater.

Maybe my body was ripe for the sinusitis because my sleep schedule has been all over the place lately. I don't get home until midnight, but I still do things like get up at 5.45 am to volunteer with my grandfather and his Kiwanis friends. Fortunately, Pancake Day is only once a year, because I am rarely aware of 5.45 am. I was the first volunteer to arrive, so for a good half an hour, it was me and a bunch of WWII vets standing over a griddle in a smoky tent. My theatre background really prepared me for cooking pancakes for four plus hours. Like a show, the pancakes don't care if you need to go to the bathroom, send a text message, etc. They cook when they cook and you work on their schedule. It was hard work, but I had a great time. I even received a compliment. One of the vets called me a hard worker! You really have to work your ass off to get that kind of praise from a WWII vet, so I felt honored.

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