Wednesday, May 31

Ancient Cultures, done!

It just goes to show you that craft anxiety is pretty much always for naught. Take this, which I received earlier today from my Ancient Cultures Swap partner:
Omg! I got it this afternoon when I came home from school. Thank you so much! The box is beautiful, and I love the craft journal! That is exactly what I need to keep the ideas somewhat organized, hehe ^^. The yarn is beautiful as well, I have to find something special to use it for, and the stitch markers and pin cushion are awesome. I love it all, thank you so much! I will post pictures this weekend when I can use my sister-in-law's camera — mine wouldn't do it all justice!

I will mail yours in the morning and send you the DC number. I have total craft anxiety now!

Thank you so much =)

What a relief! I always feel bad when I'm crafting down to the wire (which is, um, always). I'll have to post pictures soon. I'd do it today, but my camera is at home.

Now Fyberduck, no more swaps for a bit. Do not tempt me! I can't craft while I'm at camp. (At least not very much — we chase kids 24/7.)

ETA: In the time that I took to publish this (hey, I'm at work), she's sent it and my DC number. She's a speed demon!

ETA: Also, I found out the other day that my dad, of all people, is participating in a swap. Not a Craftster one, but a secret hosta swap somewhere else. Guess it runs in the family!

Tuesday, May 30

Sock starter

Crimson Mittens graph Websites as graphs presents your very own crimson mittens. What do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags
And they Flickr, too.

I seem to be doing a spectacular job at casting on for socks. In fact, I've cast on for four different pairs in the last couple of weeks, including one last night. The only problem with that is that I've been using the same needles each time, excepting the Hello Yarn skull socks, which are on US 3 and currently in a holding pattern while I rechart the skull for symmetry's sake.

I started Jaywalkers in KnitPicks Sock Garden (stargazer lily, I think) but stopped due to too many irritating mistakes — I probably shouldn't have taken those to see The Da Vinci Code. Then I started a pattern that came with the Genola Sunset yarn that I purchased from the GreenwoodFiberworks Etsy shop a month ago. I came to a screeching halt with that one because the yarn came in a hank and I didn't think to wind it into a ball before trying to knit it up. The yarn is now a half-wound, half-tangled blob. It's a gorgeous color, at least. The socks I began last night are from the pattern mimo's 2x2 socks, which I'm knitting in the sock yarn that Fyberduck gifted.

I must admit, I'm really itching to make some complicated Norwegian socks, but I just haven't gotten a pattern for them yet. There's one in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks that I've seen a lot of people do, and I think I may give those a whirl.

Aside from mimo's socks, I also began reading P.G. Wodehouse's Something New, which I purchased at a used bookstore called Far From the Madding Crowd, located in Valley Junction. You can read the book online at Project Guttenberg, as well.

As for today, it's been the most sluggish day ever. I feel like I've been here for five hours, not three. Oh, and the Letter is definitely a no-go for publishing. (I also explained that it's a form letter, which helped.)

Monday, May 29

Long post ahead, mateys!

Hold on to your hats.

Dear Fyberduck,

I wasn't sure how often you check your blog for comments, so I'm posting one regarding this post, thinking you might check here before there. (Also, the previous commenter was really rude, so I don't know that you'd even want to check that post again anyway.)
I heard somewhere that Night Crawler (well, Alan Cumming) decided not to be in the third movie, even if he were invited back. I think he said something about not liking the fact that his makeup took hours to put on.

Toward the end, when they're all visiting Leech (okay, visiting puts it lightly), and Jubilee (I think that was her) said, "The boy's in the blah blah blah part of the building," and my mom, who was sitting next to me, leaned over and said, "And the girls are comin' out of my bustie!" (Wow — is that really how that's spelled?)

And really, it is your blog, so you can be as self-centered as you want.

We watched Dress to Kill yesterday. Je suis le presedante de Burundi.

I've had Dorian on my mind a lot lately, mostly because it's sneaking right up on us. Everyone's favorite camp medic, who was helping the Queen of the Girls' Dorm with housing, called me the other day (while I was at a casino*) and asked if Beth and I would mind being roommates for camp. I didn't mind, as the room we'll be sharing is one of the gigantor ones (the east penthouse in Brandt, to the Luther-ites reading this). I didn't figure she'd care either. So now we get to be co-counselors again. I'm excited. We're such a powerhouse team. The kids must think we're nuts (like we're not!), but they love us.

So now I'm working up a list of things to buy / bring along. The lists begin like this:
    To purchase
  • shorts!
  • running shoes (to replace the ones that are for Curves only)
  • band-aids
  • tylenol / aspirin / ibuprofen
  • aloe for sunburns
  • die cuts (for wall decs)
  • batteries (camera, alarm)
  • food

  • To bring
  • alarm
  • fan(s)
  • bedding
  • beach towels
  • hand-knit washcloth(s ... I have to make another to make that plural)
  • toiletries
  • door dec supplies (Beth, I'm thinking an homage to squirrels might be in order)
  • small knitting projects, probably socks
  • fancy clothes
  • music for counselor recital (?)

  • To knit
  • water bottle holder
  • matching washcloth
  • messenger bag that isn't shaped weird

  • ... but they trail off around here.

Obviously I have more lists to make, and more rooting around in my parents' basement to do.

*The roommates and I went to Terrible's Lakeside Casino on Saturday. I managed to lose money (it took a while, since I was playing on penny slots), but they both made money. In fact, they made enough to buy a small window air conditioner for the house. Ah, cool air! And I only managed to get my finger stuck in the window once.

I've been pondering a response to the Letter, and now that I think about it, I don't know that we'll be able to run it. We can't run a letter that we received last week, because it's endorsing a political candidate for the upcoming election (on my birthday). There wouldn't be time for a response to that letter, should any arise, to go in the paper prior to the election, so we can't print it. And we couldn't have swapped the Letter for any that ran last week, as those all pertained to today being Memorial Day, and Come see the parade! and all that. (I'll also make mention of it being a form letter, and I think the padre will be fine with not running it. But that's business for tomorrow.)

I have problems with eating breakfast. If I remember to eat it (which is rare), I'm usually ravenous a couple of hours later (as now, when I had to grab a bagel after having had a bowl of Kix at 9:15). Sometimes it even makes me feel a bit nauseated (I couldn't finish my bowl of Kix this morning, though I can probably chalk that up to both the weather and hating milk in general.) In fact, I usually feel better if I don't have breakfast, at least until I realize that it's 11:30 and I'm really much more tired than I should be. Is there no happy medium?

Also, for my birthday I would like an iBook (with the SuperDrive), a yarn swift and accompanying ball winder, a camera that focuses properly and whose flash doesn't misfire, or, barring any of those, someone to pay off my student loans. Aaaand go! (I'm only kidding. Don't buy me anything for my birthday. I have enough stuff as it is.)

Let's not forget that today is Memorial Day, and remember those who fought and died for this country. But don't forget those who have fought and lived. They are just as important.

Thursday, May 25

Awkward situation #297

... and then some.

Is it just me, or does every awkward I-don't-know-you-very-well-but-I-think-I-want-to-kiss-you moment come with the phrase, "What would you say if I kissed you?" 'Cause that's fucking strange. (Okay, so that's only happened to me twice, and the other time was at least six years ago. All others in between were pretty much encouraged by alcohol.)

Other awkwardness followed, including getting called both prude and straight. That's what I get for trying to be nice, I guess. Nothing I particularly want to pursue in the relationship department, that's for sure. (Thanks, roomies, for bringing home another co-worker.) The whole situation dampened my mood enough to make my workout this morning kind of suck.

I've never really been a "dog person", anyway.

Ah well. You know what they say. Guilty feet have got no rhythm and all that. Well, perhaps if "they" were George Michael, they might say that. Probably not, though. That song's just been stuck in my head for days.

Anyway, I've purchased tickets for tomorrow night's 10:30 showing for "X3: The Last Stand". I hope there's another preview for "The Omen" so I can sound awkward again.

Wednesday, May 24

Another $20, another day

Bush is a war criminal Things are looking up, despite yesterday turning into what I'm calling "Monday Part Deux". I found this amusing $20 in the till and traded it for one of my own. I had to share. Mr. Jackson, after all, doesn't lie.

The Letter actually turned out to be the least of my worries yesterday, as we didn't have enough space to print it this week; Memorial Day items crowded it out, leaving me another week to think of a retort — coming from me, it would definitely be a retort as opposed to a response.

Thank you, those of you who left comments. I have taken them to heart and will ponder the topic fully this weekend, which looks to be my next chance of downtime. If you didn't see Chris' link in the comments, take a look. The code seems to be 1, 5, 4, 3-4-1-2-5 (all of the options for "paragraph four"). Talk about lame. A thank you to Chris, who was brought here all the way from Albany, New York, via Google. In the words of the great Eeyore, "Thanks for noticing me."

Tuesday, May 23

Rollercoaster morning

Not long after I'd been at work this morning, a woman came into the office to get a photocopy of an article we did a couple of years ago. The article was concerning her alpaca farm. She told me that they will have a live(!) demonstration(!) at the Covered Bridge Festival. I sent a very excited email to Fyberduck after she left. I thought that she would appreciate it most, after sending me the drop spindle and alpaca to play with.

But I checked my email sometime after that and found the following letter to the editor, which dropped my spirits considerably.
Dear Editor:
For centuries now, in every civilized culture, marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been the building block of society. But it may be not true in America for long — unless Congress approves the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Backing the amendment is not about bigotry. Marriage is open to any two individuals who meet certain criteria regarding age and blood relationship, and who are of the opposite sex. Gay activists seek not to end discrimination, but rather to completely redefine — and thus undermine — the foundational institution of marriage.

Think of the Marriage Protection Amendment as a shield between our traditional values and radical judges intent on forcing their politically correct agenda on our nation. Without that shield, it's only a matter of time until marriage loses all meaning — and social science data indicate children will suffer the most when that happens.

Efforts to pass such an amendment stalled in Congress two years ago, but we have another chance before senators vote in early June to convince them to do the right thing this time around.
The men and women we elected to serve us in Washington must understand these truths — and vote the right way when they take up the matter in early June. 
So don't delay: Contact your senators today and urge them to support the Marriage Protection Amendment when they vote the first week in June.
The Senate must act next month, when a vote is scheduled, to pass such an amendment.
We must help our senators see beyond the liberal spin and demand they vote the will of their constituents when they consider the amendment in early June.

And the best part is that she's one of our rural news writers. I just want to email her and say, "Sorry, no more news for you." Or tell my dad he can't print it. Or "forget" to put it on the page. But I can't. And I wouldn't, really. I can't even think of a heading to put above it that's not bitchy.

Argh! People really make me want to pull out my hair sometimes. I've got nasty heartburn now, too. Maybe I can think of a tactful way to refute it.

Monday, May 22

Movie Monday

Despite being unable to trek to Decorah for the great RadThadd drunkfest, I was able to have some fun this weekend. I got to see The Da Vinci Code, for instance. It was pretty well done — quite similar to the book, which I appreciated. (Ian McKellen, I love you!) But before the movie, I managed to do a little jaywalking (and jayfrogging, unfortunately). Until the previews came on, that is. After all, half the point of going to a new movie is to see the new previews, right?

Well, there weren't any that rang my bell, per se, except a scary looking one called The Omen. It's all antichrist-y and stuff. Guess what day it comes out? 6-6-06. (They're so clever.) I, being a dolt, said in a rather loud whisper, "That's my birthday." The people around us laughed. Katie shushed me, and I said, "Well, it is." And when I asked her if she wanted to see it that day, she said that since she's Catholic it would be a little too scary. Voodoo magic or something, I suspect.

X-Men 3 is definitely on the itinerary for next weekend. Two Ian McKellen movies released in two weeks? How can we be so lucky? (Kelsey Grammer's in this one, too. And Jean Gray goes to the dark side? Fabulous!)

Sometime Monday evening
Earlier I forgot to mention that Katie borrowed more Karaoke Revolution games from her sister — numbers one through three. We played a few rounds on each. I think my most memorable song for the night was "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" (The Darkness). It made me think of Dustro. Brie rocked the verysmallhouse with a lovely rendition of "Friends in Low Places" (Garth Brooks), and Katie's "Killing Me Softly" (The Fugees) was spectacular spectacular.

Friday, May 19

Friday I'm in love

Poppies ... Woo! Today's been an exciting day already. First I worked out, which was fun as usual. It's a nice way to wake up. And then, just after I'd jumped out of the shower, Katie called me and told me that their Jeep — the newer one, not Bullet, which is the one I usually drive — had broken down on their way to work (in DSM), and they needed some coolant, water, and rescuing. The radiator was leaking, and it looked rather like Niagra Falls had suddenly migrated to the Midwest.

We drove the car a few miles back, to a service station, where I met a very nice boxer (the dog, not the fighter) named Buddy. I wish Luka was born a boxer instead of a lab, because they seem a little less exuberent and less likely to jump on you.

Mr. Demitrios has a visit with Dr. Fisher, the veterinarian, this afternoon. I decided against the city vet because I've heard they're not too bright, and county vets because I'd need a car to get there. Dr. Fisher is just a few blocks away, which is helpful. It's such a nice day today, so I may as well go for a walk. And besides, I like supporting private practices, too.

An aside: It's been a while since I've had a kitten, and I forgot just how much they scratch. My arms and kneecaps (and shoulders, a little) look like a battlefield. Thank you, Burts Bees Res-Q Ointment, for providing a little respite.

Ah well, back to the grindstone graduation tab. By the by, it's poppy day for the American Legion / AL Auxiliary. Support your veterans. It's not their fault they had to go out and fight ...

Thursday, May 18

The name game

Unnamed Kitty, take ten"You should knit little boots for him ... then you can call him Puss ... in Boots!" I'm mostly certain that someone said that to me, though now I don't recall. It was either Beth, Brie or Katie.

Thank you for all the suggestions. I tried them out with the verysmallcat, and had the roommates read the narrowed-down list. I think I've finally settled on one. Well, two, I suppose.
The runners up
  • Bellerophon — too violent.
  • Grimalkin — a little too traditional. Perhaps if he weren't gray ... (Thanks, educand.)
  • Gryphon/Gwiffen — tempting, but no.
  • Merhaba — my mom voted for this one as well, but then went on to say that it sounds 'kind of like Mary Beth*', so no. (Thanks, HoJo.)
  • Parakalo — it sounds commanding (even though it means 'please').
  • Silvus — too dorky.

And the winner is ...

Demitrios Argentinos (pronounced with a hard G, as in sugar or gout, not as in Argentina). It has a rather lyrical and lilting quality, don't you think? Thanks, Fyberduck, for half of his name! I think I'll call him Demitrios for short, and Demitri for shorter.

I suppose I should have included Li'l Bit, as that's what Brie's been calling him. And Katie's been stuck on his name being Tori (after Tori Amos, because she has a cat named after Sarah McLachlan). But they weren't really in the running.

And someone, upon seeing my picture of said kitten on Flickr, posted him to The Kitten Channel. He's a superstar already! (Speaking of Flickr, has anyone else noticed how they've fancied up the place? It's very sleek and chic.)

I would just dye!
I've dyed my hair a dark-ish brown, thanks to Katie's leftover dye from last night. I think it's pretty suitable (for both of us). It's so nice to have short hair and be able to use others' dye leftovers. Speaking of which short hair, not dye — I need a bit of a trim.

When I checked my email earlier today, I found a message from
Dear Ms. Mittens,

Thank you so much for your donation. I am very excited for my students. I want to express my gratitude and thank you. This will help my students enormously with their learning process. I know my students will be very exited. Because summer vacation is nearly upon us, my students will be sending you feedback when we return in the fall.
Thank you very much.


So I clicked to the Butterflies in Bushwick page to see how far along they had gotten in donations. They're 100 percent funded! When I last saw the donor page, they were only at 32 percent. Someone must've been paying attention. Huzzah!

*Note: No offense meant to anyone named Mary Beth. It's a very nice name, just not for my verysmallcat.

Monday, May 15

Crimson's kitten

Unnamed Kitty, take one I got a new kitten on Saturday! He's absolutely marvelous, spunky, and unnamed. I'm trying to think of something knitterly to name him, but I can't think of anything. Shadow's out, because I had a cat named Shadow once ... and she died. I need a really grand name, because he's such a small cat. Maybe something like Bertrand, Zaniel (angel of Mondays?), Achlys (mist, darkness) ... or Gwiffen. Really, though, I need an idea. Leave some suggestions.

Unnamed Kitty, take five By the by, can I just tell you how glad I am that I took my camera home with me during lunch? So glad. You can see why in this picture — I got my surprise package from Fyberduck! Let's play identify items in this photo: unnamed kitty, three skeins (or is it hanks?) of alpaca roving, drop spindle, SNBN catwarming mouse, fiber of unknown content (it has a flax-ish, linen-ish, silk-ish texture ... or at least that's what I think), and two skeins of German sock yarn. You really have outdone yourself, Fyberduck. But now I have your address! Mua ha ha ha ha! Expect something wonderfully clever and fun ... as soon as I think of it.

(Speaking of Fyberduck, you simply have to go visit her blog and watch the video in this post, because it's the funniest thing ever.)

I worked on Topi, and had the brim done and everything, and then I decided I hated the way it looked. So I cut the brim off, being too impatient to pick the bound off stitches apart, decided to felt those pieces sometime, and am going to finish it sans brim. Maybe I'll add one on later, Headline News style.

Thursday, May 11

Thursday blather

And soon I will look away for a very little while, and when I turn back everything will have changed. Cheers to Brenna for such a shrewd observation.

I had intended to do a variety of things in this post, but have to work on the graduation insert, so those will have to wait. Posting miscellaneous photos was among them — photos of more yarn that I bought (bad!) and the two rows (which are now an inch) of Jaywalker ribbing. (On the sidebar, it says that they're for my mom, but I'm using Grumperina's jaywalk bigger modification.) I started Knitty's Topi last night and have the sides and brim to finish yet today. I'm using one of my new skeins of Cascade Quatro (which as far as I can tell is pretty much multi-colored 220) in a dark turquoise and grey hue.

Beth is here until Saturday — good times!

Monday, May 8

Insert witty title here

Exterminate! If you're into the Dr. Who series at all, you'll probably appreciate this game. I wish we weren't so short-handed today, or I'd play longer.


With all the road construction by the paper, it's very amusing to see how people react. For instance, I just watched a UPS truck park in a diagonal parking spot backward. Talk about innovative.

It's very difficult to get motivated to do stuff when you have lots to do. Grr.

Saturday, May 6


Sweat-a-lot, we sweat a lot! *clap clap clap-clap* Sweat-a-lot, we sweat a lot! (Sorry, I couldn't help it. We watched Care Bears II: A New Generation last weekend.)

But oh! I feel so good. Wonderful, in fact. Why? Just got done with my second (!) Curves workout, I did. (The first one was equally great, by the by.) I don't understand why I didn't catch on to this Exercise Makes You Feel Good thing before. HoJo and BoobaliciousB always used to go on Sundays after brunch, and I never understood why. But now I know ... the rest of the story. (Sorry — working out at 8 a.m. can do strange things to a body.)

P.S. I'm trying an exercise (the non-sweaty kind) in minimalism. Let me know if the new layout is broken, via comments or email or whatever.

Friday, May 5

Excuse me, sir

The other day I was at a book / music superstore, and was going to ask someone help me find a book for my dad (which was, confusingly, in the Literature section). Upon approaching the information desk, however, there was a computer where I could try to figure out for myself whether they had the book in stock and where I could locate it. I'm standing there, tapping at the keyboard and clicking around, when I hear someone on the other side of the desk say, "Can I help you, sir?" I, not being a "sir", took no notice, thinking he was talking to someone behind me. But then he spoke a little louder, "Excuse me, sir, can I help you find something?" And I looked up and watched his face go from inquisitive to sheepish to embarrased to walking away from me, muttering, "Sorry." Moments later, another person came over and located the book without once being confused about my gender. Perhaps it was the Colombia jacket? The red cabled newsboy cap?

People are just too funny.

To further prove my point, I was at Chez Target yesterday, perusing a nicely patterned suede pillow. I heard someone calling down the aisle, "Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?" I turned around and looked confused at her, at which point she said, "Oh, sorry. I thought I saw a nametag," and continued on her way. I was wearing a blue t-shirt, for the record, with Luther College Department of Classical Languages (and a tombstone) blazoned across the back. Since when do Target employees (excuse me: team members) wear blue?

Well, this man who works at Target better go off and do something besides play Flickr Sudoku all afternoon.

Wednesday, May 3

Manic Wednesday

Via the Harlot: Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis. Claudia is trying to raise $3309.06 — $1 US more than last year's $3300 — for their 150-mile bike tour. More details are on her blog, if you're interested.

Putting out the paper was very crazy today — it's usually here by 8 a.m. or so but, due to the new system, didn't arrive until 1 this afternoon. That's after yesterday's 12-hour workday. Beware, all ye who aspire to newspapery business. Long hours.

And on a final (and lighter) note, just a reminder that there are many things to consider when typesetting classified ads. For example, one should avoid hyphenating the word figurines after the g — especially in a garage sale ad — as people might get the wrong idea.

I'll catch y'all tomorrow after my first Curves workout. Woo!

Tuesday, May 2


Everyone likes being read to, or did at one time. I just started listening to a new podcast, CraftLit. Right now, through that podcast, I'm listening an excerpt of Pride and Prejudice. I've never actually read it, so I very much appreciate that someone has taken the time to read it aloud and record it. The excerpts are acquired from LibriVox, which has just become my new favorite website. Its tagline is the entirely fitting "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain". I'm all about liberation (and the public domain), so go explore. I'm downloading quite a few, so that I might listen to them when I'm not at the computer (think iPod, y'all who have 'em).

Monday, May 1

May Day

Today is the first day of May. It's also my mom's mom's birthday. (I feel strange calling her my grandmother, because she died before I was born, and my grandpa remarried some months after that.) Her name was Barbara Mae; my grandpa is convinced somehow that it's meant to be spelled like the month, but it's not. He told me not long ago, as we were admiring the Easter eggs that she'd used to decorate every year, "People used to call her Barbara Green, because she liked green so much." Barbara Green would've been much more fitting had her middle name been Jean. Not remembering that fact, however, I replied, "That must be why I like green." I doubt that the story is actually true. He's been raving about lots of strange things lately. I think it's the stress of his CHF, which is managing to stress everyone else out, too.

I took some lilacs to my parents' house today, to which I tied a small note after plopping them in a dime-store vase. I think my mom will appreciate them.

They always say that if it rains on Easter Sunday then it will on the next 7 Sundays. So if that's true then we have 5 more wet Sundays to go.
— snippet from a local news item