Wednesday, November 29

Hump Day

The suckiest thing about being sick is that I've quarantined myself from all crafy endeavors until this plauge passes. I'm pretty sure I'm on the tail end of it, but it's very, very boring to sit in front of the television all night and vegetate. Especially when one looks slightly like a stoner due to clogged nasal passages.

I'm kind of wondering if Fyberduck's Rabbi perhaps took a recent a trip to Missouri to give this bug to my cousin. The symptoms she's describing (headachey, itchy throat, feeling cold) sound just like what I've been dealing with over the past few days. It's made the rounds in the family, too: my dad's had it, one of my brothers has it now, and my other cousin, who just flew back to Louisiana yesterday, took it with her (on the plane! not good to be flying with the flu going around).

The good news is that I'm feeling much better; I didn't wake up until almost 5 this morning, which is the closest thing to a full night's sleep I've had in a week. The rock-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling has lessened as well — it's almost completely gone. I still have a sore throat, and I'm afraid to eat much more than toast, but I think the end is near for this beast. That's a good thing, because these hand sanitizers are really drying out my skin. Ew.

In much more exciting news, I may get to meet a new Knitty friend this weekend, if our : shiarah from the Knitty Coffeeshop. We're thinking of meeting up at a LYS I haven't yet visited, The Village Knit Wit. Hooray!

Tuesday, November 28


It is so not a head cold. And of course, today would be Tuesday ... the other busy day of the week.

Monday, November 27


As has become custom with my family on the day after Turkey Day, we celebrated Black Friday by waking up exceptionally early and driving to the nearest large city in hopes of getting amazing bargains. I got a fair manner of cute things, but can't share most of them, as they will be gifted. I found a queen size sheet set for a mere $15, though. And soon the (accidental) pirate shrine will have a new fixture ... but it's technically a stocking stuffer from my mom, so I won't actually get it for a while.

I bought almost half a mile of worsted cotton for a stripe-y rainbow-y project, which I worked on during our round-the-town dala horse photo shoot. I'll have those photos soon, when my mom downloads them at home. I also got a bunch of random knitting notions, including cheap Balene II yarn bobbins, a discounted set of five crochet hooks (also Balene II, and discounted because one was missing), two US 5 12-inch circs (Balene II), and a new teal tape measure (the Yarn Harlot's right — they do disappear). And another (secret) small crafting project that I began last night, only to discover that I used the wrong color on a certain section and must rip out half of the work. Oops.

After the family spending spree, we took a "shortcut" that dead-ended at an orchard. There were goats in an enclosure near the parking lot, so we got out to visit them and take more funny photos. We visited two local cemeteries — one after the orchard and one on Saturday — where relatives are buried. And I got to visit my grandpa's sister, V, who has a knitting machine. She has been making and selling Christmas stockings, among other crafty ventures. She's pretty inspiring.

Today I'm trying to rid myself of the plague I seem to have contracted over the holiday (it's just a head cold, really, but it's severe enough that I briefly considered seeing a doc today). So forgive me if I sound odd — it's the clogged nasal cavity talking. I wish I could have stayed home from work to catch up on sleep, since I haven't managed to get a full night's sleep since sometime early last week, but it's Monday and Mondays are notorious for being busy.

The most irritating thing right now, aside from sounding odd, is that my ear hurts and my neck keeps getting stiff. Maybe Nilla wafers will cure that ...

So, aside from today's plague and the potato-induced drama this weekend (don't even ask), it's all good.

Wednesday, November 22

Eat me!

My cousin D is coming for an unplanned visit this weekend. And I'm going to spend quality time with my mom's side of the family. That might make me a little crazier. At any rate, there's knitting to be done. I won't be near a computer until Monday, so you can enjoy this Addams Family Values clip until then.

Get stuffed!

Tuesday, November 21

Ducks and beginnings

I have a work-related problem. I can't seem to start any work until I've read a few blogs. It's an addiction, and a scary one at that. Must. Not. Blog.


Fyberduck's posted a contest: knitting and ducks. I had a mini photo shoot this morning, until my camera's batteries died.

Ballband dishcloth: purl or die!

In the beginning
Or, the story of how I learned to knit. I can't remember anything terribly clearly; I've been trying to track down my old blogs and websites to see if I can pinpoint a date or month. I just know it was sophomore year at Luther, probably during the fall. It would have been 2002. I don't particularly know what prompted me. I did a little 'net research and somehow managed to find a site (who knows what it was? I just know it wasn't that had animations for casting on, and making knit stitches.

At first, I didn't understand that, when knitting flat, one must turn and knit back the other direction, putting the emptied left hand needle in the right hand and starting over. Instead, I decided to just knit back across the row. Now I understand that my technique was sort of a modified combination knitting. I imagine the stitches were twisted, but I have since lost track of that first project and cannot recall what it was. It must've been a scarf, though.

Eventually I ran across Stitch n' Bitch at Bookends & Beans, a combination bookstore and coffee shop up in Decorah. I thought it looked like a fun book, so I bought it. I remember reading it the first time, without stick and string in hand, and how everything started to make sense.

I remember being more obsessed during my junior year, and completely drowning in yarn senior year. (Friends can attest to the early stages of the addiction.) At such a rate of growth, I will probably need a large room for yarn and knitting soon.

Prompted by Fyberduck's own story.

Monday, November 20

Early digest

Friday, in order to welcome home the wayward roommate (okay, she was on a business trip), we three caught Happy Feet. I must admit, we mostly went to see it because it was the introduction of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix trailer. Unfortunately, it ended up being more of a teaser trailer than an actual trailer, but we did catch sight of Alan Rickman among other characters, so not all was lost. But those penguins were pretty much Adorable Flujo*, so I didn't mind.

I went to a one-year-old's birthday party on Saturday and ended up going to dinner with my parents and a few of their friends to celebrate a couple of different birthdays. Also, my dad turned 49 yesterday. Next year he's going to get something fun.

B's post-All-State visit, though brief, was fun. Her constant muttering of pancakes yesterday resulted in an unscheduled trip to WDM and Perkins. After bidding adieu, we three went to Valley West Mall, where I ran into a friend from Luther who's currently living it up in DSM. I got a few fun piratey things at a game store in the mall ... I hope to post them later this week to a friend on the east side of Iowa.

Since I was informated** about the Red and Green Gift-Giving Holiday getting mashed in with Turkey Day, I've been knitting Mason-Dixon washcloths like mad. I'm almost through a pair, and have one more to go. And I think I might work up a purple (bulky yarn!) drop-stitch scarf for a cousinly gift. Must stop at Ben Franklin on the way home for lunch.

How's that for news by 10:30?

*Sorry, inside joke for Dorians ...
** Typed that wrong, but it's pretty funny so I'm not changing it, bitches!

Thursday, November 16


For the past couple of days, I've had a word stuck in my head. I know this is odd; it is far more common to get songs or poems or other things rhythmic in nature stuck in one's head. But I, I have a word stuck in my head. And it's not that I've read the word recently, because it's not the sort of word one runs across at high frequencies. The word in question? Slattern.
slat‧tern – noun
1. a slovenly, untidy woman or girl.
2. a slut; harlot.

I know, right?* Such a strange word. Perhaps I ought to use it in a sentence to rid it from my mind: The town was rife with curious folk, and a slattern on every street corner. No, that may have made it worse.

build a bearrow
Captain Jack Bearrow

And friends, I give you the latest addition to my piratey shrine: Captain Jack Bearrow. (In all actuality, I named him Captian Jack Sparrow, but realized the error of my ways almost immediately and have re-christened him.)

I also purchased a copy of Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things, a new book of short stories and the like. It is indeed fragile, as the dust jacket is made of vellum and prone to wrinkling. I haven't cracked the cover yet, as I'm still drawn into Eldest. I find it unlikely that I pick up any of the other three books until I finish. It's become a rather surprising crack-like addiction. (C'mon, dragons and evil kings? Who wouldn't get sucked in?)

B is coming for a quickie visit this weekend after All-State, so I've got cleaning to think about and laundry to do.

And to answer The RHD, 1. saving is as saving does, 2. I don't think I've ever watched that show. It kind of scares me.

* Phrase used tongue-in-cheek. Don't get all up in my grill.**
** See above.

Tuesday, November 14


Today did not begin in an auspicious manner.

Also, I haven't gotten further in either of the two books I mentioned yesterday, as my brother finally retrieved Christopher Paolini's Eldest from a friend who'd borrowed it. That took precedence last night, as I was in a bit of a foul mood. Since the book begins with a recap of the first book's bloody end, it was a bit of a downer.

Today will be better lest I shoot it.

Monday, November 13

Stranger Than ... my weekend

If you didn't get the chance to see Stranger Than Fiction this weekend (with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson), here is my advice: get thee to a cinema. It was a very thought provoking movie, and unlike (I think) any of his other movies, which made it that much better. I think that a lot of people were thinking that it'd be a lot like any classic Will Ferrell movie — stupid humor (again, I'm only guessing). I have avoided like the plague most of the movies he's been in (excepting Zoolander, which I think is brilliant).

I am currently reading a couple of books, Brady Udall's The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. I've been very sucked in to the former and am on the second section, and barely begun the latter.

On Saturday my mom and I traipsed the Two Rivers Art Expo in Des Moines — I was merely there for eye candy and inspiration, but she whipped out her checkbook a few times. There was quite a lot of inspiration to be found. One paper artist I saw (from whom my mom has purchased a couple of times) had featured a few lines of a familiar Robert Frost poem: The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

Since I saw that particular piece of artwork, I've had Frost's lines running through my head. I think it may be one of my favorite bits of poetry, ever. Add that to the list so far: the last lines of The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats (which I rediscovered a few years ago when reading the inscription on a Ray Bradbury book), so much depends by William Carlos Williams, and others that seem to have fallen from my head at the moment.

And snow, while lovely at first, soon turns to slush and grey muck. And also, it's cold.

Friday, November 10


Save us, great Flying Spaghetti Monster! The sky is falling! Yes, today's the first snowflake sighting. (And here I am without a scarf.) I really hope it doesn't accumulate.

We had a photoshoot last night for the kittens. They're 11 days old now.

I want to go home and knit. Maybe then I can pretend the world isn't turning white.

Wednesday, November 8

Happy birthday, Dustro!

Hodie Dustro natus est!

(And I didn't need Facebook to remind me!)

Chet happens*

So Culver took Iowa — I can't tell you how relieved I am. Dems are in the House; Donkeys and Elephants are tied at 49 each in the Senate. (And that's the most political information I've probably spouted, ever! Except last night when I came home to a roommate watching CNN and local news. Then we talked politics for a bit.) Fyberduck, you better get ready to cast on ...

More later, when I'm not measuring the paper and working on labels.

* I can't take credit for the title. Todd Dorman, a Statehouse bureau chief, wrote it in the linked article. We recieve them every week. His work is clever.

Monday, November 6

The FO is out there

Despite waking painfully early (quarter to six) to barking and a strange dream involving sparkles and Elton John, today has been pleasant thsu far. It being before noon, it's hard to say how the rest of the day will turn out, but I think it will go well.

This week will be an exercise (ha!) in me walking to work, as the roommates are driving separately, owing to one staying much later than usual. I'm quite excited, as it allows me to break in my new shoes a little better and to enjoy the fresh and surprisingly mild weather we're having. As I walked in the door at work today, I glanced at the bank clock (the source of all my knowledge) and was rather surprised to see a balmy 49-degree reading. That was a 9 a.m. — I hear today's high is somewhere around 62 degrees.

On Saturday (mostly in order to avoid a possible domestic disturbance) I took a field trip to our public library, as I wanted some off-the-couch knitting time. I chose an overlarge chair in the corner by the periodicals (the quietest place, I have found). The chair has huge arms, which allow for the placement of several magazines or books, a pattern, and a silenced cell phone (in case I need to see the time). I started reading a couple of books, but switched to DIY magazine and Sky & Telescope, had been one of my favorite magazines for years. (Don't ask me why — I can't really understand all of it, but I can usually swallow the first few paragraphs of stories without getting lost in astronomical jargon.)

The project? Glaistig from the most recent edition of ¡The AntiCraft! Amusingly, I worked mine in a lime green shade of Cascade 220, quite similar to the photo in the pattern. While at the library I finished one full chart repeat and, realizing that it was after 3 p.m., headed home.

I wanted to know the meaning and pronunciation of glaistig, so I checked my faithful wiki just now to find this tidbit:
GLASH-tig: The glaistig is a creature from Scottish mythology. In most stories, the creature, is described as a beautiful woman with dusky or gray skin and long blonde hair. Her lower half was that of a goat, usually disguised by a long, flowing green robe or dress.

According to legends, the glaistig could serve in legend as both a malign and benign creature. Some stories have her luring men to her lair via either song or dance, where she would then drink their blood. Other such tales have her casting stones in the path of travellers or throwing them off course.

In other, more benign incarnations, the glaistig is a protector of cattle and herders.

I finished it yesterday morning (well, by finished I mean I'm skipping the band for now). I'm quite pleased with how it looks; the pattern is pretty seamless and well-written. I took a photo this morning, but it walked out the door not long ago, as we needed a free memory card to take photos for the paper. So, photos later.

Seussical, by the by, was brilliant. I went to the opening show on Friday and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I took one Knuck with me and worked on it during intermission, pausing to give a little knitting demo to the woman sitting in front of me. She'd turned turned around and made the usual exclamation at the number of needles I was using (5 DPNs) and said that all she'd ever done was garter stitch dishcloths, so I showed her the wonders of purling and cabling. I think we've got a convert, folks. And more reason for me to think harder about teaching a course on beginning knitting at the Art Center sometime. No real progress on the Knucks, though.

I did not end up going to Valley in WDM to protest the protestors for a production of The Laramie Project. I'm sure you can guess, even without checking the links, who was there. Thought about it, though.

Here's my first finished product with GIMP, just for Fyberduck. (Sorry it looks so ... dorky. I am at work, after all. And new to the program.)

Friday, November 3

Knucking about

Every morning for the past week, around the time the second person gets in the shower (perhaps 6:30-ish), I hear a low, rumbling growl. After a moment the growl becomes more intense, and suddenly bark! barkbarkbark! and I mutter something about strangling the dog and bark! and shut up! and then I can't get back to sleep, because I've realized that I have to pee.

Also, I just met Congressman Tom Latham.

And I do have photos of knitting, as proof I've been Knucking around.

Knucks on hand

See> It's all pretty. There are just gigantic holes where each of the finger bits meet, but that's what all those tails are for — stitchin' it up, baby!

Today's been a better day: no flat tire, no skirt, and it's payday. And I get to go to a musical tonight. Maybe I'll work on the stockinette bit of the other Knuck then so's I don't have to worry about shaping sans pattern and light. I didn't end up having any rum, for whatever reason.

And goblinbox, usually they'd do the same around here, but someone wanted to salvage the usable wood. Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that jazz. (Usually the Jeep's not so hard on me, but we had to put a new battery in it recently, too! Ah well. Good ol' Bullet.)

Thursday, November 2

An eventful day in a skirt

Today may have not been the best to choose as my once per month day in a skirt. Why? Oh, just had to try to change a tire on a Jeep (in the wind, approximately one block away from my house, no less). I actually had a Marilyn Monroe moment at one point when I went looking for something to put under the jack (this was before I figured out the right jackpoint, which is about 900 feet under the front bumper).

Then, to make matters stupid, I searched the Jeep over and found no sign of a tire iron. The stupid-ass jack with the long handle (so you can reach those 900 feet under the car to actually jack it up) and the spare tire (in thankfully good condition) were there. I wonder if the thing has ever had an iron ...

Anyway, my dad drove by at the crucial point — the preparation to curse the heavens, all makers and owners of Jeeps, and hiders of tire irons — and, tire iron in hand, helped me through the next 45 minutes of changing the bloody tire. (It took that long to finally figure out where the stupid jackpoints were.) He also mentioned that he'd had a flat this morning as well, which wasn't nearly as flat as mine and made it to the gas station to air it back up with no real trouble.

The flat is currently being fixed and hopefully has no major issues. I suspect a nail in the driveway, or else a very sharp rock.

I finally got to work at about 10 minutes to 11, phone ringing harder than ever, only to discover that people had been calling the other office because, darn it, they want their papers and my office isn't open to let them in. Of course, I never heard any of those calls, but instead talked to The Publisher, who insisted I just buy new tires, as winter's coming. Sorry, but I can't afford to drop $150 on new tires unless I absolutely need to (ie, the flat can't be fixed). That is, unless The Publisher gives me a raise ... ha!

And then we got a call that a barn north of town was getting torn down and would make for some interesting photos. I got delegated to the task and, while somewhat interesting, barn toppling is incredibly slow. They were using a fancy bulldozer-forklift thing excavator / backhoe with forklift prongs (I don't know what the hell it's called) to lift large pieces off in an awkward fashion and then attack it by hand with prybars and the like in order to salvage wood.

So I got to stand outside in the wind (in a skirt) for another hour taking photos from the shoulder of the highway and the ditch next to the dying barn. (Got a wolf whistle while doing it, too, though it was from some dumb teenaged guy.) I did find out that the owner of the property actually lives in Florida, which I thought strange, but apparently that's how farming is done these days ...

It has turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant day otherwise; nevertheless, the rum consumption shall commence early today.