Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Activities

1) Guitar lesson. Supposed to be learning "Hey Jude" by the Beatles. Cannot play an F chord to save my life.
2) Library. Got a migraine & came home & slept until 6 pm.
3) Watched "Coupling" DVD (season 3). Laughed so hard my sides hurt.
4) 3-hour phone call with S. Sometimes I wonder how two people who have known each other for 20 years can possibly have that much to say to each other. Or maybe it's precisely because we've known each other so long that we have that much to talk about? Also: it seems impossible that I've known anyone not related to me that long.
5) Trip to mall. I hate malls. Did not find a new winter coat, which I desperately need. Bought pants instead. Still trying to figure out why the Talbot's sales ladies kept pointing me to the petite section, as I am 5' 7" and believe me, not a thing about me qualifies as petite with the exception of my feet. Pants are black. What a surprise.
6) Had a large caramel mocha around 2 pm. That plus my migraine-induced nap from yesterday pretty much guarantees I will not be sleeping tonight.
7)Cleaned up the apartment just enough to locate my my W-2 form. (Which reminds me, I left a pair of hand-knit socks soaking in the sink...)
8) Did my federal taxes. Loving that "Making Work Pay" business and hoping the state of MA doesn't gobble it up.
9) I did NOT finish my Knitting Olympics project. This is embarrassing, particularly since I chose to make a GARTER STITCH BABY SWEATER. I MEAN REALLY. But remember how I mentioned that I am rather un-fond of knitting with cotton yarn? When I started out, I had a gauge of 5 stitches per inch, which would have made this a baby-sized sweater. But cotton GROWS, and now I have something that will probably fit my friend's 4-year old, assuming I don't run out of yarn. I should have frogged it.


Now? Seriously thinking about casting on another pair of socks. Those, I can handle.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Miscellany

1) My Knitting Olympics project is a big FAIL. More on that at some point.
2) I've been in a bit of a funk lately...not exactly sick but feeling run down. A coworker said that I have a case of February, which is entirely plausible, except that it has been a peculiarly warm and rainy month here.
3) I seem to be incapable of playing an F chord on the guitar. Starting to suspect my guitar teacher might fire me if I wasn't paying him.
4) I'm writing again - not here, obviously - but what's weird is that what is coming out appears to be fiction. I don't write fiction, so this is a bit odd. And it's all sort of disjointed and disconnected and I don't know what to do with it. But that is what my brain seems to be churning out at the moment.
5) LOST, people!!!! And why is no one writing about the Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass reference in last night's show? Is it because there was an episode a few seasons ago entitled The Looking Glass?
6) Also TV related (honestly - one hour a day!!!), I really can't wait for GLEE to crank up again. Seriously, if I could break out in song and dance every once and awhile, I'd be an entirely different person. (I might also be committed. But it might be worth the risk.)
7) Finally, I've been on a bit of a housekeeping tear. I am not at all a neat person, but lately my apartment has been teetering on the edge of getting me shipped off to some reality show, like "Clean House" or, god forbid, "Hoarders". On the plus side, it's nice to know that even I have a limit when it comes to messiness.
8) Finally for real this time: I have not abandoned the
Happiness Project. I'm just on a bit of hiatus in terms of writing about it.
9) I leave you with a gratuitous kitty photo. He looks like I feel:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Knitting Olympics - Day 3

I decided to participate in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics this year. Inspired by Amanda Blake Soule, I decided to knit a Tomten from the Elizabeth Zimmermann book Knitting Without Tears. But since the intended recipient is a yet-to-be-born baby who will be growing up in a southern state, I chose a cotton/wool blend yarn (Four Seasons by Classic Elite) in a nice shade of spring green. I am not fond of knitting with cotton, as it is not as forgiving as wool (or even bamboo), and I am a bit anxious about whether this yarn will work with this pattern. So that's one part of the challenge. The second part of the challenge for me is that despite this being an easy garter stitch pattern, I am not 100% sure I understand the instructions. I have never knit a Zimmermann pattern before, and it strikes me as being quite similar to playing guitar - her "instructions" are more a guide, just as guitar music provides the chords but not the strumming patterns. There's some interpretation involved, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

I dutifully cast on Friday night during the opening ceremonies, which I enjoyed tremendously, despite the fact that the Olympics always give me an existential crisis, of the "what have I done with MY life lately?!?!" variety. But I really couldn't put my whole heart into a new knitting project until those darned socks were finished. Finally, this afternoon, voila:

And why yes, indeed, I do have ridiculously small feet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Will Finish These Socks If It Kills Me

Talk about second sock syndrome. Last JUNE I started these, using a perfectly lovely and wonderfully squishy skein of Madelinetosh (is it one word or two???) sock yarn in Clematis. Using the “sock recipe” from the Knitting Rules book by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, I cast on fully expecting that in a week or two I’d have a new pair of socks.

Not quite.

I’ve been carrying these around with me for months, knitting one round here and one round there, but no matter what I did that second sock seemed stuck at 4 inches. Infuriating. But after a big push on Sunday night while catching up on Fringe (football? what’s that, exactly???), I made it to the heel. This, my friends, is progress. And none too soon, as one of my first hand-knit pairs recently bit the dust. (As an aside, I’d love to know what people do with the remnants of hand knit socks, when the hole is way too big to fix but there’s still enough sock left that you feel like you should be able to make something out of it. Coasters come to mind.)

In other news, the baby quilt now has sides, and is being hand quilted (when my hands are not busy sock knitting or cat appeasing). Another should-have-been-obvious observation? Hand quilting black fabric is pretty difficult.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Happiness Project: Proofs of Love

I'm following along on Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project challenge. This is my seventh installment:

February’s Happiness Project topic is LOVE. Truthfully, it’s hard to write about romantic relationships when you are not in one. It’s particularly difficult to write about CHOOSING to not be in a relationship at the ripe old age of 38 ½ , without it sounding like sour grapes or some pathetic attempt at justifying one’s inability to find a mate.

Believe me, I tried.

So, without going into the boring and painful details, suffice it to say that for a variety of reasons, I needed a break – a time out, if you will, from the quest for a romantic relationship. It’s not that I don’t want one, or would turn one down if it happened, it’s just that it became clear that I really needed to work on myself for awhile. I needed to establish for myself that I could be happy “all by myselps”, as my nephew liked to say when he was little….hence the Happiness Project.

(I strongly suspect my father wishes I would embark on a “Find a Nice Boy and Settle Down” project. Maybe next year.)

Alas, the challenge this week is “proofs of love” – finding small ways of making sure the people in your life know you love them. Honestly? As some of you know, when my sister and her family relocated to California for a couple of years I got possession of their cat, Wilbert. And I feel like I prove my love for my nieces and nephew each and every morning at 4:30 am, when Wilbert starts howling at me to get up and watch him eat. Because only for those children would I put up with such nonsense.

Trust me, he just looks all cute and innocent.