Thursday, May 31, 2007
In the meantime, I've decided that my feet and legs are about as standard as they come, so I'm knitting the pattern for myself out of some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn I bought on a whim several months ago.
Aren't the colors pretty? Too pretty for the boy. They're all mine! I think this is the River Run colorway. The pattern is Conwy from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. The only change I've made is to knit on 2.5 mm needles instead of 2.25 mm needles. You're looking at about 5 inches of leg which will not fit The Beloved, but should fit me just fine. And, if it doesn't, I have one friend with feet comparable in size but smaller legs (you know who you are, so you better not be praying these are too small for me).
While I still haven't ripped out the First Cable Afghan, I have begun a swatch in a different shade of the boucle acrylic as a first step to turning the yarn into an afghan of 4 Great Big Miters. Once I determine a gauge I like, I'll knit a couple of little miters in this yarn to see how it looks before diving straight into another Great Big Afghan with huge suck potential. More to follow in this saga.
And I've cast on for a Christening Shawl for a baby at church. She will be baptized on June 24. I'm not sure I will be done by then, but darn it, I'm trying. Since time is limited, I'm keeping it simple and just knitting a stole-shaped object in English Mesh lace. I think it looks like butterflies. Butterflies are a symbol of new life, making them imminently appropriate for baptisms. It works for me--and is simple enough that it may actually be done by deadline, but I'm really not holding my breath. If it's not done, it'll hold for the next baptism.
Don't ask me about the baby sweater. I'm ignoring it. No particular reason. It hasn't done anything wrong. I just like my sock better. I'm pretty sure that the child I originally intended as the recipient of this sweater will be starting school by the time I finish, but, hey, there's always someone out there in need of a garter stitch cardigan, isn't there?
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I actually read a book over the long weekend! Two, in fact!! This shouldn't have been such a production. I'm a librarian. I like to read. But, strangely enough, I haven't done much over the past several months. It was like once I finished work on my degree, my brain simply couldn't process anything else--not even the drivel I usually select to pass the time. I read about seven hundred novels set in Tudor England (well, maybe not that many...but a lot) since January and simply could not bring myself to write about them because, well, they tended not to be very good. This weekend, though, I managed to pull myself out of that particular rut and finish
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. A long and quasi-intellectual search for Vlad Tepes/Dracula by (you guessed it) an Historian. Or several, as the case may be. As well as an anthropologist, a Shakespeare scholar, and enough scholars to staff a small college. I enjoyed it. The research bits were fun. The traveling-around-the-world-looking-for-Dracula parts were fun. It read fast. 700 pages in under a week. All in all, this is probably more of a geek book than a good old fashioned vampire hunt, but, well, I'm a geek. What can I say?
- The Woods by Harlan Coben. I discovered Harlan Coben by accident a year or two ago when I forgot to send the "no ship" order to the Book-of-the-Month club. That was when I started kicking myself for not finding him sooner. I love this guy. His mysteries, while perhaps not fabulous "whodunits" are fun to read, his characters are interesting and enjoyable, and his writing is immensely entertaining. The Woods is no different. Though perhaps not his strongest work, it draws you in from the very beginning (even though the premise is much like a bad horror flick gone awry), and holds you till the last page of the book. I read this on Monday. In fact, I think I only put it down to go to our family cookout, which, while enjoyable took me away from my book. Oh well. The Beloved had to log off from his game as well, so I suppose it's all fair.
Stay tuned: more updates to follow.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Now, I had seen bits of Big Miter in progress and had been intrigued, but had not felt anything beyond mild curiosity. I have to admit, I am smitten. I love The Big Miter. And I want one. I'm not sure that the yarn I currently have for the Afghan Project will yield the desired results as it's an acrylic-y, boucle-y sort of thing that irritates me more and more the longer I look at it. I may have to substitute something else in here. Perhaps still acrylic, since I doubt the wisdom of sending my bachelor friend an afghan that will require special care, particularly since both he and his girlfriend have pets. But the boucle thing is starting to make me crazy. Yes, it's soft. Yes, it's fluffy. But, gah! What was I thinking?!
I haven't ripped out the afghan yet. Perhaps this weekend. We'll see how long I can keep the call of Big Miter at bay.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Here it is right off the spindle:
After winding it into a sorry skein, it was time for a nice, hot bath. For the yarn. Not me. Mine came later. Anyway--yarn bath:
I washed it and rinsed it and squeezed the extra water out. Then the fun began. There are no pictures because The Beloved refused to take part in any of my barbaric fiber-related activities. What a coward.
Since it was cold and dark and rainy, I took the yarn into the bathroom rather than outside. And I whacked one end of the skein against the tile walls. Then I whacked the other end of the skein. I took the yarn and whirled it over my head for a little while. When I thought it had been punished enough, I hung it on the shower head to dry:
After asking which Rastafarian I had scalped, The Beloved promised to leave the yarn alone for the evening. I moved it in the morning before he had a chance to try and wash it again--accidentally--in the shower, thus dramatically reducing the likelihood of spousal abuse.
As I said earlier, the only reason this yarn is impressive--to me--is that I did it all by myself. What it will actually be used for remains a mystery to me. Laura has suggested tea cozies and big felted socks. I'm leaning toward the tea cozy myself, but there's still time. As you may notice, there's not quite enough yarn to make much of anything there. But I've got more Romney to spin and lest you think I've been lax in my labors since discovering the wonders of setting the twist through abuse:
Keep on spinning, keep on spinning, keep on spinning, spinning, spinning....
Monday, May 21, 2007
On Saturday I opted out of my graduation. It was a hard decision, but arrived at after much soul-searching and an inability to locate my student ID coupled with a phone call to the URI Bookstore where they emphatically refused to sell me a cap, gown and hood without the piece of plastic. After much grousing, I was relatively pleased with my decision upon awakening Saturday morning to find that the weather flat out sucked. The drive to Kingston is loathsome on a good day--it is nearly unbearable in the rain. So, I followed through with "Plan B," or attendance at the NH Episcopal Diocesan Event, One Hope, One Heart, One World: Keeping the Promise. In all honesty, I was dreading this. Since leaving my job at the Resource Center, and then returning in a "consulting" capacity, I really haven't felt much like "networking." Originally, I thought if I heard, "I'm just so very sorry..." without an accompanying action plan one more time I would be driven to radically unChristian acts. Eventually, it got to the point where I just wanted to disconnect and disassociate and didn't want anyone to know where I had gone or what I was doing. Healthy, huh? This was compounded by my recent ambivalence toward the subject at hand: the day focused on the Millennium Development Goals, which are noble and laudable and very important--and I just wasn't in the mood.
If you're not familiar with the MDGs, here they are for your edification:
- Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
I should explain myself a little bit here: I grew up in the church. My mother is an organist. I have always sung in the church. The only reason I can tell you anything at all about my faith is because I enjoyed singing the hymns--OK, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but seriously. It is one of the few venues in which people are routinely exposed to live music. It's important on so many levels, and really not the point of my post (I'll pontificate on the importance of church music another day, never fear), so I'll just end with the fact that the idea of church accompanied by CD--any CD--makes me want to retch. Violently.
A U2charist is a mass accompanied by CD. Instead of standard hymns or psalms, the service is accompanied by selections from the U2 canon. Now, I really like U2. I respect Bono and his work on behalf of the Millennium Development Goals. The use of this type of service in this venue made perfect sense. However, the mere thought of having to attend this service kind of made my skin crawl. I was hoping, as is often the case with church-sponsored events, that Eucharist would be the capstone--right at the end, and skipped by everyone who wanted to hightail it home, possibly salvaging at least some of their weekend.
I was wrong. This was our "opening act," so to say. And, in spite of myself, I actually almost enjoyed it. In context. It is an interesting approach to "doing church," and, if you're familiar with the lyrics to many a U2 song, you will note that they make appropriate points and connections. Sometimes you need to squint a bit to make it work, but it can all come together. And, more or less, it did. I say more or less because the average age of attendant at this sort of event makes one wonder if they are at an AARP convention. That's me--bucking the demographic. While many of the participants appeared to enjoy themselves, the man in the ascot in front of me shook his head morosely for the duration.
But here's the Rev. Canon Tim clapping away and enjoying himself immensely:
We were also graced with an excellent speaker during the sermon. The Rev. Irene Monroe , a Ford Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at Harvard Divinity School spoke to us about our responsibilities to act for change--about being a thermostat instead of a thermometer--about changing the temperature, even if that means causing trouble. And about remembering actions, no matter how small they seem, may lead ultimately to the change you seek: "After all, if Rosa Parks had not sat down on that segregated bus, Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have had the opportunity to stand up." I cannot do her justice here, but if you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak or read her work, I highly recommend it.
We heard from Cynthia Grissom Efird, the Ambassador to the Republic of Angola. Of all the words we heard throughout the day, hers have really stayed with me through the weekend, and though I'm sure I misquote her slightly, this is what I remember:
She began her presentation saying that she knew we all came expecting to see pictures of starving Africans and decimated fields and dying babies. But that wasn't what she came to show us, because it really wasn't the whole story. You see, when we think about people living in extreme poverty around the world, we tend to think of them as victims. Poor them. All the things they lack. And this view is wrong. This view will not get us anywhere regarding the Millennium Development Goals. Because in viewing people as victims, we do not put ourselves on equal footing. We do not believe that we have anything to learn from them. And we do not open ourselves up to relationship--which is really what the Goals are about. Particularly as we approach them from a religious stance--the Anglicans living a working and praying in Angola are not victims; they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. And while we can certainly help provide money and medicine, food and education, they can give us a warmth and welcome and spirit that we have largely lost here in the West. It is truly a two-way street, and we must never forget that simple fact.
The Bishop echoed that sentiment in his closing remarks. No matter how hard it seems--no matter how many door seem closed (which is particularly true when talking to Episcopalians from NH--many Anglicans around the world would like to forget we exist or write us off entirely)--relationship will trump policy every time. If you take the time to build the relationship, it makes the actual work of doing justice and loving mercy seem less like work and more like the right thing to do.
The Millennium Development Goals are overwhelming. I went to a workshop on Goals 4 & 5--reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. And by the end I was overwhelmed and depressed. How do you change cultural views that contribute to poor maternal health? How do you combat child mortality when the leading cause of death is directly related to an absence of clean water? Where do you start? I ran into an acquaintance who attended a workshop on infectious disease (Goal 6)--and all he could think of was how many people would die between the end of the workshop and the time we left for home--and that there was nothing we could do about it. It's enough to drive you to complete and total inactivity. But the moral of the story and the lesson of the day and the thing I'd like for all of you to remember is what one person can do. Think about the things you already do that help further these goals in your neighborhoods, your city, your state. Think about the organizations to which you contribute that work toward these goals in the wider world. Think of the pieces you knit for Afghans for Afghans, the Dulaan Project, Children in Common, or any other organization. And then think of one more thing you can do. You can vote. You can pray. You can rally your friends and colleagues as The Yarn Harlot has done with Knitters Without Borders, or Wendy has done in support of the Heifer Project. Only you know what you can do--but I urge you to think seriously about the Millennium Development Goals and to make a goal for yourself. It doesn't have to be huge--think of Rosa Parks sitting down on the bus. And think of what can happen if each and every one of us actually do one thing.
Check out The ONE Campaign for ideas and inspirations. Leave me comments about ideas you have. I'm off to knit some more Magic 28 socks and think out my game plan for making my goal a reality.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Last year, I decided enough was enough. My poor friend. I feel awful. So I told him, "Next year. We will come to Chicago at some point in the next year." The Beloved didn't believe I was serious. So I decided that if my darling spouse did not want to come to Illinois with me, I would go alone. Good Lord, I lived in two foreign countries before I married him--I was certainly capable of putting myself on an airplane to spend a long weekend in the Midwest. Well. The Beloved liked this idea even less. "You're leaving me to have an affair! You want to have an affair with him!" Nooooo. I've know him longer than I've known you, sweetie. Think about it for a second. Besides, I really didn't want to go alone--I wanted my husband to get on the stick and come with me!!
Well. Something worked, because we're going.
The last vacation The Beloved and I took was about five years ago. We went to Montreal and Quebec City on our honeymoon. While we've taken time off from work since that time, we've never actually managed a "trip." There are several excuses here: We bought a house, so there's no money; I changed jobs; The Beloved's job is crazy and he has a hard time leaving it behind. Plus, I've recently intuited that The Beloved doesn't like airplanes. I don't know if he's always hated planes or if this is a post-September-11-sort-of-phenomenon. How did I discover this delightful little tidbit? When he asked how long it would take us to drive to Chicago. Hmmmm. I don't think so. Perhaps I can give him half a Valium prior to boarding and he won't even know we got on an airplane.
We also don't tend to do things halfway. If we're going on vacation, dammit, we are going on vacation. This trip does not seem to be an exception. While we are flying coach, we will be renting a car and staying at the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale--about a half-hour's drive from O'Hare and about 50 minutes away from Joliet. There will be no Holiday Inn for us, apparently. I'm not complaining--if vacation only comes once every five years, I'll take what I can get. The resort features two (2) golf courses (I don't play, but I believe The Beloved once golfed in a former lifetime), a tennis court, an indoor and outdoor pool, two restaurants, two bars and a spa. Now we're talking vacation. I'm wondering if I can convince him to set me up with one of these packages. Hmmm. Well, if he's going to golf, I have to do something.
And, naturally, we will go see my friend. My friend for whom I am supposed to be diligently knitting one of the afghans that is sitting in the corner and gazing at me dolefully from time to time. I should have something done to show him, but I'm just not happy with the pattern I've chosen, which leaves me with the eternal question: To Rip, or Not to Rip? Should I just suck it up and make the damned afghan, or should I start over and try to find a pattern that is perhaps more aesthetically pleasing? Or should I just ignore the blasted thing entirely and work on the baby shawl? That last option is looking more and more likely....Ah, me....
I suppose it all depends on how much luggage we bring and what goes in my carry-on bag. No, I'm not planning on bringing the afghan on the plane with me, although it's always a possibility. I think the last thing I knit on a flight was a baby blanket....but that was before I discovered socks. But I am realizing that I don't have a proper Big Bag to use for my carry-on...and to haul my crap around Chicago and Joliet while The Beloved and I practice being tourists. Do any of you have favorite Big Bags or traveling bags that you'd recommend? It needs to fit the following: A sweater; my camera; my iPod; at least one book; at least one knitting project (likely socks); wallet; sunglasses; etc. I'm thinking it might be time to spring for a Lulu Belle Bag, but am being wishy-washy. However, I have to make up my mind soon, if I want a bag here before we leave on vacation....it only looks like I'm counting the days. Really.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Anyway. Here's what you do:
Google the phrase "[your first name] needs..."
That's it! See what comes back. Saisquoi, as you might imagine, didn't return anything. So I used the name my parents gave me and it turns out that these are just some of the things I need...
Saisquoi needs coffee.
Saisquoi needs "redeeming."
Saisquoi needs a fucking revolution.
Hell, yeah! That's my kind of redemption!
Saisquoi needs to clear out her mental recycle bin.
Always. I'm sure this is why my short-term memory is virtually non-existent.
Saisquoi needs to rethink her position on doing adult films.
Saisquoi needs to be taught a lesson.
Hopefully not in the aforementioned adult film.
Saisquoi needs to stop dressing like a slut.
But, the adult films! What do they want from me?!
Saisquoi needs to get her priorities straight.
If only I could identify them....
Saisquoi needs a bit of time off by herself to process things.
I'll buy that. Can I take the time off in Tahiti?
Saisquoi needs to chill.
Well said. I'm going to get another cup of coffee and price a vacation in Tahiti.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
On Saturday, I went up to Contoocook for the NH Sheep & Wool Festival. This was my first time attending an event such as this. It will not be my last. I spent a good deal of time behaving badly with Laura. She is one of my favorite enablers ever. Naturally, Laura did not disappoint and I ended up spending more money than I intended--but not by too much.
Naturally, I bought yarn.
You can't go wrong with hand painted sock yarn. Besides, it's to make socks for The Beloved (you can see the humble beginnings perched atop the ball of yarn), so it doesn't really count as a purchase, right?
This is a ginormous cone of laceweight merino. It's posing with my IPod for scale. It had to be purchased. It was only $12! A bargain! I can make shawls--like, until I die. And I can take the opportunity to learn new skills. Like dyeing. The Beloved should thoroughly enjoy that little adventure...
These two purchases were totally rational and completely understandable. In fact, I planned for them. I knew I would buy some yarn, and since I'm knitting socks right now, the sock yarn made sense. The laceweight was practical (in fact, I'm going to have to start using it right away as a friend's baby will be baptized in about six weeks and some sort of gift is in order...). But we knew that wouldn't last. Particularly when we saw this:
These are drop spindles from Golding Fiber Tools. They are absolutely gorgeous. Words fail me. Now, spinning is not my forte. But it was like I became a woman possessed. I simply couldn't say no. These things belong in Rivendell. I needed one. How had I lived 30 years without one? How could I continue to live without one? Laura agreed. And so now I proudly own this:
You'll be pleased to know that my spinning still sucks, but if you look closely at the single there, you'll notice it's getting closer to something approaching consistency. Look--I can almost spin something that looks like Lopi!
Of course, there were other interesting and exotic things to check out.
Sheep and woolly-type creatures:
Check out the bikini bottom. Doesn't it look like a deer?
I also did some knitting this weekend (see sock beginning at top of post), but was not very productive in that realm as I was too busy spending money. No, seriously--I've been working on Haiku, but have just had a beastly time with the back. I've had to rip it out three or so times. OK--a normal person probably would have ripped it out once and then lived with the other imperfections I've discovered, but I am not that sort of a girl. I'd look at the problems (the shoulders aren't quite the same width; the box stitch doesn't match up the way I wanted) and think, I just can't live with this. Rip, rip, rip.
But here it is, just the same, for your viewing enjoyment. I will finish this goddamned baby sweater if it kills me.
Perhaps if it behaves itself I'll take it outside tomorrow for some glamor shots. In the meantime, my weekend has vanished before my eyes and it's just about time to call it a night...
Thursday, May 10, 2007
So I, being a dutiful wife, purchased the Beginner Weight Loss card. The Beloved chose not to use it this morning, opting instead for just 20 minutes of...exercise...on the beastly contraption. However, I shelled out $30 for this thing--it's going to help me look svelte and gorgeous and be fit and healthy! By the end of my workout this morning, however, I was ready to kill my little computerized personal trainer. The workout was fine--a little strenuous for a "beginner," particularly one in fat camp--but the damned perky voice coming from the console?! "Pick it up!" "Feel the burn!" "Remember your goals!" Yeah. Bite me. I don't need this crap. From a computer. At 6:00 AM.
Lose weight, feel great and improve performance in just 8 weeks with iFIT interactive workout card technology! Each card is designed by a Certified Personal Trainer and plugs directly into the elliptical's console, automatically adjusting your resistance, while the voice of a personal trainer takes you through each workout. iFIT workout cards are available in Wellness and Weight Loss categories to give you the most advanced, interactive and result-specific fitness options.
Tomorrow morning I will plug in my iPOD whilst laboring away for 20-30 minutes, hoping and praying that the elliptical does not decide to come apart at its carefully assembled seams. I think I may follow The Beloved's example and temporarily eschew Olga, or whatever my iFIT dominatrix chooses to call herself, in favor of something uptempo and loud. Perhaps after I've gained a modicum of physical fitness I can endure perky at 6:00 AM.
The next post will include knitting. I promise.
Friday, May 4, 2007
If you get the chance, make sure you wish Libby a very happy birthday today.
Lib, I've known you half my life and you've made it ever so much richer. Here's to many, many more years, knowing that it will only get better.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Note: Please excuse the crappy photos. If I had but known this would be waiting for me at opening, I would have remembered my real camera instead of recording this with my freakin' phone. Oh well--I'm grateful that the phone was charged!Yes, that would be graffiti. All. Over. The. Walls. Apparently, that went up as part of the opening last night. Rumor has it that the professors helped. Ah, art school. Here's a close-up of one of the images:
Elegant, isn't it? Now, I do actually like some urban art based on tagging, etc. Unfortunately, I do not find any of this aesthetically pleasing. It looks like Bart Simpson took hold of a can of spray paint and went to town. Oh, and we're not exactly urban out here in NH. Particularly in the extremely rural town where the school is located. One more shot just for fun:
The Artist's Statement. Rock. On. At least this one wasn't a Wikipedia Entry.
Last night was a full moon. Maybe I should just leave it at that and go back to my knitting....