You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

The iPod Meme

This was a drive by tagging.

According to the rules I read over at Persistent Illusion, after you read this meme, you have to do it, too.

If your life were a soundtrack, what would the music be?

Here’s how it works:
1. open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod)
2. put it on shuffle
3. press play
4. for every section, type the song that’s playing
5. next section — press the next button
6. don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool

opening credits: Paul Simon – The Boy in the Bubble

waking up: Snow Patrol – It’s Beginning to Get to Me

first day at school: Suzanne Vega – Frank and Ava

falling in love: Switchfoot – Meant to Live

breaking up: Jack Johnson – Banana Pancakes

prom: Reda Darwish – Marhaba (KICK ASS belly dance drum solo try that in a prom dress

life’s okay: Shawn Mullins – Beautiful Wreck

mental breakdown: Pat Monahan – Cab

driving: U2 – Beautiful Day

flashback: Sonia Dada – Old Bones

getting back together: U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

wedding: Coldplay – God Put a Smile Upon My Face

birth of child: Edgar Meyer – Old Tyme

final battle: Anna Nalick – Paper Bag

death scene: Angelique Kidjo – Salala

end credits: Indigo Girls – Least Complicated

If you read this, your NEXT!

Not so fast. I want to bask in the glory of this one for a bit. She’s lovely, and every thing I could ask for. I’m speaking about the lovely Lady Oriel of course! Nothing particularly pithy to say today. I’m happy that my investment of time and energy has yielded such lovely results. I have to say that the pattern was accurate and easy to read and sizing was spot on.

I would not recommend this for beginner knitters. It’s an easy pattern to learn, but the increase and decreases could be a little daunting for a new knitter.

I substituted a different yarn for the silk ribbon yarn. It’s my first substitution which went so well. My means for choosing another yarn was to search for one with a similar weight and yardage. I had a few choices, but only the alpaca and silk of the Elann Peruvian Baby silk was of fibers I knew I could wear close to my skin without itching. Plus the price totally rocked. 36.00 instead of 152.00

I plan to post pictures at Ravelry.

It’s nearly the moment of truth. I placed all of the held stitches onto waste yarn for the front and back of the Lady Oriel and then blocked her, within an inch of her life. Tonight I hope to knit the front and back together and pick up all of the stitches for the neckband.

It’s always a dicey proposition when you make an article of clothing. I’m not talking about generica, like hats and scarves. It’s one of the reasons I stopped sewing clothes for myself. At the end, with all the work put in, does it really suit you?

As exhibit A I give you a lace jacket I knit several years back. It’s gorgeous to look at and to touch. It’s soft, slightly fuzzy, and very elaborate. It belongs on someone much more petite than I – the tall, lanky, white girl with the face of an old woman. I’ve worn it a handful of times and was never comfortable in it. After 4 months of knitting, ripping and finally finishing, it’s a thing of beauty that sits in my closet. I hope the Lady Oriel isn’t like that.

The entire lace jacket is knit, not a single seam sewn. The lace pattern took me sixty eleven tries to get right (and in some places it’s still not right). I had to buy another skein of yarn once I was on my way because the knitting and ripping had felted the hell out of the mohair and silk yarn. I’d never heard of a life line being used in lace knitting so ripping was cause for much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I just leapt in and began, and learned, and cried in frustration and relief, and purchased more yarn until I finished something that just wasn’t right for me.

If that doesn’t sound crazy, I don’t know what does. Still at this end of the year it seems like a good metaphor for me. Just try your damnedest to complete the thing with honor. Pay attention, give it what it needs and cross the finish line. Sometimes it’s the project you finish, sometimes it’s the project finishing you.

So I did end up knitting last night, while waiting for the Holiday concert to begin. After drinking a cup of tea late in the afternoon I was awake enough to knit. The concert was one of the best ever. I was far from counting the songs till it was done.

It began with the “Show Choir” that my daughter is part of dressed up like the Whos from Whoville. They sang a few songs from the How the Grinch Stole Christmas soundtrack. Dressed up like Whos, from Whoville.

Next my other daughter sang with her choir, and then back to oldest to sing with the small group that rehearses in the morning. Back to youngest playing in the orchestra and then both of them – one playing violin and one singing. They performed a Requiem for the father of the choir teacher. It was truly lovely. They finished with the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

It made me so happy I wanted to cry. I was too happy to cry so I just smiled real big inside.

The best part of the show came later when Ellie performed her interpretive dance for us in the garage. I’m telling you, she’s got some Lucille Ball in her.

I worked hard on the Lady Oriel this past two days. Last night I hit a wall. I baked cookies for our cookie exchange here at work, and then drove out to the airport to pick up my sweetie.

I finally laid my head down at 12:20 am. It wasn’t pretty this morning.

The Mister snores alot when he’s tired. Which is like saying that hurricanes are windy or the ocean is salty. It’s so essentially him. We’d had the presence of mind to set up the bed downstairs for one of us. It’s sad when you spend your first night together in a long time in separate beds – and we aren’t even mad at each other. But, it exhausts him to worry that he’s snoring and waking me, so he wakes himself all night.

It’s this torturous, rasping sound that rises to a crescendo and never really falls back to quiet. It’s the most noise I’ve heard anyone make with just their nose. If it wasn’t so tiring to hear him laboring away like that I might laugh and enjoy it. Sisyphus himself couldn’t be as worn down pushing that damn rock as the work that my sweetie performs in his sleep. Breathe in like a Tyrannosaur, breathe out like a steam engine up an incline hauling 500 fully loaded cars.

You get the idea.

Long story short, I’m tired in a whole new way. Conversation is too much of an effort. I’ll just grunt in acknowledgment. I did go to the gym, but I could do that in my sleep. Oh look! I did do it in my sleep. Knitting lace is entirely out of the question. I’d only have to rip back from the abyss and cry alot.

Instead I’ll go to the Choir Orchestra concert. Mind you this is High School so it’s not the Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom of years past. (See the Yarn Harlot’s post The Kid with the Viola wasn’t too bad) These kids can play, and sing. Most of the time it’s lovely. I’ll be counting down the moments till I can climb into bed.

Bah Humbug aside, these can be some of my favorite days. There is no pressure to be outside and I can bake and cook to my heart’s content and no one thinks the worse of me. Except me, when I eat 3 scones in one day. I know, it’s pathetic, but they were sooooo good.

I’ve finished my shopping and sent off all of the cards I’m going to send. I’ve done a better job of not feeling guilty about what I have or haven’t done this year. My kids are heading to their Dad’s for this Christmas, in Hawai’i. That’s a tougher nut to crack for me. I don’t seem to have what it takes to let that one roll off of my back. Maybe that is why I’ve been so cranky about all things kids and Christmas. I’m feeling like the Grinch and my heart is three sizes too small.

So my Christmas wishes, aside from world peace and an end to hunger are as follows:

That my children will continue to find their way in the world in such an exemplary fashion as they have so far.

That Marc will find more peace in that belfry he calls a head. He deserves it at least as much if not more that most.

That my parents will continue healthy for a little while longer. I’m just not ready yet.

That I can begin the dig to creativity and unearth the fossilized remains in belly dance, knitting, blogging and in the kitchen.

That I can find employment that pays well while I am enjoying myself and staying busy. I know, Universe, that I’ve got to be a lot more specific, but right now it’s all I got.

OK, ready set – GO!

What, you might ask, could I be thinking about in this weather. After the riot of color we had this fall, how could I find anything colorful in this landscape of no leaves or flowers.

Well find it I did, and I need to take a picture of it. The Burning Bushes have their lovely red twigs still, and the berry canes are bare but PURPLE! I am not making this up. They are purple!

I’m knitting a sweater that is deep forest-y, evergreen tree, gray-green. It’s lovely yarn and has been since I bought it, but I am jonesin to knit colors together. I spoke yesterday of my design to design a sweater. but my lack of brain power to work out the necessary math for the borders and peeries set my teeth to grinding. I purchased a Fair Isle book by Ann Feitelson and tried to decide which type of sweater I would knit. I took a Fair Isle class. I spent 30 dollars on Jamieson yarn. I swatched funny little borders and patterns without pressure. All in hopes that I would be magically transported to the Island of Fair Isle sweater success.

My math hating, blind spotted brain was NOT fooled. But then along came the Winter 2007 Knits magazine. From Knitting Daily came a quick glimpse of the promised land. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right there in the magazine was knitting Valhalla. Eunny Jang had read my mind and was so kind as to have designed ME a Fair Isle vest to knit.

OK, just to give you some background. I made my beloved a sweater a year or two back. This was not as easy or straighforward as it sounds. His sizing is challenging and he lives, most of the time, across the US. Long torso, short arms, round belly. So I did my best to knit something that resembled a sweater. It was three tries on the sleeves with weeks in between try-ons. Two tries for the neck until it was just right. It made me somewhat crazy and took ages longer than I wanted it to.

I don’t have the patience to do that right off the bat with Fair Isle. Knit lace I’ll leap into the craziest pattern ever with nary a second thought. But Fair Isle, no.

So I’ll knit this lovely sweater using my own color combinations as soon as I finish the lovely Lady Oriel. I need to hustle up before I begin an affair that ends my relationship with the LLO. That would be a shame.

I’m making my daily pilgrimage through the knitting blogs I hold near and dear. The Yarn Harlot, as usual, is making me nearly hysterical with laughter.

I’ve been knitting slowly on the Lovely Lady Oriel. It’s much easier to knit the back when the front has already been finished. This time I didn’t sweat the decreases because I’d already sweat them the first time. Mostly because I didn’t know if I should do the yarn over here, this time, or forgo it. There was lots of to-ing and fro-ing on the number of stitches that should have been on the needle when I finished the decreases. I subtracted too many and then added too many back when I discovered that I hadn’t really subtracted too many.

This time I missed by one stitch and decided to call it good. I’ve also decided that there are two kinds of lace knitters. Ones who can do math and therefore design knitting patterns, and those who lose the ability to add 2 + 2 when tired or distracted. Those are my people, and their idea of designing a knitting pattern is to make multicolored stripes in a stockinette scarf. Whoo Hoo! I’m a designing fool.

Same holds true for fair isle knitting. The math and spatial skills required to embody my dream knitting into a real life project escape me in a way that only be called complete and total. Between the number of stitches needed for the proper sizing, and the number of stitches needed to knit a repeating peerie or border I become lost like Hansel and Gretel with no bread crumbs.

It hurts me that I can’t wrap my brain around it. It’s like a giant mental blind spot. You’ve tricked yourself into finding your blindspot before right? I just can’t hold the two numbers in my brain long enough to have a meaningful relationship develop between the two before the fog comes in. As soon as I’ve got the total number of cast on stitches in my head, I then try to divide by the number of stitches needed for each repeat. My brain just refuses to go there.

So I’m happily a pattern follower. Same with recipes. Sadly, I feel that makes me a complete washout in the creativity department. I turn out lovely, serviceable and some might say delicious things, but it’s somebody else’s lovely and delicious. My belly dancing is the same way. It wasn’t always like that. I used to be able to improvise and make stuff up from out of my head. I wonder if that person is still in there waaaay down inside. Hiding.

But I’m not giving up. Us non-designer types must number in the millions. I’m betting there are way more of us than there is them.

Happily knitting away on someone else’s glory… Till soon.

While some people would undoubtedly take this title as a free pass to remark that “It’s not just your hair that resembles a hot air balloon”, I’ve decided to open with it anyway.

It’s tough being 50 sometimes. Those days of rolling out of bed with little more to do than basic hygiene are behind me. Even a good night’s sleep can’t restore me to some semblance of my younger self. The lines are there on my face no matter what I eat, drink or smear on my face. Although I do have a magic cream which improves things, it’s an improvement, not a miracle outright.

For a nature girl like me, it’s doubly tough. Were I to begin using makeup at this late date, the results are sure to be more Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”, than baby faced beauty. Coming to grips with this slow downhill slide is daunting and requires all of my menopausal superpowers to cope. I’m guessing this is why God invented chocolate and masturbation. Among other things those indulgences makes you forget, at least for a little while, that we all end up as a heap of lifeless meat and bones in the end.

My sweetie and I had a discussion last night. He’s a busy guy, very much in demand for his skills with computer programs used in law offices. He spends much of his time fielding calls and nonsense 24/7/365 from a variety of law office based sources. I’m a single mother of two teenagers. I field calls and nonsense 24/7/365 from a variety of teenage sources. Those demands are built into my schedule at work. There is no argument about who wins in a pitched battle. My kids. Work, almost without exception, takes a back seat.

Sweetie man is childless. And, he’s a man. Ask me what defines my success. If I can point to anything it will be the demonstrable ability my kids are showing at negotiating this cluster we call life. Ask my significant other and he will likely point at his musical ability or the kinds of projects he does at work.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Let me set this straight first. It’s not that either one is bad, or less than the other. They are just sooooo DIFFERENT. So, when I speak to him about priorities and not spending so much time at work I’m not sure it translates for him to anything sensible or useful. I might as well say, well you can’t spend your whole life playing music now can you. When in fact I know he could and he’d love it. Telling him not to spend so much time at work is, in many ways, just as silly. Work feeds him, and tells him he’s still got it.

Which brings me back to this tough being 50 thing. How do I still know I’ve got it? There is no Mom Olympics where I can compete for best parenting. I’m not going to win any beauty contests, even for beautiful old souls. And looking in the mirror is daunting. I don’t have THAT anymore. I think I feel like I still have it while I’m still learning. Learning a new technique for knitting, learning Italian, learning to be more compassionate, trying a new recipe, creating something new. I forget to be concerned about my looks or lack of them and I just exist in this happy state I didn’t know was possible 10 years ago.

So I’ll deflate my hair tonight, and laugh at myself because it’s funny to see Hollywood hair on such a Woodstock face. I’ll remember that I am 50 and not 20 and I’ll act my age, in a manner of speaking. Hopefully, I’ll make something with my hands that is useful or delicious. Hopefully I’ll forget to look in the mirror and make a face. Hopefully I’ll find losing THAT means finding something even more precious

I’m having a lousy run at work this week. I’d much rather be making like a glamorous travel writer and pestering, um I mean sending you all the latest in my travel writing series “The Glamour Life in Italy” by yours truly.

I have to face facts. The vacation is over and I’m done reliving it through blogging about it. Sigh.

The trip back to the US was loooog. By the time we arrive in Seattle, we have been awake for most of 24 hours. I still have a 3 hour drive ahead of me, if no one decides to drop a load of pipe on I-5. It’s here and now I realize that I am sometimes a grownup, and grownups get to call the shots. Except, apparently, in the case of American Leadership where the best we have managed lately is frat boy rule.

I weigh my options and after picking up our rental car I head for the nearest Double Tree Inn. By 10:30 pm we are out like the proverbial little light bulbs. The drive will wait until tomorrow. We wake, enjoy a BIG American Breakfast and waddle our way to the car. There is the obligatory stop in Olympia at Starbucks and then safely home where we struggle to remain upright and coherent for a few days. I’m done, finito, all over. I’ll close with an advertising cliche….

Neck pillows for long plane flight – 90 dollars

Sampling every kind of pizza in Italy twice – 400 dollars

Not missing even one souvenir stand in search of the perfect gift – too many dollars

Spending quality time with your kids before they fly the nest – PRICELESS

And without further ado I introduce you to the Royal family du Pillow. Or what happens when you spend quality time with the people you love.