Saturday, June 30, 2007

Waiting in the Half-light

12:45 - Anxious

You know what job I should have? Veterinary radiologist. They seem to make pretty good money, based on how much I've given them in the last year and a half, and they get to make their own hours. Today, for example, while I'm waiting by the phone for someone to tell me if Lucy has lymphoma, the radiologist is deciding if his wife is going to be mad if he comes in to work for an hour or two. "He might be here after 4:00." They've been great at the emergency vet, don't get me wrong, it's just that when it's your pet in the crate waiting for service, you don't want to hear "if he doesn't make it out today, you might as well pick her up and deal with it next week." I know that's just the way it is, but that's not what I want to hear. Grumpy and sick with worry. Want answer now.

While I'm waiting, I'm working on Arosa. I've got the back and the main part of the front done. The second part of the front is a little different than I thought it'd be -- it's just a little panel that gets sewn in after the neckline is done. I don't know what I thought it was going to be instead, but I didn't think it'd be a weirdly shaped piece of fabric.

I really like how this yarn's knitting up. Look at how cool the neckline's going to be, even before the edging gets picked up.

One last thing about Cobweb -- here's a detailed view of the bead and purl section. The color's weird in the picture, but at least the details are there.

Just waiting.

6:45 - Ranting and Foul-Mouthed

What is it with the cancer? First DaddyBanana has cancer, then my cousin has cancer, and now my DOG has cancer? Jesus tapdancing CHRIST! Could we stop with the fucking cancer already?!?

Hey, so now you get to say f$5k but I still get censored? - Belligero

Fuck off, clown.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Parte Dois

Relative: "You know, just between us, [something horrible that you wouldn't expect to hear at a wedding]...)

Me: "Oh yeah? Well, I'm gonna go stick my finger in the cake!"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

First in a Series

"Hey, so how was that wedding?"

It was a very nice wedding, and everything came off without a hitch. The bride, my cousin, was beautiful.

We told her we were taking lots of pictures, and she enthusiastically replied that she'd love to see them. Oh, dear. Readers, what you'll be seeing here over the next few days, maybe weeks, are those pictures. We're going to have to tell her that the camera broke halfway through the ceremony. While I love them, and keep flipping back to them when I'm supposed to be working, they're not the sort of images that a bride is going to want to keep to remember her special day. I mean, I'd want them if someone had taken them at my wedding, but we've already established that I've got a strange sense of humor.

It's a damn good thing she had a photographer for the wedding and most of the reception.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a spiderweb and it's me in the middle

Well, it's done. Sort of. By 'sort of', I mean 'I really don't like the cord I threaded through the scallops, and I still think it'd be better with a button closure, but I wore it anyway.' I wore it, if only for the length of the ceremony and five minutes afterward, because more than that was going to be nothing less than madness.

Details? Why, certainly!

Pattern: Cobweb from Rowan #40
Size: The 36" size. I could have made the 34", and it would probably have fit more like the one on the model, but it's cool. I like how this one fits.
Yarn: Elann Baby Silk in Salmon - it took a little more than eight balls, so probably about 900 yards.
Beads: Don't know exactly, acrylic beads I bought at Just Bead It, the local bead shop. I used half as many as the pattern called for, because I only did the dark beads.

What I Did: Not so much different than the Rowan pattern, really. Well, except that I left out the crochet flowers, did away with half the beads, ran a scallopy border around the whole body and made it in an affordable yarn that bears only a passing resemblance to Kidsilk Haze.

Baby Silk has almost no halo, isn't mohair, isn't airy, and is about a third as expensive as Kidsilk. It might seem like a strange substitute. I chose to use Baby Silk because I had it in my stash, and I'm trying to at least make a tiny dent in it this year. The good news is that it has fantastic stitch definition, even after rolling around with me for weeks while I knit with it. This worked out perfectly, as I needed the purl stitches to stand out in the bead section. I love this yarn. So soft, so easy to work with, such a lovely drape.

What's the bad news? Remember, I'm trying to reduce the stash. I started with twenty-five balls of this stuff. I've still got more than sixteen of them. And another twenty-five in seashell pink. Yeah, I had a shopping problem for a while there. I think I was thinking of making the Vintage Pink Cardigan from Interweave Knits Spring 2005, and then I chickened out when I saw the gauge. Back then, if I couldn't knit something at four stitches to the inch or bigger, I deemed it impossible. I've still got enough of it. Maybe we'll see Vintage Pink happening in the next few months.

The pattern is well written, and I didn't change a thing about the basic construction. I only veered off on the finishing details. Easy to read, easy to follow, a real joy to knit.

If I make another one, I'll:
--Eliminate the beads, or run them along with a carryalong thread. For me, it's too much of a pain in the ass to deal with all of those beads, and I'd be doing it for the back and both fronts at the same time because...
--Knit the fronts and the sides in one piece so that the columns of beads wouldn't be broken by the seam. Maybe that wouldn't matter so much if the sweater were done in Kidsilk Haze because the seams would be obscured. Nobody else notices, but that misalignment really stands out when I look at it.
--Different border. I like the scallops on this one, but I think I'd want something less ruffly if I did it again.

Will I Wear It: You bet! Now that the wedding's over, I don't feel the need to protect it from harm. Not that I'm going to beat it against a rock or anything, but I'm not going to shy away from reaching for it on a chilly evening in the yard. In a strange and fortunate twist, it matches a lot of what's in style this season. I plan to get a lot of wear out of it.

"I like this shot. It looks like a pose from one of those magazines." --Accountant Boy

Monday, June 25, 2007

Desert Plains

Hey, kids! The little chick and the guy've been busy lately, so I thought I'd tell you about my adventures, you know, while they're timely and all that.

I'm Belligero. I'm their travel clown. We go back a long way, the little chick and the guy and me. Remember when the MGM Grand Casino had an arcade and a kiddie park? Long time ago, maybe '94? They found me there and rescued me from a life of looking up at the underside of a bucket seat with chewing gum in my hair and a bent lollipop stick rammed up my ass. Rugrats. I shudder to think. There's more to it, but here's all you need to know. They saved me, and now when they go places, I go with 'em. No, it's not like that damn movie with the garden gnome. I'm a clown, fer Chrissakes.

Couple of weekends ago, they say they're going to Arizona, something about a car crushing robot dinosaur. I say, "Hey, sweet cheeks? I thought we were going to Italy. Why the f$%k are we going to the goddamn desert in the middle of the goddamn summer?"

"First of all, watch your mouth, clown. Second, Italy is next year, and third...technically it's springtime for another week...and it's my life's dream, one of them at least, to see a robot eat a car. Don't you judge me."


"What did I just say? Watch that mouth! Do you want to go, or would you prefer a weekend of quiet reflection in the middle of the laundry pile?"

"Saddle up, toots."

So I thought, you know, 'cause the chick hasn't introduced us formally yet, I'd do the job myself by way of a slideshow.

If you're like me, you're asking yourself, "What the hell is that?" It's a guy in a sundress hitting on a bleach blonde on a plane. Two hour flight and this joker thinks the blonde's all into him, and I gotta hear about it for the whole damn time from his pals two rows back. Then I got to listen to his buddy on the way to the rental car building. "They were SO into it, dude. Dude! They might meet us at this bar later tonight. So f'ing hot!" Couple of things here. Firstly, "f'ing". Either commit to it or not, but don't replace "f$%k" with "f'". Especially if you're speaking, because it makes you sound like a pussy.

I have to break in here and say that I do censor this blog, for reasons even I can't explain. I just do it. Even I don't allow an uncensored "f$%k". Sorry.

So every time I say "f$%k", you replace two of the letters with other characters?

Yes. Didn't you notice me doing that? If it makes you feel any better, I don't ever say "f'ing" anything. I speak the whole word. I just don't spell it completely.

Chick, that makes no f$%king sense. You broads and your (deleted) delicate (censored) sensibilities.

Belligero, I really don't think this is the place...

(deleted remaining diatribe by clown regarding openings in the human body and flying objects that might fit into or fly out of them.)

Alright, so back to what I was saying. This gentleman was trying to impress the lady while quaffing a cold beverage and I observed quite bemusedly that even I -- a small, poly-filled clown -- even I would touch the silky, perfumed decolletage of a fair maid before this young chap came within twenty yards of a willing recipient. He was, after all, wearing garden party attire on an aeroplane...

Belligero! Goddammit, would you just get the fuck ON WITH IT?

Yeah, baby. That's what I'm talkin' about. See? All you needed to loosen you up was a little slap on the (censored).

So we get to the hotel, and turns out the guy's boss sent us a bottle of wine. That's classy.

The chick and the guy thought I might be lonely for home, so they took me to the Gila River Indian Casino. No dice. By which I mean that there were dice there, no disrespect, but it just wasn't the same.

The kids pissed off the car navigation system. After their third drive around the rez, she stopped talking to them. "Do we turn here? We're going to die out in the middle of the f$%king DESERT if you don't talk to us!" "Keep to the left..." "There IS NO LEFT!" "...followed in 1.5 miles by a Keep to the Left..." I liked her. She was saucy. I called her Mags, on account of her name being Magellan and all.

We made it to the racetrack at about 5:00, which meant that it was 116 degrees outside. I don't know how the little chick didn't spontaneously combust, but she hung in there.

Art shot. They should make a poster of it. I saw the little chick take this picture, and she was staring straight into the sun the whole time she was doing it. Crazy broad.

What'd I tell you? I copped a feel while ol' Seth/Beth was still trying to accessorize his ensemble. Nice girls, Trina and Starla. What? Those might be their names. You don't know.

We have a good time, me and the kids.

"You pick up any tickets you see on the ground. They have to look like this one. You pick them up and give them to Grandma. I'll give you a dollar for each one."

"Why, Grandma?"

"Because I take them to the Indian casino and they give me five dollars in Bingo money for each of them, so I make money and you make money."

It does a clown's heart good to hear a beloved grandparent turn her adorable young boys into scavenging urchins.

I gotta watch my language, but this guy's allowed to roam free? We didn't get a picture of his friend, Mr. "I May Not Be Mr. Right, but I'll F%$k You 'Til He Gets Here" T-shirt. Man, I hope those poor little bastards picking up the ticket stubs aren't old enough to read.

After a huge build-up and three hours sitting on the metal bench seats, the robot dinosaur came out and set some cars on fire. The guy and the little chick were too hot, grimy and worn out to get too excited about it. Anyway, she can check it off her list of life goals.

Oh, and you read about how the little chick has a black toenail and burnt eyelashes, but she was still gonna be good for that wedding coming up? Not all disfigured and whatnot? Yeah. Check this out.

Strangely hemorrhagic flea bites from the lawn at the Phoenix Biltmore. That little chick, she can't catch a break with two hands and a net.

Anyway, nice talking to you good folks. Stick around. I got lots more stories.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nothing But Flowers

We have a bad habit, Accountant Boy and I. We buy plants on a whim, then we leave them too long in whatever pot they came in. When it finally becomes apparent that the plants are days, maybe hours away from their last, unrecoverable wilt, we throw them in the ground and hope for the best. This plant falls into the "Oh my God! It LIVED!" category. When my trainer, we'll call her The Amazon, got married, she had hydrangeas on all of the tables at the reception. At the end of the night, those of us milling about had these centerpieces thrust at us. I don't know anything about hydrangeas, so I kept it in a nursery pot for the first few months, and when all of its leaves turned black and dropped, I felt guilty and sad. I left the plant in a corner of the patio and tried to ignore it. When the weather warmed, the plant leafed out again. "Oh my God! It LIVED! Throw it in a bigger pot! HURRY!"

I asked Ron the Gardener about it, and he said, "Wants to be in the ground. They get big." I couldn't figure out if "they get big" was supposed to encourage or deter me. He's a laconic fellow, Ron the Gardener.

"Uh, how about out front? Would it be happy out there? I don't want to put it out there and watch it die, because that's totally demoralizing to see that happen every day, so, you know, is that a good idea? Because this plant's kind of sentimentally special to me, and I want to make sure I don't do something stupid with it."

"Yep. Next week." Like I said, laconic.

It seems really happy in its new spot, so I think we made the right choice. It almost looks like we planned it that way.

Nearby, I panic-planted my Mexican dayflowers. Is that the most beautiful blue flower you've ever seen? Each flower only lasts a day, hence the name, but every day there's a new one. The flowers spring out of a single pod, one after the other, like a shark tooth rotating forward as the tooth in front of it falls out. I bought three of these plants at Home Depot a few years ago, and they've been in the ground, in three pots, in one small pot, and now back in the ground again. I had no idea what they were when I bought them, just that they looked like little corn plants. It's my other bad plant habit - I pick the weirdest, scrubbiest looking plants from the back shelf in the far corner of the garden center. My yard is the planted equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys.

Guess what I did over the weekend? I finished Cobweb! Where are the pictures, you might ask? Fair question. I haven't taken any, because I can't decide if I really and truly am finished. See, there's this whole issue with me making it a tad too wide at the bottom, which makes it perfect for a wrap sweater, which it's not supposed to be, but certainly could be if I wanted to make ties or figure out how to fasten it. Also, after a couple of hours of waffling on the edging and getting a few inches into crocheting it each time, I still haven't decided if a scalloped edge is the way to go. Plain edge is looking better by the moment. So it's not as simple as saying it's done, because I haven't stopped fiddling with it yet.

Here's where it was a week ago. I finished it over the weekend, thanks largely to Accountant Boy, who set me up on the back patio with a glass of wine and my knitting while he did all of the nagging, unfinished yard work. He's the coolest.