Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blunder Pulled Asunder, Part 1

Wow. I had this so very, very wrong. In addition to the cables crossing the wrong way and the selvage stitches only making occasional appearances, I had the cable length wrong. I was crossing them every twelve or fourteen rows, depending on how badly I was screwing up. It's supposed to be every TEN rows. I thought they looked too rectangular, but continued on without looking at the pattern for some reason.

Restarting was as good move.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's My Soul Up There

There’s a little black spot on the sun today...

What’s up, Mol?

It’s the same old thing as yesterdaaay…

You O.K., pup? You seem kind of blue, and you’re singing ‘King of Pain’.

Oh, hi! I thought we were being reflective and pensive, and I was trying to match the mood. And your pose. And your hair color. YAY!

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

I have stood here before, inside the pouring rain...and I LOVED IT! Rain makes me feel like a real collie out in the field! Hey, you can be a shepherdess. It’ll be SUPER FUN! We'll herd Winston! Go change clothes so you don’t look like you’re going to a funeral. Quick!

I’m busy doing WTHAYW, and I’m in a foul mood, so that’s probably a no on the "sheep" herding. Besides, it’s the start of winter, and that always gets to me. I feel like crying all the time. Stupid lack of bright sun.

But it’s still there behind the clouds! It’s like an INVISIBLE sun!

What the Hell are you WEARING?


Old Navy Shawl Collared Cable Sweater. This sweater cost a whopping $15, and it was worth every one of the fifteen-hundred pennies. And not a penny more. It sits on my arms funny, it’s drooped to become a tunic, and it wrinkles with normal wear. What kind of bulky, acryli-cotton sweater wrinkles like that? Reviewers on ON’s website said that they’d had to try on each individual sweater, because the fit of the garments varied so widely, even in the same sizes and colors. I have this same sweater in tan, and the fit is different enough to feel like a different style of sweater.

Ann Taylor Loft from a couple of years ago. These are the offending trousers I talked about in this post. I thought that maybe covering most of them up with the sweater would give them new life, but it only made me feel even less charitable toward them

Sudini round-toed boots, several years old. I wear these when I don’t feel like navigating the world in my Clarks, which have a higher heel. They’ve stretched to the point where I have to wear hiking socks with them.

None. No jewelry. Hours earlier, after ten years of reliable wear, the pin on my favorite pair of earrings – the sterling silver hoops with hinged clasps - snapped off in my hand.

The Verdict
This is my “I give up” outfit. I didn’t have the energy to do anything more, but had to put something on and go to work. Looking at it in the pictures, I think it shows. It’s not a horrible outfit, but there’s nothing positive about it, either. Nothing about it made me happy, except for the earrings, which picked this particular day to finally give in to metal fatigue.

Lessons Learned
1. Don’t wear a baggy, wrinkly sweater with baggy, wrinkly pants. It will not look comfy-chic. It will look as though I’m about to have a depressive episode.
2. The mood boost would have been worth spending a few minutes more on putting myself together in the morning.
3. Do not base my fragile sense of wellbeing on a ten year old pair of stainless steel earrings, because people walking by my desk will now be able to see me crying.
4. Color is my friend.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paradise Wherever You Are

"It's like summertime on my toes! I love it," I exclaimed as the pedicurist put down her brush. "But it's kind of sad, because I'm only going to see them, like, five minutes a day, because I always wear socks."

"Turn up heater, be barefoot," she replied. "More happy!"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mulligan

Yes, this is the same piece from a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it is shorter than it was. Someone read the cable pattern wrong, and forgot how to count, and forgot to keep two selvage stitches on each side. Someone is now grumpy, and more determined than ever to finish this cardigan within a month so that she can move on to something completely new.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

WTHAYW Thursday

It's Thursday, which means it's time for my newest feature...

What the Hell are you WEARING?
Yes, I know "'What the Hell are you WEARING?' Wednesday" has more of a ring to it, but today's not Wednesday, and I'm not going to backdate this post to make it seem like I wrote it on Wednesday, so let's move on.

Forestry by Veronik Avery, knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Irwyn Green. I’ve loved this sweater since the day it came off the needles a year and a half ago. The alpaca halo obscures the cables a bit, but I don’t mind it. It sheds like crazy, so I can only put it over tops that I plan on washing, lest people think that I’ve been groped by Kermit the Frog.

Banana Republic super-soft scarf tee, this season. I loved this top in the photos, but in practice it seems kind of, well, stupid. It’s a long-sleeved tee with a little snap at the back neck, and a big rectangle of the same material with its own snap, and you can snap the scarf onto the tee and look like you’ve got a bulky bunch of jersey wrapped around your neck. Why? Why not just wear an actual scarf? The neckline is a wide scoop, perfect for showing off jewelry, and it makes a nice undershirt, which is really why I bought it. Maybe I’ll use the ‘scarf’ to line a hat or something.

Old Navy, this season. Reviewers complained that the lining in these trousers was too noisy, and many of them have cut the lining out entirely to get rid of the problem. This causes a new problem, as the wool is incredibly rough, and the friction of it rubbing against leg stubble might be powerful enough to start a forest fire. I’d have preferred the lining to the scratches. Funny story, though. My dry cleaner/tailor decided that, in addition to simply being hemmed, these slacks would be great with a Bermuda-length lining. No, I don’t understand the rationale behind it, and no, I did not ask for it, but now the lining stops just above my knees. And it’s noisy, like I'm walking around with a parachute wrapped around each thigh. And my calves itch. Maybe sometimes it’s worth paying more than fifteen dollars for a pair of pants.

Glass bead that I bought at a craft fair a few years ago, tied around my neck with a leather thong. I've tried to fancy it up in the past, but it doesn't look right on a chain, and it gets lost on a string of beads. When this bit of cord wears out, I'll put it on another one.

Clarks Artisan heeled loafers, this season.

The Verdict
I like this outfit, but it’s not my all-time favorite combination. The pants are a little too light next to the cardigan, not enough contrast. The fronts meet the front of the pants at a wide point, which makes me feel as though I look bloated. The tee exposes about an inch too much skin at the left and right edges, and my collarbone itches from rubbing right up against the wool of the cardigan. The cardigan collar flares out wide around the neck as well, which means that my hair keeps getting stuck under it. That’s what’s happening in the first photo. It’s happened roughly fifty times today.

Lessons Learned
1. Don’t wear these pants with this cardigan. It’ll lead to a day of unsatisfying tugging and smoothing, followed by me complaining that I'm too busty, followed by many of my friends telling me to shut the Hell up.

2. Buy a sewing machine so that I can hem my own clothes, because my dry cleaner/tailor has gone insane. Seriously? Above-the-knee lining? Is that even a thing?

3. Carry hair elastics. Possibly get a haircut. I've been watching my hair change in the pictures over the last couple of months, and I've had this brilliant revelation about it. It might, just might, require periodic maintenance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Too-Little Red Riding Hood

I kept meaning to write this one up as a finished object, but something kept holding me back. It's been done since May, and I have worn it several times, but something just wasn't quite right.

This is Katje, in Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran, a lovely scarlet shade called Merlot. Of course, since I love Silkroad Aran so much, it's been discontinued. I could only get a few balls of the colors I really liked. I have thirty balls in Casket, a lovely pumpkin color, but couldn't get any Venetian and could only get a few balls of this one. I bought as much as I could last year, and didn't properly catalog it before throwing it into the big stash bin.

In the interest of just making something - anything - with this Too Special to Ever Become Anything (TSEBA) favorite, I cast on for Katje and knit like the wind. I don't know how long it took, but I remember it being fast. I know it wasn't more than two months, because I broke my finger on June 5th. I think it was three weeks.

Toward the end, it was a real nail-biter. I had all of the Silkroad Aran that I was ever going to have, and it was barely going to be enough. Because the edges are knitted on, I wouldn't be able to easily add either length or width with a contrasting yarn. I had to bind off the last couple of stitches with spit-spliced ends from farther up in the garment. I was relieved that I'd made it, even with almost no yardage to spare. The few inches I had left are currently being used to hold a darning needle. That's how little there was.

Wearing it for these last few months, I kept getting the feeling that it was too short. I'd tug on the bottom, hoping that it'd magically drop down a couple of inches. If it wwere simply a cropped cardigan, that'd be one thing. The hood, though, gives it so much weight at the top that the cropped lower edge looks disproportionate. It doesn't look all that weird in the photo here, and people tell me it's cute when I wear it, but it's just not comfortable. I can tell that it rides up too much in the back. I meant to wash it and block it this weekend to see if I could fix it, but Silkroad Aran doesn't really do that. If anything my SRA garments shorten up as I wear them. "If only I'd had a couple more balls of it. Dammit. If only!"

And then these turned up while I was digging out the Pure Merino Heathers for Ysolda Teague's Vivian.

Yes, they were there the whole time, pinned under a bunch of Henry's Attic alpaca. They weren't with the rest of the balls because I hadn't bothered to put them into a bigger bag when I got them, and I didn't realize I even had them because that purchase was a "put it in the bin before I have to admit that I bought this much" purchase. This is what comes of lying.

My finding them, then, is what comes of telling the truth. I'm going to take them as a reward for my admitting to Accountant Boy that I bought too much yarn. Thanks, yarn faeries!

I plan to pull back the last couple of rows sometime this week, knit down for another 1 3/4 balls, then bind off again, maybe in seed stitch this time. And then there will be a finished object post, and much rejoicing.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Q&A with Surly Sue

Is that Pas de Valse?

Yes, it is.

It's been 368 days. Is it finally done?

Yes, it is. Sort of. Probably. There were problems with the back neck pickup edge of the collar, and I'm probably going to have to tack the outer edge down in the back in a couple of places to hide it.

What's up with this picture? Why is the exposure all weird?

It's late, and I think I'm getting a cold, and therefore am unable to bother doing a better job. The exposure's all weird because I am naturally a very pale lady and this is a very dark garment. Compromises had to be made, because my phone can't handle both of these things in the same picture.

Why did you use your phone when you own half a dozen other cameras? And what the Hell are you wearing under your charcoal-grey sweater to bring out its detail?

I used my phone because I wanted an excuse to cover my face, because I've spent all day alternating between fighting a cold and repainting my kitchen tile grout, so I'm not feeling all that photogenic at the moment. I haven't even gotten around to brushing my hair. That's a black shirt under my charcoal-grey sweater. I know it doesn't work.

Is this the worst FO picture you've ever taken?

No, because it's not an FO picture. I just wanted to capture the moment when it was actually (mostly) done, for the sake of posterity.

But why is it making me dizzy? Is every straight line in your house on a different vertical axis? Where do you live? The Mystery Spot?

It's making YOU dizzy? Think about how I feel. I LIVE HERE.

Will there be better pictures, maybe tomorrow?

God, I hope so. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ollymay On Irefay

Hi, everyone! HI! It’s me, Molly!

I want to talk to you today about this NEAT thing that some of my internet friends call ‘fire time’. They call it ‘fyur tyme’, but I looked it up when I was pretending to randomly step on Suzanne’s keyboard, and I’m pretty sure I spelled it right, so HA! Wait! Don’t tell her I can do that! If she thinks I’m too smart for my own good, she might get mad at me! I don’t want to end up back in TRAFFIC in the RAIN!

Molly? Quit worrying about being thrown into rainy traffic. What kind of monster would do something like thaaa….oh. Let me rephrase. Molly, quit worrying about Accountant Boy and I throwing you into rainy traffic.

ANYWAY, fire time is when you throw waxed paper into a drafty hole in the wall and set it on fire. The end. I don’t see the point of it, because it doesn’t make anything warmer and we don’t cook anything on it, and Winston’s afraid of it even though there’s glass between us and the fire.

There’s good stuff about fire time, though. Suzanne likes it, and she sits on the floor next to the drafty hole with the burning waxed paper, which means I get more of the couch. YES! And then, when the waxed paper stops blazing, Suzanne hits it with an iron rod and makes it burn some more so that it won’t set the house on fire while we’re asleep, which doesn’t make much sense because it’s behind glass doors the whole time and it’s not even warm on the hearth bricks. But that’s my favorite part of fire time, because then I get off the couch and sit beside her, and she opens the glass doors and we let our faces get warm together.

That’s my take on fire time! YAY! Love, Molly!

p.s. - Ixnay on the affictray alktay. See? I'm really smart, you guys! I'm learning LATIN!

* * *

I missed my knitting deadline on Pas de Valse, with only fifty-nine sleeve rounds left to go. I’m shooting for Friday now, because to Hell with the arbitrary “it’ll be this many months since I started it/since I said it’d be done/this many months since Buddy…” crap. I’d like to wear it on Friday, and I’d like to move on to a more colorful, interesting project. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve also blown the NaBloPoMo goal for this month, and I’m not going to backdate posts to try to make up for it. I never really got behind the theme, at any rate. If I had to spend the month talking about our cultural Zeitgeist – had to spend the month talking about it – my entries would have turned into nothing more than hate-filled essays about ‘Glee’ and celebrities on Twitter and Justin Bieber, and you can find that stuff anywhere else on the web. Maybe I’ll want to talk about those things, but now I won’t have to talk about them. Ah, sweet freedom that comes with walking away from a commitment! It tastes like licorice.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Persistence of Loss

Miss you, guy.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Loose Ends

This is one deadline I really wanted to make. I don't know why it matters, but I wanted to be done at the one year mark. I've got four more rows on the cap, then the rest of the sleeve. Maybe if I knit for my entire lunch hour tomorrow, and pick it up again as soon as I get home...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Peaches and Cream

Norcross, Georgia, September 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010


Another Friday on the cul-de-sac. I love my neighbors.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

This Year's Girl

This is me, late 2010.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start paying more attention to how I looked. In part, Lanesplitter kicked off this new campaign. I'd forgotten how much I liked skirts, and hadn't realized how few pairs of pants I have. A few pounds from now, I'll have half a dozen new pairs to wear, but for the moment I'm stuck with what fits and hasn't worn out over three winters of me wearing them while saying that I needed to get into shape.

The bigger motivator was our office move. On the first day in the new building, I wore a comfortable, work-appropriate pair of trousers and a light blue cardigan. The trousers have been my favorite, not because of how they look, but because they're machine washable. They're starting to fade at the seams, and they only hold their shape for one wearing now. The cardigan has been a disappointment since the day I bought it, but it was easy to find in my closet. Some seasons of Banana Republic cardis are great, some are just passable. This one was the latter. The hem, even though it's ribbed, rolls up on itself everywhere except at the button bands, which makes for an odd fold right at the center front of the garment, like an arrow pointing down to the worn seams in the crotch of my bland slacks.

Dressed in this nondescript outfit, I made my way into the building and to my new desk. Our new offices are sleek, full of frosted glass and muted grey fabrics. Everything is new, everything is uniform, and everything is clean. More on that later. The important thing to note is that, unlike our old offices, the ceiling tiles aren't water-stained, and the mismatched desks aren't held together with Scotch tape. It looks professional.

My new aisle-mates were moving in as well. One of them is a woman a few years older than I am. She is always dressed perfectly in lovely dresses, coordinating jewelry and stylish boots or, on Fridays, in a sweater and dark-wash denim. She is the epitome of "Office Style, 2010". She'd just finished losing a good deal of weight right before I met her, so most of what she has is less than a year old. I'd see her around the old office and think about how sharp she looked, how maybe I should step it up a notch, too. But then, every morning, I'd reach for one of the same three pairs of pants and figure out what to throw on top of them that would get me out the door looking decent.

I stepped across the aisle to chat with her. Even on moving day, she was in a graphic print wrap dress, the neckline of which showed off the multi-strand beaded necklace she was wearing. She looked like she belonged in that new office, in the Herman Miller chair. I was suddenly aware of how unflattering my own ensemble was. "Oh my God, I hate what I'm wearing."

"Why? There's nothing wrong with it."

"Well, there's nothing right with it either. It's just...blah."

I spent the rest of the day uncomfortable. If it hadn't been our first day in the new building, I would have feigned illness and gone home. That's how bad I suddenly felt about how I looked.

When I got home, I threw the pants and the cardigan in the laundry and piled a couple of wet towels on them. I didn't want to be tempted to salvage them just yet. I then went into my closet and took a hard look at what I still had. I had skirts that might have worked if I had the right tops, and I had dresses that I didn't wear because I thought they weren't warm enough, or I thought they made my back look fat, or I thought that I "just didn't wear dresses to work." I took some things out and tried them on.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, and I found some things that I didn't even remember I had. A couple of sweaters and some tights, and I'd be in business. I went to Old Navy and picked up a few things, moved a couple of pieces to the front of my closet, and started the new week with a new attitude. I've taken pictures each day, but today's outfit is the first one I really liked.

This dress is three years old, bought at Nordstrom. I think it's one of their house brands. Here's what I don't understand about sizing. It's a petite large. I am not large. What the Hell, clothiers? Way to make people feel broader in the beam than they already do. The cardigan's from H&M, bought earlier this season. You can't see them, because I don't have a long enough mirror with enough light, but I'm wearing a great pair of black tights from Target, and mid-heel Clarks pumps. I loved wearing this outfit all day.

I got this haircut a few weeks ago, and I love it. I'm resisting getting it cut again because I'm afraid it won't be replicable. Most days I don't have time to blow it out in this style, so I've taken to using a curling iron with a great big barrel. It's more work than I'm used to putting in when I get ready in the morning, but I love it so much that it's worth it.

I'm calling this and future what-I-wore posts WTHAYW (What the Hell are you wearing?). Taking pictures of the outfits is helping me to see what I like, what I don't like, and what something actually looks like as opposed to what it looks like to me when I look in the mirror.

What does this have to do with the the Zeitgeist? Like I said, this is me. Right now. And I like me right now. When I scroll back through old posts in a few months and in a few years, I want to this one to remind me that this is who I am. What did people look like in 2010? Here you go.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


The theme for NaNoBloMo this month is Zeitgeist. "Try to capture the mood of your culture and your life as they exist right now. Use every tool in your blog box: words, photos, music..." I've spent the day trying to figure out exactly what that means, and how it's different from what I already do here, and on Facebook, and on IM at work. In truth, I had to look the word up several times today, because I kept forgetting the definition of it.

I'm pretty sure I'm shooting wide of the mark here, but here's the mood of my life right now, expressed in photography.

My bed is unmade, one of the three vacuums out in the house is just peeking into the frame on the right, and the picture is grainy because there isn't enough light in most rooms of my house to take a clear photography without a flash. The area by the stove is the exception, which is why I usually take so many shots there, but it's filled with paint rollers stuck to trays, dirty dishes, boiled chicken that we forgot to refrigerate last night, and an empty Sauv Blanc bottle. I'm just about to change out of my work clothes so that I can repaint the grout around the cooktop. I am exhausted, and everything is in disarray.

This ought to be a challenging month.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Things What Irritate Me

Ice Unrealized

You’re standing in front of the refrigerator, pushing on the ice dispenser. No ice is coming out. You know someone is standing behind you, and they might need to simply get into the refrigerator. You push your cup against the dispenser button again. “Huh. There’s no ice,” you say. You still do not move aside for the person behind you. You think that there might magically be ice in the next five seconds, and you might miss it. It’s an ice maker, not a slot machine. Still, you huddle in front of it protectively, guarding what you are sure will be your payout.

Taking a more proactive tack, you open the freezer door, stick your hand all the way down into the ice maker bin, fondling the mechanism with your bare hands. “Huh. I wonder what makes it make more?” You close the door, stick your cup back into the dispenser bay again and listen to the motor whir. You are surprised that it still does not produce ice. The person behind you helpfully offers that, as this model of refrigerator does not have the ability to flash-freeze water on demand, you’re out of luck at this break station and you might try the huge cafeteria about sixty feet away. You appear to be beyond listening. “Maybe it’s ‘cause it’s the end of lunch and everyone took all of it,” you mutter, glancing around accusatorially. You still won’t back away. Press. Whir. Nothing. Whirrrrrrrr. Still nothing, no frosty jackpot.

I am the person behind you.

Look, brain trust. That’s a standard refrigerator/freezer combo, like the one you’d see in your home. It can’t pull the heat out of the water any faster than this. Commercial ice makers can freeze water more rapidly, but this is not a commercial ice maker. Pressing the button repeatedly and making the motor grind in an irritating fashion will not speed up the process.

All I want is my can of Coke, which I am proud that I remembered to bring in this morning, even in my exhausted state. It’s in the refrigerator you’re blocking, and your refusal to accept the reality of the situation, along with that metallic whirring, is giving me an enormous headache.

“I wonder why it’s not…” WHIRRRRRRRRR.

Oh, for f&%k‘s sake. I swear to God it’s getting louder.

Sometimes it’s hard to work in an office. With people. I REALLY need a nap.

***Update – I went back to get a picture of the offending ice maker for this post, and she’s STILL THERE, sitting at the little table next to the fridge. The minute the ice tray drops cubes into that bin, she’s on it. But it hasn’t happened yet.***

Not Unto Temptation

See? SEE? This is why I've been deleting every Yarnmarket and Jimmy Beans and Dreamweaver email I get without opening them. The one time I click on a message from in the last seven months, and there's Berroco Pure Merino Heather staring back at me in pesto green. It's beautiful, and there are still 50+ balls available, and I do not need it, and I already have sixteen skeins of it in cinnabar in my stash...

But it's so very pretty, and that color is great on me, and I'm vulnerable right now because I've been on call and working overnight for two days, so I'm barely functioning, much less able to resist the temptation to spend. I'm holding out for now, but for how long? For HOW LONG?

I need a nap.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Hey, you guys! Hi! It's me, Molly!

You know what I got, because it's Thanksgiving and I've been good? Frozen pumpkin Kong! If I'm good and stay on my bed, I get to have the WHOLE THING, and I can make SLURPY SOUNDS with it! It's DELICIOUS! THANKS, SANTA!

Molly, sugar? Thanksgiving isn't really when...

Hoppity-hop-hop! Hoppity-hop-hop! Santa's on his waaaaay!

Oh, what the Hell. Happy Thanksgiving, baby.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Evening's Post

Looking back, it seems like I haven't talked about this particular work-in-progress. It's Pas de Valse, and I've been working on it for almost a year. I have an arm and a half left, then some cleanup, and it's complete.

Friday, November 26, 2010

You can almost SMELL the magic!

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and you know what that means. It's's Christmas time, yeah. Not safe for work or minors, but it should be. Spread the joy! Touch the Affenpinscher! Lick the mustache!

No, I'm not drunk.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Worth a Thousand Words?

I started to write about color, but then I realized that I was saying the same things I said a couple of years ago, and I mean almost word for word. It was as though I were plagiarizing myself. It's no less true than it was back then, though. I get distracted all the time by things I find visually appealing.

A couple of weeks ago, it was the light from my desk lamp shining through these Haribo gummi bears. I spent several minutes trying to capture what I was seeing with my phone camera. I couldn't quite get the saturation I was seeing, so I ran the picture through a CameraBag filter to get it to look this rich.

Yesterday, it was a pattern in the carpet in front of me. I was supposed to be listening to employee survey results. I was in the front row, ten feet away from the man speaking, but instead of looking at him or at the projection screen behind him, I found myself mesmerized by some carpet splotches that started to look like the face of Simba the lion. "Does the pattern repeat? Do the other ones look like the Lion King, too? I wonder if I'd be able to get back in here later to check it out."

Lion Cub, MGM Las Vegas - Summer 1997

I've been having trouble with sitting down to blog every day. It's harder than I thought it would be to write something new each day, and getting harder every day I try. I have theories about why it's happening, most involving overexposure to social media and television. But my theorizing will have to wait. Mantracker's on.

Monday, November 22, 2010

So Long, Stinktown

Outside the AutoZone, Pacheco, California - November 2010

Our offices moved over the weekend, and I am just beside myself with the anxiety of change. How will I be able to do that drive every day again? How will I adjust to the new cubicle that sits at the intersection of two corridors and is so open that everyone can see what I'm doing all the time from 50 feet away? How will I live without the comfort of live plants near my desk? How will I get into the work mindset every morning without the ritual of stepping over the debris of the hobo camp as I walk up to the building?

I'll probably get over that last one pretty quickly. So long, Pacheco parking lot! You've pushed your last screw into my tires.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lawn Jockey

Spent the weekend working on the house. I think we may have got some things wrong...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Video Prozac

So it's come to this already, huh? We've got another six weeks of daily posting pledged, and we're already missing days and putting up YouTube videos?

At least it's a good one. Thanks for the link, Doc.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Purple Sweetarts

When did I start it? Last December. Where did I leave off? No clue. Where's the pattern? Uh...

It sure is pretty, though.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Answers to Questions Nobody Asked

So what were the answers to last week's Tease post? What in the blue blazes was I talking about?

1. Long drive - the arduous journey to Tulare to work the bar at the Historical Museum's 25th Anniversary celebration. Accountant Boy hurt his back bowling with me last weekend, which made three hours each way in the car especially unpleasant. The theme of the event was 'Night at the Museum' which meant that...

2. We had to dress like people from Days of Yore, come to life just for the party. We went with 1920s, since we couldn't get a clear timeframe for when Tulare's infamous Front Street district was at its peak. While Accountant Boy already had a vest and a snap-brim cap from a themed party several years ago, I had nothing in my closet that fit. (I buy dresses for weddings, and usually exercise like crazy leading up to the events, so I'm normally about a dress size larger than anything on the fancy side of my closet.)

When my mom informed me that my hips were too big for anything in their collection, I started worrying about what I was going to wear. It consumed my thoughts for several days. Then I remembered one of the tenets of my new creed - "I'm done with all that."

What does that mean to me? It means that I can keep worrying about something and make myself sick over it, or I can just get rid of the thing I'm worrying about. A few weeks ago, I had this great revelation about my fishtank. I haven't enjoyed fishkeeping in years, but we still had a tank, and I still worried about the fish in it, fretted because I didn't make time to change the water, cringed every time I walked past it. I came in from the yard one day, looked at the tank and said, "I'm done with all that. Why am I stressed about three fish and a bunch of plants?" I called the girl across the street over. "Ash, you have fish, right? Take my fish and put them in your tank. There's nothing wrong with them, but I'm tired of owning them." We scooped up the fish, pulled up all of the plants, carried all of them across the street and put them into their new home. I came back, tore down the tank and the stand and hauled it out to the garage, steam-cleaned the carpet where it had stood so that there wouldn't be dents, and was done with it. It felt so good to not worry about that one thing anymore. A.B. didn't even notice it was gone for three days.

So, worrying about my costume to the point that I was having a hard time working, I finally snapped and said, "I'm done worrying about all of this. I'll go buy a dress right now and then I can stop thinking about it." I bought this one. Not cheap, but at least it was authentic, not that cheesy all-fringe look you get from Halloween costume flapper dresses. I researched finger waves, then went for the easier solution of buying a waving iron. I felt really good about my decisive, successful moves toward a solution.

And then my mom said that it'd be better if I dressed like Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke.

3. Gland expressing - oh, don't make me tell you about this. I don't know what I was thinking even bringing it up.

4. A trip to the butter factory - this one, the most straightforward of my tease topics because it's exactly what it seems to be, did not happen. My oldest brother, Big Guy, works for a dairy processing plant. He's the mechanic in the butter room, keeping all of the packaging machines running. For years now, he's been trying to take me on a tour of Butter, but we never manage to make it work. This was the weeks' greatest disappointment for me. I love factory tours, and I know he's proud of his work and wants to show me around. Next time, I hope.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Ugh, readers. Just ugh.

I tried to get a good picture of myself in this skirt, but through no fault of either my knitting, the pattern or the yarn, every one of them looks like I'm about four months pregnant, or, more likely, like I'm trying to smuggle contraband into the country under a pregnancy pillow. As I am neither with child nor a drug mule, this is not a comparison I want to make when I see pictures of myself. But there it is. These four might not look that bad, but bear in mind that they're the very best ones I took, I'm sucking in my midsection mightily in them, and anywhere that you see a fold in the sweater, assume that there's an equally deep fold of me underneath it.

Yes, I know the solution is to exercise more, and I'll be able to do that more regularly once my office moves back down near my old gym. That doesn't fix today's pictures, or the few from this weekend where I thought, "Oh, that's just a bad angle making my shoulder look beefy. And that's a bad angle making my waist look thick. And that's a bad angle giving me jowls." The photos from this weekend had more 'bad angles' than a remedial geometry class, and I hate them so much that I don't even want to share them.

I know, however, that if we wait until I feel lean and tight enough to properly model this skirt, we could be waiting a good while, and I don't want to have yet another finished item go undocumented and, in all likelihood, unworn until then. This is me right now, and this is how I look in my new skirt, so I'm going to face it and move forward.


Lanesplitter by Tina Whitmore, Knitty First Fall 2010 (Ravelry Link)

I picked it because it's like nothing I've knit before. I don't usually think to wear skirts, much less knit skirts, but I'd like to start. Also, I figured I could get it knit with less than one of my many not-quite-sweater-length skeins of Interlacements worsted.

16" long, 36" hip circumference. This gives me about two inches of negative ease at the hip. I went with a shorter length because I have fairly short legs.

Interlacements Dyer's Choice (Oregon Worsted Stripe in a non-standard colorway), Knitpicks Shadow in Lost Lake, and Cascade 220 Superwash. I used exactly one skein of Shadow, which I carried along with the Interlacements to thicken it up slightly, so the skirt totalled about 440 yards. I used about fifteen yards of Cascade 220 Superwash for the waistband.

The worsted on its own was a little too bright, but the carryalong yarn muted it just enough to make it look rich and tweedy. I'm glad Accountant Boy weighed in while I was picking between Lost Lake and Vineyard. It would have been a very different look if I'd carried along a wine-colored yarn.

Addi Clicks - size 8. I love these needles.

October 19th through November 11th, 2010.

I made it shorter than the pattern, which was really easy to do. I only used one skein of yarn, since Interlacements color repeats are so much shorter than Noro. I crocheted a waistband instead of folding one over elastic. I figure this way it'll be adjustable if I decide to take it in later. I can unravel the superwash crochet rows and redo it.

I love this skirt. I loved watching the colors shift along the rows as I knit, and the squishy feel of the work as it grew longer. I used some stash yarn and it came out exactly as I hoped it would. I'll probably make this pattern again.

Just as soon as I lose a few pounds.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winston's Idea of a Good Time

I make my own fun.


Winston J. 'Bug' Schmidt

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde Tend Bar

"Nobody's going to take a better picture of us at this shindig, huh?"


"We look fabulous, though!"


"You and me against the world, sweetie?"

"You got it, doll."

Friday, November 12, 2010


It started off as this.

It wound into this.

It became this. I'm still fascinated by it.

Full FO post as soon as I get some modeled shots of it, probably early next week. The rest of this weekend is going to be full, with a long drive, a pricey 1920s floozy, gland expressing, and a trip to the butter factory. Ponder that combo, and see how close your imagination comes to my reality.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

This might be the perfect pie/custard/desert/breakfast food ever. It's good cold, stays good in the refrigerator for at least two weeks, is relatively light on calories, can be served on a paper towel and eaten in the car while driving to work, and it tastes delicious with coffee. The Bisquick settles around the edges and makes a very thin crust, or at least enough of a shell that the outer edges don't feel all custardy when you're eating a piece with your hands. When made with non-fat evaporated milk, and eighth of a pie is only about 200 calories.

There's one in the oven right now, and it's making the house smell fantastic. I'm in too much of an apathetic mood to write up anything more interesting today, so here's the recipe.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie

16 oz. pumpkin
12 oz. evaporated milk (regular or non-fat)
2 Tbs. butter
2 eggs
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. Bisquick
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a blender. Grease a 9-inch pie pan or a 13x9-inch dish. Pour mixture into the pan. Bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean - 50 to 55 minutes. I like to bake it a little longer, until a couple of inches of cracks form around the edges. Let it cool, then serve. I usually chill mine for about a day before serving.

It doesn't look pretty in the pan, and it's not all that visually interesting when sliced, but trust me, it's delicious. My pictures aren't doing it any justice, either, but...ugh. Not in the mood to try harder.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Pirate

Monday, November 08, 2010

So Faux Meaty


Yes, Bernini's David?

"Whhhphh phnuey iph thph ahbuhmuh mphcuhluh phuhm?"

What finery is...what?

"Ahbuhmuh mphcuhluh phuhm?"

About your miniscule fume? What are you talking about?

"Ah. BUH. Muh. Mphculuh. PHUHM!"

Man, I can't understand a word your saying. Let's talk about the scarf. It's a catch-up Finished Object post from earlier this year. By the way, you look quite handsome wrapped up in it.


Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed - two skeins and
Berroco Softwist - one skein

I bought the Silky Tweed a few years ago from Webs, back when it was being cleared out. I'd intended to buy more of it if I ended up liking it, but never got around to it. The Softwist was left over from the Two-Tone Shrug I made a couple of years ago. The Silky Tweed ended up in one of those Lantern Moon small project bags, which I kept shifting around to different spots in my house. When it came time to put the leftover Softwist away, I shoved it into the bag as well. They looked good together, so I figured that they should stay that way. As it wasn't enough to make a full garment, I spent the next couple of years planning to buy more Softwist. It became a Too Special to Ever Become Anything (TSEBA) yarn.

Pattern/Design Thoughts
I tried a few motifs, and I thought about making granny squares with it, but nothing seemed right. I finally got frustrated with my inability to decide, and just started double-crocheting. I winged it from there, thought about making the various stripes thicker or thinner, but ultimately came up with this pattern.

Brittany Birch, size F

I packed that little embroidered sack of yarn into my laptop bag and took it with me on a business trip to Nebraska. I started crocheting it when the plane was over Nevada, worked on it in my hotel room that week, and finished it up right before crossing back into Nevada from the other direction. May 9th through 14th 2010.

I love how this came out, and that the yarn isn't sitting in TSEBA-ville. For a while, I was worried that it looked a little like vegetarian bacon, but I've made peace with it. I've worn this one a few times, and I'm happy with how it's holding its shape. Good scarf, nice body, good form...

...oh! About your muscular form?


Don't talk with your mouth full.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


You guys? You know what? My new best friend Molly is exhausting.

Sometimes a guy just wants to come downstairs and hang out on the couch without getting his ankles bitten. Sometimes he wants to stare out into the rain in quiet rebellion, refusing to walk out and get his feet wet, without another dog high-stepping out into the downpour and cavorting like a field spaniel, making him look like a ninny. Sometimes maybe he doesn't want to have another dog jumping on his neck and growling like a honey badger. Sometimes.

Then again, sometimes he does, and that's cool, too, because he loves his new best friend, and he gets a lot of sympathy-treats and special time on the couch because he gets to act put-upon. It's good.

But, I tell you, that guy's going to end up exhausted.


Winston J. 'Bug' Schmidt