Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I am overjoyed to be knitting again. I started to say "there aren't words", but this is obviously untrue, because I am typing them. That phrase irritates me every time it comes up in a conversation. I usually throw things at the television when I hear it, shouting, "There ARE words. You are USING WORDS. You're just being lazy! Challenge yourself to say something original, you hipster f$*k!" I should point out that I most often hear "there aren't words" in news stories where someone is describing a puff pastry that they bought off of a push-cart after being alerted to the location via Twitter, and it's usually some perfectly styled guy who doesn't appear to have a day job, since he's able to ride his fixie all over San Francisco with his "ironic" Hello Kitty messenger bag slung across his narrow chest, chasing gourmet puff pastry push-carts and hoping to get on the news. If someone is standing in front of what's left of their house after Godzilla flattened it, shell-shocked and barely vocal, they lay a legitimate claim to "there are no words". I'm not heartless, you know. But, hipster dudes trying to sound cultured while talking about curbside creme brûlée? No pass for you.

Where were we? Oh, yes. The joy of knitting again. This swatch is the start of Lanesplitter. The yarn is from Interlacements, bought a couple of years ago at Stitches West. I'm hoping I'll have enough of it, because it was an odd colorway and I only have 560 yards of it. The swatch is two different shades because I was testing out carryalong yarns. After staring at it for a couple of minutes and consulting with the artistically-inclined Accountant Boy, I went with the green. This isn't the best representation of the colors, but it'll do for now. The wool feels so good in my hands, especially after all those weeks working with cotton. The colors are entrancing. I am so, so happy to be back at it again.

Juliet is done and almost dry. More on that when I can model it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Splendor in the (Gr)ass

"You know who you remind me of? It's been driving me crazy, but now I've got it."

The nurse at the surgeon's office looked up at me expectantly, clearly waiting for me to guess.

"Uh...I have no idea..."

I'm usually afraid to hear the answer, and I don't dare volunteer one of my own. When I and MTV were both much younger, I'd get compared to video jockey Martha Quinn.* I didn't mind it so much, except that it meant that I was little-sister-cute, and that wasn't exactly how I wanted to be seen when I was seventeen. A few years of college and a dye job later, I started getting Cheers-era Shelly Long, for both the hair and the dense vocabulary. It was not meant as a compliment. I can't remember the other suggested doppelgangers, but I know that I didn't like most of them.

I stood there and attempted to look like nobody in particular. I twisted my face in a number of different ways, as you do when you know that someone is scrutinizing you. I tried to not flare my nostrils, which guaranteed that I'd be flaring my nostrils. I didn't know where to look while she was staring at me, so I kept shifting my gaze around, twitchy. I was pretty sure that at one point I actually did look like Shelley Long.

She waited a few uncomfortable beats longer, then, finally gave up on making me guess.

"Natalie Wood!" she said, triumphantly. "But you're too young to know who that is."

I did, in fact, know who Natalie Wood was, and I was very flattered. When we first got cable, it seemed like HBO played 'Brainstorm' at least three times a day**. I remember thinking that she was so beautiful, and I sat through that mediocre movie at least a couple dozen times just to watch her. It was quite an honor to be compared to her. I acknowledged it in the only way I could, having been taken so by surprise.

"What a coincidence! I was thinking of taking up pleasure boating, now that I'm giving up on motorcycles."

She scowled at me, then handed me a sheath of papers. "Fill these out. Someone will call you back in a few minutes."

I am an ass, sometimes. At least I don't look like Shelley Long.***

I'm still a few inches shy of being done with Juliet. I'll probably finish just after the weather turns too cool to wear it.

* MTV not only used to play videos, they had hosts who announced them. And sometimes, when they'd run out of videos, they'd just play long musical pieces while showing rockets launching. Really. You young kids have no idea how revolutionary it was.
** This was an even bigger deal than you'd think, because our cable box didn't have a remote control. Back in those days, you committed to what you were watching, or you stood up and pushed a button ON THE TV.
*** Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have nothing against Shelley Long. But go back and watch early episodes of Cheers, then tell me what woman in her right mind would want to be Diane Chambers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Friday, October 08, 2010

Stay Hungry

Yeah, baby! That's what I'm talking about! Push it! PUSH IT!

Oh, hello, fellow knitters. You caught me mid-set there. Little Lefty Pinkerton has been working hard on the strength exercises in anticipation of our final visit to the hand surgeon on Monday. We're hoping to make him proud, show him the fruits of our perseverance. Might not get full function back? I know he said it in an attempt to set realistic expectations.

Of course, I took it as a challenge. When my official physical therapy course ended, I bought the equipment to continue it on my own. I looked up the normative data on grip strength for women my age, found that I'm average for my right hand, decided that I should be above average and started working on that hand, too, even though there's nothing physically wrong with it. I might not be in great shape otherwise, but I'm going to have freakishly strong hands. I wonder if it will help my knitting speed.

Speaking of knitting, I am happy to hear that I'm not the only one with sewing issues, or the only one still knitting. It's just that I spent September looking at the knottygnome and stitchywitch blogs, insides twisting with jealous admiration. Go check out their work. It's quite humbling. Actively squashing the desire to be a seamstress.

Finally, today, you might be wondering what's up with all of the blog posts. Four days in a row is a record for me. It's part of my new outlook on life, my new creed, if you will. There are several parts to this creed, which I shall explain at nauseating length in a later post. You will, beloved readers, probably want to be at least partially intoxicated for it. The tenets of my new creed include "I'm Done with All That", "I'm Forty Years Old, Dammit", "Embrace the Cliche", and "Because F$%k It, That's Why". Those sound pretty negative, I know, but believe me when I say that they're actually affirming. And there are more positive-sounding tenets, but they don't have catchy names yet. For now, just know that the relevant piece here is "Go Big or Go Home".

Thursday, October 07, 2010


This is a thing of beauty. The light, the reflections, the cool tones of the garnish tray juxtaposed with warm glow the golden lager, and the rakish angles all combine to form an image that pleases my discerning eye. This picture is completely unretouched. I took it at this angle intentionally, to add to the feeling of cheerful disorientation. I look at it often and try to figure out what exactly about it I love so much.

Yes, I took this with my phone. I then emailed it to Accountant Boy with the following message: "We want the funk! Gotta have that funk! At the bar. You should stop what you're doing and get here immediamente. Love, Doc, the Chemist, and me."

I had a whole piece here in which I reflected on the knit-blogging community's abandonment of knitting in favor of sewing. It was full of introspective musings and longing for days of yore, back when knitting was the hot ticket, before everyone moved on and left me in the dust, surrounded by thousands and thousands of yards of unknit wool. I felt so alone. I then went through my bookmarks to find support for my disheartening theory, and discovered that I was skipping about three-quarters of the bookmarks in my list. My phone rearranged them in an odd way, and I go to most of the blogs through my phone because it's the only way I can browse at work, so I got out of the habit of visiting most of the sites I used to frequent. Long story short, most of us are still knitting. I actually look like the LEAST productive blogger I know. Uh...HOORAY! Yay, knitting!

Carry on.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

(What's the Story) Morning Glory?

My backyard here at the new house, which will continue to be the new house for another five years, at which point it will have been our house longer than the old house and will lose the modifier, is a wild and unstructured place. Accountant Boy rebuilt one-fourth of the deck's total surface a couple of months ago, but the rest of it is still unstable, one heavy foot away from catastrophe. We haven't taken the time to figure out the irrigation back there, so some things are overwatered and some are dying from a lack of it. We bought some Japanese maples at Costco early last spring. They're still in nursery pots. We like to say that we're pacing ourselves.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I looked out there at the vine that I couldn't remember planting and saw that thing. I remember throwing some morning glory seeds in the ground, but it's been a while, at least a couple of years. When a leafy vine cropped up around a withering rudebeckia, I assumed it was a stowaway from the nursery. It didn't bloom for eighteen months, but it didn't die over the winter, even with the snow. Tough plant. And now it's blooming, which is amazing given that we don't water it and it's living in the notoriously crappy Pleasant Hill soil.

Everything in the ground went wild this summer. This is the cosmos that we grew from seed. See what looks like a sapling trunk in the picture, near the plastic Holstein's ass? It's actually a cosmos stem. Yes, these are the same cosmos that you buy in 6-packs at Home Depot. Mine grew six feet tall.

It may not be formal, or purposeful. It's not the garden I had at the old house, that's for sure. Back then, we designed everything, planted that yard from flat dirt, knew the botanical and common name of everything in the ground. I planned very little of what's growing in either the back or the front yards here. We simply threw stuff into the earth and hoped for the best. If it perseveres, we're happy. If it thrives, we're surprised. It has been a surprising few weeks. It's wild. I love it.

Work continues on Juliet. I'm finally down to the lace portion. What I neglected to mention last time was that I'm knitting it at the wrong gauge. Yes, I did do a gauge swatch, but I did it not long after I got the O.K. to lightly use my pinkie, and while my thumb was still in a brace for twenty-three hours a day. I thought that, as it was just knitting, no purling for the first third of the project, it wouldn't be a problem. My tension couldn't be that much more loose, right? Heh. I like it at this gauge, but I'm knitting it as a large so that I can get a small/medium, so it's taking a little while. The Theraputty is in the picture for color adjustment. My phone camera couldn't get the color right without it.

Why the phone camera? Wasn't I just whining about how I don't take out my "real" cameras anymore? For some reason, the lighting in my office and the processor in my Sony don't get along. None of the white balance settings work, even with helpful color contrast object thrown into the mix. My phone, on the other hand, takes wonderful pictures at my desk, with clean, accurate white balance and brightness. My phone won out in the morning glory pictures as well. I took shots with both, but the one above was the most true to life. The big Nikon would more than likely best both of them, but that defeats the purpose of the kind of spur-of-the-moment photography I like to do. For now, the phone wins.