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 Elann.com 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 Christmas...it'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

Saturday, November 06, 2010


As part of my post-a-day campaign, and because I'm copying Jo, I joined up with NaBloPoMo. I dug back through and found a lot of prompts that I thought were interesting, but this one jumped out at me.

Two teenage girls are slugging it out in a parking lot. What do you do?

What do I do? I tell you what I do, and what I'd tell anyone else to do as well. Call the cops, and stand very far away. Why, you ask? Because there's nothing more vicious than a teenage girl in a fight. With boys, it's all dominance displays, chest bumping, trying to get the other one to back down. Girls, on the other hand, just f$%king go at it. Fists and feet fly. Heads get pounded into the street. That old stereotype about slapfighting and barely touching each other is wrong. That's how sissies fight. Girls actually do a lot of damage.

When I was seventeen, I was mugged on my high school campus. By a girl. Yeah, she was a lot bigger than I was, and there were a couple of guys with her, but she was the leader, and she did all the work. The police found my purse and my license under a trash bin in the park a year later, but for those dozen months I was sure she was carrying it around, about to come find me if she got bored. "I'm gonna GET you, bitch," she'd snarled in my ear. Terrifying.

A couple of years later, I was home visiting from college and stopped in to see some of my teachers. My chemistry teacher came into the teachers' lounge, and I saw that he had an eye patch. He'd tried to break up a girl fight in the halls, and one of the girls knifed him in the eye. He lost an eye, readers! He tried to break up a fight between two teenage girls, and now he's half-blind.

The question gets more interesting the more I think about it. Here's a followup question. Two teenage BOYS are slugging it out in a parking lot. What do you do? Ask the question of women you know, then ask the men. See if their responses are any different. See if chivalry plays a role. I'd bet that most of the men will say to break up the girls and let the boys keep fighting. If a man gives you that response, reach over without warning and box the man in the ear and say, "Stop underestimating girls. They'll f$%k you up."

Friday, November 05, 2010


Progress is being made on Lanesplitter, but as it's just a biasing rectangle at this point, it's not that interesting to talk about it. In a piece of good news, I found the skein band and saw that I have more than a standard skein's worth. 600 yards gives me some breathing room, figuratively and literally. This is the closest I've come to getting a true color picture of the work.

I'm wearing Juliet today. Fingers crossed that it doesn't stretch into a knee-length tunic.

What's with the boring post title? I decided to make up for my lack of blog posts over the last couple of years by posting every day between now and New Year's Eve, some days more than once. I'm trying to beat my annual max, set in 2008. Sure, I can think of something to say every day. Ask anyone. I never shut up. It's just that I can't always comer up with a pithy title.

"Friday." Heh.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I used to have a real problem. A yarn problem. A yarn buying problem.

When I first started knitting, I was naive. I didn't understand what 'closeout' really meant. If a yarn was marked as a closeout, and I thought I might even remotely like it, I bought all of it that I could find. Sure, I know now that closeout yarns might hang around for years, or might simply be colors closing out, not the yarn itself. Now I know the difference between a closeout and a yarn that had truly been discontinued. I didn't know back then.

The problem with this is that I also tend to go overboard. I'd buy all of the "can't ever have it again" yarn at a store, brick-and-mortar or online, then go look for more of it at a different store. I'd buy as much as I could, then agonize about what wasn't in my cart. I ended up with a lot of yarn this way, yarn that I still haven't used.

I had four or five websites that I'd visit every morning, seeing what was on sale, seeing what was running low that I might miss out on having. I'd usually buy something, and usually not just a ball or two of it. What if I couldn't get more of it? I needed enough to make...oh, whatever I might someday decide to make, and I needed to know that I wasn't going to run out.

Stitches was the worst thing in the world for me, especially back in those days. Not only was I surrounded by huge displays of yarn, but I was also seeing yarns that I was sure could not be had anywhere else. Most places have websites now, but back then it was a once-in-a-year opportunity. You went to Stitches and you stocked up on rare, exquisite things. I still haven't forgotten the one thing I didn't buy several years ago, the short skein of fingering-weight camel that came with the name of the man who'd shorn the animal and spun the fiber. It was eco-friendly, and artisanal, and eclectic. What was I going to do with a $200 75-yard skein of camel? No clue, but the IDEA of it seemed so delightful that I'm still - six years later - thinking about it. I don't think I'd buy it now, but the emotion involved with not buying it then is still almost as strong as it was when I was pacing in front of the table with the skein in my hand, agonizing over my decision.

Daisy and I both fell prey to that mentality. I once made it sound like we were more in control than we were, but the reality is that we enabled each other, and neither of us ever saw the full scope of the other's problem. My yarn went into the yarn cave, hers into boxes in the attic, baskets on high shelves, bags in the closet, or crates in the garage. It wasn't until I moved and consolidated my stash into my garage that I saw just what I'd done. I should haul it all out into the center of the garage and take a picture of it.

I'm still not sure that Daisy knows what yarn she has. She sent me a couple of balls this summer with a note that said "1986 called. It wants its scarf back." They might be that old. We thought we'd seen all of it when she was packing, but new skeins and half-finished projects keep wiggling to the surface. Some of it, like "1986" and the yarn for this project, transferred over to my stash. Some of it was moldy and, with great reluctance and difficulty, she threw it away. Most of it went back with her.

We both watch Hoarders, text each other sometimes when it's on. We both recognize ourselves in some of the episodes. "I might use that someday. It's still good, once you unwind the outside part. I can rinse out the smell. I bought that when (x) happened. It reminds me of the time we..."

There came a point not too long ago when I realized that it really was a problem. I'd order yarn, race home to get to the boxes before Accountant Boy saw them, empty out the yarn, catalog it, shove it in one of the overly full bins, break down the packaging and shove it in the recycling can before he could see it. Sometimes I'd tear the shipping label into little bits and throw kitchen scraps on it so that it wouldn't be legible. The day that I actually CREATED kitchen scraps to hide a shipping label, I knew I'd gone too far and had to stop.

I've been knitting from my stash since then, digging in and pulling stuff out to knit without regard for any special plans I may have thought I had for it. I don't visit any of the big websites anymore, and I only skim the catalogs for ideas before throwing them in the recycling. I bought a few balls of camel/merino at Tuesday Morning the other day when I was in a bad mood, but for the most part it's been going pretty well.


Juliet by Sarah Johnson (Ravelry Link Here)
Knit as a large, but my gauge was tight, so it's actually a smallish medium

Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran in teal. I used 555 grams of the stuff, which is just slightly more than 11 skeins. I have two more of them left.

Daisy bought this yarn at Stitches in 2004. I remember standing next to her at the Webs booth when she was looking at it. I'd never seen that much yarn in one place. It was exciting. Anyway, she gave it to me a couple of years ago, and I spent some time trying to figure out the perfect project for it, because, you guessed it, it's not available anymore. It finally became Juliet because I needed an easy, quick project to get me knitting again after this summer's finger madness. Little did I know that I'd turn it into a three-month endurance event.

Addi Clicks, size 8 the whole way through.

I found the button at a bead store with Daisy a couple of years ago, after she'd pushed this yarn off on me. I bought the button specifically to go with this yarn.

Early August to mid-October. I know that I didn't get to the lace until about October 1st, because I was in Atlanta when I hit that part. In a funny twist, I knit the last couple of inches of garter while watching Hoarders in my hotel room.

I knit the large because my gauge was tighter than was called for. I pretty much followed the pattern, except for adding a set of 3-6-9 short rows at the back so that the garter line wouldn't ride up. I went for nine lace repeats so that it'd be an inch or so below the bottom of any belt that I'd wear.

It's a cute top, but the bulky garter stitch makes my upper body look bigger than it is, and I don't need help in that area. I need to remember that I don't like this bodice style. I would have liked this even more if it'd been stockinette on the top.

The body has a nice swing to it, and I'm pleasantly surprised by the way the pleats are staying in place. I wasn't expecting either of those things, and don't think it'd drape like this if it were wool.

All in all, it's a winner.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010