Movable Type 3.2
December 31, 2005
New Year's Resolutions
Well, it's that time again. Fewer this year, though, because last year's list just went so well.
1. Get one of my novels-in-progress to the point at which I can start submitting it to agents and/or publishers.
2. Read 100 books, at least some of which are from my mental "I really need to get around to reading that" list. (I don't know, 100 just seemed like a good number. I like goals.) Keep track of them.
3. Finish more knitting projects than I start, and decrease the size of the stash. And keep track of what I knit, because it would be nice to know.
4. Finish a gorram sweater. Finally.
5. Finish losing the weight I want to lose. (No need to get into the particulars here, as I write about that elsewhere.)
6. Try to relax. A little. Sometime. I'm really bad at that, and I make my life much more difficult/stressful than it really needs to be.
December 24, 2005
And to all a good night...
So it's been a decent day, and things are... going. Today I finished the Secret Santa scarf and knit about half the scarf for my aunt. (But I'm not seeing her until Sunday afternoon, so I clearly have "plenty" of time.) While doing so I watched Beautiful Thing (a new favorite), My Beautiful Laundrette (also very good), and two episodes of Six Feet Under. I also wrapped presents, did dishes, packed, and did errands. Whew. Now I'm sitting by the tree, knitting my mom's mittlets and listening to the Nutcracker and finishing up that wine from the other night. It's a nice moment of relaxation amidst all the craziness.
One less-than-relaxing moment of realization today was that the end really isn't as close as you'd think, at least as far as knitting is concerned. None of the gifts for my immediate family will be complete by Christmas (without some sort of miracle), so I'll give them to them partially done and try to finish my New Year's. So I'm in for another week, at least. Then I have to finish my roommate's gift. But I'm trying - trying - to remind myself to relax and enjoy things. We'll see.
Honestly, I haven't been in that much of a holiday mood this year. It's quite unlike me. I think it's good in some ways - I'm being less rigid about things being "perfect" and holding myself and others to ridiculous standards - but it feels like some of the magic is gone too, and I'm not sure why. It's probably a combination of things - being busy, this being the first Christmas after five Christmasses with my ex, just growing up, etc. So I'm trying to just go with the flow and see how it goes. Who knows; maybe it will be better if I'm not forcing myself to wake up early on Christmas morning to read the things I have to read every Christmas morning, and not trying to make my family do everything the way we've always done it because otherwise the world will end. (Of course, I'll probably be waking up early to knit, but...) So... we'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.
I'm working at the store from 7:45 to five tomorrow and then heading to Connecticut - it'll be a long day. I'm not sure about the status of Internet access at my parents' house at the moment, so I may not post again until the 26th. Everyone, have a lovely Christmas or Hanukkah or weekend. See you on the other side.
Posted by Kat at 12:08 AM
December 23, 2005
This is IT.
So. I think I have officially reached IT. Let's go through Steph's criteria, eh?
1. It is within three days of Christmas. Despite my constant confusion about days of the week this week, I am pretty sure that it is indeed within three days of Christmas.
2. Multiple gifts to finish. Um, yeah. Totally. Let's see... three to totally finish, five more to get as far as I can with and finish by New Year's or so.
3. KHPD over 24. Yup.
I'm about to pass out from exhaustion, but here's my plan for whenever I wake up: tomorrow I need to finish the secret santa scarf and knit another bulky scarf and at least one mittlet for my mom. That seems reasonable for one day/evening, right? I have lots of tea and DVDs. I'm set.
Other things I need to do tomorrow:
Okay. That's not too bad. That's doable. Or I'm delirious. Whatever. This is IT.
December 22, 2005
Random Wednesday: Solstice Edition
1. Happy Solstice. I don't have the brainpower to write anything coherent at the moment, so go read Cate. At least I managed to light a candle in my house-shaped candle holder. I guess that's something.
2. Christmas knitting update: Three things totally done, and a fourth just needs ends woven in. A few other things have been postponed or replaced, because really, I'll be crazy enough as it is. Full update coming tomorrow as I officially enter IT.
3. This evening I tried to make sweet and sour meatballs for the work potluck tomorrow. The meatballs self-destructed. I'm going to just tell everyone it's sweet and sour sloppy joes. That's perfectly reasonable, right?
4. Said meatballs/sloppy joes included wine in the ingredient list. So clearly I had to drink some, right? Yum.
5. I took today off and went Christmas shopping in Boston with my cousin. It was lovely. I REALLY don't want to go back to work tomorrow.
6. I want to bake something. Maybe fudge. Hmm. Yes, I know I have to knit. I can knit and bake at the same time, right?
December 20, 2005
To whom it may concern:
Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
Dear Chris Botti,
Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
Dear reading public,
Dear Mr. Ledger,
December 18, 2005
Christmas Knitting Dos and Don'ts
It's... going. Not quite as well as I'd wanted, but I figured that would happen. So to distract you from my lack of pretty pictures or actual content, here are a few pointers for you based one what I've picked up over the past few days.
* DO just keep knitting, and avoid thinking about any of it too much.
* DON'T use yarn or needles you hate. Metal 15s? Ribbon? Eyelash? The end results are pretty, but what was I thinking?
* DO take advantage of the lovely technique that involves doing some extra wraps before each stitch one row and dropping them the next and stretching it out. (I'm sure it has a name but I don't have time to look it up.) My God, does that make a scarf go quickly.
* DON'T take a break to argue with your mother. Or at least put her on speakerphone or something so you can keep knitting. (At least I won.)
* DO "carpool," i.e. get people to drive you places so you can knit in the car.
* DON'T just keep adding things to your list. My list went from 12 to 14 before it got down to, um, 13 at the moment, but two of those are almost done, I swear.
* DO cut back on sleep and housework. 5 hours a night. Laundry and dishes. Everything else can wait.
* DON'T watch anything too enthralling or complicated while knitting. I'm finding that Simon Schama's History of Britain works well - it keeps me interested but, well, I know the plot, so it's okay if I don't give it my full attention.
* If you are making anything that comes in pairs like socks or mittens, DO knit one of each pair first. It will keep things interesting, and it's better to give each recipient one mitten and some yarn instead of two mittens to half of them and just yarn to the rest.
* DON'T let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration does not increase knitting speed. I've been going with mostly Tab and various kinds of tea.
* DO keep the house stocked with easy-to-make, non-messy food. You don't have time to cook or to take food breaks. Knitting while eating is possible. I've been concentrating on canned soup, chips and dip, baby carrots, Twizzlers, and chocolate.
* DON'T develop a new addiction to an online game. (I'll give you the link after Christmas. I promise. It's for your own good.)
* DO remember the twelve days of Christmas. Nothing is technically late until January 6. Especially if you're Catholic.
* DON'T let yourself feel too much envy or resentment when you walk by your roommate's open door and notice the neat stack of books and CDs that he's giving people for Christmas. So what if they come already assembled? You're putting in way more effort.
* DO resolve to drag him into the madness next year. It's not like you forced him to start knitting.
December 16, 2005
The needlework alone can take years.
Prize (after Christmas) to the first person who guesses what movie I'm watching while I furiously knit really bulky scarves. The above subject line is a quote from the movie. Another favorite: "That's what tapestries are for."
Random hint: Cate should get it, for a sort of tangential reason. ;-)
December 15, 2005
Okay. Trying not to panic. Plans solve everything, right? I'm a good planner. I like to make lists. So. I just need some lists and a plan.
First, knitting hours as calculated last night:
Coworker scarves (2): 5 hours each
Total: 75 hours. KHPD: 7.5. Um, right. That's another full time job. I have one of those already. Huh. This might be a little difficult, you think? So.
1. This weekend will be the big marathon knitting. Friday night: finish at least one cousin scarf. Saturday night (since I'm working all day): finish at least one coworker scarf. Sunday: Knit all day. Finish other coworker scarf and nosewarmer (and hopefully something else, but let's let that be a pleasant surprise). Those three scarves are the things I really need done before Christmas, so I will breathe a bit easier then.
2. The next focus will be the mittlets, since those are harder to knit while out and about. Monday and Tuesday I will work on the mittlets at home and scarves while out (in line, on lunch break, etc.).
3. The three cousin scarves? I'm going to go with these. Two hours each. Steph promised. And did you see how I budgeted three hours for each above, since I know I can't possibly knit as fast as she does?
4. I am leaving work early tomorrow to go to the yarn store to get the yarn for the cousin scarves, mittlets, and nosewarmer. Oh, but there's supposed to be an ice storm. Please God, don't let the yarn store close. That would totally mess up the plan.
5. Basic schedule for next week: work 8-5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Probably other work Monday and Thursday evenings. Wednesday I'm taking the day off to go Christmas shopping with my cousin in Boston. I'll carry a scarf around to knit while we shop. I'm sure she'll love that. Wednesday night I need to make something for the work potluck on Thursday, but I can knit while I make meatballs, right? Wednesday night is probably around when I'll cut down on sleep, as well. Don't want to do that too early, or the adrenaline will run out.
6. Tuesday evening I have agreed to see a friend. The conversation went something like this:
7. Friday evening is free. Thank goodness. Oh, except for packing for CT. Saturday (Christmas Eve) I'll be working and leaving for CT right from work. Sunday is Christmas and there will be lots of people at my parents' house. Nevertheless, I seem to think I will have a fair amount of knitting time both days.
8. On Christmas, I will be knitting my roommate's scarf, since Christmas Day is one of the very few days on which we won't see each other (as we'll be with our respective families). And he's okay with it being a Boxing Day or New Year's or Epiphany present if necessary.
9. And really, I'm not above giving a few things on the needles and having them done when I see everyone again at New Year's.
10. But. That's only an extra week. This is still quite a lot of knitting, even with the extra week.
Progress reports will appear when possible. Let's hope I can get lots done over the weekend so I don't get too discouraged. Send caffeine and chocolate.
P.S. I was vaguely thinking of a few more nosewarmers for other relatives, "if I have some extra time." The delusion runs deep.
December 14, 2005
Random Wednesday ('cause I can)
Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)
1. First, because Lauren asked for it:
The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).
2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.
3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.
4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.
5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.
6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.
7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.
8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.
9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.
10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.
11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?
12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.
Ack ack ack ack ack
See? Told you I'd be panicking soon enough. Christmas is in 11 days. ELEVEN. How did that happen? How? I have several presents started, at least. The majority of them are some variation of "red scarf." I am sick of red. And scarves. And I've thought of several more people for whom I need gifts. And decided that no, if I'm knitting for my dad and brother, I need to knit for my mom too. Especially since she doesn't much like scarves. So. How about a new list?
Projects in Progress
Now, you'd think I'd be able to say "enough already" and just concentrate on getting those things done. But, um, apparently not. I am taking 1/4 of a vacation day on Friday to get to the yarn store before it closes to get yarn for the following:
Projects I Have Not Even Started
And, um, yeah, if you look at my creative numbering scheme up there, you will see that I have More. Projects. Than. Days. I just figured that out as I was typing it. And there's no chance I will finish anything today or tomorrow because I won't be home until midnight-ish either night. So. Um. Basically, I need to barricade myself in my apartment this weekend (except that I'm working Saturday 8:45-5) and drink lots of tea and watch lots of DVDs and knit. Oh, except if my roommate wants to go see Brokeback Mountain. That's worth leaving the apartment for. But otherwise... not so much, I'm thinking.
And, of course, I am stuck here at my desk and cannot knit. Torture. If I think about knitting enough, eventually something will start knitting itself, right?
December 13, 2005
Don't worry, I'll be panicking soon.
I feel like I'm crawling out from under a rock. I've been MIA for a few days. First, I survived three days with my family with no Internet access (a temporary problem in their neighborhood) or cell phone service (a permanent one). And no knitting, due mostly to a large dog who likes yarn. A lot. Sooo... aaah. Aren't you proud of me for not yelling at anyone or even crying? I know I am.
And then yesterday I got back home and had to finish my final project for my class this semester. It. Is. Done. I mean, I'm not totally satisfied, of course, but it is done enough and I have e-mailed it to my professor so I'm not allowed to think about it anymore. Right? I finished it this morning while making Death by Chocolate for a coworker's birthday. It was sort of a nice combination. I'll have to remember the "assemble elaborate dessert while typing madly" trick for next time.
So... it's done. I have no homework. I barely know what to do with myself. Other than go to work in a few minutes. (I took a half vacation day for the aforementioned baking/typing festival.) And clean my house. And, you know, think about the Christmas knitting I've been ignoring. I need to reread the "It" chapter of Yarn Harlot. But... later. When I get home from work. I'm going to try to focus on the "relief" for a few hours before "panicpanicpanic12daysleftPANICalready" sets in.
December 09, 2005
Because Friday's just a good day for randomness...
1. Snow! Lots of it! Yay!
December 08, 2005
I've been making a good show of the "oh, there's plenty of time until Christmas" thing. But I can't do it anymore. Because look what has taken up residence in my living room?
Oh. What's that on the top, you ask? Well. I had no tree topper, and it was looking a little bare. Plus, it's COLD in my apartment. So what do you do when you have someone bareheaded and cold in your house? Think about it for a minute.
Yeah. I thought so. You knit it a hat. It's really only logical.
December 07, 2005
Me me me me meme
I'm procrastinating, and Kat tagged everyone who read it, so...
10 Things you might not know about me:
9 Places I've visited:
8 Ways to win my heart:
7 Things I want to do before I die:
6 Things I am afraid of:
5 Things I don't like:
4 Ways to Turn me Off:
3 Things I do every day:
2 Things that make me happy:
1 Thing on my mind right now:
As Kat said, I'll tag whoever reads this, but especially Aisling, Erica, and Cate.
December 06, 2005
Sorry this is a few days late. Things have been crazy, and I've been either happy but too busy to write or sad and therefore not feeling like it. Anyway. The mini-reviews might be even more mini this time, but it's something, at least. Again, five books for the month, which is not that bad, I guess, considering that I also worked two jobs, went to class, wrote a novel, and knit Christmas presents.
How Town by Michael Nava
When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman
Hidden Law by Michael Nava
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
My reading goal for December is to finish some of the books that have been languishing partially read. Starting the month, I had a list of ten (and that was after taking off five that had gone back to the library or otherwise been abandoned). I'd really like to start the new year with a clean slate. Wish me luck. So far, I've finished one of the ten, am a few pages from finishing another... and am about to start something new. Ah well. As Cate keeps saying, two steps forward, one step back.
December 04, 2005
Oh, is this what they call "life"?
I did not turn on my home computer at all yesterday.
I got up, went to work until five, came home, had dinner with my roommate (who had cooked and had very yummy pot roast waiting for me), helped him get started on a knitting project, and then went out with him and a bunch of other friends from the bookstore. And didn't get home until almost three a.m. Weird. But kind of nice, to, for once, not feel like all my friends are in the computer.
December 02, 2005
The invisible divide
Isn't it weird when real life friends become online friends and vice versa? Yeah. I mean, I'm used to meeting people online and then meeting them in person. We all know how that goes. But what happens when an in person friend starts a blog?
Well, first you start finding about things in odd ways. Like you read that she's going to ask you something before she actually asks. I'm not, of course, suggesting that she shouldn't have written it... but perhaps it would have been easier to kill two birds with one stone and ask me directly in the blog.
And then this thing happened to me last night that I was going to blog about, but I looked over and Erica already had. You should read her post, because boy, is the holiday season at the bookstore fun. And to whet your appetite, my new favorite quote:
What a customer said to me last night:
"Hey, can I get, like, a library card for here? Is this a library? Nah, this ain't no fucking library."
I kid you not.
December 01, 2005
If I hadn't already pretty much decided that I can no longer in good conscience consider myself a member of the Catholic Church, this would be the final straw. I'll give you a few highlights, in case you don't have time to read it.
First of all, the main point: "Even if they have never had a gay sexual experience and are fully committed to celibacy, homosexual men are not suitable candidates for the priesthood."
And in case anyone was unclear, here are some "warning signs" of potential homosexuality:
students who had trouble relating to their fathers; are uncomfortable with their own identity; tend to isolate themselves; have difficulty in discussing sexual questions; view pornography on the Internet; demonstrate a deep sense of guilt; or often see themselves as victims.
Here are some of the reasons given for why even celibate gay men make bad priests:
He said they tend to have few friends, to close themselves off from others in "a clan of persons of the same type," to resent the claims on their time made by parishioners, to encourage other gay men to enter the priesthood and to deal with authority predominantly as a matter of "seduction and rejection."
Umm, pardon? Who has he been talking to?
The article goes on to explain that candidates for priesthood must be mature in their masculine sexual identity and theoretically capable of being good spouses and fathers. It seems to be accepted without question that any man with "homosexual tendencies" could not possibly fill any of those criteria.
Really, who are the ones making statements with no social or moral value now?
EDITED to add: I just found the actual text of the Vatican document here, in case you were wondering about the thing itself.