Movable Type 3.2
July 28, 2006
You know what I don't have?
A bottle opener.
Okay, backing up a bit. Tonight I made the first of what will probably be several trips to places like Target and Costco to replace items that my roommate had contributed to the household, and that have now therefore gone with him to North Carolina. Tonight's shopping trip was pretty successful - I now have drinking glasses, a colander, a cutting board, and a way to make coffee. But when I got home, I realized that I don't have a bottle opener, so my Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat will have to wait for another evening. This means that I also don't have a corkscrew, since that was attached to the bottle opener. Also, I have the coffee maker, but no coffee grinder. Hmm. I need to just start a list - I'm sure I'll be coming across a lot of these things in the next few weeks.
I do, however, have two birthday cards on my refrigerator, and that makes me happy.
February 01, 2006
1. New hair again, in its natural (i.e. not blow-dried straight) state:
2. I'm actually feeling remarkably focused about knitting recently. I'm re-enamoured with my Trekking socks and they're coming along nicely. Tonight I'm making myself work on the Clove Stitch Shawl I want to bring to Florida. Next week. Yeah.
3. One of the reasons for my focus is that the roommate has decided to try a sweater: he's chosen Beau from Vintage Knits. In a show of, um, moral support or something, I've promised I'll start a sweater from the book as well. Contenders at the moment are Fleur, Bridget, Faye, Oriel, and Salina. Opinions?
4. Right before midnight last night, I finished Guns, Germs, and Steel. More about it in the upcoming January Reads post, but I am veyr proud of myself for managing to make it the whole way through this time. My new lunch reading is Elaine Showalter. Yeah, I'm a dork.
5. My semester started last night. My class - Literacy and Service to the Underserved - seems like it will be really interesting, and the professor actually encouraged me to knit in class.
6. I just ordered my luggage for my trip. Which is next week. Yeah. Good thing L.L. Bean delivers so quickly. I should probably start thinking about what I'm putting in said luggage, eh?
7. Ugh. My favorites were voted off of Skating with Celebrities. How can anyone not adore Kurt Browning? Does not compute. qw21?
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 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.
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.
November 25, 2005
Things I am thankful for this year...
* My family. They may drive me crazy, but I love them and I know they love me and that means a lot.
November 21, 2005
Things I Have Learned in the Past Few Days
1. Six Feet Under + Birch = up until almost two am. Yeah. Bad combination. By which I mean "extremely fun and wonderful." At least I didn't have to be up early the next morning.
2. When my apartment is 49 degrees, it is pretty difficult to get out of bed.
3. Knit.1 seems to have a gift for writing simple patterns in the Most Confusing Way Possible.
4. On Friday afternoon, my roommate had to go to a meeting that might have coincided with our free snacks here at work, so I was to grab a snack for him. I realized that I'd be more confident in ordering for him at a decent restaurant than I was picking out a candy bar for him. Does this make us snobs, or just adults? I'm not sure.
5. It is, in fact, possible to talk on the phone while rolling very hot cookies in powdered sugar. Just in case you were wondering.
6. Sometimes those "Oh yeah, this IS my real life" moments actually help. Yesterday I was trying to simultaneously bake cookies and write my novel, and feeling vaguely annoyed at the situation. And then I realized that, if all goes according to plan, I will be writing novels while baking cookies for the rest of my life. (Well, eventually it would be nice if I didn't also have two jobs and school to keep up with while writing novels and baking cookies, and then maybe I could have enough time to give the writing a break and concentrate on baking for a few hours. But really, no guarantees.) And, somehow, once I realized that this was it, the writing got much easier.
7. A radio station that replaces its DJs with recorded messages about how they no longer have DJs to talk too much is, in fact, more annoying than the stations that actually do have DJs that talk too much.
8. I want to be Meg Cabot when I grow up.
Posted by Kat at 01:41 PM
November 14, 2005
Welcome to the fold...
Let's have a round of applause! The roommate has finished his first knitting project:
Adorable, no? I have concluded that my bear needs a scarf too.
(By the way, Aloysius is the name of the roommate's bear, not the roommate himself. And my bear, nee Snowflake, has become Watson. It seems to fit him better.)
So really, I think someone should sell learn to knit kits that include this bear. (With, perhaps, a storybook involving the bear himself knitting? Oh, the possibilities for cuteness are overwhelming...) Because the roommate had been working on a scarf for himself (that will, by the way, match the bear's scarf) on and off for a month now with interest but no particular enthusiasm. And then he got Aloysius and needed to knit him a scarf RIGHT NOW. And he's already talking about his next project. I'm telling you, it's a surefire method.
November 13, 2005
Just to keep me humble
So many of you have commented on the loveliness of the pictures my roommate took of the cider/yarn incident last weekend. Well, we have now determined that he can also take better pictures of his own hand than I can take of him. Yeah. It's great for my self-esteem, really it is.
Anyway, here are the mittlets I made him in my ongoing effort to avoid turning on the heat in our apartment:
You can see the nifty thumb shaping in that one. The pattern is the one from the Elegant Ewe. There are lots of variations, and it's quite fun. A few more:
Yeah, we thought that one looked a bit odd, but I figured I'd post it anyway.
And, just because it's totally adorable:
The roommate with his new best friend. And, yes, wearing his mittlets. I introduced them and it was love at first sight. Of course, I wasn't willing to give up my adorable bear, so we now have two of these bears in the house1. Mine is named Snowflake, which is the name he came with; the roommate's is Aloysius. He is currently knitting Aloysius a scarf, because Aloysius is cold. Really, you have not seen cuteness until you have seen a grown man knitting a scarf for his teddy bear.
November 05, 2005
Warning: Harder than it looks.
The warning label on the bottle of cider my roommate and I split last night:
Now, would you think that "umbrella swift" would count as "machinery" in this context? It does! Who knew?
Yeah. I was rather impressed with myself, really. "Winding yarn" has been added to the list of things I'm not allowed to do when there's been any alcohol involved in the evening. My roommate, of his own volition, took the pictures for the blog before he sent me to bed. He clearly understands the priorities around here. A few more, because they're actually kind of pretty:
I especially like that last one. (As always, click to make big.) He has potential as a wool porn photographer, don't you think?
For the record, I really didn't drink that much. It was a 750ml bottle (7.5% alcohol; less than wine has) split between two people - the cork wouldn't go back in, so obviously we had to finish it. It's just that my body isn't exactly used to, well, any alcohol at all. My roommate, for whom the cider was "like soda," was rather amused by my reaction. (I was pretty dizzy.)
The culprit, if you're curious:
You can learn about it here. It was very good - the alcoholic beverage I have liked the best, by far, of the half dozen or so that I've tried. It looks like it's only available locally, but I highly recommend it to you NH/MA/ME people. Just not when you have urgent ball-winding to do.
November 02, 2005
Day 1 Report
Day 1 words: 2142
I didn't quite hit my grand aspiration of 3000 words on November 1, but 2000 was my real goal, anyway. (It's like telling someone habitually late that that party starts at seven so they'll arrive on time at eight. What, you don't play mind games with yourself?) I did complete the prologue, which, in this case, I'm calling the Prelude; my protagonist is a musician and the chapters are all going to have musical terms as names. I like what I have so far, although I've realized that I have way too much dialogue and too little description. My roommate reports the opposite problem, so I suggested that we swap brains for a while, although that might be more trouble than it's worth.
Tonight I have class, so I'm not sure how much writing time I'll get. I will try to get a few hundred words in before class. (I usually arrive on campus at least half an hour early because I allow some time for traffic, subway issues, etc.) I'm determined to write 1667 today, so that I at least keep my current buffer.
Posted by Kat at 02:20 PM
October 30, 2005
Because randomness can happen any day of the week, right?
1. Something strikes me a bit wrong about Weight Watchers sponsoring a figure skating event. Let's see, how many ways can they find to screw up American women's body image all at once? It's multi-tasking!
Posted by Kat at 08:37 PM
October 22, 2005
The bad place.
One of my new blog addictions, a little pregnant, has a category of entries that she calls "Welcome to the bad place. Population: You." I have been, um, rather enamored of this category name recently, because it seems to fit how I've been feeling so very very well. (I am also wishing I had some more interesting category names, especially now that I'm writing more personal stuff. Hmm. Perhaps a project for tomorrow. Because I have, you know, so much time.)
Anyway. The bad place. I feel like I've been getting rather familiar with it the past week or so. Let's just say that, if I were to take one of those "Which Serenity character are you?" quizzes, I would not be the least bit surprised to get a resounding answer of "River." Why? That's not so clear. I mean, I'm not the most happy-go-lucky person to start with, certainly. And a lot of it is the break up. Yes, it's been two months or so, but you don't get over five years in two months. And yes, I was doing very well for a while. But now I'm doing not so well, which is probably good, because it means I'm not suppressing my emotions as much. It's not that I'm pining and wanting him back (most of the time), so that's good, at least. I'm just still dealing with the fallout.
The fallout, more particularly, is a sort of identity crisis. An old college friend recently said, mostly joking (I think), "I don't even know who you are anymore." It sort of hurt. But. There it is.
I don't even know who the heck I am anymore.
Welcome to the bad place, indeed.
Now that I'm here, though, and I've recognized I'm here, it's sort of comforting. The eye of the storm, perhaps. I am letting myself be sad, happy, insane, miserable, euphoric, distracted, scattered, and obsessed as I need - or all at once. I am not doing the "la la la it's all great" thing because, well, it isn't. I am letting myself think about who I am, what I want, and what I don't want. I am letting myself think about the past, and the future. (And, of course, Thanksgiving.) I am, periodically, trying as hard as I can to Just Stop Thinking. Oh yeah, it's been fun.
At the moment, though, I'm feeling pretty stable. I spent the evening eating Indian food at a new (to me) restaurant and then sitting around the living room drinking wine and listening to music with my roommate. I'm actually feeling slightly relaxed for once. (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll wake up stressed.) My aunt was supposed to visit this weekend, but she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home. Now, I am sorry that I won't get to see her, but I am not terribly upset about the prospect of an unexpected free day.
So, my new and improved plan for tomorrow:
I have made a deal with myself that as soon as I finish the blanket, I can knit whatever I darn well please. For a while, at least. So watch for a severe case of knitting ADD with a side order of existential angst, coming soon to a blog near you!
October 21, 2005
And where was the graffiti, anyway?
Just to keep us updated:
So, to help me Just Stop Thinking, we watched American Graffiti. Great soundtrack. Interesting seeing the actors (especially Dreyfuss and Ford) so young. Loved Harrison Ford singing "Some Enchanted Evening." But. WTF?
Problem A: The plot. Let's just say that I was not surprised when George Lucas said in the "making of" documentary that the original version was almost twice as long. I definitely felt as though a few of those deleted scenes would have been helpful for figuring out, you know, what the heck was going on.
Problem B: The message. Let's review what we learned:
It also really bugged me that, at the end, there were little notes of what happened to the four primary male characters, but nothing about the women. Presumably they all got married and lived happily ever after. Or, you know, went insane from dealing with these men.
I also did not notice any graffiti in the movie. Huh?
Posted by Kat at 11:17 PM
October 19, 2005
Review: Until the Real Thing Comes Along
Elizabeth Berg's Until the Real Thing Comes Along was a quick read, decently written, that dealt with interesting topics. I hated it. The problem? The main character. I couldn't stand her. Patty has two main aspects of her worldview: she wants a husband and children. And she is in love with her best friend Ethan, who is gay, and refuses to see this (her love, not his sexuality*) as anything she has any control over or could possibly change. And - here's the kicker - she refuses to acknowledge that these two basic tenets of her life do not exactly work together well. Therefore, her solution is to have a child with Ethan (who also does want a child, but not, obviously, a wife). She browbeats him into sleeping with her and gets pregnant on the first try (and, of course, is disappointed; she wanted an excuse to sleep with him regularly). Patty then is amazed that the rest of her domestic fantasies don't exactly spring into life. (I don't want to give too much of the story away, so I'll stop the plot summary there.)
Ethan's motivations are a bit suspect too, of course: he knows Patty is in love with him and yet agrees to a "partnership of convenience" anyway. I got over my annoyance with him, though, because he actually provides a decent explanation for his thoughts and actions. Patty, on the other hand, constantly explains everything, but just does not get it. She claims to be Ethan's closest friend, to know everything about him, and yet she remains basically in denial of his homosexuality. She seems to see it as basically random and totally unconnected to the rest of him (or, as she might think, the real him). She thinks there's a sexuality switch that could be toggled on or off without affecting the person as a whole at all.
This probably bugs me more than it might other readers because it's another example of an issue that has been bothering me anyway. Let's back up a bit. My roommate is also a coworker and good friend. We have a lot in common, are rather frighteningly similar in some ways, and get along very well. I mean, really: we live together and work together and therefore spend probably about 75% of our lives within twelve feet of each other, and haven't tried to kill each other yet. So it's pretty much accepted fact that we get along oddly well, and this periodically comes up in conversation with other friends or family. The great majority of the time, the seemingly automatic response is "Oh, too bad he's gay. You'd be perfect for each other."
Umm, no. There is something very flawed about that reasoning. Actually, I have several issues with it. For example, I don't think it's a given that we'd be perfect for each other in the first place - sexual orientation aside, what I'm looking for in a roommate or friend is not the same as what I'd be looking for in a boyfriend**, although there would certainly be some overlap in criteria. I also don't like the implication that romantic relationships are somehow intrinsically preferable to friendships, but that's another issue. Anyway. The issue I have with it in relation to the book is the idea that sexuality is totally distinct from basic identity. I have trouble with the premise that if my friend or Ethan in the book (see, I told you I'd get back to the book) had happened to have been born heterosexual, they would in all other aspects be the same person.
Actually, "I have trouble with it" is too mild; I think it's preposterous. It seems the difference in experience, if nothing else, would be far too great. For just one example, think of a long-running crush you had in middle or high school. Think of the ways that person affected your tastes, activities, etc. Think of how all those little decisions built up to make you into the person you are. Then extrapolate to all your other crushes, relationships, actors you found attractive, etc. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. But apparently Patty can't. And that's just talking about particular experiences, and not even really getting into the larger issue of identity, which is one I don't feel prepared to tackle.
So. What I am trying to say is that, while Patty claims to know Ethan completely, her belief that he would - could - be the exact same person she loves and be "not really gay" or suddenly magically become heterosexual shows that she doesn't really know him that well at all. Patty wants a fantasy, not "the real thing" after all.
**Not that I'm looking.
October 18, 2005
Books and knitting and cake, oh my!
So who's going to Willow Books tonight for the book launch party? I'll be watching for Kristen... anyone else? I'll be the short girl with long brown hair wearing a burgundy velour dress (um, it's not as fancy as it sounds, really) and kitty shoes. Perhaps a better distinguishing characteristic for this particular event is that I'll be with my roommate, who will most likely be one of the relatively few men there. Tallish, dark blond hair and beard, burgundy sweater. (No, we didn't plan the matching color thing.) If you see us, say hi! And leave a comment so I know to look for you.
October 17, 2005
Learn something new every day...
Apparently I am a decent enough person to feel guilty about not sharing my chocolate with anyone but the person in my department with whom I am closest... but not a decent enough person to actually offer any to anyone else.
Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM