November 25, 2005

My Favorite Exercise is Jumping To Conclusions

... and my least favorite activity is making Judgment Calls. And yet I judge people all the time. To make it all nice and fair, I don't restrict my judging activities to people - I judge everything, and pretty darned strictly, too. But mostly I judge myself, and in that respect I am absolutely merciless; I also expect other people to be equally ruthless in their judgment of me, and I then behave accordingly.

Bad idea. Do not try this at home, folks, it should only be done by experts who have access to the appropriate Safety Equipment.

This is a problem with which I particularly struggle when trying to properly raise The Vampire. The Pirate tends to balance out my judgmental and high-strung ways by employing almost no judgment whatsoever (which has its own disadvantages) and sporting an attitude so laid-back as to appear almost completely inert. The Vampire, predictably, has adopted a rather bipolar mix of these attributes - he skips the whole self-assessment thing when he does something, and instead of wasting time and energy on attempting improvement goes straight to displaying either a Roman God-like self aggrandizement or some dramatic form of anxiety and helpless despair. Let's skip the Middle Man and get straight to the Emoting!

Well, he's an actor, so what is a mother to expect?

This is all by way of being an excuse of sorts... and a very unfocussed one, at that. What I'm *really* trying to excuse is my unwillingness to publicly publish my Annual Holiday Food Porn reports. It's not that I haven't written any, as Sis and partner-in-crime Anne will attest to. It's that... well, the amusing version (the one worth reading) is not what anyone could call gentle and respectful of the feelings of some of the Providers of the Feast. And the positive review... well, publishing *that* wouldn't be fair to the victims of the other one, would it? So no food porn for you.

I really should cultivate some other form of humor than sarcasm...

November 20, 2005

Movie Tales: HP, But Not Hewlett Packard

Yes, we were busy bees yesterday. We went to see "Walk the Line", which I won't recommend on the basis of either the writing or the degree of sympathy I felt for the characters, but which I CAN recommend on the basis of the acting tour-de-force given by both the principals and for the honesty shown by Cash in his autobiographies, if the movie is anything to go by. He excuses himself somewhat on the basis of his childhood experience, but does not fall into the easy position of either making himself out to be terribly sympathetic or making his first wife out to be anything approaching a monster. I don't like people who cheat on their spouses, but can to some degree appreciate the honesty of people who don't follow up the sin by excusing themselves on the basis of 'my wife/husband doesn't understand me.' I expect the film to get a lot of Oscar nominations, and it will probably win quite a few - it's the sort of easy Box Office Candy that the Academy drools over: fine acting, hard luck stories, bad behavior by celebrities, redemption. Nothing to make you exercise your grey cells too much.

We followed this up by seeing (with the Vampire and his lovely companion) the latest episode of the Harry Potter saga. The film versions are definitely showing the strains inherent in trying to convey some comprehensible sense of the convoluted story lines presented in the increasingly page-heavy tomes. There are other excellent expositions out there re the flaws of the most recent movie (I endorse the one written by the articulate author of the droolworthy Unlikely Words blog), so I won't bother to say more. Except that mine was a disappointment not entirely shared by my two 15-year-old companions. So in all probability, mine is an adult and jaded eye...

November 18, 2005

Knitting Tales: Where was I?

I just realized that it's a good thing I can't afford to buy enough yarn (or at least the sorts of yarn that I lust after) for either a sweater-sized project or the number of smaller projects that I covet upon sight of the patterns; not only would we be completely buried in the stuff, but I'd never get anything off the needles. I'd just sit blissfully and inertly in the middle of a vast fleecy wasteland periodically punctuated by bare-foot-seeking subterranian Addi Turbo's, using the excuse of being afraid of moving for fear of perforating myself in order to just loll there all day contemplating my stash of Eye Candy.

As it is, I am using the excuse of Yuletide present-generation to indulge myself in a orgy (for me) of Knitting Stuff:

~ In spite of the tangle of circulars I have stashed willy-nilly in a Zip-Lock bag, I seem to be in constant need of a new needle, especially as I have taken to knitting socks and other small-circumference items on two circulars instead of on dpn's.

~ I have recently finished everything but the sewing of the straps on my sister's tote, and am considering the unlikely wisdom of knitting a couple matching felted pockets for the inside out of the leftover scrap yarn.

~ OTN I have knitted both cuffs for the unwisely self-designed mittens intended for the Fabulous Susan, and am fretting about the likelihood of my having to purchase another expensive (and unmatched to currently used) ball of Kidsilk Haze in order to finish the project. I have also discovered that I purchased the wrong sized needle for the guage I preferred for the body of the mittens, so I must go back and exchange/buy another needle.

~ OTN I have the cast-on stitches for the first of several cousin-bound and vaguely X-Mas colored felted Oven Mitts made from recently purchased Cascade Quattro (I couldn't bear the thought of dipping into my ages-old stash of the luscious Manos del Uruguay, knowing the likelihood that the product would likely get singed and/or dotted with foodstuffs). Again, I have discovered a lack of the requisite number of correctly-sized needles, and must hie me to the LYS to purchase another set.

~ OTN (barely escaping the sobriquet of UFO) is 3/4 of the cabled sweater I am theoretically working on *extremely* gradually for the Pirate. It is too heavy and much too scratchy (I think the remaining lanolin has long since crystalized) to work on in the warm weather, and with all the more urgently-scheduled X-mas and birthday prezzies in the works, it keeps getting shoved to the back of the line. By now I have lost the pattern and forgotten how I was adjusting it for the different guage and size of hubby, so it may keep being shoved back indefinitely, in spite of the Pirate's rapidly escalating Hinting Rate.

~ Lurking in The Basket are several variously-stuffed bags of Koigu PPPM, which I have stashed away at one or two skeins per purchase - some of which are earmarked for scarves for auntie and uncle (to be mixed with matching Kidsilk Haze) for supposedly *last year's Xmas prezzie*. Unfortunately, in spite of many hours of experimentation and frogging I've yet to figure out a suitable stitch. I hope I can finish the scarves before the beloved and incredibly patient recipients reach centenarian status.

~ Also in the basket are two skeins of Schaeffer's Laurel in the gorgeous Billie Holiday colorway, originally intended for an auntie-bound Clapotis similar to the one knitted for Dances With Vampire in Emily Dickenson. To my great dismay, I now question the yarn's suitability for the project. I have ground to a halt, lacking the third and perhaps fourth skein necessary to turn the luscious stuff into a sweater for my own self and lacking the imagination necessary to figure out what other project would be right for the luscious stuff. It's not really suitable for a scarf or hat or socks, and I just can't bring myself to make a bag out of it. It may be wisest to leave it in skein form and simply drape it artistically across The Basket as a sort of decorative furnishing, but I'm not practical enough to be able to do that; I would feel it taunting me, and use that as an excuse to beat myself up about my own lack of vision, lack of frugality, lack of ambition, and lack of sense. Alas and Alack!

That's the OTN stuff. I have a huge cardboard moving-box of UFO's interred in the largely-unusable bedroom closet. This wildly tumbled mass includes most of that stash of Manos del Uruguay
(which could be more usefully deployed as Decorative Furnishing per above description), along with the abandoned but gorgeous self-designed Fair Isle cardie that I partially knit up of the stuff twenty years ago and then abandoned when I ran out of a key colorway. Sadly I have also lost the book of charted Fair Isle designs/patterns that I was using at the time, a beautiful and useful collection - possibly the OOP Starmore charted pattern book I see advertised for way-too-many hundreds of dollars online? I can't find any similar book nowadays. In any case, all of this horded treasure has probably been rendered unusable by a combination of mice and moths and possible leakage from the bathtub pipes that lurk behind the adjacent wall. Sacrilage, I know. Remember the List of Lacks?

So (relative) poverty and the vast distance in time between my first stint of knitting and my second have ruined some beautiful yarn and projects, but have rescued me from the likely results of my own acquisitive instincts, which are frankly those of a yarn-crazed packrat. If we ever manage to improve our monetary status, the Pirate had better resign himself to the necessity of moving to a house with more storage space...

November 13, 2005

Report: Sunday Mornings

Our Sundays are mostly pretty routine.

In the morning the Pirate makes his Famous Omelets (Famous House-Wide!)... 2-3 eggs, folded around a mix of some sort of cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, bacon, and some sort of al dente green veg (favorites are brocolli, green beans, sugar snap peas or fresh baby spinach). I watch the Sunday-morning national news shows and generally laze about during this entire process, having already spent a certain amount of time wrestling with my email.

We eat our Sunday Omelets while watching a video together - our current fare is viewing in consecutive order the season dvd's of various series, rented from our local video store. We then sit about gently digesting until it's time to go to my folks' house.

At the moment 'the time' to go there is just in time for the Professor and the Pirate to watch the Vikings' Loss du Jour, while Dances With Vampire and I chat and drink tea and prepare dinner (the teamwork aspect has been hampered somewhat by poor DWV having become wheelchair-bound after her ankle was viciously attacked by a log, but we soldier on).

The Vampire now spends most of his Sunday afternoon and evening attached limpet-like to the television in the Professor's home office, due to his grandparents now having given in to the blandishments of Satellite Television and the History Channel; he does occasionally emerge in order to stuff his face, but that's about it until 9pm, when he calls his girlfriend and engages in worship of her until it is time to go home. We roust him from his Den, drag him to the car, and return home to face the wrath of The Cat, who engages in Suck Ears ("You Suck!") and turns her back on us ("Talk to the Butt!") until one of us sits on the ottoman and the Territorial Imperative forces her to speak to us in order to assert her ownership.

And that's it. Our Sundays. The only relatively predictable day of the week.

Aren't you glad you know?

November 07, 2005

A New Definition of 'Commercialization'

It's bad enough that I have to endure the adverts invading our home through the Boob Tube, and that I can't ignore them because of our highly sensitive and effective Critical Ad Alert System ("MOM, there's a new commercial for 'Narnia!'" "MOM, there's a new ad for 'Goblet of Fire'!" "MOM, look at that! 'Zathura' is coming out the same weekend as the Harry Potter movie. Are they out of their minds? They'll lose most of their target market!").

That's annoying enough. But it's November, folks, and we are now being subjected to more subtle forms of Advertising Torture.

Yes, we have met the enemy, and he is Us.

Because even though the weather is unseasonably warm, the smell of the impending Holiday Season is evidently wafting through the Vampire's bedroom at night. He's making a list, and advertising it twice. Yah, twice - right. Dream on...

[my thanks to Sis, who kindly reminded me to take note of this particular form of Childhood Water Torture... what did I ever do to you?] ;D

November 06, 2005

Knitting Tales: Yuletide Knitting News

Felted the Bird Lady's Yuletide gift, the 'Market Squares' bag from "Bags; a Knitter's Dozen", done in Cascade 220 in some very nifty colors. It looked great after I felted it, except that I noticed that the bottom where the whole thing gathered together was sort of pooched in. Being confident of my own special Super Control Freak Powers, I gently pulled it out a bit... and snapped apart the gathering so that I had a hole in the bottom and some of those little diamonds where coming apart. Hooray! Or something to that effect, if you ignore the actual words involved. Eventually I regained my faith in my own Amazing Ability to Ignore Reality, and sewed it back together again. Except that now the bottom diamonds form two semi-attached sort of flower-looking things instead of one lovely burst. The bag will probably actually *sit* better, but it looks a little odd. But hey, other than that it looks pretty darned good, much nicer than I thought, and the Bird Lady seems pleased - just don't look at the bottom, okay? It's a bit Too Real.

No pics at the moment, but I will see if I can get the Professor to knuckle under and take one or two. The Queen needs a digital camera.

In the meantime, here's the baby set I made for our new grandnephew-somewhat-removed (my cousin's stepdaughter's baby, how many removes is that?), who is of course the most adorable thing on earth. The colors don't show accurately, it's actually cream with sherbet-hued yellow, orange, pink and cerise. And truly, the adorable child in question has all of his requisite parts, and I made enough socks to cover both feet - I don't know why the second sock was not included in the picture. It's a mystery.

All made of self-patterning sock yarn ('Clown'), relatively simple and quick to knit up. Which is a blessing, because Planning Ahead is not the Queen's forte.

November 05, 2005

Family Tales: On the Care and Feeding of Vampires

This being an introduction of sorts, let's start with a cast of characters. My household is comprised entirely of Drama Addicts, those being:

Myself (The Queen) ~ Obsessive Knitter, Movie Watcher, Reader, Homeschool Mom and sometime transcriptionist, currently trying
to get life and my health in order (what? again!?)

My Husband (The Pirate) ~ Would-be Golfer, Movie Watcher, Funny Man, Homeschool Dad and full-time Office Slave, deftly running the office Football Pool for the sixth year in a row

The Cat ~ "You Suck"

The Basket ~ Okay, this isn't a person, but it certainly is a Presence in our little house. Filled with more yarn and projects and knitting books than you could shake a stick at (at least without becoming hopelessly enmeshed and buried, never to be seen again)

and of course

The Vampire ~ Need I say more?

No doubt you'll meet a cast of important Non-Resident characters as well... but we'll leave them a bit of a mystery for now. Hopefully you are better at handling surprises than I am.

Nice to meet you!

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