Oh, goodness. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, everybody; it was so nice! Thank you, Ruth, and witchypoo, and Tattoo Queen, and Lucia, and (blogless, alas) Kathleen, and Erica; what a nice thing to find "happy"s from you all. Thank you.
Birthday itself was determinedly lazy. I knit, and watched the World Cup, and read the newspaper a bit, and DH came home early from work and took me out to dinner, with my mom having (surprise!) booked us into Blue Ginger and pledged to look after the children. After finding something to wear in which I did not look like a sausage, off we went. The restaurant was good, the drinks list baroque (a Peach Manhattan sounded like a good idea), the wine list even had Ecole 41, which I've hunted for a couple of years now without success, and wonder of wonders, I didn't have a hangover when I woke this morning. Thank Heavens. I don't normally do bourbon, and was dreading the aftermath. (re)Discovered that the reason I don't do bourbon is that I, uh, don't like it very much (oh, yeah!). DH also gave me a gift certificate to Wild & Woolly, bless him; they're starting to recognize him. My dad didn't forget to call and say happy birthday, for a nice change, so a nifty day all in all.
I'm 42 now. I don't feel particularly old, though I have had trouble remembering my age for the last several years--it's not actually something I think about much (when the kids ask me, I have to do the math). I like being calmer, and wiser, and having made it through the stuff that I have and come out the other side of it all. I am of course quite mad. I look forward to becoming an ever-crankier batty old New England lady.
Speaking of making it through...Yes, England have made it through to the next round in the World Cup, though not by playing particularly well. Here's what the Financial Times had to say Monday: "At this World Cup party, England have become the boorish uncle nobody really wanted to invite, who turns out to be just as tedious as feared." Sums it up rather well. Australia had what the guys at Univision called "un robo! un robo!"* (penalty in the last seconds that cost them the match). Poor Socceroos. Brazil appear to be saving up their brilliance for some time in the future when it may be needed; for now, they're demolishing everyone in sight with one hand tied behind their back. Today it was Ghana. As of today's match, Ronaldo has now scored more goals in World Cup play than anyone in history.
Knitting! Oh, right! Well, I'm in the very last bits of sleeve cap for the malabrigo (swoon, thud) (dammit!) and hope to have it finished tomorrow evening so I can begin to wear it always and everywhere for the rest of my natural life. Then I'll start something absurdly complicated so I can go properly bonkers.
The Socks That Rock are Finished Objects (tada!). I had some "oh, crap" moments working on them, as the Wed. night crew might recall, but as it turned out, the unintentional decreasing too many times on the instep with compensating increasing turned out to make the socks fit perfectly. They feel wonderful. Yay!
Yes, I have high arches. Yes, I have big feet. Nope, I did not use up the whole skein. It's color Lapis.
We've had a busy weekend. DD#2 and I went to see the Red Sox play the Phillies yesterday. This was my first time at Fenway Park. The field is so much smaller than I expected! Gee. The crowd was in a party mood, enough to sing along with the song stylings of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," which was ... surprising. I laughed my head off. I couldn't help it - I kept picturing the funky hairdo, the sequins, and I was overcome. We left midway through the 9th to zoom home in time for DH and I to drive back into Boston (don't ask, the logistics were mind-blowing) for a reception and dedication ceremony for a library being established in memory of my wonderful, brilliant, sadly departed uncle. The foundation took the family (including dh & I) out to dinner afterwards--another surprise for the week was that the Top of the Hub is a really, really good restaurant. And here I'd been thinking it was a cheesy tourist trap--not so. Fantastic.
And England won! Not prettily, but they go on to the next round. Now, Argentina vs. Germany, that'll be some amazing footie. Oh, yeah. Time to go watch Portugal vs. Netherlands - it's the half, and the beautiful Christian Ronaldo, #17, is out of the game with an injured leg. Poor thing. He's quite stunning to look at. See what I mean?
There were some design deadlines last week, and I've noticed that I've hated the last several deadlines I had with a blinding passion. So I didn't submit anything to anyplace and am contentedly making things of my own choosing. It's helping. I like this.
The week's last surprises: Our cats do a good job keeping down the rodents, but this week, they managed to kill a bat. In the house. I have no idea how it got inside the house. Based on the evidence, I'd say the cats had a pretty good time hunting it. Our front hallway now houses a new, tiny fridge, to take care of the things the big, broken fridge can't handle, and I'm finding this weird new arrangement oddly pleasing. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of unloading and setting it up all by myself. Yucky surprise: my laptop doesn't remember that I am allowed to install software, so I am still unable to print or scan. The lady at the RMV was actually helpful, so the car registration is now renewed.
And yes, Lucia, I have calmed down a bit. Thanks. See you around, everybody!
(um, my birthday is tomorrow. happy weasel turns 42.)
Ah, who the heck knows where the week went. It's been a doozy, though. It was horribly hot, then Tuesday the teenager had one of those "offspring from hell" kind of times--oh, I've deleted the details twice, now, you just don't want to know, people. Horrible. On the plus side, she did climb down eventually and we were able to function. Mostly. That night I got together with some knitterly buds to watch (eventually) a Hitchcock movie (eventually). And have a drink and a chat and some knitting. Which I needed. Thanks, Ann! And mucho thanks for listening, Ruth!
Oh, and the refrigerator broke. So the milk was going bad and all. The repair man did eventually show up on Thursday afternoon, and apparently our refrigerator is so exotic that the necessary replacement part will not be here until July 1. Yes, that means I would have no functioning refrigerator for two weeks.
Yeah, that's what I said, too. Other things, too.
I nipped out to Javaroom Wed. night, and that was a really, really good thing - got to hang out with more comrades-in-needles, which was great. Also feeling sane was a pleasant change. (hi, everybody!)
Lots of knitting went on what with one thing and another, and I seem to have a real compulsion about that self-striping yarn I dyed with koolaid - the socks, as modelled by my little boy, completed Tuesday:
He likes 'em. I asked him somewhere after the heel of sock one if he would like the socks to be for him. Little face goes all awestruck. Yes, he would. Well, there they are. Happy feet.
Here's what the yarn looked like at the dyeing the first color stage:
I really like dyeing with koolaid in a pot. The color gets taken up by the yarn completely, and you know you're done when the water doesn't have any color any more. Quite a magic trick.
The Socks that rock are nearly complete - I'm almost at the toe decreases, so we're really serious about this, they really are nearly done. Yay.
Now I want to talk about something completely different: the so-called War on Terror. I wonder sometimes if anyone realizes that this sounds like declaring war on unhappiness. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just me, but I would have thought that after the hijackings that left from my local miserable crappy Logan airport, the sensible thing to do would be something like this: Reach out to immigrants from the Middle East and say, hey, you guys, we only have like six Arabic speakers in the whole US government, we really really need your help figuring out who else is trying to blow us all up and what would work to make that not happen. The blowing up, I mean. Of course, what the Bush administration did instead was imprison hundreds of people without even notifying their families that they'd been taken to a jail in, oh, Brooklyn or something. Way to go, Mr. President.
By the way, the ongoing construction projects around Logan are so confusing that even people who live here can't tell what the hell is going on most of the time. If our security depends on anyone at all being able to tell if something odd is happening over at runway 2, we're screwed. Because nobody can figure it out.
And when the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan saw that the US was about to bomb, they said, okay! okay! we give up! we'll turn over bin Laden! where should we bring him? where do you want him? And George W. Bush said, we don't negotiate with terrorists, and then gave the order to start bombing. That was the day I took down the American flag I'd hung in front of my house. And nobody knows where bin Laden is. Good one, Mr. Bush - that was really effective.
And the Iraqis still have no electricity, but by god the US Troops have ice cream and video games and air conditioning. Wouldn't it make the people of Iraq just a teeny bit less pissed off if we applied the same logistical determination to helping them that we've apparently applied to making things livable for ourselves?
There you have it. I'm cranky, and it's hot. Hope the Republicans lose the House.
And the marvelous Ann hosted yesterday for the last time before summer, so thank you, fine lady, especially for the scones and tea, yum! Hi, Ruth - hope to see you lot next week for movies or something. Honest, the homeschooling does ramp down eventually.
Just today we were having a Teachable Moment, though. Older kids dashed away to giggle themselves silly while I got on with it, but youngest child asked, Where do babies come from? How do they start growing in the mommy's tummy? I mean, is it magic or what? So we were a bit delayed in our scheduled departure for the playground. Oh, yeah.
That's about it for today. Germany 1, Poland 0. Brazil - well, Brazil. Yes, of course they won. What do you think, Germany vs. Brazil for the final, or something else? Should be interesting. US plays Italy next. Looks like they'll be home for the Fourth of July (groan, gnash teeth). Mexico's playing on Friday! They actually may get to the next round!
Oh, the pain. The US team played its opener, and boy, did they stink. American sportscasters were crowing, oh they should beat this Czech Republic team 2 to 1, or some such. Yeah, right. They were completely outplayed. I mean, utterly and beyond doubt. This is the most resounding defeat in the entire tournament so far. Australia kicked Japan's butt just prior to the US humiliation; Australia has never even scored in the World Cup, and they trounced Japan 3 - 1. The difference here, of course, is that NO ONE NOTICED; the entire country does not come to a standstill when our team is playing. Ah, well. It is huge fun watching the coverage on Univision - I learned all kinds of things this morning, how to make Mexican-style sushi, for example (pooey on the raw fish thing, use a nice roasted jalapeno instead, oh yeah)(and maybe some rare steak). And Mexico looks pretty damn good (and they won handily, too). Mexico (clap clap clap)! Mexico (clap clap clap)! We're groovin'. I also learned the nifty catchphrase "Sabia Usted que" delivered with face into camera and enormous sing-song voice. Apparently this is a regular feature of the zany guy on Despierta. And that thing a lot of demonstrators were yelling during the immigration protests, "Si Se Puede"? Er, it's a football cheer. Also Univision shows the playing of the national anthems of both countries prior to the match. It's quite moving. ESPN showed the US one, then cut to commercial (who would care about some other country, after all). Blah.
Yes, Kat, the England result was a win, but the consensus (as you note) was that it was a rubbish match. One essentially accidental goal in the second minute, followed by 88 minutes of playing out the clock and holding onto their lead. Phooey. But at least they won. "They just aren't getting the ball to Landon Donovan," whine, whine - well Mr. Donovan is supposed to GO GET THE BALL HIS OWN BLOODY SELF.
Yes, Lucia, the Red Sox comparison was carefully chosen - it is EXACTLY like what happens when Boston does well, and the fans start to think, hey we may actually go all the way this year, and then something totally idiotic happens and the fans are crushed. That's precisely what the England team does in the World Cup. Scrapping away, fighting their hearts out two men down, and they make an own goal and lose the rest on penalty kicks. Oh, it's so so familiar you'd just be sick.
Okay, so I'm clearly really only capable of the most mindless knitting. Yes! Knitting! Let's forget all about that crap football!
I've gotten this far with the lovely green sock yarn from Lis at Yarn Botanika (thanks again! it's so soft!):
And here's where we are on the STR socks:
And the sleeves on the sweater made out of the yarn that makes me faint (yes, the malabrigo) (swoon, thud) (damn):
And we got a catalog in today's mail, with the ugliest hats I've ever seen. Oldest daughter said, "they put the 'ass' back in 'class.'" Scary stuff:
Last but definitely not least, the mailman also brought a simply stunning card from my swap partner in Tasmania. Thank you so much! Not shown is the inside, with fascinating pictures of Tasmania from 100 years ago, and a lovely pin. Lookit:
I am at last relatively on top of things for Project Spectrum. First, there is the knitting:
And then, there's this:
Whee! We've given up on our dastardly old Chrysler with the perpetual transmission issues and now we have THIS! It is a Toyota Sienna with all wheel drive. As minivans go, it's cooooool. We gots the 6-cd changer. We gots the volume controls and track selection on the steering wheel. We gots the windows in the big sliding doors that actually open. We gots the folding-down-flat-into-the-floor back seat, so we can play Stars Wars smuggling spaceship. Oh, it's just the bees' knees.
Yes, I sense a road trip.
My coffee plant is making coffee beans! I posted pics before of the blossoms--I had no idea what coffee blossoms looked like before, and they're lovely. Not much caffeine content, though. Little white starry flowers. So when they went all ploopy and fell off, I figured it was just like what happens with me and plants all the time: some bizarre fungal thing that causes something called Blossom Drop. What do I know from coffee growing? Sheesh, I just know me encanta lo de Costa Rica, muy grande, y'all. But lookit:
See those little beady green things? They're weensy coffee beans! I didn't have blossom drop! I'm so proud. My own tiny coffee source. (The weasel needs the coffee beyond words. Crazed under the best of circumstances, I'm just not someone you want to be on the same continent with Before Coffee. Ask Ruth and Lucia. It's pretty frightening.)
And it is Day One of the World Cup. England's first match (against Paraguay) is 9 am tomorrow, on ABC, no less - they must not have been able to find any golf for that time - so we have laid in a supply of Twiglets and Hula Hoops and are ready to cheer on Sven's Boys (who thank god qualified) in this, the Beautiful Game. Neener, neener, Ireland and Scotland. It's a long, excruciating, exciting march until England gets knocked out in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks with two men sent off. Ah, it begins.
The only equivalent over here is being a Red Sox fan; you just know they're going to get crucified for something stupid (e.g. Buckner), but you can't help hoping they might just pull it off. Now that the Sox've won a World Series and hell has frozen over and all, England just may have a chance.
Oh boy oh boy oh boy! See? See? Look! Look! Look what I made! Look what the yarn does!
Excuse me. (gives inner child piece of taffy) There, that ought to hold her for a few minutes.
I dyed up two skeins of yarn for the Dye-O-Rama, in the event one of them went horribly wrong. I don’t know how horribly wrong sock yarn could go, really, and frankly I don’t want to go there. One of the skeins is in the mail to my dye-o-rama buddy, and the other one is Here with ME! I thought I’d just knit up a little bit, just to see how the striping I worked so hard on turned out.
Well. I have no idea how that happened. One minute I was casting on, and then I was done with the ribbing, and then it was ... long. Fer goodness’ sake, I just started this thing yesterday afternoon; by the time I went to bed last night, it was over six inches long. Either I’ve gotten a lot faster or I’ve been obsessively knitting more of the afternoon and evening than I thought. Or both. Hey, I already knew that! I am pretty damn fast, and I’m also ever so slightly obsessive.
Okay, now this is where you get to participate in the Stern Reminder to Self. Self? Are you listening, Self? I see you calculating how fast you can get a whole pair of socks done if you do a whole leg in a couple of hours. It doesn’t ever really work out that way, Self. Yes, you can knit fast. You get obsessive about striping yarn. It’s a thing with you. But listen here: the thrill wears off. It does. You let those Regias languish unfinished for MONTHS. Almost a whole year before those suckers were done. You listening, Self? Don’t go there. Do NOT. Go. There.
(Inner child boings out) Ooo, look! Look! They’re gonna be a whole pair just before you know it! I can tell! You are so, so fast!
(sternly) (readers join in as able) No, we have learned our lesson. (pause; this sounds schizophrenic (WHICH I CAN SPELL! HA!), and we—I—am not. First person is Singular, here.) Sane behavior and realistic expectations. The STR socks, they’re nearly done. Finish those. Then squeeze in a couple rows, at least, on the Dale and the Leaf thing and do another bit of the Spring Forward. And for gods’ sake, would it kill you to finish the February Almanac shawl? Hm? Would that be too much to ask?
Play! Play! Play! C’mon, let’s PLAY!!!
This is the hard part. Giving myself permission to play. I am soooo not about process, I really, really love the finished thing. I do. Except I’m having a weird reaction to being nearly finished with things lately. Yes, the “on needles” list over there to the left is long, but it actually doesn’t include the eggplant colored cardigan (which needs only knitted on edges and the last of the sewing) or TIKJ (The Incredible Kilim Jacket, which is a whole story in itself from before the existence of the blogosphere). Or the stripey new sock, obviously.
Attention must be paid? It was an all right minivan, though it had been making mysterious noises lately and had its share of troubles. A new transmission, a new air conditioning system, new tires. It died its final death on Sunday afternoon, just a short distance from our house. Click, click, then--silence. Yesterday's homeschooling lesson about cars: kids? that noise? that's what a car sounds like that's definitely about to die.
I'm not sad about this. It was not a beloved family car. When the repair guy said, it's going to need a new engine, I said, oh fer crying out loud; let's just junk it.
So now I'm in that particular circle of hell called Trying to Buy a Car. I spent about five hours yesterday just trying to figure out what minivans come with AWD these days, and whether there might be any for sale in these parts. It's maddening. And don't get me started on how much they cost - car prices, as I'm sure you know, seem to be "well how much do you have?" Argh! Just tell me a price that isn't layered with bullshit and I can cope! The MSRP from the factory is $28K, so how in god's name does it make sense for your quote to be $35K, hm, mister car dealer person? God's teeth. How about a Saturn? Their whole deal is that they don't give you a lot of crap with pricing, right? Great, except that magically there seem to be no Saturn dealers who sell minivans. Yes, Saturn does make a minivan. They apparently just don't sell them to anybody. Secret minivans! Shhhhh...
We need the all wheel drive around here. We have snow for about six months out of the year, and our plow guys don't do that good a job, so in order to get out of the driveway and to a destination not within walking distance anytime during Snow Season we basically need a tank. DH and I toyed with the idea last night of buying a truck and a plow attachment; it's that silly.
We live in the center of town, so it's surprisingly easy to get along without a car. The kids can walk to violin lessons. They can walk to tae kwon do. We can walk to the library. I can even walk to the Lil Peach and the car repair place, though this takes a bit longer. So I'm feeling kind of frugal and pioneering in my car-lessness. Also it's helping me lose a couple of pounds.
In keeping with the frugal thing, I've joined the Summer of Stash. I'm working my way up to being able to come to terms with the size of the stash, and take pictures, and post them onto those internets, the scary beasts that they are. It's taking me a while. I don't normally buy any yarn during the summer anyway. Well, except for my birthday. I buy yarn then. And deadlines for the next spring's magazines and stuff, I almost always need new yarn for that. And TKGA Northeast is in the summer, and I buy yarn at that. APART from that, I just don't buy much yarn in the summer at all. This will be no problem.
Oh, yes, I have been a busy one, yes indeed. My mother said back when I was a teenster that once you turn 40, you don't really need to go shopping any more, 'cause most of the stuff you could possibly need you already bought and it's hanging around somewhere in the house. Well, dear readers, the busyness. Oh, boy. I was sitting sulking Friday morning about how I still hadn't had time to figure out Precisely HOW I was going to dye some wondrous yarn for my swap pal, other than sort of thinking I'd make gigunda long hanks and see how that went. Spin-Off arrived! There is an article on how to dye fabulously stripey sock yarn! And she explained at last in words that I could understand what the wrapping board thing is and how she made one and all the ensuing tra la la-ness. And I sat and read and thought, hey. I got me some lumber down in the basement (left behind by the Contractors From Hell, of which we shall not speak here, that being the Way Toward Madness). I got some dowels from when I taught a kids fiber arts workshop and we made knitting needles. I got some tools, and hey, friends, I got skills. Oh, yes I do. Behold!
I used about a million packages of apple koolaid. What is up with the grocery stores not selling the lemon lime kind any more??? I swear, this makes me snap at things with my teeth. Rahr. The lemon lime is soooooo good to dye with. Who cares if it tastes like crap. It all tastes like crap. We want the colors, people, the colors.
Anyway, I am so damn pleased with myself it's ridonkulous.
I do have a teensy bit of knitting progress, too. The pic of the STR came out too crappy even for me to post, so just imaaaaagine (insert fairy music) that you can see a couple more inches on that. Yeah. And the sleeves proceedeth apace on the yarn that is so gorgeously soft and gooshy and it's the (catch in voice) malabrigo. (swoon)(thud)(comes to) Oh, hi again. Here's where we are with that one:
Should've left my foot in the picture for scale. Oh, well. It's around ten inches. The sleeves, you guys, the sleeves. Sheesh.
I'm kinda happy about those sleeves, because I'm designing this on the fly and I know I gotta get to 82 stitches and I just sorta eyeballed and guessed okay, inc every 6th row, and later did the math and durned if that isn't just about bang on. What do you know. I do know what I'm doing, after all.
We have some sadness, too, today. I found out this morning that a childhood friend has been dead for four years. So that sucked. Same nickname as me, married to a guy with the same name as my husband; her parents are doing most of the raising of her two sons now. Shit.
We're all just dandy around here, alive and all. My mom was in the hospital this week for some heart trouble - this is new, not a good thing, and she insists she's okay and will meet us in the Back Bay tomorrow for DD#2's spiffy smart kid award ceremony. She has these moments where she's not quite firing on all cylinders, though, like the time at Easter dinner where she mused that black women have large behinds and she does too so she thinks maybe she's actually black. (pause) This is an Irish lady from Boston. She's about as black as Karl Rove. My uncle actually fell off his chair laughing. So anyhow, she isn't always able to accurately assess things.
We got some damn good stuff, though, all smooshed in between Episodes of Unending Drama.
NEXT WEEKEND! KNIT IN PUBLIC DAY! Nashua, afternoon, see you there, anyone!
Look what Geekpixie spun up for me. Just look. I am one lucky weasel. (Thank you so much, you Tattoo Queen, you!) It's the merino roving I got at NHS&W (which was NH Slosh & Wet this year), so soft and pretty and compelling that it came home with me even though I still can't spin worth a damn. But Geekpixie does! The yarn is soft and sproingy. Whee! I think I'm going to make some of those nifty cabled armwarmers from the second Stitch & Bitch book. (Um, the colors washed out a bit in the picture; it's really a rich bunch of tones. Also the foot in the picture is under the table the yarn is sitting on. There's a fake perspective thing going on that makes the yarn look like it must be Giant, or my foot Tiny. Neither is the case.)
Those of you who watched me swatching and grumping Wed., I did indeed finish the hat project and now Both commissions are done and patterns written and everything's arrived by now I hope. Now all I need to do is re-install printer drivers so that I can print again off my laptop. Still on the to-do list: print charts and patterns and make invoices for both projects and print the contracts and checklists and sign everything and mail it off. There. I am now Officially Off Deadline. YAY!!!! Now to play with yarn some more and get more design submittals ready.