January 31, 2005

Announcing The Dulaan Project!

(Friday Update: Word is starting to get out about the Dulaan Project. I was thrilled to see comments from knitters in the UK, and today I received an email from the leader of a Girl Scout troop in Arizona who read about the project in a local paper (Cuzzin Tom is sending out press releases, doncha' know).

I've started a "Dulaan Knitting Brigade" list in my sidebar. If you're participating and want your name added, just let me know.

Question: Would anyone who is going to Stitches West be willing to take a stack of flyers? If you photocopy them, I'll be glad to reimburse you. (Susanna has volunteered to shuttle flyers to Stitches West. Thank you bunches, Susanna! I'll be in touch!) If you know of any other upcoming knitting or fiber fairs where we can distribute information, Dear Readers, please let me know.

I've finished my horrendously ugly aquamarine, red and purple Psychedelic Pscarf for the project. Photo on Monday.

(Update to the Update! Cuzzin Tom actually has an interview on Tuesday with someone from his local NPR station about this project. I had no idea that press releases actually work. Huh.)


As you know, Dear Readers, our Cuzzin Tom* will be moving to Mongolia soon. Over the last few months, this planned move has blossomed into what I think is an inspiring charity knitting and crafting opportunity. It is my pleasure to introduce:

The Dulaan Project!

DulaanOrphangirl-1.jpgDid you know that in Mongolia, in the winter, temperatures rarely go above 0° and frequently fall as low as -40°? In fact, the temperatures for this week are predicted to go as low as -30°. This is not public relations hooey; see for yourself (select "low temperatures" from the drop-down list).

Did you know that in Ulan Bataar, the capital city of Mongolia, there are thousands of homeless children who, in order to survive in the winter, live in the heating ducts under the city? And that, in other parts of Mongolia, livestock herders, impoverished by drought and natural disaster, struggle to survive?

Did you know that there is a wonderful non-profit organization in Arizona called the Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E) that dedicates all of its efforts and resources to helping the impoverished people of Mongolia? In fact, every year they send 6 tons—an entire shipping container—of supplies and clothing to Mongolia, and then travel to Mongolia themselves to distribute the shipment.

And now this, Dear Readers, is where we come in...

Dulaanyoungchild.jpgCuzzin Tom and Kunzang Palyul Chöling (KPC), his Buddhist community, have partnered with F.I.R.E. to ship to Mongolia any knitted items or fleece blankets that the national and international knitting and crafting community is willing to provide.

What You Need to Know

  • The project is officially called the Dulaan (doo-lahn′) Project. Dulaan means “warmth” in Mongolian and accurately represents, we feel, the essence, the heart, of what this project is all about. F.I.R.E.'s official site for the project is located here.
  • You may use whatever yarn and colors you like. There is a need for hats, mittens, socks, neck gaiters, scarves and sweaters for all ages from babies to adults—especially for children ages 3-10. Think warmth and simplicity. For pattern ideas, go here or use any of your favorites.
  • F.I.R.E. also says there is great demand for a certain type of no-sew, no-knit, fringed fleece blanket. For instructions on how to make these blankets, go here.
  • Important! When packing your items, write your name and address, as well as the number of and types of items in the box, on a piece of paper. Put the paper into an envelope and tape the envelope securely to the box. This allows the FIRE volunteers to keep track of what has been received and send you a tax receipt without having to unpack the box.
  • Send your items to The Dulaan Project, F.I.R.E., 107 N. San Francisco St., Studio 4, Flagstaff, AZ 86001. All items received by July 1 will be shipped to Mongolia on July 15. F.I.R.E. volunteers will personally distribute them in Mongolia this fall. Items received after July 1 will be sent in 2006.
  • Tell your friends! Give this flyer (color) or this flyer (b&w, both designed and contributed by our very own TMK!) to other knitters; place take-away copies at your local yarn shop; email the project link to your address list; post the link to your favorite knitting blog; publish information about the project in your guild’s newsletter; and encourage everyone to pass it on!
  • Check here for progress reports! I will be creating permanent links to the F.I.R.E. web site, Dulaan page, and pattern list, and will post any updates that are shared with me!

DulaanGirls.jpgI have already knit a regrettably and unintentionally ugly hat and the Sideways Garter-Stitch Scarf that I mentioned Friday is destined for this project as well. I know there are other knitters out there who are already working on projects so Cuzzin Tom, F.I.R.E, and I thank you!!

(Note to Big Sister: Please tell Little Niece that the fleece pillow she made and sent me has been the object of much scrutiny as I prepare to make a fleece blanket using the same...er..."technology.")

*For new readers, Cuzzin Tom really is my cousin and has been a Buddhist monk for 11 years. Over the last year or so, he has become a permanent part of this blog, and no matter how many times we have changed the blog name or moved to a new web address, we haven't been able to shake him. Which is why I've made arrangements to have him sent to Mongolia where, I hear, Internet access is a lot less reliable. :-)

Posted by Ryan at 02:29 PM | Comments (45)

January 28, 2005

Yawn!

Although the heart and the mind are ever willing, the blog continues to suffer from the doldrums, and this morning I finally realized why: Most other bloggers have Infinite Sources of Entertainment. Case in point: Anne wrote an entire entry once about how, in school, her young son was given demerits for throwing his pants at the wall. Kim gets a lot of mileage out of her shorn bunnies and insanely cute dogs. Today Sheila posted a picture of the Gawd-awful mess her dogs made with the innards of a feather pillow. And anyone who reads Rachael’s blog knows how much mileage she gets out of girlfriend Lala and Lala’s dogs, music and hair. But my life is vewy, vewy quiet. No children, no pets (even the Pseudo-Adopted Cat’s visits have become few and far between), no humorous or puzzling or annoying husband and, since The Mysterious K and I usually spend the week in our separate homes, most days, no partner to spy and tattle on. So, to breathe new life into the blog, my plan is now to get a cat, get a dog, get a rabbit, adopt a child, and marry a man. (What’s that, TMK? Did you say something?)

In Knitting Knews, I started a scarf based on the Sideways Garter-Stitch Scarf on this page, although in seed stitch, not garter, and in some outrageous turquoise, red and purple yarns which will appeal to a child but make me feel slightly bilious. This scarf is mindless and fun but I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that it takes 15 minutes for me to knit one (220-stitch) row. That’s just wrong, wrong, I tell you!

Lastly, to entertain you while I get a cat, get a dog, get a rabbit, adopt a child and marry a man, if you enjoyed the “knights who say ‘Ni!’” reference a few entries ago, then you will surely enjoy this.

Posted by Ryan at 12:56 PM | Comments (23)

January 26, 2005

The Day After...

tissue.bmpSpent yesterday in that dreadful, cold-induced gray haze of sweaty, tangled-up sheets, used tissues, half-empty water glasses, and dirty soup bowls. We’ve all been there. It’s awful. But today I was well enough to drive to work, singing along in nasal, hoarse, phlegmy fashion to some God-awful David Cassidy song. All the dogs within earshot along the entire length of my route howled piteously.

Knitting-wise, over the last week, I’ve finished the blue baby socks (Note to self: Get photo) and the front of the pumpkin orange children’s sweater (Note to self: Get photo). Need something new to work on. (Note to self: Get something new to work on.) (Note to self: Stop writing notes to self.)

Not much else to report today from this state north of Oregon, south of Canada, and southeast of Alaska but I will leave you with one final thought: If you haven’t visited the “Llama Song” link Stephanie left in the comments, you owe it to yourself to do so. There is music—which is the whole point, akcherly—so don’t play it at work, but do play it somewhere, at home, at a copy store whose name begins with K and ends with INKO's, at a friend's, at the library, I don't care where, just play it. You will laugh, oh, how you will laugh, and then you will spend the rest of the day singing, “LlamallamaDUCK.” Since The Mysterious K knows I can’t have my speakers on here at work, she called me and played it for me over the phone, knowing full well my respiratory system was compromised. Between laughing and coughing, I almost barfed up a lung (how would we explain THAT to the janitorial staff?).

For something equally funny and mindless, try this. (Yep, TMK, I found it again. It doesn't work at the original site—the song is stuck in a loop—but I found this alternative.)

Posted by Ryan at 11:25 AM | Comments (19)

January 24, 2005

Anodder Code in My Doze

"Alas, Dear Readers, the Fates it pleases
To burden me with endless sneezes,
With eyes that water, and honks that issue
From a nose that I dab with a much-used tissue..."

Sound familar, Dear Readers? Yes, another minimalist post today, since the cold that I thought I had beaten into submission three weeks ago suddenly reappeared with a vengeance. Apparently managing these colds is going to be a lot like playing whack-a-mole.

fireplace.gifIn the meantime, warm thoughts go from those of us who are enjoying still-record-breaking temperatures in the Great Northwest to any Dear Readers stuck in the East Coast snow. Here's hoping you don't have to go Outside because you Planned Well and have everything you need Inside: Food, including your favorite hot chocolate mix and some mini-marshmallows; family, or at least the kind of family you don't mind being stuck inside with; at least one cat or dog; a fun knitting project or some roving that you are itching to spin; some good movies; a fire in the fireplace; and, for those A-type personalities who deem that sort of thing absolutely necessary (you know who you are), a good connection to your office server and email.

Since I have nothing entertaining to share with you—since I did no knitting this weekend and took no photographs—I suggest visiting this entry at Janine’s site to see one of my most favorite Fair-Isle-ish projects ever, her gold, peach, pink and dark-red gecko hat. (It’s no coincidence that her gecko and mine are similar in shape and orientation since they are both based on this cross-stitch pattern.) Amazingly, Janine took a project which didn’t work (the gecko hat) and converted it into something that did work (the gecko teapot cozy) which, I have to say, I like even more than the hat. In fact, I like just saying, "gecko teapot cozy." Gecko teapot cozy. Gecko teapot cozy. Gecko teapot cozy. Gecko... Oh, sorry, this cold must be affecting me more than I thought.

Posted by Ryan at 10:24 AM | Comments (10)

January 21, 2005

Old Age Swings By For a Quick Visit

Wow—major senior moment! I’ve been working so intently with Cuzzin Tom on the Mongolia project that I forgot I was supposed to blog today! There may have been a subconscious element at work here, too, since I have literally nothing, zip, zero, bupkus, nada, to write about. In fact, here in the Great Northwest, the most interesting development of late has been the shocking variation in the temperature. Last week: Low twenties, mid thirties, ice, snow (remember the bear with the raisin belly-button?). This week: Record-breaking temperatures in the mid-sixties and equally record-breaking rain (and the bear is but a fond memory, although this spring, if we’re hungry, you’ll find us poking around in the grass for the remaining raisins). My hair doesn’t know whether to be flat and lifeless or wildly frizzy. In fact, over the course of an hour, it can freakishly metamorphose from one to the other and back again, like a really bad animated feature.

I do, however, have a picture to share:

jnetbabysock.jpg

These socks are for a friend and business client of The Mysterious K’s who just adopted a baby boy in one of those arrangements where the too-young teenage mother literally gave birth and immediately handed the baby over to the adoptive mom. Never having been this close to the adoption process before, I'm only just starting to understand how wrenching this must be for the birth mother, especially at such a young age (although, in this particular case, the birth mother had already had two other children so she really had little choice), but the adoptive mother is caring and attentive and will make a great mother.

(By the way, if you ever need a laugh, come watch TMK and me in the baby clothes department. Oh, the shamelessly high-pitched squeals of delight (yes, even from TMK)! We may not be big on babies but baby clothes leave us weak at the knees.)

geckoswatch.jpgVital stats Cuff: Navy blue Baby Ull. Foot: Dunno, something all wool and variegated, the same stuff I used to make this gecko swatch. Pattern: The basic pattern from “Knit a Dozen Baby Socks.” Modification: I used size 5 needles for the cuff so it would be ribbed and firm but still wide-ish since baby ankles are so darn roly-poly!

Posted by Ryan at 11:32 AM | Comments (16)

January 18, 2005

Wicked Witch of the West

(Note to Dear Readers: The Powers That Be are waging a fierce battle against the spam that keeps flooding this and other nwkniterati blogs. For now, however, that means that comments are being moderated, which means I have to approve them before they show up in the Comments area. I'll be checking regularly and getting everyone's comments posted as quickly as possible. In the meantime, just comment away!)

For those of you, in particular Sara, who encouraged The Mysterious K to rebel—rebel, I say—against me and wear her Eye-Searingly Bright Socks in public, look what you’ve done. TMK was quite content to wear white, blue or black socks and dusty, clunky, unassuming black Rockports until Those Socks came along (for which, 'tis true, I am solely to blame), and until the Dear Readers reminded her that I was not the boss of her and that she had certain inalienable rights as a freewheelin', creative graphic designer, and until we stumbled across those red sneakers on Saturday. She mumbled something about how they were must-haves, reminded her of her childhood, blahblahblah, stuff I didn't understand since in my childhood I wandered around barefoot wearing nothing but a batik sarong, saying things like, "What is this thing you Americans call a 'shoe?'" Oh, well. I feel the need for...what? Perhaps some intensive, long-term therapy, or an intensive, long-term relationship with some chocolate. My only consolation is that today she had a business meeting with some potential clients and had to wear Proper Shoes, which I'm secretly hoping are pinching the crap out of her toes.

If you're wondering about the weird angle of the photo, think TMK flat on the floor on her back, feet propped up on the black recliner, position assumed specifically for the purpose of taking the photo. Yep, we're blog ho's; we'll do anything for the blog.

FYI, Dear Readers, the Mongolian knitting project is percolating right along. Warm up those needles; tape, for the umpteenth time, the rips in those favorite old patterns; bring those piles of neglected, dusty, half-used balls of yarn out into the light of day, and stay tuned!

Posted by Ryan at 09:54 AM | Comments (23)

January 14, 2005

Hot Cross Bunnies

(Kwik (blech) Monday Update: On vacation, so no posting today. See you Wednesday, Dear Readers!)

--------------------------
Oh, Dear Readers, do I have a treat for you today! I have discovered the one and only craft project in the entire frickin' universe that combines both knitters' interests and The Mysterious K's: Making mittens with a hand sander. You heard right. Making. Mittens. With. A. Hand. Sander. Go. Look. See for yourselves!

Woolen Rabbit has historically been the source of some of my favorite pictures and, once again, Kim hasn’t failed me. Once you've marveled at the mittens, go here to see a picture of what looks like a sheared rabbit that has had the helium let out of it (the fourth picture under "Buns"). Imagine what Ms. Bunny must have looked like originally, with a ribbon tied to her leg, floating serenely along in the air, bumping gently against the ceiling. And don’t miss the photos of the rabbits wearing coats made out of sweatshirt sleeves.

But Kim wasn’t done there. Through her blog I surfed to this entry at Woolybuns with a picture of a particularly adorable baby angora bunny (at the top of the entry). Fer sher click on the thumbnail to get the full effect. If that doesn’t immediately make you develop four nerve-deep, root-canal-worthy cavities... I love particularly the slightly worried look.

As always, Kim, thanks for posting such great pictures and links!

Knitting Knews
My friend Kit has a truly remarkable talent which requires her to do nothing but sit, listen, and quietly emanate knitting wisdom. To wit: I stopped working on the burnt orange cable sweater a couple of weeks ago because something about the shaping for the left shoulder just didn’t make any sense. I kvetched about this in an email to Kit and insisted that she be at Ferals Monday night to help me figure it out. And she was. And she sat, and listened, and quietly emanated knitting wisdom while I railed on about what a stupid mistake there was in the pattern, and how it was all the designer’s fault, and how I was just lucky I caught it and how, well, look, Kit, watch, let me just diagram the rows for you so you can see the mistake for yourself and...and...and... Oh. Now I get it. See? She fixes problems just by being there. An amazing skill.

Question for the Dear Readers Who Knit: When you cast off for the neck, the stitches along the neck edge end up being loose and gappy as a result of the casting off process. How do you reconcile casting off loosely with not wanting loopy, gappy stitches along the neck edge?

Posted by Ryan at 10:45 AM | Comments (13)

January 12, 2005

A Long Yarn and a Short Tale Tail

Today’s entry is pretty much All Frankie, All the Time, so if short, squat, furry, red-bodied, white-pawed, short-legged, no-tailed, big-eared, black-nosed, round-eyed dogs aren’t your thing...

First, although on Monday I reported that the Eye-Searingly Bright Socks were knitted, kitchenered, and ensconced in TMK’s fleece slippers, the truth is the second sock came thisclose to not being made. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll let these photos speak for themselves:

FrankieYarn1.JPG

 

mmm_newchutoy.jpg

Of course, the perceptive among you will question how much of a yarn emergency this really was if we had the time to find the camera, slowly and gruntingly lie our portly selves down on the ground to take the pictures, review the first set of pictures, and then take more...but let's not go there. Besides, in the second photograph, Frankie was truly settling down for a Really Good Chew so that's about when I gently extracted the Lorna's Laces from between her canines.

Secondly, Cuzzin Tom’s comment about Frankie’s photogenic qualities goosed TMK into putting her graphic designer abilities to work to cobble together this (pdf file, 962kb). And, yes, per her “legalese” on the front page, Dear Readers, you can print one copy of the calendar for yourself! (The calendar is designed to be printed on 8.5” x 14” paper.) We only ask that you let us know if you printed a copy so we, as proud parents, can enjoy knowing how many Frankie calendars are floating around out there.

Lastly, thoughts about the Dick-Along. I tried, Dear Readers; I really tried. Monday night I read the first three chapters and Tuesday I wrote some musings about the book—but they came out sounding like a B-grade crap written by your average high schooler (think really bad book report). If you want to read it anyway, lemme know and I’ll post it. The good news is I’m now up to Chapter 10 and the book has sucked me in just the way I remembered!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Posted by Ryan at 09:59 AM | Comments (25)

January 10, 2005

Snow Day!

Lots of things to rattle on about today, but let’s start with the thing that leaves me bustin’ with pride. Here is a picture of my niece, daughter of Big Sister, selling hot chocolate to their San Diego neighbors for the tsunami effort. She raised, I think, $26. As her mother wrote in the subject line of her email, “Good heart!” I would have to concur!

TsunamiAid2.jpg

Secondly, ladies, on your behalf, I completely debased myself in an effort get pictures of The Mysterious K’s eyebrows. I tried the Puppy Dog Eyes, I tried the Whining, I tried the Horrendously Annoying Baby Talk, I tried the Putting My Forehead Against Her Forehead and Looking Up At Her Through My Bangs While Pouting—but nothing worked. And I must say, in my heart of hearts, I applaud her for standing up to me and saying, “Nuh-uh.” Now as ever, TMK is a behind-the-camera kind of gal!

Keep in mind as you look at the next two pictures of our current weather conditions that, what to Minnesot'ns and our Canadian neighbors to the North would look like a light dusting of snow, to Seattleites looks like this:

labrador3.jpg

(Photo from of http://www.atl.ec.gc.ca/index_e.html.)

The first picture shows a shrub in TMK’s back yard. (Am I the only person who sees "shrub" and immediately thinks “shrubbery,” “Monty Python” and “the knights who say ‘Ni!’?”)

snowybranches.jpg

In this second picture, the shrub (Ni!) in the middle of this picture of the front yard usually stands much taller than the roof the house but, as you can see, on this day has decided to take a snow-day siesta...

butterflybush.jpg

TMK spent the first fifteen minutes of the morning making this, a snowbear. The belly button and the eyes are made of raisins, not, as it would seem, rabbit poop.

snowbear.jpg

And here, another picture for Dear Reader AnnaMarie and her dogs Wagatha Christie and Taffy. (Don't let this picture fool you. While it may look as if Frankie is smiling, her upper lip is, in fact, just caught on her teeth, which frequently happens.)

snowbearfrankie.jpg

Again, these pictures were taken in the morning. Long about mid-afternoon, we looked out the kitchen window and were treated to the site of the Frankie eating the raisins out of the snowbear’s belly button. Logically, I knew she was just eating frozen raisins but in my mind it still somehow translated into belly button lint. Eeuuuuww! Fortunately, she never did pluck out its eyes. That would have been just too much.

Knitting Knews
On the possible knitting-for-Mongolia project, we do, indeed, all need to take our direction from Cuzzin Tom, who has A Grand Plan. Last week’s quiet, curious prodding on my part was just that, an attempt to find out if there would be any interest out there. Now that the Dear Readers have proven that, as always, they are willing to whip out their knitting needles in support of an important cause, we need to wait to hear more about the Plan.

The Eye-Searingly Bright Socks are done but were on TMK’s feet and ensconced in her sheepskin slippers before I could even reach for my camera. Perhaps in the summertime they will come out of hibernation? And the Faina Scarf was finished a couple of weeks ago and also needs to be photographed. Especially since two co-workers have already tried to steal it...

Note to Perclexed: You were right. I took out my could-be-miconstrued-as-snarky LiveJournal comment in my last entry. I mean, what was the point, right? I don't even know that much about LiveJournal!

Posted by Ryan at 11:19 AM | Comments (24)

January 07, 2005

Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow

(Dear Readers, an FYI: The blog is experiencing that occasional "hiccup" where it doesn't show the number of comments correctly. While the Powers That Be work on this, please go directly to the comments panel to see what's cookin'.)

So many downright gossipy things to chat about today. In fact, I’m imagining the Dear Readers and me engaging in some of that fast-paced, high-pitched girl talk and shrieking laughter that makes glass shatter, cats slink out of the room, dogs howl, and men hide in their workshops.

First, the Trip to the Salon. I arrived early and the two-minute-old, perky, oh-so-straight receptionist told me my stylist was ready and I could just go on in.

What I thought: “No, thanks, two-minute-old, perky and oh-so-straight receptionist, because, although normally you would get lots of customer service credit from me for hustling me on in early, you see, the person I’m waiting for is my partner who is butch-ish and has never done this before so she’s a little anxious because she’s out of her element and in over her head—the way I would be in Manland, by the way, where she would take care of me and protect me and translate for me if I needed help—but I’m the more feminine one in the partnership and have had this done many times before so I want to be out here in the waiting room when she arrives just to make sure she gets properly oriented and knows what to do, how to check in, and where to go. Not that she’s not an adult and can’t take care of herself but we try to help each other in situations where one or the other of us is uncomfortable because that’s what we do.”

What I said: “No, thanks. I’ll wait.”

Editing one’s mental ramblings—a very good skill to have.

As for the Mysterious K, she was vewy, vewy bwave and the results of the waxing (or “ripping,” as she calls it) were fantastic. It was one of those things where neither she nor I thought there was anything wrong with her eyebrows, but now that she’s had them done... (Sigh. Isn’t that how it all begins, ladies? Um, and Devin, too, if you want to be considered one of the ladies, wink, wink. Er, not you, Tom, unless having your eyebrows waxed is part of some obscure Buddhist ritual and you are qualified to chime in, in which case, knock yerself out.)

Next, a new blog! Friend, Fair Isle knitting mentor, and erstwhile leader of the Ferals, Janine, has started a blog. I’m of two minds about this, very thrilled and a leetle alarmed. Thrilled because Janine is funny, articulate, just-the-right-amount-of-philosophical, and a talented writer, all elements which guarantee a great read. And a leetle alarmed, because, well, just look at the pictures in this entry. Did you see that stuff?! She’s the real thing, Dear Readers, creative, innovative, and fearless, the kind of knitter who could cause you to burn your needles, round-file your stash and cancel your blogging account. But, if you cornered me and threatened me with bodily harm, I’d admit I heart Janine, I miss her since I bequeathed her to Rachael in California, and I miss inspecting her inspiring creations stitch by stitch, so the blog is, in fact, fantastic news. Welcome to the insane world of blogging, Janine!! May you have as many, many Dear Readers who entertain you and warm your heart as I do!

Along the same lines, Dear Reader Anj has also moved from LiveJournal to a Typepad blog. Go see her here!

And what’s the lowdown with Cuzzin Tom? I’m sure regular readers have noticed that comments from Supremely Rare Jewel, Upholder of the Dharma have been few and far between recently but he has the excuse to end all excuses since, as he has mentioned, he is busy making preparations to move from Arizona to Mongolia. Mongolia. M-o-n-g-o-l-i-a. Imagine! Just imagine! He promises—and I am poking him vigorously and mercilessly with an industrial-strength cattle prod to encourage him in this area—that he will set up a blog while he is there so we won’t entirely lose touch with him and we can hear about his adventures and his cultural and spiritual work. And, Dear Readers, I will just put this little bug in your ear, in case it comes to anything: (1) Winter temperatures that don’t go above 0° (2) 30,000 homeless Mongolian street children with inadequate clothing. Are ya’ feelin’ it, knitters? Are ya’?

Speaking of knitting, here's a picture of TMK’s foot in the first Eye-Searingly Bright Sock. Do ignore the dog hair sticking out of her big toe. It's Frankie's revenge for our not including her in the picture.

myrainbowsock.jpg

Lastly, Angie, I'm thinkin' a "Moby Dick" reading group (which, in my world, I have named the Dick-Along, which is awful) might be better lead by someone who hasn't read the book yet, don't you? Do you really want to have a fanatical leader who has already read the book, who has set-in-concrete opinions, and who might go all postal on anyone who disagreed with her? Um, not that I would...

Posted by Ryan at 09:47 AM | Comments (37)

January 05, 2005

Adventures in Cosmetology

Pigs have suddenly sprouted wings and hell is digging out from under its first freeze in years. I know this because—and I’m not really sure how this came about—The Mysterious K has decided to get her eyebrows waxed. I guess that’s what happens when you buy rimless glasses and notice, for the first time since you were 12, that you have eyebrows. So, Dear Readers, at 5:45pm PST/8:45pm EST, put down your knitting, hold your breath, and listen carefully. I suspect you’ll hear her not-very-butch shrieks wafting through the air. Followed by my snickers from the room next door.

In the meantime, let’s see if I can squeeze out a few more “100 Things,” which I now suspect will turn into only “50 51 Things” since I’m boring myself to death with my own self.

40. A pedophile tried to lure me into his car when I was a child, but my parents had taught me well. I knew what was going on, and I knew to run. (Of course, the fact that he didn't have any pants on was a small clue.) Although I escaped physically unscathed, this event affected me for years, and I was inordinately afraid of strangers as a child. Even now, although I've totally recovered and will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, I occasionally think about the pedophile and hope he is rotting under the ground somewhere or is a big, burly biker dude's hootchie in jail.

41. I am a grammar snob but I blame it on a mother who insisted, for example, that we say “DunkinG Donuts.” Yes, with the full "ing" sound. Sigh. She was the kind of person to whom you could tell a funny, convoluted, and fascinating story—in your estimation, at least—and her only reaction would be to correct the grammar mistake you made in Sentence One. So annoying, eh, Big Sister?

42. I tend to gravitate toward high-pitched and high-strung things like piccolos, banjos, cheetahs, Arabian horses, and sighthounds. TMK tends to like the opposite: French horns, bass guitars, quarter horses, Norwegian Fjord ponies, and chunky, short dogs with red fur and white paws whose names start with “F.”

43. Partly because I was chicken and partly because I lived in New York, I didn’t start driving seriously until my mid-twenties. I drive all the time now but I'm at my happiest, however, when I'm a passenger. Which is a good thing since TMK is at her happiest when she is a driver. A metaphor for our lives? You betcha!

44. Although I’m afraid of flying, I'm not afraid of the usual things such as heights, spiders, snakes, or insects. And the number one phobia, speaking in front of an audience? Piece a’ cake!

45. I am a night owl. I go to bed late, usually after midnight, and then read for an hour or two. This makes it difficult to get up for work. In fact, if snoozing one’s alarm clock were an Olympic sport...

It doesn’t help that I don’t, as a rule, drink coffee. (I can sense TMK raising an eyebrow at me as if to say, the truth, m’dear, the truth. Okay, the truth is, in the summer I drink a lot of “dessert coffees” but I've never been the kind of person who drags herself out of bed in the a.m. and heads straight for the coffeemaker. I think the last “morning pick-me-up” coffee I had was six months ago. Well, actually it was during the .Net training/fingernail picking/page-turning nightmare in November, but that was purely medicinal. Before that it was six months ago.)

46. I love to laugh. It is the best drug ever. And I love people who can make me laugh. Take my sister, for example. She called me a couple of weeks ago, and the minute I heard her voice, I started laughing, and then she did, too. There was no reason for the laughter, just 44 years of sisterhood. And that’s cool.

47. My favorite book is “The Bridge Over San Luis Rey.” Some other favorites, a small part of a very long list:

A Gathering of Old Men
All Quiet on the Western Front
Any O. Henry short story
Anything by Amy Tan
Anything by Isabel Allende
Cannery Row
Cold Comfort Farm
Dandelion Wine
Fahrenheit 451
Flowers for Algernon
Going After Cacciato
Lord of the Flies
Moby Dick (so much more than a story about a psychotic whaler; so much more, you have no idea)
Of Mice and Men
Out of Africa
Rebecca
Stones for Ibarra
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
The Metamorphosis
The Narnia Chronicles
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Screwtape Letters
The Secret of Santa Vittoria
Travels with Charley

Wow... This is a seriously eclectic list.

48. Since living in the States, I have lived in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

49. I'm an Extrovert, with a Type B personality and a Myers-Briggs Personality Type of ENFP.

50. I do not like chocolate ice cream. TMK considers this un-American. After 18 years, she still thinks I’m lying.

51. I can see all of sides of every argument. This makes me a very confused and overly empathetic human being who vacillates wildly in her opinions. If you want to see my head explode, ask me how I feel about the death penalty.

Enough. I am seriously boring the crap out of myself. Feel free to ask questions, though, Dear Readers; maybe there's an item 52 lurking around in my head somewhere and I just don't know it.

Knitting Knews
The Eye-Searingly Bright Sock's journey through the Sock-O-Matic is almost done; just need to kitchener the toe. And, to all the folks who said, “Feh, TMK. Ignore Ryan. Wear the socks in public if you want to,” TMK says you rock!

Still on the subject of socks, I've had another request for a pair of vision quest socks! I'm flattered, and excited to know I can, once again, help someone else keep her tootsies warm on her spiritual journey--even though I, personally, don't get spending four days outside without shelter or food. At the end of the quest, I might be spiritually enlightened but I'd also be crankier than sh_t. Anyhoo, Endless Wall of Cascade 220 at my LYS, here I come!

Posted by Ryan at 11:40 AM | Comments (24)

January 03, 2005

The Fates Conspire Against Me

Alas, Dear Readers, the Fates it pleases
To burden me with endless sneezes,
With eyes that water, and honks that issue
From a nose that I dab with a much-used tissue.
Lucky for me The Mysterious K
Has been tending to me in her mother-hen way,
With soup and toast and lemony tea
As I cry, without ceasing, “Poor me! Poor me!”
The bad news, though, is it’s hard to blog
When your head is full of a cottony fog,
And all you want is some juice and a hanky,
And to crawl back under your warm woolen blanky.
Yet I shall see what I can do…
Excuse me a moment—I must go “ah-choo.”

And that lame attempt at poetry, Dear Readers, is how I entertained myself through the long night as I tried to read, breathe, and sleep, and failed miserably at all three. Who knew that the sound of an alarm clock could bring such joy to one’s soul!

On a more positive note, the New Year’ Eve PokerPalooza was a complete success. "Little A" was, as expected, charmingly entertaining for the first hour, flashing his dimples, giggling endlessly, and cheerfully “liberating” from the kitchen everything he could reach: Measuring spoons, measuring cups, containers, plates, cups, bowls, utensils, dog toys… Then, on cue, he obligingly went to sleep so we could convert the living room into a den of poker-playing iniquity and play endless hours of Texas Hold ‘Em, all the while wearing campy, sparkly hats that screamed “2005!” and cheap plastic leis that made your skin itch and sweat. At 11:58pm, we lay down our cards; at 11:59pm, we turned on the TV; at 12:00am, we toasted one another, hugged, air-kissed, and tooted horns; at 12:01am we consoled Little A who had been startled awake by the horns; at 12:02am all of our guests were in their cars on headed home. Hey, we’re lucky they stayed up that long.

The rest of the weekend I spent trying to wrassle my ailment to the ground without much success. Fortunately for TMK, this meant I also spent considerable time working on her Lorna’s Laces rainbow sock. Here, the almost finished sock, which proves, yet again, that something about the way I knit forces variegated yarns to swirl around in a "candy cane" fashion:

mysock.jpg

Here, the fun eye-of-partridge heel:

mysockheel.jpg

And lastly, for Big Sister, a picture of the two things that helped keep my spirits up this weekend, the cheerful, flowered mug she sent me for Christmas (which says, “You are my sister…I am so lucky”—made me well up a bit on Christmas morn, that did) and a strong cuppa. Thank you, Big Sister! Bet you didn’t know the mug would come in so handy so soon!

sistermug.jpg

Posted by Ryan at 10:49 AM | Comments (30)