Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And now for something completely different:

I love Monty Python.

I thought, since my last link was something horribly depressing, I would share a different sort of crime, which, in hindsight, is shocking/funny instead of shocking/horrifying and nausea-inducing. Although I think the guy's victims might not think it's as impressive as they do costly.

This is a rather long article, but it is totally worth it. This guy definitely has some kind of narcissistic personality disorder-issues happening, since he's so eager to tell his story...But the charm thing fits too...

Go forth and read!

I know I'm liberal, but really...

Am I the only one that has a problem with this?

I know they had to take it down for legal reasons (big surprise), but I made the mistake of reading some of the comments, and really. Some of those people have serious problems. And are very, very racist.

So much so that their commentary keeps getting deleted by the news channel. That's how bad it gets. Plus, tons of it is pretty insulting to the people who come out and say in their posts that they think the sign is in poor taste and a very wrong thing to put up. A business ought in fact to say something like, "No Spitting" on their sign if that's really the problem. But I think the problem is that some people don't care about being sanitary...they're just racists. And they hate anyone who speaks a different language than English. Or has a different skin color.

Let's do something radical. Let's make it not be okay for our neighbors to be discriminated against, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. That's what this country is all about, after all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Battle of the Books

Yesterday marked the beginning of our library's annual Battle of the Books. In case you didn't grow up with this kind of a competition, I will explain.

The library (meaning the children's librarians), beginning the day after the "battle" ends, starts to sift through children's and teen literature looking for books that we like. Usually, they are award winners, but we often pick one book that's just for fun. This year, our fun choice was the first Percy Jackson book (for the older group).

Then we order a lot of these books. Like, tons. After they arrive, we divide them up and give them to area schools. The schools (on their own) form teams of 10 kids. The "sponsor" (or coach) helps them study the books like crazy. Meanwhile, we're back at the library writing up questions.

When the battle finally arrives, we pit kids from all the area's schools against each other in a battle of memorization skills. When one team proves superior, we hand them a trophy they get to give back next year if they lose. If they win, we just take it, engrave it again, then give it back.

During the last Battle of the Books...

Well...it was my first week of work here.

That's right, I have now worked at the library for a whole year. When I realized this on Saturday, I told my coworkers, who did not really even believe me. But now they realize, it's true. One year.

In the last battle, I was wandering around taking pictures. I was afraid of everyone I worked with, terrified of the sponsors, certain that I wouldn't be using the camera right...I was a nervous wreck.

Now I know my coworkers aren't scary (unless they've skipped their coffee) and they've learned that yes, I am very scary, but not in a terrifying way, in a that-girl-is-so-odd-she-freaks-me-out way. They've become accustomed to my rambling e-mails, to me climbing up the stairs and mock-collapsing when I get to the top, or my going to the circulation desk upstairs only to jump midway into a conversation they know nothing about. Because it's been going on in my head.

This battle, I am up in front of a crowded room, reading out questions to the teams and judging their answers as right or wrong. This time I'm dealing with challenges, when the teams want me to prove that my answer to the question I've asked is right or wrong. I'm announcing the winners of each match, reporting our results to the scorekeeper, and someone else has the camera.

At this time last year, I was certain I'd faint if I had to get up in front of all of those people. Now I don't even flinch. I think it has to do with doing the bunny hop and the chicken dance in front of children and their parents twice a week. Or throwing on a Biscuit costume to wave at crowds of children. It might have been accomplished through what one could consider public humiliation, but I'm happy with the results.

Most importantly, now I have a yarn budget.

Oh--and I don't have to worry about the Honda dying. And I don't have to worry about being able to make student loan payments. That's good too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Curse of Spring

Startitis has struck. And oh, has it struck.

I've been knitting Olive (that's #1), a lovely yoked sweater from Amimono's autumn/winter 2008 pamphlet (does that count as a magazine?). It's wonderful. I love this sweater. I knit the yoke, picked up a multitude of stitches, and then increased all around to make it gather around the yoke...it's beautiful. But now I'm stuck knitting only stockinette. In the round. It's endless, all those knit stitches going around and around with almost no visible progress.

So I started knitting Candy Stripe from Spud and Chloe. But my choice of yarn for the provisional cast-on combined with my main color, Firecracker, ended up making the back of my sweater resemble a collapsed red-hat-lady-hat. In other words, it is terrifying to look at. So I went back to Olive.

Olive stayed boring, though, and because I was traveling (the Detroit trip), I decided it would be smart to have a sock project that would leave me free from the threat of having to pick up stitches or count, since at the time I wasn't finished with the yoke. But the sock, which is Twisted Flower by Cookie A., was biggish looking, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, in all her knitterly glory, had touched it. So I was stuck knowing the sock would fall down and refusing to tear it out since it had been blessed by someone who is, in all honesty, a knitting goddess. The sock went in the wooden salad bowl for a hibernation period.

Since I've been blogging for several years now, I sometimes forget what I have or haven't told you. The wooden salad bowl was a giant bowl Mom and I picked up at Target with the express purpose of using it to store my stash. At the time, my stash was a hank of lace weight. And maybe a sock in progress. Now the stash has grown, and the wooden salad bowl is used to hold whatever project I haven't any desire to work on just now, along with some prettyish yarns I like to leave out (so I can look at them or hold them).

Because the stockinette on both sweaters was boring, I pulled out my Dream in Color Starry, in Petal Shower, in order to choose a project. I settled on Haruni, cast on, and started knitting lace. Then I realized the lace project wasn't portable. What with the, you know, lace? So it went in a project bag.

Not desiring to knit stockinette but still wanting to knit, I was forced to choose another project. So I grabbed Malabrigo Lace and started the Geodesic Cardigan. I cast on, put in markers, and realized I'd be knitting...stockinette.

Meanwhile, I had been on Ravelry, reading blogs, and wishing I'd already been signed in on the Loopy Ewe so that I could have gotten a hank of Wollmeise, despite the fact that it annoyed me so much with the whole splittiness issue. So I went to Yarnissima's webpage and ordered a kit I'd been wanting that just so happened to be in stock. Cairdeas socks are on the horizon, knit with the "All the World Is Green" colorway of Handu's 100% Merino Sock Yarn.

Before that, though, I'd been reading a blog at work and I'd ordered the Madelinetosh sock yarn mentioned in the blog, but in a different color. I chose Victorian Gothic (middle picture, bottom row). I thought it would be perfect, as that is my favorite sort of literature.

And before that, I'd come home from Detroit with the burning desire to knit SpillyJane's Strawberry Mittens. So I ordered the pattern and made a cart on KnitPicks for the yarn (Palette) used in the pattern. One color (edamame) was out of stock. So I waited. And last night, I discovered that particular shade of green was back, so I placed that order. Fancy fair-isle for less than $20--including the pattern. That's pretty amazing.

Three packages now on their way to me, I knew I had to just knit something while I waited. So I'm working on the Geodesic Cardigan, because the color matches my fabric (which is from the Hello Betty line from Moda--try as I might I can't find a picture--it's a 30's inspired fabric, to give you a clue) for the dress I'm sewing (theoretically, right now it's more of a learn-to-sew-with-a-machine-and-with-a-pattern-so-I-can-make-this-dress). Given a goal and a timeline, I might well make some progress. But still, I think that I'd better put the knitting aside, as my dress-deadline is fast approaching. Can you imagine me wearing a pinned-together dress to a wedding? That strikes me as a bad idea.

I don't know if it's the weather, or if it's just an overall problem focusing that comes with exhaustion and longing for spring, but there's something wrong with me. I'm out of size seven circulars, I'm using them all...

And Zum Dirndl sure looks pretty...blast. Make that four.

I'm celebrating. My first year at the library. Yeah. With Yarnissima socks. Because I finished Digitessa during my first month here. So it's an anniversary thing. Sure. That works. Anniversary.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It Wasn't Me, I Swear.



See, I was all not going to buy a sewing machine until I knew I'd need a sewing machine. And then I called Mom to tell her I wasn't going to buy the sewing machine until I knew I needed to have a new one, since I'm kind of afraid of hers.

Then she said something to the effect of, "Good. I'm going to buy it."

In the end, since I would have bought it anyway, we decided to go half and half, so we each could use the machine and then if we choose, one or the other of us can get a fancy one.

Anyway, it beats this one. See all those dials? They lie. There really is only one stitch. Well, the plain one and the zig-zag. So two. But none of the fancy ones.


Say goodbye to the train sounds. Say goodbye to the deafness, to giving up on having conversations...say hello to sewing fabric with stretch. Like knits.

I'll let you know how it works out.

Resistence

I must not buy the sewing machine.

I will not buy the sewing machine.

But I want it. But I shouldn't buy it.

I shouldn't buy it because I haven't even used my mothers yet. At least not in the last five years.

And just because it sounds so loud I think I'm going to go deaf when she's sewing with it, doesn't mean that I should, during my first sewing project, go out and buy a sewing machine.

Even if I have two other--three other--projects planned.

Even if it will last years. Years and years and years of dresses and skirts that actually fit me.

And not just dresses...I can go to Spoonflower and buy t-shirt cotton, and make myself fun shirts that are also quirky, shirts that express my unique, freakish personality.

And plus, have you seen these bags?

And the quilts? All of them?

I could so totally use a sewing machine for those things. And I know that Mom's machine doesn't do knits, so if I ever wanted to, you know, sew something not regular cotton, something like denim, I couldn't do it unless I upgraded.


But I'm not buying it. It would be a bad idea.

It would be bad because I don't know how often I'm going to sew.

But I would sew more if the sewing machine didn't sound like a train. Trains are loud. And I would sew more if the machine didn't shake the house on its foundations. That's loud. And vibratey. I don't like that machine. I'm afraid of that machine.

And that's why I never learned to sew with it before. Because I am afraid of it.

If I have a manual, I would learn the right way to sew with a machine, and I wouldn't be frightened, right?


I'm not buying a machine. Not today.

But if I didn't buy it today, it might not be there tomorrow...or even Monday. What if it isn't there?
That's what the internet is for, though. A person can order things online, you know.

Yeah...

I guess so.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Am I Sew Awful at This?

I didn't take pictures.

This was so you would consider that my failure, the amount at which I suck at this, might be believed to be exaggerated in some way. That you might think I'm mocking myself. But I'm not. I really suck. Really.

I am glad, that in my life, there are some things that I am good at.

I can remember things. I mean, ask me anything, and if I happen to have read about it or talked to someone who has, I can talk at length about it. I remember movies I've seen, people I've seen them with, and the person who told me I ought to see the movie, since it was so good. I remember songs from elementary school programs--which is one of the many reasons elementary music programs are so important--and all the many books I've read in my life.

Last month, it occurred to me that there was a television show that aired only a few episodes back in the day.

Then I thought some more about it. I mapped out the plot line in my mind.

I then remembered what actors I'd seen in it. I remembered the man who played the lead FBI agent in charge of the 4400 investigation...and I remembered that it was where I saw the actor who played Jayne in Firefly starring in this show...

Then I remembered what the intro looked like. Then I went to IMDB, I found the actors, and I compared their various shows. From there, I discovered the name of the show.

Noticing the female lead, I said, "She looks familiar." And I checked the cast of the recent Star Trek movie. And noted that yes, she had indeed been covered head to foot in green paint, playing the Orion woman who was Uhura's roommate. Did I mention that, even though I own that movie, I've only watched it once, in the movie theater, because it was so good I don't want to ruin it by watching it again and again. I'm giving it time, so that the image of it will fade a little so I don't accidentally memorize the dialogue like I did with Return of the Jedi. And Star Trek VI. And most of The X-Files.

But that's not all. I'm a decent writer. There's that, too.

Oh, and I can read well. Very well. I read faster than anyone I work with. And can analyze with the best of them.

And I can knit. And do varied crafts. I'm good with all sorts of crafty things. I can make jewelry, scrapbook, decoupage, card making, alter books, and all sorts of other things.

I can cook! Oh, I can make lovely tasty things. My family loves it when I cook.

All those are skills. They aren't all marketable, but they're skills! People get jobs doing those things. They really do.

And I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent person. I'm a fast learner. I'm telling you all these things so that when I show you how much I suck you'll understand it doesn't happen all the time, so I do have some kind of worth.

Not a whole lot, though...

There are these bags. They're cute. Really cute. Rachael sent me the link to them.

I decided to make them.

This was a good opportunity, I thought, for me to learn to sew before making the dress that I've decided to make. The dress that will so not be finished in time for Audrey's wedding. But I plan to try.

I would learn to use a sewing machine. I would learn to follow a pattern. In short, I would learn to sew.

Now, if I hadn't decided not to show you pictures this time, this is where I would break out pictures of my grandmother's dresses. She once went into a tailor's shop when she was looking for work. "Do you have experience?" The tailor asked her. "Yes," Gran said.

But, of course, she didn't.

She learned it all, teaching herself everything so effectively that she was finishing work faster than the tailor could send her things to make.

And you should have seen the clothes she made for herself, for my mother, for me...I have a kilt of Scottish wool that she made with so many pleats...you wouldn't believe how lovely it is. It's a beautiful thing to look at.

My mother can sew. She made me all kinds of clothing, lovely little dresses. She made the quilt I have on my bed. By hand.

But I have never learned. Well, unless you count all the hand-sewing I do. But all of that takes place in a closed off place, my room, with my own supplies. I've never really used a sewing machine. I've never followed a pattern.

It isn't that I haven't tried. It's just that every time I sit down to learn with Mom, it ends with me crying.

I don't even know why. It must just be that things...go wrong. Really wrong. And while I don't remember why they went wrong in the past, since the memories were clearly sew traumatic that I blocked them out.

But today would be different. I would make a bag. It would be good.

Here are the things that went wrong:

1. I chose a pattern that was more a guide and less a pattern. Meaning that there really wasn't anything to use as a template.

2. I took the guide's advice of "1/4 yard" literally. Not realizing that, according to the directions, I would need a fat quarter, not an actual quarter of a yard.

3. When at Walmart, since I had not bothered to print my pattern and seemed to have lost my written directions, I assumed that the zipper would go over the top of the bag. This would mean that I need a zipper the length of the bag. This was not true. My zipper needed to be not 7" (as I guessed) but 12". This would make it long enough to go down the sides of the bag. Always remember the accurate length of your zipper. This is important.

4. When we discovered the zipper issue, I went to Walmart and switched zippers. However, Walmart according to the worker I spoke to, doesn't have the best supply of zippers. "Our zipper selection sucks," she said as I dug through them, looking for the right length. I ended up with zippers that were 22" with one 12". This was...not the greatest, though we can deal with that. Zippers can be shortened.

5. Instead of having my mother read through the guide and figure out what might cause issues, we decided to work out the pattern together. Step one: cut 12" by 16"
rectangles from each fabric and the interfacing.

6. Fabric one? Correct. Fabric two: all done. Except...no. Why was fabric two a different size? Frustrated, we set this aside. What had we done wrong? Interfacing? Correct. Except, no, now it wasn't. Because, "We'll need to make the interfacing and the first fabric smaller, now, in order to match," Mom said.

This was where the bad happened. "I broke it," I said. Because fabric breaks. "I suck at this. I suck at geometry. I suck."

I handed over the rotary cutter. I handed over the fabric. I walked away.

"How's it going, Laura?" Paul asked as I walked past his doorway and into my room.

"I suck," I replied.

In the background, I heard my mother say, "See, this is why it doesn't work every time I try to teach her this."

And she's right.

Here is why I have trouble learning to sew: You can't make a big mistake at the beginning.

When you knit, if you cast on the wrong number of stitches, if you twist your knitting when you join it into the round, or if you fail to set up your pattern right, you can rip it out. In fact, if you knit the whole sweater and screw up, you can still fix it. You can fix almost anything. Knitting isn't really permanent, unless you're working with mohair or another yarn that clings to itself as you knit with it. You have to mess up again and again to make your yarn unusable, and if that's a habit for you, you can always work with a yarn that's ultra forgiving, like acrylic, when you're starting out.

But when you're learning to sew, the first thing you do is cut your fabric. If you screw that up...you're screwed.

You need to then go back to the fabric store and buy a new chunk of fabric. And if you screw that up...another.

Meanwhile, the stack of fabric sitting on the floor next to your sewing machine keeps getting bigger. That is not something you want.

I went into my room. I opened this window. I started writing about this experience for your fun and amusement. And then a knock came at my door. Like that one there. No Mom, I don't know where the band-aids are, or the anti-biotic ointment. Sorry.

But that knock was Mom. She came in, sat on the floor, and spread out the now equally-rectangular pieces of fabric. She spread them out and looked up at me.

"I just wanted you to see this," she said. "When you sew, you have a quarter of an inch of fabric on each edge."

She traced her hand over the edge of the fabric. I nodded.

"I need to be done with this now," I told her. And what happened next is exactly the reason why this Mom-teaching-me-to-sew thing never works.

"So nothing's wrong with this," she continued.

"Except that it's the wrong size."

"That isn't important."

I felt my eyes well. Yes, I had failed. Yes, the bag would now be the wrong size, because I sucked so badly. My horrible, disastrous math skills had come to haunt me yet again. I would never be a real adult, because I could never hang a picture or a shelf, I could never put in tile, in fact, I could never even find the right sized frame for a picture. No, I was screwed for life because I didn't have a math friend to keep with me to crunch numbers for me like she did in high school, since I bet Rachael wouldn't like me to call her at all hours of the day and night because I'm having such a hard time figuring out sales tax.

Calculators can only do so much.

Finally, I felt better. Then, there was another knock. It was Mom.

"I figured it out," she said. "It's my fault."

I sat up, put down the computer. She led me out to the self-healing mat. And pointed at it.

She showed me the mat. There are marks for each inch on the mat. If you lay out your fabric and reach the 12, you get 12". Unless you go from the other side. On my mat, if you go from the other direction, measuring from the opposite edge to the 12, you get 11", not 12". This was what we did.

It's kind of like that math joke someone showed me in elementary school, where the teacher held out his hands and asked us how many fingers he had.

"Ten!" The class chorused.

"No," he replied. "I have eleven fingers."

"No, you don't!"

"Let's just check," he said.

He counted aloud from one pinkie to the thumb, "One, Two, Three, Four, Five."

Then he counted from the left, starting at the opposite pinkie, "Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six. Six? Five plus six is eleven. So that means I have eleven fingers!"

This was the same concept behind the reason I ended up with one wrong piece and two right ones. And the reason Mom ended up with two other squares of paper, that she was making as a template, both 16" by 11". Not 16" by 12".

Oops.

Turns out it runs in the family.

In the process of screwing this pattern up, it had never occurred to me that a mistake might not have been my fault. Nor did I consider that the fault might be split between the two of us. No. It had to all be my fault, because I am so stupid. Also, I'm kind of fat.

This is not a good or healthy way for me to live my life. This has to stop.

I might not have learned to sew today. I might not learn on Sunday, when we plan to break out the sewing machine. But now that I know that it isn't just me that makes these sort of mistakes, I feel more confident about learning in the future. I might actually end up with a bag that can hold yarn. Maybe not the size I'd been planning on making, but who cares? It will still hold a sock-in-progress, and that's all that really matters.

In the meantime, I'm using my self-healing mat. The mat that's middle is marked, that has an even number of inches on each side. The mat that has 12 on either side. That has 34" with an inch on each side that's not marked. Mom's is freakish, so the middle isn't so much the middle.

I'm going to work this out, and I'm going to have a beautiful dress to wear when I'm finished, plus tons of fun knitting bags I can carry projects in.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Little Video and a Thank You!

Want to see what you missed? Here's a little clip, courtesy of RoxanneZYG and YouTube.



And I must throw out a "Thank you!" to Melynda at French Press Knits who linked to me over here from her blog over here. That's where you ought to go if you want to read more about the Detroit experience, as she's posting links to other accounts. One involves crepes. I could go for a crepe.

Is it lunch time, yet?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Detroit: In Which the Library Lady Goes on Interlibrary Loan

In case you are wondering, I am, to many of the adolescent boys who come in to use the computers, "Library Lady." They cannot/will not/don't care to remember my name.

The things I put up with.

Now that I've shared with you the chaos of travel, you all get to hear about how worthwhile it all was. You had to wait because I was very tired. Tired not due to the travel, but because every time we do the spring-forward daylight savings time switch, I get jet lag.

I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "Laura, an hour wouldn't make that much of a difference." And, "Laura, you can plan for the switch-over by going to bed early." And, "Laura, stop whining about the time change, it's been years, and we all have to accept that life can't go back to the way it was before. Suck it up."

To that I reply, "But I'm sleeeeepy!"

Also, no matter how hard I try to prepare myself for it, the switch always takes the wind out of my sails, as my English gran would have said. Since I am short on wind in the first place (asthma), it just makes a bad situation worse.

Even if Mitch Daniels hadn't personally tried to kill me, using his campaign RV to play chicken with poor Laura, who was only driving home from church in her nondescript Honda, after all.

Meanwhile, Someone's Man Mitch came up behind his driver and was waving, making the driver hoot the horn, all because he thought my frantic hand movements (the kind you make when you want your bowling ball to not go into the gutter, as if you can affect change from the other end of the lane) were gestures of support. They weren't, Mitch. I just was trying to not have to go into the ditch because your driver couldn't drive your RV on your side of the road. But I had to anyway. Lucky for you, the ditch was shallow, and I was able to then drive out of the ditch.

Tangent over. Sorry.

Since Their Man Mitch totally ruined my life with this time change thing, I was so tired Sunday, Monday, and even today to be filled with inspiration. So if this blog falls flat, go into the archives and read a funny one. Or come to the library and bring me a coffee. I'm out.

Detroit's library had honest-to-goodness metal detectors and a security force. That's how big it was. And it was an old building, complete with all the architectural awesomeness that comes with old buildings and the heating issues. I've never been in a bathroom that hot before. It was like 100 degrees in the stalls. But, given the choice, I would take sweltering over our unheated bathrooms at my library. They get mighty cold. You also have to take certain precautions. If you accidentally washed your hands and then turned off the faucet prior to drying them, you run the risk of freezing to the faucet, like a kid getting his tongue stuck on a light post. Warm bathrooms don't have that problem.

As with all the best knitting events, we walked into the building and followed the scent of wet wool. As we got closer, we fell into line behind the well-dressed, sweater-clad population until we found the market.

Ah, the market...

This
almost became a problem. My salvation? I didn't have a pattern in mind.

Also, this little fellow. The photograph is courtesy of my friend, former soccer teammate, and fellow knitting traveler Ashley.


He is a zipper pull, and unfortunately remains nameless. He needs a name. A sheep name. Something British-sounding, I think. Maybe Seamus. That would be kind of cute. Seamus the Sheep.

Sheep-name ideas would be appreciated.

We got to the library two hours early, but we decided (on seeing the numerous other knitters) to grab seats and wait it out.


We had knitting, after all. Some of us (the woman in front of us) even had spinning!



Now that I've read other accounts of the event, I am regretting not saving seats for Melynda (French Press Knits, designer of the fabulous French Press Felted Slippers, which have redefined my life) and her fellow marketeer, Jill (Knitterella, who makes lovely cards and hilarious gift tags). The two of them showed off their wares, then ended up all the way at the back of the auditorium! That's just wrong. It's an injustice!

Especially due to this! If your slippers awesome enough to be repeatedly featured throughout the month of December on Stephanie's blog, you need special seating. And a tiara.

I amused myself by demonstrating the amazing macro capabilities of my digital camera. Behold, Rachael's Venezia Pullover!





And the cuff of my Twisted Flower Socks, designed by the glorious Cookie A! May I just say, I cannot wait for her newest book, Knit. Sock. Love. Before you ask, it isn't available for preorder yet. I check every day.




The color is more accurate in the first picture.

Finally, after Rachael came rushing out of the ladies room, proclaiming that if she'd just taken a moment longer washing her hands, she'd have gotten to chat over the soap dispenser with the Yarn Harlot herself (we're pretending that isn't creepy at all, since Rachael didn't mean it in a creepy way)...


Stephanie appeared on stage. She's photographing us with her traveling sock. If only we managed to look as pretty as the sock did.




If my fellow knitters, including those who were in a dress-rehearsal for an orchestra performance (*cough* Jennifer), get the chance, you ought to go see Stephanie give a talk. She's hilarious. Also, she's one of those people who is just as amazing in person as you imagine them to be when you read their writing. You leave thinking she's even cooler than you thought when you heard her locking-herself-out-of-the-hotel-room story, or the moth story, or the squirrel story.

She opened the floor up for questions, we all listened patiently through the "advertisement" for the knitting group for the blind, and then we all scattered, some of us going into what Stephanie calls "pre-boarding", for knitters who have small children, health issues, infants, as-yet-unborn babies, or anyone else who thought they ought to line up and leave as quickly as possible. It just shows you how amazing we knitters are when you watch the line form and note that people never abuse this, and some of those that ought to take advantage of it don't, just because they imagine that others have greater need.

We're a good group.

Others of us, such as my two friends who completely forgot to pack their books, ran out to buy copies.

Eventually, we all got in line to get our books signed.


While we were doing this, I noticed Melynda getting her picture taken up front, and was happy for her. I then went on for what must have been longer than the women around me wanted to listen to me, about how amazing it would have to be to have the Yarn Harlot love one of your designs, then to get to meet her and have a chat. I hope she enjoyed herself!

The second I got close enough, I started taking rapid-fire pictures of Whistler, the Dale sweater, which was Stephanie's Knitting Olympics 2010 project.




Check out the amazing patches you can get! They announce to the world when you knit your Dale. I want to knit a Dale! Just for the patch...


I handed off my camera, got my book signed...


And then we posed, switching socks...this means, according to the Knitting Faith, that your sock has been blessed.


Rachael then stepped up, and I managed to get one picture right before my camera battery died. This is taken prior to the two of them performing an impromptu slapstick comedy stunt, involving somehow linking their knitting projects together, tripping over them, and finally freeing themselves. It was one of those things you want a video camera for.

I would invest in one, but I have to get that GPS unit first...really. That's the priority.

Though the driving, the misdirection, the hunger, the "ghetto", and the exhaustion placed some strain on us all, we had an amazing time! It definitely beat this evening...


I wonder who was in that costume?

I can only hope, though, that the next tour will involve a more local stop. Come to Fort Wayne, Stephanie! We'd love to have you! Or, hey, even Carmel would be awesome. Stitches and Scones, Steph--we know you'd love it.

Detroit, There and Back Again

On Saturday, my friends Rachael and Ashley and I went to the Detroit Public Library (main branch) to see one of our writing and knitting favorites, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot).

Stephanie is always hilarious. Rachael and I had gone to see her on two previous occasions (Chicago and Carmel, IN), so we knew it would be worth the trek. Ashley hadn't ever been before but was eager to join in. Jennifer had even planned to go, but her loyalty to the MSO's dress rehearsal for their Mostly Mozart concert won over. She has great self control.

We determined that we needed to leave from North Manchester at 7:00 a.m. to get to the library in time for good seats. I packed up some Sun Chips and gulped two Starbucks espresso and cream things, and we were off.

I am a country girl. I live in the middle of nowhere. And though I have driven my car around in the Griffith area and all the traffic that entails, I had never gone on an expressway or interstate of any kind. I am a county road kind of girl. I am used to dodging falling bales of hay, not maniac drivers.

In addition, when I Googled the library's location, I discovered it was in the middle of Detroit, surrounded by all the metropolitan chaos I associated with an urban area.

All this goes by way of saying: I panicked.

On Friday, I frantically messaged Rachael on Facebook, begging her help in driving. She agreed to give me a hand, but I still stared up at the ceiling for the majority of the evening. I imagined us getting lost and ending up in Canada. I imagined my car unexpectedly exploding in a parking garage due to an unforeseen mechanical issue. I pictured an insane driver running us off the road, or our not getting home until Sunday morning, exhausted, because we'd had travel issues I didn't even know existed.

I obsessed.

Finally, I slept for two hours in one block. Then I got up, dressed, and drove to Rachael's house.

We left.

Now, I had imagined handing over the wheel to Rachael the instant we hit traffic. The second I began to, in short, freak out.

But that didn't happen. In fact, there was almost no traffic at all.

Before I knew it, we were at the scary part of the map, the spot that made me sure I would get us all killed. And then it was over.

I am proud of myself.

I didn't hand over the wheel because it was a nice, relaxing drive, though. I kept driving because Rachael knew how to use the temperamental lender GPS unit. She also can read a map.

I can do neither of those things. Or, well, I can. But sometimes I end up in other states than the one I expect to be in. And that isn't a good thing.

After the talk, we decided to go to City Knits, which is a Detroit-area yarn store we'd read about online. They also happened to be at the library, giving us a sneak-peek at their wares. We liked what we saw. It was two miles away. We decided to drive it.

As we went along, the largish old buildings melted away into what I would consider to be, well...an unsavory area. I sensed it before I saw it. This feeling hit me, saying, "The yarn store will not be here" and I started thinking we should turn around. Finally, the GPS woke up, recognized it's signal form whatever forsaken satellite it talks to, and it ordered us to turn around.

City Knits was located in the Fisher Building, a location that either advertised tons of plays or presented them. I think it was the latter. It was a neat old building with mosaics, intricate ceilings, and little shops all inside. Including the Girl Scouts. Yes, they had a store.

The yarn store was packed, as you might imagine. They were handing out coupons, and knitters can't turn down a yarn sale, especially when they get to enjoy it at a new store with as-yet-unseen yarns.

I think, though, that their buyer might well have been allergic to wool. I saw cotton, alpaca, hemp, linen, etc. But I didn't really see any wool. As far as sock yarn went? Not so good. It was actually kind of depressing. I'd hoped to leave with a hank of sock yarn at the very least, but nothing City Knits had was different enough to my LYS(s) to inspire me to wait in the line to buy any. And frankly, if I'm going to buy sock yarn just to be buying some, I'd rather support local industry through my compulsion. Really. Where was the wool?

By then, starving, we got back into the car and waited for Mr. GPS. It was really trying. Unfortunately, it wasn't succeeding. We grabbed the worst McDonald's of my life, and it still wasn't working. We pulled into a CVS pharmacy. Not working. Finally, I ran in and grabbed a map. I corralled an employee and begged them for help. "Where are we?" I asked. "Can you show me on the map?"

Now, directions and I don't mix. The last time someone told me how to gets somewhere when I hadn't yet started driving, I ended up in, well, the wrong place. This is because I don't really know what street names are until I've driven past the signs, I can't go around a block without getting dizzy (and therefore lost), and I really, really don't know which ways north and south actually are.

So, say you tell me, "Go north on Lexington Avenue."

I will hear, "Something-something-something L-something Street." This is of no practical use. None.

Especially if, moments later, it becomes this: "Go something on that street named for that one battle, you know, the one from the Revolutionary War." And, moments later, "Go something on that street named after that city we kept peace in back in the 90's in Yugoslavia."

This is, of course, not what that person told me. And I end up in Ohio. And, right now, I don't really know anyone who lives in Ohio. This would lead to the correct assumption that I didn't actually aim to go to Ohio, no matter how nice that state may or may not be.

Rachael, growing more and more frustrated with the GPS, waited in the car, planning ways to destroy it.

Ashley waited in the backseat, holding her new yarn, perhaps even visualizing herself safe, far, far away from the now-crazy people who invited her on this doomed voyage to Detroit. Didn't she know better, going to Detroit with The Crazies? Or was she crazy for just going to Detroit in the first place?

This, of course, is totally conjecture. Ashley was pretty invisible to me at that time, since I was talking with the CVS guy and staring at a map, then driving a car, and she was in the backseat being quiet. She could have been thinking about marmalade, for all I know. But I think she must have been concentrating on the yarn. I would have been, had I not been thinking about getting us all home, eventually.

Just as the CVS man told me how to get onto I96, the GPS sprang to life, telling me also how to get to I96. Since both told us the same thing, we followed the directions, weaving through construction on exit ramps until, finally, we were on our way.

Before we'd gotten out of the car to walk to the library, I'd informed the others that I would let them drive home. So why was I still driving?

Can you imagine me giving driving directions? Jennifer can, and it isn't pretty. I couldn't force my fellow country-girl, Ashley, to drive when she was in the same position I was (having never driven in the "big city" and close to panic-attack-levels of adrenaline). And I really couldn't force Rachael to drive and give herself directions at the same time. Not when I also expected her to keep both hands on the wheel and deliver us to North Manchester as alive as we were when we left. No, I was cursed.

It's a good thing, I thought to myself as I changed lanes; that Detroit has no industry and therefore no population.

After thinking this, I realized how depressing that statement actually is.

Because, indeed, there was no traffic. None going into the city, none leaving the city, not even any in the city. Even road construction didn't inspire traffic congestion. Driving by my grandfather's house is worse. Fort Wayne is worse. Carmel is worse. It was amazing. I blamed Detroit's dwindling industry, but it could well have been the rain that kept people indoors on a Saturday. It seemed only our fellow knitters were on the roads. I don't know what caused it, but I was happy.

And, despite the shocking lack of cheese fries, our drive to and fro was uneventful.

Oh, and the whole being in Detroit thing reminded me of these...so take a look.



And this second one they won't let me embed...

Coming next: Stephanie, the library, and the market!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Sneak Peek...

Today, I drove more hours than I work in a day (I figured it out to be over 9 including the trip to North Manchester). Guided by my stalwart navigator, Rachael, I braved roads I'd avoided for years based on their reputation, I drove in Detroit's urban labyrinth. Meanwhile our friend and my former soccer teammate (from the days of yore), Ashley, clung tightly to her knitting and the seat beside her, waiting for us to reach our destination....

Where were we going?

Here's a look...



That's Rachael and Ashley in the background, me in the foreground, and a certain special someone sitting at the table. Who is it?

Hmm...I wonder...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Look! Look at this!

Oh, you have to go here and see this fish. Claire showed this to me, and it is fantastically huge. Beyond huge.

Plus, it's one of those deep sea fish with all the freaky deep sea attributes. This one has freaky plumes.

It's supposed to be (according to folklore) a devil-fish, the harbinger of earthquakes. And it's popping up all around Japan in fishing nets...

Cue evil sounding music! The Devil Fish is here!

In other news, Laura is filled with crippling despair because she can never go to the KenapocoMocha anymore, due to having a 8-5 job. In Wabash, no less. I could hop in my car and drive an hour there and back, returning unable to eat my lunch. Or, I could tear out of work and arrive there an hour and a half after they had already closed at 4 p.m.

What are they trying to do to me?

Don't they love me?

Don't they want me to go there and spend ridiculous amounts of money on food and drink? Because I do, every time. I stock up, you see, for the times I can't make it. Today's food sounds amazing. But I will never get to eat it. Because the time and space between us is to great.

Sigh.

More pre-processed food, more fried disasters, more tasteless mounds of protein and starch, now served without tomatoes because it would be too expensive to serve joy with your meal. And if I find a place with soup, it's cold. Or gelatinous. Like a glob if soup instead of a bowl. That's just wrong. Meanwhile, a salad made in China with dressing that doesn't cover all the lettuce (because that's all that's in there), served with more fried food. And with sugar water that's clinically proven to dissolve your bones.

I suppose it's too much to ask that they'd be open until 6, right?

Finally, the census people stopped by and dropped us off some loot. Census backpacks, census pins, chip-clips (chips not included), and census travel coffee mugs. Before you ask why a person would want any of these things, let me tell you. I took a coffee mug thing.

Why? Because the center unscrews, so you can take the paper out that says, "Census!" on it. Meaning I can make my own filler, and it stops being a census coffee mug. Thank you, taxpayer dollars.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In Which Jen the Cardigan Is Too Long, Just Right, and One Button Short

I fell in love with the Jen Cardigan (Kim Hargreaves) when I saw it in Precious (a Rowan pattern collection--not the movie).

This was after I bought the yarn for another sweater in that collection, but that is beside the point.

Now, I must confess a little something that plagues me. I have a pouch. Like a marsupial. Except the pouch does not so much open as sit there and make me look fat. However it is located above the waistband of every pair of pants I own, because I am, quite freakishly, skinny beneath this point. I call it Chronic Muffin-Top, and I hate it. I go to great lengths to conceal it. It is annoyingly difficult to lose (see previous post regarding fainting).

So, when I saw the Jen Cardigan, I decided I would not make it as cropped as it appeared in the sample, as the crop would cause the bottom of the sweater to be right above my, well, fat.

Fat must be hidden.

I bought extra yarn with the intention of making the sweater longer. I did my math. I cast on.

Here is where I went wrong.

Now, when you knit, everyone always tells you to check gauge, which is the number of stitches the designer of your pattern got per inch and per row. Then you change needle sizes in order to make sure you get the same gauge as the designer, so that your sweater will not be a large tent for refugees or a tiny doll sweater to cover Barbie's nudity issues. That girl should really join a commune. I mean, clearly she has identity issues. If she met a charismatic personality, she would totally join that person's (usually male, but you never know), cult and drink his Kool-Aid-Mind-Poison.

I got gauge. The pattern asked for a 2.5 (or 3) needle for the ribbing and a size 5 needle for the stockinette. I could manage gauge with a 4 and a 6, since I knit so tightly you'd think I was under all kinds of insane stress. I'm not. Anymore.

I mean, except for the fainting, the Biscuit costume, and what you're about to read.

Here was where I screwed up. The pattern clearly told me that the sweater would grow, since the yarn tended to relax by a certain number of stitches to the inch and rows to the inch.

I did not do this: I did not bind off my gauge swatch, steam it, and measure it. Nope. Totally skipped it.

Why? Because I hate that. I want to just start the sweater already. So I did.

I knit and knit and knit, endless-endless ribbing. Knit 1, Purl 1, K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1K1P1, until I thought my brain would explode.

And I measured, measured, measured. Finally I got to the place where I thought I could switch over, and did. I knit, shaped, reached the neck, put stitches on holders, bound off.

From armhole to the bottom of my sweater, the sweater measured, as it ought, 15 inches. This was good.

I knit the rest of the sweater, the two front panels, and put the whole thing on my ironing board, steamed, and watched with wonder as the whole thing grew to people-sized.

Then, I got busy with the knitting Olympics. I knit that other sweater down there, back in February, the one that turned out perfect. Remember? See--Laura is a good knitter!

I got sick. I felt like death. I had nothing to knit, so I started seaming my sweater, finished, then put it on.

Now, I was in yoga pants at the time, and I was wearing a gross t-shirt from ages past (Luer's Tree Farm--it's seen a lot of years--but it's my uncle's farm, so I love to wear it), but no matter how you slice it, that sweater looked more like a cape than a cardigan.

A cape?

Then, through my Nyquil-addled brain, it hit me. When I was mathing my sweater, I hadn't factored in the stretch with regard to ROW GAUGE. Because when my sweater became people-sized, it became pencil-thin-giant-sized (because if you are a giant and still my width, you are pencil thin).

And when I examined the pattern, it said this, "Tension note: The Bamboo Soft yarn relaxes after steaming. This opens the knitting and changes the tension by approximately one stitch in the width but does not affect the rows (23 sts and 30 rows). Therefore your knitting, before steaming, should have a tension of 24 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm. Allowances have been made within the pattern for this change (see size diagram for after relaxing measurements)." Which is like a total lie, at least in regards to the row gauge thing, because it was LOOOOOONG.

"Crap," I said out loud. Then I took more Nyquil (to take the edge off) and sat back in my pillow-nest with my Kleenexes and my Sweet Tea.

How to solve?

Instantly, I thought of the method I undertook back in college when I had decided, randomly, to add color to the end of a scarf (ribbed). Now, it totally failed then because I didn't understand that ribbing is a one-way street, but I only had to cast off, so I could pull off the miracle I had with my mother's fancy cabled-on-both-sides vest. I'd taken off her ribbing completely, then let her knit it down and cast off (using a much, much smaller needle).

When I felt better and didn't have Stupid Nyquil-Haze Syndrome, I snipped a single stitch, then untangled it from a row. I already had my needle in place as a safety line. Then I cast off.



Of course, it took ages.

A whole evening. And when I finished, another age to weave in all the ends in the pretty way that Rachael taught me.

Last night I picked up an abundance of stitches, knitted back and forth, and now I have ribbing at the neckline.


It's done now. Finished.

Oh.

Except for that button thing.


Sigh.

You see, when I knitted my sweater, I noted that the pattern told me a range of numbers for buttons. Of course, my making the sweater longer made this even more trying. I decided that the only way I could manage to pull this cardigan thing off was if I had 16 buttons.

This meant an hour scouring the button website used by my LYS, where I found the eleven buttons I had on hand--too few, I thought. I found them, Natalie ordered them, then she e-mailed me and told me that mine were backordered.

But my "tailoring" job caused me to not need 16 buttons. I needed the 11 I had plus one additional button. Only one. And I had Natalie order buttons, causing her to have to order a ton, since you have to order a full thing of buttons not one at a time. Poor Natalie.

Poor me--because now I'm waiting and waiting for one backordered button, which seems a little more annoying than waiting for five. Five, you know you need to wait. One, you think, "I'm cursed!"

Regardless of button status, I am wearing my Jen Cardigan now. I just left one off the very end, because I figured no one would notice it there. And then I put it on and wore it to work, taking poorly-white-balanced pictures of it without realizing, as I had set my white balance for Tungsten and not for our crappy, florescent lighting.


The book I'm looking at? No, David by David Shannon.

I figured it was time to have a library photo shoot.


First Light by Rebecca Stead, winner of the Newbery Award for When You Reach Me. I loved that book.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Swoon

Hey, guess what?

I woke up this morning, walked into the bathroom, and began to wash my face. This is the usual routine.

What wasn't usual was my fainting.

Fortunately, I know what it feels like to faint, and the feelings that lead up to my fainting (I'll explain in a moment), so I managed to get down onto the ground before I actually blacked out, and I only lost about 30 seconds, maybe less.

The reason?

Who knows.

What am I going to do about it?

Nothing.

Well, unless it happens again. Because I bet I know the reason why, even though I have no evidence to prove myself right or wrong. This theory is also the one that keeps me from losing the annoying ring-around-the-Laura.

I was sick all last week, as many of you know, and during my time of sickness, I felt so gross that I just stopped eating food. No food. Mom forced me to drink various liquids, and I took hand fulls of colorful OTC cold remedies, and I slept.

During this time, I lost ten whole pounds. This was, perhaps, the only positive aspect of the illness. It was like a cleanse. Laura's toxic food habits were cured. She could start anew, fresh, with a giant cheese-pasta dish courtesy of Biaggis. Mmm...pasta.

But even the pasta was not enough. My body needed to burn fat cells, and in order for that to happen, I have to pass out repeatedly.

See, your body hits this point in which it says, "GIVE ME SUGAR." When many people hit that point, fat cells are torched for fuel. When I arrive at this phase, I drop faster than I did that day in Rome when those pigeons tried to take Ol' Laura down, right before that monk laughed at me, which may or may not have involved his breaking several major vows involving his order, but whatever. It was ridiculous. The cause was sufficient.

Like pigeons are going to take your head off. Really.

Once I've fainted, I must eat. However, chances are, I will then throw up whatever food you give me, so I do the orange juice/chocolate thing until my vision clears and I can stand up without falling down, then I can eat something more solid.

So I crawled up a little at a time from the bathroom floor. I grabbed hold of the sink and stood up, then I trudged over to my bed again, where I waited for the world to stop spinning before I could make it to the kitchen, sit down, wait, then make a PBJ and pour a glass of milk.

Lets just say I was a little late to work this morning.

But the entire event reminded me of the summer when Dad was doing interim work (pastor lingo for temp gig) in Peru. The church wasn't air conditioned, and it was one of the hottest summers I remember. I dropped in that church so many times, the congregation thought I "had the spirit in me," which was totally not true. What was true? My mom dressed me in layers in midsummer, threw me into a steaming nest of my fellow humanity, and gave me no liquid to drink.

The end of this story takes place in North Manchester, at the now-closed public pool. I didn't feel well at all, and so I decided to not swim, a choice supported by my diving coach, who was sick and tired of trying to convince me to go head-first of the diving board when I just kept pointing at the posters on the wall of young girls such as myself snapping their necks like pretzels on the pool floor. No way was I being a pretzel neck. No way.

My act of self preservation resulted in my being left back a level in swim class. Eventually I did it, when the instructor figured out that teaching me the shallow dive and letting me use it on the board would solve her problems and get me out of her life forever, which was certainly her ultimate goal.

No diving that day, though. I felt sick, so Mom shoved a Mars bar at me (where are they now, Mars? Where are they now?) at me and I crunched almonds. Then I told her I needed to sleep, but she wouldn't listen to me because Paul's class was already well underway. No way would she pull him out of the pool and take him home.

They'd all gotten used to Laura's fainting at that point.

She eventually decided that Laura in an unairconditioned humid place was worse than Laura dizzy/fainting/alone in an outdoor humid place, so she tried to take me to the car, but before she knew it, I went down, but first I went rigid like a board and bit her shoulder so hard, it went purple-green in an instant. I listened to The Lion King Soundtrack in my head and looked for Mufasa in the sky (the twinkly lights obscuring my vision, which I confused for stars) until finally they managed to wake me up, shove me in the car, quickly followed by a dripping-wet Paul, and drive me to the doctor's office.

Apparently, I was unconscious for most of the drive. All I cared about was shutting the two of them up. They kept talking, and I wanted a nap. Dang it.

He told me I had low blood sugar and told me to eat a candy bar.

I never stopped.

Unfortunately, now the candy bars are hanging out with the Biaggis and the Olive Garden and the Chilis and the Culvers, and they need to leave. But they won't. Because I pass out every time they try.

I'd like to know how I, while still eating as much or more than the normal human being, can put on weight, but without adding any physical exertion and without changing my diet, I can pass out as if suffering from starvation.

I am not starving. Really. I was starving in junior high, when I grew so fast I could barely walk, it hurt my legs so bad, and I couldn't eat fast enough. But no.

I have to pass out in my bathroom, curled up on the little area rug, thanking my lucky stars that I remember it having been vacuumed in recent history, all because night lasts too long.

Well. If I remain conscious long enough to drive home, I'll write you a little update on my Jen Cardigan, which will give you a good laugh. It comes complete with pictures of me, my scissors, and the 5" I had to take off of each panel...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Philosophy, Geology, Guilt, and Being Sick

When I get sick, I think a lot.

This is because usually my eyes hurt, so I don't read; my head hurts, so I don't watch television; I don't go online because I don't have fast internet--I haven't until just now; and I am stupid, so I don't knit. Usually I sleep, drool a little (Nyquil), and use lots and lots of Kleenex. Sometimes I eat all of a certain type of food. Today, I drank all of our Sweet Tea.

When I think, it is about things I can't do anything about. Like what happened to Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were taken without her informed consent, used in laboratories, bought, sold, and marketed without her family's knowledge, all after her death. Her cells have been alive outside her body for longer than they were alive inside her body. More of her cells exist now than ever existed when she was alive. And all of this happened because when a doctor took a biopsy, it didn't die in the lab. That had never occurred before. Up to that point, no human cell had ever been able to be grown in a laboratory. Due to those cells, we are able to research and treat disease in a way no one was ever able to do before. You can read all about this in an amazing new book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The linkie is to Amazon, but I encourage you to go to your local Indie bookseller or--better yet--your local library.

Reading this book has made me think a lot about science and how quickly it progresses. Watching Fringe does not help this. It is, however, an awesome show. Watch it.

I think, and tons of people agree with me, that scientific discovery moves way faster than it can ever be regulated. It always has. That's why what happened to Henrietta Lacks could and did happen. It's also why Fistula Man (whose name I can never remember) was pursued over land and sea by the doctor who discovered him, for so long that eventually he just gave up and let the doctor study him until his eventual death.

We can't legislate against certain types of research fast enough to make that research stop or prevent it from taking place.

That being said, I have several responses from reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and here they are:

1. When talking about HeLa cells, we aren't talking about Henrietta Lacks. We are talking about the thing that killed her.

2. If we talk about how wrong the doctors were in their behavior toward Mrs. Lacks, it is through the lens of modern science, medicine, and civil rights. What they did was wrong, but we realize that more so today than the doctors then would have been aware of then. That doesn't make it right. It just means we can't judge them as harshly as we want to.

3. If the researchers had just followed our current protocol: naming a sample Sample X and not after the source of said sample, this book never would have been written. To put it another way: we need to support our constitutional right to privacy, which is kind of assumed and so can go away if we don't argue about it loudly.

On to geology. Did you know that our planet shifted when the earthquake in Chile happened? It moved. Also, they just had an earthquake in Kentuky. So when someone tells you everything is connected, don't assume that they're on drugs. It's true.

When I lie in bed staring at the wall or the ceiling, I think a lot about the people who are dealing with me not doing certain things. Like I feel bad that I'm not at work, making dinner, driving friends to various places. I also think about the things I want to be doing that I can't do because I can't walk without using my asthma meds.

And I think about knitting and my friends, because being sick makes me want to do things that make me happy, like knitting and spending time with friends, preferably both at the smae time.

When I think about knitting and friends, I invariably think of my friend Rachael. And then I look at my stash and start to wonder why it is that the two of us are knitting so many of the same things lately. And because I have time, I have compiled another list, since I am sick and have nothing better to do. This list is of the reasons why I think I'm knitting so many of the same things as Rachael of late, assuming, of course, that the knitting of same things is actually my fault. Which, you know, it is.

1. Rachael is an amazing knitter. I bet she didn't just spend hours of her evening taking scissors to the second finished sweater of the year she's mucked up beyond belief (hint: when a pattern tells you bamboo will make the sweater you're knitting grow lots, it means that you ought to swatch/steam that yarn to see just how much, so you don't end up with a cape instead of a cardigan, resulting in you using a pair of scissors to remove over four inches of ribbing it took you days to knit). When Rachael knits something, it is pretty. Also, it is wearable. This might be because she can do math. So when she brings something to show it off at knit night, it makes me want to knit something that pretty, it inspires me to go out and make the Pretty Thing.

2. We love many of the same designers. Okay, almost all of the same designers. Except Rachael can remember their names. I can...sometimes.

3. We are the same age, similar body types, have similar skin tones, live in the same part of the same state, shop in the same stores, and use the same websites and magazines to find patterns. Therefore, we pick a lot of the same things to knit because those things are the prettiest for 20-something girls to wear.

4. If we like the same TV shows and books, doesn't it follow that we would like other similar things? I mean, I was in shock to find that, when I first started talking books with Rachael back in college, she had not only heard of my favorite fantasy novels, she had read them.

5. Maybe this should have been one. We have good taste. Both of us.

All the same, I think we should make some rules about the Geodesic cardigan, just so we don't scare Muggles. Like, maybe we should wear them on even or odd days...or with radically different shirts underneath them. I am open to suggestion. Or--hey--I could dye my hair another color or cut most of it off. Then we would look way more different than we do now when we sit next to each other in a badly-lit coffee shop, knitting in unison.

Or--and here's a better idea--we should make a creepy YouTube video involving us knitting the same sweater side-by-side. Maybe Joel will shoot it for us. He has a camera, right?

And now you see what various drugs and sedatives do to Laura's brain. That is why you should never mix Nyquil with other medicines, like benadryl, which I so totally bought and used despite my mother's forcing me to promise never to take it again because she thinks it might lead to me flinging myself of the roof like that famous guy's daughter in the '60's who took too much LSD.

Our house is one story, I bet I'd live.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One Long Whine, in Blog Form

I feel like death.

Like part of me has already died and the other part of me is dragging the first part around until some kind doctor offers to remove it, Civil War-Style.

Seen the trailers for Disney's new Not-Quite-Alice in Wonderland? I feel like Johnny Depp looks.

Have you ever been about to sneeze but then didn't? And you get that twinge inside your nose, the urge to sneeze? I have that all the time now. And when you have it all the time, it makes your nose run and run and run and run and run and run and run until you can't bend your head over. At all.

Every time I lean over, I sneeze. Every time I sneeze, I sneeze. Do you see where this is going?

I sneezed so hard last night that my left contact was liberated from my eye. I don't wear hard contacts; I wear soft ones. That isn't supposed to happen with soft lenses.

My nose runs so much that I want to just let my nasal passages close off completely just to stop it--but if I did, it wouldn't do me any good, because even when I let my nose close off last night, it still managed to be able to run. Really.

Last night, I was sneezing so much, I was sure using my Neti Pot, the weirdest invention of all time, would help me. It didn't.

I've passed the point where blowing your nose doesn't hurt. Now, it's like sandpaper. And I have Kleenex with lotion.

This morning, I bought Sweet Tea. And it didn't make me feel better.

When I was getting dressed today, I thought, "What clothing should I choose that will be the least annoying during my time of suffering?" The answer, my yoga clothes, was not workplace appropriate.

When I got out of bed, I thought, "Gee, I feel like crap," but I didn't stay home, because I knew staying home would only mean that I was suffering in bed instead of suffering at work. Getting better was not listed as an option on the ScanTron test that is my life.

I took cold medicine this morning, not to treat my current symptoms,but because I knew that if I didn't, I would end my week with a sinus infection.

The only way I can sit that is comfortable involves my squeezing my nostrils completely shut, like a clothespin would.

I have a Kleenex up my shirt sleeve.

When I die, my family can at least take comfort in the fact that I didn't actively try to kill myself, my allergies did it for me.

I am sitting at my desk with Kleenex shoved up my nose. In public. There are security cameras.

I can't decide if I have a fever or if my organs are just dissolving for fun.

There is stuff in the book drop, and no amount of cajoling could convince me to take it out. Or shelve if afterward.

When I swallow, my ears pop.

If I lean down to knit, my nose runs. Therefore, I must knit with my eyes closed (feels better) and my head leaned backwards. With Kleenex rammed up my nose.

I keep thinking that, if I could just sleep for five or six days, I would feel better. I don't know if that's true. But I am buying benadryl before I go home today. I don't care if I wake up curled up on the floor by my door with my pillow clenched in my arms like an infant. If I'm hallucinating it, it has to be important, right?

This is the worst allergy attack of my life. And it would be horrible even if it wasn't actually a cold. Which it might not be. But it is. I am allergic to my cold.

I've lost more liquid through my nose than the human body can be expected to replace, even with a giant Sweet Tea.

Can I go home, now?

Can I take a nap under the desk, instead?

I have a headache. Would it make me a bad employee if I passed out now?

I can't even think up an ending to this blog that's how gross I
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