Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In Other News

I have not crafted in some time. Well, that's not true. What's true is that I have made virtually no craft progress.

On Sunday, while taking the LIRR home to visit my family, I knit one 4-row pattern repeat on the blanket-shawl. That thing is gonna take me forever, but I'm proud to say that I finished the first skein of Elegance and am ready to add the next one, provided that I continue to knit it. The original pattern calls for 350 yards, which would be about three skeins, but I am using one size smaller needles and I want to make it bigger. That's why I bought 7 skeins. But the thought of getting through two more, much less 6 more, is making me tired. Just plain tired.

I still have to put the dumb zipper in on the dress. Uh, pretty soon it'll be too freaking cold to even wear the dress. And, I don't think its gonna fit me, so I'm kinda not interested anymore. I think its going to be too tight on the waist, but I'm too lazy to rip out the bodice to skirt seams, and then the side seams of the bodice to open them a little, which is what I should do instead of hoping against hope that I can zip it up if I just shorten the seam allowance at the zipper. Oy. What if I just opened the sewn seams at the parts where I need to access the sides? That might work, but I would also need to re-attach it to the skirt... hmm... nope, that wouldn't do. That settles it. Tonight, I rip out the seams and give myself room to breathe. Literally.

I dyed my hair. Rather, my mother dyed by hair when I went home on Sunday. It was kind of the point. I used Preference, in a shade called Intense Red. Its darker than I expected it to be, and I'm not sure if it'll lighten up. But I do expect it to 'settle' in to a color that it isn't right now. I'm still getting used to it, let's just leave it at that. I shall ask Mike to take a photo tonight, if I remember, so that all of you (non)readers can take a looksie.

And I'm done.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Gimme a break...

Um, does anyone remember when Teri Hatcher was totally freaking anorexic, after her stint as Lois Lane ended? Because I do. It was everywhere. She had total lollipop head syndrome, and was truly disgusting. And now this, a lovely quote from the MSN gossip pages:

Did recent snaps of Teri Hatcher's alarmingly pin-thin gams make you want to FedEx her a carb-packed care package? Save your stamps. The "Desperate Housewives" star is fuming over the whispers that continue to swirl around her fat-free frame. "To think that I would need to stop eating and be anorexic and sick to get a job is the wrong message to send to girls and women in our society, and that really bugs me," Teri rails to the London Mirror. "I am all about health and to me size is not what defines your health. It never crossed my mind that if I was thinner I would get more jobs."
Its retarded. She did exactly that not so many years ago. This is infuriating. If you are going to preach the benefits of a healthy diet and comfort with your size, then own up to your own disease. And if you truly want to be a role model for girls and women in our society, own up to your troubles and say that its possible to break free of those chains with hard work and determination. Don't go spitting lies at the public about how you are a model citizen who eats regularly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The New York Times reported today that a new study identified nearly ONE QUARTER (24.5%) of Americans as obese. This is no janky study, either. Its data from the freaking CDC.

Is anyone as shocked as I am about this? Its ridiculous! One quarter of adults in this country. That is astounding. Not to mention the children who will grow up practically breeding heart disease, diabetes and joint replacements.

Ok, I know that I tend to be rather obsessive about my weight and my body. I even joke that its a wonder I'm not anorexic, given the history of my teenage years. Though, there are some who would argue that I'm constantly in limbo on that one.

But seriously.


What is the joy in living if you can't move your body? Are potato chips and soda so important to hapiness? Does it make you feel good when you get winded walking from your front door to your car in the driveway? Turn off the TV, shut your mouth and move your legs. Its really not that hard. You just have to TRY. Why wouldn't you want to? Why wouldn't you want to feel the strength of your body, to see your muscles working, to feel the energy you can create and control. I'm not saying that everyone needs to join a gym or get a nutritionist. Just get off the freaking couch. Walk around the block a few times after dinner. Stop drinking Coke. Put down the second piece of pie at your next party. Don't order dessert when you go out to eat. Show some freaking personal responsibility and take care of the body you were given. Do you think your mother went through however many hours of labor so that you could be slothful and destroy your body? Show some respect for yourself and your family and take care of yourself. This isn't about shame or wearing a size 2, this is about responsibility to be healthy. So many people lose their lives to unnatural or unpreventable circumstances. Why throw yours down the shitter when you don't have to?

I got my September issue of Allure last night and finished up an article this morning on the subway about little things that can ruin or make a sucessful eating plan. These things are so easy, so common sense oriented that I am amazed that people need to learn them. In the spirit of health (but not copyright infringement), I shall list them here:
  1. Liquids have calories. That means soda, cream in your coffee, your milk-based latte, your margarita or beer after work, all of it.
  2. Eat naturally to control your cravings. Studies show that people who use artifical sweeteners while trying to be 'good' wind up actually indulging more in other sweets.
  3. Have a good attitude and set reasonable goals. And keep an eye on what you are putting in your mouth and what you are actually burning through activity.
  4. Eat normal sized meals and seriously watch portion sizes. Restaurant servings are easily twice the normal portion. Don't clear you plate just because there is food on it.
  5. Eat protein to feel fuller longer.
  6. Get enough fiber, also to help you feel full and to ensure proper digestion. That means fruits and veggies, people. French fries and iceberg lettuce don't count.
  7. You eat more when you're tired, but way more than required, and not out of need. Bottom line, make better choices, especially when you're sleepy or drunk.
  8. Eat fruit. Lots of fruit. No excuses.
  9. Exercising doesn't give you free license to eat whatever you want - you still need to balance calories in and calories out. A 30-minute run is not an excuse to eat a pint of ice cream.
  10. Eating while working is bad. Take the 15 minutes and have an uninterrupted lunch, and look at what you're eating, not shoveling in whatever the office assistant is ordering that day. You deserve to take the time to feed your body responsibly.
There. My rant for today is done. No offense meant, seriously. Just take a look at your life and your choices and Do Something. Just try.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bad Blogger, Bad!

I still here. Not that I think anyone actually reads this (which is probably better, by the way), but I'm still here. Nothing to report on the crafty front.

I didn't really work much at all on the shawl. Which I realized last night is going to be huge and blanket-like, and less shawl-like. But its so freaking soft that I hardly care, as its not really punishment to wear it during the winter. Like a blankie. My soft purple blankie. Yah.

I had every intention of inserting the zipper into my dress last night, but then I watched the Six Feet Under finale (I missed it on Sunday) and was pretty much incapacitated. I don't even know what to say about it. I was bawling. And of course, looking/thinking/seeing death makes me think about my dad. And I went to sleep last night hoping that I would dream about him because I miss him. And I did, but it was a terrible dream. He was looking at me and I was really uncomfortable for some reason and my stomach broke out in hives in the shape of a butterfly. He kept asking me what was happening and I had to keep telling him that it was his fault, that it was his fault I had the terrible ugly hives because he was there and he shouldn't have been. Um, this is all in the dream in case any of you non-readers thought it was real. He's dead.

And going with the dead theme, my mom broached the subject of what to do with his ashes during our lunch date today. I am so not ready to think about that, even though its been 7 freaking years.

Um. I'm pretty tense today. I think I need to do a run instead of Pilates, you know? I need some tension relief. Seriously. I'm totally agitated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Moving Along

After getting my new yarn delivery yesterday, of course all I wanted to do was knit it up! But, the needles. I thought I had finally got to a point (ha ha, needles, point, ha) where I didn't need to buy a new set of needles for each new project. Now, that's true, to a certain extent. But I didn't have what I needed to start last night.

The pattern
I'm using calls for 10.5s, but I wasn't convinced that was the right size for the substitute yarn I got. I swatched with 7s and it was a little too many stitches per inch for my taste (and the gauge, which for this shawl, I imagine is flexible). But my 8s are being used in Mike's sister's baby blanket (no, no progress whatsoever beyond the first hank of yarn but I do have until February) and I didn't want to remove them as that's a whole lotta stitches to put on a holder. So I couldn't do anything. Nothing. And it is so soft and pretty and I wanted to continue my swatch just so I could use it... but I stopped myself and put it aside. Today at lunch I went to Purl and got size 9 Addis and I'll be moving forward with those tonight. I am so excited to make this shawl.

Today was also a good day for my eyes. My eye doc, g-d bless him, said that everything should resolve itself and that my main problem right now is just dryness. So, its drops of special lube 4 x daily for 4 weeks and another checkup. And my pressue is back to normal after stopping the eye 'roids, so no glaucoma worries, either. Hip hip hooray!

Tomorrow I shall post some photos of my shawl progress with the pretty pretty purple loveliness.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ahh. Yarn.

Received my KnitPicks order today. Am so freaking excited.

I got 7 skeins of Elegance in Lilac and it is SO soft. SO soft. I am at work now, and all I want to do is wind it around myself. But, I fear that may cause suspicion of me being crazy. I wish to keep my job, and as such I will wait until I get home to wrap myself in the yarn. I will make this, but in a larger version.

I also got 3 skeins of Shimmer in Grape Hyacinth. Also so freaking soft, which is probably obvious given that they are the same blend of alpaca and silk. Yum. Yummy yum yum yum. I will try to make Ene's Scarf from the Scarf Style book, also purchased through KnitPicks, with this yarn.

I am so excited that I just want to go home and start, now. No gym, no work, no 1 PM meeting, NOW!

Monday, August 15, 2005

I could see how it could happen...

...but that doesn't mean I condone the behavior.

I saw a movie yesterday afternoon, Pretty Persuasion. It was great, a witty satire that was over-the-top offensive and disturbing, yet amusing at the same time. Go see it. Without giving too much away, there's one scene when two young-ish male teachers are talking about two 15-year-old female students, and how they think that the girls know about their sexual power over men, even at that age. What is unsaid is that the male teachers experience some sort of desire for the girls, even though they know its wrong and won't cross that line. Go see the movie, and then you'll understand this post.

Last night, I dreamt about my old high school English teacher. I had him freshman year, and developed quite a bond with him. He was never my teacher again after that, but was the advisor on the yearbook staff when I was on it senior year (dork, I know). The point of revealing this is that we became friends. Or, as friends as a teenager in HS can be with a teacher in his late 20s-early 30s. I think my parents were disturbed that he took such an interest in me, but at the time, I didn't see anything wrong with it. My friend A and I would sometimes hang out with him, as HS wore down and the summer before college began. And I would see him sometimes over the summers as I grew older. I knew some of his friends, it was all very normal, you see? Except for the fact that he was my teacher and I was his student and he met me when I was 14 and he was probably 28 or so. Thinking back on it now, it is strange.

Nothing inappropriate ever took place, though there was some mild and harmless flirting. I admit that I was attracted to him in a teenage-crush sort of way. He was quite handsome and was way smarter (obviously) than the boys my age. He was there as a support for me when my dad first got sick and really helped me begin to feel comfortable with what life threw at me. But where do you draw the line? Yes, it was probably wrong of him to include me and A in his life outside school. Yes, it was pretty shady that we knew his friends and had been to his house, regardless of the fact that it occurred after we graduated. He was in a position of authority and should have drawn a line. But in a way, being his age now, he probably didn't really think it through. At this age, you are old enough to know what's wrong, but also old enough to trust yourself. But where, then, is the boundary? If you think you can handle it, you automatically let walls drop that should remain intact. Or do you?

I know that a few years ago he had a child with his wife, whom I also met. Heck, they may even be on to number two. Every now and then I think about him, and the movie made me think even more. I don't think he did anything wrong, but maybe that's only because nothing happened. I guess what I'm saying is that I can see how it could happen. I can see that if you were him with a great sense of humour and sense of self, and I was me at that time with a big fat crush and no fewer than a million emotional difficulties, I could see how it could happen. I don't think its right, but in a way is it fully wrong?

Gosh, I love movies that make you think.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Preparation Sucks

I finally did something crafty last night. Finally. I cut those damned dress pieces. Now, I love sewing. LOVE sewing. But I really dislike prepping to sew. I am fine with lining up seams and pinning and prepping and pressing, etc, but I truly hate cutting fabric. I'm good at it, so its not that I hate it because I suck, I just hate the time it takes and the pressure to do it right and all that.

I know I've spoken of it before, but here is what I am making, the dress itself:

This is my kitchen (read: sewing) table with most of the dress pieces cut, but still pinned, as I have no idea where my chalk is:

In case you can't tell what the fabric looks like, this is it. Its a stretch cotton and just beautiful:

And this is me, all sweaty after cutting on the kitchen floor and table for an hour, post-gym. Don't I look fabulous? A truly honest self-portrait. Note the sweaty forehead, and the look of almost heady relief at being mostly done cutting.

What's next? I need chalk so that I can transfer the guides for the darts, etc. I also need to cut some fusible interfacing for the bodice pieces. They also say to do it for the skirt, but I think that fabric is sturdy enough to bypass it for the skirt. Any suggestions here? I also think that when I head down to my store to get the chalk, I will purchase a pattern for a summer top. I don't know if I'm ready to take the plunge into the dress without first trying to do a top. I know its all the same sewing, but I'm just curious. Something small to complete first may give me some courage and confidence.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Corduroy Jacket? Are you NUTS?

Apparently, I am. Totally, certifiably bonkers. I bought a corduroy blazer today during my lunchtime break. In my defense (don't I ALWAYS have a defense?!), it is generally hard (read: impossible) to find things that fit me right. Especially since most stores tend to sell out of the tiny sizes first. So, when my walk today brought me to Old Navy and its sweet sweet air conditioning, I couldn't help myself. They had 1 size XS, and I got it:

What else could I do? What choice did I have? Its so cute. Its so interesting. And I must say, blazers are kind of my thing. I wear them all the time and I love them. So, I did it. And I love it. No excuses. Especially since I knew that if I didn't get it at that moment, I would never see it in my size again.

On other topics, I haven't been knitting much this week or last. I've stalled on my second OSW, as I think its going to be too big and I don't have enough yarn to finish it with the modifications I want. I've been playing with a shopping cart at KnitPicks, so we'll see what that brings. Does anyone just love Shimmer or Elegance? I have shawls in mind for both of them. I think I should just get them and quit talking about it. I'd like to use the Elegance for this, but larger. I would make the center back length closer to 30" or so. I'm finally breaking down and buying Scarf Style, and would use the Shimmer for one of the shawls in there.

In sewing news, I'm ready to do more now that I have my time back. I'd like to cut the pieces for this dumb dress that I've been yammering on about and use the green fabric for one more skirt from the pattern I love so much. Then, I've got a big mental shopping list for corduroy for a-line skirts for fall and some new style tote bags. I better get cracking lest these ideas just stay in my head and rot!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Shoes. Sigh.

I got a pair of flip flops yesterday after work. I think it was to make me feel better, which I don't like to do, but I also felt powerless to stop it.

I wear my ratty Teva flip flops to work every day. It is way too hot to deal with heels, and I figure that I don't give a crap if I don't have meetings, etc. But I should be wearing something a little more office apporpriate. Hence, these:

I really like them. And they are SO comfortable. I was hesitant at first because the sole is very thin, but it hasn't been a problem at all, and I've done a fair amount of walking today.

Yesterday was also much improved by sticking around the city after work and getting a drink with my honey. Its so great - just seeing his sweet sweet face after a hard day makes me melt. I walked into our bar and he was sitting there and smiling at me. He had the googly eyes and the beautiful smile and I swear a thousand pounds was lifted off of my shoulders just by looking at him looking at me with such love. Gosh I love that man. That, and after a few drinks the day seemed quite far away.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Blahs

I guess I have the blahs today. I just don't feel interested in anything right now. I haven't answered more than two phone calls today and refuse to answer any more. I really just want to crawl back into bed, but its hot and our A/C sucked ass last night.

I suppose I can update on the BBFE's sister's baby blanket. Its coming along quite nicely. The past few days I've taken it on the subway with me for commuting, and its been a great knit for the train. Its easy to do and just the right mix of mindless and interesting. Last night I realized that I'm thisclose to the end of the first skein, so I decided to do a few rows in the A/C of my bedroom. It didn't hurt that the BBFE was watching baseball for the 2nd night in a row. I freaking hate baseball. Sure, I can tolerate it when I have to, but a 3-game series? Forget it. I'm so done. Anyhow, since it looks the same only larger, I won't be posting another photo until I turn the half-way point and reverse the stockinete sections. That will make for great drama.

I'm also worried about having enough yarn for the Scarlet shrug. I think I will, but I'm not convinced I'll actually be able to finish both of the sleeves. That made me think about alternates - I could pick one of the common colors in a solid of the same gauge (Lambs Pride Bulky would probably work well) and make the sleeves and the ribbing out of that. That would certainly provide some visual interest. I'm also concerned about it being too big across the back, as I think I translated the gauge wrong during my cast on. But then, if I increase the ribbing section, I may be able to pull it tighter with some sort of fastener. Its worth a shot, as I am enoying the knitting.

Ok, so I feel less blah after talking about my creations. Oh - wait - nope. There it is. Blah still exists.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Moving On

After all my whining and complianing about the OSW I made this weekend, what did I do last night? I cast on for another one, of course.

I have this amazing yarn that I love love love. I bought it first two winters ago in the orange/red color to make a hat, and loved it so much that I searched more than 3 yarn shops in the city to get more for a matching scarf. Which I started but never finished. It is so soft. It is so nice to the touch. It knits up beautifully. I had to adjust the pattern for the bigger gauge (about 3 stitches to the inch on size 11s), which seems to be working out fine.

I'll be doing long sleeves on this one, as I decided that I don't really like the no-sleeve thing on the other one. I'll probably just do "rectangle" sleeves with no shaping or tapering in an effort to get a gentle bell effect. I'll be leaving a rolled stockinette sleeve hem, but I still plan to do the 2x2 ribbing around the collar and back edge that the pattern calls for. Gosh, now I'm worried that I won't have enough yarn. I need to do approximately 7-8 more repeats of the main Row 3, Row 4 of the pattern, and I just finished my first 50g ball. Aside from the ball I just finished this morning (I knit a few rows before work!), I have at least 1 more unused ball and 3 in the unfinished scarf. Perhaps it'll be a 3/4 sleeve shrug...

Pictures to come tonight, as I am sure I'll make some big progress during the baseball game (Go Tribe!).

Monday, August 01, 2005

There's No Barley in my Chicken Barley Soup

This weekend I made the infamous One Skein Wonder. I loved the pattern but I hated every second of making it. Really? Hated? Yes, I hated it. Not the pattern, mind you, but the yarn.

I had really high expectations for the yarn - its Lorna's Laces Dove, which is a wool-cotton blend. I have never used a cotton blend before, so I don't know if my troubles were due to that, or to the yarn itself. I actually quite hate working in cotton for knitting (I think, what's the freakin' point?). But I love love love the Shepard Sport I'm using for the baby blanket, and I have so much respect for the quality and beauty of that line of yarns. So I figured, I would try the Dove, as I didn't want to make the OSW out of all wool, as it is sort of a summery thing what with the no sleeves and all.

And so I began. As I was at the store while doing it, I do not have progress shots. But it woudln't have mattered... because the torture and pain inflicted on yours truly could not have been captured by a mere camera, even the super cool one the BBFE got me.

The yarn was sticky. Not in the honey/scotch tape/glue stick kind of way, but in the summer day and vinyl seats/velcro/socks on carpeting kind of way. The damn crapola yarn stuck to everything. And when I say everything, I mean it snagged on the couch. It got stuck on itself. It snagged on the tiny milimeter of stubble on my shaved-that-moring legs. It stuck to my fingers. It. Was. Terrible. This issue was made even worse by the fact that I was really super worried about my gauge, and I was trying to knit a little looser than normal to meet the 4 stitches per inch. But it was nearly impossible with the Dove (aka hellfiber) sticking to everything in sight! It contstantly pulled on everything near it. The only way to use this monkey-fucker of a yarn is to hold it in a vaccuum or make friends with Bubble Boy or something. I have never been so relieved to be done with something, and praise be to whoever that the OSW is so freaking small. I would have poked my eyes out with my needles if I had to use it for another second.

The thing that really gets me is how beatifully she turned out. The colors are gorgeous, and the fabric feels really cool. Gosh, I hate it and love it so much at the same time.

I am also considering some practicality issues as expressed by others who have made this pattern. Now that I have tried it on (no pic, as BBFE leaves the house before I do in the morning, when I took these photos), it seems sort of ridiculous. I mean, its just a shoulder sling. I would very much like to knit this out of wool and add some sleeves with a nice gentle bell shape. I think that would look gorgeous. And I would probably use it more often, as I wear my other sleeves-only shrug that I got at the store all the time. We'll see. I have some stash yarn that I'm thinking about using, though its pretty bulky. I'd have to readjust some gauge issues, and I have never done that before, though I think that I certainly could... wish me luck! And if you have any pointers on using thicker yarns for this, just let me know.