Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Childhood Memories

Ever see something that you haven't seen in like 25 years and it just brings back so many memories? Todd and I were eating lunch in a restaurant the other day and this Tom & Jerry cartoon was playing in the background on a random TV. I was so drawn to it that I nearly poked my eyes out with the straw about 4 times. It's funny as hell, too. Especially the part where Tom gets squashed into the stairs. It starts at about 5:40 in the cartoon. Oh man, I cracked up hard.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weekly Topic #2 for Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap

There are many people who ADORE receiving hand-knit or crochet items; but there are just as many who have no appreciation whatever of how much love, work, and time goes into a hand-made item. Share a story of a hand-made gift you gave to someone and how it worked out - good, bad, or ugly!

I can't imagine why people join knitting swaps if they don't like handmade items. But that was my experience in one swap a year or 2 ago. What I think is most annoying is that a lot of people are just so...meh...about a handmade gift. It's like they feel cheated out of a "real" gift if you give them something handmade. Forget the time you slaved over it, picked a pattern and colors especially for them, it means nothing if you didn't spend cold cash on it in the store.

One time, my sister and I worked really hard making a sampler (cross-stitch) for her sister-in-law who was getting married. We made our own design, with icons and such that were meaningful to her and her husband-to-be. It was a rather significant undertaking, as we had to design the whole thing ourselves, then stitch it out. You would have thought that we gave her a set of bedsheets or something. The response was: "'s that supposed to be Big Ben? Ah, I see. Yeah...well...thanks." My sister and I were so crestfallen. Incidentally, we put Big Ben on there because they were going to London for their honeymoon. GRRR....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Um, Yeah, Knitting?

I figured it high time I put some photos on here of some recent knitting that I've done. For one thing, I mentioned that I finished the socks, my first pair ever. Here they are:

Overall I am happy with how they turned out. Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but they are WAY too big for me and I imagine that they'd be big for most average women's feet. So I gave them to my dad! I think he really liked them.

While I was in North Carolina in December, I knit up a 45" long by 7" wide strip---just plain old garter knit---for a charity blanket project that someone in our knitting group (Elizabeth) was kind enough to administer. Afghans for Afghans, I believe it's called. It was super nice to be able to just crank out this strip. Nothing fancy, just all wool, colorful yarn. I like the strip a lot! Would also make a funky scarf too:

This was knit with Patons Classic Merino in the Autumn Harvest colorway, I think. With Panda Woolbale in Grape as the purple parts.

While visiting Todd's family over Christmas in Illinois, I started my second pair of toe-up socks. I got pretty far before having to ask for help. (Pat, you are awesome.) So far, I have turned the heel on one sock and am ready to go up the leg. Well, actually, I DID start to go up the leg, but I picked this screwy pattern that was meant for straight knitting and it just didn't translate properly to knitting rounds. So I have to frog the rows on the leg---not many---and work in the new, improved pattern (again, Pat, you are awesome)! The second sock needs to have the heel turned. I need help, again, figuring that out. The wording in the pattern is a little confusing to me, so I like to have some reassurance before I dive in. Skinny yarn on tiny needles scares me a little, still. :-) Anyway here they are:

So far, so good. These are going MUCH faster and seem a lot easier. Only a few snafus. :-)

Then I decided that I wanted to make a luxurious scarf for ME. So I got some lovely cashmere yarn from a woman in New Hampshire who has an e-bay shop. Fantastic price and the cashmere quality is superb. This is the softest most decadent stuff I've ever touched. Anyway, her e-bay store is Cashmeres by Kate. I highly recommend her yarn. So I picked an aran weight cream-colored cashmere. I decided to use the Steam Scarf pattern, that my kitting friend, Elizabeth, found on the internet. Here's where it stands so far:

I guess I have about 15" done so far. I'm absolutely loving the pattern and loving this yarn IN this pattern. I recommend trying this pattern too!

So I've been busy! So busy that I haven't had time to take pictures and talk about all the stuff I've been doing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Dear Blogger:

Your stupid templates are all screwed up. I recommend you fix them before I come over there and choke a bitch.

Don't even push me.



Should I Have?

I am a fairly reasonable and level-headed person. I tend to not lean toward the paranoid, conspiracy-theory outlook on life. But there have been a few experiences that I've had in my life where---looking back on them---I wonder if I should have been upset or angry or insulted. You know what I mean? I let things slide, a lot. Mostly, it's because I hate conflict and confrontation. When it comes to "flight or fight," I am outta there! My mantra should be: In case of anything remotely dealing with awkward human interaction, RUN.

Maybe it would have been better if I did get rip-roaring mad; maybe it even would have been justifiable! Maybe my life would have turned out differently, which is a mostly scary thought. I don't know. I've had more than my share of these little experiences but the following three just seem to linger with me. What do you think?

Experience 1:

When I was 19, there was this boy that I absolutely, utterly worshiped. He was in my art class during my first semester of college. I've mentioned him before on this blog. Ok. Also in the class was a girl---actually a woman, as I found out later that she was 26 when we were all 18-19. She had an...odd personality. She was mostly bubbly, but she could really grate on your nerves. Nobody really liked her all that much because she was just so annoying. We discovered later in the semester that she also had epilepsy. And she had a seizure one day in class, thankfully not a horrible one. I was the person who got a wheelchair, and put her in it, and wheeled her across the campus (albeit a small one), and waited outside with her until someone in her family picked her up. Nobody else would.

So that's the back story there. Ok. For the sake of avoiding confusion, we will call this epileptic girl Candace.

Candace knew of my unending adoration for said boy. I mean, if anyone didn't know, they had to be legally blind and deaf. Seriously. I tried to not make it a big deal, but I usually wear my heart on my sleeve. With me, I'm very WYSIWYG. Yet somehow, inexplicably, the BOY didn't know.... I think he knew; just pretended he didn't. So anyway, one day during a break in our 3-hour class, I was in the hall talking to this boy and Candace. Loved every second of it. Another girl, a different one from our class, who was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, comes into the hall and starts talking to us. Boy goes back into class with gorgeous girl. I said, "Sigh. That's going to be a problem." There is no way I can compete with raving beauty, especially when we are talking about a guy who is like 19, you know? So I got a little choked up. And I made a run for the ladies room. Real mature, I know. But hey, I was 19 and absolutely SICK in love with him. You have NO idea. Candace comes in after me; tries to make me feel better. I don't remember anything at all of the conversation we had EXCEPT this sentence that she said to me:

"You should forget about him; you are too ugly for him."


Know what? I BELIEVED HER. I maybe even went as far as AGREED with her. WTF? Now, I ask you, what would you have felt, done at that time? Should I have punched her in her stupid face? Or been like, "Oh yeah? At least I'm not a no-talent, 26-year-old college freshman, LOSER." Looking back on it, I know I should have been offended or insulted. I know. But I let it pass. It ate away at me, though. Obviously. ;-)

Experience 2:

Todd and I got married in June 2004. But we had been an exclusive couple since Jan 1, 1999. Yeah, I know, it took him long enough! So for 5 and 1/2 years, it was just Todd and me (still is, now 9 years). We went to Bermuda for our honeymoon. It was lovely there. If you haven't ever been to Bermuda, I highly recommend it as a vacation/honeymoon destination. So about 4-5 days after we returned, I started feeling sick. Bladder infection, I was sure. Yuck. I'd had a couple before. For anyone who's ever had a bladder infection, you can back me up here: you KNOW when you have one. Period. You feel me?

Well, I really hate the doctor. At this time, I was actually in-between doctors too, which makes matters worse. So I tried to self-medicate for a couple of days. Which means, I drank tons of fluids and took cranberry capsules. And it may have gotten marginally better. Then it got majorly WORSE. I was at work and suddenly at about 11:00am I got horrible chills and my lower back started to hurt. By 2:00pm, I felt like a freakin' camel kicked me repeatedly in my kidneys and I could barely stand up. My boss drove me to the emergency room.

Emergency rooms, in general, SUCK ASS TIMES ELEVENTY. As a result, I waited quite a long time before anyone saw me. When someone finally came over, they naturally asked for a urine sample. They got one from me, no problem. They gave me some ibuprofen in a cup for pain. I tell them, "I think I have a kidney infection." More waiting. The attending ER doctor comes over, a young man, nice. He tells me, "Well, it looks like you DO have a kidney infection. But we'll get that taken care of." Fine, great, super. Then he says, sort of sheepishly, apologetically, "Uh, the head of ER wants to talk to you first about a possible...uh...complication. It's...not a big deal...but he has to do it. Legalities and such. Ok?" So I say, "O...k." More waiting.

The head of ER finally comes over. I recognized him. This dude had been all over the place for the last several hours. I had suspected it was he that was the head of ER. Not by his caring, attentive nature, nor by his attention to detail and order and professionalism, but rather by his fucking swagger and his ill-fitting greens. All he needed was a gold medallion and he could give Barry Gibb a run for the money. Ok. He starts a long, rambling speech about "people your age" and "living life at the extreme." Yeah, extreme for me is ordering curly fries from Arby's. Do I DARE? Also? In June of 2004, I was 32 years old. Not exactly the age group that "lives life at the extreme," and last time I checked, I don't count Paris Hilton or Britney Spears among my best buds.

This was not an old man, by any means. Late 40s, early 50s tops. I'm just biding my time, nodding, waiting for him to shut the hell up and release me so I can go the hell home after being trapped in there for 6 hours. So he gets to his point (finally), which was: "I'd like to, with your permission, give you a series of tests for Chlamydia. Because often Chlamydia masks itself as another ailment and you have all those possible symptoms. So you may think you have a bladder, er, rather, kidney infection [rolls his eyes] but it might be something way more serious."


What I wanted to say is, "Dude, are you seriously telling me---someone who's just returned from their HONEYMOON--- that I have the fucking CLAP?" But instead, I just said, "Uh, no. That won't be necessary. I'm sure I don't have Chlamydia." He pressed the issue, "Well if you've ever had these symptoms before, if you ever thought you had a bladder infection in the past, it could very well be Chlamydia." I could see the other doctor, the nice one, in the distance just sort of shaking his head in dismay and a little embarrassment. I just shook my head and said, "No."

Should I have been angry, insulted, offended? What could I say? I think the issue with me is that I tend to defer and give respect to people in positions of authority. Twelve years of Catholic school hammered that into me. I think that was the case here. I probably should have told the asshole to go to hell, but there was some part of me that held back.

Experience 3:

So you all know I work at a university, where I've been employed for a little over 5 years now. I put up with a lot of crap in my job. With the antics of the faculty combined with the idiocy of the students, it's a miracle I haven't gone rogue and shot a bunch of people in a shopping mall. This recent experience is the culmination of 5 years of frustration. It sums up in a brief encounter the kind of existence I have at work.

I had a very busy 2 weeks. It was the first 2 weeks of the term, which are always very hectic. I have tons of things going on, students to advise, forms to fill out, webpages to update, etc. etc. As I may have mentioned before, I seldom take a formal lunch. I usually sit at my desk, door open, so I can be aware of what's happening around me. My boss has told me, on several occasions, that I should a) leave the office entirely for lunch (preferred) or b) close my door. It's kind of nice that he believes that I need to get out of there for a little bit every day. At least he gets it.

So I decided to shut my door one day for lunch. About a half hour into my lunch, there's a knock on my door. Sigh. I delayed about 10 seconds, hoping that maybe whoever was on the other side would realize that a closed door at 1:00pm means that someone might be eating lunch. You know, common sense? No such luck. Knock, knock, again. I swallow my Triscuits and answer the door. It's one of our faculty. The biggest douchebag on the planet. Douchebag doesn't even apologize for interrupting my lunch, just says, "I need to do a change of grade form. Where are they?"


The forms in question are in the copy room, which is directly across from my office, which is also where the forms have happened to reside for the LAST 2 YEARS. Douchebag KNOWS this. HAS TO. I know for a fact that Douchebag has submitted many-a-form of this kind before. So, incredulous, I shamble over to the copy room while saying, "They are here, in the copy room, on the bottom shelf, left side." I take one and give it to Douchebag. As I pass the reception desk, I see our department secretary there. She looks up at me, and just closes her eyes and shakes her head, knowingly. Then another level of anger hits me.

She's sitting there at her desk, out in the open. I am in my office, several paces away from her desk, with my door closed. Douchebag couldn't save themselves the extra effort of walking FURTHER and actually knocking (twice) by asking the department secretary---who was right there---for the form instead? No. Douchebag HAD to come ask me. Why? Because Douchebag has complete and utter lack of respect for me and my job. Period. This is the trend in my department.

I just let the rage boil inside me. Douchebag got the form and left. I went back in my office, shut the door, and choked down the rest of my lunch along with the bitter bile of resentment, which is a taste I know all too well. Should I have just stood my ground and said to myself, "I will not answer that door." Or should I have said to Douchebag, "I'm eating lunch, ask the department secretary." But see, to me, that lacks common sense and common decency. It's RETARDED to tell someone to ask another person for something when you know the answer. It's just not in my being to be that way.

So there you have it. Am I a pushover? Or just too nice? Or what? What could I have or SHOULD I have done?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekly Topic #1 for Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap

Weekly Topic: Dishrag. Dishcloth. Face cloth. I've seen folks get all fired up in forums when someone refers to their knit or crochet creation as a dishrag, as that's somehow offensive to them! When you're working on yours, what do you call them? Also, is there a difference between a dishrag and a dishcloth? How bout a facecloth? Are they all really the same thing?

LOL. I think this is a hilarious topic. Well I've heard several names for this little, 8"-square, knitted goodie: dishcloth, dishrag, washcloth, washrag, facecloth. You get the picture. I must admit, I usually call them washcloths.

Here's why: Growing up, we used washcloths to bathe; albeit not cute, hand-knitted ones. Just the plain, 'ol terry-cloth ones that you find where you buy towels and other bathroom items. This was the standard in my house. In the kitchen, I don't think we ever used anything closely resembling a dishcloth. Always sponges. Except my dad's mother---my paternal grandmother---used them. And she called them dishrags. Or sometimes the Italian dialect/slang word, moppine (pronounced mah-PEEN). I'm guessing this is a derivative of "mop," somehow. Although the two hardly seem related to me. Anyway, I digress!

I am making a promise to myself to actually use one of these in the kitchen. I've heard that once you use them, you'll use nothing else.

I don't think I like the sound of RAG on the end of anything that I (or anyone else for that matter) spent time to create by hand. It sort of diminishes the personal value of making things by hand.

So for me, the standard name is "washcloth," with "dishcloth" following a close second. And hey, maybe I'll even resurrect moppine and use that!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Little Peek...

into my goofy sense of humor. This cracked me up SO HARD, I nearly fell off my chair last night from laughing. Just ask Todd, who incidentally said, "Um,'s... not that funny."

Yes it is.


That part with the shark? Oh my God. LMFAO.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap Questionnaire

Here's my questionnaire for the Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap:

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both?

I do both. But honestly, 99.9% is knitting!

2. What types of needles do you enjoy using for making dishcloths?

I've used all kinds. I like Bryspun the best. Plastic is ok too, like Denise needles. Sometimes bamboo is fine. Although, I find that cotton tends to "stick" to the bamboo too much and makes knitting a lot slower and more frustrating for me.

3. What types of cotton do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Is there any that you've been wanting to try?

I enjoy all cottons, from the more exotic ones to good 'ol Sugar N' Cream! I like the feel of Bernat Cottontots, but their color selections are not very varied. I recently purchased some Lion Nature Cotton in walnut brown and blue colors. This feels a lot like Cottontots, but it's a heavier gauge. Can't wait to try it out! I'm always excited to try non-traditional cotton yarns! Maybe cotton and bamboo?

4. What color(s) are your kitchen and bath decorated in (if any)?

My kitchen is sage green and black with oak cabinets. I've tried to include touches of red and plum in there to break it up. I have a couple of baths. One is done in a seashell theme, and that's coral, cream, beige, with touches of pink & light blue. The other bath is basically black & white with some cream color in there. I'm thinking of changing it, though! Inspire me with a washcloth! :-)

5. What are your favorite colors for yarns? Least favorite?

Well, I don't think it's really a question of me not liking colors, because I pretty much like ALL of them, except for teal. I hate teal. Teal should be obliterated from all human existence. Really, it's more like what colors don't like me! For instance, I love yellow and orange, but they look hideous on me. However, I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of pastels. I guess I like heathered, natural colors the best. I'm fond of plums, sagey greens, blues, gray, terracotta, coral, browns and mocha. I like red, too.

6. Do you like Winter, or do you count the days until it ends?

I really don't like winter. Growing up in the city, winter posed a lot of problems. So I guess that's largely where I get my opinion. Also, I don't like any season with extreme temperatures. So, summer isn't so great for me either! ;-)

7. What's your favorite way to brighten your day when you're down in the dumps?

I buy something and/or watch some MST3K!

8. What is your favorite treat to indulge in and when your down in the dumps?

Well, chocolate just has away of making the world seem better, doesn't it? ;-) But also, sometimes it's nice to pop up some popcorn and sit with my husband on the couch and watch movies. I find that a really comforting treat.

9. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Cocoa?

Coffee, yes. Tea, yes. Cocoa, not so much.

10. If you could take a vacation starting tomorrow and go anywhere for one week and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do?

Oh this is hard! I'd probably go to Italy, most likely Florence. I really want to see the statue of David before I die. LOL

11. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should be aware of?

No allergies that my pal would need to know, unless they planned on sending me some drugs. LOL (I am allergic to Sulfa drugs.) I have a STRONG aversion to Indian food, particularly curry. I despise the smell of patchouli. I hate cinnamon gum/candy. And I really hate most gummy-type candy, particularly Twizzlers or any of its rubbery, stringy look-alikes. Yuck.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Dishcloth Swap for 2008

Hey! The wonderful hostess, Anne, over at the Dishcloth Exchange is running another swap! It's the Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap. In am looking forward to this first swap of 2008! Sign-ups begin January 11. I am so there! You should be too! Come on, you know you want to! ;-)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008

Happy New Year, everyone. Well this has been a very hectic holiday season for me. But I am glad to be back to normal. Well, mostly normal anyway.

The morning of Christmas Eve I furiously finished that pair of socks I had been working on for like 9 months. LOL. I gave them to my dad because the foot was way too big for me. They definitely turned out to be man-sized socks. He said he really likes them! A picture of the socks is forthcoming, I promise. Overall, they turned out well. The yarn, while soft and lovely to feel, was not the easiest to work with.

On Christmas day, we left for Illinois, to spend the holiday with Todd family at his sister's (Wesley) in Urbana. We were there for 4 days. It was supposed to be 3 days, but our flight out of O'Hare in Chicago got canceled on Friday; we had to stay an extra day. Overall we had a good time. Urbana is...ok. Flat. Gray. Not what I expected. But not terrible.

Wesley got me a gift certificate to a local yarn shop there. I thought that was an extremely thoughtful gift. I got some really lovely rayon/cotton/silk blend yarn. Again, I'll get a picture up here soon, I hope!

I cast on another pair of socks while in Urbana. Thanks to the Addi Turbos, I see more socks in my future. This second pair just seems infinitely easier than the first pair ever did.

Here is the link to the post I made on a blog to which I contribute: Just Knitting. Here I made some general knitting "resolutions" for 2008. And many of my knitting buddies who also contribute to the blog made theirs as well. Enjoy.

Let another year of blogging commence!