Archive for October, 2009

I got nothin’.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I’m slowly working my way through a pile of unfinished things I promised people in the dark ages, as well as starting as many sewing projects as I can (and hoping the pressure will force me to finish a few).

Because of the relative everyday nature of those things, I’ll redirect you to the result of a conversation I had with my cousin.

(Thanks for inadvertently writing me a blog entry, Penguin!)

Button Loops and Zocks

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I opened a window and titled it, trying to FORCE myself to go find the darned camera cord.

*Insert Elevator Music Here*

Okay, so I’m doing a terrible job. For a beautiful few weeks I was posting almost daily. Now I’m slipping, but I’m reading a lot of books. Perhaps reading books/the intake of text and writing text/the output of text need to be balanced? Perhaps if I stopped devouring books and wrote more blog entries the world would make sense?

The photos, which I knew to be lacking, are even less thrilling in their real form. Now that I’ve been quacking about the for days, it’s almost embarrassing to post them. Just remember: BROKEN CAMERA, and these photos were taken in the Everything Must Be Pink time of evening.

On the other hand, they also prove that I knit.

This first photo is of a sweater I made for my sister four years ago. Shut up, shut up. I gave it to her, only to take it back 1.5 years later so I could add buttons.* I added the buttons, reinforced the bands with ribbon, and was so waylaid with school and travel that I didn’t touch the project again until last weekend. There may have been and instance of losing said buttons and replacing them somewhere in the mix.

sneaksweater.jpg

She’s going to hate this picture, but then again she made the face**.

Second, I have Zack’s Socks to show you which shall be referred to (along with any others I may make for him in the future) as “Zocks”. I can’t honestly claim trouble with the phrase, having been through enough tongue twisters in my day to beat most language into submission, but it’s still easier to say Zocks.

zocks.jpg

See that? Everyone should get that excited about handknit socks. Everyone.

I really wish those photos showed anything useful about the projects, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Now that I’ve “proved” myself to a whole host of people with whom I’m entirely unacquainted, I’m going to go do crossword puzzles in bed. It’s Sunday, and that is the most productive thing I can think of to do with my time.

<:3 )~

*They’re awesome; they say “recycled paper on them”; I didn’t take a close up. *Smacks forehead*

**Sneak, if you’re offended, I can switch it out in exchange for a better one.

Watch Your Back

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Between the fabric stores and the yarn stores, I swear someone’s got a hit* out on me.

Can I even describe this so it makes sense? 75% of the time I am mistaken for an employee while going about my business**. Today I was busy Trying Not To Work (while visiting my Local Yarn Store) when a woman walked directly up to me and started asking me questions. I told her “I’m sorry; I don’t work here”. Uh, yeah. That didn’t mean a shred of negative space to this woman. I don’t think she was even listening.  I politely answered her questions, and directed her to the appropriate area of store.

I really don’t mind; I love teaching people to knit and to sew. It’s just frustrating to help people when that used to be my job.

My tally-total (this year) is five instances of mistaken employment in fabric stores. The yarn store count remains indeterminate. It’s harder to quantify yarn store instances, because I’m quite likely to confuse people due to general comfort in that environment. I don’t always notice when I “work” in yarn stores.

Oh well.

Still missing the camera cord. Maybe everything I own should come with a pager attached? *CoughcoughPurpleMousecough*

*Okay, fine. “Someone’s got an elaborate scheme in place to ensure that I am constantly reminded of my inability to turn my ‘fields of reasonable skill’ into a lucrative employment situation” would be more accurate that “hit”.

**Yeah…most of the time “business” means drooling over people’s merchandise that I clearly can’t afford at this point in time. There are so many projects to be made, and so many materials that need me to acquire them. Need, I tell you!!

Q: Where is my camera cord?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A: Buried in the depths.

Q: When will it be retrieved?

A: Hey look…a pie crust!!

In other news, someone found my page by searching for “stuffed purple mouse”. It was almost as sad as trying to write “Purple Mouse” on my packing list last Wednesday night. Unless it was Purple Mouse searching for her way home, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case.

The relevance is inconclusive, but I do like the word “profusive” for some intangible reason. WordPress doesn’t recognize it, but it’s a synonym for “lavish”. (Ironically, neither does WordPress recognize”Wordpress”. Go figure.)

P.S. In the time it took me to read over the above paltry accumulation of text, WordPress decided that it recognized both “profusive” and “WordPress”. Now, in writing a post-script, it does not. I hope I’ll someday have more important things with which to concern myself.

Home from SF

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

</babysitting parents for the weekend>

Not kidding. There were some adventures, but we all made it through okay. Even my poor sister survived, despite having to “host” all of us.

Maybe I should say even her roommates survived; they didn’t even complain that I capitalized their entire living room space, sleeping on the couch and marking my territory with yarn and jewelry. Maybe a Birkenstock here or there…

I seem to be terrible at photo documentation; I took two pictures the entire time I was there. Maybe if my camera worked I would have taken more, but then again I was pretty busy trying to finish a bunch of (way, way, way) overdue knitting projects for various SF residents. Two out of three! (Jess, don’t kill me!) Of course, I had to acquire another project and a repair while I was there.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother trying to “finish things” and “decrease the number of viable projects in my personal possession”. It seems like the harder I try to finish things and move them along, the more determined new projects are to seep into the stash and set up housekeeping.

Anyhow. The pictures I took are of finished projects. They are blurry and not very thrilling, but I’ll try to upload them tomorrow anyway.

It’s nice to be home where I have an entire room (full of crap) to myself, but I do miss the left coast. Not to mention that I kind of hate flying.

Next time: teleportation. GO!

Long Day

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Today we biked across the Golden Gate bridge. No one fell off, even though some people haven’t biked for ten or twelve years. We’re all a little tired, although I was surprised by how flat most of the ride was. My usual route to and from downtown Ann Arbor is significantly more exhausting.

We walked around town a little bit, and acquired yarn and buttons to make a shrug-thing for my Sneaky sister.

Even better, everyone behaved so well that I didn’t have to threaten that I’d absquatulate.

Speaking of absquatulation (or perhaps I crafted that sentence simply to include the word, but you’ll never know), have I mentioned my new book, entitled The Highly Selective Thesaurus and Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich? I found it in Dog Eared Books in the Mission and couldn’t resist.

This week’s finished book list includes (among other things):

The Last Time I wore a Dress by Daphne Scholinski

Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison

The Seamstress by Seren Tuvel Bernstein

Bill Bryson’s African Diary

The Invisible Kingdom by Ben Idan-Barak

San Francisco

Friday, October 9th, 2009

That is where I am, taking up all the space in my sister’s living room. Back Monday evening.

Weird Little Presents

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

NOTE: I started this entry at the time of the event. That would be 3+ years ago. I never finished it, in part because the object in question mysteriously disappeared only to be discovered recently in the possession of my jerk of a  thief of a  meddling wonderful, caring, dear father. I’d like to get rid of the saved drafts lurking on my admin page, so I’m going to do my best to sift through the cobweb-obscured plethora of images that are clogging my memory and hopefully resurface with the proper progression of events to tell this story.*

I went downtown last night one night three years ago around midnight to help a friend foist some sample CDs from her band on the innocent and unsuspecting residents of Ann Arbor.  It was surprisingly easy to get rid of most of them, particularly considering that neither of us is great at talking to strangers. This spurred us to get creative; hanging them on tree branches and propping them on ledges where they were sure to be noticed. We must have looked ridiculous during this, but that’s not really new.

Having finished the difficult part, we were wandering aimlessly and enjoying the cool night air when we passed a younger man playing guitar on Main St. He looked reasonably out of place (I affectionately refer to Main as “the rich people’s district”), and we considered him awkwardly for a few minutes before deciding to offer one of the remaining CDs. He took it gratefully, and we managed to make a small amount of painful small talk in an attempt to be polite. I probably shouldn’t say “painful” because that implies that it was not enjoyable, but as I mentioned above my friend and I are both awkward with strangers. It was unusual for both of us to instigate an acquaintance.

After a few minutes he started asking us about Ann Arbor, and where one might go to find music-related pursuits. Supplies, as well as unusual resources, instruments, and people. He’d left Minneapolis because he didn’t like the city, and was traveling around trying to find a new home. We listed all the places that seemed relevant (I was by far less helpful than my friend), and here’s where things got weird.

We’d managed about ten minutes of conversation with a stranger, which was impressive for both of us. We were just about to be on our way, when he said “Okay I know this is going to sound pretty weird and maybe creepy, but I want to give you guys something. My car is just down the block.”

Uh, yeah. “Maybe” creepy. On the other hand, I’m a careful and slightly paranoid person and he didn’t seem threatening. He seemed honest. I realize that there is absolutely no way to make this sound reasonable, so you’ll just have to trust me. I’m not the sort of person to follow strange men to their cars in the night, but we both had an inexplicable inclination to trust him. His car really was “just down the block”, and there were still a fair number of people out and about. He opened the trunk and started digging around, assuring us that it would “just take him a minute to find them”. “Sorry, I know it’s right here somewhere.”

Later we’d confer only to reveal that I was half picturing this man pulling a gun on us, while she’d personally envisioned a knife**. This was not a personal response stemming from his deportment, but a visceral response to modern socialization of children forbidding us to ever trust a “stranger” (particularly if they happen to be male).

Finally he resurfaced looking slightly embarrassed and holding something shielded in his hands. “I guess…I thought they were really interesting. One is sort of better than the other…” And he handed us each one of these.

radioears.jpg

Radio tubes.

radioside.jpg

It gets better. He went on to explain that he’d intended to take an old-style road trip with just the things he could fit in a small car. He’d been traveling city to city with a collection of weird little presents that he’d hoped to give to the people he met along the way, only we were the first people who had taken the time to stop and converse. Most people walked right past assuming that he was a beggar or a crazy.

radiobottom.jpg

I’ve thought about this man frequently over the past few years, and what he’d expected to find. He was relying on the community to recognize him as a normal, functional, and non-threatening part of society. That’s not how things worked out, but my theories and explanations on the matter are quite verbose and deserving of their own personal entry.

Wherever that man ended up, I hope that he’s happy, successful, and part of a functioning community where people will talk to him on the street.

I’m reminded of my father’s stories of hitchhiking all over hell and gone in the late 1970s. (Maybe it’s fitting that he stole my radio tube? I’m still re-stealing it when I move out.) I’ve always been jealous, but I’ve been told the world is simply not the same as it used to be. I’m inclined to believe it.

* For anyone familiar with the Hannibal Lector series, I wish I could effectively build a memory house (or whatever he calls it). Somehow I don’t think I’m organized or committed enough to make that work.

** On a slightly morbid note, I’d rather face a killer with a knife than a gun. At least you can run from a knife. Then again, you could get stuck between a rock and an experienced knife thrower. In that case your best hope is to learn how to apparate. Good luck.

Come Home, PM?

Monday, October 5th, 2009

I’ve always had an easier time interacting with objects than with people. I never know what to say to people, and I have trouble making eye contact until I have an established bond. I end up surrounding myself with particular objects, no matter how ratty and old, and relying on those things to stabilize interactions and situations. Knitting is one good example, but it goes a lot further.

When I  was very small, one day my mother cooked me eggs and I refused to eat them. She told me that the eggs “wanted me to eat them”, but her plan backfired admirably when I burst into tears. I knew she couldn’t talk to eggs, but the idea of projecting consciousness onto my eggs was too much to bear.

During my first week of nursery school, I suddenly became worried that my mother wasn’t going to come back for me at the end of the day. Was she just going to keep leaving me there for increasing lengths of time? She traded me a keychain and a heart paperclip in exchange for a hastily drawn picture of a “happy mouse family”. I believed that she would come back for those, and the picture would remind her that I existed and that she loved me.

The most obvious of all is Squeaky, my “original mouse” who became my first and best friend. She was a gift when I was eight months old, and approximately my size at the time. By the time I hit 15 months we had a rather impressive bond. I dragged her along everywhere, frequently wiping my snotty nose on her poor (convenient) ears and bathing her in wagons full of dirty water. By 18 months, my name was Mouse and there was nothing anyone could do about that.

The first time I remember losing my mouse was when I’d been playing with some markers.* I was sobbing and my parents were tearing the house apart, frantically discussing a plan for “lost puffalump mouse” flyers. After several hours of searching,** I clearly remember the moment when I remembered where she was. I stopped crying and started to smile. She was in a drawstring bag, underneath all the markers.

When I hit elementary school I decided that I would keep her on the shelf because I didn’t want her to fall apart. That lasted a few hours, but I couldn’t live without her dirty grey gathers. I liked how her fabric felt when two layers were rubbed together around a chunk of stuffing. Fortunately, there have been few real scares about losing Squeaky. I confess that I still sleep with her.

When I was a little older, I lost my blue fish between our house and the neighbors’. My parents enlisted an aunt to buy me a new one and send it over, but I wasn’t fooled.  I never even believed in Santa Claus; they thought they could trick me into believing they found my fish?*** In retrospect, I’m pretty sure Blue Fish got lost in the neighbors house. ~20 years later…

Losing things is a pattern and inevitable to boot, but even though my personal space is disorganized to the untrained eye I have always kept track of things.

Imagine my discomfort that within the last month I’ve misplaced two objects that are critical to my existence. The first was that same heart paperclip my mother traded me when I was three. I’d set it on the dining table**** along with some other cute things, hoping that someone would notice them. No one did, but before I could reclaim the collection the clip went missing. We don’t know where it is.

The second, as much as it’s killing me, is Purple Mouse. I don’t know for sure that she’s permanently lost, but it’s hard to look on the bright side when I’ve looked everywhere. Twice. Purple Mouse has been around for most of my life, and when she resurfaced from the depths several years ago she became my constant traveling companion. I suppose I’m an “adult” (hah!) but I haven’t lost the wiring that links me to objects with empathy.

Purple Mouse got a college education…from my bag. She’s palm sized, so you can hold onto her without getting caught with a stuffed animal in your 20s. (Yeah, that’s right. I still carry stuffed animals. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who’s bothered by that has a really boring life and needs to find something to fill the lonely hours of “being judgy”.) She traveled across the ocean and all over Senegal. She left me for my last six months of college to hang around with a friend in need, and still made it home safely and in one piece. (Oddly, this was the least reliable person I’ve ever known. Perhaps the outcome had something to do with the warning “If anything happens to Purple Mouse, I’ll probably die.”)

Purple Mouse is so old that most people think she’s grey with a purple tail and feet. You have to look under her ears and feet to see the parts that aren’t faded.

Uhm, if you couldn’t tell, I really want my mouse back. Three weeks is way too long. If these are the things that have made me a functional person, I can’t go on losing track of them. So uh…

Purple Mouse? Come Home.

Love Mouse.

<:3 )~

* I used to draw all over my legs with markers, driving my mother insane. Later in life I figured this out; I have a slightly visible 3/8″ of blue vein above my inner left knee and at the time I thought it was marker. Time works differently when you’re three.

** Days. YEARS. Okay, I was ~3 so it could have been fifteen minutes.

*** I still have the new fish, which was slightly larger and greener than the Blue Fish.

**** Indoor Mail and Cosmic Debris Receptacle and Sometimes Sewing Station (IMCDRSSS)

The Violin Bodice

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

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As a rather impatient artist I tend to throw patterns aside in preference of sketchy chalk lines and cutting with room for error.

pe187412wviolinbodpatt.jpg

Perhaps that explains why I like these Victorian pattern drafts; they feel close to how I draft. (Minus the corset, bustle, and petticoats, of course.)

Click on the first image for a link to the Tudorlinks treasury page, and links to other free patterns. The second links to the Violin Bodice mainpage where you can read the information included with the drafts.