Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bad Blogger. BAD!

I have not posted for a number of days. Here is what's been going on:

1. Knitting. On a break from anything that resembles knitting progress on the Gibson Girl Pullover.

2. Beading. I did a super fun jewelry party at Cece's house on Friday night- there were several guests and lots of beads and snacks. What could be better! Sadly, it was followed by a craft show on Saturday that was an incredible waste of my time. I used an extremely gross metaphor that involved infested dead animal parts, but I will not repeat it here... my mom reads this sometimes! (See, mom? I AM capable of filtering my comments!)

3. Keeping up with the jogging- I am super happy I'm participating in the Good Times fun runs... it makes me feel like I MUST run in between races, or suffer the consequences... and today was incredibly beautiful out! I keep wondering if running will get fun and easy again like it used to be... the verdict is still out... I'm getting faster, but haven't hit 'the zone' yet. I passed a couple of people I knew, and jumped around and waved hello at them. It was at the beginning of the run, when I had a bunch of pep... I did have a couple of weird moments during my run today where it felt like my view was from the perspective of a camera strapped to my forehead, rather than through my eyes... like, if you've ever watched the show "Fear Factor" ... they'll put cameras on the contestant's head when they're doing stunts, and you can see from their point of view... it was really weird, I assure you . I guess the good thing was that it acted like an interesting distraction for a while!

4. What I have been doing instead of blogging: Bikram Yoga. It is a 'hot room' style of yoga, where you do the same 26 poses each class, in the same order. I had been feeling some old hip problems flaring up recently, and figured that it was time to do some serious strengthening and stretching. Every day I can, I plan to go and get sweaty. I am horrible at the balancing poses- super duper wobbly. I am wondering if I'll ever get any better, or if I'll eternally flail about, distracting other yogamates and feeling unbalance-y!

What's funny, is that it turns out that a woman who lives on my floor also goes to the same yoga studio. I knew she looked familiar, but then when the instructor called her by name, I knew it was her! I introduced myself to her- she didn't remember me from the one interaction we've had... she knocked on my door several months ago to apologize for some drunken friends who had evidently been zooming up and down my hall in a shopping cart- NO IDEA how I slept through THAT one! She was probably too embarrassed to remember what I looked like, and I had been wondering if she remembered me or not, since I have laid eyes on her a few more times since then, and she had totally blown me off. One time, she and I were both waiting for the elevator, and I said hi, and she totally ignored me and then instead of taking the elevator, she ran off. Weird. Well, now that I've introduced myself, she's all like, 'Let's carpool to yoga and go out for a drink!' So, either she is weird and fake, or is shy and had a couple of flaky days. I'll go with #2 until I get evidence otherwise. I'm good like that.

And still, no pictures. So it goes. But if I were to post pictures, they would be of my Gibson Girl progress (the front and back up to the neck, awaiting joining and then neck knitting; one finished sleeve, and one partially finished sleeve). It was a gorgeous day out today, so I was also thinking I'd love to take some pics around town and take some photos of some of the spots I like a lot. Bridges, old buildings, the river, and a various assortment of what have you...

Monday, April 24, 2006

My Laziest Self EVER!

Well, April vacation has now come and gone, and I do believe I managed to only check ONE thing off my humongous 'vacation to do list'. Only ONE. I went and got my passport photos taken. And that is it. Was there spring cleaning? Nope. Was there any cleaning of any kind? Well, I did do my laundry once, and I did run the dishwasher once or twice. I also managed to bathe most days. Did I work on getting up a business website? Nope. Did I pay bills? Hahahaha, do not be silly with me. There were so many other things on the list that I just did NOT DO. However, I enjoyed every darned minute of sitting around flabbily and feeling like a glob of silly putty. I did go running. I did go for a bike ride. I even went to Bikram yoga... hot hot hot, baby!

And... I did some knitting. I am now done with the front, back, and one sleeve of the Gibson Girl Pullover... which still has not been captured on camera... BECAUSE I AM TOO LAZY!

I think I am enjoying this lazy thing a little too much. In a few months, my apartment will look like one of those creepy pack rats lives here... the dishes at the bottom of the pile in the sink will have started biodegrading, there will be piles of paper waist high everywhere, with a path from the bed to the bathroom, from the sofa to the computer... and I might get a parrot or something. It will say ominous things like, 'Careful of that tilting pile of documents' or, 'why clean dishes when you can wait until the food crusts over it so hard that you can eat off of it again' or, 'at least you're not a weird lady with eleven cats'...

Then again, I might just start ticking those things off of my list any minute now. Annnnny minnnnute nowwwww........

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Resistance was futile.


So, I broke down and bought some yarn yesterday afternoon. I am (naturally) a subscriber to Interweave Knits, and have marked some of my favorite 'to do' patterns with little sticky flags. The Summer 2004 magazine had a pattern called the 'Gibson Girl Pullover', which is a fitted, long sleeve sweater with an allover lace pattern. The pattern is not like other lace I've done before, with the 'fancy stitches' on the right side and straight knitting or purling on the wrong side... there is 'fanciness' to be done on both sides, which keeps it very interesting. I picked a dark blue/green color in Classic Elite's yarn 'Provence', which I believe I have used before and liked.

I had a swatching fiasco last night due to partial tiredness... I didn't notice at first that the gauge instructions asked that you find the number of stitches over SIX inches rather than the usual FOUR. That, paired with my loosey goosey knitting, caused me to do about 6 swatch attempts before finally hitting it right. Then, this morning, I had to redo the FIRST ROW three times (three's the charm) before getting it right. Luckily, I got over whatever mental block I was having and was cruising along today. I am feeling too lazy to do pictures right now, and still don't know how to make words become highlighted and do the link-y thing (Cece? Since you're the 'expert', how about some help?)... so it's all just words today. How extremely boring. Total dullsville. ZZZZZ. But, at least it's a prelude to something interesting to come, right? :)

In other news, last night was week 3 of the Tuesday night 5k. And, I ran it in 28 minutes, 57 seconds, which was my fastest time so far on that course! Yippeeee! They give you a medal each time you set a personal course record, so I got to run up and jump up and down like a geek... no one else did... they all walked up and acted cool. NOT ME. And, I might add, I got a LOT of cheers for that silly behavior, which is just what I like. I am hoping I'll get another medal or two here and there... both because it's fun to be recognized, but even more that it is fun to be fast! I did have a couple of things work out for me in my favor... because I'm not working this week, I could eat well before the race so I didn't have a loaded down belly, and it was nice and cool out, which I like, and finally, one of the kids from my school just happened to see me running, and he was on rollerblades and rolled along with me for a while. It took my mind off things, and acted like a pace car or something. I offered him five bucks for either a piggyback or a loaner of the rollerblades... he declined graciously.

Well, back to the knitting... I am naturally a woman possessed!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Excitement in Downtown Lowell

So, I was craving some hot coffee and a focaccia bagel from "Olive That and More" this morning, so I wandered through the alleyway behind my building to the other side of the block... the street and the parking garage were all blocked off with police barrier tape. There were a lot of people standing around watching, and I quickly found out that there was a 'mysterious package' underneath a park bench. The dude with the big, green puffy bomb suit was on hand, walking over to the package like an astronaut on the moon. I stood around watching for a little while, and then my belly said, 'You know what would be better than standing around? Eating a bagel and drinking some coffee!" I obeyed. So then, I was back home, eating said breakfast, and suddenly I heard a man's voice shouting, "Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole!" AND THEN??? A BIG BOOOOOOM! I kid you not. It was very exciting. AND, I was glad I had gone back home. Sure, it might have been exciting to actually see, but I liked being nice and safe at home rather than in the line of fire. I'm assuming it happened in a controlled manner, since I didn't hear rubble raining down afterwards or anything. They'll probably have something about it on the news tonight.
And people say that Lowell is boring. That shows what THEY know!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

SUCCESS!

Beading Marathon Monday, AKA 50 FO day, was a success. I managed to make 32 pairs of earrings, 9 bracelets and 9 necklaces. I have managed to take a pic of my work table, (scary messy!) and all of the items I made today. I hate that the pictures don't show how nice some of the beads look, but my setup is not professional. So it goes. I also developed a blister on the pinky of my 'plier hand' from all of the wire bending and such. What a day.

Messy beading table: I find that everything mashed together helps me see combinations I wouldn't think of otherwise!


Here is the shot of all FO's from today:


And, shots of the four quadrants of the FO array:

The above pic shows some earrings made with cool river stones, which are really cool.
This one shows a few necklaces and earrings made with handmade lampwork beads from Grace Beads.
This one has some cool silver foil lined glass beads. Very summery.
Yes, the ear thread earrings helped bump up those FO numbers!

Well, this might not be a feat I attempt to accomplish very often, but it was certainly a productive day.
The day of 50 FO's?

Well, today is day 4 of a 10 day hiatus from work. I don't feel like I've checked very many things off of the 'to do' list, but so it goes. This morning consisted of sleeping late (for me), getting up, munching on some cereal, watching Maury Povitch's top 10 awesomest paternity test guests (HI-Larious!), showering, and taking a brief walk outside (no, the salon is NOT open today, yes, I DID remember to plop my Netflix movies in the mailbox, and YUM for coconut hazelnut iced coffee!) While flip-flopping home from the coffee place, it hit me: today could be the day of 50 finished objects! I felt a wave of self doubt: could i really do that? Maybe I should make it only 20. But I've done THAT before (earrings are fast!)... so, in honor of the Boston Marathoners, I am going to have a marathon of my own. I am going to dust off my bead table, and see what I can see. Speaking of the bead table, I should probably show you a pic of the disaster that I fondly call my work station. I'll get right on that. In addition to the bead table, I also have several workshop type organizers with little drawers- you can either be a sucker and buy the pretty purple organizers at a craft store, or you can go into the hardware section of whatever store is to your liking, and get the 'let's separate the nails from the screws' organizer. Sure, it's not purple, but whatever. Okay, enough time off task. I will check back in later. Possibly with pictures. It is now 11:12 AM. Let the "Day of 50 FO's" commence!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Please stand by... we are experiencing technical difficulties...

Well Blogger is being a jerkass punk and is not allowing me to upload pictures... so I guess I'll try again tomorrow... stay tuned for the Easter update, one day late!
Easter Stash Busting!

So, a couple of years ago, I bought a large quantity of lace weight yarn from Knit Picks, to knit a very complicated entrelac shawl that I was simply drooling over. I had originally started it in a different yarn, that was just so mohairy that it got all tangly and was untinkable in the case of an occasional error. (What can I say, I get distracted sometimes!) At the last minute, I bailed and made the shawl below, which is I think called "Cherry Blossom" from some long ago Interweave Knits magazine. Sorry, I do not have the energy to look up which one right at the moment. Here it is in all of its glory:

Here is a pic of the edging:


And, here is a pic of the center:


It has been worn a total of one time, to my grandfather's wake. I honestly have not found another occasion to wear it. One odd thing about the construction of the shawl is that you start with the outside and work in... and even with blocking, it would never quite lie flat. Not a problem when wearing it, fortunately... After knitting it, I had almost three skeins of the yarn left, so I started "Eva's Scarf" from the book, Scarf Style. Sure, I was already a little tired of the yarn, but my yarn funds have been quite dry ever since buying my own home... Needless to say, I put the project deep down far away after a while... I kept making mistakes, and was so tired of the yarn! Plus, you start with the outside scalloped edge and continuously decrease, so at the beginning, it was extremely tedious. Every time I made a mistake, I would just want to scream! A couple of days ago, I pulled it back out and decided that this was the time to FINISH. And I did! True, I spent almost the entire weekend on the darned thing, to the detriment of anything else I could have done... like leaving the house... Here she is, blocking away... sorry for the grody background of mismached towels...


And, a closeup of the edging...


Today was Easter. I went out to breakfast with Laurie and Tarsha, and it was really nice, relaxing and yummy. I do like me a good breakfast! Well, my darlings, it is officially Mr. Bed Time. Sweet dreams! (Hopefully not of that yarn... have I mentioned that I have over 1 1/2 skeins of that blasted stuff left? Anyone interested in it? I'm willing to talk...)

Friday, April 14, 2006

V-A-C-A-TION!

Okay, folks, today is the first day of a 10 day April vacation. I know that a lot of people think that teachers and other school employees are 'lucky'. However, please remember the post below where our kids lit a brush fire during school hours... and remember that I am the ONLY social worker at an alternative school. Over the past week, there have been two girl fights, several almost girl fights, three cell phones stolen, (and then confiscated by the principal, re-stolen out of her office and then sold to another student) two cases of assault against the principal, uncountable cases of 'shut the F up', 'get out of my F ing face you ugly F ing bitch' (to which I replied, "I might be a bitch, but don't you DARE call me ugly!"), numerous kids stomping out of class when all the teacher asked them to do was sit and do their work, kids throwing desks (and pencils, tennis balls, books and whatever else is handy), spitting, and a generous smattering of general mayhem. And who gets to deal with all of these unpleasant situations? Myself and the principal. When things get too ridiculous for the teachers, we step right on in. I am pooped. If teachers and school employees did not get ample vacations, trust me- there would be no one left to teach.

Okay, I'm done with that rant. 10 days off. Wheeee! I woke up right at 7 this morning. (ever noticed it's much harder to get up on time on a work day, but on a day off, you pop right awake? HATE that!) I did some laundry, lounged around a little (and did some bead crochet), then went for a run. It's getting warmer out, and now I remember that I tend to get overheated when it's warm out. Hmm.

In crafty news, I did try to do the stash diving thing the other night, but nothing sparked my creativity. For now, I am continuing on the bead crochet. No current pics. Over the vaca, I'm assuming I'll make a whole bunch of jewelry and will post some pictures then.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ugly buns; stash diving.



Here are the EXTREMELY ugly yet DEVASTATINGLY DELICIOUS Chinese buns I made yesterday. The dough is hideous looking, but tasted puffy and great just like in Chinese Dim Sum restaurants. The filling is ground chicken, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, white truffle oil, and other stuff I forget. The dough involved kneading and rising and the whole shebang.

Now that I have finished the Odessa hat, I again find myself without a knitting project. I am going to go stash diving again and see what I can see. Or, I could stop feeling overwhelmed by the giant number of beads I have and just start making new jewelry. Now, that would be smart! But diving it shall be for now.

Today was a weirdly quiet day at work where I basically felt like a high paid paperweight. Funny how I'm tired after a day like that... just as tired as if there was a lot of action. Hmm.

Okay, off to view the stash.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Odessa hat; Onion Soup.


Well, the Odessa hat turned out just the way I hoped it had- the right size, plenty of beads and plenty of yarn! Wheeee!
I am currently making a five onion soup. My eyes have been watering for about 2 hours now! It's tastin' time... I'll be right back... **10 minutes elapsing** Oh. My. Goodness. It was like French onion soup but BETTER. It involved red onion, yellow onion, leeks, scallion, shallots, scallops, my homemade chicken stock, and seasonings. The scallops were rolled in coriander powder and steamed over curry water. I am a happy girl- full of onions, with a nice, new, soft, beaded hat! Now, I'm off to Lush Beads to do some bead crochet and to eat a brownie, evidently, that Liz is saving for me!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Jaywalkers complete, battling the sniffles.

Well, my lone Jaywalker sock now has a mate. These have a nice zebra thing going on, that I am quite enjoying! I am padding around my nice concrete floor (see picture) feeling nice and cozy. Aaaaah.

I am fighting off a cold. How am I fighting? I decided to go for the 'power of orange'. I am working on a 3 quart jug of orange juice, and believe it or not, my throat and sinuses don't hurt any more! I will make sure to try this method the next time I start to get a cold, just to make sure it's not a fluke... but this is much more delicious than those nose sprays and such!

I made my own chicken stock today! I have done other semi-adventurous cooking things that other people say that they haven't done (roasted a chicken, made tomato sauce from scratch, baked whole wheat bread, made gnocchi... I can't think of anything else off the top of my head... ooh, made meringue and folded it into a souffle- that was exciting!) Anyway, the chicken stock is nice and chickeny and the sad pile of leavings (floppy chicken parts, faded celery and carrots, wilted parsley and onions and so on) is sitting in a pan on my stove... not sure how to get rid of it without creating a drippy disaster... but I'll figure something out! I made the stock with the idea that tomorrow, I'll make this great sounding onion soup that I found in a Chinese cookbook- it involves FIVE different kinds of onions, which sounds simply sublime to me! This soup also involves scallops. MMMM. I also got stuff to make those great, puffy Chinese buns. I have no idea how they'll turn out, but I think it is worth a try. Bunn-y goodness. (The hyphen there is important- otherwise, it sounds like I am eating a bunny! Not that there's anything wrong with that; I just wouldn't want to mislead my faithful readers. You know, all 3 of you.)

I do not have a new knitting project in mind. I do, however, have a giant slew of beads that I need to do something with, so maybe I'll hit them up tomorrow. HOly smokes, I just thought of something!!! Wheeeee! I THINK I might have enough of this great purply mauve cashmerino left to make the "Odessa Hat" that I've been wanting to make. AND, since I am a beader, I just might have some beads I could use. Hmmmmmm... Investigation shall commence! EEEEEEEEE! (I will report back on progress at a later time/date)

Friday, April 07, 2006

BEAD SHOW!!!

I took the day off from work today to schlep down to Providence, Rhode Island to "The Whole Bead Show", at which a few of my fave bead vendors were in attendance. I was the proverbial kid in the candy store, and I think I did pretty well, finding good stuff. Here is a picture of most of the stuff I got:

Lots of seed beads, including some size 13 cut charlottes, which are the ones on the strands... so sparkly and pretty! The stone beads are river stones, polished and drilled for jewelry usage. Here is a closer shot of the lampwork beads in the center, which are from Grace Beads. I love her stuff, and she and the river stone dude are two of the people I had been hoping to visit! She had a great wholesale deal- 25% off everything- and her prices are good to begin with for handmade lampwork beads. She is more of a production beadmaker, as opposed to some people who focus on making huge, dramatic focal beads that cost tons of money. See below for one of those!


Okay, I walked past Joanne Morash's table (Blue Iris Designs) about 4000 times and touched all of her beads about 11 times each, before I found the one that would come home with me for an extra sinful price. Her beads have been featured in magazines and are incredibly luscious. See if you agree... of course, it's prettier in real life, as usual:




It's like, how in the world did she get hot glass to do THAT!?!?! If I lived near her, I swear I'd camp outside her house promising to do ANY menial tasks she needed done if only she'd teach me her secrets. That would rock. I would even scoop kitty litter for her. Or clean her oven. Really, I would!

However, I am feeling another cold coming on- ever since I fought off shingles in the late Fall, I have gotten a terrible cold every single month. I hate this winter. UGGH, it is not even winter any more, and I'm still getting winter colds! Now, that just ain't fair!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jaywalker; and what I LIKE about running!

Don't worry, there are no pictures this time... don't want anyone to cringe every time I mention running! Now that I'm done with the bead crochet frenzy, I am back to the mate for my first Jaywalker sock. Yee haw!

And, although the weather has turned frosty again and it rained all day, I ran in a 5k this evening. It was the first of a 10 week series, and the race starts a couple of minutes from my house. TRES convenient. It was about 37 degrees and sleeting during the race, but I pulled a good one out of my butt and managed to finish in about 29:10, which is PHENOMENAL for me! It's good to have people to work on catching up with. I plan to run the race every week. Sweet.

Okay, time for a celebratory supper of some low fat pierogies. (Whoever heard of low fat pierogies? Whatever!) Ooh, speaking of food- I was in a pizza mood last night, and so I got one of those premade crusts and put on sauce, thinly sliced eggplant, garlic, and grape tomatoes with low fat mozzarella cheese.... less greasy and gross than restaurant pizza, and turned out super yummmm.

I'll post Jaywalker pics when I'm finished...

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Bead Crochet Pics!!!



Well, I have been working on some bead crochet bracelets, and had a good time coordinating colors and thinking of what patterns I wanted to try out. Here is a shot of the results, although I again feel that the picture doesn't do them justice... but then again, of course I'd say that, since I made them!

In Jaywalker news, completed sock #1 does not yet have a partner... the knitting was put on hold for beading. You know how that can go... and even buying new yarn was put on hold when I visited the Hub Mills/ Classic Elite warehouse yarn sale- prior to heading over there yesterday morning, I had made a list of projects I'd like to do, and didn't end up finding yarn that would work out! How does THAT happen? I left empty handed! I guess that is for the best, seeing as I have been trying to keep up with the 'wallet lockdown'...

I've had a nice weekend. Friday after work, a couple of my coworkers came over to look at my jewelry, and one of them redeemed her Xmas gift certificate, and the other one bought a nice bracelet. Then, we went over to Caffe Paradiso and had fabulous martinis (I had an apple martini and a blue raspberry martini) and delicious sandwiches. I love it there! On Saturday, I was awake by 6:15, and was at the gym in the pool at 7. After my swim, I ran two miles with a couple of women I met last weekend- and then went home and made whole wheat banana walnut pancakes. Super yum. Then, I strolled over to the Tsongas Arena, where they were having the opening ceremonies for the world curling championships... as best as I can figure out, curling is a lot like shuffleboard...
After I wandered home, it was 'lounge time', until the power went out at 3:30! I high tailed it over to the bead store (after calling to make sure they had power) and crocheted until she closed for the day. And, the power was still out when I got home! I knocked on a couple of neighbors' doors, and we ended up having an impromptu candlelight wine and chips party until the power went back on at 9:30. My neighbor who will remain unnamed, got so drunk that she called 911 and complained about the power outage, and they asked her if she was having a medical emergency, and she slurred out, 'No, but this is certainly a SOCIAL emergency!" The rest of us were trying to get her to hang up the phone and finally she did. I was embarrassed for her, to say the least!

I am still a bit groggy today after drinking all that wine last night, but still managed to go for a really nice bike ride (in groggy 'next day after wine mode') and am pleased to see that it's only 1:30. That leaves plenty of time for 'whatever' for the rest of the day!