Month: April 2008

Virtuosification

That’s not a typo. I am overflowing with virtue this evening. I’ve been intending to restructure my filing system for some time, with the aim of making it at least slightly less loathsome to compile info at tax time. (Ain’t no way in this galaxy to make it enjoyable, or even a zero-sum event. Less loathsome is about as good as it will get.)

Part of that was designing some forms on which I can enter tax-related info (for Mom’s accounts as well as mine) as I go along. I did that the other day and sat down today to go through everything that’s piled up so far this year. Astonishingly, it only took two or three hours, compared to the two or three miserable days I expected. I’m hoping this will eliminate the repulsive, time-consuming task of going through every file, every credit-card receipt, every checkbook entry, ad nauseam, even if it is by spreading it over half an hour a month rather than lumped all in one miserable weekend.

Whether it works or not, I feel very virtuous. A little bit like a real grown-up.

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Gonna rip it

Remember that lavender cotton shawl I made a couple of years ago? Talk about a dumb thing to do. The pattern was beautiful, sure, but I never use shawls. So I decided last night I’m going to frog it all and use the yarn for something I will wear. Might be a good idea to think of existing finished objects as part of your stash.

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Zomboodie!

The zombie hoodie for LaRyantrelle and two disturbingly cute hats are ready to hit the mail. Despite using the zomboodie to learn a new technique, which gave me a few fits, it didn’t turn out too bad and I think will at least make Baby frown, if not cry. So herewith:

Disturbingly cute hat number one (pattern from Knitty):

daisyhat.jpg

Disturbingly cute hat number two (pattern also from Knitty):
scarfhat.jpg

I love the way the color pooled on these two, making huge, freeform chevron shapes all over the hat. That changed when I switched to the scarf portion, but I still like it. More pink than I’d like, but there’s plenty of orange, green, yellow and blue to balance it out (except that the flower shows best with the pink facing forward). And . . .

drum roll

trumpet fanfare

red carpet roll-out . . .

The zomboodie! The eyes are a metallic red yarn that sparkles, making the zombie eyes look a little fiery. I expect it will be too big for poor LaRyantrelle for a while yet, but one thing with babies—they grow. 🙂
zomboodie.jpg

Nobody should tell Girlandi these photos are up. The zomboodie and hats should be a surprise when they get there.

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Majorly unacceptable

It snowed last Friday, all day yesterday, and again this a.m. more than an inch of snow covered everything. This sets an all-time record for late snows, and it is completely unacceptable. Fortunately for the weather, it turned sunny eventually today; otherwise, Weather would have been in serious trouble with yours truly. Hmpf.

My new favorite animal is sand bubble crabs. They are the coolest things ever. They’re about a half-inch across, live in these tiny little burrows, and come out at low tide to clean yummies off each sand grain. When they’re done (or progressing), the beach is covered with tiny spherical sand bubbles. Awesome little creatures.

Rob came over yesterday to clean out my garage. He has some boxes he needs to put somewhere temporarily, so he said he’d clean up the garage if he could put them here. I helped out with some of the two-person things today and, while it’s far from wonderful, it’s much more acceptable and I think even with his extra boxes in (presuming that Snaotheus and KrisDi come to pick up the bookshelf and clock fairly soon, and I can get the Salvation Army to pick up more shelves full of stuff), I should be able to get the car back inside. It’ll sure be nice to do that with summer coming, since the car gets miserably hot shut up in the driveway.

The only problem is that all that dust and flying mold spores messed up my chest. It’s settling down a bit, but I’m thinking it might be a good idea to invest in one of those horrible gas-mask-looking respirators. Until they can clone organs reliably, a person still only has one set of lungs.

Grandma continues to go downhill mentally. Her memory is a little worse almost every week. Bless her heart, one of the down sides to being pretty sharp as an old person is that you know it when you’re going downhill. It frustrates her terribly, and I sympathize, but there’s nothing anyone can do. I try to reassure her that nobody minds and everybody understands, but it doesn’t make her feel any better.

I’m about to need a mailing address for Girlandi since the zombie sweater is almost finished, an absurdly cute hat is finished, and another absurdly cute and extremely practical hat is about half done. One nice thing about baby stuff is that it doesn’t take great wodges of time.

I’ll get photos later when the second hat is finished. It may go to a local baby rather than LaRyantrelle.

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Photos for recent posts

Here is The Awesome Light (following a great deal of manipulation with Curves and Color Balance) that Snaotheus installed for me last weekend. Er, weekend before last. I’d built (rather badly, but not bad considering my tools) the shade thingies atop the bookshelves last summer and he wired up and stuck lights behind it for me. (These look perfect on my laptop, so they’re probably horrible on everyone else’s monitors.)
It's blinding!

And below is the baby pie I baked for him, personal size and sugar-free, which turned out seriously cute (and yummy, too), and about which he complained.

yummmm

And this is the ridiculously tiny micro-armseye that made me laugh so hard last night. I’m thinking now I’ll just frog it back and re-do the top half entirely. But it’s awfully funny. . . at least, if you’re a knitter. (Frankly, I think it’s astonishing that I laughed instead of pitching a hissy fit. My new, improved brain pills must be kicking in.)

ha-ha

Th-th-that’s all, folks!

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Autorisible

According to Snaotheus, I have a knitting talent. A particular knitting talent. One stemming, in my opinion, from my generous heart: Everything I knit, in his worldview, is vastly oversized for its intended recipient.

For example, there was the child’s hat I finished up at his place when he and KrisDi lived in SoCal. I followed the instructions perzackly, and it not only went over Snaotheus’s decidedly adult and considerably inflated noggin, but came down to his shoulders so his head looked like a fireplug.

Therefore, when I use a pattern, I am overzealous to the point of absurdity about making sure I follow the destructions (at least those that relate to making sure it’s the right size).

Tonight I three-needle-bind-offed the shoulders on the Awesome Zombie Sweater, preparatory to knitting the hood and the sleeves. It went really well. Then I moved the last front stitches onto the needles and held it up to look.

I burst out laughing. Tears rolled down my cheeks. The destructions bounced off my lap. Bluedog shuffled in, a worried frown on her face. I gasped for breath, but laughter kept thundering forth.

The armholes on this sweater—which are, after checking them against the pattern, exactly as the pattern calls for—are about two inches in diameter. Not even big enough for a Chatty Cathy doll! Girlandi would have to bind La Ryantrelle’s arms like earlier-century Chinese girl babies’ feet to squeeze them into those tiny holes. And I don’t think La R. would tolerate that!

I tossed it aside while I caught my breath. I’m not going to decide tonight what to do with it. Frogging it will mean redoing nearly half of it. I may be able to steek it and rescue it. Either way, it’s Yet Another Learning Experience: Don’t trust patterns, either!

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No photos yet

I s’pose I’ll have to catch up with some photos sooner or later, of The Awesome Light and the Bros in the Hood painting (although I wasn’t foresightful enough to shoot it after I’d completed it but before I had it framed, so the only photo I have is of it about seven-eighths finished). And the Awesome Zombie Sweater and my linen sweater, on which I’m down to the sleeves. But (yawn) not today.

It’s raining again, which is fine since I shoved some kale and chard seeds in the ground yesterday. Some of the beets and lettuce are up, and maybe some of the bok choy, but they’re too small yet to tell which is which except for the color of some of the stems.

Discovered something interesting a couple of days ago. Remember that drainage grating that runs across my driveway? It’s collected enough dirt over the years that it’s started to grow weeds. I need to clean it out, but hadn’t gotten around to pulling out a tire iron or something to stick in one of the gratings to lift it. One particularly large patch of grass sticking out annoyed me, so I pulled on it to see if it would come out easily. Voila! The whole grating lifted. Turns out they’re not metal after all, but some sort of plastic. Weird. But that’ll make it easier to clean out, and there’s lots of moss and stuff inside. Kind of interesting, really, its own stripedy-light little world.

Ran across a prize in my search for Terry Pratchett hardcovers, and found ten—ten!—of the ones I don’t yet have. And for half or less of what I’ve been paying for them at Powell’s. I’m wondering whether, while Pratchett is ferociously popular in the Northwest such that you rarely even find used paperbacks, he might be less popular in other areas of the country, where the booksellers I ordered from under the AbeBooks aegis are located. I’d really like to find a shorter, earlier one called Eric, but that seems to be scarce.

Mmmm, lunchtime will be soon and I can have some of the lentil soup I started the other day. This was a throw-things-in-the-pot-and-see-what-happens deal, and it’s turned out *fantastically.* Couple of chopped onions, three or four garlic teeth, two cups of lentils and one or two cups of garbanzo beans, some chicken bouillon and a couple of teaspoons of garam masala, with everything adjusted as it cooked, and some salt. The nuttiness of the chickpeas blends with the garam masala and is just killer scrumptiolicious. Yummmmm. I have some baked flour tortilla chips that I can sorta pretend are naan to have with it. OK, so naan’s a stretch.

The Awesome Zombie Sweater is getting to the place where I can split the body to make armholes and neck. It won’t have any seams, like KrisDi’s green sweater. I like knitting things this way; less sewing, which is annoying. I quickly learned, though, that it’s not a good idea to try to knit intarsia (blocks of color requiring lengths of different-colored yarns used at the same time) on circular needles, because the technique is predicated on knitting back and forth and on circular needles, you’re basically knitting a very long spiral. Despite following the instructions carefully and matching the pattern’s measurements for a 24-mo. toddler, it looks big enough for a 3-year-old to me. Well, eventually La Ryantrelle will be 3, so maybe it’s OK.

Discovered a while back that the logic side of my brain has turned ultralazy. I used to be able to switch back and forth, from left to right, at will, and I suddenly noticed I was trying to solve a left-brain problem with a right-brain approach. Dumb. But I couldn’t get it to switch over, which really annoyed me. So I bought some crosswords and a basic sudoku book yesterday to remind it that it, too, has to make its contributions in order to serve its function in life.

That’s it for today. Please return to your regularly scheduled lives and live well.

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