Tuesday, December 23, 2008

February Baby Sweater and Mary Jane Saartjes

Well, I finished on time, and managed to get the booties done too!


Foo Foo February (Ravelry link)
Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles by Elizabeth Zimmermann, from Knitter's Almanac
Started: November 7, 2008
Finished: December 20, 2008
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight, colorway Little Bunny Foo Foo
Needles: US 4/3.75mm bamboo 16" circs and dpns
Gauge: ~6st/inch in garter stitch
Modifications: I knit the sleeves in the round to save seaming, and only put two buttons on the yoke.

Foo Foo Booties (Ravelry link)
Pattern: Mary Jane Saartje's by Starry (modified Saartje's Booties)
Started: December 20, 2008
Finished: December 21, 2008
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight, colorway Little Bunny Foo Foo
Needles: US 4/3.75mm bamboo dpns
Gauge: ~6st/inch in garter stitch
Modifications: none

Not sure which project took up which amount of yarn, but I was able to squeak both the sweater and the pair of booties out of one skein quite comfortably. I think that STR is my favourite yarn to knit with, and the colors are so pretty. The only problem is that they're often impossible to photograph. Little Bunny Foo Foo is a rich chocolate brown, with tan, and the prettiest pink, but it always seems to come out dull looking no matter what I do.

The buttons are also quite the coup, I must say. They're antique with a mother-of-pearl finish. The button itself is brown, and the irridescent finish shines tan and pink, and in person you couldn't find a more perfect match. Just don't ask me what I paid per button ;-)

Ok... off to finish wrapping Christmas presents, and knitting another baby sweater... This set is for Niece v1.0, and they're pretty sure she's a she, but I'm not taking any chances; there will be a boy sweater waiting just in case.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last-day-of-work-before-vacation-meme

Just because I can ;-)

If the last person you kissed said that you were the only one they wanted, what would you say?
"Legally, you're stuck with me anyway, so good on you."

Do you believe that any of your ex's still think about you?
I think so

Who person do you trust most?
Hubby

Do you think you're wasting your time on the person you like?
Nope

Can you fill this out without lying?
We'll see...

What are you doing now?
Waiting for water to boil

When is your birthday?
Springtime

Who was the last person you took a picture with?
Baby N.

What are you listening to?
Simon & Garfunkel

Is anything bothering you right now?
Pinkeye, the rain, and the fact that I'm leaving for vacay tomorrow and haven't packed a thing.

What plans do you have for tonight?
Packing for said vacay.

Where was the last place you fell asleep other than your own bed?
The car.

What is more important, happiness or trust?
Toss-up

What's the very first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit snooze

Most memorable thing that's happened to you this summer?
Watched my baby become aware of the world.

Who's the last person that told you they loved you?
Hubby

When's the last time you had a headache?
A week ago

What are you hoping to get this Christmas?
Some sleep, and a date with Hubby.

Do you ever think about stuff and start crying?
Not very often.

Do you ever think "what if" about anything?
Sure.

Are you happy with the way things are going?
More or less.

Do you hate people who smoke around you?
How about "strongly dislike"??

Who's bed did you sleep in last night?
Mine

Last person on your bed besides you?
Baby N.

Last time you had a sleepover?
1996?

Dark hair or light hair in the opposite sex?
Dark.

Who is your favorite person to talk to when you're blue?
Mom.

What woke you up this morning?
Cell phone.

Have you ever been awake for more then 2 nights straight?
Yes.

Where did you go in a car last?
Factory outlet shopping!

How many people have you kissed that name starts with the letter "J"?
Do brothers count?

Have any memories that you'd like to forget?
Yes.

Is your handwriting large, tiny, or pretty normal?
Normal.

Are you there for your friends?
Yes.

Did you date anyone this summer?
I spent every day with the new love of my life ;-)

Ever kiss a red head?
Yes.

Do you think the last person you kissed cares for you?
Yes.

Do/have you ever liked someone older than you?
Sure have.

Is there one thing/anyone that is on your brain constantly?
Moving back home.

What do you think about people that are home schooled?
Nothing. I wonder about their parents.

Do you believe that it is best to have a good friendship first then love?
Depends on the situation.

Do you think you can love someone without trusting them?
Yes, but always from a distance.

Is there someone who you can spend every minute with and be happy?
Yes, several someones.

Does anybody hate you?
I'd guess yes.

Do you hate anybody?
Unfortunately, yes.

What is something that you're looking forward to?
Vacation, seeing an actual movie in an actual movie theater.

Do you have any plans for tomorrow?
Driving the first leg of the trip home.

Have you eaten popcorn in the last 48 hours?
No.

Do you have an older brother?
Yes.

What will you do after this?
Go feed N. his lunch.

Have you ever walked in on people having sex?
Never.

Do you want to see somebody right now?
Yes, because I work in the lab alone all day.

What were you doing at 4 am?
Dealing with ketosis.

Is there any emotion you're trying to avoid right now?
Extreme hyperactivity about going on vacation.

Are you a forgiving person?
Nope.

Last thing you drank?
Really bad coffee.


You

1. What is the name most people call you?
El.

2. What would you consider your defining feature?
I have no idea.

3. You kiss: boys or girls?
Hubby :-) and he's a boy!

4. What do you wish your living situation was:
Back in my home province.

5. If got to choose your birthday, what day would it be?
On a weekend. Every year.


Last...

1. Time you did something you hated for money:
Stayed in grad school.

2. Time you defied a gender stereotype:
Went into a field of science dominated by men.

3. Time you succeeded at something you didn't care about:
My PhD defense.

4. Time you failed at something that mattered to you:
?

5. Time you filled out a sectioned survey like this one:
A few weeks ago, maybe?

6. Person you complimented:
N.'s daycare teachers, for being AWESOME.

7. Time someone lied to you:
This morning, when Hubby said he would get out of bed, but fell back asleep.

8. Time you were someone's crying shoulder:
October 25th, when we left home to come back here.

9. Person you cooked for:
Hubby.


1. If you were to kill a man, horror movie style, which kitchen utensil would you use?
Mandoline.

2. Did you ever swallow a coin?
No.

3. What was the worst gift you've ever received?
A cheap porcelain clock shaped like two swans facing each other, that never worked, for our wedding.

4. What is your most embarrassing childhood memory?
Falling in the mud after chasing after a bully who was picking on my friend.

5. How many kids do you want?
Maybe 2 more?

6. Whats your mom’s middle name?
E.

7. Have you ever operated a fire extinguisher?
No.

8. Worst car you ever had to drive and why?
Anything American-made; they're so cramped and crappy.

9. who do you hate?
*sigh*

10. what do you hope to have accomplished by the end of this year?
Sleep.

11. do you have any reallllly crazy relatives?
Oh, yes.

12. Did you ever wake up under the influence of NyQuil, completely unable to move?
No, but Tylenol cold and sinus makes me hallucinate.

13. Are you feeling nostalgic right now?
Yes.

14. Did you own a Lite-Brite?
Yes.

15. Can you dive?
Not on purpose.

16. Do you own a mouthpiece for anything?
Yes.

18. Have you ever used a pogo stick?
No.

19. Who was the most creative bum you've ever met, trying to get some money from you?
A kid who had a sign that said, "Money for food", who flipped it over when college kids went by, and it said "Money for pot" on the back.

20. Whats your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?
Toasted marshmallow.

21. favorite food you CRAVEEE?
Hmmm. Cake. In any form.

22. When was the last time you pulled lint out of your bellybutton?
I can't remember.

25. what is your favorite cologne/perfume you always wear?
Don't wear it; I'm allergic.

26. If you were on Double Dare, would you take the physical challenge?
Probably not.

27. What's the largest living organism that you killed?
Mouse.

28. Did you ever take a lighting bug and smear its guts on your arm so you get a cool glowing effect like war paint?
Eww.

29. What's the best toy you've ever gotten in a McDonalds happy meal?
I don't think I've gotten one in about 25 years.

30. if you could be anywhere in the world doing anything right now what would it be?
Home in my parent's house, knitting and drinking coffee, chatting with my Mom while N. played on the floor with the cat.

31. Can you juggle?
Yes. A baby and a backpack and a lunchbag and mail and keys.

32. how do you feel right now?
Tired.

33. Do you remember that square candy bar called "Chunky"?
Nope.

34. Predict the length of the next Peter Jackson movie.
I totally don't care.

35. What was your favorite toy as a kid?
Construction paper, glue, scissors, and glitter.

36. are you willing to go the distance?
Sure.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The kindness of strangers...

(Double-posted over here, for those who read both)

... and a long-winded story on the way to it.

In the mornings, the university shuttle has a route that loops through our neighborhood, and we have two chances to hop on. On the upswing (on the :10's), you have your pick of seats, but if you miss it, you can catch it on the downswing (on the :20's) on the other side of the street.

With N. in tow, I like to catch the 8:10AM bus on the upswing. It means I can sit in the front seat, which has tonnes of footroom for me to put my laptop bag, and N.'s stuff, without having to take up two seats. Yesterday, though, she was early (like, 8:05AM), and I had to flag her down when I was in the middle of the block, but it's no big deal (she's super).

Today, I got myself on the road early, so as not to miss her, but it ended up raining as soon as I left the apartment. I stopped to wait under the eaves of our little grocery store, and tried as best I could to keep N. from getting too wet. I figured I could flag her down again, and stay dry as long as possible, or maybe even catch the 8:00AM on the downswing.

Just as I got underneath, this woman came up to me and said, "Do you need an umbrella?" I smiled, and said, "Oh, no, that's OK. I have to wait for the bus anyway. But thank you!" She then proceeded to press the umbrella in my hands, already opened up for me, and insisted, "I have another one in the car, and I actually have a car. Please, take it."

I tried to protest again, but she just smiled and said, "Go ahead, you need it." I nearly started to cry, and I could only thank her and wish her Happy Holidays.

Then, I managed to catch the 8:00AM, who was running late, on the other side of the road, not having to wait much at all.

I have trouble sometimes with the people in this city. The ones that you think would be polite, courteous, and common sensical (i.e. the intelligentsia that surround me most of the time) are rude and ignorant. I can't count the number of times while pregnant when the profs and researchers here would literally shove me out of the way to get on the bus, or to get in line ahead of me at the cafeteria. More recently, they blow past me on the sidewalk, walking three abreast, forcing me into the mud with the baby.

Once in a while, though, my faith is restored by seemingly little things - the teenage boys who go out of their way to hold open the door for me when I have N. with me in the stroller. Last fall, the woman who cleans the tables in the caf saw me with a nosebleed one day, and brought me a container of crushed ice and some J-cloths to help stop the bleeding. I hadn't even seen her walk by me that morning before she placed it on the table in front of me. To this day, when she sees me she asks about N., and I don't even know her name.

And, then, the smallest gesture of all - one morning an elderly gentleman, hunched over but tall with pride, stepped to the side to allow me to pass onto a narrow footbridge downtown, and removed his hat and swept into a deep bow.

It makes me think it'll all be ok.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

When I was little, I loved change, but on a very small scale. I liked to do little irreversible things, and be the first one to do them. I jumped at the chance to crack through the ice bubbles over puddles, I loved opening sealed packages, the first day of school with a new teacher, writing on a clean piece of plain white paper. I even poked holes in the corners of a room full of fresh wallpaper where it was stretched over the corners, much to my mom's dismay.

These days, though, I don't like anything that has any sort of finality to it. If I can't take it back, I don't want to make the decision. If it's marching in one direction, I want to stop it. In a lot of ways, it makes having an infant son torture, since he changes practically by the hour. Even with my knitting, there are times when I hate the idea of starting a project. I don't want to wind the yarn skein because I'll never be able to get it back to the way it was.

In undergrad, I wanted to spend as much time at home as possible because it was the same; constant and unchanging. Now, I want to be there because it is changing, and I think that somehow my being there will slow it down.

I've been mulling this post over for a few days, and it took a more defined form in my mind yesterday as I was heading to the bookstore for a coffee and some knitting time. (It was my day off, but since the boyo is now in daycare, I stay on campus so I can go and feed him on demand). It's nice to have some dedicated knitting in my day, but it's also more time to think.

All this reflection is due to the situation with my Grammie, who some of you may remember way back when took a fall, broke her shoulder, and had a rough time rehabbing from the surgery.

She's never been the same since, but when we look back on it, she hadn't been herself for quite some time. She turned 89 in August, and is still living at home (with home-care visiting twice a day), but things have slowly been declining.

Her memory seems to get worse and worse as the weeks pass. When she was first out of the hospital, she asked when my Grandpa was going to be home from work (he passed away in 1988), but caught herself and felt really bad. That alone broke my dad's heart, I'm sure, but there were more incidents. After spending most of last winter housebound (with the exception of doctor's appointments), she went to Mom and Dad's for lunch one Sunday in the spring, and talked on and on about the nice new house they were in, and asking who owned it... Mom and Dad have been in that house since 1978.

Things like this have been adding up, but she does pretty well if everyone sticks to her routine. She hasn't cooked her meals for a while, because she forgets any and all recipes, but over the holidays my Dad goes over to help her make traditional meat pies for Christmas. Last year it went really well, she was able to do it with some reminding about the ingredients, and they turned out fine.

This year, though, one of her nieces brought over some of the ingredients (which she often does), and left them in the fridge for my Dad to get later that day when he went to help cook. He showed up and found pork fat burnt to the bottom of a cast iron pot, and the house smelling of smoke. It's only by the grace of God that it didn't catch fire. She'd put it on to render the fat, but turned it up to high and left and fell asleep in the living room. Luckily she woke up in time to turn it off, but it was the biggest wake-up call we've had, in a year and a half of hints.

(Sometimes God whispers when he wants you to pay attention. If you don't listen, then he YELLS.)

Dad had to take the fuses out of the stove to render it inoperable. That broke her heart as well as his, since she does have plenty of times where she realizes what's happening to her.

Mom told me about this a couple of days ago, then remembered that a few weeks ago there was another major memory event that also falls into that sort of category. And, it was the thing that we've all been dreading.

When my little brother moved home, he started visiting her every day. He's the baby, and she took care of him when Mom went back to work in the early 80's, so in a lot of ways, he's her pet. On about his third or fourth visit, though, she didn't recognize him. She kept on saying he was her long-dead uncle. We were able to rationalize it because Little Bro does look like this uncle - short, stocky, fair blond - and it's not the typical apperance of the men in our family. That doesn't take away that hurt, though.

She doesn't remember names of people who came into her life recently; she rarely remembers my sister-in-law's name, but she knows that my brother is married. She also can't remember the baby's name, but she knows I have a baby boy. She does remember Hubby's name, but he was in the picture for a few years before she took her fall, and I think he spent more time around the family than S-I-L did (just by chance).

The thing is, it seems like lots has changed, but nothing has changed. We've always taken care of her since my Grandpa died, and we're her only immediate family. Sometimes when I talk to her, she's the same Grammie who taught me how to poach an egg, and sat patiently with me while I tried to master french knots on my first embroidery projects. I need her to still be in there somewhere.

God, this is hard.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So, it works.

Which means, I guess, that I can't complain too much. No pics yet, but I wound up one of my two skeins of BMFA STR in Goody Goody from this year's sock club. It's delicious. I might cast on for something with it once the February Baby sweater is done, just because it's so delicious.

Or I might wind up some more yarn ;-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can I review something before I even use it?

Well, my swift and ball winder arrived today.... The swift is out of the box, and set up. I had to leave the larger box with the ball winder down in the lobby, since I was carrying 18lb of baby, too, but that part I'm not worried about. The Royal ball winders seem to be the only game in town, and I've used one, so I'm pretty sure I know what I'm in for.

The swift, well, I thought I knew what I was in for.

I will say that if it works, I'll dial back the complaining, but for the amount of money I paid, I'm not sure it's of high enough quality. The wood is cheap, and unfinished, and not even properly sanded. I know, it's my fault for not doing enough research, and it'll probably suit my needs just fine, but I'm a little disappointed (in myself as much as the swift).

I'll wind up something as a test run once I have everything set up.