Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why do we torture ourselves?

Chuck and I are both paying a heavy price for spending the weekend lounging. After Friday's escapade at the Summer Circle performance, we spent Saturday attending Festival of the Sun in Old Town. The event was okay and had one of my wine tasting pet peeves -- not all of the booths were listed in the brochure received at the entrance. Okay, so that sounds like a little flaw to nag over, and I usually overlook it if it's a single table; but we're talking about half of the tables were NOT on the list I received. That's an issue for me because I usually mark up these lists with notes on what I did/didn't like for the wines sampled. For my knit-ins, I usually buy 3 to 4 bottles of wine, and probably go through another 3 bottles during the rest of the month. I really do enjoy serving new and interesting wines, especially if I knew they could be purchased locally. Usually at these tastings, the tables are too crowded to afford anything but a quick glance between the bottle being sampled and the list -- just enough of a peek for me to remember the name and make it to a table to write notes. Sure, I could probably write down the vintner and variety also, but more likely I'd write it wrong as opposed to circling the wrong wine if it were already on the list for me.

To round out our lazy weekend, Sunday was spent at charity knitting, receiving help from Nancy on my weaving, and picking up Sylvain after a weekend visit with his dad; which brings me back to my original subject line -- we're heading out for a holiday camping trip tomorrow after work. It's after midnight; Chuck's in the kitchen making granola and packing up our food; and I just finished cleaning the house and am waiting for the last bit of laundry to finish so that it can be packed to take with us or put away. All of these chores could easily have been accomplished this weekend, if we had the proper motivation.

Enough of me complaining -- we're getting just what we deserve with this. Let's talk weaving! In early May, I had warped my rigid heddle loom with a 6-napkin project. I'm only a pretend weaver, so don't really know the yarn lingo for weaving. The warp is a thin, green, 1/29, double-stranded cotton and the weft is a thicker, green 1/24 cotton that can be best described as boucle, but that just doesn't sound right to me.

This napkin project ended up being held up because I've been super busy, but I also had tension problems early on and only weaved a few inches before knowing that something was truly wrong. So, like I mentioned in the Sunday run-down, Nancy was patient enough to show me where things went wrong and how to fix 'em. In the process, the few inches I had needed to be torn out, so even with starting the project over, I had about 9-inches of weaving accomplished by Sunday night.

The napkins are going to be just plain weave, which is where I'm hoping the boucle-wannabe yarn will help by adding just the right amount of texture to the fabric. Sorry the photo to the left is so washed out, but hopefully you'll be able to see what I mean. Now, if only I could have a few nights of uninterrupted weaving time, maybe a full set would be done before my August knit-in. My July knit-in is next week, so there's no hope of being done by then. When I mentioned the possibility of bringing the loom camping, Chuck groaned, rolled his eyes, and reminded me how stuffed to the gills the Jeep will already be. So, I have to settle for Lisa's shawl and my Flat Feet socks (formerly Chuck's Flat Feet socks).

UPDATE: I just realized that next week's knit-in will be at Jane's, so maybe I'll have time to weave up a stack of napkins afterall. Hmmmmm.....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sweating my ASS off...

Since you're here reading this, you're probably hoping to escape the deluge of media coverage regarding the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I'll spare you any more mention of these two events that have defined this week other than this: it's sad to hear of this on both accounts, but who is truly surprised? Farrah pretty much said her good-byes while she could. And as for MJ, it's only a matter of time before the unfortunate comparisons to Anna-Nicole (and those that placated each of them) begins.

Regardless, thank you for choosing to read this instead and I hope to keep you entertained...

So there are times when I'm really not a smart person. When I'm pissed off I can be down-right stubborn, which is how I feel right now. I'm sitting on the theater bleachers in the HOT sun, sweating my ass off with a glass of wine in one hand and a wool sweater I'm working in the other. Yes, wool. Chuck's sitting in a camp chair in the shade, talking loudly on the cell phone. I'm very annoyed because he's probably quite cool over there, but he's ruining the quiet that existed before he returned from fetching the chair from my trunk by describing his car repair escapade (in excruciating detail); he criticized my driving on the way here (the gall of him!); and he's blaming me for not making sure that the dinner he fixed for himself was in the picnic basket. [I made sure my sandwich and my wine was there -- anything else was extraneous in my book.]

Mark bailed out for the evening, and I hope that Parker and Becky both make it soon. The Summer Circle's performance of "Kid Purple" and the late show of "Clevinger's Trial" (a short from Catch 22) will begin soon. Chuck's trying to convince me to me to head out for the MSU Astronomy Club's open telescope night tonight. If you're not up for theater, definitely head out for the telescopes tonight -- it's quarter moon, so that won't be too vexing for getting a view of Saturn and whatnot. Plus, you get to keep my drunk ass company when I'm tired and ready to go, but Chuck's busy chit-chatting with his 'scope buddies.

TWILIGHT update: so I managed to pass my obsession on to one of my coworkers and to one of the knitters. My coworker has actually started listening to the soundtrack at the office (hee, hee) and my knitter friend will have my copies of the books in hand for a weekend trip (glad to be an pusher)

Well, the play's ready to start....stay cool for me while I'm sweating my ASS off...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Something really bad happened inside my purse

This morning I made an unpleasant discovery. Hidden within my purse, I keep a small packet of Beaner's chocolate covered espresso beans. The beans come in particularly useful when I'm in a meeting or presentation that is just dragging on and on. Well, at some point in the recent past, a few of these beans slipped out of their packaging and were free to jostle around in the bottom of my nice Coach bag.

If you're in Michigan (or anywhere else in the Mid-west, for that matter), then you're well familiar with how sweltering HOT it's been out. So, this morning while digging out a hair clip from my purse, I found a mass of melted beans holding together a glob containing my barette, one of my flash drives, a pen, and several bobby pins. Yuck! I hope the rest of my day is better than this....

Monday, June 22, 2009

When is it better to leave well enough alone?

Hello out there in the blogosphere. Please keep in mind the title question as it's one that both Chuck and I have learned over the course of the past few days. First, let's start with Chuck. As I mentioned in previous posts, this weekend was the Christening for his cousin's twins. Prior to leaving for Cleveland, Chuck decided to tinker with his car because the air conditioner was on the fritz. Sure, it worked, but it didn't get as cold as it used to. Being the handy guy that he is, Chuck read a couple of articles and looked-up a couple of YouTube repair videos, and seemed prepared to futz around in the engine trying to remedy this problem. While in Cleveland, his car started to act funny and the A/C quit working altogether. Needless to say, he returned just fine late last night; however, his car let out the most hideous squealing racket, followed by smoke pouring out of the engine. The A/C compressor siezed up causing a major belt to break. This is his week to do some work in northern Indiana and we were hoping to use his car for our up-coming camping trip, so getting it to the shop for repair fell upon my shoulders. On the plus side, my AAA membership is up to date, so the tow to the mechanic's was free. On the down side, the repair estimate came in at $1,300. [Yes, you read that right.] I'm almost convinced that whatever he did to his engine for "repair" didn't necessarily break it because it wasn't working correctly in the first place, but his actions probably helped accelorate it's decline.

Now, for my little lesson: I made the bone-headed decision to trust Chuck to attach our "congrats" card to the gift box with the cupcake hats inside, so I didn't bother to place a label onto the gift. Yes, that was very retarded of me. Chuck had reassured me that he'd sign my name to the card, since he hadn't bought it yet and that was his contribution. Unfortunately, he sat the box onto the gift table, then stuck the card into the card box. This usually wouldn't have been a problem had this been a normal-sized gathering, but let me back up and say that there was approximately 100 RSVPs to the Christening party; and (according to Chuck) the cops offered to help with parking and traffic control during the event. Apparently, the cops on duty were Croat, and their Christenings are even larger than the Hungarians', so they were very prepared to lend a hand. I'm hoping that Chuck's cousin will see the handknitted hats that were wrapped in pink giftwrap stamped with red hearts and know that it was from me. I really don't feel like calling over there out of fear of sounding expectant and tacky on the phone. If there's a "next time", I will insist on taping the stupid card to the gift myself.

Okay, enough about us -- it's been a while since I've had a crazy experience and boy do I have one that just made me smile. Saturday night, I attended the MSU Summer Circle performance. I made plans to meet up with Mark there; he arrived early to the "theater" and ran into Turfgrass Sue and her husband Scott. (Ok, so what if she no longer works at the Library, I'll always think of her as associated with Turfgrass). They opted to sit in the bleachers to have a straight-on view of the stage, which is where I caught up with them. I didn't care, just as long as I could see. We had plenty of time for chit-chat before the performance, and that's when I first noticed him. Perched on a bleacher seat three rows down and to the left was my Saturday night loon with wacked-out hair and beady eyes. You could tell that something was just a little off with the way that he kept nervously looking around him and fidgeted; and despite the sweltering 80o weather, he was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. He seemed to keep it together for the 2-hours or so of the play; but afterwards, there was a late performance of Beckett's "Rough for Theater I" and that's when it happened. Throughout the first half of the sketch, Mr. Saturday Night wasn't in his seat, so I thought he had decided to take off (as a lot of people did). During a particularly tense part of the performance, out he bounds from the pitch-dark bushes (presumably after being in the Aud) and walks towards his previous seat, where others have moved to so that they could have a better vantage point of the stage. Rather than sitting on the bleacher, he asks one of the guys sitting there in a not-too-quiet voice, "Hey, man, do you happen to know what time it is?" I'm not sure what it was -- maybe it was his delivery or the fact that he was completely oblivious to the performance on stage or it could have been just the sound of his voice, but the largest shit-eating grin spread across my face and I immediately glanced over to Mark, who looked at me like he was going to throttle me if I started to laugh. Ahhhh, sometimes I find that I'm more enteretained by the world around me than I have any right to be.

OK, enough of that. A couple of things before I go: first, in case you're here because you're truly interested in my knitting, let me warn you that I am currently test-knitting a couple of patterns for friends of mine and won't be highlighting these projects until they've published their works. I hope to have these projects done after the holiday and thing's'll get back to normal. Second, I know that this is a couple of days old but just in case you haven't seen this yet, I really enjoyed this Buffy vs. Edward video and hope you find it as entertaining as I did. If you're watching this while at work -- be forewarned that it's about 6 minutes long and you definitely need sound to truly enjoy this.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Movie night

I'm kicking myself because I didn't drag Chuck out of the house yesterday to watch the MSU Theater Dept.'s Summer Circle Theater performance. It was such a nice day, but I was pooped, and really felt like knitting. Today's performance will likely be rained out (it's not looking promising outside right now). And I'll miss the Saturday performance because Sylvain is returning from Scout camp tomorrow and I was hoping that we'd go to the East Lansing Jazz Fest to hear his bass instructor perform (as part of the Arlene McDaniels Trio).

Chuck's headed for Cleveland tonight for the twins Christening tomorrow. I had been making Debby Ware's cupcake beanies as a present for them and finished the knitting last weekend. During my lazy evening last night, I *tried* to make the pom-poms for the beanies, but failed miserably. The yarn kept tangling on me while I was trying to wrap it around my cardboard template (please don't ask me how -- but it kept ending up as a loose wad of yarn; maybe I was being all thumbs or something). Even though I hate making pom-poms, I hated even more the thought of giving away the beanies without them, so was driven out of bed at 5 this morning to finish the project once and for all. Even then, I couldn't get the sizing right and started snipping away at the pom-poms to get them down to an evenly-shaped round ball. The more I cut, the more nervous I got that I'd end up cutting it lop-sided or down to nothing. It reminded me of the one and only time that I ever cut my own hair. I was a freshman in high school and wanted bangs, but ended up with a spike of hair that was approximately a half-inch long. Though I give myself credit for single-handedly bringing back headbands into local fashion....

Tonight, I've made plans with Mark and Becky for a movie night. For some reason, Becky managed to escape the 80s and 90s without watching some of James Cameron's best films. Mark and I are taking care of this deficiency by having a marathon viewing of "Terminator", "Terminator 2", and "Aliens". I have plenty of knitting to do and, hopefully, the tense parts of these films won't be reflected in my stitches...

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Oh, but I like it that way..."

which was my reply, delivered in an up-beat tone with a smile on my face to some kind stranger this afternoon in Meijer who pointed out to me that my zipper was down. DAMN these jeans!!! I swear that I didn't have this problem with these pants before dropping them off at the tailors to be hemmed. I guess that's what I get for being lazy and not doing the tailoring myself. But that still doesn't explain why this problem is occurring. Either I was given the wrong pair of pants; or, my zipper was broken while at the tailor; or, I had been walking around with my zipper down before the hem adjustment and never knew it...I hate waste, but this zipper thing is driving me crazy, where I'm seriously considering throwing the pants away just so I don't have to mess with it.

I'm a little excited for my knit-in/cook-out I'm hosting tomorrow. Diane is supposed to come over for an impromptu send-off since she leaves in a couple of days for a temp job assignment in Massachusetts. In honor of this, I made a Boston Cream Pie for our dessert, though while looking up a recipie, I wondered if I've ever actually had a real piece of this pie before. I settled on a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, who has never failed me. Chuck was pretty skeptical as to whether Boston Cream Pie involved sponge cake (as the recipe suggests), but I'm counting on the New Englander culinary experts to know more about this than one Cleveland Hungarian. Hopefully, it'll taste okay.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Last night was another sleepless night. I finished the second cupcake beanie around 1 am and began working on the toe shaping for Chuck's Flat Feet sock. He was still awake, so I asked him what he thought about the sock so far; his reply was a less than enthused "Don't you think I have enough socks?"

Well, actually no, dip shit. Sure, he has a slight excess of generic, white tube socks, but I haven't made a pair of hand knit socks for him already. Ever. If you're a fellow fiber friend, then I'm sure that you're nodding your head in agreement that there's nothing that takes the wind out of project's sails more than knowing the item isn't wanted or appreciated. And, if you're familiar with me, then you're also well aware of the Herculean effort it is for me to actually knit socks. One glance at my Ravelry project page is enough evidence to show that I prefer larger productions such as multi-colored sweaters and other interesting challenges.

So, this morning while Sylvain was putting the last items he'll need at Scout camp this week, I pulled out the ball winder, stripped out the remaining rows of yarn on the flat, and tore the sock down to a ball. For yarn that's $25 per pair, I sure as hell was not about to finish them and give it to someone who could care less. For a fleeting moment, I considered finishing them and offering them up to anyone who wore a men's 11.5 or 12, but the destructive side of me won and I felt immense satisfaction as the stitches flew off the fabric.

I'm hanging out at Beaner's waiting for Sue to chit chat, during which I'll cast-on a new pair of socks. For me, this time...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I have the worst taste in music

So, I received a "free" set of 50 downloads from eMusic and have had the past two weeks to choose songs. Well, my "free" account expires tonight at midnight and I've only found 14 songs that I wanted to download. How pathetic is that? I just can't seem to find anything that interests me enough to want a copy of. I'm pretty music illiterate to start with, and feel that it's best for me to know exactly what I'm looking for, since the "Browsing" option just isn't working for me. It's so bad to the point where the "Must Haves" that have been identified for me are all Al Green albums. What the hell, man? I'm so not an Al Green fan, and am beginning to think the website is just messing with me. Sounds paranoid, right?

So far, I've picked out songs from Tiesto, M|A|R|R|S, Girl Talk, Bjork, Beethoven, CCR, De La Soul, and Motley Crue. [Yes, part of me is totally stuck in the past. Whenever I hear "Bad Moon Rising", I think of the movie "American Flyers" with Kevin Costner and Rae Dawn Chong, and "Fortunate Son" makes me think of "Full Metal Jacket", both of which are a pretty good flicks by the way.] And it hasn't been for lack of trying. I've racked my brain for songs that I wished I had on my little I-thing, and looked for stuff by The Ting Tings, Soho, Reverand Horton Heat, even J.J. Fad, but came up empty-handed on the songs I wanted. Maybe I'm just not in an adventurous enough mood to be doing this right now.

At any rate, I'd like to share a couple of links that I thought were completely cool things: the first is about a Doctor Who-themed funeral -- what a way to go! The second might be seen by some as being a little irreverent, but I think that it would really tie the room together if I had it framed and on my den wall.

Before I go, a little update on the cupcake beanies: for the record, I'm only making two. Originally, I was thinking that I would make one for each of the three babies born into Chuck's family over the past two months, but have decided to cut back to focusing only on the twins. Sorry Leo & Nicole -- I'll have to do something much cooler than that for Gabriella. At any rate, I was struck with one of the worst cases of insomnia last night; leaving me to start the second beanie around midnight and making it through to the bobbles before finally going to bed. Sylvain leaves tomorrow morning for his first of five weeks of Scout camp over the summer; I wonder if that's what has me wound....

Now, if you excuse me, I need to browse through a few thousand more songs before the night is through...

UPDATE! I found that the soundtrack to Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog is available! Hooray! Now I have something to sing to while at the office....coworkers beware! 14 tracks down! 22 more to go!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One cupcake beanie done...

So, I was a little ambitious in my previous posting about what I had hoped to accomplish during the Cleveland Stitch 'n Pitch. In my defense, we did not arrive at the stadium as early as I preferred, and, in the interest of keeping the peace, that is all that I will say regarding punctuality. The only project that I ended up working on was the Cupcake Beanie by Debby Ware, which was a kit that I picked up at the Guild's end of the year garage sale from Sara....I casted-on during the 1st inning and was left with only a couple of rounds of decreasing for the crown and ends to sew in by the end of the game. This will go with Chuck to his cousin's newborn twins' Christening next weekend, so I need to make a second one this weekend. Hopefully, I can get him to make the pom-poms because his come out so much better than mine.

In case you're interested in the baseball side of the Stitch 'n Pitches, the game was against the Kansas City Royals and the Tribe was losing until a late grand slam tipped the score in their favor. I only know this because everyone else around me was yelling, screaming, and on their feet as I worked away on this hat.

I had hoped that Chuck's sisters and their lone knitting friend would have come with me when I first ordered the tickets, but unfortunately, they had to work and I'm not sure if their friend felt comfortable with going with someone she barely knew. So, I ended up taking Sylvain, Chuck's mom Mary, and Chuck's brother-in-law Rob with me to the game. None of them were into fiber arts, so I ended up with their goody bags, which normally I wouldn't complain about, but the bags all had the same items: a 2009-2010 Fiber Mania travel guide, a set of acrylic crochet hooks, a Stitch 'n Pitch tape measure, a pencil, and a nifty vinyl notions bag. All of which I already have in one form or another; so having four more is complete overkill. If you're interested this stuff, please let me know. I'll definitely have it up for grabs at the knit-in I'm hosting this coming Tuesday, so first come, first served.

Last thing I should mention is that it might be intervention time: Remember the gift card I mentioned receiving a couple posts back? Well, I used it to purchase my own copy of "Twilight" in hard cover so that I could return Tracy's to her and used the remaining balance towards a copy of the "Twilight" movie so that the copy I had could go back to Blockbuster. When Chuck saw what I had purchased, he snidely asked if they were out of posters for my bedroom....I didn't think to look for that, but I've never really been a poster-kind of gal. So the intervention part comes in b/c I've set the movie on every night to fall asleep to. Yes, I'm that pathetic. But it's not as bad as a friend who confided that a co-worker of hers does the exact same thing, but takes it a step further by listening to the soundtrack all day while at work. I'm not quite there, so there's definitely hope for me yet.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to go get my Bruce Campbell fix by watching Burn Notice, then Royal Pains...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sitting in the sun, waiting for the game..

I probably shouldn't be doing this, but I'm at Chuck's parents house, sitting on their deck, and hoping that the hour wait 'til we leave for tonight's Indians Stitch 'n Pitch will be enough time for me to even out my rocket-pop style tan I'm sporting on my legs. [If you've seen me lately, you'll know that that's not even close to being an exaggeration.] I'm probably soaking in enough sun to get me started well down the road towards skin cancer...It's sunny and HOT here in Cleveland; hopefully the swag in tonight's goodie bags will be well worth suffering in this heat. Yes, it's only early-June, and only about mid-70os, but I'm not meant for hot weather!!

Tonight's Stitch 'n Pitch projects will be baby cupcake hats in Cotton Classic (I need to make 3), the match for Chuck's Flat Feet sock, and to start a pair of socks for myself in Tofutsies. That sounds like the right amount of stuff to keep me busy...

Before I go, I'd like to mention that we tried to watch "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans". Yes, tried. It has to be a truly bad movie for me to lose total interest and turn it off before I could fall asleep while attempting to watch. I don't recommend this stinker of a film to anyone.

So, anyways, I'm sweating my tail off and am deluding myself into thinking that the worst of the tan lines on my legs are starting to fade. I'll be back later to update with *hopefully* photos of finished work and the goodie bag stuff.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And so summer begins...

This week was Sylvain's last week of middle school...I guess calling it a week of school is being a bit generous with some of the week dedicated to class parties and a trip to Cedar Point. He played his last orchestra concert earlier in the week; after which we decided that he'll take the summer off from lessons. I just hope that he'll pick up his bass on his own during the break, even if it's just to strum along to nothing in particular.

I haven't done much knitting this week. Still working on Chuck's socks and started a sweater, but am having gauge issues. Unlike last week, I've been struggling with a book I'm supposed to be reading for tomorrow's book club meeting. It's "Street of a Thousand Blossoms" by Gail Tsukiyama and I just can't get into it. I'm so bad to the point where I've taken to listening to it on CD while at the office, but am only paying cursory attention to it. If I can't get through it over the course of today and tomorrow morning, I'm just going to have to skip book club this month. I'm having better luck with H.P. Lovecraft's "Tales", and had picked that up based on a friend's recommendation.

I watched a few movies this week:
• multiple viewings of "Twilight" (and Jessie's right that it gets better each time);

• "Up": which was great; definitely take the kids to this one, but be prepared for a very heart-breaking 20 minutes of animation that brings saps like me to sniffles;

• "Drag me to Hell": okay, so don't think of this as a horror movie; think of it as a fun, fast-paced adventure where girl gets cursed, and girl tries to break curse; simple as that; sure, fluids of all kinds abound, but once you get over the ick-factor, you'll realize that it was actually enjoyable to watch.

As for TV watching: made it halfway thru the season 1 DVDs of "The Tudors" , saw the season premiere of "Burn Notice" and series premiere of "Royal Pains". I enjoyed them all, and only need for July to get here soon enough for "The Closer" to begin, then my summer TV schedule will be complete.

And as for crazies: I guess I shouldn't necessarily call it crazy, but certainly unexpected: I received a letter at my office from a guy I met at the Great Lakes Homeland Security conference. He had lended me a hand in dismantling my exhibit booth on the last day of the conference, and I helped him by shipping his booth boxes from my office (so he didn't have to schlep them himself). The letter was a Thank You note with a $20 gift card inside. Don't get me wrong, we have very clear ethics requirements at work, but since he was also a Fed, I'm sure that he knew that $20 was the monetary limit we're set to. I think that Chuck thought that it was weird, but funny too. If receiving random gifts of cash is the extent of odd happenings coming my way, then maybe that's just the sort of out-of-the-blue craziness I can get used to...