Thursday, December 29, 2005


Today I:
  • had corn/flax/amaranth flakes and coffee for breakfast
  • am having a bean and rice burrito, a bag of Kettle chips, and a banana for lunch
  • am experiencing knitting options overload

There are so many things I want to knit I don't know where to begin. I'm going totally ADD. And I still have some X-mas knitting to do:

  1. pink seaman's hat
  2. pink hat (child size)
  3. red scarf (this is a new addition)
  4. something or other, probably black (I forget)
  5. pink flower brooch
  6. black newsies (flip-top mittens)

I forced myself to bring the pink seaman's hat to last night's S'nB, but I didn't get very far. I was too busy eating and looking at knitting books and generally procrastinating. At present, I have quite a few non-Xmas things in the knitting queue:

  1. black seaman's hat
  2. 4 pairs of socks (I bring this on myself)
  3. a cardigan... or three
  4. black alpaca scarf
  5. revamping Joe's scarf

And, of course, I am perpetually adding more. It was only last night that I started one of those four pairs of socks (Ugh!) - a basic rib-cuff, stockinette sock using aquamarine Lamb's Pride Superwash. Since I'm using US #7 needles there is actually some hope of these getting done sometime soon. Meanwhile, my Gentleman's Shooting Socks languish. Not because I don't love them, but because I am too distracted to look up where I left off in the pattern.

Top it all off with the Aran knitalong I am about to join in order to use up all that Orchard worsted wool my grandma sent me.

Wish me luck at actually achieving FO.

Last night, I:

  • drank a hot cocoa and some kind of Japanese chocolate bar
  • had a can of tuna and an avocado for dinner. I gave a nod to civilization and put the avocado on a plate.
  • had coffee with soy milk and a pack of chips at Sn'B
  • watched Reign of Fire again while knitting socks.
  • noticed no significant change in the health of my houseplants

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Morbid, Me?

Today I:

  • had the same thing as yesterday for breakfast - exciting me!
  • had a banana and two bean and rice burritos for lunch - hungry me!
  • drank a cup of green tea
  • passed over the whole pineapple and grapefruit on the OFC (WTF?)

Saturday I went to the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities in Philadelphia before heading off to X-mas Eve dinner. Joe and I had our first date there and haven't been back since. Not much has changed: the giant skeleton still stands next to the dwarf skeleton, the soap woman is in her glass case, the fetuses are still lined up along the wall, and the Before and After shots of syphilis are still up, giving hope to us all that yes, there is a cure! This time there was a special exhibition on conjoined twins, the illnesses of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the medical history of US presidents.

I must admit that one of the things I like about the Mutter is the decor. Lots of dark wood paneling and brass railing.

I wanted to go there the first time because I had heard about it during my move to Philadelphia and was curious. Joe wanted to go there because it was somewhere I wanted to go, and was willing to go with him. A museum of medical oddities probably sounds like a strange place for a first date, but let me tell you, it certainly does make you feel life is short, precious, and above all, unaccountably weird, which is not a bad mind set for a first date, come to think of it. What is that funny feeling in my stomach? It must be love... or fear or dying. Hmmm.

Well, we've been together five years.

This time, Joe bought the T-shirt. And the calendar. And eyeball candy. (His enthusiasm is growing on the subject, which is surprising, considering his childhood hypochondria.)

Last night, I:

  • had a eggplant parmesan sub and an Italian beer while doing laundry
  • ate a couple Terroni
  • drank a lot of water
  • finally got a plant light for my dying plants
  • found myself strangely attracted to its light
  • knit under it for an hour - or rather - unknit an entire sock and started over
  • got more sock yarn in the mail

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I Came, I Saw, I Nearly Vomited

Today I :
  • had corn/flax/amaranth flakes with soy milk and coffee for breakfast
  • am having a bean and rice burrito for lunch
  • should have stayed home (almost everyone else did!)

The Dreaded Philly Trip

I made it back alive! Whoo-Ee!

The cat was alive when we got back, too, thanks to our trusty catsitter.

Joe swears he will never pressure me into going to Philadelphia again. I'm not sure I want to go anywhere again. I get nauseous in the elevator at work, on trolleys, you name it, it will make me puke. It only took a couple incidents to convince selfish older cousins that to bully me out of the window seat on road trips was not in their best interests. I could tell you how many times a 45 lbs five year old girl can puke within twenty minutes, and it's a lot more than you would expect.


I forgot to buy Dramamine. I spent 16+ hours on various Chinatown buses trying not to relive my childhood. I packed an entire bag of knitting projects and only managed to pass the heel on one of the Lion Brand Magic Stripe Toe-Up socks between boughts. I tried the sock on last night, and you know what? I really hate what happens with the heel. The easiest thing to do at this point would be to RIP OUT THE WHOLE DAMN SOCK AND START IT OVER FROM THE CUFF.

So, yeah, big -10 on the knitting scale this weekend.

I also got my wish re. hearing Mandarin on the Chinatown bus, but it was torture. It was right behind me. Two guys were talking to each other, one rather hesitantly, but I didn't think anything of it at the time since Mandarin is often a second language to Chinese (the first being their local dialect.) However, after about an hour of this the guy who spoke fluent, natural Mandarin started explaining the history of Taiwan and the Sino-Japanese War to the other guy. My head whipped around, and yes! Dammit! Argh!

The hesitant guy was American. A red head.

Jealousy gnawed at me for the next couple hours. (That, and motion sickness.)

I really need to either 1) resume studying Mandarin or 2) give it up altogether.

There are some positive things to report, however.

For instance, I did not, in fact, lose my wallet in New York. It was on my coat pocket. (There's a reason why I wore a wallet chain for ten years that has nothing to do with fashion.)

Also, I got to see an awesome sink in the spare bathroom at Bob's house:

I want this sink so badly I can taste it. The bathroom tile is rather common for West Philly, but this sink! The house is Late Victorian and this could possibly be the original sink. (The basin itself is porcelain, a replacement.) If they installed this sink in the '20s I'd be very surprised. Most of the 1920s sinks I've seen are enameled cast iron, either wall-mounted or pedestal style, but never like this. This is straight-up Edwardian, possibly Victorian, in my opinion. (1910s at the latest.) This bathroom also had a wooden wall-mounted medicine cabinet over the sink and a claw-footed tub. The toilet was newish (last forty years).

Sad to say this bathroom was the single most exciting thing for me all weekend. That and Rosalie.

This is Rosalie. She is a very small, very squat cat, and she likes to climb ladders.
Rosalie belongs to a couple people we know in Philly who let us crash at their house Friday night. Their house, like many Philly houses, is what I like to call "in transition".
Stairwell outside the room we slept in. Watch that first step!

The room we slept in. Our hostess was very proud of her newly sheetrocked walls and loft bed. I covet the little red table.
Kitchen wall, with the Madonna and Baby Jim painting. Very festive. Did I mention we stayed with artist types?

Last night, I:

  • had cheeseless pizza for lunch
  • drank much coffee
  • ate tater tots and Tofu Pups for dinner
  • had half a croissant for breakfast
  • drank a beer
  • watched Amelie twice

Later: I did more research and yes, indeed, that is the original sink!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Today I:

  • had a slice of carrot cake for breakfast, courtesy of the OKC
  • have had two cups of coffee
  • am having the leftover "Asian stir fry" for lunch
  • got an astonishing Xmas bonus
  • wonder whatever I did for it

It is going to be very hard to leave this job if they keep buttering me up like this. Tonight is the Xmas party, even. There will be dinner and an open bar. Devious employers!

I started my first pair of Magic Stripe socks last night using Wendy's Toe-Up method (and with the help of the Knitting Fiend. It always helps to cross-reference directions.) The result is, I have mastered wrapping short rows!

Well, perhaps that was an overstatement. I did wrap short rows. They weren't so bad that I had to reknit them.

The sock, however, is about to be decimated.

Fugly, yes, it is; Lion Brand Magic Stripes, yes, that, too... But that is not the reason I will be unraveling the thing tonight.

My gauge is off.

It needs to be 8s=1", but it is 8.5s=1". Maybe not a big deal to some of you, since socks should stretch on the feet, but if I kept on this way the doubt would gnaw away at me through the next 300 gazillion stitches needed to make one sock, and that is hardly the attitude I want to have going forth in this project. General negativity about the everlasting quality of a sock project is enough without bitter ambivalence about whether it will fit or not. That said, it does seem to be going remarkably quick without a *yo, k3tog, yo* sequence every four rows. It should be even faster on US #2 dpns.

Last night, I:

  • had potato gnocchi with mushrooms and pasta sauce for dinner
  • had couple chips
  • kept saying, "Wow! Look! Stripes!" and "I wonder if these will fit?"
  • had no idea that Wednesday would be a hopelessly decadent yarn spending spree

Did you read that last bit right?

Yeah, so did I.

Gotta go!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tell Me Not To Go

Today I:
  • had a cup of corn flakes for breakfast
  • have had a lot of coffee, yet again
  • am eating "Asian stir fry" with... yeh... chicken in it
  • have no pictures for you

Having no pictures when I post is very bad in my mind because, well, frankly when I'm cruising the knitblogs I am really just looking at pictures. It's the design profession. We don't really read, we just pretend to read.

Friday I take the Chinatown bus to New York, where I will transfer to a different Chinatown bus that will take me to Philadelphia. There are pros and cons to this situation:


  1. Chinatown buses are generally more efficient and speedy than Greyhound or Peter Pan or what have you
  2. They are also much, much cheaper
  3. I can eavesdrop on some Mandarin, hopefully
  4. I can probably knit the whole time, or read, or listen to language tapes


  1. I'm going to New York
  2. I'm going to Philadelphia
  3. The trip lasts at least 6 hours
  4. I do not trust the bathrooms
  5. I get motion sickness (in the elevator at work, on trolleys, in the subway...)
  6. I have this premonition of death in a fiery, bloody, metal-grinding crash on some stupid turnpike (so if it happens, remember: I told you so)
  7. I would rather spend the fare on yarn
  8. I don't want to go
  9. My boyfriend/partner/whatnot has been pleading for me to go
  10. Did I mention Philadelphia? I hate Philadelphia.

Last night, I:

  • had half an eggplant parmesan sub for dinner and a mini bottle of Pelligrino
  • drank a hot cocoa
  • did loads and loads of laundry
  • knitted very little

Monday, December 19, 2005

X-mas Knitting - Literally

Today I:

  • had a piece of toast with avocado hummus and coffee for breakfast
  • am having bruchetta pizza and yogurt and green onion Kettle Chips for lunch
  • will explain why I am telling you this
  • still can't believe I finished my mom's socks
  • have a picture to prove it

Pattern: Bed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks

Yarn: less than one ball of Sockotta (color 08)

Needles: set of US #2 dpns

Size: large

Modifications: replaced allover pattern with 3x3 ribbing on heel flap and sole; added an extra pattern repeat to increase foot length

Would you ever knit this again? Maybe. If I forget how frickin' long it took me.

W.I.P. or What Am I Going To Knit During X-mas?

Forget the X-mas knitting deadline - (I have) - the real concern now is what I will knit during the 6 hour bus ride to and from the event itself.

What do I have to choose from? Well, I'm glad you asked. It just so happens there are a couple or a dozen projects to choose from, each with their own particular qualities to recommend them:

  1. Gentleman's Shooting Socks - one sock half done
  2. Magic Stripe Toe-Up Socks - will have to finally read that tutorial on wrapping short rows
  3. Bobble Cardigan - have 8 more inches of 18" wide stockinette stitching to go for back (on US #4 dpns)
  4. Vintage Raglan Cardigan - back already blocked
  5. Pink Seaman's Cap - already cast on, and it's a X-mas present
  6. Pink Cabled Beanie - X-mas present, nice yarn
  7. Simple Cardigan - okay so maybe I haven't started this yet but I want to use that Avocado Wool of the Andes
  8. Blue Acrylic Roll-Brim Hat for Hapless Victim - I can't let this yarn go to waste, no matter the cost
  9. Black Alpaca Basketweave Scarf - half done already

Above: Basketweave Scarf

So maybe I have already decided I will work on this scarf over the holidays because 1) it's for me and 2) it's brainless, but I don't see it lasting more than a one-way trip. I need to be prepared for the return trip, Friday night, all of Saturday and most of Sunday. I could probably crank out and entire sweater during that time in a desperate attempt to blot out my surroundings. (Wine and beer can only do so much before things become critical.)

Which reminds me - here's my first Cosmopolitan. I had it at InQ during the kpixie trunk show. Very tasty drink, I recommend, although I must say, half an inch into this I was already giggling. Luckily I hadn't brought enough knitting with me for the entire event, deftly (if accidentally) avoiding a dreadful Knitting While Intoxicated incident.

Why I Tell The World What I Eat Or Drink

I've been asked this several times. Reading back in this blog a couple weeks may answer that question for you, but if that's too much to ask, here is a basic response that I will reference from time to time:

  1. I am not on a diet, per se
  2. I have actually gained weight since starting this list
  3. It is just to act as my nutritional/lifestyle conscience, thereby granting me some kind of self-control (or maybe a little guilt? Maybe.)
  4. Therefore, it has to be public, or it wouldn't work.

Yesterday I:

  • had a cup of black coffee for breakfast with two scrambled eggs
  • had a bowl of potato gnocchi with mushrooms and pasta sauce for lunch
  • had two bowls of chocolate ice cream and a couple pieces of dark Polish chocolate for dinner
  • had half of Joe's glass of wine
  • did not feel the slightest pang of guilt or remorse
  • will probably do it again tonight

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Today I:

  • had a piece of toast with cream cheese and a cup of coffee for breakfast
  • have had a lot of coffee since then
  • am having leftover fish tacos for lunch
  • am desperately searching the Internet for Aran patterns

Weds. night I was pleasantly surprised when I got home by the arrival of two packages: my KnitPicks order and the promised yarn from my grandma. I was also late for the Stitch 'n Bitch meeting, so I only had time to rifle through them in cursory manner before running off excitedly with a bag full of yarn samples. So, it wasn't until I got home that I was able to take a good, hard look at what I had.

I was thoroughly boggled.

The KnitPicks order was not very boggling. Everything was in order, even the stuff I'd forgotten I ordered, like the dpn point holders. Below: 6 50g balls of "Coal" Wool of the Andes

Much to my relief, "coal" is just another word for black. The picture on the KnitPicks website had be thinking it might just be a very, very dark gray.

Below: 10 50g balls of "Avocado" Wool of the Andes

I expected an apple green color, and what I got was more like pistachio, or green tea ice cream. It is mellow and rich. This is not a bad thing. As luck would have it, it's my favorite color in the world (aside from black). I may have to order more. (Cat not included.)

Grandma's Care Box
I'm sure you've gotten one of these before, but not necessarily from your grandma: a box full of used clothing, new socks, packages of hot cocoa and a tin of homemade cookies. Just the things to make a snow day better, if you're not picky. My grandma happens to excel at Care Boxes. Alas, this time, there were no cookies. Or socks.

There was clothing. I'm wearing one of the sweaters now. It's agreed that if it doesn't fit me, or suit my style, I am free to do what I will with it. This sometimes means making a Care Envelope for Sibling #1 or a trip to the thrift store. None of the clothing in the latest Care Box was very boggling - that is, if you're familiar with the ways of the '70's.

This skein was a little perplexing, but not boggling. A quick flame test declared it to be acrylic. No more mystery there.
The "shaggy" yarn Grandma warned me about did give me a slight pause. That isn't an impaled sheep. It's a sweater. Here's what is was supposed to look like:
This Sumptuous Shag of Gespa Yarn is 38% wool, 56% acrylic, and 60% nylon, it claims. Does that add up? I guess it's genuine, 154% ecru fug, but I know what to do with it. It came to me almost immediately:

Bath mat.

Here is the boggling bit. Grandma said she had an unfinished project that she wasn't going to touch again, made of white worsted wool, and that there was probably enough of it to make a sweater.

Yay! I hoped when she said "white" wool, she meant "natural white" wool, because I have been dying to make an Aran sweater for some time now. I thought cabling in one color would be boring, but Kasumi's hat taught me otherwise. I have been searching like a woman possessed for a good Aran pattern ever since.

And then the yarn arrived. And not only was it "natural" white (Yippee!) and didn't smell funny or have moth holes, etc., it was a WHOLE LOT of yarn. Not SOME yarn, which is maybe a handful (enough for a hat, or one sock), or A LOT of yarn, which is what I call the amount of yarn that can be fit into a backpack and conveniently carried, but a WHOLE LOT.

A WHOLE LOT is considerably less than the notorious SHITLOAD (which is approximately twice A WHOLE LOT), but much larger than it's close neighbor A LOT. A WHOLE LOT doesn't fit in a backpack. A WHOLE LOT takes more than one trip to carry. For instance, you could say that in my apartment I have A WHOLE LOT of yarn, since it rivals the furniture, but I wish I had a SHITLOAD, even though I have no idea what I would do with it.

Which brings me to the boggling. I was so boggled when I saw that it was A WHOLE LOT of yarn that I said something that I rarely ever, ever say:


Do you see that blanket? That's about 3'-6" by 4'-6", and it's meant to be cannibalized for yarn. Those balls on the blanket, the smallest is 6" in diameter.

This stuff is old, too. Look at this label. This is a testament to my Grandma's fastidious ways.

Dude. I'm 5'-1", about 110 lbs. On a chubby day I wear a size 5. How many sweaters is this? Tams? Twined knit mittens?

I think I need to go lay down.

Yesterday, I:
  • had a piece of toast with cream cheese, coffee, coffee, coffee, a banana, and a fish taco at the Cheesecake Factory
  • then had potato gnocchi with Newman's mushroom pasta sauce and some rose wine
  • stared at A WHOLE LOT of yarn
  • finished my Pocketbook Slippers
  • had a sore wrist, so I couldn't knit much
  • watched more Dark Shadows
  • stared at the yarn again

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Slippity-Do Dah, What A Wonderful Day

Today I:

  • had a croissant for breakfast
  • carried my coffee to work in the 14 degree F weather and microwaved it
  • am having leftover squash, mushroom, and artichoke heart pizza, a banana, and a soy latte for lunch
  • love scandalizing my co-workers with tales of Living Without Heat in Philadelphia
  • find myself in the middle of a charrette (where the heck did that come from?) (The event, not the word.)
  • actually pried some useful information from my former school's financial aid department
  • am in shock about it, frankly


I lacked the necessary enthusiasm last night to confront any of my current knitting projects (esp. those related to a certain upcoming deadline we will not speak of) so I made a Pocketbook Slipper. I suspect the name is comes from the fact that it looks like a purse before you (very incredulously) put it on.

The instructions for this slipper were very minimal, not even including what type of decrease or increase to make, just when and how many. Good enough. I suppose we all have opinions on what works best. So I settled down for some interpretive knitting and, quite to my surprise, the pattern worked!

Very bad photo of my one completed slipper. I used some of the black Lion Wool I had left over from the Seaman's Cap I made for my dad. (This is looking like an excellent use of these little odd balls.) It was a little loose on me, but the strap keeps it on, and it certainly was comfortable. When I have a complete pair I will let you know what the gauge and sizing turned out to be. I have a feeling that this is a pattern I will probably play with quite a bit until I come up with my own version. It's a very quick knit!

Last night, I:

  • lacked the moral and physical strength to cook.
  • ordered pizza
  • had a beer with it
  • also had some hummus and carrots (The delivery guy got lost - they almost always do.)
  • finally ate that chocolate cake roll, although I did give the chocolate medallion on top to my boyfriend
  • harangued every financial aid department I have known in the past three years
  • perked up considerably

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Oh, the drama

Today I:
  • had a piece of toast with cream cheese and a cup of coffee for breakfast
  • am unwilling to brave the 17 degree F weather (not including wind chill factor)
  • am therefore skipping lunch
  • hate skipping lunch
  • just remembered I have soy milk in the office kitchen fridge
  • am going to be so caffeinated and annoyed at being hungry that I will be unbearable to be around

I need to pack a lunch.

I also need to figure out why I can't log into the scanner at work. Blast. How am I supposed to get another job if I can't exploit their resources? It isn't like I can afford a 11" x 17" color scanner at home!

I am trapped here forever. Without food.

And I am close to turning knit hats into a cottage industry here. Also giving knitting advice. I should charge. Kasumi is going to mail me a Japanese knitting magazine from Tokyo, but what is everyone else doing for me? Are they getting me lunch when they go out? No.

No hats for them.

Did I mention I have cramps? Well.

Last night, I:

  • bewailed the hopelessness of it all: Doom! Doom!
  • started a scarf to match my burgundy hat
  • had a banana and a couple baby carrots with hummus for dinner
  • didn't care enough to cook
  • chased it all with some Advil
  • realized my houseplants hate me, and are conspiring against me in an attempt to make me insane. Are they dying or not? Why are they losing leaves daily and growing prolifically at the same time? I hate my jade plant wannabee bonsai!
  • wasn't feeling particularly chipper

I think more Advil and a soy latte are in order.

Later: Oh, no! I just remembered that I still haven't eaten that chocolate-cake-mousse roll! What have I been thinking? No wonder I feel lousy. I must eat that ASAP.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hats Are In

Today I:
  • had toast with cream cheese and coffee for breakfast
  • am having bruchetta pizza, Kettle chips, and probably a soy latte for lunch
  • gave away a perfectly good hat
  • got an "in action" shot of it
Kasumi in her new hat

After much trial an error - including a complete redesign, wherein I decided that a 4s wide cable would be too bulky and went down to 2s - I finished Kasumi's hat! As my first ever cabled project, I'm feeling pretty smug about it. I made it up as I went!

Too bad this fact shows so readily in the way I terminated the crown. Must. Work. On. This.

For those of you who care about the specs., here it is:

Pattern: Mine, for good and bad.

Size: Big

Yarn: Lion Wool "cream" color (less than a full skein)

Gauge: 5s = 1" on US #6 needles

I have been all about the hats this weekend. I also finished the yellow Seaman's Cap for my nephew.
Pattern: Needlebeetle's Seaman's Cap

Size: Small

Yarn: pale yellow worsted superwash wool (exact brand slipping my mind)

Gauge: per pattern

In Other News

I discovered I have been making the sleeves of my vintage raglan cardigan totally wrong. I may have been a little distracted. (See Above) But this is good news, in a way, because now I can rip out those thirteen inches I've done on both sleeves (Eek!) and knit it in the round. Yes, this cardigan is flat-knit, and I can't say that's really pleasing me. There doesn't seem to be any fundamental design reason for it - other than that they think the intended audience of this pattern is stupid or something - so if I ever make this pattern again, I'm not doing it flat. Sheesh! I'm making it on dpns anyway.

Last night, I:

  • had nachos and beer for dinner, in descending order
  • bought something chocolate from Modern Bakery, and then forgot to eat it
  • cast on some pink worsted wool for Sibling #6's Seaman's Cap
  • did not leave the apartment except to 1) return DVDs and 2) buy chocolate
  • cleaned half the apartment, leaving the rest in shambles

Friday, December 09, 2005

Place Witty Title Here

Today I:

  • had bakery coffee and a slice of cold pizza for breakfast
  • walked to work in the snow, leisurely
  • have a massive headache
  • am feeling disillusioned about people, but optimistic about architecture, oddly enough
  • am only having a banana for lunch, because I am Californian and it's snowing/raining outside
  • took a gratuitous photo of my cat and uploaded it to this blog for your enjoyment

I have so many projects going on at once in my head and on my needles that I am finally breaking down and putting it all in the sidebar.

Also, in the spirit of organizing things and making it all as lucid as possible to those not initiated into the inner working of my family tree, I am going to create a reference post that lists the relevant monkeys - I mean, relations. Then you might even know who I am talking about.


They are surprisingly easy. That is, so far they're easy. I cast on some cream-colored worsted weight Lion Wool last night to make a hat for my Japanese co-worker, Kasumi. She is returning to Japan Tuesday for a couple months and was fishing around the studio for an early not-so-secret Santa who would, say, buy her an iPod. I told her an iPod was an impossibility, and that all anyone ever gets from me is knitted goods.

It just so happens she needs a hat. A hat that matches her mittens and doesn't make her head look too big.

Okie dokie, said I, but phrased in a slightly more professional manner.

I thought stockinette would be a bore, just like ribs, so I whipped out a vintage knitting magazine I have that teaches beginning techniques and has a nice section on different stitch patterns. About three different cables are covered in it, just enough to give me gist of how it's generally works out. I bought a cable needle and I am off and running with it. I think an Aran sweater would be in order after this, don't you? (I think this is a convenient point to completely forget all those X-mas presents I already need to make. Sssh! Reminders are not allowed!)

Sweater Teaser
This is a very blurry photograph of the sweater I started last weekend. Isn't it nice? I have a lot to say about the experience - which is still ongoing - so I'm going to save all that for this weekend.

Last night, I:

  • got paid!
  • got gourmet pizza delivered and pigged out
  • bought ale and pigged out
  • bought two colors of pink yarn for various X-mas projects while secretly hoping that there would be enough leftovers to make pig cosy for my digital camera
  • kind miss the pigs I've known, which is quite a few
  • decided a lot of people are pigs
  • still like you, however, because you have the good taste to read my blog

Family Tree (List)

Sibling #1: from Mom's 1st marriage, F, 40, lives in NM, 4 kids, married, accounting student
Interesting fact: artistic, epileptic
Sibling #2: from Mom's 1st marriage, M, 38, lives in CA, married, small contractor
Interesting fact: very, very distinct sunglass tan
Sibling #3: from Mom's 1st marriage, M, 36, lives in CA, divorced, cable installer
Interesting fact: has hearing loss
Me! : only child from Dad's 1st marriage, Mom's 2nd marriage, F, 31, live in MA, cohabitating, architectural intern
Interesting fact: Well, figure it out yourself, ok?
Sibling #4: from Dad's 2nd marriage, M, 20, lives ???, single, maybe a student?
Interesting fact: Gay, artistic, aloof
Sibling #5: from Mom's 3rd marriage, F, 16, lives in CA, high school student
Intesting fact: half Philippino, sings
Sibling #6: from Dad's current cohabitation, F, 15, lives in CA, high school student
Interesting fact: half Samoan, on probation
Sibling #7 (aka Natalie): from Mom's 3rd marriage, F, 14, lives in CA, high school student
Interesting fact: half Philippino, sings
Sibling #8: from Dad's current cohabitation, F, 14, lives in CA, high school student
Interesting fact: half Samoan, skater/goth, artistic
Sibling #9: from Dad's current cohabitation, M, dead
Interesting fact: drowned in a toilet

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Today I:
  • had a warm croissant and a coffee with chocolate rice milk for breakfast (out of bread and nutritional yeast!)
  • having some weird cream cheese mushroom sandwich for lunch, courtesy of yesterday's lunch lecture
  • am a disgruntled worker, still!
  • am going to go out tonight, buy some beer, and... update my work portfolio. (The beer is a bribe for the owner of the computer I am going to use.)

It is looking distinctly like my workplace has a policy against allowing employees to use their drafting work in their portfolio, which is nonsense. I have to show what I have been doing to advance at school, and in the field. I can just picture me standing before a review board at The Boston Architectural Center explaining to a hostile jury of professionals that I actually can draft, despite having absolutely no proof. Maybe my Project Manager will write me a note.

To Whom It May Concern:

Christine is a diligent CAD monkey, well on her way to carpal tunnel syndrome. She can always be found at her desk wrapped in a giant shawl as protection against the virulent overhead vents that blow cold air on her all day. She does not even leave the computer to eat, but sits in front of it, staring wildly like a mole in spectacles. Christine is so obsessed with the walls being plumb and the gridlines actually corresponding floor-to-floor that we do not even bother to think about it anymore, we just assume she will fix it.

Sincerely, Her Keepers

Not that I am bitter.

To console myself I have made a KnitPicks order:

  • 10 50g balls of Avocado Wool of the Andes
  • 6 50g balls of Coal Wool of the Andes
  • and 2 of those funny dpn end caps that are supposed to prevent your stitches from slipping off when you're not using them.

You may laugh, but this is a real problem I have, being someone who almost exclusively uses dpns and carries projects around in her purse all day, just in case I actually secure a free moment.

Those of you familiar with the Wool of the Andes color range may be cringing at the Avocado. My only excuse here is that it's a craving I have right now. Hopefully, it will not pass until I have made the sweater and worn it for a couple years.

I think I am going to make a vest with the Coal. That is also a current compulsion. It is so frickin' cold. Where did all this winter come from? Yes, I know I said I was going to try to be Winter Person, but I am walking to work across the Fort Point Channel, where the wind is peeling the flesh off my face and hands. Maybe I can get a job somewhere closer to my apartment. In the meantime, I better start some gloves for myself, and actually get somewhere on the black alpaca basketweave scarf I started at last night's S'nB. And try not to pity myself too much. Sibling #1 lives in a trailer in Albuquerque without heat - today it's 11 degrees F there!

Maybe I should order more yarn and knit her a sweater.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ah, Architecture, Why Must You Play Games With Me?

Today I:
  • had two pieces of toast with cream cheese and nutritional yeast for breakfast, along with a cup of coffee with chocolate rice milk - and I'm still not bored with it!
  • had pasta with mushrooms and "Vodka Sauce" for lunch
  • imbided coffee - I have no idea how much.
  • scored half a brownie from the OKC
  • ate an apple
  • haven't had dinner yet, and should probably start thinking about it before I am too tired to bother
  • got talked out of quitting architecture school
  • got a referral to a firm more in line with my desired design paradigm (say that ten times fast!)

Advisors are tricky, tricky people, folks!

Crisis of Praxis


NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. prax·es (prksz)1. Practical application or exercise of a branch of learning. 2. Habitual or established practice; custom.
ETYMOLOGY: Medieval Latin prxis, from Greek prxis, from prssein, prg-, to do.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

I came up with the phrase "crisis of praxis" about six years ago when I spent a lot more time reading political science and than, say, British mystery novels and satire. I had found myself in Seattle during the WTO protest in 1999, and as happens during those kind of things, I was interacting with a lot of people who shared a similar goal but who had sometimes radically different ideas of how to go about accomplishing them. Each strategy, of course, was the only proper strategy and anybody who thinks differently is either willfully imbecilic or hopelessly evil. The more I encountered this way of thinking, and the more I read, the more confused I became not only about who was right and who was wrong, but what was right and wrong for me.

I won't bore you with a discussion of Free Will and Sartre-like statements about the perception of Good and Evil. I'll just say that while I am a flawed human being (and fairly unrepentant about it - that is one of my flaws, my lack of soul-devouring guilt) I would like to live my life while doing as little damage to others and the world as a whole as I can. I like to think of myself as a tenant on this planet, rather than an owner, and that I should leave it better than I found it, if I can. That, and having a good time while I'm at it, just about sums up my whole life philosophy.

Simple, eh?

Er, well, not at all. Hence "crisis of praxis" (aka the Existential Dilemma). What do I do, and what do I not do?

I'll give you a basic example: veganism. There are several directions to come at veganism from, whether it be health or animal rights, and there are levels of expressing it. There is simply not eating anything with an animal by-product in it - including refined sugar, which is processed using cow bones - to not using anything that uses any part of an animal at all, including its labor. This means human-cultivated food, without plow horses or oxen, no leather goods, and no wool. Very humane, but there are problems.

What is substituted?

Human labor or petroleum products.

Which do you think is most likely? Most people in fully industrialized countries do not want to live in an eco-village and weave their own cotton and dig their own turnips. But petroleum products and the industrial processes surrounding them are detrimental to the environment, and being part of that environment, it also damages human beings and animals.

So we're back at the beginning, unless we take the eco-village option.

Crisis of praxis. (It'll give you a headache, or worse.)

The way I see it, How Do I Go About It is such a complicated question that each person will have to work out the answer to it as an individual, based on one's particular situation, capabilities, knowledge base, and conscience - hopefully no more than once a day.

I wish you luck. And, of course, a little joy along the way, where ever you can find it.

Me, I'm going to eat the rest of my veggie pasta and knit something.

For somebody else's more erudite take, read this.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A couple sentences on the new Knitty

Much excitement is ricocheting around the web right now because at last! at last! the new Knitty is out!

My reaction was not an exception.

So imagine my disappointment when I realized, upon close examination, that the sock patterns are the only things I would seriously consider knitting.

I have enough sock patterns and socks in my line-up to make as it is.

Please send comfort food. You know where to find me.

First Snow

Today I:

  • had toast with nutritional yeast, cream cheese, artichoke hummus, and two cups of coffee (got up earlier) with chocolate rice milk. Wouldn't you?
  • am having veggie pizza, apple juice, chips, and a banana for lunch (drafting works up an appetite)
  • scored the apple juice from OKC*
  • have a laundry date tonight. Hot stuff.
  • nearly lost this entry while publishing it! Eek!

Yesterday I bounded out of bed at the early hour of 9:30 am to roam the neighborhood, snapping pictures. I did not even pause for coffee.

This is intensely out of character, by the way. Typically, I am not a snow person. The most common remarks on the weather to be heard from me during these East Coast winters are: "What is all this white stuff everywhere? Somebody should clean this mess up!" and "Snow should be visited, not lived in."

That is because I am Californian, dontcha know. When I originally arrived on the East Coast, it was the day after a storm that left TWO FEET OF SNOW EVERYWHERE, like all over EVERYTHING, dude. It blew my mind. So much snow and no skiing.

Five years later, I am getting somewhat accustomed to these little quirks of the weather. I realize I am not a Winter Person. I used to sincerely believe I was a Winter Person. (Of course, this was before I knew that winter back home was actually called autumn everywhere else - it was just happening from October to April, is all.) This year, I really will be. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's why:

  • For the first time in five years of East Coast winters, I have bonafide, strip-to-your-longjohns-as-you-step-in-the-apartment heat. And it's included with my exorbitant rent!
  • I have nothing whatsoever to shovel, even if I wanted to.
  • Most of my basic needs are within easy walking distance, including work.
  • I have a real winter coat this year.

Life is good. Snow is pretty, but you shouldn't eat it.

Here are lots of pictures.

You see the snow falling in this photo. (That's Paul Revere Church.) More falling snow! Whee!
My sweet alley. I won't have to shovel this.

Cemetery in snow. Makes the dead look extra peaceful.

Paul Revere Mall. I have a picture of this after rain, too. (Compare and contrast. Five page essay due Weds.)

Yesterday I :

  • had pasta, coffee, popcorn, green tea, a banana, and beans and rice. Can you guess which was breakfast?
  • looked at every single knitting pattern Jeanette owns. Thanks!
  • drank half a hot buttered rum. I was so busy knitting, I plum forgot about it.

    *Office Kitchen Counter, the source of much of my calorie intake.

Friday, December 02, 2005

One, Two, Three Caps?

Today I:

  • had TWCCANYAC(B)FB* (maybe not the best acronym? Suggestions welcome!)
  • am having potato salad, Kettle chips, and two bananas for lunch (I pass a fruit stand on the way to work)
  • am feeling a little more positive about my job, but still poo-pooing the architecture profession as a whole

Since I had some time alone in the apartment last night I blocked the red alpaca/silk hat. I don't know, do you think 30 pins was excessive? I tried it on this morning, but unfortunately couldn't get a decent shot of it in the cave before heading out to that fruit stand. It's definitely a bit on the pointy side from the pins, but the crown is perfectly flat. I figure I'll send it off to Sibling #1 with a note about the pointy bits disappearing after the hat is worn for a while. You never know; it may even be true.

While we're on the subject of Sibling #1, here's picture of the hat I'm making for her little boy.

I'm making him the smaller size Seaman's Cap, since it seems like a safe bet as far as masculine (or boyish) headgear is concerned. The color worries me, though. I couldn't remember which of Sibling #1's four kids wanted something yellow, so I wasn't thinking about whether it was girl or boy yellow I should be looking for. I simply picked the one that offended me the least. It may be too pastel-y.

I have feeling that before this year is out I will have memorized the pattern for the Seaman's Cap. Ok, maybe more than a feeling. I called my dad's house last night to find out if he had received the one I made for him yet - you never know how long it'll take during the pre-holiday shipping rush - and Sibling #5 answered the phone. She informed me that not only has the hat arrived, Dad is wearing it every day (exasperated tone). "I told him it makes him look like a gangster."

I asked her if she had decided on a hat style. (She is one of the last holdouts.)

"I want Dad's hat," she said, not missing a beat,"only in pink."

Well. Okay then.

Now that's two Seaman's Caps I need to make, or rather three, because in the heady rush that followed Bob's reported satisfaction with the fingerless gloves I gave him I offered to make him a cap, too.

Anybody else want one?

Last night, I:

  • had a cheese and spinach sandwich for dinner. (Yay? That is so not pizza.)
  • drank two glasses of wine
  • told my dad that Art may yet be alive still
  • planned the downfall of my architectural education

*Toast With Cream Cheese And Nutritional Yeast With Coffee (Black) For Breakfast

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Today I:

  • had a piece of toast with cream cheese and nutritional yeast and a cup of coffee for breakfast (I should develop some kind of acronym or shorthand for this, shouldn't I?)
  • had a tuna fish and spinach sandwich and a banana for lunch
  • still want to move to the boonies and paint
  • actually took pictures and uploaded them. Yay!

This is that alledged scarf I knit for my sort-of-mother-in-law. Very quick knit! The best part was that I bought two balls of yarn for this project and I managed to make an acceptable scarf using just one! I can return the other one for $$$ or credit now. Can you say, "Recycled shopping money" ?

This is about where I am with my mom's socks. There is progress happening, just very, very slowly. About three times a day I pick them up and knit a couple rows, but frankly, I'm feeling a little burnt out on them, especially since I'm not making them for myself.

So instead of taking these socks (and these socks alone) to the knitting circle Weds. like a responsible, consistent knitter, I also brought the red alpaca/silk DK yarn I bought for Sibling #1's hat. I finished it last night, and a have to say, I have never seen a hat more in need of blocking than this one. My sister is not a pinhead, so I think she would appreciate a nicely rounded crown.

Hats are becoming one of my favorite things to knit. I used to be able to crochet a hat in an hour, and now I can knit one in five! Relatively instant gratification has returned to my life, ushering in a new era of me prancing around the apartment at midnight wearing nothing but a hat and sorely clashing nightgown.

The pattern from this hat is from Rowan's Classic Weekend, which is geared toward cashsoft aran yarn. I opted for Debbie Bliss alpaca silk DK (80%/20%). The pattern called for 100g of yarn for a solid color hat (which is two balls), so without thinking of the differneces between the brands, I got two balls.

This is also what I got:

I'm beginning to think that maybe I shouldn't have assumed each ball was 50g. Apparently I don't even need a full 100g of Debbie Bliss for this hat pattern. Notice that little ball on the right? That's what's left over from this hat. Cha-Ching! That left hand ball is going back to the shop, and the tiny ball is going in the Stash Isolation Center to keep the rest of my alpaca yarn company.

One of the women from the North End Stitch 'n Bitch group, Lissy, subscribes to the Yarn of the Month, club. As a result, lucky me scored 1 oz of humanely produced silk yarn. I made it into a brooch. The petals are simply variations on the leaves in the back of Rowan #36, strung together on the tail end of one of them and tied off. The center is a ball crocheted from the same yarn. The seed beading was the most fun I've had in a while, which really says something about my life. Currently I'm on a somewhat lazy mission to come up with the perfect flower brooch, so this won't be the last one you see from me.

Last night, I:
  • had a tuna fish and spinach sandwich for dinner (Does that sound familiar? Can you guess what I did with the other half of the can?)
  • was delighted by my boyfriend/partner/whatnot's ability to psychically tune into my desire for cheap red wine
  • had too much cheap red wine, and half a mint
  • went home early from work, claiming I was seeing double on the screen
  • really was seeing double on the screen
  • decided maybe I should make more of an effort to get new glasses
  • remembered I don't need glasses to knit. I'm near-sighted!