Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Home Sweet Home

Back. Had a great weekend. Walked my feet off. Went to one yarn shop, walked past a closed one. Very tired. Better post in the next couple of days.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Goodbyes and City Adventures

My boss had her going away party and slightly early last day today. She only became my boss a few months ago, but we've worked together for over four-and-a-half years. She has been a good friend and soundingboard during that time, and I'm going to miss being able to pop into her office and say hi. But she's leaving for a wonderful opportunity and starting her new job by jetting off to Europe for a week.

I gave her the red eyelash scarf (which I did NOT photograph) wrapped around a couple of boxes of Coffee Nips (she got four boxes all told). She was pleased, though I did give her an out and told her she wasn't obligated to wear it. I know we'll probably stay in touch, but I don't know about the impending transition. I'll survive, but it won't be particularly comfortable. Have I mentioned that "Registrar" is not my ideal job title?

To prepare myself for this uncomfortable transition, I'm going to visit my sister in New York. We'll spend a day wandering around Manhattan and another day plus in Brooklyn. We don't spend a ton of time together, so this should be nice. I don't have any real itinerary planned, but I found a list of yarn shops, so I'll probably visit a couple. I'm also going to take my point-and-shoot camera and a couple of rolls of film. I'd thought about taking my manual camera, but I don't feel like drawing extra attention to myself. Maybe I still will, depends on what else I take and what bag I use. I hate packing, even though I supposedly enjoy traveling, go figure.

There probably won't be any updates while I'm away, but for my possible audience of one, I'll fill you in when I get back on Sunday. Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Another Unphotographed Finished Object

I finished the eyelash scarf for my nearly-gone-boss this evening. Once I get film tomorrow I'll take a photo of it and of my Paris Loop, then weeks from now I'll be able to get around to posting them here. I'm really bad about the photo thing, sorry.

I bought my train tickets to New York. Does anyone have suggestions of yarn shops I should visit in Manhattan or Brooklyn? I think I should be able to convince my sister to go to one or two with me. I'm planning on taking my sock with me as train knitting, it may be all the knitting I'll take, unless I manage to come up with a solid new project in the next couple of days. I suppose I could bring the baby blanket, but I'm not sure.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Ooh, La La

I wore Paris Loop to work today and was gratified by the response. Some people knew I had made it and were impressed with how it turned out. Others who didn't know I made it said they liked it. My wardrobe tends to mostly fade into the background at work, so it was nice to be noticed for it in a good way, especially since it was a product of my own work. I need to figure out what garment to make next, though, or else I'll wear this one all the time just from the sheer sense of accomplishment.

I did a little knitting today on my soon-to-be-ex-boss's eyelash scarf. I could have finished it tonight, but I wasn't in the groove and now all I really want to do is feed the cats and go to bed. I apparently need a lot of sleep.

Maybe I'll post something more interesting tomorrow, sorry.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Paris Loop Completed

I finished Paris Loop a little while ago. The neck of mine has more of a roll than the original, but on the whole I think I did a decent job and I like the way it looks on (I'm wearing it right now). No photos yet, I need to get film. Okay, I really just need to get a digital camera to make this process easier, but that's neither here nor there.

I got a decent (for me) amount of sock knitting done yesterday afternoon when I did a volunteer shift here. I think the remnants of Ivan kept people away, which is a shame for the fundraising aspect of the event. I bought a couple of books, but not as many as I usually do. I may still go back and browse today.

We got plenty of wind and rain from Ivan yesterday, all of the creeks and rivers in the area flooded or are still flooding. I feel for all of the people around here living in flood plains, and I'm awfully thankful that I do not. I hope it doesn't take long for them to get back to their normal routines.

Today feels like fall. It's bright and clear and sunny, but there's a strong breeze blowing and the air is cool. It might be time to drag my cool weather clothing up from the basement, oh, and knit faster.

The elder of our cats decided to use my arm as prey this morning. Between the gnawing and the clawing and the kicking, he managed to leave his marks. And I was wearing a sweatshirt at the time! He wanted to play, and that doesn't happen as much any more, so I went with it. Then I washed my wounds thoroughly with soap and water before returning to my knitting.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Thank You Very Much, Secret Pal!

That's right, I arrived home today to find a package from my Secret Pal, and I am thrilled! I took photos, but, of course, I'm still working with film, so you'll have to settle for description for the time being. There is a skein of incredibly soft bright green hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn, an adorable stuffed sheep wearing a t-shirt from the L. A. County Fair (it's going to find a home on top of my printer, I do believe), an address book illustrated with cat paintings, and three beautiful stitch markers made with green and pink beads. And, of, course, a friendly note to preface it all.

Thanks again Secret Pal, the package really made my day, probably my week. You are doing a wonderful job of spoiling me and I appreciate it.

Today wasn't too bad, much better than yesterday. The only weird thing was a very strange muscle twitch in the right side of my face. It started around ten this morning, came and went every few minutes and is still happening periodically. Apparently it is visible to the outside world, fun.

I may be able to finish Paris Loop this evening, and if not tonight, then by the end of the weekend, I only have a couple of inches left to knit. How exciting, my first garment.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

"Shall we have a look?"

Today is my nephew's birthday. He should have turned three, there should have been a birthday party. Those things didn't happen. I left work before noon because I couldn't deal with being there anymore, I couldn't concentrate on anything. I went to the cemetery instead.

The day was still overcast and the grass at the gravesite was still wet from the morning's fog. I hadn't been to the gravesite since the funeral, so it was the first time I'd seen the simple marker--just his name and the years he was born and died (2001 - 2004). The potted plant from the funeral with the Sesame Street bandaids decorating the terra cotta pot was still there, along with a newly placed Arthur the Aardvark juice box. I talked to him for a few minutes, cried a little, and hoped there really was a way that my grandmother would be looking out for him wherever they may be.

He was such a bright happy little boy and I miss him terribly. I knew I would have a hard time today, but it's worse than I thought it would be. I keep telling myself to remember the good times, and I do, but I can't help also thinking about the fact that there won't be any more of them.

I'm sorry this is so morose and inarticulate, I just had to put it up somewhere.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I recreated the sock cuff again in the more me-sized version. It's a little wonky though, because I haven't been paying attention and I keep picking up the wrong circular end, then I have to pull it out of the stitches and thread the right one in. It's amazing that I haven't completely dropped several stitches.

I'm on the final needle of Paris Loop, it's coming together pretty well. I should be able to have it done by next weekend.

I did a couple of rows on the blanket, it's still sort of languishing, though.

Work is slowing to something closer to normal again, the first days are over, students are settling into their routines.

The weather was cool enough today for me to wear the cashmere sweater my sister gave me a few weeks ago. Of course, I looked at it and tried to imagine knitting an entire garment at that gauge. Granted, I know it was machine knit, but still. It was nice and soft and just warm enough for the day.

Nothing but knitting accomplished after work for the past couple of days. I need to re-focus on housework again sometime soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Good News/Not-So-Good News

Good: The package I sent out last week reached its destination and was appreciated. I got a card from my secret pal (Hi, secret pal, thank you!) and am to be expecting something in the mail soon. My unknown benefactor is being so nice to me so far, and I'm enjoying doing the same for someone else, this is fun.

Not-So-Good: I found out my boss is leaving next Friday and I'll have to report up a level. It could be interesting, and is just plain disconcerting all around. I wish her the best, but she's not taking me with her (kidding, sort of).

Neutral: I frogged the beginning of the sock I started, what, a month-and-a-half ago, and was left with a pile of Lana Grossa that looked like brightly colored ramen noodles. I wrapped it all around the bulk of the skein and made myself cast on again (in a smaller size) as soon as I got home from work. I'm back to having nearly three-quarters of an inch of cuff again, and it goes around my ankle rather than around the top of my calf. So, I guess it's more good than neutral.

I guess that's about it for now. The sock was my only knitting today, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment, so I guess it's okay.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sometimes I Hide From the Sun

Today was another gorgeous day and I absolutely did not take advantage of it. I set foot outside to put utility bills in the mailbox on the corner and I ate my dinner on the back porch, that was the extent of my exposure to the outside world today.

The guys went on a hike at one of our favorite hiking spots; I stayed here and knitted, read, and almost dozed off. Some Sundays are meant to be low-key. Of course, earlier in the day I did some cleaning of a couple of spots that really needed it, and later I uploaded a few things that needed to be transferred from one place to another, so it wasn't a completely lazy day.

I'm halfway through the current stripe on the blanket and 4 1/2 inches into the 7 for the current section of Paris Loop, so I've made some progress. I'll probably work on them both a bit more this evening--my hands are getting a bit sore though. It'll work out.

I still haven't decided what to do with the art I bought last week, right now both pieces are piled flat on top of the scanner, doing no one any good. Limited space and bad walls for hanging things. I'll come up with something before too long.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends. Have good weeks at work (if, like me, you have to do that sort of thing) all.

Ooh, I glanced at the Nano site today and it looks like they're gearing up again, I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm taking that as a good sign writing-wise.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Yarn and Waterfowl

I went to the yarn shop to get something for my secret pal. I did, but not what I originally planned, and I didn't stop there. I bought myself some Noro Kureyon, I think I may use it to make a felted bag of some sort. I stayed at the shop for a really long time today, she's still organizing things and I came across things I hadn't seen before; lots of things I would love to take home, but I have lots of yarn already and not enough time or knitting speed to get through all of it anytime soon.

I worked on Paris Loop and the striped blanket today. I'm onto the second ball of purple on the blanket, I made a point of working on it until I reached that place this evening. I worked on the poncho in the park for a while, but I was distracted by the heron. I finally gave up knitting and followed it around the park with my camera.

I got a few photos of it this time, but not quite as many as before. There was a weird moment when it looked like the geese had ganged up on him and were trying to stare him down. Literally fifty geese or more all at one side of the pond, all looking at the heron while he stood on a rock near the shore. Very strange.

My secret pal commented again today and is planning to send stuff soon. Hi secret pal, thanks for thinking of me! In answer to your weather comment, it was high 70s/low 80s with low humidity today, a very pretty late summer day. I hope things get a bit cooler for you soon.

I realized after I signed off earlier that I hadn't mentioned September 11th. My heart and thoughts have been with the families of the victims all day. I hope that as time goes by, your pain is transforming into something more bearable for you.

Knitting Activity

This week is ending in a flurry of knitting-related activity. I sent a package off to my secret pal contact yesterday and I got a post card from my secret pal today, which, in addition to foretelling goodies, also informed me of the California state tree (California Redwood), capital (Sacramento) and statehood (September 9, 1850).

Happy belated birthday, California. And thank you very much secret pal! I don't know if you realize that I was born in California, though I only lived there as an infant.

I did a couple of rounds on my oversized sock yesterday, and as much as I'm enjoying the progression of the colors, I'm afraid I may just have to pull it all out and start over, this time with swatching. It's just that it looks more like a sweater cuff than a sock cuff. I have size five feet, people, and though my ankles aren't exactly delicate, they just aren't as large as this sock would suggest. I haven't decided for sure on this yet, but I guess articulating the possibility is a first step.

I worked a few more rows of Paris Loop yesterday evening and threw the whole thing over my shoulders to get an idea of the effect, it's a warm garment with all of that felted new wool. The goal is to finish it in the next two weeks so that I have it for the potential trip to New York to visit my sister and brother-in-law. I still have the details to work out for that trip, but we'll see.

The striped baby blanket is languishing. I did finish the stripe I mentioned a few days ago, but I didn't knit to the end of the first ball of purple. Maybe this weekend.

Gotta get myself organized and off to my LYS to do some shopping for my secret pal. Did I mention that this whole secret pal thing is fun? Well, it is.

Have a nice Saturday, all. Hope your weather is as lovely as mine.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Slightly Better

Work is getting less stressful as the days of this week pass. People are still making up their minds about what they want to be doing, but it doesn't seem to be out of hand yet.

I didn't get any knitting done last night, but I did a few rows on Paris Loop tonight, I'm just about finished with the second ball of yarn.

I have a few small things ready to send to my secret pal match, the package should go out in the mail tomorrow, I hope it will be enjoyed.

My secret pal left me a comment, thanks secret pal!

I know, it's short again, but I just didn't get my act together this evening in time to do anything longer, sorry.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Secret Pal Contact!

Thanks again for the cool musical e-card, secret pal! Yes the bad work is moving along.

Two first days down, three to go. Today was the day of indecisive students and faculty-who-think-the-registrar-is-the-copy-girl. We'll leave it at that and say goodnight because I am very tired.

No knitting today, but I hope to resume tomorrow (well, maybe just a row on Paris Loop, just so I can say I did something).

Sorry so short, better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Relaxing Weekend

I went to the Long's Park Art & Craft Show Sunday and Monday. It's a high quality show and there were lots of interesting and beautiful things to look at. If I'd had 2500 dollars to spend on something, it would have been on something like this, it's a painting, really, oil on canvas. I walked into his booth and instantly felt calm and relaxed.

Unfortunately, I don't have 2500 dollars to spend on a painting, so I bought smaller art from him (that very image, actually) and a black and white landscape print from Chris Coffey, who does not have a website, but does do magnificent large format and 35 mm work. Both pieces I bought also give me a peaceful feeling when I look at them and that is what I'm searching for at this point in my life.

In addition to buying art and treating the crowd simply as a maze to navigate, I also sat outside in the glorious weather and did some knitting both days. It was a calm weekend, then I had to go back to work today.

Today was the first day of school, the school at which I serve as registrar. Students don't bother reading their schedules, lose their schedules, want to change their schedules, aren't quite sure they believe their schedules, and the faculty aren't often much better. Only four more first days to go, then one more week of drop/add beyond that. I can do this. I just need to remember not to eat sugar exclusively for the first five-and-a-half hours of work during any of these upcoming days as I did today, the effects were not pretty.

I've been sending electronic things to my secret pal, she seems to be enjoying them. I've begun acquiring non-electronic items for her as well. I'm having fun and hope she is too.

I haven't heard from my secret pal yet, I hope I haven't done anything to scare him or her off. If you need any information from me, secret pal, don't hesitate to let me know.

I'm halfway through the length of my Paris Loop, and nearly done with the most recent stripe on blanket #2, I added a second ball of the raspberry color yesterday. Tonight's goal is to finish the stripe I'm working on and get knit enough into the next stripe to add the second ball of purple (I need to find the names of these colors at some point).

Enough for now, I have a list for this evening. Have a good one, all.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Secret Pal III Info Continued

22. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
This is tough, I guess I don't think much about it. I like watching herons and hummingbirds in action, no animated character is springing to mind, sorry.

23. What is your favorite holiday?
Holidays universally tend to make me tense because they all involve crowds and cranky people in varying degrees. Halloween has that alter-ego revealed possibility, and if Christmas could be more about generosity and less about gimmee I may be more prone to enjoy it.

24. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides clutter? Not really. My parents are into antiques, so I've tended to shy away from collections of particular types of stuff in my own house. Interesting postcards are cool though, and fairly easy to store or display.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

I Was Right

Today was a good day, despite not going out to my folks' and turning down an invite to a cookout at friends of theirs ( I hope no one is annoyed.). I was in a pretty good frame of mind, but I was not in a social frame of mind.

I went to Borders and knit in the cafe for a while, then went to Ollie's for photo boxes. While I was there I indulged in some random impulse-buying madness. I got toys for his progeny (just because), candy for me (like I really needed that), graham cracker and chocolate crumb pie crusts, and Testamints cinnamon gum. When I get a decent photo of the package, I'll be sure to post it. I don't usually buy prostelytizing food products, but this was just too good to pass up. Of course, I won't actually open the box of 5 20-stick packs, they are a display item only.

Speaking of my views of religious prostelytization, I took the Biblical Worldview Thinker Test, which I found at Frustrated Writer, and got a -53 out of a possible 170. According to them, I am a Communist/Marxist/Socialist/Secular Humanist Worldview Thinker. I'm surprised I wasn't kidnapped as soon as I stepped out of my house today so that they could immediately rush me to an intervention, er, seminar. I am proud of my score, though some people I know would probably have gotten even lower ones, and others would be appalled by my score and my attitude toward it.

Here is something I find appalling. His eleven-year-old brought it with him this weekend. In the reviews I've seen, it's supposed to be an adult game, but that doesn't stop kids from buying it. Now they can practice their bullying skills at home. Even though I'm supposed to be making myself more accessible to the kids when they're here, and the owner of the game has invited me to play, I don't think this is one I'm going to be learning. They spent an hour-and-a-half to two hours pretending to violently attack one another on a playground, with realistic "attacks" named on the cards. And we wonder... well, never mind what we wonder, really.

On a much brighter note, I found out who I will be playing Secret Pal for, and have already begun digging into the appropriate blog and coming up with a list of possible surprises. Stay tuned for the fun.

Much Better Already

Today will be a good day. I found my critical plastic, the weather is lovely, and the author I mentioned here sent me a nice postcard in response to a note I wrote about her book. I'm feeling much more energized and positive than I have for several days, so I think I'm going to go with it.
I'm hoping to get some work done on both the striped baby blanket and the poncho. I still have no idea how the poncho will look on me (I have my doubts about my cool factor and some fashion trends), but it will be interesting to find out.

Enjoy your day, all.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Grr, Argh!

Articulate, aren't I? What can I say, it was day two of orientation/registration, I didn't get lunch to speak of, and I stayed nearly two hours late, the last one in the building, by far and missed racquetball in the process. I never planned on being a registrar, and yet here I am. And I misplaced a fairly important piece of plastic. I'll have to search my car in the morning.

Due to the long and stressful nature of my day, no knitting or writing was accomplished. But I had another nice dinner at Taj Mahal and I have the luxury of a three-day weekend stretching ahead of me, so I'm sure I'll make up for lost time. Meantime, I'm thinking about bed before 10 pm on a Friday night (not that that's too unusual).

This is going on this weekend; it's a good craft show, I just need to decide how crowd-tolerant I'm feeling this weekend. Maybe I'll wait 'til Monday, it'll be somewhat depleted, but the crowds may be thinner as well. I like looking at black and white photography and textiles most of all, though there are usually any number of other things that catch my eye along the way.

This was a good idea, although I'm still more than ready to go to bed, I'm definitely in a better mood than I was prior to posting. Thanks for letting me vent.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Secret Pals III Questions, Answered

For my anticipated Secret Pals III pal:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I'm a yarn snob in the sense that I prefer natural fibers over synthetic.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
Neither, though spinning looks interesting, and I'll probably need crochet eventually. (I think I used to know how.)
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
No full-blown allergies, but I have some lung problems, so cigarette smoke and heavy perfumes are to be avoided.

4. How long have you been knitting?
This time for a couple of years. I learned initially when I was about ten, then I picked it up again with a scarf pattern in Real Simple magazine.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, not at this point.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like citrus, lavender, and other fresh, natural scents, though I hardly ever burn scented candles.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes, yes I do. Sugar is a significant weakness.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I've made a quilt, and hope to make another. I take photos. I used to write and hope to start again any time.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if you want to make her a CD)
I don't listen to nearly as much music as one would think, but I like nearly anything but country and rap. I have no idea whether my computer will play MP3s.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?
Greens of all sorts, natural earthy colors, though I've found pink suits me better than I would have suspected.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my boyfriend and our two cats. We have his children weekends.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
Besides happiness and health? To finally figure out what I want to do with my life and begin doing it.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I'm enjoying the baby merino I'm using for the baby blankets right now, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with other soft, shiny fibers.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Acrylic, in high quantities it makes my teeth squeak and the bridge of my nose itch.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Baby blankets, apparently.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I'm not sure yet, I'm only just progressing beyond rectangles.

17. What are you knitting right now?
A baby blanket, a Paris Loop poncho, a sock, and a bucket hat I haven't worked on in nearly a month.

18. What do you think about ponchos? (this is really a curiousity question for us)
I'm not quite sure. I'm not crazy about fringe or points, but I've seen a few patterns I find interesting. I'm not even sure how they'd look on me.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I've been using circulars almost exclusively of late, but I don't know if I have a definitive preference yet.

20. How did you learn to knit?
A friend of my grandmother taught me when I was about ten. I never got further than dishcloth-sized squares for at least twenty years, but I carted that first set of needles and skein of sea foam green acrylic with me the entire time.

21. How old is your oldest UFO?
Just over two months at this point. If you'd asked me a month ago, I would have had to admit to five months. I hadn't had more than one project on the needles at any given time before now.

I hope this will be helpful.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Really Long Day

The days leading up to the beginning of the semester are always hectic, but today was a doozy. I had a nearly ten hour day, which is fairly unusual, which included more unexpected student withdrawals, misprinted handbooks, and a myriad of other small frustrations. It's a good thing I like the people I work with...

I got home to a couple of very hungry cats, though I think they managed to refrain from spiteful actions. Haven't found any evidence to the contrary anyway.

Got nothing done once I got home, did maybe a round on Paris Loop, no other knitting, no writing beyond what I'm doing here and now.

Two more days of frenetic, stressful work activity, then a three-day weekend before the first week of school. As registrar, I will continue to be frenetic for an additional two weeks. I'm sure you all needed to know that.

On the up side, we have to be at work by 7:15 tomorrow, but don't really expect students until closer to 8, so I'll bring my knitting and hopefully get some done. Gotta look for the silver lining whenever possible, right?

Off to bed early.