Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back yard work

I bought some pansies that you plant now and they are GUARANTEED to come up in the spring. Guaranteed! I put them in the elevated bed and it is starting to have an artful artless quality that I like. I did just say "artful artless" intentionally.

I also dug up some crap in this one corner that I have been avoiding - big flat gnarly weeds like dandelions, but not actual dandelions - and went to get the grass seed to put where I dug the crap up, and I discovered a hole in the bottom of the grass seed bag, so half the grass seed spilled out when I picked it up. Doh! Grr. I think there is a critter that chewed it open, most likely a squirrel. I swept up most of it and put it in a couple tupperware containers. Chew THAT open, fucker.

I got some pumpkins as well when I was at the garden place. I love autumn and I love pumpkins and I love Halloween and I am PSYCHED to have a house that I can decorate for the season.

So the two bottom pumpkins are the ones I bought today; the one to the right of that is the one (and only, sadly) that we grew in our back yard; atop the home grown one is the one I knitted and felted and stuffed; to the left of that is the candle I got at Target, which I think is VERY realistic; and behind it all is a wicker one, also from Target, dorky but I like it.

The pumpkins on the front stoop!

Friday, September 28, 2007



I don't think I have enough yarn in the two skeins I bought to make a whole pair of men's socks! I started at the top and knitted 7" of 2x2 rib, and then started the heel flap. Now I'm about 3" into the foot, having turned the heel, and I'm running out of yarn on the first skein!

This is why I prefer toe-up!

Plus I don't expect to finish these by Adam's bday, which is 10/8...

And another thing: I have to complain about sock patterns. Whereas in patterns for other garments you get a variety of sizes, for sock patterns you usually only get one size (Ladies' M). It's not right.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

D&D Night

Adam's got his D&D pals over tonight and they have taken over the dining room with their geekery. I love having them over, I admit. They make a lot of noise and laugh and argue and I do my thing in the other room - mostly I am in my office on the computer, but I also hang out upstairs doing stuff as well. It's just nice to have the extra company, but they don't expect any interaction from me.

Overheard just now: "You put the ring on, it's ringy..."

Come on, who can resist this shit? It's awesome.

On another, more interesting, knitty note, I finally got some Sundara yarn. I'm SO EXCITED. Look!

Blackberry over Aubergine; Sage over Pumpkin; Bartlett Pear.

I've long adored her colors - she is a phenomenal colorist - but I wasn't expecting the yarn to be so soft! I don't know what I'm going to use them for, yet. Maybe some half-mittens and a small neck scarf. Or some toys.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Zoidberg, step 1

As you can see I finished the lobster claw mittens that are half of my Dr Zoidberg costume for Halloween. For those not in the know, Dr Zoidberg is the perpetually broke and hungry crustacean doctor on Futurama. The other half of the costume is the mask, also to be knitted, which may be a lot more difficult than the mittens. Maybe not - but it will require some creativity to make it look like a crustacean's head!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

chocolate pepper going brown (finally)!

Remember the tale of the thieving next door neighbors? Well, this is one of the many remaining sweet peppers on the vine they didn't get. There are now several that are finally, slowly going brown. It's, uh, anticlimactic, at this point, but still somewhat rewarding.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mr BabaBlackSheep

A friend of mine from college asked me in an email what category my BF fits into and here is how I replied.

I'd like to say he defies description, but let me take a stab. He is 5'11", somewhat overweight, half Italian, half Irish (looks more Italian than Irish but doesn't have a hairy back, thank God). He's brown-haired and brown-eyed. He's GRUFF. He's very funny and very smart. Went to Rutgers for one semester and then went to work doing computer programming - a surprising number of developers didn't finish college. He still plays D&D, often as dungeon master. He's a comic book enthusiast. He's generally a sci-fi nut. He's kind of a classic geek.

He is also very sociable and outgoing, whereas I have rediscovered my introverted self, which I covered up for a long time with a veneer of acting extroverted. Sometimes we clash on the issue of how sociable to be; I'd rather stay home and read or watch a movie, whereas he has lots of friends and likes to go out. He's a sales engineer; that nicely joins his programmer side and his social side, and he does quite well at it.

He is NOT the type of guy I thought I'd end up with, but thank God I didn't end up with that type, the skinny, cool, slightly hard hearted guy that I would always be working hard to try to make like me even when we were together. I had that guy and he sucked. Adam pursued me for a long time before I finally realized what I was missing and met him halfway. So I am very lucky he found me. He laughs at my stupid jokes and we have a lot of fun together.

On the other hand, he is a slob, occasionally stays up all night playing computer games, drinks more than he should sometimes, and on rare occasions I have to remind him he is lucky to have me. So he's certainly not perfect. But I feel like I found the right guy for me, finally.

Adam, if you are reading this: You're my favorite.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happiness is boring. And that's just fine!

I think one of the biggest barriers to happiness is that it feels boring. Heck, it is boring, in literature and life. Story happens when conflict occurs, struggle ensues, maybe a lesson or two is learned, etc. But happiness and contentment are states that are hard to endure if you are used to getting in your own way, shooting yourself in the foot, or just plain fucking up. If you are used to crisis. If you like the adrenaline rush that comes with an emergency, even if you have to create it yourself.

I am in the position these days of being happy, generally and most of the time. I have an enviable life. I don't make the most money I've ever made and I don't live in the exciting environment of NYC anymore and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to end up famous for maybe anything. But I have a boyfriend whom I love and I live in my own house in a small city in New Jersey and I have a job with enough money coming in and I am sober many years now. So things are pretty nice. And they are boring.

And - contrary to what I always used to think - that's okay. I think the trick is to figure out that you still have to invest energy into your life even if you are already happy. I never knew that before. I didn't know that contentment means, I like where I am at, but I have endeavors that mean something to me that require me to do work on them - e.g., hobbies like crafts or sports or whatever. Because if I do not, I will find things in my pleasant happy life to pick at. To notice and think too much about. Does the frequency my bf and I have sex mean something? Is it too much or too little? Or, does the fact that I am an introvert, which means essentially I require solitude to regroup, whereas my bf is an extrovert, so he regroups better around people, does that mean we are incompatible? Blah blah blah. I'm not saying these aren't intrinsically valid questions per se; but I don't need to be wasting my energy thinking about them. And, in order to keep from spending my energy on those things, I have to "keep the focus on myself," which in practical terms means finding things I want to do and put energy into them.

I love knitting and I am getting excited about the sculptural possibilities of knitted objects. I made those things that I submitted to (and STILL I haven't heard back from them! so I still can't talk about them specifically) that were very sculptural. I've also made a number of items by following other people's patterns lately that are equally so, and it's an interesting learning opportunity to see how another designer accomplishes a bulge or a pinch shape after I've tried to make those things happen. I've also been working on some multimedia type projects - a bag made of knitted pieces that is mostly a sewing project; a pillow that contains some knitted components; etc. I put up a pair of "fake UGG" baby booties for sale on etsy, as a first attempt to sell something I made, and I have plans for more of those, as well as to sell patterns for other knitted items. As I told my bf last night, I'm trying to increase my productivity in this area.

I get home at about 6-6:30pm these days after work. I used to work until that time, then get home whenever I could after that, factoring in the PATH train and then the drive back from JC, or whatever other method of commute. Adam doesn't get home until later than even that; I think he came home earlier when we commuted together, but now he is easily distracted by people who suggest a "quick" drink together after work, or stays later at work than I was happy to do; so he doesn't get home until 9 or even 10 at night, quite frequently. So this leaves me a 3-4 hour window of time in which to sit at my computer and waste time waiting for him to get home, or to put to use on my various projects that I have in progress. I'm trying to use the time more wisely, rather than feeling like I am just waiting for my bf to come home for life to begin.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

the most amazing little kids ever

these are my brother's kids, ages 6 and 4. they kill me. i took this a month ago when i babysat for them but forgot to post the pics. LOVE them.

the only other kids in the pantheon are my sister's kids. they are in alabama though so i usually only see them once a year at our family reunion.

here are some more pics, from labor day weekend when adam's sister tammy and her hubby alan were here with their boy gabriel. on sunday adam's other sister tracy came too, and my bro brought over his kids for some BBQ.

tammy watches while julianne & gabriel duke it out on the wii

now tracy watches while said duking continues

finally, my bro (on the sofa in back) looks on while johnny tries his hand at guitar hero...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A moment of silence

I don't have much to say about 9/11, other than to note that today's an anniversary thereof. I am glad the weather is so crappy today. It's actually more painful when it's glorious, the way it was on 9/11/2001.

I didn't lose any loved ones in the attacks, nor did any of my close friends lose anybody close to them, except for one fireman, Pat, who I knew somewhat. He was a local hero to many of my pals in the rooms.

God bless all those who died that day and in the aftermath. You'll always be a part of me, literally - I breathed you in.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grab bag

Adam and I went to an engagement party last night for our friends Pete & Jenny. Their apartment is on 80th off of Broadway; it's a great apartment. Great high ceilings, big windows, etc. As a bonus I realized (since I haven't been up there in years, since I quit therapy, I'd forgotten what was around there) that I would pass right by Zabar's on my way to their place. Adam went the party earlier than I and I was meeting him there, so I felt myself free to stop in Zabar's. I bought a bunch of stuff ... for myself. And then thought, they are going to think I am an ass for bringing a Zabar's bag to their party that isn't for them! so I sort of hid it beneath my backpack. They didn't care, of course. But you know, it's kind of in the same camp as bringing a half-drunk bottle of wine to a party. Sort of, uh, gauche. But it was too hard to resist the chance to go to Zabar's.

After the party we went to get the car out of the parking garage and I was struck by a pang of nostalgia for when I lived in NYC - up until only four months ago - and although I really don't miss living there in general, last night I had a moment of missing it. And I suspect when the weather turns cooler, I will really contend with some more moments like that; NYC is phenomenal in the fall. But you know, every place is great in the fall! When I realized that, I knew I could move away from there finally. Because it's so f'ing hard to live there, most of the time. But it has its considerable charms, and when you are on the outside looking in, it's easy to forget all the headaches and smells and struggles and expenses associated with living in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

I finished the baby booties. The first time I made this pattern I made an entire inner lining out of the white fluffy stuff and this time when I was doing it I realized that it doesn't call for that at all. I thought it was quite nice to have the fluffy lining, which is what real UGGs have, and I considered doing that again, but went with the lazy option, ultimately. I think they are so much better with the lining! but it's twice as much work. Here they are drying (and being blocked, with plastic shopping bags as stuffing):

If you have an opinion on the lining vs no-lining question, please comment.

Finally, the new job: It's okay so far. Not terrific, yet, because I don't have much to do yet. There's not much I know how TO do, since the place has all this history stored in people's heads and they forget that newcomers don't know where anything is or how to get an account on the various servers or which servers serve which sites, or anything. I did extract (like pulling teeth) from this guy I'm supposed to be shadowing (I'm not, exactly, yet) a smallish task to work on that allows me to get my feet wet with Python and Django (never used either) and maybe create some useful templates for their users to repurpose. Did that, Friday afternoon. I hope this week feels a little more productive. It's hard to go to work and do nothing, and resist the urge to read knitting blogs and shop online all day.

Friday, September 7, 2007


The feet are ridiculously large and yet somehow make it cuter. Made with the wonderful merino-lammdochtwolle (lambswool) yarn hand-dyed by Claudia at Wollmeise. It felts, if anything, too easily! It was a piece of cake and a pleasure to make.

Blogging on knitting

I don't know why knitting is the last thing I want to write about in this blog. It may be because I've had other issues taking up my notice - being laid off, being out of a job, interviewing for jobs, deciding to take my career in a slightly different direction, interviewing for those jobs, finally getting a job. Maybe it's because I've kept track of the knitting projects I've been doing in ravelry instead, but that's no excuse because I don't actually write much in ravelry about the projects, I just enter them into their tracking system and rarely add a note or two. And anyway, lots of people still can't get into ravelry, so it's still somewhat suboptimal.

But since this blog is nominally about knitting and yarns about knitting (get it? a pun on the word "yarn"? sorry), then I should write about knitting at least sometimes.

I'm working on these little UGG-like booties with leftover sock yarn doubled. I've had this idea for a long time because I think they will be so cool. Baby UGGs in jewel colors; baby UGGs in non-UGG colors, essentially. If they look good, I'll sell them on etsy. I started a pair last night with some magenta multicolored yarn from Cherry Tree Hill. Baby booties are great because they are so small and thus knit up quickly. I wish it were that easy to make a pair for myself!

I was reading in another knitting blog about how the blogger was looking forward to faculty meetings, in which she would be able to knit contentedly on her latest project. I felt much envy. I just don't quite have the nerve to knit in my work meetings; I wish I did, because I certainly listen perfectly well while knitting (I knit in my program meetings and absorb the content I need to just fine), and it gives me something to do with my hands. But I have tried a couple times and I always feel like people think I am a lightweight. Maybe when I get more settled in here, and feel more solid. We'll see.

* * * * *

Now, after having written the above and then looking back over the previous few posts, I realize I'm writing about textile stuff more than I thought. Designing has taken up some of my time and attention lately. It's not easy to write about because it's supposed to be secret until (one hopes) it gets published. But I have tried to write about it as much as I can.