Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sock Wars 2006

I survived Sock Wars Round 1, though I'm afraid it may be on a technicality. My assassin hasn't contacted me, so I'm assuming she/he has dropped out of the game. Either that or he/she is sneaky AND a really slow knitter. It hasn't worked out quite like it was supposed to; the organizer was knocked out on the launch weekend by a hurricane (who knew that Northern Ireland even got hurricanes? It's hard living in the US - I forget that things happen other places) so the target/assassin info didn't get to all of the right people, not to mention the Sock of Doom sock pattern. Many people have "forgotten" about the war (wouldn't it be nice if that were possible for the innocent multitudes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur?) creating huge gaps in the war hierarchy. I killed my target, but not before she killed hers and she killed hers, so I should be receiving the unfinished socks from my target's target's target one of these days so that I can finish them and off my target's target's target's target (got that?). But is it really fair that I'm still alive if it's just because my assassin is AWOL? I guess war can be like that - unpredictable, unfair.

The completed socks:

The details:
sockwars details

It was a really simple pattern, I only wish I'd realized that my rib stitch is so loose - CycleGrrl received a very roomy pair of socks, though she sweetly said that she was thrilled with them. Sorry Grrl, next time they'll be better. I'll also take a clue from the other assassins and sweeten the doom with chocolate in addition to the socks.

Why I Love Vermont

Originally uploaded by mistresscathern.
1) The roads, businesses, and attractions are well labeled. There are signs up to 6 miles in advance of where you're going - they don't just pop up 3 feet before you're supposed to turn right when you're driving 70 mph in the left lane.

2) The State Park bathrooms. If you haven't been to a Vermont State Park bathroom, please go. Ours had a lacy green curtain, dried flowers in a vase on a table, and a chair with a clean cushion to wait on should the nicely painted, very clean, fresh smelling stalls both be occupied. Seriously, I had to take a picture.

3) The views. I hiked for 4 hours without my camera, so you'll have to take my word on this one. I think we could see 3 states over.

4) The yarn shops. Every town had a yarn shop. Underhill Center (at the base of our state park), population 3,222, had a yarn shop. Essex Junction, population 8,591, had a yarn shop. Shelburne, population 6,944 , had a yarn shop. New Brunwsick NJ, population 48,573, no yarn shop.

5) The bookstores and coffee shops. I really think the higher the ratio of bookstores/coffee shops per population, the healthier the city.

6) It isn't really close to anything. And that's just fine with all of them.

Brant and I have learned that we need to travel with a photographer. We took a total of 5 photos on the entire 4 day trip. Two of them were of the fire.

I was excited to make it to my second High Point, though I have no souvenier of this one. Brant picked up a rock for us, but then put it down when the going to rough and neglected to mention this to me. So damn, I guess we'll just have to do it again.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Stark reality

I've come to think of the 2-year mark as the time after a move when life starts to settle down. I've now been in New Jersey for exactly 2 years and 3 months, and I have to say that I'd thought I was ahead of schedule. I had a very good local friend, thanks to the wonders of coincidence in housing; my best friend from high school was living an hour south of me, again purely by coincidence and Air Force job placement; my best friend from college was living an hour north of me. It was a tentative triangle, not the full cohort of people I'd eventually like to find, but it was a damn good start.

Then last night it all came crashing down on me: the high school friend sent a postcard telling me of her new address in Maryland. The college friend has had to return right-quick to Michigan. The local friend is moving to CA next month. Within one month, all of my girlfriends will have shot off in their distant directions. More than two years into this adventure we call "Close to things" (the unofficial NJ state motto) I suddenly find that I'm back at square one.
Brant and I were recently discussing the types of friends everyone should have in their life, and the list went something like this: medical professional, lawyer, contractor/plumber/electrician, librarian, artist, and I forget who else. Yes, I realize that I'm pretty much useless with regard to the list, though Brant (who fulfills two of the items) reassured me by saying that I "know people". Let us say I wasn't very reassured.

So since it's all in the idealistic world right now, here's a list of characteristics I'd like to find in a human being who would not only be this amazing person, but also deign to enjoy my company. If you or anyone you know fulfills some or all of these traits, please apply in person at McCormack's pub, any Monday evening in October.
  • Lives within 10 miles of my house.
  • Likes to knit, or at least admires yarn.
  • Likes to hike and will keep me to the goal of hiking every weekend.
  • Is well-read and has a lovely collection of books to share.
  • Has a dog, had a dog, or wants to someday have a dog.

In knitting news: Brant's gloves have 3 fingers and I've lost the yarn and can't start the second one. Mom's gift is half-way done, but I've lost half of the other half which I knit last week. The cabled skirt has been duly forgotten for long enough that I'm ready to pick it up again (even though I'm pretty sure it's going to be too big). The beautiful autumny sock yarn I bought in Vermont needs smaller needles (but oh do I want to get started on that - Brant helped pick out the colors and I'm so pleased with how it knits up), and the secret secret project that shall not be discussed for fear of the recipient learning about it hasn't been started because I can't find the right stinking needles. As you can tell, trip to Princeton yarn shops and a thorough cleaning of the house are in order for the weekend.

Monday, September 18, 2006

knitterly redemption

Went to see the Yarn Harlot in Brooklyn Saturday, and was well entertained. More than entertained, there was a kind of redemption that occurred, however fleeting.

I met up with Seth for dinner; my plan was to have dinner with him, dash off to the talk, then meet back up with him and his friends afterward. Apparently I didn't convey this well, as at dinner he asked, "So, who is it we're going to hear talk tonight?" Trying to explain that you want to listen to someone talk about knitting is a little like confessing that you're a loopy old spinster. And there were already so many strikes against me - I live in New Jersey, I fall asleep by 11pm, even on Saturdays. I haltingly explained to him that she was a knitter, a blogger, and an author, that I didn't mind meeting back up with him afterward, that he really didn't have to come with me. Then his phone rings and it's the girlfriend, she's going to be joining us. Fantastic - now I have two of the uninitiated who are going to come to the ridiculous peeling away of all that is even the tiniest bit cool about me, leaving me at my most naked, complete with my bag of knitting at my feet. Damnit; I'd really hoped these people would like me.

Although I entered the bookstore behind them, feeling pre-emptively embarrassed, I left with my head held high and a smile on my face. Suffice to say that Seth laughed louder than I did, that Jen pulled the ladder over so she could see the Yarn Harlot over the heads of the many devoted followers, and both were entertained enough that short of bathroom and cigarette breaks, they stood beside me for the entire hour-long talk. Hundreds and thousands of books all around us, and they weren't to be torn away.

Does it get better? Indeed. On our way back to meet others we discussed some of the terminology they'd missed (muggles, stash, etc.). When their friends arrived, Seth and Jen told them about the talk, and for a brief shining moment I was cool because of all of us, I was the only one who was an actual knitter. They asked me how I'd come to "pick up" the habit, and I reassured them that it had taken several learning experiences (six, I think) before knitting "stuck." Seth and Leade had already tried a couple of times, and both looked hopeful that maybe if they tried again it might become habit. Jen had never tried, but seemed optimistic. Perhaps I should qualify this a little bit: it turns out that every one of us was from the midwest. We had almost every state represented (depending on who is considered "midwest" - this is a topic for an entire blog). Maybe knitting is deep in their genetic makeup and simply needed this wakeup call.

So my thanks go out to the Yarn Harlot - through your humor and charm, you rescued me from almost certain social disaster.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Best Day Ever

I am exactly 30 and 3/4 today and for some reason the universe saw fit to celebrate. [actually, yesterday, but myspace was being a pain and it took me until today to get this set up]

I came home to THREE packages. Granted, I paid for one and was expecting another, but the third was a complete surprise and what are the odds of them all arriving today? The first was from my mom; she sent me her entire haul from a Stitch and Pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball stadium. The idea of just such an event amuses me to no end, and that I should be the recipient of the goods only makes it better - even if one of the items is a breast-cancer-pink tote bag. Five skeins of yarn and many, many patterns, plus promises of yarn shopping should I make it out to AZ this winter.

The second was from Amazon. I am very lucky right now - my friend Sa is in Grenada at med school, and for the time being she's getting her new book fix by buying them and having them shipped to me, then letting me get them to her. The books were Forest Mage and The Constant Princess , both of which I'm excited to read before I go and hand deliver them this December.

The third box I have yet to open. It's the yarn I ordered, all of my Christmas gift knitting. I'm scared to open it, afraid that I'll be trapped at home for days, rolling around in fiber. (un)fortunately I'm a diligent soul, and will instead traipse off to work tomorrow, sad that the lovely yarn sits at home, all alone.

And as if three packages weren't enough, I also came home to a man putting away groceries and LIQUOR in my kitchen. I've been dancing around for the past hour, and I think Brant's getting ready for me to settle down. Maybe I'll save the third box for tomorrow...