Saturday, September 30, 2006

Just Keep Knitting, Just Keep Knitting







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With all the shit hitting the fan lately, I've had this Dory voice in my head singing "Just keep knitting, just keep knitting..." instead of "swimming."

So just keep knitting I shall!

I'm working on a trio of hats for Kristi. She's a knitter in the Lansing area. Of course my stupid luck, I don't really discover her blog until I freaking move! She's pregnant with triplet boys. And not any of those cake-mix babies, her triplets are from scratch! I've been keeping up with her blog and reading her (quite hilarious) adventures as she finishes up baking those kiddos.

Some of her friends (cyber and otherwise) got together and started a sort of cyber-babyshower-KAL (I've added the button to the sidebar). I mean it's one thing to be pregnant with a single kid; you get to knit sweaters, socks, hats, all that good jazz for them. But can you imagine having to knit it all three times over? Yikes!

So when I got wind of this cyber babyshower, I had to get in on that action. I don't mind inviting myself to a babyshower for someone I only cyber-know! Hee hee!

I'm working on a trio of mini-mite hats for her. Althought, she wants to keep the triplets' stuff as individual as possible and stay away from the matchy-match stuff, my mini-mites will be the same--just different colors. What's a mini mite? Think Black Widow Baby Hat except smaller and not predatory!

It's helping to keep me sane as I just keep knitting, just keep knitting!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

And then it all came crashing down...

...Dr. J pulled the job offer.

Soon-to-be Dr. Bezzie has no job lined up after he graduates anymore.

Thank the lord I've been mentally prepping myself for this.

Off to look at jobs for the hubby....

Can someone cue "I will survive" ?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

All the Pretty Wrappings

The baby shower for Mrs. Adam is on Thursday. I had to wrap the Black Widow Baby Hat:

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C'mon please, you didn't think I was going to wrap it in like real wrapping paper or one of those gift bags did you? Nothing like a brown paper bag stamped with baby stamps (it's a boy by the way) and a homemade spider made out of some mystery black cardstock and some old scrapbooking brads I had to give him that iggly-giggly leg effect to say how much I care!!

His belly reads:

The Itsy Bitsy Spider stopped by to say-
Congratulations on your special day!

And of course I fuzzed out my name and department for blog posting purposes only.

This is probably the best baby gift I've ever given and it didn't cost me a dime. Ha ha!

Speaking of cheap. My CASP2 (who would be ????) sent me six skeins of TLC Cotton Plus in Moss. She got it at her dollar store for hold your breath--$1 a skein! (Sorry, I had to throw that explanation in for any Alaskans reading that might not know what a dollar store is).

I've had a yearning for a cabled sweater. I thought about making one up, but then I stumbled across Knitty's Samus. The Cotton Plus would be perfect for this. But looking at the yardage, six balls was a smidge too short.

Sadly, the color Moss has been discontinued. So I bought two skeins of Kiwi to do the cuff and waistband.

Look at the pattern. Look at these colors. What do you think? Would it dorkalicious to stick the lighter color as the cuffs and waistband?

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Surprisingly the colors are pretty darn true to life in this picture.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Movies

This week's blogstalking assignment was to snap pics of your movie collection.

This assignment did give me a reason to organize Chunky's movies. They went from looking like this:

before

To this:

after

I think there's every Pixar movie in there ever made (minus Cars--that will probably be a birthday present to him). Plus some essentials that I had to impart upon him--The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan, and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factor (that Johnny Depp one made me want to go take a shower. That man needs to stick to pirating--he gave off the biggest pedophile vibe to me in that remake!)

top

Moving onto the grown up movies. On the top shelf we have Season 1-3 of Scrubs, Seasons 1-4 of Seinfeld, Season 1 of Arrested Development, and my Xmas movie collection. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street anyone? I've got that one memorized line-for-line. Any sibs reading will know why.

middle

Second shelf is basically all comedy. Wayne's World 1 and 2, Old School, Animal House, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike back, etc. The top two are The Mad Scientist's movies: Lord of the Rings (gag!) and Army of Darkness (insert eye rolling here).

bottom

Third shelf is the entire Future's Yama (Futurama for those of you that don't speak Chunkiese). Chunky loves to watch these all the time (with the stipulation he doesn't repeat any of the words Fry or Bender say!). Him and The Mad Scientist used to watch them all the time when we were all living together. I think it's something Chunky's sort of glommed onto as a connection to daddy. We also have VHS tapes there, most of these are home videos--my brother and SILs wedding, Chunky's first birthday, etc. I wish to god I could say I had some rubber rat porn to add to that collection. My sister T. in high school made a dirty video of those giant rubber Halloween rats doin' it. I was promised the tape. It's about five years late.

A majority of the VHS tapes were left with The Mad Scientist to watch since he was left with a TV/VCR duo. They would include basically the rest of our Kevin Smith collection.

Finally, did you see that final shelf on the last picture there? Those are various scrapbooks/albums. Since this post has left me pining to see The Mad Scientist (watching movies you watched all the time with your husband alone sucks!), I'll leave you with a page out of our wedding album:

awww

Good god we looked like we were 12 years old.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cheap Thine Name is Bezzie

I hate winding balls (of yarn). But I also hate spending money. Especially after I check the bank account of a person who shall remain nameless and they are spending money like they are making more than a paltry $19K a year. But I digress.

What to do? I could go to Home Depot and buy a bunch of plywood and screws and dowels and make one of those homemade swifts you see on Craftster all the time, and use my Joann's 40% off coupon to buy a ball winder. Hm. Yes. I could do that. But that dear friends would be too rich for this ghetto chick's blood.

When I transfered my sweet little Buick's plates to Texas, to my horror I had to have two plates. Now in Michigan you only one plate in the back. Being the thrifty chica I am, I went and bought myself a $7.99 Black and Decker drill thinking I could drill holes in the front bumper to attach the front plate.

Um, yeah well it didn't do the job. In fact all I got out of it was a black mark on my front bumper where I tried to drill the first hole. (Who would have thought fiberglass was so damn hard to drill a hole into??) So I wired the plate to my bumper instead. Seems to be holding up quite well. But that left me with a $7.99 craptacular drill with not enough torque to drill holes in cheese. (I'm too cheap to buy Swiss).

Today it hit me what to do with the drill--behold!

Step 1:

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Save a few of those Angel Soft rolls. Poke the drill bit through on a portion of a roll horizontally. Trim down the width of the poked roll to fit inside the whole roll you have left.

Step 2:

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Slide the second (uncut) roll onto the bit. It should be snug and not slip around the poked roll.

Step 3:

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Find a skein of yarn you want to wind. In this case I was using 30 gms. of pure handspun wool obtained from a swap with Kate. Mmm...look at all those greens and golds (Let's go RAMS!)

Step 4:

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Borrow your son's Tinkertoys. (Do those look familiar Nik?)

Step 5:

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Construct yourself a ghetto tinkertoy "swift." Cat is optional. It wasn't as tight as a normal swift would be, but such are the things we forsake in the name of cheapness.

Step 6:

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Start winding baby!! Because this yarn was 100% pure wool, it was a little tough to get off the "swift" smoothly. No bother. I merely walked around the "swift" a few times loosening the yarn up from sticking to itself. A non 100% wool might have been a better choice to start with, but I still balled this stuff faster than I would have by hand!

Step 7:

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When you're done, it should look a little something like this.

Step 8:

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Finally, gently slip the ball off the tube, stick your original tag/skein wrapper in the middle of the ball and behold your cheaptastic yarn cakey goodness!

Now I've seen people that do this with kitchen handmixers as well. I was hesitant to try that because I nearly ruined my Kitchenaid handmixer trying to spin some yarn! Now I never said all my harebrained ideas worked that well!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Ideas They Are A Brewin'

No yarn porn here folks. We don't do warm and fuzzy close up shots here. We like it hard core. I really need to get crackin' on the next installment of my own brand of yarn porn.

Sigh. But I've got so many ideas floating around in this little head of mine.

I had to proctor a pre-admission test today. Actually I'll have to proctor them for like the next month at least three or four times a week hopefully just once (and not twice) a day for three hours.

I get to sit there. No book, no internet, no knitting, nada. Maybe we should amend the Geneva Convention to include proctoring as a form of torture. Is it too late to write my congressman?

But I did write a letter to my third little brother and I sketched out the latest thing swimming around in my brain:

mystery 2

But it's top secret and all you get is this blurry picture. Ha ha!

Maybe Tuesday when I get to do it at 8:00 a.m. (YAWN!) I'll storyboard out the latest edition of Lupe and Shawnee and y'all can tune in for some seedy yarn porn. Not that tasteful stuff that comes on Skinimax at 2:00 a.m., the kind you have to go behind the little room divider to get to at the video store and tell the clerk that it's not for you, it's for your grandma. She's met a new hot to trot geezer at the home and needs some new positions to try out since she's confined to a wheelchair.

Not that I would know anything about any of that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Can You Get SSS On Purpose?

The Jaywalker.

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Meh.

This thing sucked up ALOT of yarn. I hope I have enough to yarn to finish sock number two.

It's scrunchy in the ankle. It feels loose. I knit the smallest size.

It's wool. I didn't buy this yarn, but I'm reminded why I don't like wool. I think I'm officially a cotton sock convert.

If I don't finish sock number two, I won't be heartbroken.

Thanks for the kind words on the spider. I hope that I don't get fired giving him as a gift. The stuffed shirt factor at this new office is intense. I sent out an email about books at the bookstore being available behind the counter to cut down on shopliftability. Apparently that was the wrong thing to say. I was told I ought to rethink my emails. To insinuate that the students would shoplift! Oh! Our sweet little students!?! How DARE I even THINK such a thing!

Granted I'm sure if they were shoplifted somehow they would find a way to blame me: "Why didn't you have them put the books behind the counter?!"

Tightasses.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Latrodectus

a/k/a The Black Widow Baby Hat

Sick of bringing the same old crap to baby showers? Maybe your own little baby would look better with a giant black widow perched atop his or her noggin. Regardless of the reasons for your arachnophilia, I present you with Latrodectus:

spider con plant

It’s my first pattern–so I had to give it one of those names where you can’t tell what the hell it’s a pattern for. A sweater? Socks? A scarf? You may call it simply The Black Widow Baby Hat if you prefer.

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Because it’s my first pattern, go easy on me okay? I didn’t have an army of test knitters knitting it tinking my design flaws. So if you find a mistake, feel free to fix it! And yes, I realize I could have abbreviated the decrease rounds as you start to hit the crown of the hat, but I HATE it when patterns merely say "Repeat Rounds X and Y until you get W stitches left on your needles." Call me remedial, but I love directions that go line by line!

My spider hat is off to Elizabeth for planting the seed in my brain to do this project! She's a real knitwear designer!

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Skill Level:
Do you know how to decrease? Are you comfortable with intarsia? Can you do both at the same time? If so, you can hit the ground with all eight legs running.

Size:
I won’t lie, my own child was born with a ginormous head. However, I feel this hat would be well suited for a normal-headed child who is six to eight months old.

Materials:
Needles: Set of 5 US 8 DPNs (hat & spider head); Set of 4 US 3 DPNs

Yarn: Body and head--1 skein Red Heart in Black (or any color/type of worsted weight yarn); Hourglass–a few yards of an orange colored worsted weight yarn; a few yards of accent yarn for embroidering the features; and a bit of stuffing or other squishy material to stuff the spider’s head with.

Gauge: 4"x4"=18sts x 22 rows

Hat:
CO 72 sts on four US 8 DPNs. PM at beginning of round, or merely leave a long tail marking the beginning of the round.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: *K2, P2*, repeat from * to *
Round 3-7: Repeat Round 2
Round 8: K all
Round 9: K22, (start the chart found at the end of this post) K10 in orange, K the rest of the round
Round 10-17: K all continuing with chart
Round 18: *K1, K2tog, K to last three sts on needle, SSK, K*, repeat * to * on each needle
Round 19: K all continuing with chart
Round 20: Repeat Round 18
Round 21: K all continuing with chart
Round 22: Repeat Round 21
Round 23: Repeat Round 18
Round 24: K all (you shouldn’t have to worry about the pesky hourglass now)
Round 25: Repeat Round 18
Round 26: K all
Round 27: Repeat Round 18
Round 28: K all
Round 29: Repeat Round 18
Round 30: K all
Round 31: Repeat Round 18
Round 32: K all

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Hourglass Chart

If I haven’t screwed up writing this pattern you should have 12 stitches total. Break the yarn, leaving a long tail and thread the tail through the live stitches at the top of the hat and cinch it shut.

Spider Head:
CO 27 sts on 3 US 8 DPNs. PM at beginning of round, or merely leave a long tail marking the beginning of the round.
Round 1-10: K all
Round 11: *K1, K2tog, K to last three sts, SSK, K1*, repeat * to *
Round 12: Repeat Round 11
Round 13: K all
Round 14: *K1, K2tog, SSK*, repeat * to *
Round 15: K all

Break the yarn, leaving a long tail and thread the tail through the live stitches at the top of the hat and cinch it shut.

Using contrasting yarn, in this case white, stitch on the face of your spider. If you’re making a larger hat, you might want to use buttons for eyes, or paint them on. Since my hat was for a baby, I stayed away from buttons. Babies love to pick at things, and buttons could end up in their mouth, and thus choking them. Yes, it’s a black widow, but I don’t really want it to kill the baby!

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Face Embroidery Detail

After embellishing the spider’s face, stuff it with a bit of stuffing, and sew it securely onto the front of the hat.

Legs:
CO 9 sts onto 3 US 3 DPNs, leaving a long tail. (Size 3 DPNs are used to create a tighter gauge and keep the spider legs stiff.)

Knit all rounds until leg measures approximately 4" (or longer if legs turn you on).

BO leaving a 6" tail of yarn.

Sew tip of leg shut with the tail you left when casting on. Using the 6" tail of yarn you left after binding off, sew the legs onto the "body" of the spider.

Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 legs.

Ta-da! You’ve got a giant knitted black widow to stick on the head of a baby of your choosing. It’s so sick it’s almost cute!

© 2006 R. K. Bezdecny–Feel free to recreate this monstrosity for yourself, but please don’t sell the final product or pattern for your own profit. If you do, may a horde of pissed off black widows attack you while you sleep!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's Alive!!!

I just finished sewing on the eighth leg! Muhahahaha!

Pictures on a proper model/backdrop will follow tomorrow and hopefully with the pattern.

Now I must sleep. While visions of babies with spiders on their head dance through my dreams!

Blogging About Books

This week's blogstalking assignment is to show off your bookshelf(ves).

Now, I'm somewhat of a book snob. The Mad Scientist has box upon box of sci-fi-fantasy mass market paperback books. Paul Harding, Frank Herbert, Donald E. Westlake, Anne McCaffrey, and Terry Brooks are just a few of the authors of the books taking up room immediately next to my computer. I tend to dismiss these as too mainstream for my taste. However, in the immortal words of a librarian I used to TA for in 8th grade because I hated Home Ec and was able to shelve books instead of sew pillow cases, "It doesn't matter what they're reading, as long as they are reading." Point well taken, but I'm still a book snob! Most of the books I like tend to cost $15-$20 in paperback. So I don't buy many. I prefer to check them out of the libary or scour used bookstores. Not to mention, I got rid of a lot of books before we moved (books are HEAVY!)

Therefore I present you with my absolute favorites in this picture having spared being Freecyled or Amazon Marketplaced in June:

my bookshelf

Top shelf is photo albums/negatives from before the digital age.

Second shelf contains my old favorites from Betty Smith, Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, Alice Walker, and Margaret Atwood.

Third shelf is more leftovers from college I couldn't part with or attempts to make myself smarter. Home Buying for Dummies (yeah right, I can't even get my husband down here to live with me!), Learning German (from my failed attempt to make it to my brother's wedding---fuck the man for not letting me have time off!), What To Expect When You're Expecting (now that I've had a kid, I can say a majority of this book is bullshit--but it will be recycled for when T. has a child but the title will be doctored to read something different--she knows what I'm talking about), and my favorite Revolutionizing Motherhood, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (more people need to become aware of the human rights violations happening to our neighbors in South America, maybe then we wouldn't waste our time in the middle east under that guise. Oh wait. South America doesn't export as much oil.)

Can't forget cookbooks on top of the fridge:

cookbooks

That orange Betty Crocker book is my absolute favorite. Same with the slow cooker book. The best one for cake porn is the German title you see in there.

You also can't forget my "bed books."

bedbooks

Peel My Love Like an Onion by Ana Castillo (one of my current library books) and Texas Curiosities (bought for $1 by my mother at the library she works at).

And finally, I'll bet you didn't know I had a book written about me did you?

ha ha

Some of you might remember me mentioning the Macho Tax Man. The attorneys at my old firm would bring in their biblio-castoffs for the staff to take. One slow day at work he made this using a photo of me brought in my a pair of my coworkers who I attended a wedding with in Detroit. I'm probably the only one under 70 that has no qualms about being seen in public with my curlers.

Kris will probably be the only one to get the "Lansing State Urinal" play on words.

Now, off to surf other blogstalker's shelves. It's like peeking into medicine cabinets to me!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Because What Else Did You Think I'd Put...

...on my Knucks?

knuck you!

Look away from the cuticles. Some people bite their nails, I pick my cuticles.

Now onto the spider head.

Oh and The Mad Scientist called me at work today. Bosses kid was sick. She had to cancel their meeting. I hate to say this, but that girl better have been really sick. If she was faking I'll be pissed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Insert Evil Laugh Here

widow abdomen

Muhahahahahaha!

Now all she needs is some legs and a head.

I still need to shore up the stitching on the hourglass because I suck at colorwork. My joins are gapping. I’m thinking this is due to a combination of my poor intarsia skills and the fact the orange yarn is a slightly lighter weight yarn. Hopefully Mrs. Adam isn’t a knitter and won’t know any better!

*************************************************************************************

The poor Mad Scientist. He meets with his boss tomorrow. He’s stressing about it. He says he has four of the six chapters of his thesis completed.

He’s a lot like me, he always assumes the worse when he goes in to meet with his boss. We’ll see what (if anything) she tells him tomorrow.

Chunky turns five at the end of November. If he is here (for good—no counting a visit) by then I’ll be floored. I’m kind of half expecting to spend Christmas without him around.

I’ve also started to entertain the idea he might not get his PhD. This doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Ok, the idea of him wasting six years of his life bothers me, but what’s done is done. And what kind of job does one get when they’re a PhD dropout? I dream about my Canadian Potato Farm more and more every day.

So needless to say, he’s feeling stressed and freaked out. Actually it’s kind of funny. When we were living together, when one of us would reach the brink and break down, the other one was always totally sane and would talk the other one out of it, and vice versa.

We’re still doing the same thing 1500 miles apart. I had my weekly spazz-out at work earlier this week and emailed him on the verge of tears, and he convinced me that life is OK and this job isn’t forever. (It’s been two months and this job isn’t getting any better—why don’t they ever tell you in the interview that the girl in the position before you developed a nasty drinking habit because she caught so much hell for no reason?)

Today it was his turn to freak out and it was my turn to be the sane one.

Funny how you really don’t appreciate a person and what they do for you until they’re gone isn’t it?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What Has Eight Legs and Wants to Sit on Your Baby's Head?

First off, thanks to the peeps that read my last entry. I apologize if it came off as flippant. It wasn’t meant to be. I guess this is why I’m not a writer and a paper pusher instead huh?

Onto more exciting topics! Some of you may know about The Baby Shower.

I was invited to a baby shower for an expecting co-worker. I’ve worked at this new job for two months and three days.

I have no clue who this woman is.

Since I can’t tell her from Adam I shall call her Mrs. Adam. Mrs. Adam is a faculty member. Her shower is being hosted by four other faculty members. I could pick one of these faculty members out of a crowd of four, and quite honestly that’s only because she’s new herself. We can smell our own kind.

Regardless of my feelings on how tacky it is to hold said baby shower during office hours and to invite everyone in the office regardless of whether or not they actually know a person, I guess I’ll go. Yes, people who work here might be offended if they aren’t invited regardless of whether they know Mrs. Adam. However, the last time I checked I wasn’t invited to _________________ (Bob/Bubba/Bambi)’s ________________ (Bar Mitzvah/Trailer Housewarming Party/Miss Corncob Paegant) either, and I’ve not lost any sleep over it.

Because I’m weird and quite honestly despise giving people “normal” shower gifts (whether I know you or not), I have to make this gift odd too. This will definitely go down as my one of my favorites next to the pooping moose candy “dish” we gave to a dear friend of The Mad Scientist when he was married, and the marital advice money I gave my brother, Bub, when he got married earlier this year. I gave Bub and his new wife a check for $40 and to spice it up (because c’mon, how boring is a check!), a five dollar bill and five one dollar bills. I made cartoon bubbles out of paper, wrote snarky marital advice on the bubbles, and affixed them with that repositionable fixative you can buy for scrapbooking onto the cash. Allegedly they framed the bills. They’re still married nine months later. Don’t know if that’s because they heed Honest Abe’s advice or not! Ha ha!

So I present to you the start of the Black Widow Baby Hat:

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It’s in its infancy stages right now (pun completely intended). My master plan involves affixing eight i-cordish legs to the hat and a little “head” for the spider. I think it will be kind of cute.

One thing I’ve forgotten about in knitting this, is how much I hate colorwork. My hat is off (pun again intended) to those can strand one or more colors throughout their knitting. Yikes.

Stay tuned. If the final product turns out decent, maybe I’ll be able to offer a pattern and finally fulfill the need of knitters everywhere to cover the heads of their offspring/relatives/unknown coworker’s babies with a knitted poisonous spider.

A special thanks goes out to a certain renowned knitwear designer herself for planting the seed in my brain for this. She knows who she is, but shall remain nameless until I know she’s okay being known to have aided a madwoman. Ha ha!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Jaywalking Down Memory Lane

I'll post a picture of my Jaywalker just because I'm totally not feeling this pattern and I'm not sure if I'll finish the first sock let alone the second one.

amish jay walkin' pig

That's the standard Jaywalker pattern knit in Opal wool sock yarn. I'm not too impressed with Opal. It seems identical to Regia sock yarn but costs twice as much. Yes, I'll give you that some of the color schemes are cooler in the Opal line, but is that worth almost an extra $10 a pair of socks to me? No.

I'm such a cheap schmuck. Can you imagine what I'm going to be like when I'm 90? Listen to me bitch now about how expensive shit is! For the record, I didn't buy that Opal.

I am quite proud I figured out how to carry the design onto the top of the foot though. And the heel! My best heel ever!!! There will be NO holes where I picked up those stitches!

Well since I jumped on the Jaywalker bandwagon, I'll jump on the blogging bandwagon. Blogs all over are walking down memory lane about where they were on September 11, 2001.

Blah. I'd like to forget that day as much as anyone, but more because I was entering the third trimester of being pregnant with Chunky. I was entering the uber bitch stage as my old boss and The Mad Scientist can attest to.

I remember wearing my maroon maternity top. It was Tuesday. Every Tuesday was maroon top day. That's what having seven maternity tops will do to you. We wasted a lot of time that day glued to the TV over across the hall in Johnny Cochran (of Lansing's) office. I'm sure the economy took a hit from all the unproductiveness going on around the nation.

But instead of waxing poetic about that day in particular I'm going to give the Meandering faithful a little glimpse into some other dates in my personal history. T. can consider it an homage to her Atlanta journey travel log since I snubbed her in my celebrity post.

Before there was Random Meanderings, there was pen and paper. I've kept a journal/diary/ink meandering since June 26, 1990. Here's some snippets of some dates in history that relate to today, in no particular order. Some are serious. Some are downright childish.

September 11, 1997
I got an email from The Mad Scientist* yesterday (well actually today), and he said he wished I was down there to talk to because email just wasn't the same. What does this mean?! Then he went on to say he'd be back for only two weeks for x-mas break. When I read that I felt it was more like just --"hey I like you as a friend and you're great to relieve sexual tension on-but nothing else. I don't want a relationship with you." I don't know, I think I'm jumping the gun. Before I know it he'll have another lust-ee he wants advice on. And dumb me, I'll tell him to go for it. Sigh. But then maybe not. I don't know.

This entry references some confusion I had about a night I had with The Mad Scientist before we parted for college. We started officially "dating" about a month later.

February 26, 1993
A little history news, the World Trade Center in New York blew today. Panic, panic, panic. New York, one of the cities of violence.
School still sucks. Nothing new there. God! I've got to slip out of that school with no recognition, just a face in the yearbook and a name in a record.

Lord, I hated high school.

January 16, 1991
It has happened. Iraq and the United States are at war. Yesterday was the deadline set by President Bush. The fighting began today.
I always thought I would grow up in "peace." Now I wish I was too young to understand. But I'm 12 and understand all of it.
It all started when we bombed Baghdad. I don't know what to think. I just thank god it isn't taking place over in the U.S. Thank goodness G.* and C.* aren't that old.
Once Desert Shield, now Desert Storm.
I don't know who's right or wrong. Listening to all this is just so depressing..

Ironically enough G and C both ended up over in Iraq and Saudi respectively during the latest exercise in futility going on over there.

*Names have been changed or the person referenced wasn't a Mad Scientist at the time of said journal entry.

So there you go. Stepping off of the blogwagon now.

Don't get me wrong, I HATE it when people harp on the past. And pretty soon I'm sure we won't make a big whoop-dee-do about September 11. Look at Pearl Harbor Day. As that generation dies out, you don't see a giant media blitz every December that lasts for weeks beating the life out of a date.

In reality, every day is a tragic day. Three days ago when that 17 year old kid whose obituary I read in the paper this weekend died, the cure for cancer could have died with him. He could have been the one to cure it. Everyday has a catastrophic (to someone) tragedy attached to it. The only thing that's different about this day is that more people have attached themselves to it.

For now.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Celebrities

This week's blogstalking assignment is celebrities. My interpretation of the assignment is to create the closest degree between you and some celebrity.

All of my "degrees" inhale deeply.

bezfamily

That's a picture of me and Chunky with published PCB researcher and journal author The Mad Scientist. Ok, so that's kind of a stretch. And anyone who's in academics and research can say they're published authors.

Well, my little brother is in negotiations to be the opening act for Hobo Jim at the Palmer Musk Ox Farm's 20th Anniversary party this month. But if you're not from Alaska, you'll have no idea who Hobo Jim is.

Keeping in the vein of 49th state folk rock troubadours, my college roommate (the first one) went to high school with Jewel. That particular roommate was highly religious and interestingly enough already knew who was going to save her soul.

Moving onto another musical celebrity degree, I can also say that I now work for the department that trained Yolanda Saldivar, more famously known as Tejano music superstar Selena's killer, to be a nurse.

Oh and how can I forget that I'm related to the members of the North Carolina underground sensation Tea Room? I used to be able to beat up their male guitarist. And the bassist is one cool chick. (But aren't all bassists?)

That isn't many pictures though is it? A proper blogstalking assignment involves pictures, not just obscure name dropping right?

So in case you missed it on Penny Karma's Emmy Special blogpost, I'll leave you with my own photo.

bezzie_monroe1

People swear I look just like Marilyn Monroe. I think it's the curlers don't you?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Random Meanderings

I'm having a hard time understanding why:

*San Antonians are pissed because they're going to get their second garbage collection day revoked. Now their trash will only be picked up once a week.

They get their trash picked up twice a week? Huh, seeing all the trash on the roads and in the neighborhoods, I would have never guessed. Honestly, who gets their trash picked up twice a week? Spoiled filthy wasteful bastards.

*In the time it takes two University employees to discuss having an electronic version of our letterhead made by sending it out to Graphic Services (for a price) because they can't figure out how they'd be able to scan it and still be able to type a letter on it, I created an electronic version in Microsoft Word.

I swear the level of competence in my new office leaves a lot to be desired.

* Why are we being pressured to donate to a bunch of charities (some of which are religiously affiliated) through payroll deduction at work?

I'm considering donating equal amounts to the following charities to make a point:

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and The Mother's Milk Bank of Austin
So kids get breastmilk, and the lactose intolerant babies wish they got it.

Prison Fellowship Ministries and Parents of Murdered Children
Support the criminal and their victims!

Vegan Outreach (they promote meat-free lives) and Heifer International (providing food-bearing animals to underdeveloped nations)
This one speaks for itself!

I'm very particular about the charities we donate to and don't appreciate being hasseled at work to donate. And why make the State the middle man in all this? Why can't we donate ourselves directly to the charity(ies) of our choice? It makes me very suspicious.

For those still tuning in at this point--I frogged it. The fingerlets weren't too bad to reattach. I only lost 2 or so stitches.

And finally, because we can't take ourselves too seriously, I give you the following link:

Click here.

Yes, that's my offspring.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pay Attention, There's a Pop Quiz at the End

So I'm working on my knucks last night. And I've noticed that sometimes (ok, who am I kidding--a lot of times) I do something when I'm knitting in the round.

Now, look at the following picture. Just glance. Pretend you don't knit and you don't know any better (if you're a knitter!). Now tell me what's wrong with it and if it's too terribly noticeable:

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Complete with alpaca sniffing cat.

Hm. Yeah. I don't know. I might frog it and start this hand over. Knitting all those little fingerlets was such a pain in my assmar. And yes, I could frog to the fingerlet stitches, but the alpaca is pretty fuzzy and splitty and I'm lucky I got the stitch count right.

Oh well, win some lose some right?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

La-la-la-Linoleum!

I think that's the second time I've ripped off Bert's famous "L" song for a blog post title.

For those who asked about linoleum. I don't use this:

linoleum

I use this instead:

linoleum!

You can buy artist-grade (read: soft) linoleum from any reputable art supply store. It comes mounted on blocks or unmounted. All you basically do, as you can see what I've done with a picture I used of Chunky when he was two-ish to make an xmas present for my Old Man, is you draw a picture on the linoleum, and using the little orange tool and various shaped blades, you cut away at the parts you want to appear white. Then you roll ink on the image, press it onto some paper, and ta-da. You're an artiste!

Or, you could say what I just blabbered on about in four words: You make a stamp.

Techincally if you're a real artiste you destroy the block when you're done. I haven't quite figured out how to do to that when they're mounted on wood though.

But whatever, this is a knitting blog right?

I've been chucking out knucks' knuckles (say that ten times fast):

knucks

I'll probably butcher the pattern come time to affix them to the "body" of the glove, but I love the way all those little fingers line up so nicely on the spare needles like that.

That's the alpaca I scored from the Wild String going out of business sale. The knucks might only take a ball and a half leaving me with two other balls. Hee hee, what should I do with two balls?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Things You Can Cut

Sort of a quasi-knitting theme going on today. Some of you reading might know that it's not all just plastic bag knitting and yarn pornos I create--back in the day, (and once in a while when the mood strikes right) I also did linoleum cuts. Actually only one of you reading I believe knows that.

For CASP (Cheap Ass Secret Pal--a sort of "Secret Santa" for knitters that doesn't involve spending lots of money on someone and isn't contained to the holiday season) this round, I gifted my SP, Jaime, a set of knitting-themed linoleum cut cards. Now that she's received them and I can brag, er, I mean display them:

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You basically cut the image out of a block of linoleum. Pretty simple really. I like these ones in particular for their rustic look. I'm not sure about the stylized window in the background, but I was running out of time to make and send them.

And what else can you cut? Hair of course!

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El Chunkito still has a smile on his face afterwards, I guess that's a good thing huh? I think I'll stick to knitting!

P.S. Thanks Tactless for the good tips with the shears. Of course I read your comment after I cut his hair! But there will be a next time!

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Little Knitting Content and Tools

I know I promised some introductions today, but I guess this is a knitting blog after all and I ought to include some.

So for Pyewacket here are a couple of pictures of the four log cabin blocks I have completed:

Random Floppage of Squares

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to arrange the squares:

Un Diamante

It's clear I won't have enough yarn to complete this in a queen size. I'm using TLC Cotton Plus (51% cotton 49% acrylic) and only ordered enough to eke out about fifteen squares if I'm lucky. The squares are 11" X 12" (obviously not squares then huh?) and fifteen won't be big enough to cover a queen size bed. Maybe I'll knit a ginormous border around them. We'll see. As I've said before, it's completely mindless knitting, but lately that's what I've needed.

Before I introduce my "tools" pictures, I must give you a proper "before" picture.

nofear

This is Chunky yesterday getting his feet wet in the Gulf of Mexico. We took a trip down to Corpus Christi. Some places on the beach were a tad, um, funky, but we accomplished our primary objective. The kid can now say he's gotten his feet wet in the Atlantic and now Gulf. Now to get him to my beloved Pacific where the water isn't quite so strangely warm as it was in Corpus.

And now I give you my "tools" picture:

goodlordrunshe'sgottheclippers!

Ha ha! C(eline)purl double dog dared me to put a bathroom mirror self portrait on here--so there it is! The tool in question is a pair of clippers I bought this weekend. It's time to shear my sweet Chunky. I used to take him to a poodle parlor to get his hair cut with The Mad Scientist. That cost nearly $20 a pop. So I figured he's four, I can cut it myself, how much could he possibly care if I take a little too much off the top? He's actually excited to have me do it. Hee hee. We'll see if my stylist skills match up to his expectations.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

P is For

Piggies.

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Chunky likes to take showers. However once he's done soaping and shampooing, he still plays in the bathtub as if he was taking a bath. Don't worry water conservationists, I set a timer on him. He gets 10 minutes to wash and play.

In the spirit of keeping things random, tomorrow I'll introduce you to Greg and Barry and give you the back story on them. Greg and Barry are a two-year old collaboration my sister T. and I worked on together.

Besides, right now my knitting projects are pretty ho-hum. You've seen one Jaywalker, you've seen them all right?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

And Then She Broke Down--In A Big Way

I guess I lasted five days. Who am I kidding?

I’ve been trying to wean myself off a certain board where I post way too much. Half of the time I start writing responses to posts and then think “Who the fuck cares what I think? Jeeze, Bezzie, get a clue.” And I’ll delete the response. Of course, I only sometimes refer to myself in the third person as Bezzie, the other times I substitute one of my other names I go by.

It hasn’t been a good week. I’ve been trying to reevaluate life and all the trappings that come intrinsically linked to it. Right now it really doesn’t help that I feel like I’m in limbo.

I feel like the last two years have been Limbo. Fuck. Almost two years to the day. Two years ago my old boss (not The Man–before that) broke it to me right before Labor Day that he was leaving the firm for the firm across the hall. While I was extremely happy for him, it was tough for me. At that point I believed (foolishly I guess) that The Mad Scientist had a year left of school and who the fuck would want to hire me for only a year? I didn’t have to think about it long because The Man swooped in on my dead carcass before rigor mortis set in and convinced me to come work for her.

And here I am, two years later, still feeling helplessly lost. I’m 1,500 miles from my husband doing the single mom thing. Yes, I could have stayed in Lansing longer, but when I quit my job, I honestly thought he was close to being done. Today, I’ll be shocked if he’s here for Chunky’s fifth birthday (the last week of November). If he’s done by Christmas, I’ll shit a brick. If he can keep this job here in San Antonio lined up that long, I’ll be floored.

What really did me in this week was when I received his health insurance card in the mail (all our Lansing mail is delivered here). Every semester he has to renew his health insurance. His boss pays for it out of her grant. Well at the beginning of the summer (May) she cut him off. She put her foot down. She said she wasn’t paying for his health insurance (and subsequently Chunky’s) anymore and he’d have to do it out of pocket. She was nearing the end of a grant and was facing the loss of some serious money she had been accustomed to paying incidentals like The Mad Scientist’s health insurance out of. She even went so far as to say she wouldn’t be able to pay him his "salary" (if you can call $19K a year that) past August 15. Can y’all see why I quit my job now? She gave us every impression that he’d be done by now.

Now all of a sudden, she’s received a new grant and he’s got insurance again and she has no motivation to get rid of him. It doesn't help that The Mad Scientist lacks the assertiveness to stand up to her and ride her ass to get her to SET A FUCKING DEFENSE DATE ALREADY. I’ve worked with these highly educated people. They have no concept of time and other people. Look at The Man. Jesus Haploid Christ, she’s a shining example of how highly educated and sharp a person can be but lack basic human interpersonal skills.

Her track record with grad students is abysmal. Her first one was from Venezuela (ok, not really, but it was in South America–I don’t want to get too specific here). Woo. In the scientific world this means jack. I mean Venezuela isn’t really known for pumping out Nobel Prize winners you know? You want to keep your students in the country, not export them. Now Senor Venezuela is BACK at the university working with her. What the hell? God help us if The Mad Scientist EVER ends up BACK in that lab.

The only other grad student she’s had (including Senor Venezuela and The Mad Scientist) got his PhD after taking 7 years to graduate. Do you know what he did before the ink dried on that degree? He enrolled in dental school and is a fucking dentist now.

I’m probably being pretty harsh with her. I know The Mad Scientist isn’t perfect and has had something to do with this taking so long, but right now I just need to take it out on someone and I miss The Mad Scientist too much to be mad at him.

In the meantime it doesn’t help that I’m really not digging this new job. I thought working for The Man sucked, and it did, don’t get me wrong, but aside from having to deal with her bullshit and running her personal life, at least I was busy and I felt like what I did mattered. Oh, and I had a vague idea of what I was doing.

I got thrown into this job with no training. Ha! Here I thought I had it bad when I had two hours of training from the fired Bambi (The Man's assistant before me) when I started working for The Man! That was a piece of cake I tell you!

Now I'm stuck dealing with all of these moronic students. I won’t say specifically what department I work for, but I work with students that will soon become healthcare professionals. Apparently they can’t read. We sent out an email to all the December graduates to pick up some materials for background checks they need to get done before they become this type of healthcare professional. These background checks involve fingerprints. Everything was spelled out in the email. But apparently because the email was over two paragraphs long, none of them understood what it meant and need every little detail spelled out for them.

This is scary people. Very scary. I mean one day my life could end up in their hands and they can’t even pay attention to simple details. Of course I knew this from when I used to help divorce doctors and nurses before I started working for The Man. Doctors can be fucking crazy. Again, I won’t get into details, but don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re all intelligent and have common sense. I could tell you stories that would scare the shit out of you. In fact all of the attorneys in my office expressed a common fear of ending up in some accident and going into the ER only to find a former client or client’s ex-spouse working on them.

On top of the clueless morons that our university is churning out, I’m having to deal with university bureaucracy and lack of communication. Everything has a middle-man when you work for the state. You can’t send a letter without having to go through a third party just to get the envelope licked.

The icing on the cake is that our department is divided up into three separate sub-departments–between which there is NO communication.

All new students are supposed to take a certain type of training online. They have the option of printing out a completion certificate after they finish the training. I(and my co-workers within my sub-department)have been telling the students we didn’t need these certificates because hello, they’re being taken online. What’s the point of having them online if you can’t just run a report of who’s taken the training and who hasn’t?

Well today someone from another sub-department gets all pissy with me because apparently I was supposed to be collecting these stupid certificates. Fuck. And why wasn’t I told this? There’s a ton of other things I could go into about shit that I haven’t been told about but get reamed for because apparently my psychic powers aren’t functioning properly.

One thing I noticed when I started this job is that anyone that had been working for the state for more than a year was somewhat unmotivated and bitter. I understand this more and more each day. I feel like I'm on the fast-track to bitterness if I'm not there already!

So I’ve got that fun-fest going for me and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I actually miss being a legal secretary. I miss the responsibility. Yeah I was a paper pusher, but I was doing many more stimulating things than filing transcripts, answering the phone and handing out background check forms to students. I was drafting pleadings, setting court dates, non-legally counseling clients–-stuff that mattere (or at least seemed to matter). It didn’t seem all that meaningful at the time I was actually doing it, but as far as paper pushing goes, it blows this “Administrative Assistant” crapfest of a job out of the water.

Funny how life works huh?

I’d love to start looking for a new job, but that’s sort of something I want to do when The Mad Scientist gets down here. Right now I need this job to support me and Chunky. Limbo. It’s a bitch.

So how about some knitting content? Well I’ve been working on mindless work lately. It’s sort of been acting as the static in my brain to prevent me from thinking too hard about things and obsessing too much. Course this post would seem almost contrary to that last sentence wouldn’t it?

I’d take pictures, but you’ve all seen it before. I’m working on the log cabin blanket and a pair of Jaywalkers. Projects that everyone and their mother have knitted before.

However, I’ve also been thinking a lot about my knitting life. I think it’s sucking me in. Correction, the “gotta have it” syndrome that can happen with knitting seems to be sucking me in. In the year I’ve picked knitting back up seriously, my yarn supply has quadrupled. I mean I freaking spent $25 on a bunch of yarn from a store that was going out of business that I didn’t really need, but felt obligated to buy. Why the hell was that? Plus as much as I enjoy knitting socks, I’m starting to wonder why I need to spend that much money on yarn for socks that are going to end up on my stinky feet.

Ok, well if you’ve made it this far into this extreme Random Meandering, congratulations.

I figured I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut for long. Part of that I attribute to having no adults around to talk to.

I promise the upcoming entries will be lighter. In fact, T., if you've made it this far--you spoke of a “series.” What would you think if I resurrected G&B? I was reading it the other night and no offense to us, but god, we sucked as writers two years ago!!! Ha ha! I know you’ve gotten better, don’t know if I can say the same for myself!