Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A better day

Well, after yesterdays rant, the skies have decided today shall be a better day:

Let the sun shine down on me!

I indulged my senses and went wedding invitation shopping. Yes, I know those two phrases in one sentence are enough to make most people fall down. The world of wedding invites can be summed up in two words: vast and expensive. Anything in the wedding world can be described with these two words, actually. You've always got a choice, and that choice comes with a price and a descriptor of quality. Of nothing else have I found that for so little or so much you pay, the quality is so deeply divided. And the choices are endless. You can pay $25 for the print-your-own invitations at the Michaels, pick one of three designs (that at least one person you know has already used), buys some stickers to class it up and hope they work out in the printer ok. Or, you can pay enough for your wedding dress on the most gorgeous wedding invitations the world has ever seen. Paper that's as good to touch as it is to see. Fancy engraving (or topography- raised letters), colored inks, graphic designs that would make Andy Warhol take note. The stuff Princess Diana, if she were alive today, would probably have her own line of. You probably can guess what my first pick would be.

I'm a libra, through and through. I love beautiful things. So it follows that I want the best of what I can afford in every category. I want that wedding in the wedding design books, with all the little details on the tables. Place cards, candles, flowers, precious little gift keepsakes, flowing ribbon and large balloons. Showy, colorful invitations that make the invitee wonder what else is to come. A flowing ballgown and the best shoes. A gorgeous location and great pictures. The best party.

Now, what all of the above doesn't come with is a price I can afford. The pretty invitations I saw today? $500. (Okay, they were Kate Spade- I was aiming high). The locale I like? $2000 to book the day, then adding food. A flowing ballgown? $1000 or more. Place cards, candles, precious little keepsakes? What's left on the credit card? Clearly the DIY wedding is going to take precedent over the fairytale designer book wedding. Unless I win the powerball lottery. Got any good numbers?

So, I will keep dreaming, keep planning and keep working overtime. I'll make the little sacrifices (candles and flowing ribbons) to keep the important ones (location, dress and food). I'll buy every Martha Stewart Weddings and every Elegant Bride in hopes the two will meet in the middle. And, if I must, I'll print my own invitations. But I'm printing it on the cheapest blank cardstock Kate Spade makes.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Upping the Ante

Well, it seems that the universe has somehow aligned itself today to cause me problems. Or, in its infinite wisdom, it wanted to see how much it could do in one day to force me to put it On Notice.

The day started out well. I slept in, read the paper, got up and around to run some errands. I went to the mall, and actually found more jeans that fit (shocking!), plus a few other items deemed necessary. It put a hit on my bank account, but hey, good clothes are worth it- plus they were on sale, so it wasn't the full price anyway.

Pants drying and ready to be hemmed

Then I head on over to the GI Joes in town (it's a sporting good store- kind of like a regional Copeland sports, only more outdoors-ey). More clothes! Actually, a nice UO fleece and a few shirts to match (again, on sale!), a cover for our beloved weber-q bbq and more of the special can't-find-it-anywhere-else propane canisters it uses. Score! So far, the day is excellent.

I head on over to the Target to pick up my medications. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. Now, I have one perscription that costs an insane amount of money each month. I have budgeted towards that. It's a needed pill, and there isn't a generic for it yet. You do what you have to. But I get another perscription from my last check-up. It's a cream, it's not a life-or-death thing, but I think it can really help. You know how it is- why live with something if you don't have to, right? So the pharmacist rings it up and I nearly lose it. This special cream, which is just a glorified over-the-counter drug, costs ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS! For a stupid cream. At this point, I'd rather buy a bottle of Jergens and ask if he could just squirt whatever special drug is in the cream into the Jergens instead. Good God. And I've already spent some good money on clothes, which are also needed (seriously- I'm down to one pair of pants- all the others have holes in places you can't hide). The pharmacist, being a good customer service rep, helpfully points out my insurace is covering $20. For the entire cost of this drug, up-front, I could just buy the entire line of over the counter product instead. As it turns out, my insurance company likes to be part of a "network" of other pharmacies, in places I don't want to visit. This wasn't explained in the whole insurance sign-up process. My insurance wants me to buy pills in places that don't carry what I need up front. (I've checked before). The Target pharmacist has gone out of her way to make sure and always carry what I buy, so I can keep going there. Why the Target wouldn't be part of this nice, select directory of pharmacists is beyond me. They are a part of everything else. Now I have to use the crappy, icky pharmacies next time to see if the prices are better. And probably never use my beloved Target again. My doctor warned me about the first perscription being expensive, but now I'm feeling a little put out on how much I'm spending if it turns out I may have not needed to. And if it turns out that it's my crappy perscription coverage that ups the cost instead, my union reps are going to hear it.

It seems the sky has picked up on my foul mood. Taken moments ago from my balcony:

Ominous, indeed

Sigh. So, let's update the big board for who's On Notice:
1. My insurance company
2. Stupid non-generic prescription pill pricing
3. Mall parking lots (every single time I pull out!)
4. Mall Walkers (school starting seems to be making progress on this front)
5. My Knitting (dropping down due to progress made)

Wait, I didn't tell you about the knitting, did I? Well, I finally broke into the STR. And let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. And the large knots I picked out due to my hand-winding the skein. Note to self: save for a ballwinder and skein holder.

"Fire on the Mountain" on US 2's

I love this sock! It's so Eugene with all the colors. I wish I had a tye-dye shirt to wear with it. I may pick one up at the Saturday Market so I can. I'm doing it on US 2's, which is above the suggested US 1's. It's a larger gauge, substantially, on the sock. But I love, love, love it and I don't care if it's more open or hole-y than usual.

I've also started my Funky Scarf for my Funky Scarf Swap partner. Look who broke out the Louisa Harding! And the Louisa is behaving wonderfully. It's a standard drop-stitch scarf, pattern from the Knit Scarves! series. (You know, the ones shaped like the objects they have patterns for). I have three balls of Louisa left, so I may make a scarf or two extra for me and a friend. The yardage on it is amazing (154 yards/ball). And the mohair and nylon make it against-the-skin soft.

Louisa wants to be your friend

Friday, August 25, 2006

Crazy swapping fool

Yeah, that's me, all right. I've gotten myself into two more swaps! I can't help it, I'm addicted to the goods that mysteriously pop up in the mail! Plus, I've had two stellar swap pals, so I'm sure there's more to be had. You should go sign up! You've got until the 31st, and they are in desperate need of newbie spinners. Can you believe it? Seriously! With all these awesome new spinners coming out and blogging these kick-ass yarns every day, they are still short of newbie spinners! As required by all swaps, here be the button:

I'm not sure how well it will post. I had to resize it quite a bit. There's a contest for new ones, so maybe I'll post one of those on the sidebar. (Note to any button makers reading this: I like the button plenty, but I don't know how to resize it in html).

Hmm, what else. I started new socks! I finally started digging into the Socks that Rock. I'm starting a Jaywalker with the most colorful one first. I'm hoping it will be done by the time the Yarn Harlot comes to town. I almost wish I had a tye-dye shirt to go with it. Almost.

I never ripped Cozy, but I haven't knitted on it either. I guess I'm hoping another pattern will pop out at me. That, or it will knit itself. Neither one seems to have the upper hand, so far!

My plan is still forming for my Funky Scarf partner (see sidebar for button). She likes lots of the same colors I do, but is a good deal funkier than myself. The whole "funky pattern" is throwing me- where are funky scarf patterns? What is funky? I don't think I'm funky, so it makes it somewhat harder. I'm sure she'll love what I send, but I want to send something awesome, you know? Link me something good!

That's about it, I think. Apparently, putting clothing manufacturers on notice worked! I scored a pair of jeans last weekend that didn't suck. All hail DKNY Soho jeans! And all hail sales ladies that are 5'1!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On Notice!

Because my computer has decided to eat every fifteenth webpage I visit (or some every time I go there), I've been reduced to writing all of my posts in my Gmail account, because it autosaves what I write, rather than some webblogging software that shall remain nameless.

Everyone has been talking about Steven Colbert's "On Notice" board lately, and I'm jumping on this bandwagon. While engaging in some healthy retail therapy, I've noticed quite a few things that need to be added to this board. Shall we?

1. The current "long" and "skinny" trend in clothes. I appreciate a longer tank top, and I'm used to hemming any of my jeans, but do I really need to hem a full six inches off of every piece of clothing? No, I don't. This also doubles for those retail outlets who purchased any weird, fancy-shaped denim for their fall lines and replaced any co-existing, fantastically fitting lines of jeans. In what world would a size 12 jean not include ease for a woman's hips, butt and thighs? Seriously folks. I mean, every single pair of jeans? Where are these tall, obsenely thin (despite any current sizing of garment) women with no ass and a torso approximately 12 inches taller than me? Is Barbie real? And I'm tired of every damn store trying to market their line of clothing to teenagers. That's why there's an Abercrombie, Urban Outfitters, American Eagle, PacSun, Hot Topic and Hollister in the mall. So you can focus on what happens to females in between 20 and when a woman dies. Gap and Old Navy, you're on notice!

2. The vehicular trends of the mall-shoppers. You do not need to bring the largest land-yacht you own to the mall. This includes your Excursion, Yukon, Humvee, XXL bed pickup, monster truck or bus. There is nothing in the mall so large as to require any of these vehicles to take it home. Nothing. Anything that could come that large probably has a free in-town delivery service anyway. Also, when driving around the parking lot, it is customary (and required) that you stop at all posted signs, painted lines and when another person is backing their vehicle out. Every single time I've been backing my car (slowly and carefully, so as not to hit your massive SUV), some idiot has the balls to speed on by, without stopping to let me out. Hey idiot, I'm going to ram my compact sedan into the side of your car in approximately one minute, so knock it off. You can wait 30 seconds to let me out. Then you can have my awesome spot. That's how it works. Citizens of Eugene, you're on notice.

3. Everyone knows you can't fight the crowd during holiday season at the mall. However, it's my observation that this trend gets a little earlier every year, and leaks its way into how people walk in public. Groups of people don't move out of the way when faced with oncoming citizens. Thus, I have to nearly get clotheslined by seven giggling, gossiping fifteen-year olds when I want to walk in a different direction, simply because they can't stand to walk in a non-linear fashion. I can't tell you how frustrating this is. It's even filtering down to families. If you can't politely move over so I can walk by (I do it for you!), then, frankly, I'm rudely breaking up your precious family unit. Girl's got to get her shop on. Patrons of malls in Eugene, you're on notice!

4. My knitting. I'm so tired of looking at Cozy, I can't stand it. It's not making progress adequately, and I am thinking of frogging it. Okay, envisioning myself frogging it after I hit "publish". My Trekking socks are taking forever, and the other pairs I've started aren't working out well either. There's a plethora of great patterns out there for fall, yet I can't finish a shawl or a sock to save my life. WIPs, you're on notice!

5. My computer. It isn't bad enough that the DVD/CD player is broken, you overheat like I'm overclocking you, half of the USB ports don't work correctly, you refuse to let Itunes and my Ipod work together, the mouse only works half of the time, you created a way for the printer to make other programs not work AND there is no way of really fixing any of the above problems, now you have to start eating my webpages? Toshiba laptops, you're on notice!

6. My car. It isn't enough for the engine light to go on twice in 6 months (for problems that did not affect my driving noticeably), now I have to research a reason why it feels like I'm driving a washing machine down the freeway, yet it has yet to set off the engine light. &%#$ Nissan Sentras are on notice!

That should clear things up for now. Stand by for any and all other notices that may occur.

And,Funky Scarf secret pal, I did not forget about you. The first paragraph of this post is just for you. I had it all written out, ready to hit "post" and the god-damn computer ate it. I had to re-type EVERYTHING. So I'm sorry this is late, I was preoccupied by my hatred and refraining from throwing my laptop out the window. (You'd be suprised at how often the idea comes up).

Let’s get the allergy part out of the way. Are you allergic to any fibers?
I'm not allergic to any fibers. Hooray! But I kind of detest cigarette smoking.

Do you prefer any fibers over others?
I have a definite preference for alpaca and merino wool. I love soft, silky yarns. If it is something you'd want to sleep next to, then it's for me. I don't care if it is Knitpicks or cashmere, buget-wise. So don't break the bank!

Would you prefer funky yarn or a funky pattern?
Funky pattern! Funky yarns kind of freak me out. I love good, simple, finely dyed yarns. No random objects inserted, please!

What are your favorite colors?
I love blue, in nearly every shade. Light blue, dark blue, royal blue, sky blue... after that, it's anything in the "cool" color spectrum that goes well with blue: green, purple, black, white and red/pink. Brown has become a recent favorite of mine too. Also, it's football season coming up- that means lots of yellow, green and white in my Saturday afternoon wardrobe.

What is your favorite piece of art?
"starry night" by Van Gogh. It's got all of my favorite shades of my favorite colors!

What colors would you never have up close to your pretty face?
Yellow, white and orange. They wash me out terribly. ( I do realize that yellow was listed up above in favorite colors- I need it to be paired with another color to work). Also, very light "mint" green. I'm a "winter", if you ever did that '80s scarf color thing.

Would you prefer an actual scarf or a cowl?
Scarf! I'm not really sure what a cowl is. Is it like a smoke ring? Plus, I look terrible in hats, so anything on my head wouldn't work.

When you wear a scarf do you prefer a wider/shorter scarf or a thin/long scarf?
A ligthweight, standard length scarf. Yeah, it's hard to describe. I'm really short (5'0), curvy and have a very short neck. So, yarns that make a lighter, thinner fabric would be great. I don't like really short scarves, so one long enough to wrap around my neck once would be great! And, I'm just throwing it out here, I love the clapotis pattern. I've got two- one bulky and one really thin. But I could always use a third in a medium weight wool....

What is the climate like where you live?
It rains. And rains. And rains some more. From October to May, we see more rain in Oregon most people really care to. Thus, it makes sense that our college team's mascot is a Duck! In December and January, it can get down into the 20's some nights and frost over. However, that's as cold as it would get.

Would you prefer a functional scarf (to keep you warm) or one just to funk-up your wardrobe?
Functional! I love great scarves and will wear them with everything I can during the winter months. If it's a lightweight scarf, I'll wear it at work. Our HVAC system is a little wonky, and blows cold air during the winter.

What else would you like your partner to know about you?
I love stripes, cables and lace. No, that's not really "funky", but neither am I. I'm preppy! And I know I'm going to love anything that's created just for me. I can't wait! Also, I work- a lot. So if you hear from me, it will be on my days off, which are the first few days of the week. So don't get worried I don't respond on a Saturday- I will by Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

L is for Late in, I'm so late posting, it's really quite embarassing. I promise, I've been doing things that are knit-related (and, then some things that are not).

First up, we have handspun! Yes, that's right, completely slubby, non-uniform, poorly done handspun by me, myself and I. It looks awful, but I don't care, I love it. It's probably only a couple of yards total:

At the fair this year, they are having a day of spinning. I'm thinking of hauling my spindle and my lowly mass of fiber and seeing if being amongst spinners will enhance my poor spinning any. I'm guessing yes. Or, at least, I'll see how the real people do it.

Next, we have more paraphrenalia related to making said handspun better. I went into the LYS today, and proclaimed "I need a better spinning book." The lady looked perplexed; "Better?" she said. "Yes, I already have one book, and I need one that explains what to do better." I replied. Ask and ye shall recieve:

The issue of Spin Off deals with spindles, and I believe that's a nicely vintage copy of High Whorling. The spindle and fiber are for effect. Classy, I know.

Okay, right I said knitting. Here are the two things taking up most of my mind this last week or so:

What you have there are a pair of Trekking XXL socks in the Rib and Cable pattern from IK '05 and a fresh pair of toe-up Jaywalkers in Knitpicks Dancing sock yarn. It's a stretchy type of yarn, kind of like a really thin cascade fixation. Or not. Either way, I'm hoping they work out. I'm knitting them on Addi 2's, and the guage is a little loose. My intended recipients foot is also a little loose, so I'm hoping the two will work out somehow. That and the pattern will tuck the stretchy parts in some. *Fingers crossed*

Here are some close-ups of the Trekking sock. I'm getting there, row by row, cable by cable. They are taking FOREVER and I never want to cable again... or at least on tiny, tiny needles. However, the cabling without a cable needle has really made them go quicker and made them more portable. So hooray no cables!

Here is the join from the short-row heel to the sock. Damn those holes! I'll fill it in (duplicate stich, maybe?) when I'm done. Someday I'll have short rows without holes. But good news is, I'm getting better! Notice how the entire heel side isn't holes? Yeah, take that short rows!