Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Well, we signed the lease for the house and are in the slow process of moving in, which is complicated by the fact that none of us have the same days off any more, and we all have jobs up in Pennsylvania. This will probably be my last til the new year or a bit after, as I will be moving in fully as best I'm able and we don't have and internet connection up at the house yet. However, when we do, I promise to post lots and lots of pictures, and let you guys know how it's going.

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates! I hope the day brings you joy and love and laughter and peace. Happy New Year's, also. I hope that the new year is kind to you all and gives you gentle learning opportunities, lots of naps, and well, fun.

Christmas here was great, and I will blog about all the pretty stuffs I got when I next get myself online. May the day be peaceful and joyous. Oh, and may the fiber fairies be good to you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fingers Crossed

Okay, we may or may not have found a house (trying not to jinx this one, too). At any rate, we've submitted our application for a house we rather like and are anxiously waiting to hear back, maybe as early as today. If we get this house, I will post a bunch of pictures, because I am very much in love with it. It's an old house, I think it might be a Victorian-style setup (my house history is woeful) but it's got stained glass windows and a chandelier and a Tiffany-style lamp and the original woodwork and oh, it's very pretty. It's also not quite as big as we'd thought, but we're already thinking of ways to handle that.

In other pleasant news, I've finished the ugly scarf. I even have a picture of Jim wearing it, which I will post as soon as I get my camera home again, probably tomorrow. I'm nearly finished my first bribe sock, but I've run into some slight difficulties--I dropped a stitch without realizing it about two inches back, so I have to pick that up and then I've only got a couple of inches of foot left before the toe. Yay for making progress!

So. Christmas is next week. I know, isn't that weird? I thought I had another couple of weeks to go. I haven't done any shopping, so it looks like this Friday when I get paid, it's time to brave the local shopping establishments. I actually like Christmas shopping, so this should be a good time. To simplify things and save ourselves a little money, Jim and I aren't exchanging gifts until Februaryish, so I really only have to shop for my parents and my sisters. Simplicity is pretty nice. Dad and I are shopping for Momolla tonight, so I can even do a little gift reconnaissance. Dad and I are doing really well this year, normally the shopping isn't done until Christmas Eve.

I start my new job tomorrow morning, and I'm a little nervous. I haven't started somewhere new in years. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Here we go again...

...time to keep looking at houses. Still, that's progress, and our realtor extraordinaire has diligently found us a bunch of promising looking places. I know she's doing her job and will make some nice cash off of us signing a lease, but this woman has been fantastic. When she pulled strings and helped us out to get the house in Gibertsville and we said, "gosh, no thanks," she didn't even bat an eyelash. She just said she wouldn't've been comfortable there, either. And she has never treated us like a bunch of kids, she's been friendly and helpful and just generally awesome. So yeah, if you guys know anybody moving to or from Pennsylvania, give Debby Singleton a call. She's awesome.

In other news, my last day at work is Tuesday, which is something to celebrate. I start the new one on Friday. It'll be an adventure, and a new challenge. I haven't had something different at work in years now, this should keep me on my toes.

I have two and a half pattern repeats of the Conwy done. Bells, I'll post some pictures for you as soon as I remember to bring my camera here (here being jim's place. conwy is my sneaky knitting, and it keeps me busy while jim watches football). The Conwy doesn't travel. The Conwy stays where it is comfortable and won't drop its stitches in protest. The Conwy is made much of and talked to in a soothing, gentle fashion. We have made a tentative peace with the Conwy...

Jim and I made empanadas tonight, they're one of the only foods I've taught Jim to make in almost three years (we're still working on french toast...). I think I'll post the recipe and some pictures the next time we make them, they're fun and quick and easy and cleanup's pretty easy, too. All good food qualities in my book.

Well, I'm out of energy and things to talk about, I think I should stop babbling now. I hope everyone's week goes smoothly, and I promise that the next few posts won't be so full of self-pity and general grumping as the last couple were.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This is What I Get....

...for asking if things could be more frustrating. The answer to that question, of course, is always yes. And viola, they have! We are now houseless. The landlord didn't make the repairs laid out in the lease. We found out today when Mike and Jim went up to handle the paperwork. The door to one of the bedrooms is still broken (it looks like somebody kicked the door in), and the sump pump is so far gone that it's actually pumping water into the basement. Mike can't live in a basement with a few inches of water, for obvious reasons. So, in light of all this, and after much heartfelt discussion and many creative swearwords, our intrepid group has decided to take our chances with a landlord who doesn't suck and keeps his word and follows the lease. This doesn't exactly leave us much time to find a home, as Jim and Mike have already started working overnights at Target, and it's a touch longer than an hour drive from Jim's place. I start work a little further out from that this coming Friday. I was talking to Momolla while she was at the local farmer's market and she was looking at bunnies with El and Kate, and I was told that I can't have a bunny, because bunnies can't live in my car with me. Strangely, this actually upset me. I could totally share my car with a bunny. Dude. Totally. So. Yeah. I will use many creative swearwords when I'm less tired. Right now, I'm feeling too drained by all this insanity to even work up a good rant.

In lighter news, Mom, Kate, and El bought me a present today. This was before I was declared houseless. They bought me a Christmas tree! He's tiny and in a pot and his name is Francis, but I call him Frankie. He's got ornaments and garland and a bow and everything. Dad and I met Mom and company at the diner, and they walked in carrying a Christmas tree for me, and after everything else today, I just broke down and cried in the diner. In front of everyone. Yeah, I'm my mother's daughter. But that was really the best part of today.

Too tired and frustrated and grumpy to do any more blogging. Knitting continues, but if I talk about it, I will surely drop every stitch I try to work today, so I'll talk about that later. Time to go put my fuzzy jammies on and be glad today is over. Hey, here's a challenge! Tell me something good. I do this to Jim when I am ultra depressed, but he usually uses the old, reliable cop out of "I love you." I hope everyone else's weekend is going better.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So, yeah..... Or, Could Things Be More Frustrating?

Yup. Not a happy post. Not a happy Emily. Such is life, though, and I'm coping. But that doesn't mean I have to like everything, does it?

First off, Conwy. I thought I was being smart. I thought I would be clever and just work the pattern quietly and not mention it on the blog. Conwy is shy and doesn't like the media attention. I get that. So I told noone and started knitting. It took a few more tries, but we actually did pretty well. I got a pattern repeat and a half in before I looked at the pattern and said, "SHIT! It's k1 p1 k1. I didn't k the second 1!" And thus, more ripping out. So much for being clever, eh?

Next off, Target decided they did want to hire me. Of course, they called me, probably starting about a week ago. Except, they weren't calling me. They were calling a phone number belonging to one Renee. This is because I, being arguably the stupidest person to hold two knitting needles, wrote the wrong phone number on my application. Go, me! And now, though they were offering me better money and better hours, I'm committed to Pep Boys, and I can't really back out now, that's not cool. I'm stupid, but I have some integrity (bad combo, trust me. smart people with less integrity end up with things like small desert islands and cabana boys). When I asked if they had a regular shmuck's position, they told me they'd call me back. When they didn't and I called back, they told me they want to keep my application as a team lead and not a team member. Thanks. So, I'm too good to stock shelves. That helps me not at all, Target. So now it's on to plan D, which is to look for some kind of waitressing gig somewhere overnight a couple of nights a week. Maybe at a bar? This will be....an adventure.

The repairs on the house aren't done. Shit? Shit. They won't be done til tomorrow, a day before the lease is supposed to start. This is not doing much for my confidence in our future landlord. And yet, they will be done and Jim and Mike are going up to sign some papers tomorrow and to work out a few more things at their school.

In other not-so-great moving news, the weather this weekend is supposed to be horrific and disastrous, leading people to expire from the elements, according to one source. According to another, it should be mostly cloudy and a little rainy. Needless to say, my parents aren't keen on the idea of moving me on Saturday if people are expiring from the elements all around us. And I can't say I blame them, I'm not keen on the idea. And yet, I have begged and pleaded and hoped and prayed and changed my schedule as much as I could so that I would be free to do most of my moving Saturday afternoon. Shit! This leaves me trying to do most of the moving on my own in my little truck somewhere around Wednesday. This is less than optimal because it will require many fifty-mile one way trips, which do not make my gas tank happy. Ultimately, it's going to take about two weeks to get everything moved, I think. Not. Cool. But, such is life, and I am reliably informed I can cope and handle some frustrations.

Okay. Need some good news after all that spewing? I will give you some now. Maggie's scarf is done. It's good to know that there's one more project done, especially since it's my only holiday knitting. Jim's scarf is approaching thisclose to being done range, I'm just gonna knit til I'm out of yarn and call it good. I have turned the heel on my sock, and I am thrilled with myself. I know, I know, millions of children in other countries around the world have done this hundreds of times apiece. And yet, it felt like magic. There it was, a corner. It finally looked like a sock and not an optimistic cock warmer. It was great!

Right. That's enough words for now, I'm probably giving you guys all eyestrain. I will probably be posting a little sparsely the next few weeks (i know, not a surprise), because of the moving of the house and the switching of the jobs and such. Happy weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Caution, this post contains lots of exclamation points and capital letters...

....because? WE GOT THE HOUSE! ....and? I GOT A JOB!!!!! ....so, basically? WE HAVE A HOME AND JOBS!!!!! *giggles* Sorry for all the yelling, but I am so excited I hardly know what to do with myself. We got the home we wanted, we've all got employment, and well, that's just great. Things are finally coming together, and I was scared for a little while that they wouldn't.

I haven't taken pictures of the area we'll be in or the house yet, because I didn't want to jinx anything. However, when I next adventure up that way (which is bound to be soon), I will show you all what a pretty place it is. The area around our development is largely farmland, and it's mountainous and pretty.

I accepted a job at the nearest Pep Boys as a Service Advisor. I got a kick out of the Service Manager, who seemed to think I was too small and delicate to handle those coarse shop guys. I pointed out that shops are nothing new to me and that I can certainly handle myself. I look small and young and innocent, but I'm a helluva lot tougher than I look, at least verbally and mentally.... I mean, I've been in this "man's industry" the entire time I've been working, so I'm used to having to be that much better, that much quicker, and that much more assertive than the guys. It'll be kind of fun to show him I can do this.

Lest you think there was no knitting yesterday, I am thisclose to finishing Maggie's scarf. After that, I'm going to polish off Jim's, and then, time to finish my bribe sock. And by the time all that's done, it should be January, and I will have far, far less time for knitting. See, I'm hoping to pick up a job working nights four or five times a week at Target or some other place that offers night stocking positions. That'll give me something to do, and plenty of extra cash to handle all those growed-up bills with. Hopefully, I'll get at least one partial day off a week to knit and play with all my pretty new yarns. If not, I'll certainly be able to afford to expand my stash some and just fondle all the pretty, pretty yarns.

This is going to sound weird, but when you moved out on your own, what's something you wish you'd remembered to do or to get or to plan for?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My computer ate my blog...

Well, it ate my entry. I walked away for five little minutes with a blog post nearly finished on the screen and when I came back, the damned thing had shut itself off. Piece of junk. But it gave me a reason to sit there and say, very seriously, "Make blog go!"

Having learned my lesson about applying to only one store, I applied to about five different Pep Boys locations near the place we're crossing our fingers and praying to live. I was expecting a call, maybe. I got three. Three different managers at three different stores want me to come in for interviews. I only go the chance to schedule one, but I'm going to make some phone calls in the morning and schedule the other two. Yay for possibilities! I'm secretly hoping I can take one full-time position at one store and then a part-time position at another. Lots of hours, but lots of dough, too. Less time for knitting, but I'll have more money to buy supplies with. Trade-offs...

We are submitting our applications and our credit information and such on Tuesday and if the landlord is agreeable, then we may be able to get a lease as early as the seventh. That's crazy to me, but it'll give us a little more wiggle room between moving in and Christmas.

Jim's here for dinner, time to go entertain him by making him watch me knit. I'm aiming to finish my cousin's scarf tonight. I realized I'm almost done and a finished object would make me feel good.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Disney Never Mentioned This...

... This being a breed of fairies I was previously unfamiliar with. According to some literature, there are Australian Fibre Fairies, and a package from some appeared on my doorstep on Tuesday. I'll relate a little more information about these fascinating creatures in a few minutes. First, I have to mention the ick part, because the ick came before the fun part of Tuesday.

So, I realized that if I wrote this the way I would tell it to you as a story, it would be a novel. I like the look of my own writing, what can I say? In short (relatively) form, here is the story:

Jim and Mike were both hired for overnight stocking positions at the Target I'd previously mentioned. Jim is a psychopath who wanted to leave three and a half hours early for his interview. Traffic through Philadelphia is bad, but not quite that bad. We left at six forty-five, and that was after I talked him down from six. SIX!!! I was interviewed three times, and filled out lots of surveys. And the result? No jobs for the me. Actually, I was politely informed right before my third (!!!) interview that there were no positions available for me, but that they were going to finish my interviews, anyway. How sweet.

We wanted to take a quick tour of the house we're interested in for Mike's benefit (mr. "as long as it's got a room for me and a bathroom, i'm okay with it" is suddenly very interested in seeing this place), but there was an issue with the sump pump, which created a "small" flood in the basement. No showing for us, probably for about two more weeks. By then, we'd hoped to be maybe moving in somewhere. Now Mike and Jim will probably be commuting to their new jobs for a couple of weeks. Ick, huh?

I was not having the very best of days as we were going home (two hours through traffic thanks to some accidents, bringing my total time spent in the car to something like nine hours), but Momolla sent me a text saying, "you got a package." After harassing Kate for some details, I determined that it wasn't a) a bomb, b) anthrax, or c) a tiny, angry man with a hammer sent to break my legs. This excited me enough to risk life and limb by making Jim detour to my parents' place so I could pick up (and open) said package. I ran into the house, sliced some tape open, and read the signature on the attached note. I also showed off the contents of the lovely package, albeit extremely briefly. If I had remained in the house more than five minutes, the menfolk would've taken my car and left me. I did manage to actually read the note in the car on the way to Jim's place, and it made me cry (i am soooo mom's daughter, though i don't cry at hallmark commercials. that'll probably come when i'm older). Here are the contents of said package, along with some things I have deducted about Australian Fibre Fairies:

They have an excellent sense of timing. This package arrived and the generosity and sweetness of it after such a gross day really made me smile. And giggle, and twirl in a circle and jump up and down (after I opened it and actually registered what was in it) and hug it like a teddy bear.

They have excellent taste in wool (well, they are fibre fairies, they should know what they're doing).

They can fit a lot of goodies into one box.

Their talents aren't limited to only fibers (or is it fibre? research is inconclusive). They also bestow sweets, pretty things, and reading materials on lucky people.

They seem to have some connection to piracy...

And here we see the contents of said package in a more spread out manner. There are two balls of Heirloom Argyle sock wool, a huge ball of Bendigo Woolen Mills Baby wool (the fibre fairies have told me it's for when i decide i'd like to try dyeing my own, how did they know?), a skein of Opal sock wool that (i think) says it includes bamboo in a colorway I can't determine (german? screw it, knitting is the universal language, i totally understand that label...mostly...), a skein of merino cashmere sock yarn (yum!) in Water Lilies from The Knittery, and a skein of sock wool from the Happy Spider in Forecast. Gorgeous, gorgeous yarn! And, there were other presents, too! The package also contained a stuffed koala (i love him!), a bar of lemon myrtle soap that smells divine, a magnet for the fridge, a mandala decal (which will be taking up residence on my car), and Yarn, an Australian knitting magazine. I nearly forgot, the box of goodies also contained some candy called Fantales (australian nutrition labels list energy. how weird/cool is that?), chocolate covered caramels with trivia bits on the wrapper. Mmmm, chocolate!

So, yeah. I didn't get a job even though I spent, like, eternity in a Target in another state (i wore high heels! and makeup! i put makeup on and wore high heels!), and spent even longer in my car. But you know what? There are some wonderful fairy godknitters out there who sent me some love and kindness, and that made my whole day. So what if the house we're looking at floods? The yarn doesn't go in the basement. So what if I may have to transfer and work at my crappy job when we eventually move? I have yarn. I can knit the frustrations away. Mmmmm, yarn. Fuzzy and soft, and wonderful. Thank you, Australian Fibre Fairies. I have some suspicions that you may have secret alter-egos, and one day I would like to thank them, too...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Turkey, leaves, and heels

Thanksgiving here was wonderful and peaceful and pleasant, reminding me of why I love the holiday so much. Mom prepared an amazing spread, and Jim and Colleen came to partake of it with us. I also learned how not to make pancakes (i managed to forget not only oil, but salt. needless to say, they were...different. dad liked them, though), though I can usually manage a fairly decent batch. After all, they're pretty simple.

Dad and I bonded over changing my battery, which was rather more complicated than such things usually are, because we had to take the tray it rests on out, and change the hold-downs on it. It was actually a lot of fun, and the weather cooperated, too. It was entirely too warm for November, and sunny and mild. So of course, the very next day, it was cold and miserable again. Gotta love south Jersey in the fall.

All the trees are naked now, it looks more like winter outside than fall. It was one of the most spectacular autumns I've ever seen, the trees were gorgeous for weeks. It's kind of sad to see all the leaves fall, but it's so much fun to shuffle through them. I love that crunching noise they make!

I'm working the heel flap for my bribe sock (i have been for days, knitting time has been a little scarce), and will probably be turning the heel tonight or tomorrow. Jim's scarf continues apace, I think I only have about eight to twelve inches left before I can bind it off, wash it, and watch him wear it. Maggie's scarf... Well, it's still almost long enough. Thank goodness children are little and only need little scarves!

In other news, we're making lots of progress towards finding a place to live. There's one that looks particularly promising in a nice development with cheap rent (for the area, it's still a touch more than we'd figured on) and lots of space. It's a cookie-cutter house, it looks exactly like all the other houses in the development, but they'll let us paint and maybe plant some flowers. Jim and I both have job interviews at a Target not far from the house we're interested in on Tuesday morning, which is even more good news. I'm applying for a management-type position, Jim's looking to do overnight stocking so he can manage his school shifts better. I'm crossing my fingers, counting my pennies, and praying real hard that this all comes together soon.

Time to go get ready for another work marathon. Since we (finally) canned the guy who was stealing, everybody is working six days this week, crazy long hours. And yet, we're still not allowed to have any overtime. Stupid corporate stuff. I hope everybody enjoys the rest of the weekend, and that the week goes smoothly and well for you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tattoooooo!!!

...is what I usually exclaim when I'm taken a bit by surprise by one of my tattoos. Bells wanted to hear about other people's tattoos, so here is the story of mine.

When I was in school, I managed to earn a reputation as a sweet, innocent, naive person. I dressed conservatively, got pretty good grades, and was involved in a lot of activities. I also look about four years younger than I really am. So, yeah. I had a reputation for being a goody-goody, which is a little funny, because I swore and stayed out late and wasn't actually a goody-goody. I just wasn't into the whole drinking and drugs scene and that pretty much sealed my fate.

Momolla and I ended up at the Atlantic City boardwalk on a semi-annual trip and wandered past a tattoo parlor. We were entranced by the signs, one of which read, "A cheap tattoo ain't good and a good tattoo ain't cheap!" And another one that pointed out, "Yes, it's going to hurt!" Well, at least they were being honest. We talked about tattoos a bit and how we'd each always wanted one, then kept walking away.

The next summer, we walked past the same shop, and decided that, yeah, we were gonna get some tattoos! I don't think we had really done much research of planning, Mom and I just looked at each other and decided to do it. Mom ended up with a chain of flowers around her ankle, and I chose a music note and a rose on my left hip. The picture on the left is the least-crummy one I could manager to take. This is the one I sometimes forget about, as it's almost always covered by my pants or an ugly work uniform. It's given me a new test for buying pants; if more than just the top of the rose is visible, they're cut too low. I love the location of this one, so very few people know about it. It makes me feel a little rebellious and grown up, too. And, yeah, a little sexy, when just the top part is peeking out of a pair of good jeans. And I like feeling like I've managed to shake the whole sweet and innocent thing just a little. Oh, yeah... It hurt. But it was worth it. The pain is so weird, because as soon as the pen is lifted off your skin, the hurting stops.

About two months after our first round of tattoos, Mom and I went back for more. These really are addictive. For my second tattoo, I chose something more visible, but still very feminine and un-offensive. After all, I'm stuck with it, and most corporate places frown on visible tattoos. This one is actually on the base of my hand, right above the bones in my wrist. It hurt so much more than the first, because the whole tattoo is inked over a lot of bones, and there's not much flesh there to cushion it. This is the one people see, and they often ask me if it's real. They then feel obligated to touch it to confirm my answer that, yes, I did get a tattoo. It's a good thing it isn't a fake, it would rub off pretty quickly!

And those are my tattoos. Nothing too racy, nothing scary. I like to think they're feminine and pretty. Jim doesn't really want me to get any more, so I'm holding off for now. There are a few more I'd like to get in the future, though, before everything starts sagging and stretching.

In other news, we finally caught the guy who was stealing at work. Boy, was he punished, too--he's on paid suspension. So, he admitted to stealing a whole lot of stuff, and he gets paid for the hours he was scheduled for without coming into work. Somehow, "stealing is wrong" doesn't seem to be the moral of this story. "Go ahead and steal, we'll send you on vacation" feels a little closer. Ah, well. There's nothing I can do, and at least he can't steal from us if he's not there. Maybe they'll fire him eventually, when he steals more stuff from us.

In knitting news, I've come up with a wonderful rationalization for the lopsided scarf. I'm going to tell people it's wider in the middle to wrap around the neck better, and narrower on the ends to tuck into a jacket more easily. Sounds pretty plausible, no? Also, I've started the heel flap on the bribe sock. It's so soft and pretty, I'm looking forward to it being done.

Time to go pretend to be productive some more. I love lazy weekends off, it almost makes up for all the customers who ask if I live at my store.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Because it's that time of year...

I complain. I'm a normal person, and some days, I think I have it pretty rough. But, well, it's the time of year to stop and be thankful, right? And today, I realized that I take a lot for granted.

When I was at work last night, I talked with a woman named Miriam. She's a grandmother, and she was telling me about her granddaughter, who was bopping in and out of the store. Her daughter, the granddaughter's mom, had been laid off the day before. A month ago, the granddaughter's father dropped dead, they still don't know what killed him. Now the mother has no job and no child support payments, and it's coming up on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This child has no dad and her mom has no place to work.

Today at work, I helped a woman who actually knew how to install her own wiper blades. I only saw one of her hands, but I didn't think anything of it when she left. She came back in to ask for a little help, and I noticed that one hand had no fingers. As a musician, and a knitter, and just a person, this scared the hell out of me. I showed the woman how to put her wiper on, and she hurried into her car and drove off. I think she saw me look at her hand, and was embarrassed or angry or something.

So, today, I am thankful. I am thankful that both of my parents have jobs and are alive and are still married to each other. I am thankful that I have all of my limbs and that they are all in working order. I am thankful that I have a job, and people who love and support me. I am thankful that Ashley, my friend in Iraq is okay. I am thankful that my car mostly works. I am so thankful for the trees and the sunshine and the deep peace of the woods. I am thankful for sheep. I am especially thankful for chocolate. And for shiny, pretty things. I am thankful for almost every breath I draw in. Fresh-baked bread is pretty good, and so are cats that like to sit in your lap in the winter, and warm, fuzzy socks fresh out of the dryer. Roses are nice, and so are most other flowers. Music, well, music I am more than thankful for. I am thankful for those moments that seem to be made of crystal, they're so perfect and clear. I am thankful for blue jeans that don't make me look even shorter. I am thankful for the first sip of coffee, and the last. I am thankful I could watch the sun rise, if I felt like being awake so darned early, and that I get to see the sun set from work almost every day. I am thankful I can breathe and run and scream and giggle and be silly. I am thankful for waiters who give me free pie, whether they're just trying to get my number or not. I am thankful for the internet, which gives me so many new people to meet and be friends with.

Your turn. What are you thankful for?

Mom's Meme

I don't normally do these, because I have a cousin who sends me dozens, but since Momolla tagged me, I kind of have to. One does not piss off the giver of yarn.


1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? Jim, who made me laugh so hard my stomach muscles are sore today.
2.What were you doing at 0800? complaining about how I absolutely did NOT want to get out of the warm bed and go to work.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Taking a shower to wash the dye out of my hair
4. What happened to you in 2006? I turned 21, started pulling myself out of a depressed period, and I cried. A lot. Jim held me close and told me it would be okay. I slowly started to believe him. I learned to knit, and I started the first ugly scarf.
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "Oh, dear" in response to a joke Kate was telling me
6. How many beverages did you have today? I had some of a large coffee, some water out of my big work drink-holding thing, and a glass of milk with dinner
7. What color is your hairbrush? The one at home is light wood, the one at Jim's is dark.
8. What was the last thing you paid for? The coffee I mentioned a few questions ago.
9. Where were you last night? Mostly, I was at work.
10 What color is your front door? I do not personally have a front door, but the one here is just plain light wood.
11. Where do you keep your change? I put all my change in a receptacle which I refer to as the date jar. Jim has one, too. When they're full or we're bored, we trade them for bills at the bank and have a date.
12.What’s the weather like today? It was clear and about fifty-five degrees. In a word, perfect.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? That depends entirely on my mood, but Breyer's mint chocolate chip is my standard fallback.
14. What excites you? Books, instruments, a piece of really good chocolate, comments on my blog, doing something right, and Corvettes.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? When it bothers me, I have this crazy urge to shave it and just buy a bunch of wigs. Most of the time, though, I prefer to have long hair.
16. Are you over the age of 25? not quite yet
17. Do you talk a lot? How much is a lot? I love to talk, and to learn about other people and to tell stories and jokes. A lot is pretty much whenever I'm not reading or sleeping or listening to a book while I knit.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yup.
20. Do you make up your own words? On a regular basis. My job is especially good for that.
21. Are you a jealous person? I'd like to say no to that, so that's what we'll go with.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Amy, who I have known since I was five.
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kely, who I've known almost as long.
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? "Lover Man" (which is jim)
25. What does the last text message you received say? "The game is rather one-sided so far, sixteen to zero chargers. How's your dye look, great as always? Know any females with a size six foot that like boots?" --jim
26. Do you chew on your straw? No, but I do use it to stir my drink when I am agitated.
27. Do you have curly hair? Sadly, no. I have often wished I do, though.
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? Jim's place, shortly.
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Any one of the many customers who come into my store.
30. What was the last thing you ate? I had some pot roast with veggies and gravy and homemade bread.
31. Will you get married in the future? I hope so, but probably not until I'm out of college, if not law school. One challenge at a time, eh?
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I haven't seen a full movie in well over two weeks.
33. Is there anyone you like right now?Yup, many more than I could name here.
36. Did you cry today? No, but this made me tear up pretty good.
37. Why did you answer and post this? Because my Mom is a nice lady, and sometimes if I do what she tells me to, she gives me stuff! :-P
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. Can I just open it up and let people who want to post it, post it?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rain

Yup, it's raining here. Of course it is, this is southern New Jersey. Rain is our most common weather type. Okay, maybe not, but during the fall, winter, and spring, it sure feels that way. Autumn has definitely arrived, and it is here in force. It's not such a bad thing, though, because it's such a pretty time of year. There are trees out there that just shine, they're so bright.

I'm still trying to find a job in Pennsylvania, plus a place to live. This whole moving thing would be so much easier if those two things were handled. I have faith we'll find a house, and that we'll find jobs somewhere. Jim's looking at getting a job on a night crew somewhere, and in the interest of actually seeing him at some point, I'm trying to do the same. I really don't want to be nocturnal, though. Everyone else I know operates on a diurnal schedule, and it's hard enough to see them as it is. Ah, well. I'm sure we'll be able to figure something out.

I've noticed that most women I talk to seem so intimidated by cars, and that makes me very sad. Once you know the basics, they're much less scary. And believe me, most of it is basic. Someone suggested that I start a class and teach women (and men, but women seem to need the encouragement more) how to do basic things. I think it would be kind of cool to help people figure out what's what with their car. This all came to mind again last night when my mom mentioned her co-worker paid three hundred dollars to have his brakes done, plus the mechanic "found" something else wrong with the car, which cost another two or three hundred dollars.

Let's all say it together, "rip off!" Seriously, those parts should've cost maybe a hundred dollars, if the mechanic put the most expensive parts on there, and he could've tightened some bolts instead of replacing the part he "found" a problem with. That leaves us with three or four hundred dollars worth of labor. That's just wrong. Seeing people get ripped off like this always makes me upset. It's one of the reasons mechanics have such a bad reputation, too. And if the people who took their cars in knew more about what they drive, it would be harder for them to get cheated. And yet, unless they go to an expensive tech school or learn it from a friend, there's really no way to learn this stuff. Ah, well. No point in ranting. But seriously, if your mechanic tells you something that sounds wrong, ask him or her to show you the broken part and explain it to you. Really now, end of lecture.

Not much knitting news to report, I'm still working on my many projects. I'm trying to concentrate on the scarf, since it's cold, and Jim will need it. It's acrylic, so I can't block the tension issues out, so I think once I get towards the end, I'm going to tighten my tension back up and say it's a design feature. It'll keep your neck warmer or something. Yet another valuable thing I learned from marching band. If it looks wrong and there's no way or time to fix it, say it's an artistic feature.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More Pictures!

I'm posting more pictures because I promised I would, and I eventually keep my promises, and also to distract myself from the idiocy that is my company. So, in the interest of pretty yarn, here are some more pictures!

This is another shot of the blanket, artfully draped over the back of a chair. The colors are a little truer in this shot, and it gives you a better sense of the size of the blanket.
This is Maggie's scarf (maggie being the cousin i'm making it for), and oddly enough, this shot gives you a pretty good sample of all of the colors that are worked into the purple yarn. It's cheap novelty yarn and not at all fun to work with, but it will be soft and cuddly for Maggie, who is seven, and will probably love it. It's the Yarn Harlot's one-row scarf, same as the ugly scarf, and it's kind of interesting to see the difference yarn makes in the pattern.

And here we have the ugly scarf, which my lovely assistant has "artfully draped" over the back of the chair in a heap. As you can see, it's camoflage. It's big. And it's ugly. But it will keep my beloved's neck warm all winter.


Aaaand, a closeup shot! Yup, still ugly up close. But so many stitches! This is another one of the one-row scarves, and you can actually see the stitch definition and the texture on this one.


This is my lovely assistant, sort of, holding the bribe sock. Soft and pretty, almost time for the heel flap.
And here is a closer view of the sock. You can get a better sense of how all those pretty colors work out. It's kind of cool to see them in sections of stripes, usually only a couple of stitches and a couple of rows long. And did I mention it's soft and pretty?

And this has nothing to do with knitting, but I wanted to share it. This is a picture of me, my beloved Jim, and two of my oldest, dearest friends at our local diner. The gentleman on the far left trying hard to look fierce is Ashley, who is on his way back to Iraq right now, and who I worry and pray in my own way constantly for. The second gentleman is Jim, looking like such a redneck in his camouflage jacket. But hey, it'll match the scarf. The young lady farther back is Amy, who I have known since first grade (the same as ashley, we all went to school together. i like to tell people i knew these two before i knew how to read). She's a wonderful, talented, young woman, and I love her dearly. And then there's me, all the way on the end. Hi! The date of the photo is wrong, it was definitely taken this past Friday.

At Last!


So, this is a crappily-lighted detail shot of the baby blanket finished not so long ago. It turned out to be pretty big, and I am exceptionally proud of something that was, after all, rather simple. What can I say, I'm easily amused. The colors in the picture have rather more red than in real life; the yarn had rather more orange and yellow.

Sadly, my computer's acting up and it's time form me to head out to another joyful day of work. After I get back, I'll post some pictures of my more current projects, assuming my computer stops sucking.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm not dead yet!

I made it through the week, and then some, with the help of some chocolate, some pretty yarn, and some insanity. Seriously, I must be out of my mind.

Friday night was much better this time, Jim and I cohosted a Halloween party that was lots of fun, fairly small and quiet. The weekend, of course, was consumed by working, but Momolla and Kate and I still managed to make it to a yarn store. Momolla bought me some gorgeous Claudia's sock yarn, it's colorway Argyle 2, black shot through with gray and electric blue. Mrs. Jim's Mom came home from the hospital on Monday, thankfully. Thanks for the good wishes and the karma, ladies! Tuesday was kinda fun, I gave Jim what I think of as a do-over birthday (he spent his actual birthday at work and trying to cope with his mom being in the hospital), I decorated the apartment a little and cooked my first lasagna for him while Mike took him to look at truck things, then after dinner we met up with some friends to play pool. Goodness, that's a long sentence! Anyway, the day went well, which was good for him.

And through this all, I have been knitting my bribe socks, as I think of them. This baby alpaca is jut nice to work with. It's soft and pretty(and it doesn't leap off the needles when left alone unsupervised) and it's very soothing to just knit for a while, without worrying about patterns or ribbing or what have you. Nice, simple garter stitch. And it's quick, or I'd not be saying "nice, simple garter stitch." The ugly scarf progresses apace, but I've just noticed that my tension has become drastically different at this point in the scarf than it was at the beginning. Shit? Shit. I'm debating the merits of ripping it out again and just buying an ugly camo scarf. Wait, I didn't mean that. Well, not really... Still, I'm learning the benefits of keeping an eye on tension throughout a project, instead of, say, three quarters of the way through it. So, how bad would it look if I just made my last several rows really tight, and made it look intentional (this is marching band thinking--if you screw up, act like it's supposed to be that way and maybe noone will notice)? The first few inches are much narrower and tighter than the middle section. Me am smart. Me am make things with stick and strings. Me am say knitting guud.

In other news in the world of Em, our newest minion at work is stealing shit, the rat bastard, and trying to blame it on my co-worker. We've reported him to loss prevention, but they seem to be dragging their feet on the matter. We think he's going to show up pretty clearly on camera taking a radar detector out of the store without paying for it. It's a two hundred dollar accessory he ordered with someone else's information so he wouldn't get blamed. Plus, he's stolen at least one other part, so his grand total for parts we're aware of is close to three hundred dollars. I feel kinda bad turning the guy in, he's not a bad guy, and I used to work with his dad, who I happen to really like. But for goddess' sake, he keeps the stolen stuff in his car! He honestly thinks we're too stupid to realize he's taken it. The rat bastard.

Right. That's enough of that. Time to listen to some book on mp3 (Grave Surprise, by Charlaine Harris), and knit something. Yes, knitting will soothe me. Tomorrow I take my friend who's home from Iraq up to Trenton to see my friend who's smart enough to be a brain surgeon but who wants to be a nurse. It should be a lovely trip.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yeah, I'm a Liar...

My original intent was to post pictures this past Saturday, when I left work early, but, well.... Basically, shit happened. This weekend, to put it mildly, has been rough.

The first part of Friday night was great. Seeing the Yarn Harlot in person was so much fun! Granted, the evening wasn't enhanced by Atilla the Marketing Hun, (she actually said to a lackey, "there are people just sitting and standing around. do something about it!"), but Stephanie speaks so well and is so engaging, it more than made up for the Marketing Hun. I keep wondering if I write a letter to Borders and use the nickname instead of her real name (i've forgotten it, i'm terrible with names), they'll know who I mean. If you'd like a good account of the evening, and some pictures, Momolla wrote a great account of it.

I have to preface the next bit by saying that Jim and I traded trucks on Friday, so he could go offroading in the pines with our friend Mike, who also has a truck. The idea (at the time) was that Mike and Jim would go out and drive on some trails they were familiar with. Well. I got a text at about ten thirty, telling me Mike's truck was stuck in a puddle. Dadums and I drove out in Mom's truck (yay, mom!!!), got there about midnight. To get to the truck, I had to drive through puddles that would easily have been up to or above my knees. Now, I'm short, but that's still a lot of water to drive a heavy truck through at night. Still, I made it (and dad may never insult my ability to drive again), and we managed not to get Mike's truck out. I also discovered that this was not puddle. This was a pond. Mike drove his truck into a pond. In the end, we left it at around three, and Jim and I were in bed by four. We both had to be up at seven. Ohhhh, the fun we had. I left work a little early, and had Momolla's car cleaned. After that, things went fairly well, and Jim and I even managed to get to bed early.

Sunday morning was uneventful, too (oh, dear, i think i see a pattern. i may just become a morning person), I had a short day at work. Jim came over for dinner, and we had a great evening with Momolla and Dadums. When we got back to Jim's place, we found out his Mom wasn't well. At all. So, I did the second terrifying thing in two days. I called 911. Once the paramedics had forced Mrs. Jim's Mom into the ambulance (she did NOT want to go), I followed them to the hospital. I got hopelessly lost on the way a few times, due to six different sets of bad directions. We stayed there for a while, then were told we should go home, Mrs. Jim's Mom was sleeping and the doctors were waiting for test results. It being the early hours of the morning, we didn't argue much. We heard from her today, it looks like she'll be in the hospital about a week, if not longer. So, if you guys could just send some positive, warm energy out to this nice lady who's having a tough time and her family, who're also having a tough time, it'd be great.

Also, I ripped the socks out. Again. On Friday, about twenty minutes before we left to see the Yarn Harlot, I went to look at them, and lo and behold, my point protectors had failed me, and I had dropped at least half a dozen stitches down to nearly my first row. Much swearing was used, and I even taught Kate a new phrase. Mom, of course, did not approve. She has, however, bribed me. Bribes are fun, when they result in some lovely baby alpaca wool. Her theory is that this sock is too difficult for me, and that I should start with something simper. So, to humor her (and score some pretty yarn), I am going to make a basic sock, glaring all the while at the pretty, pretty yarn that hates me, which I might take to a witch doctor or something to have whatever curse that's upon it removed.

This is quite the post, I'm afraid. I've never been good at concise writing, especially when I'm distressed. I want to use adjectives, they're fun! At any rate, I will hopefully blog with some good news, knitting or otherwise, soon. On the other hand, if you read about any spectacular explosions in New Jersey, or hear about somebody defying logic, gravity, or other factual, scientific things to her doom, yeah. That'll be me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Excuses, excuses...

Here I was, all set up and ready to finally put my money where my mouth is and post a bunch of pictures of my work, and wouldn't you know it, I grabbed the wrong adapter cable for hooking my camera up to my computer. Sometimes, I'm pretty dumb. Still, I will do my best to make sure that they are posted by the end of the week. I promise.

I gave the blanket of doom away today, at my friend's baby shower. It felt a little weird to see it go, it was such a big part of my days (and my nights) for so many months. But my friend seemed to like it, especially once I told her it was washable. Surely she didn't think I was crazy enough to spend months making something for a baby that's not baby friendly? I have some issues with reality, but even I realize that babies are gooey.

The socks....Oh, the socks. I think I've ripped them out and started again about five times now, and only two of them were intentional. Thankfully, I found the point protectors Momolla gave me, so perhaps they'll keep me from stabbing myself with eight or so tiny, tiny needles if I rip the damned thing out again. I've got about three, maybe four rows of ribbing done, which is nothing. But....BUT.... I figured out how to read the chart. Yay, me! I figured something basic and obvious out!

The scarves are moving right along. I think I knit about three feet on the two of them in the past two days. I was listening to a recorded book on my computer (must...fix....mp3 player....) and the knitting and the time just flew by. Mom's right, it's a great way to combine two things I love.

I have a question for your collective consideration. I'll be out on my own soon, and I will be very much on a budget, probably a very tight one. Is there a practical way to knit on a budget? I have low impulse control when it comes to buying things like, oh, yarn, and needles and such. Also, I need to build up my own collection of various sizes and types of needles, since all I really own are a pair of size six U.S. needles. On the bright side, I have roughly a metric fuckton of acrylic yarn to play with. I know, I know, it's acrylic. I was young, I was into crocheting. What can I say?

Monday, October 8, 2007

DID IT!!!

The Sock From Hell is finally cast on. In fact, I have about three rows on the sticks. Once it looks a little less like awful, I will put some pictures up. I don't really have anything else fun or useful or exciting to tell you guys, but I had to share this with somebody. At eleven last night I actually had it really started, and sent a text to Mom and Kate, as Jim would probably promptly cease to love me if I were to wake him up to show him one row of stitches on a bunch of needles. He's just not a knitter, but maybe one day he'll understand it. Menfolk can be trained, y'know?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Inspiration

The Yarn Harlot is coming! She'll be at our local bookstore in two weeks, and Momolla, Kate, and I are already signed up. Man, now I have to get these socks started, so I can get a picture with Mom and Kate. Okay. I have positive reinforcement. I can do this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Grrrr....

I'd considered titling this post with the phrases I've been using most often while I've been (attempting to) knit for the last few days, but Mom reads this, and I know she doesn't approve of that much profanity.

Why the swearwords, you say?

Well....

Conwy.

What was I thinking??? Didn't I remember what a pain it was to cast the brown tube on? What the hell is wrong with me? Don't I have enough frustration in my life, without trying to cast on four needles' worth of tiny, tiny yarn stitches?

No. Obviously not. So, I'm sure you've noticed by now that my attempts to start these damned socks are not going well. But I am determined. I am!!! Mom keeps offering to start them for me (isn't she sweet? she really is sweet), and I'm not sure if it's because she doesn't like me to be this distressed, or if it's because she doesn't like phrases involving "fucking" "hell" "pig" "fist" and "cock" to be used in the same sentence in her house. So. No socks for me yet. I'm on try number sixty-five-million-and-three, but I will keep going. Because I can do this. Even if I need to wear my damned glasses to see the tiny yarn (yes, mom, i still know where they are. no, mom, i don't wear them if i can help it) on the tiny needles... I...WILL....make...this...work.... Sure, it's been three days, and all I have to show for my efforts is a ball of yarn (but it's a lovely, round, spherical ball), a pile of needles, and a pattern. Shit. But, as we say in my house, I am a Wood. When presented with a brick wall in my path, I will beat my head against it until either it moves or I pass out. And if I pass out, I will only beat my head against it more when I wake back up. That wall doesn't stand a chance against a Wood. So. I can do this. Maybe one more try before bed tonight. Maybe. I think I have a little rum, a little coke. Nope. Not strong enough. Anybody know where I can get some crack at ten p.m. on a Tuesday?

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Baby Loves the Dirt...

...By which I mean, I took my Jeep through the local woodland tract, and she handled it like a dream. Sunday, Mike and Jim and Colleen took Mike's truck (a ford bronco) and my Jeep out to play.

The woods have always felt like home to me. Our local state forest is lovely and peaceful and I've been camping or hiking or driving through it pretty much my whole life. Georgie, I'm not sure what your forest looks like, but ours is full of tall, slender pines that have bunches of needles towards the top halves, and lots of scrub bushes that turn a gorgeous red color in the autumn and only come up about to your knees in most parts. This is no forest primeval, but it still feels right, somehow. It suits our state--a little different, but comfortable nonetheless.

Tomorrow, Mike, Jim, and I are going up to Pennsylvania to look at the potential neighborhoods we'll be renting a house in. Did I mention we're looking for a house? Jim's sister, Colleen, will be moving in with us, so we can afford the rent. And more space would be nice. The guys, somewhat stereotypically, are mostly sitting back and watch as I drive myself to distraction trying to plan things (can we say type a personality?). Thankfully, Colleen's been helping with ideas and such.

In knitting news, I'm succumbing to the phenomena I think of as, "I have three months before Christmas, surely I can knit one baby blanket, four scarves, two sweaters, and nine pairs of socks" syndrome, which displays classic, easily identifiable symptoms. Sufferers have no sense of time, nor of proportion. They are willing to sacrifice sleep, eating, reading, and even making eye contact with their family, to meet the (impossible) goal. Early symptoms include thoughts or sentences that start with, "well, if I don't do any reading/sleeping/breathing/spending any time with friends, and I hurry and knit a lot every day, I could maybe do another scarf or two..."

I say this because I'm seriously considering making scarves for two of my friends for Christmas. The ugly scarf is moving along pretty quickly, for me, but not quickly enough for all that. Plus, I want to knit a blanket or something cute and baby-related for my boss's impending infant, and something along the lines of a teddy bear for her son. My cousin's scarf is stalled, because I loathe novelty yarns. It's just really frustrating to work with, but it doesn't look half bad. All this is going on while I've signed myself up for Julie's strikke-along, having decided that I'm making my first (real) socks from a pattern with a chart (another first), on four needles (eep!).

Time for bed now, I'm feeling decidedly lightheaded at the thought of all this knitting...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Rather Shorter Post...

...because otherwise, I'm afraid I'm going to be responsible for giving people eye strain. Well, that, and I'm boring.

Not much to report on here, I'm just getting home from work. I would rather have stayed home and cleaned, at least that gives one some satisfaction. But then, I'd rather be stuck doing those horrid story problems (if farmer brown has six chickens on train a which is traveling from point r at a speed of x, and farmer green has thirty-nine gorillas traveling on train c which leaves destination w at a speed of mach 1, when will they collide? at what time will farmers brown and green be notified of the collision? extra credit: don't show any work) instead of going into work.

I'm beginning to think I hate my job not just because it's retail, but because it's retail auto parts. Don't get me wrong, I love cars. I like to work on them and get my hands dirty and fix things. I'm pretty good at it, too. But what I'm really tired of are the people. A typical customer looks at me and says, "oh! A girl! In an auto parts store! Imagine that!" or something along those lines. I absolutely loved training one of my younger co-workers, customers used to walk right past me to ask him questions, which he would then turn to me and repeat, word for word. I would then answer him, and he would repeat my answer to the customer. Yeah. Sexism sucks. But you don't wanna hear me rant about that, this would be another really long one.

Progress on my scarves is continuing, slowly (because i am but a lowly knitting n00b) but surely. I have about two and a half, maybe three feet of what I privately think of as The Ugly Scarf, which is publicly known as Jim's scarf. It's made of camouflage-colored acrylic yarn. It's ugly. But it'll make him happy and stand up to dirt, so it's all good. My cousin's scarf is coming along less quickly, but it can be much shorter, so it should be finished soon, I hope. Mom generously donated yarn for the socks I'm going to be embarking on, so it looks like all I have to do is sign up for the stricke-along.

So much for short, eh? I always did love to talk...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Because Change is a Good Thing...

...right?

So I decided to go with a change. It was time. Granted, I'd done this before, but nothing's ever exactly the same twice, you know?

I'm a natural blonde, and for most of my life, my hair's been pretty long; at some points, it was down to my waist. It's fun, but inconvenient, and I always keep it pulled back. My senior year of high school, I had Momolla cut my hair up to my chin, and then we dyed it red. Bright red. Hey, look over here at my hair isn't it red red. That's the color we went with. It was great, but I couldn't afford the dye a few years ago, so I went back to blonde and let it grow out. Yesterday I went back to short and red. It's a little more coppery than I normally like it, but it's so much fun. For the record, the old cliche is wrong, redheads have more fun. Trust me, I've done both. So yeah, the hair's different, and I love it. I feel more like me with red hair. The other benefit is I don't have to listen to people tell my dumb blonde jokes and get offended when I don't laugh.

In other news, I bought a new car. I'm selling my current car to Jim's mom, she needs a sedan, and I need something with four-wheel drive. It's not that I'm looking to go offroading or anything, but it's a matter of needing a way to get around in bad weather. As it stands, Momolla and Dadums both have four-wheel drive cars, so when there's three inches of solid ice on the ground, I can borrow one of their cars to get to work. Once I move, I'll be on my own for getting to work. I'm not expecting massive amounts of snow, but Pennsylvania's good for at least one or two good winter storms, and when you're the new person at a retail gig, calling out of work unless you're clinically dead just isn't an option.

My new baby is a 97 Jeep Cherokee two-door model. It's got the Jeep straight six cylinder engine, which is pretty powerful and pretty reliable. It's also a manual transmission, which I have reallllly missed this last year or so. It's got no power things, which is exactly what I wanted, power windows and door locks just break, and I'm not looking for a car that's going to need lots of parts replaced. This car is soooo clean, too. The body's straight and in excellent shape, and it doesn't have too many miles. I'm excited to start driving her, but I can't get down to Motor Vehicles to get her registered and all legal-like til Tuesday. Wednesday, though, I'll be a happy little Emmy. Most of the credit for the new car goes to Jim, he found the ad and contacted the seller. He and Mike came and looked at it with me, and I think the three of us scared the poor guy, who's not mechanically inclined at all. Still, he sold it to me. It was a little out of my budget range, but Jim's helping me pay for it, so I'll manage things.

I've found religion. At least, that's what it feels like. I'm going to cast on for my very second sock (i've got about three and a half inches of two by two ribbing on a set of mom's needles that's just not fated to be), just as soon as I order some yarn. I've picked a pattern, Conwy, out of Momola's Knitting on the Road book. At least, I think that's the title, I haven't got it in front of me for reference. It's by Nancy Bush, and Mom found her traveler's stockings in it. The pattern doesn't look too terribly difficult, but it's a chart, and I've never worked off a chart. Plus, it's written for four needles. That should be an adventure. All I need to do is find me some sock yarn. This will probably become a habit, as I have discovered a love of handknit socks, and the only way to get a lot is to make them. Wish me luck!

edit:damn, i talk too much...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Trolls, not of the "Treasure" Variety

I felt the need to post this because I feel like I've lost a little part of my innocence here. I found the online knitting blog community through my mom, and that has been such a friendly, welcoming group. And then, there was Ed. Ed is a particularly vicious troll. He's also apparently not bright. He went to Mom's blog and left a comment about how boring her life must be if she's blogging about yarn. Never mind the fact that Mom is an avid knitter. Never mind that it makes perfect sense for a craftswoman to be excited over getting new materials. He just felt the need to criticize. There's a difference between disagreeing, and being a jerk. This guy sure does fall into the second category.

Call me naive, call me foolish, but I was raised to believe that politeness matters and that being nice counts. I was not raised to be a pushover, nor to be cloying. I firmly support freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech does not guarantee you the right to be an asshole whenever and to whomever you please. It also does not guarantee you protection from getting your butt kickedif you're offensive, or from being told you're downright unpleasant. I am not making threats, I am not throwing stones. "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" (The Friends of Voltaire, 1906). Everyone has the right to express their opinion. Everyone also must live with the consequences of his or her actions.

At any rate, what you put out comes back to you in this world. Maybe not in this lifetime, and maybe not in ways we see or understand right away, but it all comes back to you. If you spew negativity out, then negativity is what you will get back. Nature loves balance. This seems so common-sense, but I guess maybe it isn't. Or maybe we've just gotten to the point where we've forgotten that nice matters. I don't think that's entirely true, either. Look at all the people out there who leave encouraging, friendly comments. Ah, well. I'll just stick to making my corner of the world and the net a happy, friendly, or at the very least, civil place. Sorry to rant at you all, unneccecary jerk-itude always pisses me off.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's done!!!!

Yup, I finished the baby blanket yesterday. It is a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself. And after how long it took, I sure do! Now that it's done, I'll take some pictures and post a good one or two so you can see it. It's a really simple pattern, but I'm a really slow knitter.

Sorry for the horrifically long last couple of posts, I got a little carried away recounting the joys of vacation. I'll try to pare it down a little the next time I get to write one on the same topic (you've got a few years before you have to read another epic like the last, no vacations for a while).

Back to work today, in an hour, actually. Ah, reality. So vastly overrated sometimes.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mmmmmm, part two

Sorry, forgot to adjust the font size. I'll get back into the swing of this, somehow.

At any rate, once we got settled in and Jim had a nice, long nap, we went for a walk on the beach. After all, you can't have a vacation on the beach and not walk on the sand when you get there, right? So away we went. And let me tell you, it was beautiful. I haven't been to very many beaches, but so far, Myrtle Beach is my favorite. The sand is soft and clean and fine, and the water is so clear and so green and so warm. I hardly knew what to do with myself. Once we'd had a nice stroll, we ate dinner somewhere truly exotic and fascinatingly new--Friendly's. Yeah, let me tell you how Friendly's is a national chain, and we have one all of five minutes from Jim's place up here in Jersey. Still, it was close to our condo, and we knew the food would be good. And besides, we were thoroughly tired, and really just wanted dinner and bed.

A few words about the condo: it was pretty neat. Other than that, I can tell you that it was definitely decorated by a woman, as there were sprays of fake flowers everywhere. At least they were fairly tasteful. There was a master bedroom and a smaller one, each with its own bathroom. We slept in the master bedroom, and basically ignored the second one. I wish we'd been able to convince some friends to come down, too, but I have to say, it was nice to have time just for Jim and me. Soon enough, we'll be sharing an apartment with a friend and trying to make that work without killing each other. So, yeah. This was wonderful. We were on the sixth floor, with a fairly nice view. You could see the ocean, but there were some other hotels between us and the water. The condo building is about a block and a half from the beach, not a long walk at all. The only downside I can really point out is that the kitchen was really terribly stocked. Obviously, there was no food (it is a rental area, we weren't expecting any), and there were lots of dishes--plates, cups, etc. But the pans and pots and spoons and such for actual cookery were just...sad. I guess Jim and I are weird, but we like to cook together. And when you're on vacation, it's nice to be waited on, but it's also pretty cool to cook dinner and eat something you've made. Ah, well.

Most of our time was spend relaxing; we really didn't do much. Don't get me wrong, that's certainly not a problem. We didn't have too many adventures, but the ones we did were pretty great. On our fourth day, we went parasailing. Basically, you get dragged out to a boat on a raft, hooked up to a huge parachute with a couple of feet of straps and some carabiners, and then they let you go. It was awesome to be up in the air, I've always loved being up high. We could see so much of the water, and so far inland. It was rather pleasant, and lots of fun. And yet, my stomach just didn't approve. Let's just say that there was some gastric unpleasantness, and that the crew on the boat brought us in and had us on our way back to the beach and some anti-nausea stuff pretty quickly.

Our other big adventure was mini-golfing. Sure, it doesn't sound very exciting, but the courses down there are so elaborate, so huge, it's always an adventure. We picked one with a silly name and a huge complex, called "Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur Goff" because, well, we're suckers for silly stuff like that. Jim, being somewhat coordinated, likes to play and be competetive. Me, having just enough coordination to walk, and sometimes run (but only in life-or-death situations), I just thwack the ball around til it makes it into the hole. Aim? Nah. I just thwack it. I don't even let it come to rest before I thwack it again, sometimes. Once I even toed it into the hole, when I thought Jim wasn't looking. It's not cheating if we're not keeping score, right?

Other than that, there was a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant called the Aspen Grille. It was definitely a "nice" restaurant, and not one we could normall afford to patronize. But hell, this was vacation, right? The waiter was nice without being obsequious, and the food was phenomenal. We started with a bruschetta which was tasty, and just a bit sweeter than we were used to, then Jim enjoyed his NY strip steak mightily. I opted for the surf'n'turf, and I enjoyed every bite of that filet and the lobster (surf and turf is a smallish filet mignon and a lobster tail, along with some sides and some pretty garnish-y things). The presentation was gorgeous, I almost felt bad taking it apart to eat it. And yet, it went down pretty easy. We split some bananas foster for dessert (bananas sauteed with butter, brown sugar, banana liquer, and grand mariner, then served with ice cream), and feeling stuffed, headed back to the condo to change and take a stroll on the beach.

I feel not at all guilty about the food we ate down there (not what one would normally consider healthy, balanced meals--we had cheese fries and ice cream for lunch at least once), because we did a lot of walking on the beach and on the strand. We stayed up late watching movies, slept in every morning, and then took naps. We wandered on the beach, we wandered in the town. We used copious amounts of sunblock. All in all, it was a fantastic week, and I have no regrets, nothing I would've changed. Okay, I lied. I would totally have gotten Momolla something made of shells, or maybe a hanging thing with lots of dangly shells. Except, of course, that Jim wouldn't let me, as we've been informed that such a gift would actually be considered an act of war, and met with extreme retaliation. At any rate, it was a fantastic trip, but it's good to be home now, where there's an internet connection. Oh, and my family and friends. Them, too.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mmmmmmmm...

That's the sound I seemed to be making a lot this past week, as I was on vacation with my beloved Jim. If I haven't mentioned, we went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That's a good ten hour drive if you start out early, but we left at about eleven on Friday night, so we ended up not getting down there until one the next day. Hey, we had to sleep at re-fuel and such, you know?

Day one was dominated by the drive. I tell you, I have almost never spent so long in a car. Jim and I switched off for driving, and it was really not a particularly exciting drive. The directions are simple, one takes I-295 to I-95 and one drives. And drives. And when one thinks surely one should be in Mexico by now, one continues to drive. About six hours after that, one drives a little more. After so many hours on the same road, one finally gives up, and then, that is when one gets onto S.C. route 501. Once again, one drives on the same road for, oh, eternity. This isn't to say that the drive down on 95 is hopeless. No, no, there's entertainment. Take, for instance, the traffic jam around Washington, D.C. at two thirty a.m. Or, (my personal favorite) the signs that are scattered about saying, "speed limit enforced by aircraft." There is, of course, lots of scenery. I have never seen more chunks of ruined tires and cars on a road. Ever. And let's not forget the lovely truck pulled over onto the shoulder, merrily alight. Thank goodness the man driving it got out before it caught. But even so, you know he's not having a good day.

And I leave you with that. It's late, I'm tired, and it is time for me to get some (more) rest. I will tell you the rest of my wonderful stories tomorrow, when there's been time to unpack and relax and settle in.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

IT WORKED!!!!!!!

That was all. Carry on.

Let's give it another shot...

Because I'm just too stupid to stop trying. This looks reasonably big, though, so I'm going to cross my little fingers and hope that it works.

There's not much new to report, sadly. Turns out my life is pretty boring and more than a little routine. I'm still pegging away on the baby blanket, when I have time. It comes everywhere with me, though, as hope springs eternal. I've frogged the scarf I was making for Jim, it was looking pretty sad, but it was great practice in stockinette stitch. And we all know how exciting stockinette is. It's just one short step away from miles and miles of garter stitch. At any rate, I think I'm going to cast the new scarf (scarf: vista, as I like to think of it) as one of the Yarn Harlot's infamous one-row scarves. Perhaps that'll keep me a little more interested. The yarn is perfectly horrid, it's jungle camoflage. For some reason, Jim is about the closest thing to a redneck you can find in New Jersey. So, in my quest to convince him that knitting is awesome, I'm making him what may be the world's ugliest scarf. Speaking of scarves, I've agreed to work with Momolla and Kate on a Christmas present for my seven-year old cousin. Between the three of us, we're making her a matching hat, mitten, and scarf set. It should be fun, it's all going to be purple and green (her last name is plum, and you can still get away with all the matchy-matchy stuff at that age).

My vacation is in a little over a week, and I absolutely cannot wait. Jim is taking me to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a week (i keep referring to him jokingly as my sugar daddy). He used his tax return for the condo rent (so much more exciting than mine, i used it on parts for my car), and we've both been saving up for spending money. We can't wait to get down there, it's going to like a week-long date. I've made myself resist the whole "Oh, no, I've got to starve myself for vacation" thought process. I keep thinking to myself that I will look fantastic in the bikini I bought three months ago and have worn roughly three times since. Here's hoping I'm not the delusional woman wearing a suit seven and a half times too small for her, though I know Mom and Kate would never let me out of the house if I was.

That's about all I've got to report on for now. I'm taking Kate up to the local diner for some pie soon. In return, she is baking me cookies tomorrow. Kate will also be in charge of my beloved betta fish, Beef, while I am on vacation, as well as Jim's fish, Comet. We don't trust Jim's mom to mind them, she has the worst conceivable luck with the little creatures.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A larger font is in order

Since, damn, that old one is crazy hard to read. Let's see if I managed to adjust this correctly.

I've discovered that hair dryers scare me. I got one for Christmas, back when I had visions of being adorable and feminine and blow-drying my hair into a style. I think I've used it thrice now. Something about the little hellion is just intimidation, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's me. I mean, I have been covered up to my elbows and beyond in grease and dirt and not thought twice about it. I've had my head and arms and hands near hot, moving engines (nobody ever said I was smart). And yet, none of that bothered me as much as the hair dryer. And when you combine it with the round brush, I just feel like crying. But anyway, I managed to style my hair and put makeup on. Thank god I'm at least good with a makeup brush! Then it was off to pick up Jim for a lovely evening.

And it would've been, too, except for our dinner. We went to a local place called the Stone Grille. Their gimmick is that they bring you out a hot stone to cook your food on if you like. The waitress was hugely busy and we waited at least ten, maybe even fifteen minutes for our drinks (all we ordered was water and an iced tea). The food was only mediocre, when it's normall excellent, and the service continued to be slow. Still, spending time together was fun. It was good to go out somewhere other than the diner together.

It's raining here, and it looks like we've settled into what I always think of as New Jersey autumn/winter weather. We don't get much snow, but from September through March we got a lot of rain. Cold, misty rain. This fron should stay for about a week, if the weather reports are correct. I can't really complain, though, because at least it's cooler. And besides, we need the rain. It would be nice to have some sun, though, for my days off. Ah, well. It's great knitting weather, and it means I'll make more progress on the blanket. I promise to get some pictures tonight, and even figure out how to post them somehow.

Time to go play in the woods with Mike and Jim. Keep an eye on the newspapers for reports of a lost party last seen driving a Ford Bronco...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Look! Two in one week!!!

That's right, two of these babies in one week! Pretty soon I'll be catching up to Momolla.

The meteors were lovely and inspiring, even though we only saw a few. It was still fun to pile into Jim's truck, drive out into the woods, and bond with him and Kate. And I was only slightly paranoid about crazy people weilding axes or chains or hooks or shotguns (pineys aren't--quite--extinct) and trying to separate me from my flesh. But all in all, it was still thrilling.

Jim and I are going on a dress-up date tonight, it should be lots of fun. There's something so nice about coming home from my grimy, icky job where looking like a girl just isn't practical and changing into something feminine and fun and putting on makeup. We'll probably just hit a generic chain Italian restaurant, but it'll be nice to have a real date together again. It's been a while since we've had one, and eternity and half since we've dressed up. Whee!

I'm still chugging along on that blanket, it keeps getting smaller and smaller. When I steal my camera back from Jim, I'll put some pictures up. It's so bright and happy and it really makes me smile. I found out that my boss, who I like more and more every day, is due in January, but probably having her baby in December (she's going to need a C-section, the poor woman!). She's having a girl, so I can go for the whole pastel thing, or maybe I'll find something bright and happy again. Hmm, decisions, decisions...

Anyway, off to put on a little black dress and some awesome shoes and remind my man how dazzling I can be when I choose. Here's hoping everyone's weekend goes well!

Monday, August 13, 2007

I really suck at titling these things!

So, yeah. Honestly, I do.

The blanket is coming along swimmingly, for some reason the decrease half seems to be going much quicker than the increase, I'm half afraid I'm doing something wrong. It looks lovely, though, and I'm so proud that something that pretty has come out of my labor, my hands. There's just something so satisfying about seeing a lump of yarn turn into something coherent, something real, something useful.

The new manager seems rather nice, and even pleasant, we all hardly know what to do with ourselves. She's pregnant, and I'm looking around for something quick and pretty to make for her. I'm not sure how far she's along, and thus, how much time I would have to make said project. I might just make her some booties and a hat; everything one makes for babies is cute, just by virtue of being tiny.

In other yarn-related news, I have a largeish skein of lovely brown and one of red mohair, and nothing to really do with them. I'm thinking of maybe doing scarves, but I think it'd be uncomfortable to have something that fuzzy near one's face. I nead some awesome, pretty things to do with this yarn, it's absolutely lovely, and would've cost a fortune, if Mom and I hadn't gotten it on the last day of the knitting expo last year.

So the socks we were going to make for my friend in Iraq aren't going to work, Mom picked out some absolutely wonderful wool and such. Once we did a little research, though, we found out that the average low temperature in winter there is only 38 degrees. It's cold, but not nearly as cold as we were thinking. Now we're looking for something lighter, cooler, and better able to deal with sweat. The temperature gets to be 110-120 there by noon. That just blows my mind. I can't imagine functioning in that much heat, let alone doing something like working on big, heavy vehicles. Ash (the friend in Iraq) called on Sunday, and it was so good to hear from him. Being in Baghdad, we worry about him. A lot. His tour of duty has been extended for another fifteen months, now he should be home in May of next year.

Jim and I are going to go try to see some more meteors tonight. We went with Dad and Kate and Gio last night, and stayed out quite late. We left before the peak hours, but we saw a few before we went home for the night. We drive out to the middle of nowhere, and we can see so many stars. There's something so awe-inspiring about all that beauty, and it makes one feel so small to sit there beneath the stars and realize how huge space is, how much we just don't know. Time to go be inspired!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Moving Out, Moving On

It's official, Jim and I are finally getting a place together. Of course, it's us, and we can't do anything the easy way, so we're also bringing a friend, and we're moving to PA.

Jim and Burns were both accepted into Univeral Technical Institute, the holy grail of gearhead academies, and will be starting January 28th (we're moving sometime between December and January). UTI is in Exton, PA, and I have to say, it's impressive. My favorite part was that they have Gojo in the bathroom. I can definitely feel at home anywhere they feel the need to put industrial strength, pumice-laden hand soap in the bathrooms. Anyway, Jim and Mike are in, and now comes the easy part (by easy I mean scary and hard), which is finding us all jobs and a place to live. Right now, I seem to be the one doing most of the work and the research at least as far as living quarters go, but then, I'm nuts excited about this. I need to move forward, and I need to feel like I'm taking control of my life and not just sitting back and passively letting things happen to me. I'm not going to school...yet. But I will be continuing to make payments on my loans as I'm living up there. Jim's and my secret evil plan is for him to get through school (he'll graduate in a little under two years), find a good job, and for me to then go back to school and only work part time, or less full time, once he can take over more of the bills.

In other news, The Manager From Hell is leaving us. He's been transferred to our store in Williamstown. Instead, we're getting a woman who is, by all accounts weird, and also married to one of the local district managers. It can't get much more awkward than that, now can it? Still, I'll only be there for a few months, I can stick it out until it's time for me to move.

Tons of progress on the blanket I never quite managed to finish for the tdf kal, I have corners! It seems to be moving much more quickly in the decrease phase, but I'm sure that's only because I'm crazy and grateful to have moved past the knitting black hole I was stuck in for so long. I think the one thing I'm not looking forward to about moving is that I probably won't be able to afford much yarn, so I don't think there will be a lot of knitting. Eh, I'm sure I'll figure something out. In other wool-related news, I found a patter for a sweater for me. It's a great three-quarter sleeve, scoop neck sweater that I will be making out of some lovely yarn my mom and I got at a steep discount at last year's knitting expo.

That's all for now, but I'll update as I have things worth talking about.

Monday, July 23, 2007

So much for that...

...I borrowed Colleen's copy of the seventh Harry Potter book last night, and in between paroxysms of delight, I didn't really find any time for knitting. I'm a shamefully bad knitter. But I am a really kick-ass reader. Also a really tired one, as I stayed up til almost three this morning enjoying the wizardy goodness.

The manger from hell was actually pretty pleasant today, I was more than a little suprpised. Business was slow, so I ended up doing ont very much all day. I found out that "my" obscene phone caller is back, which was rather an unpleasant surprise. He knows where I work, what I look like, and where to reach me. Meanwhile, all I know about this dude is that he's creepy, has a terrible cell phone, and watches some really shitty porn, assuming that's where he gets his material. I'd sort of hoped that when I switched stores, he'd go away. Apparently, he hasn't. It's a little scary to know he figured out where I'd gone in a matter of weeks. Granted, the new store's not exactly far from the old one, butI didn't publicize the move. Anyway, I'm feeling all freaked out and vulnerable and pissed by a guy who's semi-stalking me that could be virtually anyone. Grr!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

So.....

It's been well over a week, I think, since I last posted. Whoops! So much for staying on top of keeping this thing current! Still, it's my blog and I can update it when I have time.

Not much to report, really. Progress on my blanket for the knitalong is quite slow still, I'm going to have to spend all tonight and all this week knitting like a fiend. Not that I mind that so much, really. Knitting's so therapeutic, when you don't find a mistake six or seven rows back and have to frog the poor piece. I'm running out of yarn! This scares me more than a little, I really prefer to have too much rather than finding out that I have to go buy more. That's especially the case here, because the blanket is for somebody else, and becuase this yarn has a dyelot. I'm using Plymouth Yarn's Encore Colorspun. The ball band doesn't say what the color's called, but it's a bunch of bright, happy yellows and reds and pinks mixed in with white. I figure since it's variegated, I won't have to worry about the dye lot as much.

Kate's got the last Harry Potter book, and I can't hardly wait to read it when she's done, though I'll be sad to see the series ending. I'd considered waiting til Jim and I went on vacation, since I read these books in marathon mode (i don't move from the spot i'm reading in except for absolute necessities), and that's the first stretch of time I'll really have off from work, but it doesn't seem fair to Jim somehow.

I have to open my store with my evil manager tomorrow, and I'm really hoping he's in a decent mood. He gave himself the weekend off (again), and we ended up getting swamped, plus we got our stock shipment (henceforth referred to as "truck," just like at every other retail establishment) on Friday. The new guy and I managed to put everything away and even straighten up a little, but nothing we do is ever enough for our manager. He's really terrible.

Time to go knit til my fingers fall off!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This is so much less creepy than myspace....

...which is why I've picked up a blog over here. Myspace is still an interesting way to keep track of what few friends I have left there who blog, but this is so much less creepy than saying I have a myspace page.

So, this is me. I'm Emily, and I live in southern New Jersey. I went to college for a year at Albright, and I loved it. I ran out of money after my third semester, and now I'm back at home, working full time as a parts-sales manager at one of my local Autozones and hating every minute of it. Evenutally, I will have enough money to put myself through the rest of college and law school, and then look out, world.

I'm a recent convert to knitting, and I'm learning a lot about patience, and why it's not okay to swear when you're knitting something for a newborn. I joined the Tour de France knitalong, and am using it as a kick in the rear to finish a blanket for a friend who's having a baby. It's a fun project, and I managed to get about four rows (perhaps two inches) done last night before bed. I didn't have to close my store today, so I'm hoping to get quite a bit more done, assuming I don't run out of yarn. I may not have enough to finish this lovely blanket, which would probably cause me to cry. Darn it, I knew i should've knitted a swatch.