Thursday, December 04, 2008

everybody plays tag

I've been tagged! Oh crap!

The rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are six random things about me, in the order in which they occurred to me:

1. I have done enough of these "random things about me" memes now that I think I'm starting to repeat myself. For example, the first thing I thought of (because I currently need a shower) is how I am infamous for taking really long showers. But I know I've told the internet that particular fact before, and frankly I feel I'm too young to be boring you all with repeated accounts of the same story like somebody's grandpa talking about the war. However, because of my undying affection for Amy, who tagged me, I shall endeavour to think of five more never-seen-before random things.

2. Oh, here's one. I have always had a freakishly large head. One-size-fits-all hats don't. When I was ordering my cap and gown for college graduation, the lady doing the head-measuring told me that the caps were running large and most girls were taking small or extra-small. Then she measured me and said, in that it's-nothing-to-be-embarrassed-about tone that people use at the doctor's office, "well, now, you would take a large or an extra-large." So imagine my confusion when trying on snowboard helmets a couple of weeks ago and discovering that I should order a women's small. It arrived today. It fits. In fact, it's a little loose side-to-side (thanks to the long-and-narrow cranium I inherited from my dad), leaving me with the terrifying, inescapable conclusion that my head is shrinking.

3. Staying in the cranial region, my hair is much thicker and has more texture at the nape than at the crown. I am actually pretty self-conscious about it because my hair is not really thin, but because it's fairly light and fine, light shines through at the hairline in a way that I think makes it look thin. And yet, whenever I get my hair cut, the stylist runs his or her hand through the back and gasps, "oh, it's so thick!" WTF, genetics?

4. I am awesome at driving in reverse. This is because my dad, who used to race cars and dirt bikes (like, a light motorcycle, not BMX) and is a great driver, taught me to drive backwards first. I went around and around the block, which is a horseshoe loop with three blind hills, in reverse about seventy trillion times before he finally let me drive forwards. I have occasionally been tempted to use this power for evil rather than good. I am an undefeated backwards racer.

5. I am nearly incapable of not raising my right eyebrow in pictures. It is an effort of will not to. Every official photograph I have of me features a popped right brow. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all do the same thing. Neither of my sisters does.

6. My right leg is a little longer than my left leg, just like Rivers Cuomo. Because of this, I have scoliosis, and my legs are visibly different, muscle-wise, because my short leg works harder than my long leg. Unlike Rivers Cuomo, I would never get my short leg surgically lengthened, even if I got a brilliant album out of it. I cultivate my weirdness.

Okay, I think those are all relatively novel. I tag Jody, Madalyn, Beverly, and Michelle.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

i might not be around much

The season's begun.

Two hour snowboard clinic in the rain = wet, cold, happy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Less stupid. More awesome.

Awesome: I got picked by my boss at the mountain to go to a women's snowboarding clinic in Vermont. The mountain is paying for the hotel room and everything.

Stupid: My infuriatingly vague and pompous professor had scheduled two dates for our portfolio presentations for this hellish program I'm so glad I'm almost done with. He then decided we didn't need both and of course cancelled the one that doesn't coincide with the clinic.

Awesome: I never would've thought to ask him if I could present on a different date if I hadn't been encouraged to by my mom and another professor, but I did (after all, there's a football player in my program, and he got to miss class for practice all the time!), and he said yes!

Stupid: Instead of just letting me present my portfolio on the other date he had originally scheduled, my professor picked a date two weeks in advance of those two original dates. So instead of a month to finish all the papers and assignments for the entire semester and prepare my portfolio, I had two weeks.

Awesome: I am almost done with everything...

Stupid: ...except that he keeps giving me back assignments with the recommendation that I revise them. Which I wouldn't need to do if the assignment had been sufficiently explained in the first place. AND I am working on an assignment right now that he describes in the syllabus thusly: "grading plan." Yep, that's all. I don't know what the hell that means. I've googled it and I was working on something similar to what I found, but then I got a reply to my desperate-cry-for-help email to my fellow studets, and discovered that instead of a plan directed to him, the professor, I am supposed to write a plan directed to the students and parents. The semester in a microcosm: Well, if that's what you wanted, you should have said so!

And here's the capper.

Awesome: My best friend, who lives in Dallas (and whom I've seen three times since we graduated from college in 2001), is going to be in the area right after Thanksgiving.

Stupid: On the same damn day as the snowboarding clinic that I rearranged heaven and earth to attend.

Oh, wait, one more.

Awesome: The same boss that gave me this clinic opportunity also picked me for a pro form (a card with a PIN and a password that entitles you to massive discounts from the snowboard company that issued it).

Stupid: Even though I need a new board--mine's six years old--I can't afford anything because I couldn't work this semester because I was doing this ridiculous, overrated, completely disorganized and unstructured program. (Bitter much?)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

yarn theory

It's gonna be years before I get into that theoretical knitting stuff.

I finished a sock! Woo! Now before I cast on for the other one, I'm doing a sleeve of my Plain Jane Raglan (which, just to refresh your memory, was supposed to be my Ravelympics project, back before I become obsessed with mittens). Check out my sock and my incredibly flat feet:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

snow day!

...and I'm giddy as a schoolgirl! Snow before Halloween! This bodes well for the coming winter-- at least I hope! Blurry cell phone pics of my drive to school:

The school parking lot--note the snowplow piles--where I ran into another teacher and discovered school had just been canceled, which explained the odd lack of buses in the other lot:

And a church that I passed on my way home:

And because we're crazy about photos here at implosion explosion today, here's my sister's Christmas mitten taking a bath. I love how you can see the reflection of the lace curtains in the surface of the water.

And because we're also crazy about other people's photos, check out the Library of Congress's 1930s-1940s in color photo set. I do wish, however, that random jackholes were not enabled to put notes on them, like this one for example, or this one. Why aren't assy comments enough? Why mar the actual photo with an assy note?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

odds and ends

1. Rehire meeting at the mountain yesterday. I got to see all my snowboard-instructor buddies and plot this winter's adventures (upside) and remember what a gossip factory the place is (downside). I may be going to a women's clinic in Vermont in December and taking my AASI Level 1 in New York in January. Yay! And better yet--I'm supposed to be getting a Burton pro form, with which I can order massively discounted stuff! I love my old board and its spray-paint customization (see my avatar), but it's a little stiff and I want a new, shorter, poppier one. I'll save the old one for teaching (kids are always running over your board, grr) and rocky spring days.

2. Restarted the Herringbone mittens with some Paton's classic merino and finished the first one, with kind of a weird thumb that I refuse to fix. These will be going to my older sister for Christmas and will be the only gift I knit. (Famous last words.)

3. I am teaching all this week--from my own lesson plans, I mean; my mentor teacher has been letting (making?) me teach since the first week of school. So I'm not too nervous, but now my professors will be coming to observe me. So that's going to be a bit tough, but then, I passed my six-month observation while teaching in Japan with flying colors even though I was nervous as hell, so hopefully this won't go too badly.

4. And speaking of Japan, today is the anniversary of the day my company filed for bankruptcy protection. I'm not marking the day with anything special, just noting. It's satisfying to think about how far I've come. Then: miserable, directionless, angry, broke. Now: happier, directed, ...still broke. But the semester will end and the season will start, and I'll be riding (hopefully on a new board!) every day again.

5. Dinner's ready. Gotta go.

Monday, October 20, 2008

finding a balance

I just ripped out the Herringbone mittens I had started because a) I screwed up and misread the thumb chart and b) I decided there was too much contrast between the white and dark blue yarns. Even though I like all the finished products in black and white and other high-contrast schemes on Ravelry. For some reason mine just looked bad. Possibly partly because my gauge was a little loose and it all looked sloppy. I don't know.

I forced myself to take a knitting hiatus after finishing my Endpaper mitts to try to force myself to get some schoolwork done, on the theory that I can't type if I'm knitting. You know what I ending up doing? Nothing. I know it's a cliche to say that knitting is meditative, but I got nothing done for a whole weekend. I managed to bang out a really crappy conclusion to a paper and that's it. Then I started some mittens and all of a sudden, I was back on track. Thought up a really great activity for a lesson plan, thought of a couple of sources to use for a resource anthology, etc. It's so funny to have it brought home so literally--all the jokes we knitters make about knitting to stay sane, etc. Although isn't that the definition of dependence? That you can't get by without it?

My name is Cari, and I am knit-dependent.

Friday, October 17, 2008

playing with my layout

I have a wide screen, so I don't know how this all looks on a normal square screen. Is the picture (of the mug/endpaper mitts) on the top right too large? Is it all out of wack? How's it lookin'?

In other news, I have decided that, rather than taking my attention away from schoolwork, knitting helps me to concentrate. Last weekend, after I finished the bulky pom-pom hat, I made myself not knit. Instead of getting tons of work done, I got absolutely nothing done, despite my hands being free to type. I just stared slack-jawed at the laptop as I perused the internets. So now I am going to try to knit in moderation. I started these herringbone mittens (ravelink) last night and can't decide if they look totally wack (that's my word today, apparently) or not. I'll have to knit a few more rows and see, and then maybe try it with different yarns, because I think the contrast between the two colors is too great. I love all the versions I've seen on the Rav, so it must just be me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

note to self: chunky knits go fast. do these more.

FO: One-day chunky beanie, loosely based on Knittingdropout's Really Warm hat (ravelry link).
Yarn: Cascade 128 tweed in cerulean.
Needles: 10 1/2 dpns, which I think they should make longer. It's pretty hard to keep all those chunky stitches on such short needles.
What I was supposed to be doing instead: writing a paper on motivation, which I am ironically unmotivated to finish.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"you look like woolly madonna"

That's what I was told by a classmate yesterday, on account of my Endpapers. I'm taking it as a compliment.
I took them for a test hike last night, followed by test wine drinking.
Woolly Madonna strikes a pose:

Woolly Madonna's hard-partying lifestyle gets the better of her:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

stick a fork in 'em

they're done. FO: Endpaper mitts by the awesome, awesome Eunny Jang. The orange is Dale Baby Ull and the grey is Paton's Kroy sock yarn. The gargoyle mug is a high school graduation gift (yes, an eleven-year-old mug, having survived roughly eleventy-billion different apartments and houses) made by an art professor at the local university who's a friend of my mom's. (I should see if she has a website.) I can't wait til the second mitt dries so I can wear them EVERY DAY.

Oh, and you guys--it's really, really hard to take a picture of your own hands when no one else is home. I had to hit the "take" button with my chin. Next camera I own will have a self-timer.


The skein of orange leftover from my Anemois, which I am using to make some Endpaper mitts, just ran out with only six rows of colorwork to go on the second mitt. I do have another skein, but was hoping to return it for store credit. Now I'll have an almost-full skein of orange sock yarn. Well, I'll figure something out. It will come in handy sometime.

I dug through the many, many boxes of books and pre-digital photos in my parents' attic yesterday and found my 1,000 Great Knitting Motifs, and am now plotting a follow-up to the Endpapers. I'm trying to decide between a pattern that looks like a wave, bunnies, or hearts. Yeah. I'm thinking if I go with the hearts, I'm just going to be super-obnoxiously girly and use red on pink, or pink on red. Depends how much pink I have left, of course, since I'm ALMOST DONE WITH MY ENDPAPERS and ran out of orange. Dammit.

ETA It's done and blocking! Wheeeeeee!

Friday, October 03, 2008

it's mitten season

When I was sixteen, my cat died five days before Christmas. Around New Year's we started looking for a new cat. (I know, so soon, we're heartless etc.--but the house seemed so empty without a cat.) Multiple pet stores and the SPCA told us "It's not kitten season." Which we thought was ridiculous the first time, but after the fourth or fifth time, you start to doubt yourself, like maybe cat fertility is seasonal after all, and you'll just have to wait until spring or something. When the cats come out of hibernation and start pollinating. Or something. Finally my older sister bought a kitten on the spur of the moment, out of pity, from a dirty, ill-kept pet shop. She was so skinny that petting her was like playing the xylophone and she had mange and all kinds of gastrointestinal issues. She had been a Christmas kitten who'd been taken from her mother too young and given to a family with small children who didn't know how to treat a pet. So that's why it wasn't kitten season. All the kittens, regardless of age, had been sold for Christmas presents. (We named her Amelia, and she is now an old lady, even if she doesn't know it.)

All that was to explain the title. Mitten season, kitten season. Yeah. Give me a break, I'm having a tough semester.

I took my mittens and my friend Candice hiking yesterday. We took a bajillion pictures of the changing leaves, some of which actually came out, and complained about school. It was awesome.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


That visual squeal of excitement translates to: they're done, they're done, they're done! My Anemois are finished! I can't believe I knit something a) so complicated b) in such a short time--less than a month, even less if you subtract the two weeks in the middle when I didn't work on them at all c) during such a difficult semester d) without going insane.

(In case you're wondering, the answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE. I rock!)

The only problems I had were curbing my to-hell-with-the-pattern tendencies enough to make sure everything was done right, and my tension. I loosened up a lot as I got better at fair isle. The second mitten turned out MUCH bigger than the first, and floppy. You know how I hate floppy knits, so I was sad. Then I decided to try to shrink the mitten in the dryer to make it match the first, which is a little long but perfect width. This sounds like the beginning of a tale of woe, doesn't it? But it isn't!!! It actually worked! And, bonus, the mitten is now dry (hence the name "dryer") from its blocking and ready to wear when I go hiking with my friend Candice this evening! Cue Preston Myers: "It was like everything was falling into place... as if it were fate!"

Naturally, my camera battery just died, so I'll leave you with this tiny snippet of an Endpaper mitt, which I cast on for last night as soon as I broke the yarns at the tip of the second Anemoi thumb. (I am voracious for fair isle. Fair isle is my anti-drug. Ooh, that's good, I should've saved that for a post title.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

the headless scarfwoman

Long-belated FO post.
Last summer, I completed a Tivoli. Elated, I wore it to work to show off. It stretched. It stretched like a mofo. It was embarrassing to wear. I did not admit to anyone that I'd made it, and that's saying a lot, considering I usually say, "And I made it! Don't believe me? Here's where I made a mistake!" No, it looked baggy and saggy and awful. (The yarn, by the way, was Knitpicks Shine sport. This was my second great mishap with cotton. May it be my last, for I have learned my lesson.) So, weeping, I frogged it as I knit it in a long, skinny Clapotis. (Yes, another Clapotis.) And you know what? I still don't like it. It's heavy, but yet has no substance--it's floppy and droopy and generally in need of fiber-Viagra. (This photo was preceded by significant "fluffing," as they say in show biz. And by "show biz" I mean p0rnogr@phy.) And it's slippery whereas I prefer my yarn a little more on the grabby side. I like my scarves to put up some resistance to the forces of gravity, so that they don't slide further and further into the chokehold position--not only because it's dangerous to my air supply, but because it visually shortens the neck. So unflattering. (Don't believe me? Ask Tyra Banks!)
And the best part? I still have half a Tivoli to frog! I should've made this wider, but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough! And here it is, long enough to wrap around twice and still fall past my waist. Maybe if I double-stranded it and knit at a pretty tight gauge, I could get it up (heh) to my desired level of sturdiness...

In other news, my Anemois are so close to being finished! I just have to close the top of the second mitten and then do the thumb. Yay! Warm, insanely-bright mittens just in time for October! And in other other news, I've decided I need to get back to bringing my camera with me everywhere. Taking the back way to school today, I crested a hill and saw the most beautiful sunrise-on-valley-fog, complete with fall foliage and whatnot, and I thought how very, very important it was to share that with my blog readers, probably with a significant portion of it blocked by my big head making a silly face.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

new! improved! now with 75% less sinus infection!

FO: finals socks
Yarn: Mama E's C*EYE*ber Fiber in colorway Mermaids
Needles: size 1 dpns

I wish the ankle/leg area were tighter on these, but there's no way I'm going back to fix them now. Next time I'll know to cast on fewer stitches.

In other news, I was sick, but now am feeling better. This post is riveting, I know.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

so it's just plain anemois, then?

Awww, you guys have no flava! All right then, I'll get over it and call them Anemois. I'm taking a little break from them right now though. I did the cuff of the second mitten and then decided I really need something I can knit while I read (so, not the Anemois) and something that's portable (so, not the Plain Jane raglan). No, of course I didn't make this decision while standing in a yarn store fondling delicious purple sock yarn. Why do you ask? Did Steve tell you that? Well, what kind of a rap name is Steve?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

a mitten, a vote, and some advice

Since apparently the Anemoi are the wind gods, I thought it would be more appropriate for my color scheme to call these mittens... what ever the fire god(s) are called. I thought about it (i.e., I googled) and remembered (a.k.a. found on a website) that the Greek god of fire and metalworking is Hephaestus. So I uploaded some photos to flickr, all, "check out my hephaestus mittens!" and then I read the wikipedia page about him. It was this part in particular: "...Athena refused a union with Hephaestus, and that when he tried to rape her she disappeared from the bed. Hephaestus ejaculated on the earth, impregnating Gaia," that gave me pause. I just don't want to name my mittens after a rapist, you know? So--Hestia mittens? Prometheus mittens? Pele mittens? Get over it and just call 'em Anemoi mittens?

And now for the advice segment of our blog post. It has been noted by many before me that drinking and stranded colorwork do not mix. However, I thought I could just have one casual lunchtime beer and keep knitting. I did keep knitting. I did not keep knitting according to the chart. Which, with stranded colorwork, is kind of essential. In fact, it's kind of the point. I didn't frog because a) it's my first colorwork and I like that you can see the learning curve, b) I kind of just want to get them done and c) the whole thing is supposed to be stress relief for my busy semester, so I'm not going to make it more stressful by insisting that it be perfect. It's actually pretty hilarious.

p.s. I've decided the aged picnic table on my parents' deck is the perfect backdrop for knitting photos. It's a neutral shade, but not boring, doesn't have to be set up (like draping a table in a beige tablecloth would, for example), it's in natural light, and it's right out the back door.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

flickr meme, or, playing with big huge labs to avoid homework

(edited to, you know, ADD THE ACTUAL PICTURE. GOD.)

Saw this at my knitting and me, whose Deep V Argyle Vest I admired on Ravelry:

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Cari
2. What is your favorite food? pizza (don't know why this photo was tagged pizza, but liked it)
3. What high school did you go to? Pocono Mountain
4. What is your favorite color? red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? David Benedek
6. Favorite drink? Yuengling (photo of cavelike area on brewery tour)
7. Dream vacation? Chile
8. Favorite dessert? cheesecake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? teacher
10. What do you love most in life? snowboarding
11. One Word to describe you. dreadnought
12. Your flickr name. safety dance

Here's the links, so you can give props to the OPs (the last one is especially worth checking out, I think, since the key to the graph is cut off).

1. Cari Pizzalolo, 2. Just a Perfect Day, 3. DWG - Pocono Mountains (1), 4. Autumn walk, 5. n40106817_30265402_5986, 6. D. G. Yuengling & Son Brewery Tour Caves - Pottsville, PA, 7. Lago Pehoe Panorama, 8. cheesecake for Lianna!, 9. Teacher in environment, 10. Face Shots, 11. Clipper Ship "Dreadnought", 12. Song Chart

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

i heart eunny jang

This pattern is, as I hoped, keeping me sane during this difficult semester. Just one row and I feel better. I'm about one-third of the way done, I estimate, with the first mitten, which means I'm one-sixth of the way done with the pair (relax! here at implosionexplosion, the math is done for you!).

Also pictured: my new love, my Skullcandy headphones purchased in anticipation of the snowboard season (ipod earbuds tend to fall out), which will look totally awesome with the new jacket I scored a couple weeks ago for $62. Yay summer sales!

I can't wait to finish this and walk around wearing just one mitten yelling, "HEY! I totally made this!" Because that's what I'm going to do.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I lied!

I'm posting again almost immediately! Here's the corrugated ribbing of my first Anemoi--so far, so good! I can't decide if this is an insane, eye-bleedingly ugly color scheme or awesome and bright and fiery. (The orange is not quite right on the screen, but the red is.) I'm just going to push onward and see how it looks when I get into the swirly pattern.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

three knitting-related items, no pictures, very dull title

1. My mom is working on prayer shawls with some other ladies from her church. While she was teaching some of them to knit, she put her own shawl down for a minute, whereupon another lady picked up it and said, "Oh, what are you working on?" and started knitting! On her project! My mom's reaction, to me: "I mean, that's like using someone else's toothbrush!" Awesome, and true.
2. I know I said I was tired of colors and wanted to work on something natural and brown for a while, but I have lost momentum on the Plain Jane Raglan and, in the midst of school-related frustration this afternoon, decided to knit some Anemoi mittens. My theory on this is that they will drive me crazy and give me something else to focus my frustration on, so that I don't go crazy from school.
3. I went back to the notorious LYS that I said I wouldn't go back to. Well, I continue to be unimpressed. I was holding some Trekking XXL Pro Natura and said to the shop lady, "do you have any sock yarn--" and meant to continue "--that's less expensive, and comes in a wider variety of solid colors" but she interrupted, "that's sock yarn!" I continued with my sentence, and she pointed me over to the Dale section, which I had missed. I looked at the babyish colors of Baby Ull (well named!) and fumed for a minute, because... doesn't it say "sock yarn" right on the label? Did she think I couldn't read? I'm sure she gets lots of idiotic questions, but couldn't she let me finish?

So yeah, next post (so... next month, or maybe next year) I should have some pictures of the almost-finished-yoke of the PJR and my nascent Anemois, which I've already ignored some instructions on--I cast on long-tail instead of tubular, because I'm a rebel!

Oh, and I began student-teaching. Seventh grade geography, what what! On the first day of school, my mentor teacher was telling the kids what to expect this year and said we're going out to the swamp and we'll all get muddy and someone will probably fall in. Probably him, or maybe me. And this kid in the front room looks at me and says, "Wear heels."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the miracle of blocking

natalie dee

In other news, I have finished my finals socks (although I have yet to take an FO photo), and I have cast on for a sweater. And no, I still have not finished the horrible acrylic Tomten Jacket I was making for my best friend's daughter. And no, I probably never will. And no, it's not because EZ is not a genius. It is because horrible yarn is still horrible whether or not it is free, and whether or not the recipient is a small child who wouldn't know cashmere from snotty Kleenex.

The sweater is the aforementioned copycat raglan--the Plain Jane, I'm going to call it, since I'm using no-nonsense sturdy brown Fisherman's Wool. I have to say, the FW smells fantastic. Very rustic and natural and sheep-y. It feels good, too. If you like rustic things, I mean.

And in other other news, I somehow went to the outlet mall today, during some kind of out-of-body experience (because I would never go shopping on purpose when I'm supposed to be saving money!), and bought three sweaters. THREE sweaters. And I already own upwards of twenty sweaters. And I am knitting another. And yet, sweaters.... mmmmm. I love them. I miss them all summer. Well, I don't miss the cotton ones, because I'm too busy wearing them. But I wear one nearly every day, all winter. I mean, I'm back in the northeast now. I need sweaters! Right? It's not MY fault I live near a GAP outlet. And a J Crew outlet. And Ann Taylor and Banana Republic outlets. That, despite the fact that I live about 2 miles from my work, somehow all manage to be right there, between home and work. It's clearly my parents' fault for buying this house. So when they come home (they're out of town) and they notice the addition of two more summer sweaters to the rotation (in addition to the other, warmer sweater I bought today, and oh crap... the one I bought on a whim online yesterday in a sudden hope that I might become a turtleneck person), I'll tell them. Yes, I own HOLY CRAP I JUST COUNTED THIRTY-EIGHT SWEATERS plus the online turtleneck makes thirty-nine sweet jebus I think I have a problem.

I'm going to go lie down with a cold compress over my eyes. Well, either a cold compress or my new hunter's-orange v-neck. Whatever.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

kick out the jams

People, we have strawberry jam. Repeat, we have HOMEMADE strawberry jam. Twenty-seven jars of it. Beautiful, beautiful jam.

I was at work and didn't get to help, but my sister Katie and my mom did some serious jamification, and I will now be reaping all the benefit. PB&J every day. Awwww yeah.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

indecision! help.

So I went to the craft store to get the summer Interweave because I was lusting for the Apres-surf Hoodie (which some people on ravelry keep hilariously insisting must be made of cotton, because wool at the beach just doesn't make sense, as if one can't decide that it's going to be one's apres-snowboard or apres-apple-picking or apres-cherry-blossom-party hoodie instead), and I ended up bringing home some plain old Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in Nature's Brown with me. Because in addition to lace, I also am suddenly really into natural (or at least natural-looking) wool and simplicity and am craving a simple raglan that, once knit, I don't know how I ever lived without. I blame Elizabeth Zimmerman. Well, also, I must blame the yarn choices in my last two projects--my dad's Illini socks in very, very contrasting orange and navy and my finals socks in very, very bright pink and green. Good colors, lovely yarn, but damn, my eyes are tired. I want some lovely natural brown.

Anyway, I am now torn between two basic concepts for my plain jane brown sweater. Either something like Knitty's BPT (possibly with buttons instead, since I feel about zipper insertion the same way I feel about seaming, i.e., very very negatively) or something like knittingschooldropout's scottish tweed raglan with deep green or dark red buttons.

Actually, the more I look at the Scottish tweed raglan, the more I remember how much I liked it when I first saw it and how I dreamed of a life we could have together. Snuggling in front of the fire, hiking in the mountains, the two of us, my sweater and me... It's love, it really is. This sweater could be the one! Time to break up with my dad's stalled Sweater of Misery so I can free up my Addis. Forward to a brighter yet more natural-colored future!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

adventures in lifeguarding

Among the many things you learn as a lifeguard, number one is, you have a better body than you think you do. Seriously. Look around you. Damn, girl. Next to these people--especially the lady with the hairy chest--you are SMOKIN'. Have you been working out? Number two is, any operation that orders the lifeguard swimsuit without the built-in shelf bra because it's a few dollars cheaper is an operation owned and operated by men. And number three is, people really do not appreciate help. The Good Samaritan was lucky he didn't get punched. People would apparently rather drown than suffer the humiliation of being helped by a lifeguard. My sister Katie is working with me this summer and we've been hoarding stories of the ridiculous things people (including us) say and do. Here's a choice selection.
  • Katie: Sir, I'd like you to stay behind the 5-foot line. Man: What? I can swim! All Puerto Ricans can swim! We surrounded by water!
  • A man sits down on the back of an inner tube, rather than in the hole in the middle. Me: Sir, can you slide forward into the hole, please? Man: Ooooh, I think she comin' on to me!
  • Someone vomits on the wave pool beach; lifeguards blow whistles and clear the pool. Me: Clear the pool, please! Stand up and walk out of the wave pool! Ma'am! Stand up and walk out of the wave pool. [Awkward pause as I realize she is still sitting in the water because she only has one leg.]
  • Weird kid: This pool is soft! And comfortable!
  • Different kid: Hey, is it true that if a lady is having a baby and she let go of it in the water, that it's gonna be a good swimmer? Me: It's certainly possible...
  • Man with thick German accent at the top of a waterslide: Is it compulsory to scream all the way down? Me: Well, it's not compulsory, but it is strongly encouraged.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i'm a hot new topic. i'm all the rage.

Check it out, I'm (for now) a hot new knitting topic on Craftster. My dialogue-spurring post:

It will be a cold day in hell before I pay to knit in your shop.
So I moved recently, and I just checked out my new LYS, and I have to say I'm disappointed. The shop employees were perfectly nice and the selection was fine, if small. But when I asked if they knew of any local knitting groups, I was told that they have a group that meets twice a week, in the shop, and it's $5 per person.


I understand that a business has a perfect right to charge anything they please for the use of their premises, and they did mention that help is available during those times, but... but... Maybe I'm just spoiled, coming from an LYS that gave help anytime for free and allowed my Stitch n Bitch (which met in a coffee shop, which only charged us for our food and let us sit there as long as we liked) to post fliers, and the employee who came to our SNB to give out business cards. It's perfectly legal and acceptable business, yes, but it's not exactly the open-arms customer service response you'd expect from a brick-and-mortar shop in the dot-com age. I think I'll be sticking to knitpicks and ebay and looking elsewhere for my IRL knit community (because as awesome as craftster and the blogiverse are, I still want one).


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

tuition = totally worth it

Because this is what I did in class today.

No, seriously.

Okay, it's really cool and all, but I am so glad to be done with this class. I did learn a lot in it--I learned that it's really cruel to give vague assignments and zero feedback. (Me-ow!) Oh, and I learned that I like green tea with pomegranate. (Yum.)

In other news, tomorrow is the anniversary of the day I left for Japan. My Japaniversary, if you will. I know I will, because I love nicknames. I'm not sure what I'll do to celebrate--hunt the local grocery stores for green tea ice cream? clean something? organize something? engineer something? I don't know, I'll have to figure it out. Now I can no longer bitch and moan inwardly about how I'm not even supposed to be here, I'm supposed to be in Japan. Which means a) closure, and b) I'll have to find something else to bitch and moan inwardly about. Fear not; I'll find something.

[eta: I just realized it's really hard to read the speech bubbles in my little comic. It says "I know I appear normal, but.../Finals week has made me caraaaaazy!/First I banged my head against the wall until it looked like this/and then I temporarily lost my eyesight./Then I came up with a solution!/I GLUED ON ANOTHER FACE."]

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

it's amazing what you can accomplish via procrastination

This is my finals knitting, begun while writing a paper and worked straight through another one and two exams. I have another exam tomorrow morning, for my least favorite class, and then for some bizarre reason my Wednesday night class is meeting even though we already presented our final projects last week. I really don't want to go, but I'm afraid if I don't, it'll turn out to be something really important, and since that professor is totally quirky and unpredictable (I would mean that in a good way except that she's grading me, so I'd like to be able to count on something), that could very well happen. So I am trying to focus on the subject matter of my studying for this last final (not actually redundant, but sounds like) and not the towering rage I feel toward the professor, who is a lazy slob (and when I say lazy, I mean lazy--he comes to class late EVERY day, and then takes ten more minutes to shuffle his papers and make small talk before he actually begins teaching. He also makes inappropriate remarks about his wife, women, Jews, nuns, etc., with the occasional Democratic-primary-related diatribe thrown in--he's for Hillary, which shows his incredible broadness of mind given his remarks about women and their ridiculous ways--and spells new/foreign names/words instead of writing them on the board, because he's too lazy to get up. And he spells them WRONG. Ratemyprofessor, here I come.), and just get this all over with, so my summer can start. Wow, longest parenthetical EVAR.

I got a nice compliment yesterday. My teaching professor said he thought I would be a good teacher because "you've got that creativity." I never handle compliments well, but I really didn't know what to say. I certainly have never attempted to show creativity in that class. I was mostly thinking about how much I had to learn (most of the other students are teachers already) and hoping everyone didn't think I talked too much. So that was really nice. This sock is entirely creativity, by the way. No pattern, no math, just estimates and tryings-on. I did cast on too many stitches the first time and had to start over, but this yarn is so pretty and soft, and I'm avoiding work so hard, that I don't care. It's Mama-e's C*Eye*ber Fiber in Mermaid, and it's spectacular.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

christmas in april

That's right, I finally finished my Christmas knitting. Jaywalkers for my dad in Scout's Illini colorway. He said they were comfortable and warm and that he will actually wear them--on select occasions. (I should have thought before I bought the yarn how very unlikely it was that a guy who owns only beige, brown, and black socks would enjoy these, alma mater notwithstanding.) He actually paused in the midst of a busy Saturday of gardening and deck-power-washing to try these on for me, so I can't complain about the quality of the photographs. Can't pose while time's a-wasting. (The picture on the right was his idea--GIANT FEET--and I must say, I love the effect of the giant fern-slash-tribal-headdress. That plant has been the punchline in many a family photo.)

I am making a resolution now. Mark my words: I will knit a sock pattern OTHER THAN JAYWALKERS. It's going to happen. (Oh, sure, I made those Log Cabin socks, but those are slipper-socks. They don't count.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

hello internet, i am 29

Milestones deserve random lists.

A year ago this month:
1. I turned 28. (Duh.)
2. I had just said goodbye to my life in ABQ and thus,
3. I was trying to get used to a much more bland diet.
4. I was staying with my parents for the month of April because
5. I was leaving for Japan on May 8th.
6. I got to take the train into NYC to get my visa taken care of at the Japanese consulate.
7. I was looking forward to riding trains every day.
8. I was looking doubtfully at my scanty "professional" wardrobe and wondering how I would survive a year in it.
9. I had no plan for my life beyond my year(s) in Japan.
10. And I liked it that way.

This year, this month:
1. I turned 29. (Like the title says.)
2. I am eager for May 8th, so I can stop thinking about how I'm still supposed to be in Japan.
3. I finally got reimbursed by the Japanese government for my unpaid back wages (well, 80% of it anyway, minus another 20% for overseas remittance tax, since I couldn't leave a bank account open in Japan, being a foreigner and all).
4. The money should cover my summer and fall tuition,
5. Since I am now a grad student (again), working on an M.Ed. Because you can never have too many master's degrees.
6. I said goodbye to the awesomest job ever (at least until next winter).
7. I trained for my summer job--lifeguarding! I rescued a 250-lb. man who was lying on the bottom of the deep end (9'5", you guys!)--THREE TIMES! So I got a "special facilities" license and will totally guard the wave pool. I rock.
8. I am finally get used to my current situation and taking a deep breath. Which means I'm knitting again. Today I finished up an Everlasting Bagstopper and am preparing to cast on a Tomten Jacket with that red skein there. (It's Red Heart, but what does a 4-year-old know from yarn quality? It's machine-washable, and it was free!)
9. I miss my overseas friends like mad. Yesterday I was IM-ing with my roommate from Japan, now back in England, about how we plan to open a mad hip tea-shop in her hometown in Cornwall. (...Well, one can dream.)
10. I am gearing up for the end of the semester. Finally.

This month next year:
1. I will turn 30. (Duh. Again.)
2. I will be student-teaching. Scary. But also exciting.
3. I will be finishing my degree and looking for a job. I have no idea where--I have been toying with the idea of staying in the area, for a few years anyway. But who knows. I'd kind of like to move north and live in a quirky New England town with a craggy, mossy landscape and a great LYS. Or work on an Army base in Germany.
4. I will (hopefully) be a certified AASI Level I snowboard instructor. I could have taken the course this year, but decided to spend my dues money on new bindings instead.
5. I will (hopefully) have converted my parents to eating food that has actual flavor. I mean, nobody loves a nice bland pita chip like I do, but variety is the spice of life, no? (...Well, one can dream.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

bad blogger. no cookie.

Well, actually, I'm totally eating a cookie RIGHT NOW. Despite not having posted, or read anyone else's blog, for two months. My current excuse is my insane schedule: I work four days a week as a snowboard instructor (hello, dream job, my name is Cari, let's make love.), am taking twelve credits at my mom's university (not that she owns the place, just that she teaches there) toward my M.Ed., and have a ten-hour-a-week graduate assistantship at said university, working for some of my mom's lovely colleagues who totally intimidate me for two reasons: a) they are friends of my mom's and thus must not be let down, and b) they are middle-aged second-wave feminists, who may wear twee cat-motif brooches on their sweaters but are made of steel and will totally cut a bitch. (They are really nice though, and however demanding they may be, they always say thank you.) So my life is full to overflowing right now and the only thing keeping me going is the aforementioned dream job, which pays peanuts in actual hard currency but big bucks in all the intangible, meaningful ways. Naturally this means that I am getting enormous amounts of exercise and following it up with healthy doses of beer, which then takes a toll on the homework situation, which then takes a toll on the sleep situation, but I figure I can sleep when the snow melts.

Yesterday's all-day dumping made for a rare occasion in PA--actual powder. After my last lesson of the day I went free riding with a revolving assortment of fellow instructors (all of whom, well, most of whom are pretty fucking awesome) for four hours. Don't tell the rangers, but we poached some closed trails--it was the kind of indescribably great experience that makes me speak in all four-letter words because there's just nothing else strong enough. The phrase "better than sex" was tossed around. Several fucking times. Afterwards I could not stop smiling. (Well, not until I got home and had to shovel the driveway, since my dad is out of town and I dislike and distrust the snowblower.) I had to bust out the facemask, which is why you may not recognize me from the little cell-phone portrait there.

I don't have much time to knit, sadly. I'm still working on my dad's Christmas socks but I needed a break, so I started a Quant with some heinous self-striping Paton's Merino that I liked on the skein and now am hating. I'll have to get some pictures up and get some feedback, but the combination of the colors and the shortness of the stripes and the entrelac is just... no.