Monday, February 28, 2011

Chili Lovers for Cheeseheads!

Friday night, I made my first protest sign since before the Iraq war began. When I participated in that protest, Congress had already decided to go to war, so I was registering my dissent more than anything else. I knew my protesting wasn't likely to make a difference in the outcome.

This time, I have more hope.

I keep thinking that Gov. Walker's got to get it at some point - but then I remember how stubborn he is being and it kills me a little. That didn't stop us from showing up in Santa Fe on Saturday.

There were protests in every state capitol this weekend to show support for Wisconsin. This blog shows pictures from many of them. It takes some time to load, but the images and links are worth it, especially if you in Wisconsin are starting to get depressed about all this.

Some of the signs at the protest in Santa Fe were more serious.

Some were less so. (Warning: there's a photo coming up with questionable language. Protect your children / hide from your boss if you feel the need.)

Love this one.

There were about 500 people there, maybe more, by the time we left - and it was only an hour into the rally. According to an email I got from, the organizers, there were more than 1200 in attendance for the day. Unfortunately, the person reading chants wrote out four-line stanzas for us to memorize and repeat, with no good chanting rhythm to them. The best chant we had was "Fox sucks!" when one speaker mentioned the network.

(Though to be fair, Fox News did discuss the issues in Wisconsin recently and actually made some sense, calling the budget bill entirely a political move. To me, that's how we know it's gotten really bad: Fox News made sense.)

Hopefully, we helped make some noise for one of our favorite states. I had told myself I wasn't going to blog about politics here, but I was just too outraged to not provide some mention of what's going on.

We did have some fun at the protest, though.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Very Different Kinds of Evil

This picture is provided to just give you some idea of how I felt half an hour ago. I felt like that dog, carefree and enjoying the blue sky and pretty scenery while someone else guards the alpacas for a moment. I had a few moments to just hang out and love this relaxing time in my life.

Why, you may ask? Because I paid off my first student loan!

This loan was through Sallie Mae. They are evil. Their interest rates are astoundingly high. Several people I know have had issues with their evil repayment attitude. Plus it was like pulling teeth to get this loan in the first place - everyone knows students have no credit, so why do they require them to have a cosigner? It's not their fault most of them haven't purchased a car or a house yet at age 19.

For the next half hour or so, I had planned to bask in the wonder of being free from that loan. But I'm too pissed off now to do that. Why? This is why. The Wisconsin Assembly passed the bill - in an unfair, cowardly, dictatorly manner. The Assembly Republicans are officially more evil than Sallie Mae.

If they had passed the bill with everyone voting, with all arguments presented, it would have been one thing. I still would have been pissed, but not so disappointed and disgusted. How can they think that's anywhere near fair? Are they actually going to get away with this? I think it says something awful about our country that grown-ups can't even play fair.

Some people might want to counter this argument with the example of Senate Democrats leaving the state. It's a different issue. Those Democrats left to protest what's happening in the state. They left to protest Walker's tyranny and to make Walker stop and look at all the protesters around him. In one day there were 70,000 protesters in Madison alone - and he's paying no attention to them at all. They don't even equate as a fly buzzing in his ear. Something drastic had to be done: being governor is not like being Supreme Overlord of the Universe. You have to listen to what the people are saying. And the Democrats encouraged him to do that.

Not so with the Assembly.

As long as I'm talking about Things That Are Evil Beyond Comprehension, I should throw in how pissed I am about this bill seeking to redefine rape and pull funding for Planned Parenthood. Rather than go into extreme detail, I'm going to let this guy do it for me. I'm glad to know someone like him is fighting against it, at least.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

There Are Zero Mentions of Zombies Here

In the children's section of the store, we have a book called Zero is the Leaves on the Tree. It helps explain the concept of zero to kids.

But my geek-side is starting to bug me about this. In the case of the book's title, zero is a concept, which is why the verb "to be" is singular. But if I were talking about the number itself, I would say, "There are zero leaves on the tree." Zero is a plural, despite being nothing at all.

I've been having a hard time coming up with a reliable source that gives a definitive answer to this. There are several websites that talk about the history of the number - I found it interesting that the word "zero" came from the Italian word for wind (zefiro), which was close to the Arabic word for zero (sifr).

The best I can tell is this: zero is a plural because you can often have a lot of it. For example, "There are zero leaves on the tree." Zero, in that sentence, refers to the lack of leaves. And there used to be a lot of leaves. There is a complete lack of them.

After a bit more searching, I've found something here.
2. zero - having no measurable or otherwise determinable value; "the goal is zero population growth" no - quantifier; used with either mass nouns or plural count nouns for indicating a complete or almost complete lack or zero quantity of; "we have no bananas"; "no eggs left and no money to buy any"; "have you no decency?"; "did it with no help"; "I'll get you there in no time"
Which is to say what I said above.

Yay zero!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pictures of Stuff

Some favorite pictures that I've taken.

Minerva the tomato plant

Wedding feet

Wedding faces

A hole where the snow gets in (I haven't fixed it)

A friend in a bar

Local scenery

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Crochet Cat Vomit?

I have a problem. Well, I have many problems, but I have a specific one right now.

I was gifted a ball of soft, royal blue mohair as a Christmas/wedding gift from my manager (he really knows how to gift). I crocheted it, along with some varigated alpaca yarn, into a mini-capelet.

It's super-tiny, hence my calling it a capelet instead of a shawl. When pinned around my neck, it reaches my shoulders and no farther. That's fine by me; I like having a little cape.

My problem involves another ball of mohair yarn. I've already started working with it, adding in a strand of brown acrylic for extra weight.

I was hoping to make a blanket, but the mohair I got was $8 and only got me an itty bitty foot-and-a-half rug-type thing, only large enough to keep GIR warm. Plus, it kind of looks like cat vomit.

I have some flat, tan, mother-of-pearly bead things I was going to attach to it afterward. But I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money making this blanket, and now I can't think of anything else to make from the yarn. It will be a gift, and this person would not appreciate a mini-cape. Even if super hero tights were involved.

The mohair itself is red and brown. Anyone out there have ideas for me? I will gift virtual cookies to anyone with a good idea.

Happy Tuesday!

This sunset, seen from our "porch," is from our first summer out here. There's nothing like seeing these kinds of sunsets in the mountains from your own apartment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Cheeseless Existence

Being in New Mexico provides a certain amount of reverse culture shock for a Midwestern girl. By reverse, I mean that I wasn't too shocked at the high number of New Mexican restaurants, or Hispanics, or the dryness of the area. I expected all of those things.

The thing I didn't expect was a lack of Midwestern food.

Hear me out on this: I grew up in Wisconsin, Land of the Cheeseheads. Until I came out here, excluding a four-month stint in Chicago proper, I had never lived outside of the state. Delicious, well-made cheese was available at every gas station on I-94 (or at least cheese that was advertised as such). There was a Norwegian restaurant ten minutes from my house. I never imagined life without certain delicacies, such as cheese curds and lefse.

Imagine my horror at finding out there is no lefse here. None. Zero.

That was bad enough, though it was kind of expected. There isn't much of a Norwegian population here. (Though really, not even Santa Fe has lefse? What kind of hippie artist town can it really be, then?)

I can make do without the lefse because tortillas are so popular here - whenever I feel homesick for Midwestern blandness, I pull out a tortilla, apply butter and sugar, and roll it up. Tada! Lefsetilla! I just imagine a floury, potato-y taste instead of wheaty. It is as close as I can get to heaven here.

What I have more trouble living without are cheese curds, and for a long time I didn't realize there were none to be found out here. There are two Dairy Queens in town, and (at least to my mind) it goes without saying that Dairy Queens carry deep-fried cheese curds. Right? Of course right. That's how it is all across Wisconsin. You're usually not more than 20 minutes from heart-attack-inducing processed and separated cow milk. Yum yum.

It was two summers ago, when I was particularly homesick, that I decided I needed cheese curds or I would take to my bed for lack of them. I jumped in the car. Spousal Unit (then Boyfriend) was by my side. He did not agree with my cheese curd theory.

"This isn't the Midwest, honey. Most people out here probably don't know what cheese curds are."

I would not hear of it. They must at least know what cheese curds are, and, in knowing them, love them. Why wouldn't they have them? That's what Dairy Queens are known for: their ice cream, sure, but the cheese curds were a close second.

I think you know where this story ends: at the drive-through window, not a curd in sight, with tears, anger, rending of garments, etc. It's true. They don't know what cheese curds are. I pity their existence.

This isn't to say we haven't found them in New Mexico, though. Last fall at the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, there was a glorious sight to see: a Wisconsin cheese curd booth, complete with grilled cheese, and t-shirts and hats emblazoned with cows and cheese.

And, of course, cheese curds.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Adventures in Copy Editing

Back in the day, I was a newspaper copy editor. Grand times were had (minus the times it sucked my creativity dry). There was a plethora of reporter mistakes for me to put in order.

One of the more important parts of that job was my need to think like a 12-year-old boy. Accidental double entendres ran rampant in every story imaginable. I pretty much saw it all. When my coworker and I were reading quietly and one of us suddenly burst out laughing, we always knew an awesome error had been found.

I kept a running list of the worst mistakes. For example:
  • "Finished brooms hung from a display wrack."
  • "Mr. Jones has been grazing near Bone Lake since 1993." [His cows have been grazing, not Mr. Jones]
  • "Wild forest berries were available to the ancient Romans in the Middle Ages."

Those are some of the simpler ones, with one mistake that was easily corrected. Not every sentence was so easy as that. For example:

"The raw vegetable virgin oil processing will probably take off because it is more doable than using used vegetable oils."

Hoo boy. Where do I start: the suggestion that this type of oil can 'take off' like an airplane, the word 'doable' double-meaning, or repetition of the word 'use'? Not to mention the first phrase alone, which suggests the oil is made of virgins...

One of my favorites, though, is still this headline: "Four-year-olds hit show-ring with calves." Does that mean the girls are smacking the show-ring with the lower parts of their legs, or are they lifting up baby cows and throwing them?

They both seem pretty improbable.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Have a New Favorite Sound

It's Led Zeppelin played bluegrass-style: Pickin' On Led Zeppelin.

Pickin' On does covers of many different bands and artists. Their cover of Billie Jean is both hilarious and insightful. I love hearing a banjo instead of an electric guitar riff. But their Zeppelin covers are the greatest. My favorites are Kashmir and Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.

It helps that Zeppelin is already so blues-y. But it really comes out in these covers, where vocals are often replaced by a harmonica and violins play backups. Pickin' On's arrangements are seamless and still very true to the original songs. As the album proclaims:

"Whether hillbilly or head-banging, the song does indeed remain the same."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Belated Sunset!

To be fair, this isn't really belated. It is Tuesday's sunset.

And this is Spousal Unit, playing with Legos. Yes, that is an X-Wing attacking a knight on a horse.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sanity or Lack Thereof

Several very fun things happened at work yesterday.

1.) Creepy Bald Guy learned my name. He sets off my Perv-Dar like crazy - I make an effort to not be around him, and was very discouraged to find he knew my name. He asked to use the bathroom (always does when he comes in).

"Thanks," he said as I was unlocking it. "I just went to that cafe next door and ate, and I really gotta go."

Dude. Please don't tell my why you want to use the bathroom. I think I can figure it out.

2.) The Man in Black came in to use the bathroom, as he does (I'm seeing a trend). I asked how he was doing.

"Good. I'm doing a show at the Blackbird [Gallery] this weekend. Acid rap. It's going to be scary."

He was clearly thrilled at how scary it was going to be.

3.) Million Dollar Hobo came in again. He wore old sweats, new stink, and few teeth. He first showed up last week and asked my manager if we had change for a million-dollar bill, hence the nickname. No, sorry, we don't, said Manager. Okay, said Million Dollar Hobo. I'll take it to the bank and get change.

When he came in yesterday, it didn't take long to find he hadn't gotten the change he sought (true of us all, brother). He held a CD player in one hand and a squishy, sloshy paper cup of coffee in the other.

"Do you have cards you can put money on?" He rocked side to side a bit.

"You mean like gift cards? Yes."

"Well, I've got a million-dollar bill, aaaaand I took it to the bank and they couldn't verify it. And I live over at the halfway house and the guy who owns it gave me the million-dollar bill. And he said it was a gift and I don't have to pay him back, and I want to get some things for my nieces and nephews. So do you have a way to verify it?"

If the bank doesn't, we sure don't. "No, I'm sorry."

"Well, I'll come back in with some change sometime."

At first, hearing him talk about his million-dollar bill made me laugh to myself. He thinks his million-dollar bill is real and isn't even considering it might be fake. Then I thought of how he's really clinging to its reality - wouldn't I do the same, if I had very few possessions and/or sanity? I wasn't about to tell him it was fake; let him have his daydreams.

But then, consider this: he came to a bookstore with it, to get gifts for people. I'm sure he's been to every other store in town, but he came to get things for other people, rather than going to get false teeth or a place to live. Sometimes I think the crazies are more sane than sane people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Welcome to That Day

...When you're required by pretty much anyone who believes in celebrating Valentine's Day to explain why you hate it even if you're in a relationship.

Believe me, I hate this holiday.

I don't hate it as much as I did when I was more cynical (although it basically just means Date Night gets moved to a different night of the week). But pre-packaged ideas of romance drive me batty. I like what I like, and there's no industry that can tell me otherwise, though they try to convince me things like this are the ideal:

(I am not responsible for this picture.)

Seriously, does anyone really look good in white? And whose whacked idea was it to have a random long piece of white netting dangling from a girl's head?

That's why I got a blue wedding dress.

That's one of many reasons I picked out (yes, picked out) a sapphire ring (just one ring, no engagement/wedding band thing).

That's why, although I understand other people's enjoyment of the holiday, I don't buy V-D crap. I could always, always ALWAYS spend that money on something better. Don't ask me to count the ways; I will go on and on and this entry will never end.

And for those of you who dislike Valentine's Day from a more cynical standpoint, check this out. It's sure to keep you feeling cynical till the Holiday Inventors of DOOM fall to their knees.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Acoustic Accoutrements

The CDs we listen to at the bookstore are good. Really. They feature the best songs of excellent bands from around the world, things you definitely wouldn't hear on the radio every day.

But even really good music can get old if you listen to it over and over again. So, every now and then, I make a CD for the bookstore, carefully keeping out the headbanger tunes and going for a fun, somewhat eclectic mix. Here's the most recent playlist.

Escoutas (Diga Diga Diga) - Carolina Chocolate Drops
Donald McGillavry / O'Neill's Cavalry March - Silly Wizard
Place to Be - QuinnElizabeth
Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
Breakable - Ingrid Michaelson
How I Lost My Heart - Shel
Wonderwall - Ryan Adams
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
Fake Empire - The National
The Book of Love - The Magnetic Fields
As I Went Down to the River to Pray - Alison Kraus
These Days - Nico
Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire
Pallin' with Al - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Billie Jean - Pickin' On Series
St. James Infirmary - Arlo Guthrie
Each Coming Night - Iron and Wine
Older Chests - Damien Rice
Sunday Morning - Velvet Underground
Popular Mechanics for Lovers - Beulah

Making a CD is usually preceeded by getting an iTunes card. New bands I discovered this time around were Carolina Chocolate Drops, Shel, Ryan Adams, Arcade Fire, and Beulah. Shel was featured on A Prairie Home Companion a while ago, and their harmonies are amazing. I've got a thing for harmonies. Ryan Adams' cover of Wonderwall caught me right away - his rendition is haunting and gives me shivers.

QuinnElizabeth is a band of sisters, mostly girls I knew from high school. They are all accomplished musicians, and I love the folksy but adventurous style they've got - they use djembe drums and penny whistles! Plus there's that harmony thing again, and they sound just as good (if not better) in live performances. Lead singer Elizabeth has one of those bold, confident voices that have a way of convincing you of every word she sings.

In non-musical news, a guy came to the bookstore yesterday and asked if we could change a million-dollar bill. Sorry, no. He said he'd go to the bank and come back later.

That's a new one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Books I Want: Ship Breaker and Eona

I read Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl last year, before it won the Nebula and the Hugo, and I absolutely loved it. His world building was so thorough, his characters so gritty and damaged and alive, that it read like it could be a true story, reported back from the future.

Ship Breaker is his young adult debut, about a boy named Nailer who scavenges with a crew among beached oilers of ages past. His abusive father and their poverty make a hard life for him to begin with, but then he discovers a ship that still has a passenger on board... alive. Does he kill her and take the goods, or rescue her and possibly himself in one swoop?

I'm looking forward to this one having a lot of similar shut-up-and-fix-the-Earth-or-we're-all-going-to-die themes.

Also last year, I read Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman. Great characters, a complex society, and some very non-YA themes running through it, among them the intricacies of ancient (and modern) politics. Although knowing the twist kind of spoils a second read, the other elements are enough to enjoy it again.

When Eon was picked out for the store's book club, I rolled my eyes and thought, Ugh, dragons. By the time I got to the end I was saying, Ooh! Dragons! I love the elements-and-nature-protector idea of dragons so much more than the hey-let's-burn-down-that-village idea.

The sequel, Eona, will be out in late April. That's two months away. It's going to be a long two months.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yay! I Made a Hat!

I've just made a hat for my niece, who is the cutest niece anyone has ever had. It matches a scarf I made her a few years ago.

Hat is drunkenly modeled by GIR because (surprise!) I don't have anything remotely near the size of a toddler's head. Not even in the freezer. And there's a lot of stuff in the freezer.

For those who are curious, Plymouth Yarn Dream Baby DK, 50% acrylic, 50% nylon. I hope it actually fits her.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why the Fishies Flew

Once upon a time, I was broke.

(Yes, that's also now upon a time, but let's look at the former.)

I barely managed to make it back to school at the beginning of junior year. I signed my first born over to Susie May for a loan (a.k.a. Vampires R Us) to make it back. I found a job at the lovely Picky Slave to start my fourth year working in grocery, this time a minor peon once again. I was willing to do anything to stay in college.


The first few weeks made it clear that this job was going to be the seventh circle of hell (right between being stuck in a burning tomb and sinking in human excrement). It was going to be a revolting year.

I knew all the produce codes as well as I knew the garbage compactor number from Star Wars: A New Hope (3263827), but still had to watch The Training Video of Torturous Doom (you know which one - it's the same everywhere you go). They made me pay $15 I didn't have for a work shirt barely one step above sackcloth and ashes. I had to work with high schoolers who had as much knowledge in their heads as the helium balloons over in floral. My boss talked endlessly about the expensive shopping habits of his Russian wife. And because I was an out-of-towner, everyone tended to avoid me like I had rotten flesh and a plan for world domination via brain consumption.

Hell, I tell you.

That was bad enough without having to endure a full classload and rushing from class to work, work to Boyfriend Unit (later to become Spousal Unit), Boyfriend Unit to treasurer duties in our local "non-sorority" sorority. I also worked in the college library, tediously categorizing the DVDs and organizing the stacks deep in the basement, where the ghost of a former student was rumored to dwell - and down in the deep, the boiler made some freaky noises.

By the end of finals, my status with the school told me there was no time to take it easy during the month of winter break. And so I sealed my fate: I forced myself to come back two weeks early to work as Picky Slave's slave and the library's toady.

During winter break, no living beings walked the dorm halls. I voluntarily came back to spend two weeks by myself, willing to sit in my room, peeking one eyeball out the door for some kind of creepy, ax-wielding intruder at every creak in the floor, the other eye hopefully watching the phone for some kind of outside contact. I was alone with my thoughts and five movies I'd seen three dozen times. I started to feel like I was in a padded cell.

This should tell you all you need to know about my sanity's fragile state.

The people I had the chance to interact with were a few (socially inept) librarians, customers complaining about the price of beer in Wisconsin, and a gum-gnashing high school coworker who once asked me, "Who's Paul McCartney?" and then, "Who are the Beatles? Are they a band or something?"

By the time students finally returned to campus, I was ready to open all the milk jugs at Picky Slave, throw the calcium-intense goodness all over the store, and then burn it down despite the moisture. I was ready to break all the DVDs in the library into shards and slice all the cords on all the computers so I didn't have to work on the maddening spreadsheets anymore. I was ready to run naked down the halls of my dorm building, save a bucket on my head, whilst screaming, "COME AND GET ME, GHOST MAN! GHOSTBUSTERS AT THE READY!"

By the end of those two weeks, I really couldn't take it anymore. When friends finally arrived on campus, I served my time at Picky Slave and joined them for the first gathering of the semester, in a friend's room in a different dorm. There were people, and there was booze. Glorious booze.

Allow me to mention at this moment what a lightweight I am. I can hardly stand one drink per hour on a normal occasion, let alone when I've had a very small dinner and am already exhausted.

To hell with it, I thought. It's been a long two weeks. Time to catch up.

My friends had been drinking for two hours already. I caught up in half an hour.

Shortly thereafter, I taught rainbow-colored Goldfish how to fly.

All I remember from the rest of the night is something about a movie, force-feeding crackers to a friend, and making up stories about how lonely the other Goldfish in the box were. At some point I went to bed and proceeded to have my very first hangover at Picky Slave the next day. I was still hungover at 2 in the afternoon.

Some part of me was terribly pleased to puke in the customers-only bathroom, leaving the Stench of Parties Past behind me. And on my last day at Picky Slave that semester, I learned that my $15 shirt was good for more than just soaking up the hysterical tears I cried after each shift.

It also toasted marshmallows quite well.

The blaze was glorious.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Champions!

Dear Green Bay Packers,

Thank you for giving us the best wedding present ever.

The day after our wedding was the day you decided not to lose for the rest of the football season. We were busy vacationing in beautiful Door County.

But we still saw that glorious game. And each one after that (despite my having to work through the Bears-Packers game) leading up to The Super Bowl.

Myself and Friend Adam

Spousal Unit and I were very excited you were there. It was a terribly nerve-wracking game - our only complaint might be the number of pillows we threw at the TV during the game. (We were glad our favorite beer was on-hand in quantity.)

Yes, this is our favorite. We're Midwesterners, after all.

We want to thank you for the best wedding present we could have gotten from you: four playoff wins and the Lombardi Trophy, back in Titletown again. We love you. (For reals.)


Allison and Spousal Unit
(And GIR, our personal mascot)

Another great wedding present, from Friend Sarah E.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Books I Want to Buy This Week: The Sandman, Volumes 4 & 5

These are two books I'm actually purchasing. Spousal Unit and I started the series in December and have been whipping through it as money permits. This is one of the last Great Works of Gaiman I have to read - he's one of my favorites.

I've read so many of his works (at least, his usual fantasy novels) that I feel like I've learned all his tricks. I no longer feel surprise at what he writes (again, excluding what I'm reading now, which many people consider his crowning glory).

The feeling that I know all his tricks, so to speak, doesn't change my opinion of him as a writer, though. I think he has excellent, well-executed ideas and throroughly built worlds. I adore the fables and storytelling within his stories. My favorite part of the Sandman series thusfar is at the beginning of The Doll's House, when two men wander into the desert and we hear of Nada, Dream's former companion. The conciseness of it is awe-inspiring.

Knowing his style so well is actually comforting. It means Gaiman is human. It means my understanding his writing could make me as good a writer as him someday.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Neverending Quilt (Part I)

I've decided not to work today. Okay, my boss decided that. Because it's cold outside.

It's cold enough to freeze your beard just by breathing.
My Midwest friends are saying, "Yeah, so?" My New Mexico friends are saying, "Holy crap! Frozen beard!" This may be in part because last week, we were wearing t-shirts outside. Thanks for catching up with the rest of this hemisphere, New Mexico. It's winter.
Really, the wind chill this morning was -27, so I decided to stay in today. After going to the chiropractor. And the bank, and the grocery store. And to take out the recycling. Okay, so now I'm really not going outside again.
Instead, I'm working on this.

It's one of five bajillion quilt squares I need to make. (Actually, it's #18 out of 45.) I've been working on this damn thing since last spring. As you can imagine, quilt squares have the potential to get boring. So I tend to project-jump.
If you don't do any crafting, it's possible you don't know what I'm talking about. Let me show you my knitting corner.
The wooden thing on the left is the sewing cabinet my great-grandpa made, inherited from my aunt Linda. Underneath it is a plastic bag full of alpaca yarn goodness. The bright blue yarn next to it (which is actually purple) is for half-finished ear warmers. Then we see a hot glue gun, used for wedding favors, and leftover invitations.

Immediately right of the sewing cabinet is the pile of yarn I'm using for the Neverending Quilt (Caron Simply Soft, for those interested - yes, it's acrylic, but it's cheap, and this is a summer quilt). Beneath that stack are several skeins of yarn for The Sweater the Universe Denied (don't worry, if you don't know that story, I'll share it soon enough).

On top of that stack is a Finished Project - a scarf with no destination, at least yet.On the far right is my stash box. (My stash is also all up in the sewing cabinet's biznass.) On top of that, we at last see 17 of the 45 squares I'll be using in the Neverending Quilt.

But wait: there's more. You may also notice something silvery sticking out of the middle, and a deflated skein of pink stuff as the crowning glory. The pink stuff needs to be balled up - haven't gotten to it yet. The silver stuff is uber-tiny and gets knotted really easily. Before I can thread it through any other project, I have to roll that into a ball, too. It's in a skein. It's already tangled. I don't know where to start.

And so it sits there. Waiting for the day when it will shine in some lovely completed project. Just like almost everything else in that picture. Did you see how many completed projects were in it? ONE. And I'm less than halfway through the quilt.

The Neverending Quilt isn't even my focal project. I happen to not have one of those right now. But my niece's birthday is coming up, which means a hat. Then Mom's German Teacher has a birthday, which means... I don't know. Gloves? A pillow? Then my mother-in-law's birthday, which means some other project.

That's why it's called the Neverending Quilt.

The Neverending Quilt, Part II

A Trip Down Archive Lane: August 2008

Dear Cthulhu,

I'm a big fan of your work. It's most pleasant to know that someday, all the horrible things and people of this world will meet their demise at your horrific tentacles and will disturb me no longer. Even if I also succumb to your madness, it shall be with great pleasure if I can watch my enemies crumble before I go.

However, I'd like to call in one teensy little favor: Will you please devour all of my maintenance records and bills at Teh Big Yellow Repair Shop of Doom and Teh Evil Credit Card Companies?

See, I owe $2,000 for the work recently completed on my new-to-me car's suspension system, wheels, and transmission. And as I already have no job, no place to live, and hardly any money, I'd rather not have to pay that too.

The Great New Mexican Trial of Pain and Fury is only just beginning. I know you've got a pretty bad headache right now, but if it is within your mighty doom-filled tentacles to grant me amnesty from this terrible evil, I would desperately appreciate it.

Remember, this is a favor I'm calling in. You owe me for covering your butt that one time in France.

With sincere thanks,
Your partner in all things apocalyptical,

*This letter was written shortly before our move to New Mexico. I have yet to hear back from Señor Squidpants.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

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