I got some new mp3's of me singing at karaoke, if anyone wants them. Either email me (shadowmousey at gmail dot com), or leave me a comment with your email addy.
Stacy Was Here :
Monday, March 30, 2009
I got some new mp3's of me singing at karaoke, if anyone wants them. Either email me (shadowmousey at gmail dot com), or leave me a comment with your email addy.
So this weekend I went to my sisters cheer competition. This was the nationals level, so pretty intense for her, with a lot of high-caliber performances. Some not so high caliber performances as well, but at any rate you have to be pretty good to compete at this level, and I'm proud of her and the other girls for making it so far. Two groups (both freshman groups) from Cal won their divisions and are national champions. Two other groups (varsity song intermediate and crowdleading) made it to the finals and got 2nd and 4th, respectively. Didn't take a lot of pictures, but I couldn't pass up the mascot heads laying around like hunting trophys:
And here is a photo from the middle of the first crowdleading performance, before they made finals. I didn't take any pics from the second performance because I was far too busy screaming along with them and watching them all go.
Most of the time I was busy up in the seats knitting and doing a bit of good-natured shit talking on the other teams, providing some much needed comic relief for a lot of very tired cheer moms and dads. Plus some of the other teams were bastards and totally deserved it. Just saying. I got a lot done on Louisa... here's a pic from earlier on in the weekend....
And here it is this morning. I transitioned to the smaller needles, at which point I was able to try it on, only to find out it's about 4 inches too big on me. Majorly bummed about that, though of course my mom is very cheerful because it means she'll get to have it when it's finished. We might get me more of the yarn (in a different color, I think, this one is getting old for me at this point) so that I can make myself another in a smaller size. Good thing is that this pattern has 5 sizes, and I will be making the second smallest for myself, which is a bit of an ego boost. I may have lost a significant amount of weight, but I still, in my head, feel like I'm the same size I was two years ago.... that means I overestimate when I chose sizes in patterns, and also probably that my mom is destined to inherit more knitted items from me at some point.
This weekend was also the huge parking lot yarn sale from Newton's, which I am told happens twice a year, and me and my mom made out like bandits. It's a little daunting, because most of the yarn isn't labled, so I have no idea what most of it is actually made from, but we figure if we dry clean everything it should be safe, and it's all so lovely that we couldn't pass it up. Here is my haul:
This is a lovely salmon colored yarn, I think theres probably some cotton and nylon in it, just to judge by the feel of it. Half of it is barber-pole with a slightly darker color, and half of it is just single colored... not sure how thats actually distributed in the skein, yet, but we'll see when I wind it into a ball.
Here is a giant pile of cream-colored cotton mystery blend. There is a ton of this, 3 giant skeins, but I figure I can make a few different things from it and it might be good for dying. I might make this with it, if I can get the right gauge.
This stuff is cotton sock yarn, and it was seriously $1 a skein. Might dye it before I knit with it, but I'm not sure yet.
This is a grey-blue cotton yarn, no idea yet what it will be.
And this is a total mystery to me, fiber wise, but it's a gorgeous tourquoise/blue and bronze barber pole kind of yarn, and I am a fool when it comes to blues mixed with gold or bronze, not sure why. I don't have a flying clue what I'm going to do with it, it's pretty thin (maybe sock weight, perhaps), and I got three skeins of it because it's so lovely. Here's the best part. I got, what, reasonably a years worth of yarn here to knit with, seriously a trash bag full of the stuff, and it came to $25, of which we were only charged $20. Seriously, ONE of these skeins would cost that much, conservatively. My mom also got a trashbag full, which maybe I'll take pictures of later.
We also went to Downtown Disney and went to BASIN, which is one of my favorite places. They have the most delicious bath and body stuff, and they make these grab bags that cost $10 but contain at least $25 worth of their stuff. I did the math on mine and I think there's at least $35 worth of stuff in it, and it all smells glorious and I can't wait to use it. What can I say, for the most part I'm low maintenance, but I am still a girly girl, and I still love things that smell nice and feel good. Can't wait to have a use for the massage bar, lol.
With all the picture taking, Franny was a bit jealous, especially since she missed me all weekend, so I got a picture of her:
And here's one of her from before I left. She likes to sit at the window and wait for this ginger cat to come by, and then she stands at the door and they just sort of watch each other for a while. I think I heard him last week and it sounded like he was in heat. Maybe they have a thing going on?
Also, because I missed it, here is the Fridy5.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Spent the weekend with the family at my sisters cheer competition. Stole away to massive yarn sale, made out like a bandit.
Bad things: Sweater I am knitting is too big for me :( so it's going to my mom, sister's team got ripped off by dumbass judges, heard waaaaay too much crappy music (and especially don't ever want to listen to lady gaga again.)
Good things: Got a metric shit load of yarn at the yarn sale, at least got a lot done on the sweater which is too big for me, hung out with mom and sister, and provided comic relief free of charge to cheer moms.
More later, when I've had a chance to upload pictures and write more coherently.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
* I hate laundry. Seriously hate it.
* It's weird how liberating everything has really been for me. You truck along so faithfully under the weight of a delusion, and you don't notice you're suffering because it creeps over you so slowly. Everything feels better now, my mind, my heart, my health. I think I was depressed for a long time, and I know I was terminally lonely for a long time. It's amazing how what you thought would be happily ever after can turn into an emotional prison. If I'm going to be lonely, though, I'd rather be lonely alone, if that makes any sense. If not, it's 3am, so shoot me.
* I think I have body image issues. I've lost 60 lbs in the last few years, but I still think of myself as being the same as I was before, and I'm clearly not. Someone at the knitting group, someone whom I've always put squarely in the "thinner than me" group, tried on my Liesl sweater tonight and it fit her roughly the same as it did me, and I had a total Holy. Crap. moment. It was a little surreal. I wonder if it will ever go away? When I get to my goal weight, will I still feel like that fat kid who got picked last for every team?
* I should probably not watch schmultzy romance movies late at night. We'll call that gremlin rule #1 for me.
* Also: Gerald Butler is hott. With two t's. Just saying.
* Also also: you know what I really really dig? When a guy has intensity in his eyes. I know it's a shit indicator of overall anything, but seriously, I want to be looked at that way. I'm doing a crap job of explaining it because it's 3am and I've been up for nearly 24 hours, but you know when you catch someones expression and they've got a slightly wild glint in their eyes, like they know something you don't know, or like their intentions are not entirely honorable? I think my life could use a slight bit of mischief right about now...
* Also^3: My shoulders and back have been hurting, and as such I am in dire need of a back massage. "Dire need" might be a slight exaggeration, but I'd really really like one.
* Also version 4.0: I got chatted up the other night when I went to a Druid equinox ritual. I'm doing better at realizing these things as they happen, but I think it was still about 8 minutes in when I realized "oh, hey, I'm being chatted up." At least I didn't have to have it pointed out to me after he fact like other times.
Ok, I'm running out of bad numerical configurations of the word "also", so I am going to bed now.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Hahahahaha, silly you. I cast on for Louisa, from French Girl Knits, the book I bought for my Satine sweater that can't be knit until I spin up all that alpaca. I can't wait to start knitting, though, and I found a ribbon yarn similar to the one recommended for Louisa (which was the other sweater in the book that I am majorly lusting after), so I cast on for it the other night.
Here is the yarn, it's Trendsetter's Love (which I suspect is discontinued, a) because I got it at Tuesday Morning, which is where I got the angora yarn for Liesl, and b) because I can't find it for sale anywhere online to link to.) It doesn't look too promising in the ball, at least not for a sweater, because it's novelty yarn, and I thought maybe it would make a neat scarf, but holy shit the stitch definition is actually really good, so I went back for more to make Louisa out of.
I love the color scheme, it reminds me of working at Disneyland in New Orleans Square, and the color complexity is rich (and therefor hard to capture well in a photo.) The pattern is working up quickly, probably because its on size 13s, so it looks like I've entered a trend with my knitting (big needles, big lace patterns.) Don't mind, though, because these patterns are dreamy and I can't wait to see how the sweaters turn out. Also, it's the closest thing to instant gratification you can get when knitting a sweater. Woot woot.
I finished Liesl in 5 days, and here are a couple pics:
So I still need to crochet around the neckline to reinforce it so it doesn't pull out too wide, and I think I'm going to weave purple ribbong through the crocheted bit to fasten it closed at the top. I'll take more pictures when that's done, but I was too excited to wait to post these.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
In my experience, there are certain times or events in your life that cause the people around you to feel they have the right to give you unsolicited advice. I knew that happens at graduations, during pregnancies, and even when you get married. I guess I should have seen it coming, but apparently divorce is one of those times, and I've been getting everything from gently stated, well-meaning advice to out and out rude assertions that, obviously, I have no idea what life is all about and, obviously, everyone else knows better what I should be doing with myself. That, and there are old friends of mine who seem to have forgotten that I exist... even ones who were my friends before I ever met him. I guess it's true what they say, difficult times have a way of showing you who your real friends are.
So, to whoever happens to be reading this, here is my new rule: I am not accepting any more advice from people unless they have a) been married and divorced themselves, and b) have more general life experience than I do. Pay close attention to B, because I may be 29, but I probably have the life experience of someone quite a bit older than that. I guess I should also add C) must be someone I respect. Otherwise, stuff it and just be supportive. Besides, everyone has split into waring factions, from "he's a vile scumbag" to "you obviously didn't try hard enough", from "move on with your life and go have a fling" to "you should be sitting in your room, crying, with a black shroud over your head for at least a year before you even think of liking someone else." So whose crappy advice would I even choose?
On the flip side, of course, is that the two pieces of advice that I have received from people who fit those criteria are my knew guiding themes in life; the first was "don't ever look back", and the second was "take this opportunity to reflect and decide what it is that you really want and need out of a relationship".
So that's what I'm doing right now, trying to define what I want and need, not just out of a relationship, but out of life, too. I know for sure that whoever I end up in a relationship with needs to be able to appreciate everything I am, not just part of it. I like to go camping and hike and get dirty, but I also like museums and theatre and getting a bit fancy from time to time. I like to be looked after, but I can change my own tires and operate heavy machinery on my own, so I don't want to be patronized, either. I want someone I can have great conversations with - especially someone who has their own opinions, no matter whether they're the same opinions as mine. I want someone who will see the world with me, but will also be comfortable curling up on the couch and watching a movie sometimes. Most of all, I want someone who will open up to me, and will let me know whats going on with them, honestly.
On to knitting, (because it always comes back to fiber with me, lol), I started a sweater last night, this one, and I'm already at least a third of the way through it. I love this pattern because it has so many little ways to customize it and make it your own. I'm knitting it with a delicious angora blend from Elsebeth Lavold. It's been discontinued, though, and I can't for the life of me imagine why. It's so soft I just want to sit here petting it for days, and it's knitting up beautifully. Why would they want to disccontinue something so lovely? How is it that the pernicious Fun Fur seems to survive year after year, but this lovely find is going extinct?
Here is Franny darling modeling with the yarn. She's great about not messing with my yarn or knitting implements, but I still miss Zelda, knitting scourge though she was.
I got the yarn at Tuesday Morning, but of course they don't have a very big yarn selection, so there wasn't enough of just the grey to do much with, so I picked up the lone skein of purple and am adding purple stripes to the sweater. Normally I'm not big into stripes, but I'm starting to kind of like the way its turning out.
And here's my progress so far. I can't believe how fast this sweater is knitting up, that represents maybe 2 hours worth of work last night... the size 11 needles help, but at this rate it's going to become my potato chip pattern (i.e., you can't make just one.) Fortunately, there are enough options for changing the sweater along the way, so at least they'll all look different, lol.
Monday, March 16, 2009
So I had some of this homespun spun up, but not a lot of it, so I decided to make myself a wristband with it. I used a simple cable design to showcase the yarn. Here it is after I finished knitting it.
I wet-blocked it (and it took forever to dry, hello wool.) It looks a lot better after blocking, though, no more scrinching up at the sides from the pull of the center cable.
Once it had finished blocking, I attached the button...
et voila, finished wristband:
Here's the basic recipe:
Yarn: about sock weight, not sure on the yardage but it doesn't take a lot.
Needles: I used size 0, which means most people would use a 1 or a 2.
C6F = slip first 3 sts to cable needle and hold to back, knit next 3 sts, then knit 3 sts on cable needle.
CO 16 sts.
Rows 1 and 3: knit 3, purl 2, knit 6, purl 2, knit 3.
All even rows: knit 5, purl 6, knit 5.
Row 5: knit 3, purl 2, C6F, purl 2, knit 3.
Repeat rows 1-6 until the wrist band can be wrapped around your wrist and overlaps itself by about 1/4".
Place button hole:
When you get to row 5, instead of cabling place button hole as follows: knit 3, purl 2, bind off 6 sts, purl 2, knit 3.
Next row: Knit 5, CO 6 sts, Knit 5.
Next row: knit 3, purl 2, knit 6, purl 2, knit 3.
Knit all sts next 4 rows, then bind off all sts.
Weave in ends, and wet block wrist band.
Once wrist band is blocked and dry, wrap around wrist to determine proper button placement. Sew on button. Ta da!
ETA: the garter stitch along the sides has a shorter row gauge than the cabled center, so in order to make it more even, I added short rows to the sides once for every cable repetition. Starting with row #1 on the second cable repetition, I knit the first three stitches, turned the band, knitted back over them on the opposite side, then turned again and knit them a third time before going on to the purl stitches. when you get to the end of that row, turn and knit the first three stitches of the next row, turn again and knit them back the other way, and then turn again and knit that row as usual, including knitting the first three stitches a third time. If you have any questions about this, feel free to comment or email me. This is an elementary short row technique, and it puts extra rows into the side to compensate for the difference in row gauge.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So today I drove out to LA to go to a job fair, hoping to find me some gainful employment. It was advertised on the radio, with the recommendation that you bring copies of your resume, dress in proper business attire, and be prepared to accept a job then and there. Not so much, really. I think there were two, maybe three booths accepting actual resumes, and nearly all of them told me to apply online. If that's the case, why didn't they just send out a big flier telling people where to apply for things? It just seems a bit silly that I drove all that way for information that could have been exchanged easily on a website or mailer.
That said, I'm not upset that I went because it was my first time driving in LA since I got back here, and it really showed me how much of my self I've gotten back in the last month or so. Even before the PTSD episode, I suffered from anxiety for a while, and when I was living up north I found myself having panic attacks when I was down here because of the speed and the number of people and cars everywhere. I'm not sure how it happened, exactly, but somehow my locus of control shifted radically outward, and the result was that I became more fearful of the world in general, feeling much less in control of things. Today was great, though. I mean, no one really enjoys driving on a crowded freeway, but I have definitely reclaimed my inner road warrior.
Being out today, I also saw a *ton* of yard sales, nearly one on every block I passed. I guess it was inevitable that the economic depression would become more and more visible, but it's a bit depressing to see people so desperate for money that they try to sell all of their belongings. I hope things turn around soon.
Friday, March 13, 2009
So I got my new needles from Paradise Fibers tonight, and it came with free samples of fiber and yarn. First the yarn, Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed Yarn...
First off, I love the color and the feel of this yarn. It's way softer than it looks in the picture and has a nice body to it. I would definitely consider using this yarn in the future.
They also sent me a lovely sample of Baby Camel Top in white.
Well, clearly it isn't white, which I knew from the website before I requested it, but I kind of like that it's the natural color of the camel down rather than being bleached. This stuff is gloriously soft, not the softest camel fiber I've ever felt, but still enough to make any spinner drool in envy. It has a rather short staple length, which makes it a bit finicky to spin. I would NOT recommend this for an inexperienced spinner, and after having spun it on a drop spindle, I doubt I would ever try to spin this on the wheel. I have some camel back in NY waiting to be picked up and spun, and it's in clouds rather than top or roving. I thought that was what was making it difficult to spin, and that's part of it, but the other part, as I discovered, was that camel just has a short staple length compared to most of the other things I've spun (chiefly wool and alpaca.) This is not a deal breaker for me, not by any stretch of the imagination. To my mind, it doesn't make sense to drop serious money on a fiber like this and then rush through spinning it on the wheel. But then, I'm obviously a process person rather than a product person.
I overspun it intentionally, as I do with anything I am planning to ply. This made the plying come out very well, and the yarn, which is navajo plied (I tend to navajo ply anything if it's in a small quantity like this.) It is so soft to the touch... not as soft as my tiny bit of cashmere (no big surprise there), and roughtly comparable to the alpaca in softness, though they definitely have their differences. The alpaca is more slippery, which I think is why it feels like I'm stretching it when I spin it. The camel is fluffier, more matte than smooth, so it grips the other fibers slightly better, but if you try to draft it out too much it just separates like clouds pulling apart. I found that if I drafted 1" to 1.5" at a time it stayed together rather well.
Overall, this is a fiber I've been eyeballing for a long time, and I think I will definitely getting more of it at some time in the future.
So I've been spinning the alpaca I have left, and my supply is dwindling... I suppose it's good that I can spin more than an ounce in a week, but I'll feel better when I have more in my hand. It was really warm this afternoon, and spinning it was just about agony spinning it in the heat and it nearly became a sweaty mess in my hand. I finished off the first ounce and wound it onto my specialized equipment:
After that, I navajo plied it into a 3ply. The yarn called for in the pattern, according to Ravelry is 8 wraps to the inch. As you can see, 8 wraps of the alpaca at a 3ply is about a half inch. So I went with my mom to an LYS out here and looked at the recommended yarn, and really it's not any thicker than the 3 ply, so I've knitted a swatch and we'll see how it goes.
Here it is in a tiny little skein :)
I tried to take a picture of the swatch, which is currently blocking, but you can't see it against the dark blue of the carpet, so I'll have to take something clearer when its not pinned down to the floor. At any rate it looks like I'm getting close to the gauge of the sweater pattern, which is good. If anything, though, I might switch to smaller needles because I'm in between sizes and knitting it a little tighter will give me smaller finished sweater.
Here are some pics of my progress in the room... Franny, as you can see, has been helping by holding the bed down. She has also been eating spice.
The shade I got is awesome in a natural green hempy sort of way, but of course thats totally lost against the dinge of the wall *sigh*. Oh well, at least I have a slight bit more privacy than I did before, and now I just have to find something to hang on the door so that I don't have to deal with people walking around in the backyard and looking into my room.
I've accomplished a bit more since that last one was taken, mostly that the crap on top of the entertainment center is now gone and replaced with candles
My dad is also back in the hospital. Apparently his incision was leaking and ended up getting infected, so now they have to do surgery again to replace the mesh in his abdomen, and they're going to take muscle from his leg to help close it up more effectively. Please keep him in your thoughts.
Job fair tomorrow, and other potential job may start on Monday, so hopefully by next week I will be gainfully employed.
1) What’s your favorite frozen heat-and-eat food?
In general, I prefer fresh food, but if it has to be frozen, I'm partial to the Marie Calender's frozen dinners. If it's 2 am and I'm returning from a night of adventure (read: I've had a few), I tend to go for frozen tamales, even though they can't hold a candle to Grandpa Eddie's tamales.
2) How sensitive are you to cool temperatures?
Depends... if we're talking "cool" temps, then I'm not usually sensitive to it, although the more weight I lose the easier I've been getting cold... however, I do tend to have a problem with cold with a chance of death type temperatures.
3) How many ice-cube trays are there in your freezer?
None, we just have 2 ice makers that don't work.
4) What aspect of your life seems to be frozen in place?
mainly the job thing, which is keeping everything else frozen... I can't file for divorce until I can afford to pay for it.
5) What’s your favorite blanket like?
I don't really have a favorite blanket, actually... anything thats warm and fluffy, I guess.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
So I'm settling in here, getting this room cleaned out more and more and, of course, trying to find a job (while simultaneously hoping the one I'm in line for works out this coming week.) There are several things that I am enjoying about my new life, about being single.
Tonight I went out to the knitting group, and I swear it was almost like being back at Chatham again. We were at a coffee shop, the same one we always meet at, and we were laughing so loud, drawing derisive looks from the other patrons, some of whom were obviously there to study. Seriously, though? Go to a library to study, and stop staring at us. You're just jealous that we're here having such a good time. Also, I apparently make a lot of drug references: I referred to Lorinda as my "fiber pusher", described ska music as "swing music on meth", and said that spinning is like crack. Funny thing is that I've never actually done any illegal drugs. *shrug*
It's just nice to be able to plan my time without regard for anyone... It's not like Chris ever made huge demands on me or anything, but it's different when you can just fill your time without having to think about another person. I'm running a book club and a stitch n' bitch, I'm reading book after book after book, spinning yarn for long periods of time while dancing around like an idiot with iTunes turned up on my laptop. It's basically awesome.
Also, I'm basically turning this room into my own personal little cave of wonder. Once I get it cleaned, I'm putting the loft bed up on craigslist to get it out of here, and then that corner is going to be my library and fiber corner, and will house my yarn/fiber stash and my spinning wheel, along with all my books. I found my old candles and have put them out all over the room because, god, I love candlelight more than I can say. It's not terribly practical, but I don't care.
Right now I'm reading Zinn's A People's History of the United States, which absolutely everyone should read. It's not unbiased, no history text is, but Zinn is absolutely transparent about the lens he's using from the first chapter on, and it balances out the history we're all taught in school, from elementary school onward. I've read part of this before in my US History course, taught by the wonderful Dr. Sterling Evans, one of the best professors I've ever had. Now I'm going back to reread the entire thing from the beginning. It's a fantastic, eye-opening book. I wouldn't say it should be the only book on US History anyone should read, but I think it gives the perspective that is so missing from the standard historical discourse, which I believe was Zinn's intention.
The spinning continues apace, and I've now filled one bobbin (aka a TP tube) with about an ounce of lovely alpaca single. I plied up a bit of it, and while it's not a full worsted weight at 3-ply (about half of the worsted weights thickness, actually), it's very close to the weight of the recommended yarn from the pattern, so I think it'll be a good thickness for the pattern. Even if my gauge is a little smaller than what's recommended in the pattern, I'm actually between two sizes, so I could just make the larger size at a slightly smaller gauge to get a better fit out of it. I ordered the needles, and they should be here soon, maybe even by the end of the week, so then I can knit the little bit I've plied up and see how it's looking (I don't think I have enough navajo plied for a gauge swatch, but it will give me a rough idea.)
All in all, things are going very well for me right now. Hopefully the job thing pans out soon so that I can be gainfully employed and not a damn freeloader anymore.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Ok, so I guess the retrospective never materialized, but that's largely because today has been an adventure.
Started out with breakfast, but we couldn't just go me and mom, we also ended up with Amie and her 3 friends, so it was a huge production, but it was fun at least.
After that I got home and something crawled into my head and I cleaned most of the day. See, the room I'm now living in is a patio room added to the back of our house, originally intended to be my sisters play room. Even when they still called it a play room, however, it wasn't so much a play room as the island of lost crap. So basically, it's got all of the crap that nobody uses but still doesn't want to deal with. Enter my move home.
I've done my best to shuffle crap all over the place to make more room, and I've been making decent progress, though there's only so much you can do when you're playing tetris with years worth of other peoples crap. So I'm going through it all mercilessly and throwing most of it away, because no one will ever miss it anyway, and because I'm going to need room for books, my cello, my spinning wheel, etc (not to mention my obnoxious yarn and fiber stash, ahem.)
Also, there's an ugly old dresser in here with a paint job so old and worn and effed up that it's no harm no foul, so I'm going to paint something on the front panel (which opens, almost like a desk sort of thing I guess.) If you have any suggestions as to what I should paint on it, please leave a comment, because if left to my own devices it will almost certainly contain some sort of owl. Right now it's only got 2 coats of white (which still have not completely covered the splotchy wear of several past paint colors.)
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Woohoo, this blog is not officially 8 years old! Maybe I will celebrate with a retrospective of the last 8 years of my life when it's a proper waking hour... Maybe I'll just update with my spinning progress, lol.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Feathered wings take flight,
soar against the sky of blue.
I still miss you so.
I still remember
your clipped wings recovering
despite the raw wounds.
To me, you were like
a phoenix, flying though they
fought hard to ground you.
When I dream of you,
it is with beating wings and
soaring, joyous heart.
I can't recall the sound
of your voice, or your laughter.
Nine years you've been gone.
You don't know yet,
but I've got plans for you.
Plans which involve talking,
and possibly rug burn.
I've been going through my archives lately and found my old amigo, the friday 5, so here goes:
Ok, so now I'm thinking of being a little naughty and a little crazy and getting more of this delicious alpaca from Lorinda so I can make this with it:
I think it would be exquisite in this yarn, though I'm not sure how many times I'll have to ply it to get the right weight to the yarn... I might just have to use teh math to figure it out, but thats never hard...
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I distinctly remember when this case took place, because it happened very shortly after I first got to New York. Being so close to Canada, we got a lot more of their news stories, though I know this was on international news all over the place because of the gruesome nature of the crime.
I mean, clearly, this man is mentally ill, I don't in any way dispute that, but having gone through the devastation of murder within my circle of friends, I have a bit of a different perspective on this than most people. Having also worked for a law enforcement agency, and having daily come into contact with the mentally ill in various stages of treatment also gives me a bit of mental pause in reading about this case.
Really, what it gets down to, is evaluating what the purpose of incarceration really is. If the purpose of incarcerating a criminal is to rehabilitate them, then yes, this man belongs in a mental health facility. If the purpose of incarceration is to punish him, then I agree that he does not belong in prison, because if it is true that he is schizophrenic, then abnormal dendritic pruning in his brain renders him at least somewhat incapable of assessing the consequences of his actions, or at worst completely unable to distinguish between what's going on in his head and what's going on in reality. If the purpose of incarceration is to protect the public at large, then prison or mental health facility, this man should never, ever be released.
In my experience working with the mentally ill within a law enforcement context, when a person is put into a mental health facility, a course of treatment is begun, usually something will work, and after a while the person comes to function in a more or less normal capacity. However, I can also say that a large proportion of the schizophrenic people I have encountered come to a point where they are functioning so well they begin to believe that they are "cured" and that it would be safe for them to discontinue their medical treatment. The problem is that there is no cure for schizophrenia, it can be managed but no better than that, and once the treatment is discontinued they slide rapidly back into a position where they could potentially be a danger to themselves or to other people.
So even if they send this individual for treatment and it works and he comes to a point where he is mentally stable, that mental stability is not, by any means, guaranteed to be long-lasting. It's a sticky situation. Can you consider him responsible in the same way you would consider a normal person responsible? I don't think so, anymore than you can consider a person with type 1 diabetes responsible for the dysfunction of their pancreas. But the problem is that it is already clearly established that this person presents a substantial risk to the well-being of others, so it's not a responsible position to think that you can treat him and then release him without some sort of consequences. So which is the larger responsibility, the responsibility to protect the rights of the individual, or the responsibility to protect the safety of the community? It's not exactly an easy situation to navigate, and no matter what there is not going to be true, complete justice (if such a thing even exists.)
So I've been pacing the floor waiting to hear about a job for the last few days. I still haven't heard anything yet, so cross your figers for me, the last I heard they were trying to get a hold of my old boss, who is apparently on vacation until Monday.
To comfort me in my angsty waiting period, my mom took pity on me and bought this lovely alpaca fiber for me from Lorinda the Magnificent so that I have something to distract myself with. The nice thing about being a spinner when you are so completely broke is that you pay the same amount of money as you would for the yarn, but it keeps you occupied for longer because you get to spin it first. And it is so effing soft I just want to make a huge pile of it and roll around in it, naked.
I've always thought of drafting as sort of stretching the fibers out, which is inaccurate because you're really just pulling out a small bit of fibers at a time, but this stuff really feels like it's stretching because it's so smooth, and a bit cohesive.
If you recall my first homespun, you will noticed that my spinning has improved immensely in balance, evenness, and thickness. I worked so hard at spinning to be able to spin fine, and now this seems to be the thickness that everything comes out as, even when I try to spin thicker. I guess now if I ever want to do a worsted or bulky yarn I'm going to have to ply 8-10 singles together to get there, LoL.
It's turning out this lovely, gunmetal grey color, and I think when I'm don't spinning it, I'll ply it either 2 or 3-ply and make a smoke ring out of it, something like this or this.
My homemade spindles are spinning very well, which is exciting :) It's amazing how easy it is to make them well-balanced with the drill press, especially since the first one I made, without the drill press, required an ocean's age worth of sanding to get it to spin decently. These new ones will spin for ages and ages, leading me to finally try actually dropping the spindle. It's hard, because you feel like you're losing control of the process, but it works pretty smoothly as long as you've got the drafting process down, and as long as you pay attention to what you're doing. I miss my wheel like crazy, but if anything I'm glad that I've been forced to go back to the spindle so that I could refine my technique a bit. I actually don't think I'll use my wheel for luxury fibers any more after this - you get a much nicer, much more consistent product with the spindle, and plus then you get to spend more time doing it, which is largely the point of buying a nice, soft fiber like this one.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
So, probably not a big mystery to anyone who knows me, but Chris and I have split up, and we have decided to divorce. Before anyone fires off emails of condolence, however, please know that I think this is a really positive thing, for both of us.
We first met online, and things happened very quickly. In 3 days, he asked me to be his "girlfriend", and within a week was already saying "I love you". It felt really fast, but I am also a hopeless romantic and so it was a little too easy to buy into it and to believe it. We talked about marriage from the very beginning, we talked about being together forever before we had even met in person.
I think we both wanted it to be true, I really do. I don't believe for one second that either one of us lied intentionally or led the other on, it went on for too long for that to be true. But I do think that we were so wrapped up in the fantasy of things that when we met, face to face, neither one of us wanted to admit that the chemistry wasn't there. Don't get me wrong, Chris is a great person. He's fun to hang out with, he's smart, and he's kind. But the fire wasn't there. We should never have been more than friends.
I don't think either one of us wanted to see this, and so we kept on plodding along. It was easier when we were 3000 miles away, even when he was in so cal and I was at school up north. By the time we lived together, by the time we were in the same place for more than a week at a time, it was nearly 2 years into our relationship, we had a history, we had things invested, and I think it seemed like a boulder rolling down hill that no one knows how to stop. I also think we both thought, on some level, that things would get better once we were married.
I know how naive we must have been for all this to happen, but finding true love is something most people dream of, and it's so easy to believe in something when you really really want it to be true. But no matter how much you may fool your brain, you can't fool your heart forever. Neither of us have been happy or fulfilled. We've had good moments, happy moments, but never the overwhelming moments where you feel like your life has finally reached it's fullest bounds.
He's a homebody. He likes comfort, stability, reliability, sameness. I'm an adventurer. I will never stop looking at the globe and wanting to be somewhere other than where I am, at least not in some capacity. A couple of months ago we went on a drive, and we talked and I told him that I thought he only married me because it was the next logical step. I say this only because I don't want everyone blaming him for something that is equally my fault. The signs were only there, it just took us a while to wake up to them.
So we separated. At that point I wanted to go to counseling and fix things, partly because I wasn't ready to let go of the grand delusion yet, and partly because I was petrified of what would happen to my life if things didn't work out. It took me a few weeks, but I realized that the things I was grieving for were the comforts of a relationship, not about a love that could stand the test of time. I realized, in essence, that he was right, that it was time to end things.
I've been thinking a lot lately, and I feel like this is the best thing that could happen at this juncture in my life. The longer I am removed from the situation, the farther away that life seems to me. I feel like my old self again, like who I was seven years ago, before we met, but a little older and a little wiser for this experience. I feel comfortable with myself, and I feel like the entire world is now open for me to explore. I have gotten back my sense of adventure, and I've gotten over my anxiety for the little things that don't really matter. I think in the last seven years I've been older than I should have been, more serious than I wanted to be, and less curious than is even possible for me. I resigned myself to a life I wasn't ready to settle into, and now I feel like I can get back on track to wherever it is life is going to take me.
I also feel like divorcing gives both of us the chance to go out there and find something real, something toe-curling and awe inspiring. I hope for that most of all, for me and for him to both find happiness and fulfillment in our lives and with other people.
So I'm waiting to hear about a job, and I've run out of room to clean, so I've resorted to knitting and such while I wait.
Here's a swatch I made out of a 2 foot length of cashmere I spun... It's 100% cashmere, spun from the cloud, navajo plied, and then knit on size 0 needles. It's the size of a penny, but it's sooo soft I can't stop touching it.
And after much ado, I finally finished the hat for my friend Michelle's baby, Giovanni. I can't wait to see it on him!!!!
Monday, March 02, 2009
(frantic yelling of my name by a certain aged and miserable crone.)
Her: There was a phone call earlier.
Her: I think it was for you.
Me: What did they say?
Her: I don't know, I just heard a lot of noise and that was it.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
So, I've been silent for a while (okay, a looong while, really, if we're talking about posts with actual substance - my apologies.) First, a picture post, and then maybe something a little more in depth.
Not terribly deep, but I cut and dyed my hair recently... I keep meaning to grow it out to it's post-Costa Rica length, but it gets to this irritating stage and I haven't had the patience to make it through that yet... we'll see, maybe this will be the last time I chop it off, maybe not. At any rate, here's the most recent pic of me in existence:
I've been making spindles a lot lately now that I have access to a drill press. I'm planning to start selling them at some point, but here's a little window into my process. Step one is cutting out the whorls on a drill press:
After which the boards start to look like swiss cheese:
The come out a bit rough at first:
So they go back onto the drill press to get sanded, which takes a small lifetime:
and emerge soft as a baby's butt... at least in theory:
Then I give them a coat of varnish before I decorate them:
Anyone want to take a wild, flying guess as to whom I made this for?
This one was not designed with anyone in particular in mind, but I like it :)
This one I painted... not my best work, clearly, but it's not as terrible as it could be...
I've been spinning a lot, too, mostly bits of fiber I've received from Lorinda the Great at my new stitch n' bitch home. This one I named unicorn, owing to it's purple and blue shades with bits of shiny fiber in it.
This one I've called alternately sunset and gryffindor, obviously:
And this is one I started ages ago, which reminds me of easter:
They are all navajo (3) plied, and all of them are around sock weight, or possibly lighter. It seems now I've gotten spinning fine mastered I can't spin thicker any more, even when I try. Coming soon, look for my line of 15 ply worsted =P
I got myself a new journal for detailing my adventures in renewed singlehood. I'm actually feeling quite optimistic about things, and felt a saucy journal might inspire me to live a little more daring...