Friday, January 28, 2005

Excess Ain't Rebellion... 

although I love both excess and rebellion dearly.

Okay, you all are seriously not going to believe this. All of you who've wanted to clone Keith are going to be digging through our trash for any scrap of his DNA.

He threw me a suprise birthday party! It was at the bar where I work, so all my regulars knew, everyone at work knew, all the parents knew...it was fabulous. He printed up buttons that said "Gwyn is my superhero" and everyone was wearing them...SNEEFTACULAR. Miss B. and her mister got me a gorgeous jewelry box for my pearls, and all my favorite people were there. And the cake! Sweet Jesus, the cake! Sort of a zucchini-bread base, with cream-cheese icing and all kinds of fruit--thoroughly divine. Lisa the bartender invented a Gwyntini--and it's going on the menu. What more could a girl ask for on her birthday?

Oh, yeah. Yarn.

I cashed in some gift certs/birthday money at my most local of yarn shops.

The good news? They had Linen Drape. LINEN DRAPE, PEOPLE! (I'm sort of unofficially knitting my way through Vintage Knits, unclaimed errata, tiny sizes and all. I can't help myself. I love those patterns.)

The bad news? When you're shopping at a store run and patronized almost exclusively by post-menopausal dames with poufy hair and ...vests, any transaction more complicated than throwing a wad of twenties on the counter and slinking away from the counter, shamefully acknowledging how unworthy of being a knitter you are, is bound to be hellish. (Author's Note: Not knockin' on the older ladies, per se--fully aware that aging and experiencing menopause is the better of my two options)

This is the third bad time I've (well, we've) had at Showers of Flowers, compared to one nice visit. Pman braved the estrogen cloud to buy me a gift certificate for Christmas, and the old biddies treated him shamefully. He knows I have kind of a thing about gift certificates, and he had every intention of buying me actual yarn and actual needles, but the biddies wouldn't let him. Apparently it was that scenario where they ask you questions and shock you with a car battery if your answers are wrong. It seems they wouldn't let him out of the store with real supplies unless he answered some pretty technical questions about my gauge.

Now, for the sake of clarity, Pman is a better yarn widower than most. He knows what I like, at the very least. (I know, I know, duh.) He had meant to pick up some sock yarn in pretty colors, and maybe a set or two of #1 dpns.

This struck me as eminently reasonable, hearing the story later, I suppose because I have an entire drawer of pretty sock yarn, and I buy #1's just because I happen to be at the yarn store, the way you might buy stamps or milk--you might not need it right now but you use it so much that you're always adding to the stockpile. I buy a set of #1's almost every time I buy yarn. Pman has examined, tried on, and been consulted about enough pairs of socks to know a set of #1's well before his eyes are impaled on them. So what if the needles didn't match the yarn? I'm quite sure I'd be just fine.

But they wouldn't let him buy me a thing! They wet-blanketed him until he caved and bought a gift certificate, at which point I imagine the biddies catching each others' eyes smugly over the rims of their bifocals.

Then I remember the scene from "Pretty Woman," and I imagine Pman sobbing "The women!Wouldn't!Help!Me!" at Hector Elizando, hands full of money and eyes full of tears, and I understand why Pman shudders when he tells this tale.

Then I went there one Bad Day, one of those Bad Days where nothing can really help, but you try buying something just for the hit, just for the little rush of new yarn (or underwear, or shoes--whatever)to help me make it through the day, and they totally snarked at my kids. I was already snarking at my kids, okay? Adding their snark to my snark was like saying, "Go on, lady, do it. Hit 'em. C'mon. Do it." When you see a mama totally stressed and trying like hell to get an errand done, isn't criticizing her kids (who were not behaving terribly) like throwing wood on the fire?

They weren't exactly encouraging me to part with my hard-earned cash. And the last time I went, the cashier nearly wept with confusion at their cash register, unable to comprehend more than one form of payment. Sheesh.

It's true, they have enviable square footage and quite a selection, but they were out of Kureyon last time I was visited, which was coincidentally the yarn I was going there TO BUY. Hence the Linen Drape. All in all, The Recycled Lamb will be getting a lot more of my business. It's slightly further away, but the vibe is infinitely less stressful. My first visit there, some Sunday-shopping mamas let me cut in line because I had my babes with me and they felt my pain. Thank you, Sunday-shopping mamas!

So, I got my Linen Drape and I'm halfway up the back of the lace camisole shell thing from Vintage Knits. I'd heard less than positive things about the LD but I'm totally feelin' it. It certainly does drape! It is a little splitty, but I've worked with much, much worse. It's a beautiful pale bluish iris color, and the lacy rib makes it very springy. Yummy.

A few anecdotes:

My mom bought me these godawful rose-pink bath salts (like, a whole jug) and after every bath, it leaves a bright pink ring around the tub. Pman said it reminded him of The Cat In The Hat. I feel Seussian every time I bathe.

Pman made me battered fried shrimp and french fries for my birthday dinner. Maybe not culinary genius, but I had mentioned that was the birthday meal I always requested as a sprout and he made it happen for me. Awwwww.

So, best birthday EVER. Next year? Mexico, baby.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Seven Years Disappear Below My Feet 

First off, thanks for all the birthday good wishes--they made me all sneefy.

Second, you'll never guess what I got for my birthday.

Pearls! My very own pearls! (Sneef cubed!)Does Pman know what I like or what? I am so not a diamond girl. Everybody has diamonds. There are certain nightclubs, I'm sure, where the reflection off folks' accessories can be seen from space. When you're wearing diamonds, everyone thinks, "Hey! Nice bling!" When you're wearing pearls, people usually just think you look fab. Diamonds are about wearing all your fanciest stuff, plus uncomfortable shoes; pearls are about being so supremely confident you haven't bothered to check what you're wearing. I'm not terribly flash, I admit.

But I am happy. Best birthday ever, and Official Birthday Curse in smithereens, thanks to Pman, who let me lay around in bed all day in pj's and pearls, painting my toenails, accepting calls from well-wishers, napping and generally acting like Queen of the Trampoline.

Pman and I are born 11 days apart, and both our anniversary and Valentine's Day are right around the corner. Normally it's such a hectic time that we don't exchange gifts for each day. Ususally we take a weekend off or some such, so when Pman warned me away from the Official Gift Storage Area, I was mighty pleased, expecting a new CD or perhaps a knitting book. I was pretty certain it was one of the Barbara Walker treasuries I don't have. Obviously, the pearls were a Gift, not just a gift, so I'm scrambling a wee bit since his birthday is on the 31st and clearly my plans need to be upgraded. A CD simply won't cut the mustard in this situation.

The short list of gift ideas is as follows: a jet pack, or a walrus.

I finished a multidirectional scarf for my friend Betty, made out of Kureyon, of course, and it's the yummiest thing. I literally want to eat it, I'm so impressed with the color changes. As with any Noro yarn, I'm underwhelmed by the softness factor--you'd think as much as we gush about the stuff it'd feel soft as angel knickers--but hopefully a treatment of conditioner and Infusium will primp it up.

I treat my yarn so much better than I treat my hair. Shameful. I haven't done that VF meme going around, 'cause I've known for a while as a longtime Vanity Fair subscriber, that none of my personal items are worthy of publication. I seriously use shampoo my husband bought two for a dollar, and my stationary is a stockpile of stuff from the bargain section at Tattered Cover.

But you know what? I've got great hair. Penny wise, pound foolish, that's me. Bargain shampoo and pearls.
(Just so you're prepared, I am going to work these pearls into every conversation I have in the foreseeable future.)

Currently on the needles I have:
*a blue scarf for Pman made with yarn I bought with my own money, the first gift in forever or so with that distinguishment,
*Blaze. Oooooh, Blaze. I'm about one repeat into it, and I'm knitting with Brilla from Filatura Di Crosa. No one's going to confuse it with the recommended yarn, and it's turning out a little on the mesh side, but in a good way. Did I mention it's penny-colored, shiny yarn? If this works out and I have the nuts to wear it, it'll be dead sexy. Dead sexy.
*Pink-and-purple Lorna's Laces sock with a plain 1x1 ribbed cuff. If I have any complaint with Lorna's Laces, it's that the colors are so striking that complicated stitch patterns look like mashed potatoes next to those colors. I guess I should hurry these up so I can wear them on Valentine's Day. Maybe I should call them my Jackie Burqhardt socks. (Have I mentioned I have a weird addiction to "That 70's Show" that disgusts even me? It's the circle. It makes me nostalgic.)
*I'm mulling the Syncopated Rib sweater from a recent IK. I don't have the mag at hand but it's a potential project as opposed to an actual one so, tough. It's the blue one on the grey-haired lady that is knit from front to back.
*A blue-and-white sweater for Alice, very Hanukah, just sort of laying around the house because I'm knitting it faster than I'm coming up with a pattern, so it's stalled at the armscyes until a blast of motivation and clear thinking hits me.
*A maybe-poncho/maybe-wrap knit out of really soft yarn I got at the thrift store. Not enough of any one color for an adult sweater, but the browns, beiges, and grays all work well together. I just can't decide if a poncho is for me.

No doubt there's other things slugging around the house, breeding under the couch, nesting in the closets, but that's what comes to mind.

A large portion of my stash is the yarn I was given from Pman's grandma's estate. I am growing to hate it though, because there's only like half a ball of all the yarns I love, and then a bunch of moderately sucky stuff. My work ethic balks at the idea of giving it away, but one scarf at a time to use this stuff up...yawn.

Maybe next time I will review some of the local yarn dealers I've hit (and you know I really mean both "dealer" and "hit") and give you some skinny. Pman got treated really atrociously at one LYS and I'm tempted to march in there, demand a refund on my gift certificate, and then tell them which other stores will be receiving my money.

Here's a hint: bouffant hair. If you've been there, that should be the only clue you need.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Never Was One For A Prissy Girl 

So, did anyone else's New Year's suck like the family pig?

Thought so. And it's all downhill to the annual horror that is my birthday.

Question: how old do you have to be to stop saying "and a half" when people ask your age?

On second thought, don't tell me. Better to ask forgiveness than permission.

So, it's been colder than my mother here for the past week, which I think is Mother Nature's way of saying, "Hey, take another week off!" I didn't knit a whole lot over the holidays, but I only have the collar left (and the zipper-eeep!) on Pman's Accordian.

We had a really nice Christmas. The highlights for me were not having any family over and falling asleep on Pman during Shrek 2.

My mother gave me a big lecture on how I should put my two little ones in daycare and go work for the state with her. I may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I'm pretty sure it's not an accountant for the DOT. I think the only reason Pman hasn't put a pillow over my head is that my family is such an ugly "before" picture.
I may not be anywhere near Heaven, baby, but I've risen above, oh yes, I've risen above.

Some updates: Now that we know Pman CAN knit, he hasn't done it since. And I haven't seen the yarn or needles anywhere. Maybe he ate them.

One of the ladies I most conflict with emailed me to ask me to help do some big job at the fundraiser. And I told her, "Sorry, can't do it." And it felt SO GOOD.

My bar had its holiday party at a local Moroccan restaurant. The wine I wanted to order only came by the botttle, so I just got the bottle. I mean, who needs a glass? I'm already doing without chairs and silverware. I've never been quite so liberal that I'm one of those bleeding hearts who worship multiculturalism, sniffing at America and capitalism while idealizing any culture still living in mud huts and eating off the floor. Not down on other cultures, just relatively happy with my own. My boss got me a wicked cool fleece leopard-print scarf, explaining that I knit for other people, but I haven't knit myself a scarf.

And finally, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Now, time to don a helmet for my birthday. Let the Ceremonial Therapy commence!