Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy (post)Thanksgiving!

Here is a stream of consciousness list of things for which I'm thankful at this particular moment. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

that we're mostly done decorating for Christmas at home
fingerless gloves
that I type well
Mexican food
nativities that don't look like everyone was European
that I have a job
that I don't live with my extended family
Christmas music
Amazon's universal wishlist feature
sourdough bread
that my list of complaints do not include such things as disease, hunger, or any serious form of oppression
rollerball pens with micro tips
James Christensen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rough Start

A and I went to Dick's Sporting Goods after work yesterday with our instruction manual, tools, and tape measure. Along with Golf Guy, who apparently is an engineer by day and Golf Guy by night, we took the elliptical machine apart enough to fit into our car. It took awhile, but it could have been much worse. There's also a broken spot I found on the frame, but I believe duct tape will fix that and add a bit of character at the same time.

We got it home and began carrying the pieces up to the loft. The final piece is the main bulk of the machine (minus arms, electronic piece, various plastic parts, and a gallon ziploc full of hardware). I carried the bottom while A went backwards up the stairs.

I am sorry to report that A has no latent telekenetic ability. If he did, I'm confident it would have shown up last night as his mind attempted to protect his body from damage.

I have tried to figure out how to express that trip up the stairs. I just can't.


So very heavy.

Later in the evening I began feeling tenderness in my neck and shoulders. Last night it woke me up. This morning I seriously contemplated whether showering was worth the pain. (You'll be pleased to note that I decided it was.) My shoulders and neck are... well, they.... never mind.

My current plan is to take ibuprofen every 4 hours and ignore it the best I can.

We're off to a rough start, the elliptical and I.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A and I have joined the ranks of those who purchase exercise equipment. We are determined (as I'm sure all purchasers are) not to join the almost equally strong ranks of those who then use these pieces of equipment as coatracks.

We are not completely new to this. We bought a Gazelle, which we both used faithfully for nearly a year. However, we bought the Gazelle for $30 off eBay, so that didn't feel nearly as rife with commitment as this.

I blame Daylight Saving Time. I hate it with my whole heart. (Well, not my whole heart. Part of my hatred is reserved for other important things such as irrational people, violence, and meatloaf.) I run after work. Thanks to DST, it is dark fifteen seconds after I arrive home. As a result, I'm not running except on the weekends. This is not a good training plan for someone who's doing her first 5K on December 12.

I went to a friend's house and tried her treadmill. I hate treadmills--not as much as meatloaf or DST--but I hate them. They make me feel like I'm going to fall off the back, even when I'm tethered to it by that little cord. They make me feel trapped. They make me scared. A runner at work said she uses an elliptical machine to work out when it's too cold/wet/dark to run outside. I've used one in college and while living at our second apartment, and I enjoy them... as much as I enjoy exercising, that is.

A, however, likes treadmills and hates elliptical machines. You see where this is going.

We bought a treadmill and an elliptical machine--both severely discounted. The elliptical machine is a discontinued floor model, and the treadmill was discounted as a pre-Black Friday special. The prices made it reasonable if we will use them, and I am optimistic enough to believe we will.

But, just in case, I think we should offer a gym membership to our spare room. You may choose to use either piece of equipment for the low, low price of $19.99/month (no prorate, no refunds, 1 year contract).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rant With Which No One Will Agree

Here's my Tuesday morning rant:

Tis the season for holiday party invitations. Besides the obvious problem that I'm an introvert and feel holiday parties are of the devil, there's the problem of eating at them.

For one of Andrew's clients' holiday party, we received a very fancy invitation with a request that we respond with our entree choice. The choices? Beef, chicken, or fish. There is literally no option for me.

You know how sometimes omnivores complain about herbivores being obnoxious pains in the ass? You know how sometimes you think that vegetarians are stuck up and drama queens and holier-than-thou about their beliefs?

Well, sometimes I am.

But sometimes my being a vegetarian becomes a big deal because the omnivores of the world make it a big deal. When they're not cognizant of the probability that someone attending their function would prefer not to eat meat, it leaves the vegetarian no option but to make a deal out of it. Even by simply not eating, we make a deal out of it. We make people feel badly, we draw attention to ourselves, and we don't do it to be spiteful.

My rant is twofold:

1) People need to be aware that there are those who have special dietary requirements. This includes people who are vegetarian, vegan, who follow kashrut or halaal guidelines, who have gluten or other allergies, etc. It's not easy, but it's important. To do this, people just have to put on their invitations that those with special dietary requirements should indicate as such on their R.S.V.P. so that everyone can enjoy themselves (as much as anyone enjoys holiday parties).

2) The idea that dishes with meat are the norm and dishes without meat are the exception is backward. If someone chooses to eat meat, it should be special. Not to put too fine a point on it, but something (unwillingly) gave up its life so that dish could be prepared. It's a big deal.

If we as a society ate meat as a treat, recognizing the sacrifice both in terms of life and resources that it requires, we'd be healthier and more environmentally conscious.

And I'd be able to eat at #*)$^ing parties.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Cost of Knitting

Here's a pretty fascinating blog post about the cost of knitting. I found it especially appropros as I'm working on my Christmas gift spreadsheet (yes, a spreadsheet--sh'up) and trying to figure out how to quantify the knitted gifts I'm giving.

Fame At Last

I continue to resist Facebook, Myspace (does anyone use Myspace anymore?), Twitter, and the like. My thought is that people are in my past for a reason. I don't want them intruding into my present.

However, I have embraced Ravelry like a stuffed animal during a weepy movie. The whole site is for knitters and crocheters.

HEY! DON'T ZONE OUT! A social networking site for knitters is cool.

One of the fabulous things about Ravelry is that you can post your knitting projects along with notes, pictures, details about yarn, price, time it took to knit, etc. I posted Brandy's secret project (Brandy, do not click), and I received a comment from the designer.

The. designer. looked. at. my. knitting.

It's astounding to me.

Fame at last.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Indianapolis Knitting Guild Mystery Shawl

It is finished.

Here it is pre-blocking. (Blocking is the process of soaking a finished piece, then stretching it into the shape you want and securing it with hundreds of straight pins. Then you let it dry, and it magically stays in that shape once you unpin it. This, and I can't stress this enough, won't work with acrylic. Don't bother.)

You will note that it looks like a wad of green poo.

Here it is in its bath.

Here it is stretched out and pinned. I do this on those foam mats that little kids play on. I can jab straight pins right into the foam. Try to ignore the colors, although I know that's impossible.

And this is the finished product.

I view this a bit like a wedding dress. The more people who wear the dress, the lower the cost per event. I would welcome the chance to lower the hours per wear, so feel free to borrow it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have mentioned the lace project on this blog. It is challenging. I am over it and only continuing because I am of the stubborn variety with an overdeveloped sense that projects should be finished regardless of, well, most anything.

I spent several hours on it last night and got through 5 rounds. That's approximately 79 gazillion stitches. I worked on it for most of lunch today and finished a round and a fourth.

Still, I am on round 20 and there are only 26. Several more hours of knitting, to be sure, and then there's the blocking, which I assume will take another two hours of me hunched on my guest room floor, stabbing hundreds of straight pins into foam boards, but I am Powering Through.

Then I check my e-mail. Errata have been posted. "There are two extra repeats of the lace pattern in the written instructions. To make it match with the chart, knit rows 1 – 16, 25 and 26 (skip rows 17 – 24)."

Um, I'm on round 20. I can't rip out the rows. Lace, ladies and gentlemen, is unrippable. Cannot be done. It will result in tears, the burning of yarn in a ceremonial pit, and possibly abandoning knitting in favor of ceramics.

I took a few deep breaths and studied the chart and written instructions carefully. I believe that I can finish round 20 and then knit rounds 25 and 26. If I'm reading the chart right, which is always a big gigantic if, that will finish one of the two extra repeats. As the designer noted in his e-mail, it's not a big deal if you do extra repeats. I'll just have a bigger border.

Now, I should feel relieved.

This eliminates four rounds of knitting.

2,736 stitches

The end is not only in sight, but closer than I had anticipated.

So, why does this make me so mad?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Things of Which I Am Currently Attempting to Convince Myself

Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa is really tasty. I do not miss the yummy cocoa at all.

I am not afraid to cook soup in a pumpkin. It will not become molten lava chasing me from the oven.

I would prefer to work out rather than spend the evening on the couch.

It does not trouble me that I have dreams that involve old acquaintances in footie pajamas.

H1N1 does not concern me at all.

The family of the teenager who rear ended us will turn out to be upstanding citizens who pay for the damage to our car without us having to pay our deductible.

I don't mind that part of my job is typing letters for people.

I like to cook.

The giant lace project is not only a fabulous learning experience, but will be beautiful when it is finished.

It will be finished soon, perhaps even in my lifetime.

Once it is finished, I will be able to look at it without seeing only mistakes.

I am exactly where I need to be.