Friday, December 29, 2006

Such a weirdo!

My dear Punk Rock Secret Pal Suzi over at the Darkside of Knitting has tagged me for a meme! I love meme's-all you people who love 'em to feel free to tag me. I think it's because I never participated in those "Find out more about your friends" chain emails I always got from people and now I feel all empty inside. Anyway, this is a meme about weird things, so you all get to now learn 6 weird things about me:

1. Starting with the obvious-my name. I know it's weird because I usually hear it mispronounced at least a few times a day. You might not know from reading it but my name is pronounced with a long A and then a short A. Imagine the name Dana but spelled with a J. Or as a friend in high school used to write on notes "J-na." Or just the name Jane with an A after it. Did you know that? I worry some day I'll meet my blogger friends and they'll all say it like 'Janna' with a short A sound and I'll feel all weird correcting you. So there, now you know how to say my name!

2. My heritage. Did you know that I am half Puerto Rican? Maybe the palest one you ever met right? My dad is from Arecibo, Puerto Rico. My mother-from New Philadelphia, Ohio. Guess which one I look like?

But my sister? Dark hair, dark eyes and tans well. Go figure.

3. Phobias. I have a few very strange ones. There are a few things that people see all the time, every day that just totally freak me the f*ck out. And even worse-I won't tell you what they are. I'm that scared. An encounter with such things results in many sleepless nights and possibly relocating and so I'm always afraid someone might just want to test the waters and see if that's actually true. So they're secret. So there.

4. I love the cold. Love it love it love it. People here will always walk in from the rain and say "Well at least it's not snow!" I walk in from 10 degree freezing weather and say "Well, at least it's not summer!" I hate the heat, love the cold. You'll never, ever hear me complain about snow or cold. Never.

5. Met the husband on the internet. Is that still weird? It used to be when we met 10 years ago but now I guess it's becoming more common. It was so long ago that get this- we didn't even see each others pictures first! I just knew to look for the biggest guy I saw and that would be him! And 10 years later still together. Whaddaya know.

6. I'm a knitter. Ok-you guys don't think it's weird but come on, you know how the Muggles look at us all the time don't you? When I'm at a party, and talking about Ipods comes up you know I go right into a dither about knitting podcasts right? I love you, you are my knitting bretheren but you have to admit in a world full of McDonalds, Lindsey Lohan and fake tanning we still stick out like sore thumbs most of the time right?

But we obviously don't care cause why else would we be here? Haha!

Anyhoo, I get to tag 6 people to list weird stuff about themselves now. How about Tracy, Grace, Rachel, Karin, Sunneshine, and Say, or anyone else who feels like partaking? (Don't forget the rules- Each player of this game starts with the weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.) Come on all, tell us something we didn't know!

And good knitting content will follow in the next few days. I am racing along on that sweater, I finished one sleeve already and I'm almost done with the body!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Merry!

We made it! The tree got decorated in record time yesterday afternoon, minutes before guests arrived! We've kicked off the holiday, opened a few gifts and are getting around to head out and visit family, more gifts, eating drinking, good cheer. Happy holidays to all you guys, no matter what or how or where you celebrate. Merry Merry!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

How many days are left????

You know lately it seems like as soon as Halloween is over Christmas is here. It's as if the moment the last sales clerk cleans up the last kernel of candy corn on Halloween magically elves must prance through the malls instantly hatching huge decorated Christmas trees twinkling with lights blaring Christmas music from every corner. Almost instantly. Right away...

This is not the case here this year...

It's December 23rd and that picture of my Christmas tree? Yep, just taken today. Well the tree only got here yesterday so it's not like it's been sitting around for weeks or anything. Normally, I'm more on the ball. While I'm not out there with the elves at 12:01 November 1st I usually have my jingle on somewhere around December 1st at least, trying to be a good sport and have holiday spirit and be fairly on schedule with my holiday tasks. But it's been a weird year around here this year. In the spirit of keeping this a knitting blog and not a whining blog I'll try to spare you the gory details and begin by summing it up this way- work drama for me, work drama for the husband, trying to get my mom moved before she has back surgery in January. See? It's been so traumatic it reduces me to the vocabulary of a preschooler, it really does. Trust me you don't want to know.

But we have a tree, and a wreath, thanks to my aunt and uncle who always send something interesting and good every year. And trust me things are finally turning around for us now, they are turning around fast and really, really well.

After spending the last hmm, 3-4 weekends in their entirety working with my mom and all her stuff we've finally gotten her moved into the new place and she loves it. It was tough though, after being where she was for 14 years there was a lot of stuff to go through, and get rid of, and she wanted almost all new furniture. And it was a lot of shopping and ridding and sweating-she's having back surgery remember? Can't lift anything? Yeah, we're glad she's in the new place and getting settled now.

And it seems like the work dramas are over. Husband is still on severance for awhile and is starting some training on Tuesday where he will also have job placement. Yep, we found out a few months ago that his job had been outsourced to Camden which is not only 2 hours away but also the murder capital of New Jersey. Ick. No thanks. But he's excited about what he's starting now and we think it will be a great fit. Meanwhile, my job had been causing me agita since about the end of the summer. A couple of straws broke this camels back lately though, so it's time to move onto bigger and better. I finished the crappy old job yesterday and I landed a cool new job to start in January, but first- I've rewarded myself with a lovely 2 weeks off! Woo hoo! I cannot tell you the last time I had this much time off. I'm really psyched. I have lots of stuff planned including lots of knitting of course!

But in the meantime first I have the holiday to enjoy. So while I may be a little late, I'm not going to let that stop me. If I don't get the tree done today my mom will be here tomorrow and we'll get it done then, we still have time right? Today I intend to finish the wrapping first, remember these guys?

Well the scarf and hat and socks yes, the towels I snuck in on the side. They were specific request, lovely cotton Lily Sugar & Cream cloths, one large, two small. Not shown in the picture are the bear that's been shipped off to my niece and the socks I knit for my dad-with everything going on I didn't even have time to photograph those. But they got done and are mailed.

I've even already started with doing some baking today. I have a batch of mint brownies in the oven. The recipe is from Everyday Food and has a layer of Peppermint Patties in the middle. I can smell them from here and they smell really good! And already off the cookie sheets and on the baking rack-

these are Ginger Cookies from Paula Deen. My crappy photography does not do their taste and also their smell while baking in the oven (also divine) justice. So see, I'm getting there. Better late than never. By the time Santa makes it to my house he will have thought I started preparing months ago!

**P.S. With all this craziness I haven't even switched to the new Blogger yet! I promise it's coming! If you are experiencing any issues with the comments because of the old Blogger I apologize, I promise I'm going to be switching soon! Thanks for your patience!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

So happy....

I present to you a body...

and a sleeve...

I finally got to cast on for the Main Street Pullover from WEBS. Why does this make me so happy? Well the shallowest reason is probably that it's finally something for me. I've finally finished/gave up on my Christmas knitting, depends on how you look at it. I might have shortened the list of gifts to knit for people but hey, it's a finished list now isn't it? But really probably more so is the yarn and the pattern for this sweater. First of all the Lenox yarn is delish. It is so soft, but not like mushy-fall apart in your hands soft, it still has some body to it which I really like. Secondly, this may make me a bore but I'm just a sucker for stockinette in the round. Boring I know, but I just love it. So relaxing, I can almost do it without looking. Today I worked on it while watching Funny Face and drinking Bigelow Gingersnap Tea (also delish). Warm beverage, Audrey Hepburn, Gershwin, baby alpaca and merino. What else can you ask for from a Sunday afternoon?

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Huggy Bear

Pattern: Baby Bobbi Bear by Blue Sky Alpacas

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton

My 2 cents: Well, it looks a lot better than I thought it would. He is pretty cute and is really, really soft. The yarn and stuffing is washable which is very important. I'm hoping that plus this being Organic Cotton and really having no small pieces to fall off and be swallowed will help get this past my scrutinizing sister and into the arms of my niece. I'm hoping she likes it, it's my understanding that she is learning to give hugs and I'm thinking our little friend here would be happy to practice with her!

As for the knitting well, I have had negative experiences with knitting toys in the past. I usually understand the instructions but get lost in the process somewhere. With Bobbi Bear there is much more knitting than seaming which was actually a welcome change from the toys I've made in the past. Here the only seaming is sewing on the ears. So less seaming meant (for me) less of a struggle at the end. But the struggle was still there nonetheless. The ears took probably 4 different tries to get them on and I got pretty frustrated trying to get the eyes and nose to look like the picture (which was the only guide I had). Unfortunately when I finished on Sunday afternoon I was swearing and ready to be done. I was happy with the end product but pretty convinced this was probably going a one time knit. But then I spent the day with him today, showing him to some people at work and my knitting group and it probably sounds corny but the more time I spend with him the more he really does grow on me. Even if the eyes were hard. He's so soft and you really don't want to put him down. I'm thinking maybe someday I'll knit him again. Maybe the second time around it would come a lot easier? But I'm not sure I really want to make him as a gift again. I just might have to make one for myself!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Things I like right now

I can't tell you guys how good it felt to read the comments from the last post. I knew there were others of you out there with holiday mind frazzle. I knew I wasn't alone. Stay strong though! With enough yarn and needles, we'll make it, I'm sure we can!

So the new Knitty isn't up yet. Does anyone else keep checking a million times a day like me? Anyway just in case you're thirsting for new patterns to drool over I thought I'd just take a quick minute and tune you into some of my favorite kniterly things at the moment.

Eunny Jang's new Anemoi Mittens pattern- The Zimmermania blog got me started on a Fair Isle Mitten curiosity and this pattern just plucks all of those strings all over again. I've never really Fair-Isled for real and don't think I've worn mittens in about 26 years but for some reason these things are speaking to me! I'll be downloading this pattern soon for sure.

The Perfect Sweater Ann is knitting at Mason-Dixon Knitting- They said a Perfect Sweater pattern could never exist and (yes I know I haven't actually knit it yet) but I still say they were wrong! That sweater is so, so nice and you can download the pdf for free and make it yourself. And it's Cascade 220, I love Cascade 220!

The Red Light Special hat at Brooklyn Tweed- Ok, really everything at Brooklyn Tweed looks good to me. I want to see him go to the landfills of Bayonne, New Jersey and try to make them look bad! Just try! Everything he photographs instantly looks like Russell Crowe on toast. Seriously. And it's more Fair Isle. And it's red. Beautiful.

Speaking of

The podcast at Sticks and String is by an Australian Bloke named David Reidy. He's rad. He knows a lot of stuff and gives a much more accurate male point of view of this knitting business than my husband or guy friends or the dudes at work or probably even Russell Crowe (I know the photos may be a joke/hoax/etc. He probably knits as well as I could play Master and Commander, but they crack me up anyway) And David has a lovely accent. You could listen to him and think about Russell Crowe if you like. You know, if you like that kind of thing....

And finally I've also been really into the new podcast The Knitting Cook. There's something about the knitting and the cooking together. How many blogs do you read all the time where they also mention food? All the time right? We need to keep our energy up with something of course. Anyway Faith, the host of The Knitting Cook, just moved to Germany with her family and is always friendly and easy to listen to. She's got lots of knitting info and Germany stories and food tips and recipes. In a few of the last episodes she's done the podcast while actually cooking the recipe in her kitchen. It's kind of like watching the Food Network while I drive. Kind of blows your mind just a little doesn't it? Hey it doesn't take much, I'm a recent victim of holiday mind frazzle remember? Be patient with me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My weekend and why I knit

This weekend was an absolute whirlwind. I don't even have any photos to post, because I never even had a second to think about the camera. First I left work a little early Friday to take the train into Manhattan to have dinner with my dad. He'll be traveling from now until after the holidays to it was important to meet up and bond a little. This meant I had the pleasure of battling with a NJ Transit 30 minute delay, the 30-50 mph winds and pouring rain we had Friday and trying to catch a cab during primetime. But it was totally worth it and was a lovely dinner. Saturday had more nuttiness-after a quick trip to the gym and shower, husband and I did a quick grocery shopping so we could get back home and make 2 full recipes of the rum balls and bourbon balls I've made in the past that he wanted to bring to the party we were going to in Brooklyn that afternoon/night. The party started at 3 p.m. and went probably into the wee hours of the morning, but knowing what I faced for Sunday we made it home at a reasonable 11:45. We had a great time hanging out with our friends but for some reason I had mindlessly spent most of the time standing in heeled shoes and by the time we got to the car that night I was pretty much working up a good limp. By Sunday I was already feeling the lack of sleep and crazy pace so I decided to be a slacker and skip the gym for sleep, just to get up at 8 a.m. anyway to get myself around and go over to my mom's house to help her with a bunch of stuff. She's in the process of moving so we spent the day lugging boxes to the new apartment, packing more boxes where she is now and going to what feels like 6 million stores to buy a whole bunch of stuff she needs. (The entire time I'm looking at the holiday decorations in the stores thinking, "Crap, I'm supposed to be doing holiday stuff right now too. Maybe I really should just admit defeat at this point.") I got home around 6 last night. Tried to make my house look a little less like a hurricane had hit it. Ate, and then at 8 p.m. Sunday night I finally sat down for the first time that weekend. Now by the time this sitting down point rolled around I was pretty much an absolute mess. Cranky. Tired. Miserable. Bitchy. Verry bitchy. For some reason busy weekends and me, we don't really get along. During the week is one thing. I expect my week to be busy, I'm at work 9 hours a day and after that there's not time for the rest. But when I get to 8 p.m. Sunday night in that state, and I'm thinking that in 12 hours I'll be at work bitching about Monday morning it's just not a good thing. I notice cat and husband start to look at me askance a little at that point.

But anyway, somehow I just decided to keep it together, watch some Amazing Race and knit a few stitches on my sock. And somehow, by the time I decided to call it a day around 10 I was feeling so much better. Just relaxed and focused and much, much calmer. It was a miracle! And when I noticed how much better I felt I decided it had to be the knitting. The one hour I got to sit down and knit just made me feel so much better, and changed my attitude and gave me such clarity. It's funny because I normally get pretty wrapped up in my knitting and what I'm trying to get done. It's like I'm Knitting with a capital K. And it's easy for me to forget all the other stuff. How soothing it can be. How it opens me up and helps me breathe and hear and rest. And it helps me let worry go and just slow down this crazy brain in general. This is why I knit. It calms me and makes me more human. It's just so funny that a little bit of knitting in my day can do all those things. It's such a simple, daily miracle and I'm really lucky to have it in my life!

Sigh... Now I just have to find some time to carve out for those Christmas cards or my relatives are going to be concerned....