Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I dreamed I got something right, but I was wrong

Last night, the weirdest thing happened. I had a blog-related dream. My first! Most of it is a little fuzzy now, but the most important part was that I went to visit Becky. She was at home and wasn't expecting me, but I knew she had people dropping by all the time and I wanted to meet her. So I went to her tree house, where she lived. Of course. When I got there, Buck was already visiting which could have made things crowded, but I knew he'd be staying in his RV so it wouldn't be a problem. They were watching football and we all sat around and tried to figure out who the players were and where they were from and what the league was because, as everyone knows, the Pro Bowl was last week so regular NFL football is over. Much to our dismay. Then Becky announced that she had to go to her other house in Minnesota and Buck and I would have to leave. I got mad at her because Minnesota is much closer to my home than her tree house and I could have saved a lot of travel time, had I known.

The end.

Perhaps I spend just a smidge too much time in the blogosphere. Ya' think?


In news of the more, oh, I don't know, sane, I finished the Baby Girl's First Christmas Stocking and it's all ready to be sent to my former professor and join the one I made for her baby boy in 2006.

I think these are pretty, especially for how quick they are to make. I think I may have to start making them for adults, too!

This project finished, I was itchin' to get started on the latest baby gift -- an afghan for my labmate who recently announced she's pregnant with her first child! I'm so happy for her! She is from China, and I had thought that I would find a way to incorporate something about the Year of the Rat, but I couldn't really figure out how to do that attractively. Then I read that, aside from have the 12-year animal cycle, the Chinese also observe a 4-year elemental cycle. Each year is a year of either water, air, earth, or fire. This year is an earth year, and the color for earth is yellow. Perfect! Subtle, appropriate, pretty, and non-restricting (from a knitting perspective)! I have never knit an afghan, I've always crocheted them, but I've been itching to knit something large from Cotton-Ease, one of my favorite yarns. I just love the way it feels. And it comes in a rich yellow called Maize, which I love. It just all fell into place!

I got the yarn, cast on Sunday morning, and this is how far I've gotten so far in my fun and pretty feather and fan pattern:

I really like it so far. (Click pic for biggie view.)

Then, yesterday, talk in the lab turned to the Chinese New Year (which was just last week) and the Chinese zodiac. I brought up the 4-year elemental cycle and my labmate said, yes, there was something like that, but no one paid attention to it. LOL! Foiled again! Oh well, at least it's just a color choice -- and a pretty one at that! I think it's hilarious.

Maybe someday I'll visit her in her tree house and tell her all about it.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Unfinished business... of AWESOMENESS!

Today we're having a blizzard. Classes were canceled, there were whiteout conditions -- it was a great day to stay inside and, well, it would have been a great day to knit, or (ahem) take down my Christmas decorations (do NOT comment!) or some other nice, indoor, productive thing. So, instead, I futzed around and didn't do anything in particular, really. I did take a pretty impressive nap, though.

But that's not what this post is about, nosireebob! It's about awesomeness, and blizzards are not awesome. Well, they can be pretty great, but not awesome. No, this post is about two things. The first is: Gator got his gift in the mail today! And he loves it! And now I get to show it to you! Happiness all around!

It's a simple rag quilt made with some coordinating flannel I purchased a couple of years ago but had never used. It's not quite bedspread size, but I would totally use it for one. I slept under it (nekkid, even!) the night before I sent it to Gator (you know, for a little extra love in the package. Hee!) and I was not too hot, not too cold. Just right.

The backing is a light grey that makes a subtle border between the squares. The backing is also a courser weave and it frays really well. It gives the quilt a great look, but I washed it four times and the lint trap was as full as full could be all four times. It could probably stand to be washed four more times. It eventually will be. It's all good.

Most instructions online advise cutting the seam allowances every 1/4 inch to encourage fraying. I've made one before following that advice and didn't like the results. So this time I cut ~ every 1/8 to 1/16 inch. Basically, I made the cuts as close together as practically possible. I like the effect much better. Thus, like I said, the full lint trap. But I still dig it.

Purple is Gator's favorite color, so its inclusion is key. And what geek god doesn't love knights and castles and wizards? He asserts that this is a most awesome prize. I hope he sleeps under it and dreams of me. Not riding a unicorn. Don't ask.

My second piece of awesome business is that two people, Laura and Molly Bee, awarded me with the You Make My Day Award! How cool is that? I've never been awarded before! So fun! You guys make my day, too!

Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.

I pass the award on to Missa, Becky, Sue, Dorothy, Judy, Dawn, Julie, Laura, Steve, and Tricia. You all make my day, every time you post. Pass it on!

I also updated my links over on the right, there. That's a continuing project, but that's what I've added for now. Maybe you can find some new friends in there, too! Wouldn't that be AWESOME?


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pretty darned random

Does anyone else have the mid-winter blahs? I seem to just be doing the bare minimum that I must, then wasting a lot of time doing goodness-knows-what. I may be PMSing, too, so throw that into the mix. All in all -- blah.

It's not that I've been entirely unproductive, it's just that there's not a lot to show for it right now. Here's a short run-down of what I've been...

... Making:
I finally finished Gator's secret anniversary present and mailed it off yesterday. I can't show it to you until after he's received it. It took a lot longer to complete than I had anticipated but I lurve the results. Is it bad to be really jealous of your own husband for receiving a gift that you made for him?? That seems so wrong, somehow. And yet.

I have not worked any more on the Baby Christmas Stocking, but that should change this week. I've been puttering on another block for the experimental Ballband Afghan and I just ordered the yarn to make a baby afghan for my pregnant labmate. So things are a'brewin'.

... Listening To:
I'm seriously loving Ippy, my fabulous birthday / Christmas gift iPod. I've loaded all my music onto her and I happily listen all the time. I've been listening to some pretty random stuff, especially music from my collection that I haven't listened to in ages. The Church, Bela Fleck, Enya. It's a rockin' good time.

Also, I've just gotten turned on to the audiobooks available at Project Gutenberg. I knew they had a vast selection of E-books, but the audio versions are a godsend for long days in the lab when I have much to do, but none of it requires my entire brain. I've just downloaded all forty million chapters of Jane Eyre -- which I've never read! -- and I'm itching to get started today. Yay!

... Reading:
I just read one of the worst books I've ever had the displeasure to read. I'm a huge fan of Gone With the Wind and I really enjoyed the latter-day sequel Scarlett (NOT the horrible mini-series they made that bears little to NO resemblance to the book), so I was looking forward to reading the next authorized book based on GWTW, Rhett Butler's People.

It is supposed to tell the story of Rhett's upbringing -- how he became the man that appears in GWTW -- as well as what might have happened after Mitchell's novel. A version of the happy ending most of us yearn for. Even though both Scarlett and Rhett Butler's People are authorized companion novels to GWTW, they do not jibe with each other. They are two separate visions of "what happens next". While this apparently really messes with some peoples' heads, I don't really have a problem with it. But that's not to say I don't have plenty of problems other than that.

The author has previously written civil-war era fiction and has been highly praised for it. It apparently took him twelve years to finish Rhett Butler's People. He admits to only reading GWTW once and not liking it. He says he worked off his wife's notes on the novel. He admits he took the job for the money. It SO shows. Worse yet, I don't think anyone at the Mitchell estate or St. Martin's Press did any editing whatsoever. It's horrible. It is quite possibly the most unprofessional job I've ever seen, period.

There are many typos, to be sure. Ridiculous things that the lowliest of editors should have spotted. But worse than that are other errors. A one-legged man, who limps when he walks on his peg-leg, suddenly puts his cold feet into his shoes, "quickly" backs down a ladder, jogs in his stocking feet, and generally does things that a perfectly able-bodied man would have trouble with. Then there are the inconsistencies with the original Gone With the Wind. The timeline is disturbed (he states that Scarlett sold the lumber mills to Ashley before his birthday -- in opposition to the events of GWTW -- but then what excuse would Scarlett have had to go see him that fateful day and cause such scandal? The author offers no reason.), characters are decimated, and important events are left out completely. Then there's this novel's own storyline. It's all too pat and incestuous -- a small group of people seem to be the only people in the world; all their actions come around at the end to tie everything in a neat little horrible bow and nothing else influences anything. By the time I got to the last few chapters, I just wanted to get it over with so I could take the book back to the library. Thank God I got it from the library and didn't buy the ridiculous thing.

So now I'm going to re-read GWTW, just to cleanse my palate, so to speak.

Is it naptime yet? I just feel so... blah.