Sunday, January 1, 2012

Yoga Brain

Just after my last post, I was bitten by a bug.  It looks like this:

I went to some yoga classes (tired of my frantic, purely physical workout routine).  After about two classes, I started looking for teacher training courses.  I've practiced yoga on and off for years, mostly as a part of my bellydance warm-up routine, sometimes in classes.  And if you know me, you would never say I have an easy time making decisions.  But somehow, this was a relatively easy decision to make.  Of course I agonized over it briefly, like I do everything from picking out shoes to picking out cheese at the grocery store.  I thought about it for hours and hours the first day it occurred to me, scouring the internet and freaking out, in computer-freakout-downward-spiral posture, which looks a little like this:
Not very yogic, to sit like that.  Makes it hard to breathe.

After my initial overwhelming search on the web, I skittered away from the whole idea, keeping it in the back of my mind. In a couple of weeks, after a couple more yoga classes, I called the studio that felt best to me. A little while later my teacher Michelle called me back, we chatted, she was fun, I took notes about the program. I went to her class the next weekend, and wrote a big check a couple of weeks later. After only one class I knew she would be the right teacher, and her studio would be the right place for me.  Honestly, it was the swearing that really sold me on it.  Any increase in laughter is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

In retrospect, I am shocked at my ability to make that decision.  I'd been waiting for a sign pointing towards the right path for me, and I never even stopped to read it when it finally appeared.  I threw myself onto it with a stick and a runaway bag (and a yoga mat), and despite the feeling of "Who AM I right now?  Is this happening?" it was an easy road to get on.  One of the details that really indicated the correctness of the whole thing was my inability to be slowed by even a tiny bit of apparent doubt from concerned parties.  Of which, there were few.  Past career ideas, when met with even the gentlest "Are you sure?" melted like butter in the sun, turning into a sad pile of former-ideas based on the vague uncertainty of someone else.  This time, a gentle "Are you sure?" was met with "YUP, and it's going to be AWESOME.  I feel GREAT." The longest holdout was my chiropractor, who originally thought I meant a weekend seminar that would leave me ineptly pretzel-ing the bodies of others.  She finally got it when I explained how I had just had an eight hour anatomy seminar (part one of many) the past weekend, and had a lot of homework to do.

The other surprising detail I noted about a month into the course was that I had essentially signed myself up for a PUBLIC SPEAKING venture.  That's not something I roll with, generally, and I am still impressed by my unconscious ability to squash that realization down until it was too late to turn back.

So I am participating in the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification at Sanctuary Yoga in Plymouth.  It's a bit of a hike, but the drive doesn't bother me much.  It's time to listen to audiobooks while I drive there, and time to think about everything we discussed while I drive back.  And Plymouth is an adorable town with surprising New Age leanings.

Some of my hobbies have suffered from the resulting time crunch.  The harp - beautiful, majestic instrument that it is, is still languishing in silence.  My spinning wheel has been mostly untouched since I failed at Tour de Fleece in July. *  This is not for lack of interest, but mainly because my time has been limited.  It's so easy to pick up knitting for a few minutes before bed.  Not quite as easy to tune a 40-string harp, or oil and fidget with the settings on a spinning wheel.  These are the excuses I tell myself, but something I'm becoming more familiar with (thank you, yoga) is: What is the point of feeling badly about any of it?  What am I hurting by not playing my harp?  Nothing, except for my long-standing desire to be a talented musician.

*I love the idea of Tour de Fleece, but really? July?  If it's 90+ degrees and I have no AC, I'm going to be in a cold bath eating watermelon with my hands, not sweating all over wool roving.

Right now I am working on Bella's Mittens from Twilight for Liz (a belated birthday present, based on a "gift certificate" for something knitted of her choice).  Chunky mittens?  Go damn fast.  I am knitting the Daybreak shawl (pictured above) in Madelinetosh Sock in the Citrus and Warmth colorways.  I am still working on my Vine Yoke Cardigan**  I may cast on a shawl from my Estonian Lace book soon, but I am intimidated by having no wrong side to space out on!  I finished a pair of socks for Christopher with Socks that Rock I bought at STITCHES!***  I just finished a little elfy hat for myself from Tosh DK, which is not as slouchy as I might have liked, but still precious.

**I dreamed I finished my sweater last night, but I was also in a Hunger Games type scenario holed up in a supply closet hiding from aggressors, so I had plenty of time on my hands.
***Another post for another time.

This is my update for now.  A good start to the New Year, and I hope you all have a happy day (and a happy year).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hobby Roulette: The Harp

I have a very tumultuous relationship with my harp.  First, there is the aesthetic joy.   Harps are beautiful, and Lyon and Healy harps are incredible.  The lines are magnificent, the wood is divine, and the scrolling artwork on the soundboard is breathtaking.  They are smooth and sturdy, feel sensuous against the skin, and my particular model has a brass crown and feet like a badass bath tub - if only I could find them.

The next layer is the guilt.  I've always been pretty piss-poor at practicing, when it comes to music.  I love to play, and feel I am transcending this mortal coil when I sing or play a particularly moving please in an ensemble.  This means that while at home, by myself, I feel kind of. . . lackluster.  It embarrasses me to make mistakes if there are humans around to hear them, and sometimes even when I'm all by myself.

Can you imagine the pressure of this magnificent creature, staring at you accusingly whenever you walk through a room?

Why don't you practice more?

You know, my strings wouldn't break so much if you tuned me every day. Twice.

What's the point of having a handcarved sitka spruce soundboard if no one ever plucks the strings?

Oh, my life. . . why am I even here?


 Our relationship status: It's complicated.

On the one hand, it hurts my back to play.

On the other, there is nothing as satisfying as playing the last arpeggio on the last note of a well executed song.

On the other hand, I am handicapped by my persevering inability to read the bass clef.  I can only memorize songs - never play them from a book fluidly.  It has to be fully memorized for me to play without starts and stops.  It is, as they say, frustrating.  I currently know two songs.  Le bummer.

On the other hand: What is my problem?  This is why I can't have nice things.  Because I agonize over them.  I feel guilty for spending my own money that I worked hard for.  What?

The third and most important thing is: the joy of making music.  I played the other night for a while and it was glorious.  I finally got my new strings in, and replaced them and tuned them, and then I sat down and played.  I love it.  It's calming, it's beautiful, and the harp is its own accompaniment. 

Can you guess what happened next?
Remind me to order a new F-string.  Because the one that broke?  Right in the middle of all dang everything.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Of Being Published, and tour de fleece, and sealing wax (or knitting)

My boss just called me at home to tell me the column I wrote for a semi-local magazine "is amazing". He said it was "Amazing". I said "OH BOY!" only partially because for dinner I have had two hot dogs and two glasses of wine. If they put any part of the column up on the magazine's website, I'll be sure to link it here so y'all can take a peek, but I am very excited.

What else is new, you might ask?

Superwash Merino in Black Magic Woman colorway, from Crown Mountain Farms.
Well, Tour de Fleece is going pretty well. For the non-spinners among you, here is a link to the 2010 Tour de Fleece entry on the Yarn Harlot's blog (blessed be her name). I haven't set any goals for myself, except to spin every day. So far I have missed only one, and I've been enjoying myself immensely. I have noticed a little soreness in my left hand and a little stiffness in the ankle region, but I haven't yet discovered whether that is work or leisure related.
Undyed Corriedale from CMF.
I've been finding very creative places to hang my yarn to dry. 
We had a wonderful time at my cousin's wedding to his wonderful wife!  I haven't asked Christopher how he feels about being pictured on the blog, so here is this picture.
Guess which feet are mine!
My knitting projects are going well, but nothing new has been finished since last I wrote.  I did finally block my Emily capelet, but I still have to take photos of it on me.  By which I mean I have to bribe someone to take photos of me wearing it and making us look good.

My Hemlock Ring Shawl and I had a minor disagreement, but that will be an entry all on its own.  Look forward to it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Because I'm pretty sure I've been a blogging under-achiever.  Rule #1 of blogging: Post every day.  Just can't seem to get the hang.

Anywho, lots is new here!  Christopher and Louis and I have moved from our winter rental into my aunt and uncle's beautiful, natural-light-filled, feng-shui-winning house.  It's a relief to be here, even though it looked a lot better before we moved all of our stuff in.  We're still unpacking, but mostly I just want to tuck everything unnecessary away and out of sight!

Crafting news is up and down.  I've been doing less spinning because since the move, Rosa is making a clunking nose when the whorl revolves. . . need to post an S.O.S. on Ravelry!  But, before the move I spun up most of my 8 oz. of pencil-drafted corriedale from Crown Mountain Farms. Spins like a dream, plies like a dream, now I just need a dry day to come along so I can wash and dry it!  I am considering (if I have enough yardage) spinning up the rest of it, as well as the natural coloured corriedale, to make the Daybreak Shawl by Stephen West.

My sweater is coming alone well, and is a dream to work on - bless your merino fibers, Madelinetosh, I just wub you in every way.  The only problem I am having with it is that I can't put down my Hemlock Ring (Shawl) for long enough to work on my sweater!  Amber Trinket on gold Addi Lace needles is just a sensual experience, and I can't get enough.  Plus, three consecutive rows of stockinette stitch at approximately 600 stitches per row makes for a lot of mindless knitting between lace rows.

Last night I cast on Christopher's Discover Sock from Cat Bordhi's P.F.F.I.S.K (long title, I'm sleepy, sue me).  I love this method of sock construction, and don't anticipate having second sock syndrome the same way I would if I was faced with the horrors of GUSSETS and SHORT ROW DRAMA.  I can't make short rows un-gappy in less than a DK weight, this is a failure on my part - I admit it.

In a week, we'll be going to New York for my cousin's wedding to his wonderful fiancĂ©e!  Starting to get excited, but I need to practice doing my hair, because I'm not good at it.  My papa was teasing me the other day about that, actually.  He said, "But you're such a good knitter! Shouldn't hair be easy?"  I'm trying not to think about how slippy and annoying it would be to try knitting with human hair.  You think bamboo is bad?  Puh-leez!

In other exciting news, I just got this game:

So I'm gonna go try that.  I'll post photos to accompany this post later, as soon as I've got some natural light to take them in!  I just can't make flash photos work for knitting.  Anyone have any tips and tricks about that?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. . .

It's been a month since my last entry.  A lot has been going on.  Everyone's home,  recovering and improving, but it was a family game of musical chairs at the hospital for pretty much the entire month of May.  I'm praying that everything will be calm for a little while at least, so we can all rest up.  There's nothing like driving to the hospital every day to make me think about stopping in at one of the churches along the way.  Just for a minute.  No matter what my faith.  My jealousy of religious persons is a topic for another time.

What's new with me?

I've been crafting.  I've been listening to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks - the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, and lots of Stitch It podcasts. Meghan is just wonderful, and so crafty, and she gets so much done. I find it so soothing to listen to her talk about moving while I'm freaking out about moving.

I've been preparing mentally to move, and a little bit practically by going through stuff and throwing out what I can.  This morning I washed and put away all of the pots and pans that won't be leaving with us when we move out of this house and into my aunt and uncle's house for the summer.

I ordered yarn and fiber, since last I posted, and they have arrived!

I ordered five skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Iris, for the Vine Yoke Cardigan.


I ordered a bunch of stuff from Crown Mountain Farms.  Do you KNOW what that MEANS?  It means. . . that I have beautiful, lovely, scrumptious fiber to play with.
Before Sunset BFL

Black Magic Woman Superwash Merino

Nirvana Corriedale

undyed Corriedale
That big box of fluff is like. . . the ultimate squee.  I've only spun the Nirvana Corriedale so far, but it is just lovely.  I got that colorway in the pencil roving, and while I do like it, it needs almost no drafting. . .  I thought that would be nice, but it takes away from the experience a little.  I can basically spin even singles from it with my eyes closed.

On the culinary side of things, a couple of weeks ago, I made a Gooey Butter Cake, inspired by the Knitmoregirls Podcast. Eating it was. . . an experience.  I knew from the comments on the recipe that there was a healthy version, so I looked it up and made it this morning.  It's really not up to par.  A gooey butter cake needs two sticks of butter, not one teaspoon.  I'll suffer through this version (it's not bad enough that I won't eat it), but I've learned my lesson.  Gooey Butter Cake needs butter.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's a beautiful morning!

Beautiful!  The air is clear, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and between the houses I can see the ocean sparkling a couple of blocks away. . .

And I have an ear infection.  I may or may not have CAUSED IT MYSELF by pulling on my itchy ear last night like a foolish fussy baby.  Since then I have been mainly deaf (it sounds like I'm underwater in an aluminum can), and in a stupid amount of pain.

And I just burned my only full-hand oven mitt to A CRISP by turning on the wrong burner.  What am I, a hundred?  Do I need to be put in a home?  How do people USE these ovens that don't have flame?  How am I supposed to KNOW which burner is on when nothing burns?!

On the plus side, my inability to function like a normal human no matter how much I really, really, really want to (CAN I GO FOR A WALK YET?) has been beneficial to the craft department. 
  • I have been spinning some, when I get too antsy for bed (thanks, Sudafed) but can't actually exercise.  It's like a low impact, low effort stationary bicycle.  I also may or may not have had a tax-return related Fiber Ordering Accident, based on the beautiful colors at Crown Mountain Farms.  Plus, you can get a pound of undyed wool there for less than $30.  That's like. . . half a sweater.  Purrfect.
  • I also cast on a scarlet Ice Queen with bronze beads for my darling friend who should have something lacy and beautiful in her life - she's been having a rough time the last couple months, although she is very brave and strong <3
  • I cast on the Juneberry Triangle out of Cascade's gorgeously shiny Ultra Pima cotton.  The yarn was going to be a tank top originally, but I can get tank tops at Target (unless they continue to, as it seems, have anti-gay political leanings.  SERIOUSLY, TARGET?  GROW THE EFF UP.  And do you hear me, rest of the country who hasn't caught on yet?  What do you think, this is the dark ages and this kind of bullsh*t discrimination is even vaguely socially/morally/ethically acceptable?).   Anyway, I need a prayer shawl much more urgently.  Deep breaths.  Cultivate my Zen mind and all that.
  • I made a wee tiny ribbed arm cuff for my mum, whose medication makes her skin quite sensitive to scratches and things.  I used a tiny bit of the lovely dove gray extra Baby Cashmerino that I used for Karen's Mitts lo, those weeks ago.  I've only made one so far because I need her to try it on!
  • I cast off the Emily capelet and am bereft without it.  It came out beautifully, and I should block it today while the air is clear and dry.  The buttons are perfect, and I'm SO excited about it.  Also, Madelinetosh DK yarn?  Not a single complaint.  Except that it would be excessive of me to swear of knitting with nothing else forever and ever amen.  As soon as the credit from my Eat.Sleep.Knit lotto tickets registers, I shall have to order more Madelinetosh and begin the Great Sweatering.  Which will probably be the Vine Yoke cardigan by Ysolda Teague (who I love).
  • I cast off (did I post this already?) Chris' Beer Gloves, which are now drying.  The fingers are uneven - so sue me, I can't count consecutive purl rows, ok?  But it's Malabrigo, so it blocks however I darn well tell it to block. The fingers look even now, and that's what counts.
And now, I am getting back in bed where things are not quite as flammable as they appear to be in the kitchen.  Louie, it turns out, goes all rabbit-loaf big-eyes when the house is full of smoke.  Who knew?  She's fine now.  Just a regular rabbit loaf, sans the terror.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Knitting is my anti-drug.

Knitting may be my anti-drug, but I took a break from knitting earlier to take my cough syrup with codeine.  Then I slept for five hours.  Good morning!  You know, sometimes you get sick.  And then you get better.  And then you get worse.  And then the doctor tells you you have a sinus infection and you get a bunch worse after you start taking the medicine (how is that fair?) and then you miss more work and you feel a bit like an idiot . . . especially if you spent the whole first half of the day wearing bunny ears. 

I know antibiotics say you might get dizzy on them, but hot damn.  I'm pretty accustomed to being dizzy, but I just feel totally disoriented.

But that's besides the point.  The point is. . . I love knitting.  Also, spinning.  I just watched this fantastic video about Navajo Plying, and now I finally understand what all the fuss is about!  I could never figure out from descriptions what Navajo Plying actually was, and now I do.  And now I'm obsessed, but I don't have any singles spun up, so I can't try it.  Ho hum.

In other news, my projects are coming along quite well!  Ready for a wee photo dump? :>

Handspun natural (Corriedale, I think?) from Sheryl at Spin A Bit!

Chris' Beer Gloves from Son of Stitch and Bitch, out of Malabrigo in the Pearl Ten colorway

My second Discovery Sock using Cat Bordhi's latest crazy sock method (no heel turning! Hooray!) Also, Knit Picks stroll sock yarn?  Love the long repeats, and the yarn turns so soft and nice after washing!

Sweet, sweet Emily.  I'm putting off finishing this because the pattern and the yarn (Madelinetosh DK in Malachite) is just too wonderful - I don't want the project to be over!

Handspun from Spunky Eclectic  . . I can't find the label but I'm sure it's here somewhere!
Latest (possibly unwise) purchase.  The most beautiful crochet hook (but I don't really know how to crochet)
The Hemlock Ring Blanket, out of Madelinetosh Merino Light in Amber Trinket.
Well, that's all for me.  I suspect I'll be watching another episode of Doc Martin (my new favorite show!) and then partaking of the sweet nectar of the poppy, and sleeping a whole lot

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On Having the Flu: Part 2

10.  Spend Friday dosed with ibuprofen and benadryl, sleep hazily.  Text your sister back non-nonsensical things.  Watch everything some more.  Do not want to eat, but do it anyway.  Eat the Tamiflu, sleep.

11. Saturday - Happy Weekend!  This day will be like every other.  Perhaps lose hope and cry hysterically while on the phone with your mother.  Mothers are very brave about this.

12. Sunday - yet a (nother) day of rest.  Keep resting.  Knit some, because your hands don't hurt as much as they did.  Become ambitious and try to sit in a chair while watching a show with your spouse.  End up watching from kitchen floor, because chairs are too something and you feel dizzy.  A half hour show is better in this case than a full hour.

13. Monday you should call out sick from work again.  I know you think you should go, but honey - you can't sit in a chair.  Monday you shower standing up without a hint of fainting, and feel triumphant.

14. Tuesday you go back to work.  Everyone yells welcome back.  You feel hung over, and wonder how you spent the last week sleeping but feel quite un-rested.  If you are lucky, your workplace is a loud one, because you are still coughing up a lot of goo.  Get rid of it.

I forgot to mention this step, from the early days of being sick.  Don't forget it, because it is important.  Decide you are sad and lonely and need a hug.  Hug your dog.  Or, if you are dumb, take your rabbit out of her crate for a good old fashioned snuggle-fest and then flop her feebly back into her cage when she bites your armpit and breaks the skin.  Rabbits are not fully domesticated. . . do not forget this.  On pain of painful armpit puncture.

In other news, have made new discovery.  Yarn store is between office of therapist and home.  I did need buttons.  I may not have needed all this new yarn, but here it is. 

In other other news, super secret very late birthday present is complete.  I. . . may have overreached.  It seems to me a bit in the way of a macaroni valentine, but. . . I will report on my findings.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Tutorial: On Having the Flu

The set-up:  Be completely unprepared.  Get both flu vaccines when they are kindly offered by your town.  Be aware that flu season is over.  Be in good health and reasonably good cheer, and try hard to get enough sleep.

The steps:

1.  On a Tuesday evening, say, begin to feel a little scratchy in your throat and chest.  Fear a cold!  Retreat to bed early and take a lot of Vitamin C.
2. Repeat in the morning.  Everyone else goes to work with colds, so get to work!  Mope around all day feeling shitty and making zombie noises.  Ask to leave a little early, retreat to bed with a runny nose, a cough, chest congestion, and a fever.  Eat way more Vitamin C.  Whine a little.  Watch most of the first season of Weeds.
3.  Have alarming fever-dreams about trying to keep your suburban marijuana business thriving, while ensuring all of your dealers are behaving.  Toss, turn, sweat.  Wake up and drink all the water.  Toss, turn, sweat some more.  Take a shower in the middle of the night.*

*In fact, until all symptoms disappear, take all the showers.  Four a day should do it.  In your weakened state lying in the bottom of the shower like a fetal shrimp while being pelted with hot water is your happy place.  This is the only time the weird sinus pains will cease, and you will lack the willpower to get out of the shower before the hot water has run out.  Don't even think about showering standing up - it's not a good idea.

3a. In the morning, call out from work.  A plus: You won't even feel guilty about it this time! A minus: That is because you can barely get out of bed, your everything hurts, and you are miserable and pathetic and too tired even to whine about it.  Your hands hurt too much to knit.  They hurt too much to knitYour hands. . . . . they hurt too much to knit.

4.  Thank the people who bring you food and leave it on your doorstep, without actually approaching within five feet of them.  Wave through the screen door, with your hair all crazy like that girl from The Ring.  This cannot be avoided - you are taking all the showers, yet have no energy to brush your hair.  It's a look, go with it.

5. Watch all the things Netflix has to offer, and sometimes things on hulu.  Try to read, but you may be too dumb.  Watch puppy videos on youtube. 

6. Cancel any immediate appointments.  Hope that Boyfriend will be home soon with Benadryl and tissues, because you have been through TWO rolls of toilet-paper-as-tissues in ONE day.  Stick tissues up nose if you must.

7.  Optimistically reserve a place at the writing workshop you want to go to on Sunday.  It's only Thursday, right?  You'll be all better by Sunday. . . right?!

8.  After watching four hours of a documentary about the Circus, have scary circus fever dreams.  Freak out a little bit when you realize your fever is rising a degree every two hours.  Deliriously try to call and make an appointment at your doctor's office at 2:30 in the morning.

9.  It is now Friday.  Go to the doctor after they call you back during their foolish business hours (9 am? why so late?).  Get nose swabbed.  Find out you have the flu.  Shake fist at sky and go sit outside so no one else will catch your plague while you wait for your ride. 

To be continued.  Too tired to keep typing.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Photo Bucket

Tent tags at work, all in a row.

Chris' knives (gorgeous <3) on display at the big craft show.

What I did all week - taped cables with electrical tape and seized blocks on!

I uh. . .I mean.  Look at this.  How could I not share batritos with you? Disclaimer: I don't know this girl, or these bat babies.
I haven't done much home crafting this week, mainly because my hands have been hurting after hand-sewing all day every day at work.  So I don't have much to say on that front, except that:

Karen got her gloves!  And boy, does she take a fab theme photo ;D  Steampunk ftw!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I can't talk right now. . .

I'm knitting with Madelinetosh.

And I'm in love.  The Emily Capelet is a wonderful project - not quite a sweater, but also not something tiny and fiddly like most of the projects I've been working on in recent months.

What's new around here, you ask?  Well, Spring tricked us into getting our hopes up - what else is new, New England.  Friday it was beautiful and sunny with a high of 67 degrees.  Today it snowed.  It's a good thing I have my yarn to console me.  And the gorgeous veggie and turkey bacon frittatta I just took out of the oven.  I did grab a couple of fabulous Bullmastiff moments for you, though.


Not super sure about horses.  I guess she's used to being the biggest dog around, or something?

My love.

Now I really do have to go - I have a date to snuggle with some stunning green Merino.