Friday, December 31, 2010

Not feeling so serpentine just now.

I've been bellydancing for seven years.  That makes me feel a little old.  I've flitted in and out of periods in which I danced a lot, and periods where I danced not at all.  I'm coming out of a not-at-all time, and good riddance.  I hurt my back last winter, and for a very long time any kind of strenuous physical activity brought on an awful ache reminiscent of battle-wounds before a storm.  I have been feeling better and having fewer problems lately, and being able to do anything without bringing on an itchy pinched feeling in the middle of my back (just to the left of the spine) is such a relief.

I love being at home, and it's a relief to be somewhere rural after four years of college in what seemed like a super-urban area.  I wasn't even in a city, but in comparison with home it was maddening.  When I hear forest preserve, I think miles and miles of unspoiled wilderness.  On my campus it meant that you couldn't see houses in all directions in the middle of summer, but winter was another story.  The downside of being home, where I can see the stars, and hear the waves crashing on a quiet night, is that a lot of the cultural diversity I became accustomed to is gone.  Not only are there no authentic bellydancing classes taught by stunningly talented and beautiful Uzbeki ladies, there are no bellydancing classes.  None beyond a beginner level, within an hour and a half drive.  I thought for a while about teaching, but the necessity of being certified to teach a fitness class was just too intimidating.  I still think about it, but I've never been formally trained by an established school and it makes me feel a little insecure.  I'm well aware that there are infringement problems with teaching the moves of other troupes without citing them properly, and that is the last thing I want to do.  A friend who taught classes at school bought more than a dozen DVDS of the well-known troupes, watched them to exhaustion, taught the moves, and could therefore properly cite them.  For now, as much as I miss a tribal community, I am on my own.

I got out my Serpentine DVD and it is kicking my butt.  Or rather, between my shoulder blades.  I don't get sore from dancing so much as I get sore from having good posture.  My shoulders don't know what to do with themselves when they aren't rounded forward.  Sad, but true. Anyway, here is my review of Serpentine:
Dear Rachel Brice, 
You're amazing.

If I was going to write a more extended review,  I would say a lot about how perfect the yoga is - it's gentle, it's a hard workout, and the stretches are excellent.  I would talk about the awesomeness of the choreographed dances, and how fabulous it is that you watch the dance, and then she teaches it to you slowly, repeating every segment to cement it properly in your mind.  I would probably talk about how fantastic the shimmy drill is, and how consistently the camera angles show you everything you need. 
But that will have to wait for another time, because my thermostat is at 60 and I am now freezing my tummy off wearing only a sports bra.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Magic Frantic Post Trick

I was doing so well that I got a little overconfident about the 198 yards of heaven shawl I started two days ago. I just knit and knit and watched Veronica Mars while I knit and then I. . . tinked (knit backwards, get it?) and knitted and tinked, and knitted, and I think I've gone around in circles four or five times now since yesterday, and my stitch count is so consistently off!

But my tried and true Magic Frantic Post Trick came through for me again!  As soon as I posted a frantic comment on Ravelry begging for help I re-knit the trouble row and came out with the right number of stitches. I don't know why I don't just make a frazzled post as soon as trouble starts. It never fails that as soon as I make a nerd of myself publicly on the internet, the problem is solved.  This is true for any issue on any forum, as long as helpful well-wishers answer me and I then have to respond with a blushing emoticon and a confession that I figured it out!

In other news, I did not get bitten by my rabbit today. You may think that is an odd thing to say, since she doesn't usually bite me, but this time she had a reason.  She probably has a UTI or similar, and so we are giving her ten days of antibiotics. By we I mean me, and by giving I mean poking the side of her face until her tiny little mouth opens and I can put a syringe off medicine into it. She wasn't thrilled or cooperative, but she also didn't leap up and start biting me on the face. I gave her a carrot, but she refused to eat it until after I went into the other room (pouting bunny is cute).

Cookies Eaten For Breakfast: 3 + a mini peanut butter cup
Knitting Done Today: Very little, not including tinking.
Pleasure derived from groping Handmaiden's Lady Godiva (see above, the pink yarn <3): Lots
Podcasts Listened To: Early episodes of Sticks & Strings
Bunny Medicine Administered: .5 mg
Fingers Lost to the Bunnicula: 0
Harp Practice: None, but maybe some tonight after dinner at my parents house (where the harp lives)
Willingness to accept that my week off from work is almost over:  Zilch
USPS tracking codes for purchases that say only "There is no record of this shipment": 3
^ I am vaguely displeased about this.  USPS, you should be telling me when the knitting books and Namaste knitting bag I accidentally bought yesterday will arrive!  I need to know!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Danger Zone

I am trying not to go to the yarn store today. I need new needles, for my Scary Lace Project, but I am worried that if I go to the yarn store I will start squeezing the Namaste bags, and even though I need a bag I am afraid! Work is optional this week, and I have taken the option of staying home and cleaning and knitting and apparently shopping. But it doesn't make sense to stay home from work and then go shopping, does it?

Anyway, my Scary Lace Project is the Laminaria shawl in Madelinetosh Tosh Lace. Santa brought me the lace in the colorway Fjord, and after hours of indecision I decided to be brave and try the Laminaria pattern. I am a little (a lot) intimidated by it.

I am feeling faint, and need some pizza bagels.

Ok, feeling better. Anyway, I need to get some needles for the Laminaria because my circulars are the interchangeable Harmony Wood needles from Knitpicks. And while I wound that 950 yards of lace yarn the other night (took about 1.5 hours) I realized that I didn't want there to be a chance of the needle coming unscrewed and snagging the yarn. So - Addi circulars it is!

So far, I've knit three rows of the Laminaria and it is freaking me out a little! The yarn is so thin and cobwebby, and my hands feel so big! I think I'm just feeling that way because I've been working mainly with worsted weight yarns for my Christmas knitting. And because when I wound it I accidentally cut it in the wrong place and had to do my first Russian join to splice everything back together. I guess it looks nice to have the binding yarn of a skein the same as the yarn itself, but hot damn I wish more companies would just use some nice, disposable string. I've cut through the wrong loop more times than I like to think about.

I'll post pictures as soon as there's something to see! And now, I have to get Louie ready for her vet appointment. Do you think she'll mind waiting in the car while I run into the yarn store afterward? It would be a good way to make sure I won't stay and shop too long. . .

edited at 1:30 to add: I DID IT. I went, and I only bought the needles I need. I am so proud.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I've been dreaming lately. . .

I've been daydreaming lately, while I write the blog for the small company where I work, about starting my very own blog.

Alright, you caught me. It certainly isn't my first time, and I never meant to trick you. I have a livejournal, and many moons ago I had a deadjournal at some point when I was swept away by the politics of the internet and the Great Livejournal Hosting Scare of Whenever. I still use my livejournal, but I've had it for a long, long time. Since 2000. That takes me all the way back through Junior High School, and that is a train wreck that no one needs to read.

I've also had another blogger blog, which you can read here. I blogged while living in St. Petersburg, Russia for a month with three of my classmates from college. Well, I lived with the other girl, and the boys lived across the hall. Which was good because one group of us routinely stayed up late getting drunk on Russian beer and flinging leftover chicken carcasses from the roof in the wee, strangely lit summer hours of the night - and the other preferred to stay in and read and knit. I'll give you a hint: I sometimes think that I should have done weirder things and spent less time knitting to get the full effect of being halfway across the world. Especially because that darn shawl is now in permanent hibernation. . . I just didn't like it in worsted weight!

Which brings us to the main point:

Holy cats, do I ever have a lot of hobbies. I'd like to say too many, but I enjoy them all, and I wouldn't want any of them to read this and get their feelings hurt. Not that hobbies read. I'm not crazy - I just talk like I am.

I read all kinds of knitting blogs, and spinning blogs, and bellydancing blogs, and blogs about dogs, and cooking, and photography. And I think to myself: I should do that, except it will have to be a little less pin-pointed. Because those are all things I do with varying degrees of faithfulness. I don't read many blogs about playing the harp and doing yoga, and trying to learn to run but giving yourself shin splints every darn time. But those are things I do, too. And then I wonder, would people read about all those things?

And so, I'm going to try posting about them. About my Christmas Yarn that Santa (my mom) brought me, and my aspirations toward a spinning wheel, and how I always start practicing Christmas Carols on my harp too late every year, and end up playing them through January. But I think I will let this marinate and organize my thoughts and go to Petco to buy hay. Because sometimes, you just need a bag full of hay. For example, when your bunny (Louis, the lady bunny) keeps giving you baleful looks and you keep staving off her resentment with too many carrots. She is round enough already, but don't tell her I said so. Now she's looking at me accusingly from her favorite cardboard box.