Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FO: Jayne Says...

The Anatomy of a Photo Shoot: The Jayne Hat

"Man walks down the street in a hat like that, you know he's not afraid of anything."
-Wash, "The Message" Firefly

So I finally finished something. And boy is it a winner! Andy was so excited he wouldn't even let me take his picture:
He grabbed the camera from me (it is his camera after all) and decided self-portraits would be the best route:

Andy: Should I be smiling or growling or what?
Me: Nice smirk. Do you have to use me as the tripod?

Andy: Yes. Okay, how about this:
Me: Ummm a bit gassy looking, actually.

Andy: (Laughing.)
Me: Hmm, post-gassy self-satisfied face? If that isn't Jayne Cobb, I don't know who it could be.

Andy: Okay, now:
Me and Andy both: This one is screaming, "Something smells bad."

Of course I warned Andy I'd be posting them all. How could I not!

Pattern: I ended up reading several Jayne Hat patterns and then adjusting it to my own wicked Vanna-White-LionBrand ways. See, I tried following the pattern I'd originally linked to a few posts ago, but it was far too large, maybe even for my brother! Instead I did something like (cuz did I take notes? ha ha ha, funny) this:
  • Doubling up the yarn (I knit from both ends) CO 52 stitches on size US 11s double-pointed needles (like knitting with 1st Grade pencils!) with the "rust" color.
  • Rib (k1p1) for 5 rounds
  • Knit straight (gayly forward, I am 12) for about 3.25 inches.
  • I switched to "mustard" and knit for a while, constantly bothering Andy to try the damned thing on to figure out when to start decreasing.
  • Then I decreased one stitch per needle every other round until I had about 8 or 10 stitches. Gather and pull through.
  • Put the thing on Andy to figure out where his ears are, then mark out about 14 stitches each for the flaps. The space between the flaps is bigger in front than in the back as I'd like him to be able to see if he really does use this for snowboarding.
  • I picked up and knit the stitches that were just above the ribbing using the "brick" color.
  • Knitting back and forth now, I figured out how to attach the flap to the edge of the cast on to strengthen the flaps a bit.
  • Then knit to just above his jaw line and decreased pretty fast...two each row until there were 4 stitches, then bound off and left an uber-long tail that I made some fancy knots with.
The strings are longer than a real Jayne Hat for the simple reason that they needed to be long enough to actually tie. (Again, in case he does use this puppy for snowboarding.)

So I mentioned the needles, but for posterity: US 11 double-pointed. Possibly the largest needles I've ever used, aside from actually using real pencils, maybe.

The yarn: Vanna White's LionBrand collection. I tried so very hard not to lose the ball-bands just for you! See how much I love you all: Rust (135), Brick (133), and Mustard (158) all for less than $3 a ball!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dressing Room PSA

Yesterday: (And I apologize if it gives anyone the heebie-creepies...)

When you go to say, Victoria's Secret to try on, say, a bra? Take note of two things:

1) Is this a VS where the color scheme is gloss black and matte white? If so, are the dressing room frames painted in glossy black? If so, can you see the person who is trying on undergarments via aforementioned glossy blackness (ETA:) that perfectly reflects the person in the fitting room when you are standing in the doorway to the room waiting your turn? As I found out yesterday, that same glossy fabulousness is the way the VS helpers check to see if the room is occupied or not, especially when the line is rather long for trying things on.

That wasn't actually the creepy bit, cuz, yeah, hello, we're all women here, we all have boobs, whatever. However:

2) Is there a guy "waiting for his friend" sitting in the dressing room area in that chair usually reserved for bored teen-aged daughters/elderly shop-mates/bored husbands keeping control of toddlers, etc. who is maybe stealing glances up at the glossy black door frames? No, I don't think he was checking to see if the room was empty either.

I got directed to a dressing room far over in a corner and was just thinking if I should mention something to the VS worker when she scurried away to deal with one of the too many people shopping that day. I'd put down my bag and taken off my sweater, looking warily up at the frame and thinking about the guy when I heard the commotion:

Older sounding female voice: "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!"
Male voice: "Um, waiting for my friend."
OSFV: "WHERE Are you goi-..." fades to lots of female voices.

I'm not a regular VS shopper when it comes to buying bras. I've been a die-hard $9.00-on-sale-at-Sears kinda girl since that padding and push-ups stuff became king (queen?). I don't really need any more help at making my girls look bigger. But every once in a while I like to see what the fashion is. And somewhere deep in my tom-boy nature a real girl lives and it's nice to have nice underthings, at least one, you know, for special occasions. Besides, I'd gotten an email saying they'd once again, finally, came out with a full-coverage bra. Lemme just say that diction is a beautiful thing in advertising. Just because the new cup covers more than their current styles do, does not make it "full" coverage in my antiquated sense of the word.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share about the creepy VS fitting room door frames, and what trouble they can cause.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"I Learned to Drive in LA"

I am simply amazed at the varied reactions I get when I mention the above. It swings from the reverent looks young Catholic school kids give to visiting Bishops, to annoyed teens looking at their parents like they are the biggest dweebs in the multi-verse.

Whatever the case, it seemed that the group I went to lunch with yesterday was more of the former than the latter group. I mentioned the two almost accidents I'd gotten into in the last two days and I seriously felt that all that defensive driving (and posturing, must remember the posturing) early on in my training kept me from limping to work in a demolished vehicle, yes, knocking on wood and lighting candles about it.

I live in a building with a mini parking garage. I think I've shared the tidbit that I consider it "mini" because the spaces are actually TOO SMALL for even the non-SUV cars? Right. Well the path in and out is really only big enough for 1.5 cars to fit side by side. Great planning I tell ya. To spice it up, the first 1.25 of our two level garage is reserved for the businesses housed on the first level of the building. Mostly lawyers.

Doesn't this sound good?

Right, so as I am grandma-ing my way out of my mini space and crawling along the path out to the exit, this Mercedes barrels in and starts honking at me. I'd come to a stop and they were screeching to one (concrete floors) and yeah, had been going to fast. Slipping into reverse I eased back to give them room. I do the jazz hands asking "WTF?" And she looked at me like, what are YOU doing here!? As if the tenants of the building are scum compared to the people who work in the law office. She could not keep going forward, and you know what? There was no where for me to go, because by that time another car was waiting to go out. More jazz hands...really, I so wanted to pull a "finger" but it reminded me far too much of LA driving and my dad and traffic on the 10...urgh...so I pointed out one of many Law Office parking spots she could take so neighbor-guy and I could get on with our lives.

Only after she had parked and I was out of there did I realize I was almost hit head-on. What a way to start a Wednesday.

Statistically speaking, the rest of the week should be wonderful.

I like my neighborhood, the major streets are far enough away from one another that you can easily and safely drive the speed limit without needing to deal with people on your ass or being fully awake to deal with the pedestrians I've described before running willie-nillie asking to be mowed down like some PlayStation video game.

Apparently the absence of high-speeds also gives me the extra maneuverability to swerve around people who misunderstand what those big red hexagonal signs placed at the corners of the smaller streets mean. The fellow came to a stop half-way into MY lane. I saw him and knew stopping would mean him slamming into the driver's side, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that all that wave/cosign/tangent stuff I learned in school would apply somehow.

I think I missed him by inches. Well, my failing peripheral vision saw him far too close outside my side window, but the operative word is MISSED. I was too busy with the steering wheel to produce hand gestures of any kind, but in my head there was an explosion of reactions.

As our department was trying to figure out who could drive to the lunch outing they had planned...I buried my car keys. Something about "third time's the charm" kept floating in my head. I definitely did not need it to happen with passengers, that would be too much.

We did, however, contemplate the coming winter, and winter storms, and just how bad Seattle-ites are at driving in snow. I think I need to time how long it takes to walk to work. I learned to drive in the snow in Tahoe, but it won't matter how awesome my snow-driving skillz are if the other 599,999 drivers in the tri-county area can't deal.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Absentee Blogger...

Here is a non-post post/list of why I am not being a good blogger/blogging on a regular basis right now:

1) I'm bored with posting sans pictures.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, actually, but it's the first thought that came to mind as I logged into bloglines to check out what the haps in the tube-world was tonight. My blog sucks prune-twinkies when it comes to the whole picture thing. I should be out and about with Andy's camera. (On a related but tangent-like note...has anyone ever used their AMEX points to get a free "thing" (read as digital camera)? After nearly 5 years, I might actually be at the point of being able to cash out my points on something I actually want, but need to find out how to do this so I might finally once again have a digital-capturing-device that is all mine mine mine and I don't have to share....yes, am three.)

2) I've been staring so long and hard at a computer screen all day that I am typing with my eyes closed. "Training" consists mostly me watching people do their thing and the person I'm "assisting" in our department of three, showing me examples on his computer. Let me just say it now to get it over with, these people are all super nice, but fall short on the teaching techniques. I learn by doing. I've mentioned this a number of times to them, but they seem to be afraid to let me fail. I'm okay with getting things wrong the first time, really! How else but by correcting my mistakes will I learn?

So after a day of squinting at a monitor that is too far away from me to look at comfortably, I really don't even want to be in front of my own reading up on the world and/or my imaginary internet friends' worlds. Addiction is a scary thing...online newspapers are the gateway sites, taking you on to the world of blogs and then blogging and then....aaaaahhhhh!!!

3) My brain is fit-to-burst and if I spend too much time thinking of something brilliant to post, I will lose something I need to know for work. Maximum capacity we have not reached, but enough of my short term memory has been filled up and my brain just won't work as fast as it once did to convert all those loose synapses into long-term jobbies (tee hee I am twelve) mainly due to that aforementioned "I learn by doing" thingie so I have to figure out more creative ways of remembering what seem like useless pieces of information...which is filling up even more space...vicious circle time...

4) I have too many things on needles and the guilt is overwhelming. What am I doing typing meaningless symbols on the screen when I could be freeing up needles so I can cast-on more stuff???

5) I need to clean my room/pick up after myself. My desk is messy and that's just how I roll. But my floor is piling up books and tools and cables and yarn and needles and bags and bags of bags and old junk mail I can't seem to get rid of and my plaster teeth keep asking me where they should go---Did I ever mention I got to keep the plaster cast of my teeth from the root canal/gum surgery/there-goes-xmas-for-the-next-five-years experience? I let them throw away the aluminum shell of my temporary, but no way were they tossing my teeth! They're worth thousands! And they are hinged :). I need to post a picture...but um, yeah, see #1 above...


Until I tackle my list? Right. More of the same random-not-too-timely postings from me. Unless, of course, something juicy falls my way. Like say, zombies taking over Fremont.

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween 'round these parts :).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kickin' Butt & Takin' Names....

Well, at least on the subconscious level.

The other night I had one of those nightmares. You all with 7+ years together ex-relationship histories might know what I mean without my having to delve into much detail. It's kinda hard to put into words that don't involve my breaking down and wanting to run away, but let's just say soul-wrenching is in the descriptor. As well as maybe "wake up crying/upset/ready to hurt someone." Moaning in that "she's trying to wake herself up" kind of way is also in it. Let's just say I was not all chipper and happy and well-rested when I finally did wake up in the morning.

Right. Well, had I been keeping up with my dream journal I could have told you exactly what the dream was about, cuz it really was haunting me. As I was showering and telling myself I needed to write it all down...and then while drinking coffee I thought about where I might have put that journal but instead started to get my lunch ready...we've been through all this just a few posts ago.

Slowly and surely the dream has vanished...and good riddance, really. All I can tell you is that my X was in it and there was a house and lots of fighting and maybe even another woman, I can't actually tell you for sure by this time as my conscious imagination will happily fill in any and all missing details with it's overactive self.

Well, last night? Apparently it was my turn to be triumphant.

I woke up and the dream was already vanishing! I could not for the life of me tell you what I did, but I was smiling about it. I had this feeling of utter jubilation and I just knew it was because I had bested my X. Just totally won! It was CHECK MATE! JENGA! YAHTZEE! BINGO! All rolled into one! It was my Return of the Jedi finale. I had totally blown up the Death Star and yeah man, it looked just like him! (Wow, if he really has gained that much weight...sorry, I did mention overactive when describing my imagination, after all.)

I think everyone needs a morning like mine at least once a week.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Up from the Fog...

You know that medicine-heady fog you live in when things go bad in the sinus department and your nose has utterly rebelled and your eyes hurt just thinking about them and scare others around you with their lovely red patina? Or is this just me? Whatever, I'm doing about 80% better this morning and I'd like to thank the academy and my mom, and especially the makers of the NON-PE nasal decongestants and 800mg ibuprofen. Without you? I'd be lying near death in a gutter from my earlobes and brain exploding, or something. And whatever deity kept me from sneezing yesterday? I light a candle to you.

Too vivid a picture this early in the morning, sorry. It's that last 20% that is keeping my sarcasm at a decades-high level. I am trying to convince myself that my muscles WILL BEHAVE. The best way to describe it is that they've all become rather excited to be doing their muscle-y thing all at the same time and going in opposite directions; straining so hard they cramp up! I have muscles in my butt I had no idea existed! And when they cramp up? There you have me, sitting in my shared office, rubbing my butt.

Lovely, I know.

But even that seems 80% better than yesterday. I mean, I got out of bed without making the "old person" noise, and that is such a bonus! (I am so sad.) I even did 10 of my half-assed "sit-ups" to make sure my back was not just playing around with me. (Seriously, I lie down, on my bed, and using my stomach and thighs--two areas that are not doing the muscle-mambo btw--I sit up, then touch my toes. I never said I was an athlete.)

My neck and shoulders are the only places holding out. That's fine. I think this post might be the most "computer-work" I'll be doing today. That is, unless they have finally gotten a log in for me. Kinda hard to do computer-based accounting if I can't, heh heh, use the computer.

Have I mentioned I love my job? There is something to be said for my being able to train in the state of mind I've been in the last two days. I took notes I don't really remember taking, but that's okay, not only are they legible, the job itself is not the most taxing right now--again, probably due to the fact that I can't do much in the data-entry/look up department and there are such things as "training manuals" floating around the department!

The most taxing thing I was able to do yesterday was stuff envelopes. Come Thursday I might be singing a different tune. Apparently that is the "worst" day of the week due to actual time-lines that need to get met and people running around and bugging you to meet them. We shall see.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Okay I'm Sucking at the "Regular" Posting Thing

I'm fighting off the flu, or so I hope it's just the flu.

Diseases and plagues take on new meanings when I think about the fact that I work for a global non-profit and people are coming back from the field offices all snuffly and such. No really, whatever you brought back with you? Leave it at home! I don't really want the New Delhi Surprise Virus, or whatever.

I shouldn't really blame the field offices either. Most of these people are also coming back from vacationing. Hawai'i seems rather popular. Having lived there for a couple years I can tell you point of fact: it is a nexus for all sorts of fun nasty diseases! There are people from EVERYWHERE in Hawai'i. Cruise ships come into port 4 of every 7 days of the week! Sailboats rest up for their next big jump! Tourists do day trips! Think of the thousand different plagues they can spread!

And this is just the Hilo (read boring) side of the Big Island. I don't think I'd have had a well day if I lived on Oahu...I have a tendency to catch every cold known to man...or be in the midst of fighting it.

Whatever this is, I feel like I've been hit up and down my spine with a baseball bat. I won't even describe how badly my eyeballs feel. Yes, eyeballs! FUN! TIMES!

Lest I be just a wee bit more dramatic...and today? Today is my first day with my new group. In a little less than 2 hours I have to be all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to meet with my new boss! Timing is everything!

Speaking about timing...I've been trying to post at home so I could upload this button:

Tana at Constant Evolution of Things, nominated me forever and a day ago for "keeping it real in Seattle." I rather liked that tag line. Here is the actual post. I apologize for taking so very long to acknowledge this. And ask everyone's forgiveness for the even longer delay I will have in passing it on. From what I gather, I must nominate 5 new people. As I am late in the game to so very many things, the ones I'd have nominated already have a button...so, this will take longer than I thought. I will keep you all posted though.

Thanks for reading...more when my flu-weary self can deal with the bright white light of blogger's posting page...I wonder if I can get away with wearing my sunglasses in the office...hmmm

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Can't Remember What Newspapers Call it...

You know that wee little space they have to tell people they goofed on an article and stuff?
Yeah, pretend that's my title.

Last post I linked to the wrong Jayne Hat, but I want to keep that link "live" as I seem to need all the help I can muster these days.

This is the pattern I'm trying to use -- yup, gauge hates me; Andy's head is not 32" around. Though I suppose I could have ditched the whole hat idea and be just about through with the body of a baby sweater or something...only, well, even I would not make a baby wear this much plastic. If I ever get my hands on the camera, I'll take some pictures of this wonderful monstrosity.

I am training my replacement yesterday through Friday. Exhausted was and understatement last night. Teaching one willing but sorely inexperienced person to do your job is a whole lot like teaching 30 unwilling bored kids. Their eyes glaze over from too much information at the exact same rate. I have 2 weeks worth of information to cram into 3 days...fun times people!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Eating Ice Cream when it's Cold Out

I feel like I'm a walking contradiction.
All this year I promised myself I'd "experience more color in my world" by taking advantage of Project Spectrum, I knit:
  • One pair black/grey socklettes
  • A pair of muted striped wonders for my mom
  • A dark blue hat with some bit of subdued color for Andy
  • And then miles upon miles of brown/black/tan sock legs for Andy and Lev (which I still haven't finished...and don't even have a picture to show.)
  • Oh, and I continued on my black basket weave scarf.
As October peaked it's head and everyone was starting to talk about Socktoberfest?  What catches my attention?  That's right, HATS.  Yes, yes, 5 different socks on the needles and I'm figuring out hats...
Again, picture-less, but I don't think you want to really see what my poor Noro Kureyon looks like after being knitted up and ripped out so very many times.  I think it wants to be a scarf, so I've put that poor over-stitched yarn aside for the moment.  The problem was I couldn't make it so the hat fit right.  I am not immune from my family's mutant head problem, it would seem. 
Size is not the issue so much as my ears. They are far too big--or rather, long, or maybe just low on my head.  That sounds SOOOOOOO attractive, doesn't it?  All I wanted was a hat that would cover my ears, lobes included.  I tried pantas (I can't find it anymore, but  this one is similar.) and wondered hard about calorimetries (not ready for short rows and buttons and button holes) but decided a hat would be best cuz I don't really own one and head bands have the same problem with the covering of the ears/sizing issues with the additional fun of falling down over my eyes problem.  At hat, at least, would eventually stop slipping down as it has a "top."  Even Andy noticed I was ripping that poor Noro far too often and offered a suggestion, why not just add earflaps to whatever hat I did make!
The concept is not new here...but my need for a hat that won't make me look too much like a dork keeps me from going there just now...it just doesn't get THAT cold!  Then I remembered a hat I'd thought hard about making...with earflaps, one that, yes, I'd make, but nope, not gonna wear.  If I did play around with its construction, maybe it would be the training I needed for the too-expensive-to-mess-with Noro that I was felting just by looking at it wrong.  But such a waste for a hat no one would wear...Then Andy piped up again, he'd wear it, sure... The Jayne Hat.
The best part of this hat, aside from just being, is that even if Andy backs out of wearing it?  Due to the fact that we're all about matching colors and intentions (you get the feeling Jayne's mom is an aluminum-needle-wielding-wal-mart-yarn-buying momma, or maybe it's just me, I mean look at her son) vs. heading straight for the super luscious yarns AND the need for it not to make Andy's head itch (wool is harsh on his noggin'), I found the yarn I wanted to use for this hat at Jo Ann's for a little over $8, total! 
Now that I've bought the yarn, printed out the pattern, and dug out the needles, Andy does not know if he will actually wear it about town, such a slave to fashion, that man is; but I think it would be an awesome snow-boarding hat for him.  And if it gets lost?  Who cares!  Although, with the color scheme?  Orange/yellow/red?  And the pom pom I'm hoping to top it with?  Unless it's buried under a ton of snow?  I'm not worried about it being misplaced that easily. 
Hmm, the year's not over yet...orange, yellow, red...kinda spectrumy, dontcha think?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Gotta Start Writing Good Title Ideas Down...

Half asleep in purple plaid pajamas, I had a brilliant idea of what to title a post!

Then I drank my coffee, showered, made lunch, and yeah, gone....

You'd think with the number of notebooks and pens I own (shush, Andy, best not comment), I'd be able to write anything down no matter where I was in the apartment! Big sigh.

And isn't it weird how from a brilliant title an even more fabulous post ensues? And the inverse of course...cuz now that the title has slipped my addled noggin', remembering the brilliance of the actual post is nigh impossible.

And like wearing the best clothes you own when you have run out of clean laundry, it seems I pull out my 25¢ phrases when I run out of things to say....(I reserve the $.50 ones for obnoxious people at work.)

OH WORK! I haven't really started, and I have. Or rather, I'm still finishing up in my temp department and will some day "transition" into my new one, maybe it will start with an orientation! It's day 4 now and I still haven't gotten one of those...but joy and glee, I'm already being paid at my new LOWER rate to do the harder work I was doing! Fun times! I do have to wonder how they come up with these things!

So, when I rule the world? Right, we'll scrap that idea right off. At least it's not too grand a demotion. I heard there was a director that decided to become an assistant (their decision, not the company's) and the "transition" was about a month long. Yep, got paid at the "new" lower scale while they finished up their director duties...my neck hurts just thinking about that one.

Anyhow, I should get going before all the parking spaces are taken. It is amazing how many vehicles magically appear in Seattle when the rain appears...