Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Day 6

I'm still on Jury Duty.
Tomorrow I enter Day 6.

I'm hoping that it's the last day but I am not counting on it. This has been an interesting week, to say the least. One sweater sleeve done and one sock. I was able to sneak a few stitches in during breaks etc. and my jury peers do not mind if I knit while we deliberate. Yay!

Thank you for all your fun comments to my last post. Cynthia, I did not REALLY bring the bottles with me to the Jury selection process - you goober.

In spite of the tone of my last email, I actually do not mind serving or getting called to come in...it is just that I seem to get called at super inconvenient times. But, really - when is it EVER convenient to check out of your real life for over a week without any advanced warning?

If you have emailed or left me a message - I'm sorry not to get back to you I will hopefully be back in full force towards the end of this week. And then next week I am off to travel to two very special events.

It's true.

Once again I get to see the blue denim stained fingers of my very favorite
Kay, I get to meet the other Ann, see my ann, and see Cara's dust bunnies up close and personal.

In the meantime - you check out Lorette. How damn freaking cute is she? I have totally got to order one of my own shirts!

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

My civic duty to get drunk

A few months ago I received a letter in the mail calling me to perform my civic duty as a citizen of these here United States. No, I wasn't asked to speak out about my political preferences or to knit hats for the Army. I was asked to show up for jury duty.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts they have a one-day required duty. If you show up, sit in the room and participate in a trial you are let off the hook for 3-years. Well, I was called to appear about 1 week after the 3 year anniversary of my first jury duty in this fair Commonwealth. The first time I was called (3-years ago), I showed up...read for the morning...and left at 1pm free as the breeze. I anticipated the same for this time around. Apparently 80% of the jurors in Mass serve for one day. They are either not picked or they are put on a trial that is short. Everyone I know here has had the same experience as I did the first time.

Honestly, I do not mind this call of duty.* I participated in an incredibly interesting trial before I left Georgia. This experience was valuable as I learned a ton about the justice system and how to commit arson and get caught. It was cool, very Twelve Angry Men and all that.

This time around, being the 3rd time that I've been a part of a jury pool, I knew to head out the door prepared. I figured that I would have the morning to knit and read and generally relax. However, my throat was sore, I had about a zillion deadlines at work to meet, and a very aggressive social schedule. Which made me worried about the prospect of actually being chosen. When brainstorming possible tactics that I could employ to guarantee a free afternoon my husband suggested that I simply, when questioned, start speaking in tongues and bang my head against the wall. But that would be embarrassing. I'm no good at embarrassing. I came up with another idea. The next morning (yesterday), I packed my bag for the day.

knitting. fruit. hard liquor.

I walked out the door and said to my husband, "Here's to not getting chosen for a jury."

Can you tell where this is going yet?

Can you see the fuzzy screen and hear the foreboding music?

I was picked for a trial.

A Criminal Trial.

A Criminal Trial that is supposed to last for at least five days.



The novelty of the justice system wore off about four minutes into this trial.

Worst part? Judges frown at knitting during testimonies.


* I cannot hear the word "duty" without giggling just a little. Especially when a southerner says it. Oh, to be a four years old again.

PS - Thank you all for the kind words about the article. However, I'm not famous. You do realize that it is the type of paper that people get just to have something to line the hamster cage with, right?

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Monday, March 20, 2006

How to embarass yourself in public.

Please, please don't let this be my 15 minutes of fame because I was REALLY hoping for 15 minutes with Brad Pitt. He is totally on my list.

Blog one, purl two, or how to get along on the 'Inter-knit'.

Disclaimer: I have a fear of reporters. I worked in a non-profit job as an environmental scientist/advocate. Reporters are not always your friends, they tend to find the most backassward thing you say and print it up. This one wasn't too bad, the fault is all mine. I broke an eternal rule with this one, I spoke off the cuff. I was totally flabbergasted that anyone would be interested in anything that I had to say about anything. Please forgive my gooberness.

It must have been a slow week in our neighborhood. She interviewed me months ago. I had forgotten about it until today.

Thanks for hipping me to this Kris.

PS - I just received official word...The Demons have arrived!!! Mama and Babies are doing well. Melanie will post pictures when she is up and at 'em. Which, really, might be in 18 years. Congrats Melanie!!! We love you....

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Spinning like it was my Job

**Edited to add this kickass watercolor painted by Maggie (posted with her permission.) I meant to include this in the post below and forgot!!! I saw this on her site a few weeks ago, I adore it and it gives me warm fuzzies.**

Me and Robot (the name of the new laptop) with Bookish Spun Yarn in the foreground. Yes, Yes, it's true. This may be old news - The Bookish Girl has succumbed to spinning fever.

I had some great teachers, a kickass dealer and fabulous cheer leaders. The atmosphere of SPA was one of support and camaraderie. Carole was kind enough to let me commander her wheel. She was also the one who helped me to finally "get it'. How you ask? It was her sage advice and her well honed teaching method that finally brought me to understanding. Let's see if I can explain.

I was having a hard time understanding how to draft (is that right?) and when to let the yarn go into the little hole to wind itself around the thimble thingy. (Please, bear with me, I'm a spinning retard.) My hands were all over the place. My left behind the right, my right not sure when to run up or down the yarn. When do I grasp harder? How do I know how fast to move the hands?

I felt like a teenage girl having my first experience with a boy. And, as it turns out, I essentially was a teenage girl. Apparently, one can liken the motion of the hands during spinning to the motion of the hands during a tryst with a boy.


Do you need me to draw a picture?

Yay, I didn't think so.

Needless to say, my spinning improved about 100% after Carole used this analogy. Being the good teacher that she is she did not mince words so much (and honestly, I wouldn't either except that I fear some young Juliet may find her way here and get her socks shocked off.) It was totally hilarious.

By the end of the weekend I was able to spin sober and tipsy. Ironically, the tipsy portion of the yarn was a lot better. Go Figure. I wouldn't' say that I'm in love with spinning. I definitely wouldn't say that I was good at it. However, I can definitely see how it could be addicting!

Keep your wheels away from me you spinning pimps.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

The Comish speaks

Ask and ye shall receive

Bookish Girls Cafepress Store

I am earning zero profits from this. All prices were set by cafepress...I get nuttin'.

I did designate that all prints be done via direct printing. I ordered my team boston T with this option because the fabric items do not fade as they would with heat transfer. However, if you would like me to change it so that you may decide for yourself just say the word.


I'm working on modifying the image for black t-shirts/hats.
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Throwing up the Bat Signal

*** This is a long and rambling post. If you're a skimmer and uninterested in my ramblings, skip to the end for the good stuff.**

I am fortunate enough to live in a major metropolitan area that is overrun with knitters. Even more fortunate to know and love some of these girls/woman/crazy people. They have become my community. And I love it.

I moved to Boston about four and a half years ago. I had graduated from a M.S. program at UGA and moved to New England for a job with a small environmental non-profit. Originally from the northeast this move was not too scary for me. I was happy to be leaving the south and anxious to get back "home". Unfortunately this move was my forth in three years and the third that brought me to a place where I didn't really know anyone. For real. This sucked. I didn't have any friends for a very very long time. I knew people and I had all of my best friends from my youth a phone call away but there was not anyone here for me. The kinds of people that you can open up to and be real. It was hard. I was depressed. My boyfriend (now my ex-boyfriend and husband) was still in Georgia and I had no friends. I did love my job - so not all was lost. I also loved loved loved living in Boston, a childhood dream of mine fulfilled.

To curb my loneliness I decided to take classes at a local adult education program. The first class I took was pottery. Lots of fun but a pretty solitary experience. I decided to take kickboxing (sport of the future). Didn't quite fit in with the "pony-tail black pants I spent more on my underwear than you ever dreamt was possible" crowd in the class. This brought me to the knitting class.

By this point in time Rob had moved up to Boston and we were living in our new condo, engaged and living the good life. Rob may be my husband, the love of my life and the person that I would want to head off to a desert island with, but he is unable to fill the part of me that craves a loving welcoming community. Something that I still did not have even after living in this fair city for a year and a half.

My knitting class was great. The participants were interesting, the teacher was phenomenal and I really truly enjoyed the craft. I took a second class and after that attended my instructor's weekly meetings at her home. The group was lively but not one I clicked with on a deeper level. About this time our wedding plans got ramped up and we were on the go a lot. Attending the knitting group fell to the back seat.

This was about the time I discovered the online knitting community. Being unable to make it to my knitting group I was a new knitter without a resource to answer my knitting questions. Google brought me to a few web logs. I slowly became enchanted with the people, the community, the inspiration, and the form of communication. I choose to start my blog as a way to work on my writing, to feel more connected to a community, and to learn html. I have accomplished all of this and more.

In the end, I have met and gained an incredible in person, real deal, group of friends. I see these girls quite often, love to be with them and seek their comfort and companionship as a matter of choice and necessity. I often do not blog about our get togethers. Mostly because they are just a normal part of my everyday existence. There are a lot of things about this existence that do not find their way here. Not for any reason really, just lack of time and some sense that it is not extradoridinary. But it is extraordinary. As Rob and I contemplate our next life moves, where we are going and what our goals are, these people make it more complicated. In the best possible way.

I can now say, after four and a half years in Boston, that I have a community. A group that I love and one that I would hate to loose. Pretty freaking cool.

All of this to say -

The other day I called for a meeting with some of these girls. Just needed to see them, having not been around most of them much the last month or so I was iching for my girls. I sent out an email to see who was around and up for a get-together. As I was composing an email I thought, "Hmm, this is a lot like Commissioner Gordon putting up the bat signal for Batman."

I thought it would be fun to put together a "Knitters Signal". For crime fighting and general clean hearted fun. You can use this to call on your posse. So. Fun.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Turkey Talk

It is time to talk turkey. (Every wonder about the origin of that phrase? Me too. I love etymology. Blingo gave me this site right off (Blingo has yet to give me a prize though, stupid Blingo). It explains that the phrase comes from 1824. We have a lot of interesting phrases and slang in our language. I work with people who speak English as their second language and they have gotten used to asking me what certain things mean. I never realized how often I use slang and confusing phrases.)

Back to the turkey. Or the sheep. Or the sweater.

Here is the beauty in its full glory.

"post shower, pre hair dryer" hair

As I mentioned in my other post, bathing the yarn blocked into a much denser, softer fabric. Having done the requisite swatch-dunk I knew this ahead of time. However, I knit my swatch flat and knit the sweater in the round. My gauge definitely changed between the two which meant that I could not really trust my post dunk swatch gauge.

As you all know, I adjusted my pattern (with a fancy-pants spreadsheet) to my gauge as I knit. This was a fabulous plan that worked out great. Starting with the sleeves enabled me to make sure my body was spot on.

This was my goal:
Sleeve Length = 19.5"
Body Length = 15.0"
Width at Hips/Chest = 18.25" diameter, 36.5" circumference
Width at Waist = 16.7" diameter, 33.4" circumference.

And so it goes. It was exactly that until I blocked it (except for the width around the body, this was off and is a discussion for a different day).

You see, the requisite swatch-dunk that I did pre-project --- well, I missed the pre-block measure. Which meant I couldn't determine how or where the swatch changed gauge. Pre or post or post or pre. Poo or Poo

Anyway - blah blah blah. The blocked sweater was a bit shorter in the arms and the length than I intentioned.

Final word - Love the spread sheet. Will defo use it again. 13" is too short for a sweater for me (at least until I loose some chubs). Sleeves need to be at least 17" for me to be happy. A finished bust of 38" is a just about all right for a sweater of this type...but it could have gone smaller and still would have been way okay.

Bored yet? I am. On to bigger (and better) things.

Clarification: In one of my previous posts I stated that my I used size US8 needles, which was a US9 to normal people. First of all, I misspoke. You see have a problem with remembering whether or not I need to go up or down a needle size. Much like I have a problem alphabetizing things (I always need to recite the entire alphabet to figure out if r goes before or after t). I always need to go up a needle size. My sentence should have said that I used size US8 needles, which was a US7 to normal people. To further clarify, I am a tight knitter and as a matter of practice always go up one needle size from the recommended size. Having said this, I knit a lot looser in the round so this may not totally be true in the case of this sweater.

You all weren't much help in figuring out my 3.2.1 for my 30 list. Atrophy of the brain is not an acceptable excuse. My girl Stitchy brought out the big guns...where are all of your snarky brain cells? Surely they have not disappeared?
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Dirty 30

A 30 year-old girl!

A very public thank you for all the Birthday Wishes. I love birthdays and this one was a biggie!! Another thank you to my Special Birthday pal. I have no idea who you are but I truly appreciate the gift (I received an anonymous gift card to Amazon!) Rest assured that the money went to fun goodies - I'll post them when they arrive.

I had a fabulous Birthday weekend in Vermont with Rob and some friends of ours. The dogs romped, the babies laughed, and the adults got drunk. Good times. I made sure to bring up some of my favorite foods for the weekend. The house we rent is in the middle of nowhere Vermont so we always head up with enough food to feed an army. This gives us the perfect excuse to sit around and stuff our faces - why the hell would we want to bring all that crap back to Boston?

Lauren wrote about Monkey Bread a few weeks ago. Man, is that stuff good. Rob and I made this for our mid-morning snack the day of my birthday. Yum. I didn't have a bundt pan, so I used a spring form pan. It worked fine except the dough was not cooked all the way through. This was no problem though - we chomped it up anyway!

The men folk headed outside during the snowfall on Saturday to build a jump for sledding. Notice the case of beer? We actually had to remind them to come back into the house before their testicles fell off. The beer gave them a wicked sense of warmth.

This is Rya, one of our dogs. We had six adults, two babies, and three dogs up there. Everyone got along swimmingly. In fact sweet Rya was so worn out from chasing all of us 80-million directions that I can to make her lie down to take a nap. She could barely stand!

This is one of my favorite things in "our" Vermont house, the tub!

Rob did a great job with this birthday. Cards, love, a banner, a cake and a perfect weekend. He also embezzled money* from our shared account to sneak a prezzie for me.

I love it.

Thank you all again!

And now for some Birthday Fun....

30 things about being 30

30. Being 15 lbs over your ideal weight is no longer "cute", "fun", "sexy". It is bad for you and bad for your soul.

29. You can eat cake for dinner every night the week after your birthday (the irony is not lost on me.)

28. The idea that you graduated from high school 12 years ago is rilly rilly scary.

27. There is joy found in knowing your best friends for longer than you have not known them.

26. Your eyes really do start to go bad - your mom was not kidding when she said you should not read without a light. Not that the light was part of your eyes going bad - it just was something that she could not imagine reading without. You are now her.

25. You really can be 30 going on 13. I have the giggle lines to prove it.

24. The fact that you married someone 13 years older than you begins to reap unforeseen benefits - the fact that your 30 is fun to him. He can barely remember his 30th birthday.

23. A box from Tiffany's really is THAT great!

22. Thirty rhythms with dirty.

21. Babies love you, dogs adore you, men crave you.

20. Knitting becomes more expected of you every day - you become a cliche...this is cool.

19. You start to feel comfortable in your skin.

18. Your dog that you adopted when you were just out of undergraduate school now is an old maid and is bored by your antics.

17. You crave the company of children so you can play "pretend" and knock blocks around.

16. Your family becomes an amorphous group of friends/enemies and others. Mostly, you don't HAVE to hang out with them anymore - in my case - you WANT to.

15. Your mother starts to speak to you about the "Red Folder" and where it's located and how important it is to find the "Red Folder" immediate after she and my father pass on to eat the big cannoli in the sky (seriously, my favorite thing about Janet Evanovich? the million different analogies she finds for biting the big one.) so that we may roll in the dough that is their insurance policy.

14. After obtaining a mortgage, completing 6 years of higher education with school loans, and falling into the dreaded credit card debt large chunks of money do not scare you any more.

13. Receiving the first promotion of your career right before you turn 30 (because you spent most of your career in jobs with low ceilings) feels really great.

12. I'm not alone. While I may still get lonely - it's a good kind of lonely.

11. Drinking a dark and stormy on a dark and stormy night for your birthday is so loaded with literary potential that you can't stop thinking of bad mysteries novels.

10. I finally realize that my mom was right - I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to.

9. It's a decade to relish your bookishness. Reading and math and science are cool and don't let the bubbly butt heads with Varsity letters tell you differently.

8. I am officially in love with coffee.

7. My baby sister is now a grown woman. My brother is now a grown man. Although - they still can be annoying sometimes with they get all up into your stuff.

6. Your parents are no longer invincible. This is the hardest part about getting older for me...my parents are getting older too.

5. Your 23 year old nephew thinks your "old". eh-hem.

4. Oh. My aching back.

3.2.1. ?? I'm at a loss. Can you all help me with this one?

* Rob and I have a shared account that I manage. We have a strict budget because we are Poor and trying to dig ourselves out of debt. Every week we each get and "allowance". Mr. Bookish was pulling a little extra out each week and hiding it in his sock drawer!! Six months of this and I never even noticed.
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Sunday, March 12, 2006

She's crafty - and she's just my type

I'm a pretty crafty person by nature. An artist? No. Crafty, yes. I am also a bad blogger and barely manage to eek out posts about my knitting/reading/daily adventures. The crafty-ass stuff that happens here? Totally falls through the cracks.

Today, I tackled a fun and easy project. I made a magnet of the Knitting Olympics Gold Medal. Finishing a sweater in 16 days is quite an accomplishment and surely deserves some real estate on the 'fridge.

I had to play with Franklin's illustration a bit to make it the right resolution for printing. The image is not as crisp as I would have liked but still works for this project.

This is by far one of my favorite crafting tools. A Circular Cutting Thingy. I originally purchased it to help with the Wedding favors I made for our big day. It is super cool.

Cutting the medal out is a snap.

My other favorite crafting tool? My sticker maker. Love. It.

A sticker of the gold medal. This is cool in its own right - but I wanted to take it one step further.

Here is a magnet sheet. You can get these in most craft stores or here (these are self adhesive - no sticker maker necessary).

Stick the sticker onto the magnet and viola! You've got a Gold Medal magnet.

Love it!

Coming Soon - the sweater that earned me the gold...

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There is an interesting discussion going on in the comments from my last post. Please take a minute to check it out (and to find out what your silly name is - because it's just funny.) Someone left a comment pointing out a topic that has hit the Oklahoma House.

Restricting access to books with sexually explicit OR gay themes.

Read through the bill at the site linked above. I'm all for democracy, and for people deciding what to legislate and what not to legislate (at least in a perfect world I am - when it functions as it was meant to function). However, this type of action scares me. Library's are sacred places in my world. They should be free and open and available to material of any type to anyone. I can understand reshelving individual books in children's sections based on blatant explicit sexual content. However - to put them in a special area, an area that would require a renovation of an existing library building? Spending money on this, money that is better spent on buying MORE BOOKS, to restrict funding to a library if they DON'T comply?

These are just the logistical issues. When I consider the gay themed stipulation of this bill I am more deeply troubled. What kind of message do we send our children when we tell them that a story about two people of the same sex getting married should not be shelved next to a book about two people of a different sex getting married?

**I've changed the first link above to a current article. My Google-Fu was not on its mark yesterday and, as a much appreciated commenter pointed out, the original link points to an older article. Apparently this is a long running issue in OK.***
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Friday, March 10, 2006

Oprah Gizzard Buns*

We interrupt this unintended blog silence for the following news.

The American Library Association (ALA) has released a list of the "Ten Most Challenged" books of 2005 (thanks for the news Powells). Challenged books are books that are just that - challenged....usually by parents disturbed with what they find on the shelves of their local library.

I've lifted the following from the ALA press release. This saves you the trouble of having to link through to get the goods AND it gives me the added satisfaction of laughing my ass off every time I open up my website and see the following on my screen (Banned titles followed by the challenge):
  • “It's Perfectly Normal” for homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion and being unsuited to age group;
  • “Forever” by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
  • “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
  • “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language;
  • “Whale Talk” by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language;
  • “Detour for Emmy” by Marilyn Reynolds for sexual content;
  • “What My Mother Doesn't Know” by Sonya Sones for sexual content and being unsuited to age group;
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey for anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence;
  • “Crazy Lady!” by Jane Leslie Conly for offensive language; and
  • “It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” by Robie H. Harris for sex education and sexual content.

Let's reflect for a minute on only one of the these titles (I could go on about most of them) - The Captain Underpants series (um, yes, I did just spend about five minutes pressing the button in the lower left corner. What you going to make of it?!).

Seriously? Have you all read/seen these books. They are hilarious. There is talk of poop and all things disgusting (Booger Boy is a character, Professor Poopy Pants another.) Kids eat them up. They love them. They love to read them. They READ!!! Now we could debate the philosophical ramifications of letting your children read and enjoy books that talk about poop and being a crazy kid and causing trouble. But really, why would you? These books flew off of the shelves during my stint as a Bookseller. Call me a low brow reader but I really think, at the age that's targeted here, that the fact that the kid is reading far exceeds the negative impact of a few poop phrases and other benign topics. I happen to think there are far greater threats to the American child.

I think it would be interesting to travel to your local library and take a look at the shelves. Are these titles there? What were the most challenged books at your branch? Who's buying the books at your library?

Every library has a local flavor dependent on who is buying, etc. I have a good friend (Hi Jess!) who used to worked in a library when she was a student. She weighed in pretty heavy on the music purchases. This resulted in a primo music selection. It was good stuff.

I think it would be interesting to hear from some of the librarians and library goers in the crowd (and there are a ton, which I found out when I confessed to not returning my library book for elevinity-million years - which, btw, has now been returned).

What has been your experience with challenged books? What is the general philosophy of most library's? Do political / social leanings in an area influence the content of the library's shelves?

* My silly name according to Professor Poopy Pants
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