Friday, December 22, 2006

Would kick cat if she didn't believe that was a heinous thing to do.

I mean to say, can you imagine it? Moi?? She who runs around apologising profusely if she accidentally taps, kicks, knocks chair into or otherwise perpetrates any inadvertent, unintended bodily contact between her/feline??? Who suffers untold agonies in bed when aforementioned position themselves to their comfort, never minding that this has resulted in her having to contort her body into positions it was never intended to be in????

Enough, shut up already. What's to complain about? The Audible matter was resolved, that's something. I still don't know how - after "help" helpfully suggested three times that I try something I had already done, on the third attempt it miraculously worked. Still, what matters, I could then do the necessary, and now have an iPod filled with suitable material to get me through any sticky patches during the Festive Season. I somehow felt that "Bleak House" wasn't...quite...right. Somehow.

That's a 50% success rate.

So, obviously, the laptop issue was not resolved. You could say that. Oh, it arrived, eventually. I unpacked it with high enthusiasm, which rapid shriveled as I couldn't get the thing to fire up. Well, I did, a couple of time, and then.....nozzings. Deadness. I thought I was missing some trick, putting it down to age-related ineptitude (not having been born with a USB cable, just a regular old one) and the usual lack of any manual. But this morning, the DSM having taken it in to work for the big boys to look at, it Wasn't Me. There is something wrong with it, and of course it can't be fixed until after the hols as we are away.


All those good intentions of doing a little gentle work and some rather more serious playing, not to mention impressing the rellies by sorting out the answers to the King William's.

Or not.

Not to mention blogging. Never mind. Accept the will for the deed, and also please accept my very best wishes for the Season, whatever that may be. Quite fancy Yule, meself. Assuming that anyone is listening, except of course that it is perfectly ok to wish myself a merry, merry and a happy, happy. Yes, indeed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Life's little essentials include for me a decent computer plus internet access, audio books on my iPod and good coffee. Thereby revealing at least three of my personalities, split or otherwise. To wit, the semi-nerd, as opposed to the back-to-nature-gal; and the caffeine addict, as opposed to the natural food afficionado. Although, upon reflection, coffee, the real stuff, is perfectly natural, so yah boo sucks.

This latter I now have before me, fresh, hot and flavoursome. And obviously, I do have a computer, or I wouldn't be here drivelling on. What I do not have is my brand new Dell laptop, which should have been delivered yesterday, has in fact been sitting in the delivery depot in Huddersfield for several days, and no-one has as yet telephoned me to say it is on it's way. And being me, I want it before we go to Cornwall on Friday - on the pretext of working on our Summer School course, naturally. Not for any ephemeral purposes. Oh, no, of course not.

Then there's the audio books. I have some unheard, but want to download some more of my purchases from AudibleUK. So why, pray, has it suddenly become impossible for me to do so? I diligently searched all the FAQs, tried all the suggested solutions, none of which worked, finally emailed their help desk, and all they have so far offered is a form response telling me to try all the things I had already tried, and not to expect any further communication unless this didn't work. Which I had already told them.

Pause for gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and slurping of much needed coffee.

I realise that it is not only the above that are making me twitchy. Add on to this seemingly incessant calls from insurance salesmen (because most of our insurances fall due around this time of year). But also add on the utterly ludicrous fact that I am driving a friend to a hospital appointment shortly, as she will be having drops in her eyes and wouldn't be able to see to drive herself - well, that isn't ludicrous of course, but being nervous about it is!!!!! Apparently, my dislike, of all things doctorly extends to this, too. Ridiculous, or what? Actually, there is also the minor matter of the horrors of hospital car parks, always several sizes too small for the volume of customers. That's going to be fun, but not a real problem.

I am just an idiot.

But an idiot who against all odds continues to make things.

More fingerless mitts

I like these. The fibre is some of Freyalyn's hand-dyed merino, spun by me very fine and navajo plyed. I have enough of it for wrist warmers, too, one of which is already done.

Still got the yak and the camel to finish, and holiday projects to sort out.

We'll get there, one way or another.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I should be asleep.......

But I ain't.

As is sometimes the case when I have been out for the evening, I get into bed, read a bit, talk to the DSM a bit, settle down.....and am immediately wide awake with no hope whatever of dropping off in the next hour or three.

So I have been browsing around on the internet for a while, but that isn't working. I could sit and spin or knit or even crochet, as a huge pile of mohair given me by a friend is begging me to turn it into a throw. But as a one-time-inveterate night owl, I am afraid that if I get immersed in something, I will never get to sleep, well, not before three in the am, anyway. And as I have to be up and doing and out tomorrow, albeit gallivanting to an exhibition with a friend, That Will Not Do.

I could try to blame it on Freyalynn's luscious offering at Coven this evening, a confection of very nearly fatless sponge, spiced apple butter and cream in the layers, cream on the outside and then a thick sprinkling of toasted almonds. But that wouldn't be fair.

I could try to blame it on the unspeakable weather today, dark, dark, dark, and wet, wet, wet and very conducive of a fit of the melancholy. That would be fair, but maybe not accurate.

Oh buggrit. Just when I have another hectic two or three days upcoming. Even though (mostly) enjoyable. As I said, out tomorrow, out at Guild on Saturday, including the Secret Santa for which I have completed an item!

(Oh, I have also, finally, completed those dam' Regia socks. I feel totally liberated. Now I plan the holiday/travelling collection, which should be yak wristwarmers if I can get the yak spun and dried, a new pair of socks, and a spindle.)

Sunday we go to York to pay the mater her Christmas visit. I have got her perfume, as she requested, and it is lovely, definitely one she will like. But I am not sure how she will cope with the name - Dior's "Pure Poison".

At some point in all that, I must, must write our Christmas cards, otherwise they won't get anywhere before next year. Harrumph. Maybe that's what I should be doing now.......

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A meme

I don't usually put memes on my blog, for no particular reason. But Woolly Wormhead published this one today, and it rather appealed. A challenge (in which I may have cheated slightly?)

One Word Meme:

Yourself: weird
Your boyfriend: soulmate
Your hair: plain
Your mother: self-centred
Your father: dead
Your favorite Item: spindle
Your dream last night: calm
Your favorite drink: chai
Your dream car: Jeep
The room you are in: stuffed
Your ex: nonexistent
Your fear: spiders
What you want to be in 10 years? balanced
Who you hung out with last night? DSM
What you're not: predictable
Muffins: bran
One of your wish list items: Snowshoe
Time: unmanageable
The last thing you did: crochet
What you are wearing: red
Your favorite weather: blue
Your favorite book: lots
The last thing you ate: tuna
Your life: developing
Your mood: positive
Your best friend: DSM
What are you thinking about right now? question
Your car: Suzuki
What are you doing at this moment: duh!
Your summer: busy
Your relationship status: long
What is on your TV? rubbish
What is the weather like? sodden
When is the last time you laughed? today
Who do you tag? whoever

A secret weakness for McDonald's

Or rather, the knitting equivalent of a greasy and revolting Big Mac.

In the interests of hanging on to the semblance of honest reportage I aspire to in this blog, I have to confess.

McDonald's scarves

I have a serious weakness for glitzy, bright and novel "fancy" yarns. With which to knit (generally) garter stitch scarves.

Hence my shame. I'm not even sure if I feel better for having got that off my chest. You see, I don't think I can stop.

Please don't despise me. No. Belay that. Do if you wish. I shall remain defiant and proud, just as I do about being an Archers listener.

(Ooh, it's the wedding this week!! They are trailing dramatic 'appenings, I do hope it isn't going to be a Rochester moment.)

Anyway, I found the darker and to me rather nicer yarn in Artfibers in San Francisco, and the paler in my LYS (which, did I say, is going to start running groups in the New Year. Watch this space.) The darker took longer to do, I think I was learning to grapple with 20mm needles, the hot pink one I knocked of yesterday. And be warned, I haven't finished yet, I have a lot of fancy stuff in my secret stash....

Meanwhile, the Jacob bag has not felted to my total satisfaction, so Will Not Do. So I have had a rush of blood to the head, and have something very quick and dirty on the hook. Might work. Also attempting to finally see off the Regia socks, so very nearly there, but not quite.

But despite all this indigestible stuff, I Have Ideas. Tenuous ones, anyway. Actually, lots and lots of them, not just for fibre stuff, for all sorts. I just need to be able to devote all day every day to doing it all. Hah.

Apropos of which, I had this hilarious conversation in the Optician's yesterday when I went to pick up my new reading glasses. The very nice receptionist, not too far from me in age, was talking about how she had been cleaning her FIL's house while he was away on holiday. Moving all the kitchen movables, and cleaning under things. Bottoming, as they say. Because men don't clean properly, they just wipe the bits they can see.

I said very, very little. After all, I only actually understood about one word in four.

Such a nice woman, for an alien. Or is that me?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yaketty yak

And stuff.

I seem to have crammed a lot into the last few days, but without a great deal of progress on the fibre front.

But we have seen not one, but two operas, and done the greater part of the Christmas shopping!

First. The Jacob bag. Not looking too bad, but thus far refusing to felt, dammit. I will try a hotter wash, and see what happens, but I'm not convinced.

Jacob bag

Friday was hectic - I had my AH class on Friday. I had bought some lovely bamboo top and some Optim from Chameleon Colorworks when at SOAR, and from somewhere else - I can't remember where, except I know it wasn't from Janel even though she had some that I saw afterwards - some yak.

The bamboo and the Optim were pretty straightforward to spin. I like to do them shortdraw from the fold, and this was how I advised the group, although I did see some reverting to their preferred straight from the end of the top method. That's fine - I'm happy to encourage independence of thought! Opinions were very mixed on the Optim, and I was actually quite pleased that some of them, like me, found it lifeless to spin. Others loved it, though, and I had done my level best not to bias opinions before canvassing them.

Most struggled a bit with the yak, which surprised me not one bit, I had struggled myself. It is such a short "staple", for want of a better word. I love it, though, it is so warm and cosy in the hand. We carded it lightly first - I think it might respond well to being made into punis, but I decided to live with the barely irregular yarn I was getting without - and then used a point of contact method. I love this spinning technique, but students often have difficulty. It's all right for me, I'm the teacher, I make it look easy they say. I have difficulty convincing them that it is quite an easy method as long as they relax and have a little confidence. I show them how I am not "spinning" the down fibre per se, just letting it spin itself by gently easing the forming yarn out of the fibre supply. Some got it, others didn't. I need to do some more work with down fibres, I think.

The DSM dropped me off and picked me up, and we went straight into Leeds for the opera. We saw "Peter Grimes", which was wonderful, an incredibly moving performance. And long - we were late home, and as I had had an earlier than usual start.......

Anyway, we had decided that as we had to go back in to Leeds for the next evening's performance, of "La Voix Humaine" by Poulenc, we should go in early and knock off as much of the Christmas shopping as possible. I amazed myself by not conking out halfway through, and had my reward of a rather nice curry in a little restaurant near the Grand. Oh, and another reward of finding myself wandering past a small bead shop.....

The opera? H'mm. Liked the music very much, and the singer was great. Set reasonable, I suppose, but much more cluttered than I really liked. But the story and the character of the young woman and her unheard lover at the other end of the telephone? Needed a good slap upside the head, the pair of them. Having no sympathy whatsoever for the (central) character in a theatrical performance, or even a deep hatred, makes it difficult to fully engage. This is a young woman who should definitely take up knitting, spinning or better yet both.

Still and all, a nice couple of days. Today, a much gentler time, and I have even managed a little spinning. More yak - I have plenty left to make at the least some lovely toasty wristlets.

Time, I think, for a gratuitous cat picture. And thrown in for good measure, a gratuitous DSM picture. They come galloping to greet him when he gets home from work, and this can be the result.

(no subject)

And no, he doesn't have a string of Christmas lights around his neck.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Feeling foolish

That's me, today (just by way of a change.)

Finally got myself to the (what used to be called) optician (I can't spell the new title...) To my relief, everything checked out fine. I have to admit to still coming over just a bit apprehensive, in case anything has deteriorated in the previous twelve months, or in this case rather more than as I got a severe case of the round tuits. But all was well - very little change in the close vision and the distant is still absolutely fine for driving, I've got a whole line of letters to go before I'm in trouble! My friends the floaters are still not giving cause for concern, and apparently, something could be done if they get too bothersome, which I didn't know. So, all is looking good, and I;m just thinking that He Has Forgotten, when I hear the dreaded words "I'll just check your pressure, then."

Now, this very nice and efficient man doesn't use the puffer machines, which is one of the many reasons that the consultant recommends him. No, he anaesthetises and dyes the surface of the eyeball (pauses whilst half the congregation departs.) And then puts an instrument on this point, as I type, I am starting to feel the room spin round, too. I have, shall we say, huge difficulty in tolerating this. I know that there are far worse things that could be happening, but I could only cope with those with the aid of strong drugs. This is, I guess, what would be in my Room 101. That and slugs. (Did I ever mention the gargantuan banana slug at Muir Woods?)

I kept flinching back. He put in more anaesthetic. I flinched back some more. And he decided to give up. I failed. For the first time, too. Every time before now, I have gritted my teeth and hung on in there, but today I just couldn't. I feel so stupid.

It's ok, there won;t be any problem, I got so thoroughly checked not so long since. But the shame. I was telling him that it wasn't just me, that my sister was just as bad if not worse, and I could see this look on his face - praise be she's not a patient of mine!

I continue to knit. Amazing how long an i-cord strap can take, but it is done now and I am on to the final bits. If it looks anything at all like, I'll put up a photo, if not - well, I will confess.

Gansey - I don't want an authentic look this time. Actually, having seen genuIne fishermen's jerseys at relatively close quarters, I can't imagine that I would ever want authentic. Not such close quarters as a friend of mine....ahem. A story best left in the mists of time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just lean around it

The cat on the knee, of course. The one sitting there purring appealingly, with a sweet, innocent expression on it's face. But that is really bound and determined to Get In The Way, because all human attention should at all times be directed towards IT.

I know how to get it to move, of course. Well, there are two ways. First, just push it off. Or get up rapidly so that it tumbles to the ground before it can anchor into your leg. Or - no, there are three ways...(no-one expects the Spanish inquisition - lets quit with the numbering....) Cuddle it (it's Neelix); make a noise like a biscuit box; make a move toward the camera....oh, that did it!

My visitor departed yesterday, leaving the house feeling empty and quiet and me feeling not quite sure what I was supposed to be doing after a week of fun and frivolity. One thing I am aware of is what the French would call no doubt a crise du foie, brought on by overindulgence in meals out. Not only were we partifying with our guest to some extent, but we were invited to a friend's sixtieth birthday lunch on Sunday. And very good it was too, but yet one more rich meal....yes, I know, this is venturing in to the realms of TMI, so suffice it to say that I am at home instead of carousing at Salts with the Coven and sipping herb tea.

All my own fault, I have no sympathy for me whatsoever.

Other than that, I am knitting - still haven't finished the Regia wool/cotton socks, but am now on to the rib on the second, so nearly there. Also what might become a knit-felt bag for the Guild Christmas present exchange if I am very lucky, if not I will have to resort to fibre. I am spinning camel and silk still - got some more from Adelaide Walker, which I may already have recorded, brain fog.

No great inspiration or projects in mind, except that I have heard a lot of talk about ganseys lately. Now, ganseys actually figure in my heritage, in that I lived in Cromer, Norfolk for some years and my parents for even more. My mother's family had lived and had many connections there, including with some of the fishing families I believe, but my dear mama would never acknowledge that! Anyway, I am developing a fancy to knit myself one, and I have in the stash some dark alpaca and silk that would look good, I think. I shall continue to mull it over, and probably in the meanwhile knot another boa, if only to use up some of the ridiculous fancy yarn stash that I have acquired. I also need to finally decide what the camel and silk is going to grow up in to....

Meanwhile, I have an AH class on Friday, and I need to divide the yak into small quantities, likewise the bamboo and the Optim, for the latest "spin something different" day. Should be quite nice and gentle and good fun. Just as well, the DSM is dropping me off and picking me up so that we can go straight in to Leeds for the opera, and then just as if that isn't enough, we have another the next night. Sunday may just be spent quietly dozing over the knitting!

With a cat purring on my knee, of course. And maybe I'll even manage to get a photo.