Sunday, October 29

Happy News

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis because you enjoy what I have to say, I've got some great news. (For those of you who read my blog to mock me, this is terrible news, and a reason to never come back.) During the month of November, I will be joining the ranks of the many who have decided to post Every Day. I'll be blogging like it's nineteen-two-thousand-four! When I blogged every day!

Here's a link to M. Kennedy and a big old shout-out to her for starting up this NaBloPoMo idea. She got her inspiration from the NaNoWriMo that happens every year at this time. I've been intrigued by that idea before as well, but this is more my speed. If it's more your speed, too, then sign yourself up! I know I could use some more daily reading.

On the other hand, if NaNoWriMo is more your speed, do that! Everyone needs an excuse to get creative now and again. This is, like M. says, a great way to brighten up an otherwise dreary month.

Saturday, October 28

Hey Mr. Postman

Does anyone else think it'd be kind of cool to be a mailman? (Is mailperson more proper?) It seems like it would be fun.

Our mailman is very nice. We used to have this jerk of a mailman who would taunt my parents' dog, Augie. He knew that Augie didn't like having people come to the door, and he would start whistling for him two houses down, just to see Augie freak out when he got to the door. It was sort of a game to him, I guess. Of course it meant that Augie never got comfortable with the new mailman after the old one switched routes. He never got used to anyone coming to the door.

A few weeks ago, the mailman had a certified letter for Bruce. We assumed our pizza-man positions - I holding the dog a few feet from the door, Bruce taking care of business at the door - and when the mailman saw Huck, he smiled, "Looks like that one's going to like me a little better than the last one."

I'm glad that someone besides us remembers Augie.

Last Hurrah!

We sent the puppy away to live out his last "free" weekend with my parents. They will probably be gorging him senseless, and bring home a dog we no longer recognize, a dog who more resembles a bowling ball than a Snausage, which is totally the look we've been after.

Actually, we are way more into his physical health than we are into our own, and our beloved pup has grown himself to be quite the fashionably slim teenager, and I'm very proud of that. You could bounce a quarter off his ass, people. You can feel it when he lays his seventy-pound head on your face when you're trying to breathe, and reach around to extract him. I dare you not to say, "Wow, that ass is TIGHT!" while you do it. You might just think it. That's OK.

I know that some of you are curious, and so I inform you: I am doing alright with the non-smoking thing. I have taken up The Patch (or at least the Kmart equivalent to it) and it's going quite well. I feel like it's a loser's way out, sometimes, but I don't let that get to me (too much). The fact of the matter is that I know I need help in quitting, and there is statistical evidence that I quit better with help than without. (See all the years of trying to quit and failing immediately without help vs. the almost successful quitting with the patch.)

I totally miss my little man. I asked my dad to take him with him up north before I went to work this afternoon, and yet I was still shocked and very very sad not to have him greet me at the door when I got home. Still, I hope he enjoys it.

Because after next week he will no longer be consulting his balls in major decisions. This is like his bachelor party.

Tuesday, October 24

That Special Feeling

Really, there's nothing like having your own computer and sitting at it every day. I'm sure that you internet buffs realized this, but it has been a minor revelation to me tonight, as I finally retreated to my hole (the basement) and sat down in "my" chair. It's actually my parents' chair. It feels so nice. This is where I write my ideas down to share with you all. This is where I find the time to be inspired by random things on random websites. This is where the magic happens.

Don't worry, I'll make it happen more often. I didn't realize how much I missed it until now.

I quit smoking two days ago. Since then, I've had four cigarettes. It doesn't sound like a huge accomplishment to a lot of people, but for me it is. It's monumental.

In other news, I believe Linus is starting to become a food snob. He was clawing and chewing at the bag before his bowl was empty. Everyone hates a food snob.

Huck slept in bed with us last night, until about 7:30 AM, when it started getting light outside, and he decided that the time had come to fidget and lick my face and generally be very put out that we weren't waking up yet. Then he got put in his kennel until about 11:00, when I woke up.

The end.

Man, I need to do this more often. I can feel my brain emptying. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 17

Planning for Something

I can't remember the last time I had a PAP schmear. I know it's considered blasphemy to be a woman and not go to a girlie doctor, and I'm negligent almost to the point of going to hell for it, but I couldn't afford it. Not for a long time. It's going to sound selfish of me, and completely airheaded, but I couldn't justify putting myself through a thourough examination of the parts of me that even I don't see ever and forking over money to the people prodding me in uncomforatble places. (No, not the back of a Volkswagen.) (Oh god, did I just make a Mallrats reference?)

Thanks to a lovely customer of our pharmacy, today I was informed that the state of Wisconsin provides for those of us girls who just can't afford to take birth control or see the gynocologist yearly. Here's the information. So, if you're living in Wisconsin and avoiding having your annual speculum date, there's no reason to feel guilty about it. Get on over to your local Planned Parenthood and sign yourself up. You don't have to feel guilty anymore. And more importantly, you don't have to pay for it.

Saturday, October 14

Books I Never Knew Were Books:

Or:  What to buy on Amazon when you have a free gift certificate.  

Or Rather:  What to Buy When Your Husband Gets a Free Gift Certificate From Amazon and Lets You Share the Profits:  A Users Guide.

Or:  Books You Never Realized Were Actual Books, Because if You Had, You'd Have Read Them by Now.

Or:  I Didn't Actually Get These Books, I Found Them After Buying the First Two Discworld Novels by Terry Pratchett.

Here are some books you should buy.  If you don't want to buy them, that's fine with me, because for the most part, I'm putting them here for my own personal reference.  Should I ever again happen across $75.00 in Amazon gift certificates, this is what I will be buying:

The Princess Bride

The Neverending Story

PS:  My first love-affair quality book was "The Rabbit is Next", and the only description I could find online reads:  "Delightful story of Jenny and her pet rabbit, Bradley who had a hurt ear. A trip to the animal doctor revealed many other pets there needing help-cat; dog, monkey; hamster; turtle, etc. Finally Jenny got to see the doctor who examined and fixed " this very unusual case!" Pages tight; some page wear; some markings on few pages; yellow glossy cover with illustration of girl sitting watching dog, cat, and monkey chasing each other", which is everything I remember about the book.  It appeals to that little girl who still lives inside me, the one who sleeps with all of her stuffed animals, because she doesn't want any of them to feel neglected.

My second love-affair quality book was Charlotte's Web, possibly because my Grandpa had a pig farm and I was very attached to his pigs.

I read The Celery Stalks at Midnight, and remember thinking that there must be more to the story. The Celery Stalks at Midnight was a good story, but it was only now, after happen-stancing across the original: Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, that I realized that not only was this book an old-time favorite of mine, but there was more to the story. I haven't thought about it in years. I managed to snag the first book out of my parochial-school library, in between the many biographies of historical figures that were the only other interesting books I found to read. I want this book. Please buy me this book.

What books did you read and love as a youngster? Which books do you wish you would have read? What books do you recommend to other people? I love hearing stories about books, don't be shy!

And Few Things are as Scary as Math

After finishing two of the socks on my "to-do" list and completely ripping out one of the others, I thought it was penance enough to the sock-knitting god. I immediately started the post-planning, pre-knitting phase of development for the Embossed Leaves socks for which I've been yearning.

I dubiously cast on a few stitches with my size 1 needles, knowing full well that the pattern was calling for size 2s, and also that I don't own size 2s. I knit a gauge swatch. It was the requisite four inches across, with garter-stitch edging. I was very proud of myself. Until I missed gauge by a longer shot than I thought was possible. I sighed, feeling very magnanimous, and re-cast on size 0 needles.

I knit another gauge swatch. (This swatch was admittedly much smaller than the first.) I knit on and on in plain stockinette, and yet when measured, the gauge was further off than the first swatch.

The pattern calls for twenty-two stitches! "What insanely tiny yarn was the knitter using, that she got twenty-two stitches in four inches?" I asked myself. Being of sounder mind than usual when contemplating gauge, I wrote down the measurements I achieved, and took up my size 00 needles. A few seconds of pondering how this might effect my mental health, I thought about things. I mean, really thought about them. Then I looked at and read the pattern notes. Apparently, this pattern-maker decided to measure her gauge over two inches, not four. It was no wonder that with needles two sizes too small I was getting over twice the number of stitches she noted.

I remeasured my swatch, and pulled out my size 1s again. And sighed a big heavy sigh. And knit another swatch. (Smaller yet than the second swatch, which was barely two inches across.)

With my size 1 needles, I can get 24 stitches per two inches, which isn't terrible. I crocheted myself a chain of 70 stitches (some extras for leeway) and got to work with my first attempt at a tubular cast-on. I have only a very basic idea of how these things work, having only read one article of instruction when I was very drunk and online at three in the morning, but I think I understand how it works. It only took me a round to discover that a measley 64 stitches wouldn't be enough for a baby sock with the gauge I was getting on my size 1s.

I decided to add another pattern repeat to my socks, but I feared that this would leave me with elephant socks. I contemplated removing a stitch or two of the contrasting purls between the leaves, but the idea wasn't making me happy. I like the striking contrast in stitches. I worried on this thought for a while, and then noticed that the entire sock pattern is sized for 7 1/2 inch feet, and my feet are a (rather disturbing) 9 1/2 to 10 inches around. (Depending on the area being measured. I have flintstone feet. Elephant socks, indeed.) Small work to put one extra pattern repeat in there with my slightly smaller needles and get a wearable product, I thought. Even with my very wide feet. It should work.

And I proceeded to cast on 80 stitches, using the 1X1 rib method* in the glossary of the magazine. This was hard (as all thing knitting are at first) to get a grasp of, but I appreciate the simplicity of the movement. If you're a fan of the long-tail cast on, I'd give the ribbed long-tail a try. It's pure genius, and it works the way my mind says it should - the opposite of what you do to cast on a knit-look stitch creates a purl-look stitch. This will be endlessly useful in my knitting.

I then proceeded to knit two rows of complete crap, because I only perfunctorily glanced at the directions for the first two rows.

Tomorrow, though, I'll be totally set to start fresh, and with a good set of notes regarding how to proceed. For once, I'm taking all of this knitting "failure to launch" in stride, and not letting it get me down about the whole project. I suppose that's the power of finding a pattern you love and denying yourself the urge to knit it for almost a year. My love for this pattern and this yarn is indestructible. Nothing can stop it, not even the dreaded MATH.


When you're casting on a purl-looking stitch, look at it this way. Instead of putting your needle over and under ONE and over and under THREE and back through the loop made by ONE and TWO, bring your needle over and under FOUR, over and under TWO and back through the loop made by THREE and FOUR. Make sense?

Friday, October 13


Is it wrong for me to choose a dentist based only on the fact that their receptionist had a fabulous German accent? Is it?

Seriously, I went through the entire phone book, and the only place that wasn't rude or over-the-top or crazy expensive was the one with Andrea, she of the cool accent. And she understood that I'd probably need medicine before my appointment, and she called it medicine. I love that.

I get to meet her on Monday. It's been so long since I've heard a real live German accent in person. I'm excited.

In other news, the dog got his ass spanked this morning for picking the wrong socks to munch on. Why is it always the things you like the best? Why?


Thursday, October 12

Lots of Stuff

First off, embarassingly enough, I don't have the slightest idea what Susan's word "teh" means. It's definition is probably in her archives somewhere, else it's a bit of pop culture I have secluded myself away from, but all the same - I don't know what it means. I get the general meaning, teh = tre, or or very, or muchly, but I don't know the specifics. Susan, care to lend me a hand?

Secondly, I have done the impossible in the past week - I've finished off two pairs of socks that were languishing on the needles. Care to see? I thought you might.

The first pair is a triumph of mine. It's a beautiful yarn that knits up to the most delicious tweed. It's my second pair of completed socks, and the first pair I'm completely happy with, largely because I altered the amount of ribbing after almost completing the second sock. I'd known for a while that the ribbing on the first was a little excessive, but I had decided to "go with the flow" with the first. I chose to start the ribbing much before I needed to, and it resulted in an almost ridiculous three inches of trim at the top.

I had knit two socks before this one, but they had been top-down socks - this was my first try at a toe-up sock. I chose toe-up mainly because I wanted to use as much of the yarn as I could, because I think it's beautiful. As I was new to the knitting game when I knit it, I wasn't sure how much yarn I needed for any length of knitting, and I started ribbing too soon. When I got to the end of the second sock, I stopped the ribbing after an inch or two, deciding to edit the first sock to match. It turned out beautifully, although I may go back at some point and change the binding-off method. I used a simple bind-off, not one of the looser one's I've learned since beginning to knit.

The second sock is my real triumph, however. These socks are exactly what I want in a sock - not too long (long socks annoy my warm-blooded self) and with the right amount of jazz. They're Jaywalkers, and the pattern is really fantastic with self-striping yarn. I have a pair of Jaywalkers already (the first completed pair of socks I knitted), but these are really much more my style. I love the stripes, the colors, the ankle-high-ness. They're perfect. I even love the pictures I took of them - one self-portrait, and one self-portrait with the dog's whiskers in the corner.

Thirdly, we finished Angel this week. Yes, the full five seasons have been borrowed through Netflix, and I'm pretty sure Bruce is never going to recover. Even though it took 128 pictures to accurately describe his sadness at finishing the series. He loves him some Angel. I'm not as enamored of it as I am with Buffy, but it's hard to beat a Joss Whedon series no matter what it is.

Here are a few shots of Bruce cracking up when I asked him to show me his "Sad Face":

And then an actual picture of the Sad Face, the Sad Face that can be when you don't yell out "SAD FACE!" in the middle of trying to take a picture of it. Bruce is such a wonderful happy man that Sad Face doesn't come very easily to him, and you have to be sensitive to that and give him time to think about something depressing, like puppies dying or There is No Santa Claus, or perhaps the end of the television series, "Angel", for him to make the sad face.

And you know what? That's the best thing about him, the fact that it's so very easy to make him laugh, and that his saddest moments are his favorite series going off the air. He can be cheered up by a simple visit to a cheap chinese buffet, and his parents raised him to be completely independant and not afraid of anything (except for a television series ending). He loves life, and the very simplest things make him exceedingly happy. That's why he's perfect for me.

Lastly, our great friend Cam is coming to visit us in the beginning of November. I'm very excited for this, and I hope everything goes smoothly for his visit.

Sunday, October 8

Socktoberfest! A Few Days Late!

On Friday night, in the midst of a jam session of my new favorite band, Third Leg, and also in the midst of a good old nostalgic beer-fest on my part, I found an old friend of mine. Actually I found his blog. We spent oodles of time way back when convincing each other that german class was to be avoided in favor of coffee. I owe all of my german knowlege to the fact that some of the boys in that class were too cute to miss.

He just signed on for Socktoberfest, and after looking at my sock collection:

Can't imagine what's wrong with this pair, can you? Um, I need to fix the long one.

This was my first sock, completed in January. I think it's time for a mate, don't you?

This one is probably going to be frogged until later - the needles have crappy joins, and I spend more time pushing the stitches around the needles than I spend actually "knitting".

Anyway, I have a few sock issues to work out, as you can see. Why not try and finish up a few things during Socktoberfest? Also, I have to get some of these off my plate so that I can feel good about starting the socks I've been salivating over for almost a year:

Embossed Leaves (and Fleece Artist sock yarn! Joy!) in the perfect shades of green.

There are a few other things on my mind. This plant has pretty much been left to die in my mom's room, and I want to revive it. Do any of you have green thumbs? Can you tell me how to save it? I've run out of ideas after giving it a)sunlight and b)water. (It was left in a dark room without attention for a few months.)

What do you think, is there still hope?

Hmm, I wonder why my pictures are cutting off at the bottoms?

Friday, October 6


My cousin, the cousin, the youngest, the twig off the branch of the family that we no longer get along with very well, for those of you wondering, is in our fair town for the night. He has a friend here, and came to town last year for Homecoming and is repeating himself. My mom arranged it, and I was all for it. After all, we spent all of our weekends together when we were little.

I was born in 1980, then came my brother along with our cousin in 1985 (one month apart), and I felt out-of-the-loop. Too young to enjoy looking after the babies, and too old to really enjoy their baby games. I was the odd one, until Punk Rock Boy was born, in 1989. I was nine, and it was wonderful to have a baby to tote around and dote on and pretend with. He was so smart, too smart. He talked in complete sentences before he said a single word. He was chattering away in full paragraphs before he could walk. He was special, and I love him.

It's different now, because we are older. He's in that weird phase, the one where you dress up in funny clothes and wear black eyeliner and dye your hair funny colors with strange shaved patches. He's very pretty. I'll show you a picture later, but for now you should just believe me. He's gorgeous. I didn't know what to say to him.

I remember being seventeen and around my relatives, and it was irritating. If they weren't asking me about my plans for the future or my classes, they were asking me about... well, that's pretty much all they asked me about. In particular, I remember PRB's mom grilling me about my choice of college. I would start to answer her only to have her turn her attention elsewhere. These are the questions to which we are bored by the answers. I don't want to be that older relative asking questions about the most boring, most paperworky part of his life, and yet I couldn't stop myself. It's a sign of getting old, I'm sure. Forgetting how to communicate with people only a few years removed from your age. I was faltering, flailing. I felt like the most boring person on earth.

And then I admitted it to him, and we laughed about it and he understood, and things got better. I want him to stay with us more often, I want to have the same connection with him that we had when I was fourteen and he was five. I want us to be normal. I want to shed this part of me that doesn't know what to do with a teenager, because that part of me makes me older than I am.

Thursday, October 5

I've Been Better

My mind is working badly lately, keeping me from sleeping when I should be, reminding me to be really worried about stuff - without actually telling me what I should be worried about, generally being a big ol' pain in the ass.

I've been thinking about things to make myself feel better. While I appreciate all long-term suggestions (eating better, losing weight, etc.) and know they would be good for me, I'm in a funk right now, and need something to pull me out of it quicker than those things. I'm talking instant feel-betterers.

So far, I have a pretty short list:

  • buy a bra that fits

  • buy new underwear and don't walk around in the stuff I bought in high school

  • buy new socks, so I have enough and don't have to grunge it some days (or any days, for that matter

That's about it. I'm only good for undergarment-centric ideas right now. Anyone have anything else that is bound to cheer me up? I'm open to ideas. Preferably quick-fixes.

Tuesday, October 3


You know what? As far as I'm concerned, all banks suck big donkey balls. :)

The only one worth two shakes in my experience isn't an actual bank, it's a credit union. They're the only financial institution that hasn't tried to drive me into bankruptcy with their overdraft fees. (Because, get this, your card doesn't work if you don't have the money.)

That's a whole lot different from the other banks I've belonged at (TCF, Wells Fargo, US Bank, just to name a few) who seem to go out of their way not to notify you of overdrafts, in the hopes that you'll continue to make them.

It's not a perfect system, but they seem a little less drooly at the thought of my blood. And hey, that's good enough for me! At least until it becomes en vogue again to bury my money in a coffee can in the backyard, that is.

I hear baking soda brushed on each side of the bills will keep them well-preserved.

Road trips

Last Friday, we drove 25 miles to the city that our cable and high-speed Internet comes from, to deliver a payment to their main office. The town in 4,000 people, and I have no idea why a giant cable company would choose a tiny town to base out of.

Today, we're driving 30 miles to make a deposit at our bank. Our bank which hates us. Our bank which we're starting to hate back. Of the 9,000 banks in this town (one per person, you know), most of them are banks that only have three small branches in the upper half of this upper state, and no one else in the world has ever heard of them. 4,499 of them are banks which are slightly bigger, and have approximately twenty branches in northeastern Wisconsin, and ten in the southern part of the state. There's even one in Illinois! In Rockford! That's across the border! And, if you're following my math, that leaves one bank left. It's Bank of America. We don't use Bank of America.

So we're taking another road trip.

Monday, October 2

Monday's are Fantastic!

I don't know how many of you realize, but those NBC shows they've got on Mondays are the best shows on TV this fall. Heroes and Studio 60 - check them out.

Oh, and if you feel like checking out something else that you might find half as exciting as I do, click here. You probably won't be squealing with excitement like I am, but you might. You just might.