Saturday, December 31, 2005

In with the new.

Seattle was wet and warm and wonderful. Eric and my parents have met, and Eric didn't run screaming for the nearest airport and my parents didn't take me aside and whisper, "Are you sure you love this guy?" so all is well on that front. Christmas Eve was the family get-together, full of cookies and ribs (my step-uncle had three helpings, one at dinner, one at dessert, and one at game time) and talking and games and watching Gabe's antics. Andy got me a sudoku book. Eric and I had formerly scorned the sudoku craze, but then I opened the book and we worked on progressively harder puzzles the entire rest of the trip. Christmas day I got a red cashmere sweater from Mom, identical except in color to the two cashmere sweaters she's gotten me the previous two Christmases, and a movie and some books and an art print from my brother, which surprised me, and World of Warcraft from Eric. We'll see how that goes. Mom and Dad and James got Eric presents from the list I had sent, which I appreciated and which I think he did too.

The next day we drove to Portland, to watch Gabe some more, and the next day went to Mt. Rainier. Eric felt at home once we got up to the snow line. And we went to Jamba Juice twice over the trip--we were tabulating points for living in Toledo versus the Pacific Northwest over the entire visit, and Jamba Juice was a point for the Pacific Northwest. Possibly two. I was a little homesick the last couple of days, but I'm over it now. I still want to go back, but it's nice here, too. We had another Christmas last night, with Eric's family. They handle present opening differently from my family, but it worked out and I got nice stuff (notably knitting gadgets and Tupperware). Eric's sister got a new wool coat I coveted, but I had also gotten a new wool coat from Mom which I knew I was getting since she had been telling me for years that my old wool coat needed replacing and this year she had stopped trying to persuade me and said, "What color do you want?" I left the old coat at her house. I hope she at least donates it to Goodwill, as it's a perfectly good coat--though my new one is admittedly much better.

So I'm warm and current on family hugs and laden with material things, and now I'm helping with a New Year's party. In the new year I will be: getting an interim job, getting a real job, getting a house or at least a permanent living space, working on writing and knitting and quilting (oh, hey, I have to write a new Annual Report, don't I? Geez, already?) and generally getting my life in order. Business as usual. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas.

So I originally intended to make a pair of mittens for Pat. However, this was merely silliness, plus I'm running out of time here, so I decided to make a mini-mitten ornament instead. I used this pattern, with minor modifications, and my own handspun yarn. I liked it enough that I decided to make two more, one for me and one for Mom. Observe these mittens:

Same pattern, same needles, same knitter, same yarn, wildly different sizes. Clearly I need to work on the evenness of my spinning. Still, I'm entirely proud of these things.

Also, I have finally finished Cozy.

Seven balls of Knitpicks Elegance made it about my height (66 inches) when I finished knitting and about a foot longer once I got it wet and stretched it. You wouldn't think something this lacy would take so darned long, but it's finished and I'm pleased--I'm just waiting for it to dry completely so I can wrap it and put it under the tree, assuming Brenda ever puts it up. It turns out that the bare frame of a Papasan chair is great for drying such things.

So, with these things complete, I am now completely done with Christmas crafting except for (a) Marie's quilt, which I gave up on until after I get back, and (b) Gabe's second pair of mittens, which I will make on the plane. Now, to copy down cookie recipes (since Mom's expected several batches of cookies out of me on the 23rd) and finish packing and print out the flight itinerary. We leave in one day! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 16, 2005

On being gone.

It's strange to come home to this apartment after having been gone two or three days. Wednesday I went to Toledo Jen's, for a craft night--she worked on her hand quilting, I knit--and it snowed, wet thick snow that piled up quickly. I decided to stay the night rather than brave the roads to get to Eric's as originally planned. In the morning I woke up to the kids moving upstairs, rejoicing that they had no school, and in the afternoon Jen and I went to the Sonflower Quilt Shop and a fine-art store and Kroger. Then I went to Eric's, a day late, and finished a sock for Gabe (from this pattern, only with a few changes to make it look better and fit better considering I don't have Gabe's foot to look at) and ate not-bad Chinese food and did some talking about a house and a future and things of that sort. Today I'm here, and tonight we're going back to Jen's for a dinner-and-games night (I have to make dessert...I think I want to make apple pie) and tomorrow we're doing my laundry and the last of Christmas shopping and Sunday is our one-year anniversary and we're going to lounge around and do more talking about a house and a future.

And in less than a week I go back to Washington! We go, I mean. I'm glad Eric's coming and I do want him to meet my family, but I'm afraid that mostly I'm thinking about being back in the Pacific Northwest, back in the land of topography (or anyway a land of topography) and the Cascades and coffeeshops and Mom and Dad and James and Bev. And Ben Franklin Crafts. And the neighborhood up on the Plateau where they have the huge nutcrackers and the carousel. I played "Just Another Wet Seattle Christmas" for Eric the other day. I really love this song. "Christmas is here, spread happy cheer/No sunny sky 'til next July/When will it clear, can't see Rainier/Nothing but rain, drives me insane." And the end: "All I want for Christmas is another double latte." All I want for Christmas is to feel okay doing what I'm doing. And to do better things, I guess. But going home is a great second choice.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I woke up at 8:29, a minute before the alarm would go off for me to turn the furnace off at 68 degrees. (The connection from the furnace to the thermostat is broken here. So we have to manually cycle it between 60 and 68. I keep telling Eric, at my apartment I have heat. Then he points out that World of Warcraft inexplicably will not work on my computer, even though everything else does, and as this is his main extracurricular activity--other than me--it's enough reason not to be at my apartment all the time.) I turned off the alarm, prodded the lump of beagle on the bed, and went back to sleep.

I dreamed I was back at EEP, sort of, talking to a young EEPer I was familiar with (in the dream) about the EEP Drama Society. They were having difficulty deciding whether to do a play this year, and if so what to do that wouldn't deplete the money they had. "If Mike and I want to make an investment with this money all we have to do is talk to Dr. Frost," this EEPer told me. "But to do a play we've got to talk to everyone and they have to discuss everything, and I made a list, here, of the plays we could do and estimated revenue, and..." All a mess. I wanted to offer to help, but then I remembered I was an alumnus and not eligible, plus I lived in Toledo now and probably wouldn't even come to the play. So I went to the back rooms and started taking down my things. I had a rapier on a wall from two quarters ago, and a big camera that seemed to work with a box of sand and water in place of the lens, and Mom's yobo bed from Korea, and a decorated ironing board, and a half-finished quilt on the wall. When I was finished the rooms and halls were blank and I thought bleakly of having to trek fifteen minutes across campus twice to get everything into my car.

Then I woke up, twenty minutes later, and the thermostat fortunately only showed 70 degrees so I turned off the furnace and got dressed before it got too cold. This weekend we went Christmas shopping and I got everything I need--now I just need to finish projects. That and pursue some sort of worthwhile occupation while I wait for an employer to say, "Come work for us." Or for after the holidays when I'll apply at either Borders or Books-A-Million and get this life on the road, ready or not. Also, apparently, I need to find a local community theater to volunteer at.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Look what I made!

First, this is what happens when you read Doomsday Book and buy a spinning kit:

My very own yarn. Spinning is fun. Oddly soothing. I've bought a bag of white wool roving (what yarn is before it's yarn) from a farm online and I'm going to try dyeing it with Easter egg dye--also practicing spinning lots more to try to get an even yarn. And then the next step in learning to spin: plying.

And then there's this:

TST (Trees, Santa, Trees). It's finally finished, after a year and a half and a recipient switch, just in time for Christmas. It's meant to be a lap quilt, not a bed quilt (I'm putting this picture up because the full-front one turned out blurry). The binding was torture, though I learned that you can't make a binding bigger than the seam allowance, at least not the way everyone says to do it (folding to mitre the corners). But it's finished and I'm happy. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Christmas spirit.

It's snowing and I am once again gloating about being home. Later I'm making banana gingerbread (as I have three overripe bananas that need doing something with) and practicing Christmas songs on my guitar. And gloating. I'm getting coal in my stocking for sure.

Three weeks until we go back for Christmas! I just finished sending out the Christmas gift exchange names. We started this last year, to ease up everyone's burden of buying everyone a gift, especially as the family was getting bigger, and this year Dad had me arrange it because I wanted to get my cousin Cody on purpose because I already bought him a gift. Next year somebody else will work the system. I hope. Because sending haranguing e-mails to my relatives ("You never sent any suggestions for presents; do it now or I'll put you down for coal, Vaseline, and #2 pencils") is not a good way to remain loved.

I've actually got a decent amount of Christmas shopping/making done. I've also got leaves strewn across my floor--fabric leaves--because I wanted to test the colors of Marie's quilt, which I'm thinking of as "The Sacrifice," which is probably a silly name. It needs fabric and I should go out and et some, but it's snowy and I won't be able to use fabric until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest anyway because it needs washing and I left my detergent at Brenda's and we're staying here tonight, so I'm going to be lazy and make my gingerbread instead. And work on Cozy and finishing TST and maybe starting Pat's mittens. And, as I said, gloat.