Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hats

I keep losing hats.

First there was the beige hat I knit out of that expensive yarn so that it wouldn't be itchy. I don't know where I lost it, but it's gone. Then was the green fleece hat, a trifle thin but beloved because it actually fit my big head. I don't have many hats, you see, and now all I have left are the too-tight Russian hat (it's big and furry and black), the kitty hat I won't actually wear out in public, and The First Hat I Made, which is important for sentimental reasons but is too short to be warm.

Admittedly, it is now the season (she says, with a warning look at the window) for hats to become unimportant, but I decided a while ago that I wanted a hat. Or two. So my first major spinning project became white Blue-Faced Leicester wool that I intended to spin and then dye into three colors (actually, two, because I decided to leave one white) in order to make the Hayden Hat. I dyed the wool yesterday:



This is Kool-Aid dyeing, along with Easter Egg dye dyeing the only way I know to do it. I got a birthday check yesterday as well, though, so I'm thinking I'm going to find some real dyes and see how much trouble I can get into. Anyway, a word of warning: the Kool-Aid Magic Twist that says it turns from green powder to blue liquid is lying. It came out a pretty color, but the color is almost entirely green. The blue lemonade color was a light, thick blue, so I tried adding a tiny bit of red after this picture and that mellowed it out some.

At the same time I decided to try dyeing some brown Corriedale I recently purchased. I had also decided, in my hat longings, that what I really wanted was a brown hat made from bulky yarn, so that it would be warm and also quick to knit. And when trying to decide what type of wool to get I read somewhere on the Internet that Corriedale is perfect for beginners. I had done pretty well with the Blue-Faced Leicester, but I figured I'd give it a try. I struggled to spin the thick single I was going for to get the bulky yarn and when I spun a thinner one just to see it wasn't a lot better. I'm slowly mastering it (my mastering technique seems to be to fight with it for a while, then put it down for a few days and when I come back I'm better at it) but the BFL is, in my opinion, superior for a beginner and just in general. The moral here is not to believe everything you read on the Internet. Shocking, I know, but there it is.

So, I thought I'd try dyeing the brown with red, just to see what would happen. Beware the blurriness of the picture, but here's what happened, with the original on the side for comparison:



It's a sort of cherry-chocolate color. Could be interesting. Maybe I'll make some mittens out of it.

I also decided, at the same time, to try overdyeing some salmon-ish silk that Jen gave me a while ago. I'd like to do something with the yarn but salmon just isn't my color. So I dunked a snippet in the blue and a snippet in the red:



The original is on the left. The blue-dyed one became a sort of silvery color and the red-dyed one became cherry red. I could potentially do something with either one, but I think I'm going to wait for real dyes and see if I can do better.

So that was my dyeing experiment for the day. I also finished and plied the first skein of bulky brown:



It was a fight, but I think it's going to be worth it. Also with that birthday check I'm going to be buying myself a nicer spindle--and a stitch pattern book or two to try to design a wedding stole for me--and my strange hobbies continue.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Parked

I'm drinking some sugarless chai from Trader Joe's. The idea is that with unsweetened chai, you can sweeten it to your own taste, and this seems like a great idea except that the chai itself tastes sort of...muggy. Maybe I just put too much in. Since it says three teaspoons and comes with a tablespoon-looking measure, that's quite possible.

I have an interview for next Friday. It made me so happy that someone at least thinks I'm worth talking to. This would not be the ideal job, but it wouldn't be bad and it would be a short commute. I was contemplating reapplying to the place that was interested in me last fall before it understood I was serious about needing to work from home most of the time, but it would be a two-hour drive and I'm stuck in Toledo, like it or not. I mean, I'm doing it willingly; but I'm still a little surprised about not being able to move where I want to.

Eric and I have been house-, dog-, and fish-sitting for his mom while the rest of the household is away for most of a week, and yesterday everything--being constantly in the house where it's dog-hair-covered and small and cluttered and there's no room for me; taking care of the dogs, who have been trouble and a half; having not much to do in the evenings when he's raiding online and I'm away from my quilting and my own computer; being called on to fall into a fairly traditional women's role by Brenda and Edith and at the same time being told that I should be either making Eric do more or (jokingly) leaving him; feeling unable to buy things or, more importantly, contribute to our financial planning yet because I still don't have a job; feeling more distant from my parents than I used to; being frustrated with some of Eric's habits and my own responses to them--got to me and I spent some time blubbering into Eric's shoulder. (My God, that's a long sentence.) We talked about things and then took the dogs for a walk in the local park, and I feel better. I don't say the interview doesn't make it easier to feel better. But it's nice to be able to talk about my frustrations with my best friend, even when the frustrations are closely linked to him.

On the other hand, Bev has subscribed me to Martha Stewart Weddings. We were talking about wedding planning and she confessed, "I signed you up for a wedding magazine," and I said, jokingly, "Oh, something like Martha Stewart Weddings?" without realizing that there actually was such a magazine, and she said, "Well, yeah. I was looking through them and most of them were just ads for dresses and stuff, but the Martha Stewart one had actual ideas and favors to make and things like that. Though I feel kind of bad that you suggested it as a joke now." Hurting her feelings aside, I'm ridiculously pleased with this. I was never interested in wedding magazines for the very reason that I thought they were all dress ads, but a more crafty one might be fun, and more importantly I love that she thought to do it for me. I've really needed someone to be excited about this for me, because Eric and I are both feeling that most people are thinking we're being too precipitate, and she's being exactly what I needed as usual. I can't wait until we're done in Toledo (i.e., when Eric's schooling is finished) and we move out to Portland. That's still the plan. It's what makes me more or less content to give up job possibilities in order to stay in the Toledo commuting area--that and a guy who, when the dogs have crissed and crossed ahead of us, always raises the dog leash over my head rather than waiting for me to raise mine over his.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Procrastination: putting off what you have to do for what you want to do.

Today I was supposed to write a writing sample to respond to an ad in last Sunday's paper. (I'm privately feeling that the person who put out the ad isn't actually interested in hiring writers, he/she wants to steal stories, but that perhaps is just my way of keeping myself from being disappointed when I never hear anything from this person.) Instead I worked on a quilt design. Which is okay, because I'm supposed to do that too; I wanted to make a lap quilt for my halmoni (Korean grandma) when I meet her next month. Assuming I do. I will unless a very good job offer comes in and my nascent employers do not like the idea of my leaving for a week and a half in the first month or so of my employment. A job offer from Home Depot will not prevent me from going. Dad said as much. Mom, on the other hand, said to Dad, "Is Jenny waiting to get a job because of the Korea trip? Because if she is we won't go." Dad tells me this is only worry out of love and that she asked him and not me because she doesn't want me mad at her, and so I am not telling her that I'm not still jobless because of the trip, I'm still jobless because nobody, not even Borders or B&N, will hire me.

(Bev called yesterday and said that she took four months to find her current job and the economy was better then, and also that Gabe is having surgery today--I assume it went well--and that she's doing fabulously at said job, which makes me happy. Besides, if she pleases her employers they won't mind as much letting her come out and help me with the wedding when I'm about to go insane because of it.)

Anyway, this quilt design is sort of starry and sort of 3-D-y, and I'm dying to convert it to more of a 3-D design but this quilt is for my halmoni, whom I've never met and whose taste I'm completely in the dark about, and I tend to think that stars are safer. I'm supposed to make a wedding Penrose tile quilt for Eric and me; I still plan to sometime in the next year or so; and I think it's highly unlikely that nongeeky people would appreciate it as much as he and I will. I don't suppose geek quilting is a very big niche, any more than geek knitting; but I could enjoy pursuing this sort of thing. Or just quilting in general. I don't think I ever put up a picture of the quilt for Marie:



She took the picture, because I ended up finishing the quilt approximately three minutes before I gave it to her. This is the most harmonious and well-done quilt I've designed yet. (It also taught me that stippled quilting is not as bad as I thought, and also that nobody but another quilter is going to notice how amateurly I did it.) Once I finish that writing sample I want to write up the pattern and see what quilt magazines' submission guidelines are. I hope I actually do this. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A better alarm clock

It's so nice to wake up to hope. A temp agency recruiter called me this morning while I was dreaming something vague about stealthy dogs. Fortunately I wake up fast when necessary, so I was able to talk to her fairly coherently (as I flatter myself). She was looking for a temp-to-hire person, though I might be good for the position, and wanted my Word-formatted resume. The position is 75 minutes away, which makes me wonder if it isn't a very similar position I applied to in the fall but declined when I found exactly how long the commute was and that I wouldn't be able to work at home. But circumstances are different now. And it's something I want to do and have work experience in, for a decent salary, and it's important at this point just to have a job, even with an inconvenient commute. I may not get the job, of course; but I'd be pleased if I did. Waking up today was good.

Monday, March 13, 2006

We call it maudlinicating.

We went to the Maumee Bay beach yesterday, to scout it out as a possible wedding site. The idea of a wedding on the beach appealed to me until we walked down to the water and found a number of small silver fish washed up on the shore. Then we looked for a suitable place up on the grass. The lodge there wasn't bad either, but we'd both like to have an outdoor wedding if it will be feasible.

The whole wedding thing is sort of worrying me. Half of the projected guest list is here and half is in Washington, and my relatives are all saying I should do it out there, and I'd like to except that logistically it doesn't make sense. I'm supposed to have things like flowers and bridesmaids and I don't know much about either of them. Eric isn't sure who he wants in the wedding since it's his second. When we met his cousins in Atlanta they remembered me as that girl in the tuxedo, so they said "It's nice to see you again," when I was saying, "It's nice to meet you." My dad says my mom thinks I haven't been truthful with her about my relationship with Eric but she hasn't brought it up. I want to have a low-key, inexpensive wedding but I don't feel justified in asking thirty people to fly out for a small party. I'm probably going to have to fight to get enough vegetarian options on the menu if we cater. I still have no job to pay for any of these things.

Admittedly, these problems are not huge. They're just vaguely worrying. The only thing being engaged has really changed is having to actually deal with these issues instead of waiting for them. We already knew we weren't going to leave each other. We're thinking of buying--with his mom's help, because it would be an investment and it makes sense this way--the house next door, which is solid but in sad condition, and fixing it up and living in it until we move to the West Coast. His dad says moving to the West Coast (rather than staying in Toledo) would be a good move if Eric is serious about sticking with teaching high school. I've expressed concern a couple of times about our planning to move if I can't provide a financial reason to go and we've got things to tie us to Toledo, but he's firm about going: he knows I don't especially want to be here, and we're going to go. He's going to try to like it. (And Edith is going to try to convince Brenda to move out there as well.) We might stay or we might not; we're going to figure it out as we go along. Same with wedding planning, and how we'd fix up that kitchen, and getting me a job, and working on writing together, and fitting together our different financial and organization styles. That's what being engaged is like.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bored awake.

Eric bought the complete Calvin and Hobbes collection recently, using bookstore gift certificates he didn't know he had until we went through his pile of Christmas 2004 presents in the corner of his room and found stuff from even earlier beneath it. I know what I'm getting into with him, in the area of organization at least. The end panel of one of the comics is Calvin waking up, saying, "I bored myself awake." I've been sick, and I've been doing the exact same thing--I wanted to be asleep but kept waking up, not because of the cold symptoms but because my dreams were so boring: all about trying to move when I didn't have anything to move with, only abstract concepts. It's the most despicable thing a cold has ever done to me.

Fortunately, I'm getting better; I actually had normal dreams last night, though I don't remember what they were--I was woken up by the "Unknown ID" ring of my cell phone. I didn't answer it because my voice has been nonexistent in the mornings, but now that I've checked the voicemail and returned the call I have a phone interview for tomorrow. It's the most I've gotten since I moved here, so I'm pleased, and crossing my fingers. I'm not sure whether it's a phone interview because they're weeding out prospects for the real interview or because they have no other candidates and are desperate and just want to see if I can talk like a normal human being before hiring me. I prefer the latter but I'll take either. I should be calling temp agencies today, but instead I'm looking through the classifieds and USAJobs and waiting for my fiance to get home so he can drive me back to my apartment, where he can pick up his Windows 2000 disks and I can reread the job description. I could drive myself, but I'm still headachy and yucky and he may have given me the cold (though we're blaming Michelle), so I think I can get him to do it.

Post on being engaged to follow. Right now I think I'm going to go make some soup. Or tea. The one nice thing about colds is the lack of appetite, at least until the cold starts to lift and the stomach realizes exactly what it's been feeding on the past several days.