Monday, January 29, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Exhibit A: balaclavas. We had to shovel the driveway and sidewalk Sunday. Eric went first, and he has this balaclava from a couple of Christmases ago, and since it was cold and windy I suggested he try it. He came in after shoveling the entire driveway (silly, considerate boy; the plan was for us to share equally) and said it had been too much. My idea of too much warmth differs from his, though, so I put it on with my coat and fur-lined boots (which Eric had borrowed because he tried them and commented they were very soft and nice, but balked at wearing until I pointed out it would be dark and no one would see him in women's boots--he doesn't have any of his own). It was warm and soft and I loved it. Until I reached the sidewalk and bent over to start shoveling. It twisted, it moved, I smeared my glasses when I went to shove it into place and it covered one of my eyes so that I had no depth perception for part of my shoveling. For a walk, though, or something where I would remain upright, I still think they're a lovely thing.

Exhibit B: meatloaf made from Morningstar Farms "meat" crumbles. I used to love meatloaf, and Eric makes what smells and is reported as a pretty darn good one. One day, we bought these crumbles to make into a meatloaf. Sunday we actually did it. The crumbles, which are TVP, looked kind of precooked and didn't stick together really well, but we figured we'd try anyway. It came out still crumbly and smelling oddly of rice. The taste was somewhere between ground beef (as I remember it, anyway) and, indeed, rice, but the texture was just about right for meatloaf. (Eric tried a tiny, tiny bite, and confirmed this.) And it worked just fine as a ketchup delivery system. But then...the texture started to get to me, and the "I'm eating meat" experience started to bother me. The texture of meat is why I gave it up in the first place, and even with the ketchup I couldn't get through more than half a slice of this. I'm glad we tried it, though; now I know that (a) this idea doesn't work, at least for me, and (b) I'm not really a vegetarian just for spite.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


So I've continued to work on PV at work, in between the few tasks I've been given and meetings I've attended. (And one training meeting in which I truly understood the difference between someone who wants to teach and someone who wants to fulfill training requirements.) I would be almost done, except that I have determined that the end of PV makes very little sense and I don't even want to read it, much less keep it. So I have chopped off the last twenty-five thousand words and placed them in my Cut Scenes file (which, throughout the revisions, has now grown to larger than the current manuscript--it's XXXX and PV draft 3.5 is at 89,000) and I will be rewriting the entire end. I'm all aghast at doing this, not because I think it's a bad idea but because it's a lot of rewriting and I'm used to that 'The End' on the end of this manuscript. (Though in the plan for the new version of the end there's no need for Tyler, which means I may have to excise him completely, which would break my heart.) But maybe it'll be good for me. At the least, it gives me something to fill up my time at work. My boss and his boss said that they don't expect me to be working at my job with full capacity and understanding before the six-month mark, and I've just passed three, so I will have the time to fill.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Conservation of...something.

I got something in the mail from my cousin, a picture of her and her husband and her baby, and a little memorial card. I utterly forgot to get her a card or something this weekend. I was at ConFusion, yes, but still. The memorial is tomorrow. It would have been good to get it there by then, so that she could start trying to put it behind her. But I have to do something.

And then I got an e-mail: Phoebe is pregnant! She had always spoken of it as something that might or might not happen, but she sounds really excited about it, and I'm happy for them. Also thinking of the baby stuff I can make. Like I needed more. Though keeping Eric and me out of Babies 'R' Us would probably be a wise idea now. There was this adorable little girl at the con, dressed all in pink with little fairy wings, and we both fell in love with here. It's four months and five days until the wedding. We're designating this weekend as a wedding planning weekend because we still have lots to sort out, but that's not why we're counting down.

I finished the hat for Eric. No picture yet, maybe later. First we have to go to the grocery store and get cards and Coke and fruit, and finally put our Christmas tree out (don't ask), and season the new Dutch oven that we've had for over a week and clean the house and so on. And I have to work on this baby quilt for my future niece/nephew so that I can get going on the next thing.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I’m currently at work, awaiting my coworker's verdict on something I did for her. I hear her calculator going, but I don't know if she's looking at my stuff now or not. I've been occupied with it for hours, which is kind of nice. I've been <cough> working on PV all week at work. It's been very nice except for the guilt of devoting my work hours to something I'm not getting paid for. (But there really hasn’t been much for me to do. Some, now that my boss is out of town for the week and the others in the department are having to cover for him, but not much.)

Oh, and my cousin is fine. She and her husband sent a slightly gruesome picture of their son out with his vital statistics (um, I guess not 'vital' in this case…) and such. I'm glad they're okay but, frankly, horrified they sent the picture.

It also occurred to me later that they, or someone, had dressed him. It's not as if he was cold. I also have a slightly gruesome mind.

Anyway. We're off for ConFusion in a few hours, where I shall knit Eric's hat. (I swatched it yesterday and found out what people mean when they talk about silk having a "crunchy" hand.) Also talk to people, attend panels, buy stuff, eat free food, admire/be horrified by costumes, feel shy, knit with others, and the like. For some reason I'm looking forward to it a lot more this year than I have in previous years. I hope I still feel this way come Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Regret and delay

My cousin's baby died. She's at the hospital now, where they're trying to induce labor. I can't imagine what it must feel like. Now I'm kind of glad I decided not to make the baby a blanket--I was going to because if he lived through delivery he wouldn't have had any baby things because my cousin cancelled the baby shower when we heard about the trisomy 18, but I put it off because she still has...had...a month to go and things were looking uncertain. Now they're certain. (In "Charlie's Angels" the bad guy says at one point, "They say that in death, all life's questions are answered," and I always say to him, "Yeah, with 'no.'" Does anyone else talk to characters in movies like that?) I wish I were closer to her so that I would feel comfortable calling to say how sorry I am. I also wish I weren't so...I don't know. Practical? Cold-hearted? Why do I care about whether I started to make a blanket? This is the second baby she's lost.

In happier news (and really, there isn't much that isn't going to be happier), we're making peach ice cream again. At the grocery store this weekend they were selling peaches and nectarines and watermelons and cherries, and we were confused but we bought them all except the watermelon. Yesterday we froze the peaches, today I macerated them, and tomorrow we'll mix the batter and freeze it. And we'll play World of Warcraft, because the expansion (Burning Crusade) came out today. I logged on early to see what it was about, then did a few other things, and when I came back there was an hour's wait to get into the game server. If you're having problems with your cable, that's why.

Monday, January 15, 2007


We got haircuts Saturday, Eric and I--he got a real cut, I got about three inches whacked off the ends of my hair to get rid of the split ends. I'd forgotten that while I don't like going to the hairdresser, I like having a new haircut, and I'm still pleased with even the simple change. Anyway, during my haircut/whack my phone rang, and since my hairdresser was saying "Are you so excited about your wedding?? Is this the longest your hair has ever been??" I merely turned the sound off. Later, in the bookstore (only $40 damage, but that was after a buy-3-get-1-free deal, plus $27 in rewards points, plus 20% off) I tried to listen to it, but for some reason I can't get signal in the Toledo Borders. It works right outside their doors, it works elsewhere in the mall, but not in that store.

I listened to it last night. "This is an important message," it said. "This is your credit card company. We need to check some recent activity on your account. Please call back at _____." So I did. The guy I spoke to asked me for my account number and password, and then described a pharmacy transaction and then an online transaction, a donation to the Red Cross. "And the card is in your possession?" he said. I said yes. "All right, thank you very much. The Red Cross transaction was the one we wanted to check. Have a nice night."

I hung up thoughtfully and told Eric what he'd said. He asked a couple of suspicious questions, such as, "Did you have to go through a menu to talk to a person?" (I hadn't), and I turned over my card and noted that the customer service number there was not the same one that I had just called. "Call the number on the card," Eric said. "I think you just got scammed."

So I did. I went through the menu and gave my account number and password to another guy, and told him why I was calling, and he looked up my account and said, "Yup, that was us." Then he tried to sell me a line of credit, so I know that call was legitimate.

So it wasn't a scam and it's nice that my credit card company is checking on me. But I'm left a little unsettled by the fact that the transaction that triggered the check, the one that didn't fit my pattern, was my Red Cross donation. I suppose this is the case for a lot of people, but still, apparently I need to think a little more about my charity giving.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gas station memories

Gas was $1.96 on my way home today. I never thought I'd see it below $2.00 again. And yes, I remember that it wasn't very long ago at all that I was complaining that I had finally done the awful and paid $2.05 for gas, to get to Columbus to catch a plane, and I have a hazy memory of the exact gas station I did this at. Apparently it was a landmark memory. I wonder if I'll remember today. Since I didn't stop for gas (being full of $2.09, I think), probably not.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Violets in the snow

After a year of green and slowly dying leaves, my African violet has flowered again.

The pictures

My beloved handwarmers:

My beloved's hat yarn:

When I finished that one skein I told him, "I made you yarn!" and then, "Well, not really. I guess I made me yarn. Which I'll use to make you a hat. You don't really want yarn." The color isn't true...the earlier pictures were more accurate. It's lovely and soft and that skein is about 40 yards, which means about 120 total, and since it's fatter and bouncier than the sample I think that will be enough for a hat, even for Eric's enormous head. (He needs volume to store all that brain. And possibly extra spoons.)

I am creating a new blog for my crafts. I haven't decided for sure on a title yet (I'm not good with titles...couldn't come up with a great one for my latest quilt project, either, but Baby's First Castle will do), but I think I'd like to concentrate my efforts there. Oh great, even less content here. I'm not sure if posting less is a natural side effect of...something...or if it's something I should combat. We'll see.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Some answers

No M for the wedding. Boo. I guess this makes deciding on apparel easier; now I can just tell Bev "Get a nice dress in this color" and take Michelle shopping once she's gotten it. This week we need to e-mail photographers and get vest sizes and research online ordainment. I'm trying not to overload on stuff-we-need-to-do; I started crying in the shower last night worrying about stuff. And I'm not even all that stressed about it. It's That Time of Month, I suppose. Also it's the day before my three-month evaluation, the one that determines whether I get medical insurance or an unemployment check, and while I don't think it's my fault I've been feeling both useless and bored at work I worry that feeling such means I am such, and then why would they keep me? It's definitely time for some chocolate and a good book.

Oh, yeah. And I discovered why we seemed to be running out of spoons so fast. I noticed three on Eric's desk yesterday and said, "Would you take those spoons downstairs?" He started to gather them up to comply; then he found the handle of another peeking from under the voluminous piles on his desk and found, in the end, seven more of them. Ten spoons. He cleaned his desk last night. Apparently I'm going to have to enforce this ritual more often than twice a year.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The nonexistent captions

I keep meaning to take pictures so I can put them up here. But I don't do it. So I'll do it later and expound now.

The text to go with the nonexistent pictures: I feel like it's all spinning, all the time sometimes. And I don't even have a wheel yet. Here are my hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-knit handwarmers, which I love beyond imagining. Don't even start with me about the colors.

And here's the first of the yarn for Eric's hat. I also love this yarn beyond imagining. (Wait until I have kids, the superlatives will get worse.) It's super-soft and fluffy and much more even than I had been afraid of. I also learned things on this yarn, most importantly, I think, how to find out what a balanced yarn is supposed to look like. I even wrote a pseudo-article on it, which I may look at again in a few months and clean up and consider sending somewhere.

Turns out socializing is good for you: I went to a Metroparks History Department volunteers meeting yesterday, to talk with the volunteer coordinator and see if it was something I wanted to help out with. Turns out it is, very much. They depict the mill and the canal they have as they were run in the 1850s, so they teach the volunteers about household chores and tinsmithing and blacksmithing and cooking and doing the laundry with the wringer, and have them act it out during the summer and through the fall. (The regular staff does the actual working of the mill and the lathes.) They were much excited to find out that I already knit and sew and spin. And I actually got to try a spinning wheel for the first time, and confirmed my suspicion that I need a castle (upright, non-handed) wheel, because the Saxony (traditional, Sleeping Beauty type) ones are right-handed and I do, indeed, spin left-handed.

On New Year's resolutions: I've gotten the baby quilt designed and most of the template pieces cut out, I've done some writing, I've sent Eric out gaming so that I could have an evening to myself. I'm still worried about all the things that need doing, but I'm working on lessening that (both the worry and the number of things). Next I need to sign up for time off for my wedding shower in April and my wedding in May, and find out how to get someone ordained.