Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hurray For Saturday

I'm so glad the weekend is here. Thursday and Friday were killer days at work; this is the first time I left at the end of month, unsure of what Monday will bring. I usually don't leave until every loose end is finished and there are no ambiguous closings. This month was different. I don't know what is done and what is not done. I guess I will see on Monday.

There was a neighborhood garage sale today in my subdivision. When I was younger, my mother and I used to visit garage sales and rummage sales. My father hated it - he really disliked us purchasing other people's garbage. He never saw the value in getting a deal, or in the old adage that one man's junk is another man's treasure. Also, perhaps he could not see the long-term benefit of a parent and a child spending time together. As simple as it sounds, I am glad I have those memories of me and my mom together, even though I am sure I was a reluctant companion to her on those trips. Mom and I don't share the same tastes in hidden treasures. I don't really appreciate knick-knacks; I'm more utilitarian and prefer items that can be used and are functional.

Today, I bought a purse (from China, the lady who sold it told me - she was upset when I offered her $3 for her $5-labeled person (from China, yeah I heard you the first time) and two CDs. Then, I saw this end table, which would go well next to my bed. Right now, I have nothing, and stuff just gets dropped on the floor. I have eyeglasses (my nighttime reading junk glasses), barrettes (getting in bed and I realize I have a barrette in my hair - on the floor), a couple of books, some clothes, a bottle of water. You get the picture. Okay, so I bought the end table for $9 (priced at $10 - savings of 10%). I proceeded to walk it about four houses down to my house. So I had a good morning.

I finished my "checkered cloth" project for knitting. My first completed item. (In knitting lingo, it's a FO for Finished Object). Here's the picture:



It's far from perfect - it should be a square dishcloth but it's not. I didn't bind off the edge like I should - I cheated and did the easiest bind instead of following my pattern. I think I have a couple of missed stitches and gaps, but overall it's a solid piece of work. I'm so excited to start something else. I think I'm going to try a scarf. I'm still working with just one color. I could re-try the dishcloth with two colors instead of the scarf. I think I want to go to the yarn store. Perhaps tomorrow.

I just watched Casablanca for the first time. It's my third Bogart picture (thanks to Netflix). I've seen The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca. And I'm just amazed by the movies. Casablanca was every bit as good as I expected it to be, even knowing most of the lines through "Best Of" lists and it's constant reference in movies. The amazing thing about these movies is that they are so complex and yet simple at the same time. The movies feel mature and sophisticated compared to current cinema. However, they originate from a time where movie technology was so primitive (in comparison to today's movies). And to think about Bogart being such a huge box office movie star, when looking at him contemporarily, he seems so unsuitable. So I am reminded yet again that my first instinct is not always the one I should judge by.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Embracing My Inner Grandma

I have not yet given up on this hobby. I am becoming obsessive about it (who, me?)but I find it so relaxing at the same time. My mistakes frustrate me - I tend to just rip out everything I've done (even after working on it for a hour). Part of learning means I have to figure out how to fix the mistakes and not completely tear apart something for one little mistake. I am trying to hook up with other knitters so I can compare my style with theirs. It's easy with this craft to start doing something wrong and when no one experienced is watching you, you never know if you are doing it all wrong.

With knitting, they lure you in with the promise that you only have to learn two ways of stitches, and everything else is built off of these two stitches. Sounds so easy, right? I start reading ahead in my how-to books. (Sidebar: This was always my MO in school. I read ahead. And then when the teacher asked questions, thinking that she could stump us, I had already read and, VOILA!, I could answer the question and look like the brilliant one. I still do this today - always trying to anticipate where things are going.) Whoa!! There is a lot more than just alternating these two stitches - and making clothes?? I'm so confused. And these books try to say that a sweater is an "easy" project. The instructions are ridiculously confusing and insane and I can't wait to be able to do it. God help me, I want to keep living so I can make a damn sweater. Having something to do and to create has made me feel better being around here; I was having a hard time justifying why I'm here and if I have really amounted to anything after 37 years as me.

Anyway, enough about the meaning of my life. Here's where I made silly little swatch with a repeating pattern. See below. Still not good at the landing (ending) - see the tail?




So now I am attempting an actual item. The famed dishcloth. All one color. With a pattern. Very basic and boring. I'm so excited. Here's how it's going:



It's back to work tomorrow. Yuck. It's end of the month. Such a dreaded time for me. Luckily, I seriously have three really strong closers who I trust. Without them, I would be a basketcase. Around this time, I start going to work without makeup, and barely attempting to look like a professional. I try to get away with the most I can because basically I'm working there from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. without leaving the building. Last week, I worked three days, from 8 to 8. Enough of that.

My mom gave me her treadmill. I didn't really want it, but it's mine and now, it sits in my garage. I'm going to get up earlier tomorrow morning and try it out for about 30 minutes or so. That reminds me to charge up the Ipod. Now I can lose weight and be a skinny 40-something old maid with a really nice homemade dishcloth.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Never Promised You a Knitted Sweater

I bought two how-to-knit books at the bookstore (and another three fiction novels, I love bookstores). I spent two night just reading about knitting because I had to work late (thanks to the new no-overtime policy, rat bastards). I could never get out of work in enough time to get to the fabric store to actually buy some knitting needles and some yarn.

When I finally make it to JoAnn's, I buy a starter kit, some cheap yarn, and small scissors. Note to Self: There is a beginner's class for knitting at JoAnn's in June - I need to sign up. The first night I am totally confused. I can't decipher the pictures and the words describing how I am supposed to twist the yarn or my fingers or whatever! The next night I finally figure it out by watching a YouTube video. I finally figure how to get the first row of stitches on the needle.

Yep, I do this for two nights. Get one row of stitches on the needle and that's it. I unravel it and start all over. I can't figure out how to get to the next row. I read some more.

I figure out how to do more than one row. This is what I end up with:



I obviously didn't finish it off and I think it curled because of way I pulled it off. The curve is unintentional as I am supposed to be knitting a square of fabric.

I start over. This time I make a few more rows but then realize my stitches are getting mixed up or something because my project doesn't look right. This is what I end up with:



It's look a little more appropriate to a swatch of fabric, right? Whatever. Like you could do better. Of course, I just pull it off the needle (which is not the right away unless you want a sweater that unravels the first time you put it on).

After a week of lots and lots of do-overs, I finally understand how to get the yarn on the needle, how to do a knit stitch (perhaps not even, perfect stitches, but I still "get it"), and I figure out how to take the project off the needles (so that it stays secure).

This is my latest creation:



Let's look at it objectively, shall we? I need to weave those tails into the....well, for lack of a better word, the thing. And it's missing some stitches and it's kind of lop-sided, but it's finished off on all ends, and it's sort of beautiful to me. I am not a creative person. I don't draw or paint or cook or simply do something with my hands that amounts to a real tangible thing. One of the books I read said that knitting isn't really a skill but more of a craft because anyone can learn it. Oh great, just when I thought I was talented by creating this.....what was it? Oh yes, this thing. No matter. I'm proud that I spent two hours weaving yarn into a uneven 6" x 2" thing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Let Me Go!!!

I really hate my job. I cannot authorize overtime for my team, but the work is still coming in. They expect me to work on it (the salaried employee). The answer is no. This job is the reason, like it or not, than I am out of shape and that all of my friendships and familial relationships are in the toliet. I want out of this job.

I am learning how to knit. I bought two books (reading is fundamental) and I am going to buy the actual tools to start practicing. Of course, I think I think reading is the answer to everything.

I've been having weird dreams. I think I might start blogging about them. I will have to edit the names in order to protect the innocent.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

In Love With This Commercial

Perhaps it's just the song but I actually stop what I'm doing to watch this....



Tony Stark is No McDreamy

I saw two movies this weekend. Iron Man and Made of Honor.

MoH is just a reverse of My Best Friend's Wedding. And I don't watch Grey's Anatomy. But Can't Buy Me Love is a great 80's movie. I'm totally bored by this movie and I end up dreaming up my own idea for entry into the "star-crossed lovers end up at the altar with the wrong person" movies. I realize that we need to see a movie from the point of view from the person left at the altar. All of these types of movies completely disregard the feelings of the poor sap or pathetic girl left standing there in front of family and friends, watching their whole world fall apart. It's not funny or romantic or sensible. Why should I feel happy for the couple who finally realizes they should be together, only at the cost of someone else's future and feelings and happiness? What happens in these movies is almost tanamount to cheating. And even the music in this movie sucked. Love Song by Sara Bareilles; the song is on constant rotation on radio and television commercials. Yuck all around.

I AM IRON MAN. Great ending line. I'm not a Robert Downey, Jr. or Gwyneth Paltrow fan - normally I'm already forming opinions when I read this is how the roles are cast. Although I'm not a comic book fan, this movie is interesting, funny, engaging, and super cool. I'm awed by how cool the Iron Man outfit looks on screen. If you go, stay until the end credits. And then, if you are anything like me, go home and google what is said in the end so you will understand it. I'm just nerdy enough to sit through end credits but not enough to know the history behind the comic books.

Summer movie time is so much fun. To me, it feels like there is so much to be excited about. Now, reality usually mirrors real life; anticipation is usually so much better and thrilling than the actual act. It's the promise of great new exciting things. One can only hope that some of the promises materialize into the real thing. But, being the pessimist that I am, I'm not counting on it.