Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

I have this issue with hoarding rainbow self-striping or variegated sock yarn. I get so excited and happy and I grab it, and eventually it occurs to me how very much I've acquired. Look at my damn stash.

So my big goal for 2010, as chronicled by the tag "chasing rainbows," will be to actually use this stuff. Right now, I have that big ball of Kauni working up into the lengthwise scarf, which is also coming along well:

I applied for a couple more jobs today and set up an interview for another subbing gig tomorrow. Then, I'm venturing into the Old Port for lunch with friends. Horrific time of year to attempt that but oh well. Better get my quarters ready for the parking meters.

I've been listening to Robbie Williams all day. His voice is so sexy. I'm thinking about picking up some used CDs of his on Amazon, but I just can't justify any extra expenses for a long time. I can listen to full tracks on last.fm for a while. Eventually, I'll suck it up and buy a CD so I can have something different to listen to in my car. I think it's getting sick of Electric Six and the mix CD I made last month. On the plus side, I always end up pulling into an elementary school blasting Beastie Boys' "Sabotage."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Destash my life, 12/20

* One bathing suit
* 3 pairs of sandals - including two pairs I've attempted to toss at least three times and always stop
* 7 pairs of socks (not the knitted kind, of course)
* a very trashy skirt
* A CD ROM game of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
* A huge hippie skirt. I dearly love the color of it but it's just too big in the waist and not professional enough for work but too billowy to wear around the house
* Stuffed some more papers into the recycle bag
* Cleaned out a medicine bag from college and threw out three things that had expired between 3 months and 3 years ago. Also rediscovered some lotion, hair products, and bath products I had no idea I had.

There may be more in the pile but I can't remember. Every once in a while, during a break in a football game, I'd open a trunk or a drawer and pick out some stuff to toss. Since I'm back to work on applying to grad school and moving out, I want to have less stuff in my way. One of the major hurdles would be cleaning out the junk I have in the shed. It's not just that it's cold and the shed is crowded, but there may be assorted mouse heads in there. Yeah. Lovely. Mice have been getting into the shed, so my grandmother has been putting glue traps to get them. She got one on there, but when she picked up the trap with a shovel, she alleges the head fell off. I am never going in there again.

I spent the entire day watching football, knitting a new scarf (a lengthwise rainbow scarf made with Kauni Effektgarn EQ), and texting my friend Raj about football. It was a perfect day. 4 cups of tea, a cup of cocoa, a hard cider, made my own mini pizza, watched some killer games, really solidified a new friendship, and started in on yarn I bought over a year ago. I'd call it a very successful day.

It's 1 am, so I better think about packing it in (if I ever get to the end of this row) and go to bed to read. Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I had to make a pom pom today. I don't have a pom pom maker. I don't even have cardboard. I folded up a Webs catalog cover. And it's the best pom pom I've ever made. Fuck yeah. I'll take a pic tomorrow, assuming I feel like digging out my photo equipment. And when I say "photo equipment," I mean a white piece of foam core, a camera, and a USB cord.

To make pom poms in the past, I've folded up duct tape and cut it into the shape of a circle once it was as thick as cardboard. I couldn't even invest THAT amount of effort today. That said, Jeremy is gonna love this hat. Or else I'll strangle him with it. Nah, it was wicked easy. Look at all that stockinette. I strongly question the "k2tog across" school of hat decreases, and I'm not huge on what it did here, but I guess it wouldn't make sense to have my usual 8 decrease spiral here - the decreases need to be invisible. Now, I wish I had access to my ex boyfriend's Firefly discs so I could watch it while I celebrate getting this hat done. I'm kind of astounded by my own skills (humility is my strong suit) putting this together. It looks perfect. Totally accurate. It's sort of striking in its ugliness, too. I think I did Ma Cobb proud on this one.

I'm back to work on my Toni sweater. I've bitched out and decided to look into a professional finisher. I just don't trust myself to put this thing together competently. I think if I devoted a long, long time to it, and tried not to get too discouraged, it could happen, but I just feel like it's better in someone else's hands. At least then I know it'll come out wearable. I guess my anxiety goes back to Lina making fun of my seaming in college. Thanks, Lina. Way to endear yourself to the other knitter in the dorm. But, needless to say, when there was a knitting group in that dorm before Mary went to Germany and Sarah graduated, I didn't blend in too well, if you haven't figured that out from all my swearing and debauchery. And the fact that I knitted a thong. And showed it to a girl that used to ask us if we wanted to go to church with her. Were it not for LSG, I'd think I was the strangest knitter on earth.

I'd forgotten how nice so many of the patterns in Mirasol Book 5 are. Maybe I'll actually make another one of them after I get some projects out of the way after this sweater. My sweater yarn stash watches me sleep every night and begs me to do something with it. At least I was smart enough to keep the sock yarn hidden in the closet.

Destash my life updates:
* Finished a few more sample bags of tea - getting scarily low on good tea.
* Sent out lots of sock scraps
* Mailed out the charity blanket I had long ago finished as well as one that was in progress, plus many squares I hadn't attached yet. It's someone else's problem now. They're going to finish it and give it to their charity and I don't have to feel bad about having a WIP on my sidebar here that I have no intention of ever working on.
* A book I read, a sweater that's kind of bleh, a shirt I'm not in love with

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's almost over.

I just have to finish this neckwarmer for my aunt, then do Jeremy's hat, which is mostly, mercifully, stockinette ITR, then I can finally get back to the stuff I want to make for myself. My grandmother wants something knitted, but it's not going to happen. I don't have yarn in the colors she wants, she doesn't want socks, and she doesn't wear the 2 scarves I already made her, so why would I make another? Oh, and she wants one made of black fun fur. No.

The neckwarmer's grown by a full repeat since this picture, but here's an idea of what I'm doing:

I'm hoping to have enough white yarn to get through it. It's looking better than I thought earlier, but I'm always concerned about this stuff. After the gifts, I'll finish my sweater, which just needs half a sleeve and then the assembly. Then, I'll either make a hat with some fingering weight yarn or an Ishbel with either Neptun or Baristo Wollmeise. But it'll be a while before I have to make that decision.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh, and.

H1N1 - an excuse for adventure

I found out last night about a free clinic for H1N1 shots that I actually qualify for (they usually only take preschoolers or other groups I can't pass for) but it happened to be in Portland. My grandmother has been trying to convince me that that's JUST TOO HARD for me - I don't know the magic number of trips to the post office I have to take before I'm good enough to drive to Portland. I also go back and forth about if I really need this vaccine. It's not like I even leave the house enough to get exposed to it in the first place. I wrote down the directions last night and decided to play it by ear today, rather than plan to get up at 7 am and wait outside for hours in 20-30 degree weather. To hell with that.

I decided to see what things were like at the health center when I got up today, so at 10 I called and asked if there was still vaccine and if there was a huge line. They said there was plenty and not much of a wait, so I got ready to go right away. My grandmother tried to give me directions, but I decided to stick with google maps. Her directions turned out to be wrong. Score one for me. I had no problem getting on 295. I even got stuck behind someone that kept putting on their brakes for no apparent reason and I didn't feel safe behind them, so I PASSED THEM. Then I got stuck behind a slow moving truck (not a tractor trailer, but not a pickup - like a delivery truck) so I PASSED THAT. How empowering.

I followed my directions and used what I remembered from zooming in on the map and I got to the place with no problem. I wasn't able to park there so I went around the corner. I ended parallel parking going downhill in Portland. SUCCESSFULLY. Apparently you do use that skill again. I got in, filled out my paperwork, and only had to wait in line for a couple minutes. An old man talked to me. I got my shot and was out of the room in a matter of seconds. At first they wanted to give me the nasal spray, but my cold got me out of that. Yes, I prefer a needle to nasal spray. I had to sit and wait 15 minutes to make sure I didn't develop Guillame-Barre syndrome (nice) - I think I lasted 10 minutes before I claimed I'd been there long enough and left. I'm impressed I lasted that long before I needed fresh air. The old man was talking to me again, though, and that was distracting.

I found my car, and just as I was getting in, the person I had parallel parked behind left, so all I had to do was pull forward. Doesn't get luckier than that. I decided to meet my mom at the hotel, and then I had to figure out how to get there. I have no idea how I got there, honestly. I just followed Forest Ave for a really long time, then saw a sign for Westbrook, so I took that left, thinking it sounded familiar. Then I saw Joker's and knew I was in the right area. Sadly, what confirmed I was in the right spot was seeing the strip club. I met my mom there and I had a big lunch, courtesy of her - a fried haddock sandwich with a pickle and french fries, soda, hot chocolate, and a super-heavy peanut butter pie. It was awesome. I had a lot of fun - it was kind of cool eating by myself in the restaurant, too. I just read my book (Upton Sinclair's The Jungle - a real uplifting one) and enjoyed myself. We were able to sit and talk when she had free time after the lunch rush.

I was there for two hours and decided since I was out of the house anyways, I might as well go Christmas shopping. I was going to take the turnpike, but I ended up going North instead of South and ended up in Falmouth. I was concerned when I saw signs for Topsham. And then it was snowing, to just make this even better. But at least it was just light and brief. And at least I knew enough to get off in Falmouth. So I ended up in the center of Falmouth. I could have just gone home, but I'd already sold myself on going to the mall. So I kept going through Falmouth, got on 295 once I got into Portland, and went to the mall. It was an easy ride out there. I did some lane-changing when I figured out which lane was better and I did a great job. I realize none of this makes any sense to you if you're not from Maine, but trust me, I took the extremely roundabout way of getting there. I went to Michael's first because I've promised my friend Jeremy a hat and I remembered I had a gift card there. I got the yarn. I forgot to use the card. Also, wow, it sucks parking out there. But not as much as it sucks driving that strip from the mall to the store. I could have walked faster. Much faster. At least I had a lot of CDs.

I decided to go to the mall, if only to say I've gone to the mall by myself, and got back on the road. Getting back to the mall is much faster than getting away from it. I parked between Longhorn Steakhouse and Macy's. When I walked into Macy's, I felt like a new woman. I had gone to the mall alone. It's such an amazing feeling, knowing what I just did all by myself, and that I can take my time and go wherever I want and no one cares. I hung around the mall for a while and got some presents, then decided to go check out the new Wal-Mart to get a gift card for my grandmother. Sure, I could have done this in Falmouth (near where I live). But this one is big and new. And I could have gone there the first time I went down that way. But I hadn't thought of it yet.

This took FOREVER. The traffic was much worse by that point and I was stuck there so long. But I had my mix CDs and the radio to keep me occupied and I was enjoying myself. The new Wal-Mart, incidentally, is not worth this trouble. It's a large Wal-Mart. Where Tide is almost $14. To hell with that. But I did get the gift card.

I opted to go home after that, since, you know, I was out of places to go. So yes, I left the mall at 4:30. That's fun. And I had to get on 295 on this new loop that looks absolutely terrifying. I've never ever done that before. Since it looks terrifying. But it's not like I had a choice - just take a deep breath and do it. And I did. And it was fine. I got home about 5:00, rushed my presents up into my bedroom closet, and now I can just hang out and work on a scarf I'm making for a gift, knowing all my other shopping is done. I had an AWESOME day. I feel like such a grown up. And I feel like I know a hell of a lot more about driving than I had let myself realize. I navigated Portland, compensated for not being able to park somewhere, PARALLEL PARKED, merged, passed, and drove fast. It was fantastic.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm Jenna's car, and I'm a Night Elf Mohawk

Parts of car ownership that are awesome:

Getting to go to work by myself
Not having to walk home 45 minutes when it's freezing cold/raining/I don't feel well/I got three hours of sleep last night because I wasn't counting on getting the 6 am call
Being able to work in more places
Pumping "Sabotage" on my CD player as I pull into the elementary school I'm working at that day
Using a drive-through or going to three grocery stores BECAUSE I CAN

Parts of car ownership that totally suck ass:

Scraping ice
Brushing snow
Parking bans

So it's winter in Maine. I probably should have expected this would be a problem. There's kind of a little history of snowy weather here. Because this miserable goddamn motherfucking snowstorm, I lost the day of subbing I was scheduled for. I'm not scheduled for anything else in either of my districts this week, so chances are, the way it works out, I'd have made more money if I hadn't worked when I did on Monday and Tuesday and just gotten my unemployment for th week. So essentially, I just paid $70 to be sworn at and get Legos thrown in my face. That's nice.

Since it's been snowing All. Damn. Day. there's a little bit of a pileup on my car. As in, I had no idea my car was underneath the snow. Because the parking lot isn't plowed, I'm nearly knee deep in snow (thank god for my Uggs which I got for $4.50 through a perfect storm of gift certificates and discounts - though I think the original price was only $180 - wtf ebay?) trying to reach across the car to get all the snow I couldn't reach. Since I had brushed it off the sides and still had the middle left to attempt, my car was looking pretty punk rock with its mohawk.

It's down to rain now, which will probably become freezing rain. Good God, I hate winter.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I finally got a day of subbing today. It was teacher subbing, so it wasn't as high pay, but it was for a special ed teacher, so I didn't have the pressure of being in front of a classroom. I don't know why I keep begging for that - it's just for the sake of the money/getting out of the house, I guess.

I enjoy subbing for this teacher because half the time, when she has to work with multiple kids at once, one doesn't show, she has a nice long lunch period, there's computers in the learning center so I can go online in my downtime, and there's even a prep period. I don't have anything to prep, since I'm just there to make sure no one sets any fires, so I get to chill out and amuse myself. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I go online. Today, I had brought my current book, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It's pretty good. And a nice departure from the silly stuff I've been reading (the kind of stuff I get at "fill a bag for a dollar" day at the Clam Festival). I didn't get any reading done, though. I had brought a job application for tomorrow's interview to fill out during my down time. Admittedly, some of that down time was while my students were doing math. And God, I hate when companies do that, insist you fill out the exact same info from your resume on another form. I had a bank do that when I got to the interview and wouldn't talk to me until I had done so. The best part? I was literally filling in the exact same form that I had submitted to them online. I haven't gotten a call back about that interview. It was Summer of 2008. I guess I didn't get it.

Since I was already in "be proactive about your semi-employment" mode, I used my break times to jump on the computers and look for jobs. I decided to apply for two ed tech jobs. One is at a fairly nearby school, though I've heard it's nothing I'd want since the kids are very low-functioning. At least I can amuse myself by trying. Another one isn't as nearby as I'd like, but if it's "drive an extra ten minutes more than I'd like" or "not have a job," it's not really a choice any more. I also remembered there's this Maine career center job bank online and got back on for the first time in a long time. Oh, sweet hilarity. When you look at a job, one of the first things you see is a box for if it requires a driver's license. And the one I jumped on did not. I am hoping with all of my heart for it - a liaison between state and partner agencies on domestic violence through Child Protective Services. I want this more than breathing. Awesome salary, very rewarding, challenging.

Problem: there is a very reasonable chance I'll be hired at tomorrow's interview. I don't want this job. It's one of those "if I have to, this will do" jobs (see also: pharmacy technician at the hellhole) but it is NOT my preference at all. But I can't count on the CPS job. I can't even count on subbing. But if I accept the job and hate it, I can't quit, because I won't qualify for unemployment. I realize that I should expect a place called "______ Home Health" would require in-home care, but honestly, the posting was fairly vague, and I applied so long ago that this might not even be the same job. I'll go to the interview (which screws me out of a day of subbing because it's at 1 pm) and I'll put on a good face, but I won't hesitate to ask questions about what I'm really getting myself into. Who knows, hopefully the pay will suck and that will make it that much easier to say no.

woo hoo!

Thanks, Robyn, for teaching me how to add buttons to the bottom of my posts! Look, I made a mini Ravelry. This was as "original" as I could get. I'll think of something better later.

I finished a neckwarmer for my aunt and some socks that were almost done and now I'm starting some fingerless gloves for a friend with leftover yarn. It uses up scraps, makes me a good friend, and is an easy pattern. Hooray.

Don't feel like posting too much more tonight - I'm in more of a work mood than a writing mood.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Just saw the best comment on Ravelry

"I am beyond the need for a yarn diet. I need yarn gastric bypass at this point." - mollyknits

And having come home with 5 balls of yarn today, I am in total agreement. We went to three yarn stores today (and one of them twice) because one of my friends decided she wanted one more ball of something she bought when we went shopping on Saturday. So naturally the three of us needed to take a group excursion and spend hundreds of dollars. Well, I was good. At first. I managed to just pull up a chair and knit at The Knitting Experience and sit on the couch at Purl Diva. I've been to those stores so many times that I know what they have. That, and I was there six days ago. I suppose even I can manage that degree of restraint.

We went to a new store, though. Ewe and Me, also in Brunswick. Apparently I've gone by it a dozen times and never noticed it. OMG - great stuff! It always tickles me how there can be so many yarn shops in one area and they all sell different brands. I bought two different Regia sock yarns and this gorgeous Green Mountain Spinnery yarn in a rainbow color, called Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (well, that sold me), plus 10 buttons I'll need for my next projects.

That assumes, of course, I can ever knit again. I have somehow managed to fuck up BOTH elbows, presumably from knitting 35 squares a day on this ass rape of a blanket. Yesterday it was just the left. Wtf. And it's not like this even a good enough reason to stop knitting it for me. I just want it done so I can move on or order another ball of the blue if that turns out to be necessary. I guess there's worse things than pain. Or tendonitis. Only I can manage this level of bullshit.

I just got a call for a job interview. I applied to this place on August 13th. Look at your calendar. Yeah. They also called me a month ago for an interview, while I was out subbing. They told me to leave a message if I got the message after 3. Since I had to walk home, I always got home around 3. I left the message, and that was the last I ever heard of it. Until an hour ago. Bizarre, very bizarre. As far as I remember, it's working with kids with mental retardation, which I totally rock at. I'm just hoping it's right there in the office instead of going into homes. That's always... squicky. But, I can go to the interview, dust off my interviewin' suit, and try my best. If nothing else, I have something new and exciting to add to my work search log.

Friday, November 20, 2009

No shame.

It's time I admit something.

I just got my driver's license on November 5th. I'm 23 years old. I took the test many times and failed it many times. But it doesn't matter now. I have it, and a terrible chapter of my life is closed.

I was incredibly good at hiding this fact. I pretended to be way more into taking walks than I really was, I subsisted on rides from friends, I used the half-truth "I don't have a car," and I was far more of a hermit than I needed to be because I was too ashamed to ask for a ride. For 7 years, I just dealt with it. I had two close friends who didn't have theirs either. Unfortunately, then they got it. Suddenly, no one could sympathize with my struggle. Suddenly, I was alone. Suddenly, I was the weird one. WTF was wrong with me? Why wasn't I meant to drive?

I am an extremely nervous person. Shy, socially awkward, wracked by anxiety disorders. I know, it doesn't come over well on the internet. On the forum I'm most active in, I'm a sardonic, sassy, sarcastic, superstar. And the last few years, I've made huge strides that have made me into a much happier, healthier person. But for years, it was just as easy for me to avoid confrontation with my mother by not even trying to practice driving. When she'd chide me with ever-so-helpful advice like "you're going to kill children!" or threatening to leave me in a parking lot, you ungrateful little bitch, when I didn't pull into a space fast enough, I would completely break down. That would be the end of practicing for a long time. Then I'd take the test. We'd "practice" right before it, which was mostly just going around the route and being screamed at. I'd fail. We'd schedule a new test. We would not practice again. I'd fail. So I failed a serious amount of driving tests, but how could I not, if I didn't work on a damn thing between them?

This was tolerable in college. It was too expensive to have a car on campus, and we had a great free bus system. For a time, my boyfriend-at-the-time even had his pimpin' mint green Dodge Caravan (yeah, I didn't have to worry about him being a chick magnet with that thing) on campus and we were able to take that out. Then the moron went home to play D&D on a day the whole campus had shut down thanks to a snow storm and crashed it. So ends the car. As far as I know, he still doesn't have a replacement.

Friends and their parents offered me help, but I'd become so wrapped up in the idea that I was a horrible driver that I refused it. I thought they'd think less of me if they saw just how bad I "really" am at driving and then I wouldn't have friends, either. So I just wallowed in self pity.

I've been totally unable to get a job in Maine, where public transportation just doesn't exist. I was getting by on rides from my grandmother, but then she insisted on getting a job with weird hours that pays shit money, which meant there was no way I could work. We would make so much more money if I could be the one working and have a full time job, but there was no convincing her of this. I got back to subbing, and walked 45 minutes home each day (I was able to get rides in the morning). I was pretty good at working "yeah, it's a pretty bad day to walk home" into conversation at lunch so another sub would take pity on me and bring me home. But there was no guarantee this was going to work in the ridiculously long Maine winter. I was not looking forward to walking home in February/dying of frostbite. Finally, it was time to get fucking SERIOUS.

I threw myself at the two friends who had always offered. We had some practice sessions, which was mostly me driving all over creation to get used to their cars, coming up with my own practice ideas, working up the chutzpah to parallel park in a friend's car. I paid them for their time by paying for dinner out. I got some kickass empanadas out of the deal, but shit, it would have been so much cheaper to just get more lessons.

I took the test at the beginning of October. I aced the shit out of parallel parking, mostly thanks to practicing with my grandmother the day before, while she screamed at me while I devolved into hysterical sobbing. For once, this tactic actually worked. I can parallel park like it's my fucking job. The examiner I had was fantastic. He had given me permit #4 a month or two before. We got on great, but, of course, I still fucking failed. I didn't do my straight backing well and I didn't look over my shoulder when merging once. THAT'S IT. WHAT THE FUCK. He seemed to feel genuinely bad about failing me, though, and insisted that I put the form for a retest in the mail that very day. I did.

A month later, I was back there. I was so resigned to failure that I didn't really want to go, but I figured what the hell, why not. Jeremy and I had gone out the night before, despite the fact that I was horribly sick from some antibiotics, it was pitch black, and we hadn't really achieved much. I'm not sure if he caught on about why we had to go TONIGHT AND NOT TOMORROW, GOTTA GO RIGHT NOW. In October, I spent the night before my test crying and asking the internet for spiritual guidance without explaining why I was so miserable. This time, I spent the night before flirting via text message for 3 hours with a guy I had hooked up with the weekend before. I never let my mind go to the unpleasantness that was going to follow the next day, so I never got worked up with nerves and went to the test totally emotionally flat instead of a wreck. I later found out the dude lied to me and totally has a girlfriend, but, you know what? I think, to some degree, I have my license because of him, so I have no regrets.

When they called for the 1:00 road tests, I saw the man I had last time. I smiled at him and hoped so hard I'd get him again. I'd never had the same examiner twice, so I thought there might be some policy preventing that. Imagine my surprise (and glee) when he showed up at my car.

When I saw Albert, I knew I was going to pass. This guy was so gunning for me last time that I really believe that when he saw me back there, he insisted that he be my examiner. The test itself is kind of a half hour blur, but I actually had a nice time having a conversation with this guy. The first thing you do on the test is parallel park. I guess they like to have you fail right off the bat and then prolong your suffering a half hour. You get 3 tries to parallel park. Like I said, last time, I nailed it on the first try. This time, I did not. Awesome. Just. Fucking. Awesome. Apparently my grandmother was in the DMV window the whole time screaming at me to cut it harder. But my second try, I got it.

I think there was a shitload that I just didn't get right on the test, but, since I got all the big stuff (including, for the very first time in 7 years, straight fuckin' backing), Albert gave in. He may also be extremely sick of me. Imagine my astonishment when we came back from the test and he started filling out a much different form than the one I've always seen for "why your ass just failed yet again." I was silent; all I could do was smile. I was just too stunned to even react. Honestly, my first thought wasn't even "I have a license," it was "I never have to do this again." As soon as he was done writing it all out, he got out of the car and went to start his next exam. I squeaked out a "thank you" as he was asking the next scared teen to demonstrate their headlights. I'm almost a little sad I won't be seeing Albert any more; he's a good man.

After the test, I ran at full speed back into the building, told my grandmother, and we both jumped up and down and screamed a lot. The whole DMV was looking at me, but who the hell cares. I called my mom, screamed a lot more, and set up a time to meet her to pick up my birth certificate so I could come back and get my picture license. Then I called my aunt, who wasn't there. I left a message telling her to call me back because "I have news." My grandmother and I, at my insistence, went into Portland for ice cream. She drove, believe it or not. I was a little too shaky. As it was, she was near vomiting with glee (what the hell kind of reaction is that?) but it was probably still better for her to be the one behind the wheel. I did get to talk to my aunt later, and she asked when I wanted to go car shopping. omg.

As soon as I got home, I sent a message to all of my friends. The subject line was "Guess what we all have in common?" and the body was simply "Driver's licenses :)" - none of them knew I had the test that day. Much rejoicing ensued when everyone checked their e-mail. I was even invited out that night, but by no means ready to drive into Portland, let alone this crazy area with one way cobblestone streets.

That first afternoon, I went by myself to the library, post office, and bank. It was absolutely exhilarating. I had the radio up and Kelly Clarkson and I were screaming "My Life Would Suck Without You." How appropriate. I also enjoyed when I told someone "I just got my license an hour and a half ago!" and they asked if I had a car. Yes, they just give them out when you pass the test.

I didn't get my car until 6 days later ;)

That's a whole other story, but thanks to the kindness of my aunt's assistance and financial help, I am the proud owner of a 2008 Hyundai Accent GLS. Her name is Betty. I talk to her every time I walk by the window or get in/out of her. We had an extended conversation yesterday about our impending trip to Cumberland and North Yarmouth to look for some schools I'm going to sub in - now that I can get there any day of the week and by myself, I'm going to be able to work a lot more. While this isn't my actual car, here's just what she looks like:

She is a beauty. Massive trunk, CD player, AC, anti-lock brakes at my unyielding insistence, tan interior, 6 air bags, everything you could ever want. I never knew a material object could change my life so much, but the simple ability to go to the store in 5 minutes, not 90, and to not have to constantly keep my eye on the sky and wonder if I should duck in a building or not has been an immediate life changer.

So, why am I finally talking about it, aside from GRATUITOUS CAR BRAGGING? For so many years, I was ashamed to admit that I was "different." I made a lot of friends online that were older than me, had kids, had jobs, had husbands, and they had made due without a license, too. It made me realize I wasn't actually a freak and I didn't have anything to be ashamed of. I don't want anyone to feel like I did - I want people to take the bull by the horns and try to get what they want. And if they don't on the first, second, sixth try, no big deal. Shit happens. When the time is right, it'll happen. You just have to keep trying.

I'm so glad I did.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For someone without a job, I am somewhat lacking in free time.

I've been meaning to do a major post for two weeks. It just hasn't been happening. Right now, I'd love to, but I'm so invested in these socks I'm making for Julia. It took me a week to get the nerve up to actually cast on for the second sock. I did the entire foot in two nights, so I have that going for myself, and I'm working on the short row heel right now. Ideally, I'll have them done before knitting on Saturday so I can just bring my simple garter stitch blanket with me. It requires a lot of cutting and spit splicing, but at least it isn't herringbone stitch. Really, I can say that about anything at this point. "Well, I may have lost an arm in a shark attack, but at least I never have to worry about doing herringbone stitch again." It's a two row repeat, it shouldn't be this miserable; it's just so fiddly. Bleh.

Anyways, back to the grind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's actually working!

Thanks to the most recent destash my life binge, I know that I have a stapler and exactly where to locate it! No more turning in loose jumbles of job applications! fuck yeeeeeeeeeeeeah.

At some point, I owe you guys a real post. It should be coming tomorrow or late tonight, before I leave for the weekend again. It's been kind of a major week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm one of the lucky ones.

I don’t have insurance. So I don’t go to the doctor. Didn’t get my annual. I’m an asshole who can drop money on fancy yarn, movies, train tickets, but when it comes to medical issues, it's “eh, everything’s probably fine.”

Then I started peeing blood.

Some things… you give them priority.

I called the after hours line at the doctor last night and they paged him for me. He made me feel a lot better and offered to see me before the office was even open. He was wonderful when I had my appointment and made me feel safe. I did need a medication for a bladder infection. Thank God, it’s a common enough medication that there’s a generic and it’s not expensive. I was able to join my grocery store’s Healthy Saver Plus plan for $7, and as such, my pills were only $4. I can’t even IMAGINE what the appointment is going to cost, considering there was lab work; last time, a new patient consultation and wart removal was over $220 (but I had insurance). Considering I went in not knowing what this thing was, and afraid it was some sort of melanoma, $220 is nothing compared to what it could have been, let alone the future cost as I would subsequently become uninsurable thanks to a "pre-existing condition."

I just can’t believe people want prices to stay this high. The fact the grocery store can still turn a profit giving me a medication for $4 that they would normally sell for over $50 says volumes about what’s wrong with health care here. I know I’m very lucky to have plenty banked that will pay for the appointment, but had it been more serious and required IV antibiotics, I could have been bankrupted. I just can’t fathom that this is okay here.

I'm feeling much better now. My symptoms had begun to abate on their own last night, a fact which would normally make me say "well, I must be better, no need to go to a doctor," as I always have with past bladder infections. But, considering the massive scare I had last night, I decided this time, it wasn't worth the risk. If I had opted to save myself $2-300 by not going in, I could end up spending thousands of dollars later if the symptoms returned and were worse. But it's a gamble that so many of us are forced to take. A gamble that I never thought I'd be making. It makes me think about how much I took the ability to go to the doctor for granted. I was lucky to have the luxury, that it was a matter of a few dollars' copay, the inconvenience, or feeling like "'it's no big deal" that kept me from the doctor. Not "if they want to give me medication, I don't know if I can afford it."

I just can't understand why this is okay.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Started knitting too much to blog

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been kind of busy. I'm either caught up in some major knitting project, baking, or this past weekend, I was away, having the time of my life. I swear, I'll put up the pictures of my late October baking at some point.

Because of how wonderful my trip to Boston was, I decided it's time to get serious about getting out of here. While the reasonable thing to do would be to study for the GREs, when full of anxiety, I clean. Hell, I was on the phone with my best friend for two hours today, and I put her on speaker phone so I could bounce around my room at the same time. She and I used to get angry (usually at men) and clean the room when we lived together in college. We both had long black hair that would end up covering the rug. It was horrible; we needed to get angry more often.

Today's "get the hell out" list:

Fake glasses that went to a Harry Potter costume
A rubber bracelet
A watch with a dead battery that I will never replace because the watch was maybe $4
16 books at last count, possibly more
A roll on perfume from Bath and Body Works
3 posters
A washcloth
An assortment of cotton yarn for someone interested in it
a rub-on Harajuko Lovers perfume I was gifted
11 CDs
An ornament
A decorative note pad
A frisbee that once held cookies
9 VHS tapes which almost all contained recorded episodes of Trading Spaces - I was a little obsessed with Vern Yip in the show's heyday
3 DVDs
a key chain
Cords that don't appear to connect to a damn thing I still own
A mirror
A clock whose batteries died years ago
A sewing kit that looked mostly like jumbled up thread and a plastic thimble. I hate thimbles. I can't do a damn thing with one on.
A pencil pouch
A wooden puzzle of an elephant I made in middle school - don't be too impressed, it's three pieces.
A plastic Santa wind-up toy
A yellow fine point Sharpie - what can you possibly do with a yellow pen?
Pounds of construction paper
3 cardboard boxes
4 balls of yarn
That damn lava lamp with the burned out bulb - I'm never going to go look for an appliance bulb, and even if I do, it's not like it's going to class up an apartment

Needless to say, there are finally visible changes in my bedroom. I'm impressed by the sheer WEIGHT of the stuff I was taking out of there. I guess it's the weekend I spent with engineers and chemists, but I'm sort of fascinated by the total volume of crap I own, the pounds of clothes, surface area of all my donations to Goodwill, total free space that's now been cleared in my room, etc.

The cleaning is finally starting to feel like "it looks like I'm moving out." Not that that's inherently my goal or anything, and actually, I do need to scale it back a bit so it looks less obvious, because with another empty book shelf, I'm waiting for the question to be raised, "why are you doing all this anyways?" There's the additional truth that there's just no need to hang on to books I'm not going to read twice/picked up for free or cheap and could just as easily get at the library. There's a couple books that were so moving that I want to hang on to them, but as much as I enjoyed reading it, if I put Cannibal Killers in that category, there is something deeply wrong with me.

I just want it all gone. I just want it to be out of here. I want to be less attached to things. I want to stop spending. The next goal: get health care. I must qualify for low income health care, having no idea from one week to the next what my income is going to be. I'm so tired of thinking about wanting to go to the doctor but being afraid what it'll cost, or wondering if they'd even take me if I'm only paying out of pocket. The only thing that has me dreading applying for this sort of stuff is the part about proving your income. It's not like I can just attach a pay stub and that'll sum it up. Some weeks I make good money, some weeks I make no money. I never know what I'm going to be doing for work, and while I want to say 2 days a week is about average, it's still early in the school year. As they hire more subs, that 2 days a week could be 2 days every 3 weeks. Or I might end up working more, never know. I appreciate the randomness of my job, and I love that I have a variety of experiences, but it's a real bitch to try and plan around it.

Today was a nice day to walk home from work. I had to zip up my jacket and put my fingerless gloves on, but the sun was out and I felt peaceful. I was in a wonderful mood thinking about my weekend and walking is my zen time, anyways. I mean, it won't be once the cold temperatures start, but for now, I like getting what I can out of the ability to be outdoors. It was wonderful in Boston on Saturday - I was actually playing basketball in a tank top with my new friends. Warm and sunny and beautiful there. Couldn't ask for anything better than that. It was an incredible time; I can't stress that enough.

Worked the elementary school today. Had a kid who looked JUST like Kevin Bacon... freaked me out a little. I've got two more half days coming up this week. Not bad since I get to work, but kind of annoying to be up at 6:30 but done for the day at 11:30. Tomorrow's off, barring any 6 am phone calls. I like when the secretary gives me a little reprieve and doesn't call until 6:15. I feel like I'm wasting less time being up that much closer to my alarm time. I value sleep down to the minute, I guess. You'd think I'd go sooner at night. But that's when there's interesting people to talk to, or I can enjoy being left alone downstairs, in control of the remote or just having my alone time.

Grocery shopping and post office tomorrow, I think. Flu shot Wednesday. Let's hope I really did shake that fear of needles after all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

May God have mercy.

Tomorrow, I'm making tiny ghost-shaped cakes.

Get ready for THAT blog post.

I'm also making an apple pie, but that shouldn't be traumatic at all. The ghost cakes that I felt compelled to make, on the other hand, should be truly horrific, if my past baking/cake experience is any indication. But once I get an idea in my head, I can't let it go, and thus, my agony becomes your entertainment. I'll get the camera ready; we're in for a ride.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My day has been wonderful.

And it's all thanks to you, gloves.

I made these in about 24 hours. I finished my Baana scarf and felt compelled to make fingerless gloves. I used the brand-new Buxom Sock Yarn my friend Erica dyes up. Definitely check out her etsy shop, Bigmouth Yarns. I'm not normally one for fingerless gloves or mitts, not really seeing a point to them, besides looking like a Hot Topic-style wannabe goth, but after I felt ridiculous wearing mittens for recess duty in October, I decided that fingerless gloves would be warm but still look seasonably appropriate. I winged these things out so fast. I just used the basic glove pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, and for once, had no problems - usually I end up with 3 stitches by the time I get to the last finger or holes or some other bizarre problem. That's my fault, not the patterns. Really, I can't praise that book enough. But the gloves came out great and they're nice and warm. I got to work the past two days, so I wore them for recess duty. You ever have something on and you like it so much that it just boosts your mood? Yeah, that's how I've been with the gloves. A very good knit.

Today was wonderful. I had a great time with the girls I worked with, had a great lunch with a coworker, had nice weather for my recess duty, and even got a ride home after running into a nice man who brought me home last week. I needed to run an errand to the post office, and I decided that since it was so lovely out, and I'm wearing two shirts, a jacket was unnecessary. But I still needed something. GLOVES! So I've got my iPod on, listening to the best album I've ever heard, Electric Six's new release, Kill, wearing my happy gloves. Seriously, I cannot pimp this album enough. Every song on it is just incredible - catchy, up-tempo, fun. I was a little concerned, because their last album took a long time to grow on me, but this one was on repeat immediately. If you check out my recent charts on Last.fm, it's all Kill. I'm addicted to it.

It was a wonderful day for a walk (of course it was, since I got a ride home), so when I finished up at the post office, I decided to walk a few extra feet and go to the grocery store. I bought myself some sushi! I've been really interested in it lately. I gave myself a budget, so I was staring intently at the packages of $6.49/12 rolls, eschewing the higher priced ones. Eventually, the sweet man who makes the sushi came over to ask if I needed help. I ooze "clueless noob." He assured me that I could still eat it tomorrow, and I came home with some avocado/cream cheese/smoked salmon rolls. And they're even ninja-approved!

Oh, Maine. So culturally sensitive.

As far as I know, the guy that made them didn't throw down a smoke bomb and vanish, but I was kind of busy listening to Kanye West, and he's pretty good at distracting you.

On the way home, I pass a Dunkin' Donuts, and they had sent some coupons recently. I decided to live dangerously and order a latte. I know, my life is completely fascinating. If you couldn't tell from the sushi, I'm a very bland/picky eater, so I'm trying to expand my horizons. I also picked up some donuts (of course) for my grandmother. Thanks, coupon, for making me a hero.

So the walk home was excellent - I felt fantastic in my gloves, great songs in my ears, drinking coffee. It was actually good, too. Usually I find coffee vile. I guess I'm so used to my grandmother's Taster's Choice swill that I stereotype all of it as being nasty. Except the Dunkachino, of course. That's exceptional.

So... that knitting crap. After I finished the gloves, I hammered out a washcloth. Sometimes I want to knit and not think. HOORAY WASHCLOTH. It was supposed to be a "reverse mitred square," so that you could just knit it until you're bored/out of yarn and it'll be a square when you bind off.

Bullshit, it's a mantra ray.

I eventually persuaded myself to start a sweater. It was supposed to be a "lightweight Summer cardigan." It's October. I have failed. So I finally wound up some yarn for it. I could not be less enthused. Maybe because I don't have a pattern for it. Maybe because the "sport weight" yarn looked horrible until I put it on TWOS. Maybe it's because I provisionally cast on 288 stitches, because I like to make things as complicated as possible (as you learned from the cupcakes story. Incidentally, my grandmother INHALED those things.) and I'm doing a hem. It'll involve k2toging (it's a verb) the working stitches with the provisional ones. OH GOD I CAN'T WAIT. It bears repeating, I don't have a pattern, so this is something I'm choosing to bring upon myself. It'll be followed up by an eyelet design, and then the rest will be stockinette. I'm basing the shaping loosely off Dulce de Leche, but mine will be a cardigan. I think I'll do it Coraline style and just have a few buttons near the top. Maybe just two big ones instead of a million itty bitty ones. And holes instead of button loops, which are something akin to torture to make/keep attached to the sweater.

Or, I'll just say to hell with it and make an Ishbel with my Neptun Wollmeise. Equally likely.

Destash my life 10/23: one picture frame, box of tea bags, lots of papers and junk mail that I hang on to until I can get to the recycling station

Monday, October 19, 2009

I may be wearing a men's polo shirt.

Which wouldn't explain the fact that at 5'2" and 118 pounds, I still needed a large. Anyone know if that's the reason some Aeropostale shirts have a heart insignia and some say A87? I prefer the A87. I held larges up to each other in both styles and they seem to have the same shape. I could have probably done a medium but it didn't look quite right. Large looks a little big. I need a medium-large, honestly. Meanwhile, I have a polo shirt from the same store I bought a few years ago. It's an extra small. It fits fine. This is why women's clothing makes NO sense and you should never care about what size the label says.

Went to the mall with my mom today for some bonding. I bought a new zip-up hoodie - black and blue zebra stripe - and a new plaid flannel shirt, which isn't as ugly as it sounds - it's capped sleeves and very feminine. If anyone can rock it, I can. But now I'll have to get rid of more stuff. I have a thin sweatshirt this one can easily replace. At least I mentally surveyed my closet to decide if this would be useful to me. I decided yes, since it's heavier than the other jackets I put on when the house gets too cold, but not the oppressive heaviness of a full hooded sweatshirt. But I chose not to make certain purchases today (like shoes or towels) because I knew I already had plenty of other options already. So I did add a little stuff to my life, but I think the lifestyle switch was very apparent.

When I finish two bottles of body lotion, the next one I'd like to get is Bath and Body's new vanilla/pear lotion. I love vanilla smells. My family is notorious for buying out Bath and Body Works at Christmastime and giving each other lots of their stuff. I really try to not default to it for gift ideas every year because it just seems like I'm not putting any effort in anymore. My family tells me they always like to get it, but it just seems like I'm running on autopilot when I buy it. Much like how it's become expected that I buy certain gifts, because I always have. we get a little too wrapped up in "it's tradition!" and don't tend to think about if it's a tradition we really enjoy.

Baana scarf is HUGE and awesome. Well, huge in the sense that it feels big and unyieldy in my lap, but I don't think it's actually gotten too much larger since my last photograph. I'm only on my third row today, since I was out all day. I feel like I could call it good here, but I do have an awful lot of yarn left. Pus, i'd really hate for something to be less than perfect just because I was bored with it - the reason all my first scarves are a little too short. I can just as easily put it aside and start a new hat project if I'm really dying from an overabundance of linen stitch. But I think I'll power through. No reason not to - I'm not someone that does well with a lot of WIPs.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hello, Big 6

Destash my life 10/18/09:
  • A jigsaw puzzle that as much as I'd like to, I am never going to finish, because even the pieces that are supposed to fit together don't fit together right
  • 3 large balls of scrap sock yarn - that's tough for me since there's enough to really do something with, but I'm bored with the colors
  • A DVD of 5 Family Guy episodes
  • 2 VHSes of Trading Spaces episodes I recorded when I was in love with Vern Yip
  • Finished a bag of Caesar salad mix
  • Finished a half gallon of apple cider
  • Threw away three jars of jam that had been around long enough to be questionable, or at least to be reasonably sure I'm never going to eat from them.
Home alone for a few hours today, and that always pushes my desire to clean. Today I was craving the scrap sock yarn bin, and then it occurred to me to check out the cabinet my TV is on. This means that with the exception of the puzzle, you can't see a difference thanks to my cleaning, since everything was already "out of sight, out of mind," but at least now I have a little more storage space for decent stuff.

I encountered more scrap cotton than I expected in the stash bin. I think if I get bored after the Baana scarf, I'll make another washcloth. I really enjoy my knitted ones. Garter stitch ridges are great exfoliators. (Exfoliaters? Neither seems right.) It's also been good to have an excuse to get rid of my old washcloths, which had been made with sparkly thread. I would never turn my nose up at anything sparkly, but time and Proactiv's "heal your skin by burning it off with acid" formula have worn down the soft towel part and left just a mess of painful, scratchy silver. Needless to say, dishcloth cotton is a vast improvement.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This shit is baananas.

Destash my life 10/17/09:
* 3 books
* 1 pair of sandals
* bead/twine bracelet
* candy that had been gifted to me... a disturbingly long time ago
* a silicone brownie pan that's supposed to make brownies that look like Hershey bars. Cute idea, used it once, couldn't get them out. Made brownies that looked like crumbs.

The more I get bitched at for things like not caring when dinner is or being called to substitute, the more things I want to purge, in the hopes of someday being able to get up and go. I can only imagine the difficulty of the people on Hoarders... I know from my experiences last year that there's nothing more frustrating than realizing how much stuff you own and how that inhibits you from doing what you want to do. I can imagine living in a house like that and being too depressed to even get started. I never want to be at point. I know I have a tendency to mindlessly acquire things, particularly clothing and yarn, and I want so badly to stop that. I could never be a minimalist, but I just want to stop gaining so much ballast in my life.

The Baana Scarf grows. In fact, it's dangerously close to actually being a scarf. Look. It's wearable.

I'm also rocking a children's Halloween shirt.

I've got the needle tips poked into the scarf itself to hold it on, so it needs to be a bit longer, but I stand a good chance of finishing this thing this week, as long as I don't put it down and forget about it for a few days, and especially if I don't sub as much as I did this week. It's looking pretty hot. I'm glad I was persuaded to persevere through the boredom rather than start the hat project I'm thinking of. It's exciting watching my Wollmeise cake shrink down, too. I'd love to have this scarf finished before my 4 skeins of Grab Bag yarn arrive, too - it would help me justify their presence. To my credit, I didn't even consider staying up for the Thursday night stalk. Good thing, too, since I ended up getting called to work at the elementary school on Friday. For once, no one thought I was one of the students.

As an aside, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and their shitty name choke harder than David Carradine alone in a closet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I would not survive Hell's Kitchen.

I love Gordon Ramsay. I will watch anything that involves him yelling at people. I love the horrific conditions on the US version of Kitchen Nightmares. I love when he throws shit on Hell's Kitchen. I love his constant need to show nipple on UK Kitchen Nightmares. I am a glutton for his insanity. And he's kind of old guy hot, too:

I'd wreck that shit.

As my best friend puts it, everything with Ramsay is to an extreme. It's either THE GREATEST MEAT THAT HE HAS EVER SEEN COOKED IN ALL OF HIS YEARS OF FOOD CONSUMPTION, or A DISGUSTING PIECE OF EXCREMENT, YOU DONKEY! And I can totally get into that - I'm all about a person with passion, no matter what direction it goes in. People that are on a monotonous, even keel just grate on me. Get excited! Show you care! Live your life with a little zest!

So, needless to say, I follow Hell's Kitchen with zeal. I used to run to work on Wednesday mornings full of glee because I could talk to one of my students about last night's episode. I was always amazed by how absolutely terrible everyone seemed to be, a stark contrast to my former favorite chef show, Top Chef, a show I discovered during my morning medication ritual when I had mono. I was thrilled that the newest season of HK started so soon after the last one ended. Of course, it had the audacity to conflict with baseball, so I ended up watching every episode on Hulu. This gave me something extra to look forward to, and let me sit at the computer with simple knitting and engross myself in the show. Then I could finally talk about it with a friend who had DVR'ed it, for a reason I also prefer Hulu, skipping the commercials and the insane amount of time that's devoted to what will happen after the break/what happened just before the break.

Tuesday night was the season finale. Goddamn. I finally decided to set aside the two hours to watch it today, after I got home from subbing. I also felt compelled to make cookies. I managed to get a ride home today, so I was back much earlier than expected. I made use of the time by taking out the butter to soften.

Butter in front of the heater. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

This softened it up a tiny bit. I still had to microwave it. Damn. I was hoping this would be a moment of sheer brilliance. Oh, no, that was still to come. Tenfold.

I'm looking at my cookie recipe, and I'm suddenly overcome with a desire to make cupcakes. OH MY GOD I HAVE A MINI CUPCAKE PAN YES YES THAT'S WHAT I'M GONNA DO. I look in the drawer under the oven and don't see the pan. Well, that makes sense. I've used this thing maybe once ever. I have a vague recollection of it being in the cabinet over the fridge. Which I can't reach by any means. So I unfold the step stool. Push aside the Bailey's, the cookie press, the Taster's Choice jar I covered in paper mache at my babysitters' in fourth grade that my grandmother will not let go of, all that random shit that ends up on top of a fridge or in a cabinet you will never put the effort into getting at. No cupcake pan.

Motherfucker. This means I need to go into the shed. This would be less horrific if the shed wasn't padlocked and an obstacle course of shit. I get the key, undo two locks, move a random 2x4, and open it up. There's two glue traps in the middle of the only floor space I could put my feet on, because my grandmother is obsessed with the notion that there may be chipmunks running amongst our fake Christmas tree and beach chairs. I can only imagine the reaction should she actually find one stuck there. Now, I'm forced to unstack a vast degree of shit that we threw in there a year ago, will never use, but cannot part with. First, a big plastic bag with pots, pans, silverware, and an iron. Some of my old college supplies. In theory, I will one day be on my own again and need to iron. I will continue to hate doing it. Next, a massive plastic storage bin with more crap. Gotta figure out somewhere to put that, as, like I said, there's no space inside the shed. A beach chair falls on me. AWESOME. And the damn pan isn't in my storage bin. So now I have to move that. An awkward giant bin full of cookware. That's fun. The bin below it is just sentimental stuff, like my gavels from debate team, or porcelain statues of Piglet. Shut up. But that's the end of my packed stuff. Which means.

1. The pan isn't in the shed.
2. I moved all this shit for nothing.
3. Now I have to put it all back.
4. My foot may be stuck to a glue trap.
5. If the pan isn't in the shed...

I think we know how this story ends. Yeah, it was in the drawer. I didn't look well enough.

In the process of putting everything back in the shed, I managed to get a crappy old doormat stuck to the glue trap. Then I had the pleasure of separating the two. And then the only reasonable thing, getting my hand stuck to it. I'd be the worst chipmunk ever. Thank God, it wasn't the full palm or anything and I managed to pull it off.

Jesus Christ, we're 20 minutes into this adventure and I finally get to start the damn recipe. I have a fool proof chocolate cupcake recipe. No issue here. I had all the ingredients I needed, plenty of butter, used up the last of my almost-empty jar of cocoa powder. All is right in the world. I had also brought my laptop into the kitchen so I could watch the finale of Hell's Kitchen on Hulu. It was a very nice time.


My batter is all mixed up and tastes GREAT. But it needs something. I wish I had some peppermint extract. I remember there were Andes mints leftover from my rocky road cupcakes. I take out my tiny cutting board and chop them up in the small amount of available counter space, eyes on my laptop. I mix the shards into the batter and grease the pan with non-stick spray. This will be important later. There's roughly 700 cups on the mini muffin pan (or maybe not), so it takes me goddamn forever to fill. I finally have a good idea and use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to pour out batter evenly. Glorious! Get your ass in the oven, muffins!

I'm hanging out in the kitchen, watching the episode. Awesome, the final two is going to be the two guys I've liked all season. Test the cupcakes, not ready yet. Make some tea. Test the cakes. Drink some tea. Everything's great. Decide the cupcakes are ready to come out. Rock.

Go figure, I only have one mini muffin pan, so I can't do the whole "get another tray ready while the first is cooking, then into the oven right away" thing. It also bears mentioning that I have no patience and am fanatical about electricity usage. So I'm getting more and more agitated waiting for them to cool while the oven is running at 350. I move them over in front of the window. The window is closed; I don't know what the fuck I was trying to achieve. I end up putting them in the fridge. COOL OFF JESUS CHRIST I HATE YOU.

Okay. Fuck it. They're coming out of the pan.

Oh. No they're not. They're stuck to the pan.




Remember that part about how I used non-stick spray? FUCK YOU, PAM. YOU'RE A LIAR. Although honestly, there was no damn way I would have greased every cup with butter even if I'd known this was going to crit-fail on me.

Okay. Maybe if they cool longer. Back in the fridge.

No. Still stuck.

Okay. I'll cut between the sides and the cake with a knife and coax 'em out.

Well. That doesn't change the fact that the bottom is stuck.

This is where I hit the point of self-satisfaction and fall in love with my own "genius" enough to start IMing people about what a brilliant mind I am. The top of the cupcake looks fine, but the bottom is all garbled and doesn't sit flat. SO TURN THEM UPSIDE DOWN. TA FUCKING DA. I even came up with a name for this miracle of cookery: "chocolate top hats." Jesus Christ, it hurts to be such an intellectual. I'll frost the crappy broken parts so that you won't even be able to see that something's wrong. Suck on that, Kerry Vincent, bitchy cake show judge. They'll look like little frosting bullets. It'll be great. I win. I'm a genius. I am the ace of cakes.

And then my laptop battery dies JUST before the dramatic moment in Hell's Kitchen. Of course. It takes me an amazingly long time to figure out that this is the issue, after I spend several minutes swearing and pressing the escape key, trying to figure out what the problem is that's preventing the sleep screen from going away. It's the fact that your computer isn't even on, dumbass. So now I have to carry it out to the living room and get it plugged in. I am, of course, covered in chocolate. Then it keeps giving me some bullshit about "plugged in, not charging." WELL WHY THE FUCK NOT?! I have no idea how to remedy this. I opt to go with my usual method of dealing with this things, avoidance. Eventually, it seems to be charging. See, I was right.

It takes forever to get the cupcakes all out of the pan, and my "how much money is this costing me" vein is throbbing knowing that the oven is still on. I get out a small bowl and scrape all the stuff that stuck to the pan, but is still perfectly edible, into it. I figure I'll put a big ol' dollop of frosting on it and call it a disassembled cupcake. I scrape out enough remaining batter to fill 10 or so mini cups and stick it back in. I didn't even do a thorough job getting all the extra crumbs out. Whatever. Why clean twice. I'm also reaching the point where I want this OVER.

I've brought the laptop back into the kitchen because I figure it's charged up enough that I can finish out the episode. It isn't. Battery goes just as Chef Ramsey is about to announce the winner. Because that's how things roll for me right now.

I get the second batch out of the oven and directly into the fridge (I'm not fucking around now) and start planning out my frosting. I could use a recipe, or I could just throw shit at random into the mixer. You know me, you know what I chose. But I've made this recipe so many times that my arrogance is actually deserved. I felt, briefly, like a real pastry chef, tasting the frosting and deciding what it needed more of, that it wasn't "rich" enough, etc. I got it totally 100% perfect, and then decided I didn't have enough. I had to add more powdered sugar and milk, and couldn't get the ratio perfectly enough to keep it as good as it was before. It was still pretty good, though. Now, to frost.

I don't own a pastry bag. So, how should I deal with this?

1. Cut a corner off a ziploc bag
2. Use a butter knife to spread it on
3. Awkwardly cram as much frosting as possible into a turkey baster


So, how did I get the frosting into the turkey baster in the first place? Why, I globbed it over the hole with a spatula, of course! So I covered myself and the baster in frosting and got none in. This should have been my first sign that this was not going to end well. But no, when I get an idea, I commit to it. I see it through to completion, no matter how much agony and aggravation it's going to cause me and no matter how strong the odds are that it'll end in trichotillomania.

I succeed in squeezing out about a gram of frosting.

Now I have a turkey baster full of chocolate frosting and a big problem. Maybe the reason it isn't moving is that there's not enough in there to push on it. So I'll jam more frosting in!

Now I have more frosting that's stuck in a turkey baster.

And this is when shit just starts getting ridiculous. I end up taking the bulb off the baster and blowing as hard as my weak, pathetic lungs will allow, trying to force the frosting out. Of course, this happened over the counter, not the cupcakes, so my efforts were for naught.

Fuck it. I end up just grabbing fingerfulls of frosting and rubbing them onto the cupcakes. Don't ever eat anything I bake. And I'm not going to have enough. You know, since half my frosting is stuck inside a goddamn turkey baster. Chances are, you've never wondered how to get chocolate buttercream out of a turkey baster. Thank God you found this blog, or googled that phrase to get here. The answer, of course, is to take off the bulb and jam the handle of a wooden spoon as far down as you can. Bonus if the spoon is also burnt because your mother once managed to set it on fire. This will get out more frosting than simply blowing, but only once. You gotta keep ramming it up and down, in a horrifically obscene display. It'll also spill frosting out of the wrong hole. I hope someone also googles that to get here. So now my hand is covered in giant globs of frosting. Note that my goal is to get the frosting out of the baster. Obviously, I took those escaped globs and put them back in, so I may continue wooden-spoon-fucking them out of the tip.

Remember the big bowl of cupcake chunks? Remember how when I get an idea I commit to it? Well, that bowl was sitting there with no frosting on it, once I ran out of buttercream. Unable to let things go/deal with it, I felt the need to make more frosting. I throw in some powdered sugar and milk. Apparently way too much milk. Okay, more powdered sugar. Oh hey chocolate chips! Those are fun! Half the bag falls in. Hmm. No. I start pulling handfuls of chocolate chips out of the bowl. Mixer goes on. Frosting is totally liquid. Well, that's just great. More powdered sugar. WHOA TOO MUCH. Obviously, having the greatest respect for keeping a sanitary kitchen, I just start pulling out handfuls and shoving them back in the bag. Since powdered sugar is really easy to do that with and won't totally go everywhere. Yeah, still pretty much a liquid. TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT. I pour it on anyways. There. There's your fucking frosting. Shut up and like it.

6 hours later, it has just occurred to me that this batch had such a poor consistency because there was no butter in it. As buttercream tends to require.

So, finally, may God have mercy, I'm done. I don't even want to sample this. I've been snacking on leftover batter and frosting all afternoon, anyways. Of course, this means one thing - I have to clean up. Oh God. My kitchen looks like it was hit with some sort of cupcake birdshot. It's not good. Not at all. And this is the point where I just start breaking down. Like I said, I do not have the composure necessary to be yelled at by Gordon Ramsay. I enjoy watching him do it, but if any of that was directed at me, I'd just break down into tears and set my hand on fire. So with all these setbacks, all the cleaning I have to do, and the fact that I got my period that morning, I'd hit my last straw and was totally overwhelmed. This results in me being alone in my kitchen screaming obscenities at a mini muffin pan. Granted, that would be a typical Thursday afternoon, anyways. I just keep cleaning and scraping - it may never end. Hell's Kitchen was over, I was in a daze, and it was time to blast some Electric Six. Nothing fixes a crisis like Gay Bar. Really, I wish I had taken "during" pictures. Between the wooden spoon and the state of the muffin pan, it was just the embodiment of a kitchen's night terror. But I'd already covered my kitchen, the milk, my computer, my left boob, and my phone in chocolate. Adding the camera to that just seemed excessive. So I was in the kitchen, furiously scrubbing away, pondering laying on the fetal position crying, and having completely lost interest in ever eating any of these cupcakes. Somehow, I managed to return my house to a state of cleanliness. It was like I had never tried to make this shit. The next turkey might taste a little sweet, though.

So, the end result, after THREE HOURS (silly me thinking I'd start it at 3:30 and have a nice little afternoon snack)?

I can't frost for shit.

The big bowl of crumbs. With "buttercream."

I think I'm all set on baking for a little while.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One step closer to being a meth addict


I managed to magically acquire this ridiculous cold the second the Red Sox lost Game 3. It's like my immune system knew I no longer had to go to Boston the next day and totally crapped out. Over the past few days, I've fueled myself with Sudafed and Theraflu thin strips. I will not suffer congestion. No way. Not when I can sign my life and personal info away to get some tiny, birth control sized pills with just enough pseudoephedrine in them that I might be able to make a penny's worth of meth from one package (and 15 other ingredients). Not that I used to work in a pharmacy and I'm still bitter about all the time it took to sell PSE products or anything.

Fitting, there's an episode of King of the Hill on right now with characters making meth. Awesome.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Destash my life, 10/12

* Remainder of a box of blackberries consumed - none wasted
* Finished a sample of Imperial Acai Blueberry tea
* Threw away some Neosporin that had expired in 2007

Restash my life, 10/12:
* Bought 9 skeins of yarn.


Yarn shopping, illness

First off, I love that people are actually reading this blog. My real life friends, strangers on the internet, people that otherwise aren't into knitting. I feel sort of famous, sort of fabulous. I turned on "Webmaster Tools" to see how people are getting to my blog. Apparently I attract the suicidal and people with blister fetishes. Good God, I love the internet. This just fuels me to blog more, since I want to see what other crazy keywords are bringing people to me.

I've been watching home shopping for almost 3 hours. My grandmother had it on when I got home because Quacker Factory was on. It's this insane collection of bedazzled bullshit created by a woman with what appears to be a toilet seat on her head. I guess it's a headband or something. I swear, her stuff used to be even weirder, but The Soup made fun of her a lot and it got toned down. Damn. It's worth watching for mockery purposes. We ended up just leaving the channel on and watching how everything got progressively worse with each new show. (So this is life after baseball season)

I went shopping today. 4 of us from knitting group went on a yarn crawl and to Friendly's. This would have been better had I not come down with a horrible death cold yesterday afternoon. I was so embarrassed, sneezing in the yarn store. Fortunately, the second store we hit also sells tea, so I tried to Earl Grey this shit out of me. I also hopped up on Sudafed and Theraflu thin strips. I don't like medications, but I have no tolerance for this bullshit.

I bought 4 new yarns today. I got some Malabrigo Sock in Abril and a red Zauberball at Purl Diva. At The Knitting Experience, after my tea, I bought 2 Mini Mochis in purple/blue/green and a blob of Cascade Magnum in blue. I've been cuddling it like it was a teddy bear. I may not actually knit it, just love on it for a while. I had originally intended to do socks with the Mochi, but I think it might be pretty kickass as a sweater. Obviously not with just two of them, but I'll collect a few more. Just as soon as I had cleared some space on my sweater yarn shelves.

Oh. Yeah. I also bought Wollmeise.


I rolled out of bed earlier than I might have, since I was, after all, very awake thanks to shitty sleep from my cold, and because I thought hey, I could refresh Wollmeise until my ride gets here. I took a very long shower and brushed my teeth forever, then turned my computer on. I went right to the in stock list to get ready to start refreshing, but the grab bags were already there. I stuck to my plan of buying just 2-packs instead of 5-packs, and bought a kunterbunt (could be anything) 2 pack and a gemischt (could also be anything, but the colors coordinate) 2 pack. I'm living dangerously! And if they suck, I can always trade. A friend actually sold me my favorite color recently for just $30. She could have gotten much more for it - I'm very grateful for her kindness. It's going to be a long 2 weeks waiting for surprise yarn to come in.

My Baana scarf is progressing, sort of. I don't know if I'm just distractable or what, but I'm only getting a few rows done a day. But I finally settled on a needle size. I'm now up to NINES to get the right hand. This is so ridiculous. I was feeling bold using FOURS on this SOCK YARN. Linen stitch is so weird.

I have to work tomorrow. Hopefully, the cold will have gotten better. And even if it hasn't, high school ed tech subbing is pretty low key. It's when I'm at the middle school on Wednesday that I'm always running all over the place. Hopefully, I'll get at least one more day of work in the week.

Almost time for dinner. Hopefully, I'll actually taste it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Argyle Purl Scarf 2: Step Up Your Game

Like any moderately successful movie, a moderately successful pattern earns a sequel. Get ready, because I've decided there needs to be a colorwork version of that scarf. But wouldn't the back be fug as hell? And don't I don't wanna mess with intarsia. So...


I'm thinking navy blue, white, acid green.

And I'm totally going to give it that long and ridiculous title.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Destashing my life

I have too damn much of everything. Yarn, tea, clothes, lotion, makeup, books. Everything. And should I ever want to move out, there's no way I can just fill up my theoretical car and go. I moved a year ago and got rid of so much then, so it scares me just how much I somehow still have. I've also got a real conundrum with the yarn, since it's not like I need more sweaters/socks/hats/scarves, either. So here's a list of what I cleaned out today:

Easter candy (I bought a bunch when I worked at the pharmacy and had been rationing it out. I kind of forgot about it.)
10 books
14 shirts/sweaters
A large pair of men's shorts I used to wear to work but have many suitable replacements for
Denim shorts I haven't worn in years
2 pairs of underwear
1 bra
the box a bracelet came in
a gift bag
2 transaction registers for checks
Some papers
5 tea bags to be sent to someone else in a package with yarn I will never use, but she will
An extra lab coat from when I was a pharmacy technician - I'd keep it but it has the name of the store on it and that just rises the bile for me.

I live like a hoarder. But I cleaned out my trunk so well that not only does everything fit in, I don't have any junk on top of it, so I can easily get into it when I get dressed. This means I'll be much more likely to wear the stuff in it rather than get what's easiest. And the yearly "fill a bag for a dollar" book sale and new store with a million different pieces of clothing and lots of cheap stuff (like t-shirts for $3 and jeans for $12.50) were probably the worst thing to ever happen to me.

I still have infinitely more clothes than I need, and more than I'm comfortable with, but I don't have to do it all at once. After the winter, I'll reassess again and see what I didn't wear. I like the way I set up my drawers - I have one drawer with polo shirts, camisole tops, and long sleeve shirts - it's my layering drawer. I managed to get everything in well, without squishing things too badly.

I finally got a tea strainer today. I'm not mad about it - as soon as I stuck it in the water, a bunch of tiny tea pieces immediately shot out of it. I still really want the ball-on-a-chain style (like the assassin in the movie version of Angels and Demons had) but this will suffice for now. And it looks like I have a giant safety pin sticking out of my mug. Right now I'm enjoying some Teavana Chocolate Mint tea. I'm working on destashing tea and food, as well. I love grocery shopping, so I tend to buy more than I really need or will use. Then I end up throwing out good stuff that I forgot about or lost interest in and has now spoiled. Raspberries are the absolute worst. I get home with them and they're already a day away from going bad - and if I wait more than a few days to finish them, they're moldy. Always end up wasting money on them. So I'm considering it a victory to finish up a box of tea or blackberries.

Tonight, a friend and I are going to see Zombieland and go to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant. I've been craving Chinese SO bad. I'm also thinking about maybe getting some sushi. Here's the menu. I have no idea what I'm going to eat - it all looks good.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I've been neglectful.

Okay, trying to sneak in a quick post during some down time at work. It's not so much that I've been busy as I have been either too lazy or too focused on knitting. The Toni sweater is almost done, just needs a finished sleeve and to be sewn up. I dread this. I ran out of yarn, though, and I'm not having any luck finding it online. My yarn store says they have two in stock, but they can't find them. Crap.

I'm subbing today. I've been getting around 3 days a week lately, and I'm so glad for it. It's nice to have some sense of purpose. Getting up at 6:30 is hard, but I'd rather be doing that than waking up at noon because I have nothing to do with my life. It's been all special ed stuff, but I should be doing some regular ed subbing later in the month when teachers go out to grade writing prompts. Last year, I taught a day of first grade and a day of third. It was truly horrific and I don't know why I wish to repeat it, but I'm one of those people that does things just for the sake of the stories it'll generate.

I never actually blogged about the fair. I owned that competition. 8 white ribbons, 3 red, and 5 blue. I'm tempted to keep the ribbons on the garments and just wear them as accessories. The baby hat I designed came in first. I shamelessly added that info to the pattern description on Ravelry. You never know, maybe it'll convince someone else to make it. I like to check my designs and see if they're actually popular. I'd love to design something that really catches on. Maybe it'll happen with some socks. I just have a hard time writing up sock patterns because I just tend to make things up as I go once I get to the ankle, and it's hard to replicate that or put it in words. Or I'm just following the basic sock chart for those steps and I don't feel like I deserve to call that "my" pattern. Which is why I put everything up for free.

I'll put up some pics of the ribbons eventually. I took some pictures of some of the items with the ribbons on them, but the people at the fair stapled the ribbon directly to the tags this year. I have to be careful to take out the staples, lest I ruin the ribbon, but since the tag is on the front instead of the back, I wouldn't know what it's for. But I can't take pics of the ribbons that way because my home address is right on the front.

I also need to take pictures of my new Wollmeise, Campari Orange and Frosch. I will probably trade the Frosch, but I'm not sure what for. I've had offers for Limone and Fruhling, but I'm not sure. It's not like I'm going to use it right away. If I can convince someone that they totally want to part with a Libelle for it, though, that'd be a different story. I didn't stay up for the stalk last night, since I had to get up for work today, and there was a lot of good stuff there. But that's okay - I also went shopping and bought a bunch of new shirts at the mall. That's my frivolous spending for the week.

Speaking of frivolous spending, I figured out today that I can go yarn shopping with my friends on Columbus Day after all. I thought that was the day I was going to a Red Sox game, but no, I'm going on Sunday. I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't realize that. I guess I had remembered saying "good, then I won't even have to get up for work the next day because it's Columbus day" as "good, it's Columbus day." And I do have work on Tuesday and Wednesday so far. But this means my week is Boston-shopping-work-work! Awesome! It's not that I need to do any shopping, nor do I want to, but I want to go out to lunch with my friends and I was sad at the prospect of missing out on it.

I'm using my first hank of Wollmeise. I started a Baana scarf, which is a linen stitch triangle scarf. Ew, linen stitch. I've gotten the hang of it, but it's kind of slow going. I'm using Lowenzahn, a variegated green/yellow. It's cheerful. I'm actually up to size 7 needles because of the tightness of the stitch. I could go even bigger but that's okay. I wanted it to be light and flowing, but it's fingering weight yarn, so I was thinking I would still get that with 4s. Nope. It was rigid, like a bib. It's not a pattern I could easily bring to knitting group with me, since it's a 4 row repeat with increases every other row, and it's hard to keep track of if they're left or right leaning - yes, I'm actually bothering to check this time. Usually I just pretend it doesn't matter. For Wollmeise, I put in the extra effort.