Thursday, May 23, 2013

Parade of Socks: Random Bin Cotton Socks

Pattern: Basic ribbed with wrap-and-turn heel
Yarn: Something that was mostly cotton that the Pirate found for free in the dorm hallway, woo!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Parade of Socks: Stranded Show-Off Tofutsies

Yarn: Tofutsies (Can I say how much I love Tofutsies.  Makes an awesome fabric that holes up amazing.  Note for those who like stretchy fabrics: Not stretchy)
Pattern: Show Off Stranded Socks with clever heel

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Parade of Socks: Malabrigo Stockings

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock
Pattern: (modified) Evening Stockings for a Young Lady (Ravelry link)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Impatience. Excitement! Also, death.

With big events I tend to wait until the last minute to get excited, and when I do I want the exciting thing to be here NOW.  This means that all the excitement for our wedding (now LESS than a month away!) pounced on me this weekend as I wrapped up some of the final wedding projects.  I'm having a hard time sitting still, having any other expression on my face other than a stupid grin, and I am repeatledly checking the counter on my Wedding Party picture app as the day ticks ticks ticks closer.  I feel like I should be writing this post in ALL CAPS because I am SO EXCITED.  Excited to see this thing we have been planning for a year to bloom, excited to see friends and family from across the country, and excited to be upgraded from fiancee to husband and wife. Excitement!  Impatience!!

This is in stark contrast to my job where I read about death all day.  I open a chart and read about someone dying who bears striking resemblance to one of my loved ones and my heart aches for what that family is going through.  It is an odd juxtoposition to my happy home life and the wedding only seeks to magnify the differences.  It makes me hug the Pirate to excess, give my people calls and emails, and write Hoorays! posts.

It also, oddly, made me wig out a bit yesterday and buy lots of random bath products and a single purple cabbage.

29 days 6 hours 6 minutes and 58 seconds.

You guys. 


Inspiration: After a While

“After awhile you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession
and company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises and you begin to accept
your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build your roads today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
burns if you get too much so you plant your
own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn…”

Poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Inspiration: Bonobos

So recently I have been ruminating on hate crime and divisive politics and the more mundane question of how do you react in everyday life when somebody spouts something so disagreeably shocking it makes you hiccup as the breath catches in the back of your throat? (You know, the usual.)  It was the "how do you react" question that initially drew me in.  We live in a snarky society.  Snarky media, snarky humor, snarky one-liners to be shared on Facebook to make political points.  What's the best way to react when the snark devolves into downright meanness?  I admit it: all snark and no love can get tiring.  This was originally a post on picking your struggles, analyzing when is it worth it to speak up, and when constructive dialog possible. It included a snarky picture to make a relevant point about snark.  There's nothing like formulating a good old fashioned action plan to help you feel prepared for the next time.

As I composed the post I found that forming an action plan wasn't what was bothering me. I feel comfortable that I know (most of the time) when to speak up and when to just move forward, that I (most of the time) have the courage to do so.  small, everyday conflict I'm okay with.  It's the tolerance bit I (and society, apparently) find tricky.

What was baffling me was why is it so hard to accept another person's worldview that is different than your own. I'm not even talking about accepting the troublesome worldview AS your own, but accepting that it EXISTS and not being hateful or resentful about that fact.  I turn the problem over and over in my head, and mostly what I think of is bonobos.

Bonobos, the a little known great ape that provides science a ripe opportunity to study the biological basis for tolerance.  For more information, read this book, because the author explains it far better than I can:

The passages that fascinated me the most illustrated basic differences in the society of two great apes, chimps and bonobos.  Chimps tend towards violence.  When confronted with a stranger chimp, there is a distinct divide between "them" and "us."  "Them" is bad, meant to be destroyed.  Bonobos do not see "them" and "us."   Bonobos simply see "us" and welcome the strange bonobo.  They share and cooperate and the whole tribe is cared for.  Bonobos are amazing practitioners of tolerance.  Instead of using violence to resolve tension they use consensual sex which is pleasurable to both parties.  Humans fall somewhere in the middle with the potential for behaviors from either side of the tolerance/hate spectrum.  But we must make the effort to remember, and choose the bonobo.


I am also reminded of this little story:

“An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…..He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil – he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth,compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

His grandchildren thought about this for a minute, and then one child asked, “Which wolf will win, Grandfather?“

The old Cherokee replied softly, “The one you feed.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

From the Drafts Folder: Lessons

I have finally reached the point in my knitting career where I can complete a project without Learning a Lesson. After graduating from knitting garter stitch rectangles of varying length, it seemed every project I cast on involved periods of alternatively banging my head against the wall and wanting to gnaw off my fingers until I fully understood the Lesson. A Lesson could be anything, whether it be how to purl correctly, the anatomy of a yarn-over, or what a twisted knit stitch looked like.

Here you see uneven ribbing and stripes that don't match, demonstrating Lessons about the difference of pulling the yarn from the center verses the outside of the ball and how the anatomy of the foot distorts the ribbing you totally thought was centered.

It is so satisfying to know after a year of Expanding My Horizons (i.e. knitting something other than garter stitch rectangles), my knitting skills have improved enough that I can actually craft a garment I am proud to wear or give as a gift.

This sock is supposed to have yarn-overs. The pattern depended on yarn-overs. Do you see yarn-overs? No, you don't. That's because they are butchered yarn-overs that are probably really a make-one-stitch. It still made a neat pattern, so I finished them anyways.

I also don't hand projects to my friends who knit and get "That looks neat! Did you mean for all these stitches to be twisted?"

Wait....what do you mean by this phrase "twisted stitches?" And what do you mean I'd have to tink the entire sweater to get rid of them?

Being a reasonably competent knitter doesn't mean I don't have a favorite swear word on Ravelry, though.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lazy Sunday Hoorays

My pet rat Percy is finally responding to his medication after a few months of trial and error medicine!  Hooray!  Because if the steroids didn't work there was nothing else left to try, and that would have been very sad.   It appears to be an autoimmune disease that initially presented as mites.  He is also regularly (and happily) gobbling baby food from a syringe. I just stuffed him full of sweet potatoes and chicken, so hopefully he won't be so bony in the coming weeks.

I am inching ever closer to being done with wedding planning and wedding decisions.  Hooray!  This weekend I figured out the remaining details of what I am doing with flowers, tables, cupcakes, and sound system.  I am hoping to finish the program and menu before I go to bed.

We had some nice weather and got to deep clean the car!  Hooray for that because it had been bugging me for several months.  Now I won't sit in traffic and feel gross.

And on a related note that deserves its own hooray, I finally got a CD binder for all the cds floating around the car.  Now all the cds are organized and protected from our feet...a definite upgrade from their previous living space of any nook, cranny, and floorboard.

Last week I did something that was personally terrifying for me, but will ultimately bring many benefits.  I did it with grace and courage and the Pirate brought me the most colorful flowers that still look lovely.