Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Aw fleece fleece.

Pictured above is two pounds of corriedale roving for spinning. This is a corriedale:

And this is me at my first and only attempt at spinning on a wheel back in November.

Yesterday I got a text message from my mom saying a spinning wheel is on its way for my birthday. Hooray! I'm pretty stoked. The corriedale came early, and it's keeping a pound of falkland company on the bottom of my yarn shelves. I tried the drop spindle thing, which was all right, but not really yielding the same results you can get with a wheel. Part of the problem is that my inital attempts at spinning on a drop spindle were with cotton, which has a really short fiber compared to wool (Yes, I'm geeking out on fiber talk.). My second attempts were with something like romney, which is easier, but not as easy as lambswool, which didn't have the natural lanolin washed out of it. It was kind of sticky...actually very sticky, which not only made me feel like I was spinning with honey, but made the spinning process much easier. The fibers tend to want to stay together, so it's harder to break your lead.
Yes, I've come to accept the fact that I'm a severe yarn geek. We all have our addictions.
So I've fairly conquered knitting (the title of this blog came from a compliment I got from a random British woman when she found out that I taught myself how to knit). I still don't do lace, and I have yet to finish a sweater, but it's mostly because I'm an avid sock-maker, and a knitter could spend the rest of their lives making nothing but socks and never get bored. Now it's time to see if I can make yarn, actual yarn, yarn that can be made into other, useful objects.

Monday, June 22, 2009

And a side note.

We have hummingbirds. The level of mix in this feeder has gone down by half in less than two weeks of sitting in our back yard. I can't ever get a picture of them eating, but I love it.

A little piece of DOOM.

I had lunch with a former co-worker on Friday, and she asked me what my schedule is like now that I'm not working. I paused to think for a second, then said, "Well, you're looking at it." I have about as many responsibilities right now as I did during any other summer vacation, except there's not a chart dictating which chores get done on what day, and I don't have the Price is Right to keep me company. It smacks of the time in the tunnel when the resident mom-of-Irish-twins was telling me I had no responsibility. I quickly corrected her by letting her know I have plenty of responsibilities in my child-free life. I have to make myself a margarita when I get home. I have to make sure the salt and tequila are put away so that the cats don't jump up on the counters and knock things off. And I have to make sure I pass out in a part of the house where S won't step on me when he gets home from work.
Oh, I know from responsibility. And sarcasm.

I have become infinitely more productive, though. I do laundry, I make dinner, I empty the dishwasher. I'm thinking of getting an apron and a couple dresses to accompany the pearls I wear when I vacuum the upstairs. Today I did some yoga, folded the Matterhorn of laundry, and blocked. What's blocking? This:

When you knit things have a tendency to not want to stay straight and flat. So you pin it down, spray it with some water, let it dry, et voila, it looks nice. I did this for another two-ish hours (there's a lot of measuring involved, it's a pretty tedious process). And I'll probably continue working on this knitting project for a good part of the day. But first I have to walk down to the mailbox and check the mail.
I am continuing to enjoy my freedom a billion times more than I thought I would. For the first time in almost a decade I'm not wishing my life would fast forward to another point. I'm actually getting things done instead of sitting slumped down in my chair hitting the refresh button every five minutes in the hopes that new news stories have been posted. I can't even begin to convey how stupidly boring my job was. I don't even want to talk about it. I prefer to channel my energy into more knitting and yoga. And margaritas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A mathematical rush.

Whenever I ran in earnest, actually made a point of pushing myself and giving it a bit of effort, I loathed the endorphin rush afterwards. I would have much rather had a valid excuse to not have to run. During the run I always felt like crap, and this was a feeling I never got used to. Afterwards in the shower I would feel really alive. It felt like a betrayal. Couldn't I feel better while i was trying to do something good for my body? I suppose very few things really work that way.

Math is becoming like that. During class I tend to have moments of panic where I frantically flip through the book trying to find examples of what the teacher is doing. Then I look up and realize that during all this searching I missed the point of what he was trying to teach us. I stare at the board as if I'm trying to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs, and then, there it is. Not quite clarity, but something close to it. I grab onto my tiny corner of understanding and climb until I'm securely back on the plateau I fell from. Days I'm in class don't feel so great. But the day after is always a quiet, happy reminiscence on how I pulled myself from the wreckage of confusion and managed to solve a problem and get a right answer without any help.

Last night on the patio S looked at me and said, "You know you can do this, right?" He does this every now and again, offers an unsolicited ray of hope. He tells me I'm okay, we're okay, everything will be fine. We'll do better than simply survive, we will be triumphant in our daily lives, and we always have each other. Somewhere in my mind I most certainly know that I can do this. It's still nice to hear it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

This is fun.

Maybe I try to find more things to identify with than the average bear because my family is nearly microscopic. My grandmother described herself as the black sheep of the family, and I nearly shot Coca-Cola out of my nose. As the only person in the family who has managed to get married exactly once to a man she super-loves, who has no children in or out of wedlock, who has never been divorced, and who is an ATHEIST amongst a legion of mega-Christians, I would prefer to believe that I would be the sheep most likely to be camouflaged in a coal mine. My parents can tie with me, since the only difference is that they had a kid and I refuse to procreate. My grandmother still talks to most of the people in our family. I've never met almost all of them.

Anyway, I found out that my great great grandfather was Amish, meaning I'm distantly related to people who don't use electricity. Out of curiosity I looked up "Amish" on Wikipedia, and found out that they are mostly Swiss by ancestry. Neato. My grandma's maiden name is not German, as I had previously believed, but Swiss-derived. Now I'm not gonna go run out and buy a Swiss flag and start wearing lederhosen or anything, but it's nifty to learn these things about your ancestors.

Not nearly as nifty is to learn things about less distant relatives. The ones whose front window had a shower curtain of the Texas flag hanging in front of it. Those who had a couch in their front yard. S asked, "Is it the sort of couch that should be outside? Like maybe she meant they had patio furniture, and one piece wasn't a chair but a couch." I said, "No, she meant that those people had a sofa on their lawn." Not to mention these people live in a state that sees a lot of weather. I can only imagine the state of said furniture after a couple seasons.

It's forcing me to think about how I had a Sociology professor who asked us how many of us had grandparents who were farmers, and how many had parents who were farmers. There were more hands up for the grandparents than parents, and he commented on how we are only about a generation away from being a country chock-full of farmers. His point was actually deeper than that. But my point is that how far removed am I from those people? Not farmers, I have nothing against growing food. know. Those people. I have learned to appreciate tiny Southern towns more than anyone my age really should, and I was nearly in tears over North Carolina barbecue last summer, but I made a point the entire time I lived there to not acquire a Southern accent. I may be able to enjoy the occasional glass of tea, but for some reason I shun the idea of throwing sugar into the mix. Our house is bright, with only indoor furniture, and shower curtains in the places you would expect to find them. But if I take a step back or diagonally I'm running into what a friend and I referred to as "number 3s," a reference to the death of Dale Earnhardt. I'm not afraid of turning into that which I make fun of so readily and so often, but seriously, I'd much rather just keep mentally associating with the people in my family who drive horse-drawn buggies to the store every day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I know, I didn't want to be her friend, either.

I strive to live as normal a life as possible. Normal's not the right word, but it's my idea of normal that I'm aiming for, so it's the word I use in lieu of arguing semantics.

There's something in me that is deeply disturbed by my life prior to May 2003. In that life I had no idea what was going on. It could probably be argued I wasn't even a real person. I ached for happiness, I inwardly died for adventure and mischievous chaos. Every minute spent awake past 2AM doing something besides reading a book was monumental. Ice cream for dinner was an act of daring that I flaunted like it was a competition in the X Games. I remember fake-smoking Swisher Sweets, my hands shaking at how bad I was. I was pretending to smoke a wannabe cigar, how devious.

I look back at her, clueless me, and I wish I could stab myself in the face. Give myself a few scars, get my bar fight signoff for my life JQR. That girl who avoided any and all pain, but who would lose weeks of sleep over anyone in the hopes that there was a possibility that they cared about her. The girl who took pictures of her bruised knees because she couldn't remember the last time she had been so physically injured. How fantastically lame she was. No wonder the only people I've found who went to college with me lost touch with me the second I walked out the door. I wish I could have lost my number and address, too.

I'm a little proud of some seriously bizarre things. I have no gall bladder. I have titanium plates connecting my upper jaw to my skull. I've broken a finger. I have stories about me in other countries. The past me would have died, absolutely keeled over at the prospect of a needle. The past me would have moped about how her parents always said they were going to a place and then never followed through, instead of being proactive and booking a whole trip for herself. Past me would faint to know that I married a man who's been in a bar fight.

I'm also a little proud that our furniture matches, as do our plates and utensils. I don't want my home decorating theme to be 20th Century Garage Sale Find. I have some jewelry from Tiffany's, I have a purse that's so insanely expensive that the thought of something happening to it makes me physically ill. On Saturday mornings we get up and go out for Breakfast Bagels, do the crossword puzzle, plan our day. My socks match. Each other.

Essentially, I'm proud because I'm living my life the way I want and then some. I don't know why I am so currently sad about losing touch with certain people. The fact that people have fallen out of my life does not make me special or unique. Not the way heterochromia, a super-ethnic last name, and a story about finding a Chinese man late one night in Athens do. Possibly because I want to apologize to those people for putting up with the past me, who had so little about her that was special that she swooned at the idea of going to a movie with friends because it was all just so normal.