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Brewer Burns

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Random Wednesday

I actually have several posts planned, but today I felt the need to be random. So here we go:

1. I’m sick of baby socks for the moment. I just finished a third pair (and a second. I know I haven’t blogged the second yet either.) I will be showing pictures soon.

2. I love riding my bike to work. I did that three days last week and yesterday. Today I drove in but I have to run to the courthouse, get my paycheck to the bank, etc.

3. I really hate snooty people who treat me like dirt. They piss me off.

4. I really love my FBS and it goes with everything.

5. I need to figure out a way to read and knit at the same time. And cook. And do the laundry. Either that or get someone to read to me while I knit and a maid to clean the house.

6. Why is it that each day starts out with such promise and optimism and by mid-morning I want to throw myself out the window?

7. The pictures in the below post are actually out of order. The middle post should be on top of the last post.

8. Oh. Right. And I went camping last weekend. When it wasn’t pouring down rain there were gale force winds. Fun times.

9. I put on an outfit today for work and it’s actually quite loose on me now. Before the skirt was really, really tight (like almost not zipping all the way up) and the shirt would gape unattractively in the front. Yeah me! For the record, the bathroom scale tells me that I have not lost any weight.

10. I will be on vacation in a week and a half.

That’s it for today. I hope you’re Wednesday is going well. Have I mentioned that riding my bike to work really improves my mental health? I think I would be doing better today if I had ridden in rather than drove.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

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The Horse I Rode In On-- A Photo Essay

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

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Finished Flower Basket Shawl

I finished my FBS on Friday. It’s beautiful.

Project Stats:

Yarn: Knitpicks Shimmer in Happy Dance
Needles: US size 5, straights and circular
Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Finished size: approximately 60” wide and from my neck to halfway down my ass long.

Let’s start with the project alterations. I knew that I really wanted to make this shawl in lace weight yarn, but I didn’t want to double it like the pattern instructs. I kept having nightmares about not being able to consistently get both loops of each stitch onto my needles without having to maneuver each stitch into place or accidentally treating each loop like one stitch and constantly having to tink back and fix mistakes. Yuck. So instead I decided to use lace weight yarn and went down two needle sizes: from size 7 to size 5. I also knew that I wanted the shawl to be shawl-sized instead of the little bandana-sized thing you get if you knit the pattern as written. I read here that sixteen repeats makes a good-sized shawl to fit just about anyone. So I decided sixteen repeats would be my approximate goal, although I was also shooting for about 60” in width (as I am about 60.5” in height. Don’t laugh at me. When you’re as short as I am that half-inch really counts.) Anyway, I did end up doing sixteen repeats of the pattern before adding the border and the finished shawl is just slightly longer than my wingspan. In other words, perfect.

Now let’s talk about the yarn. Up front I have to admit that this is both my first experience with Knitpicks and my first experience with lace weight yarn. I loved it. Shimmer is 70% alpaca and 30% silk. The silk content gives it a really nice sheen and the alpaca is really, really soft. I recommend it, especially if you’re on a budget. Seriously, if you’ve never been to Knitpicks, go there. They’re prices blow me away (and I have a skein of alpaca cloud waiting to become Evelyn A. Clark’s Trellis Scarf from the Spring IK.)

The needles. Oh the needles. All of my needles (except two sets) are bamboo. Why? My LYS carries bamboo, it’s affordable and I like the feel of it in my hands. This was the second project when I really felt myself wanting sharper, more slippery needles (the other being Annie Modesitt’s Tea Set.) Like aluminum. Or any kind of metal. I wanted the sharper point to get under the teeny-tiny yarn strands, and the more slippery needle because I felt like the yarn was really sticking to the bamboo at times. I suspect the silk was involved in that (but maybe it was the alpaca or more likely, my tendency to knit really tightly.) Either way, the yarn was not slipping the way I’m used to. And lastly, the joins on my circular needle really suck sweaty goat balls. Every time it came to purl the wrong side rows, I spent half the time pushing the yarn up on my needles. Talk about goat ball suckage. So I may be investing in some metal needles here soon.

I really enjoyed making this project. Aside from a slightly bumpy beginning I really had no problems with the pattern. Even more, once I had finished a few repeats the pattern was really easy to remember and the repeats really started to fly by the end of the project. It was truly awesome.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Horse You Rode In On (Part II)

Where did I leave off? Right. The jogger in the orange vest. Still laughing about that. But to continue the saga....

Phase Four: Jennifer Goes Down the Hill (Some More)

Once down the big hill, I have to wind my way into downtown, and specifically to Riverfront Park and the Centennial Trail. Exiting Post, I ride on the residential streets since there are fewer cars and I can safely ride in the middle of the road if I want to, and headed south until I hit the next main street. Then I headed east until I hit Washington. Why Washington? Well, I planned to enter the park underneath the Washington Street bridge. Now, Washington is a major street with lots of cars going really fast. So I ride on the sidewalk all the way down. A really bumpy, cracked, sometimes incredibly narrow sidewalk. But I make it and in a few blocks I pass under the bridge and penetrate the park.

Phase Five: The Centennial Trail

Once in the park I have to get over on the other side of the river to get to the Trail (I’m going to call it the Trail from now on. Easier. And cool points for me, making up my own slang and all.) To do that I have to cross over one wooden bridge (the falls were RAGING only a few feet beneath my bike wheels,) then up onto the grassy knoll and back down again to cross the second bridge (no raging falls beneath me now. Just a placid lake behind the dam.) Then I ride the Trail, past CI Shennanigans, past the flock of sleeping geese (yes, I was up riding my bike before the geese were even awake,) over the river again, past the law school (oh, what fun we used to have!) and up and over Hamilton Street (laughing at the gridlock below.) Now comes the scary part....

Phase Six: Where the Wild Things Are

Once over Hamilton I exit the Trail, ride down by the Northern Lights Brewery, wonder if it’s too early to stop in for a beer, decide it is, and cross the river yet again on the Trent Street bridge. That’s the fourth time I cross the river. Now here comes the fun part. First, I have to cross Trent Street, which is a fairly busy street even this early in the morning. While waiting for an opening I call Stephen on my cell phone. I knew I was going to need some moral support for the last leg of the trip. Once I cross over, I head down the dirt road, by the mission, past the building supply store and up the hardly-ever-used-but-at-least-paved-road that leads me under the freeway. I have to pass under the freeway. On a barely used road. Let’s just say that I’m hyper-vigilant on this portion of the trip. I do not want to meet the kind of people that might hang out down here alone, on my bike, at 7:20 in the morning.

Phase Seven: The Last Push

The very last thing I have to do before I’m home free is ride up a very long, fairly steep, hill. I only make it about a quarter of the way up before I have to get off the bike and walk it the rest of the way. But I’m fine with that. Once I make it up the hill, I coast the last half block to my office, and enter the building through the parking lot.

And that’s all there is to it.

On the knitting front, I finished the repeats on my flower basket shawl last night and started in on the border. I am halfway through the border chart and very much looking forward to finishing this one up. Really. You have no idea.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Horse You Rode In On

I’ve taken the plunge. I bicycled to work this morning. I’ll give you a few moments to process that.....

Yeah. So, Stephen has actually been riding his bike to work since sometime last month (once the weather cleared up enough for him to do it) and he’s been encouraging (read: pressuring) me to do the same. And I’ve always been honest with him about my feelings on this subject. I want to ride my bike to work. I really do. It’s just that there are days when I need to go to the courthouse and the route to work would have to be figured out and there are some real route hurdles with the location of my office in relation to my house and it takes a really long time to get to work and I don’t really like riding when it’s hot out and ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS I WOULD HAVE TO BE TEN KINDS OF CRAZY TO RIDE MY FUCKING BIKE TO FUCKING WORK. Ahem. Well, as Claudia might say, I am not crazy, but I am married to crazy. He made some really good points about saving money (for yarn) and not having to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to the gym (so I can stay up late and knit.) Finally, I know that my ass will be much, much smaller if I ride my bike to work on a regular basis. In recognition and celebration of this inaugural ride I now present the a guided tour:

Phase One: Packing my bags

When you ride your bike to work you have to pack a bag. For me, this means that I have to wander around my house at 5:50 in the morning, in a semi-nude state, gathering various necessaries: work clothes, work shoes, washcloth, hand towel, hair brush, deoderant, etc., all the while muttering under my breath, "what the fuck am I doing? am I crazy? what if I die?"

Phase Two: Leaving the House

Dressed now for the long ride in moisture wicking pants, rolled up above the knee, sports bra, loud tie-dyed t-shirt (I want those assholes driving Hummers to SEE ME) and the good exercise shoes I head out to the garage. But not without first checking to make sure all the doors in the house are locked (twice) and the lights off (three times) and kissing the dog on the head to assure her that all will be well (too many times to count.) Once out of there, with the bike staring me in the face, I ask myself again what kind of crazy thinks this is a good idea. Nonetheless I hop on. And go a little numb after the garage door shuts behind me.

Phase Three: The Top of the Hill

Unless you live in Spokane you are probably not aware that it is essentially built in the dip created by two hills. Downtown is smack dab in the middle of the dip, and the rest of the city is built out from there. There is a "south hill" (where the South Hill Ranger resides) and the "north hill" (where the rest of us dwell.) I live on the northside and my office is due east of downtown. This means that the first step in my trek is to find a convenient way down the hill. This morning I chose the most direct route. Straight down Post street.

*cue ominous music*

The reason that even Stephen avoids this hill is that you could easily get going WAY TOO FAST and if you happened to hit a patch of dirt or needed to take evasive action IT WOULD NOT BE PRETTY. Like road rash, broken bones, etc. But you know me. I’m fearless. *snort*
As I rode up to the crest of the hill, it was like looking over lip of a cliff. A few feet behind the crest and I couldn’t see the hill itself, and when I finally crossed over, the hill dropped off before me at an impossibly sharp angle. I started to rethink the decision. But I was already there and backtracking would eat up valuable minutes. I decided to go for it.

All the way down I laid on my hand breaks, pumping them like I would the brakes of my car on an icy day. I assiduously stuck to the far side of the road, to allow ample room for passing cars. When I got to the bottom I breathed a sigh of relief and took a moment to laugh (inwardly) at the guy jogging on the sidewalk in the fluorescent flagger’s vest. Um. Dude. You’re on the sidewalk in the daylight.

****************** to be continued

On the knitting front, I have finished the last shaping row of the sixteenth repeat on my flower basket shawl. All that remains is to purl back and knit the border. Yeah!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Self Portrait

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

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Instant Gratification

So I was working away on my Flower Basket Shawl, and as I worked, my ball of yarn slowly, slowly, became smaller and smaller. As the ball got smaller and smaller I began to think that sometime, someday, I would have to wind the second ball of yarn. By hand. This thought made me want to cry a little and then hide the unfinished shawl away in the farthest corner of my closet.

Then the day came when I finally used up the last of the ball of yarn. That day was yesterday. When I came to that juncture I found that I had three options: wind the second ball of shimmer for the shawl and continue working on it, wind the skein of Lorna’s Laces that I showed you all a couple of days ago and knit baby socks, or wind both balls of yarn and then figure out which to knit first. Ultimately, I decided to wind the ball of Lorna’s Laces and make the cable rib socks for Marshall and Yoko’s baby boy, Seiya. I’m glad I did. It was instant gratification of the best kind. It was a fast, pretty project that kept my interest. And I fulfilled my obligation to knit up a little giftie for the baby.

Then today, I wound up the second ball of shimmer and am back working on the shawl. I am halfway through with the fourteenth repeat and am considering starting on the border when I’m done with it. We shall see. I want the top edge of the shawl to be at least sixty inches so I’m going to have to stretch and measure when I’m done with the repeat. If it’s not big enough yet, I’ll do sixteen repeats. I’m really loving the shawl these days and getting a little impatient for it to be done. I’m very excited about it and constantly think of times and places when it would come in handy.

Speaking of which, we had a spectacular electrical storm here on Friday. From my office window I spied several lightning strikes touch down and I heard later that a couple thousand homes were without power. It was freaky.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rockwood Water District

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Did You Tap That?

On Wednesday night I attended my first ever tapping contest. What is a tapping contest? It’s good that you asked since I didn’t know until I saw it in action. A tapping contest is where a group of four people (historically, exclusively men) manually drill a hole in a water main and hook up a service to it. Did that make sense? Yeah. Didn’t think so. Let me break it down into steps.

Step One:

You have a water main. A pretty hefty section of pipe, containing water under pressure. You need to drill a hole in that water main (why? I don’t know. Anyway...) You need to drill a hole in that water main manually (I asked Stephen if holes in water mains are actually drilled manually these days. Of course not. There’s a machine that does that.) How do you do that? You take out this large tool that locks onto the main itself, and contains a drilling mechanism inside. Then a large burly man (or woman) is going to turn that drill mechanism like it was a corkscrew wine bottle opener until he (or she) has bored a hole in the main.

Step Two:

While the big burly man (or woman) is manually boring a hole in a piece of ductile iron pipe, another guy (also pretty burly) is going to create the copper service line to complete the service. He (or she) will take two lengths of copper pipe, cut off the ends, pound said ends down, attach the part that joins the two lengths of pipe together, clamp one end of the joined pipe to a spigot, manually bend the copper pipe so that it can be hooked up to the water main at the proper angle, and then just hope that nothing leaks.

Step Three:

Once the hole has been bored in the water main and the service line has been created, all that is left to do is hook up the copper service pipe to the water main.

It’s actually pretty cool to watch the contest itself. Spokane did very well. Their best final time was (I believe although I had already consumed a couple of tasty beverages by this time) 1:33. That’s one minute and thirty-three seconds. They did not win, but instead lost to the Rockwood (Portland) Water district who posted a time of (again, I think) 1:22. Significantly, Portland had a clean run its first time and, since they were the last team to go, elected not to take a second run.

Also very cool? There was one team that was made up entirely of women. Apparently they compete nationally in the women’s team competition.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

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Random Thursday

It’s a random day today. Seriously, I feel like my brain is fried. In the above pictures you can see:

My new shoes. Aren’t they pretty?
A skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock waiting to be wound into a ball, and
The Flower Basket Shawl

On the shoes: I bought them at a thrift store with my mother in law this last weekend. I think they’re incredibly cute. They make my feet feel pretty.

On the yarn: Stephen’s supervisor and his wife had a baby a week ago last Saturday. (Congratulations Marshall and Yoko!) So I’m making baby socks for him. And then another guy who works with Stephen quite often, Joe, also had a baby just recently here. A little girl. I’ll probably make some socks for her as well.

On the Shawl: she keeps growing. It’s actually going pretty swiftly now. I’m into the eleventh or twelfth repeat and even though the rows keep getting longer, I’m remembering the pattern much better, so they’re flying by. I’ve even transferred it to circular needles because it had outgrown my straights. Good times.

Well, that’s all for now. I did go to a tapping contest last night. If you don’t know what that is, tune in tomorrow. I hope to get my post up about it. Oh! Last night I got up on the bar at O’Doherty’s here in town and sang Row, Row, Row Your Boat with a group of slightly shnockered young water professionals. I’ve always wanted to do that. And now I get half off my first drink for life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why I Like The Gilmore Girls

I was in law school when The Gilmore Girls came on the air. I was immediately hooked. Rory reminded me of me (overachiever) and Lorelei was very cool. They talked. They drank coffee together. They were family. It was heartwarming. I watched it religiously all through law school. Then once I was done with law school I became less of a TV watcher in general. So I stopped watching.

Well, as it happens Stephen and I were in the basement last night since we’ve had three straight days of mid-90's temperatures and the upstairs was sweltering. While I was flipping channels during the commercials I caught bits and pieces of the episode where Rory moves in with her grandparents, is sentenced in her criminal case and drops out of Yale. The whole episode focuses on the difficult decisions that each of them, Lorelei and Rory, have to make in order to keep moving forward in their lives. At one point Lorelei tells Luke that she knows that Rory has to make her own mistakes. No one can tell her what to do because she’s an adult and even if someone tried to tell her what to do, she wouldn’t listen.

Which brought to mind something that I often think about. How do people make the transition from child to adult? The simple answer is that we all make that transition in our own unique way. But I think that’s a bit of a cop-out. Especially since every single one of us could name at least one person who is technically an adult but mentally is still a child. Unable to make their own decisions, or, more often, unable to take responsibility and accept the consequences of those decisions.

And that brings to mind another thing that I often think about. In America, and I’m sure in countries the world over, parents shield their children from harm and danger to the best of their ability. Parents also shield their children from the bad consequences of their decisions, if at all possible. In addition, we, as a society, and parents especially, allow our kids, whether they be children or adolescents, to make very few decisions on their own. Why? Because we’re afraid that they will make the wrong decision and have to suffer bad or unpleasant consequences for their actions.

But it seems to me that making decisions, like anything else in life, is something that takes practice. In other words, if we never allow our children to make decisions then how do we expect them to make good decisions when they are full fledged adults? Obviously, something as difficult as good decision making (which encompasses so many things that we do all day every day of our lives) is going to take practice if we want our children, the future adults of this country, to be proficient at it.

This is just something that I’ve been thinking about. Feel free to comment and tell me what you think, especially if you have kids of your own.

Also, I’ve noticed that the dot on my Cluster Map up on Hudson Bay in Canada keeps getting bigger. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

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Quick Update

This has to be quick. I’m blogging while my in laws are at the store. They can’t know about the blog if I want to keep talking about taint cream. So, here I am. I’m making steady progress on my flower basket shawl. I’m actually in the middle of my ninth repeat and I’m thinking sixteen repeats of the lower flower basket is probably about right. It’s really flying by.

Also, I watched the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice last weekend. I LOVED it. If any of you out there are fans of Jane Austen and haven’t seen this movie, go out and find it. It’s the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It’s absolutely fantastic. I must say that Colin Firth plays the perfect Mr. Darcy. And he is HOT. I say this even though I’m not sure I’ve liked any other movie I’ve ever seen Colin Firth in. So go out and rent it if you’re inclined. You won’t regret it.

Lastly, there are my rhododendrons in full bloom. They’re beautiful and spring has most definitely arrived.

Finally, and really the last thing, today is Stephen’s 31st birthday. It’s a good day today!

Next post: Wine Tasting or: Adventures with the In Laws.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Am Incongruent

Incongruent (dictionary definition): inappropriate or unsuitable

I do not mesh with the warp and weft of my path in life. I do not fit. I lay on the surface, shimmering like an oil slick, but not mixing with the other constituents of my fate.

Yesterday I had my teeth cleaned. At the end of the appointment as I was waiting for the dentist to come in and “take a look” my dental hygienist asked me where I work. I told her. Looking a little confused she said, “but what do you do there?” I told her that I am an attorney. She looked even more confused. You’re an attorney? She said. The question mark was there, trust me. Yes. I replied.

She was clearly shocked. These questions always embarrass me. I know whenever someone asks me what I do that they expect something along the lines of “wait tables,” “receptionist” or possibly “teach elementary school.” That last one is a stretch though. I just don’t look or sound old enough to be that thing that I am: an A-T-T-O-R-N-E-Y. This doesn’t really bother me except. Except I sometimes believe that I am not enough of…something. Not old enough? That’s not it. Not smart enough? Yeah, maybe a little. Just. Not. Good. Enough. Period.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

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What Would You Do For Love?

I will knit two of Annie Modesitt’s Fiesta Tea Sets out of really crappy cotton yarn. Only because I love my cute little nieces! Trust me. Nothing less powerful than the allure of knitting for adorable little girls could tempt me to even contemplate such a task.

Let me explain. When I decided to make my first tea set for my niece Anna (6 years old) I did not know that I hate knitting with cotton. Specifically, Katia’s Mississippi Three cotton yarn (it’s actually like 50% acrylic and 50% cotton.) At that point I was blissfully ignorant of the pain in my wrists, the screaming wail in my head, and the generally scritchiness of said yarn. I just wanted to make that tea set because, dude, it’s a tea set (I love tea and tea sets) and, she was a having a tea party for her sixth birthday, and finally, DUDE IT’S A KNITTED TEA SET. I mean, seriously, can you get any cooler than that?

So I knit the motherfucking tea set. And it nearly killed me. The cotton yarn. Oh the cotton yarn on my bamboo needles. When on the needles, the yarn makes a sound like nails on a chalk board except it’s cheap cotton/acrylic yarn on bamboo needles. I cringe when I hear it. And then there’s the pattern itself. Don’t get me wrong here. I like the pattern. I think it’s pretty clever, in fact. But it has two things which I now hate with every fiber of my knitting being: I-cord Bind Off and I-Cord Stripe. In particular, I-Cord Stripe. Why do I hate these? Let me count the ways:

1. When you work the I-Cord Bind Off you work each stitch in the row three times. So, if there are 54 stitches in the row you actually work 162 stitches. That’s like an entire fucking sweater, you know?

2. When you work the I-Cord Stripe you work each stitch in the row four times. That’s 216 stitches in that 54 stitch row for those of you keeping track.

3. Each time you work either one of these monsters you end up doing I-Cord all the way around which means that the stitches are all inordinately tight, because you’re pulling the yarn around the back, every three to four stitches, to form the I-Cord.

4. And lastly, when you work the I-Cord Stripe there’s actually a stitch that stays on the needle (as opposed to being bound off or becoming part of the I-Cord.) I could never get that stitch tight, no matter how much I tugged or how I created the stitch. Which meant that, at any given time, one or two of my needles was trying to fall out of my work while I was working the I-Cord Stripe row and when I was working the next row. Which really sucks ass.

So, what would convince me to knit yet another tea set from hell? Nothing less than a request from my sister and my niece, Gwendolyn (2). So I knit another motherfucking tea set. And you can see it above, in all its glory. For those of you who care, the tea set stands up okay on its own once it’s blocked (on the jars) but stands up much better if, once its dry, you spray it with heavy duty starch.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Fucking Bastards


Saturday, May 06, 2006

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Good Intentions

I am the kind of person that often possesses good intentions but lacks the commitment and drive to follow through on all of those good intentions. Take my prepping for the start of my Flower Basket Shawl, for instance. In a recent post I explained how I planned to approach said shawl. I knew that I didn’t want to double-strand the yarn as the pattern suggests, and so, swatching would be in order. First, I planned to swatch a motif using the recommended needle size, with the yarn double-stranded, as a default. Second, I planned to swatch using the recommended needle size and the yarn single-stranded, and third, I was going to do yet another swatch with the yarn single-stranded but using a smaller needle size than recommended. And I was going to block all three swatches to see which one I like best.

Did I do any of these things? In a nutshell, No. When it came right down to it I swatched about half a flower basket using size 5 needles (two sizes smaller than the recommended size) and the yarn single-stranded. Then when I had stretched the motif out (still on the needles) and sort of squinted at it I decided it looked good, ripped out the swatch and started knitting.

Now, here’s the embarrassing thing. I have already had a wee meltdown precipitated by frustration with the pattern. You see, I printed the pattern off the Interweave Knits website when it was still available for free, stuck it in my stash of free internet patterns, and then didn’t think about it again until I started knitting. I cast on just fine. The cast on, by the way, is very cool and results in a completely seamless edge. I also worked the upper flower basket chart just fine. Things were going swimmingly and I was in love.

Then last night. I made it to the lower flower basket chart and COULD NOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME FIGURE IT THE FUCK OUT. I could not figure out how a shawl that gets bigger and bigger could continue to use the same chart over and over again, especially when the number of stitches in the first row (the one with the fewest stitches) could not be multiplied to get the number of stitches in the last row (the one with the most stitches.) I was really, really stuck. Finally, after going to bed, realizing I couldn’t sleep without knowing how to conquer the shawl, and getting up again, I remembered that I had printed off some pattern notes from Knitting Interrupted website about the shawl way back when. After I located the notes, sat down, and read them, the solution to my problem immediately jumped out at me. Apparently, there is a ten stitch section of the shawl that is repeated, but on my copy of the pattern, which of course was printed in black and white, that ten stitch repeat was NOT highlighted in red. So I never even knew it was there. Since the pattern does not mention the need to repeat a certain portion of the pattern, I had no idea. I do think I’m back on track now, but will keep you posted.

Friday, May 05, 2006

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The Kegerator and The Beer

When I went to see my sister last month, I traded her my old dresser for her old refrigerator. I presume that she’s put the dresser to good use, and Stephen has turned the refrigerator into a KEGERATOR!

It is a very exciting thing here at Chez Burns. Not an evening goes by without a fond remark or comment upon the usefulness, the beauty, nay, the sublime *experience* that is the Kegerator. From the stainless steel drip tray to the stainless steel tap handle, all is gazed at lovingly by at least one pair of eyes. And don’t get me started on the creamy head created by the perfectly calibrated pour. Transcendent, I tell you. Completely transcendent.

Stolen Meme

I've never done one of these. Never been tagged. But then I saw this one over at Statistical Improbability of My Existence and decided to steal it. Here goes:

Book Meme!
1. Copy & paste.
2. Bold the ones you've read.
3. Add four recent reads to the end.
4. Tag!

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman-- I've read The Golden Compass but not the rest
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6) Have it at home waiting to be read
J.K. RowlingLife of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen My favorite book
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) - J.K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) - J.K. Rowling
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold loved this book
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter 5) - J.K. Rowling
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Book 1) - J.K. Rowling
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna TarttA
Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess started this but never finished
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) - J.K. Rowling
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Ender's Game (The Ender Saga) - Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood completely freaks me out
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
Holy Fools - Joanne Harris
The Browning Version - Terence Rattigan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Black Water - Joyce Carol Oates
The Giver - Lois Lowry I LOVE this book
Naked - David Sedaris
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
The Unhandsome Prince - John Moore
Condensed Knowledge - presented by Mental Floss
An Underground Education - Richard Zacks
The Well-Educated Mind - Susan Wise Bauer

My Four:
Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey
Knitting Rules - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
At Knit's End - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Emma - Jane Austen

Clearly, I need to read more.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Self Portrait

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Different Kind of Perineal Massage

So, I was over reading Cecily's blog the other day when she voiced her intention to start doing some "perineal massage." Perineal Massage (apparently) involves a hugely pregnant woman who "massages" her perineum (the area between her vagina and anus) so the area will stretch more easily during childbirth, and thereby cut down on the incidence and severity of tearing. Can I just jump in here and say that this is reason 1,001 why I would like to be completely sedated if I ever give birth? First, because I might have to convince Stpehn to stretch the area between my vagina and asshole, and second, because this is actually the lesser of two evils, since the alternative is ripping, tearring, and possibly an episiotomy, otherwise know as snipping the skin of my vagina, so as to facilitate the opening up of my vagina like a fucking zipper. Thankfully this post is not about that kind of perineal massage.

This post is about that other kind of perineal massage. What? You've never heard of the other kind (or perhaps you've heard of neither and could happily have lived your whole life without that information?) Well. You are in for a treat.

It all started when Stephen bought a new bike. He's the proud new owner of the Cannondale Bad Boy. He commutes to work on his bike so he had the chance to show off the Bad Boy to one of his coworkers when he rode it to work on Monday. This particular coworker, let's call him "the South Hill Ranger," is also a bike enthusiast. Upon inspecting the Bad Boy the South Hill Ranger had some advice for Stephen. First, he was of the opinion that Stephen should invest in some good bike shorts. The kind with a soft, moisture wicking chamois in the ass area. You know, to cushion your ass and wick away sweat during long bike rides.

The second piece of advice brings us to the point. Particularly as it relates to lubricating Stephen's perineum during the aforementioned long bike rides. Apparently, the South Hill Ranger, and scads of other bicyclists, have found it necessary to lubricate their taint (because it "t'ain't my ass and t'ain't my balls" to quote the Ranger) during long bike rides. So much so, that there is actually a product on the market, manufactured and sold under the name "assos" (I shit you not) which is made for this very purpose.

So, the next time you see some guy riding a bike with calves the size of your head, remember, before he stepped into his $90.00 a pair bike shorts that morning, he first applied a glob of taint cream to the specially-designed chamois inside those shorts so he would be well-lubricated.

I'm just a fountain of needed and useful information.

Monday, May 01, 2006

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