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Brewer Burns

Sunday, July 30, 2006

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Your System Was Unable to Load Update

Not really but that is what my computer keeps telling me. It’s slower than molasses these days. Really though, what I’ve got right now is an update. So, here’s my top ten list for Sunday night:

1. I got my hair cut on Friday. No, scratch that. I got my hair styled at a salon on Friday. I paid $40.00 so that a tall, thin, blonde woman could make me feel pretty. And she did so it was totally worth it.

2. Hallelujah! I found my cell phone charger. I lost it seven days ago, six days ago I ordered a new one, overnight, $50.00, today I found the old charger, and tomorrow my new charger should arrive.

3. My little sister and my nieces are coming for a visit next weekend. I’m very excited.

4. I finished Sharfik for me. It’s short but it’s made of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, so it’s soft and very pretty. I really love this pattern.

6. I finished the knitting on a Laura Jane Bear, pattern from Magknits, and will sew it up as soon as its finished drying from the bath I gave it.

7. I’m starting in on the Best Friend bag from Knitty. I plan to make two, one for my grandma and one for Stephen's Grandma Marion (she's 94!) I think they will be very grandma-worthy.

8. I finished Bronty from x-treme knitting and he will soon be on his way to Corvallis to live with Noah, the adorable child of our good friends Kevin and Emily (who gave us the peach tree.)

9. Lastly, I'm doing alright. Not fabulous, but alright.

10. Right, I need 10. Well, I did make homemade buttermilk biscuits, sausage, eggs and cheese for breakfast this morning. It's a good thing I have a gym membership.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Am In An Abusive Relationship With Myself

Is that even possible? I think it is. When I got in to work this morning I opened up a blank file and just started writing all of the things that I was saying to myself (all the things in my head) down onto the page. This is what I said:

You suck. You really do. You are sitting there doing nothing, freaking out, when you could be doing something. Like reading that motion or writing your motion or some other such thing. You really need to get on it. And while you’re at it, do you think you could take a shower, or not sleep for 12 hours straight or SOMETHING? Okay.

Then a few minutes later:

Okay, now, see how mean you are to yourself. No wonder you have no confidence that you can do this job. You are constantly tearing yourself down in the most hurtful way. And you’re so angry with yourself. I’m so angry with myself. Really, I hate this person that I am right now. In fact, even thinking about this person that I am right now makes me want to turn off my brain. Thinking about any of these things that I’m supposed to be doing makes me start to hyperventilate a little. My throat closes up. Because I am paralyzed by fear that I can’t do this. That I will fuck things up. It’s not good.

Amazing, isn’t it? First, I emotionally abuse myself, then I feel bad about emotionally abusing myself (I feel bad about making myself feel bad), and then I try to sweet talk myself. This is one fucked up relationship. The worst part is that I can’t leave myself. If I was in this kind of relationship with a man, I would leave him. I would pack my shit and go (I’m pretty sure I would anyway.) But I can’t leave myself. Before you ask, yes I’m in therapy (thank god Stephen works for the City which has amazing fucking healthcare.) Unfortunately I’m down to my last free appointment. So, I’ve been thinking of doing something different. I will let you know how it all works out.

Incidentally, I ran across something recently (I have no memory of where or when exactly) that said depression is often anger turned inwards. That’s me. Anger turned inwards.

Monday, July 24, 2006

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Viennese Shrug, Finished, and Other Updates

I finished my Viennese shrug Saturday night and blocked it Sunday morning. Thanks to the 104 degree day we had on Sunday, it dried on the deck almost immediately. I like it and I think it will be fabulous in October. Right now I can hardly stand to put it on (it’s too hot here!)

Pattern Stats:
Pattern: Viennese Shrug from Summer ‘05 IK
Yarn: Baby Ull in (medium) pink, 7 balls used
Needles: Size 7, circular and dpn’s, size 6 and 4 dpn’s
Mods: None (except the yarn substitution)

Comments: I like this pattern. It does have a 42 row lace pattern which I never memorized, so it’s not a traveling project. That being said, I really like the lace pattern. It’s pretty. I also like the finished project. So far, I haven’t been able to wear it for more than a few moments (we’re experiencing a heat wave like the rest of the country) but it seems to be pretty wearable. I predict that it won’t stay on my shoulders as easily as I would like, but tends to sort of drape down my back. But pretty. Again, the pattern itself was well written, easy to understand, and contained no errors (that I noticed, anyway.) I recommend it. I also really like the fact that it’s not a traditional shrug (most of which bore me.) It’s got a little extra "something." So, if you like shrugs and like knitting lace, this would be a great project.

I’m on to my next project: another Sharfik from Grumperina (with a twist.) So far I’ve knitted the Sharfik pattern with no mods, except I narrowed it by taking out a pattern repeat, but I have a twisted little plan in my brain that will probably come into play later on. You see, I’m knitting it with the last of some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a tan/khaki color. I have another ball of Debbie Bliss, but it’s a red, leaning towards burgundy, color. I originally intended to simply alternate colors every ten inches or so until I ran out. Then I realized that I would have to try and calculate when to alternate so as to maximize the usage of the beautiful stash yarn. Then this morning I was thinking about it and I made a decision. I’ve been feeling so half baked and wonky these days that I plan to knit the Sharfik pattern until I run out of the khaki colored yarn, then switch to an entirely different pattern when I start with the red. I haven’t decided what pattern yet but I think it will be the antithesis of Sharfik, which is ordered and symmetrical. In other words it will probably be non-symmetrical, unordered, and a little crazy and neurotic (like me.) Added to the fact that there will be more of the khaki color than the red, and this is going to be one interesting scarf.

I will let you know how it all works out.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hard Times in the Old West

I’ve been neglecting the blog. I know. Hard times, hard times. I can’t seem to get it together. As usual I am trapped by my own issues. I am paralyzed in my own head space. Well, I’m working on it. For today, I’d like to talk about something completely different.

Jim West. Who is Jim West? Jim West is the former mayor of Spokane. He was recalled last December amid allegations that he used his position as mayor to seduce young men (like barely legal teenagers,) used his city computer to visit porn sites on the internet, and sexually harassed at least one (fairly young) man whom he had appointed to the human rights commission. Now, you may have actually heard of Jim West and the fallout from these allegations because the techniques employed to "catch" him actually made the national news. That’s not what I want to talk about though.

You see, a close friend and I disagree on the issue of whether West should have been recalled. His view is that mayors of cities surrounded on four sides by wheat fields (Spokane!) have been doing exactly what West did basically ever since they invented the office of mayor. The only difference was that those mayors: 1. Did not get caught and 2. Seduced young women instead of young men. And I agree. I’m certain that West is not the only mayor to have seduced and attempted to seduce young people using his position of power in a kind of quid pro quo fashion, nor will he be the last (hey, for all I know the new mayor is feeling up some city hall intern right now.) I also agree that if West had received a hand job from a woman or even a barely legal teenage girl that probably no one would have cared enough to run several front page stories in the local paper exposing him, and even if they had, he would not have been recalled. A large part of what happened to West is based in the fundamentally conservative homophobia that is the norm in Spokane. All that being said however, I still think that he should have been recalled.

I believe that recalling West was the right thing to do because he sexually harassed at least one man working for the city. I believe that West should have been recalled because he did offer city hall internships to young men while, at the same time, pursuing a sexual relationship with them. I believe that West should have been recalled, because when questioned about his offer of internships to these young men he said that it was fine for him to offer those internships (implicitly in exchange for sex, or perhaps simply as a result of an anticipated sexual relationship with them) because, get this, internships are unpaid. That’s right. He really believed that the unpaid status of the internships offered made a whole world of difference. But it doesn’t. No one should have to exchange sexual favors to obtain career advancement (and that’s what internships are, opportunities for career advancement.) No one should have to compete with people who are willing to exchange sexual favors to obtain career advancement. And, even more importantly, once career advancement has been achieved, no one should have to put up with a sixty-something small town politician persistently trying to feel them up, get naked with them, or otherwise sexually molest them in order to keep that job.

On the topic of Inappropriate and Unwanted Touching: have you all seen the pictures of our very own Dear Leader "massaging" the German Chancellor? No? Well, go over and see them here. Notice the look of disgust on her face?

EDIT: The news broke yesterday that Jim West died over the weekend. He was 55 and died as a result of complications from cancer.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Scotch Thistle

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Super-Awesome Uber-Home Defense System

Progress on the Viennese Shrug is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Really. I finished like a third of a pattern repeat last night. The summer is just taking it out of me, you know? Then, after having spent a couple of hours watching Sex and the City in the basement we went outside to discover that the little fuckers who live next door. Oops. I’m sorry. The angelic children who dwell next door, had pelted my house with paint balls. Little fuckers. Later I had to go outside and explain to them and at least fifteen of their closest friends why having a party in the backyard was really pissing me off. Fun times.

Since I don’t really have much knitting news to share, I thought maybe I could talk about something else. Like my desire to plant my entire fence line with scotch thistle, for instance. Seriously. I know it won’t do a thing to stop the little fuckers from having parties all night long on a weeknight but it will, at least, discourage them from hopping my fence and stealing from my garage (this too is a recurring problem) and I think it sends the right message. Something like "Stay the fuck off my property, assholes" or, more to the point "I don’t like you and I really hope that you brush up against my scotch thistle and skewer yourself something painful." Okay, I admit it. I’m still a little pissed about the incidents last night, in addition to the incident last week, which involved a tent in the backyard, what I assume was a girlfriend stopping over for the night and a really obnoxious boombox.

The events last night also serve to illustrate the differences between Stephen and I. When Stephen discovered the paintball marks he was pretty pissed off. I was too, but more because I don’t like to be terrorized in my own house than because I was really upset about the damage to the vinyl siding. Stephen on the other hand was out there with wet wipes almost immediately to figure out if the paint was water soluble (it was.) When the little party started up outside Stephen didn’t want me to go out there for fear of more retaliation in the form of vandalism, but I was livid. It’s one thing to generally just be ill behaved little brats, it’s another to keep me awake on a week night (I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is.) There was no way I was going to let them keep me up all night. Especially since I have no intention of laying down and letting them walk all over me just because I’m afraid they might egg my house (yes, they’ve done that too.) I don’t want to escalate the situation, but I also don’t want to never sleep and be afraid to go away for the weekend.

At this point I’ve decided that the best course of action involves video cameras, aimed at my backyard and their backyard, coupled with flood lamps that will continuously illuminate both yards. If nothing else that kind of set up will definitely inspire them to be more creative in their efforts. Oh. Right. And a row of scotch thistle.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Well, as you can see up top there is my finished baby hat with the petals sewn on . Then below that there is the Viennese Shrug, one half finished, and the other half just started. I think it's coming along nicely. Anyway, just a little picture update today. Do click on the link below. Like I said, FUNNY. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

My Commute

This is a link to a short video of my commute which is HILARIOUS. It's 25 MB and about 10 minutes long. But, FUNNY!

My Amazing Commute.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Whew! It’s been a bit gloomy here at Chez Burns lately, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. Gloom and tad of melodrama is what you get around here from time to time. Hopefully I can stay on a more even keel for a spell.

Back to the knitting. Yes, I’ve been knitting. However, I must say that I’ve been knitting with a little less enthusiasm than normal. I think it’s the melodrama and the weather. It’s been rather warm here and we’ve been hanging out on the back deck a lot. Plus, it’s summer. Real, honest to the Universe, summer. That means I can be completely happy hanging out on the deck, sitting in a camp chair, drinking a beer, watching the sun spots flicker and dance in the breeze and shadow cast by the maple tree. (poetic, no?) So, in the spirit of summer I’d like to give you a small update on the various growing things in my life. First, the maple. The maple is continuing to dig its root directly into my sewer line. Yay me. It did however suffer a blow on Wednesday, when a fierce electrical storm, accompanied by high winds and driving rain, ripped a couple of branches from its uppermost boughs. One branch landed in the yard, and the other was precariously placed, tottering in the crotch of another limb. I’m just waiting for it to fall.

The peach tree. An amazing thing has happened to the peach tree. After we planted it, and it froze, and the buds that were forming turned grey and fell off, and I had decided that it wasn’t dead but wasn’t going to do anything this year, it decided to leaf out. So now we have a little leafy peach tree.

Finally, the willows. Our neighbors gave us some rooted willow cuttings about a month ago and last weekend we finally got around to planting them. They’re not much to look at presently, but they are most decided alive and I’m sure they will improve. My fervent wish is for them to grow and spread and block out our view of the neighbor’s yard (can you see why?)

In knitting news, I have finished the first half of my Viennese shrug and have just started the back. I have also finished the baby hat I’m going to send off to the breast feeding education class coordinator. Isn’t it cute? I had to sew the fallen petals back on with embroidery thread, but at least they’re really secure now.

Right at the moment I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


When I was in high school my days always started the same way. I awakened to the sound of my mother doing the dishes. Specifically, to the sound of my mother putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Slamming them angrily into the dishwasher, in fact. This was generally accompanied by the sounds of my parents fighting. What did they fight about? Different things, usually inconsequential. Often my father would demand to know where his clean: pants, socks, underwear were and my mother would reply angrily that: she didn’t know, in his drawer, in the basement, in the laundry basket full of clean clothes. Sometimes it would end there, after a few more minutes of my father stomping around, getting dressed, and then slamming the door on his way out. Sometimes they would fight about real stuff. Stuff about me and my sister. They would fight about how each of them parented us. My dad would say to my mother: "You don’t let me discipline them." Discipline. That was his word. The complaint. He was not allowed to discipline us.

My father had words. He had developed a whole lexicon of words that meant something particular to him. Discipline was just one of them.

I cannot tell you how it feels to even type the words. When I do I hear him again in my mind, and I am angry again. I am sad. I am hurt. I would hear the fighting, the stomping, the slamming, the criticism of me and my sister. We were out of control. We didn’t respect him. We didn’t listen (another of his words.) And I would feel angry and hurt and sad. And when it was time for me to get up I would still feel the same, except you could now add to that list: tired. Monumentally tired. Tired not only physically from the interrupted sleep but also mentally and emotionally as well. I felt like every ounce of me had been battered and then drowned and then rung dry in a roller. Until there was little of me left. I counted it as a victory every day that I got up and got myself out of the house more or less on time. I can remember telling myself over and over again like a mantra: I’m awake, I’m alive and I’m here (at school.) I’m awake, I’m alive and I’m here, I’m awake, I’m alive and I’m here. It had a soothing quality. It helped me to push aside and down the anger, the hurt. It allowed me to keep going. As long as I could do those things: wake up, get myself out of bed, dress myself, and get myself to school, I was going to be okay.

Monday, July 10, 2006

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Punk Rock Purse: Finished!

I totally finished the punk rock purse. (Have you noticed that I sound like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Yeah? That’s Totally Rad, Dude!) I am happy with it, except for one small detail. It sags. I suspect that this is the result of two things: one, I modified the project and turned it into a purse instead of a backpack, and two, it’s knitted and therefore the material is quite stretchy. I’ve been trying to think of ways to stabilize and strengthen the material and I think that I will possibly try a couple of things. First, I’m going to sew the lining to the back seam of the top of the purse. Since the cotton lining inside the purse is less stretchy than the knitted bag portion, I think this will help somewhat. I’m also toying with the idea of creating some sort of stabilizing strap thingy. Obviously this is an idea that I need to give a little more thought to.

Since I’ve already expounded on the purse quite a lot I think I will leave you with this: the gusset is a bitch. It is a bitch to sew the gusset to all four sides of the square back and front pieces. It is simply a bitch to get it to fit just right. If you’re going to make this project then you should make peace with that now. Personally, I had to re-pin the gusset several times on each piece before I got it to fit right. This is for the gusset on the bag and the gusset in the lining.

So what am I working on now? Well, I’ve started the Viennese Shrug from Summer ’05 IK. It’s a very pretty shrug with a “leaf spray” pattern (that’s the swatch above.) I’m making mine with pink Baby Ull. I’ve really been on a pink and a baby ull kick lately. I think it will come in handy in the fall. I also finished my first baby hat for the breastfeeding charity. It’s also in Baby Ull, spring green, and its uber-cute.

Lastly, thank you Glaistig, I really appreciate the kind words and the encouragement. I swear that some days I can feel the gray hairs coming in I’m so stressed out.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Avoiding Work and Feeling Shitty About It

Okay, first and foremost, I have to be completely honest with all of you. I am writing this post while avoiding doing work that I should be doing and which scares me and which is going to come up and smack me in the ass next week. Also, I use the word "which" way too much, inappropriately, and in a grammatically incorrect way. Yeah. So, as usual I am completely overwhelmed in my daily life and paralyzed by anxiety. Yay me!

Anyway, I’ve finished the knitting and the seaming on my Punk Rock Purse. I will soon post a picture which is exactly the same as the picture that I posted of the last Punk Rock Purse I made: all knitted up, seamed, blocked and drying in my extra room. There is one big difference between this purse and the last one though. Since this is the second one I’ve made, I was able to correct one huge mistake that I made in the last one. You see, I did not check my gauge when I made these purses because, dude, it’s a purse, how could it not fit? I know. That is dumbass. That is dumbass because of course the purse does not need to fit ME but it all the pieces need to fit TOGETHER. The result of this non-checking of gauge was that although the back and front pieces were the same size and the strap was, obviously, fine, the gusset was too long. This meant that I had to do a weird folding thing on one end of the purse.

But not on this purse. On this purse I totally: measured the actual size of the front and back pieces, figured out the size ratio between the front and back pieces and the gusset on the pattern, then adjusted the gusset length accordingly and it WORKED. Therefore, instead of a weird folding thing on one end of the gusset, the gusset on this purse fits perfectly.

In other news: while I wait for the purse to dry (which will take several days) I have started a baby hat for a good cause. Follow the link over to the Yarn Harlot’s blog and read about the breast feeding information session. Also, I am using the pattern from Janelle Knits for my hat. Kind of. Sort of. Anyway, if you’re at a loss for a pattern but want to make baby hats, go ahead and use that pattern or any of the number of patterns that are posted at the Yarn Harlot.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My Thoughts on the Punk Rock Backpack

I’ve finished knitting the pieces for my second punk rock backpack. While I seam, and seam, and block and sew the lining, and sew in the zipper and seam some more I thought I would share my thoughts on this pattern. First, I really like the result. That’s my first thought. I like the result. It’s cute and playful and useful at the same time. I always carry a purse or a bag and most of the purses or bags that I have owned in my lifetime have been ugly. Just, ugly. So this project is fantastic for me because I really like the end product and I believe that I will use it often.

My next thought is in the same vein, but slightly different. While I think that the pattern results in a really cute bag, I also think that it’s a little small. I haven’t actually finished mine yet, and I didn’t get to try out the one that I gifted to my sister, but I think that it will prove to be a tad on the small side. The good news is that I might actually clean out my purse more often.

As far as the actual pattern goes my main thought at the moment is: no pain, no gain. Seriously. First, you have intarsia, which is a bit of a nightmare for me. I’m one of those people that likes things to be neat and orderly when I’m knitting. I want to sit just so and I want the yarn to sit next to me or on me just so and I want the yarn to pull from the ball or skein just so and on and on. I want to be comfortable when I knit and intarsia makes me supremely uncomfortable. It’s all the ends hanging off the back of my work and the tangling of the individual balls and the calculating of how much yarn should be in each ball. Not too much (wasteful) and not too little (have to cut another length of yarn.) But mostly, I have to be honest here, it’s the tangling. Oh! The Tangling! It makes me want to scream (and yes I may be wound too tightly these days.) Then, once you’re done with the intarsia there is nothing but endless miles of stockinette: a stockinette back, a stockinette gusset, and stockinette straps. Need I say more?

Why yes, I do, because once you’ve finished the endless miles of stockinette you have the seaming. First you have to seam up the straps (or strap in my case.) Yards of strappiness must be seamed, neatly. Then you actually have to construct the bag itself. Let me put it this way: if you hate seaming, do not choose this project.

All that aside, I do like the bag. And all this bitching may simply be the result of my general bitchiness, or to put it more accurately: I feel like my heart is being squeezed in a vice and this is making me a tad uptight at the moment. If it weren’t for that I would probably enjoy the stockinette more.

Maybe I should just give in and drink the Kool-Aid?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

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Well, I have a few housekeeping things. First, I did finish the punk rock backpack. I finished it and gave it to my sister and forgot to take a picture of the finished project. Bad! Bad! Blogger! Have no fear. I have started a new backpack for me and I promise to take pictures along the way.

I also finished the Simply Lovely Lace Socks.

Project Stats:
Pattern: Simply Lovely Lace Socks, from the Sprink IK
Yarn: Dale Baby Ull in dark pink
Needles: size 3
Modifications: I chose the sport weight yarn option and made no modifications, except I made the socks shorter to fit my tiny feet

Comments: I liked this pattern. It was easy. It’s quite pretty when finished and there is little weirdness in the pattern. Just a nice, simple project. Now ask me why I decided to knit wool socks in the middle of the summer? I have no idea. But I will wear them come winter, I’m sure.

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