Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

Knitting, stitching, reading, gardening, cooking--I have no time for any of it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And God said, "Ha!"

First, the good stuff:



My gold medal. Yay, me.

And now to explain the title of this post, which I totally stole from Julia Sweeney. Somewhere around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, things were going pretty well. My cases for the next court term aren't too bad, and I'm decently caught up with other stuff. So much so that I was thinking maybe, just possibly, I could ask for next Monday (my birthday) off. And then one of my coworkers mentioned that she had been in Asheville, NC the previous weekend and had noticed that there were scads of knitting shops. I completely love Asheville, but I haven't gotten to spend much time there since the kids were born. So this thought started blooming in my head... Maybe I could take the day off and spend it in Asheville, browsing around Earth Guild and other fabulous shops, having a yummy Lenten lunch at Laughing Seed Cafe, and generally not being on anybody's else's schedule for a few hours.

Like I said, I had these thoughts around 2:30. By 3:30, no lie, I had a sore throat. By 9:00 I was ready to crawl into bed, where I stayed until noon today. Loss of half a day of work (and the essentially useless half-day I'm putting in now) comes pretty close to precluding taking a day off on Monday. This is just so wrong.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Goooooooooold!

Et voila--Branching Out, in all its glory:



Finished it Thursday night, blocked it Friday, wore it this morning. I am very pleased with how it turned out. The pattern was quite easy to follow, and the yarn (KnitPicks Merino Style, in Hollyberry) was very nice to work with.

And, even though I have a ton of other things I *should* be working on, I was unable to resist the lure of sock knitting:



If the needles seem huge, it's because they are, in sock terms, anyway. They're size 3s, which is what is recommended for the Lion Brand "Magic Stripes" sock yarn. I'm crawling before I walk. Sue me. (No, don't really--I'm totally broke and it's really not worth the trouble.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hanging up on the call of duty.

So.

I have this dilemma. There's this Olympic knitting thing--I have until Sunday evening to knit 8 more pattern repeats and three rows of garter stitch, then block, the scarf. In other words, I stand a substantial chance of victory in the Knitting Olympics.

But. (There's always a "but.")

I have work to do. A lot of work. While I'm working on the never-ending speech from Hell, there has been a pile of other stuff building up on the upper right corner of my desk, which is where I put stuff that I need to get to but don't have time for. Most of the projects there are ideal for out-of-office down time, like, say, during Andy's karate class or after the kids go to bed.

But.

That's also my knitting time. And while I'm ordinarily willing to give up knitting or stitching time for work when the need arises, this is not ordinary knitting, it's Olympic knitting. And let me tell you, the thought of finishing a project at a time when I can still remember starting it? That's pretty darn tempting, and it would never have happened were it not for the insanity called the Knitting Olympics. (Incidentally, did you know that there are people who are *done* with their Olympic knitting? Yes, Judy, I'm talking about you. That's just not right, girl.)

So.

I'm thinking I'll be knitting tonight. I'm thinking the pile of projects will stay where they are for another day or two while I reach for Olympic glory. I'm thinking that I will probably regret this come Monday morning, almost as much as I will regret staying up until 11:30 tonight to watch the Ladies' Women's free skate. I'll probably regret it more than that snowboarder regrets showboating and ending up with a silver medal. But a little bit o' gold can compensate for a lot of regret, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stress Fracture

(or, "Why I Think Bode Miller Is a Total Wuss")

So, it amuses me to no end that NBC and various big corporations ahem-NIKE-ahem annointed Bode Miller the God of the Winter Olympics back in like, July, and now he's totally stinking up the mountain. Serves them right, I say. I'm willing to give NBC credit for a generally better job at covering a broader range of athletes this time around (as in, non-Americans and those who have no hope of a medal in a particular event), but that doesn't mean I can't give them crap for the Bode Miller thing.

I saw a headline in which Bode Miller complained about the "inhuman pressure" that he's under to ski well. To which I say: blah, blah blah. Dude, *you* signed the endorsement deal and did the interviews. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen. And furthermore, pressure? For crying out loud, you "work" for two minutes a day, and fans aren't even allowed on the slopes during competition. And you have your spiffy little trailer to hide in between events.

All of this is by way of saying that I don't think Bode Miller would last five minutes in my life. "Inhuman pressure" is having 90 hours of work to do and only 40 hours to do it in, and never knowing when something new is going to come up and add to the workload. And a boss breathing down your neck, and colleagues who can't figure out how to press "start" on the stupid fax machine when something is stored in memory. "Inhuman pressure" is living with a three-year-old who is liable to explosions of screeching at the drop of a hat, who makes you live with constant sleep deprivation because spending the night snuggling him on the couch is the only way *anybody* is going to get any sleep. "Inhuman pressure" is worrying about your husband who is so miserable that breathing is a serious effort, and being totally unable to help him. "Inhuman pressure" is not being able to change any of these things or escape to a spiffy little trailer when it all gets to be too much. "Inhuman pressure" is wondering if this is finally the day that you're going to have a nervous breakdown, and thinking what a relief that would be because then maybe you'd get a break, but knowing that a nervous breakdown is not one of your options.

Let's see Bode navigate *that* for a day or two. "Inhuman pressure," my ass.

Edit, circa 4:00: Having cranked out 10+ pages of speech today, I am not so stressed out about work right now. Getting the speech going, plus a warm sunny day here in South Carolina, has been enough to walk me back from the edge for the time being. And I have every intention of parking my butt on the sofa and knitting tonight while I watch the ladies' women's short program. But I still think Bode Miller is a wuss.

Friday, February 17, 2006

zzzzzzzz *snerk* "wha-huh?" glub, glub.

Owen has put Chuck and I through two nights of insomnia.* He sleeps for a while, then wakes up and wanders aimlessly around the house (periodically climbing onto, then off of, the nearest lap) until he collapses on the floor. He repeats this process every couple of hours. Sometimes he seems awake, sometimes he seems like he might be sleep walking. Not even a substantial dose of Benadryl (w/doctor's approval) kept him down last night. He just stumbled more.

The doctor ascribes all of this to allergies. She cleaned an alarming amount of junk out of his ears, gave him some Zyrtec chewables and nasal spray, and sent him (and us) on his way. If that doesn't work, guess who's house we're dropping him off at tomorrow night?

When at last I dragged into work this morning, all hell was breaking loose. I am drowning in an ocean of work, and someone keeps dumping more water in. You know the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" scene from Fantasia? I am Mickey, and the Sorcerer ain't coming back anytime soon.

All of this is by way of saying that I am likely to be scarce, or at least entirely uninteresting, for the next week or so. I've made it halfway through my Olympic knitting project, but it's looking like I may have to pull a Kwan.

*Those who are paying attention will note in that sentence a distinct lack of sympathy for Owen's plight. This is because Owen does not have a plight. He is three; when he gets sleepy, he sleeps. He does not have a job or a five year old or a household to run. He may not like being awake during the middle of the night (although the play-doh fest at 4:00 a.m. indicates to the contrary), but there are no lingering consequences. This is not the case for Chuck and me. Owen may be the one with the insomnia, but we are the ones suffering from it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Medic!

Over the last 4-5 days, every member of the Small household has gone through a 12-hour stomach bug. Owen's over it. Andy's over it. Chuck got over it without even throwing up. Me? Still feeling kinda crappy. Because, you know, I'm the one with a boss breathing down my neck about a gazillion things and Olympic knitting haunting my dreams. So it figures.

Speaking of Olympics knitting, I hereby send my apologies to Robert Palmer:


I might as well face it, I'm addicted to lace.

Seriously, this is so fun (except for the parts when I am painstakingly undoing stitches and swearing under my breath). I get a little rush every time I knit three together and make a leaf. Who knew that lace could be so fun? I must.knit.more. I'm thinking there is a Pi shawl in my future.

Even better, I think I am on pace to finish it by the end of the Olympics. I figured I need to do two pattern repeats a night to get it done in time; even without knitting two nights in a row, due to feeling yucky, I am almost on that pace (I have eleven repeats less one row; I need to be through 12 by the end of this evening. No sweat.)

In other fantabulous news, Andy has been accepted at Stone Academy, so we've got the First Grade thing figured out. Yay.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Good news, bad news.

Andy didn't get into the arts academy, but he's #1 on the waiting list, so it's only a matter of time. Our neighbor's daughter got in, which means there is some serious car pool potential (yay!).

I'm all ready for the knitting olympics, and I can't wait to start. I forgot my camera this morning, otherwise there would be photographic proof of my readiness. But trust me, as soon as the kids are in bed on Friday night I'm settling in with Branching Out and a box of Kleenex for when I get all weepy (whether at the pattern or at the Games, you never know).

But in the meantime, there is work. I've got to start finish an opinion and finish start a speech.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pssst!

You don't see me. I'm not really here. I'm working, got it? Working. Not blogging. Working. Just in case my boss anyone asks.

Like the button says, I spend Mondays with TW. No stitching happened last night--I was too busy gasping at "Grey's Anatomy" to put needle to fabric, and besides, it's been so long since I worked on this project that I had to totally re-orient myself. So, here is a project pic from when I last worked on it, Lo these many moons ago:



Isn't the fabric cool? It's a Silkweaver solo, the name of which I forget. I think it's a great backdrop for a dragon guarding a castle on a high peak.

Before I get caught, I'm going to sneak in a finished object:



The scarf was made ages ago, and Andy has been bugging me for a hat in the same yarn ever since. So Friday I grabbed a pair of size 13s, cast on as many stitches as they would hold, and knit a hat in less than an hour. Unfortunately, it's a bit small on his head, but he says he likes it, and that's good enough for me.

Okay, back to the grind. Remember, I was never here, and this post never took place.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Stuff you didn't know about me...

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Kirsten!

  1. Only twelve people have ever set foot on Kirsten.
  2. On average, women blink nearly twice as much as Kirsten.
  3. It can take Kirsten several days to move just through one tree!
  4. Influenza got its name because people believed the disease was caused by the evil "influence" of Kirsten.
  5. Human beings are the only animals that copulate while facing Kirsten.
  6. A Kirstenometer is used to measure Kirsten.
  7. The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armour raised their visors to reveal Kirsten.
  8. While performing her duties as queen, Cleopatra sometimes dressed up as Kirsten.
  9. It takes 17 muscles to smile, and 43 to frown at Kirsten.
  10. The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes Kirsten.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Friday, February 03, 2006

A (silent) poetry reading

I'm a little late coming to this (what else is new), but Grace's Poppies suggested that whoever feels moved to do so should post a poem on honor of Feb. 2. It is now February 3, but I am still inclined to post a poem. The below was written by Langston Hughes. Forgive the length, but I just couldn't justify cutting it. Hughes' poetry is simple yet powerful, and I find it deeply moving.

"Let America be America Again"

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

mmmmkay

So, there are no pictures in today's posts. Wanna know why? Because the two darling boys pictured below have been incorrigible challenging this week. And because I have so much work right now, and I am so stressed out about it, that all I can do is sit at my desk and think about how implosion or its polar opposite, spontaneous combustion, both sound pretty good right now.

But there is knitting going on, because it's court week and while I'm listening to arguments (live via computer feed, which is so very cool), I can just sit there, or I can sit there and knit. So I'm knitting. And I'll give you a hint: When my scattered brain manages to remember the camera, C will be for cables, baby.

And I just figured out that acceptance letters to the magnet schools Andy applied to will be mailed out next freaking Monday. I hadn't been stressing about schools until that little piece of information came up on my computer screen. Now I'm totally freaking out.

Gah. Someone pass the valium, please.