Who cares, really- I've got SOME of the photos loaded onto flickr and ofoto, and it has snowed TWICE today and pretty much all day yesterday. It's gorgeous. AND it's Christmas! WOOHOO!
But I can't post pictures because my laptop, she is dead. (I'm posting during a break at work).
I have't had time to call and fight with Dell yet because I'm still in the middle of finals, and it always takes at least 6 hours regardless what the problem actually is.
(Edited to Add: Dell was fantastic- was on the phone less than 20 minutes start to finish. My hard drive is dead, they're sending a new one. LOVE the insurance policy I bought when I got the computer. Hopefully my Mom's computer guru will be able to salvage some of the data off my old hard drive after they take it out of my computer... fingers crossed!)
But the sweater is done, and it's pretty good!
I am so close to being done with this sweater- within 2 inches of the end of the last sleeve, and of course, it's time to attach a new ball. That I couldn't find. For three days. Talk about frustrating!
Fortunately, I found it last night, and will (hopefully) be finishing the sleeve tonight as a reward for taking 2 exams in 28 hours (10 hours of exam taking in 28 hours is a LOT, especially when a good 10 additional hours were all the study time available for the second exam!)
I am so glad I found this yarn ball. It was killing me.
Little did I know that C, my best law school buddy, and my Mom had conspired to throw a surprise party Wednesday night. They hired a local taco truck to set up in our neighborhood courtyard and serve gorditas, burritos, and tacos all night. There were mariachis, mini pinatas, the best guacamole I've ever tasted, and a bunch of my dear friends. I was shocked by how many law students found a couple hours to celebrate with me in the midst of this bonkers week. And a family friend who has known me longer than anyone else came down from Santa Fe. It was wonderful!
AND it was a complete surprise.
And now I have a cold and am waaaay behind on studying for finals.
It was SO. WORTH. IT.
This is a strange birthday. A major decade change combined with life on the cusp of major change. In my first year of 30-dom, I will marry, finish law school, move to another state, and start a whole new career. The transitions won't be easy, but I am so excited about all of these changes- makes it much easier. And I'm ecstatic to be starting the real "adult" phase of my life partnered with someone as fabulous as C.
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE my dress. SO. EXCITED.
By the way, my dress came from Bridal Portfolio in Southlake, Texas (outside of Dallas). The ladies there are very nice and incredibly professional. It's a very pleasant place to shop for a gown and they have gorgeous dresses. They also special ordered samples of 3 dresses from one of their designers for me.... Everything went off without a hitch!
On the other hand, avoid Bridal Couture of Scottsdale, Arizona like the plague. They are lying, cheating punks who were rude the entire time my Mom and I were in their store, and I've been fighting with my credit card company for 3 months about fraudulent charges from this place. RUN AWAY!
After not much reflection, here's my take on what I learned:
- I got nothin. Really. Nothing to say. I don't think I wrote a single post that was important, intriguing, or really even interesting the entire month. Good thing I'm doing this for me, and not for you. You'd be really disappointed!
- My stats jumped immensely during November, despite the lack of photos, decent content, etc. Which leads me to the conclusion that there are a lot of bored, lonely people in blogland. It is kind of nice to eavesdrop on strangers, getting a sense of what their lives are like... but I can't believe how many people came here just because there was something new. And I feel like a lab mouse who has learned that I get a treat when I push a button- post, readers. Post, readers. It's kinda cool, but apologies for the lack of interesting stuff!
- I also learned that you guys really like the knitting posts- -my stats jumped every time I mentioned yarn or knitting in the subject line. Good to know. Wish I could give you more, but it's been a slow year. :-)
- Increasing blog readership is part brute-force and part good content. If it's great, but sparse, people will still read. If it's crap, but there's a lot of it, people will sill read. The ideal combo, obviously, is lots of great content, and my favorite blogs are a reflection of that. But it's nice to know the rest of us can get by with fairly regular episodes of posting about random stuff.
- I really do blog for myself. I haven't been analyzing my stats as much to see where people are from, how they got here, how long they spent, etc. I did it more to get something out in the ether, as a personal discipline. I completely lack discipline in almost every other area, so I'm really glad I did this! Probably my favorite aspect of the project.
Would I do it again? Sure! I just don't expect to contribute much that might be of use to the public discourse....
- I haven't read a single page in a single class all semester long.
- I have two really hard exams and one that shouldn't be too bad.
- I also have to rewrite a 30 page paper in the midst of exam mayhem.
- AND I'm turning 30 on Wednesday! (Maybe that should be my paper day- 30 pages for 30 years?)
- The Green Gables is so close to done I can taste it.... yet I will feel guilty for every stitch I knit during the next two weeks....
Kill me now!
I have, in the same amount of time, spent 45 minutes on the elliptical machine and done a pilates class. I was feeling vituous, but this is not nearly enough to keep up with the calorie intake explosion. OH WELL.
We had a light dusting of snow last night- barely 1/32 of an inch in my nieghborhood. The roads were completely clear.
Yet the university is apparently either delayed or cancelled all classes.
My birthday is in the first week of December, and it was frequently cold/snowy for my birthday growing up. By the time I turned 16, we hadn't had cold wintry weather on my birthday in years. My Mom had planned a big deal sweet-16 party, cooking for days and days before the big day. I jokingly said, "wouldn't it be great if we got a foot of snow for my birthday?" Sure enough, we got it. Of the 150 or so invited guests, only the neighbors were able to make it over.
We had LOTS of leftovers.
This Misty Garden scarf has turned out to be one of my favorite FOs- I wear it at least once or twice a week in cold weather. (I obviously didn't gift it as I thought I would when I posted the original FO!)
Green Gable is still moving along- about 3 inches away from the end of one sleeve, and then the other left to do. The sleeves are going so fast!
I also finished the body and half a sleeve on the green gables- sleeves are SO much faster than the body....
This spells DOOM for the diet. Maybe I should take it as a sign to cut back on my hours so I'm not in the office exposed to the mounds of unhealthy treats that will be arriving in the next month....
I'm still pessimistic about this sweater's potential for wearability. I know it's big enough, but is it too big? I'm working in Pakucho organic cotton purchased from elann a while back, and the Pakucho allegedly shrinks like Rowan Denim. Have I made the body long enough? Only time will tell....
I'm hoping to have this project wrapped up by mid-December so I can start on something more interesting after finals are over.
Towards the end, things got pretty ugly. I knew in March of that year that I was going to law school and would be quitting in July. She cornered me one day in late March to talk about "my future."
She confronted me about how miserable I was at work, and demanded an end game- what was I going to do to get myself out of this unhappy place?
Much to her surprise, my end game was clear- I was getting the hell out of there and going to law school, thankyouverymuch. I didn't plan on telling her until the absolute last second, but the conversation was so uncomfortable that I just spilled the beans.
WELL. She was pissed. And probably jealous, now that I think about it. But April, May, and June of that year were even worse than normal at work. This woman was a pain in the keister and would not leave me alone.
One day it was so bad that I got back to my desk after another lecture from her and was so frustrated that all I could do was write haiku about how much I disliked her.
Eventually the haiku became full blown sonnets- 14 lines, iambic pentameter, appropriate rhyming schemes, the whole nine yards. I found that the more restrictive the form and the more rules I had to follow, the more cathartic the results of my poetic efforts. I find that this set of rules makes for a wonderful release of negative energy, should you decide to sonnet your way out of a crappy day at work.
In no particular order:
- Falling asleep next to Mr. C every night for the rest of my life. He's a great sleeping partner.
- Having someone to go see movies with. C has great taste in movies (except the B-list horror flicks) and am really looking forward to having movie dates.
- The smell of his skin. It's sweet and wonderful and smells like home.
- Access to his incredible music collection. I love music, and have eclectic taste, but easily get stuck in ruts and don't know how to break out. C LOVES music, has impeccable taste, and at times appears to have music ADD- he blows from song to song and genre to genre so quickly it can be hard to keep up.
- Being a wife. Seriously. I'm looking forward to cooking. And making a home. And taking care of him, and letting him take care of me. I'm going to need to work on the letting him take care of me bit more than I want to admit.
While I am not 100%, I am probably back up around 90%, which is pretty darn good give how sick I've been since Friday.
When I find an author I like I buy everything they write. Eventually. Sometimes all at once. I was looking at my bookshelf and noticed some of my favorites.
This was going to be a single post about my various categories, but it's getting long and I'm just on Mark Bittman. Eventually I plan to expand this to talk about my cookbooks by Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson; my knitting books by Kaffe Fassett, Nancy Bush, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee; and my novels by Barbara Kingsolver, Dave Eggers, and Jane Austen.
Cookbooks: Mark Bittman
I love Mark Bittman. He's a columnist for the New York Times, writing as "The Minimalist." His whole approach to cooking is based on the premise that good recipes have two of the following: (i) a short ingredient list, (ii) a short instruction list, or (iii) a short cooking time. I took a cooking class with him when I lived in Austin, and I love him! So very New York- dry, no-nonsense, sophisticated and very casual/laid back all at the same time. I have most of his cookbooks. I don't own but would love to have his Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking and his Leafy Greens: An A-To-Z Guide to 30 Types of Greens Plus 200 Delicious Recipes.
I love the minimalist idea- very focused on letting good ingredients speak for themselves while keeping food very accessible to every day cooks. I LOVE his books because they provide a basic recipe- grilled chicken breasts, for example, then provide several variations, such as Mexican or Asian flavorings or how to dress the dish up for a special occasion. This is a fabulous way to learn how to really cook- master the basics, then get fancy.
If you only buy one Bittman book, it should be How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food. The slightly tongue in cheek title is not that far off- any time I need a random recipe I turn to this book first. It's like the Joy of Cooking or Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for our generation. I count on this book for fresh, fast, easy suggestions with plenty of room (and suggestions) for variations. The book introduces each chapter with an intro to the type of food (salads, for example) or main ingredient (beef- cuts, how to cook, how to chose, etc.) I can't tell you how much I've learned from this book!
The Best Recipes in the World is a similar book- huge, encyclopedic. Bittman focuses more on lesser-known cuisines, eschewing French and Italian for African/Asian/Latin American dishses that don't get much play in other international cookbooks. Again, Bittman pares the recipes down to their elements, and makes ingredients really accessible. Another great book.
Bittman has written a series of Minimalist cookbooks, all of which are fab. The Minimalist Cooks at Home: Recipes That Give You More Flavor from Fewer Ingredients in Less Time is the most basic- first in the series- and explains the basics of his approach, including excellent simple recipes. The Minimalist Cooks Dinner takes it a step further, with main dishes, salads, soups, sides, desserts... and The Minimalist Entertains contains seasonal menus based on a simple theme. These books are great because you can count on them for grouping ideas, variations, and simple but delicious food.
One of my favorite Bittman works is Simple to Spectacular: How to Take One Basic Recipe to Four Levels of Sophistication, co-written with Jean Georges Vongerichten (uber chef). Talk about a teaching aid! This book takes a basic recipe- scrambled eggs, for example- and then elevates the recipe to four additional levels of formality/dressiness. The scrambled egg section starts off with basic scrambled eggs- eggs, butter, salt, pepper. The next recipe adds tomato and basil to develop the flavor. The next recipe starts with basic scrambled eggs, but incorporates cream cheese, smoked salmon, and sorrel. Next is scrambled eggs with crispy potatoes and prosciutto. The section ends with Oefs au caviar- a formal dish of scrambled eggs cooked with lemon juice and vodka, served in their own shells and topped with caviar. The book really explains how chefs start with a simple idea, then ratchet up the presentation/ingredient list until they have something worthy of a Michelin star or two. And the book is so accessible- I can make this stuff. It's great.
Anyway, I'm a BIG Mark Bittman fan, in case you have't noticed. His writing is clear and easy to read, he brings a very realistic approach to tacking dinner, but retains some of the creativity that makes cooking fun.
In 2003, C bought a 1981 Jeep Scrambler on eBay. (His is white with a tan hardtop- doens't look nearly as redneck as the one in that picture...) The Jeep was in California, so he flew out there to pick it up, and drove back to Austin. On the way back, he stopped in the Conejos River Valley, where my family had rented a cabin for the weekend. It was the first time he met my family.
This picture was taken on the way home. That was a LOOOONG day--850 miles across west Texas in July in a 20+ year old jeep with mud tires and no air conditioning. I was deaf, sweaty, and exhausted when we got home. But we sure had a good time!
In June I thought about knitting a shawl or wrap for each of my bridesmaids, but people told me I was crazy. Then that same people suggested last week that I knit shawls for my bridesmaids, but there's just not enough time left. Besides which, even if I had started in June, that's a lot of lace knitting, especially given my utter lack of knitting time these days!
I love the huppahs people have knit as well, but we're our ceremony doesn't need one and I doubt that the church we're getting married in would allow it anyway.
I also thought about knitting an afghan or blanket or something for us to have at home after the wedding, but it would never be finished in time.
So no, I'm not knitting anything for the wedding. I might take my Birch shawl along for myself, since it will probably be chilly in the evening.
Still sick. Blech.
I finally picked bridesmaid dresses- we're getting them from Aria Bridesmaids in LA.
(This picture is from Lynn Lugo Bridesmaids- very similar style/color/fabric, but Aria is a lot less expensive.)
It's also time to order invitations. I think we're going with fairly traditional invites from Reaves Engraving. They do all of the engraving for Cranes, and their house papers are a lot less expensive.
Our photographer is Ginger Russell, who lives up in Santa Fe. I am so excited about working with her- I love her style and she is such a great personality fit.
The ceremony is going to be at the church I went to when I was in high school, the Cathedral Church of Saint John, and the reception will be at the Albuquerque Museum. We're using City Treats as our caterer- Stefani runs the Cafe at the museum, and she's FABULOUS.
Our DJ is Jim Gross at Carousel of Music (terrible website, but they come HIGHLY recommended from several people I trust), and we're using Melba as our florist (again, terrible website, but fabulous florist.)
Everything is really coming together. It's about time to meet with most of the vendors to get round 2 of planning started, but all the bones are in place.
Green Gables is on the needles. I'm probably about 2/3 of the way done with the body. It's going pretty well, and has become my primary knitting these days. I'm planning on adding long sleeves.
I'm terrified that it's going to be horrible. That it won't fit. That it'll make me look like a snowball.
And yet, I keep on knitting. I have flashes of optimism- maybe it won't stink! But mostly, I'm nervous.
How many sweaters did you have to make before you had sweater success?
IQ tends to write about events, restaurants, and happenings that are interesting to me- they've done pieces on all of my favorite downtown restaurants- Slate Street Cafe, Standard Diner, Relish (best sandwiches EVER), and a lot of other great finds as well.
If you haven't checked them out yet, I highly recommend doing so!
The demographics aren't earth-shattering, but I find the whole blog phenomenon fascinating. Check it out if you're curious!
The first workout of theirs I downloaded was a 20 minute treadmill workout with Grace, the founder. It was a bit disconcerting to hear her say, "looking good!" as I bumped up the speed- how does she know I'm looking good? I could be sitting on the couch -but I got over that. The cardio workouts make 20, 40, or 60 minutes on a cardio machine much more interesting by incorporating different speeds and resistance levels... Beats the pants off the pre-programmed options on the machines at the gym.
I am definitely not a workout guru- I'm a little chubby, a little clumsy, and not particularly dedicated. But I'm making it to the gym a lot more often and enjoying myself a lot more because these iTrain workouts make it more interesting!
I've got a draft of a paper due on Monday. The paper is for my Information Technology and the Law class. I'm writing on a somewhat related topic- now that every Joe Blow has a blog/podcast/Flickr/YouTube account, what intellectual property rules apply to their blitherings? I'm writing specifically about copyright protection and the Creative Commons licensing scheme.
Since I'm *supposed* to be writing a paper, I'll sign of and get back to it. I do plan on sharing a condensed version here- something for those of us with a blog to think about!
Apparently one of her readers is irked:
"An anonymous reader has announced that s/he will no longer be reading this blog because 'the narrative arc has stalled.'"
What the heck does that mean?
I like the author's post in response, but it makes me think about blogging and what it means and why I do it.
I blog because I think it's funny. I treat it like the paper journal I can never find that I feel I should be filling with deep intimate secrets. It's a place where I can dump whatever happens to be on my mind. It's a way for me to record my knitting hobby and to connect with like minded fiber addicts. I know it's silly. I don't pretend to have anything useful to say, much less anything entertaining, important, instructive, or anything else. I do this for me and I like that.
I find it fascinating that someone stops reading a personal blog because "the narrative arc has stalled." Why does this person think he's entitled to a narrative arc from this blogger? It's not like she's writing for his entertainment. People don't have narrative arcs, people have lives. Those lives usually involve jobs, relationships, stressors... Most people are not professional writers who live to chronicle their narrative arcs for the entertainment of anonymous blog readers. Life gets in the way. The reality of blogging for most of us is that there just isn't a narrative arc. Really, do lives have narrative arcs? I don't think they do. People live, stuff happens, but is it "narrative"? Yes, you can get in a funk or be on top of the world, but is that "stalling" of the narrative arc?
I also find it fascinating that someone who wants to stop reading because "the narrative arc has stalled" feels the need to tell the writer. Who does this guy think he is? Why does he think the writer will care that he has stopped reading? Especially for such an inane reason? What purpose has this notice served, other than giving me something to write about? People are so weird.
I cast on for the socks, and totally messed up the figure 8 cast on I was using. Had to rip. Have ripped 4 more times.
My Aunt requested a Birch in black when she saw my blue one over the summer, but... Black KidSilk Haze? Impossible. Can't see anything. I cast on and knit two rows, then put it down, and the yarn ripped when I picked it back up- completely disconnected from the ball.
Annoying little stuff. I know I'll get back in the groove of things soon, but right now it's knit funk for me.
I'm finally using my Greenwood Fiber Works cotton and elastic sock yarn in blue (click here to see the results of the dye job I did....)
WHAT GREAT YARN! It's super soft, super stretchy, and knits at a surprisingly fine gauge. If you have hot-feeted people in your life but love to knit socks, this may be the answer. I'm counting on that being the case, at any rate....
Again, I can't stress how fabulous Greenwood Fiber Works was to work with- so fast and so professional. Check them out!
* The one project that counts is Green Gable, and it appears to be going well. The project that doesn't count is the Clap, which I hate. I'm making it out of Brooks Fiber mohair in a blue/tan combo, which I also hate. I know! It's so sad! The yarn was so seductive in the skien at Taos Wool Festival last year, but I really dislike working with this stuff. It's splitty, slippery, and just unpleasant. And I forgot to drop one of the stitches a good 10 rows back, and this yarn does NOT rip out, and I'm not sure how to fix it. So bad color + bad behavior + bad knitting = time out for the Clap. Sigh.
Pattern: River from Rowan 40
Yarn: Rowan KidSilk Haze in Marmalade
Needles: Vintage 10 1/2
I loved this pattern. Lots of people whined about what a long, boring knit this was, but I really enjoyed the whole knitting of it. And I love the kidsilk haze. Fabulous orange.
This was supposed to be a gift... But.... I sure am smitten!
First off, this is a great store with great people. And now they have a ton more room. This is good news for those of us who can't get enough of a good thing.
It's hard to find. I had looked up directions on the internet and still drove around for 10 minutes trying to find the place. Be forewarned if you're heading over there for the first time- it's hidden. Also, it's no longer near any place I ever go, so there will probably be fewer impulse stops. Alas, all of Albuquerque is moving north and west, so it's probably a better location for lots of their customers.
While I am a major fiber junkie, it's rare that I actually find something in Village Wools that I cannot live without. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the organization, or the display, or the colors they choose to stock, or my own guilt about the size of my existing stash.... But I usually escape unscathed. Today was no exception. (Again, helps that I just bought 4 pairs of socks worth in Boston....) Even so, they had just restocked on Trekking XXL, 3 of the 4 pairs of Boston yarn, and NONE of the colors at VW were remotely tempting to me.
They've got a great book section, but again, it's hard to find stuff in there. At least in the new store you can see all the books, so if you have time to search every shelf, you have a better chance of finding what you're looking for than you did in the old space. Still, I couldn't figure out what the book organization scheme was.
Things I love about the new space- LIGHT! It's gorgeous! MORE SPACE=MORE YARN. They've expanded their offerings, and there is some seriously great yarn in that building. I also love that they've got a dye room and are going to be starting dye classes, and I noticed today that there was a spinning wheel out in the open- hopefully I'll be able to take one of their spinning classes in the spring. Also, along with the building comes a new and improved website that actually has useful information! This is a major improvement- way to go, guys!
Village Wools is the primary yarn store in Albuquerque and possibly the state- they have a huge array of inventory, a gorgeous space, and tremendously knowledgable (and friendly) staff. It's my favorite local place for all these reasons. Congratulations on the new space!
Ah, the things we do for love!
I realized on Sunday morning that it was the very first weekend day SINCE LABOR DAY WEEKEND that I was free (and by "free" I mean "have a ton of homework but am too pooped to deal with it.")
We've had a cold snap here, and all I want to do is knit! I actually found myself thinking today that I really wish I had the hot pink, orange, and yellow fair isle mittens I haven't knitted yet out of the yarn I bought in London. Oh well. Maybe those will be next on the needles...
Speaking of which, I am SO CLOSE to finishing the project du jour.... So it's reasonable for me to be thinking about starting another project. Really. I swear.
I DID buy yarn while I was visiting Meg in Massachusetts. Mostly sock yarn:
On the left is Lion and Lamb by Lorna's Laces in a fabulous lettuce green, purchased at Newury Yarns. Next up is bright orange Trekking XXL with turqouise and red, bought at Northampton Wools (whose new book is reviewed in this week's Knitter's Review!). I could not resist this pink and green Trekking at Woolcott and Co. in Harvard Square. On the far right is some fabulously fall-colored Trekking I purchased at ... shoot... I have no idea. Ack! Did I get it with the orange stuff at Northampton Wools? You know it was a good yarn crawl when you have yarnmnesia. Finally, on the bottom, is some Artyarns Ultramerino in the most amazing pinks/corals/oranges/browns/grays, purchased at Webs. I always thought their URL of "yarn.com" was a bit pretentious, but having been there, I can affirm it's a total understatement. What a place.
Anyway, much knitting was accomplished while in Boston. It was really energizing to be with my yarny soul mate again. I feel nourished.
So nourished, in fact, that I am committing to participate in this nonsense. I have always wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but November in law school is always a disaster. But NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is something I can get behind! Watch for a post every day in November... I might even have something interesting to say by the end of the month!
May the force be with me!
I went to Boston, MA, to visit Meg this past weekend. We had a blast! Fall leaves, apples galore, knitting, and yarn crawls in three cities... It was fab.
But I'm a bad blogger. Not a single picture!
School's insane this week, but I'll try to wrangle a decent post about my trip in the next few days.
2007 is already booking up, too- one of my bridesmaids is going to be 8 and a half months pregnant at the wedding.
Anyone want to make a bet on how many babies 2007 will bring?!?
It's definitely fall, which means KNITTING! That is, knitting as soon as I get my school work under control again... Wish me luck!
It even made CNN.com's front page.
The documents that established Randolph-Macon Woman's College in 1891 contain the following paragraph:
"We wish to establish in Virginia a college where our young women may obtain an education equal to that given in our best colleges for young men and under environments in harmony with the highest ideals of womanhood; where the dignity and strength of fully developed faculties and the charm of the highest literary culture may be acquired by our daughters without loss to woman's crowning glory--her gentleness and grace."
Today the Board of Trustees, guardians of this mission, fiduciaries guiding the college, voted to admit men to the class of 2007.
The decision itself is disappointing, but the manner in which the decision was reached was absolutely appalling. Financial mismanagement, spurious studies of the options, an utter lack of good faith communications with any of the stakeholders involved. Faculty have been threatened, alumnae insulted, and students largely ignored.
Is this my alma mater? I hardly recognize it. So much for leading by example!
Let's see- which looks like more fun- this?
Ugh. I'm attempting to plug away on the school work, since doing so this weekend will leave me some evening time to knit. Seriously- whoever said the third year of law school was the easiest was a LIAR.
I do have knitting news, but it ain't good. I finished the koigu socks. One is an inch longer in the foot (knew about that) AND half an inch longer in the leg (DIDN'T know that) than the other... I know I need to re-do the toe on the longer sock. Can I live with the difference in leg length? (Maybe WILL I live with the length difference is the better question to ask....)
We also have wedding news- booked a reception venue and a caterer on Friday- so we also have a DATE! It's fun to see the pieces start falling in to place. If any ABQ/NM brides want to dish about vendors/ideas, let me know! I'll be sure to share any positive experiences I have here....
Anyway, I made a good dent in stuff today, and am hopefully going to be back in school mode by the end of the week. It is a pretty dramatic change in velocity though- a week of vacation/nothing to do followed by an immediate need to sprint before you've even had a chance to tie your shoes... Ah well.
Looking to be a good but really busy semester. I'll do my best to get back in regular blog mode- it's good for me to think about non-school stuff, and now I can add non-wedding stuff to that list, too.
I'm ALMOST done with my koigu sock- about half an inch away plus the picot bind off. Then I need to redo the toe on sock #1- it's about an inch too long- and then I'll have my very own pair of koigu socks! YAY! Other knitting projects have screeched to a halt, but the cooler weather is making my fingers itchy... This bodes well for ye olde knit blog....
We've found a reception site that offers the same amenities as the other place for the lowly sum of $500. Yep, knocked an entire zero off the end. YAY. And, we've found another place that would include everything (catering costs, too) for $4000 less than the old site plus their catering estimate. So that's another nice option. AND, I've got a backup backup plan of doing it in a friend's gorgeous cabin north of Santa Fe.
And, I bought a dress on ebay this week for $50- not sure if it's the right dress, but it's pretty darn good and the price is absolutely right. Fits perfectly, too... It's nice to know I have a backup if I don't find anything else. And, $50 for a new, never worn dress with the tags still on! YAY!
My uncle is a former wedding photographer who offered to do our wedding when we first got engaged., and I may still take him up on that. I'd also like him to be able to be a guest. Using him would save us $2000, but seeing as how I've just saved us at least $4000 on the reception venue and between $500 and $2,000 on a dress, this might be a valid splurge.
I'm still amazed by how much this stuff costs, but I feel like things are looking up. Thanks for all your fabulous suggestions- keep them coming!
I am shocked and appalled by what it costs to get married in this country. According to several sources, the average wedding in America costs $27,000. TWENTY SEVEN THOUSDAND DOLLARS! That is ABSURD. ESPECIALLY when you consider that the median household income in this country is $43,318. REDICULOUS!
I have been hoping to have the reception at a certain nameless historic property in the north valley. We were told two months ago by the owner that the facility plus tables, chairs, linens, and flowers, would be $3,500. This was confirmed one month ago when I took Mr. C there to see it.
Tonight, I was told that it would be at LEAST $5,000, that I would have to hire a professional wedding planner ($1,000 just for that day) AND that they won't even know if they can have weddings (zoning issue) until the end of the year, IF everything goes as planned (which it never does.)
Um, excuse me? I may be a bride, but I'm not an IDIOT.
The problem is, I'm now 9 months away from my preferred wedding date (the weekend between graduation and bar review) and most of the other venues I considered are booked.
Time to get creative.
This reception venue bullsh*t is just part of the problem. I am not poor, but neither am I rich. My parents are being incredibly generous in what they're contributing to pay for this debacle, and I'm putting every BigLaw penny I've earned this summer into the pot, too.
And despite this princely sum, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO GET MARRIED. When you add in the ceremony (over $1000 at the church I grew up at), dinner, cake, wine, fees, photographers, florists, a DJ, a dress, and a reception venue, all priced in the LOWER THIRD of what's available in NEW FREAKING MEXICO, one of the cheapest states in the union, we're pushing the edges of the budget. Even cutting out the photographer, DJ, wedding planner, and alcohol, it's well over $10,000.
My goal is to do this entire thing for under $10,000 without falling prey to all this wedding industry baloney. A wedding lasts for approximately five hours; it's NOT WORTH sacrificing our financial future over.
If you have suggestions- local vendors (Santa Fe/Albuquerque), cost cutting tips, sanity hints, or anything else, please share- I'd love to have them and I'm sure I'm not alone.
She recognized my yarn as Koigu even before she looked at me... Truly a kindred spirit. If the Harlot comes to a town near you, GO. Don't think twice- she is kind, wondeful, funny, and completely totally down to earth.
Thanks, Stephanie! You made my day!
Hence no photos.
Working a lot.
Verbal job=non-verbal activities when not at job.
Hence no posts.
Hence no yarnageddon style stash acquisition, despite nice lawyerly paycheck.
Also, trying not to buy dress that makes me look like (1) 12 year old, or (2) hooker.
Harder than seems.
Hence, cranky with saleswoman who tried to talk me into designing my own frankendress last weekend.
AND.... it's good knitting weather. I only got a few rows in on my Green Gable, but it counts. YAY!
In other news, we have a wedding date, a church, and a reception site! WOOHOOOOOOO!
- Knitting once a week, halfheartedly, at knit night.
- Absolutely no desire to buy yarn, in person or online.
- No pressing need to order knitting books from amazon.
- Appalling lack of cruising ebay for cheap Alice Starmore books or yarn.
- 4 projects on the needles, and forecast for those projects to remain in current state indefinitely. SEE:
I took that picture two weeks ago and the only change is that the sock is half an inch longer. Whopee!!!
It must be because:
- It's summer. Freakin frackin hot.
- I'm working 8-5 again and am really tired when I get home.
- Wedding planning/brainstorming is taking a lot of energy.
- It's HOT.
- My Main Knitting Buddy is about to move across the country, and I'm going to miss her!
- HOT. HOT. HOT.
Because I spent the rest of the day doing this:
Yes, I learned how to golf this weekend (note the most excellent extremely vintage golf bag on the left- lent to me courtesy of a colleague at work.) I must admit that I was not thrilled with the prospect of having to play in a firm golf tournament, especially since I had never held a golf club before Wednesday night (panic-induced practice session) and I'm not keen on embarrassing myself in front of people I'm trying to impress. Nevertheless, I had a BLAST golfing on Saturday. I played reasonably well given my complete lack of exposure (we used 2 of my drives, 2 of my putts, and a chip shot in this best ball tournament), got to spend the day with three great attorneys from my firm, and it was a textbook gorgeous New Mexico day.
All in all, a very enjoyable way to pass a summer afternoon.
This also makes it official: every company I worked for in Austin is now extinct. Granted, I arrived right as the dotcom bubble burst, and I worked for some really bad companies (did I ever tell you about the one where the owner's one client was his wife's company, and he had an affair with her secretary, and the bookkeeper was embezzling funds so that all our paychecks bounced, and speaking of bouncing all my coworkers were bouncers from a bar in Corpus Christi that the owner frequented while cheating on his wife? Good times.)
This company could have had a chance- but a biiiig ego CEO and a bad market combine for bad results. I'm grateful for my time there- learned a lot and met some fabulous people-but I'm sorry the whole exercise turned out to be such a colossal waste of money.
Except that I'm expecting to have a great summer!
Knitting was accomplished while I was out of town, but there has been no time to post. Soon. Promise.
I went to Village Wools, the LYS, and they hooked me up with professional fiber reactive dyes. I bought the "strongest red" and "navy blue" (decided to dye the blue, too, while I was at it...). I was paranoid that I was going to give myself chemical burns while spilling dye all over the house, but managed to complete the exercise without either... Yay!
Instead of the very mellow dusty rose and cadet blue, I now have a true navy and a fabulous red- slight blue undertones, but really vibrant. I'm so pleased!
I found some great dye-ing resources while I was at it:
Wait... What's that on my left hand? Why, yes, it is what you think it is....
Mr. C asked me to marry him two weeks ago, and I said YES. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! (And yes, I am driving- he proposed in El Paso and I had to drive back to Albuquerque the next day.)
I'm so very very very excited. Even more in love with him now than when we met. I'm so glad we found each other!
I survived finals, there has been knitting, and dyeing, and a WHOLE LOT of other stuff...
I even have pictures, but I'm in Austin and my laptop won't talk to the wireless network so I can't post them. (AURGH).
The next few days are looking pretty busy- C's sister's graduation from Pharmacy School, complete with influx of his family, is happening AT THE SAME TIME as my best friend's wedding, and we have some of our own stuff to celebrate, if we ever get the time!
Eventually, we will return to your reguarly scheduled knitblogging. Until then, hang on! It's going to be a wild ride!
I just bought (well, technically, I just "licensed" from iTunes) KT Tunstall's Eye to the Telescope album. Wowza.
Gotta love this whole instant gratification thing. No need to go out to various music stores searching for a copy of the CD- I can just download it. RIGHT NOW!
Take a look:
I love it. It's stretchy, thin, fabulous, and should make GREAT SOCKS. BUT, the pink looked a little more vibrant/raspberry/magenta in the photo on etsy; in person, it's a dusty rose. Me no likey as much as a louder, brighter, clearer color. Perhaps this is my chance to dye?
(Note: I will be ordering from Greenwood Fiberworks again- the shipping was lightning fast, well packaged, and totally professional- I am WAY impressed with her and I think this was more error in judgment on my part than anything else).
Some preliminary research indicates that kool aid dyes do not work on cotton. Damn. Any suggestions? And, color experts, is it even possible to overdye this in such a way that the color is deeper and more vibrant (ie not dusty)? All thoughts are much appreciated...
I'm using stashed organic Pakucho Cotton from elann last summer. YAY for stash yarn! I started with a knitted cast on (scroll down), and I hated it! SOOOO floppy. Also attempted to use size 8s, cause that's what I had on hand.
Yeah. Bad cast on + wrong gauge = rip!
Apparently the designers have recently indicated that a backward loop cast on is the way to go, but I don't much care for that... So I'm going to follow this advice and use the German cast on, which I frequently use for SOCKS.
Hopefully I'll get to restart tonight (as a reward for studying at all today...)
ETA: DO check out this post on sizing issues- saved me the heartache of a totally too big sweater.
Makes me want to knit something really complicated.... Or schedule my massage for tomorrow instead of after it's all over in a week....
I am not normal.
Cake Fetish is located in the Encantada Square shopping center on the north west corner of Louisiana and Menaul (right across Menaul from Coronado Mall). They make FABULOUS cupcakes in really great flavors- Peanut butter chocolate, grasshopper, velvet evlis, sleepless in albuquerque, german chocolate, lemon, etc etc etc. The frosting is fabulous- exactly the right consistency- and the cake bases are wonderful as well. So fun!
(Camera appears to be on the fritz again- apologies).
This is an incredibly well written pattern. The chart is great- large enough to read (law school has inflicted me with bad eyesight AND dyslexia AND alzheimers- I never realized these were contaigious diseases), with bold grid lines every 5 colums and 5 rows to make reading the chart easier. I used stashed Brown Sheep fingering weight (maybe it was sport weight?) in navy blue and white, and lined it with stashed Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. The great thing about having a (seemingly) bottomless stash is knowing you have exactly the right yarn!!!
Anyway, bro assures me he loves it! YAY!
In fact, he likes it so much he's refusing to give it back to me so I can REALLY give it to him later. It's over 80 degrees outside, and the goofball is wearing his double layer WOOL knit hat. Quite the compliment, I must admit....
School is officially done. I have 2 more days of work in which to finish writing a big motion. Then it's off to finals island (possibly worse than sleeve island...) I'm hoping to study for and do my take-home health law exam on Saturday, then it's on to Conflicts (lots of material, very technical, but the prof is awesome) and water law (still 600 pages behind in the reading, and panicked because the prof is nuts).
There has been some knitting. I've turned the heel on the koigu sock (twice!) and am halfway through the last round of skull/crossbones on the We Call Them Pirates hat... Pictues someday? Maybe this weekend?
Thanks for beraing with me!
Relish makes outstanding sandwiches. Their cubano is famous, and I'm a huge fan of the turkey sandwich with avocado, greens, and wasabi mayo. It's just outstanding. The salads are also fantastic- mm mm good. The hours are kinda strange- mostly lunch time- and there's no seating at the downtown location, but you CANNOT beat it for a fantastic lunch.
Here's a much better description of Relish, courtesty of Gil's Thrilling Web Site:
"Having lived in England in the mid-1980s and wanting to immerse ourselves in local culture, we spent many a lunch hour in English pubs, often consuming ploughman's lunches, a late 1970s invention of the United Kingdom's catering industry. Marketed as the "traditional" fare eaten by ploughman in days of yore, the ploughman's lunch generally consisted of a lump of cheese (usually Stilton or Cheddar), pickle (Branston's, of course) and salad accompanied by crusty bread and butter. As with most English cuisine, this simple meal has never received the type of respect seemingly reserved for the haughty haute cuisine of the French, but it's one of the many things we missed about our former home.
We were thrilled to discover in October, 2004 that an Albuquerque restaurant newcomer with the simple name "Relish Cheese Market & Sandwich Shop" offered this lunch, albeit with the spelling plowman. We were also impressed to discover that restaurant--although bearing no resemblance to an English pub--earned "best sandwich" accolades in the Alibi's readers choice poll for 2004. It also tied for "best new restaurant" in the city.
Relish's version of the plowman had us waxing nostalgic for the many family oriented English pubs we frequented in our three years abroad. Any cheese connoisseur would be challenged to select only two cheeses from among the 40 plus aged and new cheeses of the crumbly and solid variety. The cheeses we selected were an aged Cheddar (five years old) and a new Cheddar, but we also had an herb infused goat cheese that could only be classified as one fantastic fromage. Included with the plowman's lunch were sun dried tomatoes, the aforementioned and incomparable Branston's pickle, and nut encrusted dates. Not a substantial meal, it's one we'll remember and will repeat most because of its pairing of contrasting yet complementary tastes that bring out the best in one another and titillate your taste buds.
Enterprising proprietor Johnny Orr also makes his own mozzarella daily and has a strict no-refrigeration, eat that night policy. The homemade mozzarella sandwich showcases this rich cheese with roasted red pepper, arugula, aged balsamic and extra virgin olive oil on a crusty alpinette roll.
Relish has an enviable sandwich menu that includes both hot and cold sandwiches. The Cubano, loosely based on the Cuban sandwich, features chipotle rubbed roast pork, honey ham, Swiss cheese, sliced pickle and cilantro mayo served on a baguette. It is among the best of its genre we've had in the Duke City. Ditto for the Reuben which includes both pastrami and corned beef along with Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese and relish. Relish's muffaletta might be the closest you'll find to New Orleans with provolone, Genoa salami, maple ham, sweet and spicy coppacola, pepperoni, and artichoke tapinade served on muffaletta bread.
Unlike so many of the boring sandwich shops in town, Relish also dares to be different, offering such Duke City rarities as Dr. Brown's root beer and Miss Vickie's unique chips in such flavors as Texas mesquite and sea salt and vinegar. Sensational salads also dot the menu. Our early favorite is the endive salad which melds Belgian endive and field greens with candied pine nuts, Maytag blue cheese, grape tomatoes, green apples and buttermilk dressing. It is one of the best salads in town. The service at Relish is cordial and professional and you're made to feel like a welcome guest. Relish might not capture all that we fell in love with about English food, but after one visit we've already grown to love what is one of the best new concepts the Duke City has seen in years."
My note: I don't think they're doing the pick-your-cheese thing on the Ploghman's anymore- when I ordered it, it was sort of pre-selected cheeses... And really, really fantastic.
Samantha, Meghan, Kate, Cat, Stephanie, Lisa, and Heather.
Add a baby boy for Heather (a different Heather) and an unknown baby for Jackie to the list...
Really, people, what gives?!?!? It's a good thing I'm over that phase where I felt like I had to knit a baby blanket for every new arrival... I'd lose my mind this year!
There was a couple sitting near me, and they looked really normal when they walked in. They sat down, ordered breakfast, and the woman proceeded to read the paper. It went something like this:
[She picks up the paper.]
Her: Oh no.
Her: Oh that's terrible.
Her: Oh how sad.
Her: A 28 year old woman DIED.
Her: So sad.
Her: [Basically reads him the entire story.]
[Pause. She turns the page.]
Her: Oh my.
Her: I can't believe it!
Her: A bald eagle!
Her: In the nation's capital!
Her: Killed near the beltway!
Her: [Basically reads him the entire story.]
[Pause. She turns the page.]
So this goes on and on, every single page of the paper, and she gets louder and louder and louder with each passing page.
He ignores her, doodling on the back of an envelope.
When she finishes reading the paper (to all of us), she says to her partner,
Her: Do you want to read the paper?
Him: Um, no thanks.
That's a Clapotis in my Brooks Fiber mohair. MMMMMMM. This one is a gift.
Next up is We Call Them Pirates, also a gift, in leftover Brown Sheep Sport weight.
Finally, a very basic toe up sock in Koigu.
All stash yarn- YAY! Too bad I've bought more than enough yarn to replace it in the month of March... Oh well. One step forward....
Left to right:
Claudia Handpainted sock yarn in Chocolate Cherry.
Claudia Handpainted in Earth Dot.
Fortissima Colori Socka Color DISCO - it SPARKLES.
YAY! Sock yarn!
The BF is so cool. Listen to this:
He willingly took me to the yarn store.
He picked up the Earth Dot with no prompting from me, and said, "I'd like to see how this will knit up..."
Then he offered to buy the yarn for me.
Yep, he's a keeper.
IN MY DEFENSE, I went to Village Wools today to fondle the Koigu and I DIDN'T BUY ANY. See? I'm only vulnerable when I'm traveling, apparently...
Meg saved my kiester by buying me a ball of Jolie angora and merino yarn to make baby booties from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts." Aren't they CUTE???
One pair has already been gifted- time to get cracking again.
My very own copies of Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures and . Both are fantastic.
Everyone in blogland is talking about these books, and with good reason. Mason Dixon Knitting is every bit as fabulous as the blog- smart, funny, creative, lots of color (local and otherwise). Every line is clever and hilarious. AND, I want to make almost everything in the book. This is a great inspirational book- all the patterns are designed as templates to use as a starting point for creating your own fabulous pieces. I'm about to start rifling through ye olde stash to figure out if I have the makings of a pyschadelic squares afghan or log cabin blanket...
And the Harlot is wonderful. Each of her three books is so different. This one is all about knitting. Swatches, gauge, basic patterns for hats, scarves, shawls, socks, sweaters... And every single sentence just oozes that Harlot brand of humor we all know and love.
I devoured these books over the weekend, and enjoyed every minute of it. If I was going to be frugal and buy just one (thank HEAVEN I'm not wired that way!!!) it would probably be Mason Dixon Knitting- I think I'll pick this up and thumb through frequently for inspiration- and I do plan on making some stuff out of the book! I love the Harlot, but those are better for a one time read than a pick up again and again and again for eye candy. Really, though, I'm glad I'm in a position to afford both. I'm a very happy knitter.
Maybe I'll do an end-of-the-semester-procrastinating-before-finals flash of my stash?
I hope to post pictures soon- the jaywalker giftee sent me a pic of the socks and her dog for el blogo, and I, um, I bought a wee bit more yarn this weekend. DOH.
Damn sock yarn. Gets me every time.
Oh yeah- got some new knitting books in the mail, another is on the way, and about 10 are sitting in my amazon shopping cart just WAITING for a trigger-finger moment...
Yes, our crazy dog had arranged his three tennis balls (that he carries around in his mouth all at one time) in a perfectly straight line.
And here is yet another gratuitous pet photo...
If you only buy one knitting technique book EVER, make it Nancie Wiseman's Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques. This book walks through a manageable number of cast-ons, bind-offs, increases, decreases, seams, button bands, and other finishing techniques. She explains the pros and cons of each, which increase/cast on matches which decrease/bind off, and when to use a particular technique. The illustrations are fanastic in that they show, for example, exactly what an SSK decrease is supposed to look like as well as exactly how to do one.
I find The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques waaaaay more helpful than Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook : A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Techniques of Handknitting. The Knitter's Handbook contains 1-2 sentence descriptions of each technique, sometimes including a very vague drawing. While the Knitter's Handbook includes many more techniques (over 30 ways to cast on!) the depth is overwhelming for someone who wants a useful resource for quick questions. I usually can't make heads or tails of the instructions and eventually turn to Nancie Wiseman's book.
Slate Street Cafe is a fabulous new(ish) restaurant behind the metro court house. It's one block north of Lomas, between 5th and 6th on... you guessed it... Slate Street. Everything I've had has been fantastic. If you haven't been yet, GO! NOW!
Slate Street does breakfast every day of the week, and Brunch on Saturday. The coffee is outstanding, and they also offer fresh squeezed OJ, smoothies, teas, and mimosas. My favorite breakfast/brunch option is the french toast- brioche stuffed with bananas and cooked so that it's crunchy on the outside and hot mushy goodness on the inside. A full order of their french toast or pancakes is murder-so much food- but they do have a half-order option (just ask!) Meg is devoted to their huevos rancheros, which are smothered in Duran's chile. MMMMMMMM. Their white cheddar hash browns are also great. If you're interested in something lighter, a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal would hit the spot as well.
Lunch gets really busy, and rather slow. If you can't get there before 11:45, come after 1:00 or you'll be stuck waiting for a table. In short, this is not a fast place for weekday lunch. But if you have a little time, it's worth it.
The prices are lower than Flying Star, and I think the food is waaaaay better. I love their chopped chicken salad- crunchy veggies like carrot and celery, cooked chicken breast, and really tangy vinegary dressing. Their grilled salmon salad is also excellent. I also like the fish and chips (beer battered salmon with house made potato chips- mmm). I obviously need to spend some quality lunch hours exploring the rest of the menu.
Slate Street recently opened for dinner. The only time I went for dinner we ordered off the appetizer menu. As usual, everything was great. The prices are higher in the evening, but the menu is different and I'm sure worth every penny. Slate Street has a good wine list, and the atmosphere is so great- casual, but very cool.
Finally, Slate Street has a Wine Loft open above the main restaurant. The loft serves wine, beer, and (I think) regular cocktails, and the bar menu features fabulous nibbles and an abbreviated version of the dinner menu. This is a great place to hang out after work in the evening.
Actual KNITTING content!
May I present... Jaywalkers!
Pattern: Jawyalkers, from MagKnits October 2005
Needles: Size 1 Crystal Palace DPNs
Yarn: Vesper Sock Yarn by Julia of Knitterly Things (purchased from kpixie) in color Sweetwater.
I did the bigger size, and they STILL came out way too small for my feet, so I gifted them to an appreciative friend who wears a size 7. I am a really tight knitter, and these are not stretchy socks, so I guess this result was inevitable!
This was a great pattern, though hard to get a good fit. I might attempt a second pair in the hopes that they'll fit my size 9 feet, but then again, might not.
I spent the rest of the morning at the V&A, an absolutely amazing museum. I could spend WEEKS there (along with thousands of dollars in their gift shop!)
Friday was St. Patrick's Day,and the restaurant in Havery Nichols featured an Irish- themed prix fixe lunch (prix fixe not cheap!) It was a fab lunch- kir royale, followed by Irish oysters, lamb stew with a nice burgundy, and rhubarb crumble. Cost a small fortune, but made for a very happy tummy.
After lunch, I cruised Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Then I napped before heading out to see the Royal Shakespeare Company do "As You Like It." This was a highlight of my trip! I LOVE Shakespeare, and it was great to see the pros do it.
Saturday morning was more of a shopping day than a culture day. I started off at the Portobello Road market, which was a mob scene. Then cruised New Bond Street, feeling very rediculous wandering in and out of stores where the cheapest object for blocks was a $100 t-shirt. But it was fun nonetheless. I tried to get tea at the French Patisserie on the first floor of Harrod's, but it was overrun with tourists and the service was AWFUL.
I did cruise a couple knitting destinations on Saturday. I went to WearDowney's Getup Boutique in Marylebone. These people are serious knitters who are serious about fashion. A very nice shop, but I can't see myself paying the prices they ask, given that I know how to knit. However, it was nice to see what quality handknits can sell for! I also went to Patricia Roberts in Knightsbridge, a really ritzy neighborhood. The store is filled with bright, happy knits in fun, if somewhat dated, styles. Patricia Roberts also produces her own line of yarns, and of COURSE I had to bring some home:
These are 100% lambswool, probably a fingering or sport weight yarn. Love love love the colors. I think these will probably become latvian mittens for moi.
So.... That was my trip to London! It was a BLAST. I definitely want to go back.