Saturday, March 31, 2007
Let's start with my masterful list from yesterday morning. It was an interesting idea but, uh, not entirely successfully. I got about 5 1/2 things done. I was up at 8:10, I worked out, I had a super-yummy omelet, with cheddar and basil and loads of onions (I'm a fan of the one egg to one onion ratio....soooooo good). Then, well, then the internet swallowed me whole. I got a message from my friend from undergrad, whose blog I found the other day (I can gradually relieve my guilt, now!) and one from another undergrad friend who will be in Ottawa in two sleeps!! And there were things to read: knitty blogs and feminist articles and other good things. And that whole post to publish. So I didn't end up getting dressed to leave the house until 11.
My hair's coloured, hallelujah! No more roots. And since I was down there, a little shopping/wandering seemed to be in order. I got some underwear, it was on sale. By the time I came home, it was after 5. So that whole "long practice" thing? It didn't really happen. I warmed up earlier, and had time to do about 4 runs of my Magic Flute duet (it's like 2:44 long). Then: Iolanthe! And hoo, I've got things to say about that.
The Savoy Society puts on a fantastic show. They perform out of the Centrepointe Theatre, a smallish theatre in Ottawa's west end. Staging exclusively G&S, their opera's feature fully built sets, fairly elaborate costuming, extras, and a small orchestra of musicians. And their production of Iolanthe last night was brilliant. For an amateur company, they do a truly impressive and entirely enjoyable job. The choreography was delightful, the rewrites (shots at Belinda Stronach) were witty and the entire evening was totally winning. I've worked with some of the cast, and they all did smashingly, though particularly Mac, who sang the part of the Chancellor and was totally and utterly hilarious. A big bravo to him!!!
It got me thinking: why didn't I audition for them this season? As much as I'm enjoying the music I'm singing with Bytown, staging a full opera in a proper theatre would be a greater accomplishment. Ah well, Carmen and Papagena this year, and I'll rethink things for next season.
It's nearly noon, and I haven't eaten (I foresee another omelet in my near future) but I have worked out (muscles are sore; I'm rather proud). Plan for today: everything I didn't get to yesterday, plus some frivolous esthetic things involving hair and nails.
Does anyone else notice a difference in typing with nail polish versus without? Because I do...
That is the most shamefully long, and incoherent sentence, I think, I have ever written.
Going to bed now. I welcome your input. Particularly anything involving juicy personal stories; I love those.
Friday, March 30, 2007
1. Rise early enough to get a good start at the day, ie no later than 8:30. Anything later feels like indulgence.
2. Eat a good breakfast, preferably something involving the free free-range eggs my mother brought me (thank goodness for family friends with farms!)
3. Exercise. I did a short 20 minute pilates work out the other day, and I've been hurting since, which just goes to prove how not in shape I am.
4. Finish cleaning the backyard. The snow has melted (yay!) and the many strata of winter puppy-poop have all settled on the still-frozen grass. Now is the time to get rid of it, before everything melts and gets mushy and gross[er].
5. Proper warm up and long rehearsal. I have opera staging on Sunday, and I cannot show up sounding as unrehearsed as I am. Faking can only get you so far.
6. Laundry. That's about the it. Laundry.
7. Maybe some tidying - bedroom, living room, aw hell, the whole house needs a good going over.
8. Downtown! Going to get my hair coloured! Oh, rootless bliss! I plan, also, to purchase a mildly expensive and luxurious coffee while there. I haven't gotten a new pair of shoes, jeans, socks or underwear in more months than I care to count; I'm getting a damn coffee.
9. Work on sewing projects. These are time-sensitive, plus they earn me money, so they really should get finished sooner rather than later.
10. IOLANTHE! I'm going with Carli from choir. She's a sweetheart, a year younger than me (whichis remarkable considering my relative youth and the traditional age of church choirs). I know a few members of the cast, so it should be cool. Plus, Gilbert & Sullivan, always a good time!
And that was al I could think of to have a fulfilling day. Since it was after 1, I figured I should get to sleep if I was actually get all this done. Besides, I did want to get the first 3 out of the way before 10 so I could watch Cityline (Fashion Fridays! Yippee!). Good chance to do me blogging and me emailing.
On the employment front: I hear from the church next week. Honestly, it seems a little crazy to me that I was hired for my last three jobs - including two lawfirms - in less time than it's taken them to decide on this one position. Oh, the joys of church committees. Wish me luck (Is that heretical? Ok, then, wish me...Providence? That feels good and Calvinist).
Thursday, March 29, 2007
In September of 1999, I started undergrad, and I met some truly wonderful people. Some of the first people I met in the first week of classes became fast friends for our entire undergraduate time. We were with each other through the beginnings and endings of our first really adult relationships, through the stress and uncertainty of intensive study, and through the limbo of the transition from undergrad to life beyond.
In the fall after fourth year, I sublet a room in the townhome two undergrad friends were renting. Living with friends can be...odd. The relationship as it previously existed must be replaced with something new, something different. And the concern can be that what once was is lost, and that what now is, is inferior.
When my sublet was up, I moved into another house with different roommates in a different neighbourhood downtown. And I didn't call. I never called my friends with whom I had lived. I honestly didn't think they wanted to hear from me, and I cannot, for the life of me, remember why I felt that way. No, I do, because I always feel that way when I leave a place, a home, a job. Call it esteem issues, call it baggage I carry with me from highschool: I never called, and I don't know if I ever gave them my new number. I was newly engaged, finishing up last undergrad classes, and I just failed to do what a friend should do.
Ever since I have missed these friends, one with whom I was - I thought - close friends since the second day of classes back in our first year. And I have missed her terribly.
Just today, I found her blog. I have been reading it, from it's first entry penned some three months after I moved out, trying to catch up on my friend's life. And I have felt so badly for having failed her. In one post, she writes that she worries that she is incapable of forming lasting friendships with women. Alyson, if you ever chance to read this, please know that you did, and I valued our time together, all of our times together, and I love you and have missed you since I last saw you. And that I am so terribly sorry for having lost touch with you, I cannot fully express it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
In learning about the country's history, I read about the Comfort Women of the Second World War, and I was horrified.
Check it: Comfort women and the apology they are not getting
I hope you'll sign the worldwide petition. Whether or not it effects any change in the Japanese government's position on the matter, it demonstrates our universal support for these women.
Sook Nyul-Choi's youth-appropriate book is well written, and features her personal experiences with the Japanese occupation, and the dividing of Korea by the Russian and American forces following the war.
I am trying to think more thoughts: big thoughts, mostly; thoughts of depth and substance. I feel like my brain is out of the habit of being active and profound and attempting brilliance on a daily basis, so I'm making an effort.
Because I am smart. I am. I did well in high school (would have graduated higher in my class, but for that month of mono and appendicitis), got into a prestigious programme amongst some of the top scholars in the country, and I did well, scoring A's on most papers. Most of my classmates are well and truly possessed of genius, but I am no dumbey. But I feel like one.
For the past year, I have fought Chronic Fatigue - which has, frankly, SUCKED - and I have taught dance classes - fun, rewarding, but not intellectually stimulating - and I have sewn dresses - ibid. And now, now that I am feeling well and healthy (HA! I was out of bed at 7:30! Not 11!!!) I am really, very dissatisfied with the state of my life.
Where is my art? Where are my thoughts? What have I done with my brain?!
In the interest of preserving what brainiac power I have remaining, I am going to try to read and to discern and to write more. It may end up here, on the blog, or maybe I should start a new blog, I don't know. But I feel strongly that I have this brain, it was a gift, a blessing, and one I worked and studied hard to develop, and I will be damned if I just let it go to waste! No, sir, my brain and I are going to start kicking asses and taking names!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
You may not realise this about me, but I'm sort of a nerd. If I could be paid to read and study and think and discern, I would be beside myself with bliss and euphoria. Talk about eudaemonia! Not surprisingly, then, my childhood and adolescence was peppered with nasty girls who thought I was totally lame because I was so brainy. My best friend - we were in church school together - was friends with most of these catty, hate-filled girls, so her birthday parties were always "interesting" for me. We all ended up at the same highschool, but I didn't spend much time with her at school because she was always surrounded by these nasties. I am not complaining. I am entirely aware that I have a brain and a scholarly inclination that most parents long for in their children. I'm no dumb-ey, and I'm glad.
But just today, I logged onto Facebook to see what's new with my friends (one of them is coming to town next week, and we're making plans to get together!) and one of the very catty girls from so long ago wants to add me to her list of friends. Friends?! We were never friends! We had friends, no, FRIEND, in common, and that was it! Why does she suddenly want to be buddies now? Frankly, it's weirding me out, and I honestly don't know what I'm doing to do about it. Should I just add her to my list of friends, or should I block it? I realise that, in the big picture, it doesn't matter, but I don't feel like living my internet "life" completely differently from the way I live my "real" life. I don't want to turn into one of those people you run into after years who wears a big fake smile and says "Wow, it's so great to see you, we should have coffee, I'll give you a call!" when both of you know, she's never calling, we are never having coffee, and it's not even that great to see her. I refuse to become THAT person. But is it just rude not to add her? I don't know.
Like I said, it's a silly dilemma.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The inner confusion began when I read this post on Feministing, a fantastic blog which I highly recommend. And I'll admit, upon reading it, my initial, heartbreakingly logical thought was "Well, that's logical" (don't worry, it does get better). They had a job opening, they filled it with who was available. It's not like she lost her job. And as was pointed out at TAPPED, if they wanted Griffin, they were going to find an excuse to use him. And besides, it's just logical. But had she been hospitalised due to appendicitis, kidney stones, or a herniated vertebrae, would the Justice Department have used that as an excuse? I think not.
Parenting demands inherent sacrifices, as it should. But when you get right down to it, these demands are disproportionately born by women. Child-bearing is a necessarily female endeavour, in spite of however involved the father may be. Because these demands are so predominantly woman's, the sacrifices most often are, as well. But why? If my husband and I want children equally, but also desire our careers equally, why must my future suffer, while his goes unencumbered? It only seems logical because that's the way it's always been.
It is argued that we choose to have children, so the sacrifices forced upon us are also our choice. But in examples of couples having children, it is also a choice on the part of the father, yet his career-sacrifices need be few if any.
Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is discrimination on the basis of sex. The decision of this Court in Bliss, which reached the opposite conclusion, is inconsistent with the Court's approach to interpreting human rights legislation taken in subsequent cases and should no longer be followed. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination simply because of the basic biological fact that only women have the capacity to become pregnant...Those who bear children and benefit society as a whole should not be economically or socially disadvantaged. It is thus unfair to impose all of the costs of pregnancy upon one half of the population.
But back to the confusion in my brain. So I'm thinking all these things, but everytime I would make an argument to myself, I would think "But children are a choice; children should require sacrifice". And this morning, sometime around 5, I realised something rather disturbing about myself. I read feminist blogs and I get all riled up inside, and I respect and admire the women who write these posts and books and articles and think they're fabulous, but I never picture them as mothers. I certainly don't intend to cease having a feminist brain once I am a mother. On the contrary, it will be of more necessity to me as a mother than it is now. But something (shall we blame the patriarchy? yes, let's!) has informed in me the great misconception that hard-core feminists are not mothers; that they have chosen to have successful, meaningful, rewarding, but very demanding careers instead of children and motherhood. And that's one of the more dumb-assey thoughts I've had in a good long while.
I'm looking at feminism in a whole new light this morning. It's whole purpose - truly, the entire impetus behind the movement - is inclusion: that women may be included in all the rights, freedoms, privileges, joys, sorrows, sacrifices, and advantages enjoyed by free men since the dawn of time. That ALL women may be included: those who are mothers, and those who haven't a maternal bone in her body.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go dig out my copy of Simone de Beauvoir.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
It feels strange to me to think of the internet as such a blessing; perhaps I'm a bit of a luddite. But I'm finding my friends!! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to send them messages, and see recent pictures of them, see where they're working and read what's new in their lives. I've been feeling a little lonely for the last few years. I love my husband, and his friends are also my friends - now - but the friends I made for myself, people with whom I had interests and passions in common, people I knew years before I even met my husband and his friends...I've missed them terribly. So many of them have had a profound effect on who I am, and how I think. So many of them are absolutely brilliant! And after the relative repression of high school (because how many people truly feel encouraged to their full potential during high school, the pressure to fit in is so strong) having these friends sparked in me the ability to be my true self, a fully actualised form of Me.
Retrieving these friends is rather like finding a little part of myself. I can't tell you how happy I am!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I interviewed for a job today, and I really, really want to get this job. I almost don't want to talk about it until I know if I got it or not for fear of jinxing it. If I get this job, many of the issues in our lives will begin to resolve (everything seems to come back to money when you don't have any!). Moreover, I will like what I do. I will want to get up and go to work in the morning. I really want this job.
No new knitting news. I need another set of dpns to start the second stocking and try out a few alterations to the pattern (it's just too tight around the heel) and the birthday scarf, frankly, is pissing me off. Maybe I'll give it another go tonight. Or maybe I'll fringe a big broadcloth square for one of the dancers for whom I'm making a dress. Either way, I'm off to watch some Firefly. Damn, that was a fantastic show!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Pattern: Number 20 from VogueKnitting Fall Issue 2006
Yarn: Merino/Mohair/Silk blend
Source: Wool 'n' Things, Ottawa
Needles: 5mm 20" Clover Bamboo Flex
I altered the pattern a little. Instead of knitting the body entirely of stocking stitch and using a turn-under hem, I knit in 3X1 ribbing for about 13". The sleeves needed some serious shortening to make them fit (apparently I have short arms, I had no idea) and knit in 3X1 ribbing instead of 2X2 because it just looked nicer. And I added about a quarter-inch of 2X2 ribbing to finish off the cowl, because I didn't like the way it was curling when I cast off in stocking stitch (as the pattern called for).
And at first...I wasn't sure if I LOVED the sweater. I liked it. But I just wasn't in LOVE with it. Wore it a few times, washed it (how I adore Eucalan!) and blocked it again. Better. A few more wears, washed it and blocked it, put it on this morning, and I am hopelessly in love with this sweater! The cowl gets nicer and nicer after every blocking, the body get smoother, and the stitches just fit together better. Which is, after all, the point of blocking a sweater, isn't it?
As you can see, it's cozy and warm (that's today's late winter snowstorm you see in the pics) and acceptable clothing for the wrangling of puppies!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
So what do I do? I'm thinking of starting the second stocking, with the second ball of yarn, and adding a wedge-shaped inset of stocking stitch, or just increasing the number of stitches before turning the heel. Hrm.
The Future BIL has decided he would like cream kilt hose for the wedding. I think I'll be picking up the yarn and needles this weekend or next week. I'm excited to start. He's coming over tonight, so I'll measure his foot and all, and get the hose designed this week. My plan originally was to knit the foot toe-up in the round, then flat after turning the heel. I'm thinking now that that is a silly way to knit them (and why add a seam if I can avoid it?) so I think I'll just knit them in the round. Thing is, I want to ensure they are EXACTLY the same, so my plan is to knit them on two needles, at the same time. I've never used magic loop, and I've never knit two socks on two needles concurrently. I anticipate a little confusion to start, but I think it will work out in the long run. After all, I have the entire foot to get used to the method of knitting, and the foot is just simple ribbing. It's the leg that gets interesting!
Ooohh, wish me luck. I may have bitten off more than I can comfortably chew, and I have a very small mouth!
Insert segue here (I've got nothing): chow mein! Yummm! I love cooking broccoli; it goes from that dusty, sagey colour to vibrant green in just a moment. Onions and red peppers, some garlic, veggie stock, and some rice flour to thicken, serve over wheat noodles. Mmmmm..!
Monday, March 12, 2007
All is not lost, though! Luckily, I've been carefully drafting a post for the pattern - for the lace alpaca stockings - on Blogger, so I was able to figure out where I was, and what my plan was to be.
I am not posting what I have done so far, because I am pretty sure the directions are strange and difficult to understand. Once I've started the second stocking, and have tweaked the pattern to be sure it makes sense to more people than just *me*, I'll post it. Assuming this works. And that it looks half-way decent. And fits.
Little else to report on the knitting front. I've started and restarted the ends to The Man's Birthday Scarf (which, as you may recall, was far too short. This is the risk one runs when knitting it lengthwise) and so far...I'm not sure. The problem seems to be that when I pick up what seems like the right number of stitches and start doubleknitting (as I did for the body of the scarf) the newly knitted portion pulls in and is narrower than the rest of the scarf. Meaning, it looks stupid. All homemade and badly done and stupid. I DO NOT want to frog the whole thing. NO. So I'll have to find a way to fix this. Blocking like mad? Or pick up too many stitches so that it almost flares outward, only to be snugged in by the doubleknitting? Haven't decided yet. I'll let you know.
In other news, it is warming up here. Nice mid-March weather, which means, of course, that it is gross and slushy and muddy. I discovered yesterday that the sidewalk plow has destroyed a significant portion of the front lawn. Not that the condo-corp will reseed. Oh, no, that's not their issue. Good grief, I want to move.
And, *hint hint*, that may happen someday in the not totally inconceivable future! I would need to have a job....but that might not be a problem, either.....Keep your fingers crossed for me, and for my sleep! Insomnia and office work do not work well together.
And why are there pictures of Wembley with this post? Because she's adorable, and I just love her to little puppy-pieces, that's why! Look at her little face....precious.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Randomly decided to bake some coffee cake the other day, so I did. Who needs cookbooks and recipes?
I tend to not really measure anything. I like to rely on taste and texture to determine the balance in recipes, so this is all pretty approximate.
D's Loaf O' Coffee Cake
1/2 cup margarine or softened butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
2 Tbsps granulated sugar
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsps brown sugar, unpacked
2 tsps granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp hot chocolate mix
In a medium bowl, beat together margarine and brown and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. I use a wooden spoon, and it takes about 3 minutes. Take a small taste of the mixture to ensure it's nicely sweet. If the mixture doesn't seems too heavy or dark, add a little more margarine or butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating. Add vanilla, beating.
Dump half the flour on top of the liquid mixture in the bowl. Drop baking powder and salt on top of the flour, and incorporate all well. Add rest of the flour gradually until the batter is thick, but not so much that it looks like cookie dough.
Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl. Grease and flour a loaf pan or a smallish rectangular cake tin. Pour or drop (depending on the thickness of your batter) a 1" thick layer of batter into the bottom of the tin, and ensure that it is spread evenly over the bottom of the tin. Sprinkle a solid layer of filling over the batter. Pour most of the remaining batter into the tin, gently spreading evenly over the filling layer, and sprinkle the remainder of the filling over the batter. Pour the remainder of the batter into the tin, gently spreading it to cover, or almost cover, the filling layer.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees. The cake should be a crisp golden brown on top, and will be very moist in the centre (a fork will not be totally clean when inserted into the centre of the cake).
Best served warm.
Try not to eat the whole thing by yourself, in one day. Like I have. Today.
My stars, I hate PMS.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I was soooo happy to cast off the birthday scarf. Couldn't wait to see it off needles and get a good look at it. Wrap it around The Man's neck and take a gander.
The scarf was knit lengthwise on a 60" circ, so prior to cast off, I didn't know exactly how long it would be, nor how it would look.
The good news is: it looks great. The colours are lovely, the patterning somewhat random, which gives it a nice, organic feel. Lots of fun, interesting without being weird or girly (it is for The Man, after all).
The bad news: it is about 12" too short.
How, you may be asking, does such an atrocity occur? Is not lilknitter wise enough to know better than to cast on for the bloody project without knitting a freaking swatch first?!
No, apparently she does not.
I was in a hurry. I was able to crawl out of bed long enough to buy the yarn for the birthday scarf the day before the birthday in question, so I was a little short on time, and swatching for gauge was the corner I cut. I used Candi Jensen's pattern from Vickie Howell's DIYNetwork show, Knitty Gritty (which I've never actually seen, but I found the pattern online over a year ago, and knew it was destined to adorn The Man's neck), and the pattern called for a cast on of 400 sts. I looked at her gauge, and at the tension suggestions on my ball bands, and thought, Hey, pretty close; fit isn't a big issue on a scarf! I'll just go-o-o with it.
Gee, I'm dumb.
The scarf is short. Stupid short. Looks totally wrong short. And I was so pissed at myself! I know better than to skip the swatch! I always do a swatch! But NO! I was in a hurry. And because the damned thing was knit length-wise, adding length in pattern is...totally impossible.
But what if we change the pattern? Last night, it occurred to me: what if I knit in the same, or an approximately similar, pattern, but width-wise, picking up stitches from the short ends after weaving in the free-ends from the yarn changes.
So, that is the new plan. I had thought when I first saw my serious error in judgement that there was no hope for the scarf, that it would have to be entirely frogged and start again. But I have renewed hope.
I have had to roll back my progress bar by a good margin.Let's just cross our fingers that I don't run out of yarn.
FO details once there is, you know, a FO.
It's been cold but hesitantly sunny here. Wembley tries to seek out a sunbeam every day, which is difficult, since we're sort of NNE/SSW facing, with windows only on the front and back of the house. But she tries, and sometimes she succeeds.
In attempting to return to Canada after suffering persecution, imprisonment, and torture in their native Iran, a family has been detained at the Hutto Detention Centre near Austin, Texas. The couple are Iranian citizens, but their son is Canadian-born, and a Canadian citizen, and is being held in a converted prison, with only an hour of schooling a day, and he and his mother are separated from his father at night. The boy is ill, suffering allergies and asthma as a result of the facility, and is losing weight due to the inedible food.
Bloggers are encouraging readers to contact Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding this family's situation. News media have published copies of the letter Kevin, the son, has written to Prime Minister Harper.
Well over 100 children and infants are held at Hutto, wearing uniforms and locked in their rooms at night.