A little bit of writing, a little bit of knitting...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm Thankful for FOs

Okay...let's see if I can finish this without my computer crashing (again)....

I hope those of you in the States had a fabulously relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Over the weekend, I officially named Thanksgiving my very favorite holiday -- because you get a four-day weekend and you're allowed to do nothing but eat and sleep...and eat. You don't have to buy anyone Thanksgiving presents. You don't have to feel guilty for once again neglecting your Thanksgiving cards. No pressure. Just food. I love Thanksgiving.

This year, Thanksgiving provided a much-needed break. We began the weekend by going to the Blue Jackets game with Mark. We lost in the shoot-out (and we really, really should have won), but the new coach was announced right before the game, so everyone was feeling good. We're all hoping that he can whip the team into shape (something that he already seems to be doing, fortunately).

It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving, so we were free to sleep in as long as we (okay...I -- Paul doesn't sleep in) wanted to. And we could eat when we wanted to -- and what we wanted to. Between turkey bastings, I blocked my shawl.

And later that day, I finished this:

Yea for the Obnoxious Pink Sweater! I totally love this thing -- and I'm so proud of myself for pulling off my first-ever grown-up sweater design. (I've already started sketching for the next one.) It's been unseasonably warm lately, so I can't wear it right now -- but I'm not complaining. I'll have plenty of time to wear it later -- and I know I'll wear it often. Because I *love* it.

The details:
Obnoxious Pink Sweater
Pattern: mine!
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease (just over 5 skeins)
Needles: #8 circs from the good ol' Denise set (and 6s for the neck)

After finishing the sweater, I went back to working on my brother-in-law's scarf (which I started back in August and then set aside for a few months in order to work on a couple of sweaters and a lace shawl). Since Christmas is right around the corner, I've got to get my rear in gear. And, over the weekend, I managed to triple its previous size. I'm around three feet now, so I'm getting there. Pictures to come.

And, finally, on Saturday, I unpinned the Fabulous Fireball Shawl:

The closeup:

The details:
Fabulous Fireball Shawl
Pattern: mine! (with a little help from Barbara Walker)
Finished size: 21.5" x 71"
Yarn: KnitPicks Gossamer in Rose Garden (2 hanks)
Needles: #5s from the KnitPicks Options set

I actually managed to pull out another little design last week -- a great last-minute Christmas gift, if you ask me. But I'll wait for my next post for that one.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let's Try This Again...

Here it is -- the Fabulous Fireball Shawl, pre-blocking.

I'm hoping I'll have time to block it tomorrow, while the turkey is in the oven.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Somehow, I managed to make it through last week in one piece. One very tired piece, but one piece nonetheless. On the morning of Day Two of Film Insanity, before Screening #3, I looked up at one of my fellow critics from my seat in the theater lobby and said, "I don't think I'll make it through tomorrow." He looked down at me with a completely blank expression and said, "Huh?"


On Day Three, we arrived at the theater, only to be told that the print wasn't there yet. We who remained behind to wait for it (since most of us travel a half hour or so to get to the theater) tried to make conversation, but we were too exhausted. After an hour or so of waiting, we were told that the screening was cancelled -- and we'd most likely have to show up on Friday morning (the morning that we were all planning on sleeping through) to make up for it.

In the end, of the six movies I watched, only two of them were really any good. That makes for a very long week.

After it was all over, I spent Friday night doing nothing but watching TV and knitting. I managed to finish Sleeve #1 of the Obnoxious Pink Sweater and whip out 3 1/2 repeats on the shawl.

On Saturday morning, we skipped town. We wandered around for a while until we reached the Fiestaware Factory Outlet in West Virginia, where we dug through their seconds in search of nearly-perfect plates and things to add to our rainbow of dishes. Then we drove on to Pittsburgh. On Sunday, we spent the day wandering through IKEA, weighing the pros and cons of various shelving units to hold our ever-growing DVD collection. We finally made a decision, only to discover that it might not fit in our little CR-V. Fortunately, it did (*just*), and, as an added bonus, it matches the entertainment center in our living room almost exactly. Of course, it will be full in a year's time or less, but it looks nice for now. And I'm thinking we may have to stop at the IKEA in Michigan on our way back from Mom and Dad's at Christmas and buy another one, just to even out our living room.

This week, fortunately, isn't nearly as crazy. I skipped yesterday's morning screening, which left only two evening screenings. I'm looking forward to Thursday, when Paul and I will have our first real sit-down dinner at home in almost two weeks.

Somewhere in there, though, I still managed to reach my goal of finishing my Fabulous Fireball Shawl. It isn't blocked yet -- I'll do that over the long weekend. I was going to post a picture of the shawl pre-blocking, but Blogger won't let me (grrr!). So I guess I'll just have to wait.

I'm so proud of myself for finally finishing it. If I had any more energy than, say, the living dead, I would currently be dancing around the house with joy. But alas, I'll have to save that for some time when I'm caught up on sleep. I'm thinking January.

In other news, I met up with the Knitastic girlies yesterday. We had a nice big group of five -- and we were happy to see that Miss S the Small was back and healthy once again. She actually approved of our new name -- what a relief! Miss A was going to make a banner for our group, but she didn't have the time. Instead, she came in her very own hand-painted Knitastics T-shirt! I was so very proud of her! I've been meaning to design T-shirts for the girls, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. And now that Miss A has even designed a logo for our group (no kidding!), I'm all set.

Monday, November 13, 2006

We Have a Name!

This afternoon, after much debate, we voted and got ourselves a group name: The Knitastics! Everyone's pretty satisfied with the decision, except for Miss C, who hates it. But she tends to hate everything, so that's okay. She also hates that Miss M the Older (who was sitting next to her) talks a lot, but when I told her there were other seats available, she didn't move, either.

Miss A has decided that we all need to knit sashes in different colors. When I jokingly asked if we'd offer merit badges, too, she suggested that when they finish a project, I could sew a little star on their sash. How cute is that?

Monday Already?

The weekend was wonderful -- there just wasn't enough of it.

On Friday, I did exactly what I planned to do: nothing. I let Paul pick up a movie from Blockbuster, and I got some work done on the shawl. When the movie was over, Paul asked me what I thought, and I replied, "You know what? It's Friday, and I don't care."

Saturday, however, posed a bit of a dilemma. The film festival shindig was just hours away, and I just didn't like anything in my closet. So I rushed out for an emergency shopping excursion, in an attempt to find something that would go with my Adamas (since my new shawl, currently known as The Fabulous Fireball Shawl, isn't done yet) and my Fab New Boots. Believe it or not, I managed to find something within my two-hour time limit. I also managed to find something that just happened to be 50% off. Woohoo!

The Saturday night shindig was a whole lot of fun. We started by watching one of the winning films. After that was the award ceremony, for which our pal, John, was the emcee. John managed to behave himself during the ceremony, and we were all very proud. Then, after that was done, we got to hang out and drink wine and munch on appetizers while screaming over top of the fabulously loud band (they were really quite good -- just very, very loud). The whole thing was held next to the art gallery, which was opened for the evening -- and that kept Paul happy. I think he probably could have lived without having to sit there while a gaggle of film critics debated Daniel Craig's impact on the James Bond franchise. But he's a pretty good-natured guy, that Paul. All in all, it was a wonderful evening. Mark shared a picture on his blog, but I'll add another one -- of me, Mark, and our tuxedoed friend, John. Don't we look fly for film critics?

As is often the case, it suddenly hit us yesterday that we had all kinds of stuff to do before the weekend ended -- so yesterday was a busy day. After all, for the next three days, I've got two screenings a day, plus writing time, plus general site management, plus the occasional bit of sleep. That doesn't leave a lot of time for laundry. So hopefully I'll be okay for a few days now.

Meanwhile, I did some knitting. Sleeve #1.2 is almost done -- just a few more inches. And it fits much better. And The Fabulous Fireball is just eight (!) repeats away from being done. It'll be done in no time.

Knitting is going to be on hold again this week, AKA The Week of Insanity. You know things are getting crazy when you start dreaming about reviewing movies. Wanna hear about the nightmare I had last night? I dreamed that I had to review a new Jessica Simpson movie -- and its straight-to-DVD sequel. I didn't wake up screaming, exactly, but I couldn't get back to sleep for a while after that. I mean, who would want to fall back to sleep, only to be faced with a Jessica Simpson trilogy?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Survival of the Fittest

Yeah, I know I sound like a pansy whining about work and all. After all, I asked for it. And I really do love what I do. But I swear that Awards Season could break even the toughest of film critics -- even the ones who don't have any other work to do. Throw in the fact that there's a holiday coming up in a couple of weeks -- one that studio reps are trying to schedule around -- and we've got some serious insanity coming next week.

Take, for instance, this little snippet of my life:

Wednesday night - film screening from 7:30-9, get in car, drive across town, change from work sweater to casual sweatshirt in car, watch Paul's hockey game until 10:40, go home and crash

Thursday morning - send out site newsletter, handle general management issues, scramble to get review of last night's movie finished before rushing across town for a screening from 11-1:30

Thursday afternoon - rush home, work on review outside after power goes out, quickly eat yogurt for late lunch while checking email after power comes back, don't quite get review finished before it's time to leave again

Thursday night - pick Paul up from work so we can eat at Arby's before rushing off to another screening from 7-9, come home and finish watching Blue Jackets game (woohoo!), interspersed with Wednesday's America's Next Top Model

And that's nothing compared to next week. As of last night, I had screenings scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, as well as Tuesday and Thursday morning. I just opened an email scheduling another screening for Wednesday morning. And Mark just mentioned that there might be one Friday morning, too.

Paul jokingly mentioned the other day that I'm spending more time with Mark than I am with him. It's a good thing he's not a jealous man. And it's a good thing he likes Mark.

Seriously, people, there are just so many movies one person can watch in a week. Not only that, but it's seriously cutting into my knitting time. I have no clue how Mark has been cranking out his scarves. See the picture I took of finished scarf #3? This guy is seriously making me look bad! I'm starting to wonder if he's superhuman. The most I get right now is a couple of rounds of sleeve after gulping down lunch -- or before I head to bed.

Tonight, though, I'm taking a whole night off. I told Paul to pick up the DVD of his choice on his way home from work -- anything he wants. I don't care if I've seen it before. In fact, that would be great -- since I wouldn't feel compelled to review it. I'm going to sit on my butt, eat a frozen pizza, consume numerous vodka tonics, sit on the couch with my husband, and knit. And then I'll go to bed and sleep until noon, at which time I'll have to get up and go shopping -- because I still don't have a dress to match my new black boots that I'm wearing to the film festival shindig tomorrow night. I hear it's just a bunch of old guys. Do you think they'll notice if I just show up in some undergarments, a pretty red lace shawl, and a fabulous pair of black boots?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Knowing When It's Over

Have you ever had one of those relationships -- one that you just knew wasn't right for you? You had that sneaking suspicion from the beginning, but you just let it go, thinking it would work itself out in the end. You tried to pretend there weren't any problems, but something in the back of your mind kept nagging at you, telling you that maybe it was time to move on. But you let it go too long. You made excuses. You talked yourself out of ending it. Because ending it is never any fun.

I was faced with that same dilemma today. Do I end this relationship? Or do I continue with it, pretending that everything was okay, when I knew it wasn't? I tried talking myself out of it for a while. I tried really hard to tell myself it was going to be okay. But I was lying to myself.

If Britney can do it, I told myself, so can I.

So I did it. I ended it.


It took me less than two songs on my MP3 player to do the ripping. Then it was over. And I felt much better. I don't have to avoid it anymore. I can just pick up my needles and start over. And that's just what I did. I did the first couple of rounds, with five extra stitches.


Despite the initial sting of the frogging, it's all good. Actually, there were a couple of other little things that kinda bugged me about the sleeve the first time around, so now I can fix them. So it'll take the extra time, but it'll be worth it in the end. Really. It will.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I am in some serious denial here. That's why you haven't hear from me lately -- because I figure if I don't talk about it, it doesn't really exist. But it's time I stood up and faced the dark, upsetting truth: I have to frog my entire sleeve. The Obnoxious Pink Sweater was coming along so nicely. I had even experimented with a cute little bell sleeve. But then I realized that there was just no getting around it -- the sleeve was too tight. For some sweaters, it would be just the right size for a different sweater -- and that's exactly how I tried to prevent the frog. After all, I told myself, it's a nice sleeve. And it is a nice sleeve -- just not for this sweater. So frog I must.

In order to avoid the frog, I've spent the last several days focused on lace (or at least I have in the rare moments when I've actually had time to knit). I'm on my 49th repeat of 62, so I'm almost done. It's not going to be done in time for the shindig this weekend, I'm afraid, but it'll be close.

In girlie news, we had a huge group yesterday: seven girls. Two of them had never knit before, so I ended up teaching one of them. I knew I was in for trouble when I was introduced to Miss N, but I couldn't see her because she was hidden behind her mom's legs. But she actually did really well, despite the fact that she was pretty sure, after the first couple of stitches that knitting was hard.

Miss M returned this week, after claiming to be too tired to knit last week. This week, her sister, Miss S the Smaller, was home sick. She did, however, have her mom bring her list of suggested names for the group. More on that later. Miss M was joined by Miss S the Smaller's best friend, who is Miss M the Older. Then Miss A arrived with the ballot box. And Miss E, who hasn't been around since September, arrived. And Miss S the Big came, too, though she was pretty upset that Miss S the Smaller wasn't there. There was also another girl, who spent a large part of the group time in the back of the store, getting a lesson, so I can't say that I even remember her name. There were just too many little missies running around.

As for the vote, we still don't have a name -- because we decided that we couldn't do a final vote without Miss S the Smaller. We did, however, do a preliminary vote to narrow down our options. I can only imagine how next week's final vote will go. I'm sure there will be a great deal of filibustering and bickering and arguing. After all, I have quite a group of strong-willed little girlies, who will find any possible topic to argue about. So I'm sure this will be no different. Then Miss S the Big will announce (again) that she thinks that all of the names are stupid -- and that there's no point in having a name anyway. But she's just bitter that she could only come up with one name -- and no one voted for it but her. I'm not going to say exactly what it was, but let's just say that you wouldn't have voted for it, either.

Anyway...we have another week to fight over the possibilities. If you think of it next Monday between 4 and 6, please stop and observe a moment of silence for me.

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