Great Gig in the Sky

Before my blog stats go back down to zero, it’s time to post again. Forgive me, but I’ve been lost in figure skating for the past week. Worlds ’09 took place in L.A. last week, and the skating gods smiled by giving me over 14 hours of coverage on Oxygen. I had to stay up until 2 a.m. some nights, but it was worth it. More on that later.

First, I bring you a 99.9 % finished object.
Why is Chalkhill not done? Well, first I have to handsew the seam of the lace that I handsewed on the sleeves. Which was such a joy and delight (it wasn’t that bad). That means I need to press and fold it in to get a nice finished edge. And frankly, I haven’t felt like fishing out the iron and board.

Second, you’ll note that it’s a) missing one button on the bottom, and you’ll not note, but I do b) the buttons, though charming, don’t work.
Here’s why: they pop out of the buttonholes. I think a flat button will work better, so after rummaging in my mother’s button box, I came up with this compromise:newbuttons
So there you have it, a not-quite-ready-for-Ravelry-project-page project. I can say it does fit well, the fabric from the mystery yarn, once blocked, is soft and pliant, and the short rows I added, which I adapted from the Knotions tutorial (sort of a combination of their way and my way) are just the way I like ’em. Let’s hope today I get my ironing and button sewing mojo on.

Because I will be working on a super seckret project for the next month that will be taking up all my time. It’s a project for pay, and I can’t talk about it, because much like Fight Club, the first rule of super sekret project is you don’t talk about super sekret project. If it came with a hologram of Ed Norton, I would be doubly delighted. But alas, all other things knitting/crochet related must be put on hold to give this my full concentration — and frankly, I am a procrastinator, so wish me luck.

On to the skating!

The ISU has done everything possible to kill my beloved sport (yes, for the 900th time, it IS a sport), and yet, I keep coming back like a meth head needing one more tweak. Oh wait, that’s my neighbor across the hall, who’s making quite a racket just now!

Next year is an Olympic year, and my fear is that once that is done and over, we will get no television coverage in the U.S. at all. It was pretty bad this year; you got Nationals and Worlds and that was it — the Grand Prix had to be watched on You Tube when you could get it and the USFSA didn’t yank the videos off just because they could. And frankly, I don’t feel like ponying up the money for the Ice Network on my computer just yet. It’s still just as bad as You Tube — postage-sized video and all.

And now that Jeffrey Buttle is retired, I don’t have a horse in the race. But still, nothing will keep me up until 2 a.m. on a weeknight like Ice Dancing, AKA BLOODSPORT. And what a sport it was this year. Here are some images of decent costuming amongst the feathers, neon, chiffon and latex. If you look closely, sometimes, you get rewarded.
World Championships Figure Skating
This is the French No. 3 team, Pernelle Carron and Matthieu Jost, doing their charming Edith Piaf free dance. Although Mme. Pernelle needs to seriously attack those dark roots with some L’Oreal, I love his argyle vest, which reminded me so much of Knitty’s Drunken Argyle that I had to look it up again and remind myself that I would never knit it, I swear on La Piaf’s grave.
I was absolutely in swoons over this cloche that Canadian Vanessa Crone wore in her Ragtime inspired Original Dance. Must. Find. A. Way. To. Copy. That is all!
World Championships Figure Skating
Seriously, how does one learn to do this? Virtue and Moir of Canada, bronze medalists, doing their Pink Floyd routine. Now let me give a disclaimer here: First, I flove their costumes – so simple, so classy, so Dieter on Sprockets! But damn, do I hate me some Pink Floyd. Here’s the thing: if the current world champion French team hadn’t dropped out due to injury, we would have had to listen to TWO dueling “Great Gig in the Sky” routines, and I swan, there are not enough doobies and midnight showings of The Wizard of Oz in the universe to get me through that much Floyd!

(I do like David Gilmour’s solo work, though. Isn’t it ironic?)

If you feel like watching, here’s the routine. Sans commentary, too, so don’t say I never give any gifts! It really is a wonderful, modern dance inspired piece. Please, to enjoy.


New York, 2005

I took this picture on Broadway when Jon and I vacationed 4 years ago.
Today, I’m sitting on the bed with my cat, hand-sewing lace on a sweater.

It could be worse. Some stupid radio jock down here always says, “Every day above ground is a good one.”

It really is true.

Later, kids.

Baseball, Botox and blocking

Baseball Friday was great. It was hotter than Satan at a barbecue, and that just tells me we’re in for a long, hot summer.

Jeff Francoeur (I think) at the plate

Jeff Francoeur (I think) at the plate

Braves trounced the Marlins 8 to 2, so I left a happy girl.

Oh, but the ladies at the game! They need to take the Real Housewives franchise down here. The Real Housewives of Palm Beach County is a match made in Hell. So many Botoxed bitches — laws, what were they doing at the game! Between the line-up of Be-Coached bag hos sitting behind us discussing the merits of lo-cal Gatorade (wtf?) to these two leatherfaces in front of us, I had to laugh.

Which one's the mother and which one's the daughter? You be the judge.

Which one's the mother and which one's the daughter? You be the judge.

Now I know you’re saying, “Why take a picture of these two useless funbags?” Besides the fact that the blonde one is obviously wearing a Scoop NYC watch that I know for a FACT she got on HSN — sister, I watched that show.

No, the reason is because we were sitting next to two very vocal middle-aged men, and every time they yelled at the pitcher or generally acted as superfans do, which I find fun and in the spirit of the game, blondie would turn around and give them a withering glare. And her forehead would wrinkle in the most alarming way! I kept telling my husband, “Didn’t her mother every tell her that her face would freeze like that?” All I can gather is I hope the recession hasn’t hit her, because she is going to need a ton of Botox to erase those forehead lines.

In knitting news, I finally finished blocking Chalkhills. Despite the presence of my super-deluxe blocking board, this is a two-day affair. But it’s finally done, and I’ll start sewing it up and doing the finishing today.

The buttons and lace I chose.

The buttons and lace I chose.

I’m delighted with the lace for the arms (which matches the picture in the Hummingbirds book EXACTLY), but the buttons should probably be a lighter mother of pearl. However, when you have a man waiting in the car while you dither about the fabric store, you grab the first thing you find. So these may be replaced at a later date. This is the downside of not having a car.

The yarn, whatever the hell it is, blocked beautifully. I’m guessing it has some cotton and linen in it, as well as some kind of viscose. Just an educated guess. I’m hoping the finished product will be viewable later this week.

On Saturday, we went to see Watchmen, and I was able to put my troubles aside for 163 minutes and enjoy it, relatively speaking. However, I couldn’t get over the fact that this dude (Matthew Goode) looked like a combination of Midge Ure from Ultravox and Heaven 17 era Marytn Ware.

I am digging the pin...

I am digging the pin...

Perhaps that’s just my age talking. As always, your mileage may vary.

I’m trying very hard to keep things light and airy, but as I enter my second month sans job, the sadness creeps into my daily routine in most alarming ways. You’d think I’d find ways to enjoy this forced rest period, but it’s difficult to read a book or enjoy a movie. I feel guilty for even wanting to. I have never been without work for so long — ever. It’s not normal to me.

I can’t watch the news, can’t listen to another “Recessionista!” tale on the morning shows. Wait, “Recesionista!” — wasn’t that an album by the Clash? I am losing it. Not having a car makes things so much worse. I find a good job farther south, and wonder how in the hell I will get there? None of this had to happen, and if I could go into the total whackadoodle fuckness of the whole thing, I would. But I find regurgitating it tiresome.

So I won’t. I’ll just keep trying, and keep on keeping on. For one more day at a time.

Thank you for the money, Jeremy Northam

It’s been a boring week here at Chez Unemployment, but I have to give a shout-out to, which continues to enrich my shrinking bank account. This week I sold four DVDs, including a double Jeremy Northam special to someone in Kentucky. Here was my listing for Emma:

“I love Jeremy Northam. I hate Gwyneth Paltrow. Thus, this movie can be yours.”

Obviously, I am getting more creative with my listings. Although it is a shame to release Mr. Knightley from my fold, I can rest safe in the knowledge that he is apparently cast with Richard Coyle from Coupling fame in a CBS pilot called Miami Trauma. My head might explode if that gets greenlit.

Today honey and I are going to a baseball game, and tomorrow we will see The Watchmen. Honey goes for the fanboy-nation love, I go for the Jackie Earle Haley. We all have our something. Sunday is a barbecue. So the weekend will be eventful. I’ve had it with uneventful.

I can’t say I’m exactly getting depressed as I turn the corner into week eight of unemployment, but the inertia is creeping in a most alarming way. I long for a sense of purpose and motivation, and simply don’t know where to find it. I think that’s a little too maudlin, so I will stop there. I should have some new knits to show off next week.

As for inspiration Friday, I saw this picture of Sofia Coppola and her baby this week, and found it charming. Now if she’d just make a damned movie again! Maybe something along these lines is in my future? I don’t know. The world is funny…I just need to find my place in it.

Red Wine and Roxy Music

And Tiffany Blue.

Is becoming this:chalkhills
The pattern is Chalkhills from Louisa Harding’s Hummingbirds, and I’m taking some liberties as usual. The yarn is something I’m guessing is from the 70s or 80s. I truly have no idea.

Every now and then, women would come in to the store where I used to work (seven weeks and counting — holla!) with bags of yarn to donate. Their mother had died, their aunt had died — it was always the same sad story. And it truly was sad. There was usually nothing we could do with most of it, it was so old, or all acrylic, or in such appalling shape (smelly, water damaged). But this was rescued by one of my nice co-workers (there were a few) and she gave it to me. The bag says the skeins are $1.25 each, I have no idea of the yardage, but it’s a weird 5-play that is similar to Maggi’s Linen. I love the color, but as you can see from the photo, you have to pull it very carefully out of the bag or it gets tangled. So you have to knit slowly, too.

We’ll have to see how this one turns out.

Hey, did anyone but me watch the smashing sequel to the original U.K. Life on Mars on BBC America, Ashes to Ashes? Complete with scary David Bowie clown?
It was awesome, Keely Hawes looks like she just stepped off a Roxy Music album cover, the music is sublime, and if you grew up in the 80s as I did, you’ll agree the early 80s beat the late 80s — especially the U.K. variety. I guess unless you lived there. But hey, I’m on the dole now, so I can say what I want!

Went to a party Saturday night and had fun. Even drank some El Presidente beer and called myself “the husband.” So I don’t get out much anymore. Am going to a baseball game (Braves vs. Marlins) Friday, so plan to drink again in the hot sunshine.

People my age seem surprised when I tell them how happy I am now. But the people I hung out with at the party, who were considerably younger, seemed to get it.

I have been domesticated.

Inspiration Friday: Pocketbooks and Orgasms

I’m feeling kind of inspired today. I’m slowly dragging myself out of the Slough of Despond (hey, Pilgrim’s Progress reference!) and trying to get that loving feeling back over new endeavors, new ways to market myself, sketching some projects, baking muffins. Oh, the excitement! Then I made the mistake of turning on the news and seeing the most recent unemployment figures with people saying they’ve been looking for a job for a year, and I started wishing I hadn’t LOST my job, but if I found that particular one again, I just might wander into the woods, sans bread crumbs. Hey, Hansel and Gretel reference!

So I’ve decreed that this blog needs some inspiration. It’s inspiration Friday! And I figured out how to work my scanner today, so that means oodles of fun. This opens up great possibilites. For starters: I cleaned out the stack of old Vogues and ELLES under my bed (Remember: I won’t be buying those wastes of trees in the forseeable future) and did what I always do: clipped the inspirational pictures for future projects. And then I clipped pictures of my favorite actress in the entire world.mag13
Ah, Maggie Cheung. J’adore. I don’t know what you’re doing in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, but I’ll always have 2046 on DVD, since I can’t afford to go out and buy Irma Vep on special edition.

But the real reason I (used to) but these things wasn’t to keep Anna Wintour in Boneva for her obvious osteoporis, but for stuff like this, which was actually in ELLE.crochet1

Although this is from last fall, it’s always good for ideas. Going to the mall today, I got very little inspiration. Everything I saw looked like a giant slice of hot-buttered ass. Colors were popping, ’tis true, but to many shapeless tops with super tight leggings. As someone who survived the first round of leggings and stirrup pants, I fear I must reiterate a maxim I once coined in college: Stretch pants are a privilege, ladies, not a right.

I’ve also had it with the flowing, cheapo looking scarves that some poor kid in Bangladesh made for sweatshop wages. Gals, you aren’t the second coming of Freida Pinto in Slumdog. It is not written.

I did PAY for a little inspiration, today. After walking around Sephora for about 20 minutes, I simply got what I came in for after quizzing the nice saleslady. Money’s tight, but lil’ mama’s out of blush.orgasm1
I bought some NARS blush in Orgasm. Which thankfully, won’t be the only release I’ll be getting.

I’m about the close this puppy down for the weekend. But I couldn’t STFU without talking about the giant silo explosion that is American Idol. I am officially done. What a nightmare on tuneless street. Good singers thrown to the curb whilst tone deaf twats get through based on supposed “commercial” appeal. What commerical? The one for the hemmie lube they show at the end of Wheel and Jeopardy! every night? (check it, I think it’s called Baneol…) Anyway, I’m so sick of Cowell throwing out J Hud’s name every year like she’s some saviour of the show, when we all know how SHE was treated. Abominably. Gah, I thought that year was bad, but this is officially the whitest year of Idol ever, and I can’t bear it. I feel like I’m at an Aryan Youth rally! I’ll stick to RuPaul’s Drag Race, thank you kindly.

Have I gone too far? I don’t care! Go over to my sidebar and listen to the hottest track I’ve heard this week: The divine miss Jennifer Hudson herself featuring Hotlanta’s own Ludacris. It’s called “Pocketbook,” as in don’t make me hit you with it, and all I can think about is Aunt Esther on Sanford and Son. Shades of my youth, coming back. Laws, but I loved that show.

Folks, I don’t know what the future is holding for me and mine, but I’m feeling alright tonight.

Bookin’ It

In today’s exciting news, three green ambulances, three red firetrucks, two Boyz in the Hood copters and two police cars (plus one local news crew) came to the building next door. The one where I think the phone sex operation is located on the second floor. Except I heard from my weird neighbors, who knocked on my door yesterday morning, that it’s some bank place that helps people out who fall behind on their mortgages.

Anyway, they had a gas leak. Not the methane kind. Wow, excitement! See what I get to witness being landlocked and unemployed? Don’t you wish you were me?

You don’t, I know.

I am having one of those days. I am suffering from “analysis paralysis.” Can’t figure out what to do, can’t find any decent jobs on the job boards but keep applying anyway despite lack of response, wonder how long I will be stuck in limbo. Feel like I should be enjoying this time more, because, hey, I’m not actively depressed, which a lot of my friends find hard to believe. I just feel a lack of purpose. Want to design some stuff, but the yarn won’t talk to me. On the plus side, I dressed, put on makeup and walked with the iPod whilst blasting AC/DC and Nick Lowe today. This is a plus.

Here is a sweater I was eyeballing at Kohl’s a weekend before I got “laid off” (ask me sometime why I keep putting it in air quotes and I will tell you) that I floved but felt I would be better off copying. It was made from cheapo acrylic, and I thought a nice Cotton Ease (laws, pull me away from that shit!) would do it better. It’s just a round yoker:
I think three-quarter length sleeves would be more apropos, too.

I would also like to read a frackin’ book, but I seem to have lost that ability. I go to the library to return two books tomorrow. One is a stitch pattern book I will be rechecking, and one is going in the book drop, never to be seen again. I got halfway through and admitted to myself it was a FAIL.
Charles de Lint used to be one of my favorite authors. But in recent years, his writing has grown so turgid I can’t cope. Maybe when he was doing more short stories I could handle him better. But these 500 page magnum opuses of urban fantasy with 30 characters changing voices every chapter, including a pit bull who talks in her frackin’ head — instead of the two main characters the book is supposed to be about — just drove me around the bend.

But what do I know? It was all I could do to get through the February Vogue today. I really needed to read about Plum Sykes’ bespoke suit and rich womyn having “clothes swapping” parties because la, they are recessionistas! I don’t think I will be buying Vogue anymore. But then, we knew that.

I think it’s time to pull out one of my biographies haunting the bookshelf. Like my Dinah Washington tome. I’ve been squirreling it away for two years now. You know, maybe I just got out of the reading habit. There was a time when I read every day. At my old job at the paper, I got two breaks per day and a lunch hour (Fancy that!). And when I went into retail hell at the yarn barn, gone was anything resembling a break or lunch. Ever. In fact, I think I may have hastened my own demise when I asked to take a lunch break two weeks before the grand “laying off.”

Well, I can eat lunch all I want now. Just as long as the food stamps hold out. Holla!

Shop update: Photo shoot – who do I think I am, Ansel Adams?!

I spent this morning playing with my camera after reading an Etsy tutorial on taking better pictures by using the EV and white balance. It’s funny how you have your digital camera and never really take the time to utilize all the things it’s capable of doing. I’m guilty! I call it “read the freakin’ manual, dummy.” That’s how I used to be the only person who could fix the printer when I was managing a store two years ago. Read the manual, dummy.

Although I haven’t put the final FINAL touches on these yet, I wanted to share before I put them in the Etsy store. I’m on a headband kick, obviously. I’ve really tried to make each one different. And the overcast day didn’t help me lighting-wise:
Sorry, I should have posted notes about all of them as I went along, but I took a latte break. Yes, in the spirit of saving money, I made it myself. I haven’t been to Starbucks but once since the grand “laying off,” and I feel good about that. My Starbucks habit was a money sucker, and I have a dinky cappuccino maker my Aunt sent me for Christmas about five years ago that is usable. It is my lifeblood now.

Anway, the merlot headband is from Baby Alpaca Grande, and just a simple knit 2 purl 2 rib with stockinette between. I opted to do two crocheted flowers, and put them both on pinbacks, so if anyone buys this (PLEASE!) they can have options — with one, the other, or without. I think that’s a bonus.

The black is also Baby Alpaca Grande, but the tweedy version. I did a basketweave rib, and added a Czech glass button with a dragonfly. I opted to sew this one on.

By this time, I was over the Baby Alpaca Grande, because: newsflash: I am allergic to alpaca, unless it is cut with something like silk. My analogy used to be: you don’t want to do pure cocaine, you need to cut it with baby laxative, right? Thus it is with alpaca, pour moi. Sorry, but that’s how I roll.

Finally, I used one precious hank of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Topaz for the golden headband and did a supple rib, which is kind of a pain but yields a lovely result. I added a pin I thrifted at Goodwill. Granted, it’s missing one stone, but I think that adds to the shabby chic feel of the piece.

And there you have it. I’m off to Picnik to work on the background contrast and hope someone buys these beauties. I am a bit tired of all the headbanding. I yearn to make something for myself, but don’t know if that will happen anytime soon. It’s not like I’m running out of yarn or anything…

La, but I need to do something edifying. Besides applying for a job, I mean. I did that today! I mean I need to stop watching crap on the telly. Yesterday, out of pure entropy, I kept the TV going while a Rush concert was on VH1 Classic. Me, who hates Rush more than hives, herpes and Brussels sprouts all rolled in to one. I mean, that was ALL the guys in high school would listen to! Mean Tom Sawyer – oh put a fucking sock in it, Geddy Lee! Not all things from Canada are good, I’m sorry I said that, Jeffrey Buttle!

Can I just say I miss putting makeup on everyday? The neighbors knocked on the door today to see if I “heard” some commotion out in the hall at one a.m. last night, and boy, but didn’t I feel pretty in a naked face?

Sephora, I miss you.

Ways to save and make money

I cut my hair last week. Some people have asked for a picture, and though I don’t like putting my puss up for everyone to see (I photograph for shit), I figured a thumbnail wouldn’t kill me.
Granted, it’s not like I hacked it all off, but it’s a lot shorter than I’ve worn it in years. And in the spirit of saving money, damn, I’m using a LOT less conditioner.

Today, Oprah attempted to save me with her witchcraft by teaching me how to live with less and enjoy a simpler life. Although frankly, I don’t know how some woman who belonged to three country clubs who went to bed for month and then divorced her husband and now lives in a shack in the woods with her two kids is supposed to give me hope. Although she was wanly crocheting SOMETHING. Jaysus knows what. It looked like some granny square concoction. That’s about all they were capable of at my last job — one giant granny square. Because God forbid you have to join those squares!

Moving on! I’ve sold more crap on Huzzah! I can eat! Thank you lord, someone out there wants the Zach Braff movies I bought back in the day. What WAS I thinking?! Oh wait, I wasn’t. I’m also going to sell my old iMac and printer on Craigslist. Where I applied for some jobs today. Are you proud of me, honey? It’s just a matter of time before Ebay comes a knockin’. Because I need that Diane Von Furstenberg skirt my ex-boss bought me like I need a case of hemorhoids. Let’s erase ALL the bad memories!

I have a confession: I think the place next door to me is operating a phone sex business. See, I live in a retail/apartment complex. And this place is actually across the street and a half block away. It is above where the Starbucks used to be. And all the employees park here. But here’s the catch: They are only WOMEN. They dress über-casual, and are from all walks of life. Some young, some middle age. Some cute and attractive, some not so much. They all come in at the same time every day, and leave at the same time each evening. Now you tell me: What in the world kind of place would employ this specific group of people?

That’s right. A phone sex call center. I’m thinking I should walk over there. You know Girl 6 has always been my favorite Spike Lee movie. I’ve been told I have the voice for it.