Monday, March 31, 2008

Moving Forward

Life is about moving forward. It's not unreasonable to look back on the past from time to time, because without looking back and seeing what didn't work, how will we figure out what to do that will work? But we can't dwell. The what-ifs and why-didn'ts won't get us far.

I'm going through a lot of changes right now. The relationship that I was in, which I had thought would stand the test of time, has changed into a friendship that is, at its best times, very rocky. The BFF that I have relied on for support - both physical and emotional - has gone to take care of someone other than me (not that this is a bad thing, just a change). My home, which has felt less and less like home over the past two months, is now truly just a place to stay for the time being. And, while I have to look back over the past 8 years or so to figure out what hasn't worked, I also have to look forward at what is to come. Where is my life going? What do I want to accomplish? What will make me happy?

Yesterday, on my way to "church" (quotes because, try as I might, I cannot think of The Bridge as a church), I opened my mail. In it was a 30-day no-cause eviction notice from the new management company that has taken responsibility for the duplex where I live. Since I am on a month-to-month lease, they have the right to give me 30 days and no reason (I am grateful, because if they did have a reason they could give me as little as 72 hours). I had intended on moving anyway, since this space has several features which are not ideal to my lifestyle. It would have been nice, though, to be able to do it on my own time rather than on someone else's schedule.

So I'm moving forward. I'm looking back at what hasn't worked for my living situation (lots of stuff, none of it all that very important or useful) and examining what will (paring down to the things that are basic necessities, plus a small amount of things that are special to me for sentimental reasons). I'm looking back on what hasn't worked in my relationships (dishonesty - more with myself than with my partner) and examining what might (self-discovery and friendship before emotional or physical joining).

It's a new beginning. Time for a clean slate. A chance to grow up a little more and make my life my own. Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yay for productivity!

Oh where oh where to begin!

Went to Fabric Depot yesterday and bought some new fabric to line my Sunflower Purse with:

Not quite as cool as the first one I found, but good.

Today I worked on - and finished! - the lining:

(cell phone pocket):

I do have enough of the original fabric to line the inside of the outside with, so I just need to cut it to size and crochet the "trellis" (which I'm also re-vamping to make it sturdier). I'll work on that later this week.

I also got a couple of yards of some fabric to goof around with, and a couple of fat quarter packs. Look, my first quilt square!

One pack came with the above fabric and these two:

And the other came with these (they're much more lavender in real life):

I'm on row 23 of the Half Moon Shawl, which I'm going back to working on right now - just wanted to share the progress :)
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Friday, March 28, 2008


March 28th in Portland Oregon (which varies from sea level to 500+ feet). It's snowing. The Weather Channel says it's 37 degrees (F, of course). Even KOIN News says it's 37 degrees. And yet, it's snowing. And even sticking, a little bit. WTF?

Apparently it snowed in May here in Portland in 1993. I would have been 12, and I don't remember that.

I'm totally confused. Snow is supposed to stop mid-March.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some pics, just for you

Mom's older-than-dirt sewing machine that I'm using

The back side of the outside of my now-deceased Sunflower Purse

The outside of the outside of my now-deceased Sunflower Purse

The booze that killed my Sunflower Purse
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A whole week between posts??!! You must all feel abandoned!

Nothing much has been going on. Well, ok, some. Lots of drinking. Not, like, "I can't function at work cause I got schnockered(sp?) last night" lots, but lots relative to the past 5 years.

Note to self - do NOT craft while drinking. My beautiful Sunflower Purse met its demise when I tried to work on it after an evening of tequila and mango lemonade. I have enough yarn to start over, but I'll need to buy more fabric. That's ok though. I'm really enjoying using my mom's old sewing machine, and might try my hand at some quilting (like I need another hobby).

Progress on the Half Moon Shawl is going well. I'm somewhere between 50% and 80% done, depending on how you figure it (I've used half the required yarn, but done 80% of the required rows). I love how it's turning out. This was my first attempt at using LB Jiffy yarn and I really like it.

My other WIP, the Tesserae Socks, are on hold pending completion of the shawl and the purse. The shawl is time-sensitive (I have as of now one week to finish), and the purse is for my mental health. Yes, I said it, I need to make a purse for my own sanity.

I finally joined Ravelry, and of all the addicting web-based things I do, this is the best because I can do it from work. If you're a crafter and haven't signed up - DO IT! My Ravelry ID is ZarahPDX for those of you who want to see what I'm up to. I have all but Monday off work next week and my goal (along with spring cleaning and some serious home de-cluttering and rearranging) is to take stock of all my needles, hooks, yarns, etc and get everything organized in my Ravelry Notebook. Plus upload all the pics that I've taken and haven't done anything with. *sigh* so much to do, so little time!

Annie is almost completely moved out of the house, I think. I've spoken to her a couple of times and things are back to being civil - even NICE - but it's still a bit awkward. I might be going to The Bridge with her on Sunday, and then out for pool and maybe dinner. I've finally gotten used to having the house to myself, and now Keight will be moving in next week. Sounds like my roommate that went to Cali might be back not too long after the first of the month, too. So much for all my privacy!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My new weight-loss program

Fidgeting and eating spicy food. LOL

I'm totally going to give this a shot. It'll crack me up if it works.

A real post later, for those of you interested in my purse progress.

*Afterthought. Since I use knitting and crochet as something to do to keep my hands busy, and it does (especially in knitting) require additional muscle use (small, but additional), does it count as exercise?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekend Part Deux

Went to my dad's last night for dinner - something we try to do at least once a month or so. It was my turn to cook, so I made Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Red Potatoes in honor of St Patrick's Day.

Went very basic on the corned beef - just baked it at 325 for about 3 hours, covered but for the last few minutes. It was pretty AND delicous.

Went pretty basic on the potatoes, too - just olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and a bit of rosemary.

Had to use the convection microwave, which I wasn't sure about at first, but it worked great.

Got a little fancier with the cabbage, using something akin to this recipe from Orangette. Super easy, and super yummy.

While dinner cooked, we played some cribbage

(Yeah, my dad is sort of a goof, but we love him)

(Nice hand!)

Dinner was all done about the same time (score!) so we dished up

And after a couple of helpings each, this

turned into this

I loved corned beef before, but I have a new respect for it after baking it (instead of the all-day slow-cooker method). It's cheap, easy, and provides leftovers (sometimes) so this is going to become a staple in my house. I even made Dad run me by the grocery on the way home so I could buy a couple more :)

Blog Makeover

In talking to my dad's wife this weekend, it was brought to my attention that my blog fonts/colors were a little hard to read. So I've given my blog a bit of a makeover in an effort to make it more reader-friendly. Please do let me know if there's anything difficult to see or if you have any other comments.

Weekend part II post later tonight once pictures are transferred at home.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Update

First off, sock progress! I went to lunch yesterday with my mom and a friend and got lots of progress (a full repeat) on the sock.

Question: If you're still participating in the conversation, is it rude to crochet/knit at the table while you're waiting for your food, or once the plates have been cleared? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

Newly started project last night is the Half Moon Shawl from LB. I used LB Jiffy in violet. I like the pattern, and the bobbles stand out much better in person than they do in the pic on LB's site.

Not yet started but probably starting today is a new purse for myself. I dug out my mom's old sewing machine this past week, and yesterday went and bought a new presser foot for it, as the old one was missing. Also armed myself with some new bobbins and some fun sunflower-ish fabric, and yarn to make some sunflower motifs from Coats & Clark's Crochet Sunflower Afghan. According to their specs, each motif should be 10.5" x 10.5", so I'll use that plus a couple/few rows of boarder for each side of a tote-style bag, and stripes (probably) of the same colors will make up the sides and bottom. I'll line it with the sunflower fabric, make a couple of pockets/sections on the inside, and off I'll go with a fancy new bag.

I also took stock of my knitting needles and supplies yesterday



And made lists of what needles I have and what needles I want to get. Geek much?

Heading off to dinner with Dad and his wife later this afternoon. Corned Beef & Cabbage with Red Potatoes, in honor of the holiday tomorrow. Have a good one!
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lonely in the Crazy House

My BFF/Roommate, who has been quite a buffer between Annie and me and K8 (the new roommate) and me, got a call yesterday from the grandmother of a very good friend of his in California. His friend has been having a pretty rough time of it for the past couple of years (pretty much homeless, some drug issues, and I think some mental health stuff) and it's gotten bad enough that now she's talking suicide. Enter BFF, nice guy that he is, to the rescue.

He could be on a plane now, for all I know. The grandmother was going to wire him the money to get a plane ticket so he could go immediately. No idea how long he's going to be gone, could be a couple weeks, could be a few months.

Last time he went to Cali there was some drama and he ended up being gone for much longer than anticipated. I hope that this trip will be safer, shorter, and calm.

In the meantime, I'm home with no buffer but my knitting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eh well...

There was a baby shower today for Cute Guy At Work and his very pregnant girlfriend/wife.
Oh well. Maybe I'll make them an afghan or something.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Love Affair with Socks

Isn't getting any better. Well, the socks are, but the affair is not.

This shows the color best, and the progress. I love the way it's striping, it's just perfect.

This shows a bit of the texture/pattern better. I'm only 1.5 repeats into it, so it's not looking like too much yet, but it's already addicting. I'm a little worried that I won't have quite enough yarn, so I might go buy another hank in a different color for the heel/toe.

The pattern is the Tesserae Sock by Anne at Knitspot
The yarn is Koigu KPPPM

Feel the sock love.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I've been Tagged!

The fabulous Christina tagged me, so here goes!

The tag rules are:
1. When tagged, place the name of the person and URL on your blog
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself
4. Name 7 of your favorite weblogs
5. Send an e-mail letting those bloggers know they have been tagged
So here are 7 random things about me:

1. I listen to audio books all day at work. I've listened to over 200 since I started keeping track about 2 years ago. The librarians have my library card number memorized.

2. When I graduated high school, I missed the all night grad party because I had to be at the hospital at 6 the next morning for knee surgery.

3. I'm addicted to kitchen gadgets, and love watching infomercials about anything kitchen-related.

4. I host online card/board games with a league called Monkey Royale, which uses Yahoo games. Gin, Go Fish, Dominoes, and Cribbage.

5. My two BFFs are both guys that I dated long-term. One of them is now my roommate.

6. I used to volunteer with Basic Rights Oregon, a gay rights organization. At 17, I was the youngest member of their Board of Directors. I was also on the steering committee for SMYRC, the Sexual Minority Youth Recreation Center.

7. I love knowing random things, like why the numbers on a telephone are organized opposite of the numbers on a calculator.

I'm tagging the following 7 people:
Aurora, Lesa, Ben, Annie, Tim, Pam, and Caroline

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Flirting, Food, and New and Improved

Cute Guy at Work: "What's goin' on Zarah?"
Me: "Not much, you know, trying to see what kind of trouble I can cause. Got any?"
CG (grinning): "Nope"
Me: "Darn" (thinking, "Want to get into some with me?")

Me, totally swooning that Cute Guy at Work knows my name, and actually used it. Not just a passing "hey" to a co-worker, but a directed-directly-at-me greeting.

Not that I'm really expecting to get anywhere with Cute Guy at Work, or with anybody, but my skills at flirting have been severely under-used for the past five years and I'm looking forward to getting lots of practice now that I'm free.

No Sesame chicken salad yet, but huge thanks to Amy O'Neill Houck at The Hook and I for encouraging me to make dinner last night. We had oodles of leftover noodles so I made spaghetti pie inspired by her well-timed post. Next time more sauce, more cheese, more olives. Have I mentioned how much I love nearly-burnt mozzarella cheese? The kind of nearly-burnt that you can only get at really good Italian restaurants (not the OG type) or by baking your own at home.

This morning I bought three sock patterns from Anne over at Knitspot. I got the Dolomite Sock, So Square Sock, and Tesserae Sock, and can't wait to get started. I'm thinking the Mirasol Hacho in Deep Blue Ocean for the Dolomites, and Koigu KPPPM in the purples/browns color I've got for the Tesseraes. I might get some Wooly Wonka BFL Sock Yarn for the So Square Socks. It's a bit pricey, but I do love that Geisha colorway.

Best of all, my new digital camera was delivered today! So, new and improved pictures are on their way. I got the camera I wanted, a 2GB memory card, and these nifty USB-rechargable AA batteries, all for a steal. So look for lots more pictures soon. Guess it's time to get a Flickr account! Too bad I can't access it at work :(

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

One Finished Sock!

Woohoo! My poor toe-less first sock got finished on my morning break. Toe grafting is not nearly as scary as it sounded. Oh happy day!

Also more progress on sock #2 - I've finished the first 9 rows, and even my ghetto paperclip stitch markers have been a great help.

I've also realized it's time to make a holder for my needles. I think I might venture into the land of fabric for this one - wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More sock love

I know, I know - shut up already about the socks. Just be glad that you're not my mother, roommate, roommate's girlfriend, or ex - they get the sock excitement even worse than you do!

My friend Sally (blogless) last night asked me how many pairs of socks I'd finished, because I was so excited I wouldn't shut up. The answer is, sadly, none. I apparently have caught singlesockitis. And honestly, I haven't technically finished the first sock either, because it's still on its last two needles waiting for me to get over my fear of toe grafting.

But never have I let lack of finishing one project keep me from starting a second. So I've started my first "real" pair of socks.

The pattern: Based on Silver's Sock Class, with a little twist of my own

And yes, in the picture, I'm using paper clips as stitch markers. Ghetto, I know, but my real stitch markers are at home. I've already frogged this (rip-it, rip-it) twice, but I think I've got it this time. I'm using a stitch pattern that is 16 stitches wide and 8 rows long and I was having trouble keeping track. Repeat after me - stitch markers are my friend! And having both a chart and written instructions on hand - on the same piece of paper even - helps tons too.

In other news, I'm going to be teaching a crochet/knit class for The Bridge. Any Portland-area folks are of course welcome to come along. Leave your email in comments if you're interested in learning or co-teaching. If all goes well it will probably be a monthly class, with perhaps a 2nd night each month for coffee/beer/SnB.

No sesame-flavored love the past few days, but I'm going to make some chicken salad tonight, and I'm sure sesame will make an appearance. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

What a heel....

I successfully knit the leg, turned the heel, knit the gussett, and am now knitting around for the body of the foot. And I'm so excited I can't help myself. It was much easier than I anticipated, thanks to this site. Very clear instructions and lots of good pictures.

When I picked up the stitches along the edge it was really tempting to pull out a crochet hook - is that bad? Can't tell so much in this pic but I even figured out how to carry the ribbed pattern down the top of the foot - very proud of myself.

What, you wonder how I turned a yellow/orange/pink sock into a neon green one? Well I hated the color and texture of the first ones. I like the green much better, both color and texture. Don't know if I'll feel that way when they're done, as they're acrylic (Caron Simply Soft Brites in Limelight, which, by the way, says it's a medium weight yarn but I think they lie). The yarn I have saved up for the "good pair" is Koigu KPPPM in a purple/brown-ish colorway (maybe P534 or P206?). I also have some slightly thicker peruvian merino in some unknown at this moment brand that I picked up at Fabric Depot, gorgeous blues. I'm going to force myself to knit this first sock a mate before I get carried away though.

Now that I've gotten the semi-instant gratification of doing my first sock, next pair will be much taller, too. Well maybe not MUCH, but at least a little. Maybe. >shrug<