Tuesday, January 31, 2006

6 days

It is Effie's fault that I wasn't productive last night. I came home motivated to do laundry and maybe hang a few pictures, but when I was sitting on the couch putting my knitting patterns in plastic sleeves she *demanded* to sit in my lap. And if you think I'm exaggerating then you've never had a cat demand anything of you. By the time she left my motivation had vanished.

I was trapped without any knitting, so I had filled the time with the TV and the computer. When I was able to pull out my socks, I discovered that they were not as snug as I would like. I was willing to let this go, until I noticed that I had messed up the cable patterns, in two places. So I spent the rest of the evening ripping back to the toe increases and getting them back on the needles. I suppose I could have frogged the whole thing, but I find the toe increases to be kind of annoying, so I wanted to at least salvage that work.

My wonderful husband is taking me on a trip to celebrate my birthday, so there will probably be a longer pause between posts than usual. I'll try to be verbose before we leave to make up for it. :-)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

News in Brief

Vivian is adorable.

I keep talking myself out of starting another pair of socks until I at least finish one of the four projects I have in progress. (Who knew I had such self-control.)

The walk from the bus to Vivian's house last night in the snow made me glad that we don't live in the hilly part of town.

I had my review at work this week, and it went very well.

I have been having trouble getting up all week. My eyes don't want to stay open. Seems like I need to make time for a nap or two this weekend.

11 days. ;-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

12 Days

Old items, just cause I want to feel caught up, although i won't really be because I can't post pictures at the moment. Maybe I will make time for such things when I get home tonight from meeting Vivian (yeah!).

2) Our new curtains
They look lovely inside and out and just make the house feel more "grown up", if that makes any sense. It makes me excited about doing some more painting, but I still haven't removed the wallpaper in the dressing room. We have curtains for all four bedrooms on the second floor and in a few months we will get the three sets for the first floor. I also need to consider what to put in the 2nd floor bath, what to put on the third floor and if we should put something over the glass panels in the front and back doors.

7) House master plan and furniture rearranging
There will be a lot to do in our house for a long time, just like any other house, although certainly the fact that our house is 100 years old adds to the issues. I have been mentally working on a master plan for the house (how to use each room, what to change, etc.) and mentally rearranging furniture. I find that I want a change in the living room and at some point I want to think about buying a few new things instead of just using what we've always had. Considering that we have *plenty* of space, I see us using some of our apartment stuff on the third floor to make space for more fitting stuff on the first floor. A good example of this is the IKEA two-seater couch in the living room. It's there so that we have plenty of seating, but it just doesn't go at all. R and I both know this and have always known it, but until we save the money to buy a couple of chairs to take its place, it has been needed in the living room. It will work great on the third floor for all of the room uses we're considering up there.

* Broken dishes
Again, a photo is needed here, and I'll save the description of broken dish #1 for the photo posting. Broken dish #2 was a glass knocked off the kitchen counter by Nora, which leads us to the next item...

* Aluminum Foil on the counters
The foil actually does prevent the cats from jumping onto the counters, but now we have to figure out how to get rid of the foil without having cats return to the kitchen counters...

* Fetch
As I think I've posted before, Stewart likes to play fetch. And we've discovered that it isn't just something he likes to do while we're in bed. He's up for it anytime. He will chase just about anything you throw, but the only thing he will regularly bring back are the plastic rings from milk jugs. Although I'm not proclaiming that he does it 100% of the time, but certainly more often than any other cat I've known. It's pretty cute and it's the easiest way for me to play with him while knitting or working on the computer. That is, as long as he brings the ring back. Sometimes he just looks at you with that "do it again" expression, even though the ring is still sitting in the room where you threw it.

* Seeing the floors again (rooms feel bigger)
My room (office, studio, whatever you want to call it) is as straight as it has been for a long time, and it's clean. I don't remember the last time I cleaned the floor and rug in there (scary but true), and I did so two weekends ago. I also moved the piles to the far edges of the room, so that when you look in from the hallway it looks deceptively clean. Being able to see so much of the floor at a glance makes the room seem twice as big. It's a nice change.

Knitting update - I did a lot of knitting over the weekend. In celebration of the fact that I didn't have to work, I did very little other than knit and watch TV all weekend. I finished my first pair of two-at-once, toe-up socks. Saturday I turned both heels and started the cuff and on Sunday I worked the cuff (mostly during the Steelers game). Saturday night I also finished my Broad Street Mittens - finishing the second mitten top and weaving in all of the ends. I still need to find good buttons for them, but I wore them for the first time today. *And* I started a cardigan for a friend who is due in April. I finished the second sleeve on the bus this morning, so it is going pretty quickly. Baby Ull is lovely to work with, although a little splitty when fixing mistakes.

While knitting, I watched the first two Harry Potter movies and all of the extras that aren't aimed at kids. The second movie definitely had better stuff than the first, but the "magical knitting" in the second movie was worse than I remembered. The needles make the correct motion, but no stitches get moved from one needle to another.

Sorry for the super long post. I'll try to get in the habit of posting more often to avoid such length...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

18 days

Things have been too busy at work to really enjoy the whole countdown, but for those college friends who remember my (probably annoying) need to count down every day until my birthday - here you go.

Having a deadline extended and being shuffled to another project have made this week busier than expected...but since both deadlines are on Friday, it is my expectation that I will *not* be working this weekend.

In other news, Christmas is now officially taken down at our house. The boxes still need to go up to the third floor, but by the time I finished taking down the tree and indoor decor I was ready to call it quits for the night. If I can make time to vacuum the first floor before the weekend, that's one less thing I'll need to do during the weekend. Fingers crossed that I leave on time tonight.

>From my previous published list...

1) Phantom - I saw it last weekend at the Saturday matinee (before going to work for 6 hours). It's not a bad show. The sets, the costumes and, in general, the songs are very nice. The cast that we saw (at least the 3 leads) were very good singers, although they might have been trying a little too hard with the acting and some of the Raoul/Christine blocking seemed ridiculous, but that's not their fault (I hope). I still have trouble understanding why this show is *so* popular, but I suppose the same thing could be said for "Cats". (Although Cats doesn't really even try to have a plot, and POA tries but it is wispfully thin.) Honestly, the only time the show made me "feel" anything was in the last 10 minutes. I think I realized that it is because in many instances the songs don't really move the plot along. They talk about love, but except for "The Music of the Night" they don't provide a lot of insight or character development. But maybe that is more an issue of lack of plot than anything else.

I'm sorry if I sound mean about this. It's just that there are so many shows that make me feel so much - even some of the "popular" ones, and this one just really does nothing for me. Yes, there are enough enjoyable songs that I will probably buy the CD at some point. But I'm not running out to get it. There are just other things I would rather have first.

The next show in the subscription is "Wicked". Can't wait!

3, 6, 11) 35 hours of overtime in 11 days. And that's 11 calendar days, not 11 work days. Blah! Thankfully, I think the worst has past.

4) Cabled vest - In my dementia caused by working too many hours I didn't actually make the cables called for in my vest pattern. The pattern calls for alternating 6 row and 8 row cables, for a nice subtle change. After the first 7 rows of the pattern I just knitted on my merry way and repeated 6 row cables over and over. It still looks nice, and I didn't figure it out until I was practically done with the back, so I'm not changing it. I finished the back and cast on the front, so I have put it aside for now. It will be a great project for my knitting GTG on the 29th - it will be easy to talk and knit, with a cable row every now and then for interest.

5) Two at once, toe-up socks - I'm trying my first pair. In my urgency to start, I purchased the only somewhat acceptable needle at the show across from my office. The needle is the right size, its metal and it has a good flexible cord. But, it's not an addi, so the join isn't fabulous (though it isn't annoying) and she only had a 30" pair, instead of the 47" that the pattern calls for. I am due for a trip to the LYS I have a gift certificate to and the new one I haven't visited yet. The somewhat acceptable pair was only $6, and I decided it was a reasonable investment considering that I could hate magic loop, so I wouldn't want the addi anyway. So far I'm not opposed to magic loop, and I think I'll like it more with a longer cord. This doesn't mean I'm throwing away my dpns, it just means I'm open to my available options. The only annoying thing about "two at once" is that the boring parts take twice as long, but it does seem like it will be nice to finish both socks at once. And since I am making the pair from a 200 yard skein, this is the only way to get the longest socks possible without running out of yarn...

8) At the time I was making the list I had to move from the first floor to the second because the music coming from the basement was so loud that I couldn't hear the TV, 4 feet away from me. I acknowledge that the speakers were directly below me, but still...

9) I had a massage on Saturday before the show. It was lovely. Misty asked me several times if I was warm enough because my feet and hands were cold to the touch. I was fine, but when she left at the end she immediately bumped up the thermostat in my room. :-)

10) I'm not having any anxiety over the fact that I'm turning 30. A single friend claims that it's because I'm married, which I don't really believe, but I know where she's coming from. Maybe it's because my parents didn't start to get gray hair until their 50's. Maybe it's because I'm just glad to be past my mid-twenties. Maybe it's because in high school I was mistaken for a graduate student and I don't really feel much different now that I did then (other than probably having more self-confidence). Maybe it's because the majority of people I work with are over 40 and my husband is 6 1/2 years older, so I am generally made to feel pretty young on a regular basis. Whatever the reason, it doesn't really concern me. We'll see what happens at 31. :-)

My lunch hour is winding down, and several of the items left need pictures to go with them, so I'm signing off for now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Forgot a few

* Broken dishes
* Aluminum Foil on the counters
* Fetch
* Seeing the floors again (rooms feel bigger)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Things I want to post about...

1) Phantom of the Opera
2) Our new curtains
3) Working too many hours
4) Making the wrong cables on my vest, but it's okay
5) Trying two-at-once, toe-up socks
6) Working too many hours
7) House master plan and furniture rearranging
8) Wondering how soon my husband will destroy his hearing
9) Lovely massages
10) Turning 30 (soon)
11) Working too many hours

Hopefully I can come back to these thoughts later in the week.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Online Shopping

I don't know what I like better.

a) The ability to shop and browse while sitting on the couch in my pjs.
b) The ability to shop at the moment I remember that I need/want something instead of waiting the weekend to go to a store.
c) The day that your purchase that you had kind of put to the back of your mind arrives and you get the thrill of actually having the new item in your possession.

I was able to do some online shopping in the week after Christmas. A few days ago I got a couple of new CDs that I'm now enjoying on my iPod and the three Harry Potter DVDs that I hope to watch a bit of this weekend...maybe. Today, the rest of the curtains for the second floor came. I'm excited to get them put up to help our house feel more "put together" and to inspire me to do some more painting. The fact that I'm not expecting to work on a show until this summer makes me hopeful that I can spend some time working on the house this spring. (At the moment, the only thing really preventing this is too many late nights at work...but this should lighten up next week and be more sporadic through the rest of winter.)

If there are any long distance friends reading this, and you're thinking of planning a trip to our area this year, I reccommend you be here the weekend of June 17th. And keep Saturday night free. :-)

Familiar Faces

>From today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The day came to a close with Tori Spelling promoting "So Notorious," her upcoming VH1 scripted single-camera comedy about her life after "Beverly Hills, 90210." She brought her dog, Mimi LaRue, a 7-year-old pug, who she said has no acting training, but has hit her mark on "So Notorious," where she, too, plays an ever-so-slightly fictionalized version of herself. The series also features three actors who graduated from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University: James Carpinello ('97), Zachary Quinto ('99) and Brennan Hesser ('03).


Normally, the thought of a Tori Spelling-centric television show would have me clicking past VHI faster than I click past Kirk Cameron on the Evangelical Christian Network, but I had personal contact with two of the three CMU gentlemen, so I will probably tune in at least once. There is something kind of eerie and cool about seeing someone you "know" on TV. I put know in quotes because some of the people I see most often are not people who would remember me, but whom I had limited contact with. The best example being the CMU grad who is now on "The West Wing" (and who has been on at least two of the CSI shows). We had a number of friends in common and I know that we spoke several times, but he was the kind of actor who only really made a point of "knowing" people in the drama department. I don't think this makes him an awful person, but he did have a reputation for being self-involved despite his charming demeanor. He's a good actor and he brings some diversity to the TV shows he's on, so I have no complaints.

But the two actors in Tori's show at least knew me by name once. For one, I was the assistant stage manager for a musical he was in and the other was a fellow employee of the Office of Admissions. We gave a tour together at least once, maybe a handful of times.

This train of thought reminds me that I need to finish watching "Angels in America" and rent "Phantom of the Opera" for a further Patrick Wilson fix. He was a senior when I was a freshman, so I sadly never met him. But I can tell from the programs in my possession that I saw him star in "Cabaret". :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lots to do

And not enough hours in the day.

Good progress is being made at work, but there is always more to do. And it feels fairly impossible to stay focused on one task for more than a few minutes before I get interrupted by something else. I realize that this is not unusual, and in many ways not really news-worthy...but I can only allow myself to stop working for a few minutes to type this, and it is just easiest to let my writing flow with what is at hand.

I finally called VVA to come pick up our donation of clothes, etc. Now all we need to do is load up the car with the bags of paper recycling and the foyer will be uncluttered again. At least now Stewart's favorite means of climbing onto the porch of the dollhouse is gone. :-)

I found a pattern for that cabled vest, and so far I like it. Maybe this will finally be a project for which I will post pictures of something before it's done. Or maybe it will be a project that I make for myself and actually take pictures of it...

Work calls.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Brief Distraction

I took a momentary break from working (yes, I'm at work on a Saturday) and found a quiz in a friend's bio. So I took it. It seems pretty accurate to me. :-)

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can't imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Before coming to work I met up with a neighborhood friend to help her with a couple of knitting patterns she was interested in trying. She needed some help with some stitches she had never tried before and just some general guidance. I swear I could talk about knitting all day. :-)

But now I must return to my HVAC ducts...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Welcome Vivian!

The baby for whom the Baby Bobbi Bear, Bright Baby Cardigan, Bright Baby Hat and Aqua Bib were made arrived into the world today at 1:43 pm. Even though Vivian Paige was almost two weeks early, she weighed in at 8 lbs, 14 oz and measured 20 inches long. She clearly didn't need another two weeks of growth!

Mom and baby are doing well. Congratulations to the new mommy and daddy!

I know that Mommy is happy to have Vivian here, but she was supposed to wait until Monday to come so that her mom could have us over to knit and see the nursery on Sunday. Hopefully she will be better at following the schedule in the future! Yeah. Right. ;-)

Proud and busy

I'm proud because (a) I didn't gain any weight in 2005. Yes, it would be better if I had lost weight, but when you consider that in 2002, 2003, and 2004 I had an average net gain of 10 lbs, I'm pretty happy with staying at the status quo for a year. And (b) we went to the gym once last week and twice (so far) this week. Last night it actually felt good and invigorating, so motivation for the next trip will be easier.

I'm busy at work. A proposal that needs to be mailed on the 13th and we're printing 80% construction documents on the 17th. I foresee some work this weekend unfortunately. But, I'm meeting friends to knit on Sunday, so it's not all bad. :-)

On the knitting front, I'm making the broad street mittens from knitty. There was a bit of trial and error to get them the right size (apparently the designer has big hands), but the first glove is done and I'm onto the second. But I am saving the mitten tops for last. I don't totally understand the directions, so that part will be saved for a "quiet" time when I can be focused.

Oh, and I'm looking for a good cabled vest pattern for a DK/light worsted weight yarn for my next project if anyone knows of one...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

I'm not posting to list any new years resolutions. I do think there is something nice about the "clean slate" provided by the new year...but I don't need that clean slate to make improvements to my life. I can make those as time and perspective make them clearly the right choice for me.

I will take this opportunity to look back at 2005 and realize that I did too much. This shouldn't really come as a surprise, but somehow it seems so much more obvious in hindsight. It's not that I was doing too many things at once (usually), but more that I had too many things one after another and too many meetings for some of the neighborhood things I was doing. Meetings can be a nice social event, but they can also suck up lots of time. :-)

The List:
Designed set for "Guys & Dolls" - Jan/Feb
Helped friend design her cabin - March/April
Decorating the bedroom - March, April, June, October, November
Strategic Planning for neighborhood community group - Jan thru June
Designed set for "Recent Tragic Events" - June/July
House Tour planning committee - April thru Oct 1

The last three months of the year were filled with knitted baby shower gifts & christmas presents, and finishing up the bedroom (mostly).

It will be interesting to see what 2006 has in store, especially now that I have my compound mitre saw. :-)