Thursday, January 31, 2008

Itty Knitting

A wee sweater for the lovely V...

My first short row toe...

Knit on size 0 needles at 8 stitches per inch.  Are you hearing me?  EIGHT STITCHES PER INCH.  That's small.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Most. Brilliant. Thing. Ever.

Why didn't I think of this?  Aloe, IN THE YARN!  Genius.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's bridge night.

I'd better make an ambrosia salad and have daquiris in the fridge.

And the kids can stay up to watch Lucy in the rumpus room.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war.

Waterloo, promise to love you forever more;

Waterloo, couldn't escape if I wanted to;

Waterloo, knowing my fate is to be with you; 

Waterloo, finally facing my Waterloo.

But our dictator has such white teeth.

Tom Cruise is preaching the new world order.  He knows the way, people, he understands what needs to be done.  Like other zealots before him, he is not a spectator, he is in the game, he knows that he has the answers, he can't rest until he brings everyone around, whether they know they need to be brought around or not.  He's all in, baby, and you should be, too.  He has seen the light.  Now, if he could just tell us what he's actually talking about, maybe we could be on board with him.  On Battleship Earth.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I know that dreams provide a drain for the crap that builds up in our psyche so it doesn't back up and pour over the sides of our brains, but why, at 35 years old, am I still having dreams that my parents dislike and are disappointed in me?  I had a terrible, terrible dream this morning that my father, who in real life has always been very loving and supportive, told me that I bore him and that he hates it when I come visit.  I was young and single in this dream, so I was facing this rejection on my own, and I just felt so blasted, especially as my dream-mom just stood at the sink nodding her head agreeing with Dad as he dismissed me.  

I hate waking from these type of dreams and feeling so shattered, especially as my family is so loving, and it feels as though I'm betraying them and their unfailing kindness somehow.  However, I know that every kid is truly convinced that they are the least favorite and that their parents secretly love their brother/sister best, but I thought I'd be safe from such thoughts at my advanced age.  Guess not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I can watch no longer in silence.

I was not pleased with the new Masterpiece Theater Persuasion that aired on Sunday. As you all surely know, this book is my absolute favorite. I've likely read it thirty or so times, have it digitally on my phone, have a pocket sized copy and have visited Lyme (with Julie) to see where Louisa Musgrove fell. I am a tough critic of adaptations. However, the 1996 film was lovely and made only small changes for the sake of timeliness, and the changes did not negatively impact the story. I cannot say the same things for this most recent production. My grievances? I list them for you, in the order in which they appeared in the film:

1. Lady Russell was written in the film to be a) unaware of the direness of Sir Walter's debts, b) out of town when the decision to rent out Kellynch was made, c) colder and more imperious than Jane Austen intended (many, many mentions were made of her in the book as being warm-hearted and loving towards Anne and the rest of her family, despite Elizabeth and Sir Walter's not being worthy of such affection), d) far less involved with Anne in her day to day life than explicitly stated in the book. Consequently, her persuasion of Anne to not marry Wentworth before the story begins seems to be incomprehensible. Why would a woman so removed from their scene have such influence? She was meant to be a second mother to Anne, not a snobbish and diffident neighbor.

2. The Musgroves were written to be too young and too thin. They were not meant to be slender and elegant society people, but rather large and comforting country folk, the opposite of her family.

3. At Lyme, Anne's speech about women's constancy in the face of the loss of hope was intended by Austen to be the final catalyst that spurs Wentworth to confess his abiding love to Anne, not as an aside directed at Benwick that Wentworth doesn't even hear.

4. All the scenes in Bath felt rushed. Mr. Elliott's courtship of Anne and her growing unease towards him were given no development or motivation. Thus, her reasons for truly not wanting to marry him, aside from her hope of Wentworth, were never explained. Lady Russell's desirousness of the match, Anne's own desire to see Kellynch preserved, Anne's doubts of his integrity, all of that was eliminated (except by one brief mention), and thus we were not allowed to see that Lady Russell's ability to persuade Anne to do what she did not want to do for the sake of family was gone, replaced by Anne's own mature desire to do what she knew to be right.

5. Mrs. Smith's one scene didn't convey the extent of her disability and the depth of her friendship with Anne that would lead her to disclose not only the duplicitous nature of Mr. Elliott but the weakness of her own husband. In the book, it was only Anne's firm resolve to NOT marry Mr. Elliott that made Mrs. Smith tell Anne what kind of man Mr. Elliott truly was, and not that Mrs. Smith thought that Anne was going to marry Mr. Elliott and so she had to stop it by telling Anne of his character. That is an important distinction.

6. The Musgroves (Charles and Mary) would not invite themselves to stay with Sir Walter and Elizabeth. That the footmen were carrying their luggage into Sir Walter's house was absurd. Mary was far too aware of precendence to do such a thing and Charles was too indifferent to the Elliotts to stay with them.

7. In the book, Wentworth waited for Anne to read the letter and come down from the hotel to the street. He would not have left, or run off, or tried to avoid her. And why did we not hear the whole letter? It's the lovliest thing ever and we were robbed of it.

8. Most importantly, Anne would NEVER EVER have run through the streets of Bath looking for Wentworth. It is utterly contrary to not only her character, but to the gentility and dignity of the women of her class and time.

9. My biggest complaint, however, was the absurd purchase of Kellynch by Wentworth for Anne. There is no way on God's green earth that Sir Walter would have sold, especially to the sailor husband of his least favorite daughter. It was ridiculous and utterly unnecessary.

I will never understand why, when such flawless source material exists, screenwriters insist on rearranging a book's order of events, ignoring clear character descriptions and adding superfluous and incongrous events when the existing events are not only sufficient but necessary to ensure the continuity of narrative.

As I am not as familiar with Northanger Abbey and it looks sillier and more fun (which is appropriate as it is a parody of the popular gothic novel of the period), so I'm hoping that I will enjoy that adaptation. The rest could be tricky. We'll see.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The proof is in the knitting.

I finally found a fingerless glove pattern I liked, so Lee finally gets his matching mitts:

And it only took me a YEAR, but I finally assembled my blocking board from Lynn and Sal (with Christian's canvas stretching expertise) and blocked my Grandma's scarf knitted with yarn Mom bought in Minnesota expressly for that purpose.  We had to buy a piece of plywood on which to mount the fabric and pad, and I avoid home improvement stores like a Bellevue housewife avoids Value Village. 

Seriously, though, Mom and Dad spent Thanksgiving in a lake cabin with Dad's brother and sister and only went to the neighboring yarn store ONCE.  I would have asked to eat with the owners so I wouldn't be too far from the yarn.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

If the commercials have already made me cry...

Imagine what the actual programs will do.  Have oxygen standing by.  Of course, the BBC Persuasion is one of the most perfect pieces of filmmaking in the history of celluloid, so any crying could be of chagrin over the ruination of my favorite book in the whole wide world.  However, I've seen the Emma as it was made for A&E and features a pre-Hollywoodized Kate Beckinsale, and I've memorized the P&P already, as it's the seminal one also from A&E that features the delicious Mr. Firth, so, I know those will be good.  And, Billie Piper is in Mansfield Park, so it should be chav-tastic, even if it's not Austen-elightful (okay, that one was crap).  Such expectations.

Things I will never do:

1. Brush a friend's dog and save the downy undercoat (well, I'd never brush any dog as I wouldn't survive to save anything).
2. Spin said downy undercoat into yarn.
3. Dye said yarn using the crushed carcasses of beetles I found in the desert.
4. Knit said bug-dyed dogwool into a kicky little purse for the dog's owner.

Nor would anyone, you say, disbelievingly? Have I got a show for you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Oh brother, my brother...

you are wrong. I'm sorry, Mark, but there it is. Clementines are not better than Satsumas. Why, you ask? With Clementines, the pith, it does not peel off easily in long, satisfying, easily discardable strips as it does with Satsumas. And Clementines are oddly firm, as though they're Satsumas that have had Botox or really like to work out. And yes, they're seedless and the rind is easy to peel, but I still end up with a ball of pith cud clenched in my molars after eating a slice. And, while I know the pith has all the vitamin C, I still do not enjoy the fibrous stringiness.

I miss my fruits de saison.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Notes on Knitting

I'm going to my first Stitch 'n' Bitch tomorrow.  I've never knitted en masse, so I don't know what to expect, but I'm apparently one of the experts.  Heh.  Before I go, I'm going to try and find a fingerless glove pattern that doesn't make me want to barf, but I don't know what kind of luck I'll have, as I've been looking for hours and none of the patterns are what I want, and if they're modifiably close, the thumb gusset shaping instructions seem to be written in lorem ipsum.  Could be because it's 11:30 on a Friday night after I've worked both jobs and I'm really tired, but could be that I'm just really dense and can't learn how to do anything unless someone physically shows me first.  That, and they're all on double points, which I only use to gouge out the eyes of people who try to make me use them.  So, have to find circular needle pattern.  

I have met my Waterloo in my friend Karen's sweater.  Never trust a website for gauge or quantity of yarn needed.  Both wrong, ran out of yarn, frogged and am half done with front, need to frog front and both sleeves can't seem to pick project up again as I'm depressed as Plath about it.

I decided to knit the sweater for new baby V in the round until the armholes, using three colors instead of two and carrying the yarn instead of cutting and reattaching.  So far, I likey.  I hate seaming, even with the sewing machine of glory, so the less flat work, the better.

I am terrified of entrelac.  I never, ever want to try it, and I wish Vogue would stop designing everything with brazen panels of it.  Stop.  It.  

I bow at the feet of the Yarn Harlot.  That is one funny bitch who can knit ANYTHING.

I've signed up for my first knitting class, on knitting socks using the Magic Loop.  I have some beautiful alpaca yarn I bought to make Christian some work socks, so I'm very excited.  Too excited.  It's a little sad.  I have to wait until March, though, as the opera schedule has killed my evenings and weekends and, consequently, my will to live.

I finished Lee's hat and now just need to felt it.  That leaves only these projects to go:

1.  Christian's Aran sweater and kilt socks
2.  Mom's chevron lace sweater
3.  Angie's lace tunic (which I have to design)
4.  The dragon hats for the three nephews.
5.  My lace ballet wrap sweater that I've been wanting to make for a year.

I vow to the knitting gods that I shall forevermore swatch or be cursed with ill-fitting garments.  I do solemnly swear.