Saturday 31 May 2008

Trivial and mundane things

I have been very pleasantly surprised this evening by a film which I thought would be pants. In fact, I remember when it came out, I saw a trailer and, in spite of the fact it falls into my guilty secret genre (teen school flicks) I thought, "Good grief, what an utter pile of shite that is going to be." The film in question, the Girl Next Door, actually turned out to be hugely entertaining, in spite of the fact they moreorless stole the entire plot from Risky Business (which I also like a lot) - right down to the very expensive mantelpiece adornment. There was no dancing-in-pants-and-socks scene, but there is a bit where the main character is forced to run naked down a suburban street.

Having perused the reviews on imdb I see I'm not alone. This makes me feel better for liking it. It really was very funny. And really that Timothy Olyphant should do more acting in things I am likely to see because he is very funny.

I went to the farmers' market up the road from me today. I wasn't especially hopeful - I think there is only one thing that is farmed in the local area and that's the sort of illegal thing you need a heat lamp and a lot of tin foil for - but there was a good selection of stuff. They even had pickled eggs in malt vinegar which you almost never see. I know, BLEUCH. I can't see the sense in taking a delicious fresh egg, boiling the crap out of it and then immersing it in vinegar for a few months. I think they are like kebabs, and you only see them in bars because you would only ever eat one after a lot of alcohol. Mr Z has educated me otherwise, though. He will only eat the kind in malt vinegar....hence my excitement at the find today.

I also got some very pink rhubarb, some very tender asparagus, some very tasty sausages, and some goats cheese....from a very creepy woman. She was creepy. She may have spent too much time in her dairy. She seemed like she belonged in an episode of the League of Gentlemen. I had to keep reminding myself that they were Gloucestershire farmers and I'm used to Wiltshire ones. Perhaps the farms in Gloucestershire are more isolated.

Anyway, the reason for the detailed description of today's shopping is because I have decided to take part in One Local Summer. I heard about it through a group on Ravelry. Basically, I have to cook one meal a week from all locally-grown ingredients, excluding oil, salt, pepper and spices. I decided this would be a snap, what with all those farm shops I drive past on the way home from work and the endless supply of eggs from the teaching assistant at work. I sort of forgot that the summer extends past July 25th, and therefore, for 5 weeks of the challenge, I won't be driving past anything if I can help it. And may well not have a kitchen for a large portion of those 5 weeks.

Oh, I'm overjoyed at the prospect of ripping out the kitchen and replacing it. Really. I can't wait. I wish we could start tomorrow. I wish we could win the lottery and go and lie on a beach in the Maldives for 3 weeks while a small army of builders, carpenters, plumbers and kitchen fitters did the whole thing for us.

So, back to OLS. I may have to get quite creative with my meals for the 5 weeks I won't be at work. Breakfast counts as a meal, right?

I have finished my massive swatch for Marianne in glorious acrylic. I am at a bit of a loss with what to do with it now, tbh. I might use it as a face cloth, though it seems a bit indulgent to use a lace face cloth, even if it is made from something that costs £1 for 200g.

Everything inside the black lines is what I made up. I'm really glad I knitted the whole pattern out because I realised I had made several mistakes which would have been impossible to fix if I'd been using the Baby Kid, and I would have been really pissed off with myself because at least two of them were really stupid mistakes. At one point I'd lined up two YOs next to each other - hence the two rather large holes visible to the trained eye.

In places it looks a bit strange but then, the increase sections will only account for
a small portion of the actual garment and I don't think it will be noticable...and one of the reason for the strangeness towards the bottom is because I made a huge mess of knitting the pattern for a couple of rows and that's just idiocy,not the pattern. Now I just have to work the numbers and figure out how many stitches I need to cast on. This is easily the most prep I've ever done for a pattern, it had better be worth it.

I got a new phone this week. I am very pleased with it - it's very shiny and I have the most garish blue and purple background pattern. I rang up T-Mobile all ready to play it tough because I didn't want to pay £80 for the upgrade (first upgrade in 2 and a half years, there's no way I'm forking out for it!) However, the woman on the phone was extremely helpful; she switched my tariff to something which should be costing me half what I'm paying (in reality, it seems to be about the same...but I am at least getting more for it...I'll see what the bill says when it comes in) and she gave me the phone for free, and then she gave me a month's free trial of the web'n'walk.

Oh, clever T-Mobile dealer. It's only been 3 days and I'm already hooked. It was enough to push me into finally using that Google calendar I kept meaning to fill in (I am absolutely useless with diaries). I can upload pictures direct to here (hence the posts below - Mr Z worked out how to do this before I did). Facebook and I need never be parted again. It's very exciting. That free month is going to pass before I even notice it, isn't it?

One final thing. I was playing YouTube tag tonight and found this and it made me laugh a lot. Mr Z and I developed an appreciation for country music last summer. It's good honest lyrics like "I wanna see the other half of your butterfly tattoo" and "I don't give a darn bout what other people think, waddya think about that?" which sold us. It helped that one of the biggest songs on country radio last summer featured Mr Z's name in the title. Every new song was like a gift waiting to be listened to with incredulity. It amazes me that some of them even get written, so mundane and trivial is their subject matter. But they are mostly fun.

Thursday 29 May 2008

For sale

One husband, nearly new, vile wicked streak.

Will accept cake.

Just had cake

A cake died here

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday 28 May 2008

It may all be worth it

I have finished a swatch in the actual yarn, ready for making measurements and applying them to my chart. Mmm, look how pretty...

It's funny, you know, because even though, if you asked me what my favourite colour is, I'd dither around red and purple, judging from all the knitting I do it's quite obviously blue.

I had to get up early today to go to the dentist. I dutifully flossed last night and everything (this does occur fairly regularly, though not every day)....I don't really understand why I make my teeth cleaner to go and get them cleaned - it's a bit like cleaning the house for your cleaner.

I'm going to get a cleaner. I don't care what Mr Z says. There needs to be somebody in this house armed with a duster who actually cares about the state of the skirting boards, and that person is not me.

Anyway. Dentist. Got up really early...8.30am, for crying out loud, and it's the holidays! ... was there before the dentist opened. Dentist receptionist unable to find my name in the book, and then I realised my appointment isn't until Thursday. Boo. Two more days of fretting about impending toothache. The dentist is what I imagine when I have something else that hurts. "Doesn't hurt as bad as toothache, doesn't hurt as bad as toothache" is my mantra for whatever waxings or pluckings or sports injuries (ha!) that might be occurring. This is no good to me when it's toothache I'm trying to ignore. Truthfully, the only thing that keeps me flossing and gagging on that vile mouthwash, the only thing that gets me over the sink with a brush when I'm too tired to even see myself in the mirror, is the fear of a root canal on the NHS, and I'm much too left-wing to pay for private dental care.

Well, I'm too cheap if we're being honest about it.

Now, I need to go and select which pair of shoes will be accompanying me to the Sex and the City Longwell Green premiere tomorrow night.

Monday 26 May 2008

Obsession, thy name is lacework chart

Three hours later...

I was so pissed off with it by the end that I went downstairs and made cupcakes and tidied the hall. I can't even look at a knitting needle until tomorrow at the earliest.

I hope it works. I intend to swatch the pattern in something squeaky and cheap before I go near the Baby Kid. At least that chart is for both front portions plus the back, with all increases included - so it is the only one I'll be needing.

I made some good cupcakes. They are chocolate with a peanut butter filling (how very American) and a chocolate frosting. They are from this blog I like to read when I am desirous of cake.

Is there blood coming out of my ears?

It should sound about right that, for my first lacework project, I picked a pattern by Rowan (and thus short on the explicit pattern notes/charts/any help whatsoever), which has only been knitted a handful of times by anybody on Ravelry and is therefore short on project notes and discussions; and that I picked to knit this in a completely different yarn weight, which knits up to a different gauge; and that I should wish to modify said pattern to avoid seaming because I am lazy; and that, as well as all this, I should decide not to be fettered by Rowan's puny sizing and instead rewrite the pattern for my measurements and to my gauge.

Really, you know this is going to end in tears. To add insult to injury, when I tried to unravel my gauge swatch and the yarn snapped, I realised there can be no errors, unless I want to end up binning that entire km of baby kid I was winding in the swift pictures.

It's not beyond me. Absolutely not. I got an A in GCSE maths, I can totally count the stitches in my swatch and rewrite the pattern. I could probably even do it in my head.

Here is the problem, though - there are increases for side seam shaping which affect the lacework pattern, and I can't for the life of me work out how to incorporate them without messing up the rest of the lacework. I did my usual trick of emailing/essaging anybody I could find who had knitted it and seeing what would come back, and the first response suggested charting it. What a great idea! I thought - what else are inclement Bank Holiday Mondays for?

(Incidentally, this is the most inclement one I can remember in ages. I actually had to get the hammock in before it blew away.)

Here is how far I got...

I can't make it right. I just can't. How can I increase a stitch at one end, and decrease it next time round, replacing it with an increase at the other end....and not shift the whole lace pattern over one?

And how do I knit the increase next time round?

Seriously. Blood. Ears. Dripping.

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Nostalgia - not what it used to be

I was flicking through my old diaries last night and making myself cringe. Good grief. I was an absolutely typical teenager, it's all about boys and school. Some of it's so cringey I can barely bring myself to read it.

My handwriting's very neat, though, and it's amazing how much information I can squeeze into a small space. It's also quite fun to look back over all the old timetables, ticket stubs &c. that I hoarded along with my entries. And reading my detailed descriptions of the outfits I wore will surely be useful one day in the future.

I will undoubtedly have to burn them if I ever decide to have a child, though.

It's a shame that time has moved on and I don't keep a diary that way anymore. I don't have anywhere to put all the timetables and ticket stubs I still save. I'll never remember what I have been wearing for the past 7 years. And, though I have this, it is quite evident I'm not as good at keeping up with it as I was with the paper diary. But here's a snapshot of today, for nostalgia's sake.

It's Wednesday. I have a full teaching day today. My PGCE student has an interview so I am currently babysitting the class she usually teaches for me while they watch, enthralled, a video about the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima. I have just been reminded that that happened on my birthday (though many years before I was born).

It's sunny outside but it was overcast first thing and I think it might rain later. I am wearing black trousers and a red and white flowery empire top, and beige Clarks sandals which don't match the outfit, but my feet are sore from too much heel-wearing, particularly at the weekend, and my trousers are so long that you can't really see the shoes. I'm wearing red glasses today because my eyes are also tired. I had muesli for breakfast and I have a fritatta and some jelly for lunch.

I am tired! I am not feeling it this week. Yesterday was especially tough: I didn't teach until after lunch for a variety of reasons and I was just not in the mood. Today is little different. I have to go and give a short talk to SMT after school to convince them to let me run a charity week in the future, and I'm going to Ali's tonight. I just to go home, picking up a bottle of Pimms and another of lemonade on the way home, and lie in my hammock and nap and read. BLEUGH! That is how I am feeling today.

Tuesday 13 May 2008

FACT: Facebook is the new HEAT

I managed to wean myself off celebrity gossip magazines and the Lush forum at the beginning of the year. Magazines particularly - I still forum a bit but I'm over it. Great, I thought - more time to blog.

But, sadly, Facebook turns out to be the crack of social networking sites, and between that and Ravelry there is roughly the same amount of blog time as there was before. I keep trying to remind myself that little and often is better than these massive hefty updates, but I've always been something of a hefty girl, personally.

At least I'm reading actual books these days (5 so far this year...not bad at all. I think last year's total was 2. I'm so ashamed.)


I have crazy knitting skills now. I made that! The blue thing. And may I just say, I think I can put a very tasteful outfit together, too. I am going to brag a little here and say that I made the matching jewellery and the fascinator, too. Yep. It's all me.

Pattern: Annie Modesitt's Silk Corset Top
Yarn: Oasis Soysilk from SWTC; two and a half balls of the dark blue, much less than half a ball of turquoise
Sundries: 30 (count 'em) dark blue shell buttons from Liberty in London
Mods: Almost none. I BO'd more stitches for the armholes, but evidently hugely overestimated the size of my arms because they are plenty roomy. I also managed to knit a whole size bigger than I thought I was knitting. I have no idea how I managed this. I CO more stitches than I BO'd for the armholes, intending to go up one size - somehow, I went up two. Thankfully it doesn't notice.
I also didn't bother with the crochet trim around the edges - one person in my knitting group thought it wouldn't look right, while the other pointed out that, with the contrast between the turquoise and the dark blue being so great, the crochet would have to be a pretty perfect effort. Since it would be my first attempt at a crochet trim, I decided against it.

I LOVE it. Check me out in a catalogue pose -

Britain's Top Models have got nothing on me.

I want to wear it all the time, but it's a handwash item and I'm soooo lazy. I intend to knit it again in something washable, and pale in colour - there is no doubt the thing is quite translucent, and I'd like something with less contrast between yarn and skin, so I have a chance of wearing to to work.

The pictures were taken at my friend Sarah's wedding, a delightful affair which took place in Bursledon this past weekend. The bride looked radiant and there were a few old school friends about to catch up with, and I had a really good time. I managed to consume quite a large quantity of champagne and wine, and decided the best way to finish the night would be with a pint of cider back at the hotel. I thankfully had the good sense to pass on the delicious port proffered by one of the navy boys also staying there; but still, when I went to the patio and pulled out the chair to sit down, my drunkeness became all too apparent. As I sat, the back legs of the chair sank a bit - I thought, into the flower bed....realising, as I keeled gently over backwards, that the flower bed was a good foot drop off the patio.

Mr Z said the next day that the first he'd known of it was when he saw a pair of feet sticking out of a bush and heard me laughing. The best man came to the rescue, but I was laughing too much to be assisted and ended up doing an undignified roll over onto my front and crawling out.

I'm just class in a glass, me.

I have also been to see Hairspray this month, which was AMAZING. Mother Hand and I had a weekend in the Big Smoke, shopping and having dinner at Wagamama and almost being late for the theatre. I really liked the stage show a bit more than the film: Amber was much funnier and meaner, and Penny much ganglier, than in the film. I guess when you cast big name actresses in a film you can't make them clown. That's a shame, really - the stage show made the von Tussles out to be the equivalent of the ugly sisters at panto, Penny's transformation at the end was all the more amazing for her earlier clumsiness, and the parts were excellently played. I was honestly enthralled by the whole thing!

I felt very cultured that week because one of the assistant heads at school had an extra ticket to see French and Saunders at bristol Hippodrome and so I went to see that on the Monday. Hilarious. They did a mixture of old sketches and new things (new to me, at least) and I left with aching sides. Very fun. Slightly unexpected invitation, though - what do you say when the assistant head comes over at the end of the day and asks if you're busy in the evening? Especially when she is close with yon woman I had a row with at the murder mystery (who has been more pleasant of late, though I try to keep my distance as far as possible). Indeed, yon woman accompanied us, but as I said...more pleasant of late.

And now, as the King of Mush might, I don't know what he might say. But I'm saying goodnight.