Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Never enough time in the day

Oh good lord, it's only 88 hours till Christmas!!!! Fortunately, I've only got four or five projects to finish by then. Granted, I've still not started several of them, but still...

Today is December 21st, the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. I'm not entirely thrilled about the winter thing, but I am soooo glad that the 21st is finally here! That means that it can only get better from here...the days will be getting progressively longer, and I can start looking forward to sunshine & warm breezes again. I know, I know, it'll take a while for the warm breezes, but whatever. I need to be an optimist, or I'll go nuts.

I'm also looking forward to January, because I'll no longer have any Christmas-type deadlines, and I can finally take an entire afternoon off to read without feeling like I'm losing time somewheres. Yay! I leave the house as little as possible, mostly due to the cold, and snuggle into blankets & read like crazy all winter. My beloved brings me hot chocolate periodically, the babies play happily with their new toys, and all is right with the world. Sigh.

But back to my current reality...I've got four days, including today, to finish as many projects (more, actually). I believe I'll go get on that before the enormity of the schedule really sinks in...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cold be damned, it's purty!

I love where I live. Cheesy, yes, but I do. Of course, I didn't love it quite so much last night, when I was arguing with car seats in my little bitty car at my mom's house, and it was four degrees out. Yeah, four degrees. Cold enough that your jeans hurt your legs when you finally sit down in the car. Anyway, once I'd gotten a few miles down the road & the car had warmed up (and my fingers had regained feeling), it was actually a very pleasant drive home.

My mom's farm is about 35 miles south of my apartment, and to get there, you have to drive through some of the most fertile, beautiful farming country in the world. And I do mean that literally; we are a MAJOR producer of corn & soybeans to, well, the entire planet. I can't for the life of me understand WHY anyone would want to plow any of that under to make strip malls, but I digress. Anyway, it was a beautiful evening, aside from the freaking bitter cold. The moon was full & bright, and sparkled off the snow like something out of a Disney film. You could look out across the fields and see for miles, and every so often there would be a huge old red barn outlined in Christmas lights, which is really cool in my opinion. There was even one farm that had an old 1940s John Deere tractor parked in the front yard, and someone had outlined the whole thing with Christmas lights, and sat a lighted Santa on the seat. Maybe I'm just a simple girl, but I just loved that. The tractor really was beautiful, and the Santa was just silly enough to make you smile. I really love my area, though I could certainly do without the booger-freezing cold.

In other local news, we are now less than a WEEK away from Christmas, and panic is trying to seep in. I'm fighting it as best I can, however. I'm having the girls over for another alcohol-fueled Stitch & Bitch tonight, and will hopefully get at least one or two project completed while they're here. I have at LEAST six or seven projects to finish by next Sunday morning, and that's not counting the ones I'd wanted to do with the boys. I also have to finish wrapping about a million things, and I've got to buy some more bows & tags & a couple groceries, and I've got to clean off this black hole of a desk before anyone comes over & sees what a disorganized wretch I am, and and and... Oy. The good news is, I've already got most everything for my husband wrapped, and a few things for the kids wrapped, so at least that's a start.

Y'know, it does sort of occur to me that I *could* be working on the aforementioned projects now, rather than sitting on the computer & babbling my brains out...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

19 days and counting

Less than three weeks till Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, except the Mom, who is going bonkers trying to get all the things done to prepare. Well, that, and the demented cat who thinks it's her God-given duty to assist in all things yarn, thread, string, or cloth related. This, of course, is the same cat who finds it absolutely necessary to smack into submission the ornaments near the bottom of the tree. She's very helpful, you know.

Anyway, I've been very busy this week. I've completely abandoned the ribbed knit scarf, because frankly, I want to enjoy this holiday season. I'll pull it out & try again in January, when there are no time constraints and pressures, and hopefully my knitting attempts will be more successful (or at least less infuriating). Instead, I've been working on silly little cross-stitched popcorn bags. Yes, it sounds a little dopey, and yes, in fact, it is, but that's okay. My mom will like them, and I've enjoyed working on them. Cross-stitch is extremely relaxing, and it really helped that I've had the first three seasons of The West Wing on dvd to keep me entertained while I did it. I've finished the stitching on the first, am halfway through the second, and still have to sew them into cute little bags (and then fill them with popcorn kernels & tie 'em up).

Also, I've been encountering much frustration filling another weird gift request from my mother--crocheted clothes hangers. She remembers her grandmother having these when she was young, and she really likes the idea of something that won't crease her clothes, and something handmade that makes her feel a bit more connected with our forebears. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. After many aggravating attempts, I believe I've finally found a way to do it properly. It's really hard to explain, and I doubt folks'll go rushing out to make their own on account of my blog, so suffice it to say that I'm really glad I figured it out, and the first one is already completed (which is SOOOOO satisfying, after all these other irritating ufos!!). I've started on the second, and will try a slight variation, and hopefully it'll make a better fit round the middle.

I still have a loooong list of other projects I'd like to complete in the next three weeks, so I'll keep it short here. Happily, I have cinnamon rolls about to come out of the oven for my dinner. Yep, you read that right. That's my dinner tonight. It's just one of those weeks.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

We take needles in hand, preparing for battle...

I hate UFOs. No, not the little green man-mobiles. In yarnspeak, a UFO is an UnFinished Object, which to some, presents a challenge, but to me, is aggravating as heck. I've got quite a few UFOs, and possibly some I've even forgotten about, and that drives me nuts.

Recently, I had the brilliant idea to knit a lovely ribbed scarf for my mom for Christmas (remind me not to tell said mother about this blog until *after* Christmas...). Now, I'm not very experienced with knitting, but the pattern said it was a good first project, so I figured I'd be just fine. After all, I'd taught myself to crochet with few major problems, and am now pretty darn good at it, if I do say so myself. Knitting, however, is another ball of yarn entirely. Heh. Anyway, I'd struggled through the first few rows, telling myself that it won't be spectacular right off the bat, and you need to get some length to really see the pattern. After a while, I'd gotten into a rather nice little groove with it, and got about 6 or 7 inches of scarf turned out before I looked at the pattern again. Crap. My scarf looks nothing like the one in the picture. It's interesting, sure, but not at all ribbed. After much frustration & swearing, I finally sought the advice of my deeply yarn addicted (but very knowledgable) friend Kathy, who incidentally was working on the very same pattern (though she pulled it out of the air, like magic, rather than from a teeny book like me. I'm convinced she's a Yarn Faerie, doomed to walk the earth in human form, due to some past transgression against the Yarn Gods of Olde.). It seems that all this time, and it was quite a long time to get that much length, I've been knitting wrong. Yup. Seriously wrong. Don't ask me how, I'm still not sure. At this juncture, I've got two options: 1. Finish scarf in bass-ackwards manner with incorrect stitches, potentially reinforcing the wrong stitch in my already addled little brain, and thus ruining any chance of further knitting success in the future. Or, 2. Tear out all previous stitches and start over from the beginning, thus working the proper stitches and getting used to doing them correctly, but also running the very real risk of not finishing it in time for Christmas (because, holy shit, knitting takes AGES!!). Also there's the added burn of having to basically negate all the work that I'd previously done, and that's just downright painful.

It's interesting to note that I made this awful discovery over a week ago, and have not touched the needles since. I've been too pissed & too frustrated to even look at it, which is rather stupid, but now I'm finally reaching the point of SomethingMustBeDone. I'm leaning towards option #2, though it does suck to contemplate, and I really don't think that I'll be any too likely to complete it in time. Even so, it's becoming a principle, I think. I HATE UFOs. I can't leave this half-knit (is that anything like half-wit? surely it must be...) ball of pretty green wool sitting there, mocking me forever. It MUST be conquered, one way or the other.

Sunday, November 13, 2005