Monday, March 26, 2007

The Thing About Street Fairs...

Twice a year, the street fair comes to 4th Avenue here in Tucson. When I first moved into a little Craftsman bungalow (built in 1917 - I love old houses!), I had no idea about what happens during this festival - I'm not even sure I knew about it. The first year, both of our cars were broken into while they were parked in front of the house. Granted, this could happen at any time, but there are so many people around for the street fair... Also during the fair, people drive like morons. Last year, a car crashed into the front yard of a condo across the street. Luckily, the woman only ran over a "for rent" sign - no pedestrians or houses were damaged. I heard plenty of honking this weekend...and saw some atrocious driving - people speeding out of alleys, driving in the center "suicide lane" - where we have a trolley running, too, so even more dangerous... And, since I have to park on the street in front of my house, I can't leave during the fair - or if I do, I have to return after 6 pm.

Despite all this, it's fun to people-watch. I spent a couple hours on my porch yesterday critiquing everyone! We have a huge number of freaks per capita here in Tucson.... I might have to post about some of my favorites someday... Also fun to watch as people comment on my house - we have ocotillo fencing around the yard. The previous tenants put it up to prevent the homeless from sleeping on the porch. I know, I'm painting quite a picture, aren't I? You all want to move here now, right? ;)

So what is the *thing* about street fairs? Well, everyone seems to enjoy them - but, honestly, it's all the same CRAP every year (ok, twice a year). I wouldn't have thought this before 2005, probably, because I collect as much as the next guy. I used to consider myself a "packrat." However, since July 1, 2005, my house has become a lot cleaner, I collect a lot less stuff.

Although I was warned, I went to help a friend pack up her stuff - my co-worker indicated that it might be traumatic. Honestly, I thought I could handle it! I'm messy, I collect stuff...right? Um, no. OCD "Hoarding" disorder....I'm sure my friend does not believe she's OCD, but her house says otherwise. And I went over to help her *after the moving truck had already gone.* Her husband had already moved, a moving van full of stuff had already moved.... and the house was a MESS. I went through her laundry room (took a full day). She had boxes full of broken sunglasses (probably a total of 30+ pairs), "super-glue projects" was in another box, the little cardboard squares from boxes of weigh-paper (taken from work), the plastic cover pieces ripped off of who knows what - doll boxes? - you know the plastic sheets I mean... One of the symptoms is keeping piles and piles of printed matter (newspapers, magazines...) - most of this had already been dealt with. OCD people think their stuff is worth as much to others as it is to them (her garage sale items were quite overpriced). Let me tell you something - if you ever bring lunch somewhere and find BUGS in it - you have a serious problem. I'm not kidding. Hoarders are the least likely to get help (they think it's just you're typical "packrat" thing...). When my husband got home that day at 5:15pm - I was drinking a beer. Not my typical behavior. And the next day, when I threw out boxes and boxes of articles from grad school, he knew something was wrong! But I guess I'm better off now... if only I could deal with my serious procrastination problem...
And here: what the heck? Who would cut off my hose to steal it??? Just odd, don't you think?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Flowers!

It's feeling like spring in the desert... and these here flowers could be making me sneeze. I just noticed these in my front yard on Friday - ok, I knew the plant was there, I just noticed that it's blooming!

Ok, it's beginning to feel like summer, even. It's getting hot - could be 90's this week!

I am feeling much better than I was on Friday. Although, I'm still finding it a bit hard to believe that we're down to the last possible job this year. If my husband wants to try again, the next round will start again in September or October. But, there is that last chance... And I've no idea when we might hear from them (if at all).

In the meantime... I'll be posting some flower pictures - to remind us all to stop and smell the roses (or whatever flowers you've got) - even if they make you sneeze!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I tried not to get attached...

but I did. I really wanted this job for my husband. The interview went well. He seemed to really like it there - the people, the setting, even the weather. They tried to really sell it to him - made him feel like he had it locked up. Honestly, I thought it'd be perfect for him. We went through a lot to get him to and from that interview - I lost practically a week of work for it, bought two new flights on my credit card to get him home. A two day interview took five days, plus recovery time! And they offered it to someone else. Maybe it's perfect for her, too. I'm sure she's thrilled. I'm not handling it well. I'm trying to. But I'm devastated.

I know I'll get over it. Probably by tomorrow. Can't dwell on things that never were, right? There's some sidewalk graffiti at a park that I often walk by. It says: "Life could be worse." Of course it's true.

I don't know that my husband will continue in the field he's in. This might be it. After that interview, I doubt he'll apply for a job again. And I really just want to tell the search committee chair what I think of him being a *tease.* I see that I am in the "anger" phase of grief. My husband went on another interview, and if he's offered that life is going to get infinitely more complicated. I'm not even sure he wants that one.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

So far I enjoy knitting with wool and wool/alpaca blends – especially really soft ones! Cotton and acrylics do not seem to be as fun – cotton because it isn’t soft or stretchy like wool, and acrylic just doesn’t feel very nice.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have knitpicks options with a case and a fabric needle roll to store straights.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I have been knitting for about 6 months; I’m probably an advanced beginner (or, I’d like to think so!).

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, I have an amazon list.

5. What's your favorite scent?

I like jasmine, gardenia, and sandalwood. I like stuff with amber, musk, vanilla – sort of in the oriental range.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Oh, I’ve overdone it lately. I like dark chocolate and Haribo gummy bears (yum!) – oh, not together, though!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I haven’t tried spinning yet, but I’d definitely be interested in trying.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I have the ability to play mp3s – we have tons of music though – I (ok, my husband, really) already own most all Led Zeppelin, including bootlegs, a huge amount of Bob Dylan stuff, nearly all of the Grateful Dead albums and concert recordings…

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I love red, teal, dark greens, brown, grey, purples, blues; Not fond of yellow, pink, neons, pastels. I can deal with pastels, yellows, and pinks if they are in with other dark colors in a fun variegated yarn (I haven’t seen a manos del Uruguay colorway that I don’t like).

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I have four cats and a husband – no kids anywhere in my family (including extended!)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Hahahaha! It’s 80 degrees here already. I’ve already made myself two scarves, so I’m good there. Not sure what I’d do with a poncho. Hats are useful for a couple months a year, though, and my hands are always cold. Of course, full mittens would be difficult to work in.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

So far, tote bags are fun, scarves are fun...and small clutches and bags give instant gratification. But I haven’t yet tried socks. Or sweaters. Is there something that isn't fun to knit? (Besides miles of stockinette in one color)

13. What are you knitting right now?

A tote bag.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes! Um…unless they smell musty or moldy.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I’ve just started using circulars – knit picks options. Although I do like my bamboo straights. And I’d love some of those beautiful rosewood ones with carvings on the end, but they’re rather expensive!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

No – I haven’t been able to justify the expense yet. And I knit really slowly so it'll be a long time before I can even buy more yarn (and justify that to my husband..)

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Two months (I’ve only been knitting for six!)

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Any day off work. Um, probably Christmas despite all the expectations and expenses...Hmm. I might want to make up my own holiday tradition for some other holiday to make it more fun.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Fun little (wooden, tin, stone, antique…) boxes. And bags.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I subscribe to Interweave knits. So many yarns that I haven’t yet tried! I’m always up for a classy tote pattern – I currently have the Noni adventure pattern that I haven’t gotten up the nerve to actually knit (that’s my only purchased tote pattern).

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Fair-isle, intarsia…maybe lace, too.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I have yet to knit my first pair of socks…and I have five skeins of sock yarn.

23. When is your birthday?

November 21st.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tyger the amazing burrowing cat!

Tyger decided he'd get under the couch cushion the other day. He loves to get underneath stuff - couch cushions, rugs, clothes... I love how the side angle shows off his amber eyes. See the black specks on his nose? He also has a few black whiskers (hard to see here, though).

As you can see, Anya wasn't quite sure what was going on! Yes, I realize the couch is covered in fur - we actually picked this couch up in the alley behind our house when someone moved. Pre-cat-scratched, too! Free crappy furniture! Don't have to take it with me when I move... just put it back where I found it. Sometimes it's convenient to live in a student ghetto.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Winnings and Such

Check out what I won! It was a bit ago, but I kept forgetting to upload the photos. The top hank is Stormy Teal from Yarn Nerd - and wow is it soft! I won it in a random drawing, very soon after winning the bottom hank by guessing the weight of a cat! It was a good week. Or couple days. Really must try to knit some socks, because I now have five or six skeins of sock yarn! But I'm still working on my impossible tote. It's taking FOREVER to finish. And it's currently huge - pre-felting. I'm working on the handles right now, then it'll be seaming, weaving in many, many ends, and finally FELTING! Phew. Really hope that I can finish this up soon. I've been working on it since mid-January. Here's the other bag waiting to be felted:

Finished over a weekend in January. Of course, this one is using bulky yarn - the current monstrosity has been knit with Lion Brand Wool - worsted weight. And it's grey and blue (ok, and sage green). The pattern called for just two colors and fairly narrow horizontal stripes. I decided on thicker stripes and three colors. In part, the three colors was because I accidently only bought two balls of yarn per color when the pattern called for three each. A month later when I returned to the store, I obviously was unable to find the same dye lot. No matter, I said, I'll just add a color! I might yet run out of teal and have to make the second handle a different color....that'd be odd. It looks like it'll be ok though. I have been getting VERY IMPATIENT with all the stockinette. And I'm already regretting the three colors - so many ends to weave in! I'm really liking the idea of my next tote using chunky yarn again.

And here's that lovely yarn up close. Not thrilled with the photo - diffuse light would be better than blazing sun!