Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Laundry dreams

Yesterday I did 5 loads of flea-bomb laundry, with 3 left over to keep me going today.

I could have washed more, but we lacked sufficient space in which to dry it all.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of my dreams last night was laundry-related: I dreamed about making a shibori scarf. Probably because I'd love to make one, and fantasised about it as I worked yesterday, then went home and used the washing machine for non-shibori-related washing.

In other enfleament news, I found an additional 6 bites this morning. I probably just missed them yesterday in the excitement of finding an 9 on my upper thigh.

God, I really, really hope I just missed them.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The itchy and scratchy show

Ugh, how I hate fleas.

The odds of having an enfleament are pretty low: wrong time of year, recent cold snap, no pets or animal contact, no colleagues or family members with recent enfleaments, living high above ground.

And yet, they came. I know, because I'm covered in itchy, itchy bites.

I also know because I killed a flea last night. My blood is a very healthy-looking red.

The Trouser has no bites whatsoever. But then, he's been working so hard he's barely been at home. And I'm not sure any blood-sucking insect has ever managed to penetrate the thick layer or body hair that covers most of him.

Hoping the flea bombs we set off today will disenflea us.

Friday, May 26, 2006

NZ is home to some dumb people

Case in point: armless driving.

And my favourite: a gay scarf.

People, stop being such dumbarses. Not all of you - just the dumbarses.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Both The Trouser and I have been quite busy lately. Too busy to relax properly, and also too busy to get into bed early.

As a consequence, we're both a bit tired. For me, that means I'm bleary-eyed, and today, I'm clumsy as well.

It's not a good time for me to do important things like driving or surgery. Lucky for everyone I do the former very seldom, and the latter only on minor items of clothing.

In times of tiredness, one thing keeps me going. Mountain Dew.

Yes, you read that correctly. Mountain Dew. More caffeine than cola, apparently. Fluorescent yellow, like pee if you take way too many B vitamins. Or, my personal nickname: concentrated goats' pee.

The only other thing that keeps me going atthis point is the promise of a weekend. Roll on Friday afternoon!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bribery and corruption

(or why I love The Trouser.)

The Trouser had to work all weekend long. So while I shopped (grand total: one belt, one headband (yes, they're back, and they suit me), one dress ($19.95, what a steal!), 5 pairs of tights, one singlet), he worked.

I did laundry. He worked. Briefly, I knitted while he worked.

You get the general picture.

What we didn't do was finalise our invitation list for the wedding, or, if you prefer (and I don't think I do, but what the hell) - The Blessed Event.

So tonight, he's bribed me. He probably doesn't think of it as bribery, but I do, and I'm loving it.

We'll have yakitori and pearl milk tea (occasionally known as bubble tea), and while we pearl-milk-tea-it, we'll use one of our laptops to compile our list.

Even better, the yakitori is just under our building, and the pearl milk tea place is across the road.


What would we do without local Aisan eateries? Probably be a lot, lot thinner.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Books and stuff

As promised, I paid a little more attention to things non-knitting-related last night.

Currently on my bedside table:
J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the century, by Tom Shippey.
I bought this for research for my masters, and I still have some of the post-it tabs in the book, which makes me vaguely nostalgic. I've read it many, many times before, and while it's not exactly a book you dip in and out of, it's a good scholarly read. I think I chose it because we were thinking of watching The Return of the King - which we finally saw, and thought was quite good, even though the book was better.

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, by Bill Bryson.
If you haven't read Bill Bryson, you're really missing out. It's kind of travel writing, but with a twist: he sincerely loves or hates the places he writes about, and he kindly and politely takes the piss of anything and everything.

Oh crap, I can't explain it really - just read one of his books and you'll get what I mean. Anyway, this is The Trouser's birthday book from my parents, and I'm reading it because I love Bryson's writing, introduced The Trouser to him, and also because I was sick on Monday and there was nothing else that felt like the "right" book to read.

London: The Biography, by Peter Ackroyd.
I think this was a Christmas or birthday present, and I'm slowly picking my way through it. It's very different from the super-character-driven London (which I also loved), but it is a big, fat, satisfying book to read.

There are 3 or 4 other books, but I can't remember what they are. Really, I need a wide selection of books on the go at any one time. Other people have different music for different moods: I have books. Since I finished studying, I've most often been in a Marian Keyes sort of mood, but as the non-studying years go by, I'm getting back into more cerebral books.

Ooh! I know - another book I'm reading is Thackeray's Vanity Fair. I'm not wild on many aspects of the book (the style - a narrator trying to involve you as a contemporary bugs me, even though I know it was the style at the time of writing; the characters' stupidity; and the slightly crappy edition that I bought on sale for about $3), but it's a classic, and once I've read it I'll feel free to never read it again.

Aside from looking at my books, I also managed a bit of knitting time. Quite a lot. The cold weather made me do it!

However, I also made mocha panna cotta. It was a really simple recipe, though the whisking every 10 minutes got a bit old. And who has instant coffee? I couldn't find ours, so I used this instead. The bits left over on the bowl tasted pretty good - I'm looking forward to trying the results for dessert tonight!

And in a final note: I am wearing my Forecast today. It's warm and lovely, even if my shoulders look kind of massive in it. Will get The Trouser to take a pic tonight, so I can post it here, and at the Forecast knitalong. How lovely to finally have some new knitwear!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Camera shy

I admit it, I'm pretty camera shy.

You see, I don't always photograph well. I'm cute in person and all, but I always look shiny-faced and porky on film. On, and did I mention how photographers usually get me at a bad moment, like when I'm eating?

Very few people have ever gotten nice photos of me in my adulthood. The Trouser's sister is one (shame about the bigotry, I could do with a decent photo again soon), and The Trouser is another - as long as I'm not directly looking at the camera.

I'm going to have to spend quite some time with the wedding photographer, practicing so he can get some good shots of me.

More disturbingly, I've noticed that all my knitting projects have become a bit camera-shy also. Especially the cardigan that's in progress - Bianca from Rowan 37, which now consists of 2 sleeves, a back and 1/5 of a front, with nary a picture to be seen.

I will have to get a handle on this before all my knitting projects think they can go this long without showing their bad, bad selves.

In unrelated news, I've been in toouch with my Secret Pal spoilee, and my Secret Pal has been in touch with me. She asked me about what books I liked to read, and I'm ashamed to say that I really had to think. "Everything, pretty much" is not a very helpful answer.

However, it was the answer I gave. And in doing so, I realised that my blog is not very helpful for that poor, kind soul - because I don't think I've ever blogged about reading.

For the record, I read a lot. Knitting has cut into this time, but mostly only because I can't find a satisfactory way to knit on the couch and read at the same time. A personal book holder who would turn the pages would be nice... but The Trouser has a life too, apparently.

So from now on, I will try to blog a bit about what books I'm reading. Hey, it'll make a pleasant change from all the knitting and moaning, right? I'm hoping that it will also make me pick some more interesting books, too. I've thought a bit about buying this book for inspiration and guidance, but haven't quite gotten around to it. (Maybe I can borrow it from the library and photocopy the contents page?)

Just goes to show - and MA (Hons) in literature does not mean you always know what books to read. Really, it's just a nice collection of letters to put on a business card, and assurance that you can't work at McDonalds, since you're overqualified!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Wedding: the planning

So I've mentioned the wedding in passing, but never really taken the time to blog about it. Here goes...

We've been planning our wedding since the beginning of this year, give or take a few weeks. It's been interesting. Girls who dream of their wedding day have a huge jump on things. If, like me, the thought of a wedding dress used to send you to sleep, you have a lot of high-pressure decisions to make in a relatively short time frame.

Thank heavens for The Trouser, who is fairly opinionated and also has impeccable taste. He is 100% involved in all the planning. He has opinions on pretty much everything, and is fairly unflappable. (If only he could pick the dress for me, I know it would be perfect!)

After all this planning, so far we've got:
- The date: 9 February.

- The ceremony venue: a favourite spot with meaning to both of us, in a park.

- The reception venue: a hotel in the city, with flexibility to have the ceremony there if it rains.

- The invitations, save-the-date cards, and place cards. Well, we know what we want, and where we're getting them from. White heavy card, embossed, with charcoal printing. We've even picked the font.

- The vague theme or feel: vintage-y classic, with elements of Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

Oh yeah, we also "invested" in one of Ken Ring's weather predictions. You may laugh, but he's more reliable than anyone else we've ever heard of. And yes, the weather predictions are good.

So you see, we have some things sorted. Others are still works in progress.

Like the guest list, which is our most pressing task. We need to send save-the-date cards to the overseas relatives and friends, so we need to decide who to invite so we can send the cards appropriately. And we need to guess how many people will trek to NZ to attend, so we don't invite too many people.

The most fun thing to work on has been the menu. The Trouser doesn't eat meat, and I don't eat fish. And at $15 per head extra for 2 menu options, it seemed sensible to go with an all-vegetarian menu. This freaked my parents out, until they heard the preliminary menu from the chef. He got is 90% right straight off the bat, which is excellent (and nary a boring, predictable vegetarian pasta dish or "Asian-inspired" item!). Bring on the tastings, I say!

A less fun thing that has me mildly stressed is the cost. We're still waiting on a price so we can pay our deposit. From my end, there is no rush on this - with interest rates rising, the longer the moolah stays in the mortgage the better! But I like the idea of some money holding our booking, as opposed to the goodwill of the staff (who should really be chasing us for a deposit). They seem in no rush, so I figure we'll try to stay calm. But I'd like to have it paid 6 months in advance.

The thing I'm dreading the most is the clothing. In the not-too-distant future, I'll have to seriously start the hunt for The Dress. I've already decided on a vintage-y feel dress, to match the general feel for the wedding. Maybe something a bit Art Nouveau-inspired. Not strapless, and not blindingly white - we want him to look at me and weep with joy, not fear!

And then of course we have to figure out a few "minor" details: attendants, transport, ring, celebrant, music, ceremony refreshments, photographer, reception decoration, flowers, favours, seating arrangements, family dramas, world peace, yada yada yada.

I can see why eloping - and professional wedding planners - are so popular!

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's almost time

...for an irregularly-scheduled knitting update.

I've just received the name for the person I'll be spoiling in Secret Pal 8. Without giving it all away, she is far more accomplished than me, and it will be a bit of a challenge to find nice gifts for her. In SP7 I had a pal who was NZ-mad, which made it easy - but my new match will require a lot of trips to source nice treats!

Although I haven't been blogging about it, I have actually been doing things other than moaning, whining, and generally feeling sorry for myself. Really!

Ype, I've gone to work, spoiled The Trouser for his birthday (actually, 9 days of birthday celebrations), and I've knit. I have a completed but unblocked Forecast, and 2 sleeves and half a back of Bianca, the beautiful but evil beaded cardigan knit on a needle 3mm in diameter.

Meanwhile it's been rainy and really, really cold. Roll on winter - you're keeping me focused on knitting to keep warm!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Just pure genius.

And much more likely to make me try the "magic loop" knitting thingie than a pair of socks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


It's a funny old thing, karma.

I really do think that the energy and actions you put out there will eventually come back to you. I try really hard not to be a total bitch, because I hate people being mean to me.

I'm not convinced that karma is all that organised, though - I think sometimes you get nastiness in advance of being mean yourself.

Remember my recent work misery? The rotten person continues to try to make my life difficult. I was very close to being unable to deliver an important project on time because of this person's obstructive behaviour.

However, I found out that said rotten person is a constant discussion point for management, and that punitive action involving HR is not too far away. (You see, in NZ you can't just fire someone for being obstructive and nasty. It's quite hard to fire anyone.)

But anyway - the reason I was thinking about karma is that my brother's wedding invitations got lost in the mail.

Why would karma want to get him? Well, actually I think it's his fiancee. She's been a fiancee-zilla for some time now. (How dare we get engaged a year and a half after they do, and want to throw a party soon after? How dare we be engaged at all, when they're supposed to be the centre of attention?)

And then she turned into Bridezilla. After talking about their wedding to everyone, everywhere, she decided on a very, very small wedding.

Immediate family only, on a Pacific island. We had 2 months' notice, but only 2 days to book. It's expensive (just over $3,000 for 5 nights per couple). We won't all be hanging out together, because we've been told that they're busy except for 3 specific, formal occasions. And we're not to try to spend time with her family, because they will apparently have their own plans.

We booked. We told them. They have apparently been too busy to acknowledge this.

Now, I know a midwinter holiday to a tropical island sounds pretty good to most people. But then most people get to pick where they want to go, where they will stay, and when they'll go. They won't blow a whack of cash if they're saving up for stuff, like their own wedding and to move overseas.

So anyway - the karma thing. People are hurt by not being invited, and those of us who are - well, let's just say we're attending a command performance. So how ironic is it that all the invitations, which were apparently very labour-intensive, have gone astray?

If they'd spent a little time thinking about how they actually invited/ commanded people, and less time making pretty paper stuff long after the fact, perhaps I'd be more sympathetic.

As it is, I think karma's waving her flag. (And definitely reminding me to think even more about the guests to our wedding!)

Monday, May 08, 2006

The day of The Trouser

It's The Trouser's birthday today!

He's now officially 28 years old. So old. So clever. Such a nice Trouser.

Happy birthday!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

SP8 questionnaire

Hey there Secret Pal, here's all the info:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like lovely yarns. Most yarns, really. I don't like scratchy yarns, that feathery stuff, or floofy boucle mohair. Novelty yarns are no temptation for me, they're hell in a ball.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a bag, a box, and also a knitting needle roll.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been able to knit for around 20 years, but took a 10-year hiatus and started up again about a year and a half ago. I'm probably intermediate (I attempt the difficult projects with no idea of how hard they might be, because I know so little - a sure sign of a less accomplished knitter!).

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

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Anything that isn't rose-scented is great. Vanilla or cinnamon are always lovely.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Big sweet tooth, but desperately trying not to fatten up over winter, since I'm getting married in the summer. Reese's are my favourites, but I have a stash of them. However, I am very partial to butterscotch hard candy, and those red-and-white swirly mints. Oh, and gummy bears. Oh, and anything else that isn't liquorice.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I'm not really a do-it-yourself-er at all - just kitting. I don't spin. I read a lot though.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like all kinds of music - mostly because I don't really have taste in music. I can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I'm not wild on poo brown, bright yellow or pale pink. Otherwise I'm pretty open-minded.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
One fiance and no pets. (We have a fibreglass duck named Bernard but he probably doesn't count?)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, yes. I'd wear a hat but haven't found one I'm in love with yet. I'm not a mitten wearer, but I'd probably do wrist warmers or fingerless gloves.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Once I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed River from Rowan 37. I quite like lace. Cardigans are always good to knit - you get to enjoy them later - and scarves are nice and quick for when I need instant gratification.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Forecast from Knitty, Bianca from Rowan 37, and a scarf for The Trouser. (Only 3 WIPs - that's serious restraint!)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Not too fussy really - probably not a huge aluminium fan. I like pretty needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Not yet, though it would be a good idea!

17. How did you learn to knit?
My aunt taught me.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
Around 6 months, though it's waiting to be frogged, so I don't know if that counts? Otherwise, 2 months I guess.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
Easter's pretty good - the chocolate holiday.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Not really. Apart from yarn, of course.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
No subscriptions. I'm always interested in what other people recommend. One Skein looks quite interesting.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Sure, open to anything other than intarsia, which makes me feel vaguely ill.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Nope. And I'm a US 6 1/2 to 7, wide-ish.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
August 5. I'll be turning the big 2-8.

Microsoft, you kill me

When "Awwww" gets run through Outlook's spell-checker, the suggestion is "Wawa".

Yes, wawa.

Classy, Microsoft, real classy.

UPDATE: Urbandictionary.com's definitions. A hint: I'd never heard of the convenience store.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Really, it's just a phase

The not-posting, that is.

Personally, I blame the work dramas, plus a few family dramas. Nothing like *both* your sisters-in-law being nasssty to you to make you wonder if you are just a bad person generally.

In the meantime, other phases I have known include (but are not limited to):

1. The "I have to watch Beverly Hills 90210 or I'll die" phase. In a deeply unoriginal move, this coincided with the "I think Luke Perry is the best looking man ever" phase.

2. There was the infamous "I'm vegetarian but every 6 months or so I'll break ranks and eat a McChicken" phase. The McChicken part was secret, and I figure it wasn't real chicken anyway, so it didn't really count - but I still kept it secret.

3. The "Putting makeup and jewellery on my little brother while he sleeps" phase was quite fun, if a teensy bit mean.

4. So was the "Hiding my little brother's underwear down the back of his dresser" phase. It was exceptionally humorous when my mother would insist that he had plenty of clean underwear, and he'd be moved to tears to explain that he didn't. What was he doing, worrying about clean undies anyway??

5. More recently, the "I'm mad for buying clothes on TradeMe" phase. This got old when I discovered that online purchases were not always as reliable as they should be.

6. An oldie but a goodie, the "I'll wear it if it's pink" phase in my formative years provided hours of entertainment for family and friends. People, I had red hair.

7. And in the inevitable backlash, the "I won't wear it if it's pink" phase happened in my teens. Sanity at last.