Stuff

I said I would try to post more often. I meant it. Really.

But here it is, over a month later. At least it’s not a whole year this time, right?

Bistro Shirt - sleeve is happening...

Bistro Shirt – sleeve is happening…

Knitting: Working on a Bistro Shirt, which I really should be doing in a cotton/linen blend, but I’m so iffy about working with cotton that I just impulsively bought some good ol’ Patons Classic Wool and started knitting. (Yes, the yarn purchase was in a little fit of pique after a bad moment/afternoon with my mom, but I’m not writing about her today. I have decided, though, that I will buy plants instead of yarn in that circumstance. My yard is getting quite Eden-like…).

So this lovely little sweater will be much too warm to wear when I finish it. Likewise, the darling little “Orenburg Lace” scarf I knitted to wear at my daughter’s wedding – it finally occurred to me about halfway through the project that the Saturday before Memorial Day might not be a scarf-y day. But it’s pretty, and the color is called “Forever” – very fitting for a wedding, yes?

Miss Babs Yet in "Forever"

Miss Babs Yet in “Forever”

The lace was practice for a bigger scarf I plan to make with some lovely incredibly fine yarn I picked up at Stitches West – funny how when you see a knitted sample, and it seems so simple, and you don’t want to pay for the printed pattern because, really, it’s just the same stitch pattern over and over with a garter stitch border – it’s so FUNNY when you can’t seem to find that same stitch pattern ANYWHERE. Finally found one that seems similar enough, and I’m truly hoping the bloom of the teeny tiny 100% merino laceweight will make it look more like the one I should have bought the darn pattern for… Smack my forehead, please.

Listening to Linda Ronstadt today as I write – bought a couple of CD’s (more Amazon fun, but this time with a better outcome*), because, y’know, she’s not going to record anymore and she really is a big part of “the soundtrack of my life.” What a talent – so versatile, like no one else I can think of. If you don’t think so, just Netflix “The Pirates of Penzance.” So sad to think that she will never sing again, due to Parkinson’s Disease. Thank God she DID sing – that she DID put her voice out there and live her life, tough though it may have been.

Sometimes I wonder what might have been if I had not “let fear hold me back,” as one of my former bad-boyfriends once said about me. (A bad boyfriend, and a “bad boy”… too many of those). Usually, though, I’m just so glad that I did what I did (get a good day job, stick with it even though it wasn’t lots of fun, sing when I could, have a beautiful baby, finally meet my prince after the frogs and now I have a lovely little life and I can knit and write and maybe even someday start that book…). Maybe somewhere there’s someone who remembers me singing in a piano bar or at church or in the Symphony Chorus. Maybe not. It’s okay.

Still, sometimes that fantasy flits through my mind…

*Amazon update – Never found out what the problem was with them and my beloved Harlot’s latest book, which I pre-ordered and they apparently didn’t believe I really wanted. So, it was with some trepidation that I ordered two Linda Ronstadt CD’s and the Whole30 book, “It Starts with Food” – ordered on April 15, over $35 so I could get the free shipping… Got an estimated date of delivery of MAY 27-JUNE 7!

I’ll admit I didn’t even notice that until April 19. So I called them. Not a good experience. Seriously, I’m not that person, but I couldn’t understand anything the rep said other than that it was one of the CDs that was holding up the order. Out of stock (even though online it said there were two). Then she said a number of other things that seemed to be some kind of choice I needed to make, but since I couldn’t understand what she was saying, I was reluctant to say anything one way or another. So I said I couldn’t understand. She repeated. I said I couldn’t understand. She repeated. I asked to talk to her supervisor. She repeated. (AAAARRRRGGGHHH!) I asked to talk to her supervisor. She put me on hold. Someone else came on, said she was the supervisor, then started giving me options (I assume)… I couldn’t understand a word. I finally just said “I’m sorry, I CANNOT UNDERSTAND YOU. I don’t want to be rude, but I’m going to say goodbye now and I will EMAIL Amazon.” Jeeeeezzzz. So, got online and found out that they have a Live Chat feature. So even if I am chatting online with another country, which I believe must have been what was happening on the phone, it will be TYPED, and VISIBLE and presumably more clear. Had a lovely typed chat with “Joe” and he fixed EVERYTHING, got EVERYTHING shipped (the book and one CD overnight!, and even the “out of stock” one has now arrived), and I still got free shipping. Thanks, “Joe” – Amazon lives again for me! And Live Chat RULES!

In other news, I started my Whole30 yesterday – it’s a way of eating that I hope will help with aches and pains I’ve been experiencing, maybe with some body composition improvement (please?), and a way forward for a healthier life. Six decades late, but whatever. This pasta addict will let you know how that’s going in a couple of weeks. These two weeks at the beginning are supposed to be kind of tough. (No grains, no sugars, no dairy, no beans or legumes, no pasta, no alcohol, for the whole30… Your positive thoughts would be appreciated!).

The beginning of a Whole30 "Meal 1"

A Whole30 “Meal 1” in progress…

And maybe I’ll give Amazon a little more love and order Linda Ronstadt’s book

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The amazing thing…

The amazing thing about the Yarn Harlot is that she is totally inside my brain. Well, not the part about hating teeth, I find teeth quite incredible and intriguing and I actually made a Tooth Fairy costume for my daughter when she was 4…

But everything else.

I have just finished her book, The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes, and it’s true, I laughed, I cried, I marveled at her talent, I laughed and cried some more… AND, she made me feel like a total piker about this blog and writing and just getting it done. So, good on ya, Stephanie! Convicted. Chastened. And at the same time, with the same words, slightly convinced that I need not write another word, because she will do it for me…

Naaaaaaah.

Because I’ve been itching to find a place to write down how I feel about Amazon and John Travolta.

John Travolta, Scientology celebrity, stood up at the Oscars the other night and absolutely butchered the name of a very talented singer. She’s not a nobody, or a newcomer, and her name isn’t that difficult to say. He managed the rest of the introduction just fine, and then said a name that bore, really, very little resemblance to Idina Menzel. “Adele Dazeem”??? C’mon!
(Luckily, Ellen was quick to mention her actual name immediately after the song).

Twitter erupted with humorous one-liners, AdeleDazeem became a Twitter ID with thousands of followers, and the media covered it the next day… But Travolta basically just said he was “beating (him)self up about it” but then decided to “Let It Go!” Oh, hahahaha.

I WANT TO KNOW HOW IT HAPPENED. What would be wrong with Travolta giving some kind of explanation?… I was too vain to wear my glasses. I was drunk. My super Scientology mind isn’t all that super. The teleprompter was wrong. SOMETHING. But no. Radio silence. No explanation.

Similarly, I pre-ordered my copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s new book from Amazon as soon as I knew I could. (January 2, to be exact). I was thrilled to have a new book by the Yarn Harlot coming out, as I basically worship her, and want to read every word she writes ASAP.

March 4 – Hooray! the book will be here today, or at least tomorrow, right? Well, no. “Not Yet Shipped” – ??? Why not?

Contacted Customer Service. Got some guy who put me on hold twice to “see what’s going on.” He came back and said I’d definitely have the book sometime between the 7th and the 11th, and sent me two (2) emails saying:
I can confirm that we will your order in time to be delivered to you by March 7, 2014 -March 11, 2014 .
I wasn’t particularly impressed or convinced by that message. (He spoke just as clearly as he typed, too.)

Then, at 4:15 a.m. the next morning, I got the email saying they were “still trying to obtain” the item I ordered on January 2.

What???

AND:

Still want it? We’ll keep on trying. To keep your order for this item open, please click the link below. Otherwise, we’ll cancel your order on April 04, 2014, if we haven’t located it by then.”

WHAT????

What part of “pre-order” doesn’t Amazon understand? And how is it that they would offer a book on pre-order and then NOT HAVE IT when the release date arrives? And why didn’t Mr. Customer Service have any info about the book actually being unavailable?

I WANT AN EXPLANATION. Don’t I deserve something other than, “Sorry, can’t send it, maybe in a month, or maybe not”?

I went to my local Barnes and Noble, and got a copy. Huh. I’m a big fan of Amazon, before this. Not so sure anymore. Sadly, I have Amazon gift card balances to use up, and lucky for them, my copy of Rachael Herron’s new book arrived today. I’m wary, though. Very wary.

Travolta, I could take or leave before he “Let It Go.” Now, I’m just gonna let him go…

In other news – Here’s my latest scarflet, my own design, done in Sweet Fiber’s Tea Leaves. Very simple design, lovely yarn – and I’m just crazy enough to voluntarily finish it with a picot bind-off. My Instagram friend who I met because of Holden will maybe think this is funny.

I love eyelets!

I love eyelets!

Yes, that’s the yarn I was using for the Yorkshire Shawl in my last post. The hard feelings were still there when I tried to pick it up again, and I decided to just frog it and make something of my own simple design. Is this how knitting designers are made?

Finished my Swirl, and wore it to Stitches West. Was chatting with a lady at a booth where there were about 30 Swirls on a rack for several minutes before I realized I was talking to Sandra McIver!!! What a charming, warm, and wonderful person!

Sandra McIver, Swirl Genius, on the right!

Sandra McIver, Swirl Genius, on the right!

See, when her next book comes out, I’m gonna want to pre-order – maybe I’ll go to B&N. Amazon, you hurt me, and your lack of explanation makes me think you’ll just do it again. It may take a while to heal…

Knitting Idols

Listing “idols” can get you in trouble – not only with readers, but with yourself. Let’s just say that today, these are my top three idols in the world of Knitting, for a number of reasons.

First, the immortal and beloved Elizabeth Zimmermann, the Mother of Modern Knitting, the Goddess who came up with the Baby Surprise Jacket and the Pi Shawl, who made knitting logical and enjoyable, a veritable Julia Child of Knitting. I am in awe of her vision, her contributions to knitting, fiber, and publishing, and her empowerment of knitters, all while apparently retaining a wonderful humility. “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” – EZ

Second, Joan McGowan-Michael, author of Knitting Lingerie Style and contributor to My Grandmother’s Knitting, owner of White Lies Designs. Joan has done what we all want to do, and then some – she knits for a living! What could be better! She designs, she teaches, she is published – and she’s a real live person who I actually know, who comes to our Cafe with her lovely family. Her designs are lovely – feminine, flattering, scrumptious things. Okay, I’ll probably never knit myself a bra and panties (because honey, the world just isn’t ready for that), but Joan made me realize that if I want to, I can. Those, and lacy camisoles, and bed jackets, and all tailored to fit me. She understands the female body (used to design for Fredericks of Hollywood, no less), and she also understands that not all knitters look like fashion models. Go figure (ha ha). So she teaches classes in how to fit your knitting to you. Yay, Joanie!

And last, because she deserves the emphasis, I am in complete awe of the Yarn Harlot. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, big-K Knitter, blogger, author, philanthropist, and kick-ass bicyclist. She’s kept me up late at night laughing at her spot-on depictions of the knitter’s life. Her comic timing, in print no less, is impeccable. I have rationed her books, not allowing myself to buy all of them at once (the last will arrive sometime this week – joy tinged with anxiety). The Blog is like going to a knitting group and having wine and laughs and empathy with oh, hundreds of people all over the world. I even love her Tweets. I was disappointed when I found she isn’t actually on Facebook – yet – but kind of glad because really, how many hours can she have available for that?

Recently Steph (may I call her Steph? I feel like I may) completed a 600k bike ride (Americans, that’s about 372 miles) from Toronto to Montreal (Friends for Life Bike Rally) – to raise money to help people living with Aids/HIV. She and her team did a phenomenal job of raising donations, and Steph kept the Blog involved all through her training, falling, worrying, figuring out how to take knitting on the bike, the ride itself, and after… The Blog responded by donating beyond all expectations, and Steph raised over $52,000, her team totaling over $162,000. Wow. She also started Knitters Without Borders, which raises money for Doctors Without Borders. Knitters Without Borders has raised $1,102,556 to date, since it was started in response to the tsunami disaster in December of 2004. Wow.

She makes knitting seem not only cool, which it is, but normal, which some people might try to tell you it’s not. She validates my feeling that really, all I want to do is knit, and why is all this other stuff getting in the way – but by doing so, she makes me realize that yeah, I guess the other stuff needs to get done, too. Let’s just not go overboard with the dusting, okay?

AND – she put the greatest little sock “pattern” (instructions, really, that I can memorize and use forever) in her book, Knitting Rules. And here is my little sock:

“Little blue sock, little blue sock,…”

My little blue sock, for which there is apparently not enough yarn in this ball… Oops. Which means there’s probably not enough in the other ball for the other sock. So last night, I decided that I will make the toes a different color. I wonder if that isn’t why some socks have different colored toes, anyway… Regardless, this pair of blue/charcoal socks will have purple/charcoal toes, because they’re my socks, and as the Yarn Harlot says, “There are no knitting police”!