How Do You Measure a Year?

Well, that was an awfully long hiatus to go on without planning it. The first couple of months can be attributed to my general laziness, but I’ve been experiencing extreme fatigue since September, which didn’t leave me with much spare time, or at least not much spare time in which I was conscious. (As a change from my usual insomnia, instead of not sleeping, I’ve been sleeping all the time but still feeling like I haven’t been sleeping.)

I’ve been feeling a bit better lately, and the prevailing theory is something like, Hey, you have bipolar disorder with a seasonal pattern to it — did you really think you could go the entire rest of your life without that affecting you in any way? (Which is not at all the way my doctor phrased it, but I think that’s sort of what she meant.) So I suppose I should feel lucky that this fall/winter my drastic change in energy level was not accompanied by a drastic change in mood. (I do not feel lucky, by the way. If I were a lucky person, it would not have taken me fifteen cups of Tim Hortons coffee to finally win a free coffee, even though the odds for winning a prize in Roll Up the Rim are supposed to be 1 in 6. Also, I made my fiancé buy that last coffee for me in order to trick the cup into thinking that it wasn’t for me. You may scoff, but it worked.)

Anyway! Tomorrow I will go for the regular blood tests I am supposed to get because of my medication, and they will also make sure there is nothing else wrong with me, which there probably isn’t, and then it will be spring and the sun will shine and the birds will sing! And here, to catch you up a little bit, are some photos from 2010. Roughly one from each month, but not exactly. Because some months, either nothing happens, or you don’t take pictures of what does happen, or you do take pictures, but they’re crap.

2010 started like this, in a Cuban restaurant in Manhattan. That’s Mare on the left and me on the right, Yolande is taking the picture, and Yolande’s friend Carla is somewhere out of camera range.

Mare and I ring in the New Year in New York

The fiancé, who does not like his photo posted online, and I spent Valentine’s Day at the Homeport Historic B&B/Inn. (This year we went to a Goo Goo Dolls concert on Valentine’s Day.)

Kitten with bad posture on Valentine's Day

The sock acknowledges famous goalie and knitter Jacques Plante at the Bell Centre in Montréal.

the sock pays its respects to Jacques Plante

Back in New York on April 1, I attended an event sponsored by Scholastic and Women in Children’s Media to celebrate the release of the Baby-sitters Club prequel and the rerelease of the series. Let’s just say that this was my childhood dream. Awesomeness quotient: Meeting Ann M. Martin? Check. Being in a room full of women my age who aren’t afraid to admit that they can still remember the names of all eight Pike siblings way more easily than they can remember useful things like where they put their keys? Check. Meeting people I know online from BSC fandom? Check. Meeting the amazing and funny David Levithan, who is a great YA author himself and has edited so many other novels I love? Swoon. I want to have his babies. It doesn’t matter that he’s gay and I’m engaged. I don’t see what could possibly go wrong with this plan. Um, I mean… Check!

me, sock, and Ann M. Martin, with David Levithan in background

Yes, this is the same sock that was held by Judy Blume and, well, everybody at the 2009 ALA conference. So many famous authors have touched it that I know I am never going to actually wear this pair of socks except to take pictures of how they look on my feet. Which is why I still haven’t finished them — I’m not in any all-fired hurry to finish knitting socks that have become strictly ornamental rather than functional. I’ll get back to them someday, and I’ve knit plenty of other socks in the meantime.

I told you the fiancé didn’t like his photo online.

me in a turquoise dress, and also That Guy

A dishcloth I knit poses with Our First Dishwasher. Oddly enough, by now the boy and I are already on Our Third Dishwasher, as last fall we moved from the apartment with Our First Dishwasher to the apartment with Our Second Dishwasher, and when Our Second Dishwasher broke in an expensive manner, our landlords decided it would make more sense to replace it with Our Third Dishwasher (okay, so technically none of these are really ours) than to fix it.

Mario Brick Dishcloth with Kitten's First Dishwasher

I got this in July.

my sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring, named Sparkly

I named my engagement ring Sparkly. BECAUSE HE IS SPARKLY.

The wedding, by the way, will now be a semi-elopement, since we have invited our parents. Which means we say we are having a small wedding, and people say, “Oh, with about fifty guests?” and we say, “NO. SIX.”

I got some more sock photos with Canadian rock stars when I went to a Crash Karma show. Here’s the sock with Mike Turner, formerly of Our Lady Peace.

Mike Turner holding my sock

And here it is with Edwin. Who is really quite good-looking.

me, Edwin, and the sock

That night I did also get a sock photo with Jeff Burrows (formerly of The Tea Party) and The Other Guy in the Band (okay, he has a name; it’s Amir Epstein), and they were also very nice and they look fine in the picture… but I’m in it, too, and I look terrible. So nobody gets to see that one.

David Usher seemed more confused by my sock photo request than the guys from Crash Karma were (and more confused than his keyboard player Kevin Young was that one time), but he posed with it anyway. This is maybe a month after the Crash Karma show, and it’s the beginning of the mate of the previous sock.

David Usher, sock, and me

Sock is a pirate! We’re on the HMS Bounty. This replica of the original was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny of the Bounty, and it’s been in other movies like Treasure Island and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Sock enjoys hanging out with movie stars.

Sock on the HMS Bounty

I made my ballet debut at the age of 30 as a party guest in The Nutcracker. I did not fall down.

me after The Nutcracker

And no picture-filled post would be complete without a kitty pic! Here’s me and my girl at Christmastime.

me and my catlet

We’ll see if I update more often this year. And I am knitting things that aren’t socks, too, although right now I’m mostly focused on the birth record I’m cross stitching for my new niece. I started it in July, the kid was born in January, and it’d be nice if I finished it before she starts school.

The Force Is Strong With This One

Reason #1 why Mare is awesome: She crocheted me a lightsaber for my birthday.

Me and my yarnsaber

Reason #2 why Mare is awesome: She made a cake for Kaytlyn’s baby shower, inspired by this Cake Wrecks post.

Spock baby shower cake

(When I told my mother that Mare made a cake with Spock holding a baby, she asked me, “Dr. Spock, or Spock with the ears?”)

Reason why Isabella (Kaytlyn and Addison’s baby) is awesome:

ZOMG it's a baby with a lightsaber!

Look at her, only ten days old and already holding her own lightsaber.

Golden

Sometimes — admittedly, not often, but sometimes — everything turns out just the way you hoped it would.

If you had asked me what I wanted to see in the men’s Olympic gold medal hockey game, I swear I would have said, “I want Canada to play the U.S., I want both teams to play very well so that it’s a close, tense, exciting game, I want it to go into overtime (but not a shootout because shootouts are crappy ways to win and even crappier ways to lose), and it would be nice if Nova Scotia boy Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal.”

It might as well have been made to order.

I wasn’t worried at all about the women’s gold medal game the other day, by the way. I never doubted for a moment that we’d win that one.

Go Canada sock

Oh, yeah, and I got my gold medal, too, in the 2010 Knitting Olympics. I have officially named these the Go Canada socks. Pattern: my own, more or less. Modified Silver‘s tutorial, worsted weight and 3.75 mm (or size 5) needles, casting on 44 stitches, increasing to 48 for the stranded knitting part (chart modified from chart in Audrey Ritchie’s Maple Leaf Beanie pattern), decreasing to 40 stitches around after the maple leaves. Briggs & Little Regal in Red and Bleached White.

Yes, there really are two socks, no foolin’.

My Knitting Olympics socks have crossed the finish line!

See? I told ya! The actual sock-knitting and even sock-designing process was less time-consuming than I thought it would be. I was correct in assuming that the hardest part would be adapting the chart and adapting a basic sock recipe so that the socks 1) looked the way I wanted them to and 2) fit on my feet. My first attempt accomplished neither of these things. I spent four days knitting half a sock, and then I ripped it out and started over. The first half-a-sock had the leaves exactly where I did not want them — on the front and back instead of the sides. There was probably a simple way to fix that but damned if I knew what it was, and I didn’t bother because I knew I had to start over anyway. On account of the half-a-sock was too tight to fit over my foot.

I fixed the problems on the second go-round and I might have been able to finish my socks a few days early, except that I had a really bad cold for the past week and it made me too tired and stupid to knit. I was so exhausted that I was completely incapable of knitting from a chart, increasing, or decreasing. I was only able to handle plain stockinette without screwing things up, so I took a few days off from the socks so that I wouldn’t make mistakes I would have to frog. Then, as is my custom, procrastinator that I am, I finished the last details of the Go Canada socks — weaving in ends, duplicate stitching — while watching the hockey game, and shortly afterward.

I might do some more duplicate stitching on them sometime in the future, to hide a couple of places where the floats show through and to neaten up the leaves, but then again, I might not, because I am lazy, and for all intents and purposes, they are FINISHED. As imperfect as they are, a finished pair of socks during Vancouver 2010 is a much more impressive showing than my 2006 Knitting Olympics, when I planned to knit a scarf but instead knit nothing because I wound up in the hospital due to being crazier than a sack of weasels.

Flame On!

The 2010 Knitting Olympics kick off in just over an hour, and I’m competing this year. I intended to take part in the first Knitting Olympics in 2006, but I wound up in the hospital when the Olympics began and was not allowed to bring sharpthings with me.

Oops.

raw ingredients for Olympic socks

In 17 days, these two balls of yarn (Briggs & Little Regal in Red and Bleached White) should be a pair of socks. Your basic red socks, with a white maple leaf and maybe a couple of white stripes. I don’t know; I’m deciding that as I go along. I’m not sure what maple leaf chart I’m using, either. Maybe the one from Audrey Ritchie’s Maple Leaf Beanie, maybe not. I’d use the chart from Maple if I were knitting this with sock yarn, but since I’m using worsted weight and it’s only going to be 40 stitches around, a chart that’s 22 stitches wide would be gigantic.

Obsessing over stuff like this is what’s going to turn knitting a really simple pair of socks into a production that will actually take me 17 days. IF 10:00 P.M. ATLANTIC TIME EVER COMES, THAT IS. This is the longest evening ever. It’s like waiting for Christmas morning.

Just Phoning This One In

Since I’ve been keeping some of you in suspense about why I spent Christmas in a hotel (and by “some of you,” I mean “Heather“), I guess it’s only fair to finally explain that it was because my parents had a flood at their house and had to live at a hotel for two months while their place was being renovated. (At least this was covered by insurance.) They lost hardly any possessions, but a bunch of walls had to be torn down and replaced. And some ceilings. And a lot of flooring. Hmm. I might have even told Heather this last week.

Hey! This house has no walls!

Most of the items that were destroyed were craft supplies in my mom’s sewing room. It’s a good thing that her yarn stash isn’t as formidable as mine.

Sewing room, post-flood

So my parents spent two months living in a hotel room with three cats, a dog, and a goldfish. (Well, at first there were two goldfish. RIP Glenn.) My mom had just had foot surgery and was supposed to mostly stay off her feet for a couple of months. Plus, my dad got pneumonia over Christmas.

When my brother and I came to visit, we stayed in another hotel room, which was actually larger than the one that my parents and the menagerie were living in. No, it doesn’t make sense.

Our Christmas tree was kind of small this year.

My cat underneath the hotel room Christmas tree

Small enough that two cats working together can manage to knock it over and run through the room with it.

My mom liked eating Christmas dinner in a restaurant, though, and decided that it is to be our new Christmas dinner tradition. I’m down with that. Way fewer dishes to do.

Mare and I didn’t actually do any yarn shopping in New York, but don’t worry — we did plenty of other shopping to make up for it. Most of my photos from the trip are still on her computer, so I’ll post them another day. You know, once I actually have them.

Knitting on the subway in New York

The sock I brought along was just a basic sock with Knit Picks Felici in the colourway Aquarium. I love the yarn, the colourway is discontinued, and I hope they introduce a new colourway that’s similar to it. Since I am essentially finished that pair of socks now (“am essentially finished” = “have not yet grafted the toe of the second sock because I am lazy”), I also cast on for a new project, Fetching in the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. The colourway is 601, and in real life it looks nothing like it does on the screen on that product page. In real life it’s definitely not blue, and much more of a dusty purple.

I have completed one-and-one-third fingerless mitts, but the second one is taking longer than the first because for some reason I have suddenly forgotten how to consistently count to any number higher than one, and that slows me down somewhat.

There Is a Shawl

I only knit one Christmas present this year. It was a shawl.

closeup of Goldielocks Shawl

The Fleece Artist Goldielocks Triangle Shawl, to be exact. You know, the one that I’ve been calling the Shawl of Doom. It’s 56% Kid Mohair, 24% Silk, 20% Nylon, and 100% infuriating. The colours go very well with my giant purple stuffed hedgehog, but I actually made it for my mother.

giant stuffed hedgehog wearing Goldielocks Shawl-in-progress

I finished knitting it on December 23 and blocked it on December 24 by pinning it to a hotel bed and spritzing it with water.

me wearing the Goldielocks Shawl

I would explain why I spent Christmas in a hotel, but that would take far too long. My bus to New York leaves in less than three hours, and of course I am still packing. Mare and I certainly have some yarn shopping to do once we get there! Maybe I will make “Blog more often” one of my New Year’s resolutions and actually explain about the hotel next week. Or maybe not.

30 Days of Alcatraz

The end of November means the end of National Novel Writing Month, which means that once again I can rejoin the world of the living. I actually hit 50,000 words on November 28, and yesterday I went to knitting night for the first time all month, did some cross stitching for the first time in ages, and only wrote a measly one thousand words.

I was technically taking part in a NaNo online chat while I was at knitting night, but declined to take part in the hour-long “word war,” since there was no way I could type that much and still hope to get any knitting done. When the other people in chat were tallying up their word counts for the hour, I said that mine was “about five rows of a shawl.”

I did not do very much knitting in November. I did, however, show the Margaret sock a good time. I took her to an Emm Gryner show on November 2, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. There were maybe about ten people in the audience, because the venue had done basically nothing to promote the show. We were ten very appreciative people, though. And who wouldn’t appreciate an evening that included Emm Gryner and Darren Eedens playing the theme song from The Littlest Hobo?

Emm was very gracious about holding the sock, and, as you may be able to tell from her tour diary entry, she also thought it was cool that she was holding a sock that Judy Blume had held. I love people who don’t think that Can I take a picture of you holding a half-knit sock? is a weird question at all.

Emm Gryner, the Margaret sock, and me

The title of this blog entry has been brought to you by Emm Gryner’s song “89 Days of Alcatraz” and Gennifer Choldenko’s novel Al Capone Shine My Shoes.

Spooky

You may notice that the date of this post is a HORRIBLE LIE, since I am posting it well after Halloween. But these are the two pictures I meant to post on Halloween, and then I didn’t do it for some reason (i.e., laziness, forgetfulness). They are Halloween-themed, though, so please, let’s all just feed into my delusion and pretend that it is still Halloween.

First of all, bat cloth, bat cloth, BAAAAAAAAAAT CLOTHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

bat cloth, bat cloth, BAT CLOTH!

Furthermore, spiderweb!

dew on a spiderweb

I saw this dew-bedazzled spiderweb one morning as I stopped to tie my shoe on my way to work. So then I stopped to take a picture of it (the spiderweb, obviously, not my shoe, though admittedly the last batch of photos that I took included an accidental closeup of my knee) and I was late, but it was totally worth it. Although it would have been even more worth it if it were a better photo, but I takes what I can gets.

The Shawl of Doom marches on. It is one of those slow sort of funeral-dirge death marches, but at least it is marching.