my computer is a leo

My blog is misbehaving, and the only thing I can think to do to try to make it stop is to write another post.  I have no idea why this seems the right thing to me, but it does.

But I wrote my best friend a super-long email tonight, and so I am pretty much all written out.  And there isn’t anything fun or marvelous or strange to report right now.  But it is bugging me beyond words that my website is down. 

It won’t load when I try to load it.  Can other people load it?  I do not know.  Perhaps you can tell me!

I only know that I am annoyed, and not amused.  And also not feeling very creative under this kind of pressure.  This kind of grumpy pressure.  This pressure is grumpifying.  It only makes me grumpy, is all.

Also, the university I am enrolled at for the fall — for grad school! – told me they had set up my email account, but when I try to log in it doesn’t recognize me.  I am taking this as a comment.  A derogatory comment.  On my application essay.  Or something.  Maybe my hair.  Which needs cutting.

Also, perhaps the university email knows I am feeling fat and out of shape lately. 

And it couldn’t agree more.

C’mon, I gave you my tuition money — give me my email!

So I called the help desk and the lady there, she put me on hold for five minutes and then she gave me another phone number to call.  But then she told me it was too late tonight to call that number.  And that I should try back on Monday.

All of which was fine, except that an hour later I got an email (in my hotmail account) from this same lady saying that my problem had been “solved.”  Solved!  I opened up the email, and it was just this customer service wonky type “ticket” that was a record of the fact that I had called, what my customer service lady’s name was, and how she had “solved” my issue because she gave me a phone number.

And told me not to call it.

Technology and I are not speaking to each other today.  We are sitting in adjacent rooms, sulking at each other.  Sighing.  Dramatically.  At. Each. Other.

Technology is such a drama whore.

the only thing you can't buy here is dignity

So it would seem that I am enrolled in graduate school again.  Who knew?

I spent the better part of the fall and winter filling out applications, calculating commuter hours to and from various neighborhoods in the Greater Boston Area (bit of an oxymoron, that), and seeking out all the grant money I could find.

At the end of it all, I got accepted to my first choice school.  And none of my grants came through.

Oh, sure, I could take out student loans.  But, see, the LAST time I went to grad school, they PAID me to go.  Seems I have to get over myself a bit.   Seems that ten years later, I’m not quite the hot draft pick I once was.

So the fact that I walked away from that free ride through grad school a decade ago, merely so that I could devote more of my valuable time to partying and loitering and carrying on, now this decision seems to have been perhaps the slightest bit rash.  Myopic, perhaps.  Idiotic and insane, sure.  I’ll buy that.

It was, shall we say, not my best moment.  For about seven years or so.

So now that I’m all settled down, liberated of those wild oats that were such an intolerably heavy burden to me back then, and ready to pursue a noble and reasonably remunerative career, it seems that the rules have changed ever so slightly.

They expect me to pay for it.

After I heard that I didn’t get that last grant, the big one, the one that I filled out so serenely to cover ALL of my tuition and book expenses for the year, after that fell through, I got a little piqued.  Sort of threw my hands up in the air and said OH WELL YOUR LOSS.

Am I not awesome?

Sometime last week I remembered that I had already sent in my tuition deposit, like, the DAY I got accepted, certain as I was that any minute now the heavens would commence to rain scholarships and grants on my humble, bowed little head. 

That would explain why I kept getting invited to these bizarre-sounding New Student Social Hours and such.  Didn’t they realize I wasn’t speaking to them?

So I realized that I should probably officially defer.  Just for one year, to give the grant-bestowing organizations one more chance to welcome me back into their loving bosoms.  I was sure they were already regretting not giving me the cash I needed, so I’d just apply again in the fall, and allow them to correct this egregious error.

Yesterday, I got an email from the registrar, asking me if I was going to register for a class or two.  Naturally, this made me feel pretty good — getting the old personal invitation, you know — so I looked into it.

Turns out, I could PROBABLY manage to scrape together enough of my OWN MONEY to take ONE LOUSY CLASS this fall.  It’s a stretch, but maybe if I spend a little bit less money on ego supplements and self-regard steroids I could make it work.

Turns out, I could probably maintain a pace of one class per semester indefinitely, until I piled up enough requirements and credits to get my degree.  Which is, incidentally, exactly how my mother got her masters degrees.  Both of them.  God, I hate it when she’s right. 

So last night, I enrolled in my first class.  I made my very first tuition payment online (things have changed in ten years!).  I got my confirmation email that I had, in fact, made a payment towards the class tuition, and I realized that that was the first time I had actually schecked out my own dough for my own damn higher education.

And then I realized what an entitled, pretentious, tedious snot I had been all this time.  And I made another online tuition payment. 

Maybe if it’s my own money, I won’t throw away the degree this time.

sock pr0n!

A while back, I made some socks for my friend Saucygrrl.   I am well into the third pair of socks down the road from that pair, and I only now realized that I never did post pictures of the finished product.

To rectify that terrible omission, here are Saucy’s socks:

Saucy's socks

They are made from 100% mohair, hand-dyed by Zen Strings, and purchased, as were the blocking forms, from this lovely site that has quickly become my main purveyor of sock yarn.  The pattern is Baudelaire by Cookie A.

 This was the first time I had ever tried a toe-up method, which was fun and novel at first, but I found the whole wrap-and-turn nonsense at the gussets to be way too demanding of my attention. 

Since I like to knit my socks while watching costume drama on Masterpeice Theatre (I swear to god they could film episodes of The Love Boat in period dress and I wouldn’t give a damn as long as there were handsome British men in breeches and cravats cavorting about, manfully repressing their feelings…) this method forced me to waste too much of my attention on the knitting and not enough on the cravats.

But I did love the combination of cables and lace.  I just wish, in retrospect, that I had chosen a deeper color to work this pattern in.  I shall have to try again, this time with a deep, dark jewel tone. 

 Much like the socks I am knitting now, in fact:

red socks

This is another Cookie A pattern, charmingly known as Monkey, using Cherry Hill ultramerino, I think.  I am lousy at saving the actual names of my yarns.  But this one is a fantastic, rich red, and it is coming out even better than I had hoped.

Sadly, I am less thrilled with the pattern than I thought I would be — only because I knit with four needles, and this repeat calls for purls at both ends of each needle, which causeth the yarn to stretch at the “seams.”  Henceforth, I will eschew patterns with purls at both ends of the needles, because it is impossible to pull the yarn taut enough between purl stitches across needles.

I also recently finished these:

Twisted Flower

And I am sorry but you are just going to have to take my word for it that that is what these actually look like:

socks 002

…because I am incapable of taking good pictures of knitting.  I don’t want to use the flash, because you lose all the good detail and the true color with the flash, but if I don’t use the flash then the shutter time is too long and it comes out blurry.

I have spent so much time in the past two years getting good at knitting that I have completely failed to become good at photography.  Alas.  It shall have to be an obsession for another time.

Anyway, the brown ones are the ones I made, and the green ones are the actual pattern photo — AGAIN from Cookie A.  I am STUPID for her sock patterns. 

 Not sure what’s next in sockville, because I am planning on taking a brief respite from socks for a while and try something I’ve never tried before: a lacy shawl.  Check this out:

shetlandtriangle

 Photo and knits by Brooklyn Tweed, whose take on this pattern I really like.  In the pattern book this shawl is very pale and pastel and diaphanous (ick), and I really like how he’s solidified it into a more striking and dramatic piece.  I’ve already ordered yarn very similar to this, by the same amazing yarn people at Sundara Yarns.

I am really looking forward to working with some completely luxurious and awesomely seductive yarn, as Sundara is reputed to be.

I just don’t get people who knit with crap acrylic yarn.  I like to knit for the process, to watch something useful and wearable and beautiful slowly form out of the painstaking arrangement of one long, long bit of string.  Then I like to give the stuff I’ve knit to people who I think might appreciate it at least a little bit as much as I do.

But saving money is totally not the point.  I spend money on yarn and needles and patterns the way I used to spend money on taking myself out to eat, or buying books.  It is one thing that is totally for me, to suit my interests and desires.  I knit something because I want to.  And part of that equation includes asking myself:

what color do I want to spend my time with for the next couple of weeks?

what sort of texture do I want to run my fingertips along for hours at a time?

what new techniques can i wow myself with this time?

Knitting with hand-spun wool connects me to the community of knitters who feel the same way.  When I buy yarn from a tiny little outfit like Sundara, or Zen Strings, I am linking myself to the folks who thought it was worth their time to carefully, painstakingly create a skein of yarn that was a DELIGHT to the eyes and the touch.

Because that’s exactly why I knit.

That, and because I never thought I could be good at something so delicate and exacting.  And I flip myself out every time I realize that I am really actually not at all bad at this.

dundercats

Once again, work has been an awful lot like work again.  Not really sure why that is. 

Not that one doesn’t like one’s work, one just wishes one could turn off Work Brain and segue more efficiently into Weekend Brain on Friday evenings.

There’s a pretty serious line of thunderstorms pointed straight at my house right now…
 

dunder2

…they should be here in about ten minutes — so that ought to provide enough of a distraction to keep me from checking my work email obsessively.

I’m not always like this, you know, but it’s June now, and our megahuge event is in August, and I’m somewhat amazed to find that I am responsible for a large part of its success or failure. 

It’s cool though, nobody digs responsibility like I do, but it does keep me up some nights.  OK, most nights.

(Whoa, that wind is really picking up there.  Better close some windows.)

So this weekend i am going to try to concentrate on weekendy things, because the next eight weeks are going to take a big old bite out of my personal life.  Maybe shove some planty things into the ground, maybe clean out the shed, probably help a friend move on Sunday because I believe strongly in moving karma.

(Yikes that was some serious thunder!  i should proably unplug the computer!  But… OH! and here comes the rain!  Nice, sudden, sogging spring downpour…)

OK THAT was some thunder.  I’m unplugging this thing.  Back later when a computer-damaging power surge is less of a real concern.