The feeling I get from finishing a difficult project is comparable to how I feel after a particularly good orgasm. It’s a feeling of intense satisfaction coupled with a feeling of contentment. Only with the knitting it can go on for days.

That satisfaction and…well…endorphin rush for the lack of a better term, is one of the primary reasons I knit so much in the first place. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of pride I get from showing off one of my works or the way someone’s face will light up when they see what they’ve commissioned me to make.

I make a ridiculous amount of mistakes in my day to day life. I’m a space cadet and a scatterbrain. I’m not trying to throw a pity party or anything. I don’t feel any negative emotion toward what I’ve written. It just is what it is.

Knitting is so special to me because I can focus. Almost everything I do mentally improves dramatically when I have yarn and needles (or a hook) in my hands. I am not a space cadet when I’m knitting. I am entirely present. It’s a wonderful feeling. Then I finish, have that marvelous endorphin rush, and get to rush off to the next pattern puzzle.

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Invader Zim potential oops?

Now one thing you must understand about me is that I am TERRIBLE at gauging anything. It’s one of the reasons I stick so closely to toys. It really doesn’t matter what size a toy is for the most part. With clothing….well…I’ve even tried knitting swatches to try and get my measurements right, but I still get it wrong.

I usually have some luck when I measure things on my own body. I can add and frog as needed. Unfortunately, hats are a bit of a problem still. See, I have a very small head…

Which leads me to the topic of this particular blog – an Invader Zim hat that a dear friend commissioned. It’s not done yet but…well…see for yourself

I’m going to take it to work with me tomorrow to try it on heads much larger then mine so I can maybe get some perspective. I -really- hope I don’t have to frog it and start all over again. I used chenille yarn, which is very soft and fluffy. Unfortunately it is so fluffy that a single mistake typically ends with me ripping the whole thing and starting from scratch. (It’s hard to find the exact stitches once the needle is out and it drops stitches stupid easily.)

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Yeah, I’m doing this here…

My Nana is one of the strongest women I know. She put herself through night school at a young age so that she could become one of those nurses that takes care of babies. Her husband died when their youngest child was only 12, and she raised all three kids, kept the house, and kept everything running smoothly all by herself.

She’s outlived many of her friends and almost all of her immediate family. She’s had a number of very serious surgeries and come through even when everyone around her was convinced that there was no way she could do it.

She quit smoking cold turkey.

She is a scrappy little old Jewish lady from New York who is the clear matriarch of my family. She is the baker of brownies and pistachio cakes and the organizer of Sunday brunches. She is the definition of a fag hag and all of our gay family friends are her “boys.”

She is incredibly independent and stubbornly remains in a house determined to continue to live by herself. She believes strongly in always speaking her mind, sometimes to extremes.

She taught me the tools of a trade that have since become my passion – knitting and crochetting.

She is a warm, wonderful, woman with a spark I have yet to see the like.

She loves butterflies and has an incredible green thumb. She can make anything grow.

She called me two days ago, right before Radiolab Live started. I didn’t pick up. I called back the next afternoon, but it was already too late. I received a phone call from my father that evening telling me that he was just coming back from the hospital. Nana had fallen and broken her hip. She was heavily sedated and in a lot of pain. He called me again today to tell me that there had been complications with her kidneys. They’re going to see if they can do the surgery early this week, but they can’t until she’s doing better.

I’m really scared. I know I don’t call her as often as I should, but I can’t imagine life without her.

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Radiolab Live

Tonight was made of epic geekery and win. While my co-workers talked about going to a bar post our big meeting, I went to squee and listen to smart people talk about interesting stuff.

I took the BART over to Berkeley with A to see Radiolab Live (If you haven’t heard their podcasts yet – http://www.radiolab.org/series/podcasts/. I highly recommend them!) It was absolutely incredible. The discussion tonight was about dark and light. They discussed the evolution of eyeballs, the pure darkness of space as seen from an astronauts point of view, and the different viewpoints of blind people in how they choose to see the world.

I learned so much! They explained the various parts of the development of the eyeball in such a way that made sense, starting with the mutation of molecules that caught light particles to what you and I use to view the world.

They had interviewed and recorded the viewpoints of two different blind people. The first had begun to develop cataracts when he was 13 (and still sighted) and didn’t go fully blind until he was 35. At one point, at a party, someone made a comment regarding how beautiful his wife looked and how lucky he was that the only image he had of her was from the beginning of their relationship many years prior. He realized that he could either live in this nostaligic rememberance of a woman with no way to know how she looked as she aged, or he could try and live in the present. In order to do this, he decided to extinguish all use of imagery and vision in his mind. He has no idea of what a room looks like or what anything looks like for that matter. He does not think in pictures or images. Instead, even in his mind, he lives in a world of pure touch, sound, and smell. His mind is as sightless as he is physically. Then, they interviewed a second guy. He had lost his sight when he had an accident with a 44 gallon cask of acid. It burned his face, ate through his eyes, and even scarred/damaged his vocal cords. This is a man who believes that sight is the best way we have of forming relationships and interacting with one another. He believed that it was hard to create a connection with someone you can’t actually visually see. In order to combat this, he used the power of his imagination. He creates who film reels in his head to define the world around him. He might have never actually seen his wife with his own eyes, but through descriptions of others he now has a very clear image in his mind of what he believes her to look like. Now the best part about both of these interviews was when they set up a phone conversation between the two of them so that they could debate their differing beliefs regarding vision.

Then the story about the astronaut. I never really thought about how if you’re out of the ship and something blocks the light from, oh…say your arm, then it honestly looks like there’s nothing there. I mean, it’s obviously still there, but you simply cannot see it. His story, when they interviewed him, was about working on things on the ship and seeing several days go by in the course of 8 hours. He and his partner got locked out of the airlock. They both worked to try and get the airlock door open for 7 hours before they decided to try and decompress one of the nearby rooms and use that one instead. Mind you by the time they got around to this, they had hardly and C02 scrubbers left in their suit systems. They had to unbuckle their umbilical cords and maneuver the room by feel since their masks completely fogged up.

Throughout the entire show, their conversations were being beautifully illustrated by the Pilobolus. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T14rYqaqm_U&feature=related) It wasn’t just the topics either. The way that Jad and Rob play off each other is absolutely adorkable and actually makes me want to run up and hug both of them.

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Brain Meats

I love studying people. I love starting conversations with random strangers just so that I can get the opportunity to ask them how they handle or view a certain aspect of language, society, culture, etc. For example, a few months ago I was on a language kick and would ask anyone who let me their definition of the word “smart.” I think it’s wonderful that we all have our own interpretations of various things, but that they are similar enough that we are able to communicate and understand one another during normal conversations. However, I have to wonder how big those differences are and how they impact us on a day to day basis. For example, the differences between the words “jealousy” and “envy.”

A few weeks ago I randomly found a new fascination. I was fighting the head monkeys (translation – anxiety/depression/trapped in my head) and my typical methods of dealing just weren’t as effective as they had been in the past. In a fit of desperation, I posted the question to friends. Their responses actually surprised me and made me think. I really want to know how people deal with their own head monkeys. Why does this way work for someone and not for another? What is it about that thing? For example, a few people told me that when they get depressed they allow themselves to feel it all and cry it out. Then you have someone like me who rarely to never cries. (This is not a *pounds on chest* me to tough to cry. This is an actual I just don’t except on rare occasions.)

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Random Geekery

I want to get back into blogging, but every time I start I keep getting a bit too meta and that doesn’t need to be aired publicly.

Instead, weekend adventures!

I really have been failing at costumes this year. I wanted to dress up as one of those yipyip aliens from Sesame street, but had immense difficulty leaving my house and never got the materials. (I’ve finally realized why I have so much trouble leaving the house these days. My house = safety. I can pretend that the world doesn’t exist for as long as I’m in my room.)

A friend initiated an invitation for me to attend a Halloween gathering last Saturday that she herself had to bow out of. I had met the hosts once or twice before and was on friendly terms so I figured “what the hell? New people and new opportunities for adventure!” I’m really glad that I went.

I wore the vagina dentata (which is quickly becoming my back up costume) and introduced myself by running up to people and nomming on them with it. I met some fantastic people who were just as geeky as me. There were conversations ranging from second life, to knitting, to arguments about Doctor Who, to the meta. I had an absolutely marvelous time!

Other news:

I have a niece now! Matt and Premal spawned an adorable little girl named Maya. I’ve seen pictures and I simply cannot wait to meet her! I’m going to give her a cuttlefish stuffed animal. I figure that while other little girls are curling up around with teddy bears and dolls, she’s going to have dragons and tentacle beasts.

I’ve lost my food stamps unfortunately. I need a transcript to prove that I was only in two credit hours for school before I can get back on, but it might be too late. I’m going to wait out the next month and reapply. I really need them as they were easily one of the main reasons I was able to get my head above water finally.

I’m starting to look forward to finding a new job and getting a fresh start. I believe strongly in what my organization stands for and I’ve loved it for the most part, but I’ve made so many mistakes that a clean slate would be extremely welcomed. I’ve definitely learned quite a bit about my weaknesses from this job. For one thing, I work really hard on something only to screw myself up in the end. For example, at an event we had recently I developed the budget and found all the supplies we needed. I had everything set up for online check out so that all my co-workers would have to do while I was on vacation would be to enter the credit cards and click “purchase.” For some reason the online shopping cart was empty when they went to purchase things. I was unable to get online for quite a while and they spent several hours analyzing my spreadsheets and trying to find everything again. Random little things like that seem to happen all the damn time no matter how hard I try to avoid them.

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Creepy Goblin is Creepy

I got a request a few weeks ago for something I had never done before – a scary critter. Almost every toy I’ve made has been sweet, adorable, or just plain awesome. This is how the pattern showed me it would turn out if I followed everything to the letter:

This….is my version:

As you can see, I removed the collar and hair. I also lengthened and sharpened the nose, fingers, toes, and ears. The ears are actually twice the size of the originals! Add beady little eyes and you’ve got a really creepy looking dude. I really didn’t like how I had to knit everything separately and then sew it on. It makes for obvious seams that just look….well…crude in my opinion. I think with some experimentation I can get my next one (another customer request) looking a bit smoother then this pattern based one. I think one of the big differences has to be the fact that I’m not gluing on the eyes but am instead sewing them on.

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