Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Viking Baby!

Fair warning: even pirates get all gushy and squishy when they are talking about babies, so if you can’t handle any “ooo cutesie wootsie baby” crap, then you might want to skip today’s entry.

Look! It’s a picture of my nephew! Isn’t he the cutest thing you ever saw in your whole life? Don’t you just wanna pick him up and snuggle him! And what is that on his head? Why it’s a conceptually interesting Viking Baby Hat, which although entertaining in theory lacks somewhat in its implementation. In fact it makes him look like some sort of medieval bunny rabbit…but his Auntie Ragnar made it for him so his Mamma’s gonna force him to wear it, poor kid, don’t worry you can take it off as soon as we take this picture.

Yes, we shall call it “Viking Baby Hat” round 2, since there was actually pervious incarnation of Viking Baby Hat that didn’t make it as far as the “having horns” stage. This is the first and, as far as I am concerned only, acceptable use of the “bobble.” The bobble being a hideous little creature, that in addition to being time consuming to make, resembles nothing so much as a nipple. In fact a friend of mine had a virulently green sweater (think St. Patty’s day, if it were a hallucinogenic rather than alcoholic holiday) covered in bobbles. I called it “the sweater of a thousand nipples.” However, they do make surprisingly good faux rivets.

As you can see, the problem with Viking Baby Hat Round 2 is the horns. They are overly large for one thing, and they stick up rather than gently curving as a good horn should. This was also my first experience with “novelty” yarn, and I found it fundamentally lacking. I think that Viking Baby Hat Round 3 will have “metal” bands around the base of the horns, with little bobbley rivets on them, because (as long as we are confessing) I actually really like making bobbles, but they are so hideous and generally ridiculous looking that I can’t ever justify the effort. I think that I’m going to have to use a smaller gauge needle as well, so that I can fit in the amount of detail that I would like. Also, I sort of would like to have a spike sticking out of the top of the hat…perhaps there will be many incarnations of Viking Baby Hat, the better to make the children of the world look like fierce Viking warriors. ‘Cause you all know that Viking is Norse for pirate right? When you went out a’viking, you were going to pillage and plunder, and we all know about pillaging and plundering.

Now before all my history/archeology/truth-in-role-playing friends get a hold of this and give me what fore, let me just say that real Viking helmets didn’t have horns on them. I know, so spare me the lecture, but come on! It looks cool, and that is reason enough I say!

Let’s see one more picture of Viking Baby in his helmet…

Doesn’t he look fierce? His mamma spoils him awfully though, so I’m sure he’s gonna grow up to be one of those sweet tempered, back to the land, make milk not war sort of Vikings. Of course how could you not spoil him? Look at that cutsie wootsie little face!

Okay! Ragnar is making herself feel nauseous!
And, I’m actually not working tomorrow, but I will be back to my non-cooing, regular old piratey self on Thursday. Promise.

Ragnar…proud Auntie.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Beer is a very funny word

I promised myself that I would never let this turn into one of those irritating diary type blogs that are only interesting to a few people because most of the entries go something like this:

I had the totally best weekend ever! First me and (group of friends listed by first name as if we are supposed to know and or care about these people) went to (cool place where only cool people go, and you’d know that if you were cool). Then we went to (another cool place that…yeah, you’d know if you were cool). And it was SOOOO fun.
*followed by pictures of subject and aforementioned friends, usually looking less than cool and more than drunk*

So I am not doing that, but can I just say that I had the most insane weekend on record? One of those "ohmigod I'm acting like a 14 year old who's parents left town and forgot to hid the keys to the liquor cabinet" kind of weekends. One of those "if I keep this up I'm going to find myself living in a cardboard box in the gutter" kind of weekends.

I think that we are going to have to rethink Knitting at the Bar. Having three midgrade knitters, but first class drinkers meet up at 4:00 on a Friday at a bar selected for it’s incredible range of mirco-brewed beer is a recipe for…uhm, well it’s not good knitting. Somehow in the excitement of finally fixing the hole in the edge of the skull shrug I forgot to eat dinner. I did not forget to stop drinking however…and I ended up with another hole in the other side of the skull shrug when I broke a thread while trying to pick up enough stitches for the “collar.” I shoved it in my backpack in disgust, the better to think about when I sobered up. Incidentally I should re-do the math on that one, since in my increasingly inebriated state I decided that I needed to pick up 354 stitches…and that’s a lot of fucking stitches.

One thing leading as it inevitably does, to another, I didn’t get home until 2 o’clock in the morning. My last conscious memory was of drinking whiskey out of the bottle after we had decided to go and rent the original Pink Panther after having seen the incredibly crappy remake….I’m sure you can see what this is leading up to.

*drumroll please* YES! A really wicked hang over. I try not to get really wicked hang overs, because they are by definition unpleasant. In addition to being unpleasant they are terribly inconvenient when the day ahead of you contains a huge beer festival. A beer festival devoted to Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines, Scotch Ales and my favorite new style of beer, the Double IPA, all very strong and high in alcohol. Let’s all point our fingers at Ragnar and say “bad planning Ragnar, very bad planning.”

But WWBBD? (that’s “What Would Black Beard Do?”, for you non-pirates out there) He would power through I say! and power through I did. The first two hours of this thing were agony, and that thing that they say about the hair of the dog…yeah, well I think in my case it took several whole dogs worth. I think the thing that finally brought me around was Founder’s Devil Dancer, (not a double, but a triple IPA) clocking in at a whopping 13.4% alcohol.

Let me just say, yay for Michigan! Is there any other state where you could get 20 microbreweries to show up in the middle of February, for a beer festival that is being held in a tent, in the snow? For that matter, is there any other state where 1500 people would show up for such a festival, and be positively ecstatic about being crammed into a tent that was so crowded that in order to move anywhere you had to move sideways and literally wedge your way through the crowd? I made many new friends, and was hugged by many people who I don’t know, and was told that I was loved by at least three people.

We did try to keep tasting notes. The first few are fairly legible and almost intelligent. The “Kilt Tilter” was deemed to be overly smokey, and the Livery’s Triple Bock was “too perfumed.” The bourbon barrel aged “Scotty Karate” was said to taste “strongly of bourbon, but smooth” and got a four star rating from Dready who said that she could “drink it all day.” After that our notes got a little more general, “good” “supreme” “great” and a misspelled “excelent.” Then we gave up on taking notes and concentrated on not spilling our beers in the crush.

Most surreal experience of my life: being in a tent full of people who were all getting progressively more drunk at pretty much the same rate. Towards the end of the 5 hour drink-a-thon the entire crowd was swaying in unison. I was probably one of the most sober people there, due mostly to my really wicked hangover, which receded but did not disappear entirely. But even I was demonstrating severe lack of judgement, as evidenced by the fact that I am now the proud owner of a tank top with the words “Beer bitch, I judge a man by the beer he drinks” scrawled across my boobal region…it is a rather tight shirt and is probably the reason that I got so many hugs.

And what happens when everyone you know is drunk as a passel of badgers at 5:00 in the afternoon? Well it’s not pretty. Thankfully Dready’s apartment was ridiculously close by, and we all passed out on whatever horizontal surfaces we could find…mostly the floor. 3 or 4 hours later we were sober enough to wander homeward and tuck ourselves into bed…at 9:30 on a Saturday night.

Sunday was actually *gasp* somewhat productive. I almost quilted an entire quilt, and would probably have it off the frame and bound by now were it not for the completely inexplicable breakage of bobbin thread. I probably have about 15 more minutes of quilting on this thing, but for some reason the bobbin thread keeps breaking every 5 inches. If anyone knows any good sewing machine voodoo, please send it my way, because right now I'm operating on the "just ignore it and it'll go away" principle. It was a good excuse to take a break and ply the linen rope that I’ve been spinning lately…again transformed as if by miracle into something that you might actually want to have around.

I will leave you with a list of my favorite beer names from the festival.

“Big Phat Abbey Ale”
“Final Absolution”
“Blushing Monk”
“Bad Habit”
“Quit Jerkin my Firken”
“Fourth Dementia”

And who could forget:

“Kiss my Scottish Arse”

Tomorrow I will not blog about beer. I swear. I promise, and if you are very very nice I will even post a picture of my nephew wearing a hat that I knit him.

Ragnar...who is not just a dirty drunk.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On not being a crabby ass

I am such a dummy head! Here I was feeling all stressed out and crabby because work stinks (it is work after all) and I’ve been working 10 hour days, with no time left over to do anything except eat, drink, fall into bed, and wake up the next day and do it all over again. I forgot that taking time for yourself isn’t an all or nothing sort of thing, 15 minutes is 15 minutes, and if that’s what you’ve got then take it! So here’s a list of things that I am going to next time I’m feeling like a big crabby ass:

Dig in the Dirt

I planted my new seeds from Seed Saver’s yesterday. I think I am now up to 10 different types of tomatoes, including the very beautiful, if strangely named “Hill Billy Potato Leaf,” as well as 5 different types of peppers, the rabe (which is looking rather stringy…I’m sort of worried that there might not be enough sunlight for them), and a very interesting curly headed Broccoli called “Romanesco.” Of course half of this stuff hasn’t even sprouted yet, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a beautiful, bountiful (weed free) garden in my mind to retreat to instead of banging my head against the wall and muttering things under my breathe. Plus the smell of dirt just makes me happy.

Walk to work

Admittedly this takes 45 minutes each direction, but I’ve got a stack of books on CD (I’m an addict, what can I say) and it gives me time to decompress. Especially the walk home, why would I want to take all that head banging nonsense home with me? My walls aren’t safe to bang your head against anyway, most of them have rather a lot of nails and splinters sticking out of them.

Eat Real Food

Instead of the crap that I’ve been eating lately. Homemade whole wheat bread is great, but toast and jam for breakfast everyday is still nothing but carbohydrates, sugar and fat (butter…mmm…my best friend). We had a lovely meal down at the local Korean Watering Hole last night, many many veggies.


You can spin a surprising amount of yarn in 15 minutes…even scratchy nasty linen yarn. I saw the miracle occur once, but honestly this stuff is so abrasive to spin I can’t help but wonder if it was a fluke and I’m going to wind up with some sort of industrial rope. I have to keep the one small hank of finished yarn right next to the wheel while I’m spinning so that I can pick it up and fondle it when I get frustrated. I have started on the second bobbin of the two ply, so if I keep taking my 15 minutes as they come, I should be able to start plying this weekend. Also I found the second bag of linen in my basket of unspuns, and realized that they are one pound bags, not two pound bags, so I won’t have quite as ridiculous an amount as I had thought. That also means that I’ve only spun about half a pound…this stuff is never ending. If it wasn’t for the barely perceptible filling up of the bobbin I would have to wonder if I was caught in some time loop…because that bag doesn’t seem any emptier.

And of course…Knit

Somehow while I wasn’t watching I made it to the cuff of the second sleeve of the Skull Shrug, only about 1 more inch of ribbing and I will be ready to start on the “collar” (I use quotation marks because it’s not really a collar but I don’t know what else to call it.). So that is very exciting, although it means that I really do have to address the unraveling section which is held together with safety pins at the moment.

And it goes without saying that I will continue my random acts of piracy.

And if all else fails I can look forward to the weekend…which is *gasp* tomorrow! Oh frabjous day, and tomorrow is “knitting at the bar.” I really have to find better names for these reoccurring events like “sewing night” and “knitting at the bar.” Knitting at the bar is a usually-once-a-month, Friday afternoon, knitting clinic that I run for my friend Colleeeeen and whomever else wants to come down and either knit, or have me help them with their knitting…at the local sports bar. You know, because knitting and beer go so well together.

Oh and speaking of beer! The Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Festival is on Saturday, oh how I hope there are enough quarters in my change jar to pay my entrance fee.

See how much one night of self indulgence can change your mood? Now I’m all giddy and looking forward to the brand new day…or more specifically the day after that, because that’s when the great outdoor, damn it’s cold out, did you say something? I couldn’t hear you, I was drinking beer, event will occur. Tasting notes on Monday, and I hope everyone has a delicious weekend.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lack of inspiration=Bad pirate jokes

My brain is so frazzled right now that I can hardly put together a complete sentence, let a lone a coherent blog entry, so instead, a pirate joke.

A young captain is standing on the deck of his ship and the lookout calls “pirate ship on the starboard horizon!” Immediately the ship is in chaos, people are running around trying to decide what to do next, cannon balls are rolling around on deck: it’s bedlam. The captain is calm however and he calls out to the cabin boy, “bring me my red shirt.” In some confusion the cabin boy runs down to the captain's cabin and returns with the red shirt. The captain puts it on and takes charge of his disorderly crew and when the pirate ship attacks they are ready.

The fight is so easy that it’s almost anticlimactic, but the next day the look out calls again, “Captain, there are two pirate ships approaching off the port bow!” The crew is feeling rather cocky from the experience the previous day and are all slapping each other on the back and talking about how they’re going to “gut these scurvy pirate knaves with their own cutlasses.” The captain looks a little more concerned though, and he calls out to the cabin boy to bring him his red shirt. The cabin boy scampers off and returns shortly with the shirt in hand. After he puts it on he begins to order his crew, and when the pirate ships strike they are just barely ready. It is a bloody battle but eventually the pirates are defeated.

While they are drinking their daily rations of grog and mopping up the deck after the battle the first mate asks the captain “Why is it that when pirates are sited you call for you red shirt?” “That’s an old family secret, taught to me by my Grandfather Admiral Hodgepodge,” the Captain replies, “When I am wearing my red shirt it is impossible for the crew to tell if I’ve been injured, and the sight of their captain fighting in their midst rallies there spirits and makes them fight harder.”

The next day the look out calls out “Oh shit captain, I can see three pirates ships, one on the starboard, on off the port side and one heading straight for us!” The first mate looks up at the captain expectantly and asks “should I send the boy for your red shirt.” “No,” says the captain, “ask him to fetch me my brown pants.”

And since I have nothing to report as far as knitting, spinning, quilting or anything else, because my job sucks right now and when I get home all I want to do is drink, another pirate joke:

A pirate walks up to a bar and orders a rum. The bartender looks at him with some surprise because he has a huge steering wheel sticking out of the fly of his trousers. “Here’s your drink, and if you don’t mind my asking, what’s up with the steering wheel?” The pirate knocks back his drink in one swallow and looks down at the steering wheel, “Oh that?” says the pirate, “that’s drivin’ me nuts.”

Oh! But I just remembered that my seed order came yesterday. It was rather delayed because of the unfortunate lack of fundage in my checking account, but I finally did manage to scrape some pennies together and it was sitting on my dining (er…piling) table last night when I got home from drinking too many margaritas. So tonight, I will plant! I will plant in the seed tray that was supposed to contain basil, but which never sprouted. Then I will put it in the window next to the other seed tray, the one with all the tomato and rabe seedlings in it, and the new seeds will want to show the old seeds what they are made of, so they will (I’m sure) start growing immediately. Yay!


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Question of Taste...

I have a question about etiquette since, being a pirate, I am not very qualified in that area. I have noticed that my co-workers seem to have no compunction about commenting loudly about whatever it is I decide to eat for lunch. Isn’t that what’s commonly known as rude? Wouldn’t Miss Manners tell them to fuck off? I actually don’t take my lunches in the breakroom anymore because I got sick of the “and what are you eating today?” comments, but even when I am hiding in my office I get a lot of “oh migod, you’re going to eat that?” And it’s not like I eat big bowls of live worms, or anything. I eat leftovers, I eat sandwiches, I eat sushi from the grocery store across the street.

Here are some memorable things that have been said about food that I am in the process of eating:

“I don’t know how you can eat that many vegetables at the same time.” (re: leftover stew with green beans, cauliflower and carrots)
“I just have to ask…what is that?” (re: oatmeal leftover from breakfast that I was heating up as a midmorning snack.)
“The only vegetables I can eat are canned green beans, I just can’t stand fresh vegetables.” (re: a large salad)
“What are you some kind of health nut?” (re: an apple)
“I can’t stand that oriental stuff.” (re: take-out Pad Thai)
“Is that that stuff with raw fish in it?” (re: grocery store sushi, I decided not to engage in a discussion of the differences between sushi and sashimi)
“And just what are you eating today?” (re: Ramen, during a lean time, with some broccoli cut up in it because plain Ramen is too boring to contemplate.)
“Whole wheat bread makes me think of cardboard.” (re: a sandwich on homemade bread)

And here are some things that I have restrained from saying regarding things that my co-workers are eating.

“Canned peaches and cottage cheese? What are you on the preservatives and whey diet?”
“Could you please go and eat that beef-stew-in-a-can someplace else? The smell makes me want to puke.”
“Perhaps if you didn’t eat Burger King every day you wouldn’t be morbidly obese.”
“What is that, and iceburg lettuce and mayonnaise salad?”
“Cheese cubes out of a bag does not a balanced meal make.”
“I realize the cardboard box called that a salsbury stake, but it looks like the accidentally packaged up an old boot sole….of course after being microwaved for 12 minutes I suppose anything would look like an old boot sole.”
“You can’t possibly find that appetizing.”
“Have you ever thought of eating anything that might be classified as food?”
“I didn’t know they could make plastic that chewable. If you spit it out now, you could eat it again tomorrow.”

So why am I, the pirate queen, being the polite one here? Why must I sit on my tongue day after day and listen to how people think the food I’m eating is disgusting…while cramming their bodies with the most unappetizing, not to mention unhealthy crap ever to come out of the freezer section?

Sigh, I suppose I should be lashed to the mizzen mast and forced to eat fruit cocktail out of a can until I repent my polite midwestern ways.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Fibery Fluffiness

The first time Yammer (so named for his tendency to Yammer on about everything…he’s from Tennessee so I understand it’s genetic) saw some of us Sewing Nighters spinning he wondered: “Is there something wrong with the yarn you can buy at the store?” Of course not, but there’s nothing wrong with the sweaters that you buy at the store either and yet we spend $100 and thousands of hours so that we can make them ourselves…’cause it’s fun damn it! And it gives you that sense of accomplishment that can only be had from doing something that is time consuming, expensive and relatively pointless, (doesn’t everyone need a homegrown, naturally dyed, handspun, handknit felted yak fur casserole caddy?) Anyway, that is what I was thinking about on Saturday when some craftwhore friends and I went on a wee little road trip down to the Fleece Fair, or the Fluff Fest or whatever it’s called. There is nothing like a mob of spinners/knitters/felters/dyers in a middle school cafeteria, surrounded by balls of roving, tables full of books and skein after skein of beautiful handspun yarn to make you feel vindicated about your craftwhoreness. And I bought some roving and it wasn’t even black! It was…ah…red, and fire colored…but not black damn it! Maybe I can ply it with black.

When we got back from the fiber orgy I decided to ply the pitifully small amount of linen that I had managed to spin up over the last few weeks so that I could get it off my bobbin and spin up some of the wonderful new stuff. And a miracle occurred! The twiny nasty stuff that was practically giving me rope burns while I was spinning it turned into slightly pearlescent, silky gorgeousness! It was amazing! So instead of digging into my great balls of fire I am going to finish spinning the linen…and that’s quite an undertaking because I started with about 4 pounds of it and I think I have at least 3 and a half of those pounds left…but seriously! it’s so beautiful. I spun almost a whole bobbin of it on Sunday, completely neglecting my quilting, woo hoo!

Oh…and that thing about using Sewing Night to get back on track with skull shrug? Outcome: bigger hole. Ah well, live and learn and where did I put that darning needle anyway?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

All hopped up on glue fumes

My mother is a collector of folk tales, and so when I was growing up I heard a lot of the “youngest-son-making-his-way-in-the-world-falls-in-love-with-wrong-woman-and-must-perform-some-impossible-task-to-win-his-lady” type fairy stories. A fairly common impossible task was the moving of a great pile of sand from one place to another while using some ridiculously small container…a thimble say. There was always a time limit involved, and the youngest son would always come out all right…usually by whistling to the ants or some such thing and getting them to move the sand for him. Anyway, I have been set an impossible task. My boss has pulled a ridiculous quantity of merchandise off our shelves and is asking me to send it back to the vendor. This is stuff that isn’t selling obviously, and has been sitting here for years…some since before my time, and my time started 6 years ago (ack! Where has my life gone?). So I’m supposed to package it up and write some sort of cover letter that will explain to the warehouse that they should happily take all of this shit (and I mean that in the most literal sense) and put it back on their shelves…and give us a big fat credit. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically.

Here’s the pile of sand with a thimble part though…I’m supposed to take all the price tags off and gussy it up so it looks new. I’m armed with this bottle of glue remover that makes me get dizzy after about 30 seconds, and I’ve got 11 boxes of this crap to go through. Impossible you say? Well tune in next week and find out if I get the princess or not…really I’d settle for a chocolate bar but actually I’m gonna get…nothin’.

It’s sewing night!! Hurrah! A digression for those of you that don’t know what a sewing night is. Sewing night is a Stitch and Bitch ™ type event (no really…that dates back to my great great grandmama Ragnar the Wise, the Stitch and Bitch ™ name has been in my family for generations). I am a quilter and I hang out with quilters and sewers and stitchers of all denominations, and we thought that we would get a lot more done if we tried to gather once a week…or month…or whenever and work on things together. What really happened is that we all took up knitting and none of us has really sewed in forever…so really we should call it knitting night…but for some reason we don’t. A few years ago there was a motion to print up T-Shirts under the name “The Angry Beavers Sewing and Knitting, Ranting and Raving Anarchist Society of Death” but we never quite got around to printing them up.

My self imposed project for sewing night is to get the skull shrug back on track. I am afraid that this will involve picking out more of the stitches around the unraveling arm section…I expect that this will be very irritating and that I will just end up making a bigger hole that I will then decide to put a patch behind…just like I originally thought I should. Damn it though, that’s some damn fine knittin’ and I’d like to wear it for a few months before it starts looking like a falling apart piece of crap.

And I’m off for the weekend, back to the media-free zone, also known as my house. No bloggity blog until Monday when I get back to work, but Monday will be a good day! There will be the sewing night report, and also the Fleece Fair report…and hopefully a tally of the number of quilts I finished over the weekend.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Interruption in regularly scheduled programming...

I was hijacked, hijacked I tell you. I was minding my own business, delivering some particularly entertaining valentines to a friend (they featured portraits of chickens!) and she hijacked me and made me go a beer club meeting. Argh! Is there no end to my sacrifice and suffering? I gave up going to the gym so I could go and spend time with people who are even geekier about beer than I am. People who don’t have to ask what kind of hops you use in your IPA, because they can tell from the aftertaste, people who identify beer contaminants by smell! Now don’t get me wrong, I am beer geek of the first order, if there’s not some sort of microbrew on tap I will drink whiskey, and don’t ever ask me to recommend a beer to you because I’ll psychoanalyze you and then recommend whatever I’m drinking. Probably the only reason that I don’t go to more Homebrew meetings is because I feel bad about the fact that all my brewing equipment is in storage during the renovation…beer guilt. Plus the fact that they are always held during the week and, well, it’s a meeting about beer so you tend to get rather tipsy…okay smashed. Here’s the most horrible part about last night’s hijacking…I enjoyed it! Argh! I’m a beer geek! It’ll only be a matter of time before I start talking about primary fermenters and sparge water! My garden will be over run with hop vines, and I’ll start roasting my own barley. I’ll knit carboy cozies…with skulls on them!

Thank goodness I have sewing night and the fleece fair to keep me grounded. Except that Sewing Night (which should really be called “anything goes night”) is really more of a drinking club for crafters. Also one of the local Micro Breweries is halfway between us and the fleece fair, so no doubt we will all stop in with our spindles and test out the new fiber over a pint or two, much to the entertainment of the regulars. Plus there’s the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Festival coming up weekend after next, and I’m looking forward to that almost as much as the Fleece Fair. Is there any hope? I’m just going to have to bow to the inevitable and embrace my inner beer nerd. Hey Celtic, when are we gonna brew again? Do you need any Carboy cozies? Is the homebrew blogging community as great as the knitting bloggers?

Damn your fermented Barley wonderfulness beer, why do you have to be so good?


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pirates and Pirate Hats.

Domestic Piracy has been heavy on the domestic and light on the piracy lately so today I’m going to pay tribute to another bad ass female pirate. Ching Shih, also known as Ching (or Cheng) I Sao. She took over her husband’s pirate fleet when he died in 1807, marrying their adopted son Cheng Pao as a way of cementing her leadership. She commanded a fleet of ships that at one point numbered in the thousands, with hundreds of thousands of pirates under her command. She regularly increased the size of her fleet by commandeering the government vessels that were sent to subdue her. She was not a happy go lucky, hangin’ out on the quarter deck drinkin’ rum sort of pirate. She was more like a ruthless dictator pirate. Her fleet was run under a code of laws, and the punishment for pretty much any infraction was death. Steal from a town that’s helped our fleet? Death. Hold back loot from a raid? Death. Questioning orders? Death. Rape a female captive? Death. Well what if it was consensual? Death for you, and the woman in question gets thrown over board with a weight tied to her feet. Not a very nice lady. There is also a story that she used to steep her enemy’s hearts in rice wine, drink the wine and eat the heart, but since that information came from a magazine called “Modern Drunkard” I think you can probably discard it. When the pressure got to be too much, she made a deal with the government and got herself a pardon, retiring to run a brothel, and living to the ripe old age of 64.

“We Call Them Pirates” hat update: I’m halfway through my last row of skulls, then reductions, and knitting the lining (from the provisional cast on, did I tell you that I learned how to do provisional cast on? Well I did, and it’s not even too fucked up or anything). I would post a picture of it, but I don’t have a camera so go check it out at Hello Yarn, because it looks EXACTLY like that one. ‘Cause I’m following the pattern. And after it’s done I am done with pirates….well after the skull shrug is done. And after Evil Step-daughter’s Pink and Skull scarf is done. Then really, no more knitting with skulls on it for at least…a month. A week? A couple of days anyway. I was thinking some nice lacey socks…although today I had a little brain storm: I should knit some argyle socks with little skulls on them…’cause what’s a pirate’s favorite kind of socks? That’s right kiddies, they’re Aaarrrrgyle!

Four more days until the Fiber Festival. Whoo Hoo! And I might even have two nickels to spend on fluff before then…maybe.

Yours in ratiness...

PS: a late addition for those of you who don't read the knitting blogs. Knitting Curmudgeon posted this on her site today and it is the best! Look I made one.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Back from vacation, and I'm exhausted.

The tomatoes are growing! Turns out what they really wanted was to be left by themselves for a long weekend without my poking and prodding. The Rabe is about an inch and a half tall! Amazing little boogers. The basil seeds are molding however…maybe I shouldn’t have left the plastic covers on the trays while I was out of town, but I have this fear of the cats discovering them and thinking “ooo, fancy new litter boxes with real dirt.” Taking the bitter with the sweet I’d have to say that everything is pretty good in garden land, I’m going to thin the Rabe when I get home tonight. I’ve heard other gardeners say that they don’t have much heart for thinning, but I think it’s sort of fun. Only the strong will survive, and everyone else will be pulled up by the roots…har har!

Kentucky was great, and I could ramble on about it endlessly but it would be a lot of names of people and a lot of "and then we went there" and "and then we drank Bourbon." If you really want to be subjected to that, let me know. This is the second time that Dready and I have roadtripped together and we seem to have some bad weather mojo (or juju as Dready says…but that might just be French for mojo). When we went to Chicago for Thanksgiving it took us 6 and a half hours instead of 4 because most of the Michigan portion of the journey was driven at a 30 mph crawl in a white out blizzard. The Kentucky and Indiana weather demons have a bit more imagination. We were being good little out of town tourists on Saturday and went to the Maker’s Mark Distillery, to pay homage (ask me anything about Bourbon I know it all), and on our way back we were hit by two tiny blizzards. Suddenly instead of being surrounded by pastoral farms with grazing cows and weathered barns we were in the middle of a snowstorm, windshield wipers going on full and unable to see 10 feet in front of the car…then mysteriously we were back in the pastoral farmland again, with not even a flake of snow on the ground. Freaky! Then when we were driving back the same thing happened in Indiana while Dready was driving, only worse and with more cars on the road, and she proclaimed it to be the scariest thing that had ever happened to her insisting that I take the wheel. Then it happened again when we were about 40 miles away from Lansing, and it was so bad that everyone who was stuck on the highway was limping along at about 5 mph. It probably only lasted for 1 minute or less, but that seems like a long time when you are sure that you are about to die.

We pulled off into a gas station and called the Manimal to get him to check the weather and he said “There’s nothing on the radar,” in a tone of voice that sort of implied that I was insane. It had stopped snowing by that point, but it had been bad enough that we were contemplating staying where we were until the plows or the salt trucks came out to clear the road, but we were thirsty for Michigan beer, damn it, and had been looking forward to it for 5 and a half long hours of driving. So with some trepidation we got back on the expressway, and after driving for about a minute the road was entirely clear, and there was no snow to be seen anywhere! Insanity! We have two more road trips planned, one to Philly in March and another to Santa Fe in June, and I can’t wait to see the expressions on the New Mexicans when we pull into their state on the heels of a freak blizzard in the middle of June.

Now a confession. I came to this blogging thing fairly recently, and therefore I am the only knitter in the known universe not participating in the knitting Olympics. Also it seemed like the idea was sort of to watch the Olympics while knitting on your Olympic project and I don’t have a television so that seemed impractical. But by freakish coincidence I did end up watching the opening ceremony, and I felt sort of…guilty? is that possible? about not stitchin’ something up. So I worked on the skull shrug. Unhappy news about the skull shrug: evidently I cannot be trusted with bamboo yarn, it does not have the strength necessary to hold up to my rugged knitting style. A strand broke along the edge and it is starting to unravel, and because it’s on an edge I can’t figure out how to pick up the stitches and get them to not look all wonky. It is a black half sweater with a big red skull on the back though, so I think I’m going to patch it with some red silk or something, and just let it be all raggedy and goth like, it’ll be better that way…really, I’m not pissy about it or anything. And I’m half way through the second row of skulls on the “we call them pirates” hat. I am not a pattern follower, but I’m following this one. I even learned how to do a provisional cast on, aren’t I proud of myself, yes I am thank you. And it’s my first fair isle ever, and you know what? I think I like it!

And did I mention that my tomatoes are growing!!! Yay!

And (since I’m starting sentences with “and”) it’s only 5 more days until the Fiber Festival. I’m gonna buy me some big ole’ balls of fluff so that I have something to spin that’s more fun that this awful linen that I’ve been suffering through for the last 3 weeks.

And if that’s not enough for you then here’s a link. You can take this quiz to find out what kind of yarn you would be, if you were yarn. I know that it’s totally legit and everything because it said that I would be Merino…and that’s my favorite thing to knit with, so I’m sure that it’s right. It didn’t specifically say that I was Kona Superwash Merino hand-dyed by Nancy but I’m sure that’s just because it wouldn’t fit in the little pop-up window.

It was nice to be gone, but it's good to be back.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grow damn you!

I am attempting to force my basil seedlings to grow through pure force of will. I stare at them, I hum to them, I spritz them with water…but so far they are not cooperating. Also my tomatoes. This is my first experience with saving seeds and so far it is not very successful. I saved the seeds from a variety of heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market last summer and put them in little envelopes and kept them out of the light in a nice dry tin…in short I did everything, so now I’m just supposed to sit back and wait for the damn things to sprout, which they are not doing. It is a little chilly though, maybe they just don’t have enough heat, I think if they haven’t sprouted by next week I will go and buy one of those waterproof heating mats.

The Rabe seeds are sprouting though, so that’s very exciting. Rabe is related to Broccoli (which is SO satisfying to grow) but instead of one big central head it puts out these rather leggy looking broccoli-like stalks, and has very tasty leaves as well, sort of like collard greens. Ever since I found out that Rabe, also known as Rape is the same thing as “Rapunzel” of let down your hair fame, I’ve wanted to grow it. Story goes that Rapunzel’s mother could see into the witch’s garden while she was pregnant, and became obsessed with eating a salad of the Rapunzel that was growing there (good instincts since it’s very high in folic acid). So her husband snuck in and stole some in the night, and the wife ate the salad and was happy for awhile, but then the craving started to grow again. The next time he went to steal the greens the witch was waiting for him, and that’s when she did the whole “give me your first born child,” nonsense. She also insisted that they name the child Rapunzel, in honor of her stolen veggies. So anyway, I’m pretty excited about the Rabe, I’m gonna be like witchy-poo!

And if the saved seeds refuse to give up the love I have that $80 order that I placed with Seed Saver’s a couple of days ago…which will probably be in by the time I get back from Louisville!

Yes! I’m going to Louisville, which is in Kentucky, which is where Bourbon comes from! I am visiting Adrien-Alice for a slightly tardy birthday celebration, and will stop and visit with a couple of former Lansingers that moved away (and hell, when you’re moving to the land of Bourbon, how can you blame ‘em?) I will also be delivering the artwork that AA’s father commissioned for her birthday present. Perhaps she will photograph it with her digital camera and I will be able to post it here, the first real photo on the blog. Now if I can just convince Dready (that’s Mildred, the French girl) to drive so that I can knit the whole way I will be all set.

The brother-in-law gloves are sorta pissin’ me right the fuck off. This is the first time that I’ve tried to knit gloves for someone far away. I’m working off a tracing of his hand, which I thought would be fine, but I don’t think really is. So I’m taking a break from that project. Instead I think I will resurrect the ancient pink and skull scarf that I started for Rat Girl last year. Of course I can’t travel with just one knitting project…what if I get bored with it? So I’ll have to dig deep into the bin of unfinished projects and find another one.

I have this lovely superwash that I bought to make myself some socks, but then realized that the logistics of intarsia in the round were rather more than I wanted to tackle. The socks were going to have a repeated skull motif up the front with a cabled border, but…yeah, not so much wanting to do that anymore. So I think I am going to repurpose it (good word from Pillage, even if it did come from TV) and make the “we call them pirates” hat that at least three people have sent me the link to…must be fate. I’m also bringing a legal pad with me so that I can start work on that “list of everything I haven’t finished yet.” Ha, you thought I forgot about that, but I didn’t.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Stereotype of a Cliche

So do you ever have those moments where you realize that you are a cliché of yourself?

Like when you’re sitting in your office in the quilt shop where you are the youngest employee, listening to Slayer, while wearing your standard uniform of all black, with your big motorcycle boots…the ones with all the superfluous zippers and little bits of metal on them, that tend to snag on your yarn if you are not careful.

And when one of your co-workers daughters comes in to chat and after looking around your office she says “So I can see that you like pirates, do you have “Pirates of the Caribbean?” and you get a big kick out of telling her that you don’t have a television, watching her eyes bug out at the insanity of it all.

And when you leave your pencils lying around the office and your co-workers bring them back to you because who else would have black pencils with skull and crossbones on them?

And when your friend invites you to go to a knitting guild meeting, and you just bring whatever project you’re currently working on without realizing that of course they will ask you what you’re knitting, and then you’ll have to hold it up and show them the big ass flame red skull on the back and say sheepishly “it’s my first intarsia project.”

And when the proprietor of the local yarn shop hasn’t seen you in awhile and says “You should come in, I’ve been dying lots of black and red yarn lately.”

But here’s the thing. I like black. It simplifies my life. I don’t have to spend 2 hours shopping for clothes because I don’t have to look at anything that’s not black (or grey, or sometimes even red, I’m colorful in my way). I like skulls and flames and hardcore music…and as far as jobs go, purchasing for quilt shops is pretty decent, and if my co-workers think I’m a big kook well, they don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. So if I’m a big old stereotype then fine, I can deal with being a stereotype. I’m happy being a stereotype. I like it. So there.

And in other news, that link that Atla posted yesterday is crazy! The make your own church sign part of the website is entertaining…and the “real” church sign part of the website is down right terrifying. Some of them are cute, “are you crunk on Jesus?” for example…some of them are really offensive, “AIDS cures sodomy” for instance. Yikes.

And as long as I’m posting links to interesting websites, this is the most entertaining thing that I’ve found on the web lately. At first glance it appears to be a fairly regular calorie counter, you put in your pace and the distance you travel and it tells you how many calories you’ve burned. This one has an extra window at the bottom though, that tells you what you get to eat after having burned that many calories…observe.

I run at about 5 miles an hour, that’s 12 minute miles (say something about how slow I run, I dare you!), and I can keep it up for about ½ an hour, which according to the handy dandy calorie counter means I’ve burned 345 calories. This is what I “get” to eat when I’m done.

1 lb asparagus, a potato, 8 after-dinner mints (yer pee will smell funny, but yer breath will be minty fresh)


1 oz of lard, 1 cup Cinnamon Marshmallow Scoobie Doo Cereal (I prefer soymilk on my cereal…but I’ll try anything once)

Of course when I told the Manimal about it he wanted to know what he would get to eat after running 50 miles. He completed the race last year in under 10 hours so we will say 12 minute miles for him too (that’s disgusting by the way, I’m completely plastered after 3 miles), total calorie burn of 6900 (damn!). Manimal gets to eat:

1/4 cup of regular M&M's, 8 after-dinner mints, two cans Chili Mac, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 of a Marie Calendar Dutch Apple pie, a slice of Oscar Meyer bologna, 1/4 cup of salted peanuts, 1 cup of potato salad, 1/4 pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, 2 lb of lettuce, 9 potatoes, 2 large cucumbers, 2 cups of rutabagas, 2 cups of brussels sprouts, 6 oz bean sprouts, 2 tsp mustard, 3 Fig Newton Cookies, a salmon steak broiled with butter, 8 Maple Leaf Chicken Nuggets, 1/4 of a 17-oz Sara Lee Cheesecake, a 6-oz bag of potato chips (9 potatos but only 3 Fig Newtons).

Amuse yourselves.

PS did you notice I learned how to use my "link" button?
PPS me not so much html literate...any of you pro-bloggers out there want to help me out with stuff I'd appreciate the help.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tuesday, which is not Monday

I passed a church on my way to work this morning and the sign outside said “Heaven is perfect, no Mondays.” Does that seem irreligious? Seems like if your going to bother with religion at all you should at least take yourself seriously…but after yesterday I have to admit that a place without Mondays does have it’s appeal. I wonder if there’s a pagan heaven sans Monday waiting for my dirt worshipping self, although I would have to insist on no Sundays as well, Sundays being the days that you can’t buy alcohol until after noon in Michigan.

Obsession de jour: making a list. I don’t really have passing fancies I have passing obsessions. For whatever length of time the obsession has it’s hold on me, it’s all I think about, and then when I’m done it’s as if it never was. Today it’s making a list. I don’t make new years resolutions anymore, because I forget what they are about 10 minutes after I make them….it was a good idea to make a resolution to cut back on drinking, I think to myself as I am pouring a beer. I recall having a thought somewhere in the vicinity of the New Year that it would be a good idea to start the year out by making a complete list of all my incomplete projects, and I do mean all…just so that such a record exists. Sort of like a clean slate, except exactly the opposite. Of course I forgot about it almost instantaneously, but I’m getting back to it now, so better late then never.

If I had a complete list of projects then I would be less tempted to start new things without finishing the old ones, right? And I would thus be more productive, organized and happy, right? But how does one define “project.” If I promised someone that I would make them a pair of gloves, but never bought the yarn is it still an incomplete project? How about that undyed wool that I’ve been trying to spin up so that I can make a coat like garment for myself. Is it the spinning that’s the project, or the as yet undesigned nay even unconceptualized coat? And what about that vague notion I once had about getting my portfolio in order so that I can send off some entries for quilt shows? Reinforcing the knees on the Manimal’s work pants? Argh! I guess the first project to go on the list is “make a list of unfinished projects.” Gosh, it’ll be nice when this particular obsession passes, and I can get back to my normal meandering thought pattern…all this focused energy is sort of scary.

And in a completely unrelated note (although somewhat related because it is causing a long neglected project to be worked on) I have discovered a way of coping with the most irritating aspect of my job…being on the phone. I have dedicated the “skull shrug” as the “on hold” project. It lives at work now, and sits next to the phone, and when I’m on hold I get to knit on it! Oh joy! I love being on the phone now….I look for excuses to call vendors and get price quotes….and the crazy thing is that I’m actually more productive because I do all those previously irritating phone calls right away, instead of putting them off and putting them off until, whoops! it’s next week already. And since I’m working on the sleeves of the shrug, and they are in the round with no pattern to speak of (incredibly boring to knit, in other words) it’s the only way that I’m ever gonna work on this project. It’s hard to get all worked up about “yay, if I do three more rows of tiny little all the same stitches, I get to decrease one!” but it seems like fun when you’re doing it while on hold…don’t ask me why. It’s probably that thing about multiplying two negative numbers together makes a positive.

This turning into a knitting blog isn’t it? Okay, tomorrow, no knitting talk. No purls, no yarn, I’m not even going to talk about spinning….because spinning leads to knitting, and this is not (just) a knitting blog damn it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ragnar is temporarily unavailable....

Ragnar is a cranky bitch this morning, so this is her alter ego, the Happy and Productive Office Drone. Ragnar has taken leave or her senses temporarily in order to retreat into that black hole that she calls her mind and quietly seeth, so I’ll be the one writing the blog today…although I must say it seems a little irresponsible to spend work time on something so trivial. I enjoy doing paperwork, and lucky me there’s a pile of it on my desk. I also like dealing my co-workers inability to do even the most basic of problem solving, again lucky me because this morning has been nothing but irritating phone calls.

*this blog is temporarily out of service while Ragnar does a little mental house keeping, and makes the Happy and Productive Office Drone walk the plank*

Argh! It was a little too crowded around here, and her shiny happy attitude was starting to smell like the scum we scraped out of the hold! I think I am suffering the ill effects of a weekend without knitting…yes! I knitted not a single stitch this weekend, and who knew the effect that would have on me. I spun a little and I got a crap load of quilting done (YES!) but I knitted…nothing. Plus it could be the after effects of the Superbowl party I attended last night, too many chicken wings and Budweiser…ach the chemicals are eating my brain! Regardless of what my personal problem is (and there are so many really, where does one start?) I don’t want this to be a Ragnar bitch fest, because who wants to read that in a blog anyway? I will instead make this a short post and we will pull Happy and Productive Office Drone out of the water and put her to work on this stack of paperwork. Tomorrow will be Tuesday, and that will (theoretically) mean that all the Mondaycentric bullshit will be done with.

I will leave you with my observations on the Superbowl…it was nice of them to reanimate the Rolling Stones for the Halftime show, although they could have scraped some of the actual decay off them. Also Football would be much more interesting if the ball exploded several times during the game without warning…and they’ve got all that armor on but no weapons, is that an oversight or what?

Cranky pirate bitch queen signing off…

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The terror of the three day weekend.

So I’ve always liked the way that Ms. Manners refers to her “gentle reader” and Rudyard Kipling to his “O best beloved,” so I’ve been trying to think of a way to refer to you, oh reader of blogs. In Julie and Julia http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/ Julie Powell refers to her “bleaders” (blog readers…get it?), but “gentle bleader,” has a rather gruesome ring to it…which, come to think of it, might be just the thing.

So, gentle bleader, here we are at Thursday, and my weekend looms ahead of me. I am spoiled by my three day weekends, and I’m sure I will get no pity from you when I say that all that unscheduled time makes me feel pressured to accomplish, accomplish, accomplish. I have an artwork with deadline pending, and many a quilt that needs finishing. In my previous life, when I was an artist and not an office drone, my guaranteed income came from finishing quilts, and I still have half a dozen left to get back to their owners. My entire living room is taken up by a 12 foot long sewing machine, and I have (admittedly optimistic) hopes of actually getting some work done on my broken down, piece of shit house this summer. That work cannot be done until I breakdown the sewing machine and wrap it in plastic so it won’t become encrusted with drywall dust, and that means moving these quilts out as soon as piratically possible. I have also taken on several knitting-for-other-people projects that I need to get finished so that I can go back to knitting for me-me-me-me. So why do you care? You probably don’t, but my hope is that by writing about what I hope to accomplish I may actually feel some responsibility to get some of it done, har har!

Here are some things that I may possibly do this weekend. Finish the quilt currently mounted on the machine AND put the next one on. Finish artwork with looming deadline. Haul a load of trash out of the basement in preparation for basement destruction. Start tomato and basil seedlings in preparation for summer gardening. Work on special birthday project for Adrien-Alice…everyone wish Adri many happy returns, she gets to add one more number after February 4th. All that and I have to get enough drinking in so that I’ll be able to come back to work on Monday!

Ah! So thinking of hauling trash out of the basement made me think about one of my favorite rants, the therapeutic value of throwing things away! Is there anything more satisfying than coming home after a long day and throwing out a whole bunch of shit? I think not! I reduced a couch to something that could be thrown away in our curbside dumpster with a scissor, a standard screwdriver, a bolt cutter and a crowbar….with some help from the Manimal and a sledge hammer. I think you could properly say that we dissected it. There is an old skanky dresser in the basement that is going to get the same treatment this weekend, but I think more sledgehammer and less screwdriver on that one. When we started the home improvement project…ack…two years ago, our first objective was to get rid of over half of the shite that had accumulated in the house. I called up everyone I knew with access to a dumpster and found out the dump schedule. So on Monday nights I would call Kevbot and see if his dumpster was full, on Thursdays it was another friend, and the friend with the venerable breakfast establishment on Sundays. Then if there was room I would load up everything I could in the back of the truck and dump it. So satisfying! It got to be sort of an addiction. What can I throw away today? I took all the doors off the kitchen cupboards….hell I took out two of the cupboards themselves. We went from having three couches and four chairs in our living room to having, two chairs. Microwave? Who needs it? The basement went from being a place you couldn’t walk through without fear of being smothered in something, to being a big empty room with a few pieces of random furniture that need to be given the sledge hammer treatment before they can be dumped….and frankly I’m a little disappointed. I miss the good old days of making dumpster runs at 2 o’clock in the morning. The most amazing thing is that the more you throw away, the more there is to throw away, it’s never ending. Sometimes I find myself looking into my dresser drawer thinking, “Do I really need eight pairs of pants? I could probably get by with three.” Pirates didn’t have all this crap cluttering up their lives. They kept their boats light so they could go faster, slept on the deck, and only had one pair of clothes. After they took a prize they either had to go into Port Royal and spend it all on whores and drink, or bury it so it didn’t slow them down. Well a pirate’s life for me I say, and what shall we throw overboard this week.

Just don’t touch my knitting needles, my sewing machines (all 7 of them), my yarn, my fabric, or my spinning wheel….yeah I know I’m a hypocrite!

So, gentle bleader, I'm off until Monday.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Everybody party down, it's Imbolc!

It is February 1st, and you know what that means? There’s a new crop circle on my crop circle of the month wall calendar! I am cheapy cheapy cheap when it comes to buying calendars, I always go after the New Year so that I can get them at the largest possible discount. Usually I am left with lots of “Deserts of Arizona” and “Cutest Ever Puppies in Baskets” but this year I got lucky. Crop circles! It was wrapped in cellophane, and I was taking an extra 15 minutes off my lunch hour to run out and purchase it, so I didn’t look through it before I got back to my office and hung it on the wall. I was vastly entertained therefore, to find that this is a true aficionado’s crop circle calendar.

Apparently, some crop circle authority defines different types of crop circles. January’s was “the circle makers” attempt to help us see into the forth dimension. Now me…I think, “You mean the ones that tramp around in fields at night with boards strapped to their feet?” but I think that the people who complied this calendar are thinking “The alien masters who place these puzzles to guide and define us.” February’s is very interesting, it is a heptagon, the only polygon whose angles cannot be bisected to a whole number (51.42 degrees, if you were wondering). And seven is a very interesting number (I know, because my calendar told me so), but what is even more interesting to me, is that the “circle makers” appear to be of a Jewish/Christian persuasion. Seven is the day on which God rested don’t you know, and there are seven virtues and seven sins, Salome danced with seven veils, Seven trumpeters circled the walls of Jericho seven times. And you know what…there have only been seven heptagonal crop circles! So that's got to mean something right? I think I'm well on my way to a full fledged conspiracy theory...something involving the Pope paying English college kids to tromp around in fields with boards strapped to their feet.

And how is this related to piracy? As far as I know, it isn't but I've got 10 more months to get through so who knows what I will find out by December.

My other obsession of the moment is fitness, my lack there of. This is perhaps related to an ill-conceived promise that I made to my Manimal...perhaps a brief detour to explain for the uninitiated what a Manimal might be. Somehow I ended up with a life partner who does bizarre things like run 50 miles...yes one right after the other, and voluntarily. In fact he pays entrance fees, signs waivers that say things like "possibility of death," and then proudly wears T-shirts advertising his idiocy...I mean prowess. He also thinks it's "fun" to do triathlons. Hence he is a manimal, or rather the Manimal, which paves the way for another knickname for Rat Girl. I call them Manimal and Minimal.

Anyway, he has fallen in with a similar group of, eh hem, athletes who do road tests for running shoes. Yes, they sign up for the privilege of running 30 miles a week so that they can fill out surveys about how they feel about the shoes. For me that would be a very short survey, "How do you like the shoes." "I hope I never see the bloody awful things again." Anyway, for some reason I told the Manimal that I would run with him, twice a week, for three miles! What was I thinking? How will I fit this in around my strenuous knitting schedule?

Maybe it’ll be (gasp, choke wheeze) fun.

And in the excitement of actually having to work today I forgot that it was PAYDAY!!!! So I get to look forward to covering my overdrafts, isn't that exciting.