Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Here.

Remember when Garrison Keillor married that lady from Scandinavia (Denmark?) and then moved off to Europe and then wasn't on Prairie Home Companion for a while and then he put out a book called Yes, We're Still Married? (They later divorced, but never mind that for now.)

Well, that's the sort of obvious-yet-necessary announcement I'm making here. It's been a wonderful, absorbing, creative, absorbing, overwhelming, manageable, interesting, challenging, and abso-frickin'-lutely AMAZING start to the school year. Here are some highlights:

  • Mr. D started kindergarten.
  • Miss E went back to day care, and hasn't been sick ONE DAY yet. This is great because last year, before her celiac diagnosis, I was already averaging one sick day per week with her. My students thought I was a phantom.
  • I am getting my grading done in a timely fashion, have embarked on a research/teaching/writing project with my two favorite colleagues, and the newspaper has already put out TWO issues this school year.

If I were a pessimist, I'd start looking for the proverbial other shoe. But since I am a cockeyed optimist straight from the Nellie Forbush mode, I'll go my usual merry way until said shoe whaps me upside the head.

The knitting has ALSO been awesome lately. I have updated a bunch of projects over at my Ravelry project page (link on upper left of blog window) and have only a few left that are undocumented. I even (FINALLY) took a photo of my finished Mystery Stole (aka Swan Lake) but I haven't uploaded that one yet.

Hands-down favorite project right now? The Turn-a-Square hat by Jared Flood. LOVE IT. Family members, close your eyes; you can expect gifts. I did this using some Noro Kureyon I've been hoarding (color 124) and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in Chocolate Souffle (now discontinued, but there's another chocolate brown). The heavy worsted on size 7s makes a fantastically thick and warm hat. Great for skiing or any cold climate. I'll just wear it in the rain and laugh at the drops as they try to penetrate. Ha!

The only ill-fated project is my Aquatic Raglan, the simple Stefanie Japel pattern I started last spring (I think I've had the yarn since my birthday 2007?). You know when you get that little voice in your head saying, "Hmm, that doesn't look right. Isn't this going to be a little big???" and you don't listen? You really should. Because if you don't you end up with THE LEAST FLATTERING SWEATER OF ALL TIME. Seriously. It doesn't just add a few pounds. It makes me look like I'm four sizes bigger than I am, and flat-chested to boot. And I got gauge, too. It flaps under the arms, it puffs at the ribcage, and (until I redid the bindoff using an Invisible Bindoff) it bound at the hips. The ribbing starts way too low on my body, and it is just an UGH altogether.

(Don't believe me? Go LOOK FOR YOURSELF. And notice that I trapped my poor children up on a rock for the official portrait. Their happiness reflects my feelings about this garment.)

If I were really brave I'd figure out how to rip back and redo this one, because I think the problems were with my knowledge of how to flatter my figure, not with the pattern itself. For one, I should have started the ribbing higher and stopped it sooner. I also should have incorporated a little shaping below the bust, and I might even have considered a few increases in the ribbing itself toward the bottom.

Or maybe, like Garrison and his Danish sweeite, it'd just be better if we went our separate ways. No, This is Not My Sweater. Move On.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Back to school shopping

Things I should keep in mind when shopping for myself:

  1. I really, really hate trying on pants.
  2. But...when I manage to be honest with myself about my size, and I find not just one but two pairs of pants that are both flattering and work-appropriate, I will dance for joy in the changing stall.
  3. I can't add in my head or, really, do much good estimating because somehow I will not count a belt and the pair of shoes in the bottom of the TJ Maxx cart and then I will go $50 over budget.
  4. A-line skirts look great on me.
  5. A-line tops make me look like I am six months pregnant. I need to run, not walk, away from the A-line tops. No matter how hard I try to rationalize one, no matter how deep the discount, no matter how stellar the sale, it will not end well.
  6. Anything with a drawstring waist: see #5.
  7. I have a long waist. This means thank goodness for this past couple of years' trend toward longer tops because that means I can buy a medium or a large (depending on the amount of ease) off the rack and not be in danger of displaying my not-six-months-pregnant-but-also-not-sixteen-anymore midriff to my third period class when I have to reach up really high to illustrate the top part of the rhetorical triangle on the whiteboard. This also means that I should not ever ever buy off the rack in the junior section, even a L or XL, because whatever it is will be too short and make me look weirdly disproportionate. (Note to self: NOT A JUNIOR.)
  8. Elbow and 3/4 length sleeves are my friends. They don't get stuck in: sticky breakfast messes, overhead pen, or jammed copy machines. They stay put and don't end up inky. Since I have always rolled and/or pushed my sleeves up, it seems smart to eliminate the middleman and go for the 3/4 or elbow length right away.
That said, I actually had a successful back-to-school shopping trip this year. I'm not much of a clothes horse--have never been able to afford to be one, so I guess it's a bit of sour grapes--but I do enjoy spiffing up for the first day of school.