Monday, June 23, 2008

Almost Done!

Almost done!!! I am going to add a few more leaves and also puff up one of the seed pods, which is nearly invisible since the background around it got finished. The only other embroidery I did was approximately one linear inch on another piece.

It has been rather an odd weekend. June finally seems to be here—Friday and Saturday were even warm enough for shorts and a sleeveless shirt.

Saturday began early; my don picked me up, we loaded my gear into the back of the truck with his, and headed off for a rapier tournament we never made it to, due to the unspectacular but effective failure of the clutch. All things considered, it was about as opportune a time to happen as there could be—we were scarcely out of town, not on the way to work, etc.

After the resolution of the transportation issue, I reconfigured the chaos, and was reminded that my elbow is not healed. I failed to parry something I should have in longsword class Thursday night. Ouch. Ouch. I was tired, etc., and it was a hard drill to start with after three weeks since the last class I made it to. :( I will be paying for it for some time to come. I moved more boxes than I should have on Saturday, and then sat & read a novel & drank iced tea & ate an apricot scone, while I iced the elbow. Then I went to Diana's, and she fed me tasty food.

Today, Sunday, I eventually got in gear and got a whole lot done. By 4 o'clock or so I had taken a nap, done a load of laundry, and taken out the garbage. A few hours after that I really got going.

The “new” dresser has been wiped down with water + Clorox (twice for the drawers, which have been airing out on the balcony for a week or so). I even remembered to wear gloves. (By the time I finished, the Clorox had taken a bunch of the indigo off them.) Between that and fumigating the frame by burning a stick of incense inside it, I hope to have taken care of the weird, unpleasant smell.

I repaired the most egregious problems—screwed down the runners to the backs of the drawers. I also glued down the piece of the broken runner that I found inside the dresser, and even clamped it properly. At some point, perhaps when I am painting it, I have to build a couple of new runners—the only intact ones are on the smallest size drawers.

I reconfigured the balcony storage closet (that's what a bunch of Saturday's box-moving was about) and today I was able to move the drill press out of my living room for the first time since, oh, October or so.

I reconfigured the chaos again, and ***now there are NO BOXES in the straightaway between the entry door and the balcony door. I can also access the living room without too much difficulty. The liberated expanse of carpet inspired me to vacuum. As it was completely dark, I enjoyed to the fullest extent the fact that my vacuum cleaner has a headlight. Princess retreated to the balcony, where she inserted herself in nearly-inacessible corner; I found her there, silent & upright, when I went to give her the post-Vacuum Monster kitty treat.

I've washed a bunch of dishes, and ***everything is ready for tomorrow. (Monday.) I therefore get a shiny insect sticker in my calendar for Monday. (I picked a bee-like moth.) I also get a shiny star for today, even though it is horrifically late, because I got more done this afternoon than over the entire 4-day Memorial Day weekend.

P.S. Saturday I found my very first oak gall! I now understand why they are also called oak apples. It's sort of the color of a golden delicious apple, but shaped like a bloated lima bean the size of a small mango. It is cracked from its plummet to terra firma, and I put it in a container since it is exuding dark liquid. It is very exciting. I have to look up the directions for making ink. In all my free time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Swords and Sewing.

Sunday I was very tired, and even needed to have a nap. (Princess helped with that.) I did dishes & dealt with a few small piles, moved the drawers from the dresser out onto the balcony (they smell weird), and that was about it. The only project thing was this, finishing the neckline of my gömlek (basically, a Turkish chemise). The garment has been finished, except for the neckline, for roughly a year and a half. It has been three years since HL Giana & I started "shopping" for the ideal Near Eastern outfit; hers is done. (It really helps to have a live-in tailor.) I have had the salwar (pants) mostly done, too, for as long as the gömlek. Also the uçkur, the drawstring/sash to hold the pants up. (It involved yards of hemming. But no hawing.) And also the çevre, or headscarf. Bits and pieces, but no outfit. I have a low threshold of tolerance for repeated sewing mishaps, and this has so far deterred me from tackling the outer garments, which are not strictly rectangular construction. Anyway, I brought this along Saturday, and finished up the last bit on Sunday, including a genuine monkey fist button (triple-plied crochet cotton) and a buttonholed loop. I got the button to work after a number of tries, and after deducing what helpful hints my directions had omitted.

Saturday Swordfighting

Saturday was the Baronial Rapier Championship. There were four of us; two vying for the title, and two who were there to "test our mettle/metal." In other words, they were there for exercise. Each of us held the field for five bouts against the other three (holder of field with one weapon style, challenger with a different combination each time). That adds up to, yes, thirty fights each. Then the top two who were going for the championship had a best two out of three. Yes; we did all that even though we already knew there were only two contenders. :) Naturally, Maestro Gregorio creamed me. *However,* a personal first: I won a bout with him in an official tournament. Also, I beat Msgr Chrestien once. Each of those out of a total of 10 chances. 2 wins and 18 times falling on the ground. Oh well...neither of them plays with their food! I am still somewhat sore, from the falling part I suspect. I also have a couple of bruised fingers, which, irritatingly, I inflicted on myself. I think longsword hand motions are contaminating my attempts at rapier/dagger coordination.

A final note: today is really, truly June weather!!! Sunshine and warm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dresser Update.

(As per special request. We always strive to fulfill our readers' wishes.)

I do indeed have a dresser. It is not quite the quality I was expecting, so the $80 I paid seems kind of high--esp. because of several structural issues that need to be addressed. But it is a dresser, it fits into the space, and it is lower than the window, which is important in the effort to sustain the delusion that I actually have space, and also for the pleasure of Princess (it is the Kitty Television Window).

The dresser is very...oakish. I think I will be compelled to paint it. Once I've moved enough boxes that it could pass through the living room onto the balcony. Also I find the drawer pulls unsatisfactory. The best feature--drawers, of course. There are 9 of various sizes. Eventually--once it is cleaned and rendered sound and, even more eventually, painted--it will be quite satisfactory. And boy, even in its present state, it is still an incredibly vast improvement over a bulwark of boxes. I have just about had my fill of boxes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tagged by Sarah

Sarah tagged me last week.

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

I don't know anyone to tag in turn, but if I think of someone (Kim, wanna volunteer?) I'll let you know.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Living in the far north of New York State, working at my second temporary academic librarian position, filling out job applications.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

1. get up
2. dress
3. eat breakfast
4. let cat out and in several times, with hugs

(1-4 happen interspersed with one another)

5. go to work

6. today’s bonus: I am actually going to acquire a dresser to store fabric. I have tried a bunch of times over the past year; this time it will really transpire, which is good, because I spent hours last night moving boxes around, and I'm really intensely utterly sick of boxes.

3. Snacks I enjoy?

I don’t tend to snack much. Tea, though, is a constant.

One of my more regular favorite snacks is yogurt with a banana, so I was highly distressed last year to have to concede that my lactose intolerance includes yogurt and cheese. Fortunately, my favorite grocery store (New Seasons) carries one brand of goat yogurt. It costs almost twice what the “natural” yogurt costs, which is itself more than “normal” yogurt. And one pound of goat cheddar costs twice what 5 lbs. of regular cheddar does. But I don’t get stomachaches, and I LIKE CHEESE.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire?

* pay off my latest batch of student loans
*buy a house
*buy a car made during this century
*fund Sarah’s research foundation (if she wasn’t a billionaire yet).

5. Places I have lived?

Schenectady, New York
Hamilton, New York (college)
one semester in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Albany, New York (grad school)
Mount Vision, New York
Canton, New York
Las Cruces, New Mexico (in the United States, in case you were wondering)
Portland, Oregon (college prompted this move; I ended up liking it here a lot, and I am strongly disinclined to move cross country again without an exceptionally good reason)

And that's it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday has been attained.

Is it really June?

The weather leaves that open to question. Calendrically, of course, June it is. But if it stays in the low to mid 60s here in Portland, I'm going to find Florida pretty heavy going (Complex Weavers conference).

I have been working on stuff, but not having the extra energy required to turn around and turn on the scanner. Any potentially-extra energy has been expended on preemptive stress and anxiety—in a few weeks, my supervisor will be heading off to spend four months at our subsidiary in the Netherlands, and apparently at some level I feel the unfortunate need to worry now, even though I know it will go fine. (Oh, he and I are the entire department, in case you wondered, and the end of June is the end of the quarter, that surprise of the business world that happens every three months, and our jobs are involved with all the last-minute moving of boxes every which way around the world.) This week I have been feeling like a Hapsburg, being unable at times to close my mouth. I finally deduced that the pain in my jaw resulted from tension elsewhere...and additionally of course my sinuses are continually stimulated by the weather.

At any rate, here is some proof of action.

To begin with—something Completely New *AND* Completely Finished!!! One type of thread (Caron watercolour, 3-ply Pima cotton used in single strands), one type of cloth (cotton Osnaburg), and one stitch (eyelet, I guess you'd call it). Kind of minimalist in its own way.

[As I write this, Thursday evening, Princess the cat is playing purposefully with the container of Holistic Natural Feline Treats on the floor. She knows goodies ought to come out, but they just won't.]

The white embroidery as of Wednesday, June 4:

In conclusion, as part of the ongoing struggle to achieve some sense of actual order, I had to empty the bedroom closet so I could fit in the new shelves I got. Naturally, an inordinately large percentage of the things that came out of the closet will not go back in, leaving yet more things to add to the chaos in the living room. (I eventually reconfigured that enough, once again, that I can get through without too much trouble. And as always, there are numerous cat routes. I'm a good cat mommy, even though she doesn't like me to work on the mat that appeared in her fur. It's spring, technically, and I have been harvesting prodigious amounts of feline fluff. I have a project in mind for it, too. Naturally.)

At the bottom of one stack of four boxes in the closet was the box with my photo albums. I've been wanting to get this picture out for AGES. It's a carved cedar relief of Hathor, and it's my favorite thing from the strenuous visit to the Met in 1997 (!!!) with Marla. We mainly did the Egyptian collection—also Cycladic art, which I adore, and musical instruments, which I covet, and briefly peered down into the armour gallery. But mainly we saw the Egyptian galleries. They are endless. Every room has rooms off it, and littler rooms off them, until you get down to a few closet-sized rooms. I particularly remember one that was floor-to-ceiling full of tiny faience objects. You begin to wonder how there could be anything left in Egypt. It would be good to have some Egyptian version of Ariadne's ball of thread, too, to find your way around.

So after all that, here is Hathor. The picture is rather dark since I was good and did not use my flash.