Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hooray, Dangerous Chemicals!

I like to make my family their gifts for christmas, but let's face it, there's only so much knitting I can do, and there's only so much appreciation for that knitting that my family has, and aside from TwinSister and LittlerBrother, I'm about tapped out. So I started thinking about it, and hey - SOAP! People like soap. And you make it in fairly big batches, so it's not like they're getting a tiny gift or anything, and you can personalize it! So I decide to make my family some soap.

Thing is, though, that I have no experience making soap, like at all. So I get to be completely self-taught, hooray! Well, self- and internet-taught, but you get the idea. I ordered some lye on the internet, and spent entirely too much on additives (hello, powdered seaweed and fancy clay!)

The lye came in today, and now I really, really, REALLY want to make a test batch. I should probably wait, since I don't have stuff like a pot to cook it in, gloves, goggles, and all the other stuff that I'll need, but the desire is there, and that's good. I think I should spend today working up recipes, and getting supply lists together, and getting my house in order so that I actually could start working with dangerous chemicals like lye, without worrying. I still need to work out where I'm going to keep the soap while it cures, and dig out my food scale, and maybe figure out what I'm going to do for a mold. But it's exciting, and I hope to be able to share this with the blog soon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Changed Over my Accounts

FYI: Changed my blogger account so that it's the same as my gmail account. Same bat time, same bat channel, different bat email address.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Goodbye, My Purse

Grargle grargle grargle.

So I did not succeed in Ramadan this year. I started getting dizzy, weird scaly spots showing up on my skin, and I was just not able to eat enough during the evening to keep me going through the next day. Then I stopped and thought about, you know, why I was doing it. And I realized my primary reason was weight loss - and there are healthier ways to do that. So I stopped.

So THEN, I went out to lunch, and took with me my purse from Schrodinger and my Henry scarf that I've been knitting out of white angora. It was 4 rows past 50% done, and I was feeling really psyched about it. Honestly, it was the first project since Galveston that I've felt really good about, and I was excited to be so close to being done.

So I go back to work, and I forget it, because I was reading Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show (which, by the way, was a very engrossing read, but disturbing in parts). I leave my lovely little Schrodinger bag and my knitting in the cafeteria, and go back to work.

When I was getting ready to go home, I noticed that it was missing, and realized what must've happened. I checked in at the cafeteria, and it's not there. I check the circulation desk and the lost and found, and it's not there either. It was only later on, as I was riding the bus home, that I remembered that my ipod and my f*$#ing engagement ring were also in my purse. The ipod was free, and I still have my old one, so that doesn't upset me as much, and the ring is (thankfully) insured, so it will be replaced. The only thing that I can't get back is the month of time and love I put into that scarf. Well, that and the actual scarf. And my addi lace needles. And my goddamn purse.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Last Weekend

Mr. Sweetie and I went into Houston last weekend, searching for a spinning wheel. I currently have the Babe DT Production wheel, but I had diligently trolled Craigslist in hopes of finding a cheap-ass used wheel to add to the collection.

I found a handful of folks who had wheels they'd sell for $100, but either they didn't have pictures, or they couldn't guarantee they were in working order, or they were in Dallas, so no luck there. Then, I started talking to a guy who said he had one that he'd sell for $15. Sweet! He even lived near my dad's part of town - double sweet! We'd drop by while we were in the neighborhood. Good times. He didn't have any pictures either, and couldn't guarantee it worked, but for $15 I was willing to check it out anyways. I brought more, on the off-chance that there were other spinning goodies available.

So we head out, and like usual we dropped by Half Priced Books and picked up an audiobook for the ride, and as sometimes happened we picked a dud. Seriously. It was like bad teenage poetry-style writing, very floury, with long sentences that went nowhere. We talked instead.

We make it in to Houston, and poor Mr. Sweetie has all the navigational sense of a lemming, so I'm directing him with my handy map. We get to the house, meet the seller dude (who had awesome dogs!), and get our first look at the wheel:

To call it a spinning wheel is a technicality. It is wheel-shaped, in that it is a hub with spokes. It does rotate. But it is not a spinning wheel. The guy reveals that it is from his mom's estate sale. We buy it anyway, and don't mention that it's not what we expected.

At this point, we decide it's a good time to go visit my dad. Aaaand he's not home! Good times. We talk with him on the phone for a bit, then prepare to head back out. And backing out, we hit a car parked in the street, right across from dad's driveway. Son of a bitch. Track down the owner, exchange information. Apologize profusely. No damage to our car, but her door doesn't open so good now. Call dad again, he laughs, because he has almost hit that car like a million times.

So we head home, and while we're about to get to Navasota I ask if we can stop by the yarn shop there, since the spinning wheel wasn't what I had expected. We track down W. C. Mercantile, a very nice little shop with lots of spinning fiber, dyes, Malabrigo and Lorna's Laces. I pick up 4oz each of tussah silk and red camel, some red Malabrigo, and some green Malabrigo laceweight, with which I plan to make another lace scarf. On the way home, Mr. Sweetie and I stop by a little diner in Wellborn, and enjoy late-afternoon-omelettes.

By this time, we have spent most of the money I brought. We go by the bank to put money into the joint account, and take out what we need for rent. Surprise! We are overdrawn. It's not the $300+ in fees that made me quit using checks (thought I had $30 in the bank, wrote a check for a gallon of milk, another for dinner, another for gas, etc etc, each one with a $30 overdraft fee), but it's enough that we're in troubles. We pay rent just fine, have a few hundred left, but not enough for the power bill and student loans that are both due before the next paycheck. I start putting yarn up for sale on Ravelry, Mr. Sweetie talks about selling plasma. We buy peanut butter, bread, ramen and totinos pizzas to eat for cheap on. We cash the money order that we took out for Maggie (which btw, still no word from the foster mom).

Eventually, we call parents, and Mr. Sweetie's agree to help us out. God I love them. It must be awesome to grow up with parents like that. I want to make his mom something awesome for christmas, but nothing I can make is something she's into, so I'll have to buy something instead. It's weird to think of it, but this year I'm probably going to go with store-bought presents, and actually be able to afford to do so. This minor hiccup aside, our budget is working, though I'm tweaking it now so that we put more in per paycheck, to get a savings built up, but it's essentially good. Even after all the crazy, I really like where my life is going right now.

*Edited to add: The rotating wheel we bought? Turns out to have been a Spinner's Weasel, or Clock Reel. Bitchin!

Yarn and Ramadan

So, it's Ramadan again. I kinda forgot to look up the date until yesterday, and it started on Monday, so I'll be making up some days (again). I was totally unprepared for not-having-lunch and not-snacking-at-my-desk, so I had to call on Mr. Sweetie to smuggle away all of my usual munchies and then hand him all the cash in my pockets ($3!) so I wouldn't have a moment of weakness walking by the soda machine. The sacrifices he has to make, I swear.

We had some financial troubles this month, which sucked, and we had to ask the in-laws for help. We asked my parents too, but they weren't able to spare what we needed. It happens. PrimaryBrother is evidently getting a lot of speeding tickets that Dad ends up paying. I know I for one would not have been able to get away with THAT shit. I've had two tickets in my life, once for speeding (paid myself), and once for being in a wreck (now I wear glasses!). Long story short, bills draft out of the joint account. We had the money, just in the seperate accounts, so got hit with massive overage fees, which means that after we put the money IN the joint, we're short the overage amount, and need help paying bills and buying food. Have I mentioned that I love my in-laws?

So I'm taking some advice (thanks, Library Overlord!) and re-working our budget. We're going to be putting in more a month, so that we can get a buffer of savings for emergencies and stuff, and then pouring damn near everything that's not already a bill or food into Mr. Sweetie's credit card. He's been paying off the same balance for the 4 years that I've known him, and that principal has never gotten any smaller. I may consolidate my student loans, and use the difference in my monthly payments to get that credit card gone. In two years, I want my (admittedly, MUCH larger) student loan to be the only debt we have, and I want us to have at least three months' worth of rent/bills in savings. This may or may not be possible, but I'm going to try.

So in that theme, I'm going to be putting myself on Yarnadan, as well. No new roving, no new yarn, for three months. I did it all through May, but I bought patterns then. No more of that. If I want to make something, I can damn well write the pattern myself, or get something equivalent through the library. The only thing I will allow myself is needles, and only when I don't have them. No getting 4 sets of size 4 circs so I can do 4 hats at once - I can learn to finish projects like a normal person. Do you realize that I have finished like nothing this year, despite having started a million things?

And speaking of starting things, I sketched out a new shawl. It's one that started as a doodle for a lap blanket, then got embellished, then got simplified, then embellished again, etc, etc, until now it's something that I don't think looks like total ass. Provided I can get it to work, anyways; there's really only one part I'm having trouble with, so I'm going to have a lot more swatching to do this weekend. Ah, the weekend. I will make another post, to tell you about this past one. It really deserves to stand alone.

My day so far is probably pretty spot-on to what the rest of the month is going to be like, though I hope it's going to get easier as my gut gets used to the new schedule.

6:30 Wake up, not hungry
6:30 - 8:00 Get ready for work, not hungry
8:00 - 10:00 Work, not hungry. Could use a coke though. Drink water instead.*
10:00 - 11:30 Work. Hungry, but tolerably so. Drink more water.
11:30 - 1:00 Work. Hungry. Trick lizard-brain by telling myself I'm just waiting for lunchtime.
1:00 - 2:00 Lunchtime. Watch Mr. Sweetie eat a sandwich. Read a book. Knit. Walk. HUNGRY.
2:00 - 4:00 Work. Trick successfull - stomach not used to being hungry after lunchtime. Write blog post.
4:00 - 5:00 (projected) Work. Get hungry again. Chew face off co-workers.
5:00 - 8:00 Go the fuck home! Play Warcraft and/or Oblivion, perhaps take a nap. Walk the dog.
8:08 Nom like there's no tomorrow, prepare breakfast for morning.

* I'm giving myself an allowance, for unflavored water. This is because (a) bitch gets thirsty, (b) I am not muslim, nya nya nya, and (c) I am giving up buying yarn and roving until DECEMBER. It evens out.