Monday, December 13, 2004

Negative Progress

Not only have I committed the sin of not updating my blog in a whole week, but I'm about to start griping about Christmas knitting.

I know, I know, I brought this all down on myself.

Riddle me this: How do you make negative knitting progress without frogging? By picking up more projects, naturally.

Before this weekend, I had three Christmas projects on the needles, and I was on a Yarn Diet. Now I have four Christmas projects on the needles, I've broken my yarn diet, and I'm getting more and more annoyed with the projects I'm working on. Not only are none of them for me (whoops - my inner toddler snuck out there), but they're all very b-o-r-i-n-g. Somehow it's not so mean if I spell it out. It's not even that they're boring. It's that all these projects are not-quite-mindless enough for me to forget I'm knitting them while I watch TV. They all require just enough concentration that I'm suddenly aware of my achingly slow progress and the miles of stockinette stitch I have left.

What's really strange is that in the last few months that I've been working on these plain vanilla projects, my knitting abilities really have grown a bit. I learned how to cable, with and without a cable needle, I knitted my first project from a (very simple) chart, and I became better friends with the SSK, which had previously haunted my knitting nightmares. I feel like I've become a bit more adventurous, all the while knitting away on lots of ribbed patterns.

For the record, here's the List (in order of age):
1. Marcia's Fluted Banister socks (60% complete)
2. Liz's Third Incarnation scarf (aka the MultiDirectional Scarf) (35% complete)
3. Heidi's scarf (50% complete)
4. The Hat (not yet started)

The Lunchtime Socks are conspicuously absent - I finished them over the weekend. Andrew was upstairs working on a paper, so I knit like a fiend on Sunday, and had them done around 5:00. Today was thus my first lunch hour in over a month that I wasn't knitting or thinking about the knitting I should be doing. I read a book, and it was very nice.

In other news, I'm very relieved to find that I don't have to make the trek up to Cape Cod to visit my grandparents this Christmas. I was contemplating driving up from D.C. the day after Christmas (it's 8 hours each way), staying for 3 days, and then making the trip back. It turns out that my aunt Tricia is flying in from Hawaii this week, so I'm off the hook to play chauffer for my grandmother.

This, of course, means I need to mail all my Christmas gifts out by the weekend to ensure their arrival in time for the Great Unwrapping. I got lucky on the shopping front this year. A Panera just opened up in Plymouth, not too far from where my grandparents live. My grandmother couldn't stop raving about the place when I talked to her on the phone last week, so I got them a gift card. Food of some kind seems to always be the best option for them - they're older, finicky, and don't have a lot of space for knicknacks.

My cousins, on the other hand, are always challenging. Well, two of them are. With my cousin Krystal, the biggest challenge is deciding which book to buy her. My cousin Cameron is only 6, and still obsessed with dinosaurs, so this year I went with coloring books and crayons. But Courtney and Whitney are always a challenge for me. Without sharing too much about family relations, lets just say that they don't really do any of the same things I did when I was their age (11 and 12) and that their mother has an oddly fluctuating sense of materialism. Oh well. Anyway, this year I went the DVD route again, and got them Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Two great classics. But I still wonder - would Mean Girls have been a better choice?

One last Christmas shopping story. There's this thing, which for the purposes of this story I will codename Ball, that I want to buy Andrew for Christmas. I went shopping on Saturday, with the desire to finish all my in-person shopping, and to do the online parts when I got home. Best Buy was one of my stops, and I borrowed Andrew's BB card (the one where they give you $5 if you spend $150. So peverse.) so I could earn him the points when I bought Ball. While out shopping I saw no less than three stores that had Ball. But, I was determined to buy it at BB. So I waited.

I get to BB, wander around, pick up a few other things that were on my list, and then go to get Ball. And don't you know - they're completely out of stock. The hot new thing-of-its-kind for Christmas, and they're out of stock. Dammit! I wandered, I searched, I moved things - no Ball. So I put back the other stuff, and left. I moved on to the next errand, buying non-denominational holiday cards. While at the Hallmark store, I remember that there's another store just around the corner that should have Ball - the same store in the mall had it, why not this one? Why not, indeed. They were also out of Ball. The did, however, have another gift that I had had in mind, but that Andrew's parents usurped away from me (okay, so usurped is a bad word. He didn't know I wanted to buy it for him, and told them about it first). So here I am, with my first gift idea right in front of me, but the thing I actually wanted to buy nowhere to be found. So peverse.

I briefly considered going back to one of the other stores that had Ball, but then decided this was a sign from some deity I don't believe in, and that maybe Andrew didn't really want Ball, it was just that I really wanted to give it to him. So I went home, with no Ball. While doing my shopping on Amazon, I again considered buying Ball, but again decided that maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part, so I didn't buy it. Then, later that evening, Andrew and I are chatting about inocuous things, and the subject of Ball happens to come up. He mentions Ball, how interested he is in Ball, and how much he thinks he'll enjoy using Ball, as soon as he can afford to buy Ball.

Dammit!

(You know, it just ocurred to me how dirty this story could possibly sound. So let me add the disclaimer that Ball is not pornography, and has no relation to sex in any way. In addition, it has been rated appropriate for teenagers by people who don't want to get sued by angry conservative parents.) ;)

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