Thursday, April 06, 2006

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Just in case you didn't know or get the message below... and cause I have gotten lazy about things since the initial switcheroo... I am no longer posting here. I can now be found at either of these urls: they both link to the same site. Bises! Hope to finish the spring cleaning and to see you around!

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Didn't Think I'd Do This...

Or at least do it so soon... But there you are! I am going public pretty or not...
Happy Friday the 13th!
I can now be found HERE. Go forth and Comment. THERE!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Woo Hoo

This is the technical update (knitting one to come later today) 2005 was the technoligcal year where in all roads to hell were paved with good intentions. And if I had my way it would have been with shattered Dell computers and the remnants of my "friends" in Bangalore whom I wish ever so poignantly to dismember such that even Henry VIII would blush at the brutality... What?? Like you don’t think about those kinds of things when you have been on hold for 44 minutes over an international phone line… 2006 has started off on a bit better tone (after a few phone calls with Dell which lead to self-commentaries like "Don’t they say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? Yeah, Hi my name is Little Latin Lupe and I think White Jackets are going to be the newest fashion trend. Hell I think that might just be my first design pattern!"). I have gotten things upgraded on the computer to the point that I think it might just function and even better it picked up WiFi this morning at my flat so I can crib for a while and work on this from home! What does this mean? It means the blog move will probably go a bit faster. I have the MT installed, now to figure out the set up (Holy Shit Batman that is making my head swim). Have no clue on design but so goes- anyone with Photoshop skills or ideas/suggestions... feel free to speak up. All archived posts have been sent over and I am working on republishing them (inserting the photos etc). I am testing out Flickr for photo storage and posting capabilities- if anyone has suggestions on how to post to an MT blog with more than one photo at at time that is stored on Flickr- lemme know! And I THINK that in about 2 weeks I should have things tidy (though probably not pretty) enough that I can direct you all there and delete out over here! So bring it on new year!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


My hairdresser and psychiatrist back home told me over the holidays that this coming year would be about stability and change for me. Yeah cause those two words are supposed to go together. But maybe just maybe… that is if I don’t hyperventilate about it all first. With the New Year I feel this urge to make resolutions, goals, and other things that will only serve as a measure to my level of failure. Fact stands that I can disappoint myself New Year or not, thankyouverymuch. As one smart lady quoted Yoda saying… "Do or not do. There is no try." I never feel a desire to do it as much as an obligation and well I do this kind of shit year round anyways. Hi! Listmakers anonymous, I have 2 skips full of lists- does that mean I need to got to a meeting again?? In reality I feel like this desire to purge feeling is moreorless attached to the seasons for me. I am about wanting to shed my skin and try to recreate at least 4 times a year (oh how I wish I could be a Phoenix some days…) So on January 1, as I have stated many a times before, I am NOT about resolving- except that I resolve to continue to disavow myself of the concept surrounding that resolution word. But here Chez Tink, that don’t mean I can't be about lists like Crazy Aunt Purl or about moving and shaking. And moving and shaking is what has my goat currently! Unfortunately for now I don’t have time to make lists, I barely have time for this post. I am buried under all sorts of shit I am trying to ignore. And since I am going to start this one off right, I am about seeing if I can get up off my tuckus and get shit DONE. You know getting past my “get that ass back in the saddle” hump that has been doing the neener-neener-neener dance in front of me. So if you hear a bit more white noise and a lot less loud noise around here, know it is for the best and that well it too shall pass (like my freaking holidays- vortex suck me up Scotty!). Never you fear though- in all this chaos, I am working on bringing it to you bigger (yes that means more and BIGGER FONTS- just for you Claudia :) and hopefully better as we speak. If I can learn about a bunch of stuff and make it all my bitch it will be done before the end of the month. And for all 3 of you interested… I will be back posting some of the updates when I recover from all this wizardry I am taking part of right now. Happy New Year Every One!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cake or Death...

Lemme think about that one alright?? Note to Life... Take it down a notch. Pretty Please. Gros Bisous avec un Cerise... Tink Oy. This weekend and the knitting and the getting ready to go on "vacation" and the... oh yeah the photos that make me want to jump off the knitting bridge. So in short form here is the 411. Note this is my last post before I head over the big blue pond on a plane (and possibly till the New Year depending on how things go at Mama Mao's (and whether I kill her and her "snores louder than a moped and lives in denial" ass) and then what all goes on when I am back- but happy, happy; joy, joy- one thing has gone right and in January (but not January One cause I am not that cool, nor capable) I will move the blog to its own independant URL and site using MT. And I will never ever again have to deal with the hell of blogger. Amen) So where do we stand. Well on the positive side (cause you know once those words come out the mouth there is a yin to the yang. The kind that makes you want to take yin and yank yang before taking them out back for some "Holiday" cheer) we have two finished knitted gifts. Mama Mao will not be sporting toeless socks as I finished them up and all is seamed in. I didnt graft them as I find grafting to be the antichrist but I did them in true vintage style- three needle bind off. Yes the socks be DONE. Gussets weren't perfect, but they do look pretty nice. Only another knitter would notice the gussets anyways. But riddle me this Batman- how the fuck do I end up using one ball of yarn on each of these socks to get to here. And then have one be half a pattern repeat (5 rounds) longer than the other... But the good thing is that the Bon Marche had my yarn and even in the same dyelot. Score one for Tink. Next knitted gift well it was done and decided to be added to the list after fiasco numero tres. Here we have one of my all time favorite basic cables hat in one of my all time favorite Cashmerino Aran colours (Cranberry). Why well cause it is quick and see below. So um the Christmas elves (both at work screwing up my pay meaning I get my raise but NEXT MONTH yeah, don't get me started) left my ass coal at this stage. Murphy and I are like... *THIS* Serious boys and girls, Clapotis... it hateth me. All over my irrational love of even numbers. If I had just stopped at 21, I would be done. But no... I wouldn't do that. I did 22 straight repeats and then at the tail end of the decrease rounds... you know the story. I ran out of yarn. Score 1 for Demonic Christmas Elves. I SOOOOOO should have just fucking bought that extra ball of yarn in my dyelot when I went last time, but noooooooo I was SURE that I would have enough. I DID NOT. And after trying to scramble all my scraps together (cause I only started balls on the purlside) I was at 23 st left. Do you know how pathetic this is. Cause yes there is no more yarn in Paris of this dyelot, or *swift kick in the ass* colour. Fuck me raw and over the chainsaw. SHIT. FUCK. BUGGER. Earth shaking?? That was me twitching on Sunday. When I had anticipated being all DONE. So I had to sit and think. Clapotis is LOVELY (besides the HATING ME bit) and I love it lots (even though it doesn't love me- why dont the inanimate objects love me??) but I am at a cross roads. (And then I sat and though about why the hell the EBay seller Cucumberpatch can't be arsed to answer a simple question (can she ship faster or in side the EU) so I can purchase one pack of RYC Cashsoft DK in Sage to make me a Clapotis of my own. NOT A GOOD IMPRESSION LADY!!) Do I leave it as is, buy a ball of yarn in Seattle and sneak finish the fucker up? Do I rip the bitch out and take it down one repeat and use it as a blanket to knit on the flight over (HOPING that it would be done in that time)? Do I scream at the inanimate object and then smack myself silly for playing with le fati ignoranti? (Yeah ummm I already did that for those playing the game) Who knows I have yet to decide but since I am on a plane in about 18 hours, a decision will be made sometime during them.. End of the first half: The score is even. Demonic Christmas Elves 1 v. Tink 1 and one half left to be decided. Ps... this post has been brought to you by parentheses. Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays to all of you and all your close ones. Hold someone, eat some cookies and take a moment to smile and enjoy the season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ho-Ho-Ho... Who You Calling A Ho??

MOI??? Yeah well ok, if you must... This is me right about now. We are 7 days and counting and I have bunches up my sleeve that I am ignoring. Ostrich method, displays my expanding and smoking ass... So umm yeah that whole silence bit and the blogger ate part of my post where I linked to Homey the Clown has gone on too, thank god it looks like the blogger bit will be changing as the first of the year should see me this url out on it's own. Long and short though, it all took it out of me. As did the stuffy nose that showed up just in time for me to go for Holiday weekend to Normandy and teh confirmation that my post will indeed be changing divisions and location... are you kidding me. Stability why does thou forsaketh me. Is it because I speaketh to you in yee old English?? Well this is what I sayeth to you with alleth mee sarcasm: Yeah life... I LOVE YOU. Anyways here is where the holiday knitting is at. Clapotis has 2-3 more stitches to be dropped before the I can call an end to the straight rows section and start that decreasing bit. Seconding Polly I can say you knit faster when you run out of yarn. And the socks have run out of yarn at the toe shaping part. Dontcha know it. What do you think Mama Mao would think about toe-less socks. I mean we have finger-less mitts... It could be the newest and bestest trend evah!! Ok so I think both my mother and I will have as much excitement behind that as I do for the holidays right now. Back to the Bon Marche once I am out of yarn, and probably when Clapotis is done. Now for Salina since I have gone all static silence on you about it... it seems all 19!!! (I think that was a record and totally made me feel loved. So lots of hugs to all of you!!!) of you have an opinion. Now what I didnt say, is that as long as I like the yarn- I will probably be using it again, to make Elfin (once I work up the courage). So we can take two contestants. Most of the world thought Herb should be the color of choice (with the double tallying- Herb got 12, Rage 5, Crush 3 and Sigh 2). I currently have Rage in hand and think Rage would make a better Salina than Elfin... Anyone care to chime in?? I have to go knit on the Clapotis.... and block a baby sweater that should have been in the mail EONS ago. Oh yeah and go the one of my 3 work Christmas parties. Ho freaking ho indeed... sorry but the holiday spirt (different from the materialistic one) just hasn't quite hit me yet.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


We break this blog’s intended content about the colour choice for Salina to bring you the following breaking news flash! It is under two weeks before I get on a plane, fly over the big blue ocean and am back in the land of materialism, the US of A for a cheer, a jeer and all that good stuff with Mama Mao and friends. However, the knitting of gifts- it not be done. I swear for all that Zoom Zoom start, it feels never ending and seems like I will NOT be crossing the finishing line. Yup that’s me- fount of positive thinking. Let’s all gather the power of positive thought and think about how Tink will be knitting this weekend in Bretagne and Normandie in front of a BLAZING fire. How she will finish a Clapotis or freaking sock otherwise?? She will not leave for the Holidays with out having achieved success! So instead of the Bush Administration and the War!on!Terror! (which seriously I can’t wait for CNN but I know seeing that much about US politics will bring my Tourettes back out of remission. Yes I will need to attend the “anonymous” meetings for people who shout at their televisions…) I bring you the War!on!Christmas!Knitting! I am in my own version of Christmas knitting panic mode- so this justifies setting my pacifist tendencies aside and gives me the executive power to declare war on something right?? Ignore my granola girl pacifist tendencies... Declare War!on!Christmas!Knitting! War on the socks… War on the Clapotis… War on Helen’s Sweater… War on Pretty Wrappy Top… What brought this all about from a self-ascribed pacifist?? Hey homicide is not the same as war :) Well it was looking around and hearing about the religious nutjobs already from this side of the pond, knowing that I will hear about them in the US. Nutjobs like these. NO I AM NOT talking about you normal religious people who are respectful of all to believe as they choose and just want to spread holiday cheer. I mean the ones squealing about victimization or persecution of the majority as someone dares to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Or anyone calling the ACLU the “Against Christmas Liberties Union,” you know the Union that is out to get you, your children, that mythical creation of “American culture,” and the baby Jesus too. Consider this a warning- any person who chants the talking point about putting the Christ back in CHRISTmas… or even better tasting the Christ in Grandma’s CHRISTmas cookies- they are getting smacked upside the head with a nice shouting side of

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Last week I had a GLORIOUS Thursday. What else could you call going to your yarn store (the Bon Marche) to pick up the TBM yarn you bought, and the last 3 balls of Clapotis yarn in your dyelot and being served 3 flutes of champagne (Moet and Chandon) for free??? Call me, and my best buddy who I am going to teach to knit, happy and a bit tipsy on the way out to a dinner of cheese (Raclette- which is SOOO much better than Fondue!!). Yes we love the Bon Marche and its chi-chi self (note those links are to photos I took). It didn't last though... I may live my life administratively in French, I may have written and researched a 15,000 word political/analytical thesis for one of the two leading French Grand Ecoles in my field and got the highest score (from a French professor who did NOT inflate grades), I may have worked in the interior of the Ministry of Etrangeness. But I cannot pass a stupid fucking lanugage exam in French for this blasted organisation that gives WHOLE NEW MEANING to the phrase Bass-Ackwards. Partially this is my fault, HR called me on Wednesday and said "oh we forgot to tell you that you won't receive your accurate pay grade (which for the record is not a promotion, I stay the same grade- just become permanent so I get some extra benefits, substantial ones but still...) without having passed the language exam." So I get on the horn and screeched and beseeched the learning center to let me take this exam, Honto-Pronto-Tonto! I forgot that my ADD (yes I am diagnosed with a mild case, since I was 9, but it only affects me when... wait for it... I take exams, especially multiple choice ones and timed multiple choice is like the motherfreaking jackpot. DING DING DING- that whole impulsivity part of ADD is my bitch to bear) was going to run my ass round a block. In delusions I accepted to take the exam on a Friday afternoon at 5pm. And right before I left, I had to deal with my French bank. I hate French Banks... Yeah so I guess I asked to fail the motherfucking exam by 3 bloody written grammar questions. Merry Effing Bahhumbug Christmas- not as much of a pay out as I thought I was gonna get. I think it might be time to start designing that F-YOU cabled sweater for Murphy. But I can find humour in French- the Meteo Man. I have only lived one place where I trusted the weatherman- Arizona. Not hard- "It will be sunny and hot today..." Otherwise they are asshats to be ignored in my book. My buddy Chris- made a most hysterical rant on them just today. But anyways... the Meteo here in France is something to behold. I am quite sure somewhere in grade school the kids are given a full meterological course to know how to figure out what the hell the are talking about and what all those numbers are about. And in the morning when I am watching the Meteo Man he starts dancing around my screen across the map of France with the numbers swirling around him- to some 70s music (this is what I get for watching Canal Plus instead of Telematin) he tells me that all of France is going to be depressive. Yup- they are all as pissed as I am that I am down 400 euros becuase of the fricking fracking French language. That or it is related to the acid I was dropping in my sleep- cause what else is going to explain a Meteo Man dancing on my screen across the map of France to 70s music??? Go with me here-laugh; if I can't laugh at this shit boys and girls I may start to shoot people... yes Claudia this is why I knit and may just make Salina in Rage :) but that discussion is for the next post- It is coming, I promise! Ok on to the knitting. I will give you one guess at what this is. Yes I have jumped ship and the twitchy hands have given up monogamy. I even gave indecision the heave ho and chose a pattern... Cause monogamy is over rated and the Clap, it made me itchy (well the yarn didn't that is soft as butter but I am trying to be funny here). Clap and me after 4 balls of yarn and 1.5 weekd of fiendish knitting... well we needed a bit of a break. At this stage the Clap looks almost the same as before, only 17 stitches have been dropped and it is still not long enough. It needs to be the length of the sofa/futon/bed. Bring on the sock! Yes so I started it on Friday night, where me and my "I cant speak the French" self watched the Star Ac. And on Saturday I plonked my ass on the sofa and barely budged. It was not a commercial weekend for Tink, thank the gods! I watched cartoons, I read a bit about the Wives of Henry VIII. And after 3 teenage angst shows from the US (I haven't a clue what they are called stateside- but are new) the Maillon Faible/French version of Weakest Link (where dude me and my inadequate French KICKED ASS) and 2 episodes of Charmed... this is where we are. Zoom Zoom. I might just finish before I leave, because as of today that one has an identical twin. I started it Sunday during the brunch Movie. MIGHT, watch me plonk out at the end. My over achieving ass learned the hard way to Aim LOW... Moreover... the above noted lunch break I took time to put procrASStination out of the way for a day and blocked out the last bit of Helen's sweater. It has since finished blocking and is waiting for me and procrASStination to have another meeting with likker to seam 'er up. I will say as my dumbass self slightly pinked myself (not a burn but I NOTICED) this sweater has been sufficiently blessed with me doing the holy dance around it, water spitting out of iron's the broken steam valve and me uttering FUCK alot... No worries though Helen- I would do it all over again for you my sweets. Anyways that is the knitting, me I am back to dancing around as I have managed to get the one Ipod acceptable song I have onto my Ipod. YES I AM A PART OF THE NEW WAVE... and giddy about it :) Now to keep me and my credit card permanently seperated as I want to buy all sorts of things like... TV SHOWS and Music and TV SHOWS- oh good god... they have Law and Order... This is sooooooo going to be the end of me. So for good measure here is one of my favorite pictures I have taken in a while. Enjoy!

Monday, December 05, 2005

ME ME ME ME- Funny how Meme Spells Out Isnt It??

The box is not big enough to put on my head- but Mama Mao delivered on the goods. And kick ass previous boss brought em back. I am in possession of one black 60G IPod. Not a fucking clue what to do with it or how to make it work, but it is all mine and the dancing has commenced. Knitting update?? It waits till the next post (when I have had time to make technology bend to my will). As does the colour game for Salina (whee ego boost- people do comment :) For now you can have meme’s. You want to blame it on anyone- Crazy Aunt Purl is the go to girl. I usually don’t get tagged with these things, but she went and tagged the whole internets. So enjoy. And if this doesn’t do it for you… go see the new Knitty.

TEN random things you might not know about me 1. My father passed away when I was 2 months old, to the day. 2. The size of my stomach and my bladder were arguably inversed at birth 3. I learned to knit on a complete whim, because it was dark and there was nothing else to do in the middle of a Norwegian winter. 4. I was a competitive collegiate cheerleader at a cheerleading powerhouse university. For one semester… it was like being in a cult down South! But I sure did love the flying in the air part. 5. For the most part I do not like my foods to touch each other on the plate, and I almost never swirl my foods together (unless they come that way) 6. I get GRUMPY without Dairy in my life. Milk is to me what coffee and tea are to the rest of you masses. My friends when I go off the edge in a serious way- they bring dairy. 7. I waddle when I walk, like a duck. A graceful duck. That is what 16 years of gymnastics and professional dance do- it’s called Turn Out and I got it in spades! 8. I can crack just about any joint in my body on command 9. My family owned the largest piece of land by an individual (130,000+acres/60,000hectares/approx12x17 miles) in the state of Arizona (until we sold it to an Indian Tribe). It was the family cattle ranch. And I grew up branding cows, wiring barbed wire fences, and wearing shit-kickers. 10. I could swim and ride a horse by myself before I could walk. Though I probably ought to pity the horse and its mane that I mangled… NINE places I’ve visited (or lived) 1. Egypt 2. Italy 3. Norway 4. Turkey 5. Spain 6. Greece 7. Sweden 8. England 9. Scotland EIGHT ways to win my heart 1. Make me laugh 2. Accept me for who I am, and be willing to let me grow 3. Show kindness to others 4. Be honest (and that is damn different than tactlessly honest) 5. Get me Abuela's Ring 6. Have an accent. I go particularly weak in the knees for English, Scottish, Aussie and Irish ones. But a good Spanish or Italian one can melt the heart too. 7. Debate with me, engagingly. And challenge me. 8. Indulge my insanity/neuroses SEVEN things I want to do before I die 1. Travel more, lots more and all over. But especially to continents not previously represented. 2. Have a family 3. Learn about photography. Serious I want to know how to take the pretty photos with the SLR and how to photoshop’em up. 4. Architecturally design my own home 5. Come to peace with my father’s death 6. Earn my pilot’s license 7. Skydive SIX things I’m afraid of 1. Ever having to deal with or encounter NASTY EX again 2. Not finding someone to love and be loved by 3. Being old at heart, yup I’d rather be developmentally delayed (as I am) than old at heart! 4. Not being accepted back for my PhD (i.e. Failure) 5. Being dependant on someone else for my needs and more 6. Irrationally (or rationally in my family) afraid of silence FIVE things I don’t like 1. Fanaticism, in any shape or form 2. The horribly disproportionate sense of entitlement and materialism in the US culture (kind of copying Cara on this one but really I would have said it on my own too. Great minds just think alike :) 3. Intolerance, which when paired with ignorance or blind ignorance is deathly 4. Being talked to condescendingly 5. Chickpeas (sounds odd but if you knew the childhood trauma story, you would understand) FOUR ways to turn me off 1. Paint me into a corner, I am a human not some creation in your mind that must fit your parameters never to step out of the box! 2. Be over critical and try to take me apart bit by bit 3. Make a joke of gender as an analytical lens. This is what I do- it isn’t a joke either 4. Be insecure in yourself, it shows THREE things I do every day 1. Ride the Metro 2. Drink milk 3. Crack my neck,back, hips etc... TWO things that make me happy 1. Living in Europe 2. Reading ONE thing on my mind right now 1. I just noticed I am sporting some Muffin Top- and it has GOT TO GO. I need to get more active people!

Meme 2: For shits and giggles A: Area Code You Are In Right Now: +33 6 B: Birthday: June 29, 1977 C: Current Crush: I got lots of them. Like Eddie Izzard for starts... D: Favorite Drink: Milk. Cranberry Juice mmmm and water. Vodka, Vino and Amaretto for the non-PG drinks. E: Eating Currently: Cheese puffs, yogurt, and madeleines- how bout dem apples for a healthy lunch. F: Favorite Food: Hard choice... Comfort foods I would give my right arm to have made for me- Abuela's Arroz con Leche or her Holiday soup. Hell I'd give for the recipes actually. Foods I can get at any time G: Who Do You Go To For Advice: Not that many people anymore. My network is a bit diminished as of late. So I go to the litte voice inside my head. H: Happy or Sad: Can I be in between?? It is a Monday afterall I: I think: I think thinking can be overrated sometimes. J: Job: Much more glamourous sounding than the reality of this place... K: Any Kids: nope- not yet. But one day I hope L: I Love: dancing like there is no one watching M: Favorite Movie: again hard choices for the time being I am going to do a double pull on comedy. I am in a make me laugh mood. I LOVE Zorro the Gay Blade and have since childhood. After that we have 4 Weddings and a Funeral. Still makes me laugh and I am known to shout FUCK-A-DOODLE-DOOO thanks to that movie :) N: Your Phone Number: +33 06. no drunk dialers P: Favorite Perfume or Cologne: Signature perfume- Angel by Thierry Mugler, Summery Perfume; Hesperidies by Fresh, and natural scent I adore- Lemon Verbena Q: A Little Quirk About Yourself: Little, only one. HAHAHAHA R: Last Road Trip: well there was one to the Centre of France and there is one this weekend to Normandie and Bretagne S: Tell Us One Secret: Shhhh I am T: Favorite TV Show: Ohh that is hard, I love lots of them. US TV- has to be Law and Order. (though I am a regular for Sex and the City, Nip Tuck, Southpark, and a few others) For French TV- I am going to say La Methode Cauet. And for Brit TV… well I am going to split that up- “old School” No doubts- Are You Being Served. “New school” Coupling and for the “Irish” of the shows Father Ted. U: Color of your Underwear: Most often black but sometimes you have to play guess the colour of the knickers V: Last Time You Were in Vegas: It was either 5 or 10 years ago… I am not a Vegas Girl. W: Wishful Thinking: that I will never have to take another computerized exam (GRE, Language Proficiency etc) in my life. X: X-Rays Taken This Year: Lungs, done twice as I didn’t souffle enough- to prove to the French that I did not have Tuberculosis Y: Your Favorite Year of your Life: one to come Z: Zodiac Sign: Cancer, and I am sooooo a Cancer in about every way you can think of...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Salina the International Delurking Project

Those who know me know I LOVE me some salt (about as much as I LOVE me some sugar- these are 2 of my 4/5 main food groups- salt, sugar, dairy, meat and the joker group- which is anything else I decide I like but doesn't fit into one of the other 4). I believe I may have frightend Polly with my salt lick and soy sauce tendancies this past summer. And now I am adding salt to my knitting. Well Salina is what Kim Hargreaves called it. And I do quasi-speak the mother tongue Spanish so… Salina from Vintage Knits is Salt to my mush for matter brain. Now when the TBM were going on I bought the yarn to make Salina. The deal was too good to pass up (41 euros!! for yarn AND pattern). I managed to kick cure my case of indecision with the knowledge that I could come back and exchange it, Bless Marie! And after an hour of that place, really I am in such a state of overwhelm and confustion that I just want out! Now as one sweater (Helen's Sweater) is very close to crossing the finishing line, my next project is at first and heading towards second, and really now- I don't have enough knitting on the table with all those other little details, I figured NOW would be a good time to start my thought process on Salina. Yes people follow the genius... shut up in the back row... and follow ME. Ok so today I am bored out of my gourd. The new job is DEAD right now, which normally I would enjoy but I have already read the NYT, FT, and Le Monde. I have gone through my bloglines and replied to all recent emails. I have watched CNN on the organization’s internal circuit internet/TV and knit on Clapotis during my “lunch” break (at 12 dropped stitches and going straight!). And I still have NOTHING to do for the next 3 or so hours, before I can make a run to La Poste and for the Bon Marche (to pick up my TBM yarn, get some extra Clapotis yarn- same dyelot I HOPE, and maybe attend a Lefooding event with a friend who want to learn to knit). So here yee hear yee- I am declaring this international delurking day. Step up have an opinon- it's not like you will wear the sweater. This is interactive knitblogging people, and I like to hear an echo everyonce in a while :) I am debating about the following colours... And now I ask you to get active. All three of you reading, please help me choose a color. Do a girl's ego some good and vote. Vote often and VOTE :) I would like to think that this is a sweater I will wear a bunch, both through the Winter if I get it done in time but also in Spring, Fall, and even cool Summer nights. So below you will find the following feuding colours of Felted Tweed. (Yes I alliterate when I have nothing else to fucking do but think up same lettered words)
Image hosted by Image hosted by Image hosted by Image hosted by Herb Crush Sigh Rage
Now here is the part where you pretend that I can figure out how the hell to insert a freaking blogpoll and you choose one of the following responses and insert it as a comment. PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE!! A. Tink go and smoke the happy Herb B. Sing it with me now- "I've got a Crush on you" C. Sigh... do I HAVE to choose a colour?? D. Rage my friend. Rage against the machine. E. Look I might be colourblind- but I can participate and delurk too!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

For the Bloody Love of God

Can anyone tell me how the fuck you get Blogger to let you insert a blogpoll in the text of your post?? I have a whole bloody post ready to go and this is screwing it up! GAH... I have tried with Blogpolls, Bravenet and some of the others that Blogger lists in their addons thingy; and am THIS close to going consular on Bloggers ass... all this no javascript bullshit. I know other blogger users have done it. And I want to too!!! So if any of you could come to the help of a foul damsel in distress... she would appreciate it highly and might just blow you kisses for your trouble. Oh and for the record... I will be taking live in January 2006. I know I have said it before but this time I am doing the preparations (more on that soon!) and setting it all up. I am sure I will start bitching about MT at that stage but it has to be better than Blogger.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The one in which she makes Tigger look like he took a hit off the bong…

I don’t know how it is any different from any other post I put up but here we bounce through the random 20, or whatever I get through before I get tired and give up. But please do read cause today has PHOTOS. First: Let it be known let it be heard “All hail the Great Silvia.” I have just got the most rocking of trades. Way back in the day she was all sour about some calmer (with a souring price… sheesh people I love that yarn, but man you charge a bunch for a cotton/acrylic blend…) in the color Sour. I in my beneficent manner said hey I have some from an accursed attempt to make Soul from the Calmer Collection- you wannit?? She said yup and I somehow overcame my irrational hatred and avoidance of La Poste- and with a crap card (cause the real one was at home and if I didn’t get there that day… it might never have happened!) I sent it off and her way. She in return poked and prodded me about what I wanted for swag. It is overwhelming to think of these things people! I am going to create a whole page on this and yarn places in Paris at the new site :) In the end I decided I would rather get me some Banana Republic bottoms (cause serious people I refuse to buy a size 40 in pants at Zara just so they fit my thighs, especially when I am 34 in skirts… and Zara thinks we are all 8ft tall. I, for the record- without heels, am 5ft on a good day). So I asked if I sent em to her, would she ship them on to me. She said sure but was gonna get candy too. See how much she rocks. So I said here is a list of a few things, surprise me with none, all or whatever. Whatever got me this stash of candy (Well some of it is gone. A girl has to have herself a white trash dinner every once in a while- my favorite… well with some Ranch dip from Mama Cate to go with the chips and Reese’s Peanutbutter cups. SCORE!) Second: Photo of the Week- with out a doubt the one that made me smile walking home on Friday night.
(photo taken on Quai de la Messagerie, and yes the trolls are in a bird cage)
Third; Let’s talk knitting. What am I knitting? I am knit fiendishly this weekend on Mama Mao’s Clapotis. Here is the status 3 balls of yarn later (apologies for the fuzzy nature, I took it as I was running out the door this morning- and I must go get one more ball this week). It is pretty and Tink likey… surprise, surprise as this started out as a knit for MOI. I will definitely be recreating this one soon! And further knitting news- I have gotten me my knitting book! After I saw the Grumperina’s socks for Grandma, I knew I had to get the book (actually I like all of grandma’s socks and may just turn into a copy cat!). So I have me some vintage socks to knit. And cause I went without a plan and without thought to the Bon Marche (La Grande Epicerie is next door) I decided to buy some purple yarn. Purple Kid Classic to make a hat, and lilac baby cashmerino to make either these or these socks… probably for Mama Mao this Christmas (which if I do I might do double padding for the sole like the padded footlets from IK- if I can figure out how to do them). I need another knitting project on a timeline like I need a hole in the head. But there it is…
Also does anyone know where one might find itsy bitsy bamboo circs? With current trends as they are- I believe I will have finished up enough holiday knitting to take the Pretty Wrappy Top Collars on the plane to finish, and maybe see if I can get help at the LYS to finish the bugger up :) That said, I believe I worked all the Valium ribbing for Pretty Wrappy Top on 2.75 and or 2.5 needles. The POINTY ones, that leave my fingers RED. They are also metal and since US security needs to feel up under my boobs to know I am wearing an underwire bra, I'd just as soon not loose my metal needles if I don’t have to. So I am on a mission to save the fingers and the needles and find me some itsy bitsy needles. If you have any suggestions, please send them forward! Last but not least… I introduce you to the amazing wonders that are Cheesy Bread.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Do you hear sleigh bells jingling???

I do. And I have even sung the “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” song skipping along the sidewalk. It is official I am a dufus. In my defense- I am pretty sure the snow caused it all. Yeah that is it; it’s the snow’s fault. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Over the weekend Paris got its first sprinkling of snow! See the tiny reflective dots, they are snow. Yes it is too snowing, and I am in my pajamas as it was “early” in the morning. I laid there on the futon looking out my window clapping my hand saying PRETTY! PRETTY!” and when I overcame my weekend lie-in inertia- I was going holy FUCK there are icicles hanging off that witches tit- cause when I opened up the window, it was cold. Bitterass cold. But the best part was that some of it even stuck for all of about 15 minutes, and I cranked up my heater and sat there knitting on the Clapotis (I have become somewhat obsessional about this project-…) It was nice and prompted me after my Saturday morning errands to go to La Grande Epicerie, where I bought exorbitantly priced Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa mix for next time snow happens. I also had a first. I went to the Thanksgiving Store here in Paris. Friends were having a Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday so I was helping. I have avoided these places cause really they are just RIDICULOUS. Serious… if I had my camera I would have taken a picture cause they tried to charge 6.5€ for a box of Graham Crackers that were “just past the best by date” 9.5€ for the still ok dated ones. WHAT THE FUCK??? I joined the ranks of the crazy people as I bought a 50cent bag of Mike and Ike’s, only I paid 1.5€… I am weak for the candy people! But no way in hell I am paying 8€ for a box of Stove Top Stuffing. And in the start of the holiday season I even saw me the start of Christmas decorations. Thank yee gods that the French wait to at least the end of November. If the Christmas Carols had started in October I’d be going ballistic. I also found myself responding, no I will not go shopping for anything here in France as I am going to go HOGCRAZY and get EVERYTHING when I am in the US. Bwahahahahaha. Those boots I was, will be half what they cost here! Those pants that I need to wear to work- they will be hemmed for free. I will have free old/new stuff (it is mine and in the storage unit but I haven’t seen it for 3 years- so I baptize it as new). And then there will be the day after Christmas sales. I am not usually up for them but the fact that I will get value and plan on going materialistically insane… well, sing with me. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Time to get an advent calendar and count down until I leave in 23 days.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Glou Glou

As the French would say... Me I say Gobble Gobble. Happy Thanksgiving to each and all who celebrate today (everyday should have its thanksgiving though in my opinon) Make sure to take the time to think of a few things to be thankful for and if you are thankful for people to tell em. Me... I am in France, for which I am on and off thankful for (depending on whether or not I have to deal with French bureaucrats or am eating wine and cheese); I am at work- which irony of ironies I am thankful for (again as long as I dont have to talk to those HR people again for a while) I will have Thanksgiving dinner with Yank friends on Sunday; I am thankful for a scruffy Italian who puts up with my hacking of the language and with whom I am having dinner tonight at my all time favorite Parisian restaurant; I have knitting lined up and I am definitely thankful for that as it does help to ensure my one last thread of santity doesn't get too frayed. I am also thankful for the wonderful friends who have stood by me and hit me upside the head when needed. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

World "Events" from a Frazzled Foreign Correspondent

Last week was a death march, I quite seriously was not sure I would survive. No joking here either boys and girls. Occasional thoughts of running down blvd St. Germain naked with the ball and chain to jump off Pont Neuf nekkid occured. Been a while since I have been at that point on the mentality scale… I restrained myself but exhaustion, it was holistic and complete. I think the positive outcome of my convalescence might have had to do with the well established healing powers of Cheesy Bread. Just a guess... Anyways I crashed my ass out the whole weekend, except for the essential errands I ran- MUST GET CHEESY BREAD. And I am thankful for it now cause crashed out on a sofa, Tink can knit. Now onto your news alerts… Code Red Alert to all knitters in Seattle/PAC Northwest: If any one reads this blather from that part of the world and are interested in meeting up, a very odd convergence zone has settled above me and it looks like I will be back in my favorite/home US town for the Christmas holidays. I will be doing TONS of stuff, but a yarn store crawl is already on the list (Weaving Works as my all time favorite will be the first stop, there may or may not be others considering the damage I do). And I will be prepared! Prepared knowing that I will hit serious overwhelm with a side dish of indecision. So feel free to email if you want to join or say hello- I don’t bite… unless you ask me to, Promise. As I heard no Ribbon Twist wisdom I have blocked 2 sleeves via my outlined method. And tonight a front is going on the floor (don’t worry Helen… I vacuumed :) I am really gonna try and get this one done soon. Once the back is blocked I can seam up the shoulders, knit up the collar, and then play the set in sleeves game before mattress stitching us all to a finished sweater. Illicit knitting has taken place… and since I can’t get my act together to make a Clapotis post here are the essential talking points… I started a Clapotis in Brown RYC Cashsoft many moons ago, before my London trip. I knit one ball plus and realised that I hadn’t been closing the yarn overs and I had all these holes… I was a bit concerned about this and what it would do to dropped stitches. So in a whopping brainer of an idea, I decided to go across the whole of what I had knit and drop the stitches to see what it looked like. It mostly looked ok. Only now with all the dropped stitches (some not the right ones) I needed to rippit! So I ripped it all back, I started again after asking some sage counsel and then I promptly ignored the Clapotis on the needles. I ignored it all the way to the Loire (about a month). As I was the designated driver, I didn’t get much knitting time on the holiday weekend. But I did bring it out at fire time (when I snapped at my friend, a friend who has been a happy recipient of my knitting I might add- though she calls the basic cables hat her Penis Hat, and that alone should get me the Google searches. Anyways she was saying "wasn’t I all Gran…" you wanna say that to the lady that is driving you round Paris and L’Etoile?? THAT is what I thought!), and then when I got back to town and rode a metro ligne that didn’t make me nauseuous due to what I call the cattle car effect, I knit on it. This past weekend I finished the first ball and yesterday I got to go home early and knit on it all night getting to the point where I dropped the first two sets of stitches. And it was at that stage I decided… since Mama Mao was part of the convergence pattern enabling a US shopping trip and Mama Mao likes brown, Mama Mao gets a Clapotis for Christmas. This is my knitting for the next month people. I will seam up Helen’s Sweater. I will knit this Clapotis, and if all goes crazy and there is a moment to spare, I will try to force myself to undertake valium ribbing knitting of the collar for Pretty Wrappy Top. Yeah the relic in the UFO pile… Consider yourself informed

Friday, November 18, 2005


I would like to make it clear that I have absolutely no restraint (especially not now that I know I will have a slight pay increase coming my way). I also have no good sense. And most importantly I have no space. These are all important points that are lost or illustrated in the following story. While I was on an “in town vacation,” weekend, the TBM took a hold of me and gave me one hell of a shake down. I was weak. I was worse actually. I was weak, irresponsible, without a plan and indecisive. Just the combo needed when facing yarn and home furnishing sales. I should make lists and send someone else to do my shopping. Really I should. Then I wouldn’t be thinking to myself. “I better find me a Chinese roommate to justify this 10 portion rice cooker I brought home.” And that is before we get to the yarn. What is it… put something on sale and that one Sephardic Jewish gene my mother has, that I fear she passed on to me, goes into HIGH ACTION!! And that “I normally don’t have any interest in stashing yarn” instinct evaporates. The sad part is that I staked out the TBM last week. I knew which yarns they had on sale, at what price, and what I was interested in. I tried to put a bit of thought into it all. I knew there was Anny Blatt Super Angora, Bouton D’Or Ksar, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, Rowan’s Felted Tweed, and of course Kid Silk Crack ALL ON SALE. I didn’t make a budget, but I did have a few ideas and basic parameters. Get enough Kid Silk Crack to top off what you have at the flat to make yourself Paisely from Rowan's "A Seasons Tale." Get thee the camel you can't stop petting. Don’t forget to get a sack of the Baby Cashmerino- not for Babies but for you. And get Angora to make a special person a scarf. ACTION PLAN. I got to the Bon Marché with a plan. I abandoned it as soon as I entered the store. I can't begin to describe the type overwhelm that waves over me when I enter there during the TBM. Think the Bermuda Triangle, but with yarn instead of water. The TBM really are better than the sales and they are what knitters really wait for, at least here in Paris. I normally would not go bezerk over the TBM as I either had a limited budget, I had fewer ideas or I was focused. But really my life it is that ADD joke. How many ADD kids does it take to screw in a light bulb? Wanna ride bikes??? I have knitters ADD. I have been knitting and I have been unable to be faithful. Granted both projects were for Helen but still… I switch from one to the other faster than Tarzan on a mood swing elevator. I am paying no attention to finishing out the rest of the smaller projects on my platter, and everything is in disarray. Given the yarn I ordered at the TBM and yarn I will be buying off a very lovely Londoner… I best get the disarray taken care of, otherwise me and my 190 sq ft… we are going to be tripping over yarn, jeans that stand on their own, dishes, and books. Every 5 seconds. I’ll admit I haven’t got lots of photos to show for my haul, and I only spent a bit over 100 euros so... it isn’t THAT much in light of damage some knitters can wreak. But the yarn stash, it must now be organized. It will no longer fit into one Bon Marché bag. We are light on pictures because not all of my yarn was available, so I have a good chunk on order. But here is the break down. I stayed somewhat fidele to my original plan, but there is a bit of regret at the end… I bought Super Angora to make into a gift scarf like the one I made myself with last years TBM Angora. I wanted to get another color but I wasn’t up to another wait and order deal. I think the other color would have been more the receipient's style, but this one should go with her colouring. If I don’t like it in a week or two (as I should wait to get started cause, there are other things on the list people!!) they may have the other colour back in by then. I got my three balls of Liquer Kid Silk Crack on order. I now have enough yarn (once I exchange the colours- Marie is GREAT like that) to make Paisely. And that might be the next me sweater once all the finishing is finished. We’ll see. But one day I will be wearing that sweater. Anyways after that I bought the Phildar Tendences Spring 2005. No not just yarn- I got patterns too. I saw the new Collections Hiver and Tendences Hiver; nothing to cry home about in my opinion. Those who want one can let me know and I can trade but for now it doesn’t join this burgeoning knitter's library. Why did I get the Tendance Spring, when I wasn’t blazing a path down to my Phildar during spring? Well cause of my next purchase. I got a pack of B-Limey Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I haven’t decided if it will stay this colour (it is on order) or what it will become. I just know I love that yarn. My b-limey socks have been on my feet practically nonstop and I am in love. I may use it to make a project from Phildar Tendances Printemps. We’ll see... not like I dont have other things to finish up first or anything. It is at this point that I broke rank. I have liked Salina since I first saw Vintage Style. As a matter of fact she is one of the few sweaters I would see making in that book for me. I fully admit: I have no ability to determine what patterns will and won't look good on me before trying them on. So most knitting is done via blind faith. But I figured Salina might look good on me. And I plan on asking a Goddess or two their opinion on if I should make any adjustments or not. Even better the yarn was dirt cheap, 41 Euros cheap. How could I pass that up?? Sure it wasn’t on my list but for that price I got the yarn and pattern (not the pattern book but the pattern- which when you don't want the pattern book... ROCKS). Come on... How many times can you make a Rowan sweater for under 45 Euros?? NOT BAD choice in my opinion. When I will start this one your guess is as good as mine. But look for an upcoming post on this sweater. Wherein I will ask for the assistance of people who are allowed to dress themselves. And my last bit. It isn’t a purchase but a regret. I really, really, really wanted to get me enough Ksar to make a sweater. I have a ball here in the colourway Crepescule and I am in LOVE with the colour and it is soft with a lovely halo. This yarn speaks to me. And it was 6.8 euros a ball. But it couldn’t quite tell me what it wanted to be. At first I thought I would substitute the yarn for Freida, but it was not the siren call I anticipated. Plus I figured in the darker purple of the color the cables might get lost. I debated about making Debbie Bliss’ bolero from Simply Soft, but the magnet was not exerting enough gravitational force and I didn’t feel like adjusting numbers. I am sure I would have found a pattern for it but I already have enough yarn for 4 projects that need to be knit up and that isn’t including anything to finish and the smaller projects. And I have already done enough damage to my pocketbook. While I know I made the right decision (they didn’t have the colourway in anyways) I still wish I could have brought the yarn home. I hope that either the next TBM or next year's winter TBM they put it back on sale. Cause then… I will be buying it!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Help, Help, Help...

Imagine that being said in a meek voice with a yelp sound to it and you can hear me loud and clear. It is official I am fully snowed under. But that will not stop me. No... only death (who is SO luriking around the corner) will get me. BWAHAHAHAHAHA So I have a quickie post about Helen's lovely sweater knit in Ribbon Twist with BIG HONKING 12mm needles that is all knit up (except for the collar). In the hope of doing a complete post on the sweater and getting it to Helen... I am asking for advice in advance. We all know I am not big on the finishing bit so I looked at a certain site that usually has all sorts of details about that stuff. I creamed a few (in particular seaming with a finer yarn- now to find me one of those, hehe) but... not the one I am immediately looking for. This is my first time knitting Ribbon Twist (a yarn that is composed of unspun roving (at least I think that is the fiber term...) with a space-dyed ribbon swirling it with a thread holding it all together) and the ends be a curling. Thus the concept of blocking the pieces comes to mind. Previously when I knit a Lopi sweater (the closest to this kind of guage Tink has ever gotten) it was blocked using a professional upright steamer at the LYS... needles to say- that ain't happening this time. So I am coming to you, yee of brilliance and founts of knowledge, and any Rowanettes out there- Help a girl out!! How would you go about blocking Helen's Sweater? Please note the following two points. One, my iron does not do steam very well. The water well plug part was broken (before I moved in, the iron came with the flat). And two- I am dealing with limited space, and limited supply of towels, so this is going to be a piece meal approach. In the interest of Full Disclosure: Blocking is being done on Saturday and Sunday. My current guess of what to do would be to pin the sucker out to the dimensions I want. Stick a towel (a mid level towel- not a shower nor dish towel in between them for thickness) in the shower, blast it with HOT water. Burn hands wringing towel out, say FUCK a lot (it blesses the sweater). Place said towel on top of pinned out piece. Let it meld a bit, and then iron the towel paying SPECIAL attention to not felt the bugger but ensure that I do flatten out the edges.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Doesn't that title just GRAB your attention?? I knew it did. And now that I have your undivided attetnion before you clik the little red X box in you right hand corner lookie HERE. I want to be cool. I have had my little Bravenet map over there in the corner, but Kerstin, Kay, Rachel and all the other very cool kids have this new gadget. So I went and got me one too… go on sign it, make me feel loved. And if you want to know all the low down…Kay has it all set out for you, so no excuses! After a holiday (Armistice Day) weekend vacation through the Loire, one does not remember to put the bright crayons back into the coloring box for Monday morning. I have about 4 posts in the line up that I hope will be up by the next time I make such an interesting headline for my post and call it Monday Again (Helen’s Sweater, Clapotis, the Loire weekend where I thought of Norma as I drove through Rambouillet, and one other that I can’t remember but know I should write- WAIT… Oh, Oh I remember the TBM and a post where I try to see if I can get some feedback about a sweater). DOG I hope once I transition jobs that life will slow down just a little bit. So that the one braincell won’t say to the other last braincell “Hey each man for himself- I think my chances look better making a run for the ear canal and taking a leap of faith. Flee for it man, she ain’t that tall!” At least that is what they say to each other when the list of 25 items to do from last Thursday gets another 5 added to it on Monday and I leave the post at the end of Tuesday. And my first day in the new post is started with a Network (i.e. big deal, and all day deal) meeting at 9am (an hour in which Tink very often utters in the out-loud voice FUCK). Tink’s response is to see stars spinning round the head alla Daffy Duck, start twitching at 6:30 pm on Monday, say fuck it and go see the movie Manderlay. And this is what happens when you put up the political posts- static ;) Well for those interested in the political stuff there are two recent happenings. First, you can find a very well said and timed article in NYT that gives a bit of the feelings and the problems in the approach of French citizenship. And Chirac has gone and extended the curfew law by 3 months, I guess that is better than Sarkozy threatening to deport the arrestees, who again are mostly French citizens, if you are born here you are French. Child of immigrants label is an irrelevant, so stop saying it on national television. Cause you are causing me to have tourettes where I sputter things like “Tu me fait chier!” while making dinner.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lets Get Physical… I Mean Political

*EDITED- I should have already said this but I posted late last night. I stand by my statements and I stand by the right of any and every reader to comment. But there are ground rules I as Benevolent Dictator over here have established. We can agree and disagree respectfully. I like the exchange of dialogue, but it is MY blog so I will decide what is and isn't respectful. Dont like it... move along, there will be a post about a sweater tomorrow. FURTHERMORE I have decided that I have the huevos to say my opinion, and thus you should too. I dont like hypocrisy. So if you want to say something for this post, I am only going to leave comments with Blogger IDs or names and email or website links incorporated in the text. This post only has one comment at this stage. And in an action I am sure will inflame the rioters, after much thought and writing my response... I am going to delete the comment. If the person who posted it wants to email me their identity, it (in original form) and my response to it will go back up.* OK I don’t do this very often… I haven’t sung Olivia Newton John for years nor have I been political on this blog. As much as this blog is a knit and rant blog … I try to keep politics out of it. Not because I don’t have an opinion or am afraid to say it. God knows I shout from more than one roof top, but I deal with the stuff on a daily basis. I am a political scientist, and these topics can be explosively divisive. But I figure I have a mostly Anglophone following (if I have any following) and talking about the current situation in Paris isn’t going to divide the world like Bush would. Moreover, I am trying to give this blog a Parisian side (or at least I am in the redesign, context conceptualisation and new blog platform I am working on :) so here goes… Keep in mind: Yes I do bleed red and here in France I fall into the Socialist Party. However I am respectful of all, put blame on all and am intentionally not putting a right v. left spin on things (for many a reason including that left and right in France are not similar to left and right in the US/UK etc). And I am trying to say them as clearly as possible. In as many words as I can :) But these words are mine and only mine. To those who are wondering Parisians safety, as evidenced by the call on Sunday at god o’clock from Mama Mao screeching about explosions and fires and wondering if my windows had burst in the blasts (reminiscent of her freak out about the “fall of government” in Norway- like the Weegies were rioting outside my door?? These are the people who plan their strikes a year in advance… I am not in the Democratic Republic of Congo MOTHER!!)… Things in town have been fine. While in last night there were incidents within the boundaries of Paris (by République and Nation for the most part), most of what you see on television is going on in the Banlieu. Currently as most of your footage shows… things are at a turning point, and out of control. The violence is spreading (thus incidents are happening in most major French cities) and it is increasing, with the youth mobilising and organising. Meaning that things could shortly either be crushed (with further violence and sectarianism in the society) or turn into a movement as the student riots of the late 60s did. Politically this is a smoke out. The opposition parties (primarily the Socialist) are mainly represented at the local level, and due to how the French government is organised, restricted in how they can respond. On almost all of the TV appearances by the Socialist mayors etc, they have decried the central government's “response.” They trying to do their best- but they don’t control the police. De Villepin and Sarkozy are trying to get the upper hand for the upcoming presidential election (these boys have been pissing in corners trying to mark their territory for the past 3 years, why would it be any different now), each flaming the fires in their own special way (though Sarkozy’s tactics, it must be said, are outright hostile and in my opinion racist, then again for the Frenchy speakers- Sarkozy me fait chier...). Neither is doing what it takes to calm things down nor resolve the underlying issues (this is politics people you don’t deal with the foundations- you deal with the superficial; if you want to survive electorally). Chirac has been sitting in his tower; because he doesn’t know what to do… he is domestically impotent. Not even Viagra sent by Bob Dole is going to help him get it up at this stage. His focus has been trying to get some of his political credibility back by forcing issues at the international level with trade negotiations and cow-towing to French Agro Business (not the individual French Farmer- nor towards helping the developing world, I can point anyone who wants to argue with me to the statistics… I told you I deal with this shit daily) So what exactly is the deal and what is going on here?? Well the current issues in French society aren’t all that different from what happens in any immigrant nation (like it or not France is an “immigrant” nation of sorts). There is the timeline of issues and then there are the root/foundation issues (some are being slightly simplified and condensed so as to make this a post that maybe SOMEONE will read :) Before going any further though, I do not want to lead anyone to believe that I find the violence going on to be acceptable. I do however find it understandable and explainable. More importantly I do think it is resolvable, but I am not holding my breath. Unfortunately I do believe it will get worse before it gets better, and I mean significantly worse, if things are to get better- at the foundations. The timeline of the past 2 weeks starts with a tragic situation where mistakes were made on all sides, leading to the death of two teenagers (and injury of a third). That escalated with the accompanying anger that the deaths provoked over already tense relations (foundations issues). There were slight openings at this stage for dialogue and quelling of the issue, but politicos refused to meet when people were protesting with minor violence at night (I call throwing a rock or starting a fire in the garbage can minor- in the US they would have had guns from the get go... flame away). The police responded to the protests over these deaths with tear gas. As someone who has been tear gassed (I worked the WTO Seattle Ministerial and was trying to leave the building) I can politely say, it is not fucking pleasant. In this case it was intentionally throwing vodka at the fire and saying "Oooohhh look at the fiery red colors." The gassing happened during Ramadan prayer in a Mosque and trapped the women in their prayer room. This is one of the primary issues, that I believe, allowed the violence to start popping up in other communities. No longer just an immigrant/citizen issue of the us V. the police- but them attacking our religious sanctuary. Think of the situation at this stage like a fire, the wind takes a flame and lights up the path that the wind blows. This is an issue MANY communities have in common and can rally solidarity around, particularly as the politicos (especially those at high levels- Chirac, himself, made his FIRST comment on the issues only last night) did not denounce this action like the towns muezzenine (sp?) making the call to prayer. And in France solidarity is a well and alive concept (I am sad to say it is not in the US- again flame away). It means something and is applied here. There were denials and acceptances that this gassing happened via the hands of the Police, but at the same time Sarkozy (who is an elitist populist and has VERY scary immigration ideas) started saying inflammatory things. Here is where most people say the catalyst explosion took place. He was shut out for 2 days because it was that bad. The families of the killed teens refused to speak with him de Villepin had to get involved. Politically this was bad for Sarkozy, he is supposed to control the "interior"… but for some odd reason he broke them down and was let back in. I cant explain or understand that one. In my opinion that aggravated an already pissy group of the citizenry and told them to notch it up a bit to get attention, which is what these violent actions are about. What he said in translation really doesn’t sound nearly as bad as it is. The connotations and societal inflectations are simply not translatable. What he called them wasn’t just thugs… it was worse and had racist inflections. Furthermore I am sure he was well aware that these kinds of comments would provoke the violence and unrest. They were not aimed at calming the protesting youth or reestablishing order… they were aimed at the elites and gaining their approval. Sarkozy was the former Mayor of Neuilly after all (a VERY rich suburb in the affluent "Banlieu," and ironically- not too far from where I work). Slowly but surely every night since then the cauldron continues to bubble, and the violence continues to expand. The governments “responses” do nothing to stop this, though thankfully they have not provoked another catalyst explosion. But buildup is still growth. Over the past few days the numbers of vehicles set afire has increased exponentially, a lab for making bombs has been found and the first injuries have started to be tallied up. None of this was unpredictable; most French sociologists would tell you it was a matter of when not if. Why? Foundation issues. If there is one thing I do as a political scientist it is preach about the foundational issues. Process means more than product! The seeds of what you see on the television today were sown many moons ago. And the responses bandied about are only superficial. Pointing fingers will get us nowhere as both sides of the divide (Socialist and “Gaullist/UMP”) have been involved. Something that might not be immediately apparent from the coverage is that most of those kids on the streets taking part in the protests and violence, they are not immigrants. They are first and often second generation French kids. Despite the French immigration proverb “once in France everyone is French,” and this magical wand that is supposed to be waved over each and every French citizen; these are citizens who have been relegated to the outskirts of society. And rightly so feel like they are considered second class; their parents are the cleaning people who throw away my water bottles, and want something better for their children (and as a child of immigrants… I feel this point). But these kids, they were born here, they go to school here, they take the same damn bloody Bac as the “French” kids do and they should have every right that anyone else does. But reality stands that they don’t, and in the Banlieu it is smacked in their face on a daily basis. France is a country that doesn’t integrate their own all the time. While it is true that French youth in general do not have an easy way to transition into adult life in France (employment rates for under 26 are appalling and there were stagaire strikes earlier in October because of the way the French employment systems treats “youths”) these are the kids that can’t find a way out. And the kids you see (I do mean kids as they are arresting 13 year olds) are kids that DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY. They fully comprehend the realities facing them, but they don’t understand why they are less French. And no one politically is giving them a good reason, which is why I can’t bring myself to call them thugs. They are misguided, and desperate; which does not make their actions acceptable but they aren’t responsible for their societal exclusion either. I have compassion for them- Flame me while I look for my flame retardant vest. It is interesting I find to watch the news coverage nightly. I have made a point of being home to do so actually. You hear such alternating stories. The “French” working class that live in the Banlieu say they don’t feel the hostilities; they don’t see the violence in the same way as what they see on the television. They are friends with their neighbors. In short this outburst doesn’t affect them, though it disturbs them. Yet when the youth start talking… another story appears. The desperation and trodden nature rear their heads. They show you their national ID cards in this dire need to prove to you that they ARE French. In most of the Banlieu and where the unrest is happening- the unemployment rates are astronomical. And if there is one thing I can tell you, it is that unemployment is the root of many problems (be it the downfall of pension systems or the unrest in a society- unemployment is a VERY bad thing). For history and explanation of my Franglais-ing, the Banlieu came about after WWII. They initially were ghettos and shanty towns, but their subsequent conceptualisation has been as working class suburbs. In the 1950s the government blew through them and started creating safe and secure housing developments- think project housing. In the mid 60s there were major waves of repatriation- in particular from Maghrebian countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria etc). So those Banlieu project housing blocks and towers grew exponentially. In hindsight we know integration into society of this nature is like charging the date on a ticking time bomb and setting it under ground as a landmine to blow at the least tremble on the hair line trigger pull. In the 70s (some in the early 80s) the issue was complicated as waves of immigrants came from former Francophone colonies (mostly Africa). These two waves of immigration sowed the seeds of what you see today. In the Banlieu today you see old decrepit buildings slabs, what one would basically call squats. And people still live there, hell sometimes they are still social housing locations. You see slightly newer towers of apartment housing where little communities have arisen around a central notion, the relation to the homeland. They may be French, but they are Moroccan communities of French people (should that make sense in the way I wrote it). To integrate people into a society you CANNOT just spout a proverb and say that takes care of everything. Especially when the afflent french are so infamous for that look down their upturned nose. It is evident to me that this approach is what has gotten France where it is today. You have to give people a true chance, that is a basic right of citizenry. On the immigration level you need to understand how to help those coming in adjust. France was good at this with neither the repatriations of the 60s, nor the recent repatriations of from just last year out of the Côte Ivoire. Even these "white" repatriated families are less French. For true immigrants, you need to put them in housing that is surrounded by locals- it acclimatises both groups. Fact stands you make one tall building and you stick all the Senegalese in it… and they are going to stay Senegalese and they are going to be French too. I understand this cause it was my family life in the US. Inside the house was Spanish, off the boat from Spain Spanish. Outside was American. But only when others didnt know about the Spanish house (mostly because raised in a border state speaking Spanish earned me the nickname Lily as in Lily White Mexican...). But most importantly you need to provide equality of chance to these French citizens, and particularly a way to work and make a living. These kids need to know what it means to be an adult, and under the current system that is not possible. So when they face the dark shaft- they rebel. And when all is going to hell, they don’t feel the same need to not go with that counter flow. That flow that taps built up rage and takes it to the levels of frenzy where rationality cannot exist. At that age the reasoning isn’t such the strong point (go on think of the shit stories you threw at your parents, or your teens might be throwing at you). It goes like this “if they shit on me I am going to shit on them” and it translates into the burning of affluent cars (it ain't the Twingo they are targeting boys and girls). Now those are the root points, to resolve where things stand now and the fires that will burn tonight… that is more difficult. The politicos have come out with the nasty talk. Once you have politically committed to this harsh law and order crack down like in the Watts riots of LA, you further aggravate the social fault lines. And society is no more prepared for the next earthquake than it was for this one (smaller one or two day incidents without the initial deaths involved in this case happen here in France every couple of years… they just don’t capture the media's attention.) This is exactly the French situation. And as the politicians refuse to sit down and dialogue with the locals… doesn’t look like it will get better. On the otherside, these youth are not as stupid as the politicos would like to believe. They know the strength of solidarity and are organising (even if it is organising in the production of crude bottle bombs). In my eyes it is a matter of time to see who can hold their breathe longer. Who can outlast the other, or who can crush the other in simple terms. I don’t discount that the raging youth could bring down the politicos, nor the possibility that the politicos will crush the soul of the Republican nature and immigrant hope in “restoring the rule of law and order in every quartier.” Important to note is that Republican here is not a US party, but a form of government and social status in France which was brought about by revolutionary ideals- where by the way… Thomas Jefferson, the person that switched the party name and concept, got the idea. See Republicans, not so original, but great at fucking up the original concept :) Told you I bled red...) I cant say much more… I can answer anyone’s questions. I can say my opinon, this shit isn’t going to go away. But if they figure out how to equalise some of the sometimes 46% unemployment rate in this subsect of society, it might just be one of the fatal stabs to this inflammation. The current approach (the force, force and more force- to show the might of the law) may blow out the flames; but the embers are still going to be left piping hot and ready to burst into flames again. The memories being created now are just as important as the bullets being shot. Sure at core the resolution it is a chicken and egg issue, which comes first them stopping the violence or us stopping. This is no different at the mechanics level than in any other conflictual pattern (such as in Israel-Palestine) just the magnitude varies. It will need to be a negotiated end with both sides at the table and both sides... pulling back- not one trumping the other (as you see worldwide in conflict negotiations). Sure it aint fun and there are medium term prices, but the kill a fly with a sledge hammer routine doesn't seem to really bring anyone anymore security (security- a mental construction if I ever saw one. You are as safe as you choose to believe you are!) Being derisive and calling people splodeys or otherwise... negates the point. And to me makes you look like the smacked ass. Teaching your kids to play nice at the sandbox is the real but of this issue. But that is just my take. Flame Away... I have my fire extinguisher ready at hand and I am not wearing my footsie pyjamas to bed tonight.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Design Foray

Let’s set it straight from the get go. I am fashion incompetent. I lost my license to dress myself many moons ago. I am accessory impaired, I do not do trendy at all, and when it comes to knitting... I trust those who know what they are doing (a sorority/fraternity of which I am not a member just a follower). That said I am surprising myself with this post. After the TBM spree (upcoming post) I went over to Zara to see if there was anything worthwhile. Part of the regeneration weekend included irresponsible retail therapy. I got a partially angora basic turtleneck in Violette to make up for the Ksar I was mourning. I might go back for a wraparound white broadcloth top. But the most important find was a “jacket:” This jacket was ridiculously priced (like much of the Zara Woman line can be) but I liked the colour enough to be enticed to try it on. Once I tried it on I knew I would be willing to wait in line to try it on in the fitting room so I could take pictures. Pictures cause this time… I want to copy it and I believe I can. And I might just have sufficient determination to do so. God only knows why. I don’t know all the points like whether I want to make it one colour or two or tweed or... or, textured or stockinette, and the rest of those kinds of questions. Let alone the HOWS of how to do it. I just know that I have to figure out how to make me one. And I want to figure it out quick. The idea is to make it in time to wear in the Spring. Down the road to designing this thing I go. My problem… I am not sure where exactly to start. So I am putting up the pictures and asking anyone who has better ideas on where to start to chime in. My current starting point involved a bottle of wine and the ever so Brilliant and Chic Bonne Marie's Cut Away Cardigan... And then things get hazy. Picture 1 Picture 2

Monday, October 31, 2005

Roundabout Halloween

I have taken back the reins. No more witching and bitching. No more talk about work. No more restraint or responsibility either. Right now I am fairing the pont. What’s that look for? Do I hear a “What you talkin' bout Willis??” I guess I should put a tattoo on my forehead as warning. Professional Franglaiser: Don’t try this it at home kids. For those not fluent in Franglais, Franglais may take one of three forms. The first is where you mix the languages together, cognizantly or not... randomly throw a French word (not synonym) into your English sentence or vice versa. The second form is where you take an English word and try to make it sound like it is French or vice versa. And the third form, which I demonstrated above, is where you take an idiomatic expression of one language and shift it into the other language. So that fairing the pont, what the fuck was that all about?? Well here in France we have religious holidays, even though in theory the country is not religious. Go figure. And the 1st of November is one of those. Halloween started as All Hallows Eve, and the next day was All Saints. You know devils and angels, heaven and hell; all that good stuff. Nowadays it is about the Americans wishing Halloween meant something abroad so they could rock a party with a state provided holiday for the hangover, and locals doing things like placing flowers on the graves of loved ones (which could or could not include Jim Morrison or Oscar Wilde at Père Lachaise). I hear you, I hear you- “BITCH what’s all that got to do with a pont?? What the hell is a pont??” Well now we start talking idiomatic phrases. First of all Babelfish will tell you that the word pont is French for bridge and "faire le pont" means to make a bridge. I would like to make clear as Bablefish is not the baby jesus of translators… I am not building a bridge. No, no- the French have this lovely phrase “faire le pont.” Faire le pont is a concept where in you “bridge” a day or two to connect a weekend with a holiday. This year Toussaint is on a Tuesday which means I could have my weekend, go to work on Monday and then show back up on Wednesday. Or I could buy myself a day of sanity and have me one long weekend. Dog knows I have needed this long weekend for a while. I have been fighting life, a cold and working like a slave to get ready for another work transition... So me, I am fairing the pont. A weekend without ANYTHING to do with work. A weekend in town. A weekend of regeneration. A weekend of catching up. A weekend of reflection. A weekend of action (rollerblading the Seine with friends). It is a 4 day weekend where I can do whatever I want, including sleep an extra hour due to that time change crap (I was raised in Arizona, the superior beings there ruled that there will be none of this time change fucking around with the body clock. So Tink still don’t get that bullshit). I knit (more on that in the next post). I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I recuperated a fair amount of necessary sleep (I am old, when I don’t sleep- seems I become crankier than normal :) I even celebrated Halloween. Which brings me to my experience living abroad. It is odd to see things from both sides of the looking glass. I often have to restrain myself from shouting FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT. The people that import American things DO NOT understand Halloween candy. They have brought over some bullshit version of Reeses Peanutbutter cups (which one CANNOT find here) much over priced caramel corn abounds and there are no Smarties or Candy Corn! It is a travesty… I KNOW!!! But fact stands that Halloween is on the decline in France. The French never really got the concept. I mean they show a Halloween special of a daily show (think Jeopardy type show)… on the 1st of November. According to TF1 statistics in 2000 it was at its height (70M euros) and this year it will be lucky to hit half that. Most adults have “come to the conclusion it is just a commercial holiday.” I guess it is, but to me it was always about the kids and candy (OH MY GOD WHAT I WOULDN’T DO FOR CANDY CORN!!!). I may be disappointed I am not dressing up for a Halloween party (my top three costumes of all time- a smurf, an oompa loompa, and following a trend I have done more than once as an adult… using a child’s costume and going as a sumo wrestler in the self-inflating suit) but beyond that I am thinking as an adult, it isn’t a bad trade off. Long holiday weekend, no Halloween. As a kid, I would have to say it sucks shit. I mean NO CANDY- the horrors!! Anyways- I am eating a rationed Reeses Peanutbutter Cup I had smuggled to Berlin for me. And I am wishing all of you a Happy Halloween. Bwahahahahaha

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here a bit there bit

I am scattered right now and have to try and find the vodka under my desk so I can face my work. But damn if I can’t weave a story and some how get knitting in there! Oh yes I will, if you stay along for the ride. Currently I have no shreds of intellect left, I am editing a publication. To be exact, currently a chapter by a Nepalese "author" who should be bitchslapped by Shiva with all arms wound up, at once. I was initially entertained by the fact that in “creating tables” he applies the format “table” to his text and expects that the table MAGICALLY appears like… POUF. But that got old after the 8th table I had to construct. But it didn’t stop there. Serious boy needs to STEP AWAY FROM THE BULLET POINT NOW. Yes my friends if you are looking for me… the Nepalese have bullet pointed me to impaling myself on the dullest object on the face of the earth, repeatedly. Serious the Nepalese had 82 bullet points IN.A.ROW. Which for the record, tops the 47 numbered points the Bangladeshi thought were conclusions and the Vietnamese who needs to be introduced to the finer concepts of a paragraph... as in one sentence does not constitute a paragraph; even if you do it 12 times in a row on the same topic. MAKE THE ONE SENTENCE PARAGRAPHS STOP. Yes this is coming from me, an ardent lover of run on sentences (all bow down to the power of “stream of consciousness” writing) and in avoidance therapy over paragraphs... All this too, before we discuss the use of graphics and people who should not be allowed near a colouring book. My head is swimming, and I have to make this crap presentable as the publication will be for sale externally (and this must be done before I change posts). Oh yeah and this publication... it is 481 pages. I officially am DSM III Tourettes diagnosed. My ass is twitching and I have been caught shouting in the outside voice- DIE BULLETMAN DIE Where the fuck is my cabana boy and that margarita/bottle of tequila? I have a date with that worm! :) Another entertaining thing at work since I took the other post, you too may hold this against me. According to the admin officer for my division, because I didn’t know how to read her mind and follow up on work that not the person before me but the person before her did. That earthquake in Pakistan/Kashmir? My fault! I did not get a paper she did not ask for to her in time therefore Katrina and Wilma were sent to their destructive paths- by me. The guilt it is kind of getting to me too, because the tsunami?? Yeah seems I caused that too. My divination rod didn’t give me the right priority set or deadlines. And so you know her work that she has for me to do that takes 2 weeks (as I have to do her job and mine) didn’t get done in 3 days... go figure. Let's all swim!!!! Swim Timmy Swimmmmmmm All this begs the question of what can I do? Well I can do this thing with my thumb, I can do the splits, I can curse in 8 languages and I have a sincere aptitude for causing natural disasters. Oh yeah and since I can't beat the living shit out of these people I am editing or the admin officer... I am knitting with the big sticks instead of carrying them. See I told you people I would get to the knitting sooner or later cause I am doing it. I know you are astounded and shocked beyond words! This was once a knitblog, not just my insane ranting and ravings… like a phoenix from the ashes the knitting arises. The ever so lovely Helen wanted a sweater, and with the shit she has been going through recently, she DESERVES one. I like knitting for other people, especially generous, funny, witty, gorgeous and brilliant people like Helen. There is no one else better to have a date to dance in hell by the Margarita machine with. I promise. So after much prodding she finally took me up on my offer (you pick the pattern and get the yarn and I will turn it back around to you as a sweater- that I can make appear MAGICALLY like POUF). She went and got herself the yarn and the pattern and thank god the needles. I picked it up from her while visiting London. And promptly compressed it into the suitcase, for the trip back to France, where upon arrival I started knitting. This means I am currently putting all other projects on quasi hold (that includes getting the London and Clapotis posts up and done and attaching in photos, not to mention my well over due laundry tip and other cleaning things that ought be done) to get Beth from Rowan Ribbon Twist done and out to her. It is pretty simple and mindless knitting. It is almost all in stockinette (see Margene it is about the Zen :) It goes pretty fast, though this knitting on big needles doesn’t go as fast as I expected being that we are at a stitch and row gauge of almost 1 st per cm. Seems knitting with rollerpins isn’t exactly as easy to corral as knitting with pencils. The “stick a pointy stick in the crotch alla pit knitting” style seems to be the most efficace for those curious minds that have gone towards the gutter. I have however finished the sleeves (no visit to an island when a sleeve is done in a late night session) and am about one night away from the back being done. All this with minimal knitting time. I don’t think I will ever be a big gauge knitter for my average project. That said… this isn’t too bad :) I could see one such project every so often for myself. If Fall didn’t already have a lineup and we weren’t already staring down the rifle barrel at November I would probably make Roxie. I really liked Jen’s. But after Beth is done the next state of affairs deal is to get the rest of the goods “finished up”. “FOs” like Fern, Pretty Wrappy Top (I have the yarn now, collar here I come :), a pair of Natalya gauntlets I started last year, “Kitchener” closed some socks, wrap up a scarf, and… and… and we’ll talk once I have gotten there.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I should be writing up my update backlog blogs. I could be starting a sweater for the very deserving Helen with rolling pins for needles. Actually I would be dancing in the streets, but I am a nut case. Instead I have been in upheaval. AGAIN PEOPLE. Really what would this little corner of the internets be without my insane ramblings about international life or a dozen of my neuroses? For the record, this is no knitting blog- nope not anymore. In case you weren’t aware, this ride has been hijacked! And so has my brain; I am blaming the aliens. What this time? My old boss wanted me to have a permanent post. Seeing Tink on contract countdown meltdown does that to people. So he went to the stump for me. And while I went through the interview, I have a feeling that he laid on the charm. I was warmed up shit sundae in that interview and positive I TERRIFIED the Japanese official. He is oh so very reserved Japanese and me I am gregarious. Anyways, I am a bad judge of these things. I was just was offered a permanent contract. My response, was so incoherent as to make George Bush look like a Roman Orator. Why was I not immediately jumping up and down saying YES, YES, YES like Meg Ryan doing her orgasm impression? With me life is rarely ever that simple and when it is… I am scared of it. I can’t make logic of it, because there is none to be made. But there was inner turmoil for sure. Why??? This job gives me a 25 percent increase in take home, provides other extras like “home leave” and is GUARANTEED for at least 13 months, but in theory 24 months. What is there to say beyond that? Where be the turmoil? HAHAHA this is me… The turmoil comes from my principles. God damn principles fucking around with my inner peace. In simple terms: I work for a LOVELY boss (and I am loyal to people), I have a decent title, I get a chance to do some substantive work and I would have traveled for work- to China! That said the topic is less interesting and tensions within the team… they make me want to impale myself on a large dull object, regularly. Oh yeah…and the contract is only until December with no guarantees after that. Job I just got: it be permanent, a 25 percent increase in take home (which will all go to my student loans), topic is more interesting, and did I mention I don’t have to go through this shit again for 2 years? Negatives: well from what I gather (things were not clear in the interview) there will be no travel, I will be working for a timid Japanese man, and again the change and all that accompanies it. I found making decisions about this difficult. I am not used to this looking out for number one. I have gotten where I am by my merits, taking care of those around me and them in turn taking care of me. So up and leaving someone on these terms- doesn’t exactly sit well with me. But after they couldn’t or wouldn’t counter I had no other choice, I took the post. I don’t know what this is going to mean or do to me… but there you have it. Mama's got a new job and her is gonna buy some TBM yarn! After a nice lie in. And write up some of those backlogged posts :)