Thursday, November 25, 2004

Shes Baaaaaa-aaack

And damn if she isnt tired! So this is going to be a short one. I made it across the pond safe and sound. Stayed at the most super ghetto hotel ever, builds character and had my mother rolling around at the descriptions. I went to the French Consulate. Things were kind of resolved. Not perfectly but better than before in some ways. UGH, if I see another French bureaucrat this week though I am chaining them to the table and playing sniper target practice with their asses (no going to the Ministry or Etrangeness tomorrow, I guess). I then went to the Spanish consulate- which told me I will have to keep playing call the 200 person town in Spain where my grandfather was born or go there myself. Let's not ask me how I feel about consulates m'kay... I visited Knit Happens and it was wonderful. I should have warned them that I am usually late :) I got to see Wendy spin and ply and the gorgeous Ingrid sweater. Phyl-Phyl (don't know the blog addy) petted the plyed yarn and would not let it go; she also just about fainted when I told her the size of my apartment here in Paris. Erica told me I looked taller in my blog and has a delicious Clapotis. Kristine does some great poses in the store for that Gloria photo shoot. Froggy has to be quite possibly the SWEETEST person ever- she brought me a RAOK!! And last but not least Carol has taken to calling me "Hey Midget Girl" (which ties in so well with the you are shorter than I thought :) Sadly enough I responded. I knit one of the collars most of the way over before it started to truly confound me. There was no wine in the general vicinity so I was stuck. Though there were paperbag "wine-o's" by the hotel. And by the time I got it to Knit Happens my Tourettes was popping up everytime I looked at the pattern. So instead I said fugged about it. I let people touch Cecilia, and I decided to wander around the store, sit and chat. Excitingly, I got to try on a Lara; color, size and project determined. The yellow is buttah!! And I love me my buttah. (And if I ever win the Lotto I think I am making Frieda in the Pink, because I like the brighter pink now and pink remains an ironic color). Kristine also let me see Cate and after some rigging I think it will become the pink Moonsoon look-a-like sweater, color and yarn to be determined. So I bought that pattern and a ball of Silk Garden to make this beanie. I did a small bit of shopping on the money I do not have. Come on, the dollar was finally worth something to me and after the consulates I needed retail therapy. I finally got a book to read that does not involve varieties of capitalism, comparative welfare restructuring, labor market regulations and concertive negotiations or trends in female employment. I will be reading John Adams and Reading Lolita in Tehran!! For the LOVE of a Nordstroms!!! I got a pair of shoes, some moisturizer, face scrub, and concelear. YEAH, will look human again. I also headed to a grocery store (the Safeway at the Watergate building is subpar in their selection) to get some things for me and requests from local friends. And then scrambled my way to the airport about 5 hours early in my paranoia. I landed about 5 hours ago local time and have to admit I didn't get any knitting done on the return flight. I was still cursing the collar pattern, I couldn't figure it out (and will have to rip) and since I was on local DC time with a 9:45pm flight and had had a tiresome day- I immediately fell asleep. For the whole flight; it is the first time I have slept the whole way through an international flight. I did manage to get my chest felt up going through security- yes cause you couldn't guess that was an underwire bra?? Yes it all makes so much erm... sense. And safety. So with that, I will post up more about the whole deal later. I had no jet lag on the way back to the states but this direction is going to be another story. As I have no inclination to spend the next two weeks playing the role of Vampira, it is almost time to go drug myself so I sleep through tonight too. But first a shower and a face scrub, and maybe a Silk Garden cast on :)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Midget Alert- on the Horizon

To All DC area people. Run, Hide the Midget is Invading!!!!! Consider that your warning. Chaos has broken free, the odds have flipped and the impossible has happened. I at the last second it turns out beat French Bureaucracy but not completely into the pulp I would have preferred. No Martha Stewart holiday form molded French Bureaucracy for me... I still have to take my ass back to the States to get this Visa resolved. However I no longer have to do so with the flippant bureaucrat in Atlanta, but DC instead. And he sounded infinitely nicer (and it is infinitely less expensive), when I was throwing panicked French and English at him to get a guarantee if I came he would give it. On the upside I had a return leg of my flight here I could use to get me there. This made it a possiblity and kept me within the law. As long as I can get my student status verified the return ticket has been taken care of. My mother is letting me use her points (I think...) and at last I left her she was muttering about me staying in the Arlington Sheraton. Hope I can get around easily from there. Here is the partial itinerary: Today I leave for Brussels to visit a friend before someone in teh family takes me to the airport tomorrow morning to fly out to DC. I land at IAD in the afternoon. I might try to just head straight to the Nordstroms (gift certificate!!) and get me my moisturizer. My skin NEEDS it. And my concealar. I have no plans for that evening at all. Except for a grocery store run and making calls to 1-800 numbers that dont charge me. Monday morning at 8:30 I am at the French Consulate on Reservoir Rd! From what I have been told it is out there but hopefully I can figure out the transport system. I will wander on Monday evening, or if something in Visa land goes wrong (seriously Murphy I will be working on teh F- You cable sweater the flight over. Just go ahead ad F-off already), I will be chaining the Vice Consul to his desk so I can start sniper practice using his ass as a target. On Tuesday I go to visit the Spanish Consulate. And hopefully get me a birth certificate ordered. Yes that would be good. After that I brave figuring out the DC Metro as I know it should take me from Foggy Bottom over to Alexandria somehow. All so that I can drool on yarn at Knit Happens for an afternoon of knitting. After which I am supposed to try and meet my Mother's friend who has just moved into a one bedroom condo so can't put me up but might take me out to dinner. Alternatively I will sit in a book shop and gorge myself on cranberry juice and cranberry orange muffins. For Wednesday all given that I dont have to put out any consular fires... PLEASE I will head to a Smithsonian or something and tehn get to the airport many many many hours early, check any shit and read a book or knit any items before flying back to Paris. As for the rest of insanity. I have a new motto that that doesnt kill me, makes me want to kill others. The hyperventilating is subsiding but I am still working my way up to master fire brigadeer. Things have mostly fallen into place just a hang up here or there to fix. I HOPE. All pretty wrappy top parts should be finished here by the time I get back in my dazed and confused status. And I will hopefully churn out some more and read a bit. And with that I have to run as my train leaves in 2 hours and still have to get back to the flat, finish packing and to the train station. Bon Voyage!!

Monday, November 15, 2004

For the Record

Ok so I am currently in a bit of a funk. I am trying not to swing enough to give an oranutang a complex or anything but right now for as much good there is, it is a bit overwhelming. It is also a bit surreal. No one warns you of this either. The coming to the conclusion of a big project, having a maybe adventure in front of you and well not really knowing what is going to be happening in your life. Its not at the “all over- WHEEEE excited” phase, and its not at the “starting something new have a direction in life” yet phase either. So I am in a middleton funk. I know it will work itself out but until then you get my WTF moments. WTF what I thinking. I spent all of Saturday indoors doing nothing (I justified this with my whole “I worked my ass off for a month I can do nothing” philosophy that sinks my derrière to the bottom of the dive tank every time). Seriously I knit almost all day watching French television. The French are FUNNY and it made me laugh. They are also crazy and some of that TV scared me. Anyways I knit away with pointy needles and seriously only got one belt side done, all weekend. Do you know how long it takes to knit 100 cm of 2x2 ribbing over 16 stitches?? WAY LONGER than you think!!! I will continue to work on it tonight. GAH that collar will be the death of me. Next really I love living in Paris but I swear I always feel frumpy here. No matter what I wear. In Italy, the supposed fashion mecca, I don’t feel frumpy mostly because all of the OVER THE TOP trendiness in the clothes. I saw more clashing 80s clothes while I was tripping on acid there than existed in the 80s themselves. Its only story I can come up to explain a girl wearing shredded jeans, a mesh wife-beater tank top, a slashed sweatshirt held together with safety pins, a jeans jacket that was “vintage” with New Kids on the Block on the back panel and bright yellow SLOUCH boots! ALL TOGETHER people. Again I don’t make it up folks, I just report it. Anyways you try to explain that without acid, I DARE you. My classic if frumpy/lazy/inept fashion nature meant that there was no competition or comparison. But I now have a theory. This is what grad students do, we try to come up with a theory. My theory... French women are born wearing 5 inch stiletto heels. And while I can “Drop it like it's hot” with the best of them in my 6 inch stilettos (hey I am petite and a balance beam specialist what can I say?? Napoleon? Call into the kettle) at heart I was born wearing my clogs (which in fact once I put on my mother could not get me out of for the next 3 years). I like my sweatpants and while skirts are slightly becoming ok in my wardrobe, that closet has NO cohesion and I am accessory impaired. But the WTF I keep asking myself is how the hell do these women walk all over in those heels without amputating their feet or falling over a grating or something?? Seriously, inquiring minds want to know. And our last in today’s series- WTF why are Christmas decorations going up already. I know there is no Thanksgiving here or anything and no blow out sales but I seriously thought I had to the end of the month before I started seeing the trees and worse. Even more annoying though is that on my dash to Starbucks (for the love of a REAL muffinI will even enter the Starbucks) they still don’t have the holiday season muffins. Come on I want my CRANBERRY Orange Muffin and I want it NOW. Tangentially on the way back to the flat where I left my phone this morning I heard the middle school kids talking and one of the kids very clearly uttered in his prophetic way (about my post that is) I said le MUFFIN not le muff there is a difference. Le Muffin is better! Right on brother. Stay tuned, I promise to try and get out of the funk and have some of the post stress trauma sarcasm reside. Really I am a softy at heart. Hey quit the rabble rousing in the background :) And if nothing else I will have two exciting belts to try and post some time this week. A collar if I get out of control before my friend comes to visit. I know you CANNOT wait :)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Thursday

Otherwise known as I am too damn tired to think of a title. And really to tired to post but I don't like leaving things hanging, and probably will not be around this weekend as I will be sleeping (see sentence one). So respiration has been on hold for the past 3 weeks, attempting to finish the dissertation, going through computer landmine hell, and many other such events which have in general suctioned all energy out of me. Add to that it being grey, a bit chillier and getting darker earlier and well you have a I want to sleep, sleep, sleep combo ready to go. But here is a quick run down. Sundays are for charting Pretty Wrappy Top. I figured out the fronts (minus a small mistake I found tonight ripped out and redid- I'll get there, I'll get there) and last Sunday I tackled the back. Which would seem to be less problematic but that would be a WRONG assumption! I caved in the end and tossed one stitch from each side as with the way the exchange rate has been as of recent I don't have the euros to buy wine. And I spent random minutes this week working up the back and tonight on splitting the back and shoulders bit. I then got overly excited and did a horribly shitty basting job cause I just HAD to see what this sucker looked like. And here is what it looks like! (Pardon the crappy photo, the everything else, oh yeah and the braless shot- like I said TIRED today, thank god for the holiday!) And oh how Mikey likes the fit (even though the fronts need the dickens blocked out of them). I like it enough to think I might keep it even though I think my skin is not so fond of Mohair (a 20% component of Cecilia). Any one have ideas on blocking an acrylic, mohair, angora yarn?? Oh yes and its back to pointy needles for the shawl collar and belt. OOOOOOOHHHHH I CANT WAIT! As for the rest of my life... Almost all of this weeks energy was spent on Monday. I had the interview, and I think it went well. I had to take a proofreading test and a typing test. I am no Norma, but I type pretty fast yo! 60wpm with 3 faults on the French AZERTY keyboard it turns out, made me feel spiffy. Praises was a word mentioned, but I am not going to hold my breath in hope to hear something. Being Purple is so not chic! I am hoping to know something tomorrow, but if not then I will hopefully hear next week. At least that is what the HR person said. I will also spend tomorrow morning at the ministry doing nothing (everyone is making it a long weekend but they asked me if I could just "be" there, so I got conned), well nothing except looking at courses in Stockholm to be prepping the other option of going to the heart of darkness and working with the research GODDESS herself. And of course doing more fractious dissertation crap. And really folks that is about it, I went out last night with a friend who just got back into town. He is so yummy I want to eat him up. Really, I WANT him. But I resist and we watch 1940s Italian films instead and he buys me pizza while putting up with my grammatically incorrect Italian (he is Italian after all). And the only other thing on my plate is formatting this bloody thesis (NOT as simple as it sounds people trust me), deciding on the title (I know I personify bass-akwards) and writing the last Th-Th-Th-Th-Thats all folks, you can go twiddle your thumbs now conclusion paragraph. Really I will feel a HUGE wage of relief once I hit send on it. Well still a bit of tension waiting for the dissertation police to ruler measure my margins and all (cause that is what is important) but it will be more or less off the plate. And I NEED that.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Itchy Pants Dance

No its not where I wear wool up against my bare ass and run around all day scratching like crazy. It's what most Mom's would cally the "ants in your pants" syndrome. But in our house if you said the A-N-T-S word I would spontaneously break into this tribal stomping dance looking for all the little suckers I could to KILL THEM. This dance involved me pumping my arms about bring my knees as high as I could and generally a LOT of jumping. My Indian name, despite 18 years of ballet, as you might guess has never been "Walks without sound." So when ever I would get all excited that I would loose all bodily control, Mom would ask "Why are you doing the Itchy Pants Dance?" You may now ask Why I am doing the Itchy Pants Dance... I will tell you why. But first I got to break out into song. Sing it with me Pointer Sisters. I'm So Excited, and I just can't hide it. I'm about to loose control and I think I like it. oooooh ooooo hoooooo! Hell yeah I am a child of the 80s baybee! Seriously though, I can't hide it. Unfortunately I am at the Ministry of Etrangeness, and it is NOT shareable material with them. So I can't break out in the Itchy Pants Dance. Ok so I did, but it does not have the same significance when done in the toilet stall. And really I then had to leave the building to get ammo to try and calm my hyper ass down. I still think I am going to spontaneously combust though. I have to tell someone, CAN.NOT.KEEP.ON.INSIDE.ANY.MORE. And you all get to be the lucky people! So Karma and I had coffee together this morning. We had the whole "let's take a tally of the cosmic scorecard of the universe" discussion. She decided that last Friday tipped the balances in my favor. And even though I don't like doing the Bi-Polar swing (not as fun of a dance as the Itchy Pants Dance) I am taking her up on the offer to get loaded today. And when Karma comes at you will all barrels loaded- you better take a deep breath. So yesterday I panicked. Notice all the panicking- seriously Reality, I have had enough of your bitchslapping me around. Go take a holiday with Murphy on my Visa account 123456789. French administrators take a perverse pleasure in making your life hell. And this one I have known almost a year, she is the kind that couldn't find her own ass with both hands a flashlight and all arrows pointing at it. We'll just call her ASStrid. ASStrid, decided to tell me she would do something and then say she wouldn't do it. This thing might make me ineligible for the stagaire... So I cracked under the pressure. I had been sitting like a good hen on this email to the PHENOMENAL researcher I met in September. I ADORE HER, and she is like the GODDESS in what I research. She had hinted she liked me and would love to have me work with her... so since she had talked about me visiting her and we were making plans for it, I decided to broach the subject. You know ask the "are you really being honest or is this a hidden camera cruel kind of joke" question. She got back to me immediately saying she was intereseted but could we talk about it in person. I said sure. I hear you, I hear you; get to the deal- enough of the background crap. So fastforward to today and the itchy pants dancing. I had given up on the job at the IO my friend had said they were hot to trot and wanted someone like yetserday. It had been 3 weeks since I had heard from them. And I had heard NADA, ZIP, ZILCH, and RIEN from them. I muttered to myself I should have known better than jinx it by wanting it bad enough to start planning my life like sixth grade girls write their names with cute boys last names. So I am popular today. I get a call from a friend I had been trying to hook up with for months. We are having drinks after work today, I LOVE her. All good, I am happy. Then I get a call from the IO asking me to interview. COMMENCE THE BOUNCING. Bouncing That makes Tigger look like he took a valium and a big ass hit from the bong! But first try not to scream your excitement down the throat of the proper British woman on the other end of the line. I have an interview on Monday people!!! (Sorry for the ear drum damage that caused) Then cue to me trying to sit still and send a thank you for ignoring my panicked emails about this to my friend at the IO and what is in my inbox but an email from the AMAZING researcher. She just got her grant and thinks she can fund me to work with her. She wants to help out, but needs to let is sink in and we will talk more when I head on my Northern Expedition next month. UMMMM in 15min frame all in life has CONVERGED on me again and I cannot breathe. Here I was thinking my internship was gonna go south of the border(hey I got family there!), biting my nails waiting for a response from my thesis adviser, and ready for another weekend of doom and gloom. Umm now I am doing the itchy pants dance and screaming in a pitch only the dogs can hear. So EVERYONE ITCHYPANTS DANCE WITH ME!!!! Note there has been no knitting content as I cannot keep my hands still whilst doing the itchy pants dance. Itchy pants dance will be on the jukebox for the next couple of hours. All attempts will be made to bring knitting back to the blog with the next post.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Long Time No Post

Ok so I had this whole post ready to go yesterday. It is the post that should not be as first blogger ate, and then IE crashed the blogger screen and really I am to tired recreate so here is the "short" bits. I am demoralized by elections, other people have expressed it more eloquently, but I am a social democrat and really- that hit HURT. I didn't used to be scared- I am now. I am drained by the whole adventure with a comatose computer, dissertation, USB key and deadline (well if I wanted to graduate and all). I am emptied by the ROYAL freak out I went through (trust me there was not a crown big enough for the state I was in), and have stopped all respiration for too long. They weren’t joking, oxygen its not optional and when you think it is you become little Latin Lupe. I swear to the good dead god that tecnology, the stars and my irish half heritage united against me on Friday. And seriously I am so ready to design Murphy a sweater designed around a big huge F*CK YOU Cable! And as if that weren’t enough my nationality decided to take a bigger chunk out of my ass and almost got me knocked out of my stagaire with the Ministry of Etrangeness. This whole swinging around thing -Mikey don't like it. Get the memo Tarzan- Me Not Jane. Bi-Polar does not suit me. Suffice to say that I am exhausted. But onto the bits. First a HUGE thanks to all of the people who attempted to talk me off the ledge, peel me off the ceiling to which I was perpetually plastered and who pull consistently pull my ass out of the fire that I am intent on toasting it in… (KAE) THANK YOU. To Big Brother- dude lets have a moan. The way you left my ass out in the cold. NOT FUNNY. You keep records of porn and not a copy of a measly Thesis for the Penultimate Moron (one guess who I think is the Ultimate moron). That is not cool. You need to do your job better. And to the Harlot who sent me the most appropos e-card for Halloween... A day in the life of a screaming Banshee. How did you know that's what I look like?? And on to the three good things: 1. On Friday I got to go to a Colloque with the French, German and Spanish Foreign Ministers (think Secretary of State). Can I just say how cool it is to see the diversity in parties and how different the concepts of left and right are on this side of the pond? Also do you know how PROUD it made me to listen to the Spanish Prime Minister talk. I can't begin to describe it. (though really why is it, for all three, after 50 when you pack on a few extra pounds that you HAVE to sit with your knees pointing east and west in front of the crowd?? I’m just saying). After the colloque Barney gave me they you are on our team firm hand shake, and I got to have a picture taken with Joska Fischer. Hello people it is GREEN Government Cabinet official. HOW COOL is that??? He is also like a human teddy bear and makes me smile. He is really really smart too. And he has the most stereotypical HYSTERICAL Bodyguard. He wasn’t entertained when I made faces at him to try and break the face either. Shut it about my gushing over Europols. I am a Poli-Sci geek I know, you can have your Hollywood people me I will stick to hobnobbing with political royalty and drinking with the Swedish Prime Ministers son. Deal? 2. After a weekend bout of the full on twitching jitters and my hands hitting themselves I decided I was stubborn. And I am. So I sat down with the French Pretty Wrappy Top Pattern and did not mince words. I was going to do something on this sweater or I was going to die trying. I rigged numbers around a bit but was nervous. So I sat down with quasi graph paper. A bottle of wine, 4 hours and 8 sheets of the quasi graph paper I had charted out the Right side of one Wrappy Front. OH YEAH TAKE THAT. WHAPPPPPAAAAAAOOOOOO. That is right, the pattern for now it is my bitch. I sat down, watching Zorro (dear dead god did that feed into my mood and me shouting things that I won't repeat) and at the end I had one Wrappy Front. Next is to get another bottle of wine to help figure out how I want to reverse the shaping, Binding off on the purl side, doing decreases instead of binding off. Yeah too much thinking and not enough wine makes my head hurt. Instead I will put the other side aside and savour my victory. That aint defeat people, that is my victory dance- yeah for someone who danced professionally –ballet, jazz and hip hop you gutter waders, it aint pretty. 3. And last but not least, I have my "gifts." First there was RAOKED. Mamacate sent me mail. Do you know how much I LOVE getting REAL mail!! I got home freaking out that I was going to miss a deadline and the Dissertation Nazis were going to send me the one who should have learned how to read before contemplating higher education as a career path back to the corner with my dunce cone of yarn for a hat. But she lightened the death grip that anvil had on my chest and took the OBC loop of doom that was on constant repeat off for a few minutes. She sent me leaves people RED ONES, and RANCH DIP. Once the thesis was sent I whole heartedly dug in with a grin. And next is to my Secret Pal, after much time in the postal service, I got to open my gift today. I got two hanks of Classic Elite Inca Alpaca- very very soft, and in a pretty purple... Now to think of what you make with two hanks- mind is functioning in sweater mode cause it has gotten colder here (I am beating the Harlot as heater is not on and I leave the windows open- ok that is because of the mold small from teh still not fixed shower, and I have seen the men peeing on the street which is what indicates the change of season in Paris so I might be turning the heater on soon). There was also a hank of Fiber Artist yarn/pattern for a shawl which looks like it will be fun. Sockatta yarn in my kind of colors (hey how did you know I need more socks?). There was some cute stickers, gold candles, a cute card and some bubblegum. Thanks SP it was worth the wait! And with that my Friends I am going to cut it short. I hope to have a pictures only post here soon. Once I figure out how to size the photos on this computer I will insert them immediately (need to break up the monotony). But for now know that I am here (not dead though close to it) I am feverishly working (I hate MS Word formatting and the metric system) and hopefully still kicking.