Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Review...

So, other than getting completely and totally pissed off at Expedia for all the vast amounts of help they were for this trip - I ended up in a grand total of eight airports and five airlines between getting there and getting back, didn't come in on time at the end of either trip and didn't even get into the right AIRPORT getting there, had to go to an EXTRA airport on the way back (after spending the night in ANOTHER airport), had problems getting every single one of my boarding passes printed on the way home, my luggage ended up on a different flight getting home, and the customer service lady had the NERVE to say "Well, they're obviously not looking hard enough" when I called at one point because Bloomington had no record that I was supposed to be on their flight! (I'm a little cranky about the whole shebang right now, can you tell?) - it was really great to see everyone, but it's good to finally be home again. Teddie seems to agree, although he's barely been off my lap or my shoulder since I've been home.

Well, what DID I do in 2007?

-I worked up the guts to try something I've always wanted to try and now can't imagine life without my dojahng. January 4th is my one-year anniversary. I never dreamed that it would become an ever-expanding part of my life. (And btw, Dad and I got to talking - and maybe sparring just a little - about Haganah, and he said it looked and sounded really similar to stuff they had learned in police academy. It's kind of nice to know that it isn't just PR!)

-I had a bunch of knitting firsts. I went to my first-ever knitting class and conference. It's really nice to know that a.) you people online ARE real and b.) there really ARE people out there as interested as I am in knitting to spend the money (in some cases, a lot MORE money!) to attend things like Stitches and knitting camps and whatnot. I did my first online knitting swap and loved it! I did my first pieced sweater and my first socks for someone else. I'm working on my first beaded project (the pic I'm obviously referring to is at the bottom of the post, it's the best one I have so far of it), and I helped teach someone to knit. The grand total for FOs this year: 11. Five pairs of socks, two sweaters, two pairs of mittens, a scarf, and a baby blanket. Still working on the afghan, the fingerless gloves, the Wendelin socks, and the Boatneck Bluebell sweater, although I'm having the sudden odd urge to work on the MS3 tonight.

-I've started seriously reading a couple new authors: Michelle Sagara of The Elantra Chronicles (more commonly called the Cast In... series - at least two more coming out, yay! There'd better be, because I'm DYING to know what an Erenne actually IS, and the Kaylin/Nightshade/Severn relationship is beyond complicated!), and Jim Butcher of The Dresden Files and The Codex Alera series. I've also gotten my patience rewarded with the third installment of Kristen Britain's The Green Rider series (High King's Tomb came out in November), and (of course) the end of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

What am I going to do in 2008?

Honestly, heaven only knows, but I'd like to: get my living room cleaned, rearranged, and possibly get a new futon for it; design and knit a sweater; continue learning and working at the dojahng (obviously) and get better at sparring - specifically using more spinning and jumping kicks; finish my current UFOs; get to more of the LYSs; meet new people in general; and figure up a real budget that works and stick to it.

Happy New Year, everyone, and may the experiences of the past create a brighter future!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Twas the night after Christmas...

and all through the house, the cats refused to move off the electric blankets. Not very poetic, but true, sadly. You want the most comfortable seat in the house, you gotta move the cat. And here, there are three of them

I got some knitting stuff for Christmas! I got Modern Knits, a Berocco pattern booklet, a kit for a drop stitch scarf by Mountain Colors (the yarn is Twizzle, a very yummy silk/wool blend), and a skein of Claudia Handpainted 100% silk laceweight in the ever so pretty Ocean Depth colorway! Kelly likes his afghan, but it is still being worked on, so I think he's a little afraid of it right now. Mom took me to a LYS in a nearby town, and it carries all sorts of interesting things. Not a lot of any one yarn, but a nice variety of yarns. (Even my beloved Bearfoot, but I think I have all the colorways I've been dying for at this point and need to knit them up before continuing to add to the stash...) I'm thinking of making a Juno with the silk. I may have to get a Harmony needle to work with it, though.

I finally got home around 7:30p on Christmas Eve, so our schedule was a bit different this year, but it's all good. No classes are available in the area while I'm here (all the ATA studios are closed this week, apparently), but I've been able to get to the YMCA and work on my forms and go running a little bit. Sadly, my beloved mp3 player did not survive Thanksgiving travel (we're not sure what happened to it, but it was probably lost on a plane somewhere), so I found out the hard way that it's hard for me to stay focused on things when there's neither music nor instructor around! I'm going to try to find a new one tomorrow, but as far as I can tell, Sony has discontinued that model, and I LOVED it! We shall have to see!

Off now to work on the afghan some more and watch The X-Files, since my brother was kind enough to get me the series on DVD!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The show is over!...

...and I'm supposed to be on an airplane right about now. Unfortunately, the pilot called in sick and the flight got cancelled, so now I have to drive back up to SLO in about three hours to try all over again. The good things are that the new itinerary is actually more direct than the original, with less opportunities for the luggage to get lost, and I get to fly first class from LA to Chicago. The bad things are that my parents now have to drive three hours each way to pick me up in Chicago (no way of getting anywhere closer before Wednesday, apparently), and I have to be back at the airport at 4:30a, which means I have to leave again in about three hours. No sleep for me tonight! Mrph.

On the other hand, I have a new penguin! Although I don't actively collect penguins, I have a little Beanie Baby one named Arnold and a larger, prop-shop-made one named Pablo that have lived either at my desk or at my station during shows since The Man Who Came To Dinner. During this run, the two of them actually lived on top of the wireless mic decks backstage by my stage right podium. Yesterday over dinner, a third, much larger penguin appeared:

complete with scarf and hat. He's very soft, and the kids have decided to name him Tux. Tux Kringle (to throw in some holiday spirit). I have no idea where he came from, or who he's from! I've asked my Secret Santa (who spoiled me totally), the actors who normally hung around my station during shows, the rest of the stage managers, and the production manager (who has been known to play with our stuffed animals but will deny it!). No one will spill the beans or take credit! Apparently it IS possible to keep a secret somehow in this company! I'd really love to know who it is from, but in case said person ever reads this blog - Thank You! I love him!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Week In A Nutshell

1. The afghan is definitely not going to be finished on time, although I do keep plugging away at it. My new goal is to have it done before I leave Illinios.

2. I do, somehow, have the first Wendelin Sock done, and even got a comment from the designer via Ravelry. She likes my colorway.

3. Three more shows left. Three. Three...three...then the end...just three more...is it done yet?

4. I actually got to see another show tonight! One of the SM interns and one of the set design interns worked on (directed and LD'd, respectively) a staged reading up in SLO and I managed to sweettalk the evening off to go see it. Christina from Monday knitting and her family were there, too! Although it was absolutely freezing, the show was really good, and us PCPAers went out for drinks afterward. Was crowded and cold, but fun. I do love SLO. Definitely need to do that again sometime! (And I must admit to having a burst of pride for "my" intern!)

5. Had my first instructor class Wednesday night (Sir wasn't there for Monday class). He and Ma'am (although Ma'am really wasn't supposed to be on the mat at all, since her knee is still messed up) had me start going back through Songham 1 and 2 (the white and orange belt forms) and the Songham 1 one-steps. This time through was really just to get the memory of the forms and one-steps back into my body; he said we'll start to go through them step by step and piece by piece until each technique is absolutely correct and teachable. Then we go to the next form and start over. Sir left me alone for a bit so he could work with Mr. R and C on some higher forms, but he noticed Ma'am working with me, even though she wasn't supposed to. In the end, though, Sir said that I had done her proud, so that was a nice compliment. It was a little intimidating for some reason. Even though I know better, I've always gone into classes of any kind thinking I should already know everything, and want to do everything perfectly. I actually have to get reminded every so often that people go to classes to LEARN. Classes exist BECAUSE people don't know everything and to teach them. Even to teach teachers. (ETA: My mom would like to point out that I've been this way since coming home from kindergarten crying because I didn't know everything yet. They started trying to explain this concept to me THEN, and I still obviously have trouble with it!) But now I'm in a stretch of thirteen days between classes, due to travelling and holidays, and I have one new form, two old forms, and two old one-steps to work on! And no, I wouldn't want it any other way.

6. I got The Most Awesome T-Shirt for Christmas from my (non-knitting and non-theatrical) friend Kizayaen. He found it online, immediately thought of me, and would not let anyone else get it for me. It's perfect. I will try to get a pic up (and of the afghan and sock) tomorrow night.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Meme

Stolen from Amy because I'm bored and a bit tired of knitting today. The afghan is not going to get done in time, but it should have enough done that I can at least present it to him and say "this is what you're going to be getting in the next few days." I'm going to buy the rest for everyone else. Anyway:

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I LOVE wrapping presents!

Real or artificial tree? I have an artificial tree, but I didn't put it up this year. No time!

When do you put up the tree? I try to get it up after Thanksgiving, but between work, knitting, class, and being sick, I just haven't had the time or energy.

When do you take it down? Well, I guess I don't have to this year! Usually after New Year's Day, though.

Do you like eggnog? Yes, but not with rum in it, surprisingly. Or maybe I just need to try it with better rum!

Favorite gift received as a child? My Kirsten doll and all the accessories my entire extended family bought/made for her. We're truly talking heirloom stuff here.

Do you have a nativity scene? No

Hardest person to buy for? Dad

Easiest person to buy for? Mom

Worst Christmas present you ever got? Can't really think of a truly terrible Christmas present, although I'm human and was a child, and worse, a teenager at one point, so I'm sure there were some inappropriate reactions at some point or other. A fire extinguisher for my car from a well-meaning relative was a bit of a surprise, I must admit.

Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Some things are just better in hard copy.

Favorite Christmas movie? How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated one narrated by Boris Karlof)

When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I first see something that I think would make a good Christmas present for someone?

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, but I was supposed to

Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Hmm...we have some pretty yummy meals around Christmas time. I can't think of any one thing in particular as my favorite.

Clear lights or colored on the tree? Multicolored. Monochromatic anything is boring.

Favorite Christmas song? Oh dear. Again, so many. "What Child Is This?" "Do You Hear What I Hear?", "O, Holy Night" and of course, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer". I also just really love the Boston Pops' Holiday Pops! album and love all of those songs.

Travel at Christmas or stay home? Um, I travel to go home for Christmas right now, I guess, so all of the above? I've always considered Christmas a time for family, so I suppose wherever my family is, that's home and where I'll be.

Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer? Yes. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comit, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, and Olive.

Angel or star on top of tree? Star. Never liked angels on top of trees much.

Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both, the number on Christmas Eve depending on if the weather and schedule cooperate enough to have Christmas Eve with Mom's side of the family or chooses to keep everyone in. If so, we'll open all the presents from that side of the family on Christmas Eve and Santa's presents on Christmas Day. If not, we'll just open everything on Christmas morning.

Most annoying thing this time of year? People, but then, they're generally annoying as a species. Actually, no, hyper-merchandizing commercials that demean the true celebration of the holidays by trying to convince people it's all about stuff and not people and relationships are the most annoying thing.

Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? Yes. We call it the "Memories" theme. It consists of every ornament we've bought or made since my parents got married, and a few from even before that. My ornaments are mice. My brother's are puppies and raccoons.

What do you leave for Santa? Cookies and milk. Although last year Santa drafted me into helping him finish wrapping presents, and I believe there was some champagne or butterscotch schnapps with hot chocolate involved.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Setbacks and Baby Steps Forward

Knitting: Backstage project is going well, if boring. The afghan is way behind, and may or may not be finished in time.

Class: Sore as hell from Haganah knife sparring tonight, and only went to tkd and Haganah this week. The cold is still lingering and I just didn't have the energy or breath to do the kickboxing as well. Tonight was the first double (tkd and Haganah) I've done all week. Classes have been small this week, so lots of form work since we have the room. I also got a chance to talk with Sir for a while after class last night. We talked about tournaments (there really aren't any around here that are worth going to without participating in, and I don't necessarily want to compete, just watch one to see what it's like. Spring Nationals is in Vegas in February, though, which would be cool to see.), some things that he and Mrs. S would like to see happen (or happen again) at the school, training over the holidays (he gave me permission to attend a dojahng in Illinios while I'm there over the holidays, I just have to get permission from that instructor first), and eventually teaching. He gave me permission to join the instructors' class on Monday nights! Of course, I won't actually be teaching for a long, long time, but it's cool to start reviewing and learning the material. He said that normally he wouldn't let someone of my rank, but I've proven to be a consistently strong learner, and he thinks that I will be able to handle continuing to learn new material along with going back and reviewing old stuff. Mrs. S talked to me about it very briefly tonight, and she seemed pleased about it, too. I'm excited!

And there's another baby to knit for! Okay, I've known for a while, but I recently saw this particular friend for the first time in several months and it's a little obvious now. I really really want the Carnival Baby Blanket Kit from KnitPicks, but it's going to have to wait until after the holidays.

Speaking of which, I need to get back to knitting on the afghan.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Look! Knitting!

It does happen occasionally. I was finally able to track down two skeins of the right yarn in the right color to continue working on Rambling Rows:


It's looking quite nice, if I do say so myself.

I get this far on the Boatneck Bluebell:

and suddenly have a brilliant idea for another Christmas present, so there has been more backstage knitting. I don't want to spoil it by posting a pic about it yet, so y'all will have to wait. And in other backstage knitting news:

Tim finished his scarf on Saturday! He's so proud of it and wears it backstage quite a bit. It's very cute. He was going to go today and get more yarn to make a scarf for his mama. Muha!

Class stuff behind the cut.
I was finally able to make it to class tonight. Only taekwondo, though, as I'm still having some coughing fits and still can't breathe out of my nose very reliably. Have I mentioned how much I hate colds? It felt really good being there, though. It was a small class tonight, which was kind of nice. I'm almost all the way through my form now, but I'm still having trouble with that board break. It took me several tries to go through the easiest board. I'm trying to remember that A.) I'm a blue belt. I'm not going to do everything perfectly, and I'm still learning the basics. This IS actually considered a basic kick, and I need to learn to do it properly. B.) this is really the first time I've had a multi-step break. My breaks up to now have been pretty stationary; at most only a step through for momentum. This one requires not only the scary jump side kick, but a couple steps into it to get momentum going. So it's a timing thing and a technique thing. I remember watching the black belts doing their board breaks when I started and thinking they looked so complicated and was a little relieved mine were so simple. When did MY stuff become the complicated stuff? And this is only the very beginning!

Ma'am was back in uniform tonight, which was good, but her knee is still pretty messed up, I guess. She did a pretty good job of harassing me as usual, though, and told my self-defense partner to quit being so nice to me. Can't wait for January, when I can go to sparring again! Mrs. S told me last week that they're going to add another kickboxing class right before sparring on Fridays in January. That will be...fun. Kickboxing, then sparring right after each other?! Like she said, we're going to need that pizza and beer afterwards!



Not much else going on right now. Only 16 more performances left! And I might get one more evening off - one of our interns is directing a staged reading up in SLO on the 21st and I'd really like to go see it. I'd try to sneak in a sparring class that night, too, but the dojahng is closed that weekend.

And Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes out on DVD tomorrow!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Freedom

You know, I just realized...I only said I was going to make two projects for Christmas. One is finished already. One is stalled due to circumstances beyond my control. Any other Christmas projects are entirely on my own, and I am under no obligation to actually *DO* them.

Do you know what this means? It means...I'm FREE!

I'm starting my Boatneck Bluebell tonight!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Speaking of...(kinda long)

There is nothing more irritating than a cold. Seriously. You're not sick enough to get the benefits of being sick - staying home, being babied at bit, etc. - but you're not healthy enough to get the benefits of feeling good, either. Bah! (Of course, I've still done kickboxing, taekwondo, and Haganah so far this week. And I have the bruise from cracking knees with Sir, my fault, to prove it! Really gotta angle those knee strikes - they don't do a lot of good if they hurt you in the process!)

The good thing is that I've had both Monday and Tuesday mostly off and have been sleeping quite a bit. I did have to go into the office earlier this afternoon to get some paperwork stuff done, and realized I'd totally forgotten to do something over the weekend that screwed the costume shop up big time. So they are not happy with me. My fault. Can't change the past, will make sure the future is better.


Speaking of the past, here's the good stuff:



These are the sweaters that Mom showed me over Thanksgiving. I have no idea how old they are at this point, but all they need is a good washing and they'd be wearable. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they are made of. When I go home for Christmas, I'll give them a good dunk in Eucalan or Wool-Lite or whatever Mom has on hand. The one on top is an Aran in the round; as far as I can tell there aren't any seams. This is a closer look at the detail on the neck of it:

The second Aran was pieced, and the cables are only on the front and sleeves. The intarsia one is my favorite, and least replicate-able of them for me, as my intarsia skills are pretty much non-existant. I'm thinking of doing the top Aran - I know I have most of those cables in one of my stitch books, and in the round is always appealing. It would be a cozy winter project, I think. I really want to get the Bluebell Boatneck sweater done and able to wear to work, though, too, so we'll see.

Speaking of current knitting, I have an FO and an almost-FO! Neither of which, unfortunately, are Christmas projects. My second multidirectional diagonal scarf:
Which normally looks like this:
as I can't seem to keep the darn cat off of it. Even if I cover it up with a towel or blanket, he'll lay on it. Stupid cat. You'd think lots of sharp pins would be enough to keep him away, but no. He'll even pull the pins out with his teeth if they're invading his comfortable space, which is not fun to discover when barefoot. Put this right in front of the Wool-Ease Thick & Quick I'm using for the afghan, which he has also pulled and played with across creation and back, and he's in kitty heaven. Grr! (BTW, if anyone in the immediate vicinity has any Wool-Ease T&Q in the Butterscotch colorway, please let me know. Of course, I ran out right in the middle of a square and there are no more skeins of this colorway ANYWHERE in town right now. Probably not until Friday or Saturday, anyway. So I am STUCK on the ONE thing I want to get done for Christmas! Grr!)

Anyway, this one is made from just over three skeins of Patons SWS in the Natural Denim colorway. I started it over the summer and finished it this past week during the shows. Apparently, this is the coolest backstage project ever, as my first one was also knit backstage during the Creation debacle and the guys there also thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. It's easy. It's triangles. It stripes on its own. It's brain surgery, apparently.

Speaking of simple knitting, we've brought another over to the dark side! One of the guys on my deck crew kept watching me work on the gloves or socks or whatever, and every once in a while he'd mention that he'd like to knit himself some socks. So finally, I handed my current sock in progress (unfortunately for him, a pinkish sock weight yarn on US 0 needles, poor guy) and said, "Here, work on this for me, then." I showed him how to make the stitches, and after a few false starts, he did pretty well, even on the teeny needles. The next day, I brought him some T&Q I'd started a simple, garter stitch, striped scarf with, and some US 15 needles. He knit all during both shows that day! "Hey, this is like crack! But cheaper!" I'm wondering how long it will be when I see him tomorrow and if he's run out of yarn yet. We also have a YP we've coerced into knitting, and have quite the knitting/crocheting circle going now during preshow. The YP is a lefty, though, so he knits differently than I do, and it's hard to help him sometimes.

Anyway, I'm still waiting for my replacement needle for the Broad Street Mittens, but I got bored and sort of fixed the needle myself. Enough to be mostly useable, anyway. I have one glove completely done, and the second glove is done except for the thumb and weaving in ends.

I like how they've turned out so far, and I think it's actually a great pattern for the yarn (STR mediumweight, Seal Rock colorway), although (you'll probably only hear me say this once, so mark this) the varigation is kind of blah. I love varigated yarns, and I love all the colors in this one, and it looks very pretty wound up, but the pooling is bothering me a little. Not enough to frog or not wear or anything drastic like that, just a little. I'll do the mitten cap for them later. I want to use them backstage now, as my hands get cold back there!

Speaking of broken needles, I'm sorry to say that Vader has eaten his last needles. Mom called yesterday and said that he had run off and they found him the next day. He had been hit by a car. Poor pup. At least he had a good life and was loved when he was at my parents'. While he wasn't the most well-behaved dog I've ever met - he'd never been properly trained, after all - he just wanted to be loved. RIP
Oh, and I really enjoyed Tin Man on the SciFi channel this week. It's The Wizard of OZ like you've never seen it before, and while the steadfast lovers of the original will probably despise it, frankly, this story makes much more sense to me. It's much more human and believable. My type of fantasy!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Reasons why today...

...was flawed:
1. Student matinee this morning. 8:30a crew call for the second day in a row. 'Nuff said.

2. Ma'am did come to sparring tonight - on crutches. She got her knee kicked out from under her last night at FIGHT. It wasn't by me, but still, I hate seeing my friends hurt. And it meant she couldn't spar and we seriously needed adults tonight! (I still owe Mr. M a beer since he failed to grace us with his presence tonight.)

3. I ran out of the color I need to finish the afghan square I'm working on right now. And I ran out of yarn working on the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf backstage this morning and forgot to bring the extra skein.

...was awesome:
1. Sparring tonight was hysterical. There were two adults not counting Sir, and about seven kids of varying ranks. Some of the kids came to about my knees, if that, and Sir was ungeared, so tonight was all about the control. Their parents thought it was hysterical, these tiny kids against 5'10", all leg, unknown to them, me. It was pretty funny, even I have to admit. Sir, Ch (the other adult there tonight), and I would look at each other and just laugh.

2. Klondike's afterward was fun. I've not laughed that hard in a long, long time. (A long story involving the mental image of Mr. C, who is a big guy, in footsie pajamas with his black belt around his waist.) Tonight it was me, Ma'am, Sir and Mrs. S (and Baby S, of course), Ma'am's son who comes to Haganah sometimes, and a few others. No ranks, no job responsibilities, just, pizza, beer, and friends. I kind of feel like maybe I'm starting to build more of a life, just maybe, and that is a Very Good Thing. And I'm not a beer drinker at all, but a tall cold one after a very sweaty class really hits the spot!

3. My replacement needle from KnitPicks is on its way! Yay! Hopefully, I will be able to finish the Broad Street Mittens soon and start another pair of mittens!!

4. Knitting Grandmother at tkd was at Klondikes tonight with her grandson and finished the cutest little beaded coin purse. She's done a larger version in Cotton Classic, with very pretty beadwork as well. She gets her beads at Kandra's (from Monday morning knitting) and swears she'll drag me (kicking and screaming, I'm sure, did someone twist my arm there?) to Yarns At The Adobe up in SLO. She doesn't think she's been to Yarnology (another Monday morning knitting connection) yet, so we very reluctantly agreed to accompany each other on a yarn crawl soon. Okay, so most of the reluctance was more of a "Let's go now, wait, we can't, they're probably already closed for the night" thing than anything else. The sacrifices we make for our art! Seriously!

5. Almost done with the leg on the first Wendelin sock. I haven't noticed any significant changes in gauge from switching to the (non-chewed) metal needles, so I'm hoping they'll continue to work out. The multidirectional diagonal scarf is almost done. Probably one, maybe two more triangles and then the end!

Five awesomes (pretty awesome awesomes, too!) and only three flaws (relatively minor, honestly). I'd say that's a pretty good day!

And yes, I have the bruises to prove I've been in class every night this week! =)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back home and kickin'

I did survive the trip home for Thanksgiving. It was great to see everyone and my brother's new house! The travelling wasn't too bad for the most part - there was some weather in Chicago that delayed our takeoff in LA on the way there, but that was about it. Now if I could just find my mp3 player again - how do I always lose those things???? It's a curse, I tell you!

It was gorgeous the first day I was there - 60 degrees and sunny - then Mother Nature decided to remind everyone that it was November in the Midwest and the very next day hit us with rain, sleet, and a tiny bit of snow. It was 26 when I left on Friday. Only in the Midwest. You don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it'll change. (Of course, it's exactly that changing that gives them the coolest thunderstorms ever, which I *do* miss, so I guess it's pick your poison.) After about thirty seconds in that temperature, I was ready to be back in California. The warm sunshine on the tarmac at LAX was one of the best feelings ever!

Friday was a VERY long day - getting up at 2:00a PST to get to the airport, travelling for eight hours, then landing and going straight to the theater to do Act Two of the matinee and all of the evening performance. Chrissy did cut me loose from doing the rest of the matinee, but at that point it wasn't enough time to get any sleep before the evening show anyway, so it didn't make a whole lot of difference. It was a big weekend in general, so I totally slept in on Monday. (I know, some of you will ask, "How can you tell if you slept in? You don't get up until 10:00a anyway!" to which I reply "I normally sleep eight hours a night, just a different eight hours than most people. If I sleep more than that, I've slept in, just like you. So there! =P") I really wanted to get up for knitting, and actually got on the road around 11:30a before realizing that by the time I got there people would be starting to leave. Sigh. Maybe next week, if I'm not in LA.

Speaking of knitting, Mom had some interesting stuff while I was at home. She went through and dug up some of the handmade sweaters her great-aunt and grandmother had made for her! Beautiful stuff! As Mom says, they'd had a lot of practice by that point - they used to knit sweaters, hats, and mittens for all fourteen grandchildren for Christmas and they'd start in October if they wanted to start early! Two really beautiful Arans and an intarsia snowflake pattern - I'll get pics up soon. I might try to copy one of the Arans. I think I could pretty easily replicate at least one of the patterns already. Mom also has one more Fair Isle (she thinks) sweater that she couldn't find that was her favorite and got, er, shrunk, in the wash after she and Dad got married. I'd have to see it to decide if I could replicate it or not, but I'm actually pretty certain I could figure it out. How cool is that? Not only are these gorgeous sweaters handmade by my family, but I've learned enough that I might be able to do them, too!

Some knitting was actually accomplished on the trip, too - I started a new sock about two weeks ago now, out of some STR lightweight I'd picked up in some destash or other on KR. It is one of their semi-solids in a colorway called 24 Carat, which is a really pretty combination of golds, but I had a hard time finding a pattern for it that I liked. I really wanted to do a Pomotamus with it, but I settled, instead, on Wendelin the Weird Socks, which are not weird at all, and work very very well with the yarn. I'll try to get a pic up soon. Even Chrissy and Aleah have admired it. Anyway, I turned the heel on the first one before I left and was looking forward to finishing the leg and maybe starting the second one whilst travelling. An excellent plan, to be sure, until one takes into account the one-and-a-half-year-old Lab mix my parents rescued over the summer. I left the sock on the couch on Thursday while we went to my grandparents', and when we came home, we discovered that, to his credit, he did not harm the yarn nor the cable, and all of the stitches had been carefully slid back onto the cable so they weren't dropped, but my beautiful new Harmony needle tips were in chewed pieces all over the living room floor! Beware the lure of the Harmony needles, it apparently works on canines as well! Sigh. Luckily, I do have a nickel-plated KP circ of the same size here at home, so work is not paused (pawsed? get it? *groan*) on that like it is on the broken-needled Broad Street gloves. I'm going to have to put in an order this week after payday, I think.

The afghan is progressing slowly but surely. I'm on square 20 right now and am planning on working on that tonight after I get some dinner and a shower. I've done four classes so far this week - two tkd, one kickboxing and one Haganah. I didn't get lunch today, and I can't eat right before kickboxing, so I skipped that class in favor of getting food and going to just tkd instead. I'm planning on doing tkd and Haganah tomorrow. Okay, so even if I hadn't been planning on doing Haganah tomorrow, if I'd shown up at tkd, Sir and Ma'am would have badgered me into staying anyway. I'm saving them the trouble. And then sparring on Friday!!! Can't wait!! Mr. M was hassling me today about going for pizza and beer afterwards, and I owe him one anyway. (It really should be illegal to let pizza smell waft through the parking lot after class. It's so not fair!) I was actually expecting to be pretty sore today after the long break away and then doing so much, but I actually feel really really good. My only problem now is that we started our new board breaks today. Mine is a jump side kick. I rolled my ankle on a jump side kick in a one-step a couple months ago, and am still scared of them. I know it's completely a psychological thing. Other jump kicks don't scare me. (Although Mr. R did find my blanch at the jump crescent kick that's in my form rather amusing.) Ma'am and Mr. M suggested wearing a light brace or even just wrapping the ankle to make myself think it's stronger. I did break the board tonight, but I know the motion wasn't right. I hope we work on these a lot, because I'm going to need it! The new form, Choon Jung Il-Jahng, is really interesting. It's the first time I've had to do any tension techniques, and there are a LOT of hand techniques in this one! It's actually the brown belt form; I don't know why Sir's having me skip In Wah Ee-Jahng, the blue belt form, since I've gone in order with everything else. Oh well. I really need to start going back through all my forms and relearning them again. I'm now the highest color belt that regularly comes to class, so I get asked for help a little more often. Just gotta make room in the brain for all the information!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Surprise!

I actually won a blog contest!! And I can't wait to get my hands on the yarn! I never win this kind of thing, I'm so stoked! (Okay, so it was a random drawing, so I really had nothing to do with it, but still!)

In other news, is it sad when an eleven-hour, double-show day feels like a "light" day? Wednesday was morning office work, afternoon matinee, kickboxing, evening understudy rehearsal. 14 hours. Thursday was morning matinee, afternoon office work/meetings, evening understudy run. 15 hours. Friday was morning Outreach performance (was asked to go out with them to keep an eye on a certain situation that rears its ugly head occasionally), afternoon office work/meetings, tkd test, evening performance. 15 hours. My mom called around 4:00p on Friday and told me I almost sounded drunk, even though she knew I wouldn't have been drinking at that time - I was so tired I was slurring my words on the phone! Saturday and Sunday were much better, after I'd actually gotten some real sleep. The show has been going pretty well, though, and I haven't gotten slammed into any other walls so far. (Thanks, Matt!) It's so nice to have four days off, though!!

So, I tested for my blue belt Friday and it was probably the worst I've ever done anything there. One should NOT do a physical test when one has only had about twelve hours of sleep over the previous three nights. Sir said my form was solid (complete and total muscle memory, as I really have no recollection of it), but I totally forgot the end of the sparring segment (a jump crescent kick, which I actually kind of like, for a crescent kick), did incorporate sliding and repeat kicks but didn't use any spinning kicks in sparring (no contact sparring is SO much harder than regular sparring), took two kicks to break my board, and when Mrs. S came at me for one of the self-defenses I just stared at her, had absolutely no idea what to do, and apparently defaulted to a Haganah technique instead. I was either partnered with Mrs. S (for sparring and one self-defense) or the other kid who was there, one of the Karate Kids and an orange belt, so he was scared to death of me. So not only am I totally blanking on what moves I should be doing, but I have to remember to really control them because of having a little kid for a partner. (The kids, btw, do not learn takedowns as a general rule for ending self-defense, they are usually taught to break the hold, get some distance, and run. So he was pretty surprised when he hit the mat after a brief telepathic conversation between Sir and I! Poor kid.) The real kicker, and probably the only reason I actually got the belt, was that I had been TEACHING both the self-defenses AND the sparring segment to the rest of my form block earlier that week. So I obviously know them well enough that Sir felt I was capable of helping other people with them, but I just did not have the brain power that day. Mrs. S asked me afterwards if I was okay, which was a little embarrassing, but at least I know they pay attention and care.

Now to finish cleaning and packing because I'm going home for Thanksgiving! It sounds like I'm getting good Chinese food and crashing at my brother's place tomorrow night (he's a night owl like me, my parents are not, and my flight gets in relatively late for them), getting one of my favorite meals ever at my parents' on Tuesday, possibly hanging out with the girls on Wednesday, and then stuffing myself with turkey, pie, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday! Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Survival!

The theater gods have blessed us again, and after ten days of tech chaos, we do indeed have The Sound of Music successfully open and apparently people seem to like it. 41 performances to go, not that we're counting or anything. It's only the eleventh show my name's been attached to this year, in various capacities. Now I just have to survive this run and then I have no shows until March! John's going to do a big show in Pomona the weekend before rehearsals start for Godspell, both of which I cannot wait for! It's so fun to actually be excited about a show again! I'm going to be doing both Godspell and Hot Mikado this summer, which will be a nice challenge after last summer's boredom. Chrissy is doing Ragtime, which is Just Fine with me, as I don't like the big huge musicals that much.

Ironically, now that the show is open, I have more free time. I was able to make both kickboxing and tkd Monday night, and was able to make it to FIGHT tonight for the first time in ages. Mr. M nailed me with a backfist to the face on Monday night in tkd, so Sir and Ma'am spent some time tonight teasing me about that and threatening to give me a matching bruise on the other side. (It actually isn't that bruised - I was lucky and he caught my cheekbone rather than nose, eye, or lip, and I think he pulled his punch when he realized it wasn't on target - there's just a tiny spot that only hurts if you poke it, like Ma'am was.) I am sporting some new bruises, though, and it feels GREAT! It felt So Good to go to FIGHT tonight, although I got beat up by Sir quite a bit. We had a new girl in class tonight, and since I hadn't been there for a while, the two of us got paired up to work the defenses. Sir still has his cast on, and once I saw the drills I remembered them, so a lot of the time was spent with him demonstrating one thing or another on me, usually several times. And D punches like a girl and looks like a stereotypical valley girl, but she has some strength to her, which was unexpected, but nice to see. So between them, I ended up on the mat more times than usual. FIGHT is much rougher than tkd, which is why I like it, I think. It's a little looser, more practical, and quite honestly, it's fun to be "one of the guys" and get to roughhouse. I'm going to try to make it to kickboxing tomorrow if dinner break is long enough, and I'm testing for my blue belt on Friday. (I'm really curious to see how that will work, actually, since usually Sir is the only one there for private tests and he can't hold my board or safely spar me with his cast on. I guess we'll see.) The whole week of Thanksgiving I'll be at home, but after that I should be able to settle back into a rhythm with class. You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to that!


But anyway, you're here for the knitting. Rambling Rows has gotten some advancement since it was last seen, but not a whole lot.


I like the yellow when it's right next to the other colors

But in the big picture, it really stands out and I'm not quite sure I like it. I don't like my other options either, though, so I'm not sure what to do. And Backstage Project #1 can start to be revealed now, as this is not going to be a gift:


I have the first glove mostly done, as you can see, just the ends need to be woven in, and I was in the middle of the thumb gusset on the second one when my beloved KP fixed circ broke. The needle just came off the cable! Sigh. I've contacted their customer service and am hoping it will be replaced soon, as I don't have any other needles in that size. (I have five pairs of US 8 circs, for some unknown reason, but only one pair of US 3, of course!) So that's on hold for a couple days. Now I have to figure out what the next Backstage Project is going to be. I think I know. At least, I do until I change my mind again.

I have to get some sleep now. I've had a pretty physical couple days (check behind the cut to see why, if you're curious), and while it's great that Cute Intern was so pleased with this morning's show (long story) that he wanted to call me and tell me about it, I really hope he doesn't call at 9:30a again tomorrow morning! If he does, he's totally bringing me coffee for the next week! (I might make him bring me coffee tomorrow anyway, what else are cute interns for? ;) )

Monday, November 05, 2007

An Owl A Day...(pic heavy)

Nothing brightens a really chilly, grey, please-either-rain-or-let-the-sun-come-out, not-really-sick-but-don't-feel-good-either, type day like a package! And this one from Minerva Scamander of Ravenclaw, my HSS2 pal, was a doozy! No idea how her owl managed to carry it down the coast, but I'm glad it did!

Everything was so nicely packed and wrapped that I felt bad opening it:

That, of course, didn't last long, and all that pretty tissue paper turned into:

Quite the magic spell, eh?!

She sent me some Blood Pops, Jelly Slugs, and Lady Grey tea, which I've never tried, but sounds perfect for tonight after class!


She also demonstrated the Ravenclaw trait of planning and thinking ahead, and sent along the leftover sock yarn! I don't really need it, but the idea was pretty smart! It's from Shelby B's Etsy shop, in the Fawkes colorway! (Shelby only has a few colorways up right now, I guess, she has lots more Hogwarts-inspired colorways that are pretty darn cool and I'm sure if you contact her, she can give you more info!)

Then there were the knitting goodies:


US 1 Clover Bamboo dpns, the pattern for the socks she made, and some totally cute stitch markers! I couldn't get a better pic of them for some reason, but they are scarlet and gold beads with lions' heads on the ends! How fun is that?!

She sent me a House t-shirt:

And a gorgeous scarlet and gold wrap that will be perfect for this cooler weather!

But, this IS a sock swap, and is really all about the socks! She made me some Simply Ginny Socks, some adorable anklets with a pretty little cable down the center that I can't get to show up in a picture for anything. Oh well, here's these anyway:



They came wrapped up in their own sock label with the lyrics to the Hogwarts School Song printed on it!

How lucky am I and how cool is my pal?! Thank you, thank you, thank you! This was an awesome experience for me, and I cannot wait for third term!

On an unrelated note, I think I'm going to skip kickboxing tonight and just do tkd class. I'm so freaking tired and sniffly that I'm really not certain I could physically do both classes, and the tkd is more important to me.


Potpourri

I've been stuck in tech hell this weekend. Actually, there really needs to be a place between heck and hell, as it's definitely NOT the worst tech I've ever been through (as long as you don't get me started about certain elements and/or people), but it's worse than heck.

Knitting has happened, but I can't really say any more about it than that. My backstage project is going quite well, actually, for as much time as I've spent on my feet and away from it the past few days. I have not touched the afghan yet this week, as I frankly have not been home long enough with enough brain power to do a garter stitch mitered square. Sad, huh? I have to figure out what I'm bringing to knitting tomorrow, if I manage to drag my butt out of bed in time. I just barely made it last week. The afghan is too big already to haul around, my current pair of socks is boring old stockinette TV knitting, and I've been trying to keep Backstage Project for, well, backstage. I might bring it, though, as the sooner I get them done, the better.

I'm actually dreading class(es) tomorrow, as I haven't been able to work on ANYTHING since Tuesday kickboxing, which feels like last month right now. (Please nobody point out that technically it WAS last month, you know what I meant!) I feel lazy and uncoordinated and like I wouldn't be able to throw even a basic form punch right now. A kick right now might reach someone's ankle, and would be more like a tap than a kick. I really can't wait until the schedule gets settled back down and I get some evenings free for classes again! I really don't feel ready for this next test. I know the form (In-Wah 1), but I'm not nearly as solid on it as I'd like to be, and I know the board break (a round kick), and that's it. I haven't gotten to spar since mid-September, and will probably have to spar Sir again for testing. Ugh. Apparently I'm still ahead of most of the rest of my form block - as of last Monday, they were still learning the form, and I'd already been working on cleaning it for two weeks. I don't think any of us have done the sparring segments yet, though, unless they did them on Wednesday or Thursday. Sir did tell me during one of the private classes that he throws more details and pointers at me at once than he normally does because I tend to pick things up faster, and he tends to be more picky with my stuff, too. That's good, I guess. It's still not going to make tomorrow any easier.

On a less physical note, I am going to be able to go home for Thanksgiving again this year! Yay! Frequent flier miles and being a pest of yourself to bosses do sometimes pay off - it's going to cost me more to park at the airport than to fly home! My brother has even volunteered to pick me up from the airport when I get there, although his work schedule prevents him from giving me a ride back to the airport for my return flight, which means either my mom or dad has to drive me there before the crack of dawn. Oh, well.

Oh, and some fun Halloween pics are somewhere on my computer, too!

I'm now going take a warm shower, crawl into some warm pjs, and sleep until I wake up. I'm hopefully going to make it to AG tomorrow morning, and definitely going to class and doing laundry. And if a certain cute guy just happens to call (I really doubt he will, but you never know), well, plans are made to be changed...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Time Off For Good Behaviour

Shh! Don't tell anyone, but...I actually had a weekend this week! Two whole days off in a row! (Going in and taping spikes for the LD today doesn't count, since it took all of maybe thirty minutes tops, and that was including finding the tape measure.) Of course, the flip side of this is that we are running the show twice next week and then going straight into tech hell for the next ten days, but hey, you take 'em where you can, right? You might want to send some love over AJ's way, though - I know the shops have been hella busy and she may not have had a lot of knitting time lately, the poor girl.

I, however, have gotten to add some squares to Rambling Rows:


and man, this sucker is turning out huge! That would be a five-foot long tape measure going across there, and the actual measurements end about halfway through the final white block. I'm guessing this is going to be about 5'6" wide (this is definitely as wide as it will get, as the first row of blocks is done) and probably 6'6"-7'0" long. Perfect! It's going pretty quickly, too. I can do a rectangle or a small square in just an hour or so; the large squares take longer.

I was planning on working mostly on that during my unusually large amount of free time, but for some reason I started working on Mom's mittens instead. Worsted weight mittens take a surprisingly short amount of time to knit, I've discovered. I started both of them at the same time on one long magic loop, top down, and was almost past the thumb gussets before I realized hadn't cast on nearly enough stitches for the gusset and ripped them back to the start of the thumb. Now I'm working on them separately, but I'm already into the ribbing on the cuff for the first one. Just have to finish that and do the thumb, then pick the second mitten back up and get that sorted out and finished off. It is entirely possible that I could finish these tomorrow! I'm kind of winging the pattern, as I couldn't find one that was both worsted weight and top-to-cuff, so I'm kind of going off a conglomeration of patterns, tips, and tricks. This is the first time I've done that, and it's turning out pretty well. Mom's hands are just slightly smaller than mine, so I hope these fit! (No, I'm not posting a pic because Mom does check this occasionally. There is a pre-frogging pic up on Ravelry, though. And don't worry, I have other plans for Mom's Christmas as well *muha*!)

Definitely planning on getting up to AG tomorrow morning, and possibly going up to SLO afterwards. I really love just walking up and down Marsh Street and window shopping up there. I might also try to catch a matinee of Across the Universe, just because it's Julie Taymor. (The Lion King has really been on Broadway for ten years now?!) SLO is the closest cinema that is playing it, unfortunately. A couple of the acting interns and I have kept trying to make a time to go see it, and the plans keep falling through, so I might just go if I can catch a good time.

Definitely must make it back in time for class, though, as I've been terribly lazy all weekend and eating far too much junk! Sir drilled me on crescent kicks Thursday (have I mentioned I hate crescent kicks? I do, I really do.) and started teaching me the footwork for spinning kicks. I've never felt less graceful in my life - it took me forever to get my feet going the right way at the right time. I was supposed to drill them this weekend but I just haven't had time until today and then I just zoned out and didn't do anything. I think I'll do three more private classes, which will get me through until Opening and understudy rehearsals. After that, I should be able to make at least two, probably all three tkd classes per week, plus kickboxing and more Haganah again. It will be soo nice!

And, just to share for my own amusement, I learned this week that Chrissy thought I was dating Cute Intern, and Cute Intern thought I was dating John. It was kind of a bummer to have to set them all straight - I wish my love life was half as interesting as people obviously seem to think it is! =)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mischief Managed!

The whole HSS2 kit 'n caboodle is packaged, postaged (is that a word?) and will be on its way as soon as I can get to the office and get to my brown packing paper! I'm quite proud of it, but, more importantly, I hope my pal likes it!!!

Bye bye, little package, it's been fun!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What did YOU do today?

Other than waking up pretty sure my eyes were going to explode out of my head, and not making it up to AG for knitting, today was a pretty good day. I was a good girl and got all my chores done first (we won't discuss how loud the music was playing or how loud I was singing along to it!), then finally got to sit and finish these before class!

Project: Groovy Socks (HSS2 Socks)
Yarn: Razzy Tazzy Knits, Ravenclaw Movie colorway
Needles: 2.5mm/US 1.5 KnitPicks fixed circ
Date Started: September 7, 2007
Date Completed: October 22, 2007
Notes:
-I was actually pretty good about writing down what I did for the first sock and being able to repeat it for the second this time. I made the extra effort since I rarely make socks for anyone other than myself and I'm terrified these aren't going to fit. The measurements say they should, though! Minerva, if you're reading this and they DON'T fit, I'm SOO sorry! I really liked working with this pattern, though, and surprisingly, I even like the finished pattern, even though it's pretty lacy. I might have to make this pattern for myself!
-I actually really love the way the heel ended up striping! I wish it had gone that way for the entire sock, but alas, it was not really designed to stripe over the gauge I needed for it. But it's still fun!

Anyway, those guys are currently drying and should be joining the rest of the package and begin winging their way to my pal in the next day or so! This was my first swap and it was fun! (I totally snuck a peek at Minerva's socks on Ravelry, and omg, the colors! They're so pretty!)

Now that those are done, I can focus on holiday knitting. I have the first three pieces of the afghan complete: I had to adjust the color balance on the pic a little bit, as for some reason the red and the blue just really wanted to look like the same color for the camera, but you get the general idea. I'm going with burgundy, navy, white, hunter green, and then the fifth color is still a toss-up between grey or tan. I keep waffling back and forth. I don't have to make a decision for a while, though. I actually am really enjoying this project, but I've decided this can't be my project for the show. The needles are too heavy to keep from clicking loudly. Plus, I can't keep the darn cat off of it! Teddie usually has little interest in my yarn unless I'm actually working with it and it's dangling and moving, but apparently the cat loves Thick & Quick!
He's partially unwound two not-currently-in-use skeins across the living room floor, and no matter where I put the WIP, he's sitting on top of it. Maybe he's trying to tell me the fifth color should be the tan by adding his hair personally? Maybe he knows it's for Kelly, who seems to have been one of his favorite people ever? Who knows? He's curled up again on it as I type!

Mom did get back to me before I finished the socks, although her choice of color somewhat surprised me. She wants mittens to match the scarf I made her out of some cheap Red Heart about four years ago! Finding the colorway isn't a big deal, but Red Heart?? I didn't know there were, like, real yarns out there when I made that scarf! I wonder if I could get Amy or someone to match the colors with some nicer superwash. Is that legal? I'm actually thinking more along the lines of how itchy mittens made of Red Heart would be than about having to work with it myself; I'll probably do one pair of mittens out of the stuff. I'm just also thinking of backups. Those are going to be my backstage project instead of the afghan.

On top of all that, class was great. I got to hang out with Mrs. S and baby between classes, and Sir promised we'd do the new board break on Thursday. It was hot as hell today, though, and the sky is all brown from the fires to the south. It's not too bad here, but it's harder to breathe and it's hard on the eyes. Mine constantly feel dry, itchy and puffy, and Mrs. S mentioned that it was really hard on the contacts, too. The Santa Anas are definitely blowing, and they're drying everything out, including people! I talked to John tonight, and he said things weren't bad where he lives, but Jen, one of our crew who lives in Burbank, said that she and her partner could see the fires to the north and south and the air quality was pretty terrible there. Please keep Southern Californians in your thoughts and prayers. It doesn't seem like there are too many injuries or fatalities yet, and we should be thankful for that, but lots of homes are being destroyed. I look around my single apartment and think "man, if I had to evacuate now, what would I save?" I can't imagine having to make that decision in a house full of memories! (For the record, my first things to grab would be cat, phone, car keys, wallet, shoes and sweatshirt. Then the three pictures of family and friends I have framed, and a few pieces of jewelry that have more sentimental than monetary value to me. As much as I would hate to lose anything, a lot of the stuff I have here honestly could be replaced if I absolutely had to.)

On a lighter note, two trips to Disneyland - one with people from PCPA and one with John & the magic crew - are in the planning stages! I've been to Disney with PCPA peeps, and that's a ton and a half of fun, but can you imagine me, John, Jen, Sarah, Alfonzo and Nick teaming up to descend on the Happiest Place on Earth? Me either! I hope the place survives us! The PCPA trip will probably be the Monday/Tuesday after SoM opens, and other will probably be closer to Christmas. Can't wait!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Teachers and Students

First square of Rambling Rows completed:

This is going to work out just fine. The square is about 12"x12", which is what it should be. I think this will be great! I've picked up the stitches for the next rectangle, but haven't started knitting on it yet. That's because these:

are so close to being done and I just can't seem to find the time to get that last inch in! It's driving me batty!

One of the actors came up to me this evening during rehearsal and asked me to teach her to knit! She said she used to knit, but had forgotten how and was suddenly overcome with the desire to make a scarf again, so on the next break I showed her a knitted cast on and refreshed her memory on knitting and purling. I think we may have also piqued the interest of one of our YPs, so we'll see how we can gently cultivate that - I am planning on knitting quite a bit backstage during this show, and anything to keep the kids quiet when they're not onstage...

I also got this today: Yay! A bag that holds all of my kickboxing and sparring gear without looking like it's going to fall apart, explode, or put any kind of strain on the zipper! (My original two duffel bags have met untimely ends due to broken zippers.) I was quite pleased to see it waiting for me on the floor when I went in for private class this afternoon. Normally private classes are about 45 minutes to an hour, but I guess I got lucky - there was no one in the slot ahead of me today, so we started a few minutes before 3:00, and I didn't leave until almost 4:30! I got drilled on inner crescent/reverse side kick combos, repeat round kick combos, and was taught the basics of slide kicking for sparring. My legs just might fall off tomorrow. We do #3 side kicks a lot in kickboxing, but Sir wants me to switch those to slide kicks for now, just to get the repetitions in, since we don't do them in regular class. He said he'd tell Mrs. S about it. It's not as big of a deal on Tuesday classes, since it's usually a tiny class and there isn't an audience, but Monday's class is usually bigger and there are lots of parents and kids hanging out between classes during kickboxing and I'm a little nervous about doing different things than everyone else. I was surprised, normally I find balancing easier on my left foot and more power kicking with my right, but I can do slide kicks far more easily balancing on my right foot and kicking with the left, so Sir wants me to focus on that side for sparring. We also got to talk a little bit about the difference between tournament sparring and what we do in class (Sir, apparently, is more lax with the tournament rules during class sparring, as he would prefer we learn more realistic self-defense than ATA requires or allows as a rule, although it's still very controlled), and I expressed my interest in someday doing instructor training, which he seemed pleased about. I think I'm going to like the private classes more than I thought I would, although I always seem to come out with a longer and longer list of things to work on!

Anyway, tomorrow is going to be a long day, since I have to be at the theater at 7:15a to cover an Outreach show for an intern who is currently out of town on a previously agreed upon conflict. WHY am I so nice??


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting content!

No, seriously! We got some time off for good behaviour on Sunday, and I took advantage of it by doing most of my cleaning tasks that night instead of cramming everything in on Monday. This brilliant idea (I do have one occasionally) allowed me to spend some time knitting with the girls in AG yesterday morning (Inky and Kim, we missed you!), wander, window-shop, and indulge in some Coldstone Cremery in SLO in the afternoon, get home in time for kickboxing and tkd in the evening, and then curl up with some soup and more knitting for the rest of the night. It was brilliant! I forget how much I like SLO. It reminds me a lot of being back around campus in West Lafayette. Now to just convince the LYSOs up there that they should be open on Mondays!

I have no photographic evidence of anything I'm about to tell you, as I accidentally left my camera plugged into the computer and drained the battery. So you'll have to take my word for it.

First up, you know how the legs of socks can just drag forever? I feel like I've been working on the poor HSS2 socks FOR-EH-VER and have been caught in a time warp. The second one's leg was just NOT growing any longer at all! Then I measured it last night and realized I only have one more inch before starting the ribbing! When did that happen?? I know I've been saying this for about three weeks now, but I'm serious - these socks should be done this weekend! Mom had better act fast if she wants specific colors for her mittens, because if I don't have her request by the time I finish these socks, I'm picking the colors myself!

Second, I received my Rambling Rows Afghan pattern in the mail the other day! I still really like it, and have decided to forgo the Bears' colors for a more neutral-but-still-masculine color scheme. It pretty much works out that I'm only swapping out the orange (ugh) for a nice hunter green, so it's not even requiring any new yarn shopping. Since the pattern is actually written for worsted weight yarn, and I'm using super-bulky, I'm thinking about doing the smallest size blanket. I'm working on the first square now and will compare the measurements to see if the thicker yarn and needles will make the small blanket the same size as the original largest blanket or not. I've been trying to get the socks done before I spend too much time on this, though.

Third, I finally (FINALLY) splurged and bought Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel after finding it in the Beverly's up in SLO yesterday. I've been going back and forth about ordering it for a while, but never got around to it. However, after actually being able to get my grubby little paws on it and actually seeing the patterns inside it, I had to have it. I've got about five projects from it on the MUST DO NOW list, but I think my first one will be the Boatneck Bluebell Sweater. (I'm sorry, I have no idea whose project and photo that is, but it's the best pic of the sweater I was able to find w/o forcing people to log into Ravelry. If it's yours, let me know and the credit is all yours!) It looks like it will be a fun, quick knit, and perfect for work.

I got my brochure for Stitches West today. I really would LOVE to take a finishing class, since I didn't get to last year, but I'm sure they're all filled up at this point and I really can't afford it right now.

Now for some dinner before rehearsal. The three classes I've done so far this week (two yesterday and kickboxing this morning) have kicked my butt today (the price one pays for not going for almost ten days, I guess), so I'm not going to physically work on my form today, but I will over break tomorrow and in private class Thursday! I've missed lots of classes, but I'm the only one in my form block who has actually learned the whole thing already. Now I get to start drilling it!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ahhh...

Had an amazingly fun time in LA getting John's show loaded in. He's playing at the AGBU Theater in Pasadena this weekend and next weekend, if anyone is able to make it. It was fun to get to work together and spend a little time also just hanging out as friends. I never work so hard AND laugh so hard as when I'm doing a show there. Unfortunately, I can't actually work the shows due to my PCPA schedule, I could only get away for the load in, so I hope hope hope everything went well tonight. It was the first time he was going to do a new trick and I really want to know how the audience reacted to it. (ETA: apparently the show went really well and the new trick rocks!) I seriously need to be based in LA again! (I know, the grass is always greener, blah blah - if anyone knows of any reasonable full time job in LA right now, I'd consider it!)

I have about an inch done on the leg of the second HSS2 sock. Slowly but surely, it's getting done. Other than that, I haven't had a whole lot of knitting time lately, or general free time, or occasionally not even a minute to respond to a text, which apparently is enough to get a brother concerned enough to make Mom call and make sure I was still alive. (Why HE couldn't call is beyond me, I guess it's a guy/brother thing.) Still no word from Mom on mitten colors, and I'm really not a fan of the three color afghan. I might change the color scheme and do a Rambling Rows. I might not do it for Christmas, though. We'll see.

I got back into Santa Maria Thursday afternoon and did a private lesson with Sir. Although I miss having everyone else around, it's kind of nice to just work one on one with him and get more specific critiques and drills. My new form has two kicking combinations that I'm having problems with - an inner crescent/reverse side kick and front kick/side kick. I'm to drill those repetitively as much as possible for balance and footwork, and also basic sparring punches (my form punches are okay, since they're more controlled). Apparently, I've developed the bad habit of hooking my elbows out when I punch, so I have to work on breaking that. I'm going to try to get into a rehearsal room tomorrow to work on it - either before stage combat class in the morning or over dinner break. We start learning rapiers in stage combat tomorrow - can't wait!

And, we broke our rule

- there are no drinks in this stage management picture, and if you hear rumours that we were actually unclassy enough to eat pizza on paper napkins and drink wine out of paper cups, well...yeah. We had a fundraising gala this evening and of course the SMs got stuck actor wrangling for it. By about the third hour, we were willing to take the food and wine (mostly the wine) in whatever form it presented itself! But damnit, we looked good doing it!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Quotes of the Day

"You do taekwondo, Haganah, kickboxing and do full contact sparring. You usually have enough bruises that people wonder if you're in an abusive relationship. But you say "OW!" when you get poked by a knitting needle??" - intern

"Blondes have more fun, but brunettes will remember it the next day." - one of our YPs

ETA:
Overheard standing in line at Subway, behind a family of four - two parents, two kids - who were all, er, packing some extra pounds and had just paid for four footlong meatball subs with extra meatballs and extra cheese, plus sodas and chips for everyone: "See, this is why we don't come here very often. Eating healthy is SO expensive!"

Knitting is happening. I'm starting the gusset on the HSS2 sock. I was hoping to have them finished by this weekend, but that might be pushing it now. I've started Kelly's afghan, although I'm not completely sure I like it and might go back to my original backup idea. Mom still hasn't gotten back to me on colors and if she hasn't by the time I finish the HSS2 sock, I'm picking them myself outta the stash. At some point, I need to update my Ravelry projects page.

And...flirting is fun =)

Friday, October 05, 2007

New Toys!

Because, really, what are needles and yarn but toys?

I caved and ordered a Harmony wood circ:

I don't normally go for wood needles, but these intrigued me, particularly with the reviews they've been getting. I love me some sharp points, no matter the material. I haven't tried these, but they feel very smooth and warm, and I can't wait to finish the HSS2 socks so I can start yet another pair on these!

And speaking of sharp:

KP Options have a reputation for being pointy. These are US 17s. Normally a very blunt needle point. Don't let their bulk fool you - they're just as deadly as the rest of the KP arsenal! Very sharp! I'm starting my brother's afghan on them and have poked my fingers countless times.

I've also started another pair of stockinette socks, in addition to the HSS2 ones:

They're Spunky Eclectic in Berry Pickin, and I think the colorway is best shown off in the simple stitch. I like it.

Too much evening rehearsals, not enough classes, although I was invited to crash a private class on Tuesday morning, which was awesome. This new form is a huge jump in difficulty level! I've been working on it in rehearsal rooms when I get a chance, but I won't get to work with any instructors again until next Thursday. Sigh. So over this whole working thing - it's far too inconvenient!

Now to work on HSS2 some more and watch the L&O:CI season premiere on USA.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another Darn Good Day?

Well, sort of, anyway. I did have two rehearsals for two different shows today, which was more than a bit mind-boggling, given their topics. And I'm surprisingly tired as all hell, which is weird, considering I didn't do *anything* today but watch a football game and sit through two rehearsals. At least two of my actors/directors are sick, though, so I'd better not be catching anything! But anyway...

My beloved Cubbies have officially won the NL Central title and will be going to the post season! I was born and raised a Cub fan, so I know better than to get TOO excited about this, as the odds that the curse will strike yet again are pretty darn good. But also, I was born and raised a Cub fan, so hope springs eternal. This is the year!

My beloved Boilermakers are also off to a 5-0 start for the season, with a win over Notre Dame (HISS!) which continues their tie with Ohio State (HISS!) and Wisconsin for first place in the Big Ten. Unfortunately, they play Ohio State next week, and I don't think they're gonna win that one. The defense isn't strong enough, but who knows, maybe it will be a pleasant surprise.

Note to self: one should NOT knit whilst watching football. The tendency to jump up and wave one's arms in the air while cheering or yelling at the refs or players or coaches creates chaos with yarn. (Yes, I DO know they can't hear me, no, it doesn't stop me in the slightest. It's a family trait and most likely genetic. We even get on the phone and yell about the game to each other!) It's much easier to knit while watching baseball games, except for home runs or great plays, of course.

Is it Monday yet? I want to knit and punch/kick things. I don't care if they have opposite effects! I want them both!

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Darn Good Day!

Got the purple belt and got a semi-standing date for private lessons on Thursday afternoons starting Oct. 11! So happy! It's still only four classes a week (two tkd and two kickboxing) instead of seven or nine, but Sir and I both agreed that it would be better for me than just one tkd class a week. I'm really excited about it! And because I'm in Leadership Club now (in order to be able to do those seven or nine classes a week), I get a bright gold horizontal stripe down the middle of my belts now. Great way to ruin a perfectly good shade of purple, but oh well.

John called and woke me up this morning so excited that I was going to be able to come help him load in, design, and rehearse the next show in Pasadena. We're going to do one of our brand new illusions in public for the first time, so we want it to go well! Should be lots of fun! I won't even miss tkd class, since the Monday he wants me down there is the one Monday they are taking off this fall. Awesome!

Now a fast hop in the shower and back to rehearsal, where I might actually be able to knit tonight, if I'm lucky!

And stop by and say Happy Birthday to AR and Amy's Baby Boogie!

Organizing thoughts...

...so bear with me if things seem a little scattered. This post, quite honestly, is more for my benefit than any readers'. Sorry, I just need to get projects organized in my brain!

Between the fact that I'm currently in rehearsal for three separate shows, really should be spending more time babysitting PSM'ing three more, and our office just got moved to a new building (which is actually AWESOME!) and we've been packing, unpacking, cleaning, organizing, and why-the-HELL-can't-they-get-our-computers-renetworked-so- they-aren't-just-big-expensive-paperweights?-grumbling, I haven't gotten much knitting done this week. I do have the toe done on the second HSS2 sock, as well as the toe of a basic stockinette sock. I need to get more done, though. Why?

Me: So, since the Christmas Club (a special savings account through my parents' bank)cheques are coming soon, give me ideas for Christmas gifts.
Mom: Well, I don't know about the guys, but you could always just make me something. You know, if you have time.
Me: Make you something? Like what?
Mom: Well...I could really use a new pair of mittens. HINT HINT. Oh, and Soleil has really taken a liking to those slippers you made for me last year and I can't get the cat hair off of them anymore without shrinking them. So maybe a new pair of those, too?
Me: (thinking: oh, okay, mittens aren't bad. I can do mittens. And the slippers took me about a day to make) What color?
Mom: I don't know. Let me think about it. Oh, and I think your brother would really like one of those afghans you make for his house. His favorite team is the Chicago Bears, so you probably can't go wrong with navy and burnt orange. (Ugh!)

This has resulted in me going and finding the bulkiest yarn available around here, Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, and size 15 circs. Surprisingly, I don't mind working with the bulky yarn nearly as much as I thought I would; it's much softer than I'd expected, and the colors are, quite frankly, perfect. I think it's too dense on th 15s, though. I'm adding in white for a third color, but am having the darndest time finding a tri-color afghan pattern! I want something fairly modular and preferably garter-based, as I have the sneaking suspicion that most of this will have to be knit backstage during shows and I don't want to lug a big old afghan around with me. I REALLY like the Rambling Rows afghan, but it's a five color beast to really look good, and honestly, I can't think of any other colors that go with navy, burnt orange, and white. (I ordered the pattern anyway. Did I mention I really like it?) My current backup plan is basically a ginormous dishcloth blanket on size 17 needles with a striping pattern similar to the stripes on the arms of the Bears' home jerseys. My actual original idea was to double knit a rectagle and have one side be navy and orange with a Bears' logo on it and one side be old gold and black with a Purdue logo, but that's beyond my skills, I think. At least for the time frame and circumstances I have to knit it in.

Anyway, currently waiting for the needle tips and afghan pattern to arrive so I can swatch again for that. Mom still hasn't decided on colors yet, although, with Coleen's help, I think I've decided on a mitten pattern. (I know Mom occasionally checks this, so I won't post which one!) I want to get the second HSS2 sock finished before I start her stuff, but should get the afghan started ASAP. My brother is really tall and will need a big afghan.

And now, I really need to go to bed, as I am testing for my purple recommended belt tomorrow afternoon. I miss class! I've been grabbing rehearsal halls when I can this week to get extra form practice in. I've kind of made up a workout that has a mixture of tkd, kickboxing, and FIGHT drills in it, as well as some of the pilates. It's not great, and I don't work up nearly the sweat that I do in real classes, but it's better than nothing. A heavy bag would be awesome, but no idea where I'd put it. I'm definitely going to talk to Sir about maybe adding in a private lesson once a week!

I'm also technically supposed to be in three rehearsals at once tomorrow night. They're being nice and only making me be in one. Lucky me! At least they're going to let me off to do another show (sort of) for John next month!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another reason to miss Fridays...

For the fiberistas who have been patient enough to put up with my mostly non-knitting posts lately (HSS2 pal, look away!):

The first HSS2 sock! Yay!

I had one of the most fun evenings I've had in a long time tonight. Sparring as usual (I did not hurt Ma'am, of course, nor did anyone get injured other than Mr. M landing a really nice kick on my wrist which is going to bruise enough to raise eyebrows tomorrow), but then Mrs. S invited me to join her, Sir, baby Sam (their six-month-old son), Ma'am, Mr. M, Mr. C, and a few more students and parents of students (the kids basically ran free, as kids can do at such places) for pizza and beer afterwards. The pizza place just down from the dojahng is widely regarded as the best in the area - and after a few ribs about my age ("You're seriously old enough to buy beer?!" "Um, I'm 26..." "I thought you were sixteen or seventeen!"), it was fun to hang out with everyone outside of class. I guess this is a regular weekly thing, and I'm invited anytime. I do actually have two Friday nights where I don't have a rehearsal or performance. One is because of another mandatory work event (you think I could be sick *coughcough* that day?). The other is most likely some freak scheduling mistake, but I am clinging to it - November 30th - where we have a brat mat instead of an evening performance that day. I owe Mr. M for half a pizza and a beer.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tomorrow (Friday)

First HSS2 Sock is finished! Will get a pic up maybe tomorrowish. I've also actually gotten some work done on Tumbling Blocks again. Someday, I might actually finish a lace project. Or any project that aren't socks. Half my FO's this year have been socks. Nothing else is quite so portable, though. And the HSS2 socks need to be finished soon so I don't plaster myself against the deadline.

Tomorrow is also the last day of Outreach rehearsals, yay!, although Interplay rehearsals start on Saturday, and Sound of Music rehearsals start Tuesday. No rest for the wicked, unfortunately. Tomorrow is also my last night of sparring class, at least until next year. Sigh. (Ma'am: "Well, I guess you'll have to hurt me, then!") The worst part? Chrissy and the intern are already planning out what days or evenings they want off. It's like, thanks, you've already taken my show and ALL of my Friday evenings for the rest of the year, let's rub it in as well! Double sigh.

I'm going to do some private sparring with Sir and maybe Mrs. S in order to stay ready for testing, which, quite frankly, terrifies me. Not that I think I'd get hurt, and I think I'd learn a lot, but still...sparring Mr. R is bad enough, and he's a second degree (I think, he's also still teaching on Monday nights, which I was happy to find out!). Mrs. S is a third degree. Sir is a fifth degree. I'm afraid I'm going to lose everything I've gained over the summer. My only free time is going to be while the students are in class using the rehearsal rooms, and my forms are getting more complicated than I have space for in my living room. Where am I going to practice? And I'm actually gonna miss Haganah, too. Knife sparring is a rush, although if we used real knives, I'd be dead ten times over.

And I'm madly in love with Jeffrey Donovan. It's a damn shame Burn Notice is over until next summer!