Friday, August 31, 2007

Visitors and Butt-Kickings

Becki and Amanda are here! They're currently crashed out in my bed, as they haven't quite adjusted to Pacific Time, much less my time, yet. They'll probably adjust just in time to fly home on Monday. Even Teddie likes them! We're going to go wine-tasting and see the show tomorrow night.

Reactions to the haircut have ranged from "Wow, it's gone" to (more commonly) "It's darling!" to (even more commonly) "It looks very natural on you - this is the way your hair should be". I like it, which is really all that matters. I promise I'll get pics soon. The eyebrows are almost healed, although they started scabbing over the other day, prompting a lot of "What happened to your eyes? Did you get hit in the face?"-type questions.

I have not gotten a lick of knitting done this week. Tuesday was a fifteen hour work day for me, Wednesday and Thursday were both nine hour days, plus class in the evenings, and then today I drove down to LA to pick the girls up.

I did, however, get my butt thoroughly kicked to hell and back at sparring last night. A.) One should not spar on barely twelve hours of sleep over a three day period. I knew as soon as I walked out on the mat that I mentally and physically didn't have it that day and shouldn't have come. In typical coach/teacher fashion, all I got was "Breathe, focus, and work through it." Sir was trying to show me how to set up a hook kick to the back of the head, and I really have no idea what he said now. All I remember is then getting told to drill stretch side kicks and hook kicks (not to mention the repeat side kicks and crescent kicks in general) outside of class this week. B.) One should not spar one's instructor in the above mentioned situation. (Was not by choice.) I mean, I've watched Mr. R spar in class before, and even on a good energy day I'm still only a green belt, but watching him spar someone else does not prepare you for how FAST he is. Good lord! I have bruises all up and down my left arm in particular - some from blocks and some from hits. I was planning on going to Solvang after class - Chrissy wants me to start calling the show as early as Sunday after this - but I walked off the mat, changed clothes, sat to collect my gear and decided it really was too much effort to get back up. I ended up cleaning my gear there and watching most of Haganah class with Ma'am, her daughter, and Mel. Oh, and my new board break is a #2 front kick, which I drilled on the pads five bajillion times with Mr. R. while the lower-rank color belts were doing their breaks. The drills worked, though. Brown board, second try (first was my fault for not setting it up correctly), what Sir called an "excellent break", which means I'm probably going to get something harder next time. Like Sir teases me, though, I wouldn't have it any other way. The new class schedule starts after this weekend - it will be nice to have a variety of classes and times to choose from when I can.

Now I must sleep or I will be in even worse shape next week!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quite possibly the most amusing thing I've heard all summer...

One of the guys after class: “This is why I don’t get women. The three of you [indicating me, Ma’am, and Ma’am’s daughter who is about my age and a second degree black belt] are totally focused and kick ass fighting during class, get bruised, sweaty, and dirty, then sit down and start chatting about weight, food, hair, and generally giggling like schoolgirls. How does that WORK?”

More tkd after the cut. We had another new white belt in class tonight. Five of them in the past two weeks! It's great, but it's getting awfully crowded! I was finally able to get through my form without having to stop and ask questions, so Sir started teaching me the first sparring segment. It's hard! Not only did I get drills to work on the step reverse side kicks for the form, I have to work on keeping my balance while doing multiple kicks with the same leg (double side kicks and hook kick/round kick combos seem to be current favorites). Mr. R says its not just balance, it's also conditioning the muscles and building the strength to keep the leg up. I have to admit that my legs felt like rubber walking off the mat tonight. I changed my contract there - for slightly more a month, I can do not only TKD, but also Haganah, Weapons, XMA and cardio kickboxing. Basically, any night that I have free, there would be at least one class available. This will help a lot when we get into the performance schedule. The new schedule starts next week, and I'm sure I'll take too much advantage of it while I'm still free of rehearsals. I said something about planning on being very sore next week, and Sir asked if I'd want it any other way. Nope! I'd rather be sore or injured from a sport or activity than die of a heart attack from sitting on the couch! Sir also promised that starting this Wednesday we'd start doing board breaks every class. I can't wait to find out what my new break is!

I not only did not make it to knitting this morning, I've barely knit at all this week. I've done a few more inches on the leg of the second Felici sock, and that's about it. I got the stitch markers in from Craftylily (HSS2 pal, if you're here, turn your head now!):

They're very pretty and I really like them. (I could not get a closer pic to turn out for ANYTHING, sorry!) I didn't realize there were only three to a set, though. I hope Pal likes them! Now I just need to get the socks finished and I'll have the whole package put together!

In other news, I got all my hair chopped off today! Finally! It's honestly even a little shorter than I had planned, more of a smooth cap than the more choppy pixie cut I was looking for, but that's okay. It does not get in my face during class, and that's all that really matters. I'll get a pic up soon. I'm stalling, as I also got my eyelids burned while I was getting them waxed today, not to mention that I'm sweaty and stuff from class.

Four more days until Becki and Amanda get here!!!! I really need to do laundry and clean the place up!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What day is it?

Between last week and this week, my schedule has been so weird I have no idea what day it is anymore. Last week, of course, I was in LA, working Monday (yes, I worked on a Monday!)-Friday, had Saturday off (not normal, what does one do on a Saturday??), worked Sunday, was off Monday, then did 9:00a-11:00p yesterday, and am (supposedly) doing 9:00a-6:00p today and for most of the rest of the week. To make matters worse, USA must've aired the wrong version of their Psych commercial last night. They played one that said something along the lines of "New episode tomorrow night at 10:00p!" New Psych episodes are on Friday nights. Did they switch them? Will I actually get to see an episode the night it airs?! I check the website - tomorrow at 10:00p is a L&O:SVU episode. Now even USA is messing with my mind!

There is a benefit to this, however - evenings are free for class! I can even make sparring this week! A just picked up her camo belt and will start this week - it sounds like she's as nervous as I was, since she was asking me and Sir about it Monday. She'll be fine, although I do have to admit, it's kind of nice to not be the lowest belt there anymore!

In fibery news, I'm almost done with the heel of the second Felici sock. I have not started the socks for the HSS2 pal. Or rather, I have, and have come to the sad conclusion that yes, indeed, the proper needles for the yarn are the ones I am using on the Felici socks, which means I need to get them finished ASAP. I have everything else for the swap now - thanks to Kim's good fortune (and you should check out the awesome scarf she's churning out, too!), I found a link to an Etsy shop with really pretty Hogwarts-themed stitch markers. (I think I got the last set of Ravenclaw movie color markers, sorry!)

I think I really want to make a Tomato, and was going to use my stashed Shine for it until I realized that my Shine is the original sport weight, not the worsted weight the pattern calls for. I could still do it and adjust the gauge, but I'm afraid that I'll run out of yarn. I could use the diVe cotton, which is worsted weight, but I'm not sure about so much of that pale blue, and I don't have a contrasting color for it. And it doesn't matter anyway, since, as you can see from the sidebar, I still haven't done the armbands on the damn vest. I'm just terrified of picking up all those stitches and messing up! I know, I should listen to myself - it's just YARN. (And acrylic yarn at that, but I'm not a fiber snob).

Chrissy wants me to make her a Lady Eleanor. ("Can you make me a shawl?" "What kind of shawl?" "One like yours!" This is what I get for wearing it at work so much.) I'm still pondering. I want to do it, actually. I wouldn't mind making another one, but I don't think she really gets how much the yarn would cost. I have another pattern I saw today on the KR Forums that I really really like and I think might suit her better, but I have to figure out what weight yarn it uses. It looks like maybe a DK/light worsted? I LOVE the Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere laceweight I have, but if that's $35/skein, I don't even want to think about how much 7 skeins of a DK weight costs! Maybe it'd be worth it to Chrissy, though. We'll see.

I'm stalled out about halfway through Clue 4 of the MS3. I really like the symmetrical version of the pattern, actually, but I just have not had the brain power to even contemplate picking up the lace. It's in a pretty repeatable place at this point, though, so maybe after class tonight I'll shower and snuggle in with Mythbusters or something.

I was able to make it to knitting Monday morning, being fashionably late as always. Okay, so quite late, actually. I actually got a few rows done on the Tumbling Blocks - I really wanted to work on some lace but couldn't really handle the thought of the MS3 and talking at the same time - and also put a few rows on the Felici sock. Mostly I chatted, drooled over books, and ate. K brought in some fantastically yummy strawberries. (One side benefit of moving to the Central Coast is that you have the best strawberries in the world literally on your street corners during summer - they don't need sugar, chocolate, whipped cream, nothing. Just clean 'em and eat 'em!)
And this is getting long and windy, so I'll go back to babysitting rehearsal now. I'm still sore from class on Monday - it wasn't until after class was over that I realized we did 55 round kicks per leg in one drill set, after almost two weeks off, ugh! - so class tonight will be interesting. I really like the step reverse side kicks in the new form, though. Still thinking about doing the cardio kickboxing class, too!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back in the swing of things

...and wishing I didn't have to be, as always. Truly, after the week I had, the idea of going back and babysitting Outreach and picking up Urinetown is not the most exciting prospect. But, it pays the bills for now.

Anyway, the majority of this post is not going to have any relation to fiber or knitting, so you can bow out gracefully now if you'd like. I did get a bit of work done on the second Felici sock, but am still not up to the heel. I'd like to get that fixed today if possible. I do have to go into the office at some point this afternoon and do some Outreach paperwork, and Urinetown opens tonight, so I should do the dressing up and seeing a show and having a drink thing, I suppose.

My parents did make it safely to LA.
Although we didn't really get to spend a lot of time together. I didn't make it to the hotel until after midnight Monday night, and also ended up spending a lot of time at the theater on Tuesday. They got to see the show Tuesday night (it was a private show, but we were able to have guests come) and they LOVED it. My dad's the one who got me interested in magic when I was little, so it was neat to have him see a magic show that I was working on. Dad's the type who will try to figure out the tricks, but appreciates the talent and work that go into them. Mom just loves the tricks and doesn't want to have any idea how it's done. She just likes to be amazed and entertained. They make a fun critique team.

We spent Wednesday at Disneyland. Despite frequent claims and reminders that "we don't have to close out the park", we ended up not being able to get to one shop we wanted because it was past midnight and the store had closed. The park was busy and crowded but not insane. We were able to hit all of the major rides, and the longest we waited in line was about an hour for Splash Mountain. Disney has started a new policy of offering healthy food alternatives as well as the standard park fare, which was a nice surprise. You can get grapes, apples, melon pieces, and juices now. Of course, we had to stay and watch the fireworks (no churros, unfortunately, as we had just eaten a huge dinner at French Quarter) and got a little bored while waiting for them to start:
Self portraits aren't really my forte, apparently. I'm definitely my father's daughter in attitude and build:
But I am also quite definitely my mother's daughter:
So that was fun. I'll see them again probably at Thanksgiving, definitely for Christmas. Mom wants "something online where everyone in the family can put up pictures and tell what they're up to," but isn't so sure about the idea of a blog. I'm not quite sure what the difference is, but I'll work on that.

The show itself (I did spend the majority of the week working - which is ironic as I had to use vacation days to get the time off) went very well. John is really starting to leave the show more in my hands and only does final checks backstage and helps pack up now, which is awesome. Both shows went very smoothly. We did have one illusion break on Thursday, but we were still able to do it, and it will get lots of love and attention now that it's back. I was only supposed to stay and help out with loading the truck on Friday morning, and come straight back up to PCPA to babysit (note, not run, babysit) Outreach rehearsal. I should have left LA around 11:00a. But darn the luck, John decided he would unload the truck straightaway back at the warehouse and you know, it would just go faster if Nick and I were there to help unpack the illusions. So we unpacked, Nick left, and John and I finished cleaning and taking maintenance notes on the current illusions and ended up talking through and playing with a few new ones. Then we had to grab some dinner, of course. I ended up leaving town around 9:30p. Whoops. Hence the reason I have to go into the office this afternoon. John and I have decided that the reason the place is a time warp to us is because we love it there and love what we do there. I'm not apologizing, though. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. For me, there's no choice. That show is what I have always wanted to do. What we do here at PCPA, while it is excellent, high quality work, is feeling more and more like a rut and I'm not getting out what I'm putting in. John doesn't pay as well right now, but a fourteen hour day there feels NOTHING like a fourteen hour day here. I might go back next weekend to see the video of this week's shows and work on a new illusion.

Now to the office so I can get that paperwork done and get back here to work on his paperwork.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Goals - 2 at least

1. The first Felici sock is done. I still love the yarn. I started the second one, rather than start the HSS2 socks quite yet. I was seriously considering it, but the superstitious streak in me (I work in theater, we're a superstitious lot) can't shake the "you must cast on the second sock in the same sitting as binding off the first or it's bad luck" thing. If this one goes as quickly as the first, though, and it is progressing quite nicely, it won't take long. Or I'll break and order a second circ in the same size.

2. Got the green belt. It's much more attractive than the camo. More after the cut for those interested. I did break the brown board, and even survived sparring apparently completely unscathed, which is surprising considering I haven't been able to get to sparring class for three weeks now. Sigh. I ended up sparring Oscar and then Viv. The midterming second degrees had to not only spar two regular matches, they then had to spar all the other black belts, and THEN had to spar Sir and Mr. R. Crazy! Was fun to watch, though. Someday I'll get there. (I was asked the other day what my long term -3-5 years from now - goals were. I had never thought of it before, and wasn't even thinking about class at the time, but the first thing that popped into my head was "I want my black belt." Is that weird?) Sir showed me a new kick I'll need for my next form - a step reverse side kick - and told me to work those with twin high & low blocks next week since I won't be in class. I'll have to find somewhere with enough room and a bit of privacy.

After Labor Day they are changing Thursday night sparring to a regular adult class, and moving sparring to Friday nights. Which means that it's an extra night of class, but unless I can sweet-talk Chrissy into calling all of the Friday performances, which is possible but can't be determined right now, I pretty much have no chance of making it to sparring for the rest of the year. I'd really really love to have a job that left my evenings free right now. They're also starting a *drool* cardio kickboxing class on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays! The Tuesday class is at noon, so I think I could make most of the M/T classes during the school year. I'll have to see if I can afford it, though. And physically be able to do both the kickboxing class and tkd class on the same day. There would be a 45 minute rest between classes, and I bet my legs would not appreciate it for the first few days.

3. Kate is closing tomorrow night. Thank goodness. The audiences love it, which is great, but honestly, this show got cursed somehow. Something happens every night, it seems. We've even gone so far as to put a talisman over the stage door. (Told you we are a superstitious lot!) It has helped slightly - things still happen, but they're more minor. I've only been involved with it for two and a half weeks and I can't wait for it to be done!

Going to LA to do two shows for John next week and won't be around much. I'm leaving early Monday morning, so I won't make it to knitting or tkd, unfortunately. My parents have spent the past week meandering west in their car, and apparently they hit Vegas this afternoon. I'm jealous. They're planning on making it to LA on Monday and staying until Thursday, so I'll get to stay with them for a few days there. One of my interns is gonna check in on the TeddieCat for me. I suppose maybe I should make the place look semi-clean and possibly pack, huh?

Oh, and I'm probably also weird for really enjoying the show Human Weapon. I just think it's fascinating. But then, I have a weird job and what some would consider a weird hobbies, so maybe it's not that strange for me.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

It's Here!

This yummy bit of soft goodness is my yarn for the HSS2! It's from RazzyTazzy Knits over on Etsy, and I cannot wait to get my needles into it! Again, I would highly recommend the seller - she was incredibly kind and helpful trying to figure out where in the world the yarn had ended up. I'll be able to speak more knowledgeably after working with the yarn, of course, but at this point, I would say with confidence that I'd buy from her again. In case you're wondering, my pal prefers the blue and silver Ravenclaw colors of the movies over the blue and bronze (which, admittedly, I've only seen a few combinations that really worked for me, too) of the books. This yarn is mostly blue and silver, although there are a few flecks of the bronze in it, too.

Now, the dilemma. Do I finish the Felici socks first? The yarns feel like they are about the same weight, maybe I will need those needles! And I'm so close on the first Felici:

(okay, so I really just wanted photographic evidence that I did, indeed, conquer that heel). I kind of want to make these longer socks - you'd think I'd never worked with striping yarn before, but this is So Darn Fun. Of course, the bubble burst is going to be trying to make the stripes match on both socks. I'm hoping for identical twins this time, although this particular sock is going to be called Scar, as the stripes coming out of the heel don't quite match up and he has half a row of green stitches in the middle of a purple block.

I'm also still trying to decide on a new sweater pattern, and have a lot of 100% cotton laying about. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


My HSS2 pal put up a pic of the yarn she just got. Man, is it yummy looking!

Mine still hasn't arrived. It was re-mailed yesterday, so I shouldn't really expect it so soon, but still. I can't wait! I'm so excited and I want to get these socks done! So far, I have half of my package for my pal ready - I'm missing the stitch markers and the socks!I'm amusing myself by finally forcing myself to do a flap and gusset for a toe-up sock on the first Felici. It's actually working for once! I figured I should get it worked out, since I did give Intern the option of a flap and gusset OR a short row heel. I should think before I speak sometimes...

Monday, August 06, 2007

teaching, me?

I'm bad. I didn't make it to knitting this morning. Sorry ladies! I missed you! I just completely slept through my alarm and it was too difficult to get out of bed this morning. In fact, I ended up going back to bed around 4:00p and sleeping for another hour or so before class. So drained and lazy today! And I won't be able to go next week, either, as I'm supposed to be in LA by 10:00a on Monday. I'm trying not to think about how early I'm going to have to get up to get there in time.

I do have something fun to report, though. One of my interns asked me to teach her how to make socks! She picked out some yarn from my stash (it's not like I am starving on sock yarn) - KnitPicks Dancing - and borrowed a pair of my needles. I'm pretty much just showing her my favorite way of doing socks - toe up, magic loop, we haven't decided on a heel yet - but trying to impress upon her that there are many different ways to do them in case she isn't comfortable with these techniques.

We're just doing plain stockinette socks. Yes, we. I had to start a pair to show her, right? And my HSS2 yarn, while finally having been located and is in the process of being resent, has not arrived yet. (Truly, though, the seller has been great, it was a simple UPS mistake, no hard feelings and I'd recommend her!) So I was stuck *ahem* with this:

My pair is in my new KnitPicks Felici. I have to say, I ADORE this yarn! It's a lighter weight than Bearfoot, but just as soft, if not softer, and I really like the stripes. It might just be me, but striping yarn seems to make socks go faster - like being able to watch the stripes change somehow makes the distance smaller psychologically. And did I mention that the yarn is soft? And I adore it? I'm totally going to have to get more. Probably the reason I'm not starving for sock yarn, eh? Too bad I'm pretty close to flat broke right now. Luckily, I have the shows with John next week to make some money. Mom and Dad are coming out and meeting me in LA next week, too, and we're going to go to Disneyland that Wednesday! Yay!

I still haven't done the armbands on the vest, although I did stop in the LYS and get an extra skein of yarn for it. I figure I should trust Murphy's Law on this - if I don't get an extra skein, I will need it, and if I do get one, I won't need it. I'm saving the receipt.

TKD after the cut

Class was really....calming...tonight. Like I said, I was dragging and exhausted most of the day, so I was rather dreading it, but once I got there it just felt so good. Viv was my partner again and was pretty relentless on me during kicking drills - my kicks are getting higher, but they aren't THAT high! She has amazing hook punches, too. I got randomly attacked by Sir during self-defense but managed to get through it. Oh, and the board break? Brown board, second kick. I think it is the angle and height. I wanted to try it again after class, but Ma'am suggested I just leave it be. She really doesn't want me to bruise my foot before testing on Saturday, I guess. I'm actually feeling good about testing, and am not doing a pickup this week. I am going to make sure I work through my form and sparring segments several extra times this week, though. I really hope I don't pick up another cold from the kiddies this time!

Now I gotta dig up my paperwork for John - apparently we're having a phone meeting in about five minutes. Yay.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I wanna go to class!

Okay, I'll stop whining now. Nothing particularly fiber-related has happened this week. I've started Clue 4 of the MS 3. I'm not sure how I feel about Clue 5 at this point. I'm not a fan of asymmetry as a rule, although I kind of like the lace pattern. I'm going to wait and see what other people's look like first. My yarn for the HSS2 has STILL not arrived. I've been in contact with the seller, who assures me that if it has not come by Saturday, she will send another skein at no additional charge. She's been great, but I want my yarn! I purposely have not started another pair of socks because of this swap, and now I'm getting behind in my classes! I guess the multidirdiag scarf will be my bus project until the yarn gets here. Also, I have not done the ribbing to complete the vest yet. I want to. I really do. But for some reason, the idea of picking up the stitches at the armhole is very daunting. Maybe I'll bring it to the knitting group on Monday and they can throw things at me or something until I get the stitches picked up correctly.

Non-knitting stuff after the cut.
1. I'm officially the SM for Kate now. I started calling it last night. It wasn't too bad, although I did mess up a few things that will be corrected tonight. It's not a fast-paced show like Dames or Seuss, but it does have its moments. I'm going to meet up with Chrissy this afternoon and get her notes for me for this evening, then I'm on my own. Yikes. I had a dream last night that I totally and unfixably messed up calling the show and it was just...BAD. I'd be worried, but a.) most of my dreams are not prophetic and b.) we were in a theater I've never seen before and I have no intention of moving the show to a new venue tonight, so I think I'm good.

2. If I also end up calling the Solvang run of Urinetown, which is looking like a pretty good possibility right now, I will have called four of the six shows this summer, not to mention having called the last show of the spring and will be calling the first show of the fall. And yet, I really do have the lightest schedule. I think its because I will have spent a billion times more time in performance than having to deal with rehearsals, and performances are generally less stress because everything is already set. Unless, of course, you have a light cue that causes a power surge in the booth and fries the light board (happened Wednesday). Then you just have to kind of roll with the punches.

3. I will have company this month! My two best friends from high school, the ones I've made the afghans for, are coming out for the last weekend in August/first weekend in September! It will be so cool to have them out here! We're going to go winetasting, and shopping, and to the beach...will be fun! My parents are also coming back out to California this month, although they won't be making it up to Santa Maria. They're coming out the week of John's shows down in LA, so they're getting a hotel down there. They'll see John's show on Tuesday, then Wednesday we're gonna go to Disneyland! Yay!

4. I went running the other day for the first time this summer. Did just under two miles in 15 minutes (all the time I could squeeze in). I suppose I'm going to have to get back in the habit, particularly since once the school semester starts, my evenings are going to be strictly limited, at least until the holiday show opens.

And I still want to go to class.