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 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 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


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! =)