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


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


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.


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...