31 August, 2010

Unveiled (now with more parentheticals!)

One of my favorite book bloggers is the hilarious and astute Raych. She consistently makes me laugh and also I agree with her taste in books, which is kind of a prerequisite for thoroughly enjoying a book blog. Anyway.

Raych has a sister (or two? I think two. But it is only the one of which I currently type.) who is Into Art in a completely opposite way from the way I am Into Art. That is to say, Rebekah makes art and I admire it. I'm convinced that Rebekah admires art as well, but I am not so much about the making thereof. Sometime in the last couple of weeks, Rebekah had an art sale on eBay. I clicked over and looked at adorable and whimsical paintings, but this one in particular caught my eye.

I decided to think about it, because $200 is a lot of yarn! And think about it I did, including having a weird dream in which I owned the painting but someone (not Rebekah) refused to give it back to me. I woke up knowing it may have been painted by someone else (Rebekah) but it belonged to ME.

The climax of this story is that I won the auction (it was a stressful several hours waiting, remind me not to play with eBay very often) and sent Rebekah a sappy little note about how the title plus the painting mean more to me than either would separately, and she wrote back to say that she's interested in how the people who buy her paintings interpret, see, and interact with them. How cool is that? I love when artists, like directors, understand that their work has a life of its own that may not necessarily be interpreted the way the artist/director intended. That's what makes art, Art, people. Make a note.

I came home late last night/early this morning from the Best Wedding Ever (congratulations, Nadia and Paul! Your love is the kind I hear makes the world go 'round.), went to sleep in my own bed for only the 9th time since June 14th, and woke up to make tea around the beginning of the afternoon. And the moment I finished simultaneously cuddling the kitty and drinking my tea, the doorbell rang. It was FedEx with a biiiig box and Canadian customs stamps! After a happy 10 minutes digging through puffed plastic bags and styrofoam, I got to this:

And after another 10 minutes of caaaaarefully wrangling plastic wrap with scissors (eep!), I got to this:

Isn't it sweet? And lovely? It goes perfectly on my wall
Love is a Servant by Rebekah Joy Plett

and has a title that coincides exactly with my summer. Everyone's First Real Art Purchase should be so easy and enjoyable. Thank you, Rebekah, for channeling my heart and thoughts into a painting even though we didn't know one another. To quote Lady Catherine, you have given me a treasure.

25 August, 2010

Happy 10th Anniversary, Bring It On!

Nathaniel reminded the internet today that it is Bring It On's 10th anniversary. I cannot even express to you adequately how much of an impact this movie has had on my life.

I danced from the time I was 5 until I strained every joint in my legs when I was 20. I was on a dance team that won every category we entered at the international championships in 1995, and was totally dedicated to the idea of being a dancer when I grew up. Cheering may not have been my life, but in August of 2000 I had just ended a horrific relationship and was in the process of being scraped alternately off the floor and the ceiling by my best friends. Bring It On came like a cheerful, hilarious bolt out of the clear summer sky, reminding us how it felt to be young and pretty again - complete with a snarky little brother and parents who just won't understand oh my god you don't know anything about meeeeee!

We fell in love with Jesse Bradford and his crooked smile, we cheered for Eliza Dushku's snotty rejoinder to cheerleader snobbery ("I came here from Los Angeles, your school has not gymnastics team, this is a last resort!"), and we drank copious amounts of tequila under the guise of sterilizing my new tongue piercing (did I mention it was the summer of 2000?)

I downloaded the beginning dream sequence cheer and put it on the beginning of every mix CD I made that year; it still makes me laugh.
I'm bitchin', great hair! The boys all love to stare.

But Nathaniel is asking for the one shot that defines the movie, and for me it's the moment that - to my knowledge - defined a singularly cheerleader kind of thing: spirit fingers.
No longer the property of jazz dancers or Fosse fanatics, spirit fingers are now firmly in the realm of cheering. So much so that I have heard jazz dancers accuse each other of using "spirit fingers" instead of "jazz hands"!

So there you have it - possibly the most quoted bit of Bring It On, and what I think of as the best shot of the film. But like a mother with a shoeful of children, I can't choose just one to love best; I love whichever one I'm watching at the moment. Excuse me, I have to go watch a movie now.

24 August, 2010

Knit, Knitting... Knat?

I am back from the bachelorette party! And it was fun, my peaches. I was so tired on the train back home that I fell asleep with my knitting in my hands and missed an undetermined chunk of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, which was b.a.d. One should attempt not to fall asleep for the crucial buildup of a thriller, or one is apt to wake up to some Serious Spoilers. I am trying to put them out of my mind.

Before I left for the bachelorette weekend, I stopped at the local library to check out a book that I was in the middle of when I left Coal City. It wasn't there, so I consoled myself with a stack of other books. At the moment I'm reading a pair of books by Pauline Gedge about girls in ancient Egypt. Afterward I'm debating over whether I should re-subject myself to GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The debate goes something like this:

Me: I love those books, and I've largely forgotten what happens aside from everyone dying. I should read it again!

Me, Too: But the series isn't finished! And we haaates cliffhangers!

Me: But they're so. good! There is plotting, and scandal, and Jamie Lannister! And Jamie Lannister's abs, which are strangely compelling! Maybe it's his bad-boy-turned-good persona... or his square jaw... why do antiheroes always have square jaws? Is it a sexual prowess thing?

Me, Too: Stop avoiding the point and distracting me with attractive fictional men! Have you learned nothing from Robert Jordan's death? Never begin a series that the author hasn't finished!

Me: We're reading the Outlander series, which also isn't finished and also involves amazing abs - this time of the Scottish variety. How is that different?

Me, Too: Cheating. She could end the series at any time (do you hear me, Diana? Any. Time.) and it would still feel complete. Not so with GRRM and his many hundreds of dangling plot points.

Me: You have a point.

Me, Too: This is why we like classics.

Me: Agreed. Would you care for some Tolstoy?

Me, Too: Don't mind if I do.

And so it goes.

But back to the knitting! Of which there was plenty this summer.

THB's Last Chance Socks weighed in at 440 yards.

The Cornucopia socks were smaller, being for me and not my gigantic-footed brother. They used 305 yards.

I finished knitting my second Girasole, which was ridiculously easy and fast this time around. By weight, it is 1040 yards, but isn't yet blocked. Bachelorette duties called, after all!

I completed my second Jolly Green Knee High on the plane back from Illinois and with a broken needle, no less! Note to self: size 0 wooden needles do not fare well when jammed into a bag at top speed! Note the second: carry spare needles, durrrr. They used 545 yards, but the next iteration will use fewer as these ones are a little floppy and loose and prone to falling down, which is not a good look for knee highs, generally speaking.

For those playing along with the 12-Mile Quest (Brie), that puts me at 2330 yards completed, or 1.32 miles, not including the Ishbel for Grandma! That's not too shabby considering that I also spun almost all the Be-Bop-a-Lula singles and knitted about 70% of the Cheraphim before THB arrived with the skein of yarn I needed - he dug through my stash to find it for me, wasn't that sweet? - and it turned out to be not the color I thought it was, so now I need a Plan C. I'm thinking I might just dye the offending Wrong Color Skein, or maybe the whole she-bang after I finish the knitting. I am as yet undecided and the shawl is in Time Out. 

Here is the new shawl I started when I got home and caught up on Omly's blog. It's the Hera Mountain Ridge Shawl, and I'm particularly pleased that I didn't have to a) buy any yarn for it, or b) dip into my Lorna's Laces stash, which is strangely sacrosanct for socks lately. Instead, it is alternating skeins of Tess Sock Yarn from Stitches Past and my dear friend Cynthia. I am also completely enamored of the stripes. You might think that this much garter stitch would make me crazy, but you would be wrong. Don't feel bad, it happens to everyone.

Maybe it's just that my brain needs a rest and something to practice knitting without looking while watching Bones (boy howdy, did I miss Bones!). But I'm enjoying the hell out of this so far.

And speaking of Grandma, she is doing well. The last day I was there happened to be her fourth chemo treatment, so she and my Uncle left the house before I did and I got to wave her off. But that's not the story! The story is that as she was getting ready that morning, I told her that she looked as if she was missing something. She checked her head, neck, and ears to make sure she had on her wig, necklace, earrings, and hearing aids, then gave me a totally blank look. I couldn't keep from grinning like a fool when I pulled out the finished Ishbel from behind my back and gave it to her! She was sooooo happy, and it looks lovely on her:

Isn't she an adorable little Grandma? I'm so glad she loves the shawl. We definitely had our differences while I was there, but I'm completely happy that I went.

17 August, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

I am back in California, and it feels a little strange. I've been sleeping on a twin camp bed with a 30+ year old spring mattress for the last 2 months, so I'd been looking forward to crawling into my full sized, memory foam bed for about 1 month and 29 days. It was everything I had hoped, and I don't think I moved for a full 9 hours.

Home smells like home, which is a lovely change from smelling like Grandma's house. Not that Grandma's smells bad, you understand. But I missed the smell of green growing things uninterrupted by the smell of humidity, which is a close cousin to the smell of slightly rotting foliage.

My mom came to see me today, and I cried when she showed up. Being away from almost everyone I knew for two months will probably show itself now, instead of when I was there. Partly this has to do with my tendency to pull my shit very tightly together during a crisis and then to fall apart afterward. I used to get stage fright after the play, which is how I knew I wasn't born to be an actor.

There will be more blogging soon; I have finished objects, a final yardage count, and pictures/stories to tell. In typical fashion, all the excitement of my summer was crammed into the last week. I made it to the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute over the course of four days! Flickr will be a bit shell-shocked when I'm done with it. But for now, I think I'm just going to revel in the two days I have at home before Darling Nadia's wedding takes over the next week and a half.