Sunday, October 28, 2007

WIP Count, in Anticipation of...

We're nearing the end of October. there's the teeniest nip in the air here in Texas. Winter always takes me by surprise here. The summers last so long, one falls for the notion that they will never end, and life will always exist at a muggy 95 degrees or higher. But apparently, this is not so.

As I went jogging this afternoon, I even spied what I thought was an early Christmas decoration - one of those cheesy, lifelike reindeer people put up in their yards - until it walked away. The neighborhood deer are polishing off their summer meals in anticipation of a sleepy winter.

And I have some neat news.

I've been told that I have a pattern that will soon appear in Magknits! The email said either November or December; I still don't know which, so it will be a surprise for all of us.

I can't wait to show my little creation off to the world. However, I was glancing at my Ravelry projects page, and I feel a bit self-conscious about my dearth of impressive FOs.

To that end, please observe my Halloween WIP count.

1. Skinny Scarf for Yellow Turtle. It would have been done weeks ago, but I dropped the ball in a dirty puddle in my parking lot. Sooner or later I'll suck it up, finish, then wash. But it's not my first choice right now.

2. Goth Gloves, for Rebecca. A modified Fetching; my second time to make these. Thank goodness she gave me an extension; I find it hard to knit in black for long. I am seized by the desire to stare at azure skies and green grass and red tomatoes, etc.

3. Sea Foam Shawl. It will continue. In fact, it would have been perfect last night at the Joanna Newsome concert (which bleeeeeeew me away! A singing harpist, can you believe it?).

4. Thermal. The everlasting, ever-loving, muther-effing Thermal which will not be finished. Am I setting a record for slowness?

Thankee, all. Thankee. Now back to work!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm back.

Many miles to and from, and I'm finally back in Austin. Sincerest thanks to everyone who assisted with the costs of participating in the Four Corners Mission. We did many good things, and I learned so very much.

Out of respect the privacy of the individuals whom we met and with whom we worked, I will only post a few pictures here. Here is a summary of what we accomplished:

1. We replaced the flooring in the living room and kitchen of one house. A couple joists were rotted through in the kitchen, so we also had to replace those.

2. We rewired two houses so the owners could have light in the bathrooms.

3. We repainted the living room in the first house and the stairs in the parsonage.

4. We donated the remainder of our unused budgeted money to the pastor's discretionary fund, which will help people pay their utility bills in coming months; directly to two families who don't have enough to buy groceries and rely on the kindness of neighbors; and to the local day-care center.

5. Our unused groceries from the week went to the Ojo Food Pantry.

A word on stereotypes of Native Americans: While we only worked with Navajo, and only with a select group of individuals, I found that once you approach these people without expectations of nobility, alcoholism, laziness, or some inherent wisdom, then they do in fact emerge simply as people.

The people we met care for their families. They have a wicked sense of humor. They laugh a lot. They speak quietly. They are patriotic Americans (albeit with some justified suspicions of the federal government). There are discarded appliances in the yards, but that's also true in San Francisco. There is trash on the reservation, but there was more on the roadside in West Texas.

Mainstream America has many misconceptions about the many native tribes of this country. It's a shame to dismiss them as undeserving of basic respect.

And, bonus: I found lots of yarn for sale in bulk at the local trading post. All this - a whole pound of wool - for $16.99!!

Dude: if only I'd had more room in my luggage.

Friday, October 12, 2007


This blog shall remain silent for the next week and a half as I journey westward to Shiprock, New Mexico with a group of volunteers to help repair some houses on the Navajo Reservation.

I have all kinds of things to say about how crazy this is and how excited and a bit nervous I am, but I'm too sleepy right now. I've been tired since yesterday, and as luck would have it, I had a heapload of work to finish before escaping today.

Thermal (unfinished, drat!) is coming with me, as are Rebecca's gloves. She'll wear those dang things out this year if I have to bind off as she sets out to her first Halloween party.

Now may the gods of packing smile upon me tonight so I can get some sleep!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And the writing, too.

I have recently faced a few professional setbacks. Well, "setbacks" isn't the right word, so much as "non-events." When one is an artist, a non-event indicates a lack of income. It also resembles the mouth of a very hungry black bear about three inches from your face.

In that light, I choose now to brag a little. It will cheer me up, remind me that I do in fact keep busy with something other than yarn, and perhaps attract other moths to the bug zapper.

I have been invited to become one of the Austin Chronicle's reviewers of the performing arts. I had previously felt uneasy with being a critic since I was still looking to work as an actor, but I've found that the prospect of this regular writing work has become very attractive to me. Those who look might start seeing my reviews as early as November.

I have finished draft one of a new project, currently titled the Audio Project because that's what it is at present. It might just wind up being a stellar, stooperific collaboration with the about-to-go-boom Beats Broke record label. It will blow your miiiind.

Houstonites need to get on down and check out the Alley Theatre's production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Once they've done that (or before), grab a copy of the 4,000-word study guide, by Yours Truly.

Read me again in the upcoming issue of Dramatics, where I tell all about actors and theater artists in the video game industry.

And the novel has resumed work. It got confused and had to be put to bed for a few weeks, but it's finally feeling well enough to start walking around again. The author (that is, me) is foolish enough to still dream of a Dec 31 first-draft deadline.

So you see? I am productive, creative, reliable - and very, very pretty.

More on the Crawl

I was both tired and brief in my last post, so allow me to expound.

The yarn crawl really was fun. It was also a lot of female energy for one day, but I survived intact.

The busload of ladies generally agreed that Hill Country Weavers really is the best yarn store around. They have both variety and quality, and the prices are fair. My second-favorite on the tour was San Antonio's Yarnivore, whose owners included some eco-friendly fibers like maize, soy, and my very favorite, bamboo. Everything they had was interesting and of good quality.

Below is my loot:

Everything on the left is a freebie. I know what to do with precisely none of it, particularly the two gray-blue tribbles on top.

Thermal is taking a nap, and Rebecca, if you read this far, I have started your Halloween gloves. You saucy minx: the busload of ladies eyed the beginnings of glove one and said, "Those look a little sexy!" Which I think is Boomer for "Do you like it rough?"

I shall leave the question fully unanswered.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My First Yarn Crawl

Today, my mother and I joined the first annual Hill Country Yarn Crawl, touring five LYS (little yarn stores) in one day.

It was a long day.

And I took no pictures. I just sort of forgot, y'know?

Here's what I have to say about it:

1. I freakin' love bamboo yarn.

2. I came in just under budget: around $46. This is unlike most women on that bus, who were toting packs large enough to hold three small children by the end of the day.

3. My mom's neat. We had fun chillin'.

4. There's this awesome bakery in Boerne, TX that serves a killer tomato and avocado soup. Darned if I already forgot the name. Near River Road?

5. I have to stop knitting for a while.

As to #5... Yeah, I was going hard core on Thermal (7 inches of sleeve one!) all week, and then I got to today, and I sort of want to stop for a while.

My self-imposed deadline was October 15. That's the day my volunteer team and I arrive in Shiprock, New Mexico, for a week of home repair on the Navajo Reservation. I planned to wear Thermal at night in the cool desert evenings.

Don't think that will happen. Oy!

By the way... Thanks to the people who urged perseverence with the fluffy shawl. To those who did not respond, I appreciate your tact. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

"Is that supposed to be art?"

On Friday, at 8:24 p.m., I received an email from a talented actor in Austin: "My dear potential slow movers, We are having a very informal session on the lamar pedestrian bridge this Sunday @ 6pm. Could you make it?"

I moved to Austin in part so that I could receive strange emails like this. So I attended last night's meeting on the rather well-trafficked Lamar Pedestrian Bridge, and, with about eight other people and one dude playing with a synthesizer and some amps, moved slowly.

As we were warming up (or slowing down, really), one jogger yelled as he passed by, "Is that supposed to be performance art?" I thought of many responses in the seven and a half minutes it took to walk from the rail to the bench.

At one point, a police officer arrived to take notes on the recently spray-painted swastikas that lay directly in my path. He began working, and he was done before I had completed my ninety degree turn to avoid walking across his evidence.

After doing whatever it was for two hours, the leader said we'd have a final performance on November 10. She said it will involve swans in a post-apocalyptic landscape. And other stuff.

Part of me is the high school nerd who will do just about anything because I was specially invited. And the other part says, "While you're young." Okay!