Saturday, July 31, 2010

A year, maybe two

That's what I said. And then I threw another ten on top of that. It's been twelve years and today I am leaving.

Living here has forever changed me. The people I've met, the places I've been, the things I have done - it's been an adventure. Truly, I've had the most amazing life.

But I'm not done yet. There's so much more out there in the world.

Goodbye Avalon, I wish you well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Two years ago

I talked about the television show that was filming on Catalina Island and my experiences working as an extra on the production. It was fun, easy, and damn good money. I'd totally do something like that again, and considering my plans to move over to the big city and need for income, probably will!

Anyway, they filmed the first six episodes, wrapped up, said farewell, and went off to shop it around and see if any of the networks picked it up. Sadly, none of them did.  Surprised me (and others) quite a bit, because although I've only read the scripts and saw the scenes I worked in, it actually was quite a decent storyline, entertaining, and hey - you can't beat the scenery!  I thought it was far better than the last major production filmed here a few years earlier, (coughFallingInLoveWithTheGirlNextDoorcough) which was picked up (coughHallmarkChannelcough) and seems to air at least once or twice a year still.

But at long last, that television show has caught a break. It's being released directly to Hulu, so anyone can watch it online anytime they want.  The first two episodes are already up, you can see them here:twentysixmiles. So check it out and let me know what you think! 

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the skinny dark haired girl wandering through the background!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Wow, will you look at that? Two whole months just zoomed by and not a blog post in sight. And while I could make case that I've been busy, it's nothing compared to how busy I'll be soon.

I am proceeding forward with plans to move to the mainland this summer. I think what many people don't realize is that moving on and off an island presents certain "challenges". You know, usually you either have couple of friends with trucks and then when it's over you give them beer and pizza. Or you have a couple of strangers with an even bigger truck and then when it's over you give them money. But either way you often have the ability to throw together bags of food, toiletries, clothes, or other last-minute miscellaneous small items and toss it into the back of your car and drive to your new home. Not an option here. Everything has to be boxed up, or in the case of furniture wrapped up, and then taken by truck to the barge. The barge charges by weight and transports it across the water (which takes a day or two) and then you have to pick it up on the other side, with - you guessed it - another truck. Why yes, as a matter of fact, it IS a big fat pain. Thank you for noticing.

With all that hassle, I'm doing my best to pare down my possessions as much as I can. It's not easy, I've been living here for almost 12 years and in the same apartment for 10 of those. I mean, seriously - I'm scared of my closets. There are things buried in there that haven't seen the light of day in a decade. But I'm working at it regularly and can honestly say that after many trips to the thrift shop, and many extra bags of trash hauled out, I'm making headway. I've got a ways to go still, but I know I'll get there!

I've also taken a hard look at my furniture and so much of it is secondhand (or third or fourth or....) and so beat up that it's just not worth keeping. I've only got a few pieces  that will be making the trip back across the channel. That means I'll be a little light on furniture on the other side, probably for quite a while, but I don't mind.

So the few bits of furniture that are still in decent shape have found homes elsewhere. I offered a large teak table to a family member on the mainland, which meant wrapping it up for shipping: 

(Cat included for scale.)

I donated several boxes of books to the library book sale:

Which helped free up space on this nice tall bookshelf:

(Cat included for scale)

Which is now taking up space in someone else's home. 
As are these chairs:

Every time I drop off bags at the thrift shop, or see a piece of furniture go out the door, I feel just a little bit less stressed. When I start to feel overwhelmed - I grab a hefty bag and start throwing things away. Works every time.

As busy as I've been I don't watch very much television so it only made sense to save money by canceling my cable and (you see what's coming don't you?) sell the tv.

(Cat included for scale)

I was working steadily on all of this for a few weeks and then the folks at the Census came back around and offered me more work. Even though it doesn't last long, it's good money while it does so it made sense to dive in and let that take over my life. Things were going along quite well when I hit a little bump in the road:

Yeah, that. I'll spare you the photos of what was under the wrapping. Basically I just slipped on some sand or grit at the bottom of my stairs, fell down and went splat.  I also discovered that a large plastic garbage can is not a bad landing place, much better than concrete. It's been a couple weeks and I'm getting around better but like so much else in my life, I've got a ways to go yet and I'm impatient to get there!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sad socks in the spring

Do you remember these?

I made them almost 2 years ago, using Duet Sock Yarn from A Swell Yarn Shop, and the Waffle Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. I loved them madly and the pattern was a great match for the yarn. I may knit that pattern again but I will never, NEVER, use that yarn again.

The idea behind Duet yarn is great - a skein of variegated sock yarn sold with a contrasting mini-skein for the cuff, heel, and toe. The yarn was lovely to knit with, and the finished item was soft and comfortable.

But the first time I washed the socks, the yarn bled. As it did the second time, and the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, and...oh dear gods how it bled. Each time, the dark brown overdyed the bright white and green more and more, washing them out to a dull beige. Now, almost two years later, this is what I have:

And just in case you think this is a trick of the light, let me show you the hard evidence:

You can see it now, can't you? Those two little balls of yarn are the leftovers from my once happy, pretty socks, now sad and murky.

Do not speak to me of vinegar rinses, Shout Color Catchers, and other remedies - I have tried them all. I gave up after the first year, there is nothing more to be done. I wear the socks because they are comfortable, and then wash them as I do all the others.

The lesson I have learned from this? (Besides not using that yarn ever again.) In the future should I ever want to do any colorwork at all, no matter how minor, I will swatch the two yarns together and wash the swatch.  Possibly a few times.

Monday, March 15, 2010

But does it support the conclusion?

I'm working on a major overhaul of my resume and in pursuit of that goal I just finished reading one of several books I borrowed from the local library on resume writing.  Without even trying I found two typos in the book - and it's put it out by a well-known, reputable publisher. So I'm wondering, should I send them my corrections and a copy of my resume?

I see this sign every time I go to the laundromat. And every time I wonder, "Am I the only one who notices this?" 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Actual Knitting Content

There's a reason this isn't a knit blog ya know? I'd describe it more as the life blog of a knitter. Because no matter how turbulent my life may be - there is always knitting. And indeed there has been knitting, I think quite a bit has piled up during my extended blog hiatus.  So let's see if I can get it all caught up to date. First I think we'll step back to:

Holiday Knitting

This is Kirsten Kapur's Rickenbacker Scarf pattern. I modified it by leaving off the ruffle and it's also shorter, I used almost every scrap of a skein of Be Sweet Bamboo gifted to me over a year ago.

The end result is gorgeous but knitting with it was a special kind of torture.  I've never used bamboo before and may never again because that stuff was the splittiest yarn ever! Seriously, why is it always the pretty ones that have to be so difficult?

Next up:

State of the Sock Knitting Report

Finally finished my Artichoke Socks:

They are lovely to look at and lovely to wear. I knit them up with Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in the Apple Hill colorway. I have no valid excuse for why it took me over a year to complete these, other pairs of socks were started and finished while sock #1 languished in a project bag. Then one day the urge to knit on them again took hold of me and I just stuck with it and knocked out sock #2 in about a week or so.

I can also show you my new Staggered Lace Socks:

This is a test knit and a prime opportunity to dip into my stash of beloved Hazel Knits yarn.  No matter how much I try other yarns, this one is still my fave - to knit with and to wear. The colorway is "Blacklight" and it's not just any old plain black, when you turn it to the light it has a purple sheen!

Speaking of purple, let me introduce you to my current Sock-In-Progress:

I'm using the Broadripple pattern and some of the great whack of Cascade Fixation and other similar yarns sent to me by my good friend Beentsy.  I tried other patterns but something about this one just works, it does a great job of livening up the stripes and making them more interesting. I've got plenty more of that yarn in my stash, but this was the only multi.  Since we're on the subject of Cascade Fixation, I think we can segue nicely into...

New Project Categories

Behold, my very first ever actual garment!

After knitting miles of scarves, stacks of hats, and a decent amount of socks, venturing past accessories into the land of real garments was on my mind while I was at Stitches West in 2009.  Then I saw the pattern in a booth, bought the yarn and needles, and cast on while hanging out with Snuffykin in the lounge area outside the exhibit hall. The pattern is Joan Somerville's Fixation Tank and again, no valid reason for taking a year to complete it - there's certainly nothing wrong with the pattern!  I got bored and put it aside for a few months to focus on other projects, picked it up again only to put it aside when trying it on every few rows became an inconvenience.  Then the Knitting Olympics came along and gave me last push I needed - I took home a gold medal! I'm not entirely happy with the finished object but I will wear it and I learned enough that I'm ready to tackle something similar.

I also decided it was time to try my hand at knitting a shawl:

I'm using the Araucania Ranco I purchased from the Loopy Ewe last summer. I've heard that anything making a rectangular shape like this one is actually supposed to be called a "stole" but since the pattern is the Meandering Vines Shawl I consider it a shawl. And I've dubbed this the Stressless Shawl, because the stitch pattern is so regular I can stop at any time and easily find my place again, there's absolutely no decision-making, I just keep knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting, knitting...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thought I knew my mind

Like the back of my hand. Really I did.

Six months ago I was strategizing how to stitch together a reasonable income from a variety of sources that would allow me to continue to living on this island. Because that was most important thing - finding a way to stay.

And now? I'm ready to leave.

Not physically, mind you! After ten years in the same apartment, plus a few more in the same town, I've accumulated an astounding amount of clutter. Clearing that will be my ongoing project over the next few months.

But mentally? Yeah, I'm just about there.  How did that come about? Well, let's see...

Just before the holidays the owner of the shop I worked at informed the staff that the business was about to be sold. We were only slightly surprised, even though it had been on the market for a couple years we had noticed a few things in prior weeks that led us to suspect that it might finally be happening. Initially I thought this could be a very good change for me, I had several positive discussions with the new owner, and really - who wouldn't want to manage an independent bookstore? Just about a dream come true - right? 

Well, perhaps somewhere else but not here and now.  After a short time and midway through the negotiation process of attempting to hammer out the details of job duties/salary/blah blah I realized two things. First, the store itself was going to change so drastically I had to wonder how much longer it would actually be a bookstore anymore, when other lines of business were clearly the priority. Second, that while this was probably a decent job by island standards, that's all it was. Decent. By island standards.

In the midst of all that drama other local opportunities presented themselves. And again, they were local, but that's all they were. Not exciting, interesting, or even remotely fulfilling. Not for me anyway. Yes, I recognize that's an issue when you are madly overqualified and no, that's not ego talking - just the facts. And salary? Not even enough to dumb it down and sell your soul for a few years - just barely a living wage, if even that. The idea of just scraping by, and going nowhere all too quickly, became increasingly distasteful. 

I've lived in and loved this place for over ten years, and I've accepted that living here meant accepting limits on my life. Social, work, income, travel, you name it. And up until now, what I was giving up was worth what I was getting back. But it's not anymore.  Because it's limiting my future. I've got that shiny new college degree arriving in the mail soon, another birthday recently celebrated, and I can't help thinking about all the things I still want to do and places I want to see.

No matter how sad I get when I think about leaving, or how scary it may be to start over in a new place, the idea of waking up one day to find that another ten years have passed and I am still here is absolutely terrifying.

So that's the story.  Right now I'm back to being employed by the U.S. Census, but it's a temporary job with limited part-time hours.  I spend my free time cleaning out my aforementioned clutter, applying for mainland jobs, and working on a variety of other projects all aimed towards the goal of moving off the island.

I don't know yet where I'll end up. Just that I'm going somewhere. Wanna come with me? 

Seriously, if you're still here, leave me a comment and let me know. I've got to figure out how to continue blogging through this transition in my life. I want to but I know that there will be things happening in the future that I can't put out on the interwebs for anyone and everyone to read. So do I circle the wagons and change this blog? Or leave it to stand as is and start a second private one for friends and family only? Tell me what you think.

I won't be making any changes yet, this will take some time.  And in the meanwhile, I should give credit where credit is due for the post title:

Thanks ladies! Think I found myself a new theme song here.