Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let nature take its course

Looking at myself in the mirror today, I sighed deeply. Even my husband remarked that these shoes don't really fit together with the outfit. Even my husband? What even? He actually is the one concerned with the issue of shoes blending nicely with the rest. So in this case even I noticed.

And then I reflected on some things that in the past would be an absolute no go and now are not only a go, I don't even seem to notice. It all started two years ago when after working in academia, I decided to go corporate and found an almost real job. Little did I know, that move changed my style. And not in the Armani suit, fancy heels way. At the university I tended to complain a lot about long hours, bad pay, etc etc, slavery in the name of research nobody really cares about, etc etc. The truth is I had plenty of time on my hands and nobody controlled what I did. Eh...beautiful times.

Now I seem to be always on the run and some rules of the strict code I lived by just had to go:

1. In my previous life I would never ever think twice about spending precious time in order to choose a handbag that would go with the rest of my outfit. The habit was as obvious as brushing my teeth. Nowadays, hmmm, I've been carrying around the same black handbag for the last four months. It makes packing much easier though. Before I needed to take at the very least two handbags on every trip longer than two days.

2. My former self would never leave the house with unwashed hair. Maybe sometimes on Sundays but I knew I wouldn't meet too many people on that day. At present, well... I shamefully admit that sometimes my hair is one day past its washing due date. I know, I know, it's not pretty and I hate when other people do it.

3. I often realize at work that I'm wearing my clothes on the wrong side. While discovering it in the bathroom in case of underwear is OK, if it's the blouse and a nice co-worker quietly points it out to you, it can be embarrassing.

4. Some years ago when people looked at me on the street, I would assume it's because they are blinded by my beauty and find me very attractive (men) or wish they were me (women). OK, maybe I exaggerate a little but you get my drift. Nowadays when it happens I immediately do a mental check: Is it possible I have food on my face? Are my garments inside-out? Do my socks match? Do I look like a gypsy? Does my hair look like a bird's nest?

But the most important thing is I really don't care that much anymore. Who would worry about looking decent, when you can focus your all attention on knitting ill-fitting sweaters?

This brings me to the news from the knitting front. 

Yet again, reckless knitter that I am, I started a project (Tomten jacket by Elisabeth Zimmermann) without having enough yarn to finish. I actually had only one skein that I didn't know what to use for and decided to try it out. It turns out it works pretty well with garter stitch and today I wanted to buy some more but the shop doesn't have it anymore. Ah well, I will order on the Internet. Who cares about dye lots! I am such an irresponsible knitter, I do this all the time. Part of it comes from my stinginess. I don't want to spend too much money on yarn in case I change my mind and decide to stop knitting forever or something happens that prevents me from it. So far there are absolutely no indications that such an event could occur, in fact I 'm definitely cuckoo about knitting, but you never know.

This reminds me about my first ever knitting project. One reason I taught myself knitting was that I wanted to knit a sweater like one I already have. See, the sweater I have is really precious to me and unfortunately after many years of use not so freshly looking anymore. So what a girl got to do? She ought to learn knitting and try to create a reproduction of the favourite sweater. And that's what I did. Whaaa? Well, correction: that is what I attempted.

First I bought myself Vouge Knitting and figured out how to perform all the basic stuff. Cast-on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, yarn over, cast-off.

Then I bought some cheapy bulky yarn.

I chose a pattern with lots of yarn-overs to mimic the original sweater's lacy design

And made a swatch and some dubious calculations

And I started knitting.

I even sort of finished the whole thing. There are many reasons why I don't wear it. One would be that it would fit a person who weighs an extra 35 kilograms. The thought of trying to put on weight crossed my mind but I discarded it after careful consideration. There are many conclusions I came to after this little project. I will list them here and maybe someday some newbie knitter can learn from my mistakes.

1. If you are new to knitting, trying to design a sweater as your first project may backfire. For Christ sake try a scarf first!

2. White scratchy bulky wool is not good and leaves white fluff everywhere.

3. It is of utmost importance to knit consistently. Not too tight and not too loose. While blocking, I realized that one sleeve is about 70% smaller that the one on the other side. On the one side I was knitting really tight while the other side was completely loose.

5. Sewing pieces together is boring and requires a lot more effort than knitting.

OK, that's it for today. I go on to work on the Tomten some more.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."

With my thirtieth birthday approaching this year, I have yet again surprised myself. I was always sure that once this critical year comes I will be completely devastated by the beginning of a new era heralded by wrinkles, unsightly leg veins, more cellulite, grey hair and did I mention wrinkles? I thought I would be using up my savings for very expensive creams that promise miracles and gathering the courage for my first botox. But no. I mean yes, all these things are bothering me. The wrinkles especially. No botox yet but I haven’t been carded for a long time now. The thing is all of it kind of faded in view of a graver problem that surprised me by arising out of nowhere.

Let’s not beat around the bush anymore, the issue that is occupying me so much to put my vanity on the backburner (it must be huuuge then) is death. Yes, I have just come to realize that I am going to die. I kind of knew before but not really, no I still hoped there would be some solution to the problem. I also thought that I will lead a life that is so fulfilling and happy that dying won’t be a problem. After all, having lived a life full of travel, having a career, four happy kids running around the tastefully decorated house, wonderful husband, a hobby that could as well be my second very successful career, many friends (and fans), after all that, I would die peaceful and happy knowing that I had it all. But again: no. That is not the case. Some travel, a job that I don’t like that much (and my contract expires in a year), no children, a small tiny cramped rent apartment, a husband with whom I seem to argue all the time, no time for hobby, too lazy, some friends but far away, no fans. I would definitely not like to die right now. Dying now, I wouldn’t have this feeling like after you have eaten a heavenly meal- satisfied, not too full but comfortably sleepy. In my case it would be more like after having a menu from Burger King on a gas station along a highway. Stuffed, nauseated, heavy and was the chicken meat cooked enough?

So death. I feel stupid as I know that I am not the first person to think about the problem. I really wish I was more religious. My father used to tell me “When you are twenty you think you’re immortal, the idea of you dying is unconceivable. When you are fifty you realize your own mortality”. True. And he also said “when I die you will regret not talking to me enough”. Not true, you toxic judgmental narcissist. But anyway. I now dread everyday that my grandparents will die soon. I even dreamed my grandpa for the first time in my life. The thought of my mother dying is too scary to even think of. I really wish there is something cool afterwards. I’ve been good right? Except these couple of times but I regret, I’ve changed, it counts right? Right? The thought that I already have more than a third of my life behind me (and actually closer to a half) is terrifying me. I just try to fend the thoughts away: I sit on the couch and knit and watch movies, so that there is not an ounce of attention free to devote to the big D. Just sometimes in bed it overpowers me. Good thing is that I am so tired from work and then a knitting movie marathon I fall asleep fast. I hope this passes. I hope to be detached again. I need a philosophy.

In other news yesterday I bought a concealer to hide dark circles under my eyes and a mask against first signs of aging. Death is sure but I cannot give up completely on the wrinkles front, can I?

And the quote is Woody Allen of course.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

So many ideas I felt I needed to share. Ideas bursting in my hear, trying to get out. Get a blog, get a blog, they kept wispering. Now that I finally got round to do it I sit in front of an empty "page", my head empty. I feel like I'm in school again, blank page and one hour to write an essay.
Things I like and will write about here:
1. Knitting
2. Books
3. Movies
4. Complaining