Friday, May 31, 2013

Haiku Friday: An Ode to the Thrift Shop.

Call me a "hipster",
But I won't pay fifty bucks
for a TV stand.

I've written many times about the ups and downs of living in a cheap Seattle apartment, Readers, but what I HAVEN'T written about is the delight of living among the excellent and admirable people of Capitol hill.

It's loud. It's crowded. It's a bit pretentious, and it's not uncommon for us to be awoken by drunk people screaming at each other outside of our window at 3 am. But, for all of its imperfections, John and I have fallen in love with our neighborhood.

One of the best things about the apartment building where John and I live is what is known as the "free area". In our building, there is an un-spoken consensus that if you want to get rid of something but don't feel like making the trek to Goodwill or Value Village to donate it, you can leave it in the laundry space for someone else to take.

I'd say that about a quarter of our furniture has come from the "free area", as well as a great deal of our apartment's decor. In addition to that, about half of everything John and I own was either found, gifted, or bought at a thrift shop.

Let me give ya'll a rundown on how our excellent neighbors, friends, and loved ones have furnished our apartment:

1. The living room has a television stand that was given to me as payment for a day of babysitting two summers ago. It's one of those stands that's designed to fit into a corner, but our apartment doesn't really have any square corners to fit it into. It takes up a bit more space than we'd like, but since we didn't pay for it, we won't complain.

2. On the topic of living room furniture, we have a gorgeous coffee table given to us by a dear friend after she moved. Next to it, we have the futon that my husband used to sleep on, now made into a couch/guest bed. He found the frame for it years ago on the side of the road; he later procured a mattress for it via Craigslist. Since the mattress doesn't fit the frame as well as we'd like,  it's a pain in the putuckus to get the damn thing to go from "sit and watch TV" mode to "guest bed" mode. But, it was *mostly* free.

3. About a year ago, the office where I work went under a major re-modeling project. When they made over the reception area, they sent out a mass email that pretty much said that all of the old seating was fair game. Free bright orange chair FOR THE WIN!

4. In the corner of the living room is our computer desk, which I got from my sister when she moved to California.

5. Our dining room table was left in the room by the previous tenant. FREE!

6. We bought our dining chairs from a church rummage sale for 20 dollars...FOR A SET OF FOUR! WIN!

This chair was the only one of the set with arm-rests, so it went into our living room. 

7. Our walls are decorated with an assortment of oddities. Included in this assortment are paintings, prints, old photographs, and a large macrame owl that I found in my parent's basement. A few childhood relics have found their way into our decor; a framed sunflower picture has been hung next to an old Spider Man poster.

This thing used to give me nightmares when I was little. 

8. While most of our dishes were given to us as wedding gifts, John and I take great delight in scouring the local thrift shops for little pieces of fabulousness. I found a set of four smoked glass tumblers that are just gorgeous, at a dollar each. SWEET!

9. We have two lamps, two GORGEOUS lamps, that were found in the "free area". AWESOME!

I love our apartment. I love it so much.

I think that Macklemore sums it up nicely:

Fun fact: a few parts of this music video were shot at the Value Village were John and I shop!

Until next time, Readers!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Year of Using Up the Stash: In which I fall off the wagon.

Throughout the past couple of weeks, Readers, I've learned a few things.

Lesson number 1: That I have a horrid attention span, and that unless I have some sort of plan or conscious schema in place, I rarely accomplish the things I set out to do that fall outside of my day to day duties as an admin assistant/receptionist and as a wife.

Lesson number 2: That when I inevitably let goals/projects slide as a result of Lesson number 1, I get frazzled easily and am much more likely to just throw my hands in the air and inwardly yell, "F--- it"; letting my knitting projects and my book review fall by the wayside.

Lesson number 3: That when I drink, I like to put googly eyes on things.

With that being said, I am going to be setting some solid goals for myself as far as my book review goes. As I've written earlier, unless I light some kind of fire under my bum, this book review WON'T get finished.

I'm finding myself really struggling with CAMD chapter seven. I've done a couple of drafts of the review that just don't seem to work very well; mostly because both of my attempts at the review ended up being overly formulaic and subsequently boring. I find that many of my reviews as of late are looking like this:

1. Orenstein presents an idea,
2. I riff and ramble a bit on whether or not I like said idea for whatever reason.

My clumsy and poorly thought out review attempts, to put it bluntly, sucked. They unfairly represented a piece of very insightful and challenging writing as being overly-basic (SEXY ADULT GOOD, SEXY 12-YEAR OLD BAD!), accusatory (WHY DO YOU GUYS PREY ON CHILD STARS??? WHY??), and banal (LOLOL LINSAY LOHAN!). Chapter seven (and this can be said for the entire book) of Cinderella Ate My Daughter is none of these things, and until I get the review just right, I'm going to hold off on publishing it.

For now, I've got a goal in mind for my CAMD reviews: I want to finish reviewing the book by July.

Now that THAT'S out of the way, I have a confession to make.

I relapsed, Readers.

I bought some yarn.

But I assure you that I have a very good reason! Please hear me out!

I work in the admin department of a very large company as the "PM Receptionist". Besides myself, there are three other receptionists (two who work during the early morning, and one other that works in the evening with me), who for the purpose of anonymity will be referred to as Snap, Crackle and Pop.

Snap, Crackle and especially Pop are well aware of (and are VERY supportive of) Project Using Up the Stash. While chatting on our coffee break last week, Pop pulled me aside and gave me a request:

Pop: "Hey, Jackie, are you still looking for ways to use up your yarn?"
Me: "Yup!"
Pop: "You know those black finger-less gloves you wear all the time? The ones with the twisties?"
Me: "Yeah?"
Pop: "I love those gloves! Could you knit me a pair, but make them a little bit longer?"
Me: "Absolutely!"

I sent her a link to the pattern of the gloves in question, along with a couple of similar patterns from Ravelry. We picked a pattern (slightly different from my gloves, but longer in the cuff and more ornate) and I dug through my stash, looking for the yarn I used.

The next day, I came into work a little bit early so I could bring the yarn to Pop for approval.

Her eyes lit up when I showed her the skein (it was Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock), but as she looked over the yarn label, her face fell a bit.

Pop: "Oh...I don't think this will work."
Me: "Hm? Is it the wrong color?"
Pop: "No, the color is beautiful. It's just that I'm allergic to wool!"

Readers, the glove pattern we picked calls for a fingering weight yarn, and all of the fingering weight yarn in my stash has some kind of animal fiber in it.  I don't want Pop's gloves to make her to break out into a rash!

I made a promise to Pop that I intend to keep, Readers. So, I had to choose between breaking my resolution and breaking my promise.

I relapsed and bought some imported Italian cotton in a gorgeous shade of blue-gray.

I figured that if I were going to buy some yarn, I may as well  get GOOD yarn. 

I have to admit that I seriously underestimated how much yarn was in each ball (I ended up getting 3). Pop is going go get TWO pairs of gloves, and I'll use whatever is leftover to work on my duplicate stitch skills.

In addition to the two pairs of finger-less gloves, I've been working on using up my sock yarn stash. One sock has been finished:

The sole is a bit short, but HOLY SH-- this may be the only hand-knitted garment I own that I will proudly wear to work:

I love this lace pattern!

So, Readers, I'm going to hunker down and try to document all of the "Use up the yarn in my stash" projects I've got going on, in the hopes of organizing my goals a bit better:

1. Socks: 1/2 finished
2. Gloves for Pop: 1/2 finished
3. New snowflake pattern (!!): Almost finished, need to add some beading to the flake (as well as make a whole new one, since I accidentally spilled coffee on the working prototype I've got going).
4: Space Invaders Warm Up America square: Finished the chart, but have yet to begin.

All right! All that I have to do now is to hunker down and FOCUS!

Until next time, Readers!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

In which we survived the May Day protest

You know, Readers, I'm really getting sick of this.

I am getting so sick and tired of this crap.

I'm sure that many of you who are reading this are well aware of the chaos that descended on our fair city of Seattle during Wednesday's May Day demonstration.

For those of you who are not, I'll break it down for you: a group of so called "anarchists" decided to raise awareness about the evils of capitalism by throwing rocks, destroying property, and putting up a wall of newspaper boxes in the middle of the street.

I have no idea what this was supposed to accomplish.  Image found here:

As of now, seventeen of the rioters have been arrested.

John and I live in the Pike/Pine corridor, so we had front row seats to the ensuing mayhem. I first witnessed this group of anthropomorphized solutions of fail-sauce and bong water while I was on my way home from work:

One of the demonstrators handed me a flyer, that explained the significance of May Day in the way of worker's rights and the reasons why capitalism is evil. Everyone was relatively well behaved at this point (aside from a few shouts of "F--- THE POLICE!", but I suppose that's to be expected), so I just shrugged these people off, snapped a few pictures and went on my way.

I got home, kissed my hubby, and turned on the news.


Oh dear.

I wish I could say that this violence and stupidity surprised me. I really wish I could.

I...I can't even begin to comprehend the thought process that led these demonstrators to believe that throwing rocks at a Wallgreens and terrorizing citizens is going to make people pay attention to and respect their cause.

A Kiro 7 reporter tried to interview one of the protesters. I wish I could find video footage of this moment, it gave me the best kind of insight into this whole situation. When the protester wasn't being interrupted by her inebriated colleagues (who were trying to grab the cameraman from behind), she made somewhat of an attempt to explain what exactly it was they were protesting, that was reduced to simple whining about "HOW THE POLICE OFFICERS ARE BEING MEEEEEAAAANNN!!!".

The demonstrators could not even explain WHAT THEY ARE PROTESTING AGAINST.

You know what damned the groups' case against capitalism the most, Readers? The number of smart-phones and SLR cameras I saw in the crowd.

What exactly, Readers, is smashing the window of a Wallgreens supposed to accomplish? What exactly is throwing rocks and glass bottles supposed to accomplish?

I would like to know who is behind planning this "protest", and I would not be surprised if this individual's name is Ralph Wiggum.

 It would certainly explain the logic behind the trashcan/newspaper box wall.