Sunday, 9 December 2012

Applied environmentalism

I've been neglecting the blog, I know I know. The thing is, I got a new job. Universe ganged against me and I landed in the position of a restaurant manager, or rather an éminence grise, as there are some staff problems (assholess will go but it needs some legalities and tactics so that I and the Boss don't need to cook ourselves). I'm pretending to be a kitchen typist, entering data in the database of all things, collecting gossips and dealing with The Crazy.... Now I'm having a few days off so I'm sitting at home, knitting, browsing back numbers of Vogue to find an inspiration for the yarn I bought yesterday, I'll go for a lunch with my cousin later on and then we'll pick my spinning wheel. I'm having a good time and I don't want to spoil it with work stories. Now excuse me, I'm going to spend my day by lazying in cafés and places.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


I have certain reservations about autumn. The best one happened in 2010, it was sunny and warm and nice until around the half of November and then it started freezing and snowing and it was generally sunny, cold and snowy until around New year. The fogs and rotting leaves were entirely skipped. 2012 is doing its best, hopefully, as it was nice and sunny until around a week, then it was nasty and foggy but today, we had snow. Yes, some people elicited screams of Holy shit, it's October, no snow should be allowed. The coolest thing? I'm still on my summer dose of anti-depressants and I'm doing excellently well. Anyhow. The other day I went to the botanical garden and noticed a medlar tree. it took quite a bit of search for what to do with them and apparently, medlars have a bad rap. It's said that they're edible only when they're rotten but it's not true, they need to freeze first and then the meat turns brown and can be made into jelly of sorts. Well, the afternoon plan is to go and steal a few kilos of medlars (I hear that the quinces in the university botanical garden are plentiful but I have an insider friend so I'll ask him to bring some.) to see what comes from them. I've recently become more obsessed with food than ever. Since October 1, I'm a restaurant manager. It's cool and scary at the same time and fun stories will follow.

Friday, 28 September 2012


The old Blogspot interface existed for a while so I used that but it appears to be destroyed for ever. I'm repeating myself but the asshole who invented this new piece of crap should be tarred and feathered. To start with. (I know I'm repetitive and I'd link to my previous post but the new, exciting interface can't easily take me to a list of post. Find it thyself, sorry.) I'm calling my IT friend to do something. I don't mind blogger as such but if I'm writing this post and can't open the list of published posts in one click, I need to find things which are placed without any logic I would be able to discover and yeah, I hate icons. I can read, for Goodness (or is it Goodness'? In the current flood of grocers' apostrophes, one can't be sure anymore) sake, while I'm unfortunately not very well versed in Google's Picturese. I hear smart people work there, so why they expect that an user is an illiterate asshole who can't read things like New Post? Anyway, I'll stop this, I wanted to write something with actual content. The blog will be moved elsewhere, that's it.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Which means that:

1. I can get up unreasonably early, drink coffee in bed and do nothing without anyone interfering and hinting not so subtly that instead of coffee and Terry Pratchett novel, I could do some cleaning.

2. I wear sari all the time. Office culture is jeans and hoodie which is fine but it gets boring. Hey, I get frowned upon when I wear a sensible skirt. Alright, sensible in my universe means heel length, pleats upon pleats and sturdy fabric because one should be able to run, jump over a railing and climb trees in their everyday clothes. I'm able to do this in a sari as well, for that matter.

3. I knit eight hours a day.

4. I bought a McDonalds menu for dinner because I was lazy to cook and too cheap to actually eat out.

5. I can do all the things. Today, I asked a gardener in public gardens for a hibiscus twig as I wanted a clone of that plant and played with a kitten, silly sounds included, in public.

6. Anyway.

Friday, 24 August 2012


After my 3 months course of Teach yourself eat healthy and lose some weight, my beer gut shrank and I gained around 4 kilos. I was working out and stuff and I generally grow muscle fast.

I got pissed, though. If normal shit doesn't work, one has to search for other options and I decided to wake my inner anorexic.

This week is dedicated to eating up leftovers, then, we will see.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Nowhere to ask...

On Sunday, I was doing a rough draft of a long-term budget.

There's the breast reduction surgery I want to get done at the end of December/beginning of January - some 1200 euros plus possibly a little bit more, gotta make detailed inquiry what the listed price includes so that I don't get the band-aids charged extra, especially since I'm somewhat allergic to latex and latex-free shit is more expensive than normal shit.

New camera is needed before the new botanizing season - at the end of February or so. 800 - 1000 euros. Well, not a camera, only the SLR body. I'm not using a soap bar for macrophotography regardless of people saying that the 20x whateverthefuck macro is better than my big honking macro lens, that I'm no fucking pro who would need a SLR, that the SLR is too heavy and impractical to drag around (O hai, dad). I have a small fortune in lenses (they are excellent lenses) and I'm definitly not using the prime examples of applied optics as paperweights. Hey, a few months ago, I got a 77mm polarising filter for better architecture and landscape pics (140-ish euros, FIY).

I will need some money for furniture, as sometime next year, I'll have a craft room and I totally want a hardwood floor there; the parquet under the carpet is reputedly awful.

And small things. One needs shoe polish or paper clips.

I worked hard and long on it, including a discovery that I have two bags of each cashmere and cashmere blend in my stash, plus a bag of black cashmere for that black cashmere sweater I desperately need, so I don't need to search internets for black cashmere blend yarn.

I included a serious weight loss into the savings because I never throw anything away and I have a shitload of undersize clothes.

I failed to decide to block my access to fleabay, mainly because there's a yarn I need for the other half of a sweater... and on Monday, I just browsed stuff. I collect old Lancôme' perfumes and I have always some money set aside for an offer that cannot be resisted.
Well, I was digging in the muddy depths of fleabay and discovered a thing I would love to own but have given all hopes long ago:

Image snatched from Fragrantica

The white doves in black! How excellent that would be among my small collection of objets d'art!

Now... Technically I can afford the thing. I have the money at hand. However, there's a financial crisis, it's a totally useless thing, I have umpteen hundreds of perfumes and I'm generally using only Iris Ukiyoé, a bookshelf would be much more practical, the savings for new boobage will be stalled by two or three months.

I can't decide. Being a magpie of epic proportions, I'll likely go for it but I'll feel awfully guilty.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Week in pictures

First, week in two pictures.
Second, week in yarn pictures.

I had several works in progress which were stalled due to lack of yarn or which would likely need more so I knitted the works in progress to become works in more progress. The plan was to make consolidated orders. And, well, I didn't resist getting a ball of this or two bags of that, totalling 50 skeins and 2700 g of yarn, of which I'm urgently needing, lemme count, 14-ish. Damn the ooh, shiny effect.

- Elaborate, puh-leeze.
- You asked for it.

Around a month ago, I was done with progressing and sat down to the internets.

I'm somewhat cheap to get the rather expensive Grassland Silk yarn (being somewhat anally retentive about my knitting, I'm 99% sure I'll get there after some trying, ripping, cussing and finally succumbing but hope springs eternal) so after some pondering, I got some Silk Garden Lite in colours that could work. I have the same colourway in Silk Garden and it could work. We'll see.
Aaaaand, while searching for the cheapest Silk Garden Lite in 272, I found some discounted Shiraito in one store. That's the two hanks, one in greens, one orange, purple and turquoise, on the top of the pile. One postage, you know, and now some more yarn of which I will run out sometime in the future.

The bluish sweater in the bottom left corner... well. The yarn was ripped, along with some other one, from a sweater that went under the name of Research Library Revisited. The yarns didn't work together and the laceweight is waiting for its five minutes of fame until I get some sturdier fine yarn to go with it. Or some such. I was left with what I thought were two butchered skeins of Taiyo Sock so I ordered three more in blues plus one more in pinks and greens because I liked the colours.
When checking my pattern notes, I found out that it was actually three skeins of Taiyo Sock so there's a chance that I run out of it again but that will be solved later. However, I did some staring, then checked meterage (that's yardage for metric people, folks) and found out that one skein of 100 g of Taiyo Sock is 420 m while one 150 g ball of Schoppel's Zauberball is 422 m - and it looks thicker. The pink and green colourway is called Durch die Blume and I just fell in love with it. It looks somewhat weird when knitted. Too striped or some such. So I put my four balls aside to ponder the options and the next step is sampling these two together. Durch die Blume doubled... or total mess. I'll keep you informed. However, in near future, I'll be running out of the pink and green Taiyo Sock.
When getting the Taiyo Sock, I threw in a ball of Ayatori, that's the pale green thing on the right bottom of the central pic and I immediately fell in love. I'll be getting bagfuls when the sales hit, I'm telling you.

Then there was the green sweater. I needed preferably some Noro Silk Garden Sock in colourway 322 which was meantime discontinued, which lead to a hunt for yarn in suitable colours and I snatched some Kureyon Sock which should work after debrownification. And while getting it from Janette's Rare Yarns, I threw in some Rowan wool just to see how it looks like (the orange and pink ball. I could've lived without, goes to the gift knitting box).
In fact, the second yarn was Flower Bed at the beginning but the colourway 1208 was discontinued but while writing this post, I spent a few hours with uncle Google and discovered a shop that still stocks it for quite a reasonable price. I'll try the Kureyon first because I already got it.

The Birthday Sweater was meant for my birthday... in winter and I actually did run out of yarn as predicted. I obviously sat to the internetz only to find that Steppe is likely discontinued, on sale in most places and my colourway is available in only one shop that ships worldwide. I made my order, threw in some other colours which were half price... and in a few days, I got an apologetic email that my colour is out of stock. I didn't cancel the whole order, just changed it to stuff they had. The other online store shipped only to France but hey, I have buddies everywhere so I arranged a layover for the yarn in Paris... and the yarn store had Perenne, a wonderful wool and linen mix for half-price so I got a sweater and half worth, just in case.

Due to my slowly healing tendonitis or wtf, I put my tiny knitting aside as bulkier yarns and thicker needles are easier on my hand and within a few days, the birthday sweater should be finished. And I have some samples and design ideas. Expect more woolwashing.

For those who are not exactly knitting aficionados or don't know me from Ravelry: unless specified, all the yarns are by Eisaku Noro.
Shit about plants and perfumes will appear as well. When I get in the mood.

Monday, 20 August 2012


I did some major decluttering.
The details are not actually important but I went through my tiny closet and various nooks and crannies which were stuffed with things.

Things were pulled out - admittedly, good part of it was yarn - and packed in storage boxes which will go to the attic just after I clean up the attic, which requires me to get a protective mask because it's dusty there and I'm allergic to dust, badly so.

Two of the boxes were labelled STBDW, or Shit to be dealt with (the more genteel persons may substitute shit with stuff, should they wish so). Including clothes and shoes to be altered or repaired, fabrics to wash and iron and an unreasonable amount of knitting

When I was in a cleaning rage, some of the shit was dealt with immediately.

My early knitting history is rife with mistakes and just crappy technique. I found one spit splice in this sweater but there were knots. Big honking knots, one is visible in the middle of the picture.
The yarns are... well, the orange thing is silk, mohair, copper wire and metallized polyester. It was not exactly cheap and it's not exactly awful but it's OMG heavy and totaly not my colours. I was studip back then, I admit it freely. The taupe stuff is a wool blend by Gedifra, printed with some golden stuff that sheds terribly. It's been ripped and re-ripped and golden dust was everywhere. It's pretty, though, and I sort of regret of not getting more of it, preferably in a more definable colour than brown-gray, when it was still available. The red fuzzy ball is Diadrey by Diakeito and I have no complaints, I actually love it.
So, well, 700 g of beautiful but sort of useless yarn. Will exchange for something else, thankyouverymuch.

The fourth yarn is Noro's Transitions, I ripped the remains of a sweater I worked on some two years ago. I never brought it to an agreeable end due to a few design flaws and general suckitude.


I did some serious stash diving. The STBDW boxes contain matching skeins of yarns to sample. I actually made one sample already.

Noro Nobori, colourway 20, I think, and my handspun. I don't know what to make of it yet but I'm certain about one thing. Nobori knits like heaven.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

News from the knitting front

After being diagnosed with tendonitis, I stopped knitting. In fact, I had stopped knitting before because of the pain but I was still trying.

Being unable to enjoy one of my favourite passtimes, I ripped a few old things, found some patterns and even bought one or two. You know how stingy and cheap I am so wonder freely.

Most importantly, I found the yarn to finish my birthday sweater. The shop shipped to Belgium, France and Monaco only (one wonders what's the EU good for...) so I got it via a Paris-based friend and this arrived on Friday by courier:

Namely 7 balls of Steppe by Bouton d'Or to finish said sweater and 16 balls of Perenne - a stunningly beautiful wool and linen blend. I was wise and ordered enough for a sweater or even two although I hope I'll be able to get more from the Bouton d'Or directly when it's on sale. I've spent too much money on patterns, you know.

I'm knitting another garden variety sweater as my Ravelympics (US Olympic Committee, stick it up your... ) project. Taiyo Sock, colour 8, brown bits hacked off, 2 or 2,25mm needles, alternating balls every row, my basic sweater recipe, lots of mindless knitting because I'm really watching the events.

The future project might be this one:

Diadomina by Diakeito, colour 215, I think, and Silk Garden Lite, I think 2046, because I got the yarn as a gift from a fellow Raveller in the form of unloved sweater. I guess it may neeed some colour highlight and I'm not sure about the blue bits.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Secret life of my unconscious

The other day, mom was trying to wake me up so that I would be at work only with a reasonable delay. It needed a bit of shouting because my mind was in a crowded pub full of Italian revolutionaries who were shouting their heads off. I was just at a point of meeting Garibaldi when some door banging did it.

I wonder what would papa Freud say.

Sometimes, the dreams are somehow related to reality, which the today's one was not. At all. It could be a proper psychological short story if I took the pain to elaborate, in which I was a surfer growing up in Malibu.

Here I need to intercept, dear reader. I'm a lousy swimmer and I'm afraid of large bodies of water. Surfing would be cool and maybe, if I actually lived somewhere on a beach with surf, I may try it, but being the real me, I say Eeeeep, no. Also, I know about Malibu only from watching Three and half men.

So, well, yeah, house on a beach, surfing, getting lots of tan, sun-bleached hair...

I can sort of imagine myself in a wetsuit but I don't want to. Dear reader, follow my path.

.... and then I was transplanted to somewhere in Europe with four distinct seasons, snow in winter and all that what they don't have in Cali, and I had problems connecting with the natives. And then went snowboarding, worried that there's no way I would be able to do it, decided that it's like surfing, just on different form of water, after all, the guy who invented snowboards was inspired by surfboards, and it went all okay. Then I woke up into a July day with a headache.

Brain, why?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Knitting emergency

Being torn between two domiciles means that...

I ran out of needles.

Or, to be exact, I have a random assortment of DPNs and I doubt I could find three of the same size and some of them are heavy steel beasts, nog ood for my hand, then there's a huge one-pointed long and thick needle I could use as an assault weapon, one 7mm/60cm circ, a 5mm/80-ish cm circ but I don't have the right bulky yarn for that... or well, I have, 600g in colour gradatinons and for a proper sweater for me, I need 800.

I also have half of a sweater in my lap on which I work between reading the internetz, and another one in my bag but I don't want to drag around a half of a sweater and yarn for another half because I have errands (read: chatting with various friends for the rest of the day). And there's a nascent tunic in my bag but I don't think I have enough yarn for the rest of the day.

Now, do I pick yarn I like in reasonable amount and do I buy a 3mm circ, or do I grab the bulkish yarn I have enough only for a medium-sized (so not for me by any measure) sweater that would work with the 5mm needle?

Decisions, decisions. Maybe I should stay at home and do some dusting.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


I got some sort of mouseitis, my hand alternately hurtd like hell or plainly hurts and the only relief is to immobilize the fingers. Also, I lost strenght in grasp (and it hurts) and coordination.

I set out to buy orthopedic cast but they didn't have any to fix wrist and fingers. I have an orthopaedist appointment on Monday and maybe I'll get something covered by insurance. Meantime, I make do with a kitchen spatula and some bandages.

I cannot use my dominant hand. I was never aware how dominant my right is, I had thought of myself as rather ambidextrous. Or how both hands cooperate. That two are damn well needed to spread butter on my bun - one weak and clumsy left wouldn't do, nor would temporarily clumsy and weak right.

Typing one-handed is PITA, typo-ridden and slow. How does one do a podcast?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Random observations

I hate the new blogspot interface with the fierce power of thousand angry suns. I'll talk to my IT friend and someday, I'll migrate elsewhere. No, wordpress is even worse. Been to a conference in Hungary. I didn't take a single picture as I wasn't in the right mood but I made quite a bit of botanizing. Maybe I should start taking pictures of my herbary... My camera is beyond repair. It works sort of okay and I'm using it until I can scrape up some money for a new one. Expect lousy pictures. I have quite a bit of work - nobody wanted to be the copy editor for the English language textbooks we're sort of planning to do so I was declared the person in charge. I'm not particularly happy, I had another work plans and my trip to Finland may be endangered. Hell, why doesn't a job like this come in winter when there's nothing to do outside? One thing has to be admitted, the new interface looks so plain that blogging at work is pretty inconspicuous.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Decisions, decisions.

I have a really serious SAD. That's seasonal affective disorder, mostly known as winter depression. So, it's May, sunny, windy, reasonably warm and I spend lots of my time cycling, botanizing or gardening although I should do more about the weeds and stuff indeed. Yesterday I aimed for the hills, if the slightly rolling landscape deserves that name, today my joints are giving me one of a hell and I wanted to go cycling again while staying in the flatland. And then I spent an hour deciding where to go. The local swampy meadows were the obvious choice but I forgot to buy insect repellent again so at the end, I'll go and pick my books at the library, my meds in the pharmacy, my mail at the post office, DEET en route and then I'll be sitting at home sorting out my herbary or pruning some overgrown bastards to turn them into mulch. Unless I spend a few more hours deciding what to do first. My camera is half-dead and doubtfully able to take decent pics of plants but I'll try my best and maybe something will show up but I'm leaving botanical blogging for a literal rainy day, the one after the rainy day when I was doing some cleaning. Now I'm off to the library etc. And remind me someday soon that I want to get the light therapy lamp to prevent October zombification. Also, where's the damn Publish button again?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Many things happened.

I got that damn plague and I'm still coughing. My ENT recommended using topical corticoids on all places that feel bad so I'm squirting various things into my nose, lungs and eyes and it helps a bit. At least. Two weeks ago, my grandpa collapsed, was taken to emergency room, stayed in the hospital to be diagnosed with pneumonia, responded well to antibiotics, ordered sausages... and then worsened and died. My mom's siblings are, and there's hardly a way how to put it delicately, self-centered idjits. Grandpa had not been exactly well for months, dear uncle and aunt didn't bother to even call and even less to come. When my mom, an unofficial head of the clan, did some yelling, they both arrived so that they could go and see grandpa in hospital and such. Grandpa died next day and before his body cooled, they were gone. No hospital visits needed, let's go partyyyyy! or something. Also, uncle doesn't speak with my mom because she speaks with his children with whom he doesn't speak, and uncle doesn't speak to some of his children because they speak to each other. No, nobody gets his mental processes, it's probably a general lack of thereof and observed from a distance, it's great fun. Grandma is doing fine. Just now, she's growing a heap of geraniums for my dad and she's planning her upcoming holiday with a bunch of grandkids. Funnily enough, my self-centered self-absorbed uncle's spawn are nice generous polite people whereas my aunt is less self-centered and her sons are brats who just fail to notice that there are other people in the world. Jumping genes, it seems. Been involved in family stuff, had no time and mood to write. Coming next: How I won a trip to a conference.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


I got sinusitis so I can feel the level of fluid changing as I move my head. The sharp pain in my left ear doesn't appear too pleasant either, I can't hear well and I can't really speak so I went to work to the meeting, printed some strictly non-work stuff and was chased home so that I don't spread the bug all over the office. I'm tired and cranky. The heat wave doesn't help the slightest - who the hell thought July weather in April is a good idea? so I'm just messing around, sweating profusely and trying not to fall from the stairs as I'm dizzy. I was away for a few days. When I got back, I got told off for yet another time that I didn't text my mom on Saturday (I can't explain that no news means good news, that if I got hit by tram, someone would try to find my relatives to find where to ship my remnants), I was asked how I was etc., and only after second glass of wine, football talk, weather cursing and similar important things, mom remarked Oh, and I forgot to tell you that grandpa collapsed on Thursday and was taken to ICU. I phoned her on Thursday, the hell. In other news, grandpa is dying. He's sort of fine - sleeping 20 hours a day and being tired and weak, no pains or similar stuff and he's not the type who would object to lying in bed, doing nothing and having food brought - but it's taking a toll on everyone's nerves. Which reminds me that I need to mail A. that alas, I'm not going to Vienna again (shit). I found out that zazen and snotty nose are irreconcilable so I can't let the brain unclutter. I mean, I'm not upsed by grandpa dying but by the other people who are upset and are sharing their feeling with anyone within reach. And the plague is being annoying as well. I printed tags so I'll go and play with the herbary, that's good for mental health as well. Where the fuck is my 'Publish' button, you Google idjits!!!!!!!!! I found it. You're not going to get me.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Random observations

I went cycling, it was windy and I had a rather good idea to inspect yet another path to check what's growing around. Not much interesting flora was spotted but compared to what I remembered from last year, the path was awful. My knees and hips were on the verge of submitting a relocation request in quintiplicate to... wherever body parts may complain. I decided to take a shortcut through the nearby village to the nearby normal road because at a certain point, my only wish was to go home and soak in a hot tub. This very good idea proved idiotic. There are several cattle and horse farms at the end of said village and someone quite reasonably decided to give a good airing to stables, dung heaps and silage so I rode two kilometres on a shitty road full of potholes, against rather strong wind and in horrible stench. I was cussing the Virtanen guy who thought that fermenting hay was such a good idea - he should have gotten the Nobel Prize for something less stinky. (1) The other day, I was in Anyplace, there's an area where several species of Gagea grow. I locked my bike to an apple tree, climbed the hill, saw plants, picked some, went down and there were local ladies standing. They saw me coming and getting my bike and asked me what I was doing up there. I said I was looking for flowers and they expressed their wonder, having thought that it's only nettles growing there. Two days ago, I was coming back from another bike trip. I'm well trained in gestalt botany so while riding and thinking of upcoming dinner, I noticed a change in shapes and colours somewhere at the periphery of my vision. Some early blossoming Carex? my brain remarked and replied itself Not likely, I'm no expert at this genus, it's probably some random stuff. I stopped, leaned the bike against a nearby lamp post and went to explore. It was indeed some Carex and there was some grass that didn't look familiar to me. Both of them were some 8 cm tall so I went to my knees (the left one complained)... and the folks, which were doing outdoor things as it was a nice sunny evening, dropped their scythes and screwdrivers and observed. Yesterday I rode to check the local swamps for interesting flora. I pedalled, minding my own business, around a convenience store. A few guys were standing on the corner in front of said store and felt the need to inform me that (a) I have boobage (b) which renders me highly fuckable. Just a while ago, I went to the post office and back and I got two more comments in the same vein. At least sans profanities. The money level in the breast reduction jar is dwindling, I should stop buying shit... but the yarn was for less than half price and it was pretty. I went to the post office. It means that I finally mailed some stuff. I'd announce the readers to stalk their mailmen but I'm not sure the recipients follow my blog. I improved my packaging style. After lengthy and frequent correspondence with Japan, I got ashamed of things wrapped in newspapers and very recycled boxes and neatified matters. I'm still a cheap tree-hugging European who gets boxes in recyclables bins but I started to use actual wrapping paper or well-preserved bubble wrap for the contents. Add a point for globalization. (Which reminds me that I promised H. some risotto mix and I can't find flat-leaved parsley anywhere.) ------------------------------------- (1) I know that silaging happens in anaerobic conditions. The stench of rotten vegetables was however unmistakable. It may be badly maintained compost and Mr. Virtanen is innocent but I don't want to inspect the issue.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Knitting as a dietary measure

I had one of The Talks with my mom the other day.

It's no news that I'm fat. I know it, I'm working out and stuff, I'm dealing with my psychostuff and I'm fighting various pressures from the surroundings. Hearing twice a day that I shouldn't eat this and rummage in the fridge and eat that and I should work out, do something useful, carry things upstairs one by one instead of by armful etc.

Oddly enough, I managed to turn the debate to a normal tone. I explained how I feel about things - that I sort of feel obliged to eat whatever is there when mom tells me again and again that there's a stew in the oven while she considered it as a sort of public announcement. At the end, we came to an agreement that she's not going to nag, announce food content in the fridge, pots and other containers and that she's even going to cook me whatever I want if I provide recipes.

Recipes will be certainly provided because it's going to be quite a bit of fun to see my mom making vegetarian curry (1) and because I'm lazy.

When packing for the family reunion, which is happening at the hotel, it occurred to me that I now have another reason to be slightly nasty. I told mom that when I knit, I can't stick my fingers into a bowl of roasted almonds and when I hold needles, I can't hold forks. In other words, when I knit, I don't eat. She reluctantly agreed. (1)

I'm sitting by the fireplace after morning botanizing and a bath in the local stream (2), or, well, foot bath of sorts, I was playing with cousin's dog and we were splashing water at each other, and I'm working on a fluffy pink and white sweater, sized a bit smaller than my current girth.

In unrelated news, after my yesterday's angry rant, blogspot is back to the old interface. Fair enough

(1) snerk
(2) 0,5°C

Friday, 20 April 2012

Dear Google,

Warning for the weak of mind and knees: In this post, I'm cussing like an old sailor. the new layout of blogspot is horrid, awful and irritating to no end. I know I know, the issue is that I'm used to something different. I don't know whether I'm writing in html mode now, for example, so should the dear and esteemed readers see some html tags that don't work, it's the fault of you, Google, who bought blogspot and who spreads the horrid and shiny white page designs even further. (Yes, your homepage is awful as well.) And then there's the anti-logic placement of the Publish/Save/etc buttons at the top. Hey, I write top-down and I end up down there so for reasons of common sense and ergonomy, I'd expect the Publish button to be at the end of my rant. The dashboard starts with your self-advertising. If I wanted to link everything to my Google profile, I'd have done it long time ago. I care a damn about all the Google shit that is supposed to make my life easier - I want to keep my life as difficult as it is, with separate passwords, if nothing else. And I want to go to dashboard to manage my blogs, which is the first and only thing I want about blogspot. As an aside: Don't take me on your general google shit. I keep reverting to English as the language of Google and all associated shit because, holy hell, I want my stuff in English, not in Czech although I'm presently located in a Czech-speaking area. You're a damn racist, xenophobic, intolerant and what else piece of idiot which doesn't respect one's freedom of choice to use their language wherever they are. I haven't looked around yet, admittedly, this piece of shitty annoying graphics may be customizable - just at this moment, I'd want to smear it with the blood of the goddamn optimist who thought that vast stretches of shiny bright white that hurts one's eyes splotched with carrot vomit orange is a good idea. I suspect that there was a super hyper important brainstorming meeting and some smartass psychologist (the sort who talks to angels and arranges crap on her table according to feng shui) decided that orange-on-white stimulates creativity, boosts energy, promotes weight loss and memory improvement. The graphic designer did what they asked him and then jumped off a cliff. I hope this crap is customizable - it will take me quite some time to find out in this new mess to find out - and I can get some darkish and subdued colours before my eyes are burned out. Google, fuck yourself. Also, WHERE IS THE FIELD FOR TAGS! And where is the fucking Publish button if not just under the body text field? Google, fuck yourself. Oops, I already said that. Huh, they started calling the tags 'labels'. They're not in a column, easy to go through, but written as a paragraph of text so that I can't see what tag I'm using in case I'm royally pissed. Hey, Google morons, do you know why I avoided wordpress like plague? Because their layout was a hell to go through. And awful. Now you emulated wordpress, thank you not. I had a tag 'bunch of idiots' that was specially designated - ha! and now how do I open the published posts in another window when you Google idjits removed the blogspot tabs that used to be up there? - dear readers, you need to find it yourselves because Google doesn't let me to do things easily and I can't search in my posts by tags. Now it's high time to resurrect said tag (not label, Google morons, labels are pieces of paper with glue on one side; if you stick said labels onto your screen, it's your quirk, don't force it upon innocent bystanders). Okay, the tags (not labels, assholes) are in a roll-down thingy. More clicks, more happiness. And those 25 or how many published posts on page 1 are interspersed with lots of useless white space to hurt my eyes even more and for the 15th and up posts, I need to scroll down. Since when a carpal tunnel syndrome or another mouseitis is a welcome thing, I'm asking you? Dear readers, thank you for your attention, should you feel like it, send me some booze. As you see, I need it. Not-really-dear Google, make this shit customizable so that I can revert it to white on black and get rid of the carrot puke coloured details.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

And that's the genetics I have to fight.

I'm becoming a sari freak. I'm easily enthused.

A nice bright blue one arrived the other day. I couldn't wait to wear it but I reasonably assumed that it would be too much of a shock for the office and I don't go out very much. We have a science fiction documentary film festival here so I grabbed the chance and went to the cinema for the first time after maybe two years. The high speed internet connection ruined something, after all.

Since I went out where 'out' didn't mean forest, garden or work, I dressed up in said sari. Apparently, the natives are generally very blasé, or it was the sweater I wore over it and a long flowing skirt, albeit in bright colour, didn't get noticed. In the hall where I was to pick my accreditation, I took the sweater off as it was hot there and during the time I hang around there, I heard a gal saying to her friend something like Hey, look, she's wearing a sari and that was it. What I noticed was that 90% of people wore something black and out of the few hundreds of people I saw, all but three wore the jeans blue-black-grey combo. Then there was me (alright, I had black shoes) and a young woman in white skirt and green tights, the barista in bright pink tee and that's all folks. It felt as if I fell into a giant jar of medicinal carbon.


I came home, parents were catnapping at the TV - well, my brain switches off when there's football on, they're huge fans so how did they dare - so I went there, mom looked at me and said What the fuck are you wearing, do you mean it, like, seriously, eyeroll eyeroll eyeroll? Without the slightest trace of snark, which was a tough job, I politely replied Now I noticed that I hadn't dressed up to your taste. Mom continued in her litany of random remarks. The more notable ones were This is just a length of cloth, You are insane to wear this and You really went out wearing this.

I tried not to laugh. Admittedly, said length of blue kosa silk wasn't patterned in elephants, Buddhas or whatever local idea of Indian may be so my poor mother didn't identify the length of uncut fabric as an actual garb. I didn't tell her because I'm mean like that although I sent her a wikipedia link and now it is up to her to get a point.

Gotta get a nicer black petticoat for my semi sheer black sari. Maybe the problem was the colour.

Friday, 13 April 2012

I am famous

I was browsing fleabay and as I have a weak spot for Shiseido fragrances, I noticed someone selling Hanatsubaki. The picture in the listing seemed rather unusual for the fleabay standards of Put it on the table and push the button mindlessly.

The other had almost an artsy flair to it:

Upon a third or fourth look, it clicked. It was this picture.

It was published first in 2009 here. Yes, at my very own blog. Along with this one:

Hey, I still have that camellia which bloomed around two months ago, that cyclamen which now lives in a pot with two other big cyclamens and many seedlings. The orchid died and I replaced it with a purple-flowering Vanda. We got the kitchen rebuilt so there's no marble window sill anymore. And sort of expectedly, I still have the very same bottle of the perfume.
Obviously, there was no note saying where the pics come from. I don't mind people using my pics as long as they are polite. Which means that they ask first or at least inform me afterwards. This person wasn't polite so I mailed the eBay copyright infringement department. I suspect they will throw it under the table as I'm not a BigAss Company. I'll keep the readers informed anyway.

Life is fun.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Armful of hope

I like the sort of knitting I call plain and boring. It is neither plain nor boring, in fact. I use striping yarn so even if it's stockinette in the round and the only interruption is the end of the ball, there are colour shifts and even if it was smooth solid black wool, there is some meditative quality in repeating the same move endlessly.
Until recently, I've suffered from a general lack of knitting mojo. Stranded work was no fun, plain stockinette irritated me to no end... I resorted to sorting out the messier corners of my stash, poking yarn around and letting my brain wander.

It brought results

The purple yarn (Exclusive from Vlnap) which looks ink blue is a future striped sweater. This one didn't need any creative input from my side, my cousin asked for such one. It's going to be purple, fuchsia and cream white and I'll find a pic of the sample sweater when I'm in the company of my portable harddisks.
The bit in carrot colours is the discontinued Katia Futura is going to be a sleeveless tunic for my friend's daughter which I promised long time ago.
Stranded stuff is KnitPicks' Chroma Worsted and I need to order more, I only have three and four balls of each colour. The yarn is heavenly smooth, colour changes are subtle and the only task now is to find the right pattern.
The purple and purple stuff doesn't work the way I'd want it so it will be rethought.

Three things to knit and now I can't decide which do I start now. Probably all of them at once. Progress will be reported.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tough life of a perfumista, part II.

The previous perfumista adventure described how inadvisable it is to nuke a towel for three minutes.

Now about something entirely different: how to get into a bottle with the glass topper stuck and broken off.
I browsed the good ole fleabay, spotted a bottle of Gucci III for very affordable price... well, the stopper was broken off but I have big brain and epoxy glue so whut.

It arrived, I put it aside until sometime later when there's more gluing so that I don't mix the stinky epoxide every now and then. The sometime later happened last week. I put the two parts of the stopper together and found out that the stopper was in angle to the bottle. In other words, someone was trying to screw it open and the rotational movement created too much torque and broke the glass. Which means that I wouldn't be able to unscrew it anyway because it wouldn't hold.

Another idea occurred to me immediately. The newer flacons come with stoppers covered in a layer of plastic. Plastic is soft. I can cut through it somehow. After all, I can keep the bottle as an objet d'art. I cut as much of the plastic with a Swiss army knite as I could. Apparently, my brain had a high because there wasn't even a bit of Now what? as I grabbed a hollow needle and used it for small scale core drilling.

It took me about an hour until I reached the promising liquid.

The revelation that it was actually a factice bottle was not exactly pleasant.

Idylle Duet Rose Patchouli

First, a ranty digression.

A perfume should have a simple and nice evocative name. Say Crépuscule. The two latest two trends irk me. One uses the simple formula of two words - one for the main ingredient, one for something else. So you get Vetiver Noir, Rose Froide, Patchouli Crépuscule or for even less sense, Crépuscule Patchouli. At worst, it would be Vetiver Patchouli.
The other trend is flankers of flankers of flankers and naming results in word strings. In which we take the original Crépuscule based on heady jasmine and neroli supported by a touch of vetiver for a bit of smoky cold and maybe a drop of birch tar or cade for a hint of smoke in the air, and a decent serving of animalic musk, like, the real thing from deer's ass, that would stand for foxes and owls going out for their nightly endeavours. (1) It becomes a commercial success (2) and someone decides that maybe there should be a lighter version (3) and we get the Crépuscule Light, later on, a summer version comes up of both Crépuscule and Crépuscule Light so we get Crépuscule Light L'Eau and Crépuscule L'Eau d'été. And since all things niche are in, let's add a bit of niche flair by accenting one or two ingredients, randomly in each of the existing version. Resulting in Crépuscule L'Eau d'été Infusion Vetiveriale, Crépuscule Light Eau de Vetiver, Crépuscule Light L'Eau Vetiver et Zizanie, Crépuscule Light L'Eau Jasmin, Crépuscule Cologne du Jasmin, Crépuscule Vetiver, Crépuscule Jasmin Le Parfum (because to the usual EdT, we've added extrait, eventually, but only in the jasminified version), and some Crépuscule Zizanie.

Are you still with me? Good for you, the ride goes on. After someone in the creative department gets raving mad, we end up with Crépuscule L'Eau d'été Parfum Intense Neroli Millesime 2012, which is a close second to Crépuscule L'Eau du Cade Cologne Benzoin Le Parfum Intense Rénard Polar. The Institute for Clarity and Purity of French Language sues for obvious linguistic abomination, polar foxes march on the company headquarters to bite someone in the posterior and the perfume consumer goes to the nearest treehugger store to buy patchouli oil.

The digression ends here, thank you for your attention.

I thought that the actual name was only Idylle Duet, the Rose Patchouli being just a small identifier, addendum, omissionable thing. Later, I learned that there will be Idylle Duet Lilac Something and banged my head against my table. No worries, the table is made of decent Finnish birch that can take a lot. Finns have hard skulls.

The original Idylle oh-de-parfum was sheer crap. I guess that they tried to ameliorate it in the EdT, which is not just diluted, it's totally something different, more floral and what a luxurious soap in a posh hotel should smell like. I thought about getting a shower gel on fleabay after someone discards it from a gift box but then I forgot about it.

When Duet appeared, I first encountered it in a railway station Sephora. Having nothing substantial to do, I was sniffing news and this appealed to me. Apparently, the original blandness was tweaked to something that has a bit of body, substance and last but not least, guts. Well, appealed. I was thrilled and enchanted. From retrospect, I don't really know why. Duet is not bad, it's nice but definitely not enchanting. Maybe it's the contrast between the fucked-up Idylle La Originelle and something with a character.

Added to the Idylle Nothing-else, there's the rose and patchouli. The cheap shampoo smell goes away after a hour or two and what remains is okay in my view. There is the sugary sweet yet dry rose in the best Guerlain tradition - I guess it's the admixture of patchouli that does it, and there's a skin/leather undertone which tweaks the whole highly suspicious creation into something that made me sniff around and find out that it's actually my forearm that smells so good. Not good as in 'good to die for'. Idylle Rose-patch is nicely wearable, pleasantly unexciting and there's a bit of discord in it to keep me aware of its presence.

I must admit it now: I'm disappointed that I'm not disappointed.

(1) yes, you'll hear more of it when it gets made.
(2) I wish!
(3) Could be.

Road rash

The City Authority for Lawn and Shrubbery is repairing the paths in the parks. It is quite laudable an idea but the performance is worse. At the time being, there are stone-paved paths that are an example of bumpiness, the flagstones are falling out and there are large areas of dirt in between, and new tarmac paths which are interrupted by unfinished bits.
I planned a little trip on Saturday. The weather forecast was horrid but when it was sunny, I decided to get out a bit before it starts snowing. My camera finally stopped working after the fall in early 2011 so I rode to the office to borrow mom's. She keeps her camera at hand at the bottom of her office drawer so that she could readily document family events and such.

I left and rode to the train station. Via the park. At the dirt and gravel bit of the road, just around the corner from the street, a family consisting of three people and a dog took most of the width of the road and in order to avoid collision, I slipped and fell into the dirt. I cussed like a sailor (the genes!) and the first thing I checked was whether my hoodie came out intact.

Only at the railway station I noticed that I was actually bleeding. I was pissed because usually I carry some band aid with me but not this time and that I'm going for a trip with my elbow scratched in a big way but at the end, I slapped a piece of tissue in the wound to prevent too much leakage and went on to botanize.

Later inspection showed that unless I get the wound cleaned, I'll get a nice dirt tattoo. Having a low pain threshold, I disinfected it, slathered it with a lidocain ointment which shouldn't go into open wounds but I needed to dress the wound without screaming.

Today I checked and it all got nicely inflamed. The dinner with Doc is going to be one of the more interesting ones. I may throw in a picture of some pus tomorrow.

Friday, 6 April 2012

I may be on to something.

The other day, I was gardening and when going back home, I went to say hello to the neighbour two houses down who was sweeping the sidewalk. We started chatting and among other things, he told me that it's nice that someone is doing something about the abandoned garden.

Yesterday I went to the post office (surprise yarn and candies from Sweden! Yay!) and on my way back, I met the neigbours two houses down in the other direction. They have a cute 6 months old puppy and I played with him and ranted with the neighbours. They told me that they noticed that I was clearing the garden, that it's nice that someone is doing something about the abandoned plot and that they can help me if I want.

Maybe humankind is not entirely doomed yet.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The crisp and fresh morning smells of RoundUp....

... and the whole thing will be tougher than expected.

I expected that I would just pull the weeds and turn the soil. No biggie, a bit of work.
The problems
1) the weeds include vines growing all over, rooted wherever they were given a chance.
2) dry stems of perennial herbs everywhere
3) wild roses between them for extra scratchiness
4) Aegopodium podagraria everywhere. Probably in layers. One of the most obnoxious weeds.
5) at parts of the plot, bits of wood all over. There is a huge walnut tree which is sort of falling apart, walnut twigs are fragile and there're bits of them in a huge layer
6) shitloads of all these
7) trash including chunks of concrete joyfully interspersed among the bushes and growths
8) bits of fence collapsed or stolen, a sort of public path recently used by a bulldozer going across the garden

I resorted to herbicides. I wouldn't be able to weed the whole place before there would be new seeds all over. RoundUp is not renowned as a nutritious skin lotion, it actually does nothing but a bit of stink and I hold hopes. There'll be quite some weeding anyway, I didn't want to kill the wild asparagus, tulips and the field of scillas. I like bulb plants, that's it.

Yesterday's plan was to clear a plot for the potatoes and use rubbish, including the particularly spiky bits, to fill the hole in the fence. And some spray-killing, obviously. I partially managed. Hole is filled with sticks and twigs and it means that another bit of land was cleared. I discovered more trash to be dealt with. My potato planting optimism was premature, though. It took me a hour to dig into the compressed soil and to pull out all the aegopodium roots, which took half of the soil volume, to clear around half a metre of land. I victoriously planted twelve potatoes; I have five kilos so there's still a lot to go.

I feel good, though. Someone commented my squat gardening agreeingly, that it's just evil to let good land go to waste.

Later on, I ranted with the neighbour (it ended in a street party but that's another story) who said that it's cool that someone takes care. And that I'm cool for starting a vegetable garden there. It felt good.

I left my ugly, Roundup soaked work gloves on the fence where mom saw them in the morning. She gave a hissy fit about my awful intolerable messiness. She dislikes my potato plantation and other gardening enterprises but she couldn't feel morally superior if she told me off for weeding so she's finding substitutes to express her disagreement. To which I respond 'Whatevs' and go laugh in the shrubbery.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Winter knitting in spring.

I got a heap of beautinominous yarn for my birthday - one gets the best gifts oneself - and knitted and knitted and knitted and made more than a half of a nice sweater.

The problem appeared around that time. I had 14 balls of the base colour and, well, now I'm below armpits, some 40 cm of body to go, one ball makes around 6 cm of width, I have one ball left. The yarn seems to be discontinued and it's not available in this friggin' country. I already contacted my Parisian knitterly friend who craves after plum jam which is cheap and readily available here and something will happen.
In the morning, I was browsing my mails today and got a newsletter that there's 15% discount on everything in that store where I got my latest sari. Wait, wait, this is knitting-related. I got another sari, some embroidered trimmings and a Kerala scarf and I missed the 24hour sale by a few minutes, apparently, but bite it.
While browsing the site, I noticed quite some designs of various textiles, some of which could be well adapted for knitting. Accidentally, yesterday I picked a random book and a huge print of a pic of a sweater with lots of stranded work (that's the reindeer stuff) fell to my feet and I got an itch.

I'll waste the rest of my shift and then I need to rummage through my stash for some suitable yarns.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spring knitting

Oh well. Last year I started a bright green sweater to wear in the intermittent season between freaking cold and too hot for sweaters. It got finished in around November.

Being the eternal optimist, I started another spring green thingy.

Lang's Seta Tweed in colour 44 and Eisaku Noro's Ganpi Abaka Surabu, alternating rows, 2,5mm needles, it goes slowly. The Seta Tweed in chartreuse green is somewhat wild; not that I wouldn't stand it but the hay-coloured paper yarn just complements it too well to miss this opportunity. If I manage to finish it within reasonable timespan, I may wear it for summer hiking.

In other news, I got my laptop back. They fixed the damaged varnish but I got it back with all the data and no need to reinstall anything. There'll be blogging with pictures again.r

Friday, 9 March 2012

I can haz paycheck?

So that I can spend it immediately?

I scored Lancome's vintage Cuir and then Dawamesk and I need to pay my fleabay bills, that's it. And some due bills but who cares about electricity.

My laptop was accepted for warranty repairs. Since one of the complains was peeling varnish, I'm really curious how will they repair it. In fact, I'm slightly worried that our IT guy put only the borked USB ports in the papers, he was too sure that they're exchanging it piece for pie. If I'll get it back with the peeled designer varnish, there'll be screaming.

Anyhow, in some ten days, I might have my own lappy with my own Photoshop and things. Or I at least hope so.

Monday, 5 March 2012


Not really or else I wouldn't be able to publish this.

My laptop is gone for warranty evaluation and hopefully, exchange for a new one with all USB ports working properly and expensive design veneer staying in place. Call me superficial but if I pay extra for the looks, I want the looks to stay. I'm using an antiquity I found in the office; it sort of works but I'm not installing Photoshop on it or it would collapse all and guessing from the general state of cooling, melt. Both the computer and Photoshop, probably creating a colourful blob of grey plastic.

Until further notice, there'll be only words.

Spring is coming, as it sometimes happens around this time of year. We have eastern winds which means clear cold air and lots of sun and after the long winter suffering, I'm feeling normal. I do things, I'm not exhausted only from a bit of breathing and so far, life seems to be fine.

I went cycling on Saturday and in a way it was awful, I'm terribly out of shape but I was outside, it was pleasantly chilly and I fully intend to go again next weekend because the forests are all flooded and swampy and I want to do some pictures. The only green bits I saw were some Gallium sp. leaves but I hold hopes for new plants appearing soon. There are already some snowdrops and stuff visible in the city.

I am proud of myself, too. Yesterday and today I
- mended two bras from wireless back to fully wired
- shortened straps at one potentially fave top, designed by someone who thinks that boobage starts somewhere around the waist
- spun the rest of the yak fibre
- finished a sleeve of the burgundy sweater and found out that I might not run out of one of the yarns used (yay!)
- sorted out various papers and stuff, sorted them by subject and put them into nice little heaps
- bought file organizers to put the papers in
- paid several outstanding bills
- fixed three appointments at various docs
- worked out.

I feel good about myself. Not the bestest ever but... good. Until it starts raining, no more whines, dear readers.

Monday, 27 February 2012

On cleaning

Under the term, I understand putting things in their ideal state and place. Not just stuffing them in the closet and pretending everything is fine.

So, cleaning might include fixing shoes, spinning up that handful of green fibre that lives on my table and this weekend, I gathered up all my courage and pulled out everything from bottom shelves in the closet. Some of the boxes weren't touched for yeas, bags with things that never got finished those ten years ago when I was sewing quite a bit were crammed in the darkness...
Among the remnants of my short sewing career, I found a skirt I made some 10 years ago. Or rather 15. I didn't really measure it but the qualified guess is that I was some 20cm less around the equator back then. And that was before my anorexic times when I felt like a fat ugly blob of lard.

Which was actually pretty triggering. I still haven't fixed an appointment with my dermatologist because I want to get rid of a mole that grew on my beer gut and I just feel ashamed of that fat mass. And that the cracked skin on my feet will be attributed to my excess weight.

This all gets boring after a while. It's boring even for myself and I'm living through the mangled emotions, disordered eating, awful body image and the nagging thoughts. Every time I eat out, I'm nervous that someone is watching how that awful person even dares to add milk to her coffee, or how the sack of fat dares to buy food. That chocolate was for a friend I went to see yesterday, by the way. He lives some 20 minutes walking from our place and when I got there, I felt pretty tired and my feet were aching so not only am I a bag of fat, I'm also a rotten one.

Now, what.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Being a perfumista is tough.

"You cooked something, am I right, and burned it."
"No. I just set a kitchen towel on fire. Don't ask me anything."
"Uh, I set a kitchen towel on fire."
"How the hell you did it? [In this entirely electrified kitchen, the steaming hot hell]"
"I heated it in the microwave. And no, I didn't set the microwave on fire. The towel just turned brown and stinky."
"For goodness sake, why did you nuke a kitchen towel?"
"Um, I needed to heat it up."
"What else have you burnt? And why did you need to heat up a kitchen towel, of all things?"
"It was the towel only, and, frankly, I was advised that to open a stuck bottle, one should heat up a towel in the microwave and wrap said bottle in the heated towel."
"[sniff?] Are you sure you didn't set anything on fire? It stinks awful here. And what sort of idjit told you about this?"
"The towel caught fire. But only after I took it outside to stink here. It's the wind, too much fresh oxygen. And I opened the door to the terrace. I beat the shit out of the burning tower with a stone so that the flames die out. And, a friend advised me on the stuck stoppers."
"Your friend is freaking crazy. Are you hurt? And are you sure nothing else caught fire? It stinks awful in here."

A few side notes

1. The friend in question was Elena.
2. No, I didn't open the bottle this way. Remember, I threw the towel outside, it caught fire and... well.
3. The bottle did get opened. I tried to heat it up by immersing it in hot water which cleaned the outside of the bottle nicely and released a bit of smell. Then I gave up and asked dad to do something with it. He tried, cussed and went to the garage to find a wrench.
4. It was Balenciaga's Fuite des Heures, it smells nice and expect a rant sometime soon.
5. Yes, my mom thinks I'm a bit crazy.
6. No, the towel wasn't salvaged, it burned and evaporated entirely but for the bit under the stone.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A camel fix

In the last few months, for some reason, I had a craving for camel wool yarn. Not that there would be none in my stash but one needed to be ripped from a sweater failure and redyed (I don't really like the camel colour), another didn't talk to me at the moment so I went on a shopping spree.

It resulted in an acquisition of 150 grams wool/silk/camel/cashmere blend in sort of yellowy white, a cone of wool/camel/baby camel blend which cost arm and leg and which is very fine and I'll have to knit it in several strands. After it is rewound and redyed (the damn beige again).

And I spotted Steppe by Bouton d'Or and Lady Blatt by Anny Blatt. Anny Blatt gets expensive and the Steppe was a bit more than I was willing to pay so after some drooling I just gave up, thinking that 1500 km of yarn is enough.

Some two weeks ago while checking for spring news in the yarn world, I got to the Bouton d'Or website again and the Steppe was on sale. Upon quite some pondering, I acquired 21 balls in four colours. I'm of the opinion that one should get their gifts themselves when there's no certainity that normal gifts will arrive. (1)

I didn't know what I would do with the yarn but somehow, the idea crystallized itself.

The swatch:

Yes, intarsia. I made a gauge swatch and I washed and blocked it. I needed the stitch count in both directions because I needed to manage somehow with the pattern. Usually I only do column gauge (for non-yarny people: how many stitches are there horizontally per 10 cm) but this time I needed the row gauge (how many rows are there per 10cm) so that I could calculate the size of the triangles. I managed somehow, cast on, messed it up, cast on again, messed it up in a different way which is however fixable later on, knitted some...

and as I took the yarn with me to my three-day mountain retreat while failing to take two cables I had to manage the non-collaborating mess on one long circular needle. In fact, I did have another cable but the ending got unglued and it would not hold; I did use it for fixing dropped stitches or miscounted pattern. Fixing intarsia is a major pain in the butt, and one that can't get easily fixed by cinchocaine (2), I'm telling you.
I need to transfer the cluster of wool on two long circs to show the whole thing... and I'm afraid I may run out of yarn.

(1) where normal be defined as things the recipient actually wants, be it for fancy or for need, in colours, sizes and other parametres that befit the tastes and needs of the recipient. Not clothes that will fit perfectly well after the recipient loses ten kilos, or stuff the recipient's mother would gladly wear if she were the age of the recipient.
(2) yes, an ointment for haemorroids lives in my bathroom drawer and travels with me, the gluten thing... well, whatever. It's good for puffy eyes, too.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


It's my birthday in a few days.

The original plan was something at my grandma's because her birthday is around now and there are several other birthdays in the family. Related to that, two of my cousins planned to go skiing for a few days after the party at gran's.

See? Nothing speshul for me. The best birthday I ever had was a few years ago in Italy when I bought an almond cake in Ikea and ate it whole. Alone. (I was probably sick afterwards but that doesn't really matter.)

Today, mom announced that (a) one cousin is coming tomorrow and staying only until Sunday, leaving only her son behind with some friends who will be up in the mountains (b) another cousin is coming for grandma's birthday lunch, leaving his son with us (c) on Friday I'm having a birthday party (d) she already ordered a cake. Chocolate cake. (e) And we're going to the mountains sans cousins.

All that's missing is a bouquet of anthurias, those horrid phallic-vulvoid blossoms that are, for some reason that entirely eludes me, considered a luxurious treat in the bouquet realm, or anything in yellow. To prevent this, I went to drop some overdue books at the library and another cousin (I have many) runs a florist shop. I planned a chitchat with her, an order for a bouquet of carnations but she wasn't there. I came back to the office on the verge of tears (again).

I love carnations and I never get any, for some reason, they are considered cheap. They're great in winter, they don't wilt too fast like roses do. L. did have some in the shop but I didn't feel like talking to some other lady... the plan was to order a bouquet and let dad pick it.

Anyway. I don't want to go to the mountains and mom needed to do some hardcore persuading; I decided to go because she wanted to and she wouldn't go alone and because the cousins were supposed to be there. Remember, I didn't want to go in first place so the idea of my mom's rather focused attention freaks me out. I'm not good with preteen boys the cousins intend to drop at us. I don't want to go skiing. I don't want to go out until it's spring. I don't want to talk to people. I want to sit, read and knit my birthday yarn.

Neither do I want a birthday party. No chocolate cake; or, yes, chocolate cake, absolutely, but this is sheet cake with some ganache and whipped cream, not the real thing that starts by melting 300 grams of chocolatey goodness.

Yes. Sheet cake, made of wheat flour and stuff. Yes, I'm on gluten-free diet. Or, well, mostly gluten-free, I do transgress sometimes. I can have a bit of pasta without the consequent diarrhoea. Or a piece of cake. Not a bit of pasta and a piece of cake. Yes, I'm certain that mom didn't go to a gluten-free bakery as there is no installment I'd know about which could provide a gluten-free cake. Mom doesn't believe in my gluten problem thingy because she doesn't notice the aftermath, she only sees me nibbling on a small piece of bread or a bit of pasta.

Also, I told mom that I want to bake my birthday cake. Which was, it seems, graciously ignored.

Now I'm torn. I absolutely don't want to go anywhere but I don't have stuff to bake from scrap at home. Just the idea of going to the grocery makes me cringe, in fact, I'd gladly curl under my table. I don't feel like baking. Nobody will appreciate it anyway. I don't feel like getting a cake anyway.

Hey, I just want to be left alone. Since it's not too possible, why the universe messes it up with that goddamn cake?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Oddments, part 1

My laptop is acting up and it should be covered by the warranty. It means that I needed to move all data to safekeeping... and at this occasion, I removed all the movies into a folder named not Movies but Films, cat pictures were relegated to two folders, Kitty for Tähti and Kittehs for the rest of the world's catkind.

And then there were random pictures meant usually for the blog or for some ephemeral purpose which didn't fit any category. Which is why I'm posting them here.

1. Thirty kilos ago.

Taken in around 2003 on our holiday in Australia with the oldschool camera that used actual film, children. This image is a digital photograph of the print, thus the quality.

2. My poster for one of the Ravelry fundraisers.

3. Blahniks.

I got these shoes a few weeks ago and wanted to brag. I'm a beginner shoe freak and these are my first Blahniks. Hopefully last, I intend to recover fast.

4. Fat household

The picture was taken by such a good friend that I didn't wear a bra when she was visiting. Now L. has moved back to across the world and I badly miss her, while Tähti is moreless permanently stationed at my grandparents', excelling in her therapist job.

5. Storage box.

I'll get a custom made cabinet for my perfumes someday. Meantime I need to make-do.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Living under a big stone

I often say that I'm a troglodyte. I don't live in a real cave, I have quite a spacious place with many windows and a nice view but I'm pretty much a loner. It can be demonstrated by the mere fact that on a Friday night, I'm sitting in my cave lofty room, painting my nails and browsing book reviews on Amazon.

I'm a medievalist. And, well, I started browsing the bestseller lists in the History category and I was stunned.

There are so many books about WWII.

Alright, Nazis in around here, fighting in the Pacific there, people must be interested in all that stuff and that's the market but I just don't get it. The 12th century was simply much cooler.

And now I'll hide under my stone again. I intend to paint my nails peacock green and spend the evening in the company of either Murasaki Shikibu or Jacques Le Goff, depending.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Whine and thou shalt receive

It's around -14 (Celsius, for the information of my occassional stray American reader).

I was discontent
with the mild winter and now there we are, it's damn cold as it should be in January.

My SAD is still acting up. There's still no snow to make the evenings at least semipleasant for walking home, it's unreasonably cold (I had to wrap my scarf around my head this morning lest my ears would fall off) and I'm stuck. Depression is physically debilitating to me first of all, I'm of bright mind, maybe grumpier than usual but that's beyond recognition to those who don't have finely tuned grump-o-meters or are just normal and don't bother to recognize. But, hell, I feel like lying like a piece of rag.

Which is the most likely reason why I gained weight. I'm at nice round 103 kilos and I'm totally pissed. I feel like curling up and waiting until spring. I feel like pulling some piece of clothing in size 40 and not eating until it fits excellently. I'm afraid that I'm going to do the latter no matter how rationally I can assess it as a rather idiotic thought because the human tendency to do things and think about the consequences when they arise, and if they arise at all, is present even in yours truly.

The gloomy mood caused by some family and work problems doesn't help either.

I wish very badly not to feel that bad but I just do. Le sigh.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Winter 2012 Top Smells - a joint blogging project

I had a reliable trio of winter fragrances: Donna Karan's Black Cashmere, Annick Goutal's Encens Flamboyant and L'Artisan Parfumeur's Dzongkha. Especially Encens Flamboyant which smells like fire.

It's either because I'm getting old or because this winter is taking a toll on my nerves. Or because this is not a proper winter. I just didn't feel like using my winter classics and way too often, I went around without any fragrance at all - me who carries a bottle or two in her bag, just in case. (I would still carry those without using them.)

I got a Christmas bonus just before, well, Christmas so I decided to invest it wisely. I bought a few books, an Issey Miyake purse (no idea what I will do with it but it could hold a small knitting project, I envisage), a pair of Blahniks and a few other things I'll be painfully decluttering in a few years' time... and somewhere between a crapton and a shitload (the decision which of them is bigger hasn't been reached yet) of raw materials.

It all happened to arrive within three days - four different orders from four different directions, mind you. I'm often surprised how raw materials smell differently from the plants they come from (I haven't had a chance of a close encounter with a civet cat and I know the musk ox only from the fine fibre it yields). I'm a wood freak so now I'm richer by one big bottle of Atlas Cedar essential oil, which is so much nicer and more interesting than the generic cedar oil I used to get in the local fancy faux handmade cosmetics store, more smoke, more of a certain harshness. Or oakmoss - the absolute is dark green, smells faintly of crushed vegetation and glowing embers and it's totally different from the smell of actual oakmoss or whatever I thought it in fragrances that contain it.

Should a dear reader remember some of my former perfume musings, I have a certain predilection for weird stuff. Eyewatering leathers (such as Cuoio di Spagna by Santa Maria Novella), patchouli that needs three or four baths to disappear from one's skin (I'm looking at you, Patchouly Indonesiano) or just something plainly extraordinary.

Being pretty choleric, once again I chose the DIY path. Upon careful reading and considering my financial situation, I ended up with several bottles of basics - Siberian fir, vetiver, cedar, cypress, rosewood or benzoin, and hear me say, there's never enough benzoin and cedar, several bottles of basics I was able to afford only due to huge discounts, such as neroli or vanilla absolute.... and then the odd stuff. I wouldn't believe what can be distilled, dissolved, absoluted or extracted.

I spent a fruitful evening trying to render a cuir-cologne version of a perfume I've been making for myself for a few years but that needs maturing or I need to mature and find out what my opinion actually is. I don't really like citruses and I can smell that damn petitgrain and neroli in it but day after day, it appears to be more and more promising

Meanwhile, the ugly brown jus made of birch tar and many a viscous dark thing is living its own life. I blended the dark and viscous things with all things leathery I could think of (which amounts to exactly two, ylang-ylang and vanilla) and some odd-smelling plants - mainly but not exclusively tagetes. I wanted to render a salty floral and I was hugely disappointed when it smelled of vetiver and vanilla - nice in itself but not what I wanted. Things kept happening, though, and this is the magic of natural materials - they keep changing. Now, four days later, I'm wearing the would-be salty floral which is actually.... sweet and leathery. I need to find someone to blame yet but meantime, to put it in Elena's words, I'm walking around wrapped in an olfactory equivalent of expensive fur - warm, pleasant, protecting one from however evil the surroundings may be.

Speaking of fur, I got half of a fleece the other day. For those who don't happen to be fibre maniacs, fleece is what comes off a sheep. Half of a fleece... go figure, my dear smart readers. Almost a kilo of sheep fibre along with an occasional bit of twig or grass. It was washed but not totally devoid of both lanolin and vegetable matter so bit by bit, I soaked it in hot water with some soap and it's then when wool yields the most beautiful smell of lanolin. I did a cursory search but I couldn't find any information regarding possible existence of a lanolin absolute or any other sort of extract of whatever the fragrant bits from the complex composition may be.

And now excuse me while I go and bury my nose in my virtual fur. Meantime you can check variations on the same theme at Abigail's, Katie's, Gaia's, Ines', Carol's and Elena's blogs.

Added two hours later: Reconsidered. My newest thingy was a virtual fur yesterday. Today it's approaching towards the salty garden. Life is interesting.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Only words

I bought a new battery charger, which means that the misplaced one will precipitate in the middle of my table tomorrow. Anyway, there will be pictures and with pictures, more knitting rants and perfume rants and other rants that deserve to be illustrated. Not now, though.

I spent a part of my Giftmas bonus on raw materials and I devoted one afternoon to a bit of alchemy. I got a bottle of birch tar which pleased me quite a bit. Well, after I wiped my ears and nose because it smells salty and sort of meaty. It's an important ingredient for the old-school leather fragrances (I guess that it's banned in all civilized countries because it smells good and someone claimed that it caused him a bit of itch) and I'm a leather fiend. They say Bottega Veneta is a leather fragrance (reviewy rant to follow when I run my camera again, I have a bottle on my table) but it's rather some nice flowers with a bit of what the crowd out there calls leather and I call it chalk.

Anyhow. I also got vanilla absolute which is somewhat leathery too, and tagetes oil which is positively weird, Crithmum maritimum oil - I don't remember how this plant smells but it's broken easily with a typical sound and feel and the oil corresponds well to this. It's somewhat tangy and green and with a hint of something salty.

Etc. The birch tar is strong like hell, I had to place the blotter at the far end of my table so that it wouldn't mess with the other smells but I'm afraid that my room still smells like a den full of smoked meat. The main task was to overshadow the salty smell with something reasonably complementary... or not complementary. I decided to go for the contrast between salty and leathery accords and dry, sweet stuff. Thus fennel, neroli and what else contrasted with said birch tar, vanilla, ylang-ylang, crithmum and tagetes. Plus Siberian Fir to add another eye-watering quality, oakmoss just because and a few other things.

I'm quite happy with the result. It's a dark, suspicious-looking liquid and it came out sort of as I wanted. I need to dilute it first to see how it wears. It's all natural so it may be really different on skin. And, it's called Halophyte Garden. Salty floral - sometimes I'm very simple.

I couldn't resist and made some leathery cologne. I'm afraid that I overdosed it with geranium - it seems that any amount of geranium is an overdose because that drop overshadowed quite an amount of the stinky birch tar and the Siberian Fir which could drill holes in the wall. Well, either I'll make the sample into a candle or I'll add half a bucket of petitgrain. We'll see.

And, well, serves you right. Blame the Illuminati and Universal Jewish Conspiration for these bad stupid internetz that cannot convey smells.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Eternal end of November

The weather is still misplaced.

In general, I detest discussing what the weather is, was, will be next Thursday. That's what we have windows for, to look out and decide whether it would be useful to add a layer of woolens and rubber boots to the outfit. And my problem is not actual weather but the wet, semicold days typical for late autumn. They're getting on my nerves.
And on my unconscious.
Today I had a dream, in which I was sitting in a small public park or a large flower pad in front of a railway station in a different climate zone because they had real spring. There were almond shrubs blossoming - not the proper Amygdalus nana (1) but something that reminded me of garden anemones coloured surgical appliance pink - and some other stuff grew there (a cross between wisteria and kapok, I dare say....) and I started digging up bulbs thinking that I may grow them on my window sill.
I woke up, went to water my seedlings and bulbs growing on my window sill and cussed the weather.

Apparently, it is Caturday today.

I went to the post office for some more fleabay loot. I don't know every cat of the neighbourhood in person, some are not exactly stranger-friendly and I believe that there are some strictly indoor cats, too, but I thought I was well acquaintained with the local feline population.
On the way there, I met a big and well groomed orange and white tom who looked at me with keen interest when I was making sounds and gestures in order to lure him to the fence. On my way back, I spotted two white and tabby kitties, one big and one small, sauntering around the Big Villa.

It's still dark, wet and cold outside. I'm going to hide under my comforter, tell me when the spring arrives.

(1) wikipedia decided to irk me a bit and says that it's actually Prunus tenella. It's the dwarf almond, there's a growth across the street and one day I'll steal some.

Friday, 13 January 2012

On evil nature of things

I must admit that I'm slacking the work because I finished the book for proofreading yesterday and I'm simply mentally drained. I should be creating some more materials but I opted for browsing library catalogues for something inspiring, dealing with backlog of mail and similar shit and packing for Prague. A business trip on Monday means that I can spend the whole weekend there.
My flatmate lodged his friend in my place and I gave them the spare keys I've been using. My regular keys lived on the table and I forgot to grab them in the morning so I abandoned my work station and left for home to grab them. I got caught in a horizontal snow, so horizontal that the snowflakes ended in my ear canal, which is not important to the story, just interestingly silly, came home, headed for my table and the keys weren't there.

I grabbed a stapler, tape measuer and 4,5mm cubic needles, the two former I forgot and the cubics are intended for another winterproof white sweater which I plan to knit over the weekend (yes, hope springs eternal). I rummaged some more more, keys kept missing.

At the end, I grabbed the spare spare keys with the old key from the flat and now I hope that the entrance door lock hasn't changed. My lock did change but since it comes with some speshul code card from which a locksmith can make a spare key, I found the card, called my smithlock cousin and picked my keys later on.

I'm very positive that in a week's time, I'll find my keys. Several sets of keys of mine are living in a pocket universe. I'm not losing shit, I'm just misplacing it and then it creeps away to some umpteenth dimension. Since there is no reasonable explanation based on physics or psychologi, I hereby claim that it must be the inherent malice of Universe.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

I hate this winter.

I don't hate winter as such but this year, it's getting on my nerves quite a bit.

(1) I got immersed in botany last year, now it's totally wrong season for plant hunting or related activities and I have an URGE. You may say that I can spend all the time when I'm not outside with botany books. I'm doing exactly this but somehow, it doesn't do much of the trick. It only worsens the matters because the URGE only grows, I want to go out and touch some of the real plants.

(2) SAD aka winter depression.

(3) No snow. Which worsens the SAD as the rotting leaves and rubbish and stuff are not a pleasant sight and it's always so dark.

(4) All of the above result in one thing: I'm sitting at home, rotting away with a book, some knitting and chocolates. Which adds to some extra frustration from the inevitable weight gain.

This winter is pretty warn, though, so I hold high hopes that it will remain so and we'll get a nice spring in February. I have no clue how I can survive this for two more months, though.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Startitis! It itches!

I'm not a great friend of New Year resolutions so I didn't make any. I'm decluttering for its own sake, and I also miss a thing or two which totally should be just somewhere around.

However, since it's another year starting, I joined a 12 swearers in 12 months group thing. Been in this since 2010. For your information, it was 6 sweaters in 2010, 8 sweaters in 2012. Some of them are too small to wear, though, of which I may talk later. However, this year I decided to make it 12, for realz. The rules are that the sweaters don't need to be started in the year in question so I counted sweaters in progress and there were...

Nine. One is two rows away from finishing but that involves some serious fiddling around. Many are in transitional phases when they need some fiddling, counting and thinking. The remaining four are in the seminal stage of small gauge samples and big ideas.

The result: I have nothing to knit.

I'm having really busy days at work, I'm coming home intellectually drained and I don't really feel like counting something, trying whether it may work and such, I want just some nice mindless knitting. Thus the urge to start something new, totally simple-stupid.

I've been digging in things and I have a beautiful cashmere blend that just screams to become a Greta Garbo shawl. (1) And there are more.

I decided to at least try and be a good girl and finish a few things before I start a new one. But the urge to start something new, exciting and promising is so... strong... I... must... resist...

Hey, this nice handdyed wool could make a good sweater. Is that a 3mm needle that miraculously appeared in my hand?

(1) 'Greta Garbo' is a lace pattern used for Haapsalu shawls, named after the allegedly first recipient. It's lace herarts with nupps but I'm totally skipping the nupps, I don't like them. I know, I know, Haapsalu patterns need nupps but there's no knitting police.