Book Frenzy

I am way behind in my Goodreads reading quota for the year. So, to make up for it, I’ve been reading at least two books a day since yesterday to catch up. Any faster and I wouldn’t derive enjoyment from the books. Any slower and I’d get bored with the material, open something else and basically do for books what I do for knitting and crocheting.

 

Thus far, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve read Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World…finally. I started her book in January. I must say, it was an interesting read. I learned a lot about a few things, mainly those elusive Soft Skills I wasn’t taught, just in reading her book. It was heartening to see that, at my age (thirty-six years), it isn’t unique to struggle in this area. Reading through her life story encouraged me to redouble my efforts at all the things I’m currently working on to better acclimate to the changing strata I’m finding myself in as I navigate these new business and volunteer opportunities before me.

 

Then, for a bit of light reading, I picked up Twilight from the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium. Don’t hate or judge. I mainly got it because I wanted something that was cotton candy reading after the meatier offering I’d just finished. So, I’m going to finish all five original books, which shouldn’t take long. If I recall my ancient reading correctly, I didn’t mind the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner so much but it has been a while.

 

Once I finish those, I’m going to read Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy by Robert M. Hazen. I also have a host of other books waiting in the wings to be read. Most of them, I’ve read before and I’m just going over them again because I’m playing reading catch up with myself and they’re an easier read. Once I get back to where I should be in my reading list, I have quite a few good ones lined up. L’engle, Atwood, etc., that I just have sitting here, collecting dust for want of a good reading.

 

Onto the WIPs Clearout Extravaganza. I am presently on round eight of the doily for my neighbor. Sustained injuries have not only kept me from this blog for an extended period but have also kept me from doing any meaningful crafting owing to the pain. Nevertheless, I’m going to keep trying. My left arm’s elbow and my right shoulder hurt something fierce right now but, long term, I can’t let that get in the way of all I want to do. I am loathe to make a deadline but I am shooting for finishing this Pineapple Doily by tonight. To be honest, it has been long enough lounging on my desk. The other intended doilies may have to take a back seat depending on factors influencing my getting them to their intended recipients.

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Once the doily is completed, I am going to make a genuine effort at stitching together the In Love With Color throw. At the very least, I can get the sewing aspect out of the way, even if I have trouble lifting the actual throw for long periods or stitching the edging.

 

Getting clear of these will enable me to focus on the volunteer work I’ve picked up with regard to knitting and crocheting. I’m also doing other things but this will be eating up the bulk of my volunteer time. I’m going to do my level best to aim for making as much as my yarn supply will allow. I’m hoping to deplete my worsted/Aran yarn supply completely actually without having to buy new yarn. Though, if I run out of a particular color, I may have to buy one more skein of it but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

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The plant babies are growing fantastically. Everything is so verdant, the mood in my room is definitely a cheery one. The Mega Cherry Tomato and Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper are competing for which can out fruit the other. As far as I can tell, it is a statistical dead heat. I’m looking forward to the first true harvests from both though, I have been sneaking peppers.

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I am, somewhat, in shock at what I’m about to type. After years of avoiding makeup of any kind at all cost, I purchased three tubes (Do they call them “tubes”?) of lipstick. I also purchased some nail polish, base coat, top coat, and remover. I loathe the stuff but it is a necessary function to get by on in business settings. So, I found the least offensive colors to me that were still acceptable to the masses. I hope this works. It seems such a tedious waste of my time.

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I guess the next step would be styling my hair. *cringe*

 

Regardless of my feelings on the matter, I have already mixed the hair stuff from available oils and such that I had around the house. It is only a matter that I use it. When I’m earning expensive tastes money, I’ll consider the Carol’s Daughter/Shea Moisture options. For now, it has to be homemade hair cream and Suave shampoo.

 

I’ve somewhat paid attention to the Natural Hair vloggers and bloggers in passing but, given my utilitarian manner, I normally didn’t go for the styles I saw and opted, instead, for a drawn back puff or two puffs. Quite frankly, it is far easier to deal with and enables me to put on my hat in Winter without worrying about possibly messing up my hairstyle. Crap, I guess the Cornrow obsession is going to start again. At least I have a book, It’s All Good Hair by Michelle N-K Collison, to sustain me, as well as countless YouTube videos.

 

I think that’s about it. See ya next month or whenever I can get to writing here! Yay!

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Blodeuwedd The Hat…

…and various other things.

 

Since NaNoWriMo is now coming to a middle, I thought I’d get in high gear in finally planning my own Winter accoutrements. Long has the project page for Blodeuwedd The Hat sat in my Ravelry projects, uncompleted. Up until now, I’ve been making due with the hat pictured below that I crocheted years ago.

 

Crocheted Mexicana Hat v2_00006_001

Now, I’m not saying that this current hat hasn’t served me well. It has. I am just looking for something warmer and more air tight/heat trapping.

 

So, using the Beanie 212 pattern, I’m going to go completely off the rails with the color design, to the best of my abilities. This new hat is going to be made of washable wool. It’s going to be at least three different colors. I am going to get more in if I can via scrap yarn. Topping this off, the scarf and gloves I’m making to accompany the hat will match it, again, to the best of my abilities.

 

I can see it in my mind. I just need to figure out how to design it properly.

 

In other stuff, I am teaching myself to write knitting patterns. It’s the next step in this journey I embarked on a little over ten years ago. I figured it was time to take it to the next level and get my feet wet with learning how to properly write patterns. I have two books on the subject, both of which are very informative. The two books are:

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns by Kate Atherley

Teach Yourself Visually Knitting Design by Sharon Turner

 

I know that this is, by no means, the entirety of knowledgeable literature when it comes to pattern writing and knitting/crochet design. This is just the beginning of my long-term exploration of the subjects. There’s a lot for me to learn but I’m up to the challenge.

 

Also on the topic of new books and on the subject of personal challenges is my acquisition of a cookbook. I have Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking and I fully intend to use it. This is the first cookbook I’ve purchased. I’m hopeful I can get some food to make all these wonderful dishes.

 

Onward to present projects. Villimarjatar. I brushed against it the other day on my way to the keyboard to do some NaNoWriMo updating but, other than that, I haven’t touched it. I’m presently on the third row of the second pattern repeat. I’m hoping to get quite a bit done tonight since I’m finally ahead in other things. I live in hope.

 

As to NaNoWriMo, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to the end of my story this year either even though I will exceed the 50,000 threshold. Still way too many characters and too deep a plot. Still, I like the story enough that I’m going to keep working on it beyond NaNoWriMo. I hope anyway. It’s a good bet my friend will be on me to write it because he wants to see it come to fruition too.

 

I’ve got to go now. My Aerogarden is whining for water. The tomatoes drink the level down almost daily now that they’re bigger and fruiting again. Later.

I’m a Tomato Mommy!

 

These are my first tomatoes. There are three others that look to be fertilized. Oh joy. Oh joy. I am so happy right now.

 

This marks the first time I have grown a tomato. I was so unsure as to whether this was a developing tomato that I had to ask for confirmation from my friends. Thankfully, they were more knowledgeable than I concerning developing tomato fruit.

 

Peppers, on the other hand, I have a handle on.

 

Yep, these are a few of my pepper babies. This is quite a prolific plant. I count no less than thirty flowers on here so far with at least ten fruit in various stages of development. I’m shaking it daily, so it can be pollinated even more. You’re welcome, Allergies. I’m hoping for as many fruit as I can possibly get.

 

I am also hoping for my tomatoes to catch up with the pepper plant growth wise. They’re a little over half the height of the pepper plant at the present. Hopefully, within a few weeks, they will have grown and thickened up quite a bit, as well as produced some lovely tomatoes. I trimmed them quite a bit due to their being choked up with excess leaves. That’s actually when I found the tomatoes.

 

Tomorrow is the day I do the siphon and refill of the water in the Aerogarden. I’m taking what’s presently in the tank and watering my soil babies as an experiment. There are nutrients in the water still and, rather than let it go to waste, I figured I’d use it on my other plants. Believe me, a watering is long overdue around here. Two plants are dead due to the heat.

 

About the only other thing I’ve been doing lately is working on the Caregiver’s Cardigan for The Maternal Parental.

 

Don’t ask me what row I’m on because I totally forgot. The pattern I’m using measures in inches and/or centimeters and I’m about 4” into it.

 

That’s enough rambling. I’m going to go to bed now. Later.

A Snip Here and a Cut There

Greetings, Peoples of the Sun. This is my Aerogarden as of the 12th of August 2015. I’ve done a bit of pruning on the pepper and a lot of pruning on the tomato plants. As a result, the tomatoes are finally starting to catch up with the pepper plant. Previously, they were too choked with leaves to do much growing. Hopefully, they’ll both get their own places in the light before the pepper swamps everything. I’d rather them jockey for their own position in the hood light than cut them back. I’m a total wuss when it comes to cutting my plant babies. Below are the results of the pruning and my photo bombing big toe. It’s a shame that this stuff isn’t edible. Quite a bit came out of this pruning session.

 

 

Nothing much is happening right now. I’m knitting on the sweater for the Maternal Parental while I pine for the loss of my patterned credit card. Not that my credit card is actually lost, no. The replacement the issuer sent doesn’t have the pattern I chose for it eleven years ago when I first got it. It’s just a regular metallic gray color now. I has a sad over the loss of my tribal patterning. Sad smile

 

I’m not completely broken up though. It still works just the same, only with added security features. I guess this is one more signal that I’m becoming a more mature individual. A boring credit card with no pattern on it. Feh.

 

Today is Friday. Wahoo! If it weren’t for the beg-a-thon on PBS, I’d be looking forward to cooking shows tomorrow but, such as it is, I have extended time to look at my new favorite movie, Legion, followed up by my other new favorite movie, Priest. Both star Paul Bettany in some hardcore roles. I think they’re worth watching. Plus, the awesome Kevin Durand is in Legion.

 

I also have another sad to report. My Genovese basil is dying. I had to Bio-Neem it due to an infestation of Fungus Gnats. So, I have one replacement cutting I made downstairs. If this plant in my room doesn’t recover, it’ll be the beta for the dead plant. I should just start afresh with new seeds but I’m sentimental about plants. Regardless of their condition, these are my first Aerogarden babies.

 

Everything else is doing great. I’m slowly plugging along with projects. The sun is shining and the air conditioner is keeping the heat outside at bay.

 

Life is good. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

The Hair Saga – Relaxers AKA The Nightmare of My Youth

Last night, I took a picture and uploaded it to Facebook. Not the above picture, I just included it because I like it.

I had just washed my hair and hadn’t yet combed it out into a style yet. I liked the look of it so much, that I contemplated wearing it out in an Afro when the weather got warm again. A number of friends of mine “Liked” the picture and one even commented on it positively. As it usually does when the subject is women’s hair, the conversation turned to chemical/mechanical manipulation. I then bemoaned women’s reluctance to wear their hair in its natural state. As it usually does, this brought back memories of my own experiences with chemical and mechanical hair manipulation and the dire after effects of said treatments.

When I was very young, my female relatives and a few select hair dressers used to do what is called “Pressing hair”. A hot comb, made of metal, is heated to a medium temperature and combed through dry, greased hair until it straightened the strands temporarily. It’s really not a fun process to endure. I recall frequently squirming in my seat, hoping to avoid the ritual but, to the minds of the community around me, nothing could be worse than my own unprocessed natural hair. Apparently.

This went on for several years until the hue, cry and clarion call in the surrounding community became one of getting a relaxer in my hair as soon as possible. In particular, one teacher took special interest in commenting on my usually unprocessed hair by making derogatory remarks whenever she could. This was usually laughed at by other adults and students, so there was no hope of rescue from my eventual fate.

When I was ten years old, this teacher pressured the Maternal Parental into getting the first of several relaxers applied to my hair. It was arranged that, a local woman who knew how to apply the chemicals necessary would put it in my hair. So, one Sunday afternoon, we walked up from where we lived to the next block north of us and found the lady’s house. At the time, her daughter was battling leukemia and I guess it was a feeling of empathy and extreme sadness for her situation that kept me from fighting more against the whole endeavor. So, I submitted to this experiment.

I had been asked specifically if I had recently dug in my scalp using my fingernails. I replied that I had. This is an important factor when getting a relaxer. You see, the chemicals used are of such a high pH, that, any purchase it can get will cause scabbing. The Dark & Lovely Permanent Relaxer was applied to my hair and, initially, had a cool, almost icy feeling to it. It was cool in the house and I felt chills all over my body from the rapid application of the chemical mixture. I was slightly uncomfortable but that comparatively blissful cool feeling didn’t last long.

I began feeling a searing, flaming, burning pain all over my scalp. If the Sun had landed on my head, I don’t think it would have been as painful. For those in the know, this was two minutes into the process and I have very thick, tightly curled hair. I hadn’t even gone the full eight to fifteen minutes for my hair to straighten. For those not in the know, depending on your hair’s thickness and curl pattern, you have to leave the relaxer on for a set amount of time according to the recommendations on the box. In my case, it’s a full eight minutes or longer. So, to have blinding pain at two minutes in was not fun. Not fun at all.

Proudly Tomboy ten year old me started crying like a newborn baby. I screamed and screamed for them to take it out. Yet, the process was nowhere near complete and, because it was costing the criticizing teacher money, I had to wait. It was torture. It was beyond torture. So, I sat there, crying and learned a whole new level of what it meant to tolerate pain. Even my precociously procured period pain was nothing compared with this plasma fire sitting on top of my head.

Finally, the preset timer in the kitchen went off at the eight minute mark. The lady rushed me into the kitchen, sat me down in the chair, and put my head in the depression of the hairwashing cradle she’d set up in her sink. I closed my eyes, cried, and prayed for death. It was that bad. I got admonishments from the lady that I must be “tenderheaded” not to be able to take a relaxer. Right….

Quickly, the neutralizing shampoo was applied and rinsed through my hair. It’s pretty self explanatory. It’s a shampoo that neutralizes the chemical in the relaxer to keep it from reacting any further. The initial stream of water felt like fire on top of fire but it was only lukewarm water coming out of the tap. Eventually, the searing, burning pain subsided to a dull ache. Apparently, I had scabs in my head from the relaxer’s burn.

When I’d opened my eyes finally, I must have had a look of pure hatred on my face because the lady jumped back a bit. Wrapping a clean towel around my head, she ushered me into the diningroom of her home and began combing my hair out to dry it properly. Much to my shock, the comb went right through my hair. I sneaked a peak at my head and my beautiful mane was replaced by a wavy mass of shiny long locks. I was in shock, I didn’t know what to think. Apparently, the relaxer didn’t fully take but it was good enough for a first time, according to her.

She then styled my hair into a single cornrow, coming up the back of my head to terminate in a series of Shirley Temple curls at the front. My hair was pretty long back then. I was then informed that I’d have to come back in about six weeks to get a touch up to the relaxer. I was given a dire warning not to wash my hair the week prior or to dig in my scalp at all or the same burning pain would happen again. She didn’t need to tell me twice. Since this was going to be a regular occurance in my life, I committed that little factoid to memory.

The next day at school was heartbreaking. I was not well liked by most students and was frequently made fun of. I was used to that. I’d come to accept that as a part of my daily existance. What really hurt me was the school’s collective reaction to my new hairstyle. I had come in late that morning, and had gone directly to my fifth grade classroom to sit while I waited for everyone else to come back so the learning could begin. I think they were all in Physical Education at the time. When they came back to class, I was sitting in my usual seat and, after first doing a collective doubletake, they all started applauding.

All I could give was a wry smile at the time but, man, that really hurt to have that reaction. Even at that age, I knew that I was more than the sum of my parts. To be judged and found wanted based on something as trivial as my hair texture was painful. From there, the fake nice “false friends” started coming out of the woodwork to compliment me on my hair. Even the teacher had something backhanded to say. Ah, you just can’t win.

The relaxing of my hair became an almost regular ritual until I was thirteen years old. I was so sick of getting relaxers and the effects they caused by that point that I cut my own hair short in protest and to save myself the embarassment of the chemical fade I had. You see, the relaxer damages the hair follicle so that it eventually breaks off. My hair had gotten to the point where most of the permed hair had fallen out, but for a small amount at the top of my head. To save my sanity, I cut it all off. Surprisingly, the world didn’t end when I did.

This fractured bit of dysfunction was brought to you by the letters P and O and by the number 9. :-p

Okay, just messing with you. Thanks for reading a slice of my history. For more information on natural hair journeys, please check out Naptural85 and CurlyNikki for more information.

Dresses? What?!

Big shock, I am getting dresses in January or February. Thanks to the wonderful recommendation of my friend, I am going to OneStopPlus to get said dresses once I get paid for a commission.

I’m sure it’s crossed your mind, as it has mine, what a Tomboy like me would want with dresses? The best I can reckon is that, in my old age, I’m growing some femininity. This is a most reluctant, embarassing and painful process, I can assure you. Nevertheless, this femininity is asserting itself in my life in sneaky ways. Just a few months ago, I bought…perfume. It’s called Alien. I’ve also been drifting mentally to the idea of buying nail polish for the first time in almost twenty years. What’s next? Make up? Ew. O_O

I don’t know what’s happening with me. Maybe it’s some sort of pre-midlife crisis or something? In truth, I don’t even know where to begin with this type of clothing. I mean, I know that I don’t want anything too ostentatious or revealing. Beyond that, I’m stuck.

Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Double V Maxi Dress
  2. Dress with crinkle pleats in A-line w/convertible 3/4 sleeves
  3. Dress in maxi length with crochet trim
  4. Knit button front dress has floral embroidery
  5. Deep Blues Tie-Dye Maxi Dress
  6. Thermal Knit A-line dress
  7. Smocked Sweater Dress
  8. Mockneck Dress
  9. Denim sleeveless A-line Dress
  10. Corduroy sleeveless A-line dress

I probably like more things on that portal but I only went to page six of the dresses page. This femininity thing is weird. o_O

Anyone have any experience with this? Suddenly mentally bursting out in a different direction with regards to fashion and style choices?

Finished the Pottery Pineapple Doily Exchange 2014!!!!!

I’m exhausted.

The above product took me a month and three days to make. I’m proud of my work and eager to move on to the next project. In exchange for this doily, I’m getting a vase in a lovely dark blue color.

At the present, I’m working on Sam’s Mythosaur Boba Fett hat. It’s a green hat that I’m going to try to embroider into using the white cotton crocheting thread I have. If I can do it, I’m going to purchase some embroidery thread to make it look better. Sam’s my friend and I want the hat to be perfect for him.

I’m making this hat using sock yarn and a pattern I found on Ravelry. It’s taking a while but I’ve made some progress. I reckon, if I keep knitting for an hour a night, I’ll have this hat done in two weeks. Maybe a month at the most.

When I’m not doing that, I’m crocheting on the Scrap Yarn Shiver Stopper Mini. In fact, if I don’t fall asleep, I think I’ll finish it tonight/this morning. I think I’m going to use it for a decorative piece rather than as a baby’s blanket. I have an ottoman it would fit perfectly over until I can make a cover for it. After that, it could be a placemat or something. In truth, I’m bored with the project. So, I’m ending it.

Once I get all this done, I’ll get back to the socks for knitting and the thread doilies for crocheting.

In other news, I’m having serious second thoughts about how I want to redecorate my room. I have the four colors to do the Octagons and Squares Throw in my colors but the itch to make another Granny Square blanket just hit me. I’m also still up in the air as to what kind of pillow I want. Should I make another ripple pillow or something different?

I should just stick to the plan and use the leftover yarn to make a Granny square blanket once I’m finished. That makes the most sense. I’ll have to think on it, I suppose.