Monday, April 17, 2006

Just a Hint of Trash Can

According to our Health-O-Meter bathroom scale, I’ve lost 8 lb since I was weighed at the doctor about a month ago. I must, however, factor in that when I was at the doctor’s, I was fully clothed and it was the middle of the day and when I weighed myself on the Health-O-Meter a couple of days ago, it was early morning; I was in my underwear; I was all dehydrated from 7 or 8 hours of sleep; and I was standing on the capricious and ancient Health-O-Meter, which often fluctuates rather wildly, e.g., you can step on it and get a reading, then step off and back on and get a reading 2 or 3 lb heavier or lighter than the reading you got 10 seconds earlier.

I don’t think I really lost 8 lb in a month, but I’m going to conservatively estimate that I’ve lost 6 lb. I have to wear the belt on my jeans a notch tighter, so that’s got to be indicative of something, and that something is that King, Prince, Pauper works! And I have to say it’s been almost entirely painless. I eat the same stuff I always eat, but I just don’t eat the bulk of it at night. I’ve also doubled the amount of cardiovascular exercise I get, which is much easier to do now that it stays light until nearly 8 PM.

But. In a few days my sister and brother-in-law are coming to Portland to celebrate her 40th (!) birthday and that means that King, Prince, Pauper will go right out the window. We are going to be tying on the feedbag left, right, and center and guzzling copious amounts of microbrew. I’ll have to exercise some restraint. Or maybe not, as we are planning to do a lot of walking. A 12-mile hike is planned for one day and a bunch of neighborhood and city hill walks for just about every other day, so maybe I’ll be able to hold the line with the weight loss.

I’m really looking forward to my sister’s visit. The last time she was here was three years ago when she helped me put in my garden. It was April, and the weather couldn’t have been worse. It was unseasonably cold—in the 40s, with gusty wind, rain, and hailstorms. The day after she arrived she came down with a heavy cold and got her period (the double whammy), but she kept digging holes in wet, rocky clay like a trouper. It does not please me that the weather for the past few days has been a rerun of three years ago, complete with a crapload of hail. I’m hoping that it will have all blown over by the time she and my brother-in-law get here Wednesday night and that we will have nothing but warmth and sunshine. Or at least no rain. Or at least no hail.

I’ve been wracking my brain over what sort of gift would be suitable for such a momentous occasion as a 40th birthday. B kept saying, “Knit her a sweater, knit her a sweater, knit her a sweater.” And you know what? I came to the conclusion that sweater handknit by me is the exact perfect 40th birthday gift for my sister. She’s a metalsmith and jeweler, so she really appreciates handmade gifts and she's a clothes horse, but the problem is that by the time I concluded that a sweater was the right gift, it gave me about two weeks to make it. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give her some options. There are two sweaters I am capable of knitting: a big bulky, exceedingly warm one like this and a similar but somewhat less bulky one. She can actually try them on and I should be able to get a good idea of what size she needs. I can even take measurements for a custom fit and have her pick out her own yarn. So the upside of the fact that she won’t get her present until she is, say, 40 and a half is that she will have a style and color she picked herself and the sweater will fit.

There’s one other option I’m going to give her: the Fuzzy Reception cardi. I have a feeling that as soon as she sees the photo of the Fuzzy she is going to go for that, even though there’s no proof I can knit such a thing. The other two sweaters I’ve knit are knock-around sweaters; they’ll keep you warm, and they'll wear like iron and all that, but they’re not particularly stylish. The Fuzzy Reception cardi is stylish (to my somewhat untutored eye). The color alone will likely seduce my sister, even though it could be knitted up in any color. I don’t dare tell her that I was Googling about on the Internet and I found a blog where someone knitted Fuzzy Reception for her daughter and said that thought it looked like she’d killed Oscar the Grouch, skinned him, and handed her daughter the pelt. I wish I hadn’t read that. I am doing my level best to keep thinking “fern” and “asparagus” when I see the yarn, but I really can’t look at it without seeing just a hint of trash can. Damn it!

Anyway, I am going ahead with a Fuzzy Reception for myself. I knitted up a small, semi-botched swatch tonight. (As usual I’ve taken a terrible photo of it that, depending on your monitor, may look like an unusually geometrical puddle of puke.) I’ll have to rip it out and do another larger swatch, but I think I’ve got the hang of the diagonal slip stitch pattern that is used for most of the sweater. I’m feeling pretty dang good about that, since it was something I’d never done before, and I figured it out all by myself with a minimum amount of trauma. (I’m all about small victories like that.) Also, Cagey and Jamie, I’m using Addi Turbos for the first time and am liking them very much! In fact, I think I’d be totally frustrated using “regular” needles, as this project is knitted with two strands of yarn held together and one is fuzzy, tangly mohair-ish alpaca.


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