Feienabend

(sorry for the blog-silence, I’ve been busy. . . )

Just so you know, Dear Internet, I don’t actually know German. (And yes, the titleย of today’s post is in German! how exciting!). Well,ย I do know a few words and phrases in German, learned from my mom (and singing some songs in German as a kid)ย who grew up there. So I can pronounce German (well, one dialect anyway) but pretty much understand none of it.

It pretty much translates to “celebrate the evening” – it’s the moment where you can all of a sudden relax and enjoy some free time, put up your feet, and (in North American parlance) veg out. It’s really just a perfect word, and marvelously describes a feeling I have always had in my life, the joy of being able to suddenly have all the remaining time in the day all to myself. For me, this is especially important because it means that I can turn off, reset, and be myself. I’m rarely ever completely myself with other people, and it is supremely exhausting to go through a day consisting of public transit, work, conversations with colleagues, more conversations with colleagues, lunch – more conversations with colleagues, talking talking talking, meetings, then when work is done, more public transit. And if I’m going to the gym, there’s further human interaction and public transiting. And there is only so much talking with people that I can take.

So I really do take a moment, once I’ve gotten home and started to unwind, to realize that – HUGE sigh of relief – I don’t have to talk with ANYONE for the next several hours. I can work on my crafty projects, surf the Intertubes, blog, internet window shop, nap, ANYTHING!! And it is amazing.

Feienabend is pretty much up there with schadenfreude (for me) of awesome words/concepts. So I thought I would share it with you, Dear Internet!!

And, speaking of projects. . .

The boyfriend’s sister has two young girls and apparently could not find nice mittens with idiot strings (you know, the ones that keep your children’s mittens from constantly vanishing??). She guesses that it’s a liability issue – if a child can strangle itself on something, even if it’s you know useful, it cannot be sold anymore. . . So she asked me to make a couple pairs for her girls. So I went looking for a challenging and pretty pattern that would be fun for MY FIRST KNITTED MITTEN PROJECT EVAR!!! YAY!!!!!

So I went to Knitty.com to look for options. And I found this pattern:

Matrix mittens

And, well, I couldn’t say no! I’ve only recently started to plumb the depths of two-colour knitting, so this was a perfect project to further develop those skills. Very quickly as it turns out, since it took less than a week to knit four mittens, their respective idiot cords, finish them, and sew linings for them out of polar fleece. FAST PROJECT, guys!!! Check out the pattern here!!

Here are the mittens I made!!

First project 2012 - Completed!

You use a fairly chunky yarn, so they really knit up fast. And I went a little Mod with my colour choices ๐Ÿ™‚ย  My mom was skeptical that the fuschia and mauve went together, apparently, but did own that they look really cool, once made up in the pattern. I love playing strong colours off each other. And the underlying blue to both colours helps them work quite well together, I think.

And now for our close up. . .

Another pair of mittens!!

So, there you have it, Dear Internet. The reason I’ve been too busy to blog for the last week.

I’m hoping to post about my hike along the Humber River last weekend sometime soon. And you’ll be hearing about my other ongoing projects as they get completed. . . One hint though, to keep you on tenterhooks: there will be more knitting. Surprise! Bet you didn’t guess that one!

Hopefully I’ll be baking soon too – a new recipe has caught my eye! Oooo!!! And there’s my 8-part choral experience coming that I will be telling you about so, rest easy, Dear Internet! I have lots up my sleeve for the next little while ๐Ÿ˜‰

My vintage obsession

Ok, I’m lying in bed, exhausted from my first week back to work after my Christmas vacation. So why am I blogging, you ask? Cause I could be doing other things. Things like sleeping, even. But I’ve decided I should share something with you, gentle readers, before I plain forgot.

Soooooo. . . I just watched the first episode of season 2 of Sherlock (!!!!!!), in which there were some seriously cool vintage-style fashions modeled by the lovely Irene Adler character.

Like this one:

20120107-005714.jpg
(Source: Addicted to Media)

Which is apparently the Illusion-Bolero Sheath dress from Alexander McQueen. So 40s and gorgeous. Very Hollywood heyday.

And this one:

20120107-010447.jpg
(Source: Fashioned for the Geek)

You can’t see it super-well (or at all. Sorry about that) but that one is a stunner. Modern details with classic silhouettes, how can you go wrong?? It seems to be another take on the classic sheath dress, but with a beautifully detailed neckline. I wish I could find a better picture of it somewhere. . .

But, to get to a point of some sort, this is feeding into a newly revived obsession with vintage, and vintage-style clothing. See, I’m starting to follow sewing blogs (like Adventures in Dressmaking, and A Dress A Day, both of which are awesome! Go to my blog roll if you’re interested in checking them out. Or, just go anyway, cause they’re awesome!!). And since my party dress challenge this fall when I learned that I hadn’t lost my sewing skills, I decided that I will try to start making more clothing for myself. Cause 1) I can choose what fabrics to use, 2) I can choose what patterns to use, and 3) I can alter the pattern during the sewing stage to fit me perfectly (and thus develop a repertoire of patterns I can use multiple times with great ease). Plus, with my love of high quality fabrics and finishing, doing it myself will probably end up costing me a whole lot less than what a ready-made dress of equivalent quality would run. Patterns vary from 4$-50$ (for good condition vintage), you generally use 3-4 yards (or less) of fashion fabric and 2-3 of lining, and you can get some really good deals now with online stores from 3$-20$ a yard, which I think is more than reasonable. Zippers, bias tape, and other notions are generally negligible costs in the long run (I can get 500m spools of Gutenberg thread for a few bucks, and they last for multiple projects). So material costs would generally come under 200$ easily. I won’t get into value of my time, cause hey, I’m getting a fucking dress or whatever out if the deal! How easy do you think it would be to find a well-made vintage (in good wearing condition) or vintage-style dress that would fit a “generous” figure like mine?? And if the vintage is even in my size, what are the odds I’ll find good vintage styles that I’d actually want to wear?? So far I haven’t found any anywhere. There are companies like Bettie Page Clothing that are styling modern clothing on retro styles. But I’d like to choose the styles, not just from the styles someone else has chosen to make. The sheer number of patterns out there means that I can fairly easily find a great pattern that is very close to what I’m looking for.

And, there’s the satisfaction of making your own clothes to consider. Cause it’s quite its own peculiar kind of high – I made this!!! It’s actually very similar to knitting a sweater for me. You slog through the uninteresting process of creation, cause well, it’s not a fun activity in itself for me, and you slog through the problems that inevitably arise, and in the end you have this garment you made that someone can actually wear! How cool is that??!?!!!

Pretty damn cool, I say!

So, an ongoing project for this year is to collect patterns and fabric, and start building my new career-woman wardrobe. Though. Not pants. I’ll continue to leave that one to the professionals. To that end, I’ve begun to search (and order. . .) through McCall’s and Simplicity, et al. for patterns new and vintage reprints, as well as through the vintage sellers, for actual vintage patterns. I might even get into eBay at some point as another vintage pattern search option. And there’s the awesome Vintage Pattern Wiki that is collecting all the different vintage pattern info, for posterity. It is a perfect place to search for styles I like, silhouettes that would be great, all the possibilities!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be showing off some new awesome threads sometime in the not too distant future. . .

Anyroad. I think, Dear Internet, that it is time to fall asleep. Cause, damn but I’m tired. Maybe I’ll even be able to sleep in past 8. . .

Good night, Dear Internet! I hope you have exciting plans you’re working to bring to fruition ๐Ÿ™‚ And to help bring sweet dreams to you as you fall asleep, I leave you with this:

20120107-014904.jpg
(Source: holligenet.tumbler)

Not as sexy as Irene’s I’m-going-to-be-naked-for-a-whole-effing-scene thing, but vastly more amusing . . . Night night!!

Bow ties are cool

On my way home from a lovely swim, and in between the vast numbers of knitting projects, I’m going to take a minute to tell you about my AWESOME Saturday. Completely aside from the joy that is returning to Standard Time, this was a weekend to kick other weekends in the ass. Hard.

It became known to me recently that a friend of mine had never seen Doctor Who. Shock, horror!! So her sister and I conspired (along with herself, of course) to make a super-fantastic Doctor Who marathon indoctrination party!! Yay!!

I made myself a fez (cause fezzes are cool), and dressed up as a mashup of the eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond. Cause I’m a redhead. . . I baked a TARDIS cake:

20111108-061733.jpg

It’s an applesauce spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing (dyed incredibly blue. . . There were many blue tongues), from do-I-need-to-tell-you-where-I-got-the-recipe??

My friend and her sister baked Doctor Who-themed cookies (it was strangely satisfying to eat Daleks), concocted Sonic Screwdrivers (veeeeeeery tasty!), and made a little TARDIS hideout for the cats:

20111108-061945.jpg

Super cute!!! And if you loomed over the cat with your arms in the air and hands all clawed threateningly, she’d go hide in the TARDIS. Which was awesome ๐Ÿ˜€

We also watched a boatload of Doctor Who. Oddly enough. A bit of the 9th, a few of the 10th, and almost all of the 11th’s first season when it was suddenly after 1AM and I had to get going before transit stopped for the night. About 14 hours of Who. I’m still blitzed on the happy from Saturday.

Ever since (all two work days. . .), we’ve been e-mailing each other at work, sending pictures of the Doctors, Doctor memes, amusing pictures of (the amazing) David Tennant with kittens. Good times.

Life is good ๐Ÿ™‚

Now all I have to do is make every day that awesome. Doable? I don’t know, but it’d sure be worth the effort.

The rest of the weekend went well too – singing Sunday morning went well (shock, surprise!!) and the boyfriend came over for dinner and we played through the rest of Portal 2. Well, he played, I watched and gave suggestions and helped figure out some of the tough ones. Can’t wait to play through it myself!! Have to finish Portal. . . Wheeee!!!!

Aside from the insane list of things I need to do in the next couple of months, I’m feeling really content about a lot of things. There are things I might be changing in my life in the nearish future, but for right now, things are pretty good.

How’re you feeling about the run-up to the holidays, Dear Internet?

 

Let’s hear it for the arts!!

I should be on my way for a lovely swim right now. Tuesday is my swimming day now (and maybe Saturday and/or Sunday if I ever get my act together. . .). But, instead. . . I’m going to meet up with a good friend (my fearless leader, actually) for a lovely dinner and Don Giovanni.

With my good luck for being born in Toronto, I have access to some awesome stuff – Opera Atelier being one of my favourites. Mostly due to the amazing operas they put on. Though, the tights pants worn by the dancers (and stars too. . .) shouldn’t be overlooked. In the spring we’re seeing Lully’s Armide, which I am sooooooooo looking forward to.

Also on the topic of the arts, I went with a couple good friends to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of The Wizard of Oz (with the mobile playing on the big screen). Which was amazing!!!!! We got to dress up in costume (I’ll show a picture of my crazy costume as soon as my friend uploads photos!). And see other people in cool costumes, some of which didn’t have a whole lot to do with the show (pikachu??). Even some of the players in the orchestra dressed up. Which was awesome. My favourite was a bassoonist who dressed up as Dorothy, but kept his beard ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, I’ll keep it short – I’m almost at the station, and my phone is acting up again. Stupid phone.

Talk to you later, Dear Internet. I’ll let you know how the night went!

Blarg. I was in the middle of an x-mas- themed addendum when my mom called and so the stupid iPhone application thingy deleted everything I’d just written. So I’m too annoyed to rewrite it. I’ll fill you in when I post about the opera in more depth.

Sooo annoyed. Stupid phone.

The posts that never come. . .

Okay. . . So much for resolutions like “I _will_ write at least one blog post a week!!” or “I need to finish talking about my bleep-ing Newfoundland trip!” or “I should sleep more!!!”

This “gainful employment” thing kinda sucks, aside from the money, the doing something awesome with my days instead of being eff-ing bored All. The. Time., the meeting new and awesome people, the money, and gaining useful experience for my CV. Did I mention the money? Cause two years of almost total unemployment paired with me still wanting some kind of life left me with one sad credit card statement. So money coming in is both very confusing and awesome. Confusing since it’s weird to see the bank statement increase bi-weekly. Though that does get sucked into the credit card pretty quickly.

And Christmas is coming.

Which leads me to a raft of excuses for why I’ll probably be AWOL for most of the rest of the year. See, I’m going to try to actually _do_ stuff in the next couple of months, along with working 5 days a week, singing Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, knitting a stupid number of X-mas presents, going to the gym 4-5 times a week, and baking the usual ridiculous number of cookies. Plus several birthday treats for the several birthdays coming up, and finally making good on a couple of presents the boyfriend and I gave a couple of years ago. Heh, you heard right – a _couple_ of years ago. . .

We’re so awesome. . .

And, oh yes, I almost forgot Hallowe’en. Because 1. I’m actually trying to make a costume for the first time in years (I don’t know if you remember how old I am, but it’s pretty ridiculous, since I’m not 7 anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with other people who dress up who aren’t 7, _I_ just feel ridiculous), 2. It’s my Mom’s birthday and I have a new recipe I want to make for her (it involves potatoes. My mom _loves_ potatoes in an unholy way), 3. I have to carve a ridiculous pumpkin (I might not _have_ to, technically. But this is me, and if I can be truly ridiculous, I can’t help but be even more ridiculous than that), and 4. There’s not enough time this weekend to come close to finishing everything I need to do. . . Unless I don’t sleep of course. . .

If only that were a feasible option.

In addition to making myself waaaaaayyyyyy too busy, I’m also in a kind of not awesome place, emotionally. Which is part of why I’m filling my days too full, so I don’t have time to think about things. I’ve talked about the problems I’ve been having with my choir before, so I won’t belabor that point. But it’s getting to the point where sometime in the near future I’m going to have to make a decision. And I don’t want to. I don’t want to have to leave a choir I’ve been a part of since I was 6. I don’t want to have to be the one to tell my church’s priest exactly what’s wrong and why I’m leaving the Sunday choir. I don’t want to be the one to tell my choir director why the choir isn’t as good as it could, no _should_ be (i.e. Her. . .). I’ve been talking about this off and on for the last few years, enough so that the boyfriend is probably a little fed up with me. But there’s a reason I’ve put off looking for another choir, that I’ve put off telling the people who need to know what they need to know, that I’ve remained (increasingly) frustrated about the situation I find myself in. One reason is the convenience of it – the church is literally 2 minutes away from my parents’ house. Which won’t always be the case, if I can keep up this fully employed thing and move out next year. But more problematic is the emotional attachment. I’ve sung at this place for more than two decades, my grandparents are buried in the cemetery on the church grounds, I know and care for a lot of people in the parish, it’s my Dad’s church, I’m friends with a significant number of members of the choir. And this is all tangled up together in a big jumble of emotion that pretty much paralyses me. I’m in a kind of straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back kind of situation, and yet I can’t let myself do anything about it. Why should it be me that leaves? Why does it have to be me??

And after some gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair I came to a realization: for now, the good outweighs the bad. Just barely, but still. I’ve always been one to put friendship above my own needs, and why should I change that now? There are plenty of points at which I can reevaluate the situation, other times I can think about this.

In the meantime, I’m going to be looking at possible options. . .

Back to work! Any tough decisions on your plate, Dear Internet?

Healey Willan’s Missa Brevis nos. 2 & 13

Our fearless leader gave us our first order of service of the new season (eeeeeeeee!!), which starts September 14th. So that’s coming up pretty soon. It’s mostly music we’ve done before, but we’re adding a couple of new pieces from Willan’s oeuvre – the Kyrie from his Missa Brevis no.2 and the Agnus Dei from no.13. And I’ve been really enjoying learning some new music, especially music as gorgeous as this.

I cannot wait to start singing with the group again!! It’s going to be a bit different now that we have a new soprano, but it’s going to have a lot of challenges in store – especially since the three weeks after our first service, both our fearless leader and out baritone are going to be off singing at a synagogue for the high holy days. Leaving me to both figure out what we’re going to be singing and conduct the whole service by myself, three weeks in a row.

No, why do you ask? I’m not at all nervous about that. . . (hsssst!! I’m totally freaking out! Don’t tell anybody, Dear Internet!)

20110822-033339.jpg

Though I’m also really excited to look at a bit of new three-part music, and to figure out how we’ll do things in three that we normally do in four. I have conducted a service before – this past Maundy Thursday I was the conductor, which was a bit hair-raising (and I also did the week after Easter too – the fearless leader needed a break). I know it’ll go ok, it’s just a little nervous-making.

But to quickly turn to something completely different – I’m doing a mini exercise challenge this week! I’m going to try to go to the gym every day after work. I’m going to spin class tonight, and I’ll swim tomorrow. I haven’t decided exactly what I’m doing the rest of the week, but I’ll probably go swimming twice more and either to another spin class, or a body combat class (which is super-hardcore).

The challenge isn’t starting off in the best way imaginable though. Today my body decided to have the worst PMS. Ever. And I’m hoping that a little nap will help before I go to the gym. I felt so sick that I had to leave work a bit earlier than I’d planned. Luckily it’ll be easy to spread the time I missed over the rest of the week. At the very least, my headache is finally receding.

Though I feel a bit bad for fixating on how terrible I’m feeling – Jack Layton, the leader of the federal NDP has, very suddenly, passed away. He brought idealism back to Canadian politics, and we will not easily replace his leadership. Regardless of your political leanings or ideology, Layton was the only leader in our country who had charisma, optimism, and an ability to cut through the apathy that so dogs our voting population. He will be sorely missed. R.I.P. Jack, I hope you’re in a better place, free of your suffering.

So despondency gets you places

So, after my moan-fest yesterday afternoon, I actually got a call to do a phone interview for a position I applied to a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to make much of it, cause of the two years of lovely rejection, but it was definitely nice to feel a little desirable, in the gainful employment sense. Especially now that I’m officially about to be back in the job market.

I was nervous about the interview (as always – new people, speaking on the phone. . . Not a good combination), and all morning I was variously jittery and half-asleep (I don’t know how many hours of sleep I got last night, but it certainly was a lot less than my body wanted . . .).

But the interview seemed to go ok. I wasn’t overly self-deprecating, I was even kinda confident I think. We actually ended up talking for a bunch over the expected time. Well, we’ll see if I get a face-to-face interview.

The moral of the story, Dear Internet, is to mope and gripe and whine about stuff until things go your way! Wait, that doesn’t sound right. What about, be overly hard on yourself about factors almost completely out of your control? No? Hmmmmm. . .

Maybe the moral of the story is to go to bed early if you have something nerve-wracking to do the next day, and especially if you just had a killer spin class.

Or maybe there’s no moral. But I guess I’d say that if you’re going through a period where it feels like you’re going nowhere and nothing’s going your way, keep at it, try harder. Distract yourself occasionally with shiny objects, and then get back to it and work even harder. Cause maybe the douches always come in first, but second isn’t a particularly bad place to be ๐Ÿ˜‰

And who knows? The odds here aren’t highly in favour of me getting the job, they never are. I could be back to square one in a week, which is very scary. But I have a lot of things to do, and maybe a break would be useful.

How’s that for attempting glass-half-full?

Though it’s probably more like, why is there a glass with some water in it sitting on the counter? Who’s water is that anyway?