March 26, 2006


So in my frenzy and mutterings about local French politics I stormed past the knitting and life. Work at work didn't help... but plastic cups of champers did. Thank god for working in France and Champagne in the office before lunch.


But by Saturday it caught up with and confused me (the life part more than the knitting part). Nothing new... just a new flavour, that I don't know what to think of anymore. It's been too long. And me I am trying to ride with the wave and make sure it is balanced. Cause I am WAY out of practice with this life shit...

So the knitting. The yarn. Inquiring minds want to know?? Well for those who do, it was hit and miss till the last second. I had a deadline. No TBM yarn until the active knitting on Cutaway was done. And it took me 4 restarts on my second front, that takes up precious time. So when I finished 30 minutes before I had to get out the door yesterday, I was surprised and happy about it all.

In Pieces

Photos aren't that inspiring... it is a pile of a bunch of parts curling in on themselves. A blocking is needed. But first I made a swatch and then steamed it flat to see what the blocking would render.

Blocked Swatch

Then I measured against the cardigan I have that I am using as a measurements template. This is one of my other favorite cardigans, by Odile. One of my only Anthropologie purchases...

Template Measuring

And right now I have the back blocking and the sleeves ready to go for the last bit of blocking tonight, should the back dry in time to gimme back my 140 frillion "YOU WILL TOO STAY IN PLACE" pins. Since this is Alpaca... it doesn't look too promising.

Back Blocking

Even nicer treat... the TBM have been prolonged till next Saturday. Haha April Fools joke isnt on me though!! So on Saturday I wandered, noted what was on sale, took a few photos to put together a virtual tour for the blogosphere, and then went shopping (seperate post). I didn't buy much (my mind is tearing me around with the whole issue of yarn purchase costs, travel holiday to Sicily costs, savings I am trying to accumulate, and paying back student loans) but I found two skirts and one top that I WANT. I am thinking I'll be back and getting them later this week, cause I am weak. But please feel free to comment, cause I am unsure and well unable to dress myself...

Esprit Skirt 2Esprit Skirt 1

As for Cutaway, I think this is going to be a perfect Spring cardigan. Something I will toss on with everything (and probably wish was machine washable...) I still have a few concerns about the front and its stepladder curve edges. I am hesitant about it, but nothing can move forward until I make a decision... and I think I am going to see if I can get myself to seam it before I go to the TBM prolongation. Until then see how my knitting brings me closer in my spiritual contact with The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Now back to the finances... to try and find enough for each hope (and each project). Number crunching my favorite task!

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March 21, 2006

Heading for a Showdown

Yes people I live smack dab in the middle of the OK Corral (following along from my western theme of Friday night's John Wayne Roundup gone WAY THE FUCK wrong). Never one for being a shrinking violet or anywhere else but the center of it all. Nope not me.

So now that I am back to watching the international news... I know that you all are hearing about the unrest and dissatisfaction being expressed here in France about the youth employment law (CPE). Since I have also gotten some curiosity questions on it here is my 3 run-on-grammatically-incorrect-sentences rundown of the issue.

Yes there are people of all persuasions (I am admittedly left, but tolerant) and many say that the French need to liberalise their market to be more like the captialist market economies of the US (instead of the state/dirigiste system that France was built on), they surely need to adapt a bit more to the international/global system- but so do lots of other places, including the US. But the US isn't a golden model that ensures job growth, this law is not addressing the serious issues in the French market, it targets an already precarious and disadvantaged sector of the population, you don't tamper with other countries fundamental founding father principles lightly, and one of the major issues in this law that gets no recognition is that anyone under 26 during the first 2 years of employment could be fired with out cause. That is simply wrong, and unacceptable; the least they deserve (when there aren't a lot of other jobs out there waiting for them, and they don't get full unemployment entitlements) is to be fired with just cause. Not untraceably for potentially discriminatory reasons, which is the main issue the youth that this law was intended to help (in response to the riots of November) are subject to.

So today despite everything else, and his I am going to have two days of conciliatory meetings to see if that will shut them up strategy... Ministre de Villepin has stated that the law is going into effect and everything is set up for a showdown. The guns are pointed and later this week there could be a general and national strike. Personally while the strike can make life in and around town shitty, I am all for it. I don't think the law is a pancea, I do believe it will do more harm than good, but also for another and I think important reason. This form of protest and organised striking in response to governmental action ensures in a way that the public are involved in their future and their country. In my opinion that prevents the apathy I see rampant in the US and concerns me the most. So I will put up with a strike so that this country can run their exercise in TRUE democracy.

And really de Villepin has balls, I have to give him that. Now I don't think he is doing it for the right reason, but you know when they clang you can't ignore that sound ching ching happens. He is standing up to look "strong" in relation to Sarkozy for next year's Presidential election. Yes boys and girls we are back to the politics of pissing on territory for impressional values. God I miss studying/analysing this shit. Granted he went about this the wrong way (no concertation nor discussion, even in the Parliament, which are BIG NO NO's here in France) and underestimated the youth sentiments and especially their opposition. He is also betting that the protests of last weekend were the worst of it and that by putting things into effect it will die down. One chancy bet if you ask me. Should a public strike starts up this week (particularly in transports) it is going to get fun people lots of fun!

Oh wait I have show down knitting too! Leave it to me to weave a theme! I didn't work in evil empire marketing for nothing!! Yup I am happy to report that I am zooming along on my Cutaway knitting. This is going to be the PERFECT (and hopefully not itchy alpaca) Spring little black cardigan sweater. That is should Spring ever get her act together and show up...

The sweater bits are getting closer and closer to being DONE. I have one front done up to an armpit. Then I decided to start front two so that I could be schizophrenic, attempt to feel like I was going faster, look like I had done more and avoid having to use any brain power to do decreases for the armhole and vneck at the same time. What can I say, I was low on reserves last night and not in the mood to rip. I didn't take a picture either because these bits NEED blocking so it is jut a bunch of black rolls as we speak. And I am not photographically talented enough to make those images interesting. One day I will be I hope :)

I have started front two, asked the Oracle of this lovely pattern a tech question (cause she is the Techknit Goddess) and will be running with it tonight. Showdown dates are to try and get the parts up and done (sans finishing and extra ribbing) by Friday so that I can hit the TBM on Saturday. crazier things have happened and if there is a Metro strike I sure will have more knitting time! (Well that is if I can put my reading down, I am currently re-reading the Feminine Mystique again. If there is a list of books I would suggest every human should read, this would be on the top of it. The book amazes, astounds, enrages and resonates with me more and more. Support Women's History Month, take the time to pay hommage to the late Betty Friedman and read :)

Let's see what this doggie has in her :)

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March 17, 2006

Luck o' the Irish!

TO ME. Cause... in one hour I am so fucking going to need it. I forgot to take my pills this morning and have agreed to do the Paris Roller tonight. Dont ask me why?? It is 30 km over this route. In the freezing cold. For 3 hours. I am just insane.

Paris Roller 3-06

Yeah and I choose to do this on the one weekend that I actually have plans to do something beyond making sure my ass becomes one with the sofa. I am going to the Bon Marche to see what is on TBM so that I can motivate my ass more (I am already at the sleeve cap for sleeve 2 so... it could happen), I have a friends birthday soiree, I have a movie with another friend, and I have a guy from work who might be interested in me (will find out once he hits me with a clue by four) to meet up with.

Yeah lets find me some green beer and relax... At least I wore green and got green today. I guess after that it doesnt matter that my ass will never speak to me again.

Fleece Artist Merino Sock Yarn in Moss

So I have survived but BARELY, and the BARELY is only thanks to 45 minutes in the hot shower... Tonight was a special Paris Roller, less people means faster route, less breaks and more distance. At least we got a few tunnels thrown in for good measure. My ankles of course thank them.

I would also like to tell the Paris Roller staff who were behind me and yipping about with ALLLLEEEEZ ALLLEEEEEEZ ON Y ACCELLLLLLLEEEEREE YIPP YIPP YIPPPP. This shit makes my rollerblading through Paris something like a John Wayne Roundup gone way the FUCK wrong.

Puffy the Knee says he has absofuckinglutely no love for the cobblestones. And would like to break the astonishing news that the word of the night was taken by SON OF A BITCH, FUCK of course followed with a close (but still surprising) second.

And just a note to the staff guy who kept talking in cartoon voices to me about how my shoes were attached to my Camelback. First of all- you are fucking crazy, oh and STOP making the human police siren sounds behind me too. Secondly yes I am well aware every time you have said it (I stopped counting at 8 cause it really was getting on my last nerve)

Oh and my ass says... Let the Involuntary Twitching Commence Bitches!

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March 16, 2006

Lutte Contre... Les TBM???

Let's all say a nice friendly "Hello" to the Riot Police, and just pretend you see a picture of them because I am not sure that taking their photo would make me friends.... Today I saw them twice (on the way to and from my metro for work) I saw one of my cross streets on the television (nightly news) and the protests of thousands of students (some rioting) kept me from going to the TBM at the Bon Marche.

You may not see the images internationally but the students here in France are protesting a new type of employment contract that is being proposed for "youth" employment. It has it pros and cons but basically it comes down to the fact that government is creating a contract for youth (under 26) that allows employers to treat these employees significantly differently than other types of contracts. Particularly when it comes to firing them.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that my three readers are Anglophone, where this is the norm. You can be hired and fired quite easily in comparison to many European countries; the other side of that coin though is that you can find jobs easier than in European countries. But regardless it is not the norm here. And when students in France get pissed they take to the streets. Students STRIKE. Highschool, college, university; all these students, their unions, the employee unions, they are all PISSED right about now. Some of them are burning shit, some are smashing in windows, others are chanting. And it is live a few streets away on my television as I type. And damn you if you are at La Sorbonne (which has been barriered in for at least the last 5 days). Ministre de Villepin est coince.

The thing most impressive in this to me is that historically at least 3 times French students have derailed a government in power, either forcing them to abandon their law/proposal or actually forced the government to step down. Americans could imagine that even less. Imagine college students storming towns around the US (hell first imagine they would have the network to put that in place) and then that they made Bush stop anyone of his policies that are damaging the US/World.

So I guess I will postpone my trip to the TBM (best yarn sales you will find in Paris) till later. I am thinking I will do a virtual tour of the Bon Marche for you all then. Probably for the best anyways about not going to the TBM tonight- I am tired, weak and I have some sock yarn that should be in the post to me not to mention the Somewhat Cowl yarn I am waiting to make its way for me to test.

More over I think I am going to install a regulation here, a crazy one... No buying yarn at the TBM unless I have finished knitting all the pieces for the Cutaway. I am 25% through the second sleeve and the TBM ends the 25th of March (conveniently also known as Payday...)

The race is on!

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March 13, 2006

Carpe Demon

Yup that's right... Seize the demon by his balls, then chew him up and spit him out. Cause it is time to move on my friends! Time for the next project (Helen you can pick your next sweater and I am still there love) and let us all take part in the FAIT ACCOMPLI dance.

*shakin dat ass* I would like to introduce you to my newest friend. Beth! (Beth will be getting a professional steam press tomorrow and first class ticket to England this week!)*shakin dat ass*

OOOO Surprise

Wait you didn;t scroll past it did you??
Here look again! And repeat after me "HOLY SHIT IT IS A FINISHED SWEATER"

HOLY SHIT Its A Finished Sweater!!

Yes my friends you are as surprised as I am. I was *this* close to asking Helen if she wanted a pile of abstract art for a corner in her new house. But I decided I would rather her be wrapped up in the warm love of a sweater when she gets back from holidays, so twas time for slappy here to buck up and get a move on. Now if only I could find a horse to take me towards a sunset...

Laid Out

That is right... I actually did it, no thanks to any of you who fully avoided beating me with a bloody limb for avoiding the seaming this long. So this past weekend I got my shit together, thank a good dead dog for a nasty weather Saturday and the my job sucks blues! I laid out the pieces and avoided noting any geometry shit- that is for the GREs (mention my study plan and you best have kryptonite). And then I seamed. That is right I SEAMED. Otherwise known as the dreadful finishing phase of projects that involves parts being put together. It is made easier when you watch the Smurfs/Schtroumpfs though- who knew?? But that is most likely a fact of which Helen will appreciate :)

Shoulder #1 Front Shoulder #1

And you know what it doesn't look like a warmed up shit sundae! My back might not be thrilled with me from all my repeated hunching and they jerking to upright attention, but who the hell cares.

Side Seam #1

I must admit that I am quite proud of my side seams and sleeve seams (though kindly request you ignore that pile of papers back there...). Bonne Marie the Nascar Gods look kindly upon me and I bask in the glory that is your instruction. Oh yee gods I have not forgotten it. Blessed be the Mattress Stitch!

Shoulder #2 Seam Laid Down Shoulder #1 Seam Laid Down

Before anyone does or doesn't ask... yes I used mattress stitch to set in the sleeves. This part not as much pain as I whined about (kind of like a root canal people: a root canal is just a long filling where you are a little but not a lot worse for the wear afterwards ) but not knitting fun either. I think for my first time with a BULKY yarn I did a damn good job. Only took me 3 tries on one sleeve and 2 times on the other for this FO to become acceptable to be gifted to Helen. I am a perfectionist... one who is praying that this little bump will not be there when Helen wears the sweater. If you think it will still be there... do not tell me.

Bulky Shoulder Seam Bit

The upside of all this... well one a project is done. I kind of like that feeling, especially when I know someone as deserving as Helen is the recipient. Even better though, I no longer have to feel sinfully guilty like a two timing tramp that has to mention to the blog "comme elle suis infidele." Ummm yes so I have cast on and off for the Back and one sleeve to my Chic Knits Cutaway! What?? Why are you looking at me like that... My yarn to test/gauge for the Somewhat Cowl has not arrived yet and I have 30 balls of alpaca sitting here what am I supposed to do??

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March 08, 2006

International Women's Day

I'd like to take a moment and remind you to take a look to your left and a look to your right. Chances are there is a woman there somewhere.

This month is international women's month, and today is the 95th International Women's Day. Many people gloss over that but I am a gender specialist. So I am going to shout from the roof tops about it. Women are important, women make a difference, women matter. Mac has been doing a good job of detailing an important woman each day.

So take a minute and give thanks for women and send them a little support. And do something women centric. Tonight I will be reading the Feminine Mystique in remembrance of those who came before me and blazed the path so that I could try to burn the brush down like Sherman as I followed them.

Happy International Women's Day.

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March 07, 2006

Lost in Translation

La Defense

Just when you think spring is around the corner... the winter blasts back. With its grey drab days, wind tunneling through you and chilly weather. Amazingly enough, you find yourself wanting to talk about Puxatawney Phil. Shouting about how the Spring is supposed to be coming, he saw his shadow GODDAMNIT. And you are OVERLY ready for Spring to SPROING your ass right out of this funk you are rutting in. Moreover, you are ready to experience some sunlight in your days.

But even when you have looked up all the appropriate words to tell your French friend how this weather is unacceptable, a groundhog in Pennsylvania said only 6 more weeks of winter over four weeks ago. They will look at you like you are FUCKED UP.

In response to that face you will get defensive and turn around to say- DUDE you people believe that the Vatican sends flying bells to bring the Easter eggs! And you sniff twisted at Peeps. Now that, THAT is fucked up.

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March 05, 2006

Front Door, Back Door

I am going to be a follower. Normally I am not a meme person. I dont get tagged for them (we will not comment on the level of my interestingness based on that factor thank you... :) and I dont pick them up on their own.

But since I am low for foder that I want to admit to and put up on the blog, Becky's Virtual Tour gives me the easy way out from crying about how it is already Sunday night and I have to go to work tomorrow....

So without further ado here we go.

This is what is out my front door. Well it is off to the side of the door but I view straight on into another door and is of no interest.


Functional stairwell I that I use to go up... and down... to try and keep my arse in check against its expansionary tendancies.

Stairs UpStairs Down

This is what I wake up to daily- my little balconier. A windowsill I use to try and bring some light and garden into my itsy bitsy flat.


Since I live in an apartment building (a historical one actually, it used to be Josephine's- yes that Josephine- "hotel" for visitors. now it is a lot of studios that got their last redecoration by my guesses and the tile- around the 1970s) I only have a theoretical backyard. But behind my building is this. That is a pool, part of the prestigious lycee Henri IV and of course the Pantheon.


This is the street that the door of the building looks out on to.

My Street

Nice little side road off of what I call my front yard.

Place Contrescarpe

And this is the look out of my window looking down. Two important things, a theater and one of the handful of guiness signs around :) And where guiness is there are lambics too... Ahhh.

Window View Down

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March 03, 2006

Send Excedrin

And some Calgon too while you are at it... WAIT I did NOT say to take my WINE away!!!

Ok so ummm... this week has not lived up to expectations. I haven't started the things I need to, nor finished the things I should have. And in some ways I have avoided me, myself and moi. Instead I went to a movie and had dinner with my friend Laura.

It is always hysterical to go out with Laura. I LOVE Laura. Laura is Italian, so we speak in Italian together. Well she speaks Italian, I speak gobbeldy-gook of Italian, but she puts up with it. Just one more reason to love her. I am sure we must be hysterical to listen to for others. We speak in Italian, say a phrase or sentence in French, and place our order in French. Then switch to English and back to Italian in the same breath. But the funny part is when we have to find complex ideas in the other language.

We wandered Pere Lachaise cemetary one weekend and I just about died there. Which I guess there is no better place to die than a cemetary- all is there and ready for you. We were talking and she was asking me about funerary things. See it was a vocabulary lesson for us both, we trade these. As we walked past the Cremeratoire she asked me what are the words in English for what she could only explain as "when people are cooked in the oven." I literally had to stop and sit because tears, they were streaming down my face. She was talking about cremation/incineration. She had it right, the explanation was spot on. Myself on the other hand couldnt help but think of cooking someone for a Thanksgiving funeral.

So as you can see I am seeking any tangent to ride away from the tasks at hand. Those tasks would be work (thank god for the weekends), errands such as going to the post office, setting in the sleeve for Helen's sweater, and holy shit trying to rewrite Salina for short row shoulders.

I know it can be done, I have seen it. But with the bits about the lapel/collar and then the short rows themselves. It is making my head hurt. I would have caved and just started a sleeve but the sleeves are supposed to have cuffs that are sewn on... Umm you know finishing it be not my forte and sewing on cuffs doesn't exactly interest me. But I am still wondering if I should sew them on or knit them on...

Until then... I am off to cook someone in an oven.


Mama Mao Calls This Distraction

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March 01, 2006


Ok so this is a question for one, any, and all. Am I completely irrational in being aggitated? Yes all I know I am a bit light flying off the handle, and I flame around a lot but... oh WAIT... You want to know WHY??? Well here is the deal:

So Interweave had a Hurt Book Sale. I went in and was stoked. I saw 3 books I wanted at a nice discount. WOOT. I ordered them and paid via Paypal. They took my money. And then... silence.

First no responses to my emails trying to verify that the books had in fact been sent and to what address (I was forced to put a US address in with Paypal but I entered my address in France where I wanted things sent in their order form so I wondered which address they were sent to).

Three emails later, and money out of my account... I am persistent, I call. And today they tell me that my order was voided. UMMM WHAT THE.... they say that first of all one of my books wasn't even going to be sent because it ran out (Hey... then why did you CHARGE me and TAKE MY MONEY for it??), but before sending things the whole order was voided.

Now I made this order well over a month ago. I got no email saying "hey that book is no longer available." No email saying "hey we voided your order". And most notably NO MONEY BACK. They still HAVE MY MONEY, and if I hadn't called I am quite positive that they would have said NADA. And no books would have been sent.

I call up, I can see the money out of my account but they can't find it. Do you see that- it is my trust in Interweave flushing down a toilet. You would think after all these fuck ups they would be all like hey let us send you all three books and send them to you NOW where you are.

Nope. They say well we can give you a refund or send your books to somewhere in the US and for the record the email is vague about whether you will get that third book or not (I ordered the Handy Pattern Book, the Handy Sweater Pattern Book, and Knitting on the Road)... But I just got an email and on the "bright side" they will be sending new books.

I know I am sitting on the ledge of insanity and over reaction jackson thanks to work being shit and me wanting to cry on a Monday morning about going back to it (serious... not a good sign) but this, this is ick... I am in a state of enraged disappointment. Which really is funky. I am pissed that they took my money said nothing and aren't really making good on their end of the deal. Nor is there any legendary US customer service. I get this crap from the French enough as it is. And I am disappointed that I am not going to get my books anytime soon (as if I do have them sent I still have to find a US middle man).

So what do you all think? Buck up and get over it, it is only a book after all. Or dude finish the Rage Salina and Rage all over their asses??

One thing is for sure. I doubt I will ever buy directly from Interweave again nor will I list them as a link to buy from again on this blog again. No suggestions to Mama Mao about spending the inheritance with Interweave. She can fatten up Amazon or a LYS's coffers. Not going to kill their sales or anything but protest however you can... and all that. Now I am off to pout and try to figure out this short row stuff.

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