i posted something on ravelry asking members about their experiences with sock clubs and yarn clubs, and i got a lot of information back. (i heart ravelry.) i thought i'd compile my responses here, in case anyone is interested.
man, what a lazy weekend. last night, after taking claudia and neal to dinner at la feria (yum-o!) and showing them a little of the east end neighborhoods, i knitted a bit but mostly read blogs and email. i caught up on my soaps and dr. phil, took the dogs for a late walk, and collapsed into bed. i had my usual bizarre dreams but woke up in the middle of the night with a heinous headache. this has been happening a lot. my dentist says that at least some of it is due to tooth grinding and jaw clenching, so she's fitting a splint for me to wear during my sleep. i've been doing this for more than 20 years, but my current splint isn't actually a splint; it's a tooth-whitening tray made of rubber. but i didn't want to get out of bed to take anything for the pain because it hurt too much to move, much less think about anything enough to get myself a drink and take a pill. plus, if i had, the dogs would have thought it was time to go out for a walk, and i would never have gotten them settled in for sleep.
but this was stupidity. i couldn't sleep through the pain very well at all. eventually, the dogs became so impatient for me to get up that i finally did (plus i had to pee). so i experimented with the whole pain-relief thing: i rubbed a bit of ben-gay on my jaw joint and a little above and below it, took the motrin that my dentist prescribed, and put some polar frost on my temples to ease the migraine. it didn't get rid of the pain or inflammation completely, but it was good enough that i could eat some oatmeal and chill for a bit before i took the dogs out. they were VERY happy to get outside by then, poor things. but this is why i hate being in charge of taking care of the dogs (and why i'll never have children): my head pain is just too unreliable. or it makes *me* too unreliable, i guess i should say.
anyway, after an uneventful trip outside--damn, these are good dogs, i must say--we came back inside and i watched my morning show. i took a long nap and putzed on the computer this afternoon, the closest things to effort being expended on (a) making a plan for vegetarian options for my thanksgiving menu (fortunately, not as hard as i thought it would be--she won't eat the turkey, obviously, and i need to find a vegan or vegetarian gelatin substitute for the cranberry mold, but otherwise it's just a matter of making a separate little pan of chowder with no bacon, putting the pancetta aside for the brussels sprouts and radicchio, and making a separate ramekin of dressing with no sausage (or maybe vegetarian sausage) and (b) making a few decorating and layout decisions about the bedroom. i decided to stick with earth tones for the paint and reaffirmed my decision to put the bed against the west wall.
i ordered dinner in tonight from ali baba; since wheel deliver took so long (for the second time in a row) to get my food to me, they paid for it. so free dinner! w00t! shish tawook (i LOVE the salad and rice, and there's plenty left for tomorrow--i just wish i'd ordered some hummus for the pitas) and oreo cheesecake. i didn't really need the latter, but it was yummy.
the dogs were great on their walks, too. these are seriously good dogs. luxo never fails to amaze me with how smart he is. smartboy trained him in just a few evenings to bring the food balls not just to him at the food bin but right in his hand. so cool. and when i put their harnesses on, he aims his nose right through the straps to make it easier to get on. he is SO an example of the premack principle--he gets it like crazy. (the premack principle is the idea that you can get the dog to do something that doesn't really excite him--say, bringing a food ball or standing still for a harness--to get something he really wants--say, food or a trip outside. he also runs to his crate as soon as he knows it's time for walks, because he knows that the sooner he does that, the sooner we'll get zuzu back from her walk and get him. seriously amazing dog.)
and now i'm chilling with "trading spaces," which i haven't seen in a while--we tivo new episodes, but it hasn't had any for a while. i am loving the new designers and carpenters (well, faber's not new, but he's adorable and wonderful anyway). i love all these shows. i pretend i've been in training for this renovation for 15 years :) as if.
oh--speaking of the renovation, the building permit and no-lien agreement are all but complete, and the contractor should be starting work any day now. squee!! i'll be trying to keep up with it all (including before, progress, and after photos) on the house blog, if you're interested.
i've been trying to get my craft room organized, little by little. emphasis on little. it's fun to do, but it feels like a sisyphean task. i spent about an hour today going through just the three or four bags and boxes of yarn right inside the craft-room door, getting wraps per inch (wpi) for each ball, and sorting them into drawers by yarn weight. i have seven categories (lace, fingering, sport, dk, worsted, heavy worsted, and bulky), derived from the wpi card. i have 10 drawers--one dresser of six and another of four drawers. it feels like it's going to be hard to get them all into places where i can find them once i'm finished, but i'm really trying.
the good news is that it's fun to sort (for me) and fun to find yarns that i didn't know i had or had forgotten. some yarns i've bought in big bags or boxes from yard sales or other second-hand sources, so i hadn't always gone through all of them. i discovered, for instance, that i have a couple dozen small balls (less than a full ball but more than scraps) of dishcloth cotton. not sure what i'll do with them yet, as we don't really go through sponges a lot (we have a stellar dishwasher), but i'm looking forward to figuring out something. anyway, this is the weekend project, so tomorrow i'll plod on. smartboy promises to help me rearrange the furniture, too. then we just wait until the contractors rip out the dropped ceiling and install the insulation and repair the walls they have to tear up to do that, and then i can paint and put in a new floor and really finish the room up. i cannot wait (and yet i have to).
had a great little yarn crawl with anna today. we've been wanting to check out some of the yarn shops in the suburbs about which we've heard such great things on ravelry, and today was the day. we started with a loooong drive out to canonsburg (which is normally just looong, but i'm adding an o because google maps told me to take 19 from banksville allll the way to canonsburg--crazy!). very friendly-without-being-pushy shopkeeper, a beautiful little house filled with yarn, tools (including lantern moon--drool), equipment, bags, notions, and books. worth the drive. i got to see yarns in person about which i've heard for years yet had never seen myself, and anna and i just fondled every skein in the store, i think. she got a bit of sock yarn (yum!) and some other things, i think. i bought a little poster for my craft room, a clip-on lamp (which is disappointing me in its ability to hold a position), some pretty beaded stitch markers (not as nice as the one i got from melissa--i LOVE that one!--but i wanted some pretty ones), and a foofaraw shawl pin for the kingfisher cape--which i *finished* last night! w00t!! (well, technically it's not finished until i weave in the ends and block it. but it's REALLY close, very pretty, and sooo soft. i can't wait to give it to karen when she's back.)
anyway, after that, we went to yarns unlimited in sewickley. what a beautiful little town! gorgeous houses and a sweet little business district. anna kept saying, "merry christmas, bedford falls!" in her best jimmy stewart. it really was that beautiful of a little town. but i digress. the shopkeep there was nice, if chatty, and the shop has more books than i've seen in any lys before. i liked the selection of yarns better at bloomin' yarns, and maybe of tools, too, but the trip to sewickley is way closer and the destination much more interesting. i could see spending an afternoon there shopping at the lys and then sitting in a little cafe knitting for hours. the shop had a nice selection of debbie bliss yarns that i hadn't seen elsewhere, and i scored some lovely stuff: two huge hanks of wool pak 10-ply in a lovely shade of blue (surprise) to make juliet, which i've already cast on tonight, and some lace-weight silk from claudia's handpainted yarns, with which i plan to make the bee fields shawl for someone for christmas, i think. plus two little packets of my favorite stitch markers, a big set of blocking tools (wires, rods, pins, and other stuff i haven't even explored yet), and two skeins of lorna's laces shepherd sock in the bee stripe colorway (because [a] i'm lisaBEE and  go steelers!). squee!!
keith olbermann just reported this on countdown tonight. i got goosebumps when i heard the first part (transplant) and a whole new wave of them when i heard the last (marriage). never let anyone convince you that there is not light in everyone.