Tattoo Etiquette

Today’s lesson on Tattoo Etiquette

At the grocery store today, the guy bagging my groceries asked me two questions that you should never, ever ask someone about their tattoos.

1) How much did your sleeve cost?

This was the first thing this complete stranger said to me. No “hi” or “I like your tattoos.” He just said “how much did it cost?” right off the bat. I answered this in a roundabout way, by saying “I get it worked on every few months, so it’s hard to say.” He then went so far as to ask me how much it cost per session, and I said it depends on the work being done, then busied myself by getting out my wallet.

Lesson: This is extremely FUCKING RUDE. I don’t even know this guy, and he wants to know financial details of my life? Fuck off. Tell me you like my tattoo. Ask me how many hours I have put into it. Don’t ask me about money when I don’t even know your fucking name. It’s RUDE.

2) Did it hurt?

Are you for real? I had a needle full of ink jabbed into my skin thousands of times, YES IT HURT. Dumbass. This question isn’t rude, so must as just fucking stupid. Congratulations, I now can’t take you seriously as an intelligent life form.

That being said, I don’t want this to discourage you from talking to people about their tattoos. If they have tattoos in a visible place, that means they had something they wanted the world to know. I love ALL tattoos, even the shitty ones, because there is a story behind every damn one. If you want to know more about someone’s tattoos, open up with “wow, I love your work!” or if you don’t love it, tell them it’s interesting. After all, if you weren’t interested in it (even if it is butt-ugly) you wouldn’t be asking about it.  I love receiving compliments, or telling you where I got them done. I like hearing about other people’s work, or their ideas. I like talking about tattoos. I don’t like talking about money, or being asked stupid questions. I’m not going to walk up to a random stranger and ask them how much they get paid at their job. Don’t walk up to a random tattooed person and ask them how much their work cost.

Anyone currently recalling an instance in which you presented one of these two questions to a complete stranger, don’t be angry with me or feel ashamed. Once you get to know someone, it’s perfectly okay to ask more detailed questions. Also, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes the only way to discover that something is offensive is to have already done it. It’s okay. Just learn from your mistakes.

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Alcoholism is a Disease

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. There hasn’t been much going on in my life that is suitable for public, so I’ve been neglecting this blog. My knitting’s fallen off the charts into “occasionally” and my cooking is just enough to get my family by.

There’s been some drama… My karate instructor is an alcoholic, and when it came down to him choosing between his two best families or his booze, he picked his booze. Up until now, I’d never dealt with a friend being an alcoholic. I wasn’t too sure I bought into the whole “alcoholism is a disease” thing, and I couldn’t imagine why he couldn’t just shake it. After dealing with him and his problems for YEARS, I can honestly say that it is absolutely a disease. It is a devastating illness that clouds his view of the world to the point where he doesn’t see anything realistically anymore. He refuses to see how much his behavior is hurting the people around him, and it is heartbreaking. He is driving to the school in the evenings drunk. He is teaching 5-7 year old children DRUNK. He has a good heart, but he is so self-centered that he refuses to ask for help. He is so self centered, that he sticks his head in the sand any time someone tries to talk to him.

Needless to say, this was devastating to everyone involved. We spoke to him two years ago about at least waiting until after class was over for the day to get wasted. We spoke to him one year ago about not drinking before class. Then he showed up to an important event very personal to me with alcohol on his breath and a slur in his speech, and I was done. We’ve been licking our spiritual wounds, and trying to move on ever since. It’s been rough going. I’ve only just now gotten back into running after a month and a half long hiatus, and every joint on my body aches. I haven’t been taking my vitamins, and I’ve been staying up too late. I try to be a model of fitness and health for the people around me, but it just got too hard after having to leave the karate school that’s been my home for the past five years. I’ve identified as a martial artist for so long, I’m a little lost without that direction.

I want to talk to my instructor. I want to speak to him and hear his plan for getting healthy again. I want everything to be okay. I want my friend back. But there’s nothing more I can do. In the end, sobriety and recovery are a personal decision, and he has no interest regardless of the consequences.

But you know what? No matter what happens, life goes on. So here I am, trying to move on. I don’t have any new recipes to post or knitting patterns to show off, but hopefully I’ll have something to share soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Vegan Chili

This chili is pretty much a staple in our house. Yes, it uses the dreaded TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) but plumping it up with vegetable broth makes it quite tasty, and it resembles ground meat quite satisfactorily. Reliable brands such as Bob’s Red Mill guarantees you’re getting a quality product. If you aren’t into that kind of thing, just use Quinoa instead.

Nobody’s Vegan Chili

1 – Cup TVP.
1 – Cup Water
1 – Tsp No-Chicken Broth. (I use Better than Bouillon No-Chicken, but Veg broth works too)

2 – 15 oz cans of Black Beans. Or Kidney Beans. Or whatever beans you want.
1 – 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes.
1 – small can Mexican Corn Blend. Or about 1 cup of corn.
½ – Cup water

Chili Seasoning:

2 -Tbsps Flour (Gluten Free, if that’s how you roll. I like Garbanzo Bean flour as well)
2 – Tbsps Dried Oregano
2 – tsp Cocoa Powder
3 – tsp Chili Powder
1.5 – tsp Salt
1 – tsp Cumin
½ – tsp Garlic Powder
¾ – tsp Onion Powder
½ – tsp Cayenne Powder

In a large pot, add water and Bouillon, and bring to a boil.
Once the broth is boiling, turn the water off and add the TVP. Use a fork to evenly distribute the TVP into the water, and begin prepping the veggies. (you know, opening cans and stuff)

Once water is completely absorbed into the TVP, add the beans, tomatoes, and corn blend. Add in ½ C water. If you drain the beans, tomatoes, and corn, add a full cup of water instead of just a half.

Prep Chili Seasoning in a separate bowl, then add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn to low, cover up and simmer for 15 minutes stirring frequently.

Books I Will Read Over, and Over, and Over Again

I love to read. It’s my preferred method of escape, since I can pretty much do it anywhere at anytime. The invention of .mobi files and smartphones has furthered my addiction by allowing a book to be at my fingertips at all times, as long as I have my phone and a 3G connection. There are some books that I will always, always love. There are some books that I have read over and over, and show no signs of stopping. Usually I read them once a year. Sometimes I skip a year, and there are some books that I’ve gone a couple years without reading, but can feel their time coming like the inevitability of a thunderstorm. This is my list of series/books that I will always have on my shelves. They are listed in no particular order, and in fact if you asked me to pick a favorite… I couldn’t.

  • The Sword of Truth series, Terry Goodkind
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Rick Riordan
  • Lords of the Sky, Angus Wells
  • The Dresden Files series, Jim Butcher
  • the Mercy Thompson series, Patricia Briggs
  • the Study series 1-3, Maria V. Snyder
  • the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Angus Wells
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
  • Julia’s Chocolates, Cathy Lamb
  • the Tower and the Hive series, Anne McCaffrey
  • the Heralds of the Queen series, Mercedes Lackey
  • the New Species series, Laurann Dohner
  • Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling
  • The Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins
  • the Sirantha Jax series, Ann Aguirre
  • Firefly, Piers Anthony
  • The Hollows series, Kim Harrison
  • the Watch series, Sergei Lukyanenko
  • A Breath of Fresh Air, Amulya Mulladi
  • The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Godwars series, Angus Wells
  • The Host, Stephenie Meyer

Simple Socks

This is another pattern I got from somewhere else and modified to fit my own tastes. Okay, I didn’t modify it to fit my tastes, I modified it because they had so many typos, I decided to re-write it correctly. I don’t mean mis-spellings, either… They had the instructions flat out wrong in several areas, and if this is your first time knitting socks (as it was mine) correct instructions are crucial. Fortunately, I was able to stumble my way through after reading through many comments, and fix what needed fixing. I also clarified a few points. If there are any questions or typos, PLEASE comment and I will do my best to fix them. No, I don’t feel guilty about almost-not-quite copying the pattern because they refuse to fix the problems in their [free] pattern. That’s big business for you, I guess. (Yep, it was a big business site) I will add a picture as soon as I’m done with my most recent pair of socks.

Simple Socks, Top-Down Free Knitting Pattern

Materials:

US1 DPN, or size needed to obtain gauge
Sock Yarn

Gauge: 

8 stitches and 10 rounds = 4 inches square in st st

Abbreviations:

K- Knit
P- Purl
RS- Right Side (knit stitches of work facing you)
WS- Wrong Side (purl stitches of work facing you)
sts- Stitches
Sl1- Slip One (Slip stitch knit-wise onto Right hand needle)
p2tog- Purl two together
ssk- Slip Slip Knit. (Slip two stitches onto right hand needle, then use Left needle to knit in back of stitch

Directions:

Cast on 52 (56, 60, 64, 68, 72) sts using a stretchy cast on. I use this one: http://youtu.be/3n8E3I6Cg2k
Distribute stitches evenly across 4 needles.

1) Cuff: 

– Place marker at the beginning of round. (I usually place it between the first and second stitch of my work so it will stay on the dpns.
– Work K1P1 Ribbing until you reach the desired length for top of sock. I work 4 rows for ankle-free socks.
– K 4 rounds

2) Heel Flap:

The heel is worked over 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts

  1. Next Row (RS) K 13 (14, 15, 16, 17, 18) sts. Turn work so you are facing the WS.
  2. P across 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts
  3. Row 1 (RS): *Sl1, K1* Rep from *to* across working heel sts.
  4. Row 2 (WS): Sl1, P across working heel sts.
  5. Rep rows 1 and 2 until you have worked 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) rows total.

3) Turn the Heel

  1. Row 1: K across 15 (16, 17, 18, 19, 20) sts. SSK, K1, Turn work so you are facing the WS.
  2. Row 2: Sl1, P5, p2tog, P1, Turn work so you are facing the RS.
  3. Row 3: Sl1, K to 1 st before gap, ssk (1 st from each side of gap), K1, Turn.
  4. Row 4: Sl1, P to 1 st before gap, p2tog (1 st from each side of gap) P1, Turn.
  5. Rep Rows 3 and 4 until you have worked all heel sts, ending if necessary on the last rep with k2tog and p2tog. 16 (16, 18, 18, 20, 20) sts remain.

4) Heel Gusset Pick up (Working only with the Heel Flap needles still)

  1. K 8 (8, 9, 9, 10, 10 sts so sts are evenly distributed across two needles, and working yarn is back in the beginning of the round. (center heel position)
  2. Pick up 13 (14, 15, 16, 17, 18) sts along side of Left heel flap using one of the two heel flap needles.
  3. Rep. #2 for the Right side of the heel flap.

Note: To avoid holes in the joint, feel free to pick up more than the specified stitches. Just be sure to keep an even number of stitches on each needle.

 5) Gusset Decrease 

  1. Needle 1: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, K1.
  2. Needle 2: K all sts.
  3. Needle 3: K all sts.
  4. Needle 4 K1, ssk, K to end of needle.
  5. K sts on all 4 needles.

Repeat Gusset Decrease until until 52 (56, 60, 64, 68, 72) sts remain, and all sts are once again evenly distributed on needles.

6) Instep

K instep until piece measures 2 inches less than the desired foot length.

7) Shape the Toe

  1. Needle 1: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, K1
  2. Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to end
  3. Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, K1
  4. Needle 4: K1, ssk, K to end
  5. K all needles.

8) Rep rounds 1 and 2 until 26 (28, 30, 32, 34, 36) sts remain.

9) Rep round 1 until 12 (12, 16, 16, 18, 18) sts remain.

10) K to end of needle 1.

11) Cut yarn and graft toe together.

12) Weave in ends, and block if necessary.

Easy Knitted Fingerless Mitts Pattern

Yes, it’s free. I created this pattern by squashing a couple other patterns together that I found all over the internet. I’m mostly putting it here for my reference for later. I don’t plan on making any more for a while (6 pairs are enough for now!) and I don’t want to forget the pattern I worked up by next winter.

I was never good at gauging patterns… I measured the stockinette stitch across the wrist, and came up with 5 1/2 stitches in 1 inch across. When layed flat, the gloves are roughly 3 1/2 inches across at the widest part of the wrist and 7 inches long from top to bottom.

IMG_20141026_193748775

Easy Fingerless Mitts Pattern

Materials:

US Size 6 DPNs

Stitch Marker

2 Skeins KnitPicks Shine [Worsted Weight 60% Cotton / 40% Modal Blend]

Yarn Needle

Gauge: 5 ½ stitches per inch in st st.

Directions:

Wrist/Arm

CO 39 Stitches, distribute on 4 needles (10, 10, 10, 9) and join in the round.

Place marker for beginning of round.

Work 6 rounds of K1P1 Ribbing.

K 11 rounds

[K to last 2 stitches on needle, k2tog] three times. 45 stitches remain.

K 11 rounds

[K to last 2 stitches on needle, k2tog] three times. 33 stitches remain.

Thumb Gusset

M1, K1, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K3, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K5, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K7, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K9, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K11, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K13, M1, K to end of round.

K one round.

M1, K15, M1, K to end of round.

K one round. 49 Stitches Total, with 17 thumb gusset stitches.

Place 17 thumb gusset stitches on waste yarn.

Mitt hand

Rejoin round, and K 6 rounds total. (32 stitches)

Work 7 rounds K1P1 ribbing.

Bind off loosely.

Thumb

Pick up 1 stitch between the beginning of the thumb and mitt hand, and distribute the rest of the thumb gusset stitches evenly on 3 DPNs. (6 stitches/needle) You should have 18 stitches total on your needles.

K 2 rounds even.

Work 5 Rounds of K1P1 Ribbing.

Bind off loosely.

Weave in ends.

Make second mitt the same as the first.

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Love the Oatmeal

It’s not just because of his amazing comic telling us all about the Mantis Shrimp. (for which I have the signed poster hanging up in my bedroom…)

It’s not just because of his amazing comic describing what every runner feels in a colorful, humor filled manner. (I have the Blerch 0.0 sticker on the back of my car….) (and I preordered the running book)

No, it’s not just because of those things, but those things are a major part of it. I just love reading his stuff, and usually I am blown away by how much I can relate to what he says in his comics.

In September there’s a race called “Beat the Blerch” in Washington. I don’t live there, I can’t make it there. I would totally run it if i did, though. I don’t like races… the idea of running with a bunch of people and expectations seems like it will take the fun out of running for me. I run for the quiet. I run for the sake of running, and my anxiety nearly kills me every time I’m expected to do something scheduled. Even in the Tough Mudder, I had side stitch within half a mile of beginning the course just due to stress alone.

I can’t run the Beat the Blerch race because it’s too far away and completely sold out… or can I? They’ve added a VIRTUAL OPTION. Meaning, I can do what I’ve always wanted to do: run a real race BY MYSELF. There won’t be anybody running around me making me feel bad about my slow pace, and there’s no pressure to even finish it. I can run 6 miles or 13. (nope, not ready for a full marathon yet) I can run it on the race day weekend, or even the weekend after. It’s okay… because The Blerch will always be there, ready to be beaten back time and time again.

And also, you get a Blerch stress ball in every race pack. That means every time I get pissed off, I can squeeze his little fat body to my heart’s content.

The Oatmeal is a genius. For his humor, for his insight… he’s a genius.

Blerch on.

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