Sunday, 27 October 2013

Erase & Rewind

"Yes, I said it's fine before 

I don't think so no more 

I said it's fine before 
I've changed my mind 
I take it back 
Erase and rewind 
'cause I've been changing my mind"

(Erase & rewind - The Cardigans)

Yesterday I decided to finally put some order in my stash.
I'm normally quite messy and my stash have been suffering because of it.

By tiding it up, I regain one whole box: what barely fit into 4 boxes, it is now comfortably snuggled into 3 boxes plus a "swatch-yarn-bowl". I got a whole empty box and in less than 5 days I'm flying to Australia. Nuff said.

I am also 2,37€ richer (in 5 and 2 cents coins), got 2 extra crochet hooks and one USB stick I thought lost.
While I was separating skeins and balls of yarns, putting them into new ziploc bags and than in the boxes, I came across a good number of UFO, unfinished objects. UFO of the worse kind, actually: project I didn't like to begin with, but started anyway and came to loathe midway through the knitting, yet couldn't admit to myself I made a mistake; because of that I couldn't bring myself to frog them and I start hiding them into the stash, rather than keeping them with the other work in progress I have.

Out of sight out of mind, right?
Well, yesterday morning I had to look at them, peering through the project bags, looking so miserable and abandoned.

And I thought, so what?
So what if the shawl didn't worked out as I wanted to? So what if the designer put a completely wrong gauge info on the pattern, so that the cardi would fit a real whale, rather than just a overweight human?
So what if the sweater that I liked on the magazine is ugly to watch when I wear it?

It is a cruelly honest mirror of many side of my life: fear of not being accepted for what I am, need to feel loved, my hunger for love had me hanging to many things, behaviors and situation that I knew wrong, but that I couldn't let go of out of fear and cowardice.
I'm becoming aware of this now and it's scary. I don't want to put to much meaning into objects, I spend already too much time thinking about the meaning of words and actions, I am not sure I got time for pondering about the hidden symbolism of material things. Still, in that moment, those things matched exactly how I felt inside about many things: I don't want to do them, I don't really enjoy them, yet I drag along in fear of other's people reaction. How stupid can I get?
And that's when it hit home. I've been a moron, even more than usual.

I stared at that miserable pile and told them: you! I don't like you, you're not completed and I'm never going to finish you anyway.
As insane as talking to some wool may sounds, trust me, it's highly therapeutic.

I felt better, I felt a heavy weight has been lifted off my chest: is it really that bad admitting that I enjoy reading EZ's books, but I find her patterns quite atrocious?
No, it's not so bad, I bet I'm not the only one in this world.
Will somebody wait for me after work and beat me into a pulp because of my dislike for the pi shawl?
The simple idea of a knitters' duel with DPNs in the depressing surroundings of Cologno had me laughing and made me realize that yeah, it was a silly thing of me to hold onto this.

So today I frogged them all: shawl, cardigans, gloves... they all went through a complete deconstruction. Now they're ready to be used again, but not immediately: next time I'll knit them with more wisdom and more respect, but always with the notion I might not like what i see in the end and take them back through the yarn winder.

erase & rewind

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Tema: Racconta la tua settimana

Ho passato la scorsa settimana a Madrid per il team meeting semestrale.
Il mio team è un misto di nazionalità, età, storie e personalità. Siamo spalmati su 3 fusi orari europei, 8 paesi e 10 città.
Non siamo una barzelletta, almeno fino a quando non entriamo in un bar. Cosa che abbiamo fatto molto spesso nelle serate della scorsa settimana! Abbiamo trovato il solito pub irlandese vicino all'hotel e lo abbiamo eletto a nostro "local", dove andare a concludere le nostre serate a base di chiacchiere, pinte di Murphy e strani miscugli a base di drink energetici.

Dopo un anno e mezzo sono abituata ad avere i miei colleghi a portata di tastiera, ma non di scrivania, ma poterli vedere faccia a faccia è diverso e sempre divertente. Le nostre tempistiche e il nostro modo di interagire gli uni con gli altri è diverso per via delle distanze, il che rende queste settimane passate insieme particolari: non essendo seduti nello stesso ufficio, non abbiamo momenti comuni come la pausa caffè o la pizzetta improvvisata una sera. Però dall'altro lato, ci risparmiamo le piccole discussioni e irritazioni che nascono dal condividere uno spazio comune.

D_c ha chiesto ad Enric se prima o poi uno dei nostri "team building" non prevederà cibo consumato spesso in larghe quantità. Enric ci ha pensato su una frazione di nanosecondo prima di rispondere "no".

Il che è in parte falso, perché quest'anno il nostro team event è stato una gita a Toledo.

Cartolina da Toledo

Da Madrid abbiamo preso il treno: come una classe in gita, mentre il capo comprava i biglietti, noi ci disperdevamo in ogni direzione ad Atocha, lasciando poi ad Enric il compito di raccattarci tutti.
Abbiamo fatto un giro guidato per tutta la città, dall'Alcazar al vecchio quartiere ebraico e poi... siamo andati a mangiare! Che altro?!?!

Una sera siamo andati al ristorante italiano e, nel pieno spirito dello scambio multiculturale, gli inglesi mi hanno fatto assaggiare il "coke float": dicesi coke float una bevanda fatta di Coca Cola e gelato. Una breve ricerca su internet il giorno dopo mi ha fatto scoprire un intero universo di bevande simili, basate su bibite gassate e gelati.

Coke float

Ok, lo scambio panna cotta contro coke float non era esattamente alla pari, ma alla fine il float non era poi così malaccio, anche se l'aggiunta finale di gelato alla fragola (con tanto di pezzetti di frutta) gli ha rovinato un po' il gusto. Nel complesso, un gusto che sa tanto di chimica. Non penso sarà un'esperienza che rifarò a breve, ma intanto posso dire di aver sperimentato qualcosa di nuovo.

Ho provato come mio solito a dare una mano all'economia locale comprando della lana ma non ho avuto molto successo: i colori flou erano davvero belli, ma la lana era tutta acrilica (oppure 70% acrilico e 30% poliestere) e solo a osservarla mi sembrava facesse scintille.


Sono tornata molto stanca, con un ordine per un cappello e le orecchie che fischiano di nuovo: spero che non sia nulla di grave, perché ora è ufficialmente iniziato il conto alla rovescia per le mie ferie! E subito dopo le ferie, rivedrò i miei colleghi per un nuovo giro di incontri. Magari per allora sarò pronta a riassaggiare il coke float...

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Picot yoga

Take a standard "bad day", one of those days when by nine o'clock in the morning you've already reached the painful conclusion that you should have stayed in bed and don't bother with the world outside.
Imagine getting up quite late for your standard working week schedule. You are taking some medicines that induce sleepiness and drowsiness so, even though you slept some good 8 hours, you've not woken up rested at all.

On the way to work you feel you can make it through, the power of music is telling you so. Music is obviously lying as things just crumble all over at work.

Everything that could go bad goes even worse and, when you leave the office some 10 hours later, the MacBook in your backpack is basically a heavy paperweight.

You return home just to discover that 2 floors above you there is a "Hoarding - buried alive" flat: this at least explains why a colony of cockroaches are playing the macarena at the entrance of your building.

What to do?!?
Wishing you kept on sleeping in the morning is not doing any good, and given you got still some days to go before the weekend it's not very wise to drink yourself into stupor.

So maybe some yoga and relaxation could help.
That's what happened to me yesterday and that's what I did. Kind of.

For the past 4 weeks I was quite busy with a mystery KAL (as in knit-along): you basically buy a pattern but instead of getting it in one go, you receive it in weekly parts, as if it were a XIX century French feuilleton.
The westknits KAL occupied a lot of my spare time in the past month and the result was a gorgeous shawl, if I can say so myself (and being my blog and my shawl I'll bloody will do so!). The result included also hundreds over hundreds of stitches in need of a bind off. How many? I decided to live in denial and just erase that number from my consciousness.

The pattern left me with 3 different possible BOs (as in bind-off) and I went for the picot one.
The picot bind off requires you to cast on a certain number of stitches and subsequently bind off the double of the casted on stitches.
Before knitting this shawl, I had promised myself I was never ever going to use the picot bind off for anything, not even a potholder.

But it really fits the shawl, so I resigned myself to this pantagruelic task: completely tired and generally upset towards everything, I decided to bind off stitches by casting on other stitches. 

And so it started: cast on, cast off.
Cast on... Ommm
Cast off... Ommm

And again!
Cast on... Breath in.
Cast off... And breath out.

Time slipped by, the tension in my shoulders started dissolving.

And one more time... 
Cast on, 1-2-3!
and 6-5-4, bind off, 3-2-1! 

I start feeling more relaxed, less pained and troubled. The borders of my shawl started taking shape too.

Picot edge

Knitting is the new yoga or so I've been told: sometimes I doubt it, judging by the amount of either manic or downright aggressive knitters I sometimes stumble over the net.
But no matter what I think that the picot school of yoga did me quite good yesterday evening, that's why I'm about to start another meditation session.
And also cause it's not phyically possible to bind off so many stitches in the span of one single evening... ommmmmm!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Back on the chain gang

In the wretched life of a lonely heart
Now we're back on the train
oh, back on the chain gang..."

Q: Can a person survive a whole work day in a lonely, gray, sad office listening to just one single song over and over, while retaining at the same time her own sanity?
A: Depends on the song, oh oh oh oh...

Nothing really triggered the 80's nostalgia spree, but recently I've found myself more and more unable to listen to the "new" and going back to the past.

I haven't browsed the newly released section in the music stores in ages and anyway I bought only vinyls in the past 2 years.
Some time ago I started worrying: am I really growing (so) old?
It made me felt bad and sad at the same time in a way, especially when I realized I got no radio at home: the one I had broke during the moving from Haarlem and I never replaced.

How did it happen? I was a radio girl! I listened to it non stop: during breakfast, going to school, at work, studying, jogging, having dinner in Surbiton... radio has always been there and now I just stopped listening to it: I can't bear it, I can't bear the noise coming out of it.

The worse is going to the gym and forgetting my old faithful iPod shuffle home: this means being subjected not only to the pain of exercising without any visible results, but also to one good hour of trash music. It makes the whole experience even more agonizing.

So maybe I am really growing wiser and to avoid any further pain to my ears (other than the one caused by the ear infection of last week) I need to resort to some music I know I can trust.

And that's why this morning I was smiling quite happily on the way to work, singing along with the Pretenders. 

Looked from the outside, people could have assumed I was high on drugs.
It was cold and miserable, I was walking in a post-industrial depressed suburb and, not only I was smiling, I could also be seen skipping to the rhythm of the music playing through my headset... especially on the oh-ah! part of the chorus!

If only i knew what a shitty miserable day was in front of me, I would have hit the repeat button... which I did about 20 minutes later, but more on this topic another day.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Hospital Wednesday

Today was my last hospital Wednesday: no more lunchtime knee injection from now on!
Well, at least for one year, if I have to believe what the doctor told me.
I felt incredibly happy about it, not only because infiltration are slightly painful and my knee swells, but also because it means going back to normal routine.

Because my office is in the middle of nowhere, I'd waste half of my day traveling to and from for something that normally shouldn't require more than 20 minutes total. So the only reasonable thing to do on a hospital Wednesday is that I work from home.

Over the year, I came to seriously dislike working from home: it feels I start at 8 in the morning and stop only when it's past 9 in the evening. Why should I stop? I got no long walk to the station to do, no train to catch, no waiting at the bar, I can just fix a salad in the kitchen and lunch is served.
The coffee break consists of me starting the coffee machine, going back to the Mac, work till the coffee machine starts mumbling and grumbling.

The only moment I stop working on hospital Wednesday is when I walk to the hospital, put some stamps on the documents, get my injection and slowly walk back home. That's it.
Oh. so. exciting. I can barely refrain my enthusiasm at how enthralling my life sounds right now.

Well, if possible, my life got even duller today.
The doctor was running a little behind the appointment schedule.
Ok, how "little" is this little? Can you define "little"? Quantify it?
"Oh, just a little". Just.
I waited just 5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes.
Little was looking longer and longer by the minute and it expanded to just a little more than one hour.

I wasn't the only one feeling this way:

Waiting room

Obviously, since I had gone with the idea of not spending more than 10 minutes in the waiting room, I was almost completely unprepared: what's the point of taking 1 kg of Murakami's 1Q84 (a literary and literal heavyweight) if you're planning to barely have the time of sitting and taking in the surroundings?

Good things I had a little gauge swatch with me to knit and by the time I was called I had finished it. Not only that: nothing best to pick the attention of the ladies sitting in front of me. I was (again!) asked whether I was Italian-Italian as it's still unusual to see Italians knitting in public. We chatted a little, they told me some memories of their mums and grandmas working socks on DPNs and by the time I left them they were all still sporting some nice nostalgic smiles. 

But I like this photo better, to remind me to be constant with my physiotherapy from now on. And also to not complain too much about weather, distance, chavs on the metro next Wednesday while commuting to work.