Monday, December 26, 2011

I Like Red

Color is such a wonderful mysterious thing.  We speculate around the dinner table about the possibility that other colors exist, but we can't see them.  And because we can't see them they are unimagineable.  Would our brains even be able to recognize a new color?  Could we learn to?  Does the color spectrum really show *all* the colors?  What could a new color be like?

Ken read a book last year about cochineal, the rare little bugs it comes from, how difficult it is to produce, etc.  The Perfect Red.  I haven't read it yet, although I plan to.  This year a book came out about indigo, called (surprisingly enough) "Indigo".  It's written like a travel memoir.  The author's personal history and background establish a connection with the history of indigo.  She develops a fascination with indigo, its use, and its ties to the spiritual life of people who produce it.  So she sets off to find out more about it in Africa.  I've already zipped through nearly half the book.  It's been a good read so far, although not as detailed as I expected.

My sister has another book about color that she's going to let me borrow.  Evidently it's about a whole range of colors, like vermillion, etc, and where they come from.

I don't know if it's related to the cold weather and shorter days, but this winter I've really developed an attraction for the color red.  I'm not into just any old red though.  It's got to be at the cooler end of the spectrum, and really saturated.  I like variations too - like this Madelinetosh yarn I found recently, called "Tart".

 In October I started crocheting a scarf for my mother, for Christmas, out of a beautiful red yarn I found.  The color name was "Chili Pepper".  It took months to finish, so for hours and hours over two and a half months I was staring at this wonderful deep red colored yarn in my hands.  I think it sank into my brain, because over these last few months my eye is much more attracted to red things over anything else.  We now have a new red fleece blanket, red and white flannel sheets.  I also have red slippers, and at least three new red sweaters or tops.  I saw some red patterned socks in Target the other day.  It was hard to resist getting them, but I did.  It may seem like it, but this isn't about the things themselves.  There's something about the color that my eyes just like resting on.  That red blanket feels warmer to me because it's red.  I feel better in red.  Not sure why.

I'm guessing as the days lengthen I'll be looking for good indigo blues.  Real indigo isn't commonly used as a commercial blue dye now days.  I know you can still get it, but probably not at your local fabric or clothing store.  So I'm not sure if I'll find anything in real indigo blue.  But it will be interesting to look.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

That Christmasy Feeling

We put up the tree today.  It always takes a little furniture-juggling in our living room, but things will settle after a few days.  I still haven't finished the Christmas cards, but I hope to this week.  At least I've got the family presents that go in the mail ready to send tomorrow.  I hope they'll get there on time, but if not it will just extend Christmas a bit longer.

Ken and the Bru played for the Contra-dance last night.  I went along too, and was able to dance the whole night.  So nice to do that without foot pain.  I think the plantar fasciitis is gone, for now anyway.  There were about 15 couples, and most of them stayed through the evening.  A fair amount of new people too - even younger ones.  Let's hope they all keep coming to dance.  The contra-dance group could use some energetic youngters.

I went to the Boise Farmer's Market on Saturday, hoping to find some interesting gifts.  But it was pretty small, and nothing really grabbed me.  I did buy Nepalese dumplings from the Momo Dumplings guys, and some croissants from Cafe de Paris.  Yum!  I'm pretty well done with my gift list anyway.  Just stocking-stuffers to do now, and I've already found a few things for those.

It's going to be a very busy week, work-wise.  Lots to get done before I go on vacation.  It's probably a good thing there's no dance class tomorrow night.  I hope I can do it all and finish on time.

I'm going to start my first pair of crocheted socks while I'm off.  I'll really have to pay attention to swatching correctly if I want them to fit at all!  I'm still not convinced about crocheted socks, but these are stitched vertically rather than in rounds down from cuff to toe, so theoretically they'll be stretchier.  Guess we'll see!  I'll put up pictures on Ravelry if you want to follow my progress.

Merry Christmas and Joyful Solstice to all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Snow Yet

It's been a very cold and dry November and now December.  Some La Nina year this is!  I'm hoping for a change next week.  It would be nice to have at least a dusting of snow by Christmas.

This was our dance class Christmas party on Monday.  So many people wore variations of red and black - and all unplanned!  Everyone brought really wonderful goodies.  It was a nice evening.

I'm really looking forward to having the week off between Christmas and New Year.  Work has been incredibly stressful for the past three months.  The new contract our company signed this year has spelled out what we need to acheive in our production statistics, and they're higher than ever - close to 100%, with bigger penalties for missing deadlines, mistakes, etc.  Although these metrics are supposed to be company-wide numbers, we investigators are being held to them individually.  Any failure to meet the numbers means our jobs are in danger.  So all the investigators I know live in constant fear of missing deadlines and appearing on management radar for corrective action.  As in - you have 30 days to bring your numbers up or you could be terminated.

For me this means that on any given day I must keep working until I've finished what's due that day, no matter what my personal engagements may be in the evening.  So far I've had to re-schedule hair cuts, dental appointments, and miss out on some of Ken's gigs.  I've not yet had to miss dance class when I'm scheduled to teach, but it almost happened once and could happen at any time.  Most Mondays I'm working until the very last minute, gulping down some dinner and walking out the door.  I try to think about what I'm teaching on Sunday nights, but most of my weekends I'm either catching up on chores and projects I couldn't do during the week, or just vegging out, happy to not have to *think* about anything for a while.

This is not the job it used to be.  There are lots of changes coming for 2012 and we don't yet know how that's going to affect us.  It could be good, but more likely it will just make our working lives even more unpleasant than they already are.  I know what you're thinking, and you're right.  But it's not the best economic climate for that kind of thing, so....

Otherwise, things are going as well as can be expected.  Except for the lack of snow, the run up to Christmas has been good.  I finished making the present for my Mom and found something good for Dad.  So now I just need to get those in the mail.  I have the Christmas cards - I just need to start writing and sending them!!  We want to put the tree up this weekend too.  Ken and I have a wreath project planned as well.  We have all the bits for it, we just need to get busy and put it together.  I'll put up a picture when it's done.