Wednesday, November 09, 2005

it's the little things

Sorry, Texas gals, but I think smaller is better.

For starters, my hands are small. My handwriting is small. My eyes are small. (I'm Asian. There were no expectations otherwise.) Bossy and Stinky are pretty small. And they're mostly okay. (Tongue-in-cheek, people. No Joan Crawford here.) And I got my second bachelors in, you guessed it, microbiology. While other micro majors got jobs working with large domesticated animals, I got a job working with the teeniest, tiniest of creatures in Entomology. Even within Bug Purgatory itself, I opted to work with the smallest of insects. While the other doctor-wanna-be's down the hall dissected large Madagascan Cockroaches, I stayed in my little nook, playing with termites. I have to admit, though, that it was mostly because those roaches were froggin' GROSS. I'm telling you, these roaches were Chernobyl huge. And they hissed. LOUDLY. And flew. They gave me the willies. But I digress.

Even within my tiny nook, I didn't study the termites themselves. Oh no, I investigated the microscopic bacteria that grew inside their miniscule tummies. How do you study that, you might ask? Well, basically, you grab a termite with what amounts to an eyebrow tweezer, dip it in ethyl alcohol to sterilize it (or murder it, if you want to be technical), pass it through a lava-hot flame to ensure that it's "clean" (and dead, apparently) and, just to make sure it's really FUBAR, you grab its anus and puuuuulllll the alimentary tract out in one fell swoop. You take the disemboweled viscera and place it in a little tube with minute volumes of various chemicals and spin the crap out of it (figuratively and literally) at rates that make the Indy 500 look like a ferris wheel ride. You don't even want to know how many extended termite families I murdered in the name of science. You don't have to be a Jain to be horrified. But the most horrifying part was that I was uncannily good at it. The small tweezers, small termites and small intestines suited me well.

So where is this all going? Well, as I said, smaller is better, at least in my book. Smaller needles, that is. Anything over size 5's and I feel like a fish out of water. I moan and groan about the toothpick size 1's in the sock knitting, but truth be told, I get off on those little needles. Maybe it's because I have small hands, I don't know. (Can anyone tell me what small hands mean in a female?) As things stand now though, I have a load of things that need to get knitted for Christmas that don't necessarily involve small needles. Case in point: the Om Yoga Mat Bag, which I'm working on for my very pregnant, very crunchy friend, Ali, whose favorite color, unfortunately for me, happens to be traffic-cone orange. This offensive traffic-cone shade is exacerbated by the 100% cotton Bernat yarn, which has about as much give as hard, stale spaghetti. The sole redeeming factor in this knit is being able to use the single pair of Addi Turbos I own in size 7. Even the Addi's, though, can't detract from how big and awkward the size 7's feel in my hands. This lace pattern knit up super quickly and was simple to memorize. That said, however, I'd highly advise against knitting lace while reading the subtitles in a Japanese historical drama and simultaneously ogling the incredibly magnetic and unbelievably handsome main character. I assure you this will result in multiple FUBAR rows. Just in case, you know, you ever happen to be in that situation. Here's a shot to help visualize what the bag will look like. It's about 24" long and 13" in circumference. I'm hoping it'll look more impressive with the mat actually in it. I casted-on Monday night and aside from the one inch of pattern repeat I have left, the knitting is basically done. I just need to seam it up and thread the drawstring through. Yeah, who am I kidding, just seam it up? I have yet to discover the joy in seaming. Kitchener, yes. Seaming, no thanks. Still, I'm hopeful that I can get this done by this weekend. Don't anybody call me out on that one. ;-)

Honestly, the whole Termite Eraser thing still disturbs me. I've taken a lot of showers to purge myself of the stench of death, so it's been cathartic to recount my darker days. I don't want to end this post with Sweeney-Todd overtones, though, so on a lighter note, I'll be tackling my Crazy Christmas Knit-List in the coming weeks. Bags, phone cozies and socks, oh my! It's always a Three Ring Circus of sorts around here...Or, in my small world, a Three Ring Flea Circus, at least!

Postscript: As much as I LOVE blog reading and blogging, my online appearances may become sporadic at best as the end of the semester crunches down on me. I have 5 major papers and 2 presentations worth 80% of my grade due in the next 4 weeks, and being the procrastinator that I am, I have a LOT of work to do. (C'mon, it's not like they give us a syllabus that explicity outlines assignments and due dates at the beginning of the semester or anything crazy like that!) That said, I truly appreciate all the time you spend reading my drivel and I love getting to know you through your comments and blogs. I'll try my best to post and comment when I can, and I'm promising myself lots of yarn as incentive to stay on track. :-)

29 comments:

Anna said...

I think the yoga bag you're making will look nice when it's done. I bet she'll *stop traffic* going to the gym with that baby! ;) Seriously though, I really do think it's quite pretty!

Laura said...

It's so fun to get to know these little things about you! Like you... disembowled bugs for money. LOL!! Actually, I will remember your useful "hypothetical" about the lace knitting/Japanese subtitles/hot leading man thing. Good to know. Note to self: No lace knitting whilst watching Colin Firth movies.

It sounds as though you are insanely busy. But, yet, you have a crazy Christmas To-Knit List! You go, girl! :) Actually, my blog/NE Ohio knitter friend Jennifer started a Holiday Gift Knitalong. Her blog is http://knitmamaknit.blogspot.com. Just in case you want to share your holiday knitting with others.

Karen said...

What lovely breakfast reading - lol!!! (Just teasing) I think the bag is coming out great. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I like the color. It's not my FAVORITE, but I almost chose that for my Hourglass instead of the green. Don't stress yourself out over all the papers and knitting - I'm a firm believer that there is no shame in admitting "Your Christmas gift may be a few days late".

BTW, I'm a Gemini and my husband and father are Virgos. Weird, huh?? And the Monica (and okay, Monk) sides of me want to know what's up with your poor little sidebar, banished to the bottom of your blog? We need to fix that. :)

Sheryl said...

Somehow I missed the fact that you are in school now. How do you do it? Being a wife, mom, knitter and blogger is enough to keep me hopping. I agree - even though I live in Texas - little is better. I am 4'11' with small hands and feet...what does that mean? I do knit with larger needles, but the small ones feel more natural to me. It is blogland kismet that brought us together. I got to go to Maui in 1989. It was a company trip, aka FREE, and a prehoneymoon. I would LOVE to come back. When I saw your pictures of Lolly's visit I thought how fun that would be. BTW - I totally agree with you on roaches. We have the hissing, flying ones here too. The termite thing though is just as gross to me. But then again most people think the stuff I did as a nurse was gross, so who am I to judge? Good luck with everything, I'll be looking forward to your triumphant return.

Jenn said...

But why did you torture bugs in the name of science? That's the really imporant question here!
I too, kind of like the orange...At least she won't get her bag confused with anyone elses!
Best wishes for your upcoming end of semester madness. Been there way too many times myself!

Alison said...

Wow, supermom! Good luck on the school thing. And that orange - I genuinely hope your friend loves it.

Sonya said...

Did you ever feel... buggy after doing the termite thing? I had to do a bug collection (dead bugs stuck to a board with straight pins) in the 6th grade, and I felt like I had bugs crawling on me for weeks. *shiver*

Hang in there with the end of the semester stuff. I always loved the last day of the semester when I'd lug the 400 lbs. of library books back to the library. (History is a very book intensive degree.)

The mat bag looks great! Wonderful idea for a gift.

Alison said...

Oh, forgot to add that I love small needles, too. I rarely use anything over size 4 or 5, occasionally a 6.

Teresa said...

It has never crossed my mind that termites could be disembowled. Not that I would ever think about those kinds of things. Not often anyway. Orange is such an obnoxious color, yet I am strangly attracted to it. Maybe it is the pretty lace pattern-the bag looks great! And I totally know what you mean with the big/little needle situation. While I have largish hands, I perfer to work with the small needles. Anything around a 7 is getting too big. So what does it mean for a woman who has little hands? Hmmm...don't know, but in your case it works. Can't wait to see the holiday knits-I'll be right there with ya! Good luck with the school work-I have so much respect and admiration, because raising two little ones is hard enough, but going to school? Just thinking about it makes me want to crawl back into bed!! ;-)

ps-thank you for the lovely comment. And what are you talking about woman? You are beautiful!!!

Lynda said...

Ok - if little is better, just leave us with little tidbits of blogging - but don't leave us hanging... I want to hear more stories about fleas and.... well, really, one never really knows what you're gonna come up with, but it's always good!

Kim said...

First, ewww on the bug thing--you are made of stronger stuff than me; I am really grossed out by bugs. Second, I am right behind you with the smaller needle thing. I rarely go over eights and I am actually most comfortable with my trusty size twos. I had to knit my sister a scarf on 35's once--it's like knitting with table legs--not my cup of tea! The bag looks great; so you're doing okay with those size sevens :) Finally, good luck with all your end of term madness!!

Lolly said...

Girl, you had me rolling with that whole "stench of death" thing. Like a termite holocaust caused single-handedly by Chris. Wow, you are so evil. (and so friggin funny!)

Small hands mean that you are cute ;)

Good luck with school. Tell the family we say hi!

Acornbud said...

Somehow I too missed that you were in school! I did one of those cockroaches in...ugh, but it was that or or mouse. It's why I majored in Chem and not Bio! The orange back is looking great. Your friend will have a unigue bag made with love.
BTW, I'm actually glad someone out there is murdering termites and roaches!

keohinani said...

yah, i almost forgot you were in school, too. ugh, dead or alive, i HATE bugs! they're so creepy crawly...i can't stand it. i don't want to smoosh them, but i really hate when they come by me so i try as much as possible to shoo them away or vacate the area. i'm happy i majored in physics...no touching of buggies or experimenting on animals of any kind, thankyouverymuch!
at least your friend'll be highly visible. as we say on the job, safety first!
that's a great bag pattern. SnB Nation, right? a while ago, i started on a shoe bag for my wrestling shoes with that lace pattern. i didn't finish it yet, but i guess i should try to so my shoes don't stink up my workout bag now that wrestling season starts up next week.
good luck with school! hopefully there won't be too many distractions... :)

myra said...

I love the color you chose for the bag! I can't believe how much knitting you get done while being a Mommy of two AND you're in school too? My God! You are a super woman!!

Good luck with all papers and presentations!!

Allison said...

Good luck with your end of semester madness - you can do it!! Just stare at that bag to give yourself a sudden rush of energy. It's so... so... ORANGE :)

knittinmom said...

Oh, I'm with your bud Ali - I LOVE that color orange! And I have to say, your post today really BUGGED me (ha, ha, ha). Yup, dork alert!

If you ever wanna love seaming, learn mattress stitch. It totally changed my view of the whole finishing debacle. I love it! But then, I might very well be crazy...

Mintyfresh said...

I'm so with you on small needles--everything always looks so neat on smaller needles.

And what's the problem with orange!? Probably one of my very favorite colors! I have a friend who will gravitate to the orange item on any shelf. We fight over orange things. Plus bright happy colors are always nice at yoga, and orange is a very common color for mats.

Teresa said...

HA! Your comment made me laugh out loud first thing this morning. Yep, we fill up the tub once a week, and throw in the kiddies, 'course Pa and I wash up first. Then the youngens get in, but by then the water is a little dingy, but we just slap some of that fancy smellin' lotion on them and no one is the wiser. Truth be told, I just didn't want to work on the tote last night-I was not on speaking terms with it. But you saw right through my little excuse-damn you bath night!
;-)

Ragan said...

Haha, I truly enjoyed reading your termite story this morning. Just know...that you are helping rid Hawai'i of its termite problem (if it helps you to look at it that way)...like Superwoman (with see-through test tubes in lieu of an invisible jet). And, YOUR YOGA MAT BAG LOOKS AWESOME. It is an amazing shade of orange, which would certainly get to the eyes after awhile, but it is lovely!
I wish you all the best on your tests and upcoming assignments!

christine said...

Thanks for sharing; now I'm itching all over and seeing termites and other little creatures where there clearly is nothing there.....
I totally agree with you on the preference for tiny needles. I just can't feel the joy when I'm holding anything bigger than a 6 -
Good luck with your classes...

Danielle said...

Small needles -- hear, hear! I'm a tight knitter, so I might go a *wee* bit bigger than you, but no broomsticks here.

PS -- My DH loves traffic cone orange too. In fact, wearing a bright orange hoodie right now, so I feel your pain :)

Cathy said...

LOL - ooooooooo wee little buggies! I hate them! They give me the creeps - but I did enjoy your story very much! It sounds fascinating, and I must admit, after they have been sterilized and stop wiggling about, it's doable! lol I didn't realize you were in school - what a load you carry, you should be very proud of yourself! - good luck on your papers and we'll still be here when you are finished!
Cath

Judy said...

I hear you on the small hands/small needles. I have little hands, too, and anything bigger than a 6 or 7 feels like knitting with telephone poles. Of course, I knit really loose too, so I usually have to go down several needle sizes anyway.

Say said...

I love the orange!

Good luck with your finals and papers. I'm in the same boat until the second week of December.

Olga said...

Hey, lady!

Yep, it's true, everything in Texas is bigger, ESPECIALLY the cockroaches (I back up Sheryl's comment as completely true and authentic). I can barely bring myself to sweep em up and throw em out, much less, um, dissect them! I'd probably opt for the termites as well.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment! I'm glad I finally made my way over here (I saw you posting on Laura's blog but never got the chance to investigate further). Love your posts, and I love the yoga mat bag (I've been wanting to make this for a while).

BTW, I too am a ghetto knitter, and never knew there was a name for it!!! Ghetto knitters, untie! (We should totally design a button or something.)

Good luck on your exams!

msubulldog said...

I had to swing by after Laura said such nice things about you--and this post cracked me up. My sister was a micro major and dissected cricket testicles (which are surprisingly large given the size of the insect). I have made her a knitter, though, and she's working on the yoga mat bag for my mom for Christmas. I'll pass along the tip about knitting it while watching hunky movie stars. :)
--Amanda

Terby said...

As much of a science geek as I am, the bugs and I - not a good match. I took a genetics lab in which I had to disembowel fruit fly larvae among other things, and it gave me the creeps. Not to mention later finding fly casings and larvae in my reusable coffee mug. Unpleasant.

I bow down to you - with one, I can barely stay afloat. Good luck with the semester's end.

anne said...

The Jain reference made me laugh out loud. I took comparative religion along with my roommate in college, and to this day, the only thing about that class that we can remember is that if you're Jain, you don't kill bugs.