Friday, January 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

In November 2001, I killed my beloved Plymouth Horizon. I drove into a cement filled metal bar, sticking about 3-4 feet out of the ground. I bent the frame, broke an axle, broke a tie-rod, and my front tires were facing the opposite directions. It was just my own dumb luck. I had been having an asthma attack, pulled into the parking lot at Ward's Corner, and while watching someone pull out of a spot and concentrating on my breathing, I hit the pole. Luckily, no one was hurt and there was no damage, other than what I did to my car.

It was a red 1988 Horizon that I bought with my mom in 1996 from Holdiman Motors in Cedar Falls, IA. My mom told me that lot was one of the first victims of the local economy for car lots back home. When I killed it, I had over 150,000 miles on it. That car had a lot of good times for us.

To replace the Horizon, my husband and I bought a black Chevy Blazer. It was bought right off the lot at Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake, VA. It was brand new with nine miles on the odometer when I brought it back from a test drive. My husband basically bought it for us, sight unseen, because he was deployed and I bought it in his name.

Over the last 2-3 years, that Blazer had turned into a bucket of bolts and I don't know why. It was lovingly cared for and kept up to date with its maintenance. It made noises, rattled, drank antifreeze, ran through thermostats like a kid outgrowing shoes, and basically needed to be put out to pasture. My husband wanted to drive it off a cliff at times, into the ocean, but we don't live anywhere near mountains, just the sea. Either that, or he wanted to put a bullet into the engine. He cursed at it until he sounded like he had Tourette's, mumbling and yelling that it was a piece of shit because it was an American made vehicle. "Never again," he'd mutter under his breath, "Buy Japaneeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssse." He'd hiss like a snake, caked in black from his elbows to his nails in a solid color that looked like he'd been molesting that engine instead of working on it. And it's not like he's guessing what to do...Shane is very good at car repairs, but with the Blazer, it really honed his skills.

I used to try and defend it but as the months wore on, I couldn't do it anymore. I told him that if the Blazer was a Transformer, it would be retarded. Look, I know that's not nice and not really PC, but I mean no ill to any exceptional person out there. I actually have an uncle that's exceptional and I love him to death. Bruce could make a kite go higher than anyone I've ever seen, and on a still day without any wind, no less. I was always jealous of his prowess with a kite. Shane said it would get stuck halfway between vehicle and robot. My friend Joel said it would be named Corky and the other Transformers wouldn't want anything to do with it. I think it would talk with a lisp and limp on a soft tire.

After watching an episode of "Bait Car," Shane suggested I leave the Blazer running, with the doors open, in a sketchy neighborhood, so maybe someone would steal it for us. I told him that I'd have to take the plates off and remove the registration, because if someone took it, they'd just bring it back to us and I didn't want anyone to have our address.

"Excuse me, but I think you lost your Blazer."

"No, that's not mine, I've never seen it before in my life."

"Then why does the garage door opener work on your garage door?"

Anyway, Shane wrote up an ad on Craigslist and posted it with pictures on Wednesday night. By the next morning, he had 10 responses to it already. He actually sold it this afternoon, right out of the parking lot where I work, without ever lying about what it is. It makes me wonder, WTF? I realistically know that if you are looking to buy a vehicle on CL, it's probably more of a matter of finances (or maybe for something specific), so maybe you can't get financing for what you really want, so you buy what's available. But maybe there's a shortage of low gas mileage rattle traps with acne scarred hoods and dog nose prints on the rear windows. I never could understand what the deal with the hood was and those little scarred areas.

Tomorrow, we're going to Priority Honda in Chesapeake to pick up our new Honda Fit. It will be nice to not have to worry about where and when I was going to break down next. Would the Blazer get thirsty as I ran errands on my lunch break, and did I need to pick up some Monster Antifreeze for the damn thing?

Even though I complained about it more at the end, Shane actually started to defend it. When it was reliable, it was very reliable and he feels that modern day American made vehicles have a life span of about 10 years anyway. But the truth is we also had some great times with that vehicle, but I think he may have been sorrier than me to see it go. But the guy that bought it lives here in the same town as us, and not too far away, so there's a chance we could see it out and about in town again.

Probably sitting on the side of the road, smoke blowing from under the hood, with an exasperated woman behind the wheel, rummaging through her purse for her cell phone to call her husband. "It's doing it again!"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Completion of the Fourth Doctor's Scarf

"[Doctor Who] Producer Philip Hinchcliffe has often stated that the Fourth Doctor's Bohemian appearance and anti-establishment views appealed to older, college-age students...According to Baker, the Doctor's scarf was the idea of costume designer James Acheson. Acheson, knowing little about knitting, procured large quantities of various colors of wool, and commissioned Begonia Pope, a friend of his, to create a colorful design. She proceeded to use all of the wool provided, resulting in the absurdly long, but iconic, accessory...According to both the creators of the show and Baker, the character's look was originally based on paintings and posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec of his friend, Aristide Bruant, a singer and nightclub owner whose trademark was a black cloak and long red scarf," at least, according to Wikipedia, this is the case.

I feel like some kind of wanna-be sponge for info about the Doctor, reading up on each installment whenever he's regenerated, as well as the actor that portrayed him. I haven't been this taken with any tv series in a long time. I would guess that "The Office" (US version) and "Deadwood" would be the closest things to obsessions that I've had. I told my husband I wanted to go to Scranton, PA when we went to the Poconos several years ago, for Christ's sake. I geeked out when we saw the Scranton sign on the road into town.

Anyway, all I know is that my scarf is complete, in all it's crocheted, patched and mismatched glory. I started it in mid-November. The crocheting has been completed for awhile, but I just completed the patches this evening. Right now, I am just about ready to watch Tom Baker's final episode as the Doctor, so I guess it's appropriate that I'm finished with the scarf.

I used the original scarf pattern, found at DoctorWhoScarf.com. Even though the true scarves were knit, these patterns show rows and colors, so it was easy to work it as a series of single crocheted rows. I made it with a G sized hook, 40 sc wide.  My foundation row was actually 41 sc wide, which equals 8 inches wide and roughly 19 feet long.

I purposely did not go crazy in trying to match the colors perfectly. I didn't want to get bogged down with this project. I wanted to enjoy it and just kind of take it as it all came. In fact, there were a couple colors of yarn that I didn't have enough to complete the scarf, so I added in another yarn of a similar color each time. To me, it just made me think the Doctor would approve. I'm pretty sure this is a complete list of the yarn I used.
  • 1 skein of SignatuR Handknits, 8 Ply Pure Wool in color #630 for the camel (love this yarn's texture and thickness. I actually preferred this camel yarn more.)
  • 1 skein of Plymouth Yarn Encore in color #6002 for more of the camel (75% acrylic, 25% wool)
  • 1 skein of SignatuR Handknits, 8 Ply Pure Wool of navy blue as a substitute for the grey. I had the blue and a lot of the scarves I saw online seemed to have a slate blue color instead of the grey anyway.
  • About 3/4 skein of Caron Wintuk in Deep Crimson in color #3048 (100% acrylic) for the rust (I thought I was using a different yarn for the red, but I just found the label of the yarn I was actually using.) 
  • 1 skein of SignatuR Handknits, 8 Ply Pure Wool in color #645 for the green (see a trend here yet?)
  • 1 skein of American Thread Aunt Lydia's Heavy Rug Yarn in Moss, color #291 (75% rayon, 25% cotton), for more of the green, but like the yellow, this was a stringy bulky weight yarn, so I actually separated it as I used it.
  • 2-3 skeins of Trendsetter Yarns Marino VIII in color #335 (merino wool) for the purple (a very nice plum color, but I can't remember how much I used anymore)
  • 2 skeins of Helio in color #3727 (100% Norwegian wool) for the bronze
  • 1 skein of Lion Brand Baby's First in color #157 (Honey Bee) for the mustard, but this was a stringy bulky weight yarn, so I actually separated it as I used it. (I like the label on this yarn. It has a ruler on both edges, in centimeters and inches, which makes for a convenient quick ruler.)

There are a few rows that are actually one row longer than what the pattern called for, because I wanted all of my color changes to take place on the same side. And there are a few big chunks of color that aren't as long as the pattern called for, because I either started to run out of a yarn or I was getting sick of working on that color.

Each tassel has a piece of each color yarn. To determine the length of the tassels, I doubled the width of the scarf.

The patches came from a plaid curtain from my mom a few years ago. It was too long for the room I hung it in, so I cut it to cafe curtain length and kept the rest. I tried using some iron on fusing first to help the patches stick, but it wasn't taking. I think it  was just old, so I originally whipped stitched some of the patches on by hand. I didn't like how messy that looked, so I got out the trusty seam ripper and removed them, and I ended up sewing them on with my machine.

Now that it's finished, I think I'll wear it to our January Christmas get-together later this month, with Michelle the Cook and Nicole the Knitter. :)