Thursday, December 24, 2009

A top made for Mardi Gras

tempting top

From this angle, this top looks pretty great, right? It's the Tempting II top from Knitty, knit out of the Tess Yarns Microfiber Ribbon. It's a fun knit, and can be dressed up or down, depending on the accessories.

(For the record, what you can't see in the picture is that I'm also wearing some sassy, strappy, brown heels.)

Unfortunately, or fortunately in Andrew's case, the slightest movement, and BAM! I'm eligible for Mardi Gras beads. Mom actually said that it would be more modest to simply go topless. (Thanks, Mom!)

Alas, the designer is not to blame, the folly is all mine. When I cast it on (ahem, in November of 2006), apparently, I had grand aspirations of gaining 2-4" in the bust. You would think that after middle school, then the Epic Weight Gain of 2001, I would know exactly how this stuff works.

Given that sometimes I'm prettier than I am smart, this is not a complete surprise. (In my minds' eye, I'm also close to six feet tall, as opposed to five.) I also completely abandoned this project when I had to cast on and knit teeny, tiny little sleeves to attach before I could knit the yoke. Not exactly the Mount Everest of challenges to overcome, but a ribbon top of a thousand yards begins with a single stitch, bla bla, and sometimes it's more effort to go and dig up your DPNs than it is to start something new.

You can tell which option I chose.

When I picked it up to finish it in September of this year, I counted the stitches, looked at the size, and deluded myself into believe that it would be fine. Sure, the neck is open-hearted. Sure, this is supposed to have negative ease, not positive ease. Still, I pressed on, certain that it would "be fine".

[NOTE: If you ever declare that your knitting will "be fine", just stop. It always ends in tears, or in this case, offended modesty.]

All was not lost; Andrew took the picture, I declared it Too Big, then called Melinda (the incredibly talented dyer of the ribbon) and offered her a sample for the low-low price of replacement yarn.

I could go on about how it's about the journey, not the destination, but I won't bore you with platitudes. Sometimes it's about weaving in the ends on an awesome top and rocking it; not realizing that you're going to have a wardrobe malfunction at the grocery store as you get in the car.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All hail the sous chef!

One of the best parts of being Mom's caretaker is that in the amount of time we have been spending together. I'm learning tons of new stuff! A couple of weeks ago, I got all ambitious and decided to cook up all of the veggies from the CSA box into three different soups at the same time. I'm proud to say that the only non-organic, non-locally grown veggies were the potatoes and celery in all three soups, and the list of things we needed from the store was minimal.

I did a boo-yah dance while I made the grocery list. Using all the vegetables in the CSA box is like having three yards of yarn left when you finish your project, minus the I-hope-I-have-enough stress.

On the way to the store, I told Mom that I thought this might be a huge disaster, and she assured me that it wouldn't be. On the way home from the store, I told her that statistically, one of the three soups would end up an utter disaster. She disagreed with my math, being utterly confident that all three would turn out well.

Mom sous chef-ed for me, washing and peeling the veggies while I chopped, cooked, set timers, and prepared not one, but three soups, simultaneously. To my utter surprise, all three worked out famously, and turned out to be positively delicious.

If you're curious, I made a potato leek soup, a potage of turnip, and a nearly-vegetarian borscht (I supplemented leftover chicken broth from the potato leek soup for some of the water, about half a cup), all out of Barbara Kafka's Soup Book.

Given the success of my soups, the next morning I decided to bake biscuits and serve them with freshly whipped cream and the apricot preserves we got in our box.

Now, to understand how good these preserves are, you need to know that I don't like jam. I'll have fig jam on brie with crackers, but other than that? I don't put anything on my peanut butter sandwiches, and toast is butter-only territory.

When I opened the jar of apricot preserves, I smelled summer apricots. There's was nothing sugary or gross about it- I could have eaten this stuff with a spoon out of the jar, and I probably would have if I had discovered it alone.

Given the successes I had with the three-soups-at-one-time experiment, I referenced my favorite soup book, pulled out a recipe for quibebe (not this recipe), and with my trusty sous chef, we made Definitely Vegetarian Borscht (with gold and red beets) at the same time.

The quibebe has gotten rave reviews, and the borscht is steadily winning over those who are not beet-inclined. I may have inherited my mother's jihad against vegetable haters, converting them with well prepared veggies that they've had historically adversarial relationships with.

I'm a big fan of doing a whole whack of cooking at once- we fridge everything that we're not eating, and we eat (basically) leftovers all week, and it's AWESOME. Not only am I making delicious, nutritious, low-sodium food for everyone, but this leaves me with more time to do other things than I had before.

Things I have learned:

  • My father can sense when dinner is nearly ready. Reliably, about 30 minutes from when the food will be ready, he'll call to see how I'm doing.
  • If there is a dumb, slow, and frustrating way to do something, you can be certain that I'll do it that way first. Then, Mom will see me suffering through some sort of ridiculously challenging task (like peeling garlic), and teach me the fastest, smartest way of doing it.
  • We have a "one butt" kitchen.
  • I like to chop, Mom likes to peel.
  • Studies show that food tastes better when the chefs are grooving to my "good songs" playlist, which has a lot of booty-shaking songs.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The last five years

Dear Andrew;

I have done the math, and it seems that we've been married for five years today. FIVE YEARS. How does that happen? Sure, we've had challenges, but for the most part? It's been fun.

I love that you're handy, and fix things around the house. I especially love that you can troubleshoot problems with spinning wheels like a pro. You totally rock that toolbelt.

Thank you for making dinner while I detached myself from the headphones, rescued me from the pile of fleeces that tried to eat me, and made sure I had clean clothes and food while Mom was in the hospital. If nothing else, things are never boring around here.

So, happy anniversary, Monkey. It's been real.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Call back search and rescue, everything is okay

That's right, things have been steadily improving since Mom came home on the 24th. It took us entirely too long to get her home, but I'm happy to report that she's making steady progress with her recovery, and is doing better every single day.

There has been knitting. Hospitals, it seems, while not conducive to rest or healing, are places where an incredible amount of knitting is accomplished. I knit the bodies of two sweaters, a pair of wristers and a matching cowl, and who knows how many socks while Mom was there. Pictures will be coming soon.

In a fit of holiday/hospital inspired pique, I have red hair now. Not Scully red, or crayon red, but an arterial blood red. It's a good look, but I'm still surprised when I look in the mirror and don't see hot pink.

What I have been doing is watching movies with Mom.

The first was Alien vs Predator 2: Requiem, which wasn't bad enough to be good, or good enough to be good. What it lacked in exposition, character development, and plot, it tried to make up for with special effects and gross factor.

12 Men of Christmas seemed promising since the trailers had Kristin Chenoweth and the promise of naked men, which we all know I love. The downside? It was a Lifetime made for TV movie with anemic, predictable and half-hearted tropes, the adorable Ms. Chenoweth didn't sing once, and the naked men? More like shirtless men.

(All of you who came here hunting for Patrick Wilson naked all know how much I enjoy a good beefcake. Interesting fact, Gerard Butler - who starred in Phantom of the Opera with Patrick Wilson- evidently also has a naked clause.)

Bottle Shock was surprisingly good, with a stellar cast. It was better than I expected a movie about California wines to be, the initial draw being Chris Pine. Though I consider myself more of a Spock kind of girl, Chris Pine is handsome enough to make me consider being a passing mention in his Captain's Log, if you get my meaning.

(By the way, if you haven't seen the new Star Trek yet, you totally should.)

With that, I'll promise you stories about my adventures, knitting, and all those incidentals that belong in a good blog post.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Empathy, you are DEEEELICIOUS

I won't bore you with the ups and downs of Mom's recovery. She's still getting there, and isn't home quite yet, but I've been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our listeners and our friends.

There has been knitting, which I'll post about later. There is a new hair color, which I'll post photos of later.

But right now? I'm eating Lisa's delicious "I'm sorry Gigi is in the hospital" lemon squares. And let me tell you, her empathy? Delicious.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Better. Stronger. Faster.

So, after what feels like the longest day in history, Mom is out of surgery and in the ICU recovering.

Without the first surgery (in 1988), we would have lost her by 1993. This surgery should last her a good long time, bionic heart and all.

Thanks, God.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Bionic Mom

While I've been actively NOT blogging, I've been doing loads of other stuff. But first, the updates.

Nearly a month ago, Mom was admitted to the ER with some (seemingly) minor heart problems. She's been a cardiac patient since she was a teenager, so, while this isn't fun, it has been par for the course. (Also, I'd like to point out that there was a L-O-N-G stretch of time that there were no cardiac issues.)

She was in the hospital for three days, and then was home for three days before being readmitted for a week. During this time, I flexed my developed Advocacy muscle (which is above the traps and below the jaw, by the way), and the doctors determined that Mom needs surgery.

While that is all scary and stressful, I used all those shiny coping skills that Dr. B equipped me with, dealt with doctors, nurses, and family in a constructive and (mostly) positive way, and I'm okay and more importantly, Mom is okay, too. (By the way? So many cute doctors.)

One of the pluses of being Mom's advocate was that when they asked how physically active she had been recently, I was practically bursting with pride when I explained that she had walked and hauled equipment all over Portland a month before, because this is known as a Good Sign.

The down side is that Mom won't be attending Rhinebeck this year, but we're finding some "low-impact" fun alternatives for her. In Mom's stead, Jackie will be joining Meghan and me on our Rhinebeck adventure. I've had fun telling Mom that since she won't be with us to object, I'm going to get a tattoo of an anatomical heart, with her repairs, and "Mom" in script somewhere around it. (She doesn't think this is as hilarious as I do.)

Her surgery is scheduled for 10/20, at which point, I'm going to start calling her the Bionic Mom, because they're giving her a mechanical valve which will last FOREVER. (According to the cardiologist.)

I wonder. Does that make her steampunk?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Once more, with less enthusiasm

Last night, while I was PLOWING through the cable chart on the Tangled Yoke, I missed an increase row. Where I take 8 stitches, and turn them into 40 stitches.

chart- showing increases

Yeah, the ones with the bright green arrows. Guess when I noticed? After I finished the FOURTH row after. Considering that rows 3-12 only took a couple of hours to knit, and I've color-coded the cables (which has made the knitting much faster), this isn't terrible traumatic.

(I say this AFTER consulting with Chloe, asking if a difference of 32 stitches will be TOO noticeable, of course.)

So tonight, I rip, have a glass of wine, highlight my increases (and decreases), and start the fun part over again. This has taught me to always put in a lifeline, because I am not always smarter than my knitting.

C25K- day 2:

C25k- day 2

Today was a little more challenging.

Things I have learned:

- Dancing is better on a treadmill than on an elliptical
- Trying to manually change the speed for the C25K walk/run things is an incredibly challenging task, not for the uncoordinated.
- Despite two years of physical therapy and wearing a brace, my knee hates the treadmill. Better to wait for an elliptical than limp. (Limping is only sexy on Greg House.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Couch to 5k - Day 1

That's right, between Erin and Meghan, I've decided it's time to get off of my keister and start exercising again. It's good for me, and let's face it, if I ever want to sport a gold bikini, it's a necessity.

Today's progress:

C25k- day 1

Today's soundtrack: The Full Monty (Broadway)

Things I've learned: Dancing on an elliptical is hard. And a little treacherous.

Why yes, Virginia, there IS knitting!

While the knitting that has captured my heart (the Tangled Yoke Cardigan) has evaded photographic evidence, I've started a pair of Rick Socks:


Ok, these are the humble beginnings, but I've made a few adjustments (shocking, I know), and I'm digging on all the twisted stitches and swirlyness of the pattern. Alas, four pattern repeats in, I found myself drawn back to my Tangled Yoke cardigan.

Part of it is the pattern itself; it's written clearly, and I especially appreciated the caveat about the cable chart- where Eunny assures the intrepid, suspicious, frequently-attacked by her knitting- knitter that, yes, the stitch count will change. Go with it.

So, with Eunny's assurances, I leapt in with both feet. (Without a lifeline, which I realized may have been prudent AFTER I had done the set up row. Eunny, I'm depending on you. Don't let me down.) Row 1 worked out, after I kicked myself for omitting one knit stitch per repeat (my fault, not Eunny's), so I'm feeling optimistic about rows 3-18.

I'm making liberal use of my stitch markers, color-coding to my heart's content, and using six of my ten colored highlighters to differentiate the different cables:


I'm not often a monogamous knitter, but I'll say it again, not only am I enjoying knitting this, but I'm super-excited about wearing it. I have a set of glass buttons, whose vintage is purported to be the 1800's. (No pics of them now, but they are PERFECT.) Andrew has declared this to be my Rhinebeck sweater, but at the rate I'm going, I might have time to knit TWO.

(As I typed that, I almost fell off of my chair laughing. Time to stop huffing wool and get on with my day.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream - a Review

Event: A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Cost: Our tickets were comp'ed, but you can buy tickets here. (They range from $13-$48.)

Aldo Billingslea (Oberon) and J. Todd Adams (Puck) in SSC's 2009 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Photo: Shakespeare Santa Cruz

The Review:

I read A Midsummer Night's Dream in college, and maybe it was the teacher, but I didn't think it was funny. I'll be honest, it was the teacher. (This is the same guy who told us that he was writing a book about how Claudius committed all of the murders in Hamlet, instead of Hamlet himself. He was unamused when I declared that using his logic, Ophelia was just as likely a culprit.) A good teacher can nurture a love of Shakespeare, a bad teacher leaves dirty fingerprints all over your opinions and interpretations.

Mom and I packed up our Festival Glen bag (seat cushions, blankets, warm clothes), and went in with an open mind. (Remember, I wasn't a big fan of Romeo & Juliet until I saw SSC perform it last year.) The Midsummer cast captured us from the beginning scene, where the actors from the play-within-a-play start the show with a STOMP-esque opening number. The show just got funnier from there.

This production featured contemporary clothing, and some props that made the show both more current, funnier, as well as more accessible to the less-literary crowd. (I seriously may have hurt myself laughing when Hermia declares her undying love for Lysander while clutching a copy of Twilight.) We also thought it was terribly apropos that Hermia calls for Lysander "
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?" - with a cell phone.

However, the modern props don't overshadow the classic elements of the play- the fairies, nymphs, and other forest creatures are there, in all of their glory- especially J. Todd Adams (pictured above), plays an athletic, built, and cheerfully impish Puck. (I might also mention here that, wow, he is BUILT.) There were a few Cirque-worthy flips and tosses in there that only added to the authenticity of the character.

Miles Villanueva (Lysander) and Lenne Klingaman (Hermia) had phenomenal chemistry, and both Mom and I found ourselves cheering for them. While their counterparts who played Helena and Demetrius were not so compelling, they played nicely off of the obviously better matched pair. (I mean, really, when you get down to it, Helena and Demetrius don't really have chemistry because Demetrius has love dust in his eyes.)

Evans Eden Jarnefelt (Demetrius) was delightfully loathesome, while Emily Kitchens (Helena) just seemed a little too hysterical for my taste. Her pacing and repetitive hand gestures were overused, and whining her lines was also a poor choice. Alas, I don't direct.

Scott Wentworth played a hysterical Bottom the Weaver, with his lovely baritone voice filling the glen, terrific comic timing, and his dashing good looks. (You'll notice that I gush about the handsome actors. SSC evidently hires incredibly talented, impossibly attractive people.) I mentioned in my Julius Caesar review that he's super-talented, and I can't go on enough about it. (I'd let him warp my loom anytime, if you get my meaning.)

Titania (Lanise Antoine Shelley) and Oberon (Aldo Billingslea) commanded the stage with unmatched presence. The scheming seemed good-hearted (where I read it to be spiteful and malicious), and both played the characters sympathetically.

It seems a little obvious to say that Mom and I laughed our way through this production, but really, this was side-splitting, hysterical laughter. I would definitely reccomend seeing any production done by SSC, but moreso, take your kids and teens. It is my opinion that a good initial impression of things like classical music and theater create long-lasting love of the arts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

With age comes wisdom. And crumbs.

How is that the older I get, the less able I am to eat without dropping crumbs in my cleavage?

In other, less crumb-y news, last Friday night I cast on a Tangled Yoke cardigan out of my Tallulah handspun. Last night, I finished the body part, and started the sleeves. (Since this is a yoke sweater, I'm farther from being finished than it sounds.)

I have to say, I'm in love. This sweater is on size 4 US needles, and I am making serious progress. (Really, the only thing slowing me down is doing two sleeves at a time. I'm getting faster.) I have my next yoke sweater (out of handspun) planned, and a third one that I'm considering designing. I might be a fickle knitter, but when I'm infatuated with something, I'm unstoppable.

Gotta go. Sleeves await me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Julius Caesar - a Review

Event: Julius Caesar - Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Cost: Our tickets were comp'ed, but you can buy tickets here. (They range from $13-$48.)
julius caesar
Chris Butler (Cassius), Aaron Walker (Cinna), Matt Gottlieb (Caesar), David A. Moss (Casca), and Scott Wentworth (Brutus) in SSC's 2009 production of Julius Caesar.
Photo: R. R. Jones

The Review:

In order to be totally honest and forward with my review, I have to admit that we finished watching HBO's "Rome" about two weeks before we attended Julius Caesar. It feels a little tawdry to say that the Bard is competing with HBO, but let's face it. With the "All Roads Lead to Rome" special feature on, Andrew and I learned all sorts of interesting historical tidbits, along with the ... historical interpretation that HBO did.

We saw the play with HBO-colored glasses on. Neither Andrew or I had read Julius Caesar (somehow, in school I read Hamlet five times, Taming of the Shrew thrice, but never Julius Caesar), so we went in with a blank slate. With Shakespeare's work, this is sometimes good, and sometimes... less good. In this case, we already had a peripheral knowledge of the storyline and characters. We all know how this play ends, so I really don't need to do a spoiler alert, right?

Let's start with the basics: minimalist staging and modern dress, which I really like. There is also nothing that compares to sitting in a grove of redwood trees, watching excellent theater, bundled up and snuggling with your date.

Saying that the writing was excellent seems foolish, so let's focus on the actors- which are what really makes or breaks the performance of a classic work. Julius Caesar was played by Matt Gottlieb, who was particularly commanding in the role, but when playing across from Calpurnia (Emily Kitchens) there was a genuine softness that really speaks to the talent of the actor.

The other really standout actor was Scott Wentworth, who played Marcus Brutus. Wentworth boasts a beautiful baritone voice that carries across the glen with no need of amplification, and an enviable acting range. The audience follows along through his good intentioned beginning (to take down a tyrant) through the reality of having slain his friend, to his own tragic end.

Despite the fact that the histories are not my favorites of Shakespeare's work, I would still give this show two thumbs up. The acting is stellar, the setting is divine, and watching well-performed classics is always enriching.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sock Summit Synopsis!

So, I'm back from the Sock Summit, and I'm sicker than two dogs. In the event that you didn't know, we did daily Sock Summit Field Updates over at the shownotes blog. Portland is great, and wow, do I have stories to tell.

But not right this second.

For now, I'm going to go and try to get better- there's no rest for the wicked, and I need to be in fighting shape for Sunday's wool auction!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shipwrecked! - A Revew

Event: Shipwrecked! - Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Cost: Our tickets were comp'ed, but you can buy tickets here. They range from $13-$48.
Dierk Torsek (Louis), Mike Ryan (Player 2), and Karen Aldridge (Player 1) in SSC's 2009 production of Shipwrecked!
Photo: R. R. Jones

The Review:

I really enjoyed this show! When we were seated, I noticed that there was minimal set, a rack of costumes, and a few instruments off in a corner. In a day and age where flashy costumes and ostentatious sets seem to be more important than the content of the show, I applaud the minimalism. (The minimalism says, to me, "This show stands on it's own. We don't need no stinkin' distractions.") It was roughly 1 hour, 45 minutes long with no intermission.

The story itself begins as an adventure story, and then seamlessly shifts into a commentary on the fluid and delicate nature of memory. Andrew and I found ourselves captivated by the story, suspending disbelief (despite the absence of flashy costumes) and following along while Louis de Rougemont tells his fantastic tale.

The story takes a dark turn towards the end, when he decides to publish his tale and is personally (and professionally) destroyed by the public scrutiny he is subject to as an author. (I think this is partly due to the fact that fiction was considered sinful, I think, at this point in history, but I can't find my notes from 18th century lit in college.) The audience experiences the same shock as the protagonist- how could his story NOT be true? We've seen the whole thing, from his perspective.

What it really reminded me of was the episode of Buffy where she is in an asylum, and is made to question whether or not slaying vampires, etc, is all a delusion. We, the audience, had suspended disbelief through five and a half seasons, and accepted that - in the Whedonverse- all things supernatural were possible, and in one episode, WHAM! Reality hits like a ton of bricks. Vampires aren't real, and teenagers don't save the world.

In a red-pill-versus-blue-pill moment, Buffy chooses the Whedonverse. In Shipwrecked!, Louis chooses to prove his story, and there is a moment at the end where he strives to prove that his experiences were real, while his reality cracks and his story rains down around him.

Despite the slightly gloomy ending, it was a good show, and definitely worth seeing. Shipwrecked! led to a discussion about the fragile nature of memory- and how subjective it can be. (For example, take witnesses at a crime scene. No two people will have seen the same thing.) We talked about oral history, and the natural embellishment that can happen as one tells a story.

So, I'd give it two thumbs up, because despite a less-than-cheerful ending, we still left the theater feeling good.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Extra, extra! Read all about US!

I have to take a moment, and brag- just a little. The Knitmore Girls- the podcast I co-host - was mentioned in a piece in the Herald Tribune. I saw it and let out a squeal of delight so high-pitched that the dogs got all excited, too. Then, I may have done my Sally Field impression. Just maybe.

[Andrew was less excited, since he was asleep. Sorry! He was appropriately enthusiastic when he was more awake.]

You can read the article here.

Speaking of men in vests...

I'm going to harken back to the late '90s, and remind you that there was a man so bold as to wear a vest on network television. A man SO bold as to wear a vest, on television, shirtless.

That man is none other than Kevin Sorbo. Go ahead, laugh; I do. Not many men can pull off the shirtless vest, but I assure you, Kevin Sorbo is in those ranks. I have been powering through Hercules: The Legendary Journeys via my favorite medium for cheesy, B-Movies: Netflix Instant Watch.

Maybe it's his epic chest. Maybe it's the tight pants. Perhaps it's the Microsoft Paint special effects equivalent. Maybe it's the Hasselhoffing (definition #6). Maybe it's the timeless quotability, including classic lines like, "Slavery is just WRONG" and "I'm not just a piece of meat". Sing it, Herc.

It could very well be the intense cheese factor; take Captain Hammer, stick him in a wheel of brie, bake him, sprinkle him with toasted almonds, and he still doesn't measure up to the cheese factor that is Kevin Sorbo as Hercules.

To be fair (and balanced!), I've also queued Xena: Warrior Princess. The icing on the Herculean cake *might* be the fact that Lucy Lawless was a random red-shirty-slave-girl in an early episode, becomes Xena, then dons the hyper-masculine Romulan shoulder accoutrement. (By the way, Lucy Lawless? Crazy long legs. I even liked her as a cylon.)

No apologies, no excuses, just, "Hey, Lucy Lawless is super-hot. Let's make her a superhero." That's exactly the kind of decision making I like to see in my entertainment. Forget about continuity, just cast all willy nilly, get drunk, and write dialogue.

Hm. Sounds kind of like my dream job. Think Christian Williams needs a hand?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stage 13 - Tour de Fleece

Team Spinmore, stage 13.

As your fearless Yellow Jersey spinner, I feel it is only fair to give an update. (You know, since radios were banned. The ban has been lifted, as of yesterday. That's what I'm blaming the blog silence on. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.) Can you hear me now?

So, my progress: I have finished Leg 1 and Leg 2 of my Tour de Fleece goals. The Mango has been plied and skeined, the Albatross has been plied and is waiting for Andrew to skein it. (His socks, he skeins. Totally fair.)

But, I have wandered off of the path, taken a side route, if you will, had a picnic under a tree, took a nap, smelled some roses, and am slowly wandering back towards the race. Lance Armstrong, I am not.

Part of my diversion from the challenge - which I planned into my goals, by the way - is that I am spinning some STUNNING tussah silk from A Verb for Keeping Warm (in Vermillion II). I am spinning it fine, and if yardage yields, it will grow up to be an Aeolian.

I know that I have limited time to meet my goal, but by pacing myself, I know I'll finish and not burn out, pull a hamstring, or cause a peloton pileup. Of spinners. Metaphorically speaking.

Until then, spinners, back to our wheels! Remember, safety first- take regular stretch breaks, ice if necessary, and most of all, stay hydrated.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What is it about a man in a vest?

While working on my Tour de Fleece projects, I've been working my way through a couple of new TV shows- including The Mentalist. I tripped across it by accident (and given my affinity for Psych, decided to give it a chance), and I have to say... wow.

Now, I'm not going to Clark Kent all over it because suspension of disbelief is part of the joy that is television. So, you're not going to get another attack of the implausible [noun] this time.

First- Simon Baker/Patrick Jane has the best Botox-ed forehead EVER. An un-paralyzed forehead has nothing on him- and even (shockingly) looks unnatural. Weird, right?

Second- he wears a VEST. Seriously. Evidently, vests aren't just for ushers and magicians anymore. He might be the only man on television who wears a vest, but I'll be damned if he doesn't rock it.

(Talking about underrated accessories- Mom pointed out that Gabrielle Anwar rocks a fanny pack on Burn Notice. Take that, you fanny pack haters!)

I'm sure the discussion that made that wardrobe decision went something like this:

Wardrobe Person #1: We want him to be different. Quirky.
Wardrobe Person #2: Maybe we should have him wear obnoxious ties, or a belt buckle, or mismatched socks!
Wardrobe Person #1: Nah, that's been done on Bones. And Criminal Minds.
Wardrobe Person #2: Hm. Since he works with law enforcement, maybe it should be a special tie.
Wardrobe Person #1: No way. They're California law enforcement. Nobody in California wears a tie to work.
Wardrobe Person #2: Flip flops?
Wardrobe Person #1: Flip flops aren't shoes. We need something that says, "Hey, I respect my work AND I'm unconventional."
Wardrobe Person #2: I know. A VEST. Nobody wears a vest anymore!
Wardrobe Person #1: GENIUS.

And so it was. The Vested Man.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holy sock, Batman!

That's right. I can officially say that I have worn through the heel of a handknit sock. Proof:

Holy sock, Batman!

I knit these in 2002 out of Silja sock yarn that I bought at the Yarn Place. (Someone, please tell me why I can remember that, but not what I ate for lunch yesterday? It's a puzzlement.) Seven years and a million washes later, we have a spectacular, spontaneous hole.

Tour de Fleece is going swimmingly- I have plied both the Mango Merino/Silk from Redfish Dyeworks and the Crown Mountain Superwash Merino (in Albatross) for Andrew. Of course there aren't pictures. Evidently, I can post cell-phone pictures of holy socks, but my Beloved Handspun(tm) requires a photo shoot. Puzzlement, part 2.

I am knitting like a MADWOMAN on my Adamas shawl. I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple of weeks so that I can do a huge blocking session out on the patio. I have not one, but three, shawls that need blocking. How is it that after a hundred hours of knitting something, blocking is what keeps it in the UFO bin? Puzzlement, part 3.

In regards to the Lace Gauntlet Throwdown (because nobody loves a challenge like I do), I have been slowly working through combing the Baby Cormo locks, and I think I'm going to bribe No-Blog-Rachel with wine (or mojitos) to come over with her Patrick Greene drumcarder so I can drumcard Frank and Luther. There is just NO way I'm combing all that.

(For your reference, it's taking me approximately one million years per ounce to comb - poorly - the beautiful locks. Sorry, Meghan, there is a real reason why I love Shari.)

I've sustained some minor battle damage, but I think Andrew might just dig fiber related scars.

"See this one? Combing baby cormo." Hm. Doesn't quite have that "tough guy" ring to it. (Considering I told a few people that I tore my chest muscles in a bar fight - because coughing hard enough to cause that damage just sounded sissified - I'm not above a creative story.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

...with liberty and libations for all!

Today kicked off the Tour de Fleece. After careful consideration, and much debate, I found my goal. I'm going to ply up all the projects that have been sitting, resting indefinitely, which include:

- 25 oz of Tallulah, to be knit into a Mariah:


- 4 oz of Redfish Dyeworks 80% merino/ 20% tussah silk, in the Mango colorway, spun for lace knitting.

- 4 oz of Crown Mountain Superwash merino in "Albatross". Spun for socks for Andrew. (Side note: Crown Mountain had a sale last week, and I totally resisted the urge to purchase.)

But alas, as the race kicked off, guess who got a flat tire? Yours truly. I start plying up the mango colored laceweight, and my Woolee Winder refuses to draw in. So I oil everything (because that's the first step in fixing any spinning issue. Yes, the bobbin is new, so it needs to be broken in. But alas, my Woolee Winder needs to be cleaned and tightened. My pit crew (Andrew) has been informed.

Lest you think I spun alone today, I was joined by some of my closest friends, and their families. What started as a casual day of sitting around, watching movies and spinning turned into a full-out pot-luck style barbeque. I haven't had this much fun on a Fourth of July in ages!

When we served dinner, we packed a dozen people into our living room, tossed in 1776 - which might be the best movie EVER, second only to Xanadu - and watched William Daniels declare independency for the United States. Sure, it was a tight fit, but we still had a great time.

So, I close with some self-evident truths:

- Where there is a fire pit and s'more components, fun will be had.
- Getting into a hammock can be a challenge, but well worth it.
- Friends come to party, real friends help with the cleanup. Mine are the best!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rules of the universe

On Monday, I ended up with a "bacterial situation" in one of my eyes, that resulted in my right eye being painfully swollen shut and a trip to the ophthalmologist's office.

Sam, kudos to him, came and got me from work, and stayed with me until Andrew got home to take me to the doctor. Andrew, to his credit, offered to come into the exam room with me. I told him that I was a big girl, and if I needed him, I would call for him. (Really, all I needed was a ride to the doctor.)

I almost made Andrew take a picture of it, but he suggested that I do an artist's rendering of it, for the weak of stomach.

Jasmin, on a normal day:


Jasmin, on Monday, with her Freak Eye:


The resemblance is uncanny, right? In any case, the way the universe works, the worse I look, the better looking the firemen/paramedics/ or in this case, ophthalmologist is. Smokin' hot. Seriously.

(He was also incredibly good at his job, and had a sense of humor, which is important when you're dealing with someone like me. It seems that hiring wicked hot, super-good doctors is the trend with Kaiser. It gives all new meaning to "Thrive".)

The exchange went like this:

Dr. EyeCandy: Well, I've got good news for you.
Me: I get to keep the eye?
Dr. EyeCandy: You get to keep the eye.
Me: Sweet.

He then prescribed my FAVORITE prescription to date- to go home and lay on the couch with my eyes shut. I may have professed my undying love for him. Two rest days, a few cold compresses, and some ointment later, my eyes are almost the same size and color again.

(By the way, I love ointment. I love that they're a historic cure, I love that there's an ointment for all that ails you, and most of all, I love to call 'ointment' 'oinkment'. Shades of my pig-loving childhood.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.

It has been 16 days since my last post. I confess; I have been knitting. I have been spinning. I have been finishing. I have dyed. I have knit in public. I have even been (gasp!) hand processing wool.

I have finished my Wool Peddler's Shawl, except for the blocking:


(Notice the Swarovski crystals in the edging:)


I have finished not one, but TWO pairs of show notes socks. Here are the Andrew's Vanilla pattern in Abstract Fiber's "Newport":


I finished my Abby, which Kalendargirl says makes me look like Ginger Rogers:


I have cast-on, ripped out, cast-on, ripped out, and cast on my Sunshine Socks:


And now that Chloe has set in the sleeves and seamed the shoulders, I'm THIS CLOSE to finishing my Katarina:


So, I leave you with pictures, and I assure you, there are stories to go with these pieces. As my penance, I have been tasked with knitting a 5" garter collar and cuffs (with US 3/3.25mm needles) on the Katarina.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My cup runneth over!

There is no TV event I look forward to more than the Tony Awards. I'm a giant geek, and while I completely understand that they aren't really representative of the whole New York theatre scene, it's a taste of fresh theater.

I love it. They also pick the HUNKIEST hosts, including my one and only Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and this year, my first love (Neil Patrick Harris) will be hosting. Neil Patrick Handsome- I mean, Harris - is the origin of my affinity for spiky, "sticky-up" hair.

My six-year-old crush on him was the reason my parents let me stay up past my bedtime to watch Doogie Howser, Md. Though, in retrospect, I think it may have been my parents, telling me from an early age that marrying a doctor was all right with them. In any case, NPH has always held a special place in my heart, and now he's hosting the Tony's.

I have a morbid curiousity about "Shrek: The Musical", but my instincts warn me that where all the good books become mediocre movies, all good movies will become cheerful, sanitized, simplified musicals.

(Legally Blonde, anyone? Ok, short rant: they made Elle stupid in the play as a plot device to give Emmett the opportunity to tutor her, which COMPLETELY missed the spirit of the story. In case you weren't paying attention, the point is that she always WAS smart, just perceived to be otherwise.)

Where are the original thinkers? What's with all the revivals?

Ahem. But, I digress.

Neil has got some big shoes to fill - and you know what they say about guys who wear big shoes - and long legs to keep up with.

Stunning, long, keeping-up-with-the-Rockettes-in-a-kick-line legs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yesterday's conversation

Me: [Spills drink.] Crap!
Work Husband Mike: What?
Me: I just spilled my drink down my sleeve. [Look down.] And down the front of my cardigan.
Work Husband Mike: What was it?
Me: Club soda.
Work Husband Mike: Quick! Pour more club soda on it! It'll keep it from staining.

Monday, June 1, 2009

So, a nun walks into the vet...

No, really. Except, that's not where my story starts.

On Saturday, Andrew and I loaded the dogs into the car to go get their shots updated. When we got there, the office wasn't busy and didn't close for over an hour, so we let the dogs sniff in the ivy around the office (Elphie's favorite thing to do, for the record).

Niki decided that he was done sniffing and was ready to go into the clinic, so Andrew took him in. Elphie, who experiences the world one blade of grass at a time, took a little longer. As Elphie was finishing, and started to head towards the clinic - no joke - out walks a nun. In a habit.

I was a little surprised; I've never seen a nun in person, and here was a nun, in the wild. I smiled, because, never having attended Catholic school or church, I don't have a Nun Thing.

"What a pretty dog," says Sister Mary Nun-in-the-Wild, "It looks just like another dog in the clinic."

"He's mine, too," I answer, "They're a matched set."

"Poor things. My dog shakes like a leaf when we come to the vet," says Sister Mary Nun-in-the-Wild, "She must be so nervous."

"Nope; my dogs don't mind coming to the vet," I say, as Elphie is pulling on the leash to go INSIDE, "Happy vet visits make all the difference."

"Happy vet visits?" asked Sister Mary Nun-in-the-Wild.

"Yeah, Dr. Johnson suggested them. The dogs come in, get weighed, get a cookie, we go home. All positive experiences, so they don't mind coming here," I answer.

"For Heaven's sake," says Sister Mary Nun-in-the-Wild, "What a good idea!"

[At this point, I giggle - on the inside- because somehow I find it POSITIVELY HILARIOUS that a nun would say "For Heaven's sake."]

We part ways, the dogs get boostered, everything goes smoothly, and I got to leave with a nun story. Winners all around!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

At the end of a long week

Sometimes you need giant margaritas and some killer company.

Congrats on your BA, Tika!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sometimes Vulcans wear ugly sweaters, too.

So, it's been more than a week since the new Star Trek was released. Before I say anything else, it is only fair to say that I LOVED this movie, I think it was brilliant, witty, fun, and Zachary Quinto plays one hot Vulcan.

I think what I might have liked best about this movie was that we get some interesting alternate exposition. We see Spock as a child, and later, as a young adult. We learn that despite logic, even a Vulcan has to wear the Ugly Sweater.

We all know the Ugly Sweater. The one that some well-intentioned family member (or family friend) made for you. The one that itched, or grew, or had some dorky intarsia. Since none of the other Vulcans in the film wore ugly, ill-fitting sweaters made of acrylic (Homespun, anyone?) over their beautifully tailored outfits, I can only deduce there is one person to blame.

Winona Ryder. Aka, Mrs. Sarek, Amanda Grayson, and most importantly, Spock's Mom. She strikes me as the Ugly Sweater knitting type. (Would it be cliche to make a joke about her shoplifting something better for him than ACRYLIC?)

Poor Spock. As if he wasn't a pariah enough for being half human; now he has to don the Ugly Sweater of Half-Human Shame that his mother made for him. Nobody spoke up for him.

My mother saved me from an Ugly Sweater (which, by the way, would have been the autumn-colored, cardiganed sister of Spock's USoHHS) in high school. I saw the end result, which the offending relative decided to make for herself and it was a crime against knitting. A CRIME!

Someone needs to stop the madness. If you happen to witness a crime against knitting, please call the [fictional] Crimes Against Knitting Hotline: 1-800-STOP-THE-ACRYLIC.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Efficiency, thy embodiment is Jasmin

You know what's awesome? Excel. PivotTables rock my world in ways that you can't even BEGIN to understand. (Unless you know the love that is Excel, of course.)

PivotTables have taken a task that was previously done by hand and - WHOOSH! - with a click and a couple of drag-and-drops, we have data. Highlight the table and we have graphs. (I love graphs.)

Alas, there must be balance in the universe, which is why we have Devil PowerPoint. I find it singularly frustrating that gathering the data in Excel is a breeze, but putting it in a simple PowerPoint presentation is enough to make me tear out handfuls of pink, curly hair. I know that it's purported to be simple enough that six-year-olds can use it; but I'll tell you, I've met some wily six-year-olds.

Maybe THAT is why people have kids. Hmm...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Well, she's no Tallulah...

So, there has been knitting, and there has been spinning. I've finished my Abby, but haven't taken any FO pictures because (a) I haven't been wearing makeup and (b) the ends remain unwoven.

But. I have finished the Impulsive Geoff scarf. This took me a week to knit, and I enjoyed every minute of it.


I maintain that there is no cure for knitting ennui like cashmere.

I've also been spinning. I've spun and plied the Crown Mountain "In the Air Tonight", finished the spinning on Tallulah, have spun half of the "Crocodile Walk", and started spinning Lina.

Ah, Lina. Lina is a chocolate brown merino hogget fleece that I got at the spinning day at the Retzlaff winery from Janet Heppler last year. Shari processed it, and Lina sat in my office, cleaned and pin drafted, waiting to be spun. She's a lovely fleece, a little heavy on the Veggie Matter, but alas, she's no Tallulah.

The VM makes the spinning a little slower, since I'm pulling it out as I go. I'm breaking in the Schacht-Reeves with Lina, so moving a little slower isn't exactly torture. (By the way, I'm running the Schacht-Reeves on scotch tension, and I run Lancelot the Matchless on double drive.) I'm enjoying Lina, but not in that obsessive way that I enjoyed Tallulah.

This whole thing reminds me of something that happened a few years ago. Andrew and I were in New York, and we were in the audience for Avenue Q. At intermission in the row behind us, we overheard this:

Person A: "So, what do you think of the show?"
Person B: "Well, it's no Wicked."

That's kind of how I feel about Lina. So, appropriately, I think that she's going to grow up to be a Wicked.

Abstract and weird, yes. But really, it's my knitting. So neener-neener.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just call me Braggatha

This morning when I left the house, Our Favorite Electrician came over. While the dogs were at their Auntie Colleen's house for a marathon playdate with their favorite Akita cousin, Hana, and I was at work, magic was happening at my house.

After work, I picked up two VERY tired dogs, and came home. The change in our home is amazing. Our Favorite Electrician installed canned lighting in our living room and dining room, and Andrew mounted the speakers to the walls. I can comfortably knit with JUST the lights on, no extra lamps are necessary. A-MA-ZING. (Also, the surround sound is AWESOME.)

I haven't tried knitting with black yarn, which will be the real test of how fabulous the lights are, but I'll do that.

Between the lights, and the new-and-improved closet, I am SO pleased with the work we're getting done on this house. I'm so pleased, I'll walk into a room, turn the lights off, and then turn them back on. It's like when I would stand and admire my new closet. (I'm still doing this, by the way. It's that good.)

Not to brag, but I might be married to the best man EVER. Now, what to get him for his upcoming 30th birthday...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If you give an engineer a spinning wheel

Writing about the Bad Bobbin reminded me of a story from my childhood. Taking a page from Alison's book (and possibly her blog), I share with you an anecdote:

Mom and I were taking spinning lessons together (which you can hear about in this episode of Cast-on), and we had come home with a spinning wheel. Enthusiastically, I filled the first bobbin, and Mom and I changed the bobbin.

I tried sitting down to spin again, and it wouldn't work. It wouldn't GO. The wheel was moving, the flyer was spinning, but nothing was happening!

Mom turned to Dad and deferred to his degree in Civil Engineering. He and a friend (another engineer, though I'm not certain what flavor he is) fussed with the wheel for over an hour. No luck. They determined that the wheel was broken and COULDN'T work.

We called the teacher the next day, and she suggested checking the tension. Which was dangling, unfastened.

Spinning Wheel: 1, Two Northwestern Engineers: 0.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In which I confirm the definition of "crazy"

I had a ... challenged week last week. To say the least. I intended to close the week with some soothing spinning.


It turns out that some of my Schacht bobbins (the high speed ones) are a little defective. One wasn't tooled properly. Instead of assuming that, I spent the better part of friday night beating myself up, and restringing my driveband.

(Because CLEARLY if the driveband has been working properly for everything else, that must be what the problem is when the only variable that has changed is a bobbin.)

So, we restring the driveband. No luck. I oil. No luck. I stomp my feet. Andrew suggests working on something else until I can ask Sandi if it's a break-in issue, or a *gasp* BAD BOBBIN.

So, Saturday morning, I take the Bad Bobbin, another stiff bobbin from that batch, the Control Bobbin (which works just swimmingly), and the appropriate high speed whorl. Sandi confirms my suspicions, and lets me know that she'll call Schacht to see what their solution to the Bad Bobbin is. I buy two more High Speed Bobbins, so that I can do this:

Totally worth it, right?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright , Tallulah!

The fleeces from the Monterey Wool Auction (and Booneville) have been trickling in. That is, a trickle the size of a tsunami. When I get a box from Shari, the routine goes like this:

Step 1: Open the box. Call Shari. Gush. Pay.
Step 2: Divide up the fleeces by fleece. (Meaning, if there are 3, separate them into three piles.)
Step 3: Figure out if any of these are "shared" fleeces.
3a: Yes? Divide total weight evenly. Make calls.
3b: No? MINE! Roll around in them. Bag them up by individual fleece.
Step 4: Place in le stash.

This wasn't the case with Tallulah. I pulled her out to divide her into thirds, and it was lurve at first sight. I knew I had to start spinning her, pronto. I spun the first 8 oz in under a week.

I knew it was love, because even spinning her as fine as she wanted (my guess is 55ish WPI), I'm plowing through it:


I had to force myself away from her, to make sure I didn't grow bored and totally blast through the 20 oz. I've spun 4 oz of Crown Mountain and 4 oz of the Romney thing, and I'm back to Tallulah again.


See? Progress. I can't even tell you how much I love spinning this stuff. I honestly thought I'd get bored, since it's all one color- a NATURAL color at that! Not the case.

I'm thinking it's going to be a 4 or 5 ply in order to make gauge for the Mariah sweater. I think this might have been the first thing in Knitty that I ever saw, and I've loved it since Day 1.

Part of my attraction to the Mariah is that it feels like a redux of the Twist (for me). I loved knitting my Twist cardigan, and I'll be honest, I think I wouldn't mind knitting a second one. But, I know myself, and I know I'm a fickle knitter.

I think I'll be finished with the spinning on this in the next two weeks, so I'm projected to finish plying, skeining, and setting the yarn by the end of the month.

Can anyone else say "Mariah in May"?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For my next trick...

Impressive disappearing trick I did, no? Andrew and I both took some time off of work, and took the oh-so trendy "staycation", where you take time off work and stay home. This economy is AWESOME!

Andrew started this off by building me a new closet.



Before you get all judge-y, remember that I'm only 5'1", and have an unparalleled love of shoes.



Fancy, right?

Now, After and full!:


Huge difference. I can reach all of my "everyday" stuff. There is room for all of my shoes. Andrew also redid his closet, and I've been offered some real estate over there as well.

I have a drawer for my shawls, and my "special" shawls (my Alison shawl and my Orenburg) have their own sweater box and shelf, and I am in OCD hog heaven. Andrew is also thrilled, since he usually got stuck putting a stack of sweaters away, since I couldn't reach them. Now there's even a little room for my stepladder. (Look to the space at the far right. It's there.)

My next step is to build the closets for seasonal clothing storage, and move my spring dresses in where my suits are hanging. (Suits. As in four of them. How did I end up with four suits?) This way, my heavy winter coats won't monopolize our hall coat closet, and our guests won't have to pile their things behind the couch. Very civilized.

There has been knitting. There has been spinning. There has also been some crazy awesome organization. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not to say 'I told you so'

Dear Andrew;

Thank you for shoring up the big bookshelves (and the shelves) in my office two weeks ago. I know I had put the "honey-do" note up in December, and was a little too excited when you did it while I was out with Tika. Because, living in California, it's important to have tall bookshelves secured.

Especially since today, a little more than two weeks later, we had a 4.6 earthquake. You're a great husband, and handy to boot.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

No longer shall I be oppressed!

On Friday afternoon, Chloe taught me how to drive a stick shift. Despite the fact that I have been driving for more than ten years now, I never was taught how. I asked, but various circumstances prevented my learning. And so it went.

When I realized that Chloe drove a stick shift, I responded with my trademark unbounded enthusiasm. So, at the end of business on Friday, Chloe came over (freshly blond-ed!) with the express purpose of teaching me The Stick.

The first couple of attempts at first gear were not stellar, but warranted cheering from the neighbor kids, who watched the car have a seizure (and heard me shriek), and then yelled "THAT was AWESOME!" (Note: It was not so awesome from where I was sitting.)

Through failed attempts, a few successes, and a few stalls at lights, Chloe kept her cool. She was encouraging, kind, and calm. (My parents could have taken a lesson in teaching driving from her.) She gave praise regularly, and assured me that I am NOT stupid for not figuring it out in ten minutes.

She also Kinneared me, as proof:

(Photo courtesy of Chloe Sparkle)

After about an hour behind the wheel, I was EXHAUSTED, but encouraged. Chloe went off to work, and Andrew and I traded his car for his brother's, which is a stick. I drove to Purlescence that night, and to Los Altos on Saturday. (YAY! Fifth gear!) One stall per trip, that's all.

And Chloe? Sorry about the whiplash. First gear is tricky.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dr. B's cure for knitting ennui

If you listened to episode 44 of the podcast, you know that my knitting has taken a nosedive. Into a pile of elephant crap. For three weeks, not only has every project run into a major snag, but the more current issue is thatI lost my will to knit. Very serious. Life-threatening, even, for those unfortunates in my immediate vicinity.

I have been suffering from knitting ennui, which is what happens when Knitter's Block goes untreated. Like an infection that gets worse. By Tuesday, when I had an appointment with the esteemed Dr. B, I was at the point where my knitting mojo was going to go septic. (I'll stop the infection analogy here.)

Our conversation went a lot like this:

Me: So, I can't knit.
Dr. B: Like, there is a problem with your hands?
Me: No. I can't knit. Everything I touch turns to crap.
Dr. B: Are you doing something differently?
Me: Same stuff. Easy stuff. There is something wrong with me. And now, I don't want to knit. I'm Sock Blocked!

(At this point, Dr. B chuckled at my interpretation of crude slang to appropriately fit the situation, and I proceeded to repeat the entire "When Knitting Attacks" segment from episode 44. Then, I said something to the effect of, "I'm sure they didn't warn you about having to deal with crazy knitters in school.")

At the end of my story, I asked for a magic solution. (Every time I go in, I explain my problem, and then request a solution, formula, or list. This works, I swear. He's just *that* good.)

So, Dr. B recommended using mindfulness practices to determine the source of the Knitter's Block. [For a great explanation of mindfulness and knitting, go listen to this episode of Cast-on.] What was I thinking about when I was working on these projects, or thinking about these projects that made them SO difficult or unappealing?

So, I did. I saw my Knit(more)-a-long sweater sitting there, on the table. After a Napoleon Dynamite-esque sigh, I determined that it was stupid to allow a large swath of stockinette stitch defeat me, and I had a movie to watch. Believe me, you don't want to face a cinematic gem like Saw 5 without some knitting.

Somehow, just auto-piloting on the Katarina sweater while watching people mutilate themselves knocked my knittng ennui right on it's ass. If knitting ennui has an ass. Though, maybe my knitting was intimidated by the film; maybe it thought I would take a Jigsaw-esque approach to it's attitude.

(That would be, for those of you who don't like gorey, poorly concieved sequels, "Shape up or lose a sleeve," in order to give the sweater a REAL appreciation for it's life.)

In any case, not only is my mojo back online, but I've also cast on a "Coachella" top, in the Tess Microfiber Ribbon. Luscious! Ignore the fact that I have done the front three times, since I managed to misinterpret the directions incorrectly the first two times. I have; the consensus is that it's going to look HOT on me.

(By the way, for your own dose of Dr. B-esque strategies, go give Dr. Gemma a listen.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Patrick Wilson and the naked clause

I mentioned in my previous post that I have a sneaking suspicion that Patrick Wilson may have a "naked clause" in his rider, stating that in order to participate in a play or movie, he needs to have at least one nude scene.

(Mind you, I'm not complaining, I'm just noticing. The man looks good au naturale, or "a la mode" as it is referred to in our house.)

Proof: The Full Monty (on Broadway), Watchmen, Lakeview Terrace, and Angels in America.

Tika pointed out that he wasn't naked- or even shirtless- in Phantom of the Opera, but I have a theory that they filmed a nude scene to appease Patrick, and then explained that it didn't make the movie due to length. That's showbiz, kid.

Since I am concerned with only reporting accurate information here, I have taken it upon myself to queue up all of his movies. For now, you have the list.

You're welcome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I have blogged about my deep and lasting love of one Hugh Jackman. Maybe it's those long legs, that were clearly designed to be in a showgirls style kick line, maybe it's the singing, maybe it's his 'do as Wolverine. Maybe it's that he gave Barbara Walters a lapdance. Whatever it is, Hugh has got it.

I may have metioned that Andrew feels similarly about Nicole Kidman. Ok, so we missed the proverbial boat on seeing Australia in the movie theaters, but we got it as soon as it was available on Netflix.

The movie was panned, but movie reviewers and I often don't see eye to eye, so I disregarded that bit of information, and we popped in the DVD. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, but alas, that famous Baz Luhrmann cinemetography, which had the exact effect of making the movie feel cheesey. It's also narrated by the "mixed blood" child in the movie, in what feels like a HORRIFIC stereotype - as far as how he speaks.

Forget that. Remember, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman. Beefcake and cheescake, respectively.

The reason you'll rent this movie, and enjoy it, is this, the best scene in the movie. Maybe the best scene in cinematic history:

Mmm... Creases. Also, note the VERY natural "dumping a bucket of water over my body" pose. (I've asked Andrew to re-enact this scene for me. I'll keep you posted on his answer.)

In any case, if you're looking for a great movie, rent something else. If you're looking for your fill of Jackman flesh, rent Australia.

While I have an undying love of Baz Luhrmann for bringing back the musical, (Baz, if you're reading this, I think I'd be a GREAT leading lady), this was a film that needed an editor. Or some velociraptors. (The raptors fight the Japanese invaders in my version, and they're not REALLY in Australia, the island they send the mixed race kids is really Isla Nublar. Totally plausible.)

It also could have used some Watchmen-style nudity, if you get my meaning. Also, does Patrick Wilson have a requisite nudity clause in his rider? Not that I'm complaining, I'm just curious.

So in short, the film was short on plot but high on eyecandy. In the eternal words of Gershwin: Who could ask for anything more?