Monday, May 28, 2007

It's all good

My weekend did not start on a good note, nor did it continue on a particularly good note. Banana was sick most of the time. I hurt my finger. I didn't get to do some of the fun things I had planned on doing. I didn't really get to catch up on sleep. And so on. I always have high hopes for holiday weekends, and quite often they don't measure up.

However, there were some bright spots. WT and I had a lovely dinner al fresco in Manayunk last night. The margaritas were to die for, as well as the caprese salad and the pineapple sorbet. We walked about and just had some alone time. And I got some lovely presents from him and Banana too - Classic Knits by Erica Knight, Clinique Happy perfume, a gift certificate to H & M, and Sideways on DVD.

When we got home, Banana was ill and unfortunately we had a need for the Big Red Barf Bucket. Thankfully, she only needed it only once. I have my fingers crossed yet again for tonight.

This afternoon, my father, my father's friend, and my brother came over. We had a leisurely afternoon talking and watching my brother practicing juggling. The weather improved and became less oppressive. Around 5:30, we all headed over to Regina and John's house for a barbecue. Everyone was there: WT, Banana, Dad, Glennjamin, JoAnn, Regina, John, Todd, Anne Marie, Carla, Earl, Jack, Marilyn, Dennis, and of course, Woobie, Regina and John's 15-year old cat. It was family and friends and food and unexpected lovely gifts and dessert and laughter and a nice breeze and sunshine. And when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, there's no other place I'd rather be.

Banana is asleep, and the windows are open, and it is quiet, and there is a lovely cool breeze, and all's right with the world. I am grateful for my family and friends on this day, the day after my 34th birthday. My finger will heal, and so will Banana. And whenever I think of this birthday weekend, I'll remember the good things.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

A stellar start to my holiday weekend

Yesterday, after work, I got my hair done, and it looks pretty cute. So that makes me happy, because my hair has been the bane of my existence since the age of about 12 or so. I then went to pick up Banana, and the minute I walked into her school, I knew something was amiss. She was white as a ghost, and I just knew she didn't feel well. We went home, took the temp, and yep, she has a fever, so so much for our plans for Saturday. Thankfully, there has not yet been a need for the Big Red Barf Bucket. Whew. However, she has been awake since 3 a.m. She has to crash at some point. Right? I need a nap.

This need for a nap became more apparent when I went to empty the dishwasher and I skewered my index finger on a steak knife. Three hours at the hospital and three stitches later, I sit here typing to you. It doesn't hurt so bad, in fact the tetanus shot hurts worse right now! Thank God for our neighbors John and Regina - John drove me to the hospital, and Regina stayed with Banana. I can't thank them enough!!

So right now the only thing I am wrestling with is this - I type for a living. I am a professional notetaker for a deaf high schooler. This should be interesting. I'm going to be typing waaayyy slow for a while. Yippee.

And of course, it puts a damper on the fiber arts for the weekend. Damn.

So I will wait for Frankenfinger to heal, and I will take it easy, and I will be grateful for my health and Banana's ability to heal quickly from illness (Hear that? That's me knocking on wood.) and I will be grateful for health insurance and I will be grateful for my friends.

Until next time my friends. And let's not forget, on this Memorial Day weekend, the men and women who have and continue to sacrifice their lives for us. Damn President Bush. But that's another post. :o)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Disapproving rabbits

Carol posted this link on her blog, and I just had to post it on mine, because it is pretty much one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The captions are priceless. Enjoy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Summer Stash Out

So as many of you know, our darling Liz and her cohorts ran the Summer of Stash Knit Along last year. She has passed the torch, and I will be participating in the Summer Stash Out this year! Or trying, at least. Seriously, I have so much yarn it's not even funny. I could knit and/or crochet a cabin, or at least a nice lean-to. (I just got all Laura Ingalls on yo ass. Heh.) So I think I can do it. Your encouragement is much appreciated.

Progress still being made on the Green Gable, but I have put that aside for the time being to work on the Crop Cardigan, designed by Monica. This woman is talented, I tell ya. I am using Brown Sheep Company's Cotton Fleece in Terra Cotta Canyon, and I must say, I love working with this yarn. It's soft and drapy, even in crochet. Often times, crochet can be sort of stiff, but not right now. I love this. Pictures coming soon, I don't have much to show you right now.

I was looking through Lace Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd, and I really like a lot of the patterns. I think I'll be requesting this for my quickly-approaching birthday, along with Wrap Style. I already have Scarf Style, so why not haul off and just have the whole dang collection?

My brother graduated from Rutgers University on Friday, and on Friday night he found out he got a job he had interviewed for and really wanted. Can I get a woot woot for my baby brother? I'm so darn proud of him. He'll be moving to PA to be closer to his job, which means he'll be closer to me. Yay!

Guess that's it for now. Pictures in the next post.

Love, moi


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Treats all around

So finally, beaucoup pictures to show you all! Here is the progress I've made on the Green Gable thus far, and I must say, I'm liking it:

The sleeves may be a smidge big, but I'd rather it a little loose than too tight. I can't stand clothes that are too tight, especially under the arms. So there.

Here's the Puzzle Scarf that I started about a month and a half ago. It's a really easy chart to follow, and I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash that I picked up on sale when the Main Skein was closing. I'm debating whether or not to block it; I think it looks sort of cool this way.

WT and the Banana were super good to me for Mother's Day. Look at what I got! Two books I've been coveting for quite some time; the only dilemma is which project to get started on first! I love practically every single pattern in Fitted Knits, and there are some super cool sweaters in Twinkle's Big City Knits. I really need to pace myself and plan though; before all else, I need to do the Cropped Crochet Sweater that I am test-crocheting. First things first.

I got my package from the Knitter's Treat Exchange, and my treater Dominique really spoiled me! She got me these two patterns mags, Bergere de France and Phildar, both of which I absolutely adore. The patterns are gorgeous. Here are some that I really love:

How cool is this sweater?
I'm loving this, but not sure about the belty thing and the epaulettes; I don't need any attention drawn to my waist/hips!
This is super cute.
And this tank is so pretty!
She also sent me this package of sock clips...
... two skeins of Phildar yarn! One is cotton and linen, the other is cotton and seacell - it's so soft!
I also got a Belgian chocolate bar - dark chocolate with ginger. Yum!! To top it all off, there was this adorable felted bowl with these cute little soaps. They smell wonderful. Thank you so much Dominique!
Gratuitous cute kitten shot.
And from my garden: impatiens
Geranium buds
And bleeding hearts from Anne Marie and Todd's garden.

Until next time my friends, be well! And thanks for stopping by...

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Friday, May 11, 2007

meme meme bo beme, banana fana fo feme...

Okay, so my darling friend Sharon tagged me for the first meme. I saw the second one on the blog of one of the other people she tagged.

Here are seven things about me.
1. I studied French for nine years and lived in Paris for 10 months, from 1996 to 1997. It was one of the best years of my life. However, if I were to go back and do it again, I probably would have studied German instead. I never fit in in France, especially Paris, and I am one of the few people who loves the way German sounds. Whenever I am in Germany, I feel like I am home.

2. I used to make a lot of stuff when I was a kid. I used to draw on paper bags, I wasn't picky. One year, when I was about 10, I made a three-dimensional Nativity for Christmas, with no pattern and no encouragement from anyone. I just went ahead and did it. I also played in dirt.

3. I still like to play in dirt. I just planted a container garden: marigolds, geraniums, impatiens, catnip, basil, mint, cilantro, lemon balm, chamomile, parsley, and lavender. I used the basil and parsley for the first time last night in a salad I made.

4. I began to get crafty again when Banana was a baby and I wasn't working. I was watching either the DIY Network or HGTV and I saw a show where a woman made these little tea light lanterns with baby food jars, wire, and glass beads. Since I had eighty trillion baby food jars at the time, I made some. That got me started, and I haven't stopped since.

5. I get my craftiness from my parents. My mom used to take craft classes at the YMCA, and during the 80s it seemed all she did was make Christmas ornaments and quilted baskets and all sorts of stuff. She later became an excellent photographer. My dad does calligraphy, woodworking, sculpture (clay and wood), photography, instrument making (guitars, dulcimers, didjeridoos, and hurdy-gurdys), furniture making, clock making, stained glass, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

6. I would really like to get an Etsy shop.

7. Banana has already expressed an interest in crafts, and I can't wait to teach her to knit and crochet. I can see us creating together already...

Mark with bold the things you have knit or crocheted (or are knitting or are crocheting), with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting (may have done this once unintentionally – does that count?)Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

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Turning Japanese

So one of the biggest buzzes in crafts right now is Japanese craft magazines, as all of you probably know. I was looking at Helene's blog (Des aiguilles et du fil, link in the side bar), and she had a link to a blog called Craftlover, and on THAT blog there was a link to Clover, which has beaucoup free, really cool patterns. Although it is written in Japanese, if you just start clicking on pictures, you will eventually find your way to the Adobe files that are the patterns. The crochet patterns are generally fairly easy to follow, as they are mostly charted instead of written. For some reason, the computers at my fair place of employment decided that they would no longer be reading websites in Japanese, so I only got so far, but I did manage to print out two patterns: one for a cute handbag and one for a drawstring bag to carry a water bottle in. How fun! I'll be including this link in my sidebar for easy reference, as I see myself visiting this site quite often.

On the knitting and crocheting front - I am about one-third done the Green Gable, and I really like the way it is shaping up. I am using the Cestari cotton/wool/silk blend yarn, and I'm still loving it. My darling neighbor Regina let me raid her monumental stash (I watched her kitty cats for her), so I now have enough yarn to start a ripple afghan. Work has stalled on a knitted afghan I started about a month ago; I guess I just got too wrapped up (Ha! Wrapped up! It's an afghan!) in the Green Gable to keep going great guns on that. I also intend to start test crocheting the ever-adorable Crocheted Cropped Cardigan designed by Monica Brown at the Create-Along (link in the sidebar). Can't wait.

Waiting in the wings, we have Picovoli by Grumperina, Rusted Root, and myriad other summery tops. I need to have some dressier things to wear to work, but things that are COOL, because the *&^%$#@! high school that I work at is not air-conditioned. Crimey. And I need to wear short sleeves because I can't have my tattoos hanging out all over the place, even though half the girls in this school walk around with their boobs and butt cheeks hanging out. But that's another story.

My father is home safely from his trip across the South Pacific, and I am very glad. He had a good time, but said he would never do it again. It was one of the longest passages this particular ship ever had, and it was rainy and cold much of the time. But he still got to see some really cool things (albatrosses, whales, Easter Island moai, etc) and I think overall it was certainly worth it for him. He needed it.

The kittens are doing well. I like to refer to Joey as my solid gold kitten because last week we ended up at the emergency room twice to the tune of $400. Yep. He had the runs all over the place. It was really terrific. But he is better, and Carlos is insane as he ever was, and all's right with the world.

Happy Mother's Day to all of my friends who are moms!!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Children, kittens, knitting, the South Pacific, and anniversaries

The Banana came to me one day about two weeks ago, asking to paint some pictures with her poster paints. Why not? I said. I set her up with specific instructions to paint only on the paper, not on the furniture, and not on the walls. Bases covered, right?

She did paint on the paper, and she did not paint on the furniture or the walls. She did, however, paint her hands, arms, legs, and feet, including the soles of her feet. And she painted the floor. It took two tubs full of water to get her clean. Ah, the joy of parenthood yet again.

So we have two new additions to our family, because apparently I am not busy enough with other things. Introducing Joey and Carlos!

Sleepy Joey

Awake Joey


Carlos exploring his new surroundings.

How cute are these damn kittens?? They are littermates, 9 weeks old. We got them from the SPCA, and they are an endless source of amusement for everyone except our 14 year old cat Tino. He is none too pleased. Oh well. He is slowly but surely getting used to them, and we purposefully got two so they would bother each other and leave Tino alone. It seems to be working thus far!

On the knitting front, I have begun the Green Gable, which is coming along just wonderfully. I am using this fabulous yarn called Cestari, which is from a farm in Virginia. It is 67% cotton, 25% wool, and 8% silk. I love it! It is in a lovely tweedy pinkish-red colorway they call Tropical Mist. I definitely recommend it. I also intend to make the Rusted Root from Zephyr Style once I have finished the Green Gable. Can I tell you how much I love top-down raglans?? No finishing! No seaming! Yeah!

Have you guys received the summer issue of Interweave Knits? I got mine today. The spring issue is so great, I have to say that I was a little let down with this issue. I am definitely going to make Katie Himmelberg's Summertime Tunic, and I like the Josephine Top too. At first I thought I liked the 1824 Blouson, but I'm not a huge fan of reverse stockinette, and I really don't think I need to knit something so poufy. So we'll see what happens. It's always fun to look through it no matter what, and I may go for Ann Budd's toe-up sock pattern. It doesn't sound too daunting.

I was reading the Craft-Along blog that my friend Liz belongs to, and a woman named Monica crocheted this positively adorable cropped sweater. I casually volunteered to test-crochet it for her, and she took me up on the offer! I have never done this before, and I'm really excited. I do hope I do a good job!

I received a phone call from my father today! For those of you who aren't aware, my dad has been sailing the South Pacific for the past 5 weeks. He sailed on a tall ship called the Soren Larsen from Auckland, New Zealand to Easter Island. It was a pretty rough trip for him, unfortunately. The weather was utter crap for most of it, and they faced headwinds, which added 500 nautical miles to the length of the trip, which is definitely a significant amount. He only got to spend one full day on Easter Island, but he said it is one of the most amazingly beautiful places he has ever seen in his life. Last night he flew to Tahiti, and guess what? It's RAINING. In TAHITI. For Christ's sake. Dad needs a break. I hope it gets sunny so he can relax on a gorgeous beach with an umbrella drink.

He gets home in less than one week. I can't wait to see him.


One year ago today, I was standing in front of Target in Montgomeryville when my father called me and told me that my mother had died. I remember that moment so clearly. It was sunny and warm and breezy, and I had to lean on a bicycle stand to keep from falling down. I looked around and saw a bench and walked over and sat down. I talked to Dad for a few minutes, and then I went inside and bought a car charger for my cell phone. I distinctly remember the salespeople asking me, "How are you today?" It was quite surreal. I wanted to tell them what I had just learned, that while I was getting ready for work, doctors and nurses and aides were trying to get my mother to breathe. And while I was sitting in US History II class, my father was sitting next to my mother and holding her hand for the very last time, and how soft her hand was and how relaxed she was for the first time in two years.

I can't believe that I haven't seen my mother, or heard her voice, or smelled her perfume in one whole year. She is still everywhere, especially at my dad's house. I have several pictures of her around: her college graduation picture in the computer room, a picture of her holding the Banana at Easter 2003 on the mirror in Banana's room, two pictures of her with Dad in the living room. I wear her earrings every day. I miss her humor. I miss shopping with her. I miss listening to her read to the Banana. I miss the phone calls and the emails. I miss having a mom, my Mom. She had red hair and green eyes and freckles. She said "warsh" and "Warshington" even before Mason-Dixon Knitting came out. :o) She liked to dance. She like movies and music. She loved to travel. She loved her family and friends, and we love her.

Miss you Ma. :o*

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