24 December 2007

long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

banjo + star wars theme song = hilarious

hum the song to yourself first before listening, it makes it easier to hear!

21 December 2007

leaving on a jet plane

My bags are packed and ready to go! Well not the clothes and presents and toiletry stuff, just the knitting. Behold the vacation knitting!

I am really obsessed with these pouches. Not only are they great for walking around the city and knitting but I think they will be great for keeping my various vacation projects separate.

What lurks behind door #1?

socks! A pair of socks that needs to be finished and a pair of knee socks that wants to be started.

Behind door #2?

Basket liners! These are for an impending wedding. This is like homework knitting, it has a deadline. Deadlines make me want to do anything but what is required for the deadline.

Something like what is behind door #3....

Afghan! My third attempt at this blanket, I'm hopeful for this iteration. The yarn is so cozy and has a very wool-y smell and for some reason I am obsessed with knitting it on wooden straight needles. It just seems to fit the farm-y feel of the wool and project. Really this project was my answer to "what do I knit on an airplane when the socks and basket liners are both on teeny metal needles that look more dangerous than they are?" This project is so grandmother-y, how can anyone take my needles away from this?

Who knows how much of this I will actually accomplish or what I will feel drawn to once I am in Tennessee....stay tuned for the results (and pictures of the ridiculous amount of christmas knitting I have accomplished but cannot post for fear that people will see it)!

30 November 2007


So, November has been deemed many many things in the bloggy world this year. Most of these things are absolutely ridiculous for me to even contemplate. For example:

1. Write a novel in the month of November--ummm. I have never even thought about wanting to write a novel and the idea of trying to write one in one month makes me want to jump off a cliff. (Not that it isn't an admirable goal for more writer-ly types.)

2. Post to your blog every day in the month of November---ummmm. Clearly that is not happening. November has been what could most loosely be called a "harrowing" month. October wasn't much better. That would be why there was a two month lag in posts.

I was beginning to feel a little left out until I discovered NaNoSweaMo or "National November is Sweater Month". Maybe. Or knit a sweater in the month of November month? Or something else. I just know that it is NaNoSweaMo because I like saying it 10 times each day. When I discovered it I thought, Hey! I AM already knitting a sweater and I could just finish it by the end of November! It was good incentive.

This is Julia, she is not NaNoSweaMo-ing but I wanted to show you her lovely socks she just made. They are the socks that Tipped Her Over The Edge from being interested in knitting to obsessed. Tee-hee. Now I have a New York knitting friend. Maybe she will be ready for NaJaSweaMo. Lovely socks, no?

OK. Back to my original point. The next thing that happened in November was that I discovered that suddenly everyone I know is procreating. This made me think, HEY! BABY sweaters are sweaters too and they are a lot faster. I can be a multiple NaNoSweaMo-er! (Not that I'm being competitive, I just like acheivement). So last weekend I cranked out this, aka NaNoSweaMo #1

Then I got obsessed (how unlike me). I thought, if I can crank out a sweater while roaming around town with my family maybe I could knit Yet Another Baby Sweater before the end of the month. Well, it turns out that for sweaters to get knit, you have to knit them instead of doing things like working. This is all I could accomplish:

It is a NNSwM or half of a NaNoSweaMo.

But, I can hear you asking, what of the original sweater? The one you were already knitting and trying to finish? The one that is questionably a NaNoSweaMo since you started it in August? Ahh, that sweater was finished Wednesday. Behold the buttons:

This sweater is, despite it's Not Entirely Knit In November status, a NaNaNoNoSweaSweaMoMo. I get double points because it is so amazing. I can't believe I made it. I want to wear it every day for the rest of my life. See? Isn't it ravishingly beautiful?

The first day I wore it (ummm I've been wearing it since Wednesday so it is actually possible that I might wear it every day for the rest of my life) I got 7 compliments on it. 3 of those people didn't know I made it and asked where I got it. They were stunned and shocked to learn I had made it. "What!?" they said, "How can you MAKE something like that?"

Happy NaNoSweaMo! (I wonder what obsession December will take on?)

i heart arlo

So last Saturday my grown-ups, husband, and I went to see Arlo Guthrie. He plays a concert at Carnegie Hall every Thanksgiving-ish and we like to go. I think Arlo is very funny and I enjoy when he tells seemingly pointless stories that end in hilarity. This concert was with the UK orchestra (who he just released an album with). Apparently he has scored many of his songs for an orchestra and wanted to play them for us. At the beginning of the concert he told us some of his songs didn't go so well with an orchestra, like "I wanna pickle." Lots of people laughed. James and I didn't because I think we aren't old enough to know about this particular song. The mystery is revealed (thanks in joint part to my mom and You Tube)

I agree. Not so much an orchestra song. But funny.

I also happen to think that Arlo Guthrie has gotten funnier as an age-ed hippie than he was as a youngster. See.....

practice makes perfect....

23 November 2007

sweater on the loose

So, I have many talents. But really one of my strongest one is losing things. I loose keys, staplers, pens, wallets, metrocards, clothes, hats, gloves, and on and on. Really, if you would like something lost you should hand it to me and I will lose it within 15 seconds.

Lately I have been knitting a beautiful baby sweater. It has been very satisfying. I cast on after we ate on Thanksgiving and by this evening I had the back, both arms, and part of the front knit. I was in the middle of explaining how satisfying this was when I went in my bag to find these peices to show-and-tell. Or to brag. Who knows.

But in my bag was only the sweater back, the sleeve I had just finished, and the front that I was knitting. Since I am talented in this area and thus have a lot of experience with What To Do When You Suspect Something Has Been Lost I began carefully and calmly taking everything out of my bag. "It has to be here," I insisted. It wasn't.

So I put everything back into my bag and tried once more. I carefully took everything out one by one checking it closely for signs of a missing sleeve. No sleeve. "Oh well, it must be at home. I probably threw it out of my bag when I was looking for my hat earlier." (Is it becoming clearer why I am so good at losing things?)

Once we got home, no sleeve. So I called everywhere I sat knitting today (1 restaurant, 1 bar) and asked if perhaps I had left it there. Now, usually when you call about a missing object it is easy to describe what you are missing in a generaly fashion, a coat, a headband, a sweater, a wallet. (Again, I know this through much personal experience) But a sleeve to a baby sweater is not so easy. First of all it isn't a sleeve yet, it actually looks more like a washcloth. But it isn't square so a really funny kind of washcloth. "Umm, this might sound strange but I think I left and oddly shaped piece of knitted fabric there earlier today?" "What?" "An oddly shaped piece of knitted orange fabric. It looks like a washcloth but not sqare." "Ummm, is it like a piece of clothing or art?" (Can you tell that I was in Chelsea by all the art galleries?)

Everyone I talked to was very kind, searched the restaurant or bar and got back on the phone, "well, I don't really see anything and I think if we had what you are talking about we would know it. So sorry, we really hope you find it!" (This is the best customer service I've had all day)

So. No knitted sleeve = I have to knit yet another sleeve. Luckily this clearly does not take all that much time. Here is what I am down to in terms of the sweater:

What do you think the other sleeve is out doing? If you happen to see it cavorting around town will you let it know I miss it? That I would really like it to come back now?

I think the fact that I am only mildly irritated by the whole escapade speaks to how totally accustomed I am to losing really important and devastating things. How does one divest themself of a talent?

08 October 2007

blast from the past

youtube is so wonderful. I had completely forgotten about this until today. The theme song is so jaunty.

29 September 2007

fall warmth

The weather seems to have officially turned towards the fall-ish side of things (now that I say that it will of course get really hot tommorrow). I really love fall. The weather is delicious, you start all kinds of new things (like school), and you get to wear things made out of wool. I've clearly been thinking about warmth lately in my knitting.

Julia gave me a gift certificate to Purl (the most dangerous yarn shop ever) for my birthday. They had a wall of cashmere. I couldn't resist. Luckily the price of one hank of cashmere was less than the gift certificate! Unfortunately one hank of cashmere doesn't go very far.

Ta-da! A cowl is the perfect solution. You get the coziness of a cashmere turtleneck with any shirt you wear! There is a camisole that goes with it that I may or may not knit with the rest of the cashmere.

Next is my thermal sweater which may be my most exciting big project ever. It is knit on very small needles so it will be more like the weight of a store bought sweater and will be wearable in fall and spring.

It is also grape juice colored and I own nothing else that color. Unfortunately small needles = lots of knitting, so who knows if I will actually be able to wear it this fall OR spring.

It is feeling so cozy out that I have even embarked upon a little christmas knitting. Imagine my surprise last night when I began a secret little project to discover that it was also a therma-ish stitch, almost identical to my sweater? Alas, no pictures of it until Christmas time. These are also for christmas but I won't say for who (though I'm fairly confident the person in question does not read the blog)

They are fabulous. And lacey. And cozy even though there is no wool whatsoever in them. It is the softest cotton in the whole world. Surprising, because the yarn didn't feel as yummy as I was knitting it as it did once it was knit.

All of these cozy prospects are distracting me from the more difficult aspects of my fall; getting two cavities filled, training 12 four year olds how to be in the classroom (and reminding the 7 five year olds), and working 10-12 hours a day but still not getting everything done.

Happy Fall!

24 September 2007

a trio of productivity

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with the start of school. 10 to 12 hour days don't leave a lot of time for anything else. Except, apparantly, knitting. Unlike blogging, cleaning, sleeping, and playing with a parrot knitting is happily portable and is thus happening a lot more often than any of the other above tasks.

Gloves, done! They are lovely and eagerly anticipating a downturn in the temperature.

Who knew that pink-ish goes with orange-ish......

Half of a pair of socks........

And a cashmere cowl............

which was going to be a cashmere hat until I wore the skein around my neck for 8 hours and decided it needed to be a knit object to hang around my neck.

Still to come, the beginning of a thermal sweater...

23 September 2007

a lovely day....

Where has this month gone? I can't believe it has been 20 days since I have blogged. Whew, teaching is exhausting. We made up for our sheer exhaustion by having a marvelously lovely fall day on Saturday.

We started by heading off to the Museum of Natural History to see the Mythic Creatures exhibit. Incredible, did you know that people believed in cyclops because they found elephant relative bones and rearranged them the wrong way? It is incredible how you can make elephant bones look like a scary huge human-ish thing. It also explained myths about mermaids (manatees), unicorns (narwhals), dragons (dinosaurs), sasquatch (enormous extinct gorillas), sea serpents (schools of dolphins jumping above water), among other things.

While we were waiting for our admission time we strolled through the dinosaur rooms. Dinosaurs were big and scary.

I'm very glad that I will never meet them.

I also had a sad ephiphany that the reason I think Gris-Gris is very dinosaur like is probably because Stephen Spielberg made his Jurassic Park dinosaurs very bird like. Movies do scary things to my understanding of reality.

Apparantly even Jurassic turtles were scary.

Who knew they could swim in the air?

Next we went for a safari through the wilds of central park. We ate freeze dried ice cream. yum.

It never fails to amaze me how you can be in the middle of Manhattan and then make it just disappear. Every time I'm in the middle of the park I begin to think about what a great place it would be to camp. Then I remember about the big city. And the homeless people who live in the park (who I'm sure are perfectly lovely people, their current circumstances just give them a more "basic needs" approach to life than I have, and I would rather not be stuck in the dark woods with them. In a tent.)

We emerged from the wilderness at the Hans Christian Anderson pond. This place always makes me think of Stuart Little because this is where he took his epic ride on a boat. It makes me very excited to see people sailing boats here because I like to imagine a little mouse on them.

Apparantly childhood fiction also does strange things to my understanding of reality.

Then we visited Alice nearby and her retinue of crazy people. I like the mouse in a teapot. Twinkle Twinkle little bat......

After a lovely knitting ride on a subway we walked home. We happened upon the farmer's market down the street from our apartment and the lovely rainbow of heirloom tomatoes.

I'm obsessed with tasting every different kind. Did you know that tomatoes could taste like strawberries or pineapple? Incredible.

03 September 2007

a crocodile for my mother

My mother really wanted my pictures from the crocodile pond so, ta-da here they are!

For those of you who weren't there, the crocodile pond is a pond in Northern Ghana where there are, gasp, many crocodiles! What is hilarious about the pond is that the crocodiles are tame. You buy some chickens, feed the crocodiles and then they let you pick up their tail or....if you get the really big crocodile to come out....lay on its back.

What is surprising about crocodiles is how fast they move to eat chickens (well guinea fowl really) and then how they freeze and look pretty dead. It is shocking really.

My mom with the crocodile:

Me with the crocodile:

Dad with the crocodile:

James with the crocodile:

Emmanuel with the crocodile:

Riveting no? Oooo the danger...............

a weekend for the people

What better way to celebrate the hard working people of america than to go to Coney Island? Perhaps eating cotton candy and playing skee ball?

So the recent tragedy of my life is that Astroland at Coney Island may be turned into condos. They can't tear down the best part, the Cyclone, which is the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the country. The entire thing shakes when the cars go over the tracks, its terrifying to watch. But it is really great to ride, perhaps my favorite roller coaster ever. I figure if they can keep it running for 100+ years it can't be that unsafe.

Today is Astroland's expiration date (though the city may swoop in to save it) so just in case James and I went. We rode the most hilariously antiquated "haunted house" ride in the world. Really, I laughed the whole way through. I think people were more scared by silly crap a long time ago.

Maybe the good people of Astroland think there is nothing more American than turning amusing amusement parks into condos and shopping malls. That seems to be the new millenial American spirit.

The sock enjoyed the ride to and from Coney Island (approximately 30 minutes each way = a lot of knitting)

Then for labor day dinner we decided to eat the food of the people.

What could be more American than sloppy joes? OK perhaps the tofu and organic ingredients detract a bit. But many people think communists aren't very American either and, lets face it, labor day is essentially a communist holiday. Do communists like tofu?

We paired it with the junk food of the people--potato chips and the drink of the people...beer.

OK its german beer. But the bottle cap had an american flag on it which made a nice hat for the sloppy joe. It really improved the All-American spirit of the meal. Why is there an American flag on a german beer? Cuz English is kinda like German?

Gris-gris joined in the All-American fun. She likes All-American tofu sloppy joes.

And she is very American. Did you see her red tail, her white feathers? Salt of the earth really, since salt is one of her favorite food groups, followed only by carbs. She can also sing Dueling Banjos and her parents were immigrants.

02 September 2007

impediments to blogging

I seem to be encountering several impediments to updating my blog of late. A few for your enjoyment:

1. Employment. I forgot what a time suck work is. Somehow I have managed to spend 12 hours a day for the past week and a half setting up my room. It is beautiful and all ready for Wednesday. However, it does not leave me with much time to do anything else.

2. Christmas socks--I am knitting socks as a present and they are going to kill me. I think they plot while I am asleep. I tried starting them in Ghana but I had brought the wrong needles (despite the time sent knitting 2 swatches before leaving so I could determine what the right needle size would be). Upon returning I tried a slightly smaller size. Still too big. So I went smaller. Now they are the right size but then the pattern went on strike and decided not to line up properly so that I had to rip them back twice. The frustration encountered during all of this occupied a great deal of real estate in my brain so that there was not much space for blogging.

3. Camera--The digital camera we have at school is awful. It takes blurry pictures of block buildings and thus takes extremely crappy pictures of moving chidlren. So I take my camera to school. It is now a perfect school camera as it is being largely held together by a rubber band. It still takes good pictures. Unfortunately I have major issues remembering to bring all the necessary items to and from school (lunch, waterbottle, random supplies, and now--camera). Thus, everytime I think about a really great picture that inspires me to write something on the blog I realize my camera is at school. James' digital camera is pre-millenial (this one that is) and thus is larger than most video cameras now (to give you an idea, it takes pictures on disks--which means the disks fit inside the camera) and is also incompatible with my computer. I could use his computer but the camera also makes me angry because it takes yucky pictures inside at night.

whew. Soon I will get it together and have camera, time, and subject matter all in one place. Coming up: pictures of classroom, socks, and more.

29 August 2007

good things coming to an end.....

#1 Good Thing--summer. sigh. Over the past week I have found myself being quickly sucked back into the vortex that is small plastic toys aka work. I am also remembering that I LIKE work except that every August feels like I'm sisyphus and have to get that damn rock back on top of the hill so I can roll it down again. Except I have 1 week to get it up there and 9 months to roll it down. I forgot about 12 hour days...........................

#2 Good Thing--Mystery Stole. Knowing that once school started I would never ever pick it up again I have been racing to finish. Since the last section consisted of progressively longer rows that form a pointed wing on one side it has been getting more and more hellish to work on. By the time I finished I was clocking about 20 minutes for EACH row. This is very Disheartening when you realize you have but 10 rows to go but that it will take you a good 4 hours of knitting to get there. This is it right after it came off the needles.

And while it was blocking. It is very long non?

This is how I like to stylishly festoon it. Very fetching I think.

This is what it would look like if I pretended to be a bird and swoop around (it is a good think it has a wing knitted on to it, it will make such endevors more convincing)

19 August 2007

Who Knew?

Before I met James there were many things that I had decided were unquestionably Boring.

1. 60s films (I know this is decidedly un hip of me but they are slow, quiet, and hence boring)

2. Opera (too much singing ridiculousness--Really, for how long can you sing about how much you love someone or how you are just about to do something? Apparently half an hour or more)

3. Playing Musical Instuments (I had a bad experience playing violin for a mystifying 11 years)

4. Sports, with the occasional exception of live basketball games (I would rather tear my hair out than watch them on TV, listen about them, or even think about them)

In the past 3 years I have discovered

1. I really really really really love French 60s film. It is the best. Sometimes I fall asleep but it is worth it for the ye ye girls and cute parrots.

2. Mozart's operas are like Shakespeare but with music. Opera is also like going to a concert but with pretty things to look at so I don't fall asleep. Some operas are still dumb but when you go to one of the best operas in the world they are still pretty to look at and thus you can ignore the dumb parts.

3. I love the banjo. Who knew? Had you told my teenage country music hating self (it was almost obligitory living in Nashvegas) this I would have thought you were crazy. But its true I do. One day I will stop knitting enough to actually learn how to play more than 3 songs.

But I thought sports were off limits. No way was I going to enjoy them. So when James wanted to go to a baseball game at Yankee Stadium before they rip it down I groaned. I agreed because I felt one should go to Yankee Stadium before they rip it down.

When we got there it was pouring and wet and gross and we thought the game would be cancelled. But then it stopped and they started doing this:

It is really cool how they prepare the field--drawing the lines, raking the dirt, etc. I was charmed.

Then they started playing and I started knitting. I quickly learned that baseball might be my new favorite sport. You get to sit outside at night in the summer (with the added bonus of the almost complete lack of mosquitos in NYC), you get to knit, people bring you food and beer for ridiculously inflated prices (8.00 for a Coors Light, really?), and there is fairly constant entertainment. A few entertaining things

1. They tell you the speed of the pitches, I think the fastest was 100 mph.

2. Drunk Sports Fans. They are fascinating in a car wreck sort of way, I can't believe they exist, they sort of make me shudder, but wow are they entertaining. (This perverse joy may harken back to UT fan watching enjoyment of my youth)

3. A dancing mustard container.

And did I mention how much knitting I got done?

It ended up being a lot of fun. The rabid testosterone and rampant patriotism was a bit hard for me to handle so I don't think I will become a fanatic, but I think one baseball game a year would be a good thing. This decision is of course in no way influenced by the invention of Stitch n' Pitch which also happens to be one game a year (well actually games across the country, there is just one in NY) where a bunch of needley type people sit together at a baseball game..................The Yankees don't do Stitch n' Pitch, just the Mets.

I may be a Mets fan.

16 August 2007

a hat

It's feeling fall like this week. I wore a sweater. Soon I will look like this. For months and months and months. Unless I knit a new hat......

Avast Yee........(now with Crazy Pictures!)

Apparently we are practicing for international talk like a pirate day (Sept 19th) here.

While drinking some grog at the yacht club and conteplating the glorious (though shipwrecked on a desert island) pirate ship cake one of our friends happened to ask if we had seen Jolly Ship the Whiz Bang.

I don't believe I was involved in that conversation but as soon as I heard that I rudely broke off the conversation I WAS having and said, "what?"

"Jollyship the Whiz Bang--its a puppet pirate rock opera"

"A WHAT!?!"

Yes, a Puppet Pirate Rock Opera. Oh but not just that at all. On a boat. That cruises around New York harbor. As soon as we got home we looked it up and found that the Good Ship Jolly Roger Puppet Pirate Rock Opera would set sail the following Wednesday. So we bought tickets.

Here is a description:

"Jollyship the Whizbang is a pirate puppet rock opera that walks the plank between a theater show and a rock concert. The music is electro-punk with nautical influences (think pillaging and plundering); the off-color dialogue comes from the mouths of sinister puppets."

They would be playing with I Love You Airlines--a description:

"I Love You Airlines is PT Barnum's most opium-inspired kaleidoscopic carousel, replete with 2000 chartreuse bells and sapphire whistles, 13 sousaphone blowing cheetahs and 1 accordion playing Ganesh...it's 3001 brass pipes bubbling and belching the symphony a caffeine-fueled Phil Spector composed on the Mighty Wurlitzer that appeared in last night's dream dreamt by Dali, dictated by Roald Dahl: the sonically-glimmering soundtrack to a Post-modern filth fantasia starring Dawn Davenport sashaying through the ghetto of the East Village dripping head to toe in diamond-studded Chanel, shot in glorious Technicolor by John Waters and projected on a huge screen suspended high above Cinderella's Castle in Walt Disney World on a balmy, 72 degree night in late November....the southwesterly breeze carrying fuchsia flamingo feathers down to the Gulf of Mexico...and beyond....."

How could we not go?

Here James is (looking perfectly pirately in his bearded state) pretending to be a Bilge Rat.

The boat was like a floating nightclub, super tiny, a few tables, a dancefloor. Except it went by a few minor sights:

(love the crazy pictures--crazy pictures are for people who insist on taking pictures in the dark)

Ahoy, look thar is the brooklyn bridge!

Arrr, behold the Statue o' Liberty, shiver me timbers! Apparently young hip new yorkers be equally besieged by its landmark status, note the crowds o' people snappin' pictures.

Aye, the lo'ely sights o' the skyscrapers o' lower manhattan.

We spent a great deal of time below deck guzzling some tonic water, knitting, enjoying the view, and the traveling rock show. I Love You Airlines was amazing, I'm defintely going to see them again.

As for the Jolly Ship Whizbang? It was a good gimmick, an enjoyable evening and how can you beat a puppet pirate rock opera on a boat that goes by the statue of liberty? Without the Statue of Liberty and boat part though I can't say I would have loved them, though I wholeheartedly support their cause.

11 August 2007

arrgghhhh matey!

So, yesterday James decided it would be good to go to the Gowanus Yacht Club today to celebrate being back in the US. "Let's get there at 2 when it opens so we can get a table he said." I personally love the Gowanus Yacht Club and thought it sounded like a perfect afternoon. I was a bit surprised at his specificity and insistence but it is true that the seats at the Yacht club fill up fast and no one wants to drink a pitcher of beer without a table.

Since I always like to have a bit of knitting with my beer I brought along my elbow length fingerless gloves which the fall leaves have inspired me to begin working on. (Shhh, I know it isn't fall but I like to pretend). We arrived at 2 and James picked a table in the back. As I sat down I thought, hmmmm this is where we sat for my birthday last year, I do like this spot!

We sat down and began drinking a pitcher of Duff and I began knitting.

After a while my friend Sarah from work showed up. I was shocked and pleased, what are the chances we would be in the same place over summer vacation? Then she handed me a present. I was even more shocked and turned to James and said, "Oh! Are you surprising me?"

I was not only surprised at the surprise but also because usually he is not so good at being secretly crafty and I am much better at being sneakily picking up on clues to surprises.

But then, just as I thought I couldn't be any luckier than to have a safari birthday and a Yacht club birthday Julia walked in with this

A Pirate Birthday! I can't think of a better partner to a Safari birthday really. Did I mention that the cake came with an eyepatch and skull and crossbones bandana?

Then more people came, including Kathleen, Rob, and Robert all the way from Philly! Then we had to start giving cake away to everyone at the yacht club because well, the cake was essentially made out of 4 or 5 cakes and we can't eat that much. That is when everything became crazy. We met all kinds of new people including Alex who won the award by eating a bunch of cake with her hands and then giving me delicious mango salsa. yum!

I also recieved good advice. One guy said that when he turned 30 he said, "oh I can't believe I'm 30!" and his friend said, "shut up, one day you will WISH you were 30." Good Point.

And then there was the guy who (knowing it was my 30th birthday) came over and said, "Ah 21, what a great birthday you can finally drink legally!"

I would show pictures but the batteries died just as we were taking a picture of the cake and me with the bandana and eyepatch.

I also knit this much glove:

Happy Birthday to ME! (part 2)