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)

10 August 2007

the seasons are becoming schizophrenic

We walked outside this evening to go to dinner and discovered it was significantly cooler outside than it was in our air conditioned apartment. After going back to turn off the a/c and grab a sweater we remarked on how it was hard to believe it was August because it was 60 degrees outside.

I began to think about fall. I began to think about how much I love fall. I began to think about how much I love fall clothes. I started getting very excited.

As we rounded the corner I looked on the ground and saw this,

I looked over to the curb and saw this:

I thought to myself, "ah, I do love the fall with the leaves turning colors and crunching under my feet."

Then I remembered the part about it actually being early August. What the hell? How come the leaves are changing already? My next thought was that maybe they were leftover from last year at fall (ummmm, how this happens when the streets are cleaned twice a week I don't know but it is more logical than leaves changing in AUGUST). So I looked up at the trees and saw this


journey of a sock

I took along James' honeymoon socks as my trip knitting. I had plans to do his socks AND some christmas socks but I grossly underestimated how long it takes to knit socks. Since I was knitting James' socks the entire trip they had some wonderful adventures. Besides doing most of the things we did there were some special highlights for the sock.

It got to sit on a termite mound (to give a sense of scale).

It did such a good job at this that its hard to find--look on the left just above and to the side of the little arch.

Some sock knitting got sadly interrupted because of the bad condition of the roads, so it just got to gaze out the window for a little while:

Maybe the roads don't look so bad to you but imagine a really really bumpy roller coaster and it was sort of like that.

By the time the first sock was finished it was famous. Women (who were trying to sell us things off of platters balanced on their heads while we were stopped in traffic) stared in through the windows and had extensive conversations about what I was doing and how I was doing it. It got to meet a crocheted purse made by the Nigerian women sitting in front of us at a Durbar (ceremony thing where chiefs and important people meet).

It was officially finished at lunch after we me met the chief of the Gunja (he was not introduced to the sock, some things don't translate well). James was appropriately pleased....

My mother thought perhaps it felt like expressing its inner thoughts as a hand puppet.....

And Emmaunel (our driver who thought it was really hilarious that I spent all my time knitting socks) thought perhaps it might make a good necktie...............

The second sock felt a little jealous as it had little of the glory of the first sock. It was all business and work work work with that one. But the night after we returned from Ghana it was finished and James officially has honeymoon socks (two years too late)

03 August 2007

Safari birthday

My 30th birthday was at Mole National Park, a game preserve. If you ever have a chance to have a birthday in Northern Ghana I highly recommend it here. The animals are all wild and there are only people in a tiny fraction of the preserve. Basically the animals do what they want and the people work around them. Thus being woken up by baboons jumping on our roof. There are antelope, baboon, elephants, egrets, crocodile, lions (in theory), and tons of pretty birds. But really there are two main reasons why the game preserve was great:

Reason #1

Baboons. They are awesome. They stole some ladies bra and underwear she hung out to dry.

Reason #2

Elephants. They are huge.

Happy Birthday to ME!

01 August 2007

James does not like Fu Fu

Fufu is a staple of Ghanian cuisine which basically consists of yams (real ones not sweet potatoes) that have been pulled and mashed. It eventually makes a lump of stretchy substance that you can use to eat your food with your hands. In Ghana they make fufu by using tall tall poles to pound the fufu in a low bowl. It looks something like this:

This picture depicts the Ghanian story about why god is far away. He used to live nearby but kept getting hit by the poles the women were using to make fufu. He got very upset and decided to go far far away where he wouldn't get hit anymore.

James is an adventurous eater so for lunch our first day in Kumasi he decided to get Bush Meat stew with Fufu. Here is what it looked like:

My mom and I tasted it. Fufu was not so yummy. It might be our least favorite food in Ghana.

That night around midnight (well after we had gone to sleep) James leapt into my side of the two twin beds pushed together in our hotel. He started grumbling, "I'm cold, I'm cold, I'm cold!" I told him to turn down the air conditioner. He shut it off. Since James had been hot the night before with the same air conditioning level I thought perhaps we should take his temperature. 102 degrees. We had no blanket in the hotel room so I covered him with everything we could find that might be warm, including the mosquito net:

Since his fever kept going between 99 degrees and 102 we got to embark on the lovely adventure of going to foreign clinics. We went to the Cocoa Board Clinic, a clinic for cocoa employees (one of Ghana's biggest exports). It was quite lovely and civilized. ...James did not have malaria and they gave him some antibiotics. The best part was the pharmacy that was IN the clinic.

My mom and I spent the day feeling a little under the weather and slightly feverish as well. I'm convinced it was the Fufu.


Adinkra is a cloth used for serious occasions. People wrap themselves in it for funerals in particular but for other less grim occassions as well. We visited the village outside of Kumasi where much adinkra cloth is made and got a tour of how they make it.

They make up dye to dye the fabric black. It comes from wood. The fabric gets dipped in the dye a few times a day for a month and is left to dry in the sun in between dippings......

There it is spread out to dry. On the left in the big oil drum they are making the ink they use to decorate the cloth. It comes from a bark and gets reduced down until it is a very oily thick substance.

They spread out the cloth and use the ink to draw out a grid with a comb. They will use these stamps to decorate the inside of each square on the grid:

Each stamp has a different meaning that is associated with some sort of proverb like saying.
As if the demonstration couldn't get any more exciting they let me try...........

I love getting to play with things. Here are my stamps.

I just picked them up out of the bucket and had no idea what they meant but apparently here are their meanings:

On the top right is "NYAME BIRIBI WO SORO, "God is in the heavens" or a symbol of hope. It is a reminder that God's dwelling place is in the heaven, where he can listen to all prayers."

On the middle left is "MMUSUYIDEE, "that which removes bad luck" or a symbol of good fortune and sanctity."

On the middle right is "NYAME NNWU NA MAWU, "God never dies, therefore I cannot die" or a symbol of God's omnipresence and the perpetual existence of man's spirit. This signifies the immortality of man's soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die."

And on the bottom left is "GYE NYAME "except for God" or a symbol of the supremacy of God. This unique and beautiful symbol is ubiquitous in Ghana. It is by far the most popular for use in decoration, a reflection on the deeply religious character of the Ghanaian people."

Hmmm, auspicious? Can you tell that the Ghanaians have a bit of a thing for god?