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Friday, March 31, 2006

Stuff of the Random
Know what I'm sick of? Blogs and the word "random." Guilty? You betcha.

But hey. I get a pass. I'm *ahemahem* years old today. Mom arrived yesterday, I took the day off, we partook of the girly fun.

I have been traveling lately for work, which of course always gives one the perspective of one's fellow human beings not at their best. My favorite was a rather "Overheard in New York" moment, consisting of a guy on a cell phone.

"Yeah, we're still on for dinner. Yeah... the Belgian place.

"You don't want to go to the Belgian place? That's okay - we can get whatever you want - Chinese..."

Here he trailed off, and I thought, "Belgian or Chinese? You're saying that of all the food choices in Manhattan, all you can think of is Meules Meunière or General Tso's Chicken?"

It's a mad, mad world, foodies.

Over and Out -

The Birthday Girl

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday Morning, Coming Spring
It's a not-so early morning at our house, with the animals having unaccountably letting us sleep in. Tosh and I head out for his morning ablutions, past the planters of ill-named pansies trembling in the breeze. Was there ever a hardier little flower, less deserving of the scathing nickname associations synonymous with "weak"?

Tosh is more interested in smells and sights than conducting business, and I stand slightly dazed from sleep, watching him nose around from smell to smell. I wonder if he knows yet about his late best friend, the departed sheltie La La (lost to bladder cancer and we humans already miss the sweet, patient, puppy-faced elder dog).

As Tosh noses the ground, a common sight for this time of year erupts overhead. Two male cardinals blast out of a nearby tree. The pursuing victor returns to its bare branches. The other swoops to a conifer close by, cheeping fiercely at his scarlet twin. From the side, a female cardinal flits into the thick branches of the evergreen. It is not clear that the "loser" has seen her, so focused on his rival.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fantastic Plastic
Yoga + Lego = so cute. Hope she keeps it up.

(Courtesy of La Casalinga Moderna)

Monday, March 20, 2006

So... Where was I Again?
So, yeah. We had a little long weekend away.

We inspected some antiques.

Dances with art

We partied with artists.

Dances with artists

We had a little Manhattan getaway.

It was quite fun.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

So Geeky
Here's how I plan for a vacation lasting a week or longer: create a vague list of things I would like to do in that location, consult with traveling companion, casually note where the Venn Diagram of interests overlap, make those things top priority, proceed in an easygoing way about going places and seeing things.

Here's how I plan for a long weekend: Schedule. Map. Transportation plans between events. Seventeen color photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

Luckily, when I actually get to where we're going, I relax a bit. But it's still pretty geeky.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Monster from the Deep

... Scary, isn't it? Primitive sea-creature? Jim Henson Creature Shop creation?


Just a sock-in-progress.

No, just a sock

Come on, dahling - show us your profile:

Even though it does look like a primitive sea-creature at this stage

This sock has been quite the learning tool. John has been exposed to the glory of sock construction (whether he likes it or not), I have regained my sock-mojo (I haven't knit a sock in seven or eight years), and a couple of weeks ago our intrepid sock-in-progress helped a nice man unravel the intricacies of knitting with double-pointed needles. I had gone off to my new co-favorite LYS, which has the salutary benefit of being located much closer to my house than my other co-favorite. I needed a new pair of Addis for John's cardigan (that wool/mohair blend is like knitting with felt cord), and I just felt like hanging out with other knitters (John was off fishing). A man came in who had knit a scarf that was a bit on the wide side, and having decided to double it and stitch it into a tube, was getting instruction from Lynne, one of the staff, on mattress stitch. He was also knitting a hat to match, and wanted to make it into a flat-topped creation. Since he had started on circulars and was speedily going to need to switch to double-points or an additional set of circulars (call me crazy, but I agree with Lynne and think you can see the construction better on dps than two circs), he had that beginning knitter's conundrum: wrapping your head around the concept of double-points. As Lynne attempted to explain it, I pulled out s-i-p and tossed it on the table. Voila: instant teaching aid.

Another reason why I like this yarn shop: Lynne was telling the man how cool double-pointed needle knitting was. "First of all," she said, "People will be terribly impressed with you because it looks really complicated, even though it's not. Second of all, it just looks..." she paused for the right word.

"Badass," I supplied.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Admitting You Have a Problem is the First Step, Right?
There are carrot people, and there are stick people, and I am a carrot person. I respond to systems of rewards, which is why my mother used to bribe me to practice the piano (candy did the trick at the time. Now that I think of it, she used to buy me sweets after church, too). As a kid, I often didn't have money of my own, so the whole reward thing worked pretty well for Mom (until I just couldn't be bothered to sit down at the keyboard any more, sugar or no).

When one becomes an adult, one can then do the rewarding oneself. Between my love of rewards and a sock yarn sale at a new favorite LYS, I seem to have a lot of sock yarn all of a sudden:

Sock yarn

I have sock yarn that is very colorful.

Trekking XXL sock yarn

I have sock yarn that people have rhapsodized about.

Yet more effing sock yarn

I even have sock yarn intended to go on John's feet, inside waders, in a rather tall format (hence the three skeins of blueness). He is taking pattern selection very seriously and spent some quality time with this book last week, poring over cables and ribs. (Very cute, if you're into that sort of thing).

What am I rewarding myself for? Well, the completion of clapotis was a biggie. What's this over here? Oh - nothing. Pretty colors, eh? Another clapotis? How could you possibly think I would consider such a thing?

That pile there?  If you squint really hard,  you can see another clapotis.

...Okay, busted. Yes, it's going to be another clapotis. But not until the cool weather has completely gone. Y'see I have this here, that I started two years ago (I think I bought the wool and the pattern for it in 2000):

John's sweater - back

John will be a very warm librarian in a proper, handknit cardigan, hopefully before December 31, 2006.

Wait. Didn't all this begin with socks?

Well, yes.


It ends with socks, too. I think it's official. I have a problem.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Me? Wha?
I am, among other things, the Child of a Pilot.

This means little to most folks, apart from, "Hey! Free airfare!" (And yet: not quite - and certainly not for the last 16 years, so don't get so excited, Sparky). What it does mean is that I'm almost allergic to checking bags. When you're a pilot's kid, you fly standby a lot, and standby means that Your Bags, They Do Not Leave You.

You see, those folks who book flights, they lie. Or at least, they only know what is in front of them when they tell you your proposed standby flight is "wide open." Mr. Murphy (and his law) and Ms. Standby tend to get together and make some righteously nasty whoopie on your metaphorical when you have the temerity to believe it when They (yes - that "They" - the one with the capital T) say that the flight is "wide open." A "wide open" flight means that ten minutes from now an international rugby tour is going to book an entire team (with support staff) onto your flight, turning it from "wide open," to "crowded, insane, drunken cesspit. Standby? Forget it." Your bags, on all such occasions - should you be so foolish as to check them, somehow end up in Corfu, drunk, singing rugby songs.

So, I have actually considered writing a column on traveling lightly, as I believe I am something of an expert on the subject. Generally speaking, I do not stray far from my bags, and they do not wander from me.

However, a week's worth of business travel, with attendant suitage, does not accommodate our would-be travel writer. She must go forth and check, or else start to wish she was never born and her clothes never stitched.

And now we find her, nine hours from reaching home, eleven hours from the moment when she was assured that by taking the earlier flight she was doing the right thing because her bags were "already being loaded" on the earlier flight due to weather that seems to not exist.

Oh, no. We are Not Happy.