Tuesday, August 21, 2007


...Or at Least a Long Weekend in August

We started with a Bride and Groom...

We had some vows...lovely vows written by the Bride and Groom.

The wedding was at Lincoln Memorial Gardens in Springfield, Illinois -- a lovely setting on Lake Springfield. Lots of wildflowers. The weather could not have been more cooperative. After the ceremony, the new couple went to the Illinois State Fair and went down the Giant Slide together. A rather accurate metaphor for marriage.

Then we had some cake. Oh, there was other food, but let's cut to the chase. There was cake.

My favorite niece, Kate, was back from a year in Thailand just in time for her brother's wedding. She will be living close to me, so I will get to shower her with baked and knitted goods.

Her mother, my SIL,Laurie, was there. She raised four really incredible children -- all of them good at heart and quick of mind. I am in awe of her.

My brother, Dennis, was there, along with my favorite niece, Betsy. Betsy and Kate sang at the wedding. They are both talented and accomplished vocalists. And they sound so lovely together -- Kate's soprano blends so well with Betsy's warm alto.

The next day we took Norbert to the Illinois State Fair where we spent much time in the Dairy Building in the company of the famous Butter Cow. And the Butter Calf. And this year there was the Butter Girl, the Butter Dog, the Butter Owl, the Butter Snake and the Butter Books. All in all a rich experience. Get it? Butter...rich...

Anyway -- while at the Fair we got to spend some quality time with my brother, Mark, and his wife, Paulette. I love this picture, and it sure proves G-d knew what he was doing when he gave my mother five boys...'cuz Mark makes about the uglies little girl I have ever seen.


Before we left, I cast on for a modified Kimono Shawl using a light lace weight from Knitpicks. On Friday, before the rehearsal dinner, Myfane, Norbert and I went the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. While sitting in a theater waiting for a movie to start, I realized I had cast on the wrong number of stitches...and knit a dozen rows. So I quickly designed a shoulder shawl in my head and kept knitting. The image above is my rudimentary drawing of the shape. (I feel SOOOOO 21st Century.) I think it will be beautiful. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


The prayer shawl is complete. 61,304 stitches. 61,304 prayers. I can't wait to give it to Cousin Margie.

One observation: Although incredibly soft and luxurious, wet baby alpaca smells a lot like William Shattner's toupee.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


As I was walking towards the elevator from my office at the close of the day, a secretary wished me a pleasant evening. I thanked her for her warm wishes, and commented that I planned to retire early this evening.

And then, as if on cue, my cell phone rang.

It was the babysitter, letting me know that Norbert had been playing outside on his scooter, hit a crack in the sidewalk, and had fallen ass over teakettle.

When we picked him up, he looked scraped, but fine. When we got home, I went to apply neosporin and determined that a cut under his lip, made by his front teeth, was much deeper than my comfort level could accommodate.

So off we went to the emergency room at Comer Children's Hospital. I can't remember which circle of hell Dante assigned this place to, but it was one of the inner ones.

The place was packed. And loud. There were two bigass plasma televisions blasting "102 Dalmatians" on a repeat loop. There was the woman sitting next to us who was telling police that she suspected one of the four men at her babydaddy's house had sexually assaulted her 6 month old daughter...who was crying nonstop. (And her mother, Bless her, was really doing her best to hold it together for her baby, which couldn't have been easy.) Add to that the surreal conversation between the desk clerk and the muslim woman in an extensive black veil who only really understands one word of English -- Comer. She kept saying Comer and pointing in a direction that was NOT Comer Children's Hospital and the clerk pretty much said, over and over again, "Oh yes, Comer! I have no idea what you are saying, sweety. Come back when you can talk better."

Later, while we were in an exam room, they were wheeling a...um...body of a child...past our room. I'm not certain if I shall ever be the same again. And then, on the way out, we had to walk around the huge -- 5 ft in diameter -- pool of blood in the lobby.

I have never been so happy to leave a place ...except for maybe that K-Street sex party where Karl Rove wanted to do a threeway with me and Condi Rice and Grover Norquist got jealous and threatened to put everyone in Illinois out of jobs if I didn't go out with him. I don't know how many times I said "Grover, I wouldn't sleep with you if you were the last fascist Muppet on Earth." It hasn't quite sunk in though...just yesterday he called and said that, with Karl Rove "about to go back to working a Jack-in-the-Box in Austin like he deserves" that if I met him for coffee, he'd have a former boss of mine who treated me poorly put on the No Fly list, declared an enemy combatant, AND give his name and all his numbers to the National Amway Sales database.

That was hard to resist. He's taking me to a Patsy Cline retrospective in Southwest Michigan. Myfanwe says I don't have to put out unless we travel more than 200 miles.

I know this will surprise you, but I totally got off on a tangent.

Norbert ended up with superglue stitches, which I have to say are SOOOOO much less traumatic than sutures. And the opinion was that they will leave less of a scar and have less of a risk of infection.

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Does anyone know how and have the talent to create lovely little banner/button for my blog? I dfon't really know what I want, yet. I love knitting lace, Knitting anything. Julia Child. Cookbooks, chef's knife. butter and garlic. I'm stymied.

The sleeping pill is clicking in....I think I shall sllep.

D-g Bless you all.

Good night.

Monday, August 13, 2007



OK. I need your help. As you may have read, I'm experiencing a bit of angst over my entrance into the International Confraternity of Popular Knitters, more commonly referred to as Ravelry.

Since making a good first impression is important, I thought I would enlist your help in selecting a username that will give all other Ravelry users an idea of my personality. A peak, if you will, into my soul.

So far I've come up with the following: TallDark&Handsome, KnittingStud, HotWorstedMan, Let'sGetWorsted, NoImNotFranklin, Size11US, or LaceWeightChampionoftheWorld.

Myfanwe suggested, in the "truth in advertising" vein: TiredSweatyandLazy, MoreExpensiveThanImWorth, NotHalfBadForaMiddleAgedWhiteGuy, or NotBadLookingIfYouSquint&TurnYourHeadJustSo. She's a kidder, she is.

Do you have any suggestions?

Sunday, August 12, 2007


In 1767, Mozart's opera "Apollo et Hyacinthus," premiered in Salzburg.

Also in 1767,
the Townshend Revenue Act was passed by Parliament on June 29, imposing duties on tea, glass, paint, oil, lead, and paper imported into Britain's American colonies in hopes of raising £40,000 per year.

While we are on the subject of 1767, it was also the year Eugénie by French playwright-watchmaker Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais premiered at the Comédie-Française in Paris.

Also in 1767, Joseph Priestley pioneered carbonated water (and soft drinks). "Sometimes in the space of two or three minutes [I have] made a glass of exceedingly pleasant sparkling water which could hardly be distinguished from very good Pyrmont," he wrote. (As I type this, I am sipping Grape Crush, wondering if this is what he had in mind...)

And in 1767 Jean Chastel killed the Beast of Gévaudan. (Isn't the internet grand?)

Now, you might be asking yourself, about the significance of 1767?

Aside from being the year my mother was born, the number also represents my place, as of this posting, in line for entrance into Ravelry -- the most ultra-chic, ultra-exclusive, totally faboo fibre community the internet has ever know. We are talking The Order of the Skull and Bones of the knitting world.

I couldn't sleep last night. I started off thinking about how Rabbitch is going to get in this week, and how terribly jealous I am. Then I started worrying. What if I don't know anybody. What if nobody talks to me? What if nobody wants to be my friend? What if the other knitters think I dress weird, or make fun of my yarn overs, or think lace is sooooo 15 minutes ago? What if people laugh at me behind my back because I can't learn to knit lace continental? Or because I'm fat? Or because I couldn't pronounce "vegetable" correctly until I was 12? What if they tie me to trees and give me Ex-Lax? I saw "Sorority Girls From Hell" -- I know what people are like!

The only way I could get to sleep was to make a conscious decision to go to my "happy place" and to think about raising chickens and sheep and goats and baking cakes and making sausage and knitting sweaters and sitting in front of a fireplace during a snowstorm and drinking tea while listening to folk music. (I have an active fantasy life. I even thought through which cake recipes I would bake.)

Meanwhile, I have about 2 weeks left to loose 50 pounds, get a new wardrobe, and learn to knit lace continental.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


OK -- let's start with an admission that Debra Messing makes me laugh. Not twitter -- laugh. Long and hard. The she puts on this beautiful gown -- you seldom see saffron colored linen semi-saris...I think because the Krishna folks sorta had the saffron robe market to themselves.

Anyway, look at the cardi she's sporting. I love the third shade of the same color. I love the
texture and anchor it gives the look. And I like the fact that, even though the camera adds five pounds (more than the sweater) Ms. Messing though "Oh, WTF. I'm skinny. I can handle them.)


I have finished knitting the prayer shawl. It was a lovely experience, and I wish I could have knitted it more. But I immediately cast on a scarf for my friend Sheribel's Mom, known as Grandma R. Grandma R. is 93 years old. (Which is young and sprightly compared to her boyfriend, who is 99. )

I can't really relate, since I haven't really ever been cold.


With the leftover baby alpaca,
I have cast on a feather and fan scarf for Grandma R. who said she is always cold, and she ofter wears a scarf, even in summer, to keep her neck warm. It goes fast, and I'm enjoying it a lot.

More soon.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Last Sunday I dropped Myfanwe off at a Very Well Known Retailer about 20 minutes after the store opened with instructions to pick up a pressure cooker which had been advertised in that morning's paper. (My friend Molly, a.k.a Mulshree, said she won't give me lessons in cooking Indian food unless I had a pressure cooker.) It wasn't a great pressure cooker, but I don't really use pressure cookers much, and it was on sale for only $20, so it was perfect.

Except that Myfanwe emerged from the Very Well Known Retailer with empty arms. The store didn't have any. They never had any. And, because it was a one-day sale, they were not giving rain checks. I was very disappointed and more than a little miffed.

I waited until yesterday to do anything about it. I figured I wouldn't do myself any good to be a jerk, but I wanted them to sell me a pressure cooker for $20. So I wrote a very nice, calm letter explaining my dissatisfaction. I told them of major purchases I had made at their Very Important Store in the last year -- from a strand of pearls to luxury kitchen equipment. I told hem how much I had enjoyed their Very Well Known Store in the past, and that I was beginning to worry that my support of their Very Well Known Establishment was misplaced. Then I faxed it to the manager of the Very Well Known Retail Store and also to the Corporate Vice-President responsible for this region of the Very Well Known Retailer.

Two hours later the manager was on the phone apologizing. Many, many times. And, since they did not have the $40 pressure cooker on sale for $20, they are going to send me the $100 pressure cooker free of charge. It won't ship for a week, but for this, I can wait.

It pays to make nice sometimes.

Does anyone have any pressure cooker recipes?