Thursday, November 30, 2006

Baseball Players....The Sour:

[from SportsIllustrated.Com 11/30/06]

Albert Pujols thinks he was snubbed. The St. Louis Cardinals' slugger is upset he lost out to Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the National League MVP award, saying Wednesday the honor should go to someone on a playoff team."I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP," Pujols said in Spanish at a news conference organized by the Dominican Republic's sports ministry.

Yo, loser! The Phillies won three more games than the Cardinals this year. Move over, Burrell, and make room for this sourpuss in the MM Doghouse.

And The Sweet:

[Scott Palmer of The Philadelphia Daily News 11/29/06) talking about Phillies catcher Chris Coste]:

One of the things I'll remember always about this first season was being with Chris in a cab on his first road trip going to Fenway Park and, it was a thunderstorm, and it just came down and actually flooded the dugout. We could see some of our equipment start to float away and we had to go get it. But before we got in, it was raining so hard we couldn't even get out of our cab. And Chris, looking at me, and saying, 'I waited my whole life to play in Fenway Park, and now it's a rainstorm and I can't get in the door.' And I said, 'That's pretty bad, isn't it?" And he said, "You know what, though? I wish that I could run right now. It's Fenway rain, and I would never have to wash my clothes and they wouldn't dry.'

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Okay, so I survived the Virus of Doom only to be felled three days later by the Cold of Epic Proportions. I normally have a robust constitution and pride myself on my general healthiness, but I have a sense that living with my 6-year-old germ carrier/disperser, I mean, beloved son, has proved too much for my beleaguered immune system.

So this is what I've been doing, since I cannot knit:

More beaded snowflakes (I got tired of the pearls, so branched out to some other beads I had lying around). These are actually fun to make and pretty. [Cat! Get yer damn head out of the picture!!]

More sudoku:

I bought this book while Christmas shopping at Allegheny Art Company , one of my favorite stores in the world. I have always felt a bit sad about my lack of artistic skill, so I hope this will address that a little. Here is my first exercise (a Kleenex box at eye level and below eye level, executed in the school parking lot while waiting to pick up the lad.) Apparently it is more difficult than it looks to "draw what you see".

Some cultural notes from the world of MM - first in cinema: "The Forty-Year-Old Virgin". Okay, is Steve Carell the funniest man on the planet? In my humble opinion, yes. I loved this movie - it was sweet and funny and Steve Carell was genius. The chest-waxing scene, though I had seen most of it in bits before, had me on the floor laughing.

Next, in the world of letters: "The Blessing" by Nancy Mitford. Light as air, frothy, British fun. Mitford was heretofore unknown to me but I was poking around the library the other day and decided to take the plunge. Bingo! Libraries rock! Now I'm reading "The Black Tower" by P.D. James. Inspector Dalgleish is one of our favorite British mystery guys.

I feel my tenuous grasp on remaining upright fading, so that's all for today.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hey, y'all. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. Here is the highlight of my Thanksgiving:

This was Gus's idea. When we went to the supermarket the other day, he announced that he was going to make "Vegetable Salad" and told me what to buy. In the intervening days he talked about the Vegetable Salad constantly, but I wasn't quite sure he was going to follow through. Then on Thanksgiving morning, he wrote out the recipe and made the Vegetable Salad. In case you can't read the "reasape", it calls for broccoli, brussel sprouts and mushrooms with shredded carrots, drizzled with olive oil and seasonings and roasted in the oven. It was delicious, and the only dish from Thanksgiving that had no leftovers! Excuse me while I blush with pride. And also chagrin, since his cooking genes clearly come from his father.

In a horrifying turn of events (in terms of my Christmas present plans and my general peace of mind), my tendinitis has flared up again, and so I had to put all my knitting down. I haven't knit for a week. Owwww. I picked up the little blue and green baby bootees the other day, but my arm was screaming at the end of one row, so I put them down again. I've been reading magazines, doing sudoku, made a little beaded snowflake ornament, I even started some embroidery (it's boring). Look at my pathetic attempts to amuse myself:

I cannot sit idle - I have to do something with my hands or I will go mad! Mad, I tell you!!

Well, so I can't knit for a while. Everyone's getting books for Christmas now.

Today we went to Valley Green to poke around. Here are some highlights:

Gorgeous stretches of paths:

Mossy goodness (bonus points if you can spot the little moss gnome with the red hat:

Bizarre nature-y stuff:

Come along and have a heart attack with me! (Matthew assured me the water was only 3 feet deep on either side of this slippery, deadly, precipitous "wall", but I didn't breathe until my little boy was back on dry land):

Feeding the ducks and swans and geese! I stood in the very same place at his age and did the very same thing:

The highlight of the day - the "FOAM BUTT!!!", so christened by my TWO gleeful six-year-olds:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm fighting off the Virus of Doom right now, so I shall aim for pithiness rather than lengthiness in this post. My head weighed LITERALLY [yes, literally! not figuratively!] 35 pounds yesterday. Every time the store got empty I would rest it on the counter or on the table. I also believe that my core body temperature was approximately 175 degrees fahrenheit. Thankfully, it was a short day and Matthew was home with Gus, who's also finishing up his bout with the Virus of Doom. I crawled into bed and slept from 1:45 to 6:45, got up for a little dinner, then slept from 7:15 to 6:15 this morning. I feel much better, thank you.

Obligatorily corny but heartfelt wishes for a happy peaceful Thanksgiving for everyone out there. I hope you don't have to travel far or if you do it's a pleasant journey. Bear-hug your friends - kiss your mother - tell your kids you love them - put grudges aside for a day - have an extra helping of stuffing - step back for a second and appreciate how lucky we all are.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Random thoughts:

The Expanding Hand is still on my kitchen table. I can't tell if it is absorbing the water in the bowl or if the water is just evaporating. I haven't touched it since the last time. Here is a picture of it before:

And now:


I have a Food Network confession to make: I like Ina Garten. I used to think she was snooty, because she lived in the Hamptons and she wasn't the usual manic-cheery FN host. But I find myself looking forward to "The Barefoot Contessa". I like what she makes - interesting foods, but not too exotic and not too difficult. I like the friends she always has over for parties and brunches and dinner parties - they don't seem so snooty. And finally, I find her quiet manner soothing. I like how giddy she gets around her husband - she's always trying to make him say something funny, which he won't do, and she's always snuggling with him. I find it all strangely endearing.

I like you, Ina!

Speaking of Food Network, I don't mind Rachel Ray. I know people have been bashing her recently, but I kind of always liked her programs. I'm a sucker for kooky-enthusiastic people. But I went to the supermarket yesterday, and Rachel Ray's face was on every single product in the store. It was actually spooky! Go see for yourself - I bet it's the same in every supermarket in the ding-dang country!

I love pictures like this:

A darling neighbor couple recently had a baby boy, and I decided to knit him a little something. I was going to wait until I had finished the pair of these, but the first one came out so insanely cute that I am taking a picture now:

They make me want to talk in a really high squeaky voice. The yarn is Lana Grossa Merino 2000 on #2 needles. It's dreamy to work with.

These are from this book:

which is one of my favorite books - not because I use it so often, but when you need a cute pair of bootees, they're in here. I love making bootees. I love that you're knitting a tiny pair of shoes, with all the required shaping and stuff. I love this pattern.

MVP voting results are to be announced this week. If Ryan Howard doesn't win, I will be crushed. Cross yer fingers.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary. I don't want to embarrass Matthew by gushing about him; suffice it to say that [insert Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech echo effect here], today I feel I am the luckiest woman in the whole wide world. He makes me a better person than I would have been without him and makes my life a wonderful place to be.

"Your summation is correct, Counselor Momogus!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My mighty mighty dear friend Lisa came to visit me this weekend. She lives in the City of Big Shoulders (that's Chicago, for you non-Sandburg fans) (That's Carl Sandburg, not Ryne, for you non-poetry baseball fans) and is busy as a bee, so a visit from her is a real treat. I took the train down to the airport to meet her. On the way (because that's a lot of knitting time!), I worked on this:

These are "Knucks" from When Francesca came to the store the last time, she was wearing these, and I of course coveted them, and she told me that they were knit from the fingers down so of course I had to try that trick! I had a ball of Rowan Felted Tweed and some Kidsilk Haze lying around and took the plunge.

May I just say that I LOVE making them this way!! First you knit five little tubes and put the stitches on holders. Then you join the fingers in one glorious joining round and off you go. The hard part is done and you just sail down the hand! Yay! Here is a Knuck on a Septa seat:

In the airport baggage claim area (Terminal C!). Please note snazzy carpet and ends woven in:


Once Lisa and I finally caught up with each other, the knitting stopped. Here's Lisa on the train:

We talked and talked and talked and ate cheesesteaks and hoagies and drank beer. It was GOOD. Here is Lisa's roast pork and sharp provolone and greens sandwich from DiNic's at the Reading Terminal Market:

I wish I had had the nerve to document every delicious thing we ate and drank, though that might have been tedious, I suppose...for Lisa and for you readers. Suffice it to say, it was good and Phillycentric. Lisa's the director of cooking schools for The Chopping Block now, but went to school here (that's where I met her) and lived here and appreciates Philadephia cuisine.

She is a pure delight to be with, my dear friend for (gulp) 24 years! Though I love her dearly, I must say that she refused to touch the Expanding Hand, no matter how much I pressured her.

I hope to visit her sometime in the spring. Gus, who had a big crush on her, wants to go and visit her too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Remember the Fisherlad Gansey? Yes? Well, the other day I pulled it out of Gus's backpack and beheld this:

You know in cartoons when someone sees something scary and their eyes pop out of their head? Okay, now imagine me pulling that sweater out and seeing the gigantic hole in the sleeve. Now imagine me as a cartoon character and imagine my eyes literally flying out of my head.

Who knows how this happened. Perhaps the combination of lively 6-yr-old boy, handknit sweater, and backpack with zippers and all sorts of other metallic catch-y type things is too fraught with danger. What's important is that, praise Jesus, these sleeves were knit from the top down. Hallelujah! That means that all I had to do was cut off the sleeve just about the hole, like so:

And then I put the stitches back on the needle and knitted the cuff back down again, like so:

Exhale with me.

If I ever complain again for one second about how much I dislike knitting sleeves from the top-down, I will personally kick myself around the block.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I have finished niece Grace's Sorbet Purse again, this time in Cascade Pastaza (which I used for the first time and which is rather lovely to work with). Here it is pre-felted:

Nothing fancy added this time. I kept really close track of the increases this time and ended up with 4 stitches too many. What gives?? I don't worry about that, though.

Last night my dad and I went to see the Opera Company of Philadelphia's production of "La Cenerentola" (or "Cinderella") by Rossini. It was awesome! We've been going to the opera since I was about 15, so you know that's a lot of operas. I've seen crazy productions and glorious productions and operas that made me cry and operas that made me swoon. I'm not usually a fan of nutty ideas, like setting an 18th century opera in the 1950's (like this one did). However, the singers last night were wonderful, and the production actually made me laugh out loud through the opera. It was delightful.

Our seats were up on the first balcony, so we could look down into the orchestra pit. One of the best things about this was that I could watch the harpsichordist. She only had to play during the recitatives, so when she wasn't playing she folded her hands on her lap and craned her neck so she could watch the action on stage. She laughed along with the audience and clapped after particulary good arias. It was wonderful watching her! I'm used to Met productions, so I'm always a little leery of the OCP productions. But the last two I've seen have been spectacular - the singing is much more consistently good than at the Met, I love seeing things at the Academy of Music, and the productions, especially this one, were completely enjoyable. Right on, OCP!

Update - Sorbet Purse II felted:

MUCH better...... It is worthy. After it dries, I'll needle-felt some good Gracey stuff on it (flowers, "G"s, etc), and off it'll go. The Pastaza was lovely to work with, and the pattern was very easy. For scale, it's about 8" wide and 5" high - perfect size for the fashion-forward 20-month old.

Tomorrow, a rollercoaster ride of knitting despair and triumph!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


If you don't vote, you can't complain about who's in office!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I've been knitting, you know.

Here's niece Grace's Sorbet Purse, pre-felted:

I was supposed to end up with 88 stitches after the initial increases above the base. When I went to do the decreases at the top of the purse, it wouldn't work out. I tried again, and I didn't have nearly enough stitches. When I counted, I had 66 stitches. I had done the whole body on 66 stitches. I know I did all the increase rows, and I don't remember ninja warriors suddenly pouncing on me to distract me while I did them. So where did those 22 stitches go? Beats me.

I soldiered on and sort of fudged the whole thing at the top. We'll see what happens. Fortunately, though she is an intelligent and discerning young lady, Grace is after all, 18 months old, and perhaps she won't mind her pink sparkly purse not turning out exactly as the pattern was written. I'll have to see if it is worthy of her after it's felted.

Update - here it is felted:

Feh. It is not worthy. I don't like how the Little Flowers felted. I wouldn't mind that if the shaping were as cute as in the pattern picture, but apparently when you don't do the shaping, because of ninjas or for whatever reason, it doesn't turn out the way it should. Back to the drawing board with this one.

In the meantime, I thought I'd make some fancy-pants mittens for myself, so last night I pulled out this kit, which I purchased a while ago.

Neat colors, eh? Neat pattern, eh? I blithely cast on the required 72 stitches on #1 needles and realized after an inch or so that this mitten was going to be enormous. I rechecked the gauge. Oh. The pattern calls for 9.5 sts/1". The knitters out there will know how insane this is - for normal knitters. For a loose knitter like myself, this is the equivalent of George Clooney appearing at my door for a date. As much as I might wish for it, it ain't gonna happen.

Sadly, I put the Paradoxical Mitten pattern aside [there's some joke here, but I can't come up with it] and picked up this kit:

These call for a sensible 7.5 sts/1" - still slightly demented, but not so impossible. I like the Jamieson's Spindrift colors that came with the Paradoxical Mitten kit better than the also-admittedly-beauteous Rauna Finullgarn that came with this kit, so I think I'm going to do the Frostrosen Mittens with the Spindrift yarn. I'm so crazy.

By the way, I touched the Expanding Hand yesterday. It wasn't squishy the way I thought it would be. It was firm, like a real hand. Ewwwwwww! Now I know I'm not going to be the one to throw it out.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Peculiar Things In My House

Did you ever catch sight of something in your everyday surroundings that you suddenly realize is rather bizarre? I was cleaning the kitchen yesterday and realized that this bowl has been sitting on my kitchen table for a while:

This was given to Gus by his loving aunt for Halloween - it's an "Expanding Hand". You put it in water, and it, ah, expands. We watched it very intently for the first couple of days. Then it lost its novelty, but it is still sitting on the kitchen table. I wonder if it will ever get thrown away. I'm not sure I want to be the one to throw it away - it makes me uneasy. Maybe I will just leave it on the kitchen table.

Speaking of hands, remember a while back when I bought the sparkly shiny supplies to make beaded knitted votive holders? So I couldn't take it anymore and strung the beads and started the project. Look here (pardon the blurriness, but I wanted to capture the prettiness of the beads in the light:

Yes, those would make a gorgeous votive holder - just imagine the pretty beads sparkling in the light of the candle.

The pattern says, "Knitting with wire and beads can be a spiritual experience. The feeling of slipping the beads along the wire...provides sensations not common to ordinary knitting."

I think the sensations they speak of are the loss of blood flow in the fingers and the arthritic-like cramping deathgrip of the hands as you slip the beads along the wire. The spiritual experience must be when you take a break and pray to God or Allah or Shiva or Buddha to please please please give you the use of your hands back, so that you can resume normal activities like cooking and driving and dressing and caring for your loved ones.

Suffice it to say there will be no knitted beaded votive holders for anyone for Christmas this year. Or any year.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My dad recently sent me the following story. Keep in mind that this man is an eminent historian, so I initially thought he was sending me some fascinating historical fact that he had come across during his research:

"Do you remember William Spong, US Senator from Virginia 1967-1973? (Probably not.) When he went to Washington he was afraid his name would be pronounced Sponge, so he let it be known that he and Senator Hiram Fong of Hawaii and Senator Russell Long of Louisiana would introduce a bill calling for the mass ringing of church bells to welcome the arrival in Hong Kong of the US Table Tennis team after a tour of China. His bill never passed (probably because it was never actually introduced), depriving the country of the Long-Spong-Fong Hong Kong Ping Pong Ding Dong Bell Bill."


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Without further ado, I present to you, Beast Boy!!!

With the haul:

Contemplating the haul (81 pieces - we counted!):

I bought the fabric for, yes, $4.99. Add green hairspray (which came out much wilder in photos than in person), green facepaint (we already had lying around), regular hairspray (had to buy; the only hair products I own are shampoo and conditioner), tights (or "heels"), black turtleneck (already had), and boots from Payless (which were actually nice; he needed a pair for this winter). We made the belt from cardboard and duct tape (care of NB - genius, thank you!)

I don't know who was more thrilled - Gus or me.

For comparison's sake (for those of you who don't let your kids watch hyperviolent, super-non-Quakery, Japanese cartoon shows like this weary Quaker mom and so may be unfamiliar with this character):

Also, just for kicks, I found this picture from a cartoon convention:

C'mon, dude - if you're going to commit to being an adult dressed up like a cartoon character, at least get the details right!! You're costume is pink! You have shoes, not boots, on! Your hair is not green! You don't have the "power" thingy on your power belt!

All in all, it was a super-awesome Halloween. He and I expanded our range to include a new street in our neighborhood, thus increasing the candy haulage. Also, this year for this first time, he made me wait on the sidewalk and rang doorbells by himself. I felt so parental.

It was a great day, and THANK GOD IT IS OVER.