Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This is for sister Laura, whom I sensed somehow doubted Alan Rickman's empirical sexiness.

Circumstances prevented me from attending the Phillies Stitch N Pitch game last night, but I did manage to catch a few innings on tv. They walloped the Reds. In the 6th inning, they did a little feature in the announcers' booth about the SnP. Garry Matthews and Chris Wheeler held up the handknit scarf and needlepointed ball and made some innocuous remarks about the event. And I thought, oooh, how great - they're talking about it! And then Chris Wheeler said, summing up, "Yep, there's a whole lot of MACRAME-ING [my emphasis] going on in the stands tonight." GROAN. Oh well. They ended up selling about 1400 tickets total, which was great.

And now, back to knitting. I'm still slogging through the Momogus Knits Basic Baby Blanket, checkerboard version. It's at 23", heading (I assume) inexorably toward 36". I am at that stage where I measure the blanket, and it is 23" long. Then I knit on it nonstop for four or five days, and then measure it expecting to be nearly done. And it is 23" long. All knitters know this Twilight Zone of Measuring. Sometimes you measure after a couple of days and it is shorter than it was before. What gives?

I read other blogs and see the gorgeous, amazing projects going on out there, and I feel bad. Oh how I wish I could give you some beautiful yarn porn to gaze at! But alas, no. I promise someday soon I will hurl myself into some fabulous and fascinating new projects that will thrill and amaze you. But for now, you'll just have to bear with my musings on Harry Potter and the never-ending blanket.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's my one year Blog-a-versary!!!

I saw the coolest bumper sticker Friday while I was walking up Germantown Avenue at lunchtime. It said, "Trust Snape"

[Note: even in this unfortunate get-up Alan Rickman is strangely sexy]

Oooooh - is that the best or what?? Do they know something I don't? I ran up the hill back to the store and burst in to tell Annie the manager. I yelled, "I just saw the coolest bumper sticker! It said, 'Trust Snape'!!!!!!!" And she looked at me blankly, and said, "What does that mean?" Oops - I forgot that I leant her Book Five two years ago, and she still hasn't finished it. She doesn't know what happened to [SPOILER ALERT] Sirius Black, let alone Dumbledore.

For those reading this who are over the age of 14, let me say in my defense that I was extremely scornful of the whole Harry Potter phenomenon for the first three books. I kept thinking, what's wrong with these people?? Then I thought, oh well, I'll just read one to see what all the kerfluffle is about - maybe Gus will like them. And of course I was hooked. When Book Five came out (delivered to my door the day it came out) [make big "L-Hoooser" sign on forehead now], I read it in one sitting. I walked around the house with the book in my hand, distractedly making lunch and "cleaning". When Book Six came out, I cravenly pretended that I had a stomach virus so I could stay in bed and read. Matthew came in at one point to check on how I was feeling and found me contentedly lying in bed, happily turning pages. He very unsympathetically made me get out of bed and go about my business.

I have my Book Seven on order, but I will be coming back from Boston that day. I have to put myself in some sort of isolation chamber (or perhaps "car") on the trip back, so no punkass 12-year-old at some New Jersey Turnpike rest stop tells me the ending before I can read the book.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Okay, don't despair - I promise this won't become The Crazy Cat Lady Blog, but c'mon folks, when you have a bathroom populated by kittens, something's gotta give. Look at this ding-dang face:

Yeah, that's Nuts. I discovered today that if you even just talk to him in a high squeaky kitten-wooing voice, he will start purring. I couldn't get a good picture of Caroline, since she is still skittish.

Cue heavenly choir of angels!!! Look at what arrived in the mail yesterday!!!!

O Happy Day. Yes, a whole mighty tower of Georgette Heyer books! Since I had gone through all the local libraries' stock, I finally went to Amazon and bought 7 - count 'em - SEVEN GH books! They're all used, and the whole lot only cost like 10 bucks. But now they are so precious to me, I can't bring myself to read them! I have two trips coming up this summer, so I'll save one each for those. But should I just jump into the rest in one big orgy of Regency romance? Or should I carefully parcel them out for times when I need extra soothing mindless happiness?

Phillies Update: I haven't mentioned this in a while, but I went down to the stadium on Monday to help stuff the giveaway bags for the Stitch N Pitch Night on June 26. The Phillies so far have sold 1200 tickets to stitchers - I believe this is by far the best showing by any ball club on their first SnP. They had to open up an additional section to fit all the crazy knitters in. Now admittedly Philadelphia's a big city, and there are a lot of knitters around, but the Phillies really stepped up to the plate [HA HA] on this. The coordinator from the National Needle Arts Association said some ball clubs are very dismissive, even though there is a proven track record of success.

So here's to you, Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Club. This sorta kinda offsets the whole Freddy Garcia thing. A little.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Today is my dear dear DEAR friend Lisa's birthday. Boy howdy, am I glad that she's still part of my life after (drumroll please) ......... TWENTY-FOUR YEARS!

WA HA HA - I can't believe we've known each other that long!! How can we be THAT OLD???!! We met when I was a senior at Penn and she was a sophomore, and we were both working at the late-lamented Eden Restaurant in West Philadelphia. I won't go into the many evenings we spent on the deck at Eden. They had a policy that you could have one drink after your shift was over.(Is that a wise policy? Considering we were all drunken college kids and the bartenders were all drunken college kids, I would say no.) But it was a blast, and our friendship was solidified and has survived a hundred different jobs, a thousand different boyfriends, cats, dogs, wonderful and not-so-wonderful roommates, a million phone calls (and that was just trying to track each other down at the airport the last time!), one billion emails, four trillion gallons of beer, and moves to San Francisco, Chicago, Wheeling West Virginia.

I love her strength and humor and kindness and bravery, and even after 24 years, I still can't get over that I have such a cool person for a friend!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hello, everyone! Did you think I had fallen off the face of the earth? I don't think it's a coincidence that my dearth of posting has coincided with the first week of summer vacation. You would think that having two extra days off a week would mean I had more time to post, but you would be wrong!! I used to waitress [at the Hot Shoppes - does anyone remember Hot Shoppes???] all through high school, and the manager Norma always used to say, "You're most efficient when you're most busy. Keep busy." This has stuck with me through a million waitress, bartending, banking, construction, etc etc etc etc jobs. It's nice not to keep busy sometimes, though the blogging suffers.

Obligatory Baby Blanket progress shot (yawn...):

Kitten News! Matthew, in a moment worthy of Marlin Perkins and Jane Goodall, captured three of the kittens on Sunday - the Unnamed Calico, Nuts and Beady. The Unnamed Calico (now named Tiki) was taken to her new home yesterday by friend Marjorie. Nuts and Beady are now in our downstairs bathroom. We took them to the vet yesterday - they are healthy and got some shots and had some tests. Nuts is a boy (this will be an ironic name shortly, but the irony is lost on the 7-yr-old who named him), and Beady is a girl. I politely requested that she be given a decent "girly" name, and Matthew proposed Caroline (as in "Sweet Caroline", as in what Red Sox fans sing during the 8th inning at Fenway.) Whatever. I heartily approve. I think Caroline is a beautiful name.

Nuts is amenable to being scritched and picked up and will start purring immediately. Caroline is a little more circumspect. She hissed and swatted at us the first day. By this morning, she would let me scritch her and pick her up, but she was still a little squirmy. I hope she ends up liking being held, because our other cats are goofy love-hogs, and I will not tolerate any feline-diva attitude. We still have Orange Cream and Alan Possum-Face to catch. That will be our Saturday activity.

We worried that the mom, Smokee, would freak out and disappear after witnessing the scooping-up of 60% of her children. We went outside about 10 minutes later and saw this:

She was asleep under the grill. She was like, WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?? FINALLY I CAN GET SOME REST!!! She's the last one who will need to be caught. If we can, we'll get her spayed and she can come back and be our outside cat.

I will try to post some kitten pix tomorrow.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Here's some stuff that's new around here.

New ceiling!!

New wall!!

Hallelujah! It's hard to find someone who will repair plaster - most do only drywall now. But we got a recommendation from a friend to try Mr. Patrick Bonner, who promptly came to the house, spoke with a beautiful lilting Irish accent, and more importantly, did a spectacular job repairing the catastrophic hole (remember my Mother's Day present?) in our ceiling and also the horrible crack on the wall next to the fireplace. There had been a gigantic mirror over the fireplace when we moved in, which Matthew and I took down in anticipation of Patrick Bonner's arrival. That ding-dang thing must have weighed 150 pounds. No wonder the wall was cracking in half. Now we just have to wait a week for the plaster to dry and I can paint it and we can get on with our lives.

And now, presenting.....Kittens!!

This is the other big issue going on chez Momogus. Early this past winter, I noticed a stray cat rummaging through our recycling bin, licking out the empty cat food cans. This act was so patently pathetic that of course I put out some crunchies for her. Of course, this led to her appearing like clockwork in the morning and the evening for meals. Of course, this led to me naming her ("Smokee") (I know I know, not original, but she is smokey-looking and I wasn't thinking I'd make a big emotional investment in her.) And then of course, she shows up one day looking suspiciously....round.... and I say, "I think Smokee's going to have some babies." And then, sure enough, she shows up one day suspiciously....skinny again....and I say, "I think Smokee had her babies." And THEN, sure enough, who appears under our back steps but Smokee and her FIVE kittens. And of course, they are adorable beyond belief and of course we named all of them (curse of death) and now they are 7 weeks old and all weaned and we have to catch them and also Smokee and get 'em all fixed and placed.

We can't take Smokee in because even though she follows us around the yard companionably and talks to us constantly, she is pretty skittish and also our psycho-cat Funny would have an aneurysm. But we think a couple of kittens would be okay. First we liked Nuts (the crazy intrepid one) and Beady (the all-black one). The Unnamed Calico (we didn't name her because then we would get attached and she's already spoken for) would go to a friend. But then there was Orange Cream (who is orange-and-white and fluffy!) and Possum-Face (who has gorgeous dark coloring and an unfortunate whitish face). I feel bad now that I named him Possum-Face, so we may have to adopt him out of guilt. So it may be Nuts and Possum-Face.

Here they are, nursing in a particularly disorganized fashion:

Cross your fingers. I hope we can catch them all.....

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Whoa - when was the last time I posted something about knitting? Like six months ago? Are there any knitters left reading this?? I have to admit that end-of-school and Little League have been consuming huge chunks of my time and mind, but that's mostly done so here's a little knitting stuff.

Here are my samples hanging up at The Tangled Web:

WOO HOO!!!!!

Here is the binder with my patterns on the binder shelf at The Tangled Web:

YEE HAW!!!!!

While it is absolutely thrilling to have them there, it is also a little nerve-wracking. Every time a customer goes near one of the samples, I freeze. IS SHE GOING TO ASK ABOUT THE PATTERNS? IS SHE GOING TO BUY THE PATTERN?! I get completely distracted. If the poor customer turned around at that moment, she would see me staring at her maniacally, trying to will her to buy a pattern. Scary Momogus!

Annie told me that she sold a couple of them over the weekend. I guess the novelty will eventually wear off, but for now I am thrilled to see them.

I made a color-coordinated Basic Baby Cap to match the little Chestnut Hill Cardigan:

Mary suggested that she would like to see a pattern for a simple cabled Baby Cap. So I spent the weekend whipping these little nuggets up. (Rowan Felted Tweed and Rowan Cashsoft DK)

Look at the problematic decrease solution!

I love me sometimes!

Now I've cast on for one of the two Basic Baby Blankets. I've had these patterns written up for months (or years, gulp), but it seemed like a lot of knitting and so it was easier to work on smaller projects. But I really want to get these done, so I can have a whole little Basic Layette action going on. Here is the exciting progress shot - won't that make a nice blanket?


Here's the weird thing. For the past couple of years, I kept putting these patterns aside and working on fun stuff for me or Gus or whoever. Socks, lace shawls, sweaters, felted bags - I produced them in droves. This spring I finally said to myself, SELF! FOR GOD'S SAKES, GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR AND FINISH THOSE MOMOGUS KNITS PATTERNS! So I put away all my "fun" knitting and threw myself at the Momogus Knits stuff. After I got it done and sold all the patterns to The Tangled Web, I thought I'd reward myself by knitting a side project.

I was going to knit this cardigan from "No Sheep For You" (which is the most beautiful book with the dumbest name and weirdest off-putting cover).

I cast on for it and immediately knew I didn't want to knit it right now. All I wanted to do was work on developing new Momogus Knits patterns and knitting samples! Huh. Weird. Unexpected. Human Nature. Cannot predict.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yesterday was Commencement at Gus's school. The first-graders serve as pages during the ceremony; they're paired off with seniors and hang out with them for the last month or so of school. Here are Gus's senior partners, Matt and Rachel [please excuse horrific picture - when I pulled my camera out of my bag it had somehow put itself on the "Icky OverExposure of Important Pictures" setting]. Please note awesome Red Sox cap which they bought Gus.

All the first-grade boys wore jackets and ties and the girls wore light dresses. Here are Gus and his pals in line to get a boutonniere.

They are all wonderful devils in regular life, but yesterday if I could have I would have grabbed them all up in one yummy bunch and run away with them, they looked so gorgeous.

Here is Gus getting pinned. Like he didn't look cute enough! They had to ramp it up a notch with the boutonniere!

Here is his class with his mighty teacher Soojin, whom I adore more than life, on the left.

Okay, brace yourself. I understand that because Gus is not your child, you may think you will be immune to the unbelievable adorableness of him in a jacket and tie with a boutonniere, walking in procession and waving like a savvy politician to the crowd, but I guarantee you will not be immune. REGARD!

THUNK!! That is me keeling over in a dead faint. His adorableness would not be denied.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We picked up our first bag of produce from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm (Herrcastle Farm) last week and have been enjoying the good stuff since. Now of course everything is fresh and gorgeous and full of organic-y goodness. But these went beyond the call of beauty:

Aren't they gorgeous? I pulled them out of the bag and actually gasped. They are the most beautiful radishes I have ever seen. I googled "radish poem" because I wanted to see if anyone had ever been moved to write a poem about them. But alas no. I feel strongly that there should be something poetic said about this humble and gorgeous vegetable. So here is a little poem.

Ode to the Beautiful Radish

Your outsides are red
Your insides are white
Your beauty made me gasp
And you tasted just right!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Did you ever know someone who flitted in and out of your life for so long that you take their presence for granted, and then suddenly you realize 20 years have gone by and how important that person is in your life? Well, I have!

This post is a little mini-shout out to my sister Laura's friend Cathy. Cathy came down from Boston this past weekend to help Laura out with the epic picnic preparations, and during the course of the weekend I could feel all my 20 years of accumulated love for her rolling over me like a wave.

Cathy and Laura were roommates at Tulane and were partners in some hair-raising crimes in the Big Easy. The combination of the World's Fair, lax drinking laws, the lure of New Orleans and being 18 and on their own made for some ker-AZY times!! Cathy moved to Boston and became occupied in raising her big beautiful brood of boys (five of them!), and Laura had various jobs in New Orleans and Los Angeles and around here. Because their lives were so peripatetic, a visit from Cathy was a rare and wonderful thing. Here are some reasons why.

Cathy is a repository of all information practical and common-sense (and thus foreign to our family). Here's an example. You know how when you unscrew the cap of a carbonated drink and if it's too fizzy it will spray all over? Well, until Cathy came into our lives, we thought we were pretty clever to open the bottle over the sink, thus catching 20% of the spray in the sink (and 80% on us). But Cathy showed us (with her never-ending patience and tolerance) that you could unscrew the cap BUT NOT ALL THE WAY to let the fizz escape gradually and thus avert the spraying disaster. Every time I've opened a bottle this way for the past ten or fifteen years and haven't gotten sprayed, I think of her.

Because she has five boys of her own and because she is patient and easy-going and wonderful, Cathy has always been an object of fascination and devotion to Gus. Even when he was little little, he would trail her around, waving Thomas the Train parts at her to play with (which she would) or urging her to watch The Wiggles with him (which she did). Now he is big and during her last visit, she came over to see Gus several times and brought him a Matsuzaka t-shirt and an extremely cool Red Sox cap. How perfectly perfect is that??

Here they are, on our front porch, swapping recipes [she is patiently listening to Master Chef Gus explain how to make something]:

Here they are, playing Battleship (my peace-lovin' lil Quaker's favorite game):

Here they are, feelin' the love:

Now, something I appreciate as much as someone who loves my son is someone who loves my sister. Cathy has been there for sister Laura through thick and thin for the past 20 years, with NO EXCEPTION. She has been there for all of us during our saddest time; her compassion and patience and humor (did I mention that she is HI-larious?!) helped us all through some really bad times. This past year, when my sisters and I felt like maybe we just might drown in grief, when Cathy came around we felt like everything might actually turn out okay. That's the effect she has on the people around her.

Now I'd like to sum up with some perfect pithy comment, but I just can't encapsulate how I feel about this woman in one sentence. I'm just thankful she came into our lives.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Philadelphia's last championship. Dr J, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones. An awesome team. TWENTY-FOUR YEARS ago today.