Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pawn to King 4

Today in the coffee shop, two middle-aged men at a corner table near us were playing a fierce game of speed chess. It was really exciting--the moves unfolding at lightning speed as they slammed pieces, took pieces, hit the clock. It looked like the battle that chess is meant to be. E was entranced. And it got me reminiscing about high school--how the boy I crushed on my senior year played chess and I would look on like some sort of strategy groupie. Now I ask myself--why didn't I play?

I think Hedgehog is so lucky to have Sgt. Pepper for a dad. He's like Man Archetype (going by his career choices alone) but also a deep feminist--he wouldn't call himself one--but he is in the truest sense of the word. He has every faith in and expectation of Hedgie that he would for a boy (including his fondest wish that she become a fighter pilot--not much chance of her having the prerequisite 20/20 vision, though, with my genes!). I'm really hoping that she'll be the girl playing chess with the guy she likes, not the one watching.

On another note, Sarge, who is seeing my fan fic unfold, and following, amused, my consequent descent into delusion of reference (i.e., I'm pretty sure now that Snape really really likes me, although he is both a fictional character and a dead one) and asked out of the blue: "have you ever been to a sci fi convention?" Now, we've been together almost two decades, and he knows I haven't. But I think he's thinking that there may be a side to me that he wasn't, er, entirely aware of. Not that there's anything wrong with a convention--au contraire, if there was one that suited my particular delusions, you'd better believe I'd be there in costume. I warned A that it's only a matter of time before I go "Mazes and Monsters" on him, and he laughed. Boy, that guy is tolerant.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Fairytale of New York

We're going to the Pogues show at Roseland in March! I sort of happened upon tickets. For those of you who love them, well, you know. For the rest of you, hie thee to "If I Should Fall From Grace with God," "Peace and Love," and "Rum Sodomy and the Lash."

The only drawback might be that it's their St. Paddy's weekend show and it's general admission at Roseland. Drunken mob, anyone? Or maybe A and I will be our own personal drunken mob. That'd be fun.

Now don't forget to vote for your special Boyfriend! No has secret yearnings for Voldemort? And nobody voted for Severus! Come on people, it's not like he's taken...

Your Brain is Purple

Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.

Eerily accurate for a crappy 4-question online quiz. Or does this describe every single person I know? Hmmm.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fairytale of New York--the Most Beautiful Christmas Song Ever Written--And Now You Too Can Sing Along!

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy f****t
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

--The Pogues
(yes, I expurgated that one little word--but you know what it says)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Winter Solstice

What holidays? I'm Jewish, after all, and Chanukah is over. So I thought, just skim lightly over the holidays. That was my personal resolution. No stockings to fill, no tree to decorate. But in between baking for A's work events and E's school parties, and attending this and that, conceptualizing presents, it is a little more intense than I imagined. Well, so be it.

I have to say that I enjoy the festive feel and the lights everywhere. This is the darkest time of year--there's a reason we all, no matter who we are, try to light a candle against the gloom. And the baking is always fun. It makes me feel capable. The funny thing is, A came home yesterday with the tragic (and embarrassing) tale of how he spilled the entire platter of office Christmas cookies all over the floor. I asked if people were mad, and he said no, they just stood around looking sadly at the ruination of the snacking. So he's requested a big batch of my specialty, molasses ginger crackle cookies (have any of you had these? they're unfailingly glorious) to bring to work on Monday. That's the kind of task I love.

And tonight is the Solstice--my dad always marked it, and now I find it worth marking myself. It's a scientific measure of time and season, but also a little magical. So, Happy Solstice!


In the meantime, I've been working on a gazillion craft projects. I've joined a truly congenial stitch marker swap, and here's what I did for that:

Also, I'm working on really simple garter stitch baby blankets for two extremely preemie twin girls. I decided to go with muted neutral colors in slightly different combinations:

And finally, a new ripple. I was inspired by Faycat's ripple in Knitpicks shine worsted, all the different colors (except black), which I had the chance to admire at a crafting Sunday I had at my house a couple of weeks ago (bagels, lox, knit and crochet projects, and gossip--what could be better?). But my camera wouldn't capture the cheery melange of colors.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Please Master

That's Coney, a wicked little dog of our acquaintance, begging my mother-in-law with haunted eyes: "'Suffering has a peculiar attraction for me. Nothing can intensify my passion more than tyranny, cruelty, and especially the faithlessness of a beautiful woman...'* please, I beg of you--roast beef, before another moment passes unsatiated..." I just finished "Venus in Furs." All I can say is, either you're the hammer or the anvil. And although this dog seems to be the anvil, in fact he's the hammer. And therein lies the secret to life and relationships.

Every waking second of the last four days not spent reading "Structural Change in Large Municipal Police Organizations During the Community Policing Era" and "Venus in Furs" has been spent obsessing over my latest oeuvre, a very long and winding piece of Severus fan fiction. After reading so many (many) variants on my beloved Potions Master by all and sundry (some, I might add are darn good writers), I decided to add my own voice to the slightly maladapted but fun-loving choir. It's like sitting around eating bonbons, that's how much fun it is. 55 pages and counting. Guess how many pages my dissertation is?

*from "Venus in Furs," von Sacher-Masoch

Friday, December 7, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket

Here she is, the BSJ that is my new BFF. I only wish I'd taken photos of it at its weirdest most mystifying stage, when it looks, as variously described, like a "rumpled bath mat" and a "manta ray," the part of the pattern where Elizabeth Zimmerman says " me, and PRESS ON." Once you've folded it, all is revealed. Actually, A could see from the pattern how it was going to fold, and made me a little paper model to show it would work. You know, I really was good in high school geometry, and also the part of the IQ test where you have to make up patterns from individual blocks...but still, even with the paper sweater model, I could hardly see how it was going to work. But work it did. This is a virtuosic pattern. If you need more convincing, read this. I can't wait to try this with all different yarns. I want to adapt the recipe for E. And don't all of you preggies need one for your nascent gals?

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I've mailed off my ISE packages--one to my pal and one to an angel-ee--and thought I'd post some pics. The first is a zigzag pattern done in jade Tillie Tomas silk:

This is the unblocked scarf. It had a persistent tendency to roll at the edges, nearly into a tube. I'm praying that the aggressive blocking ameliorated this somewhat, because I really did love this scarf...oh, dear...

The second, a surprise for my angel-ee, whose partner dropped out of ISE at the last moment (bah on them!), is shifting sands. I loved this pattern, done up in Schaefer Yarns memorable women series--the Frida Kahlo colorway. I think these are fabulous. I also have a skein of Catherine the Great. I have so many suggestions, though, for colorways: shouldn't there be a Shirley Jackson color? Maybe blacks and greys with a hint of blue? And how 'bout Madeleine Albright? She deserves a "memorable women" yarn named after her. I digress. Here's the scarf:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

S-s-sooooo C-c-cooooold

I'm freezing. A bitter wind is howling outside my window, rattling the skylight, blowing the last leaves off the trees. Very atmospheric, but oh so chilly. The coffee at my side is already cool. In response I've taken up the following: 1. drinking tea (unusual for me, but I've discovered hot ginger tea with sugar), 2. knitting myriad fingerless gloves out of warm wools, 3. catalogue shopping for flannel lined jeans, fleece p.j.s and parkas, none of which I especially like but all of which seem the epitome of warmth, 3. wearing my late father-in-law's slippers, and 4. wearing my ISE5 scarf around the house. Why is it so bloody cold in here? I hear the radiators groaning. Where's the heat?

I'm also working out my dissertation methodology. There's not enough caffeine in the world for this task.

p.s. this is fun:

You'd better get 100% or you'll have to answer to me and the spelling gods!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

As the Year Draws to a Close, an Old Dog Learns New Tricks...

I'm the old dog in question, and I picked up a skill this week that I can't sufficiently sing the praises of. I'm working on a shifting sands scarf from the annals of Grumperina. It's so much fun, but involves a constant flow of little teeny weeny cable repeats, which become cumbersome, unless you take Grumperina's advice and learn to cable without a needle. I did it! My life as a knitter is forever changed. It took a little practice to master, as it involves a little dance of needles and frighteningly disengaged stitches, but now I'm so quick at it that it takes only a moment longer than a regular knit or purl stitch. This is one of my greatest accomplishments of 2007, and I'm not kidding.

My other 2007 knitting revelation was the Baby Surprise Jacket, from Elizabeth Zimmerman. Brooklyn Tweed has a stunning example of this magical invention, along with some good commentary...mine is made from Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino leftover from a baby ripple I did recently. I'll post a pic as soon as I sew the buttons on. I'm thinking of doing some sculpey buttons--lately A and E have been really into this stuff, spending whole afternoons making miniatures (A made me a little violin with a flamed wood back), beads for E's earrings, and some snakes and snails. But I might coopt some of the pearly pink for sweater buttons.

More anon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pixie Totally Rocked the ISE5!

My secret pal, Pixie, gave me such a mood lift this morning with her incredibly thoughtful and lovely package. I was just blown away by this gift. First, the scarf:

I tried and tried, but couldn't capture the subtle beauty of this thing. Instead, let me describe it: Malabrigo in "Brown Berries" colorway--soft, muted pinks and browns (some of my favorite colors). The pattern of waves is perfect for this yarn--the scarf is soft, silky, and dense. I'm wearing it right now, and it is so luxe and cozy. I've always coveted Malabrigo, and now I'm incontrovertibly in love.

With the scarf came a whole host of wonderful presents:

Will you look at this? TWO skeins of this stunning handpainted yarn, in my other favorite color, garnet. I'm already looking ahead to their transformation--into my current obsession, fingerless gloves--do you think it's okay if I keep them for myself?


such goodies. Godiva chocolate (I already ate one--I mean, immediately), chocolate Hanukkah gelt, a personable little sheep, a festive Maryland crab bottle opener ( I foresee a celebratory Pilsner in my immediate future), (not pictured) a personalized Leah candy cane and a Maryland postcard, and this wonderful delicious-smelling manicure kit for my poor cold-battered hands (how did Pixie know?).

Then, the lovely Pixie included this

for my beady little girl. E is going to freak. She loves to be included in things, and I'm touched that Pixie sent along something so perfect for her.

All of this bounty was wrapped in Hanukkah paper, and labeled with little tags. I was almost speechless at this gift from a delightful stranger, except that I'm never really speechless. But could anything, or anyone, be sweeter?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Brooklyn Sorceress

Last night was Halloween in our small-town Brooklyn. We had a last-minute emergency over E's planned viper crown; I had been crocheting a version out of gold thread, but it was judged not up to snuff (it became her staff instead). At the very last minute, A stepped in with some fimo, two blue jewels, and toothpicks, and came up with a really pretty amazing snake tiara, which passed muster:

We accomplished trick-or-treating on nearby streets, one of which is closed off every Halloween for the children. It's really quite a carnival atmosphere, and so much fun. I wish I'd gotten pictures of the revelry, but was caught up in the moment and couldn't lay hands on my camera. It would have been a blur anyway. We met up with many friends, mine and E's, and had a grand time. Needless to say, the cauldron was full by 7p.m.

Brooklyn trick-or-treating in the 1970s and '80s, my childhood era and my sissy's, always seemed much more laden with danger and menace, not from the supernatural, but from the criminal. Things were different back then in NYC. 42nd Street between 6th and 8th Avenues, "The Deuce" in police lingo, really exemplified all the seediness, the frotteurs, the high violent crime rate, the aggressive subway panhandlers, the grafitti, of the city. Sometimes now my family says that things are once again "going to the Deuce," but by and large that doesn't really seem to be the case. I think some New Yorkers may be nostalgic for that time--but it's not the crime and fear that I miss, but rather the mom-and-pop shops, the little butchers and bakers, and a viable middle class. I just don't understand why that great stuff had to go along with the neighborhood XXX theater and local flashers. Or maybe I do. It seems a terrible shame. But, unlike others, who are either delusional or didn't live here in the '70s and '80s, I'm never, ever going to romanticize the grit of yore. It just wasn't as safe here when I was little. Might I add at this point a big shout-out to the NYPD, who finally have sound policy and laws to back up their enforcement and stave off the Deuce.

All that said, E and I headed home early. The trick-or-treating mood definitely darkens as the sun goes down...once I see cop cars out and about, I'm glad to be cozy in our home. Small-town Brooklyn is, at least on Halloween, a phenomenon of the daylight hours, and NYC "tricks" will always be more than raw egg splatter and toilet papered trees.

Down from the soapbox and off to do the dishes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The First Day of Autumn

A month late, Autumn arrived this morning. Here's how we knew it was here:

Dr. Frizzle had shored up a tremendous amount of his stuffing against the finally seasonable chill. He was buried in the middle of the mound, but poked his head up to greet us.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Little Log Cabin

Mason-Dixon knitting is so full of inspiration for simply-worked, but gorgeous, projects. I'm adapting the knit log cabin quilt for crochet, using leftover Rowan Cotton Glace:

It seems like this is a popular idea--my latest Lion Brand catalogue features a kit for a crocheted Log Cabin. Still, you can make it up as you go along, and seemingly use whatever you have handy (within the same gauge, of course). It's sorta like Rippling in that way. And, at the end, no piecing, maybe a little pressing, and it's all set. So, I'm just merrily tripping along, trala. I'm working in single crochet, but now I think maybe half double crochet would be preferable. Anyway, it's a good While Watching SVU Project.

In other news (loosely defined) I've once again been lured by the siren song of Snape Fan Fic, of which there is an endless supply. Note to self: Leah, don't read this stuff from 1-3 a.m. when you need all your wits and faculties about you next day...

crepuscular--of, resembling, or relating to twilight
ichor--the fluid that flows like blood in the veins of the gods (from Greek mythology)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory..."

I love this picture of Sgt. Pepper making a silly face. Today is my 11th wedding anniversary. And, actually, we've been together for almost 17 years, through so much, since we were both kids. When I think of our marriage, I always remember James Joyce's words:

"A wave of yet more tender joy escaped from his heart and went coursing in warm flood along his arteries. Like the tender fire of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illumined his memory. He longed to recall to her those moments, to make her forget the years of their dull existence together...for the years, he felt, had not quenched his soul or hers. Their children, his writing, her household cares had not quenched all their souls' tender fire."

I'm amazed at how well Joyce understood and wrote about marriage. Hedgehog is so dear to us, she's like my own heartbeat, but Sarge and I came first.

Monday, October 1, 2007

SeaFlower Online

Well, E's new SeaFlower earring shop is on Etsy. She was going to sell earrings on our stoop this Sunday (like the bake sales of yore), but decided that she couldn't bear to part with any earrings of which she hasn't made duplicates. So far we have a three-item shop. She has recently decided she would like to move from glass beads with silver plate earring backs to sterling silver and semi-precious stones. Good taste, that kid. She has nearly worn out her humongous Fire Mountain Gems catalogue, thumbing through it endlessly to look at amethyst and carnelian and all the more obscure stones with fantastic names...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I must take you on a little side-trip to a realm called The Passionfruit. If you are really hungry right now and would like to drool over some gorgeous food photos, are in need of some cheering, or in search of a nice recipe for dinner, this is your destination. Check out the Sweet Ricotta Pillows. I've been daydreaming about them all day. You will be too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fierce Little Jew

Our neighborhood in Brooklyn was hit last night with spray-painted black swastikas and anti-semitic shite--on our synagogues, some cars and buildings, and right on the sidewalk by our house. E and I passed it on our way to school, and when I explained to her what it was, she immediately returned to it and stomped on it, hard. What a girl. All her tough stubborn independent ways are also emblematic of her bravery and spirit. If her first impulse is to stomp it out, G-d bless her.

Monday, September 24, 2007

And Back to Knitting

I've gotten my matchup for the International Scarf Exchange 5. The lady I'm knitting for is in the states, not from abroad, but no matter. Luckily, this time I managed not to reveal myself to my pal in the label line of my email. The person who is knitting FOR me seems just lovely. These exchanges could not be more fun. Maybe I'll try to get one started myself. How does one do it? I wonder.

I've chosen to do a beaded scarf from Interweave Press "Scarf Style"--it's the style of bead-knitting I loved so much from MaryElla (check it out--it's really delicate and pretty, not so difficult except for all gazillions of microscopic beads that must be strung beforehand). It's a simple scarf, but the bead inserts are fab. I'm using blue cotton/silk blend and chartreuse matte beads. Although, I ordered the yarn online, and it's so difficult to tell just how the color really is. We shall see.

Finally, for anyone who loves vintage patterns, do visit this ebay store I've discovered, Dakota Prairie Treasures. It's at least fun to browse through.

Still realming on the Potions Master. My forays into online Severus Worship humiliatingly illuminate my very worst tendencies to fourteen-year-old obsessive mooning over some inaccessible someone. In this case, legions of ladies (and gents too I'm sure) moon en masse, right alongside me, over someone who doesn't even exist. And while I mostly embrace my nerd (at this point, is she even inner?) the internet really forces "public" confrontation with what is supposed to be, essentially, solitary pursuit. My blogging admissions are the perfect example.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Too Much Severus

My sissy has informed me that it is now too much Snape. That I've got a potions master fixation better kept to myself. Well, I can't guarantee anything, but for now it's back to Ripple, my older obsession. I revisited the No End in Sight Ripple-Along and was once again charmed by its sweetness and industry. I was glad to find that I still love Ripple. It's always a pleasant companion.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Scent of the Darkest Kind

For those of your who love most unusual perfume, check out Mandragore by Annick Goutal. I have always loved her ephemeral scents, since my friend introduced me to Eau d'Hadrien. Now said friend recently gifted me with a little silver phial of this potions-inspired decidedly non-floral, and having used it up, I've ordered more in its haunting purple and gold bottle. Check it out--you won't smell yourself coming and going on the streets of wherever you live! Unless you live among very sophisticated and well-subsidized goths, that is...

Now, I'm back to the more humdrum world of police policy and procedure. I'm taking notes on a book called "Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality?" if that gives you any indication. Well, a girl's gotta do her dissertation, doesn't she?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Use Your Words

I worked "saturnine" and "Rubicon" into a conversation with my friend over coffee this morning. Yes, I did. Now I challenge you to work "susurrus," "grimoire," and "oi" into a coffee chat with YOUR friend. Yes, the chat will be momentarily stilted and awkward, but you will be the smarter for this exercise, and so will your friend.

It's Too Early

A's alarm woke the whole household at 5:30 a.m. Too early. Now we're up, but A has decided to take the day off in the interests of sanity.

Meanwhile, my dissertation casts me reproachful looks from the little workstation in the corner. I have become completely obsessed with Severus Snape. My Gods, I'm a married woman! And Snape, I might add, does not actually exist. The depths of my obsession reveals the proportional depths of my dissertation avoidance. I keep telling myself, Snape would tell you to finish your dissertation. If he existed. That's it, I'm going to make myself a bracelet--WWSS?--haha. Or should it be WWSD? Well, Snape would finish his dissertation. So either way, it's all good.

Or is it?

I told you it was too early.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dear Severus

If anyone out there is as slavishly devoted to Snape as I am, check out this bit of fan fic. I've only just emerged from the romantic vortex this a certain point, it's true, I began to skim for the Snape subplot, but it was well worth it.. We LOOOOOOVE him, right?

Old School

The flowers I bought today at the corner market:

Today I spent time (way too much time) musing over how repugnant I find the world of NYC private school--the jockeying for three-hour playdates, the squash lessons, the nannies, oy vey. Not my scene at all. You have to fight the good fight to keep it down-to-earth for your family. We're only in the second week of school and already I feel the pressure. On the bright side, E's school will be the very best possible place for her. It's where I and sissy went, so I know. Of course, it's changed somewhat since my day, when everyone let their freak flag fly in unbelievable ways. People are still flying their flags, but the milieu has certainly been transformed from utopian bohemia to rapacious nouveau riche. But the school itself is still vibrant, I think. She has gym and art and music and poetry classes, and two lovely teachers. And my biggest task, besides my own school work, is to try not to micromanage every detail. Unfortunately, that runs counter to my very nature.

I've finished one of the baby projects, but won't post the picture for now. Also started ANOTHER granny 'ghan in shades of greens and yellows. It's Lion Brand Vanna's Choice (yes, that's Vanna White's own line), which, although with much potential for mockery, is actually a very nice yarn with lots of pretty, muted colors. Also quite cheap. The 'ghan is blazing along. My goal is to have a towering stack of bright and inviting blankets by midwinter. Maybe then I'll give some of them away. But we're a family that definitely likes to snooze on the couch, so the assortment comes in handy. Is there anything better than a couch snooze?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school and I ate in the cafeteria for the first time. It was delicious. This time it was a Chinese meal: delicious rice that was sort of hard but sort of soft and tasted like there was something else in it but you couldn't see it. There was also a celery soup with carrot in it. The carrot looked more like pickles, but we knew it was carrot. The person who had it said "Dill pickles in my soup!" and the person next to him said "It might be cucumbers." And then another person said "Wait a minute, it's celery." "You're right," said the soup owner.

And then I met a new friend and I can't remember his name, something like M. And there was such a thing as "Bag of Me" which was a bag with three things that represent you. I brought in three fantasy things, because I love fantasy. And then the boy, named M, told me that he loved Pokemon too because I had brought in a Pokemon coin. So we had a little conversation about things like Pokemon.

I have a boy teacher named J, and everybody has desks with art supplies all their own.

(guest blogger Hedgehog)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Squirtle to Wartortle to Blastoise

It's the last official day of our summer, and I'm quite moody, worrying about getting back to housework and dissertation and real life in Brooklyn, and the melancholy of E starting first grade (my melancholy, I mean)--she's a very intense little person, but I've gotten used to, and love, having her around all day. Selfish, I guess. She needs to be back amongst the six-year-olds...

Pokemon fever has hit our little brown camp in the Adirondacks. It all began with a Salvation Army find--Bubbe purchased an enormous collection of the cards for ten dollars. Now E and Sissy have become obsessed. E returns to Brooklyn armed with an ever-increasing collection...

And here are the projects for my stepdad's b-day. I just can't recommend these dishclothes enough. You can get the pattern in "Mason-Dixon Knitting" (an inspiring book--these ladies have a great color sense), or on the Peaches and Creme cotton yarn wrapper. They are so much fun to make, work better than a sponge on dishes, and wash and dry nicely. Try making some--it's almost as addictive as rippling!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Punk Rock Outfit

I've been so not posting here. The summer is closing rapidly, and the Adirondacks are alternating between freezing and boiling. Some days we huddle by the faux stove space heater, and some days grouchily schvitz. E has begun to have some pre-first grade anxiety dreams--in one, she arrived at school wearing a "punk rock outfit," but she and I didn't notice till it was too late and by then all the other students had seen her before she could go home and change. I assured her (in waking life, that is) that punk rock outfits are perfectly acceptable at her new school, one of the myriad reasons why we are sending her there. Still, the rustlings of anxiety are never stilled by sense and reason, and besides, I do believe they're perfectly normal...

I gave my step dad his birthday presents yesterday--he is old school and doesn't believe in sponges. Neither plastic. Anyway, I made him what is now traditional--socks--and some new knitted disclothes with cucumber dish soap. I will post some pics tomorrow of said works, but for now here is my geriatric old guy:

And here are some more of E's earrings:

Punk rock on!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

SeaFlower and so many socks

I've reentered the land of the thinking people. After six years dormant, many of them happily so, I'm back in the Ph.D. swing of things. I'm enjoying it, too, sort of. I like my field (Criminal Justice) tremendously. And I think I like my dissertation topic.

Anyway, we've all been very busy up here in the Adirondacks. E has her first business. She named it SeaFlower, and she makes one-of-a-kind (as she puts it) earrings. It reminds me of my many businesses as a child, ranging from elaborate sidewalk bakesales with my special friend Al, to a short-lived industry of velour doll blankets, from scraps my Grandpa Ozzy gave me. He was a dry-goods merchant (fancy for he sold fabric and notions at a booth in a bazaar, the Busy Bee Market). My mom was also put in mind of her own summer business, making personalized macaroni letter pins, which she collected money for but never delivered to her customers...

E's earrings are quite pretty--she's been selling them mail-order, five dollars a pair (which I think is a bargain!) to an assortment of friends, and I promised her end-of-summer booths at both the craft fair and the local church lawn sale. Here are some of her offerings;

In the meantime, I've been working on socks. I'm well on my way to many single socks--I have a fear of the second of the pair--so boring to knit!

And here are my beautiful rosewood Lantern Moon sock needles. I treated myself at my new beloved upstate yarn shop:

I'm also working on baby gifts for the many enceinte among you...but those I can't post pictures of, because they're to be surprises.

Now I must return to the articles on rural policing, which call out to me their siren song...

Monday, July 30, 2007

North Country Bound

Back errands accomplished, Charlotte's Web half-finished, new fall Ripple begun and then abandoned in spare room (too hot to work on it)...I'm also officially back in the swing of the long-fallow Ph.D. August will be devoted to dissertation work. I'm hoping for long evenings of guilt-free knitting and tv DVDs that, finally, I will have earned through diligent literature review...

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Life in the Fairy Ring

Lest I ever make it sound like parenthood is unmitigated lightness of being,

let me say that Hedgehog is a high-spirited little one. Sometimes sounds come out of her six-year-old self such as I've never heard--half-banshee, half-wolf. At least, this is how I expect such creatures sound. Her moods are mercurial as Adirondack weather. Yet, she can be such good company, and funny too. And she fits into our family so well, with her book obsessions and all her eccentricity.

Today, it's raining again. Hedgehog and I drove to Walmart (I realize from my past post that it's apparent we spend a little too much time within the dark fortress of the evillest of empires) for a little traveling tank for VeVe and Lily, the Beta fish. Yes, tomorrow morning, I haul Hedgie, Pippin, two fish and a hamster back to Brooklyn for a few days to accomplish some city errands. When we were little and traveled, my dad sang a song called "We're the Bedouins and We're Here!" My life has come full circle once again.

Hedgie and I worked on a necklace of her design, tentatively called "Fairy Ring." We like to name things, in our family, and these names tend to change as different moods strike. Hedge had some mixed emotions about our handiwork:

She registered some dissatisfaction:

But I think it's quite a necklace. And I'm just glad to use up some of my bead stash in pursuit of trapped-indoors peace, however fleeting.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Knitting Forsaken for Potter

As I write, E is practicing outside in the Adirondack dusk with her new "Legends of the Wild West" bow and arrow set--I took archery (!) in college, and damned if this thing isn't scary, despite its misleadingly innocent plastic-and-rubber-tipped appearance.

A and I plowed through our copies of "Deathly Hallows" simultaneously. A stayed up all night and finished; I sagged at 3 am, leaving a wake of caramel popcorn bits, watery iced coffee dregs, and tears...and finished next evening...all I can say is, JK is my spiritual soul sister. I loved this book. And now I can barely even think of my five half-finished pairs of socks...well, maybe in honor of dear, brave Dobby.

And might I add, seeing as Veresna Ussep herself appears to have left a comment, I will now more freely admit that yes, I am a fan of her illicit Severus! Okay, there, the truth is out!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Potter Approacheth

Well, two weeks turned into a month...I'm still in the Adirondacks, and will be here for the foreseeable future, despite terrible weather and blackouts and sloooow internet connection. The dial-up service in the mountains doesn't bother me so much...after all, who cares about the internet really...I hate to admit I do! But it's not a necessity. For me, though, lights and hot and cold running water are. We were without these for a very dark sixteen hours or so last week...the power went down as I approached checkout in AC Moore with E, my arms full of Peaches and Creme to make "warshrags" galore from "Mason Dixon Knitting." The lights dimmed and died, leaving a gaggle of ladies thwarted in their crafting needs. We drove away, disheartened, right into an insanely busy intersection with no functioning traffic lights! Wow, Kamikaze-style left turn! I attached myself to the bumper of the car in front and followed her lead back to the highway, returning home to nineteenth-century darkness, a freezer full o' melting food, and NO FLASHLIGHTS. E was excited, and Sissy and I put a bright face on it. The candlelight was pretty loverly.

The weather has been uniformly gloomy, H.P. Lovecraftian really. The Adirondacks do get eerie in perpetual twilight--the trees are so tall around our house that they block out the light anyway, and now we're in a gothic novel. I adore rainy days, but the fog and mist and thunder have become unnerving.

I have gotten a perfect rainy day UPS shipment, though: a Charlotte's Web kit with five lovely skeins of Koigu, a busload of aforementioned Peaches and Creme for disclothes, and...drumroll please (well, in my yarn-addled mind, at least)...a box of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for new Ripple. I shall call this one Debbie. Sissy finished her immense worsted ripple--it's fantastic and so cozy. A named it Gorgar, and the nickname "Gorgo" has stuck, after my sister tried out "Elmer" and "Madge" to no avail. Gorgo seems like the newest pet in a household of pets...his softness is so alluring that we've all slept under him at one time or another, even in his incomplete stages.

And finally, the ultimate rainy-day treat: the new Potter. How I've longed for this day to come. A and I are buying two copies at midnight, and then going into a total media blackout. Let no spoilers sully the experience. I am rooting for Snape to be ambivalently non-evil. My crush on the dark professor has been vindicated by an article my friend sent me, discussing Snape as Byronic hero, and some of the sexy fan fic surrounding his mythos. My friend warned me that I might be scarred by reading some of this online s&m stuff, but of course that couldn't keep me away...I read, and was duly scarred, not to mention blushing. However, it does tell me that I'm not alone in my maybe misplaced luv.

If you dare, google "Veresna Ussep." Not for the prudish, or the blushing, the faint-hearted, the J.K. purists, or even for me. But it's pretty darn well-written. Wonder if Jo has read this stuff?

Well, happy Pottering to any fellow fans who happen here...

Sunday, June 24, 2007


My blog will be going on vacation with me for two weeks. I'll be in the mountains, no internet access, just me and sissy and E and pets and craft projects...

I have finished Rowan Ripple and will post photos when I return!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Firebird, my new love, moved in with me Sock Club package for June arrived today, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I think this colorway may be my favorite I've ever seen in variegated yarns, and that includes the often hauntingly beautiful Koigu colorways.

I also loved the April colorway, but wasn't too partial to the sock pattern that came with. Someone commented that the colors got lost in the shading created by the pattern's mesh sections, and I agree totally. So, I'm going to use that yarn to make a plain-Jane pair of socks from Nancy Bush's "Knitting Vintage Socks", which I cannot recommend highly enough for a good understanding of sock-making, toes, heel-turning, kitchener stitch and all...for sure, this beautiful yarn can be shown off to great advantage in simple stitches. That said, I do love the fancy June pattern that came with the Firebird yarn, and will use it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all"*

I received my package from Gina, my delightful scarf pal from ISE4. How I love my sweet pink ripply scarf. I wonder if she made a ripple pattern on purpose, because of my ripple obsession. Well, it is divine. A true, cheery pink alternated with a beautiful pink variegated yarn, so soft, the stitches so pretty, the scalloped edging so true...there is something unbelievably touching about receiving a bit of coziness from a total stranger! And handmade just for me!

My new scarf posed for some glamour shots. As you can see, it has many moods.





My pal sent along as well the generous amount of leftover yarn (I can't wait to see what it becomes), some dainty stitch markers, a terrific little knitter's reference to tuck in my workbag, and some calling cards she ordered from, which came to me all the way from England. These cards are so magical--tiny little fairy calling cards--with a picture of my ripple afghan on one side, and my info on the other, with a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder*. But the really nice thing about this gift is the reason for it: my pal noticed my love of Laura, and because she herself is a fan, remembered the bit in "Little Town on the Prairie" when Laura's ma and pa allow her to buy "name cards"--costing a whole quarter, they were truly a luxury item for the Ingalls family--so that she can have the things of other girls her age. So my lovely pal found me my very own name cards!!! But how could she have known that this is probably my favorite part in all of the Little House books? I am so incredibly touched. I often muse on the differences between my modern life and Laura's old-fashioned one--and compare them unfavorably--maybe I romanticize the past, but our world is so noisy and fast and somehow corrupt...yet, my new calling cards are the way I want my life to be--of necessity, modern ("new-fangled," Pa Ingalls would say), but like my knitting and crochet, rooted in the good things of the past.

Here are the special gifts:

Thank you so much, Gina.