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!