Thursday, December 31, 2009

End and Beginning

So, the year is dwindling down to its last hours. Bye, bye 2009.

It hasn’t been a bad old year, on the whole. Rachel had a great spring semester at Mary Washington, academically speaking, and successfully transferred to Hampshire, where she appears to be happy (well, as happy as Rachel gets) and doing well. I certainly like Hampshire’s proximity to Webs. I mean, hey, if you have to drive seven hours to cart your kid to college, it’s nice to have America’s largest yarn shop there at the end of the drive!

Mr. Pointy Sticks and I are trundling along. Though we were saying the other night that we really need a vacation. We’re not big vacationers on the whole. We’ve been to England once, Sanibel twice, Maine once and Nova Scotia once. We’d like to see more of Canada. I have developed a strange hankering to see Greece. Mr. Pointy Sticks loves the Donna Leon mysteries and we sometimes mention wanting to see Venice. I’m sure we won’t do anything about it soon…we are so deliberate that we make tortoises look like reckless speedsters…but perhaps a vacation is in the future.

My dad is well, though he did manage to lop the last joint of his left index finger off in a table saw accident this summer. Took himself to the emergency room, too. He’s had a nasty sinus infection that is lingering too long for my liking (and his, too, I’m sure) but on the whole he’s probably healthier than I am.

I gained some weight this year, which is the opposite direction I wanted to go in. But, at the same time, I resumed my exercise biking, which I hadn’t done for a year, and seem to be doing it fairly regularly. I think some of the weight gain may be related to medication…who knows? Ah well.

I reconnected with some cousins this year and with some old college friends. (Happy holidays, Pat and all you Linns! Happy holidays, Beth, Bev, Andy and all.) For someone as non-social as I am, that was a big deal.

So here we go, into 2010. (And I am amazed, frankly, by all the discussion on Ravelry and else-Net about how one says “2010.” I mean, (a) seems pretty obvious to me that it’s twenty-ten and (b) who cares? What’s it matter?)

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Three Guesses...

..what this box of yarn is for.

And the first two don't count. Yarn for four Red Scarves.

And the last Noro Ribbed Scarf is about half way done.

And the one for my cousin is washed and's gotten very soft and drapy. Got to make a label and wrap it up tomorrow.

Merry merry and happy happy, everyone. Hope you're all with people you love.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let It Precipitate White Frozen Moisture!

We're ready! We stopped at the Giant on the way home and picked up some necessities. Not the usual Baltimore milk-bread-toilet paper trio, but oranges and a turkey. Oh yeah, we did get some milk, too. And come to think of it, Mr. Pointy Sticks picked up a loaf of bread. So I guess we got two out of three.

There was a nasty, and rather awe-inspiring, accident in the Giant parking lot. A driver (according to someone we spoke with, it was a tiny little old lady) hit two cars somehow and then backed across several lanes in the parking lot at high speed and ended up smashing into three other cars, pinning one driver in his car. He was taken off in an ambulance. I have to feel bad for this driver...she was probably too old to be driving, got confused, hit the gas instead of the brake. But man, it was an impressive accident. Thank heavens she didn't hit any pedestrians.

Unfortunately, tomorrow is Saturday so even if we get this massive snow storm they are predicting ("We're going to get 6 inches!" "Have you heard, we're getting ten inches of snow?!" "They're saying we're getting a foot!!") we won't miss any work. But I am looking forward to just cozying in and having a quiet day. (We were planning to hit the Maul and such...just as happy not to do that!)

Come on, snow!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Red Scarf – FAIL

I feel bad. I contributed no red scarves to the Red Scarf Project this year. I donated some money, which I guess is better than nothing, but I knit no scarves. And I feel bad. Bad enough that I am thinking that perhaps I should challenge myself to knit a red scarf every month next year. How about that? Twelve scarves next year? I might be able to do that.

I should try to get The Black Sheep behind this. Print out some posters. Maybe get some of the other knitters there involved. Make sure there’s lots of red yarn in the shop. Oooh, maybe have a day where all red yarns are on sale! I dunno. I do think that the Red Scarf project is a good cause. I do like to support these kids who may not have had a lot of support in their lives.

At least I can knit a scarf.

The Fates are conspiring. I got an email this afternoon from Norma telling me that I had won one of the prizes in the Red Scarf Project giveaway. I won my choice of one of JessaLu's gorgeous bags. The one I chose is no longer pictured...but I was very tempted by this one. And the monkey ones are awfully cute, too.

So here it official challenge to myself. One Red Scarf a month. I've already placed my order at Webs for some red yarn.

Anyone have any pattern ideas?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All Tuesdays Should Be So Nice

Pleasant evening last evening, even if it did mean that I didn’t get on the exercise bike…wait a minute, maybe that’s one reason it was a pleasant evening! (Actually , I need to get going on that again…I missed last Thursday because Mr. Pointy Sticks and I were out late and I was too tired when I got home, missed Sunday because I didn’t feel good (residual effects of doing nothing but sit in a car all weekend, I think) and missed last night.)

Anyway, I got home from work and asked Rachel if she wanted to go up to The Black Sheep with me. She did, as she wanted to get some crocheting instruction, so I waited while she got showered and dressed (must be nice) and we headed up. The place was packed! But I inveigled Karen into helping Rachel with some basic crochet instruction (I’ll take her a giftie on Saturday as a thank you…she wouldn’t let me pay her) and I sat and knit and smoozed and wandered around and looked at pattern books and such. Rachel crocheted away (and then ended up ripping the entire piece she’d done out…learning experience!).

I did [mumble] endupbuyingmoreNoroforanotherribbedscarf [mumble]. (“It’s for a Christmas present!” she says in self-defense.)

And I bought a great pattern book…an Ella Rae one (number 17, for the curious) with some really nice patterns including this sweater vest which I really like a lot.

And this nice man’s sweater (if only I knew a nice man who liked sweaters!).

And this jacket…

And we got home late and then I had to make dinner and by the time that was all done and eaten and all…it was close to nine. And I was exhausted. I tried to make myself bike…I really did. But alas, lethargy won out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just Like Potato Chips...

These Noro ribbed scarves...I tell you, they're addictive.

Look at these pretty colors! Again, I am striping this one (Noro Vintage in a pretty pink-grey-tan colorway) with Ella Rae Classic in an icy pink. Me like.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

...And Home!

Left Massachusetts this morning about 8:30 -- and it was 13 degrees! Brrr. Round about the Tappan Zee Bridge it started raining and for the rest of the trip it was steady (and at times heavy) and for most of New Jersey and northern Maryland it was very foggy. Not fun driving. But I got a little more than half of a new Noro striped scarf done on the drive!

It's good to be home.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Super Sitting Saturday

Seven hours in the car and we are in Massachusetts. Actually, the trip didn't seem too bad. We stopped at a scenic overlook along the Hudson...pretty but cold! And when, a few miles later, I picked up the scarf I was knitting, I could only find one needle! Oh no! Poor little needle, abandoned at the scenic overlook! In the cold. All alone. (Have I mentioned before that I tend to over-anthropomorphize things?)

But hurrah! When we got up here to the hotel, I opened the car door and looked down beside my seat and there was the needle! Yay!

We stopped by school and scooped up Rachel and headed to Webs. I picked up some yarn for Maureen and some yarn and a book for Rachel and, yes, a little yarn for me. Got some pretty Noro Silk Garden Lite in shades of purple and green on sale. And some yarn to try to make a hat with leaves... What fun.

Home more hours in the car. Yikes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Hat Is Finished!

La, la, I finished my hat! Okay, I know…I hadn’t even posted that I had started a hat or was working on a hat. But that was only because I was busy working on my hat!

I needed a hat to go with my new winter coat. It’s red. So a month or so ago I was up at The Black Sheep and bought a skein of yarn with lots of reds and white. (I may have posted about it.) I hadn’t gotten around to knitting it up yet however. Then, a couple of weeks ago I was up at The Black Sheep and they had a hat and scarf knit from that yarn. And they felt….light….thin….not terribly, terribly warm. So I began the search for different yarn. (Don’t worry…the already-bought-yarn won’t go to waste. I may make myself a little light hat for not-so-cold days. Or a long scarf for the Red Scarf project next year. Something.)

Last Saturday I was up at The Black Sheep and Tracy and company suggested that I make a grey hat. And my coat does have a grey lining. And they had some scrumptious soft yarn in grey…and red. So I decided…Miss Oh-Yeah-I’ve-Done-Stranded-Knitting-Twice…that I would design myself a beanie sort of hat in grey with red hearts around it. Piece of pie! Easy as cake!

And it really was, of course. I had fun charting out a heart design. The yarn (Skacel's Schulana Pacolana) was a delight to knit with. The stranding went pretty well without too much corrugating. I didn’t run out of yarn. And the hat fits! (Well, I sort of wish I could have put in another three or four rows before I started my decreases, but I was worried about running out of yarn. (As it turned out, I probably could have done so.) But it pulls down over my ears enough...but a couple more rows would have been perfect.)

[Imagine the mandatory picture of stranded inside here....I'll try to get one soon]

Think that pompon's big enough?

And now I keep imagining other hats....cream with green with cream and black sheepies...cream with gray trees....this could get addictive.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Guess What It Did At Our House Today!

It snewed!

Not a lot...maybe 4 inches in our neighborhood. But my, it's pretty.

Went up to the Black Sheep today and had a nice sit-and-knit with Tracy and Karen and Renee. It was not as busy as last week, though ten minutes before closing a bunch of people came in. Weird. Got a good chunk down on Rachel's sweater and am now up to the dividing for the neck.

Tomorrow....housework. Ugh.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How About A Reading Update?

So I'm going to add 15 new books to my reading list over there...some better than others. In fact, I just looked at my list and the first book I'm going to add, Man Walks Into A Room, I can remember absolutely nothing about. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. And I read it only a bit over a month ago. Geez. Either the book really wasn't memorable or my mind is going.

The only book I starred in my reading sign for a good book...was The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness' sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go. These are good books. Looking forward to the next one. Jane Gardam's The Man in the Wooden Hat almost got a star...but I have to say to me it seemed sort of as though it was material that just didn't fit into Old Filth.

The new Deborah Crombie isn't bad...not marvelous (I probably won't remember much about it in a month), but not bad. Discovered a new-to-me mystery writer, Louise Penny. Read A Fatal Grace, her second book, and just bought another one, A Rule Against Murder.

Zipped through Under the Dome, as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Karen Maitland's The Owl Killers wasn't, in my opinion, as good as Company of Liars.

And I'm in the middle of three or four books right now. A Joan Aiken kid's book - Go Saddle the Sea - I do love her books. An Ian Rankin mystery. A science-fiction book that my brother gave me for my birthday that I think might be a little too smart for my little brain. And a fantasy...

But once I get one or two of those done and out of the way, I have Sue Grafton's new one, U Is for Undertow. Yay!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I've never tried embedding a video...let's see if this works.

Have you seen this? It's amazing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Has Been Nice

There's been a whole string of nice days, starting with Turkey Day. My cousin B, had us over, along with her parents and sister, my Dad and step-mom and our cousin ML up from Charlottesville. We had a lot of good food and a nice time. I took over a box of old photos and we had fun going through them. Managed with my aunt's and Dad's help to get a bunch of people identified. Of course, this raises the question: Do I really need to keep photographs of friends of my grandparents who I never met? But oh, I would hate to just dump them.

Friday I went to work but there were so few people there it might as well have been annual leave. At one point a friend emailed me and said, "It was a waste of time coming in today. I am sitting here and seeing how long I can balance an eraser on my nose while typing."

But after work Mr. Pointy Sticks and I went to the Daedalus in Columbia - I only bought a few books for me but got some that I think Rachel will be interested in. And then we went to the Thai restaurant for dinner. And then stopped at Borders so that Mr. Pointy Sticks could pick up a book for a friend. I bought some more books for the book drive. And a Louise Penny mystery for myself...finished that up this morning. She's good, if a little on the cozy side, and I'll be looking for more of her books.

Yesterday I went up and spent a couple of hours at the Black Sheep while Mr. Pointy Sticks went shopping. Had a nice time and got a few more inches knit on the front of Rachel's sweater. I helped wind yarn for a customer and helped one young woman choose yarn for a scarf. Tracy and Joyce were away and the shop was very busy. (Which I always like to see.) Had a nice long evening doing not a whole lot...IMing with Rachel, playing games and knitting.

And we still have a chunk of this afternoon. I was going to go paint a new food bowl for the cats...but I just don't much feel like doing it all by myself. Perhaps I can talk Rachel into going over with me when she's home.

And back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Does It Seem That Time Keeps Getting Faster? No? Just Me?

I got my flu shot last week and the nurse asked me brightly, "So! You all ready for Thanksgiving?"

I replied that, if she gave me a couple more days, I would be just about ready for Halloween.

I mean really...I could get excited about carving jack-o-lanterns this weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why So Rude?

Mr. Pointy Sticks, our friend Don and I went out to dinner last night. We went to a newish restaurant near us and the food was good. But the people next to us were obnoxious. We sat down next to a group of seven older man, two younger men, two women and two kids. As we sat down we couldn't help overhearing...because they were talking very loudly. And we heard them say something like, "Well, Roosevelt destroyed America." "You know there were two Roosevelts." "Yeah, they spelled their names the same." And then they went on, in the same loud voices about Reagan and Bush and how wonderful they were. At one point a couple at a nearby table turned to them and said, "Oh, it's so nice to hear this talk. We feel as though we are surrounded by liberals here in Maryland, you know!" It was unpleasant.

Eventually they quieted down and started talking about other least, the little bits I heard were about other things. Their little boy was making an annoying squeaky noise, over and over and over and over...but that's another issue.

As they left, one of the men went over to the table where the young couple who had applauded them was sitting and we heard him say something like "We like going places and talking like that...sometimes we can make the liberals actually leave!"

How obnoxious.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I got out in the (chilly) sunshine today and got pictures of all my sock yarn goodies.

First up, the Creatively Dyed November shipment.

The yarn for the month, a pretty pattern from Wendy Johnson, and a pattern tamer, which is a ribbon-trimmed set of magnets designed to help you keep track of your knitting rows. Not something I would have bought for myself, but it'll probably come in handy.

But look at the richness of these colors....


From Wool Girl, I got all this:

The theme, as if you couldn't guess, was Georgia O'Keeffe's poppies. There's a pattern at the bottom of the stack there and then, clockwise from 6 o'clock, a skein of yarn, some O'Keeffe postcards, a sock project bag, some little satin and organza poppies to use for decoration somewhere, a small tin, painted and decorated with a poppiy and filled with jelly beans in orange and red, and a tiny sample of Soak in the floral scent. In the center is a card with two adorable, poppy-themed stitch markers.

Here's a closer look at the yarn and the stitch markers.

Wow! What color!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Succumbed...

Unfortunately, I can't show you quite yet.

You see, there are (for those of you who aren't big knitters) these things called "Sock Clubs." You sign up for a month or three months or six months or a year...and each month you've signed up for you get a special skein of yarn...a pattern...and usually some goodies of some kind. And this year, I broke down and subscribed to two. Actually, I only bought a month's worth of the Club that Wool Girl was was Georgia O'Keeffe themed and man, wait till you see the gorgeous yarn I got. And the goodies.

The other one I signed up for was Creatively Dyed's Sock Yarn Club. I just love Diane's yarns. I got the first shipment yesterday and will get another one in December and the third in January.

The bad part...the weather here is crappy and rainy and gray and, of course, I am at work all day. So I will be taking pictures this weekend! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Okay, I said I'd be back yesterday...and it's today. Oh well. I do have pictures for you, though.

Or perhaps I don't. Blogger doesn't seem to want to load them.

Let me try again later.


That's better. I didn't, as I said, buy much. I got two skeins of this gorgeous mohair and some sock yarn.

I love the blend of green and purple in the mohair. The sock yarn looks lighter here than in person. It's richer looking in person.

And I bought some angora blend to mix in with some alpaca I had been trying to do up a scarf in. It really didn't look good on its own...or at least I couldn't find a stitch pattern that worked with it. So now I'm striping it with the so:

I think I like it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home Again

Didja miss me?

We went up to MA this week to visit with Rachel. She won't be coming home for Thanksgiving, so we flew up on Thursday and flew home today after feeding her, and buying her some essentials (boots, saucepan, some food), and buying her some goodies (earrings and neat pencils and a pretty box), and meeting a friend (Hi, Morgan!). Morgan is pretty cool, as Rachel's friends tend to be, and we liked her a lot. And it was so good to see our girl. The weather was crappy...chilly (though not as cold as I thought it might be) and rainy, rainy, rainy. Better than snow, I guess.

And yes, I got to Webs, though most of what I bought went to Rachel, who seems to have been re-bitten by the knitting bug. I'll show you what I got tomorrow, when the sun is up.

And I'm up to the armpits on Rachel's sweater, though I had to rip a lot out the other night because I seem to have forgotten a bind off row or something. It's rather confusing.

Unfortunately, while we were up in MA we went into a Barnes and Noble and I succumbed to Stephen King's Under the Dome and I am finding it rather compulsively readable. Another 600 pages or so and I'll be back to knitting!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chugging Along

Rachel's sweater back is about 11 inches and a bit. It's not fast knitting but it's nice and soft and mindlessly entertaining. I am glad we're seeing her this week, as I'll be able to hold the piece up to her and figure out just how long I should be making it. She wants a longer sweater...

Not much else going on here...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why Is It....

...that you can feel crappy on a Friday and Saturday and then be miraculously all better by Sunday evening? So off to work I go tomorrow. Which is just as well, since our boss is off tomorrow and Tuesday and I wouldn't want to leave Elizabeth there all by herself. Not that she couldn't handle it, wonder woman that she is. I mean, she really is incredible. I'd like to be as smart as Elizabeth when I grow up.

But I did (ta da!) start Rachel's black sweater.

Knit, knit, purl, purl...knit, knit, purl, purl...knit, knit, purl, purl...this could take a while. Though it actually is going faster than I expected.

What else did I do this weekend besides snooze? I did start the new Karen Maitland, The Owl Killers. She wrote A Company of Liars, which I loved. So far, so good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This May Sound Sort Of Mean...

...but cruising People of Walmart the evening before one's fifty-fifth birthday may not make you feel younger, but it sure makes you feel smarter and more attractive than some people!

Monday, November 2, 2009


We had a yummy dinner tonight. Broiled tuna and some delicious butternut squash.

You cut the squash into 1 inch-ish cubes and chop up two or three onions into...hmmm, I think I did sixths or so. Then you toss them with Wegman's basting oil (olive oil with various herbs mixed in), salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single-ish layer. Bake them at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Oh man, are they tasty!

Of course, it helps that Wegman's also sells cut up and peeled butternut squash.

I should have taken a picture, but by the time I thought of it...they were pretty much gone.

We'll be having them again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Feel So Competent!

So...a few weeks ago, my cousin Becca gave me an old sweater that she really, really liked. But it had some problems.

This sleeve had a little problem. And there were two holes down near the hem, where the anchors for the pockets had torn the yarn.

I knew I hadn't a chance to find this same yarn. I spent quite a while at The Black Sheep, trying to figure out what I could use. And finally decided on a Aracaunia wool, a blend of creams, blues, browns and greens.

I'd never done a repair like this, but knowing that the sweater was unwearable as it was...that I couldn't ruin it...was very liberating. So I cut the seam open.

I wove a fine needle along one row of stitches...and cut!

I picked the stitches out until I had the partial sleeve on the needle and a swatch of knit that I unraveled and skeined.

I washed this curly little mess and left it to dry over night.

The next day...I started knitting. To try to make this look somewhat planned, I mixed the new and old yarn in stripes.

Here is it, knit but unseamed.

And here it is, seamed.

The cuffs were hemmed and may have been a tubular cast on. I couldn't reproduce it exactly...didn't know how, so I just did a purled turn row and hemmed it up when I was finished.

As for the holes....

the darns are both in this picture. One's in the upper left corner, one in the bottom right. They aren't perfect...the backs in particular are dreadful...but really? I'm pretty pleased.

I'm thinking of doing a little row of chain stitch in the Aracaunia along the top of each pocket just to try to tie the sleeve in a little more. We'll see.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Well, Lookie Here!

It's a finished project.

And yes, it's another Noro striped scarf. This one, however, is half Noro and half Ella Rae wool...makes the scarf cheaper but, I think, no less pretty.

I am particularly pleased with this one because I had the forethought to work the first skein of Noro from the outside and and the second from the inside out, so that the colors are mirrored on either side. I had thought that these colors would be really good for one of my cousins, but her mom seemed to think until I decide who might like it, it's an orphan.

And I got a little yarn today. I was cruising around Etsy (always a dangerous thing) and stumbled upon Gypsyknits. I really like her colors and I ended up with these:

From left to right - Melted Crayons, Farmer's Market and Appalachia. The colors are soft and muted but really rich and lovely. Very autumnal.

And I've started a project that is scaring me a little...let's just say it involves ripping and reknitting...I'm taking lots of pictures, so if all goes well, I'll be documenting it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sometimes... can go home again.

So this Saturday Mr. Pointy Sticks and I spent the day here.

It was Homecoming weekend at my college and, though it wasn't a special year (but yikes! the 33rd!!) a small group of us decided to get together.

For a little while it was pretty...

though rather grey and sprinkly. And then it started pouring...and pouring harder. But we did okay. Andy, Bev, Beth, Mike and Bill...we managed to find dry places to hang out and eat and talk and generally carry on...

And we had a great dinner at a restaurant that had very good Margaritas. And, oh yeah, the dinner was good too.

I was somewhat nervous about meeting all these guys again. There've been a lot of years under the bridge since we were last together and I was afraid it might be like being with strangers. But no, it felt wonderful. I especially enjoyed being with Bev and Beth...we were all so close freshman and sophomore year. Things sort of fell apart in our junior and senior year...Beth moved off campus and I moved into a suite with another group of women...we were never as close again. But last felt like freshman year again. Bev and Beth were my first real friends since I was about 12...I never really had any friends after 7th grade for various reasons. (I went to a different school for 8th grade and then back to the first school for 9th grade by which time the friends I had in 7th had reformed into different and rigid little groups and I didn't fit into any of them.) And Mike and Bill (and to a certain extent, Kevin and Steve and Dan, who were also there but didn't spend as much time with us) were part of our tight group of friends, too.

It's amazing how little we have all changed over the years, really. Scary maybe just how set your personality is at 18. As Simon and Garfunkle say, "after changes upon changes, we are more the less the same."

And it is reassuring to discover that we've all forgotten a lot. It isn't just me. One of us would tell a story..."Remember this...." and one other person might say "Yeah!" and all the rest of us would look blank and say, "I don't remember that at all!"

Anyway, we've all pledged to come back for the 35th reunion in 2 years. And now I'm looking forward to it.

And Beth asked me to update my book, Beth, I've done that for you. And here are some recommendations.

Of the books I listed tonight, I really liked:

The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker's latest. Like a lot of Baker's book, this is sort of a story about nothing. It's the narrative of Paul Chowder, a poet who has lost his lover, Roz, and his ability to write. His musings on this and on poetry are both sad and funny and will teach you a lot about poetry. By the end of the book, you're really rooting for Chowder and the ending is satisfying.

The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault. A quirky sort of mystery, with a love story. Or a quirky love story with a mystery. The setting, at a company that publishes dictionaries, is wonderful.

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. He hasn't lost his touch.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. When Judd Foxman's marriage ends "the way these things do: with paramedics and cheesecake," and his father dies, Judd ends up back at home, sitting shiva with his mother and siblings, people he has a hard time spending five minutes with. I really enjoyed this, even though I realized, at the end of it, that I was closer in age to Judd's mother then Judd...

I also read Her Fearful Symmetry...and I have to say, I had some problems with this. I didn't like the big twist at the end. As a mother, I found it difficult.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

The weekend is winding down. It had its good points. I got myself a new cost from Lands End. It's bright red and water repellent and warm. And yesterday at The Black Sheep I found some perfect yarn to make myself a hat to match my new coat. We got birdseed and Mr. Pointy Sticks got the feeders all refilled. Had a nice lunch out yesterday.

And tomorrow it's back to work.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Just Call Me Wordless McNotype

I have been particularly unwordy these days. Work is continuing to be extremely busy and when I come home I just collapse. Add to that that I think I'm fighting a cold and that I'm not sleeping well and...voila! No blogging.

Mr. Pointy Sicks and I had a dinner worth blogging about though this past Wednesday. We had been given, for last Christmas, a gift certificate to the Milton Inn. And we finally got around to treating ourselves. And....yum.

First of all, the place is lovely. It is...not elegant exactly, but tastefully fancy. (Elegant to me implies less warmth...this place felt very welcoming.) Comfortable in an old Baltimore kind of way. It reminded me of Marconi's, a restaurant that used to be in downtown Baltimore and had the same kind of comfortable class...though it was perhaps a little bit shabbier.

We were seated in a front room. There was a fire in the fireplace and we were seated right up again the side of the mantelpiece...we couldn't see the fire, but we could see the firelight dancing on the walls and glasses and silverware. For appetizers, Mr. P.S. had a baby spinach salad (which tempted me except that I was getting spinach with my entree) and I had a marinated and grilled portabella mushroom cap filled with crabmeat and bruschetta. Very tasty though a little on the salty side for me. (I don't cook with any salt, generally, so restaurant food often seems a little too salty.) For entrees, I had the chicken breast on parmesan grits, baby spinach and tomato wedges with pesto. Oh man, those grits! Creamy and flavorful and so good...I could have rubbed them in my hair. Though that would have been a waste of grits. Mr. P.S. had - get this - a filet mignon, topped with a crabcake and covered in bearnaise sauce with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. It looked gorgeous and he said it was pretty damn good.

For dessert, we shared a selection of sorbets - lemon, raspberry and mango - and a slice of the best flourless chocolate cake I've ever had. Rich and creamy and decadent. Decorated with an amazing chocolate truffle. I told the waiter, when he came to clear the table, that I thought the cake should be illegal, it was that good.

So it was a lovely dinner and we had a nice time there. I can definitely see saving up some money and going back there again.

Heh. I like this bit from the Milton's Inn chef:

And, being from Baltimore County, he knows that Baltimoreans love their crab. "Put crab on anything and they'll order it. And they love their red meat. They don't want their food to be too fancy and theywant a big portion." Boston says. "Don't give them the small food. They want to be fed."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sorry, Mom...

When I was a little girl, shopping wasn't done at malls (or, as I prefer to think of them, mauls). Instead, one dressed up, with patent shoes and white gloves, and went downtown (on the bus) to the department stores. We favored Hutzler's but shoppers had the choice of Hutzler's, Hecht's, Hochschild Kohn's or Stewart's...all independently owned. We dressed up, as I said, and had lunch there...either in the fancy restaurant (oh, their Welsh rarebit...yum) or across the street in the Annex Coffee Shop, which was more like a diner. Conveyor belts carried the covered plates out from the kitchen to the counter waitresses. Each cover had from one to three holes in it because there were three bays to the counter as it twisted across the room...

Anyway, on one of those trips when I was eight or so, we went downtown to get me new dress-up shoes. There were lots of black patent shoes, some white patent, and oh my, one pair of gorgeous red patent shoes. I fell in love with these shoes...they had straps like Mary Janes, but those straps could swivel back and tuck behind the top of the heel so that the shoes worked as slipons, too. There was red grosgrain ribbon around the edges of the shoe and a large bow at the toes. They were a gorgeous shiny red.

And my mom said no. Absolutely not. Nice little girls didn't wear red patent shoes in my mom's world. So home we came with sedate black patent shoes.


Sorry, Mom.

I got myself some new shoes yesterday. This red pair may be my favorites. But I also got these, which will show off my handknit socks nicely.

And these, the fluffy linings of which will keep my feet nice and warm.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From An Aunt To An Uncle

I visited with my aunt and uncle this weekend and my aunt gave me a bunch of pictures to put up here on the blog so that my cousin can copy them down for her dad. So herewith...some pictures.

My uncle Arthur

He was, I think, a nice looking young man.

Here he is holding my aunt as a baby.

I think she liked being with him.

Not a good picture, but here's the whole family. My mom is the girl in the wide-brim hat. And the Scottie is Mike.

And here, for my cousin, are some pictures of her when she was little and visiting back East.

She's outstanding in her field....or outsitting, at least!

And here, with her little sister.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just A Peek

One of these circles is getting of these circles is getting larger.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keeping My Promise

I told you I'd show you what I brought home from the Black Sheep with me on Saturday.

First of all, I got the thing I went up for....

There were only two copies left, I think. I love the hat on the cover...that's the main reason I bought this one. And yes, I know Jared is going to have the patterns available singly on his website at some point. But I've been reading his blog for years...I am very happy to support him. Besides, there are some other nice projects in here. Like these:

I went up to the shop in part to pick Tracy's brain about this sweater I want to make for Rachel. Tracy pointed me in the direction of this book,

telling me to check it out and see if it would be helpful. Well, I sat and looked at it and I don't know that it will be helpful....but there sure are some pretty patterns in it. Like this one:

I like this jacket a lot.

So, I was sitting there, knitting away on Rachel's scarf and getting annoyed at some of the conversation, when I saw this yarn.

The more I looked at it, the more I thought one of my cousins would really like these colors. (No, not you, ML. Sorry.) But a scarf would take 4 skeins...almost $50. And I love my cousins, I really do. But $50 for a scarf just seems a little much. But then I had the idea of mixing it with a skein of another yarn...this is Ella Rae.

And I might have started it the other day. You know, just to see how it looks.

And yes, Rachel, I'm still working on your scarf. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it. And I'll be starting your sweater...maybe even tonight! Well, maybe not. But soon, I promise!

Disagreeing With The Yarn Harlot

I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee but I have to I think she's wrong.

I have her day-at-a-time calendar and today's entry says:

"Gandhi, that great man of nonviolence, maintained that every person should spin thread for 30 minutes a day. He had taken a vow to do so, and kept this vow even while in prison. Gandhi believed that the practice of quiet, structured, peaceful work would promote those same qualities in the people who did it, and I think he was right. I have trouble imagining war in the world if all soldiers and their commanders had to take 30 minutes out of their day for peaceful, productive, comtemplative work. I believe knitting would serve this purpose perfectly."

I dunno...there are plenty of times that my knitting has made me want to kill something.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Can't Tomorrow Be Saturday Again?

I spent some of Saturday, after Mr. Pointy Sticks and I ran around and got some chores done, at my favorite place. Guess where?

Yeah. The Black Sheep. That's no surprise, I guess. I spent some time knitting there, although it was a tiny bit spoiled because one of the women who works there occasionally was there and she just sort of rubs me the wrong way. Part of it is not her fault....something about her attitude remains me too much of my late step-mother-in-law. She is a wizard knitter, but I think that, other than knitting, we would have very little in common. She was saying some disparaging things about people who live in the US and don't learn to speak a snotty sort of fashion. Now, do I think immigrants to the US should try to learn English? Yes, because it will make their life easier and help them, perhaps, feel more comfortable here. Do I hold it against them when they do not?'s hard for adults to learn a second language, ESL courses are not free and are not all that plentiful, and perhaps someone understands English but isn't comfortable speaking it to a snooty American. Anyway, the conversation sort of left a bad taste in my mouth.

So I wandered around and cheered myself up with the pretties. I am inordinately attracted to these yarns...

Ooooh, sparkly! Fortunately, my favorite one, a blend of reds and pinks and oranges, has apparently been sold. I say fortunately because I really don't know what I would make out of the silly stuff. (Though I rather like the purple-pink one in the foreground there...) But again....ooooh, sparkly!

They had gotten a big ole box of yarn, which included some fun gigantor balls of yarn.

Just how big are they?

Here's one with a mug for comparison.

The box also had some Mark and Kattens sock yarn that was Noro-esque but much softer.

They had this colorway and a blue-purple one, which you can just see in the first shot of the box. Nice stuff.

I didn't come home empty-handed...I got some stuff that I'll tell you about tomorrow.