Friday, May 30, 2008

Wanted: full service movers


How is your move going?? Everybody, Bruce is moving RIGHT NOW as you read this. Actually, she's probably just unpacking as you read this. I know you probably don't have internet yet, and things are probably Really Hard right now. Ugh. I can only imagine, because I'll be doing the same thing next week.

So, would anybody like to guess exactly how much packing I've done? Anybody? Anyone who knows me in person will know that I've packed exactly nothing. In fact, I got a package delivered from yesterday, and opened it and started playing with the stuff, so I have actually done NEGATIVE packing.

Here is what I ordered:
1. "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin: it's a young adult mystery book that I LOVED when I was a young, avid reader without any friends. I'm re-reading it to see if it's any good.
2. That Spoon album with Sister Jack on it, but on vinyl. Hooray, record player!!
3. The soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. Shut up you guys, I love that movie.

I've also been doing some secret knitting for my pal Karida, as well as some sock knitting for my Mom (I know! Socks take me longer than a sweater). Of course, I have also done my share of stressing out over work: getting everything ready for my replacement, training my replacement, applying for jobs, working tirelessly on my resume....I'm kind of "over" this whole move to Columbus.

In fact, I thought of a great idea for a business: full service moves!! The second you decide you want to move, you call your local full service mover. They take care of finding the perfect apartment, settling on a lease agreement, changing your address with the post office, dealing with utilities, and all that pesky shit. THEN, two days before the move date, a group of movers and medical professionals show up at your house. They put you (and maybe your cats) in a medically-induced coma, pack all your belongings, transport them to the new location, and unpack them for you tastefully. You wake up in your new apartment, with your cable on and your shit completely unpacked and put away. HOW AWESOME would that be??

I guess the last thing I wanted to accomplish in this post was to congratulate Matt on totally being a lawyer now!!! Congratulations, Matt Esquire!!

Okay, everybody send me and Bruce positive moving vibes!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bruce soars on two cups of coffee


We had a big weekend around here. Matt graduated! He's a lawyer now. Everyone says that they're going to call him when they get arrested for assault or DUI, but he is not that kind of lawyer.

My grandma and my mother came for the graduation. My grandma really wanted to go to the Willard Hotel. It's this really fancy historical hotel in DC, where, legend has it, Ulysses S. Grant coined the term "lobbyist" in reference to the 19th century wonks who came to the Willard lobby to, well, lobby him. He liked to sit in there and smoke.

So we kicked off the weekend with a bajillion dollar lunch in the Willard Room. Man, it was fancy. When we sat down at the table, Grandma made to sit her handbag on the floor, and a waiter materialized out of thin air and placed a little stool next to her chair. For her purse to sit on. (Mom and I didn't get Little Purse Stools. Possibly because we didn't have designer bags like Grandma? Do you think the waiters at the Willard are trained to give little stools only to bags over $400? Can I also take this opportunity to say that I think LV Bags are hideous and you couldn't pay me 400 bucks to carry one? The concept of the status symbol has tricked countless women into paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for butt-ass-fugly handbags.) Anyway, lunch at the Willard. High heels at lunch! Matt had to wear a tie.

After lunch we went to the Round Robin bar, also in the Willard, where Senator Henry Clay personally mixed Washington's first Mint Julep. Consequently, Mint Juleps are the Round Robin's signature drink. So I had my first Mint Julep there, and it was pretty damn good. It cost 15 dollars. Which, incidentally, is more than the shoes I was wearing at the time ($13.99 at Payless).

Later that day, Matt's family arrived and we split into different groups and did tourist stuff. The graduation itself was incredibly stressful, what with the family, and the crowd, and the AIR CONDITIONING and the trying-to-get-a-cab, plus the weather was awful, but in the end Matt got this giant diploma. I am pretty proud of my guy, the labor lawyer.

Now that that's over, it's time to pack for the move.

The cats are really interested in everything that's going on here.

There is some knitting news too--I am 90% finished with the book knitting! 90%! I've got to do some end weaving and some seam sewing (but not much, because when I write patterns I try not to include seams because seams are tools of Satan). Also I have to knit some sleeves.

Once I do that, I'm all set for my next move. I went and bought me a copy of Cat Bordhi's holy book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. Cat is amazing. I am totally blown away by her inventiveness and practicality . Cat has one of my very favorite qualities--she is totally no-nonsense. I love no-nonsense people! There is no crap in this book. It is all really practical meat and potatoes. Seriously, dudes, go out and get you some Cat Bordhi. Girlfriend can tie the knitting part of your brain into a knot, which confuses you at first but then, once you've gotten your head around it, makes perfect sense.

So, as you can see, because of Cat Bordhi, I am 'bout to be one of those sock people. They say things like "Sock yarn doesn't count!" and "Kitchener stitch" and "toe-up." That's me.

That's me starting next week!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hippogriff Thursday


It's Hippogriff Thursday. As everyone knows, in the Harry Potter world, a Hippogriff should be approached in a very specific way in order to avoid enraging the animal. You have to maintain eye contact, because Hippogriffs are suspicious. You have to bow before them, because they're proud and easily offended. Delicious snacks, such as dead ferrets, should be in easy reach. This way, if you inadvertently offend the Hippogriff, you can immediately placate it with snacks.

It's Hippogriff Thursday because I am intensely, ravenously premenstrual. It's best to approach me with all the caution and delicacy you would show a Hippogriff. Make eye contact. Bowing wouldn't hurt. Snacks are essential.

Things are a little more high-pressure than normal, because Matt is graduating from law school this weekend, which means that my grandma is coming to DC, which means that I have to clean my house real, real good because she is the kind of lady who looks in your closet. I only have one closet, Brax. How could it possibly be clean?

I spent the afternoon wanting to kill people, staring at things that needed dusting as though they'd been shit-talking me around town, and staring at my knitting as though it were a favorite son who, fresh from his 3rd DUI, would like to borrow 40 dollars so he could take Randi to the Red Lobster to celebrate her new job at the I.G.A.

Then I got motivated, and I was doing the dishes and listening to Annie Lennox. I was feelin' pretty good. I was really rocking the part of "Money Can't Buy It" where's she's like,

"Now hey everybody pay attention to me
Cause I'm a rich white girl and it's plain to see
I got every little thing that-a money can buy
Let me tell you all about it let me amp-li-fy
I got DIAMONDS, you heard about those
I got so many that I can't close my-yyyy safe
at night in the dark..." etc.

So obviously I was totally rocking out and singing about my diamonds and having as much fun as you can have while you're doing the dishes. Then Matt came into the kitchen holding a planner and a letter from the bank, both of which were mine, and said the following insulting, enraging, infuriating thing: "Where should I put these?"

I mean OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE HIM? So I was like, "I don't KNOW." And he said, get this, Brax, he said, "Well, we should figure something out."

He said it like we needed to clean because we had company coming or something. Chuh.

So of course I stomped over to him and jerked the letter and the planner out of his hand and went into the bedroom, where I opened and closed every drawer in the room before yelling "THERE IS NOWHERE TO PUT ANYTHING, YOU CAN'T PUT ANYTHING AWAY IN THIS STUPID HOUSE BECAUSE THERE IS NOWHERE TO PUT ANYTHING!" And then I threw the planner and the letter under the mattress because that was obviously the only place to put them.

And then I went back to the kitchen and sighed the heavy, rich sigh of a sacrificing woman because, in the course of my ingenious problem-solving, I'd missed "Little Bird."

Hippogriff Thursday.

Please, Lord, don't let there be a Hippogriff Friday.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Weekends are awesome

Looks like you had a pretty solid week! I'm glad I'm moving back to Columbus so I can go visit your parents more often...and pet those donkeys! And play with those puppies!
This is what I did Friday night:
L-R: Tome, Josh, Me. Tome invited Josh and myself over to his parent's "estate" out in Hebron, Ohio because he was dog-sitting for them. The original plan was to cook dinner, but I'm not sure what happened. Upon my arrival (straight from a work meeting, with light appetizers, wine, and after dinner drinks), Tome and Josh had the "cooking" well underway, and were doing that Charming thing they do when they snipe at each other like a married couple.
I think Tome was perhaps irritated at being picked on during dinner preparations by Josh and myself. The food was eventually prepared sometime around 1 am, brought to the table for "formal" photographs such as the one you see above, and then put away again immediately. I think it's our new diet plan.
The above picture is slated to be our new Christmas Card for 2008. Unfortunately, no other pictures were released for the press, so I couldn't share any puppy pictures, food pictures, or outtakes from the above photo shoot.
The next day was spent alternately cleaning our fingerprints off of Tome's mother's kitchen cabinets and lying about the house moaning.

Knitting pictures soon!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Country roooaaaads take me hooooooooome


I found a cheap plane ticket and flew home to see my family last week! Here is what I saw.

It was great! Sparky is a madman, the donkeys are shaggy, the cows have babies, and you can't keep Blanche out of the pond. Spring! Spring on the farm!

It's been raining for about 10 years here in DC, but it seems to have finally stopped. We got something like 4 or 5 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, which meant that I emptied the huge stock pot in the closet twice in that time. See, the rain pools on that part of the roof, so for every inch outside we get like three inside. In the closet anyway. The other leaks are less active.

Let's talk about housing in DC for a minute. DC is the 3rd most expensive city in the country. Housing prices here are absolutely outrageous. I'm sensitive to my surroundings, Brax. I want to live in a nice place. Not fancy--just give me someplace that is clean and has a little character, and I'll do the rest.

When we first moved here, we looked about about 10 places. This was the last place we looked at, and before we came here I was literally near tears thinking that I'd have to live in a nasty ass basement. I was just out of college and Matt was starting law school and we didn't have any savings or anything. We were pretty much completely broke, and the transition from Columbus (neat little places for $600 a month) to DC (dank, roach infested holes in the ground for $1300 and up) was...difficult. Not to say horrifying. OK, I was completely horrified. There were chicken bones on the steps of, like, half the places we looked at. Why? I guess because people hang out on the steps of empty apartments and eat chicken. I don't freaking know. I DO know that if I were a landlord showing an apartment I'd get there early and clean up the chicken bones. I'm not a fancy lady, but I didn't want to live in the chicken bone house.

So I put up with a leaky roof for 3 years because a nice little place near the metro with a leaky roof was lovely compared to the similarly priced places we looked at: revolting little cellars with chicken bones on the front stoop and kitchens so narrow that the fridge wouldn't open. Most of the DC people who see our apartment remark on the great deal we're getting. It's a different universe out here, Brax.

Well, in spite of the leaky roof, this place has been good to us, so I'm not really complaining, but I must admit it will be wonderful to wake up May 29th in Ohio in my affordable little yellow house with a yard (!) and six (SIX. SIX.) closets.

Prepare yourself, because the retrospective philosophizing is not over. The closer we get to this move the more transitional navel gazing I do. Which I guess makes sense. You'll all just have to bear with me until I knock it off.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Part II

Yeah, I know, I said part 2 was coming "tomorrow" about a week ago. So sue me!

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival has fluffy animals, sure. It has piles of roving, bags of feathery raw wool, sheep dog demonstrations, the best soft serve in the world, and hanks of yarn what would make a grown woman weep. Incidentally, it also has some pretty great license plates.

My favorite is "Sheepy." Sheepy!

The weather is terrible here! It's cold and windy and wet and shitty. It's giving me a headache. The other thing giving me a headache is this sweater for the book, which had to be entirely dismantled yesterday. Chuh. Grumble. I think that if I can just get it to look in reality how it looks in my head, then it will be a totally amazing and fantastical supersweater! At least, it will be my style and I'll be satisfied. Fortunately, crappy weather is the best knittin' weather, so it looks like my weekend=Masterpiece Theater and yarn.


p.s. sorry about your coffee situation, dude!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The coffee today...

It is terrible. I seriously can't handle it. I'm about to drive through McDonald's and get some fries and call it a day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maxin', Relaxin'

Looks like you had an awesome time!! Man...fiber animals are where it's at! Know what else is where it's at?? Porch+wine+knitting....aka what I did with MY weekend!Oh heck yes! In case you're wondering what I'm knitting, it is some socks for my mom's Mother's Day gift!! The pattern is Reptilian Lace from the Summer 2006 Knitty, and I'm working it sans beads. Quite frankly, I'm not a "bead" kind of person, and I don't think my mom is either.
The yarn is some looovvvvveellly merino superwash sock yarn from Karida. I joined her sock yarn of the month club, never having knit socks before in my life! It's going pretty well, I'm just taking my time with the sock knitting. (clearly, as I am currently using the February yarn) I enjoy it, but I don't think I could ever become an obsessive, constant sock-knitter. All those teeny tiny stitches are a little hard on the hands.
Here she is:
This pattern is really interesting and fun!

Also, here is the most recent sock yarn to come from the sock club:
"Raspberry Truffle." Merino wool with cashmere...mmmmm......I can't wait for this yarn to go on my feet! Also, this is a terrible picture...the colors are these bee-yootiful browns and reds. Seriously, Karida. This yarn is awesome!
The whole time I was out on my porch, this guy really wanted to come outside too:

In case you can't tell, he's rubbing his face against the window, trying to get my attention. I think it will be good for him to move to Columbus with me. Once I'm there, I'll have people coming over to my house all the time and Oscar will have a whole new audience. Maybe he can help Freddy adjust...Fred's not a "people" cat, nor does he like moving or cars or his carrier or the coffee grinder or things changing at all.

I'm SO excited to move. I'm READY!! I know I still have stuff to do, like "find a job" and "train my replacement at my current job," but I seriously want to just jump in the car and GO most days. It has been great to have this experience, don't get me wrong. I really needed to get away from Columbus for awhile and gain some perspective, and I had 2 years of fabulous work experience. But especially over the last few months, it has become very clear that for me, being happy and living a full life means being close to my friends and family....not necessarily having a great job any old place.
Anyway, that's about all I've been doing. Red wine philosophizing on my porch while knitting. When I'm not knitting on mom's socks, I'm plugging away on Labyrinth.
I'm excited to get the waist shaping done and try it on. I am in love with this color!

Sunday, May 4, 2008



Maryland Sheep and Wool! It's this weekend. There is so much to tell that I think I'll have to do it in 2 posts.

I'm not one of these people who goes out there at 6 AM on Saturday and gets in wool brawls over hanks of handspun. I have to say, I don't really get that. (Although I think it's fair to say that I never actually get waking up really early for any reason whatsoever.) Nope. My carload got there around 11:30 ready to see what was what.

For those of you who don't live on the east coast, here is how big MDSW is:

It's huge! And pretty. And bright.

I met a lot of folks!

Some alpaca buddies:

Some Sheepy friends:
Some goat guys:

Some all-business workin' dogs:

Some rabbits (disapproving, of course):

I also had some human friends there, dyers and knitters and designers, completing the extended yarn family. Here's Karida and Ellie.

We really did it up. I got this mind-blowing root beer float. I mean, I'll be telling my grandkids about that float.

I didn't buy any yarn or anything until the very end, when I spotted this big sign that said "NEW VENDOR" and I headed over to find Llamajama! Llamajama is the kind of business that I pretty much can't resist. For one thing, its name is a rhyming nonsense word which has an animal in it. Llamajama. That's my style.

In addition to super fantastic wool and alpaca yarns, they also make wool wash. But they're primarily about these adorable, make-your-uterus-jump-out-of-your-body-on-a-quest-for-some-sperm-cute knitted baby clothes. That's right, they're that cute.

The best part, though, is that the baby stuff is hand knitted by a cooperative of women in Ecuador. So when you buy some soakers or pants or hats or stuffed rabbits, you're also supporting sustainable, self-determined economic development. Rad!

Here's what I bought:

I am itching to start knitting with this stuff. It is pretty bulky and the yardage is good, so I think I can get a hat and a scarf out of it at least.

Luv ,

P.S. Tomorrow: Sheep and Wool: When Nerds get Vanity Plates

Friday, May 2, 2008

right on right on


Well, today I called up my dad and said, “Dad, I have officially quit my job to start my own business and be a writer. Does this terrify you?” And my dad, being an honest man, said, “Sorta.”

Well, it scares me some too, but here we are. Almost a year ‘til the book comes out, and I have no illusions that I’m going to make enough money to live on with writing and designing…that’s why the business (gulp), and it’s also why the crystal ball shows aprons and trays of food in my future. Unable to manage doing what other people tell me to do day in and out, I have invented a patchwork of ways to obtain money, none of which require me to get up very early if I don’t want to. Which I don’t.

I feel a little like a loose cannon here, but I knew I couldn’t make my life look how I wanted it to look—basically, knitting and writing all day—unless I really devoted myself to it, so that’s what I’m doing. Anyway, if need be I can always get a job. I think that, when it comes to risk-taking, sometimes people are more worried about telling people they failed than they are about the tangible consequences of failure. This whole thing fails? OK, I’ll just get a job. Whatev. I am pretty comfortable with risk. Anyway, for the moment, I’m happy as a clam.

I was a lot more frightened until the other night, when the Husband found out he got this awesome job. This job means he is doing exactly what he wants to do: he is a labor lawyer now. It’s the whole reason he went to law school, and he’d begun to think he wouldn’t be able to do it because of the scarcity of jobs. And now here we are, and he starts in June. This means he is very, very happy, and he has a bright future, and all the crappy crappy things we had imagined could happen if he didn't get a job soon ain't gonna happen.

I’m so happy he gets to do what he wants to do, and he’s not being forced to do something he hates in order to pay these loans off. On the selfish side, it also means that I’ll have health insurance. Thank heaven I married a lawyer, and not, as I imagined as a teenager, the drummer for a punk band.

So it is day 2 of unemployment, and I am trying to figure out the routine of being productive all on my own in my house. It is a very, very strange feeling. I am managing though.

Other than that? Let’s see. I went to the Nationals game. This may shock you but I’m not really into sports. However, baseball games are fun! I understand baseball better than any other sport, and the games are outside in nice weather and you can pay attention or not, and you can drink beer and eat fries. Also, you can knit. A lot of people knit at baseball games.

So when I was invited, I went. The Nationals have a new stadium which is within walking distance of my house and which is really nice. I mean really nice. It’s got about 50 food vendors, including Ben’s Chili Bowl. I totally ate some chili. Some delicious million dollar baseball chili. You can see the Washington monument from the stands, which is kind of cool.

So here I am knitting secret projects at the Nationals Game. We saw a grand slam!!

Also, we went to TR Island. I’d never been. There is a really big statue there.

Also there is a swamp preservation project thing there, and if anyone can tell me what this here funny swamp growth is, I’ll be pretty grateful.

These guys were all over the place in the swamp area. What do they be? They look like they’re out of the Dark Crystal or are possibly transplants from the Dagobah System.

And finally, while I still can’t show you my knits, I can pose this question: isn’t this one exciting pile?

Stay tuned for a full report from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival! I'll be there all day tomorrow.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!


I think it's definitely a good idea for us to start celebrating all the festivals on the Wheel of the Year. The wheel of the year is a series of 8 festivals, or "sabbats," spaced throughout the year. 4 of the festivals correspond with the equinoxes or solstices, and the other 4 fall somewhere around the halfway point between seasons:
Today happens to be May Day, or Beltane! Happy Beltane everyone! I don't know too much about it, but I know that celebrating May Day involves lots of flowers and bonfires. It is basically a big ol' fertility celebration. On May Day it is traditional to decorate your house or your neighbor's door with flowers, and that's the tradition the Maypole came from. People would also set up big huge bonfires after dark, and everyone would take home a little bit to light their hearth.
Being in separate cities, it's difficult to celebrate festivals that are centered around planting and harvests, of course. But next year you can bet we'll be lighting a bonfire! Of course, I'm reasonably certain that we will be able to celebrate the next festival, the summer solstice, together! We should start planning that feast now.
Last night, I was feeling kind of lazy on the dinner front, and bemoaning the fact that I didn't have ANY food in the house. Then, I checked the freezer again and realized I had a whole Quorn Roast!!! I was going to eat it at Christmas, but ended up being lazy and not making it. SOooo, I decided to make a delicious May Day Eve feast!
I cut up a bunch of potatoes and threw them in the ol' Dutch Oven (ha!) with olive oil, onions, and garlic cloves, and seasoned them with...I don't know, some seasonings. Then, I plopped that quorn roast right in there and baked the whole shebang for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees. (The roast calls for a higher temp and 5 more minutes. I didn't want my potatoes to overcook, so I half-assedly "thawed" the quorn roast by boiling it in the plastic for a few minutes. Things worked out just fine.)
Mmmmmm!!! Sadly, the only green vegetable I had lying around the house was a can of green beans. I Really need to buy groceries. But it still made for a pretty good feast.