A Good Yarn

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Blogging Emergency

I'm in the middle of a Blogging Emergency. No, it isn't he piss-poor performance of Blogger a couple of days ago. I seem to have lost my digital camera. On Sunday we went to Valleyfair, so I brought it into the office on Tuesday to burn CDs of the pictures for Bill and Greg. While I was at it, I burned most of the other pictures to CD also. Most, but not all. The pictures from the 4th of July weekend that I hadn't printed out yet were still on the memory card, because I thought that'd be easier to cart to Pro-Ex. Stupid, stupid, stupid girl.

I'm pretty sure I put the camera in a shopping bag with some other things I wanted to bring home. I brought the shopping bag in to the mall with me to watch a movie, so I think it must have fallen out of the bag in the movie theater, but no one has turned it in. I cleaned my whole office up and it's not there. I looked everywhere in the car and it's not there. So, it seems to be lost. I'm bummed because although it's not a super fancy high-end digicam, it is a nice chunk of change for me - I could buy enough high quality yarn for 2 sweaters with that money. Or pay off the rest of Finbar's medical bill, which is what I was planning on doing. I also had a huge memory card in there, which will also be expensive to replace. That was a gift from Bill. Worst of all is missing those pictures from the 4th. Those are irreplacable. Alexis had lost her front teeth and now I'll never have those pictures. DANG!

I've bought a replacement camera and it's on its way here, but until that happens, no pictures. And I have so many things to show you! I got an awesome package from the Secret Pal 8. I finished the Nora sweater. I'm halfway done with the first Jaywalker in Socks That Rock. Maybe I'll post some of the pictures from Valleyfair. For now, I'll do some movie reviews.

When I lost my camera (I think) I was at this movie:

It was a cute one. It's about this little boy who lives across the street from the cranky old man in the neighborhood. The night before Halloween he and the old man get in an argument and the old man collapses. After he's carted off in the ambulance, the house comes alive and starts "eating" whatever comes close to it. Of course, no one believes the little boy, who is joined by his best friend and a girl selling candy door to door, who they save from being eaten by the house. Since Halloween is coming, they have to figure out how to save the unsuspecting neighborhood children who are going to be going to the door of the house for trick or treating from being eaten. It's a very cute story. I liked the animation a lot and I enjoyed the voice actors. Most of the kids liked it too and weren't too scared.

The next day was movie camp and Michael and I saw something I hadn't seen before, this:

It's a movie about a girl and her dog - of course I liked it! It's about a little girl who lives with her father, a minister. They have recently moved to a small town in Florida, so she's very lonely because she has no friends. Her mother just up and left when she was 3. She finds a dog in the local Winn-Dixie and convinces her dad to let her keep him and she names him Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, she's no longer so lonely and she meets and befriends a diverse group of people.

This film is completely unreleastic. The people in it do not behave as people in the real world behave and everyone in the film is some sort of character right out of central casting. However, I was charmed by the little girl and the dog, so if you're a dog lover like me and can suspend your disbelief, it might be worth checking out. Michael is also a dog lover and enjoyed the film.

Finally, I am now living on the surface of the sun, so I escaped the heat by taking in an early evening movie:

I'll warn you up from that I'm a huge Woody Allen fan. I enjoyed this movie, though I wouldn't call it great. It's not as good as Matchplay or Manhatten Murder Mystery, but it was still a fun mystery with some laughs. Of course, I seemed to be laughing more than anyone else in the theater, so take that with a grain of salt.

The film stars Scarlett Johansson as a college newspaper reporter vacationing in London. Woody Allen plays a hack magician who calls Scarlett to the stage so he can make her disappear. While she's in the magic disappearing chamber, the ghost of a reporter, played by Ian McShane, appears to her to give her a big scoop - he believes a serial killer known as The Tarot Card killer is the golden boy of a wealthy family who is headed for a life in politics. Since the ghost appeared to her in the magic show, Scarlett enlists Woody's help to track down this man, played by Hugh Jackman. She attracts his interest and they start dating, while Woody pretends to be Scarlett's father.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not a fan of Scarlett Johansson. I find her acting stiff and wooden. In this film I wasn't as bothered by her because she was doing a Woody Allen imitation - she talked in the same rhythms as Woody always does. Which would probably bother most other people, but it made her different enough from her usual self that I wasn't as bothered. Hugh Jackman was as dreamy, sauve and debonaire as you would expect.

I just got a message from my brother - Michael had my camera in his bag, somehow. Yeah!!! I'm so happy to have my pictures back. Now I have to decide if I should return that new camera which I was kind of excited about upgrading to back or keep it and give my old camera to my sister who broke her digital camera.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I hate getting old!

When I was growing up, I would listen to my parents, grandparents and such complain about all these problems with growing old and think it was such a crock. I heard time flies so quickly and now I know, indeed it does. Despite the fact that it's extremely hot outside, I can't believe it's almost August.

I used to hear that they couldn't see things the way they used to. And now all of a sudden I do find I have trouble seeing things every now and then. I still am able to knit with black yarn and do small detail work, but I know the day is coming when it will be difficult.

I used to hear about forgetfulness and think that was so lame - either you know something or you don't. I used to be so quick thinking. And now, I can't come up with the words for things. That's not a good thing for a lawyer. Lately I've watched a few episodes of the "World Series of Pop Culture." Most of the time I know exactly what the answer is, but I just can't access the words. Names are the worst. One of the questions was about Reese Witherspoon and I couldn't for the life of me remember her name, although I could picture her face and how she looked in a number of films. It's so unfair!

And the thing I totally couldn't comprehend - how you could walk into a room and not remember what you came there for. How could that be? You must have been stupid all along. But just now I got up from peacefully knitting in the recliner to take care of something on the computer quick, but once I sat down at the computer (um, 20 seconds later, maybe?) I could not for the life of me remember what was so important to look up. I still can't.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Project Spectrum Swap

Last week I got a very cool box of goodies from Abigail in the Project Spectrum swap. Purple is my favorite color, so I've been looking forward to this month since the project began! Abigail did an awesome job of finding things that I like:

She found all sorts of neat paper products to satisfy my office supply fixation - from the left, there's a purple notebook with cute tops on it, above that are some purple post it notes with pretty flowers on them, next to that is some wide purple ribbon, then a cute little purple stapler, then a purple personal fan, which I can definitely use this week and on the bottom row on the far right are some purple pens that write in purple - yeah!! In between the notebook and pens in the bottom row are a pretty purple photo album with a daisy on it and a hank of purple seed beads - those will definitely be put to good use. Above the pens on the upper right is a nice bottle of freesia body splash. Everything is resting on a purple and white drawstring bag in a very soft cotton - I'd love to have a shirt made out of that cotton. And at the very top left hand side are two skeins of Lorna's Laces in a gorgeous purple color. Here's a closeup of the yarn:

Thanks, Abigail!! I love everything and it's been a pleasure getting to know you through your blog. For my August swap pal, Deb, if you're interested in it, here's my PS Swap questionnaire.

I know it's not March anymore, but I'm not the type to just abandon projects, so I'm still plugging away at the Nora wrap sweater.

Sorry for the shadows. My picnic table is under a tree and I didn't want to put my sweater directly on the long grass in the lawn. As you can see, I had sewn in one sleeve and finished the side seaming on that side. Since then, I've actually sewn in the other sleeve and finished the rest of the seaming, but I was too lazy to take another picture. I tried it on and it fits really well - I'm quite pleased. I started the endless i-cord for the belts. I'm hoping to have this MARCH project finished by the end of JULY.

I had a great weekend that flew by. On Thursday, I met a friend for dinner at The Craftsman. This is a very lovely restaurant on Lake Street in the Longfellow neighborhood. The decor is in the Arts and Crafts style and it's simple but beautiful. There is lots of wood and clean lines and it's very elegant. The food is also very elegant and unique. There's also a kids' menu, which is unusual for a restaurant this nice. The menu changes on a monthly basis, but we had the cheese plate to start with, which was a selection of wonderful cheeses. They also bring you a basket of bread and really tasty butter. I had a tomato water and basil martini, which was good and really strong. For dinner, I had a blue cheese hamburger which was good, but not great - it was a little more well done than I usually like. My friend had a pizza with green olives, chicken and onion. It was good, but a touch salty, perhaps because of the olives. For dessert we had creme brulee, which was on the house because we were both celebrating our birthdays - isn't that nice? The entire meal was very reasonably priced and the service was wonderful. I'd love to go back for brunch some Sunday and I'd definitely recommend this restaurant to others.

On Friday, I met up with Chris and we checked out this documentary:

You can read Chris' thoughts on the film on her blog. I mostly agree with what she had to say. I think I liked it a little more than Chris did, probably because my expectations weren't as high. I am not very familiar with Leonard Cohen's music. I know it's been used in many films, so I've heard it, but the only song I was really familiar with is "Hallelujah". The Jeff Buckley version has been used a million times in film and tv and every single time I hear it, it hits me right in the heart - definitely one of the all time greatest songs. I've heard the Rufus Wainwright version before also, and he performs it in this movie.

The core of the film is a tribute concert in Australia with a diverse group of performers, from Nick Cave to Rufus and Martha Wainwright to Beth Orton to Antony. The rest of the film is divided between Mr. Cohen talking about his writing and his life and work and other artists talking about how his music influenced him. Bono and the Edge are featured prominently in those segments. Toward the end, Mr. Cohen performs a song with U2 in what looks like a small club.

The U2/Leonard Cohen performance was stunning. That alone was worth the price of admission. I'd agree with Chris that the tribute concert footage was the weakest part of the film, although I suppose it was the thing that got the film started. By the end of the film I was half in love with Leonard Cohen - he was such a handsome man, so dapper and soulful. His music is incredible and the writing, wow. Count me as a fan, now. In fact, I hungered for more performances from Mr. Cohen instead of the tribute. I would have loved to see old footage of him performing or even just more of his own recordings on the soundtrack. I really wanted to know more about his life. He seems to have lived this incredibly interesting life. But, the film mostly sticks with just his writing. I also was very off-put by the lighting in this film. The concert footage was really, really brightly lit and most of the performers looked very unattractive in that lighting. Even in many of the interviews, the lighting was too bright. All of Bono's interviews showed him standing in front of a door, which made it look like they had caught him on the way to the bathroom or something. I wasn't that keen on the editing either. There were a lot of strange cuts and fades to black. The director definitely tried to make it a little different than your standard "talking head" documentary, but I'm not sure it really worked. However, I would recommend this film if you are a fan of good music or good writing.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I finished up one of my June Project Spectrum projects:

Project Name: Ruffles Scarf
Designer: Amanda Blair Brown
Pattern Source: Scarf Style
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk
Yarn Source: Borealis Yarns
Date Started: 6/10/06
Date Completed: 7/18/06

Comments: I bought this yarn on sale at Borealis after admiring it for a few months. I absolutely love silk and this is a very luxurious yarn. It's similar to Fiesta La Luz. The colors are gorgeous and it's very soft. Like all silk, it does have a tendency to get fuzzy and look "worn" almost immediately. I've come to terms with that tendency and just accept it as the properties of this yarn, but it can really bug some people. It feels really amazing against your bare neck, though.

This scarf is shaped by continuous short rows. Because silk has no memory, the short rows did stretch out the stitches, so I think it would look more even in plain stockinette stitch. Two skeins was plenty to knit a nice and long scarf.

I like how it turned out and consider it a very versatile knit. You can wear it just hanging around the neck and looking pretty:

or you can wrap it up:

or be saucy and throw one end over your shoulder:

I received my set of the Knitpicks Interchangeable Needles a couple of ago. I would concur with pretty much every review I've seen, they're fantastic. It's a very, very good price. You get a really nice binder to put everything in:

The binder is large enough that you could easily fit other needles or supplies in there. I'm thinking I may pick up some smaller needles (this set only starts at size 4) and add them to the binder so I can just grab it and have one of every size in there. As I said, the set starts with size 4 and goes to size 11 - I rarely knit anything on a needle larger than 11, so that part is fine with me. You get some plastic sleeves for the binder to store your needles in:

The sleeves come in three parts like those shown, two parts and one part. I like the three parts for the needles - they fit nicely and you can fit the whole set in just a few sleeves. I used the one part sleeves to store the cables:

You get two cables to make 24" needles and 32" needles (4 cables altogether). Those little round things are end caps so that you can take the needles off the cables but leave your knitting on the cable and just cap it off so the knitting doesn't fall off. Pretty nice if you work on a lot of different things at once and need to use the same size needles for different projects. It also makes a very nice stitch holder for a large piece. The last thing you get is a little key to tighten the needles.

You get two pouches of each size, but I wanted those three part pouches for all the needles, so I bought an extra set of pouches of each type. I also bought cables to make 40", 47" and 60" needles. The needles themselves are very similar to Addi Turbo needles. They are nickle-plated hollow brass like Turbos.

I have been extremely satisfied with the performance of these needles. They are very smooth and quick to knit with, like Turbos. The tips are sharper than Turbos, so they are really good for a yarn that splits, like the Cotton Twist did. They feel just a tiny bit heavier than Turbos to me, which I like. The cables are more flexible than the Turbo cables and I haven't had to fight with them at all. The join is as smooth as the Turbo join. There is a very long screw join between the needle and the cable. If the needle starts to come loose, you can feel that the join isn't smooth long before the needle would come out, so you don't have to worry about losing stitches. I was having trouble with the needle coming loose, but once I started really tightening it with the key, I haven't had any problems.

Overall, I'd say if you're an Addi Turbo fan, you'll love these needles. They are a fraction of the cost of the Turbos and actually perform better. I have a ton of needles in every size already and ebony needles are probably still my favorites, but if I were a newer knitter, this set and a few of the smaller needles would set me up for life.

Friday, July 21, 2006

More Movies

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I saw Pirates of the Caribbean at the drive-in. Here's a cute picture my friend took of Red and I that night:

You can see the screen in the upper right corner. You can also see that I was getting in the spirit for my boyfriend, Johnny Depp. You can also see my birthday cupcakes. Bill and Beth bought a gross of cupcakes, so we were dragging cupcakes along everywhere we went for a week. I love the greasy circles on the bottom of the box - mmmmmm - fat!

I saw a couple more movies last weekend. I went with my brother and nephew to see this film:

It's based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, whose works were turned into BladeRunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and Paycheck previously. I liked all of those except Paycheck, so I'm a fan of his material. It's directed by Richard Linklater. They filmed the movie and then ran it through computers and turned it into animation. I really liked the look of the film. You could clearly recognize who the actors were and could see their facial expressions and such. The story was pretty interesting. It's about a police detective who goes undercover to investigate some drug dealers and ends up as his own prime suspect. I liked the idea of a shape-shifting suit so that people cannot identify what the person wearing it looks like. The ending was somewhat surprising, though it seemed to end rather abruptly to me. Overall, I liked it but didn't love it. I think people who love animation or science fiction would probably enjoy this film.

I also had film club on Sunday. This is a difficult time of year to find serious films to have good discussions about. We decided to catch an older movie:

To me, this movie was a big hunk of cheese, but I really enjoyed it despite myself. It's about a young girl living in South L.A. with her widowed mother and siblings who is a spelling genius. She used to play Scrabble with her father before he died, so she has continued his love of words as a way to feel close to him and ease her mourning. However, she's embarrassed to be the "smart girl" at school and resists the principal's suggestion she participate in the school's first spelling bee. Of course he eventually forces her to participate and Akeelah is amazing. She eventually is coached by a former spelling bee champion played by Laurence Fishburne. Everything that happens in the movie seems straight out of some screenwriter's encyclopedia and is totally predictable and/or completely improbable. This is normally the type of movie I'd be rolling my eyes and thinking "oh, come on!" I couldn't help but get sucked in and get very sucked in by the emotion and suspense. It was a good summer movie if not great art.

As promised, here's a picture of my first completed Conwy sock:

I love this Koigu yarn. It's so warm and soft. The sock fits pretty well. There's some shaping on the leg, which is really nice. Susan asked about how much Koigu I used. I had a pretty good amount of the first skein left when I finished the first sock. However, I have smallish feet - size 7 1/2 or 8 (9" long) and I made the leg shorter than the pattern calls for. My leg is 4 1/2" instead of 8". I don't like socks on my calf. This is a June Project Spectrum project, but it could sort of qualify for July also, since there were a few random purple stitches in there, like these:

I started an official July PS sock out of Socks That Rock and I'm in love with the yarn!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Take me out to the ballgame!

Last week the Minnesota Twins had a Stitch n Pitch night at the ballpark. I had a great time, but I think I was bad luck for Francisco Liriano. He played his worst game in the Major League and the Twins lost - the only loss since the All-Star break and one of only two loss for Liriano. I promise I won't come back to see him again, Twins fans! Despite the loss, the game was a good one and they had a chance to win all the way to the 9th inning. I'm really glad the Twins will have a new outdoor ballpark, but I have to admit I was kind of greatful to be in the air-conditioned comfort of Metrodome. Like everywhere, we've been in the grip of high heat and humidity and it wouldn't have been as comfortable to knit in that stuff. Metrodome is pretty close quarters, especially in the upper deck, so we moved back and spread out to have more elbow room. That's one reason I never knit at Vikings games. There was a pretty nice turnout of knitters. We all got a goodie bag:

Inside the bag we all got a little yarn. Here were my skeins:

We also each got a copy of Cast On and a couple of pattern leaflets. Here's what I got:

You may also notice that we got a pair of straight needles as well. I wasn't super excited about any of the goodies, but I was thrilled to get the goody bag - everybody wants something that's free, free, free! I'll probably use that yarn for some charity knitting projects and give the patterns away. I hope the Twins make this an annual event - I would definitely go again.

I did my July PS papercrafting project, a set of thank you cards:

These were a very labor intensive project even though they look fairly simple. I like how they came out, though. Now I just need to send a few of them out to thank people for my birthday gifts! I also did some knitting:

That's my PS July mitred square. I've only got it pinned out and not sewn together because I haven't steamed it yet. It's too dang hot and humid to be working with my steamer.

I finished up the first blue sock and my silk Ruffles scarf, so I'll have pictures of more knitting soon. I'll also post a couple more movie reviews. So stay tuned!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Out and About

When I was in Sioux Falls, I also stopped by the Hobby Lobby. We don't have any Hobby Lobby stores in the Twin Cities, so whenever I'm in Sioux Falls I stop by and check it out. They had some colors of their Katrina on sale, so I bought some more of the dark brown and some of the tan:

I've got so much Katrina in my stash now, that I really need to make something for myself out of it. I made a sweater for my Mom from Katrina and really like it. I also bought some cotton yarn to make some dishclothes and bibs from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book:

Last weekend Bill and his family took me out for dinner for my birthday at the Mall of America. I decided to buy a ticket for the kids to all go on one ride at the Camp formerly known as Snoopy. Here's me and the kids in said Camp:

The older teen girl is Beth's sister, Kelly. Kelly is staying with Bill and Beth for 6 weeks this summer. Beth and Kelly made me some anklets for my birthday:

They also made me a ring with beads and wire in a daisy pattern, but I couldn't get a good picture of it. It was a fun birthday celebration!

I had another birthday celebration last Saturday when some of my knitting buddies and I went out for Dim Sum at Bui in St. Paul. My dear friend Connie tutored me in the ways of dim sum as I was a virgin, and she picked up the tab for my birthday as well. I really liked it. Usually there's one or two things I don't really like, but I can honestly say I liked everything I tried. If you haven't had dim sum, I'd highly recommend it.

Last Sunday I went out for brunch with Kerry for another type of buffet - this time good old American brunch. We ate at Enjoy! in Apple Valley. It's a really pretty restaurant and the brunch was delicious. The chocolate fountain was a great way to finish the meal, even though I was completely stuffed! Afterwards we went to a coffee shop and knit away the rest of the afternoon. It was such a nice, relaxing day. I almost finished my blue sock, too. I'll post a picture soon.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Drive In!

Last weekend I went to the drive-in movies! I love the drive-in!! It was really fun and I'd definitely like to do it again this summer. We arrived early so as to get a good place and had a picnic dinner. We also had games to play, but Bill and his family went to the same drive-in (it was meant to be!), so I went over and hung out with them for a while before the movie started. This is what we saw:

I enjoyed it. I was very confused at first because they jumped right into the story, and I couldn't remember much from the first film. So, I'd recommend you refresh your recollection of "Curse of the Black Pearl" before seeing this if it's been a while since you've seen it. This is also definitely a middle film - besides jumping into a story without a lot of set up, it also ended with a total set up for the next film. However, I still really enjoyed the main characters again (especially my boyfriend, Johnny Depp). The NYT reviewer called it "an all-star three-way battle of the cheekbones" which is a phrase I loved - really, it is an assembly of such beauty that it makes my head swim. Although I recently saw a picture of Keira Knightly on "Go Fug Yourself" that makes me worry that she'll die of starvation before the third film comes out. I'd say this film is good for those who loved the first one and would plan to see the trilogy. It doesn't stand very well on it's own. It's very long and there are some scary creatures, so I don't think it would be great for small kids, despite the Happy Meal tie-ins.

I also saw a completely different movie last weekend:

This is a great documentary about a high school girls' basketball team. The main characters are the coach, a college tax professor who decides to take on the coaching job and his star-player, an African-American girl, Darnellia Russell, who transfers to this mostly white Seattle school on her mother's direction. The coach is just an absolutely gem. He's got so much energy and cares so much for the girls. Some of the reviews I've read really tell everything about the film, which I'm glad I didn't know before seeing the film, so I'm not going to reveal much of the plot. I'll just say that it was exciting and touching. At the end, I was crying - either tears of happiness or sadness, I won't say which. If you like sports, you'll love this film, but I don't think you have to like sports to enjoy it. If you just are interested in people and a good story, you'll enjoy it too. One of my favorite parts is when the coach is talking about working with teenagers. He says you tell them to do A, B and C and they look you in the eye and nod and say, yes, they'll do A, B and C. Then five seconds later they go to X, Y and Z. Then when you ask them why they did X, Y and Z they look at you wondering why you would ask such a question. From my own work with teenagers, I completely identify with that.

This summer I've also been going to "movie camp" with my nephew. On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings a theater in Eagan is showing a family movie for free every week. This week we saw something I hadn't seen before:

I haven't read the books, either, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I liked it better than I thought I would. I'm not a huge Jim Carrey fan, but he does an awesome job as Count Olaf, one of the children's "uncles", an actor by trade. He gives Count Olaf a great evil self-centeredness and then portrays Uncle Olaf disguised as other people with great abandon. I am always drawn into movies about a brother and sister (for the reasons I gave in my last post), so I enjoyed this story about a brother who reads a lot and his sister who invents things. They are joined by their baby sister who has an incredibly strong bite. I'm not sure how small children would like this film, though. It is indeed a series of unfortunate events, as Count Olaf repeatedly tries to kill the children so as to inherit the large fortune they recently inherited with the death of their parents. The film is very dark and my nephew, who is 10, really liked it, but a younger child may be disturbed.

Friday, July 14, 2006

More yarn

Oh my gosh! I have so much to blog about, but the days are rushing past me like a bullet train! I can't believe it's already mid-July. Why does summer have to rush by so quickly? I won't post one giant monster post, but hopefully I'll be able to post pretty consistently and get caught up with all my thoughts I've wanted to get down.

On the way back from Sioux Falls, I stopped by The Tangled Skein in St. Peter. I had never been to this shop before, but it'll be a regular stop when I'm in the area. It's a very nice store in a big old building, with wood floors and high ceilings. They were very friendly when I stopped in and had a great selection of yarn. I had to support them, so I picked up a few things.

Some Lorna's Laces in a beautiful chocolate brown. I know, the last thing I need is more sock yarn, but it's such a beautiful color and I hadn't seen anything like it before. It's called Charcoal, so I guess it's really dark gray, but it looks brown to me. In any case, it'll make a nice pair of masculine socks.

6 skeins of Karaoke soy silk/wool blend. I'm in love with this yarn - love the feel of it, love the pretty colors. I'm planning a small child's sweater or something like that. I could try a felted bag, though. We'll see how I feel.

I also bought one skein of this colorway just because I liked it so much. This will be a hat.

Last Thursday was my brother's birthday, so the kids and I took him out to dinner. He chose NBA City again. My brother hates getting his photo taken, so here we are a few years ago:

As you can see from the side of the picture, it was November, 1974. You could probably figure out it was the 70s even without that hint by the following clues:

- I'm 6 and my brother is 1
- Those lovely orange curtains
- The little foil Christmas tree - so classy!
- I'm wearing a polyester leisure suit. I promise, I'm not wearing those duds these days.
- The silver bun cover on my head. I'm wearing that in every picture of me from 1972 to 1976. I LOVED that thing. My mom never cut my hair during that period, so I had really, really long straight hair. Which mom almost always put into a bun and covered with that silver thing.

The thing that's still the same about that picture is how much I love my baby brother. As you can see, I had a tight hold on him. When I was a little girl I wanted a baby brother so much! I asked for a brother for my 5th birthday and five days later, Greg was born (I was a very willful child, even then). More than 35 years later and Greg is still my best friend and the most precious thing in the world to me.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I'm back!

I took a very long holiday weekend and travelled to South Dakota to visit the family. It was a very nice time. My mom actually cooked me a meal for my birthday (she hardly ever cooks - her husband is the main cook in the family) and we ate out a few times at places I hadn't been to before and quite enjoyed. My sister, my niece and I went to the Science Museum that is in the building that used to be my high school. The hallways and stairways, etc. still look the same, so it was quite the sense of deja vu. Here's my niece in an astronaut's suit:

As you can see, she recently lost her two front teeth and looks adorable! I also got a chance to see my other sister and her mom (my dad's second wife, who I call my step-mom as we lived with her and dad for 10 years growing up). I also got to play with my sister's extremely cute and affectionate dalmation. He was so cuddly and loved playing catch with me. It really made me miss Finbar. Fiona isn't too cuddly and she doesn't play any doggie games, so I miss that kind of stuff. Actually, Fiona was instantly attached to my uncle, Pat. She would sit right next to him and never barked at him and took food very gently from his hand or let him pet her all he wanted. Pat used to have two Yorkies, so I guess she sensed he's a guy that loves little dogs, but it seems odd that she liked him better than me, who she lives with! The mysteries of the dog mind.

I was very excited to see this display in my step-mom's recently re-decorated bathroom:

You probably don't recognize them, but the middle one is the card I made her last year for Mother's Day and the one on the right is the card I made her this year for Mother's Day. The one on the left is the birthday card I sent her. Yes, I sent her the same card for both Mother's Day and her birthday this year. I'm such a dope! However, I guess it turned out well since it makes a nice little wall art. She and I also went to the Butterfly House together, but I was a complete idiot and didn't have my camera with me - we hadn't planned on stopping there. This blue butterfly from a photo on their website was my favorite of the many different butterflies - I'd highly recommend checking it out if you're in Sioux Falls.

In the evening we watched the fireworks at the local fairgrounds. It was a really nice display - I love fireworks! My niece and sister lit off a few of the smaller ones while we were waiting:

Before I left town, I made a few stops at some local shops. I know I'm on a yarn-buying moratorium, but I made a few exceptions. When I'm in Sioux Falls, I like to stop in their yarn shop, Yarn Knit, and buy something to support them. For years there was no good yarn to be had in the home of "Knitters" magazine. I'd like to keep that from re-occuring, so I try to do my part. I picked up this sock yarn because I love the pretty pink and I haven't used Wildfoote in a while:

I also picked up a couple of skeins of some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. I've been eyeing this yarn for a long time and finally decided to just go ahead and get some. It's wonderful:

I'll share the rest of my purchases with y'all next time.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthday America!

and to me! It's been a great week of celebration for me. On Monday night I saw this band:

along with this band:

and then I did it all again on Tuesday night!

That's Pearl Jam and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, in case you didn't recognize them. It was so much fun! Monday night was the first time the two bands had performed together. It seems like a little bit of an odd match, but I think it works pretty well. Pearl Jam opened with a 90 minute set - heavy on the new stuff, but with a good mix of the old too. The crowd was really into it, singing along gustily. Then Tom Petty came on and sang for about 2 hours, mostly his many hit songs. As one reviewer wrote in the local paper, if you own a radio, you know Tom Petty's music. I had never been to back to back concerts of the same acts before, so I was really interested in seeing what that was like. Pearl Jam is one of my top five favorite bands and I know they mix up their setlist a lot, so I decided to just go for it.

Tuesday I was dead tired all day. Although the PJ fans were disappointed with a 90 minute set, I still think that's pretty close to a full concert, so it was like seeing 2 full concerts in one night and I was pretty spent. Plus I had worn cheap shoes that didn't have enough support so my feet were killing me and my legs and back hurt. I thought I made a terrible decision and wished I was just staying home on Tuesday night.

I'm so glad I didn't! Once the music started I was totally into it and I wasn't tired at all. I wore good, supportive sandals so I didn't have any breaking down old body problems either. In my opinion, the second night was even better than the first. It seemed like both bands had kind of worked things out and were in more of a groove. The first night, both bands had quite a few breaks in between songs where the band was consulting with each other, which sort of slowed things down. Both bands were more clicking and there weren't many breaks. The Pearl Jam set was fast and furious and energetic. I think the crowd was even more into it on the second night. Although my friend Michael thought it was a Tom Petty crowd, I thought both nights it was a Pearl Jam crowd. Things ran like clockwork. Both nights, PJ took the stage at exactly 7:30 (which I appreciated after having waited more than an hour for Bruce Springsteen a couple of weeks ago). They played almost exactly 90 minutes both time and Tom Petty took the stage almost exactly at 9:45 both nights. This rock n roll thing may look chaotic, but a lot of planning goes into it. Not too much, though. PJ's second set differed by about 1/3. And not one thing he said between songs was the same on both nights - I was so glad it wasn't all canned patter! TP's set was mostly the same, but he did vary a few songs here and there. On both nights he brought Eddie Vedder out for the last song, "American Girl", which was quite enjoyable both nights. On the second night he brought Ed out for another song too, but since Ed's mike didn't work, it wasn't quite as enjoyable. It was a couple of great concerts by two bands I really like and I would have gone a third night if there had been one!

I also wanted to share a couple of birthday presents I got from my lovely and talented friends. My friend Florence made me this gorgeous bracelet:

In my favorite color, purple! And very appropriate for Project Spectrum July!!

Kerry also made me this loveliness:

She spun it up herself, just for me! It's 100% silk, my favorite fiber. Isn't it a lovely color and so silky shiney? I've gotta come up with the perfect pattern to complement it.

Kerry took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday and then we had coffee and knitted a bit. I am almost done with the leg of my blue sock:

It's the Conwy pattern from Knitting on the Road. I love the pattern and I love working with the Koigu!

To kick off the new Project Spectrum month, I also knit up a purple mitred square:

I'll be spending the holiday with my family, so I probably won't be posting again for a while. Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends and Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!