A Good Yarn

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday, Monday

Yesterday I had my Film Club and we saw this independent film:

It was filmed right here in Minnesota. It's about a Norwegian immigrant farmer, Olaf, in 1920 Minnesota who brings over a woman he's never met, Inge, to become his wife. It turns out that although she was living in Norway, Inge is actually German. Which doesn't sit well with the locals, since we've just fought WWI. The film shows how neighbors come together to help neighbors, but how they also can be very harsh and judgmental. There's also a lot about the farm crisis and foreshadowing of the coming dust bowl and depression of the 30s. But most of all, it's a love story between Olaf and Inge. It's absolutely gorgeous with beautiful scenes of the Minnesota countryside. If you have a chance to see this on the big screen, I would highly recommend you do.

Last night I also volunteered a couple of hours to pack food for shipment to Darfur. Hopefully you are already well aware of the situation occuring there, but if you want more information, there's a video at Darfur Diaries. If you've seen Hotel Rwanda and felt helpless while watching the horrific genocide occur there, now's your chance to do something to make a difference in a similar situation. The local group I volunteered with is Minnesota Interfaith Darfur Coalition and you can give money and get more information from The Save Darfur Coalition. There are several other organizations trying to get help to Darfur also, but those are the two organizations I have donated to and I know they're doing good work.

After I got home, I had a little bit of time for knitting and I ALMOST finished my Lozenge sock:

Just the toes left to complete. I had to cut my toes out of that picture because I haven't had a pedicure in a couple of months (trying to save my money for endless care repairs, don't you know) and they looked so gross. Not to mention, yes, my skin is so white I pretty much glow. Anyway, I didn't officially join Socktober, but I was hoping to finish this pair up in Socktober anyway, but looks like I'm going to fall a little short.

I am also doing some seasonal knitting - can you guess what this is?

Yep, it's a pumpkin - felted! I was going to make it for Halloween and needlefelt a face on, but since I'm a little late, I guess it'll just be a Thanksgiving pumpkin.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Movie Weekend

This is a super busy weekend, so I'm not going to get much knitting done, but I did manage to sew another mitered square together on Friday night:

I do not know why the picture is darker at the top. Anyway, earlier in the evening, I saw this film:

I liked it but I did not love it. As you probably know, it's about the men who raised the flag captured in that famous photo pictured above on Iwo Jima during WWII. The movie sets up the characters by showing them in training together, showing that they're just regular young guys, having fun together, being goofy. Then they go to Iwo to take the island so that US forces can proceed on to Japan. The film than cuts back and forth between the battle on Iwo and the surviving men from the photo being paraded around the States as war heroes, to raise money to continue the fighting. The Iwo scenes are then shown as flashbacks in the minds of these men as they struggle with their survivors' guilt and just to deal with the horrific things they saw and had to do in battle.

I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan, but this one was a little disappointing for me. There was something about it that was a bit removed, distant. There are powerful scenes and the actors all do a marvelous job, especially Adam Beach as a Native American marine who has to deal with not only the horrors of war and feeling like a fraud, but also the weight of racism. But somehow those powerful moments didn't all fit together into a powerful movie for me. Maybe it was cutting back and forth between the war scenes and the U.S. scenes, sort of not cutting the drama of each one as it was building.

However, the film is as always for Eastwood really beautiful, with haunting music. The themes also resonate - the "manufactured" heroism to bolster the war, the effects of fighting on ordinary young men who then have to try to return to their lives, how society turns their back on these heroes after their usefulness is done. All of these ring true to our current war. I also have to warn you that it's pretty bloody and gruesome in the fight scenes, so if you're particularly sensitive to that, you may want to take a pass on this one. I was so very very happy that he didn't show one image, which I don't want to spoil here, but rather let us just see the reaction of a soldier seeing it for us.

Saturday, I saw another film - the first in the fall Talk Cinema series:

This is the most talked about movie on the web right now, but for those of you who aren't that into films, Borat is a semi-documentary starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat. Mr. Cohen had an HBO show called "Da Ali G Show" where he played a few different characters who interview and interact with regular people, who aren't in on the joke that this is an actor portraying a character. One of those characters was Borat, a television news anchor in Kazakhstan. Mr. Cohen has turned this bit into a movie, wherein Borat comes to America to make a documentary to help his people understand and emulate the American way of life. Even if you haven't heard of this movie yet, you soon will because I am sure it's going to be one of the biggest movies of the year.

I was not a fan of "Da Ali G Show" and for the same reasons, I am not really a fan of this movie. There are parts that are hilariously funny. But, it's incredibly over the top, pushing the envelope humor and there are just some things that I don't find funny - like incest and rape. There's a ton of really anti-Semitic humor and I know Mr. Cohen is Jewish, but it still made me feel too uncomfortable to laugh - he retakes some of the horrible images used by the Nazis and uses them as humor, which intellectually I understand, but at a gut level, "The Running of the Jews" just isn't funny to me. There's also lots of potty humor, which I rarely find funny either. The biggest laugh is a nude wrestling scene between Borat and his producer, a man who is probably at least 350 pounds. It goes on and on and on and on. I admire Cohen's willingness to go to any extreme for a laugh and there's a couple of parts of the wrestling match that I did laugh pretty hard (I don't want to ruin it, though, so no details), but in general I didn't find it as funny as most of the people I saw it with did.

It's been shown as part of the Talk Cinema series in many cities and we were told that generally 70% of people love it and 30% of people hate it. I guess I'm in the small minority who sort of like it, but definitely don't love it. One of the film reviewers for the Star Tribune, Colin Colvert, ran our discussion of the film afterwards and he said it was the funniest movie he's ever seen - so expect to see a great review from him once it is officially released.

The parts that I thought were the most funny were when Borat was interacting with regular Americans - on a NY subway, interviewing a humor coach or a couple of politicians, in an antique store, at a rodeo, hanging out with a bunch of frat boys, at a dinner party in Atlanta or at a Pentecostal church just to name some of them. It's unclear how many of the people he interacts with knew who he was and are just playing along with the bit, but at least some of them clearly think he really is a foreigner making a documentary about the U.S. These parts are really funny for the most part, and sometimes frightening because some of our fellow Americans are really frightening.

After the film, I got together with a couple of girlfriends for a little beading time. I made a couple of beaded rings:

I made them from a kit from Bead Monkey - you may remember I made some in green back during Project Spectrum. Saturday night I spent some time with Red. We carved a jack o lantern, which I think looks marvelously scary:

I'm not sure why Red has that look on his face - I'm thinking he just didn't really want me to take his picture! Here's jack in all his dark, scary glory:

After we carved jack, we went to see this:

When I originally saw "Nightmare", I took Jessica and she was about Red's age - oh, how time flies! I already knew I liked the movie, but I really liked the 3D effect, too. This Disney Digital technology is pretty amazing. It really brought a richness and depth to the animation. I think the type of animation used in this movie is perfectly suited for this type of digital 3-D effect, too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My other pet

I think I've mentioned before that there are a lot of rabbits that hang out in my yard. This summer I'm pretty sure that there's a family that has taken up residence. It may be because Finbar's not around to chase them away any more (Fiona doesn't even bark at them) or because I basically gave up on yard maintenance in August and there's lots of long yummy grass for them to chomp on. In any case, I've begun to think of them as "my rabbits" and enjoy looking for them when I let Fiona out in the backyard. They're very well camouflaged these days:

Although they don't look like they're missing any meals, I do like to throw some food out there for them and the other animals. I threw a few apples that were getting old and wrinkly out there the other day and was amused to see half an apple on the picnic table the next day - like the squirrels were having a picnic, but got distracted halfway through. When I was taking the bunny picture, I noticed another partially eaten apple in the tree:

I found that amusing too - another squirrel trying to keep the treat to himself? A bird pecking away at it? The poor bunny has no shot at that one. In any case, the next time I went out back, the apple was gone.

I also thought I'd come clean with a few of my yarn purchases. I mentioned the Merino Style I bought from Knitpicks. Well, that's not all I bought. I also bought some Memories sock yarn:

I also bought some Ambrosia, a Baby Alpaca Cashmere blend:

I bought these because I had never tried them before and I was interested in trying them out - and who can resist the great Knitpicks prices? The memories isn't quite what I was expecting. I think it's a little more loosely spun than I thought. I do sort of like the colorway, although I think I'd like it better without the lavendar. The Ambrosia is heavenly. So soft and pretty. I was thinking maybe something for my sister's baby, if she's having a girl. I also got some Alpaca Cloud:

although I didn't get it directly from Knitpicks. I got it from Amanda. She decided she didn't like it, so she sent it to me - I love it! And Knitpicks has a new stole pattern that would be perfect for this yarn.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's Almost Halloween

I love to do something to celebrate Halloween with Red, so I decided to take the boys to a Haunted House this year, since they're getting older. Michael decided he didn't want to go because it was too scary for him (funny, since he's the oldest one), so I just took Red and Ben. I did a bunch of research to figure out which was scary, but not too scary, and decided the Spooky Chamber was the best choice. You can say "Monster Be Good" if you get scared, and the monster will turn around and leave you alone. It's part of the Corn Maze, so it's a bit pricey, since you have to pay to get in the Corn Maze and then pay to get in Spooky Chamber, but I would say it was worth the money. The Spooky Chambers was pretty short, but it was scary, but not too scary - just perfect for Red. I think Ben could have gone for something a little scarier, but he seemed satisfied with the experience. Then we got to explore the rest of the activities - a petting zoo with some very different animals, a pumpkin tossing sling, a pig race and of course the Corn Maze. We didn't get a chance to make it all the way through the maze because we ran out of time, but I think I'll put this on our list of things to do next year again. I didn't bring my camera, so I don't have any pictures - sorry :-(

Saturday night I got to see one of my favorite authors, David Sedaris. If you haven't read any of his books, do yourself a favor and get one now. Better yet, get the book on tape. He writes short sort of autobiographical stories that are hilariously funny and his delivery of them is so entertaining. This time he read some stuff from "This American Life", The New Yorker , and some other things he's working on. I had never heard any of it before and it was all truly funny. He always recommends a book when he does a reading and this time it was "Is There No Place On Earth for Me?" He read an excerpt and it was funny and also sad, since it's about a woman with schizophrenia. I have to work with mentally ill people in my job, which can be quite a challenge, so I had a moment of recognition while he was reading. Sounds like a great book, so I'll probably pick it up.

Sunday I watched football and knit, so I have an FO:

Project Name: Pebbles Scarf
Yarn: Prism Pebbles
Yarn Source: Needlework Unlimited
Date Started: 10/22/06
Date Completed: 10/22/06

Comments: This is another knit for the Pine Ridge Reservation - a child's scarf. I bought the yarn during the Treasure Hunt. As you may recall, I wanted to buy something from each store on the hunt to encourage them to do it again next year. I had long admired this unusual yarn when I visited NU, but it's a little pricey and I didn't think I needed another plain scarf for myself, but I decided it was a perfect thing to buy on the Treasure Hunt.

The yarn is 100% nylon worsted weight. The yarn is constructed as a series of little poof balls - it sort of looks like a string of beads:

I decided to knit a very simple knit/purl combination in a basketweave pattern. I like the feel of this yarn in the skein better than I do knitted up. It was fun to see how it turned out, but I'm glad I didn't buy more skeins for a scarf for myself. It was also a little hard to knit since there was no give at all. I think some little girl at Pine Ridge will really like it though. Here's a closer look at how it looks knitted up:

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I joined the Day of the Dead Knitalong at the end of the summer. The KAL is inspired by the Summer issue of Knit.1 which had patterns for some Day of the Dead dolls. For the KAL, you can knit the dolls or you can knit something special in memory of someone special. I'd really like to knit a Day of the Dead doll for Katie, but I also wanted to knit something in memory of my grandmother, who died last year.

My nana was not your typical grandmotherly type. She didn't cook and as far as I can remember, she never made cookies or knitted or anything like that. However, she was as kind and caring as any person can be. She was always reaching out and helping people. She had a special place in her heart for children. When she was raising her own children (including my troublemaker mom), she took in several other children who were having problems at home. When my brother was having problems, she took in him too, long after she should have been done raising children. So, in this spirit I decided to knit some children's items in Nana's memory for the Day of the Dead KAL.

Project Name: Cabled Hat with Earflaps
Designer: Zoe Mellor
Pattern Source: Adorable Knits for Tots
Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style
Yarn Source: Secret Pal 8

I really like how this came out. It's the best pom pom I've ever made - except that it's maybe too big for the hat. But it's full and cute instead of limp and scraggly looking, like most of my pom poms. I wanted to try out this Merino Style that my SP, CJ, sent me. I love it! it's a new favorite yarn for me. In fact, I ordered some in red for the cabled Kimono sweater from Knitpicks:

So, 2 skeins out of stash, but 13 back in. That's NOT the way it's supposed to go.

I had about half a skein of the brown left, so I combined it with the Gems merino for another baby hat:

Project Name: Jailbird Hat
Designer: Jil Eaton
Pattern Source: MinnowKnits, Too
Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style and Gems Opal Merino
Yarn Source: Secret Pal 8 and Beaded Knitting Kit leftovers

I am donating these hats to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I haven't done much charity knitting in the last year or so, so I decided it was time to get started again. I'm donating these hats, the lozenge socks and some other hats and stuff that I have been knitting with no particular recipient in mind over the last year or two. The Pine Ridge Reservation is in South Dakota and is one of the most poor communities in the U.S. Unemployment is around 85% and 97% of the community live below the Federal poverty guidelines. Average annual family income is $3,800. Many families have no running water, no electricity, no telephone. And it's darn cold in South Dakota - those winds come over the prairie and take your breath away. If you would like to knit something to contribute, I am collecting any knitted item until December 1.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another Fast and Fun Week!

Time is just whooshing along, isn't it? Before you know it, it's going to be Christmas!

My weekend in So Dak was fun. I gave my sister Laura the blue hooded sweater coat and she immediately put it on and wore it for the rest of the evening. I also offered her her choice of the last three pair of socks I made and she immediately chose the blue Koigu socks and put those on right away. That's the kind of reception one likes to get to one's knitting efforts! Of coure, if I was a good blogger, I'd have taken a picture of Laura in said knitwear, but the camera was in my car down the street and I was too lazy to go get it. I also got to see my sister Kerry, who is expecting. Couldn't tell though - she's as slim and trim as always. I spent the rest of the afternoon with my niece, Alexis and my mom. Alexis decided that since the Vikings weren't playing on Sunday, we were going to have a game day. So we played Monopoly Jr, Yahtzee, Old Maid and Go Fish. I did quite well in the games, if I do say so myself. I also played my brother this week in our Fantasy Football League and beat him rather handily. I guess I should have bought a lottery ticket on Sunday, because I seemed to have the luck!

I finished up "Embroidered Truths" as well over the weekend. I have to say that this isn't my favorite mystery series. In fact, if it wasn't about knitting and set in Minnesota, I probably wouldn't be reading them. This one seemed like it was all set up, set up, set up and then suddenly the killer is revealed. I like more stuff in the middle - revealing information about the characters and having a few red herrings. I started our next book club selection:

It's a slim book. It seems to be very well written, although there is some language I can't understand. I think maybe I'm just too tired when I'm reading at night. I may need to set aside some weekend time to reading this one for better comprehension.

Monday night I took a Christmas card class at Archivers and made these lovelies:

They're really pretty and not too hard to make. I'm not sure I'm going to make any more of the same for my card this year - still looking. In fact, I went to another Archiver's with Beth last night and we took their Holiday Card Showcase class. You don't really make any cards in that class, they just give you a bunch of ideas for cards. I saw a couple I really liked. Afterward, we went out to eat at a new to me restaurant, Salsarita's. This is a chain of the upscale fast food type, but it's new to Minnesota. I'm not fond of Baja Tortilla Grill and this looked similar, but I liked it a lot better. I am hoping they'll expand out of the suburbs and into the cities soon.

I've been knitting too, but this is getting too long so I'll share that next time.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Fun and Fast Week

This week went so fast! As I indicated in my last post, it's fall and it's gotten colder here. Too cold:

I know, I live in Minnesota. Snow in October isn't exactly shocking. But it was 80 degrees last weekend! I need a gradual transition, not summer then winter. It's enough to make me want to head south. Only as far as South Dakota, though. I'm visiting my mommy for her birthday.

I did virtually no knitting this week. Tuesday night I had my film class - our film this week was Chungking Express. Hadn't seen it before and LOVED it. I'd highly recommend this one to you. Wednesday night I had a training to become an election judge. Two years ago I was a pollwatcher for Election Protection, but since this isn't a Presidential Election year, they're not doing that. They suggested we become election judges to continue to ensure that the elections are run fairly, so I decided to do it. We need new blood in Minnesota too - at least in the Twin Cities area. Whenever I've voted, the election judges are almost always elderly people. What will happen when they pass on if the rest of us don't start chipping in? Of course, I'm hoping that perhaps in the next decade or so, we may have a different sort of voting, that takes advantage of today's technology and doesn't require people to go to one place on one day, so perhaps election judges of that sort won't be necessary. Anyway, back to the fun. Thursday night I went to a concert and saw Rhymin' Simon:

I really loved the show! I've been a big Paul Simon fan since those pictures I posted a couple of weeks ago were taken. "Graceland" came out in 1986 and I fell in love with it and went back and started listening to the back catalog and became obssessed with S&G as well. He really showed off the breadth and depth of his work in this show. He played a few S&G tunes, some of the 70s hits, a good batch from Graceland, and a few of the newer songs. Some of the songs were pretty faithful to their recordings, but a lot of them he re-arranged in really interesting ways. So the music was a mix of everything from funk and soul, zydeco, gospel and good old fashioned rock n roll. It was so much fun. The best part of the evening, though, was that I fell in love all over again with his lyrics. Paul Simon is the epitomy of the singer/songwriter and in a lot of his songs he just seemed to be telling a story. I forgot how happy listening to his words makes me. The man can turn a phrase! I wanted to quote one, but I couldn't pick just one. I'm so glad I decided to go.

Friday night was movie night with some of my law school chums, and we decided to see this new film:

I'll first warn you that I'm a HUGE Helen Mirren fan. Like many, I fell in love with her in Prime Suspect. She's pitch perfect in this film. The film is mainly about the time between when Princess Diana was killed and her funeral. You may remember that for quite a long time, the royal family did not publicly acknowledge Diana's death and the British people became more and more angry and began to question the need for the monarchy. This film purports to show what happened behind the scenes during that time. I don't know how accurate it is, but it seems very plausible and Mirren really embodies the conflicted nature of Queen Elizabeth. She shows that she has a devotion to the idea of royalty and what that should mean and is the essence of the British stiff upper lip. But times have changed, even in Britain. People demand that you cut open a vein. I know I'm as guilty of that as the next, though I try to remember that not everyone wants the whole world to see their innermost thoughts and feelings. For me, I both pitied Elizabeth for being unable to reach out and touch her son and grandsons in their time of need, to openly express her own mixed feelings about the death of Diana and I also admired her strength and courage and determination. The film also concentrates a lot on Tony Blair, newly elected Prime Minister, who gave us the term "the People's Princess" and ushered out Thatcherism for what might have been a whole new world in Britain. It was fun to remember when Tony Blair seemed like a young, enthusiastic good guy with a lot of promise instead of the poodle for Bush he seems now. The film does lay it on a bit thick in contrasting Tony and Sherie Blair -living in a middle class home, with open debates and loud kids and cooking and cleaning for themselves (including a guitar in the home office/library) while the Queen and Prince Philip live in a very sterile, quiet, proper home with books that are all matching in her library. But, I did enjoy the film and the walk down memory lane. I'd also like to point you to Roger Ebert's review of this film. He's been in the hospital all summer recovering from surgery for salivary cancer. I'm a huge fan of Mr. Ebert and it's awesome to read his lovely prose again. I look forward to his return to the television airwaves as well.

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's Fall

I finally closed the windows and turned on the furnace today. It was 80 degrees on Saturday, but it's in the 40s today and they're not forcasting another 80 degree day, so I bit the bullet and accepted the fact that it's all downhill from here. At least it's October.

I had another low key weekend. Saturday was Katie's birthday party and Michael was invited, so I picked him up and we headed over there. After the birthday party we went out to dinner and Bill got a fire call, so I let him take my car (which is actually his car, because I'm using his car until my car is repaired) and so Michael and I went over to their house to wait for my car to get back. We ended up playing a rousing game of Star Wars Monopoly. It wasn't the way I had planned to spend my evening, but it was really fun. Michael asked if he could go to the Vikings game with Greg on Sunday, so I stayed home and watched the game on tv and knit and cleaned the house a bit. Last winter I made my sister Laura a hooded sweater coat and she asked if I could put some pockets on it, so I took care of that yesterday:

I attached the pocket as I was knitting it on the sides and as you can see, it sort of stretched out the stitches. I probably should have just sewed it down, but that's ok. She's never going to look at it that closely and it's a darker blue than it looks in that picture, so I doubt anyone else will notice either. I'm just glad to have it finished finally. I also worked on a cabled earflap hat:

I'm going to knit an edging in a coordinating color, so I'll post more about that when it's finished. I've also finished knitting another mitered square - it's blocked and I just need to sew it together:

I picked up a couple more skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic for the mitered blanket when I was on the Treasure Hunt this weekend, so I definitely have enough yarn to make a large blanket. We'll see if I get too bored.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ahoy Matey!

This weekend seven local yarn stores in the Twin Cities are having a Treasure Hunt. And this is the type of treasure I want to hunt - yarn and knitting supplies! The stores are all over the metro area and if you get your treasure map stamped at every store this weekend, you are entered into a drawing for a treasure chest with over $3,000 worth of yarn, needles, books and other supplies. Of course, I can't resist something like that!

So, my enabler extraordinaire and I took Friday off and started on our mission. First we had to fuel up, though:

A little coffee and a nosh - apple turnover for me. Isn't that mosaic counter beautiful? This coffee shop is across the street from our first stop, The Yarnery. I was only a half-assed blogger, so I forgot to take pictures at most of our stops. I was going to show you what I bought at each shop, but I'm embarrassed to do that, so I'll just give you a taste when I forgot to take a picture of the shop:

I bought a few balls of yarn for some of the hats in the Itty Bitty Hats book. Our next stop was Sheepy Yarn Shop:

You can see a little of the beautiful blue sky in that picture. It was a gorgeous fall day. You can also see a little felted pumpkin in the window - I bought the pattern and yarn for that at Sheepy. They also had some of the merging colors kits there, if you are interested in knitting one of Candace Eisner Strick's kits. Around the corner from the yarn shop was a farmer's market, where I picked up a few veggies - and of course forgot to take a picture. We took a potty break and got some drinks and then hit the road for Three Kittens:

That's a skein of Artyarns Merino in a GORGEOUS purple and black colorway - love it! Each store had drawings for door prizes also. I didn't win any door prizes, but Kerry won one at Three Kittens - yeah! Some of the stores didn't require you to be present to win, so maybe I still have a chance - or maybe I'm just waiting for the grand prize! :-) After all that shopping, we were ready for a break. We had Italian food at the deli at Osteria I Nonni. Since it was such a lovely day, we sat outside and soaked up the sun while we ate. Refortified, we hit the road for Zandy's:

Kerry was nice enough to drive. It was fun tooling around town in her VW Bug, although it was a bit windy to go without the top on. At each store, if you solved a mystery, you could get a little charm:

I'm thinking about making a bracelet for these charms, since it's kind of hard to see them on the pin. Halfway through the treasure hunt, we headed west and stopped at Needlework Unlimited:

There was a pirate theme for the treasure hunt and most of the stores had these cute banners hung:

NU was the busiest store we hit, but it's also a pretty big store and centrally located, so it's usually quite busy. We headed way out west next and I finally got to check out Coldwater Collaborative:

See how cute their sign is? Well, that gives you a flavor for how cute everything inside is. They have so many absolutely wonderful shop models. I just looked at one thing after another, wanting to make it. Cute purses, lots of fun felted stuff, scarves, sweaters and shawls. Loved the store and am kind of glad it's so far away from me, otherwise I might be there every week. Deb works at Coldwater and I tried to get a picture of us (which included her wearing a very fetching pirate hat), but there was some sort of camera error and the picture wasn't there. Or Deb worked some kind of pirate magic and made it disappear. We finished up the day at Amazing Threads, tired but happy!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mini Vacation

As most of you already know, poor Chris had to cancel her road trip plans because she's an awesome kitty-mommy. I wanted to do my part to keep her entertained on her stay at home vacation so I cut the work day short and took a mini-vacation myself. It's so much fun to be having fun in the middle of a work day!

We started out with a little art film:

After seeing this film, I read a few reviews on rottentomatoes and it seems like this film either works for you or it doesn't. And I really get that. Gael Garcia Bernal is totally hot. And he speaks three languages in this film. He plays a man named Stephane who leaves Mexico after his father dies to live near his mother in France. He's an artist, but is stuck doing typesetting for a calendar company with several extremely strange and somewhat annoying co-workers. He finds solace in his dreams and pretty soon he's spending more time in his dreams than waking. There's also a love story mixed in with his next door neighbor, who is a bit of an artist herself. I really loved the dream sequences which were sometimes animation, sometimes live action in a world created from cardboard and felt and yarn. It was really creative and beatiful to look at. However, it was also really non-linear and like Stephane, we sometimes have difficulty figuring out what's real and what's just a dream. That worked for me, but I can see why some critics found it just confusing and pointless. I thought the director, Michel Gondry, captured perfectly the way in a dream you are in normal situations and doing rational things, but then all of a sudden things just change. As the film went on, Stephane became more and more anxious and his dreams went from being a solace to being as difficult as reality. The film doesn't really have a straight plot line. It's all about mood and fantasy, so if that type of thing interests you, I think you'd enjoy it. If you like your films a little more concrete, maybe check out Gondry's last film, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It's still trippy and has cool visuals, but there's more of a plot and story to hold on to.

After the movie, we had an early dinner of Thai food at Tum Rup Thai. This is a really beautiful restaurant. It has a very clean and modern design. I had Mee Kah Teeh - rice noodles with red curry. It was really good, especially the curry sauce. The rice noodles were a little bit gummy. The serving was huge, so I had enough left over for another meal, making this a really economical choice for a nice dinner. I'd recommend it if you enjoy Thai food.

No vacation day would be complete without a little knitting, so we grabbed a cup of joe and knit for a bit before I had to take off for my film class. It was such a great, enjoyable day. Thanks for the inspiration, Chris!

Monday, October 02, 2006


I had a very relaxing weekend, without a lot of commitments, which was exactly what I needed. I was able to start unpacking my winter clothes and packing away my summer clothes (although summer seems to have returned!) I baked an apple crisp from apples that Bill's mother grew on her trees. I did my homework for my film class (Pulp Fiction this week - one of my Top Ten of all time). I watched the Vikings lose :-( Red called me up and asked if I wanted to go mini-golfing, so we did. This time to a more traditional course - Lava Links in Roseville. I did a spot of housework, though not a ton. On a very, very positive note, though, I FINALLY finished ironing all of the clothes - the half an hour a day finally paid off. And, I did a little knitting. I finished the first Lozenge Pattern Gentleman's Sock:

It's too big for me, so it'll be a pair for charity. I'm knitting warm things for people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota this fall. I'm gathering things from people in one of my knitting groups, so if anyone else wants to contribute, let me know. I'm collecting until December 1. They can use pretty much anything for babies, kids or adults - hats, socks, blankets, scarves, mittens, etc. Anyway, I don't mind how the pooling turned out in the end. It looks sort of swirly and cool. I also finished the Merging Colors Scarf. Here it is blocking:

Project Name: Merging Colors Mitered Scarf
Designer: Candace Eisner Strick
Pattern Source: kit
Yarn: 100% Merino
Yarn Source: Earthfaire
Date Started: 9/3/06
Date Completed: 10/1/06

Comments: I may have set some sort of personal record for the shortest time between buying yarn and finishing a project. Usually I let the yarn sit in stash and age, but I was so excited about this scarf that I cast on almost immediately after receiving the yarn. I twisted the cast on row and didn't discover it until I was 13 rows into the project, so I ended up having to rip it out and start over again. I was knitting it obsessively when I first started and again after I ripped out, so I still managed to finish in just under a month. That's not so fast for my speedy friends, but it's pretty good for me. I'm absolutely in love with the finished project and trying very, very hard not to buy another colorway immediately.