Monday, October 30, 2006

catch-up/weekend re-cap...

wow...last week was so crazy at my office. i came home each evening triple exhausted and feeling on the verge of getting a cold.

every year i feel that way right before the time change--as though i cannot take waking up pre-dawn for one more morning. and then, just in the nick of time (and thwarting a total nervous breakdown) the clocks change and i turn into cheerful girl again. it happened just that way this weekend too.

it also didn't hurt my mood that i crammed in a month's worth of fun into one short weekend.

friday night...after shopping for work clothes at my new favorite store and eating sushi for dinner i knit on the couch while watching history unfold.

saturday...went to the coolest, wackiest, craziest race i've ever been to! lesley's husband, bill, was on a team who made a vehicle that raced down this (they're on the left)....

on this...

i also got to sit in a space didn't make it to re-entry.

then we went to see running with scissors (i suspect an oscar nomination for ms. bening) and walked around a street festival/halloween party.

sunday...went out to breakfast here and had a delish meal of crab cakes benedict. then nose to the grindstone, worked on inventory for the upcoming rock 'n roll craft show while my dear sweet attentive and supportive hubby cleaned and laundry-ed.

it was the perfect blend of a weekend...getting things done but also having fun.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


1st--i've changed the settings on comments so that they are no longer moderated as strictly. i was thinking that perhaps the reason that the number of readers has gone up but the number of commenters has gone down was folks' desire to see their comments right away. i'll reassess the new setting in a week, so get out there and comment!

2nd--i'll be participating in national blog posting month (NaBloPoMo) in november...that means a post each and every day (even weekends-eek). help me keep my stamina up and visit often, okay? and don't forget to comment. (see item#1)

3rd--GO CARDS! tonight is game 4 of the world series and we are up 2 games to the tigers measly 1. take that kenny rogers.

Monday, October 23, 2006


marie antoinette was fabulous. a feast for the eyes and ears. the story-telling, so sofia copolla-esque--simple and sad, sweet and endearing. i wanted to cuddle marie a. in a mom-ish hug and tell her it would be okay, even though i KNEW it would certainly not be (i mean, we all know how the story ends), but that is what a good mother does. in any case, i highly recommend seeing the film AND buying the soundtrack, which we did on the way home.

the soundtrack is a wonderful odd mix of asian/parisian instrumentals and way-back machine 80's numbers (you can't help but rock out to bow wow wow's aphrodisiac) to current-day pop songs from the likes of the strokes. nathaniel has already added 8 songs from disc 1 to his iPod. oh, did i forget to mention it's a two disc set? well, it is and it's great!

i encourage you to check out soundtracks as they are a wonderful way to explore music you may not be familiar with...i.e. the stuff you don't hear on commercial radio stations.

here are a few of my faves:

****stealing beauty (dreamy, trance-like pieces from eclectic artists like sam phillips and billie holiday)
****everything is illuminated (russian rap and accordion...sounds crazy and it is, but in a good way!)
****garden state (emo boy music...thanks to nathaniel for turning me on to this)
****pulp fiction (son of a preacher man...need i say more? oh yea, surf music)
****kissing jessica stein (this was the first place i hear blossom dearie, now i lerve her!)
****gilmore girls (i know this isn't a movie soundtrack, but this still has track after track of music i {heart}...yoko ono and claudine longet, together for the first time)
****felicity (another tv show soundtrack, also very good. the show skidded downhill after season 1, but the music is eternal)

what are your favorite soundtracks?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

do not go gently into this good night...

dear white jeans machine...

i know i work you mercilessly. i know that i often curse your inaccuracy and clunky-ness, but believe you me, i need you now like never before. your feed dogs are barking (i can hear them)! but you just have to hang on for four more weeks. to ease your pain, i'm committed to doing as much handsewing as my thimble-wearing fingers can take. but come on, white, you have to understand that this is a partnership and that without a little extra effort on your part, we're not going to make the deadline. i'll be glad to give you all the glory when folks comment on the fine seams and straight stitches, but you have to be willing to come half way.

i promise on november 21 i will take you in for a proper cleaning (i know you've heard that hollow promise in the past, but this time i really mean it)! please, dear help-mate, don't give up the ghost just yet. after you've been thoroughly pampered and treated to the sewing machine equivalent of a spa day, i swear it will be soft cotton and smooth fabrics from here on out.

and i know you've overheard me talking about getting one of these, but that's just talk and it doesn't mean a thing. you are my first, my last, my everything. so please don't worry your pretty little head about it. let's just keep our relationship together through this little rough patch and we can talk everything out in december, okay?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

16 down, 25 to go...

i've been working pretty steadily to turn this pile of felted sweaters

into this...
and this...

thank goodness for lots of televised cardinals baseball, dancing with the stars, gilmore girls, boston legal, and studio 60. all that tv makes for so much handsewing time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

use this word please...

the wallaces are big fans of making up or combining words that fit a unique situation.

one of my favorite word conglomerations is "nunce."

nunce (nuns) adv. 1. never. 2. not even once.

"when asked how many times she had gone scuba diving, heidi replied, 'nunce.'"

through everyday use we could get this word into webster's or, at the very least, wikipedia.

Monday, October 16, 2006


why is it that when one's bangs get cut too short one's hair growth seems to actually go backwards?

over one week ago i got bangs (yea, am i ten?) and the shortness continues. gallons of mousse and gel and hairspray have done little to nothing to tame the stick-outed-ness of aforementioned bangs. i feel like my 5 year old self in my kindergarten school picture sporting the beauty school drop-out version of a mangled pixie cut.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

dance the night away....

a bit blurry, huh?

well the evening is quite clear.

remember when i wrote about scott? well last night it was scott redux. we attended the st. louis ballroom society's dance at the mahler ballroom and there were two professional dance instructors who first lead a class in the cha cha cha and then throughout the evening asked members of the dancing audience to accompany them out to the dance floor. my heart leapt into my throat and i could barely believe my ears. i drank three gin and tonics to get through the night and then with some expertly timed bathroom breaks, i eluded having to dance with anyone but my dearest and oldest dance partner. and then in order to stave off the advances of the pros, we danced lots of dances we wouldn't normally try including the samba (imagine you're putting out cigarette butts with your toes and move your hips a bit and you've mastered this latin number)! ahh, maybe that was the point of having the professionals there--to scare you into dancing when you really wanted to plant your seat in a comfy chair and sip a cocktail. at any rate, we had a fabulous time. thanks, katherine and michael for letting us tag along.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

have you ever...

lifted from maggie grace creates...not tagged by her, but inspired by the questions.

taken a picture completely naked? not yet, but i think that window may have closed.

danced in front of a mirror naked? this something people actually do? please don't answer--that's a rhetorical question.

told a lie? of course.

had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? who hasn't? thank goodness i ended up with someone who did ardently return my affection.

been arrested? kind of...but not really.

seen someone die? yes and it was far more peaceful than i had imagined it would be.

kissed a picture? yes...what can i say? john travolta was hot in 1976.

slept in until 5pm? 5 p.m.? i mean who are we kidding here. i don't even like to sleep in until 9 a.m.!

had sex at work? ewww!

fallen asleep at work? catnap is a much better word to describe what actually occurred.

held a snake? yes, snakes don't scare me. please don't ask me to hold your bird though, okay?

ran a red light? they are never completely red when i go through the intersection and never on purpose. the cameras at intersections now make this a very dangerous, not to mention, potentially expensive, course of action.

been suspended from school? definitely not.

pole danced? no, but i wish i had the skillz. that's an impressive talent. something even a mildly agile girl could fall back on when in need of a little extra pocket money.

been fired from a job? nope, but there are times i wish someone had put me out of my misery.

sang karaoke? yes, but only while under the influence of alcohol. loosens the vocal chords, ya know. and i'm really pretty good.

done something you told yourself you wouldn't? yes...haven't we all? not anything i'm proud of.

laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? yes, my husband is quite the comedian. he makes me laugh that hard all the time.

laughed until you peed? no...a girl's got to have some self-control.

caught a snowflake on your tongue? yes, and it's not as easy as you think!

kissed in the rain? yes.

had sex in the rain? no...another, "ewww."

sang in the shower? mmm hmmm.

gave your private parts a nickname? no. the regular names are just fine.

ever gone to work without underwear? just for the sake of fashion.

sat on a rooftop? yes, but it was under duress. my boys decorate the house each year with gobs of christmas lights. my assistance was needed so i trekked up the ladder. for each rung under my feet i felt like a weight was being added into my back pockets that was pulling me backwards...ick.

played chicken? i don't think i even know what this is.

been pushed/thrown into a pool with all your clothes on? yes, and i hated it.

broken a bone? no, thank goodness.

flashed someone? orleans--girls' weekend--and only as a joke. oh, and did i mention it was just another girl in the group? she had beads i had to have and that was the only way i was gettin' them.

mooned someone? yes...i used to be quite daring.

skinny dipped? okay, yes, but that was in another incarnation of myself.

shaved your head? yes, and i would do it again in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the staid 9 to 5 gig i have. the suits would have none of it.

slept naked? can i remind the dear reader that the power was out here in st. louis for nine days during the hottest part of the summer. it was sleep naked or die, people. oh and of course, lots of other times too.

blacked out from drinking? yes, not a stellar page from my past.

played a prank on someone? not really...i don't really go in for that type of stuff.

had a gym membership? yes, a few times. all but the last time really got used. the most recent was 2 months before my emergency surgery. ended up never using it again.

felt like killing someone? no...that's a lot of raw emotion. i like to keep it in check. truly hated someone? sure. felt like smacking someone in the face? yea, but! talk it out people.

cried over someone you were in love with? yes.

had mexican jumping beans as pets? owned them, but they aren't pet-worthy...novelty sideshow act, sure. but pets? that's a stretch.

been in a band? no, but that would be hardcore. (please see above answer to karaoke question.)

shot a gun? no and i never will.

shot a bow and arrow? yes.

played strip poker? yes, and i should point out i don't even know how to play poker so i was the loser every time.

donated blood? yes.

ever jump out of an airplane? no...too much of a scaredy-cat.

been to more than 10 countries? nine...germany, france, mexico, guatemala, nicaragua, honduras, el salvador, jamaica, united states (this last one's a stretch, but it moves me closer to the elusive 10). 10/16/06 edited to add belize...i took a boat from belize to guatemala. thanks for reminding me, kel!

tagged--becky, denise & angelica

that is, if these questions are not too personal for you gals.

Friday, October 13, 2006

opening up to the possibilities...

when i knit a new pattern i break the pattern down into instructions for each row. i give each row a number and then the instructions for each row. if the pattern reads "knit even for 45 rows" i will write numbers 1 through 45 down the left-hand margin of my paper and write "knit" for each of those rows. at the end of each row, i make a tic mark to show myself and the universe that i have completed that row. (it makes me feel like i'm making progress, however small). i also use a row counter as a back-up. it may seem obsessive, but it works for me.

or so i thought.

my friend lesley had borrowed a pattern and my detailed row notes for said pattern. wednesday night at our weekly knitting get together she asked me sweetly, with her head cocked ever so slightly to one side, where in my set of instructions were the knit 7 rows straight that were called for in the book's directions? the answer was simple. they weren't. i had inadvertently left them out. she corrected her course and knit happily along.

yesterday i found a similar mistake in my transcription of row by row knitting for the pedicure socks.

of course i'm human. of course i make mistakes. we all do. but it is difficult to admit. i like to be correct. i enjoy the feeling of superiority i get when i know the answer that no one else does. but it is also an invaluable lesson to be reminded from time to time that we do not know a fraction of what the world has to offer. i am humbled by what i do not know. i am thrilled to think of all the things i have yet to perceive.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

ghosts of the past...

i arrived at work the other day to find a bag of candy had been placed on my chair. underneath the bag of candy was a note telling me i had been "ghosted." the note also instructed me to copy it three times, make up three more bags of treats and distribute them to others who had not previously been ghosted. i would know who had and had not been given treats by the display of a xerox-ed picture of a ghost tacked to their cube wall.

"great," i thought to myself. a chain letter with candy.

my mom sent me something similar about a month ago that instructed me to send dish towels to people on the list. i called her and asked her to please stop the madness. perhaps before the advent of the automatic washer ladies might have welcomed receiving six new dishcloths in the mail. me? my kitchen linen drawer is brim full. and the weekly load of laundry keeps the drawer well stocked with clean towels.

the candy thing, well, i played along. i made up three bags of treats, copied the accompanying poem and doled out my goodies. it was difficult to find three folks that weren't already letting their ghost flag fly. and that's when it hit me.

i was at the bottom of the ghost candy chain. honestly, it hurt my feelings a bit. the poem says you're supposed to give the treats to someone you think is "neat" or "swell" or "the mostest." i don't know, it's very third grade, really.

it was reminiscent of a valentine's day party in grade school. counting the valentine's in your box you realize there are 23 kids in your class and, not counting the valentine you didn't give to yourself, you only have 21 cards. you rack your brain and try to figure out who in the class dislikes you so much to not give you a valentine. because in your 8-year old brain it couldn't possibly be that the offender miscounted or ran out because they had to share a box with their sister. all you can think is that someone's got to really hate you to not give you a 5 cent holly hobbie valentine.

yea...the ghost thing was kind of like that, but with bigger words.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

hot socks...

my wonderful "hot socks" swap-bot partner, debby, sent me this excellent package of knitting goodies. in it are the following: the shortest double pointed needles i have ever seen, a ginormous bag of assorted teas, a big skein of opal sock yarn in turquoise and hot pink, a supply of stitch markers (you can never have enough of those), and some great burgundy-handled scissors. the scissors and the stitch markers are already in my knitting tool kit. the sock yarn is in the queue for knitting up.

thank you very much, debby! what a great swap-bot buddy you are!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

sew and sew...

i calculated that if i can complete one purse each day between now and the drop off date for the rock 'n roll craft show, i'll have 41 new bags finished. sunday night i completed the handsewing on four bags and last night, two. that doesn't mean they're complete, that means the handsewing is done.

my process is in no way an assembly line system. i go through the pile of sweaters i've felted until one jumps out at me and then decide what design that one should be. i cut it out. i do the hand sewing before any machine sewing, machine sew (which may include machine-attached embellishments) and the final step is adding the handsewn embellishments. start to finish, each bag takes between three to five hours to complete. this is a drastic increase over the time it took me to create last year's designs which did not require so much handwork.

let's do a little math now, okay? 41 days to the drop off date x avg. of 4 hours to complete each bag = 164 hours divided by 40 hour work week = 4.1 weeks of working 8 hours a day for five days a week to achieve my goal.

that's totally do-able, right? sleep is so overrated.

Friday, October 06, 2006


striped sock as of 7:30 a.m. thursday morning. please note, i have turned the not so pretty side where the stripes begin and end to the back. that's what good photographers do, i hear. i think this is also referred to as "photo styling."

somewhat blurry shot of same sock this morning at 7:30 a.m. i have turned the heel and am picking up the gusset stitches. made a lot of progress at nathaniel's soccer game yesterday afternoon.

may i just say that knitting socks on size 7 needles with worsted weight yarn (patons classic wool merino in chestnut brown and leaf green) goes so much faster than it does when using size 1 or 2 needles and fingering weight yarn! i may never go back!

buttonhole bag knit from free downloadable pattern at mason dixon knitting (the download button is on the right hand sidebar). i modified the pattern a bit as the yarn that was called for i did not have in my stash. i ACTUALLY used yarn i already had. please make note of this, dear husband--i resisted the urge to buy more yarn! i used an ultra soft self-striping soy/wool yarn from patons (soy wool stripes in natural geranium). the bottom was knit in garter stitch with three strands held together and the body of the bag was knit with two strands held together. the label said it would felt and i was skeptical but, boy-oh-boy, did it felt. finished size is 10" wide by 7" tall.

and i have saved the very best for last! i received word yesterday that i have been chosen as one of the vendors for the rock 'n roll craft show. so all knitting projects will be put on hold (or only done on lunch breaks and car rides) until after i've dropped off all my inventory for the big sale. please mark your calendars for november 25 and 26 to plan to attend this fun event...oh, yeah, and spend some of your holiday gift-giving budget!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

before/after...and after

i offer these two photos as testament to the lengths to which i will go to try to attain perfection.

first, my second neopolitan sock, heel begun. beautiful, no? NO! no it is not beautiful. notice how at the very top of the cuff the pattern doesn't match? yea, i know, no one but me would ever care, but i care.

OH! i care very much!

i know what you're thinking dear reader. why did i continue to knit said sock six inches down to the heel before i decided i couldn't live with the mistake at the very VERY beginning? because i thought i could change. i thought i could live with the oddity. as it turns out, all those folks that swear that a leopard cannot change their spots are right on. i cannot live with the 1/2 inch of wrong-ness. i just knew, deep down in my soul, that each and every time i wore these socks, i would marginalize their beauty and my hard work and tsk-tsk-tsk myself for not having the fortitude to know what i had to do before it was too late to do it.

so i shored myself up with coffee and this is what the second sock looks like now...

this is ugly, i know, but it was the right thing to do.

at least i'm a faster knitter than when i began the first sock and the task ahead doesn't seem insurmountable.

on a bright note...this morning at 4 a.m., i taught myselft (with the help of this and this) to knit stripes. the new project will eventually be pedicure socks. everyone needs pedicure socks, right?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


ahhh, the treehouse. there exists not a more enduring image for the concept of change.

we had this built when nathaniel was about five years old. it used to contain a treasure chest and a chair, but those became too weather worn and had to be discarded. when nathaniel was a little older he spray-painted peace signs and messages in and on it (he's nothing if not his mother's son). and now it sits empty. an awaiting nest. an empty womb.

nathaniel wrote an essay last night on the topic of change and it moved me how openly he welcomes it into his life. that is no easy task. he views it as an opportunity for growth, limitless possibilities and adventure. as you can see from the previous paragraph, i, on the other hand, have difficulty with the idea of change. i pay lip service to the fundamental tenants of it, but don't always know what to do in the face of it.

we are perched on the edge of big changes in our household. nathaniel has visited with lots of representatives from lots of colleges. we will be visiting college campuses and going to college fairs in the coming months. each day the mail holds literature from colleges and universities from all over the country...let me repeat those words -- all. over. the. country. from places further away than a one day car ride.

of course i want nathaniel to go where he'll be happy and find the topic that makes him excited to learn and meet people that will forever enrich his life. i just didn't think that the change would be so imminent or that time would pass so quickly and bring the brink of something different right to my front step.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

almost finished...

here is the hat i spoke of yesterday and one of the wrist warmers.

although the wrist warmers are a simple flat pattern of garter stitch, the pattern from this book forced me to learn a couple of new techniques, one of them being the italian cast-on (thanks to the big book of knitting for the directions) and another was short rows (not hard to figure out at all); but i got stuck completely on the three needle bind-off and ended up just seaming the two finished ends to the inside. two outta three ain't bad.

why, dear reader, do self-portraits of me sporting finished knitted objects look so awful (need i remind everyone of the dreaded sock/leg picture)? i tried unsuccessfully to model the hat and wrist warmer and in the very best picture of the bunch i looked like one of those big-eyed little kids that was so popular in the 1970's--gigantic head and pin neck. be thankful i spared you from viewing that one!

Monday, October 02, 2006

there's a hole in the bucket...

knitting has done for me what no other craft has been able to do in a very long time...fill me up completely. not only does it allow me to create the most useful items, but it enables me to do them while still interacting with my family.

in the past i sometimes used my need to create as an escape. i would descend into my studio and putter about for hours emerging only for meals. i isolated myself without realizing it until it dawned on me that i hadn't used my voice for hours and my throat would need to be cleared before i could speak again.

these days it's about striking a balance--a difficult task for me because i tend to be a bit obsessive.

for example...i cast on for a new hat on wednesday night. i finished it on friday morning. i cast on for a new felted purse on saturday night. i finished it on sunday afternoon. i cast on for a pair of wrist warmers last night. i'm about to cast off the first one. and i did all of these projects while watching tv, in between laundry, running errands, meals and talking with my family. i didn't have to clear my throat once.

also, knitting is all about possibilities. the yarn i've amassed in my stash represents the future. the pattern book pages i dogear and the websites i visit to check out the latests designs are symbolic of the hope i have for myself. when things seem cloudy and dark, i remind myself that i can't give up because i have so many projects still left to tackle.

and knitting has taught me how to be still. my hands make the stitches but the rest of my body is at rest. no small feat for a woman whose husband describes her as a whirlwind. it is helping me learn to be in the moment...i pay lip service to this tenant but am hard pressed to not be distracted. if i try too hard to multi-task while working through a difficult portion of a project, there is no doubt that section will need to be redone. "this requires attention!" cries the work in my hands. (i read an article a while back. the article said that none of us really multi-task anyway. we do all the things we're trying to do at the same time in a mediocre way and save no time whatsoever. so put that fact in your back pocket for the next time someone wonders why you're so focused and plodding!)

thank you, becky for giving me the gift of knitting! it is a most enduring present and has helped me in ways i cannot describe.