Wednesday, May 30, 2007


simplicity pattern #1949, most likely from 1957.
those faces melt my heart.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

what a weekend...w.a.w.

long weekends are always delicious, but this one seemed even more fabulous. i love it when the weather is not too hot (i don't really like a.c.) and you can sleep with a sheet covering you up with the fan blowing lilting night breezes over you. it makes me drift right off to dreamland.

so let's see, here's the rundown:

a little road trip and three hours of uninterrupted knitting time. i was able to finish up the yoke/sleeves of this. the next time i undertake a sweater project using dk weight yarn, in stockingnette stitch, however lovely and soft the fiber, please punch me in my arm and remind me of how neverending knit one row, purl one row can seem. i've cast on the 224 stitches for the bottom and calculated that i have nearly 20,000 stitches to go before i can even sew in the ends, block and seam it up. but it will be fabulous when it's finished. i promise to blog about it in 2009.

on the way home from the mini road trip, we visited a few antique stores/malls. we had amazing luck. i don't know about the rest of you that antique/thrift, but it seems like my luck comes in waves. perhaps it's that i look in a different way on those days. whatever it is, i am glad when luck visits me.

on saturday night we went to the roller derby. yes, you read that correctly...the ROLLER DERBY. it was a blast. for a brief moment, i thought i could be a roller girl, but, to be honest, i am just not that tough. this is a real game/sport and these women are playing for keeps. it does have a touch of the bizarre to it. the team members have crazy pun-ny names. so kelly and i cracked each other up coming up with all of the possibilities for my roller derby names. ran into my cousin, an acquaintance and the friend who introduced us. when worlds collide it's a wonderful thing.

took a class on sunday with the fun, funny, funky and fresh donna downey. what a great gal she is...and my classmates were great too. thanks to bev for sharing her tools with me!

on sunday there was more thrift store love and then i watched this movie and now am coveting this soundtrack. and the music that plays over the you by free is my newest, favoritest song ever.

i missed pat benatar playing here, but the forecast for rain scared me off. but i did go downtown for this and the good luck continued. had a delicious linner (lunch + dinner = linner) here with a fab dessert of their famous sticky toffee pudding. "what's my favorite food? easy! sticky toffee pudding -- sincerely." (double points if you know what movie that quote is [sort of] from...kelly you don't get to play along.)

so that was it...very little housework. not nearly enough prep for the upcoming garage sale, but much relaxing.

tomorrow, a new twist on an old favorite...mixing it up on way back wednesday. see you then...i promise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

well, of course...

we've lived in our house for 17 years. right after we moved in i got a book of advice and how-tos for first time homeowners from the library. i don't remember much about this book other than this: anything that you want to do your home needs to be done in the first two years after you move in or you will never do it. how true.

when we first moved in, we had a newborn and a strict budget. that combination of circumstances meant that after we paid to have the hardwood floors refinished and painted the interior, our time and money were gone. thank goodness we knew lots of people willing to be paid for their manual labor in pizza and beer.

since those first salad days, we have done a fair number of updates to the house, mostly interior things, but recently, i've been busy in the yard. in the past i haven't done too much. this was in no small part due to the fact that my neighbor has a very ugly back yard, strewn with cast off, broken down little tykes goods (her daughters are into double digit ages now, far past the developmental stage for plastic play houses), rusty swing sets, a giant trampoline, two run down homemade dog houses, three broken barbecue pits, a deteriorating picnic table, countless trash cans and innumerable bicycles. she also seems to think that taking out one's trash, cleaning up after one's dogs or mowing one's lawn are tasks that only need be performed quarterly. so, beautifying my yard felt a bit like an exercise in futility.

something in me has snapped, though, and i am dedicating much of my time to creating a living environment (inside and surrounding my home) that reflects who and what i am.

there have been many discussions of late in the queen's household about change and what that change may signify. remember? hair length...tatooes and the like? so the hair has been shortened (i'm heading to short hair by degrees) and i've decided on a tatoo, but am waiting for a particularly significant anniversary to mark my body (more on that later). and, of course, all of that thinking lead to even more thinking.

i started to ponder what holds me back from doing the things i so often wish i was doing or hope for. often, in more ways than one, i was holding other people responsible for my contentment. "if only so and so didn't feel "X-way" then i could do {fill in the blank}. but you know what? that's just not fair.

if i love roses and forsythia and hydrangeas and azaleas and peonies, and i want to be able to cut them for a bouquet in my dining room, then it's up to me to plant then, water them, tend to them and arrange them. i refuse to wait until my neighbor cleans up her act, because that will mean that i may die before getting a garden that i love.

if i want the basement cleared out of my junk (yea, hi, there, kelly, you can use this entry against me sometime in the future when i say that it isn't ALL my junk...i know it is), then that's on me. same with cleaning the basement floor and painting it...if i'm the only one in the family that it bothers, then it's my job to do something about it.

ditto for painting the bathroom, reorganizing the hallway linen closet, culling my closet for out-of-date clothes. i have to take care of me and my stuff. that's not anyone else's responsibility.

because, here's the harsh reality about this "aha" moment...i am the only one ultimately on the hook for my own happiness. wishing that someone else could read my mind or figure out what it is that i desire just breeds resentment. i can make myself happy and if a trellis covered with trumpet vine makes me smile then i need to get my hands dirty and plant one.

Monday, May 07, 2007

wandering, part 2...

i mentioned that i might have an issue with concentration. it really takes me a while to quiet the constant chatter that is going on in my brain at any given moment and focus in on what needs my undivided attention.

so to sit through (and not fall asleep) an almost three hour documentary about french monks who toil daily in complete silence, well, it was a challenge. the viewing was almost like meditation. the opening scene is a tight profile of a monk's head, resting on his clasped hands...he is deep in prayer. the scene went on, uninterrupted, un-cut for nearly three minutes. every sound in the theatre was magnified. the scuttle of hands in popcorn bags, the crunching of the popcorn, coughing, sniffing, shoe shuffling. apparently it took all of the patrons to settle into the silence.

scene after languishing flickering candle, raindrops in ponds, grass blowing in the breeze, lyrics of latin chants, snow falling onto the camera lens, celery stalks lying on the butcher block waiting to be chopped, boxes of ivory buttons.

when i had seen the preview for this movie, i had thought there would be a narrator -- a voice to explain the mysterious life these men had chosen for themselves, but no. complete silence, save for perhaps 50 words spoken in french on the monk's one day they are allowed to speak -- sunday.

their heads were so often bowed in prayer, it was unimaginable to me. i am not a religious person, but just the thought of immersing myself in deep thought (on any topic) for hours upon hours seemed like a insidious form of torture. however, witnessing this cloistered life in such poetic, voyeuristic detail was amazing.

i felt a sense of calm when i left the theatre. others, who shall remain unnamed, felt refreshed--as though they had taken a 3 hour nap.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

what if...

i love the look of, seriously, i do. at the bookstore last night i saw a man with a spiderweb tattoo that spread out across his elbow. i thought it elegant. i also adore the "sleeves" of tattoos. to me they demonstrate such dedication to the beauty of the art form and often they tell a story about the person. what an imaginative use of one's own body to express themselves.

the waiter at the restaurant i ate lunch at had his eyebrow and his lower lip pierced...perhaps not my cup of tea, but it was definitely an interesting look -- a look that made a statement.

i've had long hair for at least the last ten years. i wear it long because i'm a wash and go kinda gal -- short hair needs a lot of attention, trimming and maintenance for it to look good all the time. but also i keep my hair long because kelly likes it long.

kelly doesn't like tattoos...or piercings. i respect all of those preferences, the same way he respects my preferences for no perms on men, tighty whities, speedos or hair pieces. it's a simplistic understanding.

but i do wonder how i would look, what i would choose to say to the world, if i had never met kelly.

i know i would have least one, probably more. the first one i would get would be wings on my back, big wingspan with feathers trickling down to the waistband of my blue jeans.

somewhere i would get a tattoo of a bird. one of my grandfathers had a blue bird on his upper arm. he got it sometime in the 1920's i suppose, before tattoos were fashionable and i'm sure there was a bit of a stigma attached to it. his tattoo went completely against my childhood image of him -- eating ice cream, making tomato soup with ham sandwiches and playing pinochle and yahtzee...yes, there would definitely be a bird...or two.

i would get my nose of those tee-niny little diamond studs on the side. i love those.

and, i've said this for ages, but if i could, i would shave my head...maybe not down to the skin, but for sure less than an inch long. i shaved my head in college and it was liberating...that was before i wore makeup everyday or shaved my legs or wore dresses because i wanted to. i mean, come on, i was a women's studies major. i did it then because it was what i thought i was supposed to do. now i would do it because i want to. and that's more to the point anyway, right?

so all that thinking about how i would look lead me to think about how i might act differently, what i would have ended up being.

i know i would probably drink a lot more. maybe smoke (i know, i know. but when i did smoke, i really liked it). i'm smarter now than i was back then, so maybe not smoking. but definitely, yes, i would drink more.

i'm an impulsive person, impatient and into instant gratification. kelly is the tortoise in the race. he rarely, if ever, makes decisions he later regrets. mostly because he considers every angle of a situation and then does the analysis again to make sure he hasn't missed anything. something i admire greatly. i am a point and shoot quick-draw decider. in the long run, we balance each other out, but if left to my own devices, i know i would have moved a million times, regretted many things, but made so many other decisions in the meantime, that most of the missteps would have been forgotten and lost in my considerable wake.

i don't know if i would have had children. kelly is the only person i could ever imagine parenting with, because we are of such a like mind. i knew instantly that kelly would be a great father, even before he knew it himself and that is part of what drew me to him. so, no, i don't think i would have had children.

kelly makes me happier than i ever imagined i could be, or ever thought i deserved to be. much of my now well-adjusted-ness is due in no small part to kelly's persistence in helping me see what good dwelled inside of me and bringing that goodness out. so, although, if i had never met kelly, my outward appearance would be different, inside i would be sadder...definitely lonelier...more meandering and hapless.

so i'll forego the tats, and piercings and deal with a long head of hair to be more content and settled. i think it's a good trade-off.