We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Very Harry Day

"There comes a time when you must decide between doing what is right and what is easy." Albus Dumbledore, film version "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

The time is today. Had some unfortunate news yesterday at Knitty Yoda's. I brought my HP scarf to show off and when she unrolled it, a pained expression crossed her face. "Have you," she asked in the nicest possible voice, "Carried the yarn in a different hand while you've been knitting this?"
"Yes!" I said, amazed, thinking: She really has the powers of Yoda.
"Was it right about here?" She placed her finger on the last red block I did.
"Yes!" I said, waiting for her to say "And was your card the three of spades?" and flourish a live rabbit in the air, or whatever magician's do.
There was no live rabbit. Knitty Yoda nodded, thoughtfully, and said, "When knit with the yarn in your left hand the scarf gets wider."
Er... pardon? I looked to where she pointed and suddenly saw the glaring difference between the majority of the scarf, knit with yarn in my right hand, and the small portion of the scarf, knit with yarn in the left (and also knit much faster.) Bit back my knitter's tears while Knitty Yoda pat my shoulder and said "It's OK, it's going to be OK" very much like a red-headed, five-months pregnant version of George Clooney from the early "ER" years.

My options now are:
1. Return to knitting with the right hand and live with one oversized block of red. Problem 1: Knitting with the right hand, on this kind of project, actually is a lot slower than knitting with the left. Problem 2: I would always know that stripe was all out of shape even if no one else ever noticed.

2. Rip out the last block of the scarf to the row where I started knitting with my left hand and start knitting with my right hand from that point. Problem 1: See: Option 1, Problem 1 referenced above. Problem 2: I'm terrible at frogging ( I can't believe I'm admitting this, is like being an NBA basketball player saying "I'm no good at stretching.") I have a hard time picking up all my stitches if I straight out frog it and if I actually were to undo each stitch, via reverse knitting, I would go mad from the time it took.

3. Oh how this kills me to say: Frog the whole scarf. That's right, rip the whole 7 stripes, 22 rows a stripe, 90 stitches a row, scarf out and start over from the beginning. Benefit: I could knit the entire thing left-handed and know it was all done properly. Problem: I might lose the will to go on. This was Knitty Yoda's decision- she made the exact same mistake on the exact same scarf (only hers was a Ravenclaw, her house of choice) and she pulled the whole thing out. Because that is the meticulous kind of Yoda she is.

I am trying to be mature about this. My normal philosophy is "If this is the worse thing happening in my life right now, than I'm doing pretty well" and on most subjects (broken dishwashers, squabbling dogs, debilitating flu) I can remind myself of that and move on cheerfully. This scarf, though, this scarf really hit where it hurts. It's SGS (Smug Girl Syndrome) all over again. I'm all the time calling the HP scarf my easy knit, nice to have on my needles, to pick up and put down at any time, no worries. Well Pride Goeth Before the Frogging and that, my friends, is my trouble.

For now I'm going to put the scarf aside. I'm going to breathe deeply and remember that the lovely thing about knitting is nothing is done that cannot be undone in time (feel I'm plagarizing the words of some old poet here, and fitting them to my own needs, but don't know who- sorry about that). I'll work on my Christmas gifts and ask myself that old standby "WWJKD" (What Would JK Do?) until an answer presents itself.

Because (spoken in the voice of Morgan Freeman, slowly, thoughfully) in this game we call knitting, it's not just the finished product that counts... it's all the stitches along the way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


"They had lived through a world with such changes as we have never seen and they had remained themselves." Ruth Harkness on pandas

A few notes:

I actually have been knitting, though I've not mentioned it much. I broke ground on Christmas gift knitting last week, but I won't be showing any of it. Not a bit, not before Dec 26. I realize I could post finished items and there's only a teeny, tiny chance someone might look at it and say "Why that's exactly what I asked Neighbor for!" or "I'm the only person I know who would wear that color!" Teeny-weeny-tiny chance. Still. I'm not taking any. I'm a terrible secret-keeper and at the first phone call or email I'd give.
Innocent caller: "Hey Neighbor it's me, just wanted to see how you are"-
Me: "Yes, that scarf is yours, alright! Are you happy now? For heaven's sake, stop pressuring me!"
Or something like that.

Also, I still recall clearly, only a few years ago, ordering a book for Pops Knitter (Buster's Diaries) for Christmas. The book was out of print (it no longer is and it's up there on my list of great doggie tales) so I ordered it through a seller on Amazon. I ordered it December 5th and my receipt email told me the book would come from Alaska and arrive no later than New Year's Eve. Which I found awfully confusing as I ORDERED IT DEC 5th. I mentioned this to my dear spouse in a very heated voice, and he replied, mildly, "What, is it coming by way of Iditarod?" Even as I type those words I can't help laughing. So of course I told Pops Knitter this story. To which he inquired, innocently, "Oh and what did you order?" and I said something along the lines of, "Oh, nothing- not much- just a- a little- er- nothing, alright?" Like a Southern Baptist preacher caught with a hip flask- I can't explain myself.
However, so you're not entirely yarn deprived, here are a couple of shots. The first: My HP Scarf

The second: My Yarn Stash

Ya'll it's taking over the planet. Something must be done. At first it was just my blue-and-white flower bag that held all my knitting goods. Then my bn'w bag and a couple of pink bags, touting the logo of my LYS. Now there's my bn'w bag, carrier bags from three different yarn stores, the big blue tote (embroidered, beautifully, I might add with my initials- a gift from Mum Knitter), and a stack of pattern books. Something must be done.

Other news: I'm reading a fantastic book, The Lady and the Panda about the first person, Ruth Harkness, to capture a live panda and bring him to a zoo (though I'll say now, for anyone who might have a "thing" against zoos, I'm almost positive, she returned the panda back to the wild- I'll keep you posted- ha!- "posted"- geddit?).

I lurv pandas- they are my favorite animal, outside of dogs, and for a long time I nursed the idea of keeping one in the backyard (remember the lunatic part of the last post- Still True!). I don't think that's ever going to pan out, but I have seen pandas, in person, at the Atlanta Zoo, and I hope to make it to Washington D.C. while the pandas are still there and San Diego, if they still have them. They do, don't they?

Anyway, I'm a panda fanatic, and you can blame Mum Knitter who bought me the most beautiful panda stuffed animal when I was eight for, ironically, Christmas, and who I cleverly named Panda, and who I still have, on my bed right now, but who has a rather massive hole in him that Mum's already sewn up once but has split back open (That sentence was almost Faulknerian it was so long, the only difference being at no point did it make a single observation that might, in any way, benefit the reader.). He seems too fragile to sew closed again (he's old; I don't know if he'd make it through another surgery) so I'm hoping to find a tiny sweater pattern I could knit for him to wear, to keep all his stuffing inside... Just noticed, I've really lost the thread this time. Hmm. Ah. Point is, the book (Lady and the Panda, remember?) is highly entertaining and I'll post on it when I finish.

Anything else... Yes! One last bit of housecleaning to mention. I no longer like Hubelicious. Not the man, mind you, the name. It doesn't work for me at all and I feel my spelling of said name was abhorrent. (I remember when CNN ran a line that read "Beyonce no longer cares for the term 'bootilicous'." Honey, I know exactly how you feel.) I've played around with a few different titles. I could use his real name, but that, to me, would be dull and I still cling to my FBI-esque "the less you know, the better for you" attitude.

I've considered Mr. Knitter in the tradition of great bloggers PeaSoup and LazyCow who call their husbands, respectively, Mr. Soup and Mr. Cow. But they're both a little older, with children, and Australian, so they, I feel, can pull off the Jane Austen attitude. I'd just be a phony.

Darling spouse said Hubster is fine with him, but I feel that doesn't quite express his greatness, after the Birthday Trip Heard 'Round the World, but playing on that theme, I've finally hit on one that works. Ahem (again, drum roll, please) the Spouse formerly known as Hubelicious will now be called... Hubba-Hubster. Ta-done!

And in honor of the change here are a few more shots by Hubba-Hubster entitled, by me, his Cool Assistant: Vacation Installation, Part Three. The first shot is my favorite.

Monday, August 28, 2006

On the Road Again, Just Can't Wait to Get on the Road Again...

"Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet." African Proverb

This will be, I swear, the last post on birthdays. I realize anyone out there who might happen to read this and doesn't know me will soon decide I am a materialistic lunatic. Not that they would be wrong, but its a bit harsh to judge someone you've never actually met. However, Hubster has clearly outdone himself and I want to thank those who bothered to comment (why aren't more of you commenting?! Why?! I see, from my Site-Meter, you're out there! Why DON'T YOU SAY SOMETHING?!!- Um, excuse me. Sorry about that. Don't mind her, she's a materialistic lunatic, remember? Hmm.) on Hubster's great deeds. Because of said weekend, he has officially received an upgrade from Hubster to (drum roll)... Hubelicious. Because if we can't take made-up words created by Beyonce and warp them to fit the English language than what good is a booty-shaking popstar in the first place? For the time, until the word (or the person) annoys me or it just becomes too difficult to type (did we mention, besides materialistic and crazy, she's also lazy?) Hubster will henceforth be Hubelicious.

This is more about the beach trip anyway. It finished as brilliantly as it started. The glory of Carolina beaches is too great to say. We went out again Sunday, later in the day, in the non-melanoma inducing time (not quite as romantic as in the gloaming, hmm?) of three-ish and stayed out for a while. The beach was not nearly so busy and crowded more with families than the other sort. There were people everywhere, lounging in chairs, kicking a soccer ball, chasing babies out of the water, chasing babies away from the water, throwing frisbees, and, a few, venturing into the ocean. We went out twice and not for very long.

The waves were not the fun, friendly waves as before. Something in the atmosphere had changed and these waves, well, these waves had attitude. They were big, burly waves. These waves must have been God's bouncers, picking swimmers up by the trunks and heaving them bodily and with full force straight back to the pebbly beach. "And stay out!" They shouted as innocent swimmers, water-clogged, hair matted to the head, knees and elbows scraped and bleeding, heaved themselves to their feet and headed straight back out again. Or so Hubelicious and I did. Several times in fact.

Hubelicious devised A Plan, clinging to the idea we only needed to cross an invisible border where the water would even out and the waves rock us gently in their motherly warmth. The waves did behave with some motherly manners I grant you- the kind of mothers you see smacking their children in super markets, screaming "I'll give you something to $&#*#&@ cry about!" Over and over we tried Hubelicious's plan, wait til the tidal wave knocked you on your tail, come up sputtering for breath, water stinging your eyes, and then run! run! run! across the invisible border. Of course "running" in the ocean is more an imitation of Tom Cruise doing a slow-motion dive, minus the explosion in the background. So while Hubelicious would take off yelling "Go, go, go!" and would successfully gain several yards of water, I would lag behind, sputtering, start laughing at the absurdity of it all, laugh harder in that insane way when you know you shouldn't be laughing and so you want to laugh five times as much, until the next great wave picked me up and slung me to the beach. Hubelicious tried but could not get us to that miraculous point. Truthfully, I don't think it existed. At one point, before, I got flipped upside down, shoved under water, ON TOP OF and OVER Hubelicious, who must have had his face dragged across the ocean floor, I recall asking, "Why are we the only people this far out not on surfboards?"

After that we decided to stay on land and after while, take some pictures. Hubelicious is quite the photographer (I think) and has a very nice camera (a birthday gift, two years ago, from, we shall call her, Wifeilicious) that he uses all the time. Seized with an artistic moment, he insisted on getting a number of shots under the pier, and from the pier. I carried the bags and tried to look like a cool, aloof photographer's assistant, minus the hair plastered to the head and the scrapped elbows and knees and the freckles. You can imagine how successful I was, but Hubelicious did get some fantastic shots.

There's more of the trip to report and I plan to- none of it including birthdays and all of it including fun things like where we ate (how will you sleep from the excitement?) and our visit to the USS North Carolina battleship- don't worry, there's pictures (it could be worse- it could be a slideshow). For now, I'm going to start dinner and gloat over the fact we've only been home a few hours and I've already done all the laundry AND unpacked the bags AND tidied the house AND noticed all the dogs smell vaguely of urine and kennel perfume (that rank sweet baby powder smell- yummy!) and will all need a bath tomorrow. It's been a productive day to say the least.

Ansel took over a dozen pics (we had over a hundred to show from this three-day vacation) and I'll leave you with a few:

At some point I might mention knitting. Otherwise will have to change the blog name to NeighborRambler or NeighborCrazyPersonWhoYellsAtThePeopleBotheringToReadHerBlog. I think its best to stick to knitting.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Freckles Are Baaack

"The cure for anything is salt water- sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

So we've made it to part two of the birthday extravaganza. Not only are we at the beach, not only is the weather gorgeous (hot, no humidity, slight breeze), not only is our hotel great, but... I've already found a yarn store. Yarns of Wilmington is a tiny little house off Wrightsville Ave, with lots of gorgeous yarn. For once I went in with a purpose and came out with two sets of sock yarn (to be posted later) and a sense of great accomplishment. Then we went to the beach. Which wasn't too shabby either.
Actually, the beaches here are fantastic. The water is so clear and that wonderful blue-green color. I won't post any pictures yet, as the shots we've taken during the day are filled with dramatic, fast-talking, big sunglass-wearing 'tweens (my name for late high school- early college kids- old enough to wear practically no clothes, but not old enough to drink or carry on interesting conversation).
At first, the beach was highly family oriented with my favorite kind of people-watching: babies in hats. I Love the babies in hats, on their sausage legs, walking with determination (always with determination) either towards the water or away from the water. Hubster and I went into the water, splashed around for nearly an hour, came back and settled ourselves on our towels. There I was, with my Katie Fforde Restoring Grace, innocently reading, when I look up to discover we're suddenly surrounded with all the 'tweens who didn't make it to MTV Spring Break 2006. They were everywhere- on cell phones, slathering up with baby oil, trying to score beer, and, as expected, wearing practically no clothes. So while I say "check!" to the gorgeous, clear, blue-green water and "check!" to the shell-covered beach and "check!" to the fabulous weather, I definitely think finding more "family-oriented beaches" might be a good decision. More babies with hats.
Until Hubster leaned over and said, eagerly, "this place is great, isn't it? Lots of, you know, people." I kept my sigh to myself. "Check!" to me planning our next beach vacation.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band!

"If I had a boat,
I'd go out on the ocean.
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat.
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony, on my boat." Lyle Lovett

I didn't get the boat or the pony, but I did get Lyle and the ocean. Hubster has out done himself, first with a Lyle Lovett concert in Asheville last night and then a three-night vacation in Wilmington. This is a quick post (ha! me, quick?), with no pics, because we're leaving in a few minutes, but I wanted to update those who were curious about our goings-on.
Had a BLAST in Asheville. Fantastic dinner at a place called The Lobster Trap (where we, in fact, ate lobster), then walked to the concert to see one of my all-time favorite performers and his large band. If you've never been to a Lyle concert, I don't think I can describe the enthusiasm and overall good-feeling in the air. Everyone is just happy to be there, happy to hear him sing, happy to hear the band play, and really happy to hear Lyle talk. He's a funny man. We heard:
"My Baby Don't Tolerate,"
"Cute as a Bug,"
"In My Own Mind" (quickly moving into my top-five Lyle list, particularly in the line where he sings "Bedroom door creakin'/hardwood floor squeakin'/she's standin' in the kitchen/I thought she was still sleepin'/Kiss her on the forehead/Ask her how she slept/ She says 'honey it's so early/ we probably shouldn't speak yet'" Love it.),
"That's Right You're Not From Texas (But Texas Wants You Anyway)", which sends Hubster into fits of Texan pride, and, as always,
"If I Had A Boat" (great moment when some fella in the audience yelled "Play 'If I Had a Boat'!" and Lyle said, in his polite, unassuming way, "Do you mind if we work up to it?").

Hubster counted 14 members of the band and there were four back-up singers (one fabulous black woman and three fabulous black men all in three-piece suits- I cannot describe the amazing sounds these four made). Best moment for me was Lyle and his fiddler, Jeff White, doing "Walk Through the Bottomland"- the tenderness in this song brings me to tears every time.

Made the trip home from Asheville last night. Hubster drove, but doing my valiant best to help, I drank a Red Bull (which always tastes like a combination of pink bubblegum and cherry cough syrup to me- that's right, it's just that darned good) to keep myself up.

Now we're packed and in a few minutes walking out the door to drive to Wilmington. I should have Internet and plan to post while we're gone. Apparently we're staying at the Hilton in downtown, with a view of the river, and only 15 minutes to the beach.

Think, after all this, the Birthday Monster that is me will be satiated. Hubster has done very, very well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

They Say It's Your Birthday... It's My Birthday Too Yeah!

"Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all." Emily Dickinson

Thought we'd start this big day with a quote from my namesake. First a big shout-out to Parental Knitters who, you know, had me. Thanks very much for that. Another shout-out to all the other early Virgos, especially my boy Rupert Grint who was, sadly, born eight years after me and turns eighteen today. Good'on you Ron!
Absolutely no idea what my plans for the b-day are as they are entirely in Hubster's hands. This is driving me a little bit bonkers (see earlier: Virgo). Let's just say I'm a little too "hands on" to be told to go with it and see what happens. This is what I've been staring at for the last four days:

Hence, while Hubster's upstairs showering and whistling and generally driving me crazy, I'm huffing around downstairs, feeding the dogs, resisting the urge to start tearing into presents with my teeth and thinking "woe is me" thoughts. Our Martyr of Burlington.

So the great Hubster has now appeared and I've managed not to attack him and force him to tell all. It appears our show will begin momentarily. So in the words of Max, one of my all-time favorite characters of children's literature, Let the wild rumpus start! Or else heads will roll.

Alright, Max didn't say the last part, but I feel Hubster should be properly warned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This One Goes Out to the Yoda I Know

"The really great ones make you feel that you too can become great." Mark Twain

Excellent day spent with Knitty Yoda and Triple B (her son, who I call among other things, Big Bad Boots, from his preference to wear his mother's Wellies and pretend said boots are pants- it's a much longer explanation but we'll stop there) and got a chunk of Christmas knitting yarn bought. As it's Christmas yarn I don't even risk posting it but it's all fabulous. And by "chunk" I mean only two gifts but two gifts for people I'm nuts about so- yea!
Speaking of gifts... got my birthday gifts from Knitty Yoda! They are as such:

These are Homemade Bath Goodies- oversized tea bags in cotton each with a different herb. They smell amazing and were made with Knitty Yoda's and Triple B's own four hands. Spectacular!
I have mixed feelings on this subject. Torn, you see, between fear if Knitty Yoda keeps on this path she will actually earn the rank of God and then nothing can stop her mixed with the plaintive wail (said in the voice of a whiny eight-year-old) "but I want more Giiiiffftts." For the moment she remains unchecked with her knitting, crocheting, mothering, garden, And sewing. I will be keeping my eye on her though. Right after Christmas.

Otherwise got my own Happy Birthday gift- my sweater to myself! More to the point, sweater yarn. Nothing decadent, but, as the tag says "One hundred percent Peruvian wool" and actually not scratchy. Not Too scratchy. The color is more pumpkin than it looks. Because, clearly, I need more ways, besides my big head and overall shape, too resemble a pumpkin. Oh, and in case I haven't said this, I'm a University of TN graduate, home of the Big Orange Vols.

I don' t care though- call me what you will, Pumpkin, Vol, girl with a weird obsession for Orange- I shall pick up that label and embrace it. If it's good enough for Charlie, Snoopy, Peyton Manning and Pat Head Summit- well then I'm proud to wear it. Over a thousand yards of yarn all for me- Ha!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fair Isle Girl

"My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already." Dave Barry

What a thoroughly lazy weekend! I've been practically catatonic today, alternating between napping, eating, reading (Jane Green, Swapping Lives) and knitting a little. Hubster and I pulled ourselves together to eat lunch at the Blue Ribbon Diner here in town (Hubster insisted on calling it breakfast because we were out in the world on a Sunday morning at the un-Godly hour of 11) and dart into the grocery store for some weekly staples. Then back home, back into the pajamas, and time for a nap. After all that work I was far too exhausted to cook, so we've ordered in pizza. Any muscle tone I have will need to be coaxed back out of hibernation tomorrow.
On the upside, I am now a Fair Isle knitter! And it is good and I am pleased. I went to a class yesterday at my LYS and learned basic Fair Isle on a hat. I was the only student and really showed myself up by having to cast-on three separate times. I normally use a long-tail cast-on, so the first time I ran out of tail, the second time I cast-on using the tail, so I ran out of yarn again and finally, on the third try, got it right and ended up with a huge amount of tail, but didn't care. Far too much talk about tail but there you have it. After my twice bungled cast-on, I knit up three rows and then we got down to it- Fair Isle, two yarns at once, if you can't handle the heat don't play with the big boys, knitting.
And I lurve it. Probably because it was only nine rows of Fair Isle and only two yarns and a simple pattern, but it is, so far, my favorite technique I've learned. AND I learned to feed the yarn from my left hand, a really basic Continental method, and once I finished with the FI pattern I knit this way for the rest of the hat. Wha-hahahaha.
I dropped one stitch- that I remedied-
and otherwise it's all done and looks, I think, respectable. I had several pattern options-snowflakes, hearts, arrows- and I chose shamrocks, and I must say, when I first finished the Fair Isle part, I couldn't distinguish any shamrocks. Just lots of green yarn looped in with some gray yarn. Then, I had the hat laid out on my lap and from a distance I saw them- four leaf clovers! I was actually so excited I yelled and Hubster, sitting two feet away at the computer, jumped and swore he lost a year on his life and I said it wasn't all that loud and he gave me A Look and I gave him A Look right back, then showed him my shamrocks. (It was, truthfully, a ridiculously loud yell for someone who wasn't in imminent danger but I was Just So Excited).

It's not easy to see the green yarn on the gray yarn but, I promise, them there's shamrocks. Again I say, Wha-hahahaha.
Also, I finished my lighthouse pattern dishcloth Sat'd morning before class because I had to get my knit-on (warm-ups, you might say) and it turned out fine, too. The light coming from each side of the lighthouse should probably be symmetrical but I think my way, i.e. a couple flubbed stitches way, gives it more personality.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Flower Power

"I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks." Winston Churchill

So the flower washcloth is finished! And gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Not actually gorgeous because of anything special I did (it is, in fact, a half inch bigger than it is supposed to be, with uneven petals, and more than a little suspect around the corners) but gorgeous because it's a fantastic pattern (I always want to say recipe instead of pattern- is that weird?) and the yarn is the softest thickest cotton chenille.
Not to mention, my Knitty Yoda showed me a little of this "Magic Loop" technique to finish so I didn't have to use my size 6 double-pointed needles. I wasn't entirely averse to the size 6 DPNs except I don't have any and I find DPNs far too fiddly. Impressive, sure, but let's be honest, its not like my novice skills would impress anyone except maybe my parents and they're my parents-they're impressed when I put one foot in front of the other and don't fall down.
Otherwise, we're pretty low-key here at Chez Knitter today. Lots of this:

And it seems to be working, so we're going to stick with this plan for now. Hope everyone out there has a marvelous weekend! And, should anyone need advice on how to relax and kick back feel free to email They'll probably be too busy napping to reply, but you never know.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Run, Forrest, Run!

"A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of." Ogden Nash

How true this is with Barkley. After years of him charging through doors- back doors, car doors, trap doors if he could find one- while Hubster and I writhed in agony from crushed feet, hands slammed against doors, and shoulders nearly pulled from their sockets, we decided Barkley must be taken firmly in hand and made to Stay. Which worked beautifully. As long as he knew one of us had a handful of biscuits. Then he would Stay until the end of time. He would Stay with a dedication and devotion that would bring tears to your eyes. In public people would notice this still, serious dog and "ooh" and "ah" over his training and Hubster and I would exchange the Smile of the Truly Smug. Mind you, without the biscuits, you were on your own, with two broken toes and a Barkley-shaped hole in the door.

He's great at it now. After a brief weaning of sometimes biscuits, sometimes not so much, he Sit's and Stay's until he hears the magic word "OK!" (spoken in a high-pitched voice and with lots of enthusiasm, implying we are as thrilled that he is going outside as he is) and then he hurtles himself out the door, takes the five steps from the deck to the yard in one bound and then he RUNS. RUNNING is Barkley's favorite activity, his passion so strong I must describe it in all capital letters. The only activity so near and dear to Barkley's heart is EATING and on that subject he is equally arduous. All I can say is, it's a good thing he loves RUNNING or else his EATING might lead to a case of MORBID OBESITY.

No yarn stories today. I was gung-ho for a "Knit and Felt a Bag" class tonight that I forgot to sign up for and, because there are people like me flitting around out there, only one person actually signed up and so my LYS cancelled class. Understandable, but heartbreaking nonetheless.

I comforted myself with a skein of Crystal Palace Chenille to make a flower washcloth from a pattern in my Weekend Knits.

I also picked up some pretty yarns, a Berroco Chinchilla and Stylecraft Carousel (anyone? anyone? anyone heard of it?) to do some chemo hats this weekend. Feel if I'm going to indulge myself in such a gluttonous manner I need to be giving back to the community too and quite frankly I love doing these hats and knowing someone will wear them and keep her head warm and maybe feel more stylish and prettier because of it.

And mainly I'm in it for the yarn.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Times They Are A' Changin'

"Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift." Albert Einstein
I think Einstein would have added, were he a knitter, "a whole lot of yarn and some pattern books are pretty swell too." And how he would have sighed over my gifts last week.
Back in Tennessee, I celebrated early birthdays, including my own. On the subject of gifts received, I write this calmly, thoughtfully and in a highly spiritual and evolved state of mind: I Racked Up.
Yarn, straight needles, more yarn, circular needles, money for more yarn, pattern books, a yarn bag, DVD of "Out of Africa" (to watch while knitting), more pattern books- it was genius.

Also, there were great visits with the parentals, time with friends, and fantastic dinners at many of my favorite places, including this one:

Second great news, after gift-getting, was seeing our good friend Big M graduate from Police Academy (the real kind, not the movie kind, circa 1984). The whole experience was fantastic and odd at the same. Odd, first, because the graduation was at the actual Police Academy, which meant Hubster and I walked through a gaggle of police officers to get to the ceremony. Our conversation went about like this:
Me (eyes darting from badge to badge to badge): Have you done anything wrong?
Hubster (clearly overwhelmed by the number of firearms in the hallway): No. You?
Me: No.
Hubster (nodding at the many uniforms): *Bad word.*
Me: What?
Hubster (barely moving his lips): My license plate tags are expired.
Me (smiling at various officers): *Double bad word.*
Hubster: What?
Me: I steal internet.
Hubster: We are going to jail.

Fortunately, Hubster and I both keep a pretty cool head in tense situations and neither of us got cheesed. Which meant Big M was able to thoroughly enjoy his graduation instead of seeing two friends from way back get carted off to the pokey.

Secondly, seeing Big M graduate from police school was fairly mind-boggling. I've known him for 8 or so years, worked at restaurants with him, gone to see awful movies with him, met his girlfriends, avoided his ex-girlfriends, and seen him sprawled on the lawn of the house he and Hubster rented in college, empty beer in hand, swearing if God would only let him out of the hang-over he knew he had coming, he would never, Ever drink again. Now, by law, he can carry a gun, drive a car at high speeds with flashing lights and wear the shiniest black shoes I've ever had the good fortune to come across.

I tried to discuss this with Big M. I asked if maybe they considered giving him something a little simpler than a gun, say, a billy club such as the British coppers at the end of the nineteenth century sported. Big M gave me the look that makes me grateful Hubster Gets Me because others might have me carted off to some place where they do macaroni arts and crafts in the afternoon.

Left alone, to ruminate on the subject of Big M, Man of Law, it struck me, as it does ever so often, in creep-up, horror-film style, that We Are Becoming Adults. Look at the events of the weekend. There's Big M, Police Officer, there's Hubster, fast-promoted manager for one of the world's largest banks, there's Mig and Brindy, as we call them, who brought their eighteen month old son, all the way from Nashville, to see us, there's K already with an offer from a huge Hot-lanta law firm as soon as she graduates next spring, and recent, but dear, friends Nic and Brax, we'll say, getting married in less than a month. Somehow, we all seem, regardless of bizarre circumstances, strange decisions, parents, each other, and getting in our own way, to keep fumbling along that line towards Adulthood and really, I think, we're doing pretty well. Funny, fairly bright, well-mannered (yes, even the males, just go with it), interesting Adults. I wish I might tell you I had Profound and Deep thoughts on this matter when we got home. Really, I can only think of Johnny Carson, in that smooth, dry voice saying, "Wild, wild stuff.".
And I go back to Albert (even without an appreciation for all things yarn) and believe joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now, the Fog Has Goooone

"Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be." Abraham Lincoln

And you know, with all Abe went through, if he can say that, it's hard not to feel the same, isn't it?

Finally, the fog seems to have listed! I'm no longer starting a sentence such as "I really need to get that..." then trailing off and staring blankly into space, before snapping to and wondering, "What was I just saying?" I think the three nights of dead to the world sleep helped tremendously. Who knew vacation could be so exhausting?
I've finished some bang-up books, including John Grogan's Marley and Me and Marian Keyes Sushi for Beginners in the last few days. Reading, so it seems, was the only place I could focus. Excellent books, both of them, though I warn you prepare yourself for hysterical sobbing at the end of Marley. Dripping, snotty, throat-rattling sobbing. Though it might just be me.
On other news, Hubster and I are preparing to be world travelers, leaving for Old Home Week in Tennessee tomorrow. We've got the dual delight of seeing first, our very good friend and one of Hubster's overall favorite people (we'll call him Big M) graduate from the Police Academy and second, we'll be celebrating birthdays. Thrilling, I find, as birthdays are my favorite kind of holiday.
And, I'm finally back in the knitting game. Went by my LYS and picked out- wait for it- more dishcloth yarn! That's right, my love-hate relationship with this particular knit object is back on the upswing. I thank my Mystery Dishcloth group. Once I saw the lighthouse pattern I got ridiculously excited and so had to get a solid color cotton yarn and a new pair of size 7 needles (and size 8 needles, just to be on the safe side). Why the new needles you wonder? Because, I, fumbly-bumbly beginner me, taught my beachmate, A, how to knit while on holiday. And then, as a sign of my largesse, gave her my size 7 Susan Bates and a skein of North Carolina blue and white cotton yarn. Sometimes my generosity shocks even me.
This led to the perfect time to buy some quality (nothing against Susan, mind you) size 7's.
So my trip, while not impressive, looked liked this:

Also, I came home and knit up my favorite dishcloth pattern thus far (it's certainly the easiest I've done besides just plain knitting, but I also happen to think it's the prettiest- we'll see if the lighthouse knocks this pattern from its place of honor). I'll be doing a second one tomorrow.

Realize now, I'm not actually being interesting, only relating my day. I guess I'm just so pleased to have Done Something Unfogged, I can't help it. Will work to be funnier in the future. Honestly.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Forecast: Cloudy

"One secret of life is that the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day." Anne Lamott

Still in a weird foggy place. Managed to knit a few rows on the HP scarf last night but it's not made great advancement yet, hence the lack of pictures. Felt compelled to post when I read that quote from My Book of the Week, Anne Lamott's "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith." It made me laugh out loud when I read it.
As I'm still operating with only half a brain (unfortunately it's the poorly functioning half) there's nothing new to report. My Mystery Dishcloth group just finished a lighthouse pattern that I'm excited to start, once I have the necessary yarn, needles, and all synapses firing properly in place. Hope those with my condition (re: brain cloud) are coming through all right. Until then, for our easy listening part of the program, here are some more shots of lovely water.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

"But the world was my home and I was glad to be in it." William Sayoran

Today's quote is mighty true. After a full seven day trip at the beach, I was glad to be in it there and glad to be returned to it too. What a trip! And one, sadly, that I cannot possibly fully tell having far too much information to catch up in one blog. Don't think I didn't try to write- Monday morning I was out and about with fellow beachmate, A, trying to locate an internet, any internet, on which I could post. After a failed attempt at Starbucks ($9.95 for a day-pass, I ask you), we drove around, her with her laptop open trying to pick up a signal from one of the big hotels. My stealing days, so it seemed, were not over. Unfortunately, they really build those places to keep signal in, or so it seemed, and we were not to log-on that day or any other.
I will say a good time was had by all and any time you can spend seven straight days with three people you've not seen that much of since high school and not do bodily damage to each other than all involved have done well. We did well. And the weather was spectacular and the condo, scruffy yes, but beautifully cheap and with all necessary comforts, sitting, literally, right on the beach, was fantastic.
I have not one clever thing to say though. I'm pretty certain I have a brain cloud ("Joe Versus the Volcano" anyone?) and at the moment it's taking all my will not to go straight to bed. Truly, I would like nothing more than to sit on my couch, under a blanket, and stare at the wall. I am exhausted from vacation. Will try to write more tomorrow, if cloud has lifted (check your local weather forecast) with more details. Otherwise, here are a few shots to remind you of a what a very nice world it is.