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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Good Times in Vegas- Step Three

The third and final step to a Fantastical Time in Vegas?

Get married where the celebrities do.

The final surprise by The Mighty, Mighty Husbands was a wedding. Each of us will be celebrating five years of wedded bliss this year (to our spouses mind you, not to each other, that would be weird and probably illegal). In honor of that fact, The Hubba and The Hajek, in complete secrecy, planned a surprise ceremony to renew our vows. In Vegas. At Chapel of the Bells. Where Kelly Ripa got married.

For once, I'm left without words.

So, on the last part of our Vegas Wild Ride

say "hello!" to the best man in the world,

(The Hubba and I at Chapel of the Bells)

enjoy a little limo time with the adorable couple,

(The Hajeks after their *second* wedding).

and finish with a grand dinner in Paris.

Thanks for coming along on the blog-by-blog Bryant to Hajek Connection!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good Times in Vegas- Step Two

Step Two to a Fantastical Time in Vegas?

Live like a celebrity (even if you can't behave like one).

For instance, have a limo, secretly arranged by two fabulous, extra-sneaky husbands, pick you up from the hotel.

Perhaps, though, it is best to travel with someone other than myself, who might have a tendency to say things like "I've never been in a limo before!" and "what do all these buttons do?" (as spiritual rock blares into the car) and "I bet everyone thinks we're famous-hahahaha-snort" (cue hand clapped to mouth moment).

At said hotel,

don't be shy. The Hajeks walk straight up to the hotel clerk, tell him their names and ask, cheerfully, "So what kind of upgrades can we get?" Seriously. I could never do this. Ever. I'm nearly in floods over just asking for a room. "A room? Well, I mean, yes I booked one, but, you know, I'm not stuck on it or anything. Just any old room will do. Broom closet? Why not?! I don't have enough chances to sleep standing up!" Not Dave and Renee. After only a few minutes we had all been bumped up (for a nominal fee) to a suite. They are the adults I want to be when I grow up.

It was shocking. Sure the decor was total Vegas, but the size of the place! The fact we weren't tripping over suitcases in an attempt to walk from the bed to the bathroom was shocking. I left without a single toe-rammed-into-bedframe induced injury.

Speaking of bathrooms

Ours had light sensors. Again, I say, seriously. The "why" I cannot explain, but when you walked within about two feet of the open-floor bathroom lights came on! Which was cool at first. And a bit tricky when those of us with small bladders had to pee at three in the morning and those of us with hibernating bear like tendencies jerked awake, growling, "What? WHAT?"

Not to mention

the bidet.

The Hubba was unconvinced.

Yet even while surrounded by these nifty treats and amenities, I'll show you the reason The Hubba and I are not, now or ever, surrounded by paparrazi.

The extended-arm camera shot. Can you say CHEESE?

Stay tuned for the final Step to Vegas- The Bryant to Hajek Connection! Livin' like Paris, Britney, and Lindsay, but with underwear!

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Good Times in Vegas- Step One

Step One to A Fantastical Trip to Vegas?

Hang with celebrities.

I'll start by saying I've never met anyone mega famous. Really. Especially not of movie or rock star caliber. And I've always asked myself the question "Will I be cool when I meet a celebrity?" The answer it seems is no, no I will not.

Now. Does anyone remember the specific reason we went to Las Vegas? For a little group called Dave Matthews Band. Uh-huh. Well. We met someone famous. Someone SO famous. Someone who might- oh God, how can this be true?- mean jack to you, but... well...

That girl there with the weirdly smushed face? That's me. That cute fella in the green shirt? That's The Hubba. That six foot four Sex God in the middle? That's Boyd Tinsley.

BOYD TINSLEY Y'ALL. As in Boyd Tinsley on the violin. As in Boyd Tinsley OF the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND.

We met him . The Bryants (that's us ) and the Hajeks (below)- we met him.

WE MET HIM. IT was AWESOME. I can't quite describe it. We were in Bally's (our hotel) in front of the Bally's Spa (whole 'nother day's post) and Renee looks over and says, face frozen "OhmyGodthat'sBoydTinsley."

At which point, all four of us calmly walked over, introduced ourselves, shook hands, and said intelligent, witty things about the band in general and Boyd specifically.

That's such a lie. We went crazy. Matt and Dave had big stupid grins, Renee's eyes were as big as her face, and I, I'm sad to say, might have jumped up and down and clapped my hands.

But y'all, this is Boyd Tinsley. The man who rocks it out on the violin with DMB. He's AMAZING. And gorgoeous and, it turns out, the nicest person ever. As foolishly as we behaved, he just smiled and spoke nicely and shook our hands and when Renee asked if we could get picutres he said "yes." HE SAID YES. Did you see them? Did you see the pictures?

And for the rest of the weekend we were insufferable. Such as a the concert that night every time Boyd stepped up to jam it out we shouted a variety of things like "Hey Boyd, we're over here!" and "He's just playing to impress us!" and "That's Boyd- my brother from another mother!"

It was- just- it was- wow. We were all shocked and thrilled and mushy brained after. And Boyd, calm as could be, thanked us, told us to enjoy the night's show, and walked into Bally's work-out facility and got on the treadmill.

It took all the power we had not press our faces to the glass and stare.

Also, if anyone wants to play a little quiz, I ask you:

Who said the dumbest thing to Boyd?
A. Dave Hajek "We've seen you in concert 67 times" ?
B. Renee Hajek "We've traveled all over the country to see you more than 60 times"?
(to both these statements he said "really?" and smiled nicely)
C. Matthew Bryant, aka The Hubba, "You were really good last night"?
(to which Boyd said "thanks" and smiled nicely)
D. Em Bryant, aka neighborknitter, aka me "You look even taller on stage"?
(he laughed)
Bonus point if you pick "E- all of the above"

Look out for Step Two tomorrow....

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Socks on a Plane

Put your sunglasses on, because you ain't going home till the morning comes. Frank Sinatra

You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on. Dean Martin

I gotta be me. Sammy Davis Jr

I like to play blackjack. I'm not addicted to gambling, I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle. Mitch Hedberg

I wanted to set a mood for the day, but there is a shocking lack of quotes about gambling or Las Vegas. The quotes I could find were grim morality tales about the dangers of betting and the shallow insidiouness of Vegas- Hello Buzz Kill! So I picked the Rat Pack because they are (even dead) Vegas and that last quote because that is me. 21! Hit me!

The Hubba and I have already observed a few pre-Vegas traditions. We watched Ocean's Eleven (the new yummy George Clooney version) last night, we had drinks with dinner and we played poker, with The Hubba offering good tips about "the big blind" "the small blind" and "Em, stop saying 'whoo-hoo!' when you get a good hand." I am prepared.

The only place I'm not prepared is the question of my knitting. I meant to throw out the universal knitter's query (second only to "should I frog it?") "can I take my knitting needles on a plane?" I meant to ask, I meant to call the airline, I meant to have a backup plan if I couldn't. Instead I've decided, to hell with it, better to ask forgivness than permission and just try to get the needles on there. You can bet I'll be pulled aside for a good search, being five three, reddish-blondish, mid-twenties and foolishly grin-y. I already scream "threat!" so I'm expecting security sees my size 0 double-pointeds and I'm getting hauled off for questioning. Unfortunately I'm down to the wire on finishing my Sockret Pal's socks in time to get out her last package before the end of March so it's a chance I'll have to take.

There might be blogging from Vegas. The Hubba, who refuses to carry the camera (three guesses on who he expects will carry it), is convinced we're going to take so many pictures we'll need the laptop to upload shots and free up memory on the camera. If the laptop does make it on board, then expect blogging.

I'm. So. Excited. The bummer about late flights- the whole day in front of us! Oh well...

Viva Las Vegas!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Well, I think it's time to tell you

in less than four days The Hubba and I, along with our great friends Dave and Renee, will be winging our way to sunny Las Vegas. For what you ask? Good times, good food, good company.

Oh, and two nights of Dave Matthews Band. HOORAY!

Friday and Saturday night in Vegas just me, Matty, Dave, Renee, 12,000 screaming fans and the band.

I can hardly focus on my knitting for my excitement so I had to go ahead and share. Especially as the tickets came today.


Speaking of great things in today's mail, a big thanks to my Sockret Pal whose package arrived today.

(Perhaps I got a tad excited about my gifts and unwrapped the chocolate before I remembered to take pictures.)

Besides the chocolate, there's an adorable sock-shaped change purse, two types of row counters (one shaped like a frog- Miz Knotty, you'll love it!), two balls of Sevilla ribbon yarn, a hank of outrageous Jitterbug sock yarn in bright and brilliant pink, purple and blue - love it!

And, of course, a fantastic pair of handmade socks.

Which I'll be wearing tomorrow.

Thank you Devorah!

What a great day.

I'll add to all this exciting news, I realize I've not posted a lot lately and, I'll tell you, I've been so busy writing on my book, I've not felt that extra bit of blogger energy. Have I mentioned this before? If not, I'll say, I'm writing a book. It's a bit of a *thing* for me, saying it online. Remember the kid in school who wrapped his arm around half his desk so you couldn't see his work? That's how I've felt about this project. However, lately, it's been brought to my attention it's problematic to want to have a published book and at the same time not want a single person to read it. Something to do with contradiction and mixed energy, I've been told ;-).

Point is, I'm back in the book (it's been laid down off and on for the last year and a half) and it's going swimmingly and I'm finally taking a breath to remember how much I love posting here too! And I really appreciate anyone (coughDadcough) who's kept checking back every day even when all signs pointed to the fact I might never blog again.

I'm back. And I'm going to Vegas. And I've got a pair of handmade socks just for me! And, I swear, what happens in Vegas will be on this blog...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fantastic Beginning

What an amazing start to the week! I opened my email this morning to find the nicest letter from Jo, a participant in the HP KAL. She's had trouble with Blogger (the list grows) but that's not diminished her Harry spirit! Not only is she still following the blog with comments and participating as a House Ghost, she's also sent me lovely ideas for prizes and offered to contribute to it. Isn't that kind?

But it doesn't stop there! My next email was from my new Secret Pal from the Secret Pal 10 Swap. I can already tell she's going to be such a fun pal! And here is what she is looking for from me:

Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love working with wool (then, now, and forever), cotton, then blends, then acrylic. I'm not against acrylic, I'm just not lovin' it like the others.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
The pockets of my knitting bag :-( , I must get one of those nifty cases!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I learned in April of '06 and, as I've knit almost everyday since then, I'd call myself an advanced beginner. Great at socks, still nervous about sweaters type knitter.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but might make one so will update this answer if I do ;-)

5. What's your favorite scent?
Light clean smells. To give you an idea, (trust me, I know it's odd) I love the smell of "Spring Scented" dryer sheets.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Anything with chocolate, and preferably with nuts too. Snickers, Almond Joy, Nestle Crunch, Reese's Peanut Butter cups, Reese's Pieces, Hershey with Almonds and I've never tried one but have always been intrigued by the Toblerone.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Knitting is pretty much it. I do love to cook and bake. I don't spin, but I plan to try dyeing (yarn as opposed to the other kind) this spring.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Dave Matthews Band then, now, and forever. Tori Amos, Barenaked Ladies, Coldplay and I just got a Damien Rice CD (O) of which I am awfully fond. Yes to MP3s!

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Blue, to paraphrase Julia, is my signature color. I love pinks, reds, and greens, I'm fond of yellow around me (but can't wear it too well).

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Married to the phenomenon known as The Hubba four and a half years. I have four (nope, that wasn't a stutter) mixed-breed dogs, Howie, Wally, Barkley, and Georgie.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, hats, mittens, yes. Ponchos, no. Nothing against the poncho, mind, it's just not a good look for me.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Right now socks. I'm trying my first sweater (for said husband). I'm looking to branch out (from socks) and recently tried felting a bag (the French Market Bag from Knitty) for the first time.

13. What are you knitting right now?
A pair of socks (I'm trying to branch out; these things take time), a sweater and I hope to try a lace stole soon.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes please!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love circs, especially Addis (who doesn't?) and I have a set of Denise needles which are terribly handy. For straight needles and DPNs I like bamboo.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
My Harry Potter scarf, started back in June or July '06. I set a deadline of "in time for the movie" which, if you didn't know (and how could you not?) comes out in July 07. I'm not comfortable with unfinished projects (Virgo, you see) so I do well to have no more than three projects going at a time.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I love the beach. Love it, love it, love it. And here in middle North Carolina we are centrally located to some of the eastern seaboard's best beaches. Hooray!
Well, don't I feel silly. I thought holiday such as "where to go for vacation" but reading my to-gift Pal's blog, I think I might have misinterpreted. Hmm... Holiday... Christmas. That was easy.
And I still love the beach.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Not really (see: Virgo, see: no more than three projects, re: can't stand the clutter). Books might be the only items I collect and I don't look for anything special, that's just being an avid reader (and my books, at the moment, are still in the garage, in boxes, from our move- ask me how crazy that makes me).

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I'd love to have Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. The only EZ book I have is Knitting without Tears so any of her work would be fab. No magazine subscriptions.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Magic Loop. I've done a pair of socks toe-up that way and it was such a muddle I'd like to try again with something simpler.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
YES! (Sorry, was that loud?) Size: 7 to 7 1/2 shoe (U.S.); foot length: 8 inches; toes: ten.

23. When is your birthday?
August 24, 1980. Two days off from being a playful, easy-going Leo *sigh*.

Hope that helps Pal! If you want more info, lemme know; I'm all about details.

Two people, first thing in the morning, being so generous. Doesn't that just brighten your day? I was smiling all the way to the yarn store.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Socks, Trucks, and Whatnot

"My God, that's all the way to Tennessee. She's gone all the way to Tennessee in a truck!" Norma Warren, Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, Fannie Flagg

Alright, it's not a truck, but it is a big SUV and I'm definitely on my way home this weekend. Hooray!

With that in mind (and a countdown to five pm, when I leave work and head home- hooray!) I distract you with a few pictures.

Remember the hank of blue-green yarn destined to be socks for my Sockret Pal? Here's a little swatch.

It's awesome! It makes me think of Nikes, I can't say why. But it's just awesome. And much, much too manly for my Pal. Instead The Hubba will be getting a pair of cool sneakers-inspired socks when time allows and in the meantime I picked up the Cascade Fixation Broadripple calls for and I give you le cuff:

Not too shabby, eh?

In non-knitting news, may I say, Bravo Dave! If you missed it, well... I did what I could.

And that's all I've got for now. Hope everyone on the road today is going to Tennessee too! If not, I'd definitely recommend a detour- it's worth it. And, only because it's no longer football season and because I beat this joke to death last fall, I won't give you any Rocky Top.

I'm just kidding.

ROCKY TOOOOP you'll always be
home sweet home to MEEEE-EEE!
Good old Rocky Top- WHOO!
Rocky Top Tennessee,
Rocky Top Tennesseeeee.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Breaking News

Tonight, 3/06/07, on FOX, Dave meets House.

I know, I can't stand it.

To keep our minds off this thrilling news (only ten hours, thirty minutes, and, approximately, 42 seconds away), here's a few yarn updates.

Parisa asked what I have "on the needles" and, I admit, knitting slowed down around here once I'd finished my Sweetarts socks. However, today I will be casting on this yarn (more of Brooke's lovelies)for my Sockret Pal's socks. I'm thinking I'll do the Broadripple pattern from Knitty.

Also, I have (hesitantly) started a- wait for it- sweater for The Hubba.


Admittedly, there's still work to do. It's a top-down, no-seaming pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple and, well, it's weird. Even though the directions say, right off the bat "The first couple of rows may be confusing... it will make sense as you knit further along."

Here's the problem; I don't know if I believe them. I don't know that it will make sense because it feels screwy right now. What Knitting P&S should do (I've decided) is have, similar to a PSA, an announcement where, after they give their spiel about "it will make sense as you knit..." Jack Bauer pops up (I've not quite worked out the schematics on this one, but it would be cool) and says, "You're going to have to trust me." Can't you just imagine that? Kiefer Sutherland in that half-sexy, half-terrifying voice assuring you the sweater pattern will work, as long as you trust him? Women across America would be picking up the needles, Knitting P&S would be the hottest selling patterns around. I think we could have something here.

Until then we'll just have to wait for House. Only ten hours, fourteen minutes and, approximately, thirty-two seconds to go...

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Great Things Come in Small Packages

Can you believe all this

came out of this box?

It's a Sockret Pal miracle!

I have an Angel Pal who swept in when other Pals were detained and sent me the loveliest box of goodies. We have a wool and silk hand-spun (the flecked brown) and hand-spun, hand-painted wool by Old Orchard Yarns (that yummy blue)

and, from The Natural Dye Studio, the softest pink and white sock yarn you've ever had the good fortune to lay eyes on

and that gorgeous colorful hank of yarn hand-dyed by my Pal and a baggie of bath goodies (from Prairie Land Herbs) that smell incredible and that I've still got wrapped up in the packaging because I'm that kind of person.

What generosity! What kindness of spirit! What a lot of stuff for me- HAHAHAHAHA!

Now I know exactly how Blanche must have felt (minus the drinking problem and promiscuity) when she said, "I've always relied on the kindness of strangers."

Thank you Angel Pal (identity unknown- unless she chooses to admit to her alter-ego?) for such generous gift giving!

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