Neighborknitter

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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sugar High

Talk about birthday festivities. When I think it can't get any better "it just keeps gettin' betta" to quote the man himself.

My birthday kicked off last weekend with the most spectacular birthday cake brought by Mum Knitter. It was such a thing of beauty that, as the digital camera was not on hand, I had to catch a shot of it with my camera phone.



This cake isn't just stunning; it holds a special place in the hearts of the Knitter household. This cake, in fact, is the exact same cake we had at our wedding almost five years ago. Though, of course, considerably smaller. I realize, as far as wedding cake goes, no one gets too jazzed. All that white overly-sugared icing with bland dry white cake. Au contraire, mi amigos, not so with this cake. Remember when Coke wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony and subsequently buy everyone in the world a particular soft drink? Well, if I could send a piece of this cake to every person who reads this blog, I'd think my duty to my fellow man fulfilled. That is how delicious this cake is. It's a strawberry short cake-cake, with chunks of real strawberries and buttercream icing. FAWWWW. The bakery is in Knoxville, Magpies and if you've got a few minutes to look at Cake as Art you should check out their site.

As far as gifts my knitter parents went out of their way. In an attempt to help the dogs "get theirs" so to speak, Pops and Suz Knitter and Mum Knitter all clubbed together with money towards a fence. The dogs, they thank you.

On top of which, Mum Knitter created the most stunning teapot, her first teapot potting attempt ever. I give you two gorgeous tea pots:




But wait! There's'Ginzu Knives.

The Hubba was out of town for my birthday and so insisted on holding off on his gifts until this weekend. Having just opened the cards, I say this now: if he only gave me the cards, it would have been enough.

We have Optimus Prime, wishing me all the best:




Note in the left-hand corner where The Hubba doctored the "ultra-cool 4 year old" to call me "an ultra-cool 27 year old." Thoughtful!

And in this card was a gift certificate for KnitPicks. Ha!

But perhaps the best of the two came from the dogs.




Is there anything better than muppets mixed with tattoos? I think not.

And inside the muppets card came this:



The big finale, the coup d'├ętat, the last "we're definitely coming home with a restraining order against us" hurrah- tickets to see Dave Matthews Band (along with John Mayer and some other folks) do a tribute performance at Virginia Tech this Thursday night. I assure you, we are beyond redemption.

Coincidentally, "Redemption Song" is a Bob Marley tune Dave covered a few times. I'm just sayin'.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day 3, 4, & 5, With Some Light Espionage

After our exciting first few days, I expected more adventure. Instead, we had several sunny, easy, lazy days.


I had been dozing, opened my eyes to see this guy and before I could consider the stupidity of my words, I asked The Hubba: "Does he have a vacuum?"


Does Jack Sparrow look worryingly close to those swimmers?


Surly pigeons or seagulls or whatever these seabirds were. They were fearless, with the attitude of a waddling Tony Soprano and they went wherever the hell they wanted. The woman next to us hurling Cheetos at them didn't help.





Some spectacular sand castles and designs.


Two happy, slightly sunburned people who slept in an actual hotel last night. Hooray!

And then- DMB Concert, Part Two.

The most exciting part of Concert Two (besides the amazing concert itself) is that we have pictures of it! Yes we do, though cameras are strictly prohibited at any Dave concert. The fact it says "No Cameras or Videos" smack dab in the middle of the ticket makes it harder to prove ignorance if caught with said contraband.

Not that this stopped us. No siree, I hid the camera in one of the zippered pockets of my bag and on to the show we went.

I'm pathetic when it comes to rule breaking. A Nervous Nelly it might be said, terrified of the long hand of the law and were there anyway to hide the camera on The Hubba, I would have. Sadly, security does a pretty thorough pat down prior to admittance and there was no way, regardless of Hubba's insistence they might think it was "part of my muscular calves" security could mistake the camera in his pockets for something innocent. So into my bag it went.

At the gates of the concert, I noticed this security was not the lax crew of three nights ago. They were patting and they were searching. In the first line I saw, the woman checking bags was up to her elbow's in some girl's purse. My zippered pocket ruse was not clever enough to pass such rigorous inspection.

Into another line I went, this time picking a young man who, when I got up to him, blanched at the idea of patting me down and instead only asked me to open my bag. Which I did, happily opening the unimportant pockets wide and letting him freely root around.

And then I was in. That was it. One second, outside the concert gates, a regular citizen, the next minute, inside the pavilion with the smoky mystique of an undercover agent. Its Bond. Jane Bond.


On the big TVs, left to right, you see: Toots Hibbert, a special guest from the opening act; Dave Matthews; and our good friend, Boyd Tinsley.


Hello LeRoi Moore!


Thank you to the woman who risked life, limb, and, worst of all, being kicked out of the show to take our picture! Much appreciation.


Without the TVs, it's teeny-tiny Dave.


I luff this band.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Hello Virginia! And Our, Er, Quirky Trip Thus Far

Virigina. Called the Mother of Presidents. Home of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy. During the Civil War, more battles were fought here than other state. Birthplace of Dave Matthews Band. This state is awash in groundbreaking, historical moments.

As my Post-a-Day Idea hasn't worked out (I had this idea, I would post each day we were on vacation- you get the gist) due to circumstances I'm about to explain, so here's a quick Our-First-Two-Days-in-VA synopsis:

Sat, 9am- Deliver the dogs to the kennel. We go in the Civic.




(Do not try this at home.)

Sat 1pm- Leave the house. Whoo-hoo vacation!

Sat 1:08pm- Return to the house for knitting bag.

Sat 1:10pm- Vacation. Whoo.

We take Hwy 29N the whole trip.




Beautiful.

Great seats for DMB's Bristow performance.

Cameras aren't allowed, but a brief description is as follows:

Balmy, breezy weather- a real shift from our onr hundred and three degrees home state. For the first half of the concert our row is fairly empty, allowing The Hubba and I plenty of room to move like the smooth, graceful dancers we are (note: we were stone cold sober; it didn't help the dancing). An hour in, drunken tailgaters outside realize the concert has started. Our row fills up. This does not help during Too Much when we do The Robot, a dance ritual started by our DMB-expert friends.

Sat 11pm- Concert ends. We take our time walking back to the car, as there are now about 28,000 people exiting the pavilion and at least half of them are legally (and some not so legally) under the influence of something.

For the next hour, as we wait in our car, we come up with nicknames for the people around us. We had a Harry Belafonte look-alike, Industrious Girl (who set up a grill and cooked hamburgers for her friends), Brown-Dress Girl (friend of Industrious Girl, who, in the whole hour, got up only to a) get a cigarette from her purse and b) stand up, so her boyfriend could sit and she could then sit in his lap), and Peralta, the Traffic Director (young man in a jersey that said "Peralta" who spent the hour climbing up on top of his truck to check out the miles of stand-still traffic, then got down to inform the neighboring cars of it, and then got back in his car after being screamed at by irrriated drivers who just wanted him to move only to repeat the whole dance moments later). Surprisingly enjoyable hour.

Sun 12:16am- Traffic finally starts moving. We're off!

Sun 1:30am- Brief directions debacle, when crucial interstate sign is not noticed. Back on the right track after 25 miles driven in wrong direction (and, subsequently, 25 miles driven back to starting point). Following conversation calmly ensues:
The Hubba: I am not placing blame here, but I am only one man. I cannot be captain and navigator.
Me: There is a song by Rihanna called 'Shut Up and Drive' and if I knew any of the words, I would sing it to you.

Sun 2:00am- Stop for hotel room. You see, we had this brilliant plan that, instead of staying in Bristow, we would head out after concert, get a little bit down the road to our next destination, Virginia Beach, and then stop for the night.

Sun 2:04am- Days Inn has a room. For $120 a night. We are convinced we can find cheaper.

Sun 2:08am- Hampton Inn is full.

Sun 2:10am- Ditto HoJo.

Sun 2:12am- Back on the interstate. No worries. We're tired, but temperaments still cheerful from concert, even with 50 miles debacle.

Sun 2:40am- Stop again, somewhere around Ashland, VA.

Sun 2:42am- Comfort Inn full.

Sun 2:47am- Super 8 full.

Sun 2:52am- Ditto HoJo. Am told there is "some kind of sporting thing going on. All the hotels are booked."

Sun 3:00am- Back on interstate. We're both getting sleepy. Inexplicably, I decide it's my job to stay awake and keep The Hubba up with my witty chatter.

Sun 3:40am- Nearing Williamsburg, VA. Get off exit, only to read "Lodgings" sign and see the nearest hotel is 2.1 miles away. After earlier problems, realize there is no guarantee of room.

Sun 3:41am- Back on interstate.

Sun 3:50am- Even I'm tired of me saying "You alright?" every five minutes, like dim-witted parrot.

Sun 4:00am- Williamsburg exit. Pull off, read "Lodgings" sign and see nearest hotel is now 2.5 miles away. Brief and energetic discussion about "what is with this *#$*@!& state?" Can't see how to get back on the interstate. Make a left.

Sun 4:02am- End up at military base. Manage to make U-Turn before anyone opens fire.

Sun 4:05am- Back on interstate. The Hubba, by sheer will, decides he can power through the last 40 miles to Virigina Beach, where we will check into the hotel we've already book early.

Sun 4:30am- I offer to drive. Not well received by The Hubba, who I might have asked, only five minutes earlier, if he was also "seeing those funny gold lights?"

Sun 4:46am- Passing through Norfolk, discover a tunnel we'll take that is two miles long and goes under the ocean. The Hubba, and his irrational fear of drowning, is not happy.

Sun 4:58am- Thank God, gods, Vishnu, Buddha, Allah, and anyone in a white robe, we are at our hotel. The Hubba goes to check us in.

Sun 5:01am- They are booked solid. Can't check in until three.

Sun 5:05am- Last ditch effort. Drive across the street to the Days Inn, the only hotel nearby. Night manager says he does have a room, it is a single, smoking room available until noon that day for $139. Problematic only in that: there are two of us, we don't smoke, and that is $139 for less than seven hours.

Sun 5:07am- Nothing left to be done. We drive back to our hotel and park. We're sleeping in the car. Not the Expedition, sadly, but the Civic. After a bit of Girl Scout-esque utility, I dig out our beach towels to use for pillows and blankets. We recline the seats as far back as we can. And finally, finally, almost twenty-two hours from when I last woke up, we sleep...

Day Two

Sun 6:45am- For almost two hours. Problem with being a woman and having no toilet to call your own for 25 hours is having your bladder stuck in the land of convenience and opportunity. Bladder will stand for this no more.

Sun 6:50am- The Hubba wakes up from my staring. I say, in small voice, "I have to pee." He brings his seat back to upright position, starts the car and sees the clock. He drops his forehead to the steering wheel.

Sun 8am- In true Knitter household fashion, we have rallied and spirits, while not what I would descibe as "high" are certainly better. Yes, we are working on only two hours poor sleep after a fairly hectic day. Yes, we are sore. Yes, we are slightly smelly. But we're at the beach. We've been to a DMB concert. We have another concert in three days. We have each other. Unconciously, we both seem to have realized this is a time that will either unite or divide us. We unite. We are alright.

Sun 9am- After a lovely walk on the beach- the temperature is amazing by the way, breezy and not quite eighty- we set up camp. Due to the early hour, we've found a primo parking space. Yes! Yes! It's all on the upswing now. Bring on the surf and sun.

Sun 9:15am- We are both asleep in our beach chairs.

Asleep off and on for the next four hours. Play in the ocean. It's a beautiful day, not really hot, perfect for sitting/sleeping.




Sun 2:45pm- Check into our hotel.

Sun 2:47pm- Brief scuffle for first shower. I win.

Sun 4:00pm- Am bathed, in clean clothes, have brushed teeth twice, The Hubba is same. We are both thrilled with the fancy trappings of our hotel, i.e. pillows, blankets, chairs to sit on, running water. (Sidenote: We would, both of us, have been toast in the days of old.)

Sun 4:50pm- Ask The Hubba what time it is.

Sun 7:30pm- Wake up. Have both fallen into dead sleep. Wake The Hubba.

Sun 8:30pm- Delicious beers and sandwiches at Keagan's, Irish pub-style place.

Sun 10:00pm- Back in hotel. Finding Nemo on TV. Find the whole thing vaguely comforting.

Sun 10:25pm- Nemo ends. We're in a room, with a bed, air conditioning, pillows and a bathroom whenever we like. All is back on track.

And we enter Day Three...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Arrrr...

The sound made by frustrated pirates and knitters everywhere. I've been feeling uninspired, knitting-wise, between the heat and the move and the heat and my yarn and needles being scattered hither and yon (that might be my first ever use of "yon"- wow) all over the house and the heat. No amount of blaming a ball winder, or lack thereof, can change the fact, I'm knit out.

But the Football-A-Long I joined is doing some charity knitting for Cubs for Kids, and it seemed the right time to do it- a sort of "By God, if I can't knit for myself, I'll knit for someone else" mentality. So I've been whipping out clothes for these bears and I've got a teeny-tiny scarf and a teeny-tiny hat to show for it. Now if I could just find the digital camera wire thingy, somewhere among these boxes, to transfer said pictures to said blog...

And flipping through an old Interweave Knits last night, I came across a pair of cabled socks by Nancy Bush and I've never done cabled socks. That seems a good potential project, something to get the old double-points moving. And just in case I need some mindless knitting, I dug out some bits of yarn to do the Felted Tea Cosy from Knitty. Because there's nothing like boiling wool when it's 103 degrees outside.

Other news, we're leaving for the beach and two Dave Matthews' concerts in three days.

I'm surprised I was able to type that and not fall out of my chair. I'msoexcited...

As I can't bring you any new dog pics (damned digital camera wire thingy) I give you a recycled shot of Howie, who seems to be thinking:



This couch is mine. MINE.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Night Thought

If you like The Hulk, yoga, a laugh or any combination of these three, check out this site.

Good Monday morning to you!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lifting, Unpacking, Wishing

I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow, in the middle of moving, with a trip just around the corner (Hello Virginia!), trying to find a job (me) and looking for any semblance of life outside the last few things just listed, I have developed a fixation.

Maybe it's come from all the yarn I've discovered in various places- not just in the huge box where I thought it was assembled, but in several cute boxes that I vaguely remember buying for such a purpose, but have no recollection of filling, in hatboxes, in numerous totes- lots and lots of hanks of yarn. Maybe it's due to my brain's inability to focus on the stacks and stacks of boxes around me. Maybe it's due to my fingers feeling more than a little dry from the cotton I've been knitting. I couldn't pinpoint the start of said desire, but it's come on fast and it's come on strong.

People, I want me a ball winder. Not just any ball winder- this ball winder. Nothing fancy, nothing big, I'm not even asking for the swift (yet) to go with it- no big deal. Except throw in lots of guilt over just moved/trip coming/still trying to find a job and the little pointer hovers over KnitPicks "Checkout" button.

And here's why I need it (this always come next, right? the justification for the fixation): I have all these hanks of yarn! Not nice, easy center-pull balls of yarn- hanks of it. Which leads to this feeling of knitting impotence. Drawers, hatboxes, storage boxes of fiber I can't knit because it's all in the wrong form. How, how, how to make those hanks into nice neat center-pulls?

So enters the ball winder. Remember Medusa from The Rescuers? That's me. I. Want. That. Win-der.

Hmph. Well, back to unpacking for now. But don't think this is over.