Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Vermont

Traditions, like promises, are made to be broken.  And then, of course, rebuilt even better!  For many, many years, Christmas was spent at my parent's house.  Breakfast in the morning, open presents, lounge around (maybe a little nap), too much dinner, too much wine, and then over to my cousin's for coffee and cake (she lived around the corner).

But then my sister had kids and my cousin sold the house and moved into an apartment, and her kids had kids so things changed.

For many years Christmas morning was spent at my sister's house.  Then everyone went home for a while, cleaned up and prettied up and went to Granny and Pop's for dinner.

Then my sister moved from the apartment on the same street where we all lived (I was okay with the move--she's walking distance to Flying Fingers) and we started doing breakfast and presents at her house, then the break, then back to her house for dinner. 

My hobby is knitting (and some other things but really, a lot of knitting).  My sister's hobby is checking out the local real estate magazines everywhere she goes.  Unlike knitting, it rarely (almost never) ends up with a finished product.  But much like my experience with Snowshoe Farm at Rhinebeck, sometimes the stars align.  Two years ago, she saw a really beautiful piece of property in Vermont in the little local real estate rag while she and her hubby were weekending at an inn.  They went back to the same inn a month or so later--it was very romantic--and lo and behold, the same property had been reduced.  And then it happened again.  And again.  And again.  So they made a bid.  A really, really low bid.  And it was accepted.  And whiz bang boom, they were the owners of 12 acres in Vermont. With a pond.  Overlooking a bigger pond.  And only an hour north of Webs. They threw up a cute little house up and before you could say "you're gonna want four wheel drive" we were all off to spend Christmas in Vermont.

I drove up the Taconic on Christmas Eve.  It's a road that never ceases to amaze me.  It was a very clear day but not the type of day that you would call crystal clear.  The sky had a bid of milkiness to it that was the perfect foil for the golds, browns, greens and reds of the winter landscape.  There wasn't a cloud in site so the shadows on the bare trees were crisp and fine and dramatic.

Of course I didn't manage to stop and take any pictures but I have tremendous trust in your imaginations.

I made it Manchester just as it was getting dark and paid a visit to Judith at Yarns for your Soul.  It's a lovely shop with lovely things owned by a lovely woman.  Judith is also from the Y.O. so you know you can count on her. 

I bought this.  It's Malabrigo Sock in the colorway Stonechat. 

And this.  This is delicious on so many levels.  It is Arauncania Ruca in the color 4.  And, dig this, it's 100% sugarcane.  It is smooth and soft and silky and I love it.  My sister is actually picking up two more skeins for me on her way home (did I mention that I have an amazing yarn family).

And this.

This may be my favorite.  It's two skeins of local alpaca made especially for the shop.  And please note the hang tag with the photo of the alpaca that it came from.  In case you can't read upside down, his name is Hazlenut.  He lives at Marlee Farm and seems quite content.  Not to mention soft.

From there, on to Windham Hill Inn to check in and then up to Sissy's for dinner.  When my sister and bro-in-law started staying there, my sister was tickled by the treat platter they put out every evening in the lobby.  So, since Granny and Pop and I were staying there and everyone else was in the house and things had all gone full circle and I liked the way it all felt (still do as a matter of fact) I called the wonderful innkeeper Katja and she made us a beautiful treat plate to bring to the house.  Of course my sister had plenty to nibble on as well.  There was shrimp cocktail, and cheese and crackers (which I couldn't live without), and delicious little cocktail franks and then takeout Italian food from a great little local place.  And family.  And a fireplace.  And wine (Pop was gracious enough to drive my car back to the inn so I could indulge).  And then the coziest sleep I've had in a while.

The girls and I stuck bows on all the presents and put them under the tree.  A wager was made on what was in the Lily Pulitzer shopping bags that Granny had for all the women.  And Lucy the dog collapsed from fresh air poisoning.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about Christmas.

And honestly, I haven't forgotten about my blog.  Life just got in the way.  So here's BadKitten Day 30.

As usual, apologies for the advertisement. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twelve Eleven Ten

Yeah baby!  It's my birthday!  This will have to be a multi-post topic because, so far, it's been fantastic!  The celebrating actually started on Wednesday with lunch at the new Japanese place in Hastings on Hudson with Debby and Jeri.  Deeeelicious! 

Then off to knitting group where there were presents (more about those in the present post).

Then last night a party at Pat's house (of the tomatoes) with delicious treats, delicious wine, delicious friends and, ahem, delicious brownies.
This morning it was off to the Mead House for the Fun with Fiber group where we finished the red velvet cake.  (Did I mention there was red velvet cake?  Really really good red velvet cake!)

From there I took myself up to Flying Fingers to buy myself a birthday gift.

It is so not me--I don't usually go for metallic--but this was outrageously beautiful so I bought it.  And then I realized that, since I got it with the money my cousin gave me for my birthday, I was technically not buying it for myself.  So I get to buy myself another birthday gift!  Woo Hoo!

Tonight it's more time with friends and then family dinner tomorrow.  And if I feel like stopping then, I will.  If not, I will keep on celebrating.

And of course, in celebration of my birthday, here's BadKitten Day 29 (Hey--that's funny--we've all been joking about it being my 29th birthday).

Friday, December 10, 2010

A quick hit and run post

On the way to knitting group last night something really funny happened.  I was looking for a parking spot and there was a perfect spot right across the street.  I was sitting in a LONG line for the traffic light so I blew a u turn and took the spot.

Then the car in front of me pulled out and the guy two cars behind me in the line did the same thing and took that spot.

I was gathering up my stuff so the driver who took the spot in front of me and I were getting out of our cars at the same time.

It went like this.

Me:  Copy cat!

Him:  I thought of it first.

Me:  Yeah, well I did it first.

Both of us had a big pause.

Then he looked at me and said,

"Yeah, well my car's bigger."

I laughed all the way up the block.

Here's BadKitten Day 28.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's nice to be nice to the nice.

Some people were really nice to me today.  I'm just going to dwell on that for a while.  For a while I felt better than I've felt for a long, long time.

BadKitten Day 27.

P.S.  Does anyone want a kitten.  I know of a bunch of real cuties that need homes. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Yam What I Yam

Sorry--I couldn't help the pun. 

I did the math and this year marked the 23rd Thanksgiving dinner that I've cooked.  Although not necessarily on the Thursday.  When I graduated from college, I moved into a house in East Hampton with three guys.  Yeah, my Mom was thrilled.  But they were truly wonderful men and to this day, I hold all other men to their standards.  We moved in on Memorial Day weekend.  We had a great Fourth of July party (we had the perfect lawn for it), on Labor Day we had a big bunch of friends over for a barbecue.  But, then (minor chord), along came Thanksgiving.  It was our first real family holiday--and we were a family--that we weren't going to be spending together.

So the Sunday before Thanksgiving we made a feast.  We invited a few friends over and ate until we were stuffed.  And then we had pie.  And then the next year, on the same Sunday, we invited more friends.  And the next year there were more friends.  And so on. And so on.

And we had rules. 

1.  I cooked.
2.  We all ate one table.
3.  Real plates, glasses, silverware, etc.
4.  Everyone was welcome.  The door was open. 

And it was good. 

The last year we had it, just before we all moved on our separate ways, we had 85 people.  We borrowed tables and cloths and all the things we needed from people's parents and aunts and the VFW.  The table actually wound through the house from the dining room, through the living room, down the hall and then spiraled around the TV room.

So, if you haven't gotten the picture yet, I love Thanksgiving.  To me, it is a generous, welcoming holiday with no other baggage attached to it.  There are no gifts, no obligations, no worries.  And really, cooking for it is really easy.  Basically, you stick a turkey in the oven and you boil water.

Unless you're me. 

If you're me, you give yourself a theme every year.  Last year, all the side dishes were from Silver Palate cookbooks. They are my absolute favorites, and sadly, one of the authors had died.  The year before that, my theme was sweet and savory in the same dish. 

This year, the theme was "the pantry".  I went really simple this year with some hopped up pantry basics.  Corn (but with leeks--holy crap it's so good), peas (but with prosciutto and onions), simple roasted brussels sprouts. 

I think the simplicity of the meal this year was really driven by the fact that November 25th was a completely loaded day.  If you've been a reader for a while, you know that I lost a good friend last year.  He died the night before Thanksgiving so, my big celebration day, was the anniversary of his death (someday remind me to tell you about Halloween).

Every year, there is at least one recipe that is my own creation, and this year I decided that it would be in honor of him.  He was a smart, Southern man who loved a good glass of bourbon.  So that was my inspiration.

And here you have it.

Peel five pounds of yams and cut them in chunks,.
Peel one nice onion and cut in in chunks.

Dump them in your big pot, cover them with water, throw in a good handful of salt and set them on a high flame.  When you poke them with a fork and they fall off the fork, they're done.  Drain them and put them all (yams and onion) back in the pot.  Add two cans of sweet potatoes in light syrup (drained please) and half a can of pumpkin puree (leftover from pumpkin cheesecake) into the pot.  Give it a good pinch of ground ginger and about 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cloves, a stick of unsalted butter and about a cup or so of heavy cream.   Whip it up with your hand mixer until it is smooth as silk.

Now take your big skillet and toss in a bag full of chopped pecans.  Put them over a high flame and toast them just until the kitchen starts to smell like pecans.  Drop them in a little bowl and put the pan back on the flame.  Start melting another stick of unsalted butter. Add about 3/4 cup of brown suger and swirl, swirl, swirl.  Don't stir it.  Just swirl it.  And don't walk away from it.  As soon as your kitchen smells like Willie Wonka has just arrived, you're carmel is golden and you're a little afraid that the sugar is going to burst into flames, turn the stove off and add 3/4 cup heavy cream.  It's going to bubble up like mad but that's a good thing.  Add in a 1/4 cup (or so, ahem) of bourbon.   Turn the flame back on, grab your wisk and melt all the carmel into the cream and bourbon.  Add a little tiny pinch of salt along with the toasted pecans.  Let it simmer for a few minutes until it gets a little thick. You'll know when it's just right.  Take it off the flame and let it cool a little.

Spread half the yams into your big pyrex dish and smooth it was a spatula.  Pour the caramel and nuts over the yams and then top with the rest of the potatoes. 

At this point, you can put it in the fridge until you are ready to finish it.  I made it the day before and it held up great.

When it's about a half an hour before you're going to serve, put the dish in the oven at about 300 or 350 and warm it gently.  Five minutes before you're ready, drizzle the top of the potatoes with some more bourbon (added fire power) and put a scattering of mini marshmallows on top.  Pop it under the broiler and watch it like a hawk.  As soon as the marshmallows catch fire, it's ready.

And it's delicious. 

Almost as good as BadKitten Day 26.  I refuse to fight with YouTube so I'm just giving you a link.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Really, you're kidding, right.

So I wrote the post the other night and today I sat down at the computer (which has been on since then) and discovered that I never hit Post.  I hit Preview. Sure.  But Post?  That just seemed to be out of the question.

Did any of you ever watch the show "The Young Ones" in the 80s.  It was a British comedy about four guys sharing an apartment.  There was Neil--the hippie, Vivian--the punk, Rick--the people's poet and Mike--the lady's man.  And it was hilarious.

One of my favorite episodes was the one where they FINALLY decide to do their laundry.  And Neil, poor stoned Neil, was putting the laundry in the washer and the washer keeps spitting it out because it is so damn dirty that it refuses to wash it.  Neil, in turn, goes running looking for help from Vivian all the while yelling "Vivian--technofear!". (Earlier in the episode an animated sock refuses to get into the laundry bag saying "I'm not going in that bag--it smells in there" which is kind of funny to me because the post I had written for you was about socks.)

Anyway, now I know how Neil felt.  TECHNOFEAR!

Here's BadKitten for you.  I'll get my act together sometime soon.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dag Nab It

I would like to blame technology or the weather or that woman from EZPass but, I have a feeling that this time, I have no one to blame but myself.  Let's just say that lately I have had a profound inability to follow directions. 

Which would explain why I've had to start Joy's socks three times. 

And why there's been no daily BadKitten. 

I hosted Thanksgiving (more about that another time) and did my annual take-all-the-paper-off-my-desk-and-stick-it-in-a-laundry-basket-in-my-bedroom.  I thought (maybe I shouldn't use the word thought because obviously, I wasn't thinking clearly) that I had preset my posts.  You see, the BadKitten list is in the laundry basket. 

But I clearly didn't so I've left you all hanging.  This is almost like the day the music died. 

BadKitten will return tomorrow--with a vengence!

There has been knitting going on her in the Y.O.  I may have lost my mind but I cast on this today in a really, really fuzzy mohair.  There's no turning back on this yarn.  Pray for me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Shocked! Shocked I Tell You!

Netflix does not have the Leif Garrett movie Skateboard.  Or the Linda Blair movie Born Innocent. 

Really--what's a child of my generation supposed to do.  They both had "parental advisory" warnings before they came on channel 7 at 9 pm on a Sunday sometime in the late 70s.  And now that I'm actually old enough to watch them--I can't get the damn things on DVD.  And, just in case you were curious, the VHS with Korean subtitles is not as good as the original.

I did do a little google search a while back and found that the bitch with the toilet brush in Born Innocent now designs high end hand bags.  Good for her!  Proof that anyone can get beyond their prison experience.

I think I'm just going to have to let this go and see what BadKitten has for us tonight.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Think This is Hilarious

Mostly because I LOATHE Neil Young.  It may have something to do with my fourth grade music teacher who made us all sing The Needle and the Damage Done for an assembly.  Fer chrissakes--we were nine years old.  And we were wearing plaid.  And I had on one of those cross over ties with the mother of pearl snap.  And I was standing--in height order which meant I was in the way back--singing a stoner song about heroin addiction for the entire school.  Needless to say, she (and her leather vest, long hair and Indian arm band) only lasted for half the year.  And, by the way, thank you very much Miss Hippy Dippy music teacher.  For the other half of the year we had a really odd music teacher who taught us music theory--very relevant for a fourth grader--and ruined all the fun of music class for us.  I'm surprised that we didn't all pool our trick-or-treat-for-Unicef money and buy some smack to get through that class.

Or maybe it had something to do with the boss I had a few years ago.  Good God, the man was a tool.  I threw a fabulous fundraising party for the organization that he was in charge of and--get this--I booked Grand Master Flash as our DJ.  The man is an icon.  He is absolutely THE definitive NY DJ of all time and, honestly, if he was spinning at your house on Thanksgiving, the turkey carcass would be up dancing.  But the day before the party, my tool (did I mention that he was a tool) of a boss called me into his office where he told me that he had made up a playlist for Grand Master Flash.  Including--you guessed it--some Neil Young.  Yeah.  Okay.  I'll get right on that.  Nothing like a really nasal depressing song to get this party started.

So anyway, this made me laugh.

And while we're at it, let's check out BadKitten Day 23.  This is an awesome song.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And Then There Were Three

Babycat died this morning.  She died at home, very comfortably in her little nest.  I knew she was going.  She stopped eating about a week and a half ago and she stopped grooming herself about the same time.

But damn.  It was still really sad.  I was petting her and talking to her while she went and it really really sucked.

So let me tell you a little bit about this lovely little cat.

First of all, her name wasn't originally Babycat.  It was Zelda.  But I lived in a great apartment in Sag Harbor. It was half of the second floor of a converted Victorian house.  So I had nine gorgeous windows that wrapped around from my kitchen to my bedroom (which sat on top of the porch roof).

I had my sister's cat (long story) whose real name was Tish but she had been bounced around so many times that everyone always said "how is that orange cat"?  Well that orange cat hated living alone.  She licked all the fur off her belly and legs and the vet told me that I had to get her a kitten because she needed a baby to take care of. 

So I dropped "that orange cat" off at home and went to work.  At the time, I was working for the East Hampton Star and one of my coworkers said "Hey--one of the partners in my husband's architectural firm has a houseful of kittens who will be ready for adoption in a week" so off I went.  It was Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and I drove out to Hampton Bays to check out these kittens.

And they all looked exactly alike.  Almost like the Baldwin boys.

But one of them was just as gray and fluffy as the rest of them but the tip of her tail was as white as white can be.  So I picked her.  And she rode home in my lap.  (I actually stopped and did a radio remote on the way home but that is a whole other lifetime and I don't really feel like getting into it right now.  Suffice it to say--she was famous on the radio for five minutes).

So we went home to the great apartment with the nine windows and the older cat who just wanted to love her. And then her life got even better.

You see, my downstairs neighbor was a Japanese ex-sumo wrestler who was working as a sushi chef in town.  And he fell in love with her.  And, like a good little kitten, she fell in love with him.

Every night, she would wait in the kitchen window for him to come home and she would follow him from window to window and, when he got to the front door, I would have to let her run down the stairs to meet him.  Of course, he would have little treats for her.

They were best friends.  But his English stunk.  So as they did their window walk every night, he would chat to her in Japanese and call her Babycat.

And that is how she got her name.

Of course, at that point, it seemed to make a lot of sense to start calling the orange cat, Orangecat.  And when I adopted a really tiny cat I named her Tinycat.  So now, all of my cats have --cat names.  Sadly, it's a little like the Ramones now.  All of the originals are gone. I have three cats left--Heatherthecat, Maxthecat and Smokeythecat.  But they all had established names when I got them so all the original cat cats are gone.

Let's get back to Babycat.

She was  a good girl.  She really liked people, especially children, and was a very friendly but undemanding cat.  About six years ago, she went deaf and got scared and moved into the linen closet for three years.  I called the vet and they said as long as she is happy, leave her alone.  My neighbor--who hates cats but is the best next door neighbor you could ever ask for--came over when I got stuck in DC in a blizzard and actually got her out of the closet for about five minutes.

She was as happy as I could make her in the closet but I knew it wasn't ideal.  There was someone in my life for a while who actually got her out of the closet and helped her live as a deaf cat in a hearing cat world.  I will always be grateful to that person.  It was very special and kind.

A few weeks ago, she stopped eating and stopped grooming herself.

And this morning she died.

She was a really good cat.

Here's BadKitten Day 22

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

BadKitten--Almost at the halfway point

I was planning on a longer post tonight but I'm on the run.  Have to answer a few emails and then scram out of the door for book club.  We read The Help this month and we all know how I feel about that book so it should be really great. 

I do feel the need to apologize for the hit and run (and might I add very poorly written) posts lately but life has been busy busy busy and lots of fun (for the most part).  Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon.

I really like today's choice from BadKitten.  It's a cool song but I had a really hard time finding a version that I could share on YouTube.  Sometimes they won't let you embed the official video so you have to go scrambling through the rest of the unofficial ones trying to find one that will work.  We're going a little multicultural today. 

P.S.  I've been asked if I choose the song from the list each day but, honestly, I'm just going in the order that BadKitten gave them to me.  Although I will admit that the Lily Allen song a few weeks back was shockingly appropriate for the day. 



Sunday, November 7, 2010

What a Wonderful Day.

Yesterday two of my neighbors got married--to each other.  And it was wonderful.  On Friday night, I picked up the groom's sister, brother in law and niece at the airport.  Cocktail Party in a Box was a huge hit!  Although I do think that they may have thought I was a bit of a loon when I opened the bottle of sparkling cider on the barricade in short term parking at Laguardia.

It was an afternoon wedding with a desperately elegant cocktail party and dinner.  I think I can speak for every woman there when I say that the party made us feel like Katharine Hepburn.  It was that kind of cool.  We will not discuss the arrival of the police or Sarah Palin's slutty older sister.  Just know that we had a great time.

When I got home, I found this waiting for me at my front door.

Really--can a day get any better. 

Of course it can--if it's BadKitten day 18.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cocktail Party in a Box

I have the absolute pleasure of picking up wedding guests at the airport tonight.  The wedding is tomorrow and it's going to be wonderful so I am just delighted to be able to help people get there.  Of course, there will be some celebrating going on at the hotel tonight so I thought it would be a good idea to start the party in the car as soon as they arrive.

I give you, Cocktail Party in a Box!

 A nice tupperware, cheddar, crackers, grapes, a little shrimp cocktail, some sparkling cider and a CD of good cocktail party music and voila!  It's a party!

Of course airlines are unpredictable so I'll also have my knitting bag in case I have to wait.  Although I do love the online flight status check thingy that all the airlines have now.  You can actually look at the map and see where the plane is.  Tres cool.

But wait, before I go galavanting around, here's BadKitten Day 17. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Heart Green Day BadKitten Day 16

I love love love love love this song.  I love a lot of things right now but I really truly madly deeply love this song.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hmmm...not sure what happened

Let's try this again.  BadKitten Day 15   Thank you Margret for being on top of it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

BadKitten Day 14

Happy Halloween!!!! And it's Bratty Girl's 17th birthday.  Really really good cake.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

BadKitten Day 13 1/2

I have no idea what happened yesterday.  It just got away from me.  Mea Culpa!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So then...

They took my EZ Pass away.

And just so you know, the cop who takes the E-Z Pass from you (and demands $3) does not appreciate it when you do the whole "Charlie, they took my thumb" scene from The Pope of Greenwich Village.  (P.S.  That scene absolutely rocked my world when I was 15.  My sister had just gotten her driver's license and we went to the movies and saw that and I still haven't gotten over it.)

So they give you this little brown card that says you either have to go into the EZ Pass office with the card or mail the card into them to get your EZ Pass back.  As the mail-in directions were pretty vague and I have to pick up a friend up at Laguardia tomorrow, I decided to go over to the EZ Pass office.  In the rain.

I only mentioned the rain for effect--as if going to the EZ Pass office isn't a terrible enough thought, I had to point out that the whole day was dreary.

So when I got to the EZ Pass office, the first thing I saw was a sign on the door that the staff was "dressing down for diabetes awareness".  What?  I don't get it.  Wearing pink for Breast Cancer--sure, I get that.  Perhaps dressing down because they each donated a formal work outfit to Dress For Succesz--kind of a cool idea.  But dressing down for diabetes--hmmm.  Maybe I'm thick but it made no sense to me.

So I go up to the window staffed by a woman in an orange tank top (which made me think of Tang which is probably not good for a diabetic) and she said, "What's your account number?"  So I said, "I don't know."  So she said "What's your tag number?"  So I said, "I don't know, some cop took it away."  So she said, "You need to have your statement with you."  So I said, "But the card that the cop gave me only said that I had to bring this card.  Here, look.  It says it right here."  So she said, "How do you think I'm going to look up your account?"  So I said, "Can you use my social security number?" So she said, "We don't keep that information." So I said, "How about my driver's license or my license plate."  She just rolled her eyes and sucked her teeth (niiiice).  "So I said, look the cop said to bring this card in and the card just said to bring this card in so how was I supposed to know that I had to bring a statement."  So she said "The cop doesn't know what you have to bring in."  So I said, "But he told me what I was supposed to bring in.  How was I supposed to know that he was lying to my face?  Like a dog.  Was I just supposed to pull that out of thin air?"  So she rolled her eyes again.  So I said, "Look, there has to be a way that you can look up my account!"

So she said, "What's your phone number?"

And she pulled up my account.  (In the rain.)

But wait, it get's better. (In the rain.)

So she says, "You have $25 on your account and the new tag is going to cost you $10 so you'll have $15 on your account.  You can't use it until after noon tomorrow; out of state, you have to wait until after noon the next day."

So I said, "Why do I have to pay for a tag that you took away from me."   So she said, "You just put the $25 on the account the morning you were trying to use it."  So I said, "Yeah, and your phone system said "You have $25 available on your account.  Thank you for calling EZ Pass.""  So she said, "Well the computer doesn't know."  So I said, "Some computer somewhere knew because otherwise how would the liar cop know to take my tag."  So she said, "When you deposit a check in the bank, do you expect to be able to use the money right away."  So I said, "You're not the bank.  You're EZ Pass.  When I go the bank and deposit a check, it's someone else's money until it clears.  And it doesn't show up in my balance.  I get that.  But when I go to the A&P and pay with my money--like I paid you with my money--they let me take my groceries home with me.  They don't make me wait until noon the next day until I can pick my groceries up.  And if I make a pasta salad and try to take it out of state before two days have passed, they don't take it away from me at the GWB."

So she rolls her eyes again, hands me a slip of paper and says "Pick up your new tag at window 14."

That was yesterday.

You don't even want to know about today.

BadKitten Day 12 seems quite appropriate.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Heart Matlock

I'm not ashamed to say that I love Matlock.  I love him long time.  And tonight has been an extraordinary array of 80s superstars--Linda Purl (twice), Parker Stevenson, Audra Linley, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Jimmy Baio, Greg Evigan.  I'm in heaven.

Here's BadKitten Day 11.

BadKitten Day 10

Okay so I'm a little late.  I was napping.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Barely Made It

It's almost midnight but I'm getting this in right under the wire.

BadKitten--Day 9.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Don't Want Obama Beans Up My Nose

I am overwhelmed by the people around me. 

First things first, you must check out Nathan Spewman.  I don't care what your politics are.  This shit is hysterical and makes a really good point (especially Part 2).  And the women who made this are my friends. 

I am in such a state of TV bliss right now because Fox and Cablevision are fighting.  Like bratty little children.  And I can live a Glenn Beck free life until they work it out.  It's awesome. 

And BadKitten gave me this for today.  It's so beautiful.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Friends

I spent the day yesterday at the SVN conference.  Honestly, I would have loved to have spent the whole weekend but, damn girl, it's expensive.  I haven't been in a few years (is the whole I'm broke thing getting redundant?  Too bad if it is--I'm broke!) and I was slightly nervous about seeing my friends. 

It's funny--it's a place that I always feel profoundly loved but I'm always a little nervous walking in.  In the perfect moment of serendipity and joy, the first person who reached out to me and dragged me into a conversation was my friend Mike

I have to tell you a little bit about Mike.  This is a man who knows how to be kind and make you feel really really good about yourself.  He's the best drug I've ever taken.

At my first SVN conference--many, many moons ago--like many others I didn't know what the hell to think of the group.  But after the first night I was hooked.  At my second conference, in Santa Monica CA, I met Keith and Charles from Housing Works.  And we were instant friends.  So for the  next several years we spent the first night of every conference together having fun and catching up and goofing off and drinking and dancing way too much.  And it was wonderful.

On April 5, 2004 Keith died.  And it just about broke my heart.  But the thing is, I knew Keith would die.  So I had an array of snapshots that I kept in my head of him.  Every time I saw him, I intentionally took a little picture with my brain and stashed it away. 

Two weeks after Keith's death, I went off to the SVN conference.  I knew there would be a wonderful memorial for him there but I hadn't really thought the whole thing out ahead of time.  I walked into the first session, the first night--where I had always been with Keith--and sucked my breath in.  I didn't know where to sit.  I didn't know who to sit with.  I didn't know what to do.  But Mike and our other friend Jerry were waiting for me.  The were standing in the back, poised for action and as I walked into the room and realized my shock, they put their arms around me and we watched the first speaker of the conference in a wonderful huge warm safe hug.  I know this is not something that you normally expect at a business conference but, dude, this is how we roll and it's such a better way of doing business.   I don't know if they planned it and, frankly, I don't care.  It worked for me and whether it was planned or spontaneous--it was tremendous.

So this year, I walked in, joined Mike's group when he waved me over and was immediately sucked into the stories that were being told (it was a breakout group).  About 10 minutes into  it, I felt something warm and smooth on my thigh.  It was a perfect oval white stone that Mike had found on the beach that morning.  And it felt really really really really good.  So I left there.  And I stroked it.  And enjoyed the feeling of nature while we talked about business problems.  That's the kind of balance that I think we could use more of--nature and work together--perfection.

We all know that I love when worlds collide.  I recently got a message on Ravelry from Nancy  I had some yarn that she needed.  It's been in my stash for years (I think I bought it at a sidewalk sale at Katonah Yarns) and she asked how much I would like for it.  I really have absolutely no idea how much I paid for it but it was certainly way less than the sticker price. 

So I just asked her to make a donation to Housing Works in memory of Keith.

Can we talk about Generosity of Spirit?  Nancy made an outstandingly generous financial contribution.  It was way more that the yarn was worth.  It was more than a lot of people's budgets for Rhinebeck.  It was more than I could ever have expected and I am so so so grateful to her for carrying on the spirit of kindness and sharing that these crazy SVN friends of mine have inspired me with.

I only know Nancy through a short period of Ravelry messages but I know she is patient (it took me forever to get my act together and get the yarn to her), I know she has a sense of humor and I know that, even though I don't know her in real life, I love her. She--like Mike, Jerry, Charles, Keith and so many others, have made my life better.  I was always annoyed by the whole "You complete me" thing from Jerry McGuire.  I am already complete.  I much prefer "You raised the bar for me.  You expanded me.  You made my life larger and better and so very much prettier."

Which in a funny way, leads into BadKitten Day 7.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Amazing Day and BadKitten Day 6

Just got home from a wonderful conference but am too pooped and euphoric to write a cohesive blog post.  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My part of the deal was that I was supposed to make BadKitten a CD of great music from my generation.  I think I mentioned that I forgot to bring it with me last week so I haven't been able to blog the playlist yet.  For now, it's 13 songs. I think I'll go to 40 and when we finish 40 Days of BadKitten, we'll do 40 Days for BadKitten.

So my plan was to pick a bunch of songs from my (ahem--I'm not that old) generation that she probably hadn't heard.  I spent a lovely hour just scrolling up and down my iTunes and picking out some gems.

I give you, BadKitten Vol. 1

Planet Rock, Afrika Bambaata & Soul Sonic Force.  Arguably the first rap song. But I will win any argument to prove that this is definitely the first commercial rap song.  It's a great beat and the beginning of an amazing movement in music.

Life on Mars?, David Bowie.  I'm a huge Bowie fan.  I'll save the story of the bus ride from Maine (and back) to see him at Madison Square Garden.  This is such a stunning song.  Bowie's voice is at his richest and you can't help but open your heart to this song.

Maria, Blondie.  A late in career song for her but I just love it.  She is now, always has been and always will be the coolest chick in Rock and Roll (Chrissie Hynde be damned). 

Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty By Nature.  It's just fun. 

I Got You, Split Enz.  Greg Honoshowski gave me this album for my 16th birthday. It was "laser etched" and had all these cool 80's iridescent shapes etched into the vinyl.  It was just about the coolest damn thing I had ever seen.  And this is a great song.

Tempted, Squeeze.  Probably in the top two favorite bands of all time for me.  You can't help but love them. They're like that kid that everyone had in their neighborhood who, at first, you weren't sure if they were really cool or really weird.  And then you found out that they were really cool.

Red Shoes, Elvis Costello.  If you are not truly, madly and deeply in love with Elvis Costello then there is something wrong with you.  When I read Eat, Pray, Love, I thought that my version would be Eat, Squeeze, Elvis Costello.  But that's just me.

I Confess, The English Beat.  A definitive 80s band.  These guys were amazing.  I saw them open for Squeeze (big surprise) at Nassau Coliseum the night before Thanksgiving in my junior year of high school.  Hell No--we're not naming years here.  Suffice it to say, it was a long time ago.  Stray Cats and REM were also on the bill that night.  Ahhh--the 80s.

Me, Myself and I, DeLaSoul.  Probably the nicest group of all time.  And playful.  And thoughtful.  You just can't talk about music without talking about DeLaSoul.

The last two sort of go together.  I love punk music and I love country music.  Mary Gauthier, Your Sister Cried is a true, pure, old school country song. It harkens back to Patsy Klein and early mountain music.  But it has a roughness and a true spirit to it that has such a punk feel to me.  And let's stop for a minute and look at John Doe and the Sadies.  John was 1/2 of the punk group X.  They were amazing.  As his career evolved, he has taken on country music with a purity and a rawness that takes (as I mentioned in the previous sentence) my breath away.  His version of Help Me Make it Though the Night takes my breath away and brings me to tears.

Oh, and lest I forget.  Here's BadKitten--Day 5

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BadKitten Day 4

To busy today for a full blog post but I did decide to go for the live version of this song.  I still think Cheap Trick at Budokon is the best live album ever made but this is a really close second.

Dig it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Greetings From Rhinebeck and BadKitten--Day 3

Saturday morning was the kind of autumn mornings that poems are written about.  The light was perfect, the trees were in full blaze and the sky was that mix of dark gray clouds and bright blue sky that only happen this time of year.

I'm not sure if they schedule the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival for the fall every year so that we can all wear our sweaters and socks and hats or if they do it because all of the colors that you see driving there are so inspiring.  In the spring, the Taconic Parkway is awash in every shade of green.  In October, there's green, orange, yellow, red, brown, blue, gray, purple and even little hints of pink.  It's enough to take your breath away.

I found my favorite vendor in the first building I went into.  Snowshoe Farm has such wonderful alpaca and Terry is so very nice that I had to buy two skeins of lilac colored yarn from her.  I saw some great sock yarn but decided to wait and see what else was out there before I blew my whole budget.

And I had a very strict budget.  As you know, I've been broke.  So a few months ago, I started cashing in my cans and putting the little slips in an envelope in my car to save up for Rhinebeck.  I stopped at the A&P on my way and cashed them in (that's half the fun--not knowing how much I had) and walked out with $53.05.  Rockin!  A lovely, generous woman had thrown me a $20 the other day to "buy myself something nice" so I had a total of $73.05 and I only ended up going $4.95 over.  I think that's pretty impressive.

I came upon this sheep.

Hmm.  Who would expect the KKK grand wizard sheep to be at Rhinebeck.  We had a little talk, he and I, about the beauty of learning about others and sharing in their culture.  I think I got through to him.  I heard that later in the day, he and one of the llamas were trying to cut the line together to get chicken pot pie.

I almost came home with another kitten but stopped myself when I realized that there truly is such a thing as a crazy cat lady and I don't want to be one.

I stood for a while and admired the peace garden.

And I had me a nice lamb sandwich for lunch.  Yum.

At the end of my tour around, I realized that the only other thing that I really wanted was that skein of sock yarn at Snowshoe Farm so I wandered back over and it was still sitting their patiently waiting for me.

I didn't find of the friends that I went there expecting to meet up with but I did run into Earthtones Girl and I met Knitgrrl  who was very very cool.

On the way home, a hawk flew into my windshield which was kind of a surprise.  The hawk was fine as was I and he was really quite beautiful.  He may have  lump or two but I'm pretty sure he survived.

And of course, we shall finish things out with BadKitten Day 3.  Iron and Wine's "Boy With A Coin".  Very cool song.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Really Enjoy It When Things Come Together

Several years ago, I met Kenny Loggins.  It was just for a second and he was really really nice. 

Several years ago, I also met my friend Mark and it feels like I only knew him for a second.  He was gone way too soon. 

Yesterday was his Viking Funeral and, as surprising as it may seem, Winnie the Pooh came up a lot!

And, in the most wonderfully synergistic way, this is our selection from BadKitten today.  I give you Day 2 of 40 Days of BadKitten and I do believe that Mark is listening.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

40 Days of BadKitten

Let's start out with the fact that, for the most part, radio is dead.  And I weep softly for the radio of yore.  I was raised in a household with a lot (and I mean a lot of music).  My dad had a kick ass stereo and he played it really loud (still does actually).  And his taste in music was really eclectic (still is actually).  On any given day we could be listening to The Elephant's Memory or The Student Prince or Japanese Folk Songs or Slim Whitman or Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald. 

And I inherited that gene from Pop.  There are about 9,000 songs on my iPod of all different genres.  But, at some point, they just stop.

Because radio died. 

And if you are of my generation, that's where you learned about new music.  We had WLIR.  We had Scott Munie (I actually have a playlist on my iPod called Bless Me Scott Munie for I Have Sinned to keep all of my really embarrassing songs together.  Hello?  The Night Chicago Died?  Oh the shame.)

So I've suffered from new music withdrawal. 

A few years ago, I was at a family party and walked outside where the valet parkers were hanging out while they waited for us all to leave.  I think that's probably a pretty boring job--rush rush rush when everyone arrives, sit around for hours while everyone is inside have a good time, rush rush rush when everyone leaves--so they were playing some music.  As soon as I walked up they apologized for the noise and turned off their player.  I said don't worry about--I like Eminem.  And they looked at me like I had 10 heads.  We ended up having a really great conversation about music and agreed that the next time I came out, they would have a list of 5 bands that they thought were great and I would give them a list of 5 albums that they had probably never heard of that they had to check out.  The only rule--don't second guess what you think the other person would like, just share what you think is terrific.

And the list they gave me was great.  It's actually still hanging on my fridge.  So I started asking young people, on a regular basis, what they thought was great music right now and checking it out.  I feel like I'm creating my own personal network of Music Directors. 

At knitting group last week, I was talking to BadKitten and we started talking about music.  So of course, I asked her to make me a list.  I made her a CD of great songs from my day which, naturally, I forgot to bring last Thursday.

She showed up with a list for me on pretty blue paper written in pencil (I love pencils) and pink magic marker of, are you ready, 40 SONGS!!!

That's right, 40 SONGS!!!!!

So we are going to add a little feature to the blog for the next 40 days (I'll also be posting them on facebook) called 40 Days of BadKitten. 

And in the spirit of all things good, she started me out with a bonus track.

So I give you "Prelude 12/21" and "Miss Murder" by AFI (there's a little note on the list that says they're sort of connected).  Enjoy.

Sorry about the ad at the beginning of Miss Murder.  It's only a few seconds long.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Year of Living Generously--Part 2

I warned you that this generosity thing was going to be multi-parter. 

So the pillow wasn't the only great thing about knitting group the other night.  Last week, BadKitten and I had a really fun conversation. At least I thought it was fun.   Well, it turned out that she thought it was fun too because she showed up with something really cool for me.  I know this is a little bit of a tease but I'm going to launch a new feature on the blog tomorrow so you'll hear all about it then.

New topic--being generous is not always easy.  But I do think it's worth it and I like the way it makes me feel.  And, in an odd way, I'm glad that there has been a little bit of struggle along with all the benefits of it.  Because so far, each time I've ended up feeling like I did the right the thing and that was the point here, right?

Tomorrow I'm going to a memorial service for a dear friend.  And a few weeks ago, I realized that another person who really cared for Mark was no longer in my life but would probably want to know about the service.  At the same time, a few funny little things on the web came along (thank you facebook friends) that I thought would amuse him, so, even though I haven't seen or spoken to him in months, I forwarded them to him.  Yes, I know, that's a very passive way of reaching out to someone but I really wanted to start slowly.
And I got no response.  Crap.  My passive approach got me no closer to letting him know about the service.

So I took a slightly less passive approach (but yes, I know, still passive) and sent a text message.  I composed what I thought was a really nice message.  But maybe I was too honest.  I told him that I no longer had any hard feelings even though I still felt that I had some unfinished business with him.  And I said that I was still seeking closure and some resolution but that I was really progressing in that and that I hoped he was well and happy.  I asked if we could talk because I had a few things to tell him.

I expected to get a response to this (it's summarized above just so you can get the jist of it--it was a really nice message).  I thought he was say sure and I would get to tell him about Mark's service.  And I did get a response but, ironically, it was pretty snippy and he informed me that he saw no reason to talk to me.

Crap again.  I should have just sent the text about Mark's service and left out anything personal because, really, my life has been so much better without this person.  I just thought that, since we ended so poorly, a little kindness was in order. 

And  now here I was stuck with him still not knowing about the service.  And I'll tell you, I really struggled with that this week.  But, I knew all along that this was not about me--it was about Mark.  So last night, I manned up and left a very simple message with the details.  And it was hard.  I'm sure my voice was shaking and I probably sounded like an idiot but I did it and guess what? I felt great when it was done. 

Because I had done the right thing, even though it was difficult for me to do.  More proof that generosity is the right choice.   

I'm off to Rhinebeck for NYS Sheep and Wool and it's an amazingly beautiful day.  I'm going to be with my people--and I'm going to relish every moment of it.

To be continued....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Year of Living Generously--Part 1

My New Year's Resolution this year was to be more generous of spirit in 2010.  Now please understand, this was not a self deprecating resolution.   I believe that, in general, I am quite a generous person.  But this idea was something different.  For me, it was about generosity of spirit with intent.

I've always felt that there is enough misery in the world and I should actively try not to contribute to it.  But I never tried to actively contribute to generosity in the world.  So that's what the resolution was about for me--to actively try to be nice.  For the most part I'm nice (I won't say always--I've had my moments) but it has always been out of habit rather than actually deciding to be nice. 

And guess what?  It has turned out that acting with intent has amazing consequences.  I've discovered that when you choose to act in kindness, then kindness comes back to you.  In spades.  Hello--I know that this is not a new idea.  Karma?  What?  It's just been really moving for me lately.   There's a reason that this post is "Part 1".  There has been a whole lot of karma happening lately but there was a big incident tonight that I need to tell you about.

I went to knitting group tonight with a bag full of beautiful new yarn that Granny and Pop bought for me this weekend. (On sale--even better.)  I thought I had the best treat ever.

And then Pat (of the tomatoes) showed up and dropped this in my lap.

It's a pillow.  And I love it so very much.  Because Pat (who by the way is an extraordinary quilter) made this for me from the button bands and collar pieces of my friend Mark's work shirts.  Mark died the night before Thanksgiving in 2009 and I miss him more than you could possibly imagine.  He was a brilliant thinker, a wonderful man, a good friend and a helluva lot of fun.  And on Sunday, we will be gathering to sprinkle his ashes in the Hudson River.  He was a boater and he profoundly loved that river so it is a wonderful new home for him. 

I know the photo isn't great--the lighting in my house is very gentle in the evening--but I wish you all could see this and I wish you all had gotten to spend 5 minutes with Mark. 

So Pat--who I am so proud to call my friend--used her talent and her vision to make me something beautiful out of something that was so terrible and painful.

If that's not generosity of spirit, I don't know what is.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joy To The World

Did you ever see the episode of Friends when everyone is making fun of the way Phoebe runs and she explains to them that she always runs as if she is running for the swings?  Remember that wonderful feeling of running for the swings when you were a kid?  You didn't care what you looked like or what  you were wearing--all you new was that you were having fun.

Well that's the way my friend Joy knits.  She knits like she's running for the swings.  She does it purely for the fun off it.  She doesn't care if she knits "right" or "wrong" (that's a conversation for another day--there's no such thing as the wrong way to knit).  When she loses a stitch she makes a new one.

I have a group of friends that I gather with often to celebrate our birthdays.  Last year Joy sent out an email to all of us asking us not to get her things for her birthday but rather to do something special with her or find some tools for her creativity.  Oh by the way, did I mention that Joy is by far the most creative person I know?  Click on the link above to see her photos.  They're fabulous.

Now Joy is my oldest friend (I've know her since first grade--I do have one other friend that I've known longer but I didn't see her all through elementary school so Joy wins the oldest friend trophy) and I knew she would never knit herself socks.  In fact, she had once asked me to make her a pair of socks.  So I bought a sock blank, some dye and printed out the instructions and gave them to her to play with.  The plan was that once it was dyed, I would knit them up.  (They're on the needles now but that's a post for another day.)

Joy bought herself a lovely gift at her LYS as well.  It was a kit with some straight up gorgeous yarn and a pattern for a pair of mitts with a little ruffle around the top and the bottom.  I know that I said that there is no wrong way to knit but the way that Joy forms her stitches would totally screw things up if she was knitting in the round.  I gave her a little lesson on other ways to knit and sent her home with some dps to practice on.

Not surprisingly, this year Joy asked me to actually knit those mitts for her as her birthday gift. 

We figured out what she wanted (blue with pink trim) and I got them started.  They knit up so quickly that it was almost a disappointment until I realized that if I left off the bottom ruffle, there was enough yarn to make two pairs!  Woo Hoo!  I was so excited, I even took them on a trip to the beach.

Aren't they adorable.  And they're even cuter on.

And look how great they look on Joy!  I have a feeling that she may be wearing them as mismatched pairs more often than she planned because they just look so damn cute that way. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Time Flies Like an Arrow, Fruit Flies Like a Banana

Or a tomato as the case may be in my kitchen right now.

I've been house cleaning this evening, and, as I have mentioned before, I am LAZY!  I am the worlds laziest housekeeper.  And, dag nab it, I'll take it.  I live alone so the only person who is affected by my laziness is me.  And having just watched my first episode of Sister Wives, I am renewing my vows to always keep my own apartment.  Holy crap these people are just nuts.  I mean really.  How freaking needy a man are you that you need four wives?

Sarcasm aside, this show is so profoundly degrading to women.  I was at a party recently and a woman was waxing poetic about certain rap music being degrading to women and it made her worried about her daughters.  And, of course I couldn't stop myself.  Hmm--let's see.  Some asshole singer wants to call a woman a bitch or a ho.  Fine.  I'm totally okay with that freedom of speech thing.  But guess what?  When some rap singer calls a woman a bitch or a ho, at least I have a specific person to point a finger at.  The reality, as I pointed out to the women that I was talking to, is that degradation of women is an accepted social norm.  And that is far more disturbing than some dumbass rap singer (not saying all rap singers are dumbasses--there are a lot of really talented men and women out there).   And while we're at it, let's point out the implied racism here.  I worked for a hip hop music company and was shocked when we were told by MTV that they would not play our video because it had strippers in it.  Surprisingly, they had a video by a white band (okay--it was Aerosmith) loaded chock full of strippers and that was fine because it was white guys.  

As if it's not hard enough being a woman.  We deal with the whole boob thing (my bras cost over $80 and within a few months, the underwires jump ship and pop out at the most inopportune moments--I have yet to see an $80 underwire jock strap).  We deal with the whole period thing ( I'm not even going to go there).  We deal with the whole we make less money than men for the same job--still--thing.  I mean come on girls--some dumb singer is going to be the biggest threat in my life?  I don't think so.

Anyway, I've been housecleaning.  Which means I've been tidying up my studio (okay--my dining room table) and I found some wonderful things that I have yet to stash.

Look at this.

Isn't it pretty?  It's loaded with silk and, although it is not a color that is flattering on me, it will be gorgeous on more than one person that I owe a hand knit gift to.

And then there's this.

I don't even want to tell you how much I paid for this Misti Alpaca Suri.  It was on a ridiculous sale and cost me less than coffee at Starbucks.  It's so damn soft that I can't stand the thought of putting it away until I need it.  I think I'll just keep it out and stroke it for the rest of my life.

As a last thought, I was once in the bathroom at a conference with Gloria Steinem.  She had just made a great speech during which she used the word cunt more than once.  Shocking! As we were walking out of the restroom, I had to say to her "Oh my God, I can't wait to tell everyone I know that I was in the bathroom with Gloria Steinem." 

And then I spent an hour terrified that I had said "Ladies Room" instead of "Bathroom".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kids These Days

I get very frustrated when people start to complain about "kids these days".  Now you may disagree with me but I'm pretty sure that I'm right about this one.  Kids are kids.  They always have been. They always will be.  They will take your breath away when the girls put on their first high heels and the boys put on their first tuxedos.  They will inspire you to be the best person that you can be when you see their first independent act of compassion.

And they will make you shake your head in despair when they fuck up.  And they will fuck up.  I fucked up.  You fucked up.  Everyone fucked up.

So here's what's annoying me (had you caught on yet that I was annoyed).   I truly resent when people hide behind a societal "kids these days" answer when young people perpetrate crimes and terrible acts of cruelty.  Please don't act like this is something new.  Take a look at the Leopold and Loeb murder.  Rent Rebel Without A Cause.  This is nothing new.

The one thing that I do think is new is the societal acceptance of a lack of accountability.  The fact that you had poor parenting is not an excuse.  We live in a time with really significant access to information and resources so I think we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard of accountability than any generation that came before us.  (I need to add the caveat here that I understand that I am very privileged to be white, middle class and living in the U.S.  I know that there are people in the world that don't have things as easy as I do.  But I can only speak from my own experience here.)

A young man jumped off the George Washington Bridge this week because his roommate and the roommate's friend webcasted him having sex with another man.  He was 18 years old.

Don't blame facebook.  Don't blame the web.  Don't blame the kid for exploring his sexuality.  Don't blame society for lack of communication.  Don't blame George Bush or Barack Obama.  Don't blame Lindsey Lohan or Marilyn Manson.

Blame these young adults for an astounding act of cruelty.  They are currently only charged with invasion of privacy.  I feel that it should be upgraded to at the very least include a hate crime.  

Maybe I'm so frustrated by this because they chose an act of love and passion--which, let's be real here folks, we all, as human beings crave--as the weapon of their cruelty.

I will be lighting a candle for the young man who took his own life tonight and for his family.  The unfairness of their loss is almost too much to contemplate.

And I will also be lighting a candle for the legal system to hold the people who caused this terrible thing to happen to be held accountable for their actions.

They suck.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Knitting Group

also quilts!  (Okay--one of my knitting groups.) 

A teacher who was retiring from a local school offered us a lifetime of ties and those quilting girls jumped on it like a duck on Junebug! 

I don't quilt.  I barely sew.  But I can open up a tie and iron the silk nicely so the really talented quilters can get to work.

They made this beautiful wall hanging that is being raffled off THIS SATURDAY to benefit the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society.  Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25.  If you're interested in tickets, leave a note in the comments with your email and we'll make it happen.

There's lots of knitting go on here in the Y.O. and I promise more news soon. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

A La Familia

I know you're not supposed to have favorites but I do.  And damn--they live very very far away.  But Annie and Shesh are just about the most wonderful people you've ever met.  They're my cousinsfromIreland (we always say it likes it is one word) so on a gorgeous September Saturday, I got to take a ride down to the Jersey Shore because they're here visiting.

This is where they live.

 I mean really.  Could you just die?  I would never leave.  It's just about the most beautiful place in the world.

So a crowd of us got together yesterday to hang out with them.

The picture's a little blurry but I think you get the picture.  (And yes, for you regular blog readers, that's Lucy the dog in the lower left hand corner.  We were at my cousin's farm and she had a ball.)  (P.S.  I was just proofreading and as I looked at this picture quickly, it looks like we are in Ireland--niiiiice!)

Yes, I said my cousin's farm.  Which always raises the question, which kind of cousin are you?  Now you need to understand, that I have a huge boatload of cousins on my father's side of the family.  Not so many first cousins but when you start stretching it out, it immediately becomes overwhelming.

But guess what?  I know the cousin rules.  I have a chart.  And once you get the chart down pat it's really easy.

So when I got home last night, I pulled out the chart and figured out the relationship.  So my Grandmother (Anne) had a brother named Patrick.  Patrick's daughter is Annie who married Shesh (his real name is Tommy--I have no idea why we call him Shesh) and they have three awesome kids--Mary, Hugh and John.

So Annie is my First Cousin Once Removed and her kids (who I just love) are my Second Cousins.  Poor Shesh--he's just an in-law but we treat him like blood.  Hugh (who I might add I hope is reading this because I don't think he as ever come to visit) got married this year and we watched the video.  It was just lovely.  The bride's family has a lot of great singers so, as a surprise, they all got together and sang them out of the church--so much better than that formal march you always here.

My Second Cousin John joined us for a while via Skype.  That shit is just amazing.

That's Shesh with the computer and my Mom in the pink blouse.  By the way, if I told you how old my Mom is you would never believe me.  Proof that sunscreen and moisturizer are your best friends.

This is my niece BrattyGirl with her Third Cousin.

That cute little muffin is my Second Cousin Once Removed.  Are you following this?  I think I'm obsessed. 

Did you catch the purple converse sneakers on SCOR (I'm going to start calling her Score to go with the acronym--I think it suits her.)

So print out the chart and do your own family.  I'm thinking about taking down the big picture in my dining room, covering the wall with oak tag and doing a family tree.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's a Great Place to Knit Socks

After 44 years, I finally got called for jury duty.  I actually got called in March but didn't receive the summons until after the date I was supposed to show up so they gave me a postponement until September. 

And it all arrived right on time this time around.  So Friday night, I called the number and, good news, I didn't have to go in.  Then Monday night, I called the number and, good news, I didn't have to go in.  On Tuesday night (insert minor chord here), they said I had to go in.  Now honestly, I really wouldn't mind serving on an actual jury--it's just the thought of all that bureaucracy that makes me shiver.

I packed a bag (two knitting projects, two magazines, diet coke, water, a book and a sleeve of Ritz crackers) and hauled ass up to White Plains yesterday morning.  I generally avoid White Plains at all costs because it's a bear to drive in.  All the streets are one way and there are lots of buses and odd little traffic patterns.  It's not that it scares me or confuses me--it just insults my sense of good municipal design.  

But I made it through downtown to the parking garage at the library.  Where I was immediately accosted by a woman in a party dress (cut down to there!) and six inch high stiletto heels.  She was going to jury duty for the first time as well and didn't know what was going to happen and oh my God she was so nervous aboutit but she never gets out of the house except for work which she hates and they're mad that she's at jury duty and aren't these shoes great she got them on sale at Bloomingdales and her husband who is not really her husband but they've been together for seven years and they have a kid together and he's Albanian but she doesn't care what anyone says about Albanians because he treats her like a queen and does everything for her except marry her.  Whew--all this before I even put the money in the meter.  

And she didn't shut-the-f-up for the entire day.  Holy crap.

So I worked on these.  
They're Cookie A's Summer Socks (I think that's what they're called) in Knit Picks Stroll in Dusk.  They're a fun knit and go really quickly and, honestly, you don't have to pay too much attention to the pattern so they're perfect when you're stuck with a woman with typewriter mouth.  

As the day progressed, the shoes lost their charm for her when she got a big blister.  She had a pair of flip flops with her (silver glitter naturally) but she didn't want to put them on because then she would look like (and I quote) a white-trash chooch.  I don't know if that's how you spell chooch but I don't really need to know.   I would like you to pause for a moment now and think about what I might possibly have had on my feet.  Yes, they we were flip flops.  Cute ones but flip flops none the less.  So I looked like a white-trash chooch which I guess is kinda cool.  

By the end of the day, I actually got sent to a court room, watched the first round of voir dire.  Had to go back today.  Got voir dired myself and then sent packing.  It was a civil case and would probably have been interesting but I have an ethical problem with the law that the case was based on so I told the truth that I couldn't be fair and impartial.  I also told the truth about knowing the judge's brother which she very funnily asked me if I would be able to not hold that against her.

Laughed my butt off at the guy in the eye patch who had been a private investigator in Alabama.  They didn't pick him either. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just a few things

1. I'm not going to rant about anything today. Aren't you happy about that?

2. I left an ingredient out of my salad recipe. You're supposed to add 1 teaspoon of oregano to the dressing. It's been fixed on the post.

3. I am making a boat load of this salad for a party tomorrow. Burned the crap out of my thumb and made a huge mess in my little tiny kitchen but, damn, it smells good in there.

4. The blog has been quiet all week because I twisted the crap out of my right wrist last Saturday. It was more of a range of motion and weight bearing kind of injury and luckily, I could still knit. Good thing I'm a picker.

5. If your knitting group is offered ouzo, definitely accept it. But then don't complain if you have a headache the next morning and have no idea how you got that tattoo with Elizabeth Zimmerman Forever in a heart on your ass.

6. This my friend Pat.

Give her a break! She was painting her deck. She cleans up real purty!

This is what she has in her yard.

Jealous? Well you should be. There are a boat load of overripe tomatoes roasting in the oven right now (the ripe ones are too precious to roast) with tomatillos, red onion, jalapeno and garlic. There will be soup.

And the basil leaves are rinsing as I type this. There will be pesto.