Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Family

1.  My family is good--knitting books and yarn for Christmas.  Woo hoo!
2.  My family is very good--wine store gift card for Christmas.  Woo hoo hoo!
3.  My family is better than yours--some of the yarn is Noro.  Woo hoo hoo hoo!
4.  My family rocks--Flying Fingers gift card for Christmas.  Woo hoo hoo hoo hoo!
5.  I love my family and clearly, they love me back.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Hump Day

One of the best things about my birthday is that it falls almost exactly between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It's actually exactly two weeks before Christmas (don't bother doing the math--it's the 11th.) which makes it the perfect Holiday Hump Day.  Usually everyone is ready to take a much needed break.  No shopping.  No wrapping.  No baking (unless it's cake for me!). 

And we did it up right this year.  Pat (of the tomatoes) hosted a perfect gathering.  There were family, friends, friends with families with them, friends who didn't know they had me in common, old friends, new friends and really, everyone in between.  Some friends didn't have the luxury of escaping the holidays but that just means I have a reason to get together with them soon.

And we ate.  Chicken three ways, chips, dips, cheese, crackers, treats, kasha varnishkas (I have no idea how to spell that), roasted cauliflower, stuffed mushrooms, carrot cake cupcakes--need I go on?  We drank wine and soda and water and Coquito which may be my new favorite thing. 

And even though I said no gifts, there were some shiny little things for me to play with when I got home.

Last year, I had a similar gathering but the intention of it was really different.  Pat and I both needed a party so we threw one.  My birthday just happened to be at the right time.  And I think that party really launched something for me.  I realized that I am surrounded by amazing people who love me very much.  And that made me realize that I had wasted so much time being unhappy.  Look what I had!!  Right here in front of me all this time!!  And I spent the past year embracing it.  (I know I've rambled on about this before but it really is quite a stunning difference in my life.  Indulge me.)

Yes, I took some risks.  I've taken risks before and sometimes they work out and sometimes they turn around and bite you on the ass.   But it's worth it.  I finally remembered that ass bites heal. 

Yes, I still have a boat load of baggage.  But really, who doesn't?  And on the rare occasion that my baggage sneaks up on me, I have someone who holds my hand when I'm acting like a raging lunatic sensitive soul and soothes me.

I remember thinking "I can do whatever the hell I want."  And I really wish that my inner voice had said to me "Yeah, and how's that workin' out for you?"  I think it was the convergence of many, many things that led up to that birthday party in 2010 that finally made me answer that question.

So was it a perfect year?  No, of course not.  There's no such thing.  But did I live it fully and with an open mind and heart?  I think so.  At least I tried to.  And maybe the trying is the part that counts. 

I've knit a lot less because I actually have other things to do now.  I have made new friends who I really, really like.  I still knit a lot but I no longer have the obsessive need that I had to accomplish something because I'm accomplishing other things. 

I know you're dying to know what the best birthday gift I got was.  I was reading the Yarn Harlot yesterday and she had it up as the gift of the day for knitters.  On the morning of my birthday I woke up really, really early--like 4 o'clock early.  After laying in bed for about 20 minutes trying to convince myself that I was not, actually, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I got up and snuggled up on the couch with tv, a cat and my knitting.  Around 5 o'clock, Brian wandered out, half asleep and bleary and said "I didn't know where you went."  So I told him I would come back to bed and read while he slept.  He looked at me and said "No, I'll be okay.  You deserve some nice, quite knitting time" and he wandered back to bed. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Let's Not Talk About the Potatoes


Every year I give myself a cooking theme for Thanksgiving dinner.  It's not obvious and it doesn't really involve anything other than entertaining myself.  It only involves the side dishes (turkey, stuffing and gravy are sacrosanct) and it simply provides me with hours of entertainment planning the meal.  One year it was side dishes that were both sweet and savory.  Another year it was dishes that could be considered New York food.  You get the idea.


This year I went with recipes from friends and family.  Over the past few months my house has suddenly become our home and it seemed a good way to celebrate.  So instead of buying the shrimp cocktail, Brian made it (fresh horseradish is my new best friend).  We had my friend Larry's delicious corn pudding.  My mother's friend Eileen's carrots.  My sister's cranberry sauce.  My grandmother's turnips.  The sweet potatoes that were inspired by my friend Mark. 

Really--can you beat brown sugar, butter, bourbon, heavy cream and pecans.


My neighbors Joanne and Carol came over for drinks and hors d'oeurves.  I see them on the elevator all the time and on Wednesday night told them to stop by any time.  And they did!  And it was a huge treat!

Then my cousin Trina showed up after dinner for a visit. 

Look at that--friends and family!  My theme worked out.

And I really think that's why my potatoes failed so miserably.  I've made mashed potatoes about a million times.  Could do 'em with my eyes closed.  And they were so beautiful.  Five pounds of Yukon Golds that looked like they came out of a magazine spread.


Something happened.


Something bad.

Now Brian is convinced that I boiled them too long but in relation to the doneness of the turnips, they should have been just fine.  I drained them, put them back in the pot, added butter, milk, cream cheese, salt and pepper, a touch of sour cream for zing and then, lo and behold, I couldn't find the damn hand mixer.  So I grabbed my trusty potato masher and figured my biceps could use a good workout and that's when it happened.

One mash.  Just one simple mash.  And the whole thing turned into liquid.  Not even soup.  Just liquid.  My jaw dropped.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  It was shocking.

It didn't really matter because I had enough food to feed the Russian Army and no one really missed them but I couldn't get past my complete and utter failure.  And I think it may be because it was just my basic mashed potatoes.  Had I gotten a recipe from a family member or friend, I'm sure they would have been just lovely.

Bratty Girl thoroughly enjoyed picking the marshmallows off the sweet potatoes.  I couldn't help noticing that they left a little outline--kind of like the chalk outline on a dead body.


Even the potatoes couldn't ruin our fun.  (Thankfully, Brian got rid of all the evidence.)  We danced in the kitchen which, if you've ever seen my kitchen, is quite a feat.  In one of those big relationship moments, my father insisted that Brian carve the turkey this year.  And to prove what a stand up guy he is, he invited my fabulous brother-in-law to share the task with him.  We drank champagne.  We ate too much.  Then we ate more.  We had Jack Johnson on the CD player. 


I hope that you and yours had a day as wonderful as ours and that you have as many things to be thankful for as I do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My House Every Morning




Still haven't found the camera cable and I have lots to blog about but they all need photos so instead I will give you a run on sentence and a funny video.  Watch it all the way to the end.

This is totally Brian and Max.  It was actually so bad one night that Brian stayed up all night like a crazy man.  He spent the night watching very bad television and coming into the bedroom chasing the cats off the bed.  His reasoning--if they're not going to let me sleep on the bed, I'm not going to let them sleep on the bed.  Suffice it to say, that explained all the Amityville Horror "GET OUT" dreams I had that night.

You have to watch it all the way to the end.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again

Has it really been a week?  Not quite a week but close enough.

Tonight's post is just some random thoughts. 

1.  Remember when I lost the camera?  Well now I lost the cable.  I have lots of knitting to show you (and even some crochet--oye) but I can't do it until I find the cable.  Pray for me.

2.  I work in a commercial food manufacturing factory and no it is nothing like Laverne and Shirley or An Officer and a Gentleman.  But I do get to spend my days with people who are really trying to fix the things they fucked up in their lives and they inspire me more than I could ever tell you.  Everyone who works on the floor has to wear a hairnet which is really a white beret so all you see are their faces.  Today I noticed just how beautiful the faces are.  All of them.  When you can't see someone's hair you really get to experience their face and it is quite a stunning experience if you pay attention to it and enjoy it.

3.  Saturday turned out to be an oddly nice day.  It started with a funeral.  The mother of a childhood friend of mine died and off I went to the church that we all grew up in for the funeral.  I haven't seen my friend in many years--probably since her father died.  It would be very trite of me to say that I have fond memories of their house when in reality I have lifelong habits and sensual experiences that have never left me.  If you come to my house for a party and you have a cold, I will put a band aid on your cup.  I eat wheat toast and peanut butter almost every day (except for lately because the toaster died and we need to get a new one).  I know all the words to the song Cecilia.  My friend had in on a 45 (if you're too young to know what that means google it) and she had one of those record players in a box and we used to play it over and over and sing it really really loud.  I got into the car to head to the service and I turned on the radio and guess what was just starting?  Cecilia.  I felt like Mrs. Charles was checking in to see who was going to show up at church and I think she was happy I was there.  Every time I hear that song, I can actually smell their house.  It's amazing.

Take a moment and sing along.


After the funeral, I buzzed up to Dobbs Ferry to teach a really, really nice woman how to do more than just knit and purl.  We've started with knit 2 together and yarn overs.  I was so happy for her because she got it right away.  There is a math and a science to knitting and she became both a mathematician and a scientist.  We are going to make her a sampler scarf--okay, she's mostly going to make it--learning different knitting nuances.  Fun for both of us. 

Then my BFF turned up in town.  With her dog who I haven't seen in years and guess what?  He remembered me!!! It was awesome.  And it was my BFF's first time meeting HandyMan and she loved him. 

All in one day.

I just asked HandyMan if I could actually call him by name here on the blog.  You may have noticed that I don't name names without permission.  He said "Sure". 

Meet Brian.  I think he's pretty terrific.  Especially since he just spent about 20 minutes scratching my back.

4.  Comfort food for dinner tonight.  Browned some chopped meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Added my home made marinara with some oregano, red wine and more pepper.  Tossed with little tiny bow ties then added a lot of fresh ricotta, more pepper and parmesan.  Ladled it into little baking bowls, topped with mozzarella and then, spit spot under the broiler.  Delicious.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Comfort

I tend to find comfort quite easily. 

It's raining tonight--big time comfort zone for me.

HandyMan is sleeping on the couch next to me and Smokeythecat is sleeping on his belly--how cozy can you get?

I had some scallops and cream and wine and made Bubbly Bake with rice for dinner--one of my favorite comfort foods.

It should have been perfect.  But it wasn't. 

The scallops sucked.  I cooked the rice with some vegetable bouillon cubs that should have just been labeled bad salt cubes.  Have you ever had one of those tiny pillow pack salt and peppers that they give you on airplanes.  This was worse. I was going to try to reclaim it with some soy sauce but for the second time since Sunday the soy sauce is no where to be found.

I have a cold.  I have to put the laundry away.  I'm hungry and now I really don't feel like cooking again.

And then I found it.

Law & Order UK.  How on earth did I not know that this existed.  Law & Order (any version) is my ultimate comfort.  It has served me well through sickenss, unemployment and just plain old boring days.

Law  & Order UK.  Cool Brittania baby.
 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

24 Years Ago Today

On September 29, 1987, I started my first real job.  Naturally, there had been plenty of other jobs but they were part time or seasonal and I didn't need them to actually support myself.  They were just there to pay for my 1980s vices (let's not discuss those here, ahem). 

I'm honestly not really sure how I got the job.  Even then, I didn't remember sending them a resume but a phone call and an interview later, I was working for the local newspaper.

Maybe it's the rain today that's making me so nostalgic or maybe it was facebook reminding me of the owner's birthday.  Or maybe it's because it's Thursday and I was online reading the columnists like I do every week but it's been on my mind all day.   In a good way.  Sometimes that type of nostalgia can be very melancholy but not this time.

I've been reminded of the man who gave me the world's best cheesecake recipe.  And the woman who gave me the pattern for my favorite baby sweater.  I've looked around my office today and realized how different it is and yet, somehow, work is the same.  

I remember so clearly the columnist for the paper who stood at my desk and recited the last two pages of The Great Gatsby to me from  memory.  When he was dying, I wrote him a note to tell him how special that was to me.  I don't know if he ever got it but it instilled in me a lifelong commitment to eulogizing the people that I love while they're still alive to hear it.  

And I still tell the story of the day that one of the reporters--after a particularly nasty fight over something--wrote Fuck You in foot high red letters on a length of green bar paper and left it draped over their adversaries desk.  (It's funny to me that I felt I needed to add a link to green bar paper because a lot of people probably don't remember it at all.  It seemed so space aged at the time.)

I have habits that I can track back directly to that job.  Our advertising manager used to say "It's clean up time" at 4:45 every day.  I still do that.  Even if I'm not going home until 6:00 or 7:00 I still tidy my desk at 4:45. 

I fold 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper in half.  Almost compulsively.  Because that's what we did at the paper.  It was folded to be 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 to go into the copy baskets.  All of my knitting patterns--folded in half.  Directions to anywhere--folded in half.  I probably have 20 pieces of paper folded in half in my purse right now.   

I clearly distinguish between house and home.  There's a difference in the meaning of those two words.  I never say the bride or the baby was beautiful--all brides and babies are beautiful.

I laughed when I read one of the columns in today's edition.  It was about Twitter.  This from a woman who, once we started using computers, refused to have one in the front office because she didn't like the way it looked.  In 1987, birds tweeted.  Not people.  I still have the little bookmark that she gave me for a Christmas present one year.  I love to read and it was a perfect gift for me.  It's a little gilded monkey holding a bell.   Is it a reminder of a simpler time?  I don't know.  I just know that it makes me happy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Slowly Emerging

When we last spoke, I had had a crappy-doodle day.  Although nothing else dramatic has happened since then, I'm not really sure how to describe this week.  The word maze keeps coming up but that's not exactly right.  I haven't hit any walls or been chased through the snow by Jack Nicholson. 

Maybe catacombs is a better word for it (although not the definitions with the graves).  Lots of twists and turns and I feel like I'm in the dark a bit.  But there are lights--in my mind they are very gothic torches--along the way.

So here's how it's gone:

1.  Big leadership change at work.
2.  Supposed to go to knitting group and cast on a Baby Surprise Sweater.
3.  Skip knitting group and knitting to go back to work and meet with our night shift.
4.  Deal with a bunch of other issues while I'm there.
5.  Home and crash.  No cast on yet.
6.  Ridiculously early meeting.  Bring yarn and needles to work just in case I have time.
7.  Meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings.  And not a knittable one among them.
8.  Home and cast on.  Knit some.  It's going. 
9.  Saturday morning wake up early early early.   Knock out a big chunk of the sweater while my HandyMan sleeps. 
10.  Lose a bunch of knitting time because BrattyGirl is bored and lonely and wants to have lunch. 
11.  Discover that the grocery store in a Hassidic neighborhood is paradise on a Saturday afternoon.  Very few people and lots of good food.
12.  Got the cart with the OUTRAGEOUSLY squeaky wheel.
13.  Home.  Clean.  Cook. 
14.  Sunday morning--see number 9.
15.  Clean carpets.  Not sure why but I found this oddly stressy. 
16.  More early days and late nights at work.  Some knitting but not enough.
17.  Had a "damn it" moment.  I can knock out a Baby Surprise with my eyes closed.  Realize that stressy=unfocused.

Am planting my ass on the couch tonight.  This sweater is just too magical to let it get under my skin.  I actually made up a line by line spreadsheet for the pattern ages ago so that I don't have to pay attention to anything but the pure genius of the engineering of this sweater. 

I'm aiming to have some photos up soon.  The yarn is a new one from Manos and I really like it so far (although I did hit a knot).  I'll report on it when the sweater is done.

My home computer is still crashed and I am too broke to fix it or get a new one right now so I'm playing "hit and run internet access".  Maybe some money will fall out of the sky!  Is that too much too ask for?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frankly, Frankie

Okay, are you ready for this one.  It's a good one.  And it's one of the reasons that my silly little life absolutely fascinates me. 

I live on a street that is about a quarter of a mile past a three block long commercial area.  We have a great corner store.  A terrific little market.  A bar. Another great corner store.  At least three banks.  A Chinese restaurant.  A Latin coffee shop.  A soon to be opened Japanese takeout joint.

And a pizza place.

If you are from the Y.O. you will understand the nuance of a "pizza place".  It's not a pizza shop.  Or a restaurant.  It's not a store.  It's a pizza place and it really is just that simple.  It's a place where you go for pizza.

When I was a kid, the pizza place was owned by a family name Triarsi.  I think that's how you spell it.  The whole family worked there.  Two sons and a daughter.  The mother and father.  And a sort of random guy named Patsy.  Mrs. Triarsi was one of the prettiest women I've ever seen.  She had a look that my family refers to as "La Strega"--the witch.  Olive skin, black hair and blue eyes.  She was gorgeous and she was nice.  They were all nice.  And for a buck you got two slices (on wax paper thank you very much) and an RC Cola. 

Eventually Patsy took the place over.  There was fire.  There was a move.  There was another move.  There was a change of ownership and for years and years now, it's been owned by a guy named Frankie. 

Frankie is what we lovingly refer to as "a character".  He wears his shirt open to his waist and clearly uses Pantene on his chest hair.  His hair is a dramatic dyed pompadour (there is a whole school of thought that it's a wig).  He wears a big gold medallion and shockingly sculpted facial hair.  He wears white patent leather shoes with a Cuban heel.  He makes a killer pie, great meatballs and a pasta with garlic, sausage and broccoli that makes you believe in true love.  He calls everyone sweetheart.

You know this is leading to something don't you?

I had a shitball of a day today.  Utter chaos would have been a walk in the park.  I had to go back to work (again) at 8:15 to talk to our night shift and dry a lot of tears.  I finally headed home around 9:30 (ish) and had a text from Pat (of the tomatoes).  Perfect.  I was going to stop at the pizza place and grab a chicken parm wedge for HandyMan and Pat lives right around the corner so she agreed to meet me for one glass of wine.

As I parked the car and headed over to the pizza place, I couldn't believe that yet another wall of shit had fallen on me.  The pizza place was closed.  All the lights were off.  I was hungry.  I knew my honey was hungry.  And goddammit the pizza place was closed.

But the door was open.  So I poked my head in and said "Hey--Frankie!  What?  Suddenly you're working bankers hours?"   Long story short, the stove was still lit and the oven was still on and 15 minutes later, I walked out with my sandwich and a pizza.

But here's where it gets good.  He wouldn't let me pay for it.  In his words, "It's the end of the night sweetheart.  You're a good customer.  If I can't feed you, I can't feed anyone."

I actually had tears in my eyes.  I started to say "Frankie, today was awful and you just turned the whole miserable mess around for me."  All I got out was "Frankie, today was awful."  He cut me short and said "Not anymore."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Things I Will Never Forget

As I prepare to spend a day with some good friends and family, I keep being inundated with the phrase "Never Forget".  And it feels very incomplete to me.  Never forget what?  For the people who were injured or lost loved ones, to tell them to "Never Forget" feels a little cruel to me.  To suggest that they could possibly forget what happened is naive.  I do hope that they have somehow been able to relearn how to live their lives after such a profound and public tragedy and that they have been able to embrace the future.  But they are the last people who should be reminded to "Never Forget".

So, what should I be reminded to "Never Forget".   The fact that hatred exists?  Nope, I don't need to be reminded of that.  I see it all the time when someone crosses the street when a young, black man is walking toward them  The fact that we live in a world divided?  Nope, don't need that either.  We live in a country divided. 

I think that, perhaps, the day we should remind each other to "Never Forget" is September 12th.  And the people we were that day.

1.  We grieved--individually and collectively.  I know that I normally fear grief.  It makes me uncomfortable because I know that I can't do anything about it.  In times of grief, I need a job.  I'll cook.  I'll clean.  Just please don't make me look it in the face.  On September 12th, we openly grieved together.  And by doing that we created unity.

2.  We took care of each other.  Hands were held.  Backs were rubbed.  We touched each other.  Normally, we don't hug each other as often as we should.  We don't hold hands because we don't know what people will think.  Our world is so convoluted that, often, touching is misconstrued as potentially sexual rather than as a simple human function.  There's a reason that we have the ability to feel each other.  I think it is because we are supposed to. 

3.  We showed our personal weaknesses.  We talked about things that we never would have otherwise.  We showed our wounds. 

4.  We accepted help.  This is often the hardest thing of all.  Our first responders helped.  The volunteers helped.  Everyone I know did everything they could think of to help.  And, in doing so, we all accepted the help of others.  Needing help is often seen as a sign of weakness.  On September 12th, we discovered that, if you say you need help, someone will help you.  It may be because I find asking for help so difficult that the acceptance of help really resonated with me.

5.  We were all on the same team.  I have a friend who was as far on the other side of the fence politically as I am, as a person possibly could be.  And we argued.  But, at the end of the day, we always hugged each other and went on our way.  Our arguments became debates.  And then our debates became conversations.  Before September 12th, we were on opposite teams.  Now, we realized, that we just played different positions on the same team.  And we achieved compromise.  And we learned so much from each other.  And we didn't say, "I told you so" when minds were changed.  We just kept working together.  Our friendship became stronger and I still cherish him.

And with all of these things, nothing bad happened.  The fear of touching, the fear of grieving, etc. etc. had no bad consequences.  In fact, they were all good things. Our vulnerability worked to our benefit as human beings.  So that is what I will never forget.  And I will do my best to do so with an open heart and an open mind.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Just Planning on Celebrating the People I Love

This does not make me un-American.  Frankly, I think it makes me more of an American. I am sick to death of all the programming on TV about the 10th Anniversary of September 11th.  Mostly because I find so much of it profoundly disrespectful.  Really?  I need to see a show about "How Pop Culture Saved America"?  Are you kidding me?

If you had asked me on September 10th if I could have emotionally survived watching thousands of people die, I would have said "Absolutely Not!".   I assumed that I did not have the fortitude to handle something like that and that I would have had to be institutionalized.  But that didn't happen.  

What did happen was that it made me want to be a better person.  Like thousands, actually millions, of others, I just wanted to help.   I realized that we live in a turbulent world and that, perhaps, peace is a pipe dream.  But compromise and acceptance are not and I could embrace those in my own life.  It took a long time for me to articulate this.  September 11th was raw.  It was painful.  I felt the glass in the air when the second plane hit the towers.  I was so overwhelmed by the loss of the day that I actually focused on the pigeons that must have been killed in the plaza between the towers.  That was so much easier for me to handle than all of the people who were gone.  

Earlier this year, I was at a Bat Mitzvah and, since I couldn't understand the Hebrew portions of the ceremony, I read the prayer book.  And I found a prayer that said (and I paraphrase):  Don't pray for things that have never existed.  Don't pray for peace--instead pray for tolerance and communication.  Wow!  It rocked my world. 

In that moment, I realized that the idea of peace is totally individual.  I know what I think peace looks like.  You know what you think peace looks like.  And they are probably extremely different visions.  Because, since we have no real, global examples to hold it up to, peace is completely subjective.   

On the other hand, I have seen--and participated in--acts of kindness.  Moments of coming together.  Unique situations that could have gone terribly wrong but turned out just fine.  And I can seek those out and try to make them bigger and more common.

I will be watching one program on September 11th.  I will watch the 48 Hours coverage of the day.  Do you know why?  I will watch them because they were there.  And I will pray for all of the people who were there and not watching from up-river like I was.  And, on September 11th, I will shine a white light out of the very bottom of my soul for all of the people who are remembering loved ones lost.  And all of those who stepped up and became a better person that day.

And in their honor, I will live my life to the fullest. I will do my best to live every day as if it is my last.  And I will try my hardest to be kind and loving. And (and I know that there are people in the world who will have a problem with this), I will include the people who did this horrible act in my prayers.  Their lives were lost as well and I am deeply saddened that there are so many people in the world who are so profoundly hateful and unhappy that they see acts of terrorism as the best option for themselves. 

I double parked my car at the post office today and, as I was hopping out of the car to run to the mailbox, a man who was crossing the street took my mail out of my hand, added it to the pile he was carrying, gave me a little wave and took it all across the street and dropped it in the box. 

I think that we should start a new tradition of making "September 11th Resolutions".  Mine is to try to be like that man who took my mail today and do one, small act of kindness every day. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's Better Than Saying That I Sit Like A Man

The other day, I tried to explain to someone that I had a certain way of sitting when I knit.  I only sit this way at home on my couch but, since that's where I do most of my knitting, I pretty much consider it my stance.

What I said was, "I sit like Whitney Houston singing 'I Will Always Love You'".  They didn't get it.

Elbows on my knees.  Yarn between my feet.  The big difference is that I'm usually not wearing lipstick, my hair is in a pony tail (I shed), I have no body guard and I haven't just pimp slapped Bobby Brown.  I do, however, usually take my bra off so me and the Whitster have that in common as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It Went Click

Sometimes things just need to click.  So much has happened over the past six weeks and, although I am quite happy about all of it, sometimes it scares the crap out of me.  I've had several random moments when I've suddenly stopped dead in my tracks because my inner voice was screaming "What the hell are you doing?  Have you lost your ever loving mind?"

And then I calm down and I wait for the clicks. 

The first click came when he mentioned that he liked to keep the extra toilet paper in the built in hamper in the bathroom.  He did it very nicely but my first reaction was "NO THAT'S THE HAMPER IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE HAMPER AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE HAMPER AND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD DON'T YOU KNOW THAT THE EXTRA TOILET PAPER SHOULD BE PERCHED PRECARIOUSLY ON THE TOP SHELF OF THE HALL CLOSET WHERE IT WILL FALL DOWN AND HIT YOU ALL THE TIME BUT IT WON'T HURT BECAUSE IT'S TOILET PAPER AND DON'T WORRY YOU'LL GET USED TO IT AND NEVER MIND THAT THE HAMPER DOESN'T HOLD ENOUGH FOR ONE OF US NEVER MIND BOTH OF US IT'S A HAMPER DAMN IT!"

Before all of this came out of my mouth, it clicked.  Guess where the extra toilet paper is living these days?

The second click came when he said "It's just a little pet peeve of mine."

"PET PEEVE!  YEAH WELL THEN WHEN DO I GET MY PET PEEVES?  I'M A HUMAN BEING!  I HAVE PET PEEVES TOO!"

The great goddess of shutthefuckup was definitely looking over me again as this sentence never made it out of my mouth.  What did occur was my that this entire house is full of MY pet peeves.  There is no habit or system or really anything that is not one of mine. 

Click.

The third click was, I think, the biggest so far as it stretched out over the course of two weeks.  You see, we both really like to cook.  And both of us are really good cooks.  So one of the first things that we did was inventory the freezer and the fridge.  For some reason, he seemed to believe that the last time I went grocery shopping was some time during the Clinton administration and was sure that everything I owned was spoiled.  (Okay, there was a 10-year-old bottle of steak sauce but at least it was unopened.  I let him throw it out.)

After a few tense moments, and a serious scrutiny of expiration dates, pretty much everything stayed.  However, I got a hrumph and a eyebrow lift over the tupperware container full of gorgeous duck fat that I keep in my freezer.

Flash forward a few days and come join me in the kitchen.  We've gotten home late and are both hungry and--lucky for us--had had the sense to take some pork chops out of the freezer that moring.  At this point in the story, I need you to understand that I have never met a pork chop that I didn't like and that I make really, really killer pork chops.  It's really quite simple and much more of a technique than a recipe.  Put a drop of olive oil about the size of a half dollar in a skillet that can go in the oven (I've lectured enough about the beauty of cast iron so I'll let it go this time).  Salt and pepper both sides of the chops and, over a mediumish flame sear them on one side for about 5 minutes.  Flip the chops and pop the whole pan into a 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes before you serve them and you will have perfect juicy pork chops every time.  (Note--these times are for center cut chops.  If you have the really thin ones, start checking them after 5 minutes in the oven.)

So there I was, getting everything ready and a voice comes from behind me saying "What are you doing with those pork chops?  They need liquid.  They'll dry out!"  So I just said, "Leave me alone I'm cooking."  I said it very softly and I think I may have scared him a little bit so he went grumbling to the couch.  I heard a few grousing "If they're dry I'm ordering out" comments but I ignored them.

And now, of course, I had to prove a point.  So out came the duck fat.   A little thinly thinly thinly sliced onion.  Two thinly sliced potatoes and some salt and pepper.  All  into another skillet.  In no time flat they were beautifully brown and crispy and perfect.  The chops came out and went on a plate.  Some white wine and lemon juice went into the skillet and back on the stove. Boiled for a few minutes then finished with some butter.  Outrageous.

I plated it and brought it out and he looked at it and immediately apologized.  He ate three pork chops and all the potatoes.

But guess what?  That's not even the click part.   The click part came a week later when he asked for the same dinner.  No problem.  As you can see, it's a quick easy meal so we had a lovely supper. 

The click part came the next night.  I had been down to pick up our CSA bags for work (we get two bags of wonderful fresh veggies for our employees) and the farmers had overharvested herbs that week so they had gorgeous, tender thyme, rosemary and parsley to give away for free.  I couldn't resist accepting a few handfuls and stopped and picked up a whole chicken to roast for dinner.

When I got home, I realized that there were still two pork chops left and I couldn't let them go to waste so we decided to hold off on the herb roasted chicken for another night.   And here's the part where the clicking starts.

Here's what I heard from the living room.  "I'll leave you alone in there but could you make the duck fat potatoes again?"  Cl...  Sure.  Sliced the chops and heated them up in the gravy.  Delicious.  Clic.........

A few hours later when a certain someone got hungry again (have I mentioned his metabolism) he started poking around the kitchen looking for something to eat.  He emerged 20 minutes later with meat ravioli served in the last of the pork chop gravy and finished with a handful of the herbs I had brought home. 

CLICK!!!!!

It was such a perfect moment.  I know this is a really long story to get to such a seemingly silly thing but it was the first time our cooking came together like that.  He's made things.  I've made things.  We've made things together. But this time, there was serendipity and intuition and connection in the kitchen even though we weren't in there together.   When we've made things together before, it was intentionally "our food".  This time it was naturally "our food" and that's a big difference.

P.S.  There should be great photos of the food in this post but home computer is still down.  And it's not going in to get repaired until Mercury gets the hell out of retrograde.

 




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

1.  Does anyone else find it interesting that Jerry Lieber and Nick Ashford died on the same day. 

2.  Bratty Girl started college yesterday.  I'm thrilled, nervous, etc. etc. etc.   This is going to be a long four years.

3.  I learned today that if you search "swimming pool tits" in Turkey, my blog is the 455th result.  Weird, right?

4.  My coworkers are so used to me that no one has asked why there's an electric toothbrush on my desk.

5.  I really, really, really need to fold the laundry.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Fun Being a Girl

I read this article the other day and started writing a total rant about it but stopped myself.  I just have three quick points to make:

1.  Courtney Love is held up as a role model.  Hello?  Miss Heroin is no heroine to me.
2.  The Signourey Weaver character in Working Girl was not a "superwoman" as you say.  She was a raging bitch who lied and cheated her way to the top.
3.  You mention Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.  How about mentioning the real Erin Brokovitch and the real Karen Silkwood.

Rant over.

I knit.  I cook.  I rule. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

F-You Mercury

According to every horoscope I've read, Mercury is retrograde.  Which has been shockingly apparent lately.

1.   The home computer crashed.  For some odd reason, I didn't freak out about it.  I have a loaner from work and I'm not going to take the broken one in until after this retrograde shit is over.

2..  I wore two different shoes to work yesterday.  One had a big flower, the other little sequins.  And one was higher than the other.  It took me hours to notice, even though I did catch on that I was feeling a little limpy.

3.  Sent my guy off to his union meeting in Manhattan.  Cancelled.

4.  Had a long email conversation with my IT guy in which we were each talking about something different even though our responses all sort of made sense.

5.  We did finally find the heating pad but now no longer need it.

I can't wait until August 27th.

P.S.  I generally read my horoscope when I have no idea what to do.  Hey, my life is in the toilet bowl and I don't know which end is up--I'm going to follow the one sentence advice of a total stranger at the NY Post.  Otherwise, I don't really keep up on it.





Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Good Things

1.  Getting flowers for no reason.


And then coming home to an amazing dinner (there was shrimp cocktail).

2.  Kittens



She and Max have been plotting all day.  They're either going to murder us in our sleep or sing Memory.

You can thank me later for not linking to the Barry Manilow version.

3.  Penne with sausage and broccoli from Palisade Pizza.  Thank you Frankie.

4.  A silverware drawer that opens and closes.

5.  A clear spot of floor in Chez Chaos.  It slowly, slowly, slowly moves forward.  And I'm not complaining one bit.  Slow and sure wins the race.  Things are starting to look really good around here.  The plastic room is still hanging around the kitchen door to keep the sawdust in but I'm just calling it a second bedroom.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Balance

When I started this post today, it was called Strangers.  But as I wrote it I realized that the idea of strangers was a small part of what was really on my mind. 

I've still been thinking about interdependence a lot and the concept of balance keeps emerging.  Balance is not equality.  Or tit for tat.  It's not "the groceries are $10.15 so here's $5.08 and you have to pay the extra penny next time."  Balance is not readily measurable. 

Balance is catching someone when they are falling.  It's picking someone up who fell too fast.  And it's being caught when you are falling and picked up when it's your turn to hit the ground hard.  It's flying high together.  Sometimes, it's being loud while someone else is quiet.  Sometimes, it's singing along to the radio together.  It's one person navigating while the other drives.  But it doesn't just come from personal relationships.  It comes from inner contentment and thoughtfulness.  It comes from knowing yourself and loving the person who you are. And, often, it comes from strangers.

This week I found two things on Ravelry. 

The first is this beautiful new baby.  I don't know her and I don't know her parents but for whatever reason, she has come to represent birth and beginnings and all babies to me.  She's beautiful and I find myself going back to visit her.  She makes me cry happy tears and giggle out loud.

The second is this young woman.  She died in April in an accident on the camping trip that she mentions on her blog.  I don't know her either and didn't start reading her blog until after her death.  And I wept openly for her.  Just as the baby has come to represent a concept to me, this young woman has come to represent loss.   In the pieces of herself that she shared on her blog, I see so many other woman who I have known and loved in my life.

And in that there is balance.  Beginning and end.  Life and loss.  From strangers.   

I am finally feeling balanced in my life.  So much so that I am surprised at just how unbalanced my life was.  That doesn't mean that there weren't wonderful things in my life or fabulous moments or kind and loving people.  It means that there were bad things, and rotten moments and really crappy people and I let those things take over.

Balance is learned.  You have to try to balance on a two-wheeler, it doesn't just happen.  But once you learn it, it's wonderful and you can stop worrying about the balance and enjoy the wind in your hair and feel of the road under your wheels.  And when your balance starts to waver, you feel it right away and can fix it before you fall.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Am the World's Worst Passenger

We abandoned Chez Chaos this weekend and took a daycation out to Pennsylvania.  It turned out to be more than a day which was just fine with me.

I'm usually the driver but this time I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to get a few hours of knitting time in while my Handy Man drove.  I just forgot to tell him that I really suck at being the passenger.  And I mean REALLY SUCK!  I have a friend who has threatened to put a burlap sack over my head whenever she has to drive me anywhere.  I give directions.  I check the mirrors.  I look over my shoulder.   But the worst part is, I flinch.

I flinch a lot.

Which is bad.

Luckily, my Handy Man is also a very patient man who understands me (for the most part) so I didn't drive him crazy.  After we made it up the loop-de-loop from the Major Deegan and got over the GWB, I calmed down a little and settled in with my Citron.  The ride up the loop-de-loop was definitely going to be a make or break moment for us.  I hate that thing on a good day and I avoid it at all costs but we had stopped in the Bronx to get bread and I couldn't really say, "Hey, let's go all the way across the Bronx, waste a half hour and pay a toll" just to avoid the loop-de-loop. 

There's always traffic on it and there's a big merge in the middle of it and you're up really really high which I don't like at all, ever, anywhere and then for a random 20 feet you're on solid ground again and then you're up even higher and there are 18 wheelers and holy crap on a cracker I'm never going to survive this.  And if that's what it's like when I'm driving, you can only imagine what it was like when I was the passenger.  I had to cover my eyes until we got under the apartments (you have to be from NY to understand what that means but just trust me, it's a real place.) 

From there on out, it was smooth sailing.  We had a peaceful, restful weekend notwithstanding a tumble out of bed and a bloody shin.  (It wasn't so much the fall as the sudden stop.)  The plan was to head home Sunday afternoon but there were fresh tomatoes and fresh corn and a swimming pool and a little nap in the sun and I'm just not strong enough to resist that sort of a Sunday.

We made it home before midnight, stopped and had a quick nightcap and slept the sleep of the innocent.  By the way, I drove home.

 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm Hoping Today is the Day

I still haven't found the camera but I'm hopeful.  I have been able to get to the general area where I thought it was but still haven't been able to put my hot little hand on it. I have so many things to show you that  I was considering getting some paper and crayons and drawing pictures instead but I can't find those either.

So today will just be some random notes.

1.  Chez Chaos gets better every day.  The piles are diminishing slowly but surely and we can almost walk around.

2.  All of my kitchen cabinets now close and latch.  This (much like the bathroom doorknob) has never happened in the history of my apartment.  No more getting bonked in the head while I wash dishes.  Glory Hallelujah it's like a brand new place.

3.  We're finally able to cook.  Too bad I can't find the camera or your mouth would be watering right now.   The first of the tomatoes are ripening up in Pat's garden and they are absolutely perfect.

4.  The heating pad is still missing.  Damn.

5.  I had to get a new alternator (thank you Pop).  It was quite dramatic when it happened.  It actually crossed my mind that my car might have been being taken by aliens (and me with no knitting with me!) but it turned out to be pretty mundane.  However, you would be surprised at how much power your car can lose without you noticing.  It seems the death of alternator is a gradual process.  Now it's like driving an airplane.  Very exciting.

6.  I think my boss may have gone on vacation without telling me.

7.  I'm going to try to use the word "hubris" in a sentence today (and this sentence doesn't count).  I'm feeling the need for some righteous indignation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Still No Photos

I think I know the general area of the house that the camera is in right now but there's no way in hell I can get to it.  The kitchen is finished being painted so we can start moving things back in and give me some room to get the rest of all my stuff organized which makes me believe that things should be back to normal pretty soon. I'm continuing with the "touch things only once plan" which is working out great for my work desk but not so well for Chez Chaos.  And let's not talk about my desk at Chez Chaos.

There are little paths through the house right now and last night I ended up in a tangle with Heatherthecat in the hallway.  She was walking in one direction and I was walking in the other and it was dark and somehow her front paw went right between my second and third toes and neither of us had a clue what the hell had happened.  We both walked away unscathed but spent the rest of the night giving each other shifty glances whenever we moved.

Aside from the fact that there are things that I just can't reach, so far only one item has gone completely lost.  The heating pad has been missing for two days and I'm sure it's going to turn up somewhere crazy.  In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the manufacturers of Tiger Balm.  I don't know what would have happened without you.

There have been a lot of conversations that go like this:

Him--Oh crap.  Where's the skinny screwdriver?
Me--In my purse.

Me--I can't find the cat food bowls!
Him--Don't worry.  They're under the table and I already fed them.

Him--Have you seen the bandaids?
Me--They're in my purse.

Me--Have you seen the kitten?
Him--She's on top of the blanket, that is on top of the bag, that is on top of the box, that is on top of couch--22.  She'll be okay.  She has her pink yarn with her.

Him--I'm hungry.
Me--I'm hungry.
Both--Hell if I'm gonna try cooking in that kitchen right now.  Let's go out.

I probably just put a huge curse on the whole process but we're so close to the end, I'm sure it will be fine.

Up next--the new kitchen floor goes down in a few days, the bathroom gets a pretty new coat of paint, and the tomatoes from Pat's garden get sliced up and served with cheese.  Sounds like a pretty good plan.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Goal For Today

I'm going to get through a bunch of crapola today.  There's a boatload of paperwork on my desk and the chaos at Chez Y.O. is starting to get to me.

So here's the plan.

Touch everything only once.  Do what needs to be done with it and get it out of the pile.   No setting something aside for later.  No slipping it lower in the pile.  Just deal with it. 

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Photoless Day

It happens sometimes.  The camera battery is dead so today is all about imagination.

I would like you to close your eyes and imagine what my bathroom door looks like with a shiny round thing on it.  Oooo.  Doesn't that look pretty?  Don't you want to reach out and turn it?  After 13 years, I finally have a doorknob on my bathroom door.  I keep looking at and touching it and turning it.  It's like having a brand new toy to play with.  Of course the first night it was on I walked square into the door in the middle of the night.  Not having to turn a knob does have some benefits like not knocking yourself unconscious when you have to pee.

The kitchen is coming along swimmingly.  The walls have been replastered and sanded and are smooth as silk.  Today the paint goes on and the plan is to install the new floor on Monday.  For now we're just painting it white and will play with other paint colors later on.  I'm going to have to retire my recipe for paint chip souffle but that's probably a good thing.

I gotta tell you, it's a lot of fun having a handy man around the house.

The kitten is also coming along swimmingly.  She almost let me pet her last night and then freaked herself out and ran and sat under the rocking chair staring at me.  She will play with me as long as the toy is on a string (or is a string--she has a piece of pink yarn that she's in love with) and she'll sneak up on me when she thinks I'm asleep or not paying attention.  And she has conquered the mountain of tools that currently takes up the foyer.  She scales them like they're the Himalayas and then hides in the caves and jumps out at the other cats.  The other cats have been very patient with her.  Maxthecat is her special protector which is kind of cute.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Who wants to let Justin Beiber know he has nothing to worry about?

Another talented musician dead at 27.

Hendrix



Morrison


Joplin



Cobain



And now Winehouse



A real shame.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Random Day

1.  I'm not going to talk about the heat.  I'm not.  Because that would make it even hotter.

2.  We are currently under construction here at Chez Y.O.  The kitchen is finally getting scraped and painted and I am beside myself I'm so excited.  The rest of the house is chaos because of it but soon--very soon--it will no longer look like Pompeii.


3.  I finished the first of two Citron's--FINALLY--but that's another blog post.

4.  Have you ever eaten at The White Dog Cafe?  You should.  I had an amazing dinner their the other night with an amazing group of people.  They had us all set up at a big round table and I felt like I was at someone's house for a fabulous dinner party.  The lamb ragout is outstanding. 

5.  There's a kitten in my house.  She's hiding right now (see number 2) but is getting friendlier and friendlier every day.  As soon as she sits still for long enough, I'll get a photo.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bad Kitten's Rocking This One



I was going to post it on Bless Me Scott Munie but this song isn't embarrassing.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Honey, It's Time We Have a Talk About Pork Shoulder

I made pernil today.  Okay, technichally it was yesterday and today but since it was finished today, let's just go with that.

And it was good.

And I promised I would post the recipe.  It doesn't look very pretty when it's ready but it tastes delicious.


And there's nothing sadder than how it looks after some time on the buffet table.


And yes, for those of you with magnifying glasses, that is a little piece of tortilla chip in the middle of the bowl.  Apparently, someone (no names mentioned but you know who you are) thought it would be a good idea to eat it like dip.

I promised I would post the recipe so here it is.


Step 1—Pick out a nice pork shoulder (also often called picnic).  Look for a nice big bone and about half (or more) of it covered with skin.  I have found that if you go to a market that caters to a Hispanic consumer, you’ll get a better roast and a much better price.  This is generally a pretty cheap cut of meat and often goes on sale for as low as 79 or 89 cents a pound. Full retail is generally $1.59 a pound.  If they try to charge you more than that, call the Better Business Bureau.

Step 2—Score the skin at about 1 ½ inch intervals with the sharpest knife you have.  The skin is really tough.  Use your kitchen scissors if you need to.

Step 3—Make a wet rub. 
                1 cup sliced garlic  (Please don’t be silly and slice it yourself.  Buy a jar of sliced garlic and include some of the juice.)
                ¼ cup olive oil
                ¼ cup cider vinegar
                2 tablespoons dry rubbed sage
                1 teaspoon salt
                ½ teaspoon pepper (about 20 grinds)

Dump all of this into the food processor and let it run until you have a really disgusting looking greyish green mess (that's the sage).

Step 4—Put the pork in a bowl that just barely fits it.  Pour the wet rub over it and rib it in.  Roll it around.  Give it some love.  Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge until it’s almost bedtime.

Step 5—When you’re just about ready to go to bed, peel some onions and slice them about ½ inch thick.  I usually use one big red onion and one big yellow onion.   I can’t tell you how many onions your roast will need, you’ll have to use your own judgment here.    Lay the slices down on the bottom of your roasting pan in a platform big enough to hold your roast.

Step 6—Put the roast on the onions with the side with the most skin up.  Pour any leftover wet rub over the roast and then tightly cover your roasting pan with aluminum foil.  If your pan has a lid, put it on over the foil.  If it doesn’t have a lid, add a second layer of foil.  Turn your oven on to the lowest setting possible.  Mine has a warm setting and then starts at 220 degrees so warm is really 200.  Put the pan in the oven and  go to bed.   I use the warm setting.  (You may also want to make sure you have a good battery in your smoke detector but maybe I’m just a Nervous Nelly.)

Step 7—When you wake up in the morning, you can turn the temp up to 250.  Your house will smell amazing and, if you live in an apartment building, your neighbors will be banging on your door in their pajamas waving torches and clutching knives and forks.  Once the roast has been in for about 10 hours (11:30 bed time, 9:30 uncovering) take the pan out of the oven and remove the lid and the foil.  At this point it should be falling apart.  It will also look grey and gross and you will wonder what the hell you did wrong.  There will also be a lot of liquid in the pan.  Just keep following the directions.    Turn the heat up to 350 and return the uncovered (Naked! Shocking!) roast to the oven to crisp up the skin.   If you have a lot of skin on your roast, you can go as high as 425 with the temperature.

Step 8—After an hour the skin should be gorgeous and you are almost done.  If it takes a little bit longer, that's okay.  Take the roast out of the oven and put it back in that nice tight bowl that you marinated it in.  Pull out the bones and pull the skin off with your fingers.  It will be falling apart.  Use a fork to pull the meat apart (or really--you can just blow on it and it will collapse) and remove as much visible fat as you can.   The skin is actually really really good.  Use a fork to scrape the fat off the back and then tear up the skin and add it back to the meat.  Any skin that is too tough to tear is too tough to eat so throw it in the trash or give it to a really good dog to gnaw on.

Step 9—Last step!  Use a skimmer to pull the onions out of the liquid left in the pan and either eat them, add them to the meat or toss them.   Your choice.  I add them into the meat.  They melt.  Pour the liquid into a measuring cup and let it sit until the fat settles on the top.  Skim off as much fat as you can with a spoon then give it a good stir and pour it over the meat in the bowl. 
You can serve it warm, cold or room temp.  With rolls for sandwiches or rice and beans.  Or salad.  Or add it to black bean soup.    You can even just pop the bowl in the fridge and nibble on it at will.

The best part—it’s even better the next day!  If there's any left.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Inter-Dependence Day!

I'm creating a new holiday.  Hear ye, hear ye--from this day forward, on July 5th, the day after Independence Day, I plan to celebrate our inter-dependence.  Not sure if it should be hyphenated but that's how I'm branding it.  It'll be easier for Google to create a cool doodle if there's a hyphen.

Much like independence, inter-dependence is a tricky thing.  With independence comes responsibility and accountability.  In my work, I try to create an environment for people to move from dependency on social services to self sufficiency.  The hardest part about my job is working with people who have gotten over the hump but are trying to do everything themselves.  I use a lot of sentences like "You are going to have to manage your resources rather than having your resources manage you" and "the important thing about self sufficiency is the sufficiency part and realizing that your community is part of your self."  Bleh.  I've come realize that it's not about independence--it's about conscious inter-dependece.

I consider myself a very independent person.  But I really have no patience for dealing with any mechanical problems with my car.  Yes, I can change a tire and put on new windshield wipers.  But I don't want to.  I once had a mechanic almost faint on me when I told him that the car was making a noise but it went away when I turned the radio up.  It's just not my bag.

On the other hand, my dad loves to go hang out with the mechanic.  It makes him happy.  It makes me happy.  Pop has tea with Samthemechanic.  My car gets fixed.

And that's the thing about inter-dependence.  There is balance.  There is equity in the satisfaction of all the parties involved.

I think this may be one of those multi-post topics.  I probably shouldn't have started it until I had more clarity on it but, hell, it's my blog, I'll do whatever I want.  Lots of ideas about this are swirling through my head right now and I think that's a really good thing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance

Bratty Girl is officially a high school graduate.  I still not sure what happened to the little baby who chattered away in her high chair and punctuated her gibberish with such expressive hand gestures but am so in love with the beautiful young woman that she has become.

Graduation was supposed to be outside but brutal thunderstorms forced the celebration into the school.  Which meant two tickets (and two tickets only) for the auditorium and bleacher seats in the gym with a video feed for the rest of us.  Which was fine with me because I could knit. 

Surprisingly, the video feed worked really really well and the mood in the gym was so celebratory I felt like I was at a huge party.  And, I swear, when the graduates walked past the camera into the auditorium, she was looking right at me.

This is what it looks like when you get your diploma on a big screen.


You'll have to take my word for it that she is gorgeous.  And the speeches were all really, really good.  I usually say the speeches are good because it's important to encourage young people but, for real, these were great speeches.

And the cutest little girl was sitting on the bleachers with me.  She was intrigued with my knitting, and it took her while but she finally got up the nerve to wiggle over and ask what I was doing.  Of course I showed her.  Then she asked if it was my job to knit things and, as much as I would have loved to have said yes, I had to be truthful and tell her I did it for fun.

She was so sweet and so friendly that I had to break off a length of yarn and make a little chain stitch bracelet with her.  She was just so sweet.  Very much like Bratty Girl at that age. 

The only downside of the day was my poor mother landing herself in the hospital for a few days.  Turned out that everything was okay but I do hate those phone calls at dawn. 

There was a young man in this cool t-shirt sitting in the folding chairs in front of me.


"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."  Words to live by I think. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dr. Frankenspin

Dr. Frankenspin has created a monster!

Actually, Dr. Frankenspin is the love child of  BadCat and Amputeehee.

A few months back, I won some beautiful fleece from Amputeehee and I promised I would learn how to spin.  Then BadCat, and all the other enablers in my knitting group, decided it was a good idea for us all to have a little spin-a-thon.

Last Sunday we all overtook Margaret's back deck with pot luck and fleece and wheels and spindles and needles and yarn and dogs and cats and--need I say more.


Laurie let me try her wheel. 

A little bit of that yarn was spun by me!  Yipee!

Then BadKitten sat me down with a spindle and got me started.  It's a new process but I've been practicing and it does get easier.  I think I may prefer the wheel to the spindle but, damn it, I'm going to get good at both!

Cara and Dawn both mastered their spindles pretty quickly. 


Don't they remind you of Sleeping Beauty's Fairy Godmothers?  

Shannon brought a friend who is the sister of the woman who cuts my hair so I automatically loved her.  If you ever need a good haircut in Westchester, let me know! 

The dog ran off with BadKitten's black laceweight yarn but, after the initial shock, both she and the yarn recovered.  Although she was a bit camera shy.


Please note the gorgeous cobwebby fabric she's making.  It's totally cool and gorgeous.  I think I may have to start calling her CoolKitten.

In other news, I'm going to redesign the blog soon.  I've never been much of a brown person so I think we need a new look.  Suggestions are welcome!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Following Up

One--My bank is amazing.  By the time I got to my local branch on Saturday morning, the bank had already resolved all the fraudulent checks on my account.  Apparently their fraud department caught it, corrected it and then went home at 5 o'clock.  The data just hadn't hit the big computer system when I flipped my wig on Friday night.  And they hadn't called me to alert me because my profile was incomplete.  When I opened the account 17 years ago, I guess they weren't quite as tech savvy as they are now. 

When I was on my way, I decided I needed a little fortification so I stopped at my new favorite bakery.  The owner is so nice and welcoming that I had to completely dump my tale of woe at her feet.  After a cup of coffee (on the house--thank you very much) and a scrumptious lemon blueberry muffin, I was ready to go fight a battle that it turned out I had already won. 

I love my banker and I love my baker.

Two--The event that I went to Thursday night was really, really nice.  And it didn't feel weird at all.  I think a big part of it was that it was a very different type of event than the ones that I used to throw for them.  One of my colleagues presented the award to one of the honorees.  This guy is just fabulous--an amazing worker, a real leader and a hell of a guy.  He's an ex-felon who has completely turned his life around and he was an inspiration to everyone in the room. 

The honoree that he was presenting to founded B Corporations--a new corporate structure that takes into account more outcomes than just traditional profit--and Dion talked about the fact that he made some bad choices in his life but now he's making good ones.  Then, his speech linked it all together saying that B Corps allow business the option to make good choices too.  When he got to the part about knowing how hard this is but also how important it is, he choked up, I started crying, everyone else started crying and then the cheering began. 

I was so proud of him for having the courage to talk about his life so openly and for being so willing to share his emotions.  He's a rock star and a reminder of how lucky I am to do the work that I do.

The event was at X20 which is outstandingly beautiful.  Peter Kelly's food is top notch so we were all very spoiled and pampered by the end of the night.  And we had a truly amazing storm come down the Hudson (the restaurant is on the Yonkers City Pier) which was dramatic and exciting.

Three--I mentioned a new blog the other day, didn't I?  A little background is in order here.  I was a teenager in NY in the '80s which means that I listened to WNEW.  And if you listened to WNEW you knew for certain that Scott Munie was a god.  I know I've complained about the lack of good radio and maybe I am overly sensitive to it because I remember really, really good radio. 

I also have been known to having shockingly bad taste in music on occasion.   And, dammit, I refuse to apologize for it.  I love my cheesy songs and I have no problem letting my musical freak flag fly.

I was also raised Catholic and spent twelve years in Catholic school.  When I was in second grade, we had to take the sacrament of Penance.  Really?  I was seven years old.  What on earth could I have done that was so bad.  Confession was a scary, dark sacrament and I was terrified.  Things went from bad to worse when they decided to renovate the church.  This was long before they had "face to face" confession.  You were supposed to--very anonymously--go sit in a dark box and whisper your sins.  My class, on the other hand, had to sit in folding chairs in the school gym.   They promised that the priest wouldn't look at us but I didn't really believe them. 

Naturally, I ended up on the line for Monsignor Nolan who was probably a very nice man but when I was little he scared me to death.  And he had a big black Lab that went everywhere with him--including to my first confession.  So there I was, scared out of my ever loving mind, wearing my Brownie uniform (beanie and all) and trying to come up with something really good that I had done wrong so that Monsignor Nolan wouldn't get mad at me for not confessing anything good.

Yeah, right, that was a really positive experience for me.  And considering the fact that I remember what I was wearing, you can guess just how much it scarred me.

So in the spirit of confessing my occasionally horrible taste in music I give you my new blog.

Bless Me Scott Munie For I Have Sinned.

Be very careful.  You may find yourself singing along and then you'll have to go to confession too!