Thursday, May 29, 2008

I've been tagged - what is this?

Okay Cici and Chelette you got me. I haven't done this before, but I'll give it a try...
"The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer."

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
In summer 1998, I took a 2 and half week long trip to Ireland with my son. I had long wanted to go to the remote sacred site - Skellig Michael - a remote rock with stone beehive huts which served as monks' dwellings a thousand years ago.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
It's 11 pm so I'll write about tommorrow:
Wait for delivery (which may or may not come); have a student coming to do some household repairs, phone conference 10 am-?; clean for visitors coming Sat., run errands...
3) Snacks I enjoy:
those little square wafer cookies they sell in Trader Joes and Whole Food- lemon are my favorite; ice cream, sorbet; carbs...

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Buy my brother a house; help my son out,but don't give him a lot of money; quit my job and work to improve special education in Latin America and set up a foundation; rather than buy or build a big house - buy a few small houses or apartments in places I'd like to spend time every year (an island in Ireland or Scotland, someplace in Latin America; Boston; the coast of Maine); buy a bookstore in a seaside location...

5) Places I have lived:
Germany, Kentucky, California, Japan, Georgia, Iowa, Connecticut, Boston, Maryland, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Spain.

6) Jobs I have had:
Public school teacher in Boston (17 years) then college professor in DC.

I'm going to tag:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Emergency Knitting Part 2

It didn't take long for a resourceful knitter to come up with an Emergency Knitting bag in response to the Yarn Harlot's latest thoughts on the importance of knitting.
I found this info on the bag on Lime and Violet's blog Daily Chum. The brilliant designer Illiane describes it this way:
We've been there. Caught unawares, empty handed, with time a-wasting. Whether it's at the doctor's, waiting for the mechanic to finish, or finding ourselves unexpectedly bored at a tailgating party, it would be just so much better if we had some knitting to tide us over!

Never fear, you shall never be caught unprepared again. Behold, the Emergency Knitting Bag!
She's run out right now, but expects more around June 10th. $14.95 - what a deal!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Red,White, and Blue yarn and Butt Watch 08

I need to preface this posting. It started as a posting about red, white, and blue yarn, and became a posting about looking at athlete's behinds. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.
I know it's Memorial Day weekend, a patriotic holiday, but that wasn't on my mind when I went to A Tangled Skein looking for red, white, and blue cotton yarn. I had the Boston Red Sox on the brain and went looking for yarn to start playing with a scarf pattern. Why cotton? I thought for a year-round scarf, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece might be a fine choice. As I was trying to describe the kind of blue I needed (navy blue) to Rivka (Ravelry name) who works at ATS, I realized I was looking for the red, white, and blue colors of the American flag. The connection makes sense - the American Revolution started in Massachusetts, shot heard round the world and all that, and the Red Sox are in the American League, etc.
But Brown Sheep does not have the right shade of blue. They have something called Wolverine Blue, and forget the red. Rivka thinks some company should consider making yarns in team colors - lots of folks come to ATS looking for Redskins colors. I think that yarn companies should realize that red, white, and blue are a traditional palette, especially in the summer (and therefore call for cotton yarns). What will it take - Polo or Ralph Lauren getting into the yarn business (no thank you!)?
After looking at lots of nice cottons, I found that Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky came in the perfect shades, but it was bulky wool. I finally settled on some Encore in exactly the right shades. I am not a fan of acrylic, but this yarn is to play around with trying to work up the perfect Red Sox design. I was inspired by Honeybadgers scarf which I found through the Ravelry Group Sox Knitters. She made it in Caron Simply Soft, an acrylic yarn, with over 9,000 projects on Ravely.
The most popular thread on Sox Knitters today is Butt Watch with almost 500 posts! Apologies, and/or thanks to members of the Sox Knitters from whom I stole/borrowed the "butt" images. But this girl has been known to go to Sox games with binoculars just to keep an eye on Manny's behind :). Who knew there were so many of us out there, who also knit!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Swell/Frames Show

This is my third posting about my favorite current musical favorite - Glen Hansard/The Swell Season/ Frames. Last night, May 17th, I made my way to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore with my friend Deirdre to the sold-out Swell Season concert. For those of you who don't pay much attention to popular culture, live on a remote mountaintop, or...., this is the couple from the Irish indie film Once, which was a big hit here in the U.S. last summer. Their song Falling Slowly won an Oscar for best song. I saw them last summer at the 9:30 Club in DC - my 20-something son went with me. I missed them in November at the Lincoln Theater on U St. DC because I was in England.
The first thing I did when getting online this morning was to see if anyone had blogged about the show, and could fill in some details I might forget. The first I found was a great recounting of the concert. My thanks to an enth
usiastic 28 year old blogger, mnomFRIES, who got the whole 2 hour long set list written down:) and other details. The show opened with Glen coming out singing accompanying himself on the same beat-up guitar with a hole in it that he played in the film Once, without a microphone, Say It To Me Now. He echoed in the great acoutics of the hall. It struck me that he was appearing as he did as the street musician/busker in the film Once.
I was ecstatic when Glen sang a solo only accompanied by his guitar playing,the Van Morrison song Astral Weeks. The album Astral Weeks is my absolutely all-time favorite rock album of all time. I have owned at least 2 copies of the LP, the cassette tape (remember those?), and the CD. This first solo album of Van Morrison's captures the poetry, and grittiness of working class Belfast of the late 1960's. The Troubles started in 1968, and Morrison, who grew up in a working class Protestant neighborhoods of Belfast, was just 23 years old at the time.
Van Morrison's Astral Weeks combines a vision of working class Belfast, before the Troubles, with the kind of poetic expression that is not uncommon in the North. I was in Belfast twice in the early 1970's (my wild youth) spending time in the working class Catholic neighborhoods, at the height of this violent time. Having mentioned the poetry of Van Morrison's work, I have to add that Northern Ireland is full of poets, including the winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature, Seamus Heaney. Other Northern poets include Belfast poets Ciaran Carson, who grew up in an Irish-speaking household in Belfast (which about as common as growing up in Great Falls, Montana speaking Hebrew), and Medbh McGuckian, who still lives in Belfast.
Like mnomFRIES, I too loved it when they played 2 of my favorite Frames songs for their encore - Fitzcarraldo- caught here in a YouTube video - which Glen wrote after seeing the Werner Herzog film about an Irish man who wants to build an opera house in the Peruvian jungle, part of which involves moving a ship across the jungle to get to a tributary of the Amazon River. The final song was Star, Star, a lovely lullaby-like song (as Glen described it), and the perfect ending to usher us our after a two hour set. It struck me at the end of the two hours of music what a generous performer Glen is. He gives and gives. I attribute this to a sensibility I often have encountered amongst working class Irish, which is a belief in the need to give back, and a sense of humility in the face of fame. This is an endearing quality I found in the Dublin of the days before prosperity (a Dublin I really, really miss). Fame is considered a gift, and something that could taken from you at any time. Being full of yerself (big-headed) is not a quality that you can live with in Dublin, as your friends, and neighbors, will berate you, jokingly, but cutting, at the same time.
Again thanks to mnomFRIES, I have borrowed t
he title - The Swell/Frames. The Swell Season consists of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Several members of The Frames joined them for a total of six musicians.The Frames are an "independent band from Dublin, that Glen Hansard is in, and has been around since 1990. Their music is awesome too:)!Finally, sorry for all the hyperlinks, I am a divergent, non-linear thinker, and assume some people will want more info when I go off on tangents.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day emergency knitting

My second post today:)
A few weeks back Stephanie Pearl-McPhee AKA The Yarn Harlot appeared at the Borders in Annapolis, MD. It was one of her few appearances on a book tour for her latest Things I Learned from Knitting...whether I wanted to or not. One of the many comments she made that brought the house down in laughter was about emergency knitting. This summary comes from the blog Purls of Wisdom
...she mentioned a study that talked about how people when they are doing something repetitive are able to process disturbing things more easily – and how the study mentioned knitting in particular to help reduce stressful situations / enable people to hear / process painful information, but that same study said that it “wasn’t practical” to carry around emergency knitting – I thought that people would fall off their chairs laughing. I know I myself have a knitting bag that is always in the car for those situations when I realize that I am stuck waiting somewhere (when I hadn’t anticipated it) and I know that I am not the only one with an “emergency project”.

Today I went out for some Mother's Day shopping and a meal with my son. We didn't want to go the "big deal" route with reservations etc. I want to replace my digital camera (need a better one for Ravelry and blogging). As soon as we pulled out of my parking place, I knew something was wrong. But silly me, I continued to drive up to a big intersection when it became obvious something was wrong. My son got out and announced I had a flat tire. I waited over an hour for AAA but I had my emergency knitting!!!! I was calm, and happy to wait. I out of the rain in my car, and also discovered I had left my wallet at home. That would have put a damper on shopping and eating. My son ran the half mile home in the rain, and drove back in his car with the wallet. He sat in the car til AAA called and said they were around the corner. We talked, and I knit. When I got home, I ordered Chinese food - no more outings today.
Lessons learned :
learn to read all those dashboard symbols so you know when you have a car problem
make sure you have some kind of emergency road service;
AND always bring
emergency knitting.

Happy Mother's Day.

Emergency Knit Kit from Dancing Leaf Farm

Sheep and Wool 2008

Sheep and Wool was last weekend. I finally have a few minutes (it's Mother's Day, an excuse to do nothing) to take some pictures.
This year I went on a pink binge. This goes back to my yearning for Cherry Blossom shades, and a plan to make the beautiful Hanami stole. First back in March, I ordered 2 skeins of Rock Creek yarns' Cherry Blossom.It came in a beautiful sheer bag.

Then I went to the Takoma Park Homespun Yarn Party on March 30th. I bought a handmade knitting project bag and circular needle roll from Blue Kitty Designs. I didn't get any yarn, but talked to Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks about the possibility of dying some merino lace in a cherry blossom colorway.
I arrived at MSW around 1 PM. My friend Martha and I decided to avoid the insane, suffocating crowds that show up in the morning, and were glad we did. I went to the Spirit Trail booth Saturday afternoon and there were 3 skeins of the special pink colorway left. Someone told me - this is a special colorway - and I answered - yes, I know , it's for me because I asked for it back in March!
At Kiparoon Farm I got a skein of Silk Road - 50/50 wool and silk in a colorway combining shades of green and pink. Cloverhill Yarn Shop, which always has a big booth immediately inside the big barn at MSW was selling yarns and patterns from local designers. I got 2 skeins of Spritely Goods fine fingering weight superwash merino in a lovely colorway of pinks, greens, and more.
Are we seeing a theme yet?
The biggest break from the pink theme was my purchase at The Fibre Co. I bought 7 or 8 skeins of Savannah Bulky which is a blend of merino, organic cotton, linen. and soya fiber.

After a delicious dinner of Indian food, Martha and I went to the Ravelry party. I grabbed a table inside as there were no seats outside, and after shopping for hours, I was ready to park myself and knit. Well as the whole world now knows, it started to rain, and everyone came streaming inside. Our table was right in front of the stage and all the goings-on. In the middle of everything, my pattern caught on fire - there were candles on the tables. Amy O H's mom, Cookie noticed it was burning and put out the fire. Mary Heather took our picture, and there are a couple pics floating around (I think Martha took them).