Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sad Season

Two stories this week in the news about my favorite group The Swell Season. My friend Kelli alerted me to the first - a concertgoer jumped to his death onto the stage at the Swell Season concert in Saratoga, California. He landed near the lead singer, Glenn Hansard. The SS has has little about it on their webpage though I read there has been chatter on other social media. They are offering grief counseling to those who were there. They cancelled their Las Vegas show but offered ticket holders the chance to use the tickets at other shows.

Then yesterday I heard the band
announced a hiatis, and some assume this is the end for them. But Glenn tweeted : If anyone is going to announce the end of The Swell Season it'll be us.. Forget what anyone else says.. Were not breaking up.. .
They will be going to Brazil this weekend (I would love to be there).

I have been fortunate (blessed) to have seen them five times : twice at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC, at Meyhoff Hall in Baltimore, and in Pittsburgh twice at the Byham. Glenn's band The Frames are planning a tour this fall and I am already on the lookout for tickets. I am feeling sad for the person who took his life, his family and friends, and those who were there. I am so sorry this happened at a SS concert. I just doesn't seem possible. I love the gift of their music and will continue to be one of their biggest fans forever.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Merry Month of May: Adventures in yarn buying

May has been jam-packed with activities starting the very first weekend. The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival happens the first weekend of May every year. The weather this April and May has ranged from days in the 60's to 90's. May 1st and 2nd were very hot!!-not the best for yarn shopping in huge crowds. I started out by going to the Howard County Fairgrounds on Friday night to meet up with a Ravelry friend knitredsox who had moved from Maryland to Chicago, and was coming back for a MSW weekend. The Columbia Sip n'Knit group had a bbq to prepare for their big weekend. They were hosting the podcasters' meet and greet on Saturday. We did a quick tour of the fairgrounds to figure out where vendors were because there were lots of changes this year.

Saturday I left home early (luckily I am only about 30-40 mins. away) and arrived at the fairgrounds at 8:30. This year I made a list which worked well for me. It helped me focus, and shop with a purpose. My bad because I always advise folks not to go early, but by 8:45 I was at Tilli Thomas' booth and she was open. I snagged 5 skeins of yarn at great prices. Then I hit Miss Babs and got 2 skeins of her show special merino and bamboo sock yarn.

I also
picked up a yarn meter from Carolina Homespun. I then bought a couple of plants and brought my purchases to car, went to the Columbia Spin n'Knit tent to knit and wait for the podcasters scheduled at 11:00. They got caught up in traffic and arrived at 11:45. After the meet and greet, I met up with my friend Becky from Pittsburgh for more shopping. The heat was hard to take, and I found that once you sit down, it's hard to get up. By 4:30 we were baked, and she headed back home with her friend Kate. I had a ticket to the after party but decided to go home to shower. Once I got home, I realized there was no way I was going back so I jumped on Ravelry and within an hour found someone looking for a party ticket. She was thrilled and I was happy it worked out.

I have done some additional yarn buying since MSW. Last weekend I went to Pittsburgh as visited Natural Stitches where I bought Brown Sheep Nature Spun sock yarn to knit

"Ode to Socks" which incorporate several lines from a Pablo Neruda poem and are shown here .and here (must be logged into Ravelry). Then this Friday night at Stitch n'Pitch - The Washington Nationals vs. The Baltimore Orioles - I snagged some Miss Babs team color sock yarn in red and blue from Fibre Space. Just that morning I had been looking at yarn colors for some Red Sox good juju socks.

My peeps at SNP

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spit on me Dickie!: DC Irish Writers Festival

Photos: books on display in Busboys & Poets; a fan with Claire Kilroy; "the lads" : Dennis, Philip O Ceallaigh, and Chris Agee in Busboys & Poets.

The first DC Irish Writers Festival sponsored by Solas Nua was five days of intellectually stimulating craic! The theme (unexplained) of the festival was "spit on me Dickie
" a sort of an inside joke with Dubliners of a certain age. Opening night, Thursday March 11th featured three Northern Irish writers with a reception sponsored by the Northern Ireland Bureau. There was an open bar (good wine and Sam Adams) hot hors d'oeuvres, and a table of cheese, olives etc. and great conversation before the readings.

Glenn Patterson, a novelist from Belfast read along with Nick Laird, poet and novelist, and Chris Agee, editor of Irish Pages, moderated. Glenn had been in DC before for Solas Nua, as well as one of the instructors at the summer school I attended at Queens University. He was even funnier and more charming than I remembered. Another writer, Christine Dwyer Hickey referred to him as Glenn 'Fred Astaire' Patterson as apparently he danced backwards up a grand staircase on Thursday night.

Nick Laird read first – 2 poems from his new collection. One titled 'Light Pollution' and the other I think was titled 'Pug". He also read from his recent novel Glover’s Mistake . Glenn read from his latest book Once Upon a Hill which is non-fiction. The discussion was facilitated by Chris Agee, an American who has lived in Northern Ireland for 30 years. The topics of the discussion included identity (Nick said he is often labeled a British writer, but an Irish poet) as well as how Northern Ireland is similar to Eastern Europe (which has to do with being on the periphery of Europe).

Friday night's event at the Washington Arts Club featured Christine Dwyer Hickey. She read from her recent novel Last Train from Liguria as well as from her novel Tatty. She is a wonderful writer and a real Dub. During the weekend she talked with us about how difficult it is to be a woman writer in Ireland. There is an assumption that Irish women write chick lit. Christine said that if she hadn't been published in the mid 90's, she thinks there'd be little hope of getting published now. We also talked about the lack of decent independent bookstores in Ireland, and Christine mentioned one in Rathgar that she discovered.

Saturday Claire Kilroy read from her new book is All the Names Have Been Changed. Claire writes exquisitely, and is a graduate of Trinity College Creative Writing Program at the Oscar Wilde Center.

Sunday Chris Agee read from his 2009 book of poems Next To Nothing described here by the publisher:

Next to Nothing records the years following the death of a beloved child in 2001. Though bereft of belief in the poetic outcome compared to the apocalypse of the loss itself (one sense of the title), the fidelity of these poems to the “heartscapes” of grief constitutes, nonetheless, a work of genuine honouring – spare, delicate, and deeply moving.

His reading of the poems was very emotional, for him and for the audience. He said he would not continue reading from the book in the future. It had taken him eight years to publish the poems, that were written over several years. He also edited a collection of poetry from Northern Ireland The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland (2008) which pushes the boundaries of who is considered a Northern Irish poet.

Also Sunday was Philip O Ceallaigh (no apostrophe), a short story writer who lives in Eastern Europe, read a story from The Pleasant Light of Day. He shared that he loves Hemingway's short stories, but not his novels.

Monday, my friend Joan had a brunch for Christine Dwyer Hickey, which was great fun (Joan's scones were awesome). I missed the final reading on Monday night from Gerard Donovan, but my friend Maureen went, and later joined the author and others for dinner at a chic Washington restaurant. It was a wonderful five days. I have a pile of new books to read - now all I need is time:)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cabin Fever!!

I have gotten emails from friends in Texas, Brazil and Spain about all of the snow we got. Yesterday, suffering from serious cabin fever, I headed for the Yarn on the Farm/ Sweet Sale at Dancing Leaf Farm in rural Barnesville, Maryland. My mission was to buy a skein of green yarn for the Ravelry St. Patrick's Day Swap. There were very few cars on the road once I got off the interstate, but the roads were amazingly clear. I spent about 2 1/2 hours at DLF. There weren't a lot of people coming by - the snow surely kept them away. So Dalis and I chatted, and knit, and I took some pictures of the sheep. Of course, sheep go into the barn as soon as they know someone is trying to take a picture. I couldn't decide which green yarn to buy so I bought a skein of Sock Hop and a skein of Tango. Of course I couldn't resist 2 skeins of Salsa in the Fog colorway - a grey and white blend.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Year, New Post

Wow- I haven't posted for over a month. This promises to be short. I am excited about actually knitting through a lot of my stash thanks to my friend knitcrit's (her Ravelry name) Ravelry group LOTSAFOS10
- you have to be a member of Ravelry for the link to work. Some famous podcasters have joined! Cuteknitter, Missviolet - and I am sure there are others there. Some lists are very long - maybe folks who have lots of time, knit in their sleep, or have lots of UFO's that re less than 50% done and qualify for making the list. Actually I just counted 29 on my list. Whoa - that's more than 2 a month...
January is when I start thinking about my summer. Well, with the economic woes, I don't know what I'll be doing. Some ideas that range from possible to improbable are:
  • UK Knit Camp at the University of Stirling in central Scotland during the second week of August: 9th August 2010 - 13th August 2010, with The Ravelry Weekend taking place on 13th- 14th August 2010. There's a trip to Shetland following this but I have to be at work by August 16th (academic schedule isn't flexible).
  • rent a house on Cape Cod - Outer Cape - for a week
  • the Golden Gate Fiber Institute Summer Intensive