Wednesday, December 28, 2005

the word is out

christmas was good, and it's not over yet. we will be having second christmas in pennsylvania with the hippie's family this coming weekend. yay for more presents! :) i generally like giving presents even more than getting them, but i have to say--this year's haul has been pretty good. aparently, the word about my hobbies has gotten out. i have been officially labeled both a cook and a knitter. i am amazed at the wealth of cookbooks and knitting books i have received so far. this picture shows just a sampling of some of what people have given to me, and i LOVE IT. so many new things to try! oh, and that knife on top? GLORIOUS! i intend to chop the world.

so we spent christmas with friends and family, like most people. christmas eve belongs to jenn and harry and gabriella and various members of their family. i made an italian feast again this year: an antipasti platter with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, sopresatta, and marinated fresh mozerella, bruchetta with tomato basil sauce, 3-cheese tortellini with fresh alfredo sauce and pruciutto, baked asparags with parmesan and butter, roasted herb-crusted lamb, and homemade eclairs (a la mary). it was pretty damned fine, if i do say so myself.

we got up at the ass-crack of dawn on sunday to drive to my parents' house for the day. and it was actually unusually pleasant to see the family this go 'round. well, except for some loud and annoying comments from my aunt who appeared out of nowhere after we had already eaten and opened presents. she gave my mother a gift, and then proceeded to tell her that it was really the free thing that came with the much nicer gift that she had purchased for my cousin. she loudly informed my nieces that i am always flat broke because i like to "live high." she gave me a ton of grief for not driving 3 hours to go visit her at her house, and then informed me that she and my uncle had dinner last week not 3 miles from our house, but she could not be bothered to call. makes that invite to her home sound mighty sincere. anyway--a bit of a dark spot in an otherwise pleasant day.

the day after christmas, we got to see good friends again--the physics group gets together for dinner every year over the holidays, and it's alays so nice to see everyone. i even got a little extra time to poke around with meredith this year, which is always fabulous. we spent a little money, and then i took her home to her family's house where there happened to be many leftover christmas cookies--always a treat.

this week, i am enjoying a few days off. i just spent a bit of time in the park with emily and shane, followed by a fabulous lunch. it's a glorious day outside--about 60 degrees and sunny. i am filled with dread at the prospect of going to the mall this afternoon, but it's a must as i need to find something to wear to the new year's party we will be attending this weekend in pennsylvania. wish me luck, both with the parking and in finding something wonderful to wear with my fabulous silver shoes!

Friday, December 23, 2005

christmas eve eve eve at the bucks

last night emily and i met at starbucks for tea, knitting, and our gift exchange. i beat her there, so i put my stuff and her presents on the super-comfy velvet chairs (score!) and got in line to order some tea and my first cranberry bliss bar of the season. the fact that i have not already consumed 17 of these is something of a christmas miracle as i fucking LOVE THEM. but i digress... so i have laid claim, and am ordering when this ENORMOUS woman with her ENORMOUS sense of entitlement comes in and MOVES MY STUFF. actually picks up emily's gift and moves it so she can sit her ass down in MY comfy velvet chair. people, this is simply NOT DONE. starbucks ettiquette rule number 106 is as follows: #106 -- DO NOT MOVE OTHER PEOPLE'S STUFF OFF THE COMFY VELVET CHAIRS. i will freely admit that i had a few thoughts in her direction that were NOT in the christmas spirit. but i am over it. really.

meanwhile, today is better. i am listening to some charlie brown christmas music (purchased at the bucks last night), and actually getting ready to split as soon as the blogging is done. i will go home and try my hand at making mary's eclairs and wrap about 10M gifts. i may need a cocktail or two to get through it. oh, and the hippie and i are reading christopher moore's book, the stupidest angel: a heartwarming tale of christmas terror, version 2.0 that is so far, an absolute scream. here's the first sentence:
christmas crept into pine cove like a creeping christmas thing, dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe.
don't you wanna just keep reading now?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

busy, busy, busy...

the holidays are just busy--it's hard to blog when there's travel and social-ness and sickness to contend with. and knitting--oh god the knitting!!! but lest i digress onto that topic, let me give a little update RIGHT NOW. over the past coule of weeks, i met some new kitties--eric and kylie acquired sibling kittens, panther and treat. i spent eric's birthday playing with their beautiful feisty selves. mostly, panther just wanted to eat the camera.

this past weekend we made a little trip up to maryland to see mary and go to her fabulous christmas party, which is always great fun. it's one of the traditions the hippie and i are propagating together, and definitely one of our favorite parts of christmas. did i take pictures? no--of course not. actually, i had more fun in the party prep than the actual party--i got a nasty headache about half-way through the evening, which made it a bit quieter for me than for most of the guests. still--there was good conversation to be had, which is mostly all i need. i also greatly enjoyed spending time with mary's kitty, nikki, who is apparently quite capable of opening doors in order to hop into bed with any guests who happen to be sleeping in HER bed. she's awfully sweet, though.

on the way home from mary's, we stopped off to see the hippie's friends, greg and heather, and to meet their baby, dylan, who is a tiny carbon of his father--ie, a tank. a cute adorable tank, but a tank none the less. oh yeah, and we went to ikea this weekend--YAY!!! LOVE the ikea. every time i go there, i spend too much money, but also get one tiny step closer to actual organization--it's awesome.

oh, and did i mention that i have been knitting? i took on more projects for christmas than are humanly possible, which shocks no one who knows me. honestly i am amazed at how many of them i have actually gotten through. i had to back off on the last three things, and i am still going stong on a few more bits and pieces. my own cats are, of course, a huge help. as you can see--they work really hard helping me knit all day, and then they just collapse in a heap--the poor babies are so tired!!! i actually got more knitting done than expected this week, as i ended up sick as a dog and velcroed to the couch all day on tuesday. this is just NOT a good time of year to be sick!!! but worry not--i am getting better by leaps and bounds for once--thank GOD!!! the christmas, it is LOOMING now, and i am running behind. however, i know i am not alone this time of year, so hey--i am not stressing--what gets done will be enoough, and what doesn't--eh--i'll live...

and last, but so not least, if this picture (or any picture of gabriella, for that matter) doesn't warm the cockles of your heart, then your evil cold heart has no cockles of which to speak, my friend. i swear, gabriella gets cuter every day. i saw her at lunch today, and she was dragging her big stuffed rudolph around by the neck--so funny i had to snap it with my phone. earlier today, she had a little christmas party at school where her father sent me a cute pic of her in her santa hat, too. adorable. anyway--enough babble from me for now--the grocery store is waiting...

Monday, December 12, 2005


when i lived in new york, one of my favorite things was walking home from work in the wintertime, especially during the christmas season. it was just beautiful, up 5th avenue and around the park--all the lights and the people and the decorations, the windows all done up for the holidays, the angels with their trumpets at rockerfeller center, the ice skaters--all of it. it was the only time of year when the tourists didn't annoy me. and it was cold cold cold, and i would bundle up in my black coat and all the winter accessories i bought in italy, and i would walk the fifty-seven blocks home in my fabulously stylish boots and be perfectly comfortable. and since then, every christmas, i have pangs of desire to take that walk again. there is just nowhere in raleigh that feels like that. the only place here with the requisite crush of people and all the decorations is the mall, and i am sorry, but it absolutely pales in comparison.

tonight it's dark early, and i can see a couple of stars out the window from my office, and i am filled with longing for new york and a long walk home out in the cold under the lights of the big city.


i love to have fresh flowers for christmas. who am i kidding--i just love having fresh flowers, period. anyway--for christmas this year i chose some lovely red and while alstromeria and bright red gerbera daisies for the kitchen and some green ireland bells to put in a tall red vase in the living room. of course, i forgot to photograph everything, but as you can see--the kitchen flowers are fabulous. i recently learned that alstromeria is actually the same thing as a peruvian lily. who knew? i also googled "alstromeria" just out of curiosity, and lo and behold--the fist link was to my beloved flaurella's flickr photos of HER alstromeria. how cool is that???

and speaking of flaurella, she asked in her comments on the last post that i post my recipe for black and mahogany rice. i have to admit, there's not much recipe to it--i just use really good rice from lundberg family farms. they have this great blend of black and mahogany field rice that i buy--it's excellent, cooks up easily, and has a strong nuttly flavor. it's perfectly good just steamed with water, but for company, i make it with chicken broth and throw in a few sprigs of thyme while it's cooking. when it's done, i toss it with crimini mushrooms sauteed in good olive oil and a little white wine. it's YUM. when preparing this rice, be careful not to overcook it--it can get mushy if kept on the heat too long.

the dinner on friday came off well--i even managed to get the flowers arranged and the table linens ironed before everyone arrived. and i think all the guests had a good time. it was good to meet spend some time with the hippie's boss and his wife, and harry and jenn are always a pleasure. our friend eric is always a joy to feed--as a bachelor, he is always blown away by home cooking and eats himself senseless--it's a GREAT compliment and definitely makes me feel like all that work is worth it. gabriella was in rare form and spent all night dancing, singing at the top of her lungs, or acting like a kitty. she also made the hippie show her every picture in the dungeons & dragons monster manual and name all the monsters. she's no sissy--she has always loved her monsters.

in other news, i managed to knit a christmas present and a half this weekend--i am cookin' with gas! :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

that 50s housewife thing rearing its ugly head again

what is it with me? i somehow think i can pull off so many things that are just insane! i ALWAYS think i have more time than i really have, and once in a while it just catches up to me. tonight i will be serving a 4-course dinner to seven people, one of whom i have never met. last night i made chocolate pudding and roasted butternut squash soup and some maple butter, did a load and a half of laundry, straightened the house up some, and failed to wrap a single christmas present. tonight i will roast two chickens, make some fabulous black and mahogony rice with fresh thyme, and sautee some fresh asparagus with crimini mushrooms in a fine olive oil with just some simple salt and pepper. i have a cheese course to serve with our homemade cranberry wine. i am crazy. i have been working my butt off all day so i can get out of here before 4pm, and lo and behold! i am going to make it! now i just have to stop for fresh breah, run home and get the laundry out of the dryer, move the bins of hristmas stuff to the basement, turn on all the christmas lights, dust the bookshelves, and get cookin'! and you know--i will pull this off. i always manage. but sometimes i look at the schedule i have given myself and i am just amazed that my blood pressure doesn't shoot through the roof and kill me this very instant. why do i feel like i have to be a 50s housewife when i have a day job? am i the only one with this problem??? i have till 7:30 to get ready, people--wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

gettin' our christmas on

the decorating has begun. the hippie and i spent most of last weekend immersed in preparations for the holidays. saturday we cleaned (step one), and then went to the farmer's market to visit the crazy bee people and my favorite flower lady. she makes these beautiful wreaths every year, and i LOVE them! this one has boxwood, dried peppers, bittersweet, magnolia leaves, and cedar. it will dry to a beautiful golden color and last for nearly a year. we bought another one for our garishly painted entryway--the entryway has pink walls and kelly green doors, so putting something red out there is a frightening prospect at best. we got a wreath with boxwood and dried pink and purple lisianthus. of course, i forgot to take a picture, so you guys don't get to see it. oops!

after the farmer's market, we drove all over hell and half of georgia to find our christmas tree, and it's GORGEOUS! last year, we got our tree late and ended up with this charlie brown tree, which we both loved. but this year, although being on the ball has cost us more, the tree is so pretty and symmetric--i love it! the problem was that by the time we got it, brought it home, and set it up, we were both exhausted. so we built a fire and watched some movies while knitting. knitting is my life till after the holidays. as you can see, samson enjoyed the fire quite some. i thought he might actually climb in, but he settled for staring at it for about two hours.

sunday was nothing but spending money. I went to about a million stores and gave all my money to those people in exchange for wrapping paper, ribbon, presents, and all that crap i always end up getting at target that i don't really need but can't resist. what is it about target??? now i am ramen-noodle broke till my next payday. *sigh* anyway--after that madness, we ordered some take-out and decorated the tree, which looks pretty good (much better than this bad, washed-out picture shows) in spite of a minor disaster involving an unfortunate interaction between the vacuum cleaner and the plug attached to two-thirds of the lights that are on the tree, but now woefully dark. i thought the hippie might hurl the entire thing into the trash, but he recovered, thank goodness. i am loving the paperwhite lights on this tree. i scored them last january at smith & hawken's after-christmas sale for a tiny ortion of their current price--excellent!

now i need to start wrapping presents. i still have miles to go...

Friday, December 02, 2005

where have i been, you ask? well...

it's been a busy couple of weeks! the week before thanksgiving, i was busy as a bee making things. things like this pumpkin pie. things like this would take me FAR less time if i could resist martha-stewart-ing them up like i do. i have these teeny cookie cutters, and i LOVE using them for pie crusts like this one. i was so into making this that i got the hippie to take some pictures of the process. he, being red-blooded and male and all that, took advantage of my request and took a few extra pictures pointed down my shirt at my cleavage (such as it is). i will NOT be posting those on the internet. anyway, since last i posted, i have gone through quite a few pumpkin and apple pies. still need to get on the perfecting of my pecan pie skilz.

i also made a boatload of wire things, packed them up, and shipped them off to my friend jenn for the opening of her new gallery/shop, the porch. she was planning this artists' reception, but there were just too many conflict to pull that off. i think she'll probably do it in the spring, which is OK by me--it's a better time to make a trip down to cape hatteras anyway. here's hoping she sells a boatload of stuff for christmas!

we went home to my parents' house for thanksgiving, as we do every year. t-day is the major holiday for my family--i could skip christmas with them WAY easier than i could thanksgiving. i made all my requisite dishes, and got in some good hanging out time with my mom and the rest of my crazy family. one of the highlights of the day was getting to hold the two week old puppies that my brother's girlfriend brought over. SO CUTE!!! the puppies were so glossy and black they were hard to get good pictures of, but i tried anyway. and i took a picture of their mama, too. and i LOVE this picture of my youngest niece, wendy. she's almost five, and as smug and obnoxious as she could possibly be. this is the only picture i have ever seen of her that actually captures that, and it makes me laugh every time i see it.

we also caught the new harry potter movie--we went to see it at the IMAX theater, which was cool, but in my opinion, not quite worth the extra 4 bucks. the movie was pretty great, although i still do not understand why they don't just have these movies in two parts or make them extra long to fit in everything that's important to the story. or at the very least, release extended versions on DVD like LOTR did. it's not like anyone is going to complain about TOO MUCH harry potter! all in all though--it's great, and you should see it if you haven't already. they did a fabulous job on the dragons, and i adore the weasley twins! i liked it well enough to go again last night with my friend emily, to a normal theater this time. which would have been cooler were it not a) the ghetto theater, b)more than a little filthy and smelly, and c) FREEZING. em asked me to knit her a nose cozy during the film, but while i did have some yarn on me, i couldn't see to knit a damned thing. that harry potter--he's pretty dark, man.

and i have also watched the entire first season of desperate housewives. i am filled with depression that i have run out, but thank GOD, because it was eating my whole life!

so yeah--throw in all the other stuff like dance class, regular social stuff, and all the boring yet endless domestic details like laundry and cooking, and i have been running around like mad and have had no time to post anything in AGES. all is well though. the holidays are in full swing. i spent my lunch hour(s) today shopping and actually managed to get something i know for a fact my parents will love. i am knitting presents up a storm, and tomorrow we are going to the farmers' market to get our christmas tree, a ritual i adore! my christmas list is so anal and thorough that store clerks' jaws drop open at the sight of it, and i can't wait for all the mayhem that the next month will bring. oh, and the presents, too! hopefully i will find more time to post in the midst of all that mess.

oh, and by the way, this post is dedicated to flaurella who posted a concerned comment today since i hadn't posted in so damned long. it's awfully nice to be missed by the internet. :)

Friday, November 18, 2005

the holidays--they have officially started

last night i made my first pie of the season--an apple pie for the thanksgiving pot luck thingy at work today. my whole house smells like apple pie, which is EXCELLENT. this is one of my favorite times of year--i love all the cooking and the mad rushes getting ready for the holiday season. i LIKE shopping for christmas presents and nearly killing myself to make more presents than any sane person would try to make. i love the smells of the holidays--the cinnamon and the nutmeg and all the roasting meats. i like my crazy family, and the hippie's crazy family and the nesting feeling i get about my house. i like it all. yay for the holidays! even though they snuck up on me AND HOW this year, i am glad they are here! :)

off to eat the pot luck lunch with my coworkers...

update, 1:19pm: i am calling this pie a success--it was completely gone before i even finished eating my lunch and before any of the other pies were cut. go me! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

reading : The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd

i enjoyed this book, even though i thought i was not going to in the beginning. when i read her other book, the secret life of bees, it resonated with me from the first paragraph. this one, however, took me a little longer to get really into. i thought i was going to dislike some of the characters, but in the end, i felt like i knew them, which is saying something. especially when many of the characters are benedictine monks! when all was said and done, what this book really made me want to do was paint and paint and paint. the main character uses painting as part of a voyage to rediscover herself after years of complacency. and while i am not emotionally in a place anywhere near this character, it did make me remember when painting felt like an extension of myself. i ahve been thinking about it anyway, and this book--it may have pushed me over the edge. that said--the story is engaging, the characters are real and believable, and i really really enjoy this author's use of language. her scenes are alive to me. i definitely recommend her and this book, although i would rate the secret life of bees a bit higher than this one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

new yarn store

today at lunch i ended up on my own, so i dragged over to check out this yarn store i have heard about, but have never actually been to. as far as i know, this is the only one in the area i haven't already dropped a load of bucks at. i called them to ask about specific yarns a couple of times, and they were always less than friendly on the phone. plus they are never open past 5pm, so i have never made it there on time. so today, while i made time for it, i have to say--my expections were low.

anyway--i went over there, and it's in this little old house and should be very cute, but instead it just smells funny. they have a TON of yarn, many that no one else around here has. the downside to that fact is that it's VERY disorganized and therefore overwhelming. when i went in, there were two people working ona one other customer. it took them about 15 minutes to even say hello to me. this is just not normal for a yarn store. still--i checked it all out, and once i figured out how to tell how much the yarn actually cost, i was settling in to have a pretty good time perusing. then i noticed the light--it was too dark in there to actually tell if anything matched anything else. *sigh* i finally gave up on the yarn and bought some knitting needles instead--they have a couple of brands that are hard to find around here. but then while i was paying for them and talking to another customer about christmas, i got to listen to the woman working there go on and on about how much she hates the holidays and how all she is going to do for christmas is knit since knitting is all that matters. ugh--it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

will i go back? i am sure i will--there are not so many yarn stores around here that i can afford to boycott any place with good yarn in it.

will i like it? questionable--let's just say that this is never going to be a place where i want to get to know the girls behind the counter.

in conclusion, here's my bottom line assessment of shuttles, needles, and hooks in cary--they have good yarn and lots of it, good needles, and a good location, BUT the people are negative and unfriendly, it's dark, claustrophobic, and overwhelming, plus it smells funny.

Monday, November 14, 2005

beach house 2006

it's really hard for me to believe i got full compliance from the beach crowd this early, but by some miracle--i did! and yes, we have already procured our beach house for next summer. june 10th to be exact. whoo hoo! we're going during prime season this time, so that means we aren't right on the ocean. however, we appear to have a fabulous house in a gated community (hopefully they won't throw us out). heck--we even have a golf cart. and we will be just 200 yards from the beach access. i wonder--is it too soon to start counting down? let's see...215 days till the beach. that's a little drpressing, so i think i will wait till january to get the official countdown going. even though i am already ready to go! *sigh*

Friday, November 11, 2005

reading: The Partly Cloudy Patriot

The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell

i actually finished this a while ago, but failed to report back. this book is so different from assination vacation, but both are totally great! this one is less of a journey and more a collection of moments, both from sarah vowell's own life and from history. she manages to amuse me and educate me at the same time, which is quite a feat. there were many moments i laughed out loud, and just as many where i was afraid that my Geek Card® might get revoked if i don't learn some more history. i particularly enjoyed her description of her mother's face on seeing the chelsea hotel and thinking that was where she would be staying on her one visit to see sarah in NYC. my mother, too, would not have looked on the chelsea with nostalgic thoughts of sid vicious and the heroin-induced murder of his beloved nancy, but would have also shuddered in revulsion. not that my mother will ever set foot in new your city again! but i digress... it's a great book--you should read it.

Monday, November 07, 2005


my wrists are on fire. i spent a lot of time making wire things this weekend, and i still have a few more to go. and man, my wrists apparently can't take it. i have carpal tunnel, and have had it for years, and it seems like it flares up at the most inconvenient times. and well--this is a REALLY inconvenient time. i am working under a deadline, which is my own fault. although for those of you who know me--you know this is my process. i need pressure to produce. i have gotten better about procrastinating as i have gotten older, but i still wait till there is pressure to really get going. thank god i work fast. so anyway, all babbling aside, please think good thoughts for me as i try to get through the last 20 wire things while invisible knives are stabbing me in the arms. ouch. i will now stop typing and go home and rest my arms before i start back at it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

file under: misc.

Section One: Fire in the Sky
when i left work last night, the sky looked like this. the one thing i always like about this time of year and the time changing back to standard time is that i get to see these awesome sunsets every day when work is done. last night's was truly spectacular--like the sky was on fire. i was particularly intrigued by the reflections of the sky in the side of our building and in the windows of mycar--i couldn't stop taking pictures. i have been dying to paint lately, and a sky like this just makes that need worse. i really want to get an easel and clear out some space (somewhere!) so i can start painting again. hopefully i will be able to make that happen after the holidays. and by the way, does anyone else feel the holiday panic already begining to set in?! i feel like thanksgiving is basically tomorrow, and christmas can't be more than a week away!!! ack! but i digress...

Section Two: New Shoes!
the hippie came home last night from visiting the sam, and he brought with him a FABULOUS present for ME!!! observe my fabulous new shoes from the amazing john fluevog. i have been threatening to buy some shoes from this man for over a year now, but i always talk myself out of it. the hippie, he picked these out for me and even remembered to go up half a size since fluevog makes his shoes a bit on the small side. i think even the manolo would approve. today, i am sporting new shoes, a matching pink sweater, and my favorite black skirt from max studio. and while i wish i had stood by my initial urge to go with opaque black tights, i am still pretty happy with the whole thing. hopefully, i will be a HIT at dance class tonight! i have a wonderful man. i know i've said it before, but my hippie--he's a gem.

Section Three: Teaching Our Ways to the Young
observe the hippie teaching the young of the species to appreciate one of mankind's finest inventions: beer. doesn't he look happy as baby adam is reaching for his beverage? the hippie is always evangelical about his vices, but i have to say--this is the first time i have seen the process of corruption extend to one so young. observe as well how oblivious adam's father rick is. he turns a blind eye, knowing his baby son is in good hands. since alyce, adam's mother, was the one who took this picutre, i am going to assume she was in favor as well. heh.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

i got a fever...

and the only prescription is more cowbell.

if you're having a bad day, head over here and get yourself some more cowbell. this HAS to be the best SNL skit of all time. it will lift your spirits--i guarantee it.

knitting frenzy

i have been trés busy the past couple of weeks, as i am sure you have guessed from my conspicuous absence. i am not even sure WHY it's been so busy, but i feel like i have had no time lately to sit still and breathe for a minute. this weekend, the hippie's friends were in for a game weekend, which is always cool. i spent most of saturday cooking--totally relaxing to me. then i took off and went out with my friend grant, who i never see now that he is immersed in grad school. the grant and jackie time--it was good. oh, but let's have an aside moment and talk about generation gaps.

i told my mother i was going out with grant on saturday, and she had a FIT! she was going on about how the hippie wouldn't like it if i was out with another man, yadda yadda yadda. which is kind of ridiculous if you know me and grant--we have been friends for years--he's 10 years younger than me--one of us would have killed the other years ago had we ever attempted to date. which we didn't. and i tried to explain this to the parental unit--she responded with, "well, what will you do whem jason wants to go out with some female friend without YOU???" and i had to go on to explain to her that the hippie was flying to boston on monday (yesterday) to go to a concert with the sam, and that he would be *gasp* spending the night at her house before flying home today. i really think this is some generational difference of opinion about what constitutes "dating" and what doesn't. anyway.

last night i had a whole evening to myself. there was a mountain of dishes, which i chose to utterly ignore. it was halloween, which i also pretty much ignored except for a brief interlude in which i had to check out my neighbor's niece, who was a FABULOUS little 3-year-old raggedy ann. so cute. she gazed longling through the window at the cats till i brought fergus outside so she could pet him. fergus, of course, was complete freaked out by being OUTSIDE. but i digress...

i left work early (early = 5:20pm) so i could go get a new class schedule from my LYS to post on my knitting group's website. the people at the LYS declared me to be family, which was kind of cool, although also somewhat telling about how often i go in there. meanwhile, there was a woman there looking for a skein of paton's melody in this variegated color (pastel clouds) which the LYS was out of. she needed enough to finish 4 rows of the very same baby blanket i have spoken of many times. i happened to have over half a skein of said yarn at home, so i spontaneously invited her to come and get it, which she did. kind of a strange knitting moment, but i really felt like i saved that woman's whole day. it's not like i was using the yarn, so no loss to me. :)

when the knitting lady was gone, i had some leftover shrimp and grits for dinner, threw in a movie, and casted on a new project (still knitting christmas presents, which are super-secret, so no details are available at this time). i knitted through batman begins and through part one of the extended version of the fellowship of the ring. i knitted till i could not hold the needles anymore. i knitted till my hands ached. and IT WAS GREAT!!! i was depressed when i had to stop. i need about 6 more nights like that, and i might actually be relaxed again.

Monday, October 24, 2005

in which wildlife comes over for a visit

last evening at twilight, the hippie was sitting on the front porch playing with the newly installed wireless network, working on the adventure for his upcoming game weekend, drinking wine, and smoking a cigar. down the tree comes an adolescent raccoon, who checks the hippie out, decides he's alright, and then helps himself to the birdseed in the bird feeder. this little guy literally took the top off the feeder and was scooping birdseed into his mouth with his paw. the hippie called me to come out, and as directed, i took the camera with me. it didn't take the raccoon long to eat the birdseed down to where he couldn't reach it anymore, but then he discovered the critter food i keep in a terra cotta dish on the porch. (as you see, the squirrels have no respect at ALL for the boundaries of that dish, and just throw the food ALL OVER THE PLACE! they also frequently bury it in my plants, the little bastards! but i digress...) the raccoon was maybe 4 feet from me when i took these pictures. not very interested in us at all. believe me though--i was ready to run if he came at me. i do not trust the wild beasts of the forest, even when they are small and extremely cute. for all i knew, he could have been the Rabid Raccoon of Death. and let me tell you--rabies shots are no picnic. there was definitely no touching/petting/taunting of the raccoon! the hippie circled around and called him from the front stoop of the house to see what he would do, and the little bugger took off to see what was up. i still sort of can't believe that--clearly this little guy had eaten stuff from humans before. anyway--he ate his fill and scuttled away into the night. i am SURE he will be back now that he's discovered the critter food, so i guess we will just have to be on the lookout for more close encounters.

Friday, October 21, 2005

things i learned in dance class this week

dance class #2 was this wednesday night. we're learning to fox trot and we just started on the rhumba as well. it's great fun, although i don't get to dance with the hippie enough. also, the instructor doesn't play enough music to suit me. i do like most of the other people in the class, although there are a few pills in the bunch. however, all of that has little to do with what i actually learned in class this week:
  • some people's hands are really sweaty. i mean REALLY sweaty. ew.
  • gin-soaked man is apparently going to be gin-soaked every week. he's good at dancing, but...the fumes--oh my god the fumes!!!
  • indian guy #1 can't stop laughing when he messes up. last week it was kind of cute. this week--not all that cute.
  • indian guy #2 has the rhythm of an--um--well damn, i can't think of anything with worse rhythm than him. anyway--it's really bad.
  • that one guy--let's call him the handy man--is going to be a dick. no one who has known me for less than two weeks is allowed to call me baby. also he should learn the location of a shoulder blade--it's a bit higher than he thinks it is.
  • i am still sad about the sweet guy who used to dance with his wife until she died last year and is just now getting back into dancing--he hasn't danced with anyone but her in 43 years. he's a great dancer.
  • people with noodly arms should not try to lead by saying, "ok, i am going to do a turn now"--they should in fact learn NOT to have noodly arms so that they can lead, period.
  • the hippie, he's going to be good at this. his lead is a tiny bit late, but then, i have more trouble following him, too--i am such an anticipator! i am sure that's some psychological thing, but i can't be bothered to ananlyze it right now. the point is that he's gonna be good once we really get going.
  • i am getting to know all the men in dance class and none of the women, whereas it is the opposite for the hippie. i suppose this is inevitable, but i still feel like i am missing out on half the class.
  • that instructor really needs to play more music. other than that, i really like her.
did I mention, by the way, that my african violet is blooming? it has 3 flowers now! whoo hoo!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


i have been trying to find time to post this for three days! my african violet is BLOOMING!!! YAY!!! i know this is a small thing for many of you out there with thumbs greener than mine, but for me--this is a triumph. it is all thanks to the recommendation of my friend alyce's hubby, rick, who told me what i needed was an african violet pot. of course, i was all--wtf is THAT dude? but i went to my local nursery, logan's, and i asked about it. low and behold--they knew exactly what i needed. i transferred the poor spindly little plant into the new pot about 6 months ago with very little hope. however--it WORKED! my violet is huge and healthy and BLOOMING!!! perhaps i am more excited about this than is warranted. but man--it's awesome.

aside: rick assures me that my blog is very boring and that no one will read it until i start writing more about my misspent youth and telling stories about my family. which, hello? i don't want to do. the blog is about NOW and about ME. so--sorry if i am boring, people. this is just the way it's gotta be.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

ah, charleston...

charleston is one of my and the hippie's favorite places to go for a long weekend. in fact, it's the first place we ever went away together, come to think of it. it's just a peaceful and relaxed place filled with beautiful homes and gardens and glorious food!!! last weekend, we dragged the pseudo-in-laws down there so they could experience it, too. a week ago today, we were poking through the shops on king street, taking a little wine break in the garden owned by our hotel, and getting ready to go to a wonderful dinner at magnolia's, one of our favorite restaurants of all time. after dinner, we went on one of charleston's famous ghostwalks, a walking tour where they take you to a few haunted places and regale you with ghost stories local to the area. totally fun, even though there is definitely a cheese factor to it. we finally ended up out at a local cigar bar where the boys lit up and sipped whiskey while denise and i indulged in a spot of champagne. definitely a good evening.

sunday as GORGEOUS!!! we went to brunch at the hominy grill, my absolute favorite restaurant in charleston. we got lost of course, as we always do since i always forget the name of the cross street it's on--my bad! after a FABULOUS meal, we went to the south carolina aquarium, the best small aquarium i have ever seen--it's just the right size for an afternoon and really well-done. of course, i took most of my weekend pictures there, as i always do. denise was in love with the sea turtles--she's so cute--she gets as excited as a kid over things. then the hippie was just as excited over the sailboats out on the cooper river. we sat and watched this one boat for the longest time as it was practicing for a race, running through a series of exercises over and over, both with and without it's spinnaker. just a beautiful day to linger ourside. dinner was a boatload of memphis style ribs at sticky fingers, followed by a long walk on the waterfront to work them off. we finally ended up at tommy condon's, this irish pub where we generally have at least one beer at some point every time we go to charleston. there was even some live "irish" music, played by a couple of down-home boys, one from charleston and one from new jersey. i'm not sure that really counts as "irish", but it was fun none the less.

monday, we grabbed some starbucks and walked the battery again in daylight so dan and denise could experience it both ways. then after a quick drink, we hit the market for the touristy stuff, went into one of a kind art & fine craft gallery (which still has a couple of my wire things for sale in it), and walked over to hyman's for a big fried-seafood lunch. that place is such a charleston institution--you almost HAVE to go there. late lunch over, we grabbed some more coffee and headed out. we set the "kids" up in the back seat with the hipie's laptop and a dvd of the incredibles, so they were happy. all in all--a really good trip. i think the pseudo-in-laws had a good time--i know we sure did. :)

check out the rest of the pictures if you like.

note: you can also check out my pseudo-m-i-l's post about this weekend--she's bloggin' these days.

Friday, October 14, 2005

i wanna be a cowboy, baby

well--not really. i don't want to be any kind of boy actually. but DAMN i love my cowboy boots!!! i got up this morning, threw on some jeans and a t-shirt--it's friday after all--and i was like, hmmmm--what shoes will i wear? my eyes fell on my boots, and i was like--why have i not worn these fabulous things in so long??? so i picked them up, dusted off all the cobwebs, and slid them onto my feet. and man, NOTHING sounds like good-fitting boots--that swooshing thunk that sends me reeling back to new york and my youth when i lived in these things. i forgot how freakin' awesome they are. gorgeous butter soft distressed brown leather with row after row of stitching on the shaft--the most comfortable footwear i have ever had on my feet. if i had to walk the breadth of this country, i would choose these boots to do it in. my day might be crappy, but my boots? they're rockin', man.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

mad hot ballroom

after much talking and talking and talking about it, the hippie and i are finally taking a ballroom dance class, introduction to social dancing I. last night was our first class, and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! i am amazed at how big the class is, and also that it is almost 50-50 men and women. there is only one extra woman in the mix, which is much better than expected. this was the first in a 12-week series. i danced with many people, as did the hippie, and then i even got to dance with him for at least a few minutes, too--he was my favorite of course. i just can't wait till we learn a little more and get a little better. and people keep asking me how i got the hippie to do it--and all i keep saying is--it was HIS idea! i am a lucky girl--what can i say?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

spamalicious countermeasures

the spam comments, they have gotten out of hand. it's gotten so that i get 5-6 spam comments while the new post i have written is still posting!!! i delete them IMMEDIATELY, but it's a huge pain in the ass. and now the spam-bots have started posting on my older posts as well--fuckers. so thank god blogger has added an anti-spam thingy, which i have turned on. now you guys will have to type in a verification word to publish comments--sorry for any inconvenience, but i got no choice.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

china doll

faces like this one make me miss painting. is she not a doll?? this is willow, the daughter of our friends chris and mari. i was just looking through some of my pictures, came across this one, and was arrested by what a beautiful child this is all over again. when she was a baby, i saw here almost every day, and now that she's all big, i only see here a few times a year. that ain't right. i need to get over there to the other end of our neighborhood and see her and her big sister lucy.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

the porch

when my friend kimmie got married, i got the chance to reconnect with two of her very cool and amazing friends from college, jenn and kristin. we have more or less kept in touch over the last year, and now, things have taken a turn for the fabulous! jenn is getting ready to jump with both feet into a new venture, and lucky me--i get to tag along! jenn and kristin live in cape hatteras on north carolina's outer banks, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth. she has been taking photographs for years, but has recently come into her own, recognizing and nurturing her own talent. she also knows many other artists in the area, plus she knows ME! anyway--the point of all this is that she is getting ready to launch her own gallery, featuring her own work and that of the artists she knows, including me. she just closed on the property that will house the shop, which will be called "the porch"--terribly cool name. and for now, she has put up a beautiful website, Photos from the Porch, featuring her work as well as her background and inspiration.

for me, this is exciting because it has inspired me to make wire things again! (lord, i need to update that web site!!!) jenn has ordered a boatload of them from me, and i will be working on them over the next month or so. the plan is to deliver about 60 of them to her the weekend of november 5th, when she will open the gallery with a wine and cheese reception for the artists. i am so excited for both of us i can barely stand it!

yay for jenn! think good thoughts for her as she follows the dream we both share. and hey--if you are out cape hatteras way--look her up!

* picture used with permission of jennifer. no copying, please.

Monday, October 03, 2005

reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling
ok, so i actually read this a while back. and it was great, if more than a tiny bit shocking. i am still not quite over it to tell you the truth. but in reading book 6, i found that there was a lot i had forgotten from the last few books, so i went back and re-read those, too. and then i read this one again. time well spent, my friends. time well spent. i continue to, like so may others, enjoy the hell out of these books. i am waiting and waiting for the hippie's baby brother to get old enough to enjoy them as well--he's almost there. and i would like to take some tiny amount of credit for pushing my friend emily over the edge into finally taking them on. i can't believe she resisted the hype so long, and then read all 6 in less than two weeks--she's a real trooper. go em! but i digress...

i am not going to say a word here about plot, since you never know who has and hasn't read them. but ooo, do i have me some theories! i WILL say this--ms. rowling has my number and still impresses me just as much now as she did when i picked up the first book. props to anyone who can get so many children psyched up about reading! how will i survive the wait for the last book??? at least i have the movie for the goblet of fire to look forward to--that one's my fave anyway.

colorado weekend, a week later...

last weekend, i went to see meredith out in colorado, where she has been going to school for the past few years. this trip, man--i tried to go two years ago, but got laid off. then i tried to go last year, but had just started working again. third time's the charm i guess. we had a beautiful, laid-back girl weekend. we talked, ate out, knitted, shopped, and drank tea. and while everything we did was fun, the best part was just getting to sit still and talk to my friend for so long.

we spent about 3 hours in an ENORMOUS yarn store called showers of flowers. dude! if you are a knitter and are ever in the denver area, you HAVE to check out this store! it was about the size of 8 of my LYSs, plus another 4 in sale yarn, PLUS a whole warehouse. rows and rows of yarn and needles and needle cases... holy mother of god, it was awesome! i showed more restraint in there than i have in YEARS, although i DID buy my body weight in new knitting needles. and we went into downtown boulder where i bought nearly everything they had to offer--some venitian vodka glasses for the hippie, some cool handmade soap, spices, chocolate, and various other small, expensive, easily packable items. my favorite.

i went to meredith's class, which was so funny--she has students of all flavors in there. the asshole who doesn't take notes, talks shit the whole time, and tries to trip her up. (he did not succeed.) the note-passing people who are surprisingly like meredith and i were when we were in school together. a professor emeritus sitting in the back taking it all in. weird to be back on a campus like that--makes me feel a little bittersweet (again) about that whole PhD thing. i guess i will always have mixed feelings about that.

we also managed to sqeeze in about 3 hours up in rocky mountain national park, which is where i took the bulk of the pictures i have from this trip. it was BEAUTIFUL. one of those warm windy sunny fall days where the sky is so blue you could just drown in it. stands of yellow aspens in the middle of those green green pines all up the sides of the mountains--it looks like rivers of gold running down the hillsides. check out the pictures if you want.

on the way home, i got on the plane and leaned down to pull out my knitting just as the woman sitting beside me did the same. we chatted the whole way home, just sitting and knitting--it sure made the flight go faster! and as always--i was so glad to be home...

Friday, September 16, 2005

beautiful day with the animals

i have been trying to find time all week to get some pictures posted from the trip to the zoo we took last weekend with this hippie's friend, eric. heh, i guess eric counts as my friend, too at this point--funny how i still lable him as "the hippie's friend." but i digress... so we went last saturday--it was GORGEOUS outside and a perfect zoo day. windy and sunny, not too hot or humid or crowded... plus this particular trip to the zoo was kind of cool because i was not as focussed on getting so many pictures--i just took a few of some of the details i liked about the foliage and some of the birds, things i generally neglect at the zoo. the result is that i dig almost every picture i took. check them out here on flickr.


yay for the return of hockey! after last year's idiocy and lack of a season, it's great to have the canes back! tonight we went to the first pre-season carolina hurricanes game. as we were walking in, i said to the hippie--what i want to see for this return game is for the canes to beat the capitals seven to nothing. and well--i ALMOST got my wish. it was a six to nothing shut-out! go canes! it's kind of weird watching this team, with so many unfamiliar faces, but they certainly look promising--the new goalie in particular (#30 cam ward) seems just awesome. should make for an interesting season--i am sure we will go to many more games. meanwhile--what's my favorite thing about hockey? why, the zambonis of course! so--i took an illegal pic of them with my phone. :)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

playing with pliers

last night i went to meet emily and ann to knit, but instead i ended up whipping out this little ankle bracelet as a birthday gift for tina, my coworker. tina has long envied the ankle bracelet my friend rita (who designs GORGEOUS jewelry) made for me, so i decided that i would see if i could kind of knock off rita's design. granted, i would have just bought one from rita, but she had to go and take a day job and stop supplying me with a constant stream of fabulous jewelry. anyway--i was pleased to discover i could still make something cute. this is sterling silver and little teardrop shaped glass miyuki beads in irridescent black. it's always fun making something simple and tiny--i haven't had the pliers out since i made the earrings for kimmie's wedding last spring. maybe i should make some more of this stuff...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Southern Card® in tact for now

a few months ago, my friend sam threatened to revoke my Southern Card® because i had never made a cobbler of any kind. well--now i have! whoo hoo!

this past saturday, the hippie and i went out for the big breakfast at big ed's, and discovered a tiny farmer's market in the middle of downtown raleigh. there were these big beautiful peaches outside the door just calling to us. we investigated, and i walked away with peaches, baby lima beans, corn, a big fat gorgeous tomato, and plans to cook all weekend long! if i cooked this way every weekend, i would be as big as a house! but the late summer fruits and vegetables were just too much to resist. i made shrimp and grits and biscuits, a big breakfast with lots of bacon (food of the gods) and cheese grits and more biscuits, my own version of fried chicken, lima beans with onions and thyme, boiled corn, and i just sliced that tomato up and ate it plain--delicious. last night we ate leftovers, and i wasn't even sorry about it.

the weather this weekend was also just perfect--warm windy sunny days and cool nights, lower humidity than we have seen in months. nothing makes me want to nest more. the house is clean, the laundry is almost caught up, and i am ahead on christmas present making. got in some good quality porch time, too. i need about 8 more of these weekends, and i will be set.

oh, and let me say one note about bill neal's southern cooking, one of the greatest cookbooks of all time. he had a little write-up about making cobbler, and how his children grew up calling it "pig pie" because he always used pig-shaped cookie cutters to cut the biscuit dough to put on top of the fruit. i used a star--we can't ALL be bill neal.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

the price of relief

hey. in spite of a fantastic weekend, i remain pensive. some is PMS i am sure, but mostly it's becasue i keep getting distracted by thoughts of new orleans. what a totally shitty situation. i feel like the government response time was slow, but i am sure glad they are in there now, restoring some form of order. general honore should run for president. i feel terrible for the people whole lives are pretty well destroyed and who will have to rebuild everything, both physically and emotionally. i worry constantly about the streams of children who are separated from their parents, whose parents may well be dead. i am proud to know and hear stories of people who have already done so much to help, and equally horrified by those who have done all they can to impede the efforts of others. snipers especially. and i keep thinking--how would i feel if that were me... yuck.

i gave some money to the red cross, but it felt so abstract that i still wanted to do more. there is a local business here sending specifically requested supplies to the woman coodrinating the sheltering of about 15k people at LSU, so i decided to help out with that, too. i made up some easily distributable packets of toiletries so that people taking shelter at LSU can at least wash the grime away. i went to target and i bought all the small sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner and all that kind of stuff that i could afford, went home, made up some packets for men and some for women. over a hundred dollars and two hours later, it is still only enough for 10 people, and it will only last those people a few days. few things have brought home for me the cost of the relief effort like doing that one small thing. this is just going to be, as my mother would say, along row to hoe. i can't even imagine how much it's going to cost before it's all said and done!

the good news is that since friday, this one local business has already sent 104 boxes of supplies and $9000 to LSU's relief fund. things like this really do bring out the best and worst in people--thank god the best usually wins out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

at last, the long awaited knitting update

NEW YARN!!! YAY!!! i absolutely adore the cashmere i got from axelle at two pointy sticks. she gave a heads up that cashmere prices were about to increase, so i went ahead and ordered the yarn i want to make a clapotis out of. it's going to be a little while before i get to actually use this yarn--i have promised myself that i am going to finish crumpets and get at least half my christmas knitting done before i cast on anything that is just for me. this is my version of self-dicipline. but isn't it GORGEOUS?? don't you love the color??? i think axelle's colors are so beautiful, pretty much across the board. never mind my coworker who had obviously been smoking the crack pipe when she said to me, "i don't know--i don't really like this color. why not just get black if you are going to make something out of cashmere? and really--this just feels like yarn to me--i guess i don't get it." i love her, but she doesn't get it.

this stuff is all pretty fresh off my needles. a new blue felted bag--i am planning to make quite a few of these; a ribbed alpaca scarf in a lucious charcoal color--so soft and warm it makes me want snow; a frilly ribony hot pink scarf with drop stitches i actually figured out how to do all my byself; a purple baby hat for an un-named baby, and a crazy pink and yellow and orange baby hat for ella, who has outgrown the pink one i made for her earier this summer (before the Evil Lead Incident). i really really love both of these scarves. i have a ton of scarves i will be whipping out for christmas, but these two are for me.

the grey scarf is made from two skeins of this bulky alpaca yarn called jay, from goddess yarns. out of all the yarns i have knitted up so far, this one is probably my favorite. it feels fabulous and it is a joy to knit with. depressingly enough, this company is going away. you can still get the yarn online, but once it's gone, it's gone. figures. the ribbing pattern is something i stole from my friend jennifer who is making a ribbed poncho out of this yarn. can't wait to see that when she's done!

the pink scarf is made from one skein of a yarn called cinema--it was an orphan in a sale bin, and i loved the color so much i just bought it with no plan. then when the hippie gave be some size 15 ebony needles from lantern moon for my birthday, i couldn't wait to use them, so i cast that pink yarn onto them. the drop stitch thing seemed like it would show off the yarn well, so i just decided to see if it was done the way i thought i might be. and apparently it was! i absolutely love how this came out, and now i have similar plans for another ribbon-y yarn i have from prism, only i want to do longer drops with that one and maybe pair it with a fine cored fuzzy mohair... we'll see. (note--that cinema yarn is now discontinued, which just figures--i think my love for a yarn is may well be its kiss of death. the same can be said of perfumes and bath products.)

and last, but SO not least, i finally got crumpets off the needles last night. as you see, i still need to weave in the ends, add the croched trimon the bottome, and add the ribbons for the straps and the tie at the waist. this thing has taught me a TON, but it has certainly been a trial by fire. i will never use this yarn again, even though i think it's beautiful. it splits if you look at it hard, snags on ANYTHING, and the knots in it will NOT stay tied. i am going to have to put some glue or something on those if a kid is going to be able to wear this. that said, however, i am really proud of this little top. it is by far the most complicated thing i have tired, and i think it has come out really beautifully so far. i have learned to add beads to my work, to make a cable, to increase stitches, and why it is important to knit with two strands of variegated yarn at one if you are doing straight stockinette. just look at all the unintended patterning in that skirt--you can tell every time i changed yarns. i will know better how to deal with that in the future. i will post another picture when it is done done, but i was so excited to get it bound off--i could not wait to share!

now, i have one more scarf to finish up for me, and then it's christmas and baby gift central for me until further notice. the bad thing about that is that i won't be able to put up a lot of knitting pics until all these gifts are given. oh well--you guys can wait.

Monday, August 29, 2005

speak/blog of the devil...

just got an email from axelle telling me my yarn is on the way!!! YAY!!! she even gave me some tips on working with cashmere yarn on on how to get the most out of it, which, as a newbie, i definitely appreciate. what more could you ask for? i am still just DYING to see it in person!

hanker for a hunk of yarn

i ordered 3 skeins of this wondersful sport weight cashmere from axelle over at two pointy sticks at the end of last week, and i am DYING for it to get here!!! and it's not like i don't have other things going on. it's not like i don't have 10,000 things on my needles and in the queue. but still. this is new. this is my first cashmere. i want THIS! i can't wait can't wait can't wait till it gets here! i am going to make myself a clapotis out of it, like about a million other people on the internet have already done. (just do a little google on it--you will see what i mean...) but it really does look like just the best of the scarf and wrap and shawl worlds all rolled into one. very excited.

in other knitting news, the hippie is knitting. he's really good at it, too! he's getting set to whip up a cashmere scarf of his own (the men's cashmere scarf from last minute knitted gifts, which looks like this). he's already stolen my rosewood knitting needles for it. he's an even worse snob than I am about his supplies! perhaps i have created a monster...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

crumpets moving into final stages

i posted a crumpets update over on the knit-along site if you are interested. that thing has taken me an eon! i am still working on a more substantial knitting update. it's coming--i swear!

the birthday haul

tuesday was my birthday. i don't really think that much about my birthday--this year for some reason getting older has bothered me a little more than usual--i think it's that biological clock thing bringin' me down. but the celebration this year was good--very satisfying. as was the haul--just look at all this stuff! between getting some lantern moon knitting needles as an early present from the hippie, going to beaufort for the weekend, then getting a whole slew of antique teacups from alyce, countless cards, joelle hoverson's last minute knitted gifts book, the extended version of the fellowship of the ring, practical magic, a B-52s CD, a cure CD, a copy of intercourses, a leatherman micra, my FABULOUS new set of illustrated jabberwocky prints from angi shearstone, and a beautiful pair of silver and mother-of-pearl earrings--i would say i did pretty damned well this year. the hippie bought all the things i needed to make a fabulous birthday dinner for mself over at harry and jenn's house. i WANTED to cook, so no feeling sorry for me for having to cook my own birthday dinner! we had bacon-wrapped scallops, grilled asparagus, garlic yukon gold mashed potatoes, and some petit filets with a very rich demi-glace. combined with some fabulous red wine and some chocolate cake for dessert, it was just perfect. laid back birthdays are the best kind.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a little less lead

update on our little friend ella. you will remember that i mentioned before that, through a series of acts of dumbassery, our friends' 9-month-old daughter ended up with some nastily high lead levels. well--some GREAT news: her lead levels as of the 22nd are down to 10.4µg/dL. this is phenomenally good. here's hoping that she will establish a new baseline that is well below 10. thanks to all of you who have offered helpful advice, contact info for toxicologists, and well wishes for her so far! continued prayers and good thoughts for the leadlet and her parents (who are still living in a tiny hotel room) and kitties (who are still living in the nasty lead dust) are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

farewell to stardust...

last week i got an email that made me awfully sad--the subject line was, "farewell to stardust." as i have talked about before, stardust is easily our favorite restaurant in the state, and one of our favorites, period. the hippie and i have gone there as often as we could, and they have always remembered us. plus, it's been a beach trip tradition since we started going to emerald isle instead of the outer banks. between ashley and ralph, the owners, ahsley's mother who has often greeted us at the hostess stand, molly, one of the greatest bartenders ont he planet, and darla, the best waitress ever, it has just always been an amazing dining experience. we have felt like part of their extended family. so--to celebrate our birthdays, we planned a spontaneous weekend trip to beaufort to go to stardust one last time. and what a time it was! honestly it felt a bit like a wake. we ate too much, talked too much, drank too much, and basically went down with the ship. FABULOUS evening. check out the photos, which i think capture the spirit of the evening in spite of the poor photo quality.

let me also say that the rest of the weekend was awesome as well. there was a full moon on friday, so we actually got to go on a moonlight sail--divine. and we did a whole lot of nothing. sat in our favorite of the local coffee shops and read and knitted. poked in shops, had lunches at the beaufort grocery company, hung out on the porches of our B&B... it was the Right Thing®.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

jealous of howard stern

and i hate howard stern!!! what does this say about me? I am actually JEALOUS of howard stern's hair. i got a haircut a couple of weeks ago--i was going for something like uma thurman's hair in the movie be cool--and the girl who did my hair cut it about 4 inches shorter than she should have for it to fall where we had discussed it falling. this is a risk when your hair is curly--people fuck it right up. they cut it like it's straight hair, and then it shrinks up to your scalp in little annoying flyaway ringlets. can you tell i am unhappy with this haircut??? then randomly today, i come across this picture of howard stern of all people, sporting the hair i wanted. what is THAT all about??? add in that my favorite restaurant is closing, my car is about to cost me another zillion dollars to take car of, and my favorite yarn brand is not only being discontinued, but the whole yarn company that produced it is has been dissolved, and well--i am not having a good week here people. *sigh*