Monday, April 30, 2007

Motherhood

I've been reading a number of blogs lately about the vicissitudes of motherhood. I haven't been seeking them out, they just happen to address this topic. Some are on my blogroll, some not. The one I read today was not. It really got me thinking. The writer was saying she didn't know what she was signing up for, the 24/7-ness of it all, the constant sublimation of her needs to those of her children.

Of course this makes me wonder:

1) Was I a huge burden on my mother?

2) Should I have kids?

As for #1, I tend to think not. Sure, I was sometimes a pain in the neck. But I was the fourth kid, by a long shot, so by the time I came along, there were three older kids to help out with me. Plus the next-door neighbors babysat. And I remember my mother saying, "You always knew how to entertain yourself." She meant that I liked to read, which I hope kept me out of her hair.

Sometimes my reading habit made me a little anti-social...I remember my mom invited over a friend of hers and the friend's daughter, who was my age. I showed the daughter where my toys were (specifically Fabuland, which was really cool) and then settled in with a book. Yikes ;)

Regarding #2, I'm not sure. Some mothers show unvarnished enthusiasm: "Yes! You'll love it!" But for whatever reason, I tend to believe the negative accounts...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Slippers!

Caro had suggested I make slippers for my Etsy store. I went to work, fully intending to put this first pair in the store. However, they were just too cute and I'm going to have to keep them.



I will make another pair for sale at Etsy, though. Color suggestions are welcome :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Do you have a heart in your body?

Thursday nights, I teach a yoga class in an upscale building. When I got into the lobby and was waiting for the elevator, I saw a girl of about 11. She had the jaded look of a child model. In fact, she looked a bit like Mariel Hemingway...wide-spaced eyes, high cheekbones.

Her little sister (maybe five or six?) was prancing around with a stuffed animal peeking out of her jacket pocket. I sensed a kindred spirit and smiled at her; she smiled back. In the elevator, she threw her arms around her older, taller sister and rested her head on her tummy. She looked up all wide-eyed and asked, "Do you have a heart in your body?"

The jaded sister replied, "Yes, Anne, I have a heart in my body" in an oh-my-god-you're-a-moron tone. I felt bad for the little sister, but after a moment she collected herself, and went over to the elevator panel to read quietly. "Twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one," she chanted softly as the floors went by.

I always love little kids like that, and kind of want to protect them from the knowledge that the world is not always a nice place. I hope she stays that way for a long time.

In other gentle news, D and I watched The Company last night. I really enjoyed it. It might not be for everyone - there wasn't much of a plot -- but the dancing was fantastic. Really energetic and unusual. It inspired me to shake up my yoga routine in class tonight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Introducing...the Etsy store.

Taking Liz's advice, I've opened an Etsy store. It's not really hat season, so I'm starting out with cashmere change purses:


Feel free to drop by the store and enjoy virtual doughnuts and coffee. I also put up a link in my blog section, which is now a link section :)

I'll be adding new stuff from time to time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This is how foot fetishes start.


That's what D said when I showed him my finished sock. It was a marathon! There is something exhausting yet exhilarating about making socks. And I never even liked socks before. Everyone is right...the homemade ones feel magically delicious. It's like wearing a soft, cozy mitten on your foot. What's more...it's cheaper than buying socks. The yarn I used cost $2.99 (for a huge skein). I think I have enough for several pairs of socks.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Are you ready for the socks, girls?*

*The title is a pun on a song title from an '80s movie. Do you know the song and/or the movie?

So anyway, as you might have guessed, I'm making socks.



I bought turquoise yarn because I'm sick of pink. (Jaws drop around blogland.) This little bit here will be the ribbing at the top of the sock.

In other news, my sweater yarn came today!



I didn't start it yet because I don't have the right needles. I'll get them later. In the end, it should look like this, only in pink instead of orange:



I don't know how to turn off the flash on my camera, so we'll pretend the model had a special glow. Also, to satisfy your cuteness quotient:



The teddy bear and completed sweater images are from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mmm...doughnuts.

So D and I went to Good today. Good is the "it" brunch place. I call it that because it always has people winding out of it in long lines, while there are empty brunch places (La Palette, for one) a few yards away. The empty brunch places cry out: "Free mimosas! All you can eat!" But Good crushes them beneath its wheels. Metaphorically, of course.

I got exactly what I wanted for brunch: 2 small doughnuts (hand-rolled orange sour cream doughnuts served with a sprig of mint. They may not sound good, but they are delicious) and a honeydew mint batido (to complete the mint theme). I chose to ignore the Guilt Dialogue.

Me: Why are you eating doughnuts??? You're going to gain 45 pounds!!!!
Me: I want them.
The restaurant is also taking part in a program where you can add some money to your bill and donate it to hungry people. The program also exists in D.C., Philly, Boston and Chicago. You can learn more here.

The violent, nose-blowing phase of my cold is mostly over, but my voice is a little croaky. I think it scares dogs :(

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sickness

I've been fighting with some kind of cold/flu-ish thing. It's gotten better since a couple of days ago, when I wrapped myself up in a blanket for two hours due to the chills coursing through my body. Of course, neurotic as I am, a checklist of possible ailments is running through my head:

Bacterial meningitis? Probably not, since I'm still around.
Bronchitis? Maybe. Had that in 2nd grade and freshman year of college.
Strep throat? Maybe.

Once I took a writing course where a girl mentioned in her piece, "She was a hypochondriac who hated going to the doctor...what an unfortunate combination of neuroses." That's me.

In more cheerful news:
  • My sweater yarn is coming from the Canadians next week.
  • You may have been wondering, "What is the derivation of 'The Bronx'? The other boroughs don't get a definite article." Well, I can tell you. Apparently, when the Dutch settled in New York, there was a family called the Broncks. They had an active social life, so many people would say, "Let's go to the Broncks'." Eventually, it became the Bronx.
  • Brooklyn is from the Dutch word for "broken land." I think it's Breukelen.
So there's some trivia for the day. My sister gave me a book once called A Pig on Ice which explained the derivation of all these sayings...Hobson's choice, etc. Of course, I forgot where Hobson's choice came from, but now I know what it means. A choice between two bad alternatives (most often used to describe presidential elections).

Today's FO

So today's FO ("finished object" in knitters' jargon) is a baby hat. One of my cousins is about to give birth...well, his wife is. So my mom asked me to rustle up a hat. I think she's surprised that I finished it already. But you get this adrenaline rush, especially with a small project, and you plow right through to the ending.

Massive craniums run in our family so I went up a needle size and used worsted weight instead of baby weight yarn. Hopefully it will work. How big can a baby's head be?


I am seized by yarn lust. I put myself on a yarn diet, but I don't know how long it will last. Images of fluffy green alpaca yarn are swirling through my head.

Oh, and you know I've been angsting about whether to go to my college reunion for a while. I decided to go. I was trying to figure out why it was such a big deal, especially since I went to my five-year reunion without a second thought. I guess after the passage of ten years, college really does seem like a long time ago. I look back at all our teenage intensity and cringe a bit. The funny part is, D and I overlapped for two years at college, but I never met him there. He was busy taking practical courses while I took everything un-practical under the sun. I wonder if he would have calmed me down?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cutest change purse ever

If you have no time but would like to knit, you might want to try this. It's all garter stitch, one yarn over to make a buttonhole, then sew up the sides and add a button and you're ready to go. Seen here with our household duck, Lemon:



I got the pattern from Kris Percival's Knitting Pretty, which I recommend along with her other book, Speed Knitting.

As for Lemon, the duck, he has a secret disco side. I was up late maybe a week ago and came out to the kitchen to use the computer. My laptop cord made contact with Lemon and he started flashing in blue. I haven't been able to get him to do it again. Maybe it was a hallucination ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bearette's first cable

I taught myself how to cable a while back, but I just did it with a bit of practice yarn. Here is my first cable creation:

Nice, huh? One cable is a little messy...or to be more precise, it looks like I forgot to twist it at one point, so it's straight for longer than it should be. However, it's very close to the top, and I plan to wear it on the back! D says it's not noticeable.

I watched Conversations with Other Women from Netflix recently. Not very good. Kind of talky and stagey; it had "made from a play into a movie" written all over it. Also, the title made no sense. It should have been A Movie-Length Conversation Between a Man and a Woman with a Few Brief Interruptions. But then, I suppose, no one would have watched it. Well, I still might have. I do like dialogue, as long as it's good.

I think the problem was, they were so steeped in ennui, it was hard to care about them. A little enthusiasm or life force goes a long way.

There were a couple very true moments though...once Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart were in an elevator with another woman, who was sugary-sweet to Aaron and ice-cold to Helena. I'm sure we have all encountered women like that ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My favorite hat yet

Here's a pic of my newest and favorite hat:
I really can't recommend this pattern enough. It's "The Gilbert Family Hat" from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond the Basics by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs. I used alpaca for the hat. It's so snuggly and warm.

Other projects in the pipeline:
  • the sweater, although the Noro Cash Iroha has not yet arrived. We ordered it from a company based in Canada. They had the best price I'd encountered, and no shipping because the order was (gulp) over $75, and no tax. So D calculated that I saved $30 by ordering from them. However, it's slow! But patience builds character.
  • a messenger bag. That's what they call it, but it looks much smaller to me. It's like a cute knit handbag.
  • Christmas presents. This knitting-Christmas-presents thing rocks...I can be done with "shopping" way ahead of time.
  • Another hat, made with two strands of wool held together. The wool is variegated, so the hat should be all sorts of interesting colors. (The basic theme is pink and purple.)
  • A ribbed scarf, because scarves are so cozy and easy to make.
I think that's it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

...that you never see the celebrities you want to see.

Now, I know it's always fun to see someone famous. The shock of recognition. Is that...? Yes, it is!

But I keep seeing ones I don't care about. I mean, I wish them well, but...I saw Amy Sedaris again today, on the way to Pilates. She's never smiling warmly like she is on the cover of her hospitality book. There's always a scowl on her face.

I want to see Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. One of my yoga students saw them together on the Upper East Side.

Some fun things I did see:
  • a schoolbus full of children who for some reason got really excited to see me, and started waving. They were thrilled when I waved back. It was cute.
  • a man who saved a Papillon. They look like Pomeranians, but he explained that they come from "the north." She previously belonged to a lady who neglected her. I'm glad she was rescued.
And in other news: I'll be getting 11 skeins of yarn in the mail soon, so I can start a sweater. (I'm currently working on Christmas gifts, which I won't put up pictures of, because you never know who is reading.) The yarn for the sweater is Noro Cash Iroha - a blend of cashmere, silk, wool and nylon. Maybe I'll roll around in it when it arrives :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Life in NYC

Every once in a while, I run out of things to blog about, but Manhattan provides its own fodder. Today I was walking along and a man came tearing out of the grocery store with bags in his hands. Another man followed fast on his heels, also with bags, screaming "DAVE! DAVE!" Heads turned. Since it was in my neighborhood, we all assumed it was a lover's spat. Then a police car pulled up to the lights. The guy crossing the street next to me alerted the cop: "A guy just ran after another guy yelling, 'THIEF! THIEF!' They went that way."

Well, it's a good thing there are non-deaf citizens to help the cops out.

Also, last night I almost got run down by a cyclist. I think it was a delivery boy. He was shooting right down the middle of the street as I was crossing. I was rattled, so I yelled, "What is wrong with you? @!%^#$!" There was a witness - a guy in a pink knitted cap, smoking a cigarette. "I seen him," he told me. "I seen him, and he was in the wrong."

That made me laugh for some reason.

And finally, happiness is a warm cat. Rainer was perfectly well-adjusted today. My pants weren't wet, so he snuggled up with me for a long time, but he didn't freak out (at least in a mewing way) when I left. Instead, he was crafty! When I uncoiled one leg, he stayed on the other leg as long as possible, till I slipped it out from under him. Then he tried to lie down on my Strand bag. He is a smart cat.

Ugh

I have to do taxes tomorrow. Yuck. Is anyone else not looking forward to this? What's worse is, it's a lot more complicated than the last time I filed my taxes. Even though I'm making less money. I have to file a lot of weird schedules (okay, just one, but still) because technically (at least at some studios) yoga teachers are self-employed. Double ugh.

I went to the library today to drop off and pick up some books. There were four yummy ones waiting for me. Am currently reading The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood (initially thought this would be terribly depressing, but it's quite good) and Frogs and French Kisses by Sarah Mlynowski (a YA book about a girl whose sister and mother are witches).

Anyway, on my way out I stopped at the tax table to pick up some forms. I put it off too long, and the 1040s and 1040As were all gone. I picked up some instructions, and noticed a nice, white wolfy dog with beautiful blue eyes, tied to the stairway railing. I found her tags (I often do this because I'm afraid the dog has been abandoned, and curious to see its name, although in this case there was no name given). She was really friendly and licked my nose a number of times. It turns out she's thirteen and her owner has had her since she was six weeks old. Wouldn't it be nice to be a dog and not have to do taxes?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bearette's newest creation

Here's a pic of the hat I just finished:


I look rather bleary at 1:30 am, but I wanted to show the hat to y'all. It's a beehive pattern from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller, and it taught me how to use circular and double-pointed needles. If you haven't used them before, the circular needles are pretty easy to use. The double-pointed needles take some getting used to. It amused me, though, the Martian look of the hat while it had four double-pointed needles sticking out of it.

Tonight we heard "You Give Love a Bad Name" at the Irish pub, and I told D that Jon Bon Jovi is on Liz's list. I still think "Livin' on a Prayer" is his masterpiece. I remember how we all skated intensely to it at Roller Palace, feeling the depth of Tommy and Gina's struggle. Or maybe that was just me. And how did they do that "wo-ah wo-ah wo-ah" microphone thing? Genius ;)

They also played Def Leppard's "Photograph" at the pub. All those hair bands had suspiciously high voices.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wildlife and TV

So I had another unsettling dream. I was sitting in a kitchen that looked like my mother's, but D was there and it was our NYC apartment. We saw a small mouse nibbling in the corner.

"D, there's a mouse," I told him.

"It's okay," he said.

Note: I married the most unflappable man in the universe. I had to rip out a hat and start over last night due to some hairiness when I changed from circular needles to double-pointed needles (a move I have never done before). He said soothingly, "It will all work out." I could be running through the apartment screaming and on fire and he would say, "It's okay, honey, just stop, drop and roll." It's a nice complement to my high-strungness.

Anyway, going back to the dream. The small mouse vanished. Then a large one appeared in its place. It was the SIZE OF A PUPPY, except it was gray. It nibbled something with great enthusiasm near my foot. I stood on my chair. I tried to shoo it, but it RAN TOWARD ME.

"It'll work out," D said.

I woke with a start.

Also, I saw Rainer yesterday. It was raining, and my pants were wet. My knowledge of cats is limited because I have allergies (but not very severe with Rainer. Interesting, huh?) but I know they don't like water.

When I came in, he was curled up, faux-sleeping on a small red footrest. He climbed onto my lap and stayed there for a while. Then he got off of his own volition and returned to the footrest! He seemed vaguely apologetic. I couldn't help but take it personally. I'm hoping it was just the pants. But what a 180. Last time I went, he had acute separation anxiety.

I guess he is a cat of many colors (though literally, just black and grey.)

Speaking of which, Grey's Anatomy is losing its allure for me. As Roxanne pointed out, Big Love is so much better. Stop reading if you haven't seen the last episode...

So we saw the last episode two nights ago. Suzy had mentioned that Barb was crying so I figured out that she would be outed at the ceremony. (I'm going to stop reading whenever there's a hint of a spoiler now.) But I enjoyed it anyway. I don't think the leaked secret will change their lives that much. I think it will provide sustainable conflict...enough to drive the plot, not enough to threaten their lifestyle.

I can't wait for Season 2 to start. I suspect D and I will be watching it on HBO Demand (which we have even though we don't have HBO, and it appears to be free - D tested it last night by starting an episode of Entourage) instead of waiting patiently for Netflix.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Recipe

So I've fallen in love with this recipe. It's easy and good. I adapted it from The Five Ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet by Nava Atlas.

Zucchini Tortellini

1 lb frozen tortellini
3 or 4 cloves minced garlic
4 small zucchini, sliced
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Boil the tortellini. In the meantime, saute the zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes in 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Combine the tortellini and zucchini. Add the other tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

I strongly recommend it. In the past, I've found tortellini too dry...but the zucchini is sweet and juicy and really complements it.

In heart-warming news, my sister's boyfriend rescued a small boy cat. He took him to a shelter (he already has a few cats of his own, I think) and went to the shelter a few days later to visit. He learned that the cat has already been adopted! Here's his picture:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Mittens complete!


I finished my mittens! They're magically warm; I really can't recommend that yarn enough (Debbie Bliss alpaca silk). Debbie, if you're reading, feel free to send me some skeins ;)

If you'd like to knit the mittens, the pattern is available here.

I think I'll chill out with scarves for the next few days...but what will the next project be? I think I'll make a hat using circular needles.