Monthly Archives: May 2008

One from the vault

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I was going through my unpublished draft posts and I found the following – a post that is finished but was never posted. Why?! Who the hell knows. All the links still work – although some are blogging under different names and/or have moved locations. I decided to keep the links as they were when I wrote them, likely around April 2007. Enjoy this bit of a throwback!

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From April 2007:

We are going to play a bit of catch up here over the next few days. There is a bunch of old business to attend to, handknits to highlight and general shennanagins to be had.

The Naming

Remember we had a contest to see if you all could come up with the baby’s name based on her initials. Well, we did and I am just now getting to awarding the prizes.

There were 107 (!) comments on that post. Many comments had multiple guesses and not one person guessed correctly. There were 9 guesses with the first name Sophia in it, three of them the same:

Sophia Celeste (guessed by Erin, who knows me in real life)

Sophia Catherine (guessed by a de-lurker (*yay*), Moe , who has named her dog Sophie AND by blogless Kate AND Celia who is owned by a new little bean of her own!)

Sophia Claire (guessed by blogless Heather R in honor of her BFF who has the aforementioned name)

Sophia Carolyn (guessed by Jenn, who, I believe, is a previous contest winner)

Sophia Clarissa (guessed by Pig Wot Knits, hailing from the other side of the pond)

Sophia Charotte (guessed by Kristen, who also knows me in real life and has recently “caught” a baby on the way out – you go girl.

Sophia Cassidy (guessed by Jackie, who not only knows me in real life but lives about a mile from me)

As for the middle name 18 (!) people guessed Christine…

But NO ONE guessed the combination of the two. Crazy. There wasn’t a single guess where Sophia was the middle name or Christine was the first name. I find that interesting.

So one prize will go unawarded. Boo-hoo.

As far as the most creative. Now, those people who actually know me and my complex and amazing sense of humor (hah!) have a distinct advantage over those who do not. I am going to try to not let this fact shade my judgment of the most creative entry but I cannot promise anything.

I am off to review the entries…

Okay – I am back.

Here is one of my favorites

“Please don’t call your baby any of the following…Late for Dinner…” (created by Erin (linked above)). Like I said, people who know me in real life have a distinct advantage. Erin’s entry made me laugh for days (I still giggle a bit when I think of it). She actually won this prize in the same contest we held among our real life friends and family – so she can’t win again here.

However, I have to say that “Surprise Child” is my favorite…because she was. Cathi, my love, you are the wiener. Email me – we’ll tawlk.
Thank you all for playing along. I now have an arsenal of names to choose from for our next girl…good lord….I can’t even think about such a prospect right now!

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day 9 – kicking it 2-0-0-7 style

Picture pages Picture pages…

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We spent a lot of time in our offices. I don’t know about you but I have not ever spent a lot of time thinking about Decorating my office. (Decorating as opposed to decorating. decorating is what you do when you do nothing, you just live in it.) Some of that may be a function of the space itself. When starting a job I was always moving into someone else’s space. I would often inherit “art” (if you can call it that), old binders, dead folders, and other crap. The first week of my current job I went through the desk organizer thingys in the office and I found someone’s fingernail clippings (ew!)!! Now how can you get through that kind of energy?!

A few weeks after I started my current job I moved into a freshly renovated office. It was all new, all clean, and not tainted with any fingernail clipping. I have a window with an awful view but some diffused light. I have lots of shelves and some space to hang things. I have spent a bit of time working through all of the organizational type things but have not really focused on any of the aesthetics of the space.

Wanna see what it looks like?

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This is the view from the corner of the room. I’m standing in my doorway, the door is closed because my co-workers already think I am 6 shades of crazy. Taking pictures of my office? Par for the course.

If you click on the picture you can go to flickr and see all of the fun notes that I have added.

The Calender you see there was made by Maryse. She gave it to the BOS girls for Christmas and I love it madly. For each of our Birthdays she put a little picture of us. I love Maryse’s photos and I look forward to flipping the calender each month. (M – you better do another one for next year!) (ps-she sells her photos as cards here.)

For the walls I’m thinking of one or two of these prints from Right Brain Terrain. Aren’t they fabulous? I like Shine, Integrity, Focus, and Create.

Or perhaps a Wallhog? A big basket of yarn? Sophia’s cute mug? Brad Pitt with his shirt off? What? Not professional enough? Damn.

I am the fortunate recipient of Sophia’s first ever finger painting. A mother’s day gift. That will likely make it’s way to some portion of the wall.

Any other suggestions? I am really into illustrators and itty bitty artists right now. I have an etsy seller that I adore (which I will share soon) but I have a few of her prints and would love to branch out a bit.We*heart*prints has some unbelievable art. I’m enjoying some prints on Little Paper Planes. I am loving Chris Applehans stuff, featured here.

As for fabric for the bulletin boards? Well, I haven’t even started on that path yet. I loooove some of the fabrics out there. I wish I could just steal Sophia’s Kay Quilt and put it on my wall. Feel free to point me in the direction of cool bulletin board worthy fabric.

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day 7 – i could go on and on…i love dreaming about this stuff.

It’s all going South

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Today I booked our tickets to go to Kentucky for four days in early July. Which made me think of this picture, taken during our last trip last April when Sophia was just a wee babe.

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You gotta love a town that lists “Pork & Beans” as one of its grocery aisle listings. You ain’t gonna see that at Wegmans!

Going to KY is always an interesting trip. The majority of Rob’s family is there – he is the youngest of six kids. They are a lively bunch and with a total of ummmm, 20 of us it gets a bit crazy (Rob’s dad and his wife, six kids all with spouses, and twelve grandchildren). Sophia is the youngest grandchild – by far. Her next oldest cousin is 17. She is a very loved little babe. She makes an even dozen for her granddad. A fact that tickles him silly.

Rob’s dad is a true Southerner. Right down to the odd and beguiling phrases that come out in his language.

Aside from the normal: “y’all”, “i reckon”, etc. One of my favorite’s include: “She’s just a gittin’ it.”

I think I need to bring a notebook this visit – or better yet, a voice recorder just so I can preserve some of the intonations and phrases.

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day 6 – y’all come back soon, ya hear?

Button Collection = Clean Underwear?

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So everything in the house is still everywhere. I haven’t yet had a chance to set up my area. My go to place for all things mine including (but not limited to): My sewing machine (actually, my mother’s old machine it is not yet mine – I can’t even use it), My knitting books, My yarn, My sticker making stuff, My craft stuff, My t-shirt making stuff, My needles, My notions, My notecards, My inspiration junque, etc. (This area in Boston consisted of a bunch of tupperware containers in the basement. I still cannot get over the fact that I actually have room for an area that occupies space!)

When I need something I have to rummage through two different desks, a closet, and multiple plastic storage containers. This is a bit frustrating. However, sometimes it’s fun as I find stuff that I forgot about. Take tonight for instance. I was running around the house looking for a card to stick in a package I’m putting together for my favorite momba. (Kay – you’re not getting a card. I can’t find them. When you get a package with no card – you’ll know it’s from me, okay? It’ll be my “signature” move. Like Zorro, except not as cool.)

Anyway – so I’m searching for the notecards and I find a bag of buttons. Totally forgot about the bag of buttons.

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These buttons were purchased at what I have dubbed, “A Dying Quilt Lady’s Sale.” Are you aware of these? Why we knitters don’t have such a thing is beyond me – because it is KICK ASS. Basically – a dying quilter (or dead quilter) sells off her stash to all her quilt buddies. The news is distributed via phone and email. Apparently you have to get there early because the good stuff goes quick. Apparently quilters really like a good Dying Quilt Lady’s Sale. And really, who could blame them? As much as I adore each and every one of my fellow knitters, I wouldn’t sweat being first in line to buy off their stash in the event of their untimely (or perhaps timely) demise. I mean have you seen some of the stashes around you?! And frankly, I would expect the same of you at my own Dying Yarn Lady Sale. In fact, I would be honored to have any of you first in line.

In any case, my mom went to one last summer and came home with this bag of buttons for me. The woman who had passed away was quite old – so I expected the button bag to hold all kings of good stuff. Except it got packed (we were still in transition at the time) and then unpacked into a little used drawer. Until tonight.

I found the bag while looking for the notecards. Perhaps I did not find the notecards because I found the bag first? That is likely the case as I was pretty excited to find that bag of buttons.

I poured them into a tin and started to gaze upon them. The composition is okay. There are some great vintage ones. But is was the inexplicable presence of some other items that really got me thinking: What does our button collection say about us? In this particular button stash I found:

  • Buttons (go figure)
  • Screws
  • paper clips
  • twist ties
  • drapery clips
  • head phone plug adapters
  • pen caps (yes, that is a plural, there were multiples)
  • a tiny light bulb
  • and one plastic thing used to hold two socks together in packaging
  • A circular piece of wood

I am surprised I didn’t find: coins, batteries, and other like items.

Seriously, who puts screws in with their button collection? And a tiny light bulb?! Perhaps the button collection doubled as a junk drawer. But wouldn’t you see some other items then too, like batteries or other such items? No it definitely seems as this was the “go to” place for some of these things. Apparently pen caps need a go to place (in my house we call this the trash).

And so, I thought – if you died would you be embarrassed about your button collection? What would your button collection say about you?

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day 5 – The eternal question: keeping your button collection tidy, equivalent to making sure you’re wearing clean underwear “just in case” you get in an accident?

Memorial Day

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Today, in the U.S., we take time to remember those that have gone before us because of war.  The day is marked with picnics, parades, and family reunions.  Many of us think of it as the official start of summer.

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Our little town holds a parade on this day.  We took Sophia and she had a great time with the fire trucks, marching bands, and uniforms.  As the veterans from the local  VFW posts walked by we waved and I told her that we take this time to say Thank You.  And I stopped.  Yes, this is what this day is about.  Remembering and giving thanks.

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ophia says thank you to the veterans in the parade. 

A list casualties for the Iraq War can be seen here.

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article about the place that past wars and the current conflict have taken in our society.  Will the War be forgotten after Memorial Day? 

For my family, it will not.

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day 4 – It was bound to get serious at some point.

Emmm, garlic sauce

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Our city has many interesting and enticing activities during the spring, summer and fall. I think everyone tries to make up for the hell that is our winter.

One of the most fun things to do it to head to the Rochester Public Market on the weekend. It gets incredibly crowded and it is not for the faint of heart. I am actually surprised that a city this size has one (and has for decades) that is vibrant and going stronger than ever. One of my favorite things to eat there are Juan and Maria’s Empanada’s. To. Die. For.

Little Miss Sophia had her first this weekend.

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She is quite smitten with them and the green garlic sauce that they come with (which is what she’s eating below).

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I had been dreaming of these empanadas all winter. I was very happy to eat them again.

We took advantage of the nice weather and got a photo shoot with the new sweater. It now has watermelon juice on it, green chili’s, and empanada juice. You know what I call that? A job well done.

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day 3 – ignore the chins. genetics has not been kind to my chins. damn chins.

She, in fact, does knit

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I started this sweater for Sophia just about two months before she was due. I was knitting on it five weeks later, the evening I went in to labor (three weeks early thankyouverymuch). I did find some time to work on it here and there but really did not get much headway on it until this last week. I was left it with the task of reknitting the sleeves (I substituted yarns, my gauge was off and well, Sophia not being in the womb anymore is growing like a tree so I wanted to lengthen them), knitting the collar and finishing.

Picking it back up I marvelled at how huge it looked to me back when I was first knitting it (I knit the 18 month size) and how strange it was that Sophia would wear this now. I hope she can get another season out of it. The weather here is perfect for this type of sweater.

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Peapod Baby Sweater, Interweave Knit, Summer 2006
Pattern by: Kate Gilbert

Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too, Parfait Solids

Buttons: From the Family Button Box (My Grandfather used to work for Rochester Button Company).

Details raveled here.

This yarn? Is awesome. A great yarn for this project if you’ve got the patience to work with the gauge.

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I have to say that when I started this pattern I found the little lacy bits challenging. We all know that I am not a lace knitter as I find charts confounding. Between the time that I started knitting this and finished the sweater, I met Kate (the designer) in real life. Her brain is incredible and she is, by far, one of my favorite knitwear designers (as well as one of my favorite people). Talking with her and getting to know who she is somehow helped me to understand how to knit this pattern better. It was as though a peek into her mind allowed me to occupy it a bit when I was confused or lacked confidence. Those of you who know Kate may understand how this is possible. She’s just real, she means what she says and now that I know that I can read her patterns and know – yeah, she means what she wrote, trust her, don’t read in to it.

I once showed Kate a hole in one of my heel gussets on a sock. I asked her if she had any hints or tips or secret codes to make them go away. She asked me to show her how I was knitting on it. I did. She looked at me and said, “You just gotta pull the shit out of it, make the stitches tight, and then make them tighter.” (yes, I paraphrase here but I swear this is just about what she said.) That’s it??!?! And it was.

Summers in Rangoon

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“The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really.”

This week’s post is brought to you by our most recent world tragedy.

Myanmar’s Cyclone (some of you may think of this country as Burma).

One of my “family” members is living in Yangon (some of you may think of this as Rangoon) right now. She works for a non-profit human services group, PSI. Carlie has been there since the fall, right about the time the Junta (or as she has termed them to prevent the censorship of her emails, “Lola”) started coming down on the most recent rash of protesting monks. I’m sure you can imagine how violent those damn protesting monks are…they’re crazy. Eh-hem.

Anyway – the political atmosphere in Myanmar is incredibly interesting, and Carlie’s emails have been received with insatiable curiosity in our house. As you can guess, journalistic presence in the area is spread pretty thin, VISAs are hard to obtain when you come from one of the “Enemies”. It’s been interesting hearing about all of this first hand from someone I trust. Especially since this is a country and a people that I would never have previously considered on a daily basis.

In any case. We were relieved to hear that Carlie surived the Cyclone and is safe, with water and food. She sent out this email today and I thought you may all like to hear her perspective on Ways We Can Help. She mention the reality of our government’s current foreign policy, here is a recent article in the NYTimes, that addresses the same topic. It seems that our US government is biting it’s own hand as it tries to feed those that need it.

From Carlie:

“friends and loved ones, thank you for your thoughtful messages of support.

if you have any interest in supporting aid efforts in the affected
regions of myanmar, i request you to do one of the following two
things –

OPTION 1- contact Medicins Sans Frontieres/Holland (also known as
AZG)*, and ask if you can donate directly to their Myanmar cyclone
relief funds. i encourage you to donate to AZG because they are
well-geared for emergency relief here on the ground. PSI is an amazing
organization, but what we specialize in is not disaster relief, there
is more of a chance of your funds going more directly to those people
whose images you see on tv. i know though that when people donate to
causes, they want their funds to really turn into a bowl of rice or a
cup of clean water. considering everything it takes to turn money into
a bowl of rice when you are dealing with something of this scale, that
is nearly impossible. as an example, PSI right now is just trying to
buy enough fuel to keep its generators running. overhead is a
justified reality of disaster relief, but of the many NGOs or UN
agencies you could give to in this situation, AZG is probably the best
equipped to turn your cash into something that will directly support
affected populations in a relatively timely manner.

PSI’s two primary concerns right now: 1-ensuring that all (350) staff
in the affected region have enough food and water to live, as well as
some cash to rebuild their homes, many of which have been destroyed.
2-mass producing as much water treatment solution as fast as possible.
it’s a simple dilute solution of bleach and water. it’s being bottled
in mass quantities and provided to the UN and any requesting NGOs for
them to distribute in existing networks. as busy as that sounds, many
of use are spending our days feeling pretty damn useless. it’s just so
big. yangon, though completely unrecognizable and overwhelmed by the
absence of electrity and running water, should fare okay. the delta
region will not. it is completely decimated, and extremely difficult
to reach.

OPTION 2- send a check to my parents address, they’ll tell me how much
i have to spend, and i’ll buy as much rice, oil, salt, and other basic
commodities to provide to shelters and orphanages here in yangon. this
is ad hoc, and i don’t have the capacity to do too much, but it’s a
way in which you can know your funds don’t have to navigate themselves
through complex funding mechanisms in order to reach the people. if i
find myself with more money than i can spend, i will simply donate it
to AZG/Myanmar.

a third option is to call your congressperson, or email the white
house, and tell them to tell george freaking bush to stop politicizing
the provision of aid to myanmar, that this isn’t about people being
free, it’s about them dying of cholera or typhoid in the next week.
and if you keep talking about a freaking warship that’s ready to
provide aid a few days from the coast, the myanmar government’s less
likely to accept your help and more likely to be concerned that you’re
going to invade to save the people of myanmar just like you saved the
iraqis.

as some of you’ve heard from my mom, i’m perfectly safe, i’m still
planning on being home in a few weeks, but yes, this is the direst of
dire situations i could have ever imagined. thank you all for your
thoughts, love and support. please feel free to forward this message
to anyone i may have left off the list. FYI it is extremely unlikely
i’ll be on email again more than once or twice before coming home.

all my love,
carlie “

* This is one of my own chosen charities – Doctor’s Without Borders. Carlie is mentioning the Holland Office specifically here. (website in English via Babblefish).