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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Not Knitting Again

For the second week in a row I did not head down to Loopy to knit after work. The husband, in a fit of impetuousness at 5pm, got on the computer and found two fabulous center aisle seats to see Keb' Mo' and the ever-fabulous Miss Bonnie Raitt at Ravinia. She was, as always, marvelous. And she did my two favorites, "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "Angel from Montgomery" so I was a happy girl. Not the cheeriest songs in her repertoire but, damn, she sings 'em.

Work has been incredibly nerve-wracking lately. Closing the fiscal year is always stressful and this year is really a challenge. I will be oh-so-happy when it is over. I don't even have the time or patience to knit, that's how not-fun it is right now. Blech.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Tramps Like Us

I am a lucky, lucky girl. The husband and I saw Bruce Springsteen on The Seeger Sessions Tour on Wednesday night. I was about as close to him as I may ever get--maybe 50 feet away or so. It was fantabulous. Even the husband--who does not like loud concerts, crowds, or even most Springsteen music--had a great time. So much so, in fact, he suggested we fly to New Jersey to catch one of the last shows on this tour leg. (He has been converted!!! And, no, we're not going.) Bruce Springsteen is the hardest working man in show business (sorry, James Brown) and, at a time when many of his contemporaries are coasting on their past achievements or phoning it in and collecting their checks, he is bringing fresh, creative, and meaningful work to the stage. The 16 assembled musicians were truly fine and the new arrangements of the old stuff (particularly "Atlantic City") were revelatory. The Bradley Center is a pretty small arena and there were a lot of seats to be had. I know that it is very expensive to buy tickets to these things, but one has to wonder if this tour has not been selling as well as past tours because he's not playing "Born to Run". I love the E Street stuff, too, but it really is great to see him go out on a limb. (For the record, I wouldn't kick him out for eating crackers in bed, but if he never played most of the "Born in the USA" album again, I'd be okay with that so long as I still got to look at the album cover. The man can wear a pair of jeans...)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Adult Equivalent of a Half-day of School

This is how I feel 'cause I am cutting out of work early, getting on an Amtrak train headed for Milwaukee, and going to see my second favorite man from New Jersey. (I am required by law to say that as the husband hails from exit 11.) Is she not the cutest? (That's my oldest friend's little girl. Well, she's not my oldest friend--she's the friend I've had the longest, since we were 14 and she had braces and I wore suspenders, a la "Mork and Mindy". Yep, you bet I did. Her mom and I have been friends for 26 years. You can do the math.) I took this picture of her when we were in PA a few weeks ago for the big Mother's Day Surprise Visit.

I just got home from a knitting gathering in Bucktown. This was my first time hooking up with this group--quite nice. There was an amazing knitter there, a woman who moved to Chicago from Mexico City to live with her daughter a year ago, after her husband passed away. She has a lot to teach the group, many of whom a fairly new to knitting. (Personally, I'd love to pick up some Spanish, and she said she needs to practice her English--perfect!)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Worldwide Knit in Public Day, Chicago Edition

Let me start by saying none of my local friends* are knitters (except, of course, the friends I am meeting at local yarn shops, SnB events, etc.) So, everyone I told of my plans today either rolled his or her eyes, guffawed, or teased me in that isn't-that-amusing-but-girl-you-so-crazy kind of way. Oh, well, they can't be expected to understand what they cannot comprehend.

Well, it was a lovely fall day here in Chicago...felt like it anyway. But, let's face it, who wants to knit outside when it is hot and humid? While rain threatened to dampen the festivities (and, in fact, caused some of us to start the day in the back-up indoor location), the day turned out rather well. About 40 to 45 knitters gathered near the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. Here are a few pics:

The youngest knitter found himself a lovely perch.

One half of the fountain doing its thing. There is another tower that faces it and a shallow, open wading pool sits between them. Videos of faces are projected through the glass blocks and, about every 10 minutes, they purse their lips and "spit". After a few minutes of this, a large cascade of water spills from the top of each tower and the process starts over again. Fun stuff.

I met some charming knitters and ended the day by walking a few of them down to Loopy Yarn. I hope to hook up with a few of them at either Stitches Midwest or at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.

The only unfortunate thing about these gatherings is that I don't actually get a lot of knitting done. I did a little more work on the sock and I cast on and did a few rows of Green Gable #2. But, we did unabashedly, unashamedly flaunt our craft in public--and the police were not called.

*S.A. is a knitter, but is way down south in Alabama. Trust me, she didn't laugh when I told her about this--she wanted her own personal chapter of Knit in Public Day.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I try not to be a crazy cat lady...

...but sometimes I can't help it. Papel (who we sometimes tease as being a cat of very little brain) was smart enough to utilize the temporarily repositioned quilt rack as a comfy hammock.
Who says he isn't clever and resourceful...

The sock is coming along. I have just finished the heel flap--yes, for the second time--and am getting ready to turn the heel. I am also knitting a Krazy Kool Aid Skirt (yep, I did just break one of my own grammar rules) for the niece. I hope it will be cute and not too garish. Eh, she's seven--nothing is too garish in a seven-year-old's eyes. Pics to come.

Worrying/fretting/obsessing about the end of my company's current fiscal year and balancing the budget for the upcoming year occupies much of my brain at the moment. It is one of my least favorite times of year. In a not-for-profit, one rarely has to worry about how to spend all of that excess money just lying around! Sometimes I'm tempted to check all of my coat pockets and dig under the couch cushions just to find a few extra bucks to help end the year. I'm looking forward to June 30 because, one way or another, FY06 will be over and a new budget for FY07 will be in place. Thankfully I have knitting to give me something to count other than dollars in and dollars yards and miles of yarn.

Before I joined Summer of Stash, I ordered 10 balls each of the following colors of Sonata from Elann:

For those of you who might be keeping track (and I'm not sure who that would be other than me and the husband) that's 3,450 more yards, bringing the total to 105,739 yards, which is equal to 60.79 miles! Eeek.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


After last weekend during which the city of Chicago was approximately the temperature of one of the rings of hell (okay, not quite, but we, the nearly 100-year-old-house-dwelling-un-air-conditioned-types thought so) this week and this weekend have been perfect.

I hit a roadblock on the sock, so I waited until Friday night when I could get some assistance at Loopy Yarns. I sat down, told them I was having an issue and began ripping back to where I knew I should start. As I was tinking, I realized immediately what I had been doing wrong. That's my favorite part about knitting. I have always felt that the ability to knit has been in my brain and in my hands and I just have to find the way to release it. It seems like something I was always supposed to do. (Wow, that reads SO new age-y.)

Yesterday, the husband and I took a walk around the neighborhood and it was lovely. We live in a historic little pocket of Chicago where most of the houses range from the late 1800s to the mid-1920s. Ours was built in 1909. We are soon going to be undertaking some significant renovations on the house--all new windows and electric, the kitchen, turning the upstairs kitchen into a bathroom/laundry, etc. We'll see how far we get before the money runs out...As much as I would love a house with rooms with better "flow", typical Chicago two- and three-flats tend to be a little chopped up. Ours is a little better because we are on a bigger lot, so our house is about three feet wider than the normal two-flat. Doesn't sound like much, but it actually makes a huge difference. In order to get that flow, we'd have to gut the house which doesn't feel right. We bought it for its vintage details like the wood and stained glass, so we will live with the quirks, too--with a few improvements. Hopefully A/C will be one of them! But I digress...

Our neighborhood feminist bookstore, Women and Children First, surprised me by having a small but nice little selection of knitting books. I have always thought highly of the store. They have really impressive author events and it has plenty of non-feminist titles to keep even the husband browsing for some time. I am going to commit to buying at least a few more books a year at W&CF.

Two friends recently returned from a trip to Florida. They informed me that their very first "junking" purchase was for me. It was this:

It is a bag crocheted out of...bags. Specifically Wal-Mart bags. (It even has a cell phone pocket inside.) Hey, I'm all about the recycling, and one cannot underestimate the appeal of doing handcrafts, but I personally could not give up a life of fiber for a life of plastic, no matter how low the stash ran.* Kudos to this happy hooker, though. Recycle on!

*There is no danger of that. Last weekend I calculated the stash. Not counting items on the frog pile as well as a few other things that got missed, I have 58 miles of yarn. FIFTY. EIGHT. Yikes. I joined the Summer of Stash pronto. It's the first step to recovery.