July 2, 2010

iPhone Friday

I have mixed feelings about my iPhone. Like all things Mac, I love its nifty design and sleek surface, and the fact that it allows me to play Scrabble endlessly wherever I find myself. I love that I can record cryptic little messages for my ears only, like "two boxes of baking soda", or "dog toothpaste." However, I am hopelessly out of touch with the world of apps, to the point that my father took one look at my iPhone, gave a little laugh and said - boy, you really don't have any apps on this thing, do you? No, Mr. Who-wants-to-see-my-new-iPad, I guess I don't.

Also, since last Christmas, the volume button has been stuck in the down position, so the phone never rings. Or chimes when somebody's a-textin' me. I took it to the Bar and had the Geniuses put their heads together. One went to the back room, like a car salesman going to confer with his manager, (i.e., to have a smoke) and came back to tell me, sadly, that there was no way to fix it. I'd have to upgrade. This news caused Timmy's eyes to light up -- could he try to take it apart? No sir, you cannot.

Why, you ask? That would be fun for Timmy, and interesting to see the inner workings of the iPhone. At the very least, I could let Charlie run over it with his skateboard and make an awesome YouTube video.

Because the thing I love most about the iPhone is the camera. I am extremely camera-challenged, and feel very intimidated when people start talking about f/stop and shutter speed. The iPhone is the perfect camera - I am always pleasantly surprised by the photos I am able to take with it, and there is nothing to do but point and shoot. I think of the iPhone as a camera on which I occasionally make phone calls, and which frequently challenges me to a game of Scrabble.

Given the fact that my iPhone is currently at a wedding with Maudie, I thought I would leave you with a photo taken on my last visit to HP. My mom and I were particularly taken with this creepy doll, probably because she has two very similar creepy dolls and this one seemed to cry out for its landsmen. My dad, slightly repelled, wandered off, engrossed no doubt, in the latest app.

April 8, 2010

Just Us Chickens

I write to you today from the attic, where I am safely ensconced, away from the five 13- and 14- year olds who have taken over the first and second floors of my house. Maudie and two friends are having a Gilmore Girls Marathon (they're on Season 7, thank God) and Charlie and his friend are in his room, blasting death metal and chugging Monsters. I really like this friend of Charlie's because a) he's smart and funny, b) he can talk to adults, and c) recently he was grounded from drinking any Monster at all for two weeks, a punishment he endured with great aplomb. I guess really I should also like his mother for that one. So I do.

They had to come in, due to the rain, otherwise they'd be skateboarding. The girls would be outside "tanning" in bikinis, telling me not to worry, they're wearing sunscreen. Fair enough. I never really thought of myself as the Mother Hen type, but I do like to have a bunch of kids around, and I'd much rather have them here than elsewhere. I used to fear that I would become "an old hen with one chick", and I guess in some ways I am just that. One chick and one step-chick.

For a few years, I was really having a hard time with this tween to teen transition. I was sad to see them leave grade school, embrace technology, grow as tall and taller than me, get cell phones, and "develop", to use a creepy 70s-style health class term. For some reason, in the last six months or so, it's okay. Which is good, because it's not like I have a choice in the matter.

gartercardi for ez
Raveled here.

Also, they both rejected all hand knits during that period, which is probably a good thing in terms of their social lives, and as Heather would say, street cred. Maudie did ask for a slouchy hat last October, but she had Swine Flu at the time, so it may have been the fever talking. Conveniently, her baby sister Esmee is now almost two, and when I gave her this little sweater last month, she literally jumped up and down and immediately put it on. Has anyone every jumped up and down upon receiving a hand-knitted gift from you? It was the first time for me, but I really hope it happens again.

Oh, about the knitting. When my parents were here at Easter, my mom and I spent a lot of time knitting, laughing about knitting and most of all, reminiscing about knitters we have known. In the old days, before the Internet made it possible to befriend other knitters in far-flung locations, your knitting friends were local, i.e., the women you met sitting at the knitting table at your LYS. There was a kind of dance-with-him-what-brung-ya mentality -- find your pal at this table, or go without. Of course, this was hit or miss, but my mom did make many interesting and in some cases lifelong friends this way.

One such friend, Judy, was one of my favorites. She was totally fabulous, with a chic curly bob, pearl chokers and tons of cashmere sweaters. She took a trip to Paris every year with her girlfriends. She was like the cool, funky grandmother everyone wished they had. She was very funny and upfront and would often pull me aside and say things like, "Barbie (my mother's friends still call me that), since it's just us chickens, how do you really feel about living two blocks from your parents?"

Although she's gone now, I have in my possession a sweater she knitted maybe 20 years ago. It's a super-bulky cardigan in a rich grey-plum color with pockets and a belt. I think she made up the pattern as she went along. This garment succeeds in being functional, fashionable and does not, as many bulky knits tend to do, make the wearer look like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man. Judy also once spent an entire winter knitting a stash-busting striped scarf -- Dr. Who-style. I think the thing is about 10 feet long. That scarf is in my ex-husband's possession.

So, today, it's all good. This summer my chicks both turn 14. I leave you with pictures of them from Tom's and my wedding, almost six years ago.


March 26, 2010

Flash & Yearn

Hello again!

I was trying to go a whole year between blog posts, but I just couldn't do it. So here I am, thanks to some serious prodding from Timmy, and a gentle nudge from a gentle reader.

Anyway, a while back, when we still had Blockbuster Online, I was searching around for a good movie. The kind that makes you glad you have an online service, as opposed to the kind you let languish for three weeks in the bowl with the bananas. I can't remember the movie that caught my eye, but I do remember that it was categorized as one of many Obsessive Quests. As I browsed around, I realized that I was drawn to Obsessive Quests, in the much the same way I was drawn to Crumbling Marriages, Dying Young, and of course, Witnessing a Crime.

In my time, I have been witness to any number of Obsessive Quests: Ornamental Grasses, N-Scale Model Railroad, 5 Gum, Bakelite Cherries, Beaujolais Nouveau, Flipping Off All Extant Cement Mixers, just to name a few. Most poets, also, live for the Obsessive Quest. Do I even need to mention knitters and their obsessive quests? The Socks That Rock Booth at Rhinebeck comes to mind. Malabrigo, Pigeonroof, Sundara anyone?

Tea Leaves
First picture of Tea Leaves.

My most recent Obsessive Quest? The Tea Leaves Cardigan, hands down. I swatched. I calculated. I planned. This is possibly my favorite hand knit. Ever. Never mind the entirely cabled cardigan from Vogue Knitting I made (out of Maratona) in the 80s while watching Reds over and over again from a king-sized water bed. Goodbye, February Lady Sweater and all other viral knits! This pattern took hold of me like nothing else. And then it was done. I missed it so much, I made a toddler-sized garter yoke cardi in the same yarn. I thought of Berryman, and all those Dream Songs. I flashed and yearned.

I know Heather felt the same way. On a Wednesday, she texted me that she was only 2 inches below the armholes - complete with frowny face. Sunday morning? The text said -- it's blocking (smiley).

Last picture of O W L S.

Borne along by my Tea Leaves success, it was onward and upward to O W L S. My new love. I yearned for this sweater. Yes, I swatched. I planned, I knitted on, through Swine Flu, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And yet, it was big. The back poofed. I sewed on all 38 button eyes during the Super Bowl. The sleeves sagged. I blocked, I soaked, I threw it in the dryer. It still wasn't right. I frogged. Because, as we now know, knitting is ripping and ripping is knitting. My Quest seemed for naught.

But that's the nature of the Obsessive Quest -- dazzling highs and punishing lows. Probably the same is true of Marriage and Crime. It's Spring and so to my Quest. After weeks of stewing over it all, whining to anyone who will listen, and weighing the relative merits of size 36 vs 38, I'm ready. I've bought new yarn, printed out a fresh copy of the pattern and obsessively check the project gallery on Ravelry for newly finished sweaters. Because I really want that sweater. Hopefully, the second time's the charm.