Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taking a Break...

...from compulsively hitting refresh on the page to check my grades and before diving back into Cobblestone, so tantalizingly close to complete! So I thought I'd give a quick update while I sip on my hot chocolate (with a dash of Pinnacle Whipped vodka, just a dash-- I have knitting to do).

I finally mailed out the last package and Christmas card today. Last year I carried gifts for friends on the train, but this year I decided it was worth to spring for shipping. Being a student has taught me to be a much better traveler! I used to overpack so much, but now I've got down just what I need for a weekend.

I'm going home on Friday for nine days! I'm really looking forward to spending lots of stress-free time with my family and friends, without assignments looming over my head. (Nope. Still no grades posted.)

Last Friday was my company Christmas party. We do a Yankee Swap and this year I got a travel Scrabble board! The most perfect gift for me ever, and it was the one I chose right at the start. I couldn't believe no one stole it. I'm a Scrabble fiend. Speaking of, do you play Words with Friends? If you do, look me up! sassette00 I'm always looking for new opponents.

I made these sugar cookies thinking I'd bring them to a party, but they aren't kidding when they say small batch! So instead I stuck them in my freezer and I've been munching on them all week. They are so good. I made mine with just a sprinkle of sugar, but I'm sure they'd be great with icing too.

I love walking around Boston whenever I get the chance. No matter how well I think I know a neighborhood, I always discover something new. I've walked from the North End to Back Bay via Charles Street about a million times and yet never saw the doorknob store until the other day. How could I miss something so beautiful?


What are your plans for the holidays? Any traditions you look forward to?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Come Together....

Check it out! Big Black Blob is becoming sweater-shaped!


With two weeks left to go, I am on the first round of decreases for the yoke. I was feeling a little nervous about finishing this in time, but now I feel downright confident. Much of this progress is thanks to a long afternoon I spent with Amy, knitting away. Also, one of the (myriad) benefits of having knitting friends: when I realized that I had not only forgotten stitch holders but also forgot the copy of IK with the pattern in it, Amy had those things at the ready. Whew!

The end of the semester is approaching. I have a final story due in my lit class where I have to write in the style of an author we've read this semester. In a fit of delusion, I chose Flannery O'Connor. The story's down, but I just don't love it. I'll be glad to turn it in so I can stop fiddling with it. In my workshop I have to make a chapbook using six stories from the term, with a cover, synopsis, bio and quotes about the author. Truth? I've not even started it yet. I just got book supplies today! The stories are all finished though. I just need to come up with the cover stuff. (She says, as though it'll be done in twenty minutes.)

Last week I had to turn in another project in my short-short workshop. We had to write nanofictions (stories of fewer than 100 words) and present them in an Artist's Book. An Artist's Book is a one of a kind, handmade book, though the word "book" is used loosely here. Some books do follow standard conventions of a cover with pages, but others (like mine) present the stories in a unique way. Want to see mine?


Stay tuned for a completed Cobblestone! Maybe I'll even be able to get a picture of my brother wearing it. (Don't hold your breath though.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Well lookie here!

Big black blob has a baby!


This is sleeve number 1, completed. Sleeve number 2 is on the needles. I guess I'm about 25% of the way through with it. This semester is speeding by, which means that the due date for this sweater is right around the corner! I have only hazy memories of making Cobblestone the first time, but I seem to recall picking up some speed at the yoke, all those wonderful decreases! I have absolutely no idea what I'll cast on for after this. I have several projects jostle-ing for attention in my mental queue. I'd love a new hat, and also a thick cozy cowl. I'm seeing these giant cowls everywhere and they look so warm and comfy. One thing I'm pretty sure of is that I won't be starting any sweaters. Unless they're baby sized. When you only get maybe an hour a week to knit, sweaters are just too slow going.

In other news, fall has arrived in Boston. Finally we're seeing some color besides dead brown.


I live a couple of miles out of the city-proper, so I've been taking advantage of the mild weather and beautiful scenery and walking in instead of taking the T. I know that before I know it, it's going to be sub zero outside and I'll be longing for a nice long walk.

Also, I went home to Maine this last weekend for a friend's birthday AND to attend the first ever Comicon in Maine! There was a tournament for Mario 3, which I was excited about, but when I got there I started to chicken out. Especially when I saw that the leader had over 150,000 points! I have no idea how he did it. The idea is to score as many points as you can in five minutes. I had been practicing on my Gameboy for days and had a strategy. Finally I signed up, getting in just under the wire. I got third place!


I was kicking myself because I would have easily taken second except that I bit it with a minute left and never recovered. Totally threw me off my game. It was exciting though! I hope they do it again next year!

Now I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I spend most of it in the kitchen, which I like. (I actually had a nightmare the other night that I had to share the cooking of the feast with someone else. It didn't go well.) I get to see my family, eat pie, and enjoy that relaxing time you get only when everything is closed and you're forced to just stay in. I'm planning out my menu right now. Aside from the usual, I do these sesame green beans that my sister loves, roasted brussels sprouts, and rosemary carrots. What do you make besides the typical turkey, mashed, stuffing, sweets?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey, guess what?!

I went back to New York!


I went to my first Writer's Conference, put on by Slice Magazine. I took workshops in character development, dialogue and revision, and watched a panel on the importance of literary magazines. I had a great time! Even though I've heard again and again about all of those subjects, it's always helpful to hear about them again. See, the thing is, every time I learn about, say, character development, I'm able to relate it to a new piece I'm working on. In this case, one of the exercises we did gave me a great new opening to a story that I liked, but whose opening was lacking. My favorite part was probably the panel, because it was so nice to hear about people who had submitted their work upwards of one hundred times only to go on to have a bestseller. I just recently started submitted my work, and actually just got my first rejection from that round! (For the record: first rejection ever was from Fiction magazine about ten years ago, this latest was from The Atlantic. What can I say? I start at the top!) I don't exactly feel pressure to publish before I graduate, but it would be pretty great.


In addition to the conference, I spent time with my friend Erin who stayed with me. She's very familiar with New York, so it was great to see her favorite places. We did a lot of walking around and exploring. This trip more than ever made me want to move to the city. I can so totally see myself living there! Fingers crossed that I find an amazing publishing job right after graduation!

Work has slowed on Cobblestone. I'm almost to the arms now, but as it turns out both of my classes this semester are very challenging. My literature class has NINE books assigned, and my writing workshop requires one or two new stories every week. They're short-shorts (250-1000 words), but still! It takes time to come up with an idea, and then to see if it will work. We are given specific prompts (this week is to write a three page story that chains through four points of view), which adds to the challenge. Here's hoping I finish by Christmas!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Black Blob is... blobby


Work continues apace....

So, the time before last when I wrote, I promised to say more about Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I think Robbie put it best when he said that Yates really understands relationships. The thing is, Yates' gift really lies in the relationships that have fallen apart. In this book (it was made into a movie that was also really good), he follows a couple from their hopeful inception (see what I did there? Leo was in the movie!) to the dregs. Yates' voice is so distinctive. He's one of those writers who make you think you could do it too. His prose is so effortless. But if you tried to replicate it you'd recognize the futility. I suppose some may say his dialogue and style is dated, but while the specific phrases used are of a certain time, the plot is timeless. I definitely recommend this book.

I also just finished Falconer by John Cheever. This book is like a Cheever short story given room to luxuriously spread out and relax. It follows Ezekial Farragut (just called Farragut) as he enters Falconer prison and makes a life there. Farragut is much like other Cheever protagonists, except that instead of being an alcoholic he's a heroin addict and he's in a literal prison instead of a figurative one. What I love about this story is that it's a story set in a prison, but is so close to Farragut and his experience, it transcends the "prison story" cliche and becomes a story about human experience, and how we change and evolve according to what we experience. Heartily recommend.

I just started Zazen by Vanessa Veselka, recommended by Cari. I was hooked by the first paragraph on the first page. I feel like if I met Vanessa Veselka, we would instantly be best friends, like she just gets me and all the crazy crap swirling around in my head. More when I finish! I'm sure my reading will slow down once fall semester starts. My lit class has, like, NINE short story collections as required reading. I've read parts of most of them, and a couple of them in their entirety, but most of them are new so I'm excited.

What are you reading? What do you look for in a good book?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Good News and Bad News

Everyone likes to start with the good news, right?


I finished the vest! I am so happy with it. I love the color, I love the texture, I love the fit. This is my second project from fitted knits. (Way back in 2007 I made the Puff Sleeved Feminine Cardigan.) I love Stefanie's use of texture in this book, especially in this vest.


In review: This is the Back to School U-Neck Vest by Stefanie Japel from her book Fitted Knits. I used Cascade 220 Superwash in color 819. I had three skeins, but only used a very small bit of the third one.

With the vest finished, I was ready to dive into my next project. Would I make a hat? Socks? Maybe some new mittens? I blacked out with all of the possibility before me and when I came to I had cast on for a sweater. A men's sweater. This from the girl who took three months to finish a vest. This also brings me to the bad news. It's not just a plain old men's sweater (Jared Flood's wonderful Cobblestone, which I've made before), but it's a plain old men's sweater in black. My apologies, and I completely understand if you skip over my photos until it's finished.


I didn't realize that I last made this sweater almost four years ago! As soon as my brother saw it, he started asking me for one. I didn't realize I'd kept him waiting for so long! Last year for Christmas, I gave him a hat I made using Mission Falls 1824 Wool. My brother is one of those people who likes to insist he's allergic to wool, so the hat was a little test. I didn't gloat about it, but he loved the hat and wore it all winter, no complaints! I figure, if he can wear wool against his forehead, surely he'll be fine in a sweater. I love this yarn. It feels heavenly and has great stitch definition.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Why, hello there! So, I'm pretty sure I mentioned in my last post that I'm taking a summer class. While my professor is definitely laid back, the structure of the class schedule makes it so it's a little crazy. Generally in workshops, we're required to turn in three stories over the course of the semester. Since a semester is about three months long, with breaks, that works out to about a story a month. Additionally, professors typically assign due dates for everyone's work. I had one professor who had everyone turn in stories on the same day, and another who worked out a schedule on the first day of class by having us draw numbers. The professor I have now prefers not to assign stories, which means, as I suspected, we now have 13 stories to workshop in the last 4 sessions. Ouch! The entire class is only 6 weeks anyway, so we were sure to be pinched, but I'm really looking forward to finishing this class! I love the professor and I'd love a chance to take a workshop with him during a full semester. Anyway, this explains some of my absence and the fact that my vest still isn't done!

In non-school news, I've been doing yoga!


I bought a Living Social deal for classes and fell in love. For most Sundays this month, I've been doing this thing put on by a yoga shop in town with a friend from work. We run two miles then do yoga outside in the park. Every week is a different teacher, which is cool because I get to try them out. I'm superpsyched about tomorrow, because the yoga teacher is my favorite! I've even gotten into running! I mapped out a route using MapMyRun and have been running most mornings or evenings, depending on whether I'm working.

I missed one Sunday of yoga to go to a wedding back home:


This is my favorite picture from the wedding. I worked with the bride at the old folks' home. She was working in the activities department, and it is the perfect job for her. I promise, you will never meet a nicer girl. The wedding was beautiful! Her husband's band did a couple of acoustic songs (the groom is a drummer and played the bongos), the groom's dad sang a song during the ceremony, and some other friends of their also performed. The DJ was terrific! Plenty of '90's hiphop! Awwwwwww yeah!


The wedding was on Peaks Island in Maine. The day was super hot, but just beautiful. It was so wonderful to spend the day with some of my dearest girlfriends for such a joyous occasion. Sigh.

Some linky goodness!
My Drunk Kitchen on YouTube is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
Likewise, this video had me rolling, and then I got sucked into the vortex of this kid's YouTube channel.
I'm reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I really liked the movie, and after reading a collection of Yates' short stories last fall, I really wanted to check out the book. It's wonderful. Really great. I'll write more when I'm finished.

I'm soclose to finishing my vest! I'm predicting some FO shots on my next post! (And won't it be funny if my next post is like three months from now, ha ha)!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

As Promised...



While this vest isn't moving along as quickly as I'd hoped, it's nice to see a recognizable garment forming rather than an endless ribbed tube.

Ribbed tube aside, this has actually been a fun little project. Particularly the top which has a sweet waffle stitch pattern that is so textural but also so simple.


All I really have left now are the straps and finishing! Too bad Boston has reached a sweltering 90 degrees and the idea of putting wool anywhere on my body gives me hives. This may be a job for my dress form when it's finished.

In other news, I had a birthday since last we talked.


My sister came to see me and we went to the North End for dinner, drinks and cupcakes. All were delicious! That drink in front of me is some grape martini thing they serve at Cantina Italiana that I can't get enough of. Then we moved on to Assaggio for dinner where I had some of the best gnocchi of my life. And how could we end the night anywhere else but Mike's for dessert? I usually don't stray far from the cannoli case (the Florentine Cannoli in particular gets me every time), but since it was my birthday, a known cake holiday, I had the most amazing, extravagant chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting ever. Seriously. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. For once I'm glad I don't live in the North End!

Tonight is the first night of my summer class. I'm nervous! Isn't that silly? It's my third semester, technically, and I'm still all jittery.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Day 10: Secrets

So here we are at the last day of the challenge. I have to say, I've been dreading this one a little. I know I could throw out some funny, jokey little secrets, but I don't think I have ten of them. I certainly don't want to reveal any serious secrets to the Internets... my secrets are usually completely secret. Either no one at all knows them, or just one or two people. And I don't think there's anyone in this world who knows all of them. So yeah, not blog material. So I decided I'd share with you 10 secrets I've learned to make my days happy. I used to be so angry and tense, and in the last few years I've definitely mellowed out. I'm sure some of this has to do with age, but I also learned some lessons.

10. Store avocado/guacamole with the pit to prevent browning. Because nothing can ruin your day like icky brown avocado.

9. It's only money/stuff. Even now, being a relatively poor student, I don't let money hassles get me down. I understand there are people out there in way more dire circumstances than I, but I suspect most people fall into my category: have enough for what I need, not enough for what I want. Despite that, I am so thankful to have family and friends who love me and support me. That trumps money and things every time.

8. It takes nothing away from you to be nice. Let someone else go before you. Say please and thank you. Smile. Doing these things take nothing from your day except perhaps a moment of your time, but being polite adds something to other people's days, as well as yours. And who knows, maybe if enough people do it, manners will make a comeback!

7. You're never too old. I learned this from the folks I used to work with at the assisted living home. The most vibrant, vital ones were the ones always craving new information, the curious ones. The ones who wouldn't accept age as a limitation. I'm sure they had some influence over my decision to start a Master's program at 35.

6. Don't take too many medicines. Another lesson from the home. The healthiest, happiest residents were the ones who took the least medication, and who had never taken medication in their lives. I've been lucky enough to not need much in my life, but it's definitely a goal of mine to be able to avoid meds in the future.

5. Get out into the sunshine. Even if all you can get is a ten minute break from work sitting outside. It makes the rainy days more bearable to know you've enjoyed the sunny ones as much as you can.

4. Always choose kindness. Making another person happy makes you happy. Period.

3. Give. Money, time, compassion, whatever you have. What good is it if you hoard it all to yourself.

2. Be passionate. About something, anything. I mean something that affects the entire world. I'm passionate about animals and their care and welfare. My BFF is passionate about children's rights to medical care. Other people are passionate about the environment. We don't all have to agree or care about the same things to the same level, but everyone should care about something. It'll make the world a better place.

1. Forgive. It's not easy, but carrying around hate and discontent really is worse for you than the person you're harboring those feelings against. Forgiveness is something I constantly struggle with. I'll think I've done it, and then I find myself having to start all over again. But I really do feel better in those moments when I hold no ill will in my heart at all.

So that's that! I know I said I'd take a knitting picture, but that didn't pan out obviously. I've made progress though! Hopefully I'll get this vest done in the next week!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 9: Loves

Whew! After the last couple of posts, I needed something feel good to post about! Talking about things I love is easy, and uncomplicated. I don't question whether I actually love or like or somethingelse things. I just love them! Since we already discussed food, I'll go ahead and leave those off the list. Though truth be told, I love ice cream so much, it could probably go on this list too! Okay, so... stuff I love!

1. My family.


This picture is old (Thanksgiving 2006), but you get the idea. I went on about my family on day 1, so I won't do it again.

2. My friends!


I miss my friends.

3. Animals


I love animals. Even insects. It's part of the reason I'm a vegetarian, all of the reason I hate zoos, and my reason for smiling about a hundred times a day (a mouse ran across my path today and I squealed out loud).

4. Buffy. Seriously. I've seen this series front to back at least ten times since I discovered it. The dialogue is great, there's a great mix of the supernatural and the ordinary (especially in later seasons), and some of the most creative television ever (a musical episode? an episode where for half of it no one speaks aloud?). If you haven't seen it, give it a chance! But be aware that season one, while still having great moments, is pretty cheesy. Stick with it!

5. Books. I've been a reader for as long as I can remember. My first love is the short story, but I'm not averse to novels, any genre will do. I've read horror (a LOT of horror, actually), YA, romance, even a little mystery. The thing is, my love of reading combined with my near-crippling shyness makes it so that if there's a book or magazine within reach while I'm in an uncomfortable social situation, I'm reading it! Right now I'm reading The Girl With Brown Fur by Stacey Levine. I love this collection, but also understand it's not for everyone. If you prefer your books/stories to be plot driven, you'll hate this. Each story is like a dream. Things don't make sense, they meander, there's little if any resolution. But the writing is lovely, and the stories make you think.

6. Old Folks.


I worked at an old folks' home for eight years. Before that, my favorite day at the bookstore was Tuesday, Senior Day (I was in the distinct minority). There is so much to love about older people. It's not just the wisdom they impart, or that they always think you're younger than you are (and say things like, "Oh, dear, life doesn't get started until you're thirty!"). It's that they have so much love and care to share, and don't always have the chance to do it. Some of my best friends of the last ten years or so have been 75+. I encourage you to volunteer at your local old folks' home if you have a chance. If you're a little shy, go for the dementia unit. If you act like you already know them, you're in! Whenever I've found myself on a dementia unit, I've found myself instantly surrounded by friends.

7. Shoes! I won't even say how many pairs I have (I don't even know for sure), but I am a totally typical girl on this one.

8. Travel.


I first went on a plane in June of 2006 for my best friend's wedding. She got married in Vegas, and I considered driving, but couldn't take that much time off. Aside from a few involuntary tears at takeoff, I loved flying! I haven't looked back since. My hope is to travel the world, including a trip back to India.

And of course...



I may not churn out FO's like I used to (which still doesn't reach the level of some of my bloggy pals), but not a day goes by that I don't troll through Ravelry or knitting blogs or think in some way about knitting. It's with me for life!

Tomorrow (?), the last day of this challenge! 10 secrets. Better start thinking now.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 8: Fears

Well, rats! I missed a day! I'm still proud of myself for posting every day for a week though!

Today's topics is fear. What I like about this challenge is that I find myself really thinking about each one. On this one, I realized that I don't have many fears. I have a lot of worries, but they're all things I can sort through logically and talk myself out of. To me, a fear is something ingrained within you that no amount of bargaining with yourself will alleviate. As I thought to myself what my real fears are then, I thought maybe I was confusing fear with phobia? Because I came up with three:
1. The dark
2. Small spaces
3. Needles (syringes, not tattoo or piercing needles, certainly not knitting or sewing needles!)

So these last 5 are actually just my most profound worries.
4. Failure
5. Alzheimer's Disease/senility
6. Losing touch
7. Losing time
8. Losing control

Two more days! And coming up, we're supposed to get some sunshine so I can take a picture of my WIP!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 7: Wants

Guys, I am honestly in awe of myself that I am on day 7 and have not yet missed a day! I don't think I've ever blogged every day for a week in my life.

Anyway, seven wants. This is hard, really hard. I'm one of those annoying people who, when asked what they want for their birthday or Christmas or whatever, always says, "Oh, I dunno. I have everything I need." And it's true! Over the years I've been lucky enough to obtain most everything I could want or need, excluding shinynew stuff. And honestly, most of the time shinynew just isn't enough to churn my butter any more.

Hmmm... a butter churn. My birthday IS coming right up.

Anyway, since I don't think I could even come up with seven things I want, I'll try to get a little less literal about this one. So sorry, Sister, this won't be a list of appropriate birthday gift ideas. (My birthday really is next week and she's been asking me for a month now what I want. I just send ideas as they come to me.)

Since this is going to be a little more personal than I usually get on the blog. I'll simply submit my list without comment. Read into it what you will.

1. Love
2. Happiness
3. To make a difference
4. To have work that I love, that challenges me and makes me happy
5. My bunnies back
6. 15 fewer pounds and the will to keep them off
7. Time

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 6: Places

One of my favorite things is to daydream about places. Sometimes I imagine the places I want to go and the things I want to do and see there. Other times I fall into nostalgia for my childhood home or feel the desperate tug of homesickness. And then there are the times I'm on the train to work or sitting by the pond in the Common and think, "Holy shit! I live here!" Places are some of my favorite things to think about. My top 6?

Home. Home for me is Maine, and it always will be. Whether it's the wee tiny town I grew up in or the sweet city I lived in before I moved, Maine always gives me a feeling of calm.


Home now is Boston. There are so many things I miss about Maine: my family, friends, the beach, space... but Boston is pretty cool too. There's the Freedom Trail, which is a great walk. Delicious food options everywhere. Ducklings in the pond, museums (the MFA is my fave), streets soaked in history. I mean, I stood in Paul Revere's house!


Someplace I like to daydream about as home is New York City. I know I've only been once, but I just can't get the city out of my mind! I want the luxury of time to explore every corner of it and squeeze every drop of satisfaction I can out of it.


My dream is to travel the world, the whole thing! But the places that always come up again and again in my imaginary wandering are:
Paris! I want to go to the Louvre! See the Eiffel Tower! Drink a luxurious coffee with some pain au chocolat at a sidewalk cafe!

Rome! Again with the history and amazing food. And I don't know a single word of Italian that doesn't relate to a menu, but I'd love to listen to it spoken all day.

Alaska! I love being outdoors and whale watches, and Alaska seems like the greatest place on earth for both.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 5: Food

Okay, I could get all philosophical here and wax poetic about feeding my soul, my heart, my mind etc. But I love real, actual food. LOVE! Gained over twenty pounds my first semester of grad school type love (oops). I've been trying to reverse that addition since December without much luck, but it's SO HARD when Ben & Jerry go and make something like this and I'm powerless... powerless I tell you!

Anyway, what a great lead-in to the introduction of my favorite food! Ice cream!


My mouth is full of sweet teeth already, but there's one that is wholly devoted to ice cream and all of its kin. Frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, gelato, soft serve, frozen custard.... If it's frozen and sweet, I'm on it. My love runs so deep, I worked at Dairy Queen for five years and never got even a little sick of it.

On a healthier note, my mornings all start with this:


I even usually have raisins in it! I rotate between a few basics add-ins. The usual base is a healthy spoon of cinnamon and a good shake of nutmeg as the water heats (and maybe some cardamom, if I'm using raisins or blueberries), pour finished oats over fruit, usually banana, dried apple (which I put in while I let the oatmeal rest for at least five minutes after it's done cooking, if you like clumpy oatmeal, definitely do this), raisins, or strawberries. Something I add in some walnuts, I always add flax. If I have any, I add a nice dollop (about a tablespoon) of natural peanut butter (no spices, just flax and pb) and mix it in. Sooooo good. Mix it all up and pour some almond milk over it et voila! Breakfast!

My obsession du jour is hummus. I've always loved hummus, but now I have it at least once a day. It just doesn't get better than hummus and broccoli. For real.


My favorite is Cedar's Garlic Lover's Hummus. I love it as a dip with any kind of vegetable, I love it in a wrap with spinach and carrots and tomatoes and my next favorite food, I love it slathered on a bagel or as a dip for pita. I especially love it right out of the container with a spoon. My habit is getting so serious, I'm really going to need to start making it myself again!

For the longest time I was sure I hated my next favorite food, and I'm not even sure why! I have a vague memory of thinking it would be slimy, I guess. But I have more than made up for the years I spent without it, the mighty avocado!


My most favorite way to have avocado is over scrambled eggs, but I also love it in wraps, in maki, in burritos, chili, on veggie burgers, as guacamole. And, of course, straight up. My trick with avocado is to leave the pit in the half you're not eating right away (everyone eats them half at a time, right?), or in your bowl of guac to keep it from turning brown. It works!

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't include the food I always gaze at longingly every time I go shopping but hardly ever buy because it doesn't come in quantities small enough for a single person to reasonably consume.


Oh, baby! I love cheese in general (keep meaning to branch out a little), but brie is far and away my favorite. Maybe because I hardly ever have it? I love the texture, I love the flavor, I even love the rind. I'll spread or slice it into or over most anything. I most recently had it for the first time baked in phyllo and let me tell you, thank god I was at a party and couldn't just stand there and eat the entire wheel. MMmmmm....

Well, good thing I already ate dinner (a wrap with hummus) and dessert (a little (*pint*) of Ben & Jerry's latest offering. Otherwise, I'd be pretty hungry right now!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 4: Books

Did I mention that you need to make a list as long as the number of days of the challenge? It occurred to me that I may have left that part out. Anyway!

Day 4, books! As you might imagine, I'm a big reader. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't read, anything I could get my hands on. This means I read some pretty questionable stuff when I was little (Jackie Collins, anyone?). There are only a couple of books I ever read that I couldn't even finish; a book has to be pretty terrible for me to not even want to know how it ends! Luckily, the thing with books is, it's very hard to crack into my top 10. Most of the books on there are ones I've read at least ten times (usually more), or only once but they affected me and my own writing in such a deep way, I can't stop thinking about them.


The first book I remember loving so much I couldn't stop reading it until it was finished was Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. In fact, I loved it so much, I started it right over again when it was finished, reading it twice in a weekend.


I know that American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is (or was, anyway) controversial, but I love the depths Ellis sinks into the mind of a madman. Whether or not Bateman is actually doing the things we read in the book is irrelevant. The long, rambling chapters on Genesis and Huey Lewis + the News and Whitney Huston... the minute attention to detail... the failure of anyone around him to recognize anyone else... these are at the heart of the book. I love the pace, I love the tone, I love the twisted voice of the narrator. This book also contains one of my favorite and most repeated quotes, "Disintegration - I'm taking it in stride."


During my undergraduate studies, I was forced to take a composition course wherein we were required to read a lot of really boring books. By the time we got to The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro, I was prepared to hate it. Instead, I was immediately riveted. It was my introduction to linked short stories, and I was entranced. Here was a way to get to a novel without all the intimidation of writing a novel! Munro's writing is also just incredible. This is one of her earlier books, and she just gets better and better with every new collection. If you appreciate really good writing, really good craft, pick up some Munro.


Closing out my list is one of the newer additions to my top ten, Blindness by Jose Saramago. I think I cried about five times reading this book. There are moments that are sad, moments that are heartbreaking, moments that are just so full of emotion that there's nothing to do but cry. The entire thing has the most enchanting, ethereal sort of voice, a contrast to the barbarism that happens in a lot of the book. I recommend this book to everyone I talk about books with. And now I'm recommending it to you!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 3: Films

So, for as hard as it was to pick two songs, it was almost harder to pick just three movies. I am a movie fiend. I'll watch pretty much anything, especially in the theater, and the list of movies I love grows by which one I've most recently rediscovered. There are a few though that endure, and always come to mind immediately when people ask what my favorite movies are.

Pretty in Pink is probably my number 1, all time favorite movie. The Breakfast Club comes close, and I admit I'm a slave to John Hughes in general, but Pretty in Pink just so perfectly encapsulates the teenage '80's movie. There's the hopelessly cool girl from the wrong side of the tracks you desperately want to be, the quirky nerdy guy you love because he's so funny and attainable, and the breathtakingly hot guy who is completely out of your reach. In my case, the hopelessly hot guy is actually Stef, not Blaine, 'cause James Spader? RAWR!

For as much as I love (x1million) movies from the '80's, my love for zombie movies runs as deep. I am a zombie purist, and worship at the altar of George Romero. The first zombie movie I ever saw was his Dawn of the Dead over Christmas break my Junior year in high school. At first, I just loved the gore and suspense, but then I started to really consider the zombie in relation to society and... I'll spare you. I can go on for days about zombies.

Since I'm basically doing my favorites of a genre, how about ending with my favorite for an actress? Like many others, I love Audrey Hepburn. Of course I love all of the usual suspects, but the one I've chosen here, Wait Until Dark is the one I think is her best. It's harrowing and suspenseful, sure to give you chills!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 2: Songs

I've been thinking over this post since before I even started this meme. I love music, all different kinds, and have for my entire life, so choosing just two songs has seemed impossible. Do I go with firsts? (First album I owned on my own: Like a Virgin. First song that made me realize there was a whole world of music out there not on the radio: The Only Time by Nine Inch Nails.) Should I choose two of my most recent obsessions? Songs I can't stop listening to? (Because that's another thing; when I discover a song/album that I love, I listen to it on repeat for days, and when I'm not listening to it, it's playing in my head.) Or maybe a couple of songs with some history attached? The song that always reminds me of dancing in the kitchen with my dad, or the song I loved as a kid that I had no idea was so filthy. (Sugar Walls,, I'm looking at you!) In the end, I'm choosing two songs that I listen to when I'm feeling sad, hopeless, a little down... songs I can count on to make me feel happier and stronger, more able.

The first is from one of my favorite singers of all time, the inimitable Dolly Parton. I've loved Dolly since I was a little girl (my dad loved her too), and I just think she's so talented and positive. She's on the list of people I hope to get a chance to meet some day, even though I am certain I will make a fool out of myself!

(Bonus! Amy Sedaris is in this video!)

The second song is very different from Dolly! What I love about this song is that it's about powering through adversity and sadness, much like Dolly's song is, but in a much more aggressive tone. It's A Better Son/Daughter by Rilo Kiley. There isn't a video for it, so I chose one that shows the lyrics.

Friday, June 17, 2011

10 Day YOU Challenge!

So my bloggy pal Adrienne is doing a 10 day blogging meme. I clearly need some motivation not just to blog but to write, so I decided to take part! Part 1: Photograph

I have roughly one million photographs in my possession. Some are digital, some are actual printouts from the '50's and '60's, some are scans. I wanted to choose one photo that meant a lot not just because the photo was nice to look at or evoked an emotion like calm or giddiness. I wanted to choose one where the subject matter itself was important to me. This made it a much easier choice.


I don't have a lot of pictures of my whole family together. I have lots of my brother and sister and I, but Daddy is an elusive subject. Sure, this isn't technically my whole family. I have a mom and cousins, and a gramma and aunt and uncle, etc... but to me, to all four of us, this is our family. We fight, we tease, we bitch about each other... but at the root of it all is the most true, deep love anyone could ever know. We are always there for each other, even if there's an eyeroll involved (I'm looking at my brother for that one), and we always come together at important moments. Like holidays... and graduations. This is my little sister graduating with her Respiratory Therapy degree (I think I already posted it). She just got a job in Virginia, which seems as far away from New England as India. But even though I will miss her tremendously, I am so happy and proud of her. (I only wish my nephews were in this photo. As spawn of my sister, they are naturally added to the fold!)

Want to play along? Guidelines are here! Let me know if you do it. If I don't already follow you, I will!

So, along with the meme, I have actual, factual knitting content! I'm so close to finishing the U-Neck Vest!


I have a half inch to go until I divide front and back, and then I'll pretty much be finished! Just in time for my summer class to start! Ha ha

(And PS: Happy Happy HAPPPPPPPPPPPPY Birthday to Purl Diva! My most cherished, favorite of yarn stores, and my most favorite job ever! Congratulations on five years, and here's to at least ten times as many more.)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Is This Really My Schedule?

Monthly? Really? Ha ha I really thought that once school was done I'd be posting at least weekly, but it seems like I've been so busy, I've hardly had time to write in my paper journal, much less blog. First, my BFF came to visit all the way from Texas!


She was here for almost a whole week! We went out for drinks, and tried some restaurants I've been wanting to go to and happened upon a street fair. This was taken in Chinatown, a place I'd had yet to explore. Holy hell! There are like five thousand bakeries tucked away in there, with the most delicious little tidbits! Totally rivals the North End. (Of course we made a stop at Mike's too!)


Right after that, my little sister graduated! I can not express how proud I am of her, finishing school while raising two children by herself. Not only that, but her kids I don't think ever even really noticed she was in school. She never missed a game, a concert, a play.... She is amazing. (The cast is from foot surgery she had a couple of weeks before graduation.)


Then it finally got nice out! The changing seasons always bring on bouts of extreme homesickness, and this slow churn into summer has me constantly craving salt air and trees and clean air. The closest I can come to these things is hanging out on the Common. With views like this, there are worse places to spend an afternoon.


This past weekend, I finally got to breathe in some salty air! I've been traveling home more lately to help out my sister (still hobbling around), but have spent most of my time doing things like running errands and catching my nephews' baseball games. I could have hung out here all day.

I actually DO have a knitting project going, the Back to School U-Neck Vest by Stefanie Japel, but the only pictures I have of it are pretty crappy. Next post I promise. More knitting! I have one month before my summer class starts, and I'd LOVE to finish the vest (well over half finished) and a pair of socks or a hat or SOMEthing!

Friday, May 06, 2011

As promised...


As I said in my last post, spring would surely arrive just as I finished my mittens. Well, there's my evidence of spring...


...and here are my mittens! Boston has been frustratingly cold lately, so maybe I'll still get a chance to wear them (not that I want to, but you know, silver linings). Quick recap: these are the Herringbone Mittens with(out) Poms from Eliphantom Knits. I used gray and navy Cascade 220, and I would guess I didn't even use a half ball of each color. I was using partial balls to begin with, and I still have quite a bit left over. I finished these a couple of weeks ago, but still... they took an inordinate amount of time to complete by the calendar, but I'd say the total work was only a few hours. My relationship with time is off-kilter though now. "Just a few mintutes" now translates into at least fifteen, and if I say "fifteen minutes," chances are I really mean thirty. I'm still adjusting to city life.

In other news, my semester is complete, as of last night! I had a really great, productive semester, where I learned so much. Both of my professors were not only knowledgeable, but also passionate and enthusiastic and interested in helping their students succeed after their programs are complete. I got a lot of great advice from both of them regarding making a living at what I want to do. So now I've got almost two entire months off before I start a summer class. I've spent most of today thinking about all of the things I'd like to do. Would it be foolish to start a sweater?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Done Went to the City

Most people are surprised to learn that, at 35, I still hadn't been to New York City. That all changed last weekend!


It was one of the greatest weekends of my life. Seriously. Every street we turned down, every block, had fourteen thousand things to do and see. I just walked around most of the time totally slack-jawed.


I saw the view from the (almost) top of the Empire State Building. I went to Grand Central Station and imagined passing through those beautiful hallways so often I become blind to them. I got to go to a fancy restaurant and see a magnificent burlesque show.


I even got to hang out with dinosaurs.


The best part though was day dreaming about living there. Seeing all of the activity, watching the people going about their days, sitting on the train and feeling the lull of the smooth motion. I kept feeling confused, thinking in some spots I was in Boston. NYC is really close to Boston.


I'd like to think I'd live there some day, for awhile. I always thought of New York City as somewhere to live when you're young, in your twenties, fresh. But now that I've been there, I see all this opportunity. Maybe someday.

I didn't make it to a single yarn shop. Went with a non-knitter. I'm at the tail end of my spring break and spent this evening working on my mittens and concentrating on relaxing. As promised, I am now about half a mitten away from finishing this pair and spring is sproinging all over here. You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Surest Way to Spring

Clearly this semester has been challenging! I love both of my classes. My workshop classmates are all so good at critiquing, and I love the format of the class. This will be the workshop against which all others will be measured. My other class is a magazine publishing class, which is what I want to do when I'm done with school. We're making a magazine as a class, which is fun. This is the first time I've had a group project where I've actually enjoyed working with everyone else in my group! I don't think I'm alone in my distaste for group work, but these girls in my group are all very organized and prepared. Love it!

Anyway, about that title. I'm convinced that the surest way to spring is to finish a project that is winter specific. Enter: mittens.


This picture is... aged. I've since finished this mitten and actually started mitten #2! Shocking, I know. I'm itching to make a sweater but at the rate it takes me to finish an accessory, I'm afraid I wouldn't finish it until I'm 47. These are the Herringbone Mittens with Poms by Eliphantom Knits. Mine are without poms. The poms are undeniably adorable, but totally impractical. I'm sure I'd rip one off within a week. The yarn is Cascade 220 in navy and gray. I'm a big fan of gray lately (especially these Gray Chucks I keep seeing everywhere), and I had this leftover navy laying around, et voila! You can thank me later if the second I cast off the second mitten the east coast is swept with temperate weather.