Saturday, April 28, 2007

Warning: this post contains profanity

I'm gonna make this quick because thinking about it makes me so angry. All I can say is, Rachel was 100% correct!

Look some of my tulips are ok!

Some of them made it and I have a second chance at having a halfway decent amount of flowers.

Or do I?

How did I spend my beautiful Saturday? wWll not gardening as I had originally planned!

Saturday morning I heard some giggling outside my bedroom window which is normal because all the neighborhood kids cut through our yard to get to the park (we're not fans of this but without a fence it's hard to control). I have no idea what made me decide to go onto the front porch to see who was cutting up through the path, but I did. As I stood there watching, two teenage girls, each with a bouquet of tulips and daffodils in their hands, made their way up our neighbors driveway. And with this I went from zero to white-trash in 2.5 seconds.

"Excuse me, did you just help yourself to my garden?!?"

No answer from the girls who barely glanced over their shoulders, giggled and rushed across the street.

"Hey, Stupid Bitches I'm talking to you!!!"

They proceeded to cut through another neighbors yard as I stood in my front yard dumbfounded and barefoot.

Did that seriously just happen?
Did two girls make the effort to come into my backyard with scissors and steal every last one of my flowers? Seriously? Again? Twice and with scissors?!?

If you look closely you can see the flowers blood :-(
So if anyone has a suggestion on how to get even without getting arrested (besides the hose which I will use if the opportunity presents itself) I'm all ears.

Oh and the best part? We have the culprits narrowed down to the girl down the street or the neighbor who shares a property line with us. Some people know no bounds!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MS Walk on a most perfect Earth Day!

Sunday was the MS walk at Sandy Hook - a favorite beach of mine. I'm fortunate enough to have a gaggle of great people around me (see 30th b-day party for examples), many of which were willing to give up their Sunday to come out for the walk.
Those of us lucky enough to wear those pretty orange t-shirts (I felt like Lynette on Desperate Housewives having to wear her husbands orange pizza place shirt) were there at 7am. 7:00 AM!!! (up at 5:30?!?) We were finally given the job of selling pom-poms around 8:45 - - time better spent sleeping no?
Me, JJ & Jennifer smiling even at the butt-crack of dawn (can you tell I'm not a morning person?)
Some walkers arrive - Vinny, Adam and that most famous of knitters, Jana!

Of course this group made the most of pom-pom gig, even if it was just busy work for the loud group in the back.
Terry takes his job seriously

By 10am the walkers were on their way!

"Ummm, now what do we do?"
There were so many volunteers that we were once again left standing around with nothing to do but wait for our walking friends to come back to us.
Beer run of course!
And like any good 80's movie the dudes took off for beer while the chicks laid out the blankets on the beach.
It was a beautiful thing.

Ahhh look at that view! The water is so beautiful and refreshing...

...oh, what there's an old dude fishing in nothing but a Speedo? I hadn't noticed.

OK, so not everyone was concerned that it was Earth Day - - look at that nasty black smoke!

Horseshoe crab laying eggs in the sand, they were all over the place! Yeah, summer is coming!

These people rock! Thanks again everyone, what should we walk for next?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bastardo Critters!

I was so excited when I lifted the cover off the turtle and saw that the tulips I planted in the fall were coming up. Every year I try something different in ye ol' Yertle the Turtle but this was the first year that it started to look like it was actually going to yield some strong and cut-able flowers.

After work today I went to check on them and from a distance noticed I couldn't see any purple flowers. I assumed the rain storm we had must have beaten them down but alas it's much worse...

Some friggin' critter ate every last one of them!
The weirdest thing, and the theme of the turtle for the last 6 or so years is that only the flowers inside Yertle seem to be worth eating. The daffodil's 2 feet away as well as the dozen tulips just about 4 yards away are all in pristine shape. Grrrr, sometimes I hate that I'm an animal lover because on a day like today I sure could ring a furry little neck! (cue Ms. Hannigan voice)

On the bright side, I guess I don't need to rush to clean up the leaves and stuff in the surrounding area anymore.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Look Erin I told you so!!!

I did start blogging about the fabulous care package from Spain, I knew I did! Shoot now, how do I change the post date so you can see this?

Look what we got from our 4th partner in crime Erin, who's off in Spain right now on a teaching adventure.....

mmmm, all sorts of fun things were tucked away for us including scented tissues, candies, teas and even aloe flavored chocolate! Why they would want to do such a terrible thing to perfectly good chocolate I'll never understand but it was something interesting to try.

I also tried to wind my Boulce that we got on our NYC knitting adventure and it wound up so tight I couldn't get it off of the ball winder. It was a friggin pain to unwind the whole thing and then re-wind it especially considering how little the ball turned out to be. boy I hope it knits up easier than it winds!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

RIP Kurt

One of my favorite authors passed away last night so in honor of him I thought today would be a good time to post a book meme that I came across. (Article regarding his death posted below.)
I was lucky enough to see Kurt Vonnegut with my creative writing class when I was in high school, but at the time didn't really know who he was. His quick wit and humor during that speech is what prompted me to first pick up his books; my favorite of which is Cat's Cradle.
Thanks goes out to Kurt and all those writer's who push the envelope, question authority, make a mockery of normalcy and judge the average. These are the people who truly inspire change and if they do it well, can make us laugh at ourselves at the same time.

Book Meme
"In the list of books below, bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of." (my italicized items didn't seem to take, I'll update that later)

1. +The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. +Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. +Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. +A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. +Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. +The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. +Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22.+ The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger)
23. +Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. +Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. +1984 (Orwell)
35. +The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. *The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. *The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. *The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. *The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. +Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. +Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. +The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. *The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. *One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68.+ Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)- started but never finished
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. +The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On the Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. *Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. +Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. +Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. *A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
101. My Sister's Keeper (Jodi Picoult)
Author Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84 By CRISTIAN SALAZAR, Associated Press Writer

In books such as "Slaughterhouse-Five," "Cat's Cradle," and "Hocus Pocus," Kurt Vonnegut mixed the bitter and funny with a touch of the profound.

Vonnegut, regarded by many critics as a key influence in shaping 20th-century American literature, died Wednesday at 84. He had suffered brain injuries after a recent fall at his Manhattan home, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

Vonnegut's more than a dozen books, short stories, essays and plays contained elements of social commentary, science fiction and autobiography.

"He was sort of like nobody else," said fellow author Gore Vidal. "Kurt was never dull."

A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view.

He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.

"He was a man who combined a wicked sense of humor and sort of steady moral compass, who was always sort of looking at the big picture of the things that were most important," said Joel Bleifuss, editor of In These Times, a liberal magazine based in Chicago that featured Vonnegut articles.

Some of Vonnegut's books were banned and burned for suspected obscenity. He took on censorship as an active member of the PEN writers' aid group and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The American Humanist Association, which promotes individual freedom, rational thought and scientific skepticism, made him its honorary president.

Vonnegut said the villains in his books were never individuals, but culture, society and history, which he said were making a mess of the planet.

"I like to say that the 51st state is the state of denial," he told The Associated Press in 2005. "It's as though a huge comet were heading for us and nobody wants to talk about it. We're just about to run out of petroleum and there's nothing to replace it."

Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life, and in 1984, he attempted suicide with pills and alcohol, joking later about how he botched the job.

"I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations," Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.

Vonnegut was born on Nov. 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, and studied chemistry at Cornell University before joining the Army. His mother killed herself just before he left for Germany during World War II, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs firebombed the city.

"The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am," Vonnegut wrote in "Fates Worse Than Death," his 1991 autobiography of sorts.

But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other POW's inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

The novel that emerged, in which Pvt. Pilgrim is transported from Dresden by time-traveling aliens, was published at the height of the Vietnam War, and solidified his reputation as an iconoclast.

After World War II, he reported for Chicago's City News Bureau, then did public relations for General Electric, a job he loathed. He wrote his first novel, "Player Piano," in 1951, followed by "The Sirens of Titan," "Canary in a Cat House" and "Mother Night," making ends meet by selling Saabs on Cape Cod.

Critics ignored him at first, then denigrated his deliberately bizarre stories and disjointed plots as haphazardly written science fiction. But his novels became cult classics, especially "Cat's Cradle" in 1963, in which scientists create "ice-nine," a crystal that turns water solid and destroys the earth.

He retired from novel writing in his later years, but continued to publish short articles. He had a best-seller in 2005 with "A Man Without a Country," a collection of his nonfiction, including jabs at the Bush administration ("upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography") and the uncertain future of the planet.

He called the book's success "a nice glass of champagne at the end of a life."

Vonnegut, who had homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York, adopted his sister's three young children after she died. He also had three children of his own with his first wife, Jane Marie Cox, and later adopted a daughter, Lily, with his second wife, Krementz.

Vonnegut once said that of all the ways to die, he'd prefer to go out in an airplane crash on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. He often joked about the difficulties of old age.

"When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon," Vonnegut told the AP.

"My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I'll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children."


Associated Press writers Michael Warren, Hillel Italie and Chelsea Carter contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bring your own grapes

Last weekend the knitting group (all three of us that are in the country) headed into the city to see the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting show at the Museum of Art & Design. Although the exhibit wasn't that large and it consisted of a lot of art more than craft we really enjoyed the trip and all the amazing things people will commit their time and talents too.

I was so impressed by so many of the items on display it'd be hard for me to pick a favorite - - so I just won't. Although this material hand cut with exacto knives to look like lace was pretty damn amazing! There were 2 or 3 wide rolls of it hanging from the ceiling with more still on the roll at the floor. Fanfriggintastic!

On the way up 6th Ave. we did some shopping and let me tell you, if you are looking for quantity and not quality this is the place for you! Here's a sample of some of the pretty dresses on display in some subtle tones.

As we were rounding the corner to the museum, Chris spotted the next knitting project to go on the needles....
Is that a hat on your head or are you just happy to see me?

Here I am outside the museum fondling my new yarn that we got at School Products which was a lovely store. We had to be buzzed in for a practically private viewing of some of the yummiest lace yarn ever that was - get this - reasonably priced!
Looky! super-soft lace merino, Cashmere boucle ("boo-clay" as we were told), and a cashmere/silk blend

Oh, and let me not forget, a couple of weeks ago both my knitting gals celebrated birthdays! What does one do to celebrate aging? Drink and eat lots of cheese and chocolate of course!

The whole group went out for a light dinner at the Melting Pot (fondue) and my goodness was it yummy! They even served us (I got to be treated like a birthday girl without having to age further) "cupcake" martini's which were so thick the straw stood up like in a milkshake. Needless to say, we were all rolled out of there by the end of the night.

I also ordered Arctic Lace in hopes to help narrow down my choice for the ISE4 scarf. I ended up going with a basic lace pattern that I turned into a scarf pattern but I still can't wait to use some of the patterns in here because they're amazing! I have yet to sit down and really read the book since a lot it consists of stories about the native Alaskan people who raise musk ox to use for what is said to be the be all, end all softest yarn ever. Eventually I will not only read the book but touch some of this fiber gold - eventually.

Monday, April 02, 2007

International scarf is on the needles!

I'm working on the scarf for my pal for the ISE 4 finally (it's so hard to pick a pattern and yarn). I thought I was going to use something from my stash (it was a plan with the best intentions to help my stash problem) but instead found myself at my LYS getting an alpaca silk blend that's just heavenly if I do say so myself. I bought the lavender not only because my pal loves purples, but because I think it will be flattering on her. Now that I'm working with it I think I might need to add more purple to my wardrobe as well.
I'm still using this diamond lace pattern with a seed stitch edge, but the alpaca/tencel yarn is back in the basket for later use. It's ok though, I really wanted to use it for myself anyway.
Mom caught me working on this and seemed to really like it so if I can get my butt in gear, I'll make her a lacey scarf for Mother's Day - that's on May 13th I can do it, right?

Oh, and don't forget to call me by my new name:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Excellency Tracy the Omnipresent of Melbury Bubblewick
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

(Saw this on knitty prof's blog and couldn't resist knowing my proper name)

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