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« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

17 posts from September 2006

September 30, 2006

The Whoreshoes continue to take Belgium and Holland by storm:

Lalasls

I don't know who took these, but these pics are great, aren't they? What a hot banjo player they have.

Cam

Camilla IS that cute.

Diana


Emily

Ain't they just the cutest?

I can tell you, though, I'm ready for Lala to get home. I'm suddenly this single mother to all these animals. Poor things, I'm gone for 15 hours at a time at work, and then when I get home, I go to bed. They've really done remarkably well for all that. Only one shredded newspaper so far, and one Miss Idaho accident. I expected worse. Now that I've said that, when I get home, I'm sure I'll find worse. Yipes.

Just a smackerelSeptember 28, 2006

of Venice for you today. (Sorry they're lo-res -- best I can do from where I am.)

Don't you love the scenery in Venice?

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So you think about it.

You glance at it.

You glance away.

You look back, looking harder.

You think, why, that looks just like.....

Yep.

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A cruise ship. Wow.

Hey, I'm knitting Italian yarn! Thought you should know. I'm making another Debbie Bliss Lara, because I loved the last one so much -- what incredible construction instructions! -- and I finished that super-quick cashmere one. I even took pictures, although it may take me a while to get the pics up. Still want to finish telling you about the trip, and I'm working too much to do so right now. But soon, dearest-darlings.

Now, shut your eyes. It's 0441hrs, and you should be sleeping.

And More VeniceSeptember 27, 2006

I have heard from Lala! God bless the internet. She says all is well, that the gig at Antwerp Prison (really) was awesome, and they were on Belgian TV. I haven't really told you how it works: They got booked by this company that brings talent into the Benelux area. They were set up in a house in the country, and they are given food and drink. They have a driver named Ludo who comes about 5pm every day. He picks them up, drives across the country for two to four hours (because you can get to Holland in about a minute from Belgium). He takes them to the gig, and then he transforms into their sound guy. Since I was at the first (really, really fun) show, I'm here to attest that anyone who can set up sound that well on the first night, using plugs and amps normally used in another country with different voltage, now, that's cool.

They make 30% of what the company makes on the shows, and they get the full proceeds from all sales of swag and CDs (they have a new one out that they took all copies of with them -- I'll let you know when it's ready for distribution here). They have been playing every night, and they're kicking ass. Three nights ago they played with the legendary Wanda Jackson. Dude. They're rockstars.

And she emailed me (Lala, that is, not Wanda Jackson, although that would have been cool), which was good. Because I miss her. And having never really missed anyone in this way, in the shared-house-life way, I've decided it's for the birds. No fun for Rachael.

Also, I'm a moron. I decided, the first night, to get into our bed on HER side. Just for the sheer FUN of it! Wild antics in the Hehu house. While the rockstar's away and all. So I jump up, WHEEE! and oh, shit! I hit the bedframe SO hard that I have posted a picture, but made it a pop-up , for the squeamish of you. It's a damn good bruise, high upper thigh. Getting into bed. Lord. Bruise is here

Back to Venice! Because I'm dying to show you more photos.

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This lady, defying her role as “local color in a Venetian window,” waved at us, making us see her as real. Which I loved.

There aren’t many cats in Venice anymore, not wandering the streets as they used to, anyway. Not too many years ago, they were all rounded up and placed on an island nearby. Now, most cat owners keep their cats inside, fearing another round-up, but we did say hello to this big brute.

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Look who we found!

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This is John and Alan, and they’re from Portland. And we heart them. John’s been a Dear Reader for YEARS and I was SO excited to get to meet him in person. We met up under the Accademia Bridge, at one of my fave outdoors eateries, and we wasted a great portion of an afternoon drinking and talking about yarn and cactus and all manner of wonderful things. I love it when two couples click, when the two Planners start teasing the two Spontaneous ones, you know.

Then, of course, we went on a mini-yarn crawl. As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, Lellabella is the only yarn store in Venice. I’d already been in once earlier in the day and learned that my limited Italian does indeed include almost everything one needs to know to have a conversation about the fashion industry in Italy. But when we went back, it turns out that John’s is even stronger, since he knows how to conjugate verbs. Fancy.

Because I will be asked, have been asked for years, here are the shop specs:
Lellabella
San Marco 3718
Tel: 041 522 5152
Oh, look! I just noticed, they have the CUTEST url ever: yarnshopinvenice.com
It’s such a nice little store, and they ONLY sell Italian yarn.

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Directions:
Walk toward Campo Manin from the Rialto, and it's just over a bridge on your right hand side, the block BEFORE you reach Campo Manin. It is technically on Calle della Mandola (aka Della Cortesia) but don’t expect that to help you. Addresses mean just about nothin’ in Venice. You’ll find it.

So we get there and start chatting Monica up. I want yarn, but they can’t find enough of a certain color so THEY OPEN THE STOREFRONT. Look, Lala and Alan were being boys outside and took photos:

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Could you just die? We had the best time with the boys, and we’ll look forward to doing it again sometime…..

Also, while I’m thinking about it, you have to know that this season is about yarn, people. Thank goodness.

This is from a Benetton window:

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Yarn tree. Yow.

And yarn boots-toppers!

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There were other windows FULL of cashmere sweaters with huge cables as central motif, and lacy cashmere dresses, but did I get pictures? No. I’m a Bad Knitter. I was heading to coffee/wine/spritz/prosecco, no doubt. No time to spare….

This is a dark photo to follow, but it’s worth including. Trattoria da Bepi is just around the corner from my hotel, and I’ve loved it for years. A good place to go to avoid tourists (I love that I can say that and completely ignore the fact that I, of course, am one. I don’t count, thanks). This time, however, we were settled into the room I am usually settled into, and we looked around to find we were in The American Room. Augh! The horror! What where all these crude people doing near us?

You know how when you’re only eavesdropping on your countrymen, you just HATE them? Oh, we were so annoyed. We couldn’t help listening to these two couples sitting together discuss the state of their camera’s SD card. I kept rolling my eyes.

Then, as it goes, we got into some conversation with them, and it turns out that they were great. They weren’t couples, they were one gay male couple (Lou and Larry, from Brooklyn) and Larry’s mom and sister. They confirmed that yes, this place was now in Rick Steves’ guide, therefore the new American interest in it, and by the way, they thought we were from Park Slope, were they right?

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That is why we were laughing so hard. We look like Park Slope dykes. I was immeasurably flattered. Brooklyn, represent.

And a real photo:

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After this, we headed out for the uber-cool internet café I used to patronize, the one open 24 hours a day, with an attached bar and where all the cool Italian kids hung out. Mom, you’ll be saddened to know it now closes at 11pm, and there’s no bar, and it just looks like a big white room and a young nervous-looking guy taking photocopies of IDs. Very sad. So we went there, it was too late to use the internets, so we sat at an outdoor gelato place and drank spritz.

They must have been GOOD spritzes, because:

#1 – We are drag queens:

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#2 – We are international models, seen here in our ads plastered in the vaporetto docks (plastered might be the right term here)

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I actually think Lala does that very well.

Okay, I am off to take the dogs to the beach and start my 72-hour work week. I will be working from 6pm tonight (Tuesday) until 6pm Monday night, with short 12 hours breaks in between, on a three hour commute, which makes me sad for not only the obvious reasons, but because I can't see when I'm going to get you more pictures! It's not something I can do at work, because the pics are on my home computer, and as it is, I'm pre-posting this one on Tuesday afternoon to go up on Wednesday morning. And I've got to run, like, now. So, I'll throw you more as soon as I can, okay?

Ciao, ragazzi!

VeniceSeptember 26, 2006

We traveled from Belgium to Venice on RyanAir, which shall hereafter be known as the Greyhound of Europe. Lala mentioned that she knew in her head that it was a plane, but later, when she thought of it, she saw a bus station. It’s true, they herded us like cattle (SO much worse than Southwest) and crammed us in, and made us check our catapults (the nerve!):

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But, you know what? It’s cheap and it got us there. We flew into Treviso, and we were still so far away from our destination….. By that time we’d been on a shuttlebus, two planes, two trains, one bus, another plane, and we still had another bus and a boat to look forward to. All in one 35-hour day. Thank god for my nap.

When the bus pulled in at P.leRoma in Venice, it was about ten at night and raining. We got a good little drenching as we walked to the vaporetto (bus-boat) that would take us to our hotel. Lala doesn’t remember this part at all, and was surprised when I told her about it the next day. Venice on a Sunday night is usually rolled up tight. Our food options were limited -- I really didn't want to subject us to a long sit-down dinner, but quick food at that hour can be hard to find. We dropped our bags in the hotel (Hotel Bernardi-Semenzato, my favorite place), and I marched Lala out again. What a trooper she was. We found pizza and beer and took it to sit by the canal near S.Santo Apostoli, an illegal little night picnic, which made it that much nicer.

The rain had stopped, but the canals were still slap-slapping with waves. We ate, and then we made the short walk to the Rialto, where I said hello to my city, and we kissed over the water.

The next morning, after an amazing sleep, we woke to patchy blue skies. I took her immediately out for coffee, because I am a good wife.

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Heart-happy.

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I like how that middle picture above makes it very clear that roads are waterways. If you’ve never really thought about it, there are NO cars in Venice. No bicycles. No rollerblades. The only things allowed with wheels are on carts, strollers, and wheelchairs. There are narrow walkways for people, and canals for boats. That’s it. You hear the garbage boats in the morning, honking, and it sounds like being at home, except for that occasional slap of water.

We were at dinner one night, and I asked Lala what she thought of my city. She said she loved it, said all the right things, and then she paused and said, “It was kind of like meeting your best friend, me coming here. Only more important, maybe.”

It was true. Had she not liked it, had she not reacted in exactly the right way, I would have been devastated, I think. Venice means so much to me. I was introducing my two women, and hoping against hope that they got on. They did.

An illustration: in Venice, they drink a local thing called a spritz. It's made with white wine, a splash of soda water, and aperol, an orange, bittersweet alcohol (and sometimes campari, but I prefer the aperol). I told her about it, we ordered it, and the next time we sat somewhere, she suggested it. A small thing, but huge to me.

When I go to Venice, I find myself drawn to people-watching. They ARE the city, in so many ways.

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Of course, sometimes the sheer gorgeousness of the city takes over and you have to take the normal tourist pictures like this (click for bigness):

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There are dogs everywhere in Venice, even on the crowded vaporetti (this Westie was tucked in the luggage area up front):

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Police boat:

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From the Accademia, looking east:

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And tell me, where would we really be without the gondoliers hawking their gondola rides?

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I have never been, and will never be, rich enough to afford a ride like that. They start at about a hundred dollars, and that’s the low rate.

However, if one has the cojones for it, find a traghetto stop, which is the locals-only version of the gondola ride. It takes you across the grand canal, stopping to let taxi-drivers off boatside, if necessary. The locals stand. If you get on first, they’ll take pity on you and let you sit on the only seat.

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It’s such a low-draft boat that it rocks quite wildly as the two men push it across the canal, veering between the taxis and heavily-loaded transport boats, dodging buses and other tourist gondolas. Magical and scary.

And we went across on one, for less than a dollar:

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Good GOD, I was thrilled.

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Some random prettiness.

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Mom, recognize our red boat?

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The windows could be their own city, really.

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Venice ladies!

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And a gent.

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I am so happy.

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I just liked him:

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Big colored glasses are very in among the elderly Venetian ladies, and I think we could all take a tip.

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See?

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We really did just wander. It was another way that Lala proved herself as magnificent traveling companion, that she was so easily able to adapt to this mode of travel. We’d walk a bit, find a coffee shop, have a coffee, watch people, talk, write, sometimes I’d knit. Nothing better, really.

Tomorrow, another Venice entry in which we encounter Art, meet the Boys, and Knit.

BrusselsSeptember 25, 2006

Where do I start describing the European tour? I guess I start at the beginning. I have so many things I want to write about, but I think I’m just going to lay them out here, as they come to mind. I’ll do up to Venice today, and more tomorrow. How’s that? For the love of vino, go pour yourself a coffee and put on your favorite song.

Music is so important on trips, isn’t it? Especially when you’re by yourself, which I was for two days. If anyone’s interested, I made an iTunes iMix of what was hot on my iPod this trip. They’re not really so much traveling tunes, and for the most part they’re not Euro-styled tunes, either. They’re just what my brain wanted to hear while looking out train windows. (If you download anything from that list, get “I Hear Them All” by the Old Crow Medicine Show – those kids can write songs. This song, I swear, they will be known by this song in thirty, forty years. They might be our Woody Guthrie, or at least this song might be. I love it.)

So, let me start by saying, traveling with a banjo is a bitch. It is not, I repeat, NOT like traveling with a guitar which weighs about as much as a butterfly’s wing in comparison to that behemoth, the banjo (I know this because later I picked up Emily’s guitar, and it almost flew out of my hands). And Lala was so worried about traveling with it, since dude, if it were tossed around and damaged by baggage handlers, where would she have gotten a quick-like replacement banjo? And she lurves her banjo, natch. So there was stress around carrying it. Luckily, American Airlines let her gate-check it for the first two flights, from San Francisco to New York, and then to Brussels.

Also, she had to bring her lap-steel guitar, so it made sense to bring a suitcase big enough to pack it into, so she was only carrying three things, a suitcase, her banjo and her carryon backpack. It really did make sense, although I wanted to hurl the gigantor suitcase over ever bridge we crossed. That sumbitch was HUGE. We took turns carrying either the banjo or dragging the suitcase that ate Oakland. I am a saintly wife for that, I’ll tell you.

In Brussels, a good 15 hours after we started traveling, we got on a train and headed for Brussels Central Station. You can see Lala is starting to get tired. Our bodies said it was night, but it was  suddenly seven in the morning.

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We had a whole twelve hours to kill in Brussels before our flight out that night to Venice, so we wandered. Y’all know that’s what I do, so we started early.

First, smile for the camera! This is also what I do.

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Immediately, we wandered into Grand Place, through the grand square and out the back side into the – could it be? – the gay district.

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Why, yes, it was. Of course, it was early in the morning, but we could see that such an area existed, which greatly cheered us.

This also cheered us:

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Folk dancers from somewhere or another. In Grand Place, they were having a folk festival, and all countries appeared to be represented by someone. These were girls, maybe twelve and thirteen years old, wearing these heads. They were on their way to dance in the square a block away, but running across them in the streets as they WENT to dance was more alarming than the dance turned out to be. I found them grotesquely and eerily beautiful.

Of course, seeing that kind of thing in the morning leads to harder things. The coffee we’d had really wasn’t working that well for us, so by 11am or so, we were seated in the square with this in front of us:

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Yes, a beer sampler (with a watch that you can’t read to prove the time of day). And friends, the beer really IS better in Belgium. That second one from the left is ten percent beer. Dude. And the cherry beer was insanely good, and I generally hate flavored beers, and all things cherry in particular.

We had lunch.

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Lala had lamb, because she hates sheep (it was GOOD), and I had the Brussels Mussels:

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Note the sweater! Came in handy, y’all were right.

This was my view from where I sat, looking at the window in the building in front of me:

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Lala, looking at the pedestrian street behind me, had a different view: we noticed as we sat there, having our early lunch, that a certain type of male did a certain thing as he walked by. The males of about forty to fifty years old, with families trailing behind or next to them, all did the exact same thing: looked over at us, gaped, and then looked wistful.

This fellow did the same, and then sat down. He spoke French, so I don’t know exactly what he was saying, but I could imagine. We were great pals.

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So we puttered around Brussels. We’d walk, and then sit and drink more beer or coffee. We were setting the tone for the rest of the trip. I don’t think we really saw anything of Artistic Merit. We were going to go to the Beer Museum, but really. Did we need to? I thought not.

From the journal:
I’m sitting at our third café this morning (we keep moving around the square), with Lala, who is sketching. We’re tired but happy. A brass band is playing while a streetcleaner drones by. The cleaning truck is a lurid green with red stripes, and the workers wear the same color green shirts, bright orange pants, and amazingly tall green and orange striped boots. It’s wet and cool. The brass band just played a rousing rendition of YMCA. I was the only one in the square doing the arm motions.

Following this entry is a little sketch of the view in the square. Which I won’t show you, because I’m a writer, not an artist.

Can we please jump out of Europe for a moment? I just want to tell you where I am. I’m listening to the Kings of Convenience in our living room. It’s damp and foggy out, still early morning, the sun coming up over the eucalyptus trees down the culdesac. The dogs don’t understand jet lag and have no idea why I’m up this early. Harriet is snoring on the couch to my left hand, Miss Idaho is sleeping on a pillow to my right, and Clara is curled up like a tiny little puppy on the other sofa. She actually got up on the sofa, got off, went and found her blanket, pulled it up with her, arranged it, and then fell asleep on top of it. Clara makes her own bed. Border collies, damn. All are snoozing, and fall is coming, and there’s knitting later today while I watch the Amazing Race. I miss Lala like hell (I don’t like having her SO far away – it’s worse than if she were just in Idaho, say). But this is a mighty fine place to be.

I adore you, you know. The big You, the readers you, the ones I know from commenting or from blogs, and the ones I don’t know, the faithful lurkers. I thought about y’all while I was gone. I wanted to tell you about it. Those of you who read all the time, who will read all these silly words, this is for you.

Sappy me. It’s that damn Old Crow song, it’s playing now. I’m really trying to get you to listen to it, can you tell?

Okay, back to Brussels. We collected our luggage from the train station, and trained an hour south to Charleoi, where the small airport that serviced RyanAir was. We struggled off the train and onto the bus that took us to the airport.

By now we’d been up for 24 hours. We were tired. What to do? More beer!

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Lala likes the Belgians.

People, this is my blog. Therefore, you generally see the photos that are flattering, because I get to choose. That’s just the way it goes. However, you have to see this. I was very tired. I went like this:

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And then a second later, apparently, I went like this:

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I was out for at least half-an-hour. I don’t know how Lala stayed awake to watch the bags, but she did, and that 30 minute nap got me through the next eight hours of awakeness on our trip to Venice, which shall be the next chapter.

BACK!September 24, 2006

And I'm sooo tired. Got in last night, after traveling for 25 hours straight, and slept most of eight blessed hours. Now up, and have a million things to do today, but I thought I'd drop a line to say I'm safe, well, and happy. I will write more tomorrow, when time permits. I have a ton of pictures to show you.

But for right now, the dogs MUST go to the beach, they say, so this will have to do:

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September 19, 2006

Have been for two days now in Venice, city of my heart. Lala is loving it, too, mostly because I only make her walk for about two city blocks before I make her sit down to drink something, coffee in the morning, wine and coffee in the afternoon, spritz and wine at night.

She had no idea I'd make her be so social -- two engagements yesterday, one yarn involved, of course. The weather is perfect, warm and just a little muggy -- we just missed days of rain, apparently.

I'd tell you more, but it's evening, and that means time for wine and aperol and maybe a little pasta. Then a little more walking, and falling into bed with tired feet and happy hearts. Love to you all. More when I'm home, will most likely post on Sunday.

Ciao ciao.

Why My Wife Is HotSeptember 14, 2006

I was online last night, going CRAZY planning. You know, I've been good at compartmentalizing stress this year -- not worrying or planning the wedding until 4 weeks beforehand, that kind of thing. This Italy/Belgium trip, I didn't really plan it until last night. But boy, did I plan. I wrote pages of instructions to myself, where this is, where to put that, what to buy, what to pack.

The first day of travel we have to get from home in Oakland on an airport shuttle to San Francisco Airport to New York to Brussels to Brussels Midi to Charleoi Sud to Charleroi Airport to Treviso Airport to Venice. We leave at 4:45am on Saturday morning and arrive in Venice at 10pm on Sunday. The next day. But dude, I have the beer stop in Brussels Grand Place all planned out, so we'll be fine.

Anyway. After I cooled down and got most things in line and settled, I started browsing online and ran across 43 Folders discussion of Moleskine hacks, and I decided I needed to get another Moleskine, only I didn't know where was I going to get a new one by the time we leave, when every minute until departure is planned out.....

I got home from work at 7am, and Lala found me in my room, talking a mile a minute, searching for blank Moleskines. I found one, but it's the larger size, and I wanted a smaller one. I was sure I had one, but I was wrong. Sigh. Resigned disappointment.

Get a call today from my wife, who says, "What kind of Moleskine did you want?"
"Pocket-sized sketch!"
"Do you want a pen?"
"A Pilot G2! Really, truly? You can do that? Get me those?"
"Yes! I've got them!"

That is one of the many, many extremely sexy things about Lala. She listens, even when I'm crazy.

And y'all, I'll see you in about a week. I'll be back next Friday. Don't know how I will get you pictures, because said hot wife will still have the camera, because she's all like, "I'm on tour, I need the camera," whereas she doesn't understand about YOUR needs, does she? But I'll get you pictures. Promise.

Be well.

Central ParkSeptember 13, 2006

Oh, boy, do I love this sweater.

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Specs
Pattern: Central Park, Knitscene (Interweave Press special issue), Fall 2006
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, color 123, ten balls used.
Size: 44 bust
Needles: 5US

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It knit up in about a minute, and the yarn was on sale through Webs, and I love it. Fits perfectly. The hood fits, and actually lays extremely nicely, seen here blurrily:

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The cables are the easiest in the world -- the whole sweater is simple stuff, and if you've made anything beyond a scarf, ever, this would be a good next project.

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I LOVE the buttons I got at Lacis. They're from the 30s, and they're vegetable ivory. Huh. I thought that was just a fancy word for plastic, honestly, but according to wikipedia, it's the tagua nut from the South American rainforest. Learn something new every day.

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Did I mention I love this sweater?

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Welp, I was thinking about taking it to Europe with us, but I just checked Venice's extended forecast, and we're looking at a warm 72 degrees, with scattered showers. That's not heavy wool weather, huh? Looks like the same in Brussels, so we'll have to rethink the wardrobe. Such a delicious problem.

Lovely Old ManSeptember 12, 2006

I was at Lacis today, and I have to tell you what I heard. First, though, I have to make sure you know about Lacis, which is like nothing (literally) in this hemisphere, and perhaps the world. It is an old-fashioned notions/lace/craft shop, but when you hear old-fashioned, think turn-of-the-century. Pick a century. They not only have books about tatting, and tens of shuttles, they PUBLISH books on tatting. They have an antique lace room, where the pieces are so numerous they lie in drawers, waiting for you to pull and ogle. They have a bride's room (I bought my veil there and have never felt so breakable and Anne-ish and lovely). A book room with books on knitting and crocheting and SO much about bobbin lace (who does bobbin lace? If you do, get thee to Lacis, even if you need to charter a flight), and Japanese crewel-work, and every embroidery idea you ever had. Can't describe the wonders, really. Bethany, who tats, was beside herself.

I went today to look for buttons for the new sweater (picture soon! Pinky-swear!), and didn't see any. Asked desultorily about some deco buttons I saw hanging in a corner, never thinking they had any more that the two shown (I needed seven). The gal behind the button counter didn't let me get away with mere idle questioning, but asked what I needed them for, and then when she saw the sweater, pulled out boxes upon boxes. I finally settle on some vegetable ivory buttons from the 30s, a dollar each. A buck. Dude. They're perfect.

But that's not the story.

So I'm back near the book section, and I can overhear an old man speaking, a lovely old man with the crispest British accent, and he's speaking to the manager (who is the one of the most gorgeous women I've ever laid eyes on, I always think so, tall, beautiful heavy black dreadlocks heaped in a Victorian fashion on her head, vintage clothing and high heels, and today, gasp, fishnets).

Lovely Old English Man is saying, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do knit. It's a funny story, quite amusing. You might like it. It was during the war that I learned. I was in hospital, recovering from quite a bad wound, and I'd learned to knit from a nurse. It was part of my rehabilitation, you see. So I cast on for a scarf. I knit, and I kept knitting. Funny thing, I didn't know how to stop, so I just kept knitting. It wasn't until a beautiful woman taught me how to cast off that I finally stopped, but by then the scarf was amazingly long, went for days, that scarf."

Here I lost the audio, while the manager asked him something. When I caught it again, as I crept closer and closer, he was saying, "so the tragedy was that I pulled all that work out. For her. Greatest act of love, I always thought. That I pulled all that knitting out."

The manager said, "What happened? With the girl?"

"Oh," he said. "She was much too pretty for the likes of me. Never did get her. Looked her up, though. A few years ago. I called the parish she was from, and the woman told me, 'I'm so sorry to have to tell you she died, not long ago. A good life, though. Especially in the end. Much love and time in the garden and with her family. A very good life.'"

He paused. "Never forgot her. Much too pretty for me, that one."

Seriously, to DIE, isn't it?

I was standing near him later and jumped into a conversation he was having with another employee -- he wanted to know if sock knitting was ever mechanized, and he said that he thought not, not until this century, and I butted in and told him about sock-knitting machines, the hand-crank kind, about which I apparently know NOTHING, but I'm going to research and send him the info. I was rather smitten by this point and would have told him anything just to talk with him.

He's researching a book he's writing about the war, and started telling me about how the British women would paint their legs brown, with a black stripe up the back during the war, and how well the American soldiers would get on with their girls, because they'd come over with silk.

I opened my mouth to tell him about the gal I'd seen at a bar recently who had tattooed lines up the backs of her legs (HOT), and then I sensibly shut my yap. While I love this tattoo idea, I think I would have horrified my man, and I have to keep him in my pocket, so I can listen to him some more.

Now I'm off to research sock-knitting machines. Anyone?

New Knitty! September 11, 2006

The patterns that have me hooked:

Intolerable Cruelty. Almost too sexy to knit. Certainly too sexy to wear. Therefore, I must have it. Seriously. I don't even know if I have the cojones to wear it, but I think I do.

Lizard Ridge
. Brilliant. Something to do with that Kureyon that you have leftover, that you love. And you might need more.

I've done more in the last two hours than I normally do at this time of day -- paid bills, pulled things together for Europe, et-set-era, and I usually sleep till this time on my days off. So I win! Bethany is coming over to go on a hike with me and Clara, and then maybe I'll just sit around and knit. Hooray! Now go read more Knitty.

September 9, 2006

Oooh, do you ever just have the urge to blog, and you sit there, doing whatever you're doing (in my case, being at work, trying not to laugh at someone who called for medical on an allergic reaction to latex while at a hotel -- what do you think they were doing?), and you're thinking all these smart funny thoughts, things that make you happy, things that you want to share, and then you sit down to blog and there's nothing there?

When that happens to me, I make a list:

  • I am deeply in love with green lately. I finished a hella cute sweater yesterday, but I haven't had time to put on buttons yet. You'll see it soon. It's the best, lightest color of drying grass.
  • I started a new sweater imMEEJiatly (the Sienna Cardigan from the latest IK), also in green, but this green is deep and rich, and yo, it's cashmere from the stash. Stash cashmere. There aren't two finer words that go together, are there? It's from a cone I bought in New York from School Products more than two years ago, and I think it's time.
  • I've learned that when I'm deeply grumpy there are things I should try.
    • Stand in front of a fan. I may be hot and may be in denial. Just go stand in front of a fan and see what happens.
    • Knit with cashmere. Seriously, it sounds like a silly thing to help the grumps, something light and fluffy to say in a blog post, but earlier today I was in a horrid mood, and the cashmere knitting was like a good therapy session. I can't explain why. It just Is.
  • I was in a bad mood because of HOA woes (which are much better and much more deal-able now, thank you, although still rather prickly) but mostly because I got to see Lala for literally twelve minutes today. And that's better than during the week. I do not exaggerate. Usually, during the work week, I only see her when I get into bed and she's getting out, about ten minutes or so. And know what? That grumps me OUT, something that when looked at from a distance, actually makes me happy. I've never lived with anyone, never felt this for anyone. That want to see someone, that need to just breathe the same air, to just hang out in the kitchen and talk. And more than two years later, it's just getting more like this. It's really a fine reason to be grumpy.

That's a long enough list. It's my Friday, thank god, and I have a date with La tomorrow night. Hooray. Tuesday, I get to see Marie (of KnitCast fame) and her husband, coming all the way from Wales to Oakland. Well, I suppose she's coming because they love San Francisco like I love Venice, but I'm stealing them and I'm going to introduce them to Zachary's Pizza in Oakland.

And then less than a week from now, we leave for Europe! I have nothing ready to go! Haven't got out a single bag, haven't looked for the voltage converter. Dude. This is not like me. But I like it.

Okay. Back to knitting with cashmere. Oh, yes. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, whatever you're doing.

The GirlsSeptember 7, 2006

Been hanging out with the girls today. Well, I do that a lot, actually. Digit, my cat, is part of my soul, but dogs are somehow more companionable, aren't they? They're pals. My cats aren't pals. Digit is sticky and prickly and offended most of the time, but we still sleep together. We hold hands. Here he is, almost-sleeping next to me:

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Oh, he's my heart. Really. Adah is a peach, and sweet as all get out, and we like to see each other, but Digit is my main man. Several people have commented lately that they find it funny that in the Hehu House (our last names, combined, in a joking way that seems to have stuck) we have two women, three female dogs, a female cat, and an ex-male cat who has had his male part removed (really, he's a tranny, due to a urethra-crystal emergency some years ago).

So today, even though it's been a Take Care of Crap kind of day, the day that you make all the phone calls that make the world go 'round, all the phone calls that you've been putting off, HOA stuff and plane reservations and doctor's appointments and crap, we've still had some fun. Went on a long-ass walk over at Pt. Isabel, Miss Idaho getting out for the first time since her surgery. (BENIGN, by the way. Woot!)

I tell you what, there is nothing in the world as cute as a chihuahua with a cone head. I told people it was her cuteness amplifier, and that we were going to leave it on permanently. Some laughed. Some just gave me a look and walked their pugs quickly in the other direction.

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(You can see my knitting behind old Miss ID. A sweater soonish, promise.)

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A happy blurry dance. This is what Clara usually looks like. However, I did get her to pose for you earlier today. She would like you to know that she is dignified.

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See? She is the picture of dignity.

Until she burps.

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AlsoSeptember 5, 2006

Just finished watching Saving Face. What a sweet little lesbian romance. And clean enough to watch with your mom. Go Netflix it now.

Hey, there, Sugarbowl

Welp, the music festival was fun. The Whoreshoes rocked out, but they weren't well attended, being the first band of the day at 1pm. But those who were there loved 'em. Old Crow Medicine Show were fabulous, very tight. Ozomatli were also tight, but by then I'd had a visual migraine that very shortly turned into the real-deal migraine (they've never happened together, and it was a very weird, very painful migraine, so that was unpleasant) so I went out on the field and just stayed in one spot until Lala brought me cotton-candy. Hey, it didn't hurt the migraine, and certainly made ME happy. The sponsors set us up right, though, with plenty of free food and beer and candy, and I got all the benefits of being in the band without having to do anything but carry a case or two.

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They are all so damn cute, really. New CD! Out soon! And it's rad, you'll love it. I'll let you know when it's available.

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The Old Crow boys had an emergency with their bass (read: broken) so they restrung Diana-of-the-Whoreshoes's bass, which was pretty cool. Sounded great, too. As seen here:

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The Dyl-pickle god-baby man-child future-rockstar ate as many All Access passes as he could. Start 'em early, we say.

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For once, he's not looking at my chest. Up here! Eyes up here!

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Note his CASH guitar bib. From us, yep.

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He danced all day. Really.

And then there was this cutie:

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End report. I'm off to sew, perhaps. Or read. Or watch TV and knit. It's a Day Off, and I'm doing nothing responsible. Good thing, too, since it's almost 1pm and this is all I've done today.....

September 2, 2006

Okay, Emily's done it again. I don't always blog my friend's patterns, even if I heart them. That's mainly because I just forget. But dude, go look at her sweater. If I wasn't loving knitting cables again, good old sturdy cables, I'd cast on for that, like, now.

Also, Nathania mentioned in Emily's comments that Emily looks like a Vermeer painting. I think that's just right. Isn't she purdy?

However, right now? I need big cables! I have lost patience for all else! It's the only kind of knitting making me happy right now. All this more than 5st/inch.... ack. Gives me a headachle. (Heh. Typo, but I like that.) Come spring, though, I'll be all over the fine knitting again, and I'll make Emily's lovely sweater. Something about fall approaching makes me want sturdy yarn, good definition, and no more than 4.5 st/inch. I'd admit to preferring 4st/inch, but that would make me look lazy, wouldn't it?

I wasn't really going to write about knitting. Whoops. What I meant to write about was going to the beach the other days with the you-know-whats.

There was this woman there, a nice, older woman. A sensible looking woman. Nice looking dog with her. My dog Clara ran up to the lady and said hi. She gave Clara a carrot.

NO! No feeding my dog without asking! And even then, I'll say no, because she's turned, recently, into this huge beggar dog, the annoying kind that smells a treat in a stranger's pocket and stands there, looking and demand-sitting, then nuzzling and pushing with her muzzle. Extremely not-okay behavior in my dog, so now no one is allowed to give her treats but me or Lala.

So this lady gave her a carrot. And then looked at me. I said,  "Thank you, but no more, please."

She said, "Why not?"

I could have gone into the above discussion with her, how I don't want a dog that begs because that's a horrid trait, but I was feeling anti-social and didn't want to interact with humans. So I said, "She's allergic."

She said, "She can't be."

I said, "Carrots make her sick."

"That can't be. How is that? I don't believe that."

By then, of course, I was deeply invested in and believing my own lie, and offended that she would dispute the absolute truth I was making up. "Carrots give her diarrhea. She gets very, very sick. Violently ill." (This WAS just after Clara's mystery illness, and I was treating her tummy very carefully. That part is true.)

"No, they don't."

"Even one carrot will do it."

"No."

"Yes."

Then she shrugged, and I humphed, and we pretended to be polite about each others' mangy curs. I felt vaguely guilty about my lie.

It wasn't until much later that what I was feeling wasn't really guilt, but irritation. How are you gonna argue with someone about what their beloved pet is or isn't allergic to? Huh? I think I'll try that soon with a kid allergic to peanuts. I'll tell mom that the kid can't be allergic, that she must be wrong. That'll go over well.

This soccer-dog mom thing is making me protective. Grrr.

September 1, 2006

Holy COW am I sleepy.

Two things this early morning: One, if you're in the area of Tahoe this weekend, come see The Whoreshoes play the Sugarbowl Festival. Dude, they're playing with the likes of Ozomatli, and The Old Crow Medicine Show. Oh, yeah.

And two, yesterday I was at the dog park, right? Sitting on a chair, knitting, watching the dogs gambol. Something bit my neck, hard. I thought at first it was a wasp, but when I hit it away, it was a ladybug! Ladybugs bite? Quel horror!

I was offended that the old girl didn't remember how many times I'd talked her into going home and rescuing the kids.