Feb 27, 2006

Self Challenge, Week 2

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For my friends participating in The Self Challenge, here's an update. Last week was Week 1. I went to the gym a couple of times and did 1/2 a strength workout. Turns out I'm really weak - meh. As far as food goes, I mostly ate well and tried to stay in my calorie range during the week. This weekend was full of lot of tasty and healthy food, but also too much fast food. So, tomorrow I’m back on the wagon.

My goals for the week are to do all three cardio sessions (probably in the gym since it's so cold) and two complete strength sessions.

What about you?

Catfish and Kim-chee For Health!

I sense discontent. Some people didn’t like the last meme I passed along and, although I do think they’re fun, I’ve been stalling for lack of knitting.


These are some Fiber Trends Felt Clogs that I’m working on for Rock Star out of bits and strands of leftover Mauch Chunky. It’s a fun knit, but I think I’m ready for something new.

So! I ordered some yarn for the Prairie Tunic and the Rib and Cable Mitts from the new IK. Oooh! My fingers are tingling with anticipation.

This weekend I headed south for a too-quick trip to see a couple of very good friends. Microbie made a very yummy Thai catfish curry and then we settled into quiet conversation and a movie. Sunday morning, her cat Max hung out with me in the sun while she left to tutor.

Fat Max in the Macaroni Room

We really cleaned up at the Goodwill later Sunday afternoon. Her top score was some vintage Tupperware to add to her collection. Mine? It’s a toss-up between vinyl Neil Diamond’s Jazz Singer and two mixing bowls that look like this.

Then, in an unprecedented move, I saw Sweet Basil for the second weekend in a row! She made an amazing Korean dinner, including several types of kim-chee and a smooooth martini made by her husband.



Feb 24, 2006

You Are Animal

A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts.
You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary.
But you sure can beat a good drum.
"Kill! Kill!"

Thanks, Debbie.

Feb 20, 2006

Self Challenge

You know I'm trying to live a healthier lifestyle if you've been reading this blog for longer than a week. To that end, I've joined the Self Challenge. If you're also participating and you want to be my 'buddy', lemme know. Then we can all be crazyfit for 'Knitting Olympics 2008.'

Weekend update

Friday was our grad symposium, followed by a department dinner at the new South Side Steel. Thoughts that ran through my mind prior to dinner include "this was way more fun when we could have beer at the poster session," "we haven't been able to have beer at this thing for a looooong time which means I am really very old," and "damn, I could really use a beer." Thoughts in my head after having an appletini and some good food include "wow, I really like the people I'm sitting around at this dinner" and "these little cakes are yummy."

Saturday, Sweet Basil, her husband, and our former housemate Cookie had dinner at the always-marvelous Olive Branch in South Bethlehem. We closed the place with lots of laughing and some chocolate raspberry cake. The owner, Sam, broke his foot a few weeks ago and we are sending him lots of 'get well' wishes.

Fitful sleeping of one amandamonkey ensued, then brunch was consumed at the very smoky but tasty Blue Anchor Diner with Sweet Basil and her husband. All is have to say about that is 'mmmmm, bacon.' We drooled over patterns in Loop-d-Loop (something that we have, in fact, done before) and tried to protect the precious book from greasy smudges on the table.

Later in the afternoon, I quickly saw Sweet Basil to dispense kisses and hugs before her trip home then headed over to the home of Dancing Fish and her beau for some ice dancing. Appropriate gear was donned and fun was had by all...

...except for maybe by Seymour, who was forced to model a Fuzzy Foot by two silly girls.

(see? There's some knitting here!)

We ate lots of Chinese food of which there are no photos because aforementioned amandamonkey housed the crab rangoon-ies before the camera could come out.

Needless to say, the funk I've been in for the past couple of weeks seems to have lifted - at least for the time being. Thanks SO MUCH, everyone! Especially Sweet Basil and Dancing Fish!

PS - thanks to everyone on your very nice comments about my grandfather last week.

Feb 16, 2006

I ask you to describe my person

Via Miss Kendra, I ask you to go here to help me take part in a little self-analysis.

Has anyone heard the new Willie Nelson cowboy song? I like it, even if it does sound like a parody. ...and it supports my working hypothesis that the more homophobic someone is, the more they've closeted their burning passion for same sex lovers.

oh, YEAH!

So I only post these memes when I think they are right-on or just funny.

Here's mine for the day:

amandamonkey --


Visually addictive

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Is it because of the ever-present smirk or the round belly? Maybe it's my hypnotic pigtails....

... of course this is funny, too.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Amandamonkey!

  1. If you put a drop of liquor on amandamonkey, she will go mad and sting herself to death.
  2. Amandamonkey can fly at an average speed of fifteen kilometres an hour.
  3. The difference between amandamonkey and a village is that amandamonkey does not have a church!
  4. Over 2000 people have now climbed amandamonkey, with roughly ten percent dying on the way down!
  5. Ostriches stick their heads in amandamonkey not to hide but to look for water.
  6. It takes more than 500 peanuts to make amandamonkey.
  7. A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but amandamonkey can not.
  8. Amandamonkeyicide is the killing of amandamonkey!
  9. Amandamonkey can use only about ten percent of her brain.
  10. Amandamonkey can't sweat.
I am interested in - do tell me about

I especially like #s 1, 3, and 9.

Feb 15, 2006

Fuzzy Feet, the Sequel

Fuzzy Feet, The Sequel

I feel a little silly posting this new pair of Fuzzy Feet because everyone seems to be challenging themselves with scary and complicated projects. But this is what I'm working on while writing me diss.

This is my second pair of Fuzzy Feet, and I'm feeling so-so about the pattern. The Fiber Trends pattern felts up better and is more comfortable, so this second pair may be my last.

I love the colors. They are 'pumpkin' and 'kiwi' in Mauch Chunky. It seems wrong to knit up two colors named after fruits that aren't from the same Plant Hardiness Zone, but it feels. so. good.

Feb 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!


Thanks to Rock Star for these beautiful roses, now in their new home on my desk in an old Nalgene.

Feb 13, 2006

Look Closely

After the Storm, II

This was my view on my walk in this morning - we survived the Nor'east'r yesterday and now the sun is shining.

For those of you following my bleeding hearts saga, you'll be happy to know that they are peeking out now, making my craptastic room a little more cheerful.

Bleeding Hearts

Feb 12, 2006

100 years

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Granddad and me (1974).

I’m six years old, sitting on my grandfather and playing with his heavy, warm pocket watch. He’s trying to take a nap, but the slow ticking of the watch only entertains me for a few minutes before I’m tickling his toes through the holes in the afghan my grandmother crocheted just for naps like this one. Looking back, I know I got away with a lot because I was the oldest grandchild – and the only girl.

I spent a lot of warm summer evenings sitting on a hill under the big maple tree, snapping green beans, watching lightning bugs, and chatting up my grandmother while his quiet presence circled the gardens, chewing on his pipe, taking stock. He grew gooseberries. He chewed Juicy Fruit and put the soggy gum into mole tracks to fend them off. He made wooden bowls and rolling pins. He spray-painted pine cones gold to entertain me. He always wore blue work shirts and jeans the color of his eyes, which mirrored the bright Indiana sky.

Today is Granddad’s 100th birthday. He married relatively late in life, traveling to Florida and West to find work during the Depression. Shortly after his death, I was going through some old photographs and came across a series with several stylish flapper girls in them. I’ve often begged his brother to tell me stories of Granddad's youth when he knew those women, before he was married to my grandmother, when he was engaged to someone else. All he tells me is that he was ‘a good Christian man’ and the conversation ends. There are still too many holes in the story to satisfy me and now it's too late. I'm on the couch, time ticks along in my hand, and stories remain untold.

Granddad and his brothers in the 1930s(?). There is nothing about this photo that I don’t love.

Granddad with my dad, probably taken by my grandmother (c. 1949).

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Me, gardening in an attempt to slow down the pace of my own life, taken by SweetBasil in my urban garden (2004).

I miss my boys

Keeping an eye on the Beast

Feb 11, 2006

Please do not read if you are easily impressed with real cool images of cigarettes

This candy should be banned....

Look at what I found at the local Getty today! Candy cigarettes! I thought these were banned but I found them at the Getty! Now I know why all those skaters hang out there.

Aren't they perfect with my Johnny Cash bag?

And then we went to Applebee's and smoked 'em 'cos we're so punk rock!

...but it's so good!

Feb 8, 2006

Death Mask

Disclaimer: The following thoughts are ever-so-Victorian and may not be palatable to the general audience. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I'm not doing a ton of stitching lately. Or reading, writing, working out, or even drinking. Everything outside is dead, dead, and cold.

So I'll tell you about a trip I took to the Field Museum to see the Pompeii exhibit last month.

There were all sorts of really cool body casts of people caught in the eruption. I think this is painfully beautiful, sort of the ultimate translation of tragedy into art and timelessness, bypassing the middleman artist. There was a lot of jewelry that looks modern even today and I think we can all learn a lot about the fragility of life and culture from the story of Pompeii.

It's interesting to think about how my body could be preserved after death and become art. I've thought about doing this, but I think it is ultimately too trendy and I would end up collecting dust along with some old Happy Meal toys (not in a relic-chic way like at the Mutter Museum but in a sad, garage-sale way).

What if someone did something like this to commemorate my life? A biggiant, splintery amandamonkey to hang out around your doorway to protect you from demons and other nefarious characters?

Hmmmm.... maybe it's a little too crotch-ety for me?

What if I had my ass taxidermied?

The entire basement of the Field Museum smells like mothballs - a scent my oversensitive nose HATES - so maybe that's not such a hot idea.

I teach geology. Eons ago, when I was a TA at my MS institution, I would ask one bonus question on the final. It was 'Think about the most important thing you've learned this year in class and then explain it to me as if I didn't know a thing about geology.' One of the students wrote, 'I've learned that I want my tombstone to be in granite so people will be able to read it 200 years from now.'

He totally got an 'A.'

Feb 7, 2006

Crack for Geo-types and Map Nerds

Why, after all this time, did I finally upgrade my OS? Google Earth is now available for Mac. Remember when I was addicted to gmap pedometer? That's kid's stuff compared to Google Earth.

Here's an image of my research area. Glaciers, earthquakes, snowy peaks? Check, check, and check.

To think that I once thought playing Space Invaders on my Atari was cool.

... now that I think about it, I still think it's cool to play Atari.

Feb 6, 2006

so what?

I lied last post - I have, in fact, been stitching. I wasn't going to post it, though, because I'm using leftover yarn from the project I made for Dancing Fish. They're just some footies, warm but fun.

PS - Don't be jealous of my (finally!) upgrade to Panther Tiger (why do I always mix those two up?!), or my dirty red dishes.

Another day, another quiz, still no stitches

How to make a amandamonkey

1 part jealousy

3 parts silliness

5 parts joy
Layer ingredientes in a shot glass. Add a little cocktail umbrella and a dash of sadness

PS - anyone else think the new Rebecca (and the one before that, to be honest) is ass? I'm tired of paying through the nose for recycled knit patterns. Mrrrr.

Feb 2, 2006

Silent II

After I posted my midwinter poem, I checked out what was chosen by Reya, whose call to action (introspection?) many of us answered. Ummm, it was the exact same poem that I 'read.'

So here's another Billy Collins yum-yum for you from the same collection. It actually does a quite nice job summing up how I've been feeling lately:

Some Days
--Billy Collins

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?


Silent Midwinter Poetry Reading via Concateknit and Ashley:

After the Storm
--Billy Collins

Soft yellow-gray light of early morning,
butter and wool,
the two bedroom windows
still beaded and streaked with rain.

The world calm again, routine with traffic,
after its night of convulsions,
when storm drains closed at the throat,
and trees shook in the wind like the hair of dryads.

In the silent house, its roof still on,
too early for the heat to come whistling up
and the guest room doors still closed,
I am propped up on these pillows,

a gray, moth-eaten cashmere jersey
wrapped around my neck
against the unbroken cold of last night.
I am thinking about the dinner party,

the long table, dark bottles of Merlot,
the odd duck and brussels sprouts,
and how, after midnight,
with all of us sprawled on the couch and floor,

the power suddenly went out
leaving us to feel our way around
in the tenth-century darkness
until we found and lit a stash of candles

then drew the circle of ourselves a little tighter
in this softer hula of lights
that gleamed in mirrors and on rims of glasses
while the shutters banged and the rain lashed down.

A sweet nut of a memory --
but the part that sends me whirring
in little ovals of wonder,
as the leftover clouds break apart

and the sun brightly stripes these walls,
is the part that came later,
hours after we had each carried a candle
up the shadowy staircase and gone to bed.

It was three, maybe four in the morning
when the power surged back on,
and, as if a bookmark
had been inserted into the party

when the lamps went dark,
now all the lights downstairs flared again,
and from the stereo speakers
up through the heat register

into our bedroom and our sleep
blared the sound of Jimmy Reed
singing "Baby What You Want Me to Do"
just where he had left off.

So the party resumed without us,
the room again aglow with a life of its own,
the night air charged
with guitar and harmonica,

until one of us put on slippers,
went down to that blazing, festive emptiness,
and turned everything off.
Then, without lights or music,

even the ghosts of ourselves
had to break up their party,
snub out their cigarettes,
carry their wineglasses to the kitchen,

where they kissed each other good night,
and with nowhere else to go,
floated vaguely upstairs
to lie down beside us in our dark and quiet beds.

Winter photo by Rock Star, taken about 3 years ago at Shingletown Gap, PA. Featuring Yuck Mouth, of course.

Feb 1, 2006

...because nothing says 'let's get in shape' like sitting on your ass and watching The Biggest Loser in unfelted slippers

The Biggest Loser

Moe, because I know you like these colo(u)rs as much as I do, you'd love this place. Every time I walk by one, I want to lick the windows and roll around on the floor like Barley does in a pile of poop. I think it has something to do with the colors - not just the chocolate!

Here are the vids:
Yarn: Mauch Chunky in 'Pink Lemonade' and ‘Walnut.’
Pattern: 'Felt Clogs' from Fibertrends
Needles: US13 bamboo circs.
Recipient: Mine, all mine!
Thoughts: Well, I should come clean - this is about the third pair I've made (but the first I've made since I started blogging). The first two pair went to my parents during the Holiday 2004 season, officially ending my mother's 'knitted gift probation' for losing one of the first things I knit for her.