Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Would this be a good gift?

After going to a bajillion seven weddings this year, I've begun to think about creative gifts to give that aren't just cash or a gift from Crate and Barrel.  I have some good ideas for the weddings of 2012, but I saw this cool pattern on the Purl website for something called the Eleventh Hour Blanket.  It's inspired by their pattern for a scarf that takes less than a day to finish up.

It looks so cozy and wonderful!  What a great throw this would be for a bedroom or living room.  And I think it'd be cute to do it in something that refers to their wedding colors.  It calls for big needles and knitting double, so it'd be a quick knit.

The yarn it calls for is wonderful (Cascade Magnum) and all the supplies total of about $160-180.  So it's a pricey blanket, but I feel like something homemade could be more meaningful than a check.  And... I can knit, so I sometimes feel like for all these events it'd be great if I could my powers for good.  And I know from experience that when I made my friend Jaime a baby blanket for her baby shower, she really appreciated it and it gets a lot of good use. 

But is it cheesy to make a blanket for someone?  Do people getting married just want money or something more practical like wine glasses? 

It seems appropriate...

...that I forgot to blog last night, since this has been a theme this time around.  Last night we went out to dinner with my friends Joanna and Jason, which was a lot of fun.  Some light ranting, a lot of giggling, and random joking.  It was, I think, exactly what the four of us needed on a Tuesday night.  Then when we got home, I pretty much put on yoga pants and made that slow descent into bed.

Again, I lead a very exciting life here.

I'll blog twice today again.  I might post a knitting project I saw and want to try and make for someone in the future as a future gift.  But we'll see.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Almost forgot to blog

I've been deep in Christmas knitting tonight, so I almost forgot to blog.  I obviously can't show you or talk about Christmas knitting, so instead...

Here's a photo of a puppy and a kitten.  The puppy may be a Muppet, I can't tell for sure.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Doctor is in

I recently listened to a TBTL episode that was a tribute to some of the best "I Love You, Chunk" spots.  The last one was about Doctor Who, the longtime British science fiction series.  I've been curious about Doctor Who for awhile now, probably since I saw the Freaks and Geeks where Bill dresses up as The Doctor after surviving eating a peanut.   My friend Jess also named her two cats after the show (Rose and The Doctor).  Ravelry also has tons of patterns on how to make that scarf pattern.  But hearing two people wax poetic about how great the series is -- that and having a Saturday night to myself to start working on Christmas knitting -- sealed the deal, and I rented the most recent series on Netflix.

I am hooooooooooked.

I've watched six episodes so far.  Right now I'm watching the 9th doctor, but I think in about five episodes David Tennant shows up.  I like how there's an overarching story and history to the series, but that each episode can also stand alone.  Ricky compared it to Quantum Leap a bit, which I can see.

I'm also a fan of all the jokes about his identity that travel from episode to episode right now.  Like what's his name and if he's an alien why does he have a Northern British accent (because every planet has a north).  I'm glad that I picked it up, and that I have something to watch while knitting.  I don't think I'll go back and watch the other series, only because that's a lot of programs to catch up on, but I'm fine with that.

I definitely recommend checking it out, especially since it's streaming on Netflix.  Also, here's some classic Doctor Who for some audio for this post.

Old school theme from Tom Baker-era (the doctor with the long scarf that Bill dresses as):

Who doesn't love that theme?  It's so retro feeling and also epic!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Now that Thanksgiving's over...'s officially time for two things in my book.

Listening to Christmas music on WODS.  (I realize that I posted that carol earlier in the week, but that was inspired by a conversation I had recently)

(I wish they'd play this)

Drinking Hood Egg Nog.

(Side note, when I tried to find a picture of Hood Egg Nog, the first one I clicked on was from this blog last year.  I am nothing if not consistent)

I bought my first carton of egg nog last night, and today when running errands we listened to carols.  It's nice to start getting into the swing of things!

A&J King was selling egg nog cheesecakes, which I can't wait to try.  They looked incredible this afternoon.  I'm also tempted to try and make my own egg nog and see how it shapes up.  Mmmmm

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today's the day

I'm going to see The Muppets.  This is a day years in the making.

I've been obsessively reading everything I could about this movie since I heard Jason Segal was writing the script.  I'm losing it with excitement.  LOSING IT.

Amanda says that in my life I've minored in Muppet studies.  My high school yearbook quote was from Jim Henson.  I made TWO tiles in the high school devoted to Muppets.  I've scoured ebay for Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  This moment was built for me.  Gaaaaahhhhhhh

I will also probably cry with joy and an overwhelming feeling.  Enjoy that visual.

In the meantime, listen to this Fresh Air interview with the writers of the movie, along with this classic Muppet moment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from..., Charlie, Jed, Leo (briefly), The Butterball hotline, Toby, Joe Bethersenten, and the person sou chef to the king of... auto sales in Fargo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


While taking the train into work this morning, I began to make a list in my head of things I am thankful for in 2011.  I think 2011 has been, at times, even more emotionally trying than 2010, so I feel perhaps even more thankful than usual for these things:

Lewis PizzaCat
Alva (still healthy and happy as a clam!)
My health and the health of my family
My friends
Having a reasonably priced apartment
My love of knitting
My job
Shopping local and the growing popularity of that concept
Friends being in love (but that being said, I am thankful that I don't have to go to another wedding for 4 months!)
Freshly baked goods
Hot tea
Tasty wine
My apartment appearing more and more like an adult lives there and not a college grad with a non-matching set of furniture
Long weekends to Vermont
Farmer's Markets
Salem Restaurant Week
Warm wool socks
Mashed potatoes
The Landry brothers
Comfy shoes
Blogs that post pretty things (looking at you, Apartment therapy)
Not moving in 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I wish I could find this song as a stand alone on iTunes

Because it's SO GOOD.  And crazy.  Mainly a little crazy.  Or a lot crazy.

Listen to that banter.  It's crazy.  Sir Percival?  Asking Bing Crosby if he likes contemporary music (answer:  obviously not, it's Bing Crosby).  Ohhh my God it's so amazingly weird.

But then it gets all awesome when they start singing.  Well done, Bing and Bowie.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who would wanna be such a control freak?

Today feels like it needs the melancholy of Modest Mouse's Bukowski.  It's a little chilly out, which comes as a shock to the system after such a nice weekend, weather-wise.  I've always loved this song, and this whole album reminds me of my senior year of college.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A very John Candy weekend

Ricky has found out that there are giant, gaping holes in my movie-watching history.  Namely, almost all of the John Hughes cannon, and the movie Stripes.  He wanted to remedy both this weekend.

Saturday night, after a memorable sushi date, we watched Planes Trains and Automobiles.  I had wanted to see this one also because of an in joke we have about work.  That and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it seemed appropriate.  I really liked it!  It was funny, and not too gross or dragging, like some movies of a similar ilk can be (Due Date... parts of Home Alone even). 

Tonight, we decided to tackle Stripes.  It was a shorter movie, and we weren't feeling like watching something too emotionally daunting.  I also liked it, but I think he liked it a lot more.  It was funny and great to see so many members of SCTV pop up.  We also enjoyed seeing John Larroquette, who we nicknamed Poppa Larroquette after the Uhh Yeah Dude podcasts.

All in all, a very funny and also very Canadian comedian movie weekend.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I mentioned that last weekend I went to Marblehead.  It was really nice walking around, taking a few photos of the area, and enjoying a perfectly crisp fall day.  This is my favorite one from the day, since I love that it's an old lantern and in the reflection, you can see other parts of the town.  We mainly stuck to the older part of "downtown" Marblehead.  I say "downtown" because it all feels very residential in comparison to Salem or even Beverly.

I blame Dan

My plan was to post something, but I went to my friend Dan's birthday party, where we played games and drank beer all hours of the night.  We also learned about everyone's favorite retired cop now toll booth collector, Johnny Nickles.  It was a great way to spend Friday night.

As an apology, here's a cute photo of a schnauzer puppy.  I knew you'd like it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breaking news

I'm pretty sure our friend Papows... actually Shel Silverstein.

Whaaaaat the hell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Not this post, just the weather.  If it was about this post, it'd probably be called "slightly boring!"

It's really nasty outside.  And did I have a hat, umbrella, or wellies on?  Nope!  Because I'm a moron and it was sunny when I left for work this morning... because in my world, if it's sunny at 7am, it will still be sunny and pleasant at 6pm.  So I walked home tonight in the dark rain, and came home very wet and cold.  My walk isn't long, but when it's dark, cold, and dreary out... it gets a lot longer.

To warm up, I'm indulging in one of my favorite things in the whole world... baked sweet potatoes.  I love them so much.  It's baking right now, and I'm sitting here in comfy pants, dreaming of the toppings I may put on it.  Because that's how exciting life has become these days.

So I don't just eat a sweet potato, I'm also going to pan fry some brussel sprouts and put them with cranberries.  It'll be quite tasty.

While I'm honestly pumped for my dinner, this is a day my friend Bob didn't up and move to New Jersey, so I could beg him to make me tasty foods and ply me with fancy cocktails.  Sadly, I don't think something warm and tasty would travel well from that distance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Late night postings

I can't even believe that Thanksgiving is in a little over a week.  Insane.  Still not sure where I'm spending it or what I'll be making.  I think I'll be spending it at my aunt's house and making a pie, and then visiting Ricky's family, but I'm not entirely sure. 

I'm trying to debate what's my favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  So hard!  Honestly it's my grandfather's homemade noodles, but that's more a my family side.  His mother and others before her always made her own noodles.  My attempts at noodles have always been poor, but I think now that I'm older I'll try to improve so I can carry it on.  But onto traditional sides, what is my favorite??  Is it...

corn bread stuffing?

sweet potato casserole?

green bean casserole?


Mashed potatoes?

Internets land, what is your favorite side dish?

Blogger fail AGAIN

I was going to post something last night after dinner and before bed... but then I got sucked into Diane Sawyer's special on the recovery of Gabrielle Giffords after her shooting last year, and was reduced to a crying puddle by 11pm.  There was no way I was in a state to blog or blog well.  It would have been a lot of phrases and pauses and probably a sad song by Coldplay.

It was inspiring and she's doing amazingly well for being shot in the brain, but it's clear that many of her goals -- furthering her work in Congress, having children with her husband -- will probably not happen now.  But considering she was shot in the brain 10 months ago, she's astounding.  Ricky and I were both crying in bed watching it.  Me more than Ricky. 

So this just means I'll be posting twice today.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

But I don't feel afraid as long as I gaze at Waterloo Sunset

Sunday is errand day, so we'll be running around a lot, prepping for the work week.  With that in mind, here's one of my favorite songs by The Kinks.  I wish this version was available on iTunes!

Also, if you're interested in a whole awesome album by The Kinks, I strongly recommend checking out Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire.  About a year ago, I was in a restaurant in Boston and they played the whole album from start to finish while I was there, and it was pretty great.  (this is the album that Victoria and Shangri-La comes from)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekend plans

The Food Network version of an egg sandwich.  Mine are simpler...
After a quiet thoughtful day yesterday, Ricky and I are back at it and planning to have a nice little (albeit busy) weekend.  It's nice, though, because now that Weddingocaplyse 2011 is over, there's a significant rise in flexibility with our time.  Today is a friend's 30th birthday, but during the day I think we're going to walk around Marblehead and poke around in shops and get coffee.  It's funny, it's right next door but we almost never go there unless forced.  I'm wondering why.

Right now, though, we're enjoying a newly forming weekend tradition of egg sandwiches and coffee while watching tv.  We did this the last few weekends, and it's almost better than going out to breakfast.  When I was single/lived alone, egg sandwiches were a regular meal staple.  So there's something sweet about having them now together.  Reclaiming egg sandwiches, as it were.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A thoughtful day

I didn't have a plan to write anything up for today, being that it's Veteran's Day and some personal things going on (Ricky and I are fine).  Today is just perhaps a moment to think.  Think of those who did serve or are serving, for sure.  I think the message of Veteran's Day is stronger every year for me, as I know more people who serve the country.  My being a civilian my whole life is a gift thanks to them. 

And think of those you love, and if they're having troubles, think about them, and ways you can help them out.  And if things are going well in your life, be fortunate of that.

Sorry if this is deep and vague, but I had to get my thoughts out on a day of gratitude and thinking of those who serve.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to Sinbad... and Tracy Morgan... and Pete

Today is Pete's birthday.  (there are a lot of family birthdays in early November)  When we were little, we joked that the only famous person that shared Pete's birthday was... Sinbad.

Whenever we'd talk about who shared our birthdays, Pete would joke that we had awesome people share our birthday... and he had Sinbad.

I recently discovered that he shares his birthday with another black comedian... Tracy Morgan!

So a big happy birthday to Pete and to the two black comedians I now associate him with in my head.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The world is now filled with a lot less young children-based puns...

I am in no way a fan of The Family Circus, but I did say "aww" when I heard that Bil Keane passed away.  More because The Family Circus has been a present my whole life.  When I was a little kid, I found it cute in that "gee willickers" sort of way.  Then, as I got older and and my sense of humor became a bit more advanced and refined, I pretty much stopped reading it.  But it was nice that Keane was so consistent... using the same jokes and ideas for 50 years. 

Erin once mailed me a Sunday Family Circus where she added a ghost (like those ghosts that he always had in his cartoons) that said "shut up, Jeffy, no one likes you!" which I found to be hilarious.  Because it's true.  No one likes that know it all pain in the ass Jeffy.  It's been hanging in every office I've had since I've received it.

So it's been real, Bil.  I hear your son has adopted The Family Circus, so at least it'll still be continuing.

I also wanted to post a cartoon from The Nietzsche Family Circus, which combines an image from The Family Circus with a quote from Nietzsche.  Mainly because I find this page hilarious in that "Garfield without Garfield" or "Kayne West tweets with cartoons from the New Yorker" sort of way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


My mom turned 50 on Saturday, which is insane.  I made cupcakes (see photo) for the party her family threw for her.  They're chocolate buttermilk cake with a chocolate cream cheese frosting.  As we know, my mom loves whales, so I found dolphin sprinkles... which are as close as I could find to a whale sprinkle.

It's definitely odd having my mom turn 50, since I always felt like I was the friend who had the young mom.  (which is true... my mom is one of the youngest of my friends who are my age)  But I guess since I am growing older, I guess that makes sense.  And, if you think about it, my mom is still the young mom since she's only turning 50 now.  And I'm pushing 28.

It was a good party.  Everyone met up at a local restaurant that's a family favorite for BBQ and volleyball in the back yard.  Low key and definitely fun.  Only two cousins couldn't make it, since they go to college in far away states, so the turnout was quite impressive.

I'm glad we could give my mom a special day, since she deserves it and does so much for us.  She said she enjoyed it, so that's all we could ask for.

Blogger FAIL

I made it six days in NaBloPoMo before forgetting to post.


THAT'S IT???  Booooo me.

Last night at about 5am, I woke up realizing that I didn't write anything.  I had every intention to do so, but instead spilled an entire bottle of iced green tea in my bag, ruining a lot of paperwork in it and probably the bag itself, ate tacos at a Mexican restaurant, watched last week's Up All Night and snorted I was laughing so hard (I have a feeling I'll be dropping the quote "All my family talks about is football and Regis!" and mentioning a memorial montage involving one photo and someone's W-4's on a regular basis), knit for awhile, and then went to bed.  If you notice, none of those things are "posting on my blog about something".

I had every intention to do so, but it just didn't happen.  So I'll have to more than make up for it.  Perhaps with better and more interesting posts today.  I don't even know.

And yes, I realize that posting twice in one day isn't the same as posting one thing every day.  But it's how I decided in my mind that it'll compensate.  No judging.

Also, remember to vote today in your local elections.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


My reprieve from attending or being involved in weddings has ended.  I just picked up the bridesmaid dress for Jess and Giacomo's wedding in March.  It's now sitting in my closet, where it will probably sit for another 2 months.  Then I'll hand it off to get altered for short ol' me.  Erin should be giving me the dress for her wedding soon. These weddings will be #4 and 5 for weddings I've been in.

While being in two weddings next year will prove to be a busy later winter/late spring for me, I have a strong feeling it'll feel like a cake walk compared to 2011.  Ricky and I attended seven weddings, spanning from Western Mass to CT and all over the North Shore.  Only three weddings, all of which are pretty spread out over 6 months, is a gift.  And one of those weddings will involve driving 9 hours!

 I think in a few years, I want to have a bar crawl or a birthday party where my friends and I don our old bridesmaid dresses and get a little boozy.  This is in no way a creative or new idea, but on this post about bridesmaids it popped into my head.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

If I had a box just for wishes and dreams that had never come true, The box would be empty except for the memory of how they were answered by you...

Ricky and I have been watching the original Muppet Show on Netflix.  We just watched the Edgar Bergen episode (kind of awkward/painful, watching the two forms of puppetry try to find a common ground) but one moment I had forgotten about was the Muppet Show version of Time in a Bottle.  It was a quiet, sweet, and certainly wistful moment for the show.  I sometimes wonder if Henson knew that no matter what, there wouldn't be enough time for him to do everything he wanted to do and accomplish in his lifetime. 

I think I may even like this version more than Croce's version.

Also, giant shout out to my mom on her 50th birthday.  I just got back from a party for her with all my family, and took photos, but I will post them tomorrow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More songs about buildings and hats

I will someday have a conversation about buildings and food, but today, we're talking about hats.

Turn a Square 1:  This went to Matt
Over the summer, Erin asked if I could make Matt a hat for the winter.  He liked cool colors along with black and gray, and wanted something with slight visual interest.  I've been eying Jared Flood's pattern Turn a Square for awhile now, but when I suggested making it for Ricky he shied away from the "bright colors" and "crazy pattern".  But Matt was game for... subtle color changes and stripes.

I made this using Cascade 220 in Jet (Jet!) and Noro Silk Garden in Band on the Run (kidding).  I liked that it was more of a charcoal gray for the Cascade, and I looooooved the Noro per usual.  The pattern is insanely easy, and a good first project for colorwork, since it's a good way to get a knitter started on changing colors with stripes.  I also loved the crown shaping, and will probably borrow it for other projects, since I liked how it sat on my head better.

What's also great is that I could make two hats out of these two skeins.  I presented both to Matt -- one was blue and green, and one was a lot more subtle with blue and a lot of blacks and grays -- and he went with the blue and green one.  I decided to keep the blue and gray one for myself.  I'm thinking of making these hats for my brothers or even my brother and his girlfriend for Christmas.

Turn a Square 2:  I kept it for a nice big warm hat that covered my ears
Here I am modeling both versions during warmer and simpler times.  This is in August, which is why things look lush and green around me.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This makes me inexplicably sad...

Probably because I have a lot of memories of going into the basement of the North Shore Mall with my mom, trying to find good gifts and discounts.  I'll probably make a trek soon for memories and discounts.

So it's been real, Filene's Basement.  My Beantown pride is sad because this is one less Boston-based department store that exists.  (I still am bitter about you, Macy's, for taking Filene's away from us)

Also, I'm a little pissed off I'll never have the option to compete in the Running of the Brides.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's cold, so let's talk about knitting.

The finished cowl at Sea Meadow Gift Shop.
I'm having a hard time determining when to give up my lighter fall coat for my heavier winter coat, especially since the temperature seems to rise quite a bit during my lunchtime walk.  And it seems like closing a chapter on warmer weather when you break out the winter coat full time.  Probably within a week or so, it'll be big green coat times.

Today, though, let's talk about a knit piece I made for Shana, since I feel like my knitting helps give my lighter coat a few extra days of wear since it keeps my head/neck/hands warm.  She had been asking me for a bit to make her a big cowl that she could wrap around her neck once, and could wear at work.  Knowing Shana well, though, I knew that she also would probably wearing this outdoors or on a boat, so I needed something sturdy and warm, too.  Her requests were for the following details:

--an olive green color
Modeling it wrapped around my neck twice.

--some sort of lace pattern that maybe had a zig zag quality
--can be wrapped around her neck twice so it can be worn both long and short

I found a pattern for a lace scarf that I was able to modify, which worked out perfectly.  It was a pattern inspired by ferns called Fern Lace Scarf.   The designer has it in a lace weight yarn, but I decided to do less repeats to make up for the larger yarn and needle size and added 3 stitches of garter stitch on either side for a finishing effect.  I had garter at the beginning and end of the project (which I kind of liked that effect that you could see it met in the middle) and grafted it together.  I felt quite clever.

The yarn is Malabrigo, which is perhaps my one true love when it comes to knitting.  I found a color named Olive, which screamed Shana.  It has a nice look when knit up, and it's also incredibly warm and easy to knit with, but also won't fall apart.  I've used this yarn on a lot of different gift projects.

I think I'd be more pleased with my efforts if I had accounted for one thing.  I only bought one skein of yarn... ROOKIE MISTAKE.  I should have bought 2 skeins so that they'd be the same dye lot.  Gahhhh.  I (of course) ran out of yarn and had to buy a new skein months later.  It was similar in color, and to the untrained eye you can't tell they're two different colors, but I can definitely see the differences in color.  Note to self:  always buy two skeins if it's a scarf.  Always.

Shana, however, couldn't tell.  Or she's too kind.  But she loved it.  I'm glad she liked it!  What inspired me to post this project is that she texted me that she's been wearing her cowl a lot, and it's been keeping her warm at work/has gotten some compliments.  So that's good.

I posted some photos of me modeling the finished product before giving it to Shana.  I'd definitely make another big cowl out of Malabrigo again... just make sure I buy two skeins for the project.  The photo of me with the cowl long to the left, you can see the two colors.  This is because of the flash, I think, since in person it's a little less jarring in contrast.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself in my head.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo times again?

I'm preparing to embark on my third annual National Blog Posting Month.  I feel like more this year I'm also seeing campaigns to write a novel or poetry this month.  Since I am talented at neither of these endeavors, I'm sticking to my little blog here.  I don't know why, but I'm dreading it this time around, even though it's voluntary and I sometimes feel some of my better posts and musings are based on forcing myself to write down my thoughts once a day. 

There are certainly some posts I have planned, including long overdue knitting updates, Halloween to recap, and the like, so that'll give me some blog fodder.  I also want to try and capture nice moments this fall.  So we'll see.

Gear up for a fun month of me posting my little heart out!