Monday, February 23

Rest in Peace, dear Blaze

My parents' cat, who joined their household in about 2005, passed away today. She was a very loving, friendly and rather cheery cat, one who loved being in the center of things and near her human companions. She survived an nasty accident in August 2006 which left her paralyzed in her back half for several months. She regained the ability to walk, but did not have great control of her back legs and so would careen around my parents' house, enthusiastically knocking into furniture and flinging herself onto the sofa next to you in order to be pet.

Last week she seemed to be ailing, and was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia on Wednesday. She deteriorated rapidly and was put to sleep about an hour ago.

It's hard to describe, but she was very much a part of the family. My cousin Alex just called me, very upset and nearly in tears at knowing that Blaze was gone. And my mother summed it up in an email, "She was just the most wonderful pet we ever had. We feel like there will never be another one we could love so much."

Goodbye, dear Blaze.

Sunday, February 22


About two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, I had lunch with my cousin Jane. We're not actually first cousins, though we are around the same age. Her father is my grandmother's much younger half-brother, so technically Jane is my second half-cousin, once removed. How about that? Jane and I recently reconnected on Facebook, and we decided to have lunch.She brought with her a bag with three plates in them. The plates had belonged to my mother's great Aunt Helena, a powerful woman who played quite a strong presence in my mother's life before I was born. I never met her, but my other cousin Nell is named after her, and her name is still spoken with reverence by everyone in my mother's family. Having something that belonged to her is an honor, even if it's a single plate (I am to divide the set among myself and my female cousins).

On the same day, coincidentally, I received an email from one of Anne's friends, asking me what size shoes I wore. Apparently my feet are too small to wear some of Anne's shoes, but some blouses and a skirt are being held aside for me.

These gifts, these small reminders of these women, made me very thoughtful that day. My grandmother had been a doctor, attending medical school in the early 1940s, when my father was still small. This day of receiving reminded me of something that was said to me at her funeral, an offhand comment from another relative, that her footsteps were a lot to fill but that I was lucky to have such a role model in my life.

Many role models, really. I am so lucky.

Tuesday, February 17

my husband is a chef

Christopher never ceases to amaze me. When we met nearly 6 years ago, he lived in a little studio apartment and ate mostly cereal and pizza. And coffee. When we moved in together, our biggest hurdle was agreeing on whether we would eat together nightly, and how big those meals would be. (me: it should have a vegetable and be nutritious and it should include quality time. Him: why do you need to make a big deal of this?)

Yesterday was my birthday. We didn't have much of a celebration, but Christopher asked me to pick up some ingredients when I stopped at the Coop on my way home. Sour cream, unsweetened chocolate and heavy cream. yum.

While I worked on my spinning in the afternoon (what better way to spend one's birthday?) Christopher was very busy in the kitchen. He emerged with this: Actually there were about 20 of them.

We went out for dinner, and when we got back I distributed cupcakes to some of our neighbors. Then we found some candles and had a little celebration. They were delicious.

Sunday, February 15

it's time for bed

but I thought I should report on our Valentine's Day.

We're not big Valentiner's here, though Christopher insists that I make a big deal of it. "Big Deal" to him is me asking, "what should we do for Valentine's Day?" about 2 days before the actual date. He suggested that we make dinner, and so we did.

The menu was:

French Onion Soup with Gruyere (photo is before baking them)
Lamb Chops with a Rosemary and Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Sauteed Spinach (this was scrapped)

Chocolate Souffle (ala NY Times) and Vanilla Ice Cream (store bought)The soup was the best, though we forgot to get bread for it. Next time. The chocolate souffles came out well but had very little flavor. Definitely not repeating them. And the lamb chops were very fatty. Again, not to be repeated (though the meat was very tasty. There was just like one bite though.)

One of my oldest friends, Joanna, stayed with us this week. She was in town from Seattle with a dance group that was having their New York premiere. Joanna and I were interns together back when we were in college. We barely see each other or talk much now, so having so much time together over the course of a week was fun, full of reminiscing and catching up.

She brought with her a scarf that I made back when I'd picked up knitting again, probably around 2002 or 2003. I had thought she didn't like it, so it was surprising to see her wearing it. It is actually nicer than I remember it too.

Friday, February 13


need I say more?

Monday, February 9

resolution and Alpine

I started this shrug back in October, when I went to Cape Cod. I picked it up for two reasons: I had just gone to a wedding and hadn't had any pretty little sweater to keep my shoulders warm, and I needed something to knit while in Cape Cod. I finished most of it while I was there - it was so fast to make - and I put it down for a while when I got back. I've been trying to finish old projects, a few nights in January was all I needed to finish the sleeve, seam it and knit the neckline.My mother has a huge button collection, and she sent me photos of the large ones. I picked this one and she mailed it off. It is perfect, I think.
I wore it yesterday for the first time, in our 58 degree weather. My main complaint was that my stomach wasn't very warm. I'm also not so thrilled about how it hangs with only one button (anyone else frustrated by these sweaters with one or no buttons?). It isn't so fitted. On the other hand, I think it will be very useful in the spring, when it's too warm to wear a full sweater. And it would probably also work well with a dress, which is why I made this to begin with.

Pattern: Alpine, by Berroco Design Studio
Yarn: Berroco Cuzco (I actually used the yarn called for in the pattern, can you believe it?), 4 skeins
Needles: US size 8 & 10
Dates: Started October 5 - Finished January 20
Mods: Added a buttonhole

In other news, I think I'm going to start with Coraline, since I have the yarn. And maybe in the summer or fall I can make the Old Penny Cardigan. Thanks for your advice on that!!

Saturday, February 7


I'll have to have a big photo shoot very soon, what with the elusive shrug and those striped socks. If I'm productive in the next few days, you may even see those Vinterblomster mittens on my hands. Of course, the temperature will have to go back below freezing if I want any motivation.

With a little more time at home this week, I've picked up my Metropole coat again. It is a project that I've just been wishing would disappear, but, yeah, it's still in my knitting basket. On Tuesday I emailed Ann and Kay, and they were (of course) sympathetic about the fact that I thought it was going to be too small. They had a bunch of suggestions, and I decided that I should just keep going, making the fronts a little bigger, especially around the hips. (Hopefully I won't regret this and end up with something misshapen and too small.) And then I picked it up and knit another 5" while watching an episode of Law and Order on Tuesday night. It's so fun knitting something in bulky yarn on size 11 needles!!

I also made myself a slouchy hat with some Mountain Colors Twizzle that I got on sale from Stitch Therapy a few years back. The hat is Jane Richmond's Jane. The yarn doesn't really show off the little cable design that goes up it, but I like it anyway. And I love the yarn: silky and drapey, soft and warm. I have another skein of it in an orangey brown color, as well as a partial skein of this dark color left. What to use it for?

Next up: I want a sweater. A big, wooly, cabley sweater. Something tweedy and warm. This is what I want to make,which is a problem for my no-new-yarn, knitting from the stash resolution. I don't have yarn to make it, though I do have yarn to make a Coraline sweater. But that's lighter weight, and it's not tweedy or heavy or very practical in the very cold temperatures we've had recently. (Please do not point out that it will most likely be warmer by the time my sweater is done. One can hope.) So, to put in an order to Beaverslide? or buckle down and finish the coat? or start a Coraline?? (Life is hard, let me tell you.)

Thursday, February 5

Lego NY

Has anyone seen the Lego cartoon-- I'm not sure what to call it-- from Monday's NY Times? I unfortunately can't paste the whole thing in here (though I'll steal a section). It's worth a look, even if you're not so familiar with New York City. Just click that link up above.

On a sadder note, a homeless man was run over by a train at our subway station yesterday morning. I managed to get there just as they were bringing the body up from the tracks. It was not a pretty sight. In fact, there was a little too much to see, in my opinion. I had to find another way to work, and was haunted all day by the vision of men carrying the body, and of how quickly this life had been lost.

Interestingly, the chatter on my neighborhood forum is all about which homeless person this could have been, since there are only two of them around here and everyone knows them since they live in the stations. There's the schizophrenic shirtless Haitian man who throws rocks and yells in French (watch out for him), or there's a woman, who I've never seen. Neither of these people has been seen recently (perhaps it's the cold) and so my neighbors wonder if it could have been someone else. I guess this is what you try to do when you can't make sense of a death...

I promise I'll take some photos of knitting this weekend. Stay tuned for a more fibery post!