Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Destruction and Construction

Regarding the frozen bunny in the snowbank - forensic evidence suggests that the bunny was the victim of a cat and that the blizzard buried what said cat was saving for later. We did not find an entire bunny, but then there is still a lot of snow back there. Who knows what the spring thaw may uncover?

And speaking of destruction, I've never seen a building demolition take as long as this one. I mean, let's get it over with, shall we? This has been left half-done for months. Or maybe it just feels like months. I don't know, but it bugs me that the demo team has left it like this. It's really ugly.
Conversely, in the creative construction arena I discovered this snow fort recently.

I have lived in Minnesota most of my life and I can honestly say that I have never seen anything even close to this. Ever. Ok, maybe Winter Carnival but those people are professionals.
This is somebody's yard.

It was kind of funny because when I turned around, going out of my way to show Boy-child, he was starting to scoff in anticipation when I told him I'd found an awesome snow fort. He says a lot of my observations/comments are scoffable. When the snow-fort came into view he was staring with his mouth hanging open, not scoffing. :-P

And here's a pretty, random, kind of old and possibly recycled moon shot from the backyard. Just for funsies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January Wool

I recently went to an "event" at a yarn shop. The place is pretty much sensory overload, which is fun in small doses.
I was rather distressed though, that it felt like a private club. A club to which I did not belong. It was kind of weird.
Although there was an open invitation (I thought) at the Knitters' Guild meeting, I did not feel very welcome there and it was kind of catty in a high school sort of way. Oh well. There are plenty of yarn shops in town.

Also at the Guild meeting I found out about a WWII watchman's cap pattern available for free online. Of course, I made one for Boy-child straight away.

The crown shaping is quite nice looking.

This is my current obsession. I just started the third ball of yarn (of six). It's reversible - this is one side:
This is the other:

Pattern: Palisander. Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK

Saturday, January 22, 2011


It's been a rough winter. I don't think anyone in this part of the country would disagree. Even those of us who really like winter are tired of the fact that there is nowhere to put the snow any more, that you can't see to pull out of alleys and side streets, that there is no parking, that our cars are rattling because of the abuse they've taken this season.

All of that notwithstanding, we have to remember that there are giggles to be had and moments of wonder to savor. One of the things that can be entertaining is to see what turns up when the snow melts. We can only anticipate at this point, but I have spotted several things recently that reminded me of things appearing in March or April in years past.

Take, for instance the year that Pato's Long Lost Keys turned up in the back yard. He wondered and puzzled for weeks, searching everywhere before making another set, and there they were in April. A favorite from when I was a teenager was the story of a guy who carpooled with my mother; he found a pan in the yard with the food burned on it one spring. I guess his wife threw the whole thing out the door when it was in flames and just left it there. (Makes you wonder what they had for dinner that night, doesn't it? And did no one miss the pan?)
I saw this shopping cart in a parking lot today. Weird positioning, don't you think? Did someone run it into a snowbank after it smashed into his/her car or did a snowplow deposit it there?

This bike which is, I'm assuming, locked to the sign, is on Cretin Avenue in St Paul. I'm assuming it was there when the blizzard hit last month but who knows?

What brought this all up was something sticking out of a pile of snow in the backyard. I noticed it when I went to take out the garbage today. It's funny, because I don't usually take out the garbage. That is a job for boys. If there is a male in the house then I expect the garbage to be taken out by said person. That's the way it was when I was a kid, so it's the way I expect it to be done. Rules are, of course, meant to be broken and today was a rule breaking day apparently, because there I was taking garbage out to the alley.

Anyway, this is what I noticed...

... and I took a closer look and by god I think it's a squirrel or a rabbit. Whaddaya think?

So I go back in the house and I'm chattering to Boy-child about this thing sticking out of the snow I realize he's FASCINATED! He can't wait to get back from work so he can dig it out and see what it is. I'm assuming it's a squirrel, but it could be a rabbit or something else. (I don't deal with the dead animals, only the live ones. Yes, folks, if there's a live mouse in the house I'll deal with it but I don't like the dead ones and half-eaten chipmunks left for later in the yard by the cat are not my job. Pato gets those, usually, but he's not here).

Don't you wonder what happened there? It must've been the day of the blizzard because it looks like it's perpendicular to the ground which means it must've been in motion when it landed in the snowbank or something. It's weird.

Then Boy-child starts wondering about it and talking about how his friend Ian knows taxidermy and he brings up some Scrubs episode with taxidermied squirrels and I say, "It's a f*ing squirrel for gods' sakes' you're not saying you'd consider stuffing a rat with a furry tail are you?" and he says sure, it's cool, it's a squirrel that died in my back yard and yadda yadda....and then he starts teasing me about how he's going to bring it in the house and I'm going to wake up with a squirrel in my bed and OMG this kid watches way too many movies!

Just so's y'all know. You might be reading about us in the papers. Don't know which one of us will kill the other. Another thing to wonder about.

Now that I look at the photo I'm thinking it's a rabbit. Maybe he won't put it in my bed. I don't hate rabbits.

The anticipation is killing you, isn't it?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Couple of Random Observations

I was heating up my dinner in the building lunchroom the other day - by building lunchroom I mean that there are folks I don't know in there; they don't work with me, they office in the same building is all. Anyway, there was a woman close to my age and two men quite a bit younger (30s maybe? I am not very good at guessing age). The older woman was dominating the conversation which was all about TV shows. I found the exchange surreal; she was explaining backstories and giving character descriptions for multiple shows in great detail. My dinner was of the frozen, prefab variety so I was there for almost ten minutes. It made me wonder. It also made me think that I have to curb my Netflix consumption and get out more before I become that person.

On a very different note, I am lucky enough to have a boss who is very interested in his staff being happy, getting to know each other and developing a campus culture in general. One day last week, for a "team building" exercise, I went with five other staff members to Hell's Kitchen for lunch and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to browse around. It was all on company time and The Boss bought lunch.

The six of us made up a somewhat diverse group; three middle-aged, middle-class whites; one young, pregnant Hmong; one West African woman with older kids and one young, male African-American. I think maybe I was the only one who had been to Hell's Kitchen before. Two of us knew a fair amount about art (the other one likes Baroque and Rococo and I am more partial to Modern and Minimalist styles, so we balanced each other out nicely). One person had never been to a fine art museum.

Varying perspectives give light to so much in an art museum, I wish it were possible to do such things more often. It was quite an eye-opening experience for me. Usually we go to museums with like-minded people, it seems. When Girl-child and Boy-child were little they gave me new insights into things I'd seen before; last week I was gaining new insights from adults who had never been influenced by my opinions. It also made me think of our family trip to Spain in 2000 and how influential that trip was in my kids' art experience.

That's about all I've got. I haven't been taking pictures like I should. I'm reading The Help, which I really, really like (thanks Joan). I'm making another hat for Boy-child. I added 3/4 length sleeves to Girl-child's Wrenna sweater but haven't gotten a picture of her in it yet (hint, hint). Someone contacted me on Ravelry asking to purchase yarn from my stash which, unfortunately for her, is the yarn I plan on using to make my next sweater; I'm committed now. Guess I'll go finish that hat so I can cast on the sweater.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Knitting, Lunching, Quilting and Spraining

We've been busy 'round here. I have not posted knitting for a while, but I have been making the usual hats for Boy-child, I made a pair of slippers for a friend of his which have yet to be felted since the friend, Oliver, has been out of town.
And I made myself a pair of slippers too, which are almost done being felted. I was going to use leftover yarn but then decided that I needed bright colored slippers in January. Plus I was trying to make them not pink and/or purple. This is what I ended up with:
The old ones didn't look so bad from the top...
...but they were getting pretty ragged on the bottom:
I'd just like to mention that a size large in men's is enormous - note the size of Oliver's compared with mine (I'm glad I made his first, 'cause it would have seemed like it was taking forever for the large pair if I'd done it the other way around):
I had lunch recently with Girl-child. She likes noodles and can eat them with chopsticks. I find this impressive. Pato and I ate once (I repeat, once) with chopsticks in Hong Kong only because the restaurant had no forks. It was messy.
Even I have to admit the packaging is clever and speaks the truth:
Girl-child is making a quilt. It is awesome and happy and I am amazed because I have never been a sewer:
It has leftovers from fabric purchased in Ghana, from a sundress and from a backpack she made.

She uses my mother's old sewing box, which means it is getting more use now than it ever has in its sixty year history, which warms my heart:
Unfortunately, the New Year started out not only with Boy-child's sprained thumb, but also with Girl-child spraining an ankle. For a woman who is constantly on the move this is worse than bad.

It does not immobilize her, however, which means it is still very difficult to get a clear photo of her; I would say 70% of the photos I take of her are blurry:
In spite of it all, being Girl-child, she is still smiling:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This and That

So many things going on all the time and I haven't been ranting or musing aloud about any of them - time for some contemplative ruminations, dontcha think?

I heard they've scrubbed Huckelberry Finn of the N word for modern consumption. Honestly, I can not believe it. George Orwell was right. Girl-child says it's so that they can teach the book in suburban schools without offending all the African American students. Right. I don't know where to begin in my rant. Let's clean up Shakespeare next, shall we? And Dickens. Oh hell, let's just clean up everything while we're at it.

On a brighter note, Miss Q and I went to see The King's Speech the other day. Brilliant movie. Incredible acting. I can't say enough good things about it. Colin Firth should definitely get the Oscar. Go see it. I was so inspired, in fact, that I rented Shine so that Boy-child could see Geoffrey Rush in that too. He was unimpressed. Oh well. (Yes, we'd already seen A Single Man).

And speaking of ... I've been watching Dexter while I knit. Third season. Boy-child and I were discussing what went wrong with Dexter in the third season. I say it's Rita. Dexter is best when he's a loner, not a family man. Any other opinions? I've also been watching Castle, which Girl-child got me hooked on. And the National Geographic Taboo series. Those are both good.

What have I been knitting? Slippers and hats. Guess I'll have to take some pictures, eh?

Also, If I may be so bold as to pilfer stuff from The Kat's blog; she finds the coolest things!

Like this, the Wall Street bull all knit up:

and this, a picture filled with fifty movie titles:

That's it for now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

What a way to start the year ~ Boy-child had a little mishap at a party last night. It's probably not broken, so we're hoping it'll be better in three days (if not we have to contact orthopedics):
It's very cold out today so I pulled out some Minnehaha Falls pics, taken on a sunny day about a week ago with Miss Q:
This Eric Segal sculpture is in Butler Square. I rediscovered it when I stopped in the night of the Timberwolves game to take a look around:
These are from Miss Q's house - she has a great collection:
So that's my random Happy New Year post. Let's hear it for 2011!