Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Night at the Theatre

I've been remiss on not blogging about Poe Evermore at the Mount Hope Winery. You go from room to room and see a different Poe story enacted or poem read at each stage. It was our second year and we loved it!

Last night Andy took me out to Iron Age's production of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. They had an interesting approach with the characters - Most of the actors played multiple parts to emphasize the multiplicity of the mind. The acting was great, the staging spectacular... all and all very impressive for a tiny community theatre. Andy's friend Steve McLean did the majority of the Hyde heavy lifting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

When you need a good laugh...

Try the Cake Wrecks (professionally made errors and artistic disasters, and also some spectacular gorgeous edible sculptures) or Fail blogs. Nothing cheers you up like laughing at someone else's colossal mistake, no? This video made me cry from laughing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Rather than add yet another ETA to yesterday's post, here's a new slice of beauty:

An anonymous black man on the “L” in Chicago put his own spin on it when he announced to a car full of strangers: “Rosa Parks sat down. Martin Luther King marched. Barack Obama ran. And my grandchildren will fly.”

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

History, today!

"This is your victory!" President Obama told us, and he is absolutely right. I am so proud of this country... so proud that people overcame those ridiculous lies and their racist fears to choose a man who stands for hope rather than fear. I literally felt that heart-swelling sensation in my chest. Still do! Yes, I cried when it was announced last night. It was a Great Day, and I'll always remember it.

ETA: A great little blogpost by Christopher Buckley

ETA: Tragically, it was not all good news today. California's Proposition 8 was approved, depriving same-sex couples of the rights that hetero couples enjoy. I can't understand this. The conservative argument against these loving, long-term relationships are based on religious dogma. Aren't we supposed to have a separation of Church and State? How are personal lives any business of the government? There's bad news from FL, AR, and AZ, too.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Autumn Cowl

I love cowls - all the warmth of a scarf, but hands-free and no chance of catching it in the car door. And no need to take it off before cleaning the litterbox.

This one was a quick knit, just random rows of different stitches.

Halloween 2008

Last night was pretty low-key. Debbie is visiting from Phoenix, so we went for a nice dinner. Somehow I didn't get around to decorating the house this year, but Mother Nature took care of that for me. This is our back yard! We had a fantastic picnic out there today and fell asleep looking up at the leaves.

Tonight, we join Nae at the Mount Hope Winery for their Poe presentation. We went last year and it was fantastic.

Also, some bold squirrel or bunny enjoyed our front step pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Acrochordon Removal

I got to do some surgery! Matt had a big ole skin tag he wanted removed. A little lidocaine, a flick of a scalpel, and it was gone. So fun!

Obviously there was more involved, but I had a doctor right there to explain every step. He proclaimed my knifework "excellent" and doesn't think there will be a scar. Looks like all that needle-handling has paid off. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Portraits of Obama

Callie Shell has been taking photographs of Barack Obama for years. There are some really beautiful shots here, of his family, of the quiet moments between the flashbulbs and confetti. Keep clicking "show more images" - they just get better and better.

Wrapping Matt in Moss

For the Boy's birthday, he scored a handmade scarf. The official name is "Pointed Moss" because, well, it's moss stitch and the ends are pointy. But the nickname is "The I Must Love You Scarf" because not only did I give up my luscious Camelspin (silk & camelhair blend, in a subtle chocolate / pewter / ebony colorway), but I worked 6 trillion seed stitches on microscopic needles. Having seen his face afterwards, though, it was totally worth it. Next… the “OMG I Must REALLY Love You Kilt Hose.”

I wrote up the pattern: Email me for the PDF if you want it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rockin' Tunes

Matt and I were hanging out tonight, doing our usual movie while surfing / knitting thing. He stopped the Scrubs DVD to play some iTunes music for me: Halloween Classics (Naxos Rights International) is a collection of terrific classical tunes by all the big Philharmonics. When "Hall of the Mountain King" played, I was reminded of a recent "Mad Men" episode and asked Matt to find me an all-piano version. We stumbled across The Brian Setzer's Orchestra album, Wolfgang's Big Night Out. This entire set just blew my socks off... it's like hearing the Glenn Miller Band, reincarnated and shakin' up the joint. Sheer beauty.

Note: I can't find the Halloween CD online but obviously it's on iTunes... go digging!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three Boys in a Tree

The Delaware Beaches

Patient-turned-friend Andy (channeling Liz Taylor) invited me and some other girlfriends down to her week-long beach rental last month. Peggy (blue windbreaker) and Susan (white hoodie) became instant friends. We were up all night watching the VP debate, talking politics and men and laughing our butts off. Also, there might have been some chocolate-dipped potato chips involved. And maybe smores. But I'll never tell.

I could only get away for 3 days, but WOW did we pack a lot in. The house itself was in Lewes, right on the water. The entire area is peppered with adorable Victorian houses in a all sorts of fun colors. There's a cute little shopping district there, and some great seafood restaurants of course. We ferried over to Cape May, NJ and did more shopping. We did Rehoboth Beach, too. I was highly restrained, and purchased no shoes at all. A small quantity of fudge did come home with me, but I was clever enough to giftwrap it for Matt so I had help eating it when I returned to him.

All in all, a much-needed break and quality girl-time. As I told Matt, it was like Sex and the City, only with real women I actually wanted to spend time with. :) Thanks, Andy!

Walking Amongst the Dead

Then Nae's tour continued on to Laurel Hill cemetery. You know those photos of old gravesites with ornate sculptures of angels and animals? A lot of them come from here. I'm not happy with most of the pics I took, but here are a few, including a shot of our lovely hostess.

An interesting headstone caught my attention as we drove around one corner... the name on it was "Adrianne Balboa." I wonder if that's where her name came from?

Bartram's Garden

Our friend Nae, a great source for local historical sites, took us to see America's oldest botanical garden. John Bartram collected plants from all over the world and built a fantastic horticultural experience. The flora here was so different from that of Europe that he and friend Linnaeus had to build a new cataloging system (remember him from Bio class?). Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin all hung out here and took tea.

Much of it is overgrown, but the parts still intact are beautiful. The architecture is pretty cool, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Middle Earth invades the living room

We love our movies, but most of our in-home entertainment comes from watching the critters tear through the house. Adding a vertical dimension to their play quadruples the fun: They rocket straight up, all wild-eyed and bushytailed, then shoot back down and disappear behind the couch. The problem is that, for a major piece of furniture, most cat towers are butt-ugly. Except for those amazing tree sculptures. We've always wanted to get one, but haven't been able to find $600-1000 (!) in the couch cushions to devote to our furkids.

Matt got fired up and hit Home Depot again. He's a superb engineer! Giant concrete forms, plywood, carpeting and a billion brackets later, here we are. The tree is impressively stable: No tremors even with violent feline shenanigans. I Sharpie'd the staples to disguise them as natural bark variations. There are 4 hidey holes and 6 platforms, and an inside passage (that was my idea - the rest was all Matt). The top half of the big tree is hollow and has spiraling steps inside, so the boys can actually pop out onto the canopy as an alternative to leaping from level to level. Only Figgy, with his full complement of claws, can simply walk up the outside.

It's not uncommon for multilevel battles to take place, either for sport or to claim a prime spot. The left-side stump is Peachy's favorite sleeping site, but if he's aching he uses a cave, which traps some heat for a toasty nap. Fatboy hasn't made it to the canopy yet, but he loves the bigger "shelves" for snoozing.

We still need to cover the inside surfaces, but I wanted to get pics now before they're too dark to photograph properly.

Total cost: $150

Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Old Car: DIY Auto-style

We spent the weekend working on paint. Specifically, sanding down orange peel to a dull flat surface, then polishing the glow back on. This requires many, many, many gradations of sandpaper, rubbing compound, polishing compound, wax, second coat of wax... you get the idea. My arms feel enormous and are toasted like a s'more... I can barely lift my laptop! The right side is completely done now. The left ... Next weekend!

Done professionally, this job would have cost up to $1500. Our cost: about 200 smackers.

Preston's interior: Compare his stately new grey carpets and microfiber console to the old garish red. We finally got tired of the scarlet fuzz everywhere from the rugs disintegrating, and this is a vast improvement over the "pimped out" look. We used carpet from the Homo Depot and leftover material from the headliner project. Total cost: $50.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Taste of Britain

Matt, Denise, Gwyn and I took Preston out to collect Shaun from the car vet (Thanks Trevor!) and spent the day at the Taste of Britain car show. Preston has a lovely new interior, which I got terrible pics of so you'll have to wait. We did that ourselves last weekend. Which means Matt did it, except for me cutting carpet, screwing and unscrewing panels, and holding stuff while he sweated and cursed.

Shaun is running beautifully now, despite a rather alarming Windex-bottle-sized spray of diesel under the bonnet. It's a wonder we made it home without running out of fuel or bursting into flames. I think his new fuel pump isn't seated properly. We'll do some diagnostic work tonight.

Gwyn spotted the "food entry/exit" opportunity and snapped pics of a lot of car butts. She'd never been to a show before and was properly entranced.

Denise rode with me and captured the oh-so-pretty Amish countryside as we passed (barely) the horse-drawn buggys.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The wake of the storm

After the girls left, with all that traveling (including lots of little local trips to show them the Philly area and Baltimore), and still missing Blackberry*, we really needed some down time. For me, that meant more lace knitting. Here's what makes Matt happy:

*The cats are going nuts. She maintained the peace when Fig played too rough - now he's a roiling bundle of raging CoonCow. We really need another bossy bunny, but the landlord won't let us get a replacement rabbit. Not that anyone could replace her ... but we need a 24/7 police force here!

On to Maine!

Next we took the girls up to Maine for the annual Rose Family Reunion. This featured incredible cooking (by Matt's sister Nancy and her Andre) and tons of tiny children and pets running rampant.

We toured the tall ship Friendship. I was remiss in my picture-taking (it's hard to hold a camera while cracking a open a lobster) but at least I got Yanna (short for Juliana, Nancy's gorgeous daughter) and Mom.

We also played around with a metal detector and found some old blacksmith nails in the yard. Unfortunately the real motherlode - the colonial trash heap - was back in the woods behind a deer fence and we couldn't get at it. Next trip?