Thursday, May 31, 2007

In Other News


I'm a Writer

Sid Leavitt, whose name you may have noticed in the comments recently, has begun a blog in which he blogs about blogs: Readers and Writers Blog. Sid is and has been a pro in the word biz, and so I admit I was gratified to find out I'd been noticed, and favorably. Many thanks to Sid's mother-in-law, Virginia, for sending him over. And many thanks to Sid for his blog, which of course is beautifully written and a heck of a fun read.

Just one quibble, Sid. You say I don't have much in common with you "he-men" out there on the East Coast. And you're correct that I do knit and am a gay Zen Buddhist, but don't drink beer or watch sports. Instead, I bench press 80% of my body weight five mornings a week, and bike four miles on the other two, usually at dawn. Then I come home and do thirty minutes of zazen before heading to work.

So, I'm curious: what is it that qualifies one as a he-man? Must one kiss girls, or will a total lack of self-discipline suffice?

I'm a Reader

Over at Cast On, Brenda Dayne's Podcast for knitters, my essay "Advice from a Poncho" is the wrap-up to Brenda's series "The Secret Lives of Stitches." If you listen and like it (and you don't need an iPod to listen), please tell the boss so she'll have me on again.

Brenda herself presents some interviews she conducted at Wonderwool Wales, which for me is the highlight of the episode. Such wonderful people there - no wonder she stayed. (Although I suspect Tonia had something to do with it, as well.)

I'm a Knitter

The christening shawl has reached the final motif before the edging: a row of little pine trees all the way around the border. This child is a Mainer, after all.

I set off the row of trees from the preceding diamond trellis pattern with two rows of yo, k2tog. And I would like to tell you, in case you are wondering, that yo, k2tog on a round of nearly 900 stitches is boring as all fuck.

I'm a Photographer

I have not been able to count the number of responses I've had to my call for models for the 1,000 Knitters project. This makes me happier than words can express. I swear, there cannot be a more enthusiastic, can-do group of people on the planet than knitters.

Since it will be a little while before I can get back to all of you - we're talking hundreds of messages, I haven't even been able to look at all of them - here is a little mass update:
  1. Thank you for your interest. I can't wait to meet you.

  2. For those who can come to Chicago, it looks like I'm going to schedule one or more days for folks to come by and be snapped, probably at my home or some location on the north side, in the city proper. All the shots will be set against a simple, white drop, so the location itself is not terribly important.

  3. For those who can't make it on group days, we'll see about setting up individual times.

  4. For those who cannot come to Chicago, wanderlust is overtaking me at the sight of your various locations. There must be some way to get my Canon together and take it on the road without bankrupting myself or losing my job, and I'm going to find it.

  5. I have heard from a potential sponsor at the Stitches Midwest Marketplace. A really good sponsor. I would totally tell you more but I can't tell you more right now. Isn't the suspense just awful?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Destination: Baby

I'm in Maine.

As you might expect from my household, preparations for the trip east combined the tender drama of "Grey's Anatomy" with the spectacle of Cirque du Soleil.

Dolores spent much of our final day in Chicago on the telephone, trying to make nice with Barbara Bush, who was extremely put-out that we would not be flitting up to Kennebunkport during our stay. According to Dolores, she and Mrs. Bush crossed sticks during a field hockey tournament at Wellesley years ago and have kept in touch ever since.

"I remember junior when he was only this high," said Dolores. "I used to throw a blanket over his head and we'd watch him try to find his way out. Took him about three hours on a good day. Bar says now he can do it in under two if Condoleeza Rice stands nearby and shakes a bag full of Jolly Ranchers."

Harry, who couldn't join us because of an improvisation class at The Second City, presented me with a sampler for Abigail's room done in quite accomplished cross stitch. Over a picture of a bunny rabbit in an onion patch he'd worked the alphabet and a verse:


"I believe in telling kids the truth," said Harry. "Plus I thought the little bunny was totally cute."

"It's...crying," I said, peering closely.

"Life is suffering," said Harry.

I couldn't argue with that.

Mrs Teitelbaum came over and contributed a small but heavy package wrapped up in pink paper with little green kittens all over it and a tag that read FOR BABY FROM MRS T AND TINKLES.

"Do I need to worry about putting this through the security X-ray?" I asked, giving it a delicate shake.

"I don't think so," said Mrs Teitelbaum. "It's tomato paste. The nice government man on the phone said it's okay."

"Tomato paste?"

"I'm always running out," she explained. "But I can go to the grocery and get more. A baby can't do that. So I got ten cans. That should last a while."


"I hope nobody else has already given her some. I know you have Italian relatives and whatnot."

"I believe they're all giving pasta and sardines," I said.

"Oh, well then," she said brightly, "I'm so glad I went with my second idea instead."

With all the baby gifts there was barely room enough in the suitcases for clothing. I had to resort to the usual subterfuge of locking and hiding my bags to keep Dolores from secretly substituting three extra hats and a kimono for my underwear and socks.

Meeting Abigail

She was sleeping when we got to the house, but shortly after she roused herself enough to hang out. They handed her to over to me, took a couple of photos, and then wandered off, leaving us alone together.


I have precious little experience of infants but remembered that they like being sung to. I opened my mouth and realized that suddenly the only song I could remember was Bessie Smith's Gimme a Pigfoot.

Oh, what the hell.

By the time I got to They all congregates at an all-night strut, Abigail was gurgling and bouncing and we carried on nicely all by ourselves through two verses and a go-for-it encore.

On the whole, very promising. Tonight I'm going to see how she feels about Stephen Sondheim.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Glencora Goes to Work

On May 8, 2006 I wrote the following in my entry about the finished Glencora Baby Shawl:
Now that the shawl's finished, it'll be wrapped up and laid away to await a baby, as yet unborn, who might need it.
I had no idea that a little more than a year later, the hypothetical "baby born in spring" for whom I knitted the tulips and rosebuds would be not only a reality, but an addition to la famiglia. And with infinite thoughtfulness, her parents chose Glencora to wrap her up for the trip home.

Going Home
Mommy made the hat.

And it has become her naptime companion, too.


Could I be prouder? Indeed I could not.

1,000 Update

I am thrilled with the response to this. If you've written to me, you will hear back. If you don't live near Chicago and can't get here, don't fret. I will find a way to get out there and cast the net far and wide.

There have been a few responses in which folks have felt the need to qualify themselves, i.e., "I'm fat, but if that's not a problem...".

No, that is not a problem. When I said you need only be a knitter, I meant you need be only a knitter. I am beyond sick and tired of everybody who is not a supermodel feeling the s/he needs to hide from the camera lens. That, my dears, is a poisonous notion fed to us by marketers who know that anxiety sells products. If you were already happy with your skin, you wouldn't buy their cosmetics, would you?

Just as many of us who knit and spin are in rebellion against mass production, I am in rebellion against mass self-hatred. I'm coming to realize that this will definitely be a theme running through the portrait project.

You are the only you out there, and you are the one I am looking for, because this project is about celebrating you. Don't apologize for being yourself.

(There will now be a pause while I try to practice what I preach.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

So, I Have This Idea

But First, A Word of Thanks

Your messages about the arrival of Abigail have been icing on the cake, a delight to me and to my entire family. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write words of encouragement and congratulations.

I can't wait to record my impressions of the new arrival after our first opportunity to meet in person, which is scheduled for next week. (Note to Susan and Phil: Auntie Dolores is coming with me. Please tie up the dogs so we don't have a repeat of the Christmas Eve incident.)

Oh–And a Word About the Shawl

I've tried four or five approaches to writing a nice, fat entry about the christening shawl and admit defeat. The fact is, even if I had hours to style a good photograph it would still only look like a pile of string. Since it's on a circular needle, I can't spread it out to show you details.

So, a mere slip of an update. I've nearly finished the main portion of the border, which is worked in the diamonds-and-mesh pattern I showed you last time. Then there will be a narrow strip of buttercups on a stockinette ground. Then, and I can scarcely imagine it, I will work the edging.

At the moment, it feels as though I were born knitting this piece, and that in my next incarnation I will emerge still clutching it.

Now, the Idea

Ages ago a photographer who was acting as my mentor encouraged me to take on a large project, something that:
  • could not be completed in a month;
  • was outside the normal scope of my work; and
  • that pushed one or more of my fear buttons.
I decided to undertake an ambitious portrait series: 1,000 gay men from Chicago. I still think the idea has merit, but the logistics have proved beyond my ability. For every man who has agreed to sit for my camera, there have been ten who:
  • consider themselves model material and feel I should pay them a sitting fee plus royalties,
  • are really looking to live out a sex-with-the-photographer fantasy, or
  • back out at the last minute because, suddenly, they feel fat.
At this rate, I'll drop dead before I have thirty images.

But I'm still fascinated with the idea of capturing concretely something as nebulous and ephemeral as a community. And last week, as I was lying in bed contemplating mortality, the ill-fated portrait project intersected with an essay I've just recorded for Brenda Dayne's podcast, and a new idea emerged.

Why 1,000 gay men? They're not my only community. Why not honor 1,000 knitters?

Announcing: The Thousand Knitters Project

Beginning today, I'm seeking anyone who self-identifies as a knitter to become part of The Thousand Knitters Project. Here are the particulars:
  • Subjects will be photographed anywhere from half- to full-length, displaying a work-in-progress or finished object.
  • There will be no payment for sitting, but subjects will be given either an electronic file or a finished 8"x10" print.
  • Individual sittings will take no longer than 15 minutes.
  • The portraits will be assembled for display in at least an electronic venue (i.e., Web site), and other formats depending on how the project evolves.
  • All subjects will be asked to sign a standard model release, giving me permission to use the images in my work and waiving the right to compensation.
  • Subjects can (and I hope, will) be any and every age, shape, size, race, religion, gender, orientation, nationality. The only thing that matters is that you knit and/or crochet.
  • For the time being, sittings will take place in Chicago, so you'd need to be able to get here. If this takes off, we'll see about shooting in other cities.
  • Yes, if you crochet or spin, you're welcome to join in. But I have to draw the line somewhere, so let's wait see how this goes and then maybe I can get to the quilters and the cross-stitchers and...
Knitters have always given, and still give, so much to the world. But with a very few exceptions they are lost to history. Let's see if, in some small way, we can change that.

Interested? Write to me at portraits at franklinhabit daht cahm with the subject line "1,000." That's it, just "1,000." I'll be using the subject line to pre-sort the messages, so please be sure to use the correct subject. Give me some idea of when you might be available and we'll go from there.

And one more thing: If possible, I'd love to tap into the crowds coming in for Stitches Midwest. If you'll be a vendor at the market, and are willing to discuss the possibility of allowing me space to set up a chair and small backdrop–about as much as you'd need for a book signing–contact me at franklin at franklinhabit daht cahm. In return, I could offer advertising, photography, and possibly some monetary compensation.

*Not a ground-breaking idea; Richard Avedon's American West series is my inspiration.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Man in Crisis

No, not me. Not this time.

My friend Jonathan, the boy half of the Two Sock Knitters, has misplaced his copy of Simply Shetland 2 during a household move and this has brought his Fair Isle sweater (which is freaking gorgeous) to a standstill.

If you are in a position to loan a copy, won't you please let him know? The world needs this sweater to be finished. Seriously. It's that beautiful.

I hope to be back with a shawl report tomorrow. It's crunch time here. I'm heading out to Maine next week and have to finish the remaining artwork I promised for the nursery. (The bunnies and the giraffe, at least, are already there; so Abigail won't spend her first night at home in a room with bare walls.)

This is how she looks when she's sleeping.


Yeah, another baby picture. But it could be worse. I could have a cat.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Call Me Uncle

Abigail Ann was delivered today, wriggling and dancing, at 10:36 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Parents and baby are doing fine. Susan made it through the whole thing without anaesthetics. Abby weighs 7 pounds, 15 ounces and has dark, wavy hair. 19.5 inches long. Ten fingers, ten toes, and all the rest presumably in order.

After she was born, she was given to Susan and started nursing in a split second. Typical of our family–upon arrival, the first thing she wants is lunch.

At what point do you suppose I will stop jumping up and down and grinning like an idiot?

This just in! Pictures!


I see Grandma Ann made it through the experience with her manicure intact. I'd recognize that shade anywhere. Way to go, Grandma.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We Interrupt This Blog

I was in the middle of posting, finally, about the Looptopia knitting event and the Loopy Yarns "yarn tasting" that preceded it, and then my mother called at 2:39 p.m. CST to let me know my sister's in labor.

And now I can't really focus on anything. I'm going to go light some incense and say a prayer.

And I should probably work on this here shawl, too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

God Is a Woman

How do I know?

Yesterday when it was sunny and in the seventies, I made a joke about going to the beach instead of motoring ahead on the christening shawl.

This morning, it's in the mid-forties in Chicago and raining.

Alright already, I'm knitting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cross Your Legs and Wait

I am (still) working the borders of the christening shawl. They must be getting deeper, as I've put in at least seven dedicated hours on them in the past three days. Therefore, I will not let it worry me that they measured (unstretched) 4.5 inches on Sunday, 5 inches on Tuesday, and 4 inches a few minutes ago.

From the ménu fixe at Ye Sygne of Ye Boyled Asse*

Indeed, I have no reason to worry at all. Susan's baby was due two days ago, but is taking its sweet time to make an entrance. At first I thought it might have decided to hide until Bush is out of the White House. (Wouldn't you, if you could?)

But then I remembered Stephanie's dictum that "Babies always wait until their knitting is done" and it all made sense. My little niecephew, who obviously knows that it's the Fabulous Gay Uncle who gives the Really Good Presents, has decided with precocious tact and courtesy to wait for notification that the final blocking is complete.

This might mean a baby born in September, rather than May; but autumn in New England is so picturesque, no? In the meanwhile, Susan, maybe you could stuff some fashion magazines and a Sudoku book up there so the kid won't get bored.

Hey! Now I have time to go to the beach!

*It's a Rabbitch joke. You don't read Rabbitch? What the hell's wrong with you?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dawn of the Dumb

My favorite neighborhood coffee shop is always buzzing, but for the past several weeks it's been especially packed with students cramming for exams.

Such a comforting sight, with their weighty stacks of economics and medical texts. It takes dedication to focus on gross anatomy while listening to your iPod, having three Yahoo! Instant Messenger conversations, talking on the phone with your girlfriend, and updating your MySpace profile with pictures from last night's beer wallow.

These are the people who, one day, may be called upon to remove my gall bladder. The thought makes me want to dig it out myself, pre-emptively, with a grapefruit spoon and a pair of embroidery scissors.

Last week I slipped deftly into the lone vacant chair, and a moment later felt a tap on my shoulder. The tapping finger was attached to a nacsent trixie, still in the fledgling (university) stage, with a couple of medical books and a fully-grown sense of entitlement.

"Are you, um, going to be here much longer?" she asked.

"Yes, I just sat down," I said.

Her brow furrowed under her Depaul baseball cap.

"Um, okay. Well, I have a lot of work to do, and I was really hoping you might be getting ready to leave."

"Well, no. Sorry. I just sat down," I said slowly and distinctly, "and so I plan on staying put for at least an hour."

"There are no chairs right now," she said, biting her lower lip.

"I know," I said.

"And I really need to study," she said. "I have a midterm."

"Maybe somebody else is ready to leave?"

"They're all working, and you're just crocheting or whatever. So I thought maybe you wouldn't mind giving up your seat. This test is really important."

"Oh," I said, suddenly smiling. "It's an important test and you need a place to study."

"Right!" she chirped, visibly excited that the weird old man's brain had finally encompassed the gravity of her situation.

"You're a Depaul student?"

"Well, yes." She pointed to her cap and giggled.

"Are you homeless?"


"Did the Depaul library burn down?"


"Then I believe I've just solved your dilemma. You're very welcome."

She didn't say anything, she just stared at me. Probably memorizing my face so that one fine day she can exact painstaking revenge upon my gall bladder.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dolores and the Siege of Lakeview

Last night I was sitting in the big armchair, alternately working on the christening shawl and wondering how in the hell Giada De Laurentis got a cooking show, when the front door banged open. Dolores staggered in, breathing hard, carrying a whimpering Harry under one arm.

"Let me guess," I said. "Ann Coulter's violated the restraining order again, hasn't she?"

And suddenly Dolores was pinning me to the back of the chair with a pointy hoof and glaring with a hatred she normally reserves for the bartender who announces Last Call.

"You...fool," she hissed, still panting. "You're going to get us all killed."

"Come again?"

"They tried to rip off my ball band!" screamed Harry.

"Harry," said Dolores, "Round up the other guys and get under the bed and don't come out until I give you the all clear. And stay calm, goddammit!"

"We're gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie," Harry squealed, skidding toward the bedroom.

Outside, on the street, I heard the rumble of many angry voices. A crowd was seething around the corner, blocking traffic and name?

"Shit," said Dolores. "They cover ground faster than I thought. Quick, we gotta pile the furniture up against the door. You take that end of the sofa."

"Dolores, put the furniture down."

"This is all your damn fault," she said. "You just had to go and shoot your mouth off in that freaking blog, didn't you?"

"What did I do?"

"You insulted the crafters!"

"I did?"

"Yes, you did. And now–"

The rest was drowned out by a sound not unlike a heavy hailstorm, as thousands of tiny objects began to ping against the living room window.

"They're shooting Popsicle sticks at us!" shrieked Harry.

"Get back under the bed!" shouted Dolores.

On the street, lights flashed. The cops had arrived, but their patrol cars were immediately overrun by a pack of women who unfurled an appliqué banner suggesting that I do something Addi never intended with my knitting needles.

The phone rang.

"This is Ernie at the front desk. I got all these people down here say they wanna découpage your mouth shut. What the fuck is découpage?"

"Ernie, don't let them in here, please–"

"What? Hang on, hang on. No, lady, I don't want my picture taken. No, I don't wanna be in your scrapbook. Jesus, lady, back off...Ow! Franklin, what the hell am I supposed to–Ow!"

There were sounds of a scuffle, and then suddenly another voice boomed into the phone.

"Is this Franklin?"

"Who wants to know?"

"Listen, you stuck up little yarn sniffer, my name is Loretta Fortescue and I'm from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and I'm here with my Mama and my Granny and our cousin Bruce and about ten thousand of our best crafter friends and we'd like an apology."

"Um. How about if I just apologize from up here?"

"Oh yeah?" said Loretta. "Well, you got two minutes to reconsider that idea before we bust up there and give you the Rubber Stamp Treatment."

And she hung up.

I just stood there, limp, with the phone in my hand. Dolores was pacing back and forth, brow furrowed. And then I uttered a sentence I never imagined would come out of my mouth.

"Dolores," I said. "Help."

"Gimme the phone," she said. "I gotta call in a favor. It's a longshot, but it's the only thing I can think of."

I collapsed into a chair. Dolores tapped at the phone and talked to a seemingly endless number of different people, passed along from one to the next until finally she shouted, "Martha! How the hell you been, girl? It's Dolores Van Hoofen...Dolores...Right, from Woolrich! You do remember! Uh huh. Yeah, as a matter of fact I do still have the negatives from our duo shoot after that gig. That's kinda why I'm calling. We have a situation. There's ten thousand pissed-off crafters outside, looking to make my boss into a tree ornament because of something he wrote. I was thinking, you say the word to 'em, and these pretty pictures go back into the vault. And wouldn't that be a good thing?"

I heard some yelling on the other end of the phone. Dolores listened placidly until it stopped, then said, "Aw, I knew you'd help an old girlfriend out. Say, while we're talking, any way I could get tickets to the show?"

More yelling, then a click.

Almost instantly, the shouting downstairs ceased. I ran to the window, and saw the protestors leaving the building in a steady stream, two by two, in docile silence.

"She works fast," whispered Dolores with an unmistakable tone of admiration.

"Let's just hope she never decides to use her powers for evil," I said.

"Not on my watch," said Dolores.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

News Flash: Late Night Knitting

Darlings, are any of you in the Chicagoland area going to this?
Knitting at Looptopia: A Knit-Night On the Town
May 11, 2007
10pm – 12am, 1st Floor Garland Room
Chicago Cultural Center
Hang with knitters, crocheters, and spinners at the Windy City Knitting Guild’s first late night craft circle. Knit a boa, crochet a flower pin, or craft a bracelet or two. New to crafting? No worries, the Guild members will teach you the basics and get you started on your first project.
It's part of this. (Special thanks to homegirl Katerina for alerting me.)

I'm tempted, in spite of the copy, which can't have been written or approved by anybody who actually knits or crochets. I mean–crafting?

I refuse to get into an argument about whether knitting is an art or a craft; the distinction is artificial and arbitrary and silly. However, will you non-knitters kindly remember that knitting is not synonymous with "crafting"? Using ancient techniques to fashion warm socks, handsome sweaters, or ethereal lace from spun fiber is not akin to making trivets out of Popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue.

Now, who's going? I might be tempted to forego a twirl in the arms of a studly cowboy at Charlie's if I can be assured of not sitting alone in a corner talking to my shawl.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Apples for Everybody!

In honor of National Teacher Day, I salute those who stand up in classrooms every week in a valiant attempt to stem the rising tide of mediocrity that threatens to overwhelm the nation.

By way of tribute, a sampler of unforgettable things my teachers said to me, and what I learned from them (whether they intended it or not).

TeacherWhat S/he SaidWhyLesson Learned
"Fine, fine, I concede."My indignant rationale for including a black-and-white photo in a collage of Things That Are Yellow. "It's a banana. Bananas are yellow. This banana is printed in black in white, but it's still yellow."If you can defend your work cogently, oftentimes people will shut up and get out of your way.
Mrs. Herayda
(first grade)
"What a nice bunny! I think you may have a quite a talent for drawing."My arithmetic paper was covered with doodles in the margins.When unsure of your subtraction skills, create a diversion.
Mrs. Brown
(third grade)
"Charlotte had to die at the end because otherwise the story would not have had truth."I was deeply, deeply pissed off at E.B. White.Beauty is truth; and truth, beauty.
Mrs. Hess
(fourth grade)
"I don't believe you. This is not real food. I expect you to take my assignments seriously. No credit, and no recess for you today."We were told to draw last night's dinner at home. We'd had Lebanese food. She had never heard of tabouleh or pita bread.The person with the biggest desk is not necessarily the person with the biggest brain.
Mrs. Bain
(fourth grade, art)
"You're taking the easy way out. Stop drawing the same bunny over and over and show me what you can do."I had worked my hitherto no-fail bunnies into four consecutive assignments.No risk, no growth.
Sr. Mary Regina
(fifth grade)
"God made you the way you are for a reason. It means you're special. Your life may be hard, but that's not your fault. Be who you want. Don't ever give that up."We were discussing my tendency to be more...artistic...than the other boys.You can't judge a nun by her habit.
Mrs. Baldessano
(gym, sixth grade)
"I don't care if you're a goddamn pacifist. Kick the ball!"I wasn't in the mood for soccer, thank you very much.Not all angry dykes are interested in politics.
Ms. Scharf
(twelfth grade English)
"When people in a town like this don't understand you, take that as a compliment."A female classmate called me a "freak" after I admitted to a fondness for Sophocles.Better to be a noted weirdo than a noted mediocrity.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Nibble, Nibble

There's a standard motif in Japanese painting of a teeny-weeny mouse chowing down on a great big daikon. In some renderings, instead of a mouse it may be a rat. Or instead of a daikon, it may be a radish. But the basic idea is the same: small thing eating big thing.*

Mouse and radish (detail). Not my scroll, but the motif is the same.

I've a nice specimen of this is in my collection. I'm so fond of it that I kept it over my altar for two months; usually I change the altar scroll every thirty days. The image of the little guy fearlessly tackling a gigantic project appeals to me at a very basic level. If you've ever stood next to me when I'm barefoot, you know why.

Last night as I was giving the homestead a general wash-and-brush I replaced the mouse with a painting of Jizo, the bodhisattva who watches out for expectant mothers and unborn children. (My sister is half a continent away, but she's uppermost in my mind at the moment.)

The mouse is rolled up and tucked away, but I'm reminded of it every time I pick up the christening shawl. The rounds are getting really long now (somewhere in the area of 600 stitches). When I consider how long they'll be before I start the edging I begin to teeter like Dolores after a wedding reception with an open bar.

So I try not to consider that. The mouse, you will notice, is not standing back casing the daikon and wondering whether he should have ordered the shrimp appetizer instead. He's just eating the bit that's in front of him. And that's what I'm doing. I'm knitting what's in front of me. 50,000 stitches? Big and scary. One stitch? Not scary at all. No sir. No reason to be scared of one tiny stitch.

Nibble Nibble


*Omigod, that totally reminds me of a wild story about something that happened in Ogunquit one summer which I'm not going to tell you because I'm sure my mother is reading this.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I must be getting better. Instead of not blogging because the prospect of getting out of bed and going to the computer makes me cry, I'm not blogging because it turns out my employer does, in fact, own me body and soul. Or so they think. I'll be setting them straight a little later on today.

Depending upon how that meeting goes, I may have all the time in the world to blog very soon.

For now, whilst I eat my morning oatmeal and yogurt like a good gym boy, I offer the following bits and bobs.

The Mother's Day Project

Reader Anne, my neighbor to the north in Milwaukee, has begun a collaborative art project to express opposition to our own, dear Mr Bush's little undertaking in the Middle East. I've read her description and find it to be a fine idea. Read for yourself, and perhaps you may be inclined to participate.

Old Yarn

Those nice ladies who run Arcadia Knitting are pulling out all the stops for the shop's birthday week, May 1-6. There's a full calendar on their Web site. I've already missed Point Protector Day and will have to miss Spinning Day because I'm working, but there's still a Norah Gaughan Trunk Show coming up and I rather think I must show up for Book Day.

Fun fact: Kathy and Sharon say they've sold 14,000 point protectors since going into business seven years ago. According to my calculations, if you laid them end-to-end, 14,000 average-sized point protectors would form a line 583 feet long. (Of course, this could never happen. We all know it's impossible to locate two point protectors when you want them, let alone 14,000.)

Schadenfreude Corner

Gym membership: $50/month
New, smaller Levi's 501s that fit recently refurbished physique just so: $75
New heels for favorite cowboy boots: $35
Round of drinks for old friends at Charlie's Bar on Saturday night: $35
Running into the "younger man" that Mr. Ex dumped you for and realizing he's easily put on forty pounds in the past year: Priceless

I Shall Scream and Rage If I Can't Have One

Stephen Fry persists in ignoring my offers to relocate to Caviar-on-Toast, or whatever English village he lives in, and be his love slave and knit him socks.

However, thanks to this ingenious device I could still live out my fantasy of waking up to his voice purring in my ear. Unfortunately, the Web site does not indicate whether "Franklin, you titan among men, please do that to me again!" is among the pre-recorded sayings.

I admit that installing an electronic man in my bedroom is slightly pathetic; but I've just about had it with the Genuine Article. They should all come with off-switches.

Dolores On the Air

Speaking of flipping men's switches, Dolores asked me to pass along word that she's going to be recording her maiden (?) Podcast as soon as her voice recovers from an accident during rehearsals at the Lucky Horseshoe. Apparently there was a mix-up in the sound booth, and her backup track for "I Would Die 4 Ewe" transposed up three keys and by the end of the release she had shattered a chandelier, the mirror over the bar, 138 beer mugs, and the glass eye belonging to Jimmy, the bouncer. Didn't do her vocal cords any favors, either.

The ENT guy put her on total vocal rest which has made the apartment remarkably quiet. Were it not for the usual aromas of Kookaburra Wool Wash and patchouli, I'd barely know she was here.