Gin. Knitting. Monkeys. What more could you ask for?!

29 September 2006

Old Friends

I recently had the opportunity to meet with an old friend of mine. We'd known each other back in San Diego, nearly a decade ago, and had kept in touch, off and on, through the beautiful creation of Mr. Gore. In the intervening years, my Old Friend's life had taken many exciting twists and turns, and gave him perfect fodder for his moving and descriptive essays. By comparison, my life had gone from breathless and exciting to resignation and ennui. My biggest passion these days is knitting, and although I love it, outsiders tend to snark.

So clearly I was ambivalent about meeting; I had grown old and overweight, and I wanted him to remember me as I was ten years ago, not as I am today.

Fortunately, Old Friend was able to disabuse me of that notion. Rather than the chicken dance or Bobby Brown (thanks a lot, Faith!) being stuck in my head, I now have a particularly lyrical bit of prose from the eloquently named band, Butthole Surfers (c'mon, guys! With a name like that, I can't even Google™ you!!!)

I don't mind the sun sometimes the images it shows
I can taste you on my lips and smell you in my clothes
Cinnamon and surgery and softly spoken lies
You never know just how you look through other people's eyes

Thanks, Old Friend. It was great seeing you.

28 September 2006

I Get the Police E-Reports

For the most part, they're not amusing. Kinda scary, actually, to see what really goes down in our 'hood. (Y'all know I have a humongous heart on for all things para/psuedo/quasi/military. But every once in a while, I'm amused. Maybe I'm just twisted.


RD 771 - In the vicinity of: 2100 S. Spaulding Ave. - September 25, 2006, 0900 hrs, suspect and victim have been married 29 years and live together. Suspect slapped victim on the forehead with her hand. (Aggravated assault)

After 29 years, on a Monday morning, I probably would have done a lot worse.

27 September 2006

Countdown to WMG Birdday!

Okay, its about 3 weeks away, but already the presents have started rolling in. For those of you not familiary with the Disney Channel, this is one of the stars of their movie,High School Musical.

(Okay, the quality isn't great, but hey - obviously I'm not the only person who takes pictures and video with my cell phone.)

25 September 2006

My Gift To You

This morning broke portentuous. I left my house at SIX THIRTY IN THE A.M!!!! to have a lovely visit with my dentist. To make things more interesting, I decided to not only not get to bed early last nite, but to NOT SLEEP AT ALL. Gawd, I love insomnia.

The good news is, they didn't have to re-do my crown. The bad news is, its because they need to yank whats left of the tooth and put in an implant. Finally, at 42.5, I GET IMPLANTS. But not the good kind.

Anyhoo, in light of all that's transpired, I thought I share this with everyone, since it seems y'all are a bunch o' bibliophiles. Keep this under your hat {{she says, looking suspiciously about}} Books. At 70% off. You can't beat that with a stick!

Happy Monday Everyone!!!!

22 September 2006

For this I missed Gray's Anatomy?!

You betcha. And it was worth it!

A friend of mine was staging a reading of his latest play. I didn't know what to expect because I only know him as the father of one of WeeMonkeyGurl's school mates. He's very funny, affable, goofy; I only found out last year that he's an actor. Some may recognize him from various roles in Star Trek TNG. This is my favorite costume. I'd so do that machine.

Anyhoo, his wife runs a high-end snooty knitting boutique (SKB, rather than LYS). Although we've known them for three years, at school functions and the like, she rarely deigns to even speak to me. Which is okay with me, since I'm sure I have nothing in common with her. The SKB recently underwent some remodeling, including the integration of items from their New York store, and Brian and his wife decided to integrate other passions with the store.

On the drive to the store(roughly 2.5 miles), I encountered impassable traffic - it took me over half an hour. Since I had never been to the SKB, I wasn't exactly sure where it was located. Of course, it was where there is NO street parking to be had. I ended up parking where I should/could have gotten a ticket, and I was questioning, would it be worth it? I was missing my WeHo SnB group, Gray's Anatomy, and dinner. At this point, I thought the function would include some snooty knitters, some friends of Brian's, maybe some other parents from the school. Yet I was so friggin nervous and intimidated. Thank the gods I had no idea who would actually be there!

I finally decided, "sometimes ya gotta say, what the frick" and went in. Brian's wife was there, and did not even acknowledge me (even though there was only one other person in the store), but I expected that. I wandered a bit, checking out the stock, and finally sucked it up and went to sit at the staging area. It would have been a bit obvious if I'd sat in one of the outlying chairs, so I plunked myself down on the naugahyde couch, front and center, and pretended like I belonged there. My heart was beating in my throat. Why do these people intimidate me? I'll tell you why - because I'm an over-educated prolific reader who can never remember the names of the authors or their works. Because the english language and I have a love/hate relationship - I love to read, but cannot express myself in words. Particularly in spoken words. I am the simpleton of small talk, the imbecile of interaction, the nitwit, the social outcast, the dumbell, the nitwit, the simpleton, the schmuck. I will invariably say the wrong thing to the wrong person at exactly the wrong time.
(my pathetic attempt at subterfuge - a stealth shot of le beau monde.)

And yet, there I was, at the snootiest SKB surrounded by the literati, if not, glitteratti. There were playwrights; and actors, and their requisite agents and managers; there were models and designers and all sorts of "Industry" people. Brian's wife actually sat down next to me and asked, "So how do you know Brian?" Unintentionally, I think I gave her a trenchant look and said, "From School. I'm WMG's mother."

BABY. She had just asked me, what, a month ago? to provide her with a copy of the West Side Story production at School camp! The year before, we drove her daughter to School Camp because there was no bus (and she clearly was too busy). She quickly mumbled something and turned her attention to more important people (for which I was glad).

I did not know Brian is a writer. Actually, I didn't know he was as deep as he is. Turns out there are a lot of things I did not know about him, but was pleased as punch to find out. The play he wrote was insightful; at various times amusing, entertaining, piercing, and compelling. Henry (it's title comes from the idea of Henry the 8th and the inspiration was Brian's father and his four wives), is a story about a family coming to terms with itself and finally dealing with the long-ago death of a son, the current senility of the father, and relinquishing of responsibility by the long-suffering mother. The lead ("Hal") was read by Brian, and he was amazing. Passionate and simmering, he captured the essence of being an adult child to aging parents. The conflict in the reversal of roles with the need for approval. The people that played Hal's parents were outstanding. They were prototypical 80-something middle americans. I could almost smell the bread baking. The third character was somewhat superfluous, but made for some interfusion of levity and mirth. Truthfully, I think it was added with a specific actor in mind.

The play broke between the first and second acts for 10 minutes. I realized, if I hurried, I could make it home in time to catch most of Gray's Anatomy. But despite myself, I was really enjoying the event. I wanted to see what happened in the play, but also to continue to be part of this intimate salon. Particularly afterward, when the playwright took questions and opinions from the audience. When I left, I felt kinda high; like I confronted some fears and came out unscathed. I also felt as though I participated in (and maybe even contributed to) something I haven't experienced since I was in college. I liked it a lot, and I'll do it again.

Even if it means missing Gray's Anatomy.

20 September 2006


DISCLAIMER: The following post *may* contain material not suited for young children or those easily offended. Do not read if you're that sensitive.

There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. One of my best friends, 'Dre, has been plagued by the disease. First, in July, after a routine check up, her mom had a biopsy, followed by a double mastectomy. Because of this, 'Dre and her sister, Kim, were checked for the marker that tells if one has a genetic disposition for breast cancer. Both tested positive. 'Dre is only 36, and has episodic bouts with tumors of the female type, and Kim is only 32. [LESSON: If they had waited until they were 40 to get checked, it would have been too late. DO YOUR SELF EXAMS, and advocate for futher tests if you notice ANYTHING.]

Kim's test results also included indications that she might have cancer. She does. Kim being Kim, she went ahead on a planned humanitarian aid trip to Africa, then returned to NYC for a lumpectomy and further tests.

Kim is a balls-out kinda woman. She speaks her mind, frequently and with great passion, and has no fear. She is at the same time honest, loyal, neurotic, engaging, vivacious, dedicated, a righteous warrior for human rights, a poet, an artist, and an amusing party guest. Although my acquaintance with her stems solely from my friendship with 'Dre, I feel like I've known her forever. I was as crushed as anyone when I found out she was to be going through this ordeal. I decided to make her what I refer to as a "Kimmy Cap", since chemical warfare will figure prominently in her immediate future.

(Note: the camera photos do not do the colors justice; this is really a bright, happy cherry red)

Seems subtle enough. Red, the color for warriors.

But double knit for those times when red just isn't enough.

(Again, the green is a bright, cheery lime green.)

What? You can't hear me?!! I SAID:

There. Now I feel better. The following is a clip of 'Dre and Kim's experiences. Something about the dire circumstances contrasted with swathes of humor left me both entertained and inspired.

-----Original Message-----
Update on Kim

i got back late last night. i am home but might be flying back to nyc on wed. not sure yet. it has been a long and trying week. kim had her surgery on thursday and finally got out of the hospital on sunday. they removed approx 15 lymph nodes and are waiting pathology, tomorrow hopefully. but doc told me that there is 80% chance it is in the nodes (how many is up in the air). Should the pathology come back positive then body scans. I asked the dr if I should fly back if that is the case and he said I should. She has been complaining off and on for almost two years now about fatigue, body pains and the florida drs found what they were calling benign lesions on her brain last year but I think the docs in nyc are now worried about all those other things. my parents are destroyed. they are both completely defeated. crying all the time. walking arounj in a complete incompetent haze. I have been having to try to keep everything going. Sister is not handling any of this well. depressed and emotional. She has a very very low threshold for pain and very very high tolerance for pain meds. she was on the morphine drip for three days, pain meds, sleeping pills, anti anxiety meds. Sunday morning I made them take her off the drip. when I got her up to start her moving. she kept saying she was going to pass out. her eyes rolled back in her head, limbs started flailing. I had to hold her up and keep her head from hitting the wall. i was so freaked out. I thought she had a seizure but I think her blood pressure dropped due to the meds and laying in bed and she fainted. we decided if she needs chemo (which again is 80%), she will come out to california to go through the treatments. My next year will be pretty much focused around that. I seem to be the only who can really get through to her. which is really bizarre given the way we have related. sorry to ramble on................ hoping for some good news tomorrow so things can turn around. promised the kids disney so I will be trying to talk to the docs while at the "happiest place on earth". i will be on the handheld tomorrow.

-----Original Message-----
re: Update on Kim

33 lymph nodes removed in total......there were 8 positive lymph nodes. doctors said that the type of cancer she had should not not have gotten into lymph nodes. only happens less than 2% of the time. they said it is very rare and aggressive. they want to have her treated either at sloan or md anderson in texas. they said that she needs aggressive treatment and specialized "cocktail." doing bone scans today. we were at disney yesterday. i am officially wiped out

Subject: update (from Kim)

Today was the day I cut my hair. I have been lolling about for a week since out of hospital, wheezing in and out of a dilaudid haze...for those of you who don't know the drug, it has been featured in such great dramas as Drug Store Cowboy ("I went to the doctor to refill my dilaudid prescription,and he rejected me cause of the tracks on my arms, and legs, and toes, and neck and.........") and Hill Street Blues in the episode " Praise Dilaudid".

I read on the internet that the pills, depending on their type, can sell for $2 to $10 a piece. Pills like Dilaudid are very expensive selling for $50 to $60 dollars a piece on the street. I am not sure what street, but I am staying on the upper East side of Manhattan – I bet I can do a lot better than that. Luckily, I have weaned myself down to two a day and am getting stronger by the minute.

My decision to cut my hair had nothing to do with the dilaudid, and everything to do with not wanting to see my long hair fall out in handfuls to throw at people in a few weeks, so I went half way there. In a few more weeks I will go even shorter.

Intense, intellectual banter ensued during the shearing as I sat Samson-like in the faux 18th century chair with my modern day Delilah, a fiery redhead with a raspy voice named Danielle, danced around me with her scissors.

"I don't want to look like a bull dyke."

"Oh Kim please!" my mother shouted.

"Or a soccer mom"

"Well" said Danielle, "I am not sure what is worse?"

Through all of this, my father stomped about the room with an open Vanity Fair (yes the one with Suri on the cover), thrusting a Prada ad in everyone's face of an androgynous young man in shiny shoes. "Is this a man or a woman? What is this?"

"Lets start with this, dad, are you attracted to it?"

"That's not funny."

"I think I would rather be a bull dyke" my Delilah says. "At least you wouldn't have to drive that van and probably get laid a lot more."

"Yeah, and you could have a great motorcycle. Is it a man?" My dad was obviously flustered and uncomfortable with the fact that he has never seen his daughter with short hair. He now stood in the room while my feminine locks fell to the floor, a week after my body lost another feminine appendage. Rough week for anyone.

My mom snapped away with the camera, always the positive muse with a smile. "You look younger! Your eyes look so big! Oooh I love it."

Then came the long walk to the bathroom mirror......the green mile......

Not so bad, not so bad. I held my long pony tail in one hand, grateful that the roots were not still attached, just in case of any voodoo shenanigans. Ellen Powers was present in the room, mind you.

Earlier this week I had a million tests to see if the cancer had spread to my organs and bones. In the lab, I sat with one boob, waiting for a nurse to inject me with a radioactive isotope to see if this creepy crawling cancer had skulked its way into my bone marrow.

I was shot up with some radioactive juice and sent to the lobby to wait for two hours while the radioactive creature slithered around either to find cancer or to turn me into a superhero. They didn't find any bone cancer, so now its just a matter of time before I discover my new powers by the way.

I sat in the lobby of the radioactive lab as raindrops sauntered down the filthy window, taking their arrogant time making it down to the sidewalk, where all of us cancer hopefuls will drop our soggy, desperate feet, full of radioactive syrup and dreams of well-being.

The lobby was all Russians and Arabs, and the walls were splattered with horrid paintings of neon origami figurines. The enormous television screen on the wall featured the black eyes peas on the Today Show singing "my lovely lady lumps..." Blasting... In a breast cancer center lobby.


It was a miserable rainy New York day and Africa seemed so far away, like it had left me.

I have kept it behind my eyelids thru all of this so far, but Friday, Africa had left me.

I didn't see much more than what was in front of my face, in my line of vision. X-ray machines, cotton swabs, needles, white ironed uniforms and shoes that sounded like used dog toys.

I sucked on a mint I took off the nurses’ desk and looked around the hallway.

Cancer sure is an equalizer.

Today my hair is gone, Africa is slowly returning to my closed eyes, and I am more prepared than yesterday.

18 September 2006

Cruisin' down Hollywood Boulevard

Looking for sparkly knickers for Miss K. It was a glorious, sunny southern cali afternoon, and what better way to spend it than perusing the wares of the various hooker stores along Hollywood?

But I was having fun, with my gal pals, when a couple of skate rats went by. The second of the two was quite pleasing to look at, and when I commented on such, Uccellina replied he had been looking at me. Giddy as a school girl, I made my way merrily down the street, buoyed by the attention of some college-aged lad. Until I inadvertently caught a glimpse of my reflection in a (blacked-out) window. Sheeeyat. He probably looked at me b/c he thought I'm a little too old to be hookin'...

However, ever easily distracted, this caught my eye

And they come in different colors.

They were advertised as "dancers" shoes, but I'm guessing it has nothing to do with the ballet, jazz and modern styles of dance, with which I am acquainted.

12 September 2006

September 11, 2006 - A Haiku

In obeisance to the inimitable Lucia (who currently has a new hat pattern calculator up on her site!),

I wore too cute shoes.
No clue I would work so late.
My dogs are barking.

I was here until after 8 last nite. Those of you who have real jobs and are paid a "salary" won't understand what all the hubbub's about. But those of you like me, who are on an 8-hour day work schedule, will understand how significant this is. Unfortunately, this significance won't translate to any noticeable increase in my paycheck. But it has earned me a few brownie points with the BossMan. Good timing, too. Although annual reviews are over, its wrapping paper sale time at Wee MonkeyGurrl's school. . .

11 September 2006

I'm Just Sayin'

I woke up with a migraine, toothache and inexplicable rash - on my ARM, people. Sheesh. ONLY because I knew we had to prep for a mediation taking place tomorrow, I made it into work hopped up on ibuprofen, imitrex and caladryl. It's nearly SEVEN IN THE P.M. and I'm still here.

Good thing there's free food.

Who Do I Think I Am?!

I swear, sometimes, I think I'm channeling Ellen.

First, on my day off last week, I drove out to Eagle Rock to visit
That Yarn Store. Which was further east than I'd imagined, and since it was such a lovely day, I took all surface streets. Through East LA, Los Feliz, Silverlake and Atwater. I saw some things that until now, I'd only heard of, the LA River. And Senor Fish. The sun was out, the top was down, and if I had a decent camera, I would have taking a bazillion pictures.

So, *this* weekend, I got up EARLY on saturday. I had to hit A Mano's sale before all the crazy knitters gathered at the one-a-month saturday WeHo SnB made it back to the west side.

Unbeknownst to me, it was also the day of the Venice High School flea/farmers' market (kind of a po' manz Santa Monica HS FM). Since I aspire to be Ellen, I had to check it out.

Fortunately, it was like a bunch of crappy garage sales in one place. A couple of people had some good stuff, but were asking ridiculous prices (e.g., an old (not vintage) necklace for $178. Who the heck are you kidding?!?!?!!)

I wasn't quite so lucky at A Mano. Man, that sale was off the hook! I copiously fondled some Socks That Rock yarn. Now I know what all that fuss is about! Not only was it painted in the most beautiful colors, but it is unbearably soft and fluffy. I could totally see making some baby items from it, but could not justify the purchase (even if 25% off).

I had a much nicer experience at A Mano than I did my first time (wherein it was claustrophobically crowded and the crowd was unnecessarily rude). It was fun chatting with the people that work there and the few customers that came in. Of course, the person affiliated with the store was a bit of an enabler; I expected that. What I didn't expect was a WeHo-SnB-based enabler. Thanks. Thanks a LOT.

All in all, I did pretty well. I got two BAGS (because that meant 50% off, rather than 40% if bought as individual skeins)of Noro Lily, one in fuschia and one in cranberry. I can always use them for SOMETHING. :) There was a color combination of orange and black that was oh-so-tempting for the forthcoming festivities, but I was a good girl and held back. So good that I rewarded myself with some blissfully soft and gorgeous sock yarn that WILL be used for baby clothes. Hey, it's low-maintenance, high yardage. What more could a girl ask for?

I was so pleased with my early morning out, I let myself be convinced to see a movie, AT the theater!Culver City movie theaters are the best - even with their smaller screens, they are still built on the "stadium" model, so there is no bad seat. And I have to tell you, although this contained a little more adult language than I would have liked (especially since I took WeeMonkeyGurrl), this is a funny-arsed movie. Rent it if you don't get to see it in the theater. I was literally laughing through the entire friggin movie, and that *rarely* happens when I'm sober.

WMG had a little fun with the sculptures. Yes, that's a wet-willy she's giving there!

Afterward, we had dinner at Pacifico's (just across the street from the theaters). Instead of chips, they come out with jicama and cucumber sprinkled with chili. YUM. Although the green apple martini was good (standard), I would have been better off with una cerveza mas fina, if ya know what I mean.

Finally, they claim they serve the "world's best flan". I haven't been around the world (YET), but that was some pretty darned good flan.

First, THE NEW KNITTY IS UP!!! YAY. And some wicked cute patterns, too. Who does this remind me of? Anyone?

07 September 2006

Barely Enough Time to PEE

Much less update. What IS IT about a "long" weekend (still don't agree with the classification of one extra day equating to "long"!) that makes people crazy? WITH WORK, no less?! Steeyooopid.

I hope to one day post about how I spent my summer vacation (or at least, what I did over the "long" weekend), but in the meantime, I just wanted to let y'all know that Target has hand-knit-esque mukluks.

In intarsia, too.

01 September 2006

Blocking wires?! We don't need no stinkin' blocking wires!

Okay, so it doesn't roll off the tongue like swatches (we don' need no stinkin swatches!), but you get the idea.

One of my three best friends is celebrating her 40th this weekend. Usually, she just gets a present from me whenever, because she recognizes and accepts my inherent inability remember who has a birthday and when. BUT, b/c it's a big one (for her, anyway), I figured I'd do something a little more proactive.

Fortunately, I had picked up some LOVELY Himalayan recycled silk sari in beautiful vibrant colors, which reminded me totally of Miz Ell. I didn't want to make a bag (having just finished Teacher M's bag), and that was about it for sari silk patterns. So I decided, hey, I've never made her a scarf! (I think...) I wanted something lacey enough to show off the beautiful yarn, but woven enough to keep the silk pieces from copiously shedding. One early attempt was with Ms. Wendy's wrap, but the beautiful wrapping stitch was lost in all the slubbing of the yarn. I tried a number of drop-stitch-type patterns, but wasn't thrilled with any of them. Despite all the press my so called scarf is getting, although gorgeous, it just wasn't right for this yarn. Thanks to HOURS spent on my favorite pattern searching site KPC (you know, click, back; click, back; ad infinitum), I *finally* found a pattern that I liked. Carpathia. It even has a cool name.

Fortunately, its an easy to remember pattern, and I was through two skeins in no time (well, about 12 hours). The hard part was the blocking.

Since this is my first real lace-type project, I have no stinking blocking wires. I tried the DIY route by straigtening out wire hangers (NO WIRE HANGERS!!!!) that I had to steal from the Jman because, well, I don't use 'em. But they were too thick and caught the yarn too much.

Then I had a brainstorm (so to speak). Since this was knit up on US7s, I had all these smaller circs just lying around. Waiting to be blocking wire...

(See the cannibalized wire hangers in the foreground? Four soldiers gave their lives for this project!!)

Here's a closer view

It took two days to dry, and I forgot to take a picture of it last nite (thanks to Satchi making me drive out to THE VALLEY!!!!) But I hope to have pix of the finished product and the happy recipient on Tuesday.

Until then, have a safe and wonderful weekend.