Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jingle Bell-o-rama

Best Quote I Heard All Day

Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive.--Stephen Fry

I was just thinking the other day about the incredible Christmases I had as a child.

Picture this: Grandparents, who buy all of your toys at FAO Schwarz, show up on Christmas Day with an endless parade of presents. A veritable plethora of packages. My brother Rich and I had combed through the the FAO catalog (which my mother always tried to hide from us, quite unsuccessfully) and made up our equally endless lists for Santa.

You know, my dears, that Santa did all of his finest work at FAO.

However, our toy language consisted of Mattel, Remco, Marx, Topper, Kenner, Ideal, Wham-O. These companies were the gold standard, although I never quite caught the major disconnect between them and Santa's workshop.

My greatest desire when I was 8, was the Remco Firebird dashboard. No, not dolls. Not little teasets. No girly shit. I wanted that fucking dashboard so badly that I would have sold my little 2nd grade soul for it.

Yes, it is the 1958 Firebird 99. It had an ignition key, the horn beeped and the wiper blades worked, ran on batteries.

So on Christmas Day, 1958, I became the proud owner of my first car, as it were. I loved that toy more than anything else I got, which is why I remember it so well. I don't recall experiencing that kind of want again.

And yes, I did own a Daisy Air Rifle, which I also got when I was 8, either for my birthday or for Christmas. God knows why, because my mother was ever the proponent of that fine maxim, "You'll show your eye out." Somehow, I think Daddy may have overridden her vote on that one.

Rich, of course, loved monsters. I'm almost sure he owned the Great Garloo. I'll have to ask him tomorrow.

This toy orgy occurred well before my sister was born in 1962, although I think she does remember some of the Oma and Opa largesse.

These days, I think that the Schacht Ladybug comes close to the Firebird dashboard, in a way. But no adult emotion equals the pure greed of an 8-year-old toy-hungry child with a rapacious appetite.

Do you remember a toy that you wanted so badly you would have eaten dirt to get it? Dirt with worms, of course.

Tomorrow, when we all get together--Rich, Mom, Karen, and me--I know the talk will turn to those magical Christmases. Only we can relate to those times. However, I know Jenn will recall her drool fest over the remote-controlled R2D2. She was nine years old when it came out in 1978 and she wanted that as I had wanted my Firebird.

Did she get it? You bet. Even though Mommy and Daddy had to drive all over fucking New Jersey to find one, since it was the hot toy that year.

It's time for me to get my act together, finish wrapping presents, and then scurry down to North Arlington, NJ to spend Christmas Eve at Jerry's sister Pat's house. Tomorrow, we'll head up to Wharton for Christmas dinner with my family. This will be Jerry's first time meeting them. I'm sure he'll be just fine. He can more than hold his own with anyone, especially me. I've finally found my match.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas or Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Kwaanza, or whatever the fuck you celebrate. No matter what, this is the rarest and handiest season I know, if you make it that way. I just wish the weather would make up its mind. I've had it with snow--ya know what I mean?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let's Play Shoe Toss!

Best Quote I Heard All Day
On Christmas day you can't get sore,
Your fellow man you must adore,
There's time to cheat him all the more
The other three hundred and sixty-four--Tom Lehrer

I'm not that cynical. But it seems to me that lately, we're all getting fucked over.

However, I almost wet my panties when I saw Junior duck the shoes. Here's my brilliant thought, something that would be most enjoyable to see for the holidays.

How about getting a shitload of people together, have them bring a pair of their old stinkin' sneakers to the White House, and just lob 'em over the fence? Can you imagine thousands of old shoes on the White House lawn? If that isn't a great parting shot, I don't know what is.

Road trip to DC, anyone? Or shall we wait until the Bush Presidential Port-a-Potty opens in Dallas, since I have realized that a Presidential library must contain books. And that ain't happening with the soon-to-be Dallas Dope.

Evening Quickie Entry
A bit tired tonight--did 8 hours straight at work today so I could get my ass out of there at 4. But I'm still loving it.

Besides spending a bit of time on the phone with Jerry tonight, I managed to eat dinner and knit a few rows on the cardigan. I've sent Jer the URL for this blog. He's already got my number so I doubt he'll be terribly shocked. So be kind to him, if he decides to comment. It's frightening how much alike we are. He'll say the same thing.

I've been scraping the bottom of the barrel moneywise the past few weeks but I think that once the cash starts rolling in, besides stowing a lot of it in the bank, I may get around to buying that Schacht Ladybug. And if not that, I certainly need a new ball winder. I've been ruminating on whether to buy the Nancy's KnitKnacks or Strauch winder. Anyone have a thought on which is better? I have always been happy with the products I've bought from each company but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Baby Jesus Town
So Scrappy and I took off yesterday for Bethlehem, PA, to go to the Christmas Market. What a blast we had, along with the two nephews, Nick and Alex, who managed not to become excessively bored with their mother and Auntie Marilyn's doings.

If you live in the area, it's worth the trip. Real German Christmas shit. Karen and I were doing our pidgin German routine, which would probably make real Germans vomit. Ja, es schmecht sehr gut! I bought an Advent calendar. A bit late but what the fuck. And we OD'd on potato pancakes and applesauce, too.

And doesn't Karen find a booth run by a woman who was sitting and knitting. She grabs me, drags me into the booth, and the knitter and I had a long chat. She was knitting a hat for felting and we started talking about spinning, something she'd like to do. I gave her the Interweave URL and told her to check out Spin-Off.

And there was a vendor there selling some yarn. I wasn't going for it. Too much like Candide. Anyone remember Candide? The Brillo yarn that makes Philosopher's Wool seem like cashmere?

So, this is really a quick entry. I did have a question to pose for Open Mic Thursday but in my senility, have forgotten what the fuck I wanted to ask. It'll come back to me, I suppose. In the meanwhile, that rare and handy cat, the Divine Miss Cleo, is snoring on the bed. So I'm joining her now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whew! Thank you Jeezus!

Best Quote I Heard All Day
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of. --Jane Austen

Well, yeah. It helps. And so does the new job, with the large salary and the kind of tech writing I love to do. To quote Loopy, "Yay puppies!"

I've gotten back into the swing of work things. I have to say that I am thrilled to have dumped that hideous Slovenian House of Horrors company. Now that I'm working as a consultant for a truly decent company, it's little wonder that I rather fell apart.

I'm good now. Fucking good. I love the new job. And...I have a new partner in crime, a wonderful man who's loving, funny, attentive, and a total piece of work. Jeremiah, aka Jerry. He's my Irish God. We've been seeing each other for a while now--it actually began in September but really got going a month ago. Heh. Suddenly, everything fell into place.

So don't worry. I'm actually feeling better than I have in eons. And if you really need to know what I'm up to, I've finally gotten up to speed on Facebook, which I find is a quick and easy way to let my friends and family know where I'm at. I think I'm going to upload my Rhinebeck pictures there. For some reason, I've not had any interest in going on Ravelry. Partly because I had been so busy and partly because I'd rather spend my free time actually knitting rather than fucking around online.

Obligatory Knitting Shit
Yeah, I've been doing it. No, not that "it." Well, maybe. "It" can mean whatever. I've been making some decent progress on the Mari Dembrow Cables and Twists cardigan. Finished the back, working on the left front.

I like Dembrow's designs. They're interesting classics and nicely shaped. Mammy turned me onto this one from Yarn Barn's catalog, so I decided to bite. As it turned out, Loop had bought the same pattern awhile back. I charted the cables on KnitVisualizer.

Pawing through my bookcases, I found Dembrow's book, Better Sweaters, which was first published back in 1986. It's a useful little book, well written with a sense of humor. Not that you may need another how-to book, but if you come across it, add it to your library.

There's something to be said about Dembrow's method of knitting somewhat tighter than normal. I find that I like it. Her cabled designs are all gauged for tighter work. On this cardigan, I hit her gauge for the worsted weight on #5s. This gives the cables even better definition but does not make the fabric board-like.

My next project was going to be the Gansey shawl. It may still be, although I'm tempted to design Jerry an Aran, despite the stoopid boyfriend crap. (Although that did happen to me years ago, when I designed a gansey for the Nasty German and he dumped me before I had a chance to give it to him.) Whether it's the shawl or the Aran, I'm going to tighten up the gauge a la Dembrow.

Presents for the Knitting Me

Well, I already got Franklin's book at Rhinebeck. Did you know that all the Wolvies are in the book? What a fabulous tribute! You'll find each of our names in the book. Mine is a bit tricky, so see if you can find it. I gave a copy to my mother, who loved it and laughed her ass off. I can't wait to see his next book. Snap it up, boy.

One of my favorite Christmas knitting presents was the bunch of stitch markers that Scrappy gave me two years ago. I use them all the time. There's something nice about having quasi-jewelry hanging from your needles.

What I'd really like Santa to bring this year is the Schacht Ladybug. But that ain't happening.


Not really. I adore Christmas, always have and always will. But I have this dinky little artificial tree on my coffeetable and that's the best I can do this year. This sucks big time. I want a damned big honking real tree. But that will be remedied.

I'm going back to Jersey next spring. I need a larger place, plus my new job may be moving to Mt. Olive, where I used to live when Jimmy was alive. That's where I had planned to go before I got the new job. Now, it's definite. I just can't get used to Pennsyltucky. I miss my old 'hood. Besides, my friend BJ lives in the same complex where I'd like to live.

I need room for my loom, room for my dining room set, room for a damned couch in a decent-sized livingroom. Having the loom folded up in my bedroom here is a fucking pain in the ass. I'm sick of moving but maybe this will do it. I've been floating around since Jimmy died and that's almost seven years ago. It's time for this will o' the wisp to settle down. And continue her rare and handy life.