Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This is the first photo of me knitting. Yes, it's a Ballband Dishcloth, how did you know?? I'm accompanied by Sancho (black toy poodle) and Ralph (long-haired dachshund).

Date with Vince

You may or may not know I have a little thing for Mr. Vince Vaughn. I'm really a latecomer to fandom, having started last year when I saw Wedding Crashers. I just thought he was so funny and had a great voice and everything. I don't know where I was all those years before when he was making movies!

This weekend The Break-up opens and I reeeeeeeally wanna see it. So y'all wanna go one weekday next week? I'm calling a girls' night on this one. I'll notify you Nashville citizens soon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


My Dad ran out and adopted a red, short-haired mini dachshund last September, and named him Buddy. It's a great dog name, but when you already call every male dog and person "buddy," things get a little complicated.

Buddy is the youngest dog in my parents' menagerie (four dogs, one cat), and is full of himself. On Monday I was visiting at my parents' house and I was sitting on the computer chair in the kitchen, alone with the doggies. I had my feet on the floor, and my skirt came down to my knees. Buddy came over in front of me, and before I knew what was happening, he reared up on his back legs and stuck his wedge-shaped head under my skirt, into the wedge-shaped gap between my thighs! And just stuck there. I gave a surprised cry and then started laughing hysterically!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tattoo for you

Tada! Here's the Mason Dixon tattoo I designed. It needs some better symmetry, but you get the idea. The text is from the M-D book cover, and in the middle is a raised fist holding straight needles. It would be cool to incorporate yarn somehow, but I wasn't sure how.

Memorial Day Weekend

I have so much to blog about, I'll have to save most of it for later. Abby and I went to Memphis this weekend; my main goal was to attend my bestest friend's wedding reception, Abby's was to visit with our grandmother. Missions accomplished! And it didn't even rain on us while we were driving. Hot dog!
Top: Scenic highway 50. Bottom: serious drivin'.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ain't we cute?

Here's most of my family at Abby's graduation from MTSU on May 6. The white sash she is wearing is for earning cum laude grades!

Left to right: Mom, Dad, Abby, Anna, me, my brother-in-law Chad.


My uncle, my mother's brother, died suddenly today. I wasn't close to him, but I was worried my mom would be very upset. I called her this evening, and she was fine. We chatted about American Idol and other assorted topics, and I felt so much better I started sewing the belt for my tunic! Of course I still feel very badly for my uncle's family, particularly his wife and two college-aged daughters.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Marathon sewing

I spent most of today marathon sewing after I realized that the event I want to wear my tunic to is NEXT WEEKEND. Whoops! I am done sewing except the belt, and I may take in the sides. Then I'll be finished. Good times!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bound for Glory

Earlier this week I finished Rick Bragg's biography of the grandfather he never knew, Charlie Bundrum. The book is titled Ava's Man. Charlie is part of a generation that is gone, gone, gone. He was a joyful family man, living a hardscrabble life in the hills of Alabama and Georgia--with nary a complaint. He was a carpenter who roofed houses, and a bootlegger. Most of all he was someone others admired, and the protector and lifeblood of his family. I had read Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin', which is about Bragg's mother bringing up him and his brothers; it's also a great book.

Reading about Charlie Bundrum reminded me of another book I'd read a few years ago: Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie (published 1943). As in Ava's Man, much of the story takes place during the Great Depression. (My God, how did people live through it? And how did people with nothing feel that "this land is made for you and me"?) The Bundrums were able to live off the land a bit, fishing and hunting, and following work around. The Guthries had it a bit different in Oklahoma with the dust storms. Woody hoboed around on trains, painted signs, and sang for money. I also thought it was interesting that Woody didn't have the most comfortable childhood, partly stemming from a house fire that destroyed his father's law books and thus his living. As sucky as insurance companies can be, insurance is a great thing to live with! There wasn't such a thing back then. Another interesting thing about the book is that Woody illustrated it; he was visually artistic too.

This weekend I watched the 1976 movie of Bound for Glory. I didn't see too much of the book in it, but it wasn't awful. The plot was a little hard to follow and slow-paced, but it was successful in portraying the plight of people moving west for jobs, what little was often waiting for them at the end of the line, and Woody's involvement with the labor movement. Oddly, straight-haired David Carradine played Woody. More oddly, a very young Randy Quaid had a small role. The movie ended with this quotation:

Woody Guthrie
(from script for opening broadcast of WNEW radio show on 12/3/44)
"I hate a song that makes you think you're not any good. I hate a song that makes you think you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are either too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. . . . Songs that run you down or songs that poke fun of you on account of your bad luck or your hard traveling.

I am out to fight these kinds of songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter how hard it's run you down nor rolled over you, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and your work. And the songs I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you."

"Dream," drawing by Woody Guthrie

Knitting group bee friends

Today I went to Sarah B's house in Smyrna. It was so nice and homey and she made us breakfast! I brought a Gee's Bend book from the library, which is the name of a town in Alabama where the local women have been making really original, modern-art-looking quilts for generations. The Mason-Dixon knitters were inspired by these quilts to design some of the patterns in their book.

Sarah's dog, Sadie, is a sweetheart. I liked her happy tail, and she has very expressive eyes. Afterward, I was so close to Murfreesboro, I drove down and surprised Abby at work (she works at TJ Maxx). She was really surprised. She looked right at me for a few seconds before she recognized me. Uh, I also bought some yarn in M-boro. It's for when I go on vacation in a couple of weeks--a very important part of vacation planning, uh huh--YAAAAY!!

Top: Sarah, Katie, Jennifer, ecstatic at the Mason-Dixon book signing. Bottom: giant Gee's Bend art book

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Done! (for now)

I finished cutting out the pieces for my tunic! Yay!

My boss

My boss is in the hospital and tomorrow she will have pretty major surgery. Tonight I'm calling on the Messageboard of Love and asking the queens to pray. They are powerful. Won't you pray for her too?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Daniel Handler book signing

Down to business--the handsome guy I was hoping would be at the signing was not there. I asked my friend Lisa who works with Colin about him, and in a nutshell she said he was an assistant manager who had adopted the management style of the store manager, i.e., a disrespectful jerk. Eeeeek!

The book signing was really fun. I was worried I was going to be late, but the crowd was fairly miniscule. Who is Daniel Handler? I guess not many people know. The author Lemony Snicket who wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events? Oh, yeah, people know him! Well, they are the same person. Lisa said they weren't allowed to advertise that Daniel Handler is Lemony Snicket (I assume his choice).

There were about two people when I arrived. I took a seat in the front row. Did you know that's the best place to be able to see the author? And that you'll probably get your book signed quickly? I think so.

A little old man in a wheelchair cornered me and asked me about the signing, and what I did, and my religious affiliation, and I chatted with him while I knit.

My friend Lisa sat next to me with her boyfriend, Caleb, who is the bookseller who wrote a funny proposal to Daniel Handler and got him to Nashville in the first place.

Daniel Handler came out and had a spinning wheel on a smallish wood block. After his introduction, he explained he hated going to book signings where the author reads a good part of the book and then you read the book and what the author read was the only good part of the book. So, to show his confidence in the quality of the whole book, he had a wheel with all the chapter names. "I'll ask a volunteer to come up here and spin in a minute, and if you volunteer you will get a prize. But if you land on this place, 'Give author one dollar,' you have to give me a dollar. I'm sorry. That's the rules."

Ooooh! I wanted the prize! Now, I have been a painfully shy person many times in my life, but today was not one of them. When he asked for a volunteer, I whipped up my hand. "You!" he said. I popped up. As you can imagine, I was wearing my attractive outfit in case Colin was there. I felt dressy like a magician's assistant indeed. "Now, just to be clear," Daniel said, "we have never met before. This is not some scheme."

I spun the arrow. It barely moved and landed on "Skip a turn." I asked, "Now what do we do?" Daniel said, "I don't know. This has never happened before." He hummed a little and rolled his eyes around like he was waiting out a turn, then told me to go again. I spun better this time. "That was a better spin," we both muttered at about the same time. It landed on "Soundly." "Ooh, that's a sad one," Daniel told the audience, "Get out your hankies. And you get a prize!" I had forgotten about the prize in the excitement of spinning.

"This is a Buddha Machine. You don't know what it is. I don't know what it is either. And you have no choice in color. I don't mean that because you didn't pick out this prize, I mean when you buy them in a box, you don't know what color it is."

He read the book, and rather than forming a line, just let people come up as they volunteered. A woman who went to high school with Daniel Handler came over with her three young children. She said her five-year-old son had read all the Lemony Snicket books. "So tell me," he asked the boy, "is your mom terrible to you? It's OK, you can tell me. She was a ravishing, reckless woman when I knew her." Children do not really get tongue-in-cheek humor, so the boy shook his head no, she was nice. Daniel said, "Well, you have to say that, she's right here! If she's really mean, give me a secret signal. Blink." The boy tried not to blink. Some time passes and we the audience are all holding our breath. Daniel shouts triumphantly, "You blinked! I knew it!!"

The high school classmate's little one-and-a-half-year-old propped herself up in the stroller to get a good look at him and loudly said, "Da da da da da da da da!" He nodded as he signed, "Mmhm. I have always thought so." If you've read the Lemony Snicket books, or seen the movie, you'll know that the youngest main character is a toddler who speaks in gibberish that the author is able to translate into English for readers. It was a magical moment. What a funny guy.

He signed my copy of his new book Adverbs, which is written for adults and has these chapters: Immediately, Obviously, Arguably, Particularly, Briefly, Soundly, Frigidly, Collectively, Symbolically, Clearly, Naturally, Wrongly, Truly, Not Particularly, Often, Barely, Judgmentally.

I have one Lemony Snicket book, which he used an embosser on that says, "From the Library of Lemony Snicket," and wrote, "with all due respect."

So what is a Buddha Machine? It is not shaped like Buddha. It looks like a little speaker, came with batteries, and the color of mine is bright, UT orange. It makes kind of ambient music. Dodger was intrigued and a little perturbed by it. Are you supposed to meditate to the sounds? I'll have to do more research into it!

Photos top-bottom: a heavier Daniel Handler, the mysterious Lemony Snicket, the book cover, a Buddha Machine

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sew tiring

My normal sewing schedule is that I cut all the pieces one day, and start sewing the next. But maybe even this one break before sewing is too short.

I think I've been putting off starting my tunic top because I was dreading my usual marathon sewing pace. So tonight I cut out the fabric and interfacing for the belt, nothing else.

I succumbed . . . again

It doesn't take much these days, I swanee! I bought sock yarn. Hard to believe, but true. I also bought the accompaning tiny needles. They are size 2 to be exact.

After this purchase, I read in Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee that some sweaters have fewer stitches than socks. Gasp! That's great news if you're making a sweater, but really gave me pause about the socks.

Here's a pic of me and Stephanie, the Funniest Knitter in North America.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


This weekend I watched Matchpoint. I wanted to see it back when it was in the theatre because I heard it was garnering a lot of acclaim and was a bit of a departure for Woody Allen, who wrote and directed it. I like Woody Allen, usually. He puts out a lot of movies and some of them aren't so hot. But when he's good, he's very good. I thought the movie was very good, suspenseful, with three-dimensional characters. I could write more about the characters and what I think about their decisions, but I would ruin the movie for you if I did that.

I will say that it deals with chance, free will, and luck. Woody went ahead and outright referenced Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, which was the right thing to do. Go see it.

Also, I really liked Scarlett Johansson's haircut, which isn't shown its best in this photo.

Whoops o'shanter

Today I made a tam (short for "tam o'shanter"), which is a kind of knitted hat. You can get very complicated with them and knit fair isle designs in them, but I was just using up a ball of wool yarn my mom had bought not knowing what she'd do with it. I felt it should be a hat. Wanted to be a hat.

Weeeeeell, it ended up a little small. Like, kinda child size. You can wear it on the back of your head, a la Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown, or at a jaunty angle on the side of your head and I think it looks OK, if admittedly, still a bit too small for an adult. I shoulda made a swatch and made it with more stitches--but you know, if I had, I would have run out of yarn. There were only 93 yards in the ball. Whoops!

The yarn has small touches of color; the decreases on the top of the hat are separted into seven decrease areas and the color on the top makes a sort of spiderweb pattern against the navy background, which I like. The yarn looked like this, but navy instead of red.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

That's my seat

Last weekend my mom visited me and Dodger. Dodger took advantage and took my normal seat!

Dodger: What?

Grooming: before and after

Friday, May 12, 2006

I succumbed

I broke down and subscribed to Interweave Knits. They are having a deal online that's five issues for $19. This is a pricey magazine, so it's a good deal, and I know I'll love it! The patterns are gorgeous.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This is for all my friends who work in book and music publishing.

Newspaper generator

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reelin' 'em in with knitting

"Them" being the older, married dudes at work. Oh, well. Today I ate lunch with my friend Susan in our work cafeteria. We found the least dirty table and ate and talked. After I was done eating I cast on my fourth Mason-Dixon ballband dishcloth. Gosh, it's hard to cast on and chat at the same time. Anyway--here comes one of our designers, K., who calls out to me as he's putting up his tray, "Crochet?" He comes over, "Excuse me, is that crochet?" Susan is a crocheter herself, so we were both like, "No, it's knitting. Crochet uses one hook, and knitting uses two needles, see??" Then K. gave a funny impression that I can't portray by blog, making fun of his own lack of fine motor skills (which I found odd, because he is a designer, and one would assume he was somewhat artistic and can draw--go figure) and compared himself to a clumsy bear, hahaha!

Five or ten minutes after K. lumbered off, continuing his bear impression, which just goes to show why he's everyone's favorite designer and we'd love him to do all the designing work, along comes designer R. It was a big day for bumping into designers! R. is holding a punch bowl full of ice. He pauses at the edge of our table, slack-jawed, obviously in awe of my awesome skills, right? He doesn't say anything. We know R. is a hilarious man, but I guess Susan and I didn't know what to make of his silence, so we just looked at him too. I started to wonder how cold the ice bowl was on his hands.

"You're knitting," he said.
"Yeah, that's right."
R. says, "Does that mean what I think it means?"

Another few seconds of silence ensue as Susan and I search our minds for what knitting signifies, in particular. We get it at about the same time. "A baby? Uh, no, I'm not having any babies!" "Maybe she could be knitting for someone else's baby," Susan clarifies, "but not her own, no." Then he asked me what it was and said he wanted to see the finished project. That was nice of him!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Next sewing project

I imagine finishing this top and wearing it to my friend's wedding reception at the end of the month. I bought some fabric at the best fabric store ever, Textile Fabrics. Incredibly, they are right down the street from me. Luckily, they were also having a 30 percent off sale! The bands and belt will be a bright magenta, kind of like hot pink, but a deeper shade. The guaze-y overlay is an irridescent, orange, pink, yellow cotton voile. The colors are warm and summery. I will make it tunic length, not dress length, and I am not sure if I will have sleeves or not. The plan right now is to wear it with a black skirt and black wedges.

Who am I?

I am a knitter. I am a dog parent. I am a couch napper. I am a reader. I am the oldest child. I am a loved child. I am a reader. I am a library patron. I am a voter. I am a driver. I am a former cellist. I am a friend. I am learning to sew clothes. I am a thrift-store shopper. I am a movie watcher. I am a daydreamer. I am a woman. I am a sky watcher. I am a walker. I am an art lover. I am allergic. I am a typo finder. I am a cuticle biter. I am an Anglophile. I am a rock'n'roll lover. I am a soul music lover. I am a theist who never goes to church. I am an optimist. I am a queen. I am practically blind without lenses. I am a former Memphian. I am a current Nashvillian. I am a Tennessean and southerner. I am a college graduate. I am a joker. I am a Mary-jane wearer. I am a purse collector. I am a listener. I am a blogger. I am Sarah.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Knitting fever

I'm knitting so regularly now that I feel uncomfortable if there's not yarn around for my next project. Like a some kind of yarn junkie!

Hey, a new blog!

I'm looking forward to starting a new blog. There's all kinds of creepy, huge mushrooms outside that I wish I could take a picture of. It's just been raining so much.