Friday, February 29, 2008

What do YOU think?

I think that he looks almost prepubescent.

What do you think?

Speak up now.

We're waiting ...
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The New Arrival

We were sitting, quietly eating out evening meal when the doorbell rang ...
What could it be?
A tire?
Ta Da!

Let's all welcome the newest set of wheels for the Family Squid. Squidette's new Bike Friday in Candy Apple Red. (With a green adjustable stem to be replaced by late spring with a custom fit Candy Apple stem.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


What am I going to do with these guys? I was thinking of wearing them to Purim dinner but Purim is not a gruesome kind of holiday ... so they will probably stay in storage until Halloween.

Or maybe I'll just wear them around NYC and be "avant garde."

Oh, and I had fun saying "just let me finish more more Rat's a$$." I'm easily amused. Kit from Morehouse Merino.

More Spinning

It snowed on Friday. Enough fell that the kids wanted to go sledding. While I love watching the kids sled, the slog to and from the sledding hill (by foot and by subway) and the standing in the cold, really does not do anything for me. So ... when Mike so nicely offered to take the kids on his own, so that I could finish the taxes, I jumped for joy. Sort of. Then I finished the taxes. And then I prepped some spinning ...

We started with 195 grams of osage and cochineal dyed Corrieadale from Handspun by Stefania (found the receipt in the bag). This is an excellent match for the purply stuff (cochineal dyed ccorriadle) from the other day.

Imagine all of this now spun into a lovely, somewhat uneven, handspun looking singles. 2.5 bobbins worth. It is not yet plyed because all of that longdrawish spinning got me hunkering for some real long-draw spinning. So, when I finished the singles, I also switched gears to my charka and some cotton.
Imagine one more spindle full of cotton. About 4 grams worth with 12 to go. The plan (don't laugh) is to triple ply it, after all three spindles are full, and then eventually knit a very light weight summer top. Right now I think I will do a regular 3 ply and not my usual Navajo in order to mute the colors a bit and make for less obvious striping. The color repeats are VERY long and the thinness of the single would make for huge stripes. So, I'm thinking something along the lines of the Trekking yarns with their three plys changing colors one at a time. That said, this will take a long time with lots of dedicated spinning, to finish, so don't look for it anytime soon.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The latest issue of Craft encouraged the creation of monsters. Seemed like a good idea to me so I passed the issue off to my monster (Little Squid) and he got busy. Once the first new monster had entered our home, Squidette got into the act and now we have a whole herd of them!


Name: Googles

Gender: Male

Personality: Googles is a cuddly monster who likes to read. He loves puzzles and strategy. His favorite game is sticks. This game is similar to battleships except a lot more mathy and each square has a number. When someone makes a guess and they are wrong, the opponent says the answer following equation, x * y ** 2. (x = guess, y = placement of stick) the sticks then would be moved up to 4 squares. Googles would like to have a book to read every night and would like to go outside at least once a week.

Name: Talk-eye

Gender: Male

Personality: Talk-eye loves dark places and is very active. He loves to do staring contest and always loses. He communicates in low grunts as he has no mouth. He will get irritable if you do not give him somewhere dark to sleep. and remember, he's always watching ...


Name: Skee

Gender: Female

Personality: Skee is a small but determined monster. She always does what she can to get her way. Skee is slow to trust new people but when she does trust them, she never stops. Skee is an outdoors monster. She needs to get outside at least once every 2 days and she loves sports. She loves the snow and will do almost anything to get out in it. She loves to read and wants to read every day, but if she can't, she won't force it. She hates to draw.

Skee's favorite food is ice cream. She could eat it all year round.


Name: Naru

Gender: Female

Personality: Naru is a quiet monster who is full of energy. She loves to jump around and is quick to trust new people. Naru has an acute sense of things and can tell if something is wrong and will let you know.

Naru likes to be outside, but she hates the rain and snow. She loves windy clear days and if she sees a bunch of dark clouds in the sky and hears thunder, she would run inside and hide under the covers.

Naru likes to draw quietly. She rarely talks, sh o that is her way of communication. She can talk, though, but she chooses not to talk to most people, only to the people or monsters she really trusts and loves. Naru's favorite food is marshmallows. She loves rice crispie treats as well.

Spinning Through the Week

May I present roughly 800 yards of Berrilicious Merino. Dyed as roving by Dave and spun by your favorite Mama Squid.Berrilicious is a sport weight, 3 ply done in my favorite Navajo method. I just love the rhythm of Navajo plying. Plans? I want to find a nice fair isle cardigan or vest pattern. No steeks pleases. Right now I am debating the Spools pattern from Handpaint Country, modified to avoid cutting. I am not afraid of steeking, per se, just of my habit of making things too big and having to go back and reknit -- which is not a possibility if half the yarn is in tiny pieces. Not with my precious hand spun, please. I'll take suggestions ...

Next on the wheel was the rest of the plummy wool.
I predrafted it all, after first dividing the roving into 16 roughly equal parts, and spun it up over 2 days. Pictures of the finished skeins in a day or two when I need room in the bathroom again.
Papa Squid was amazed at the pile of roving and decided to have some fun.

Now both my wheels are empty and next up is the matching orangy roving. I spun the last of the plummy stuff using a modified long draw and it spun up so quickly that I may be deluding myself as to how fast the orangy stuff will spin up.

Meanwhile, I have not been the only creative Squid this week. Look at what Papa made!

(The kids' monsters will debute, probably, tomorrow. They have some text to write up in order to properly describe their creations. But first and foremost, we have snow to play in!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In Search of the Tunacorn

For several weeks, our family has debated the existence of the Tunacorn. Mama Squid is firmly in the "nope, doesn't exist" camp while the rest of the family are all for it.

With the premise for our adventure now established, your friendly, neighborhood Squid set out to determine its existence once and for all.

Off to the American Museum of Natural History -- a favorite stomping ground -- where we consulted with Dum Dum.
Nope, he doesn't know where the tunacorn is.
We then asked the Elephants ... nope, they didn't know either. So much for the elephants famed memory.Hey! Mr. Whale! Do you know where the tunacorn is? What about you, lizard head?
Maybe the museum's computers can help.Hey guys! Where's the tunacorn?!Nope, cool looking, but not a tunacorn.

The tunacorn!? Or not.Hey! Whale! I thought you didn't know where the tunacorn was! He was right in front of you!

And so ends our search.

End result: three Squid convinced of the existence of the tunacorn. One skeptic still at large.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

First Fruits

I was thinking of teasing you and waiting until the end of the week to post my spinning pictures but I'm not that mean. And I needed to get the, now dry, yarn out of the bathroom to make room for the freshly washed yarn. And Maria is coming. So I needed to get the, now dry and documented, yarn tucked away where I feel it belongs.

So here it is. Corriadale purchased from Stefania's Handpaints, two years ago at New York Sheep and Wool. It is a lofty, two ply, worsted weight and is not totally evenly spun. There is more of the roving in the stash and I think that will be my next spinning project. It is, as Dave calls it, "chubby" yarn -- at least for me. Recently, I've taken Dave's approach to predrafting and have been doing a very large amount (though not all) of it before sitting down to spin. My prior approach was to draft out length of roving, spin, draft, spin, etc. Basically, since I do not spin very often, I did not want to wind up with lots of delicate, predrafted stuff loose in the apartment. My new approach is actually forcing me to spin more since I still do not want to have the predrafted stuff around for any length of time. Too many bodies in this place to accidentally mess it up.

Behind the yarn, in the photo, is a bit of the Rat Scarf. 3 rats down, 5 to go.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Quiet Week

So far we have done very little, this break. After Saturday's activity, I was exhausted and opted to spend Sunday in the apartment. The kids were generous and kind of offered to do the laundry, so I let them and, in the burst of energy that followed, organized the files for the taxes and did a decent amount of spinning and some knitting.

Monday saw a quick trip to Old Navy to outfit the rapidly growing Little Squid with new pants. Unfortunately they only had 2 pair in his size. Yup, only 2 pair. I guess a trip to the uptown Old Navy is in order before the week is out -- that or let my kid continue running around in high waters. Some plying and a smidge of knitting got done. Also some crochet as I finished the blanket my synagogue knitting group was working on.(I only joined and edged it, not one of those blocks is my handi-work. Our ladies do great work!)

Today was equally low key with only a solo trip a few blocks away to get eyes for the monster that my monster is sewing. More plying occurred and the berrilicious yarn is now skeined and drying from its bath. Pictures in the next day or two. I also started a rat-scarf.

Tomorrow, the museum is our goal and maybe lunch out as we dodge Maria. At some point during this week I may actually do the taxes now that they are organized. Meanwhile, the kids are making monsters and doing some small depletion of my fabric stash.

Meanwhile, on with our quiet week.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Emerging from the Fog

I had a rather long winded post written yesterday but it was mostly a whine about how this flu has taken me down. Then I got my second wind and managed to do quite a bit of spinning. So I deleted the post. I think this virus is finally on the run.

As for the spinning -- I'll have pictures by the end of break. I finished the Ingeo singles and will two-ply them later this week. Meanwhile I started Navajo plying my Cabin Cove Berrilicious. Yum!

Yup, I said break. It is mid-winter recess here in NYC and we are off. No traveling this year, just some quiet at-home time. Time to recover in body and mind. We have two planned excursions -- one the the Museum of Natural History (probably Wednesday when Maria is here) and one to the dentist.

Time to do some serious relaxing!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Expensive Tastes

Life just got more expensive around here.

Let me explain ...

For many years, Mike and his Mom had a couple of subscriptions to series at Carnegie Hall. When Mom died, I inherited her half of the subscription and learned just how wonderful live classical music can be.

Last year saw one night when Mike was not feeling well. Instead of going alone or selling the ticket, I took Squidette. We saw Sarah Chang and Squidette was entranced. We only stayed for half of the show, but that was enough.

Last week, when Mike was too sick to go, I once again took Squidette and she, once again, had a great time.

So ... when it looked like we might not have childcare lined up for last night's concert by Joshua Bell, we spoke to the kids and then purchased two more tickets. One set, the subscription, was in the "orchestra," the other ... in the next to last row of the uppermost balcony.

Little Squid joined me, way up high, so that he would have an unobstructed view. (I was the chosen parent because Papa Squid is afraid of heights and I love my husband.) From the first note to the last, Little Squid was entranced. He was even humming one of the themes as we walked to the subway afterwards.

No more will we be able to buy just two tickets for Carnegie. From now on, our subscriptions will be for four.


I can now honestly say that there is no difference in sound quality from the first seats in the hall and the last seats in the hall. But the experience is still vastly different. Our tickets WILL be down low!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ninja Warrior!

Squidette was just given the choice between practicing her violin or practicing for Ninja Warrior. She chose Ninja Warrior ... until her fingers slipped off her door frame.


Over the last few weeks I have started in on a project that will take a few months to complete. It involves untangling and sniping bits and pieces while making new connections. Today I refreshed some old connections in hopes of securing the new ones. It's a bittersweet process but I am glad that I finally started it. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dark, Mumbly Goodness!

My mother-in-law and I used to refer to a certain genre of t.v. shows as "dark, mumbly shows." Those are the ones that are dimly lit and where the characters all speak in low, hushed tones. Programs in this category include Numbers, Studio 60 and my all time favorite ... The West Wing. I absolutely LOVE to work out to The West Wing and for a while, Bravo was airing 4 episodes every Monday. I'd DVR them and then work out to them on the weekends, promptly erasing them to make room for more. Then Bravo stopped airing the episodes regularly and I switched to the Muppet Show DVDs . These worked for a while, until two things happened. One, I started working out for longer then the 24 minute episodes and two, I ran out of unviewed shows. This left me jonsing for The West Wing again.

Look what my sweetie got for me!If I wasn't feeling so crummy, I'd work out right now!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Home Early

Mike came home a little early. His principal saw him without his bike this morning and commented on it. When Mike explained in his husky, cough roughened, voice, he was asked just why he came to work. So, taking this as a sign, Mike taught his classes and came home.

We have a good half hour or so before the kids get home. That's enough time for ... a nap. Get your minds out of the gutter. This is a PG blog! Besides, we're both sick.

(Actually, this blog was rated G by that blog rating thing a few months ago. I can't get to it now.)

Sicky Icky

Now it's me. Mike is still feeling miserable but went to work. Squidette is still holding on to her health and Little Squid is just fine as long as he doesn't touch his boo boo.

I'm going to drive the kids to school and then pop into work to drop off some stuff -- my note from Little Squid's school validating my running out on Friday and a list of things that my department has to do during their monthly meeting.

Then I'm coming home and curling back up on the couch. As no knitting has occurred over the last two days, I suspect that things will be much the same today. It's been a long time since I have taken a sick day to be ... sick.

I tell my kids that there are 3 things that will keep them home from school: fever, vomit and diarrhea. (And a migraine for Little Squid) Being a proper role model, I am using this rule for myself as well. The first reason, not the icky ones.

I am grateful that I have good kids. They really could have taken advantage of two sick parents this weekend but instead they pitched in and helped out. Little Squid helped Mike do laundry (usually my job and made worse by Maria's absence this week). Squidette made rice krispie squares. And both ran and fetched things for me when asked. Otherwise, they played on their computers all weekend. (Squidette went out and played a little but Little Squid was not allowed to run around.) Squidette even offered to take Little Squid to school today but it is 11 degrees out. I can suck it up enough to drive them.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mmm... Chocolate

Long time readers know that the family Squid has a special place in their hearts for Chocolate Haven. Up until now, I have only been able to share our opinion of it. This piece aired back in November on my favorite new station but they are airing it again right now. Go take a look -- or at least read the text -- and you will understand just why we love Jacques Torres and his chocolate.

Once the weather warms up a bit, we are planning a 3-Chocolate Haven bike ride. Yum!

Tagged Again

My cousin tagged me with the Unimportant Thing Meme

Here are the Rules for this game of tag:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know, by leaving a comment on their blogs.

6 unimportant things about me:

1. I rarely cook.

2. I do not mind, and often even relish, eating the same thing day after day.

3. I have worked in the same school for almost 16 years.

4. I do not sit still well. Except today when even typing is an effort due to the nasty virus we are passing around.

5. I tend to be squeamish when it comes to random squeem inducing stuff but can suck it up and behave like a very in control adult when it involves a family member, like yesterday.

6. I had my ears pierced at some random place near Times Square during an outing with my other cousin (sister to the one who tagged me) when I was 16. Then we went and saw (I think) Dreamgirls on Broadway.

I do not have enough brain function to tag anyone. It took me over half an hour just to type it. Feel free to take this if you wish.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Three Stitches and a Parking Ticket

... and a mangled pair of glasses.

No, not a biking injury, just a run of the mill accident during recess. You know, a boy thing.

No ER visit, just a quick trip to the wonderful doctor who fixed my face last spring. O.k., maybe not so quick -- I did get that parking ticket but I knew the risk when I left it at a meter. The parking agent was at the car when I got there and gave me some advise on how to appeal it based on the circumstances. No, she couldn't rip it up. It's all computerized these days ...

(If you look closely on the right, just behind his glasses, you will see the tape covering his stitches.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Clock Vest!

I finished hiding the ends last night and popped into Knitty City today to get buttons. I had barely cleared the door when Pearl called out my name and handed me a card. It was from Penny and contained a gift card and thank you note. Way cool!

Then Pearl escorted me into the back room to paw through some brand new buttons. The perfect ones were just waiting for me and they look just right on my vest. I wish I could get the camera to show you the detail but trust me they are lovely -- there are tiny leaves etched into a pale purple mother-of-pearl button. Clock Vest from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests. Knit in Cascade 220 -- one of the heathers, 3 skeins with about 2 meters left over. (The yarn was a gift and I lost the labels during the great bug debacle of 2007.) Needles: addi turbos, size 1. No significant changes to pattern.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mr. Upstairs and the Fan Light

I must preface this post by stating that I really like my upstairs neighbor. He's a really good guy and a great neighbor. That said, taken out of context, the stuff we hear from his apartment can lead to some really good stories. The best one is about the Fan Light.

The Ghost Light -- a True Story of City Living

Several years ago, we installed ceiling fans with lights and remote controls in the kids' rooms. We did this ourselves after investing in a Milwaukee hammer drill and, also after having watched a maintenance worker install 3 others in the apartment.

We waited to install the fans until the heat got too hot to bear. We were going to wait until Little Squid had out grown the stage that might have him lassoing the fan but we'd still be waiting and springtime can get pretty hot.

Amazingly enough, they went up pretty easily and spun fairly smoothly. A year later, however, Squidette's started exhibiting some alarming behaviors.

Squidette would go into bed around 8 PM, turn out her light and go to sleep. Mike and I would turn to our own beds about an hour later. As a general rule, we'd all remain in our bed for the night.

One night, I woke up around 10:00 PM as I noticed a light in the outer areas. Thinking that I had forgotten to turn one off, I staggered out of bed only to realize that it was Squidette's light. Hmm, I thought as I looked for the remote and turned it off. Maybe she was sleep lighting? Returning to my bed, I forgot about it until the next night. When it happened again.

Mike and I discussed it and started to wonder what our daughter was up to. We spoke to her about it and she was, as expected, clueless.

Going on with our day, we repeated the same patterns and, at about 10:00 had the same outcome. The next night I unplugged her light before she went to bed.

Thinking on it for a few days, we suddenly had an aha! moment as we heard Mr. Upstairs doing some more work on his apartment. He'd been working on it all summer and had done some major demolition and relaid all the wooden floors, doing some lovely work -- he invited us up to see and even gave us a bottle of wine as a "sorry for all the noise."

What if, we thought, Mr. Upstairs had installed a ceiling fan / light with remote control? The local Home Depot had one major brand of this fixture and all of the remotes came set to the same default. We'd left Squidette's fan on the default setting while changing Little Squid's setting.

If Mr. Upstairs had installed a fan with remote and had not changed his settings, could he be triggering Squidette's light? After all, his fan/light would be on his ceiling, but Squidette's was under his floor -- closer then the ceiling.

Bumping into him a few days later, we asked. Yup, he'd installed the same brand of fan / light with remote. Nope, hadn't changed the settings. We explained the problem and politely asked him to do change the settings. He looked at us as if we were weirdos and we went our separate ways.

A few days later, we changed the settings on Squidette's remote.

I really do like my upstairs neighbor -- we got closer a year or so later. One day I will share these stories with him ... or not.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Apartment Living

I love living in a large apartment building. There are many reasons, including a 24 hour maintenance staff, but last night I found a new reason to love my home ... sound transmission.

Some time around 9:30 last night, I finally decided to wash up while Mike watched the last quarter of the Superbowl. While I was in our bathroom, quietly washing my face and brushing my teeth, I heard a huge shout from our upstairs neighbor.

Rushing into the living room I gasped "did the Giants just lose?" Nope, replied my sanguine husband, "they just ..." and he proceeded to describe some sort of amazing play. Noting the score -- the Giants were still losing -- I returned to my ablutions and was changing into my p.j.s when I heard another, actually several, huge, outbursts from upstairs.

As I reentered the living room, Mike looked at me and said "you might as well stay up -- Mr. Upstairs is not going to let you get any sleep." This was punctuated with what was obviously a foot hitting the floor (ceiling) above our heads and a shout so loud it made us both laugh.

I stayed out and worked on my vest until the Giants won and then attempted to go to sleep. While the noise upstairs abated to more normal levels, I think Mr. Upstairs was mostly alone or only had a few friends over, the noise outside rivaled New Year's eve.

Definitely an interesting night in New York.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Spinning on Sunday

Feeling like I had to finish a project today, and deciding that the vest probably needed a bit more time, I took to spinning.

I turned this,

into part of this (part of one bobbin) which finished off the 8 ounces of Berrylicious Merino that I bought from Dave many, many months ago. I might ply it next week.

Then I totally wiped down my wheel, removing years of built up oil / fiber gunk and reloaded with some Ingeo roving that has been aging in the stash for a while. It took some time to get the hang of it. This is a very fine, slippery fiber with a staple length of 1.5 to 2 inches or so. The resulting single is relatively thick (think a thin sock yarn) and kind of hard.
I finally figured out a predrafting method that allowed me to spin without it breaking up. It will be interesting to see how it plys up. I'm thinking that it might make a small, slinky scarf. There is only 2 ounces of it but the small bit I spun went a long way.


Even the stuffed animals get into the act around here.

Don't Look Back!

Or you might embarrass your kids!

Now to stop cleaning (hard drive) and get to my knitting!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Yesterday ...

was not nearly as amusing for the family Squid as it was for Dave. Go on over an have yourselves a nice laugh. I'll wait for you to come back.

Dang! Lost half my readership!

Oh well, my tales of driving to City Island, saying a teary farewell to a colleague who is suddenly retiring and then driving back through the pouring rain with no real idea of how to get back to my island, is not nearly as interesting as Football Squares. Nor are my cute tales of little kids melting down on the talent show stage and then pulling it together to actually perform ... followed by a wonderful brag about my own kid playing Elenore Rigby as part of a group of 5th graders in same talent show and the fact that I actually made it in time to witness the performance despite said driving experience.

Nope, nothing I can say can top Football Squares today.

I think I have to go knit a Football Square now ... or maybe get Mike to bake one ...