Sisyphus Knits

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Birthin Babies

Recently I was thinking about the process of giving birth, possibly because my friend Jen is about to give birth for the first time. The idea of what physically happens when you have a baby is completely ludicrous when you think about it. As my friend Lynn always says "the stork is actually more believable." To me, the idea that a baby came out of there is about as likely as my husband saying "I sneezed the other day and a grapefruit came out."

When I was 15 they made us take health class at GBS. Health class was a mixture of boring and terrifying all rolled up into one. I must have been very suggestible and for me, health class accomplished what it was probably supposed to. For example, I became very afraid that if I ever tried drugs, I would either overdose or become addicted, so I steered clear of that mess.

One day they showed us a graphic movie of a lady having a baby, it was terrible! We all, boys and girls alike, walked out of there with post traumatic stress syndrome on some level. I remember thinking "I'll never do that, she lost all her dignity!" It seems odd to me now how much dignity I must have possessed at age 15 and how afraid I was of losing it. They also made us take a Scantron sex survey; I remember I was sick the day of the Scantron sex survey so I had to take it the next day, in the middle of class, while everyone else discussed acne or something. I was sitting next to this burn-out who made random comments like "kinda intense, huh" while I filled in the dots with my number two pencil. Question 6: "How far have you ever gone?" a) french kissing b) second base c) all the way! d) Cleveland. If someone asked me to fill out a survey like this today, I would tell them it's none of their business. But when I was 15 I was a rule follower and it never occurred to me to tell the teacher he had no right to ask me these questions and I was under no legal obligation to answer them. I do remember thinking "Where is the ACLU when you need them?" But they were off making sure the Nazi's could march in Skokie or prisoners had their constitutional right to HBO or some such nonsense.

Anyhow I'm off track. It is true in fact that I lost all my dignity when I gave birth. After about the third resident, who I had never laid eyes on in my life, came in to check the progress of my cervix, I realized I didn't give a hoot who saw what, which I suppose is a sign of a complete loss of dignity. Or it's a sign that you're a porn star, I don't know for sure. I didn't watch the actual birth of my 3 kids and yes it was a total miracle and to this day, I still think the stork dropping them off seems like a more likely story.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The onlee catz we lik r the LOLcatz

Last night we're watching Criminal Minds and this woman hears a noise and goes into her kitchen to see what's up. Her cat knocked a pot off the counter so she's relieved that's all it was, meanwhile, a murderer sneaks past the kitchen in the hallway IN FULL VIEW OF THE CAT who does nothing but purr. Isabel says "see, that's why cats are worthless, they don't even warn you when a murderer sneaks in your house!"

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Saturday, June 05, 2010


Memorial day weekend we went up to the North woods for the first time ever. The north woods is located approximately 350 miles north of where we live and it is beautiful, pristine, and bursting with huge fish to catch!
Of course fishing in the north woods made me think of my knitting icon, Elizabeth Zimmermann so I brought her Knitter's Almanac. Sure enough, in the month of May she was fishing for Walleye and knitting mittens. I love her philosophy "It is better not to make mittens in a hurry. Let's make them in May; let's take our time over them; let's venture into new approaches and designs; let's enjoy them." BTW I think she like semi colons as much as I do!
So I knit some mitered mittens out of Malabrigo worsted in Geranio (Geranium?) while the kiddos caught (and released) 21 Walleyes, all of them 18 to 21 inches. Isabel, Tess, and I canoed around the lake and saw 3 bald eagles, an otter, and a pair of loons. All in all, the perfect weekend!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Minty Fresh

After a typically crazy week including a midweek trip to NYC for work, I was looking forward to relaxing on Thursday night. Relaxing as in going grocery shopping and catching up on laundry. So I walk in the door from work and Tess utters the words that strike fear into the heart of elementary school moms everywhere "Mom, my head really itches!"

I check her head under my Ott light and my heart sinks, I can't tell if it's just dandruff but there is definitely "stuff" in her hair. Finally I spot one, and after googling, I can confirm, it's head lice! After sending Mario to Walgreen's for RID and throwing all of her bedding in the washing machine, I grill Tess to figure out how she got it. The kids got their hair cut last Saturday so I know she didn't have it then. Also, after a scalp check I can confirm none of the other kids have it and neither do Mario or I. So I zero in on school; did she do anything at school that might have exposed her to lice?

"Ms. H had us wear hats in drama, but she said they were guaranteed lice free," says Tess. "Well Ms. H is a F$#@ing liar," I reply. After calling Ms. H the drama teacher a few more choice words I get down to business and spend the next 2 hours shampooing her with the RID and combing through her hair in 1 inch sections, I find 3 more lice. This is where the OCD comes in handy, I do a very thorough job!

When I tuck Tess into bed, I tell her that sometimes when we're angry we say things we don't mean, so please don't repeat the things I called Ms. H to anyone. Tess says "you mean like when you called her a fing B?" and I say, "yea like that." I email the Principal to suggest that they no longer use the hats in drama, because if they didn't have lice before, I can practically guarantee that they do now. Then I soak my hairbrush in a sink of hot water and Listerine and go to bed. Next morning when I brush my hair, I notice that it smells mintyfresh!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Maryland Sheep & Wool 2009

We had a great time at a rainy MS&W this year; it's becoming an annual family tradition for my sister and I to visit our other sister who lives in Baltimore for MS&W weekend. We saw lots of cute animals and fibery goodness at the Festival, and were amazed by crowds that showed up despite the drizzly weekend. I was remarkably restrained when it came to stash building; I only bought 4 skeins of yarn (I know!): 2 skeins of Tess Baby Bunny in Robins Egg Blue to knit Whisper, 1 skein of Interlacements Toasty Toes, and 1 skein of Creatively Dyed sock yarn in Harvest. I was so excited to see Creatively Dyed there, she wasn't on the vendor list but due to a last minute opening was able to make it! She is such a sweet lady and her colors are beautiful!

So besides MS&W, want to know what else we did? Friday night we started out with some sushi and shopping: I bought 2 cute tops at South Moon Under, this one and this one and then we went to happy hour at Ra Sushi (drinks and sushi half off!) When my sister got home from work, we did a pub crawl in Fell's Point, unfortunately nobody in my family can drink more than one or two beers, so the pub crawl was cut short and we ended up eating dinner at One Eyed Mike's. I read about this joint in the WSJ a year or so ago, they are obsessed with Grand Marnier and for $100 you can purchase your own private bottle which will sit on the shelf waiting for you. But unexpectedly, for a grungy looking bar, they have great food, I highly recommend the crab stuffed portabello mushroom cap.

Next day, after fortifying ourselves with croissants and lattes at Bonaparte Breads (the owner looks exactly like Napolean) we headed off to MS&W. We hit it early (look at the crowds at 9:30 am) and left about 1:30 where we had lunch at nearby Great Sage, a fabulous vegetarian restaurant only 10 minutes from the festival. No lamburgers for us! Nothing against meat, but as my sister put it (regarding the lamburgers and lamb kebabs at the festival) "Isn't that like going to a Pediatrics Convention and frying up some babies?"

We had a laid back afternoon knitting and napping, then headed over to my sister's boyfriend's house in Federal Hill where we grilled some salmon and asparagus and made some sangria, yum!

Next day it poured rain all day, so we mostly did indoor activities: Cafe Hon for brunch (I recommend the mimosas and carrot cake) and then the American Visionary Art Museum. We spent a couple of hours here; it's all outsider art so art by people with no formal training (and some crazy people), kids would love this place. There was a model of the Lusitania made out of 193,000 toothpicks and 5 gallons of glue. Have you ever seen one of those rubber band balls? They had the same thing but 12 feet in diameter and made out of bras! Lots of whirligigs and toys with moving parts, hundreds of cool portraits made out of (what looked to me like) spirographs! Tiny sculptures carved in the end of a pencil lead! Murals drawn by a 112 year old man (similar drawing style to my 9 year old)!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sweden, ya youbetcha

Today we headed to Sweden. We hopped in the car, cranked up the Abba, and cruised on down to Andersonville in Chicago. First stop: Swedish American Museum, this was a lovely little museum, newly refurbished, and it was an ideal size for children. We spent about 30 minutes looking through the exhibits, which are all very accessible, for me the most interesting exhibit was about Raoul Wallenberg, who saved 120,000 people from the Nazis, only to disappear into a concentration camp himself.

Next we ate at Ann Sather's, famous for their cinnamon rolls, and rightly so. Although I swear I got a cavity just from eating one. We walked around the neighborhood which is full of cute book stores, art galleries, boutiques, etc.

I have to say this was an enlightening trip, Chicago has so much to offer, all of it right in our own backyard. We visited 5 "countries" and put less than 200 miles on the car altogether. I told the kids that it will not end here, we will continue our "Trip Around the World" in the coming weeks (on Saturdays) and I have Greece, Italy, Germany, and Korea in my sights.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Greetings from India

Today, fourth day on our trip around the world, we went to India, or actually Devon Street in Chicago. The kids said this was one of the best days, even though they weren't crazy about the food.

We shopped in a sari/fabric shop (I saw the perfect fabric for the Kimono dress in Weekend sewing, but had no idea how much to buy, might have to swing by there on our way to Sweden tomorrow), bought 24 beautiful bangles for $15, some beaded purses, the little one bought a beautiful treasure box, and ate a fabulous buffet at Tiffin.

Tomorrow, Sweden!

Buenos Dias

Today we went to Mexico! This was a homecoming of sorts, my husband was actually born in Mexico (the real Mexico) but grew up in Pilsen (the Chicago-Mexico) that we visited today. It was fun because he showed us the houses where he grew up, the laundry mat where they washed their clothes, his schools, the hole in the fence where he would sneak home from school when he was 5 (now repaired, we had to imagine), the alley where he learned to ride his bike, the park where he learned to swim, and much much more.

We ate lunch at Nuevo Leon on 18th street (highly recommended, lunch for 4 including tip was $31 and the food is great!) and we planned on visiting the Mexican Museum of Art, but our youngest felt sick and we had to head home (she was carsick, nothing to do with the restaurant, she didn't even eat). As my husband said, "Someone always gets sick when you go to Mexico!"
Before heading home, we picked up some Pan Dulces at Nopal. Tomorrow we are headed to India.