Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Crazy Eyes

I have discovered the secret to terrifying young eyelashes!
From Irish Clover

This weekend, Little Clover and I attended his annual school Halloween party. He dressed as Annakin Skywalker (again), and I decided to get a little bit crazy and put on blue eyelashes. The reaction was more than I expected. Little Clover brought all of his friends around to gawk at my eyes. One little friend even exclaimed "Whoa! Those are huge!" Children stared at me in shock as they slowly backed away towards their parents in scary ghostly costumes. Parents I regularly see stopped in mid conversation because they just couldn't talk to me with my crazy eyes. Who knew that a little bit of colored nylon could cause such a stir.

Little Clover did have an awesome time running amok with his friends. He is officially a big kid now. When we attend these school parties and get togethers, he immediately attaches to his pod of friends and they gallavant about as a single unit without parents. They are all very good though with checking in with the parentals throughout the night (generally when they want someone to hold something or to feed them). The freedom to socialize is not just for Little Clover now. I've had the opportunity to get better acquainted with the other moms and dads. We generaly look to the ones with older children on how to get through this new milestone. They smile and tell us that when the kids hit college age, they come back. In the meantime, I'll hold Little Clover's jacket, his water, and hand him a dollar for concessions.

Oh, and I'll knit mittens, which are just as wonderful as handknit socks, but much faster to knit.
From Irish Clover

This is one of a pair of modified Pink Sonata mittens from Vogue Knitting. The are modified because I made a few changes and for a brief day, kept on knitting even though I didn't have the pattern with me.

For starters, the pattern calls for sock yarn knit on US size 2 needles. These pair of mittens are for fishing, so I wanted a denser fabric and knit them on size 0 needles and followed the pattern for the medium mittens. Since my row gauge would now be completely different, I increased for the thumb gussett every 4th row instead of every 3rd row and added a couple of extra rounds of knitting at the bottom and the top. Then, I just winged it when I got to the fingers. I'm curious to see what will happen if I follow the pattern.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Daily (Wonder)Bread

First, let me begin by wishing Mrs. Soprano a very happy birthday. Her special day was yesterday and I hope it was filled with all the warmth and love she sends out into the world coming back to bless her day.

For those who know me, you know I am a foodie, and despite setting the microwave on fire at a young age, having meals pre-made for me when my parents were away from home, and marrying a man who did all the cooking for our first year of marriage, I love to cook. When Italian finally convinced me that cooking and new foods are indeed fun, I ended up jumping into it with my typical voracity and began watching the Food Network, collecting cookbooks, subscribing to cooking magazines, and finally, reading non fiction works on food, the food system, and food economy; so when Michael Pollan was interviewed on Fresh Air, Italian naturally wanted to let me know.
The community garden in my dad's neighborhood

Pollan, author of Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, recently authored an open letter to the Presidential Candidates request a reevaluation of our food system for the sake of health and national security. If you have never read any of his work, this is a great time to be introduced to him and reintroduced to your food. In his letter and interview, Pollan encourages us to become more engaged in our food process and what it is doing to our economy, our environment, and our bodies.
Small tomatoes from the community garden

I think one of the things I love most about Pollan's works is his focus on quality food and enjoyment of food. He's approach is not preachy, but matter of fact, and he takes takes some of the polarizing undertones out of the food argument. There are not moral justifications of eating meat or not eating meat, but there is a strong focus on eating local and building a food community. The eat local movement, or otherwise know as sustainable food cultures, strives to bring the community back together by emphasizing something we all have in common, eating. I kinda like his description of the eat local movement as culinary home schooling. So set the table, find local sources of food, and share a meal and conversation. Happy Friday.

(Oh, I also finished a sweater! Woo, hoo!)
From Irish Clover

Pattern: Green Gables
Yarn: Malibrigo Merino Silk
Notes: I have no idea what I did, but I did something truly wacky. I knit this sweater twice, once in the size 36 and then in the 38 size. The difference between the two sizes was close to 8 inches, not the two inches it should have been. The 38 fits better, but has more ease than I like, but at least I can get it on without it turning into a halter top. I had serious 80s flashbacks.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Me: Hey, kiddo, how was the book fair at school?
LC: Great! They had lots of books and neat stuff.
Me: Did you get what you wanted?
LC: Kinda. They were out of red soccer pens, so I got an orange one and I'll just pretend that it was red and faded. I did get little iPod ear thingies.
Me: Oh, I quite like those.
LC: They were out of $100 bill erasers, so I got two fifties.
(This is the point were I choke on the laugh that almost escaped my lips.)

It has been a week of flashbacks for us at Clover Field. First, sock weather has finally hit the Delta and I was thrilled to be wearing my once again complete Widdershins. I'm not sure how many times I wore them before I lost a sock, but with some luck, this time they'll stick around as a pair a little bit longer. Knitting a third sock was actually good for me. I gained a much, much better grasp on the construction of a toe-up heel flap sock and could knit another pair with more confidence and a better understanding. I don't want to knit three socks all the time, but every once in a while doesn't seen too bad.

From Irish Clover

In addition to the Widdershin flashback, I'm still chugging away at my second attempt at Green Gables. Even though I am only knitting one size up, which should be a difference of two inches, this Green Gables is close to eight inches more in circumference and requires one more entire ball of yarn than my first attempt. I held it up against me last night and it does look like it will be a much better fit. Little Clover looked at me and said, "Mama, you need to keep knitting. That won't even cover your belly." I'll take his advice and work on it for another night or two.

From Irish Clover

The week wasn't limited to just knitting flashbacks, but also to a personal one. My college roommate came into town to attend one of our professor's jubilee celebration for his 50 years as part of a religious order. He was our theatre professor, so a few other former cast members were also present. Professors we hadn't seen in ten years still new our names and greeted us with warmth. We had a chance to catch up and reminisce, talking about our old plays and performances. Then, we had the luxury of seeing our old performance space, recently renovated. A new floor had been installed and some new drapes and panelling were added. The seating space was improved, but the stage still brought back a wealth of memories. Finally, when it was obvious we had been there long enough, we posed for one last cast photo.

From Irish Clover

Who knows if I'll ever act again, but I can smile knowing I have a few years of enjoying Little Clover's performances and the memory of a very cute guy who brought out the actor in me (yep, that's Italian in the photo).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Veni vidi vici

(or, "Honey, toga up!")

It was a victorious weekend for Little Clover. He had his last soccer game Sunday, and the tension was thick as he and his undefeated team entered the field to face off the only other undefeated team in his league. Not only were the two teams undefeated, but Little Clover's coach's son was playing for the other team. After spending the entire season playing for two teams, the coach's son had to play against his dad. One team would walk away, still undefeated, while the other would have a long ride home.

Little Clover, the future diplomat that he is, tried to negotiate a tie. The ref would have none of it, so the game began and the two teams played hard. Both teams scored one goal each in open play, but our team managed to score one extra penalty shot. With each goal Little Clover made, he held his arms out like an airplane and zoomed across the field, just like he has done since he was truly little. The best part of this season is not really being undefeated (although it is nice) but rather, Little Clover's oblivion to how much his scoring helped his team. When he was asked who has scored the most goals, he genuinely replied, "My team has." I, being the proud mama bird, will easily tell you, my baby scored more than half of the team's goals. I think, his response is better.

I should probably explain the subtitle of today's post. Italian and I had the pleasure of spending some time with our neighbors Saturday. In college, I began thinking of what kind of neighbors I wanted and what would adult life be like. The vision of close knit neighbors who actually hang out together seemed to be a nice idea but also, slightly antiquated. Italian and I found our current neighborhood a few years ago and began to notice more and more houses popping up for sale. The buyers were couples close to our age, mostly with small kids. This looked like it had potential.

Our neighbors have had small social gatherings a few times and for one reason or another, we were never able to make it, until this weekend. When The Pilot and The Pilot's Wife coordinated a progressive dinner, we were thrilled to actually be in town. Now, for the catch, it was to be a progressive toga party, and yes, I have pictures.
From Irish Clover

Everyone was a great sport, wearing togas and embellishments. We walked from house to house with each course, ending at Clover Field for desserts of tiramisu and panna cotta. I can only imagine the looks we must have gotten traipsing through our yards and streets.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rip it up

This weekend was going to be a weekend of finishing. It was also going to the weekend when the Cubs pulled through an amazing comeback. Neither happened, not really. I did finish the third Widdershin sock, and I must say, I'm glad I knitted a third sock in this pattern. I have a full pair again and a better understanding of the toe-up sock construction. Plus, knitting one sock instead of two is super fast and was good for my ego (look, ma! a pair of socks in just two weeks).

After casting off the Widdershin and weaving in the ins, a black dark cloud appear on the horizon. The Cubs began to complete blow their post season series, then, I finished knitting the Green Gables sweater and it looked extremely small. I tried it on and the sweater was more of a crop top, stretched to its capacity. I flung it off in disgust and frogged the damn thing. I hunted desperately for a new pattern, just so I could say I completed the Green Gables, but nothing really spoke to me for this particular yarn. I gave myself the chance to settle down and later that night, while reveling in Little Clover's stellar soccer wins (He scored 4 of his teams 7 goals across two games), I poured myself some wine and casted on. This sweater better be comfy.
From Irish Clover