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qotd, German cognates edition

"The rest of the time, Connor's job was to work on his fingerspitzengefuhl. That was a useful word. It was a German word, of course. The Germans had words for everything, created by the simple expedient of bashing as many smaller words as you needed together until you got one monster mouth-murderer like fingerspitzengefuhl that exactly and precisely conveyed something that no other language could even get close to."

 -- For the Win, Cory Doctorow


A few words on Boston/Cambridge:

I had a great time and I hope that the folks who made it to Porter Square Books did as well. Pictures, which I took but then foolishly left the cable that will let me upload them at home, later.

Burdick's is everything I had hoped for and more. That is the best hot chocolate, which I had cold, that I have ever had ever. I may have to come back just to have it again. It's like the crack of hot chocolate.

On the way to Burdick's, I walked past a stationery store that sucked me into its vast gravity well. The guy behind the counter - I may have made a purchase or two - and stuck up conversation about letterpress that was entirely pleasant. It's nice when strangers share your odd obsessions. 

Speaking of, Boston just seems like a remarkably pleasant city and easy to get around in as long as you don't try to drive. I drove the mom bomb to my hotel downtown and nearly had a very small but intense mental collapse when trying to get there. I was so unnerved, in fact, that I did something I never do, which is do valet parking. I just couldn't bring myself to find a garage. Besides, I'm highly amused to see my ancient minivan in the queue behind three Saabs, a Mercedes and an Audi. 

But the rest of the trip has been swell.

You know how when you visit new cities you always try to picture yourself living there? I could totally live here. And that's not just so that I can be closer to Burdicks. Not entirely, anyway.

Back on the road...

out and about

Tomorrow, I take Boston. 

For those in the area, I'll be doing my show and tell with Mary Tudor at Porter Square Books on Thursday. Please come if you can. I'll also have tchotckes to give away.

Given that we are nearing the end of the semester and I'd still like to keep my day job, all of these trips, while great fun, have been short. I don't get to see much of any given place before I either have to head home or am asleep on my feet. Such is life. 

I have developed a strategy, however, a method for getting myself to at least see some of the city. I pick one place that I've always wanted to go to and force myself to find it on foot. In Manhattan, it was the glassybaby in Soho*. In Boston, my goal is the L.A. Budick near Harvard Square. Chocolate mice will be mine!

I didn't say it was a profound or worthy goal. 

One more event has been added to April, fyi. I'll be heading back to Albany to speak/knit at The Book House on Tuesday, April  20. Please come if you can.


* The real New Yorkers disagree that the shop is in Soho and feel its more TriBeCa. Anyone care to weigh in?

many things make a post

* Hooray for Tom Colburn!

* Iain M Banks has another Culture novel on the way. The only downside is that I want it right now.

* Andy Singer says what we've all been thinking about olive oil.

* Seth Stevenson has a book out! How did I not know this?

* Stolen from Trish: the bath plug of much hilarity.

* I don't think it's possible to look at this picture and not flinch.

* "Wake up every morning, decide what you feel like doing and do it." While this is just good general advice, it relates to shaving one's legs and pits.

* You know there has to be some interesting backstory on these pictures. But I'm not sure that I can handle the truth.

* This is mostly a reminder for my Dad, who lives in Columbus. Next time I'm in town, I need to go here.

* The staff at Wait, Wait eats the new KFC "sandwich" and lives (so far) to tell the tale.

* This story about The Golf Channel, which I watch more than I'd like because my husband doesn't gripe too much about my Bravo problem, is worth it for this line alone: "There's no need to adjust your set," an announcer reassured us. "The greens are a little greener at Augusta National." How much more green could it be? The answer is none. None more green.

tamale day!

Anna wrote a much better wrap up of the event at her house than I could. Plus, my camensia struck again and I took one picture of the cake. And that's it. 

Thanks to all who came out! It was great fun. (Though I was just struck with dread at the thought that I spelled Lee's name wrong. I did, didn't I?)

On Sunday, we gathered with the Pie Goddess, the Grill Master and their kids to celebrate my birthday a little bit late. Really, my natal day was just an excuse for a big dinner, which is as it should be.


There were margaritas.


The PG made tamales, which were so very, very good I can only begin to gush about them. Lard was involved. The recipe came from Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex cookbook, which I might have given to the PG on her last birthday because I wanted her to cook something from it for me.

What? Like you've never done that...

The spread in its entirety:


My contribution was a pan of Mocha Brownies a la the Pioneer Woman.


If you put an entire pound of butter into a recipe that fits in a 9" square pan, it's bound to be good. And these were, if a touch too sweet for my taste. But if you put enough coffee ice cream on them, well, then they're perfect.
 For planning purposes - next year will be my 40th. We are planning to spend the closest weekend at a spa. Who's in?

qotd, theater edition

"Rehearsals began the next day.

My heart wants to go into great detail about it, but my mind knows there is no point in trying. Any production in the live theater merits a book of its own. There is always exhilaration and disaster, feuding and fistfights and fornication. Half the cast usually hates the other half. At some point the set designer or the lighting director storms out of the theater and has to be wheedled back to work. In the last week, as dress rehearsals loom, there is despair. On opening night, there will be at least two nasty crises, the one you half-expected, and the one that sprang out of nowhere. 

And then the curtain rises...and usually the whole mad enterprise works."

-- John Varley, The Golden Globe.


For thems that care - I just walked in the door, am triaging my in-box and am pondering unpacking. The Philly trip was big fun - so much fun that I seem to be losing my voice, although that could be the result of the sudden onslaught of pollen. It's really, really green in PA right now. Like Ireland green. Crazy.

More anon.

more me

Two more Sweater Quest-y links:

Not Martha, whose readers are mighty and quick, was the last (for now) stop on the Blog Book Tour.

Radio host Debbie Mandel talked with me about the book and the stress-relieving properties* of knitting last week. The interview is now available online. Scroll down until you hit March 30.

I've also added a convenient link to all of the Blog Book Tour posts. Look to your left.

Tomorrow, I take Philadelphia. What weird edible treat should I not miss?


** I didn't tell her about the stress-inducing properties of knitting. Why spoil the mystery?

many things make a post

* Make your own gluten-free chicken nuggets. The Hub has been experimenting with these for years. Maybe this will be the golden nugget that the Diva can and will eat?

* Pillow chair from old t-shirts.

* Dogs can work miracles.

* A college friend of mine met his boyfriend at a penis festival in Japan. Every time I mention this tidbit of useless info, folks look at me like I've completely made up the "penis festival in Japan" bit. And so I offer (NSFW) proof.

* And speaking of NSFW (but very, very funny) - sex columnist Dan Savage on the weirdest letter he's ever received. (Thanks to Doula K for pointing it out.)

Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

* How advertising helps preschoolers classify their world - and why that's not necessarily a bad thing.

* If I had more time: felt goldfish.

* Turns out that the founders of the green movement should have picked another color if they wanted to be truly green.

* On this day in 1916.

* Like Marie Rutkoski, I've found that having kids made me a better writer, if only because I have to use what time I have effectively and suddenly had more to say. YMMV.

* Surreal knitting photography.

* Einstein's brain was a disappointment.

* I have no pithy summation: Junebug on figuring out what is worth her time.

* I wonder if the spouse would be cool with hanging this on one wall of our bedroom...

* Andy Roddick is a model of an athlete who exploits what his is rather than what he is not. And that is why I love him.

another stalking opportunity

A quick update on upcoming events before I launch into a quasi-coherent-but-picture-rich wrap-up of the last few days.

A Sweater Quest event has been added: On April 8 at 2 p.m., I'll be doing my show-and-tell at the Haveford Township Free Library near Philadelphia. Admission to the event is free. Bring your knitting, if you'd like.

Later that night, I'll be giving a reading at the Stitch Bitch's house at 7 p.m. Holler (politely) at her for the details.

Right. The wrap-up:

Here is the only picture I managed to take while in New York City. 


It's the nighttime view into the WTC site from my hotel room. They're doing construction 24/7 now, since the city had to spend five years arguing about what to build there. The constant rumble was the best white noise machine ever, tho. I slept like a baby.

Well. Not like one of my babies. I slept like a baby who sleeps.

Fortunately, Cyndi took pictures of the event itself. If you are in Philly at one of the events above, remind me to take a picture, would ya? I am a writer of very little brain.

I did finish the world's most boring sweater:


The color is more true in this picture. I picked the yarn (Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply worsted in Charcoal) to set off the buttons, because I love these buttons more than you might imagine a person loving a button.


The yarn itself is soft and drapey once you bathe it. Love.

I also may have gotten myself an early birthday present while away. 


glassybaby now has a Soho store. The blue one on the left was a previous gift to myself. The one on the right is new. I'm not sure how I feel about the larger size. It still feels lovely in the hand but, hrm, I'm torn. 

Easter also hit us during the last few days. The stable where the Diva rides had an egg hunt.


The Boy (in the red shirt) does his stretching exercises before taking to the field.


The Diva, post sugar high. 

As you can tell from the pixs, the weather was delightful, which is rare around here for early April. We reveled in it, frankly.

And, because it was so lovely, part of our Sunday morning egg-stravaganza was in the backyard.


The apple tree that came down during the last big snow was a great hiding place.


McGregor did what cats have done on Easter since the beginning of time, which is laze around the house:


He'd like you to know that it is the angle and the lighting that is making him look fat. 

home again - but only for a moment

Because I still want to keep my day job and do the writing thing, I had to leave the city at a very dark hour to make it back home in time to teach. Which I have done. The tricky bit is that I can't now fall asleep but have to haul my sleepy, sleepy behind to campus for a few hours. Then more coffee will be in order.

This is the best kind of problem to have, mind. I'm not complaining. Just explaining why I'm going to be thin on the ground today. I will tell you about the very nice Metro-North guy and the Om event - just not right this second, since I should be putting my shoes back on and walking out the door.

So, until then, Alison at the Blue Blog has an interview with yrs trly

More anon....