Dead Head

Remember this?


I loved this show when I was a kid.  It was just so . . . goofy.  As a 6-year-old, it made me laugh to see how abnormal the Addams Family was.  They weren't frightening to me . . . mysterious and spooky, maybe, but heavy on the "ooky" (which I took to mean . . . alternative!).  And that made me laugh.

I especially loved Morticia.  I remember thinking it was so funny that she cut OFF the flower blooms before putting the stems in a vase -- or that she preferred dead flowers to live flowers.  That was just so . . . silly . . . to me!

But now, as an adult and as a gardener, I see her point.

Although I prefer bursting blooms and gorgeous blossoms in my garden, at this time of year - when everything is dying back - I also find beauty in spent flowers.

Drooping blooms.


Frozen petals.


Shrivelled and shrinking.


Dull and dreary.




Altogether "ooky" . . . that's for sure.  But beautiful, in their own way.  Maybe Morticia was on to something there!

Word Power

I have long been a fan of Kate Atkinson's novels, but I was a little bit leary of the new PBS Masterpiece Mystery series, Case Histories, which is based on the first three of her "Jackson Brodie" books.  I'm generally disappointed when books I love are made into movies.  Especially when I have a strong image in mind for the characters, or when the stories are more emotionally complicated than action-packed.

Like. . . Kate Atkinson's novels. 

Or . . . like the Jackson Brodie in my mind.

But then I saw this.


And decided to give the series a try.  Because the actor Jason Issacs (who was apparently Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies) matches up with the Jackson Brodie in my mind ... just fine.   (Just fine, indeed!)

Anyway, I watched Episode 1 last night on my iPad.  It was very good, actually.  I'll definitely watch the rest of the series. 

And, speaking of books, I just need to say that Nina Sankovitch's Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is fabulous.  Simply fabulous! 


It is a reader's memoir, relaying the discoveries of Nina's own "year of magical reading" and demonstrating the sheer power of words to heal and comfort and ground us.  Very worth a read -- especially if you like books.  (And, trust me, you'll boost your own personal reading queue by. . . oh, about 365 book titles or so!)

And one more thing.

Can any of you explain what I'm missing with Joyce Carol Oates?

I've just read another book by Joyce Carol Oates.  (My fourth.)  I know that she is considered a "must-read" author.   She's prolific (having written over 50 novels!).  She's won many literary awards -- and been nominated for even more.  She's always mentioned as a "favorite" to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.  And she's "discovered" and encouraged many young and up-and-coming authors (like Jonathan Safran Foer).

But.  I don't get it.  I just . . . don't like her books.

There's just something about her style that doesn't resonate with me.  And her characters?  Well. . . I never seem to connect with any of them.   In the book I finished last night (American Appetites), I actually did a little celebratory dance when one of the characters died mid-way through the book. . . because then I wouldn't have to listen to her whine anymore!

It's that bad.

So.  What am I missing here?  (Help me.)

But no worries.  There are plenty of other books to read! 

Word power!



Friday Round Up: Hurried Edition

Where does the time go?  Friday afternoon already.  How can that be? 

Lots going on . . .

Brian is involved in The Pull this weekend at Hope College.


Saturday is Light the Night (it's not too late to make a donation if you're so inclined!).


Next week is Banned Books Week.


The new season of Dexter begins Sunday night.


And Jenny wants to play.


Looks like a busy weekend!  Have a good one. . .

Money for Nothing OR TV on My Terms


Stay tuned!  Don't touch that dial!  That's right, this week's Ten on Tuesday topic is . . . Things to Do Instead of Watching TV.  I think we need a soundtrack. . .

Now.  I don't watch all that much television.  Oh, sure.  I have my thing for Don Draper Mad Men.


And I'm really looking forward to the next Project Runway season (this Thursday, folks!).


And, yeah, those Glee kids have totally stolen my heart.


But.  I tend to watch television on MY terms.  The tv is never just turned on for "background noise."  Tom and I rarely just turn on the tv and surf.  (I can't make this claim for Brian, however.  He's a bored 18-year-old on summer vacation.  He heads into the man-cave that is my family room and watches plenty of crap that is, unfortunately, targeted to his demographic.)  Anyway.  I don't watch tv news, I don't watch sports (except hockey sometimes), I don't watch daytime shows, I don't watch talk shows, I don't watch commercial television (sorry Don Draper).  I do, though, watch DVDs of tv shows; I watch episodes on my computer; I use my DVR and record things to watch later (without commercials).  So I can't claim a tv-free existence -- but I can claim to watch tv the way I want to watch it.

What do I suggest for things to do BESIDES watching tv?  Well. . .
  1. Knit (although you can do this while watching tv, too. . .)
  2. Read
  3. Go outside and take a walk
  4. Play in the garden
  5. Do a workout; get moving
  6. Cook dinner for your family
  7. Talk
  8. Enjoy a glass of wine on the patio
  9. Play with your dog
  10. Set your DVR or order from Netflix or visit your local library . . . so you can watch what you want. . . when you want to watch it. . .later.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast!

All the Cool Kids

. . . are doing it!  Here's mine. . .


If you want to play with this really fun webtool, just click here and try it for yourself!


The other hot topic around the blog world today is. . . the Ten on Tuesday: Television Edition.  That one is tough for me. . . because I don't watch much television.  But when I do, I tune in to these shows:

1 -- Mad Men

2 -- Project Runway

3 -- Dexter

4 -- House

5 -- 30 Rock

Hmmmmm.  I guess I only have Five this Tuesday!

Another Friday RoundUp

I had fun with my Friday RoundUp last week, so I'm doing it again. . .

On the Needles

Not much knitting news this week.  I'm plugging away on my Psychic Heart Mittens.  One is done.  One is not.  Blocking is sorely needed.

Random stuff 012210 002 

I really don't like the yellow.  It looks like it will play so nicely with the other colors. . . just sitting there in the skein.  Once it gets out in the open, though.  Yikes!  So bright!  It screams at the other colors!  I also discovered that I'm not really liking the "Latvian" shape of the the top of the mitten (which you can't see in this photo) -- but it comes to a point.  I much prefer a rounded shape on my mittens.  These mittens will be. . . fine. . . when they're finished.  They need a good blocking, and they do look better on my hand than just laying there.  All in all, it's been good to get back into color work -- and I've learned some important color lessons.

Because these mittens are futzy (although the pattern is easy to memorize), I have a simple project going for tv-watching and phone-talking. 

Random stuff 012210 006 

Yet another Noro-stripe-scarf (without the Noro).  Apparently, I will never tire of watching the colors change and blend together.  

I also took some time to sit back with a cup of tea and some new knitting magazines yesterday.  Knitting magazines seem to be totally hit or miss with me.  Either I hate every design, or I like a bunch of them.  I don't know why that is. . . but I rarely just like one design!  Yesterday, I was completely charmed by these---

Random stuff 012210 003

The top sweater is in knitsimple (Winter 09/10), and the bottom one is in Verena Knitting (Winter 2010).  This one, though, (also from Verena) is the one that's really calling to me ---

Random stuff 012210 004 

The collar, though???  What is it doing?  I really can't tell from the photo or the schematic in the directions.  I would need to see the collar before ever committing to making this!


In the Ears

Here's what I'm listening to right now.

Random stuff 012210 015 

I love Louise Erdrich's work.  I'm not sure how I missed reading this one when it first came out, but I did.  I'm listening now, though.  I'm listening while I do my household chores. . . while I walk the dog. . .  while I knit. . .while Brian tries to talk to me.  How did I manage before my favorite-of-all-combinations -- iPod and Audible -- came to be?


My Favorite Things

When I was a little girl, I loved The Sound of Music.  I knew every song by heart.  Although it wasn't my favorite song from the movie, I always liked the concept behind "My Favorite Things."  Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. . . bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. . . brown paper packages tied up with string. . .  What I always liked about the song was that the "favorite things" were such minor, little things.  I think, as an 8-year-old, I was totally taken with the notion that things didn't need to be "fancy" or "big" to be "favorite."  I've always found that comforting.

And, I'm always discovering my own "favorite things."  Simple little things that make me smile.  Things like . . .my new teapot!

Stump pot 001 

It's just the most perfect little teapot!  It's bright and cheerful, AND it brews two cups of tea -- with a little infuser insert (so it's really simple to use loose leaf tea).

Stump pot 003 

Definitely one of my new "favorite things!"


Make it Work!

I used to be a big Project Runway fan.  It was a perfect show for me --- I like fashion; I like to sew.  I was always impressed by the things the designers could produce from odd and limited materials over such a short, pressure-filled time period.  I thought it was completely fun.  Until last season, that is, which was a total snooze-fest.

Well.  So glad I decided to give it one more try and watch the new season.  Last night, the designers had to make their models "look good in a potato sack!"  They went from this. . .


To this. . .


So far, WAY more entertaining!


  And, Some Mind Candy

Ice cream

Have a great weekend -- full of ice cream or any other treats you may desire!