cocoa purl

Chocolate Covered Misadventures (knitting, childrearing, surviving) of a Passable Mind

HELLO….hello…ECHO…echo March 3, 2008

Filed under: knitting,news,rambling — cocoapurl @ 2:02 am

Yes, I am in fact still here.

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been so neglectful of the blog of late. It could be because I’m not feeling all that interesting, or that the chronicles of what its like in Rochester in late February doesn’t seem all that blog-worthy. Or it could be that I’ve just turned 36, its flippin’ -30 degrees (or thereabouts) outside, my beloved Subaru seems to be rebelling in a big way against the new kid in the driveway (more about that in a bit), I have a single inch-square of emergency Ghiradelli in the house, and I’m hip-deep in grading. BLECH.

So much for my promise not to wallow. My apologies.

On the upside, I’ve learned to make socks. ME. The probability of me pulling this off was really right up there with losing 20 pounds, winning the lottery, or discovering the secret to Barack Obama’s charm (my vote is on subliminal messages, or some kind of hypno-blinking. Or maybe he just smells good). Needless to say, I’m ridiculously pleased with myself. When I turned that heel, it was like the heaven’s parted and the hallelujah chorus kicked in. And don’t even get me started on grafting/kitchener stitch. I was already rationalizing how fashionable it would be to have toeless socks – pedicure socks! Brilliant! – when, quite surprisingly, at about 1:15 am, I got it (Knit, slip, Purl…Purl, slip, knit…..). And behold, there was a toe. And it was good.

OK, I had some help. A lot of help. I took a sock knitting class. For the non-knitters among you, this may sound like a pretty sad way to spend three consecutive Saturday mornings. And I would probably agree that knitting socks sounds about as exciting, say, as a 25-year anniversary “Thriller” video tribute. (I told you I was feeling old.)

But I and my fellow intrepid sock knitters were a united front, giving moral support and sharing mutual tales of woe, until one day, one of us produced…a SOCK. (It wasn’t me – I was in the remedial section). The reception of that first sock by the group was on par with the arrival of a newborn baby. We passed it around, cradled it gently, =at its beauty and construction, and oohd and aahhd at how soft it was.

Now you’ve gone from mocking to pity. But that’s OK. Because I’ve made not one, but TWO PAIR at this point.


These are barrel-distortion induced cankles. Really. Ask any optical engineer. Please.


Doesn’t everyone put their handmade socks on their nightstand? Right next to my copy of Friday Night Knitting Club and my cinnamon schnapps nightcap (like mouthwash, but you can swallow it).

I’m graduating to fingering (sock) weight yarn – the REALLY COOL yarn, on teensy-weensy needles. These things (size 1) are nearly microscopic, and feel so delicate I’m afraid to hold them too tightly (which I feel myself doing, along with not breathing, on account of not wanting to drop a teensy-weensy stitch). My hands have never felt more like meaty mitts as they do when I’m using these needles.


I feel like I’m in the “man-hands” Seinfeld episode.

Quarter break is approaching (have you noticed the correlation between finals week and blog entries? Sheer coincidence.), and I am quite looking forward to spending some quality time with my boys and my yarn. Because that’s how I roll.

(The one cool thing about getting older is that you really begin to care less how un-cool you truly are. Peace out.)


P.S. I think our new too-cool-for-us Scion xD must be sticking its tongue out at our poor lonely Subaru, because the latter has developed a wonderful crunching noise when turning, a gas perfume that’ll knock you over, has burned out one headlight and one fog light (almost like winking), and has begun to sing the siren song of an alternator on its way out. And the check engine light is now on. All in the last week.

There are good reasons for this. One – the inspection is due, uh, tomorrow. Two – we paid off the darn thing. Three – we bought a new, young, cheeky car, and the middle-aged gal’s feelings are hurt.

I’ve tried reasoning with her, telling her that we’re just giving her a break – 50 miles a day for 6 years – you’ve earned some time off, my friend! It didn’t work. She proceeded to short out the headlight-switch wand thingy and chew up the wiper blades.


Can you keep a secret? November 9, 2007

Filed under: BG,blog,news,rambling — cocoapurl @ 9:04 pm

I can. Its one of my talents, I suppose. Some people are athletic, others good at math. I can keep my mouth shut. It may not come in handy as much as math (= Nobel Prize, or at least being able to calculate tip) or athleticism (= $$, endorsements), but it has its moments.

The second week of October is big in our house – BG’s birthday is the 10th, our anniversary is the 11th. This year, it wasn’t just any ol’ anniversary – it was our 10th. (We’ve been sharing the same space for thirteen years, actually, but you don’t get credit for the pre-marriage years. Maybe because they were probationary.) Since the tenth is the Tin Anniversary (or the modern equivalent, aluminum), the obsessive gift giver in me really needed it to be both a)Memorable and b) Keeping with the metal theme. I came up with a doozy, if I do say so myself: Race car driving lessons.

Those of you who know my husband know this is potentially a dangerous idea – not because he would hurt himself – he’s actually an excellent driver – but because it would be like giving heroin to a former cocaine addict. BG was very into cars and hot rods growing up – he has many fond memories of various male family members driving him and his cousins on country roads, very fast. This was in the days before shoulder belts, or even seat belts, in some cars, as well as, he feels obliged to point out, without strict DUI laws. He fondly recalls the six-pack rattling as he and his cousins butts’ rose off the seat over a particularly fast hill.

My next problem was how to pay for it. Being a race car driver, for even just a few hours, is not cheap (I’m sure a good portion of this fee goes to their liability insurance). So as relatives began asking what to get BG for his birthday, I mentioned my idea, and viola – donations to the BG-Racer fund began to come in. After some quick math, (with calculator of course), the tickets were bought. I’ve never taken longer to hit “Submit” in my entire life – I think I sat there for at least an hour.

The day of our anniversary arrived – though I was empty handed, I told BG that he needed to be ready and caffeinated for a significant amount of driving the following Thursday night. It was an Oscar-worthy test of my mettle – I told him nothing more than he needed to pack for two nights and put a full tank of gas in the car. My fabulous mother-in-law (who contributed significantly to the BGRacer scholarship) was coming that afternoon to hang out with LG while we were away.

He quizzed me and asked me and tried to be sly, but I was having none of it. As scheduled, we left right after my lecture on Thursday night.

I gave him turn by turn directions (for FOUR HOURS), hoping that his spatial superpower would fail with a lack of visual stimuli – I wouldn’t let him look at the map, and it was pitch black out. Sure enough, these factors short circuited his internal mapping ability, and he had no other clue where we were other than the “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign.

The mystery remained as we got up bright and early the next morning – we needed to be there by 7:45 am, and I wasn’t taking any chances. So we were out of the motel by 7. I won’t comment on how attractive we were, but I did manage a shower and a cup of tea for me, coffee and danish for him.

It was pretty foggy out, but out of the mist emerged the giant “POCONO RACEWAY” sign, and BG muttered “No WAY.”

From then on, he was smiling so much I think his lips stuck to his teeth.

We went through a half-hour of orientation – me, BG, and three other couples and a single guy. We sat through the informational DVD, which, in all honesty, I tuned out as they were talking about the geometry of turn 1. It was more fun to surreptitiously watch BG as he soaked up every word, every moment.

THIS makes it go…

“THIS makes it go very fast… “

The other significant others and I settled in to watch as the boys got suited up for their ride (in addition to the drive, they got a three-lap ride as well). I am proud to say that BG was the only one that didn’t struggle to get in through the window – must have been all that “Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid. For some odd reason, I kept hearing theme music in my head, which ranged from the Rocky theme (when he was getting suited up, helmet in hand) to “Sweet Home Alabama” (when they were pulling out), to AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. Not ordinarily on my internal playlist, but there was an awful lot of testosterone floating around.

Happy. Very Happy. VERY Happy

Happy BG. VERY Happy.

At this point, it was becoming mistier and mistier – not raining, precisely, but the air was becoming more and more sauna-like; only without the heat. Sitting on the metal chairs under our pop-canopy, we (the other ladies and I) began to seriously chatter, teeth wise. And turn 1 was becoming a mystery – as we watched, the cars disappeared into the fog. This didn’t bode well – after all, those headlights are only painted on.

BG arrived back a few minutes later – turns out, three laps go pretty quickly at 160 MPH – with the report that they may not get to drive today. But he seemed not bothered at all by this info – he was positively giddy. I scanned my brain quickly for any withheld information that would upset him ordinarily – “They were on sale…I know its a lot for yarn, but they’ll be GIFTS…I forgot to take your T-shirts out of the dryer”, because now would be a GREAT time. He was impervious to disappointment, bad news, even shoe shopping. But I came up empty.

He didn’t get to take his drive that day, but we got a rain check for the following spring. As it turns out, I think this was a perfect way to go, because now he will have the benefit of anticipation, too.

Later that day, we went to an outlet mall, where I went, you guessed it – shoe shopping. On our way home, we took a “detour” so that I could go to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

Still Smiling Tuckered

Still smiling…….. and note the race car hat hasn’t come off, even for a nap.

Pretty Yarn

Meanwhile, I’m manhandling all kinds of pretty yarn…

Yarn Rainbow Hats

All natural dyes – can you stand it?

I probably could have garnered all kinds of sweet deals for myself at that point, like lifetime exemption from cleaning the bathroom, weekly pedicures, or no diaper changes for a month. He was feeling, literally, no pain – not from shopping, or from walking around looking at people looking at yarn. He did eventually retire back to the car for a nap, but even for that he held out an awfully long time. Just IMAGINE if he had access to a race car all the time – what a happy boy he would be. But for now, I think him getting to sit in one and take a ride is pretty darn good.

I’ll keep you posted on when he actually DRIVES it this spring. We may not be able to get him out.