I can breath again

On Friday, I took the GRE. For the uninitiated, that’s the General Record Exam and almost every graduate program requires that you spend $115 and 2 months of your life in preparation. It’s all computerized, so I got my score right away (600 verbal and 560 quantitative – if you’re interested). There’s also an analytical writing section which won’t be graded for a couple of weeks. Overall, I’m pleased with the score and really, really, really glad it’s over.

To celebrate, I bought some of these:

I love dark chocolate – the darker the better. Whenever I travel, I try to find the darkest chocolate in the region. My favorite up to this point has been Finnish. Scharffen Berger is now officially the best damn chocolate I’ve ever had. I also got a bar of the baking chocolate and showed Little Big Man the brownie recipe (he’s a slave to brownies). He wanted to bake last night at 10:00 pm – I made him wait.

On the knitting front – Clapotis is done. She’s just waiting for a bath and slight blocking. I love Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb. I have 8 skeins in a lovely brown that I’m eyeing. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but I want to work with it now.

I also started the Victorian Lace Scarf from Lisa Knits. It’s a 28 row pattern, but is fairly simple – just what I need right now. I must say the pattern is extremely well written with easy to follow instructions. I will be knitting one of her patterns again.

Happy Thanksgiving (and 3 day week) to those of you in the US. Pass the pumpkin cheesecake!

Best Little Yarn Shop in Michigan

Okay, so it’s not so little, but Threadbear is really the best yarn shop I’ve been in (and I’ve been in a lot of yarn shops). Never mind that it’s the biggest yarn shop I’ve been in. Rob and Matt carry all my favorite yarns and quite a few of my least favorite too! I think it’s a shop that would make any knitter happy.

On Saturday, I tripped up there with Jillian and Amy to attend a signing of KnitWit and hang out at the shop. Here’s J waiting patiently for her total:

And here’s Amy – who only likes candid shots of herself:

And who else was there? Shannon of Bitter Girl fame:

I also met the Cakers’ mom, Marcia (of Purls before Swine fame). A very nice woman. Go have a look at her blog and see her progress on a very Knitty scarf.

Here’s the image I can’t get out of my head, Rob dancing around with 3 skeins of incredibly lovely Lion & Lamb, singing, “She’s gonna catch the Clap, she’s gonna catch the Clap!” Here’s what I’ve done with the first skein:

This is the very beginning of Clapotis, another very Knitty scarf. I love the feel of this yarn. It has a bit of a funky smell, but feels divine. It’s the first real knitting I’ve done in months. I think being in the shop, surrounded by all that yarn and all that creativity just made me want to knit again. Whatever the reason – I’m glad to oblige the urge.

Baltimore

Has a very nice yarn shop called A Good Yarn. It is the tiniest shop I’ve ever been in, but it’s packed with stuff like this:

What you see is 4 skeins of lovely Canadian single-spun yarn and a skein of Noro Iro (75% wool and 25% silk). The Canadian yarn is sheepy smelling – very yummy. I picked up a skein of it to buy and then went around looking for a pattern to go with it.

I must say that everytime I picked up a skein of yarn, Phyllis (who was working at the counter) showed me something that she had made from it. I was impressed with her knowledge and her knitting skills.

When I asked where I could get a bite to eat, Phyllis checked with Lorraine (the shop owner). Lorraine pulled Floyd (her husband) out of the back room to walk me over to their favorite beer and burger joint – Kooper’s. She said, “This lady is from out of town and we don’t want her walking over there by herself – do we?” Floyd and I had a nice chat and the Guinness and burger were terrific!!

I was in Baltimore for a work conference and really dreaded going. I remembered it as being dirty and not a nice place. I’m happy to say that my opinion has changed. The people in A Good Yarn were absolutely lovely and the cab drivers that took me back and forth that night were chatty and friendly in a good way. I’m not clammoring to go back, but if I have to – I know where to go.

Baryshnikov

On Saturday I took Sassy to see this man:

dance. I expected ballet – silent leaps, powerful arabesques, classical music. I got something better. We saw Forbidden Christmas or the Doctor and the Patient.

Initially, I must admit that I was a little disappointed. The sets and costumes were very simple (a car was painted on a backdrop and was dragged across stage on a set of wires – when the car reappeared to travel in the opposite direction – the painting was still facing the original direction). The action was a little slow and even though it was only 90 minutes long, I was worried that Sassy was getting antsy.

The play has a very Russian sensibility. Once I realized that, the simplicity of the sets made sense. For me, it’s a feeling of not only making do with what you have, but creating something extraordinary. Because I was not distracted by amazing scenery and costumes, I paid more attention to the actors and what they were telling me.

Forbidden Christmas refers to the way the Communists tried to stamp out any signs of Christianity in their people. They actually cut all power on Christmas Eve, thinking that this would stop people from celebrating. I have to admire people who continued to believe despite the obstacles.

It was worth sitting though the dogma just to see the grace and beauty Baryshnikov brings to the stage. I’m very glad we went and even more pleased that Sassy enjoyed herself so much. If you have the chance to see the show – go.