Archive for July, 2010

Saturday Matinee – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

July 31, 2010

When I was small, the movie theater near our house had a special matinee on Saturday afternoons – films for kids for 25 cents.  My friend Laura and I went every week.  Sometimes it was a Disney film, but mostly we saw all the old Lewis and Martin movies, and for a while they were on an Elvis kick – saw all his films.  So – as I think it’s pretty odd that I’m a film freak and yet rarely blog about films – I will occasionally have a Saturday matinee here and remember some of my favourite films of all time.  I must give fair warning, though…most of my faves are golden oldies, with only a few modern films tossed into the mix.  So get your popcorn, here we go.

I do not really have a fan personality, I never did, I wasn’t  the type to idolize movie stars and plaster their pictures on my walls.   (A few rock stars, maybe, but that’s all.)  If there is one actor in the world whom I do idolize, it would have to be Katharine Hepburn.  Only with her do I confess to being a fan – I have her books, official and unofficial biographies, books about her films, and many many of her films on tape and dvd.  I was also blessed to have seen her on stage, in two different plays, and I am still in awe.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was made in 1967, the Civil Rights movement was in the news, and Kate and Spencer Tracy played a liberal couple who are nevertheless shocked when their daughter brings her new – and black – fiancé home for dinner.  The young doctor’s parents arrive as well, just as shocked and dismayed.  The couple plans to be married immediately, and leave that night for Geneva and the doctor’s post with the World Health Organization.

This was Spencer Tracy’s last film, and his ninth with Hepburn.   He was so ill that all the actors had to agree to waive their salaries if he died during the filming.  They did.  This last scene of the film became his “last words”, and he was, as always, magnificent.  It is all the more poignant since he died ten days after they finished filming it.

Despite the parents coming to terms with their own doubts and fears, the scene that is possibly my favourite film moment of all time is Kate’s reaction to her gallery employee, who having caught a glimpse of the young couple, shows up with a trumped up story in order to snoop and “commiserate”.  The incomparable Kate’s response, her timing, her tone,  is purely and simply wonderful.


Have a great week.

Blogoversary winner!

July 30, 2010

And…we have a winner! 

The hippie sheep have found a new home with…

PurlVerde !



Far out…..      Congrats and I’ll be emailing you for an address.  Enjoy!

And thanks to everyone for participating, for your wonderful comments and for making my blogoversary special.  Hope to continue to see you here!

Flaunt your book!

July 29, 2010

I’m woefully behind on my catalogue updates over at LibraryThing.  One room of bookshelves is listed already, another room of bookshelves to go.  And we won’t even talk about what I want to put in my Wishlist.  So little time!  Can we possibly get a few more hours into a day?  Where can we petition?

What, you don’t know LibraryThing?  As they describe it, it’s an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.   It’s also a full-powered cataloging application, searching the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and more than 80 world libraries. You can edit your information, search and sort it, “tag” books with your own subjects, or use the Library of Congress and Dewey systems to organize your collection.

And if you want it, LibraryThing is also an active social space.  You can check out other people’s libraries, see who has the most similar library to yours, swap reading suggestions, chat with authors, sign up for early reviews, etc.   I belong to several discussion groups there, although I don’t join in very often.

I do read their blog, though.  And it’s very handy when someone wants to give me a book – they can just check in my library there to see what I already have.

They also hold several Readathons during the year.  The next one is on August 22nd, and this is from the blog:

See, we’re having a ReadaThing readathon in August, and the theme is Reading In Public*…

The Reading In Public ReadaThing is one of a series of readathons hosted on LibraryThing’s forum system, Talk. A readathon is a chosen period of time (24 hours, usually) where members take turns reading, as to have non-stop reading during the event. Thanks to night-owls and international participation, there can be non-stop reading

*Unlike knitting in public, RIP is an unfortunate acronym.

**We decided that reading on your porch or in a lit window count, as long as someone else can see you. It’s kind of a reverse-peeping-tom.

(Ahem.  They know all about Knitting in Public day, it seems…. 😀 )

So, yes, I’m planning on reading in public that day, though I haven’t signed up for a time slot.  That’s a wee bit too structured for me…   I read in public a lot anyway, just like I knit in public a lot.  The site is selling LibraryThing T-shirts at a 40% discount  so lots of people can wear them while reading in public, and you can also download a special book cover to use that day to let the public know about the readathon while you’re reading.

So flaunt your book and flutter your pages on August 22nd.  What will you choose to read in public?  I will be reading a cozy, of course, now the question is which one?

(Hey, tomorrow the hippie sheep get a new home!  How exciting!)

The Happiness Project

July 28, 2010

Writer Gretchen Rubin’s #1 New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, is a memoir of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy — from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah.  The book hit the shelves in December 2009 .  As one of the hundreds of happiness experiments she conducted during the research and writing of the book, she started a blog, in which she recounts her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness.

The blog includes truths and myths about happiness, which Gretchen invites readers to discuss, a Happiness Project Toolbox, Wednesday tips, and lots of other information that make for interesting reading.

What tickled me, and started me reading her blog, was a June post in which she interviews Mark Frauenfelder, the founder of the popular website BoingBoing – “mischievous fun for higher primates”, and editor of Make Magazine.  His book Make By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throw-Away World came out in May.

I was enjoying reading the interview, and then I got to this question, and his answer:

Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?

I like hanging around people who knit. They are usually in a good mood. People who are staring into their iPhones *and* demanding your attention at the same time are not as much fun to be around.

Well, there you have it!  Knitting, or just being around knitters, adds to your happiness. (Just reading that made me happy, see how well it works?)    You can read the whole interview here.

On a somewhat related note,  the Knitting Today website has an entire line of Knit Happy products – I especially like the little knitting notebooks…

What makes you happy?  If you’re down, what do you do to give yourself a happiness boost?

A Wrinkle in Time, Ladies

July 25, 2010

Went to a birthday lunch yesterday for someone who just turned 65.  Her main complaint is wrinkles, she bemoaned them every time she looked at the pictures we were taking.

Partner and I became resigned to wrinkles ever since kidlet was about five, and mad at us about something, and sat singing a little song to herself, “I have two moms, one has wrinkles and the other is annoying.”   (I think I was the annoying one, but we’re not sure, since we never asked…)

So…this is dedicated to all of us – with thanks to Anita Renfroe.

Enjoying more cuppas

July 24, 2010

My tea stash is growing more than my yarn stash lately.    That’s not an easy accomplishment.

Last month Harney and Sons had a big promotional discount,  so I was able to grab some of their teas I had long wanted to try.  (I had received some of their Vanilla Comoro in a swap and loved it.)

The Florence is a chocolate hazelnut black tea, totally decadent.  The Boston is also a black tea, this one with cranberries and almonds.  The clever travel case, called a tagalong,  has sachets of African Autumn – rooibos, cranberries and oranges.   And as a gift – because Harney & Sons always sends a little gift with an order – a packet of their Organic Green tea, with citrus and ginkgo.

Then, over at 52teas (a part of  the Zoomdweebie’s group), they had a clearance sale to make room for the oodles of new tea blends coming up.  Now how could I resist?  These are mostly limited edition teas, once they’re gone, they’re gone.

I got a good variety.  The Wild Cherry is a black tea, Sheri’s blend is rooibos with apricot and cinnamon, the Banana-Peach is green tea, and the last is “You Put The” lime in the coconut, you blend it with some green yerba mate, some lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemongrass, and then you drink it all up!  By the way, they’re having an even bigger clearance right now, only for US customers, so head over there and say hi to Frank for me!

If all this wasn’t enough, my second shipment from The Unique Sheep Sip-n-Stitch club arrived!  Yarn and tea, double goodness.

The yarn is Verve – a luscious merino fingerweight – in the Buccaneer colourway.  A Unique Sheep mug.  Honey sticks, which are totally unnecessary with this tea, which is SerendipiTea‘s Buccaneer blend – a mix of black, rooibos and nilgiri tea with chocolate, vanilla and coconut added.  Wow.  I almost burned my mouth trying to gulp this, it’s that good.  I have to confess I did not know what nilgiri was, and I had to google it.  From Wikipedia:

Nilgiri tea is generally described as being a dark, intensely aromatic, fragrant and flavourful tea grown in the southern portion of the Western Ghats mountains of Southern India.

Drank some fantastic tea and learned something new.  Not bad.  And I will find something very special for the yarn!

I discovered a new tea at a local café, too.  Ordered chai, and was served with Julius Meinl chai, a brand I didn’t know.

Properly brewed with milk and spices, with cinnamon sticks added.  I haven’t seen this brand for sale in the shops, though.  I guess it will remain a treat when out.

At work, a manager from one of our China branches came to visit, and since I made all his arrangements, he brought me a gift – jasmine tea from Suzhou.  It came in a beautiful tin, which I will use long after the tea has been appreciated.

Found a cute new tea accessory at the mall, to keep your tea hot.  It’s a cup/mug cover, made of silicon and with a rubber duckie handle.

The silicon fits snugly over any size mug and doesn’t heat up itself, very practical.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have one in purple.  And no sheep handle.   sigh

Finally, if you’re looking for that perfect gift for the tea lover you love, check out tea pillows!  They’re a bit beyond my budget, but certainly intriguing, and I’m wondering if I can make one of these myself somehow…

So…..join me in a cuppa tea?   Happy sipping!

One Year Blogoversary!

July 23, 2010

Busy, busy, busy. I’ve barely had enough time to check my mail, let alone pen pithy words of wisdom for my blog. And so much to add!

First, yesterday was my first blogoversary!!   Yay, me!    To celebrate, I’m having a giveaway – something I saw this week and grabbed immediately for myself, and then decided to get another for a visitor to my blog.  I thought about yarn, but not all my visitors are knitters, and I wanted to give something for everyone.  I promise there will be more yarn giveaways in the future, though…

So….what will I be  giving away?   A notions bag, that’s just perfect for extra hooks and scissors and cable needles and tape measures and stitch markers and row counters, and all those things that can get lost in the knitting bag.  And if you don’t knit, well, it can hold your pencils and lip balm and any other little do-dads you don’t want getting lost.  It is purple (of course – would I have any other colour notions bag?), and on it are pictures of … hippie sheep!  On one side is a sheep with a guitar and peace sign

And on the other side are a whole bunch o’sheep in a VW van….I mean, how much more hippie-like can you get?  And sheep are cute, even if you don’t covet their wool.

(The text running along there is jolly love and peace jolly happiness.)

To enter, there are several possibilities.  A comment on my blog is an entry.  Tweet about the giveaway, and comment to tell me about it, another entry.  Blog about my giveaway on your own blog and then come back and tell me about it in a comment and you’ll receive another entry.  In a week, on July 30th, I’ll draw the winner out of a hat!  Let the fun begin!

And meanwhile, just why am I so busy?  Well, besides things being crazy at work and my boss jetting off to all corners of the globe leaving me with lots of things to take care of…

Had a wonderful visit by a cousin-by-marriage who was staying with a friend of hers in Jerusalem and decided to pop up north and visit us for a few days.  We rented a car and managed to see an amazing amount of the  country while she was here – climbed the walls of ancient Akko, went up to the border at Rosh HaNikra, toured the Druze village of Daliat-el-Carmel, drove all the way around the Sea of Galilee, had lunch on the waterside for two days running – once at Akko marina, and once in Tiberius, and went all over Haifa by night and by day – had dinner in some wonderful restaurants, including a great Lebanese restaurant in Haifa.  We ran her so ragged she may never want to come back – but I hope she does, I had a great time.  At least one day she got to relax all day on the beach…and I took her to a new café for dinner.  One of their specialties is their fruit juice smoothies…and while I was intrigued by the pear and beet juice combo, I settled for melon and mint and it was fantastic.  What unlikely combination of fruit juices would you want to try?

Kidlet hasn’t given us any more scares, thank goodness.  She went off to camp for a week – she begins boarding school in September and was invited to join her new class/housemates on a trip to a kibbutz on the northern border,  so off she went.  Called me the first night – at 1:30 in the morning – to tell me with horror that they had to get up at 4am to go to work on the kibbutz for 3 hours before breakfast.  And get up she did, every morning, to pull weeds in the orchards.  In the mud.  My fashion-conscious fastidious little princess.  I was thrilled.  And she loved it.  They hiked, spent lots of time at the pool, had lots of activities.  We went and picked her up today, and she already wants to go back.  Made lots of new friends, and can’t wait for school to start.   More about that later…

I can finally talk about a project I finished back in May!  When one friend Marina had a stash-busting evening, in which she gave away all the yarn she won’t have room for when she moves soon,  there was one yarn that our friend Ayelet really wanted.  But decided not to  take, because it was lace weight and she doesn’t knit lace, and so insisted that I take it.  And while it was light purple, it was entirely too pink for me.  So….I knit a shawl for Ayelet, and gave it to her this week after she gave birth to her beautiful new daughter Tama.

I made the Haruni shawl, designed by Emily Ross.

and so it was Ayelet’s  “Mommy present” !

I’ve already bought the yarn to make one of these for myself.  In purple.  But I’ve decided that the rest of the summer shall be for WIP-busting, and no more new projects cast on.  Ahem.  I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.

I’ve already finished the Dancing Cranes stole, and it’s blocking now.

Quite Only a few more WIPs to go.  Enough to keep me quite happy.  Until a new yarn/pattern calls out to me.  No!  I will be strong!   Eh.

Now, who is going to win my hippie sheep???

I’m a Fool !!

July 8, 2010

Back in April,  Silverlotus held a contest on her blog Reflections in the Pond, calling it “I’m a fool”.  Why?  In her words:

I can’t knit with wool.  It makes my throat itch, my tongue feels like it is swelling, and my eyes water.  It isn’t a pleasant experience, and I figure it is about darn time that I stop experimenting with wool yarn.  I keep trying to prove to myself that it is all in my head, only to get ill all over again.

So she had a giveaway with wool yarn she had bought and tried to knit with, only to suffer.  I was lucky enough to win her contest, and this week the yarn arrived!  In the package were: one skein each of Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca (wool and alpaca) in colour Salt & Pepper , Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca Fine (wool, alpaca, & nylon)  in Salt & Pepper , and Filatura di Costa Zarina (superwash merino) in bright blue.

She also sent some great pattern suggestions, which I will take into account, although as usual, I will wait for the yarn to tell me what it wants to be in its own sweet time.  Thanks again, Heather!!

Why was winning this contest so very appropriate for me?  In the Tarot, my personality card is The Fool.  Not in the sense of “idiot”, thank you very much, the Fool card is very special.  The Fool is one of three cards in the Tarot that is sometimes numbered uniquely. Most often, the Fool is placed at the beginning of the Major Arcana and is given the Number 0. Sometimes, the Fool is listed as the last card in the Trump cards, and given the Number 22. The most worthless card, yet also the most valuable one.   The first and the last, the alpha and the omega.  Technically, the Fool is very much akin to the “Jester” or “Wild Card” in regular playing cards. Living outside the confines of the regular cards, given a special status.  S/he is the innocent, the whimsical, the “inner child” mixed with the “inner sage” that lives down deep inside of us all.   Enjoying travel on all levels – mental, spiritual, emotional and physical.      Key words associated with the Fool are new beginnings, important decisions and optimism.  The Fool coaxes us to walk our own path, not the path of the “herd”.

This, of course, is combined together with my soul card, which is The Emperor.   Assertive and confident, an aura of authority.  (OK, OK, bossy….)   And my shadow or teacher card, which is Death.  Yeah, I know,  but hear me out.  The shadow card is what teaches us what is holding us back, what we need to learn to realise the full potential of our personality card.  And when I looked deeper into  the meaning of the Death card, I found this (italics mine):

Transformation and renewal is natural to you, not something to be avoided or frightened of.  You recognize the importance of letting go of elements in your life that are no longer useful, or hold you back from the future you’re trying to create.   New opportunities can only be realized when the clutter from the past is cleared.  You are especially adept at moving forward when the time comes.  Holding on to the past, or wallowing in the loss of times gone by will only stagnate your inner growth.

The word clutter is the key here.  Meet Queen Packrat.  I have a hard time getting rid of anything – on all levels –  and many times it has truly been a burden.   So what my shadow card is saying is hey, you can’t travel or be free with all the extra baggage.  Lose it.  The clutter has to go.  (Except for a few things, of course, on the physical plane…one can’t have too many books, or too much yarn, for example…)

Did I need the Tarot to tell me this?  Not really.  But it sure hit close to the mark.

If you want to know your own soul and personality cards, here’s a good link.

And in other knitting news, my JAL and KAL  WIPs are moving right along.

I’m on the third and last repeat of the Dancing Cranes stole – there are some extra rows in between the pattern repeats  that weren’t supposed to be there, they got knitted while I was sitting with kidlet in the hospital, and I wasn’t terribly focused.   No way I was going to tink or frog lace mohair, so for the next repeat I knitted the same extra rows intentionally.  It still works.

And the Seascape stole is past the halfway mark – I’m now into the 5th pattern repeat of the second chart.  I’m planning 7.    Still loving this yarn!!!!!

It’s fun knitting two stoles at the same time, one knitted lengthwise, and one widthwise.  I like the variety.

Maybe that’s the Fool in me….

Healthier models – it’s about time

July 4, 2010

In 2007,  there was a lot of fuss in Israel when 33-yr-old model Hila Elmalich was rushed unconscious  to hospital with anorexia and died at under 60 pounds.  Adi Barkan, the owner of a large  Tel Aviv modeling agency,  began to investigate the problem of eating disorders in the modeling world, especially with its repercussions on teenage girls, and decided to try and do something about it.   He began to push for legislation that would require models to be at a healthy BMI – body mass index – in order to be able to work.   (BMI is defined as an individual’s weight divided by the square of their height.)

There are some 200-300 female models working in the country,  says Barkan. “More than 70 percent of them suffer from undernourishment. They would rather their periods stop than add a kilogram. We’re talking about a life-and-death matter,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Initially working with Knesset member Inbal Gavriely, he successfully submitted legislation to Israel’s Parliament – and last week, it was finally endorsed.  The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs voted in favor of a bill proposed by MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima) and MK Danny Danon (Likud).

With this bill, commercial groups will be prohibited from displaying underweight models, and model agents will be banned from employing or representing such models. This also includes a ban on shooting underweight models, who will not be allowed to serve as label spokespersons. The bill requires models provide a medical permit indicating their BMI is normal.

According to the bill:

The prevalence of eating disorders, including anorexia, has been on the rise in recent years in the Israeli society, particularly among young girls. Studies show that one of the reasons for eating disorders among teenage girls is the influence of the media and the advertising industry, which feature particularly thin women as role models, thus influencing teenagers’ standards.

The fashion and advertising industries, in particular, have created a distorted image of an ideal woman using many underweight models. The purpose of this bill is to reduce the extent of teenage eating disorders.

As the mother of a teenage girl, I can testify how much she and her friends obsess about their weight.   It starts in kindergarten already – I remember kidlet and her friends discussing whether someone needed to diet at the age of 5 – and as teens it becomes all important to them, especially with the fashion of low cut jeans and short cropped tops designed to create a bulge around one’s middle no matter how slim.  (That fad slowly seems to be fading, thank goodness.)   Offhand parental comments and serious talks about being healthy fall on mostly deaf ears.

There are several young Israeli models –  most notably Bar Rafaeli and Esti Ginzburg – successfully enjoying an international career, while keeping a healthy look.

Let’s hope that this bill passes into law, and that it will spread.  More than 30 major companies in Israel have signed on to endorse the campaign, and Barkan hopes that the message of healthy models conveyed in the law will be carried around the world.   There has been international interest in the initiative, and positive news coverage.

Can we succeed in changing the current definition of beauty?   In my opinion, we have to – it’s a question of saving our kids’ lives.