So apparently this guy, whom many of you liked so well on Monday:
is also this guy:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And even this one:
(Okay, I admit, the eyeliner doesn't work. Not too sure about the wee tiny dog, either.)
His name is Marco Dapper, and apparently this is a case of WG arriving late to a very sexy party. (I also think I have just a bit of a crush on him. You know, on a purely spiritual level.)
Just FYI, a Google image search on his name will turn up some far more revealing pictures of Marco than I am willing to publish on this family-oriented blog. Happy hunting!
Thinking very shallow Friday thoughts,
Here's a picture of the very simple Herringbone lace scarf I'm knitting for a coworker. It's amazing to me that a one line repeat of K2tog, YO, K2 can turn out something that appears so intricate.
I'm using Classic Elite Alpaca Sox yarn, and I've really enjoyed working with it.
Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern:
After my debacle with The Scarf that Ate Minnesota, I think I'm going to skip the blocking on this one and just deliver it to the lucky recipient as-is.
All of you real lace-knitters will just have to forgive me.
[BTW I've always loved the German word for that feeling: Gewissensbisse, "conscience bites."]
You see, I've been stepping out on a partner of more than ten years, and I don't think I can stop.
I'm cheating on my hairstylist.
"Tina" has never given me anything but a perfect haircut since Darren referred me to her shortly after he and I started dating in 1997. Yet, despite my long and successful collaboration with Tina, lately I've found myself under the spell of a tiny Hmong woman named Karen, who works at--wow, this is harder than I expected--Great Clips.
Things with Karen started innocently enough. I needed a haircut before a vacation last July, and Tina didn't have any openings in her schedule. Rather than look unkempt and shaggy on my trip to Las Vegas (where I have a certain image and reputation to maintain) I decided to "play haircut roulette" and take my chances at the Great Clips a mile from my house.
Even if Tina could have squeezed me into her schedule, getting to and from the mall where she works would have meant more than an hour in the car, and I had packing to do for my trip. (See how I try to justify it all?)
So I took my chances, and walked into Great Clips. Fifteen minutes later I walked out with an amazing haircut--one that got me compliments from women, gay men, and even straight men.
Now just you try to tell me that's not a damn good haircut. Better yet, even with a generous tip, my total that day came to $19.
Compare that meager fee to the $40 I typically spend on a visit to Tina (and that's when I don't buy any "product"), and the scales start to tip in Karen's favor.
Then there's the matter of Tina's spotty punctuality. In the ten years she been my stylist, she has frequently been between thirty and sixty minutes behind in her bookings. (Clearly, I'll put up with a lot for a good haircut.) So, to kill time as I wait for my appointment, I stroll the mall, and I usually end up buying a shirt at Old Navy. Even if I find a good sale, tack another $10 onto the cost of the haircut.
Tina has a pleasant if demeanor, and tells me amusingly off-color trailer park stories while she cuts my hair. On the one hand, that's enjoyable, because I do like a good trashy story. On the other, Tina's constant patter things down considerably, because when she tells me a story, she often stops working and just jabs at me with her scissors to underscore the dramatic details she relays.
Also, and I feel bad for saying this, Tina has some seriously stanky cigarette/coffee halitosis going on. I always hold my breath when she trims my bangs.
Karen, for her part, has minty fresh breath, though she rarely speaks. Her English is rather weak, you see. Our conversations run something like this:
Karen: So nice see you again! What you want today?
WG: The usual: a number one clipper on the sides and back. Blended. Finger length on top and textured. Spiky bangs."
[Ten minutes pass. Only the sound of the clippers and the scissors break the silence.]
Karen: You like?
WG: Perfect, thanks.
Karen: Have nice weeken! [Yes, the final -d is elided.]
But I look smokin' hot, people. Smokin. And I'm spending just $19!
It sounds so simple, so reasonable, doesn't it? Time is money. Gas is money. And, when you get right down to it, money is money.
But the guilt, good God, the guilt!
On Easter morning, I was named first runner-up in a blasphemous Easter limerick contest held by my pal Scott over at Going 40 in 20 Zone.
The contest was judged by Al Sicherman, long-time columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He's now semi-retired, but he still contributes essays to the paper from time to time. His essay on how he chose the winners is quite entertaining in its own right.
For the purposes of judging the contestants' poetic efforts, Al devised two categories of blasphemy:
And now the judge's pronouncement:
"Second place in Blasphemous with Crudities goes to No. 4, [the entry of yours truly, WG] which not only is the crudest entry, it also contains, in line 2, perhaps the ultimate self-referencing joke."
So here I hang, nailed to a tree.
And Christ, I'm just thirty-three!
The “King of the Jews?”
Oh piss off, you screws.
Dad, whack that f*ck Judas for me!
The limerick that surpassed mine to take top honors is quite a bit more blasphemous. (You'll have to pop over to Scott's blog to read that one.)
I had considered heading in a similar thematic direction myself, but I finally chickened out.
Even a queer agnostic lapsed Catholic can fear divine retribution.
I cranked out a gigantic pair of mittens in the past few days. These are the aforementioned mitts for my pal Greg. On Wednesday, I knitted for nearly seven hours--until I got a blister on my left index finger. (I'm pretty sure that was my first knitting-related blister.)
Here they are prior to being put though three hot wash cycles. My dainty little hand provides a sense of scale.
And here are the same mittens, nicely felted and drying. It never ceases to amaze me that hot water and an hour of being battered in the washing machine can work such magic.
Clearly, they're still too big for my wee paw, but Greg is a big strappin' fellow, so they should be just right for him.
Last night I started something completely different--an airy (but simple) lace scarf. Pics of that next week.
Have a great weekend!
Well, maybe "sleepy customer" would be more accurate.
Here's little Tommy, my friend Cheryl's nephew, wearing the cap I made for him. Naturally, he looks smashing (even without the hat).
He looks pretty hale and hardy for a tyke who just had open heart surgery a couple weeks ago. I'm glad to see he still has room to grow into his hat, though.
That was a well spent afternoon of knitting.
Darren started making these cookies about a month ago, and they're a damn tasty treat. Chewy, delicious, and loaded with heart-healthy oats (and um, lots of sugar and fat).
Well, we're focusing on the delicious part. Go ahead and read up about this old-timey recipe, but then I strongly suggest you make a btach this weekend.
Makes 48 cookies
• 1 cup rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking or instant)
• 1 cup flour
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons golden syrup, such as Lyle's
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 tablespoons boiling water
Position oven racks in the middle and upper third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Combine the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.
Combine the butter and syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook for a few minutes, until the butter has melted and the syrup is bubbling.
Combine the baking soda and water in a small bowl and add it, stirring, to the butter mixture, which will foam up immediately. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough, spaced about 1 inch apart, onto the baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back; bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are a rich golden brown.
[Note: Keep a close eye on the cookies at this stage. We've found that they get brown more quickly than the recipe suggests.]
Transfer the finished cookies to a wire rack; they will crisp up as they cool.
I dare you to eat just seventeen...
Shortly after I started my new job, I used one of my favorite metaphors to describe the way I felt as I adjusted to my hitherto unprecedented level of daily activity.
Back then I compared myself to a circus performer who frantically spins plates on sticks, trying to keep the whole collection from crashing down in a million shards.
Seven months into the job, I had been feeling quite proud of my ability to handle my long list of clients, manage twenty-some web sites, write for the company's internal magazine, and be the voice a new internal blog for web site managers across the organization.
This week, a tall stack of new plates was added to my routine, but now I will be performing my act while balancing on a tightrope over a pit of flames and used hypodermic needles.
Of course, I'm being overly dramatic (as is my wont), but there has been a seismic upheaval in my cozy three person team. My friend and colleague, Greg, whom I have mentioned several times in my blog, gave his notice last Wednesday, because he has had the amazing good fortune to be offered what could only be called his dream job. To forgo such an opportunity would be the acme of foolishness, and Greg's no fool.
I'll offer this analogy: Imagine if I were offered a job traveling to Vienna several times a year to write up reviews of my favorite coffee houses, then get paid to eat delicious pastries, have sex with hot Viennese men (no weak-chinned Habsburg heirs allowed!), and go daily to the theater and art museums. I wouldn't hesitate a second to bail on my current position, even though it's by far the best corporate job I've ever had. (Of, you know, the three I've had.)
My manager and I (along with the larger communications department) are terribly sad to see Greg go, because he's a delight to work with and he's a great friend to us both. But because he's our friend, we're also very happy to see him find a job that's such a perfect fit for his talents and interests.
In the short term, work will be extra stressful as we adjust to the gaping hole his departure will leave in our small, already over-burdened team.
We'll fill the position, and eventually the workload will be balanced out again, but we'll never replace the unique combination of intelligence, charm and quiet good humor Greg shared with us each day.
My boss and I call him our "Zen Master," because whenever we felt our heads were going to explode from stress, he was an island of serenity in the choppy sea of our neuroses.
Our little work family will be together two more weeks, which leaves me plenty of time to send Greg off with a bitchin' pair of felted mittens. The first one is already off the needles, and I'll cast on for mitten two tonight.
After all, spring may be arriving, but in Minnesota, winter is always just around the corner.
PS. I awoke to four inches of fresh snow this morning. Spring sure is taking its own damn time getting here.
The boys at Knit Night this past Friday suggested that a sabbath serving of beefcake would make for a perfect lead-in to Monday's beloved institution, Better Than Coffee.
Never let it be said that WG ignores the "enthusiasms" of his readers (or the solemnity of Holy Week, for that matter).
Ladies and gentlemen--and particularly gentlemen of a certain persuasion-- behold!
Kneeling Before the Divine
Now go forth and spread the good word!
PS. On Palm Sunday, 1977, when I was an innocent lad of ten, I slipped on a dewy hill and broke my leg. At the time I recall thinking God was probably punishing me for telling my mom how much I hated the extra long service on Palm Sunday.
One shudders to imagine what sort of divine retribution lies in wait for me after this sacrilicious addition to my blog.
My mother, Ann, would have been sixty-four today.
Because her birthday fell so close to St. Patrick's Day, and she was from an Irish family, as a child I just assumed that people were wearing green in her honor. (Her maiden name was Kelly, after all)
I remember being shocked four years ago that someone who seemed so young had suddenly arrived at one of "the big birthdays." I didn't make a huge fuss, because I knew that she wasn't keen on hitting the "advanced" age of sixty. I sent her flowers and a card, and I gave her call, during which we agreed not to mention the actual number of candles on the cake she wasn't having.
Of course, sixty now seems impossibly young, because she never made it to sixty-one.
I love the impish glint this photo captures. It reminds me so much of my nephew, Gavin, who always has some wicked little trick up his sleeve. For example, until nearly age five, he told everyone he met--child or adult--that his name was "Bubble." We never knew why he did it, but the satisfied look on his face told us that he had his own reasons.
It's funny--my mom was many things, but "impish" really wouldn't make the list of her character traits. Somehow, though, this picture gives me a feeling that Gavin may have inherited his quirky personality from Nana. Call it the recessive "wicked gleam gene."
Seems reasonable to me. He inherited the same spray of freckles across his nose, too.
This picture warmed my heart. It shows my manager, Cheryl, and her son, Max, modeling the mittens I made for them.
The cat's mittens, as you might expect, have been Photoshopped in, but I've been assured that Tom, Cheryl's husband, was indeed suspending the compliant feline in front of the web-cam.
And once again, my knitting brings joy to a suburban family.
On to my next knitting adventure!
Howdy, y'all. I've been scrambling like mad to wrap up an essay I want to submit to Newsweek, and I just now got it done. Of course, Newsweek's stupid server is being flaky and won't let me submit my brilliant work. Nice. I'll have to try again later.
I should be writing you an entertaining blog post right now, but look what FedEx left at my door today.
I know, $69 bucks, big woop. But I'm still excited about my new toy. So I'm off to load it up with fun tunes for my workout. I promise a real post tomorrow.
I've been on something of a knitting bender the past few weeks. (And still, a certain sock remains unfinished, just two inches from the toe. Unconscionable, when you get right down to it, but such is life.)
I've been cranking out pairs of mittens left and right, although the pattern I use doesn't differentiate between the two. Here's the latest finished pair, freshly felted and ready to go to their owner today. I'm all together satisfied with them.
I hadn't really expected to finish the mitts on Friday, so Saturday found me with an unexpected knitting window that I used to whip up a quick cap for the newborn nephew of my friend Cheryl. The poor little guy is getting off to a rough start health-wise, and I wanted to send his mom a something to keep him cozy in the hospital, even though she doesn't know me from Adam.
This is a repeat of my new go-to pattern for baby gifts. It's quick, easy and cute. I got most of the cap done while suffering through the movie Transformers.
So, let's see, where does that leave me? I owe my pal Matt (designer of my blog's new banner images) a pair of socks, and I have two scarf requests that remain outstanding.
I think I need to learn to knit in my sleep.
The irony was delicious.
You see, I've noticed this fellow for years, because he wears the singularly most artificial-looking, cheap-ass toupee I have ever seen.
Sure, he's not afraid of ANYTHING--except having people see his bald head.
I mean, come on. Unless his pate is covered with swastika tattoos, nothing he's concealing could possibly be as upsetting as the awful rug atop his melon.
We're talking about a full wig here, a virtual pith helmet of hair. It's obviously synthetic: coarse and utterly immobile. The bangs are curled sharply upward, like a nylon wave of doll's hair about to crash over the shoals of his pallid forehead.
At the nape of his neck, the "hair" is as stiff as a broom, and there is a ghastly gap of at least a quarter inch between it and his skin.
The color of this horrid hairpiece is one that is not one found in nature, I can assure you. It's something like the not-quite-right gold color in a box of Crayola Crayons.
No human has ever grown hair in that hue. It is supposed to be blond? Or gray? Or blond that is going gray? Who can tell?
I watched the man exercise with a mix of amusement and pity. He was dripping sweat, but his hair-helmet remained bone dry. I imagined how miserably hot his head must under all the plastic.
I just want to walk up to him, tear off the nasty wig, and say "You're free! No go forth and sin no more!"
But I don't.
For those of you who haven't yet given up entirely on the Food Network (and there are so many, many reasons to do so) and crave a cooking show whose host insults neither our intelligence nor our palates, then take heart.
Nigella Lawson is here for us.
I know I'm a bit late to the party (Nigella has been a shining star in the English culinary firmament for several years), but over the past few months I have become utterly smitten with Ms Lawson.
Her simply prepared, appealing fare eschews the gag-inducing "semi-homemade" and 30-minute gimmickry that has infected all too many of the programs on the Food Network.
Moreover, Nigella adores food so palpably that I want to give her a hug of pure joy.
Should I ever have the opportunity to deliver such an embrace (and I admit that the chances of this transpiring are poor at best) it's comforting to know that I would not be met by the skeletal frame and the monstrous silicon mounds jutting out of Sandra Lee, or as I like to call her,"Trailer Park Barbie."
And you know what? She doesn't give a good goddamn. Quite the contrary--she dresses in form-fitting clothes that further emphasize her exaggerated hourglass figure.
If it was Nigella's recipes that first drew me in, it was her masterful use of the English language that won my heart for good and always.
She wields words even more precisely than she uses her gleaming Henckels knives, and there can be no doubt that her vocabulary far outstrips that of any other Food Network personality.
Not only is Nigella aware that the word "espresso" is both spelled and pronounced without an "X" in the first syllable, but I have a very hard time imagining Paula Deen ever referring to the crispy, burned sugar topping of creme brulee as a "carapace."
A cara-what, yowl??
Even the recipes from her show that get posted on the Food Network's web site are little works of genius, in which Nigella's elegant prose forms a perfect counterpoint to her tasty fare.
If you've ever read one of her recipes, you've probably noticed that there's often as much text describing the food and the way it will make you feel as there is information on how to prepare it. How could a chubby food-obsessed writer like WG possibly resist such blandishments?
As entertaining as it is to read her words, nothing beats hearing her deliver them herself. Every episode of Nigella Express or Nigella Feasts contains at least one moment of pure linguistic bliss, often delivered casually as a wicked, witty aside.
Take this, for example: "When I'm feeling down, a dessert like this truly nurtures my soul. Or at least it would if I had a soul."
Oh SNAP, honey! Great food served up with a blithe denial of the existence of the soul. The cheek of the woman makes me want to leap up and kiss the TV. Let's see Sandra Lee deliver a line like that while cubing up Velveeta cheese for THE BEST cheese fondue WE HAVE EVER HAD!
Perhaps it's unfair to compare the scabrous, gin-soaked "Aunt Sandy" (a Univ. of Wisconsin, La Crosse dropout who thinks that "fancy-dancy" is the highest praise one can bestow upon a restaurant) to an Oxford educated journalist and former literary editor of London's Sunday Times.
Well that's just too damn bad for Sandy, isn't it?
For years, Sandra Lee has polluted the airwaves with her vile "food," while searing our eyes and killing our souls with her hideous, dystopian tablescapes of insanity and despair. Enough is enough!
Nigella Lawson, for all her emotional based eating and late-night binges at the refrigerator, is a sultry breath of fresh air on my Sunday mornings. Let's all hope that she's with us long after Sandra Lee has been melted down into her component parts of silicon and plastic hair extensions to be repurposed as something truly useful--like an iPhone protector.
So, instead of the kind-hearted chiding I expected to receive, I was literally patted on the back for managing to maintain a steady weight through the holidays and my last eight weeks of sloth and excess.
Oddly enough, for the first portion of my appointment, we spoke German. (His is really good for a "layman.") During our chit-chat, he mentioned to me that his son is a dancer, is gay, and will be moving to New York to start college. I thought it was very cool that he volunteered the information about his son.
Anyway, I never had to drop my britches for the socially awkward you-know-what check, and more incredibly still, I didn't have to leave a single drop of my precious, precious blood behind. (Many more exams like this, and I'll start to think the spark has left our relationship.)
We did talk about some strategies for adding more activity to my day (e.g. going for a two-minute walk every thirty minutes during the work day), and he praised me for my habit of printing out the weekly menu at the company cafeteria and highlighting the lowest calorie choices. (And yes, I also eat those--I don't just highlight them.)
None of this changes the fact that I'm totally bored with my workouts lately. Maybe the tiny gren toy I ordered from Apple will change that. It's one of the new 2-gigabyte iPod Shuffles that just came out this week. It won't be here for ten business days, but over the past weekend I put together a new 500-song workout smart playlist (with Darren's help setting up the parameters).
A $69 Shuffle isn't as thrilling as an iPhone (we're waiting for the second generation to come out), but it's still pretty fun. Plus, I also got it laser engraved with a line that I find amusing but am keeping to myself.
So, in summary: not as fat as I thought. Could be thinner. Tiny iPod purchased.
Now I must close, because the "bone" Hudson has been chewing for the past five minutes appears to my one of my USB thumb-drives.
For a variety of reasons, some of them weak (e.g. it's -20 outside, and I can't bear to leave the house and go to the gym), some of them utterly farcical (e.g. my left thumb sort of hurts), I haven't been good about working out over the past few weeks.
No, not good at all.
That hasn't meant, however, that I've been extra careful about my caloric intake. The past week in particular, with the various birthday treats I've allowed myself (culminating in a truly wondrous tapas meal last Friday night), has left me feeling doughy and slightly too large for my skin.
I'm also constantly surrounded by food at work, and despite my best intentions, I find myself nibbling on cookies, bagels, and other pointless things, just because they're available. Bad, bad, WG!
I know from past experience that after one good week back at the gym, I'll feel much better, both physically and emotionally, but unfortunately I have a doctor's appointment today.
I would love to postpone it by two weeks, but since I've already done that twice, my conscience (and Darren, whom I told about the canceled appointments) won't let me wiggle out of it again.
Normally what I hate about these appointment with my endocrinologist is the blood draw (at least five vials), but this time what I'm really dreading is the weigh-in.
It's not that my doctor (a fellow Macalester grad, as it turns out) will shame me or scold me if I'm up a few pounds from six months ago, but he'll express kind and reasonable concern, and that's actually worse, because I know he's right.
He'll encourage me (again) to take the clinic's four week course on nutrition, and I'll counter (again) that I know all about good nutrition, but I often choose to ignore what I know in favor of what I want. (If only I had the iron will of some bloggers.)
On the other hand, I suppose I could luck out...
Oh, to face such humiliation on a Tuesday. Sigh.
* For those of you who don't have every bit of dialog in the first three Star Wars movies memorized, "Bu shuda" is Jabba the Hutt's first line in Return of the Jedi. But just FYI, there are bigger geeks than me. Who knew?
WoolGatherer claims no rights to the images of models posted on this blog. If the owner(s) of the respective images do not wish for their work to be displayed on this site, the photos will be removed upon emailed request.
All opinions expressed on this blog, no matter how ridiculous or perverse, are solely those of the author.