Monday, August 31, 2009

Connecting with Lars and the Real Girl

Sometimes I am surprised by a film that totally charms me into loving it when I thought it was the last thing I would ever enjoy. Lars and the Real Girl (2007 ) turned into such a film. I was grazing on cable for something to be background noise while I worked on my current knitting project. This film seemed the least offensive thing to have drone on in my front room while I knitted and purled my way through a clapotis ( ). Funny at some points I had to remind myself to actually knit. I loved the film so much I picked up a copy from the library and watched it again on Friday night.

Why did I love this film? First I thought it would be a salacious story about a man and his Real Doll ( ) or "love doll" as they are sometimes called. In fact the relationship between Lars and Bianca, the doll, is complex and touching. Second, the story is quirky and unique. I was not sure what was going to happen next and was able to allow the director to take me on a sweet cinematological journey. In many ways the film reminded me of my all time favorite television show, Northern Exposure, touching and thought provoking with a smattering of humor thrown in for good measure. Without divulging too much of the plot, point number three, Patricia Clarkson as the amazingly pragmatic country doctor. Her understated guidance is the backbone of the film. I actually wish I had broken down and seen this film sooner and I am on the prowl to get my own copy.
Oh and let's talk about the knitting. There was lots of knitting. The film is set someplace cold and rural which required lots of scarves, mittens, tams, and sweaters. The main character, Lars, lovingly wears a baby blanket, knitted by his mother, around his neck like a scarf. One of the most touching scenes of the film features Lars surrounded by community matrons knitting and doing needlepoint as they try to comfort him. I don't know if it was the knitting or the content of the scene, but I did sniffle a little. I did just want to sit and down and join those ladies in a moment of community connectedness.
Which brings me to the theme that always sucks me in, connecting. Lars is just like the rest of us trying to connect with a world that sometimes seems strange and disconcerting. Funny, I can relate to that point. Why do you think I take the time away from my knitting to blog?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Catch-Up Part I
I have mentioned before that my dad has pancreatic cancer. Last November the Doctor said that if my dad and cancer were boxers he would beat on the cancer. He gave my dad six to nine months. I took it hard, my whole family did. This winter was rough, my dad got skinnier and skinnier. However, the cancer didn't move and got smaller. My dad kept up with his chemo and slowly he got stronger and put back on some of his weight. A couple of weeks ago he packed up his traveling kit and headed north on his iron horse. They didn't make it to Alaska, but he made it to Canada and had a good time. He came back exhausted, but happy. Then comes the good news, his cancer is still not moving or growing. Dad is official off chemo and is feeling good. This story still doesn't have the Hollywood ending, but the doctor is thinking maybe he should have bet on my dad.

Catch-Up Part II
Friday I had the day off and I got to hang out with the ever joyous Little Nell. We went to University City, had lunch at Pi ( ). Pi has the distinction of serving pizza to the President. The President liked it so much he has order it since his visit to St Louis. We thought if it was good enough for a president, it was good enough for us. Oh my was it yummy. We ordered the East Loop, a thin crust pizza with pesto and chicken and lots of delicious cheese. Not trying to get in any debates about which pizza style is best, but the waitresses' shirts proclaiming no provel was a good sign. The place was hopping and we were lucky to get a table they were so busy.

After pizza we walked next door to Knitty Couture ( ). Knitty Couture is not my usual knitting venue, but Friday was about thinking outside my usual box. We shopped ( I bought some Kid Silk Haze in toxic green) and then sat and knit with the shop owner. I felt like a rookie with two knit hall of famers, but they were both so gracious I clacked merrily along with them. The weather was beautiful and the company fabulous, it was a great afternoon.

Catch-up Part III
I did it, I went to see The Time Traveler's Wife. I loved the book so I was a little unsure of how I would feel about the film. I felt the scope of the book would be hard to distill down to a two hour film. I was impressed that the adaption was so well done. The essence of the story and important details were retained to make the movie very palatable. What really attracted me to book was the love story between Henry and Clare. In many ways the story reminded me of The Odyssey. Henry's journey is through the important events of his life, and Clare has to wait for him to return to her.

I think my only disappointment was the soundtrack. The novel had a very distinctive hardcore soundtrack in my head. The producers decided to take away that edge and give a softer more romantic ambiance to it. I was expecting a little more Ramones and got a lot more Soundscape Channel.

I am hoping this isn't a spoiler, but I was impressed the movie did not deviate to far from the ending of the novel. No Hollywood endings here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pie @ pi is positively presidential. Thanks lenora

Tuesday, August 18, 2009



Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Ziesemanns Go To Onondaga Cave

This year for Ziesemann/Jamie Day, we went to Onondaga Cave on the Meramec River in Crawford County. I grew up in Crawford County and often went to Onondaga Cave as a class trip or girl scout outing. But when I suggested the trip I did the math and realized it had been 31 years since I had toured the cave. As the date neared, I got excite to take people I love to a place I loved as a kid. I think the Ziesemanns were excited too because when I pulled up they were all standing in the driveway waiting for me, Mom, Dad, Abi, Delaney, and Wesley.

We stopped for lunch at the world famous Hen House, in my old home town, Bourbon, MO. The lunch was good and the company awesome. Wesley even made it a point to announce to the whole restaurant that his balls were sticking to his leg. We all laughed and everyone else stared at us like we were crazy city people. And of course we were.

The cave was changed since the last time I was there. The tourist trap like atmosphere was gone, and the serious brown sign state park ambiance was a much appreciated improvement. We immediately signed up for a tour and to be honest what I paid for 3 adults and 3 children was reasonable in comparison to going someplace like Six Flags. The tour had a very good group of people and our guide obviously shared my appreciation for this underground wonder.

The kids were nervous about going down into the cave and they were of course afraid of bats. I think the colors and the massive chambers astonished the whole family. Or maybe it was the occasional drips of water landing on us that our guide called cave "kisses" which did the trick. For me it was the descent down, down into the caverns that brought back memories of standing in the cool darkness next to 12 year girls squealing with delight at their own echoing giggles.

The tour went fairly well, and I could tell the whole family was enjoying the day and that made me feel good. The ascent out was a little steeper than I remembered, but I made it out. A bat flew over our heads at the end of our tour, which was the perfect little scare for the the kids. I thought they were going to pulled my arm off with their terror.

On the way out there was a lovely little prairie garden for a local politician who I knew when I was growing up. The garden had a gorgeous butterfly bush and I snapped this awesome photo of a yellow butterfly. We drove down to the Meramec and while standing on the banks I reminded the kids the water came from Meramec Spring that we visited last year ( ). The day was beautiful and the company perfect. I can't wait to take my niece and nephews to Onondaga Cave when they get a little older, hopefully a bat will fly over their heads too.

After we got back to Eureka the Ziesemanns drove me around and showed me this lovely field of Sunflowers. We stopped and took more photos. I had such a good day, I only hope that next time we go on an excursion I can live up to the standard of fabulous I have set for Ziesemann/Jamie day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife or How I Learned to PlayAway

I work in a library, and trust me any romantic ideas you may have about libraries are not what I do. There are few perks to my job with the exception of having more access to books, Cd's, DVDs, and audio books. With that said, I have become addicted to audio books. I love them, they make my commute to work and any jaunts around town better. Plus, I don't feel like such a dolt around my friends when they talk about all these great books they have read, I can now say, me too. One day while cruising between floors in the library I chanced upon a co-worker with a cart of audio-visual material and spotted something new, a playaway. Playaways are like little single title audio books which play independantly of a Cd or MP3 player. They come with a strap and they fit in a purse or a pocket. The one right on top was the Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Time Traveler went home with me that night. I just so happened to be ready for a new book and this one was perfect.
I loved the story, I was expecting something more like H G Wells and was delighted to find characters that were so much more delightful than I had expected. The plot jumps back and forth through time, telling the love story of a couple struggling with the male character's uncontolable leapfroging back and forth through time. The couple, Henry and Clare, span my generation, I feel like I could have danced next to them in clubs or bumped into them at an art opening or shopped next to them at Borders. They were very accessible to me. I laughed with them, cried with them, and waited for every moment I could find to listen to the story. They literally went everywhere with me for two weeks. The book was so popular Hollywood decide to take a stab at a movie version. I don't want to see the movie I loved the novel so much I am afraid it will ruin my imagine of the characters. I may relent on this point.
The book did well with me, the format not so much. I like the idea of the playaway, not the actual playaway. It was great to have the portability, but the open buttons on the playaway were annoying. I kept losing my place and being sent back to go. Unlike Cd's you could not just go back to your track, but on playaways getting back to your place in a chapter required a great deal of back and forthing to get close to your spot. I got really protective of those buttons, don't touch my buttons. In the end, the vulnerability of those buttons made me not want to check out another one, but like the movie, I may relent on that point too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Southern Yarn Crawl: Georgia & Kentucky

Sorry to not have blogged recently, I am trying to get accustom to my new schedule. Not had much time to devote to my virtual life. I want to finish my account of the last two shops I visited on my vacation.
On our way home we stopped in Macon GA for Creative Yarns ( ). This stop was truly about the stars aligning and fate smiling on two yarn tourists. The shop was right off the highway and despite its recent move to a new location down the street, it was easy to find. I knew from the moment we pulled up that this was going to be special. The shop was a converted residence and actually, still looked like you were walking into a home. The interior was newly painted and polished. Everything was very organized and beautifully displayed. I was actually a little overwhelmed by the dazzling array of yarns before me.

The house had six rooms which rather than being warren like was very open and flooded with natural light. Each room had a different type of fiber. The first room cottons, the next room high end novelty yarns and accessories, another room had sock yarn, one room contained weaving supplies, and the last room had big tables conveniently situated next to the books and magazines. I could have spent hours just sitting there paging through titles. I bought How to Knit the Woods by Shannon Okey. I succumbed to a Noro Furisode colorway and a delicious Prism Yarn which looks like it is beaded. I spent way too much money there, but the shop was just so lovely.

The shop had everything, a friendly staff, an amazing selection, beautiful building, and roomy tables. The only thing missing is comfy couches. So if you are in or around Macon GA this shop is worth the stop and the abuse to your credit card. I would even drive out of my way to stop by Creative Yarns.

The last stop on our trip was Paducah KY. Paducah boast the home of the American Quilters Guild museum, a favorite of mine. Luckily, they were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the annual Quilt Festival which takes place there in April. I got to see 25 years of award winning quilts, stunning. I also have to say the docents at the museums are some of the nicest women I have ever met.

After the museum we set off to find a yarn store. Our guide promised one existed, but previously Beloved Cuz and I tried to find it with no luck. But my companion was determined and sure enough Paducah does have a yarn store, With Ewe in Mind ( ). I don't know where to begin with this shop. It was stuffed with yarn, and I do mean everywhere. The shop seem to follow a basic guideline, that was more yarn going up and up the wall. The further back in the store you got the dark and more chaotic it got. I started to feel claustrophobic. I did find a book on purses and some intriguing Kaleidoscope Yarn, but the real find here was the Kollage circular square needles. The needle selection at this shop was probably the best of the trip. She had several brands and types of needles, it was hard not to buy more, but I prevailed.

With Ewe in Mind, was not the best shop of the trip, but it did stand out. The owner of the shop was friendly and very funny. Her personality made her shop seem charming and the overall messiness seem downright homey. I will definitely, stop by again.
Traveling through the south was as always fun and drenched in sweet tea, but the shops I visited were wonderful highlights. I don't even want to think about how much money I spent, but my loot and meeting all these wonderful peddlers made my trip a treat and worth the price.