Knitting by Judy @ 6:21 PM
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It was cold here yesterday. Really cold, at least by Portland standards. Cold enough to break out a heavy coat and a scarf. I chose my lovely sock scarf as the cold-weather accessory du jour. I got a lot of smiles and comments about it. It’s cute and funny.

Made me want to make another one. A longer one. Maybe a striped one.

So I have three colors of Cascade 220 (color # 4002, a dark gray; #8010, an off-white; and #2401, a burgundy) that will soon turn into a lovely striped sock scarf. I’m thinking plain stockinette with garter, short-row heels this time.

And I’m going to finish the damn thing before I start anything else.

I’ve said that before, haven’t I?

In other knitting news, I tried to knit the Pacific Northwest shawl while half asleep and ended up royally screwing it up, after having finished all of the seagulls. Of course I had no life-line in place. Why would I do something smart like that? Not trusting myself to rip out rows and then pick-up lace stitches correctly, I had to tink back stitch by stitch to the place where everything was right again. It was 20 rows. An average of about 120 stitches per row. It took hours, and I had to take out all of the work that I’d done since picking it up again. 😥

Then I put in a lifeline.

Before becoming distracted by sock scarf two, I had completed all of the seagulls and started on the pine trees. I’m moving the lifeline up periodically. So far, so good.

I really want to finish a project or two. Guess I should stop starting new ones, eh?

Miscellaneous Musing |Reviews by Judy @ 9:55 AM

Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fires has been reviewed extensively in the media. You have to have been living under a rock somewhere not to have run into one or two or twenty reviews. Most reviewers I’ve read have agreed that this Harry Potter is dark, scary, and no place for small kids.

The movie is often dark and foggy, and thanks to the magic of special effects, there are very realistic fire-breathing dragons, scary underwater merpeople, attacking hedges, bad wizards, monsters, huge snakes, etc.

Good guys die in this movie.

So, riddle me this Batman: Whether or not you believe that HP&TGOF deserves its PG-13 rating (and I happen to think it does), why would you take a baby to see it?

#1 Son and I went to see it on Friday. (Note: He’s 17 and I’m way more than that. Neither of us is subject to nightmares.) We went to the Oak Grove Cinema in Milwaukie. It’s a little out of our usual metro-west stomping grounds, true, but #1 Son doesn’t like the theater that’s close to our house. I didn’t really mind checking out a new theater. Since The Westgate closed there are too few theaters left that are more than a cookie-cutter, stadium-seating cinema complex. I was please to find that Oak Grove has tons of character. What’s not to like about a cinema that marks its restrooms in three-foot-tall neon “guys” and “gals” signs?

When the movie started, the theater was about two-thirds full. It was a very mixed audience. I would say that the majority were teenagers or older, with a fair representation of senior citizens. There were also a few younger kids. Behind us were a couple of children that were about 9 or 10. At the end of our row were a man and a woman with two kids: a boy who looked about 5 or 6 and a girl who was maybe 2-1/2 or 3.

The kids behind us had obviously been warned to only whisper during movies. And they did whisper. Very loudly. Through the whole movie. Whispers punctuated by flying popcorn kernels landing in our hair to the beat of chair kicks.

The little girl at the end of the row started crying after the first 15 minutes or so, and she cried and begged to go home through the rest of the movie. And they stayed until the bitter end.

So, our movie-going experience went something like this:

[whisper] Wait till you see this! mommy, I want to go home. [sob] [chair kick] Harry’s not supposed to enter because he’s not old enough but watch what happens! [patter of popcorn falling gently on hair] mommy [sob] please can I go home now? [chair kick]

Yeah, the ambiance left something to be desired.

I would have asked the kids behind us to at least stop whispering. But the last time I did that, the boy I ask to stop started crying instead. (No idea why. I wasn’t mean at all and I asked nicely.) The boy’s mother got really pissed at me, and #1 Son was embarrassed. So this time I just tried to ignore them. If I could have easily reached the couple at the other end of the row, however, I would have knocked their heads together and told them to take their baby home. And I wouldn’t have been nice about it.

Mom’s take:

Oak Grove Cinema: starstarstarstar for character and an extra half-star for the restroom neon.

Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire: starstarstar This was the weakest of the books, and I think the weakest of the movies. Despite the necessary trimming to fit a 600-page book into a two-hour movie, it was still too long.

People (of any age) who whisper in movies: half-star for trying, but some whispers can be just as loud as a normal speaking voice and more penetrating. A movie theater is not your family room. Keep your lips zipped.

Parents who take their babies to anything other than G-rated movies: minus 5 black starblack starblack starblack starblack star Parenting means you get to miss out on things you would like to do but that are inappropriate for your children. Wait until it comes out on DVD or cable.

Parents who refuse to remove a crying baby or child: Minus 5 black starblack starblack starblack starblack star The rest of us brought kids who could behave appropriately or left them at home. We paid good money to see this movie. Be a lamb and don’t ruin it for us.

Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 8:19 PM

Long-time readers will remember that we don’t consider any celebratory gathering a true success unless there has been at least one crisis. This year’s Thanksgiving crisis was thoughtfully provided by none other than our own #1 Son.

I headed south (they have moved since last year) to the house of friend B, his wife K, and their family, candied sweet potatoes in hand. #1 Son headed north to pick up girlfriend E. They were planning a two-house Thanksgiving hop, and were to meet me at B’s in time for dinner. From there they would return to E’s house to eat dinner with her family.

All of us at B’s house were just getting ready to sit down for dinner when my cell phone rang:

#1 Son (I swear in one breath): The check engine light came on and the car started sort of shuddering and I’m afraid to drive it after all the stuff that happened before and so I pulled off the freeway at the next exit and parked at Capitol Hwy and Taylor’s Ferry and now I don’t know what to do and I’m not even sure exactly where I am and what should I do now?

Mom: Stay there. I’ll come and get you and we’ll figure it out later.

#1 Son: We’re supposed to go back to E’s house.

Mom: We’ll figure it out. I’ll be there as soon as I can.

#1 Son: Do you know where this is?

Mom: Yes. Don’t worry, I’ll find you.

Reminding myself that kids are more important than turkey, I told B and company that I’d be back in time for seconds with kids in tow, and off I went. We were, indeed, back for seconds (our firsts), and there was plenty left. We had a very nice time, as always, with good company, good food, a fun game, and great conversation.

We needed to leave a little bit earlier than I would have liked, because, of course, #1 Son and E had to go back to her house for their second dinner. Since we were now reduced to only one car, the only sane thing to do was for them to drop me off at home and take my car. My Prius. Have I told you how I love my Prius? I told E to make sure that #1 Son drove carefully.

About 40 minutes after they dropped me off at home #1 Son called:

#1 Son: Mom, I’m really sorry but on the way back to her house E didn’t feel well and there wasn’t a good place to pull over and she got kinda car sick and I’m afraid she puked all over your car but we’re trying really hard to clean it up. Sorry about that. I hope you’re not too mad.

No, I wasn’t too mad. Getting sick isn’t exactly a choice. And the kids did try really hard to get it cleaned up.

Today on the way to where #1 Son left his car, I stopped at the store and picked up a can of Arm & Hammer no-vacuum carpet deodorizer spray. It pretty much took care of any lingering effects.

#1 Son’s car? A loose wire on the spark plug. The mechanic charged nothing to fix it while giving the car the oil change that #1 Son had put off a few miles too long.

Of course the greatest tragedy of the whole adventure was that the only left overs we had in our possession when leaving B’s house was a few of the candied sweet potatoes, and #1 Son took those to E’s house. So this year, for the first time in a long, long time, I’m not making my traditional post-Thanksgiving turkey shepherd’s pie. I may have to pick up a few of the ingredients at the deli tomorrow and fake it.

Tonight I’m working on the long-neglected Pacific Northwest Shawl. I’m on the second-to-last seagull group. I’d like to get this one finished, I think. I’ve made good progress on the Donegal tweed sweater, also. And the socks are always going.

I hope all of you had a Thanksgiving that was special and full of good things.

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 9:58 AM

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day.

I have many, many things to be thankful for! I am blessed.

The candied sweet potatoes are cooking and the house smells delicious. #1 Son and I will be going to our friend B’s house again this year for dinner. Or at least I will. #1 Son will be doing the house-hopping thing with E.

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 2:15 PM

Hah! I beat Shetha!

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Only by one point, it’s true. But hey… beat that! 😆

Actually — it’s pretty sad that I’m so easily amused!

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 9:46 AM

See these trees? Look really healthy? NOT

That’s my roof line in the lower right of the pic. These trees are more than tall enough to hit it.

I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night and find myself in bed with an uninvited guy named Doug Fir.

These trees belong to My Neighbor Two Houses Down. They’ve been slowly dying for the last 10 years, ever since the neighborhood was constructed. The poor things have no roots — they were all cut when the yards were graded.

Originally there were 5 trees. Two belonged to the house behind my neighbor. They were removed the first year.

The third year, one of the three belonging to My Neighbor Two Houses Down outright died — turned brown, lost branches, dead as a doornail. It stood for several months. The neighbors worried. The monsoon season neared. One day I saw My Neighbor Two Houses Down outside and walked down to talk to him:

Mom: Hi there. How are you today?

MNTHD: OK. How are you?

Mom: Great! Did you know your tree was dead?

MNTHD: It is? [look up at tree] Huh! Guess I should get that out of here.

Mom: Maybe the other two also, eh?

MNTHD: Yeah. I’ll have a guy look at them.

The dead tree was removed. The other two were left. They died by slow degrees. The neighbors worried. Over the years I had a couple of other conversations with My Neighbor Two Houses Down. They all went like this:

Mom: Hi there. How are you today?

MNTHD: OK. How are you?

Mom: Great! Did you know your trees are almost dead?

MNTHD: They are? [look up at tree] Huh!

Mom: I’m afraid they will come down and hit one of the houses.

MNTHD: Yeah. I’ll have a guy look at them.

The monsoon season has arrived again. During storms, he wind blows something fierce down the hill. The neighborhood waits with bated breath to see which house(s) will be hit. Any of about 8 are in range. I guess if we’re lucky the trees will fall along the back yards and the damage will be only from branches going through windows, etc. If we’re lucky.

If I’m not lucky, Doug will come calling one of these nights, and I don’t think it’s going to be the most fun I’ve ever had in bed.

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