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Friday, July 1, 2005

parisnotebook.gif  4

Metro Entrance St. Germaine

Paris is the Sister City of Chicago...

Perhaps that's why I felt so at ease and wonderful while I was there...

Perhaps it was because I stayed there once before, in the exact arrondissement (11th), that I felt like I was a citizen, a worker, a neighbor...

click all small pics
for larger pix

Perhaps it was because of teenagers like this lively fellow that I felt right at home!

Vive la Difference #1: He was skating right next to Notre Dame Cathedral...

Perhaps it was because I saw this little pup one day and it reminded me of none other than NY's own Buddy the Wonder Dog!

Vive la Difference #2: This dog was in a cafe and had wandered over to our table for some props while we were lunching...


Vive la Difference #3: Not only do little friends sometimes visit the restaurants, (I didn't see any big dogs in the City), you might catch a glimpse of one nestled next to its owner on the subway or busline like this:


As long as your dog was encased in a nice, and fashionable, I noticed, sack, it was welcome on the subway and bus lines...

A different sort of domestic sackage took place in the subway near St. Germaine, when I was boarding a train with Becky and Jackie...

After a fine lunch at Les Deux Magots, we repaired to the Metro to return to Bastille. It was Rush Hour - people were running for the train. (This surprised me because the trains come every five minutes or so...)

Before I knew what was happening, a very large woman had shoved me into the door frame as she ran onto the car. I felt a tickling sensation under my arm!

Someone was FISHING in my bucket bag! Instinctively, I reached under my arm and grabbed the hand and twisted it and its owner around, slamming him into the subway doorframe. I grabbed him by the throat screaming into his face, "Don't you ever put your Mf'n hand in my Mf'n purse YOU Mfer!!!"

I had no idea where this horrible language came from but it must've been those times my friends and I sat around drinking wine and discussing theatre. On those occasions, we would make up fantasy David Mamet dialogue and the person who could insert the most Mf'ers in one sentence was feated for the night...

PICKPOCKETS! They're all over the place in Paris! I had lured one right to me with my gaping bucket bag, which was molested unsuccessfully for its maps, camera and makeup...

He and his two accomplices rode with us until the next stop - total elapsed time - 2+ minutes? Those trains are FAST... It was repulsive but fascinating to see him shaking after the loud blessing I had given him. They ran off when the train stopped. No Parisian spoke a word.

My faith was restored in Mankind, when the next day or so on the bus home from Musee d'Orsay (where we heard a recorded loudspeaker message in 5 languages warning of pickpockets on the premises), I spotted this handsome gent, also in St. Germaine...

OOOhhh LA La ladies - this photo does not do him justice but had me panting. I told my travelmates that I might have to hang the sock on the door and...



Retire for the day with my vapours...

Vive la Difference!~

NEXT: Street Scenes GALORE!

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Happy 4th of July!!!

  Monday Morning Mirth  


and the winning answer to the EXCITING contest? Drumroll please...

Deborah U: It's a cake made to
look like a Chicago hotdog...with the works!!!!


Right on Deborah!!! This yummy little number was found while shopping at Al's in Michigan City last weekend. I was staying at the beach and needed to pick up some vittles and was looking for some chocolate croissants.

Now, you might laugh because I was basically in the middle of nowhere (sorry about that MC citizens, but you all say it's TRUE :) and wanting chocolate croissant and actually getting chocolate croissant are two differnt things. Ridiculous to be sure, but when you come home from the vacation with new taste addictions (I thank miss fluffa for introducing me to dark bittersweet (more bitter that sweet) chocolate smushed into fresh french bread. She called it a French 'sMore) you have to do what you have to do and a chocolate croissant was as close as my craving could narrow it down.

But I digress...

I saw this SPECTACULAR CULINARY CREATION and immediately scooped it up to take with me for my nephew's Graduation Party! It had TEENAGER written all over it!

It is Pound Cake shaped to look like a hot dog bun and covered with TAN frosting. A faux Hot Dog made from BURGUNDY (!!!) frosting - yes, my friends, 100% frosting Dog - and then the trimmings were a combination of frosting drizzles in spectularly realistic colors of mustard & ketchup, and the fixin's were some kind of gumdrop stuff chopped up to look like onions, pickles, etc. FANTASTIQUE!

More Answers...

Cynthia from Chicago: " My guess is that it's a cake replica of a hot dog. I can't say a Chicago hot dog because all Chicagoans know there is never ketchup on a Chicago hot dog :-)

Kim Tang : " Hi. It looks like a brat. Did it come from Taste of Chicago? "

Carolyn C : " Hmmm…looks like a yarn dog to me – yarn masquerading as ketchup, mustard and relish.  (Is the green actually railroad yarn?  Looks like it from the pic.)

Teresa Howe :" My guess is that it is a cake made to look like a (Chicago) Red Hot.  Maybe pound cake frosted to look like a bun, with Twinkies frosted in red for the dog, and gum drops for onion and gr. pepper.  I thought that maybe it was red licorice for the ketchup, but I can't really tell in the picture-and not sure about the mustard either-could be frosting.  Anyhow, it looks delicious!  "

Sarah: " I must first acknowledge that I am British and as such have very little idea about US cuisine (read: if this is wrong please don't mock me <g>) but my guess is that the picture is a cake masquerading as a hotdog. "

Laura K : " Hmmm... I'm thinking it's a decorated cake disguised to look like a hot dog.  The size and shape reminds me of the pan I use for banana bread.   Maybe it's my imagination,  but the catsup and mustard look like yarn to me! "

Alicia Drummond : " Hmmmm. My guess is that its the bastard son of a hot dog and a taco.... "

Jan Marie :" Its a cake made to look like a Chicago Style hot dog.  Pound cake for the bun, gummy fruits for the onions, pickles and such...

Before kids I was a pastry claim to fame was I could make ANYTHING out of cake....I once made a naked lady complete with piercings and tattoo... "

Kate/Roger: " Looks like the coney islands of my youth! "

Jennifer Butler :" This is a tough one…It most definitely looks like it has cheese whiz smeared on the bun. I'm going to guess that it is a Nu-Way Weiner (unscrambled). "

Elizabeth Yow :" Definitely it's some representation of a hot dog. At first, I thought it was kind of a nacho dog, where it's got lettuce and onions and cheese on the top, although the red squiggles are throwing me off, because why would you put ketchup on nachos or a nacho-like item? That would be pretty wrong.

Then I read some other people's comments, and I'm kind of leaning towards the cake dog idea, where it's a cake of some sort, decorated and iced to look like a hot dog. Of course, that's a little disturbing - food that looks like completely unrelated food kind of creeps me out, but as long as I don't have to eat it, it's all good.

So, however you want to say it, hot dog cake, cake dog, that's what I'm going with. "

and it's G-O-O-D!!!

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Thursday, July 7, 2005

how do YOU SSK?

If you are like me, not very well.
No matter what I do, my Slip-slip-knits (left leaning decreases)

Relatively speaking, of course. (Not 100% crap but they truly need improvement!) I want them to look just as lovely as my Knit2Togethers!


The First Way I learned a left leaning decrease was to slip the first stitch in the pair knitwise (needle tip through left side of stitch), knit the second stitch, then pass that first stitch back over the knit stitch.

For me, it left a sloppy big loop on top of the pair of stitches that were knit together.

SO I went on to this way of doing the left-leaner - a SSK, or slip, slip knit...

HIGH HOPES people!!!

But I'm experiencing almost the SAME THING! I am plagued by SLoppy L@@p!

A friend suggested that instead of slipping both stitches knitwise, I slip the first stitch knitwise (needle tip through left side of stitch), the second stitch purlwise (needle tip through right side, or front, of stitch) and then knit them together.

When I do this, the top loop IS smaller but now I have a little ridge on the bottom loop sticking out because it is a twisted stitch.

I am becoming obsessed with this - everytime I see the abbreviation SSK I see the word SUCK! Anyone want to enable/enlighten me??? :)



Chicago Weather: "Highs: Mid 70s lakeshore,
low 80s inland

Purrrrrrrr-fect sip'n'knit weather...

Letizia's 2144 W Division 7-9pm

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Weekend July 9, 2005

Stuck at home this weekend?

Take a virtual tour of Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space and see what some other knitters have been up to...

Not the Knitting You Know...

Jenna sent me this link - apparently the exhibit has been censored!


In CHICAGO: Lakeview Music Fest

get yer Irish UP: Irish-American Heritage Fest...


- there is some good stuff here

- Hothouse Flowers

- an Irish American Idol Contest (!)

"The festival will also feature
a re-vamped Mashed Potato Eating Contest." (I'm so THERE!!)

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Monday, July 11, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  



what the heck is this stuff?

I opened the package and before I knew it

there was a wallmark obliteration frenzy goin' on...

help me!!!

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Weekend, July 16, 2005


SUMMER in the CITY : the Revenge of the Mimes

Like most Metropolitan Zones, Chicago's shopping districts are enhanced during the summer months by Colorful and sometimes Talented Street Performers.

None turn the head, or empty the wallet faster than,
drumroll please, the Mimes...

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you've heard me speak of this species with WONDER and Warm Regard over the seasons I've been writing. Mimes hold a Special Place in my Heart reserved for none other.

I regard them so highly that for the most part, I NEVER photograph them. Even though I always have my camera with me, even though I long with the deepest part of my soul to capture their enterprising spirit forever on film, I've resisted my primal urges, gawked and gathered their ministrations, then moved along...

Everything changed last Friday...

<<<   pick a version   >>>



On Fridays after work, I ususally stroll a few blocks past my regular bus stop and window shop on the Miracle Mile.

I go to the Book Store, the Shisheido lipstick counter at SAKS (loving to arrive really messy looking after a day of shooting) or maybe I just get a Teriyaki Bowl at WoW BAO in the lobby of Water Tower.

YES! I'm a Low Rent kindof Local who just might be getting their jollies alongside some visitiors in the Tourist Zone that runs along Michigan Ave. What's good for the Goose, etc. etc. etc.

Here's where the story gets SCARY so get a glass of spirits of your choice and SIT DOWN.

On my regular Friday Romp, I found some new Pals over in front of Water Tower Place.

Now this is a habitual haunt for the legion of Street Mimes working the Miracle Mile, so I was not surprised by their presence.

I was surprised by the crowd around one in particular who really appeared to be doing nothing at all.

And Here it was I broke my Rule...

I Took A Picture...

I took several Pictures...

Then I did something else I've never done. I put money in the Mime Bucket. Then I took money out of the Mime's Bucket. Why Oho Why? Because all I had was a fiver and I wanted CHANGE from my donation ($2).

This caused a fellow Mime Lover beside me who was adding to the haul to exclaim loudly "THAT's Just WRONG!"

Of couse, she was referring to my change making and by her tone was implying I was doing some-other-slight-of-hand in the Bucket. (NAY! THAT would make me a Magician and for chrissakes, I am NOT going to become a Street Performer myself, even for the lovely Tourists...)

As she joined her companions, I asked her where she was from and she muttered "Small Anywhere USA." I replied, "AHA" (mentally scribing the fact she was Not From Here) - adding - "Well, what I did was fine. I asked the MIME!" She replied loudly and sarcastically, "You should've went somewhere and gotten change!"

<<<   pick a version   >>>



Of course, this made me laugh, because NOBODY gives change in a Big City.

Of course, this made me cry, because NOBODY gives change in a Big City.

I replied,
   "What's that, Page 5, Miss Manners Book of Mimes?"

<<<   pick a version   >>>



I really said this.

And I said, "Can say, just did. And maybe your cousin should'nt have whacked me up at the bucket!"

I knew our esteemed visitors would never understand that Big City People BICKER 24/7 and it really is Friendly.

Quite possibly, it's the only human equivalent of dog-sniffing-tail I've ever encountered. You establish your comfort level then proceed.

This made her HUGE cousin say, "You can't talk to my cousin like that"

Needless to say, Reason Reared its Ugly Head at this point and I realized We had become just what the Tourists Wanted/Needed Most: a Spectacle...



Reluctantly, I left the area...



Yesterday morning I tried to upload my pictures. THEY WERE GONE! POOF! Files all scrambled like expresso eggs...

My spirit almost flattened by this revenge, I was going to leave you with a psuedo-version of said Mime because really, it's not all that much more than this:

but NO.

<<<   pick a version   >>>



I am a GeekTard and must, must save my files.

I tried to load up in Windows.

But the volume mounted on the Mac so I ran Disk Repair.

This might ruin my weekend with frivolous time wasting.

I failed.

Then I dropped some $$$ and used FileRescue to grab those files!


and here, My Friends, is what started it all...


Scary, isn't she...

NEXT: Happy Fountains and MORE!

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Monday, July 18, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  


It's anybody's guess what this might be...

I was walking from Michigan Ave to work several months ago now, and VOILA! This spectacle appeared right on the sidewalk outside a very large building...

On Tuesdays this summer, it's now surrounded by a camp!

Vegetable and flower vendors were everywhere. Children taking a photography course were there too...



What I enjoy most about things like this that appear frequently on the Chicago horizon, is that the locals just ignore it...

I guess they're just used to being *teased* by these folks. I remember how that was, I had a big brother...

Here is the varmit in all it's glory with its Parent - the MCA...

BONUS: Thanks Claire for these tighty-whities....

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a Girl's Gotta BUILD...

Since our favorite Diva with a Glue Gun is under House Arrest, nothing seemed more fitting to me last weekend than to join Her! Temps in the ginormous zone reduced me to a sticky frizzy mess anytime I stuck my head out the condo door so it only made sense to stay inside bathed in cool air-conditioned jetstreams and BUILD something!

A trip to the neighborhood Super Kmart for a thermos yielded this discovery: the new Matha Stewart/Everyday Furniture line! Cursed by being an early adopter, I was magnetized by a glass-doored bookcase and a store manager helped me load 'er up in the back of my little Jeep. I unloaded it piece by piece (still in the back of the car because I couldn't lift that heavy box by myself) and took it upstairs to my house (2.5 floors above street level).

Now even though I'm a veteran of a couple of IKEA romps, nothing prepares you for the sheer weight of your purchase. I learned early on that, like most things in life, small bites, one mouthful at a time, carefully chewed, was going to do the trick here as well.

VOILA! THAT is the essence of Chick Engineering...

Here is what I've found to be the second most important factor in building solo: a rug! You need something slippery that will let you move that heavy sucker wherever it's going to finally land without tearing up your floor.

The base of the Bookcase was HEAVY and seemed to be solid wood. It's on the rug, ready for its ride...

Now the FUN starts! MS's instructions recommend "2 people for easier assembly and safety." And, as always, SHE's RIGHT! But Here I AM, a woman for the afternoon without a HandyMan! So how to carry on without HIM? Grab a couple of supports from elsewhere in your house, that's how. Here you see enlisted for duty my weight-lifting bench and a dining room chair. The first side wall (made from what appears to be composite wood with a veneer) of the Bookcase is up, attached to the base with wood glue (included), dowels and a lock-down screw assembly. Damn Solid.

More Girl Engineering ensues as the Bookcase takes shape and its back support and another side piece are added. Not wanting to break the new bonds of the structure, I call other special tools into play.

Using a stack of books that is the EXACT HEIGHT needed, I support the cross bar of the bookcase. Here you see my other score of the weekend (from hitting an apartment sale down the street) - Starkey's book on Elizabeth R; Nicole Mones - "Lost in Translation"; Stendahl - " the Charterhouse of Parma"; Tracy Chevalier - "Falling Angels"; and that all time favorite - "the Oxford History of Medieval Europe". $5.00 bucks for these reusable shims and more...

One must step back and be SUDDENLY Amazed at just how LARGE this thing is - 47" wide and 16" deep and 52" high!

One hour and 15 minutes later, I've already started to fill the gap! The doors were the most impressive thing about this Bookcase - they are on wheels that fit into a track while snapping locks secure them to the top of the opening. Most difficult moment? Using 40 wood screws to attach the cheap (but well-stained) matching facing to the back of the piece. Why didn't I cheat and only screw in, uh, maybe 20 screws?

Please, what would Martha do...

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Monday, July 25, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

. . . From The Washington Post Style Invitational

Planertia: When you stick with a bad idea long after it's clear you have no exit strategy. (Mike Cisneros, Centreville)

Sosa-nervosa: The midseason anxiety suffered by Orioles fans as they sense they've just obtained another over-the-hill slugger. (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)

Arenotdeetwo: R2D2's argumentative twin. (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick)

Rearendearment: A loving pat on the tush. (Chris Doyle)

Earnigma: An IRS form. (Herb Greene, Catonsville)

Yearner's-permit: A credit card. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Menarchy: The view that the male is always in charge, period. (Mark Eckenwiler, Washington)

Kenarbie: Mattel's new hermaphroditic doll. (Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.)

Sevenarse: Standard minivan capacity. (Walt Johnston)

Chickenracing: Poultry in motion. (Chris Doyle)

Serpentolerance: Sympathy for the Devil. (Chris Doyle)

Eaternaty: Dinner with the in-laws. (Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Jabbernacle: A two-hour sermon. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

Internapping: Web browsing with a dial-up. (Mike Cisneros)

Juggernaught: Flat-chested. (Chris Doyle)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005


because it would be absolutely INSANE
to talk about AUTUMN now that it's broiling
here in the Midwest I decided not to...


Above you see what the ColorPicken industry people project as the Fall Colors for the coming season:

from left to right:
- Rattan
- Gloxinia
- Ruby Wine
- Burnt Orange
- American Beauty
- Glazed Ginger
- Morrocan Blue
- Moss
- Burnt Olive
- Atmosphere

Now, personally, I think I could eliminate about 20% of the colors out of this group as being not my *season* (teeheehee...) (Maybe I should just give Ginger a try?) BUT the other 80% hold some real promise! What do I especially SPY in there? Something they've called *MOSS* which of course is just another variation of my very own favorite, KIWI, b.Lime, Chartruese, etc, etc, etc. I'M THERE! So empowering to know one can still be in fashion even while possessing a dyed-in-the-wool obsession...

Speaking of someone who is not only in fashion but appears to be ahead of the curve, I found this color card while looking for DK weight yarns - pretty much covers most of it, non? (These colors were offered this spring.) Also, anybody know where the yarn classifications come from? I see reading the yarn info it's listed as "classic" and "precious".

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Thursday, July 28, 2005


a little atmosphere

OK. Eyes wide open.

Love Blooms: go to a craft show. Buy some fab new earrings. Immediately start knitting a sweater inspired by the design of said earbob...

The chandelier shape spins you into UltraFembot mode and you find yourself unable to stop making YO's. You want a little shaped T-shirt/tank to hug yourself during the waning days of summer. You cannot resist the *atmosphere* color yarn you find in your deep stash knowing its greyish silver is suddenly in style for fall.

You are reading yet another Medieval novel (A Morbid Taste for Bones). That helps too.

You take the new shell on board the #66 and go to it. It is the only project you have going that can go mobile via bus and bag and it travels.

You fondly recall the gentle mocking of your friends when they think of you riding the bus. Surely you don't enjoy the masses during the prolonged heat waves we've been having. SURELY you don't enjoy rubbing up against god-knows-who-who's-been-god-knows-where, do you? Surely you don't enjoy the horde of Art School Boys that are always enroute on the #66 with their messy hair and finely shaped fingers stroking their iPods...

Especially the one that sat across from you yesterday. You saw him watching you and you were startled that he looked just like him. Surely not visiting our fair city, could it be?

But who knows - those medieval voices were whispering Gwytherin/Griffith/Gwyneth - or something...

So be it, I knit on...

this Coporate Yakkity Yak in an emailed newsletter made me GIGGLE: "Doobiddy Doobiddy has fifteen... designs which have a strong sense of street cred, and feature the bold new ... yarn. This is young style which will demand 'respect' and is astonishingly practical for busy lives as well!"

Translation: HOT-5.gif
you better have DEEP Pockets in those low-riders...

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Friday, July 29, 2005


a Walk on the Crafting Wild Side...

There's probably no better way to start the weekend and jumpstart some inspiration than to go visit your local Craft Divas...

b.Limey! I knew I was going to like this place as soon as I got off the elevator...

Catalyst Ranch 656 W Randolph Suite 3W
Friday, July 22, 2005

the Chicago Craft Mafia's
Summer Shakedown


The Ranch was ALIVE with a huge assortment of creative vendors showing their latest creations...

These are the very lovely felted bags from DragonFly Handbags



Absolutey mouthwatering millinery from the design studio of Laura Hubka...

Looking cosmopolitan as ever, my neighbor Theresa models one of the fabulous Hubka creations. We both flipped for the Fuschia!

And speaking of Cosmos, we enjoyed one before the Shakedown over at the new Meiji restaurant in the neighborhood (right next to Blackbird). YUM! The bartender made the best lemon twist I've ever seen...



The entirely stylin' tootsies of one Ms. Kelly (from Arcadia) on the move during the show...

More beauty on display from nFelt...

Nad Thitadlaka presented a wonderful assortment of shawlettes and ponchettes, along with some totally original felted pieces...



A girl's gotta SHOP! I got my beautiful chandelier earrings from Beth Respess at Dejahmi...

And always, saving the BEST for last...


The BEST Dressed Dogs on the Planet wear creations from our friend Corinne, of Lucky Penny Handmade...

The colorful beauty of these outfits never ceases to amaze and delight!



NEXT: Street Scenes GALORE!

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Weekend, July 31, 2005

ChicKnits New Threads Weekend Edition

FRESH! from the lightening needles of the beautiful Melanie B
of Go Felt Yourself
a wonderful COTTON Ribby!!

Melanie made her Ribby with plain sleeves for a looser fit...


Joining Missy MB, a fellow Virginian S'nB friend...

the lovely Suzanne in her deliciously delightfully colored Ribby...


visit the
for all the glorious details!

...Want to be in Gallery Ribby? Send me a picture of your Ribby with knitting details to be included in the gallery...

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