Friday, April 28, 2006

Dirt therapy and a weekend of sunshine

As of late, the normally sunshiney, creativity laden, laugh until you snort Finnyland has been hidden beneath a mound of stress, overactivity and a personal family loss. Well, clearly, this can't go on.

And so I am instituting a weekend of Dirt Therapy.

This is when I gather up my wee plants from the windowsill, where they've taken to flipping me the bird with their mightily overgrown leaves, and wander out to the garden to sit right down in the dirt.

A time honored hippie tradition from Finny childhood, Dirt Therapy can cure many maladies. Not the least of which being Shoulder Earmuffs, Prune Eyeballs, Pew Ass and strong cases of SmallTalkitis.

In addition to the long days of Dirt Therapy I have planned, I'm going to get rolling on my new book:

dig through the waist high stack of magazines:

bake something:

cook something, go for a long walk or two with the premise of getting a cup of tea and lazily browse the fabric store while the annoyed clerks tap their pinking shears as I hem and haw over the merits of batik versus thematic prints for my Backtack 3 project I'm already stressing over. What 20% color will I choose?! You mock me, but it's a big decision. I also need to decide if I'm going to roll the dice on my buddies sense of humor and put that fifth required button where I'd originally planned. Do most people have a similiar sense of deranged humor? We'll see.

Beyond that, I may get started on my first knitting project as a Godmamma, watch some dusty Netflix (March of the Penguins, Born Into Brothels or Million Dollar Baby anyone?) and expose my chickeny legs to their first glimpse of sunlight in six months. Who knows, things could get racy and I could run amok in a tube top to even out the AMAZINGLY RESILIENT and long lasting sports bra tan I've been holding onto since last summer. I'll have to get someone to take a photo of this phenom, it's something to behold.

I hope to be back Monday, restored to my full Finny self, with photos of happily planted seedlings and a successful batch of madeleines to show off.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Have you ever had one of those moments where something happens and suddenly you get, like, a really clear view of what your life is going to be like, say 20 years down the road?


Clearly, you're living too clean a life.

No, actually, what I'm referring to is a BIG moment in the FinnyKnits household that came about last night as I was driving home from yoga. Ok, so it was technically a BIG moment in Leeloo, but let's not get nitpicky.

I called Linda, one of my best friends from college, to check up on her and her new baby, Ms. Emma (you remember, I made them the Nappy Bag). Emma and Lin had a semi-rough day -- apparently Emma was feeling the pressure of her 3-week-oldness and had kept mom and dad up most the night reminding them of how life was passing her by while she slept soundly in her crib. No more! Well, by the time I talked to Lin, Emma had thankfully worked out her issues and was content to retire to her crib for the evening. Phew.

So, Lin and I had a chance to catch up for the week, talk wine tasting trip (hello, new mom needs a drink, too) and basically review all things new now that their house is Baby HQ. I'm steadily getting used to the talk of breast pumps and feedings and cholic and earaches so that I can converse like a semi-educated human being despite my lack of experience with anything baby related.

Now, I'm not sure if it's been my recent education in baby repertoire or the fact that I can whip up a diaper bag with moment's notice, but I'm honored to announce that Linda and her hubby have asked Finny and Hubby to be Ms. Emma's Godfolks!

I know, it's a SHOCKER, since we are baby-impaired, but I'm hoping hubby and I can rise to the challenge and be a good Godmom and pop.

So, what's with my crystal ball vision? Well, I was just out visiting Lin, pre-Emma, and we were sitting around her mom's coffee table, drinking Bud Light, playing "Celebrity" with family, friends and her godparents and this is the first image that flashed into my mind when she asked us if we'd Godparent her wee one.

Imagine -- what if, 20 or so years from now (ok, closer to 30-fine) we're all sitting around HER coffee table, playing a future version of "Celebrity" (no one will have heard of Britney Spears by then, hopefully) and Emma is the one who's prego and I get to be just like Lin's godmom who was laughing and carrying on and loving every second of her Godmama-ness like it was no one's business? What if that? Well, personally, I think that'd be pretty sqweet.

Plus, isn't she a doll?

Ok, she's only like, a day old in this picture
but still, she's cute even when she's shiny and exhausted
and being palmed by Grandpa Dan as though she were a
regulation NBA basketball.

So, crystal ball, please make sure that in this 20-years-from-now image, I am the hilariously funny, socially inebriated, Vegas-traveling jokster that Linda has been looking up to since she was small. Except I'll be drinking Coors Light instead of Bud Light and making lude comments about my own Hubby rewiring the guest room ceiling fan.

Would it be inappropriate to wear an "Emma's Godmama" T-shirt on my next visit? Perhaps instead I'll get started on a blanket or something less ridiculous.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Siesta Fighters and other greatest hits

Someone please bring me a field dress kit, I've split my sides laughing!

I could have veered into a bridge abutment while trying fruitlessly to see through the tears welling up in my eyes as Alessandro, the mercilessly hilarious fiance to one of my best friends, cracked joke after joke while I drove us home from a tour of the Sonoma Coast.

Whether in English or Italian, this man can have me cackling like a stuck hyena with clever and ridiculous comments alike. His specialty is coming up with new ways to interpret other languages to suit his comedic purposes. Roman by decent, this man does not allow restriction of one language to hinder his humourous capabilities. In fact, I'm fairly certain that he learns new languages (English, German, etc) so that he can have more ammo with which to slay us with rioutous jokes.

Some of his multi-lingual greatest hits, for your enjoyment:

1. Siesta Fighter : This is what one calls an espresso enjoyed after lunch. It wards off the deadly Siesta Feelings.

2. Shelleyway : This is what he calls an Alleyway when he's accompanied by his fiance, Shelley. Alessandro's nickname is Ale (pronounced All-eh), so he immediately renamed Alleyways in honor of Shelley. In Rome, there are many alleyways, so this comes up a lot on visits.

3. Fudgey : Alessandro's favorite dessert. Basically, a brownie sundae. But he just calls it Fudgey and we all know what he means. And then we laugh like hyenas. I was laughing as I was taking this picture. He'd just finished a speedbump sized burrito and when the waitress asked if he'd like dessert, he passionately cried, "Ok, I surrender!" and then promptly ordered Fudgey Brownie.

4. PavelCow : One of Ale and Shelley's cats is named Pavel (Ale named this one, Shelley named the other Betsy - it's all very country appropriate in their house). Pavel is fat and has been known as PavelCow by Alessandro for most of his life. According to Alessandro, PavelCow needs frequent milking. Also important is regular feeding. Otherwise...

5. "Shelley, if you do not feed the Pavel, he will not make any milk." Why it's important for a MALE cat to generate milk, I'm not sure. But it had me doubled over on via della Lungaretta like I was having a seizure. Here is the cow himself as I teased him during a recent visit:

5. Presley : Alessandro's version of Parsley. Every time he comes to visit he takes it upon himself to spoil us with an authentic Italian feast. And he is a FINE chef. Although the meals are unforgettable and absolutely divine, the shopping trip is equally enjoyable. And despite constant reminding that the herb is, in fact, called Parsley, he insists on calling it Presley in honor of the king and so that we will laugh out loud in the store.

6. Super Car : This is what he calls the Prius (Pree-oos). Apparently this is how Kit from Knightrider is described on Italian television and, after seeing the navigation system, he decided that my "Technological" car was, in fact, Super Car Kit.

7. Most Scrumptiousest : The red snapper he ate for lunch in Bodega Bay. New to this fish, he found it superb and, thus, had to invent a new word for it's deliciousness, as delicious was not a strong enough adjective. So, combining all the elevating English factors he could muster, he came up with this new descriptor. Use at your own risk.

8. The Sheraton : This is how he described their accomodations at my house because I left them a tray with magazines, bottled water, gum and chocolate next to their bed. In context, as they were going off to bed their first night, "Shelley, look at this, it is just like the Sheraton." According to Shelley they have never stayed at the Sheraton, this is simply how he's "Always imagined it to be."

9. "I will destroy and devastate you." : This is how he greets the bloodthirsty, Rocket, who he loves and showers with attention. As Rocket swats at his ankles and bites his hands, Alessandro attempts to cuddle and pet her while warning her of the pending punishment. Not only will he destroy her, there will be devastation involved.

10. Metaphysical : This is how he describes Bodega Head in Bodega Bay. I don't know about you, but I found this a shockingly precise description of the otherwordliness (is THAT even a word?) of Bodega Bay. Apparently the word, Metafisico, in Italian is used a little more often and with greater understanding than it's English cousin. Both Shelley and I were taken aback by the astute nature of the comment and he so enjoyed our surprise. He reminded us that he is a "Jean-oos".

Some photos of us and the metaphysical, Bodega Bay:

Now, that is only a smattering of his hilarity, I'm sure I left some out. Plus, there are all the swear words that he revels in spouting in crowded restaurants to Shelley's dismay, oh and the frequent and passionate use of the term "Bastard!" to describe everything from people to Rocket to a grocery store that doesn't stock parmigiano reggiano. And I won't get into the hand gestures or arm movements that only add to the flavor of his dialogue. I will say that I look forward to our visits with much anticipation and can't wait to go back to Rome. As they both enjoy hearing me say, I want to go back to Rome, solo per che voglio mangiare. It is such a blessing to see one of your very best friends with someone equally fabulous. Good, good weekend.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Celebrate Life

Dudes, can I tell you what rocks?

Waking up with a hangover.

No, really. Here, I'll tell you why.

Yesterday my wonderfully charming and warm hearted uncle passed away. He's been fighting cancer (the other C-Word) for three long years and it was finally time for him to "See the man upstairs about a painting job" as he put it to me. And without going into too many off the teary details, it is going to be an extremely difficult challenge for our family to be without him.

However, something happened in that house when we were all faced with the loss that has gotten me all optimistic and full hearted feeling. DO NOT GET ALL BUMMED OUT, THIS IS GOOD! Now, it's likely that he planned it this way, since he's not one to overlook a detail, but in the face of it all, I practically watched each member of my family make the conscious decision to celebrate life.

Had you strolled by the house yesterday you'd have probably thought you'd come upon some sort of poorly scheduled family cookout, seeing as it was Wednesday afternoon and all. There was laughing and joking and family-style ribbing. There was hubby shoulder deep in a disassembled clothes dryer. There were appetizers and drinks set out and many a cocktail being mixed. Hardly the scene of grief and misery that one would expect in a situation like this.

And, once the moment had passed, and we were all suddenly left to our own devices to decide how this party was going to continue without him behind the bar or shuffling the music, I saw the most impressive display of life celebration one could hope for.

One hundred stories were recounted to uproarious laughter. Drinks were mixed. Reservations were made. Music was played. Patio furniture was uncovered and gathered in conversational circles. Windows and doors were opened wide. People took off their shoes and stopped caring what their makeup was doing. The best way I can describe it is to say that we, "Familied".

We Familied around the bar. We Familied out to dinner at his favorite restaurant. We Familied as we toasted oyster shooters and Ketel One martini's over filets and chocolate cheesecake. We Familied as we cracked each other up with old inside jokes and made up new ones. I friggen Familied myself into a beastly hangover and woke up this morning next to hubby who'd Familied himself through the better part of a bottle of Makers Mark. (I told you, we're quite the pair).

And that is why, dudes, hangovers rock.

When you've done Familied yourself right out celebrating life, a hangover is a beautiful thing.

And to my Uncle Bill, who taught us all to Family in the first place, we love you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


In the colorful future, a fly-by-night crafter unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep pollution and environmental damage at bay...

And that weapon is Leeloo - my one-day-old-with-9.5-miles-on-it-only 2006 Prius!

Yes, peeps, the day has come, as I predicted it would in my Yearly Resolutions, I have officially "Gone Hybrid". I should nail a note to the back of my deskchair to that affect. Perhaps with a jaunty little pencil drawing of a maple leaf with a steering wheel, you know, whatever. Oh, and if the reference from the first line flew-by-night right over your unnerdy head -- it's the plot summary for The Fifth Element, a semi-pointless but ultimately entertaining futuristic type movie with a charming Super Being (Milla Jovavich, yes I recognized the irony, too) named, Leeloo.

Hubby astutely suggested the name as soon as he laid eyes upon the Super Being and, so she will be known from this day forward as LeeLoo. And the SmartKey that sits in my purse opening doors and starting my car without nary a finger lifted by moi, known as "Leeloo Dallas MultiPass" because we are JUST that nerdy in the FinnyKnits house, and now don't you know it. For those of you not having any idea what I'm talking about, turn on TNT or AMC at any point this weekend and watch The Fifth Element. I'm fairly certain one of these cable movie networks has it on a continuous loop. I know this because we end up watching it at least once a month. Even with TIVO. We can't resist it.

But the car, let's show the car -- well, Finny and the car. Make that Finny + Leeloo:

Isn't she HOT? Not moi, I am clearly exhausted from THREE HOURS of paperwork and navigation system walk-throughs and finance people talking all about numbers (Hello, I was told there would be no math) to be hot, but Leeloo, she IS HOT. Even without her weird orange suspenders. If my arms were long enough, I'd hug 'er.

And then, less than 24 hours later, I hit a friggen tire on 101. Could you die? I nearly did. Practially pooed Leeloo, to be honest. Turns out, no biggie -- but I did spend a good 10 minutes in the parking lot this morning before work buffing out the tire skid with my fingerless gloves. That yarn was a good investment -- got it right out. And so enhances the lunatic image I've so carefully crafted for myself at work. As though the fingerless gloves (an unexpected eyebrow raiser), garden obsession and handmade gifts weren't enough. Now I'm buffing a seamingly perfect car in the parking lot, while it rains. Yes, friends, I've quietly passed from "Uniquely cool and interesting co-worker" to "Crazy car-buffing maniac with rain-soaked tendencies girl that sits close to me" in less than one day. Efficient progress.

Despite all that, I'll be driving home today, running at a cool 50+mpg, with visions of HOV stickers dancing in my head. Let us all pray that the 60K sticker threshold isn't surpassed by the time I get my paperwork to the DMV.

Leeloo won't stand for that and neither will I.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

First, I would like to make it clear that I am not entirely the world's biggest copycat, but I have to say that AfricanKelli inspired me, once again, to get back in touch with my happy self. The happy self that lives underneath my hard candy shell of stress, responsibilities, high expectations and general crabbiness. The inspiration came a week or so ago when she shared her Saturday morning ritual of tossing all the laundry in the wash and heading out for a morning walk and a bagel.

Well, as it turned out, I had just such the opportunity this past weekend. For the first time in many torturous weeks the sun broke free of the clouds and it stopped raining for a day. This coincided with hubby being out of town and thus resulted in my jumping clear of the bed as soon as the sunshine hit my face. I eagerly dragged all the laundry to the machines while putting on my shoes and clothes (Hi neighbors, I'm sorry I never remember to close the blinds) and I hit the pavement with my digital cam and one big dollar for tea. My soft chewy center was primed for happy!

I'll not tease you with lackluster descriptions of the awesomeness bursting from every bit of outside, instead I'll just show you photos and spare you the misery. (If you're wondering why I didn't just post these photos to the photo pool on Flickr, it is because that thing is the work of the devil and I've already reached my alotted space for uploads for the month. What kind of crap is that? Leave it to Yahoo...) Anyway, my addition to the Gracious Garden Party Photos :

Oh, the neighborhood was looking so HOT with all its newly sprouted greenness, I could have just pinched its butt! But I didn't. Because, well, I was already getting suspicious glares from people as I took shots of their blooming flowers. In fact, as I shot the cala lily above, a unibrowed man stepped out to his porch to give me the skunk eye and make sure I wasn't making off with his neighbors flowers. Despite my cheerful, "Good Morning!", he was not to be swayed, and he just stepped back into the darkness of his cave without even a nod hello. He must still have on his crabby candy shell. Not I! I was in touch with my chewy nougat center and on a caffeine induced rampage through the neighborhood stealthily photographing the landscape that has been beaten down by all this winter rain.

And, you know what, it was so great on Saturday, I did it again Sunday -- except swapping out the camera for the iPod which brought fewer evil stares and increased the gooiness of my happy center even more. I am loving my spring morning walks. My candy shell does not stand a chance.

You know who else loves spring, delicious freshly cut grass and run of the yard? Fat Rocket. She had her heyday this one unrainy day as well. She munched down on the lawn, disappeared annoyingly into the neighbors yard and swatted at me vigorously when I tried to shoo her back into the house. However, she did greet hubby with renewed love and adoration when he returned home from his travels. I present, "Man meets Feline":

Perhaps he has a delicious candy shell?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fast like lightning!

Ok, only a quick moment for a post. But I HAVE to do it because my mom is braving the big bad world o' blogs to see photo evidence of my foray into the world of softees and I don't want to disappoint. So, here's softee #1 going to my fave babe, Ms. Ava, for her #2 Easter. Or, Keister, as we call it in the FinnyKnits household:

Darling, non? Best part is that I didn't have to shop for a scrap of material for this project. That basket full of fabric and yarn leftie overs went to good use. Down to the stuffing for his belly. Oh, and let's not forget the FIRST TIME EVER embroidery on his face. Yes, it's only two eyes a nose and mouth, but that counts. Yes it does.

More to come soon, including photos from my glorious springtime walk this weekend (I knew it was coming even before AfricanKelli invited me to her Garden Party) and a salacious video of Man Meets Feline.

Plus, hello, did you manage to get your email into the BackTack III girls in time? According to GMail, my email went out at 9:02am (their time), so I'm crossing all my parts for an invite. Hopefully they don't see this first attempt at a softee as a warning signal to, Oops, lose my email. So his ear's crooked, what ev!

Ok, super double lucky fast post gone awry -- More later.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Finny's world comes into balance

I should have realized, during my recent funk, the reason for my funkiness -- my world was plumb out of balance. As it is every year about this time. And then I should have rattled my walnut around until I remembered the one thing that restores Finny's normal levels of merriment in a situation like this, baseball.

Yes, folks, Finny has a big red heart for MLB. And nothing shifts the off-kilter pace of the world back into peaceful alignment faster than the opening of baseball season, a newly sprouting vegetable garden and sunny spring skies.

And so, I bring to you a melange of the three, for to cheer your souls from their wintery slumber:
The newly re-re-named AT&T Park.
Oh, how I adore the commercializing of our national pastime.

What we have here is a sunny spring sky in ARIZONA, not "sunny" California.
Where it has been raining pretty much steadily for the past two months. So, yes, I swiped this from
AfricanKelli's slideshow of amazing ARIZONA photos, because, well, our skies look a bit like the gates of hell right now. I'm certain that she will forgive me. Seeing as it will be one million degrees there soon and she'll be looking for evidence of anything in nature that is not scorched or on fire.
And then I will gladly hand over photos of summer in Norcal.

At either end here, we have the small BUT MIGHTY sugar snap peas. They're growing outside, they're growing inside. We should be up to full pants pooping capacity soon. (Heh? Story to follow...) In the midst of the peas, we have the ALWAYS MIGHTY Pumpkinzilla wrestling his way from the soil with swords drawn.

Who are these little fellas, you ask? So quick you are to underestimate! For shame! These are members of the 05 resurgent Pumpkin Party -- returning from their compost heap hideout to do battle with the Johnny-come-lately Pumkinzilla in their native soil. Not following me? I dug in the compost, complete with decomposed (or so it appeared) pumpkins and have ended up with ONE MILLION vivacious pumpkin seedlings all over the garden. Who knew they could withstand a full season in The Bin? They are being carefully removed and transplated into little pots for sharing with friends. Please don't tell them that I'm a Pumpkinzilla ali, they won't go nearly as quietly.

And, lest you think I've swung right off my rocker, let me close this post with some sane thoughts for the weekend.

I'll be indulging in some Finny Favorites to include (but not be limited to);
  • Sewing-first softee from the Finny Factory to come
  • Baking-will either make the tried-and-true chocolate chip cookies or the Strawberry Layer Cake from Cook's Illustrated if I can find the fruit
  • Spending some QT with one of my favorite people who I haven't seen in a punishingly long time.
  • Watching an unhealthy amount of baseball. Giants Schedule If you need me, this is where I'll be.

I am going to FINALLY get together with one of my very best friends. She doesn't have a blog, otherwise I'd link to it here. Despite her unblogginess, she is fantastically hilarious and I typically spend 80% our time together in searing side splitting pain from laughing my arse off. I wish she had a blog so that I could link you right up to her funny. In place of that, I can tell you that she has done such tear worthy stunts as implementing, "Talk like a Pirate Day" at our (super stuffy) former place of employment, spending 8 happy hours standing on a broken ankle (drunk) at a craps table and WINNING and ritualistically slapping the behinds of all the strippers at our bachelorette party. Oh yes, she is a gem, folks. I fully anticipate returning from the weekend with internal bleeding and a full set of laugh lines. I shall slather my face in cream in anticipation.

Oh, and not to leave you hanging on the whole "poop your pants" story; apparently hubby thinks he could stand at the pea fence and eat sugar snap peas until he poops his pants. That is how much he loves them. Gross? Yes. A blatant challenge? Yes.

And to all a blissful weekend.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hell freakin Yes!

Backtack 3 is here and I'm dying to get in and sign up so I can get started.

I won't ruin the fun for you if you haven't read this round's project yet, but if you need help converting time zones (for the sign up -- it's all official and sh*t this time), you can use this time zone converter to figure out the day and time when you can sign up.

Granted, it might seem silly for me to tip off other Backtackers-to-be since they're only taking the first 100 folks, but in the spirit of good blogsmanship, I forge ahead.

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Finny Riddle

Riddle #1: What is black, white and drives all over? Our white Tacoma, that's what.

Friday night we set out for Tahoe, walnuts and skis intact, ready to start loving the precipitation we've been having rather than hating it (snow is always preferrable to rain - especially when it comes by the foot), only to find that our route was blocked by "Spin-Outs". Otherwise commonly known as "People who have no business driving in the snow casually wandering our highways with their heads in their asses". So, not to be deterred , we turned our trusty stead around and backtracked to another highway - To Tahoe or Bust! This is when Mother Nature, seeing our provocative sign, gave us the finger and then pushed a mountain down onto Highway 50, successfully blocking us from realizing our weekend dream of waist high powder. Beotch.

At that point, we had no choice but to turn around and head home, skis freshly waxed and faces freshly crestfallen. We got home at 3:30 in the morning and spent a good part of Saturday morning comatose, trying to forget how far we drove for dinner at Chevy's.

However, not to have my weekend ruined by a spiteful storm and many, many unskilled drivers, hubby and I decided to join hands and proceed with the ritualistic building of a third vegetable bed.

We were drowsy. We were awkward. We were forgetful and often close to dozing off. But we did it, built us a third vegetable bed, we did. Because, god forbid, the pumpkins share space with anything other than voraciously vining plants like themselves. Spoiled brats.

And here you see the hilariously small plants in their big new bed:

Riddle #2: How many bags of compost fit into one '67 VW Squareback?

Answer: Enough for the bumper to scrape the curb as we lugged the car down the driveway.

Now I'm choosing to be thankful for all the friggen rain, because I know the wee plants are out there, like, virtually lapping it up. In fact, Pumpkinzilla is probably constructing something of a battleship so as to better survey his acreage. Either way, the rain's not going anywhere for a while, so I'm just hoping the small plants make it through to sunny weather.

After all the dirt play was done, I came inside and made a mess. Much to hubby's delight, I made good on my promise to destroy the kitchen with the turtle brownie gooiness from this month's Cooks Illustrated. Seen here in all it's sticky glory:

Let us take note of how my, albeit delicious, brownies look NOTHING like the specimens of utter perfection from the magazine. Shocker. Apparently cutting them with a chef's knife is an important detail. Well, I'm so sorry but it was dirty and I was too lazy to clean it after MAKING CARMEL FROM SCRATCH, HELLO! So, I cut it with another kind of knife that I don't know the name of and it was apparently not the right one. Oh, and I cut my finger trying to make perfect squares. Still though, so SO good brownies. I came home last night and hubby was asleep on the couch next to an empty platter that used to look like this:

Yes, these are the retard brownies that I made him eat first before eating the "Pretty" ones. I know, I'm a monster. He must've eaten them all to spite me cuz there wasn't a crumb left. My next conquest: the Strawberry Layer Cake you can see featured next to the brownies in the magazine. In case you were wondering, too: Yes, the Cook's Illustrated chefs do have magic wands.