Saturday, May 25, 2013


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"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I've often described my teenage years in a way that might make one think I was filled with more adolescent angst than all the characters in all the John Hughes' movies combined.  This would, in fact, be mostly accurate.  On the other hand, those same years are also memorable for being the time period during which I was introduced to a number of people, places, and things that have remained my obsessions interests all these years later -- Chicago Cubs baseball, Agatha Christie, Doctor Who, the Beach Boys to name a few.  At the top of the list is my favorite author, the late Douglas Adams.

Marvin the Paranoid Android
My older brother is responsible for bringing both Doctor Who and Douglas Adams into my consciousness, perhaps not surprisingly.  Adams is the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and all the subsequent books in that series), as well as Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, the under-appreciated Last Chance to See, a great book about endangered species, and more..  In 1994 I loaned my then-boyfriend my copy of Mostly Harmless, the fifth book in the Hitchhiker Trilogy.  (Yes, it's really called the fifth book in the trilogy.)  Boyfriend never seemed to get around to reading the book or returning it to me and I finally had to marry him to get it back.  Nineteen years later he still hasn't read the damn thing...

Douglas Adams left us much too soon, dying suddenly of a heart attack on May 11, 2001 at the age of 49.  I still mourn not only the writer but all the wonderfully quirky, witty, bizarre, and hilarious books that could have been.  I know I'm not alone because two weeks after his death fans celebrated the first Towel Day, a way to pay tribute to the man and his works, specifically by walking around with a towel.  Non-fans or non-readers of his books scratch their heads at folks who look like the cast of The Big Bang Theory parading into restaurants with Egyptian cotton bath towels draped around their necks like fur stoles.  Fans, on the other hand, immediately recognize kindred spirits.  (For the section of Hitchhiker related to towels, check out The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Towel here.)

Towel Day is usually a solitary event for me, with time spent reading my favorite passages.  This year I decided to pull the family into my celebration.  I originally intended to knit each person a "Don't Panic" hand towel from the pattern by Katie's Knits.  (Free pattern can be found here.)   My dexterity still isn't what it used to be and I quickly found the towel very time consuming considering I had to make four of them.  I finished up a small towel for myself and looked for another option.  (For the non-fans, "Don't Panic" are the words printed on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in large friendly letters).

Washcloths seemed more doable and I quickly found a great pattern at  In the center is the number 42, which is of course the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.  I managed to quickly knit them up for my mother, sister (the Inmates' Uncle Chester), and the Inmates themselves.  (The free pattern can be found here.)

Professional cake decorator I'm not.
For refreshments I opted for a heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie with golden yellow frosting to honor the starship Heart of Gold.

Hitchhiker inspired wrapping paper,
courtesy of Google images.
And we'll finish off the celebration tonight with a viewing of the 2005 movie.  I'm actually not a fan of the film, but while my son has seen the original television series and read the first book with me, he hasn't seen this screen version.  I can almost guarantee he won't like it either.

I had the privilege of meeting Douglas Adams at a book signing in 1993.  I sat in a crowd of people, most with towels, and listened to him read from Hitchhiker.  I then nervously took my paperback copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency up to the table for his signature.  He scribbled his name and as I took the book I wanted to say something witty and profound.  Instead I stammered, "Thank you for everything you've written."  He looked at me and smiled broadly and said, "Thank you very much."

Twenty years later I still can't think of anything better to say.  Mr. Adams, thank you for everything you've written.

Monday, May 6, 2013


My son's birthday weekend always coincides with the Kentucky Derby.  Between that event and memories of his second birthday when we took him to the Kentucky Horse Park and he "rode" through the place on a stick horse named Mushroom, he is forever linked in a section of my brain with all things equine.  While Orb was crossing the finishing line this past Saturday, The Professor was upstairs playing World of Warcraft, one of his presents.

His party was a simple one this year.  We held it on a Friday night so he'd have the whole weekend to indulge in his new video games.  He didn't care about having dinner as part of the party and merely requested a hamburger shaped cake made by Cincinnati's Servatti bakery.  As I had predicted to my mother, he ripped open his two presents and his two cards filled with cash and quickly disappeared to his room, not even having a slice of his own cake.  No fancy decorations with matching plates, cups, and hats.  For the first time he didn't request a theme to his party.  I recycled a generic Happy Birthday centerpiece, hung some gold streamers, and made a couple dangling decorations with pictures I procured from the Internet involving his current favorite movie, Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  Much to Foghorn's dismay, there were no gift bags.

I guess this just another thing I have to get used to with my now 14 year old son (along with looking up at him when standing by his side and adjusting to his voice sounding more like Barry White's each day).  I have to wonder if I'm a few short years from when he'll want only cash, plus the keys to the car for the evening. 

I hate to break it to him.  We're having cake whether he's home or not.


Meet the Inmates -- The Professor

The Cryptozoologist

Friday, May 3, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - Inspired by SouleMama

My sister, Nancy, celebrated her birthday last weekend.  She is better known in this blog as The Inmates' beloved Uncle Chester.  She's into these 18th century porcelain boxes and this little baby from England was a must-have for her birthday.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


* The Sad Tale of Little Red Riding Chester

* Meet the Inmates - Foghorn

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Shortly before I took my tumble on February 1, my mother's beloved 14 year old hound, Rusty, died.  At the time she said she didn't think she'd ever get another dog.  After about two weeks, my mother and sister, who lives with her, could stand it no more.  They had to have a dog in the house.

Recycled Doggies was taking part in the My Furry Valentine event, a huge gathering of rescues from the greater Cincinnati area.  I checked out their website of available dogs ahead of time and e-mailed my mother about a little hound/dachshund mix named Lilly.  Turns out my mother already had her eye on her.  After a few e-mails with Recycled Doggies regarding the dog's temperament and disposition towards cats and other dogs (in case some day the new pooch would have to come live with me), we decided she sounded like a winner and planned to get to the event right when they opened, before anybody else could scoop her up.  My mother went from  not wanting a dog at all to desperately wanting this dog in the span of about 24 hours.

At My Furry Valentine,
waiting to go home.
My Furry Valentine is so huge that it was held at the distribution center for leash makers flexi USA.  Parking was across the street and a shuttle bus brought visitors to the door.  My husband had come along, he claimed, because he wanted to see the new dog.  I think it was really just to ensure that I didn't bring a new one home myself.  I tried to tell him I had my arm in a sling and was hardly in a position to stealthily sneak a dog into the house.  He turned out to be useful since Lilly was terrified of the whole thing -- noise, people, dogs -- and refused to go with us on the leash.  He carried her through the warehouse, across the parking lot, and onto the shuttle bus.  Then off the shuttle bus, across another parking lot, and into the van.  I think he was sorry he came.

On the way to the event we discussed names.  Emily was almost chosen, although Foghorn kept insisting on Viola for reasons known to no one but her.  Then my sister mentioned the name Addie.  She was thinking of the little girl in A House Without a Christmas Tree, one of my mother's favorite Christmas shows.  I immediately got an image of Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon.  Either way the name seemed to fit this small, slightly fluffy pooch.

I've always said my mother has a knack for ending up with neurotic dogs.  She manages to attract the Woody Allens of the canine world and Addie is no exception.  In all fairness, we think the poor little thing had quite a life before ending up with Recycled Doggies.  She was dumped at a rural Kentucky shelter by her family who was moving and decided not to take her with them.  Their loss is our gain.  Actually, their loss is also Addie's gain, as I don't think she was treated well.  She's very nervous and extremely quiet, to the point where the first week we thought her barker was broken.  She's terrified of men, even my husband.  He takes this a little personally since he hauled her furry butt all over the place on adoption day.  She no longer runs and hides in another room when he's around.  She mostly cowers behind one of her owners and barks at him.  She will eventually accept some treats, but it takes all her courage and she immediately ducks behind a caregiver after swallowing.

Despite her emotional issues, she's just about the sweetest little thing in the world.  She can't get enough love and attention and petting (at least from those of us without a Y chromosome).  She loves to lounge on the couch on a big pillow and my sister covers her up with an afghan at night. that case I could hardly wait to get my knitting fingers back so I could make Addie her own afghan.

Addie's Afghan
It didn't have to be big, so I chose the Sunny Baby Blanket by Lucie Sinkler.  (My Ravelry notes are here.)  While the pattern is intended to be made in one color, I decided to use up the leftover yarn from the Hoover Blanket I made for my mother last year.  I love the Depression green with the rose pink together.  Plus it was a way to use up a couple partial skeins of yarn I had left over.  Plus I figure if it was using left over yarn my mother wouldn't decide the afghan is "too nice" for the dog to use.  (She has yet to use any of the dishcloths or place mats I made her because they're "too nice" to get dirty.) 

Addie's fitting in nicely in our family.  She has a nickname from me ("Addie Banaddie") and every time I see her I have to break into "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee."   (I'll never get Tatum O'Neal out of my head now.)  At first she gave me the bug-eyed, freaked out look common to those listening to my singing.  Now she's gotten used to it and accepts that I'm not a maniac.  Well, she accepts that I'm a harmless manic...who can knit nice soft blankets.


* A Furry Kind of Love

Keep Calm and Hug a Dog