Thursday, April 3, 2008

Nothin' Says Fun like NEW STUFF!

1. A new experience: we went to Milwaukee to see the "Body Worlds" exhibit. Mr. Dearling had gotten the almost-prohibitive expensive tickets as a premium for supporting NPR. It's a large series of human bodies, preserved with some mystic alchemy (there was an explanation; it's alchemy to me). All had no skin. They were standing there in all their muscles and arteries and ligaments. I worried that I would be affected, knowing that they really were humans (read "dead people") but nothing of the kind. They were of such stunning beauty, so fascinating, it was such a remarkable experience. I loved it!

It was apparently a school holiday, and there were a LOT of kids there, especially teens. For the first third, there was a lot of pointing and giggling (they were almost all men, so they had penises and their little testicles on those cords) but after that even they were caught up in the amazement of the whole thing. There were text panels on the walls with beautiful illustrations and descriptions of the research of such people as Leonardo da Vinci, and the people were in natural poses....well, it's hard to describe, but was a truly thrilling, amazing experience.

A friend said to me "That's just creepy, where did they get all those dead bodies?" Well, they had a blow-up of the donation forms and documents, and each one explained with crystal clarity exactly WHAT the donors could expect would be done with their remains; how they would be treated, displayed, utliized. It was thoughtful, careful and thorough. One thing struck me interestingly: they all had their belly buttons, and I found that, for some reason, endearing. I respect each and every person who gave us the gift of their bodies. I won't spoil it for anyone who might be lucky enough to have the experience by being too descriptive, but suffice it to say - if you get the chance and have ANY curiosity about how we're all knitted up, go! One of my all-time favorite quotes was on the wall there:

"What a piece of work is Man, how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty - in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!"

2. The Lovely Daughter, after several weeks of increasing frustration and distress, got a new (to her) car! Her previous car, a 1978 Pontiac Phoenix (I'll wait while you chuckle or gasp in admiration) finally bought the farm. Even her attentive and thoughtful car doctor couldn't save it, it was gone. Now, she doesn't drive a lot. But in this 21st century, few of us live close enough to our workplaces or the market to walk there. She really DOES need a car. She was careful, thoughtful, and clear-headed. She now has a reliable, efficient, functional mode of transportation. (And 'sides, I'd call that really cute. So's the car.)

3. On Tuesday I had my last writing class (they liked my story) and after a stint at the Museum we came home, and I found THIS:

I knew what it was, but it wasn't due until the next day. After several futile attempts to get it open (that box is not smiling , it's leering) I broke down and got out the scissors. In a minute, I'll show you what it is, but first a word from -- ME. I was just loaned the 7th book by author Sandra Dallas, Tallgrass. I want to be her when I grow up; she has an absolute gift with being imaginative and evocative. Before you're at the bottom of the first page (of ALL of her books) you can see the dust in the road, smell the food in the stove in the kitchen and see the colors of the quilt on the frame. Picking up one of her books is, as we say, to "be in a happy place." I hope that's enough of a recommendation because you'll thank me.

4. OK - here is my swag from the last couple of days. The Amazon package was my copy of Stephanie's latest book. I'm sure I'll buy a copy when she comes here at the end of this month (gasp) but I wanted it NOW. That sound is my foot stomping, and the fun of being a grown-up is, (sometimes) you can have what you want NOW! The Dummy book is part of my swag from my Barnes & Noble gift card (THANK YOU MR DEARLING) and fits with my Birthday Resolution. (I've said it here publicly so's to not let myself poop out: I mean to PUBLISH this year!) (Forgive me while I now sit in the corner whimpering for a moment; saying it right out like that is scary ) **sniff** Kthx.

And the third item? Well! Are you familiar with the Knit Witch? Yes, another dear knit-blogger, but she also is a potter (among other talents) and she makes Yarn Bowls. These are ceramic bowls with a hole for yarn, so your little yarn cake can sit in a beautiful place while you knit and not roll all over the floor or toss around in the basket or roll around in your pocket.

5. See? It just holds a cake of Cascade 200 perfectly; the yarn can be slid through the slot into the hole and knitted straight off like mad. What this is, is a wonderful, delicious bit of knitter's luxury, a charming enhancement to the whole process of Knitting. Here's the deal.

When I sit down to knit, I Let Go. I relax, I settle in, and I start to knit...I love the tactile sensation of yarn sliding through my fingers, I love to let my eyes drink in the voluptuous color of the yarn; and...having a darling little bowl with my precious yarn in it is another sparkle of delight to the experience.

Isn't that just totally aesthetically-pleasing? If you want, you can put the yarn through the plain hole, if youi know you're going to knit right down to the end - but the hole with the slit for the yarn is PERFECT because then you can change out yarncakes/projects at will. Oh...there's something else too. I LOVE BOWLS! I enjoy eating out of bowls a lot, I love the looks of beautiful bowls with fruit or candy or mashed potatoes. I even like bowls of paperclips and stitch counters, get the image? And get this: my precious little knitty yarny bowl can be ET OUTTA! So I can knit out of it happily, and then carefully set aside the project and eat me some soup, wash it out, put the yarn back in....Knit Witch points out that they're even good for knitting in the car because they're sort of weighty on the bottom and won't flop around. Also? She has felt on the bottom, so you can set the bowl on Auntie's 17th century sideboard and not worry about scratching. (NOTE: if you have an auntie with 17th century furniture, please see me after the show.)

Along with all this booty (by which I mean "all the neat stuff I got") this week, the forecast is for daytime temperatures of 50 degrees and day next week is going to be partly-cloudy and 58. All of which means (and I dare not say this too loud lest the dwindling frost giants overhear and get pissy about it) SPRING IS NIGH!

Saturday we're going out to the sugarbush to watch (and help) maple sugaring. I'm going to get some fresh maple sap for the Museum. It's clear, you know, and watery, and doesn't taste anything but sort of woody. You expect it to be sweet, when you know what it is, but it's not. The truth is, when the Creator whispered the secret of making maple sugar, it was a really miraculous gift. There might be some other explanation for how they figured it out but that's the story I'm sticking with. Makes perfect sense to me.

Oh - and there's a pregnant man on Oprah. Welcome to the 21st century.


Iron Needles said...

I saw Body Worlds last year in Denver and was amazed. It is pretty fascinating, isn't it?

Enjoy your new stuff!


Jane said...

I saw Body World in Chicago a few years ago and was absolutely fascinated. I'd go again given the chance. The Harlot is coming to Atlanta on Sunday, and I'll be hanging with my friends all day, knitting, eating, gabbing, and having a ball! Two of those friends are none other than Mr & Ms Knit Witch themselves. I have one of their lovely bowls, too. Mine doesn't have the slot, so I might just have to get another. LOL

dale-harriet said...

Oh, I'm so glad to know others have seen those lovely (skinless) folks. Did y'all see the Man on Horseback in your shows? Love it! And Jane? PLEASE, tell Mrs Knit Witch how MUCH I'm loving my bowl. The new ones have a hole on one side and a slit-and-hole on the other, so you have a choice. (I'm glad for the slit so I can take my yarn out before eating soup...knitting cat hair into something is sort of dear - knitting noodles in? Not so much.

knotmuchofaknitter said...

I'm so glad you posted about Body Worlds. I've been hesitant to go, because I don't know how I'd react. I'm not squeamish, but I'm very affected by the fact that these were people...

And the yarn bowl? Brilliant!! It looks very like some beautful stuff we received from Lakeside Pottery for a wedding gift. I am also fascinated by bowls - I just love them.

Finally, you go on the writing!!! Very exciting.


MollyBeees said...

Mr. Bee and I are going to Body Works when my Mum gets here at the end of the month. I can't wait!

Love that knitting bowl! I'll have to head over and see about one of those!

Mr. Bee is gone for the weekend. Tomorrow is supposed to be 61! I plan to sit on my deck and spin spin spin!

Hope to see you tonight!

yarndork said...

That body stuff is pretty cool, huh? I'm personally fascinated by pictures of it, but I'm concerned I'd get all freaking seeing it in real life. I love those emergency and surgery shows on tv, but once I saw some cutting in real life and almost fainted. Very embarassing.

Also, LOVE that yarn bowl. That is quite inventive. Especially the felt on the bottom. Nice touch.

Yarnhog said...

My Shakespeare is a little fuzzy, but I believe that is a quote from one of his plays, and I'm pretty sure it was spoken in irony.

We've had "Bodies" on exhibit near us for quite a while, but the ticket prices are really high. And I wasn't sure about taking the kids (8 and 10). Opinion?

Yarnhog said...

Because I just couldn't leave it alone, I looked up the quote. Hamlet, Act II, scene ii. He is explaining to his friends his loss of interest in the world and humanity. I'm not sure if irony is the right word, but he's definitely not expressing his pleasure with humanity. You can read it here if you're interested:

Kitty Mommy said...

Oh, I would love to see Body Works...sounds fascinating!

I like that quote, too, but I'm afraid my brain went to "Hair," before getting anywhere close to Shakespeare.

I love the bowl...just don't fill it too full of soup so it leaks out the holes! ;o)

Marsha said...

That yarn bowl is just beautiful!