How To House 44 Lizards in Your Underwear


A few weeks ago husbeast and I were in Washington, DC for a conference. Thanks to jet lag I actually woke up nice and early and decided to go to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. While I was in there I was treated to some nice, hometown displays of affection that commonly pass between would-be patrons and restaurant staff.

A homeless man was waiting inside the doorway of the DD and this did not please the staff there. After a few polite exchanges that resulted in the man having to go, he told the DD staff (in less vague terms) to, “Go suck my [dangly bits].” As if this wasn’t enough, one of the DD staff replied, “Yeah, I’ll go suck it.” None of the other customers in the shop were even fazed. I’m guessing this was a normal morning occurrence.

Yeah, baby. DC. How I soo not missed that, even though it was funny. Germans would never tell you such a thing, no matter how unruly they might feel; it’s just unbelievably impolite, and an inefficient way of expressing one’s grief.

No, Germans, in large, are some of the most polite people I have ever met. And their efficiency is remarkable.They organize everything (you should see our recycling system). This admirable display of efficiency and organization was seen last week in New Zealand as a German man tried to board a plane with 44 lizards in his underwear. Now when I heard this, I thought, “I bet he made sure those lizards were well-organized in that underwear of his!”

When this stuff becomes predictable to me on such a correct scale, I begin to think we have lived here too long now.


Knitting in Twilight


I like to post pictures here when I blog, but with it being winter in Germany, light is not something we get a lot of. And my camera only knows how to overexpose a shot or underexpose them (I guess this is really just a problem I have and don’t know how to fix on these “easy” point-and-shoot’s). Well we had a bit of actual sunlight this morning so I grabbed some FO’s to take pics of.

First, these are Fa Fa Fa Socks (rav link), knit in Dragonfly Fiber sock yarn in the colorway Riptide. This sock yarn was an unexpected gift from my friend, Kat, for Christmas. I loooove green so I was thrilled to knit these socks.

Then I found this great pattern (rav link) that uses up scrap yarn, which we all have too much of. These are going to some cats back home. I stuffed them with fiberfill and a teabag of this Schlaf und Nerventee (Sleep and Nervousness tea) that I got for my insomnia a while back. The tea worked great but smelled like ass. A friend’s cat confirmed that this ass-like smell was catnip (she went craaaazy). Hopefully Steve and Jay’s cats also like it!

I’ve got some other WIPs going–a pair of Gentlemans Sock with Lozenge Pattern by Nancy Bush (for the husbeast) and a Wee Wurm Hat for a friend’s little girl. Both are from the stash so I love that. Both are great for insomnia and jetlag knitting, which unfortunately I have been doing a lot of lately.


History of Nudity in Germany


Today there is a great article on FKK  (Freikoerperkultur), or as we prudish Americans say “public nudity”, in The Local, an online English-version newspaper for Germany.  As you may remember from a previous post, public nudity can take a little getting used to, but usually quite freeing once you get over the newness of it. I never thought I’d have the balls to go to a spa here and let it all hang out (you don’t get an option on this–nudity is the rule), but thanks to a friend I got over that weirdness and have been spa-hopping my heart out. I tell ya, there is nothing like four hours in a spa (for only 20 Euros!) when it is miserable outside.

What’s great about the article is that it talks about why FKK is/was so popular and why it came about. Plus it’s an interesting tidbit considering the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is on Monday.

But one thing the article misses is that West Germans (Wessies) are portrayed as being prudish and against FKK. Maybe this was so back then, but I can’t really agree with that now–nude seems to be the norm in the swimming/spa arena.


Honeybee Stole


Honeybee Stole In Progress

After several weeks in limbo (i.e. without the lace needle and hanging on an impromptu lifeline done in anger in the security line at the Pisa International Airport in Italy) I finally got my replacement Addi Lace needle that I was using to make Honeybee Stole by Anne Hanson.

Now I get to see if I really did get all those stitches onto that lifeline.



FO: Hemlock Ring Blanket


Hemlock Ring Blanket

Every once in a while something gets knitted that shocks me–in a I-can’t-believe-I-made-that sort of way. This is one of those times. Originally a tabletop doily pattern, Hemlock Ring was adapted to a blanket pattern by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I never really thought I would make this blanket, even as I bought the wool for it during a trip to Minnesota to see friends. I’ve made baby blankets (tiny recipients, thus tinier blankets) but didn’t think I would have the patience to make one for a normalish-sized adult. Again knitting can surprise you! A lot of non-knitters think it takes patience to knit anything. Little do they know that many knitters are some of the most impatient people on earth; we just bide our time using our hands instead of tapping our toes.

Pattern: Hemlock Ring

Wool: Cascade Eco-Wool; slightly more than one skein used to get a blocked 52″ diameter.

Needles: 2 80-cm US 10 circulars


Vicenza, Italy


Earlier this month we had some friends visit from the states and we decided to make a road trip out of it. Hubbo had to do some TDY (temporary duty) at the base in Vicenza during this time so we all packed into our VW Golf (our friends, who last visited us when we still had our VW Beetle, were very happy about the larger car) and drove from Heidelberg to Italy.

Ferry to Switzerland

Ferry to Switzerland

Our first night we stayed on Lake Constance, which borders a beautiful lake that straddles the Swiss border. I can’t remember what we all did that night but the next day we took the ferry across the lake instead of driving around Lake Constance, cutting our trip by a couple of hours.

We sped through Switzerland (we didn’t want to have to change over some Euros to Francs just so we could pay for the toilet) making our way through the Swiss Alps until we arrived in Lake Como, Italy.

Lake Como

On Lake Como

We did not spot George Clooney, unfortunately. But at least it was much warmer than it was here in Germany. Oh, and I tried a Sprizz for the first time–a cocktail made out of Campari or Aperol, prosecco and seltzer. This drink was helpful considering we had to watch street performers do the moonwalk while we ate our lunch (Michael Jackson is even more popular dead than alive). It was painful.

After eating lunch in Como we hopped back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Vicenza via Milan. If you ever decide to do this road trip, bring LOTS of Euro as the Italian motorway in the Veneto region is more expensive in tolls than the Mass Pike.

Since work was part of the trip, Hubbo and I stayed on base while our friends stayed in town. After spending that entire first night woken up every five minutes by the false fire alarms (I kid you not) we moved to downtown Vicenza as well. This was better anyway since our hotel gave away cappuccinos like free water in the US. And there was a bidet in the bathroom which, sadly, always provides a surprising amount of amusement for me.

Now Vicenza is not the most exciting place…unless you like Palladio and his palazzos which is the equivalent of touring Germany and its cathedrals (i.e. boooring after two days of it). The town is nearly dead all of the time except for rush hour. The perk, though, was being a short train ride away from Venice. This was my second time visiting Venice, but the first time without rain, flooding, and freezing cold weather.

San Marco Square; Venice

San Marco Square; Venice

While we were in Vicenza we checked out the Teatro Olimpico, one of three remaining Renaissance theatres still in existence in the world. And surprise, surprise, like everything else in Vicenza it was designed by Andrea Palladio in the late 1500’s.

Olympic Academy

Inside the Olympic Academy

Six months into its construction Palladio died so the theatre was completed by Vicenzo Scamozzi who designed the amazing trompe l’oeil


Trompe L'Oeil by Scamozzi

backstage scenery which still survives to this day. We were lucky to be able to tour the inside, and even sit in the theatre.


Inside the Teatro Olimpico

The rest of our stay in Vicenza was noneventful really. We had Chinese food (Italian style) with a friend who used to live in Germany and had amazing gnocchi at this hole-in-the-wall place around the corner from the hotel (try 40+ kinds of gnocchi on the menu).

We then made our way back to Germany, staying in Innsbruck, Austria for one night. Innsbruck, which hosted the Winter Olympics, is in the Tirol part of the Alps, straddling Italy, Germany and Austria. I would have taken pictures but between the autobahn, the mountains, and the curvy roads I nearly threw up.


FO: Shur’tugal Socks


They took a month, but it was worth it. Last night I finished a new pair of socks called Shur’tugal by the designer Socktopus. The whole pattern was full of twisted stitches that normally would have scared me off–I don’t really like using cable needles and I was too lazy to learn how to do this with just the knitting needles. But lucky for me, the designer included these instructions in her pattern, so I finally learned. It’s actually really fun and helps pass the time, curing me of Second Sock Syndrome.

Shur'tugal Socks by Socktopus

The yarn I used was from Blue Moon Fiber Arts from the Socks That Rock series in colorway Korppi, which is black with green, purple and bluish undertones. I’ve been dying to use this yarn for a long time and finally got some. The color crocked a bit, but washed off easily. This pattern will really eat up your one skein of BMFA–I had only 2g left by the time I grafted the toe! I think in the future when using this yarn I’ll divide the skein up using my scale and knit from the toe-up so I don’t spend the last 4 inches or so worrying about if I’ll have enough.