I'm going to avoid the end of the year rush and make a list of music I've loved this year now.
These are the things I've had in heavy rotation for 2005, released in 2005:
* Marianne Faithfull, Before The Poison. Some things, like her voice, get better with age. Listen to this with the lights off and a bottle of whiskey.
* Nouvelle Vague. It's a cover album of New Wave songs sung by French singers who speak no English, bossa nova style. Not nearly as pretentious as it sounds.
* Martha Wainwright. Yes, she's the younger sister of Rufus Wainwright. Musical talent clearly runs in that family. She has a vulnerability reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper (if you don't remember the 80s, I promise you won't understand). Beautiful, rainy day stuff.
* The Postal Service, Give Up. My friend Willie gave me this CD during our college reunion. It was in popular rotation on the jukebox at The Mill (how I've missed that jukebox!). I have a lot of respect for Deathcab for Cutie fans, who are so devoted to a band that sounds like aural wallpaper to me. My HLP Sarah recommended them to me, since they have the same lead singer as Postal Service, so I bought Transatlanticism. I was unimpressed. I hope there's a new PS album in the works.
* Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Cold Roses. I bought this around the same time as Martha Wainwright, but it goes much better with Before the Poison. It's not at all like his dreadfully popular "New York, New York". Due to that song, I didn't listen to Ryan Adams for years.
A couple of my coworkers and I went to a free concert on July 4th in Philly, featuring several acts and Elton John. I'm a big EJ fan, so I didn't pay attention to who any of the other acts were when I heard the commercials on BenFM. We were excited when Ryan Adams was announced, until we realized, to our chagrin, that it was Bryan Adams and the MC had mumbled.
* Annie, Anniemal. Yes, it's Swedish pop, but Swedish pop music approaches the Aristotelian ideal. Oh, and she isn't some lame Swedish Britney Spears, but a DJ with the skills to pay the bills. I listened to this often during the run of Henry.
* Verve Remixed 3. I think that this knob-twiddling format is getting tired, but there are some very nice selections on this disc. See Postal Service's remix of Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue", the swanky reworking of Ella Fitzgerald's "Speak Low (When You Speak Love)", and Shirley Horn's "Come Dance With Me", which makes the listener want to do just that.

I should never order anything through the mail. I don't have the patience for it. A couple of my Netflix DVDs seem to have gotten lost in the mail. That is, if they weren't stolen from my mailbox, as the mailman hasn't been pushing the mail down into the slot lately. Argh. Alternate theory: my mail is being forwarded to PA again. I'm going to mail myself a postcard as a test. I really hope that the Netflix DVDs show up, because they'll freeze my account if I report too many of them missing. Also, I am bored.
I'm awaiting the arrival of a couple of Phildar magazines as well, from a shop in Belgium. Phildar has a cult following among American knitters, so you'd think that they'd distribute their yarns and patterns here, but they don't. They have to be ordered from Canada or Europe, neither of which is quick.
I am working on a Phildar project now: an alpaca and mohair blend wraparound cardigan that the French call a "cache-coeur". The yarn is a color similar to orange sorbet: pastel but not prissy. The loose double-ply construction makes my normally even stitches look wonky, so it will have to be blocked. There have been a lot of similar things in the fashion mags, so I'm looking forward to wearing the finished product.
My yukata sweater is 95% done. All it needs is its collar attached, which sounds so much easier than it is. This sweater just keeps making problems. Attaching the sash took me eight hours! After all the trouble this seemingly simple sweater was, it had better look good, feel good, and never need blocking. Since it's cotton, that's unlikely.


I had a completely pointless job interview last week. I knew that I wouldn't get the job when I left the house that morning. Maybe I should have just stayed home. It poured and my umbrella turned out to be broken. I slipped several times on the pavement, leaving my feet painfully curled in an unconscious effort to stay upright. So my sprained foot really hurt. I had to wait 40 minutes for the #22 bus, which is totally ridiculous since they're supposed to run at least twice an hour. When I got to my stop, I couldn't find the place. When I finally did, the conversation lasted a whopping five minutes and concluded with the interviewer saying, "Good luck with the bus". Oh, the petty indignities of life. I guess that I won't give them a follow up call.
The v-neck sweater completely resists all shrinking attempts and, perversely, becomes even deeper cut with each try. It's easy to block a sweater larger, but how on earth do you make it smaller when you want to?
I'm glad that I didn't buy a new laptop last year. The one that I wanted to buy has been greatly improved in the intervening time. All of the add-ons I priced out have become standards. You may recall, last year I realized that I had a nest egg large enough to get a new laptop or go to Europe for twenty days. I went to Europe. I'm looking to build another nest egg this fall, and the computer seems the prudent choice. It's just so damned sensible, though.


Am I one of a dying breed? I've read several places that makeup (or at least makeup that looks like makeup, an important distinction) is out. But I love makeup! I've finally given in to the indoctrination and the MAC counter. I'm amazed at how makeup can change a person's face, express their personality, and give the self-esteem a little boost. I don't NEED makeup; that is well established by years of wearing no makeup or natural looking things. Still, I like it and I figure that it's better to have fun now than when I am in my forties. Don't get me wrong-- I wouldn't wear the high fashion elaborate looks over to grandma's, but it was a thrill the first time I got a compliment on my makeup from the clerk at Sephora.
I finally learned how to do a good line in liquid liner the other day. What a thrill! I did a very classic heavy line to have brunch with my Mom and she nodded with approval when I told her it was inspired by the early slutty-looking Barbie dolls. I didn't go for the red lips though. I still don't think that I can carry that off...
A lot of designers are showing a smoky, plum eye for Fall (take that Vogue and your "inspired by Vermeer" natural look!), which I tried out today. It's fun, and a look that can be interpreted in different, age appropriate ways.
Well, enough about the old facepaint.
My latest, long dreamt of project just flew off the needles this week. I finally made the v-necked shell from Rowan's All Seasons Cotton collection. Funny, it doesn't look so low cut in the picture. It is undeniably, almost unwearably low cut, and I carefully followed the pattern on the neckline. Oh, and all of those eyelets that I carefully put in just roll inward to invisibility. So, I tried pressing it out with an iron. Mistake. I threw it back in the washer for another pass at blocking, but this may become a *sweater vest*. That would be a real disappointment.
I ran into my aunt at Borders today. I hadn't seen her in months, so we had a long chat. I ended up telling about how I need to figure out what it is I am going to do with the rest of my life and then do it. Not the easiest thing in the world. She was very understanding. Thank god I didn't just wear the shell anyway, low neck be damned!

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