Concateknit

v. to knit or purl in a series...

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

And a bunch of other stuff.

I have lots to tell you, but as I am sure you are getting ready for your wonderful and exciting New Year's festivities, I'll try and keep this brief.

I found this in my mailbox last night:


My best friend's in-laws, Sue and Randy, own the Raymond General Store in Raymond, California, and Sue was going through some old filing cabinets and found this Jack Frost pattern book. Sue is both a knitter and a lover of handbags, and since she knows that I am too, she very generously sent this to me.

An inside shot:

Seriously, how cool are those bags? And how cool is Sue for sending it to me?

As one of our Christmas gifts, Mike's dad and step-mother took us to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra last night at the Fleet Center. Seeing this show is something of a family tradition, and last night's performance was the first that Mike and I have attended, so it was really quite the experience for us.

I had the day off today and I have spent it happily puttering around the house, watching some of my favorite good and bad movies, Ghostbusters, Demolition Man, and The Big Lebowski (you guess which I think is which, heh heh heh), cleaning and organizing things (Mike's armoire has never been more orderly), and generally having a very relaxing day. In a few minutes I'll hop in the shower (yes, I do know what time it is) and tonight Mike and I will spend New Year's Eve with Keiko and her husband Tim at our friend's housewarming/New Year's Eve party. It should be a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to spending my New Year's with Mike and with good friends.

I said I'd keep this brief, but as usual I fibbed, so I will wrap this up by wishing you a safe and happy New Year. I hope you spend the evening with people you love and I wish you and your families peace, happiness, and health for 2005.

Oh, and I start a new job in three weeks. :)

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Shocked

I'm still in shock. I was living in California during the quake of '89, and although it was frightening, we never lost power, never lost cable, never lost our telephone service. I remember going to the movies that night. I remember being amused that a photo booth full of film fell on my then-boyfriend's head during the quake. I remember going to school the next day and being shocked to find out that school was closed for the day in order to check for earthquake damage. Perhaps I wasn't effected by the earthquake as much as I should have been because I was only 15 at the time, and I still believed I was invincible. Now that I am twice as old as I was then, now that I know that none of us are invincible, I am stunned and shocked by the devastation caused by the earthquake and tidal waves in Asia. I hardly know how to wrap my mind around it.

Here is a list of some organizations accepting donations to help those devastated by the earthquake and tidal waves. I'm not sure which of these organizations to give to, so if you have a personal favorite, or if there are organizations that you would recommend, let me know and I will add those links.

The Bookish Girl outed me today. You may know that she recently got a new job, and today she posted the story of how she got new job. I was peripherally involved, but don't let her fool you - I passed along her resume, her obvious intelligence and qualifications did the rest. I'm sure she will be tremendously successful, and I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time and able to offer a little assistance.

Of course, it could just be that I want lunchtime knitting buddies. ;)

I've been knitting, albeit slowly, on this:


Irish Hiking Scarf


Cable detail

On a very positive note, Mandy's blog, Yarnageddon, is up and running again, and you should stop by and say hello if you haven't already. She's been sorely missed in blogland, and I am thrilled to have her back.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Mike and I opened our presents this morning, and it went something like this:

This


Plus this


Equaled this


And then this


Mike and I were supposed to be in Georgia today spending Christmas with his kids, but when we arrived at Logan last night, our flight had been canceled due to bad weather and the airline said they wouldn't be able to get us to Georgia until Sunday. Considering that we wouldn't have arrived until after the time we were due to leave, we decided to stay home and plan a trip for a long weekend either in January or February. As heartbroken as we both are not to spend Christmas with Mike's kids, we're both glad that we were able to be together for Christmas and that we have family to spend the holidays with.

I have another little lovely gift to share with you:


These three skeins of beautiful ribbon yarn are a very lovely gift from Michelle. Have you read her blog? If you have then you'll know that she's a funny, kind, smart and talented woman (with the most fabulous hair. Ever.). I've been privileged to have the opportunity to get to know Michelle both online and offline over the past few months and she is as kind and generous as you would imagine.

Although Christmas isn't a religious celebration for me, I welcome any opportunity to spend time with my friends and family and to reflect on their importance in my life. I want to say thank you to all of you who have left comments for me, encouraged me, laughed with me (or at me, as the case may be), and have generally made my world a brighter place. So Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and best wishes from me to you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

When I Wax Philosophically About Not Getting Stressed Out

You should probably duck as your chances of being hit in the head by a flying roll of wrapping paper are high.

I became very Zen about not finishing all my Christmas knitting in time for all of the recipients to receive their presents by Christmas. Really, I did.

On Tuesday I took stock everything that was done and prepared to wrap the gifts.

Snug (sweats on and heat turned up) and smug (see final point from Sunday's post) and Zen, I pulled out my wrapping paper box and got my supplies ready, including my fancy new electric scissors.

I couldn't find any gift tags.

So I put my clothes back on and bundled up to go OUTSIDE. At 9pm. When the temperature, without factoring in the windchill, was 8 degrees Farenheit. I went to the drug store. I bought gift tags, more wrapping paper and gift bags.

I went back home, put my sweats back on, and feeling noticeably less snug, smug, and Zen, began The Wrapping of 2004. At midnight, when my back couldn't take any more of the hardwood floor, I went to bed.

I had some Grand Minor Plans for yesterday. I was going to finish The Wrapping of 2004, bake cookies, block the rest of the Bad, Bad Sweater, box all the gifts that needed to be shipped today, take pictures of my WIPs, felt Sophie 4, blog, and start packing for our trip to Georgia on Friday. An added bonus, yesterday was the day when Mike's company gives each employee either a vegetable lasagna, a ham or a turkey, and I was really looking forward to eating the vegetable lasagna for dinner.

What actually happened yesterday was this:

I blocked nothing,
I felted nothing,
I took pictures of nothing,
I blogged about nothing,
I started packing nothing,
I baked cookies,
I wore my underwear sideways for most of the day before I noticed,
I wandered around my apartment looking for The Pen that I felt I needed in order to fill out the gift tags. It was The Pen. It was Perfect. It was Lost. I was Bereft and it took a long time to Let Go.

It took Mike almost two hours to get home from work (curses on the Pike) and the lasagna took another two hours to bake. I ate dinner at 10pm and I was grateful, damnit.

At 11pm, I believed I was done with The Wrapping of 2004. I stood up to unkink my back and saw one more gift that needed to be wrapped.

And then I found the gift tags I thought were missing initially.

That's when the wrapping paper started to fly.




Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Problem With Blogging Only Once A Week

Is that when I do finally blog, I have too much to say.

So, I'll just keep this short and get to the point(s):

Point 1: FOs


My sister's poncho, and yes, the first sleeve of the Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Sweater, blocking on the guest room floor. Once I've wrapped the poncho, I'll block the rest of the sweater, and with any luck, it will be ready for its intended recipient by Thursday. Oh shit. Maybe not. I conveniently forgot that it still needs to be seamed. And that it still needs a neck. Harumph. Shit.

Point 2: WIPs


Sophie 3 and Sophie 4, pre-felt. Yes, I know I have a problem. Be quiet.

Point 3: Sundays with Mr. and Mrs. Bookish

I highly recommend spending your Sundays this way. I realize you can't all spend your Sundays with Wendy and Rob, but the underlying philosophy is sound: spend time with amazingly warm, funny, and smart people, share laughter, stories, good food and drinks, and end your weekend with a warm fuzzy glow that will make you not care that you have to get up and go to work the next day.

Point 4: Christmas will be over by this time next week

And having said that, I've decided to relax about the whole thing. The important thing is being able to spend time with Mike and our families and friends. Little else really matters, so if I don't get everything done that I'd like to? Eh. No big deal. I don't think most people would mind having a gift to open in January.

Amie and Lauren? I promise that the next time Mike has a business trip to Maryland, I'll try to go, too. Don't forget that you are always welcome here.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Houston, We Have a Cold

Oh boy, do we ever.

I should have known something was amiss when I spent all of Monday feeling tired. I got a decent amount of sleep, I spent a wonderfully relaxing Sunday at Chez Bookish, and yet on Monday, I was just tired.

Mike left for a business trip on Monday afternoon, so when I got home from work I puttered around the house, putting things away and taking stock of where I stand with all things Christmas. I knit some on the sister poncho and just generally felt tired and missed Mike*.

By yesteray morning, though, I was feeling funky. I kept wandering around my house, picking things up and putting them down in random places. As I was trying to leave to catch the bus, I had to go back into the house at least three times to grab things I needed (Gloves? Check. Lunch? Check. Christmas cards? Check.), or do last minute things I had forgotten to do (Coffee pot off? Check. Heat turned down to 58 degrees? Check.). Miraculously, I made it to the bus on time.

My commute when Mike is on business trips differs from my commute when Mike is home. When Mike is home, he drives me to the Ashmont T station, where I proceed to take two buses to work, or to the Forest Hills T station, where I take the T and then a shuttle to work. When Mike is on a business trip, I can walk to the Mattapan trolley that takes me to Ashmont where I can then take the previously mentioned two buses, or I can drive to Forest Hills and take the T and then the shuttle, or I can catch the 215 bus that takes me to Ashmont, and well, I'm sure you get the point.

Yesterday I caught the 215 and managed to get to Ashmont intact. On the second leg of my trip to work, I lost my gloves. On the third leg of my trip, I lost my T pass.

Seriously? I should have gone back home then, because I spent all stupid day feeling like I had medicine head without benefit of any medicine. *Sigh*

So, I stayed home today and slept until 10am. I've been knitting and drinking coffee and orange juice all day. I just finished watching "Airport 75" and now "Airport 77" is on.

The big question is - should I go to the Southie SnB tonight? I really want to, but I have this whole Grandma guilt thing going...you know, it goes something like, "If you are too sick to go to work, you are too sick to go to the SnB". I will probably just stay home, wrap presents, and start to put together the boxes that need to be shipped to family and friends around the country. Jackie, I hope you have a great time tonight!

In knitting news, the sister poncho is finished and just needs blocking and I have started an Irish Hiking Scarf which has no chance of being finished by Christmas. No, I can't tell you why I started it yesterday except that I really wanted to practice my new cabling skill. Actually, that's exactly the reason I started it...

In other news, the party on Friday night was a lot of fun:


Mike (cute as a button) and Elisa (thankful she still has collarbones to offset those chipmunky cheeks)


Keiko and Tim (both adorable)

Thank you all for your kind comments about The Unpleasantness. You all rock.

*By the way, he's in Maryland. If you happen to be in Elkton and you see him, tell him we need coffee, okay?

Friday, December 10, 2004

If You're Looking for Me

I'll be the one in the corner mumbling about looking like a sausage.

I had this whole idea that I'd be at my goal weight by my 30th birthday. Um, right. That hasn't exactly happened. I've been able to ignore this "where'd my feet go?" weight gain for the most part. Since it is sweater and coat season, I haven't had to really confront my, er, largesse.

Until I needed to start planning my outfit for my company's holiday party.

Now, you know me, right? A little OCD. A little, shall we say, organized? If you've been to my house, you know that you could probably open any drawer (one of my drawers, we're not talking about any of Mike's drawers, of course) in my house and find nice little stacks or rows of whatever it is lives in that particular drawer.

This is what my spare bedroom, where my clothes closet is, looked like after the What Am I Going to Wear to the Holiday Party and Did These Pants Always Make Me Look Like a Sausage Unpleasantness:



Thank god for shoes and handbags. No matter what I weigh, they never make me look like a sausage.

I took the day off today and will head into Boston later to get my hair cut (at least I'll have good hair, sexy shoes, and a great handbag, right?) and then I'll do a little Christmas shopping before I head to the hotel to get ready for the party.

The UPS man came to see me today. He brought me a box of See's from my dear friend Caroline. Want to guess what one of my New Year's resolutions will be?

Knitting blog? What? Oh, sure. I cast on for Sophie 4 yesterday and am making excellent progress on the sister poncho. I should get some quality knitting time in this weekend, as I'll be spending another lovely Sunday at Chez Bookish.

Dude, I totally forgot to mention that Wendy taught me how to cable last weekend! I've carried my little cable swatch with me all week. Thanks, Wendy!

Also, I mentioned in my last post that I was approved for membership in the FiberRAOK ring and I've alredy received a wonderful RAOK - a gift certificate to Adagio Teas from Lisa. Thank you so much, Lisa! I've already decided what I want to order, and I'll think of you when I have my first cup of tea! Thank you, Nancy, for welcoming me to the ring. I know I'll enjoy the rest of the lovelies on the ring if you're any indication of the type of people involved. :)

Happy knitting everyone.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

You Know I'm a Vegetarian, and I Know I'm a Vegetarian

But the people at the Pit Stop BBQ in Dorchester don't need to know.


Actually, this is Mike's dinner from the Pit Stop: Ribs, baked beans, and potato salad. As for me, well, I had the best macaroni and cheese anyone has ever had. Somehow, during its preparation, the mac and cheese probably comes into contact with something meaty, and I'm sure that's why it is so damn good.

Last weekend started out with BBQ and it just got better. Seriously.

Saturday evening I met Melanie from melanoma uberalis for coffee and a quick button tutorial. Really, all I did was help her sign up for photobucket. She took it from there, and have you seen the amazing button and banner she created along with all the great buttons she has uploaded to her site? Fabulous. I really hope that we'll be able to get together again soon, and maybe do some actual knitting. Or not. She's just a lot of fun. :)

After I left Melanie to the Knitsmiths, Mike and I headed out to get our first Christmas tree:



I really love Christmas. I start planning my Christmas gifts in May and singing Christmas songs in June. I don't let myself decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but by December 1st, I am really itching to break out the snowman made out of a sweat sock (you'll see him later, be patient) and all the ornaments I have collected over the years plus the newer ornaments that Mike and I have collected together. I love walking into my house after a long and ridiculous commute to the smell of pine. I love the hustle and bustle of the shoppers and the parties and the silly twinkling lights. I'm sorry, I'm done, you can stop gagging now.

Mike and I went to Chez Bookish on Sunday and spent a delightful afternoon and evening with Mr. and Mrs. Bookishness and Ms. Projectness and her charming SO, Eric. We had drinking. We had football. We had knitting. Most of all, we had wonderful company and conversation. So much wonderful company in fact, Mike and I are going back again this Sunday.

After Sunday, the rest of the week is kind of a blur. Tonight I met up with the new Southie SnB at Cafe Arpeggio and got a good bit done on my sister's poncho:


(Why yes, that is a snowman made out of a sweat sock, how funny you should notice.)

This was the second meeting of this incarnation of the Southie SnB and it was a lot of fun. Jackie was there working on Caili's hat, Keiko was working on (surprise) a blue scarf, Amy was working on a lovely skinny scarf for a friend of hers who is moving to California (and so has no need for a big wooly affair), and Nicole was working on a chemo hat that she started and probably finished tonight. Thanks, ladies, for lots of laughter and great conversation. I look forward to seeing you all next week!

I got some very good news today - I've been approved to the FiberRAOK ring! I've been in the queue for a couple of months and got word this afternoon that I'm in. Woohoo! Now I need to spend some time surfing the ring and getting ideas for little things to send out. What fun.

I'll leave you with a final shot of my Christmas tree. Please forgive the not-so-fabulous tree topper.



Oh, and Sue? The linen closet photos are coming...

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I Feel Like It's Christmas Already

Because I've gotten lots of gifties already.

1. Thank you to everyone who left me a comment or sent me an email about my List. I was pretty freaking overwhelmed by how kind and generous everyone was. I really don't think of myself as someone who has had to overcome a lot, I just think that shit happens, and as Jackie says, it isn't what happens to you, it's how you deal with it. I am once again humbled by the kindness of others.

2. Mike gave me an early Christmas present yesterday: "In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry". I heard Walt Whitman's voice last night. Need I say more?

3. I am meeting Melanie today for the first time in real life. Again, need I say more?

4. My company's holiday party is next Friday, and thanks to my fabulous Aunt (who works for the Fairmont), Mike and I are staying here for a very reasonable rate.

5. Tomorrow I am going to see Her Bookishness and Her Projectness plus meet their significant others. And we're going to knit. And watch football. And drink beer.

6. I found out who my Secret Pal III is. It's Freecia! She was such a generous and fun Secret Pal. For the reveal, she sent me a gift certificate to Amazon and reminded me that The Yarn Harlot's bookbookbook will be available for pre-order in a few weeks. What a super-smart Secret Pal Freecia is!

7. I am going to have an Anna's quesadilla for dinner.

8. I am going to Lambert's Rainbow Fruit, a wonderful grocery store in Dorchester with the best fruits and vegetables, to get a Christmas tree today.

9. Yesterday my friend Jessica asked me to teach her how to knit.

10. My best friend Kim emailed me yesterday to tell me that her MIL, S., who is easily one of the coolest ladies I have ever met (and who also knits) reads my blog! S. also asked Kim if she had ever seen my famous linen closet, and Kim said no, and then suggested it was time for me to post some photos.

I'm thinking about it.

So, I was reading Princess Papaya this morning, and she mentioned the 2005 Maryland Sheep and Wool festival, and when I looked at the comments, I saw that Michelle said she was really looking forward to the festival. This suggests to me that she'll actually BE there.

Which means that, as of this morning, I've decided so will I. Who else is going?



Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I'm A Blog-Alonger, Yes I Am

My Hundred Things:

1. Since everyone and everything seems to get their own month, I would like there to be a month called “National Things Elisa Hates Month” because I really hate many, many things. Certainly enough to fill up a month with one thing per day.
2. Like palm trees.
3. And paper cuts.
4. And bad manners.
5. And people who take up too much space when they walk. Oh yeah, I could have a whole month.
6. I was an only child until I was 14 years old when my sister was born to my dad and his second wife (who was only 10 years older than me).
7. My dad has been married 3 times.
8. My mom has been married 4.
9. My G’pa was married once and I didn’t find out about it until they had been divorced for more than ten years. He was married three times total, twice to my Grandma.
10. I was married at age 23 and divorced at 27.
11. I truly meant to be married once and forever.
12. Luckily I am older now and I have forgiven myself for getting divorced.
13. On my 29th birthday, my mom was in jail, I had just found out that my G’pa had terminal lung cancer, and Mike was out of town on a business trip.
14. Thankfully, I have great friends who took me to dinner and laughed with me about my life being like a bad country song.
15. My life has often been like a bad country song.
16. My father got sole custody of me in 1974 and raised me as best he could.
17. I will always be grateful to him for that.
18. When I was little, my dad would drop me off at my maternal grandma’s house each morning on his way to work.
19. My grandma would get me up, make me breakfast and send me to school.
20. Whenever it rained, I would splash in as many puddles as I could because I knew that when I got home, my grandma would let me change into my pajamas, and she’d warm a clean pair of socks in the dryer and then would let me cuddle on her lap while she sang to me.
21. My dad is an alcoholic.
22. Recently I was talking to my cousin Stephanie about why I seem to be so much more forgiving of my dad than my mom, when they were both essentially, well, not the best parents.
23. She said “Because your dad always wanted to be your dad”, and that was one of those moments where you feel something shift inside of you, and you understand that you now Know something important.
24. My cousin Stephanie rocks.
25. My friends have always been as important to me as my family.
26. My best friend Kim has taught me about grace, courage, friendship, unconditional love, and punctuality.
27. Kim is the first person to ever send me flowers at work (for my 29th birthday).
28. Kim is the first person to ever get me something from Tiffany’s (for my 30th birthday).
29. Kim has never, ever, not once, let me down.
30. I grew up in Northern California and moved to Boston in 2000.
31. I have been writing poetry since I was 12.
32. The poetry I wrote at 12 is occasionally clever and always rhymes.
33. When my heart was broken for the first time at age 15 I stopped writing rhymed verse.
34. I have been a featured performer at various open mics in Boston.
35. I tend to avoid the poetry open mics and go to open mics where the performers are typically singer/songwriters, but are welcoming to poets.
36. I decided to make different choices than my parents made.
37. I didn’t drink until I was 21 and I didn’t experiment with drugs.
38. I believed that as a child of parents with alcohol and substance abuse problems, I had to make a conscious decision to make different choices than they had.
39. I realized in my mid 20s that no matter how good or bad your parents were, at some point, you make choices about whether or not you will be like them.
40. I think it is okay to make a mistake as long as you take responsibility for it.
41. People who avoid personal responsibility would get their very own day in my national month.
42. I was raised United Methodist and wanted to be a minister for a long time.
43. Then I realized that I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.
44. I have an uncle who is a minister and a teacher and is the least hypocritical person I know.
45. I respect people who live their beliefs every day, and my uncle is that type of person.
46. I wasted too much being unhappy, and I’ll admit that I have become less tolerant of people who complain then do nothing to change their situations.
47. I do not expect anyone to give me anything. Ever.
48. I know that I am not owed happiness. Not by my parents, my friends, my boyfriend, or anyone.
49. I am responsible for creating my own happiness.
50. I love to sing in public.
51. The first song I ever sang in public was “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?” at a pizza parlor called The Captain’s Galley in Santa Clara, California. I was 3 years old and it was 1977.
52. I taught myself to knit in May when I learned that my G’pa’s cancer had spread and I lost someone very special to me.
53. I can be really cranky.
54. You probably shouldn’t talk to me before I’ve had coffee.
55. No, seriously. You shouldn’t.
56. I am short and I have a huge butt.
57. No, seriously. It’s huge.
58. I’ve been to California twice this year, and both times I attended funerals.
59. I freak out when the phone rings at home, convinced that something bad has happened.
60. As a result, I almost never listen to my voice messages.
61. I find out who called, delete the message, and call them back.
62. I didn’t realize the importance of family until my late 20s.
63. My aunt, who is now the matriarch of our family, is the best role model I could possibly have.
64. I am in love with a wonderful man, Mike.
65. We live together in a beautiful apartment.
66. The first year we lived together was very difficult, between having mice, no parking, a burglar (while we were home), and some family tragedies, and I am thankful that we worked through everything as a team.
67. Mike is a very practical man, and so when we got in our rental car on the morning of my 30th birthday and he started to play a CD mix that he had made with songs that all had to do with birthdays, or cake, or parties, or were just by my favorite artists, I got very weepy.
68. I realized, for the millionth time, just how lucky I am.
69. Mike is the most amazing human being I have ever met.
70. I try not to take anyone or anything for granted.
71. I don’t need everyone to like me.
72. I don’t need everyone to be my friend.
73. I hate small talk.
74. I don’t call just anyone my friend, but when I say it, I mean it.
75. I tell my friends all the time that I love them, because I do, and I want them to know.
76. To this day the song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” reminds me of one Christmas when my mom was supposed to take me for the holiday, but left me at my Grandma’s house and wouldn’t let me go home to my dad. That song was on a tape of Christmas music that I played over and over again as I cried myself to sleep.
77. That memory is a hard one for me.
78. I believe my mom loved me as much as she was able.
79. I think people have different capacities for love, and if someone loves you as much as they are able to, then you can’t ask them for more.
80. That doesn’t mean, however, that it will be enough for you.
81. But that will be your decision alone.
82. I grew up trying to make everyone happy and avoided confrontation at all costs.
83. I have learned that it is okay to argue, but I have pretty rigid rules of engagement. Disrespect is never okay.
84. For the last ten years I have tried to make all of my Christmas gifts,
85. Not to save money but because handmade gifts are all about the love and thoughtfulness that goes into them.
86. Before I began knitting, I read all the time.
87. I designed a database to track my reading.
88. I majored in English in college.
89. Hemingway is my dead boyfriend.
90. Ralph Wiggum is my cartoon boyfriend.
91. I’m a little OCD. You should see my linen closet.
92. Or my closet, which is organized by garment type, color, and weight. Seriously.
93. Now I have a database to track my knitting needle inventory and my stash.
94. I like to get people to do things I would never do myself. I especially like to get people to eat meat that I think is strange.
95. I don’t have a great sense of humor, but I love to make people laugh.
96. Especially my dear friend Caroline, as I love to hear her laugh.
97. I have been a vegetarian for 15 years, but am in danger of losing my membership and having to return my toaster.
98. I ate a hotdog on Labor Day. It was fan-freaking-tastic.
99. I really wanted this to be a lighthearted list, but I am not really a lighthearted person, and I’d rather tell you things that are meaningful than things that are funny.
100. Which leads me back to #95, of course.






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