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March 2006
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May 2006


"I teach college English part-time. Mostly Lit, not Composition. But I am so pathologically obsessed with usage that every semester the same thing happens: once I've had to read my students' first set of papers, we immediately abandon the regular Lit syllabus and have a three-week Emergency Remedial Usage and Grammar Unit, during which my demeanor is basically that of somebody teaching HIV prevention to intrvenous-drug users. When it emerges (as it does, every term) that 95 percent of these intelligent upscale college students have never been taught, e.g., what a clause is or why a misplaced only can make a sentence confusing or why you don't just automatically stick in a comma after a long noun phrase, I all but pound my head on the blackboard; I get angry and self-righteous; I tell them they should sue their hometown school boards, and mean it. The kids end up scared, both of me and for me. Every August I vow silently to chill about usage this year, and then by Labor Day there's foam on my chin."

-- "Authority and American Usage" in Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace

I am now about to continue my assault on the garden bed. Today we will play my favorite game ever. I call it: Dead or Dormant.

sweet midgets

Once again, the chore gnomes have let me down. I have been studiously leaving piles of leaves on the garden beds in the hopes that they'd sneak in under cover of night and rake/weed/mulch the dang things. They have not. Stupid, stupid gnomes.

Given that the weather is gorgeous and I have convinced myself to ignore student papers for another day, I must go start the process. Really, I'd just as soon take my knitting, a lawn chair and a mai tai and do what comes naturally. Instead, I will tidy. Woo.

A distraction, then, for you, my loyal reader: SF/F Awards we'd all like to see. (This may require registration of some sort.)

My fave is this one: The Tortured Syntax Award For Most Striking Architectural Accomplishment in Construction of Extremely Lengthy and Divergent Sentences—Complete With Asides and Discursions of Various Natures—to Have Been Published in Our Field in a Recognized Professional Market While Developing a Complex Interwoven Weltanschauung Amid the Thickets of the Parts of Speech the Point of Which Was Long Since Herein Lost

I know who I'd nominate.


So I was thinking about this in the shower this morning -- I would be a great warm-up act for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot.

The reasons are multi-fold and run thusly:

1) I like Stephanie. Far as I know, the feeling is mutual. And the hilarious hijinks we could get up to out on the open road (or, errr, yarn shop) could be the stuff of legend.

2) I like to knit. Stephanie does, too.

3) I have kids. Ditto, but she has more and I haven't the slightest idea how she's made it through three with both mind and body intact.

4) While she writes mostly about knitting and her life, I write mostly about my life with occasional dips into knitting. Both of us tend to seek out the universal truths in our chosen subject matter and how said truths can be approach with riotous humor, lest we all go mad.

5) I suspect, but have no hard data, that there would be a fair amount of overlap in our audiences. Her audience is united by yarn and the knitting (and, for the truly odd, crocheting) of same. My audience, if there is such a thing, either knows/is related to crazy people and/or has kids. I'm thinking our cohorts may mesh.

(5a) Yes, I will admit that her audience is much, much bigger than mine and my suggestion re: me as an opening act is self-promoting and a blatant play to increase my own reader pool. But this is a small thing. Mostly, I'd like to be able to warm up the crowd for the Harlot and drink beers with her. Anything else is gravy.

6) Um....we both have unruly curly hair and husbands in unusual careers. I am, however, much taller. And not Canadian.

Any thoughts from the assembled? Should I have Steph's people take a lunch with my people and has out the knitty (heh) gritty? Or should I have let the idea run down the drain?

the offspring

Flappy McFlappypants:

The boy is now nine months old. I find this hard to believe, too. Still, there it is.

While he appears to be in the crawling position, he does not, in fact, crawl. He can pretty effectively get from one place to another through a combination of squirming, scooting, stretching and flapping. He's a flapper, that boy. When excited, you'd think he was a bird, madly flapping its little arms in order to get some lift. It is hysterical. It will be less so if he's still doing at two or three, but now, it's a hoot.

The girl remains amusing, mostly. Cute story: On Saturday, I was in Flappy's room trying to convince him to take a nap. The door was shut, which the Diva will finally recognize as a sign that she should be quiet, so as not to wake her brother and incur parental wrath. As I was rocking the boy, I hear her come up the steps. "Mommy?" she whispers, so quietly I can just barely hear her. I don't respond. A few seconds later, a drawing in yellow crayon inches its way under the door. It is followed by a pencil and some tiny fingers, which feel around for the drawing, as if to make sure it made it OK. I hear footsteps walk to her room. A minute later, the hand is back, sneaking under the door and searching for the pencil and drawing. I am doing my best to not laugh. When I finally get the boy down, I ask her what it was all about.

"It is daddy's prescription," she says. "I need you to fill it at the store."

Daddy, for the record, isn't sick. The two of them had been playing with her doctor's kit when I went up to make the boy rest.

Two seconds later -- "Actually," she says. "It is sunshine for my brother's room."

Too. Cute.

Two kid related links -- first, Dr. Parker, who I heart, explains why a little mess may turn out to be a good thing. And, second, because I needed something else to feel guilty about now that I can no longer feel guilty about how dusty my house is, if you don't breastfeed, your kid may be an alcoholic later in life.

I'm sorry...what?

Having one of those days where it is really difficult to concentrate on much of anything. Which sucks, because I have lots of anything to get through this week and need as much of my brain as possible. Feh.

Not sure why this is happening. Could be the fact that the wee people in the house require us to get up with them six or seven times per night for no discernable reason, other than to assure said wee people that the big people haven't packed up and moved to Guam under cover of darkness. Tho we have been tempted.

I also have boatload of stuff causing boatloads of anxiety. But it's all that kind of free-floating (book. soon. exposure. scary.) anxiety, rather than something specific (clowns in public). I've given it all too much space in my head, I suspect. Still. Here we are.

I mostly think it's the lack of sleep, tho.

I could do with a trip to this particular thingy in Maine. Who is with me?

I could also do with a donut and cup o' joe. And my man Seth Stevenson explains why DD will always kick the heiner of KK.

Phil Keoghan's blog (if you don't know who he is simply when you see the name, you probably aren't a big enough fan of The Amazing Race to a) hang with me because this is how I roll, homie or (more importantly) b) care about his blog) is amusing and so much of a distraction right now that I've had to close the window and pretend that it doesn't exist, lest its shininess distract me. Ooooh. Pretty.

No word on when Browsie will get his own blog, however.

Now -- work.

catching up

For the last two days, I have been off having an adventure in the Big City. I know, I know. Posts have been posting because I had some weird desire to write them before I left, which is both sick and sad but also true. For two whole days, I've had no internet access. It's awonder my head didn't explode. I briefly considered paying a whopping $4 to get ten minutes of computer time -- I didn't bring my laptop with me because you just never know if you'll find free Wifi -- but realized I didn't care all that much.

Anyway. The adventure, which wasn't so much an adventurous adventure on a grand scale but really more of a meeting in the City onto which I tacked some mini-fun. So, really, not an adventure at all. I can see that I've built it up too much.

Because I am cruel, the Hub was left behind with the offspring. The Pie Goddess came with me, because, while I can enjoy solo travel, it is also nice to have someone to gush about the wonderfulness of the hotel shower with.

In terms of what we did -- let me start with two, maybe three, recommendations.

First -- because of a great deal on Hotwire, we stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental, which is now my favorite hotel ever. The staff could not be nicer. The rooms could not be quieter or more thoughtfully laid out. The bathrooms, while a bit on the tiny side, have truly awesome showers. And the location rocks and is only a half block from Grand Central.

Second -- because Oneonta is short on really good Asian restaurants, the Pie G. and I went to Pooket, which was recommended by the uber-nice Concierge at the hotel. I had the Pad Siew, which was bliss. She had something in red curry sauce. Also on the table were a Pooket Punch and a Pinapple Martini, which tasted like really yummy and highly flammable cough syrup and also feature a floating globule of pinapple. (It was quite good, despite the description. The PP was OK. It did make me realize that I don't really drink anymore and now have to relearn how to pace myself.) Also, Pooket would be inexpensive anywhere in the U.S. but is moreso in New York.

Third -- down the block from Pooket is the Buttercup Bake Shop, from which we carried out cupcakes, which we both had for breakfast, being too stuffed to even think about eating post-Pooket. OMG. While the cake itself was eh, the frosting was nirvana, a perfect balance of butter and sugar. I may have to get the cookbook just to know how to make that frosting.

The Pie G. and I split up during the business portion of my trip and I had lunch with my editor in a great seafood place overlooking the skating rink at Rock Center, which was full of orchids because of the orchid show. But during the short time I had free and that I didn't spend stuffing my face, I got to hook up with old friends. I also managed to not go to the best yarn and fabric shop ever (I'm told this. I haven't actually been, natch) because there is always so much to do that I can't manage to even do 1 percent of it.

Usually, when I go to NYC, I'm fairly ready to leave after three days because of the crowds and the traffic and the noise. This trip, however, was much too short, frankly. I think I could have hung out for a week or more, as long as my wallet could hold out and the gorgeous spring weather remained. Ah, well.

shameless self promotion, part 227 in a series

New Austinmama column is live. Welcome to the Suck. And, for you Oneontans, a different version will run in the almost-daily in two weeks. While there was no editorial decree, I strongly suspect that the local audience might be more sensitve to my flagrant use of "suck."

In other news, I'm pondering professional help. No, not like that. It's just that I now have redesign envy because I've been looking at Sing Cuccu's site and am of a mind to see what her designer would propose for moi. Of course, I also know about a dozen web monkeys who are wonderous in their own right but don't want to bother them for something so small. Thoughts?

actual knitting content: the Fitzgerald

I bet you thought I'd forgotten. Rest assured that I have a mind like a steel trap. Heh.

The Hub's Fitzgerald is done. But first, a brief recap:

The swatching, which began shortly before the birth of the boy. The back, a week later. Some pieces at the start of 2006.

And now:

The pre-blocking bath, which makes the sweater look like it's dancing.


The pins.


And the finished product.



If I were feeling more anal or ever knit another one, which is unlikely because I so hate to repeat myself and the miles of stockinette were making me a little crabby, I would make the body longer, simply because the Hub isn't wide but is very long. (ahem.) If I were doing it again, I'd also pay better attention to the shoulder and neck shaping and joining. Not because the pattern is unclear or difficult, but because I can't reliably count to two or mattress stitch.

And how are your UFOs?

the hair

Due to the flood of requests (well, request), my hair:


The thud you just heard was my father having a very small heart attack.

And, yes, I usually do look that bad in vivid daylight, purple-pink hair or no.