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June 2007
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August 2007

quack, dammit.

Currently, I am hip deep in ducks who are trying to peck me to death. One of them is named "Kitchen;" one we call "Classes," one is "Deadlines" and one of the others we call "Lumpy." For no apparent reason.

So I shall deal with my damn ducks, because their little beaks are pointy and there are so many of them.

While I'm away, give a listen to Radio Lab, which is my new favorite podcast ever. Hat tip to the Pie Goddess for pointing it out.

Since we're talking about good things -- one Miss Charlotte (no middle name yet (but I'm pulling for "Determination")) Hickman was born to Katie Allison Granju this morning. Pixs are on daddy's blog. Congrats to all!


Now for the duckicide.

lucky number 13

Two quick links of a self-promotional nature --

Trout gets his moment of fame, which is 15 minutes in cat years.

A Babble piece about food allergies and food intolerances and food anxieties.


The Featureless Saint and I aren't the most romantic of couples. Hallmark would be absolutely appalled, in fact, as would the diamond industry.  We've actually failed to celebrate our anniversary twice because we'd forgotten about it. Some slack should be given, however, we had brand-new babies in both instances.

Today, 13 years ago, I walked down the aisle and said "I do." I didn't know then that there would be two kids, three moves, a ton of "for worse," a complete nervous breakdown and many, many moments of joy in the future.* At 23, you just can't imagine what's in store -- how good it will be at time and how absolutely shitty it can be at others. And yet, on the whole, it has been a wonderful ride, one that I hope goes on for 13 more years and the 13 beyond.

I love you, Scott.

*Some of  our union's longevity can be traced to the Mooch clause, which states that the person who instigates a divorce has to take Mooch. Every marriage should have a Mooch. Most fights can be ended with the phrase, "Yeah? Take Mooch with you when you go." Really lightens the mood.

qotd, plus cool stuff.

"Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat             


However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,             

feed it.

If it tells you that it is dirty,

clean it.

If it cries to you that it hurts,             

if you can,

ease its pain."

-- From "Instructions" by Neil Gaiman.

(Stolen from Eisha at Seven Imp., who also has a video of the man himself reading it)

Way back in March, I posted about how I love Cordelia Funke's The Princess Knight and wanted to knit something using that color palette. Because the internet is a vast and wonderful thing, I can actually generate a palette based on those tones. Ain't modern living grand?

On that note, two products that I might just have to buy: big giant cupcake pan (!) and Big Lebowski Action Figures (!!!).

actual knitting content, with Mooch, of course

My Featureless Saint's woods (the 3 and the 5) now have covers:


I'm not entirely happy with how they've turned out. There are some fit issues and I'm crap at duplicate stitch. My original plan was to be all clever and stitch in a "3" and a "5." Turns out that is more than I can handle. Instead, I did three almost straight lines on one and five dots on the other.


But for a project I made up on the fly, I'm pleased that they work at all. Consider them socks for very oddly shaped feet.

The deets: leftover Heirloom 8 yarn, size 7 needles. In theory, they are washable.

For what it's worth, I'm still not certain *why* clubs need covers.

The next project has already been cast-on. Can you guess it?


It'll be my new vegging in front of the telly knitting, because there will be miles and miles of just the knit stitch.


No, it's not for Mooch.

Gratuitous daylily:


Best laid something or other

I should know how these things work by now. Painting the kitchen should take a week, at most. And, lo, I am now on day 10. By the looks of things, I'm only 60 percent done. Feh, I say, and feh again.

None of this would be so bad, mind, if I didn't have about 9000 other things to do.

So some short bits:

Lisa Horstman, who was the art director for Metro Pulse when I worked there (and who rocks), sent this to me: a designer's ten things to keep in mind about design and life.

The four types of grandparents. (Note to my kids' actual grandparents: nothing is implied by this.)

The NYT dining section on NYC gluten-free restaurants. Nice to see that Celiac is hitting the big time, for relatively broad definitions of nice. It would be nicer still if it didn't exist.

Finally, still one of my favorite poems ever: The Book of my Enemy has been Remaindered.


writer's block

* Yanked from Neil Gaiman's site, only because the cat in question is in Albany, which is not far from me and not because I am looking for a new cat. Because "new cat" is fairly far down on the list of things I want, just under "infestation of grackles, the most noxious bird ever" and "tongue bath from Dick Cheney."

* I will know that I have made it as a writer when I become a bobblehead.

* Paying work: my latest column for the local almost daily: On the subject of the McDonald's Playland.

* This is just one of those odd pieces of emphemera but a writer on a mailing list that I am on asked how each of us overcomes writer's block. Here are my admittedly idiosyncratic methods:

-- Balancing my checkbook always kicks my blocks in the pants, if only because it forces me to sit down and get something on paper, even if I know that that something will be changed later. The checkbook thing reminds me that there is no muse and that actively working is what gets it done.

-- Writing something small, like a letter or blog post or poem, helps. Even if it is just a haiku.

-- Picturing my inner editor never fails to get my ass in gear. My inner editor looks a lot like Coury Turczyn, who was my actual editor for a few years, but my inner version has bigger eyes, like the kids in Keene paintings. He sighs heavily when I come in with my excuse du jour. I find it easy to ignore editors who yell but the thought that I've let the team down tears me up. YMMV.

-- Here's a thought that incorporates all three -- write a description of your inner editor while balancing your checkbook.

So far, I am a fan of age two

How fast it goes, how fast. Just yesterday he was coming home. Now, the Dude is two.


The Dude in question is the boy in blue, btw.


In celebration of his birth*, we went to the Sterling Renaissance Festival, which was all that I had remembered and more. The Featureless Saint and I  last went when we were wee bairns and just dating -- because there is no better way to show just what kind of geek you are than to go to a Ren Faire. We think it might have been 1992.

Lots has changed, of course, but the spirit remains. I speak both of the Fest and of The Featureless Saint and I.

One change is above. One change desperately wanted to get her face painted:


'twas a fine way to spend a day, especially a day that is also your son's birthday. You can tell he partied hard, at least.


Happy Birthday, Goober.

* No, we didn't take him to the Faire in celebration of his birthday. A couple of other events lined up just right that there was an opportunity to seize.

qotd, stripping edition

I have found the perfect audiobook to accompany wallpaper stripping: The Areas of My Expertise by John Hogdman, which was offered by iTunes as a free download for a bit but is now not free. Like David Sedaris, Hodgman isn't as amusing on the page as he is in the ear or to the eyes. But if Sedaris is in your comedy sweet spot, so to will be Hodgman. And when you've been scraping walls for hours, he is absolutely hysterical.

I wanted to pull a quote from the book about actuary gangs, which might be my favorite part, but couldn't find one. So let this video stand in instead:

stupid internet quiz, potter edition

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!


Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter Quiz ever created.

Get Sorted Now!



If I were to be completely honest, the quiz also indicated that there was a strong likelihood that I'd be in Gryffindor as well. It could have gone either way -- but I've always felt more like a Ravenclaw. Coincidentally, that is the house scarf I'll be knitting for myself once the yarn arrives. More on that anon.

Stripping continues. What happened was that when the paint was applied, the moisture made big bubbles in the wallpaper, which meant it wasn't adhering to the wall anymore. Of course, those parts have been easy to get down. The rest? Let us not speak of it.

Some links:

For my dad, a wooden Saab for Cory?

A t-shirt I must buy for me the kids.

(Two links above courtesy Droolicious.)

Glow in the dark cross stitch!

Lastly, Dr. Parker, who I wish was my pediatrician (altho' I like our ped very much) on why it is better to call things what they are.


First, something pleasant:


Yet another daylily. Aw.

Now, something unpleasant:


One corner of my kitchen. Note pink tile. Note wallpaper. I can handle one of them. Both together makes me nutty. Since tile is harder to deal with -- especially since it's that stupid plastic tile -- I'm painting the walls. Three walls will be a light yellow, which is more a white with just a little yellow in it.


These cabinets will be a more vibrant yellow and get new hardware. The counter and backsplash will remain the same. Not by choice but by budgetary constraint.

It was going as well as can be expected. I attacked everything with degreaser since it hadn't really been cleaned since the Carter administration. That alone was a huge improvement. I painted the ceiling -- hate, hate, hate painting ceilings -- white. The wallpaper seemed to be in good enough shape to prime, then paint. Only, as I just discovered, it's not. I'm holding out judgment until everything dries but it looks like there will be some stripping in my future. Grrrrr. Stupid house. Stupid kitchen. Stupid walls. Why can it never be easy?

At least I didn't get stung by a wasp, which is what happen to the Hub yesterday while he was putting up new gutters. So there's that.

Must go look at pretty flowers, while I hop around in a circle of much irritation.