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September 2007
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November 2007

on the occasion of Halloween

Because today is a day of great celebration (and candy) for the people throughout our small pocket of Upstate New York* and that frequently leads to the bigger people not being able to get anything else accomplished, some quick hits before the hurly-burly begins...

-- My newest favorite piece of Diva art**:


She explained that this was her "on roller blades that had ten wheels. " Note pinkness.

-- David Foster Wallace in The Atlantic's Anniversary issue finally put into words all of the vague thoughts I had about America. I *heart* DFW. I also *heart* the phrase "the whole democratic roil." ***

-- For Torchwood/Dr Who fans: The cuteness! It burns!


* Don't get me started on the definition of "Upstate." Technically, we are "Southern Tier" but no one really knows what that means. To pretty much everyone who isn't from New York State, "Upstate" simply conveys "not Manhattan or a Borough," which is close enough for all practical purposes right now.

** Her school has a weekly self-esteem sort of activity with the school's counselor. Don't get me started on that either. I will say, tho, that the Diva seems to enjoy these activities and so I will shut up.

*** Clearly, I also *heart* footnotes.

scary cupcakes

We are firm believers in child labor 'round these parts. Kids must  decorate their own darn baked goods.

Some find this fun:


Some wish I'd stop with the pictures, already:



Some found it hard to make any decisions at all:


The Diva's finished (and very symmetrical) gluten-free monsters:


The best part, natch, is the eating:


On that note, I'm off to inflict my vital fluids (well, fluid*) upon the world. The fun never stops.

* I find fact #8 really interesting. Thoughts?

again with the links

Spent Sunday decorating Halloween cupcakes with a bunch of kids. Pixs will follow soon -- once I manage to scrape the icing off of my camera.

So, some random things:

Thing 1: If you were looking for a charity to donate a buck or two to, you should check out Buy-a-Meter. It appalls me that we are a first-world country and yet so many folks can't get clean water. And yet billions of dollars are available to bomb the crap out of Iraq. I know this is a simplistic view but ... are you fucking kidding me? I suppose this would all change if either oil or weapons of mass destruction were found deep in rural Alabama.

*deep breath*

Thing 2: Fast forward to 2:47 and see what Mooch looks like when being petted. If you have the time, also watch the flaming tuba. Because -- come on -- it's a flaming tuba. I also wish I could Xeni-fy my hair but it would take far more maintenance than I have time for.

Thing 3: Knitted Squid! Knitted Sea Anemone!

ETA: Jill from Australia's comment in the post below were exactly what I needed to finish up my first Nantucket sleeve. Thank you Jill! Now I just need to sit down with the back, one front and the sleeve and do some sewing to see if it'll all line up.

Sunday extras

Sunday morning cute kid stories -

1) We have taught the Boy a new game. One of us -- the Boy, too -- will look up and yell "volcano." Which then makes him clap his hands to his cheeks and yell "Oh, no! Run!" And then he runs around in circles until he falls over. Because you can never be too careful about volcanos.

2) The Diva just announced that she'd like to be an "Alien Princess from Italy" this year. "Alien" we can do.  "Princess," too. The "from Italy" is a stumper to convey. Maybe a flag in her hair?

Randomly -

This scarf is made of awesome.* Too bad I don't have quite enough time before Halloween to whip one up. Besides, I still have the Nantucket sleeves to finish up. I though I'd get the first one done last night but seem to have completely arsed up the sleeve cap. Can anyone walk me through what "Dec 1 st each end of needle every right side row 6 times, then every 4th row once, then every RS row 6 times - 34 sts remain" means? It's all just dandy until that direction.

Also, Not Martha goes gluten free and discovers that it's harder than it looks. 

* hat tip to Lisa Horstman, who has a brand-spankin' new site.


"If you receive a phone call that includes a threat, remain calm and get as much information as possible. Call UPD immediately and then notify your supervisor. Do not pull fire alarm."

-- from the Orange Folder of Dooooooom, pictured below.


Because of recent, tragic events on college campuses, institutions of higher learning are implementing new plans to keep everyone safe. Which is, by and large, a good thing. Having said that, I'm not sure what the point of distributing an orange folder full of flow charts about what to do in an emergency is the best response. Having said that, I'm not sure what the best response would be -- so maybe it's best that I don't work in a position charged with public safety.

Inside the Orange Folder of Doom, which tells you handy tidbits of information like what "Shelter in Place" means and how to handle a threat by "E-mail, Text Message, Phone or Note,"* is a sheet of questions to ask when someone calls with a bomb threat -


You might want to click'n'enlarge to get the full weight of this worksheet.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry, frankly. I do know that our UPD is SWAT trained, which is what you want in some kind of hostage/shooter emergency. But is this really the world we're living in? No matter. I will not panic and will clutch my Orange Folder of Doom tightly.

To take your mind off of that, a picture of 100 percent laceweight alpaca yarn in "Russet" hand-dyed by All Things Heather, which I plan to knit into a Kiri shawl for my Loopy Ewe Swap partner:


Extreme close up:


Now don't we all feel better...

* No mention is ever made of what to do if someone comes at you with a piece of fruit.

orange folder of doooooom

Misdirect of the day - I will not be showing you the Orange Folder of Dooooooom this afternoon because I haven't yet managed to take a picture. Nor have I taken a picture of the yarn I'll be using for my Loopy Ewe Swap gift. Soon.

Because I am not very smart and completely misjudged how far to push myself during yoga yesterday, my neck is a big, stiff tube of ouchie. I mention this only to left you know that if you'd like to sneak up on me, I'd suggest that you do it from the upper right side, since my head will not turn that direction right now.

My brain, as a result, isn't working at optimum efficiency. So an essay question for you, occasioned by yesterday's meeting of the book group I belong to -- Is the "unreliable narrator" an exquisite literary device or an authorial cop-out?

I lean towards the latter, for what it's worth.

Because he has a short day today, I'm about to pick up the Boy and take him for a haircut. This will almost definitely be an ugly, soul-crushing experience. I will lift my spirits by keeping this this very fat cat in mind.

Be a joiner

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not much of a joiner. Still, this Blog Action Day for the MOTHERS Act hits home, quite literally.

There isn't much I can say about my experience with PPD that I haven't already said. It's all over there in the left sidebar. But there are lots and lots and lots of other moms whose lives are forever changed by post-partum mood disorders. Some go on to lead relatively normal lives; some are in jail.

What could have helped all of them was greater education and medical support. Mental illness isn't going to just go away. It's not a failure of character. It's not a sign of weakness. It is a condition that can be treated. Treatments, of course, aren't any more perfect for depression or bipolar than they are for heart disease or diabetes. But just because they aren't perfect doesn't mean they can't relieve your suffering long enough to pull you back from the open windows.

And, so, I'm going to be a joiner, just for today. You can join me, too.

new hair

When I saw her on Saturday, Juno mentioned with surprise (or, maybe, fear? shock? exhaustion?) that I'd cut off more of my hair than she'd anticipated, a picture or two of what it looks like now:



I don't usually look quite so weary. This was the day after Rhinebeck and my brain still hurt.

Also, I've made an appointment to do something about all of the gray. It doesn't bother me so much as bores me. Thoughts?

And, because no week is complete without it, gratuitous Mooch:


the haul

For those who bopped over from Babble, welcome! And for those who came here first, go read my essay at Babble about having baby number two after such memorable PPD after kid number one. I can wait.

Usually, I don't talk so much about the yarn and the knitting. No, really, I don't. But if the  New York Times noticed the little festival this weekend, it gives me permission. Because the NYT is my leader in what's hip and cool.

And so Rhinebeck.

You know your day has taken a surreal turn when you are greeted by this:


It was also in the mid-70s, which meant that the sheep suit had to be a real pleasure to wear.

There were real sheep, mind.



Is it just me or do freshly shorn sheep look vaguely obscene? I just want to chuck a bathrobe on them.

I have found the solution for the Boy's extreme hatred of having his haircut.


This may be illegal in New York State. My lawyer's looking into it.


There were also bunnies. That's not why I took this picture, tho. Check out bunny lady's sweater. First time I've seen a Bohus in the wild.

Speaking of - ran into the Yarn Harlot and Ms Juno and Katy. Which was big fun even though there was no time to talk. The Harlot was in a hurry to fondle fleece and not snot on anyone. Her crud did give her a husky and sexy voice, especially when she does that weird Canadian thing with her vowels. I flat out missed Ann and Kay, which is a bummer. I'll just have to make a trip to Nashville to compensate.

Rhinebeck is a crappy time to try to catch up with people -- especially when big crowds make me twitchy pretty quickly. I'm crap at cocktail parties, too.  The Pie Goddess and I got there early and bugged out before the biker gangs showed up.*

I swum through the very polite rugby scrum that was knitting bloggers long enough to get a button.


Let us not even speak of the line to get Socks that Rock.

Purchases were made. Not many, since I'm not a stasher at heart and am poor.


Maple Creek Farm  50/50 (Merino and silk) in Sapphire. The picture fails to convey how delightfully soft and squoozy this is. I'm keeping it on my desk so that I can pet it every now and again. It's going to be a scarf, maybe this one.

Thistle buttons for my Nantucket from Ram's Horn Studio.**


Art Scarf from Morehouse Merino - pattern not online, near as I can tell. And the PG and I split a Got Soap sampler bag.

The drive back was stunning, frankly. I have to agree with Snarkapus's Mike that towns in the Catskills are both cool and lame. Still, we stopped at Bread Alone in Boiceville and had dinner at the Andes Hotel. The hotel was overflowing extras from The Sopranos who were celebrating something AT TOP VOLUME. Given my ethnic make-up, I know how loud a roomful of drunk Italians can be but this was extraordinary, even for drunk Italians. Didn't put either of us off of our feed***, of course.

* I kid. It was ninjas.

** Turn the volume down on your computer before you click on this link.

*** I had pork belly for the first time, just because it was a special that night and the Top Chef finale made me wonder what the big deal about belly is. I'd like to taste it made by someone else before I come down firmly about pork belly -- but is it always like eating a big hunk of fat? Or did I just get some bad belly? The flavor was nice if nothing to write home about. The texture, however, was like barely warmed slab bacon.