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February 2008
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April 2008

actual knitting content, tudor swatch

There is good news. And, of course, there is bad news.

First, the good:


After much labeling of skeins and fiddling about, I finished a swatch for the Starmore. It wasn't so bad. Hypnotic, even. In fact, I  hit my gauge on the first shot.


It only took about, oh, four hours. My hope is that once I'm actually knitting in the round and not breaking and adding colors continuously, it should zip right along. Yes, I might be delusional. Pay no attention.

Here's the problem -- since the original yarn for the design is discontinued and one has to work from color conversion charts, most of these yarns are best-guess substitutions. And that green -- the one that just leaps out at you in the middle of the red -- isn't right. Not at all. For comparison's sake, look at that colors here.

Which means that I have to figure out what color would work or if I should just live with it because I'm the only one who'll be fixated on it.

So I'm asking you, dear readers. Am I the only one who twitches at the GREEN in the middle of a harmonious design?


"A vice president of marketing at General Mills once painted for me a picture of the state of the American family dinner, courtesy of video cameras that the company's consulting anthropologists paid families to let them install in the ceiling above the kitchen and dining room tables. Mom, perhaps feeling sentimental about the dinners of her childhood, still prepares a dish and a salad that she usually winds up eating by herself. Meanwhile, the kids, and Dad, too, if he's around, each fix something different for themselves, because Dad's on a low-carb diet, the teenager's become a vegetarian, and the eight-year-old is on a strict ration of pizza that the shrink says it's best to indulge (lest she develop eating disorders later on in life). So over the course of a half hour or so each family member rooms into the kitchen, removes a single-portion entree from the freezer, and zaps it in the microwave.) Many of these entrees have been helpfully designed to be cooked by an eight-year-old.) At the sound of the beep each diner brings his microwaveable dish to the dining room table, where he or she may or may not cross paths with another family member at the table for a few minutes. Families who eat this way are among the 47 percent of Americans who report to pollsters that they still sit down to a family meal every night."

-- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma

I find this profoundly sad. I'd unpack my feelings as to why but today we have ANOTHER FREAKING SNOW DAY and the Diva is home, which means really thinking about something is impossible.

So, a question, what were your "family dinners" like when you were a kid? What are they like now?

Yes, technically, two questions. I know. Get over it.

paging dr freud

Normally, I don't share my dreams. And "dreams" isn't some subtle code for hopes and aspirations. Those I share all the time. I'm talking actual middle-of-the-night hallucinations, now.

This one was just too odd, tho. Plus, I need to go run and get the Diva in a minute and this is the most interesting thing I can squeeze into the time I have left. Feel free to skip.

So this dream...

Neil Gaiman was leading a trip to the U.K. and I was lucky enough to be among the 30 or so folks on the trip. We were all on a plane that didn't have seats. It looked like a big cargo aircraft fitted with nice cushions and beanbags and a cockpit. I was reading a new Peter Beagle novel; Neil G was behind me. I turned to tell him how surprising the plot twist was - it involved a dragon - and pissed him off (which he expressed very politely being British and all) because he hadn't read the book yet.

The scenery changes. The landscape is black and white and full of gnarled trees and rocks. We're in the waaaaay north of Scotland, which didn't look anything like the Scotland that I know from my waking life but the subconscious cares not for how things really are. Wildly colored glass balls start to crop up, balanced in the boughs of the gnarled trees, floating down the dark gray stream.

"I invited another artist on the trip," Gaiman says. But then can't remember his name. All of us struggle to recall -- it was one of those tip-of-the-tongue sensations -- as the artist, with an eyepatch and curly wild hair, walks toward us. He's carrying an enormous glass sphere, streaked with blue and orange that pops against the background.

Then, I woke up. And the name -- Dale Chihuly, in case you hadn't guessed -- has been on my mind all morning.

I don't know what it means, either.

many things make a post

* There are some stories that I really wish that I had gotten to first. This -- which is about the suitcases in a mental hospital's attic -- is one of them. I don't get jealous easily but color me green.

* The Yarn Harlot explains it all for you. It's time to represent, yo.

* Seth Stevenson is back! And writing about the happiest place on Earth. Speaking of, the Diva told Scott the other night that she really wants to go back soon. Scott explained that the trip costs mucho money and is not something we can do every couple of months. The Diva, as it turns out, thought the tickets were free, that Disney was giving all of the joy away as a public service. I find something so touching about that.

* Not touching at all -- there are some stories that make your brain bleed a little.

* I'm tempted to go to the Lowell Quilt Festival. Anyone else?

* I would like my next headshot to look like this:

Only of me, not Julie Andrews. I suspect she has enough headshots.

scenes from the looooong weekend

We're not that into Easter in these parts. I think that has something to do with not doing the whole Jesus thing. Regardless, fun was had.

More importantly, tho, a tooth was lost:


I still can't get over seeing her with the gap. The Tooth Fairy did her thang, leaving a note (typed on the computer) and one brand new dollar bill. Right now, the diva insists that she will never spend it. We'll see.

The Boy decided that these boots were made for walkin'.


Fortunately, he is secure in his masculinity.

Maddy helped me frost some thumbprint cookies. No, that isn't yellow mustard. I was going for a nice pastel. You can see how that worked out.


Given that these cookies weren't gluten free, we took the leftover icing an decorated some GF shortbreads. Yum.

The Boy, however, was just ticked off that he couldn't have a cookie right that very second.


Maddy has today and had Friday off. On Wednesday, she'll have a half day. I swear they don't have school more than they do. Feh. She would like the world to know, however, that she is bored. I have suggested that she vacuum. I'll let you know how that works out.

qotd, higher ed edition

"We will not create a wholesome curriculum for our students until we understand the extent to which they come here as damaged goods. In that phrase is damage and good. We can nurture the latter if we address the former."

-- One of my bosses, Dr. Bensen, who has the heart of an educator and the soul of a poet. And the police would like to know where he got them...

actual knitting content, with food

Despite my malaise, I've been knitting.


One day, if I am very, very good, this will grow up to be Juno Regina. The yarn is Malabrigo laceweight, which is so soft and squishy and wonderful. Once done, this will be donated to Heidi's Breast Cancer 3-Day Auction.

In food news, The Cleaner Plate Club, whose blog I lurve, hits on why cooking is the key to happiness.

In other food news, until I moved away, I didn't realize that French fries on a salad wasn't everyone's idea of yum. My friend Shelley, who grew up in Nashville then moved to PA, thinks that it is the strangest culinary twist ever. And she's married to a Swede who eats all sorts of odd things. Still, I'm tempted to drive myself to the nearest Eat 'n' Park to get one. With ranch dressing, natch.

in which I complain

I still feel terrible.

As I keep telling anyone who'll listen, last week's illness is the first time in years* that I've not been able to get out of bed at all for two days. Not only did I not take a shower, I didn't care one bit that I hadn't taken one. Which is really unlike me. And, yeah, I no longer feel that bad. But I still feel awful.

I know. I know. It's only been a week or so. I'm up. Doing things. Working, sorta. Or, at least, going to class and teaching. Not so much writing because it requires thinking, which seems like it requires a lot of energy that I don't have.

That's the thing. I feel like someone just sucked all of the energy out of my body and replaced it with phlegm and ennui. I don't want to do anything. Not knit. Not read. Not watch mindless tv. Just don't care.

Plus Easter is coming up. Maddy reminded me that eggs need to be dyed. I'll also need to get stuff for the bunny to hide around the house and find the plastic eggs. I should cook some kind of Easter dinnery thing. Fortunately, not really being religious folk, we don't really do that much with Easter except candy. Still, I can't even muster any enthusiasm for that.

So, eh. Going through a period of tiresomeness. I'll try to not inflict it on those around me.

As a wee shameless promo, I've been blogging at Strollerderby. This post might be the sum total of my enthusiasm for the last ten days. Was I too mean? Or not mean enough?

Oh - and a little birdie** let me know that Dana Spiotta will be reading/speaking at Hartwick on April 24...


* Even after having two babies, I still had the energy to walk and bathe and brush my teeth.

** It was Brent, my officemate. He is not at all bird-like, frankly.