Green Toad Book Store The Green Toad is my local bookshop, which is the best place to go if you'd like a signed copy of Sweater Quest. I can drop down to the store and personalize a copy for you, too. Just drop Michele an email and she'll set you up.
Jennie Ketcham: I Am Jennie Raw, compelling, honest and graphic.
Dorothy Wickenden: Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West What struck me most is how resilient these two women were and how much cheer they seemed to approached every obstacle with. This is the sort of story that reminds you that history isn't just monolith but an enormous series of interlocked very local stories.
* A bonus quote of the day: Wales's Cardiff Royal Infirmary issued an apology for making elderly patients use tambourines to attract nurses' attention. "Patients should never have to use a tambourine," said Steve Allen, the hospital's chief officer. "I also understand anecdotally that maracas were used, which was unacceptable."
Yesterday, the Diva turned nine.* Her two requests were to finally get her ears pierced and to have a "fashion party." Done and done, we said.
The piercing went smoothly and she's been just beside herself with glee since. And the party also went smoothly, surprisingly, and is the perfect example of what happens when your father is a professional theatrical tech geek/designer. Mini-fresnel lights were installed in the dining room.** As was a dimmer board and a sound system, complete with RuPaul's "Supermodel" all cued and ready to go.
I didn't get any shots of the show itself, since I was acting as stage manager upstairs. (There is video, which I can share with you if you email me.) This is what it looked like from where I was:
Each invitee was asked to wear something she felt was fabulous. And each did. The best part for the Diva was that she had an excuse to change her clothes every ten minutes. This was her cake costume:
Speaking of cake, I discovered a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free, which I had no idea even existed. Love it, frankly. While she hasn't completely dealt with the grittiness of your standard gluten free cake, it was about 900 times better than other solutions I've tried. Total win.
Well, um, almost total win. This is the cake you get when your mom is a writer.
* I know. It happens fast, doesn't it?
** Which I needed to clear out anyway because I plan to start painting it today.
"Much as Sarah Palin's actual speeches sometimes melt indistinguishably into Tina Fey's SNL parodies, Bachmann's anti-gay rhetoric at times features a campy, over-the-top quality that makes it hard to tell her apart from a tranny cabaret act."
-- Matt Taibbi on Michele Bachmann. Read the whole piece to truly feel awe and wonder. And despair.
I was going to announce a big new thing today - but I'm currently on hold with that while other, larger parties do what they need to do with the data. Soon, tho.
I can promise you, however, that it will not be as big as J.K. Rowling's Pottermore. There won't be owls. But I'm excited regardless.
Instead, a few words about what's going on right now, followed by new craft projects.
Right now, my two kids plus two spare kids are playing Harry Potter in the Diva's room. Playing Harry Potter seems to involve a lot (a lot!) of screaming "Protego!" at the top of your lungs and putting bows on Crookshanks/McGregor, who doesn't seem to mind the bows in the slightest. And so it goes.
Today marks the last day of school/first day of vacation. There is much rejoicing. The Diva, after a perfectly reasonable 3rd grade year, is a rising 4th grader. The Boy. Oh, the Boy. It's been a challenge. He's been a challenge. Academically, he excels. Socially? Not so much. This year has been long and frequently demoralizing for all. He's moving on the 1st grade in the fall, at which point we'll see where we are. But it will be nice to have two months without having to deal with the situation. Because, oof. It's fraught.
On a less angst-ful note, I'm pleased with how my new project is moving along:
This is malabrigo lace (yum) in colorway Stonechat. The pattern is Crafty Diversions' Weekend Shawl. I loves it.
I've also started another cross stitch project, which isn't much to look at yet:
Once upon a time, Lisa and Adrienne worked for the same alternative newsweekly. Now, both spend their respective lives mining their creative souls and leading hermit-like lives. And so an idea was hatched. Every week, one would send the other a sketch—either in illustration or word form—and the other would make a companion to the sketch. The result would be posted on both their blogs every week, just for grins. Even if the result isn't award-worthy, the exercise makes both minds more nimble. Hopefully.
What am I thinking about?
how much better I feel knowing that Willie Nelson is alive and in the world.
where all of the money goes.
how under-rated really good noodles are. And how I wish I had some.
why you should never wear mauve to the ball. Or pink. Or open your mouth.
how it’s always both more and less complicated than you thought it would be.
how much I like a good list.
why all of the shoes need to be underfoot.
how smartphones have changed the political landscape.
how everything should have a “like” button.
and how difficult it is to get brownie crumbs out of your keyboard.
So over the weekend, I finished some knitting. First, the Slinky Ribs sweater:
Here's the thing: I don't love it but don't know if I care enough to change it. The neckline is much deeper than I thought it would be and the shoulders are kind wonky, which wouldn't be as much of a problem if the yarn (Silky Wool in color 46) had a little more elasticity. Still, I think it'll work if always worn over something else.
The nearly endless Noro Silk Garden (two skeins each of colors 221 and 211) scarf, however, has found an end because I ran out of yarn:
It's about six feet long and will soon be on its way elsewhere.
This is one of my fave sections. And that weird little bump is a result of having to wrestle with my assistant, who can't resist chewing on my camera strap while I am trying to borrow his napping place in order to take a picture.
"For all but our most recent history, dying was typically a brief process. Whether the cause was childhood infection, difficult childbirth, heart attack, or pneumonia, the interval between recognizing that you had a life-threatening ailment and death was often just a matter of days or weeks. Consider how our presidents died before the modern era. George Washington developed a throat infection at home on December 13, 1799, that killed him by the next evening. John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and Andrew Johnson all succumbed to strokes, and died within two days. Rutherford Hayes had a heart attack and died three days later. Some deadly illnesses took a longer course: James Monroe and Andrew Jackson died from the months-long consumptive process of what appears to have been tuberculosis; Ulysses Grant's oral cancer took a year to kill him; and James Madison was bedridden for two years before dying of 'old age.' But, as end-of-life researcher Joanne Lynn has observed, people usually experienced life-threatening illness the way they experienced bad weather -- as something that struck with little warning -- and you either got through it or you didn't."
From Dr. Atul Gawande's marvelous "Letting Go" from last August's New Yorker. (And I've made it all the way up to August in the New Yorker backlog! Fear me!)