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October 2005
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not much to see here

I am both attracted and repelled by this cubed coffee. I'd have to take a pass on the coconut sauce, however. I suspect it'd be better drenched in cream and sugar. I mean -- what isn't?

And, because I keep meaning to post this and really should be grading the three inches worth of student papers, a poem, courtesy The Writer's Almanac.

A Small Psalm

Sorrow be gone, be a goner, be forsooth un-sooth, make like a
suit and beat it, vamoose from the heavy heavy, be out from
under the night's crawlspace, call not for another stone, more
weight more weight, be extinguished, extinguish, the dark,
that which is deep and hollow, that which presses from all
sides, that which squeezes your heart into an artichoke-heart
jar and forbids it breathe, that which is measured by an
unbalanced scale, banish the broken, the unfixable, the
shattered, the cried-over, the cursed, the cursers, the curses—
curse them, the stone from the stone fruit, let it be fruit, the
pit from the pitted, the pock from the pocked, the rot from the
rotten, tarry not at the door, jam not the door's jamb, don't
look back, throw nothing over your shoulder, not a word, not
a word's edge, vowel, consonant, but run out, run out like the
end of a cold wind, end of season, and in me be replaced
with a breath of light, a jack-o'-lantern, a flood lamp or fuse
box, a simple match or I would even take a turn signal, traffic
light, if it would beat beat and flash flood like the moon at
high tide, let it, let it, let it flare like the firefly, let it spark and
flash, kindle and smoke, let it twilight and sunlight, and
sunlight and moonlight, and when it is done with its lighting
let it fly, will'-o-the-wisp, to heaven.

-- Catherine Wing, from Enter Invisible. © Sarabande Books, Louisville, Kentucky.

important lessons were learned

The Hub, the Diva, the Dude and I spend Saturday and Sunday in the new minivan, driving hither and yon through the great state of New York in order to visit relatives who are scattered across it like jimmies on a donut. A valuable lesson has been learned and it is this: THIS WAS A BAD IDEA.

As it turns out, the Dude is not ready for such things. Not at all. There was screaming. There were fits. There were recriminations. There was no sleeping. It was very unpleasant for all of us forced to be in his company.

(Also as it turns out, the Diva is turning into quite the little traveler. Despite the hours in the van, she never once had a fit about it. Instead she sat in her seat and either slept or read a book or stared out the window looking for sheep. Yes, she is a keeper.)

I suspect that the Dude will be much better about the whole thing in five or six months. But for now, we shall consider the lesson learned.

He really is a delightful baby. Really. This was just not his best showing.

For those who keep tabs on such things (and, now, I'm mostly talking to grandparents, but anyone is welcome to play along). The Dude had his 4 month check-up this morning. He is healthy. He has a touch of eczema, for which we shall slather him in ointment. He is also 15 lbs, 4 oz, which is pretty much average for kids his age. He is also 27 inches long, which means that he is taller than 97 percent of the babies his age. After spending Saturday with Scott's mom's family, where Scott (at 6'2") is one of the short ones, the Dude's great height should not be a surprise...

Now, to catch up on all of the crap that I haven't done over the last four days. Feh.

happy thanksgiving

From the great Austin Mama herself, Kim Lane, some poetry.

to the many of you out there who are observing Thanksgiving,
who may look upon this time as exhausting,
exhilarating, frustrating or invigorating...
to the nervous new-to-this who accidentally
roast the bag of organs inside the turkey...
to those who sponge the dishes alone to the sounds
of distant football games and snoring relatives napping from abundance...
to those who order-out, have it brought in and make no apologies...
to those who are guests for the first time and really, really enjoy it...
to those who find themselves crying briefly in a closet...
to those whose family members will take this time to come out of the closet...
to those who purchase the cluster of gear and attempt to deep-fry the turkey this year,
and to the emergency crews quick to respond as a result...
to those who will look around the table and wonder what they did to be so blessed...
to those who will clench their jaws so tightly during dinner as to lose teeth,
but who will refuse to acknowledge the verbal barbs because they're above it now...
to those who will witness a newborn's first gathering of family,
and will take pictures because the new mama is sleep-deprived and completely overwhelmed...
to those who silently swear they will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever do this again,
to those who've said that before but show up next year anyway...
and to those who stick to their words...
to those who feel it all goes too fast and could someone please just slow it down and wait...
to those who make homemade gravy...
to those who stayed up till midnight the night before chopping vegetables,
and who are up at the crack-of-dawn making biscuits...
to those who feel like ancient, jaded adults until they cross the familiar threshold of their childhood homes...
to everyone out there to who makes the effort to reach out and connect with others during this time,
to those who choose to commemorate our human bonds in any way, their own way, at this time,
to those who use food as the great equalizer ("never mind politics, have you tried this pie?"),
to those who have much to grouse about but choose not to,
and to those who work their asses off making sure others feel a belonging that, really, is already there...

Jesus is just all right.

I have nothing against Jesus. Jesus was a cool dude and certainly A-OK in my book. And in his Book, I guess. I have no idea if my feelings are reciprocated, but tend to not lose all that much sleep about it.

Again, though, I'd like to make it clear that I'm all for Jesus and the belief thereof. I'm pretty sure he's not my personal savior, but am thrilled that others find solace in Him. Yea! Jesus!

Oneonta does holiday parades with great panache and skill. The Halloween shindig is stellar and will be something the kids remember for life. It has a home-town feel. Candy is tossed. Costumes are judged. Prizes are awarded. Cider and donuts are consumed. Kids from far and wide get to march in the parade in front of cheering crowds. A good time is had by all.

Recently, the city decided to add a holiday parade, which celebrates Thanksgiving and everything after. This year featured alpacas and Santa and a juggler. Of course, candy was tossed.

The Diva had a swell time and has been eating the treats for the last week. The Dude and I stayed home, since the day was a bit chilly for him.

Last night, when Scott was digging through the bowl of parade candy, he hit upon a packet of taffy. On the back was one of those fish stickers with "Jesus" in the center. At the time, I was mildly irked that someone would use the parade to promote their deity. Now, I'm just pissed.

Is your God that hard up for clients that you need to proseytize at every opportunity, even when it is completely inappropriate? And why must your God be promoted in such a passive-aggressive manner? How about next year, I walk in the parade and toss out candy with the Darwin fish on it or the flying spaghetti monster?

I mean, Jesus H. Christ people. These sorts of events should be celebrations of our community and what we have in common rather than demonstrations or thinly-veiled sermons about what we might not share. At least, that's what I thought it meant. Clearly, I was incorrect.

As stereotypical as this sounds, I expected this sort of thing when we lived in the south. In fact, it was SOP to get a lecture about Our Lord Jesus at every social event in the city. I expected things to be different here. It's always sad when a stereotype dies.

4 whole months

Today the boy turns 4 months old. He has also officially graduated to the Exersaucer. And praise be to the Exersaucer. Long may she reign.

When we put him in it last week, his feet barely touched the bottom. Now, he can push off and we're going to have to move him up a notch unless we'd like to watch him launch himself onto his head.

Speaking of his noggin, 'round here we like to wear caterpillars on our heads. Finally, the boy has initiated into the cult.


And big sister:


And big sister with her new headgear, which she would not take off for a whole evening because she loved it so:


Yes, I am very lucky. Tired, mind you, but lucky.

shameless self promotion, 218 in a series

Jaunted down to Binghamton this morning to get a jump on the holiday shopping madness. Apparently, everyone in the tri-state area had exactly the same idea. I've discovered that I don't like people very much, especially when they are scouring the shelves for bargains. Oy. I need a drink.

While I do that, the latest Shaken and Stirred, which is all about my deepest fantasies.

scent of a memory

Once upon a time, in a city far, far away, a little girl (well, not strictly true since I was in my mid-20s and, while skinnier, still very tall) worked a holiday job that left her with fond memories and many friends, with whom she (not longer little or girly) still is in contact, almost 10 years later. There was, of course, a wicked queen who ran the place. But no story would be complete without one.

The wicked queen, however, left her little helper monkeys alone for the most part. We, the monkeys, worked long, dark hours assembling high-end gift baskets for the wicked queen. And we loved it, mostly, because we were working for the best grocery store in the city far, far away. Plus, we weren't actually assembling said gift baskets in the queen's company. She had her own aerie. Our modest workshop wasn't even in the building.

Some of us also loved it because we have a Martha Stewart-ish bent. And some of us loved it because there was a ready supply of edible treats, because every gift basket product needed to be sampled for freshness by the assembled monkeys. Our workshop always smelled fantastic and this particular monkey had easy access to chocolate-covered goldfish, her favorite snack, which she can now never find anywhere. This makes the monkey sad -- but is getting us off of the subject.

One of the best smells was the store's house Christmas coffee blend. It was an etherial yet hearty mix that almost tasted as good as it smelled, which is well nigh impossible with coffee most of the time. But once that holiday season ended, so did the monkey's access to both the drink and its heavenly, heavenly smell.

Until today. Our heroine went to her local food emporium for cereal and gummy fish (long story). When she walked in, that delicious smell greeted her. It wafted from the "gourmet" coffee display in front of the Pharmacy. An elf was restocking the beans and one of the blends was the blend of which she had always dreamed.

However, our former basket monkey was feeling shy because she had just embarrassed herself at the local mega-office-mart. See, she can spend a good hour looking for just the right pen, which isn't too big or too gloppy or too liquidy. And since her wee offspring and not wee spouse seem to have stolen all of her pens and she needs one to finish up the copy edits on her bookbookbook and to grade student papers (and she has learned to not use a red pen anymore because it makes said papers look like someone has been murdered with them) she spend a long time looking at pens, which were being restocked by a worker who thought our heroine was completely wacky because she spent so much time in front of the display.

So, in short, my willingness to sniff each and every one of the coffee flavors in front of the guy stocking them outweighed my desire to find the one that calls up so many delightful memories. But, this weekend, I am so going back and sniffing 'em. Because it is my quest. Some are called to slay dragons. And some are called to make asses of themselves at the grocery store.

Actual knitting content, 5

I spent most of the end of October feverishly knitting a baby sweater for a friend. So feverish was my knitting and finishing, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture of the finished object.

Still, it looks a lot like this, but in a dark periwinkle. This is the second time around for me on this sweater, which is the Aran Pullover from Knitting for Baby, the only pattern resource one needs when, um, knitting for a baby.

I did get it done in time for the baby shower. And, yes, it was still a bit damp from the blocking. But done, nonetheless.


While I didn't get a picture of the sweater by its lonesome, I did get a picture of the fantabulous cake. One must have priorities.


The baby in question arrived yesterday, at 11:14 on 11-14, which tickles me. The pie goddess and I drove up to see the folk in question. All are well. The baby is button-like cute. And, even though I had one of these buggers a mere four months ago, I'd already forgotten how small they are.