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November 2007
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January 2008

a gift the Diva didn't want

Just when we thought everyone in the house would be nestled safe and warm and, most importantly, sleeping in their beds all night, Maddy kept wandering in complaining that her cheek hurt. Which was odd, given that she didn't seem at all unwell over the past few days.

In fact, here she is with Big Bird a few days ago at the Strong Museum of Play, which is a great place to take the kids, should you be in the area.


Looks perfectly healthy, no?

The Boy, it must be noted, also had a great time. So great, in fact, that I only managed to get one picture of him because he just kept running around.


This morning, she seemed perfectly fine, though she did mention that it was her ear, not her cheek that hurt. Still, that was her only complaint. Turns out, her ear is massively infected, so much so that we were told to keep an eye out for leakage on her pillowcase in the morning. Wee.

I'm grateful that my kids tend not to complain about physical ills. I am. Really. It would just be nice if they would act sick when their heads are about to explode in a shower of goo.

Our new year will kick off with antibiotics. If we are very, very lucky, everyone will be asleep by ten, including the adults. We're wild over here, I tell ya. W-I-L-D.

In other news, since this is the last day of the year, a question: have you picked your word for 2008 yet?

my beloved bed

And we are back. Just in time, too, since the weatherfolk are calling for furious storms overnight. It'll be nice to get some fresh snow to cover up all of the dirty, ice, ugly stuff.

More complete details on the morrow, after some sleep and approximately 40 loads of laundry. First, tho, I have seen the face of my destroyer and it is the Red Robin Whiskey River BBQ burger. It's a good thing there isn't a Red Robin anywhere near here. Otherwise, I'd book my angioplasty now.

so it goes

Christmas was good but I don't know that we'll ever find all of the shreds of wrapping paper -- especially since Barney seems to be carrying them down into the basement for later enjoyment.

We're about to begin a march across New York State -- like Sherman's to the sea but with more snow and less fire -- so will be out of pocket for a bit. Local thieves: now would be a good time to rob the house. Take some toys. We have lots.*

Updates as I can.

Wish us luck.

* I kid. Sorta.

the eve

The Bolognese is cooking. The cookies are baked. The pressies are wrapped. I'm about to start the pasta making process. All is as one would hope. One discovery, however. We can just take Cory's gifts back. He's found his heart's desire -- a plumbing valve that Scott handed to him at Home Depot to keep in him quiet.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


"Over and over again, in various online parenting groups and in real-life encounters with parents of young children, I say the hallmarks of fundamentalist communities: a desire to return to one's roots and to get back to the 'natural' way of doing things; a mistrust of science, government, mainstream society; a sense of feeling persecuted; intolerance of differing viewpoints; fear of outside influences.

"When does a community become a cult? I wondered. In online discussion groups, we too easily become bumper sticker versions of ourselves. We start out looking for kinship and commonality but risk becoming isolated in out own public thought bubbles."

-- From Donna Eis' essay "Online, Off Kilter" in this quarter's Brain, Child magazine.*

So when does a community become a cult?

Other things -

Is it wrong to want a Tumbleweed House to park in the backyard? I'll give up on my notion of a small house sheep if I could have an office/guest room that is this cool.

Allegheny Alumni should click here. Made me all weepy. I don't know if it's just something about Allegheny itself of everyone feels all warm when they think of their undergrad institution but, man, the alma mater gets me every time. I never, ever feel the same way about the University of Texas at Austin's song.**

Last thing, for now - I'm mulling over a book proposal and need some input from the knitters in the crowd. What is your Mt Everest? That is - what is the project that you look at and think "man, that is so cool and I want to knit it but man, it scares the bejezus out of me?"


* In the interest of full disclosure, I have piece in the same Brain, Child. It's not online and is about why I don't by toys for my kids.

** Which is, btw, "The Eyes of Texas"  and one is to sing it while making the  Hook 'em sign in the air with your hand.

it is finished

Stick my Fall 2007 semester with a fork. My grades are in. My desk is cleared -- well, cleared of class stuff, not the writing or knitting stuff. Now comes the great reorganizing, as I put my head down and get some work done on words front.

First, however, I gave myself an afternoon to watch a movie. It was interesting and all but I wanted it to be more visual somehow since the subject is one that lends itself to images rather than words. Still, if you like to think about why things look the way they do, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes.

Now to get my writer's mojo (such as it is) back in gear. The holidays are putting are looking like they'll kill my mo' but I remain ever hopeful.

Speaking of -- would it be a bad idea to try to make my first batch of homemade pasta* ever on Christmas Eve when I'll have a houseful of the Featureless Saint's family? They're a pretty low-key bunch and I'll get some back-up boxes of pasta just in case. Or is this the path to madness?

Also - in college, one of my housemates and I used to wax rhapsodic about Brownberry bread, which is the bread of the gods. I just loved to stand by the toaster and listen to all of the seeds pop. No, we didn't have a tv. Because some corporate higher up must have been smoking a finer grade of crack one day, they decided to stop making it. The outrage was swift and severe. Finally, my beloved Brownberry is back. And there was much rejoicing.

* My paternal grandmother and grandfather recently moved to sunny California to live with my grandfather's daughter. Both grands are in failing health and are in Cali for the duration. They sold their house back in Pittsburgh, which meant there was a ritual distribution of family stuff. I would up with some handstitched linens, which won't come near an actual table until my kids are older, and my grandmother's pasta machine that might have been part of her wedding trousseau. It came complete with a wooden carrying case that was built by my dad's dad, who died when my dad was a teenager.

Follow that?

Anyway, one of the Italian traditions is to have seven kinds of fish on Xmas Eve. I generally make some sort of nod towards the fish -- last year there were seven kinds of crab dishes -- but my enthusiasm has always been low because I really don't like seafood all that much. So it might be time to make a general sort of nod toward the Italians with a batch of homemade pasta on the ancestral machine. I'll whip up a batch of red sauce with local Italian sausage and a carmalized onion sauce for the vegetarians. Little Miss Gluten Free can have some quinoa spaghetti, which is tasty. Those who hate either sauce can just have butter and cheese. Sounds like a reasonable plan, eh?

because I am a joiner

Miss Ann over at Mason-Dixon suggested that we all take a second and capture the View from our Windows. And so here is mine. All I did was grab my camera and spin around in my desk chair.


I wonder how long he was back there. Creepy, no?


From the window itself, complete with crappy college rental apartments and dirty snow.


My desk, left side.


My desk, right side. Complete with Trout's noggin and a be-winged sheep ornament. Because that's how I roll.

Some other links -

-- Sky Lake Lodge, which is about two hours from here, is holding a program on Contemplative Knitting. The inn itself looks lovely and the workshop sounds calming. I'll be deep in the heart of classes then but provide the info as a service to those who have more normal schedules.

-- Ms Karrie is on a cross-country trip and posting gorgeous pixs and stories from the road. I now want to go to Taos, simply because I can not imagine a sky that blue.

-- This just makes me feel all warm inside -- Barrowman and Marsters. Those who aren't complete geeks won't be nearly as excited as I am, which is quite excited indeed.

i got nothin'

What with all the exams and shopping and cleaning and list-making and such, I didn't have as much time to sit around and fart about on the web today. Instead, a list (since I'm in that mode), which I'm calling "Actors I Have Known."*

-- The show was called Talking Bones. One night, an actress, who had been a pain in the ass since day one,  informed me that she'd forgotten her underpants and that someone would have to go buy some for her.

-- The show was a bus-and-truck of Ain't Misbehavin'. One of the singers put a fist-sized hole in the crotch of her stockings. The show's Stage Manager called over the headset for someone to go get her another pair from the store, which is how I found myself wandering the aisles of a Meadville, PA, drugstore buying every last pair of Queen XXX-sized L'eggs pantyhose I could get my hands on.

-- The show was a community theatre production of The Miracle Worker. The actress in question was the little girl who was playing Helen Keller. And, really, the problem wasn't the kid but her mom, who one night during a tech rehearsal, before which it was announced that folks might want to be careful because we still building the set and there might be nails that didn't all get swept up and that everyone should keep their shoes on so as not to get tetanus, came up to the show's director and said "My kid could have stepped on this nail." She brandished the nail in question. "She has to be barefoot to really become Helen Keller, you know."

This isn't turning out to be as interesting as I'd hoped. Sorry about that. Um. Feel free to add your own.

* I don't mean Biblically. One of the few truisms I picked up during my many years in the theatre is Don't Get Involved with Someone Who Spends His (or her, natch) Time Pretending To Be Someone Else. Road to heartbreak, it is.