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shameless self-promotion, 296 in a series

I'm back home. It's been a long couple of days. As I was driving to the airport this morning, it dawned on me that the one thing that Pittsburgh needs to become one of the greatest cities on the planet is clear, concise and consistent signage. Given the topography with all of the rivers and mountains, the layout of the roads is what it is but, dang, some good signs would go a long way.

I love you, Pittsburgh, but you have to communicate your needs.

Shameless promo: Three things about kids in the almost daily.

And, now, to unpack.


"So there are many ways to honor [Ash Wednesday], but as far as I know, there is nothing in Scripture or tradition setting it aside as the day on which to attack one's child then to flagellate oneself while the child climbs a tree and shouts down that he can't decide whether to hang himself or jump, even after it is pointed out nicely that he is only five feet from the ground.
"But I guess ever family celebrates in its own unique way."

-- Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, which hasn't changed my (lack of) faith but is a comforting read nontheless.

proof that the Diva is catching on to life in this house

Because I'd hate to end the week on a downer, a story, which I am pre-loading for my own convenience.

The Diva wandered into the kitchen Monday morning as I was buttering my toast.

"Mom," she said with great urgency, like she needed to tell me that the living room was on fire, "I just farted."

"Good to know," I said.

"That means it's not good to know, doesn't it?"

"Very observant, Mad."

"You were using sarcasm," she said, proud that she was finally understanding that particular tone both her parents use. And then she farted again.

again, july

There's just something about me and July. If I had to pick a least favorite month, this would be it.

Long story short, the past few days have been a flurry of planning. Services for my grandfather will be tomorrow and Friday. I'll be leaving for Pgh bright and early (oy) tomorrow and back to Oneonta bright and early (oy, oy) on Saturday. I feel like a total schmuck because I had to cancel class and back out of a trip to the Pocanos this weekend with old friends. Also, I'm abandoning my husband with two kids, both of whom are still young enough to require effort. Additionally, I should be writing a book but am not certain what I'm writing about and in a little bit of a panic about that. And I'm tired. So very tired. My brain is tired from all of the planning and rearranging. I haven't been sleeping well because I've been dealing with all of the above -- and I just never seem to sleep well in July. I could also stand a vacation. One is not in the offing, however.

Still. I'm alive. Things are fundamentally well, even if this month has been a downer. I will get to see some of my extended family and some friends, if briefly. There may be Thai food and a yarn shop, even if it's just a quick stop. Breathe in; breathe out.

I should, like, pack or something. It's been so long since I've been to a Mass it'll take a little longer to figure out what to wear. Wheee.

In order to end on an up note, gratuitous daylily:


many things make a post

* I want one of these for the garden. Yes, I will have a cricket bat handy.

* Needlework quotes. My fave is: "Heirloom" is knitting code for "This pattern is so difficult that you would consider death a relief.  ~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End:  Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

* Beer and cholera.

* Pantyhose crafts. Love the halter top.

* Update on Canadian feet.

* I'm not sure that I see the correlation between the handwriting of a type designer and the type he/she created. Still, looking at type is always a good time.  "Karmina" speaks to me but I wouldn't want to use it every day.

* These color-your-own thank you cards might be what I need to get Maddy to give me less flack about sending a thank you note. Or not. I think she just digs in for the sake of digging in.

* Self-promotion, sort of: I think this is the first time that I have ever found my work cited in an academic CFP (call for papers). I wonder what would happen if I proposed a paper about me? Or something? I'd really like to crash it, just to see what's said about mothering and revolutionary parenting practices. How does one crash a academic roundtable?

the weekend in pictures, with knitting

The Featureless Saint and the Diva went to New York City for the weekend to visit with the Nerak the Auntie Claus and her boyfriend1, who no longer live in the city but were there for a vacation.

The Diva had a beer:


Because NYC is just lawless.2

She also went to the Bronx Zoo, where she sat in a stump.


And read about lizards.


There was also a trip to Brighton Beach and the Natural History Museum. One of the highlights, tho, was a late lunch at Risotteria, where she was greeted by a cup of breadsticks she could actually eat. There was great joy, I'm told, and bonding with the girl seated near her, who also has celiac.

The Boy and I stayed here. We did routine stuff like haircuts and grocery shopping and fun playdates. I also finished the Diva's socks.3


I also started a birthday present for someone who reads the blog so this is the most you will see of this thing:



1) who I've not come up with a good nickname for yet or, rather, all of the ones I've come up with involve the word Brit, which just doesn't quite seem right. I mean, he is British but there are certainly more nicknameable aspects of his personality but I also don't really know him well enough to know where that line between clever and offensive is him. Hrm. Maybe he'll come up with his own. And also I'm hesitant to use the word boyfriend because he's certainly no longer a boy (boyish, maybe, but not technically a boy) but manfriend is wrong on a number of levels and they've been seeming each other for, well, quite a bit, and boyfriend implies a more transient relationship (rather than a relationship with transients, which would be different). What I'm saying is ... um ... nothing of note. Carry on.

2) It's apple juice. Relax.

3) I hate knitting with cotton. I like some spring in my yarn. Still, she's thrilled with them so I'll shut up.

qotd, nice bit of description dept.

"A little later, as she sat peacefully sewing, Adam came in from the yard. He wore, as a protection from the rain, a hat which had lost -- in who knows what dim hintermath of time -- the usual attributes of shape, colour and size, and those subtle race-memory associations which identify hats as hats, and now resembled some obscure natural growth, some moss or sponge or fungus, which had attached itself to a host."

-- Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm, which I'm reading for my book group. It's enjoyable, certainly, but hasn't lived up to the hype. Not sure it could, given how much hype I've heard about it over the years. Still, enjoyable.

actual knitting content + some sadness

I have had better mornings.

This is the second of the Diva's pair of clown barf socks. It's much brighter in person. Trust me.


You might be able to figure out why I had to stop working on it this morning during her swimming lesson. It appears that I am a brute. I am also ticked off. These were not cheap needles. I expected more. Ah, well.1

I've dug out my pair of el cheapo bamboos, which have never let me down, and am turning the heel.

Maybe not completely merrily. My dad called this morning to let me know that my grandfather died last night. Not a total shock -- he's been ill for some time and it's a weird relief to know he's no longer suffering -- but, still, very sad.

To paraphrase Elizabeth Z., I will knit on.


1) I've written the manufacturer. We'll see if they ante up a replacement.

make soup

CSA update:

Based on this recipe from the Cleaner Plate Club, I made soup:


Only instead of prosciutto, I used bacon. And rather than garlic, I used garlic scapes. And rather than escarole, I used kale. Because those were the things I had on hand. Other than that, it was exactly the same. It was very, very good.

Because I was offloading the camera - this is a picture of how I spent a brief part my 4th of July. Maddy was giving me a foot massage while Cory jumped up and down on my back. It was very...soothing.



Gratuitous daylilly picture, also on my camera. Who doesn't love daylillies? Easiest plant ever.


many things make a post

Shorter one today. Must take Diva to swimming, then teach.

* How to be happy. Step one: Stop being a dick...

* Slate's Lauren Sandler takes a look at Activia and its claims. I knew I couldn't be the only one who looked at the label and the ads and thought wtf is this product saying it does?

* Tardis sheds.

* Speaking of the Doctor, a possibility for the next one that makes my head hurt.

* Justine L. hits on a fundamental truth of writing.

* My physicist/songwriter friend Elaine is looking for weird fortunes that people have received in order to work them into a song. So if you have any, stick 'em in the comments to this post. Or if you are very shy, email them to me.

* Lastly, someone at Peerless has a sense of humor. (click to make it big enough to read.)