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September 2009


I'm hot and cold on Martha Stewart's' recipes. Sometimes they work for me; most of the time they don't. But the Apple Honey Challah on the back page of this month's Living made me want to lick the picture right off of the page.*

So, this weekend, I made one.

Before the oven:


Post oven:



And it was good. There are few things more satisfying than a successfully made bread.

I also finished a mitten, which I pinned and blocked.


Given that I have two hands, I'll be making another one. I'll take a better picture when I have a pair. This one doesn't really do the mitten justice.

And, yes, I can get a lot done when there is only one kid in the house. The Diva is still up with her grandparents. I miss her -- but am unburying from the backlog.

No time for further digging today, however. Most of my Monday will be spent teaching and driving back and forth to Delhi, where a certain little "dog" is having two things removed.


Ignorance is bliss, eh?


* I'd post a link to the recipe but there doesn't seem to be one. Feh.

qotd, drug edition

The doctor makes a note on Landsman's chart. "Are you currently under the care of a psychiatrist  or taking any medication for depression?"
"Depression? I seem depressed to you?"
"It's really just a word," the doctor says. "I'm looking at possible symptoms. From what Inspector Dick has told me, and from my examination of you, it seems at least possible that you might possibly have some kind of mood disorder."
"You aren't the first person to say that," Landsman says. "I'm sorry to have to break that to you."
"Are you taking medication?"
"No, not really."
"Not really?"
"No. I don't want to."
"You don't want to?
"I'm, you know. Afraid I might lose my edge."
"That explains the drinking, then," the doctor says. His words seem tinged with a sardonic whiff of licorice. "I hear it does wonders for one's edge....In my experience, Detective Landsman, if I may....the people who worry about losing their edge, often they fail to see they already lost the blade a long time ago."

-- From Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which I am enjoying the heck out of.

this is not a cat

Back when Cory was a toddler, I promised Maddy that we would get a dog, something that she has wanted for years and years, after her brother was potty trained. My reasoning was that I was only willing to pick up so much poop during any given week.

The span between where he was and a mythical potty-trained state seemed so vast that I was convinced I'd never have to make good on my promise. Until I did.

The Boy is more or less hitting the potty with his bodily fluids. The time was nigh.

I've been visiting the shelter, doing research and stealing my mind for the arrival of a dog. Don't get me wrong. I like dogs. But I prefer cats, mostly because they don't require nearly as much babying. I have babies to baby, should I feel the need. But for my oldest baby, I am willing to embrace a dog.


Last weekend we visited the Heart of the Catskills Shelter en familia. We walked some dogs, who were sweet. We came home -- metaphorically since there is a several day wait to be approved, etc. -- with this one:


Meet McGregor, our 5-month old orange tabby "dog." 

Somewhere during the shelter visit, after walking dogs and holding kittens, Maddy had a change of heart. McGregor clearly was meant to come home with us. And while she has had one brief spell of dog-related remorse, she is loving the new pet to pieces. Again, metaphorically.

We will probably get a dog someday, mind, but have set a limit of only three fuzzy pets in the house at any one time. 


And everyone* seems to be OK with that. 

It's hard to say who is harder to make hold still, however:


The Boy or the kitty.


* everyone human, that is. Trout's fine with the new addition -- frankly, I don't know that Trout retains enough information on a daily basis to notice that the kitten is new. He's not very smart, our Trout. Barney, however, is royally pissed off, which isn't helped by McGregor wanting to be his friend. It'll pass, I hope. 

actual knitting content: the glamour shots

Since this particular eagle has landed, it's tale can now be told. The sekrit project was a moderne baby blanket from M-D's first book.

Here it is, blocking in my bathtub:


And reclining over the stair rail:


And showing off its wrong side on the window seat:


The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino -- did I mention that this is a gift for one of my best friends who is having her first baby and that I was willing to spare no expense because she's also a knitter? -- The pattern you know. I did it mostly as written, except for an added stripe of a different purple when I ran out of the purple it should have been. 

It's a charmingly lovely pattern and all that garter stitch was exactly what I needed during the early part of the summer. Picking up stitches for the next block provides enough interest to keep you going, even though those last few rectangles, which are huge, can be a bit of a drag. I have no idea how the Harlot got through a grown-up sized moderne. My needles salute her.

And now we -- and by "we," I mean "I" -- enter that waiting-for-the-baby phase. Sadly, T-wa, the mom-to-be, is in Pittsburgh and I am not. Still, there are planes and I will get there to offer support and snuggles in addition to hand-knits. 

many things make a post

The Diva and camp update: she made it until 10 p.m. last night, then Scott had to fetch her. Which is a pretty good run, frankly. Plus she was rarin' to go back this morning. I'm calling it a qualified success.

Now, many things:

* 15 rules to live by.

* Annie Leibovitz still behaves like an addict.

* I was wondering about this very question when I was driving through the Adirondacks a few weeks ago.

* Bertha Cool: the forerunner for V.I. and Britt?

* On Sept. 8, The Diva will go back to school, which means that I will be forced to pack lunches. While these Gluten-free tips are helpful, they don't solve the larger problem of dealing with a child who has Celiac and is extraordinarily picky. *sigh* In just a few short years, she can start packing her own lunch, right?

* "That's right. People made of pipes."

* Local donates cow to Roxbury school. This is a good thing. If I had a cow, I'd donate it to the Diva's school.

* If I cared about my hair enough to dye it (actually, I care a great deal but lack the will to maintain a dye job), I'd use this evaluation of off-the-shelf kits as a starting point. 

* Just think of all of the naughtiness you could stage with a Jack Harkness and an Ianto. According to the packaging, they are both "highly detailed."

* Julie Powell on the way her cat was portrayed in Julie and Julia.

* I haven't made it all the way through this myself but it is a great (if depressing) read: Matt Taibbi on the Great American Bubble Machine aka Goldman Sachs.

* Last thing, since this list is growing out of control: He can't be all four.

hard against a few deadlines

This morning, I dropped the Diva off for her first ever sleepaway camp. She should enjoy 40+ hours of nothing but horses -- and we are fully prepared to pick her up in the small hours should she not be able to sleep at said sleepaway camp and to return her on Tuesday morning so that the fun can continue. 

I think I'm more anxious about the whole thing than she is, frankly. Her response was straightforward when I asked how she felt about spending the night. "It'll be just like sleeping at grandma's house, since [the woman who runs the camp] is also a grandma and I'll be at her house."

More updates if they are warranted.

Other than that, we're in the mad scramble to go back to work. The Diva's school doesn't start until the Wednesday after Labor Day; however, Scott and I are back in the groove starting today. Should be an interesting two weeks when it comes to childcare and general child amusement. We're shipping her up to the aforementioned grandma for a bit, so that makes it a little easier, if weird to only have one kid to deal with.

I'd be closer to done on my many projects if Trout didn't insist on managing my workflow:


His new favorite spot is either on the pile of notes on the left side of my computer or on the mousepad on the right side. I could stand a little less help and/or a smaller cat.

media moment

As much as I love Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations has really been boring me lately. It's the same (if gorgeously shot) schtick each week. The episodes just sat in our DVR's queue for weeks, until we ran out of more exciting things to watch. 

And then we hit this week's Thailand episode. If you've already seen it, you don't need my take on it. You know how magnetic and honest and hysterical it is. If you haven't yet, do so now, if for no other reason that to read the title cards that flash between each mini-segment. Those alone remind you why you started watching in the first place.

The Thailand episode, btw, further advances my theory that Bourdain is the Jessica Fletcher of TV presenters. 

I also finally broke down and watched Grey Gardens (the original doc, not the HBO version). While I can understand how it became a cult favorite and can see how Little Edie became a gay icon, I didn't get the appeal of the film itself. 

It's like going back and re-reading all of the SF Grand Masters, like Asimov, Heinlein or Campbell. Now, their work feels derivative - then you remember that when they came up with all of the tropes that now feel cliche. The same is true of GG. The rich and famous in graceless decline story is one you can find every time you turn on the television or read the paper. Gardens was so influential that it's impossible to go back and see it without the knowledge of all that it touched. 

I had the same response to The Graduate, fwiw. It's not that the films didn't age well; it's more a case of living long enough that the world changed because of them, rendering them stale.