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small town summer

For the bulk of the summer, the city of Oneonta offers free swimming and tennis lessons for kids. I know. I was amazed our first year here, too. I kept looking around for someone to give money to. 

The free lessons mean many things, not the least of which is that the kids actually learn something that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. They also mean that I have an hour and a half to myself, one where I can take advantage of the leafy trails in the park and/or knit and/or read. I've been getting a lot done, especially since I figured out how the notes feature on my iTouch works. Fab-u-lous.

I usually do a combination of all three. This morning, on my walk through the park, I decided to cross the stream that runs through the middle of the more wooded area rather than walk around to a bridge. Look, there's a line of rocks that I can use, I thought. I'm not that old. I'm nimble*! I'm like a gazelle! 

For the remainder of the morning, my feet were soaked clear up to my ankles. Because I'm a dang gazelle.

The only downside (and it isn't much of one) is that summers around here, barring a few days here and there, is kinda cold, which means that the pool is flipping freezing. Maddy's lips were actually blue after her lessons. Nothing that a few minutes of basking in the sun won't cure but there is no way I'll be getting in that water with her anytime soon. My character was solidly built by a few summers of swimming lessons in a freezing Pittsburgh pool. Hers is still in the developmental phase.

Every single time I see the kids in that water, tho, I'm reminded of one of my favorite commercials. It might be for Verizon or AT&T and features a father watching his kids shovel the walk. "I'm not going out there," he mumbles, over his cup of hot coffee. "I burned my lip."**

 I laugh every time.


* You should start laughing here.

** Ring any bells for anyone? I can't seem to find a link.

many things make a post

* Somehow, I got sucked into this season of the Deadliest Catch. Who knew that a show about crab fishing could work its way into your heart? The next few episodes might just break me.

* If you need a good space opera to sink yourself into this summer....

* Steve Martin's tour rider is awesome.

* On the other blog that I post (infrequently) to: knitting the future. I'd be really interested to hear what knitters think about this idea.

* I want one of these fixtures but know not where I'd put it.

* The rise of the agnostics. Which isn't as cool as the Unitarian jihad but is probably more rhetorically rigorous.

* I might need to serve some crazy-ass crudite on the 4th.

* The Mythbusters need to take this one on.


Today*  has gotten away from me, mostly because the weekend was a busy one. The Diva is now officially eight years old. 


The cake proper was a GF boxed mix from King Arthur Flour and was quite tasty and not at all gritty. The frosting was a standard homemade buttercream that I think is too sweet but that the kids like. Which makes sense. Maddy did the stars and the very small wedge of cheese. No, I don't know why.

We had the party proper out at Quality Stables. Much fun was had.


This is Bugsy. We have a relationship based on mutual affection and snacks. 


Then back home to play in the sprinkler. Then, the next day, on her actual birthday, the ritual opeing of the gifts. The Wii has proven popular**. And so has this present:


We have already taught her to throw the devil horns and slur "hello, Cleveland." That's all you need to be a rock star, right?


* Plus it has been to muggy to really function today. Yes, I know people who live in the South are now laughing but let me just say this: we don't have air conditioning. (Also, I'm saddened that my Andy is now out of Wimbledon (sob) and may have spent far too long watching the match.)

** Any games you'd recommend? I know nothing about the Wii.

qotd, brute force

" If you do creative work, there's a sense that inspiration is this fairy dust that gets dropped on you, when in fact you can just manufacture inspiration through sheer brute force. You can simply produce enough material that the thing will arrive that seems inspired."

- Ira Glass

and so it begins

Yesterday was the Diva's last day of second grade. The summer begins today.*

Which means that my ability to get things done is about to drop off precipitously and be replaced by my need to lounge and enjoy my oldest child. How is she almost 8?

Still, I should have time to finish up these projects and maybe start a few new ones.


The sampler that I've been working on for, oh, eight months. Yes, McGregor is helping.


I finished the front of the Super Secret Fair Isle Project that I've decided no longer needs to be Super Secret. It's the Sipalu bag from Knit Picks

The Citron continues on. I've added two extra pattern repeats and I may have bought some wee little beads to put on the cast off edge. 

And now to pack up the Diva for a trip to the "haircut store," followed by lunch and Toy Story 3. Ah, summer.

 What do you have planned for the next ten weeks?

 * Yes, they do have school late into the summer but they don't start until well after Labor Day and have two week-long winter breaks. I assure you (and any remaining members of my family who insist that Northeaster public schools keep those kids in class too dang long**) that she's only in school for the requisite 180 days. 

** I'm a little touchy about this. Sorry. But I grow so weary of conversations about the vast Yankee elite who ... sorry. I'll let it go now.

many things make a post

* The Craig Ferguson episode of the Nerdist podcast is a hi-larious. With bonus Sara Watkins! 

* Have I mentioned that a trip to Wimbledon is on my bucket list? This piece explains why.

* I may never get anything done again ever.

* An Andy Capp for the knitters.

* Mmmmm...interactive infographic porn....

* Why Penn Jilette went on Glenn Beck.

* How having a toddler is like going to a frat party.

* A few months ago, I wondered what had happened to acid rain, which was a big deal when I was in high school. The short answer is: Clean Air Act. However, acid rain is back and has a new source.

* Sound and Spirit may be gone but it is not forgotten. Ah, the digital age.

* More Charlie Harper love.

* Mmm...Frito Pie. It more yummy than the infographic porn, fyi.

* I am a firm believer in donating blood. That, however, doesn't mean that I agree with the Red Cross' policy on excluding gay men. Slate explains why the policy and the argument supporting it makes no scientific sense.

* Purely self-promotional: Sassy Pat interview me about Sweater Quest.

bacon and golf balls

Yesterday was Father's Day, which we celebrated by sending Scott out to play golf with the Grill Master, then grilled many meats and deep-fried many breaded items.* The Pie Goddess brought a cherry-blueberry pie**. In all, a good day.

My favorite part, tho, is the poster that the Diva made for her dad:


Especially this bit:


Heh. And, aw.

McGregor likes the poster, too:


* Like these, which were so, so good.

** as well as other eats and the rest of her family but one must have priorities. And mine is pie.

qotd, Bourdain, oiled supermodels and unfinished business

"So how did I get here – worrying about what kids eat? It's fair to say that turning 30 came as a cruel surprise to me. I hadn't really planned on making it that far, but there I was, and without a plan B. The restaurant business provided a degree of stability in that there were people who expected me to get up in the morning; and heroin, if nothing else, was useful in giving me a sense of purpose. I knew what I had to do every day: get heroin. 

But by my late 30s, detoxed from heroin and methadone, and having finally ended a lifelong love affair with cocaine, I discovered a basic emptiness and dissatisfaction in my life, a hole I'd managed to fill with various chemicals for the better part of 25 years. I'd never lived in an environment where a child would have been a healthy fit, and I'd never felt I was a suitably healthy person. I don't know exactly when the possibility of that changing presented itself, but it was some time after realising that I'd had enough cocaine, that a naked, oiled supermodel was not going to make everything better in my life."

 -- Anthony Bourdain from his new collection Medium Raw.

Tangentially related, in the sense that it's about being honest about what actually matters in one's life, Lee Kravitz, writer,* editor, father and husband of my lovely agent Elizabeth, has a blog post and video about asking yourself if you're happy. Extra treat for the knitters - the white sweater is a handknit.


* His Unfinished Business  is about just that - and is, by all accounts, an amazing work that helps the reader figure out what he or she needs to do in order to let go. But I'm fairly certain there are no oiled supermodels in Kravitz's book. Next time.