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July 2011

some big shameless self-promotion

So the announcement I alluded to last week is this: I have finally gotten off of my behind and assembled a surprisingly large ebook collection of the essays I've been writing about parenting.

Shaken 500x700

So far, the collection is live on and on Smashwords. Soon, it will migrate itself to B&N and iTunes. I'll keep you posted on that. 

If you're of a mind, check it out. And, to whet your appetite, a sample from this week's almost daily, all about the Diva's fashion tendencies.

Also in the self-promotion category is this musing on Heinlein's Number of the Beast at Locus. It has little to do with parenting, tho.

Finally, a picture of a bobblehead who was a little too aggressively bobbled. Which you are welcome to read as a metaphor.


many things make a post

* I feel like I've posted this before but it's still funny.

* The party of no.

* When parsing a recipe is like parsing a koan.

* On picking your battles. With a giant chicken.

* Heck with the kids; I want to go to Beam Camp.

* NPR's Kitchen Window managed to get my three most favorite noodle dishes in one story. I'm drooling just looking at them. But do I have the cojones to try to make them in my own kitchen? And can I find the more exotic ingredients in town?

* This piece about mental illness illustrates many things, including how much treatment has changed since 1961 without really changing at all.

* More chart porn. (HT to nerak)

* The suburbs are a Ponzi scheme.

* Bookcase lust.

* A bonus quote of the day: Wales's Cardiff Royal Infirmary issued an apology for making elderly patients use tambourines to attract nurses' attention. "Patients should never have to use a tambourine," said Steve Allen, the hospital's chief officer. "I also understand anecdotally that maracas were used, which was unacceptable."


Yesterday, the Diva turned nine.* Her two requests were to finally get her ears pierced and to have a "fashion party." Done and done, we said. 

The piercing went smoothly and she's been just beside herself with glee since. And the party also went smoothly, surprisingly, and is the perfect example of what happens when your father is a professional theatrical tech geek/designer. Mini-fresnel lights were installed in the dining room.** As was a dimmer board and a sound system, complete with RuPaul's "Supermodel" all cued and ready to go. 

I didn't get any shots of the show itself, since I was acting as stage manager upstairs. (There is video, which I can share with you if you email me.) This is what it looked like from where I was:


Each invitee was asked to wear something she felt was fabulous. And each did. The best part for the Diva was that she had an excuse to change her clothes every ten minutes. This was her cake costume:


Speaking of cake, I discovered a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free, which I had no idea even existed. Love it, frankly. While she hasn't completely dealt with the grittiness of your standard gluten free cake, it was about 900 times better than other solutions I've tried. Total win. 

Well, um, almost total win. This is the cake you get when your mom is a writer.



* I know. It happens fast, doesn't it?

** Which I needed to clear out anyway because I plan to start painting it today.

change of plan

I was going to announce a big new thing today - but I'm currently on hold with that while other, larger parties do what they need to do with the data. Soon, tho.

I can promise you, however, that it will not be as big as J.K. Rowling's Pottermore. There won't be owls. But I'm excited regardless.

Instead, a few words about what's going on right now, followed by new craft projects. 

Right now, my two kids plus two spare kids are playing Harry Potter in the Diva's room. Playing Harry Potter seems to involve a lot (a lot!) of screaming "Protego!" at the top of your lungs and putting bows on Crookshanks/McGregor, who doesn't seem to mind the bows in the slightest. And so it goes.

Today marks the last day of school/first day of vacation. There is much rejoicing. The Diva, after a perfectly reasonable  3rd grade year, is a rising 4th grader. The Boy. Oh, the Boy. It's been a challenge. He's been a challenge. Academically, he excels. Socially? Not so much. This year has been long and frequently demoralizing for all. He's moving on the 1st grade in the fall, at which point we'll see where we are. But it will be nice to have two months without having to deal with the situation. Because, oof. It's fraught.

On a less angst-ful note, I'm pleased with how my new project is moving along:


This is malabrigo lace (yum) in colorway Stonechat. The pattern is Crafty Diversions' Weekend Shawl. I loves it.

I've also started another cross stitch project, which isn't much to look at yet:


Any guesses?

up with figs, the crumb sucker

Once upon a time, Lisa and Adrienne worked for the same alternative newsweekly. Now, both spend their respective lives mining their creative souls and leading hermit-like lives. And so an idea was hatched. Every week, one would send the other a sketch—either in illustration or word form—and the other would make a companion to the sketch. The result would be posted on both their blogs every week, just for grins. Even if the result isn't award-worthy, the exercise makes both minds more nimble. Hopefully.

Crumb catcher

What am I thinking about?

  • how much better I feel knowing that Willie Nelson is alive and in the world.
  • where all of the money goes.
  • how under-rated really good noodles are. And how I wish I had some.
  • why you should never wear mauve to the ball. Or pink. Or open your mouth.
  • how it’s always both more and less complicated than you thought it would be.
  • how much I like a good list.
  • why all of the shoes need to be underfoot.
  • how smartphones have changed the political landscape.
  • how everything should have a “like” button.
  • and how difficult it is to get brownie crumbs out of your keyboard.


Text ©Adrienne Martini; illustration ©Lisa Horstman. Until the end of time. Or something.

Just so that you can prepare yourselves emotionally: Up With Figs will be taking a brief summer vacation. Fruity drinks may be involved. Figs will return on July 13.

many things make a post

* While this guy is miles beyond my running chops, his advice is sensible and hilarious.

* Swedish food traditions are suddenly everywhere. And I totally want one of those rolls.

* How to return the U.S. to glory.

* Inside one piece of killer cover art.

* The competition for human breast milk.

* O! to be a fly on the wall at the Keynote event.

* Scott Miller speaks!

* When does a tomato stop being food?

* What HIllary Whispered.

* This is a story about commas.

* I don't know whether I'd eat it or just look at it.

* Shamless Promo.

actual knitting content + jaws of death

So over the weekend, I finished some knitting. First, the Slinky Ribs sweater:


Here's the thing: I don't love it but don't know if I care enough to change it. The neckline is much deeper than I thought it would be and the shoulders are kind wonky, which wouldn't be as much of a problem if the yarn (Silky Wool in color 46) had a little more elasticity. Still, I think it'll work if always worn over something else. 

The nearly endless Noro Silk Garden (two skeins each of colors 221 and 211) scarf, however, has found an end because I ran out of yarn:


It's about six feet long and will soon be on its way elsewhere. 


This is one of my fave sections. And that weird little bump is a result of having to wrestle with my assistant, who can't resist chewing on my camera strap while I am trying to borrow his napping place in order to take a picture.



Where is the gratitude? 

qotd, on death and dying and history

"For all but our most recent history, dying was typically a brief process. Whether the cause was childhood infection, difficult childbirth, heart attack, or pneumonia, the interval between recognizing that you had a life-threatening ailment and death was often just a matter of days or weeks. Consider how our presidents died before the modern era. George Washington developed a throat infection at home on December 13, 1799, that killed him by the next evening. John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and Andrew Johnson all succumbed to strokes, and died within two days. Rutherford Hayes had a heart attack and died three days later. Some deadly illnesses took a longer course: James Monroe and Andrew Jackson died from the months-long consumptive process of what appears to have been tuberculosis; Ulysses Grant's oral cancer took a year to kill him; and James Madison was bedridden for two years before dying of 'old age.' But, as end-of-life researcher Joanne Lynn has observed, people usually experienced life-threatening illness the way they experienced bad weather -- as something that struck with little warning -- and you either got through it or you didn't."

From Dr. Atul Gawande's marvelous "Letting Go" from last August's New Yorker. (And I've made it all the way up to August in the New Yorker backlog! Fear me!)