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May 2012
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July 2012

boy and dog

This is what happens when I leave my camera unattended:


(Note that the Boy is missing both his bottom two front teeth and top two front teeth. It's been all Tommyknockers in here lately. (But without scary aliens, near as I can tell.))


Lest you think the Boy only snapped pictures of himself -- I have at least 20 versions of the above face - he also got up close and personal with Lucy.


up with figs, the return

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.


Walking with the dog is a lot like walking with babies: every last person you pass has advice for you. And every last person thinks you are doing it all wrong. And that if you continue raising your puppy/baby that way, you are in for a life of misery. 

Like, this one time when I was walking out of the mall with my firstborn, who was about the size of a loaf of bread at the time. (She’s almost ten now. How is that possible?)

Anyway, this older woman had to stop me to left me know that my baby was only wearing one sock, which meant that her toes would freeze right off on a balmy September day in East Tennessee. She made me cry, that lady did. I stood in front of her, bawling. Eventually, she left.

So now with the puppy, I see a different woman who is clearly spiritual kin to the first woman. I’m doing the whole dog thing so very wrong on so many levels. The puppy doesn’t heel. She runs kind of helter-skelter on the leash. I let her stop to sniff stuff sometimes. I, in other words, am raising a monster.

I don’t burst into tears anymore. Instead, I write about her on the internets. I’m calling this progress.

many things make a post

* I approve of this book club.

* Creative folk -- really, any folk -- should listen to this podcast.

* Chest merkin. Heh. Makes up for the rest of it being enraging.

* I am a total Order Muppet.

* Why a news fast might be a good idea.

* Because all girly things are pink.

* The Tao of Poo. (Warning: contains poo.)

* Can you really acheive the impossible?

* Pixar story rules. 

* I might need this shirt.

* "The fat kid is the bottleneck!"

* The original chicken footstool.

actual knitting content, handspun shawl

For the record, the Diva will be 10 in a few weeks. This boggles my brain.


The shawl -- knitted from handspun (fiber from Briar Rose; BFL top; 5 oz; in a color that reminded me of artichokes) -- is the perfect size for an almost ten-year old. The pattern is, again, LaLa's Simple Shawl. I seem to be stuck.


I think I know where it may end up once I'm done admiring it.

qotd, what is culture?

"You've heard the complaints that nobody knows the names of the astronauts, that nobody gets excited about launches, that nobody cares anymore except people in the industry. I don't blieve that for a minute. When fixing the Hubble telescope was in doubt, the loudest protests came from the public. Then the space shuttle Colombia broke up on re-entry, the nation stopped and mourned. We may not notice something is there, but we sure as hell notice when it's not there. That's the definition of culture."

- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier


Our neighborhood appears to be under attack.


Wonder if you can spray for them?

Also, the Cold War between dog and cats (really, it's just the cats who are at war; the dog simply wants to love them) appears to be thawing:


Also, I appear to have finished a shawl. I also appear to have failed to block it. Will get on that presently....

writerly workout, blah

Here's a secret: sometimes I really don't want to write.* Actually, most of the time I'd really rather not write. There are so many other ways to spend time, nearly all of which aren't as silly (and likely are more lucrative) than writing. But this is what I do. 

For me, the answer to the "I don't wannas" is to do it anyway. Work for five minutes without distraction. Then see if you have another five minutes in you. If I can stack up enough five-minute blocks, usually I can lose myself in what I'm doing and go. 

If that fails, I give myself a choice between writing and some odious task, like washing dishes or weeding. Those who've seen my house know that writing wins out every single time. The trick, howeve,r, is to make sure the alternate task is something you find vile. 

So for today's workout, a question: how do you get yourself to work when you really don't want to?**

* For "write," you can insert almost any verb that feels unfun but feeds your brain/body. "Run" frequently falls into this category for me. But I always feel better for having done it.

** Unrelated: I seem to be going through a phase where I feel like I have nothing to say, like my brain is an empty stew pot. This happens every summer, which might explain why I so dislike June, July and August. May's not great, either. Feh. I say. Then feh again.

many things make a post

* Manhattanhenge.

* On plagarism.

* You cannot handle the cute.

* O Fortuna like you've never heard it before....

* What my hometown used to look like.

* Your friends are generally not the people playing Munchkin with you.

* Why Home Ec is good for you.

* Peg Hambright bakes the tastiest cakes and pies. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could have one. *sigh*

* More than a thousand words. Also: here.

the thing with eras is that they end

This past weekend, the husband and I went to a reunion at Allegheny College. It was, in a word, wonderful. 

See, here's the thing. I know a lot of folks didn't have a formative college experience, one that pretty much defined who they are. And that's fine. I harbor no strong feelings about UT-Austin, which is where I went after 'gheny. I've never teared up during the "Eyes of Texas."*

But during the Allegheny alma mater, I wept, as I do every single time. The day I fail to do so is the day that I'm finally dead inside.

For those of you who didn't have that kind of college experience, I offer just one picture and story, which should be amusing to all, with the possible exception of my father, for reasons that shall become clear.


The woman on the right is Sue. Earlier, during a booksigning**, Sue introduced herself to me by saying, "I was your Dad's lover." Then she left me hanging just long enough to watch me struggle to come up with exactly what one should say in response. Then she said, "We were in Last of the Red Hot Lovers together. I was Lover #1."

Reader, I nearly died. 

It was one of those great, fantastic, amazing moments that you're lucky to have. Thanks so much, Sue, and mazel tov on the new grandbaby. And, Dad, if you're still reading, Sue says hi.

The rest of the pictures may be a little inside baseball. Sorry. 

We went to this particular reunion to celebrate the retirement of Scott's choir director Ward "Chief" Jamieson. Three hundred singers showed up to spend 12 hours practicing -- hours that could have been spent drinking, mind -- in order to work with Chief one last time.

This is how you organize 300 singers:


And this is what they look like once they are singing:


That many voices at once was like leaning into a wall of gorgeous sound. 

New friendships were formed, too. Trish, who is actually in Sweater Quest, and her husband Jon-Erik, who may not understand the whole Allegheny thing but is a good sport, brought their kids up for the show. 


Matt and Griffin introduced themselves. Later, they plan to start an investment bank.


Or maybe not an investment bank. It would interfere with naps.


His younger brother and I got along famously.


The best thing about other people's babies is that you can love and snuggle and rub off that new baby smell and then hand them back. Although wee Sam is a hard one to hand back, because of the cuteness.

And here's my "hey you kids, get off my lawn" moment.

When the husband and I were getting our theater*** degrees, the theater department and stages were housed in an ancient building that had none of the mod cons students now enjoy. In fact, today's students have a brand new building.


I am jealous beyond words. While the building's innards are everything you could want and the modernist design is proof that boxy can be good, they also have a rooftop garden. Rooftop garden, people!


Kids today are soft. Soft! We had no gardens. Only concrete and basements. And a patch panel that looked like this:


Now you can do it with computers and stuff. Crazy times, man.


Really, though, it was less about buildings and more about seeing friends and honoring a man who meant so much to so many. Thanks, Allegheny. We'll see you in three years.


* I did once - but blamed that on the margarita salt I'd accidentally rubbed into a paper cut. Tequila helped cut the pain.

** My theory, as it is with all signings, is that the worst that happens is that I sit there alone and knit for a few hours, which is still a great way to spend an afternoon. Instead, I talked to lots of folks and signed lots of books, which is also a great way to spend an afternoon. 

*** Or as I like to put it "my pre-unemployment"