April 27, 2006

Arrrr, Mateys

Ah, yes, the magnetic pull of the genetic Green Stuff works its magic again. The Vampire has found a fair Colleen, and they are walking off into the sunset together to the strains of Flogging Molly.

It was clearly fate... they met, and discovered that they were wearing THE SAME EARRINGS (the Vampire sports a silver triskelle - an irish 3-point knotwork symbol - on one ear).

So all is temporarily well with the world. In celebration of which we provide the following Stuff of the Day, so that the Pirate will feel included (the poor man is Swedish, not a drop of Green to be seen):

You may get your Pirate Name here.

Here's mine, for your edification:

My pirate name is:

Captain Ethel Bonney

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.

April 24, 2006

Monday, Monday...

I am just losing ground, here. Life is too hectic, there are too many screaming demands on my time. I keep thinking that things have GOT to calm down soon... and then it gets worse. And at this point I can't realistically see an end for at least another month.

And it's not interesting stuff, either... it's piddly-yet-frantic caretaking, chauffering, errand-running, fretting sort of family-oriented stuff. It's not anything that other people want to hear about (booooring...), and it's not that these demands are ever going to really end. It's not like people are going to stop getting older, stop getting ill and/or falling apart, stop needing groceries and dinners and clothes washed and errands run, stop having projects with which they need help, stop having birthdays that need celebratory food and time (what's with April?!?), stop needing to be educated towards their supposed college entrance, stop needing things fixed or cleaned or picked up or organized.

Sometimes I look at those PTA-type moms and wonder how the heck they manage things - what are they doing or not doing to make their lives look so manageable? I KNOW they are doing as much or more than I am doing, and they just sail gracefully through the chaos, tweaking here and organizing there, smiling and looking cool and competent, never forgetting to comb their hair or to bring the healthy lunches for the kids, always remembering everyone's names and birthdays. What part of my brain am I missing?

Maybe I left it in my knitting bag, which I forgot at the Vampire's voice lesson last week. I didn't forget my knitting, mind you - THAT I carried in my sweaty little paws and threw nonchalantly into the back seat of the car. (I wonder what crumbs and leaf bits it picked up there?) But the bag, with the Vampire's birthday card and my Day Runner (holding schedule AND all the phone numbers and addresses I need to function) and my knitting supplies (stitch counter, row counter, extra skeins, needle stash, etc), and other sundries? THAT I left in a house that is more than half an hour's drive away, too much driving time to add to our hectic schedule. So I have to make do for a week, until the next lesson time.

Which happens to be 25 minutes from now.

Gotta run. Late, as usual...

(As proof of my point, I tried to post this in the am, but Blogger was having none of it, and 7pm turned out to be the soonest I could post it. Everything just seems unnecessarily complicated and time consuming!)

Stuff of the Day: Astronauts At Play

April 20, 2006

Stuff of the Day

I keep getting interesting little bits of odd information here and there, and I thought it might be fun to include them in my Blog. So I will add links at the bottom of some of these entries, under "Stuff of the Day" - follow them or not, according to your whim! They might be funny, icky, thought provoking, horrifying, interesting, or just plain odd. They might be stories, news items, tourist spots, wild theories, discoveries, games, suggestions, pictures or poems. Who knows? The only thing they are likely to have in common is that I think they were worth checking out, myself. Enjoy!

Today's Stuff of the Day: A Whale of a Tale

April 18, 2006

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

It's been a busy few days!

First of all, I spent DAYS getting the taxes done. For some reason my connection to my tax program was running v-e-r-y--s-l-o-w-l-y, so that each question took a couple minutes to process and get on to the next. That doesn't sound *that* bad, but there's hundreds of questions. Believe me, I did NOT want to spend that much time thinking about our finances!

I dreamt last night that I had woken up, and suddenly realized that I'd made a critical error on both sets (Federal and State) of forms, and that I somehow had to figure out how to fix it even though the deadline was about an hour away and my taxes had been filed a day and a half ago.

I don't feel all that rested right now...

My step-mother-in-law had emergency surgery on Thursday. Her appendix had died and gone gangrenous. So I was visiting her at the same time that I was doing my taxes and taxi-ing the Vampire back and forth to his rehearsals and classes, and dealing with several health problems of my own.

This, in combination with moving my grandmother into a nursing home in the last few weeks, has brought up a lot of issues for me. About aging and its effects on one's life. On the loss of independence as we get older/ill, and our growing dependence on others to survive as we age. On my own likely ability to cope with 'Empty Nest Syndrome' at some point in the next few years, given that the Vampire is an only child, homeschooled, and 'Special Needs'; in other words, given that he's been my nearly constant companion for the last 5 years, and that I've invested an extraordinary amount of time and energy and dedicated Fretting Time on him.

These issues will be taking up a great deal of my time and thinking in the coming weeks. I imagine it is good to ponder them once in a while, as to some degree they will apply to most of us (we hope - the alternative is even less knowable and for many, less desirable). But it's not a comfortable thing to dwell on these issues.

We are also entering into the 'panic stage' of the Theatrix production. The kids are enjoying their rehearsals, according to the Vampire, but the set crews are starting to realize exactly how demanding this particular production is going to be, and how much time is going to be required in order to get things done before the show is scheduled to actually begin. And we are having serious doubts that there are enough hours available to get us there. On Friday we were all there, working industriously until after 10pm, and by the end of the evening people's voices were octaves higher than they had been at the beginning of the work session. We can only hope that this is the 'Set Version' of 'Final Dress Rehearsal Syndrome', and that somehow everything will magically pull together on the first night of performance.

So the world is full of Challenges right now. Challenges to which I will rise brilliantly, of course. Right?


April 12, 2006

Update. Again.

Okay, here it is. So far. If you look semi-carefully, you can see where the Pirate experienced his broken wood needles and changed to Addi Turbo's. And then you can see where I discovered that he was choking up on the needles so hard that the cable was threatening to separate from the needles, and we replaced them with Skacel straights. I think we have a winner... he loves the Skacels, which shows a great flexibility on his part, since he feared at first that he wouldn't be able to handle their extra length.

I think the Pirate has amazingly even gauge for a beginner - it's the needles that are changing the width of the scarf, not the Pirate per se.

Don't you think he's doing most excellently? I think he's amazing!


I swear I didn't set this up.

April 11, 2006

Note On Blog of Thanks

The following post took literally nearly 15 hours of my real life to complete and publish. In the end I had to give up all font changes such as 'bold' and 'italics', because Blogger (why does Blogger hate me?) kept adding hundreds of nonsense html tags all over the post every time I added a photo or a font change or made any change in the text at all, and then refused to save or publish the post because of the nonsense html tags. I am THIS close to throwing this stupid computer across the room.

But I love my friends too much, and they deserve to see the following. Please excuse the time delay of two days in publishing.

Let Us Give A Blog Of Thanks

I have undeservedly received a cartload of goodies from across town and across the world this month, and have neglected to give adequate thanks because of various family and personal situations largely beyond my control. But I have appreciated these gifts hugely, and want to give both gift and giver their due now.

I also shamefacedly admit that except for one semi-perishable item, I had managed to buy the treats promised for our Spring Exchange prior to weakly giving in to the aforesaid plague, but had NOT managed to mail your packages off. I obtained said item and packed everything up today, and will hie me to the Post Awful tomorrow morning promptish. Chris will get her package soon, but unfortunately the lovely Mrs. Pao and Peeve will probably receive theirs post-Easter. The contents are not Holiday Dependent, so hopefully their enjoyment will not be significantly diminished by my lack of organization and fortitude.

My humblest apologies to all my benefactors for my neglect.

And now I give to you my Blog of Thanks. Which goes like this:

To Chris, from whom all Chaos flows, I repeat my thanks and list here the highlights of her lovely package:

A fabulous row counter, which I badly needed for my Travel Everywhere Knitting Bag - Woohoo!!!

A lovely bottle of Aveda shampoo for sensitive skin - I wish I could tell you what-all that scent is, but I can't read the miniscule tan printing against its background of tan-colored shampoo. I think I might need reading glasses. I'd get depressed about being that old, but I can't because I'm busy sniffing my hair.

A box of Nut Thins (yay!) and an old empty box that used to have Nut Thins in it. Don't ask. It makes sense to Chris and I...

A tin of caffeinated mints of most strong and delectable flavor.

Cadbury eggs and assorted chocolates, which (luckily for my waistline) were fallen upon immediately by The Horde - I beat them back and did manage to steal away with the dark stuff, and ate it during the first week of Dogsitting at my folks (late at night, when The Horde were comatose). My favorite was the bar with the nuts and berries. Chris has such good taste...

Yummy-smelling lime cuticle cream by Burt's Bees, which is keeping the row counter company in the knitting bag.

A CD of awesome music compiled by Herself which, according to the Vampire, "Sounds like you, mom!" Very Cool.

A Cute Sheepy notepad. I am afraid that I did misuse one of the sheets a bit, as I used it to write a polite but very slightly miffy note to the person who has recently taken to parking in such a way as to block the paved entrance to our sidewalk. But I did stick it under their windshield wiper with the Sheep side out, so that the world could admire their wooly goodness.

This Very Darling Stress Sheep Keychain, which now rules over my keys and key hook. I pet it ALL THE TIME. I love my Stress Sheep. Look upon my Stress Sheep and Despair... because I KNOW you are wanting a Stress Sheep too, right this very now, but it's MINE!

I may have forgotten a thing or two; I apologize if I did.


About a week later, I received this from Australia. I immediately got the Grue, and rudely kept poor Kellie waiting while I spent my time lolling about in bed (well, huddled shivering and sneezing in bed, actually, but you catch my drift). Woeful apologies and eternal gratitude to Peevish, who so kindly sent me:

How do we Americans manage to live without Tim Tams? I had to share, and I resented it. A LOT. Tim Tams rock.

The fruit candies were largely confiscated by the Vampire - I suspect that was Kellie's intention. I had to wrestle them away from him in order to take the picture. I got a roll for the Pirate and I to split, but only by using subterfuge ("Look!! Over there! A Distraction!!")

The chocolates and stitch markers (they may *say* wine glass markers, but it's all a trick to fool you. Anyone can see that they are stitch markers) are mine, mine, all mine...

Kellie also sent this absolutely luscious yarn. Any weirdness in the picture is purely the fault of the photographer; it certainly doesn't have anything to do with the yarn.

That green and blue superwash wool is slated for socks for the Pirate. He's been hovering over it ever since it came, pushing it toward me every time I sit still for a moment.

The textured purple variegated is earmarked for a hat. It's going to be gorgious.

The steel grey yarn is really soft and yummy, but there was no label - Kellie, what is it? I love it. I haven't quite decided what to do with it yet, but it's gonna be for ME.

That wonderful stuff at the lower left... oh, boy. The picture can't pick up the colorway at all, but it's absolutely my very favorite color combo in the world: dark, saturated greens and plums and fuschias. I'm in heaven. I have no idea what to do with it. I may just skein it up and drape it artistically across my Basket, pretending that it's a sort of Artsy decorative thing, so that I can take it down and just sort of fondle it and gloat over it whenever nobody is looking. My Precious....


Last, but not at all least, I just got this package from the UK, and it has Sam written all over it. Cute little stickers, too! I haven't tried any of the goodies yet, but I adore Lindt chocolate, the biscuits/cookies look lovely, and the tea is so richly fragrant that you can smell it throughout the whole kitchen, even though we haven't opened the bag yet. I can't wait for tea time, so that I can have a bikkie and a cuppa!

Confessions: I hid the Lindt bars from the boys, except for the HUMONGOUS hazelnut bar, which they are going to split. They confiscated the little sugar-shelled eggs, with much appreciation. The Vampire ate the little Cadbury Creme eggs (he whined about it when I briefly snatched them out of his mitts long enough to include them in the photo). I'm keeping the two other little eggs for myself. The Lindt bunnies and eggs will hide until Easter, but I know they will be hugely appreciated when they emerge from their lair (no, Pirate, I am NOT going to tell where they are).

See those teensy little knitting needles? Aren't they cute? They are for knitting teensy little sweaters for the mice. I'll get right on that.

But that's not all.

The Pao Kitties sent these for The Cat.

Aren't they lovely? Isn't the mouse that scurries across the floor when you pull its tail out clever? Doesn't the Red & Green Mouse have the sweetest face ever? That green ball has a bell, and it rolls across our hardwood floors more smoothly than I've ever seen a cat ball do. The toys are wonderful!

The Cat ignored it all.

Because SHE was too busy with this:

That's right. The plain cotton string with which the paper was wrapped. She was entranced. She was enthralled. She killed it. Repeatedly. The String was Mighty, but The Cat triumphed.

(Don't worry, Pao Kitties; The Cat later discovered the joys of Red & Green Mouse, who is now lodged underneath my chair as I write. She'll come around...)

April 05, 2006

Another Update

The Pirate has graciously consented to my showing off his progress so far.

For those of you who are non-knitters: have a cup of tea, talk amongst yourselves, stretch your legs. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled show in a moment.

For those of you who are knitters: Please tell the Pirate what you really think.

Note that I'm not trying to influence what you say... I am confident. Much more confident than the Pirate is, actually, because unfortunately *my* first knitting project has long ago been eaten by the sands of time, or dust bunnies, or something, so I cannot show it to him (he'd feel much better about his own skills if I could do so).

Aren't you jealous? Don't you wish he was yours?

April 04, 2006


The Pirate is knitting several rows per day, and is now producing only 1 mistake per 2 or 3 rows. We are VERY proud, especially as he is getting better and better at identifying errors quickly, so that we don't have to tink back more than a few stitches at most.

His main trouble is that he does knit very tightly, so that his main mistake tends to be that his needle slides down and he ends up knitting into the stitch below, and then drops the live stitch.

The Pirate asks how other beginning knitters manage if they do not have a resident Knitting Teacher hanging out to advise and assist them. I told him that most of us produce some very lumpy and raggedy items for the first few attempts... he, on the other hand, is repairing every mistake, so that his scarf is growing slowly but looking *very* nice.

Go, Team!

News At 11

It is once again That Season in the Midwest, and this is a particularly bad year for the Pestilential Pernicious Potholes of Doom - or should that be Perpetuity?

Our current theory is that over the years/eons chunks of pavement have aggregated into clots so dense that they have actually sunk beneath the earth's crust. These Tarmetoids have grown over time into masses so concentrated and dense that they have actually developed their own individual gravitational fields, pulling more pavement from the streets above as the ground thaws sufficiently to release chunks of pavement from their protective layer of ice. In the Midwest the ground freezes and then thaws so often that these gravitational fields not only causes pavement to abandon the earth's surface in mass migrations, but also has been known to pull cars into their influence from as much as half a mile's distance. This effect is so powerful that commuters frequently arrive hours late to work, due to delays caused by having to be AirLifted from one of the PPPoD's that have developed overnight.

It is this phenomenon which has led to the famous Midwestern saying, "Potholes Suck."

Don't say we didn't warn you.

April 01, 2006


The Pirate has already run into one of the major issues I have with beautiful wood needles - one of his lovely palmwood needles has split at the tip, and is catching and tearing at his soft Malabrigo yarn.

This is frustrating, especially since we haven't been able to find the packaging (will the store take a return without it? we do have the receipt...), but it has forced him to 'make do' with a set of my Addi Turbo circulars, so it may be a blessing in disguise. His first reaction was to grouse and insist that he'd never get the hang of it, not enough support etc. But now that he's done a couple rows, he is grudgingly willing to continue using them for a while, "Just to see how they'll do."

I suspect that a great deal of this willingness to put up with them is that he wants to have an excuse to imitate Brenda Dayne's cool sound effect for Addi Turbo's every time he takes them out.

If he and the Vampire start using my Addi's as stand-ins for light sabres, I'm going to garotte them both with the nearest yarn (Schaeffer's Laurel should hold up well, I think)...

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