Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

My Photo
Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rock Lobster!

Here is Baboo enjoying his lobster dinner at the 300 Club dinner at church.
A passing hippopotamus was overheard saying "Take human bites!"
We heart Baboo.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

First Day of School!

Today was the first day of First Grade for the Bug! Her first full day of school. We did a year of kindergarten, but that was only a half-day, and as she was in the afternoon session Mama didn't have to get dressed before she had her coffee. School starts a bit before nine and ends around three or so. She's a big girl and takes the bus, Bobo and I see her off, and Papa gets her off the bus on the way home from work.

Her teacher this year is Mrs. Smith. She's very young and very soft-spoken. I figure they'll either have to be quiet as bunnies to hear what she says, or they'll ride roughshod over her. The cynic in me thinks probably the latter, though I hope for the former, for all their sakes.

When asked what the best part of first grade was, the Bug replied, "TWO RECESSES!" Best part, indeed. And how was your hot lunch (cheese pizza today!)? "AWESOME!" I think we're going to have a pretty good year.

I have enough paperwork to fill out to stuff a mattress, but I think I'm on top of it so far. I also have to remember to get my act together the night before because I don't want to have to rush around in the morning trying to figure out if she needs a lunch packed or if she has her sweatshirt in her bag. Or I have to get up at 6 or so to have my coffee and wake up before they do. I just don't see that happening. I get my best knitting done at night.

Speaking of knitting--I knew you were wondering when the knitting content would come in--I finished a blueberry hat. I'm in love with the Anne Norling pattern for fruit hats, but I can honestly say that it's a bit limited for me. I like the strawberries, but I get tired of all rolled brims after awhile, and not all fruits and veggies have that leaf pattern on the top. Not that I'm aiming for complete versimilitude or anything, but come on.

So I make the strawberries pretty much true to the pattern.

I omit the leaves for the apple and use less stitches in the stem, which is brown. And I make separate leaves that are added at the end. The apple has a rolled hem.

For a pumpkin, I do a wide 6 x 2 rib, no leaves at the top, a fat green stem, and I add leaves and a "coil" at the end. The edge doesn't roll at all.

You've seen the beehive, which is just rows of purling interspersed with a couple of knit rows in a darker color. And some bee buttons. I knit the hat inside out, and turn it at the end, and the brim that would probably roll doesn't because it's turned inward.

The raspberry has a garter-stitched hem which flares outward and gives it kind of a cloche look. Perhaps I should have made it more of a beret. Eh.

And finally, my lastest variation on a theme, the blueberry. I did a 1 x 1 ribbed border for no roll, and when I got to the top I added a round of points for the top of the berry. Those were knit separately one at a time on a separate needle then joined with the three needle method and all those stinking ends woven in one at a time. That was a lot of work. But it's cute. And I didn't have to bribe the Bo with a cookie this time. As a matter of fact, Papa had just washed her face.

As a matter of fact, she could be America's Next Top Model. At least for hats.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sweeter than honey.

Here is Bobo modeling my Beehive hat. She has been bribed into the photo with a tasty Oreo cookie. There isn't much she won't do for an Oreo. The same can be said for her mother. I am a Cookie Ho.

So the hat is my own invention. It's a basic roll brim hat with purled rows interspersed with knit rows for a bulgy "beehive" look. I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in pumpkin (which is not remotely the color of a pumpkin, spank you very much), and maple sugar (which is not remotely the color of maple sugar but rather a dark amber maple syrup. Who the hell names their yarn, anyway?) And the bees are plastic buttons by JHB International, but they look like brass.

And this particular hat is about a size too small for the Bo, but she's the smallest model I've got. Thank God.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Get a cup of coffee, I'll wait.

I've been a bit behind in posting, so hold onto your hats. There's a lot of stuff to get through. Let's get the knitting stuff out of the way first, shall we?

I made six more Fuggles hats in biggish sizes since they were soooooo popular at the crafts fairs. I get a lot of "they're so soft!" comments, and I refrain from pointing out that they're Cheapass Acrylic that won't do dick towards keeping your kids ears warm like nice wool ones will...hey, a buck's a buck. And these babies are 100% pure profit. Is this a great country or what?

I'm back with the wool now though and I invented a very cute beehive hat that I will post as soon as it is done. I have to sew the bee buttons on first. I'm using up some "Pumpkin" colored Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks, which is not so much pumpkin-colored as it is pumpkin pie-colored and not at all what I wanted for pumpkin hats. And my color clarity on this monitor must suck because it sure looked orange to me when I ordered it. So, problem solved. Makes a great beehive.

Now, in other big news, the Bug has learned to ride her bike without training wheels. (And a helmet, get off my ass. We went out and got her a new one shortly after this pic is taken. I'm going to get her a sticker at the fair to put on it that reads "Helmet Laws Suck.") She also has a loose tooth in the front, and I've informed her of the tooth fairy's new policy of leaving gifts instead of cash for baby teeth. Since the kid has no concept of monetary value. But gifties? Oh, she's all over those!

As we speak she is on her first "vacation" away from the family unit. She went to Northern Maine with her best friend and her family from Monday through Friday. She's having a great time and not homesick at all. She sobbed her eyes out for an hour the night before she was supposed to leave because she was going to miss us, so I called and said she didn't want to go. But we left it open-ended and she said she'd call at 7:30 in the morning to see if Bug had changed her mind.

So I go in at 7 and sit down on her bed. Her eyes flip open and I swear her first words were "I changed my mind, I want to go." I asked if she was sure. "I'm sure. It's going to be fun and I don't want to miss it." That's my Buggy Girl. She left without a backward glance, and calls home at bedtime to say goodnight, and that's about it. So far, so good. But I'll be glad when she's home. Don't tell anyone, but I miss her.

Now, I told you about Old Home Day and my table at the craft and bake sale and all that. Well, all day long the ladies of the Altar and Rosary Society kept asking Sister and I to come to the meeting on Thursday and join up, it was lots of fun, blah blah blah. And we had been looking for ways to get more involved in church and community, so we figured, What the Hell.

You are now looking at the newest card-carrying (literally) member of the St. Joseph's Altar and Rosary Society. Well, me and Sister are the two newest. I have a card to prove it. And somehow I'm involved in heading up a membership drive type thing for the spring to lure in some younger members. My first order of business is to design the invitation. I'm thinking my theme is going to be "Not Your Memere's Altar and Rosary Society!" That'll haul 'em in in droves.

I'm a Church Lady. Hee hee hee.

School starts a week from today and I have done zero, zip, zilch, nada for shopping. Luckily she didn't grow much over the summer. I figure new underwear, socks, some clean shirts and a few pair of pants, some sneakers, a backpack and a lunchbox ought to cover it. She's still fitting into a lot of her school clothes from last year. Thank God for that.

The Bo alternates between charming me silly and making me want to slap her silly. But such is life when you live it with a two-year-old. Her speech has improved a lot over the summer. She says "holy shit" and "summummabitch" clear as a bell. I can't imagine where she's picking that up from.

I also wanted to link to this page here so that if you wanted to, for any reason at all, or none at all, make a nice donation to the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk. Won't you help us support the boobies?

And in my final bit of exciting news, guess where I'm going on September 1st? I'm going to Hampton Beach to see KATHY GRIFFIN! I'm so excited! I am going to have to buy some more Depends before the show because she makes me PEE! And that's without a two-drink minimum.

I think that's all the news from this week. I'm going to go finish up a beehive so's I can show it off. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Old Home Day

I had a booth at Belmont Old Home Day this year.

See, every year the St. Joseph's Altar and Rosary Society has a bake sale and craft fair, and I happened to mention my experience at the Canterbury Fair to Fr. Albert and he put me on the fast track to a table of my own at the church fair.

Bottom line: I did great! I cleared 75 bucks, which isn't bad at all for a fair as small as that one was. And I'm on "the clipboard" for a table at the annual Holiday Fair in November. (Is it ironic at all that a Catholic church has a "holiday" fair and not a "Christmas" fair? Or just odd?)

And having discovered that the Altar and Rosary Society wasn't at all what we thought it was (less holy roller and more social organization), Sister and I are going down to the church for the monthly meeting tonight. They need some younger blood in there, and we have some ideas for making the OHD craft fair a big moneymaker for the food pantry. And perhaps play a little cribbage too, who knows?

So the big sellers were the Fuggles, cotton dishcloths and cotton mesh market bags. Who knew? Well, the Fuggles were popular in Canterbury, so I saw that coming, no big surprise there. I was surprised that the stupid cotton dishcloths (that take little time or skill to make) sold that quickly, and that I sold some market bags. And I got rid of a bunch of my "clearance" cards that I marked down because they were some of my earliest rubber stamping efforts and not really very pretty.

I am astounded that for as much attention as they get, no one has bought any of the can covers or coffee cozees that I made. They're only a buck to a buck fifty each. Why don't they sell? I might have to make a bigger sign. Mark my words, they shall be heavily merchandised at the next fair! I WILL sell some of those bad boys!

My next fair is September 9th and then the Holiday fair in November, and that should about do it for this year. I haven't had an idea yet for a single Christmas present, though I do have another baby gift to make in the next month.

I'm taking suggestions.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Google Me, This...

This is what happens when I Google myself.
This is the first Google Image that comes up.
It is not me.
Apparently I'm an avant-garde modern dance choreographer as a writer of articles on pregnancy and childraising, among others.
Will the real poops please stand up?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Covering Our Heads

I speak of people--women mostly, but certainly many men as well--who cover their heads for prayer. Though the more I think about it, that is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Lately I am fascinated by ritual garb of all denominations. Of course those faiths who routinely adopt ritual garb is far more fascinating to me than those who don't, so don't feel slighted if I don't mention your particular faith. But I'm just more interested in those religions who have specific instructions on how to dress for prayer and in everyday life. And the "why" of it. And how the faithful feel about it.

It started when I was half-watching the TV, as I sometimes do, and a Muslim man was wearing a lovely white crocheted hat. I immediately abandoned my knitting and CNN and Googled "Muslim headwear." I found out that it is called a kufi, and it was indeed crocheted cotton. The site that I found it on was a Muslim clothing site and I was captivated by the array of lovely clothing that they wear for both everyday life and for their worship as well. The scarves that the women wear, called hijab, are truly exquisite. Of course they can be very plain and utilitarian, but most of the ones I've seen are of luxurious fabrics and are available in every color of the rainbow.

Of course from there I segued right into traditional Jewish clothing and was again ensnared with the variety of kippot (yarmulke), prayer shawls and the like that are available to the faithful sons and daughters of Abraham. Again, amazing needlework, exquisite fabrics, and a dizzying amount to choose from. I was most taken with the information regarding Orthodox Jewish clothing, and how married Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair completely, not unlike orthodox Muslim women. The scarf tying is different, but the fabrics are equally lovely in a different way. I think the Muslim scarves have more of an exotic, Eastern feel, while the Jewish scarves have a more folksy, Western or European feel. I was also surprised to find that the rules about modesty were so strict. The Jewish folks I know don't follow any clothing restrictions, so to find out that in Orthodox circles the women are nearly completely covered from head to toe and don't wear pants was surprising. (My recent discovery of modest swimwear was truly enlightening, though not as enlightening as the feminist backlash against it.)

I also found it interesting that modesty and style were not mutually exclusive. And that while I originally was intrigued by the "what", I found myself drawn into the "why" even more deeply.

And while I hadn't really thought about it much before, Christianity also seems to take to extremes as far as modesty and fashion are concerned. On the most modest end of the scale, the Mennonites come immediately to mind, and the Amish. Their dress eschews any adornment, believing that true modesty of dress means not making oneself "showy" in any way. No doubt they would consider a modern Muslim woman's cobalt blue silk scarf with gold embroidery immodest!

My church falls more on the "wear-whatever-you-want" end of the scale. We are instructed to "dress modestly" for mass, but left largely to our own devices to decide what we deem modest. We don't have a dress code of any sort. The underlying theology being that the mass is an offering to God and we should give him our best. Which means you should look nice. You don't see a lot of shirts with ties in mass anymore, and there are way more dresses and skirts in the summer, but most everyone looks neat and presentable, even in shorts and t-shirts, and sandals. Though there is the occasional sweaty soccer uniform or two on a kid coming right from practice. Better to be at mass on time in play clothes than to miss mass altogether!

But by and large, I sometimes feel like Christians got a bit gypped in the costume department. I'm too young to remember a time when Catholic women covered their heads in mass, if only with a tissue in case of emergency, though there was usually a lace mantilla in every good Catholic woman's purse for just such occasions, right there next to her rosary beads. And it is the Church's position that if you want to cover your head in mass, well, knock yourself out. And if you want to cover your body from head to toe, good for you. But you don't HAVE to. God doesn't love you any less if you don't. (And in truth, if you're the only one in mass wearing a veil and you're not a nun, you're probably making yourself conspicuous. Which is decidedly not modest.)

Having said that, there's a woman in our church who wears a hat to mass every Sunday. I wonder if she feels closer to God because of it. And where she gets her hats, for that matter. We also have a couple of women who wear their hair long because it says to do so somewhere in the Bible, even though the Catholic church doesn't require it. I wonder too if that act makes them feel more spiritually in tune with what God wants from her. And while the church makes no specification on how to fold your hands for prayer, or even that you have to fold your hands at all, one mother presses her palms flat, fingers up, and makes sure her kids do the same. One of these days I'm going to screw up the courage to ask her "why?" I'm sure there's a reason. Then again, maybe there is no reason, she just likes the aesthetics of it.

I've been to a Christian church where cut-off shorts and a bikini top was acceptable clothing for prayer. I'm thinking those congregations that take the "God loves my mostly naked body, even in church" line of thinking are few and far between. Even in the OC.

As a Christian, I believe it's the message of Christianity that is important, not so much what you're wearing, but I wonder if a Muslim or Jewish woman feels that much closer to her God every morning when she covers her head. Or if it's just one more thing she does quite mindlessly, like brushing her teeth. I'd like to know.

Now, as much as I loathe politics, I know there are people reading this who feel very strongly about the issue. (It seems lately that everyone feels strongly about everything, but again, that's for another post. Stay tuned.) I am well aware that there are parts of the world, even in this Bastion of Religious Freedom that is the USA, where women are forced to conform to a standard of dress, and to not do so would mean at best her ostracision from her community and at worst her death. In matters of religion (and a lot of other things) I don't consider myself a feminist, but a humanist. If a person of any sex feels encumbered or oppressed by the demands put on them by their religion, they should be free to find a community/congregation/sect of like-believing folks where they can be comfortable and worship in a manner that lifts them up and brings them closer to God as they understand him. I believe God would rather have us worship with joy than out of some sense of burden. But I know that that kind of freedom is not always possible or feasible, and that makes me sad.

So I'd rather not discuss it. Not here, and not right now. I'm not about to argue about burkas and public executions, or what exactly constitutes a creepy cult of glassy-eyed women and children and the men who dominate them. There are evils done in the name of religion. Always have been. And probably always will be. I refer you to my previous comment about politics and my loathing thereof.

But, if you wear something special to worship, or daily as a sign that you belong to a particular community of believers, I'd like to hear about it. Even if it is something as small as a piece of jewelry. I'd like to know what you wear, when you wear it, and what it means to you to do so. And I make a solemn promise as Blogmaster that if you do decide to comment that I won't let anyone get up in your face about your religion or your choices.

So take note: I would like to make it clear that I respect everyone's faith. I believe that all faith, and even complete lack thereof, is a gift from God. We all have faith in varying degrees from abundant to none, and we all believe in different things. I would love comments on this post, but I will delete any comments that I deem inflammatory. I would like to think that we can talk openly about our religious traditions and convictions without denegrating someone else's.

It's my blog, and I'd like to keep it a friendly blog, so that's the rule.

Crafty Post No. 2

Well, it's a little big on my model, but you get the basic idea.

I made it from Debbie Bliss Cathay which was in the clearance bin at Patternworks. I didn't exactly need anymore yarn, but that didn't stop me from getting it and the skein of Four Seasons cotton/wool blend in purple, and the four skeins of Elsbeth Lavold combed cotton...

Need, schmeed. Indeed.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Crafty Post

This post is full of crafty goodness.

First, I finished a bag and boa for our sweet little friend Annie who turned four yesterday. Miss Thing's "Pink Kitty Party" is on Sunday, and she is getting a new purse loaded with Little Girly Goodness, and a fuzzy boa scarf because what little girl wouldn't like a fuzzy boa scarf? I made the bag itself out of a clearance skein of TCL Baby Teri yarn. It feels like cotton terrycloth all knit up, but it's all acrylic-y wonderfulness. I put a piece of plastic canvas in the bottom to make it stand flat, and it's trimmed with some gnarly white eyelash fur that was a donation. The boa matches the purse, natch.

Second, I finished a pair of fingerless mitts for a customer at my etsy store. These were made to order, so I hope she likes them. If not, look for them to be on sale in the near future.

Which reminds me that my sister feels I should have a permalink to my etsy store somewhere. And as soon as I can make that happen, I will. I did sell a couple of things so far.

And third, my fifth pair of Red Hat Lady Slippers. Only ten pair to go.

I also created and made a couple of bandanna-type head coverings. I'm knitting a shawl, and I thought that the point of it would be cool as a triangle bandanna, but instead of tying the ends behind my head, wouldn't it be easier to just make the triangle, then knit it in the round for a bit? No bulky knot! I would have posted a pic, but it's cotton and not yet dry, but I'll model it (or someone will) in the near future.

I think my next two posts are going to be more philosophical. I've got some stuff on my mind...

Free Recipes