Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

It's Good to Have a Reason to Get Up in the Morning

Even if that reason ain't the weather.

Okay, I got a lot to catch you up on today, so try to stay focused.

Seriously, it seemed like stuff kept happening all weekend long and I actually started a list of stuff to tell you today, lest I forget, which is likely.

First off, let me just say that I’m ready for spot of sun. I don’t need it to be 80 degrees out there, and I know that the rain is good for the garden and the lawn and plants and all. But just a bit of sun would be nice. Perhaps between showers? I’ll settle for a sliver of blue sky.

Robin, in her Blogaversary Question, wonders “Exactly how cold does it get in New Hampshire? (Asked from a person who has only crossed the Mason-Dixon line twice in 30 years.)”

Well Robin, I live in Central NH, in the Lakes Region. It gets colder here than it does at the seacoast, but not so cold as it does in the North Country, up in the White Mountains. Our average winter temperatures are usually anywhere between 0 and 30 degrees F for much of December through February. It gets colder, and when they say an Alberta Clipper is heading our way, it means there’s a mass of cold air coming down from Canada that’s going to make it drop below zero and stay there for days on end. Some winters it seems to happen a lot, and some years we’ll get maybe one or two “cold snaps” as we call them.

So while we get some bitter cold days, for the most part we hover just below freezing.

And the one thing they say about New Hampshire weather is that if you don’t like it, wait a minute. And right this minute I’m ready for some sun.

Robin also wants to know “How do you always know the right answer for everything (especially on the Knittyboard)? Are you an evil genius or just a superhero? Cause it’s freaking me out…”

I like to think of myself as half evil genius, half superhero—the love child of Lex Luthor and Superman. Now that’s an episode of Smallville I’d tune in for.

So this rainy Monday morning is Bug’s first day back after April vacation. It is high time to get back to our regular daily routines. By Friday she was so bored she could barely stand herself. She has taken to doing math, just randomly. She’ll sit in the backseat of the car and think of two 2-digit numbers and add them together. By Friday she had mastered adding them and carrying the one over when necessary, so I decided to print off some worksheets from the internet for her to work on.

I looked up “first grade math worksheets” and all I got was simple adding and subtracting. We’re talking one digit numbers. Huh?

I had to go to third grade math to get her worksheets so that she could add two 3-digit numbers together! And since she got the idea of carrying the one to the next place, I explained borrowing the one when subtracting. So I printed some worksheets for that too. The good news is that math should be a breeze for the next couple of years. She wants me to teach her fractions and how to multiply. I don’t know if I’m qualified. I have trouble with that myself from time to time. I’m lucky I have enough math skills to knit, most days.

I certainly had issues with it this weekend. I decided to make my first pattern from Knitty. Ironically, while I spend half my waking life at the Knitty Coffeeshop, I’ve never made a pattern from there. But in the Spring issue there’s a pattern called “Monica” that’s a ruffled tank top for girls that just called to me. And Saturday, Sister and I headed up to Patternworks.

I wanted to get a bit more yarn to top off my Spring Fling Secret Pal package, and see if I could find yarn for the tank tops and for that little Chinese sweater I want to make. I did find some cotton yarn for the tanks. I got Tahki Cotton Classic in a tweedy multi-color and some solids for the ruffles. Bug gets the blue, I think, and Bobo the pink this time. I didn’t find anything I liked for the Chinese set, but I have NH Sheep and Wool coming up in a couple of weeks, and the Webs Tent Sale the following weekend, so there’s no rush.

And the SP package is wrapped and ready for mailing this afternoon. Whee!

Anyway, I cast on for Bobo’s sweater, after recalculating a bit to knit it in the round. (Why would you knit that flat and seam it? I still can’t figure that out.) I had to frog it three times because the hem wouldn’t lay flat. Third time’s a charm and I got halfway up the body yesterday. If only the sun would come out! I have to use my work light aimed right at my knitting, and it gets hot under there. I should buy one of those florescent bulbs for it. They don’t put off much heat, do they?

I still have a bag on the needles that I’m almost at the top of. A couple more rows and I could bind it off, I just haven’t. The tanks called to me. Plus I wanted to make it a backpack and can’t decide on what kind of straps I want on it. Excuses, excuses. But I should get on it, since Rainforest Rita sold from my etsy shop this weekend. And I did finally get the little bowls and the two other bags I made listed.

I got quite a lot accomplished this weekend.

Oh, and I went ahead and submitted my paper to be a CCD teacher. I requested a Confirmation class and I got a hug from the Religious Ed director for it. I guess she really needs teachers if she’s that happy that I’m volunteering.

And also on Sunday I cornered Janet in the sacristy after 8:00 mass. She gave me the poop on the A&R hiatus. She says that the handful of people that were there are the handful of people that are always there and do all the stuff, and they were tired of it. And she said that Ruby (not her real name) doesn’t want to be President any more.

Really…this coup could be easier than we thought.

First of all, the reason those six people are always pooped is because they just see what needs doing and they do it themselves. The leadership is woefully lacking in delegating skills, and apparently the solution of bringing in new members is just too exhausting.

Janet thinks, and I think she's right, that we need to find a way to make A&R more appealing to younger women. I'm sure that there are other women like Sister and me who are sitting there in mass week after week, being told that we need to help and serve others, but have no idea where to start. Sister and I thought it might be A&R, but perhaps God has other plans.

Who are we to argue?

Well, we told her that we were disappointed that we just joined up and now there’s nothing for us to do, and we were especially going to miss the Old Home Day craft fair. She suggested that we have it anyway. And that if we wanted to take the reins she was sure it would be fine, but we’d have to find people to help out with it. Though she was also quite sure that the A&R members would participate if asked.

So that’s our focus right now. Sister and I are going to plan the OHD fair and pull a committee together to run it. Hopefully we’ll bring some people in to help and they’ll be interested in joining A&R because of it. We’ve already decided that there will be food, more crafters than in previous years, and a penny raffle. And we’d like to tie in the OHD aspect of it by finding old pictures of our parish through the years and make them into either a photo gallery or slide show of some sort.

One of the things that the A&R does on an ongoing basis is make and distribute prayer shawls and lap blankets to people who need them. The knitters work from home and just give the shawls to A&R members to distribute, but we thought it would be nice to have a charity knitting group that actually gets together to knit and crochet. I’ve been looking about online for organizations that accept knitted items and I think it could be a good thing. Plus, while I love to knit and crochet, I'm not into making shawls and afghans. *yawn* But I'm all over making baby hats and such.

My hope in getting these two things going is that we’ll attract people of all ages who want to help the church by giving them something specific to do. And since it won’t be run by the A&R, it also won’t have the stigma of the “Old Ladies’ Guild” attached to it.

I love getting up in the morning and having a purpose. I mean, besides updating my blog and keeping Bobo alive until DH gets home.

Friday, April 27, 2007

There Were Bells, On the Hill, But I Never Heard Them Ringing

You know, it figures. Yesterday I ran out to Joanns to buy buttons just so that I could finish my latest sweater and photograph it to show you.

And today, it rains.

Unfortunately, my house is dark, and my camera needs lots of natural, bright light for you to even be able to see what I’ve made.

But I took it outside and this is as good as it gets, photowise.

This is a size 2T sweater made from more of that lovely Knitpicks Shine Sport. I was a bit panicky for a minute that the placket on the shoulder wouldn’t make the neckline big enough to fit over a toddler head, but it goes on Bobo’s just a bit snugly, and she is both three and has a ginormous head, so it’ll be just fine on your average two-year-old.

Anyway, the bands of raspberry color have eyelets in them, and the blue band has bobbles. I didn’t care for the bobbles much worked up in cotton, but like I said, I also didn’t hate it enough to frog either.

Sgeddes (which I pronounce “sketties” as in the way kids order spaghetti) wonders “What is your biggest source of inspiration for your knitting projects?”

Hmm, that’s a tough one. And it did get me to thinking what did inspire the stuff I’ve made.

I got inspired to knit in the first place because I wanted to be able to make winter hats and mittens for my kids. I really wanted to learn mittens. And it turns out it’s still my favorite thing in the world to make. Sometimes I’ll be sitting here, not doing anything, and just get the urge to cast on some mittens. I can whip up a kid-sized pair in a few hours, so of course I’ve got that instant gratification thing going for me.

But sometimes I’m inspired by a pattern. I say “inspired” because I seldom knit a pattern exactly as it’s written. I always have to tweak something. So I might see a pattern for a coffee cup cozy made from fingering weight yarn and decide to make one out of worsted because that’s what I have on hand. Or I might decide I want a small, felted bowl to keep my stitchmarkers in and wind up making a squadron of them. Yesterday I cast on for a washrag because I felt the urge to make one. I don’t know why, but there you go.

Lots of times I’m inspired by the yarn itself. I will occasionally pick up a yarn and buy it because I like how it looks or feels (or both) and wait for the perfect project to show itself. I have some yarns that I love but haven’t used just because the right project hasn’t come along. And sometimes I’ll stumble across a yarn that just screams to be something specific, be it a lace scarf, a pair of fingerless mittens, or a sweater.

Of course sometimes I knit even when I’m not inspired to. Case in point: my latest fingerless mittens. I told you there was as story behind these. Wanna hear it? Can you bear another story? This one won’t be as long as the last one, I promise.

Here’s a picture of the fingerless mittens. I can’t tell you how lovely this yarn is to work with. It’s handpainted merino from Fearless Fibers on etsy and it is just beautiful. The colors are gorgeous and the yarn is butter soft. These mittens are made from the end of a skein I used to make legwarmers and a hat.

See, it all started when I posted a pair of teal colored wool fingerless mittens on etsy. They were one of the first two things I listed and sold quite quickly. I was encouraged! Someone else piped up—another customer—and said she loved them and did I have them in an earth-toned colored yarn. I said I didn’t but I’d be happy to whip some up. So I picked out a yarn at Fearless Fibers that I liked, showed it to the customer and she liked it, and I made her a pair from it. She bought them and loved them.

So far, so good, right?

Well the skein of yarn had generous yardage, and I had plenty left to make another pair of mitts. I made some nice simple mitts in a 2 x 2 rib and posted them. And before long, they were on their way to a new home as well.

The buyer RAVED about her mitts! Looooooved them! Could I make a hat and scarf, and maybe some legwarmers to match? I won’t make a scarf for love or money. But the hat should be easy enough, and I’m willing to give legwarmers a go. No problem.

But see, here’s where I should have ended it, and didn’t, whore that I am. She said she wanted a hat with the same pattern (ribbed) with no flipped-up brim and no pom pom. A watch cap. I showed her a picture. She said she didn’t like how the bottom pulled in. I said it looked that way because there was about an inch of a smaller rib at the bottom. It had to be there, otherwise when you put the hat on it wouldn’t stay pulled down. Sort of like the way underpants won’t stay pulled up without that band of elastic at the top.

She seemed to understand what I was saying, and told me to go ahead.

In retrospect I can see that this was Warning Bell Number One. I heard it. I ignored it. (Knitters reading this right now have probably already gone “Oh, boy…” under their breath. Yeah, I know. Keep reading. It gets better.) I made the hat and showed her a pic before I mailed it. She thought it looked too long and reminded me that she didn’t want a rolled up brim.

Warning Bell Number Two, duly ignored by yours truly.

I explained that it only looked long in relation to its height because it was ribbed, and ribbing pulls in until something gets inside of it to push it out. Sort of in the same way her mitts are just skinny tubes until they get on her hands and assume their shape.

I sent it, she loved it. I knew once it was on, she’d love it. It was freaking cute. Still is.

I worked and worked and worked on the legwarmers. Now here’s the thing about legwarmers, and legs in general. Ankles are small. Calves are large. On some of us the difference is huge. On other, more normal-sized folks, not so much. But there is usually a size differential of at least a few inches, so purchased legwarmers often feature two things: extra-stretchy ends that allow the tube to be pulled up over the calf and remain there snugly, while hugging the ankle as well, or in the case of most legwarmers, they also use an elastic yarn in the first place to give that extra bit of stretchiness.

The customer told me she wanted straight tubes. I patiently explained that even in 2 x 2 rib, the ends wouldn’t be super flexible. So where a tube of ribbing works great for a mitten where the difference between the narrowest part of the wrist and the widest part of the hand is at most an inch or two, things are different on the leg end. I told her that while she wouldn’t have a problem on the ankle side, the side that sits on the calf might be too tight unless I add some ease. Even if you scrunch them down, which is how she wears them, the top part is still worn on the calf. Which is bigger.

How do you explain to a customer who clearly has no concept of garment construction that she isn’t going to like what she thinks she wants because what she wants is not likely to fit her properly?

I’ve been making garments for decades. Literally. I know how to make things fit. I told her that I’d add some stitches so that one end would have more stretch than the other. That it would probably look a bit like a bell on one end but—and here’s the important part—when she put it on, both ends would be identical to look at. However, the top edge would be more stretchy and therefore fit better and feel more comfortable.

She seemed to understand that. I told her that before I started knitting them. I showed them too her before I sent them, and she was still concerned about one side being larger. She wrote “All of my legwarmers are the same at both ends. One end is usually more flexible than the other, and that is the end I wear UP so I can scrunch them DOWN.”

Warning Bell Number Three. And this bell was loud. It hurt my ears.

You’re probably thinking at this point that I should have just made the friggin’ tubes, damn the fit, and be done with it. Yeah, I’m thinking you’re right.

But, in for a penny, in for a pound. I said, yes, the extra stitches make the UP end more flexible. Just like I told you before I started. And you can wear them UP or DOWN, doesn’t matter once they’re on. The extra stitches DO NOT affect the appearance, only the fit.

I figured that after seeing the difference between how the mitts looked ON, and how the hat looked ON, she’d get that the legwarmers would look different…ON.

I sent them off, noting again that the bell-shaped end was the top, and sent them off.

She emailed me back and said she hated them. She said they were "curved" and that she specifically said that she wanted flat, straight tubes.

After no less than three warning bells, should I have been surprised when the bomb went off? It would have made me a first class idiot, to be sure. No, I wasn’t surprised.

Perhaps I should have just made the tubes so that I’d have been able to say “I told you so” when she said that the top wasn’t flexible enough. Or perhaps she really has tube-shaped legs and tube-shaped legwarmers would have been perfect. She might even have put them on, decided that they didn't fit right, but because I told her that would happen, wouldn't have said anything. Or I could have fixed it and charged for the alteration that I had suggested in the first place.

Nope, I had to anticipate a fit problem ahead of time, correct for it, only to get shot down.

So when she said she didn’t like them, I really had had enough at that point. I am to this day convinced that she never put them on her body. If she had, she’d have seen that they not only looked perfect, but they fit perfectly as well. I can’t prove it, but let’s just say I can feel it right to my core.

Now, I could have offered to take them back, rip back to the point before I added the stitches and just make them into the tubes she wanted all along. Someone devoted to customer service would have done just that. Someone who thinks the customer is always right would have done that too.

But I'm always right, you know.

And really, sometimes you just gotta let go. I told her I’d give her a full refund on the hat and the legwarmers, since she had planned on wearing them as a set and the hat was no good on its own.

Needless to say, the hat and legwarmers will be posted for sale on etsy, along with the pair of fingerless mitts made from the leftover yarn. I’m going to reduce the price too. And of course I’ll make sure that the legwarmers are modeled so that a potential buyer can see how great they look ON.

You know the worst part of all of this? I had a bad feeling about it right from the get-go. When she first asked if I could make something else for her, I immediately didn’t want to do it. She wasn’t precise about what she wanted. She couldn’t communicate her needs to me. She had trouble visualizing a finished garment.

I knew I shouldn’t do it, and I priced it high thinking that maybe she’d change her mind. And when she didn’t, I just didn’t feel that I was in a position to turn down a wad of cash. I should really stop being a whore, knit what I want to knit—you know, the stuff I’m INSPIRED to knit—and leave it at that.

It's precisely why many of you will post a comment saying "that's why I don't knit for money" or "I would never knit to order."

You are not whores. I congratulate you on your moral fortitude.

What have I learned from all this? Stop ignoring the bells.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Oh, where to begin today. So much to say, so little blog space.

First up, y’all remember my previous post about the Colonel and his “wee beady eyes,” yes? Well, the Hubster went to Target last night and bought me the last DVD copy of So I Married an Axe Murderer in the state of NH! I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t even broken the seal on it yet. Later today though, you can betcha!

So that was good news.

Second of all, I totally lied about that handwashing I had to do. I said the weather wasn’t cooperative, so it would have to wait, and that part was true. It rained just a wee bit at dusk, even. But I did wash nonetheless, the stuff just isn’t dry. But I will have some pictures for you sooner rather than later.

All my outstanding orders have arrived in the mail this week, and my Secret Pal’s box is almost ready to send out. I also got some wool in from Little Knits so that I can finish up a bag I started but ran out of yarn so it’s been chillin’ in the WIPpile. I might make it into a wee backpack of sorts. Still trying to decide on the top and handles situation. I shall make a decision today and get back to you with the details, rest assured.

And today we’re up freakishly early so that we could bring Larry T. Hubster to work at the crack of dawn. That is so that we three girls might have the car at our disposal. We don’t do this much in the winter because it’s dark and very cold at 6 in the morning, but now that it’s light and warmer, I don’t mind dragging them out of bed. And I’ve got some errands to run, so it all works out. And they got Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins for breakfast, so everybody plays, everybody wins. They decided it’s cold in here and are snuggling whilst watching Spongebob Squarepants. I love that wacky little sponge and I’d happily join them on the couch, but I have business here to attend to. And I have a story to tell you!

But before further eloquence, I want to go ahead and answer my next Blog Contest Question. This one comes to us from Sade, and I’ve been dreading it ever since I looked up the answer.

Sade wants to know, “Is 42 really the answer?”

For the uninitiated, like myself, this involved a trip to Wikipedia to look up The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve not read the book myself, nor seen the movie, but I did recognize the quote owing largely to my masterful command of pop culture references. But is 42 really the answer? I did not know.

Turns out, 42 is the answer to the question “What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?” Which is embarrassing because that’s what SarahJanet asked a while back, and I answered with a somewhat straight-faced answer and totally missed the pop culture reference. Perhaps my command is somewhat less-than-masterful at that.

I also found out that 42 is the answer, unless you allow for inflation, and then the answer is actually 47. And that should answer two questions with one answer. Cool, eh? Not that it helps with my embarrassment over totally missing the reference the first time around. Ah, at least confession is good for the soul.

I’m down to just a few slips of paper left in my big mixing bowl. I wonder what I’ll have to talk about when the questions are all gone?

Oh, I know! The big Altar and Rosary Society Coup! You want to hear the story? Of course you do. Sit back, get a coffee. You’ll need it. Try and keep up, ask questions if necessary. I don’t want to lose anyone.

So last summer in August, my church held its Annual Old Home Day Craft Fair and Bake Sale, sponsored and run by the Altar and Rosary Society, the ladies’ guild of our church. I had a booth there, and during the course of the day got to chat with all the members of the A&R (as it will heretofore be referred), and it was suggested—more than once—that Sister and I should join! No, you don’t have to be over 65 to be a member! It’s fun! We have snacks! Whee!

Well, Sister and I had been looking for ways to become more involved with our church and community, and this ministry seemed like a good way to get our foot in the door as it were. So we attended the next meeting, paid our dues, and got our official cards.

The A&R has a board, as do most organizations. There’s a treasurer to keep track of the dough, a secretary to shuffle the papers, and a President and Vice President. Not sure what the VP does, or why one is necessary, unless of course the President is assassinated. Not likely in a setting like the A&R, but certainly not outside the realm of the possible, as you’ll soon see.

The President, or Generalissimo, as she has been dubbed by Sister and me, is my cousin. We’ll call her Ruby, though it is not her real name. Not that she’s stupid, and anyone who knows me in real life knows of whom I speak. But still, it feels all "24" with the alias, so I’ll forge ahead with it. Bear with me.

Ruby is a control freak of the first order. She cannot ever be accused of being wishy-washy or indecisive. She knows what she wants, what needs to be done, and she orders it up fresh and hot. I mean, when she says “jump”, you better say “how high?”

Sister and I would leave the meeting and just shake our heads at the way the group is run. Now, most of the women in the group have been parishoners forever. And I do mean forever. Yeah, most of them are elderly, but not all. Sister and I are by far the youngest members, but the group knew they needed younger bodies and eager hands and sharp minds to come in and infuse the group with much needed energy and spirit. And Sister and I have it—in spades!

We attended three meetings before the winter break. We sensed a trend at every meeting. Ruby would just decide what need to be done, point a finger at who needed to do it, and that would be the end of it. No vote, no discussion, nothing.

Here’s a For Instance. It was suggested by Miss Janet that we, as a service organization, do something nice for the people who volunteer their time as Religious Education instructors. Janet suggested it, and while Sister and I had some reservations (that we kept to ourselves) it was roundly accepted as a plan. Ruby didn’t like the idea and tried to brush it off, but Janet doesn’t back down so easily. She’s been around a long time and knows how these things work. (I have a feeling she’ll be on board with a coup, you mark my words.)

Oh, and lest I forget, it seems we also have thousands and thousands of dollars in our savings account. Yet we are constantly pinching pennies and socking money away at every turn. What rainy day are we saving for? I don’t know, but it factors in in a minute.

Anyway, we discussed what we should serve. Sister and I thought something nice, maybe a pork roast or even a lasagna or something like that. Someone suggested spaghetti and meatballs, and before Sister or I could protest that something more…I dunno…special could be served, Ruby piped up.

No. Meatballs are too much work. We’ll make American Chop Suey. I have the hamburger in my freezer. We’ll make a big salad and that will be that. Mrs. Shoemaker will donate some rolls if we ask her to. We should be able to do it for a couple hundred dollars at the most.”

(A timid hand goes up.) “Um, how about dessert…”

(Ruby…) “I’ll make an apple crisp. If you give them a choice they’ll just take forever deciding what they want. They get apple crisp.”

I know what you’re thinking. American Chop Suey, while comforting and filling, isn’t exactly a treat. And you’re asking people to miss dinner with their families to attend this, as a way of saying thanks, and you offer them cafeteria food. Mmm, you’re welcome! And no choice of dessert! You’ll just waste time making up your mind between lemon cake and chocolate brownies! You’ll eat apple crisp and you’ll like it, Mister!

Sister and I were shocked and appalled. At the same time. And wondering what the thousands of dollars in the savings account, faithfully tended and reported on my Miss Jean, are being saved for. Don’t we hold fundraisers so that we have money to spend on things for the church and the community, like dinners, and food pantry donations, and sending school supplies to our sister parish in Belize? Why are we being so cheap?

But I digress. Sorry.

So then it comes time for handing out assignments. Who’ll cook, who’ll serve, who’ll clean up, and so forth.

Who can come make salad?”

(Poops puts her hand up and is put on the salad-making committee.)

Who can come help serve the dinners?”

(Poops, figuring she’s already here and will have time on her hands once the salads are plated, raises her hand again.)

NO. You already have a job. You’re done.”

(Sister, who had put her hand up to serve with Poops, suddenly has a “fuck it” moment and puts her hand back down.)

Fast forward to the last of the jobs being handed out. The VP pipes up, “I thought we were having cheese and crackers too. Who’s bringing that?”

Ruby scans the table. Before Sister can retract her “fuck it” moment and volunteer to bring the cheese and crackers, Ruby turns to the VP. “You got cheese and crackers. Bring them with you.”

Oooohkay, then.

So we get to the end of the meeting and we’re enjoying a nice snack and some fellowshipping…cake and coffee. Nice. Last order of business…

(Ruby) “Who’s going to bring dessert next time?”

Miss Jane Vespa (we call her that because she has the cutest little tote bag with a cartoon of a kicky girl riding a scooter on it) starts to timidly put her hand up, sensing that no one else was going to volunteer, and not being the type of person to take something away from someone else who might want to do it, but she’s still more than happy to do something for the group anyway. But it’s not to be.

(Ruby) “Lillian. Bring dessert.”

Um, Lillian didn’t have her hand up. Lillian’s already the secretary and has to type up the agenda and the minutes for next time. She’s also the church organist, in several prayer groups, an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist (who brings communion to homebound parishoners), and takes care of her blind twin sister. And she attends mass every day. Lillian’s plate’s full. But yeah, she can make dessert too. No sweat. And she does it too, because unlike her sister Janet, Lillian wouldn’t say shit if she had a mouthful. I love her so.

Anyway, after all that, Sister and I sit in her car in my driveway and hatch our first plans for a coup. Generalissimo Ruby needs to be overthrown for the good of the group, and the good of the Parish. Besides, we were a bit put out to find out that neither she nor the VP even attend our church! I mean, shouldn’t the president of the ladies’ guild be a regular massgoer? I'm just saying.

To make a long story even interminably longer, it was decided that there should be a membership drive starting in the spring. Many members, though we can’t say for sure that the Prez and VP agreed, thought bringing in new and younger members was a great idea. After all, as some of the older ladies reasoned, they’re not as young as they used to be and didn’t have the energy to do all the work they once could. Plus, when they died or moved to Florida (we lose a few every year), who’s going to keep the group going? We have the oldest continual A&R in the area, since 1947 and wouldn’t it be a shame to see it end just because of lack of interest? We need to make it interesting to the next generation. I made up some prototype flyers and volunteered to speak at mass (with Father’s permission) about who we are, what we do, and invite the women of the parish to come and join us for coffee and cake and get to know us a bit. The gang was excited, loved the flyers, and was looking forward to that being our first order of business come Spring.

We take the winter off from meetings because there’s not much going on, and the older members don’t like to drive in the dark, but it was decided that come spring we’d step up plans for ways to get new women interested in joining us.

Which brings us to yesterday.

Sister is at City Hall for a birthday party and she runs into none other than Gen. Ruby. Ruby asks her where we were the night before. How come we didn’t come to the meeting? Sister replies that we didn’t know there was a meeting, how come no one called us? No matter, replies Ruby.

The A&R has decided that they are all too tired to do anything and have decided to take a year’s sabbatical.

This sounds fishy to me. Anyone else? Show of hands? Sister and I suspect that Ruby decided she was too busy to do anything this year, since she’s always complaining that she does more before sunrise than most of us do all day long and that she’s just exhausted. And we’re quite sure that rather than she take a year off and turn control over to someone who’s not too exhausted or too busy, she decided that we all should take a year off. And she is one to take the other members’ lack of opposition as agreement, when I suspect everyone else (all six of them that showed up for the meeting) was too intimidated to argue with her.

So Sister and I are in the planning stages of the official coup. I am going to pull aside some members this weekend between masses and get the poop on things, maybe see if we can get confirmation that we’re right about who wants a break and who doesn’t. See, we really still want to do the Craft Fair and Bake Sale again, and sister and I have some terrific ideas on how to make it just incredible fun and profitable as well. We’ve also decided that we will form our own committee and run it ourselves if need be. It’s not that big a deal. Or that big a fair, if you get right down to it.

I will keep you updated as things progress, and I’m sure I’ll have more to report no later than Sunday night. We’ll call it “Coup Watch 2007”. We may even start our own ladies’ guild and call it the “Alternate Rosary Society.”

Whew. I’m sure there was something else I wanted to mention….

Oh! Any “Scrubs” fans in the audience? I love that show, and one of my favorite parts of the show is Sweaty Teddy’s a cappella band. You too? Check this out…


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Everything You Wanted to Know About Possum Yarn

...but were afraid to ask!

Nessa wants to know "I heard once that someone made some yarn out of possum fur. Given how violently opposed possums are to being handled, how do they GET the possum fur to be spun into yarn?"


No, really, they do. But these aren't the US opossums that we in the states are familiar with. The possums they make into yarn are a rather pesky nuisance.

Read all about it!

What is possum yarn?
Possum yarn is a natural fibre derived from the fur of the New Zealand Possum. Every year, the New Zealand government spends around NZ$50 million culling this animal. Until 1997, the carcases were incinerated. However, by 1998, new techniques had been developed, and the result was the rich sumptuous fibre which underpins our yarns and our knitwear. Even today, all possum fibre is recovered from culled pelts. No animals are killed simply to produce possum fibre.

Why is there an annual cull?
The New Zealand Possum, despite its name, is not native to New Zealand. It was introduced to the islands by a group of businessmen in the last quarter of the 19th century. Their aim was to farm Australian Brush Tailed Possums for the Empire’s fur trade, and they captured and imported around a hundred animals for this purpose. The Australian Brush Tailed Possum has one of the softest furs in the world, and they probably felt assured of success. Unfortunately for them, their tanning skills were poor. The process they used caused the fur to fall out. As a result, their business failed. Their final act was to release the remaining animals into the New Zealand countryside. Now, the country is home to 3.5 million people, 50 million sheep - and 90 million possums. To date, this animal is responsible for 70% of all New Zealand’s extinctions, and every single night tucks into eggs, young chicks and around 21,500 tonnes of fresh new shoots and leaves. Ironically, due to the cooler climate, the New Zealand Possum now boasts a fur coat considerably thicker and more luxurious than its Australian ancestor.

Why has the Possum been so destructive?
Before the coming of Europeans, New Zealand had no hunting mammals; no cats, dogs, badgers or foxes. Instead, its forests, islands and mountains were home to what was then the largest variety of birdlife on the planet. Without predators, these birds largely nested on the ground. Early reports suggest that they were so trusting that, if a bird was shot, others would remain standing around in confusion, rather than run away. This was the countryside into which the Possum, sharp of tooth and long of claw, was released. The result was an avian apocalypse.

What is so special about Possum fibres?
The fibres which make up a Possum’s fur are hollow, a characteristic which they share with only one other animal; the Polar Bear. Ironically, although both animals have evolved to live at opposite climate extremes, in order to survive, both need to control heat. While the ice bound Polar Bear uses hollow fibres to trap heat, the Brush Tailed Possum uses the same means to dispel the burning heat of Australia’s deserts. The fibres are too short to make yarn by themselves, but we make use of their remarkable adaptive ability by blending them with other high quality natural yarns such as merino lambs wool and silk which act as carriers or frameworks. The resulting garment displays all of Possum’s best qualities; exquisite softness, a tendency to feel cool in warm weather, to feel warm in cold, and to dry quickly after rain showers.

These are American Opossums, by the way. Not killed for fur, but good eatin' in a stew, depending on where y'all hail from.

Now, Nessa, aren't you glad you asked!

In non-fur knitting news, I finished a cotton toddler sweater I started eons ago but didn't like once I got to the armpits. Yesterday I frogged the bit I didn't like and started over, adding bands of color with eyelets and bobbles. I'm not sure cotton yarn does a bobble justice, but I don't hate the effect enough to go back and change it.

I still have a crapload of Shine Sport left and I think I'm going to make a tank top for one of the girls. Don't know which girl yet, but I think the Bug is due for a new handknit from Mama, since Bobo got the multi-colored merino one.

And I know I said I'd take pictures of the fingerless mittens today when they were washed, but the weather is not conducive to drying today, so I may wait for the next sunny day to come around again.

Here's hoping it's not in July.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Still Hab a Cowd.

I still feel like crap on toast today. My cold does not seem to be improving much at all. Yet I persevere, and blog ahead!

Hungryfroggy wants to know of me, “What do you think is the secret ingredient in yarn that makes it more potent than any kind of drug known to man?”

I don’t know exactly what it is, but I suspect it’s also found in Italian leather slingbacks, Girl Scout Cookies, and the teriyaki beef jerky from the Fox Country Smoke House.

Your question reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from So I Married an Axe Murderer; in my opinion, one of the best movies ever made.

Stuart MacKenzie: Well, it's a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there's a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.
Tony Giardino: So who's in this Pentavirate?
Stuart Mackenzie: The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, *and* Colonel Sanders before he went tits up. Oh, I hated the Colonel with is wee *beady* eyes, and that smug look on his face. "Oh, you're gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!"
Charlie MacKenzie: Dad, how can you hate "The Colonel"?
Stuart Mackenzie: Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes ya crave it fortnightly, smartass!

If you’ve never seen it, rent it. The scenes with Mike Myers playing Stuart MacKenzie are worth the cost right there.

Today I am working on another cotton toddler-sized sweater. I made some mitts yesterday that I’ll show off when they’re washed and blocked. There’s a story there, but I’ll tell it with the mittens lest you get all confused.

Not much else to report. Pretty quiet day, really. Bug’s off to a sleepover at a friend’s house, so yay! for that.

Nope, I’m just sitting here, nursing my cold, and trying not to pee my pants every time I cough.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Smells Like Spring Fever

In all the excitement of Easter and its ensuing festivities, it occurs to me that on April 1st I completely forgot to Flash My Stash!

An annual event wherein Knitters everywhere show off their strange obsession with all things fiber, it is also a cathartic moment where we may decide that our collection of yarns is manageable and sure to be knitted up at some point, or if our stash has gone SABLE—Stash Amassed Beyone Life Expectancy.

Mine is still in the manageable camp, probably because I tend to buy small quantities and make much stuff. So it works out. I don’t tend to buy a sweater’s worth of yarn unless I know that I’m going to get right to it. And I should point out too that at least half of my stash consists of yarn that was gifted to me and is not something I knit with all that much (the Lion Homespun and Fun Fur that I will make into Fuggle Hats until it is gone), and yarn that I got as part of a giant lot for five bucks when the LYS closed. I took the lot for the books that were tucked into the bag, and some of the sock yarn and some nice alpaca that was in there. But it does explain the 13 balls of school bus yellow Encore that I have in stock with no real plans for. I was thinking of designing a prototype duck sweater with wing-like sleeves, a hood with a bill on it, and short little tail. Or maybe a yellow sweater with a fair isle design along the bottom that looks like kids’ faces in bus windows. I don’t know.

But what made me think about Flashing My Stash, and remembering that I’m 23 days late in doing so was Jenneke’s question for my blog contest. She wants to know, “How do you store your stash? I have a couple (more than a lot) of plastic bins but I need more space. Any suggestions?”

Well, I store my stash in several locations. In my “craft room” (a term I use loosely), I have two diaper boxes and one large willow basket filled with yarn. One box has single skeins of what I consider “good yarn” that just hasn’t called to me to be a project yet. The second has the aforementioned acrylics that I use is wacky fun projects. The basket holds all that Encore and my cotton stash. In my living room beside my recliner are three smaller baskets with handles. One has just wool yarn, and the second is half filled with wool skeins and the other half is my WIP/frog pond area. Stuff I either lost the desire to continue knitting (a shawl that’s been frogged twice already and half of two pair of mittens) and stuff that I finished and hated, or single socks/mittens that I ran out of yarn, or again, just hated. The third basket has small balls of wool.

I also have, not pictured, a box of wools from Elizabeth that she send as a RAK, and a bag of boucle yarn in my trunk that was given to me last year and I plan to give to the Altar and Rosary Society for their prayer shawl knitters to use. We should be starting up with meetings again soon, I’m thinking.

As for suggestions for creative yarn storage, bear in mind you’re asking someone who keeps her stash in diaper boxes. But in a perfect world, I would have a lovely piece of furniture for my yarn. Perhaps a dining hutch like ZantiMissKnit has, or maybe a huge wine rack. At the Patternworks store they have an old section of post office mailboxes that they use to display their sock yarn. Something like that would be awesome too. I guess I’d love to put my yarn out on display so that I could see it all the time and not have to dig it out when I wanted to see what I have in stock to work with.

I have plans for a proper craft room someday. We have a room called “The Junk Room” that serves as an attic, since we don’t have one. It is attached to the house along with the shed, but neither are finished as real rooms. They are not insulated (to my knowledge) nor are they heated. But the Junk Room has great potential as a craft room. The plaster needs much repair, if not outright replacing, certainly the lack of insulation would need to be addressed, it would need a floor, lots of lighting installed, heat for the winter, and of course a lot of storage and work space.

Step one: empty the room. It’s full of furniture not currently in use (like beds and exercise equipment) and God knows what else. It’s going to take a lot more gumption than I possess to just get it cleaned. But someday. Someday…

Naturally, since Spring has finally decided to arrive, thoughts do turn to cleaning. I tuned up the grill yesterday. Got it a shiny new rack, a fresh charcoal chimney and clicker lighter thingy, a fresh bag of Kingsford Matchlite, and a grill cleaning brick. And we cooked out! We had two kinds of marinated steak, two kinds of marinated chicken, and a nice Ah-So pork. I made potato salad and Caesar salad, and my friend Jeanne brought strawberry shortcakes for dessert. We ate outside, listened to the peepers, and went in when the mosquitoes came out. I know. We haven’t even had black fly season yet, and the skeeters are here! Can this really be an early spring, or just a tease?

Also this weekend I have come down with a Mother of a cold. I was just saying to Larry that it was amazing that even though he had the flu and a cold, Emma had a stomach bug and a cold, and Bug had a cold that I didn’t get sick at all.

Clearly, I spoke too soon. I feel like death warmed over, though marginally better since I’ve showered. And at least I slept last night, which is more than I can say for Saturday night.

When I’m done here, I’m going outside to pick up the yard a bit. Clean up the iris beds and some loose trash that was hiding in the snow.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I made some more stuff for etsy. Nothing is selling there, but I’m not worried, because craft fair season is right around the corner and I’m quite sure I’ll do well this year. I can sense it.

So I did a half dozen little bowls. Another great stashbuster! I made one for myself to keep my fancy Entrelac stitch markers in, and impressed even myself with how great it is. So the bowls I made are shallow, almost like a saucer, and they have a lip that curves in at the top to keep whatever’s in the bowl, in the bowl. I think it would be handy for keys and loose change too. You know, if for some weird reason you don’t knit. Or use stitchmarkers.

And I made another bag, a blue and brown one this time with a wee bow on the side. It’s a hybrid cross of the Rainforest Rita pattern (that I made up) and the Peppermint Patty pattern (also made up), with a few more drawstring holes on the top. It looks a little less devil-may-care- than Rita. Sort of like Rita’s conservative cousin.

And this weekend I got a postcard from my Secret Pal. From England! I don’t know if she’s English, visiting England, or just had an English Knitter send me a postcard to try and trick me. I do know that the Isle of Thanet and its area look like a lovely place to visit.

My own Secret Pal’s box of goodies is getting fuller by the minute. I’m stalking the postman even as we speak for a couple more goodies to go in it, in addition to the doodads I put in yesterday. This is so much fun!

Now I must go clean the yard. It looks like the Clampetts live here…

Friday, April 20, 2007

Great News from the World of Fruit, and Other Vagaries of the Universe

First off, two interesting bits of news.

I noticed on my MSN home page this morning that fruity cocktails may actually be healthy. US and Thai scientists discovered, purely by accident, that adding a splash of alcohol to fruit enhanced its antioxidant nutrients. They claim they discovered it while looking for ways to preserve fruit, but I like to think it happened at a luau-themed office party for the lab techs.

I’m going to have a strawberry daiquiri this weekend to celebrate. Who’s up for blender drinks?

And in NH news, the state legislature voted to adopt civil unions and the governor is expected to sign it into law sometime in the near future. I was kind of surprised to hear it, actually. I was under the impression that the last few times it was discussed that it had a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. And then yesterday, with little fanfare, they just voted and said, “Okay, then.” Apparently, we’re only the fourth state to do so and so far the first one to do it without any kind of court order.

So now in NH, homosexuals have the right to ruin their lives just like straight people. Poor bastards. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…SHOW SOME SENSE! SAVE YOURSELVES!

I’m just kidding. Married life is swell.

And guess where I’m going next month? Okay, time’s up, I’ll tell you. On Mother’s Day weekend I’m going to be at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds. You may (or you may not) remember that last year it was raining. Buckets of rain. A deluge of biblical proportion. And we went anyway and had a great time and scored some lovely if somewhat dampish wooly treats. We’re set to go on Sunday again this year and I hope to meet up with some Knittyheads this year. I’ll have my Knitty pin on so’s y’all will recognize me!

And the following weekend my Sister and I are taking Dad to the Springfield Armory. He’s a gun enthusiast, particularly antique and historical rifles and they apparently have a heck of a collection down there. So Friday we’re going to learn everything we ever wanted to know about rifles and then spend the night in Springfield.

The next day, we’re heading home. And you know what’s between Springfield and Belmont? WEBS! And you know what Webs is having that weekend? THEIR ANNUAL TENT SALE! Yarn! Everywhere! As far as the eye can see! And on sale! Oh, it’s almost too much to stand.

Needless to say, there will be much stash enhancement that weekend, and you will for sure have some nice yarn porn to drool over.

I had so many nice comments yesterday about my upcoming Chinese-inspired baby set that I’m going to make. I thought it was really cute too, and absolutely perfect for the occasion. The pattern is in Vogue Knitting “Baby Knits Two”. The original pattern is done with the red in a wool/mohair blend, the black is a wool/silk blend, and the gold is wool. But since the recipient is getting here just in time for summer, I think I’m going to do it in a cotton or cotton blend. I think she’ll get more use out of it that way. Also because it’s a one-size, 12 month pattern and she’ll be just shy of one when she gets here. The measurements are generous, and it’s a wrap type sweater which will allow for growth, but I can’t imagine her wearing it too far into the cold weather. So a lighter fiber will make it seasonal.

“mom” wanted to know yesterday too what kind of fiber I liked for knitting baby things. Personally, I knit with whatever yarn speaks to the garment. I’ll be honest here. Most acrylic baby yarns are pretty limited in their color selection, and my experience with machine washable wools has been that they’re only machine washable if you do it with great, great care. And they still have to be dried flat anyway. Not a real labor saver, in my opinion.

Perhaps it’s pigheaded of me, but I’m not going to settle for a yarn I don’t like just because it’s easy to care for. As a matter of fact, ease of care is pretty far down on my list of what I look for in a yarn. I guess mostly because I don’t find handwashing a chore. And I’m puzzled by those that do. Especially when running a regular load of laundry involved sorting the clothes, transporting them to the laundry room or Laundromat, waiting the half-hour or so for the machine to do its thing, then transferring it over to the dryer, all the while hanging or blocking clothes that can’t be dried and fretting over how much the clothes that can be dried are going to shrink.

I can toss a baby sweater in a big bowl of cool water and Eucalan, swish it about, squeeze it dry in a towel, and block it flat in less than 10 minutes. And I don’t have to give a thought as to whether or not it’ll come out of its bath misshapen, snagged, stretched, tugged, shrunk or felted.
Wow, that was a long response to a short question.

Speaking of questions, today’s inquiring mind is Tasha, aka “knitmommy” and she wants to know “Why is the sky blue, the grass green (in some places), and the sun yellow?”

There’s a long and a short answer to both of these. The short answer is “because God made them that way.”

The long answer has to do with how humans perceive color and how objects absorb and reflect different parts of the color spectrum as transmitted through light.

You can read this explanation from Wikipedia, and then ask yourself instead, “Is the grass really green, the sky really blue, and the sun really yellow, or is that just what we see it as? And if an animal who perceives color differently sees the sun as gray, is the sun really gray, or is it yellow only because we say it is.”

Think about that for awhile. Get back to me.

And if you know of any good places to eat in Springfield Mass, let me know!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Then Again, It Could Be My Giant Birdseed Hat

First up on the docket, here's Bobo today. Not swollen, her bruise is healing very quickly, but quite disturbingly to me, she's looking very "grown-up" as of late. I notice her round, pudgy baby face giving way to more angular lines, and check out how long her neck is! She's getting all big and everything.

But I have no plans for another one.

However, friends of mine are expecting in a couple of months! She's coming from China, and will be here soon, and I'm already planning this as her first gift from me. Much more baby knitting will ensue, but this is a start. I'll have more details as the project progresses to be sure!

I also thought you should see at least a bit of what I've made lately. I did another pink bag for my etsy shop. This one is pink and grey (instead of brown). I'm quite fond of it. These are really fun and quick to knit and I think I'm getting a handle on this whole felting thing!

I made this bowl for my SP! She won't get it until she gets her big package, so I can show it to you ahead of time. I'm going to fill it with her favorite candy and tie it with some pretty wrap and perhaps a bow.

I made another felted bowl out of my own handspun. It was a lovely handpainted roving that spun up kind of bulky, and I love how the colors go from light to dark all over the place. I made the little nubbins at the top with some single crochet picots. I'm feeling like I should crochet something one of these days just so that I don't forget how and have to learn all over again.

I may have mentioned how like my late Aunt Elaine Bobo is. She has a mind of her own, much like my aunt did, and there are days I look at her and I swear Aunt E is looking back. I got preggers with her one month after my aunt's funeral, and she's named for her as well.

Well, in a creepy coincidence, I realized the other day that Aunt E was 33 when I was born, and I was 33 when Emma was born. There's a theory of reincarnation that holds that we not only go 'round again and again, but we tend to do it in similar circles of existence, which explains why we can meet someone for the first time and feel like we've known them forever. Of course the fact that Bo's a lot like me because she spends a lot of time with me, and I'm like Aunt E because I spent a lot of time with her makes sense too. But I thought the parallel was interesting.

And speaking of interesting things...

Bradyphrenia, aka knottygnome of Knittyboard fame, wants to know, "Why do birds suddenly appear, everytime you are near?"

Well, just like you, they long to be, close to me.

Or it could be the hat.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

From One Over-achiever to Another

Today’s blog post will be spent attempting answer Sarah’s question. Sarah, aka “craftfetish”—a name I can totally get behind, by the way—is clearly an over-achiever because she commented not once but twice, and asked 10 separate questions.

I guess I’d better dive right in, then.

1. How come everyone is being so shy? Are you hiding all of the comments? Yeah, I am. I’ve been publishing them as I answer them unless you left your email address on it as requested. I wouldn’t publish that, so I’ve just deleted your question instead of answering it. So after I answer your question in a post, I either publish it and it appears with the original post, or I delete it and you only see it where it is answered. Clear as mud?
2. Also, how come the little elves don’t come and weave in my ends for me while I’m sleeping even though I ask them to? Good question. And if ever you see one of the little bahstads, you tell ‘em I’m looking for them, mmmmkay?
3. Furthermore, what will the next year of Ask Poops, Please bring? Hmm, hard to say exactly. Probably just a fresh, hot helping of the Poops you’ve come to know and love!
4. If a boy wearing Groucho glasses says “My name is Humpty…pronounced with an –umpty,” does the lame hip hop reference make up for the fact that he is wearing Groucho glasses? Depends. How old is this boy? If he’s four, I would kidnap him, adopt him, and raise him as my own. If he’s 8 or so, I’d laugh and laugh because that’s still just crazy funny. If he’s 15, I’d roll my eyes and make a disgusted noise in the back of my throat that sounds kind of like “ick” but without the clear consonant sounds. And if he’s over 18 I’d probably have to pepper spray him.
5. Is making a 0-3 month baby sweater going to guarantee that the kid outgrows it by week 2? Yes. Absolutely. And making the 3 to 6 month size guarantees that the child will not fit into it for 6 more months and by then it will be summer and it won’t need a sweater. Really, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
6. If it takes her 3 months on average to destroy something, what is the maximum number of hours I should spend on craft projects for my dog. Three hours and fifteen minutes. (Okay, I pulled that number out of my baloopa joes. You take as much time as you feel comfortable with. I mean that, now.)
7. Dogasaurus—mean or really funny? I’m going to have to go with funny, unless it means something I don’t know about. According to the Urban Dictionary, a dogasaurus is a really big dog, like a Mastiff or a Great Dane. I find most big dogs aren’t all that sensitive and can take it.
8. Do you think that the Special Theory of Relativity is really just the regular Theory of Relativity dressed up by a bunch of physicists who weren’t allowed in the secret clubhouse as children? Hmm. Is this a trick question? Because my Google-Fu tells me that Albert Einstein came up with both of them and published them in 1920 in Relativity: The Special and General Theory. And if you can’t believe Wikipedia, who can you trust?
9. Is Blogger just messing with me when I have to re-type the word verification thing? Can other people read those? I don’t know for sure, but it seems like every single time I type it in, I have to retype it, like I didn’t get it right the first time. Now, it could be I just suck at typing nonsense words, but I get the feeling it’s something in the system. Apparently, they’re screwing with both of us.
10. Have I exhausted your question-answering goodwill yet? Huh? Were you talking to me?

And I’m spent. But wasn’t that informative?

I keep forgetting to talk about something I found that has just amused me to no end. It’s called Blogging the Bible, and I can’t quite put my finger on why I find it so entertaining, but I do. It’s just this guy, a writer by trade, who decided to read the bible starting at the beginning and blog about it. I have found it oddly addicting. Surely there are more informative sites about the bible, but there’s just something fresh about his “I don’t know what I’m doing” approach to biblical commentary. And his retellings of classic Old Testament stories are just too funny.

And speaking of Old Testament classics, I’ve halted production on my ark again. The rain has let up a bit today and it looks like it’s going to be sunny and much warmer all weekend right into next week. But I’m not putting my tools away just yet. It rained until July last year.

This weekend, come hell or wet grass, I’m breaking out the barbeque. I’m making some thick, juicy steaks and homemade potato salad and I can’t wait!

And finally, I registered Bug for religious education classes next year. To us older-school Catholics, that’s what we used to call CCD (Catholic Children’s Detention) or catechism class. I’m seriously considering signing up to teach the Confirmation II class this year. Although the coordinator knows that I called a kid at the Confirmation retreat this year a dumbass, so we shall see.

Might put me on the fast track at that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baloopa Joes!

Bezzie wants to know, because that’s the kind of gal Bezzie is, “Boxers or briefs?”

Baloopa Joes, baby!

Technically, they’re called briefs, but I classify them as the boxers shorts of the world of women’s undergarments.

Also known as Granny Panties, they are renowned for their utter lack of sex appeal. But I think they get a “bum” rap. (OH! Someone stop me, please!) They are probably the most comfortable underpants in the entire undie kingdom.

I pick underwear that covers some acreage. There’s nothing I hate more than picking a wedgie, which inevitably happens when I try to wear something fancy.

Nope, mine are big, and comfortable.

And you guys are in luck! I happen to have a picture of my Uncle Lou with the pair he gave me for my birthday last year. Uncle Lou and I have always had a special connection…

Good old Uncle Lou. He's Wookin' Pa Nub, ladies, if anyone wants his email address...

In other non-underpants news, we are on the tail end of yet another nor'easter. We've had widespread flooding, trees and powerlines down, such a mess! We even had a delayed opening at school this morning.

Mount Washington, the highest peak in New England and home to the Worst Weather in the World, had recorded sustained winds of 156 MPH last night. That's a category 5 hurricane for anyone keeping track. They're no worse for the wear today, though.

Bobo is still chartreuse this morning, with mustard overtones. And she can breathe through her nose again. And is apparently in a growth spurt because she has had so far since this morning, two pieces of peanut butter toast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a granola bar, a hot dog roll she filched out of the package while I wasn't looking, a handful of peanuts, a frozen pizza, probably at least three Oreo's at my dad's house, and now she's stolen a bag of mini cookies from the cupboard and is eating those like they're going out of style.

I've actually been doing some knitting this week, but I haven't taken pics yet. It's too dark in the house, and too wet outside to do them justice, so I'll have to catch up this week and show them all later on. See, something to look forward to!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Legend of Surefoot

Or "A Tale of Poops and Poo."

But feerst, an update on the Bo since so many of you have asked, and thank you for asking!

She’s just fine, thanks. Bruised still, and sore from time to time, but just fine. Her nose bruise is a lovely shade of medium green. On the yellow side, but I wouldn't call it chartreuse just yet. Perhaps by naptime. No worse for the wear, apparently. And in the middle of a growth spurt because she’s eating like a lumberjack these days! I swear she’s grown three inches in a month.

And now, in the continuing story of “Ask Poops, Please,” my beloved PennyKarma of Behold My Brilliance fame (and if you haven’t beheld yet, please go do so. Right now. I’ll wait while you behold…)

Oh good, you’re back. Isn’t she a hoot? Poops would never steer you wrong.

Anyway, PennyKarma wants to know “How’d ya come to go by the name Poops? I mean, it suits you, don’t get me wrong, I’ve just always wondered. Does your husband call you Poops? Or if that’s not an interesting enough story, tell us about your most embarrassing moment. Please. I’m sure it’d be good.”

For starters, Poops is indeed my real nickname, not one invented for this blog or as my Knittyboard handle. People really call me Poops. Family, mostly, though not my husband, so much. He usually prefers a more affectionate moniker for me…sweetie, or honey, or something like that and sometimes just Da Wife. My sister and her hub call me Poops the most. Probably because I got the name in college and she was there as a part of it all, so she brought it back here.

So the name came about originally from one of my roommates. My real name is Jennifer. Just like 67% of girls my age. But I’m not a Jenny. My parents apparently had an eye toward saddling me with that from a young age, as most of my baby pictures are labeled “Jennie, 3 mo.” and such. Until I learn to walk. Then Jennie turns to Jen, and that’s what I’ve been ever since. My grandparents insist on calling me Jennie still, and I’ve had a teacher or two decide that’s what I should be called, but most people I let know right off the bat that I’m Jen or Jennifer, or Poops if you prefer. But not Jenny, thanks so much.

AAAAANYWAY, back in college my sister, roommate Karleen and yours truly were noticing the Campus Sex Kittens one day. You know the type: I always think of sorority sisters as Sex Kittens. They dress provocatively, but not right out slutty, they flirt and toss their hair and wear strawberry lip gloss and Hello Kitty backpacks. And they have names that end in a “Y” that they purposely change to an “I” so that they can dot it with a heart or a smiley face. They get Bonus Sex Kitten Points for actually being named Barbi, Candi, Bambi, or Tammi. In a fit of giggles, we decided we needed our own Official Sex Kitten names. My sister became Bobbi, I think Karleen (which is a hard one, by the way) became Karli, and mine—easiest of all—became Jeni with one “N” and an “I” with a heart on it.

Sadly, Jeni kind of stuck. And not just in Sex Kitten moments, either. All the time.

Karleen’s brother Kevin lived in Newport too and we’d stop by and see him from time to time. He is much older than her, by at least 10 years I’d guess. He thought our nicknames were funny, as was our snarky mockery of Sex Kittens. He started calling me Jeni-Poops out of nowhere one day. It sounded good to him, I suppose. I told him that no real Sex Kitten would stand for having “poop” as part of her name anywhere, since it is well known that Sex Kittens don’t poop—ever. Which made it even funnier, and eventually the Jeni, which never really fit me in the first place, was dropped, and the poops—which apparently did fit me—stayed. And I’ve been Poops ever since.

Was that interesting enough? No? You wanna hear my most embarrassing moment? Of course you do, you people are shameless.

I should warn you that my M.E.M. involves poop. But if you like a good shit story, hang around. (See, PK? This is clearly why I’m so entertained by your own poo-filled life. I feel a kinship—sort of a “Sisterhood of the Poop.” But you’ll have to be Penni with an “I” and you can dot it with a steamy pile if you like. It’s your call.)

I was in Jr. High, I think. I know I wasn’t in high school, yet I was embarrassed so I clearly wasn’t a small kid. And since Jr. High kids are always embarrassed about everything, I’m guessing that’s about how old I was.

My aunt used to have a travel trailer. You know, one of those small campers that you hook on the car and park at a campground somewhere? She used to keep it on a small piece of land that was owned by her Aunt Pudgie. There had been a camp there at one time, on the shore of a small, serene pond. A hurricane (or tornado, I forget, but it was one of those freaky occurrences that almost never come to my neck of the woods) blew it into the pond, and the land stood there for anyone who wanted to park a camper there. So Auntie did.

My sister and aunt and I went down to do some swimming, have a campfire, and sleep out in the camper. Despite the bathroom that was built into said camper, Aunt E insisted that we do our business outside in the bushes.

I don't know if I've mentioned it or not, but I’m not a fan of public restrooms. Suffice it to say I’m even less wacky about dropping trou in the bushes. And I had to poop.

She told me if I had to “use the bathroom” I should go out behind the trailer. Well, there was a small stand of trees and bushes behind the trailer, but the beyond that was the road. I didn’t want to be squatting up by where a passing car might see me, and in retrospect I suppose I should have grabbed a flashlight and gone down toward the pond. But I was prairie doggin', and time and poop wait for no man. So I went out behind the camper. Right behind the camper. I cleaned my bum and went back in.

Lights out, and we all lay there. I don’t know if Sister smelled it first—probably, since she’s sensitive to such things—but before long, much gagging ensued. I might as well have shat in the tiny camper sink.

Aunt E, none too delicately, asked where I pooed. I told her out behind the trailer. She told me to get a trash bag and “relocate” it away from base camp.

I tried. I really did. But it was dark and cramped back there and as I’m feeling my way towards my steamy pile, I stepped in it.

That’s all I remember. I stepped in my own crap, still had to collect it, relocate it, and limp to the water to rinse my foot off. All in the dark. Why did we not have a flashlight? And if we did, why did I not have it with me?

Upon returning to the camper, which still smelled of human excrement, Aunt E christened me “Surefoot” and looooooooved to tell the story to all her teacher friends. Like making me shit outside wasn’t funny enough, but I stepped in it! Hy-fucking-larious. And she never really got that I was hugely embarrassed by it and wished she’d just not talk about it, but she seemed to find my painful discomfort at the mention of “surefoot” immensely entertaining. She had a sick sense of humor, and a bit of a sadistic streak. But then she was a sixth grade teacher. What can you expect?

There it is, folks. The tale of Jeni Poops the Sex Kitten, formerly known as Surefoot.

But truly, doesn’t “Ask Poops, Please” have a better ring than “Ask Surefoot, Please”? You know it does!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Please Note Today's Date Before Reading

Yep. It's Friday the Thirteenth.

I'm going to start with today's question before launching into the Saga of My Day Thus Far. It's a good read. You're going to want to keep up.

First, let me just say how strange it is what questions I pull out my big mixing bowl. I promise you that they are selected completely at random, yet they always seem somehow topical.

SarahJanet wants to know, "What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?"

What is the answer to life? Well, life doesn't have an answer because it's not a question. Life is a highway, and I'm gonna ride it all night long. That's life, that's what they say. You're riding high in April, shot down in May. C'est la vie. And the meaning of life? I refer you to the Monty Python film of the same name. I mean, if that doesn't explain it all to you, I don't know what will.

What is the answer to the universe? Again, the universe is a glorious puzzle without a solution. Some riddles just don't have answers, you know? And sometimes they have a lot of different answers. I'm thinking the universe is one of those riddles with a lot of different answers, and they're all right. Or all wrong, but I suppose that depends if you're a glass half empty kind of a person.

And what is the answer to everything? Being nice to other people is the answer. The rest is just commentary.

Now, let me tell you about my craptastic morning so far. At this moment, I think the answer to everything is having a close call that makes you grateful for all you've been given.

Even if what you've been given is 5 more inches of snow in the middle of April.

Today, I had to take Emma Bo up to the ER. See, we were up visiting with my Dad. He lives on the second floor of my sister's big house next door. Bobo visited with Grammy Bonnie while Grandpa snowblowed the yard (see above), and I took Bug to school in Grandpa's truck.

I got home and bundled Bo back up, and as we were preparing to leave, we heard Gramps put the snowblower back in the barn. Usually we don't take the back stairs down through the barn, and choose instead the inside stairs that lead to the front porch. But we went out to see Gramps.

He met us halfway up the stairs. The stairs he built to replace the old ones that he deemed not safe. Only these still have only a temporary railing since it's too cold to work out in the barn still. He's going to make a regular one when it warms up. Hell, if it warms up at this point.

Anyway, Dad comes up, and I say a few words with him, when out of nowhere, Em reaches for the railing. She never does. I go down with her, holding her hand and walking between her and the railing. But, 3 year olds are wily, and she launched off on her own. Only she stumbled on the top step, and fell under the railing all the way down to the barn floor below, landing on the bottom step.

I swear my heart stopped. It's about a ten foot drop. Imagine going off a second story landing. Now imagine watching your baby do it and it's like you're both going in slow motion and you just can't get a hand on her. And it's not like she fell down a flight of stairs, and bounced and rolled from stair to stair. She went from top stair to floor. Boom.

We took her bleeding and screaming to the ER. They gave her a CT scan and some codeine, and the good news is that nothing is broken. She seems to have broken the fall with her face, however, and has a very bruised and swollen nose and upper lip. She is very, very cranky now, but she's had some more medicine and is taking what I hope will be a good, long nap.

Of course Dad's blaming himself for not putting in a proper bannister, I'm blaming myself for not keeping one hand on her at all times (since I know there isn't a proper bannister), and both of us think we should have been able to catch her before she fell, but we just couldn't.

I am immensely grateful that our local hospital is well-staffed with some of the nicest people God ever put on the planet. They kept us at ease and treated her swiftly and as gently as possible. And also that she didn't break her neck in the fall.

The ER doc said we were lucky it wasn't one of us. Three year olds bones are really flexible since they do so much growing, and thus the bruises. She said had one of us grownups fallen the same way there would have been much breakage, and we'd probably be having reconstructive facial surgery today.

I really could have gone without that today, you know?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where Does the Time Go?

It’s the question I think mothers from the beginning of time have asked themselves. One minute they’re kicking your bladder, the next they’re mewling lumps of baby, and before you know it, they’re cradling babies of their own.

CBear asks, “As a Mommy, what is your favorite part of watching your kids get older? I’m a new Mommy and I am so overwhelmed that I feel like I am missing everything!”

Sweetie, we’re all overwhelmed! I wonder sometimes if that feeling of being chased by a steamroller ever really goes away! (I suspect not, though I feel I’ve gotten used to ignoring the feeling for great stretches of time. It’s probably just from practice!)

But there are days I wonder, as bazillions of mothers before me have wondered, where does the time go? I look at pictures of the Bug when she was a baby, and some days it seems like it was just yesterday that she was trying peaches for the first time, and other days it seems like it was a million years ago. People ask me at what age she did this thing or that, and I feel bad that I have to look it up in her book.

I found that with Bug I was anxious for her to do everything. I couldn’t wait for her to stop being a baby and start hitting those milestones. Of course, once she did, I found myself wishing for the simpler baby days of sleeping, eating, and pooping.

I vowed with Bobo that I’d take it easy and not be so eager for her to grow up. Which turned out to be a good thing because she is the child with a mind of her own. She will do what she wants, when she wants, and will not be rushed into anything. She certainly has made me rethink my approach to childrearing, since her older sister was raring to go, hit milestones early, and was always looking for new things to try. Bo is way laid back, and has made it quite clear in her own baby way that she’ll get to her milestones when she’s darn good and ready, and not a moment sooner.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to have my hands full with this one as she gets bigger.

All that being said, despite how fast they seem to grow up, my favorite part of seeing it all happen right before my eyes is watching them struggle with a milestone and then conquer it. First steps, first words, taking the training wheels off, potty training, learning to read, learning their prayers, seeing them feel empathy for another human being, using good manners—seeing them master all the skills they’re going to need in this life makes me so proud and so happy. And even watching Bobo do those things on her own schedule is a source of pride—no one is going push this girl around!

Ironically, it’s also the saddest part of seeing them grow up. I believe today as firmly as ever that our children are not “ours.” They are merely borrowed, on loan from the universe. And my job is to raise them up in the way that they should go, and then let them go. And it’s hard. You want your baby to curl up on your lap when she’s tired, or take your hand when you’re walking together down the street, but the bigger they get, the less it happens.

And that is good. And right.

And hard.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How Many Royals is Too Many?

Good question Jo. She wants to know, "Why does the British line of succession have a gazillion people on it? Don't you think that 10... or 20... or even 30 people would be quite enough?"

To answer the second half of that question first, yes Jo, I personally think about 5 would be quite enough. And honestly, everyone after the first three is kind of an academic exercise, really. Let's face it: the bloke at 100 isn't holding his breath that some kind of massive cosmic accident is going to seat him at the helm of Britannia.

But why so many in the line? I'm thinking it's because that's what happens when you set a rule for something. For instance, when they decided who could and couldn't inherit the throne, who gets it first and who gets it next, people just sort of fell into place.

The rule governing the Line of Succession is called the Act of Settlement, and it dates back to 1701. Only marriage-born Protestant descendants of Princess Sophia, the granddaughter of James I, are eligible. Roman Catholics need not apply, so that lets me right out. And anyone in line who marries an RC is out too, though if their children are raised Protestant the kids stay in the line. Kooky. And thus the odds that Prince William will choose me as his queen have rocketed past slim and settled firmly on none. Ah well, I will have to be content to rule my own kingdom right here.

So I think there's so many just because you can take a British person, check out their parentage, and see if they fit into the rules. If they do, they get a spot in the line. If not, then no. And that's how you get hundreds of people from all over Europe (there's a big smattering of Norwegian royals in line for the throne, you know) waiting for their room at Buckingham Palace to open up.

But yeah, after Wee Harry, you're just making lists.

Thanks for the question, Jo! I'll be contacting you with your Major Award!

In other news, Bobo is feeling better. Thanks all for your kind wishes and prayers. I appreciate it so much. She's still feverish today, but holding down her gingerale and crackers, so I think she'll pull through. I wish she'd drink more, but I'm sure in her own good time, as with most things with her.

And today I have got to get those bags listed! So much nice feedback there too! Here's hoping they sell!

And so that I can end any confusion... TODAY is my birthday! I'm 38. When did I get this old? Oof.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Cake for Bobo.

Batty wants to know, “Is that a picture of an actual cake you have encountered in person? I know it’s not the best question ever, but it’s Friday, it’s Lent, I’m fasting, and I’m HUNGRY!”

Sorry, Batty. I don’t know who made that cake, but I’m with you, it looks goooood! It was the result of a Google images search for “cake”. Because there can’t be a party without cake.

I do know how to decorate cakes, though. I worked one fateful, dreadful summer at a local bakery called The Yum Yum Shop. It was my first experience with on-the-job politics—the bakers vs. the manager. And me, part-time summer help put in the middle. “Should she have done this?” “I can’t believe she did that!” Blah. Blah. Blah.

So while the environment was dreadful, I did pay attention and learned how to decorate cakes from the cake decorating lady. I also discovered how they put the filling in donuts, how they glaze Danish pastries with such even ribbons of icing, how to roll up a jelly roll without it breaking, and how much “one of everything” would be. Yeah, pal, you’re real clever. No one’s ever asked me that before! How much for one of everything? How original!

I should point out, though that I don’t like decorating cakes all that much, but I will go the extra mile for my kids’ birthdays, but that is about it.

I’m hoping that cake was a chocolate one. I love chocolate cake! And I’ll fight you for the frosting roses!

On the home front, things are bad today. The Hub is home for the second day in a row because he doesn’t feel well, and he woke up and promptly threw up at quarter to 6 this morning. He’s been on the couch with saltines and gingerale all day.

And Emma Bo. Poor, poor, Bobo. A tale from the annals of “I’m the Worst Mother in the World.”

Lately, since she is three, Bo has decided that she won’t eat whatever it is I’m making for dinner. It doesn’t matter what it is, she doesn’t want it. She’s doing that toddler thing whereby they try to assert some control over their own lives, I get that. But I also know that fixing her a separate meal every night is setting a most annoying precedent, so I’m trying to nip it in the bud. We’ve sent her to bed hungry a few nights now, and that bites us in the ass every time because she’ll be up three times at night screaming because she’s hungry. Let’s face it, no one wins there.

So yesterday she turns her nose up at a nice pork dinner. I know she likes it since she ate her body weight in it at Easter dinner the day before. She takes a few half-hearted bites, and when I cajole her into “one more” she holds it in her mouth and doesn’t chew it.

I curse her as the stubborn little mule she is, and tell her, “Fine, don’t chew it. Hold it in your mouth all night if you want.”

I no sooner stalk off to the kitchen when Bug sets up the alarm. “MAMA! Emma just spit out her dinner! I think she might have puked! It smells like puke!”

Sure ‘nuff. Bobo had puked right in the middle of the rug. Pork, potatoes, and peas. And juice.

I of course apologized and took her off to the bathroom for a quick rinse in the tub and some clean clothes. I figured perhaps she’d just had too much candy between Sunday and Monday. I wrap her in a towel, and she’s fussing away, I assume at having to get out of the tub.

We get to the couch, I dry her off, and she hurls all over herself again, and her clean towel. Luckily, not the couch.

Again, we rinse. We dress her. She cuddles.

I went off to choir practice. She hurls again while I’m gone. I get home, more hurlage. I change her and her crib and blankets. And it repeats all night long. I didn’t give her anything to drink all night, so every two hours she was up dry-heaving. Unpleasant, but at least I didn’t have to change her every time. I called the pedi nurse and she assured me it’s a bug, it’s going around, she should be better by late this afternoon (which is now), and told me how to get and keep some fluids in her. She’s keeping a little flat ginger ale down, but not much.

She’s about to get up from her nap, and hopefully she’ll be able to keep some ginger ale down when she wakes up. If not, we have to see the doctor tomorrow.

In happy news, I finally photographed some of my FO’s that I’ll be able to list in my etsy shop this week, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

The specifics? From the top: Cotton baby sweater in Knitpicks Shine Sport. My own mix of several different raglan cardigan sweater patterns.

Purple striped purse, felted. Mostly from Cascade 220 with french knot and running stitch decoration.

Green and red striped purse with big red flower, felted. The red is Ella Rae Classic from LittleKnits, and the green is Lion Wool.

Pink and brown striped wool. The brown is Nature's Pride and the pink is vintage from elizabeth on the Knittyboard.

And finally, a peach embroidered purse from Manos del Uruguay, felted and embroidered with crewel embroidery wool left over from my mother's many projects from the '70's.

And now I have to put on my nurse’s cap and go get the sicky.

Poor Bobo.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We Have a Winner!

We have a winner! Well, two winners, really, and some lovely parting gifts for all of you who played along and helped me celebrate my big One Year Blogaversary!

Picking a winner, unlike picking a booger, proved to be harder than I thought it would be. There were funny questions, thought provoking questions, and questions that required some research on my part.

The winner managed to combine one of the great mysteries of the universe, an observation of family life, and a knitting dilemma all in one question. And since those are exactly the kind of free-floating vagaries with which Ask Poops, Please concerns itself, I thought the question completely apropos, and thus, a WINNER.

Coincidentally, it was also the first question I received!

So put your hands together for DancesInGarden who is today’s Big Winner!

We’ll get to the prize winning question in a minute, and the prizes, but first, we must pick from the hat (or in this case, my big mixing bowl) the winner of the Second Chance Random Drawing.

Drumroll, please.

And the winner is….


Here’s Don Pardo to tell them what they’ve won.

Poops, our lovely grand prize winners each receive a skein of Noro Silk Garden yarn. Made in Japan from a luscious blend of silk, kid mohair, and lamb’s wool, Silk Garden is known for its lovely shaded colorways. Included with the yarny goodness is a pattern designed and written by Poops for a simple ribbed neckwarmer that showcases the beautiful color variations and is sure to garner the wearer many compliments! Back to you, Poops.”

Thanks, Don. Just for playing along, all of our lovely contestants will receive via e-mail a copy of the neckwarmer pattern in a PDF file to download and add to their pattern stash. At this time, if you did not include your email address with your entry, please feel free to contact me at pixaddress1969 (at) yahoo (dot) com so that I can send you your prize.

Our Grand Prize Winner DancesInGarden wants to know:

“Why is it, that when I buy boxes of Kleenex in bulk at Costco, whenever I myself have a runny nose there is no Kleenex to be found?... [And] would it be wrong for me to knit a toilet roll cover for the roll I have to carry around with me because I can’t find any Kleenex?

Oh Dances, I feel your pain. Lord knows I’ve had to hide things in this house so that they could be mine and mine alone. I’ve had to use police crime scene tape to cordon off my special diet foods so that when DH gets to feeling all snacky he won’t eat six 100 calorie packs of Chips Ahoy or a whole box of Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches and will instead take his butt the 1/8 mile to the convenience store for a Snickers and a Slim Jim.

The Kleenex dilemma is indeed a mystery of the universe. It’s right up there with the eternal question of why a grown person would use the last piece of toilet paper on the roll, take another one from the cabinet over the back of the pooper, wipe his behind and then stick the roll on the top of the tank, flush, and walk away. Was the extra ten seconds it would have taken to take the springy-thing out of the roll holder, drop the empty roll into the trash can directly below the holder, and slip the new one (gently used) into its place just too much to handle for one person?

So why is it you buy the Kleenex and then are left to discover the empty box? Why do I never use the last piece of hiney paper and yet I’m inevitably the one to change the roll?

Because we’re the mommies, that’s why. It’s also why we can say “no” at random and not give a reason. It’s the reason “I’ll think about it” means “probably yes, but I’m exercising what little control I have over you right now”. It’s the reason they come to us when they can’t find a shoe, or a sock, or a library book, or when they need lunch money, or a prom dress, or a kiss goodnight.

It comes with the job.

To that end, of course I don’t think it’s wrong for you to knit a toilet roll cover for the roll you have to carry around with you because you can’t find any Kleenex! I am Poops, Queen of Mittens and Believer that All Things are Better with a Cozy On Them. I bet you could make very nice one out of one skein of Silk Garden, perhaps with enough left over for a handy carry strap and a plastic lined bag to hold the used bits of tissue. (Can you tell I’ve given this some thought? Can you tell that I also have been known to lug a roll of toilet paper around from time to time?) Better yet, you should go out and buy yourself a nice Lexi Barnes with room for a WIP and a double roll of Extra-Soft Charmin with Aloe and Vitamin E.

DancesInGarden, thank you for your question, and I hope I’ve answered it to your satisfaction.

Cole, our Random Winner, wants to know “How did you come to name your blog? I think this is a very interesting title due to the other names of knitting blogs.”

Well thanks, Cole. I think it’s interesting too, thought it has nothing to do with knitting, exactly.

Poops is my real nickname, and my brother-in-law is convinced that I know everything. It’s not true, exactly. I know something about everything, which isn’t the same thing and far less impressive, but don’t tell him that.

Anyway, when he asks my sister something she doesn’t know the answer to, he dials my number, throws the phone at my sister and says “Ask Poops, please.” And I’m sure grins impishly (as he is wont to do) when I do actually know the answer. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also live by the adage “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with brains, baffle ‘em with bullshit.”) When he found the site “Ask Jeeves”, he decided I should have a site and call it “Ask Poops” and then he added the “please” to be more polite.

And when I started a blog, I just used the title he suggested lo those many years ago.

So there! My two big winners have prizes on the way, as soon as I track y’all down. And you’ve got your first two answers in the Great Game of Ask Poops, Please! Tune in tomorrow when I reach into the Big Bowl of Names and pull another of your questions.

In other news, I told you I’d show off the girls matching Easter sweaters, and here they are. I made Bug’s and Sister made Bobo’s. They are made from Reynolds Utopia, 100% acrylic (I know!) and we used the pattern “Molly” by Debbie Bliss. Bug liked hers so much that she wore it to school today.

After my success with my new felted bag, I’ve been on kind of a felted bag designing/making spree. I have a purple clutch and a peach clutch, a brown and pink bag and a red and green bag almost done. I’m going to etsy them. I still haven’t given up on hopes of my own website though. And on the needles is a dark red bag that will have felted flowers on it.

Pics of those tomorrow!

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