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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poops Nature Preserve

I did a bit of birding yesterday! Saw this out the back window and had to call Sister to identify it for me. She's jealous, but then she loves her bird folk.

It's an American Woodcock. Apparently common as mud from "lower Canada to the Gulf coast". (That's pretty much everywhere for you geography buffs.) Elusive, however, as they come out at dusk and dawn and stick to wooded areas with lots of leaf litter. Yesterday was cloudy and it made an unexpected visit to my back yard. It caught my eye, and I realized it was something I'd never seen before in my life.

Curious thing. It bobs up and down as it walks, which I found oddly disturbing, though I can't say why. And it's long beak is kind of creepy. They're pretty big, too. Bigger than the biggest Bluejay, but smaller than a chicken. Bigger than a squirrel, but smaller than a cat.

I say it was creepy-looking, but understand that I'm not a bird person. I prefer furry critters. And fleecy ones, of course. Speaking of furry, I wonder where all the squirrels are this morning. They're usually doing the Squirrel 500 up and down the trees outside my window by this time. Perhaps there's a squirrel convention up by the garden. Hard telling with squirrels.

In other news, besides the interesting fauna and the budding flora, I did a bit o' spinnin' yesterday to see how me and the wheel are performing. We're both a bit off, but I guess it's just like riding a bike. After all, there is pedaling involved.

I'm trying to spin this a bit thicker, just for practice, and again I can't find the tension knob for the wheel. I bought a new one some months ago and can't remember if I put it on the wheel and it fell off and got lost again, or if it's still in the envelope in my craft room somewhere. I shall take a peek later, but I suspect it's the former. So it's coming out a bit ropy in places, but it's nothing some plying and twist-setting can't cure, I think. If nothing else, I shall call it "art yarn" and be happy with it.

I'm gonna go spin some more whilst the babe naps.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Feerst, Some Updates

A few quick updates just to keep you in the loop:

1. The baby sets were well-received and the shower was quite nice. I had a good time with my in-laws; we laughed our asses off and as we were sitting way in the back we managed to be quite inappropriate at times. She opened my gift last and it got the requisite oohs and aahs so I was satisfied. 'Cause it's all about me. Plus, my new nephew was there and wearing his Handknit by Poops original sweater and hat set and looked cute as a button in it.

2. "Jane" received a public smackdown for her vilification of Coach Blair by past players who came forward and in proudly signed letters said that yes, he was tough but fair, and the overwhelming sentiment was that they were all better athletes, better people, and better women for having been coached by him. Not to mention the smackdown the editor of the paper got for quoting an unnamed source like she was Deep Throat or something.

3. Grilling season is in full-force here. The reason we don't grill all winter long is for lack of a place to put the grill. We store that bad boy in the old woodshed and can't quite get to it until the snow recedes somewhat. We could grill on the porch, but our porch is dry pine and we use charcoal, so the fear of burning the place down with a stray briquette makes me nervous. Especially now that I own the place.

4. You heard me right. I now own my home. Up until a couple of weeks ago, this house and the house next door were the property of my dad. He lives in the other house with my sister and her husband. In a nutshell, the properties were joined and a mortgage applied to both of them. The fear was that should dad die suddenly, we'd have been homeless when the bank took both places back. So he refinanced the mortgage, and in the split second the properties were free and clear, we split them and put the mortgage on the big house next door. Which my sister and Baboo now own and will pay the mortgage on, while DH and I own mine. Now we have to cover the homeowner's insurance and the taxes, but everything else stays the same. Some people think it's unfair that my sister gets twice the house that I do, but she also got the mortgage, higher taxes, more expensive upkeep, a bigger insurance payment, and the old people. I think it's fair.

5. I love chipmunks. It's not profound or anything, heck we all do, but for me it goes much deeper than that. (What I see when I look out the window right next to the 'puter screen.)

6. DH is going to TX for his brother's graduation, but may leave too early on Sunday to see him ordained as a pastor. Depends on the flight he gets, but he'd like to be home earlier rather than later. And the new pastor and his family will be moving to VT at the end of May so we'll be seeing them more than once a year. Stay tuned for that. The new place is on the other side of Keene and as anyone from NH knows, you can't get thay-ah from he-ah, least not 'fore dahk. Nossuh.

7. I have a kindergartener! Bobo is all registered and starts in the fall! And she's potty trained at last. Not at night, but I really don't care if she wears a pull-up to bed when she's 20 as long as she's dry all day. It's about time, really, since she's FIVE for chrissakes, but I'll take what I can get. We still have a parent meeting or two to attend and she has some testing to take, but I think she'll be ready. I don't know if the school is or not. Time will tell. She's starting to read after not being interested in books in the slightest, ever. Now she "reads" them to us. She can look at a book she doesn't know by heart and pick out words she recognizes and sound out ones she doesn't.

8. You may have noticed a sad lack of spinning content. Truthfully, I haven't been able to do much since Dave arrived. Knitting I can pick up and put down with no trouble, but it's harder to do with spinning. Plus, I'd been having issues with the wheel. The top went "flaccid" for want of a better term. I tried tightening the obvious knobs, and they're as tight as they go with no difference. Then another spinner suggested tightening some of the less obvious screws and knobs and it made a bit of difference, but not enough to use it. Today, however, I happened to notice that it was erect and while it will droop if I push it down, it stays up when I put it back into place. I also noticed my cupboard doors aren't closing all the way anymore. Know why? It's spring! We burn wood pellets all winter and the air in here is frightfully dry. My cupboard doors all fit nicely when the air is dry, though I can't keep a kitchen chair from falling apart. As soon as the rain comes and the snow melts and the stove is off, suddenly things get sticky because the extra moisture in the air makes the wood swell a bit. So doors get sticky in their frames, cupboard doors don't quite close all the way, and apparently my wheel maintains it's proper posture. I might give it a go and see how it performs on a bit of "practice" wool. I might have to get a bunch of practice in just to get my spinning chops back.

9. Because of BIL's graduation being on Mother's Day weekend, I'll not be attending NH Sheep and Wool this year. Which is sad, but I've barely touched the roving I bought last year so I'm not that put out. I'm hoping to get to the Webs annual anniversary sale instead, and perhaps a concert and cantor workshop down in Durham as well. I suspect it will all come out in the wash.

10. And finally, I've had quite a run of business in the etsy shop! Just when I thought mitten season was over, I sold a couple pair, some fingerless mittens, and two of the four pair of booties I just listed. I'm working on some more fingerless ones right now with beads on them. It adds a nice touch, I think.

I'm thinking of having a blog contest to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Pussy-fying of Sports

So, there's a coach at my alma mater, BHS, that has come under fire recently for his coaching techniques. I'm here to tell you that no matter what you've heard on the street, it's all bunk.

Jeri Blair has been coaching girls' basketball and cross-country for. ev. er. He was coaching when I graduated high school 22 years ago. He was coaching when I entered high school 26 years ago. He's brought home state championships. He's coached thousand-point scorers. He's coached All-State athletes. And in all that time, I've never heard a word from a player, parent, or another coach that he's done anything but a good job. Well, I'm sure there were grumblings from time to time because you can't please everyone all the time, but suffice it to say that in the Grand Pantheon of Great High School Coaches, Coach Blair shines in the firmament of all-stars.

The scuttlebutt 'round town (received from another parent with a daughter on his current team) is that one of the parents of one of his basketball players is upset because she doesn't get much playing time. According to the other parent, this is because said bench-warming daughter, in a word, sucks. Basketball isn't her sport, apparently, but because her sister was one of the aforementioned thousand-point scorers, Dear Old Dad feels that younger sister should have the opportunity to score as many points as she can as well. Dear Old Dad is on the school board. You can see where this is going.

Coach Blair gives court time to the players who work hard, follow directions, play together as a team, and get results. By the time you're playing high school sports, you are playing to win, or should be. This isn't grade school where kids are learning the basics and playing just for the fun and the experience. In the world of HS sports, the Varsity team is the Big Leagues. In my day, if you made Varsity, it was the equivalent of a baseball player being moved up from the minors to the major league, it was "going to the show". You felt honored just to be a part of the Varsity team. I managed two varsity teams and wore my letters with pride. I kept the books, calculated the stats, and shagged more balls than a Times Square hooker during Fleet Week. I never stepped a foot on the court, never saw a moment of playing time (because I sucked), but I still found a way to be part of the team. I worked hard at my job and earned my place on the team and was damned proud of it. I still am.

At some point between 1987 and 2009, something changed. Apparently making a team became a right, not a privilege, nor an honor to be earned. Every kid should have the right to play, some parents said, and all kids should get equal playing time because it is bad for their self-esteem to sit the bench all season. Their kids, they said, feel like they're not as good as the "star" players who start every game, score most of the points, and get to be the captain when they're seniors. You know, the coach plays favorites.

If your kid's self-esteem can't take warming the bench, perhaps the band would be a better place. (Though I'm here to tell you that if you suck at playing your particular instrument, Mr. Craigie is going to be a douchebag about it because you're making the whole band suck. I'm just saying.)

In today's paper, there's an article about how his coaching style is under attack. For the first time in a bazillion years, someone is coming forward to say how awful a coach he was. The best part is that "Jane" is a professional educator who played for Coach in the '90's and expressed her views in an anonymous letter to the free paper, knowing that anonymous letters won't get printed due to editorial policy. After numerous emails and phone calls she agreed to make some statements for an article, but using an assumed name.

She said he was mean and yelled at the girls. He played favorites. He was a tyrant.

I wonder why in 22 years I've never heard of such a thing. I never saw it when I was a student and my friends played for teams under Coach Blair. I didn't hear it from the girls who played volleyball for Coach Garneau, and he was a bigger ball-breaker (if we'd had balls, that is) than Coach Blair could have dreamed of being. Hell, I managed a couple of boys' teams and I saw Coach Rainville throw a chair at a player who was being lazy. Good times, good times.

Yes, it's as I thought. Jane is a pussy. I bet she didn't get on with Coach Blair because he has no time for pussies. He coaches girls to have character, strength, fortitude, and resilience. He teaches good sportsmanship and fair play. Jane doesn't have balls enough to sign a letter to the editor of the local free paper. What does that tell you about her character, her sense of fair play?

Coach Blair has said that this will be his last year coaching at BHS. Which is a loss for the school and the current crop of players who will miss him a lot. You can bet if I write a letter to the free paper in support of Coach Blair, I'll sign the fucking thing. I'll let you read it first.

I don't know as it will be necessary. I never played for him in high school, nor did I manage any of his teams. But lots of my friends did. And I saw their practices and their games and he always did what he was supposed to do as a coach. He encouraged them in any way he had to to get the best from them. He made them run faster, jump higher, and shoot straighter. He laughed with the girls in the sheer fun of the sport, and he cried with them when they lost a hard-played game. He yelled at them for not working hard enough, and praised them when they gave it their all, even if they fell short of their goals.

In short, he understands that what marks an athlete is not necessarily her skills, but her constant striving to be better than she is. And as a coach, that's the attitude he nourished. He knows that true self-esteem comes when an athlete knows she's done her very best to make the whole team better.

I know I'm not alone in thinking this. I'm hoping to hear from them in the paper in the next few weeks. Jane the Coward of the unsigned letter can go back to her "professional educator" life and feel confident that the new crop of coaches coming up will make sure every kid is allowed to progress at her own pace and gets to play every game. Because God forbid anyone have to work harder than she thought possible and surpass her own expectations of herself. God forbid a student sit the bench most of the season but still get to be a part of a winning season or a state title.

I wish Coach Blair a happy retirement, and I hope that he realizes the example of service he has set. I'm sorry that after so many years and so much time dedicated to the kids of our district that he doesn't get more of the benefit of the doubt from the school board. He and coaches like him have set the bar of excellence pretty high, and I hope that his successors in the years to come can live up to that in today's climate of entitlement.

Though quite frankly, I doubt it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Sure Sign of Spring

What says "spring" like hot meat on a grill? Those two with the Swiss cheese would be mine, thank you very much. I had me a double cheeseburger that couldn't be beat.

They were sooooooo good! While they cooked, I raked the bits of front lawn that have alreayd been freed from their icy grip. We should lose a lot more snow this week as temps have been in the forties and fifties and are supposed to be every day for the next few days. Rumor has it the maple syrup boiling is going just splendidly this year as well since the conditions have been perfect for the sap running.

I think winter's lost its grip on us at last. I know it'll have another run or two at us before all is said and done, but you can just tell that it has no power here anymore.

It should be gone before someone drops a grill on it, too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Second Best News I've Had All Day

First, this article.

Why Breast-Feeding Isn't Best

When I tried nursing the Bug, it didn't work out. Suffice it to say, it was horrible. It was nothing like I thought it was going to be. Through tears, I fed her formula, feeling that I'd let her down. I had been led to believe that I was now doing what was "second-best" for her. Hell, even the side of the formula can says "Breastmilk is best." Unfortunately, breastfeeding isn't, and may even harm mother and baby in the long run. I found that out after four days of sheer hell.

Minutes after putting that bottle in her mouth, I realized that all the breastfeeding books and articles I'd read were quite possibly--dare I say it?--Flat Ass Wrong.

Bug took that bottle, sucked happily and greedily, burped lustily and slept for four hours solid. Slept.

People, she was beautiful. I loved her from that moment on. I'd been nursing her for days and had yet to feel any of the blissfulness of bonding with my newborn. It didn't happen the first time they put her to my breast howling like a rabid monkey in heat. It never came when every hour on the hour she sucked with the force of a Hoover Windtunnel Upright. It didn't come as I sat crying as she sucked, weeping with pain and frustration, and certainly not as I watched her pass out exhausted from crying, hoping to God that she wouldn't wake up because then the screaming would start all over again. I prayed that she wouldn't wake because she'd want to eat, and I just didn't want to feed her anymore. She was a couple of days old and I didn't want to hold her.

The day I gave her formula, I loved my child. We bonded like never before. Feeding times became a pleasure. Eventually, my nipples healed and I vowed before God and anyone who would listen that I'd NEVER do that again for any reason.

And I have not.

Of course the nagging feeling that I was not doing the best for her weighed heavily on my mind. So I started doing research of my own into the benefits of breastfeeding and I couldn't find anything that put it out head and shoulders above formula. More disturbingly to me--feeling vindicated that my formula-fed babies were turning out just fine--is the complete lack of support for people like me who think formula is Da Bomb.

Until today. This article made me weep with happiness. Finally, someone is saying what I found out nearly 9 years ago. As a mother, I am convinced that the Nipple Nazis have long been trying to sell me a bill of goods, and now it's good to know that I'm not alone in feeling duped about it.

The only good reason I can think of for breastfeeding an infant is Because You Want To. (Or if you're too cheap to spring for formula, which occupies the number two spot in my book.) Really, as far as I'm concerned the only good reason for having the critter in the first place is Because You Want To.

I'm not opposed to breastfeeding. I'm not saying anyone shouldn't do it. If you want to do it, that's lovely. If you enjoy it and want to do it forever, that great too. I always say that I'll try anything once, twice if I like it. Breastfeeding was no exception.

What I am saying that if you don't want to do it, or you give it a shot and you find that it sucks donkey cock, YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOTHER. You are not doing less than your best. You are not a failure as a woman. I'm fiercely opposed to statements like "Breast is Best." Best is a subjective term. What's best for your baby might not be best for mine. (Or my tits, for that matter.) My babies aren't any less bonded than any other babies in the world. My babies are healthy and happy. They are strong and beautiful.

Formula has a bad rap, and it is completely undeserved. Perhaps if more pediatricians like mine spoke up and said what we have always known to be true--that there is no actual difference between a breast- or bottle-fed baby. None. It's time to wipe away the stigma attached to formula feeding and tell the truth: formula feeding has its benefits as well, and should be considered in every way an acceptible source of nourshiment for infants. Or at least force some truth in advertising where breastfeeding is concerned and root out some of those exaggerated claims, skewed studies, and subjective terms.

But enough about breasts.

That article was awesome, but it's not the best news I had all day.

My dad found three old savings bonds in his stash. All in my name, dating back to the year of my birth, 1969. I figured I'd be lucky to get face value on them. Which would have been a hundred bucks I didn't have yesterday. Heck, if I got back what she paid, 62.50 would be a nice chunk of yarn money in the depths of a recession, right?

Kids, those baby keep earning interest. For thirty years.

I'm 350 bucks richer today because my aunt thought they'd make a lovely gift for her niece. And they were. Many belated thanks, Auntie!

And finally, a couple of finished baby sets, as promised, all ready to wrap.Sorry they're sideways, and sorry again for this weird linky thing that won't go away no matter what I do.

Pretty cute, I think.

Next up, more etsy listings and some new Bootayz.


I just left a response over at Yorkie's blog and my word verification was "fookwa". It made me smile to myself because I liked the way it sounded.

Sometimes I get word verifications that I like so much I wish they actually were words.

Let's do something fun today. Here's what you do. Pretend you have something to say (maybe you really do, that's okay too) and go to leave me a comment. Look at the word verification that comes up under the comment box and make up a definition of the word and type it into the box. Don't forget to tell us the word too.

I'll go first.

"Fookwa". An Asian-inspired dish of jumbo prawn and rice noodles flavored with peanut butter, scallions, and bok choy. Sentence: I prefer to eat my fookwa with chopsticks rather than a fork.

This should keep you busy while I take pix of the baby sets that I finished...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Capital N, Small Y...

Big Fuckin' Q. That's Ny-Quil, baby. I'm rockin' a NQ hangover, but I do feel less congested this morning. Of course, had I not combined the two gelcaps with a Tylenol 3 I might be a bit perkier this am, but whatever. I had to make the coughing stop, people!

No photo content for you today, alas. Nothing done, though I should be able (God willing and the crick don't rise) to get the two baby sets done today. If I can find the other card of buttons for the girl sweater. One has gone missing to parts unknown and as such I am two buttons shy of a full band. Worse luck, that.

But I have a new washing machine at last! Yay! Got all the laundry washed and folded too, so that's not hanging over my head like a storm cloud.

Bug and Dave are all but fully recovered, but Bobo is taking the brunt of this cold and got herself a trip to the doc yesterday with a fever. She has the beginnings of an ear infection. Not bad yet, but on antibiotics to wipe it out. The doc said her throat looked "beefy" and ran a strep test but it was negative, so that's good. Might be why she's off her feed these days.

She's much better this morning already.

Now if my cold would go away, that'd be just swell.

Here's a tidbit I picked up from GMA this morning. Now I know I shouldn't watch that show because it irritates me, but my unhealthy obsession with Chris Cuomo won't be denied. Don't judge me.

I was interested this morning because Diane is in Lapland, wayyyy up there at the top of Finland. I guessed where she was when one of her clues was a Lapp hatt. I recognized it right off, and any knitting content at all is reason enough to stay tuned. And did I mention Chris Cuomo? Where was I? Oh yes, part of her report was on a couple and their baby and the fact that unlike the US, the Finnish government pays a parent to stay home for the first year of the baby's life. (I think it was the first year--it wasn't clear to me. And I'm not sure if the government pays the company or the couple, but they did say it was a law. I got that part right.) It sounded lovely to me, at any rate. Because no one is paying me to stay home, that's for sure.

In a following segment, just before Emeril unveiled the winner of the Crock Pot Cookoff, there's a discussion of Obama's plan to implement mandatory pre-K for all public schools. And a group of parents and educators are outraged at the waste of taxpayer money for supporting this. Their POV was along the lines of "Why shell out all that money for an unnecessary program? As it is we supply K-12 education for all children and we're woefully behind other countries in all areas. Why would adding one more year advance us at all? How about spending those tax dollars on improving the 13 grades we already have?"

Which I thought was a good point.

One woman, a parent and director of a private preschool said that as an educator she'd prefer to run her own school on private funds and provide an outstanding education experience than to become a public school and subject to the restraints of government. Plus, there are plenty of private preschools around, and if you can't afford it there are also publicly funded preschool programs as well, like Head Start. We are not wanting for pre-K education.

Also a good point, though I don't see why there's not room for private and public preschools. Even with public ed available, there's still a plethora of private schools from which to choose. And many do, for a variety of reasons.

So melding the two reports together I decided something. You know what I'd like? I'd like someone to cut me a check for the cost of putting one of my kids through a pre-K program for one year so that I can extend my maternity leave that much longer. My kids don't require preschool so far as I can tell. How 'bout Obama pays me to stay home for another year? That'd be sweet.

When did having your kids home with you as preschoolers become a bad thing?

Which has got me feeling a lot more sympathetic towards homeschooling families. I've always maintained that I would never do it because I don't think I'm qualified to teach my own kids. Knowing things yourself and being able to impart that knowledge is a skill, and my own skills there are rudimentary. I'd rather my kids be in the hands of trained, skilled educators.

I love teachers, and I always will. God bless them for the work they do.

Plus, I like to know that my kids will be meeting and dealing with a cross-section of people. They'll meet rich kids and poor ones, ones who were well-raised and ones who were raised by imbeciles. The world is made up of all kinds of people and we learn from them. We don't necessarily become like them.

I freely admit that one of my biases against homeschooling comes entirely from my own experiences with homeschooling families around here. The only ones I know do it for religious reasons and there's a fanaticism to it that bothers me. It's as if they don't want their kids to ever hear anything that goes against what their particular church teaches, or to spend time with other kids who might be of a different faith and upbringing. In short, all the homeschool kids I've ever met are frighteningly sheltered. I've never met any homeschool parents who want their kids to go out and suck the marrow out of life. Homeschool, church, and that's it. That's all you need.

It's certainly off-putting, especially if you rely on a homeschooling group for social interaction and these are the only people in the group. Sounds neither social nor interactive to me. *shrugs*

I only know one family locally who does it out of other circumstances. They live in a sub-standard school district and have kids with special educational needs on top of that. I can't relate to their experience either since I'm in a fabulous school district. I really can't complain. Plus, those kids are in HS and are learning online. It's a little different at that point. And they're competitive snowboarders and skiiers on the junior national level and spend much of the year out in the snow. Regular school doesn't jibe with that. Homeschooling for that mom became more of a "you gotta do what you gotta do" kind of thing.

I guess when I think about it, I never want my kids to be "sheltered". If the downside of exposing them to the world at large is they learn too much, too quickly--well, that's what I'm here for: to sort things out for them at the end of the day. To teach them right from wrong and instill those values that we hold dear, as well as how to apply those values in everyday life, no matter who you meet or what happens that day.

So on the one hand, while I'm in no hurry to get myown kids in pre-K--kindergarten comes soon enough if you ask me--I certainly don't begrudge parents who do want their kids in for that extra year of school. But on t'other hand, I do wonder if that public education money couldn't be better spent elsewhere, you know? I'd never given it much thought before.

And my desire to keep my babies home with me for as much of their "formative" years as possible feels somehow at odds with my desire for them to have a good, well-rounded public school education.

I'd be interested in hearing from more homeschooling parents. Why do you do it? What benefits have you seen, and what drawbacks have you found? I want to know more.

I always want to know more.

Added in a later edit:

*Here's something interesting. If you want to homeschool your kid, but you don't want a religious curriculum, you're kind of hosed. Try finding information on secular homeschooling online. You will find information on pagan homeschooling groups or athiest homeschooling groups, and tons of brands of religious homeschooling in every denomination under the sun, but nothing in between. I'm going to keep looking, but WTF?

Maybe more people would do it if there was more middle of the road support? It's an interesting new thesis for me.

Monday, March 09, 2009

And It's a Snow Day for...

SEARS. Apparently it's too icy for them to make their deliveries today.

I won't get my new washing machine until Wednesday, now. After I busted my ass getting the old one unhooked and ready to haul away. Do you wanna see the laundry I'm amassing here?

No, you don't. I don't even want to face it.

At least the bathroom/laundry room is cleaned out a bit. It needed to be done. I also need to get back to work on the kitchen while Dave is sleeping, but I felt the need to tell you about the bastards from Sears scared by 3 - 6 inches of snow. We didn't even get a two-hour delay from school. And I could have used the sleep, people.

I will tease you with the almost finished sweaters for the twin babies. Just some detail shots until I get them all put together...

Buttons for her:Buttons for him: (complete with an entirely unnecessary link)And a side-by-each shot of the stitch patterns. That's the little butterflies pattern on the right and quilted lattice on the left. I'm making a hat and booties for each to match as well. The colors are muddy without the flash, but you can't see the stitch definition if I turn it on, so I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. I'll arrange better lighting when I show them off good and proper. And they'll be blocked too, so that will make a difference.
That's all I've got for today. I'm going to clean the kitchen some more whilst Dave continues to nap.

Talk amongst yourselves...

*edited to add: I think the "little butterflies" look a lot like bats in this picture. Or six-legged spiders. Which tempts me to work up a swatch and make them proper spiders. Please tell me to wait until these sets are done.

Friday, March 06, 2009


I do not know what kind of germ my children have picked up, but OH MY GOD. I suspect a long winter is behind this. I need to be able to throw open all the doors and windows and give the dump a good airing, but it's still too cold. First day we get up over 60 though, you betcha.

Bug has been sick since last Monday. That's 12 days and counting.

Bobo's been sick since last Wednesday. About 10 days for her.

Dave, he's new to the party, he didn't get sick until early this week, but when he did get sick, Goodnight, Irene.

Bug and Dave have ear infections and are on antibiotics. None of them can stop coughing. DH is sick but has gone to work today probably just to get out of the house, and I have a cough, though no cold. Luckily for me I have a whole bottle of Tylenol 3 that's just slightly past its expiration date. Should be fine washed down with a shot of vodka in a little cocktail I like to call the V3.

Take two and call me in the morning.

I haven't slept a full night since Saturday and I'm less than perky, let me tell you.

I have managed to get some knitting done, though not much.

Here's the hat and mitten sets I've made for my nephews who will be up from TX this weekend. They'll be here the whole month, and while it's going to be quite warm this weekend, it'll be cold again before the month is out, I'm betting. Colder than Dallas, that's for sure.

The oldest is the same age as Bobo, just turned five and the baby is brand new, two months old. Not much on the specifics, really. The fish pattern is from a book called "Nursery Rhyme Knits", with some adaptations to fit the hat and mittens. It was more of a jumping off place, really. The hat and mitten patterns are my own variations on a theme. The yarn is bits and bobs of what I have kicking around. They're in brown, navy, light blue and orange, and I think I've used some Plymouth Galway, Patons Classic Merino, and Knitpicks Telemark in there. Maybe some Wool of the Andes too.

That's all for today, I 'spose. I'll leave you with photos...

Here's the big boy hat and the little boy hat. (Yeah, that's a Girl Scout Cookie case serving as a backdrop. Samoas. Mmmm....)

Big boy mittens and little boy mittens.I'm still working on the baby sets, but if you're good and play your cards right I might just give you some sneak peeks over the weekend.

I don't know why that came up as a link, and I can't figure out how to fix it. *shrug* I hope it doesn't link to porn or anything. *Nope, just to the picture of the mittens. Sorry if you were hoping for titties...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Steal All My Best Stuff from CBear

And this is no exception...

BBC’s Book List

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. (Really? I thought the folks at the BBC would be brighter than that. Only 6? Seems like a low estimate to me.)

How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy the list into a Note and BOLD those you have read, count ‘em up, compare tallies. This should be easy. I'm saying that books read in high school/college really count if you actually read them and not just the Cliffs Notes. Strutting and preening is optional.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (this is actually 7 books, yet it counts as 1?)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (also a collection of books, not A book.)
7 Wuthering Heights
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (again, this is a trilogy, not a book)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (while I have this in one volume, it's hardly one book)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (another series--see no. 36)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (wouldn't this be in The Complete Works? No?)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I think I got 44 of 100. I wonder what the criteria were for being included in this list. And why some collections and series were lumped together as one work. Weird.

I'd actually write a post today, but Dave and Bug both have ear infections and all three have colds and I haven't had a full night's sleep since Saturday, so that's about all I've got the energy for.

So. Tired.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

And it's not all that warm in here, either.

We ran out of pellets for the stove and even with the furnace running all the time it barely gets above 65 in here. Not that the thermostat is ever set any higher than that, mind you. Tough times call for tough measures.

If your hands are cold, put on some mittens. It'll be spring soon.

These are out of Knitpicks Telemark in drift and...whatever color they call "navy". I have neither the ball band nor the catalog handy to look it up at the moment. It's dark blue. Whatever.

When I made my new mittens with the embroidery inserts--did I show you these? I don't think so. Here they are (Telemark drift and skyline)...

Someone on the Knittyboard suggested I write up the pattern with maybe a button type of adaptation for those who don't embroider. Good idea, and here's the adaptation. I used some dark red handmade ceramic buttons I picked up at Patternworks. I didn't know what I was going to do with them until I made the mittens, and then I knew. I still have some round ones that are similar that aren't yet earmarked for a project.

Speaking of new projects, I'm working on two new baby sweaters for DH's cousin who is expecting twins. I think I mentioned this already. Out of Lion Brand Cotton Ease? Either I'm having deja vu, or you already know this.

They're mighty cute so far.

I forgot to tell you that the IRS broke my washing machine. I swear to you, the day my refund was deposited in the account, the washer decided to go tits up. So we dropped some coin on a brand new Kenmore (the old one is, by my best estimate, 25 years old if it's a day). It will be here Monday the 9th.

Yay for new appliances! Boo for having to spend money on them!

Not much else is going on up here. Last week was school vacation, and today was supposed to be the first day back, only we're having a snowstorm instead, with a foot of snow predicted. If the way the Fed-Ex truck handled as it drove up the street a minute ago is any indication, it's pretty slick out there. Sadly, the girls seem to have no interest in going out to play in it. They're all nursing colds.

Bug's had one all week. Bobo caught hers sometime during the week and yesterday they gave it to Dave. He's been the worst of the three. His nose doesn't ever run. You can't suck anything out of it. It all goes down the back of his throat to his lungs and makes him cough. He had a temp most of yesterday that Tylenol wasn't touching. A dose of Motrin made him right as the mail, though, and he's been taking that today and his fever is down. We shall see. He's napping right now, and if it's up when he wakes up, I'll call. I hate to drag all three kids out in the snow if it's not life-threatening or causing him any grief. He's warm, but in an uncharacteristically good mood this morning. So who knows?

At least no one's puking. Knock wood.

We might not have choir practice tonight if the snow keeps up. I hope it's not cancelled. I do so like to get out on Monday night and I freaking LOVE to sing. Plus, there's snacks. *sigh* But even if it's not cancelled, no one will come because of the storm so it'll be a waste of time anyway. Sucky. I'm going to 6:00 mass tonight anyway. It's something I do during Lent every year. I'd like to go to daily mass but there's no way I could do it. Twice a week will have to do for now. Someday, though, someday...

I think I shall RSVP for that baby shower now. While I'm looking at the invitation and before I forget.

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