Saturday, September 30, 2006

Who needs a three dog night...

...especially when you have two cats by the fire.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blah and boring

Not much going on here, or rather, nothing exciting to blog about. Working too hard at work, getting ready to take a day off on Monday, and incubating my ideas for my prospectus due on Monday. No knitting going on around here, only reading and watching a bit of television ("Scrubs" and "Big Valley"). Although I will tell you a funny story. Funny to me at least.

When my kids were babies and their hair was growing in it would stand straight up on the top of their head. It was always fun to run your hand over the top of their hair and watch it pop straight back up, plus it was always so soft and silky. There is a doctor I know whose hair looks just like that of a baby's (he is balding). It's very difficult for me to resist running my fingers over the top of his hair just to watch it pop straight back up. But I am tempted daily.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Exposing the wound

Last night in class, before my triumphal departure from the building face first down a set of concrete steps (can you say "sprained thumb") we had an in-depth discussion on Jane Eyre. It has been a long time since I sat in a classroom, and even longer since I sat around discussing a book in such a manner. I've never joined a book group mostly because I'm lazy and don't want to be obligated to not only reading a book that is not of my choosing but also because, well, I'm lazy.

For almost the entire class period last night, which is 3 hours long, we discussed Jane Eyre. I might have noted before (and I'm too lazy to go look it up) that this is the first time I have read this novel. I feel all gushy and happy for Jane and find her to be such a likeable heroine; however, after talking about motives and characterization and dialogue amongst other things for so long last night, I realized my failing.

You see, I approached Jane Eyre as a recreational reader and wanted nothing more than to be entertained. While I thought I was reading deeply, it is obvious that I really wasn't and the class discussion helped me to see that. And what I find so worrisome is that I am afraid that what I am is a "recreational reader" when what I desire to be is a scholar. As a reader who is reading for pleasure, I'm satisfied with superficial explanations, whereas a scholar scrapes off the scab and exposes the wound. The problem is that once the wound is exposed the scar will always remain and the book will never have that same meaning. There will always be the possibility that one will look at everything with a jaundiced eye, searching for ulterior motives and attempting to discern the meaning behind disingenuous conversation. On the other hand there exists the possibility that with a closer reading the book will have an even deeper meaning for the reader in the future.

It's a scary prospect, this close reading of a book. I wonder if I can handle it. Five page (max.) prospectus due on Monday concerning the book we're going to write about for our casebook. Will it be Mrs. Dalloway or The Stranger? No one can say for certain, especially me, and I have to do the work!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Before we get started

The names for our tea knit swap were passed out and I got an email from my partner who is anonymous still! So before I begin to answer the questions posed of me I will tell you that I ate a refreshing lunch consisting of a grilled cheese sandwich (swiss, of course) and tomato soup, perfect for a rainy day, and now I'm ready to get started.

No, I am not allergic to anything, but I really do not like lapsang souchong tea. I know, I know, I said I was game to try anything, but I should have qualified that statement and said anything but that kind. I'm really not a big fan of mint either, even though my daughter is and she insists on buying me mint tea when she is the one who really likes it. I also do not like ribbon yarn. So with that settled, here we go!

Bagged or Loose? Either - I love either. I actually have several (a lot) of teapots that I love to use and I also have an electric drip teapot that my friend Gayle gave to me for Christmas which uses both loose tea and bags. However, in the morning when I don't have time to waste and I am running late (every day), I like a quick cup of Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast from a bag.

What do you like to knit? Unfortunately I'm an enthusiastic knitter whose skill level is not commensurate with the amount of knitting books I own. However, I do like to knit mittens and I'm trying my hand at a pair of socks, but I'm not quite sure how that is going (it's that tricky turning of the heel). I do afghans, handbags, scarves, hats and I know I'll be working on some slippers for this winter.

What do you do for fun that has NOTHING to do with tea or knitting? I guess reading would be out, eh, because that is part of the holy trinity, right? I do a lot of reading actually. I do like to watch soccer, I like to go to the movies, or I like to walk along the Canal. Mostly I like to spend time with my family. Oh, and I listen to music quite a bit.

Are you excited that it's Autumn? I LOVE AUTUMN!!!

How do you feel about Halloween? I start buying candy in September and I had a baby on Oct 28 who I call my little pumpkin. Other than that, I don't think about it much. ^_^

During the last month what was the most interesting and pleasing thing you smelled? Funny you ask because in the grocery store today they had a bouquet of flowers that smelled like cinnamon. I think the smell of autumn in the air is the best ever - pumpkins and spices and apples and cinnamon and leaves - everything you can find at a Yankee candle store!

What do you like to do on Saturdays? Wake up early and spend time by myself, make a big breakfast for everyone, if possible, and then spend the day reading, knitting, watching movies and catching a quick nap. Ahh...the perfect Saturday. And bring on the rain/snow!

Do you work? Only out of necessity.

What hours will you generally be online? Now that's a hard one to answer. It varies throughout the day.

How often do you update your blog? Not as often as I should.

If I poke you to update more would it annoy you? No, and if you can get me out there running again I'd be extremely pleased.

What colors do you find pleasing? Blue, especially the darker shades of blue, pinks, purples and red (have you seen my shoes by the way?).

If you had a perfect day where everything was just as you like it what would it be like? A Saturday with a visit from Ed McMahon carrying a giant check followed by a phone call from Ioan Gruffudd telling me he loves me.

What is your favorite yarn brand? I love Colinette and Rowan, but do find their cost prohibitive at times. I like Patons wool, and my friend Jennifer sent me some Blue Sky alpaca for my birthday last year that practically cast itself on my needle. I love Brown Sheep and Lamb's Pride as well. I'm a devoted fan of Elann, and I'm not adverse to buying Lion Brand either. Not a very good answer, but what can I say, I'm a cheap yarn whore with expensive tastes.

What is the thing you like to knit most? Lately, mittens. And even though I know I need to diversify and stop with the scarves, there are so many out there that I like!

If you were a yummy treat what would you be and what would you say? I'd be milk chocolate a treat that seems to inspire a suggestive phrase like, "Mmmm...put me in your mouth and I'll melt with you." Oh yeah.

What floats your boat? Intelligent conversation.

If your boat was sinking what would you grab to take off with you when you jumped off? I'd cast off from the sinking ship in a lifeboat thus not loosing anything. I'm a pack rat, and I always travel as if I'm going on a 3 hour cruise with Gilligan.

Do you have a sense of humor? I've been told that I think everything is a joke. Was that a compliment or criticism? I could never tell, I was laughing too hard.

Got any fun plans coming up? Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! The best time of the year before the winter hibernation period sets in.

Are there too many questions here? Of course not!

Also is there anything you wish to ask me. How did you come up with so many cool questions?

Can't wait to hear back from you. I'm very excited about this swap and getting to know you. Ditto!

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's a thin line between love and hate

Ten Things I Hate:

1 - Soccer played on a field marked for football.
2 - People who pull in front of you and who then go slow.
3 - Gnawed fingernails.
4 - Obnoxious obscenities in public.
5 - Overloud music coming from another car.
6 - Too many demands upon my time.
7 - Not being able to live in London.
8 - Overdue library books.
9 - The price of gas.
10 - Popcorn kernels stuck in my teeth.

Ten Things I Love:

1 - Good pens.
2 - The color blue.
3 - New books.
4 - To laugh.
5 - Cats.
6 - The kaleidoscope of colors in a yarn shop.
7 - Intelligent people with common sense.
8 - Fields of sunflowers.
9 - Rainy days.
10 - Baroque music.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The rain, the cats, and a good book

I wish that I could stay at home today and read my book. It is just that kind of day already. What I'm reading, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, I've read before, but it is so lovely to come back to it and find the pages so filled with colour and know that it has just been sitting there on the bookshelf in DN1's room waiting for me to rediscover it. And that is the funny thing about books. Some books you only need to read once in your lifetime and they stay with you forever. Certain points in the plot may become lost to you, but you remember forever the feeling you're left with, and that is that you've been given a treasure. This is how it is for me as I am reading Mrs. Dalloway.

So truth be told, I would rather stay at home today and read my book, but I can't. And since one is not allowed to make wishes with qualifications I must put my book down. This is difficult, yet rather easy, because with Virginia Woolf you can't just dip your toe in and grab five minutes of reading. No, you need to become totally submerged and let the waves of her writing take control of you and allow yourself to float along and relish her prose.

I know Benno and Simone would be happy if I stayed home too, since they are obviously ready to curl up and cuddle with someone who would rather be reading. I tried to explain to DH the other day about being caught up in a good book and wanting so badly to do nothing but read and he said that he has never experienced that. I can recall sitting in school, and this is going way back, and having to sit in class for 50 minutes with that book sitting in front of me on my desk and being so aggravated that I just couldn't leave and indulge myself in something I would much rather be doing. I just finished Jane Eyre, which, quelle horreur, I have never read before! But it was lovely, and something I wish that I had discovered when I was fourteen years old. Now as I looked to find a book to write about for my class, I had considered Jane Austen but as I have stated before I'm not a huge Austen fan. Instead on my way in to work, and fueled by the Indigo Girls who share as much of a passion for Virginia Woolf's work as I do, I decided, why do a book I don't like, I need to write about Clarissa Dalloway.

And now I'm back to that feeling again, the one where you want to drop everything, turn off the lights, listen to the sound of the rain and the purring of the cats and get wrapped up in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


An article dated February 1, 2006 from USA Today stated that a certain toy (TMX) will not “fuel any slugfests in the next holiday season. ‘The culture has moved beyond that, the whole hot-toy phenomenon.’”

If that is true, then why can’t you find any new Tickle Me Elmo’s, also known as TMX which stands for Tickle Me Elmo Tenth Anniversary, at the stores or online? Ebay prices are higher than $100!

I can gloat only because I got one yesterday! And he is awesome! Now if I can just hold out on giving it to DN2 before her birthday in October…..

No – I can’t wait – I’m going to give it to her tonight!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Take Your Shoes To Work" Day

Today was "Take Your Shoes to Work" Day. Granted, I do wear shoes every day, but as previously noted, these are special shoes. So when they got to work, they felt it necessary to reach out and greet everyone they met. Following is a sampling of some of the people with whom my shoes formed a close, personal bond:

They were so well-behaved and professional, I think they'll have to come back again for another visit.

Now if I could just think of a name for them. Anyone have any suggestions?

Now this is what I like to hear

From today, skinny models are being banned from the catwalk in Madrid.

The regional government is trying to impose restrictions on fashion show organizers so that they do not perpetuate the fashionable heroin chic image achieved through anorexia or bulimia.

They are utilizing the body max index (BMI) to measure the models. However, what the article does not identify is what they are using as a standard. Are they only turning away models who fall below the level of healthy BMI? Are they taking ones who are in the middle? What exactly is their healthy, standard-size model?

And how about this --

"A spokeswoman for the Association of Fashion Designers of Spain, which represents those at Madrid fashion week, said the group supported restrictions and its concern was the quality of collections, not the size of models."

It's not the people we're concerned about, it's the clothes. Got it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On Being Outted

Caveat: This is going to be a post filled with italics for proper emphasis in order to display the amount of horror and embarrassment I have felt this week. If you have an allergy to italics or find them offensive in any way, please desist from reading right now; otherwise deal with it.

I've been outted in a very public forum - and it freaked me out!

Daily I prowl the internet with a stealth that would thrill the CIA, performing vanity searches on myself and friends, searching for real estate in London (W1, of course), and popping in to meander through someone's blog knowing that because I'm sitting in my home and I can't see them, ergo they can't see me.

Oh the power of the trackback and the devilishly clever skill of the internet to leave your IP address all over the stinkin' place.

Imagine my surprise on Sunday to find out that not only had my professor found me -- she outted me on her blog!

You may recall that I mentioned my class and the fact that my professor has a blog. I conveniently provided my sparse readership with a link so that they could see my erudite professor in action. Unlike me, she pays for her bandwidth which means that she can perform more functions than I can with my free blogging service.

She could see me!

I felt as if I had been locked out of my house wearing only my underwear. In this case, I would probably be wearing my new red shoes, but eek, me in my underwear?!?! - even I avert my eyes.

Now, after my initial shock (which I'm just now getting over), I began to think, hmm... (that's me thinking) - this may improve my readership. This was immediately followed by the fear that my blog entries are horribly inane (they are). Nevertheless, I went back and read every single blog entry to see how badly I have potentially embarrassed myself. I then checked every link not once but twice - just in case (doing the Santa thing here).

I can take some comfort in the words of my professor who told me, "Hey, you didn't insult me so it's okay!"

I can live with that. But please remember, if you provide a link to another site someone is going to know. And you won't have my awesome red shoes to wear.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My First Swap!

I'm involved with my first online anything - this one is the Knit-Tea Swap.
You sign up and agree to exchange a package with someone from anywhere. Obviously the package involves yarn, snackies and tea -- I love this idea - and thanks to Kat for sending me the info. For all my internet awareness, sometimes I just don't wander too far away from what I look at on a daily basis. This is the third such swap and as soon as I can figure out how to get the button to here from there, I'll get it posted on my sidebar.
I'm so excited!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Today is the first day of the rest of my life...

...and I'm going to be wearing new red shoes.

These shoes are my birthday present to myself.

Happy Birthday to me - and Welcome Home to my beautiful and impractical new red shoes.

*For the record, I found a pepper mill at Williams-Sonoma that was the exact same color as these shoes. I actually considering buying it, but quickly changed my mind. At $90 it cost more than my shoes! How obscene is that???

**And yes, Kat, they do have many different expressions, thanks for noticing. Right now they are practicing the "lounging on the bed" look.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Best Card Ever

At work today I received this birthday card from a friend.

This is possibly the best card ever. I also received a drinking cup with this image as well.

If you don't get the reference to one of my favorite movies, "A Mighty Wind," then perhaps you need to head straight to the movie rental store and find this movie. Don't watch it just once, but watch it again. And then come back and sing the "Sure-Flo" song with me.

Thanks Susie Q!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

There's an amazing moon tonight...

...and on my street, an equally amazing streetlight.
What's your moon look like?

And we're off to the rodeo

Does anyone remember that song? We used to sing it in high school because we felt cool singing a song that contained just about every curse word possible. Well I'm not in high school anymore. I am, however, back in college.

Just call me a glutton for punishment.

I love this thing called learning. My children, however, said, "Mom, what are you doing??? You stress so badly when you have to write papers."

I think I have a better handle on it this time around.

(I'll pause for a moment while you all laugh at me in unison.)

But seriously, what good does it do me to live within 2 blocks of a college and not utilize their services?

So I'm back in the saddle, but this time there is an appreciable difference: I am actually in a classroom (I finished my other master's utilizing an online program). And the other difference?

I am the oldest member of the class. And this includes the professor.


This doesn't necessarily guarantee me anything other than being literally old enough to be the mother of every single student in that classroom. Does this make them like/respect me more? I doubt it. Does it make the professor like/respect my opinion more? Who knows. Perhaps she is happy having someone older than her in the class.

Suffice it to say it will be an interesting 12 weeks. And if you're interested in seeing if my professor has anything good/bad to say, you can check out her blog. I do, and I know that when she discusses her "Intro to Grad Studies class", well, that's me.

And for the record, it's called "The Rodeo Song".

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

If life were an Aesop's fable, I'd be the ant

Where oh where has the summer gone?
You won't find it here. I've just taken these pictures this week, but truth be told, the leaves have been falling since the middle of August. Kind of scary, isn't it?
And I'm sure my absence from the blogosphere was met with a resounding silence, but I am back. The reason for my lack of posting, other than pure laziness and lack of wanting to sit in front of a computer after sitting in front of one all day at work, has been because of the following: I have been keenly anticipating a nasty winter.

I am not looking forward to my winter commute to and from work, but I do know this: I have been attempting to prepare us for the pitfalls of living in a house that is a century and a half old and one which causes me no small amount of angst when we talk about my "budget" with the local gas company (the equivalent of a car payment, folks). So I have been like the ant in the Aesop's fable. I have been busy, and the following photo will show as proof of this:

Granted, I've only knitted one mitten in the Homespun (that's the peach and white one), and three mittens in the charcoal wool (love those Elann prices!), and one wrist warmer; they'll come, give me time. I did finish my afghan which grew to almost six feet! And there is a hat that has gone MIA, a skull cap made out of Noro Kuryeon that is in desperate need of a pom pom on the top (perhaps that is why I can't find it - it's scared of the pom pom!). So my reasoning for not sitting in front of a computer during my downtime can be rationalized - I have been uber productive. Can you say carpal tunnel and repetitive motion issues???

The End of the Summer

It's officially over. You thought it was over because of Labor Day - well that holiday ushers in the end of summer, but it is now over for sure because you can see from these pictures that the first day of school is today!

Life is good.