Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Tale of Two Sticks

I'm home feeding the dog, breaking away from where I've been all day.
Where's that?
Hanging out in the hospital ED.
I got a call this morning while I was fixing my favorite breakfast (grilled swiss on rye) and it was my mother telling me she'd fallen down the steps in the basement and that she couldn't get up and the ambulance was on its way.
With my usual sense of urgency (non-existent) I finished my sandwich and left for the hospital 30 minutes later.
That was at 9:45.
It is now 4:45.
I came home to give the dog a pee break and find a new knitting project.
That's important why?
Because I finished the one I went there with this morning.
Yes, I am 95% completed with the handbag from Major Knitter's tutorial.
I honestly didn't plan on finishing it today and I also didn't plan on knitting a strap I thought I would buy a handle at the mall today after I had gone to watch Ratatouille.
Instead I was given seven hours in the Emergency Room, something which affords you plenty of opportunity to work on projects.
And I came prepared with a book, my iPod, and my knitting, but I can't always be as anti-social as I'd like because my cousin was there.
I really like her so I didn't mind talking to her.
And while we talked and waited, I knit.
A regular Madame Defarge.
Anyway they think my mother has a fractured hip and they are admitting her.
So once the dog is given a bit of exercise I'll be heading back over.
Now Angelika, I think this is the perfect time to cast on for the Chevron Scarf, eh?
Pictures and prognosis later.
Pictures of my bag, not my mother's hip.
Yikes - better clarify!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hangin' at the Carny with the Homies

Carnivals are loads of fun.
I showed pictures of one we went to last year, but we usually go to more than one because they are so much fun.
And kind of like when you think you are a bad parent and then you look at the mothers of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and know you're not doing such a bad job after all, well that's kind of how I feel when I go to these smaller towns for carnivals. I feel way better about my current place in life.
And my dental hygiene.
And my body size.*
But it's still lots of fun - I love the games and I used to love the rides, but now I mostly go for the food.
There's nothing like carnival food.
Fried dough.
Corn dogs.
Candy apples.
Cotton candy.
Yum, yum, yum.
As much as I love the food it's no wonder I'm much too big and scared to go on some of the rides anymore.
I did go on this with DN2 (she's 8 and fearless).

Only a thin wire, a two dollar clasp and centrifugal force keeping my fat frame from imminent death.
Lots of cool people there.
Dancing Derrick for one.
He has a t-shirt with his name on it. That's how I know.
And lots of cool people in the parking lot.
Such as:And:And say it isn't so!
It's the "My Boyfriend/Son is a Marine" car!!
Fun and games at the carnival.
We went back later for the fireworks and I was so engrossed in watching them (I love fireworks, reminds me of firing the M-60 and I just loved that so much. Damn.).
Anyway, I was standing behind DN2 and she was looking to her left and I was looking in the sky enjoying the mediocre display.
Come to find out she was more interested in watching the fight, still in the verbal stage, of the group of drunks next to us (beer tent action) than in watching the fireworks.
What was DN1's response to my situational awareness?
"Great parenting, Mom."
Damn skippy.
I should win an award.

*I know I'm really not any better than anyone else, I just like to think it. I always think I'm hot shit until I happen to glance at my reflection and then the careful veneer I've applied to my brain instantly cracks and I know that deep down I'm just a white trash girl one paycheck and three cats away from living in the trailer park.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

On a clear day you can see...

Well you can't see forever, but sometimes you can see Canada.
Or Canadian geese.
So we have a beach here.
DH would like to think that it is not the same as going to a beach that abuts the ocean but up here you take what you can get and if a beach on Lake Ontario is all you can get, you shut up and enjoy it.
Personally I like going to the lake, it reminds me of The French Lieutenant's Woman and I would like to go there on some cold, windy day and look out at the waves.
Then the cold weather comes and I don't leave my house.
I did promise DN2 that since we went to the beach on the last day of summer vacation in 2006 that we would close out the school year by going to the beach on the last day of school.
And we did!

DH practiced a bit of running on the beach. It was sunny but boy that wind was whipping that sand around.

During our meal we were serenaded by seagulls. Okay, they weren't really singing they were begging for food but we did not feed them. They did have us surrounded, however, but they were not quite as aggressive as the ducks.

After we ate DN2 was dying to get in the water. Personally I thought it was much too cold, but she was anxious to give it a try. This is a girl who thinks that taking the Polar Bear Plunge sounds like fun. You go girl, I'll be standing at the end of the pier with a faraway look in my eyes and wearing my cape (again, back to The French Lieutenant's Woman -- I just love John Fowles).

So in she went and when we forced her out after ten minutes (it really was quite chilly) she found seaweed in her swimsuit. Now that sounds comfortable, right? It was a good end to a school year, but isn't any last day of school a good one?

Friday, June 22, 2007

School Days

I spent yesterday with DN2's class at their field day.
We had a lot of fun and the day turned out to be absolutely perfect!
Today is their last day of school and she is so ready for the summer.
SN2 has been done with school for a few days, but those last couple of weeks usually involve the kids taking finals, so they get a taste of independence where they become the ones responsible for ensuring they show up on time for their exams.
I always loved that time in high school, the final exam period.
You could sit in the sun when your exam was done and it was such a wonderful time of freedom.
I had a discussion with a co-worker and we came to the conclusion that the last day of school, for most children, is really the most pure taste of freedom you can ever have.
No bills, no responsibilities, other than a summer reading list, and best of all, beautiful weather (contingent upon where you live, of course). Once you're in college you really can't experience that anymore because now you are paying for your education and worrying about your future.
Makes me want to listen to Alice Cooper sing "School's Out" for sure and remember that taste of freedom I had twenty-something years ago.
And then there are the children who are home schooled which is my segue to...And speaking of home schooled kids, although I wasn't.
I do appreciate the effort people put into home schooling their children because there are many highly intelligent parents who truly care about their children's education.
And then there are some parents who obviously live in states where the requirement to have an undergraduate degree in anything doesn't apply.
I was looking for some books on eBay and came across an item advertised by a parent who is homeschooling their child and here is the item description:
This is two Newberry Books. I do believe I got these for the Unit Study that also have up for sale: There are used for Medieval Times, & Renaissance. The books are in very good condition!! Very good stories, my son liked these stories very much. He is into castles , swords, & ect.... I think there is a couple more books you need for this curriculum. I think I have them also, I will be digging them out here in the next few days so come back & look!!! Thankyou!

I hope this person is not responsible for teaching grammar.
And I did not alter that quote at all, I picked it up directly from their eBay item.
I think there are a lot of parents who home school for the wrong reasons, and I've had this discussion with one of my co-workers who was an elementary school teacher for a number of years as well as with Kat, and we all agree that there are parents who home school and are just not qualified.
I'm not down on home schooling, because there is a girl here who just graduated from college who was a ten time All-American in a sport and had a 4.0 GPA, and could sing like an angel, but there are many parents who do a great disservice to their children and home school for the wrong reasons.
I've known people who have small classrooms set up in their houses and I've also known kids who wander the streets during the day because their parents claim "they are too bright for the school system so we're home schooling them," yet the parent is never around.
Why do they do that?
Oh well, I know my limitations with my children and I realize that the best environment for them is one where I'm not responsible for teaching them math and science.
Yesterday was the first day of summer and I fell asleep early so I did not get a chance to celebrate the Summer Solstice and maybe even dance around outside with no clothes on.
Good thing, eh?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Some people are just jerks

Did you see this article Hacker Claims Harry Potter's Alleged Ending on Web. The article states:
The mystery surrounding the end to fictional British boy wizard Harry Potter's saga deepened on Wednesday with a computer hacker posting what he said were key plot details and a publisher warned the details could be fake.

So essentially some guy (who calls himself Gabriel) with no life stopped hacking into stores for our credit card information for a few moments and went after Harry Potter.
"We make this spoiler to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring," Gabriel said in the posting.

It's a rather random rationale and there is no other information provided as to the impetus of his actions.
I suppose if I went to the site where he has posted this alleged truthful information I would find out why, but I think this guy is a jerk so I won't go there.
The publishers are stating that there is "spurious information" out there on the web concerning the final book and I have no doubt there is, but why the burning need for some to find out and then ruin it for others?
Part of the joy is the suspense in waiting.
It reminds me of the story, which I can't find at the moment, of the folks in New York City waiting at the docks for the ship from England to arrive and provide them with the final installment of Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop. They shouted, "What happens to Little Nell?" - well it's our turn, we can now say, "What happens to Harry?" and we can all wait for July 21st to find out.
This guy Gabriel probably opens all his Christmas presents early too.
As for me, I'm counting down the days, and I will wait patiently to find out what will happen to Harry and crew.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I don't have any Exes in Texas

But I do have a new pal there!
This is what Purl sent to me for the Knitters Tea Swap 3.
Check it out:

I actually got this package on Friday and I waited until yesterday to take the picture.
Do you know what that means?
I spent all weekend looking at that chocolate and not eating it.
Will power through pure laziness.
I just didn't get up to borrow DN1's camera.
And I can't find my battery charger.
Laziness and slovenliness.
That's how you diet.
Anyway, I am bound and determined to knit me some socks.
Right after I work on this KAL that I joined (big thanks, I think, to Angelika).
It's my first KAL and I'm kind of excited.
Because it's right up my alley - long and relatively square.
But I promise, oh yes, I promise myself and everyone else, that I will work on socks this summer.
And with all the lovely blue sock yarn I have waiting for me, I need to bust a move.
A knitting move.
Big thanks again to Purl - I can't wait until the thunderstorm rolls through this evening and I make a pot of citrus tea - all for me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Attack of the Killer Ducks, or how I spent my weekend

It was a lovely weekend.
It started off perfectly when I came home to a package from Texas.
I’ll show pictures of that later, but it did set the right tone.
And so did the beautiful sunshine!
The farmer’s market started on Sunday, which also happened to be Father’s Day.
We bought some lovely strawberries – sorry, none to show – they are all being baked into strawberry bread!
Perhaps I can get a picture of that for you.
If we were all better players we would have played goodminton, but since we’re not, we played badminton on Sunday.
Ha ha.
We bought a net and some rackets at a sporting goods store a few weeks ago and I think that game is so much more fun that the $250 Wii SN2 had to have for his birthday. At least I get to have more fun, because I’m just not a videogame kind of person.
I can serve like a champ, but it’s trying to get the returns that I kind of suck at.
Well honestly, there’s nothing scarier than a shuttlecock speeding towards your face.
Am I wrong?
Then yesterday, before the game of good/badminton, DN2 and I took a walk and we were attacked by ducks.
We went to a park over by the canal and sat down on a bench to look at the ducks in the pond. We spent about five minutes watching them and talking about the ducklings and knowing that we were observing the wildlife laws and not feeding them. This was helped by the fact that we had no food to give anyway.
After we’d been sitting there for a few minutes a duck came up out of the pond, quacking and heading straight towards us.
He was followed by another.
And another.
And another!
And they kept coming!
They had us surrounded – and they continued to quack in our general direction.
DN2 started to get scared, and rightly so, and she climbed up onto the bench.
There were ducks behind us, ducks in front of us, and ducks off to the side, eyeballing my floral skirt, my pudgy, white bread-looking toes, and the ham hocks I call calves.
(Apparently the ducks can't read the signs about not feeding the wildlife.)
I started to get a bit nervous as one shifty-eyed duck began to quack louder and louder.
DN2 and I both stood up and moved to the right of the bench and the crowd of ducks moved along with us, slowly edging in closer and closer.
It was at that point that we decided to cut and run.
And the ducks followed us!!!
It was actually quite a scary experience.
DN2 said it was too bad I didn’t have my camera.
I don’t know, one of the ducks might have snatched it out of my hand and destroyed the evidence.
From now on I’ll be looking at the ducks from a safer distance….like the inside of my car.
And if I do go by them again, I won't wear clothing that resembles their food and my toes will be covered.
How was your weekend?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Finally some knitting content

The sun continues to shine and I continue to knit things out of season.
I'll tell you first what happened to me.
I went to the local bookstore to buy Alison Hansel's Charmed Knits.
At our bookstore if you accumulate $125 worth of purchases (retail - this is not a discount bookstore like BN or Books-a-Million), then you receive a $10 coupon.
Alison's book is $14.95 retail, so I thought I would use it to buy her book since I knew they had one in stock (I checked the inventory on their Booksense website) and I could get it for $5, right! Practically free!
After looking in the logical section of the store for the book, I had to ask, "Gee, I'm trying to find this book, do you have it?"
The girl working there said, "Gosh I just had that in my hands earlier today, but where is it?"
She began a frantic search of the store along with a co-worker.
No book.
I was bummed.
They actually thought another lady who works there might have put it on her shelf.
So I was assured they would order the book for me.
It's been almost two weeks.
Me thinks the book was never ordered.
So last night I placed an order from Amazon.
Sorry local bookstore, but when you've gotta have it, you've gotta have it.
In the meantime I need to work on something.
Since I'm not a very good knitter (I've actually considered starting a blog called The Shitty Knitter and posting pictures of my mistakes and inviting others to post too), I need something easy.
Because it is so hot and a bit sticky I need something that won't cover my lap (unless I'm going to the drive-in and then I want an afghan to keep me warm).
And in honor of the HP movie and book release in how many days (check the counter on the side), I want something for that.
So I began a Gryffindor scarf.
Hey, at least it's something.
I could only wish that I were as good a knitter as Angelika.
Go wish her congratulations - she's been sought out (literally!) by KnitPicks to be a test knitter for their patterns.
They read her blog, folks and looked at her photos.
Isn't that amazing?
She is a brilliant, fearless knitter and I'm so pleased for her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Not necessarily a conventional swap

Nor is it a RAOK.
I asked Kat if she had joined the latest Knit Tea Swap and she said no.
The past few swaps have been rather disappointing to her.
Whereas I was able to swap with, and receive from, some rather extraordinary people, hers have not been nearly as enjoyable.
So I suggested that she and I could have our own swap.
Again, not a RAOK, but rather a swapping of good things (chocolate, yarn, books, chocolate) that we would both enjoy.
And kind of just a nice thing to do, you know, because we did work together for almost 2 years, so we know each other's likes and dislikes.
And even though there will only be the two of us, we still have to name it.
Well I like to name things, or rather think of names that have a deeper meaning (like, you do know what you're getting when you join the Knit Tea Swap), so I suggested "You Don't Know JaK" for a swap name.
Get it?
Julie and Kat = JaK
Funny, eh?
So I've begun thinking about what to get.
I'm still finishing up my great (I hope) swap box for my pal but I'll start on the "You Don't Know JaK" swap as soon as I finish.
Now if only I knew how to make a button.


I didn't get to go.


Juror #'s B111 - B300 You are dismissed and you no longer need to check this web site or call. Thank you for your service.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Barefoot Gardener

Seeing as I almost always garden barefooted, I wish that I were as famous as The Barefoot Contessa.
Alas, I'm not.
But I do garden in my bare feet and I need to stop.
It's becoming so difficult to get the dirt out from under my toenails.
What does everyone say to that?
"Eww, gross."
So I've taken to wearing dark colored nail polish.
Next time you see a picture of my feet (pray to God that this never happens to you), glance down and check them out.
You will see me wearing this color:
OPI Romeo & Joliet.
Love it! (Thanks to DN1.)
Back to my garden.
The Bleeding Heart was actually planted upside down.
How do I know?
Because it is growing, and not from the end that I left sticking out of the ground.
I knew the plants would know what to do.
I not only garden in bare feet, but I'm brilliant at it too.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Helping out the elves

We used to have a cobbler's shop in town.
Many, many years ago.
Now the shop is closed and the elves must have moved on.
This explains why they didn't make it into my kitchen last night to clean the dishes while I slept.
Damn elves.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Chilly Willy

It was so hot over the weekend that the poor animals were suffering.
As were the humans.
Today it is 30-40 degrees cooler and I think I may have to light a fire and fix grilled cheese and tomato soup for supper just to try and warm up.
So don't come looking for me.
I'll be somewhere trying to stay warm.
And here's something interesting that I just found out -- Quisp is a better knitter than me.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Boomtown Rats kind of day

I don't like Mondays.
I don't want to shoot them away, but they do really suck.
Fortunately I came home and this was waiting for me:
It's only about the third time I've purchased the CD. And I still have the LP in my attic.
But it's a perfect record and I have to have it.
Plus I got some other books from Barnes and Noble.
This weekend was blissful.
Blissfully hot.
Is there such a thing?
It was damn hot.
Almost unbearable.
But life can be made bearable if you sit in front of a fan with a good book.
(AC would be better, but we don't have any.)
I read The Razor's Edge this weekend based upon a recommendation from SN1.
I loved it.
(Kat you'd really like it - I know Mrs. Dalloway wasn't quite what you were expecting -- keep plugging along -- but I think you might like Maugham's voice better so give it a try.)
It made me want to read more American literature.
So I picked up Faulkner.
No knitting was accomplished.
I do have something to rip out, but I haven't got the nerve yet.
Soon - and I'll have photographic evidence too so that together we'll fix it.
Because I don't have the courage alone to give up a bad project. I keep it and justify the errors.
Ever felt like that?
I was reading someone's blog once and they had almost finished this Norwegian mitten - it was gorgeous!
And then she ripped it out because of something wrong with it.
I've never learned to be heartless about my knitting.
And it's not something of which I'm proud.
DN2 and I went to her favorite place this weekend, and then we went to my new favorite place, Parkleigh Pharmacy.
Had to shop some more for my Knit Tea Swap Pal (Hi Purl!).
Alas I can't show you any pictures because this is an open swap, and she can't know.
So shhh....don't tell her I went shopping and I'm almost done.
I owe her an email answering her question about what I like to knit.
I feel like Jack Benny when he was asked, "Your money or your life."
All I can say is, "I'm thinking...I'm thinking."

If I could only perform my civic duty

Is it horrible of me to hope that the number B 285 is called and I actually have to report for Jury Duty this week?

I know, I know, be careful what you wish for.