Monday, October 30, 2006

Loosy Goosy Petsy Peevy

Am I loosing my mind or has it been loost for a long time now?

Why has the spelling ell-double oh-ess-ee replaced the word "lose" in nearly every electronic missive I read? How long has this been evolving? Did this pervasive new spelling originate, as I suspect, back in the pre-Google, pre-Yahoo Dark Ages of usenet lists or is it more recent? How has it spread so successfully? I don't think it's caused by laziness because it involves typing an extra letter. I mean, you'd think being great ones for lopping off extraneous letters from Olde Englische Colourful spellings we'd have changed loose into lose instead of the other way round. When people post messages that they're "loosing it" I think eeewww, gross! Y'know, you can buy disposable underpants for grownups to disguise that problem. Here's a coupon:

Glad to help in any little way I can.

Perhaps the explanation for this spelling shift is right in front of my eyes. Google? Yahoo? Clearly people are so accustomed to typing two consecutive o's it happens automatically and it's not picked up by spell check. Yeah, that must be it. I'll just keep telling that to myself until I believe it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Of Tucheem And Other Non-Sequiturs

What is it about cats that attracts them to the most snag- or puncture-worthy surfaces in the house, especially when they’re feeling all knead-the-paws-with-claws-out-cuz-I-lurrrrrrrrrv-you-so-much affectionate? They are aces at playing the Sesame Street game One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others (Because It’s New). Lay on the old, pre-snagged, cat-hairy afghan? Pour quoi, when there’s a freshly knitted sweater near to paw. Sharpen claws on the old graying carpet on the stairs? Mais non! There’s a brand new area rug that needs to be taught how to shed fibers.

My cat has perpetual midlife crisis. As soon as her favorite cuddle gets a little shabby and a few bald patches, it’s time to get a divorce and move on to a new main squeeze. At the moment our house contains a wealth of new kitty boyfriend material (photos coming soon to a blog near you): recently finished goldfish sweater, just started Vogue Knitting Fall 2005 pattern #11 bulky cable pullover, new leather sofa, new area rugs in the living room and front entry stall.

Yes, stall. Trying to get into my house through the front door is a bit like squeezing into that one in public restrooms that’s been shrunk several inches to accommodate the luxuriously appointed handicapped potty suite right next door. You can’t figure out how to shut the door without standing on or rubbing up against something you’d rather not.

In other news, we have just bid farewell to my parents who drove for two long days from their house to ours to drop off their old and our new Pontiac Montana van. A more aptly named vehicle would be hard to find. The thing’s as huge as its namesake Big Square(-ish) State. Even 2 Year Old will find it a challenge to hide the floor under her customary sand and cracker crumb coating. We’ll have to get a Massachusetts license plate for the front and a New Hampshire license plate for the rear. Oh, just kidding. It’s technically a minivan but to a veteran Mazda 323/Protégé driver, it seems almost big enough to paint Orange Yellow and hang a swinging stop sign out the driver’s side window; an idea dangerous to suggest to power-starved control freaks like yours truly. I love the idea of terrorizing the Dunkin Donut coffee-charged Massholes careening down I-93, zipping in and out of overpopulated lanes of traffic with impunity. I’m picturing switching on the flashing red lights, whipping out the mini stop sign, and watching them tumble bumper over teakettle as they slam on their brakes. Yeah, right. As if they’d actually stop for something like a school bus (sigh). A girl can daydream, though.

As for the title of this post, I am reliably informed that the plural of tuckus, also spelled tuches, might more accurately be tucheem. I guess that means I can refer to you denters affectionately as my Tucheem Team.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

2 Year Old

Sporting the "Pineapple Top" and looking suitably edible, if a mother's permitted to say so.

Click on "Comments" to coo.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Flopping Drills

Today, team, we’ll be practicing flopping into into the seated position. A properly executed flop will have you completely airborne. It doesn’t matter how long you are airborne. Neither does your form matter. Judges don’t deduct points for unpointed toes or unpiked legs. No half-twist Salchow camel axels for denters, so don’t worry. You can do this! Find a nice soft landing spot. Suggestions include a king-sized eiderdown duvet folded in quarters, a recently rolled and aired futon mattress, a particularly squooshy sofa, or any seating apparatus manufactured by La-Z-Boy. Make sure you clear the space of small children and little furry animals first. Now grasp your current knitting project firmly in your dominant hand. Remember folks, we’re landing on our tuckuses (tuckii?). Face away from the landing spot and LEAP! Lean back. Lean-lean-lean-lean aaaaaand land. There, great! Oh, good for you, extra points for spearing a hole in the upholstery with one of your knitting needles.

Now keep that up until you can hear a good WHOOMP and see a cloud of dust rise up around
you as you land. Get your yardstick and measure that dent. Keep practicing and send me your personal best. Remember that we’re non-competitive though so top ten finishers don’t necessarily make the team for the first Dent Meet. We’ll be drawing names from a watch cap knit from fuscia Patons Canadiana (want your own? Cute patterns abound but I’m too lazy to obtain publishing permissions so google away, denters).

Speaking of current knitting projects (and I was, opening paragraph, following La-Z-Boy reference), mine is a particularly viral intarsia goldfish sweater for my 2 year old. “Viral?” you ask. Yes, the damned thing just won’t go away. It lingers and lingers and lingers. It’s the walking pneumonia of knitting projects. Maybe it’s because I hate intarsia, but this project keeps getting pre-empted for wildly fun stuff like button replacement and hem mending and sweater depilling. I REALLY hate intarsia, people! But 2 Year Old won’t fit into it next year so desperate times call for desperate quantities of Little Penguin Cabernet Shiraz blend. As if little bitty intarsia goldfish weren’t bad enough these wee buggers need French Knot eyeballs and Swiss darned (boy is that technique aptly named) “bubbles”. Intarsia? Swiss darning (a.k.a. duplicate stitch)?? FRENCH KNOTS???

Here’s a photo. Feel my pain.

Those French and Swiss have a lot to answer for. I’m calling for sanctions against the nations who unleashed torturous embellishments upon the unsuspecting crafting world. No more French wine! Just say “No” to Swiss chocolate! And don’t anybody send them French fries or Swiss rolls either, y’hear?

Yes, you’re right. These measures are far too extreme. Maybe we should just sanction the embellishments themselves, eh? Whaddya think? Join me?

You’re the best!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Varsity What?

I like to sit. Whenever the opportunity avails itself, I take advantage of it. Not fussy about where I park my bum, I will happily plop right down on the floor in workplace conference rooms furnished with an excess of inflated self-importance and a dearth of chairs (it’s safer this way when one inevitably passes out from boredom and the CO2 fumes emanating from one’s colleagues). I like sitting so well, I’ve been known to study subway platforms and train activity just to align myself with the exact spot a door will open, thereby being the first to board the train and get the best seat. No, I’m not elderly (aging, yes, but you are too, so there!). In this regard, I’ve been behaving like a blue-rinser since my late 20’s. I just really, really, REALLY like to sit.

As it happens, most of my favorite things to do are best done while sitting. None of my pet activities will ever gain the prominence that might afford them 10 minutes worth of reportage on the local television news broadcast even though I am not the only person whose devotion to them rivals anything the Boston Red Sox or Dallas Cowboys have ever enjoyed. While gambling… er, ahem, athletic entertainments warrant newcasts, sections of newspapers, hell, an entire swath of the Cable channel spectrum, my favorites are relegated to the domain of specialist magazines, most of which are produced only quarterly.

It’s time to end this second fiddle status.

Welcome to try-outs for the brand new Varsity Butt Dent Squad. Today we’ll not only be testing our sitting skills, we’ll also be working on the things we like to do while we’re sitting. When I was a youngster, I loved to read, play piano, and do needlecrafts with a fair dose of television viewing thrown in to boot. Had these skills been valued in our culture during my schoolgirl days, perhaps there might have been something like this Butt Dent team for me to join back then. I’d have loved to display my school spirit with a blue wool and yellow leather baseball jacket adorned with a big boucle ‘W’ and a brass pin in the shape of an easy chair. Alas, physical prowess and argumentativeness* were the only skills which earned one a letter in my high school. Hence, the name of this blog.

* Letters were given to members of the Debate Team.

I continue to love reading, knitting, watching television, writing, occasional web surfing with scattered blog reading, and eating; all of which involve prodigious sitting. Fortunately for me, cooking involves standing otherwise my backside would not fit through the 34 inch doorways of my rinky-dink post-war Cape Cod-style house, though don’t think I haven’t tried sitting down on that job too. Yessireebob, I still have the bar stool from Target in my basement collecting cobwebs and cat hair. Too many trips back and forth between refrigerator, sink, cutting board, and stovetop killed the pleasure. Getting on and off the stool was, gasp, a hassle. Perhaps this might be remedied with the installation of casters on the stool’s legs. Then all one would require for kitchen mobility is an attached jet pack or maybe even just a long pole with a rubber foot for traction. I could punt around the kitchen wearing gondolier stripes and a beribboned straw hat. Or maybe I should just use the Swiffer mop and clean the floor at the same time. Seated housework. What’s not to love?

But I digress. Forthwith, I declare, in the name of all the quiet, soft and squishy activities that have gone heretofore ignored and unrewarded, the formation of the very first Varsity Butt Dent Squad.

This is ostensibly a knitting blog though I’ll undoubtedly point all my relatives and friends to it so it will be filled with family news and since anyone who is not family or aquaintance is unlikely to be reading, I’m not going to feel too badly about this. In a nod to the genre, however, I feel compelled to put forth my own knitting history so that both of you readers (hi Honey, hiya Sis) know exactly where and why this insanity originated.

I began knitting in 1986 while enrolled in a “study” abroad semester in London. OK, to be honest, I wasn’t studying for much of it. I wasn’t knitting for much of it either. Mostly I was drinking pints of Strongbow’s and working in a bank which, because they paid me under the table, shall remain nameless. Perhaps it is a mistake to divulge my wetback history should I be inclined some day to run for political office… Naaah, forget it. Campaigning would require too much outlay of energy unless at some point in the future it is possible to do so from one’s own sofa.

Anyway, I was sharing a room with two Australian girls in a hostel off Brompton Road and eventually discovered after too many attempts that spending time in the shared kitchen and TV lounge left one vulnerable to the attentions of some bona fide goofballs. To my rescue came the Marshall Cavendish publishing company with a weekly periodical called Get Knitting. I bought Pack 1 which, along with the first issue of the publication and 12 patterns, supplied a bonus Learn To Knit booklet. Get Knitting was not strictly a magazine though it was sold at newsagents. It was more like a serialized knitting technique book and stitch dictionary. I’ll admit to rushing giddily to my local agency every Tuesday to pick up the newest copy. I still have every issue since it is full of wonderful, practical instruction with colored photos illustrating every technique. I’ve never found a comparable how-to book and have loaned my precious Learn To Knit bonus booklet to several friends.

If I recall, my first pair of needles and yarn came from John Lewis department store. Or maybe it was Debenhams. Anyway, two casein-coated aluminum pointy sticks and some acrylic string and I was off and clicking. One evening as I sat engrossed (and probably entwined) in acrylic one of my Aussie roomies came in for a post-work change into party togs and caught me in the act.

“Aw, knitteeng,” she said. “Moi gran taught me. Oi heaven’t done that een iges.”

The next evening I had company. She bought her own needles and yarn and borrowed one of my, by this time, 36 precious patterns. I can’t remember the girl’s name. I can, however, remember EXACTLY which pattern she borrowed. It was a boxy, crewnecked, mohair pullover with a boldly colored, random geometric design against a charcoal grey background. Intarsia, yes, but a pattern I hoped one day to make. I never saw that pattern again (if you’re out there, whatever your name is, give it back!). It was a striking sweater and I wish I could make one, especially now that 80’s-style clothing is back in vogue.

Granted, I also wish I still had the body to get away with wearing boxy mohair sweaters but one does not make the Varsity Butt Dent Squad by remaining svelte. Skinny little anorexic butts make dents that must be measured with electron microscopes, rather than the official wooden yardstick stipulated in the regulations of the sport (which have until now remained so well-guarded they were not published or even, for that matter, invented). However, we don’t wish to discriminate against the slight in this sport so if you find yourself with an avid interest in seated activities but wear clothing sized in the single digits, we would strongly advise practicing with a stack of 500g Cadbury’s chocolate bars from the nearest Duty Free shop on your lap; as many as you can afford. Remember, depth scores the most points in dent competition with style points awarded for breadth so we also strongly advise you begin eating those chocolate bars but, please, not while you’re handling fibers or library books!

Hey, great news! You’ve made the team. Welcome to the Squad. Call me Coach