Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Things You Learn On The Internet

Every blog I've checked out today instead of doing my work has been like reading personal messages from the Universe to me (egocentric much?). First there was the learn-to-talk-about-sex sermon from Eric Francis (oh geez). Then the Mt. St. Asshat Parable from Tales from the Den of Chaos (blush). And finally, the Why You Suck As A Friend lesson from Just Muttering By Myself. I'm writing this post now because if I don't, I'll have to slide under my desk and start sucking my thumb. Funny thing about asking the Universe to assist you in your quest to become a Better Person. It usually does.

Try this idea on for size. Since sometime within the year after 2 Year Old was born, I have been suffering with itchy, scaly eczema on my neck and throat. Being a New Agey nutjob who ascribes to the "My Body Is Trying To Tell Me Something" school, I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out this supposed message from my smarter-than-my-brain skin.

Too thin skinned? Well, yes, but what's that got to do with my throat?

Spend more time writing because if you don't, you're silencing your voice (voice -- hint, hint)? Well, OK, but other body parts (gut) are saying that's not quite it. (My goodness, what an opinionated body you have, Coach).

OK, let's see. What's astrology got to say about this? Throats are the domain of Taurus so what's going on with the planets and Taurus house in my natal chart... Nope. Big fat blank space there.

OK, so... what, what, what...

What, the Voice thing again? Well, sure, I've had a hoarse voice for the past month because of a virus that just won't seem to go away. Makes it kinda hard to sing along with "Howjadoo" and "Are You Sleeping, Brother John?" while entertaining 2 Year Old in the car.

Hey. Wait a minute. Hard to sing along... Sing...

Hel-LO!!! You're not SINGING anymore. You LOVE to SING (almost as much as you love to SHOUT). Why aren't you singing?

Why, indeed. I used to sing with an amateur chorus in the Boston/Cambridge area called The Spectrum Singers. Before that, I sang in my college chorus, even landing a solo part in Beethoven's Mass in C. My dorm-mates knew me as the girl who sang along with her Phil Collins records at the top of her lungs (hey, that was a long time ago so quit raggin' on my juvenile musical tastes and anyway I bet you still have Duran Duran in your record collection). My whole High School career happened the choir room. I took part in state music competitions and still have all the little gold Wisconsin-shaped medals (yep, gold only -- not even one solitary silver one in the bunch) awarded for each piece performed.

Here's the thing: I don't want to go back to weekly rehearsals after work in the city where there's no place to park. Nor do I miss the extra 2 rehearsals thrown in the week before each of three performances a year. Then there's having to sell $45 tickets to friends who don't really like classical music, especially the choral stuff. I think I need to branch out. And not to karaoke. So what are the options for a suburb-bound working mom with one or two other things on her plate? If you think of anything, let me know. Talk loudly, though, so I can hear you over my singing.

"I can feel it comin' in the air tonight..."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Oh, For Cryin' Out Loud!

Just got the call from the Primary Care Physician's clerk. Apparently my bad cholesterol and triglycerides are slightly elevated to which I must reply,

"Then why the good goddam am I eating 4 vegetarian and 2 fish meals per week? Don't you people know how much work that is?? What is the POINT in working that hard if it ain't gonna do any good???"

Think I'll go sulk tonight with the bucket-o-meatballs I made for 2 Year Old. Sorry sweetie, Mommy's pouting so you can't have these here globules of baked beefy-turkey greasy goodness. Here, have a slab of tofu to play with. If Mommy can't clean out her arteries with the danged stuff she may as well clean it out of some crevice in the family room furniture. Maybe it'll do the sofa more good than it did for Mommy.

Why do I bother?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mission Misunderaccomplished

Though it was probably a mere blip on the national news, the explosion of a chemical plant in Danvers, Massachusetts the day before Thanksgiving has chewed up our local headlines and television newscasts; understandably so. People have been injured, made homeless, and lost employment due to the wee-small-hours event on Wednesday morning. Later that same morning, I heard a story that traveled in the usual manner of oral histories through the cousin of a friend of a coworker and it left me shaking my head. As in most households in the towns abutting Danvers, a little boy and his family were literally shaken from their beds in the middle of the night by the first and greatest explosion. Next they experienced a series of aftershock-like blasts as the inferno raged through the plant. At each explosion, the 5-year-old lad was so terrified that he fainted. According to the storyteller, this little fellow was certain The Terrorists had come to murder him in his bed.

I can't help but make the obvious connection between this little boy's experience and our War On Terror. Think about this: for the child's entire life, we have been at war against terror. His paranoia was inherited as a birthright. He was swaddled in the stuff, as was every child born since the autumn of 2001. His story makes the case that by labeling the war as a fight against a basic human emotion, we have only succeeded in inflating said emotion. It begs the question, "What are we thinking?"

Or perhaps it begs the question, "Why are we thinking?" Can Intelligence (and by that I mean both the act of thinking and the official spying of warfare) do battle with emotion and come out the victor? Personally, I'm not buying it. I've seen too much evidence to the contrary. Terror itself can never be defeated but it is our obligation as moral, responsible, and, yes, feeling adults to seek to mitigate it. From what I've seen, declaring war against it not only fails to make it disappear from the face of the earth, it actually inflates the problem by placing it front and center in the minds of the citizenry, including our children.

Probably I've let the job of motherhood get to me. Accuse me of thinking with my heart instead of my brain on this one but frankly, I think the world could do with a few more people with Hearts For Brains. Especially amongst those in positons of power and leadership.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


2 Year Old has this adorable habit of saying "baby" instead of "berry" which means blueberries are bluebabies, strawberries are strawbabies, and libraries are ryebabies. Naturally.

Here are my Caps To The Capital donations, to date. Obviously, I have started knitting with my box of blue scraps. The criteria for picking colors has nothing to do with the traditional blue or pink for baby boys or girls and everything to do with which storage box lid won't close due to exploding stash. Swear to Goddess, those yarn scraps are making babies themselves. In which case, I'd better start knitting some gift caps for them too. Or is that too incestuous? Too cannibalistic?

Oh, and just to illustrate how extremely qualified I am with my total anal retentiveness to coach a team sport dedicated to said nether region, each cap is being knit with patterns selected sequentially from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (the first in the series, of course). I firmly believe I shall be able to stave off arthritis long enough to knit my way straight through all four of Ms. Walker's treasuries. Hey, she did it, right? Why can't I? This little cap project is the perfect excuse to start my journey. Please do NOT attempt to set me straight with a well thought-out, impressively reasoned, suitably coherent comment. I will de-bench you for insolence. Don't think I won't! And anyone who dares remind me of my decade old declaration to read every Dickens novel sequentially (which floundered eight years ago after the laborious completion of The Old Curiosity Shop) will be suspended until next season.

I have not forgotten my promise to publish a photo of the completed Goldfish sweater. Here it is. Mighty cute, huh? The hated knotting and darning is all but forgotten. It was worth the effort.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Knitting For Myself

I found a new project that's really floating my boat, team. Crawl into your favorite dent, pull up a tall stemmed one, crack open that bag/box/steamer trunk full of scrap yarns and get to work on one or a bunch of these:
Caps To The Capital

I'll post pictures of my finished cap and CIP later. At the moment I'm too gung-ho to wait for all the supporting documentation before spreading the joy around my little corner of the blogosphere. Cap knitting sure beats blocking so you won't be hearing or seeing much in the way of progress on the VK #11 until well after Christmas.

A word to the knit-wise: the instructions provided by Save The Children have you knitting a flat piece then seaming it. I hate sewing seams almost as much as I hate blocking (I consider-er-er-er myself-elf-elf-elf...) so I've been knitting mine in the round on dpn's. In addition, their instructions have you change needle size from the ribbed band to the stockinette crown. Don't bother. It makes a poochy little Rastafarian looking cap. If the concern is being able to keep the cap on a weensy head, it's probably better to just work with one needle size and rib the whole thing. My 2 cents, but isn't that what you expect from your coach?

Getcher butts in gear. I want progress reports. I want to see the numbers on that Per State Participation map (click on the Interactive Map at Caps To The Capital) swelling by the minute! OK, hour. I'll give you some time to produce.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And So To Block

I have arrived at that most dreaded point in the knitting process: the repre-hensible "Block sweater to measure-ments" instruction. Here's a picture of VK Fall 2005 #11 as it exists now and undoubtedly will for many, many more months to come.

If you're unfamiliar with the pattern, the sample sweater was knitted in a flame red bulky wool with a pumpkin orange carrying yarn of kid mohair. Mine is much less striking but I have had the bulky cream wool in stash for a long time and have started and frogged three different sweaters with it. This one seems destined to stay knitted. I sort of like it. Until I put it on, that is. That's always when the lovelight fades. I never like them once they're on. Some day I'll learn that big poufy pullovers sporting chunky cables knit with bulky wool rarely flatter boobs and bulges. Oh but that honeymoon phase while they're being knitted is so sweet! So I keep falling for them again and again and again. One of these days, I'll knit a sweater that makes me look tall, thin and twenty-two. Really. It's going to happen. I know it will.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Are You Sitting Down?

As you have probably surmised based on the links at the side of this page, I am an armchair astrologer. Last week brought me a message from the cosmos that is almost eerily textbook. Mercury (the communication planet) was retrograde (bringing messages from the past) in my 5th house (of children, love affairs, and fun) of Scorpio (that malevolent secretive bastard). Are you sitting down? Because, really, this is almost spooky.

The following is annotated with the associated astrology:
Unless you're avid readers of O Magazine and saw my letter to the editor in the March 2004 issue, most of you do not know that 2 Year Old was conceived via in-vitro fertilization. On Wednesday last week I got a bill in the mail (Mercury) from the fertility clinic for crygogenic preservation. Turns out the May 2003 (retrograde) procedure that produced 2 Year Old also produced 3 embryos (5th house) that have been shivering in deep freeze unbeknownst to me because no one bothered (malevolent secretive bastards) to tell me about it.

Nice huh? Just open your mailbox one day, all unsuspecting like, and find out your days of baby-making are, contrary to the accumulation of grey hair, wrinkles and drooping menopot, not at all over. Well, I got hysterical naturally. Wouldn't you?

I have options. Of course I have options! Three of them!

Option The First is to thaw them and dump them. Probably in Boston Harbor, right? Because where else does all the medical waste end up (yeah, yeah, I know, the Jersey shore but it has to start from somewhere).

Option The Second is to donate them to science. In fact, this particular clinic donates to a research project at Harvard which means I could honestly tell people that three of my kids went to an ivy league school. And it didn't cost me a penny!

Option The Third is to thaw them and implant them.

As long as we're so close to election day, let's add another question to the ballot. What should Coach do with her three ice lollies? Use 'em or loose 'em? Harvard the fast, sure and cost-free way or Harvard the long, slow, painful, expensive, against-the odds, only slightly potential but infinitely more entertaining way?

Disclaimer: Lest my husband think he is cut out of the decision loop, I must inform you that none of your votes count for anything because his and mine are the only ones that matter; therefore, this referendum is non-binding. He is probably horrified that I have gone semi-public with what was so recently a source of major anguish for me and for him as well. Because he is himself a Scorpio and is adept at the sign's more sympathetic sensitive side, he will be feeling all of this very deeply. Since he is both a Scorpio and British, he would likely prefer to keep his private personal business exactly that. Private. Secret, in fact. But not, of course, in any way that might be construed as malevolent or bastardly.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I've Got The Blogging Blues

Blogger's remorse? Post-publish depression? The more I surf and read others' blogs, the more I wonder why I am doing this. There are some damned clever and funny people out there. People who write better than I, knit better than I, hell, they probably even sit better than I do. How much can a person write about sitting and still expect the occasional cousin to log in and read about it?

Ah, well. I shall sit and ponder this another time.

Actually, this is just the latest variation on the classic What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up obsession. It's navel-gazing at its most tiresome and egotistical. Man, do I wish I could say something like "I've always wanted to save the Piping Plover" or "I feel it's my mission to spread literacy to children in the farthest reaches of jungle and savanna" but truthfully, I really just want to make some kind of measurable mark on the world; to leave a piece of myself behind in some creative, beautiful and inspiring way. Shame I wasn't born a genius. It sucks to be so full of one's untalented self.

And it sucks even more to read about it so we'll wrap up this subject right now.

2 Year Old had a full-on stereotypical toddleresque tantrum this morning when I denied her a Skittles and Tootsie Roll breakfast. I mean, she was on her belly on the floor, kicking her feet and pounding the vinyl with her little fists. It was way cute, actually, because I could see it coming. She was quite sleepy as I carried her downstairs but she perked right up the minute we hit the kitchen. I knew instantly that she was searching for her pumpkin bucket full of last night's Halloween spoils. Her little face arranged itself into an expression of aren't I the absolute picture of perfect prissy sweetness. If her language skills were suitably advanced I could just imagine her saying, "Oh dearest mother, would you be so kind as to allow me to have some candy please for my breakfast? It would be simply too wonderful of you and I would be ever so grateful!"

What she actually managed to say was "Where is it?" She knew I knew what she meant. We've got that mom-kid thang goin' on. What she doesn't yet understand is the level of deception to which I am willing to sink for her health and welfare. I pretended not to understand what she was looking for.

"I'll put Dora on," I said. That usually does the trick. Tidal wave of moodiness threatening to swamp the household? Play a Dora The Explorer DVD. Hyperactivity in danger of canceling nap? Queue up Dora from the cable On Demand menu. Asking a question that begs not to be answered? Drag out the book Dora's Backpack and pretend it's just as exciting to read for the 724th time as it was the first.

None of that will work today, Mommy. Not with the strange and wonderous new knowledge that when I dress up like a bunny and knock on neighbors' doors, they give me a whole lot more candy than you and Daddy let me eat in one sitting. Somewhere, oh! somewhere if I were only tall enough to see, there's an orange plastic pumpkin fully loaded with partially hydrogenated high fructose cavity precursors. If I act really, reeeeally sweet Mommy will believe I actually need more sugar to stay this way. Surely, she'll fall for this, won't she? I mean, she keeps falling for the just one more book before bed routine, doesn't she? (Not very bright, this Mommy lady, bless her.)

So, full-blown In Case You've Forgotten, I'm Two tantrum this morning. Sooooo cute. Almost as cute as this: