Thursday, January 30, 2014


The mitten I made that I thought was kid-sized is too tight in the thumb for my 4th grader. Hm. The ones I made for myself were the next size up. So I'll have to split the difference to make hers the right size. This could require notes and counting. Possibly some swearing.

Speaking of math, we invited the world over to watch the Superbowl on Sunday. This is funny because we don't have a big tv. We have a 19"er that we bought at the downtown Oakland Sears store a year or two before Kat was born, so it's at least 14 years old. We also don't have a large living room. Nod announced this morning that we'd be moving the tv and the couch around to accommodate the guesting horde. This is going to be fun! I don't think the chicken wings will hold out very long. I bought two pkgs of fresh and one of frozen and am wondering about roasting them the day before and just warming them up on Sunday. We'll have a table for the buffeting and a cooler for ice and sodas. Can you tell I'm trying not to panic about the cleaning required beforehand?

Katyboo contemplates "the overwhelming drudgery and ultimate futility of life ". Despite my fear of pre-Superbowl housework, I am not quite there. Generally when feeling lowly I contemplate the evanescence of life. Or the oh-so-brief flashes of awareness, pleasure, and clarity we all experience. Each is transcendent but in between is a lot of dross. And we're gone so fast. Even those who live to an advanced age have said goodbye to so many earlier selves. This morning I did my planks and my bouncing and it was good. Operation dontbuyanycandy is going okay in whoa! it's already day three. Face is still scabby and lumped. But just in the one location.

Middlesex is good reading. I like that it is separated into books. Now that I'm into the middle it's ticking along. The sexual development of the narrator is a definite pull. I'm trying to observe that anticipation/unveiling and decide what its purpose is.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Last post was to remind me to move towards endorphins. I was watching tv and eating sweets and drinking beer and realized that it wasn't making me happy. Where's my pleasure? More effort is needed at this time of limited sun/outside time. Since then I have done some trampolining and I sat and knitted in the sun for over an hour on Sunday. The arctic air came back that night so effort is still required. I also had a large deep area of acne occur on the left side of my chin. I've replaced my lotion with the most neutral stuff I can find and am babying my face. It occurred to me on Monday that I might want to try cutting down on sugar until my face is better. So unfair! was my immediate reaction. If only I had someone else to blame for telling me to eat less sugar. I will keep it in my mind as an option and enjoy observing all this teenage resentment. I am not buying any candy right now. Let the skin get better.

I now have two mittens my size and one kid-sized one. That may take care of my knitting jones for a while. Although... the sweater I made two thirds of still takes up most of my knitting bag. Last year I failed in several attempts to interpret the pattern in order to join the sleeves. I have thought about pitching the pattern and seeing if I can join the sleeves without it. At this point I don't have anything to lose.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Reminder: light box, coffee, and muscle movement. Music, lotion, and fruit. It's cold and there's not enough sunlight and I need all these things. Weekend will be reasonable, 40s to 50s for highs. And then Monday and Tuesday's highs are forecast in the teens. grrrrrrrr.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Forced march

I realized last night that I need to make a change in my knitting terminology. There is a technique that sounds like the simplest thing in the world to do: "slip stitches onto stitch holder". Doesn't that sound like the stitches will travel smoothly downhill to their new temporary home, with smiles on their faces? Perhaps it could be done one-handed. But in my experience the stitches are loath to leave their home needle and in transition would rather unravel or split on the point of the new holder. They are recalcitrant and sullen. They do not "slip" to the holder but require a carefully aimed stab-slide to get each stitch over. While I was feeling frustrated I realized that matching my terms to more realistic expectations would reduce my anger. New possible wording: march stitches at gunpoint to new holder. Force/impel/stuff stitches onto holder. I think I have settled on "cram stitches onto stitch holder". It's economical, same number of letters, and lets me know what I'm in for.

I thought I could use slightly larger knitting needles and bulkier yarn and make adult sized mittens. However I ended up with a giant oven mitt-sized mitten. Acrylic yarn won't shrink at all so I ripped it back and started over. Now I have one reasonable adult-sized mitten and have started the second.

Cooking has fallen off my radar for the moment. I suppose the rise in knitting corresponds. Maybe I only have a limited amount of traditional women's work in me. Once it's spent there's no more. Noodles and jarred marinara sauce is keeping Kat alive. Bun is working through a package of hotdogs. Both girls are eating school lunches. Kat says she'd like to get back to making lunches but then tells me she wants to get grocery store veggie sushi. It's expensive and fine for a treat but we'll have to come up with some other
quotidian lunch fodder.

I am waiting for more sun and more warm. This is the armpit of winter and yes I would go south if I had big pots of money.

Reading an off-hand reference to "the ideas of Bentham" I followed some bread crumbs and ended up at the University College London site. Not only do they remember Jeremy Bentham there for his Utilitarian ideas and writing (of which I don't have enough understanding to comment) they also enjoy the company of his auto-icon. It is his skeleton dressed in his clothes (or replicas) with a wax head. The actual head was preserved, badly, and exhibited (with bright blue glass eyes) under the chair on which his simulacrum sits. So many places I could put exclamation points in that sentence. After student shenanigans in the 70s the actual head was removed to more secure and possibly more respectful storage out of public view. But we can all still enjoy the auto-icon. Another thing to go see when I get to London next.

You may know that duck penises are shaped like corkscrews and are as long as a third of the bird's body length. But why? This UCL page discusses the reasons and the surprising fact that while female ducks are often subject to forced copulation they rarely have offspring as a result. They are overwhelmingly likely to have offspring from chosen mates. Oh internet, I love you.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

No Skip

Bun tells me about the Disney channel show she just watched. "And when the twins get grounded for six weeks one of their good friends says that she will visit them every day. 'Wow, that's really nice of you,' says Twin 1. 'Well yeah, and I'll get to see all the baby snakes come out of the couch!' replies good friend."

Kat and I are a little confused. Once the pregnant python's visit to the couch is added it makes more (in a Disney tv script sense) sense. I advise Bun to start with the snake in the couch next time. Storytelling is a challenge for me too.

In case I need them, possible pet names.  Folly, Sukey, Hambone, Margarine, Cockalorum.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


In the middle of my fourth (!) Ruth Downie mystery, Semper Fidelis. I am surprised by how I keep on with this series. She's got a good grab bag of elements and a light touch. I wonder if she (or her spouse) was ever in the military. Am looking forward to starting Middlesex.

Am doing an Alice in Wonder jigsaw puzzle that Nod got me last birthday. I've been thinking of it fondly all this time and now the spheres aligned. With the Christmas tree gone we have room for puzzles on the card table and it's winter so that lessens the moral peril of staring at colored bits of cardboard for hours. It's a charming image and the box (in the form of a book) is darling too. My only reservation in recommending it is that it has thin pieces, the kind you have to be careful not to bend.

I would like to start knitting a new pair of mittens. They were my first project when I taught myself to knit and Bun still wears them. Proud. Ideally I would make them oversized out of fuzzy wool and then felt (boil) them down to soft and approaching waterproof.

Great galloping cats  --  it's mini sweaters.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rise and Shine

I have no migraine, no cold and no nausea. Repeating this to myself should help with the self pity that has reared its ugly head. I feel my full 46 years and am still pouting after yoga yesterday. Yoga is very challenging. It always is whether one is 18 and as limber as a dandelion or ...ahem, a little older and stiffer. I haven't done any since, was it last summer? During the session on Sunday I found it very frustrating at times. The teacher corrected my hands and arms in down dog. Afterwards I felt sullen and sleepy. Then I ate an orange and drank a glass of water and had to admit that I felt more stretchy than before. The bad attitude got better. I might do it again.

I have been getting up and jumping on the tramp for a few minutes every morning to help me wake up. It works to get the juices flowing. It doesn't qualify as a complete exercise regimen but it can't hurt. Sometimes I sit down on the mini trampoline and do butt bounces. I have to flap my arms to keep the momentum going. It makes me laugh.

Our girls and some of the other kids from the neighborhood worked up a performance of What Does The Fox Say? They practiced for a week and we got to see the big performance last night. It was a hoot and a half. Kat played piano chords but I swear she was in the wrong key. The slow spinning lift of Oscar (the fox) by Daniel with some LED spots was extremely brilliant. And Bun (the cat) beamed from every pore while singing and dancing along. Oscar's dad told me afterwards, "We have the best kids!" I had to agree. They are extremely entertaining.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Katyboo reveals her secret for raising self sufficient children: have them get themselves ready for school in the morning. She says that this is not a recipe for a peaceful easy life but should, in time, yield good experience for the kids in self management. I struggle with this. My kids need practice at making plans and getting themselves out the door. Do I dare let them make mistakes that could make them late to school? Generally not because in that case I'm probably also going to be late to work. They will need to take the lead as they get older. It's a good subject for thought.

I also ask myself what is the proper amount of parental supervision for schoolwork. On Saturday Bun worked on her report on pie. (I love that she selected pie as her subject.) This was the tail end of the holiday break but still acceptable I thought. She made good progress and got about a third of the work done that she needed to. She said it was easier than she had expected it to be. All of us were pleased. On Sunday I chivvied her to get started with the rest of the report. Somehow she oozed away from it. By suppertime nothing had been done and I felt thunderous. Then we got the news that school was cancelled for Monday because of the cold temperatures (high of 5F with superduper windchills). A reprieve. Work was not cancelled so on Monday when I came home for lunch I reminded Bun of her report work that remained. In the evening I found that she had not got it done. So the tv went off and I spent the next 90 minutes keeping her on task. No, don't play with the dog/jump on the trampoline/tell me about a story you read, just do your work. I'd rather lick walls.

I struggled in school with putting off reports and feeling very overwhelmed by them. I know I need to set my own experience aside and support my actual kids and their actual challenges. But oh boy do I want to help them not make my mistakes.

Went to see The Jerk at Liberty Hall and lo, it was very silly. I loved Patty Bernstein, that character was a total surprise to me. Finding your special purpose has never been more meaningful.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Get it right

Getting the image right-aligned was much more difficult than I expected. Here is the page I found that gave the css html code to do it. And it gives me more options including splitting the header between the title and image too. It's good to have choices.

I would like to move towards expression of ideas that lift the hair on the back of my neck. I need to be making some art. I started typing 'some sort of weird art' but it doesn't need any qualification. Make yer art, dammit. I may be about to write some poetry. Stand back.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Crank on

I like rituals and seasonal landmarks that help us feel oriented in the dance of time. Nonetheless I find myself disappointed in a cooking website that goes from December cookies to January breakfast smoothies. I wouldn't mind a veggie stir fry, I don't think. Moving on, probably should let go of other's dumb blogging decisions. I will confirm two facts: I did buy more butter; I am cranky today.

I intend to get through Blood Magic by Gratton before the discussion next Tuesday. I put it aside at Christmas because it was annoying me rather than warming the cockles. I told someone that it was clashing with the season but that's bullshit. Because I went back to a violent modern noir novel instead. (Can recommend the first half only:  Nobody Move.) Blood Magic is rolling along and I'm only arguing with it a little bit.

American Hustle on NYE was a big success, we had a great time. Kat asked to go with us but we left her at home with her cat sitting and an R movie (The Bling Ring, she doesn't recommend it and I am not sure if I feel guilty about letting her watch it.) So glad we didn't have to deal with the reactions of a bright 12 year old. Almost everyone in the cast was too young to play their parts but they all did a fab job and I can't argue. Sidney's clothes were disco nightclub ready at all times. I am sure those plunging necklines were not daytime looks. But again, the costuming was a broad interpretation. And hell it was plenty entertaining. I hope Amy Adams enjoyed the swindling stripper role.

The Eve also brought me a song that got my attention. I thought I almost recognized the woman's singing voice but no, I've not been aware of The Essex Green before. This is the one that caught my ear and I wrote down the chorus, "arrows and bows aiming everywhere we go" to be able to find it