Rhymes With Fuchsia

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boy of Mystery

Taz is obsessed with Halloween. He talks about it all year round: it could be June or January, and out of the blue he will say, "Not gonna go Halloween." "Not gonna" is his way of saying "I really want to, but in my experience you're probably about to tell me no." And, it being June or January, of course we have to tell him, no, we're not going out for Halloween today. (We know his teachers have gotten tired of hearing about Halloween, because now and then he will say, "we're not gonna talk about Halloween today.")

So, when it actually is Halloween, it seems like the least we can do to take him out. I put him in his stroller this evening, draping over the back of it a cheesy plastic vampire cape we bought I forget how many years ago, and off we went. We usually do just a few houses, but at least he gets to go out for Halloween.

Only he didn't seem that into it. We went to three houses, and he did allow at one point that he preferred chocolate, but he didn't smile or get the face on that he does when he's really excited about something, and/or he's plotting mischief. I took him back home with his candy and he went to sleep soon thereafter.

A little while ago while I was changing his diaper he looked up at me drowsily and said, "Not gonna go Halloween." Was the experience not what he expected? Should we have stayed out longer? When he talks about Halloween does he have something quite different in mind? At his old K-2 school (where he stayed through what would ordinarily have been his fourth-grade year) they always had a big Halloween parade with all the kids; is that what he's thinking of? Or is Halloween just something he randomly repeats at this point?

I wish I knew.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Between having to work today and spending the evening making phone calls, I've gotten very little knitting done today. I will therefore show you a random picture and ramble at you briefly before calling it a night.

As a general rule, I would rather undergo a root canal than call people I don't know and ask them questions that are none of my business. Earlier this evening, however, I went over to a local office to make phone calls for Obama, which may give you some idea of how I feel about this election. I got one lady who said she wasn't voting Democratic, a few wrong numbers, and a bunch of answering machines. Still, as the man in charge assured me, even identifying the wrong numbers is valuable, as it winnows the list. I think I know how I will be spending my weekend.

Fluffy is here purring loudly and trying to climb on the keyboard. I think she wants my vote. Or maybe cat food. It's hard to tell with her.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Truth Is Not In Them

A few weeks ago, chancing across a bin of $1 oddballs in a yarn store, I promptly collected a bunch of nice-looking wool ones to use for Pine Street Inn squares. When I started the first one this morning I discovered that 1) I wasn't quite as enamored with the yarn as I'd thought 2) I'd vastly overestimated the number of stitches I'd need. Persevering, and having been assured that the yarn was fine, I ripped out and started again with fewer stitches, but not quite few enough, as the second try was still about 9 1/2 inches wide. Having some experience in these matters, however, I bound it off when it was about 8 1/2 inches long, knowing that I could even it out in blocking.

So there was my first square. As soon as I had bound it off I picked up another ball of the same yarn in another color and cast on another square on the same needles, with four fewer stitches this time. Since I was getting a little over three stitches to the inch, that should put me a bit under nine inches, just right for pre-block size.

Wait a minute. Doesn't that look a little... um... small?

Why, yes, it does, and there's a reason for that: it is narrower. About two and a half inches narrower than the first one, in fact.

Now, I had always thought that the lurid tales I'd heard of egregious falsehoods perpetrated by gauge swatches originated in knitterly wishful thinking: if it's close enough, and if you squint, and maybe squish or stretch it just a teeny bit, the gauge will be fine. Really, perfectly fine.

To all the knitters who cried, "But I got gauge!" and whom I comforted sympathetically while smirking sideways, "bet you didn't really," I offer my sincere apologies and ironclad proof: for what does a charity square resemble more closely than a big swatch?

And what, therefore, is a swatch?

A dirty, filthy, stinking liar, that's what.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is ten favorite scary movies. I am not a big fan of scary movies, and I haven't seen very many, especially of the kind whose primary purpose is to be scary. I once saw about half of Jaws; for the other half I had a fine view of the gum stuck to the theater floor. And I saw The Birds at summer camp about a hundred years ago: in the fullness of time I have gotten pretty good at not remembering much of it.

I'm not too keen on downer movies, either, or for that matter downer fiction of any kind. If you want to be depressed, for heaven's sake read the daily paper; for distraction I prefer my knitting and a little light romance. Despite my best efforts, however, I have seen some truly excellent downer movies, some of which I would even watch again, so that's what I'm going with.

Ten Depressing But Excellent Movies
  1. Casualties of War. Grant kept asking me to go see this in a theater, and I kept saying no, I wasn't in the right frame of mind; by the time I was, we rented the video. And a good thing, too: I don't know that I could have stood to watch it on the big screen.
  2. Clean and Sober. I once asked my dad if he'd seen this movie; he was doing a lot of prisoner advocacy work at the time, and he replied, "Only about two dozen times." Despite delivering a message and a cautionary tale, it's still a really good movie. Michael Keaton and Morgan Freeman both give stellar performances, even better than usual.
  3. Sophie's Choice. Usually I read good books over and over; the novel Sophie's Choice I read at one sitting (staying up all night) and have never opened again. I've seen the movie only once also, and that too was enough, but I'm glad to have seen it that once.
  4. The Accused. This is probably in my all-time top five movies.
  5. Nuit et Brumaire (Night and Fog). A 1955 French documentary about the Holocaust, it's extremely powerful. I haven't seen it since high school, and I'm not sure I'm up for seeing it again.
  6. Dead Man Walking. I never had much respect for Sean Penn until I saw this movie. You should see it if you haven't, but even more, you should read the book. It's a both clear-eyed assessment of some really nasty criminals and as powerful an indictment of our criminal-justice system as I've ever read.
  7. A Streetcar Named Desire. Southern gothic at its best. And worst. And best.
  8. Silence of the Lambs. This one is on Carole's list of scary movies. I don't think of it as scary because, while parts of it are very scary and most of it is creepy, that's sort of incidental to the story and the character development, which are amazing. Not surprising, really, when a movie stars Jodie Foster or Anthony Hopkins, never mind both of them.
  9. Dog Day Afternoon. As best I recall, this is not a long movie, but it conveys the sense of a very long, very hot day. You know that it will not end well, and you can't look away.
  10. The Laramie Project. All right, this is cheating, since it's a play, not a movie. We saw a local high-school production of it about a year ago. We would almost certainly have remained blissfully ignorant of it had the local bigots not made a huge fuss about it in the town rag, motivating us to go see if it was worth all the offstage drama. It was, and we'll be forever grateful to the bigots and to the high-school administration who stood firm against them. If you get a chance to see this play, take it.

On to lighter topics (please). Having been informed of the deadline change for Red Scarf (thank you, dear readers, for rescuing my clueless self), I'm taking a hiatus from scarves to knit Pine Street Inn squares. I'm realizing a few rows in that I grossly overestimated the number of stitches needed for a nine-inch square. It always takes a bit of trial and error.


Monday, October 27, 2008

How Did This Happen?

The deadline for Red Scarf is this Friday. I have of course known this for ages now, since it looked like all kinds of time, and I had grand plans for knitting the maximum five scarves in all manner of clever patterns. I was therefore distressed to discover last night that Meander was 45 inches long, which meant that I had some serious knitting to do and no time to waste. With this in mind I relaxed my usual policy of winding yarn by hand so as not to stress it too much, and I used my swift and winder to ball up the second skein of yarn.

I'm not quite sure what went wrong here — I think the outside end may have worked through the middle without my noticing, and in trying to pull yarn out I caused the whole thing to disintegrate into a tangle. But I persevered, unsnarling as I went, and eventually decided to find out exactly how much trouble I was in here.

I have been working on this diligently, but I would not have said I had knitted 11 inches. The Yarn Goddess is obviously playing some kind of weird mind game with me.

I'll take it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reprise for an FO

Wild Thing!

You make my heart sing.

You make everything


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Sky: Am I Blue

Blue sky, blue flowers. Bluer map every day, but it ain't over till it's over.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rude, Crude and Socially Unacceptable

But hilarious.

(Seriously. Not safe for work, not safe for kids.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Words cannot convey to you how happy I will be when this election is over. I am obsessed, I tell you. I love you, I love your blog, but I cannot seem to process anything not connected to politics, much less form coherent sentences, even about politics. There will be lots of pictures for a while. Here is one of me with Dave the Wheelwright. Dave would not dream of claiming to live in a no-spin zone.

Dave for President!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fairy Thread

This is the most amazing thing I bought at Rhinebeck. It's angora/silk laceweight from Skaska Designs, 100 grams, 1200 yards, I think. I don't remember the exact yardage, but over 1000, anyway. More than 10 yards per gram. Truly, I am not worthy. If I work for a year with some of the other laceweight in my possession, which resembles a hawser by comparison, I may feel marginally able to do this yarn justice.

I can imagine worse fates.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Ten of the Best Meals I've Ever Eaten
  1. Dinner at the Chateau Castel Novel, Varetz, France. The best meal of my entire life, hands down. There were seven courses, including, among other things, liver pâté, roasted quail, and some sort of amazing soufflé of I don't even remember what.
  2. Lobster picnic in Yarmouth, Maine. Family laughter, lobster, and drawn butter. Nothing else needed.
  3. Lunch at the Maison Robert in Boston. The specifics of the food entirely escape me, but it was really good. I do recall this mystical engraving in the ladies' room: O mickle is the power of plants herbs stones and their true qualities shit fuck. Words to live by.
  4. Sunday brunch at the Snow Squall, South Portland, Maine. A diversity of eggs, including Benedict, something with spinach, sausage, pancakes, all far too yummy.
  5. Dinner at my oldest friend's wedding. Cajun(ish) chicken grilled on site, some sort of delicious wild-rice salad, all in the open air, with champagne. No warmed-over mystery meat to be found.
  6. Christmas dinner at my stepgrandmother's: they all blur together, and they were all fabulous. Turkey, mashed potatoes, squash, peas, pearl onions, and, later, pecan, apple, or pumpkin pie to die for. (In one memorable instance, fraught in the midst of her cooking frenzy, she used cashews instead of pecans. Such was her culinary grace that even cashew pie was actually pretty good.)
  7. Morning-after-wedding brunch for a coworker/friend of Grant's and his new bride, outside Rochester, New York. The food at the wedding itself was unremarkable, as best I recall, although since there was an open bar for at least six hours I wouldn't imagine many people noticed one way or the other. (Since I don't drink I had the intriguing experience of being the only cold-sober person in a room full of inebriates, many of whom were one passing zephyr away from face-planting into the carpet.) The brunch, however, was something else. The variety of food bewildered, but I only remember the crab legs. I had never had crab legs before, much less for breakfast.
  8. Dinner at Max's, or maybe it's Maxwell's, somewhere near Newfane, Vermont. What sticks in my mind are the grilled endives. We would never have thought of grilling an endive ("And just what were you doing in the lettuce patch? We saw you talking to that Romaine!"), and now we do them at home as soon as grilling season starts.
  9. Brunch at Margo's in Shelburne Falls. Sadly, it's now defunct. We fondly recall the sweet-potato home fries.
  10. Dinner at Candeloro's, Manchester, Vermont. I've known chicken mole, I've eaten my share of chicken mole, and this was the most spectacular chicken mole I've ever encountered. Apparently they marinate the chicken in rosemary and lime juice. (I think it's rosemary. Or maybe garlic? This is why I would never make it as a chef.)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Here lies what's left of Brothers Lehman,
Who, had they signed on as merchant seamen,
Wouldn't have left us in this plight:
I'm sleeping atop my cash tonight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing

Blogstars travel incognito, magnificent in colors I can never wear.

There is lots and lots of fiber.

Lamas step out on parade...

and make one giant leap for lamakind.

Norma is resplendent in her new sweater.

The Ravelmeisters agree to be seen in the same picture with me. (I am the goofy-looking one.)

The trees give knitted finery a run for its money.

Finally, we hit the road. We are sad that it is all over, but we soon discover that the experience is, if not exactly still with us...

at least traveling in the same direction.

It was wonderful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Whirlwind Tour

Last spring when we were talking about Fiber Frolic, I threatened to drag Lisa to Rhinebeck. I promptly forgot all about this, and so did she, until I was looking through old email a couple of weeks ago. Rather than simply let sleeping dogs lie, I promptly emailed Lisa, who promptly agreed that of course she had to come to Rhinebeck. So she drove for three hours down to my house yesterday, and I flung her and Miss B into the car at an ungodly hour this morning and drove to the fairgrounds, arriving a bit later than we'd planned but before the STR ran out.

Lisa is a trouper, obviously, with remarkable adaptive abilities.

She met Beth...

and Franklin.

We tried to figure out how these irises got confused.

I failed to crack under enormous pressure to buy Miss B a bunny. (Look at that face. How could I resist that face? Only through years of practice.)

For Sandy, who is ten feet away as I write.

There was so much more I cannot even begin to tell you, especially if I expect to post this while it's still technically Saturday. Tune in tomorrow when we return for day two of the adventure.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fabulous Friday




This might be a pretty good weekend.

(Any blurriness is not at all the subject's fault, being entirely due to lack of functional brain cells on the part of the photographer.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rhinebeck Brain

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

--Tom Petty

Hours until we leave for Rhinebeck: 31
Projects I'm bringing: at least 2
Wheels we're bringing: 2
Percentage of brain not occupied with anticipation: vanishingly small

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Missing Something

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Artists/Bands That Remind Me of High School

In my usual way, I made this a little more difficult by restricting it to artists/bands that I have a reasonable chance of hearing now — they can't remind me of high school if I don't hear them, now can they? — either because they still get airplay or because I own one or more of their CDs. When I think back to what I listened to most in high school, for example, the first name that comes to mind is (brace yourself) John Denver, but luckily he never gets played, at least on the stations I listen to.

If a couple of bands seem to have wandered in from someone else's list, it's because my oldest friend's tastes ran (and run) to considerably harder rock than mine. And my very first boyfriend played in a rock band: I can still see him leap into the air, land and belt out with great enthusiasm, "I wanna rock and roll all night and party e-ve-ry day!" It was a short-lived romance. I believe he now lives in Vermont and works in software.

  1. Elton John
  2. Linda Ronstadt
  3. Gordon Lightfoot
  4. James Taylor
  5. Aerosmith
  6. Kiss
  7. Beach Boys
  8. Beatles
  9. Simon, with or without Garfunkel
  10. Don McLean
Ever notice how many of these ToT's reveal how dated I am? That's why Elton John is first on my list: I can only wish to be so durable.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Full Alert

What was he looking at? I have no idea. Whatever it was, its every move was under close surveillance.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sphere of Influence

To hear the pundits tell it, the world may be coming to an end, if various nations can't figure out a way to bring the economy back from the dead (where is Miracle Max when you need him?), or if the election comes out the wrong way, or if the price of oil goes up, or maybe down. I myself have been thinking that if McCain gets elected it may be time to modify my speech patterns, eh? If you are of like mind, you may enjoy this handy video.

But as Crazy Aunt Purl noted last week, there is very little a normal person can do about a lot of this. I can do whatever is legal and within my daily decreasing means to support the candidates of my choice, but in the end, I'm just one voter. On the financial crisis, I don't even get a vote, which is just as well since I haven't a clue which, if any, of the proposed remedies will work.

Like a lot of other people, in uncertain times I turn to things I can control, like knitting. With knitting I can start when I want, end when I want, and make something beautiful, or at least usable, where a mass of random wool existed before. I, a humble knitter, can reverse the law of entropy. (Some people who happen to be my husband might suggest that I should apply this awesome power to certain perhaps less than pristine areas of our house. I try to ignore him. Moving right along...)

Both scarves are coming along nicely. I can get about eight rows of Meander done during a commute, and Wild Thing has been getting me through baseball games. I'll also be starting the Pine Street Inn squares soon.

Making what difference I can, one stitch at a time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Scarlet and gold cloaked
The old queen rides, westward bound
Too soon she'll wear white.

More here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Foliage

After a wet summer we're having a glorious autumn; rumor has it that all that water will help the trees hang onto their leaves longer. No leaf-peeping tours for me: I'm lucky enough to have a panoply of color right in my back yard.

This tree in the corner is always the first one to turn, and it's often so quick to lose its leaves that I miss it. Not this year, though. Colors galore.

There are still flowers if you're willing to get small. I don't know the name of this (Alwen? Lisa?), but I'd always considered it a dull little weed, never having looked at it too closely. Now that I have, I'm revising my opinion.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Knitters I Knit With

Erica is knitting a sweater. I am about to eat an egg sandwich.

Amy is inexplicably not working on her lace thing. It's a shame, because it's quite lovely.

Britt shows off her gorgeous purple scarf.

Not one to seek out photo ops, Kate gives me the hairy eyeball.

Through all of this Nicole knits away, listening, and occasionally talking, but always knitting. No wonder she gets so much done.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Monday, October 06, 2008

Time To Get Out My Stitch Dictionaries

As Lisa reminds me, in addition to the Red Scarf Project I will be knitting squares for the second annual Pine Street Inn Knit-a-Thon. Last year I came late to the party, and my goals were correspondingly modest (ten squares and $200 raised). This year I hope to do better: I'm setting goals of knitting 20 squares and raising $500 through my donation page.

Let's make this a contest, shall we? (Btw, Abigail, I need your postal address.) Or rather two contests.

Contest 1: the standard fundraising contest. For every $10 you donate, I will put your name in a hat for some nice knitting-related loot (or, if the winner happens not to be a knitter, I'll think of something).

Contest 2: how many squares will I knit? Keep in mind that last year I knitted my ten squares in about a week, and this year I have about five weeks (but I also have other works in progress). Also note that if I get to 20 squares before November 9 I won't necessarily stop. Not even I know the answer to this one. The winner will receive some yarn and/or roving to be named later.

Good luck!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

So Much Knitting, So Little Time

Meander is now closing in on two feet long and has made it to Ravelry. I'm almost back to where I was on Wild Thing when disaster struck. Let's hear it for bulky yarn and mindless knitting — but not entirely mindless: I am still using a safety line and checking obsessively on every row to make sure all my stitches are still there.

Now I will have to see what other housekeeping tasks I can perform to avoid watching the Red Sox game. It's currently tied in the top of the eighth; I hate close games, especially in the postseason. If I were watching my fingernails would be gnawed down to the second knuckle by now.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pie in the Sky

My uncle and aunt live in an apple orchard in southern New Hampshire, and that's where we went apple-picking today. We all enjoyed ourselves, none more than Taz, who surprised us by biting into the first apple he picked. Normally a finicky and erratic eater (he gets tube feedings because he doesn't eat enough by mouth), lately he's been on a tear, chowing down on pizza, cheeseburger and cookies, and now apples. Well, part of one apple, anyway. Go, Taz!

More pictures here.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Have you ever thought of a song that you don't even like that much and then been unable to get it out of your head all day? I've done something even worse: mentally changed the lyrics to a song that already had fairly high earworm potential, and now I will think of it whenever I hear a certain word. This has been driving me insane, and, generous person that I am, I want to drive you insane too.

Do not read the rest of this post.



Click away now.

I mean it.

All right, it's on your own head. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Though I've tried before to ask her
Of the tax plans she has for us in her heart
Every single time I hear her
I just lose my lunch
As I've done from the start

Every other word she says is maverick,
Listening to her lies just makes me scream,
How could Johnny Mac have made this sad pick,
Please tell me it's all an awful dream

Do I have to tell the story
Of the thousand earmarks she went out to get
Or the famous Bridge to Nowhere
Don't want any island dwellers getting wet

Every other word she says is maverick,
Listening to her lies just makes me scream,
How could Johnny Mac have made this sad pick,
Please tell me it's all an awful dream

I resolve to call her up a thousand times a day
And ask her to explain again her maver-icky way
See, Alaska is near Russia
So she knows that foreign stuff
If she had to talk to Putin
She would sure talk tough enough

Every other word she says is maverick,
Listening to her lies just makes me scream,
How could Johnny Mac have made this sad pick,
Please tell me it's all an awful dream

Every other word she says
Every other word she says
maverick, maverick, maverick,
maverick, maverick, maaaaaaa-verick!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

276 Down, 90 To Go

Have I really blogged for 276 days in a row? It doesn't seem possible, and yet it's true. Tonight, however, having just staggered home from town meeting, I'll observe the tradition, but I warn you not to expect wit. At least the good guys won, so we endured a dull evening in a good cause. Best moment of the night: pro and con sides give their presentations on the first article, and the moderator says he'll take questions before debate. Questions 1-4 are on technical matters. Fifth question, by a woman named Elizabeth: "can we vote now?" Which we did. Talk about getting things done. If you want to run for selectman, Elizabeth, you've got my vote.

I did get some knitting done on Meander. Second-best moment: we stand to vote, and the crochet hook I've been using as a cable needle falls out of my lap and rolls under the seat in front of me. You wouldn't think something that small would clank that much.

Speaking of debates, I'm not watching Biden/Palin, but we did listen on the way home on the radio. In what I heard of it, Palin sounded very good. Of course she would almost have to.

I frogged Wild Thing all the way back to the dropped stitch, worked a few inches, and discovered that I'd dropped the same stitch again. I'm now using a safety line. I feel like I'm the last kid on the block still with training wheels, but humility hurts less than face-planting into gravel (which I actually did once — if you know where to look you can still see the scar).

If the Red Sox can't win the World Series this year, it would be really nice if the Cubs did, but it's not looking too promising: they lost the first game and are currently down 5-0 in the fourth inning of the second.

All right, I just wrote evening for inning. Nighty-night, all.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Having long ago lost the ability to comment intelligibly, never mind intelligently, on anything at all, I present this picture I took on the way home a couple of weeks ago. There was this weird rainbowish thing in the sky, only not exactly a rainbow, because 1) it went almost straight up and down — well, rainbows do that sometimes, but this seems to be an arc of a circle around the sun, not opposite the sun 2) it wasn't raining. So what is this thing? Anyone know? (My apologies for the through-the-windshield picture. It's the best one I got. Click to embiggen, not that that will help much.)