Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is ten Easter or Passover traditions. Since I was raised in a secular Jewish household, I have a few of each.

Ten Easter and Passover Traditions
  1. Egg dyeing and decorating. We used to blow eggs and paint the shells when I was a kid; when Miss B was younger she liked to dye hard-boiled eggs.
  2. Easter egg hunt. As kids we hunted jelly eggs; our kids liked the plastic ones with goodies inside. (You can get quite a few jelly eggs into one of those.)
  3. Chocolate bunnies. I wish they made them in dark chocolate.
  4. Which brings me to: Easter jokes. I'll refrain from telling you the one about the meaning of Easter for the zillionth time, but this is my all-time favorite Easter cartoon:

  5. Matzoh-ball soup. (Are you noticing that there's a lot of food in this list? Yeah, me too. I must be on a diet or something.) I'm not actually all that fond of matzoh balls, although people who are tell me I just haven't had the right ones yet. But I do remember the soup. If I could avoid the matzoh balls it was pretty good.
  6. Easter baskets. We used to make them just the way Carole said: fake green grass, lots of goodies.
  7. Which brings me to Cadbury creme eggs. They are disgusting. I love them.
  8. Peeps. Grant and Miss B love them. I admit they're cute, in a sickly marshmallow food-coloring sort of way. I want no part of them.
  9. Seders. I haven't been to one in quite a while, but I do enjoy them, and I like all the traditions.
  10. Singing the Hallelujah Chorus in church choir. I love to sing, even though I don't do it very well; luckily the Hallelujah Chorus is hard to mess up, and also a lot of fun. (I haven't been to church in a very long time, if you don't count weddings and funerals. Apart from singing, I don't miss it much.)

I'm completely with Carole on her #10: Easter means spring is almost here. Hard to believe in the midst of yet another deluge, but true. Happy Easter, happy Passover, happy spring!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Today's ToT will be easy for me, and because I have an all-time favorite I'm going to do it in reverse order, Letterman style.

Ten Signs of Spring
  1. Mud, mud, glorious mud! OK, I don't actually wallow in it, indeed I avoid stepping in it, but I do enjoy seeing it. The world is mud-luscious, and spring is crouched, its tail twitching.
  2. Flood. It can be rain or snowmelt or both, but with the approach of spring inevitably comes the deluge. Most early springs aren't quite as soggy as this one, thank goodness.
  3. The CVS Easter display. It goes up as soon as they can move all those tarty hearts out of there.
  4. SPA and/or my birthday. They both come at the end of February, and I've always felt that if I can live with discontent until my birthday I'll soon be celebrating the spring. SPA gives a nice little lift just when winter seemed interminable.
  5. Pussy willows. One day, there they are, their pearly promise standing out in the otherwise barren marsh; the next day they're green, and the day after that, it seems, they merge into the burgeoning leaves and are lost to sight for another year.
  6. Kids. They shoot out of their houses bearing footballs and baseballs and rollerblades, courting the inevitable spring colds by wearing far too little for the actual temperature, but who can blame them?
  7. Geese in flight. Honk! Honk! Winter, get out of our way!
  8. Crocuses. Usually my first sight of them is out of the corner of my eye: hey, what's that among the leaves? Is it really purple? Holy pistils, Batman, it really is.
  9. Red maples. Small flowers, great vigor. This year I will finally get a good picture of the females.
  10. And my all-time favorite sign of spring is: the light, of course! I don't know if the return of the light counts as a sign or the cause of spring, and I don't care: I'm so thrilled finally to have twelve hours of daylight I can hardly think straight.

Happy spring, everyone!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Walk With Me Wednesday: Waterworld Edition

Does anyone remember Walk With Me Wednesday? I haven't seen one in ages, but I'm going with it anyway, because today I thought I'd take a stroll through the nearby conservation land and show you what the brook looks like a couple of days after nine inches of rain.

I was afraid of this. At this point I considered taking my shoes off and wading, but I got cold feet, or rather the fear of them, and I decided to try going around the other way.

Parts of the path were actually dry... very small parts.

So this is the best I can do. As soon as I can get near it I'll show you the raging spate. For now, take my word for it: that lake is usually a smallish stream.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Today's topic is things to do on St. Patrick's Day. Since I don't drink and rarely wear green (most shades don't flatter me), I'm having trouble with this one, so in honor of better weather (finally) and approaching spring I'm going to change it up a bit.

Ten Ways to Wear Green

  1. bravely in November

  2. in the rain

  3. on your tail

  4. in the morning mist

  5. clinging to a rock

  6. tightly spun

  7. festooned with cones

  8. festooned with cones festooned with snow

  9. underfoot

  10. at harvest time

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monsoon Blogging

It's Monday, it's wet, and I've got nothing. (I'm even recycling the amaryllis.) Luckily I seem not to be alone in this predicament; the lovely Carole not only found this meme but invited people to steal it. I can't pass up a deal like that.

20 Questions

  1. Explain what ended your last relationship?
    Bear in mind that we're talking 32 years ago here, and that my memory is not what it used to be. It depends what you call a relationship; as best I recall my last... um... thing BG (before Grant) didn't so much end as stop happening. Not that much was happening to begin with.
  2. When was the last time you shaved?
    Again, this is archived data. I am not at all hairy, so I can get away with very little shaving; it was last spring/summer sometime, but I can't narrow it down more than that.
  3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
    Eating my morning oatmeal. I am currently on yet another round of bulge-battling, so I've replaced my usual two slices of toast with oatmeal and have decided it's a really nice way to start the day.
  4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
    Looking out a fifth-floor conference-room window, scanning the surrounding landscape for pairs of animals.
  5. Some things you are excited about?
    My daughter's school musical comes off this weekend and next; the homeward commute may be quite an adventure, depending on how many low-lying roads we have to use; spring is coming.
  6. What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O?
    Jello, ew.
  7. Your prom night, what do you remember about it?
    I didn't have one, because my school didn't have a prom.
  8. Do you have any famous ancestors?
    My father told us on a family trip to Provincetown when we were kids that we were related to Thomas Rogers, one of the Mayflower pilgrims listed on a stone memorial there. He said his father had told him this, having heard it from his father. As best I've been able to tell just poking around on free Web sites, this story is of dubious historicity: Rogers is my father's name, but the male line from Thomas Rogers seems to have died out within a few generations. My paternal grandmother's name was Nickerson, and there are scads of Nickersons descended from Mayflower folk (indeed they seem to have intermarried with Rogers much farther up the line than my grandparents), so it's possible, but it's more likely that my ancestors came over a good long time ago, but much more quietly and less memorably.
    (There are some quite wealthy Yankee Nickersons, but I'm not related to them, or at any rate not closely enough.)
  9. Last thing received in the mail?
    A reminder for Taz's upcoming checkup at the Dana-Farber. Not very interesting, I know.
  10. How many different beverages have you had today?
    Water, water and water.
  11. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine?
    Yes, of course, but not if I know they have caller ID, because those people will call me back whether I leave a message or not.
  12. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
    I can't even remember the last time I went to the (ocean) beach. When/if I do go, I generally stick to small and highly amateurish sandcastles if I play in the sand at all.
  13. Any plans for Friday night?
    Friday night is family night out; our local Applebee's recently closed, so now we have to think about where to go. (No need to expound upon the mediocrity of Applebee's food: we know this, but we got into the habit of going there and liked how "everybody knew our name.")
  14. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
    Not especially -- anything, even salt, that gives my hair body is a good thing, but having it all coarse and stuck together is bad. I love playing in the waves, so I do go in the water.
  15. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?
    I think so. I think we ended up throwing most of it out.
  16. Do you re-use towels after you shower?
    Yes. I’m not a fan of daily laundry. (This is Carole's answer, upon which I can't improve.)
  17. Describe your keychain(s)?
    I don't really have one, just a ring with all my keys on it — unless you count my tiny Swiss Army knife, which has proved useful many times.
  18. Where do you keep your change?
    In my pockets. I've tried a change purse but hate fishing for it in my bag and fumbling to get it open. Change also tends to end up on the floor of our vehicles; this extremely poor money management has occasionally come in handy, once provoking a successful speed mini treasure hunt for meter fodder at the train station.
  19. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?
    How large? I asked a question during a meeting of 20 or so people a week ago. In a former work life I used to train groups of 5 to 15 people. If you want me up at the front of a room before 100+ people you have to go back to high school.
  20. What kind of winter coat do you own?
    I have several. This year I've been wearing a purple wool cape I bought during my first pregnancy (see #3 above). I had forgotten how much I like it, even if it does make me look fat. (Yes, it is possible that the fault lies not in the coat, Horatio....)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Sky: Almost Spring

No, I didn't take this picture today, nor yet yesterday; we're in the midst of another batch of dreich, albeit a smaller one, if the weathercritters are to be believed. At least it's not snow: in March I'll take even a cold, howling, lashing rain, keeping firmly in mind that at least I don't have to shovel it. And tonight we spring forward. The bad news: it's back to getting up in the dark for me, at least for a short while. The good news: I can knit on the evening commute as well as the morning one. Spring won't be here for weeks, but the plot thickens, the pulse quickens.

And at the unmistakable approach of warmer weather, what compulsion steals over me? Why, to knit wool socks, of course.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Eye Candy Friday

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pompoms and Circumstance

Since even before we finished Cheryl's blankets, it has not been all blankets all the time around here. There have been a few small projects, a baby hat here, a set of coasters there, but nothing to write home about.

But, while these projects have been fun — there's nothing like knitting baby things for quick gratification — they've demanded relatively little time and thought. So if they are not the focus of my crafty life at the moment, what is? I am so glad I asked. Why, the construction of giant pompoms, of course.

Miss B worked on the crew of her school's musical last year, and this year she has a small part. The production team makes it very clear up front that at least one parent of every kid participating in the musical is called upon to work on a committee. Last year, not being fast enough to sign up for any other committee before it was full, I did what they call kid-wrangling, that is keeping order among all the cast members not on stage at any given moment. It's a necessary but dull job, and in an attempt to avoid it this year I signed up for props, where I seem to have found my spiritual home.

While papier-mâchéing beach balls — I tell you, if my life were any more exciting my poor heart would give out — the props mistress and I discussed what we could use as clover flowers, and we ran several ideas by the director: paper flowers? no, too fragile; styrofoam balls? too expensive. She wanted pompoms, preferably homemade so as to stay within budget, and she wanted about 50 of them, six or seven inches in diameter. I quickly determined that the biggest pompom maker I could easily buy makes pompoms 4 1/2 inches in diameter.

My first thought was to use the time-honored method of winding yarn around cardboard; this turns out not to work so well if your pompom needs to be really big. I made something that looked more like a wig for a deranged muppet.

My next idea was to make a pompom maker similar to the Susan Bates type, but bigger, out of cardboard. After considerable measuring and muttering and the purchase of a compass (yes, you can draw circles with a string around a nail, but, trust me, $2.19 is a small price to pay to preserve whatever hair you have left), I had my cardboard device, and in the fullness of time (and somewhat to my surprise, as I had been highly skeptical of success) I had a big fluffy pompom that could easily double as a red clover, if red clovers grew to that size.

Only trouble was, just as with my little Susan Bates number, I got tired of pulling the yarn through the middle, so I sliced the thing in half...

making the yarn-winding part much quicker.

I put the two halves back together with a hair elastic...

snipped along the groove on one side of the elastic and inserted nylon beading thread...

removed the elastic, snipped the rest of the way around, pulled the thread all the way around, and tied it as tight as I could. (During this part I kept everything flat on the table in front of me so that nothing would fall out.)

Then I lifted the pompom by the thread and shook it so the cardboard pieces fell off and put it down in front of Grant, who put his finger on the tie so that I could make the second half of the knot.

Et voilà! Pompom city. (Yes, I know clover doesn't make flowers in all those colors. I just do what I'm told. Rather cleverly, although I do say it.)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Saturday Sky: The Remains of the Day

The day in question was last Saturday at SPA. Yes, I am a little slow; this is not news. But last weekend we were smack in the middle of two weeks of nearly unrelieved dreich*. An overdose of rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, melting snow, and just plain unrelieved raw gray cold made me crave color even more than usual, including my usual hues but with a definite swing toward red.

From right to left we have the end of a much-needed sunny day illuminating superwash BFL from Heather, merino laceweight from Kim, organic merino from Amy, and a totally unexpected birthday gift of Kim's merino/nylon sock yarn from some of my fellow fiber addicts enthusiasts, including Kim. Thanks, guys! I needed that. (And it's even purple! Who knew I liked purple? ...oh. I guess... pretty much everybody.)

Truth to tell, I'd been working in red for quite a while. Last fall our dear Cheryl experienced a rather bumpy transition into motherhood, and some of us conspired to make her a blanket (in fact we made two blankets, one for Cheryl and one for her extremely supportive mom). It took us a while, but everything came together, and the grand unveiling took place at SPA. Many people pitched in...

...including one eager helper we could probably have done without.

The big reveal was a most enjoyable experience as people got to see where their squares landed, not to mention Cheryl's face.

I just love happy endings.
*Dreich is a Scots word of which I've become fond and which I define in the next sentence. I find it highly expressive, especially as one can draw out the r, rolling it along, and likewise the ch, depending on the length and depth of the murk and how depressed it has made one.