Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Today we have ten books on my summer reading list, which is an interesting one given that Grant and I have been going through all the boxes full of books in the basement, the idea being to give away as many as we can bear to part with. He is being ruthless. I would like to be ruthless, but I have a hard time with books. Besides, there are things in there that I haven't seen in twenty years and always meant to read, but then forgot about. I also have a number of books that I acquired with every intention of reading them for my book group. Fortunately I can bluff my way through (see what a college education will do for you?), but I never try, because much, nay, most book-group conversation is about the neighbors rather than the book.

Thus my list is partly things you've never heard of before or long ago forgot about, and partly from fairly recent bestseller lists. I doubt if I will get to all of these, especially #10, but it's good to aim high.

Ten Books on My Summer Reading List
  1. Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
  2. Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
  3. Stieg Larssen, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  4. Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code
  5. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (in the original French, that being what I own)
  6. Rex Stout, The League of Frightened Men
  7. S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action
  8. Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
  9. Dorothy Sayers, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
  10. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
A nice eclectic list, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Ways to Entertain a Child

It depends on the age of the child, of course. As babies my kids could ride in a stroller all day, especially Taz. These days I think Miss B would be best entertained by being set loose in Needless Markup with her own credit card and no parents in sight. She will have to settle for TJ Maxx preceded by a discussion of what she really needs. A teenager's lot is not a happy one. Nonetheless, off we go:
  1. Visiting the library. Miss B loved books early, and she also loved Eyewitness educational videos. By age four she was fully checked out on where ladybugs come from.
  2. Playing in the park. There's a nice one for little kids conveniently located behind the library.
  3. Baking cookies. This always my fallback for a rainy-day play date that started to lose steam.
  4. And when the sun came out, a good old-fashioned game of catch, be it frisbee, baseball, or beamo. Taz still enjoys a good game of keepaway-from-parent with a soft ball. (I fondly remember an impromptu baseball game when most of the neighborhood kids were five or six. Due to shortage of players, at one point Fluffy came in as a pinch runner. She did reasonably well if you overlooked her being unclear on the concept of staying in the base paths.)
  5. Nature walk. We had to pick our spots and seasons when the kids were little, as they were both so tasty to mosquitos they'd come back from a woodland ramble looking as though they'd contracted some exotic skin disease.
  6. Twenty questions. This is a good one for car trips, along with...
  7. Alphabet game, and...
  8. Singing along with the radio. Once in a while Miss B and I actually agree on a song and know the words.
  9. Card games, board games, pencil-and-paper games. Miss B can now beat me at most of them most of the time.
  10. Holiday decorating. This of course requires a holiday to decorate for — you'd look pretty silly putting up a Christmas tree in July — but painting eggs or stringing popcorn or cutting out lots of frilly hearts is a fine way to keep a kid occupied. Also certain adults who never quite finished growing up, not that I would know any of those.
How would you entertain a little kid? How about a big kid?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Maunderings

Maundering is much like musing, only less coherent. It's as good a label as any for assorted random synaptic events.

I had every intention of doing last week's Ten on Tuesday, ten reasons to participate in Ten on Tuesday, but, oddly, I couldn't think of anywhere near ten. Usually in that case I can always make stuff up, or change the topic, but this time my mind was a blank, aside from the screamingly obvious "without ToT you'd hardly hear from me at all." I did eventually come up with a few more:
  1. You can compare answers with your friends.
  2. It often makes you think.
  3. In fact, it's rather like being set an essay in school, except that...
  4. You don't get graded, and you can change the topic if you feel like it.
So there you have it: five on what should have been last Tuesday but is actually today, Monday.

Today was Taz's last day of five years with the same teacher in the same school. It was hard for her, and her two wonderful assistants, to say goodbye, and it'll be hard for us too, but his new school promises to be great for him and an adventure for all of us. I took him there for the morning last Wednesday, everything went great, and they're looking forward to having him. The change of school will also mean a change in schedule, since the new school is half an hour down the interstate, and I suspect I'll be getting up earlier and getting acquainted with a new van driver. We've been lucky enough to have the same driver for several years as well, a lovely man named Ed, whose near-saintly patience stands him in good stead when he has to fiddle with the wheelchair lift on a sleety January morning, without gloves, since he needs his fingers for fiddling. It finally dawned on me along about late March that I should be doing what I could to alleviate things, and, timing being ever my strong suit, I gave him these today.

Handwarmers in my own Sunday Brunch stitch. One of these days I will write out the pattern (I know, I always say that, I will, really), if I can tweak the thumb increases so they blend in more smoothly. (They're on the side of the thumb, so you can't really see them unless you're looking for them; if you do look, however, they're more obvious than I would like.) Of course these are completely useless in June, but with luck Ed will think of me warmly next January. (I did slip an ever-practical DD's card inside one of the mitts.)

Miss B has been out of school since last Thursday, and she too will be changing schools, but she won't have far to go: she will move about 100 yards down the hill from the junior high to the high school.

High. school. One short walk for a kid, one holy-cannoli-how-did-this-happen leap of the heart for parentkind.

I didn't do any eye candy last Friday. Here's some from Maine, where the Fiber Frolic and the irises (and the lupines, of course), were splendid, if a trifle damp.


That didn't stop the sky and the ocean from putting on a show. Fred and Ginger, wherever you are, look to your laurels.


Hey, guess what tomorrow is.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Favorite Children's Books
  1. Where the Wild Things Are. This has been Taz's favorite book since he could express a preference, and for quite a while now Grant, Miss B and I have all been able to recite the text verbatim, singly or in combination.
  2. Winnie-The-Pooh. I much prefer the original books, which are quite different from the Disneyed-up videos and stories. I can see why Disney made some of the changes, since some things work much better in print than on film, but that doesn't prevent me from yelling at the screen, "No, that's not how it goes!" every time I see a video.
  3. Heidi. To this day I cannot read Heidi without a tissue handy, especially the part where she gets back home to her grandfather. Yes, I am a sentimental idiot. (It doesn't help that on first reading it I immediately identified a candidate for the role of FraĆ¼lein Rottenmeier.)
  4. Anne of Green Gables and its sequels.
  5. The Nutshell Library, another Sendak masterpiece, or rather set of four small masterpieces, Alligators All Around, Chicken Soup with Rice, One Was Johnny, and Pierre. Such is Sendak's genius that I didn't notice the educational content, which usually sticks out like a sore thumb hey I am teaching you something and you will like it until I reread them to my sister.
  6. The Tailor of Gloucester, imho the best of all the Beatrix Potter books. NO MORE TWIST
  7. Click Clack Moo! Cows That Type. While you will have gathered by now that I prefer the classics, or at least books that have survived a couple of generations, I make an exception for this one: it's a newie but a goodie.
  8. The Phantom Tollbooth. If you don't know this one, get it out of the library and read it to your kids, or someone else's kids. Or to yourself.
  9. A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Yes, they are hokey and full of, um, antiquated attitudes. I will confess to loving them anyway, passing over the attitudes with a quick wince.
  10. Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. Yes, really. The rest of the CU books are fun too, but this one involves audience participation. Go here, follow the directions, and then come back and tell me your silly name. Booger Wafflefanny, at your service.

What are yours?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Saturday Sky: Lupinescent

Friday, June 04, 2010

Eye Candy Friday: Bridge of Flowers

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fleeceless in Cummington

So, Cummington.

Eight years ago, I think it was, I went to Cummington with Miss B for the second time. After that I never managed to get back there; I wanted to, but something else always seemed to be going on; I nearly pulled it off a couple of times, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. So when I finally did make it last weekend, I was determined to make the most of it. Which I did.

I can't help lloving the llamas.

Piglets! So cute! I almost wanted to take one home.

Goatlets! So cute! I did want to take one home.

Big-time camera ham.

This lady had all the colors of the rainbow gloriously displayed, and wore them all on her person as well. Her patterns and her yarn were seriously tempting.

I loved the sheep...

with and without robes...

...and the judging. Showing a sheep is no small trick. I know I couldn't have done nearly as well as these kids. I definitely wanted one of each — the sheep, that is, I have enough trouble keeping track of my own kids. Or, if I couldn't have a sheep, at least some of their lovely wool.

Are you noticing a theme here? Yes, I am on a serious yarn and fiber diet, due partly to unexpected and ongoing house repairs and partly to, well, having a lot of yarn and fiber. In an attempt to distract myself from all the fiber goodies I watched an impromptu spin-off, won by the lovely and talented Lynn. (Lynn has many more splendid sheep and people photos. I was camnesic for most of the day: I had it with me, I just forgot to use it.) The measuring turned into something between a game of twister and a maypole dance. This all occurred right next to the Holiday Yarns booth, where I had already narrowly escaped purchasing Lisa's amazing sock kits.

I didn't buy a single thing all day, except food (the sweet-potato fries were awesome), but somehow I left feeling satisfied.

This weekend: Fiber Frolic! Hey, I resisted temptation at NH and MA; how hard can one more festival be? Oh, hush.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten Things I'd Tell a High School Graduate
  1. Congratulations! Well done!
  2. Go to college. If your parents can't pay for it, get a scholarship, work by day and go to night school, make it work somehow. You'll be far happier and richer for it, and not just financially, although hard coin is not to be sneezed at.
  3. Pick a hands-on career, be it doctor, plumber, or chef. Pick something that people always need and that can't be outsourced.
  4. Always learn. Knowledge will walk in and sit down if you leave the door open.
  5. Always question. Falsehood will get up and walk out if you make it uncomfortable.
  6. Play to your strength. Do what you love. But also...
  7. Practice doing hard things. It's a skill you'll always need, and it'll take you a long way. Anything you love will come with hard things to do.
  8. Stop and smell the flowers.
  9. To thine own self be true.
  10. Don't drink with anyone you don't know well.

If I'm very lucky, when I tell her she won't roll her eyes at me and say "Mom, I know," even if she really does.