Monday, January 29, 2007

Received wisdom

Here beginneth the reading from the first instruction of Jen to the Bostonian: Yea, thou hast hit upon it. 84, 684, yes, and Tappan Zee!, and also 287; Garden State, Jersey Pike, Delaware Mem, Fort McHenry, 95 and you're there.

Trusteth thou not to the Mapquest, for it will lead you straight through New York City across the GW at rush hour.

I was so, so pleased with myself on the drive down to DC. I figured out 84, 684, 287 and Tappan Zee, then the Garden State Parkway and the bliss of the Jersey Turnpike. (I cannot tell you how much I have come to love the NJ Turnpike. It's something of an obsession. I just know that if I can make it that far, the next hundred miles will pass quickly, there will be food and bathrooms easily accessible whenever my delightful children will have need of them, and all will be sweetness and light and I can gun it at 75 for a solid hour.)

Alas, on the drive back, I fell from grace. Verily, I proceeded - eventually - up 95 to Delaware (first sitting in two hours' worth of backup because of an accident or something), THEN we made our merry way to the Elysian Fields of the blessed Jersey Pike. And I got to the Tappan Zee, even, and then...oh, a sorry tale. My faith left me; I hesitated when I saw a demure little sign pointing to 684; and I was screwed, headed straight for New Haven. The one thing I most desperately wanted to avoid was 95 and north on 91 from New Haven, and here I was. What was the word? Oh, yes: Crap.

Fortunately, it wasn't all that bad, as by the time I actually hit New Haven it was almost nine p.m. and the only other cars on the road wanted to get the hell out of there as desperately as I did. I speak not ill of New Haven and its noble qualities, or of Yale, even; I speak of the traffic pile-up that New Haven seems to accummulate, like crud around the edge of the bathroom faucet. We got home at 11:15 p.m. Coulda been worse; NHCollegeDem's car was totalled at the end of their journey (so sad! poor dudes! nice dudes, too!). (Hi, David and Marley! and Becky! lovely to meet you guys, too!) (psst - this is slightly knitting related as NHColDem is a new knitter & David's Becky is interested in the knitting.)

So I'm cursing my hesitation and thinking to myself, as God is my witness I will not get screwed by the insanity that is Hartford. So I (of course!) started thinking about triangles. Things like, if I miss the junction for 84 in Hartford and get sucked into 91 to friggin' Springfield, I will be totally screwed, but in what way particularly, and to what extent? Well, I will be driving the two sides of a right triangle rather than the hypotenuse. Sides of 3 and 4, with a hypotenuse of 5, say, and I will be screwed to the extent that 3 + 4 exceeds 5. And then I thought, well, if we could move into another dimension, the 3 and 4 would be 3 squared and 4 squared, and rather than exceeding the 5, they would equal the 5 squared. So then I thought, hey, I wonder what the relationship is like, and if the phenomenon of unequal things becoming equal when seen in another dimension occurs in any other case. Or if Pythagoras thought about that at all. And, gee, I guess I have to look into reading some philosophy of mathematics. This is where I wistfully miss my husband, honors degree in mathematical physics, with whom I could have had this conversation.

And yes, I have been told on more than one occasion that under no circumstances should I ever, ever, ever take LSD.

Good night, all; way late again.

Hellos, and thank you for visiting, to farm_witch (ha!! groupie?? I have, what? 30 hits, max? welcome, dear!), and Jena and Lucia (and thank you again about the cats--folks, she looked after the cats. There are a lot of them.), and Lynne, and the transcendently tranquil Julie, and Carole, and hey, hi, Aimee, and hi, Becky! Waves and hugs to family, too. And so it goes.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Greetings from DC

So here we all are. Our feet hurt. Dinner has been had by all. I've been getting ready for our trip and bustling and holding it together mostly. At the moment, I'm sitting and typing and having a beer. Here's what's been going on:

I painted some signs. These are my kids at the blogger meetup before the rally.

There were some amazing things to see before things got going. These folks made a big sign just showing the names and dates of all the U.S. servicepeople killed.

And then things got going.

And going.

And going.

There were kids and teenagers and college students and anarchists and rappers and moms like me and grannies and famous people and not so famous people, and signs and big inflatable thingies and, well, a lot of people. Lots and lots of people. From in the middle of all this, it was really hard to tell how many people were there. The Mall is flat, you see, so it just gets full and you really can't see everyody else unless you're on a platform or something. It started to look like a whole lot of people when it was time to start marching, and it took over two hours for all the people to move off the Mall and onto the street. The estimates run from tens of thousands to around 400,000. God bless America, indeed. And cheers.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Snow at last! I love snow! The kids ran outside and fooled around. Some of it with dog, some sans. Then we had cocoa and tea and listened to the Mamas and the Papas. And danced, in a manner most groovy. Whee!

I have too many songs in my head. I just think of the song, and the whole thing plays in my memory. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? Don’t have to listen to it, really; just think of it, and then it starts playing, kind of in the background. Happens with songs I don’t even like, too—I really am not a Fleetwood Mac fan, but damn it, enormous sections of Rumours can start if I’m not careful, and then we’re in for endless choruses of “Rhiannon” before I get it booted out of there (“she is like a cat in the dark, and she is the darkness” – WTF??). I like to sing. Having words handy is necessary for that. Just wish I didn’t actually know all the words to, oh, “Don’t Stop (Thinkin’ About Tomorrow)” ACK! No! Get out of there! I hate that song!

Ahem. Background is now Queen, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Which is fine.

It’s been a while since I listened to songs, other than classical radio. My Secret Pal sent me a compilation cd—thanks, Selkie!—and I finally listened to it. Lots of songs I know well, some new to me; fun. “American Pie,” some Indigo Girls, Cat Stevens, different things. It unglued a piece of my mind that had been carefully bandaged, so I cried a bunch today, too, but that’s all right. Music is important to me, along with words (ha! both!), and I need to be able to have it back. I build up enough strength for the next part, and then go through the next bunch of waaaaah, until I can’t do any more, and then I stop. It’s okay. “We wait until we can get up again, then we go on.” (“Waiting for Godot”)

Anyhow, it made me think of making one, too, with the JCB Song (link in the sidebar), Great Big Sea doing “General Taylor” and also their cover of “The End of the World as We Know It”, and on and on. Clannad, in Gaelic (yes, they are mostly in Irish, but there’s this one that’s actually Gaelic). “Gaudete.” Note to self: Self, you are geeking out again.

Knitting! Ruth (& I think everyone else in the room) assured me that the sock was in fact even worse than it looks in the picture from my last post, so I ripped it out. Breathe in, breathe out, and on we go. New socks are in progress, at the same time this time, so I can’t possibly have different gauge between them. Go, me. Also the mysterious fair isle project is zipping along.

The snow gave me an impetus to finish youngest child’s new gloves, so I have a feeling that’s on the cards for the next couple days. It’s chilly, and our beloved steam heat is chugging away, making all kinds of very earnest noises that, surprising, signify effectiveness. Warm and cozy. In contrast to sound and fury signifying nothing.

And there’s a march on Washington. Possible sound and fury, there, but we live in hope. So off we go. Bustle, bustle. Must book cat sitter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bustle, bustle (or, guess who's spending too much time on the computer)

Finished an object, got another one started, and had the delight of remembering how to do corrugated ribbing in a way that pleases me. I hold the purl color in my left hand and the knit color in my right, and the flicking yarn forward and back proceeds very nicely. I got a whole cuff done and started on the body of a mitten, and then discovered that through disuse, my fair isle technique at present sucks a**. Dismaying, but I kept going, and while at first I thought the whole thing looked like crap and I should just stop and rip it out, it now looks pretty much okay.

I've been knitting like a...well, you know. So the afternoon status shot you see is now a finished mitten sans thumb.

Oh, I've been so busy. I took down the Christmas tree (the kids de-infested the ornaments last week; Mommy's just not one to get around to things at predictable intervals) and dragged it outside, AND vacuumed all the debris. I wrapped another bunch of yarn to do Something Cool With. I found out how to process coffee beans, and began the process with my tiny harvest - did you know that the berry part tastes pretty good? no kidding! I don't know why commercial producers throw it away; it'd be great ice cream, or jam.

And I dug around in my knitting bag and found the sock-in-progress that was the only knitting I'd been able to do most of the fall. Many of you saw this pathetic little thing; I didn't get any of it done except among gatherings of knitters. Well, Gauge Is a Funny Thing. Look:

Yes, that's the same number of stitches. Same needles. Same yarn. The finished sock was made Before, and the SIP is After. All together now: Crap!

Distraction time, clearly. Look at something unbearably cute for a minute. Aren't you glad you did? Of course you are.

One last thing: Somebody wants to know if anyone has any suggestions for getting the smell of dog pee out of the rug. No particular reason. Woof.

Her name is Daisy, and she wiggles when I take her picture.

Yes, I'm feeling better. Thanks for stopping by. Shout-outs to Carole, Lucia, Jena, Ruth, farm witch, and of course Lynne (go see the funny!), the inimitable Tattoo Queen (who is inexplicably knitting the same fair isle as Moi) (except different), and also Mel could use a hand, people, if you can; you'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Martin Luther King Day

In honor of the man, the speech.

I've been busy, working on some things for the secret pal exchange - hee, hee, hee. It's been fun. The latest (shhh):

Speaking of fun, there's a hilarious thread rampaging through DailyKos: The Cilantro Wars. Very silly. Comments keep coming up in other threads.

Apparently instead of snow, the sky has bestowed this on us Chez Weasel:

Lovely to look at, but a thin layer of ice coating everything is...not so great. Ah, well. Maybe it'll snow later tonight?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Getting it done

As the observant among you may surmise from the fact that I can ACTUALLY POST AGAIN, I have fixed the internets. Yay! I figured out how to "ping" the in-house network we have, how to make sure that the problem was indeed that the modem wasn't talking to the outside world, and all kinds of empowering things. To my delighted surprise, Verizon DSL has tech support 24/7, and not too many voice menu options. The Verizon person stayed on the phone with me for a long time, and we got it working again. Yay, again, I say!

So here's a couple of pictures from the peace vigil/protest/whatever in Concord Thursday night:

I've been checking out hotels in DC for the 27th - which I now know is a Saturday, not a Sunday (there's that brain functionality thing popping up again, dangit). A bustlement! Oh, good! Something manageable to arrange that doesn't involve death! The kids are receptive, particularly when I point out that it won't be 105 degrees.

I'm beginning to feel more able to do things, in spite of the ongoing large holes in my mind. Secret Pal, Carole, Lucia, Suzanne, Jennifer - Hi! Thanks for stopping by. "See" you around.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Trying to stop the madness

Well, despite being an incredibly haphazard thing, the rally in Concord that I went to with oldest kid drew slightly over 50 people, from churches, various peace groups, and who knows what else. As far as I could figure out, I was the only "" or "DailyKos" person there. Oldest liked it, and it felt good to do something.

Perhaps it is a feature of demonstrations in affluent suburbs, but everybody brought candles and other supplies (so the hundred I brought were, um, extra). We were so well equipped that it was a little embarassing.

I called my Congressional delegation, too, but it felt silly, as Kennedy is leading the charge in the Senate and my guy in the House has introduced legislation, too. Kerry's on board. *sigh* The redundance of being a progressive in Massachusetts...

Blogging remotely again. Apparently, sometime after we left for the demonstration, the internet broke. I have no idea what's wrong with it and have done the "turn it off and on again" fix many, many times. Fortunately the local library now has wireless.

There's a march on Washington January 27. I keep thinking, oh but surely it'll be better by then. But it isn't. So I'm probably going down with the kids. There may be a bus organized, or I might just drive, or train, maybe--that's a good idea, Lynne, if the trains are running. I have some relatives down there that it'd be nice to visit.

My own madness was okay yesterday; today, self-imposed pressure cooker. You know how when you have a bunch of things you really need to do and you keep starting things and getting distracted and suddenly it's two o'clock and almost nothing is done? Yeah, like that. That and spending too much time online. Except I can't today because there is no internets today and they are broken and sad. Boo hoo, poor internets, poor me.

One of the things I *will* get to is wrapping yarn to dye in a self-striping sequence or three. Finally got the yarn and the dye, now all I need is my brain again and I'm good to go.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Peace rally 6 - 7 pm tonight

I'm going to be at the one in Concord, at Monument Square - there are protests all over the place, Nashua, Woburn, etc. etc.

Hope to see you at one, and hope for peace.

Click here to see where one is near you.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Well, just when I happened to need it, my spiffy Secret Pal's package arrived - in yesterday's mail, which I'd forgotten to go get until about midnight. Gaze!

I'm especially looking forward to listening to the CD. Thanks, SP!

And my package from elann finally arrived. There was some sort of customs issue. My mailman was abashed and confused and needed me to write a check for customs duty on the yarn. Ah, well (he's actually kind of cute, and very nice). I'm now the proud mom of a small herd of Debbie Bliss angora. Also some Skye Tweed. I have in mind to make myself the jacket I designed - in the color originally envisioned, yet.

Purring weasel. No, you can't have too much yarn.

Thanks, Mel and farm witch and Jena and Lynne and Erica and Lucia; I'm having a better day.

Dang it, though - I meant to go to town hall and check on the election results. There was a town election today, and the polls have been closed for an hour and a half. Drat. The brain part missing yesterday? I thought yesterday was election day. Went to vote and got all pissy that there were no poll workers anywhere in sight, and I had the date wrong, too - boy, that blindsided me. Never expected to not be able to know what day it is and get in a twist over it, too, of course convinced that Other People Must Be Wrong. I figure this is yet another one of those life lessons in humility. Gack.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Grief in pieces

I'm starting to think I should put a disclaimer or something up when the grief hits; it can't be any fun for anyone to read this, but it does help me to try and put it into words.

Words are important to me. My mind is important to me. I still seem to be missing large chunks of my mind, and it would be lovely if I could predict or quantify what exactly the missing bits are, but I just can't.

I was reading another blogger today, who lost a child and posted as I was losing my husband, and I thought/wrote, we are creatures of spirit, but we are also creatures of our bodies. The emotional pain, I expected; the physicality of how badly I miss him, I continue to be surprised by. I imagine being with someone else and it is too transparently transposed from the remembered presence of my husband, beside me, in my arms, sitting across the table from me. I've taken to living in a half-fantasy sometimes.

I acquired a signature guarantee yesterday at the bank, for yet another bit of paperwork (oh, yes, there is still paperwork). I seem to store up the ability to do that sort of thing, and I was feeling okay, and the deadline was upon me (without which I seem to do nothing), so off I went. I fucked up the first set of forms and started again. Why is it so difficult? Well, because I have to check off and read things like "if the account holder is deceased" blah blah blah, and that's just too fucking hard to focus on much past where it says 'deceased'. And, Please enclose certified death certificate and court sealed appointment of adminstrator. Anyway, that's done. Also I mailed off other bits of paper to the embassy to do with whatever they wish to do, so that's done, too.

When he died, I thought somehow that I would feel differently about being with his body. I imagined that I would not want to be with him. What an idiot I was. I wanted to hold him; I still do. I wanted to lie with my head across his chest, and I did, at the hospital, at the funeral home, and I still go to the cemetery (which I persist in not being able to spell) and wish to do that. The grass is growing and I just want to lie down and be there. I was married to his mind and heart, and to his body, too.

It is like nothing else I can think of, which makes it really really hard to put words to. But words matter to me, so I need to try. It is like being one side of a stone arch, and suddenly the other side, the stonework that was joined up at the top and leaned together and made an astonishingly strong structure, that other side has gone away. And all that joined up part is left hanging, leaning, like ruins of an ancient abbey. I'm still a pretty strong pillar, here, but that part leaning together and holding up a cathedral ceiling, that's not quite happening.

I am thankful beyond words (and some of you know how keenly it pains me that it is indeed beyond words) (because how can there be no words? there must always be words!) for the people who've been in my life, our life, helping us along. Us, meaning me and the kids, now. It's now enough after the major holiday part that I can feel more normal, and thus allow myself the space to breathe deep, feel, cry, talk, cry. I still only let in a little at a time, and perfectly stupid things still make me dissolve, and big huge things don't. Go figure.

Part of the normal has been being able to knit more, so I've made a couple of rather spiffy knitted things for my Secret Pal. Well, one finished and another nearly so; another fun thing in store for me to work on later this week is coming. I've vacuumed some, tossed out a whole bunch of newspaper, gathered up the mountains of books in the family room and tidied up more. I found the camera doohickey! Yay! Lost something else, of course, but again, not the wallet, so ta-rah.

I'm posting from MIT again; classes have begun again for oldest, so I have a nice chunk of time to myself, here. Also yay for that.

There. Stopped crying. Yay, again.

More cheerful things tomorrow. For now, peace.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Assorted oddnesses

You can't make this stuff up. Long live the Christmas Goat. And here I thought the Christmas Frog was a stretch - got nothing on those zany Swedes, apparently.

Santa brought a DVD for chez Weasel of The Sound of Music - I still find it funny that the kids saw Moulin Rouge before the source material for the beginning - and now that I have an altered focus, I noted a peculiar thing. Captain von Trapp's wife has been dead 7 years? and Gretl is 5 years old? What is up with that?? Also: Christopher Plummer is still fun to watch. I saw him on Broadway in Othello in the early 80's, and perusing the program online yields two odd bits of information: 1) Kelsey Grammer was in this, before Frasier--so I guess his disastrous Macbeth a few years ago was not his first try at Shakespeare on the Great White Way (okay, he was not universally panned, but the tv experience kinda was the kiss of death, that and the famous curse); and 2) another actor in this production was Harry S. Murphy, who I later worked with at ART. Six degrees of separation reduced to two, plunkity plunk plonk. It is a small world, but sometimes it gets ridiculous.

Lost item of the day is the USB plug-in thingie that enables me to put digital pictures onto my laptop (this is what I get for tidying up a bit, apparently) (hey, I tidied up a bit! go, me!). I suppose I should be grateful the lost item isn't my wallet. What I was going to take a picture of was the music and ticket stub for the Christmas Revels' "Sussex Mummers' Carol," which I love. The link has a link to download the entire program pdf file, which contains the thing I was going to show you. *sigh* Which was the page from the program with the music and lyrics for the carol. Because I wanted to share the song with you all. But I can't. Such is life. I'll sit here humming it very loudly, shall I? ("Go-od bless the mas-te-er of this house...") There! Helpful, no?

Yeah, I know. No.

This might be really why we're in Iraq. Or at least it makes as much sense as any other explanation I've heard.

Carole reminded me of how many really cool folks I met at the Team Boston party last year at the close of the Knitting Olympics. I wonder, are people interested in a reprise?

Which reminds me - delayed happy birthday to Cara! who co-hostessed the party and it was divine, dahlings, and kiss kiss and all that. (Go say hi if you haven't already.)

New Year's (word similar to "resolution" but different as I have made more of a list of things to do rather than a set of things to resolve and I never do New Year's Resolutions anyway 'cause I don't do that crap, bub) (but maybe it's not such a bad idea) (plus the rest of the blogosphere seems to be doing it):
1) Finish one goddamn piece of fiction writing.
2) Learn to like our dog.
3) Organize my time by scheduling things, thus transforming them to Things We Do from Things We Consider and Never Get Around To.
3) Number things better in the new year.
5) (hey, it's working already!) Drink more water.
6) Write things down.
7) Plan things, so I can have something to write down.
8) Don't lose the surface on which I write things.
9) Sew more.
10) Take a for-credit course.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

That's the front of the house, avec beaucoup de pretty lights on. Putting the winding garland up and across the gap is a horrendous operation involving ladders, string, things falling on my head, and many, many bad words. (I got them up a couple of weeks before Christmas. It is an annual thing, which I hate - a LOT - but it looks so nice that I do it anyway.) (yes, I do realize that the loopy bit is lopsided.) Littlest and I wished each other a happy 2007; older two are at a party. The doglet, aka wretched animal, needed to go out at 12:25, of course. Sigh.

I've been making a fun something for my secret pal - it's entertaining and going quickly. After taking another look at the work in progress on her blog, the improvisational fair isle I was doing looked...kinda crappy, to be blunt. So I started something Really Rather Nice, stealing a good idea from Adrian at Hello Yarn--um, not that I actually know her, really, just met and had a very nice chat at the Knitting Olympics party. She does lovely stuff, though, don't you think? Anyway, the current secret item in progress is much better.

We finally got snow! It's nearly gone, but it looks like winter, at last. It's been frustrating hearing news about 24 inches in 24 hours again in Denver--our poor ski areas are losing their shirts, we've had 45 - 50 F for the entire fall, they can't even really do snowmaking.

I'm still hearing fireworks, either that or the police station is doing excessively enthusiastic outdoor firearms practice at a very strange hour. I can't see anything cool, but the noise is, er, exciting. Wretched dog is barking at it, one in the morning, shut up!already!nomorebarking!arrrrghgh!

Riverbend is blogging again. It's so hard to know if she's still alive when time goes by and no posts - of course the major problem is that there's effectively no electricity in Baghdad, who the hell wants to deal with a blog when you're struggling to survive, but it's good to see she's still there.

One more thing, fun this time:

The kids set this up on Christmas Eve and had it out for me when I got back from the grocery store. I have some great kids.

Happy New Year, all. May 2007 suck less than it otherwise could. Dona nobis pacem.