Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh Dear

Today on, there was an article on various companies that were closing several stores for flagging sales. The list had several big names on it: Linens 'n Things, Macy's, Home Depot, Talbots, Starbucks. Most of them I wasn't too worried about. I don't shop at very many of them (Starbucks excluded), so I'm wasn't going to be too concerned about a lot of them.

Until I saw that A.C. Moore made the list.

Repeat after me: They will not close the one closest me. They will not close the one closest me. They will not close the one closest me.

Maybe we can send out vibes so our stores will be safe.

My dad celebrates an undisclosed number of years today. Any commenters, please take the time to wish him well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Some things I have learned

1. The amount of time my derrier can comfortably remain on the back of a bike is approximately 2.5 hours. After that, all bets are off.

2. I need new bike shorts.

3. A 4 hour bike ride, no matter how early in the day it is done, has the capability to wipe a person out for the rest of the day.

4. I am hideously out of shape.

5. By the time one has biked for 3.5 hours, the concept of pride is nonexistent. No matter how slight the hill you are trying to ascend and how many other people are on the trail with you and will look at you and probably laugh, you'll still get to the top faster if you get off and walk.

6. Lemonade tastes very good, especially when you have just biked for three hours.

Oh, and Jon? Happy birthday, even though it is a day late.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We've All Had Them

A list of things that were royally ticking me off (some still are, others, not so much):

My hair -- for the reason that it never does anything that I want it to do.

Cable cast-ons -- and any other project that, after you use it to cast on 200 stitches (as opposed to your favorite long-tail because you didn't want to get to stitch 192 and realize you only have enough tail left for three more) and VERY CAREFULLY join it to start knitting in a round, requires you to realize that even after your very best intentions? It still manages to finagle in a twist.

Toilets -- mine in particular, especially when it is clogged, like it is now. I am suspecting that this is my own fault, but that still doesn't change the fact that I can't seem to get it fixed, which means that when I wake up in the middle of the night and have to pee -- this is a major problem. Hopefully it will be fixed today.

All the various and sundry people who, whether intentionally or not, all conspired to make my afternoon something out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre yesterday. It's like they all got together and said, "Hey! I know! Let's all see how many little pieces we can chop B's self-esteem into before she turns into a raving, screaming lunatic!" (Actually, I've never seen TTCM, but it sounds like that's what happens, and if you happen to be someone who has seen it? Please do not irritate me further by telling me anything different.)

This is all a roundabout way of saying many, many, many thanks to my dear sweet friend, the lovely V, who took me knitting last night and paid for my dinner. And to all you wonderful people who e-mailed me regarding comment cards, because you are all lovely and all deserve such glowing comments from patrons.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My Turn!

So Tuesday I listed twenty-six things I liked about Canada in honor of their independence day. Today is July 4, and it is now our turn. So to all my Canadian friends, here are twenty-six things that you may or may not know about your fine neighbors to the south:

A is for Apple Pie. You don't really get anymore quintessentially American than this. There's a reason the phrase goes, "as American as apple pie."

B is for Baseball, our national pasttime.

C is for Chevrolet. It's also for the Civil War, because precious little did more to help define us as a nation.

D is for Delaware, the oldest state in the union.

E is for Everyone who has helped make this country great.

F is for Franklin. Besides writing Poor Richard, inventing central heating and bifocals, and figuring out that lightning and electricity are related, Ben also founded the first lending library in the nation.

G is for Gettysburg. 'Nuff said.

H is for Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. Because that's what we all eat today.

I is for the Imperial System. Why we don't use the Metric system like everyone else in the world, I have no idea, but it doesn't look like we're going to change anytime soon, so for now, I'm reveling in being different.

J is for Jefferson. That all men are created equal and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness stuff? That's pretty cool. But founding the Library of Congress? That totally rocks.

K is for Key. The "Star Spangled Banner" is a devil to sing, but kudos to the guy who wrote the lyrics. K is also for King, because MLK, Jr really was a great man.

L is for Lion Brand. I don't actually use their yarn a whole lot, but they have lots of neat patterns (and they're all free). L is also for Lincoln, who was arguably the greatest leader our country has ever had.

M is for Memorial Day, the day we remember all our fallen heroes of past wars. It was first celebrated back in the late 1860's (called Decoration Day then) to commemorate all the men and boys who had been killed in the Civil War. It's been celebrated every year since then. (So to all my Canadian friends who gave me flack about the way Nov 11 is or is not celebrated down here, we aren't being rude, disrespectful, blase, or apathetic toward our fallen soldiers. Memorial Day had been celebrated for 50 years prior to the end of WWI.)

N is for Native Americans. Thank you for making this country so great before it was stolen from you.

O is for the Oregon Trail, and all the people who traveled it.

P is for Patriotism. We got a lot of it. And that's a good thing, because a country is only as good as the people who love and defend it (note, I said country, not its leaders).

Q is for Quakers, who not only helped to settle the land, but also help to remind us that war is never the answer.

R is for Railroads, who helped to connect the land in ways never thought of before. R is also for Religious Freedom, the reason why many of the people who settled here came in the first place.

S is for States Rights. I will admit that these have gotten us into trouble in the past (Note C,G, and L), but when it comes right down to it, I personally think it's great that the different states have so much autonomy.

T is for Twain. Because it just wouldn't be a list about the US without at least one reference to our favorite writer. Please go read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer if you haven't already.

U is for Underage Drinking, which contrary to what many of my Canadian friends think, is a REALLY BIG DEAL here. We don't care what the drinking age is in other places. Here, it's 21 or bust.

V is for Virginia. Besides being where I happen to live, it's also the name of the first person of European descent known to be born in the US. It was also the home of several US presidents, where the capital of the Confederacy was, and where the last major battle in the Revolutionary War took place.

W is for Washington. Again, 'nuff said.

X is for EXpats. Whether we like to think of ourselves like this or not, the truth of it all is that the majority of Americans are, or are direct descendants of people who came here from other place.

Y is for Yankee Doodle. Only Americans can take a song that started out as an insult and turn it into part of our national identity.

Z is for Zee. Because contrary to many parts in the English-speaking world, that's how we pronounce the last letter of the alphabet.

Happy Fourth to all my American friends. Have fun and enjoy the fireworks.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Here We Go Round...

"Mistress Mary" talks about Mary I of England.
"Rock-a-bye Baby" talks about James II of England.
"Ring Around a Rosy" is about the bubonic plague.
"Humpty Dumpty" is apparently about a canon that fell off a castle rampart during the British Civil War.
And "Baa Baa Black Sheep" is about taxes imposed on wool during the Middle Ages.

But I've got to wonder about "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush." Where does it come from?

It's not the poem itself. That may come from the fact that the plant happens to grow in the courtyard of a particular British prison, and that the inmates used to exercise around it everyday.

But I am curious about the wording. Because mulberries don't grow on bushes.

The Bible says that mulberries grow on trees (Luke 17, if you're interested).
The above mentioned prison says that the foliage within its grounds is a tree.
The forestry department at Virginia Tech says that mulberries grow on trees.
And, (most importantly in my opinion) the mulberries that grow wild right outside my apartment building (and are free game to any of the tenants) grow on trees.

So why does the rhyme say bush? It's not the only one that references mulberry bushes -- alternate words to "Pop Goes the Weasel" talks about mulberry bushes, too.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

In Honor Of

Because today is July 1, I thought I would take the opportunity to give honor to our fine neighbors to the north. Here are twenty-six things I bet a lot of you don't know about them:

A is for Alpine. Because even though I don't drink beer, sometimes, I feel you really do have to live here to get it (yes, I know that's a semi-old slogan). It's also for Atwood (Margaret), and Anne (of Green Gables).

B is for Basketball (I bet you didn't know it was invented here). It's also for Blue Jays (I'm not a fan, but I think they deserve mention as the only MLB team NOT in the US)

C is for Curling. Ever seen Men with Brooms? Great Movie.

D is for Diversity. 'Nuff said.

E is for Eh? Yes, they really do say it.

F is for Fundy, the Bay of. High Tide, Low Tide, any kind of tide. Once you've lived on it for four years, you'll never think of tides the same way again.

G is for Garlic Fingers. Go north and have some.

H is for Hockey (of course), Halifax (a great city), and Hopewell (because those rocks are just darn cool).

I is for... well, I looks very much like the number 1 -- the number one country in North America in terms of size. Yes, it really is bigger than the US.

J is for Joey's, the best pizza place in the world.

K is for Kathy, down right the absolute coolest person in the place.

L is for Loonies. How come we can't give our money cool nicknames?

M is for Maple. Period. Yes, it can stand for other things, like Maritimes, or Molsen, or Macleans, or Mount Allison, but when you get right down to it? M is for Maple.

N is for New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, and Nunavit. More of Canada's political subdivisions start with N than another letter.

O is for Oil. There's more in Canada than there is in the US, believe it or not.

P is for Patons. (You didn't think I'd go through a list without bringing up at least one reference to yarn, did you?) It's also for Poutine, the absolute best, most delicious comfort food in the universe. Look above at G for directions.

Q is for Quebec. What else?

R is for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who usually wear dark blue and drive Chevrolets. They train in Regina, another great R (I've never been there, but I'm sure it's a wonderful place).

S is for Sackville, the home of Joey's. And many other things, but you really should consider stopping by just for Joey's.

T is for Timbits. Again, 'nuff said.

U is for Universal Health Care. A shame we don't have something similar in the US.

V is for Vimy Ridge. If you don't know anything about this WWI battle, well....

W is for Winter, which has a tendency to last ad nauseum, but really is one of the prettiest times of the year.

X is for X-files, which were filmed there.

Y is for Yukon. I've heard it's very nice up there. And without it, we would have no Call of the Wild.

Z is for Zed, which is Canadianese (I should say Commonwealthese, actually, since they say Zed in Britain and Oz too.) for the last letter of the alphabet.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canuk friends. I hope you all have a great one.