Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Call for Help

Go to the ballgame,
And go to the ballet,
And go see your folks more than just on the holidays.
Kiss all your children,
Dance with your wife,
And tell your husband you love him every night.

Those words are from the song "Turn Up the Music" by the group Point of Grace. It's about living life to its fullest and treating each day like it's magical and special and taking every possible opportunity you have to let others around you know how important they are to you.

On August 24, a good man died who didn't have to. A man I respected and admired, who was kind and good and intelligent and wickedly funny walked into his backyard and shot himself. He left behind a wife and three children. He was 59 years old.

I've struggled mightily over the past four months with the question of Why -- and come to the realization that there is no answer -- at least not one that I have learned. I've also struggled with the What-if-I-had-been-there question, and also come to the unfortunate conclusion that it might not have made much of a difference.

December 16 would have been his birthday. And while I don't know if anyone could have done anything to have made a difference back in August, I do know that there are still people out there who are struggling with depression and suicidal tendencies EVERY DAY. And the good thing is, it's NOT too late for them. So in honor of Flanny's birthday -- and of all the wonderful things he accomplished in his lifetime -- I'm putting out a request for help.

Recently, my friend K participated in an Out of the Darkness Community Walk put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I think all the walks have taken place already, but the foundation is still accepting donations through the end of the year. The money raised will be going towards counseling and awareness, and to help remove the "hush hush let's not talk about this" stigma that often accompanies a suicide. Please take a moment to consider donating. It may be too late for Flanny. But it might just make a difference for someone else.

And even if you can't donate?
Kiss all your children.
And dance with your wife.
And tell your husband you love him.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

You Ever Wonder...

The storytime room at work looks out onto a cemetery. And every day, during storytime, no matter what age, but it's more prevalent with the younger ones, at least one or two children rush over to look out the window.

At first, maybe, the idea is they're looking at some place where they can't be -- the forbidden outdoors.

Or maybe they're looking out there, because it's someplace different, and not where they are, and they feel like they need to explore it, if only with their eyes.

Or maybe, and this is what's been churning around in my mind the most lately, the kids are seeing something that adults don't. That maybe kids, like in that Kim Cattrall movie, possess some secret knowledge that they lose as they grow older. That there's some sort of romance to the hidden world of babies and toddlers that only they know, and part of that is being able to see and hear things that adults don't. And who's to say that part of that doesn't include being able to see ghosts?

Nah. It can't be that. I mean, there are no such things as ghosts...right?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Thanks

Let's all take a moment today and spend it giving thanks for everything we have, and saying a prayer for the ones who have less.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mitts

I am addicted to the mitts.

There may be no stopping with the mitts.

The mitts may be the new black.

Over the weekend, I whipped out a pair of simple ribbed mitts just to spice things up, but now I am back to the Short 'n Sweet ones.

This is probably not boding well for my mental state.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I'm really rather behind on posting this, but I did want to put up my pics from Rhinebeck and show off my new sweater. So even though Rhinebeck was two weeks ago, here's what it's about.

I managed, by not doing virtually anything else the week before, to finish the sweater:

It was finished in the hotel room the night before. Blocking didn't happen for another week, but I WAS WEARING IT AT RHINEBECK.

I took along the Java socks, but since I wasn't quite at a point in the pattern where I could really work on them, didn't really get a chance to work on them at the festival. These were relagated to the hotel and car intead.

I did, however, get some people to hold the sock. Lisa Grossman held my sock, even though it wasn't one of hers:

Miss Babs held my sock.

Joe from Oasis Yarns held my sock (Somehow, I wasn't able to find a website for them).

George? from Skaska Designs held my sock.

Somehow, I never did get this guy's name, but the Female Parental Unit bought a hat from him, and he had a really cool-lookin weasel at his booth, so I asked him to hold the sock too.

The Chilean miners were there:

Not really. But last year, Rhinbeck happened to fall right after all the Chilean miners were rescued, so I started calling this group that. I actually have no idea what this particular group is named.

The FPU discovered this really interesting tea cozy that doubled as a hat:

Once again, I cannot wait until next year.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Those of you who know me pretty well (and even those of you who don't know me as well as you would hope but who have happened to have read my last two posts) know that I'm a pretty hard core baseball fan. And this past spring, the Male Parental Unit said to me and Tiger, "The baseball hall of fame is on my bucket list. When can we go?"

Turns out it suited Columbus Day weekend. So we went. The hall of inductees was first, but it turns out that Tiger is only a CASUAL baseball fan and didn't know a good two thirds of the players. So the MPU and I had great fun ribbing him about this.
Me (after about the twelth person he didn't know): Why did we bring him with us again?.
MPU: It certainly wasn't for his baseball knowledge.

Anyway, Tiger took a picture of me with Cal.

After the hall of inductees, we went up to the museum (which is separate from the hall. Which is important, because the museum includes stuff belonging to people who are not in the hall -- like Joe Jackson and Pete Rose)

I was kind of surprised that there was flash photography allowed in both the hall and the museum, since a lot of the stuff there is really old. But anyway, here is a picture of me next to the display about Cal breaking Lou Gehrig's record of consecutive games played:

And here's a display that I discovered in the room about the World Series. The helmet and old-looking bat belonged to Bill Mazeroski when he hit his walk-off home run in 1960, and the resin (rosin?) bag below them belonged to Ralph Terry. The newish bat belonged to Joe Carter.

Curt Schilling's bloody sock (which totally was the coolest thing ever about the museum)

On the way towards the bookstore, I ran into a BoSox fan and ribbed him about his team losing. He took it graciously. I also asked him how it felt to have to root for the Yankees. He said he might need to go into therapy for it.

Outside of the museum is a statue of James Fenimore Cooper, located on the original place where the Cooper family first lived. He even was gracious enough to hold the sock.

The third really cool thing about Cooperstown is that it's on the banks of Lake Otsego,

which is the headwaters of the Susquehanna.

On Saturday, the three of us went down to the river. We threw some sticks into the water, and guessed whether we would be able to beat them to Harrisburg or not

We're pretty certain we did.

It should be noted here that some of these pictures -- notably the ones with me in my Cal T-shirt -- were taken with Tiger's phone. I'm pretty certain he won't mind me using them, but I want to provide credit for them.

After that it was back to PA before heading to Rhinebeck, where I was furiously racing to finish my sweater.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Random on a Friday

1. There is a major program here this afternoon.

2. Chaos will reign supreme during said program.

3. I will probably end up with a tick between my eyes.

4. The fact that today is Friday makes the chaos worthwhile.

5. That, and the fact that the Yankees lost last night.

6. And that I'm going on vacation this weekend.

7. Now if I can just find the other sock.

8. And remember my camera.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are

So in a moment of sheer insanity, about two weeks ago I cast on this sweater, with the intention of finishing it for Rhinebeck (which is in two weeks).

Last night, I sat down to finish the two sleeves. I had maybe ten rounds left. Things were going well. This was great, I thought. I'll finish the sleeves and the ribbing on the body of the sweater tonight.

Right. This is how last night went:

7:00. Sit down in front of tv and turn on Orioles/Red Sox game to knit to. Marvel on the fact that this is actually my tv knitting.

8:30. Finish the sleeves. Perform happy dance.

8:45. Cast on stitches for body after measuring gauge on sleeves. Twice. Place stitch markers every 50 stitches in the process.

8:45-9:20. Work on the ribbing of the body of sweater.

9:25. Realize that, in spite of careful placement of stitch markers, I have failed in the most basic of skills that is counting and cast on 40 extra stitches. Rip out.

9:30. Rain delay in Baltimore. I console myself with restarting my ribbing by switching channels to watch the Yankees/Rays game.

9:30-11:00. Work on ribbing, after counting twice to make sure I have the correct number of stitches this time. Swtitch back and forth between the Yankees/Rays and the Phillies/Braves.

11:00. Play resumes in Baltimore. By this point, I have worked approximately 7 rounds of ribbing.

11:00-12:15. I'm not entirely certain what exactly I did during this stretch of time. I thought I was knitting, but by the end I had only worked a little over 2 rounds.


12:15-12:45 Finish the tenth round of ribbing while trying to catch my breath and get my heart rate back under control.

12:50 Take a few very deep breaths and realize I need to go to bed, despite the fact that I am still super-adrenaline filled.


Bucky Dent and Mookie Wilson? Meet Robert Andino, Dan Johnson, and Evan Longoria.

Where the wild things are. Maurice Sendak truly has never said it so well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Best Time of the Year

Today, I woke up, and there was fog outside.

Now, I realize that to many of you, a foggy September morning doesn't seem like much, but to me, it speaks of wonders and miracles and awesome loveliness that comes but once a year.

One of the most wonderful things about the world is that there are four seasons, and what happens between September and December is nothing short of miraculous. Every September, I can count on the maple tree in front of my house beginning to blush red, on whispers of fog curling down the street, and the apple trees becoming heavy laden with red and yellow freckles. And each year, I am struck dumb with the awesomeness of the beauty of it all.

I could say that fall is my favorite time of year because the kids have gone back to school, and the chaotic, oppressive heat of summer is over. And they do, and it is. But that's not why fall is my favorite.

I could say that fall is my favorite because it's that inbetween time of the year, when you don't have to worry about your heat or your A/C, and you can just lounge around in your jeans and be comfortable. And this is true. But that's not why fall is my favorite.

I could say that fall is my favorite because it's full of apple dunking and hay rides and corn mazes and all sorts of fun things that I loved to do as a child. And it is. But that's not why fall is my favorite.

I could say that fall is my favorite because it's the time that kids get to dress up as pirates and princesses and Lost Boys and roam the streets like ghouls, scaring away demons and devils. And they do. But that's not why fall is my favorite.

I could say that fall is my favorite because it's the time of festivals. Of people bringing the harvest in, of apples and pumpkins polka-dotting the fields, of the celebration of harvest and home, and of food and warmth and love. And this happens, and it is absolutely wonderful. But that's not why fall is my favorite.

Fall is my favorite time of the year, first and foremost, because of its utter beauty. Fall is the time when God reaches out with His paintbrush and covers the earth with a loveliness that is never seen any other time of the year. It is the time of the year when trees burst into flame, when ice faeries dance on the grass in the early morning, when the sky is full of an ocean of blue-ness, and when the smoke of little cat feet fog creeps and curls around the fields. It is my favorite time of the year, because there is nothing, NOTHING more beautiful in the natural world than a maple tree in the fall, and after seeing one you know you could stand before one all day, almost crying at the loveliness of it all.

Happy first few days of fall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What About the Rest?

Yesterday, I was watching the Mets/Cubs game on tv, and the big story during the game was all the ceremonies throughout the game. Yesterday was, of course, a big anniversary, and since the Mets were home, well, it was important for the city to remember.


Ten years ago, I was living in an area that was within broadcast range of all the Boston news stations. And when I was watching all the ceremonial loveliness last night, it got me thinking. New York lost that day. She lost A LOT, and the events of that Tuesday morning will forever be engraved in the hearts and minds of the people of the city. But the two planes were both out of Boston, and they were both headed to Los Angeles. Which means those two cities both lost, too.

But last night, there was no mention of the victims from Boston or L.A. In fact, it feels like the passengers on those two planes have become the forgotten ones, the ones no one really remembers, or even cares about. Whenever anyone mentions 9/11, most people focus on the police and firefighters who lost their lives when the towers fell. Or the passengers of Flight 93, who gave their lives so more would not be lost. But that doesn't mean that we should forget the people who were on the two planes who crashed in New York. But we have. We have forgotten them, and last night was a perfect example of the fact. And I find that horrifically sad, not just because, during the original aftermath, I saw the local news put faces to some of those people, but also, because every passenger and crew member on those two planes was a loved one to somebody. And they deserve every bit of remembrance as anybody else who died that day.

So, to all the people of Boston and L.A. who did lose a loved one ten years ago --

Here's to you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


This is just about the awesomest thing I've seen in a long while. Enjoy and share with everybody!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Wind Blows Backwards All Night Long

And rain makes applesauce. (With apologies to Julian Scheer)

So Hurricane Irene came through this past weekend. It gave us about sixteen hours of steady rain, and tropical force wind on Saturday night.

So on Saturday night, I came home from work, and promptly sat down on my couch with my crock pot, my paring knife, and a peck of apples, and began to cut them up. They simmered in the pot all night long, and on Sunday morning, I not only had a well-drenched lawn, but a yummy bowl of applesauce.

Homemade applesauce is, to me, the epitome of comfort food. Not the Motts stuff you buy in a jar at the store. But the kind where you actually cut and peel and season the apples yourself. Where you put everything in the pot and drift off to sleep and wake up in the morning with the whole house smelling of cinnamon. Applesauce was something my mom would make in the fall when I wee, and on cold, rainy days, I would enjoy coming home from school to a bowl of warm, yummy sauce. Mmmmmmmm. Comfort food.

The world needs a little comfort these days. With everything that happened last week, the earthquake on Tuesday, the suicide on Wednesday, and the hurricane on Saturday, homemade applesauce seemed just the ticket.

And what better time than on a night when a hurricane is blowing outside? The wind blows backwards all night long...and rain makes applesauce.

Next stop: steeking the vest

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Update

1. Summer Reading is OVER. Yay!

2. School starts on Monday. Yay!

3. There was an earthquake here yesterday.

4. It was a magnitude 5.8.

5. No one was hurt.

6. But it was all people could talk about the rest of the day.

7. This is because we don't normally have earthquakes here.

8. I put books on plate tectonics and earth science out on display.

9. It still might be all people can talk about for the rest of the week.

10. I need to do some gardening.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So this is pretty image-heavy, but here's my totals for Tour De Fleece:

First Up:

Vicki's Ocean. I don't have it all photoed here, but there was 24 ounces total. Combed superwash merino top, which I spun over the fold and did a 4-ply to create a worsted/aran weight yarn. There's about 1100 yards total. I believe there exists plans for it to become a vest.


The Wicked Witch yarn. Combed merino top from Made By Ewe spun over the fold and 2-plied into a fingering weight. There's about 400 yards total. This yarn was immediately claimed by Earthling. I think she may do socks.


There isn't a picture of this all spun up, but this is corriedale cross top from Spinners Hill spun worsted and navajo-plied into a sport weight. There's about 6 ounces total, although I only spun up 4 during the challenge as the remaining 2 ounces had already been spun up.

Then there is

This bit of loveliness from Fiber Fancy -- merino/mohair blend combed top, spun to fingering weight and kept as a single. There's 540 yards -- it will make a lovely scarf or shawl.

Next, we have

Corriedale top from Gale's Art, spun worsted and navajo-plied into a heavy fingering weight. I was thinking socks or a scarf.

Then there is

This absolute beautiful wonderfulness of BFL and silk from Bullens Wullens, which was spun into 820 yards of laceweight and kept as a single. This, I know will make something totally lovely and lacey. There will be beads, and it will be MINE, MINE, all MINE.

And finally, there is this

Combed corriedale top from Gale's Art spun worsted and navajo-plied into an aran/chunky weight. This yarn has been gifted, and I'm pretty certain the recipient will absolutely love it.

So that brings the total to

24 ounces of the teal
4 ounces of the wicked witch
4 ounces from Spinners Hill
4 ounces from Fiber Fancy
8 ounces from Gale's Art
4 ounces from Bullens Wullens

That's 48 ounces total, which is the 3 pounds that I was gunning for at the beginning. I'm still totally impressed that I got it all spun up. Notice that what ISN'T there is the angora/wool blend that I had been working on, which means that I actually spun a little more than 48 ounces. But the angora/wool isn't done yet, so I'm not counting it in my totals.

The question now becomes, what do I spin next?

Monday, July 18, 2011


So no pics today, but a quick update on TdF totals:

8 more ounces of the teal superwash merino spun and plied (you've already seen it anyway, do you really want to see more? It really does look exactly like the others.) So far, I have about 650 yards spun up total. There are 8 ounces left to do. V has announced she wants a vest out of it.

3 ounces spun of the BFL/silk blend that I got from Bullens Woolens at MDSW this spring (I think the website is under construction), and I swear that this stuff is so lovely, I'm tempted to eat it.

4 ounces spun and navajo-plied of a random colorway of Gales Art corriedale. There's about 370 yards, so I'm hoping for socks. Maybe.

That's a total of 34 ounces spun so far. I'm still behind by about 2 ounces, but the BFL/silk wonderfulness is spinning up so nicely, I'll probably be able to finish that, plus get a good start on the last 8 ounces of the teal tonight.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


And I'm officially behind on Tour de Fleece.

So far, in addition to everything I posted last week, I've also completed this:

That's about 300 yards of 4-ply, aran weight merino, that I'm spinning up for the lovely V. (Somewhere, there's a tag. I've lost track of who the vendor was.) There's not quite 8 ounces total, and I have about 16 more of this to go.

I also have this bit of fantabulousness:

That's 4 ounces of a merino/mohair blend from Fiber Fancy, and I'm uber proud of this yarn. It's the first time I've ever been confident enough in my singles that I'm not going to ply it. There's about 540 yards of that gorgeousness right there, and each time I look over at it, I'm tempted to give it a little pat and a smile. Sigh. My Precious.

Then there's this as well:

The tag on this is long gone. I think it only came with a receipt, which has long since met up with the trash can and eloped. But it is a wool/angora blend, hand dyed with black cherry Kool Aid.

Now, I realize that looks like a lot, but Dudes, it totally isn't. Today is Day 11 of the Tour, which means that I'm supposed to have 22 ounces spun up by the end of today. The problem is, I only have about 19, and I don't foresee myself actually doing three ounces today. Two, maybe. Can we say two? I think maybe I'll be able to finish two ounces today.

After the black cherry bunny comes more of the teal merino. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

So Far

So here's my progress on TdF so far. First up? The Wicked Witch braid from Made by Ewe.

It's four ounces of merino, and there's about 340 yards of the green and black, and about 60 yards of the green by itself. This, I think, will be turn into a very loverly cowl. Or it might be a gift. We shall see.

Then, I've been working on a lot of this bit of wonderfulness from Spinner's Hill

There's six ounces of Corriedale total, although about 40% of it was spun up already. I'm going for about a sport weight, navajo plied. No project in mind as of yet, though.

The Corriedale should be all spun up into a single tonight, and then it will be on to something else. Hmmmm....Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

TdF Prep

So Tour de Fleece. The goal is to make some sort of challenge for yourself that you think is going to be difficult (but not impossible) for you to complete spin-wise during the Tour de France. For some of my friends, that goal is to spin a little every day. For another it's to come to the grand finale party.

My goal is three pounds. Which is so far beyond the realm of impossibility that it's laughable. Added to this is the fact that, in order to get ready for TdF, I have told myself that I need to finish A) the grab bag on my drop spindle and B) the Falkland that is on my wheel. By TOMORROW.

I can foresee strong drink in my future. And wee hours of the morning.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Don't Like Change

This may not come as a surprise to some of you. But I thought I'd put it out there all the same and announce it. This means that when I spend an afternoon at an open house for a retirement village for my parents (who, I might add, are nowhere near old enough for a community such as this), it does not go well.

I also don't like pressure, but I think this is my own fault, because I was the insane person who decided that she needed to finish up the Heartbeat top and my grab bag prior to the start of Tour de Fleece, which starts this weekend. I have approximately 1/3 of an ounce left in the grab bag, and a little less than an ounce left of Heartbeat.

There are 48 days left in Summer Reading.

This does not bode well for my state of mind, I fear.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lest We Forget

"Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair."
-- Irving Berlin

Today is Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember all our heroes (fallen or standing) from wars past and present, and all the sacrifices that they made. Ever since the French and Indian War -- the first major international war fought on American soil -- broke out in 1754, countless men and women have paid the ultimate price in the names of freedom, honor, and patriotism. Many of those are unnamed, known, as the tomb in Arlington states, only to God.

2011 markes the 165th anniversary of the Seige of Fort Texas, the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But it doesn't matter whether the men and women whose sacrifices we remember are from a long ago, virtually forgotten war, or if they're from a conflict that is still ongoing today. What is important is that we remember them. That we remember what they did. And that we are grateful to them. And that we will NEVER, EVER forget.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random on a Friday

This is a holiday weekend.

The holiday means that H and I are going down to the Green Valley Book Fair on Monday.

The Pole socks are done.

The toe of one needs to be ripped out and reknit.

I need to figure out some way of putting up the chart for it.

The silk is done on the wheel.

Except for setting the twist.

The silk did not like to draft.

I told it to behave.

It didn't.

Because it's silk, I'll forgive it.

There are 615 yards.

Anyone have any pattern ideas?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day

To all you mothers out there. Without all of you, there would be none of us.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A List

Of everything that has captured my attention this past week.

The Pole socks. There's no picture of these, just because I haven't taken one yet. Sock one is finished. Sock two is halfway down the leg. I've really been having fun with these -- cables and socks -- it's the perfect combo.

The weather. FINALLY a great weekend. It's been all April showers, rain and dreariness all month long, and then on Saturday, the sun came out, and there was perfect blue skies. Perfect for hiking around Greenwitch Village.

My general lack of sleep. When you get up at 4am two days in a row...

The Persephone shawl. It's blocking on my bed. Apparently, I don't know all that much how to pin out semi-circular shawls -- this one took about 30 minutes before I got the pins right.

The Duchess of Cambridge. The woman is riveting. I don't envy her all that much (ok, let's be honest, I do a little), but there is nothing more beautiful than two people in love with each other. This is what is so fantastic about a monarchy -- the pageantry, the beauty -- we just don't have exciting events like this here in the US. And THE DRESS. Is there absolutely anything more I can say about THE DRESS?? Wasn't it just the other week that V and M and I were all bemoaning the lack of sleeves and lace on wedding dresses?

Saturday, April 23, 2011


You ever wonder why sometimes people make big huge deals about things that aren't important? Like when there are so many really important things that need to be discussed and accomplished, and being IGNORED, because of these really unimportant, minute things?

This whole issue about the Birther Bill is bugging me. I mean, let's, for the sake of grins and giggles, just set aside the whole Certificate of Live Birth that was produced to public scrutiny three years ago, along with the announcements made BY the hospital to local newspapers. Because, really, if those things aren't good enough for you, I don't know if there's really anything that is. But the thing that is REALLY bugging me about this whole issue is WHY ARE WE EVEN ARGUING ABOUT THIS???

(I'm wondering maybe if the issue isn't so much of WHERE the dude was born, but WHEN -- like maybe he wasn't really born in 1961, but rather in 1958? Note to self: check up on citizenship status of people born in territories.)

But seriously. Why is it such an issue? Why are we so confounded hung up on this? Why, when I go onto, is it the BIG HOT TOPIC? Especially when there are so many other topics out there that I think are far more important and merit much more discussion.

Like maybe, I don't know, the BUDGET?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rain, Rain

April showers bring May flowers...

When we were little, Earthling and I would continue with little ditty: April showers bring May flowers. What do May flowers bring? Pilgrims.

What do Pilgrims bring? Thanksgiving.

What does Thanksgiving bring? Food.

And we would go on and on from there, culminating in some really weird and sometimes disgusting things, until we were told to stop. This was probably one of these bizarre and annoying games we would make up on long car rides.

This week, however, April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring dreary days, low storytime attendance, and bored children.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

Why does it always have to rain on my day off?
How many calories does a person burn when swimming for 45 minutes?
Why two really good looking guys would be WORKING on a Friday night.
Why it is so blasted tedious to cut out 160 circles of rabbit heads.
Why does mohair wrinkle?

And WHY is it somehow MY FAULT that V refrained from telling her husband about the two looms she bought until today?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Deal With It

There was a kid at the library the other day who was whining his behind off. Apparently, he wanted to do something, and his mother told him he couldn't, which caused him to throw a tantrum, right in the middle of the library.

My usual response to whining children is that, if they're planning on providing me with whine, they should at least provide the cheese, strawberries, and crusty baggette too. It usually gets a laugh out of my coworkers -- and the exasperated parent. And it's enough that the kid usually stops whining -- at least enough to stare at you in a confused manner.

This time, however, it just ticked me off. Because you know what, Buddy? Sometimes, life isn't a bed of roses. Sometimes, you DON'T get everything you want. Life. Isn't. Fair. In fact, sometimes, life downright SUCKS. And the sooner you figure that out, the better.

And in the meantime, while you're figuring that out, I'll go and tell my friend, who just lost her baby, or my aunt, who is dying of cancer, or all the people over in Japan who just lost their entire homes and livelihoods that they really need to get some perspective on life, because what they're suffering right now is NOTHING compared to being yelled at by your mother for not behaving as you ought.

btw? Here are links to MSF/DWB, the Red Cross, and the Japanese embassy in D.C, so please don't hesitate to pop on over to any of those sights and give what you can.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Food for Thought

What makes something a fairy tale?

According to the University of Chicago, a fairy tale is a specific type of folk tale, which, according to Merriam Webster, is " a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people."

This would seem to indicate (to me, anyway) that a fairy tale has no actual author -- that it is a tale passed down orally from generation to generation until someone finally decides to write it down. That it might take on a slant of a particular culture or people, but that there is no known person who originally told it. Which makes sense to me. Stories like Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel and Gretel might all have first been originally written down by the Grimm brothers, but where did the original versions come from? They were probably all stories that mothers told their children, who told their children, who told their children, and so on and so forth, with each generation altering the story ever-so-slightly, until Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm came along and wrote down what they believed to be the "purest" form.

Which brings about the next question. If fairy tales are supposedly anonymous, with no clear-cut orginal author, why is The Little Mermaid considered one? That story has an author. Not just a transcriber who happened to be the first person to write it down. It has an original author. Moreover, it doesn't even follow the traditional, happy ending, girl-marries-boy-moves-to-palace-and-lives-happily-ever-after format. So why is it considered a fairy tale?

I think I'm going to keep my compilation of Andersen's works in the 830's from now on.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Let's Check Our Facts

So last night, on the news, the weather guy said that today, it was to be rainy all day, with high winds gusting up to 40 mph.

My immediate reaction was, "Bummer. And on my day off too." And then I woke up this morning.

Currently, there is sun shining into my bedroom. There is a breeze, but I don't think it's anywhere near 40 mph.

Rainy. All day. Riiiiight.

I'm off for pancakes.

Monday, January 31, 2011


So, I was doing laundry the other day, and I decided to check the laundry instructions for my bathing suit (I'm trying to get back into the habit of swimming three times a week). And I noticed that on the tag, it stated,

"Use non-chlorine bleach."

Ummm....yeah.... Somehow that makes sense if you don't think about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Really fascinating discussion on the ALSC listserve right now about whether or not popularity should come into play when awarding the Newbery. The conversation is getting pretty heated -- I guess some people have some really strong opinions regarding this.

So for good measure, I went to ALA's website and looked up the criteria considered for the Newbery. And found the following:

Interpretation of the theme or concept
Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
Development of a plot
Delineation of characters
Delineation of a setting
Appropriateness of style...
[E]xcellence of presentation for a child audience...
The award is not for didactic content or popularity.

And yet, it begs the questions. Should it consider popularity?

If the JNM were awarded solely on popularity, The Adventures of Captain Underpants would have won. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid would have as well. But they didn't. They didn't win, because while they are fabulous in getting a child to read, I have yet to meet a single person who thinks that they are REALLY WELL WRITTEN. Are they popular? Yes. Do they get children to read? Absolutely. But are they well written enough to stand the test of time to become some of the great classics in children's literature? I doubt it.

But then again, there are several Newbery winners that don't measure up to that either. A couple of years ago, I put the book Smoky the Cowhorse (it won in 1927) on display on the end of a bookcase. Where it sat for over a month. Several months later, I put The Wheel on the School (winner in 1955) out on display. A month later, I could make fingerprints in the dust that had gathered on the top.

There are plenty of winners out there that have stood the test of time and are still quite popular, ten, twenty, thirty plus years after they won (A Wrinkle in Time and Bridge to Terabithia are two really great examples). But as the previous paragraph illustrates, there have been some real flops as well.

For the record, my definition of a good book is one that I will recommend to children, and that is still being read and checked out five years after it's published. Does popularity, whether fleeting or enduring, make a book good? No. But should we consider, in addition to all the other criteria, the potential for enduring popularity when handing out awards?

This year's Newbery winner, btw, is Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Twelfth Night

Generally speaking, I've lost some of my love for Christmas over the years.

Don't get me wrong. It's still a wonderful holiday, and I enjoy it very much. It's just that, as I have grown older, I've become disillusioned with all of the secularism, over-indulgence, and greed that has come to mark the holiday. Christmas is, after all, first and foremost a religious holiday, and it should be a time for people to remember family, love, and faith, rather than a time for shopping like hysterical maniacs and driving oneself crazy with gifts and food and whatever else.

My family is big on tradition. We always go to church on Christmas Day, we always give gifts for each of the twelve days of Christmas (and the ones received on January 1 are always a calendar and a puzzle), we always decorate the tree and give out stockings on Christmas Eve, and we always have a big family dinner. Always. I can't remember a year when we didn't do all of this. It's always been a part of what makes Christmas so special.

But this year, some of the traditions have changed a little. The dinner was at the nursing home where my grandmother lives, instead of at my aunt's house; and instead of giving gifts out each day for the twelve days, we gave them all on two; and some of the gifts we ordered for each other didn't arrive on time (one of them still hasn't).

But does any of that make it any less Christmas? Does the fact that your holiday season didn't go quite as you expected make the day any less special, or holy?

On this, the twelfth and final day of Christmas, I hope you have a merry one. And as Charles Dickens once said, may we all truly know how to keep it well.