Monday, January 28, 2008

But Some of My Best Friends Are...


I think we can all agree that I am NOT an intellectual heavyweight. Oh, I attended the lectures in Philosophy 402, but I didn't understand a word of them. I went to class, but mostly sat there while the professor talked about Martin Heidegger and Richard Kleindienst and Dog knows what else and allowed myself to be distracted by shiny things. I remain to this day well-intentioned but easily confused.

SO you will understand why this article has left me vehrstimmeled.

When Stephanie Pearl-McPhee says she's Canadian, is she trying to tell me something? Not that I care. Some of my best friends really are Canadian. Or black. Or are they French?

I park my car every day at a parking garage in Chicago's Loop. It is twelve stories high, and, in order to make it easier for people to find their cars, each floor is assigned a "country" and a song associated with that country plays in the elevator lobby on that floor.

As I think I noted, I am easily confused, so I always park in Greece -- the 7th floor. Even though there are spaces on 6 when I pull in in the morning, I drive on up to Greece. And waiting for the elevator I am treated to Kritikos Horos' Theme from Zorba the Greek.

Invariably, on the way down, the elevator stops at 4 to pick up parkers, and Canada's national anthem, Oh Canada, reverently enters my ears.

Now I'm going to suspect the intentions of the 4th floor of the car park.

Do you think the guys who draw Southpark knew about this?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pink - 18 Wheeler Live In Wembley - I'm Not Dead Tour

This is for Ted. A little course, a little crude, but hearing this song always makes me feel stronger, more alive, and able to take whatever spit comes my way. Get back up, my friend.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dear Ted:

I very much appreciate your restrained response to my current situation and your gentle exhortations to finish what is a less-than-enjoyable task which, once completed, will open the door to countless hours of enjoyment.

(If anyone can diagram that sentence, could you please scan your diagram and e-mail it to me?)

If you would indulge me further, I would like the opportunity to restate and clarify one point.

The fault for any confusion is entirely my own. As the philosopher Emo Phillips teaches, "Ambiguity is the devil's volleyball." So when I wrote "I left my knitting -- all three WIPs -- at the office...", what I meant to say was, "I left my knitting -- all three WIPs including the dogforsaken, mothra-freakin' lace I was going to rip back before I can start anything even vaguely approaching interesting -- at the office."

Again, for your grammarians out there, diagrams would be appreciated.

I contemplated your underlying message, however, and took to heart your advise. I live a mere 10 minutes from my office. I have a key. I am neither disabled or under house arrest. I am a strong, confident woman. Or something like that. No "awfulizing and catastrophizing" here. So after lunch today I am going to hie my little hiney downtown, retrieve my knitting, and return to my abode, at which time I plan to park my tuchas in an easy chair, prop my feet on a pouffe, and listen to Midnight Special on WFMT while drinking a pot of decaf Ceylon and eating some chocolate rice cakes. And I'm going to knit. (Oh. My. Dog. I believe I have officially become an 80 year old woman named Lavinia living in Ogallala, Nebraska.)

In closing, my dear Theodore, please accept my sincere gratitude for your sensitive yet forcible guidance. I am forever in your debt. If I might ever be of service to you, please allow me the opportunity to make good on my debt. I am...

Your obedient servant,

A. Gilbert

P.S. How are you enjoying your new job? I can't remember, which job did you decide to take -- Britney Spears' personal assistant, or the one with the White House? And aren't you glad you passed on the position as Senator Craig's masseuse?

Friday, January 25, 2008


It is Friday night. I have two blissfully cold and snowy days to spend holed up in our lovely warm condo, listening to music, drinking tea, eating chocolate rice cakes and knitting.

And then it hit me. I left my knitting -- all three WIPs -- at the office.

Note: Those chocolate rice cake things is most yummy. They actually taste like chocolate. As the BFG would say, "I is guzzling them up!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'M (Still) CRAZY!

I don't think I need to tell you just how much joy this video has brought me. Let's all put our hands together in recognition of our friends at SNL for their bravery, their creativity, and their incredible humor. I feel like I should send them $5 -- if only because they finally got Patsy Cline out of my head!


I have a G-Mail account I use regularly. Off on a sidebar is an ad section. Google "reads" your mail and places ads in your sidebar that it thinks you may appreciate.

What in the name of Dog could I have written to deserve these?

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There used to be a restaurant at Clark and Belden called Max's Deli. It had some pretty good food, as I recall, and little buckets of half-sours on the table. Money was tight in those days, but Myfanwe and I managed to eat out once a week, and Max's was usually our restaurant of choice.

One of the reasons we liked Max's was they served a pretty incredible bowl of chicken soup they called Mish Mosh. It was a huge bowl of well-made chicken soup with a matzah ball, a kreplach, fine egg noodles, rice, and kasha. It cost $6.95, came with a generous bread basket, and was enough to keep a person satisfied for many hours.

The only reason I'm telling you about this is that this post is going to be a mish mosh; a little beit of everything, mixed together.


I've been doing a little work in my spare time on organizing my family tree and going through pictures. This photo is from a family reunion in 1967. I was three years old. That's me, fourth from the right in the front row. My mom is in the fourth row from the front (I think -- it's hard to count the rows in this picture) and fourth from the left. She's the one in glasses looking off to the side. My father is two rows back -- separated by my Uncle Joe, my Aunt Nan's husband. This is only significant in that, when this photo was taken, my parents' marriage was literally crumbling. My mom moved out within weeks.

My parents had me as a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. (What -- they couldn't tell from the first four kids that number five wasn't going to be able to save them?) Anyway, when this photo was taken, I was failing at my reason for living.

There are very few pictures in existence wherein the three of us appear together. And even where we appear in the same photo, there is a distance between us. Hmm. Go figure.


I am still stuck on the Swallowtail Shawl. It's psychological at this point. I just can't pick it up and rip back the last two rows. I just can't do it.

Though I may have stumbled upon the proper incentive while perusing Ravelry.

I just downloaded the pattern for Evelyn Clark's Labyrinth Lace Shawl. The pattern was $11.99, but well worth it -- it's 25 pages long! Every row is written out and charted!

I haven't decided if I should make it in my extra cone of gray silk from ColourMart or in the olive cashmere -- also from ColourMart -- that I am frogging and starting over. The two fibers both have great things going for them...the silk is amazingly drapey, and the cashmere is as soft as a baby's bottom. So choosing is going to be difficult. But one thing is for certain -- I am not going to do anything with it until I have ripped back the two erroneous rows on the Swallowtail. As Mrs. Slocombe used to say, "I am unanimous in that!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Latest Journey

I think I mentioned many months ago that I was having a lot of oral which left me very sick and in pretty constant pain for more than four months. Three of those months were on a totally soft diet, and the last two months I have had to avoid hard or crunchy things.

Well guess what! That is going to be over soon! Not immediately, but soon.

I have started on the road to having beautiful teeth. I found a dentist I really like -- one who isn't mean or judgmental or holier than I. He seems like a genuine nice guy. I am not kidding you, I've had two appointments with him this week and will have another next Tuesday, and I'm not freaking out. Oooo! Oooo! And I didn't feel any of the shots he gave me. None! I didn't even feel them. So no crying or squealing or braying like a sheep about to be docked.

Next week I go in for a crown on a molar. The next week my invisible braces will be in. 6 to 9 months after that I'll have crowns on the 6 front teeth. And the Lauren Hutton gap between my two front teeth (which has grown over the years to look like I was missing a tooth) will be nonexistant. Soon after that I plan to start my next career as a supermodel! (I heard that, since you can't eat with the invisible braces in your mouth, people using them loose about 10 pounds! That should help me with my supermodeling.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Currently, my Northernmost reader is from Stockholm, Sweden. My Southernmost reader is currently someone from Melbourne, Australia. I have a regular reader in Japan, and, I'll be jiggered, several regular readers on the African continent. (I love you, Djibouti! You too, Botswana!

On the North American Continent, two of my peeps battle it out for Northernmost readers from North America. They hie from Prince George, British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta, both in Canada. I don't know which is technically the more-northerly of the two...I imagine, if I tried, I could find out the latitude of both communities and name one the victor, but hell -- people in Prince George and Edmonton already have enough to deal with by way of cold and snow and bear maulings and the like. I'm not gonna make them fight it out. They are both "Ball-Freezing Cold".

I do wonder if it is as cold in Prince George or Edmonton as it is in Stockholm.

The 100 Friends of Aidan the Knitter

OK. So Dr. Seuss I'm not. (Though I have been called absurd a few times...a day...every day.)

Where was I? Oh, yes.

Today I was doing my thing over to Ravelry, and a little bitty number jumped out at me.

I have 100 friends!

Now by the time you read this, the number may have changed -- that's what happens to intensely popular guys like me -- but I thought the number was monumental and deserving of attention.

Who, you might ask, is number 100? Her Ravelry handle is lilpixiestix. Her real name is Jeanne, she hails from Chicago, her favorite colors are green, orange and blue, and she is a knitting-evangelist -- she has converted two of her friends. (Fred Phelps is likely to picket her funeral for that!) Judging from the Ravelry Groups she frequents, it seems as if she likes The Simpsons, Drunken Promiscuous Sheep (Don't we all? Hi, Dolores!), and Girls Covered in Bees. I don't understand the last one, but it has something to do with Eddie Izzard.

Thank you, Jeanne, for being my friend and for making this moment so special. You know what they say -- you never forget your 100th!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


If you are a regular reader of the blog, you already know that Myfanwe is a legal aid attorney who represents only HIV+ persons who are also very, very poor. It is a thankless job, but Myfanwe and her staff are tireless and they make a difference in the lives of their clients.

Myfanwe has been asked to present at a national conference of HIV/AIDS legal advocates in March in Baltimore, MD. Normally this would elicit a big "Whoo Hoo!" from me, but it instead presents us with difficult decisions.

Let me start at the beginning. Myfanwe is a legal aid attorney. I am a paralegal. Neither of us makes a kabillion dollars. So we budget. Everything. When Norbert was born, we opened a mutual fund account as a savings mechanism for vacations. Every month $100 is deposited into the account automatically. That way, every other year we have money saved for a decent vacation...and the off years we spend our summer family vacation at a friend's house in Michigan.

Myfanwe's office -- thanks to Congress and the buttf*&^ing President -- is having to make some difficult financial decisions, seeing as how said Congress only gave them a half a percent budget increase...after years of zero percent budget increases. So all of the secretaries are being layed off. And the travel line item has been zeroed out for the year.

So -- this is nice vacation year. We had talked about going to Montreal or Toronto. (I would LOVE to make the Harlot know...go to Lettuce Knits, the pubs she mentions, ride the streetcar, view the incredible fleece-thieving squirrels in their native environment, etc.) And Montreal would be like taking Norbert to France without having to sell him once we got there due to the weak dollar.

So the difficult decision was Montreal or Toronto. But, given the office budget, we have decided Myfanwe should go to Baltimore in March on our dime. So the difficult decision now is, do Norbert and I go with her, spend a few days, and count that as our vacation for the year, or do we hold out, save hard, and try to do Toronto in August?

4 days in Baltimore in March or a week in Toronto in August. Does anyone have any opinions?

Monday, January 07, 2008


Norbert and I went on our congregation's annual retreat in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin this weekend. When this photo was taken, it was 60 degrees outside. It was weird. Beautiful, but weird.

I forgot to post this photo from before my diet started. It is a devil's food cake with 7 minute frosting. The cake recipe, from The Cake Bible, was a disappointment.

Diet is going well. I guess. Save for one small Tootsie Roll, I haven't strayed from my diet. And I haven't hurt anyone yet. Yet. I will be glad when my stomach has reduced in size. I am not altogether fond of this hunger thing. I would bite the head off of a live nun for a basket of cheese fries.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I shouldn't have let my hopes get up too high. I knew it was too good to be true. I've been wanting a copy of Gladys Amedro's Shetland Lace ever since I read about it on Jean Mile's web site. I've been poking around, looking for a copy at a reasonable price. Then I saw one on eBay. Current bid? Something like $4.67. So I put in my high bid -- the most I thought I could possibly get past Myfanwe.

I was outbid. By quite a bit. Winning bid? $92.03.

(This is the part where I have a little tizzy fit like a big, fat, spoiled baby. Please look away.)

There. That's better. I'll send you off with a song...

Que Sera, Sera.
Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see.
Que Sera, Sera.
What will be, will be.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I am not usually one for New Years Resolutions. I've made a few. Usually ones which were predestined for failure:

1977 I will not wear a leisure suit or anything else made from polyester. I will make my mother love me.

1981 My legs are not cold. I will not wear legwarmers. No matter what Olivia Newton John says. I will gain my mother's approval.

1982 I will not get a mohawk. I will not wear spandex. I will loose my virginity. I will gain my mother's approval.

1983 I will not wear my sunglasses at night. I will earn my mother's approval.

1984 I am above fads. I will not imitate Wham! I will not wear white in winter. I will not subject myself to tanning beds. I will not wake you up before I go go. I will make my mother love me.

You can sort of see how the ensuing years went.

This year is going to be different. 2007 was so good to me, I have decided to build upon the successes of the last year.


I think happiness is a conscious choice. I know several people who, sadly, seem to choose to be unhappy. My mother was one of them. She was closest to "happy" when she was miserable. I don't want to be one of those people.

So, at the end of the day, I choose to be happy. It doesn't mean that bad or sad things aren't going to happen...I am sure they will. But I have a wonderful life. I have a wonderful wife who, after 16 years, still makes me laugh. I have a son who I can tell will grow up to be a good person. I have a lovely home. I have a job I enjoy going to where I feel valued.

Let's close out this first post of 2008 with Psalm 30, one of my favorites.

A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House; of David.

O LORD my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou didst heal me;

O LORD, Thou broughtest up my soul from the nether-world; Thou didst kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Sing praise unto the LORD, O ye godly ones, and give thanks to G-d's holy name.

For G-d's anger is but for a moment, G-d's favor is for a life-time; weeping may tarry for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Now I had said in my security: 'I shall never be moved.'

Thou hadst established, O LORD, in Thy favor, my mountain as a stronghold--Thou didst hide Thy face; I was affrighted.

Unto Thee, O LORD, did I call, and unto the LORD I made supplication:

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise Thee? shall it declare Thy truth?

Hear, O LORD, and be gracious unto me; LORD, be Thou my helper.'

Thou didst turn for me my mourning into dancing; Thou didst loose my sackcloth, and gird me with gladness;

So that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent; O LORD my G-d, I will give thanks unto Thee for ever.

"...[W]eeping may tarry for the night, but joy cometh in the morning." I really like that.

May the New Year be filled with Peace, Joy, and Blessings.