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08/01 Direct Link
I lay on the table, naked under a sheet and a blanket. The room was warm, the music vaguely Japanese. I lay on the table, naked under a sheet and a blanket. The room was warm, the music vaguely Japanese. For someone not used to being able to take a trip to the toilet alone, who has to keep one ear cocked for trouble while in the shower, simply lying undisturbed was quite something. But when the beautiful hired girl massaged fabulous-smelling ointment into my face I'm sure my body levitated. They called it a facial, but when someone massages your head and neck, your arms and fingers for almost an hour, I call it a little slice of heaven.
08/02 Direct Link
The thing I didn't expect from the Summer Knit and Crochet Show was the smell. Not the rank body odour of the Computer Show and Sale. This was wool, dyes, and momentarily-liberated women. I have heard people excusing their yarn-binges by blaming the yarn fumes, but I didn't appreciate it until I walked up to a booth run by a sheep farm's reps. There it was, wool that looked like it remembered the sheep it came from, hanging in long, luscious loops and smelling clean and dyed but still animally. Overheard: Oh well, who needs money for college anyway? Quite.
08/03 Direct Link
My sister's birthday. My son's godfather's birthday. The son hears the word birthday and hears a silent party. When are we going to Mike's birthday? he asks. I have to explain that for old folks like us, the silent party doesn't always apply. I'm sure this will only get worse once he begins school next month. Another plus in the 'small classes' column. Imagine a class of 35 kids all throwing birthday parties and inviting the whole class. There aren't enough Saturdays. And there certainly aren't enough ways to convince me it's healthy. And what about when Number 2 starts?
08/04 Direct Link
Fiddle with the weighted hem, open the latches on the needles, lay the elastic, attach pegs, select the key plate, unravel a length of yarn and begin. Hold the yarn at the beginning of a row, smoothly, smoothly run the carriage. Hold the yarn, begin again. Fifty times, over and over, smooth, careful. You twitch. The yarn skips a needle, then another. The weight of the hem ladders them fifty rows down. Ten lemmings stitches leap off the needles. The hole that was your work frames a lost black bean, cowering under the dining table. Left over kid dinner. Bugger.
08/05 Direct Link
When did 7 AM on a Saturday become a lie-in? Oh yeah, when my fiesty firstborn learned to set himself free from the cage we called his crib. As the day wanders on we do some normal stuff: lunch at a restaurant, mowing the lawn, afternoon naps (for me if not for them), grocery shopping. It is banal and it is nice. No pressure to do anything, nothing to stress about. A break from the week's routine. A little chore here, a little errand there, two pairs of hands for the children; allowing each other some space and time. Nice.
08/06 Direct Link
Just tried to the Atlantic Monthly fiction issue. What pretentious claptrap: the kind of stuff only read by people who talk about having read the latest Mailler, Give me the short fiction in Women's Weekly any day. At least we know in the first paragraph who this is about and why we should care. Who needs him? Valerie pushed her blond curls out of her eyes and scowled. And who needs flowers on Valentine's Day anyway? She looked around the office at every other woman's desk, heaped with bouquets, teddy bears, chocolates and little packets of lace and satin fripperies&
08/07 Direct Link
I came across instructions on how to get knitting instructions on cassette, from the Royal National Institute for the Blind. What a great idea, how equal-opportunities&wa-a-a-it a minute....knitting when blind? Now that would present a challenge. It's not impossible, and surely a blind person would be able to appreciate the tactile nature of knitting and yarn but my goodness the learning curve would be something. Do I rely on feel and rhythm orlook at what I'm doing? It's not the finished products that give me the greatest pleasure; it's the actual knitting, rhythm and feel. So why not knit blind?
08/08 Direct Link
I just made a social faux-pas. I invited over a group of mommies (mostly called K) and, on a whim invited another K (K4 — friend's wife). She's cool, she already knows K1, K2 and K3, especially since K2 is her sister-in-law. Everyone responds yes except K2 who says she's busy. Then K2 emails privately: I hate K4. I suspect I'm going to like K4 more than K2 (who I like in the way I like watching disaster movies: they're loud and dramatic and I'm glad I'm not too close!) So: never invite mutual friends without checking first!
08/09 Direct Link
My first day at the pool was quite nice because it was cloudy and only a few of us turned up. The second day was sunny and the blonde mommy-crew was out in force. I watched them standing around in their tans and tankinis and wondered what it was like to be them. Vaguely curious. Not enough to want to hang out with them. As one hoisted her toddler onto her hip I got a glimpse of tummy. I looked, hoping for at least an old-balloon belly-button, but what I saw was scary: nothing. So it's true. They ARE clones&
08/10 Direct Link
I've been asked to take my guitar and lead a procession in song at a funeral tomorrow. Kath and I have arranged that she'll be here while I do that, then I'll be here while she goes for a second mammogram (there had better not be anything wrong, or I'm going to be very annoyed at God!). I suggested "Be Not Afraid" before I looked at the chords. Eek! I haven't sung for ages so who knows if my voice will hold out. But it's an honour. There's no way I'd say "no" if I could possibly make it happen.
08/11 Direct Link
I played guitar and sang at a funeral this morning. It was a pretty fun time. When I arrived, all the male family members donning bow ties (the deceased, Frank, had only ever worn bow ties) and handing out cloth "Frankerchiefs" (another of his 'must-have's). The grown-up children of the deceased told me he had been very into airplanes and that they were going to take balsa wood planes to the cemetery. After the priest was finished, they were going to launch them and attempting to recreate the missing man formation. I laughed, I cried, it was a good time.
08/12 Direct Link
Ah, 7.15 on a Saturday morning and we've been up for a mere half an hour. K's in a good mood, I'm in a good mood, the boys are eating cereal and watching Thomas. Actually, A is watching me write, and eating Nemo cereal with his fingers, in spite of a resounding chorus of Please use your spoon set to the tune of the Washington Post march, with me on vocals and K on whistle. One year old G picked up his spoon though& Today we're off too a pool party at the Z's. Gosh, aren't we sociable these days?
08/13 Direct Link
We went out to M & K's yesterday. They have a vast and private property with a pool, a hot tub, a dump truck, a tractor, big dogs, and a large garden where they can grow corn, for heavens' sake. Boy heaven. We came home to a beautiful evening where I had the feeling I couldn't go out on the deck because the neighbors were having a party to which we were not invited and it felt awkward. I immediately started looking up the website of the new development I had seen on the way back from M & K's.
08/14 Direct Link
G was up and at 'em at 5.45 (oo, that sounds worse than quarter to six). He is really communicative and has realized that this talking business can help him get stuff and, sadly, that if he doesn't get stuff quickly enough, whining might speed things up. It's the beginning of the end. Ooh, that's cute though: he's playing with trains and using their names and starting to tell stories (to himself at least). It would be nice to be able to take him out on the deck but his growling noise would wake the neighbors (there I go again...).
08/15 Direct Link
Val sighed deeply and put her head down on Wanda's high receptionist desk. From the door a chocolate-smooth voice sang, "Wake up, sleepy head, the day's half done!" "Maybe for you, Mr Early-Bird," Wanda retorted, "But for us civilized people, 10.30 is 'morning' and time for the first coffee break of a very lo-ong day. What do you have for me today?" Wanda smiled as she took the brown electronic pad from the UPS guy, then jerked her head towards the still-slumped Valerie. "Cheer her up, would you? I don't want that sad face hanging over my desk all day."
08/16 Direct Link
Hmmm, he grinned, patting his pockets with mock concern. Let's see if I have my prescription pad on me. Now how do you spell your last name? Valerie raised her head and stuck out her tongue. I only give my information to real doctors --- with qualifications. His eyes caught hers and held them for a long, uncomfortable moment. I meant, she said, flustered. I meant medical qualifications, uh, not that I only date doctors, or guys with advanced degrees or& The UPS guy laughed coolly and started handing packages to Wanda. Same time tomorrow, he said. Take care, Val.
08/17 Direct Link
Valerie, blushing furiously, banged her forehead off Wanda's desk. See? I can't even talk to the dumb delivery guy. Wanda gave her an eloquent look and shook her head. You know I try not to pass judgment& Wanda began innocently, (Valerie snorted with laughter) But honey, I think you have this image of some Harvard guy who's going to come in here and sweep you off to the opera or something. And I don't think you even LIKE opera! Then Steve comes along in his adorable brown UPS shorts and gets shot down for daring to be nice to you!
08/18 Direct Link
So, my new Razr phone's screen flickered and went blank. I emailed customer support. Within minutes I got an email saying I'd be getting an email from them within 24 hours. 19 hours later Abbubakarr replied. I should, he said, perform a master reset. He helpfully included instructions. I just sat down with my phone and the helpful email, and began to read: 1. At main screen, press the Menu key. The following five steps all involve scrolling and selecting things on my non-working screen. Oh how I yearn for the lost days of FAQ-bots answering my customer service emails.
08/19 Direct Link
I tried doing the low carb diet and ended up bingeing on cereal and chocolate. Then I bought a bunch of fresh veggies, ate them in a quesedilla and pasta for a day and then was able to go quietly low-carb again yesterday. I need to lose some weight, but I think it's going to take some exercise. . . Writing about this bores even me. Instead let's think about cute stuff that's nicer than a big plate of pasta: being able to dress without worrying, chasing my boys, not sweating all the time, seeing my jaw-line , newborn babies...
08/20 Direct Link
16 days until our lives change dramatically. We'll be locked into someone else's idea of when we should take our vacations, for one thing. I keep thinking it's months until A starts pre-school, but it's not. It's going to be a fairly big adjustment for him, having to do what he's told and not set his own agenda. This morning (at 6.40) I heard his door open. Since then we've been in the basement playing with Acceleracers and he's been telling me stories, climbing over stuff, all with no expectation of anything else. Doing whatever takes his fancy now...
08/21 Direct Link
If ever there was an endorsement of the Philips Senseo coffee maker it is the sight of my three year old climbing up onto the cabinet next to the machine, opening the lid, carefully emptying out the coffee pod, replacing it with two dark roast pods ("Letter side up, let me tuck you in..."), lining up two cups underneath, pressing the middle button and waiting, crouched, poised even, until the light goes steady. "Two cup button," we prompt. "Oh yeah," he mutters. "Yeah. Yeah." He presses the button and monitors the flow of coffee. "Its splashing all over the cups."
08/22 Direct Link
I have knitted since my childhood but when I found out I was pregnant the first time, I became a furious knitter. I think my obsession is making an impression on my children. I made a website for the three-year-old. It featured his favourite cars from a Hot Wheels movie (oh yes, they make movies. Not good movies, but entertaining to a three year old boy...). He was touched that I had made it especially for him. To demonstrate this, as he was looking through it he said in awe and wonder, "Oh wow! Did you knit this for ME?"
08/23 Direct Link
The US summer is coming to an end. This has not made an impression on me before. I have worked through the summer, I have freelanced through the summer, I have played with toddlers for whom time has no meaning through the summer, and have grown weary of hearing people commenting on the arbitrary "end of summer" on a specified summery day. This year is different only because we have been swimming in the YMCA's outdoor pool a LOT. A drop of a few degrees --- and a droop in the shoulders of the teenaged lifeguards --- are much more noticeable now.
08/24 Direct Link
My redhead niece is nine today. I still vividly remember the late-night phone call (four in the morning for them) saying "Do you hear that sound? That's a baby girl." Born at home, and lucky to have met the midwife at all, in such a hurry was she. I was married and had been for some time. How could that have been nine years ago? I sent her a book she had already read, so convinced was I that she was younger. She's lucky I didn't send her something she would have to give to her two year old sister.
08/25 Direct Link
G is still up and staggering around, playing in the basement having demanded Choam. Choam! It took me ages to figure out what Choam was. It was frustrating, but he succeeded in teaching me, using a combination of cicular hand signals, the sound-effect fwish, fwish, and the old standby of leading me to the box where the 'Choam was stored and pointing. I've spent some time repeating the name to him tonight and we have made it as far as Icy-Choam, which might help me next time I forget that he love-love-LOVES the Acceledrome multi-looped, powered Hot Wheels track (fwish!).
08/26 Direct Link
Using my Fisher Space Pen reminds me that this has been a busy week for the space industry. This week they have renamed the replacement for the space shuttle: Orion. It's more like the Apollo spacecraft than the shuttle or Thunderbird 3. Also, they have demoted Pluto at last, and scrubbed a shuttle launch. I'm surprisingly glad the re-classified Pluto. It shows a clarity of purpose that would never be found in that other news-maker, politics, or its crony, marketing. Those two dominate the culture so much that it's refreshing to see a decision not spun off-orbit by PR concerns.
08/27 Direct Link
I'm kind of busking the measurements on G's Cyberman sweater. I 'm working on the raglan sleeves and neckline, but I'm trying to remember to write down what I've done. The back went really well. I worked the sleeve decreases and the back of the neck, cast off for the shoulders and then, yes THEN, I remembered about the size of toddler's heads in relation to the rest of their bodies....they are huge. Actually I had remembered about it before I cast on, but I had knitted the back while doing something else and completely forgotten all my good intentions.
08/28 Direct Link
When trying to get something out of you, G will also suggest it then say, "Hohhhhh-Kay!", and lead you to wherever you need to be. Also, A has been getting lolly pops for treats now and then. He has been taunting G with them because I told him G was too young. One day I took pity on G and gave him a lolly pop to taste, because I have learned nothing in three and a half years of being a mother. I should have known he would wail, in a tone fit to break your heart, "Wowwy Po-o-op!... HOH-Kay!"
08/29 Direct Link
K made me laugh out loud tonight. The forecast is for rain and K was questioning whether or not our New Families picnic at A's new preschool would be on. "I'm sure they'll move it to the gym, or something," I said, ever the optimist. "Great," K said without enthusiasm. "That'll be fun. A picnic in the gym." Then he droned, "We can play 'Kiss, Cuddle or Torture'!" I only know about two people these days who might get the reference. Loss of shared cultural background gets harder as you age, even as you learn to miss people and places.
08/30 Direct Link
My mother celebrates her Beatles Birthday (her 64th) in two days' time. Her younger sister was born on my mother's eighth birthday and, with great consideration, their only brother married a woman born on the same date. Since my father has no siblings, these are the only women of that generation who are related to me. Due to the conspiracy of the fates I have, for all my life, had only one birthdate to remember for my mother and all my aunts. You'd think with all that in my favour that I could remember to send them a card, no?
08/31 Direct Link
Went to the New Family picnic at A's school yesterday. Afterwards his daddy kept saying "We just went to A's school!" I've been to a few things now so it didn't seem so weird to me. Plus I've seen him in classroom situations before. I've even left him to play with other kids - here, in fact But K was quite aghast when they took the children away to play in the gym, and then quite touched when he saw A march off in the crocodile, holding hands with little blonde Catharine who is going to be in his class.