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Ravensegg's Nest



Why go to the trouble and expense of forming your own opinions when you can use mine?



Updated: 2015-09-16T13:34:42.446-07:00

 



IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR KNOT ALL THAT

2008-05-26T07:20:00.338-07:00

... then you're not in the wrong spot.

We've moved and redesigned Knot All That!

Just click the link, and we'll take you right there.



A Real Holiday

2008-12-09T12:58:36.186-08:00

We were lucky enough to get the Paos all to ourselves last Saturday (yes, those Paos), and I must say that a grand time was had by all.

We drove down the Wisconsin side of the Gre
at River Road, on a beautiful, beautiful day. The Paos were nice and exhausted by an exciting day at the Great Minnesota Get Together (the state fair), so they didn't insist on canoeing or swimming down the Mississippi - thank goodness!

We stopped at many historical markers, watched many eagles, introduced the Paos to the joys of both root beer and root beer floats, shopped a couple fun giftie stores, visited kitties who live in a hotel, ate chicken wings at a pub,

(image)

drank spring water straight from the source,


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and the lovely Mrs. Pao rode on a carousel.


As if that wasn't enough, the generous Paos also gave us a wonderful bag of goodies! You can see some of them (the Canterbury cloth, the knitting magazine and Ewe Row Counter) at Jeanne and Chris' blogs - but here are the things specific to us:


(image)

I lost my struggle for patience and turned the beautiful springlike green & yellow skein into a ball, but the other skein (pink! I love pink!!) is still intact - and treacle toffee, beautiful (and much needed) salad servers, and a wonderful Neil Gaiman book for the Vampire (he is more than halfway through, in spite of a very busy schedule, and threatens to bite me if I don't read it once it's done).

Thank you, Paos, for a truly wonderful weekend excursion - we had a blast!






Yarn Photos

2007-08-08T08:36:10.895-07:00

To those of you who are wondering, "Why did she take those photos of her yarn on what looks like a bed of weeds?" I want to offer this reply:

1. Yes, those are weeds.

2. They aren't even MY weeds. They are my parents' weeds.

3. MY yard is brown. Even my sizeable weed collection is brown and sere. I didn't think my weeds would make a nice background for my yarn. After all, I want to distract the eye from the gooberish spinning job. Look!! Pretty green stuff!

4. My parents' front yard, in spite of dutiful watering (beyond their goober-like daughter's ability), is full of carefully weeded brown grass.

5. They have given up on their back yard, which is so shaded by neighbor's structures and so frequented by their dog that deliberately planted things die. Therefore they do not have much grass, but they do have a very verdant crop of weeds. They are beautiful weeds, too, perhaps due to the distinct lack of green in the surrounding area.

6. Do I need to mention that we are experiencing an unusual number of very hot days this summer, and are *also* in the middle of what seems to be an extended drought?

7. The one good thing about this is that it makes my normal attitude about lawncare ("Don't look at me. I'm allergic to the sun.") look like a political/philosophical statement on land and water management. It's very Green to be Brown.

8. It also means that this year our lawn does not differ much from the general appearance of our neighbors' lawns. We won't talk about the back jungle - er, yard.

So that's the explanation. And I just want to add:

Thanks, mom, for letting me make use of your yard. Even your weeds are superior. And happy birthday!



Adventures In Spinning

2008-12-09T12:58:36.690-08:00

I think I mentioned that I'd gotten a spinning wheel, yes? Well, once I got over feeling intimidated, I went on a spinning jag, and spun up every bit of the roving I got at Shepherd's Harvest - which turned out to be not enough roving at all. But I did learn a bit. Here's what I learned:

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Soy Silk sucks. I'm sorry - if you love it, more power to you. But with that teensy little staple and the dusty feeling between the fingers, you can have it. Yuck.


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Alpaca isn't easy for a newbie, I got quite a few places where I slubbed, for some reason - but I think if I'd done it after the other ones, I probably would have done better. And it's lovely to the touch!


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I like Merino... but boy, there sure is a difference from one fleece/roving to another, isn't there? I have two merino mixes where the merino staple is smooth and long, and both were easy to spin and feel lovely. This one had a relatively short and *very* kinky staple, and was a real bear to try to spin up smoothly... it just stuck to itself and clumped up with the least excuse, even though I prepped this one pretty thoroughly. I think I'd do better now, though, with more experience. The yarn is pretty, though, lovely dye job, and the feel is a real hoot - sort of like very soft sea sponge! (Go ahead, click on the photo so you can see the beautiful color combos and the absolute goober-like job of spinning that was my contribution to the whole thing - you know you want to...)


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This was my favorite, a Tencel/Merino mix. It was a dream to spin (so much so, in fact, that I let myself zen out and didn't pay attention to the minor issue of spinning my single to a uniform size - did I mention that I'm a goober?), feels soooo soft, and the yarn is lustrous and silky, has a beautiful drape and color. I just loved it... unfortunately, I only had two ounces to play with. When I can, I'm going to get a nice big order of this!





Has Anyone Here Seen Harry?

2007-07-23T14:59:07.546-07:00

Yes, we have the book. But no, we haven't finished it yet.

This is because the Vampire is 17 years old. It is, in all likelihood, the last time that such a thing will be possible, and so the two of us are reading the book together, taking it in turns to read each chapter aloud.

My son literally grew up with Harry Potter. He was 11 years old when the first book came out, and he and Harry are entering adulthood together, as well.

The Vampire will, in a mere four weeks, be entering College, a world completely independent of the one in which we've lived and learned and bumbled along together as best we could. Like Harry, he is leaving the safety of a world where most things were knowable, if not known, an environment designed to provide a relatively safe environment in which to explore and experiment, to soar and even to fail. For Harry, that adventure involved going to school; for the Vampire, that meant leaving it. But the result was the same: adventure, friendship, discovery, growth, a gain of confidence and ability.

Where our son goes now, his old folks cannot follow. We will still shelter and feed him for a while, but like Arthur and Molly Weasley, we now have little say in what happens to the child who carries our hopes and dreams for the future and the world - we must simply stand back and wait in hope that he will thrive and see fit to share his adventures with us in retrospect, rather than in fact.

Wish us all luck...






Spinning Around

2008-12-09T12:58:36.938-08:00

I'm back...

I won't bore you with the long story, as it's not at all exciting. Instead, I will get to the good news:

1. I went to the Shephard's Harvest, and scored a cheapie spinning wheel. It's not pretty, but it does the job well enough (except it squeaks - suggestions? I don't think it's the wheel per se, I think it's the foot pedal. But I'm not entirely certain...)

2. I got a new camera that theoretically works and everything - except that it's so technical that I'm afraid of it. Plus if I try to zoom to a certain point (a not unreasonable one), the aperture stays all slitted, so all I see is a narrow diagonal slot and a very small amount of view through it... and unfortunately, I can't tell if that means that the camera is flawed, or if that's a function of the camera, itself ("You are zooming too close"). ???

3. I have spun two skeins of two-ply!!!

(image)
3a. I thought it was pretty decent, for a first try.

3b. When proudly shown the result, my mom said,

"It's bumpy and lumpy and uneven."

3c. Which made me a bit miffed and downhearted...

3d. I discovered that the one ball of batt that I got in each fiber (I got a ball of corriedale,
and a ball of '75% wool, 25% silk') was not actually enough to make a sizeable project, even though it seemed like a lot at the time. And now I am finding that 8 oz. of corriedale does not make the same amount of yarn as 8 oz. of 'wool & silk'. Clearly it takes some experience to figure out how much of what sorts of wool make how much yarn...

3e. White yarn with navy bits in it, when rinsed, results in watermelon-pink rinse water.
It's a mystery!

So tell me: is this lumpy and bumpy and uneven for a first try at spinning and plying?


(image)



Yarn Harlot Warms Minnesota

2007-04-04T21:56:45.340-07:00

... or at least, warms the hearts of Minnesotans. We nearly found two of the three of us ousted before we began, but eventually the snafu was corrected and all three of us were lucky enough to get into the auditorium to listen to the Yarn Harlot hold forth on subjects knitterly. A grand time was had by all (including the wonderful social butterfly known as Chris, who we all-too-briefly got to meet in person). Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is perhaps even a better speaker than she is a knitter, and that's saying quite a bit.

Even the Teenaged Thug, who is not a knitter and who was forced to stand in line for his poor decrepit mother, enjoyed himself hugely. He also very kindly and enthusiastically insisted on bringing The Afghan to show off. I thought it sufficient that he showed that much interest in knitting, but Ms. Pearl-McPhee was having none of his excuses and sternly instructed him to learn to wield smaller pointy sticks than his epee. But she was also kind enough to take a picture of us holding up said Afghan - and I got to hold THE TRAVELING SOCK!!!

(we are not worthy...)

I must give mention here of
The Yarnery, which provided a wonderful service to the knitting community by organizing and hosting the event. As if the Yarn Harlot were not enough, we were also lavished with knitting bags and door prizes and chocolates.
Life is good!



Define Multitasking

2007-03-22T03:41:05.986-07:00

I not only can't multitask anymore, I can't even manage more than one task per day. The ultimate lack of multitasking ability...

I can work. Or I can blog. Or I can read blogs. Or I can manage my kid's complex schedule and transportation needs (remember that we homeschool, so this does not allow me several hours of non-kid time in which to organize 'extra-curricular activities - depending on how you look at it, either everything is extra-curricular, or everything is curricular). Or I can knit/crochet. Or I can run errands/do chores.

But I seem to be only able to manage one of those activities in a day; if I try to do several things, nothing gets done. At least not to my satisfaction.

It's not for lack of intention, will, or organization. I have lists, I have calendars, I have a teen on hand who I ask to remind me to do things (the last is a particularly ineffective and potentially dangerous organizational tool - don't try this at home). Still, I get to the end of the day and see that I have only managed to do one thing effectively. I have worked, or read blogs, or managed the kid's education/schedule, or run errands, or knit (notice I didn't mention that I have blogged, since this seems a rarity lately)... but I have not done more than one of these things (except perhaps glancingly, generally with much profanity involved).

When did this happen? My brain used to be bigger. Clearly bits of it have decided to emigrate (where to? what are they doing? are they living incognito, perhaps taking those vacations I never had the budget or time to take? have they established lives and even businesses of their own, having grown impatient with my distracted, scattered ways? did they take the spoons with them?)

How do you people get so much done?



Darth Grubby Strikes Back

2007-02-10T06:07:43.080-08:00

I just channeled my teenaged son.

Even though he currently lays innocently sleeping in his bed (well, perhaps not innocently, but I've heard enough about them to know that I don't want to peek into his dreams, so let's say 'innocent until proven guilty', shall we?), his pernicious influence still percolates subtly throughout the house, perhaps throughout the known universe.

I know this because I just started up the water in the tub in the (probably vain) hope that it would eventually warm up to the point where my scalp won't actually freeze solid on contact, and as I turned on the spigot I had the clear thought:

"AGAIN??! But I just washed my hair three days ago..."

(Hey, I've had the flu, give me a break)

That clearly wasn't MY thought running through my head. As my son will no doubt be happy to tell anyone foolish enough to ask, as recently as Thursday I was a member of the Nagging Mother's Hygiene Police in good enough standing to feel compelled to yell orders from my death bed regarding sufficient Shampoo Rinsage and the proper use of a Loofah Mitt.

There's too much testosterone around here. Clearly The Cat isn't a sufficiently balancing female influence. Perhaps we shouldn't have had her spayed?

I need a wife.





On Being the Ping Pong Ball

2007-02-09T22:38:35.990-08:00

I have a flu. Or maybe an inner ear infection. I don't know, and I don't care. Whatever it is, I hate it with a red hot passion that *should* be heating the house to a much warmer temperature than it currently seems to be enjoying.

It's bad enough that I feel exhausted and dizzy and nauseous (and probably unrelatedly, I also have killer cramps). As insult added to my injury, I am an object of ridicule because my lack of balance combined with complete inability to get up the energy to open my eyes is causing me to occasionally careen around the room like a deranged ping-pong ball, bouncing off walls and furniture at random. Except that I emit amusing grunts and expletives in exchange for the charming 'poink' noise that your normal, sane ping-pong ball makes when it breaks its shins lightly bounces against something.

All I want to do is get from a prone position on the couch to a prone position in my bed. Is that so much to ask?

Evidently it is. I suspect The Cat of moving furniture whenever I run (desperately) for the bathroom. I suppose she can't help it, being a Cat and all, but I still intend to wreak my revenge by covering the ottoman and the area in front of the heating vent with crumpled tin foil.

As soon as I can make it through the kitchen door without breaking my neck.

Maybe next week.







Admit It...

2007-02-03T06:06:07.776-08:00

A week without me is like a week without sunshine, isn't it?

Well, actually, a week *with* me is like a week without sunshine, too. Or at least, to be more accurate, a week without warmth - because that's what we're in for, here in MN. Day after day of significantly below zero weather, with a nice refreshing Arctic wind to liven things up.

I love Minnesota, I really do. I have to keep reminding myself of that...

The Silver Lining is that I am REALLY appreciating my wool sock collection now - and so are the boys. We personally have rugless hardwood floors under our feet, and without our nice wool socks we would be a LOT colder than we are right now.

The boys are also appreciating their handknit mile long wrap-it-four-times-around-your-head scarves.

See, I knew that silly knitting addiction would come in handy sooner or later!






I'll Take Mine Straight, Thanks....

2007-01-27T06:23:10.443-08:00

I know it wasn't Nice to say what he said, and I'm not at all interested in defending the original statement. But doesn't it bother anyone else that everything that followed Isaiah Washington's unfortunate name-slinging episode has such an Orwellian reek to it? Now he's packed himself off (running from the Media Hounds like... oooh, I suppose a reference to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" would be troublesome here...) for some nice ReEducation. He *assaulted* a co-worker, but that only caused a minor gossip-oriented reaction, no big deal, not truly interesting - on the other hand, there's nothing like a little UnPC rhetoric to get the media slavering and the entire country up in arms.

As a country, we really need to Get A Life...



Gentle Fall of Snow

2007-01-26T05:36:43.993-08:00

Such a beautiful snowfall in the morning, the sort that they try to imitate in films, the slow and gentle fall of snow that resembles the fall of flakes in a particularly good snow globe. Even better, over the hour or so that it was falling the flakes changed shape and size, so that sometimes it was little flakes that flipped end over end, like little helicopter seeds, and sometimes it was the big fluffy 'chicken feather' snow that gathers so gorgeously and brilliantly frosts each tree limb, making the winter lace that inspires the artist in everyone.

Unfortunately, it's supposed to sleet today and then hard freeze tomorrow. From Currier & Ives to statewide Ice Rink, all in one weekend. Yup, it's Minnesota, all right...

--------------------------

The Kid came home a little blue yesterday, having finished the last of his lessons with his current voice coach, the wonderful Vicky Mountain. Next week, at her recommendation, he will begin lessons with a new coach - a gentleman who has an impressive classical background, and who is the music director for the Prelude singer/performer program at MacPhail. He seems a decent sort, and is no doubt very talented... but this is Bren's 3rd vocal coach in about a year, and it's hard to keep saying goodbye to people that he has grown attached to, especially when his experience in the past is that when he falls into a teacher/student mismatch the results are often disastrous.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a few nervous wonderings, myself. Certainly the new coach is a more rigorous sort than Bren's previous coaches, and no doubt less nurturing and flexible in his approach - not necessarily a bad thing at this point in Bren's 'career'. There are a few essential fundamentals that he never really got trained on adequately (breathing, for instance) that need to be addressed, but which the kid probably wouldn't bother with if he isn't forced to do so. My hope is that he has matured enough and gained enough confidence in the past few years that he'll be able to tolerate a certain degree of discipline and personality mismatch from an authority figure.

We'll see - but in the meantime, I sympathize with his reluctance to part with a teacher who has been both nurturing and effective. His concurrent mid-year entrance into a demanding program full of kids who have already bonded as a group is causing us perhaps even more excitement and trepidation. There will be social challenges, as well as skill areas where he will be far behind the other kids (movement and harmonization, for instance). There will also be opportunities, both social and academic, that he wouldn't have otherwise. Who knows what the result will be? The new year is shaping up to be an adventure!





As Bees...

2007-02-03T06:12:32.506-08:00

Well, today we went to see "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" at Upstage! Musical Theater Workshop. Upstage! is a wonderful program that provides singing, movement and acting training for kids of all ages, and gives them an opportunity to work in a musical theater production with professional adult actors. I recommend it highly.

On the Musical Theater front, Bren is now in the Prelude singer/performer program at MacPhail. We're very excited - last weekend we saw a performance of the program members, and it was very professional and impressive. And the Shakespearean Youth Theater is starting rehearsals of "Much Ado About Nothing", which will be showing the first weekend of March.

So we're busy, busy, busy - but it's a good kind of busy, and that's a good thing!



Nearly Four Months

2007-01-17T06:26:56.093-08:00

Yes, it HAS been nearly four months since I posted here.I don't have any good excuses. I have reasons for my neglect, but in spite of being true, they are largely unconvincing. For what it's worth:1. Let's start with the most stupid - but still truthful - reason I haven't blogged in four months.I posted something that was extremely well intentioned, but it turned out to be something with unintended and potentially unpleasant consequences if seen by the wrong parties. I got an unexpectedly unpleasant dressing down for my trouble, and then spent a completely unreasonable number of hours and days trying to get the post in question deleted from my blog and from Google (for some reason when certain key words were entered in a search my little post was the first listing, right at the top of page 1). Google actually was not the problem - once I got the right info (thanks, Sis!), Google was very cooperative. Blogger, on the other hand, chose the (automated) position of "Go away and don't bother us," as their first, last and middle position.So a good amount of my refusal to blog for four months was due to a passive aggressive response to that experience.I never said I was reasonable.2. I've been experiencing Health Issues. I don't want to get into that in detail, but I haven't had a lot of energy. So I've been parsing out my energy expenditures more conservatively, and blogging comes under "Non-Essential".3. I've been busier lately with actual (paying) work. I need actual (paying) work right now. I need it a lot. When Push comes to Shove - as it so often does - actual (paying) work pwns blogging.4. I've been busy doing things with The Kid. The Kid is getting busier and busier, and that means I have been getting busier and busier. This has involved: a) A couple plays (me: transportation, attendence, volunteer work kid: performance) b) Several recitals (me: attendence kid: performance) c) A big charity/media event at the Mall of America that took entire weeks out of our lives (organizing, copying, shopping, transporting, marketing, training, meetings, etc). This kept us very busy, and caused us all a lot of anxiety for a while, but was a tremendously rewarding experience in the end. More about this can be found at The Kid's blog. d) Transportation to and from + attendence at various classes (The Kid is Captain of his fencing team this year, how about that!), and e) Organizing the homeschool front for a kid who is fast approaching his SAT's and his decisions about college. Urgh.5. The holidays were in there somewhere. Lots of holiday activities and arrangements, because my family Does The Holidays.6. My lovely Sis came from New Zealand to visit for nearly a week. I am SO glad she did, it was wonderful - but not conducive to spending time elsewise. Not that I cared. Sis pwns blogging.7. My wonderful friend Susan From New York City came to visit for the main part of the holiday season. I LOVE it when Susan comes to visit, and as always, it was wonderful - but not always conducive to spending time elsewise. Not that I cared. Susan pwns blogging.8. Somewhere in there I managed to spend some time harassing my husband and kid. I'm doing it right now, too - have you noticed my use of the term 'pwn'? The kid HATES that. I only use it so that I can watch him roll his eyes and huff and squirm (do you think that counts as 'physical education'?)--------------------Don't ask me why, with all these things going on, I couldn't think of anything to write about.Did I mention that I'm not reasonable?[...]



Boob Tube Report: Rockstar Supernova

2006-09-20T06:14:33.866-07:00

First of all, let me say that once again I was disappointed but not surprised at the outcome of the RockStar competition.

First of all, if it were a normal audition process and the group was judging based on talent alone, there would not even be a question; Dilana would have gotten the job, and gotten it quickly. She wouldn't have had the opportunity or pressure to self-destruct in the manner we were (lucky us) treated to in the last few weeks. She would have had time - and hopefully training and experience - to learn how to handle the press better.

But there were two problems.

One is that in this case she DID have the pressure and opportunity to implode, and did so. That demonstrably alienated some of her fan base, and possibly gave the then-called Supernova gents a bit of a pause. It sounds as though Gilby stuck by Dilana as a choice, and that Dave Navarro would have chosen her as well. I'm not surprised - they seemed to me the most musically focused and emotionally grounded of the judges.

The other problem, and perhaps the most significant one, is the Peter Pan factor. I don't know how to get past that, except by starting with a band that already has female members.

The fact is that rock is one area where boys are allowed to stay boys for an unnatural period of time, and when a group of Neverlanders have been together for a while it's hard for them to believe that a female isn't going to Harsh their Mellow. No matter how Rockin' a Babe their particular Wendy might be, no matter how much they might love and appreciate her finer qualities, when push comes to shove the Lost Boys just can't help but suspect that sooner or later she's going to get in the way of their Groove.

The Peter Pan factor was particularly clear last year with the elimination of Suzie and even more with the earlier elimination of Jordis (and with their choice of J.D., who had attitude to spare but couldn't carry a tune in a bucket).

The issue was handled more subtly by this more sophisticated and experienced (should we say 'senior'?) group. But the open expression of the question, 'Can a woman front a rock band?' was telling in a competition in which the woman in question was so significantly advanced in terms of skill and performance when compared to the other contestants.

The real question isn't whether a woman could front a rock band. The real question is whether a group of Guys can handle having a woman in a position of equal authority hanging around when they are doing Guy Stuff.

If they weren't going to pick a Wendy, the guys did well enough in choosing Lukas. He's a powerful performer, an interesting and endearing and freaky little troll, and seems like a sweet guy. I really liked Lukas, myself, and thought his original was far and away the best of the songs offered by the finalists.

But as much as I enjoyed Lukas' performances in sets of one or two, he doesn't have a great deal of versatility. I suspect that listening to him for an entire album (much less a two-hour concert) would get on my nerves pretty quickly - or perhaps worse, bore me.

Dilana should have been the clear choice. It's too bad that two of the Neverlanders weren't able to overcome their fear of Growing Up.

Tommy Lee's statement couldn't have been more appropriate:

"Lukas, you're our Boy."






Life, Right?

2006-09-29T07:32:34.826-07:00

For a week it was work crisis with attending serious Carpal Tunnel action, then it was time for a rest (phew!) but with a health crisis compounded by a nasty cold/flu. And tomorrow I'll be back to work again.So what else has been going on?Well, Mom had her 50 year high school reunion - was, in fact, on the Reunion Committee, so we were all grateful when it went without any major glitches. A good time was had by all, and mom had a ton of fun catching up with the gals from her Catholic girl's school.My grandmother is hanging in there, and we're still very, very happy with her nursing home. We were so lucky to have found it right when we did.My sister is hanging in there as well, and in fact spent a week at a sort of Arts & Crafts camp at a lake up north recently, and came back refreshed and inspired. Which is wonderful, because one of her best friends lost a sibling just a couple days before she left, and she was very distressed about it. She's very attached to her friends, and it pains her to see them suffer when there is little she can do to help. It was good for her to get her mind on other things.The Pirate is doing well, and ecstatic to be back in the full swing of the Football Season. His Vikes have a good team this year, and a new coach, and he is full of hope. Keep your fingers crossed for him!The Vampire is signed up for voice lessons at MacPhail, classes & performance of Much Ado About Nothing with the Shakespeare Youth Theater, beginning to teach himself to play the guitar, trying to figure out how to promote Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program, thinking about starting up fencing classes again, and is trying to figure out how to fit regular study and hopefully a job into all that. Life is tough, so much opportunity...The Cat is having problems with matting, which has improved slightly with the expensive new 'Allergy' food we're feeding her, but still a major issue.It's gotten chilly here in MN... and a mouse or three moved into the house this week. The Cat is not the least bit interested. Yesterday I could clearly hear a little monster chewing on something (our expensive couch, for instance?) from across the room, and the cat couldn't even be bothered to turn her head towards the sound. She used to be a great hunter, but the Pirate accidently taught her not to pay attention to mice a few years back (he yelled at her and pushed her off the counter and only found out later that there had been a mouse in the drawer that she was hovering over - unfortunately she's a VERY quick learner, and she didn't draw the correct conclusion from that particular lesson).Now we're in for it. The cat kept pests at bay well enough during the past couple years, because even though she didn't touch them she would sit close and stare at them intensely enough to scare them off. But now she can't be bothered to do even that...I'm busily knitting socks and washcloths for the upcoming holidays.And I kind of hate to admit it, but I'm sort of looking forward to the Television Season starting up again. A new PBS season of Nova and Frontline and Mystery! and Masterpiece Theater and perhaps even Secrets of the Dead. A new season of Gray's Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Lost, Boston Legal, and (of course) American Idol. And a couple new shows that might be of interest. Studio 60, perhaps... and exactly how are they going to explain how Jericho managed to linger when the towns on all sides got... Blown away? Radioactively poisoned? Carted away by Men in Black?Some of these shows we'll wait to see until the season comes out on DVD, but some we'll watch fairly religiously. I'll let you know what we thi[...]



Adventures In Sitting, Mostly

2006-09-09T15:47:44.573-07:00

WARNING: This is a long and detailed report of my impressions of Audition Day for American Idol. If you aren't interested (I mean really, really interested), don't read it. If you want a shorter version, read the Vampire's version on his blog.-----------------------Well, we are finally done with our American Idol adventure. For this year, at least.The worst damage was to:1. Our finances. Prepping for a big audition like this is expensive if the singer needs sheet music, a tuner/metronome, clothes that fit and don't have holes or hideous stains, shoes ditto, extra music lessons, etc... plus the Food Issue specific to Target Center. I'll get to that in a moment. Not to mention the money I wasn't making and the employer I was alienating thereby because all the running around kept me away from my keyboard this week, and because of #2.2. My body. Not only has whatever is wrong with my heel (spur? glass shard embedded in bone? something even nastier?) gotten much, much worse because of all the standing, but I've developed an Ominous Abdominal Pain. If both don't get better soon, I'm going to have to go to Specialists who will do expensive and painful and humiliating Tests on me, at the very least. And I have some combination of a cold and my allergies blowing up on me. Ugh.3. Sleep Patterns. The Vampire is not used to getting up at 3am, and to have to do so twice in three days is more than his fragile sleep patterns can manage. While I get up at 3am fairly frequently, the list of Things To Do in my head kept me from being able to take full advantage of the two hours of bedtime I had available on those two nights, and also kept me from sleeping more than fitfully for the four or so hours I had available the other nights this week. After yesterday was over I got a 2-hour nap... and then wasn't able to sleep last night. It will take a while to get back into the swing of things.The Best Benefits were:1. We learned some good things about how to do this next year, if American Idol comes again. Among other things, it turns out the standing in line at 4am for Registration was not only unnecessary, it wasn't even in our best interests in terms of the auditioning process. Next time we'll mosey in on Thursday at a reasonable time of day and avoid the lines. It means longer waiting to audition, but who cares? You get to *sit* while waiting to audition, among other things. If we do this again in town, it won't be nearly as difficult and exhausting. If we have to go to Chicago or some such, it'll be a different story.2. The Vampire thought that he'd be really overwhelmed and nervous, and that he'd make a horrible mistake or fall apart during the audition. Instead he did just fine - so that's added confidence in his own ability to cope under pressure, which is a good thing.3. The Vampire got just a bit more focused with this experience. He didn't work as hard as he could have, but he did work harder than he'd ever done before over a longish term, and he saw the benefits of doing so. He also learned more about what he would be up against when he starts auditioning for things in the Real (Adult) World - which means that he's a bit more realistic about the future, and what he needs to do to prepare for it. He's not entirely There yet, but it was a big step.4. The Vampire had a great time, and really enjoyed the experience a lot. Given the sacrifices involved, I'm very happy about that - with the lack of sleep and the pressures, he could have processed this as a negative experience, but instead he is cheerfully planning for next year.That said, here's the r[...]



He Just Hasn't Had His Nap Yet

2006-09-07T10:01:12.540-07:00

Obviously he hasn't had his nap yet, or eaten lunch, and he's a bit out of sorts... but if you are interested, here is the Vampire's Version of yesterday's registration event.

Today we are going to go get his head washed and massaged by a professional, and my guess is that he'll feel more relaxed after that.

These temperamental artistic types...

(or do I mean 'these temperamental teenaged types'?)







Lines of Doom

2006-09-06T22:00:47.353-07:00

The kid will write his own report tomorrow, but I thought I'd tell my own short tale of today's registration for the American Idol auditions.Keep in mind, this was to register to audition, not the auditions themselves. Auditions are on Friday.So we got up at 4am. Theoretically (according to the AI website) registration was to start at 6am, and nobody was allowed to camp overnight in line or even line up prior to 6am. So of course people started lining up at midnight.We got to the Target Center just prior to 6am, and because of a gap that was being maintained for some reason or other at the corner, thought that the line wasn't Too Long, and decided not to lug the camp chairs along. After waving goodbye to the Pirate (who drove us there), we hiked to the end of the line...... And discovered that it continued around the corner. And around the next corner. And pretty darned close to the next corner.We stood still, packed like sardines in an amorphous can approximately 8 people wide and thousands long, for the next 4 hours. They didn't register people at 6am, or 7, and I suspect from the lack of movement that they started considerably after 8 (although I couldn't swear to it - they might have spent time trying to loosen up the crowd up front - it was probably pretty bottlenecked by then).I really regretted that chair, I did.We started detecting movement on our end of the line at around 9:30, and it took probably a bit less than an hour for us to get to the registration desks. Even very stop-and-go movement was considerably better than standing stock still and trying to avoid accidental inappropriate touches to and from one's neighbors. But by the time we got registered my kidneys and my feet were lodging acute complaints. Acute enough that I was afraid to sit on the sidewalk afterwards while waiting half an hour to be picked up by the Pirate; I knew that if I sat that far down I would never be able to rise again.There wasn't much singing going on. It was mostly a politely subdued crowd, and the poor woman who was gamely trying to raise a Wave proved unable to get one going for more than a few feet (although we halfheartedly joined in, the Wave seemed to end with us, even when she attempted to slip forward and start one from the other direction).At the front of the line as we arrived there was a large man singing in a beautifully trained and fabulously carrying voice. Once we settled into our own place in line we saw one woman who had an Idols shirt and Idols patches and an Idols Camp Chair with autographs from various well-known Idols celebs. There was also an emaciated young man who was for a time shoulder-to-shoulder with me, who spent the entire time in line with his hand to his Ear Bud, singing sotto voce with music that only he could hear in a reedy voice (we wondered why he was risking damage to his vocal chords in such a way, given that there were no auditions to be done that day, and that our late position in line made it unlikely that he'd be interviewed by the numerous media folks being courted by the people at the front).Other than that, the people around us were normal, quiet, Midwestern types. Directly behind us were a young gal and her mom (brought for support and transport help only, as the auditioner was 21 years old - kids under 18 are required to be accompanied by a parent/guardian) who had traveled for more than 20 hours from Michigan in order to audition. The only odd thing about the fresh-faced pair was that they had traveled all that way to audition for a show that they had never[...]



Where Does the Carpal Tunnel Go?

2006-08-26T05:26:48.316-07:00

Ooh. Weird! Where did that week go?

I didn't even get any significant knitting done - about two inches of sock, maybe (although I got a lot of decreasing done on the toe). And that's it. No wonder I'm cranky and out of sorts!

On the other hand, other than working on my case of carpal tunnel, I've given myself over entirely to the Vampire's (temporary) career. We work on his song. We go to his lessons and work on his song. We grocery shop and eat (we still have to keep body and soul together, of course... think how bad his singing would be without the soul!) and I type, and occasionally I go to bed and get a bit of sleep (not often enough). We talk to publicists and we talk to people about hair. And then we work on the singing a bit more.

Occasionally we do other stuff. Academics, occasionally. At other times we do something crazy and unexpected. Yesterday we locked ourselves out of the car at the gas station, and had to wait until the Vampire could walk home and burglarize our house for the spare set of keys.

Good times...

In the meantime, you can always read the Vampire's blog. He's sneaking up to the computer on the rare occasion that I stumble away from the keyboard in order to have a nice cry and ice my wrists.

Enjoy!




Which Life Would You Choose?

2006-08-21T04:31:54.536-07:00

Today's plans:

Me - type, cook, type, chauffeur, wait (knit?), chauffeur, cook & eat, type, eat, chauffeur, type

Pirate - cook & eat, bus, work, lunch, work, bike, grocery shop, chauffeur, cook & eat

Vampire - eat, improv auditions, eat, singing practice, eat, nap, eat, play rehearsal

The Cat - nap, eat, nap, demand some petting, nap






Get A Life... Take Mine, For Instance

2006-08-17T16:53:57.490-07:00

I think I'm permanently welded to my 'office chair' now. I'm afraid to get up - the chair might come with me, riding along on my butt like some black leather leech out of "African Queen". And Katherine Hepburn isn't here to help me.

It feels like I've been here forever. It was okay when it was fishing lodge stories, I can handle that. But now it's transcript after transcript of lawyers - and worse, legal publication salesmen - blathering on and on about which is more accessible and useful: print or electronic information? Even more fascinating are the matters of storage and updating and access and blahblahblah until I want to decapitate myself with a legal pad. Or smash my head in with Black's Law Dictionary.

What's worse, the Vampire is all excited, because HIS career is doing just dandy, thank you. It's not currently a paid career - but it's loads of fun for him, and good experience for the portfolio. So we're heading into territory where conversations in our house will go as follows:

Me: Gawd, I'm exhausted. I just typed "hempeerdfplwx." I think my hands are going to fall off. I wish they would...

V: Want to do something different? I need a ride to the radio station, they want an interview.

Me: I would, but I can't see, everything's blurry. What are those blinky lights, floating around? I need new eyes, these ones suck.

V: Could you get off the internet? I need to call my publicist.

Me: Sure. I'll go take a nap. I'll trade it in for the hour of sleep I was planning to get tonight. Which way is my bedroom? I can't remember...

V: I need to go to the hair salon, too. They're going to televise me getting my hair cut.

Me: Shut up.

I'd tell you more about it, but I've got to go listen to this paralegal. She has something to tell me about filing treatise updates.





Plea for Help

2006-08-15T17:11:42.820-07:00

Please, please, PLEASE do us a huge favor, and tell everyone who might be the least bit interested that you know someone who is auditioning for American Idol - and send them/give them the address for the Vampire's blog ( http://amidle.blogspot.com/ ). He is working so hard on this, and it would give him a huge boost to know he has support behind him other than his predictably doting mum.

All comments and visits appreciated, no matter how small.

Thank you for your time and attention. We now return you to your regular programming.





More Confessions

2006-08-15T16:43:39.700-07:00

~ I have no idea how long it's been since we took our ironing board down. It is starting to look like a permanent fixture between the table and the hutch. The guys have taken to using it as a sideboard for dishes/pots that are hot. This is not a classy thing.

~ The Vampire and I had an argument the other day about when the latest is that we'd ever taken down the Christmas Tree. This is because we had noticed that I have a 'picture hat' sitting upside down on the buffet, decoratively filled with tree ornaments. Because, you know, taking them up to the attic would have been too cold last February. And then it was too hot to take them up in June. I am ignoring the existance of May.

~ We haven't gone to a movie in three weeks, and we went through a gap of more than a month before that. The Vampire has been having spells of dizziness the past few days - I think it's withdrawal symptoms, due to not having yet seen Talladega Nights (not that we would have gone to that in any case), Miami Vice, Descent, Step Up, World Trade Center (we normally would have seen at least two of these), and to our not being likely to see Accepted, Snakes On A Plane, or the Illusionist (the last being the only one his boring parents would have normally taken him to, if they weren't tied to their desks and his lesson/practice schedule).

~ I should be working right now. I'm procrastinating. I live on the Edge.

~ We didn't start watching Boston Legal until now. Now we are watching it on dvd, and we are hooked. The Pirate is starting to get turned on if I sneak up behind him and whisper "Denny Crane!" in his ear.

~ I got some putative cat treats a while back that are freeze-dried shrimp dusted with catnip. The Cat can't be bothered. But they are shrimp, so I can't just throw them away. I am trying to think of a clever Craft Item that I could make with them. Perhaps I should glue them artistically on a cleaned tuna can, glue some fabric inside and call it an Earring Box? Would anyone buy it at a rummage sale?

~ I am a sock knitter in a house full of men who either lose or destroy socks within days of receiving them. This is *definitely* a case of casting pearls before swine (sorry, Pirate... that's not a reflection on your personality, which is lovely). I gave a pair to my dearest friend... and she won't wear them because she doesn't want to damage them. Futility, thy name is Me.

~ But I keep making them, anyway. Because, you know, they are socks.

~ I made up a Pad Thai recipe. It's good, and we eat way too much of it when we can. Does that mean that it's actually Pad Eileen?