Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just wait, it keeps getting More So

So, the Story of My Saturday, and How Most of It Sucked. Almost all of it, in fact. It's a fun story, really! By today, anyway, it's much more fun. On Saturday, it wasn't really so funny. Interesting how that is.

You already know how Saturday started: the meows of doom, of oh no, when did I last see Pan. And the cleaning of the closet. At the hour my mother refers to as oh-god-hundred (as in, "what time does your flight leave?"). And the throwing away of a soaked-through messenger bag, which I wasn't even going to try to save, since it was the center of the incident.

So there I was, up, risen if not shining, early though certainly not bright. I'm so not a morning person, it took me quite a while to realize that although the first errand I had planned to do was to a place that opened at 9, the one I had planned to do second opened at 7, and I could have gone there early. As it was, I got there by nine, and for me on a Saturday that's actually up and moving pretty early.

This was to go to the Mazda dealership, and I have griped and groused about them before. I bought my car last year, and like it a lot, but I have not had one good service experience with them yet: not one! Their service is awful.

By the way, this is me calmed down. Here's what I scribbled on a bit of paper in the car on Saturday:
I hate 128 Mazda, now calling itself Liberty Mazda. Hate, loathe, despise them.
Do not buy a car from them.
Most especially, never, ever go there for service. Ever. Do yourself a favor.
Can you see the steam coming out of my ears?
I have just had the most condescending experience ... I could spit. He just about patted me on the head and called me "little girl".
By comparison, do I sound calm now? I do, don't I? Sort of?

They really are awful. They lie, for instance. I mean, about little stuff, but that will get on your nerves. They just moved their location, and they send out cards announcing the new location, and the hours are on it. They're supposed to be open until 7 certain nights of the week. And I go after work (and the location is not at all convenient to where I work, by the way), and arrive at 5:40, and am told that all the techs leave at 4.

So either the mailing is wrong, or the guy is lying to me.

This is the same place that, when I took my brand new car in, four days after I bought it, took it in to get it inspected and for a couple of things to be installed, when I went to pick it up it took them thirty minutes to find the car. To find it! They couldn't find it! (I had to tell them which kind of car I had bought, and they sent someone around looking for it, since they couldn't find it in the computer, and we all know that if it isn't in the computer, it doesn't really exist.)

Then, last summer, I went in for my first oil change and it took them three hours. For an oil change. And when I wrote them a letter expressing my dismay about their service (they send out letters after every service experience, ironically enough, saying that my satisfaction is very important to them, and to let them know if I'm less than perfectly satisfied), they never responded to the letter. At all. Not one word. Apparently they just want to know if I'm not satisfied: they're not actually planning to do anything about it.

Then there was the time I brought the car in with an actual problem, and it took them two hours to give me a loaner.

But I digress. Are we all convinced they're awful? Good. It's funny that they've changed their name, isn't it? I'm sure they'd say it's because they moved, but they're not that far off 128, really. Anyway, just remember, 128 Mazda, Liberty Mazda, terrible, awful, horrible, avoid, right?

So, why was I going there again? Because I had a small, Mazda-specific problem. The car I have is what they call the 5-door, what I would otherwise call a wagon. When you open the back or fifth door, it lifts up the part that hides all your groceries or what have you, except that the little doohickeys on mine won't stay in lately. So I went in, doohickeys in hand, the day that all the techs were gone by 4, to have them fixed. No techs, no fix, so I went back on Saturday, ready to stay as long as it took (remember: three hour oil change) until it got fixed (except that I would have to leave in about two hours to take Harold to the vet, but I was hoping it wouldn't actually take that long).

So the same bozo was there who told me everyone was gone by 4, and he collared a tech and took him right out to my car. I opened the back, and they poked at the holes for a minute and then essentially stuck the doohickeys back in and said there you go.

I said yeah, but they won't stay there.

The guy said they're in.

I said yeah, but they won't stay in. They stay for a little while, a few days, even, then they come back out. I want you to actually fix them.

He said. If they come out again you can come back.

!

That was the point at which I said something like Oh you bet I'll come back. I don't think I actually said you bet your ass I'll come back, though I was sputtering so much I'm not sure how coherent I was. I haven't been that mad in a long time.

Up to that point, as mad as I've been at this Mazda dealership, it's been impersonal. This is the first time I've been livid at an actual, specific person. He was so condescending, so "I'm right, you're wrong", so ... I don't even know, smug and jerky in his behavior to me.

I don't think that the customer is always right. I've worked in retail, I know that customers can be wrong and stupid and stubborn, and even when they're right they can be annoying and a pain. But treating a customer the way he treated me is never right.

It's certainly possible that there was something I didn't know about putting the doohickeys back it. It's not like I took them out in the first place, so why would I know how to put them in? If he had explained that they needed to be put in with the ends turned this way so that the whatever interfaced with the whoosis properly, and that therefore they would now stay in just fine, but to bring it back if I had any further problem, I would have said wow, really? That's great, thank you so much. I might have been slightly skeptical of an easy fix, but I'd like to believe, and I'd certainly be delighted if it turned out to be true.

Instead, he treated me like I was an idiot. How is that good service?

So far the doohickeys are still in. I bet they'll come out, but even if they stay in until the car falls apart of old age, he was wrong.

Anyway, wait, my Saturday isn't over yet! That was the low point, but not the end! There's still take Harold to the vet ... in the car, which he hates ... and on the way over, we were joined by a thunderstorm, which terrifies him!

Is anyone else having visions of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day yet?

It was a huge, enormous, torrential storm. Harold was truly unhappy, and I would have rescheduled if I'd known it would be that bad. The drive home was about as bad as I can recall driving through. All afternoon it poured and stopped and boomed and stopped, and just kept tormenting the cats (not that I like it either). By that time, it was a good thing I had something to look forward to, because I was feeling pretty beaten down by the events of the day.

Happily for my sometimes-tenuous grip on sanity, I had plans Saturday night to go to dinner and a movie with friends. Otherwise, I would have been grasping at straws for good things about the day, those lack-of-bad-news items like, I didn't have a headache, or, the vet didn't have anything bad to say about Harold beyond the usual (he shouldn't gain any weight). While these are not bad things, it was still nice to have an actively pleasant evening after such a day.

After a nice crepe dinner, we saw Waitress, which was deemed enjoyable by all three of us. And in my case, quite a relief after the day I had. Thank heaven days like those don't come too often.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Rant coming (but not today)

So, I've been busy with a number of things, one of which is trying to get that silly second sock past the heel so that I can be at the lovely plain-knitting stage by Thursday, when the Harlot is here and I want to be listening to her, not paying attention to a pattern. After Stitch and Bitch tonight, I am at the gusset (what a funny word that is, really), so I'm getting closer, closer, closer. At least it has achieved three-dimensionality! I am also at the stage of feeling that I am not meant to be a sock knitter, but if I can just finish this sock, I will be content. I want this pair that's all. Then I will go back to my lower-pressure knitting, very happily.

Gardening is also going along nicely. After harvesting cukes last Tuesday and Wednesday, I found today that my little plants have been busy:


It amazes me how fast they grow! That's five and six days, respectively, since they were about the size of paper clips. And I still think it's funny how each plant works on one cuke at a time. I imagine that when I picked these, the plants said, "Next!" and selected which little buds will be the next ones to grow.


Isn't this pretty?


And this?


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,


But if I stop the mosquitoes will eat me alive.

Saturday was rant-worthy, but it's getting late. Perhaps tomorrow.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Perfect Example of Feline Perversity

When Pan feels like he is being ignored, or just not being given the proper amount or degree of attention, he meows. Sometimes he leaves the room and meows: I'm not sure if it's for effect or the acoustics, but he can yowl.

I just learned, however, that if he is shut in a closet (accidentally, need I say) around 11 PM, he doesn't utter a peep until 5:15 AM. By which time, he has peed in the closet, naturally enough. So it's 5:42 on the morning of a day off, and I am up and feeling bad for a cat who has gotten me out of bed this early, ruined something I own, and made a mess for me to clean up. This is warped, you know?

The crazy part is that when I closed the closet door last night, I meant to do a nose check, but I must have fallen asleep before I realized I hadn't seen Pan. (Just reopening the closet isn't enough: it's a big closet, with things they can hide under.) Sigh. This is no way to start a Saturday. I already have errands to run, including taking Harold to the vet for his annual check-up (surprise!), so it wasn't going to be the most fun morning, but this doesn't help. Maybe breakfast will. Yawn.

When they were kittens and Pan got shut in a room, Harold came and got me. Perhaps he doesn't feel that's part of his job description anymore?

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tired? Me? Moi?

As I wrote yesterday, I was planning to get to bed early. I'm a person who needs sleep and lots of it, and being up wicked late two nights in a row meant Don't Push Your Luck Tonight. So I logged off and went in to the kitchen to just tidy up a little bit before getting ready for bed. I wasn't even going to try to "get anything else done", because I know what I'm like when I get too tired. I can get very cranky when I'm tired (stop laughing, mother), and that doesn't lead to the efficient execution of to-do list items anyway, so why try, right?

The thing is, I usually get gradually more and more tired: I see it coming, and have time to stop Doing and get resting, so to speak. Last night I was, suddenly and without warning, So Extremely Tired that I should have been in bed with the lights out five minutes ago. Since, obviously, I wasn't, I had a startling, cat-scattering hissy fit meltdown over nothing much, then got ready for bed very, very quietly* (I wasn't really meeting my own eyes in the bathroom mirror).

* And it may be a coincidence, but I have a slight sore throat today. Am I coming down with a bit of a thing, or did I actually yell at the alarm clock that much last night when it wouldn't do what I told it to? How embarrassing would that be? I don't think it is from yelling, actually; I didn't really yell that much, that I should still have any ouch tonight. One of my coworkers said today that she recently had a sore throat, just a sore throat, for four days, so I'll hold out hope that this won't develop into anything more. Cross fingers.

I know I hadn't had enough sleep, but still, it was kind of weird. I guess you add stress to the mix, and who knows what will happen? Money is rather tight Chez Cat Hair lately, and I find it supremely irritating to try and be good when all I want to do is buy books, for heaven's sake. I mean, it's not like I want to buy drugs (at least not in the legal sense, though they are my drug of choice, along with chocolate), or guns, or ... or nuclear weapons. Books! That most innocent (well, the ones I buy) and literate of pastimes!

And instead, I find myself saying, "Well, yes, Jasper Fforde is in town promoting the new book in the Thursday Next series, and of course you want to own it eventually, and of course, you'd like to see him read from it, but can you afford to buy it right now, paying full price, plus the $5 they're charging to see him (thanks a lot, Brookline Booksmith, that little practice goes right up my nose), when you just bought Harry Potter, and you had to have the Harry Potter book on tape, too, and the next Stephenie Meyer is about to come out and don't you want that a little more than the Fforde right now?"

I hate having to weigh these options. In truth, I want them all. But I am marginally more eager to read Eclipse than First Among Sequels, plus I was irritated with the idea of being charged to hear the author read, since I can't help feeling that buying the book should be the price of admission. But whatever, since I'm not going (well, since it was tonight, obviously).

Stephenie Meyer is going to be in Burlington in September, and B&N isn't charging anything. (I'm just saying.) I'll be there. With, no doubt, dozens if not hundreds of shrieking teenage girls, but I don't care. I like her writing quite a lot, and I want to tell her so. Great story about her here, by the way.

And of course, the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is in Burlington (but at Borders), one week from today (woo-hoo). Last time I saw her, the first time I saw her, I had to go to the Big Apple, but this time she's in my own neighborhood, so to speak; it's very exciting.

I am getting spoiled by all these authors! And I love it!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hey, Hey, What Do *You* Say

All right, kids, it's time to discuss some of the thoughts and questions that have come up recently, before I get to bed early for once (I was up late last night for the trivia, and I was up late Monday for having no willpower when faced with a book I want to read [no, not Harry Potter, actually, I just have no willpower generally], and man do I need sleep). So what do we have?

From my recent trivia experience, the idea was raised of learning from the missed question (" Do you remember the question? Do you now know the answer to it?"), and I do agree with the pursuit of knowledge, wholeheartedly. However, I always learned best when I understood the reason or heard the story behind something, and that we don't get at trivia, so unless I go off and do the research, I'm rather left hanging, saying, "But why...?" As for the prize, I feel like that's a pretty large prize, and for there to be no second prize at all, well ouch, so thanks for the sympathy. Poor team Dunk Tank. So close. As we used to say here in Boston, "That and sixty cents will get you on the T." (Now, of course, it's more like two dollars to ride the T; I feel old.)

As for the cuke, I eat them plain, or with a little salt. They are pickling cukes, but I don't pickle them. I had it with lunch, and I picked the next one this afternoon, to eat tomorrow! It's exciting stuff, and I'll be watching the vines to see if the next ones grow as fast. I also found a recipe for a potato salad that calls for basil, so perhaps I will try that soon. The critter may have eaten most of my garden, but not all! In fact, it seems to have stopped (knock on wood), so perhaps the work they did on the gate and fence has helped, or perhaps the vermin ate so much he can no longer fit through the holes! Annalea, I did use fertilizer when I planted; next year, if you like, I would be happy to get your advice on Things To Do Before Planting. For this year, I think I have what I have, and right now it's going okay.

You also said, "You'll have to take another photo of the "probably a weed" flower once it opens fully. It looks like it's related to Nigella or Queen Anne's Lace, but it's hard to tell right now. I'm really curious to know what it is." Unfortunately for us, the landscapers decided to weedwack along the driveway, and that flower was a casualty. If I see another similar, I'll snap its photo. Thanks for all the identifications of my random photographs, by the way: between us, we know so much about these things! (Just kidding...)

Monica, I've considered your input on my scarf and I'm pondering the problem. I thought I might just live with it, but as the scarf lengthens, it's curling in on itself to the point where I'm afraid it may eventually resemble a long tube: not the look I was going for. I shall continue to ponder.

A follow-up to the Fat post: is everyone familiar with Chico's? I actually quite like some of their clothing for work or dress occasions, and their acetate clothing is great (cram it in a bag, shake it out, it's fine), but their sizing system is hilarious: size 1, 2, and 3 (I'm a three, of course). Now, in some things they have a zero, and even a .5 which I find funnier still ("I'm looking for the size half, do you know if you're out of it?"). Who dreams these things up?

I think that will do it, or I won't be getting to bed early after all. I'll end with the words of someone totally random, with some sound advice (this was a quote of the day somewhere):
"Don't borrow someone else's spectacles to view yourself with."— Simon Travaglia

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The difference one question makes

The trivia tournament was tonight, and we were in it all the way (you can tell the way the story is going already, can't you?). There was another really good team, as in practically perfect, ahead of us most of the way, but we were doing well so they weren't ahead by much, and toward the end they must have missed something because going into the final, we were ahead by one point!

We got the first final question right (turns out, so did they), but we didn't get the second question.

So we finished second, which really isn't bad.

Except.

The first place team gets $250.

Second place gets zero.

So it kind of sucks a little bit. We got so much right! I think we only got one other question wrong the whole game! Maybe two, maybe. They were really good, I fully give them that. But we weren't bad.

I must get to bed. But in closing, I give you this: I harvested something other than basil from the garden today. Can you believe it?


Doesn't it look just like a cucumber? (And there's another almost ready, too.) Yay for the pickling cukes!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Baby Pictures

Well, they're pictures of pictures, so they're not super-great quality, but they'll give you an idea of what the babies looked like, nine years ago. (This is where I'm supposed to say, It seems like yesterday, right? Except it doesn't, really. Oh, well, whatever.) Actually, some of the originals were a little fuzzy, too, so what with one thing and another ... anyway, enough excuses!

Day one. I opened the carrier, let them out, and started clicking. From the beginning, my shoes fascinated them.


What could Harold be digging for?


Ah, I see. (My, what big ears you have, Harold.)


There was a small kitty who fit in a shoe...



His brother had such big ears, it's a good thing he grew!


Synchronized sleeping ... another talent from the start.


What? We weren't doing anything.


Harold had to grow into his ears, Pan had to grow into his tail.


But look how cute I am!


Two peas in a pod, or kitty condo.


I would stretch even bigger if the wall wasn't in the way.


Our love is purely fraternal.


I'm not at all biased, of course ... they really are that cute, right?

Just nod. Thanks.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ahhhhh

Good. Book.

I did need tissues, but not at the end, if that's at all reassuring. (I don't want to give anything away.)

I was pretty calm as I headed out this morning to get my copy. I walked into the store behind a young guy in a Red Sox jersey, who stereotypically would have been shopping for video games or potato chips or power tools. He was walking pretty briskly, purposefully even, just ahead of me, turned to the left, walked right to the book display, picked up a copy of book 7, and gave a big, deep, satisfied sigh. Then he turned and walked directly to the registers. One of us, clearly, if in disguise.

I picked up my own copy, and a few other things, then left the store and was suddenly dying to be home, home, home and reading already! Now! The drive home was a lot longer than the drive there had been. By 9:15, I was on the couch and turning to Chapter One: The Dark Lord Ascending. I finished at 3:10, and am considering starting it again, although perhaps not right away. We'll see.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Wait, I do that

You know, you would be excused for not knowing, from reading this exercise in plumbing the depths of my random thought-generator, that I do still knit. But I do! I do, my friends. And herewith I provide recent, undoctored photographic proof (though of course you have to take my word for the recentness and the undoctoredness of the photographs, but life is imperfect that way).

There is ... the second sock, mate to the first:


It's coming nicely, but every once in a while my hands get the fidgets from the little needles and I need to work on something else, so I started the scarf with the latest pretty yarn I bought:


I rather like the combination of yarn and pattern. Here's a closer-up shot:


I even kind of like it from the "wrong" side:


Which is handy, as otherwise I'd have to figure out some way to deal with it so that the wrong side never showed (make two and sew them together? make it twice as wide or twice as long and sew the sides together? pin the ends to my clothing so they don't move? liking the wrong side is so much easier). Of course, since it's stockinette, the end is curling up. Stockinette is so like that. I may live with it. I may try to remedy it somehow (suggestions?). I am currently undecided. As you can see by the size, I have plenty of time before I have to decide.

Now, I need to go finish my laundry and perform some kitty maintenance. Pan doesn't seem to realize he has hours of lappiness in store tomorrow (doesn't he know* Harry Potter comes out tomorrow?), and he's fussing. We can't have that. And Harold isn't fussing, but he likes attention too. What with one thing and another, or what with Thing One and Thing Two, I have my evening filling rapidly.

*He's about the only one. I recently read that according to a recent survey, 51% of Americans age 12 and up knew that the next Harry Potter book came out in July. Wow.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fat

Something happened recently that reminded me, I never did write about the YouTube video A Fat Rant, which is so fabulous, as I once promised to do. The trigger was, I started to get a new-to-me catalog (they're like bunnies, aren't they?), this one called Title Nine, and rather amusingly, this one is an athletically themed catalog.

I flash back to ninth grade, and Female Team Sports. The disastrous trifecta of basketball, volleyball, and field hockey ... the much more palatable three and a half years of dance class that followed ... I'm not any good at dance, either, but it was almost enjoyable, featured good music, and was generally much less dangerous.

So the Title Nine catalog was an extremely ironic one for me to receive, and I browsed it with mild amusement until I noticed something that disturbed me greatly. For some clothing items, the size XL was "translated" as 10-12.

Say what?

In America today, that's utterly ridiculous. I would call 10-12 Medium, don't you think? I expect XL to be 16-18, or 18-20. Now, some of their clothing is numerically sized, and some gives the XL with a single number, say 16, instead of a range (how confusing is their system if you can call it that, by the way? I'm not sure I could figure it out even if they hadn't offended me). So, leaving out the items with bra-sizing (or I'll be here all night), an XL can be:

14
16
10-12
12-14
14-16
16-18

And (of course) some things only go up to L. I think there was one XXL. One.

Basically, even if I wanted to shop with them, which I now would not do for free, it would require far more work than I am interested in doing to figure out what size to order, plus (and now we reach what Monty Python might call the fulcrum of my gist) barely any of it would fit me. And forget about me for a minute, there are a lot of large, strong, athletic women who are going to (surely) need bigger sizes than that (I guess they shop elsewhere, too).

Because these are a lot of small sizes. I fit into some 18s, hardly ever into a 16, and there were very, very few larger than that in the entire catalog. There weren't many of those.

This segues into the Fat Rant video linked above. I started to feel like the woman in the video, who mentions at one point that she can spend an hour in a store looking for her size and all she can find to spend money on is socks and hair clips.

Now, if you haven't watched the video, I highly recommend it. You need time (7:45), and you need sound. I'd like to quote from it, but I end up sounding like an inspirational novel, when it isn't like that at all. Context is key, though, so go watch it, right?

I e-mailed Title Nine to get off their mailing list, by the way. As I told them about their catalog, "any company that calls a size 10-12 an XL is so far out of touch with reality, I won't be wasting my time looking at it."

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Implore You, Not Before Saturday

The news that there are photos on the Internet of the final Harry Potter book disturbs me greatly. Not that I would ever, ever go look at them, but now I have to worry that I will inadvertently hear ... something ... before Saturday that I don't want to know, that I will have the radio or TV on when they talk too much about it or will look at a website that has been spoiler-mined, so to speak, and can I tell you how mad I would be?

It's one thing to talk to someone and discuss if you think Harry will die, or Snape, or Ron, or Hermione, or Neville, or anyone else. But being told, for sure, what happens in the book before you read it? Oh, don't you dare.

The story in this morning's Boston Globe said:

The identity of the leaker, and how he or she obtained a copy of the book, wasn't known, but other people appear to be taking things a step further. A posting on one file-sharing site yesterday seemed to be recruiting volunteers to type the words from the photographs into text documents, in order to make them more legible.

"I have spent the better part of 3 hours now making the pages readable and separating them into chapters," the post reads. "I'm looking for people who are willing to type up pages." The post included an e-mail address. The Globe sent an inquiry to it, and a person named Kyle Giovanni replied: "I didn't leak it, I'm just a fan who is taking some pretty illegible picture files and making them into legible word files."

Oh, please! You are no fan!

You didn't leak it, meaning you didn't take it, so you're all innocent? Just because you didn't steal it off the truck or out of the warehouse, you don't get off so easy.

First off, you know full well it's not supposed to go on sale until Saturday, so you know you're breaking the rules. And that doesn't make you Robin Hood, either.

You're trying to ruin the story for millions of people, and to be honest, "I'm just a fan who is taking some pretty illegible picture files and making them into legible word files" sounds like you just want to be clear that you're not the one who took the fuzzy photos of the stolen book in the first place. Do you expect a pat on the back?

Not from me, pal. And looking for volunteers to type? Nice. More rotten spoil-sports to rain on our parade. You deserve each other. May you all get boils where you sit on a broomstick.

I have been looking forward to this event, literally, for years. I do not wish to have to be a grown-up about it if someone spoils it for me. So I'll be sticking to carefully selected media outlets for the next few days, until I get up Saturday morning, drive to Target, pick up my $17.99 copy of The Book, and come home to read it.

Don't bother calling before mid-afternoon. I won't be answering the phone until I turn the last page. For book six, if memory serves, that was around 2:30, but of course results may differ this time. I'll let you know.

Finally:


Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

I just made it into Hufflepuff, 14 to 13 over Ravenclaw. What about you?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The End of the Rainbow

A while back, I wrote that I was taking part in the Mother's Day Project, and then I updated that I had started it, but was not liking my first try at it, so I needed to undo and redo "my" name.


Done. As I wrote previously,
I want to choose a rainbow of colors for the letters of her name, because the arc of a rainbow is like a bridge that carries us over the hard times, and sometimes all we have is the hope that we will get through the hard times, so I think that's what the colors will represent for me.
I thought about stitching other things, symbols, objects around her name, which was allowed, but it didn't feel right for some reason. The colors felt like enough for me. Her name will go with the others on the bag, and when it's my turn I'll carry the bag, and I'll think of her and the other women.

What we're doing? It may not change a thing. But who knows?

There's a song by my favorite group, Depeche Mode, called Black Dress, and the chorus goes like this:

You can't change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world

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Monday, July 16, 2007

About time, eh?

Someone has been waiting for his close-up.


"You know the screen time around here has not been equitably divided, right? I have been keeping track. It exhausts me just thinking about it."


"The world is hard on a wee kitten."


"Perhaps you should ... talk to the paw."


"Did I hear something over there?


"Or over there?"


"Yes, I think it was over there."


"Maybe there are things both ways. Perhaps I am surrounded."


No wonder he spends so much time under the bed. Being vigilant must be very tiring. Open windows let in sounds, and sounds are suspect by their very nature.

I'll have to scan in some kitten-era photos of them somehow. If you think he has bat-wing ears now, you should have seen him then! It brings new meaning to the expression, all ears...

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Plant ambition

Some plants, I imagine, know what they want all the time, while others get distracted along the way. This one was growing right up when something caught its attention, and it took a wrong turn:


"Was that something interesting?"


Or maybe it was trying to say, "Oh, look, a house!" Or, "Then you take a left."


Isn't the detail amazing?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Work it, baby

Pan had a photo shoot this morning. The lighting in the bedroom was propitious, and his mood the same, especially after I turned the flash off. (He tires of the flash in no time.)

[Incidentally, Harold is not seen because the lighting under the bed is not as good. I shall try to schedule him soon.]

I look away. Why do you cut off my ear?

That's better.
Is this side better?

The flash brings out the "cat" look.

Again with the ear.
Perhaps cuter straight on?

What was that?
Are you still here?

You're making the bed bounce...

Stop it.
And for the last time...
Quit cutting off my ear!

And finally, for something completely different, aren't these cards beautiful? Go on, look at them all!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cuke Envy

It's not a pretty sight.

I am a grown woman, little though I generally act it, and I should not feel that the achievements of others reflect on me in the slightest. If someone else can do something better than I can, I should accept that, try to learn from it, and move on.

There are things I do well, but I can't be the best at everything. Challenging myself by trying new things is good for me, and I can't expect to be the best or even good at everything right away.

Riiiight. The thing is, if I was growing cucumbers, and someone else was growing cucumbers, and theirs were bigger, better, healthier, ready sooner, or what have you, I think I could be mature about it, at least in public. But when we're growing them in the same garden, and my plants are being eaten down to stumps by the mystery critter, while the plants of other people are blithely thriving away, apparently un-nibbled, I must say that bitter is the word for my feelings. Why, I ask you, why?

Because I'm not trying to say that without the interference of the critter, any of my cuke plants would look like this one, which you will notice if you look closely is filling out a tomato trellis nicely:


Nor that I would have a cuke this size yet:


since the largest one I have is about the size of a paper clip:


See it, to the left of the open flower? I know, it doesn't exactly leap to the eye, does it? I may not have the greenest thumb, it's true. In my defense, I would like to mention that my plot is on the shady side of the garden, and this other, happy plant is on the sunny side.

Still, were it not for the critter I would only be saying "wow, look at that plant" in mild wonder, instead of "hey, how come their plant didn't get eaten at all?" in moderate bitterness. I was on the shady side last year, too, and I had some success. I ate lots of cucumbers, and what's more successful than that? This year, I only have a couple of plants left; most of the original dozen are like this:


I have green pepper envy, too. You may recall that the half dozen pepper plants were mowed down before they even produced a pea-sized pepper bud. (Oh, ouch, I used the word "pea", let's not go there...) Well, the gardeners above are doing well with those, too. The plant looks healthy:


And then there are these:


So I'm depressing myself again! Shall we take the talk outside the garden? There are other growing things! For example, does anyone else get sick of those watered-down-pale-orange lilies? Why do so many people who plant them, plant so many of them? I really like the red ones:


Why don't more people plant these? I also like this little one, which is probably technically a weed but that doesn't bother me:


I like the hint of color around the edges. Now, if you were naming this next one, what would you call it? I'm leaning toward golden buttons, but I'm feeling literal. You can do better than that, can't you?


What about blue flowers with bumblebees? Does that tickle anyone's fancy?


Or this red sucker-sword?


Finally, what about this tree? It's the only one like it we see on our walks at work, and the scalloped-edged leaves and fuzzy ... what would you call them? fronds? ... are really unusual, at least compared to its neighbors. Anyone seen anything like it?




Thus endeth the photo tour for the day. Go forth, and enjoy!

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