Friday, May 15, 2015

On the Careful Use of Language

Although my kids might disagree, I try not to spend too much time being a pain-in-the-butt grammar hawk.  Every once in a while, though, the internet offers up a magnificent blooper and I am unable to keep my trap shut.  Check out the following gem:

The origins of the photo are thus: in the middle of teaching his organizational behavior class, a student who could not find a babysitter’s kid began to cry. 

As I read it, this sentence asserts that a student could not find the babysitter's kid, which caused the student to cry during a class.  Due to the goofy placement and use of "his,"  it would appear that the student was a man and was, paradoxically, also teaching the class. 

The situation described is entertainingly absurd, but does not at all reflect what the writer meant to say.  If you read the full article (and you may have, as the photo that prompted the story went viral), it turns out that a young woman couldn't find a babysitter for her child and had to bring her infant to class.  The baby began to cry during the class and the professor picked the baby up to sooth him (or her--I'm a little fuzzy on the details) and continued to teach the class while holding the baby. Props to the teacher, but I think the writer needs a better editor.

On a completely different topic, I have no idea where I left off in my knitting saga and I don't have any good project photos to post anyway, so instead I present Rupert, the pet rock my daughter had to make for her science class.*  I am particularly fond of his smile.  And his hair.  And his eyes. He reminds me very much of my daughter. 


*No, I don't know why we are still making pet rocks in high school, but I also don't understand why the kids take written tests in PE (we used to call it by the hopelessly antiquated name "gym").  I guess my kids are right when they say I just don't understand anything about their lives.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Little Bit of Spring

We're finally having a little bit of Spring around here.  It brings us flowers

(including true-to-life teenage flowers that like to take selfies:)

and showers

and along with the usual renewal, this year Spring has brought us a notable replacement.  Our faithful old van retired, to be replaced by this marvel of Japanese engineering:

It is sleek and sound and filled with modern gadgets (back up camera? check!  bluetooth integration with everyone's phones/music? check!  voice command calling? Holy smokes-- I can do that too!) and a host of clever little storage places and we already love it.  But you can't just dump a van that's been part of your life longer than half of your children without feeling the pain of separation, and I did not take the parting of the ways well.  A friend of mine captured the experience perfectly: it was like handing your dog over to the shelter and the sense of responsibilities abandoned was icky indeed. I have mostly stopped worrying that the car was lonely, scared, and confused over its fate, but every once in a while I'm zapped by a pang of regret and I wish there were a way to have a decent retirement party for our less animate companions and know that everyone was going happily on to the next phase.  Even if that phase is the scrap yard.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


I am trying my best to make good use of my rigid heddle loom, but this merciless wad of yellow yarn refuses to reveal its free end.

I begin to suspect that this particular skein of yarn was packaged by M.C. Escher and that I will never, ever find its beginning.

I have tried to resolve the problem through liberal application of bad words and phrases, but in the interest of setting a good example (or at least not setting a terrible one) for my children, I had to modify my language and, in so doing, I think I diluted it so much as to render it powerless.

At the peak of my frustration, I vented my feelings by dashing the miserable child of a female dog to the  floor with all my strength.  It sailed lightly through the air and landed at my feet, making no sound whatsoever.

Yarn is a most unsatisfying adversary.

All is not lost, however.  I own scissors and will momentarily return to the field of battle with them.  Thunk, they will go, onto the table, blades open and menacing. One of us will be going to pieces.

Once more into the fray!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

For the Record . . .

I grow weary of this winter.

More particularly, I'm tired of getting stuck in snowbanks on my own damned driveway.

Really tired.

So tired, that words cannot express my tiredness.

That's a lie.  I know plenty of words designed to express the precise emotion I felt this morning upon getting caught in a snow drift for the fourth time in a week, but they are not very nice words.  Also, I'm pretty sure I used up my daily allotment of them when the car first got stuck, when I realized I was going to have to shovel my way out, when I got my legs tangled in the snowbank for the first, second, third, and fourth times, and then when the dog, who spent most of his time barking helpfully at the shovel, decided to bury the tire I had just shoveled out.

He's a bit of a moron sometimes.

To recover from the morning's excitement, I plan to make a giant pot of coffee, break out the Dove squares (or, to be strictly accurate, I will break out more of the Dove squares), and knit a few more stripes on my stripey socks.

These socks have been knit and worn and then had to be reknit so that they might actually fit my feet without making my toes curl under.  The second sock of version 2.0 is finally nearing completion and as much as this project has felt like a lingering plague on my knitting existence, the do-over came at a time when I was suddenly noticing the imminent failure of several other pairs of socks due to what can only be described as yarn fatigue at the ball of the foot. I'm hoping I have solved the problem (at least for future socks) with the knit-in patch that you can see in the finished stripey sock. Off we go!

Monday, January 19, 2015


We had some cold weather last week.  So cold that on the way down the driveway to drop my poor kid off for the bus the car thermometer looked like this:

On the way back up the driveway, it looked like this:

It was the kind of day when a fresh container of water for the chickens would start to freeze on the 60 foot walk between the house and the coop and when even the frost makes its way inside to warm up a bit:

So we did what any rational people would do with this kind of weather:  we boiled some water, threw it out the door, and watched it snow:

Today we are back to normal:  30F, snowy and blowy, with a treacherous layer of ice on all the walkways where the snow that softened in yesterday's 40F re-froze last night.  I am, of course, thrilled that I have (almost) nowhere to go today.   I will even try not to complain about the fact that my hot coffee and warm blanket time will be spent working rather than goofing around, because it's still nicer than dealing with the great outdoors right now.

Before I get on with the dreaded employment, I will leave you with a small and cheerful WIP to counteract any sympathetic shivers you might feel on my behalf.

It's the bottom half of the first of a pair of Fiddlehead mitten, which I am making to replace these sorely missed mittens, which vanished last year.

At the rate I'm going, they should be done and lined sometime in June. How very useful.

Stay warm!

Monday, January 5, 2015

A World Gone Mad

This was in my inbox this morning and I can only conclude that someone in the advertising profession has lost his or her mind. 

 Did you read it?  Let's summarize the theory here:  Never mind the live action outside, kids; it's time to ignore the great outdoors and  improve your understanding of nature by staying inside and playing with plastic bricks.

Well, there's a grand idea.

Who wouldn't want to trade all the colorful action outside for these utterly life-like models?

Not that the birds aren't cute, in their oddly modular way, but I have to say that I find the beaks a bit sinister.  They look strangely militaristic and I keep expecting them to fire little green laser blips. Which, of course, would please my boys immensely and send them running for the nearest Lego store  so they could add a new threat to their ongoing Lego battle.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Just Some Stuff

Some things just have to be done:

Some things are so much fun, they should be done again:

Baking is, of course, much more fun with my new friends.

Speaking of fun, some of us are back in third grade, the land of the Friday Letter.  In this week's missive, we learned that Matthew has apparently emigrated to Australia:

Can't read third grade-ese? He says:
Dear Mum and Dad,  
G'day and greetings from Australia or "the land down under." Did you know that Australia is both a country and a continent? Since Australia was once owned by Britain, it [is] still their chief of state.  That is why there are so many british expressions. And Mum, I really with Nate would nick off, he's always eating my cheese!  By the way, I will say ta later.  And by the way, can we have a barbie for tea?  Please write back.   
Love, Matt

So we did: