Monday, November 30, 2009

Oda a los Calcetines de Pablo Neruda

(I'm not sure how it is possible that no one told me about this before - thank you Yarn Harlot)

Me trajo Mara Mori
un par de calcetines,
que tejió con sus manos de pastora,
dos calcetines suaves como liebres.
En ellos metí los pies
como en dos estuches
tejidos con hebras del
crepúsculo y pellejos de ovejas.

Violentos calcetines,
mis pies fueron dos pescados de lana,
dos largos tiburones
de azul ultramarino
atravesados por una trenza de oro,
dos gigantescos mirlos,
dos cañones;
mis pies fueron honrados de este modo
por estos celestiales calcetines.

Eran tan hermosos que por primera vez
mis pies me parecieron inaceptables,
como dos decrépitos bomberos,
bomberos indignos de aquel fuego bordado,
de aquellos luminosos calcetines.

Sin embargo, resistí la tentación
aguda de guardarlos como los colegiales
preservan las luciénagas,
como los eruditos coleccionan
documentos sagrados,
resistí el impulso furioso de ponerlas
en una jaula de oro y darles cada
día alpiste y pulpa de melón rosado.

Como descubridores que en la selva
entregan el rarísimo venado verde
al asador y se lo comen con remordimiento,
estiré los pies y me enfundé
los bellos calcetines, y luego los zapatos.
Y es esta la moral de mi Oda:
Dos veces es belleza la belleza,
y lo que es bueno es doblemente bueno,
cuando se trata de dos calcetines
de lana en el invierno.

~Pablo Neruda
Text with English is here

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Girl-child and I had an artistic outing today.

It included an illegal shot inside an exhibit with venetian blinds, lights and a drum kit:
The freshly painted cherry-spoon bridge:
Calder sculptures, which Girl-child loves:

I got a framed Basilica shot, which I've never done digitally:
And I visited an old favorite:
We even left our own artistic imprint on a much less beautiful corner of town:


There's nothing like a house full of kids to lift your spirits. I woke up last night to discover that a friend of Girl-child's was sleeping here.

Having children around must be what keeps The Sandwich Generation going. I'm not sure what folks do when they have aging parents and no children; more time to take care of the parents, to be sure, but less opportunity to see the future.

We watched Coco Before Chanel yesterday, as I mentioned, which was interesting. I didn't know anything about her early life (only a little bit of the WWII part). I also love Audrey Tautou.

In the evening we watched Smoke Signals; I still can't quite figure out why. It came recommended by an unlikely source. I'm still thinking about it. The movie was ok, but not great.

The other night we watched What Have I Done to Deserve This? which was disappointingly dated. Oh well. I still love Almodovar.

And now the weekend begins.

Friday, November 27, 2009


So I made a comment that mentioned my surreal Thanksgiving which elicited a request for a posted explanation. I'm not sure I possess the necessary skills to describe my Thanksgiving, but I'll make an attempt. We'll start with Wednesday.

Boy-child was feeling sickly Tuesday and Wednesday. I was feeling unsympathetic as he is often ill.* By the time I got home from work Wednesday, it was obvious he had to be seen at clinic. Hour and a half wait. Strep throat. (I will mention at this point that I was relieved it wasn't mono). Meantime Girl-child was having a bit of a melt-down and getting no attention from me whatsoever. Thank goodness Nicole was here.

We were going to go to Chicago on Friday for funsies but Boy's illness put the kabosh on that, which Girl-child may never forgive him for. But I get ahead of myself.

Thursday morning Girl-child and I started out the day watching The Parade. She called it The Macy's Day Parade when she was little and it sort of stuck, even though I told her repeatedly that there is no such thing as Macy's Day. This was where normal Thanksgiving began and ended.

We then went to pick up Suzie and my mother to go out for lunch/dinner. We go to the Monte Carlo now because I can't get my mother in and out of my house. Too scary. Steps. To me this is the start of surreal; going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. Plus, there's no Pato, who is in Chile, and no Boy-child, who is home in bed. Just the girls. My mother, my auntie, Suzie (a close family friend), Girl-child and myself. When getting my mother she fell down in her room; it takes two professionals to get her up. I pretend to help so I can feel useful. (Note that this is why I don't try to get my mother in and out of my house.) At the restaurant we had an appetizer sampler, three people had pasta and two of us had shrimp. The food was good, we had fun conversation and on occasion my mother made random comments. At one point my mother had such a bad coughing fit that the hostess came over - concerned, I'm sure, that someone was going to keel over in her establishment on Thanksgiving. We drove around Lake of the Isles before dropping my mom off, and then we came back home and fed Boy. Sounds like a normal outing, but it's not a normal Thanksgiving outing, at least not to me.

My kids mentioned that holidays are depressing, which is so sad, but we did reminisce about some fun holidays we've had in the past. There was the time my nephew was home on leave from Iraq and the whipped cream exploded, leaving everyone and everything speckled with whipped cream. There was a Thanksgiving spent in Disneyland. Girl-child and I were in Paris one year. A few times we were in hotels and ordered pizza delivered for Thanksgiving. For some reason those were fun and not surreal.

Oh well.

Today, instead of going to Millennium Park and the Chicago Art Institute, we went to see Coco Before Chanel and had pizza at Fat Lorenzo's. No shopping. We arrived at the theater early and had some fun:

Doesn't sound so strange, but it was.

As I mentioned, it's rather difficult to describe.

* We have suggested Boy-child change a few things in his life so that he is sick less. Some of the things mentioned were, sleep more, eat something other than burgers (veggie burgers are still burgers), stop smoking and to exercise some control and maybe not make out with every girl he is attracted to.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Purple Socks, Pink Mittens and Cranberry Seaweed

I passed through the West Bank of the University the other day. I always love going through the old neighborhood.

They've been working on the light rail station. This wheelbarrow made me laugh:And I don't know if these panels are new or if I'd never noticed them before - They're quite cool. And no graffiti (so far):
I forgot to mention that I finished Boy-child's purple socks:
I'm also nearly done with some mittens for my mother. She has trouble getting her fingers in gloves, so I thought mittens would be easier. I hope she remembers she asked for pink:
Finally, although I'm on a yarn diet, I was given a coupon for The Yarnery by a friend. Couldn't let that go to waste, so I found myself preparing to make a seaweed stole in cranberry:
Cranberry seemed like such an appropriate color for the season.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm Frida Kahlo

Thanks to The Kat for finding this one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Colombian Women Launch "Strike of Crossed Legs"

Wives to gang members: no sex 'til you quit killing each other.

By Lynn Harris

This just in over the Lysistrata wire: Dozens of women in Pereira, Colombia, have launched "una huelga de piernas cruzadas" -- a strike of crossed legs -- in order to get their gang-member boyfriends/husbands to quit killing each other. The message: no sex until you renounce violence. The women figured this would be a good way to raise the stakes of a thus-far-ineffective disarmament scheme. (So, I suppose, would leaving these fellows entirely, but a) these can be complicated choices, and b) it's still a good story.)

To be economically fair: Is gang life the only means of breadwinning in Pereira? Apparently not. According to the BBC, Colombian radio reported that "studies found that local gang members were drawn to criminality by the desire for status, power, and sexual attractiveness, not economic necessity."

"This is our way of telling our husbands that we don't want to wind up widows and that our children don't deserve to grow up without a father at their side," one mother of two told El Nuevo Diario (translation by Broadsheet). "Until now they haven't wanted to listen, but we're sure that this way, they'll get it."

(Wouldn't that be something if it actually works?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why the Dog Left

This just in from Linda:

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I received this cool gift last night while dining at The Nook. The giver said it reminded her of my paella:
I put it on my purse - it makes me smile every time I see it.

And also, a bamboo cup (from the same person but not last night) full of hair sticks:
When I started library school I got my hair cut; didn't want to be Miss Marian the Librarian with my hair in a bun. Now, however many years later, I really couldn't care less and I've quit getting my hair cut, so the sticks are back out.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Happiest Girl! in Magnolia for Girl-child (how appropriate is that?!?). She found the yarn at KnitPurl in Portland:
Cookie A's Wanida (from Sock Innovation) in ShiBui, also purchased at KnitPurl in Portland. Second sock started tonight at Drunken Knit Night's second anniversary bash (see below):
Pretty blue drop stitch scarf using Yukon by Pagewood Farms. I came upon this skein from Rosemary, who gave it to me for a little knitting work I did for her in the fall. I love, love, love this yarn:
Circumnavigated Cardigan with only sleeves and button band left to do. I think that not only is it possible that I will finish this sweater, it may actually fit me; a miracle:
No, I didn't knit the green sweater, although Jean and the green sweater did inspire me to do a little cable work on the ribbing:
Drunken Knit Night Second Anniversary Bash - tonight at Merlin's Rest. I believe 42 of our peeps showed up by 7:00, which is when I left:
Someone made a special cake and cupcakes to help celebrate:
Get it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yes, a headlamp, because what else would you want for your 20th birthday?

Monday, November 9, 2009


Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Grace!


You are a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."

Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Be independent, not clingy
  • * Speak in a straightforward and brief manner
  • * I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts
  • * Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable
  • * Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity
  • * If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place
  • * don't come on like a bulldozer
  • * Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy

What I Like About Being a Grace

* standing back and viewing life objectively
* coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
* my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
* not being caught up in material possessions and status
* being calm in a crisis

What's Hard About Being a Grace
  • * being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world
  • * feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all
  • * being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be
  • * watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally

Graces as Parents
  • * are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
  • * may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
  • * may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Twilight Zone

Went to visit my mother today, which is the usual Sunday thing.

She still recognizes us and all, but that doesn't mean conversation with her doesn't have a Twilight Zone sort of feel to it:

Soxanne: Hi Mom, how've you been?

Mom: Good

Boy-child: Hi Grandma

M: Hi

S: Would you like to hang out today or go out for a drive?

M: Hang out.

S: Joe* called today to ask how you were doing.

M: Oh, how's he doing?

S: He was wondering how things were because we haven't called for a while. I told him you don't like talking on the phone much any more.

M: Mmmpf.

S: Boy-child just finished his first quarter at his new school. We'll find out his grades next week.

B: They're good.

M: How does he like his new school?

B: I like it, Grandma.

(My mother, in the meantime has gotten up and is wandering around)

S: Where're you going, Mom?

M: Out.

S: Oh, do you want to go somewhere?

M: Yes.

S: Where would you like to go, Mom?

M: To London.

S: Oh. To do what, do you want to visit the queen?

M: (giggles) Yes.

B: Can you think of anywhere a bit closer, Grandma?

M: No.

I go down the hall to let them know we're taking her out for a drive.

I return to my mother's room.

B: We're going to show Grandma where I work.

S: Great.

We show my mother where Boy-child works and drop him off there. Pulling out, I ask my mother if she'd like ice-cream or coffee or anything. She replies no. We drive around Lake of the Isles to pass some time and then return to her place. As we're pulling into the drive at the nursing home...

M: I sure would like some ice cream!

*The fact that my brother called from Boise is nothing short of a miracle. Who knew?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Junk Food Junkie

My boss doesn't like the way I call everything "Rats with _________" i.e. squirrels are rats with furry tails, pigeons are rats with feathers... every so often shel'll find info and/or video of clever critters.

I think this one is my favorite:

A seagull in Point pleasant Beach, NJ has developed the habit of stealing Doritos from a neighborhood convenience store.

The seagull waits until the manager isn't looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a snack-size bag of cheese Doritos.

Once outside, the bag gets ripped open and shared by other birds.

The seagull's shoplifting started early this month when he first swooped into the store in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, and helped himself to a bag of Doritos. Since then, he's become a regular. He always takes the same type of chips.

The manager thinks it's great because people are coming to watch the feathered thief make the daily grab and run, and that's good for business, and especially since customers have begun paying for the seagull's stolen bags of Doritos because they think it's so funny . However, the manager did say, 'This is New Jersey , and if that seagull starts to grab a 6-pack of 'Bud' to go along with the Doritos, I may have to put a stop to it.'

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NWA Cockpit

This just in.

Yes, we are going to get a lot of mileage out of this one.

So to speak.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Thoughts

Thinking of delicious, sticky, raspberry Danish with good coffee......and stately Victorian homes that are no longer in a good part of town but still beautiful...
...wondering if it's still possible to achieve moral victory in modern America.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We are, perhaps, a little bit obsessed with footwear in this household.

Boy-child complains of how boring my footwear is. Sandals in the summer and clogs in the winter; no sneakers or heels. I happen to like my librarian shoes:

He wears Vans, which imho is nothing special.

I did see something special on the bus the other day, though. Holy cow, I'd never heard of these things before, so of course I had to Kinnear the guy's foot:

Who knew? They're the latest in athletic footwear. You can see proper pictures and information about them here.