Sunday, May 31, 2009

File Photos

Haven't done much today so I thought I'd dig up some photos from the files.

Here is an example of the importance of detail. And of proof-reading. Especially the title/cover of the journal. Seriously:
I love old books. They paid attention to detail back then. And they made them to last, even if their best intentions didn't always work:
Sets are pretty too, I think:
But variety is always nice:
I just fixed this one up a little bit - it was quite abused by bad tape. It has some lovely details:
These are from Walter Library during finals week. I was sitting around waiting for someone who never showed up. This building was awful when I was an undergraduate at the U. They've fixed it up since then, and it is wonderful now - back to its original splendor:

Perspective is everything.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Word and Title of the Week

The word of the week is sanguivore ... which I came upon in a review of the book Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures. Too bad it's so popular or we'd buy it for our library ... you can probably find the book at your public library (if you're interested).

In the meantime, the weather has been quite nice here, which in Minnesota is an event.

This is a place I love to escape to during lunch, which I managed to do on Friday:

And this is the sock for P that I am back to working on now that I am back to work:

We walked around Lake of the Isles tonight, which is our favorite lake. I think these benches are new:
The wider view includes downtown Minneapolis:
This is my new favorite house on Lake of the Isles. I think it's because of the gate:

And how about this bench and tree?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Clapotis, No Socks

Boy-child has taken the first step to pulling himself together and we are hopeful tonight.

I've been busy. Very busy. Not going to work though, so no sock progress. Sock knitting is for bus riding. Tomorrow I will go to work and knit on a sock.

I have been working on a Clapotis in black silk. Very nice.

You get the idea. I bought the original yarn in Washington, D.C. when I attended ALA in 2007. I was cold in the conference rooms and I thought it would be nice to have a summer wrap for next time I attend ALA. That would be this July. I didn't have enough yarn, but found some on Ravelry. Now all I have to do is finish it. Perhaps I should block it when I'm done, eh? I love the look of the dropped stitches and I love anything knit on the bias.

We've been watching movies, but there haven't been any particularly good ones. Right now we have South Pacific* out from the library (wow, hard to believe - and we only made it to intermission so far), as well as The Good Earth. Oh, and we recently saw Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, Opus 1. That was good.

In the meantime, I've pulled out some flower pictures, which I take regularly when I'm out walking.

*We did South Pacific as a school musical when I was in Junior High. I was in the pit orchestra. The girl who had the best voice in the school was black, so she couldn't have the part of Nellie Forbush; she had to play the part of Bloody Mary. (I mean, seriously folks, there was a kiss in the play between Nellie and Emile. Since there were no black boys at all, good voice or bad, to play the part of Emile, Nellie had to be white. To make up for it, Bloody Mary sang the same songs over and over. Carolyn, honey, wherever you are, thank the gods that your kids don't have to suffer through the same).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On North and South, Abe Lincoln and Politics

I may have mentioned that I'm reading Doris Kearns-Goodwin's book on the Lincoln presidency, Team of Rivals. I like the way she writes and this happens to be a period in American history of which I know virtually nothing.

Since I am enjoying it so much, I thought I would bore you, my friends, with a few tidbits.

This is the description of the Lincoln/Douglas debates, which were legendary:
Each debate followed the same rules. The first contestant spoke for an hour, followed by a one-and-a-half-hour response, after which the man who had gone first would deliver a half-hour rebuttal. The huge crowds were riveted for the full three hours, often interjecting comments, cheering for their champion, bemoaning the jabs of his opponent. Newspaper steonographers worked diligently to take down every word, and their transcripts were swiftly dispatched throughout the country. (p.201)
Hard to imagine in modern times.

Think Bush-Gore. Think Bush-Kerry. Think McCain-Obama.

Now, after the U.S. election of 2000, I used to joke about how the South had finally gotten over the Lincoln presidency and the Civil War and brought themselves to vote Republican. As I read this book, I am appreciating it even more. It's mind-bending to think of the evolution of the two main political parties over the past 150 years. The Republicans were the progressives. They were liberal. They were spend-thrifts. They were interested in public works and infrastructure. The Democrats were the Southerners, they wanted slavery to continue into the new territories and states. They did not want to be taxed for infrastructure or public works (being set up primarily in the North).

And did I mention that Lincoln had a pretty flimsy resume when he became the presidential nominee for the Republican party in 1860? He had been an attorney, a legislator in the Illinois House and once in the US House, and he lost two Senate races. No executive experience. Turned out that wasn't very important, I guess.

Makes you wonder where we'll be in 150 years. How Obama will be seen. What the political parties will be like. And their platforms.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Long Weekend

Spending the long weekend trying to recuperate from the past week.
Seeing friends and family.
Eating good food.
Watching movies.Knitting.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Boy is OK

We've heard from Boy-child.

He is ok.

Thank you for all the support, prayers and words of comfort.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I've recently started listening to podcasts. Although I've loaded others into my iTunes, This American Life is the only regular series I've listened to so far.

Most recently, I listened to No Map: Stories of people who find themselves in situations far from the beaten path, where there are no guidelines and no useful precedents, including the return of Squirrel Cop).

How timely. I definitely feel as though I've been without a map for the past week.

I had also listened to This I Used to Believe: Stories of people forced to let go of their firmly held beliefs. And then today I stumbled upon a blog, Letters to My Agent, in which the writer ponders This I'd like to believe, This I don't believe for one second and This I sincerely do believe in her own permutation of the show.

So here is mine...

This I believe:
That Boy-child will return soon of his own volition.

On a much, much lighter note, I cast on a yellow sock for P (basket weave seemed like an appropriate texture for the color):
And a Clapotis for me (this will only look like a black blob for a while longer, and then will transform into a beautiful wrap):
And I finished Girl-child's green socks (unable to achieve accurate color today):

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Recently I was tagged with a meme that included a question about what we learn from our children. My response was that all my ideas about nature vs nurture were thrown out when I had children because it was all such a surprise.

Life’s greatest joys and most profound sorrows can be related to raising children. Really, it’s the most challenging adventure possible; I don’t care what anybody says about climbing Mt Everest or reaching the South Pole.

And yet, all of the hopes parents may have for a child can be reduced to one simple one: survival. Boy-child disappeared last weekend and we are reduced to that one desire. He had been doing well over the past months after having trouble last fall. Last week we found out he was slipping in school. Now he’s gone.

I have tried to make this blog entertaining, visually pleasing and not too whiny, but I can’t let this go unmentioned. At the same time, I will not go into the “should haves” and other self-flagellating details, of which there are plenty.

I’ll try to find fun stuff to post – to entertain myself as much as anything - but if I’m absent a bit, or if I seem down when you need a bright spot in your day, take a look at some Happy Thoughts of the Day photos here.

In the meantime, I will try to continue to find the usual (boring) stuff to blog about. Right now boring would be good.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bags and Bags of Yarn and Socks

I found a new bag today, and I was feeling a little guilty (but just a little) and then I saw this post from Sheepish Annie; it was comforting to me to know that others have problems with bag acquisition. It's not a very good picture, but you get the idea. (Score from Nordstrom's Rack, actually).

When I got home, I started rearranging things, and I've designated an old Kate Spade bag as my "finished socks and ongoing projects as well as possible projects" bag.

The FSaOPawaPPB looks like this:
The red is silky wool for a potential seamless sweater from Custom Knits, the black is a silk purchased when I was in DC for ALA two years ago, the fuschia is for Boy-child's next pair of socks, the yellow for P's next pair of socks...

The reason the "finished" socks are in there instead of being in a drawer with other socks is because the ends have to be worked in. This is something I do as a massive fall project; any sock finished between mid-April and the end of September is not needed, so they are not properly done until the weather gets cold again. I don't like working in the ends; it's like sewing.

Of course, it may freeze this weekend, so who knows? Maybe I'll need those socks on Sunday when I plant flowers.

Speaking of socks, I finished the Poseidons this morning:

I do like how they turned out. The color is quite electric.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


It's sad to see that newspapers are becoming a thing of the past. Mind you, I had P cancel the Minneapolis Star/Tribune when they endorsed Coleman, I still think that Minneapolis should have a (solvent) newspaper.

The St Paul newspaper is unforgivably provincial and we've never subscribed to it, even though we've lived in St Paul for over 20 years now. We may have subscribed when we moved here, but we discovered that the movie listings did not include anything showing in Minneapolis. They totally lost us at that point.

In fact, the only (hardcopy) newspaper we get now is the Sunday New York Times. Last Sunday there was a spread on Portland, Oregon in the travel section, which happens to be the city Girl-child chose for a summer destination this year.

Did you know there's a velvet painting museum in Portland? I can hardly wait.

Anyway, getting back to newspapers, so I started reading the Doris Kearns Goodwin book on Lincoln's political genius, Team of Rivals, and I was struck by the mention of how many newspapers existed in the middle of the 19th century. I mean, there used to be two in Minneapolis when I was a kid (the Star and the Tribune, then consolidated into the StarTribune, and now insolvent). But in the 1840s even moderately sized cities had half a dozen or more newspapers.

I don't care that Internet has oodles of information, it's just not the same.

Actually, what I want is my newspapers on the Internet.

But I'm not ready for a Kindle.

Title of the Week

A sex-lure trap for Rhyacionia tip moths by Daniel T. Jennings

(just think of the possibilities)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I've Been Tagged

The Kat tagged me with a meme - so here it is:

What are your current obsessions?
Knitting. Blogs. Blogs about knitting. Getting the flowers planted.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Whatever fits.

What's for dinner?
Kabobs from Von Hanson’s on the grill and spinach salad like the one they used to have at the Highland Grill restaurant.

What's your greatest fear at the moment?
That the economy will tank further and P will have no work and … what would we do ‘cause I sure don’t make any money!

What are you listening to?
The birds in the yard.

If you were a goddess what would you be?

What are your favorite holiday spots?
Paris, Salamanca, New York, Islamorada, Santa Monica. (I like to travel!)

What are you reading right now?
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, with At Wit’s End and Sense and Goodness Without God both out from the library.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Expensive coffee and yarn.

Who or what makes you laugh?
My children, my husband, my friends, myself.

What is your favorite spring thing to do?

Smell the lilacs and the blossoms as I walk to and from the bus.

Where are you planning to travel next?
Portland, Oregon. Girl-child picked the destination. I’ll write about it when I get there.

What is the best thing you ate or drank lately?
Shrimp scampi at Red Lobster with my mother (lunch for Mothers’ Day)

When was the last time you were tipsy?
I don’t remember.

What is your favorite ever film?
I’m not sure I can answer that. E.T.?

What is the biggest lesson you've learned from your children?

All of my liberal ideas of nature vs. nurture went out the window – you never know what you’re going to get. It’s been fun (and sometimes surprising) to see who they become.

What song can't you get out of your head?
I’m Your Man. (!)

What book do you know you should read but refuse to?
The Bible.

What is your physical abnormality/abnormal physical ability?
I am the most amazing klutz I’ve ever known.

What is your favorite color?
Purple, green, red, teal. Anything over-saturated.

If you were a day of the week, which would you be?
I despise questions like this. Thursday; most of the week finished and anticipation building up …

If you were to win a free round-the-world trip, what stops would you like to make (name at least five)? Manaus, Paris, Athens, Dar es Salaam, The Seychelles, Xian

The rules of this meme are as follows:

  • Respond to the questions
  • Post them in your own blog
  • Replace one question
  • Tag as many people as you want

I tag Susan, Rosemary, Kirsten and Sarah. I don’t know if they do memes, so …. Maybe this will pass it on, maybe not.


Friday, May 8, 2009

What is My Name?

So a patron calls this morning before we're open and she wants a thing taken care of and I say fine, but I'm not signed in to the computer so can I have your name and the name of the book.

Spanish name, German book title.

It's a good thing I remember some German, 'cause this woman doesn't know her name.

She only gave me one of a double last name (does she not know what it says on her id?) and she gave her first name as María but in the system it's Lourdes.

She must be Chilean.

Reminded me of P's aunty - La Tía Mai - she was in the social security office and she hadn't realized they'd called her 'cause they used her legal name and no one has ever called her that before. Ever.

Honestly, folks, why name a kid Demóstenes if you're going to call him Paco?

In other Latin American news, it turns out that the daughter of Hugo Chávez and the grandson of Salvador Allende are an item. Poor Allende. You can read about it here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Donate Today!

Thanks to The Kat for letting us know about the campaign.

Al Franken will be the 60th Democratic vote, so DC Republicans are funding Coleman's endless court appeals. If thousands of us donate $1 to defeat Republicans each day Coleman doesn't concede, we'll reverse the incentives! Can you donate $1 a day?

We can make Norm go away!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Obama is Spock

Salon composite/AP photo

Ok, this photo freaks me out a little, but I like the headline:

Obama is Spock: It's quite logical

Our president bears a striking resemblance to the rational "Star Trek" Vulcan whose mixed race made him cultural translator to the universe.

The full article is available here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Time For a Quiz

Your result for The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test...


You scored 52% Organization, 50% abstract, and 51% extroverted!

This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are somewhat organized, both concrete and abstract, and both introverted and extroverted.

I bet you didn't think you were Snuffleupagus. Let's find out why.

You are both somewhat organized. You have a good idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Alloyius Snuffleupagus (and all Snuffleupagus') is not sloppy by nature, but he moves so incredibly slowly that it is impossible for him to be totally organized.

You both are about equally concrete and abstract thinkers. You have a good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but you also aren't afraid to explore your dreams and desires... within limits of course. Snuffy generally has very basic interests, but he explores his abstract sensitive side when he plays his snuffleflute.

You both are somewhat introverted. Originally Snuffleupagus was very shy and was only Big Bird's invisible friend. However as he has aged he has started to build new friendships with new characters. Like Snuffy, you probably like to have some time to yourself. However, you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren't scared of social situations.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Day

There was an interesting piece this past week in Mentalfloss on the traditions of May Day; if you like trivia, take a look.

In the meantime, Girl-child participated in the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade today. She made a root hat for the occasion:
It matched this float:
I planted some flowers and did various spring-like activities and my kitchen violet is in bloom again:
Happy May!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Easy Listening

Girl-child recently introduced me to Michael Bublé and it turns out I really like him.

I was trying to get over the fact that I ended up in the Easy Listening section at Borders in order to find his stuff. Last I checked Easy Listening was for old people.

Girl-child discovered him because of her swing-dance activities. I don't dance.

So how could it be that I like this guy? Could it be because I'm almost 50? That could be one reason. Could it be that I am turning into my mother? That's possible. Nostalgia for the days of my childhood? Maybe; I find the way his style mimics that of Dean Martin and company very appealing.

But maybe the real reason that I find Easy Listening appealing is because I'm middle-aged, and when you reach middle age you don't want to work for your music anymore. Music is for relaxation. No more Johnny and Edgar Winter for me.

Check out his version of Moondance here.