March, The Groundhog

I really hate March.  That whole thing – “March comes in like a lion” – garbage.  If March were king of the forest, it would show its leadership and nobility by being consistent, trustworthy, and reliable, and the weather would reflect the lion.  To umbrella, or not to umbrella?  Rain today, sun yesterday, what tomorrow?  I’d be ok if it were just a precipitation issue, but it’s a temperature thing as well – up, down, up, down.  How is girl supposed to pick her clothes in the morning – I can’t even get the coat right.

March isn’t a lion — March is a ground hog.  It’s a schizophrenic month, constantly asking, “did I see my shadow?  I think I saw my shadow?  Do I want to see my shadow.”  March needs a therapist.

In the meantime, to deal with March, I tend to buy myself treats – but since March is a long month (and it seems longer every year), I generally didn’t splurge on large goodies.  In the past, a pretty lipstick would do.  But, it’s kind of like buying my father a present – I’m going to be forty – so I’ve bought him 2 presents a year for at least 30 years – that’s 60 presents – 60!  What else can I get him – another CD, another book? I’ve been buying myself lipstick in March for a good 20 years – 20 lipsticks – and that’s just the lipsticks I buy in March.  Not another lipstick!  The thrill is gone.   What’s a girl to do?

Buy a handbag!

And so I did – and to give you a little March thrill – I will share it with you!

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I was walking to knitting circle last night, and passed one of my favorite stores, Hello World – a beacon of light in this world known as March.  Hello World is on 20th Street, just passed Spruce, and on Pine Street, 11th maybe?  The window is always enticing, the store is filled with hard to pass up items – fantastic handbags, jewelry by local artists, the cutest stationary ever.  Stuff, just fun, frivolous stuff.  And, I happened to have been walking around with a $25 gift certificate in my bag that I’ve been saving for two years for just the right occasion.

And, here it is – the right occasion – are you ready for the bag?

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How fantastic is that?  I’m not really a yellow person (although you would never know from my recent fascination with all things Lemon), but this bag spoke to me – it says, “April” – it says, who is March, I am the true lion!

So, this bag now joins my tote bag that I got at the Gap last month, in preparation for the long haul through March – newbagand no, I don’t have any yellow walls in my house, I’ve been playing with Photoshop.

And, speaking of my efforts with Photoshop, I don’t know if you can tell or not (hopefully you can), but I’ve been making an effort to post better photos on this blog – I’m not saying the photos on Knit and the  City were all crap, but I’ve always admired blogs like Brooklyn Tweed, and Lolly Knitting Around for their fabu photography.  I took a 6 hour class recently, on the in’s and out’s of Photoshop, and while the first three hours were pretty good, the second night became a frenzy to show us skill per minute, and it’s just not that kind of program.

So, while my Photoshop skills are mediocre, but improving, my actual photography skills aren’t what they used to be.  I started taking pictures with a completely manual Ricoh when I was in high school.  Once I “got” it, I moved on to an SLR Canon, a Rebel.  I loved my Rebel, I loved my aperture priority, and frankly, I loved film.  After college, I took several semesters of a noncredit Temple photography class just to have unlimited access to the darkroom.  But, at some point, that SLR just wasn’t practical.  It didn’t fit in my handbag, it was cumbersome, and in the end, it was film, hardly the medium for my bloggedy world.  But, this digital stuff, I don’t know – I just don’t see things the same way – maybe it’s because I’m not looking through a lens, but at the back of my camera.  When I looked through my Rebel, I saw depth of field, I saw how I wanted the picture to look, and I knew what settings I needed to get the right exposure.  I thought this would all translate but for whatever reason, it hasn’t.  But, I’m working on it – because Photoshop can work a lot of miracles, but a crappy picture generally will always be a crappy picture.

And, Photoshop isn’t the only think I’ve been playing with – this blog is going places baby (well, at least around the virtual corner)!  I’ve become obsessed with tweaking the layout, thinking of new features (video knitting school anyone?) . . . but again, it’s like the photography – I don’t feel like I have the skills in my tool box anymore.  On Blogger, I had become pretty adept with HTML, but here – CSS?  PHP?  If you click on the Gallery tab up top (another work in progress), you can see, I can’t even figure out how to move the margin over.  So, like March – I’ve been a bit schizo – do I use WordPress as a CMS, and buy a completely customizable theme like Thesis, that is a bit of an investment, but will relieve me of my frustrations with newfangled code.  Or, do I struggle on, use WordPress as just my blogging platform, and create HTML static pages with Dreamweaver and the rest of the Adobe arsenal for the rest of my ideas.  And, if I’m going to move to a more dynamic theme, how much more work do I put into this one?

And then I think, stop thinking about what it looks like so much, just worry about the writing – but then I think, I worry about the writing a bit too much, and I’ve become a bit to stuffy.

Well, I’m working on it.  I’m still trying to find my voice here — strange that a new look, a new cover, a new concept would change my writing style so much – it’s still the same old me, right?

Or, maybe I’m not the same old me – I’m me in March.

Define It! My Big Word

For anyone who has read the “About” section of this site, you will know that AFTER I cleverly named the blog Lemontines, I googled “lemontine” for “shits” and giggles, and found a rather, nasty definition of “Lemontine” in the Urban Dictionary (Ok, I won’t make you click on the link – it means “crap stains in one’s pants.”)  Whatever, like many Urban-adages out there, I chose to ignore it.

 

But, I’m a woman of action – not an ignorer!   A changer!   A reformer! and I have now, courtesy of The Big Word Project, a viral marketing campaign to redefine the dictionary, redefined Lemontine, and restored it to its proper place in the modern lexicon.  For $1 per letter, you can purchase a word, and link it back to your blog, so that your blog now becomes the “definition” of the word.   A “lemontine” is once again a whimsical product of an overactive imagination (or an imagination with too much time on its hands), generally in the form of  a blog post. 

 

The Big Word Project is  the brainchild of  Paddy Donnelly and Lee Munroe,  “two Masters students from Northern Ireland, who are exploring what different words mean to different people.”  Big Word’s homepage is a cloud of words, and each word sends you off into a new worldwide web vocabulary.  So, I took “the dictionary” for a test drive.  Being the legal scholar that I am, I clicked on “Constitution.”  Does it send me to the official site of the United States Supreme Court?  Or perhaps the ACLU?  Or horrors, does it go to Ann Coulter’s personal blog?  Maybe – if it’s in Polish – or what I think is Polish – Konstytucja.info .   Quite right, don’t you think – why should the United States Constitution be the global definition of “constitution?”  Then, I tried “abba.”  Was this abba the “rock” band?  Abba, as in abba dabba do and Fred Flintstone.  No, it’s Abba as in The Springfield Reader, and “independent voice of Springfield, IL.”  Hmmmm  . . .

 

Ok, so maybe The Big Word Project is not so much a project at all, but a big springboard for advertising.  And maybe my $9  didn’t go to changing, reforming and fixing online misconceptions about the meaning of Lemontine, it probably funded Paddy and Lee’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  But, maybe that’s all that “defining” is – advertising.  I can advertise away the “skid marks,” “track stains,” and make it into something fresh and lovely – like my little puppy.

 

Perfect opportunity for a gratuitous puppy shot!

 

 

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I’m sure that $9 is going to go a long way in preserving our puppy’s very ladylike reputation. No shit stains on her, no sir.

Hmmm, maybe I should redefine “crap stain” and direct it to the Urban Dictionary? That would be another well-spent $9.

Kindle, How do I Love Thee? I’m still counting!

Have you noticed the Widget thingy on my sidebar – I am “on page 0 of 576 pages” of The Book Thief.  I’m not actually on page 0, but I have no idea what page I am on.

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The beauty of the Kindle.

 

Beauty?  Not knowing what page you’re on?  Absolutely.  Reading is no longer a race to the finish, because who knows where the finish is.  Nor is it about flipping to the finish, to see if its worth it.  The decision on what to read is no longer a cost/benefit analysis based on amount of time available v. the desire to read said book.  There’s just no way of telling how long a book actually is — your progress is noted in percentages, not pages. 

 

I’m reading things I never would have dreamed of reading, had I been able to flip through and evaluate the time commitment.  Take the New Yorker.   When I had a subscription to the paper version, the one that came in the mail every Monday, and fell into the pile next to the toilet by Tuesday, I would flip through for the cartoons.  Then, on the second pass, I tended to read the shorter blurbs – the about town, the small reviews, the short story perhaps – but not the long, long, long featured essays that went on for pages, and pages and pages – did I really want to make a two hour investment in reading a 20 page article about Barthleme and what it really means to be post modern?

 

Apparently, when I don’t know how long the commitment is going to be, I’ll bite.  On Monday, when I started the article, I had no idea it wouldn’t be until Wednesday by the time I finally finished it. 

 

p1000302So time commitment is no longer an issue – it just is what it is, you can’t worry about what you can’t see.  The other thing that goes hand and hand with length is also obsolete – weight.   Never again do I have to ponder the following question – based on my schedule now, can I lug that hardback book around, or should I go for the slimmer paperback?  And, the question doesn’t boil down to cost – that paperback is in the same ballpark price as the hardback, as even a NY Times bestseller is generally only $9.99 (except for the rogue author here and there trying to buck the new system).

 

And, I am a sucker for the NY Times book review – like yarn, books become, I have to read it now (the New York Times said so!) – and not last summer (because I spent the summer on the beach, and hence, made the tactical decision just to go with paperbacks – see the question of “weight” above), but the summer before, I got suckered into hardback after hardback that I ended up hating – The Yiddish Policemen’s Other Ball, Divisidero, The Falling Man . . . two summers ago, and I still remember how much money I wasted!  With the Kindle, the new books can be more expensive than the paperbacks (sometimes even as high as $16.00 – but a $16.00 mistake is still less painful than a $24.00 mistake).  And, speaking of “I have to read it now!” you really can read it now. With Amazon’s wireless delivery, you can have your latest heart’s desire in a matter of seconds.

 

Length and weight no longer an issue, neither is a pretty cover.  You can be told from the time you start to walk and talk that you can’t judge  a book by it’s cover(although, when you start to walk and talk, you’re only looking at picture books, counting books, books that go “mooo”, and  you probably can judge a book by it’s cover – maybe that’s why the advice never stuck)  but a pretty cover, a good blurb, and handsome jacket, can go along way.  You go into Borders or Barnes and Noble and there are tables and tables of books – what catches your eye?  Author of course.  A snappy title, maybe.  But when you have the book in your hands, a snazzy cover and a well written blurb might just push you over the edge into purchasing.

 

Not any more.   No more covers.  Everything is so egalitarian!  And, with no covers, you have so much more privacy.  Ever been embarassed because you’re reading something completely brainless – a guilty pleasure trashy romance?  or perhaps a book you read as a child that now seems silly as an adult?  No worries – no cover means that no one can see what you’re reading!  Reading is again a private thing – enjoy what you want, no one is judging you for your cover (alghough, that does work in reverse as well – I am totally a cover judger). 

 

Now, there are some books that are not on Kindle, that I do want to read – and that’s the only true dilemna now — since I just love my Kindle so much.  For instance, I really want to read 2666 – but frankly, I only want to read it on Kindle.  The last paper book I read, The Given Day, at 800 pages, was completely overly cumbersome – I could never prop myself into a comfortable position, the book was just such a beast.  2666 is 912 pages!  I don’t want to invest in 912 pieces of paper.   So, am I missing out – it just won the National Book Award? 

 

Yeah, probably, but there’s so much other Kindle content out there, and you can’t read ’em all.  The web is loaded with free e-book content, all of which are readable on the Kindle. My queue is backed up with free classics – books that I was supposed to read in college, but chucked and read the cliff notes, or read so fast just to get to my next assignment.  And, unlike in college, when I had to carry around a backbreaking bookbag of books, the Kindle holds them all in either it’s memory or (since I have Kindle 1), an SD card that holds thousands – right now, I’m carrying around at least 200 books. 

 

It sounds like I’ve abandoned paper, doesn’t it?  When I got the Kindle for Hanukkah (hmmm, I guess that’s one factor I haven’t had to worry about – the price of the Kindle, since it was a gift – so put it on your Holiday list for December), I said, eh, I’ll always read paper books – but now, really, I have no desire.  The e-ink technology is so good, that sometimes I get tricked, I  go to turn the page instead of push the button, because that’s how much it feels like reading a book. 

 

And, reading is fun again – and I’ve overcome any shame in saying that its because the book is on a gadget.  I like being able to push a button and look up a word I don’t understand.  I like having a clipboard, where I send things I want to think about later, or with Joey’s reading Olympics, things that are going to make it onto index card question cards for study purposes.  I have to admit, I’m not a reading purist – I embrace the technology, and I look forward to what comes next.

 

And not only is reading fun again, but the more I read, the more desire I have to write – not to go too far with my point, but I’m not sure this new blog would have happened had I not been reading as enthusiastically as I have been since I got my Kindle.  I wrote about it here somewhere – either in the first post, or the the about page – about this strange phenomenon I’ve been experiencing – that of losing words, like they’ve all run away and abandoned me. 

 

Kindle has given me back a handful, and the desire to use them.

Finished Object Friday

When Joe and I first started dating, he laid down the law – I can’t continue to date you if you remain this messy. I took a good hard look at my home – clothes scattered on the floor, dishes in the sink, dust an inch thick on the woodwork, I could go on and on . . . and I decided that cleaning up my act would be a good thing, and growing up – picking up my clothes, making my bed – was past due.

 

So the cleanup process began – we methodically went through the house, from top to bottom, and put a system in place for keeping things clean. If you take something out, put it away – it was like a lightbulb went on – huh, really? that works, excellent! And honestly, I’m so much happier coming home to a clean, fresh smelling house. Its so different, we might as well have bought a new house.

 

And that organizational bootcamp somehow worked it’s way into my knitting.

 

I no longer have start-itis or cast on fever – I am cured.  Hallelujuah, I have been saved.

 

I only knit one project at a time.

 

Now that doesn’t mean that at this moment, I only have one project on needles – no, I still have remnants of my old knitting life (as well as the occasional dish left in the sink), but they’re old projects, projects that might never get themselves finished. 

 

So, when Kate Davis, author of my favorite sweater this year, the Owls Sweater, posted a teasing picture of her next pattern, Paper Dollspaperdollside_medium, without the pattern yet being available, I was thrown into a tizzy.  I had just finished Ishbel, and I couldn’t start a big project, because if I started a big project, I would have to finish it before I started Paper Dolls, and I had to start Paper Dolls the second the pattern was available – it was that kind of design, that called to me, that said knit me.

 

That threatened all that has become good in my knitting life – it was like crack – the waiting, the waiting – must cast on . . .

 

But, I took it down a notch.  No need for a big project, a little project will do. 

So, I russled through my stash, and found three balls of Kid Classic in Merlot, and cast on a small shawl,at a nice worsted gauge, and that would tide me over until Paper Dolls became available for purchase.  This shawl is from the Textured Shawl Recipe from Ravelry.  And like all good recipes, it’s a little bit of this (stockinette) a little bit of that (textured stitch) and a little something else thrown in (garter).

 

So, just like when I make a pie or a coffee cake, I tinkered with the recipe, just a little, because I wanted to use up my ingrediants.  I added an extra four rows of textured stitch, and then another block of garter just to use up my yarn.

 

And, the only problem with a little shawl – it’s a little too little to tie, but I love the way the collar kind of curls (from the stockinette), and while I’m not usually a big fan of the shawl pin, this little Owl (me and the Owls again!) did the trick.

And Paper Dolls? Well, there was a few days between the finishing of Textured Shawl, and the casting, but I didn’t go into shock, I didn’t keel over and die, my fingers didn’t curl into a coma, I took out a languishing project (Bird’s Nest Shawl), and undid the four or five rows that had to come out because of a mistake I made about, oh, 3 years ago, when it got thrown into the misfit toy pile for another day.

So, here is the beginning of Paper Dolls. I’m using O’Wool for the body, Fibre Company’s Fingering Canopy of the lighter contrasting color, and a plum Koigu for the Dancing Dolls.

I’m knitting on 2’s, and between the i-cord cast on and the corrigated rib, it’s going pretty slowly.

But slow is ok, no hurries, no worries – and nothing waiting in the wings.

Easy A

So, remember I referred to Joey’s science project debacle a few posts ago?

 

Apparently, it wasn’t such a debacle.

 

He got an A.

 

I’m still scratching my head.

 

Let’s go back, see what you think.  Joey was given his 5th grade science project assignment before Thanksgiving.  Sometime before Christmas, he had his project approved, and his main bullet points approved.  Joe and I knew nothing about this until the day before it was due.  Oh, Joey’s bringing his science project to your house – everything is ready to go, you just need to print it out and paste it on the cardboard.

 

So, he brings over his tri-fold cardboard display board.  No color construction paper, no pictures to hang on the board, just 3 graphs, showing the difference in battery voltage from the start of the project, Friday in the a.m. (3 days before the projects due), until the end of the project, Saturday in the late p.m (2 days before deadline).  Joey’s project you see, had something to do with determining whether you have the best batteries on the market – or, as his approved title questioned, “Do You Got the Best Batteries.”

 

Yes, that was the approved title – Do you GOT – I couldn’t believe it.  And, I know that the teacher actually read the form, because she had made corrections to his other bullet point/headlines.  Anyway, he totally suckered everyone – because his testing method was putting the batteries in his X-box controller, each for five hours, to test the level of change in the batteries.  All of the batteries started at 1.6 volts, and dropped to a volage of 1.4, except for one battery that started at 1.5 and dropped to 1.4. 

 

And the graphs — the only thing we had to hang on the board – showed the batteries all starting at 1.5 and dropping to 1.4.  When I asked for an explanation of this graphing phenomenon, he explained that he ran out of room numbering, so his mother just said start at 1.5.

 

Needless to say, there was a lot of starting over to be done.

 

So, I poured myself a glass of wine, skipped watching the Eagles v. Giants playoff games, and explained to the child that I understood the waiting until the last minute thing, that I did it all the time as a child, and the problem ended up being that what you did at the last minute was probably crap, and when my parents went to back to school night, there was my crap next to someone’s project that hadn’t been saved to last minute, or had actually been done by their parents.  And, if handing in crap is ok with him, then by all means, wait until the last minute.  But, if he wanted to do something better, maybe he should start earlier.

 

We then talked about the problems with his scientific method – specifically that he had not managed to wear any of the batteries down, and that he had actually learned absolutely nothing from the video game playing experiment. 

 

Then, there was the mad frenzy of gettting everything up on the board.  Needless to say, nothing on the disc he brought over was usable.  It had been typed in Typepad, so everything was locked into a small font.  I printed out pictures of the batteries from the website, the specifications, etc.  And, five hours later, there was something – it still looked like crap to me, but he had something to hand in.  And, even if it looked passable, the underlying project was still crap.

 

And, I’m still trying to figure out how he got an A on this thing.  The research paper that he handed in contained no research – I know it’s fifth grade, but you can still find at least one study out there on the internet that has already done a battery comparison.  Or, his hypothesis had something to do with thinking that the Energizer battery would be the best because it had the best commercial — he could have at least talked about the commercials, and why the commercial was so persuasive.  His project “notebook” was two pages of illegible scribble on a steno pad, that I had tried to pretty up by giving it a cover.  I guess he got an A because the same person who approved “Do You Got the Best Batteries” is the same person who gave him the grade.  But, I’m totally pissed off.  Why would this kid ever put any additional effort into a project if some shmo in authority just told him that this piece of shit was worth an A?  Everything I said to him about starting earlier, pride in his work, etc. – out the window.  And the thing is, I’m right – and now I have been stripped of my credibility.

 

You may be thinking, this was only a 5th grade science project, maybe it was worth an A, and I say no – I’m sure there were at least a handful of kids that took the project seriously, started on time, and put together fantastic projects.  And his gets graded the same as theirs?  Oh, I guess they got an A plus.

 

I can only hope he got an A, because in his Conclusion that he put up on the board, I pretty much made him write a conclusion detailing all of the things he could have done differently, and why the experiment and the project was pretty much crap.

 

But, I think in this day and age, where everyone gets a trophy, and we pride ourselves on rewarding mediocrity, that’s just too much to hope for.

The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Bird Poop Facial

Women are putting shit on their face. 

 

I’m not talking about zit cream that could burn a hole through your skin, or exfoliators with acid, or makeup that is the consistency of spackle.

 

No, I’m talking about honest to G-d shit.

 

Bird shit, to be precise.

 

While getting ready yesterday morning, I had one ear on mischievous Lemon, and the other on the CBS morning show (although it may have been CNN, I’m not sure what channel we left it on when we went to bed).  The morning show featured new miracle anti-aging, skin whitening treatments.

 

The first treatment – placenta.  Yes, placenta, afterbirth.  I’ve heard of 200px-placenta_ad_in_hong_kongstrange customs like burying placenta in the backyard, but swabbing it on your face?  But, somehow, I’m not as skeeved out by placenta as I am by bird poop.   I don’t want placenta on my face, but I kind of get it – many myths and legends are attached to the placenta, in particular, in burying the placenta – giving a girl baby digging powers, giving a boy baby the power of prophecy (British Columbia), protecting a newborn child from the spirit of a mother who died in childbirt (Bolivia), simply connecting the newborn to the earth (New Zealand).  So, while it’s not for me, I get it – I can see where someone would believe that an organic blob of guck that once nutured a maturing fetus might have miraculous restorative powers.

 

But, bird poop?  Really, seriously?  Women are paying between $150 and $225 for the miracle Nightingale dung treatment.  I don’t care it’s a cute little Hummingbird – I find it hard to believe that poop from a Nightingale is any different than poop from Philadelphia’s own flying rat, the pidgeon.  Is there really a fortune to be made by hanging out in Rittenhouse Square and scrapping the bird poop from the goat statue? 

 

And what do scientists have to say about this – when CNN interviewed scientists, they “explained”:

“Bird experts at both the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology were at a loss to explain the benefits of nightingale droppings as a skin treatment. Brian Keller, a dermatopharmacologist and executive vice president of San Francisco-based Bio Zone Laboratories, which manufactures custom private-label dermatological products, offered one possible reason.

“The reason this product may work is the high concentration of urea in the fecal-urine combination in bird feces. Urine has a lot of urea in it and it has long been used as a skin-softening agent,” he says. “It’s obviously shrouded in a lot of mystery.”

 

The problem with this however, is that the question posed seems to have been, “Doctor, can you explain the benefits?”  What benefits???  There’s no proof there are benefits.  It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes – he’s naked!  Lady – you have bird poop on your face!  High concentration of urea?  Now that’s appetizing – and when they asked the women who volunteered to try these miracle treatments, they said, yeah, it still smells like poop. 

 

Shit is shit, even if you dress it up in Geisha clothing.  If you visit the Shizkuka website, the spa in New York specializing in this “exotic” treatment, you get a nice little history of Geisha, their flawless skin, and how to solve the troubles of all of that spackle white make-up, the Geisha used this bird poop secret ingredient to cleanse their skin and unclog their pores.  However, when interviewed, the proprietess, Shizuka Bernstein, says about this long secret history, “I’m always trying to bring Japanese culture and tradition to my spa,” said Shizuka Bernstein. “I heard my mother talk about this treatment when I was a little girl.”  I heard my mother talking about this treatment?  This is the source of this ancient, Japanese Geisha ritual?  I heard my mother talking about throwing salt over her shoulder, about giving someone the evil eye, and about how if I made silly, ugly faces, my face would freeze that way.

 

And who are these women taking the bird poop cure, passed down from Shizuka’s mom to Shizuka?  Not my women, not my friends – we’re broke.  I’m lucky I can afford to put Cetaphil on my face, let alone a $200 pile of birdshit.  Does wealth lead to a sucker, born every minute? – because that’s how often a Nightingale will shit in his cage.

My 2 Cents on Rihanna

You think when the phrase, “For my 2 cents” was “coined” (har har) 2 cents was worth anything?  I think it probably was – I think once upon a time, unsolicited advice was probably worth something – because it didn’t come from the internet, it came from a face to face conversation, from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, a friend.  Now, with everyone throwing their 2 cents into the mix, you’ve got a pile full of pennies, and opinions that don’t mean a whole hell of a lot.  And, when Oprah chimed in on her show Friday, and addressed Rihanna directly about the beating she took from her still boyfriend  Chris Brown, and said unequivocally, ” He will hit you again” – it joined the cacophony of impersonal voices, and probably fell, although thonderously, on deaf ears.

 

And my 2 cents – after Oprah??? Worth nothing.  No, if anyone is going to have a hand in giving 2 cents worth of sense to Rihanna, it’s going to have to come from a familiy member, or her BFF. 

 

And, her dad in the media, seems to be saying something like, justice in this case isn’t possible, telling US Magazine, justice can never be served in this situation . . . He can’t feel the pain she felt. I don’t believe in hitting a woman. I hope everything works out better for them. I don’t feel happy or sad. He’s in the court’s hands. Let justice prevail.”

 

Oh, no, justice is possible.  Chris Brown is being prosecuted, and if he’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on proofs presented by the prosecution, then there you have it, justice.

 

And, if he goes to jail – so be it.

 

Is it justice? 

 

What’s an eye go for in society these days – still an eye?

 

Justice has never been as simple or as possible as an eye for an eye.  And, inherent in the idea that our criminal system provides justice, we have to accept that justice will not always be fair.

 

And, who says it should be or has to be?

 

Rihanna’s dad says, “He can never feel her pain?”  Well, what does that have to do with justice?  He doesn’t have to feel her pain, he has to be punished for her pain. 

 

So, punish him.

 

Rihanna’s dad has also said something about her speaking out, on behalf of all women, and emerging a hero.  You know what, don’t worry so much about her hero-dom.  Just keep her alive.

 

Because that’s what Oprah really should have said –

 

He will kill you.

 

I once had a client who beat his girlfriend into a 2 month coma.  He was charged with Attempted Murder and Aggravated Assault.  He didn’t have a problem with pleading guilty to Aggravated Assault, but about the Attempted Murder, he just kept saying, “I wasn’t trying to kill her.”

 

Well, you know what – what were you trying to do?  If you beat someone that badly – what were you trying to do if it wasn’t kill her.

 

And Chris Brown, if you try to push someone out of a moving car while you’re beating the crap out of her – what were you trying to do if not kill her?

 

And that hero stuff – that role model stuff?  Rihanna didn’t run for a position called “role model.”  She sang a few songs, sold a few records, wears pretty clothes and makeup.  We didn’t elect her to any office.  She is not accountable to anyone but herself – she needs to leave to save her life, not for any other reason.  It’s hard enough for women to leave abusers when it’s private, can you imagine being in the national/international spotlight with a bunch of bloggers throwing in their worthless 2 cents? 

 

But her self-accountability does go one step further – if he hit you (while trying to kill you, because that’s the only thing that level of violence is meant to do), he will hit any children you have with him.  Period. 

 

Rihanna is not safe.  That is what’s not fair.  And the only justice, is leaving him, because no matter what happens to Chris Brown — jail, probation, anger management, whatever — won’t mean a thing if she’s dead.

Lemon’s a Big Girl Now!

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Happy 6-Month Birthday, Lemon!!

joeinhouseNow that you’re six months old, it’s time you had a big girl bed.  So, for your birthday, we bought you a new house.

 

I know, I know, it doesn’t look like a house, it looks like a box, but you’re gonna love it!

 

 

 

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Really, really, it’s awesome in here – it’s like a big playpen! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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See, it’s pretty cool – you have room for all of your toys, your bones, and your daddy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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See, I told you you’d be really happy here!

Beware the Shredderman

I like being a regular – I like walking into a bar, and the bartender immediately opening an Amstel Light.  Before I worked at Rosie’s, I liked going into the store, and someone immediately pointing me in the direction of the new shipment of Koigu.   And, when the coffee shop across the street opened about two years ago, I became a regular – Chris, the owner, would see me coming, and immediately have my large coffee and whole wheat bagel with cream cheese to go, on the counter.  Somewhere along the way, though, this “regular” business at the coffee shop got a tad twisted up – for some reason, Chris thinks my name is Jen, and for some stranger reason, after two years (although, for the past year, I’m not so much a regular any more – Joe makes coffee for me every morning – big AWWW!!! He’s so sweet!), I have yet to correct him.  It’s kind of like my secret identity, like a coffee super hero and I kind of like it.

 

Joe’s son, Joey, is doing the Reading Olympics, and after his d51xjkdwdkpl_sl500_aa242_pikin-dp-500bottomright-1938_aa280_sh20_ou01_isaster of a 5th grade science project, I decided that adult supervision was required for this project, and I have been reading the books along with him.  The first book, Brendon Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It was excellent, the second book, Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger, eh, not so much.  First of all, it’s pretty stupid to have the second book of a series as a requirement for something like the Reading Olympics, where you have to be responsible for six books and you just might not have time to read the first book in the series that’s not on the list.  Second, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole premise of Shredderman, and his secret identity, and whether he really was a superhero.  In the book, Nolan, the nerdy kid, has created a secret online identity, Shredderman, an online superhero who gets revenge against the school bully, Bubby Bixby, by putting a photo of Bubba’s Big Butt on his website (this happens in the first book of the series, probably why they chose the 2d book for a school reading event).  The only person who knows Shredderman’s real identity is his teacher, who becomes his superhero sidekick.  To me, there’s something wrong with this.  Back in the old days, the nerd obtained revenge against the school bully through his wits, guile, better disposition, and all around good person-ness.  And, he did it in a non-anonymous way, and all of the other nerdy kids were empowered by his triumph, too.  Here, Shredderman pokes fun, and humiliates the bully online, hiding behind his dot.com.  Is this really a hero?  Or is this beginning of a snarker (see below)?  Is this how we really want our children to confront bullies?  I don’t think so.  And, when Shredderman exposes another bad kid on his website as the Tagger, the graffiti artist “terrorizing” the town, he does so by spying on them in the bathroom, evesdropping, and a little detective work – and then he posts his evidence online, anonymously – this, to me, is a snitch, not a superhero (and I have very definite ideas about the differences between a “snitch” and a “witness” – a post for a different day).  And, the fact that the teacher is in on it, I don’t know, this is not good teaching to me – and, the quality of Nolan’s school life really doesn’t change because of his anonymous behavior – Bubba still picks on him, and he’s not a hero in anyone’s eyes but his own.

 

So, why am I secretly pleased with my own secret coffee shop identity?  “Jen” doesn’t wear a cape, fly around, and defend the rights of coffee owner’s everywhere.  She doesn’t slay decaffeinated beans in a single bound.  When we were teenagers, and my brother worked at Kmart, he didn’t want the K-“nuts” as he called them knowing his name – so my brother (Howard) wore a name take that read, “Jake.”  But, what difference did it make if he still had to answer to it? 

 

I guess it’s not the name, it’s the face.  I am not anonymous in the coffee shop – I can be identified, just not by my name.  If I left my purse on the counter, and a co-worker came in, and Chris said, “Jen left her purse” and the co-worker said, “which Jen?” and Chris described me – “The curly haired girl that looks like Barbra Streisand,” my co-worker would immediately say, “That’s not Jen, that’s Wendy.”  And, I guess that’s why all of the caped crusaders work as “heroes” (as opposed to snitches) for me  – they aren’t really anonymous, they’re just masked – they can be identified on the street, their deeds are visible, and their “secret identity” is really their boring alter-ego – it’s not even really a “secret identity” – it’s almost a separate identity.  If Batman left his wallet on the counter – the guy would say, “You know, the bat in black with the mask,” and everyone would know Batman. 

 

In Shedderman, there is no Shredderman.  Shredderman is not a man of action, visibily righting wrong, fighting crime, exposing himself to harm – he’s not even an entity, it’s just the name of his website, and it’s disturbing to me that the Reading Olympics at Joey’s school is letting this book lead as an example.

 

And, well, for me, well, now that I’ve been exposed as not a coffee super hero, I guess I should share my real name – but what would I say at this point – I really didn’t care enough to correct you the first time?  I really don’t care what you call me because you actually have nothing to do with my life?  Oh, and I answered to it because it was easier than correcting you after all this time? 

 

Hm, probably as lazy as Shredderman.

Whimsical Knits on a Whimsy Day

A snow day! Excellent!  I haven’t had one of those in at least 10 years.  For me to have a snow day, the city must close.  To his credit, and perhaps his only credit, in two terms, Mayor Street never shut down the court system.  And, even though public schools and Catholic schools were called the night before, I was still surprised to get the call at 6:00 a.m.  Frankly, after John Bolaris misfired with the Great Storm of the Century back in 2001, I’m very skeptical whenever there’s even a hint of  a snow day. 

 

When I was little, a snow day was not a delightful surprise.  It was a right – school kids had a right to have a snow day every few weeks or so – it was as if it were a scheduled vacation, and I would not be denied.  If there was even a possibility of no school, I would get myself so pysched up to stay home and play that if we actually had school, the disappointment manifested in a crazy insane temper tantrum following the failure of a sick out attempt. 

 

So, in actuality, I have John Bolaris to thank for the return of the thrill of the snow day, because in crushing any faith I had in weather prediction, his sky is falling routine, and the panic that ensued – do you know how many canned goods I ended up with in my pantry!!! –returned the snow day to its rightful position on the calendar – a true surprise and a definite treat. 

 

You’ll notice, there will be no pictures of snow in this post-snow day wrap up post – because I didn’t venture outside all day, well at least beyond the front step to let Lemon out – who was not thrilled at all about her “bathroom” conditions.  Can you imagine if you had poop/pee on a sheet of ice, and a pile of snow.  Can’t blame her.

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No, while Joe  and his son, Joey, played Kill Zone all day,anxiously awaiting today’s release of Halo Wars, I spent the day snuggled with the puppy, alternating between my Kindle, my knitting, and a little nappy nappy.

 

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And, at the end of the day, I had this:

This is Ysolde Teague’s Ishbel from her Whimsical Little Knits Collection.  And, what could more perfect than a whimsical knit on snowy day?

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I knit Ishbel with Blue Moon’s Socks That Rock in Rhode Island Red (the last full skein on the right, the sixth skein in from the left).  If you will recall, back in 2006, Knitty D and I went a little bit crazy with our STR purchases – and what have I knit from them – nothing – these six skeins remind me of my hamsters that I had  in college. 

 

I bought a hamster, thinking I only needed one hamster (when I really wanted a dog, but couldn’t have a dog) – and then I found at the thing was pregnant when squishy bloody thingies started coming out of her.  One baby ended up lame, and needed it’s own cage because the other babies picked on it.  Then, after about a week, Mamma Hamster decided she didn’t want to feed her babies, rather she wanted to eat them – so those five got their own cage.  So, after several months of having three cages of hamsters, those smelly, yucky mice-like creatures were  finally hairy enough to leave my nest.  Two went to sorority sisters, and the rest went back to the store.  When I handed the cage to the store manager, she dropped the cage, the cage collapsed, smooshing and killing the hamsters.  My sorority sisters put both hamsters in a plastic ball, and they got into a fight, killing each other.  So, none of the hamsters survived.  What does this have to do with Socks That Rock – nothing really, except these six skeins got under my skin like those six dead hamsters – what a waste!  Wasted yarn, dead hamsters – my mind does work in mysterious ways.  Anyway, I ended up gifting a couple of them (the yarn, not the dead hamsters), I think, but I still had a drawerful languishing – since I had even more STRs from the Sock Club – from which I didn’t knit any socks.

 

So, when this pretty little pattern came out – requiring only 360 yards of fingering weight yarn, even though I didn’t really care if I knit it (not that it isn’t a pretty pattern, its just that I don’t really where little scrafy kerchief things)  – it seemed  like a good use of the yarn.  And, voila – unlike my yucky Swallowtail (see below – and by the way, I forgot to mention in that post that another reason why I can’t wear it is not only because it’s ugly, but because washing/blocking did nothing to the texture/feel – it still feels/smells like sheep – dirty), this was the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern – and it’s as lovely as whimsical snowflake.lemonsleeping                                        

Can’t you tell, Lemon thought so too?