Wednesday, March 31, 2010


We've put up posters all over town, offering a reward for the safe return of Tom's dog, Frey. It's been a month now, and we've had no word, no response regarding him. Tom and I spent two days walking all over town, calling and whistling, and Steve and the kids drove all around in a larger radius calling, whistling, looking, and asking.

While we still pray for Frey's safe return, we have a new puppy. Tom's new dog is Loki. He was one of a litter of 8 puppies, not wanted by the owner of the mother. The mother was a black terrier mix, and the rascal father (who leaped the fence, dallied amorously with the mother, then leaped back over the fence and left her "in trouble") appears to have been a boxer, or boxer- bulldog mix.

Our veterinarian tried to find homes for the 8 puppies, but we're the only local family to have been suckered into taking one.

He's a happy little pup, smart and funny, so we're glad we allowed ourselves to be wheedled into adopting him.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Plum paint, or "The Art of Compromise in Marriage"

My favorite color for interior ceilings, trim, and walls is white. Plain, stark white. Not beige. Not antique white. Not eggshell white. White.

Steve's favorite color for interior walls (he doesn't care about the ceilings, but he has been known to slap color on trim before) is green, but he will accept any other color as long as it is definitely color, and not just a tint or a shade of color.

For several months Steve has been saying he'd like to see the dining room painted. When the movers took out all of Mrs. Tucker's furniture, they goudged some of the walls and left black streaks on the flat, off-white, contractor-special paint that covers all the walls downstairs.

We've been here four years now and I keep saying that I want to paint the walls with white semi-gloss to brighten up the rooms and make the walls easier to clean.

But several nights ago, while watching HGTV Steve mentioned that he really liked the plum color that a couple had painted a room.

So I bought some plum semi-gloss and last week while Steve was on a business trip the children and I moved furniture and painted the dining room plum. It made him happy and I don't need white walls so much.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Baby Bib o' Love (x 6)

Five more friends are expecting babies. What is easy and fast to knit and always useful? Bibs - and cotton bibs are the best. They can be used when the baby starts teething to keep his neck and clothing dry, and will continue to be useful when baby starts eating solids.

The Mason-Dixon pattern for "Baby Bib o' Love" is my favorite bib pattern, and I use buttons from my grandmother's button collection. I usually try to give three bibs to each baby as a gift, so I have a lot more knitting to do!

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Friday, March 26, 2010


The pink perfection camellias are looking... perfect.

The darker camellias are about past their peak, although the bees are still enjoying them.

The crabapple is blooming.

And the cherry tree is just beginning to bud.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blue and brown and baby boy

The mother-to-be told me that her baby boy's nursery is decorated in shades of brown and blue. I had no suitable yarn for a baby in those colors, so I ordered Encore yarn in "Cocoa" and "Wedgwood." I think I like the combination.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring is for planting...

On the way back from a great day at the Birmingham Museum of Art, I stopped at Home Depot to get some special light bulbs for the house. I had to walk past tables and tables of plants (some on sale!) to get the lights. In a weak moment, I bought hostas, rosemary, mint, basil, and lavender. Then after I loaded the plants into the trunk of the car, I returned the cart to the store... and had another weak moment, in which I bought lots of begonias and phlox.

Now to plant!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Visiting a friend

A few weeks ago I went to Tennessee and visited Betty. Her new place is lovely, and she is as delightful as ever. We talked about knitting (and she inspected the socks I am working on), books, and news of friends and neighbors back in Alabama. It was a lovely three days.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Mexifornia: A State of Becoming

While looking for another book by Victor Hanson at PaperBackSwap, I found his book, Mexifornia: A State of Becoming. My copy was published in 2003, and I noticed that there is an updated, revised edition now available.

Mr. Hanson is a classicist professor at California State University, Fresno, and he is a California native who grew up in the Central Valley. His ancestors were Swedish immigrants to California, and his wife's family were refugees from Oklahoma's Dust Bowl. He makes the point that for decades, even centuries, immigrants to America were expected to assimilate into the existing American culture. The result was that within one or two generations, those who immigrated here, along with their offspring, were Americans, and they competed and succeeded along with everyone else without special consideration or government set-asides and hand-outs.

Mr. Hanson wonders aloud several times if the liberal do-gooders are really trying to keep Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants in subjection - because that is the result of content-poor "Chicano studies," government programs that give on the basis of ethnic heritage, and an unwillingness to teach immigrants English, but instead encouraging entire enclaves of the population to continue to speak only Spanish, and not be literate in that, either.

There was so much in this short book, but I'll close with this quote:

"Instead of offering immigrants the chance to strive for commonly recognized excellence, we tell them that the cultures they came from are all inherently equal--almost so as to deny the very reasons why these aliens arrived here in the first place. This message is cynical at its core, for we know that some other cultures and nations have not been merely different, but often far worse at providing freedom and security for their people. But to maintain the fiction of cultural equality, our schools, while harrowing up the evil in the soil of America, have waffled on the fifty million or more killed by Mao and Stalin, the existence of slavery in contemporary Sudan, and the rampant corruption and lawlessness in Mexico today. In this regard, American schools have also completely failed to note the critical distinction between a multiracial and a multicultural society. The former welcomes all races to learn one language and heritage; such a society is found only in the present-day West. The latter encourages separate but purportedly equal languages and traditions, and is a prescription for disaster--as we have seen in Bosnia, Rwanda. Sudan, Somalia, and much of India."


The Third Man Factor

I read a short review of John Geiger's book, The Third Man Factor and immediately caught the reference to Shackleton's miserable trek across South Georgia seeking help for his men.

I had no idea, however, that there have been so many incidences of "third man" appearances in the twentieth century. Geiger collects many of these stories from the survivors themselves, and presents them and the "scientific" theories and religious theories that seek to explain them. Most of those who experienced the help and encouragement from a being not actually with them were convinced that the help was angelic. A few insist that the phenomenon was simply a part of their brain desiring survival kicking in and making them manufacture imaginary helpers that were really themselves.

It was an interesting book, and one I enjoyed.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Green squares

All the purple squares and blue squares for Tom's blanket are finished. Now I'm working on green squares.

Although the squares are just plain garter stitch, I'm enjoying knitting them. I bought some new yarn for this blanket - NatureSpun and some handspun yarn from a vendor at the Fall Fiber Festival - but I'm also using up leftover Noro Kureyon yarn from Jacy's Lizard Ridge Afghan , leftover KnitPicks Wool of the Andes yarn from Sarah's Moderne Log Cabin Blanket, and leftover Plymouth Galway yarn from Joan's Mitered Squares Blanket.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Three at once

I have three socks on the needles at the moment. The first sock is my March/April pair. I'm using Noro sock yarn and the pattern is Southwest Diamonds. The second sock is for Sam. I'm using leftover yarn from Aric's Christmas socks, and a plain pattern of one inch of ribbing, followed by stockinette stitch for the rest of the sock. The third sock is for Joan, and is the same pattern as that used for Sam's socks, only on two circulars rather than double-pointed needles.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones

Alexander McCall Smith's latest book in the 44 Scotland Street series is just as sweet and delightful as the rest of his novels.

In The Unbearable Lightness of Scones, Bertie is still 6 years old, but has a new psychologist. Matthew and Elspeth are newly wed. Angus Lordie gets an unexpected box full of Cyril's progeny - six puppies! Domenica finally resolves her problem of Antonia and the blue Spode teacup, but there's a twist. Lard O'Connor resurfaces with an interesting piece of artwork. And Bruce, horrible, sociopathic Bruce, undergoes a transformation.


Top 100 Poems Poll at Semicolon

Sherry has a new poll in the works at Semicolon. (Click on the link to read Sherry's complete post.) The deadline for responses is March 26, 2010. The rules are simple. Sherry writes:

1. Make a list of your top ten classic poems of all time.
Classic: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
For the purposes of this poll the poems you choose should be poems that are no longer under copyright protection. Anything written before 1910 (1923?) is most likely no longer under copyright. Anything written after 1910 (1923?) is probably still protected by copyright. I’m putting this restriction on your selections for two reasons: first, this way the poems in our list will be truly classic, judged over a period of time. Second, if we restrict the list to poetry that is not under copyright, then I can freely share the poems that are chosen here at Semicolon.

2. List these poems in your order of preference. So your #1 poem would be the one you like the best, and so on. I will be giving your first choice 10 points, your second choice 9 points, and so on.

3. Submit your list to me at sherryDOTearlyATgmailDOTcom. Write “Poem Survey” in the subject line. I’d rather you didn’t leave your votes in my comments here because it’ll be easier to tabulate all the votes if they’re all in my email (plus I want everyone’s votes to be a surprise). Deadline for votes to be sent to me is midnight, March 26, 2010.

4. If you like, you can submit a justification for each poem (tell me why it’s a favorite). Or you can send me a link to an audio or video version online. Include the title or first line of the poem and the name of the poet. At the end of March I will tally up the totals, and I will pull from the submitted pieces why one reader or another liked a particular poem (naming the reader, of course). That way we’ll be able to hear from a whole bunch of people about why they love one poem or another. I will then count down from 100 to 1, over the course of Poetry Month (April), May and into June, the top choices of what folks feel the best classic poems of all time are.