Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like

Yes, yes I know it is still August, but every home-made-holiday maker knows that right about now starts the big push to get things done in time.  So between today (whatever day this posts-it has been that kind of summer) & the last Saturday in September, I need to finish my Christmas Star blocks for the quilt block swap group.

Unlike most of our swaps, this one was sign-up & capped at 15.  Also unlike any other swap we have this one was not non/multi-denominational.  The calendar quilt swap last year had some grumblers as I nixed all non-secular representations for any months.  As a person who does not observe any widely accepted christian holidays except christmas (& even then, not every year), there was not a more disappointing swap than the one where I made several sets for swapping & got nothing but easter blocks back.  If I were of a paranoid bent, I would think the swap-master (swap-mistress?) had it in for me but I happen to know the swap was inundated with easter fabrics because of a large donation of same from a quilter moving to smaller digs.  I put all but one of these blocks into an orphan block bag to be used for community quilts but kept the one with the little square that read "bathed in the blood of the lamb" because it creeped me out so completely I had to hang on to it.  I have of course since misplaced it & sometimes I have a nightmare where slips under the door into whatever room I am in & then grows to sort of wallpaper over the whole space while making a humming noise that gets gradually louder & then I wake up screaming. I have other quilt block nightmares, too....

What was I saying?  Oh, right.  The calendar quilt swaps are indeed secular-only.  While this prompted a few people to drop out or rather not sign-up at all, we only need twelve & twelve were easy to come by (thirteen, actually as I gave mine away thinking there would be one last minute "I cannot do this after all" but there wasn't).  & before anyone gets up-in-arms I made the offer of a christian calendar quilt but got no takers.  Not one.  None. If I had to guess I would say a couple people got worked up & only realized after they had their say that there are very few christian holidays that stay in the same month.  Even christmas is celebrated in not-December by some & not at all by others who identify themselves christian.  As the calendar quilt is one person makes twelve blocks representing January, another makes twelve representing February, etc. it just was not a good fit.

Our usual every-other-month swaps are more of a "whatever" kind of thing.  At least one block needed a holiday fabric & for some that holiday was christmas, for others hallowe'en & others chanukah.  For all I know there were other holidays represented, but I did not spot them.  Still, enough people clearly wanted a christmas-specific swap & if enough people want it, etc. etc. & so, we are wrapping up the fist Christmas Star swap next month.

I made my prototype star using a blue fabric with small red cardinals & I was not super-happy with it.  Also I thought if I am going to make a christmas block, it ought to be a CHRISTMAS block.  That is when I looked through my fabrics & realized that aside from the bit player in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, I do not seem to have any santa fabric at all.  Trees were a bit more plentiful, as they appear in Rudolph & Charlie Brown, but still that did not seem quite right. Then I found a piece from I-honestly-do-not-know-where.  White background with green holly & red berries.  Barring actually going out & buying something, this was as good as it was going to get in my stash, christmas-wise.

I cast around for a star pattern & that was not so easy either.  Because of the white background,/mall almost fussy pattern of red&green in my focus fabric, I really wanted a star were the focus fabric was not sewn back to itself.  I knew there was no way it would not be jarring.  Like that sentence right there was.  In the end I went for a star block from the June 2010 AP&Q which looked simple & clean & was in fact, a complete bear.  Those one inch strips in red & green with itty-bitty polka-dots drove me crazy & don't have nearly the sizzle they should for what they took out of me.

Still, I am not not pleased.  I hope to recover from the quadruple negatives I seem to be laying on & ever since I started working with tiny regular white dots, I no longer dream about the humming blood-of-the-lamb block.  This would be a bigger plus if I weren't dreaming about another quilt-related humming imprisonment.

Finally, for your listening pleasure:if I could have found it on accordion (for the polka in polka dot) I would have but alas, you will just have to make do.  Feel free to hum along.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free to be not-so-much you

I might be alone, but I was appalled APPALLED when Target rolled out Free To Be You & Me as their back-to-school shopping theme song.  It had nothing to do with Target, I just did not think of that song as being for sale exactly.  I remember listening to an interview with Paul Simon & he was talking about John Lennon.  Specifically he was talking about how John Lennon asked him how he knew not to sign away the rights to his music.  Paul Simon's answer was "well, I'm from New York". I also remember when Them There Eyes was used to sell color film (yes, I am that old).  My mother was very upset over I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke.  We both moved on & have lived happy lives since then.  It rankles, but it is not worth getting bent about.

Around the same time that Target rented Free To Be You & Me to sell their stuff (which I have been known to buy; I will not tell a lie) they also made a donation to a group supporting gubernatorial candidate -not in my state- that is anti-gay rights.  As it happens he is anti a lot of things that I am pro, but again not my state (we have plenty of anti-candidates here, they just aren't getting Target money...that I know).  It made me want to take back the crockpot I bought for C****** & give "Target is a hypocritical bastard" as the reason.  I did not, of course, but I also have not been through the doors since.

I know there has been some backlash to the backlash:  that it isn't fair to the employees who have no control over where company money gets spent, but will be the ones who lose their jobs OR that private companies like private people should be able to spend where/when/how they want without third parties getting involved.  I think you could make a god argument for a past&potential customer being not-so-much a third party myself, but that does not seem to be where this one is headed.  Instead, it seems headed for if you do support candidate X & his message of non-inclusion, you should do MORE shopping at Target. 

None of this solves my problem, of course, because mine is unsolvable.  How can I unring that bell in my head that now marks the moment when another large corporate entity carved off a piece of my history in the hopes of making me associate their products with whatever good feeling I had about a particular piece of music?  I guess I can't.  But I can find Boy meets Girl on YouTube, which makes the whole donation thing just more glaring.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WTF Waldo

It is not yet Banned Books Week but it is always book banning season, so I thought it was as good a time as any.  Also it is beach season & this one has a beach scene.

Where's Waldo et al are technically, after my time.  & as I have no children myself, they never really rolled back in.   Still, as a longtime fan of Heironymus Bosch & resident of the community that helped form James Rizzi, sooner or later I was bound to develop if not a taste, certainly a leaning towards them.  All that colorful human chaos.  More than once I have waited for someone/something passing the time in the children's room at the library flipping through a Waldo.

All of this probably makes me still-not-qualified to judge potential obscenity in a Where's Waldo picture book.  Lucky for me, another was not so hampered.  Someone, somewhere actually found the offensive image, reported it & now even my library has a post-banning version of the book.

Take a good long look at what was not considered bad enough to remove: the obnoxious behavior of kid jamming ice cream into a woman's back is not the bad thing.  Same kid with what just might be an erection.  Onlookers apparently enjoying woman's discomfort or kid's erection take your pick, also not worth censoring.  The only thing here that is harmful to children:  boobies.  You know, where ideally they go their nutrition for the first few months of life.  This might explain why the whole damn country is overweight, actually.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Something lemon

This past week-end, while getting thru all kinds of end-of-season paperwork, dog licenses, horse inoculations, car insurance, campus parking passes etc. I realized I have put less than 1000 miles on the truck since last May.  I have, to be exact, put 815 miles on the truck since May 28th, which makes it official:  I need to get out more.

Up until May I could almost manage the 3000 miles every 3 months, well more like every 5 months, to make the oil change reminder stickers a little bit timely.  Now that I commute with A on Thursdays when I go to campus, the CSA pick-up at the Wednesday farmers market is over, well, I just plain don't go anywhere any more.

So I vowed to get out more.  Today I repotted an african violet & drove it to M**** at Bed'n Biscuit.  I had grand plans of then going on to one of the two quilt shops in that general direction, but M**** told me about a new bakery & fresh fruit stand right across the street from her & so I went there instead.  & they had fresh lemon tarts.  So I bought some.  & then I was not motivated to go anywhere except home to eat my lemon tart.

I'm afraid that's all there is to this post.  I have just eaten the first tart & am eyeing the second.  The good news is I am likely to get out a bit more, the bad news is...there is no bad news.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dear Mom


Just got back from the shipping out a package(did you ever find that Stockard Channing reading Why I Live at the PO?).  It contains:

  1. The promised quilt for the new daughter of your ex-son-in-law.  If you could trim the edges & sew up the binding (thank you!) & give it to your grandaughter to give as a gift to her new 1/2-sister that would be lovely.  I cannot for the life of me remember Rhymes-with-Schmuck's current wife's real name & I cannot very well address a note to her as Biological-Clock-Ticking so if you could somehow communicate "machine washable gentle, tumble dry briefly & then lie flat" I would be grateful.

  2. A bright yellow railroad-looking spike made of plastic.  Remember Crazy R*****, the one who was so obsessed with her doorknobs being thoroughly cleaned, but cheated on her husband in the back seats of strangers' cars?  Well, her dogs were just peeing ANYWHERE in the yard & she got one of these & then they just started peeing there & she was able to keep them out of her roses.  Yes, the dogs would lift a leg on the only thing in the yard with thorns; they were as crazy as she was.  I thought if you put this in a spot along the sidewalk the walked-dogs might use it instead of your hosta (I always want to say Hofstra). 

  3. Your quilt block swap swap blocks from JUNE.  Yes, I am a lousy swap-keeper. 

  4. A collection of work-force motivational posters from just before WWI thru to just after WWII.  The Harn has an exhibit & I had been wanting to go for a while, but now that C****** is a grown-up with a job, she only has enough time for me to take her to lunch & more recently buy her a crock pot.  So I had to wait for a rainy Sunday when A could not work on the greenhouse & then we went.    His favorite was the long winded way of saying "keep it brief", but I would not want to pick a favorite for you so we got you the flip-book.  We both could picture it in your house, although we could not agree where.  I would have gotten another for L***** van A***** but they only had one more & it was mangled.
  5. Two (2) Lopi sweaters.  One you made me in college.  It still fits (although the sleeves were always short) but it occurred to me it would also fit one of your grandaughters.  Tell A****** it is supposed to have 3/4- length sleeves.  The other you made for M****** U***** when we were dating & I think it might fit D***.
  6. Gator grocery bags for yourself or that rabid Gator fan G***** hangs out with.
  7. A scarf that needs blocking, but the color is one you like.  Way-back-when I was showing C****** how to choose increases & decreases for better shaping & made it up quick & put it aside.  Do you want it?
No other news, except Becca is out of EPM paste, so now we wait & see if her trouble swallowing comes back.  & oh, I used the Balti Seasoning you got me at Penzey's to stir fry tofu cubes & A cannot get enough of it!  Seriously.  I used the leftovers in a layered vegetarian shepherd's pie type thing (à la Horn of the Moon) & he had that for dinner every night until it was gone, except last Thursday because I insisted we stop for a slice on the way home from campus.  V** was here when I was making it & she could not believe how good it smelled (her words, not mine; she is not usually a tofu-woman).

That really is it.  Please let me know when the package arrives.

Je m'appelle M*******

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two small islands of islands

Do the villians in kid's cartoons still have German accents?  I confess the only current cartoon I ever stop to watch is Who-lives-in-a-pineapple-under-the-sea.  Oh, I watch plenty of cartoons; every few months I get the whole Jonny Quest series out of the library.  That Bandit, he sure is a scamp.  As for Race Bannon & Dr. Quest, well even as a kid I was OKay with that.  Anyhow, those villians still had German accents 1/2 the time & that was 20 years after the war.  Of course, most American kids from that same tv-era have a small but specific German vocabulary, what I call Hogan's Heroes German.  Mostly nouns.

But none of that matters because today is Victory Over Japan Day.  & no one celebrates it except Rhode Islanders.  Like all good obscure holidays, there is some confusion over the date.  Rhode Island observes it "the second Monday in August" which is specific enough for me.  They also observe Armistice/Veteran's Day (in November, with the rest of the US), but apparently they were feeling extra-special good (or extra special bad) about the Japanese.  I don't know why, but there it is one of only nine guaranteed holidays right there on the state's website.

I have learned that you can learn a lot about a state by what is at the top of their website.  For example, here in Florida, the first thing I noticed is their .gov site is not .gov it is .com, which I think effectively communicates that the whole state is for sale.  & it is. In the quick links at the great state of Texas you can:  register your car, renew your drivers license & get a concealed handgun license in that order.  New Jersey is a bit more versatile as the links change depending what is "In The News".  The day I looked two of the three headlines were about the lottery & why you should buy a ticket & the third (really the second as the lottery was the first & last, but you know what I mean) was "What does the Gulf Oil Spill mean for New Jersey?" probably because everyone knows that is the biggest environmental threat to New Jersey, that New Jersey did not do to herself. The only constant on the New Jersey homepage was real time traffic cameras.  Rhode Island opens with saltwater fishing licenses.

In an interesting twist, or maybe not, the state of Rhode Island has had a "relationship" with Japan longer than any other state in the US.  Even before that famous son of Newport broke the trade barrier in 1854, Rhode Islanders had been washing up in Japan; ill-treatment of shipwrecked sailors were part of Perry's negotiation.  Trade between the territory of Rhode Island & Japan had in fact been established in the 1600s, until Japan closed her doors on all but her nearest neighbors.  & like Japan, Rhode Island is a small, often overlooked piece of land.  Most Americans even think of it as that tiny square east of CT, south of MA (if they think of it at all) but Rhode Island is also a lot of small islands.  I know, its right there in the name & somehow we miss it.  Maybe this is why Rode Islanders are still so delighted with defeating the Japanese they take the day off.  Which is something to think about when you know what they DO NOT take the day off for.  Among the holidays not required by Rhode Island:  any President's Birthday, Martin Luther King Day or Rhode Island Independence Day.

What else?  Oh, this week in Japan, they will be observing Obon, the Buddhist Commemoration of the Ancestors.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just an FYI: P&G voluntarily recall dry pet foods

 I don't know anything other than what I copied from Poodle & Dog.  I am just guessing from past experience that a few months after one company has a voluntary recall, many others will have a not so voluntary one.

CINCINNATI, July 30, 2010 – The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) (NYSE:PG) is voluntarily expanding its recall to include veterinary and some specialized dry pet food as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No salmonella-related illnesses have been reported.

Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas All dry sizes and varieties 01Jul10 – 01Dec11 All UPC Codes

Eukanuba Naturally Wild All dry sizes and varieties 01Jul10 – 01Dec11 All UPC Codes

Eukanuba Pure All dry sizes and varieties 01Jul10 – 01Dec11 All UPC Codes

Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin All dry sizes 01Jul10 – 01Dec11 All UPC Codes

The affected products are sold in veterinary clinics and specialty pet retailers throughout the United States and Canada. No canned food, biscuits/treats or supplements are affected by this announcement. A full listing of UPC codes can be found at

For further information or a product replacement or refund call P&G toll-free at 877-340-8823 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST). Media Contact: Jason Taylor 513-622-3205