Thursday, July 27, 2006

Just about every day this week I've attempted to put together an outfit that capitalizes on the current belt/tunic with jeans* thing that's going on. I'm still not 100% convinced that enough time has passed for this since the Eighties, but what the heck. I'm willing to give it a shot.

The second-guessing happens at various stages. Sometimes the outfit doesn't make it out of the closet with me still wearing it. Most of the time I've managed to make it to the mirror before I head back into the closet for something less ridiculous. Once, I made it as far as the kitchen where I ran into Matilda scrounging in the pantry for cereal.

Matilda looked over at me, all bleary and incoherent, and then suddenly blinked and raised her eyebrows. "Mom?" she said warily. "What is with the belt?"

I had no defense. I headed back to the closet.

This morning, though, I was determined. Today was belted tunic day!

I threw on my tight jeans (well, yanked and grunted on would be more accurate, with lots of squatting and wiggling) and a longish, blue silk, tunic-type top. And I belted it. And I felt okay with that. Mirror check? Yes! I can do this. As long as I don't need to bend over in these jeans, this will totally work.

I went into the kitchen for some coffee. A few minutes later, Matilda wandered in and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw me.

I immediately went on the defensive. "What?" I insisted. "It's the belted tunic thing! You can look at any fashion magazine and they'll tell you. People are wearing belts over their tunics. I'm not making this up. It's in right now. It's cute and fun!"

Matilda said, "Okay... Mom? You're not fifteen."

"Well...! Well...!" I sputtered, "Neither are you!"

She shrugged and shook her head at me as she walked past in search of breakfast.

"And I can drive!" I said.

So there. And now excuse me while I go change my clothes.

*Warning: Fashion is also trying to convince us that stretch pants are back. They are not. Please, please, for the love of Pete, listen to what your butt is telling you on this one because butts do not lie. Fashion lies. Butts don't.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

PBS's decision to terminate Melanie Martinez, the host of their preschool program PBS Kids Sprout, over a suggestive 30-second spot she appeared in seven years ago is ridiculous, sexist, reactionary, and wrong.

A Notice to Parents Regarding the Good Night Show

Melanie's previous work as an actress, which took place prior to her relationship with PBS and is in no way connected with her work as host of the children's show, should have no bearing on her ability to act in her role as Melanie on PBS's Good-Night Show.

The assumption that parents across the board are unable/unwilling to accept that professionals working in any entertainment field may produce work for both child and adult audiences is insulting and offensive to me as a parent.

Their implication is that we should expect actors and artists who perform for children to always and exclusively produce work that is appropriate for children. That idea is preposterous and dangerously shortsighted.

In going to this extreme to protect itself from the anticipated backlash of a vocal minority, PBS has done a disservice to the preschool audience who benefited from Melanie Martinez's warm, engaging portrayal of the Melanie character on their program.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I have a confession to make. I've been getting out of bed early to ride my bike. That's exercise. And I love it.

I love it so much that I think about riding my bike everywhere I go, and it makes me want to renew my goal of riding my bike to work. The only problem, of course, would be that I'd arrive at work a sweaty mess. There's apparently a shower in one of the bathrooms at work. That kind of creeps me out. But maybe it shouldn't! It's just a shower. At work. Surrounded by coworkers. Ew. No, it's definitely creepy.

I guess I had that in my head last night because I dreamed about arriving at work on my bike, sweaty and exhilarated, and heading to the showers with a bar of soap and a bottle of shampoo.

So I opened the door to the bathroom/showers, and I found myself uncomfortably surrounded by something you'd probably have to pay $9.99 to watch on television in a hotel room.

That's when it occurred to me. I don't dream about naked girls showering together. Somewhere there's a very disappointed adolescent boy dreaming of a leisurely evening spent sipping coffee on the back porch of his own alpaca farm and planning the design of his next hand-knit garment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Mom?" Gertrude called, running into the living room where I was picking up cups of water abandoned by the kids and dog toys that really hurt when you stub your toe on them.

Gert had an urgent question: "What number comes after eleven?"

"Twelve,” I said. “Eleven, then twelve."

I hoped she was practicing the elusive counting-to-twenty, which always trips her up because she's convinced "fifty-eleventeen" has to figure in there somewhere. But no, she had something more concrete to worry about.

"So Matilda's going to be TWELVE?"

"That's right. On her next birthday."

"She's a lot older than me."

"Well, sort of."

"Great," said Gert, throwing up her hands. "She's going to die before me. Everybody's going to die before me!"

I sputtered something incoherent as Gert turned and ran back out of the room, presumably to get in some playtime with her sister who only had a few decades left to live.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Damn, this is exciting... Someone else knit my DNA tank and the pattern actually worked. This goes a long way toward reassuring me that there aren't piles of knitters out there cursing my name for posting a poorly written, error-riddled pattern (but if you are, and it is, please let me know so I can fix it!).

With the Purl de France winding down, I have one and a half sleeves left to knit on a sweater I designed for my cycling husband. I took exacting measurements to make sure it would fit him exactly. Problem is, when you measure exactly, that's the exact measurement you'll get when it's knit. I'm not sure why that didn't occur to me while I was in the throes of designing. Is my man MAN enough to wear a slim-fitting, form-hugging wool sweater? Um.

I'm sure he'll wear it cause he loves me. And then I'll sell it on eBay.

But nothing's been blocked or seamed yet, so there might still be hope. It IS the Purl de France. Who knows what could happen in the final stages.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This is me complaining about work. Because here's the thing. I can't do any more of it. I am functioning at 100% workload capacity and am physically unable to do one single more thing until something else is finished. You can ask me to do something else, and I'll add it to the list of things I haven't gotten to yet and probably won't anytime soon. But it's going to be late. That's the reality. It's going to be late, and then you'll point out to me that this project is late. And you'll ask me why. Why is this project late? Because I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO DO IT.

Here's how it works: Project A is due today, Project B is due tomorrow and Project C is due next week.

Hmm, I say. Project A might take longer than one day.

Well okay. Just do the best you can and holler if you need help.

So Project A trails into tomorrow. It's still relatively on schedule. Now on to Project B, which we have most of the day to complete.

Oh hey, did you know there's a meeting at 11?

And another one at 1:30.

Crap, I say. Help! Project B is in trouble!

No problem. Go ahead and freelance it out. Just find a freelancer. Send the freelancer instructions. And information. And the book's preface. And you might have to get the annotated table of contents from marketing. And be sure to proof it for style when the freelancer sends it back. And we can only afford $50, so make sure to negotiate that as a flat rate before you send it out.

That takes us into next week. Project A comes back for edits. Project B comes back from the freelancer in need of proofing. And I still haven't started Project C.

That's about when Projects D and E land in my inbox. Due today.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Do you know what today is?

Today, I and other cycling widows and Tour followers worldwide will cast on (in the round, most likely) to knit tirelessly and heroically for the next 23 days in the Purl de France.

In fact, if Phil Ligget were commentating the event:

As much as knitting can be considered a solitary undertaking, it is also a team endeavor, with each of us driving our colleagues on, fighting back fatigue for the sake of arriving at the next stage, handing off our needles when we can no longer summon the spark that ignites in us the need to feel thin yarn transformed beneath our fingers into lengths of fabric. When it seems that there can be no hope of pushing off one more stitch in the exhaustion of the moment, it is at that moment that we can expect to see another knitter holding the skein in a show of solidarity.

Really the question becomes whether we knit to arrive at the top of the mountain, to wave aloft another finished object in triumph, or whether the victory lies in the passage of the journey itself.

Join me, won't you? Together we'll dig deep into the suitcase of courage commonly reserved for the most elite among us, drawing forth the wherewithall to complete row after row. From the time when the first stitch is turned in anger until the finish line looms clear on the horizon.