Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Barenaked ROCKIN’

To begin, I’m layin’ down my favorite holiday tracks for this year.  As with last time, however, I have a soundtrack for today’s blog:  Chris Isaak’s Christmas on TV.  It’s just a cool, twangy christmas honky-tonk tune. Toodle-yoo-off you go!

Well Howdy-Ho!  Nice to have you back!  So I just had to refresh my long-playing Xmas playlist, populated with the hits of my childhood-- Andy Williams, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, on and on and ohhh I do love them and always will, but this is a lovely, zippy holiday season and I need some sparkle!  This year has been notable in that I’ve actually bought whole albums, both as they were priced reasonably compared to several singles, and because there were really rich offerings.

While I did have a few Michael Bublè added a couple of years ago from the Let It Snow EP, this year I added his Christmas album (2011), featuring standards and a couple cool originals.

I will shoehorn in a perennial favorite just while it’s playing here-- A SouthPark Christmas.  It’s vile, rude, original and completely awesome.

Barenaked For the Holidays (2004) is possibly one of the best christmas albums of the modern age.  The Barenaked Ladies turn out lots of originals, three Hanukkah songs that are  well done (face it, some of the stuff you hear on the radio sounds like someone said “well, we have to have something.”), crowned by the absolutely killer I Saw Three Ships and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  Oh! and Elf’s Lament, with Michael Bublè!

Now to Josh Groban, I lovelovelovelove him.  His music, like James Blunt’s isn’t always on my top 10, but his work is beautiful and soulful and rich and this is a crowning glory.  Also like James Blunt, he is a total cutie, completely charming and lovely and referring to the above single, his original work is heartbreaking genius.   Buy the whole album.

I have loved Rod Stewart since I was a kid, and we recently saw him on Graham Norton while eating Saturday Breakfast (Saturday is Graham; Sunday, Modern Family) and I dug into iTunes to see if he had a single or two.  Try a whole kickin’ album-- Merry Christmas, Baby.  More great standards, some neato duets and fun originals.  

Now for some favorite singles, my Top 13:

1) Mele Kalikimaka- Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
2) Merry Xmas Everyone-Slade
3) The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
4) Fairytale of New York- Pogues and 
5) Santa Baby- Kylie Minogue
6) All I Want for Christmas is You- Mariah Carey
7) Christmas Blues- Dean Martin
8) Christmas Night in Harlem- Louis Armstrong
9) Christmas Wrapping- Waitresses
10) Baby It’s Cold Outside- Tom Jones and Cerys
11) Swiss Colony Beef Log- A South Park Christmas
12) Christmas Time in Hell- A South Park Christmas
13) The Christmas Song- Mel Tormè

Back to hoppin’ round the house like a snowbunny on crack!  Back with more in a couple days!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

American Beauty: A Thankful Life in Few Words and Several Pictures

So, after family and health--namely a new niece and a *not* broken leg in Scotland; after kicking the winter blues and reveling in holiday decorating; I am thankful for the beautiful, stunning, funny, lovely looking things that fill my life with color and joy all year round.

Peeled Beets

Gorgeous Spices

Polka-Dot Sandals and Pretty Pedicures

Coming Home to Roses on the Table

Surprise Luscious Yarn in the Mail

My Very First Plying When I Though I Couldn't But Did Anyway!
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Saturday, November 24, 2012


~~~Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say/ On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day~~

Before you read any further, go download this zippy Bing Crosby/ Andrews Sister ditty and play  as we proceed and you will experience Christmas the way I always have, as a native California baby.... Go on, I'll wait!

....There we are!  So, Thanksgiving was PANDEMONIUM! I worked a bunch, and due to the gracious gesture of a co-worker, I was able to switch and take Wednesday off to prepare for the 20-family-member melee.  The result:



Black Friday is never too black round Penzeys, so we decorated and celebrated with customers their Thanksgiving triumphs.  Now it’s Saturday, which is....


Already I attacked the unsuspecting bushes:


Now the tree’s up, but we’ve discovered this may be the year Santa will bring us an After-Xmas End-of-Season-Sale New Tree to last the next 7 years.  


It’s not the fuses, and we’ve plugged and re-plugged.  Poor thing.  But with about 230 ornaments, I’m gonna Charlie Brown the hell outta him one last time.

The SAD is still nowhere in sight, and I am nearly more joyful every moment I realize I’m happy than I am just being happy.  Dunno if that made any sense, but it doesn’t have to.  

Hero Tree Pic to follow, for now, Happy Christmas Season Starting!!!!!  Much Joy from your Fairy to You!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012


I’m sorry, thanksgiving is in how many days????? (4).

Last Monday, I worked, selling spices to people stocking up for the BIGGEST FOOD HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR, oblivious to the actual calendar.  The next day, my day off, I crack open my computer and see an IM from Jedi Jasmin:


It’s ok, this is my Specialist Subject.  I majored in Holidays.

I looked ahead on the calendar and saw I worked the next day and then had off until the next Monday and Tuesday then had off the day before Turkey Exam Day.

Then I was called in to work on Thursday. 

J and I had worked out the guest list, somehow comprising 20 people, even though it was just family.  Twenty people???  This shindig will have to go down at my pad, so the Never Ending Redecorating Project will have to move on to the Tidy the F*&k Up phase fast this weekend.

Then we made up a menu, and decided what we were gonna tackle and what to delegate.  Not so bad, I’ve done much, much, much more on my own in tiny, inadequate kitchens.  Now the sticky part:  Since that’s the way I’ve always rolled, now I have to break my recipes down into actual ingredients with actual amounts and procedures.

Huh? You say.

This is rub for your Fairy, my friends.  I learned to cook on my own.  I buy by approximation, I fabricate by eyeball.  Every single recipe I have created here I have had to sit down and corral my unconscious lizard-brain to formalize. Whereas I just grabbed several boxes of chicken stock because I had on my list “Stuffing and Gravy” and I know in my mind’s eye how much that requires, now I have to do it on military scale with standards and protocol.  Oik.

So this is a new experience.  One I am most thankful for, because on Thanksgiving Day 20 people I love very much will enter this house to plonk down and eat and talk and laugh and pass out from Stuffing Overdose.  A lot of people have been posting lately the things and people they’re thankful for, and quite a lot of people have been posting about dropping out of the holidays to avoid the stress and cliché and commercialism.  After two years of seasonal affective disorder, something just snapped in my head round about October and I am once again filled with absolute joyful abandon, and some stress, but mostly the enthusiasm of combined 5-, 12- and 20-year-olds.  I am childish in my love for presents got and given, just old enough to relish my freedom and time off, and suddenly aware of my ability to make this anything I want to.

The boys are once again grilling the meat, allowing them to (hopefully) sit outside, drink beer and not-quite-set-things-on-fire. Other people are bringing veggies and desserts.  I'm making a mountain of sourdough bread stuffing, enough mashed potatoes to feed the Pacific Fleet, some pie and a cake.  It almost feels like cheating.  But in a good way.

Thus, every day or so, as work permits, I will post a few snaps of everything I am thankful for this year.  As I sit here listening to oven-dried bread cubes crackle as they cool, I  begin with the most wonderful to happen to our crazy family: Our shiny, new, crazy little Danger Mouse:

A Knitter's a Knitter, No Matter How Small! Society Debut! (Jan '12)
Extra 'Tude with a Side of Sauce (Easter '12)
First Bookshop! (Summer '12)
Preparing for Launch--Antennae Raised, Speaking in Raspberry (Fall '12)
So this is me, Chillin', wherein I invite you to join me.  And most of all, I wish you Joy.
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Friday, November 16, 2012


So, this week, on Monday, 12 November 2012, I arrived home from work to find my neighborhood had been invaded by Christmas.

This was by no means an isolated incident, as I had scooted out for the shop's afternoon coffee run and found, to my delight, that we have an entire Christmas boutique shop in Menlo Park.

And yes, I said delight.

I know, I know,  I should be on the bandwagon with all the other frustrated, temporally displaced refugees who despise twinkly lights bedecking bushes a full three weeks before Thanksgiving, but I canNOT get enough.  Don't get me wrong, the music has official sanction from Black Friday to Boxing Day.  The tree from Black Friday to Epiphany.

But I do deeeeeeelight in the whole gorgeous spectacle.  Delight, revel, celebrate, carouse, roister, whoop this season up. I nearly knocked myownself right down to aboutface and get into that shop, my friends, because I saw this:

A Christmas GingerBird
It would be sweet to say this is the first ornament of the season, bought for GingerMan, as it is so difficult to find high-quality Robins.  The photographic record says otherwise:

Two from Buckingham Palace, the Royal Thistle from Edinburgh and a Christmas Robin from Harrods, London

And these don't include the mouse and silver teddy bear "Baby's First Christmas 2012" from Harrods for Danger Mouse.

What?  It's my contractual obligation.

OH! and Christmas cards!  For the first time in about 8 years:


And now I will leave you, my itchy little fingers know where the mesh lights are, and those bushes out front ain't gonna dress themselves, pal....

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Monday, November 5, 2012


I have been considering, reconsidering, grappling, with how to cover this election. Here in the South Bay we have a bunch of tax/bond issues that are supposed to lock money into the local economy.  There are state measures which allow me, when I have hoped against hope to be able to, in my lifetime, repeal the death penalty and make the asininely-implimented Three Strikes law right. 

At the national level there are the greater issues about which, more and more, all I hear about on social media and in social gatherings is, to quote:  "Gaaaawd I'm just sooooo sick of this!!!"  

I'm sick of it too.

I'm sick of fighting for the civil and human rights of women and minorities 100 years after our struggle began in earnest in this country.

A young friend posted on Facebook that she could not understand how some idiots could trade a "stupid 'free' pill for our national security", with the assumption that the party espousing equal access to health care would throw open the borders to murdering, raping, pillaging pirates overnight simply because those darn contraceptive pills let us whore around.  Says the girl who lives independently and enjoys the benefits afforded by such a luxury.  

The problem seems to be that so very few people remember what women 100 years ago (yes, I WILL KEEP REPEATING THIS) were derided, demeaned, arrested, imprisoned without aid or bail and, while incarcerated, often humiliated, beaten and tortured.  These are historical facts.  These women suffered to give us the chance to vote.  To be counted as real human beings.  

One. Hundred. Years. Ago.

And yet, we are now fighting the same basic cause.  Measures passed in state assemblies bypass the Supreme Court's 1973 decision establishing that abortion, as part of a woman's entire right to equal health care without the consultation of a male authority is considered her right to privacy.  These unbelievably incomprehensible laws draw the boundaries of pregnancy to two weeks back into your last cycle, effective making your period a miscarriage.  Or they force women facing the loss of a later-term physically damaged baby to go to extraordinary, inhumane measures before terminating the pregnancy.  They want to limit or ban access to basic health services and contraception on the grounds that they are immoral under certain belief structures.

I'm not fighting any religious war.  We are fighting our war for human rights.  We cannot regress 100 years to being counted as 100% less than a man, unable to garner our meagre intellectual capacities to truly consider the weighty affairs of state. We cannot regress 50 years to the time when we were still tacitly considered the moral property of our male family members when obtaining reproductive health.  

We cannot allow ourselves to be crushed beneath the feet of those who merely use modern phrasing for the same old "Little Lady".  

I am the only person who ties my apron strings.  I am the only one who calls me to the stove in the evening, barefoot, socked or shod.  I am the only one who decides my best course for MY medical care, for my equal earning in the workplace,  if I would be allowed to marry no matter the gender of my partner, for my equal standing in the human race.

Vote.  Do anything you can to get to a polling station.  Your employer, BY LAW, must give you adequate time off to vote.  If you are at the polling station, waiting in line when the polling station closes, they cannot kick you out.  If you are in a disaster area, I know life is really, really tough for your right now, but if you are online, look for polling places, they are trying to put as many in place as possible.

100 Years of Suffragettes want YOUR vote.  They want you to count.  Some of them died for it, for you to be heard no matter your stance, no matter your beliefs.  You are a woman and you are valid in your humanity and your opinions, but please, remember above all, your humanity and that of all women and consider it when you tick those boxes.

Human Rights, Civil Rights, Women's Rights.  Make your vote count. Pin It Now!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Success Diverges

Ohhhh lawdy, another Philosophical Post of a Share of a Like of a Post on PasteBook...

Entirely and Completely Property of Geniuses Stone and Parker

But this time, Trey Parker and Matt Stone' viral animation of Alan Watt's lesson on success.  I did pause to re-evaluate my view of my own life.  I followed that bag full of promises to a certain point, then life got wavy and I made it to 39 without having passed those benchmarks, made those achievements, obtained the degrees and pursued the careers and have, as a result, felt so much the poorer for it.

Born and bred in Silicon Valley, I am very much the ugly duckling in this respect (normed to my socio-economic background, yaddah-yaddah). I was a middle-class white girl in the 80's--what went wrong????  Yes, there were some who also diverged, those who chose the path less followed, but they were usually some sort of artistic or technical genius whose very divergence spoke to their not-too-future innovation and success in fields they quite often invented.

And I bumble along.  

And I usually get very upset about this when I do stop to consider: What have I really done?

But I've reached 40-ish (I just started saying '40', gives me a couple years with it and the sooner I do it the sooner I stop involuntarily wincing) and have taken another couple of good looks at my life. Toured the house, inspected the passport, taken inventory and seen where I've been.  Yes, I'm well-married and have a great family.  I have cool friends.  Not just nice, or helpful or loyal.  Cool.  Lots of them. And a cool husband.  To quote Mitt "Lost My Mittens" Romney-- 'Severely' cool.  And we do cool stuff.  Fun stuff, in fun places, like Portland and Edinburgh and maybe next year Paris. 

I have "Hobbies and Interests".  I love knitting and spinning and traveling to strange new worlds to seek out new yarns and buy them.  Knit Long and Prosper.  With all those cool--no, frikkin' awesome-- people, in beautiful places with great restaurants.

One day I will get through all the books I have on science.  I will somehow come to grips with the most primary, rudimentary concepts of particle and astro-physics just because it's there and I want to know why it's there and where it's going.  It will finally sink in that light can be waves and particles. ?????

One day I will be more adventurous with my trove of cookbooks.

One day I will publish my Treatise on the Social and Historical Implications of Potato Salad on the Formation and Migration of Human Populations.  Don't laugh.  Sit down, get a pen and paper and set a timer for 4 minutes.  Write down all the different potato salads you have ever eaten, and their ingredients.  BING!! Time's up, and I bet you were in the middle of a sentence.  This is serious business.   And I will do it.

I haven't woken up to 40 and opened a bag of empty promises, I've got a house packed with stuff and a passport full of pages waiting to be stamped.  

And this has made all the difference....

What has made the difference in yours?

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tomato Soup and Garlic: Recipe for A Cure

Feelin’ kinda ropey today.  You know, the kind of schnurffly day where your cold doesn't have the decency to get visibly gross, it just throws you under the Existential Malaise Bus and runs off down the road.  I'm left on the sofa with Life Support Squid watching Foyle's War (having finally wound all the way through both eras of Miss Marple and all of Inspector Lewis--sometimes not even Lawrence Fox can cure me.) 

Just a Girl and Her Squid

So I had a bunch of tomatoes from my CSA box  (Community Supported Agriculture-the farmer's market brought to me) over the last couple of weeks.  I just order the max and save ‘em up then commit the following act of assault.  I’m weak and need the vitamin C.  

Proto Tomato Sauce/Soup

1.  I gather up all the ‘maters I’ve got.  If I happen to have an assortment at the time of killin’, I throw them all in together.  A few cherry and grapes added near the end of baking are quite delightful in the end product.  Here  I started with eight beefsteaks.

2.  Set the oven to 325F.  While it’s heating, cut the tomatoes in half at the equator and place cut side up in pyrex baking dishes.

3.  Douse liberally with Olive Oil.


4.  Sprinkle with Salt, Herbs and Garlic/Shallots/Onion as you desire.  In consideration of this, you will be determining the nature of the end product.  Do you want a traditional Tomato/Cream of Tomato Soup, and therefore a more neutral flavor? Will you be using this as a pasta sauce and therefore desire the essence of roasted garlic and a panoply of classic Italian herbs?
>>Here I am using:  Coarse Sea Salt, Shallots and Penzeys Mural of Flavor herb blend (it adds a nicely rounded herb background but nothing boldly specific).  Keeps my options open for later.
>>A Word About Roasted Garlic:  A more effective, and deeper, richer garlic flavor can be achieved by roasting your garlic separately.  You can do this at the same time, is super simple, and instructions follow at the happy ending of the tomato story.

5.  Place baking dishes in oven for 1 Hour.  Your kitchen will begin to smell delicious.  Check the tomatoes at this time, make sure nothing’s burning.

6.  Turn oven down to 300F and bake for 40 minutes more.  I like to leave them a bit juicier than some recipes have called for so I lower the heat and cut the time.  There’s a ton of flavor and the shallots don’t darken as much.

7.  Remove from oven and assemble the following rig:  
> Steady, flat-bottomed bowl
> Food Mill
> Rubber Spatula
> Rubber Jar Opener Grippy-Thingie

Rubber Grippy Goes Down First

Everything Else is Held in Place!

8.  Once assembled, place tomatoes into food mill and smoosh away. I usually do them in two batches and clean the skins out in between.  


When finished, you will be left with a small pile of skins and a loooovely bowl of fresh tomato sauce ready to do your bidding:


>>Why a Food Mill??  They are inexpensive and brilliant.  They will make the smoothest, creamiest mashed potatoes ever, will make nearly anything into the starting stages of sauce or soup and in league with your Thunder Stick, will process nearly anything you need, removing skins and lumps without the expense of a food processor.  A Food Mill is also ridiculously easy to clean.  It pops apart into three pieces that hose off so quickly I didn’t bother to take pics.

*So About That Garlic... 

1.  I take a couple full heads of garlic, chop the tops off well down the head so plenty of each toe is open, then place each in a deep ramekin. 


2.  I then douse in Olive Oil, sprinkle in Kosher Salt and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  


3.  I stick one on each rack, pretty far back, for the entire baking time of the tomatoes.  Remove at the end, allowing them to cool several minutes.  

4.  I take them out of the ramekins, remove any errant skins, then pour all the oil from one dish into the other and carefully, holding the bottom of the garlic head with one hand, squish the garlic out of the skin with my fingers into the dish.  




You may leave it whole, I like to mash it up to use as a dip or spread, and it will incorporate beautifully into any soup or sauce, using your stick blender.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012


In Brian Greene’s series, The Fabric of the Cosmos, on NOVA (available on PBS), a new and interesting graphic of the classic, vexing, Double Slit Experiment shows electron particles as coalescing waves round the slits like rocks in a river.  But something about how after Schrodinger's wave equation, further research showed that it does not in any way determine or predict where the electrons are landing, only the probability of where they could be.**  

The result, most physicists interviewed said, is we don't have the right to ask exactly where things will be, only what the probability of finding them in one very particular area, where we want to look at the very moment we want to look, would be.  Because something about how Neils Bohr said the act of measurement forces the finality of the matter, momentarily.**  

Many of the scientists in this series echo the same sentiment, often laughing (sometimes somewhat bitterly): That Quantum Mechanics, and String Theory (with it’s possibility to tie all things together across dimensions, time and space), that the very fact we only have the right to ask the probability, are frustrating, bizarre, maddening and mostly unthinkable, but their experiments keep working out. 

And the final word from each?  

“There seems to be no law in the universe that says a particle physicist has to be happy about any of it”. 
--Every single person interviewed, Brian Green’s Fabric of the Cosmos.

Now, considering that many physicists, depending on degree of, well, scientifically philosophical bent, consider such things as philosophy and psychology as suspect offshoots of Underwater Basketweaving 101, it seems they stray ever further into the realm of the darker psyche.  

For all the years I have struggled to gain a final hold on sanity, to force a permanent, overarching structure of normality and function in my life, it has proven resolutely slippery and ultimately elusive.  Perhaps it will never be anything more than what I can pin down, squiggling to free itself, in any given moment, and that’s all I get to call ‘normal.’ 

It’s a bit like having a permanent flu, with that hideously uncomfortable dis-ease lurking beneath your skin, sometimes making you twitch and try to rock yourself to comfort or sleep. Fifty-Fifty success rate on that. Every time my baby niece has a fussy day; when bouncing and rocking and nursing and swaddling-and-shooshing can’t overcome the existential discomfort, I want to take her in my arms and let her know she’s not alone; that Vincent Van Gogh and Brian Cox and Albert Einstein and Mozart all raged and despaired and deflated with the same melancholy. But as sharp as the kid is, she doesn’t believe me when I say that eventually it will subside and she will get to drive and go to parties and follow her dreams and vote Democratic. 

But there is no comfort for an 8-month-old in these histories and promises!  They are mere probabilities, the rantings of a mad auntie!  Could happen, might not, won’t know till we get there. She literally cannot see any but the momentary certainties.  Thus, ecstasy is chewing Sofie the Giraffe, right here, right now.  

Right now I have hold of a cowl I am knitting out of (now defunct) Sanguine Gryphon Codex yarn in a breathtaking ruby red which has been balled and ready for use for nearly a year.  It has been matched against many projects and summarily rejected all of them.  It is a knitted item in it’s quantum state--that is, in all states of possibility--and probably the one I needed to find two years ago when I flipped out and handed over my credit card while slathering like a rabid possum.  

I've heard tell of other luscious yarns, I won't believe you...

I bought the buttons, ostensibly for use as a bracelet, a year ago, and that idea just kept bonking off my brain as well.  


Until two weeks ago with the Knitting Cabal at my house, someone saw my crystal bowl of favorite buttons. I had just laid the Codex on the coffee table along with 4 other Projects-in-Potentia that were driving me crazy.  Buttons met yarn, yarn asked for cowl, cowl pattern was, miraculously, found.  

The French Braid Cowl by Breean Elyse Miller
This is how I’ve come to terms with the Particle Physicist’s plight: It’s usually a difficult process which begins in optimism and ends in despair, but occasional triumph and fits with fearful symmetry the history of physics research.  I buy pretty yarn. It might sit around, perhaps displayed, for who knows how long, while I feel intimidated by the huge, seemingly amorphous Knitting Universe. At some point, a pattern might be found and printed out, even stuffed into a project bag with the yarn and needles, but rarely started. Sometimes, on later consideration, it was a poorly chosen pattern--a terrible experiment, and is dismantled. So it sits some more, waiting and waiting, while in some dimension it is a beautiful finished thing, being used and worn and loved instead of suffering the ignominy of repeated rejection and limbo.  In the end, I only have a beautiful finished thing at the one exact moment I can pounce on the yarn and a magically workable pattern at the same time and just get the damn thing started. 

To me, it is a whole squirrelly, multi-dimensional mess of lovely string, improbable patterns, and I only know it’s possible because this experiment keeps working.


Join us here in Silicon Valley in late February (yes, 2013) for a mad, hoppin' fabulous weekend of Fiber, Shopping, Classes and Events! Visit XRX/ Knitting Universe for details and Class Registrations!

**PS: I know I don't have it all right, it's why I watch it over and over and try to read the books.  I'm hoping for enlightenment by 80, I've just hit half-life.

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Monday, September 17, 2012


As we traveled from Ireland to Scotland, England, Wales and back to the Emerald Isle, I took stock of local delicacies, sampling as many as possible:


Bangers and Mash, Irish Breakfast, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Tea Cakes at Harrods

Lots of things with ancient names, such as the drool-y Scottish whipped dessert, Cranachan, devised of whipped cream, fruit, oats and whiskey.  


The Edinburgh celebration of Pork:

Untitled  Untitled

Despite making a cultural comeback, I left haggis hanging.


Haggis, Haggis, EVERYWHERE!!!

Also some universally mundane items wrapped in terms my Internal Irritation Drive obsesses over long after the fact.  

To whit: The Chicken Goujon (goo-ZHON). Pronounced in Northern Irish (Gaelic for “Cuts Steel”) as “GEW-jdohn”. 

Otherwise known as Chicken Fingers.  Chicken Strips.  Proving once and for all that the only word which properly describes long-cut bits of white-meat chicken--"strips"-- is the very one which makes it completely unappetizing. Is it hitting the pole for tips?  Note to the NI delegates, Chicken Fingers is our contribution, so no prizes there...

I fully realise, and revel, in the plasticity and welcoming nature of English.  My favorite number is 1066.  Thus our language contains approximately 14,000 French-based words, which is why we have a word, Pig, for the squealy beast the lower-caste Saxons herded; and the word Pork (Porc), the culinary end product the upper-caste Normans delighted over.  Lamb and Mutton (Mouton). Cow and Beef (Boeuf). 

Tomato, Tomate; Lavender-Honey Ice Cream, Glace à lavande et---

So rich and flavorful on the page and on the plate, and yet, I find my quantum of tolerance for the cheesy- or provincial-sounding to be inversely limited.  Again, the Atlantic scale remains balanced, I did live in the south-east for three years:

“Oh hunny, thows ain’t cawk-rowchis, thows'r just paaawl-meeh-tow buuuugs!”


Usually in a fit of pique, any two countries so closely related as America and the UK trade barbs over drawls and pretensions, but this one just--GAAAAHHH!!!--- flips my tick.  So I clicked over to the Babelfish Translation website to find enlightenment, and reported to GingerMan.

Me:  Ha!  I went to Bablefish "Goujon".  It means "stud"

GingerMan: Lol 'Chicken Stud' makes me think of a chicken dressed as The Fonz.

That’s Le Fonz to you, pal.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Quick Note From the Datebook:

Eleven Years.  Hmmm.  This could be soupy and over-drawn.  Long-winded or some other hyphenated blogerary travail.
September 11, 2001 was three days before the birthday I share with my younger sister.  Four years apart to the hour.   Yeah, we got our sh*t together.  We were in our room getting ready for the day when our mom came in and mentioned that before we left the house we might want to turn on the TV. 

Mistress of Understatement.

So what happened?  A few unspeakably inhuman freaks committed an act of terror against the human race.  It turned into some clownish 11-year ordeal which has brought seemingly little closure to many involved in the militant festivities.

What has happened:

Six weeks later, I met my husband, the Incomparable GingerMan.  A year later, we were married in a beautiful ceremony in my grandmother’s garden, as would my sister a few years later, both while our grandmother was alive to share it with us.

I gained a family in Ireland, and got to travel to the UK for the first time in 2003 for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  It was huge celebration and she was gorgeous and he was charming and handsome and nearly 10 years later, they still are, but also 3 beautiful children richer.  I've traveled there 4 times and WOW you should see London at Christmas!

Through the machinations of fate, after a layoff three and a half years ago, I walked into a yarn shop the next day and introduced myself to the people who would become my family, my real community of friends.  We are knit together in die-hard support, superficially by pretty string and deeply by Love.

Drawn by wool, I met the sister of my heart, the ineffable Jedi Jasmin, her husband Amazing Andrew and Vavoom Gigi (if you meet her, the Vavoom may be silent but always present).  They have added Danger Mouse, my alarmingly precocious niece to the flock and we are a pretty big bunch at Christmas, I will tell you.  And Thanksgiving.  And Mother’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July...What I’m saying is, we cook, we eat, we’re Family.

Today, on September 11, two of my dearest girlfriends are bringing their second adopted daughter home from the hospital.  I will leave the “adopted” here, because possession is nine-tenths of the law, and as one with an “mid-season replacement” mom, I will reliably inform you that Family is 90% mental.

So many new little people, people I’ve met, things GingerMan and I have done and places we’ve gone.  Road trips to fiber events and late nights drinking and knitting in hotel rooms.  But sometimes I still feel that existential angst.  That voice that says pfftt, what have I done with my life, what’s happened?  

Every week, I hang with older and younger friends and mention a song or a book and someone says “WHAT are you talking about??”  And then I get to show them, play them a new song.  Or be shown and be played to.  

GM and I took a three week kick-ass holiday to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, London at the end of the Olympics and Belfast for our nephew’s second birthday.  When I got home, Danger Mouse was crawling and cruising and looked like a different kid.

So many different things learned and seen every single day.  Not having seen or done or tried means you have so many things left to do! Dr. Seuss was totally right.

Yes, cliché.  And yes, I lose sight of that even while I’m sharing these things with other people, then I stop and go, quote:


Eleven years and more of Life.  That’s what’s happening. 

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