Thursday, July 27, 2006

Have Fun, Gals

It's that time of year when all the cool bloggers get to go to BlogHer and all the dorks, I mean newbies, or geeks - oh wait, we're all kind'of geeks aren't we? get to go to say, Indiana.

But my groovin' sister is going, so I expect to find out everything, about everybody, and she's generally sober, so if you're not, beware. High School rules. Oh - I mean BlogHer.

(I'm just jealous.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I know I'm depressed when I promise my daughter that I'd take her to the American Girl Place (aka: The-Whore-Of-All-The-Earth) and super-strong, Starbucks puts me to sleep.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Your sense of smell can be altered by psychological factors. I uploaded this today, and although I was fresh out of the shower, I smelled bad BO.

This was taken at the end of a long day at the farm that began with rescuing chickens from my rogue cat, Edwin. The robins ratted him out so he was found in a head-high thicket. Fowl of the farm UNITE! The pole beans had to be weeded in order to reach the pole. And Chloe and I picked wild blackberries in the woods, fields, and marsh.

When I first came to the farm a few years ago, I read the story, Blueberries for Sal, frequently to Chloe. I remembered yearning for hills with wild blueberries to feed on. I lamented the over development of my environment. Yeah, we have plenty of U-pick farms nearby to keep us stocked with fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches and apples, but that just isn't the same. It lacks spontaneity.

This year I had the surprise of being at the farm on the weekend when the blackberries were blossoming. Aha. The wild exists. Now I knew where to find the loot. They were probably cultivated at one time, but now they grow wild in thorny, thickets among tall grasses. More went into our mouths than into the basket, so scratched and stained, we dropped our drawers for a dip in the swimming (mud) hole.

Finally, before leaving for home, we dined at an outdoor restaurant where we played volleyball, badminton and threw bean bags while waiting for our dinner to be served. We all slept well that night.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Next Project: Yo-Yo's

Originally uploaded by raymilauren.
I've recently knit a tank top out of some sale yarn - well, ribbon - bought at Meijers. Not really the best place for fiber, but I was at the farm and having just finished the green tank, I was desperate for a new project. I saw this image over at Raymi's and was won over by the yo-yo skirt so I bought $100 of silk remnants in various shades of blue. I realize that such a busy skirt may not be very flattering for my rather large bottom, but, well, if it doesn't work, the yo-yo's can make an excellent cloak, or vest, or dramatic throw. Or hey, I'm still trying to come up with a really groovey room divider, only blues aren't in my color scheme. Or like my brother-in-law remarked once, hot pads. What would you do with a bunch of silk yo-yo's?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is why I care...

This is Chloe presenting her "Great Work" project for Kindergarten Graduation. She prepared a map of the United States complete with the state capitals written in Japanese. Her teacher would select a state, and Chloe would read off the capital.

I know this doesn't prove brilliance, I just think that it's cool that my daughter knows more about geography than I did in 12th grade.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Project Journal - Crochet Tank Top

This was another reason why I had neglected my blog for awhile. I made and took apart this top three times before I got it right. The first attempt, I was determined to follow a pattern I found in "The Happy Hooker" vebatim. It turned out having a lumpy middle, enormous top and tiny trunk. Perhaps it would have been suitable for a stripper with 38 double D silicone breasts and a lipo'd waist. Regardless, I ripped it apart and made my own pattern up as I went along. The 2nd attempt almost worked but the armholes were too big. I could have worked around it, but after establishing a perfectionist approach, I ripped it out again. The 3rd attempt was almost exact, but I had to redo the bodice a few times. Not as bad as starting from scratch. Finally, wa-la! Complete. I wore it to the Taste of Chicago and got soaking wet on one of the rides. I wondered why I received an extra amount of gazes throughout the remainder of the day until I realized that the water stretched the whole thing out. It barely covered my nipples. Back in the dryer, it shrunk up okay.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For the Love of a Country

It was this post of Lisa's that inspired some of my thoughts here:

I’ve been disenchanted with my country for some time. When I first moved to Chicago five years ago, I lived in a temporary apartment in the Gold Coast area. Never had I lived among such wealth. I felt terribly intimidated if I were to leave my home without having my nails done, hair done and clothes polished. Me, in my stretchy pants and t-shirt had to push my stroller past the outdoor cafes on Rush Street filled with rich, beautiful people as they dined for lunch. Then I’d return from the park and they were still there, having no place they had to be, I guess. Along the way I’d pass several stores that sold nothing for less than $100 and nothing larger than a size 10. As if being rich kept one immune from calories. I often wondered if I would ever grow wealthy enough to not care about a price tag and have nothing to do but be seen drinking chardonnay all afternoon.

I admit that I am a cynic. I used to think that what our country needs is a serious war – one that would limit our resources and people would actually have to give up a few things. Or we needed an economic depression. Our Grandparents had both war and depression. They knew the value of frugal living, of reusing materials, of saving instead of spending. Perhaps it would improve our spirit as a nation to actually have to sacrifice a little, to go without.

Then terrorists drove planes into the World Trade Center. I didn’t wish for that. My thoughts grew darker, more melancholy. Bush told us to get out, shop, go on vacation. By God, we’ve got to keep the economy moving. I didn’t get the sense that too many people had to sacrifice much. Of course there were those people who lost loved ones, jobs tightened, fear gripped us. Soldiers were sent to Afghanistan, then later to Iraq. Yes, there were people who had to sacrifice much. But to the majority, I don’t think we felt it.

The Iraq war began, and for every small protest or peace vigil, there were throngs of flag-waving, Bush zealots chanting U S A, U S A. I grew to despise the flag. It came to represent mob-mentality, the ugly-American.

In time I have mellowed. I generally feel so powerless and alienated over the politics of my country, I hardly feel I am a citizen. Instead, I just live here, enjoying the good life I have, raising a beautiful daughter and loving my family.

One day in May, I came upon this march as I was headed to the L-train. United States flags floated enmasse through the streets, held by proud, peaceful immigrants, demonstrating their passion for our country. Their numbers only reminded me of the many people seeking citizenship who have touched my life, directly and indirectly. Having mostly lived in a major city, how could you live without the benefit of their work ethic, familial strength, art and music, friendship, and food?

I held back my tears as the American flag had never looked so beautiful to me. It is when I see our nation through the eyes of people who dream of becoming a part of it, that I see it for all the beauty that it is.

Happy birthday, America.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Seed Has Been Planted

When my inlaws came to town, they asked if they could take my daughter to church with them. I was unsure. Chloe adores her Grandparents and they wield heavy influence over her. Her grandparents love the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mormons) and can’t contain themselves when given an opportunity to proselytize. I tolerate their rantings because I, too, adore them and I am comfortably secure in my agnostic cocoon. Chloe, on the other hand, will follow them to the end of the world if given a chance. Most six-year-olds do not hold the power of critical thinking.

I gave in. Sure, go ahead (maybe I’ll get laid this morning). Instead I gardened and George slept blissfully, unaware of what terror we were to face that day and for many days later.

In a matter of three hours, my delightful child had been brainwashed. Doubtful that the kindly primary teacher could wield such power, I was convinced that throughout Sacrament meeting, Primary opening exercises and the rides to and from Church, her grandparents were giving Chloe a crash course on the Gospel. She came home bouncing off the walls from the sugar she’d been consuming and a newfound knowledge of Christ.

“Mom, Mom,” she breathlessly declared, “I know about God and they talked about Jesus and look at this picture I drew… it says Jesus loves me backwards and if I put my face in this hole and look at the mirror it’s talking about me and I need some scriptures because I’m supposed to have scriptures at church and LOOK, I got this HUGE bag of CANDY.” Whew.

Okay kid, accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and have some candy.

George tried to balance her overzealousness on a level that she could understand. “Chloe, do you know how you like to play with your disappear friends (that’s how Chloe refers to anything make believe)? Jesus is Grandpa and Grandma’s special disappear friend. In fact, he’s many people’s special disappear friend.”

“Oh.” She exclaimed as she thoughtfully nodded her head.

Now eat your candy.