Sunday, February 28, 2010


I totally agree with my mom, who commented that the last post needed a picture. I don't have one, but when she wears it again - and we know that she will - I will take one of her in "the outfit" and post it.

In the mean time, here is her completely matching play outfit.

There are more pictures! Today felt like spring, and we were all outside in the back yard. Humans, cats, and chickens; the usual melange of characters.

I cleaned the laundry room, and so had the back door open to let in all the fresh air. The girl, chickens, and cats were taking advantage of the new shoots of grass and warm sunshine, depending upon their liking. Some were taking advantage of one another's snuggle factor. Especially her.

This is our biggest hen, Professor. She was not named after anyone in particular from history, she looked as though she could sport a pair of glasses and give a lecture about Boudicca, queen of the East Anglian Icenis. I guess.

History Professor!

Sunshine Kitty sez, "dont blok mai rayz, and meybe I wont poop on ur flor..."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Blog

My daughter dressed herself this morning. After all, she's nine and quite capable. She likes patterns, and so she paired a patterned shirt with a completely differently-patterned skirt, and even more differently-patterned tights.

After taking her to school in her outfit loud enough that it could announce its own arrival, I came home and read about another mom's decisive daughter.

Like her, I also felt like pinning a note to OC to explain the colorful outfit, thereby absolving myself of responsibility and still being a "good mom". But I was also proud of my daughter for doing exactly what she liked and feeling good about herself. I like that more than I cared about precise outfit coordination at age 9.

In the same post, it was this sentence that struck most deeply: "I want to bottle my little girl’s belief in herself and give it back to her by the pint when she hits sixteen."

--- Jessica, at Balancing Everything

Too often we are concerned with how we look rather than what it all means. There is a time and a place to look "acceptable", of course. But when our children go through stages of trying out their own thing, it's good to remember that it is good for them. Do not crush this tendency, for one day it will translate well when, for example, their own thing will be to come home and do their homework instead of hanging out in front of a convenience store with their friends.

Rejoice in all-patterned outfits! They're not so bad.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Living With a Knitter Means Never Getting Cold

In addition to the socks for OC, I have several other projects on the needles.

I like it when there are about three projects going at once. Generally, they are in different stages of production and require varying degrees of attention. This way, I have something I can knit while watching tv or carrying on a conversation, and something to travel with, and something that requires concentration.

OC is fun to knit for, not only because she is adorable but because she is so excited to have new things. Bonus: she is smaller than an adult, and so the projects for her knit up quickly.

OC picked out the colors for this cotton jumper for summer:

It will be knit in halves, then sewn together. I think the colors will suit her wonderfully.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

There's a Learning Moment Here Somewhere

Generally, this is not the most glorious of things to wake up in the morning and find in your laundry room:

Since it happened back in September, I can laugh about it. A little.

The bag of cat food sat atop the washing machine, its flat surface making a lovely storage area. Except when the machine developed a mind of its own and decided to shirk its encumbrances. Cat food bag, KAPOW!

This knitting thing is sticking with me, because the sock is finished. The last of the in-progress pictures:

I have started the other sock. Four inches into the leg ribbing have gone quickly, as other knitters told me it would. Now if only the child would stop growing so she can wear these hand-knit items forever.....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Little Red Hen

This is OC and Boadicea.

Boudicca (also spelled Boadicea, Boudica) was the wife of King Prasutagus of the Celtic Iceni of East Anglia. She led a famous revolt against Roman rule in Britain in AD 60.

The Romans invaded England in AD 43. Unless the native population recognized the advantage of being part of the Empire, there could be no political security, and their interests, if not with Rome, would be with themselves. This principle of governance apparently was not appreciated by the procurator, who, as the chief financial administrator of the province, treated the inhabitants, instead, as a defeated enemy.

Tacitus recounts the complaints of the Iceni: the governor tyrannized their persons; the procurator, their possessions. "Their gangs of centurions or slaves, as the case may be, mingle violence and insult. Nothing is any longer safe from their greed and lust. In war it is the braver who takes the spoil; as things stand with us, it is mostly cowards and shirkers that rob our homes, kidnap our children and conscript our men."

Even the royal house of the Iceni was not immune. When the king died, the client relationship with Rome and status of the tribe as civitates peregrinae (Roman subjects, but not full Roman citizens) ended. Still, half the kingdom was left to Nero in the hope that the remaining possessions could thereby be preserved for his two daughters.

From Tacitus' Annals:
"Kingdom and household alike were plundered like prizes of war, the one by Roman officers, the other by Roman slaves. As a beginning, his widow Boudicca was flogged and their daughters raped. The Icenian chiefs were deprived of their hereditary estates as if the Romans had been given the whole country. The king's own relatives were treated like slaves."

Boudicca rebelled, and was joined by other tribes against the Roman army in the area at the time. The Roman soldiers took refuge in the temple (of Claudius), but after two days, it fell. Legio IX, understrength and marching south from its camp at Longthorpe some eighty miles away was ambushed and defeated. The procurator fled to Gaul, and Boudica marched on Londinium (London). As Tacitus records,

"Neither before nor since has Britain ever been in a more uneasy or dangerous state. Veterans were butchered, colonies burned to the ground, armies isolated. We had to fight for our lives before we could think of victory."

With her daughters in front of her, Boudica drove her chariot among the tribes, shouting encouragement as the assembled Britons, compressed in the defile, struggled to come onto open ground. The Romans waited, hurled their javelins, and then shouldered their way forward in wedge formation, hacking their way through the throng.

Later, the governor of Brittania, Suetonius Paullinus, lead a force that defeated the rebels. Lots of people died, end of local rebellion. It is thought that Boudica poisoned herself.

---- various articles, web

And so, we bestowed the honorous name to our biggest little red hen, who hopefully will have an easier life than her namesake.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Occidental Tourist Discusses Hair

My hair has gone several shades of ginger.

I've actually had it this way for a while, and no one noticed. Not even my mom. Cipher in the snow, much? I'm not crying, I did this for me. And if you don't notice my pretty new hair, well, then I'll take pictures and write about it until there are compliments.

If no compliments, then I'll talk about the weather and things will be back to d'habitude here at tourist central.

The red is really not that big a deal. My hair was never one shade to begin with, but it did start out a nice blonde color. Over the years it has gotten darker, much to my horror. Someone mentioned years ago that I should try red and I laughed at the time, happy instead to stick with light blonde highlights to keep up the charade that no, nothing has changed. Same old hair as always!


Fireplace Kitteh (or, Dakota) pays you no mind. When you want to talk about things like how this week's turkey and salmon wet food is being received, then kitteh will look you in the eye. If you are lucky.

Also, someone should really clean the hearth. At least do a quick dust before taking pictures. Good grief. My mom will think I never clean this place.

OC has the same color hair that I had, so you can see it's a lovely mix of shades. Nice self-directed compliment...that was unintended but notice I'm not deleting it?

Sable likes it when you read to him. He thinks his hair is the prettiest of all.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Water and Webcams

Central Oregon is a high desert, and I carry water with me everywhere I go. I have an exaggerated fear of dehydration.

When I drive between Redmond and Bend, there are no gas stations or public areas. It is 15 miles of wilderness! What would happen if your car broke down in the summer? Think about it.

In town, it doesn't feel the same way. There are trees, lawns, and buildings, so there must be water. But the highways and open areas....those are deathtraps.

That's why it is interesting to me that, just as one could get lost in the sagebrush, it's possible in any environment.

I wonder, are there webcams in the Badlands?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Knitting Shapes

I've turned the heel on my first sock. Forget about wondering what the purpose of life is. That is nothing compared to the magic that is turning the heel. It blows my mind that someone came up with a sock pattern in the first place.

Whoever did so was a really smart lady. I assume is was a woman, anyhow.

You are looking at the sock from the underside. That triangle shape is where the heel will fit.

The foot is not the most straightforward of body parts. You want a blanket? Knit a rectangle, and there you go! Warm. How about a sweater? Two rectangles plus tubey things with decreasing, boom! Warm. But a sock...

...that's an odd shape. What you start with (in this case) is a tube for the ankle. When you reach the heel, you have to knit straight down in a kind of wall called a heel flap. Then, you form a triangle for the heel. Once you get a certain number of rows, you pick up stitches and knit in the round, while simultaneously decreasing. Simple!

It doesn't sound simple, but when you're doing it, it is.

Superradioactive ultrawhite thumb highlight: