Monday, March 31, 2008

Plenty of Pretty Things

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all."
-Amy March, Little Women

I've been thinking to myself, "What this blog needs is a knitalong."

The Amy March Slippers Knitalong
With your glamorous and intelligent hosts, Bethro and Challoner (erm, that's my alter ego).

Coming soon to Ravelry, My Own Two Cents, and Half Soled Boots. The designer is Stephanie Dosen of tinyowlknits, and she has waved her wand of blessing over this whole enterprise.

Here's what we're going for:

This will be a fast knit, darlings - so all you people who have been longing to try knitting, or knitting socks, or knitting in the round, or a figure-eight cast on, or fiddling with ribbons, Fear Not! For Behold, I bring you a two-evening project.

You'll need some bulky weight yarn with appropriate double-pointed needles (designer says 6mm) and some ribbons. Stephanie has written up the pattern for us, and after a quick test knit by your quirky and magnanimous hosts, we will be starting the knitalong.

Watch this space, or this space, or this space, for more news.

Edit: The Ravelry group is up - you can find it here.

Note: If you are not yet a member of Ravelry I politely, but inexorably, urge you to consider it. It's likely that much of the discussion will centre around the yet-to-be-created Rav group, and you wouldn't want to miss out on any of that. If you have even a slight, desultory interest in hook and needle, you will be very happy you joined.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Prima Socka

Marina Piccola II

Pattern: Marina Piccola, by Kate Gilbert
Size: 78 stitch sock, to fit women's size 8.5-9 (UK size 5-6)
Yarn: Sock, by Sweatermaker. 80% merino, 20% nylon (I think....not sure as no ball band)
Yarn Source: Fun Knits, Quadra Island
Yarn Cost: FREE because the skein was tangled like Days of our Lives
Needles: 2.5mm Addi Turbo 100 cm long, for magic loop
Tension: 9.5 sts/inch in stockinette
Cast on: February 10, 2008
Bound off: March 29, 2008
Modifcations: Used "m1" instead of "m1 left" or "m1 right". Couldn't see much difference on such a dark yarn, and the m1 was way faster than the m1L or m1R.
Notes: I like this pattern. This is my second time through it. One thing I don't like about it is that there is no glossary given, despite the fact that this is a purchased pattern, so you are not sure exactly how she wants you to do your increases. The first time I knit it, I spent a bit of time browsing around the internet looking up different ways to "make one left' or "make one right". I wasn't happy with any of the methods, especially since I knit socks so tightly, so I eventually abandoned the directional increase in favour of a generic one.

The star toe could be explained better. The method is easy enough, but I would have liked her to be more exact about how to arrange the stitches so that the decrease lines would be in the right places. This is probably just as much my problem as hers, since I was using the magic loop method and the pattern is written for DPNs.

I LOVE the cast on that Kate calls for. You cast on more stitches than you need (114 for a 78 stitch sock), join in the round, and on the first row you k2tog, p1 all the way around. So you've decreased your extra stitches straight away, loosening up the cast on edge so there's no tightness at all, but it's also not droopy. What's hard to remember is to simply cast on at a good tension, rather than doing my "I'm-casting-on-for-a-sock-so-be-loose" thing.

The sock that results is very comfortable. It's nice and clingy, the twisted rib providing just enough stretch to be snug, without being tight.

I'm glad I have my own pair of these, but I think for my next pair I'll move on to a different pattern. Actually, I think I'll move BACK to a plain stockinette sock for my next pair. I like knitting without looking and this pattern does require your attention.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Gesture of Goodwill Toward the Planet

I'm spending tomorrow night in the dark. Care to join me?

Saturday, March 29 from 8:00 to 9:00 PM, turn off your lights for Earth Hour.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Overheard in the Family Room

(It is Em's fourth birthday today. Partied out, the kids are sprawled in front of the TV, watching a documentary.)

CHARLOTTE: Hey Em, that man just said that a baby beluga stays with his mother for two years.

EMILY [excitedly]: I could do that!

CHARLOTTE (dispassionately): You did. In fact you get to stay with your mother for LONGER than two years.


EMILY (relieved): Whew -- good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Souvenirs from the gate of heaven

At the gate of heaven little shoes they are selling
For the little barefooted angels there dwelling

Slumber my baby, slumber my baby
Slumber my baby, arru arru.

- traditional Basque lullaby (see below for original Castilian Spanish)

Saartje's Booties for Baby Hana

Pattern: Saartje's Booties
Yarn: Jager Icelandics Single-ply Sport
Yarn Source: a gift from lovely Lizbon, who bought it at Rhinebeck.
Needle: 3mm bamboo double-points
Finished size: 3" long. (Newborn to about 4 months?)
Cast on: March 16, 2008
Bound off: March 17, 2008
Buttons sewn on: March 24, 2008
I made three of these because all babies kick off their booties, but the third one was inexplicably larger than the others until my daughter said "I like dose baby shoes mummy. I twied one on but it was too snall for me." I'm including it anyway.

I tacked down one strap on each of the booties so that the mother wouldn't have to button them both every time.

This pattern was cute - nice and easy. They barely take any yarn, too, so overall they are a definite thumbs up, but getting the button placement right can be tricky. They also look better stuffed, so I filled them up with a bunch of blue cotton balls.

I think the baby's mother will have to put some cotton socks on underneath the booties, as they are a bit scratchy.

There's something so whimsical about booties. I think they've faded a bit from popularity in the last few decades, replaced by socks and little sneakers, or little leather footlets with elastic at the top. But there's a charm about making and receiving them - with their amazing tininess and their rounded edges and their plump looking toes. They just seem so suitable for little teeny babies with their warm, soft, untrodden soles.


A la puerta del cielo vendan zapatos

Para los angelitos que andan descalzos.

Duermete, niño, Duermete, niño

Duermete, niño, arru, arru

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First of the year

Log Cabin Afghan

Pattern: How to Knit a Log Cabin Square
Yarn: Naturally Tussock 10-ply, 20 balls with about 3 balls' worth left over.
Yarn Source: Fun Knits inventory counting party
Yarn Cost: FREE, baby. This was the grand prize draw. Replacement cost of the 20 balls of yarn is $11 per ball or $220.
Needle: 5.5mm bamboo circular
Cast on: December 30, 2007
Bound off: March 23, 2008
Finished size: 53" by 63" unblocked, slightly stretched
I had an overall plan for using the colours, but it didn't work out. I had to keep adjusting the colour distribution as the strips got longer and longer, therefore using more and more yardage.

I wanted a slight rectangle shape so it would go all the way from chin to feet. I doubled the width of the strips on opposite ends, twice, to end up with 10 extra inches of length.

A lot of people have remarked that this seems like an awful lot of work. You do have to cast off the entire length of each one of those strips, then later pick up along the entire cast-off length with another colour. There were a fair few ends to weave in, but not as many as one would expect. I did a bit of (sloppy, uncertain) math and figured out I bound off 928 stitches. And that means I also picked up 928 stitches. This is give or take, but basically you're looking at about a thousand stitches bound off and a thousand stitches picked up.

But you're not doing this all at once, so it's really not a problem. It's therapeutic, really, and I would absolutely make another one of these. Maybe with different colours though.

I am completely happy with this blanket. It has this amazing soporific effect on me, its weight and warmth and sheepy smell putting me straight to sleep. Luckily, Mr HalfSoledBoots thinks it's uncomfortably scratchy, so I shouldn't need to worry about him claiming it. He's more of a polar fleece guy.

It was an awful day today. Snowing when we woke up, then rainy, dark and miserable. At 2.30 I made myself a lovely boozy hot chocolate and cozied up with my blanket.
Marshmallow courtesy of Butter Baked Goods. (That marshmallow is worth $0.80, I'll have you know. [Eeesh.])

I can't believe it is the end of March and this is my first finished object post of the year. I don't really know where the time went. But Saartje's booties are lined up for an FO post, and soon I will have my Marina Piccola socks finished, so I guess I'll catch up soon enough.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Mel over at Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans brought this to my attention last week - it's a new thing called "Messy Tuesday" where we all come clean (but only in the figurative sense) about our 'unideal' homes. She posted her first Messy Tuesday today, and luckily I will never have trouble coming up with something to post on at least ONE day a week.

Just inside the front door. Note the bits of leaf and dirt, bag of thrift store donation, bike helmet, recyclable grocery bags, assorted shoes, and scuffed-up flyer.

The stereo cabinet. The perplexing thing about this mess is that it is so obviously a quick and easy clean. And yet, there it sits. (Let's conjugate that verb: It sits, it has sat, it will sit.)

The top of the cedar chest in my bedroom. Clean, folded towels (they are on about day 8 on the chest), a coin belt (day 7), crumpled discarded clothes (various vintages). At bottom left-centre you can also spot the end of another laundry basket which is full of odds and ends from a crisis clean a few weeks ago. You know the kind of thing - grab a laundry basket and run through the living room, sweeping everything off surfaces and into the basket, deposit the basket in a bedroom and shut the door, with the vague intention of sorting it all out later.

Mel says I should do something that's NOT cleaning and tell you about it, so I will go have a cookie and read some more of Time Will Darken It while the kids are watching Max and Ruby.

Man I have a great life.

Thanks Mel.

Edit: Are you guys serious? You don't think that's messy?! Okay, then what about THIS:
Floor in the corner of the bathroom. NOTE THE DIRT.
Laundry room.
Is that better?
I've got one awful picture I'm holding in abeyance, but please don't make me show you a flash photograph of the floor behind my toilet. Please.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's the first day of the week.

Last year I blew the contents out of 24 eggs and almost had an aneurysm. This year I prudently settled for twelve.

You can use a glue gun to make pretty designs on your eggs.

Just don't heat the water when dyeing them, or the glue will melt. Cold water, food colouring, and a splash of vinegar work just as well. It takes about an hour for pale colours, longer for darker (depending on how much dye you use in the pot).

Hollow eggs float, so you'll have to use a strainer or something to weigh them down and keep them under the water.

Peeling the glue off is easy and quick, just don't press hard enough to crush the eggshells.

Make sure you empty all the water out of the eggs after they are coloured, either by re-blowing them, or setting them onto dry paper towels to wick the moisture out.

Mound them in a pretty bowl or hang them on a tree with ribbon like I did last year, and celebrate resurrection.

Peace be unto you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's late. Forgive me.

My friend invited us to go swimming with her family the other day. I had planned to skip it, but unfortunately her daughter told my daughter about it and I was cornered. We were pretty pressed for time, but there's a MINIMUM of preparation necessary for public semi-nudity, if you know what I mean, and I can tell you I felt quite resentful that I had to SHAVE MY LEGS IN MARCH. It's still freaking winter, people, plus I have been using the same razor for like nine months ("not using"?) and being out of practice and on a tight schedule it's a wonder I did not end up weltering in my own blood. Then there was that eerie thing when you go to bed and you can barely feel the sheets on your legs because you're too damn smooth.


(Actually this might count as another "crap housekeeper" post. Also I should assure you that I am perfectly hygienic. Leg hair has nothing to do with hygiene.)

"Screen wipe: new scene."
-Andrew, Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6:4

Because I know you're all chewing on your fingernails wondering about my knitting, the Log Cabin afghan was about three hours from finishing, but the needle broke. I just got a replacement tonight. Then there are the ends to weave in, and with luck and good management (ha!) I should have the FO post for you by the end of the week.

The Marina Piccola socks were kind of neglected for a couple of weeks, but I have picked them up again and am determined to finish by Tuesday. I am almost through the heel flap, so it'll get quicker from here onwards, as the sole stitches are in plain stockinette.

I have lost one of the booties for my sister's friend, and have knit another but - TRAGICALLY - they are not exactly the same size. Why this should be, I don't know. I think I will block the small one and stretch it out, and then I will sew buttons on them and send them off. Besides, if she wants two booties exactly the same, she can no doubt find those at China-Mart. (I am being brusque and dismissive to cover up my feelings of chagrin and disappointment.)

By the way, I should ask. I have been noticing there is more Life and less Knitting happening here lately. Is that okay with you guys?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Cautionary Tale

Four things I've learned from being a crap housekeeper.

  1. Boil the potatoes long enough, you barely have to mash them at all. Straining can be a problem though.

  2. Before you attempt to open and scrape out that forgotten Tupperware whose lid is bulging from the noxious gasses within, freeze it until garbage day.

  3. If people come over and you want to make them think you have been cleaning, turn the dryer on. It sounds very productive.

  4. If people DO come over, your oven will hold A LOT of dirty dishes. Just don't forget they're in there.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go find out what that smell in the fridge is.

Proof of Life

This one's for you, Dave.

Just in case you thought the candy store thing was a hoax.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Someone’s in the kitchen with Dyyye-NAH.

We went for a drive today. We went here and here and stopped to walk around here for a bit. On the way there I did one of these, and on the way back I did the other one.

Above was the post I originally wrote. I think I was going for succinct (though links would have been provided) but ended up just sounding tired and thought I should rework it.

I've been working in the garden, meditating on the teachings of St Alsatius, watching Buffy by night, and planning my spring knitting. Things calmed down a bit in the last few days but right now my oldest daughter has an attitude that would curl your liver. I thought we're about 9 years early for this kind of crap, but apparently 6 year olds are known for it. So I will trudge on, hoping desperately that it's a phase that will pass, and in the meantime flexing my disciplinarian muscles. I have developed several strategies for causing her various degrees of pain and anguish depending on the severity of the offense, so as to avoid having to come up with something on the spur of the moment and, as likely as not, ending up either yelling at her until we both burst into tears (been there, done that, resolved never to go back, but went back so many times I ended up with a frequent customer punch card) or taking away all her toys FOREVER.

By the way, GREAT sentence structure there.

So we are dealing with the six year old. Then there's the saintly almost-4 year old, who has cultivated this lovely nice-as-pie expression which she uses as she's cooing to me "Whatever you say Mummy". She might as well just say "I'm the good daughter" because that's exactly what she means. She puts on this toddlerised smile and cavorts around, pretending to be all innocent and daisy-chain-making, and though she's not fooling me, her poor sister grinds her teeth into a fine grit watching this display of disingenuousness.

Anyway, between the two of them I feel like my mental faculties are always on the brink of mutiny. One of these days I will answer the door wearing a tinfoil hat, playing a paper banjo and chewing on my own hair.

So, this drive. We went to look at the teensy doggies!! And may I say, they have NO RIGHT to be that cute. They wooed me. They chewed on my fingers and lost their footing on my lap and fell asleep with their noses in the crook of my elbow. They did not wee on my jeans (no doubt they've planned that for later).

We left my daughter's cotton rag quilt with the breeder. She will put it into the puppies' kennel for the next month and on April 20, we can go pick up puppy and blankie and bring them both home. It was tricky talking to her and bringing the blanket in and whatnot without alerting my children to our plans (as far as they knew, this was just a friend of ours that offered to let us look at her puppies), but they were luckily absorbed enough in the dogs that they weren't listening too closely to the adults. I didn't manage to get any pictures for you, but there will be plenty after April 20.

On the way to and from, I did this:

This picture makes it look like the baby is half Lilliputian and half Brobdingnagian. I assure you the booties are not so disparate in size as they appear.

Isn't this yarn scrumptious? It's the beautiful Icelandic "Tinkerbell's Wings" colourway that darling Lizbon sent me from Rhinebeck.

We stopped at a place called "Coombs Country Candy and Creamery". I saw the billboard announcing it, then there was one of those highway signs, or whatever, saying "Artisan – Candy". Sounds promising, doesn't it? Well, it was okay, but not fantastic. They were playing this really loud music so you had to almost shout to make yourself heard by the (vacant, barely-civil) girl behind the counter.* But they had a sale where you could get three slabs of fudge for $11. So we got chocolate peanut butter, vanilla, and maple walnut.

The kids wanted an all-day sucker but I'm not such a chump.

We also stopped here. Enjoy the photos (click to embiggen), as well as your first ever (sideways, blurry, distant) glimpse of Mr HSBoots' handsome visage. I have used him as scale for the root system of one of the "Fallen Forest Giants" we passed. (So dubbed by the Forest Service, or maybe Environment, Lands and Parks, or maybe just the dude who writes the text for the nifty signs.)

Boy it's dark in there under the canopy.

This tree is practically roaring "Clumsy Ox come home!"

Where's Waldo?

Too bad I can't provide scale for this fallen tree. I can only tell you it is HUGE. Like, I don't know, maybe a hundred or so meters long? Dunno. HUGE.


"...opened the forest". I like that.

I'll be back soonish. I just realized tomorrow is Monday, and if I can dredge up a book review I'll post it. I'm sure you'll understand if I don't get around to it though….I might be busy cutting out my banjo.

*Note: I have bad luck with these candy-counter girls, don't I?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How has your day been so far?

0105 - The kids finally stop coughing

0130 - I look at the clock and think "I'll just finish this row before I go to bed."

0135 - Row finished, I turn off Buffy Season 5 and go to bed

0152 - Emily, clutching a WebKinz, comes into bed with Mr HSB and me

0210 - I tell Emily to please lie still and go to sleep

0220 - I tell her to please lie still AGAIN. She complains of a headache. Mr HSBoots takes his pillow and alarm clock and goes somewhere else.

0245 - Emily is holding her ear and crying "I want to go to the doctor."

0308 - We check into the ER

0320 - DOCTOR, TO ME: That ear's red - here's a 'script.
TO EMILY: You were such a good girl! Do you want an early birthday present? I have a wind-up dancing frog for you.

0345 - back at home, back in bed.

0420 - I beg Emily to please please lie still and go to sleep

0447 - Emily goes to sleep

0502 - I look at the clock for the last time

0715 - Charlotte wakes me up. I tell her she can go on the computer for a bit. I try to go back to sleep.

0722 - Charlotte starts to cry because the mouse won't move. Em wakes up. I consider suicide.

0930 - I phone my sister instead

0945 - the kids start fighting

0955 - the kids are crying

1015 - I hang up the phone

1020 - CHARLOTTE, SOBBING: I feel like you're a bad mother. I feel like I don't want to live with you any more. I feel like you make everything my fault.

1025 - EMILY, SOBBING: You don't love me mummy and I'm moving away and I'm never going to live with you again or play tea party with you again. Mummy pick me up I need a snuggle.

1045 - I decide to post to let you all know you may never hear from me again. Because it's all just too much for me.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

And they say homeschoolers are lazy.

So just to give you an example of what the BC government wants to know (i.e., wants me to demonstrate on paper) about the effectiveness of my daughter's education, get an eyeful of this. These are just a few outcomes, by the way, in one area (of 12) of one subject - specifically, Language Arts: Writing and Responding, Purposes. (There are other outcomes in this area, and twelve areas in the subject. And there are eight subjects.)

create imaginative writing and representations, often modelled on those they have read, heard, or viewed, featuring - ideas represented through sentences and images that generally connect to a topic - developing sentence fluency by using simple sentences, dialogue, phrases, and poetic language - developing word choice by attempting to use new and descriptive words - developing voice by showing some evidence of individuality - an organization that generally follows a form presented or modelled by the teacher; stories include a beginning, middle, and end

create straightforward informational writing and representations, using prompts to elicit ideas and knowledge, featuring - ideas represented through words, sentences, and images that connect to a topic - developing sentence fluency by using simple sentences, patterns, labels, and captions - developing word choice by beginning to use content-specific vocabulary and some detail - developing voice by showing how they think and feel about a topic - an organization that follows a form modelled by the teacher, such as a list, web, chart, cluster, or other graphic organizer

create straightforward personal writing and representations that express simple ideas, feelings, likes, and dislikes, featuring - ideas represented through words, sentences, and images that connect to a topic - developing sentence fluency by using simple sentences that relate to each other - developing word choice by attempting to use descriptive words and interesting details - developing voice by showing some evidence of individuality - an organization that follows a form or text presented or modelled by the teacher, such as a list, card, or letter

Okay, first of all? Judging by the criteria above, the asshats who wrote these outcomes don't even have a Grade One education, because to finish Grade One you apparently have to have "sentence fluency", and use "straightforward information writing". Neither of those things are apparent in the outcomes as listed above: therefore, or as they used to say back in Clearihue B, quod erat demonstrandum, they must not have finished Grade One.

Second, SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME. My brain hurts from devising worksheets targetted at satisfying multiple outcomes for eight subjects. I've been at it all day, and off-and-on for the last three days, on very little sleep. My little one is sick and is spending half the night coughing and whimpering.

Third, want to see what I had for dinner last night? (Mr HalfsoledBoots had Mini Wheats and the kids had homemade macaroni and cheese.)

I firmly believe there is no trouble so great that it cannot be helped - however slightly - by a piccolo of Henckell. The cool round grapes, Saltspring Island garlic-rosemary chevre, roasted onion & garlic jam, and fresh baguette didn't hurt either.

Anyway, back to being the principal, the teacher, the janitor, the librarian, the burly woman with a whistle who runs PE, the school nurse, the Board, and the Parent Advisory Council. See you on the other side.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

'Cause there's nothing like a snap decision.

I haven't had much time to knit, and I won't have time to either knit OR blog very much in the next week. It's portfolio time and by Friday (Monday latest) I have to have a binder full of Charlotte's work samples for her contact teacher to mark. This means I have to spend this week creating sample-appropriate worksheets for her to fill out. It's basically review -- hoop-jumping.

But look what exciting thing is (maybe, probably, almost-certainly) going to be happening in our house next month:


plus B

equals C (where "C" is for "cute")

Any tips? It'll be my first time with one of these. I'm a cat person, usually, but I met one of these and he about knocked me over with the loveliness. Very gentle. Anyway, I fell in love and now I think we are committed to a long-term relationship.

They a'n't cheap but I reckon the old adage "you get what you pay for" is useful here. Advice? Warnings? Plotzing? Let fly.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Odysseus and Telemachus Snuff the Maids

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots
Volume 2 Number 3

Sometimes I love Margaret Atwood, and sometimes I loathe her. Kind of like how I feel about Madonna. Like or not, though, it must be admitted that she has a way with words.

The Penelopiad is hyped as a retelling of the Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope, Odysseus' wife, a model of constancy and longsuffering. The reality is a bit different, though: the book is less a retelling and more a criticism. It's a revisionist biography of a rather conceited woman left alone, weaving an eternal shroud not so much out of cleverness itself, as out of the idea of her cleverness.

Atwood is a feminist - that's not news. What's unfortunate is that the baby has obviously been chucked straight out with the bathwater. Atwood's Penelope, stripped of the virtues with which Homer imbues her, doesn't even seem to love Odysseus. She's bored, and wants him back, but her main concern seems to be that she wants to be rescued from the suitors' depradations to her home and wealth. This is an ironic theme for a feminist writer to take.

It seems the character of Penelope was not really enough to keep Atwood interested. She has expanded her focus to include the twelve maids that Telemachus and Odysseus killed along with the suitors on their return to Ithaca. In fact, Atwood is so concerned with these maids and the motivation for their murder that she uses them as a classical chorus for the narrative. Amusingly, the chorus is a quirky blend of epic-style commentary and vaudeville chorus-line, sometimes reciting grave poetry and sometimes kicking their heels and singing

Here's a health to our Captain, so gallant and free,

Whether stuck on a rock or asleep 'neath a tree,

Or rolled in the arms of some nymph of the sea,

Which is where we would all like to be, man!

It's all wonderfully demented.

A few of the characters are well-drawn, if clearly caricatured. The maids are bland, on the whole, although Atwood gives them some lovely bits of poetry to say in their chorus-lines. Some of the old women are hilarious, and I quite enjoyed the scenes set in the afterlife, where Penelope now is and from whence she narrates the story.

The book is short. Huge chunks of time fall away unnoticed - twenty years pass in what seems like just a few pages. The character of Penelope really doesn't change at all throughout the book, except for early transitions from childhood to adulthood, and the development of a certain cynicism shortly after her marriage. It's too bad, because I feel that something remarkable could have been done with the story if the author had taken the time to flesh it out - dig a little deeper.

I was disappointed with Atwood's feminism in this book. I found it a little dated. I thought to myself at several points, "She hasn't come very far from her Handmaid's Tale days, has she?" I admit, though, that Chapter xxv - which acts as, but is not situated appropriately to actually be an epilogue - is genius: "The Chorus Line: An Anthropology Lecture presented by The Maids". It's interesting and funny, sarcastic and faintly outraged, rather like The Mists of Avalon on speed.

Thus possibly our rape and subsequent hanging represent the overthrow of a matrilineal moon-cult by an incoming group of usurping patriarchal father-god-worshipping barbarians.

Overall, this book felt rushed, and afterthought-ish. It is part of the Canongate Myth Series, a project focussed on rewriting ancient myths from a modern perspective, and my impression was that Atwood was simply getting her part of the job done.

As I said, I either love her books or loathe them. I marvel that one author can consistently polarise my reaction to her work, and I give her credit for having the ability to incite either my wholehearted admiration or my unmitigated disgust. In this case, I think I'll have to invent a new category. I guess you could call this category Unmet Potential, or Is Your Horse-flogging Arm Getting Tired, Margaret?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Paint and Teeth - find the commonality.

# 5

When I was very small, we went to a rather terrifying dentist who masqueraded as a jolly grandpa type. His office was all painted like Winnie the Pooh (and this was in the 1970's, so it was old-style WtP) with a beautiful tree all up one corner and spreading over the ceiling, and the characters painted here and there over the walls and doors. The waiting room was kind of circular, and the three exam room doors - of the spring-hinge variety, so they stayed closed - opened off the circle. The three doors were painted with Pooh characters on the bottoms - along with grass, flowers, squirrels and other pastoral animals meant to soothe - and with huge numbers in orange on the tops. There were also big bronze dots, about 12 inches across, sort of randomly painted all over them. You got called in to one of these three doors when your moment of reckoning arrived.

I'm 34 years old, and to this bloody day whenever anyone makes some remark like "what's behind door number three?" or "and behind door number two we have..." my stomach clenches in fear just a little bit.