20 January 2009

Our Patchwork Heritage

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

(The above image is one of dozens I shot today as my college campus packed itself around television sets, streaming video feeds, and radios to celebrate the end of a very long and shameful 233 years. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.)

16 January 2009

Weather Alert: Unusually High Kitty-Knot Factor

Current temp in Three Feathers is not something I'm going to investigate numerically, but I can tell you it's a plus-two kitty-knot factor (Current kitty-knot standard of 2.5).

Kitty-knot factor is a scientifically accurate way to tell ambient air temperature without removing yourself from under the covers. Just poke your nose out and see how many household kitties are curled up on your bed. A kitty-knot is determined in increments. A full kitty-knot is achieved when said kitty is curled up so tightly you cannot tell which end is which. An extra half kitty-knot can be added if two or more kitties are twined together so as to be indistinguishable, or more than half the given kitty's body weight is draped over yours for warmth.

The kitty-knot standard is the current number of kitties in your household. My current kitty-knot standard is 2.5 due to the extremely large nature of one of the participating kitties (she's also the one with one eye, so it sort of works out even in computations).

14 January 2009


I lost a dear friend late this week, in a senseless, stupid, utterly preventable tragedy that his family and the police are still trying to sort out, and will be for many weeks to come. His only sister is one of my closest friends, and my heart reels at the thought of what Chloe and her family have lost.

Life wasn't always easy for Jake, and sometimes he made it harder than it had to be--something he and I had in common. But he had a sweet gentle soul, and a bear hug that would literally lift your feet off the ground when you were caught up in it. His giggle was contagious, and he was always finding the slapstick humour in otherwise ordinary conversations: because who the hell slips on toast?

It's unbelievable that I'm standing here speaking these words, and I can't begin to imagine the struggles his family will face as they try to make sense of what happened last night. All I know is that the world has lost something very, very special, and none of us who knew Jake will ever be the same.

All week I’ve been remembering Jake’s favourite joke, the one about Jewish people in China. He never got tired of telling me, and I never got tired of hearing it and watching him grin so wide his hair bounced when he told the punchline: “Sharom!” Which of course, is a politically incorrect version of the Hebrew word for peace. Anybody who knew Jake knows that peace is what he wanted to find in this world, more than anything else, his whole life. Last night, I wondered, as I heard his voice in my head over and over, sharom, if maybe this isn’t just a happy memory. If maybe this is Jake, trying to tell us that he’s finally found it?

Carol, Jerry, his beloved Cher, Peace.

Little brother, Sharom.

11 January 2009

A Day in the Life (with apologies to Paul)

A good while ago now, Mrs. G  invited readers to share their average day via a photoblog. First, I had to wait to get a digital camera. Second, you may have noticed by now that most of my days are in no way "average." Third, to make matters less than normal, I'm on semester break. And last, there are various points where the day itself (yesterday) veered wildly toward the absurd. And yet that t00 is, in many ways--at least for me--typical.

And so, with a modicum of explanation where needed, I present to you, Saturday, 10 January 2009 as it appeared in Three Feathers.

Lately, I've had a chest cold, so I've been applying essential oils to my chest to try to break up the worst of the crap.
Consequently, there's also a fair amount of this going on throughout the day:

(Yes, I realise I have not even peed yet. Yes, I realise this qualifies me as an addict.)

I have two cats. Only one of them likes me (though they both seem to like being fed).

Without tea, there would be darkness and chaos.

Without these, there would also be darkness and chaos. And also cancer, which is pretty redundant when you think about it.

A little morning music. Sadly, I'm not a big fan of Rhythm Revue (nothing personal, Bob).

A little light research before breakfast....

I was scheduled for my second five-miler in as many weeks, which is (I might add) the only reason I got up at dark-thirty on a Saturday. Well, that and I coughed myself practically right out of bed.

And then...

What? There's not even that much snow yet.

A change of plan requires a change of uniform.

Decision time. I have more than one syllabus to write. In fact, I have four--two identical pairs. I have been in deep denial of this since before the break. I also have some last-minute TA application stuff to fill out for various PhD programs....

...but knitting all day in the snow also holds serious temptation.....

Damn. Repsonsibility wins. To the office I go! (the office is also my bedroom, since I am currently in a house that has two other people in it.)

Yay. Lunch. I forgot to ask for lettuce, so I had to insert it later.

Meanwhile, this explains the strange noises and delectable odours coming from the kitchen while I slaved over a hot syllabus:

After lunch, it's time for a little smackerel of something. Mostly to keep my lungs from turning inside-out and ending up all over my nice, fuzzy new sweater. Fresh grated ginger, hot water, fresh lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of (aiee!) cayenne pepper. Good for what ails you. Also, my brain is full and I have hit a bump on my work upstairs and am waiting for an email reply.

Also good for what ails you. Unless what ails you is the black oil.

Speaking of a little smackerel of something....

Oh God. More snow. And more work. Back upstairs.

Don't ask why this is posted on my door. If you have to ask, you haven't met me. Or my dad.

My favourite time of day. 5:30 pm. The time when wine appears as if by magic, wherever we are in the house.

An earnest (and mostly successful) effort to finally finish the ham left over from New Year's dinner.

Except that the house is very cold.

Furnace restored, it's time to clean up.

Tea makes the world go 'round. All set up for tomorrow.

The second bottle of wine...

...it was around this point that my mother randomly referred to a certain New York Times columnist as "the variegated hamster." (and you wondered where I got it from?)

What you see here is not knitting. What you see here is unknitting. More specifically, what you see here is me taking out an entire section of a friend's baby blanket to fix an earlier fuckup. Fortunately it was a fairly minor (though very colourful) fuckup.

A Saturday night ritual. That is, of course, the Sunday New York Times crossword. I know, it's only Saturday night. Everyone should misbehave, just a little.

My toes have turned to raisins....

....and the NyQuil has kicked in.....