Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Their First Christmas Pageant

The Christmas pageant at our new church is always on Christmas Eve. I call it our new church although we've been going there since Sadie was able to walk. Apparently it still has that new church smell. For me anyway. Anyway, because of the timing of the Christmas show, our kids have always missed it, until this year.

Benny was the lead shepherd. What separates a lead shepherd from a regular shepherd? Well, you get to lead the procession of shepherds, for one thing, and he had a much longer crook. So, I will leave you to interpret that for yourself. Here he is responding to the prompt: "Look like a shepherd!"

Sadie was a little angel. When she processed in, along with a whole gaggle of other little angels, all with their arms up and looking all holy and perfect, I cried. She was so cute.

Here's a picture of the pageant in progress. Not a great image, since it was taken from my phone, but you get the idea. Joy to the world, etc.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Three Very Special Christmas Conversations


Me: I feel kind of bad that I don't bake or have traditional meals or anything at Christmas time.
Dan: Well, that's okay. No one minds or expects you to.
Me: I still feel guilty.
Dan: Think about it though -- how often have your really been here at Christmastime when you weren't too pregnant to be alive anyway.
Me: You're right! That's right! I'm never here at Christmas time! I am completely absolved!
Dan: Yay!
Me: Gee, honey, you could have gotten something homemade out of me on that one. You really played that wrong!
Dan: Did I?


Sadie: This is pink puppy! She's the strongest of all the dogs! She eats bullets! And guns! And monkey meat and kangaroo meat! And then, most furiously, CHEETAH MEAT!


Me: We have to take toilet paper upstairs when we go to bed. There's none in our bathroom.
Dan: Well we don't *have* to.
Me: Oh really? What are our other options?
Dan: We could just scoot around on the rug.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Nut has been Crackered

Benny and Sadie had their dance performance on Saturday. It was insane.

The image above was taken by Andi Grant (of the amazing Andi Grant Photography) and shows them wearing their "Drosselmeier and Doll" outfits. Benny was the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeier and Sadie was the ballerina doll that he gives to Clara as a present. We weren't allowed to videotape the show, but here's a video of them doing it at a local nursing home:

Here's Sadie hanging out backstage in her doll outfit:

And Benny hanging out with the boys' tap class, playing Nintendo:

Sadie had her number with her little girl class. They were the mice that come in after Clara falls asleep on the sofa next to the Christmas tree. They come in and do a little mousey dance and then when the bells chime midnight they go into the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song. It was very cute and there was a bit with red garland-covered hula hoops.

Here are the mice:

Here's a clip of the mice performing at the nursing home. There were only three of the girls at this performance but it'll give you an idea:

Here's a picture of the mice after the show:

But who's that guy with the mice? The guy in the white jumpsuit? That's Benny, bringing back his role as Elvis. This time he sang and tap-danced to "Santa Claus is Back in Town" and brought the house down.

The children loved the performance. I didn't get to watch -- I was backstage losing my mind with costume changes and mania. I love, love, love their Drosselmeier and Doll dance, especially Sadie's extended passe and their lift at the end. I wish I had been able to watch that, but at least Dan and Ahno did. I did get to sneak around to the house side and watch Benny's Elvis though. It was pretty spectacular.

Those children really know how to entertain and exhaust a loving parent.

Note: Andi Grant is an exceptionally gifted photographer. I couldn't believe the really excellent shots she got of Benny and Sadie when she brought her studio to the dance studio and set up. She was sweet to the children, fast on the shutter button, and a dream to work with. To see all the pictures she took of Benny and Sadie, go to her Art of Dance gallery page, click on "Dross and Doll." The password is doll. Thank you Andi Grant for your amazing dance photography.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Homeschool Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser is a show on NBC where overweight people compete to lose weight over a course of three months of diet and exercise. Each week they weigh in and compare their weight loss as a percentage of their total weight. There are benefits to winning the “weigh in” each week, and then the winner at the end gets a large sum of money. All over the country, groups of friends, co-workers, and neighbors form their own “Biggest Loser” groups, combining public accountability with friendly competition to motivate them to lose weight.

I am organizing a group like this, locally, for homeschooling moms/dads/grandmas/whatever and you are invited to join us.

Are you happy with your jeans size, your resting pulse, and your energy level? Then I salute you. If you’re not, then you and I have something in common. We’re not as skinny as we’d like, as healthy as we’d like, as active as we’d like, but basically we’re happy with life and it’s not that much of a priority to get fit. I’d like to lose forty pounds, but my weight isn’t an urgent issue for me. Most of my clothes fit, I manage to struggle around, and my husband likes me alright. I suffer from a lack of motivation, but as soon as competition is introduced, I am suddenly motivated.

We start January 1 and go for 12 weeks. So, the first official week ends on January 8 and the last ends on March 26. This is for locals in Hampton Roads only - sorry!

You weigh in each week on the same day with at least one other person. The aspect of public accountability is key to the “Biggest Loser” concept. You can sign up with a buddy or you can have a designated weigh-in person. That person reports your weight to our super secret data collector (Shez, who is not participating) and it gets put into the tabulation device (an Excel spreadsheet) and at the end of every Thursday, she will announce who lost the biggest percent of their total weight. If you’re switching the day you weigh, or if you don’t weigh in with someone else in a given week, you forego your chance to win that week’s prize but from then on you’re back in the contest. You could theoretically report one weight at the beginning and another one at the end and still win, if you have lost the biggest percentage of your starting weight.

The “buy-in” is two ten dollar bills which you put in the communal “pot” when you sign up. Each week the winner for that week gets one ten dollar bill. At the end of the 12 weeks the overall winner gets the $120 that’s left in the pot. This is assuming we get 12 people. If we get more, there will be more left in the pot. Or we may up the weekly winning, depending on what everybody wants once we get rolling. Shez will be operating the "pot" also, so you'll need to get your two tens to her at some point before January 1.

Everyone has to continue to love each other dearly.

Did I leave anything out? Do you have any questions? It’s late, and I’ve been formulating my plan to lose weight. It involves the Wii fit, a required number of tomatoes per day, and dog-walking.

If this contest sounds awful to you, I totally understand. Maybe it’s completely backward and wrong to combine money and competition with health and wellness. However, if this sounds like something that might be fun, might get you into an exercise routine or a healthier diet, then you are welcome to join us.

What do you think? Any takers? We have 7 members so far, and we have just launched a community on Ning where we can share photos, reports of celery consumption, whines about exercise, and keep track of weekly winners and fun events. You can see that here:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to Make a Sweater from Scratch

First, purchase six skeins of a yarn that's cursed with the insidious, unbearable, name "Softee." Purchase it because it is $2/skein at Michael's. Think, "I will make a prayer shawl out of this." Any chunky yarn will actually do. It doesn't have to have a title that makes you want to hack off your head with a rusty saw.

Cast on 62 stitches on size 9 needles. Begin knitting a ribbed pattern, knit 2 purl 2 etc, for ten rows.

Begin faux cabling, using a very fancy sneaky non-cabley cable recipe that you learned by creepily staring at Colyn while she was knitting. If you don't know Colyn, you can spookily leer at any knitter who's doing a stitch you admire. If they look at you suspiciously, compliment their glasses. That always works.

Cable for a while.

You should at some point in the first 30 rows gasp and realize that due to the scrunched-upness of the cabling and ribbing, this prayer shawl will be only wide enough to wrap up some kind of sad terrier.


Decide that what it really was all along was the front of a sweater for your four-year-old daughter.


After you've knit until the bottom of the sweater comes to your daughter's hips when the top of the sweater is at her armpits, cast off 5 on both sides and switch to your second color.

Continue until the top of the white is at your daughter's neck when the bottom is at her armpit, then cast off all but three repeats of the cabling thingy, and continue making a little asymmetrical tab thingy on *one side of the sweater only.*

Make a duplicate for the back. Now when you put these two things together, the little tab thingy will be on opposite sides, will form a shoulder, and you can stitch them together. See, this is the shape:

After you've got two of those thingies and you've put them together at the sides and shoulder, it's time to start panicking about the sleeves. Make a complicated plan. Confuse yourself. Live for days in inner turmoil.

This is a good time to hang out with some experienced and intelligent knitters. You might want to clutch at your head periodically and loudly say, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO ABOUT THESE SLEEVES! MY MY!" Hopefully someone will stop you from knitting and tearing out mysteriously shaped sleeve pieces which you intend to set in, and say, "Just pick up the stitches around the arm hole." In my case it was Deva.

Pick up the stitches around the armhole on size 6 double pointed needles. Celebrate! Rejoice! For me it was about 40 stitches. Continue knitting stockinette in the round until when you put the garment on your daughter she says it is almost the right length. Then switch to ribbing for 10 rows.

Do the other sleeve.

Put the sweater on your daughter. She will say that it needs something. Something like pink flowers.

Decide that pink flowers can be stapled onto the front of the sweater like an afterthought. Crochet some little flowers in a similar yarn. Sew them onto the front of the sweater with the flower color yarn -- I recommend sewing down all the petals.

Now pick up the stitches around the neck and knit some ribbing until your daughter proclaims "IT'S CHOKING ME!" Tear out a couple of rows, and cast off.

You're done!

Disclaimer: I am an idiot who has no idea how to make a sweater. I was helped along by extremely generous and smart knitters who saved me from making stupid mistakes. Your mileage may vary!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bach Festival 2008: Suzuki Violin Performance

Benny played with other students from the Academy of Music and Suzuki students from around Hampton Roads, at the Bach Festival, hosted by the Chrysler Museum. Here are a few pictures and videos. It was incredibly wonderful for Benny to have a chance to play with older children, and he really rose to the occasion. Definitely best ever effort at listening, following, and getting into step with the other kids. Seeing him play the Bach Double was very moving for me. I was very proud of him. He has worked very hard, and he also has a beautiful talent. And I love him.

A beautiful setting:

Serious artists:


And Bach:

Monday, December 01, 2008

Trip to Humandales

Ahno takes her Chihuahuas to a groomer to get bathed and manicured. We take Leroy there too, occasionally, if he's gotten unmanageably vile in the back yard or if he's got something unmentionable to be done to his hind end. Something that involves glands and squeezing. You know what I'm talking about. It's one of those things I will happily pay someone to do for him. The grooming place we like is called Groomingdales.

Ahno also goes to a nail salon occasionally for a mani-pedi, and the kids call this place Humandales.

For a while, Sadie has longed to go to Humandales to get her nails done. I don't know if she had a clear idea what would actually happen there, but she was deeply intrigued by the concept, and drawn to the experience like a thirsty gazelle to a desert oasis. That is to say: powerfully.

So, recently since the old techniques involving waving rusty saws and shouting broad threats of public school were wearing a little thin, and the children were dragging their heels on school stuff, I instituted a new motivational technique. I am always looking for ways to shift the accountability onto the children, so that instead of me saying "These are the things we need to get done today!" I can now say "If you want your star for the day, you must do X, Y, Z. Do these things, or don't do them, at your leisure, but until the star is on the chart, there is no electronic device in the house that will function."

As an added bonus reward (since I've recently been enlightened on the point that using rewards with children is pretty much just as awful as using the rusty saw, I want to really ass it up to the max) I told them that if they have five stars for the week, then on the weekend they will experience something special. Maybe a movie, maybe bowling, maybe... a manicure. So a couple weeks ago Benny had not managed to accumulate five stars, but Sadie had, so we went to Humandales and had a manicure together.

Here are some pictures:

Picking a color.

Many choices.

Waiting her turn.

Clutching her colors.

During her manicure and pedicure (they did a child-friendly version that didn't involve cuticle cutting or anything, just lotion and polish) she was almost completely silent. She answered questions the lady put to her, but only minimally. Everyone in the shop was amazed and impressed at how un-wiggly she was, how much she was concentrating. I was almost worried she wasn't enjoying it, that it was scaring her or disappointing her somehow. Afterward she was exhausted, and almost went to sleep while waiting for her toes to dry.

I asked her, when we were leaving, "Baby, did you like it?"

She clutched my neck as I put her in the carseat and whispered, urgently, "I loved it."

I realized then that she'd had a profound pink-related experience, and that it *did* take a lot out of her! She enjoyed her manicure to the max, and was very sad when we had to take off the polish a week later for ballet pictures. I can see that this is the beginning of a lifelong habit. And more importantly, it is a very powerful bribe!

For the benefit of locals, I went to Chic Nails on 22nd. Very cheery, fun, low impact procedure for the tiny person, and at $10 for fingers and toes, who can argue with the price? My manicure involved the full treatment with cutting and slicing and scraping and all of that, and was only $13. I recommend. Do not expect aromatherapy and candles and murals on the wall and potted palms. However, they did take care of my little princess gloriously.

Book Arts Bash Results

We don't have them all. But we do have some. And we decided to share those that we do have, while we wait for a few judges to come back with their choices. So click here to visit the Book Arts Bash web site, and discover the poetry winners and the multimedia winners. Congratulations to those the judges chose, and thank you to all our finalists, who are amazingly brave and talented.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Homeschooled Wandmaker

Nick is a homeschooled preteen who makes hand-turned mahogany wands and sells them in his mother's Etsy shop. Are you seeking an excellent and unusual present for your Harry Potter fanatic this season? Have a look:

The wand can be inscribed with runes, your name, or any other small saying. You must click on the image and read the description on the Etsy page -- it's darling. Let's hear it for homeschooled entrepreneurs!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

That's a (Raw) Wrap! My Experience with the Raw Detox

These are the last observations on food that I expect to have for a while, or at least until the next friend asks me to try some new diet, which I will definitely enthusiastically have to try.

Here's how the detox went:

Day 1: Screaming, shouting, skull-rending headache due to lack of caffeine. Multiple pukes. Multiple calls to the husband (who had wisely gone to the office) to cry and whine. Three hours of torment followed by an inch of coffee, a handful of painkillers, and a one hour nap. After I woke up, I felt better. The children played a lot of chess that day.

Day 2: I ate a bunch of fruit and vegetables. I was not hungry but I did really want something hot, like tomato soup. Tomato soup seemed like the elixir of the gods, and its presence in my pantry tormented me. I noticed, on Day 2, that I was very calm. My writing on my Nanowrimo novel slowed to sedate saunter. I was patient with the children, so patient and reasonable that they started to wonder if I was really their mother. Nothing moved me. Nothing elated me and nothing depressed me. Everything was... fine. I ate more romaine lettuce than a person should eat in one day. I drank lots of water. I ate large apples, cut thinly. I ate grapes.

Day 3: On day 3 I started to wonder if life was really worth living without hot food. I felt so calm it was almost terrifying. I ate cherry tomatoes by the large bowl. I drank water by the quart. I stayed up very very late writing my novel, then at 2am took an extremely hot bath and a lot of my hair fell out! LITERALLY. If hair could be in droves then my hair would have been falling out in them. Droves, people. The interesting thing was that I stayed up until 2am without caffeine and I truly was not tired. I made myself go to bed.

Day 4: We went to IHOP in the morning and I ate a bowl of melon and grapes and oranges and was fine. I had one cup of coffee. Later in the day I took Sadie for a manicure. I drank lots of water. I was beginning to feel like a lifetime of hysteria and frantic neuroses was fading away from me. Then that night I went out for sushi with some friends, completely violating my diet and engaging in tempura, miso soup, california roll, and hot sake. OOPS. Definitely the best food I have ever eaten in my entire life. And I felt AWESOME.

Day 5: Back on the raw wagon, I had a very calm, peaceful day. Church, violin concert, getting from place to place by moving my legs and placidly drifting. I ate a pineapple during pizza night. The most complicated thought I had all day was why it says "Do not refrigerate" on tomatoes.

Day 6: I realized on morning of Day 6, looking back over my novel parts that I had written while raw, that it was complete garbage. Not in the usual "rough first draft" sense of the word, but in the "what medicated corn plant wrote this slop" sense of the word. The thing was composed almost entirely of subject-verb-object, subject-verb-object, etc and there was no internal life going on whatsoever. The characters moved through space without conflict, having a nice quiet time, they had no memories, no ideas, no flashback, no trouble. It was BLOODLESS. In a panic, and because I really wanted to eat crab dip, I ate a small plate full of toasted crackers and cajun crab dip. Then, while driving someplace, I had the most astonishing realization about my novel. When I got home that night I edited the first two chapters to reflect this change, and it was like the universe sang in a beautiful harmonious chorus. The clouds parted, a golden ray of sun shone down, and my boring pedantic novel was suddenly alive again.

Was it the raw that actually made me think of that idea? Or was I pinched in the brain by that crab dip? I may never know.

Day 7: Because it was day 7 and because I had decided pretty much that raw food was making me stupid in my brain, I quit a bit early and cracked open that much-coveted can of tomato soup at about 3pm. I ate it with crackers. By the time I took Benny to karate at 5, I was almost doubled over with extreme pain. WOW, that hurt. I ate more raw stuff for dinner, raw the next breakfast, and then a bowl of chili -- possibly the worst food I could have chosen but again something I had coveted droolingly while raw. Again with the massive stomach pains. So, the road back to cooked was not easy. But, I am eating cooked food again.

Some observations and claims, maybe not all valid though true to me right at this moment, all definitely subject to change:

1. While raw, I stayed up very late with no fatigue and no coffee. That first night back on cooked, I ate a pop-tart and was asleep in 30 minutes. Ditto the next night with a popsicle. Conclusion: Sugar puts me to sleep.
2. My desire to eat processed sugar is almost gone.
3. My desire to eat fruits and vegetables is very large. I now somehow connect these foods in my brain with feeling better.
4. I think my mojo is back, on my novel, and I credit the artificial colors, artificial flavors, caffeine, alcohol, and processed food with my mental reawakening.
5. Eating raw made me a much better parent. Much more patient and insightful.
6. Eating raw made me feel much less claustrophobic in several different ways -- in space in my house, in time in the day, in emotional proximity of other people. It made me feel like I had more room, more time, more capacity to deal with other humans. That was part of the good calm. I was really amazed by that.
7. I need my neuroses to be interesting. I found myself incredibly boring while raw. I wanted to knit, watch tv, and think about carpet. Now, I knit and watch TV anyway, and there's nothing wrong with doing these things in combination or together, but when I was eating raw I was feeling really fulfilled by just knitting and watching TV, or even just *sitting*. I felt like I might be able to even *meditate* and that scared the whoosit out of me.
8. Eating raw made me a bad writer. I have learned to write without cigarettes, without hard liquor, without most of the vices I engaged in back when I was cool. However, I don't think I really need to sabotage myself completely by writing without hot food.
9. Going forward, I will eat less sugar, more vegetable.
10. If I ever find myself in an overwhelmingly emotional situation, or a situation when I need to be very calm, I will eat raw starting about three days out. Seriously, it was that big of a thing. It was like tranquilizer for me. Good, and bad.

One Last Day Without a Coat

Dan gave me a new camera, which is ery exciting. However, I don't know how to use it properly. It's a much better camera than my old one, and therefore has a steeper learning curve. Someone suggested the other day that I open that colorful bundle of papers that came in the box with the camera, but I assured that person that those bound documents were purely decorative and that "Instructions" means "Discard" in Latin.

So here are a few pictures of the kids, playing in the park with Zoe, who was visiting from northern VA.

Sadie and all her necessary animals.

Cute little girls in pink and orange.


Some of these pictures would have been awesome, had my camera been more reasonable about figuring itself out rather than expecting me to do all the figuring.

Maybe I should ask this guy's advice:

Doesn't he look like he has all the answers? Hehehe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goodbye Suzuki Book 4

Benny graduated Suzuki Book 4 at the Judy Blank Suzuki Violin Workshop. It was exciting. After he missed his official graduation recital because he was violently ill, it was a relief to be able to put on a suit coat and perform a couple of pieces to an audience, and be a certified, bonafide graduate.

Here he is doing one of his pieces:

So that's the end of Book 4. We're done with the unaccompanied Gavotte in Book 5 now, and polishing the 2nd movement of the Vivaldi in A minor, so now we've just started working on the first page of the G minor. Exciting.

I just want to take this time to unabashedly show off my children's violin position. They are awesome (which means, of course that their teachers are awesome).

Sadie participated in the workshop also. In her master class, we were congratulated on her awesome position, and Judy Blank just encouraged her to use more bow and produce more sound, and she gave us some games to play to help with that. She played Go Tell Aunt Rhody in her master class, and she's now learning May Song. Benny's master class was all about fingering and bowing stuff in the Bach Double -- different ways to practice hard passages. Neither got corrected on position, and I was so completely proud of them for being such cute little snickersnacks. I mean such fine musicians.

Here's Sadie's position:

I mean have you ever seen such a lovely bow hand on a four-year-old?

Here's Benny's:

His bow hand has come a long way, and his vibrato is now really amazing. He's matured so much as a musician in the last year -- I'm floored by him. There are many ways in which Benny is not the most mature 8 year old on the planet. However, being able to pull off that schmaltzy middle section in the third Seitz is something I have never been able to do convincingly, and he does it beautifully.

One more picture from the workshop, on the night of the potluck dinner. Yes, this is how I get results from my four-year-old! Artificial colors and flavors!

So here he is. Eight years old and on to Book 5. Suzuki forever!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Us as Muppets

Go make yourself a muppet at the FAO Schwarz Muppet Workshop. You can also buy a muppet version of yourself if you want, but I think I'll go for the digital version. Thank you Susannah for the link!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hancock Fabric Ad Special Quiz Challenge Spectacular!

Here is the ad:

Here is the quiz:
1. In what year is a suede trench fashion forward?
A. 2008
B. 1978
C. Never. Suede in "stiff camel" is never fashion forward.
2. How gay is that guy in the vest?*
A. Super-gay.
B. He's so gay, he's my boyfriend.
C. Clay Aiken gay.
3. But, how did you know he was gay?
A. The way the cuffs are.
B. The way the collar is.
C. The way the eyebrows are.
4. It's cool to be gay, though, right?
A. Yes, but it's not cool to wear a suede vest with lapels.
B. Yes, but it's kind of weird that no one in this ad has hands. Even the girl in the trench. Where are their hands?
C. Yes, but a gay man in a pirate outfit doesn't make me want to fire up my sewing machine.
5. What says fashion forward more than a belted jersey sweater vest?
A. Anything on earth.
B. A big ruffly chiffon collar.
C. Matching earrings and belt buckle.
6. Who is the blonde girl?
A. She's that girl from Gray's Anatomy.
B. She's my third grade teacher.
C. She's the spokesperson for people with huge hideous animal-patterned growths on their necks.
7. What in this ad makes you want to visit Hancock Fabrics?
A. The background color: Abused dog turd. The font: Garage sale.
B. The scandalous thought that suede could be stretched!
C. The fierce, undeniably magnetism of the female models.
8. Based on this ad, what are the trends for the season?
A. Things that are the color of pork rinds.
B. Stuff left tossed over the pants rack at Good Will by people who found something better.
C. Foreheads.
9. What's your favorite word in this ad?
A. Dull
B. Polyester
C. Solids
10. Do you think it's possible this ad entered my email through a time warp from 30 years ago?
A. Yes
B. No
C. Eat a cheeseburger.
*You know I loves me some gay people but, the gayness of this particular guy makes me question my assumptions about the target demographic of this ad! It's not just that he is gay, I mean what male model is not gay, right? And we love them for it. But, the outfit itself is, like, a poet shirt under a cowboy vest? Super-gay! Yes, you heard me, I am *questioning my assumptions about the target demographic of this ad*. Believe it.

My Really Raw Detox with the Raw Divas

So, my friend Shez has apparently heard the news that I can be convinced to try anything when it comes to strange and extreme diets. My body and my metabolism have been the testing ground for everything from The Master Cleanse to something that Joshilyn and I ingested back in our Chicago years, which came in a bucket of horse medicine, caused us to enthusiastically gallop up 19 flights of stairs to our grad school office rather than taking the boring old elevator, and was probably methamphetamines. Boy were we skinny though. It was embedded in diatomaceous earth. We used to drink it in... Sprite or something? If you could suppress your gag reflex enough to keep it down, it really had a kick.

Aren't you glad we're getting to know each other better?

Anyway, so Shez, who is now probably completely horrified that she ever admitted to knowing me, suggested we do this Raw Detox via the Raw Divas. The Raw Divas are kind of like grrl power if grrl power was all about kale and cucumber, rather than lipstick and leather. They like to put special words in all caps for emphasis, and they say things like "watch the MAGIC unfold!" and "just imagine the beautiful CRISPNESS and COLORS of the food you're going to put on your plate!" It's just super. Super-de-duper.

Today is day 0, which means that today at 6pm I stop eating anything at all and then tomorrow at 6pm I can have an entire melon. After the melon, I can eat other things which are not cooked and then on next Wednesday I can resume cooking. Or, rather, knowing me, I can resume heating things which have already been cooked by other people in cold, grey industrial kitchens somewhere, where trolls ladle artificial colors and flavors into lasagna-shaped molds and cackle.

My husband's question: Can you eat Doritos if you don't cook them first?

Other questions: How will this affect my Nanowrimo? I am on track now to finish on time -- will I be able to sustain my word count without the helpful qualities of margaritas, peppercinos, cheese, and pirated Halloween candy? It's kind of like learning to write without nicotine, except that I'm not pregnant, so it must be easier.

I'll be keeping track of my daily progress via my Tumblr, where my Twitters, my photoblogs, and my blog posts all congregate to harrass each other and play red hands. You can also see my Tweets in my sidebar over there, if you

Here's to making the produce section my friend. The web site says my results will be "SIMPLE, APPROACHABLE, GUARANTEED!" Nothing makes me yearn for raw tomatoes like approachable results.

Are you on Twitter? Follow me @lostcheerio and send me a message so I can follow you.
Are you on Tumblr? Follow me and ask me to follow you too.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Wreck of Odysseus' Ship: A Song About Homer's Odyssey

These lyrics remind us of the folly of Odysseus' silly crew and their willingness to eat anything that wasn't nailed down, including the cows of the sun god, which they had been specifically told not to eat. The song is sung to the tune of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot. If you don't have this song on CD, go to Project Playlist and search for it, then add it to your playlist and listen to it whenever you like!

The legend lives on from the Athenians on down
Of the big sea they call the Aegean
The sea, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the face of Poseidon is seething.

Odysseus set out with his faithful old crew
From the war with the Trojans they’d beaten
Those bright ships and the crew were just bones to be chewed
By the gales and the gods and the seasons

Odysseus was the pride of the Ithacan isle
Where his wife and his son were there waiting
and all through the years of Odysseus’ exile
One hundred young suitors placating.

They raided the island of Ismaros
And left all the villagers reeling
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the West Wind they'd been feeling.

They resisted the lotus and poked the Cyclops
but opened the bag from Aeolus.
Lost all but one ship to Laestrygonian chops
but handled witch Circe with boldness.

They fought through the dangers to follow their vows
when they came to Thranacia island
And there on the green were the sun god’s cows
From their nice sunny pasture they beckoned.

Does anyone know why they ate those cows?
Why they couldn’t just leave them there grazing?
Eating goat meat would not have made Helios mad
Yet they ate beef — is that not amazing?

The wind in the sails made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as Odysseus did, too,
T'was Poseidon’s waters come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
With the Mediterranean slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of old Zeus’ fierce lashing

Odysseus sighed and he nearly died
For the good ship and crew was in peril
The rest of the crew must have sunk with the ship
Wishing they’d eaten something more feral.