Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We Grow Tubby Without Exercise

 (excerpted from)Teddy Bear

By A. A. Milne
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.
This is an excerpt from a very long poem about a teddy bear's efforts to get slim. Today, I was lucky to have a dear friend come exercise with me! Abe got her all set with lifting - there's just enough room for two women to flail about with free weights. We had a fine time, and my friend is coming back on Friday. With any luck, we'll be sylphs by summer.
Zig left for Tucson this evening - he hopes to have the house ready to go on the market by the end of the week. He works so hard...and I miss him badly when he's gone. 
No spinning, four rounds on Canopy Sock #2. Excellent day for food and water. 
I finished Jamrach's Menagerie last night. Wonderful book; resonating with me all day today. Now I'm starting Stone Arabia - no opinion yet.

Monday, January 30, 2012

January, 2012

January, 1795

By Mary Robinson
Pavement slipp’ry, people sneezing,
Lords in ermine, beggars freezing;
Titled gluttons dainties carving,
Genius in a garret starving.

Lofty mansions, warm and spacious;
Courtiers cringing and voracious;
Misers scarce the wretched heeding;
Gallant soldiers fighting, bleeding.

Wives who laugh at passive spouses;
Theatres, and meeting-houses;
Balls, where simp’ring misses languish;
Hospitals, and groans of anguish.

Arts and sciences bewailing;
Commerce drooping, credit failing;
Placemen mocking subjects loyal;
Separations, weddings royal.

Authors who can’t earn a dinner;
Many a subtle rogue a winner;
Fugitives for shelter seeking;
Misers hoarding, tradesmen breaking.

Taste and talents quite deserted;
All the laws of truth perverted;
Arrogance o’er merit soaring;
Merit silently deploring.

Ladies gambling night and morning;
Fools the works of genius scorning;
Ancient dames for girls mistaken,
Youthful damsels quite forsaken.

Some in luxury delighting;
More in talking than in fighting;
Lovers old, and beaux decrepid;
Lordlings empty and insipid.

Poets, painters, and musicians;
Lawyers, doctors, politicians:
Pamphlets, newspapers, and odes,
Seeking fame by diff’rent roads.

Gallant souls with empty purses;
Gen’rals only fit for nurses;
School-boys, smit with martial spirit,
Taking place of vet’ran merit.

Honest men who can’t get places,
Knaves who shew unblushing faces;
Ruin hasten’d, peace retarded;
Candor spurn’d, and art rewarded.
This poem could have been written last year, but it's a 217-year-old critique on British society. The more things change...when will we 99% be viewed as valid and deserving? Why does worth equal money?
It was hard to go to work today. Sanding trucks driving back and forth early this morning lulled me into believing in the possibility of a late opening, but it was not to be. So I hauled myself up and out to pick up doughnuts (donuts?) for the folks at school. I didn't eat even one - until 2:00 this afternoon. Bad me. The cake yesterday combined with today's lapse in judgement (do I REALLY want to waste points on a Dunkin' Donuts piece of #$@#$&^#? Yes, apparently...
Dr. Oz was talking about food allergies - I am almost completely sure that I suffer from lactose intolerance. Didn't have ice cream with my cake because of that suspicion. I might try Oz's suggestion of removing all dairy for a week. That would mean almond or soy milk. I'm not eating butter or cheese these days, and I swore off yogurt about 6 months ago because it bothered me so much, so it wouldn't be very difficult. Stay tuned...
Spinning: absolutely NO PROGRESS
Knitting: Canopy Sock #2 proceeds apace
Exercise: Weights and cycling yesterday, cycling today. Abe tweaked the weight routine to forestall the reappearance of thoracic outlet syndrome. My friend Johanna is coming here tomorrow to exercise with me!
Food/Water: Sunday was not healthy, nor was today's doughnut. Tomorrow...!   

Sunday, January 29, 2012


winter bare branches
hold tattered cups of summer
empty nests trail twigs  
from Haiku Journey  

We had a bird's nest in our Christmas tree this past December. That has happened a number of times. We always save the nests and put them in the next year's tree. At this point we have four or five little nests that I hide in the branches each year.
Today we're having a small party to celebrate Abe's pinning ceremony. About ten of us will be eating lasagna and salad and cake and ice cream. He (Abe) was given the "Outstanding PTA Student" Award at the ceremony yesterday - he had no idea (nor did we) that he was being given any sort of recognition. His speech at the close of the ceremony was FANTASTIC - full of humor and wit and greatly appreciated by his fellow graduates. He OWNED that podium - he was the master of the pause! Go, Abe!
Not much knitting or spinning time this weekend - too much going on. Just finished cleaning the house in preparation for our guests. Now it's time to exercise.
Abe receiving his Physical Therapy Assistant pin and certificate

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pinning Ceremony

Canopy Sock #1

I Am Offering this Poem

By Jimmy Santiago Baca
I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat
when winter comes to cover you,
or like a pair of thick socks
the cold cannot bite through,

                         I love you,
I have nothing else to give you,
so it is a pot full of yellow corn
to warm your belly in winter,
it is a scarf for your head, to wear
over your hair, to tie up around your face,

                         I love you,

Keep it, treasure this as you would
if you were lost, needing direction,
in the wilderness life becomes when mature;
and in the corner of your drawer,
tucked away like a cabin or hogan
in dense trees, come knocking,
and I will answer, give you directions,
and let you warm yourself by this fire,
rest by this fire, and make you feel safe

                         I love you,

It’s all I have to give,
and all anyone needs to live,
and to go on living inside,
when the world outside
no longer cares if you live or die;

                         I love you.
It's not snowing, so we will all see Abe "get pinned" at today's ceremony. He is the speaker - says his speech is about 8 minutes long. We are very very happy for him. 
Going to a comedy show at Infinity tonight, with dinner at the Bistro before. We need to laugh - in late January, EVERYONE in the northern hemisphere could use a laugh.
Canopy Sock #1 is off the needles; Sock #2 is still just yarn, but not for long! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

And everyone's favorite...


By Lewis Carroll
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
I remember this poem so well. We studied it in sixth grade English.
Our teacher didn't do much with it, that I recall, but I
rediscovered it when my own two boys were little, in The Random
House Book of Poetry For Children. We loved that book!
Down 1.2 pounds for the week! Woohoo! Slow and steady....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Peas...with honey?

I Eat My Peas with Honey

By Anonymous
I eat my peas with honey;
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

No news today - just plugging along, at work and at home. January is wearing thin. It's my least favorite month - I think I've mentioned that before...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Green Tea

What is it, you ask? Why, it's a Yarn Meter, a Nancy's Knit Knacks product, purchased via Knitpicks. Why a yarn meter, you ask? Because I'm tired of trying to visually estimate the yardage in a ball of yarn when I need to divide it into two, for socks or mittens, say. This isn't a great photo, but basically you slide yarn into the two wooden slots on either side of the meter unit (not yet calibrated, obviously), then put the yarn into that slot as well, and start winding. Et voila! Accurate measurement.

I have always been DELIGHTED with any NKK product - they are well-made, thoughtfully designed, easy to use, and very competitively priced. Knitpicks, too, is an excellent place to shop, although I do try to patronize small, local yarn shops as much as possible.

Spinning: No change.
Knitting: Turned the heel of Canopy Sock #1. Working on gusset decreases tonight.
Exercise: 30 minutes of cycling. Abe made me. He said I would be "happy" if I didn't skip a day. He's right.
Food/Water: Doing well. Drank lots of tea, including a cup of "Cherry Marzipan" green tea, which sounds much sweeter than it tastes. It gives a wonderful aroma of cherries and almonds, but there is no sweetness. In reading the latest issue of O, I decided to give green teas a try, and have ordered several different kinds. Two arrived today. Also ordered, per Dr. Oz, a Republic of Tea blend called "Get Some zzz's" in my quest to sleep soundly all night. I'm far from insomnia, but I almost always wake up at about 2:00 in the morning. I lie there for awhile, and usually get back to sleep in a few minutes, but sometimes I'm awake for much longer.

Speaking of green tea...

Green Tea

By Dale Ritterbusch
There is this tea
I have sometimes,
Pan Long Ying Hao,
so tightly curled
it looks like tiny roots
gnarled, a greenish-gray.
When it steeps, it opens
the way you woke this morning,
stretching, your hands behind
your head, back arched,
toes pointing, a smile steeped
in ceremony, a celebration,
the reaching of your arms.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Canopy Progress

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
A classic - is there anyone (caucasian, American) who does NOT know
this poem? Our woods are lovely, dark, and deep, and I often hear
owls calling of an evening. Owls always remind me of Jane
Yolen's/John Schoenherr's 1988 Caldecott Medal book, Owl Moon. I
remember Zig finding that book at Huntington's in Hartford, and
commenting on the beauty of Schoenherr's illustrations. I remember
being impressed that a Project Operations Manager would notice the
quality of the art in a children's picture book! We bought the book
for Stuart's first Christmas, and have it still.
Speaking of the Caldecott Medal, the 2012 winner was announced
yesterday. Chris Raschka's A Ball For Daisy is everything a
children's librarian hopes for. I shared the book with 1st, 2nd, and
3rd grade students today, and they all LOVED it. It's always fun to
"read" wordless picture books to kids - some of them want me to make
up a verbal story that coincides with the illustrations; others just
want to look at the pictures and tell their own story to themselves.
Raschka's ability to portray emotion through watercolor, gouache,
and ink is stunning - not just for the adult (children's librarian)
viewer, but for rambunctious little kids who, when confronted with
the tragedy of the (SPOILER ALERT) popped ball, are struck dumb with
sadness for poor Daisy. Based on today's reaction, I'm certain that
not only will my Kindergarten students embrace the book - 4th, 5th,
6th, 7th, and 8th graders will as well. WELL DONE, Mr. Raschka!

Caldecott Honor winners this year were also well received by
students in my tiny town - Blackout, Grandpa Green, and Me-Jane 
pleased all.

Second bobbin of Night Owl merino
Canopy Sock #1 - weird lighting

Exercise: Continuing with weights and bicycling.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Snow Day

By Billy Collins
Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,   
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,   
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost   
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,   
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,   
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,   
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.   
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,   
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,   
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,   
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School   
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,   
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,   
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,   
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.
It wasn't quite a "revolution of snow", but we did have a late opening due to freezing sleet. And the world IS all white, after Saturday's snow.
A group of about 10 of us at work began the first day of Weight Watchers - we all weighed in and paid $5 - in a month we'll see how much weight we lost. Should be fun.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Four in Three

Nightfall Socks - Check!
They're done. Four socks in three weeks. Not bad. I've already chosen the next sock project - yarn and pattern that I've had since 2009, when I was part of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club. The yarn color is "The Skein With No Name", a lovely blend of rust, rose, and lavender, and the pattern is "Canopy". These will be a bit more challenging to knit than the past two pairs.
The Skein With No Name from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

Those Winter Sundays

By Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Saturday, January 21, 2012


My dear on the eve of his 55th trip around the sun.
Winter solitude--
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

Matsuo Basho

Well, we were all set to go to Abe's PTA Pinning Ceremony this afternoon, but the snow had the audacity to interfere. I had just finished assembling the spinach lasagna, and was starting in on a vegetable dip, when the phone rang and Abe learned of the school's closing. The ceremony will take place next Saturday, same time, same place. We debated whether to have the party tonight, and eventually decided to have it next Sunday afternoon, thinking that folks might not like to venture out tonight. So the lasagna will go in the freezer, the spinach dip will get eaten, and the cake that Zig's out picking up will, hopefully, get commandeered by Abe. Yellow cake, buttercream frosting...scary. I don't even want to open the box.

We had a perfect evening for Zig's birthday. The only hitch was that he had to finish up some work, so we didn't eat until 9:00. Grilled tuna, roasted sweet potatoes, baked acorn squash. And Abe made apricot-pistachio biscotti for dessert!
Zig managed to blow out all the candles.
Presents and cards rounded out the evening - an old copy of Nausea, in French, that Stu found in Chicago, some delicious pecan bars baked by Jess, a notepad with a floppy disk for a cover (also from S & J), socks knitted by me,
Left Bank Book money from Dad and Jean, and FIVE POUNDS OF BRAZIL NUTS. Yes, that's right - 5 pounds of Brazil Nuts. Just what every guy needs. Oh, the "big" present was the new bowler hat (see Zig above) that we found in Cambridge a few weeks ago. I am married to a most dapper gentleman.

Zig gave me this orchid for Valentine's Day last year. It just opened up last week. 
You can't see them, but the Burning Bush is full of Juncos.
Did you notice the white stuff in the background? Yes, it's wintry, at last. We've gotten about four inches. Dry and fluffy snow - easy to shovel, thankfully.

Spinning:  I expect to finish the second bobbin today, but here's a photo of it as of noon today. This is going to be a beautiful color when it's plied.
Knitting: More work on the sock AND the shawl. These socks WILL be done by the end of the day tomorrow. Otherwise I will have to hang my head in shame. I'm almost to the heel flap! Why does it feel like such a marathon??? 

The shawl is coming along - I like it more and more as the colors appear.
  Exercise: 30 minutes of cycling - the middle 20 were 1-minute intervals of fast-as-I-could-go and easy pedaling.
Food/Water: Doing well. Now, if I can just stay away from that cake...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday is a good day for a Birthday

A Birthday

By Christina Rossetti
My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
                  Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
                  That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
                  Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
                  Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
                  And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
                  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
                  Is come, my love is come to me. 
Zig is 54 years old today! The day started off in a questionable fashion - one of his windshield wipers broke off as he was chipping ice off his car this morning, so he had to go to the Toyota place to get a replacement, which made him late for work. I'm writing this at about 6:00 pm, and he's on his way home now, for a quiet evening with Abe and me. We have a few presents and cards for him to open, and a delicious, healthy dinner planned. We're not going out, because we're having a small party here tomorrow evening to celebrate Abe's PTA pinning ceremony. I guess that, once you're in your fifties, the prospect of TWO busy weekend nights is just too daunting.
Spinning: Still plugging away on the second of three bobbins. I'd say the finished yarn will end up as a light worsted - we'll see.
Knitting: It's pretty funny to think back to the beginning of 2012 (all of 19 days ago) and realize that I actually had hopes of knitting a pair of socks EACH WEEK. I'm still working on the leg of Nightfall Sock #2. I hope to finish it this weekend. Then I can claim that I'm knitting 4 socks in 3 weeks. Not too shabby.
Exercise: Free weights and cycling - total of an hour. I took yesterday off.
Food/Water: Okay. Not enough water. I take a large stainless steel jug with me every day, and try to drink two large cups of tea while at work, but it didn't happen - not even one! - today. I did drink about half the jug - maybe 3 cups?
Friday Weigh-In: Lost 1.4 pounds this week. Woot! Slow and steady. A group of us are going to follow Weight Watchers at work (WWW!). We all put $5 into a pool, and our school nurse will weigh us each Monday (numbers are strictly confidential). At the end of each week (maybe longer; I'm unsure), the biggest loser will win the cash - or we might have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize depending on the number of entrants. 
Snow tomorrow - we hope that Abe's ceremony isn't postponed, but we'll have the party regardless.    

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow tonight?

The Esquimos Have No Word for "War"
Mary Oliver

Trying to explain it to them
Leaves one feeling ridiculous and obscene.
Their houses, like white bowls,
Sit on a prairie of ancient snowfalls
Caught beyond thaw or the swift changes
Of night and day.
They listen politely, and stride away

With spears and sleds and barking dogs 
To hunt for food. The women wait 
Chewing on skins or singing songs,
Knowing that they have hours to spend,
That the luck of the hunter is often late.

Later, by fires and boiling bones
In steaming kettles, they welcome me,
Far kin, pale brother,
To share what they have in a hungry time
In a difficult land. While I talk on
Of the southern kingdoms, cannon, armies,
Shifting alliances, airplanes, power,
They chew their bones, and smile at one another.

It's cold out. 5 degrees this morning. My poor little car, with its stiff suspension, stumbles and bumps over the ice. How I love the heated seat!

Just got home from work, and have decided that today is my one day off from exercising for the week. Tonight I need the feel of fiber and yarn in my hands more than I need an accelerated heart rate.

Tomorrow is Zig's 54th birthday. I think he will like the gifts that wait for him. They (the gifts) make me smile when I think of them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's as cold as...January

Cool braids. From the 2009 Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club

 where we are
  Gerald Locklin

  (for edward field) 

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation 
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope. 

This is one of those days wherein I wish I could fly off to a place of sun and warmth and flower-scented breezes. Alas, it is not to be.
I should be grateful for the fact that there is only 1 inch of snow on the ground, as compared with last year's Siberia. But it is pretty cold out, and the lack of snow makes the world seem harder - almost like iron.
Spinning: very little progress, but a little is better than none at all.
Knitting: plugging away on the Malthese Flowers shawl when at home, knitting about 2 rounds a day on the sock during lunch at work.
Exercise: free weights and 20 minutes of cycling. I'm now warming up for 5 minutes, then doing 1-minute intervals of "fast-as-I-can-go" and "just-let-me-catch-my-breath" pedaling. It's harder, but it goes faster.
Food/Water: Doing well with both. I mean that in the weight-loss sense, not the "boy, there's so much excellent food/I want it all right NOW!" sense. Slow and steady. If I shed an average of 1 pound per week, I'm happy, and that's the average thus far since the start in early December.

There's no reason to post this photo - I knitted these last winter, but I like them.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to Work!

Merino "Night Owl" - First of three bobbins

Malthese Flowers Shawl - Four of twelve rows of flowers but only 20% complete

Back to school today. A late opening due to a light snowfall overnight. Yesterday was completely relaxing - spinning, knitting, reading, watching the first four episodes of Season 1 of Downton AbbeyEnjoying it immensely - Bates is my favorite character by far.
Spinning: Finished the first bump of merino and began (just barely) the second. I love the subtle blend of gray, gold, brown, yellow, and even some blue. The 3-ply will be stunning, I hope.
Knitting: Significant progress on the Malthese Flowers shawl. The stitches are now on the longer cable needle. I just hope that the finished piece will block so that the bumpiness disappears. As for Nightfall sock #2, I'm about 40 rows in on the leg.  
Nightfall Sock #2- 30+ rows in
Exercise: Good weight-lifting session on Monday, followed by cycling. I've increased the weight on most of the exercises. Abe's my trainer - he has a routine worked out for me, and he tweaks it now and then. Right now it's fewer reps and heavier weights, to build strength. Later it'll be more reps and slightly lighter weights, for toning (I think).
Food/Water: Good all around. Down .4 from yesterday!

And here's today's selection:

Arthur Guiterman

No matter what we are and who,
Some duties everyone must do:

A Poet puts aside his wreath
To wash his face and brush his teeth,

     And even Earls
     Must comb their curls,
     And even Kings
     Have underthings.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I, Too, Sing America
Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong. 

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is another holiday that might be better spent in school. Like Veterans' Day, if children have the day off, they might miss the chance to learn about what this day means to all Americans. I say "might" because I hope that families take the time to talk about courage and dignity and what it means to be truly free. I know that there are many observances, speeches, vigils, and the like, but we all need to spend at least a few moments thinking about how one man's bravery and dedication to truth brought about such huge change. Not saying that it's perfect - not even close -  but when I was born, in 1959, Langston Hughes was still being sent to the kitchen. Has the "tomorrow" in his poem arrived?

Speaking of courage, here's some one I know who is the embodiment of the word.
Look at the spirit in her eyes!
 No more today - it's a bit silly and vain to discuss spinning and knitting, I think.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Bodycoat, Carpenter, Coffin, McClurkin, Russo-Savage, Savage, and Ziarnik - January 14, 2012 in Stockton Springs, Maine
What a spectacular day we had! The girls outnumbered the boys, 13-6, AND the girls tromped on the boys in all things ping-pong. We can't, however, declare utter and complete and permanent victory, because SOME of the men were reluctant (afraid???) to play. On another (more digital) front, "Words With Friends" seemed more like "Words With Enemies", particularly where siblings were involved...

A huge thank-you to Freeland and Jean for hosting us all, providing breakfast, lunch, and a fabulous dinner of lobsters and steamers for us shellfish-avores, and stew (beef and sans beef) for the shellfish-averse. Salad, bread, cake, ice cream, wine, beer, not to mention all the yummy appetizer-y objects floating around - oh, my! Thank you, too, to Nancy, for organizing us all.

Why were 19 of us together on the second Saturday in January 2012, you ask? Two reasons - to celebrate 1) the 85th anniversary of Freeland Arthur Savage's birth, and 2) the close of a hellacious year for my sister Suzy, who endured surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and all the myriad troubles attendant thereon, in her 12-month battle with breast cancer. What better reasons to have a party?

I am so glad to be in THIS family.

Speaking of family, here's today's poem. I hope no one in MY family sees themselves in these lines:

Talented Family

My family’s very talented,
I’m certain you’ll agree.
We each possess a special skill
that anyone can see.

My brother’s good at burying
his finger up his nose.
My sister’s good at covering
her room with dirty clothes.

My father’s good at eating soup
in big, disgusting slurps.
My mother’s good at cutting loose
with world-record burps.

Our dog is good at piddling
in the back seat of the car.
The baby’s good at putting
Pop-Tarts in the VCR.

Myself I’m good at sleeping late
and making lots of noise,
and cluttering the living room
with comic books and toys.

So though we’re very talented,
I’m sad to say it’s true:
We’re only good at doing things
we’re not supposed to do.
No spinning, lots of car knitting on the Malthese Flowers shawl. No
exercise, but very good with food and water.