Monthly Archives: April 2008

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine, Champion Stripper

Lyda here. Must report a major triumph in the progress on The Increasingly Inaccurately Named “Easy” Heart Quilt.

All of the strips of cloth are sewn together into one magnificent quilt top!!

I stitched the last two rows last night. I actually stitched a bit yesterday morning before work. Yes, before work. Because – say it with me – I AM INSANE.

The quilt top is all pieced together. Okay, maybe it’s only about 19 inches by 36 inches. BUT IT IS DONE.

After the stitching was done, I trimmed the seam allowances, and then ironed the quilt top. And loved it and petted it and called it George. I wish I had picture to show you. I think Anna-Liza would agree, that as well as being insanely obsessive, I am a bit critical of my own work. Heh, a bit. But even I have to say this looks pretty good.

The Resident Sith Master said it looks great and he’s much more objective. He also asked, “Are you ever going to make yourself a quilt?” Because I never have. Soon. I will probably do a baby quilt and a toddler quilt first, as someone in the family is expecting. But shush, in case these quilts turn out to be high school graduation gifts instead… But I will not be making a queen-size quilt for myself out of freakin’ two-inch squares. At least not exclusively. Ya’ll remind me of this in a month or two. Please? Hello? Bueller? Bueller?

And then he said, “It would really suck if you did all this work and then didn’t like it.” My innocent, non-crafting son.  When I told him that that has happened to me with other quilts, he just shook his head and went back to his video game. I think he may have muttered, “Quilters are weird.” Or maybe it was “Moms are weird.” He’s right either way, yes?

Has that ever happened to ya’ll? You work and work on a project (quilted, knitted, crochet, whatever), and when it’s done, you look at it and think: Meh.  Don’t ya’ll hate that?

I’ve learned that I must absolutely love the fabric – or at least the majority of it – when I’m making selections for a quilt. Even though it’s for someone else.

Once I offered to make a baby quilt for a friend’s daughter, and they insisted on pink. Ya’ll know, I’m not a fan of pastels. And definitely not pastel pink. I got too much of it as a girl and I wasn’t about to foist Hideous Pinkness on this child. Instead, I found the brightest hottest fushia fabric possible, and some other bright pinks. And made a quilt of shades of pink, from one small square at the middle in pale pink (the color the parents requested) shading to hot fushia at the edges. And I used the fushia for the backing and the edges.

Now I would probably use prints that included pinks and other colors. Also, I never again asked the parents what they wanted in the baby quilt. Heh.  But at the time I was making a point. A quilting rebel, that’s me.

But I digress…

Tonight I’ll move on to the backing. I’ll probably use solid red, as with a wall hanging the back doesn’t need to be fancy. And then I’ll start actually quilting the layers. I’m working on the design for the quilting.

Then I’ll complete it with edging – probably solid red for a framing effect – and a hanging pocket on the back.

But for now – – I’m doing the happy dance! The quilt top is together! 

Pollyanna Thinks about Cleaning

Lyda here. I’ve read some books recently that were actually not written by Terry Pratchett. Oh, yes, I’ve been re-reading his too. Of course. But these were in addition to… Ya’ll know.  I thought I’d give ya’ll a quick book review today.

I read “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History” by Katherine Ashenburg – which is about personal hygeine in Europe and the United States. Interesting, and sometimes – often – squirm-inducing. Not for everyone, but a fascinating and different look at cultural norms and behaviors.

Of the historical eras covered (versus modern day), I’d say a modern American would be comfortable with the personal cleanliness of the Romans. Unless ya’ll get squirmy about sharing your bath with 30 or so friends, neighbors, and countrymen. Got to get ready for that orgy. Ya’ll know. Actually, it sounds like the bathhouse was a great place to meet people and then… yeah, do what you were going to do at the orgy.

I still love to wash in your old bathwater.” Yep, that’s the lyrics. See?

But after the Plague in Europe? Ugh. Let’s just say, it wasn’t all “huzzah” and quaffing ale. From the descriptions, I’m guessing the body odor in this time period would knock me right over. Not to mention the shit in the corridors of the castles. Oh yes, it was. 

And the final section, on the growing American obsession with extreme cleanliness, is interesting. And also squirm-inducing. In a different way. You can read an excerpt of the book and listen to NPR talking to the author here.

Must be a king.”
“Why?”
“He hasn’t got shit all over him.”

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine – Still Crazy After All These Squares

Lyda here. Boy, do I wish I could have sat there with Anna-Liza this weekend, knitting and talking and watching her kids play in that neat coffee shop she wrote about yesterday. I think she posted pictures as part of her campaign to get me to move to Colorado. Yes, I am tempted. And I don’t even drink coffee. But hot chocolate… yum. But most of all – time with my BFF.

We did talk on the phone. For hours. Thank goodness for unlimited weekend calling.

We’re having another heat wave here in So. Cal. Yes, there is at least one fire burning – not near us.  Yes, it’s miserable – it was 95 degrees at our place yesterday, and here at the coast we don’t normally get temperatures that high even in August. On the other hand, Anna-Liza said they had snow on Saturday. We discussed trading weather for a day – we would love a day of snow, and she would like a warm summery day. Unfortunately, the weather gods and goddesses did not grant our request.  Or maybe the Quantum Butterfly is just flapping its wings too much. The heat does not make the breathing any better. Pant.

Friday night, the Resident Sith Master went to a movie with friends, and I watched “The Jane Austen Book Club” with the Dread Cat Tommy. He fell asleep; I enjoyed the movie and even watched all the special features before RSM came home. I didn’t read the book.  The movie was fun, with some really good actresses playing off each other. Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Maggie Grace, and Lynn Redgrave. And the men were also good and very nice to look at. Hugh Dancy , Marc Blucas and Kevin Zegers – all a bit young for my taste, but very cute. Jimmy Smits, looking very good in his tux, definitely to my taste. Light girly entertainment, just what I was in the mood for.

Practically all weekend, while the Resident Sith Master played video games and I watched TV, I worked on The Increasingly Inaccurately Named “Easy” Heart Quilt. Which involved actual ironing. In the heat. Because I am insane. I also cooked – actually cooked with heat – breakfast and dinner both Saturday and Sunday. Yes, thank you, I would like a medal. But I digress…

Saturday, I gently picked out stitches on one square that was wrong, and then sewed a replacement square in place. Directional fabric can be a pain when you have a feline assistant who likes to move the fabric around.

I passed the halfway mark on stitching together the rows for the quilt top. By lunch time Sunday, I passed the two-thirds mark. By bedtime last night, I had sewn all but the last four rows together. It looks good at this point. All fingers crossed.

I will probably finish sewing the rows together tonight. Then I will need to figure out the binding, and the backing which will include a way to hang the finished quilt.

After I iron the quilt top. And pet it and love it and call it George.

Obsession. It’s not just a perfume.

Still crazy…”

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine Does the Java Jive

Anna-Liza here.

I have to confess, I have never, ever seen most of the TV shows Lyda mentioned in that post. Gilligan’s IslandHogan’s Heroes and Star Trek are all exceptions. Just to give you an idea of the depth of my television illiteracy. BTW, loved Hogan’s Heroes. I was pretty fond of I Dream of Jeannie, too. In the ’70’s, I was watching Charlie’s Angels (and wishing my hair would do that Farrah thing–which would have been hideous on me, frankly), The Bionic Man and The Bionic Woman. And I remember Mannix and Berretta being staples, and Emergency! I’m pretty sure Randy Mantooth was my first Tiger Beat crush, although Parker Stevenson eventually supplanted him. Or maybe the other way around. Oh, and Tony DiFranco, who, as far as I know, is no relation to Ani.

But I digress. What is it that I do to relax if I don’t let my mind get sucked into the Tube of Mindlessness? (Although, as Lyda points out, there’s a lot of good stuff, too. PBS rocks, except perhaps for Barney.) Well, mostly knitting or reading, and most weekends I spend one morning at my favorite coffee place, Java Stop, knitting and watching the kids play and sipping a mocha. I’ve mentioned it before, but now I have pictures!

    

Kevin and Ellen, the owners, are super folks. Kevin does the baking, and he makes some of the best muffins ever. When I walk in, if there’s a line, there’s a fresh mocha sitting on the counter for me before I can even order! And they make “hot” chocolate for the kids that is just warm enough to be called that without scalding their mouths. The kids like them and like going there, because there’s a toy closet and there’s a big space on the floor to play right next to it, with comfy chairs and sofas around for parents to hang out. Which is what we do.

Once we have all our food and drink gathered, I usually settle into my favorite chair by the window,

Me, knitting, mocha, favorite chair.

take a few sips, and start knitting. The kids have their snacks sitting on the floor  

(yes, they’re in their pajamas) and then start playing, and I can watch them, talk with them, and have conversations with whoever else is there while knitting away. I probably get most of my progress done there! If I ever win a knitting prize of some kind, I’ll have to include Java Stop in my list of thank-yous, for providing me with a way to keep my kids entertained while I got my projects done! I’ve certainly gotten farther on Eris there than anywhere else since I took it out of hibernation.

So anyway, Kevin and Ellen don’t have a website, and they don’t have internet access in the café (which means you rarely see someone sitting and staring at a laptop). They do have a cozy, comfy place to hang out and have conversations, read, (or knit, whatever), with excellent coffee and really good breakfast and lunch fare. And they’re big supporters of locally owned stores and community events. And, since there’s a limit to how much I can actually spend there, I figure maybe I can send a few more customers their way.

But not too many. I want to be able to grab my favorite chair when I’m there.

(If you’re wondering, they’re in the historic hotel building at the corner of 3rd and Main in Longmont.)

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Magic Box of Weirdness

Lyda here.

The Magic Box of the title is television, people. Television. I know. Ya’ll are disappointed. Sorry.

Ya’ll know, I’m TV obsessed, and I watch way too much. I do prefer quality shows with excellent writing and acting, and I watch a lot of PBS and non-fiction shows. I also rent a lot of movies, both fabulous and bizarre.

But I’ll watch almost anything, if only to mock it. TV at our house is an interactive sport.

TV takes me to distant planets, to the farthest reaches of our own little world, and deep inside the most fascinating species of all, Homo Sapiens. It gives me time with geniuses and monsters (safely!), and it does it all in an hour or two, and usually with built-in snack breaks. TV teaches me and challenges me and lets me laugh and cry and think – or not think. It keeps me company, and lulls me to sleep on the really bad nights. All in the comfort of my own home.

So, anyway… when I read this post at knitche (Linda’s blog), who got it from Emily’s blog, ya’ll know I was fascinated.

Here is Empire Magazine’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Shows” ever. But this is definitely not MY list of the 50 greatest. I’m not the only one who disagrees with this list. Also, this is from a British magazine and the shows were apparently chosen by popular vote, so there are more British and more recent shows than might show up otherwise. TV Guide did their own Top 50 list in 2002 – which is also controversial.

But I rantingly digress…

I was going to do the “50 greatest” meme. But then I decided it would be more fun to do a meme on THE WORST TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME!

There is the TV Guide’s 50 Worst list done in 2002. And then there is Senior Sock’s list, which is much funnier. And this list of UK’s worst. And this list of worst 60s shows.

But I wanted to include only shows that I have actually seen. Yes, coming out of the “terrible TV” closet, as it were.

And then I thought, what about the shows that I loved that were cancelled really fast? And the guilty pleasures? And the just plain weird shows?

So here (at last) is:

The Pollyanna TV meme:

THE WEIRDNESS OF HUMANS, TV EDITION

1. Bold the shows you’ve watched.
2. If you’ve seen at least part of one episode of the show, put the name in italics. C’mon, ‘fess up.
3. If you would never under any circumstances watch the show, line through the name like this.
4. Feel free to add comments, shows, and entire categories. That’s the fun.
5. Post your list so we can all go, “Oh, yeah, I remember that one!”
6. And please link back here, and credit me for coming up with this time-waster  entertainment. Thanks.

Category: It Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time…

“Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories” – Spielberg! What could go wrong? Uh… yeah…

“Manimal” – How do you pitch something like that to a network?

“Cop Rock” – Just weird. And not in a good way.

“My Mother the Car” – You mother is a what? That’s what he said.

Category: Admit It, You’ve Seen Every Episode (or was that just me?)

“The Flying Nun” – Gidget Take Flight, what’s wrong with that? We like Sally Field, we really like her.

“Gilligan’s Island” – This show gave us the all-important question: “Ginger or Mary Ann?” Plus, it was educational. We learned we could make anything out of coconuts.

“Three’s Company” – You laughed, I know you did.

“Baywatch” – Gorgeous people in skimpy clothing leaping in and out of the waves and running in slow motion… Uh, what were we talking about?

“Hogan’s Heroes” – Doesn’t everyone run a successful spy operation from prison camp? And hide the tunnel exits under the dog house? The dogs knew who the good guys were.

“ALF” – Furry alien. It told us about the 10th planet way before the scientists did, too.

“Mork and Mindy” – Maybe my favorite thing about this show, other than Robin Williams of course, is that it was a spin-off from “Happy Days” – the show which spawned “jump the shark“.

Category: But Why??

“House” – Why does anyone put up with this guy?

“Dougie Hooser, MD” – In one timeless episode, 16-year-old Dougie has to give a vaginal exam to a classmate he wants to date. Apparently being the last doctor left on the planet? I was more embarrassed than either of them. I was only watching it to make fun of it! And I was recovering from surgery and desperate! And the sun was in my eyes! It wasn’t my fault!

“Barney & Friends” – Don’t even get me started.

“The Jerry Springer Show” and all of its ilk – REALLY don’t get me started.

Most “Reality” TV – Ya’ll, I can understand “Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” and the other talent competitions. But most “reality” shows are just too horrible to even think of watching. Even the commercials for these shows make me cringe. And none of it is “reality”.

Category: Worst. Sequels. Ever.

“The Ropers” – Let’s not knock at that door. A sad waste of some talented actors.

“Still the Beaver” – I admit it, I included it for the name.

“AfterMASH” – Oh no.

Category: Cancelled Too Soon AKA “We Hardly Knew Ye”.

“Richie Brockelman: Private Eye” – “The thing of it is…”  A quirky young private eye, smart enough to solve crimes and dorky enough to live with his parents. Whenever I see Dennis Dugan in something, I think, “Richie!”

“Cleopatra 2525” – Three sexy tough and barely dressed chicks battle various deranged and mutated bad guys in a post-apocolypic world, and then go dance with gorgeous guys in cool futuristic bars. What’s not to love?Totally awesome soundtrack, too.

“Greatest American Hero” – That dorky red costume! Those terrible landings!

“My Hero” – An alien superhero falls in love with an average woman and learns that saving humans is easier than understanding them. Very funny. I don’t know how many episodes they made, but it wasn’t not enough.

Category: Guilty Pleasures

“America’s Next Top Model” – I find this weirdly fascinating. This season, they took pictures in a meat locker with the women dressed in meat. Who came up with that?

“Power Rangers” – Long ago, when my son was little, I watched because of him. He’s long since moved on, but I find this show kitchy fun and still catch an episode sometimes. Especially when I’m sewing on a Saturday morning. Fact to know for future quizzes: Tommy the Sith apprentice cat is named after the original Green Ranger.

Any sci-fi show, no matter how hokey – If it’s sci-fi, I’m there. But what would you expect from someone who still quotes the original “Star Trek”?

Pollyanna Foams at the Mouth

Lyda here. 

Go over to Faith’s blog and read this. And then read this. And think about it.

Then if you can find it, watch this NOW story, about “Daughters for Sale” in Nepal. It’s actually – surprisingly – a hopeful documentary, as alternatives and education and empowerment are helping to stop the practice of selling daughters into slavery.

Recently, I also watched a 20/20 two-hour special, “Prostitution in America: Working Girls Speak.” This program focused on women working the streets and in one of the legal brothels in Nevada, not those sex workers making hundreds or thousands from each visit with a client. Apparently, they ran this show at this time because of the recent incident of the politician and the high-class prostitute.

The show and the prostitutes talked about the film “Pretty Woman” a bit.

As in “The reality is nothing like…” 

These women living night-by-night on the streets or in the brothel were not the plucky romantic heroines of comedy movies.

These were women trying to make it through the night.

This kind of prostitution is not really about sex, or sexuality.

It is about power. It is about exploitation of the powerless.

Most women and men – and girls and boys – walking the streets have almost no control over their lives. They live in incredibly degrading and dangerous conditions. They almost never escape. They are beaten, abused, humiliated, and murdered. To learn more, visit these websites.

Not really very pretty, is it?

Pollyanna Frogs a Few Kisses

At least, I would if I could. You know how if you screw up your knitting, you frog it and try again? I wish I could do that. Try again, I mean.

Here follows “A Tale of Two Kisses”.

Or “A Tale of A Dork”.

Lyda here, trying to answer Marin’s semi-challenge  and in the spirit of other people’s recent blog posts (this and this)… the topic at hand is this.

But this is not a list of My Best Kisses Ever. I tried to do that, but it was way too… Depressing? Distracting? Weird? Yeah, let’s go with “weird”. Anna-Liza is privy to all my secrets; she can corraborate the weirdness.

So, this is actually about the first guy who ever kissed me.

When I was 16, a great and very attractive guy from my youth theater group asked me out on My First Date.

“Oh god, this is going to be one of those stories.” “Yes. Yes, it is. Hush up.”

He was older (a senior!) and had a car and knew all this cool music and introduced me to “Queen,” which was all very cool, but more importantly, he understood the theater geek thing, and the semi-activist-hippie thing, and most importantly, he was funny and smart and sweet and a great guy, and we were friends. And I had a very serious crush on him. Did I mention he was gorgeous too? Really fantastic eyes, and sensous lips, and seriously handsome, and… Sigh. I think I still have a crush on him.

Hey, maybe this was the beginning of my obsession with cute guys with dark hair and twinkling dark eyes? Hmm…

The date was scary-wonderful. I was very very nervous. I hadn’t even held hands with a guy before. He was great, and I was terrified. He had the whole date planned. We went to dinner (at an ice cream parlor), and then saw a movie. I have no idea what movie. I spent the movie trying to remember to breathe, and wondering what to do if he wanted to kiss me, and what if he didn’t want to kiss me, and what if he didn’t like me, and was I sitting close enough, or too close, and… Crazy girly stuff. Ya’ll know.

After the movie, he drove to the elementary school and parked, and we walked and talked, and sat on the swings and talked. For hours. With the moon and stars above. Magical.

I was seriously smitten. And I had no idea what to do when he drove me home and we got out of the car. There we were, standing on my sidewalk, he held my hands, and then he kissed me.

And I kept my lips tightly together. Hey, what the hell did I know? That’s how I’d done the few stage kisses I’d have…

He looked at me kind of puzzled and confused and oh god I hope not but I think maybe hurt, and said, “That wasn’t much of a kiss.”

How I wish I had just said, “It was my first. I have no idea what to do.”

Instead, I just stood there like the idiot I was. He kissed me again, but as I still didn’t know what to do (hello: relax mouth, part lips, maybe even participate!), it was not much better. Totally my fault. If I could frog these kisses and try again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Sigh. Despite my complete dorkiness, we went on more dates. We even had our own star – the evening star, which I now know is the planet Venus. How perfect is that?

He continued to be wonderful, I continued to be a dork.

I think he thought I wasn’t into him, when I was so totally into him. I was just so terrified of screwing up – that I screwed up. Dork. Dork. Dork.  He went away to college the next year, and no doubt dated non-dorks who had half a clue about kissing.

We stayed friends and saw each other a few times after he went to college, but I was still a complete dork and still had no clue how to act around him, and even though he might have still been a little interested in me, I still didn’t know how to tell him I was still crazy about him.

Fast forward several years and much… um… education for me, yeah, we’ll call it that.  He called me one year when I was home from college for Christmas break, and came over to see me.

Once again, I was so nervous I could hardly talk to him. I really liked him so much, and still had a crush on him. I was so embarassed because of my dorkiness with the whole kissing thing on the first date, and my continued dork-osity at each meeting.

After an hour or two, he said he had to go.

We walked outside and he took my hand to jokingly shake good-bye. And then he took my other hand. And I was blathering away pretending I was a normal human being and not the world’s biggest dork. Not that I was fooling anyone.

And he kissed me.

Oh.

My.

God.

If our first kiss is the bottom of the scale of Kissing Wonderfulness – completely and totally because of me, did I make that clear enough? – this kiss is at the very top. Beyond the top. Way the fuck off the scale.

Perfect in fact.

One of the top ten kisses in the entire history of the world. Like the narrator talks about in “Princess Bride” – that perfect.

This is a kiss that I would never ever frog. A kiss I will remember when I’m 105 and have forgotten my own name.

And then he said a few more things, as I stood there stunned and wanting to kiss him for days. And other things. Which I knew about by then. Oh yes I did.

And then he left.

Leaving me standing there, dazed…

And I never ever told him how much I really really liked him.

I never told him that he was the first man who ever kissed me.

I never said… whatever would have kept him standing there kissing me like that.

I’m a dork.

All because I was too embarrassed to say, “I don’t know what to do.”

‘Cause he would have been a great teacher.

Sigh.

He is one of the best guys I’ve ever known. And possibly – probably – the nicest man I ever dated. Heh, I can hear Anna-Liza saying, “The LAST nice guy you dated…” And she should know.

I think of him every time I hear Queen, any Queen song, especially from this album, which was kind of our album. Every time, it all comes back to me. The excitement, and the rush of girly feelings. Also, the embarassment, and the dorkiness of me, and worst of all, the horrible nagging fear that I hurt him.

I wonder where he is now… And if he is appreciated as the amazing kisser he is…

And if he ever thinks of me.

The Dork Who Loved Him.