Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Bye Charlie!

Well, it looks like one of my guilty pleasures of blog surfing,Japaneze, wasn't really what it seemed to be. It was actually .... ART!
And now it's gone.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Ringing It In

So, here it is, the end of the year. Feels kind of anti-climactic since Christmas and Hanukah were the crest of the holiday wave. New Years is kind of like washing up on shore. But I could be easily discounting what will happen on New Years Day, since I will be, right off the bat, fulfilling one of my yearly resolutions, which is to play music out in the world in front of people. Yup, on Jan 1 2004 Bolt (me and Stef at this point) will be joining Mill Town Two at 8TRAX in Rochester. Should be some other good special guests there too. Do you realize this means Stephanie unplugged? Stephanie sans Stratocaster! I won't be playing acoustic but I don't need to because my whole set up is perfect for this kind of gig. We'll do some of our own Bolt songs and a few together with Mat and Toby. It's going to be a totally new thing for us and while I realize that it's all good, it kind of freaks me out.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

And I somehow think I become invisible

Christmas was good. Presents, food, food, food, talk, talk, talk. It was relaxing and good. Now hopefully I can get over it and my seasonal disorder and start thinking about the new year and what sort of resolutions I'm making.
I do have a seasonal disorder. Every year for at least the past 2 or 3 years I have felt physically ill for the last couple of weeks of the year and every winter I need to find something to obsess on. This year it's knitting which is not only harmless, but also productive. Four years ago it was the guitar. Another fine choice. I taught myself to play and spent 3 or 4 hours a day practicing. For a couple of years after that the obsession of choice was martial arts. The discipline of it was great for me, especially after having spent a couple of years chasing after what I had thought was my will but turned out to be just really a big whim.
I mentioned the phenomenon to my mother yesterday and she asked if I thought it was due to things I'd gone through in past holiday seasons. I kind of dismissed the thought but she's probably on to something. The first time my younger sister Kate went completely and undeniably nuts was in December when I was in high school. And the last time I ever saw her was in December right before Christmas about 10 years ago. She came up from New York to visit and we all went out for Chinese food. I remember saying good bye and promising to go down to NY to visit in January, but I never called her and never went and she died in February. I doubt a couple days visit from me would have changed how anything happened with her. She was on a crash course and she struggled for so long. I fled so I wouldn't see it happen. It was all I could do in the aftermath of growing up with a sister, one year younger than me to the day, who was delusional and determined to run with that. I could see it was all going wrong, but I didn't know how to stop any of it. All the family shit that happened when I was in high school was certainly part of what led me to go so far away for so long. It was easier living in an alien world than in one filled with ghosts.
I know most everyone has their own stories and tragedies at this time of year. It's not just me. There's no sun. It's easy to want to spend your days lost in something, be it music, the computer, tv, video games, drugs, drama, drinking, narcisism, or a serious knitting habit. You just need to consider the aftermath and make the right choices.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Another Bad Jew!

Cool! I found another bad jew at Amish Tech Support.
Among the many pearls of wisdom he drops down in this rant (and I mean rant in a good way) against mindless bondage to tradition for tradition's sake, this one was my favorite:
Any idiot can make a box of forty-four candles last eight days. Sure, it takes a math whiz to do the numbers and come up with a ritualistic pattern based on them. Probably a good cantor to write up a song and lyrics. But the miracle was conservation, not some empty gesture where you follow directions like a robot. If God wanted robots, he should have built them himself instead of giving man the sense and independence to build them himself.

Bad Jew!!!

I received this comment calling me a bad jew on my previous post and I've got to say that I got quite a kick out of it. I certainly wouldn't deny the accusation, since I protested (with picket signs and everything) to quit Hebrew school as a kid (with good reason, but that's another story) and never even got bat mitvah'ed.
I've said it before and I'll say it again-- subversion and agitation are where I'm at. In my own small way I do what I can to break down all the bullshit that keeps people locked into doing what they're supposed to do rather than what's in their hearts. I'm not the kind of person who does things just because I'm supposed to. In fact, it's taken me a long time to stop doing things just because I wasn't suppposed to be doing them.
If it's in your heart to keep with faith and tradition then mazeltov and keep at it. We need people like that in the world. We need people like me too.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Seasonal Insanity

This whole holiday season has got me temporarily (I hope) insane. We're doing Chanukkah since I'm Jewish by birth. We're doing Christmas since I'm a mom and not strong or Grinchly enough to deny my child the joy of the Christmas spirit.
I haven't located my menorah, which is probably lingering in one of the many still unpacked boxes from our move here in April, so I'm improvising using regular scented candles. I feel awful about it but my daughter reassures me that we have the Chanukkah Spirit so it's okay. I am fully unprepared to explain all the religious significance of the holidays and even less able to explain why our family celebrates them even though we don't really practice any of the religions they come from.
Nobody really paid any attention to religion in Japan so it was easier to ignore it. It never really felt like the holidays there anyway. At least not until New Years and we celebrated that in a very Japanese way anyway, so it was in context. Now we're back in the States and definitely caught up in the holiday spirit and celebration, but it bothers me that I can't really explain why I do it, other than that's it's really fun. Maybe that's reason enough.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Finally finally finally

I was in Best Buy yesterday to pick up some DVDs I had ordered online and couldn't resist poking around. To be honest, it was the first time I'd ever been in there, which is really odd considering that visiting electronics stores was one of my hobbies when I was living in Japan. Not only did I leave with my DVDs, I also splurged on a RCA wireless speaker and transmitter set as an early holiday present to all of us. I didn't even wait for any suitable holiday, I just set it up as soon as I got home. No, I couldn't even wait the 2 days until Hanukkah (which starts tomorrow). I really can't tell you why it took me so long to make that purchase. Guess it just seemed like such a luxury. It's a lot easier for me to spend money on other people than on myself.
Now these speakers are not exactly masterpieces of high fidelity sound, but the wireless part was too cool to pass up. I can connect the transmitter to my computer or my iPod and put the speakers anywhere in the house, which is pretty damn cool. Can even put them out on the back deck when the summertime comes back around. What I'd like to do now is get more wireless speakers so I can put some upstairs and in the living room.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Sum It Up

Found out about The Mayfly Project 2003 from Kinuk. The task is to sum up your 2003 in 20 words or less. I did it!
Left Japan. Moved back home to NH with my family. New job. Crappy salary. Got a dog. This life rocks!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

When it's 10 degrees outside, eBay is Where It's At

These days I'm way too into eBay. My current targets are cross country skis and sewing machines. The skis are because we can go right out our door and ski for as far as we wish or can manage . Seems like a lot of people buy gear, use it once or twice and that's it. I've never done a lot of cross country skiing, but what I have done has been pretty enjoyable. It's kind of like cycling in the pace and the view. Hunting season ends tomorrow and I guess it's officially safe to go back out into the fields without decking out in orange. Hunters do come around here but not that many and they seem very cool about it. It's kind of weird to see them in a basically residential area, but we are right on the edge of some great reserve land. I have a pretty good idea of the topography around here now and I'll be able to check out the places that are too wet to be reasonably accessible when they're not frozen. There are fingers of land separated by streams leading down to the Bellamy River. I want to get out into the fields and then down to the circular trail along the river and eventually all the way down to the Audobon land at Durham Point. That's the plan. Now the skis are on the way. And the snow is too.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Discretion is the Better Part of Valor

I believe the shit is probably flying at work these days in no small part thanks to my contributions. I'd love to sit and write the whole thing out here and I suppose once it's all done with I probably will, if just to release it from my mind.
I'm sure the powers that be think I cannot see the forest for the trees in the matter under question, but they don't compensate me enough to ignore the screaming trees I deal with on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

Welcome to the Machine

I've had a really shitty day due to crap at work that I would love to spout off about but won't on the off chance that it might work out ok in the end. It would be beyond stupid if things got screwed up because I chose to vent my frustrations in this public format.
So instead I'm going to bitch about something stupid and meaningless. Why did so many women with fat, pale legs have to be wearing shorts at the post office (talking customers here) in December the day after the end of a weekend long snow storm? Just because it stopped snowing it doesn't mean it's summer.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Funky Colors for a Funky Kid

I made this for my daughter out of some wool blend yarn I had hanging around.
She's been wearing it out playing in the snow the past two days and seems pretty happy with it.
(This is how it looks unfolded. She wears it with the brim folded up.)

Soft and Fuzzy

This cap was made by double stranding with a mohair blend yarn and a baby wool. It is very soft and light. It doesn't give you hat hair either. Don't think I'd try to wear it out in a blizzard, but it's awfully nice when you're feeling a little chilly around the house.
I originally bought this yarn combo to make a scarf for my mom, and then changed my mind about what colors to use for the scarf.

Black Fairisle-ish Cap

I finished this cap last week. I used the Basic Hat Pattern from Mielke's Farm site and adapted the patterns by picking and choosing from something I downloaded from another knitting site whose address I have now forgotten.
Anyway, I like the hat because it's warm, but for the cap I now have in progress I used a smaller needle for the ribbing so it won't be so loose.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Bring It On

Jerry says I'm doomed and since he lives up further north than I do I guess he knows about this NH winter stuff. I lived here the first 18 years of my life, so it's not like I don't know what to expect. It's just that I haven't been here for the duration of a New England winter in a long time. So far, I'm getting a kick out of it.
Our first big forecasted snow storm is due to arrive later this evening. The sky is already white and you can just tell it's gonna snow soon. I went to the supermarket to stock up for a weekend of settling in (chocolate chip cookie ingredients, a chicken to roast, chai, etc) and it's already kind of crazy in there with everyone doing the same. It's like watching another version of the squirrels that were all around the yard a month ago.

Local man rebuilds after devastating Maine Turnpike crash

This is a really touching story. Way to go Foster's for running it.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

And Alejandro Kind of Looks LIke a Young Matsukata Hiroki

Just go ahead and call me a teacher geek if you must, but this Japanese Oral Exam video rocks. They aren't my students. I don't know their teacher. I got the URL from a posting on a mailing list related to teaching Japanese.
Their filmaking and editing are awesome and the Japanese is pretty good too. It even has subtitles so no one has to miss out on the fun.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

And So It Begins

Woke up to the first real snowfall of the season this morning. It was still dark and suspiciously blue outside when I opened my eyes this morning, so I thought I might see snow when I looked out the window. Even still, I had to say "woah!" when I actually saw everything decked out in white. My husband and daughter had the same reaction. And it was the dog's first snow ever. He seemed perplexed, cold and happy about it.
I thought it would probably melt away by noon, but I guess I was underestimating what winter really means around here. It wasn't gone by noon and the temperature never got much above the low 20s, so there's still plenty of white on the ground. And while it could theoretically melt away within the next couple of days, it could also be the last time we see the bare surface of the ground until spring.

Monday, December 01, 2003


Tonight we watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The real one from the mid-60s, not the Jim Carey one. It was on Cartoon Network. (Those folks make me proud sometimes, the way they honor their heritage and show classic cartoons.) It was the first time my daughter ever saw this version and probably a couple of decades since I'd watched it myself. It was as good as I remembered it being, but it was a lot shorter. For a less than 30 minute show, it sure has impact.