Nativity play

We had a good Thanksgiving.

Some cats had some nice lounging

Sunshine LoLo

Simon bliss

The meal seemed to go over well:

Holiday table

I made a particularly pretty pie:

Pretty pie

And Mom indulged in the creation of a bunch of teeny sweaters – it was like a particularly cute obsession acted out in scraps of leftover sock yarn:

Mom's teeny sweater obsession

And finally, we’re currently sitting here deconstructing the performance art piece that is John hanging lights on the Christmas tree.  It’s rather nice.

One heckuva dinner party

We’re doing Thanksgiving at our house this year – our usual routine is to go to my aunt’s, but she’s had an emergency in her family, so we dropped back, punted, and John’s brining a turkey this very minute.

As the household baker, I am in charge of pies.  Mom and I powered through pumpkin and had the apple in the oven, when I came in to see Dash on the counter and this:

Dead cat.  Dead, I tell you.

Dead.  Cat.  Walking.

You wouldn’t think he was evil, to look at him:

Arty Dash

Anyway, there’s another pie in the oven. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends, and happy Thursday to the rest of the world.

Thanksgiving still-life

We had the Hallowe’en that wasn’t. How was yours?

From Marissa, a beautiful image of a cool-sounding little kid in Minneapolis:

Princess Leia the Four-Year-Old Jedi is perfectly prepared to kick the butt of any naysayer who tries to point out that this is not canon; this is her light saber , and she is Princess Leia, and you wanna make something of it, buddy? She thought not.

Go read the whole thing .  You will die of the cute.

Me? We got dissed by the tiny goblins again (I think we had a grand total of about five trick-or-treaters. We get fewer every year). I did see some funny stuff on the Metro on my way home. A group of college kids, dressed up for a party. A ballerina, a Dorothy Gale, Cupid, who posed for me, but the iPhone camera and the train make for some blurriness:

Halloween on the Metro

And for a truly surrealistic touch, which I couldn’t photograph without being obnoxious, a tiny (presumably female) Ronald Reagan in a Nancy-red suit sporting an Obama button.

You can’t make this stuff up.

ETA: The funniest song I’ve ever heard about zombies.  “Re Your Brains ” by Jonathan Coulton.  Go.  Listen.  Laugh.

“I don’t know. I was going for ferocious and scary, but it’s coming out more dryly sardonic.”

My outstandingly organized friend Yvonne had a pumpkin-carving party this weekend.  That and the Red Sox finally taking their finger out has made for fall cheer around here.

John did his pumpkin all old-school, where I availed myself of the templates and tools Yvonne had thoughtfully provided.  All in all though, we were severely outclassed by the others at the party who were truly ambitous.


(Our two are at the lower left).

Here’s hoping for many small goblins desiring candy arriving chez nous this year.

Memorial Day Weekend Niecelet

John and I really enjoy being "Uncle John and Auntie Jill," and we’re pretty lucky with the kidlets we have in our lives.

We got to spend today with little miss Amelia Sophia, who was very happy to be strolled around a Memorial Day street fair with Mama and Daddy and Uncle and Auntie. She continues to be most cute:

The modern baby, captured in its natural habitat

…and John has many very interesting conversations with her:

Uncle John and Amelia

(trust me, she may look as if she was ignoring him, but she was really listening intently).

More posting tomorrow, including answering Robynn ‘s tag, and also answering her plaintive cry for in-progress knitting photos. Big piles of blobby lace shawl in progress – excitement!

From the Archives – the First of an Occasional Series

It’s that time of year again – people are talking about holiday music – their favorites, least favorites, songs of regret and longing, songs of holiday cheer.  I’m a bit pressed for time, and I have found that searching my own archives from the old site is mostly borked (why?  We may never know), so I have decided to occasionally dip into my past output and re-run it (possibly edited, possibly not).  Therefore, I give you the post which originally ran on February 17, 2004, “The Third Bird Carnival” –


I heard a piece on NPR yesterday in which a Filipino poet explained the premise of his new book. He had apparently misunderstood the lyrics of the Johnny Rivers song, “Secret Agent Man” for years. He thought it was “Secret Asian Man,” and it struck him as particularly apt, even after he learned his mistake.

There is something profoundly human in misunderstanding song lyrics – especially when it comes to rock. It is a universal story – just about everyone seems to have their own reconstruction of some popular song and usually the misunderstood lyrics are ridiculous to the point of absurdity.  Somehow our brains seek to come up with some string of words that fit the sounds you can pick out, and wedge them in there with utterly human hubris, no matter how ludicrous the output.  It’s the kind of universal experience that makes for good standup or sketch comedy (Cf. Wayne and Garth singing “There’s a Bathroom on the Right” to the tune of “Bad Moon on the Rise”).  There is even a book: Marie once gave me this anthology of misunderstood song lyrics, appropriately entitled, “‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy.”  (And oh – there is a sequel as well… even, appropriately enough, a holiday edition.)

In my own story of misunderstood lyrics, I don’t even have the excuse of thumping bass or yowling electric guitars to explain the misunderstanding: instead, I have to blame two factors: youth and context. I was about three years old and it was Christmas time. Those who know me know that I sing – in the car, around the house, to the animals – but those who have known me for a very long time know that I sang long before I could read. My mother couldn’t sing me lullabies – she has a beautiful voice, it wasn’t that I was a baby music critic – the problem was, as soon as she would begin singing, I would join in and delay going to sleep.

So, imagine: Advent, 1972. I was in church with Mom, and I was singing with all my heart along with the rest of the congregation. Suddenly, my mother started laughing. I was worried: had I hit a wrong note? What was so funny? She was finally able to explain to me in soft whispers that the lyrics to the song were, “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel…” My misconstruction made as much sense to me as “Secret Asian Man” did to the Filipino poet (still does, actually – if you think like a three-year-old). I had been singing, “Free toys, free toys, Emmanuel…” I believe I thought Emmanuel might be a different name for Santa Claus.

Later on yesterday, after I had breakfasted with a friend and told her about the Secret Asian Man, we went into a Barnes & Noble. Another friend had reminded me of the existence of an omnibus edition of the works of James Thurber, and I wanted my own copy. Since I didn’t find it right away, I sought out an employee – eager to help, but not familiar with the works of early/middle twentieth-century humorists. I explained what I wanted – I told him the title and added that it was a collection of works by the humorist, James Thurber. I spoke slowly and carefully. There was no musical accompaniment, rock or otherwise. He retreated to his inventory computer and typed swiftly. Perhaps he’s a Secret Asian Man, because his search was for “The Third Bird Carnival.”

Holiday Wrap-Up.

We had an amusing weekend – John’s all for getting a Christmas tree at the earliest opportunity, so we went off to our usual tree vendor and got ourselves a fine, fragrant little evergreen.

Here’s a shot of John finishing it off (he loves that I take a picture of his butt every year).

The annual topping of the tree

Of course, having a new kitten in the household means some amount of anxiety about trimming a tree. Over the years we have collected a wide variety of ornaments, and we have a system: the really delicate ones go up at the top, and there is a sort of graduated arrangement whereby the sturdiest ones hang at cat-height. The older cats really couldn’t care less about the tree, but we’ve kept to this scheme over the years just in case. At first blush, Milo gave us his most innocent pose:

“Who, me?”

Then he was clearly intrigued:

“Come to meeeee!”

Then there was the tap-tapping of a wee white paw:

Really tempted

And then, well:

Nom nom nom!
“Nom nom nom!!”

That was about the time we decided we didn’t want seed beads in the cat and threw that particular fancy away.

Milo was back to playing Mr. Innocent in no time:

The wee tree terror rests from his labors

Yeah.  He’s getting bigger.

(Knitting content post-script: yes, those are handmade socks.  BMFA “Socks that Rock” heavyweight in the “rose quartz” colorway, purchased at Stitches late-ish so I was forced to go out of my usual color comfort zone.  I rather love them.  They knit up in about three days and I adore the combination of delicate color and sturdy, warm boot-sock).