Thursday, July 31, 2008

what was that?

That was a little black dog named Muffin. When the days were hot, Muffin's family all went to the country. We're off to the country, they said, and you're going, too, Muffin.

Thus begins a record I must have listened to a thousand times when I was a kid. Muffin's family loads him in a "travel box" where he can't see outside, but he can hear. The rest of the record (both sides of a small 78) is a series of sounds, followed by the narrator's voice asking, "What was that?" over and over and over again.

My brother gave me a stack of old records some years ago, and Muffin in the Country, as it is called, was among them. I was delighted to have it, although the record doesn't play all that well anymore, since my brothers once tried (successfully, I must admit) to play it with a straight pin as they manually spun the turntable. We did mange to listen to it, however, and more importantly, Ben taped it so that Tom and Julie could listen to it. It is almost as familiar to them as it is to me; so much so that for a while "Muffin" was in the running as a name for Rufus, because he is a little black dog, after all.

Last month, when Ben and I were at the flea market in Hartville, I was looking at a booth full of old chilren's books when I found a paperback called The Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown, an author best known for writing the children's classic, Goodnight Moon. I picked it up because I loved the graphic style of the cover. It was a re-print of a book first printed in 1939, and it seemed very 30's-bustling-big-city to me.

Imagine my delight when it turned out to be a book about a little black dog named Muffin! The format was very similar to my beloved record. Poor Muffin got a cinder in his eye, and when his family took him to the vet, a bandage was put over his eyes until he was healed. So, once again, Muffin couldn't see, but Muffin could hear - all the sounds of the big city, as it turned out.

I started sifting through the stacks of books to see if I could find, possibly, Muffin in the Country, as well. And I did, under the title, Country Noisy Book. I also found an indoor noisy book and a winter noisy book. I think I bought all four of them for two dollars.

What a find! Are these books worth more than I paid for them? They are not. But how delighted I am to have them anyway.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

come sail away

If you had driven by me on my way to work yesterday, you might have seen me laughing and laughing as I drove down Newcomer Road. I pretty much only listen to the radio when I am in my car. I station-surf until I find a song I know (and like) to listen to. Yesterday the intro to a song I didn't recognize came on. The music was so stupid and queer that I left it on to see what it was. Then, an odd, nasal voice started to warble, "I'm sailing away..."

Could it be? Was this the queer song that Cartman has to sing compulsively whenever someone mentions it to him? As I listened and waited for the refrain, I marveled at the grandiose music and the total inanity of the lyrics. I had never listened to this song before (because it was so stupid, and because I hate Styx) but it had to be the one.

At last - the refrain: Come sail away, come sail away... I could immediately picture Cartman singing faster and faster, unable to stop until he sang it all. I burst out laughing as I drove along and continued to laugh until the song was over.

Man, I love to laugh like that, and wish I could do it every day. I include the lyrics below in the hope that they will make you laugh, too. (I bet they will.)

I'm sailing away,
set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free,
free to face the life thats ahead of me
On board, I'm the captain,
so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try, oh lord, I'll try to carry on

I look to the sea,
reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had
We live happily forever,
so the story goes
But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold

But we'll try best that we can to carry on
A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope,
and this is what they said
They said

Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me

I thought that they were angels,
but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship
and headed for the skies

Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm down. I'm really down.

I don't know what is wrong with me lately, but I'm down. I am trying to figure out why, and more importantly, to just get over it, already. Don't read any further if you don't want to listen to my sad little list of things that haven't gone just right recently.

Let's see - a weekend that Ben and I had really been looking forward to turned out to be a bust. That same weekend, Julie and Andrew went to Chincoteague. Now, I am thrilled they went there - the scene of so many happy family vacations when Tom and Julie were growing up, but at the same time, I'm sad we weren't on Chincoteague with them.

Right around that same time, I broke out in some kind of mysterious rash on my face, neck, and, uh, other places, as well. Hives? Poison ivy? Yarn allergy? I just don't know. I do know it is unsightly and itchy and real irritating.

I'm always broke. I got my first paycheck, and am very pleased to be gainfully employed again, but, let's face it, I did not take this job for the money. I love the shop and the people I work with, and the women who come in are, by and large, very pleasant to deal with - all good things, but they don't pay the bills. I'm tired of being broke.

And that's another thing - I'm just plain tired all the time. When we got home from grocery shopping on Sunday, I went back to bed and slept for two hours. What's up with that? I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I'm ready for a new phase, aren't you?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

there are chickens in the... yard

We live at the end of our little street in the crook of an L-shaped intersection with Short Street, which is a very short street, indeed, having only two houses on it. The down side of living there is that we are on the corner and so have that whole long side of the lot (sidewalk and tree lawn) to care for. On the plus side, however, we don't have any neighbors at all to the west of us, and we like that a lot.

The other end of our street T's into a larger side street, and right at that intersection lives a very interesting family. They live in a big old two-story house, and when we first moved here, we frequently saw a big old city bus parked in front of their house. It was painted a sort of faded aqua, and the destination on the front of the bus could be just about anywhere. Clearly, it belonged to the family who lived there, and we were always pleased to see it parked other places around town.

The city did not appreciate the bus as much as we did, apparently, and posted signs in front of that house only, saying "No Parking Between Signs". The bus is still parked there from time to time, and I say, "good for them!" but we don't see it much anymore.

Yesterday evening when Rufus and I walked by there on our post-prandial walk, I saw something I had never seen there - or anywhere else in our neighborhood - before. Two brown chickens with bright red combs were chasing each other around the front yard. Rufus didn't notice them because they were across the street, but I was delighted. I asked a woman who was out in front of her house as we walked by, and she told me, "oh yes, they've had them for a while. They raised them from chicks."

Now, I am pretty sure our town has some sort of ordinance prohibiting that. (No livestock within the city limits - whatever.) Most towns do. I am delighted, however, to see that this family is still practicing their mild form of civil disobedience.

Oh, and I'm glad they don't live next door to me.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Miss Chickpea's

Taking a look at my list of tags or "labels", as they are called here, I am surprised to find that I have never mentioned Miss Chickpea's (full name:"Miss Chickpea's Funky Fibers") in any of my posts. Miss Chickpea's is my LYS (local yarn store) and it is located in the new First & Main development in downtown Hudson, about twenty minutes from here. Their website is here:

I love Miss Chickpea's. I have loved it since the first time we walked in there last December. When we knew that Tom and Kristy would be spending Christmas with us, we wanted to find some neat, funky little yarn shops to take Kristy to - 'cause knitters love places like that. A quick search on the internet turned up Miss Chickpea's - right next to Aladdin's, our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. It was the perfect outing - lunch at Aladdin's and a trip to the yarn store.

If you have checked out the website, you have seen what a cute little place it is - just chock-full of yarn. Yarn everywhere. Even non-knitters, like Julie, love to go in there. One just feels inspired to knit.

Tom and Kristy gave me a knitting class there as a birthday present, and when I went, I began to make friends with the incredibly helpful and friendly women who work there. They are always available to help new knitters (or experienced knitters!) through a rough patch, and don't mind if you just sit down and knit for a while.

A couple of months ago, Julie and I were heading to Aladdin's when we saw a "Help Wanted" sign hanging in Miss Chickpea's front window. Over lunch, we discussed the pros and cons of applying for a job there. Well, really, there didn't seem to be any cons, so I stopped in and picked up an application.

Long story short, I am now working at Miss Chickpea's Funky Fibers. I am still very much a newbie, but working there is almost as much fun as shopping there - and that's saying a lot. We are encouraged to work on our knitting when everything else is done. And they even pay us. How lucky is that?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

change is good... I guess

I didn't used to be a morning person - getting up too early to shower and rush out the door to work and all - but I love my mornings now. And I love my daily morning routine. Here's what I do every morning:

1. Get up and let the dogs out.

2. Start some coffee brewing.

3. Feed the dogs, if they haven't been fed.

4. Bring the newspapers in. (Get a little irritated if they haven't both arrived.)

5. Give the dogs their little treats for eating all their breakfast.

6. Read the newspapers while eating breakfast - usually a bowl of lowfat granola with fresh blueberries and fat-free milk and a mug of coffee with Splenda.

7. Chase Rufus out from under Julie's bed, where he has run to hide with the kleenex he stole out of the bathroom waste basket.

8. Hop on line to check my email (usually just updates from some knitting sites) my blog for comments (usually none, as you all well know) the LibraryThing talk page (which is being taken over by spammers, unfortunately) and, most importantly, my Ravelry page for comments and inspiration.

9. Whatever I want to do - gosh!

My routine came to a screeching halt at #8 yesterday, however, when my computer was unable to connect to the internet. I made the trip to the basement once, twice, a half dozen times to toggle the router switch, but to no avail. No connection. No internet. Normally, this might be cause for panic, but as yesterday was my second day of work at my new job, it wasn't the problem it could have been.

And for more information on that, you will just have to tune in tomorrow.