Monthly Archives: March 2006

A yarn-like product….

In early February, I bought a spinning wheel and began playing with wool. And after nearly 2 months of alternately practicing on the wheel, practicing on a home-made drop spindle,* ignoring the spinning wheel and instead napping, reading,** or knitting, I have produced nearly 3 yards of two-ply wool ultrayarn. Yarnique. Yarnette.**** A yarn-like substance, at any rate.

Here is my two-ply effort:Yarn

And here is the yarnique with the wool that came with the wheel. Some kind of wool from some kind of sheep. Not, as it appears below, sheep’s intestine. I think.

So the spinning is thus far a success, or at least an ultrasuccess. Successique. Successette. It will continue, as the napping, knitting, and reading allow.

*except I used a dowel and a crystal door knob.

**often reading about spinning techniques, because I’m obsessive that way, as well as re-reading Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End, which is a fabulous retelling of "Sleeping Beauty"***

***A fairy tale about me would be titled "Napping Looks-okay-in-dim-light."

****Ultrasuede, diamondique, leatherette — you get the idea.

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How Zeke spent his Spring Break

Spring Break is still, um, breaking, and I’m back in Storm Lake after five days in Toledo/Bowling Green. While there, I got to hang out with old friends, see two movies,* work on 2 conference presentations, and eat at Tony Packo’s.*** 

But enough about my spring break. Zeke is the family member who really accomplished something. You see, Quaker parrots in the wild build huge, heavy, apartment-style nests that house multiple Quaker families.**** This behavior is deeply instinctual and Zeke spends much of his time at home trying to build a nest in and around his cage. Because his preferred building material is currently plastic spoons and forks, he hasn’t been very successful.

When I was gone, I boarded Zeke at a local veterinarian, where he lives in a small cage. I gave him a stack of wooden sticks to play with — think tongue depressors or big Popsicle sticks. When I retrieved him yesterday, I found that he’d splintered the sticks and accomplished the following: (click to get full birdie-building effect)


I’m starting to think about buying a house. Instead, maybe I just need to give Zeke enough sticks and plastic tableware…..

*16 Blocks, good. V for Vendetta, fabulous.**

**Part of what V-Vendetta shows us, of course, is that successful, society-changing domestic terrorism is based on wearing a REALLY cool outfit, including kick-ass Musketeer/dominatrix boots, and having an artsy secret hideout and nifty origin story. Oh, and gobs of cash.

***Yes, I’m a very-nearly-all-the-time vegetarian. But I can’t pass up a Packo’s brat with sauerkraut and mustard and big plate of chili-cheese fries. Yum. Urp.

****You’ll notice that the nest pictured is in Illinois. Escaped Quakers are very hardy and breed well, and have set up feral colonies in New York, Connecticut, Texas, Florida, and other states. Like all parrots, Quakers are surprisingly intelligent and can mimic human speech. They’ve been implicated in several credit card fraud rings — check your statement for unauthorized purchase of birdie toys, sunflower seeds, and parrot porn.*****

*****Even more disturbing is parrot-on-zombie child porn.

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The party thinks its 1899…

Popping in to share this article — Missouri’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to forbid use of state funds for contraception for poor women:

"Phillips’ amendment eliminated infertility treatments and
contraception, and substituted alternatives to abortion and prenatal
care for the purpose of giving birth. It also prohibited spending on
any treatment and referrals for any treatment not spelled out in the


"Rep. Kate Meiners, a Kansas City Democrat and an abortion opponent,
said Phillips intended her amendment to be a statement against
abortion. But Meiners said she feared it would have the opposite effect
by creating more unplanned pregnancies.

But Phillips said she was comfortable with the change because the
group Missouri Right to Life and the Missouri Catholic Conference
supported it."

Now, states can’t refuse to fund services that are included in the Medicaid schedule for medicaid-eligible women, without endangering their Federal Medicaid funds, I believe. But the state CAN refuse funds to women who are poor, but not destitute enough to qualify for Medicaid.

Of course, Missouri is also on the short list for outlawing abortion in this whole South Dakota to the Supreme Court rabid anti-woman-rights rush. I guess Missouri realizes that Bush and Co. need the babies of poor women to fight their wars, just like in the good old days. And since the passage of Roe V. Wade, as a culture we’ve forgotten what botched, illegal abortions look like and do — they don’t just kill women, they leave families without wives, mothers, and daughters.

Here, however, is a link to the roster of the Missouri House of Representative members, complete with email addresses, including Phillips. Go to town, folks.

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Well, Amelia Kitty not only frightened off the Muse, she hunted it down and left it, bedraggled, chewed-upon, and headless, on the front mat. She left a big stack of grading, too.

So look for new Left O’ Mississippi after spring break (around 3/27), when I hope to have some more bloggy goodness, sans kitty fang marks.

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Amelia frightens off the Muse…

So I was lying in bed this morning, enjoying a series of those lovely deep dozes that make the time between snooze alarms seem like hours, and planning my next blog entry. I had a fabulous idea for a longer, humorous essay-type entry, the kind of thing I love to write and that I hope you love to read. And while there is always the chance that my idea was the sort of thing that seems fabulous when I’m half asleep and turns out to be an eddic saga about stainless steel kangaroos smuggling neutron bombs disguised as loaves of banana bread in their pouches, I’m pretty sure it was something real and writable.

And then crash-endo-endo-endo…

I was out of bed and halfway down the stairs before I really woke up, and there was Amelia Kitty staring up at me with googly eyes. And then she sat down and started to lick her leg and I knew she had been responsible for….whatever it was.

And it was nothing downstairs. Upstairs, however, I found Zeke’s travel cage on the floor, sprung all apart, and the dry food that, yes, I had left in it from the last time he was boarded, scattered across the carpet. So I had to pick all that up and go downstairs and get ready for work.

And of course the neat blog entry idea I had — or didn’t, in the case of the neutron-banana bread-smuggling stainless steel kangaroos — was driven out of my head and lost for eternity. Stupid cat.

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No, not the 1967 musical film* or the Kennedy administration, but my current spring semester at my shiny new college professor job. See, my institution is very protective of its new faculty. For my first year, I am expected to teach and that’s about it. No committees. No advisees. No research or conferences, although its okay if I want to do some of those things. There’s just no pressure.

Now, my first semester was stressful as I learned to juggle teaching 4 classes at once, with the accompanying issue of keeping MWF and TTH classes straight when they are on the same subject. But I got the hang of it.

AND, I’ve worked in the real world, in jobs where I had to juggle my duties with endless meetings and extra assignments. So I know what that kind of work like is like.**** What this means, then, is that I am in the blissful situation of Knowing exactly how good I have it right now. Some days, I smile like an idiot all day long.

So here I am. One brief shining semester.

It’s good.

*I loved that movie as a teen, and still adore T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. And even though the movie becomes cheesier ** as I become older, I still bawl when King Arthur says "Run Tim! Run,"*** to the pageboy near the end.

**And what was up with Vanessa Redgrave’s hair?

***this has nothing to do with Lassie. No one has fallen down the well.

****I’m pretty sure it shows up in Dante’s Inferno. And maybe some Bosch paintings ***** as well.

*****And if you like that, you can buy Bosch action figures here.

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