A Suburban Fairy TaleOnce upon a time--- and a long, long time ago--- in a suburb far, far away... There was a suburban girl named Bo. Now one day this Bo decided to make her famous "Vanilla Pudding & Strawberry Jam Tarts". But, before making the tarts, Bo went tripping happily down the stairs to the basement, where she intended to clean out the stupid cats' litterbox. (Okay, okay, she tripped unhappily--- because who in their right mind enjoys cleaning out cat litterboxes??) And so it happened on that day that Bo, who was minding her own business, began whistling to herself--- as she always does whenever she performs the litterbox chore. (On this particular day Bo was whistling one of her favorite movie tunes, that from "Bridge On The River Kwai", about which certain grumpy stick-in-the-mud persons (who shall remain nameless in case Blaine reads the blog) have complained has high notes so piercingly shrill that they "might cause the windows to crack"... ) (But Bo knows that her whistle tunes won't shatter the dang windows---because Bo knows that the real reason these grumpy detractors complain about her whistling is because they are simply jealous of her amazing whistling skills, since her whistling repertoire includes many difficult whistling tunes such as "The Stars & Stripes Forever", "The Notre Dame Fight Song", and "Count Your Blessings" from the Baptist Hymnal.) WHERE WAS I? Oh yeah, Bo was whistling in the basement. Anyway, as she worked the hapless Bo was more than a little puzzled by the fact that her cat Leonard was not acting his usual self. Usually he irks the hell out of Bo whenever she cleans the litterbox because no sooner does she get it sparklingly clean, sanitary, and free of "clumps" than Leonard will immediately jump into it to pee---or worse---to make another "clump". But on this day Bo noticed that Leonard's attention was focused elsewhere.....on a spot high up in the basement's rafters, a spot which he had been staring at intently, without moving a muscle, for a good 20 minutes or so.... And so Bo ventured a tentative question: "Gee, Leonard, what is my snookums looking at? Is it a bad ole spider?" Not getting a response from Leonard, Bo then turned her gaze to follow that of Leonard's... ...up... up... upward..... ...trying to see what in the world was so interesting that it could hold Leonard's gaze for the entire time she had been cleaning out the litterbox.... And then Bo saw it. And then Bo hollered the F-Word. Epilogue: In which Blaine totally redeems himself of every alleged sin Bo has ever accused him of by valiantly going forth into the basement where he then caused the aforementioned bat to fly into a cardboard box (and Bo is still wondering how in the hell did he do that without touching the bat??) And then Blaine took the box containing the intruding bat outside, in order to release it to the wild blue yonder, during which Bo stood by sighing with relief, thinking to herself that Blaine really does look like her TV hero, Leroy Jethro Gibbs of "NCIS" (and is most certainly equally brave).... The End. And then Bo went and made the Vanilla Pudding & Strawberry Jam Tarts. The End Again. And while Bo made the tarts she could hear Blaine in the basement, where he was standing on a rickety step-stool, madly stapling things to the basement wall with the staple gun in order to reinforce a hole from which he suspected the dadgum bat had gotten into the house. And Bo wasn't quite sure... but she thinks she overheard Blaine muttering things to himself while he was stapling, things like "Hiss at me will you, you damn bat?!" and "Next time, you had better get up PRETTY EARLY in the morning to think that you can get into MY house again!"..... The End Yet Again. And Bo worried herself sick that Blaine was going to fall off the step-stool and accidentally staple himself (Lord knows she saw plenty of staple gun accidents during the years she worked as an emergency room nurse), but then she shrugged off that worry because she figured that if Blaine was clever enough to get a damn bat to voluntarily fly into a cardboard box, then he is most certainly plenty capable of balancing on a step-stool while using a staple gun without mishap. Now this really is The End. And, after she finished the tarts, Bo also finished knitting a pair of socks she calls her "Non-Matching Irish Aran Socks"--- while silently congratulating herself on the fact that at the moment of truth, when she first spied the bat, that she had not panicked and run down the street hysterically screaming the typical "woman sees a bat" things like "EEEEK!", or "Oh my God it'll fly into my hair and get all tangled up!", or "Oh my God it will bite me and I'll get rabies and have to have 47 shots in my stomach!" (Not that Bo thinks the F-Word is much better.....) (Or at least she congratulated herself on the fact that Blaine hadn't actually HEARD her scream those things---nor the F-Word either---because he had been upstairs on the back deck busily smoking a rack of ribs for Super Bowl Sunday Dinner.....) And Bo subsequently forgave Blaine for his statement that the idea of "a pair of non-matching aran socks is stupid"---while gently reminding Blaine that she absolutely cannot bring herself to knit a pair of "matching" socks to save her silly life, and that if she is required to knit two socks in the exact same color then at least she can relieve the boredom by knitting them in different aran stitch patterns, dammit.... Now this really truly is The End. But poor Bo couldn't sleep a wink that night... laying there with her eyes bugged as wide open as a gigged frog's while her highly imaginative mind pondered--- over and over--- on the question as to how in the Sam Hill that dang bat had gotten into the house in the first place? ...and she lay there for hours... tossing and turning... wondering nervously if there might be an entire COLONY of bats nearby... ...hanging upside-down somewhere in the house... like in the chimney.... the attic... or GOD FORBID a dark closet..... Bo really hopes it's The Dang End.... * And They Lived Happily Ever After.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
That puddy tat is very bad,
he sneaks up from behind,
I don't think I would like it,
if I knew what's on his mind...
("I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat", Mel Blanc)*
*Things I've Said To The Cats Which Blaine Claims Means I'm Insane: - Don't look at me in that tone of voice! - You look guilty---what did you do? - And don't look at Blaine---he can't help you. - You'll eat EVERY damn bite of that food---don't you know there's starving cats in Africa? (To Blaine: Look, honey---the idiot cats think the window is "television". The cat in the mansion down the street probably thinks he has HBO and cable.) - As long as you live under my roof, you'll do EXACTLY what I tell you to do. - Who do I look like--the damn Tuna Fairy? - Stop fighting---this isn't Madison Square Gardens. - Oh my GOD, you cats are such PISSANTS! (To Blaine: Well they ARE pissants---and so are you.) - Hey, one of you cats get over here---my feet are cold. - Alright that's it! This time I'm going to kick some cat ASS!! - Okay, who's the wise cat who licked my yogurt? Do I eat out of your bowl? - You'll do what I say because I'm the one who feeds and clothes you. (To Blaine: Sure they're "clothed"---and every dang time I clean up cat hair I'm doing their laundry.) - You cats are so stupid you don't even realize that Blaine mixes cheap wet food in your tuna fish. (To Blaine: Oh for God's sakes, don't worry---they can't understand human talk.) (To Blaine: You'd better use the manual can opener for that soup or the C-A-T-S will think you're opening some T-U-N-A.) - Alright, which one of you cats dragged my half-knitted sock all over the living room and got cat spit all over it? - And don't try to lie---I can tell by looking into your eyeballs which one of you did it. (To Blaine: No, I did NOT say "half-witted" socks.) - I said LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU! - Can't I even go to the damn BATHROOM without you cats STARING at me??? - Um, excuse me Your Highness---but that's MY chair. So move your fluffy self somewhere else. - They're CATS, Blaine! CATS! They can wait a measly 20 minutes for their food until WE get done eating! - Alright, which one of you damn cats slept on the dining room table? I know somebody did it because I can feel a warm spot there. - You don't like that kind of cat food, eh? Well, then you can just WHISTLE DIXIE before I ever pay 79 cents a can for wet food again. (To Blaine as he begins whistling "Dixie": SHUT UP!) - MUST YOU pee less than five minutes after I change the dang litter box? And the phrase which irks Blaine the most: - I wish all I had to do all day was SLEEP, EAT, and plot more ways to BUG the hell out of me.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
To my eternal aggravation, I have come down with strep throat. AAARGH!!!! And Lord have mercy, but it wasn't a very good trip to New York and back. Warning: Ranting and raving (and whining) ahead. Although I usually like to present a better side of myself, this time I'm going to let it all hang out and show my whole, ugly temper. But first, I need to tell you that Blaine's mother is not in good condition. The reason I'd gone to New York was to help her mend after knee surgery. But the poor thing developed post-op pneumonia and ended up having a lot more problems than just knee pain. And then on top of all that, she received notification from another doctor regarding the results of a breast biopsy she'd undergone just before her knee surgery--- She has breast cancer. My God, she was devastated. Her husband cried for two days. And her four children are frightened to death. She now faces a mastectomy and possible chemo/radiation just as soon as her pneumonia-bedeviled lungs heal up to the point that she can tolerate the general anesthesia required for the breast surgery. Anyway, she could use some prayers, and I'll keep you posted. I had to return to Kansas because I have my own medical and dental issues that need taking care of, but I may end up returning to New York in the future to help her out some more. But I'll swoney to heck if I ever take that damn-blasted Amtrak train again. You know, now I know how those hapless, poorly-treated Third-Class "Steerage" passengers on the Titanic must have felt. Because after this latest train trip, I now heartily recommend that if you want to have a nice trip the next time you travel, you might consider avoiding Amtrak at all costs in favor of the Greyhound Bus----or else the airlines. I don't normally rant and rave very much about things I can't control, but I'm feeling a little indignant and surly regarding my trip on the Amtrak train. Okay, a LOT indignant and surly..... And it has to do with paying a walloping $916.00 for a so-called "First Class" ticket. I mean, you'd think that when you pony up that much money for a dang "First Class" ticket, you might assume that you will be given reasonably comfortable accommodations and also a fairly decent measure of polite, courteous treatment by Amtrak staff. WRONG if you're traveling by Amtrak. Part of my dissatisfaction is my own stupid fault----because even before this trip I knew fully well that the quality of Amtrak's service has been steadily deteriorating in the last couple of decades. But I kept forgiving them because of my desire to stubbornly hang onto the legendary "romance" and "glamour" of train travel. But my bubble has been burst. Because now Amtrak has finally succeeded in surpassing even my lowest expectations. First of all, I am totally disgusted with the fact that Amtrak has the most completely RUDEST employees I've ever encountered. Almost every single one I encountered behaved extremely unprofessionally and uncouth, acting as if they were doing me a favor if they even deigned to look at me or any other passenger---and that's IF we could FIND ONE. One time I approached the snack counter in the cafe car where, as I gazed at the menu, the attendant belligerently snapped: "Hurry up! I'm about to close!" Another time, in the Chicago station, while I quietly and innocently stood by a door awaiting my train's departure to be announced, a ticket agent HOLLERED at me from 20 feet away, "You there! Don't stand by that door! Get back behind that sign!" No lie, he actually hollered at me. (Me! A quiet, cooperative lady traveling alone!) The reason I didn't flip out and complain about this issue is because I was already well aware of Amtrak's notoriously strict policy towards people who complain too loudly. I once witnessed an elderly couple being escorted off the train by the police, in the middle of the night, for complaining too vigorously about the poor service and their room conditions. And it wasn't an isolated event---I've seen or heard of tons of other incidents where Amtrak simply ejected anybody who complained more than one quiet sentence. Amtrak employees are not only rude but vengeful. And rude employees were only the beginning.... The trip deteriorated just as rapidly as the weather deteriorated. It was bitterly cold and began snowing a few miles outside of Kansas City. When we crossed the mighty Mississippi River I noticed it was frozen over in many spots. In Chicago I patiently waited out my 6-hour layover in Union Station, in the Metroliner Lounge as I had promised Blaine I would (and resisted the temptation to go to the yarn store because outside it was freezing, snowing, and horribly windy), and I found that the Lounge's public-access computer was broken. This irked me because I had reported that stupid computer as being broken last August while traveling through there. And the Amtrak employees in the Lounge were also discourteous, sarcastic, and belligerent. One female employee loudly bellowed to her cohort that we "messy passengers" had left trash all over the Lounge. And then she and the other employee began walking aimlessly around the Lounge, repeating over and over to each other "what do you expect?---you can't teach grown people anything!" The only "mess" I saw in there were a few empty coffee cups and pretzel packages. But it gets worse. Just before boarding the train to New York, we were informed that some of the sleeper car passengers had either been cancelled or moved to other accomodations due to one of the sleepers being taken "out of service". But luckily my own sleeper car was still functioning--- and so I settled down in my little room for the overnight haul to New York. And to my chagrin I found that my room's toilet wouldn't flush, which meant that I would have to use the sleeper car's public toilet---which I didn't mind except that it didn't flush either. Finally, I drifted off to sleep in my bunk, hoping that the rest of the trip would prove to be less annoying. But it was not to be. At 5:30 am in the morning I was startled awake by the train coming to a screeching halt, which was accompanied by the screams of a shouting conductor who was screeching for us all to "GET OUT! GET OUT! There's a FIRE!!" Truly, there was a fire. Because when I slid open my sleeper room's door, I was met by a frighteningly thick wall of suffocating smoke and heat. I was aghast that it took until the entire car was totally filled with smoke and heat for the employees to realize that they needed to evacuate the car. Where had the sleeper's conductor been? Wheeww doggies, I mean from floor-to-ceiling smoke...... We were all hustled by shouting staff to the dining car--- in our SLEEPING CLOTHES!!---and told to wait there until we could be moved to a coach car, which was accomplished later by having us all trek OUTSIDE the train through two-foot snow for the length of the entire train until we came to the assigned coach car--- where we were then treated like unwanted step-children by more ill-mannered Amtrak employees. Fortunately, I had remembered to grab my suitcase when I'd been ejected from my sleeper car, but when I humbly asked where I should stow it, a conductor snapped: "Just give it to me!" and roughly snatched it out of my hand---only to unceremoniously sling it down into a back corner of the car before disappearing. The public toilet on that car was out-of-order as well. And yet scores of people kept using it--- so you can imagine how pleasant that area was for the rest of the trip..... After my week in New York, I turned around and headed back to Kansas via the Chicago connection, in reverse--- and the nightmare continued. AGAIN, we who boarded in Syracuse were notified that one of the sleeper cars was out-of-order, meaning that some passengers would have to be rescheduled. But, again, I managed to secure a room on the still-functioning sleeper car, where I prayed to the Good Lord that there would be no more troubles---even as I discovered that my room's toilet, as usual, did not flush..... Someone please kill me now.... This was happening on the exact same day that President-Elect Obama rode the Amtrak train on his famous whistle-stop trip from Philadelpahia to Washington, D.C.---- and I couldn't help thinking... I wonder if HIS toilet flushed???? And then sure enough----two hours outside of Chicago--- a conductor came around and notified us all that the car's electrical system was "having problems" and that all the electricity to the car would be cut off for the duration of the trip!!! Which meant I would have no more lights or heat, even though it was 20 degrees outside with snow falling. During this whole thing, I never saw any of the train employees doing much in the way of work. In fact, large mounds of snow and ice were building up on the train itself, in between its cars, over which I had to precariously climb over and navigate in my trusty Bass Pro Shop boots, slipping and sliding dangerously as I tried to make my way from car to car, heading to the warmth of the cafe car to buy some hot tea. I don't suppose it would have dawned on any of the train's employees to make use of the numerous snow-brushes and scrapers that I noticed lying around, un-used, between the train's cars, obviously put there to prevent just such buildups of snow and ice..... Sigh. Actually, there are many more things about that trip I could complain about besides the above-mentioned issues, but I'm so mad that I might as well just do as Blaine advised and "let it go". But let me just sum it all up in this statement (as I promised... er... threatened Amtrak that I would do) : After spending a total of approximately 48 hours within the dank bowels of the Amtrak Train System, I hereby declare that I found that: -- ninety percent of their employees are ill-mannered and downright rude, -- seventy percent of their plumbing doesn't work (which is a critical point when you consider the fact that their crummy food frequently causes.... er...digestive upsets, if you know what I mean....), -- fifty percent of their sleeper cars are broken (and the rest are only marginally functional); and, finally, --their outrageous prices for so-called "First Class" service are just plain *@*&#$%* ridiculous! I will NEVER take Amtrak train again, even if the only alternative is traveling via donkey cart. In fact--- and so help me, because I never thought I'd say this--- but even Texas DONKEYS are more polite than Amtrak employees!!! And, as mentioned above, I did complain loudly to Amtrak's Customer Relations department once I arrived home. They ended up awarding me a $300.00 ticket voucher "for my next trip", probably just to get me to shut up. But let me declare again, this time in the language of my Texan forefathers--- that wild horses couldn't drag me again onto that no-good, godforsaken, tin-can, yellow-belly, card-cheatin', low-life, egg-sucking, damned poor excuse for a railroad. Oh yes, I did manage to do some knitting while in New York. I'm almost finished with one of the two pairs of entrelac socks I started (from the Sandi Rosner pattern), and I really love them, although I did a heel flap and my own toe. And I continued working on a pattern for some entrelac socks in thicker, doubleknit-weight yarn, thick enough to be used as house or boot socks, also with a heel flap. I've finished the first one and like it well enough, but I need to knit the second one to work out a couple "bugs" in my pattern. I want to change the toe sizing a little. And I'm going to switch the purple and red contrasts for fun. Sigh. Go Greyhound.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Oh, everybody have fun tonight, Everybody wang chung tonight...*
("Wang Chung", Peter Wolf)* * I just love that song. Okay, so I'm going to New York in the morning. Which means that today is hectic while I do last-minute laundry and packing---while also trying to accomplish all the jotted reminders on my myriad of obsessive sticky-notes. Getting organized is difficult when trying to determine just how few clothes, cosmetics, and hair appliances I can get away with in an attempt to increase packing room for knitting stuff---especially since I've decided that since I can't predict what knitting mood I'll be in at any given time, I might as well take along ALL my knitting projects.... I volunteered to go to New York in order to help Blaine's step-father take care of Blaine's mother after her knee surgery. When I informed the other family members here in Kansas that I had volunteered for such duty, they genuflected at me. But I'm actually looking forward to a week in New York with Blaine's parents---except for the fact that they don't have a computer. I swear, I'll go through internet-withdrawal without a computer. But oh well....such is life. I will return around the 18th--- unless they spoil me so much up there that I decide to spend an extra week. (I am bribable.....) (Is "bribable" a word?...) Anyhoo, I'm going to New York by train--what fun!---because I adore riding the Amtrak train. Hmmm.....what to pack....what to pack.... I have a long, loving history with Amtrak trains. I've ridden them all my life. I took trains to my grandmother's house while in the university. I took the train back and forth on holiday breaks when I was in nursing school. And then I took the train back and forth when I was in the process of divorcing Blaine a few years ago, but let's not go there... (But I also returned to Kansas via train when I came back to Blaine last year, so it's okay to go there...) Whenever I ride the Amtrak train I get a sleeper car so that I can spread out all my stuff. By stuff I mean paperback crime novels, knitting, crocheting, pattern books, and my alarm clock. I need an alarm clock because I'm always terrified on overnight trips that the conductor will forget to wake me up and I'll subsequently awaken to find myself 800 miles past wherever I was supposed to disembark. The only problem with my train trip tomorrow is that I won't arrive in New York until Saturday afternoon, meaning I'll spend the night on the train--- which is always fun. But the reason the trip is so extended is because I'll have a 7-hour layover in Chicago tomorrow---which is not so fun. I don't really like the Chicago Amtrak train station. It's as huge and confusing as the airport in Los Angeles, and it can get so crowded and busy in there that it's a veritable madhouse. Although as a First Class passenger I will be allowed to do my waiting in the station's Metroliner Lounge, that is of little comfort to me because a train station waiting room is still a waiting room after all--- even if it does have a wide-screen, high-definition TV and a coffee machine. Because you still end up sitting there forever while watching the clock tick. And so, in the immortal words of my idol, Yul Brynner, in that good ole movie, "The Ten Commandments": And so it is Googled, and so it shall be done..... (Okay, okay, maybe he didn't say it in those EXACT words, but he would have if he'd had Google....) Anyway, Google found a yarn store in Chicago and---PLEASE DON'T TELL BLAINE---but it's only a mile away from the train station. It's a temptingly-named place called "Loopy Yarns". And their website claims they have boat-loads of knitting supplies and yarn. I would really like to go to Loopy Yarns. But that being said, let us sincerely hope that if I did decide to make a little side excursion that I wouldn't get lost on the streets of Chicago or else tarry too long at Loopy Yarns, causing me to miss my connecting train--- because Blaine would absolutely have a conniption fit and kill-me-and-kill-me-and-kill-me-dead if he discovered that I'd left the safety of the train station to walk a mile in a huge city like Chicago simply to go to yet another yarn store. It would irk him for three reasons: 1. Because if one misses one's train, then one forfeits one's ticket; 2. Because he is of the opinion that I already have "plenty of damn yarn"; and, 3. Because he thinks that somebody as absent-minded as me would most likely get into some sort of misfortune if I were to wander about alone in a "big city". Blaine accuses me of being absent-minded simply because I sometimes bump into things with my shopping cart whenever we're in Walmart. But I can't help it if I don't always notice where I'm going in Walmart. There's so much sensory overload in there that I get totally lost. So what if I knocked over a damn 6-foot pyramid of Folger's Coffee containers? And so what if I got my cart entangled in a stupid rack of men's NASCAR boxer shorts which shouldn't have been there in the first damn place? It could happen to anybody. In order to help me endure the long, boring wait in Chicago's Metroliner Lounge, Blaine very kindly bought me some paperback crime novels to read. And he also turned over his treasured "Sprint" duffle bag for me to pack all my knitting into--- especially all the numerous colors of the Joker's Wild cardigan, for which I've gotta do the dang sleeves. Blaine is a computer-guy at Sprint (God only knows what he does over there) and so our home is full of Sprint coffee cups, Sprint pens, Sprint keychains, Sprint notepads, and Sprint sweat-shirts--- most of which he doesn't mind me using or wearing. But he has always been territorial about his prized Sprint duffle bag, and so I can only assume that his sudden generosity means that he is DETERMINED that I have all the necessary items to ensure that I stay firmly rooted at the train station instead of meandering around urban Chicago. And tonight he plans on making a fresh loaf of his homemade bread for me to take on the trip with me since I am partial to slabs of that wonderful bread slathered with creamery butter---a treat which he probably thinks might also diminish the chances of me getting the urge to leave the Metroliner Lounge, say, in search of snack food. And so finally, after much lecturing from Blaine about the fact that Chicago is a "big city" in which a "lone female can fall prey to any number of dangers", and also the fact that "I'll have everything I need with me and thus no reason to leave the train station", I looked him right in the eyeballs and sincerely vowed NOT to leave the confines of the Metroliner Lounge in the Chicago train station for any reason whatsoever. But I'm going to Loopy Yarns. I need to check out their collection of self-patterning yarns to make entrelac stuff with---because I'm on an entrelac binge. I started two pairs of entrelac socks out of fingering weight yarn from a totally fabulous sock pattern by Sandi Rosner (in the Winter 2008 edition of "Knitter's" magazine). I'm making one pair out of some blue Regia Jacquard-- and another in some pink Opal (both socks to which I added some contrast color to the top of their cuffs just for fun)--- I love seeing how the colors pattern out so interestingly, just as Sandi stated she intended in her sock design. I think Sandi Rosner is a genius to come up with this pattern. I had never done anything in entrelac before these socks and I fell instantly in love with the technique. I am so enamored of this technique, in fact, that I'm trying to fiddle around and come up with a dk or worsted weight version for some boot, clog, or house socks. I'm using Checkheaton Country 8-ply ("Prints") with some stash Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for the contrast color. Hell, I like this technique so much that I want to make a bigger project in entrelac---hence the need for some more colorful, self-patterning yarn. So I'm going to Loopy Yarns. But God help me if any unfortunate snafu happens to me in Chicago... I used to be pretty skilled at making up what I thought were plausible "excuses" to Blaine for various misadventures. But I'm just not entirely sure that I've got anything left in the old excuse-repertoire anymore.... ...because I used them all up in the old days during.... um.... some past escapades when I used to .... er... drink a lot. But, thankfully, I'm sober these days and rarely need any of those old "excuses" anymore.... Oh God, I'm still trying to forget the time, years ago, when I told Blaine I was going to the 7-11 store to "get a Chunky candy bar"--- but I really went to the liquor store instead---- and then accidentally locked my stupid keys in the car.... But dammit, I'm going to Loopy Yarns. (And so it is Googled, and so it shall be done....) (I'll see ya when I get back) *
Sunday, January 04, 2009
I'm just another heart in need of rescue, Waiting on loves sweet charity, And I'm gonna hold on For the rest of my days, "Cause I know what it means To walk along the lonely street of dreams...
("Here I Go Again", Whitesnake)* Did you guys watch the Rose Parade? I love the Rose Parade. I watch it every year, same as I do the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My favorite group is the U.S. Marine Corps Marching Band. I especially love the outfit of the band's Drum Major. He gets to wear colorful patches, a sash with even more patches---and he gets to carry that neat brass baton. I've always wanted to carry a brass baton. Speaking of clothing and accessories, it has always mystified me as to why in the world people care so much about how we all dress? The reason I ask this is because I have always been criticized, scolded, yelled at, or downright ridiculed for the manner in which I dress. Believe me, it has happened a lot in my life. Even as a child I was considered to dress very odd and strangely, despite the best efforts of my stylish and ladylike mother. Once, in nursing school, I came down the student dormitory's elevator to present myself at the front desk in order to meet my date for the evening. But he promptly sent me back upstairs to change clothes because he didn't "approve" of my blue and purple tiger-print jeans. As I turned to go back up the elevator I overheard the housemother on duty saying: "And you know, she has a leopard-print comforter on her bed...." In addition to getting criticized, scolded, yelled at, or downright ridiculed because of the way I dress, I also get criticized, scolded, yelled at, or downright ridiculed because I don't care a hoot if I get criticized, scolded, yelled at, or downright ridiculed because of the way I dress (heh!) But for gosh sakes, I just don't know what the fuss is about. As long as one's nekkidness is covered, what difference does it make what you're actually wearing over that nekkidness? Movie stars get to wear the nuttiest, most bizarre things you've ever seen but nobody says a word to them---so why would anybody care what silly ole me wears? Even if I wanted to, I just don't think I could get away with wearing high-falutin' clothing. I mean, geez----because I definitely clown around too much. And thus, I can't imagine myself clowning around in so-called "dignified" stuff, really I can't. Hell, if idgity me ever wore, say, a classy Coco Chanel suit or a drop-dead gorgeous Lagerfeld dress, those designers would turn over in their graves. (Oh wait---Karl Lagerfeld is still alive. But he'd be mortified all the same.) Anyway, I finished knitting (and crocheting) my "Molly Weasley's Amazing Technicolor Housecoat" (from the wonderful book "Charmed Knits" by Alison Hansel) and I absolutely adore the crazy thing ---- and I can't wait till the next Harry Potter movie comes out so that I can wear the housecoat to the IMAX theater, heh!!!! Blaine's sister, Lexie, is already talking about the fun we'll have. But....there's more to an outfit than just a technicolor housecoat, don'cha know? And so, I have checked out the rest of my wardrobe to find the... uh... proper accoutrements. (I've always wanted to use that word--- 'accoutrements'.) (First I spelled it 'acouterments', but the spell-check function on the computer practically blew a fuse....) Anyhoo, I have several items that I'd like to pair the Molly Weasley housecoat with. You already know that since my feet are always cold that I usually wear two pairs of socks at once--- and so here are the two pair of socks that I think will match the housecoat nicely---and I'd wear the short blue Kansas JayHawk socks over the longer red & white striped ones... Yeah, that's the ticket!! And then I'd need some jeans, of course. And after much thought I picked out my favorite pair of "wild jeans". They actually stopped traffic in Georgetown, Texas, once. Yes, I decorated them myself. And these particular jeans even list my hobbies on the back of their legs. (Actually, I lost the Harley in a divorce, but we won't go there right now...) But my dilemma isn't really so much WHAT to wear with the Molly Weasley housecoat but rather..... HOW the hell am I going to get OUT of the house without Blaine NOTICING what I'm wearing and then having the subsequent HEART ATTACK?? But actually his heart problems will have only just begun. Because just as soon as he recovers from his heart attack about the Molly Weasley Housecoat Ensemble, he'll then have to contend with the pending Joker's Wild Sweater I'm knitting.... *