Sunday, April 30, 2006


A few hats I've made. I love to knit and have been at it for 30 years. I tend to wing it for the most part when making things, but I start with a few basic measurements and ideas. If you are one of those particularly curious types, go get a copy of Jacqueline Fee's _Sweater Workshop_, which has lots of fantastic basic patterns, small colorwork ideas, and is one of the knit books I keep handy for frequent reference.

A shawl -- fairly conventional, but it won first place in a local county fair.

My favorite afghan. Thought you might want to see just how deranged I can get when armed with a pair of knitting needles.
(also from the archives)

Dear Teacher of my child:

Every year, I get a supplies list from the school district for what that bureaucracy deems to be ordinary tangible needs for each of my children. Then, throughout the year, I get notes from each of you telling me items that were left off, or that have only a temporary life, which you will need for an upcoming project. Well, those of us who were our children's First Teachers have lists as well. Here's mine.

2nd Grade:

1. 6 oval sponges, no longer than 4.33" on the vertical axis. Each child is being assigned a different color for our topographical map of Borneo, so it is important that you send the requested color.

2. One silver marking pen, fine line, prune scented.

3. Three gym shoes, since one will inevitably get lot of eaten by the dog, and they need proper footwear for vegging out in front of the computer, ostensibly to research American Wetlands for a Foss *Hands On* Science unit.

4. I know that since you have a Thanksgiving Feast for which we must send perishables, you will appreciate the advance notice I am giving you. We will be sponsoring a Multicultural Holiday Nutritional Seminar, and you are required to send one live quail, free range, and a bag of feed. On Dec. 14th, you will be required to dispatch said quail, pluck, and clean it as well. Please make an appointment.

5. 16 colored pencils, no pastels or neons colors, Mohamar Qaddafi brand only. You can purchase these at any open air Middle Eastern market on alternate (non-religious) Thursdays.

6. One ermine hide.

7. To facilitate the gift giving season ethic of "homemade is better," please send us four potatoes, one paring knife, 6 unprinted brown paper bags, a copy of "Stitch Your Own Wounds with Dental Floss" (illustrated, for 2nd graders, out of print, but available online at used book sites), a box of Curad bandages, and a pack of your favorite flavor of gum. I promise, you will enjoy the festive, blood-stained wrapping paper.

8. 11 orange wedges.

9. Matches and a fire extinguisher for our Home Safety unit.

10. A theme book, a 2 lb. bucket of mint-flavored school paste, a stapler, and a Polaroid camera to replace those commercialized and expensive yearbooks.

5th Grade:

1. Nine rolls of tape, since my daughter prefers this for fixing tears in her paper and has not yet learned moderation.

2. 180 pairs of socks, one for each day of school, to reduce time spent digging through laundry baskets.

3. Gel ink pens and black paper for notes to pass to girlfriends.

4. An abacus with Shades O'Pink beads. We will be teaching traditional math to supplement the Chicago Math program some city slicker sold you rubes. We would like for her to be able to someday determine whether or not her paycheck is correct.

5. 8 lbs. of pencils with holographic paper covering, since some idiot at school told her they only "felt right" after the first sharpening, and all subsequent sharpenings result in substandard,
unusable pencils.

6. A bag of no less than 37 erasers shaped like kumquats, acid green.

7. Unabridged copies of: The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Huck Finn, Anne of Green Gables (and all sequels), and the complete works of Isaac Asimov. Since you all have decided that _A Bear Called Paddington_ is over the heads of 5th graders, she gets pretty bored in Reading, so we have to supplement. These books will be donated to the public library after she's done with them.

8. 4 goldfish and a shark for her unit on Marine Predators.

9. Betty Crocker's cookbook, since your idea of Home Ec. consists of "this is a sink."

10. 14 bottles of Dimetapp, a case of junior chewable Tylenol, a hot water bottle, an ice bag, 3 prescriptions for Augmentin, and a barf bucket, since no one seems to know they can wash their
germ-ridden hands in that sink as well as dump out leftover finger paints.

7th Grade:

1. A live stoat for our unit on Gender Differences and Veterinary Science. A calm stoat will be returned to you.

2. A complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica for those research projects you assign, but fail to determine if publicly available RESOURCE MATERIALS exist within city limits.

3. A late-model, highly advanced computer so that they can look at 1134 upside down and laugh. This is what one ENTIRE unit in their accelerated math books does, and we could use the extra RAM.

4. 6 yards of blue silk gauze for Drama Club members.

5. A $100,000 immediate pay annuity for sports and band participation, which will eliminate the need for my child to stump around town like a hobo, begging for donations.

6. 10 3-lb. bags of pure cane sugar; since this is what he eats at school, I'd hate to upset his digestion with real food here at home.

7. A poster of Einstein to set an example for hair fashion which will be cheaper and easier to maintain than the multi-colored, oddly clipped moron-do currently in vogue. Don King would be an acceptable alternative.

8. A subscription to Playboy and the _Men's Guide to Discreet Self-Enjoyment_ because there are some things a mother does not wish to speak aloud.

9. Karate lessons up to brown belt level to help him defend himself against those knuckle-dragging mouthbreathers on the bus and in gym class.

10. The precise chemical formula for Stridex liquid.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Mrs. BoS

Saturday, April 29, 2006

MY KIDS AREN'T FROM STEPFORD... I get phone calls from the school districts when they draw odd pictures or engage in other individualistic behavior...

"Your son's notebook is covered in runes."
"Damn. I thought he understood channeling Vikings was forbidden."

"Your son said he was stealing children's souls." (from a Simpson's episode)
"Amazing how gullible some people are, isn't it?"

"Why did he do a report on the Black Plague?"
"He's not into Elizabethan fashion."

"Why does it say 'cat gilding in the grotto' in his assignment notebook?"
"I wrote that in there. If you keep looking, you'll also find 'teachclog dancing
to yurt dwellers' and 'name your teeth.' Just a little something to make him giggle."

"He wrote his book report in German."
"No, he wrote it in English and asked me to translate it for him."

"Your daughter told me my class was boring."
"I'll buy her a better thesaurus."

"Your son said that if X didn't quit hitting him, he'd stab him with a Q-tip"
"Last I checked, possession of ear hygiene equipment wasn't a felony.
Maybe X should quit hitting him. I'm feeling a cotton puff moment myself."

"Your son made a bow and arrow out of tinker toys"
"Do they work? Wow! I'm so impressed!"

"Your daughter called a senior a 'rank, onion-eyed minnow'."
"Oh, good. That's much better than 'pestilential, clack-jawed castrato.'
We were doing Shakespearean insults over dinner last night.
I have a list, would you like a copy?"

The last 4 digits of my phone number are a near match for the
scheduling number at the local hospital. Consequently, I get a lot
of calls from people in need of gastroenteroscopy or stress tests;
sometimes they're old and confused and it's hard to convince them
they've got the wrong number. Some folks want a little sympathy
before they call the real number, and others think I'm a mean, nasty
liar and call me a half a dozen times and hang up for the last 5.
Most of these calls are before noon.

Today, I got caught off guard. Phone rings about 10 minutes before
the kids' bus is due...

Caller: Yeah, you all called me about gettin' one of them

Me: You mean a vasectomy.

Caller: Yeah, that's where you snip...

Me (interrupting): Yes, but you need to call xxx xxxx.

Caller: Yeah, that's what I got here.

Me: No, this is a private residence. The number is xxx xxxx.

Caller: How come you know about vasectotomies?

Me: Got my husband fixed some time ago.

Caller: How'd it go?

Me: Sore for a couple of days, but we pretty much call it the
sports model now.

Caller: Hot damn! What was that number?


E-mail lists are like parties, and they conform with fairly
predictable consistency to common types of realspace gatherings.
Here are some of the more frequent types, defined in a wholly biased
manner by yours truly.

The Diva's Tea/Happy Birthday, Bob: Characterized by being
dominated by a "star" whose opinions and biases are not questioned.
This star is usually the moderator and any challenges to his/her
rightness or authority are met with increasing shrillness and
decreasing logic or attention to facts. The star frequently
encourages other members to shun dissenters and has little
respect for netiquette. Only topics that interest the star are
permitted to run on. Like a fart in an elevator, Diva/Bob's brutish
egocentrism is sometimes quite uncomfortable for other list members,
and as a result, lists like this tend to churn through members
pretty quickly. Notable for high turnover, frequent list death,
ham-fisted whimsical moderation, frequent significant changes in
traffic volume, and disgruntled list members looking for somewhere
better to go.

Tupperware and Cookies: Usually comprised of people who consider
themselves to be gentle and open-minded, topics are limited to
things non-controversial. People who try to bring up warmer debates
are carefully taken aside and spoken to. Should they continue to
spark discussions beyond Tupperware, they are promptly ousted to
prevent anyone from taking offense, justified by the NOKD philosophy
(Not Our Kind, Dear). Most of the people on these lists have cats
and buy potpourri. Lots of them are very herbal. They are also
famous backstabbers - discussions regarding ousted non-conformists
can go on for months, and discussions are about as deep as soup on a
dinner plate, and considerably less appetizing. There's lots of
mutual admiration and self-congratulatory posting, and a generally
agreed upon supportiveness for even something as simple as a broken
fingernail. Auras and angels will be seriously discussed regularly.
These lists can have surprising endurance, but limited appeal. Low
to moderate traffic, low to moderate tech skills.

Frat Party Beer Bash: Characterized, not surprisingly, by
sophomoric behavior, limited vocabulary, and lots of "me, too"
posts. Often misidentified as a place where you "can say anything."
Completely incapable of serious or deep discussion on anything other
than fucking and getting smashed, members are either illiterate or
feign it to fit in. Famous for "hi hw R U, im fine. Did U get l8d
last nite?" patter, these lists are death to cogent thought.
Flames are frequent and puerile, and within two flame derivatives,
the words "Nazi" or "fucking idiot" will show up. Membership
follows a wave pattern, with almost total turnover, One die-hard
hardrock wannabe usually moderates, everyone advocates anarchy and
sloth; intellectuals and gentle souls need not apply. Music
discussions can get fantastically heated, elevating to all manner of
nasty behavior and spamming, causing many to leave the list, but
finally, the belligerent parties agree to disagree and go get either
laid or smashed. Tech savvy is talked up but really stagnates at
about moderate to low. Possibly too smashed to think that hard.
Long-lived due to constant influx of new smashees. High traffic
volume alert.

Faculty Cocktails at 6: Much like a gathering of slightly
intoxicated academics, these lists have a wide range of both topics
and tolerance. There is usually a fairly substantial core of
articulate people with varying expertise in a number of areas, and
they share a generalized respect for one another. Lingering grudges
and competitiveness are also present. Some long-term members are
tolerated despite flagrant shortcomings just because they
occasionally say something that sparks further discussion. Quite
literate, lots of humorous chatter, insider jokes, and long-standing
threads that appeal to the core members. Deep discussions run as a
sideline to the majority of posts, discussions are usually
controlled, logical, and of reasonable emotional tenor.
Illiterates, pontificators, and self-appointed spoilers are not
welcome and will be magnificently flamed. Cyberspace old-timers
dominate core membership. Full spectrum tech skills. Enduring
lists, modest but consistent turnover, light moderation or
self-moderating, exits and reappearances due to either ennui or
mind-boggling traffic loads are common, humor , honesty, and the
ability to discuss rationally are highly valued.

Tiny Topic Club Meeting: Mainly a resource and planning list for
hobbyists or special interest groups. Limited, steady membership,
occasional flyby newbies, but a small core of members. Posts are
mainly informational. Extremely restricted topic range. If the
moderator quits, the list will die without much grieving. Very few
posts, no discussions, off-list communications are limited as well.

After School At the Soda Fountain: Totally delusional chick-heavy
gossip forum. Heavy on links to "way kewl" or "nasty bestiality"
sites. Small core membership of people who are usually realspace
friends as well. Disagreements with the core members are not
tolerated, vicious cyberattacks against dissenters are gleefully
undertaken, and high fives are exchanged among core members after
expelling innocent (or not so innocent) trespassers. Usually
short-lived because the alpha grrrl has to go off to college and
think for a while. Also frequently populated by misguided young men
who think this is a cool way to understand chicks, but either wind
up as part of DeeDee's and Muffett's fan club or they get disgusted
and leave. One moderately to highly tech savvy alphageek plus small
admiring herd of sheep. Lots of offlist hissing and backstabbing;
generally low traffic.

Experts' Roundtable Dinner at the Marriott: Often turns into either
The Pontificators' Podium or Earnest Discussions Only.
Characterized by being focused on a profession or sub-category of a
profession. Usually formed with the intent to share information
between geographic zones, popular with special interest lawyers,
computer specialists, niche teaching areas, etc. No creds, don't
tread here. Moderator's commitment determines life of the list,
incomers need to have something substantive to offer, or they should
sit at the feet of the great and listen only. Advice for profit is
mentioned at least once a quarter. Usually have wonderful archives,
short-tempered mods, a lot of membership clearance checkpoints, and
a rigid set of rules. Tech knowledge is either purchased or handled
by a retired professional colleague. Can go either way and be a
fantastic resource or a numbingly boring place where just few
people hold forth on their own greatness disguised by a misleading
subject line and occasional relevant thought. Traffic in direct
ratio to prevalence of profession.

Bad Boys' Bonfire: Unapologetically nasty, flame-spawning piranha
tank of ill temper and sometimes brilliant creative writing. Not
for the new or faint of heart, lots of long-time, cybersavvy
opinionated people with personal agendas predominate on these lists.
Heavy on politics, anti-feminism, and anti-pc rhetoric. All types
of flame warriors abound and prosper, of special note are the highly
effective, never-ending Tag Team Newbie killers. They've had quite
a while to ponder their POVs, so don't be surprised if their
arguments are well-organized and well-thought out, but they will be
couched in deliberately offensive, condescending, razor-edged posts.
Body armor and extra coffee are highly recommended before posting to
one of these lists. Also recommended - endurance. It'll win
respect and recognition on the list, but if you bail early or badly,
you're fishbait forever. About 30% angry intellectuals, 70% clueless
loud morons. 90% male membership. Usually at least one
Jeffersonian absolutist and a rotating group of White Supremacists
are standard. Core members linger, moderators shift, technological
expertise is expected and revered. Very high traffic volume
warning. Lists have been known to die in one medium and re-emerge,
like snarling, hydrophobic phoenixes, in another. Do not undertake
participation unless you are willing to stand, deliver, get cut
down, defend again, and provide reams of researchable backup.
Excellent for honing debate points, finding new POV's, and your own
tolerance boundaries. Completely non-supportive environment - dog
eat dog and laugh about it.


Against the advice of my not-lawyer, I *am* giving an explanation of my moniker...

BoS is "Buns O'Strudel", is my alter ego, which developed when a wanker on a reflector listed pitched a hissy over being outed as a ... wanker.

"Rather than continuing to be the same person I've been all my life, I would now like all and sundry (and youse guys here, too) to call me BoS. For those of you who weren't nursed long enough as infants, or who were toilet trained before your Ids were ready for it, BoS is short for "Buns O'Strudel". I am quite sure that this will fully represent my softer side. My bakery side. My femininity in its totality. My German-speaking international perspective. My slight flakiness. My rich, spicy nature... Or at least my wide-assed Midwestern housewife side."

News of the highly improbable...

from the archives of my overloaded computer...

Dateline: 2002

(deleted) District # (deleted) officials were stunned this evening
to find themselves outmaneuvered by housewife and mother of three, BoS.

"But, we make buckets of money and are very intimidating," several
of them were heard to cry as they wandered aimlessly through the
halls of the administration building following tonight's suspension
review during an executive session of the BoE. "I think she's
tricky, or maybe she used pixie dust on us or something. This just
isn't right!" said the red-faced, ordinarily terminally pompous
District Superintendent. "We *always* win!"

Her arms loaded down with highlighted copies of school law, case
law, best practices, ACLU information, diagnostic criteria, and
printouts of all kinds, BoS just looked after them blandly. "I did
send them a 21 page letter three months ago, outlining everything I
was prepared to argue tonight," she said mildly. "Maybe they should
have read the letter."

Faced with everything from Black's Law Dictionary definitions to
point-by-point citations to profiling methods of the Secret Service
and FBI, Board members pulled up their socks and agreed to expunge
the suspension from BoS's kid's record. The Board did not contest
the allegations of First Amendment violations, credibility of
evidence challenges, failure to exercise due diligence, failure to
adhere to Sped law, or failure to apply reasonable man standards to
the now-expunged disciplinary action. "We're just crapping in our
pants, worrying about a lawsuit," said one Board member, "I wish
these assholes had told us the whole story to begin with."

BoS expressed no vindictiveness, however. "I learned alot," she
said, "and I'm only out about $42.50, when all's said and done. I
kinda hope they'll let my son start an ACLU club next Fall, though.
Oh, and a chess club would be nice, too."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Midwest Knitters


Marriage and Family Life

Language and Kids

Domestic Fairies - One
Domestic Fairies - Two
Domestic Fairies - Three

Stay-At-Home Snapshot

Midlife Crisis

Dealing with Elderly Grandparents

The Good, the Bad, and the Mundane

(last updated 7/13/06)

Life with Kids ... And Schools

Life with Kids...

Watch Your Language!
Satan is a Quarterback
My Daughter The Cat Lady
Adventures with Batman
Barbies and Little Girls
Parenting Teens – Independence Day, Indeed
A Visit to the Midwife
Sock O’Nickels
Monday Morning Mothering My Daughter – The Cat Lady

...And Schools

Notes to School
School Supplies
Phone Calls from School
Encounters with Administrators

(last updated 7/13/06)

Knit with BoS

Blue Shawl

Three Norwegian Hats

Stained Glass Hat

Gym Sock Hat

Knit for Kids - One

Free Mitten Pattern

Free Drawstring Bag Pattern

Free Top-Down Yoked Percentage Sweater

Top Down Raglan Tips

On the Needles...

Working on My Bias Aka: Diagonal knitting

Modular Knits

Free Pattern: Elfin Slippers

Mindful Knitting

Cotton Fugue

Sock Monkeys and Elves

Free Pattern: Roll Brim Stocking Cap

Donating Knitting

Knitting Reference Materials

Save the Newborns Hat Campaign
(last updated 10/02/06)

Midweek Musings

Medical Me

Discussion Group Types

In the Crapper

SAHM Snapshot

Revenge of the Nice

Midlife Crisis

Menopause and Shoes

I Stink at Gossip

Nightmare in Purple Prose

The Sandwich (on being a sister)

Planning Ahead

On Being a Mom

Crossword Puzzles

Parrot Tales

It's Not Taxes...



(last updated 7/13/06)

Basic BoS

That's a pretty stupid name.

Dead Words

butts and bounds




thieves' vinegar

(last updated 7/13/06)