Fourth Wall

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Uhm, This is What I Get for Being an Extrovert.

Some of you have had to listen to me rant about how much I've enjoyed meeting Torontonian Catholics who manage to be traditional without traditionalist or crazy conservative.

Last night, at swing dancing, the other shoe dropped. One young man was sitting on the sidelines, not going home but not dancing. Being me (and being somewhat more outgoing than I usually am, because dancing makes me giddy), I decided to harass him. Because I'm kind like that.

Yrs Truly: What's up? You haven't danced at all!
Gentleman: Well, I'm not feeling very well... my tummy hurts.
Y.T.: Oh, I'm sorry. Uhm, I'm Alice...
Gentleman: (His Name)
Y.T: Right. We met in the lesson, but I forgot your name.
G: Are you a first year?
Y.T: Oh, I'm an MA Student. You? What's your department?
G: I'm starting my first year in mathematics-- I'm an undergraduate.
Y.T: Oh, so did you move in already?
G: No, I'm a commuter student. My parents made it clear I wasn't moving away from home.
Y.T.: So, what do you want to do with that? Do you want to go on for a PhD, or do you want to teach?
G: Oh, I think I'm just going to work after getting my degree...

(Note that his lack of interest in a doctorate was where I realized that there was no way this conversation was going anywhere good.)

Y.T: blah blah blah my friends doing math PhDs blah blah blah... Do you have a distribution requrement?
G: Yes, so I'm taking Engineering, and Catholicism...
Y.T: There's a class called 'Catholicism"?!
G: In St. Michael's College.
Y.T: I have to get myself a TAship in that course. I do religious history, you see...
G: Yes, I've done my own reading on my religion in that regard. I'm a creationist, so I've done a great deal of reading on my religion.
Y.T: ... how do you define your religion?
G: I'm a conservative Catholic.
Y.T: Ah, I see. Well, I'll be seeing you around. I'd be a terrible TA in that class, though, I'd stand in the corner and tell Jesuit jokes. (Flounces off to dance some more.)

Yeah, so, I'd met one really traditionalist Catholic who refused to believe in the Doppler effect because, you know, red-shift is one of the bits of evidence for the Big Bang, but I'd never met a Catholic who willingly called himself a Creationist before.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Classics Joke of the Day

This is a story about a certain Professor who teaches Old English at the Centre, and was related to Em the Younger and me over coffee yesterday by a member of Team Anglican.

One day, when Professor O. was a grad student at Oxford working on his thesis, there was a knock at the door. When he answered it, he found two Jehovah's Witnesses, who asked him if they could come in and talk about God.

He thought about this..."thesis, talk about God...thesis, talk about God..." and decided, like a good Grad Student, to choose procrastination. "Sure, come on in."

"Did you know," the Witnesses asked him, "that in the first chapter of the Gospel of John,* there are two words used for 'God'?"

"Uhm, no there aren't," he replied.

"In the Greek," they explained patiently, "there are two words for God."

"Um, I could go get my copy of the Greek New Testament, if you'd like."

So he did, and opened it up to the Gospel according to John. "You see!" the Witnesses exclaimed. "Two different words!"

"Ah, I see," he replied. "Let me tell you about cases."

And a Catholic Nerd Quote
E: It means "to take pity on." You should remember this, it's one of the BVM** verbs.

What I Did Last Night
I had my own little Wallace and Gromit marathon, and watched all three shorts and Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I can now find all the little references to the shorts that are in the full-length movie.

*Two cases: The word was God (nominative) and the word was with God (ablative or whatever they use in Biblical Greek for that).
**As in, Blessed Virgin Mary

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Or, um, making blogs whilst the internet Gods shine upon me.

Lest you fear that I've been slacking off out here in the land of the silver birch:

I don't know how that knitting got out there. Honestly.

In Other News...

YAY for the apartment on Ross! Yay for all those prayers, crossed fingers, and mithraic sacrifices! (Vegetarian, I hope.)

I'm still enjoying getting to know future roommate. We share interests in other religions, and it's pretty easy for us to talk about our lives. There's one thing, though, which I feel I ought to bring up now although it's awkward to say it (I don't want it to sound like, oh no, I'm shunning her or something). First, she's thirty. Second, she's Mormon.

I mean, I think I'd feel equally awkward living with anyone of strong faith in anything right now-- I'm still very very Catholic, but I'm still trying to figure out what that means for the rest of my life, and why I sometimes think the haberdasher'd view on things makes more sense. (Here's a sign of how my brain works: the religion with more paradoxes and debates makes more sense.)

However, there are some reasons why I think this will be okay:
* She ran into some LDS missionaries the other day, and since they didn't know her, decided to give them a hard time. "Aren't you the ones with all the wives?" etc. until they got really flustered and she finally said, "actually, I'm from Utah."
* She thinks that she might start dating a fellow soon, and has already given me permission to put up one of these magnets if it becomes an issue.
* There's no chance of her having Jack Chick pamphlets around, as did one of my roommates on Kimbark. (No, not J, of course. No, no the other historian, she's Jewish. Yes, that one. In her defense, she probably didn't know that J.C. is famously anti-Catholic and that I'd take offense at them. And, I mean, she had them in a box, it's not like she was leaving them out as bathroom reading. But still... again, a minor flip-out on seeing them in the box in he pantry.)

This One's for the 'Holy Crap!' Department:

Those who cook understand.

Speaking of Coffee...

Which we weren't, but it's a natural progression in my mind from the discussion of Future Roommate, I'm having a hard time understanding how anyone can survive the morning without it. Me, I'm even having a hard time making coffee without it. Yesterday, I went and got some sugar cubes for my coffee, and promptly overshot the coffee by, oh, two feet of counter space and dropped the first into the pan of oatmeal I was making on the stove. Today, I heated water and set up my little one-cup melitta filter, only to discover, just before I poured the water, that I'd forgotten to add the coffee.

While We're Spying on Other's Cabinets...

Here's a shot from the garden of next-door-neighbor-and-landlord (not my future
landlord, landlord to the girls for whom I'm housesitting.)

I would totally marry him for his garden, if a) that weren't extremely sketchy, b) he weren't already in a committed relationship, c) he weren't batting for a different team, so to speak.

This is the view from the kitchen window:

Note birds on the sunflowers.

Final Notes

I finished Gilead about a week ago. I read it in four lengthly sittings, and would have finished a month ago if I hadn't been distracted by sock knitting. It was good.
Recent Musical Discovery: Enter the Haggis

(P.S. The girl who designed the above "Shut Up about your Fucking Wedding" magnets also sells t-shirts that say "Christian Who Thinks" and, even better, these baby items. I had a good laugh.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

I wish the internet would decide to work during the day.

Anyhoozle, we got the apartment. Hurrah! Much Latin. Much rejoicing. Sleep now, bye.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fourth Wall Presents:

1. More Cell-Phone Pictures

Somebody has painted a face on the observatory. Steph, I'm dedicating this one to you.

If, say, you were in the basement doing laundry and turned to see this:

would you not flip out? I had a little sub voce flip out. I'm accustomed to cats with bells on their collars.

2. In which I get my act together
...and actually dig out my camera. This was the second course of dinner last night: gouda from St. Lawrence Market, Carr's crackers, and the blackberries I was told I could eat from the garden.

3. The scene of the crime
Follow that yarn:

...down the hall...

through the railing...

...and down the stairs.

Now, I'm trying not to blame Bailey, having erroneously blamed him for knocking my phone off the desk, but... yarn does not have a "vibrate" function.

But who couldn't forgive this fuzzy one?

Friday, August 24, 2007


If I'm going to live here for a year or more, I really have to stop giggling every time something is French/English bilingual. Even the stove!

(Apologies for the craptastical phone pictures in this post... I'm playing with my fancy shmancy new cell phone and at this point of the morning (only halfway into my cup of coffee) it's far easier to send them to my computer via bluetooth than to go dig up my camera, take several pictures, find the camera cord, wait for said pictures to upload, and then copy the best one to the desktop. Today's post is brought to you by the letter L, as in laziness.)

Anyway, somehow Spanish doesn't faze me, and when in Wales the Welsh seems only just, but I went to the supermarket yesterday to stock up on provisions now that I'm on my own, and I find the fact that my cranberry juice is hypocalorique (low-calorie), my Quaker Oats are rapide (quick), and my laundry detergent is concentre (concentrated) endlessly delightful. My father was entertained as well. Really, grocery stores in other countries are fascinating. Let me loose in a London Sainsbury's and I'll be entertained for hours.

Actually, yesterday was really the day of shopping in general, because we started off with a trip to the Eaton Centre to find me a cell phone. We went with Rogers because the employees were the nicest and most helpful. If they're going to get paid by commission, we know who we want to get it. The phone is a sexy little Sony Ericsson "Walkman" phone that can travel internationally and takes pictures. (It also plays music, but I don't need that so much.) I'm trying not to get too attached to it. If I do it'll probably spontaneously combust on the subway or something.

Side note: we didn't buy a North American plan, on the advice that it would be cheaper to buy a phone card and then call the US during the unlimited local calling times, as the phone card would be a local call. This probably goes for those of you interested in calling me, as well. Just so you know.

After our soul-crushing trip through the temple to consumerism that is the 21st-century mall, we went to the St. Lawrence Market to play with local food. I took pictures with my new phone. Actually, the first picture I took was completely accidental, of some random woman in the market. So, if you are a woman who was at St. Lawrence Market yesterday and some strange bespectacled twenty-something with a pale green University of Toronto bookbag and a blue hooded sweatshirt took a cell phone picture of you, she wasn't stalking you. She was just trying to figure out her phone. (I don't need to worry about my attachment to material objects... I'm mortified enough by embarrassing myself on a daily basis!)

Anyway. I have no pictures of the cheese stands, where I spent a considerable amount of time, but I do present: King Crab Legs from Alaska. These things were about as long as the distance from my elbow to the tips of my fingers. I'm going to have nightmares about King Crabs from now on.

For you, Podraig: Live Mussels from Prince Edward Island.

And, finally, a picture of my favorite stand ever, which consisted of about twenty gazillion kinds of rice and beans in bulk.

I'm not sure I've ever mentioned my deep love for bulk grains, but there it is... my dream as a vegetarian is to someday have a pantry lined with class canisters filled with all sorts of grains, beans, and pasta. I think that my love of cooking comes from the mysterious, refrigerated bulk foods room in the back of the now-defunct health food store on 24th Street in San Francisco. As a child I loved those barrels full of beans and grains and flours, and the potential they held to be turned into all sorts of things.

Yesterday at St. Lawrence Market, it was all I could do not to stick my hands into the tubs to feel the way the grains felt as they ran through my fingers. (I resisted!) Have we discussed the fact that I'm a kinesthetic learner? I like to make/touch/build things.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Old Joke, Revised.

A young Catholic woman desperately wanted to get a nice apartment, and thought that it would be beneficial to get God on her side. The idea came into her head that she would say a rosary for the apartment, but she wondered if that was a selfish idea. So, having many acquaintances in local religious orders (she must have lived in Hyde Park), she decided to ask their opinion. First, she went to the local Franciscan house, where she found Friar Anthony outside having a conversation with some pigeons.

"Friar Anthony," she asked, "would it be irreligious to pray a rosary for an apartment?"

"Well," he replied, "what, my dear, is an Apartment?"

"It's a bit like a monastic cell," she replied, "but it has its own bathroom and kitchen and several bedrooms, and really nice new appliances, high ceilings, and tall windows."

"Our Father Francis taught us to turn away from material possessions," said Friar Anthony, "and that holiness is found in the vow of poverty. You should trust God to find you housing sufficient to your needs, and not say the rosary for the apartment."

Our protagonist didn't much like this answer, so she went to the local Dominican House of Studies, where she had to wait fifteen minutes for Brother Carlos to be brought from the library.

"Brother," she asked, "would it be wrong to pray a rosary for a nice apartment?"

"Well," he replied, "the Bible tells us to turn to God with all our requests, and then the great Saint Thomas, in his
Summa reminds us that...

"Yes yes yes," she replied. "Thank you, brother."

Finally, she decided to go to the local Jesuit house, where she found Father Damien outside having a pint.

"Father," she asked, "would it be wrong to pray a rosary for an apartment?"

He paused. "What's a rosary?"

So, yeah, if you could all find a few moments to say a decade/burn some candles/make a sacrifice to Mithras to ask that Lorie and I get the apartment we applied for this evening, we'd be greatly obliged. We had the following conversation:

Landlord: "Well, say, if one of the applicants were a motorcycle gang, we'd be less likely to rent to them."
Alice: "um...we like to bake."
Lori: "And knit."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Toronto Chronicles

1. I'm getting the feeling (based on the 3/4ths of a cookie sitting here on my desk, uneaten) that Canadians like things really, really sweet. Too sweet. This should amuse any of you who have ever seen me try to limit the amount of sugar I put in my coffee.

2. My parents agree that the black squirrels are... weird. However, instead of shying away from them as I do, they have been taking pictures of them.

3. This sweetness thing does not, it seems, apply to yogurt. I ordered yogurt at breakfast this morning and was given plain yogurt, with honey. Yummy.

4. I am so incredibly sore from walking around today... it isn't even funny. I was tired even before meeting with the potential future roommate, but then after we hit it off and went to the housing center to look up rooms, and then went to see an apartment and scope out the location of another one. We're seeing two more tomorrow, and we think we want the one whose windows we were peeking through today. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for us! Thank you, Em the Elder, for pointing us in one another's direction...we both hate TV, neither of us wanted to live in a high-rise, and we both believe in keeping housekeeping schedules. And she's a crocheter and started referring to the living room we saw as "the knitting room". Clearly a woman cut of the same cloth (and also Welsh-- that -s ending is a giveaway!). Anyway, yes. Sore. And I get to move tomorrow! Yay!

5. Yup. My parents leave Canada on Friday, but I found temporary housing as a house-and-cat sitter for two PhD candidates. I will be spending two weeks in the company of one lovely Siamese, Bailey, who I shall no doubt refer to as Oliver the entire time because he looks almost exactly like my Grandparents' cat.

6. I have a bank account. I also have a P.O Box, a Student ID, an appointment with the MA program director, a familiarity with the Graduate Program secretary (Grace is my hero!), a stack of old latin exams from which to study, and a working knowledge of the subway system. In a week or so I will have a health card. I'm starting to feel settled... but only a little bit.

7. Obligatory Quotes:
M: "Isn't this a Christian group?"
Em the Younger: "What? No!" (Muttered Conversation) "CREED is a Christian group, not COLDPLAY!"

A: "I'm worried I'm going to be lonely and bored when my parents leave."
D Robes: "Well, you just need to keep yourself busy. Go to museums, go for walks, find a project..."
A: "Well, I do need to study Latin."
D: "Right. You should make it a project to study Latin outside of every building that's ever been Toronto's city hall. That will keep you busy."
(Dan: The program coordinator thought this was hilarious.)

Bank Guy: "Well, let's just take these traveler's checks downstairs and make your money a bit more colorful." (er, colourful)

8. The New Accounts guy at the branch of my bank on Spadina is a big football fan. He wanted travel advice on his fall trip to...South Bend. He's going to see ND against Duke.

9. Moving tomorrow is especially exciting as it means that I get to do laundry. This is fast becoming an extreme necessity.

10. Mass at the Toronto Newman Center (er, Centre) is an experience that requires its own entry.

11. Finally, many public thanks go out to: D Robes, for talking me out of some very dark and unhappy late-night places-- twice; Vanessa, who used experience from her internship to talk me out of a panic over filling prescriptions; former-roommate Kathleen, who agreed to be a reference for lease applications; Larry and John, who promised to treat me to a manicure/pedicure on my arrival in Toronto (Larry dear, in regard to your preference question... my favorite place in Chicago is here... I don't really know what category it fits.); that be-hatted fellow, for making time to listen to me babble despite his busy schedule and keeping in touch himself; EMILY, whose name should be sung with angelic choirs in the background for all the help she's given me in finding housing and getting settled; and, finally, my parents, who despite the fact that we've been sharing a hotel room for a week and a half, have not yet killed and/or disowned me.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Feast Day!

Today is the feast of the Assumption, the day when (for those not-in-the-know) we Catholics, basing our theology on the fact that the Early Christians, who were so into venerating dead bodies they changed the course of city planning,* never venerated any bodily relics of Mary. (There were some medieval claims to her body, but you know how those medievals were with the relics. I'd give you the sources, but they're packed up in boxes.) Connecting the lack of relics with the fact that Mary, you know, carried GOD in her womb and therefore it would be just...wrong for her body to decay (welcome to Catholic Theology as expressed by Sandy W.), we assume that God took her body up to heaven. There's some disagreement between East and West as to whether or not she had to die first.

The Assumption was made infallably dogmatic by Pope Pius Something-or-Other in 1950.

Last year, I did not make it to mass. This is because I was here:

And hiking here:

And if it's a new feast day, there must be a new liturgical pet peeve. This time, courtesy of Holy Name Cathedral: Sopranos with vibrato up to their ears. Honey, you just aren't an opera singer, and trying so hard to be one makes it sound like you can't control your breathing enough to hit the high notes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Judges Have Conferred, And...

Everyone's a Winner! in the "Most Embarassing CD" Contest.

The prize for "Most Obscure Submission" goes to...

The prize for "One-Hit Wonder" goes to...

The prize for "Picking a CD that the judge had in her collection" goes to...
Veroniquita! (And yes, dear, in answer to your question. I also had her first two CDs (and you can watch her descent to tart-hood in the cover art) and would tell you about the outfit I used to dress up in in order to sing/dance along, but this is a public forum and I want to be able to get a date again someday.)

And the grand prize goes to...
Caelius, for the "Dawson's Creek" CD! He also gets extra-special recognition for making (Darjeeling) tea come out of my nose with his very-special translation for the last post.

Unfortunately, one contestant was disqualified for trying to bribe the judges with sexy models, such as in the following submission...

I'm Moving to Canada!

We fly out to Chicago tomorrow, and we're going to be leaving Chicago mid-day Friday. Chicago plans include introducing my parents to Fado and perhaps a museum trip or two.

What *does* she think of that boy?

The Viking and I went out to dinner with our BA advisor before I left Chicago a few weeks ago, and as our food arrived I started to tell Neil a story which ended with meeting a girl who was working in a yarn shop, who happens to have gone to school with one of his roommates.

"I'm afraid this won't be of much interest to Professor Fulton," I said. "But I was in a yarn shop..."

"Hey!" said Prof. Fulton, "I knit! Its' what got me through graduate school.*"

So, the question that's keeping me up nights is... did she think that Neil was going to care about the yarn?

Speaking of Yarn...

I finished that hat...

Which, of course, necessitated taking the hat outside, posing it on the pedestal of the birdbath-in-two-pieces, and taking photos. Because if you're going to be bats, you might as well go at it full force.

Can You Find the Cat in this Picture?

Look for the ear.

Watch upcoming posts (when I can find hotel internet and I'm not so tired I'm spelling everything phonetically and my wrists feel like they're going to fall off) on such topics as my exciting weekend and why I'm too stupid for technology.

*That, and the postcard of Eeyore that she keeps over her desk that says, "This writing stuff, pencils and whatnot...overrated, if you ask me."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Also not an approved greeting.

"Good morning, how are you, and did your team do well yesterday? This is not a part of the opening rite. If you find a lectionary with that opening rite, I'll give you a turkey."- (a butchered-from-memory-quote-by) Cardinal Arinze

ALSO not approved: "Good morning! I'm Monsignor So-and-so and I retired last year but I'm still in residence here at the parish and I help out saying the mass in Latin. All you children here today are going to get an introduction to what the mass was like a long, long time ago when it was said in Latin. Please, all of you who are over 50, try to remember how to sing along and say your "amens" and your "et cum spiritu tuos" You may have heard that the Pope has now given permission for the Latin...the Tridentine rite to be said where ever there are enough people who want it, but we are going to say the New Order of the mass...(rest of lecture redacted because, trust me, it went on). So, now, if you will turn to page four in the booklets, in nomine patri, et fili..."

This wouldn't be so bad, but he does it every week. Every time I've ever been to this parish-which-shall-go-unnamed, (but-which-is-right-across-from- Yerba-Buena-and-next-to-the- future-Contemporary-Jewish-Museum), this priest has given this same introduction. And priests wonder about a lack of interest in Latin masses. Well, maybe if you stopped apologizing for them.

Ze Garcon Haberdasher'd was quite surprised when I informed him, against his assumptions, that the readings from Hebrew scriptures at Mass are not done in Hebrew.
"Nobody would understand it," I said.
"They could learn it," he replied.
Um, yeah. We're having enough trouble with our own liturgical language. Once we teach the higher-ups enough Latin that they're not translating "et cum spiritu tuo" as "and also with you" and cutting out parts of the Gloria with a machete, we'll start pushing for Biblical Hebrew.*

ALSO NOT OKAY: Stopping before the Eucharistic prayer to tell people to "turn to page 25". Honestly. This is why parishes use song sheets. God made photocopiers for a reason.

*Deep Breath* I'm okay. Honestly.


Did you know that there are people who do latte art?

Seriously. Because what I needed was a way to combine my addiction to making things with my caffeine addiction...

The kubuki mask is my favorite.

(Confidential to Carolyn: "You can stir the jam into your pudding, but you can't stir it out...")

* Some readers may remember the RCIA textbook I was given, which translated "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa" as "I am sorry, I am sorry, I am heartily sorry."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What's that Strange Feeling?

Oh, right. I'm in San Francisco, and it's Summer. It's cold.

We're tough San Franciscans. We don't turn on the heat in Summer until we're breaking ice out of the bird bath.

My hands, however, think that it is too cold to type. Or knit.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Answer This Question!

What's the most embarrassing CD/Tape/Record you own?

Don't say it's too horrible to talk about. My country music collection can beat up your country music collection.

Even more embarrassing than the fact that I still sometimes sing along to Reba, however, is the following item I found in my CD collection when trying to make some room on the shelves.

Go on. Just try to beat mine.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Well, Mono just had to come around and kick me in the ass after this most-recent exciting weekend, including becoming so exhausted that I couldn't fall asleep until after 2:00 am last night.(do note that timestamps on posts are all Central Time... so if I'm in SF subtract two hours for effective stalkage). I'm tired, I'm sick to my stomach, and something is blooming that makes me (or anyone listening to me sniffle) want to cut my head off. I'm not planning on moving far out of the 4'^2 triangle that is the area between my bed, my desk chair, and Granma's armchair. I'm going to eat starches, knit in bed, and listen to podcasts (radio advertisements make me want to donate my eardrums to charity).

100% Knitting-Free Content

Or, in which I manage to insult and/or be ungrateful to many people involved in yesterday's festivities. (Although it's not like they were in my honor so I should just suck it up and deal with misogyny, embarrassingly socially inept (to this city gal's (admittedly strict: ask Podraig) sense of etiquitte) suburbanites, and a menu that couldn't have been worse for Vegetarians if they had done it on purpose.)

You may say, "well, Alice, you wanted to be miserable." To which I respond, "actually, I had a lovely time and came out of it with a better opinion of the bridegroom than I had going into it. I just like to complain."

Lovely Former Roommate and her Former Fiancee are now formally hitched, and I did manage to finagle a ride down to Santa Clara for my mononucleosified ass in order to be present. I think they were happy I made it... I mean, it's not like I pushed the groom down the stairs or anything (which, by the way, would technically have been possible, as he stood right next to the banquet-hall stairway to say his farewells to the guests).

The Tridentine mass was...long, and Latinate, and all of the nuptual blessings and prayers seemed directed at preserving the virtue and loyalty of the wife, with no mention of the possibility of husbandly infidelity or the like. Combined with the reading from Ephesians 5 (which horrified a certain dear former-Chamberlin-house physics grad student), it was... a bit too much wifely submission with a bit too little husbandly reciprocation. But I'm biased. And, some certain Calvert House peeps might claim (*coughcough*H.C.*cough*), a rabid, rampaging, feminazi.

Two and a half hours after the ceremony was over, we hiked our way to the restaurant for item two on the day's agenda: the wedding banquet. Not much provision had been made for the Vegetarians on the guest list, although (because I eat fish) I had it better off than Kathleen did. (Although after the shark-fin soup I think it might be time for me to admit that neither my moral sensibilites nor my poor stomach can countenance the ingestion of aquatic creatures anymore. Unfortunately, I love salmon with a deep and abiding passion.)

One of the features to keep us entertained during the nine-course meal (of which only two courses contained no fish or meat, and one of those was dessert) were some games, making fun of the bride and groom. The "ask them questions" game was mostly uneventful... Thomas's older, suburbanite guests did not entirely understand that one was supposed to ask "Jas or Tom" questions, and instead asked rambling questions that required worded answers. Think of that annoying person at the conference who wants to give his opinion instead of asking a question.

The second game, however, asked a blindfolded Thomas to shake hands with a selection of ladies and pick out his bride from amongst them. Former ScavJudge Colin was first up, although his willingness to volunteer as a lady certainly befuddled Jas's brother, who was emceeing. Shaking Colin's hand, Thomas pronounced, "well, that's my mother..."

Our back table of Chicagoans just about died. Collectively. I haven't seen Hayes laugh so hard since he tried to mess with Kathleen's world by creating a fake Wikipedia page to claim that bread yeast was not only an animal, but a mammal.

We Leave for Chicago on the Fourteenth

And from there, to Toronto. There are, however, some things in San Francisco that I must do posthaste. Like, tomorrow.

1) Get the backup files from my old laptop from CD onto the new laptop.
2) Figure out this so-called "skype" thing so that I might have some small chance of conversing with that be-hatted fellow.
3) Remember to charge my cell phone so that I can have an uninterrupted conversation with Carolyn.
5) Call Matt "the Cat" C. and Andrew "Ghetto Puppy" H. and pester them into hanging out with me before I flee the country.

Friday, August 03, 2007

In Which We Pretend You Give A Damn

"So, Alice," you ask, "what are you working on, now that you finished your socks?"

Let's pretend you asked.

Well, after my dear Kathleen enabled the purchase of some egregiously expensive 50 wool/50 silk yarn, I finally cast on the famous Clapotis. If I'd known, before I bought the yarn, that this was one of the most popular patterns in the WORLD, I might not have done it. As is, I'm loving the yarn, the pattern, the smoky silk smell, and the colors, which I chose to go with my camel-colored wool coat.

Genevieve has been enormously helpful. That white thing underneath her is the pattern.

Here's Gwynn modeling what I have so far.

I also cast on for the Triangle Man Pillbox from see jane knit, in a lovely bluey/grey/purple colorway from Noro (a Japanese yarn, Steph! You care about Japan, don't you?). It's going to be my little way of taking the Pacific to Toronto with me.

Knitting the triangles was endlessly entertaining, but the rest of the hat is awaiting circular needles of the right for now, my knitting basket looks as if I've taken up knitting kippot.

She's going to smother me in my sleep.

Oh, and, uhm...

That might be a swatch for another pair of socks. My only defense is that I'm going to see my therapist from high school this evening, I'm nervous, and I'm going to need something to do with my hands both on the 45-minute-bus ride and while I'm there.

An Etiquette Question
Tomorrow, I am attending a wedding with a Tridentine mass. Yes, this is the roommate's wedding of which you have heard so much. This raises many questions, including, "what am I going to wear?" and "what do I say to the bride's parents, who speak almost no English?" and, finally, "I have mono. What do I do about communion... do I just not go to receive? Do I go, kneel, and stick out my hands?" I mean, okay, I'm not planning on licking anything, but I'd feel weird about receiving on the tongue when I'm, you know, still contagious.

Oh, Hi...
Larry, this blog is for you. I knew you'd like it when I saw his Grey Gardens reference.

I almost forgot.
Nemo: the proper way to request Earl Grey is demonstrated by Fr. M. T. Yak, making fun of Sukie: "MY tea isn't REAL tea unless it has Oil of Bergamot in it!" Honestly, I'm not sure what's wrong with my male acquaintances, that so many of them go for the Earl Grey. Shoreland 832 was evenly divided into Pro-Bergamot (Sukie & Dawn) and Anti-Bergamot (Amy & Yrs. Truly) factions, with Margaret as the espresso-drinking referee.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Do Your Part, Have a Cuppa

We are, generally speaking, a stereotypically San Francisco ex-hippie (or, in my mother's case, was- just- a-little- too-young- to-be-a-hippie- but-went- to-Reed- anyway) peace loving household over here. Oh, sure, Dad loves his grilled meat and indulges in his digital cable, but we cook from age-worn Vegetarian cookbooks with references to postprandial joints and magic mushrooms, we've had memberships in organic farm co-ops that delivered bushels of organic produce, our garden contains not one, but two compost bins, and we discuss recipes for homemade granola and handknits over the dinner table. My mother drives a Prius. In March 2003, every member of the household (excepting the feline members) individually made their way to the first big march down Market Street to protest the Iraq war.

That said, we still fight our little wars. There is constant (well, it *should* be constant) vigilance in the garden against snails and scale, and a battle of wills against the abovementioned compost piles. It consists of us willing the compost to decompose faster so that we can put more stuff in it. Those wars which do not involve the backyard tend to involve the cats: the battle over who gets to sit in my office chair (me, or Gwynn), whether or not today will be the day that we let Genevieve out onto the side porch, from which she can climb onto the roof and run rampant around the neighborhood, and whether or not I will finally give in and allow Gwynn into my closet, where she uses my satin formal dresses as a climbing wall. We shoo them away from the furniture, and battle their predatory tendencies when they bring in live mice and birds by throwing towels over the harried prey and taking them out to the front porch.

Above and beyond these minor battles, however, looms the greatest: the battle against the Darjeeling tea. Long, long ago, when I was about ten, my mother decided to encourage my table manners and indulge my desire to live in "olden days" by taking me out for high tea at the St. Francis. Darjeeling was the first option on the menu, and it quickly became my favorite tea (note: I was ten. I still enjoy a cup of it now and then, but I like to think I have more...robust tastes in tea nowadays). What this means is that my mother has only recently ceased acquiring more boxes of Darjeeling tea.

Why has she stopped? Because this is our problem:

Allow me to clarify.

We're drinking Darjeeling with a vengeance, trying to reclaim our sorely limited cupboard space. Should you come this way and we ask you if you want a drink, you know what to say:

"I'd love a cup of tea. Do you have any Darjeeling?"

All Hail His Haberdasher'dness

Except, you know, not in an idolatrous way, because he wouldn't stand for that.

Why, you ask? Because he sent me this:

If you don't think that this graduation present/way of preventing me from being terribly jealous that he met Jeph Jacques goes beyond awesome deep into the realm of kick-ass, you need to go read Questionable Content. (Although they're currently in the midst of guest strips, so maybe give it a week if you don't want to be entirely confused.)

I'm HOME the more observant among you may have noticed. My flight home was...tiring. Other than that, Southwest Airlines has been pushing their group rates, and it seems to be working. I was on the plane with both San Francisco's Irish Football Youth League team, and the National High School Rodeo Finals Team from Hawaii. I had the window seat, and I knit on my sock. The fellow in the aisle read David Sedaris ("Why?" I ask myself.) The middle-aged African American gentleman in the middle seat did...nothing. Absolutely nothing, until they passed out the little snack boxes. Having finished his peanuts and his stale cookies, he carefully unfolded the box, pulled out a pen, and drew himself an alphanumerical code of A=1, B=2, etc.* I created a little fantasy in which he was writing a love note to his wife, sitting in front of him, but he seemed perfectly amused by encoding the words he found on the snack wrappers (i.e. Nabisco=14 1 2 9 19 3 15).

Socks Socks Socks

*Devoted fan of Cryptonomicon that I am, I did manage to restrain myself from saying anything that began with, "You know, if you want to make it a better code..."