Friday, February 29, 2008

Poetry Friday

I was wandering around the web this morning, looking for February poetry, this being a Leap Day and all, and, surprisingly, found quite a bit.

First, some Swinburne (from A Year's Carols):


Wan February with weeping cheer,
Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year's.

I quite like this next one by Sara Teasdale. It really captures how we felt watching the eclipse last week, oddly enough, but without the snow. We stood there watching it as long as it watched us.

February Twilight

I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see--
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.

And here is some Longfellow ("for all you long fellows," as my grade 12 Literature used to quip). Longfellow would have been 201 years old on the 27th of February (Happy Belated, Henry). So, without further ado, I give you:

Afternoon in February

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

And now, since I've already used up a further ado, I'll give you some Much Ado (spoken by Don Pedro):

"Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?"

But because I like this next line best, I'm going to use it as my finale. Can't you just see Emma Thompson delivering it? Oh, wait, I forgot...thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you CAN see her delivering it!

"I wonder you will still be talking, Signior Benedick; nobody marks you."

Poetry Friday is being hosted by the ever-so-charming Kelly at Writing and Ruminating.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Computer and Me

Well, it looks (knock on wood) that my computer woes have been temporarily resolved. Apparently my computer had a problem with its directory, whatever that means. I am not terribly computer-savvy, so this means next to nothing to me. There was also a lot of dust around the computer, enough to elicit gasps of horror from the computer tekkie who fixed it (well, horror and extreme irritation, but the possibility of having to endure abject public humiliation is enough to prevent me from going into that too deeply). Let's just say that a few dozen chocolate chip cookies might, just might, go a long way in mollifying his anguish at the state of my computer. Take heed, Gentle Reader, and wield thy vacuum judiciously.

Poor computer. It has endured a lot of moving, many little fingers whacking its keys, and me with my squirrel-like mania for building up unwieldy iTunes and iPhoto catalogues, not to mention my delight in filing every single narration, clever bit of writing, or poetry recitation my kids have ever done into a groaning folder marked Homeschool. I guess a nervous breakdown was inevitable. We're an intense family for a machine.

The desperation of having almost lost all that crap does force me to consider the thorny question of "what to do" with all those iPhoto pictures I have stored. My iPhoto gets arthritic when it gets close to 4000 pictures, and right now it's almost at a standstill, labouring breathlessly whenever I open it for yet more downloading. Ironically, of the at least 6000 photos I've taken with this camera, I have yet to print out anywhere near 100 of them. And no, I am NOT talking about FDPG's weird Cheezie photo collection. I'm talking about summer holidays, when butterflies landed on Max's hand and sat there while he walked all the way down the street. Winter sled rides, captured most blurrily, when we still lived on the mainland. Pictures of giant icicles from the drains. Trips in my father's row boat, the kids disappearing into their life jackets. Picture of snails, when Dominic was in his Snail Phase (and let me tell you, I take an awesome snail picture). Way too many pictures of the kids asleep, clutching blankies. Okay, maybe I am talking about FDPG's Cheezie collection, but my point it this: None of them are essential, per se, at least, not in the same way you keep track of birthdays and first tooth-losings and first two-wheeler outings and Christmas dinners and old relatives with newborns sort of events. This whole dilemma typifies why I still cling to my Luddite raft when the ocean is teeming with new technology. All this tekkie stuff is fun and exciting, but it also means so many more onerous complications to deal with, none of them as tangible as I would like.

What to do? Do I do a Scarlet and wait for another day, or do I spring for an external backup drive, despite the fact that this old eMac is, well, old?

More Signs of Spring

Okay, so it's really just a shameless ploy to show you all a picture of my (sort of) new Coral bark maple.

Look at that colour! Is that incredible or is that incredible. And no, I did NOT Photoshop that picture. That is the way this baby comes.

I saw a larger version of this tree in the garden nursery last fall and fell for it almost instantly. There it stood in the tree area, stolid in its massive black pot, and spreading those brilliant red limbs in all directions. Impossible to ignore. I wanted it in my garden. Then, as is usual with these things, I glanced at the price tag: $1500. And yes, I do have the decimal in the right place. So I did my usual 'go home think about it for a day then discuss it ever so obliquely' routine with Richard. I think I must have been a bit too oblique, though, because he thought I was talking about the pine tree we had limbed last year.

Feeling sheepishly like FDPG when she mixes up her "wants" and "needs," I went back to the nursery and chatted with one of the nursery workers, who was very helpful and showed me the $28 pots of smaller Coral barks. She waxed eloquently about the lime green leaves that appear in the spring, tinged ever so slightly with red, the orange tinges the leaves take on in the fall, and then, finally, the amazingly red branches on display all winter. I hefted a pot, listened while it whispered sweet nothings in my ear, and knew I had to get that tree. I needed that tree. So I bought it. And there's a picture of it. Nice, eh?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Boo hoo hoo

Oh woe is me,
My computer is in the shop,
And who knows what might be wrong.

If I were more immature,
I'd go down to the garden and eat worms.
But it's cold out.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Signs of Spring

(alternate title: It's About Bloody Time)

Yes, I itch for spring. I admit it. I love being outside. Correction: I love being outside in warm weather. And today the sun shone. It was warm. So warm we spent the day outside, listening and smelling and digging and playing (although some of us hauled a lot of peat moss and well-rotted chicken manure while some of us played Dino Attack and Fairy Realm, but I digress).

I remembered to take the camera with me, so I could inflict pictures on you all later. No eye-rolling, now.

First, the new arbor. Some cedar 2 by 2s, which are eventually going to get some cedar siding so they'll be able to carry the beans and peas I intend to grow up them. Inside the squares I am thinking about growing some eggplants and chilies. They'll benefit from the encasing heat, me thinks.

I should probably thank the good-humoured and long-suffering Richard, because yesterday, while he sat inside marking papers and I was outside having a really good time in the sun digging up some of the lawn, I decided to build the arbor. The trouble is, building things out of wood is so not my forte. I can lash things together with the best of them, but they do, I have to admit, invite ridicule afterwards. Plus, I was tired. After spending 3 hours skimming turf, cutting out birch roots, chopping clods, and sieving soil, I came to the reluctant (and exhausted) realization that if I wanted that arbor up right then and there, I would need Richard the Carpenter's help advice. The stuff he builds always looks good. The stuff I build never seems to look as good. Luckily I don't mind begging asking for a little help.

Never one to waste time, I yelled up at the back deck, ostensibly to "show" him what I'd done so far. Then I asked him how he'd build such a thing. I showed him my 2 by 2s. I gazed as innocently as I could at him (have I mentioned that I have very little shame?). I complimented his building prowess. He sighed, and said "You want me to build this thing for you, right?" Out came the chop saw; out came the ruler and pencil; out came Richard. Up went the arbor. Sigh. And doesn't it look lovely? I dug the holes myself.

Here are the first signs of spring in the Greenridge Chronicle House:

The 50 King Alfred daffodils I planted all along the berm are sprouting up. I sprinkled a little pile of sawdust over each sprout to keep the kids from rolling over them, which has been quite effective so far, even if it does look slightly odd from the road.

I've never been a big daffodil fan, but these were a gift from my MIL. My Welsh father will be thrilled if they come up for St. David's Day (March 1st). A little of those, some Welsh cakes, and some leek soup, and we'll be singing "Cymru Am Byth" before you know it...

The fennel is sprouting, a fact that gladdened not only my heart, but the heart of Henry, our pig from Guinea. He loves tender fennel sprouts, and was most gratified to get a few today in his cage, along with the usual Timothy hay, carrots, and lettuce. I planted a couple of fennel plants last summer, when we were hurriedly renovating and moving into this house, and I bought what I thought would be a nice pair: a bronze fennel and a regular fennel. Well, let me tell you, the regular fennel is the one you want. The bronze is pleasant enough in it's own way, if you like thin and light, but the regular fennel, OMG, I could write an ode to it. Oh, wait, I already did. So this year I expanded the herb garden, because I am going to plant lots of these babies.

The summer Impulse Purchase frog from a BC Ferry trip to the mainland is mildewing nicely. He's even protecting some miniature Iris reticulatas - and smiling while he's doing so. So polite. He must have been eating the toxic playdough, because he looks way too cheerful for what he's doing. Max thinks the red coat is something really toxic, and he might be right, but it's very atmospheric out there among the sprouts. I had intentions of rubbing him with blended moss and buttermilk, but heck, a red coat is as good as anything, right? Even if it is toxic (according to melodramatic 11 year olds).

An iris reticulata.
A miniature iris reticulata.

Look at that symmetry.
Look at that colour.
Look at that crumbly dirt on the petals...

A variegated Ilex - Hedgehog. The spines are SO soft and spiny I I can barely keep my fingers off it. According to its label it is not terribly invasive, so hopefully I won't find it finding its way into everything around it.

And finally, the 100 Muscari I planted are coming up around the Sea Dragon. Kind of hard to see them sprouting up around those rocks, but take my word for it, they're there. And according to the package, it should be a River of Muscari. Not any old river, but a River.

Gargoyles Drinking Beer

Look at this guy. Honestly, I leave him to guard my plants, and what do I find? He's drinking beer. And not only that, but he's drinking OLD BEER. I haven't seen a bottle like that for a while. I guess he's not as discriminating as I thought.


Friday, February 15, 2008

My Summer Vacation St. Valentine's Day

We started the day with a treasure hunt, since my kids love them so much. At each place setting was what you can see in the picture to the left - a tiny card ("To ______ Love ?") and a little slip of paper ("If you want to find your Valentine's treat, you must _______") with a tiny chocolate heart weighing it down. Each slip of paper directed the reader to perform a task, which would lead to yet another task. For example, Max had to get hay for his pig from guinea, which then led him to get the newspaper, and so on.

The tiny cards I got off the superlative Toymaker site. I adore this site. She has some of the most gorgeous and lustrous art work I've ever seen, and it's all so darn enchanting.

You can find all kinds of stuff to download and print out and make: fairy-tale peephole boxes, math shape puzzles, working puppets, 3D cars and planes and bags like this one I made for FDPG.

I printed these trucks out for the boys, then filled them with candy hearts that have sayings like "I'll Wait" or "My Sweet" or "Be Mine" on them.

This was what awaited them at the end of their newspaper getting, waterbowl filling, pet feeding, kettle filling treasure hunt.

The chores managed to get done at the same time, too...

Then it was off to the races kitchen, for some baking. We made cupcakes with pretzels butterflies on them. Can you even tell in all that cacophanous colour? Allow me to describe them: a plain vanilla cupcake, iced and dipped in sprinkles, with a couple of pretzels pushed into the icing. To cap it off you get your handy dandy icing bag and squeeze out a few blobs for the body, a large blob for the head, and then, if you're feeling particularly pedantic, a couple of mini M & Ms for eyes and some spaghetti for antennae.

But wait! There's more!

The kids were at gymnastics that morning, and I was racing frantically through a grocery store at the same time, when I came upon some reddish dipping wafers in the bulk foods section. Normally my "I am an Unrepentant Chocolate Snob" side wouldn't dream of buying such a thing, but I knew my kids would shriek if they saw red chocolates by their plates at dinner, so I bought enough to dip a few truffles in.

I had some leftover Christmas truffle centers in the freezer, which made it an even easier (but impressive) idea. I tell you, if I was organized enough I would make sure I had truffle centers in the freezer all the time because it's a cinch to dip them, but then I'd have to out myself as a Really Organized Hostess and in my heart I know I'm not. I have Good Intentions, but that's about it.

But I digress.

So here are the truffles. The leftover centers I had in the freezer were coconut, scotch, cayenne, and candy cane, so that's what they got. Well, Richard and I got the cayenne ones because they were incredibly hot (but delicious in their milk chocolate coating), and we tried to wrest the scotch ones from the kids, but since I'd dipped them in the leftover bittersweet Scharffenberger it was a heroic struggle for us to get even one.

Poetry Friday

I was rereading David Lodge's wonderfully funny Small World the other day (partly because I was trying to remember one of the characters' names) and I came upon this poem which I decided to use as my Poetry Friday offering. The poem is by John Keats and titled The Eve of St Agnes. If you care to read this poem in its entirety (it's very long), click here.

Stanza 36

Beyond a mortal man impassioned far
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
Ethereal, flushed, and like a throbbing star
Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose;
Into her dream he melted, as the rose
Blendeth its odour with the violet--
Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the windowpanes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.

And since I am feeling slightly flippant this morning, I am going to leave you with one of Lodge's characters responses to this stanza. His name is Persse McGarrigle, and he is a rather hapless and entirely too earnest young academic. A pigeon among the cats, as it were, in this tale of academia:

"It was all very well for Morris Zapp to insist upon the indeterminacy of literary texts: Persse McGarrigle needed to know whether or not sexual intercourse was taking place here - a question all the more difficult for him to decide because he had no personal experience to draw upon."

(p46, Small World Penguin ed.)

There you go. I suggest you read this book if a) you've had a taste of academia yourself (a little schadenfreude is sometimes a good thing) or b) you like comic novels. Of course, you could always just go and read a lot of Keats and skip the comedy altogether...

Poetry Friday is being hosted by HipWriterMama. Check out her blog - it has links to everyone else participating.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Things That Crack Me Up

This is a picture of some modeling clay someone gave Max for Christmas. They gave him a number of packets of the stuff, too, and since they were from Japan, and I have a thing for kitschy Japanese items, I couldn't help but pour over the pictures, directions, and English translations on the packets. As I suspected, the translations were worth every second. Not only that, but every packet has a cover worthy of a Golden Book Gone Mad: blue bears grinning wildly, robotic-looking bunnies in various stages of odd behaviour, purple girls flying, and the cutest little eggs and flowers and vegetables you've ever seen reposing perfectly in little dishes. Oh, and rainbows, don't forget the rainbows (not on this particular packet, sadly). If I could read Japanese I could even tell you what the little idea bubbles have written in them, but I can't, so I won't. One has the word ECO in it, and nothing else. What does this mean? Secret consumer messages? Acronyms? Could this stuff be claiming the eco-friendly moniker, even though it contains "microcapsules, antibacterial, and synthesis glue"?

Sadly, Max was unimpressed and rather, err, repelled by all the strange gaiety on the packets. That is, until I took him into the local Japanese food store and showed him that this sort of packaging is de rigeur in Japan. A few Hello Kitty candies, some giggling cashiers in fluffy white headbands, and a lot of yam tempura later and Max was much less put off by the clay. I was even able to get him to make a ziggurat out of it that afternoon. And he followed most of the instructions, too, although I suspect it was mostly out of fear, rather than respect for the rules: I think "Wash my hands well? Eww, what's IN this stuff? It feels weird" were his exact words.


Wash hands prior to use.
Okay, with you so far.
Knead the clay well with clean hand.
Yup, gotcha. Clean hands. Right.
When making a petal, please lengthen the clay thinly by rolling pin. After that, cut with scissors.
So polite! Of course I will be pleased to lengthen the clay thinly.
Use paints to enjoy various colours.
Hmm, not with you on this. I have to paint this stuff? But it's already coloured.
Do not eat. Eating could lead to choking. Choking could lead to death.
I know exactly what you mean - I tell my kids this every day.
When a work breaks, please use the glue for woodwork.
I'm a little confused. Why am I gluing woodwork when I should be gluing clay?
Please put the remaining clay into a plastic bag and keep it.
Forever and ever? Okay, since you asked nicely.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Planting Seeds

Well, it's official: we've started some seeds for the garden. Only time will tell if we're too early or not, but with all the wheat growin' and pumpkin sowin' and hay harvestin' we've been readin' - oops - reading about in The Long Winter, we're all getting antsy for winter to be over already. And since we live on the Wet Coast and all, I know that even if we are a bit too early, it won't be a complete disaster. We might have a lot of rain here, but we don't have blizzards like they did in DeSmet, where Laura and Mary and Carrie and Pa lived and all that hayin' and seedin' and choppin' and burnin' went on.

So here is what the Little Homeschoolers in The Greenridge Chronicles did today:

We got some eggshells and some cardboard cartons. I had magically cracked every single egg in half (well, to FDPG and Dominic it was magic, so I'm stickin' with that), which meant that we could place a half shell in each pocket of the carton.

We got some dirt and the little fingers and spoons of Dominic and FDPG half filled each egg shell.

Then we got some seeds. This was more than slightly complicated as everyone had their favourite plants while I had a garden agenda (which meant that some of us had to compromise more than others). We settled on sunflowers for Dominic, because we want to grow a sunflower fort this summer and Dominic's favourite flower is a sunflower. I chose Autumn Beauty because it's tall and quite striking. If you've seen the Monet's Palette type, then this type is quite similar.

FDPG wanted a pumpkin, because her "No pressure Mum but..." agenda involves me making that green pumpkin and vinegar pie from The Long Winter, the one Ma makes to cheer up Pa. She also likes the idea that these are the "Cinderella" variety of pumpkin (Rouge Vif D'Etampes); FDPG likes things that involve enchanted shoes and fairies and magical things.

Max was not picky about what he planted, as long as it was something brave and complex (and totally different from what the twins were planting), so he and I planted my Tigerella tomatoes. We were going to plant the sweet peas I'd bought from my new and strange garden centre friend, but I'd forgotten to soak them first, so we couldn't. If you don't know this tip, try it sometime; it does seem to make a difference in their germination rates. So instead we soaked the sweet peas, planted the Tigerellas (don't think me too shallow, but I bought them solely on the merits of the name - I could just see those tomatoes roaring into my salsa), and some Bells of Ireland that FDPG was intent on growing because a) they are green and b) green is her favourite colour in the whole entire universe. Imagine buying seeds because they are green, I can hear you say, but wait! I didn't buy them because they were green and thus guaranteed to be a favourite with a certain high-maintenance little FDPG living in my house, oh no no no. I bought them because (dare I admit this?) they looked cool and weird and I am, I admit freely, attracted to the cool and the weird.

Anyhow, now our little egg cartons are nesting comfortably along the window seat. If you wanted you could bag them in plastic, but we didn't. I'm not in that big of a hurry. Not now that we've just got to where the coldest winter to beat them all just hit the Ingalls family...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Poetry Friday

I'm posting one of my very favourite songs of all time today. It's a sweet and rather haunting song about love and loneliness. It was written by that incomparable duo of old known as Flanders and Swan, and it's called:

The Armadillo

I was taking compass bearings for the Ordinance Survey
On an army training camp on Salisbury plain,

I had packed up my theodolite, was calling it a day,

When I heard a voice that sang a sad refrain:

'Oh, my darling Armadillo,
Let me tell you of my love,

Listen to my Armadillo roundelay;

Be my fellow on my pillow,

Underneath this weeping willow,

Be my darling Armadillo all the day.'

I was somewhat disconcerted by this curious affair,

For a single Armadillo, you will own,

On Salisbury plain, on summer, is comparatively rare,

And a pair of them is practically unknown.
Drawn by that mellow solo,

There I followed on my bike,

To discover what these Armadillo
Lovers would be like:

'Oh, my darling Armadillo,

How delightful it would be,

If for us those silver wedding bells would chime,

Let the orange blossoms billow,

You need only say 'I will'-oh,

Be my darling Armadillo all the time.'

Then I saw them in a hollow, by a yellow muddy bank -

An Armadillo singing ... to an armour-plated tank.

Should I tell him, gaunt and rusting, with the willow tree above,

This - abandoned on manoeuvres - is the object of
your love?
I left him to his singing,

Cycled home without a pause,

Never tell a man the truth

About the one that he adores
For the rest of the song, click here.
If you want to hear some of their work, here are a few YouTube postings: Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud; Have Some Madeira, M'Dear and The Gnu. Just a teenie warning: these videos were made by fans with, err, how shall I put it, more enthusiasm than skill, so you might want to close your eyes when listening. Or even better, go to your local music store and buy a CD of their music. And no, I was not paid to say that!

Poetry Friday is being hosted at AmoXCalli.

Monday, February 4, 2008

They Might Have Been Giants..

...but now they're all dead and we can only read about them.

I was wandering through the British Museum's virtual Assyrian section, and on a whim went to YouTube to see if there were any amusing videos about the Assyrians (oh, I know, a bit of a long shot, but I am ever the optimist).

And what do you know but the band They Might Be Giants is here to sing a little song they wrote just for you, a snappy little ditty about Sargon, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal, and that old rogue Gilgamesh. It's called The Mesopotamians and you can even get t-shirts from the tour. (Warning: don't get your hair cut like a Mohenjo-daroan or you might end up in a TMBG video)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

No Bright Sparks Here

Poor Toffee. He's incredibly sweet, but, regrettably, he does not appear to have the largest of cat brains. Comparisons to our previous cat, Tarzan, who was possessed of a formidable intellect, are unavoidable at times, much as we try to suppress them.

Anyhow, the other day Toffee managed to fall right off our very high sundeck. Richard was trying to wipe his paw because it smelled of poo and in a fit of totally irrational terror ("eeks! Richard! eeks! Flee! eeks!") Toffee leapt up on the wet railing and slid right off, almost landing on the lilac bush on his way down.

What followed was a scene out of Keystone Cops, as Toffee, tragically possessed of a very lame leg, attempted to outwit, outlast, and outplay Richard in the back yard. I don't want to sound too unsympathetic about all this, but Toffee can be a very exasperating cat. Our theory is that having been a kitten stray, Toffee now has some weird ideas about People In General. When we first got him he would hide under the couch when the kids came thumping up the stairs (mind you, sometimes I do the same thing). Now he shies away a bit if they run at him, but otherwise he's almost serene at their noises. Almost. So why he would attempt to evade Richard the Emergency Cat Medic I don't know, but eventually Richard got a hold of him and brought him in.

And now Toffee seems to have a bum leg. It doesn't look broken, but it's obviously bothering him. He limps around quite a bit, but is otherwise purring and eating. He also wants to go out, but we won't let him, much to his disgust. I can't seem to impress upon him the necessity of waiting until he can actually walk properly.

The jury is still up in the air on whether or not we should further terrify him by taking him to the vet for a checkup. Sigh.

Did Someone Say Miyazaki?

We are big Miyazaki fans in this house. Really big. So big we even had Totoro on not one but two birthday cakes (see picture for one version). So big that when I found a video store that had the pre-Disney Miyazaki oeuvre available for rental I phoned home to tell FDPG. So big we sometimes we relate to events from the day according to how they might translate in a Miyazaki Universe:

Me: "Look at those black specks up in the sky, FDPG. Is that a flock of crows chasing an eagle?"

FDGP: "Gasp! No! Those are soot sprites! I think I saw them come out of the chimney!"


Dominic: "My cushion had a sleepover at Totoro's last night. They planted some acorns and he brought me back some." (proffers handful of acorns and smiles at FDPG's shocked face)


"Mum, are woodbugs tiny Oms?" and "If Gigi can talk, why can't Toffee?"

I'm happy to play along, because I like Miyazaki's films as much as the twins. His universe is so imaginative and playful and filled with wonder, everything a kids' film should be.

E Is For Exciting

I had my thrill of the week last Thursday when a blogpal of mine, Becky from Farm School, sent this my way. There is something SO heartening about connecting with other like-minded people out here in Blog Land; thus I was delighted to see this accolade from someone whose blog I admire so much it's almost indecent, particularly as I was in truly wonderful company: Cami at Full Circle (she's better than a DK text) and Jen at Jen Robinson's Book Page. As I wrote to Becky, I was so excited I even burned my kids' lunch. I almost forgot I even had kids, well, that is, until the smoke alarm went off, the cat hid under my desk, and Max ran shrieking into the family room, asking me if I was going to turn off the smoke alarm or should he and was the house on fire or had I burned something again. Then I sighed, turned my gaze from the computer screen, and went off to see how I could salvage their grilled cheese. Fortunately I was able to scrape off some cinders and present it to them as a new type of bread. FDPG ate the insides and told me not to buy that kind of bread again.

And as is usual with these sorts of events, I am, in my turn, going to send this blog smooch off to other people who write blogs. Blogs I read. Blogs I like.

First, this one goes out to a blog I read because it has some of the best pictures of Life In Japan around. And it comes with a generous dose of humour about life in Japan: Diane at Popcorn and Sushi.

Second, this is a new blog to me, and it's piloted by not one person but four: Nicola, Samantha, Heather, and Katherine. It's called Four Friends and a Blog. These women are busy in ways I admire but can never hope to replicate. They are ferocious knitters. I'm not. Wish I was.

And finally, a blog I lurked on a lot when I first discovered the world of homeschool blogs - it was one of the first blogs I ever read and it sort of inspired me to start my own blog. So there. It's called Nurtured By Love, with one Miranda Hughes as its head writer.

Okay, a toast to you all (glasses clinking).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Poetry Friday

I was going to do something for St Brigid's Day (which is today) or something Groundhog Day-ish, but instead I'm posting the poem my 6 year old twins memorized this week, as part of their homeschool routine. I wish I could include the twins' hand and body gestures as they recite it - they make this poem a very visual experience! This poem was written N.M. Bodecker (and it rolls very nicely off the tongue):

When Skies Are Low and Days Are Dark

When skies are low
and days are dark,
and frost bites
like a hungry shark,
when mufflers muffle
ears and nose,
and puffy sparrows
huddle close -
how nice to know
that February
is something purely

Poetry Friday is being hosted today at Karen Edmisten's blog, also known as the blog "with the shockingly clever title."