who's the mommy around here anyway?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Experiece with the Furls Odyssey Cochet Hook

I know, I know - nobody needs a $30 crochet hook! But having one is just so luxurious in a decadent and wasteful sort of way. My $3 crochet hooks have lasted for years and still work fine, but one look at the Furls offerings and I had severe hook envy. They're so pretty! The first ones I saw carved of wood were so beautiful that they made me forget how much I dislike using wooden hooks! I considered getting one, but couldn't justify the cost, no matter how hard I tried. Then came the Odyssey hook, so lovely, expensive but not outrageously so, and I went for it. Furls suggests that the designs of their hooks will make crocheting a more comfortable experience - which was nice even though I was just buying it because I was infatuated with its beauty. I couldn't wait to get that silver and black piece of modern crafting technology into my hot little hands. I joined one of their CAL's to take my hook for its first test drive! I like the weight and shape of the hook and the way it feels in my hand in general. Although it feels comfortable, I find that muscle memory is a b...tch. Because the shape of the Furls hook is so different than what I'm used to, my dominant hand doesn't know quite how to hold it and the hook keeps sliding and slipping in my hand, slowing me down and causing me to have to constantly reposition the hook. It's taken more than an hour to get used to. Not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of. Aluminum and plastic hooks have some drag to them, but the Furls hook is incredibly smooth and slippery, so again, this takes some getting used to, though it isn't unpleasant. As a matter of fact, I'm really liking how this can contribute to crochet speed. The shape of the tip of the hook is round, without any point, and I find that this makes it difficult to enter tighter stitches, as when you can't avoid working into a base chain. I've had to dig my way through a number of stitches. Personal preference again, but I would definitely prefer a hook with at least a slight point on the head. I also find my yarn slipping out of the hook frequently, very annoying, and to me that means the hook's cleft isn't deep enough. I purchased the Furls hook myself and, with shipping, paid close to $40 for it. I don't want to return it, I find it intriguing to use, but it changes my technique somewhat causing its use to be, for me, counter-intuitive and somewhat awkward, definitely requiring an adjustment period. I'll continue to use it for the CAL and see what I think of it after using it for an extended period of time. I offer this review as my own opinion only.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Baseball stuff

My favorite baseball story. Marc took Lizzie to see the Mets play. She must have been about 11. They went very early to the game, and at that time, if you went really early, you could get into the field level in the old Shea Stadium to sit and watch batting practice up-close and personal.

After batting practice was over and the players were leaving the field, the onlookers began calling to the players to come over to sign autographs. Some of the players would do this, but not many. Mike Piazza was on the team at the time. He was so very popular, and my husband told me that everyone was calling to him, but as was his habit, he walked away without signing anything. On this day, however, he threw his batting gloves at the waiting crowd of people. My daughter ran after Piazza's gloves and dived down through the stadium seats, emerging in triumph with one of the prized gloves in her hands. She walked proudly to her dad clutching the glove and my husband told her that she'd just retrieved a collector's item that would be unbelievably valuable in the future. He then offered her $25 for the glove. She took the money, he took the glove and they went to sit in their seats to watch the game and bask in the glow of a job well-done.

A couple of years later Marc took our other daughter on a long weekend trip to watch the Mets at spring practice in Port St.Lucie, Florida. Laura was excited to go, being at the age of 9, as big a baseball fan as her dad. She knew players' names and numbers and positions, and would accompany her dad faithfully to as many games as we'd allow her to go to. She and her dad took the infamous batting glove on the trip with them. Marc's stategy was something like this: Laura would be sent out as a decoy and ask Mike Piazza to autograph the very same batting glove collected by our older daughter. Marc thought that because Laura was so very tiny and cute and utterly adorable, this plan couldn't fail. As it turns out, he was right. Piazza signed at the last possible moment before he left the field. Marc and Laura returned home with their prize and told and re-told, in two-part harmony, the story of the baseball glove signing; they were so excited.

Some time later, Marc had the glove PSA tested and certified. It now sits in a place of honor, under fully-alarmed, bullet-proof glass, and from time to time when we're all together, my family will re-tell the story of the glove, from beginning to end, and for me, that is the real treasure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

potty stop on the major deegan expressway

When Lizzie was pottie training, I had potties everywhere. I had potties next to every toilet and a pottie in the kitchen. The only place I never thought to place a pottie was in the car, and when you think about it, that's probably the one place where you really might want to have one.

You can somehow improvise with your newly-in-undies toddler if there's a real toilet handy, but what do you do when you're cruising along on the thruway and you hear a tiny little voice pipe-up from the back seat, "Mommy, I need to peepee." If there's anything that a parent driving a car dreads to hear, besides, "Are we there yet?" it's any sentence from their child having to do with bodily functions.

I was on my way to grandma's house and I was stuck in traffic on that little slice of Hell in the Bronx otherwise known as the Major Deegan Expressway, of which no known portion is an express. And of course Lizzie had to go. And of course she was newly out of diapers and newly into big-girl undies. And of course I had no pottie. Her cries of discomfort became piteous, so I pulled over onto what little shoulder the Major Deegan offered, climbed over the passenger seat to get out of the car, pulled my little girl out of her car seat, which she'd already considerately unbuckled for me, and looked for a likely spot where she could do her business. I told her to squat down, which she did and fell on her ass, not such a good idea, so I picked her up, dried her tears, and then began to contort myself into what I imagine could only have looked to passersby like Ralph Macchio in a Karate Kid movie as he got into his bizarre position to deliver the winning blow. My arms became disjointed to cradle my daughter so that she'd feel like she was sitting on the toilet, one arm under her legs, one arm behind her back. I squatted down low so she'd be closer to the ground. Then I told her, "Ok, now you can pee." And she did, all over my shoes.

Afterward I dried her off with a tissue and pulled her pants back up, amazed that she hadn't gotten a drop on her while I was leaving pee-sodden footprints everywhere. A CSI would have had a field day with what I was leaving behind. I put her back in her carseat, she considerately buckled herself back in and we were on our way to grandma's house once again. I should have run out to get a pottie to keep in the car, but loving to live dangerously as I did, this was not to be, and I may be exaggerating, but I believe I may have made unscheduled pottie stops in such unlikely spots as the Cross Bronx Expressway, New England and New York State Thruways, New Jersey Turnpike, and many more. I wouldn't suggest this for the faint of heart, but if you're into bungie jumping and skydiving, give it a try - you might like it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Safest Place

Yesterday was my Dad's unveiling. My Mom is here from Florida, staying with us for a few days, and tension is high between my husband and me, as it always is when he has to share me with someone else. I blame the tension on him, he blames it on me, and I'm sure the truth is somewhere between.

Yesterday was a beautiful day with bright sunshine, not too hot, and a steady breeze. We gathered at the graveside for the brief ceremony. The rabbi asked if I'd like to share any personal memories of my Dad, or just stick to the prayers, and I opted to stick with the selected prayers, not too sure I wouldn't break down if I started to speak. As the ceremony ended, the tears began, and when they began, it didn't matter that my husband and I had been sniping at each other all week, or that I'd been bitchy to him all day, or that I'd been trying to avoid him for the past 15 minutes, because in that instant I just instinctively sought out the safest place I knew, and that was my husband's strong arms, steady shoulders and comforting presence. I moved to where he was and he put his arms around me and kept everyone away, kept me safe and protected until I was ready to rejoin family and friends.

My husband is the safest and most comforting place I know. I'm so grateful.

Monday, October 08, 2007

My Dad, My Hero

I just made a reservation for a flight to Fla. to visit my mom. I usually love these visits, catch up with Mom and Dad, get told by loving parents how great I am, visit with their friends and get shown off...

But this time I'm going there to say goodbye. My dad is ill, hooked up to a ventilator. He's had a stroke, his bad heart is failing, and my mother signed the DNR with my brother's and my consent. I hope I get there before Dad passes.

Dad was six feet tall, handsome and capable and smart, and I was his little girl, Daddy's girl. I adored my father, and though he was a man of few words, and none of them emotional, I know the feeling was mutual.

After a particularly terrifying childhood nightmare I would wake up and make my way into my parent's room and sit by Dad's side of the bed and stare at him. I remember doing this. Mom said it was because I favored him over her that I would wake up at night and sit at his side of their bed, but I was there because my big, strong hero of a Dad would protect me and and keep the nightmare monsters away. I was safer at his side even if he was sleeping. If he opened his eyes and woke up, I was untouchable. Even as a teenager, if I'd passed a sleepless night, when the alarm went off in my parents' room and I heard my dad get up to start his day I'd relax, knowing that whatever was on my mind, when Dad began his morning ritual, all was right with the world. I had such faith in him.

I remember being about 4 or 5 when he taught me to ride a bike. He ran beside me, holding me up on the bicycle from which he'd so recently removed the training wheels, and then came that last moment when he let go and I didn't fall, I felt like I was flying and I called out, "Look Daddy, I can do it!" He was proud of me then, as proud as he was over the years when I brought home good report cards, or my first paycheck, or his first granddaughter.

I remember leaving him, leaving home, moving out when I was 21 into a place of my own. He stood in my little studio apartment and looked around, and he just looked so forlorn and sad that I wanted to pack all my things back up and say, "Nevermind, I've changed my mind." If on that day my dad had told me that I was moving into a dump, and maybe I should come home till I found a better place, I probably would have listened...but he wasn't selfish, he let me go.

My heart is breaking. Friends who've been through this offer their support and kind words and hugs, but this is a lonely road to walk. I've always thought you're not really a grown up until your parents are gone, but who wants to grow up if this is the price you have to pay?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mysteries of the Universe

Every now and again I like to read some good non-fiction, and my tastes run to history, and to physics. Stephen Hawking confounds me, but Brian Greene writes at a level I can just barely understand and enjoy. I discuss his writing with Laura, my 15 yr. old, and we marvel at all we don't understand about the universe and the mysteries thereof.

Mathematicians and physicists seem to be trying to work on something familiarly called the "Theory of Everything," a theory that would explain how the universe works. It would be a fluid theory without fault which would work in every given situation. In my limited understanding, the theories that currently explain our universe work well, but each works only under narrow and specific circumstances. The theory of everything might have to take into account that our understanding of the three dimensional nature of our universe is flawed and that there are more than three dimensions, perhaps many more than three, depending on who you believe. As Brian Greene states it, and my understanding is limited by my lack of genius, there could be dimensions so large or so small that they are imperceptible to our senses, and can only be measured by devices that we haven't yet invented. But in the future..... We're making strides, and the future holds limitless possibility. All will be understood, told, unveiled. I look forward to unraveling the mystery. I believe that once you lift the foggy veil, you'll be able to see to the heart, to the core of it all. I often think that the heart of the mystery is really the face of God. I also think looking at the face of God is a scary proposition.

I believe in God, not the literal, biblical, creation in 7 x 24 hr. days God, but God nevertheless. I believe there's a point to the lives that we lead, that it isn't just nonsense or accident that put us here. I also think that a little bit of mystery is good for the soul. Indeed, if there is no God, then is there a soul? If we understand all that there is to understand, if we can explain away all the mystery with science, where then falls morality? Without God, can we have a moral center or a moral compass?

I look forward to finding out if string theory is reality. I look forward to seeing if science can find a unifying theory to explain the workings of the universe. I don't want anyone to explain to me that I have no soul (yes, there's a book out there written by a brilliant man of science who explains biology and shows just where in the brain the soul might originate, but I don't really want to know this). I want science and faith to mesh, like two friends who agree to disagree and somehow find a way to co-exist, not just peacefully, but agreeably, happily, with backyard barbecues and occasional block parties on holidays. Is this too much to ask?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I was never a parent who wanted to be her child's best friend. I knew who I was. I told my kids who I was from the start. I was the mommy. I was the parent. Make no mistake about it, I was, and still am, the boss.

But then raising my girls, I found myself involved in something quite unexpected, a new openness, uncharted territory, something I never had with my mom. My girls and I could talk about anything. We do talk about anything. And that's where I went wrong. I should have quit while I was ahead.

Never become friends with your daughter until you're both much, much older, like menopause older, like my mom and me, because if you do, you might find that your daughter will try to confide in you those secrets best left to the whispered conversations you'd normally have with your best friend in places where you're sure no one else can hear you. Don't even try to tell me you don't know what I'm talking about! That's right, I'm talking about


Yes, those conversations. The conversations my mother never, ever had with me. She probably should have at least broached the subject at some point and if she had I promise I would never have reciprocated by telling her all my dark sexual secrets and favorite positions as my daughter seems hell-bent on telling me. Or asking me. How do you respond to your child, do you give her advice and refer her to the Kama Sutra? Or maybe the Joy of Sex? Our Bodies, Our Selves? Once again, I am not her best friend and there are some things that just shouldn't be shared. It's not natural. I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!!!!


Anybody got a bottle of scotch?