Thursday, December 30, 2010

The T Family.

Cozied Up By The Fire. Office Special 12/28/10
When I was a kid, my family lived a shortish ride on pony to a large private plot of land with a hunting reserve. It was pretty forested, with large, well-maintained paths winding in and out of this forested area and into the farm fields nearby that also belonged to the same property. We were allowed to ride there as long as we stayed on the main paths and only when it wasn’t pheasant season. This preserve was attached to an old house belonging to an old family. They had a noble title still, but there was little left of the prestige the family knew except their name, their home, their property and their history. Mr. T worked full-time.  Their other income source was their manour-house. It was open to touristsduring the week, and either Mrs. T or teenaged young Master T would give tours. The family had moved into a small part of the manour and the rest of the house was set up as the museum.

It wasn’t long before I, and a friend of mine (next door neighbour of sorts) who rode one of my ponies ran into their 2 younger kids on their ponies on the property, and they showed us all sorts of secret paths and wonderful places, and they eventually became our friends. We’d ride over to fetch them, or they come and fetch us... always on the back of a fuzzy Shetland or welsh mix pony. We’d ride right though neighbourhood streets, and bike paths to get there. We’d ride over and the Mrs. T would make us a nice healthy lunch or a goûter of a tartine and some café au lait, and we’d play inside for a while, or make figures out of marzipan to sell to people on holidays door to door in the saddle (the neighbours rarely bought it because we’d made it with our grubby pony-smelling hands). I remember wowing the T family a number of times with my marzipan renderings of Garfield and Odie and such. :)

I loved their home. It was just a few rooms of this huge manour that they lived in all clustered around the neat old kitchen with 30s style appliances. When I slept over, we’d creep about at night into the museumy bit and lie down on the really tiny beds, and play act and so on. The part they lived in was old and beautiful, but also really homey... the elegant paneled walls had these austere portraits of their ancestors hanging on them, against cracked paint and notched plaster. The furniture was elegant, but worn; the rugs rich, but threadbare. The place always smelled wonderful, of leek soup being simmered, of steak-au-poivre with fresh frites, of salad greens with vinaigrette, of baking frangipane, of mussels in white wine.. it was sheer comfort. Their Christmas trees, as most of them were for us, were gangly, very prickly assemblages with tinsel and bulbs, and their table was always welcoming to guests. I spent many hours in that house, admiring Mrs. T in her perpetual chignon, her ever-present string of pearls around her neck, even when she wore jeans, and her class and elegance that oozed from every pore, even when she was kneeling in the soil, yanking up weeds. All of the T family spoke English. And excellent English at that. But most of the time, we kids shifted between Flemish and French when we ran about in a pack of four, the hoofs of our little ponies clattering loudly on the tarmac as we roamed the neighbourhoods.

We’d go riding looking for the elusive red squirrels with the fuzzy ears that were so hard to find, and to see if we could spot some of the hunting stock ... pheasants etc. We galloped wildly along the big paths and jumped small obstacles on the ponies. We pooled our toys and acted out stories with them... We pretended to be a group of hobbits traveling to Mordor.

Every time the holidays roll around I think of the T family. I remember trying to ‘trick-or-treat’ for money dressed as kings on Three Kings day... or sitting in their parlour with the huge clock and drawing horses and ponies, or reading Thelwell Pony picture books, or putting together toys from the kinder-surprise eggs we’d gotten at the corner store. I think about them a lot. I miss you T-Family.

Happy New Year to all of you.  Think of good warm things as much as you can.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Using a Dassenplank Knitting Loom

Measurements below (and a threading guide)..

Made of nice quality hardwood with rounded corners and a simple, plain clear varnish. I forgot to mention that the board's thickness is a little under 3/4". The distance between pegs is measured on-center. The thickness of the pegs is hard to measure with what I have... but they look to be arounnd 3/16" and the ball 3/8".

 Please disregard all my ums and errs. ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Encyclopædia Monstrositus.

Don't ask. ::arched brow::

Hard to focus on the little guy... but still so cute. My office this morning.
He's far from monstrous... Or is he?
I am in Holiday Funk mode.  We are not 'doing' Christmas this year because there is no way to afford it frankly.  We have been struggling pretty badly these past few months with hubby's significant pay cut, and we are trying hard to keep afloat.

I have put a Christmas tree though. We bought a potted tree (a kind of scrangly one) and I weighed it down with lights and a few ornaments and it looks pretty pathetic.  I have no spirit for the season, I confess. The closest I got was buying a few things for a Giving Tree at our local hardware store.

Anyways... Just a touch of weirdness on my part. The office special of office specials, I guess. I suppose it's probably not a good idea to open up photo-editor while I'm on the phone for any length of time, that's all I have to say on that. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

A 'scienterifical' study of cop evilness.

Once upon a time, I thought policemen were the cat’s meow. They were awesome in their pockety pants with their bad-ass swagger, all those tazery implements of torture they get to use, and the license to speed like demons in powerful vehicles... Yeah. They were cool. WERE. My opinion has been strongly influenced towards the negative since I’ve moved to Oregon. In New Hampshire, I had friends who were cops and they were cool & stuff. I've discovered that I don't find cops quite so likeable here in Oregon. Why? Because I’ve discovered that Oregon cops are evil. And after a lot of dogged, 'legitimate' research and data crunching, I think I’ve discovered the fundamental reasons why this is.

Well, the statistics speak for themselves.  The reason comes down to these simple statistics to start:

Police per-capita in New Hampshire: ~ 2.2 officers per 1,000 people ~ 2,900 cops.
Population: 1,300,000
Persons per square mile: 139.0
46th largest state in the country. 9,351 square miles.
= cops that are somewhat affable and who know people.

Police per-capita in Oregon. ~ 1.5 officers per 1,000 people. ~ 5,700 cops
Population: 3,800,000
Persons per square mile: 38.6
9th largest state in the country; 98,386 square miles.
= uniforms full of concentrated evil.

Summarizing just those statistics alone, you can see that in Oregon, there are 2.9 times the number of people than there are in NH. There are only 2 times the number of police than NH, oddly. And Oregon is about 10.5 times the size of NH. Add in the rain half the year and the crappy roads and I’m thinking I can see why these overworked, tired-of-driving all over hell guys are 100% evil.

A 'scientific' study of the distribution of Police officers around the respective states:

Similar distribution patterns emerge.
Outlying communities, you're on your own! 
Incoming out of state traffic... Look out.
 NH Police, general daily cases and challenges:
  • College kids using pot.
  • Disturbance at Dunkin’ Donuts.
  • Lost pets and seniors.
  • Speeders.
  • Directing traffic around construction sites.
  • Directing traffic at the pumpkin festivals.
  • Moose-car collisions.
  • Massachusetts drivers.

Oregon Police, general daily cases and challenges:
  • Meth labs.
  • Pot growers.
  • Heavily armed hoarders.
  • People on shooting sprees
  • Landslides and fallen trees
  • Recovery of hikers/climbers/Californians lost in the wilderness.
  • Speeders.
  • Unlit highways
  • Catastrophic car crashes with fatalities and sometimes involving wildlife.
  • Rampant drug-related homocide.
  • Bears and cougars
  • This guy:
  • Domestic violence calls involving weapons.
  • Californian drivers.
  • Washington drivers.
  • Granolas driving Subarus.
Crime rate comparison using 2009 data:



.... further proof that Oregon cops might have good reason for being major jerks when dealing with the public.  I mean, let's consider that there aren't even 2x the number of cops in OR that there are in NH... and look at the disparities between the volume of crimes committed in each state. And we're not even talking emergencies like floods and rescues and all that other crud, or are we even looking at traffic infractions... we're just talking full-on crime here.

Other factors contributing to general cop grumpiness in Oregon:
NH: 1 Dunkin Donuts at least every square mile in densely populated areas, and at least one in pretty much every town.
OR: Only a few Krispy-Kremes in the whole state, and a general lack of any other nearby donut franchises or shops.

NH: Cop shoots skeevy guy who looks like he's reaching for a weapon in an elevated situation. Guy shouldn't have reached into his pocket screaming 'I have a gun!' RIP--natural selection. End of story.
OR: Cop shoots skeevy guy who looks like he's reaching for a weapon in an elevated situation.  Public becomes outraged because cop isn't clairevoyant or able to diagnose mental illness on-the-spot. Cop is fired.

No Excuse:
Morally, none of them should be jerks at all when they get to drive *this* bad-assness every day.

Yeah, high-speed chases and such are dangerous and scary.. but Hello.... CHARGER! Charger with crash-bars and low-profile LED lights and kickass hawtness. Of course, the real evil cops might be the ones freezing on the motorcycles, or the ones stuck driving the old Crown Vics and SUVs. If that were the case. I'd be really pissy too.

THEREFORE: Oregon cops *are* evil.  But I probably would be too if I did their job. AND I'd be forced to wear polyester... which that in and of itself can induce homocidal tendencies. 

Today is also St. Nicolas's day.  YAY! I miss that very much.  


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