I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

Do leave comments: let's make this a conversation. If you prefer, you can contact me at friuduric at yahoo dot com.

31 August 2006

Carrot Top

We generally haven't had much luck growing carrots. But this year, the Consort took care to thin them out rigorously, and look at this! The carrot itself was thicker around than a broomstick, and the Consort was bringing it to work for lunchtime. I suggested we keep the glorious greens for Impera to feed to her rabbit tonight; in order to keep the greens fresh, we put them in a vase. Yes this is a regular-sized vase, it is on my kitchen counter, and it is all from one carrot.

30 August 2006

Feets (And their Grossness)

The Consort shared a link in the Comments last night, on foot phobia (well, he shared two, but honestly, a lot of youtube is just crapola), and it was so hilarious, that I laughed out loud as I read it here in my local coffeeshop. In case you didn't visit, here are some choice parts:

Symptoms of foot phobia: breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.

Mine is just disgust, but hey, I can see how being forced into the presence of feet would get one thinking about death. Except, well,
"To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause"...

...because what if heaven is FULL of FEET???!!!!

There is a Way Out: Imagine what your life will be like when you know that you are not "defective".

Defective? I'm not defective, all those foot people are the defective ones. Who you callin' defective? I hope the Imperatrixes in Training keep this in mind: The way they know I have loved them is that, throughout their childhood, I have trimmed their toenails. (Granted, sometimes their nails are a bit on the long side, but hey, I'M TRYING.)

Does It Work for Everyone?: In a word, no it doesn't. It's not perfect...A reason it may not work is that frankly some people are afraid to give up their foot phobia. Their identity is wrapped up in it. (Because they are NORMAL.) They have had their foot phobia so long that they don't know who they would be without it (Ummmm, weirdos?) ...Finally, some people just love to talk about their foot phobia. That's one reason why some people may spend years in talk therapy. They love to have someone who cares about them listen to their foot phobia problems. (Sounds to me like those people are foot fetishists; "A foot fetishist by any other name would smell as bad" -- you know.)

Foot phobia can severely disrupt normal life, interfering with school, work, or social relationships.

Last I heard, school was a no bare feet zone. As is the workplace, unless one works as a lifeguard or nurse. (Oh my GOD can you imagine having to wash the feet of the ill? eeeeeesh. It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. It would affect social relationships if you have a boyfriend who likes to play footsie. But if someone is into playing footsie, nothing good can come of that relationship. None. It's like having a boyfriend who sells crack. Just get out of the relationship, change your name, move out of your apartment, and make a fresh start somewhere else. With a NORMAL guy.

I guess the Consort is right, foot fetishists are my own private Taliban. I'm their George Bush. (But I definitely wouldn't have forgotten to write them into my 2002 budget, and I would have sent a large enough force to wipe them out, completely, rather than let them fester and grow strong in larger and larger pockets of the country.)

29 August 2006

Things You Didn't Know About Me, Part 1

Oh, friends, there are so many contradictory things about me, sometimes I amaze even myself. Today, I will admit to something that I know will surprise you: I, anti-establishment anti-consumerist Lefty that I am, visit Mighty Goods on a regular basis. I had convinced myself that this was just innocent voyeuristic fun, peeping* into the lives of those with disposable income, who weren't afraid to use it on frivolous items that they'd tire of by the time the next fashion season rolled around. It allowed me to smugly shake my head at these consumerists, these people who are clearly one of the reasons for our culture's decline.

I mean, come on -- a retro apron for $40? A Hostess Twinkies Non-Stick Baking Pan? Silly, silly, American consumers.

But then, they blogged about over-the knee socks.

...Over-the-knee socks? Interesting... Hmm, they look kind of cool. And I really don't like panty-hose; and I like to wear skirts in the winter; and living in an old house (and working in the coldest room of the house) is chilly on bare legs... Hmmmmm.

So I went to Sock Dreams, looked around a bit, (hey! no shipping costs!), (oooh! and look! made in the USA!), and ordered three pairs of over-the-knee socks (O Basics, O Woolies, and O Marled). Very fast service, very nice folks. I ordered size L, because I am tall (2 deviations from the mean, that's me!).

When the socks arrived, there was a bit of a mishap in that I was so excited to receive the order that I used scissors to open the bag and inadvertently snipped into one of the socks (drat! drat! double-drat!!). Never fear -- I will darn the sock and all will be well (the snip won't be visible under a long, warm, winter skirt).

But I digress.

There will be some shrinkage (these are mostly natural fibers with only a bit of spandex for elasticity). However, on one pair of socks, the foot is really too big. Curious, huh? I'll give them a wash and see if they fit better after the shrinkage; but even if they don't, I'll be able to fix that problem, too (with sewing machine and scissors [under-control scissors, that is]).

But why would they be bigger than what would fit my (normal-sized) feet? Isn't that funny? I went back and surfed the site some more, and something became clear to me that had been hidden from me during my first visit. I have no one to blame but myself for this. Really, I should have been better able to master the consumerist urge brought on by reading Mighty Goods.

It seems that it wouldn't only be anti-chic clothes people like me who would be excited by non-traditional legwear. Readers, let us all pause for a moment as we absorb the fact that I, Peaceable Imperatrix, happen to have joined the same demographic as foot fetishists and male cross-dressers.**

*I am an avid window peeper. This makes the Consort uncomfortable. I argue that hey, if people leave their curtains open and their lights on, they are just asking for it. This is why I make a point of drawing the curtains closed at our house every night. I don't want some weirdos peeping into my house; I know what kind of weirdos are out there looking into people's homes!

**Not that there is anything wrong with cross-dressers. (Foot fetishists, now that's another story.)

27 August 2006

Sunday Evening Epiphany

So here it is Sunday evening. The girls are out, the Consort is out, I'm here web surfing and streaming Radio Paradise. For the past 5 minutes, they've been playing "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" by the Beatles.

Can I just say?

If I were the parent of a teenager in 1969, and my teenager had just spent good money on Abbey Road and was blasting this song from their stereo? After about 5 minutes I'd probably be saying:

"What the heck did you waste your money on this album for? Seven minutes of the same two lines, the same guitar riff?! (Not that I'd know it was called a riff, being a parent in 1969, but hey, give me some slack.) Turn that crap off. Now.

I said NOW, young lady!

You turn it off, or--so help me God--I will come in there and cut the damn cord!"

I'm just sayin'. There are some very good songs on that album. But this one? It ain't one of 'em. Eh-- excuse me--

"...Alright missy, you asked for it! I'm coming in! And you can just kiss that new velvet jacket I promised to buy you goodbye, too!"

25 August 2006

Shrubbery Murder

The other day, Impera came in and said, "I think you should come look at the bushes on the side of the house."

So I did, and this is what I saw:

Somebody had driven over half of the shrubbery. WTF?!!! You can even see the tire marks in the grass.

It's not like the bushes had any agenda. They didn't stick out roots to people's legs as they walked down the alley. They didn't drop sticky bits on unsupecting lovebirds. They just said, "Here is a boundary. What lies above this retaining wall is private property. We just help you remember where the edges of the alley are. Just call us the Happy Friendly Shrubberies. La la la." (They never did have a good grasp of compound plural nouns.)

But they didn't go down without a fight, oh no they didn't:

The picture is kind of blurry, but do you see that rusty brown metal post? It held up some wire that helped the bushes keep their shape. It looks to me like when the idiot shrub murderer came through, the post was bent down by the front bumper, but then came up a bit and scraped the bottom of the offending vehicle. (At least, that's what I hope happened. And I hope it messed up some integral part of the vehicle. So there.)

The Consort plans to put in a new line of shrubs in the spring. I plan to help him out. And I will plant long, sharp nails, pointy-side up, all along the retaining wall. That'll learn'm. Or at least, slow their getaway enough that I can get out there and catch their license plate number. Hoo boy! *she rubs her hands together*

24 August 2006

What I’ve Learned Through Secret Pal 8

As most of you know, I’ve participated in this summer’s round of Secret Pal. I just mailed out my last package to my spoilee, and I figured it would be a good idea to share my thoughts and experiences (in case anybody who visits my site would like to participate in a subsequent round [and it is an international exchange, so even European folks could do it! And guys are more than welcome, too.]).

I learned the power of receiving something through the mail. In this day and age of phone calls, e-mail, and e-chat, it felt so special to receive parcels, cards, and notes “the old fashioned way”. Part of the fun was the time it took to unwrap things, removing layer upon layer of goodies from a cardboard box (yes, yes, I’m getting all “brown paper packages tied up with string…” on ya).

I also learned the joy of putting together parcels and figuring out what special treats to give someone. (Do they like funky food? Remember their favorite treat that can only be found in the US? And—ooo, look, here’s something perfect, in their favorite color!)

Thanks to SP8, I decided to send out an unexpected package to someone who I had lost touch with in the past year. I don’t know if she’s received the package yet—it was going to Europe—but it was fun to organize the items the girls and I chose to send, and to write a letter that shared some of the stuff our family’s been up to since last summer. I also sent a small package to someone I knew was feeling sorta depressed recently. There’s nothing like a little surprise when you feel things aren’t really going your way. It helps keep things in perspective, and it reminds you that you are important to people that you might not see all that often.

As I’ve said before, my spoiler has been a super Secret Pal. She has read my site, and by getting to know me via the blog, has over the past 3 months sent me the most appropriate and fun stuff. I can’t wait to find out who she is and be able to say “Thanks, [her name]!” rather than “Thanks, Secret Pal!”

So, should you participate? Sure! As you read here, I found the lessons I learned from SP8 immediately applicable to my offblog life. But if you do participate, I would urge you to blog regularly. The SP8 rules stipulate blogging at least once per week. And that should be the absolute minimum, I think. I only had 7 posts across the 3 months to get to know my spoilee, and really, that isn’t very conducive to getting to know someone. I think this last package I sent my spoilee is pretty good at tying together what I know about her into a fun package, but if I had known her better, it would have been grrrrreat!

Secret Pal 9 will be open for registration on September 1, I believe, and you have until September 30 to join. The exchange will run from October 15 to January 31. I’m thinking about doing it (it’ll run through my birthday – hey hey!), but I have to see. I may even volunteer to be a hostess. [But I don’t know if they’ll want me, because I’d plan to be a real hardass about blogging once a week. ;-) ]

And even if this sort of exchange thing isn’t your cup of tea, I recommend to anyone reading this to mail out a letter, or a CD, or a package to someone they know, sometime soon.

You’ll enjoy it. Trust me.

23 August 2006

Why I May Not Have Many Friends

Did you hear? They've decided to withdraw Pluto as a planet.

What! Just the other day they said they would be adding three more.

Well, that was the recommendation of one group, but this other group has...

I mean, come on, "My very energetic mother just made us nine?" What kid of sense does that make?

How about, "... made us num-nums"?

(Rolls eyes.) And Pluto has a moon!

Yeah, Sharon, and...

I thought it was said "Karen".

Whatever. And, I agree with you, the definition should be, If you have a moon...

...then you're a PLANET! How hard is that?

Well, but if they kept Pluto in then they'd have to add in these asteroids, and then there'd be the whole Kweeper Belt, and...

I thought it was Kipe-er. Otherwise that would be "vewy kweepy." (Heh heh.)


If you, like me, are distraught by this ridiculous turn of events, I suggest you read one of today's Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times. It's called "I Heart Pluto". Some tantalizing tidbits:

"[N]o way was I or anyone else about to un-memorize anything we’d already been forced to learn in elementary school. More important, I felt sure that, as former children, we all instinctively respected the principle: no do-overs."

"And I am second to no one in my respect for Charon, but come on: it’s obviously Pluto’s moon. Now they’re proposing to designate it a 'large companion,' which sounds like the sort of euphemistic legal status the court might grant to Oliver Hardy and can’t be doing Charon’s self-esteem one bit of good. 'Longtime companion' would have been more dignified and validating."

22 August 2006

Bullets Over the Heartland

I can’t seem to get out of this blogging funk! Today, I will steal shamelessly from KathyR and give you a bulleted list:

  • The girls start school on Thursday, the Consort on Monday. I am not sad at all. (Hey, I’ll still see them in the evenings, y’know?)

  • After three weeks visiting the chiroproactor, I still feel some popping in my elbow when I knit. But I’ve got some hip-happenin’ excercises to do three times a day. (Woo-hoo! … ?)

  • I cycle through periods of trying to be good about taking iron pills. This lasts about 5 days (if I’m lucky), then I forget. Soon I’m on the Slippery Slope Express nontop train to Anemia.

  • Could the popping of the elbow be because, try as I might, the exercises are on the same tranportation line as the iron pills and have paid the fare on the Local Bus to Unadjustedville?

  • The project I’m working on desultorily today is so fricking boring that I check my email every 10 minutes. And then I check Sitemeter. But of course, I haven’t written a post, so people aren’t visiting.

  • I am solving this problem not, as one would think, by locking out my Mail program, but by writing a post. (So that people will visit.) (And maybe leave comments.) (And save me from this dull article.)

  • Oh, and hey -- this is my 200th post. (How pathetic it is.)

  • 17 August 2006

    Lots to Say, but Lacking in Motivation

    Sorry folks. I do have all sorts of witty things to say about allowances, etc., but I just finished the third project two days ago, and got the 4th project out the door right now, so I am taking the afternoon off. (Plus, the post I mentioned in passing the other day is dependent on Trixie doing her part, and she hasn't finished it yet!)

    I will show you the picture I've just put on my laptop as the wallpaper/background. I usually change it every 6 months or so, but hadn't changed it in the past 12 months.

    If you click on it to enlarge, you can see Zephyr up at the top, in the foliage.

    15 August 2006

    Child Worker Laws in Iowa

    The beauty of it is, there are none! So we can have our children do this:

    And tell them they have to smile while they are doing it:

    I am busy doing work, with more surprises added in for extra stress-ness. This afternoon, I am going for a vision check-up. They will give me those stinging fuzzy-drops, and then expect me to drive home without crashing into anything. I haven't replied ot people's comments, so I will just do it here: Secret Pal, I wish I could do the Colbert thing, but, seeing as we don't even get Basic Basic cable anymore, I don't get how to do it. I have never seent he Colbert Report, although from what I hear it is better than I thought it would be considering Colbert's "persona" on the Daily Show (which I loved and watched nightly, until we got rid of Basic cable 3 years ago). KW, I figure my duty is done when I name 5 people to do the meme. If you don't play along, no problem. (You're one of those people who broke chain letters, too, aren't you! [Psst, I was, too.]) e, I'll be looking forward to seeing your take on the meme. KathyR, thanks for playing, I've been so busy I haven't been able to tell you so on your site.

    I've got tomorrow's post planned out. Let's see if I can get it together to post it!

    11 August 2006

    Five by Five*

    Proof positive that someone is a relatively new blogger: They get excited when they are tagged for a meme! Thanks to Stegbeetle, I offer you the following:

    10 years ago
    We were in California. Impera was 2, Trixie was 1 week old, the Consort was preparing to defend his dissertation, I was feeling the baby blues and knowing there was no way I’d be able to pack up our home for our move back East at the end of the month. Later this month, Trixie attended her father’s dissertation at the ripe old age of 3 weeks, we hired packer/movers to get us out of Cali, and we embarked on 2 years in New Jersey where the Consort was busy 6.5 days a week and we lived in the most horrid “family ‘housing’” ever.

    5 years ago
    We’d been living in Iowa for 1 year. Trixie was about to start kindergarten (both kids in school all day, I was thrilled!). I was editing a terribly boring book on electricity for agriculture. (I remember because I was finishing it up in the first part of September…)

    1 year ago
    We were spending a week in the North Woods of Minnesota. I was working on one of my ongoing projects, blissfully unaware that on Labor Day I’d be getting a letter that the project was being offshored. Impera was about to start Middle School (moving from a fifth grade class of 25 to a sixth grade class of 200); I was nervous, but I hid it (successfully, I believe).

    5 songs I know all the words to

  • Take the Money and Run, Steve Miller Band
  • Get Your Sh*t Together, Beth Hart
  • Bawitaba, Kid Rock
  • The Girl from Ipanema, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Norman Gimbel
  • Je suis un soir d’été, Jacques Brel

    5 snacks
  • homemade yogurt with fresh fruit and wheat germ
  • rice pudding
  • cold pizza
  • Leonidas manon café Belgian chocolates
  • fruit pie made by the Consort

    5 things I’d do with £100 million ($200 million)
  • Give $1 million to each parent and sibling
  • Put aside enough to allow Impera & Trixie to each go to the college of their choice, debt-free
  • Buy some land & build a green house, off the grid, in New England
  • Take the rest and split it:
    • 50% to environmental groups (e.g., Earth First!, Nature Conservancy)
    • 50% to women’s rights / micro-loan groups

    (Because, as the Consort tells me, money makes you unhappy [the gist of his research], so we might as well get rid of it)

    5 places I'd run away to
  • Canada
  • The Greek Islands (the smaller, the better)
  • Charles de Lint’s Newford
  • Madagascar
  • Oregon

    5 things I'd never wear
  • pointy-toed shoes
  • short tops with low-rise pants
  • thongs
  • fur coat
  • any of those stupid-ass designer creations they make the models wear

    5 favorite TV shows (we don’t watch TV, so I should really call this “5 favorite DVD shows”)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Battlestar Gallactica (new Canadian version)
  • Star Trek: Next Generation
  • Star Trek: Voyager
  • Firefly
  • (...do you see a theme developing, here?)

    5 greatest joys
  • The Consort, Impera, and Trixie
  • Spending time with friends
  • Big weather
  • My vision
  • My hearing

    5 favorite toys
  • my library card
  • my iPod
  • my laptop
  • my knitting needles
  • my blog

    5 people I'm tagging (some of these folks have been tagged already, I think)
    Someone I made a promise to keep anonymous (you know who you are!)
    My Secret Pal (I won’t be able to see the link until the end of August, but still)

    Anyone else wants to join in, please do! (But I know I waited with bated breath until someone finally asked me personally to do one of these!)

    *We're at the point int the Buffy series where Faith comes back and steals Buffy's body. Oooohh...

  • 10 August 2006

    Not To Be Facetious, Or Anything...

    ...but I think Al Qaeda isn't trying to destroy the non-Muslim world, I think they have shifted to trying to destroy the airline industry. For all my bemoaning the fact that US Homeland Security is utterly uncreative and way too reactionary rather than proactive, the "bad guys" are still obsessing over airline incidents.

    Everybody hold good thoughts for KathyF's daughter, who is returning to the US (or, at least, trying to) from Heathrow today.

    08 August 2006

    FOs and WIPs

    I just finished project #2 of 3 (but I got another one in, so really it's become #2 of 4), and I cna't think of anything witty to say, so here are, for my Secret Pal, pics of what I've been up to lately: (damn Blogger and its photo upload crapola.)

    FO #1: Cabled hat

    Model: Impera. My first cable project, done with Lamb's Pride Tiger Lily, yarn and cable needle thanks to my secret pal. Cables are fun, I will definitely incorporate them in projects from now on.

    FO #2: Textured dishcloth

    Model: Trixie. I used the variegated cotton my secret pal sent me, along with some green I had left over from a top I made for Impera last spring (and that she no longer can wear because sh'e grown TOO DAMN FAST). "Who is this for?" Impera asked me as I was making it. "I don't know, I was thinking maybe making sets for christmas gifts, but your father isn't sure that's a good idea." "Maybe you can just give it to US!" suggested Trixie.

    WIP #1: Socks for Impera

    Model: Impera. Made of Sockotta sock yarn (I don't like cotton as much as wool for socks, I'm finding).

    WIP #2: Jaywalker socks for me

    Model: Trixie. Opal Grab bag sock yarn. I don't think you can see the Jaywalker pattern very well through the red giraffe pattern of the yarn (BTW, I love the red giraffe!). I'll show a better pic when they become a FO.

    What I'd rather be working on right now: this or this. I've got the yarn and patterns. I just have to complete those two pairs of socks first.

    07 August 2006

    Parenting, Lesson 108

    A parent sees her role change as her child grows. Responsibility shifts as the child matures, until that point (probably around age 18) at which the child can take care of herself adequately.

    There will, of course, be periods of resistance to the new independence—both from the parent, who may feel that she is becoming less important to the growing child, and from the child, who recognizes that things can be a heck of a lot easier if someone else was in charge of the nitty gritty details.

    But all in all, a parent should feel pride as the child confidently accepts more responsibility for herself.

    This will be difficult in certain situations. For example, if a child feels ill during the night and can get herself to the toilet before vomiting (twice!), and doesn’t think it necessary to alert a parent because the child in question had things under control (“Well, you were sleeping, and I knew what I needed to do”).

    Yay Impera. (I still feel a bit conflicted about it, though. *Sigh*)

    04 August 2006

    I ♥ My Chiropractor

    I’ve loved chiropractors since I was a teen, when, wracked by migraines, the chiropractor suggested resting in a darkened room and eating mashed potatoes (my favorite comfort food of all time!).

    I love that our health insurance covers chiropractic visits, and, in the past 6 years, I have needed a two or three pretty serious adjustment series. And this is not your father’s chiropractic, either. There’s no more yanking of the head, tugging of the limbs, or cracking of the back. It’s all gentle presses and soft nudges. At first I didn't think it would do any good (you know something’s adjusted when you hear “crrrrAAAAACKKKKK”), but hey, the pain went away and motion returned.

    The practice I visit includes heat therapy, ultrasound, massage, and electrical current (really, it’s not bad, and this is the one instance in which a masochist like me can still get the “if it hurts it must be helping” thing out of my system) in the treatment.

    For about two weeks now, knitting and typing have been bugging me; I’d feel a “pop” every time I’d knit a stitch or moved the mouse around, and there would be intermittent numbness. When I went for an appointment on Wednesday, the receptionist said, You haven’t been here since March last year!” My chiro said “You haven’t had an x-ray since 2001!”

    “Uh oh” I thought, “Are they gonna take advantage of that?” I got the x-rays taken, I got an adjustment and some ultrasound, and made a follow-up appointment for this morning.

    When I entered the examination room today, my x-rays were already up on the light board, and I braced myself for a description of terrible damage to my spine. I prepared to argue that of course things would be out of whack: I was feeling pain, and therefore we couldn’t just accept these x-rays as proof that I needed several months of therapy.

    “Your x-rays look pretty good.”

    “They do?”

    “Sure. There’s a bit of incorrect bending here, and a small bone spur there, but nowhere near the kind of damage that you should be worried about.”


    “Nope. Your spine is in pretty good shape, all things considered.”

    Yay for my chiropractor. She isn’t out to gouge me. She told the truth, and didn’t scare a patient into getting too much work done. I still have to follow up with several visits for the shoulder/elbow thing, but hey, who wouldn’t want a bit of massage a couple times a week for 2-3 weeks?

    I ♥ you Dr. P., and I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

    03 August 2006


    My Secret Pal sent two links that she thought I’d be interested in. The first is a Mason-Dixon dishcloth swap. (This reminds me that I ought to post pictures of my summer finished objects so far. However, this will not happen today for reasons which will become clear soon.) I don’t know if I’ll get my act together for the deadline (also, I’ve got plans [I bought yarn for two projects, knowing I was in the middle of two projects. This is not good. This is knitter-blogger behavior, and I am not a knitter-blogger; I am a blogger who happens to knit. Big difference.]).

    She also sent a link to a sock war. This also looks like fun, and the organizers have a sense of humor (as worthy in knitters as it is in vintners). But, Secret Pal, let me let you in on the history of me and sock knitting. Three years ago, I thought, “I should learn how to knit socks, just in case.” (In case what? Well most times, I brush it off and say I don’t know, but a tiny part of me, the tiny part that insisted I get a Jeep after I saw Red Dawn (and that part won, BTW, I did own a Jeep my Senior year of high school), says, You know why!). I went to a yarn shop, and they sold me the Patons sock booklet. I went home and made 4 pairs of socks out of yarn I had at home (i.e., not sock yarn); I started in September with a pair for Trixie, then one for Impera, then I knit like a madwoman in the office to get a pair done for the Consort for Solstice (we exchange hand-made gifts). I finished my pari sometime in February after that. Everyone loved their socks, but within 6 weeks, they had holes in them (because 1: the socks weren’t made from sock yarn, and 2: they wore them around the house without slippers, the imps). I took a break from socks for two and a half years, at which point I finished a second pair I had started for Trixie, then knit myself a lacy pair of socks (with sock yarn! On size 1 needles!). Which you have all seen. And which took me, what, 4 months to make? This is all a long preamble to say that if I joined the sock war, I’d be dead before I got to the heel of the first sock. Figuratively; you know, in the game. (And those two projects I’m in the middle of? Two pairs of socks. Yup.) But, maybe one day, if they do another round…

    And now, readers, I will let you in on a little secret: I am not the neatest person in the world.

    Well, I’m not the messiest, either: that would be my mother-in-law (she knows it, we know it, everybody knows it), and, tied for second, the-Consort-Impera-and-Trixie. So I try my best, I really do. But when I get overwhelmed with project deadlines, my desk hypothetically looks like this:

    Just hypothetically, you understand. Which is bad because then the neat-freak part of me (yes, every perfectionist has one of these, don’t doubt me) says, “I can’t concentrate on the project at hand! I’d be much more productive if we took a couple of hours off right now and cleaned this pigsty up!” (Because little does my neat-freak part know, but it is really multi-personality disordered, and that’s just its procrastinator personality talking.)

    And so that’s why I won’t be posting pictures of my finished objects today. (Because my guilt-laden part already wasted time creating an entertaining blog post for my readership today.) It’s potluck night, so I think by this evening all my different parts are going to want a drink or two, and I will make the Consort drive us home.

    02 August 2006

    Things I’ve Learned On the Current Project

  • Section 203(b)(5) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act provides permanent residency status for immigrants who invest $1 million in the US economy.

  • In France, employers using illegal immigrants can be penalized up to 1,000 times the minimum wage (it’s not clear if they mean this in a monthly or a yearly sum; I’m querying this). In the US, the maximum fine is $10,000 (the paper implies this is much lower than the French penalty).

  • Germany spends about five times more per worker than the US to prevent the employment of illegal foreign workers.

  • Germany has about 1,500 labor-market inspectors for a labor market with about 40 million workers. In 1994, the US had 245 INS worksite inspectors and 900 Dept. of Labor inspectors for about 130 million workers.

  • In France and Germany, inspectors can inspect any site without prior notification. In the US they must give three days prior notice.

    Sign across Uncle Sam's forehead: "For Sale to the Highest Bidder".