Thursday, October 30, 2003

You guys are into mittens! I guess it's that time of year. I don't want to start a knit-along (mitt-along?), but I made a little button for y'all. If, like me, you're knittin' a mitten, feel free to grab it and stick it on your blog. Mwah!

save to yr own server, please!

p.s. I'm finally blogging from home again! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I've been reading good things about the new Stitch 'n Bitch book on people's blogs. I can't just go to a bookstore and look at a copy, so I was very excited to find that I could look at some of the pages here!

But what do you think, avengers? How does and become 'n? Shouldn't it be 'n'?

Well, the wool I thought was worsted weight isn't, so the mittens aren't as quick as I'd hoped they would be. (I'll never get that yarn-weight thing right. Why don't the yarn companies print the weight on the label?) But I'm halfway up the hand of the first mitten, and I'm loving it. I'm in love with these mittens. I just hope they'll fit the person I plan to give them to. They'll be too small for me, which should be perfect. (Jerry Seinfeld would never date me; I've got man hands.) For the next pair, though, I'm going to use a thicker yarn. Must. Knit. Faster. It's almost November! And you know what they say: time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana. ::groan:: As much as I want to finish the two pairs of socks that I'm working on, they're both for me, so they can wait. First, I need to make a few pairs of mitts and a surprise gift that I can't talk about yet. Plus I'd like to knit some miniature things for tree ornaments. Tiny raglans, maybe. That would be cute, wouldn't it? A little sweater to hang on the tree. And it would be a great way to use up self-striping sock yarn leftovers. (Although I may be fooling myself, thinking that they'd be fast because they're small.) (But I think they'd be fast.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Because starting is so much more exciting than finishing, I cast on for a mitten last night! Tweedy brown and light green, worsted-weight wool. Faster than socks. Vrooom!

Monday, October 27, 2003

The death of Soong Mei-ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek) last week provides a great opportunity to explore media bias and cultural/political differences. Obituaries around the world describe her and her life differently, and it's worth doing a search in Google news to read some of them.

Here's a benign snippet from Canada's National Post (Madame with charm transformed China):

Beautiful, articulate and charismatic, speaking better English than Chinese, with a soft southern accent picked up during her years as a schoolgirl in Georgia, Madame Chiang was both a celebrity and a diplomat.

She served as the grand dame of Chinese Nationalist politics and repeatedly barnstormed across the United States, raising funds and support for her husband and his Chinese Nationalists, first against the Japanese in the Second World War and later, unsuccessfully, against China's communists.
(Much further down, the story acknowledges that "she had a ruthless side.") For the exercise in contrast, an excerpt from today's editorial in the Taipei Times, entitled So long and good riddance:
Many obiturists have remarked that she was the most famous Chinese woman of the 20th century. What hasn't been said is that she was also perhaps the most evil woman to wield any kind of power during that bleak 100 years and that her influence on almost anything she touched was corrupting and malign....

Soong valued only money and power, tried to secure Taiwan as a fiefdom for her awful family and left in a huff when she failed. The only good thing she ever did for Taiwan was to leave it. Now this evil and corrupt woman is where she belongs -- in Hell. The world is a cleaner, better place for that.
And that, folks, is the other side of the story.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Just in time for Halloween, the local convenience stores have stocked up on pumpkin-flavoured Pocky! But I think I'll pass...

The other day, my friend Danny was wondering how to get me to come out dancing all night with him and his friends. (I'm 31! At midnight I start yawning!) I said, "Find me glow-in-the-dark yarn! I'll come out with you, as long as I can sit in a corner and knit." Now I see that there is (almost) such a thing! Maggi posted a link to NiteLite glow-in-the-dark thread! I could hold a strand of this stuff together with wool and knit safety mittens! Cooool.

I knitted like mad on my mini-ringel sock over the weekend, and now I'm in the home stretch: about two inches to go before starting toe decreases. I love how the colours are coming out. The heel flap turned out very well (stripes in double thickness).

You'll all be happy to know that Billy and I are finally taking full advantage of our rooftop these days. The weather is really pleasant now: usually clear and sunny, around 20 to 25 degrees, and often breezy. We have a little hibachi barbecue, and we barbecued various things and ate them outside on Friday, Saturday (with friends over), and Sunday. It's great. And so sudden: Bill's birthday (October 15) was the first day in months that we didn't turn on the air conditioner. Now we have to put on sweaters to sit outside at night. What a crazy place this is. I am so gonna whip up a scarf after this sock.

I keep forgetting to do this: click here to see the colours of the Koigu that Rachael sent; click here (and scroll down to colour 28) to see the crazy, hairy yarn that Em sent.

Friday, October 24, 2003

I went on a drive today down the California coast from Oakland! Thanks to Rachael, that is. (You can, too; just click here.)

I'm not a ripper-outer. Unless I make a serious knitting error, I will keep going. Last night, however, I had no choice. "When a good time turns around, you must RIP it," I said to myself. "You will never live it down unless you RIP it."

See, I'd made a mess of my mini-ringel's short-row heel. Knit, wrap, purl, wrap, repeat: no problem. In the other direction, however, I was all like "What wraps?"* I couldn't figure out how to pick up the damn things. Plus I remembered why I prefer heel flaps: I've got big ol' feet. I've done a couple of short-row heels, and they're shallow. I knit an entire toe-up sock at the Crotch and then realized it fit like a sausage casing. So. I ripped the mini-ringel's heel back. And now I'm going to flap it. Flap it good.

(Weird confession-ish thing: I had a anxiety-filled dream last night that I was caught in possession of a porn video -- starring Pamela Anderson -- at my office! What is THAT about?!)

* Sorry -- I have a special fondness for such patterns: "She was all, 'Dude, seriously,' and I was like, 'No way!'"

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Random thought: I think I inhale too many liquid-paper fumes at work. Seriously. My brain has been in a very low gear for a solid week now. I'm becoming an idiot savant, sans savant. Maybe I should knit up a quick cotton hanky in case I start to drool. When I'm awake, I mean.

I pulled out my chunky top-down raglan last night and started a sleeve. Perhaps it's because I'm knitting a sock on dainty toothpicks, but I just couldn't get into the chunky sweater-knitting. I caught myself thinking about ripping out the whole thing and realized that it's time to put all that chunkiness away for a while. I'm certainly not going to force myself to knit something when there are ten other things waiting on my to-knit list. I should really think about Xmas gifts anyway, shouldn't I? (My Grade 2 teacher told us never to "take Christ out of Christmas" by writing Xmas. Why do I remember that but forget to bring a snack to work? Sheesh.)

Hey, did you know that Margaret Cho has a blog?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Just tidbits today.

Muscleman put in charge of world's fifth-largest economy (from the ever-clever Onion, via Jstrizzy)

A history of the other good book (a review of The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester)

Boys in the hood (Zoe Williams on school uniforms)

The following is by far the best newspaper lead I've read in a long time: "Forcing catering workers at the APEC summit in Bangkok to submit to rectal swabs to ensure they were disease-free was 'over the top,' a Thai politician said today." (If you simply must read the whole story after that, be my guest.)

I haven't spent much time knitting this week, and it's all been on the mini-ringel sock, which is looking awesome, by the way. It'll take me ages on my little toothpick needles (and then I have to make another one!), but I'm totally enjoying the colours of those pretty little stripes. Have patience, young Jedi.

The birthday yarn fairy scores a hat trick! The divine Ms. Em over at Everybody Loves Saturday Night saw fit to send two balls of soft, hairy, sparkly, and highly flammable yarn my way. A soft, glamorous, sparkly blue-and-silver scarf is bound to result. (I've just come up with the title for my knitting autobiography: Sensible Socks and Sparkly Scarves.) Thanks, Em!

Recently spotted T-shirts:
2. Be Enjoy!

Oh, and am I the only one who doesn't get why spending 40-odd days in a glass box is such a big deal? (There was a photo of David Blaine on the front page of yesterday's China Post, with the straightforward header "Hungry and smelly.")

Wednesdays. Who needs 'em, I say.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Dear fellow grammar avengers,

Yet another piece on language, allowing me to skirt yet another day's worth of proper blogging:

Bemoaning the death of diversity

Regular knitting programming will resume shortly.


p.s. I trust extra points will be awarded for my casual use of "skirt" as a verb. What a great word! The image of a skirt shifting around one's legs without actually confronting them with a "Hey, legs! Hey, you there!"

Monday, October 20, 2003

Dear fellow grammar avengers,

There is evidence in today's Guardian that correct language use remains a worthwhile cause. I am pleased to direct you to these two items:

Not I. It's me

Bad language

Let us all raise our red pens and blue pencils in solidarity. Cheers!


Sunday, October 19, 2003

I'm about to write about two wildly different things...

1. I'm stressed. I may even go so far as to say I'm freaking out. Let's see -- how far back should I go? When Bill and I came to Taiwan, we were going to stay for a year and a half, and I was going to start my M.A. in the fall of 2003. In January 2003, we decided to stay longer, and my school plan was shifted a year. This is still the plan: to start grad school in September 2004. Although in the back of my mind I've always considered applying to all kinds of big and fancy schools, the default plan has been to do the M.A. in Media Studies at the U. of Western Ontario. Having lived in Taipei for about twenty months, I miss all kinds of familiar things about home, but now I'm not sure that I'm necessarily ready to go back to Canada. I still like the idea of living in another country (an English-speaking one, please). So I'm thinking of applying to schools in the U.S. and maybe the U.K. Fine, so far so good. It's only October, lots of time, the deadline at Western is February 1. So I start doing a little research on the Internet about grad programs in the States, and there are several that look really interesting. Really interesting. But applicants must submit scores from something called the GRE. Hmm, what's that? It's a big test that Canadians never need to worry about unless they want to, say, go to school in the States. And the more I read about it, I realize that I may be too late. I'll try to figure it out for sure tomorrow, but for now -- because it's the weekend -- I'm freaking out and beating myself up for being such a procrastinator. When we decided at the beginning of this year to stay in Taipei, the fall 2004 semester seemed soooo far away. I've had so much time to prepare to apply for school, and I've done nothing. And now it's October 2003. Is it possible that I missed the boat?

2. Yesterday I knit about four inches of a sock with my lovely Atlantis mini-ringel. I was flying along on 3 mm needles, around and around in stocking stitch, because I wanted something fast and mindless. Today I had to accept the fact that those needles were too big and the sock would be too loosey-goosey, so I started over with 2.5 mm using the pattern for Michelle's Basic Socks. And I'm so glad! Twisting the purl stitches took some getting used to, but the cuff is looking excellent. So thanks, loosey-goosey cuff, for providing the fast and mindless knitting that I needed yesterday. Your services are no longer required.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Mooky says hi!


I took this photo when I was in Montreal last month. The flash from the crap disposable camera I used seems to have blown out my dear kitty's pupils. I can assure you that he does indeed have pupils. Please take a moment to admire his dainty pose. (Where was his other front paw? I have no idea.)

I finished Bill's birthday socks. Today I started a new sock, with the lovely mini-ringel (colour 5216: Atlantis) that Cari sent.

The birthday yarn fairy struck again! First it was sweater-wrestler extraordinaire Cari, and then mama's girl Rachael, who was determined to pop my Koigu cherry. I'm the luckiest little knitter in the world. Are there any free sock patterns out there that anyone would recommend particularly for some luscious Koigu PPM?

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

A few days ago in a photo showing her gorgeous Rosedale sleeves, the lovely and talented Ms. Emdash sported a classic W.W.J.J.D. (What Would Joan Jett Do?) T-shirt. As much as I love Ms. Jett -- thanks for the memories, Joan: singing "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" at the top of my lungs in the schoolyard, circa Grade 5 -- I really must admit that, in real life, I've always been more of a W.W.B.C.D. (What Would Betty Cooper Do?) kind of a gal.

Birthday report: This is the ninth year that Billy and I have celebrated our birthdays together, and we've developed a tradition. Actually, a tradition has developed organically; it was unavoidable, really. My birthday is October 14. We go out to celebrate it and invariably drink a wee bit too much. Poor Bill -- his birthday is October 15. We are hungover from celebrating my birthday and spend the day in a slow-motion fog. At least now we expect this. This year, I think we handled it very well.

(a) My birthday. After writing my birthday blog post, I went home to get dressed up and discovered a parcel from New York in my mailbox: two yummy balls of Regia mini-ringel sock yarn from Cari! I'm stoked, and she rocks! After fondling my new yarn for a minute, I put on a frock, and Bill and I headed out to meet a couple of friends for dinner at our usual after-work bar. Actually, Bill and I went a little early and took a deck of cards, and he proceeded to kick my butt shamelessly in a few hands of rummy 500. On my birthday, no less! Anyway, we had a fun time and many pints of beer over the next few hours. Between the after-work bar and the gay bar up the street -- where "Sex and the City" played on a big screen and three bottles of birthday champagne were somehow consumed -- we bought a disposable camera. If there is a photo on there that turns out not to be disgraceful, I may share. At a certain point, I realized I was not going to be going to work the next morning...

(b) Bill's birthday. We slept in. I got up at ten to do the dishes and make coffee for the birthday boy. He continued to snore. I called in sick to work and then had coffee and knit for an hour or so. Ahh. Many thoughts along the lines of "This is the life!" Learned that the movie channels we get actually play good movies during the day when I'm usually at work. Continued to knit for much of the day (but still didn't finish Bill's so-called birthday sock -- oops). Eventually got dressed. We ended up going out to a nice Thai restaurant for an excellent dinner. After that, we came home, stared blankly at the TV for a while, and then went to sleep. All in all, it was a really good couple of days.

Now, back to reality. Or whatever. (For the most part, I don't feel like my life in Taipei is any kind of reality.)

There's been talk over at Rachael's glass house about strange and excellent names. I think everyone who likes to read -- and especially those who write -- keeps an eye out for exceptionally good names. If it's unusual names you're looking for, just come to a non-English-speaking country where people choose their own English names when in high school or college. There are grown women here named Pony, Kitten, Happy, Fancy, and Unique. There are men named Adonis, Apollo, Neo, King, and Ironside. Do you see a pattern? Anything at all? Oh, and I forgot to mention this last week when I saw it: there's a local restaurant called Radiant World Hollywood Cola Planet Cafe. Hee!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

chocolate! my favourite!
Happy birthday to meee! I'm 31 today! Wheee!

So I'm taking the day off. I finally came to the Internet cafe to check my e-mail. It seems that there's a piece in the current (post-Daryl) Vogue Knitting about knitblogs. As if this isn't cool enough, I'm told that brainylady is mentioned (and is in some very good company indeed). What an excellent birthday present! I've e-mailed my mom to ask her to pick up a copy for me.

And since it is better to give than to receive -- or at least equally good -- I give you my new knitting gallery. It's simple. It's sleek. It takes up way less space.

I'm about to turn the heel of Billy's second birthday sock. His birthday is tomorrow. Luckily he's a patient man. I finished the body of my chunky red-and-milky-coffee pullover, too. Woo! I'm on fire!

Have a great day, everybody!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Reason 87 for Peeing your Pants at the Office:
The Surrealist Compliment Generator (link via Amy Knits)

My favourites so far:
5. Oh! how you inflict me with wounds of paranoia and desire.
4. Seven donkeys and a concubine cannot compare with the tarnished sheen left in your path of combustion.
3. Your eyes are much like milky pools of pantyhose.
2. May clinging breasts always come to your aid in the kitchen.
...and the ultimate Surrealist compliment:
1. Ceci n'est pas un compliment.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

OK, that's it. It's been four months since we moved to our rooftop apartment and we still don't have an Internet connection at home. It's driving me crazy! I miss all kinds of things on the weekends! I'm going to tell Bill to take care of that right away... ;) So, what popped up this weekend? A gallery of KniTattoos, curated by the Noro-knitting wonder, Rachael. It was only a matter of time. Further proof that knitters rock, I guess. I'm planning to get a digital camera sometime this month (birthday present to self), so maybe I'll send in a few tat shots.

Speaking of tattoos, they're not so common here. I was actually a bit stunned by the sea of ink I encountered in Vancouver on my recent visit. Bloody tattoos everywhere! Ah, kids these days... Anyway, tattoos are still somewhat linked to criminal activity in Chinese culture, or, at the very least, "badness." Mine are covered during the week, because I don't show them at work, but I often wear tank tops or sleeveless T-shirts on the weekends. I'm used to stares (I got my nose pierced in 1989 and my first visible tattoo in 1991), but it's different here. In Canada, people don't bother to stare much anymore, but if they do it's usually with what's-your-tattoo curiosity. They actually look at the tattoos themselves, and I even get compliments from strangers. In Taipei, people stare with clear disapproval or apprehension -- a what's-your-problem curiosity. Of course, as a white woman, and a tall one at that, I'm stared at here regardless of whether I show skin. But it's an odd feeling to have an elderly woman frown at me and shake her head. I'm a harmless vegetarian knitter, for pete's sake!* Anyway, I was in my boss's office one day last week talking to him and his wife. She noticed the small tattoo on my ankle and we started talking about tattoos. I showed her one of my arms, and she said, "But you look so conservative! We think you're decent!" So she and I had a conversation about fashion and contradiction. Cultural exchange, baby.

Brainylady's tattoo advice: By all means, get one if you want one, but think long and hard before getting words, because for the rest of your life you'll have to hear people saying those words out loud and then asking, "What does that mean?"

I've almost finished the body of my chunky top-down pullover. It has become a simple two-colour sweater: a slightly dark red, and a slightly dull brown. I was really looking at the brown, to come up with the right description for you. Coffee? Not quite. Chocolate? Too light. Then I saw it. I use cream in my coffee. In a case of total emergency, I'll use milk. Cream turns one's coffee into a, well, creamy coffee colour. Milk turns it into a grayish brownish colour. That's the colour. I don't really know why I chose it, but it grabbed me when I went to the yarn store on the weekend. The yoke of my sweater is all red; then there is a wide brown stripe, a small red stripe, a slightly wider brown stripe, and then red ribbing for a few inches. I think I'll use a tried-and-true mathematical formula for the arm striping so it looks random but somehow right. Despite my wacky colour sense, this will be a cosy sweater; the yarn is wool/acrylic, thick, and soft. If it's ugly I'll just wear it at home.

One of my coworkers has been away on maternity leave for two months. (Only two months! But that's another story.) Last night I dreamt that I was talking to her outside on a quiet street in the dark. She told me that her baby boy's name is Kai-shui, and that her labour was terrible and lasted 24 hours. In the dream, her English was perfect. (In reality, her spoken English is so-so, and we barely even speak, so she certainly wouldn't share labour details with me.) When I got to work this morning, she was here. Huh.

* I've always said that I should learn the following phrase in Mandarin: "Please take a photograph, as the image will last for a longer period of time." Actually, if I notice someone staring, I try to catch their eye and smile. That usually scares the crap out them. Heh heh heh...

Thursday, October 09, 2003

It's Thursday afternoon, but sort of like Friday, because it's a long weekend in Taiwan. Tomorrow is Double Ten Day (tenth day of the tenth month), the national day of the Republic of China. Here is a little info on the background of the holiday. We were thinking of going to a city in the south for the weekend, but we left the planning too late. Oh well. Maybe we'll make it to the local parade this year. Last year we went to see it at around ten in the morning only to find out that it had started around 6:30 a.m. In the bad old days, Double Ten Day was a much bigger, louder celebration here, with a full-scale military parade (tanks, guns, etc.). In 2000, the government changed, and Chiang Kai-shek is mostly regarded as the brutal dictator that he was. The generalissimo's face is still on most of the island's coins, though; the beloved Dr. Sun Yat-sen is on the most common note: the hundred-dollar bill.

The sweater I've begun is a top-down raglan, using the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan Sweater pattern. I've started it in a bulky red yarn, but I don't have enough red for the whole thing, and for some reason that particular shade is no longer available at the shop where I bought it. I've decided this is an opportunity for creativity! I'm just going to choose some other colours that I like and throw them in here and there. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm hoping it won't take me too long (at 3.5 st./inch, it shouldn't). I wasted a bit of time while working on it last night, sadly; I was watching TV and knitting around and around, and then realized, d'oh! I'd been increasing before and after every marker for four straight rounds. Oops. So if I can remember to increase only every second round, I should be able to fly through it. In any case, I won't need a sweater for a month or so. (I wish I did. I love autumn, and I miss it.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Bill and I want to have two cats and a dog when we move back to Canada. Reading this column by Emma Tom makes me even more sure of it.

[My dog] Muriel is very helpful with guests. If these are guests who don't like dogs, Muriel knows the obliging thing to do is wildly hump their legs or their children. If these are guests who do like dogs, Muriel is the perfect entertainer. She runs maniacally to and from the back yard carrying camphor laurel twigs, which she then chews, swallows, throws up, then eats again.
So many hosts forget the camphor laurel twig trick when entertaining.
Read the column, and then go and snuggle with your pet(s). I wish I could. (Marlo, give Mooky a big loving head-butt for me!)

I cast on for a sweater last night! Stay tuned...

The Governator, eh? Well, at least Arnold is health conscious: "Milk are for babies. When you get older you drink beer." Hmm. Good luck, California.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Finally! Gimme an R-O-C-K-A-M-I!

rockami on the roof

Here it is: my ChicKami, knitted up on 5 mm needles using cotton-acrylic Japanese yarn bought for a song on the streets of Taipei. Sadly, a photo of black knitting is unable to convey the loveliness of each little stitch, but you can see the overall shape. I love this pattern, though I'm not in love with the yarn. I'm going to make another one soon, though. I love it that much. In fact, my RocKami makes me want to dance!

I've changed and simplified my About Me page (same 50 Things as before, though). I'll be changing the photo there periodically, so come back and check it out from time to time.

happy birthday, mom!

Happy birthday, Mom! I wish I wasn't a zillion kilometers away today and that I could share your chocolate cake with you! xo

I actually did cast on for Billy's second sock last night. I feel like a knitting star. My sweetheart will have a whole pair of socks in time for his birthday next week.

While throwing some metal in Peru recently, Alanis Morrissette shouted, "Thank you Brazil!" Poor dear.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

I've put aside my lace panel sock for the time being. I like how it looks, and I will go back to it soon (really!). My friend Danny came over on Friday night and I showed it to him, and he said, "You knitted that? No, you didn't!" I beamed. Anyway, because I'm still a little sock-crazy but was wanting something quicker, I'm knitting a pair for Bill using Patons Astra. It's acrylic, but it makes a soft and luscious fabric (unlike Bernat Hot Sox, which is acrylic and feels acrylic, and has that sparkly acrylic look, too). I finished Bill's first sock last night. It's "Charcoal Mix" with a "Medium Gray" cuff, heel, and toe, in 3-by-1 ribbing. Anyway, when it was finished, ends woven in and everything, Bill put it on and said, "This is the first sock I've put on in years that fits perfectly!" Ah, a knitted sock is a beautiful thing. I promise I'll cast on for the second one tonight... (I'm using the Super Simple Knitwit Sock Pattern. I have to tell you: I prefer a top-down sock.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Last night, I indulged in a fabulous Taiwan treat. Chicken testicle soup and a can of asparagus juice? No, even better! Paying somebody to wash my hair. Maybe this is done at home, too, but it would seem ridiculously luxurious to me. In Taipei, you can go to any hole-in-the-wall salon ("hole in the wall" being the most popular local design theme) for a wash and a head massage. For the equivalent of six Canadian dollars, I had the best hair-washing experience of my life, and it lasted nearly half an hour. First of all, I sat in the chair the whole time. This is the way it should be done. The hairdresser had a squeeze-bottle of shampoo; she lathered me up and proceeded to massage my scalp and neck and manhandle my head for twenty minutes. There was none of the usual head-back-in-the-sink, painful-neck business. Sitting upright. It's the only way. Of course, she rinsed me in the sink, but -- and I, a former student of the follicular arts, was astounded by the brilliance of this -- she had a plastic thing in the sink on which I could rest my head! Salon sinks are usually so uncomfortable because the weight of your head puts so much strain on your neck, which is cradled in its hard sink-crotch. Nor did she skimp on the rinse. It was a good five minutes. Fingernails were involved, but in a good way. My head was then wrapped in two towels, and I was led back to the chair. And as if I didn't already want to marry her, the hairdresser massaged my neck and squeezed my head all over to coax the water out of my hair. She wanted to blow-dry it, too, but I'm not a blow-dry kind of gal. For this experience, she charged six Canadian dollars and got a two-dollar tip. And she'll be seeing me again. I think I can justify a monthly wash, don't you?

I loved Barbies when I was a kid. I spent hours and hours dressing and undressing my Barbies, adding makeup to their plastic faces with felt pens, piercing their ears with straight pins, and so on. But I tell you, if I ever have a kid who wants to play with dolls, I'm not getting him or her a Barbie. I'm getting a nice, modest, flat-chested Razanne!

While Barbie has a curvaceous figure, Razanne was designed with the body of a preteen. The doll comes in three types: fair-skinned blonde, olive-skinned with black hair, or black skin and black hair.
Her aspirations are those of a modern Muslim woman. On the drawing board for future dolls are Dr Razanne and possibly even astronaut Razanne. There's also Muslim Girl Scout Razanne, complete with a cassette recording of the Muslim Scout's oath.

Modest Muslim doll has pious appeal
I'm just a little concerned that Razanne may not get along well with Feral Cheryl.

Knitting: I just have the lace panel sock on the go these days, but I'm itching to start a sweater, so to speak.