Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The YouTube Video

I want to make would be of me hunched in front of a YouTube video of the hands of a lady crocheting. And I'd be casting on my first stitches--got it--pausing and restarting the video just a couple of times while I catch up. And then there would be the moment where the crocheting lady turns the needle back towards the stitches, does a kind of lickety-split ally-oop abracadabra "Slip it back through the humunuh zumunuh like so!" And then the moment of me, with my cheerful pink yarn and crochet hook, saying "Fuck." And clicking the play arrow again. And again. And then this would be spliced together with all the other videos of me watching all the other crocheting ladies on YouTube you can see if you type in the words "learn to crochet"--all the other ladies who speak slowly and clearly, this is the way we do it, following along nicely nicely until they get to the presto-magic-oh-sorry-didn't-you-catch-that part where they obscure from view the mysterious humunuh zumunuh that is keeping me on the WRONG SIDE OF THE CROCHET CONSPIRACY. In the background you might see my kids standing in the doorway, alarmed.

Would you watch that video and email it to your friends? Would you please teach me how to crochet? There is something seriously perverted about trying to learn an ancient womanly handicraft off of YouTube. May I should just try learning how to make a bong from a Pringles can instead. Besides--what do I want to crochet anyways? A tea cosy? Hacky sacks? A yarmulke?

Meanwhile, I wanted to mention the Wondertime columns here and also here. And to thank you for saying all those nice things about the plain-Janeness of this blog--those nice things that I trolled for so shamelessly. Oh this old blog? Really? You don't think it makes me look a little pear-shaped? A little frowsy? Thank you.


  1. I taught myself to knit a couple of years ago and was so, so, so helped by my local S&B group in Richmond, VA.

    There is a cool group of ladies who meet in Brookline, MA who have a neat website . I love this website for the amazing ideas and talent it showcases. Most women in my S&B group would fall over themselves to convert- I mean teach- you to be a knitter/crocheter. If unsure-- Latte bribes always help! I adore the group of intelligent and creative women that I knit with almost every Tuesday.

    Good luck!

  2. About "Resolute": I have occasionally removed a shard of eggshell from the eggy grossness, but I will say this: there always seems to be more of it that I didn't get, because later I'm eating a muffin and there's that tiny weird brittle crunch.

    I will also say this: I don't think I've ever thrown out the egg because of a shard I couldn't get out. Does that sound really good, maybe a little metaphorical? Good, because I'm going to leave it there while it still sounds deep, before it starts sounding like actually maybe it WOULD be a good idea to throw out the egg.

    And I laughed very hard at this blog entry, especially the part where you are learning the ancient womanly art and then say the modern bad word.

  3. I LOVE that I can come here and "hear" you drop the F bomb. I myself use a very emphatic DAMMIT when I drop a stitch. You need to be in a room with someone to get the humenah zumenah part. While drinking a glass of red wine, because it's so easy you need to relax and let it happen. It seriously helps.

    I also wanted to tell you that your Wondertime column this week shook me to my core. Thank you for being the best. writer. ever. And thank you for being such a great, brave mom, raising such amazing kids. They are so lucky. And when they're teenagers, you can wave all these comments in their faces to prove it!

  4. Love the column. Love the blog. Still getting error messages at Wondertime. I may just give up. BUT, your column on patience put tears in my eyes. I regret my own impatience so often and find myself obsessing over it also. The nice thing is, and I tell myself this often, time is so kind to us. If you're mostly on the right side of mommyhood, your kids are going to remember that. And then sometimes they'll laugh together as my sister and I do about each having received one slotted spoon spanking in our childhood from mom(and how we each later - on separate occasions, had to go look at the marks it left on our behinds). It will blur with time and all that will be left are the good times - and a few bad ones to poke fun at you about.

    Now - about crocheting. No help here. I manage to sew buttons on and stitch seams on injured stuffed animals - that's about it. But I do get the frustration of how easy they make it look. It's like that Bob guy that paints on PBS. Just put a happy little tree over here...yeah right.

  5. I thought knitting looked fun, but I too was perplexed by what exactly I thought I was going to make. By the way, LOVED this weeks entry over at Wondertime!! It was like you snuck into my brain and saw the stupid regrettable crap I constantly can't stop myself from doing. Don't we suck?! Well, in all fairness, we don't suck ALL the time. There is a really big part of us that loves our kids so much that we would break our own noses if it meant they wouldn't have that really awful cough. Or something less violent. Anyway, yay!

  6. see you type my all time favorite word....made my day.

    Perhaps if you do the Pringle project first...then move on to the crochet? At least that way if you miss a stitch...well, you might not care...or even notice.

  7. Anonymous11:58 PM

    OMG, that was me almost a year ago, only it was knitting videos. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 5, but I never learned how to knit (never knew anyone personally to teach me). I soooo feel your pain. I wish you were nearby, I'd teach you. In fact, my friend is coming over Saturday night to learn from me. Not that I know a thing about teaching, but whatever. Wanna join us? Like traveling from wherever you are to AZ would be more efficient than finding a local group. Ha-ha. (Seriously, find a yarn store in your area. They will have classes, but if you hang out a bit a lot of times nice people are willing to show you things for free. Ask me how I know. :) )

  8. You are awesome, as always. We just had a learn to knit/crochet party with my SAI (music fraternity) alum group last month, too bad we aren't closer and I could have invited you to it!

  9. Anonymous8:13 AM

    Oh Wondertime. I tried and tried to post a comment, to no avail. Then I look here and Melanie beat me to it! She said what I wanted to say: namely, that in the end your kids will remember that even when you didn't get it right, you apologized and hugged them. In the end, that's the most important thing.

    Good luck with the knitting. I'm afriad I couldn't tell the difference between a drop stitch and a purl (am I getting these terms right? I may be making them up).


  10. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Ooo, I meant crochet, not knitting. I have a friend who gets mad when I get it wrong. I am truly no help at all.

  11. Anonymous8:34 AM

    A woman talented enough to make perfect tah-tahs from paper mache can definate master the skill of crocheting. I was lucky to learn from my Grandmother starting at age 4. (we took a lot of roadtrips)But I no longer have my Grandma and when I need to learn a new stitch I use where they have a stitch directy with illustrations instead of videos. The perfect form those video ladies show off can be distracting to how the stitch is formed. But keep with it. It's great for relaxation. But I imagine the Pringles can project would be too.
    Happy yarning!

  12. Yeah, I'm thinking you need to learn to knit instead. Either way, a local SnB (that stands for Stitch and Bitch, but the phrase is currently in the middle of a trademark war so we're all staying out of it) should provide lots of willing teachers. Helpers. Enablers. Oh yeah, and if you're close enough to the Knitsmiths, do go - Alison (the only knitsmith whose blog I read) makes wonderful things and seems verra verra nice.
    (Oh, and yes, I would totally watch that video.)

  13. Is there a crochet how-to site that isn't, you know, live? That's just the old-fashioned step-by-step photo-illustrated type? I go to the knitting sites like that when my learn-to-knit book with the happy crazy knitting lady on the front isn't *clear* enough for me.
    I'm just too slow for YouTube.
    PS--Hey! Waddya know? Now Blogger actually *warns* me before it erases everything! Hallelujah.

  14. Anonymous10:05 AM

    I am just learning to knit, and it is surprisingly relaxing (especially for someone with my short attention span!) My suggestion if you run out of things to crochet (hats, afghans, etc.) is to check out
    It's a charity run by my neighbor that has, in the last few years, sent over 14,000 hand-knit or hand-crocheted bears to children who are affected or afflicted by AIDS. The way this has taken off really shows what love can do in the world . . . .

  15. I think you should just find someone (one of your friends maybe) who knows how to crochet, and to sit down and show you the first basic steps. That way you can actually ask questions, which is a good thing in my opinion (helped me learn anyway).

  16. Anonymous10:44 AM

    You are so cracking me up! I can totally relate! I've been trying to learn to knit - even going to CHILDREN's sites, hoping that the simpler instructions would permiate my thick head. But again with the ally-oop - I didn't catch that last part. So, I got someone to teach me. To sit behind me and hold my hands and literally teach my hands to knit. Of course, all I can do is pretty much knit straight lines - scarf anyone? But still. So, I suggest you find yourself a body, somebody, to sit behind you (literally, to spoon you) and teach your hands to crochet. And I want to learn too - so .... And the egg shell - what you have to do is USE the egg shell, to get the bit of egg shell out. It's the only thing that will work. And I find that to be a very lovely thing.

  17. What the hell? I just wanted to be able to leave a comment without having to be 'anonymous' and now I've got a stupid blog. Which I don't know how to get back to. sigh.

  18. What's with the knitting/crocheting thing sweeping the playgroups, church groups and coffee houses? It's one of those things I wish I could do, but don't want to bother learning.

    Your post at Wondertime was so good for my soul. Not because my lack of patience is okay, but because maybe it doesn't have to be the one and only thing by which I weigh my value as a mother. Thank you for your brave openness!

  19. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Could Ben teach you? Oh, wait, I think you mentioned he can only crochet snake-like ropes.( Me too.) I lack the gene-coding for knitting and crocheting, which I think is the same one responsible for piano playing, two handed typing and coordinated dancing ;^)Maybe my brain hemispheres have a communication problem?.... Can't do anything to give advice, just keep at it, girl! Loved the picture of Ben and Birdy on the WT column, they really are such gorgeous children!

  20. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I'm not having any luck at wondertime, so I'll comment here to say, not pear-shaped at all, and do you ever look cute in that ice-skating photo! I love that post about Birdy and the rainbow dog. I'm always forgetting to tell our kids where we're going, too. We're packing for a two week trip to Canada and finally my oldest asks where we're going, and we remember that he's older now and it's his trip too- what a concept.

  21. Anonymous11:45 AM

    lol, try, strangest site, like youtube but with a purpose!'Life explained on film', type in crochet and there you go!

  22. My mother had a co-worker of hers start to show me how to crochet when I was around 11. I can still vaguely remember how to make Granny squares. So, if anyone needs a Granny square blanket (or coaster!), I'm your girl. Never thought of trying YouTube, but I'm always fascinated by those "Easy" books you see at the fabric stores. Do those work?? I mean, with MY personality? Jury's still out. Anyway, all who posted are right. Knitting/crocheting is really taking off right now, so it should be too hard to find you a buddy in a coffeshop or club or somewhere to show you--for free!

    As for your Wondertime Blog, once again, I feel as if you've taken all my pent-up emotions and expressed them for me in your wonderfully wordy way that I could never do. (Despite being an English major, I was always better at the "interpretive" part rather than the "creative writing" part of it). So thanks again for letting me know that I'm not alone in this curse I have of trying to control my patience with my children. For every good day (like yesterday!) I just seem to have weeks and weeks of bad days that I say or do SOMETHING terrible for which I'm having to apologize. Gracious! I don't remember MY mother ever apologizing this much! I AM getting better, but I just have SO MUCH more work to do! Will I get it right by the time my youngest is out of the house?!

  23. Anonymous1:01 PM

    I just wanted to chime in here (for the very first time! how exciting!) with what I've been thinking about all week, since I read your Wondertime so often I recognize myself in what you do or say to your kids (esp., alas, the harsher things)--and somehow having you lay it out so clearly makes me both realize how harsh I was, and how to approach the whole situation better. Like (going back to an ancient ParentCenter column) how I would get so pissed off at my kids for their unrelenting bedtime goofiness--and then here you describe it! And say "why can't I just let Ben be a kid, instead of the grim soldier-citizen I seem to want him to be?"--and I'm like, Yes! Of course! They are just kids! That's why they have to lean over into the bathtub making large elaborate spit patterns instead of attending to my increasingly impolite requests for them to brush their teeth, NOW. And then I say to myself, regretfully, "No grim soldier-citizens here," and smile a little, and feel better, and--here's the best part of all--stop with the yelling about the tooth brushing. I mean I really just about never yell at them during the bedtime delays now. And Catherine, this is thanks to you.

    So anyway, the phrase I'm remembering from this week is "making them feel ill at ease in their own skins." Cause just saying it makes me pause long enough to think if it's really worth doing.

  24. Howdy Catherine,

    Crochet? Sorry no help. I did go on a little cross-stitching rampage for a while but, that was pre-children. Back when I NEEDED to fill up my time. After briefly scanning the comments it seems like there is no shortage of help around if you want it.

    The way I see it there are many talented people who love doing it, so we can support them and purchase lots of tea cosys at the local craft market. Not that I wouldn't love to have a stylish and cute poncho or scarf and say, "What this old thing, yes, I made it myself.)

    That however, seems like a fantasy at this point so I'll stick with supporting the really talented crafty people.

    Can't comment at on earth do those other comments get through? I think Wondertime plants them so that we will keep trying. Regardless, the rainbow dog story was so sweet. I have many of those "aha" moments when I realize hours or days later what exactly my 3 year old was talking about. Makes me (ouch) feel a bit guilty for not really paying attention in the first place. Sigh.

    Oh, and "public" made me laugh. We had a similar problem with the word "privacy" seems we didn't really explain what is was before we launched the reasons why. Made for some very funny discussions during potty breaks.

    I think the running dialogue we bombarded our first with just patters out as another one comes along. They really do just come along for the ride. When it is just the two of us I almost always fill her in on what is going on but, when it is the four of us I tend to forget.

    Our 3 year old currently has a cast and I was so good about explaining everything at ER and the fracture clinic, what was happening and what was coming next. Then it came time for a bath and I just start putting on the bag and wrapping her with tape - she started sobbing I am not garbage don't throw me away! Ooops. Sorry honey the bag is just to keep your foot dry, etc. etc.

    Yes, we get it Catherine. And, we love hearing it from you.

  25. That is so hilarious about the crocheting! Just last year, three months AFTER my baby was born, one of my friends finally took pity on me and taught me how to needlepoint (I know, I know, it's even easier than crocheting) so I could finish the very simple "Welcome Baby" package thing someone had bought me before said baby was born. This time, newly pregnant again, I am beginning work on the stupid thing NOW so it will be done by the time the kid arrives, and my children will have at least one thing from their mother which I made with my own two hands!

  26. After reading Melospiza’s “grim soldier-citizen” entry, I must chime in as well. I can’t say how much you’ve inspired me to be a better mother! So many times, you’ve shared with us your struggles to be the parent you long to be. (The type of parent I can’t even yet envision!) And in doing so, you eloquently make points that stick with me. For example, in one of your babycenter journals (I can’t remember which one) you apologized to Ben and said something along the lines of, “are you just a little kid, and I should remember that and expect you to act like one?” DUH! So simple. So obvious. How had I been missing that?!?! I “knew” I should keep my expectations developmentally appropriate, but I was missing such a big piece of it until you explained it so clearly. Yes, my child may have lied, teased or otherwise misbehaved. And yes, as a parent, it’s my job to point out the error and help my child learn how to behave better. But I need to remember that they’re CHILDREN for crying out loud. It’s part of their job to make mistakes. They have started from scratch and are going to need me to help them figure this stuff out. This is just one of the many lessons you’ve taught me. I’m so grateful to be exposed to your perspective.

  27. Anonymous9:30 PM

    Catherine I taught myself to crochet from a computer software program. You can get it at "Michaels" here in GA. I am sure you will be able to find it in any of your crafty/yarn/fabric/framing stores where you are. They are s.l.o.w. and there is an absolute absense of "hmmdmdmmmsmd amdmdhdjhskj."

  28. I like how you make up words.

  29. Anonymous10:05 AM

    ...What I would have written on Wondertime had the comments forum worked for me....

    By all accounts, this column appears written by a thoughtful and sensitive mother who is just trying to figure herself out as well as her kids. It is very hard to expose your worst flaws for all the world to pick on, so I congratulate you on such a feat.

    But I don't know you, just your columns. So, since you post regular columns about this subject, I will choose to believe that they are the reflections of a remorseful mother who exaggerates her flaw to demonstrate how deeply sensitive she is to the emotional needs of her kids. I'll choose to believe that these occurrences are actually so rare as to invoke surprise more than sadness in your children as a result.

    I'll choose to believe that if this is NOT rare, and it's NOT an exaggeration, that you consider the incidence in this column the last straw and that you've resolved once and for all to actively manage this side of yourself, either with outside help or your own willpower, because you know that your kids don't deserve to be angrily mocked by either parent for behavior they don't understand is wrong yet.

    I look forward to more columns from you, flaws and celebrations alike.

  30. Hello! I can't commment at Wondertime while I'm at work - the site gets blocked - so I'm back here. I was catching up this morning and just read the post about Birdy being along for the ride. As always, you captured perfectly another every day, ordinary moment, and gave me new eyes for it and for me.

    I've had to work hard to make sure my kids know what's going on - on more than one occasion we've planned a small or even large gathering, only to realize as the guests are about to arrive, or even are arriving, that our children didn't know what was happening!

    But my favorite has to be the story of Birdy's warm spot - Hazel's spot of choice is under my arm, snug in my armpit. She is an armpit connisseour. I limit it to bedtime or times of distress, but she does still need occasional reminders.

    Thanks for writing, Catherine - you make my day, every time.

  31. Anonymous12:09 PM

    My husband recently decided to teach himself how to crochet, and had the exact same experience. He finally got it by buying himself yarn that was very tight, and getting a book entitled, "Get Your Crochet On! Hip Hats & Cool Caps" by Afya Ibomu. The book looks way too 70s and definitely not aimed at my white-nothing-even-vaguely-ethnic-about-him husband, but it did the trick.

  32. Anonymous3:31 PM

    wow you really cracked me up this time with the pringles bong and busting out the f-bomb. Yay for the Dalai Mama!!!

  33. I am CRYING with laughter. I taught myself to knit from The Innernets, and the play, pause, humazhah mumminah, FUCK!

    Yeah. That's exactly how it goes.

  34. This is totally like me, except instead of crocheting via YouTube, for me it's learning yoga/aerobics/line-dancing via DVD. I dress up in my gym shorts and sports bra, pop the DVD in, and off we go. Step, kick, knee, kick, stretch, salute the sun. Okay. Then "humuhuh zumunuh," the skinny lady on the screen does something that burns about 5000 calories and gives her rock-hard buns, not to mention perfect one-ness with the universe, but when I try it I just kind of flap my arms and trip over a teething ring. No. Fair.

  35. What Melospiza said. I second it. Along with 'we hold their hearts in our hands'

  36. Anonymous9:55 PM

    I learned to crochet something like 5 times, and kept forgetting, before I got a $15 kit (something like this: I don't know about the abracadabra moment, but having some very clear instructions with illustrations that I could refer back to WITH EVERY PROJECT really helped. Now I've done several baby blankets and a couple of really nice scarves.

  37. Catherine I can not post my cmment at wondertime b/c they refuse belive me that I am NOT under 18. Couldn't even get a subscription until I called them.
    Anyway..I am printing your column this week for my husband as this is such his issue. I feel so badly for him b/c I know he wants to do better and is struggling. I am sure your column will show him he is not a failure and not alone.
    I am not trying to insinuate that I am the queen of patience but I've definetly been blessed with far more than my husband.
    Thanks for always writng such amazing honest words.

  38. Anonymous4:51 PM

    I didn't read all the comments so someone may already have told you this about the eggshell bits...but if you use a large piece of the eggshell (in your hand) to scoop out the little bits in the egg goo, it will come out very easily!

  39. Anonymous5:45 PM

    There's always knitting.

    Crotcheting is for ladies on You Tube...and psssst, come closer....I think they really don't know how to crochet. They are on You Tube cause they look the part. There's a chrochet conspiracy for you.

    Things that are knot are cozier than crocheted ones anyway, aren't they.

    And you finally said it!


    And of course the cheerful pink yarn is for Ben? Or does he have a new favorite color now. We are in the middle of color flux in my family. We've gone from pinks and reds to greens and purples. My cousin-in-law is knitting my girls green and purple ponchos. I've asked her to give me lessons. With a huge tatoo across her back and shoulders, she is not the You Tube type but damn, the things she can do with her hands.

  40. Anonymous8:17 PM

    This is the best site I've found so far... I've been trying to learn too!

  41. Ah, the ancient womanly craft of bong-making. Don't tell me you need YouTube for that?

    Try: under Stitching Help, for the crocheting.

  42. Anonymous10:18 AM

    I have to say I can relate to wanting to learn a new craft then wondering what for when it get's frustrating.I was shocked and deligthted when you used the f bomb i just did not expect yeah no censorship rocks !

  43. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Your Wondertime column really hit home this week. I've often said that my daughter should really call me "Killjoy" instead of mommy. I too lie awake some nights filled with regret, thinking of how quick I was to say "no" or to overreact to some dumb thing. I've realized that most times this is all about me and not about my daughter and anything she's doing. I've resolved to try to make "Yes" my first impulse and to be more relaxed. My husband noticed that I've been trying to do this and the fact that he acknowledged it helps me to work at keeping it up. Although it also really hurt to know that my impatience is so obvious.

  44. Anonymous8:35 PM

    I took my two kids to see the most wonderful movie and if you have not already seen it , I highly recommend you see this with them. It is called "Cave of the Yellow Dog".

    It is a foreign film with subtitles but the rating is G and it has very slow paced dialogue that Ben would be able to follow along. My youngest is five and loved the movie even though she cannot read. She was able to understand the emotion and story through the expressions of the children.

    The movie is about a Nomadic Mongolian Family. They have three young kids and the oldest daughter finds a dog and wants to keep it. The father does not want her too.... and the movie is about the daily life of this family. The characters are beautiful and lovable. The story is so sweet and touching and even though the life of this family is so drastically different from American life , their family life, the roles of the parents, and the interaction of the siblings is so similar to any family.

    It is a movie that will touch your heart, it has a happy ending and your kids will enjoy because it is just so simple yet extraordinary at the same time.

    I hope to read in one of your colums what you and your kids thought if you are able to see this movie.

    Hope I have convinced you it is worthwhile!!

  45. Anonymous8:47 PM

    Do yourself a favor and buy a learn-to-crochet book. Pictures are easier to follow that zippy old ladies on video. I tried to learn to fold a shirt lickety-split on YouTube and I couldn't, so don't beat yourself up.

  46. Here is the website for the movie Cave of the Yellow Dog. I hope you read my earlier post about this movie!!

  47. Anonymous10:15 PM

    Oh, you do make me laugh! Because I keep reading YOUR perfect descriptions of ME. How do you do it? I can crochet in a single line - or do they call it row? - forever. Around the world. But can I turn around and go back? Not a chance. I've read the books, watched the videos, gone to a class, met with friends, drunk a lot of wine. No can do. But I can knit socks! Just learned last month. It's very cool.

  48. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Why oh why can't Wondertime post your Monday column early on Monday morning? Why do they make me check back 75 times a day to see if it is there yet?
    I'm having a difficult morning (it's only 9:44am) and I was hoping for a Catherine fix, no such luck so I re-read last weeks post.
    I made an appointment this morning to see my OB-GYN this afternoon to have my IUD checked, I am pretty sure it is completely out of place, so I am stressing about that which is making me yell at my kids about every little thing. My 3 1/2 yr old daughter screamed for about half and hour this morning because she wanted me to take off her Hello Kitty sheets and put her Strawberry Shortcake ones on, I finally said ok but then threw things around and yelled as I made the bed, bad Mommy moment. Thankfully my kids are playing for a couple of minutes but the baby is stinky now and needs a bath. I like everyone else here makes mistakes and acts like a crazy woman but I will try to do better.

  49. Anonymous11:33 AM

    I have not responded to any of the Wondertime posting and this first time when I tried there was some funky tech mishap. I am, like all the posts, a HUGE fan. Although I am only adding to the other comments you tell us that you voraciously read and appreciate the praise, so here goes. I was in tears reading your "resolution" entry, your directness and honestly was humbling. Not many people are so willing to display their moles, both symbolic and real, and I think your bravery raises the bar (for you and anyone who can identify with the struggle for more patience). I am truly grateful to know that I am not alone. THANK YOU!

  50. Love your frowsy blog here (hey--you said it first!) and your Dalai Mama stuff. I was one of the feeble women who cried when I read that you were leaving ParentCenter. Those columns kept me (almost) sane through my own Ben (Timmy, 6) and Birdy (Jennifer, 4). And this give me the idea of looking up how to braid hair on You Tube. I cannot get my daughter's hair in a braid however hard I try and I know she's going to need therapy for it if I don't.

  51. I had trouble leaving a comment at WonderTime (well, to be honest, I didn't want to provide all of my first and last name info, I'm also at work and didn't want to put the time in...I'm sorry), but I wanted to comment about the last WonderTime post about your impatience. Now that I'm here, I don't even really know what to say besides "ouch" and "I feel like you read my mind before you wrote that" which I'm sure you've heard literally millions of times by now. So, sort of boring and useless for you. But I wanted to say it anyway.

    The part about seeing the effect you can have on the kids with your tone, watching it show up on their faces? That part is still stinging.

  52. Ah, the wondertime post. I so want to go to THAT party. OK, I want to go to any party. Please?

  53. Ha! When I wanted to learn to crochet, I sought out an actual, real, live person to give me lessons. Unfortunately, that person was my mother. Despite a lifetime of telling me how brilliant I was, she insisted on trying to teach me how to crochet left-handed (she's a righty, I'm a lefty) because she didn't think I would be able to make the adjustment myself. You know, 'Okay, Mom's doing this with her right hand, so I'll do it with my left.' It did not go well. I still don't know how to crochet.

  54. Oh, and Elizabeth? I have one of those blogs too. I've figured out how to get back to it--go to a site I've commented on and click on my name. However, I can't figure out how to post an entry. Sigh.

  55. I also got a HUGE chuckle over Melanies' "Bob Ross" reference. Something about that show is so freakishly mesmerizing to me.

  56. Sarajo and Elizabeth, try going to your blogger dashboard to post to your blog. You'll need to sign in first with your identity (blogger display name) and password. I'm sure blogger could email you either of the above if you've forgotten or misplaced them. Good luck to you both!

  57. Anonymous6:58 PM

    OMG, you're killing me! I've been doing the same thing - F-bombs included - except it's knitting and I've been watching movies on I can see from scrolling down the comments that I'm not alone...

    My best friend knew of my frustration and bought me a Klutz knitting kit for Christmas. Yes, I realize it's marketed to tweens, but it's awesome as it explains how to knit in plain English. I'll be starting on my skinny scarf any day now, just as soon as I master that tension thing. Maybe they make a Klutz kit for crochet?

  58. Anonymous4:10 PM

    haha! i love your blog...i gave up trying though i desperately want to learn how to knit/crochet -- anything! i sat on my knitting needle and had a fairly deep butt wound, so i haven't been that eager to start trying again...maybe i will give it a try now!

  59. Mmm, I just wanted to say that there are people out there (like myself) who prefer really out-there kids. If you invited me over for dinner and the moment I stepped in the door Ben was in my face trying to show me some sparkly craft made out of stick-on jewels and a toilet paper tube I would be thrilled. And if Birdy wanted to pull me into the hallway to teach me some lines and rehearse an inpromptu recital with her which involved wearing our shoes on our knees and talking like munchkins, I would totally be into that. My own kids are intense, I'm intense, I come from intense people - which to me means we just like to squeeze a lot out of life. Maybe a lot of people enjoy children who sit quietly in a corner with a book whether company is over or not, but not me. I guess I'm the one at the party who's relieved if there are some intelligent kids to hang out with so I don't have to pretend to be interested in what the boring adults are talking about "This is my peer group? Who are these people?", is what I'm usually thinking.

  60. Anonymous10:06 PM

    Catherine, every time I read one of your columns, I swear you have my brain bugged. And I am always ever so greatful to know I am not the only one who... well, whatever you happen to be talking about, it's always me too.

    I too, hear myself saying the most horrid things to my daughter when I know, in my heart, that she isn't trying to make me late, or trying to be rude, or whatever. she just is being a 7 year old. but there I go mocking her or calling her a baby. good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) for me, she can cry on cue, and the instant she bursts into tears and brings out the magic words "you hurt my feelings!", I melt into guilt and regret and hug her desperately. and tell her she is not a baby, she is not silly... and that I am terribly proud of her. she is happy again. but the guilt lives on at 2am when I lie awake thinking what a terrible mother I am.

    I finally taught myself to knit using a book aimed at, I think, 4 year olds. I attempted to knit booties for my daughter when I was pregnant with her. I had to stop due to the laughter coming from the other end of the couch. of course he is sweet and supportive. but he still laughed at my booties. anyway I have no suggestions on the crochet project and can ony say I think the Pringles bong would be way more productive.

    and my daughter is 7 and still slides her hand up my sleeve to pat my arm when she is upset or sick or otherwise in need of comfort.

    so every week I tune in to see which episode of my life will appear here.

    please don't stop. you've kept me same for 6 years.

  61. Anonymous10:09 PM

    I recommend stitchyMcYarnpants and the Museum of Kitschy Stitches. You will be inspired.

  62. Anonymous11:37 PM

    The last paragraph in your recent WT post is spot on! I so know how you feel. Ever since I became a parent--and the steady steam of adults regularly hanging around the house has sorta waned into a trickle(Ok, basically stopped, with the exception of special occasions and random visits and grandparents)--I've become the wrist-grabbing friend saying "Don't go, just spend the night. We have a really comfortable couch...and Rowan has a trundle bed!" And I know what you mean about the sparkling, crackling husband. You say it so beautifully. Thanks for the camraderie. I only wish that someday we could be at the same party! I know we'd have fun.
    By the way, I almost choked on my wine reading the "Take Back the Night" reference. Very funny.

  63. Anonymous9:12 AM

    My Grandmaother tried to teach me when I was a teen. Wasn't too successful. But LOVE the fact that I have afgans ans homemade items from her to pass down the line. Nothing else is as warm. Wish she was hear to teach me now.

  64. Anonymous11:28 AM

    Hi Catherine! I tried and tried to teach myself how to crochet at home, but to no avail. I was doing it all wrong and my first project, an oven mitt of all things, was a total disaster. I finally signed up for a class offered at night at the local high school, and I finally "got it." Now I make super-easy stuff like scarves and blankets. It is a fun hobby once you kind of know what you're doing.

    I love your blog at wondertime, and this personal blog, too! I've been reading your stuff since way back when at babycenter. I have Waiting For Birdy, and I buy new copies to give to friends all the time (I won't part with my own copy, even to simply let someone "borrow" it.) My 4 year old son calls it "The Bird Book."

  65. Anonymous5:41 PM

    I just read your Wondertime column for today - and I sympathize! My kids had our first snow day of the year today, and we just got word that we're off tomorrow, too. Although I LOVE snow days (I'm a teacher, too!), the cabin fever is going to set in by about noon tomorrow. Even so, I'd rather be looking at sub-zero temps in February than daffodils - it just wasn't right!

  66. Bread Recipe! Bread Recipe! Bread Recipe!


    Oh and the column made me snort and chuckle out loud unattractively this week. Thanks.

  67. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Here's the link to the bread recipe.

  68. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Okay, I just read your your most recent at Wondertime, and you need to give us the "No-Knead Bread" recipe from the NY Times. I just have to have it. As always, I love reading everything that you write. I check daily to see if you have written anything. I also love the crochet blog. My mom crochets. She's awesome. My daughters all have several gorgeous baby afghans that she made. Oh, and she quilts too. She does it because she loves it! She even makes them for all of my friends too. She tried to teach me how to crochet, but I'm left-handed and she's right-handed and it never worked out. I'm so lucky to have her. I feel terribly that I won't be able to do the same thing for my children when they have babies. I can't even sew! My mom bought me a sewing maching a couple of years ago. She needs to retire, so she can come and stay with me and teach me how to use it! I would at least like to be able to do some mending. You can sew, so you should be proud of that. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  69. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Touring Raffi Refuses To Play 'Shake My Sillies Out'

  70. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Oops. That whole web address didn't get in there. It is touring_raffi_refuses_to

    Just take out the single space before "touring" when you copy and paste into your browser.

    Screw it. Here's the text:

    Touring Raffi Refuses To Play 'Shake My Sillies Out'
    February 6, 2007 | Issue 43•06

    FORT WAYNE, IN—Raffi, the veteran Canadian children's entertainer, told an audience of 4-year-olds at the Shrine Auditorium last Friday that he would not play his popular hit "Shake My Sillies Out" during the 2007 Raffi Renaissance Tour, no matter how often his young fans requested it. "I wrote 'Sillies' at a completely different time in my life," said Raffi, explaining that he wanted to play "some lesser-known stuff" on the tour, such as "Joshua Giraffe" and "Spider On The Floor." "I appreciate you wearing your 'Shake My Sillies Out' T-shirts, but I like to think that as I grow as an artist, you'll grow with me." Parents attending the concert said their children stopped singing along and closed their eyes during Raffi's final number, a sprawling 20-minute instrumental rendition of "Bananaphone."

  71. Anonymous5:06 PM


    Oh my gosh, you are so sly and humble at the same time. I can't believe you didn't mention this. I shall link link link post-haste, because I love you in person AND in cyberform. Yay! More Catherine!


  72. Anonymous10:56 PM

    I learned to crochet from my sister in law. She was very patient. I can crochet like mad now but I still have to work on staying straight. My scarves end up getting too skinny! Keep trying. I like to crochet even though I'm not very successful at it right now. It's relaxing.

  73. OK, I just linked to that "Stitchy Mcyarnypants" thing that Kekoasmom provided the address to and I was instantly trasported back to the 6th grade. "Fringed armband"?! Oh, yeah,baby!

  74. Anonymous2:23 PM

    The thing about crochet: whatever you make, it will almost always look better if you knit it instead. I knit and crochet and much prefer knitting because the end product is just so much nicer and less holey. Scarves are easy. If you must learn a yarn craft, I recommend knitting. (It uses less yarn, too.) But the thing about knitting is that it is totally addictive and once you find the local yarn store that supplies the softest, most beautiful yarns, it becomes a costly addiction. It is, actually, cheaper (and takes MUCH less time) just to buy the nice sweater from the store. Knit scarves. Hats are fun, too. Mittens a little more tricky, but still totally do-able. My thing right now are socks. People love socks and they are fun to knit and don't take up too much time. My 2 and 5 year old girls LOVE the socks I knit them for Christmas. Oh, and I learned from pictures better than a video. You can't make the demonstrator slow down any further than a still picture. Once I understood the basics-- knitting & purling-- I liked the tv show Knitty Gritty (DIY channel, if you get it, or you can go to and look up knitting.)

  75. I taught myself to crochet off the internet, and would consider my crochet "acceptible" ..

    You can see some of my stuff at

    Most important thing is that you will swear, you will wonder how on earth it could ever be physically possible.. and then it will come. has a good slow how to crochet thing on it, most stitches are some variant on single crochets, so.. if you can do that its either more twists, or not dropping the loop at the end or such.