Sunday, March 30, 2008


Here's the definition. Before I looked it up I was thinking of it as a positive or at least euphemistic term for expanding one's horizons or abilities.

Please note that it can also refer to spending time in prison, to being tortured, or to being hung.

stretch (strÄ›ch) Pronunciation Key v. stretched, stretch·ing, stretch·es v. tr.
To lengthen, widen, or distend: stretched the sweater out of shape.
To cause to extend from one place to another or across a given space: stretched the banner between two poles.
To make taut; tighten: stretched the tarpaulin until it ripped.
To reach or put forth; extend: stretched out his hand.
To extend (oneself or one's limbs, for example) to full length: stretched her calves before running.
To extend (oneself) when lying down: she stretched herself out on the couch.
To put to torture on the rack.
To extend or enlarge beyond the usual or proper limits: stretch the meaning of a word.
To subject to undue strain: to stretch one's patience.
To expand in order to fulfill a larger function: stretch a budget; stretch a paycheck.
To increase the quantity of by admixture or dilution: stretch a meal by thinning the stew.
To wrench or strain (a muscle, for example).
To extend or enlarge beyond the usual or proper limits: stretch the meaning of a word.
To subject to undue strain: to stretch one's patience.
To expand in order to fulfill a larger function: stretch a budget; stretch a paycheck.
To increase the quantity of by admixture or dilution: stretch a meal by thinning the stew.
To expand in order to fulfill a larger function: stretch a budget; stretch a paycheck.
To increase the quantity of by admixture or dilution: stretch a meal by thinning the stew.
To prolong: stretch out an argument.
Informal To fell by a blow: stretched his opponent in the first round. v. intr.
To become lengthened, widened, or distended.
To extend or reach over a distance or area or in a given direction: "On both sides of us stretched the wet plain" (Ernest Hemingway).
To lie down at full length: stretched out on the bed.
To extend one's muscles or limbs, as after prolonged sitting or on awakening.
To extend over a given period of time: "This story stretches over a whole generation" (William Golding). n.

The act of stretching or the state of being stretched.
The extent or scope to which something can be stretched; elasticity.
A continuous or unbroken length, area, or expanse: an empty stretch of highway.
A straight section of a racecourse or track, especially the section leading to the finish line.
A continuous period of time.
Slang A term of imprisonment: served a two-year stretch.
Informal The last stage of an event, period, or process.
Baseball A movement in which a pitcher, standing with the glove side facing home plate, raises both hands to the height of the head and then lowers them to the chest or waist for a short pause before pitching the ball. It is used as an alternative to a wind-up, especially when runners are on base. adj.
Made of an elastic material that stretches easily: stretch pants.
Of, relating to, or being a vehicle, such as a limousine or passenger jet, having an extended seating area that provides extra space for more passengers, leg room, or amenities. [Middle English strecchen, from Old English streccan.]

I think they also stretched their definition to its limit.

I seem to be doing a lot of stretching lately. I keep telling myself it's good for me.
I think stretching is a euphemism for when your reach exceeds your grasp (or what you keep hoping your pants will do when you start gaining some of that weight back). It is what you're supposedly doing when you apply for a job you're not sure you're qualified for and what you're doing when you get it and then try to do it well. I'm also stretching the patience of my whole family with that one.

I just bought everything I need for a "Heeere be dragone" shawl (or in this case wall hanging) for Nick. It's 16 pages of charts and it's done on a size 3 needle with lace weight yarn. I have gotten to row 21 four times now. Definitely stretching. I bought clip on magnifying glasses last night. If that doesn't work, I'm resorting to one of those lighted magnifying glasses you hang around your neck. I'll either look like a jeweler or an old lady, depending on your perspective and age.

I also signed up for 4 days of knitting workshops and classes in New Hampshire for the end of July. For some odd reason no one in my family wants to vacation there with me so I'm going on vacation alone. I've gone to conferences alone before and this is actually kind of more like a conference than like a real vacation. It has workshops and exhibits where people try to sell you their products. I should feel right at home. Heck, it even has work to do before you go, swatches to knit so you can concentrate on learning new skills while you're there (and I'm on my third try at the first one so yeah, stretching).

The message started out as "stretch your horizons", but I'm not sure that's where it ended up. I think I've also stretched this post to its limits, too, so even though I'm not sure I went anywhere significant with it, I think I will stop here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Theory of Else (with an ooh and aah time codicil)

When I was in college (25 or more years ago), I had friends (male) who I baked for when I went home on weekends. I was a shameless praise hussy (still am) and my ego needed the rush of males falling over themselves to get to my brownies. Jack ascribed to what we still call "the theory of else" in our house - everything's better when it's made by someone else. My son is a strong believer in this as proven every morning when he asks "Mom, what's for breakfast?" He's perfectly capable of making his own breakfast but he enjoys it so much more when I do it and since I get something out of it (the boy is smart enough to heap effusive praise upon me), I at least occasionally give in to the pleading.

I don't necessarily buy into the whole "better when it's made by someone else" mindset though, probably because of the whole ego stroking thing that happens when I am the maker not the taker, but I was not too proud to copy the link for you when I discovered that someone else had already created an annotated bibliography of knitting fiction- Books with a knitting theme . Besides, I'm getting anyone who clicks on it to read an article from a librarian magazine and that's almost as good as getting you to read library comics.

This need for praise explains a lot about me - the success of my weight loss and the incentive to keep it off, the joy of knitting for others, and yes, even this blog. It also contributes to why I was a really good children's librarian and am still finding my way as a director. There's not as much positive overt feedback in the director gig, but that's just inspiring me to find new and exciting things to introduce.

The Theory of Else only pays off because of Ooh and Aah Time. If we praise junkies didn't need our egos stroked, nobody would get a darned thing out of us. I was raised with the phrase "ooh and aah time." It was crucial to getting any work done around our house. My mother said that if you forgot to do it, nothing else would get done for a very long time, so if a nail was hammered for a picture to hang on, we all trooped into the room and admired the artful technique and perfect positioning. Note: Criticism has to be used very sparingly and must be followed by extra heaping loads of bull... I mean, praise. Hey, it's not that I don't know when I'm being manipulated - it's that I just don't care as long as you keep it coming.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Self Soothing

When your first baby is born and you read everything there is to read about bringing up baby, this topic comes up a lot. If you're paying attention you'll soon notice that most of these techniques are orally fixated - thumbs, pacifiers, fingers - so it's no wonder many of us grow up still self soothing by sticking something into our mouths.

None of these foods are even remotely good for us, either. Have you ever heard of carrot as comfort food? I didn't think so. "Have a spinach salad, dear. It always makes me feel better." Nope, you'll never hear that one.

I just looked it up (surprise!) and found some great ideas for self soothing as a bigger person. It's about sensory experience drowning out the little voices in your head. Here are a few of the ideas, but they're mostly paraphrased from this site:

Walk in a beautiful place, listen to music that makes you feel good, read a book, knit (well, I don't know how they missed that one, but it works for me, so in it goes), bake bread, drink herbal tea, put whipped cream on fruit, take a bubble bath, put clean sheets on the bed, hug someone. Learn to use all of your senses to calm yourself down.

Alrighty, then, if you need me, you'll find me taking a bubble bath while listening to music, burning scented candles, drinking herbal (lemon, I think) tea, and reading a book (not a library book, though, since I'm in the tub in this scenario).