A moment of silence.

It is with enormous regret that I pass on the following email from my sister Erin (mother of my 4 year old nephew Hank.)

It is with great sadness we regret to inform you that Bruce the Fish passed away peacefully today at home, in his bowl. He will be sadly missed by Erin, who never cleaned his tank, and Hank, who regularly over-fed him. Bruce had a short life, and not a very happy one since Baby the Cat joined the family. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that cash donations be dropped off at the above mentioned address.

PS. I do not recommend the fish flushing funeral technique (recommended to me by Jack) as Hank will no longer sit on the toilet.

PSS. The fish has actually been dead for 2 days , but I let Hank believe that Bruce was sleeping due to a busy work schedule. (I have no time for death)

I know that you will all join me in a moment of silence for Bruce The Fish and also send Erin our very best wishes as she attempts to quickly undo the damage done to Hanks fragile toiletting routine. I know that I speak for every mother out there when I say, from the bottom of my heart…”Thanks Jack”.

The mittens are coming along.


My boredom with them has passed and I am once again enamoured of their smart little star motifs and exciting pointy tops. Assuming that I don’t get distracted again, that the grief I feel over the tragic loss of Bruce doesn’t prevent me from finishing, we can assume that the end is in sight, though I wouldn’t go getting married to the idea that they will be finished tomorrow or anything drastic like that. I laugh in the face of predictability. I mock deadlines. I am…well, apparently not very reliable. Sorry about that.

Today we shower the generous with more gifts. The super folks at Lion Brand have donated gifts for members of TSF. (Isn’t it nice when yarn people share? Does a woman good to see yarn freely given like that. When I run the world, much of the yarn will be free.)

3 balls Moonlight Mohair in “Tundra” (enough for a scarf) is going out to Rabbitch! (I suppose there will be no confusion about *which* Rabbitch that might be.)


4 balls Landscapes in “Country sunset” to Siri! (again…probably not going to be a whole whack of Siri’s beating down my door)


3 balls of Magic stripes sock yarn (1 ball makes 1 Pair of socks)


One each going to: Joanna S., Caroline L (who assured me that entering her in the draw was completely pointless. Snork. The fates disagree), and Tara S.

Risa has generously donated a copy of Jacqueline Fee’s Sweater Workshop and it will be winging it’s way to Katherine C. (ps. Look at Risa’s babies in the top left of her blog. Dangerously cute.)

I have emailed all parties concerned.

There is much, much more…but there’s only so much merriment and happiness we should be engaging in during the period of mourning that Bruce The Fish so richly deserves. Note: Bruce was only a fish, so I intend to mourn pretty briefly. Probably just until Hank will sit on the toilet again. Peace out.

74 thoughts on “A moment of silence.

  1. Clearly Bruse the Fish required a hand-knitted shroud and a proper burial. Perhaps a new ceremony, with a fish in effigy, would appease Hank?

  2. Opps, that might have been a little too exuberant given the solomn nature of the post… my condolences to Hank and his family. The passing of your first fish is a milestone.
    As an aside, typing w/o spellcheck is a real bear. Happy Harloting today Stephanie, and everyone!!

  3. When we buried my son’s first pet, Custard the Mighty Dragon (a teddy bear hamster) we put him in a pop tart box (his preferred abode within his cage), wrapped him in a hand-dyed shroud (a remnant from a local fabric diva), and put both a picture of my son and one of his favorite yogurt treats in the ground with him. Then, we read him Custard the Mighty Dragon (by Ogden Nash) and had a moment of silence before we dug the hole and buried him. Truth is, I’m the one who cried. I loved that little muppet.

  4. Oh man, I do not mean to giggle, but from a mom who has “flushed” more then her fair share of Bruce’s(and Goldie’s, Kelsey’s, Pandie’s…you get the picture) I have to give a little sympathetic chuckle. Poor Hank. Moreover, poor Erin. On a happier note, Lion Brand rocks. I’ll remember their generosity when I am buying yarn again (someday…sigh). Their donations are awesome..lucky winners-congrats!
    PS-I personallly nominate Stephanie for QUEEN OF THE WORLD. Remember me when you are handing out all that free yarn. ;o)

  5. Or worse, Ida, cooked and served. Then Hank could always see Bruce in himself. Let’s all imagine the years of therapy that one would cause…

  6. Ah, burial at sea… …a noble tradition for fish.
    The way we disposed of the remains of a stillborn kitten in 1987 still makes one of my brothers queasy near bins. The fact that there was nothing I could do (it was *born* dead) and that I found homes for all the other kittens and have been socially responsible for the reproduction of Bast’s Angels ever since did nothing, *nothing* to soothe his queasy discomfort.
    When the mourning is over, take a look at the llama song. Heck, you can even do it in US spelling, when morning’s over. It has immortal lyrics (here’s a llama, there’s a llama, and another little llama, funny llama, fuzzy llama, llama, llama, duck) and a pace that constitutes my drug of choice
    Warning: it’s somewhat addictive.

  7. No wonder Hank won’t sit on the toilet anymore. It’d be desecrating the burial ground.
    I wonder if the federal government would have something to say about it?

  8. Obviously a feeble (amusing, but feeble) attempt to wield The Two Great Painful Experiences of Life — death and toilet training — as a smoke screen, a decoy, a distraction from…
    what day it is.
    It is, nevertheless, Tuesday.
    And Tuesday are for….?

  9. P.S. Lene, before your post I had never noticed how close “desecrating” and “defecating” are — now they’ll always remind me of you.

  10. Poor fishy. Poor, poor Hank. Jack, you better run.
    This is how twisted a woman I am… when I read about Bruce, my first thought was, “Oh no! The yak died!” I call the fibre I purchase from another rockin’ Iowa chick, “Bruce” because I spend so much time running my fingers through the fibre, spinning and knitting, then wearing what I make from Bruce’s fibre. For that kind of intimacy, it best to have a name. So it’s Bruce. You see where the confusion came in for me. (I think it’s the knitting time-out I’ve been placed in that has me confused.)

  11. Err careful with your phraseology where Hank is concerned— you might not want to say “briefly” just yet. So speaks the mother of two VERY stubborn boys 😉 Here’s hoping Hank is not traumatized in this way for too long!

  12. I send my regrets to Hank, I too know the sorry of a fish passing on.
    The wool from Lion is beautiful and you are making me regret my decision not to buy wool for a month. sigh…

  13. I’m having flashbacks now. Still in fish trauma myself. We had three, and a year ago had a huge and fabulous Thanksgiving with all the Martha-Stewartness you could possibly want. Five minutes after the guests began walking through the door and proffering wine, all the fish in the house spontaneously died. I had a mild panic attack and began rushing their bowls into an off-limits room before people could notice. We still cannot figure out why, oh why, the party killed the fish. Anyway, my condolences to Hank. The mittens are fabulous.

  14. Heh, fish don’t die around here they simply disappear. Though my two-year-old can count, and perhaps there were four yesterday and there are only three today, when he says “Three fish” I say very cheerfully, in my best immitation of Caillou’s Mommy’s voice, “Yes, we have Three fish. Do you think they’re hungry?” or some other distracting thing. After the first one died I figure it’s best to have so many that he can’t quite figure out which one is missing. Then in a week or two we buy more fish. Note, this policy would never work with cats and dogs.

  15. RIP, Bruce the Fish. I won’t be mentioning this to my daughters who still mourn Rainbow Fish who died the day that their dad and I announced our separation. They flatly refuse to get another fish, Rainbow’s passing was so traumatic.
    Hopefully Hank will be more resilient and will resume his rightful place on the toilet before too long. I hate to think of what the alternative is…
    I also need to find those three hanks of Koigu KPPPM and photograph them for you. I will happily mail them to the recipient from here, thus saving you having to deal with it.

  16. OMG that llama thing. You Must watch it. Fabulous. And yay for Lion Brand! Good folks, them. I’ll have to buy some LB yarn when I’m buying again.

  17. From a someone who knows how long it can take to convince a child that our beloved pet, Igor, is not actually pushing up the daisies that happen to be growing where we buried him (and flowers are not, in general, very creepy because they are being pushed up by dead animals), I would like to say…Thanks, Jack.
    Congrats to all the recipients of all the yummy yarn…

  18. I must confess I did the same thing with our beloved Hamster last spring: I realized he was dead one morning, lied to the children (“Yep, I checked his water, let’s get to the bus stop!”) and then acted shocked when they called me after school to say he had died. I made them dispose of the remains, as I knew I would cry. I know what Sue means: I loved that little guy! And, yeah, I know he was basically a rat with good PR….
    Oh, one difference in the stories: My children were 15 and 12 when this happened, and much less traumatized than I! In fact the younger one said, all in the same breath without so much as a pause between phrases, “Mom, I’m sorry Hammie died but can we get a cat?”

  19. I wonder if Hank would be persuaded if Auntie Stephanie would knit him a Spiderman hat?

  20. Dena Shunra – SOMEwhat addictive? I’m going to be hummin’ that llama song for *days* now!

  21. May Bruce swim happily in fish heaven. Perhaps he will be friends with my fish Fred and my other fish Spanky who bought property in Fish Heaven several months ago.

  22. Ahoy Dena — I adore the llamas and have a letter of adoration to you which bounces back (“User unknown”) from the address of your Harlot comment. ??? Meet me in the alley at midnight so I can slip you the envelope.

  23. Careful, Dena. People who speak in hyperbole while attempting to dislodge llama tunes from persistant memory have been known to have darker purposes. Alleys at midnight may be contra-indicated…

  24. When I am dictator of the world, all birth control will be free on demand, as it is (was?) in England.
    . . . OMG, my crazy Polish neighbor and his front-end-loader are out plowing the street from the storm 3 days ago and the sidewalks and driveways. The City never got to us this storm. This man adores his heavy machinery. Other times of year he digs trenches for DIY sewer work and excavates his own 110-year-old house to waterproof the foundation.
    But I digress. When I am dictator, all sidewalks will be in good repair and we will get ALL the trolleys going again. Every new baby will be given a Sara’s Ride and a sub. to Mothering magazine. People who shovel snow into the street will be fined.
    Gotta go!

  25. Ahhh pets. The year my oldest daughter was 6, my husband insisted that she really needed a pet turtle. He read her turtle stories, and hung up her turtle pictures all over the house, and generally whined at me. Having lived through the mutant rabbit, Cinnamon Bun, various anole lizards, and a dog large enough for my children to ride; I finally caved and let him get the damn turtle. It showed up on Christmas Eve, and boy was my daughter excited. Until about 6am Christmas morning. My sobbing and screaming daughter woke us up because the turtle was dead.
    Deceased. Not just sleeping. Not tired. Holiday Happiness at the Russell Ranch. I really, really wanted to inflict bodily damage on my husband. Poor turtle.

  26. Steph,
    You never emailed me your address for the prize. Do you just want me to mail it directly to the winner once you do the drawing??? just LMK.
    BTW, fabulous total raised.

  27. Too bad your sister didn’t call on your band of Harloteers for help with Bruce disposal. Two years ago, at this time, my beloved cat William-William went to feline heaven. My DH fired up his backhoe (out here all the “boys” have “toys”) and dug a grave, through the snow and frozen ground.
    I would have been happy to have volunteered his services, for Hank’s pet.
    Hugs to Hank.

  28. I’m just wondering: Is it possible to have a desecrate defecant?
    Congrads all you lucky winners!
    (I will now start signing off from all of my posts with “LLD”, for “llama,llama, duck”. Oy!

  29. First, a moment of silence for Bruce. Bless his little fishy soul.
    I thought with a name like Ris� there could be no confusion about which knitter you might be referring to. But, then I saw that Risa had donated a gift and I thought “she misspelled my name” and then “I don’t remember donating this item”. I finally clicked over to the link and found that there’s another knitter out there named Risa/Ris�. How cool.

  30. How cool is it that a yarn company has joined in the give away?? I am truely amazed by everyone’s generosity in the TSF. I sit here in stunned silence.

  31. Hank’s little problem sounds a bit like mine after I watched a spoof of “Jaws” when I was about 7 or 8. It was about a mullet that swam around the sewers and leapt out of toilet bowls at fleshy behinds….. It had BIIIIG teeth! Gee it cramped my style!

  32. Sue, your post made me cry! Poor little Custard – and what a touching ceremony!
    Steph, if Hank is really and truly broken up, I highly recommend the book The Tenth Good Thing About Barney – about a little boy whose cat dies. Not to ruin the ending, but the tenth good thing is that he is now helping flowers to grow, and so the little boy can see him in all the nature around him.

  33. Ohmigod! I never win anything–oh, wait–recently I have been. A teddy bear at a seminar about change (my firm just merged) and a poinsettia at the department Christmas party.
    But neither of those is as good as this! (I haven’t been able to give up the bear to charity but don’t know what to do with it, and I have a brown thumb, so the poinsettia is doomed.) My original copy of the Sweater Workshop died (all the pages fell out) and I’ve missed it ever since.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  34. I was taking care of my ex-husband’s fish tank while he was out of town and one of the fish died. A big one. A Pleco named Frankie. I put him in the freezer in case my ex wanted to autopsy or something. He declined. But we did learn that some fish are too large and awkwardly shaped to flush. Ew. Thankfully there were no small children involved.
    I’m curious as to how many names are in the hat?

  35. Huh, I went to college with a Siri. Wonder if it’s the same one? Maybe there really are a whole whack of Siris out there.

  36. I read this blog all the time but have never commented before today. I read of Bruce’s passing and all I could think of was “HEY! It’s Tuesday, right? Are you spinning as you type?!?” I’m with rams-all this fish talk is a decoy. I’ll be haunting the blog tomorrow and hoping to see lots of progress on the Gansey Yarn. Last week’s work was so great! Made me want to start one…

  37. That is truly tragic. I love that Erin was too busy for death. She’s obviously your sister as that is soo something I can hear you saying. Mittens are looking good. How are the white stripeys going? Still the same problem?

  38. The year we moved to northern Michigan from Orlando Florida (where gas ovens are almost non-existent) I promised my then 1.5 and 3.5 yo kids goldfish. Sad to say, on a nippy November day the pilot light light went out in our furnace as we were leaving for the day. Called the landlord who promised he would take care of it in no less than (but probably no fewer than) two days.
    So as to assure myself that the fish would not freeze in their little round gallon bowl, I set them atop my gas stove, assuming that the pilot light (a *very* small thing, not even hot to the touch on top of the stove) would keep the water in a liquid state.
    Imagine my horror on arriving home several hours later to find the fish sleeping on their backs at the top of the bowl. (Per my 3yo.) Sorrowfully, I had to explain. And since I have always had a policy of honesty with my children, I attempted as tactfully as I could that mommy had cooked the goldfish.
    Friday night, 2Cdegrees outside, we had to have a funeral. I suggested burial at sea, but the response was similar to what I imagine Hank is currently feeling, and since I was potty training the younger, trying to dig shovelsful of frozen ground made better sense.
    After the service, the pleading to replace the fish began in earnest. Did I mention it was Friday night? Rush hour? Dinner time? So off to PetsMart for us to cop a few more goldfish. These lived many years, got huge, and could foul a 10 gallon tank twice a day. Disgusting carp. Guess who took care of them forever. Twice daily. F o r e v e r.
    As retribution, I will personally be purchasing goldfish for my grandchildren…
    BTW, thanks once again for seeing the mundane and dreary and transforming it into the bizarre and hysterically amusing. You brought me laughter today again, when it’s in short supply right now. Thank you from the bottom of my knitting bag (I mean, heart…)

  39. My son still goes on about how his older sister over fed the goldfish he won FIVE YEARS AGO…and how it DIED because SHE couldn’t MIND HER OWN BIZNESS…argh. He refuses to have another because it WOULDN’T BE THE SAME MOM!!!!
    Then, his guinea pig had to croak this Christmas eve…
    I love being a mom. Really. Repeat after me….

  40. You know what’s funny to me? If I didn’t have a kid of my own, I’d be like, “holy shit what a horrible mom!” But since I am a mom, I can laugh while I take notes. . .
    Hey props to me–I got her to quit singing the Care Bears Fight Song, and now she’s babbling her way through “In The Air Tonight,” Nonpoint-style. Rock on, my child.
    ps Is it really Tuesday already?. . .

  41. For the record…second mitten syndrome is definitely worse than second sock syndrome…I have faith that you can overcome this obstacle in the persuit of funds for the cause…so did you spin or perhaps…buy yarn…for Joe’s gansey today???

  42. Lion Brand is known for their donations and their support of volunteer/charity knitting….to read more of their quiet stories…you can access their past editions from their newsletter archives at http://www dot lionbrand dot com/cgi-bin/lionbrand/index.fcgi?page=http://www dot lionbrand dot com/content-newsletterArchive dot html (change the ‘dot’ to .’s)
    You can see their support of military families, chemo caps and the shawl ministery programs, not to mention many other groups. The October, 2004, issue 2 mentions their ‘Because you Care” winners.
    As to the Moonlight Mohair…I made a scarf for one of my daughters (in a few hours) who flew back home for her Grandmother’s funeral on Thanksgiving Day. I would use 2 skeins, rather than just one, and I made it a wee bit thinner than the label directions. But it was very nice with the sparkles and the purple shades she loves so much.

  43. How idiotic am I? I read several comments about how evil the llama song is and I listened to it anyway! It’s even on a loop so you listen several times before you can tear yourself away. That’ll be in my head forever. I had the Hamster Dance tune in my head for months (http://www.hamsterdance.com/ for a funkier version than the one I remember) and I sometimes still struggle with songs from my childhood (Sesame Street’s Ladybug’s Picnic and the 12 song are good examples). Ah well, at least some of the lyrics were catchy.

  44. Since we’re telling fish stories: I once had a good friend who was a Buddhist monk. When her fish (“Jim”) died, she put on her monk robes (I couldn’t make this stuff up, trust me), sat zazen for twenty minutes, then offered incense and a full-on four-minute monkly chant to Jim’s ancestors. It was really moving (when I wasn’t trying to hold back the giggles, of course), despite (or perhaps because of) Jim’s humble species.
    As for me, all my animal (and fish, and frog) companions get proper burials, complete with shrouds, bits of their favourite bedding/food/toys, and sage smoke, out of respect for the joy and companionship they gave me. When my elderly siberian dwarf hamster died (“Sqwidger”, she was four-and-a-half years old!), both my husband and I cried. (You can imagine what happened when my beloved 12-yr-old cat died of breast cancer…)
    I love all the stories about kids and their pets. All you moms/dads out there: I’m taking notes for when I have little ones. Egads, it’s wayyy harder to be a parent than I ever imagined! Perhaps we need “The Harloteers’ Guide To Parenting: Living (and Surviving) In A Wool House”. (Above comments constitute the chapter on Pets And Death.)

  45. Eeek! I can *too* spell my own email addres… or can I?
    it’s dena at SPAM shunra dot net, without the obvious word, there, and me and my llamas will meet you at any alley of your choosing. *With* dpns at the ready, just in case… …I just switched from dpns to circular on DH’s entrelac hat… …which happens to be my first entrelac project, and may end up looking mighty odd…

  46. When my DD’s first fish Cooh (pronounced like the first syllabol of “cookie”) shuffled off this mortal coil, my DH had the excellent idea of wrapping him in a dirty napkin and putting him in the garbage can. Fortunately, DD was communicative enough at 2 to tell me so, and we rescued him and gave him a proper funeral. We have had Cooh II and Cooh III and are now on Cooh IV who unlike the previous Coohs is a goldfish instead of a betta, and he has outlived his predecessors by a month now. Wish me luck.

  47. Oh, forgot to say, the folks at Lion Brand are a class act. Very kind, very generous. I have used their yarn in design projets and been delighted with the yarn and the service. And I love some of their new products; that landscape has me drooling. Brown Sheep is another terrific company. God bless ’em both; with all the corporate greed in the world it’s nice to know that there are compassionate people still in business.

  48. I should have said that my entry in the drawing was pointless! I never win anything either.
    (Does that mean I’ll win the mittens now? Not that I need them in California, of course. 😉

  49. Dena – Oh, god, the Llama song.
    It’s even better if you make your fingers into a llama head (thumb, middle and ring fingers touching, pointer and pinky up a la ears) and make the llama-hand dance in time.
    This comment brought to you by burnout halfway thru the second week of the semester.
    Also: RIP Bruce the Fish. Alistair the Magnificent says he’d be more than happy to take care of the next deceased aquatic creature to prevent future toilet boycotts. (FYI: Alistair is a Very Large black cat.)

  50. Stephanie–you have the heart of a lion! What courage, what bravery, what folly! to mock the deadline.
    I grieve for Bruce. My brother has had 2 turtles since he was 6, (He is now 22) and I have had to babysit them on occasion. I have been party to turtle force-feeding, turtle vitamins, turtle bandages (Myrtle fell down the stairs and hurt herself, don’t ask), turtle anti-biotic cream, and, of course, turtle anger-management intervention (Timmy gets REALLY cranky). I’m not even kidding. I know how close you can get to a pet, even if it’s not a cuddly one (Yes, I’ve also been bitten).
    Congrats to all the winners! And I, too, will keep Lion Brand in mind. I like that stripy sock yarn, but haven’t seen it around here yet. I’ll have to keep my eye out.

  51. That’s for the warning. Maybe this is a good time to clean out my son’s fish tank. He would probably appreciate being actually able to see “Goldeen” and “Sunset”. Water hasn’t been changed since Santa delivered them Christmas morning. ick

  52. Dena – love the llama song. Love it, love it, love it.
    Jae – yes indeed, it *is* better if you make the llama-hand dance.
    Oh, dear. Should I be worried at how amused I am over this thing?
    (“llama, llama, duck”!!)

  53. I had the proper moment of silence for Bruce….may he rest in peace. My nieces are on Choloe # 5. But, the first one dying was the worst.

  54. reminds me when my old trusty fish gil (harhar) had himself a nice respectful flusher to the great beyond…rest in peace, Bruce, and tell gil I said hi.
    love that the sock yarn only takes one skein! thanks for the info!

  55. Llene — no, you shoulld not be worried. Simplly _reading_ about the llama-hand dance made me llaugh out lloud!
    Wellll. Maybe a llittlle worried.
    (Llama llama duck!)

  56. I am sorry about Bruce, but I am very impressed that someone with Lion Brand has their act together to get behind this wonderful outpouring! I will remember as others have said… that Lion Brand was involved in such good charity work!

  57. In my household, Daniel (my oldest) who is almost 19 has been the proud owner of a fish tank for at least 12 years. This has meant many deceased occupants over the years. Here in Nova Scotia, the dead fish go in a container in the freezer until spring. We have lived in this house for 8 1/2 years and there is an area of our backyard that is a designated fish graveyard. Daniel is hoping to get a bigger tank for his birthday next month and is talking about getting a snake for the smaller tank that will be vacated!!!

  58. Aah, the memories…
    My son’s first sentence (well, two words jammed together to get his point across) was “fish GONE”
    Oh, and i think DH may do something fatal to my PC if I don’t turn that *$%& llama song off soon!

  59. Condolances to Hank and family. And thank you….holy smokes! My name in print! A very rare thing indeed, that is unless you live in Norway, fair-isle knitting nirvana, where Statistics Norway informs me that there are 8,072 other women with my name. Here in the states, I have only met maybe 3 or 4, two of which I met during the SAME week while working at a deli and, after asking what they would like to order, I asked their name so that I could call them when their lunch was ready. It was rather fun and awkward having to/getting to call my own name out into a crowd. At another job, a co-worker told me that they used to have a (now deceased) family dog named Siri when she was young. I was JUST looking (just looking, really) at Lion Brand Landscapes TODAY at my itty bitty little wonderful local craft store! CRAZY! First, I join the Sockapalooza (under a pseudonym by the way. See if you can figure it out) and now I win yarn. Uh oh. I can feel a new blog coming on. Slipping into blogland………

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