Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cross Stitchers and Frogs

It's funny. When you ask a cross stitcher what their favorite animal is, you get almost predictable answers. My friend Val is a squirrel. I am a groundhog. And my friend Chrissy is a frog. Val accumulates stuff (she squirrels it away). I pile stuff up on the floor (ground-hog). And Chrissy, well she frogs! It's all about stash and stitching.

In honor of my friend Chrissy, I'm doing a post on cross stitch frogs. Chrissy loves frogs. So do Val and Roxi. So these frogs are for all of them.

If you are reading this and you are not a cross stitcher, you may not know the significance of the frog. To us, the term "frog" means not only a tailless amphibian with webbed feet, but also the sound "ribbit ribbit," meaning that your stitching must be ripped out and restitched. To the cross stitcher, the frog can connote hours of painful picking away at floss, trying to get it free from delicate fabric without tearing anything.

We cross stitchers regularly accuse each other of sicking a frog on us, of someone letting their frog out to invade every other cross stitcher's life, or the frog coming for a visit. Nobody wants that kind of frog. The tailless amphibian, however, is beloved.

In Greece, 400 BCE, a chorus of frogs sings loudly in one of Aristophanes' plays. Aristophanes' frogs say "brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax" not "ribbit ribbit." Much use they are. (I actually did read The Frogs when I was on my Greek plays kick.)

I have adopted a couple of soldiers in Iraq, and when I send them packages, I send along a Beanie Baby to give to an Iraqi child. I recently acquired some Beanie Baby frogs -- lively pink ones -- and then I got to wondering if there are frogs in Iraq. I suppose there are some by the rivers, but would the children who live in dry, dusty villages know what frogs are? And if so, what if frogs are taboo. I know nothing of Islam. If dogs are despised, could frogs be far behind? I decided I was thinking too deeply about this, and the frogs are going to Iraq.

Okay, reading the web I learned that there are indeed frogs in Iraq. They come out when it rains. But clearly, to call somebody a "Frog" is a negative thing in Iraq.

I once had a cassette tape of frogs. I bought it because I thought it would be relaxing. Then I went to Zimbabwe and took a lot of tapes with me, including the frog tape. When I played it in the car, my Zimbabwean colleagues were incredulous. They couldn't believe somebody would actually have a tape of frogs. I am sure it proved to them just how far away from nature we Americans are. Or how ridiculous.

To the cross stitcher, frog is a noun and a verb. "To frog" is to remove stitches, and when one does that, one is "frogging." We all hate frogging.


Lei said...

I usually have to frog the most when I stitch at night. Probably because the lighting isn't as good and I'm tired. ARGH.

Lelia said...

Enjoyed reading your post! Groaned loudly while ripping out 'over one' stitches last night. It just had to be done ...

Froggie said...

Ditto on the "frogs" LOL!