Sunday, August 30, 2009

Once Was Enough

I've done a lot of things in my life that I have no desire to repeat. For instance, I will never dye my hair red and get a perm at the same time again. Walking out of the salon looking like Bozo the Clown was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I feel much the same about my knitting. If I've made something that's all consuming, I'm unlikely to repeat myself. I felt this way about Clapotis, though I know a few people who've knit that pattern several times. Part of why I don't repeat myself is that there are only so many knitting hours alloted in life to a knitter. Why not try a lot of patterns instead of focusing on just one or two? Socks, washcloths, mittens and hats don't count since they don't consume a lot of my inner soul while knitting

I got a call from the staff at the Michigan State Fairgrounds today. Apparently, somebody wants to buy my shawl. Or, if it's not for sale, he wants me to make one for him. To be honest, I am in a state of shock completely flattered, but if I never follow that pattern again, that's OK with me. I had to tell the staffer that Ruby is already promised and that no, I won't knit another. Not being completely heartless, I gave her the information on how the gentleman can bid on this item in October, and I gave him a contact number for the woman in charge of the benefit. This way, he has the same chance as anyone else. Perhaps he can make an outright offer for the shawl that the organization will accept and she'll never go to auction. Either way, it's a win-win for Ruby.

For me, although I'm certain to knit more shawls, there will be only one Ruby coming from my needles.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Ruby's next address

Thank you all for your very kind words. I'm still floating on a cloud with how well Ruby did at the fair. Come October 23rd, that ribbon and my pictures will be all that will be left to show for all of that hard work. I know that I knit this with no errors because the intention was to donate it and on that day, Ruby will go to a good cause in a silent auction. I doubt I'll ever wear it, except maybe to take some photographs. It's way too delicate for me and I can guarantee I'll snag something the first time I put it on. In the meantime, after the fair Ruby will be on display at my local yarn store until she leaves for good.

I added a new clock here Friday. At the end of September, my brothers and I are going to see Mareseatoats in Charlottesville (our first reunion of the 4 of us together since Mom died) and my brother requested a countdown clock be placed on my blog. He doesn't ask for a lot, so I set out to find a cute gadget. Would you just look at how I personalized it?

Here's the question...should it stay or should I go and edit? I say stay because when I realized my spelling error, I laughed like crazy. I hope Northworst Airlines got our destination right.

Photo: Rudeek

Friday, August 28, 2009

Color Question

Do red and blue go together?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Completely out of coffee this morning, I walked to town to buy a pound of beans. On my way, I saw a train stopped a few blocks to my north as I crossed the tracks. I thought to myself that would have made a great photo if I'd only brought my camera. I blame the lack of caffeine for having no foresight. I stopped at the bookstore and maybe spent around a half hour there before walking home.

As I crossed the railroad tracks again, I looked to the north and saw that the earlier train was gone, but to the south, I could see thick black smoke billowing into the sky before snaking west.

Yet again, another environmental disaster is unfolding in the Detroit area. Last month, a fuel tanker was involved in an accident on one of Detroit's main freeways. Today, a chemical plant about 10 miles south of my home is engulfed in flames. The news is reporting that 5 million gallons of fuel, and God knows what other petroleum based products they store, may burn for the next 12 hours before exhausting its supply.

I ran home to grab my camera to take these photos. And yes, I stood in the middle of the tracks to catch these images.

Blame it on the Bossa Nova

I suppose that some of you may have led a deprived musical life and have never heard a perfectly executed, romantic bossa nova. In Portugese, bossa nova, meaning new trend, was a musical style made popular by Brazilian born, Antônio Carlos Jobim. As a young girl, I was lucky enough to have a father who immersed his kids in music like this.

As I was plying this art yarn, I found myself humming this song. While my first attempt at learning to execute core plying techniques weren't the best, this rendition of Baubles, Bangles and Beads is, well, sublime. The music is inspiring me to keep trying to make baubles and coils in my yarn.

I'll apologize in advance, but if you have to have a song that's stuck in your head, this would be a good one.

Baubles, Bangles and Beads Sinatra Style

A special thanks to phil D'angelo for his Myspace video and embed code.
Photo of the young, very handsome Antônio Carlos (Tom) Jobim: Google Images
If for some strange reason you find you like Frank and Tom playing together, check out their hot romantic medley of bossa novas in my sidebar.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Right Place, Right Time

It's Tuesday afternoon as I write this, but it won't post until midnight. I'm hoping by that time, I'll be requiring smelling salts as I come out of a dead faint after learning I've won the Megamillions lottery. Two hundred and fifty two million is nothing to sneeze at, and hey! A girl can dream, can't she?

Sitting in my swing this afternoon, I was considering how I'll spend that money my place in the universe when the little black squirrel I've been watching all summer took off down the street like a bat out of hell. Really, all I saw was a flash of black and green and heard the sound, whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop. Say it really fast, and that's exactly the sound I heard. It looked and sounded so ludicrous, I started to laugh. The little thief had stolen an ear of corn from the neighbor's yard. The piece, which was 3 times as long as she is, made the whooping noise as she ran off to get close to her tree.

She's the same squirrel that runs like crazy and then falls down in the middle of the street and plays dead. Right when you start to think she is, she jumps back up and runs some more. Watching her do this is hysterical because she looks like she's hit a brick wall when she falls.

Quite obviously, I'm easily entertained.

ETA: Ok, I'm sorry most of you don't seem to have ever seen a black squirrel. I found the following article quite interesting in terms of an explanation. The takeover seems to be Canada's fault. You can read it here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Six Degrees

Every time I think I can't possibly keep up with everything I want or must do, like knitting, reading, spinning, blogging, working, shopping and housekeeping, I get to thinking what can go so I can free up time. Apparently, none of it. I've come to need it all. Unfortunately, being born with a surname other than Rockefeller, I need to work, at least until my ship comes in or I drop dead, whichever comes first. One of the things I thought I could do without is blogging, but then how would I express myself? What would I do if I couldn't gasbag about my work or my knitting or visit your site to comment about yours? That got me to thinking about how I got to know everyone who visits here.

Some meetings I recall quite specifically. Rositta was one of the first bloggers I started exchanging comments with. If neither of us knit, I don't know if we would have had much in common in the beginning because we seem like very different women. I recall reading a comment she left on Pink Lemon Twist's site and before we knew it, we were fast friends in the cyber world. We even went to war together. OK. It was a sock war, but it was still serious combat. I developed hand cramps trying to keep up with that. In a congenial way, we've tried to convince one another of our differing political views, all to no avail, but this is civil discourse that's helped in no small part by the fact she is Canadian. It charming that she's so darned polite about her viewpoints. She is a talented knitter and a very deep thinker. Every once in awhile, I see her comments on some of the other blogs I follow and I always stop to read what she has to say. I bump into her, figuratively, quite often.

Initially, Laurie dropped by via WT's (one of the first people to ever comment here) on the day I wrote a post about my dad. It was his birthday. It was her father's birthday, too. She had dogs, and a whole blog dedicated to them. I had a dog and could relate to her dog posts. I even overcame my fear of commenting on a real life journalist's blog. I know my punctuation is horrific, but to her credit, she has never corrected me and has one of the most entertaining blogs out there. One day, she wrote about how her mind thrummed while researching the book she was writing at the time, and suddenly, inspired by the word thrummed, I had to knit thrummed mittens. I gave them to her. Out of appreciation, she sent me a 3 Dog Blog calendar, which incidentally, I took great pleasure in adding my October vacation days into on Friday. In ink. Then this week, she comes around mentioning things I've been thinking about, like selling my hand knit goods and wouldn't you know it? Now my mind is thrumming. She was the second person this week to mention this. The first was Skippy and while I don't recall how I met Skippy, I have to think it was kismet. At her request, I am going to knit her some custom made socks for her hard to fit feet. In return, she is going to make me some goat's milk soap which I'm going to felt. Do you know how much a bar of felted soap fetches? It's ridiculous.

Through blogging and social sites like Ravelry, I know of people who may live in far off places, but in an intimate way, we're all connected. Our common, and sometimes not so common interests bring us together, and I kind of like that. I know 2 women named Jane from Great Britain. That's 2 women named Jane I didn't know 2 years ago. One is an expat who lives here and one still lives across the pond. We have knitting and blogging in common. I know another Ruth who does what I used to do, but she does it in Australia. She is a new grandmother this year. How awesome is this connectedness?

I bring this all up today because I looked and was completely surprised to see there are 49 people following this blog. These are 49 people I didn't know a thing about two years ago--and if I didn't mention you specifically, it's only because I'm trying to KISS (keep it short and sweet). I did a Wikipedia search extensive research to find information on our small world and find myself charmed by the idea that we really are only six people removed from one another. Our world gets smaller all of the time with the connections we are privileged to have these days. I'm appreciative of everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, comment and follow.

So clearly, you see my dilemma, right? Blogging can't go. It's a part of this special community I've only just discovered. In 2007, I never knew it existed and now find I can't do without. I have to knit (though there isn't much of that going on these days), I have to spin (there is a lot of that happening), I need to read (even if the only thing I'm reading are pattern books for things I think I would want to knit if I didn't have Knitter's Block) and I have to work to afford it all. That leaves shopping for food and cleaning then. I guess it's the housekeeping that has to go.

Are dust bunnies recyclable?

Monday, August 24, 2009

To Converge

There are a few interstates near my home where at times it feels like I'm taking my life in my hands when I drive on them. About a month ago, a young man was speeding down one of these freeways going 20 miles over the speed limit. He lost control of his vehicle and hit a gasoline tanker causing a catastrophic event. Miraculously, not a soul was injured, including the unapologetic driver who started this horrendous accident. The fire did however cause the overpass steel beams to melt and the structure to collapse. Replacing the overpass will cost the state 2 to 3 million dollars--not to mention the cost incurred fighting the inferno and decontaminating the surrounding areas. Several surrounding cities had to respond to this multi-alarm event.

The curve where this happened is tricky, but it does come with plenty of warnings to the drivers including no passing lanes, flashing arrows and a decreased speed limit. Not that anyone pays attention.

Today my husband was driving home from work when the car in front, going too fast, spun out at this curve and caused several cars to pile up.

Let me just say, once I had a look at his vehicle, I'm thankful to have him home with little more than an abrasion from the seat belt and a bruise on his arm from the airbag deploying. I'm grateful that his Chevy took this hit as if it were built like a tank. If the young men who caused this wreck are a little worried about their illegal status in this country, they shouldn't drive so fast and draw attention to themselves--especially when the man who hits them, just may have an interest in the status of their non-existent documentation.

And a message to my honey: there are easier ways to get the new car you want.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Setting aside all of that drama from Friday, I find myself in a different frame of mind today. I think the therapy I found at work Friday night helped. I met up with the perfect social worker to do a start of care and we had an opportunity to talk about all that had transpired. He helped me see that what had been said is not how my colleagues, the ones I actually work with in the field, perceive me. He told me that I do make a difference in the lives of my patients and that my thoroughness (another critique, because to some, this makes me appear slow) is what makes my practice special. He told me that when I leave my patients, their caregivers feel completely confident that they can tackle the tasks of providing care and managing symptoms. Then I came home to find all of your supportive comments and I'm thankful. It was just what this old nurse's soul needed.

I'm still not really knitting much, but I've been spinning. A lot. I made it through the skein of merino/tencel blend and right now it's resting on the bobbin. I'm thinking about how I want to ply this yarn--probably a simple two ply. It's going to be another seed stitch beret to replace the purple one I knit last year, wore a few times and then left behind in a patient's home. I hope it's keeping someone warm. I'm going to try and be more careful with this one. I'm selling the additional roving I picked up to a fellow spinner who admired the yarn I was making yesterday at circle. I knew there was a reason I bought two of those last week. One was for Nancy who didn't go to the fiber festival. I'm almost done spinning Sarah's hand dyed roving, too. This one I'll try a new (to me) technique of Navajo plying to try to keep the integrity of the colors together.

Another Sarah is inspiring me to try plying this way. Other videos I've watched on this technique have left me confused. This woman's video is so calm and thorough, slow if you will, that I feel confident I can tackle this method of plying with little fuss. I find her teaching style rather familiar.

It's all in the approach, isn't it?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Take This Job

Forgive the rant, but if I don't blow off steam somewhere, I'm likely to do so in the correct arena and find myself fired for the effort.

Um... So today, I got my annual evaluation and although mostly good, meeting all expectations and at times exceeding expectations (which is corporate lingo for she doesn't sit on her ass), I got lower scores for teamwork. What?

I've gone all summer, in fact, I've gone a year without a proper vacation. I've begged, cajoled, and worked hard to find enough people to cover me so I can take an occasional 3 or 4 day weekend. In the beginning of July, I asked for September 25th and 28th off. I didn't hear, didn't hear, didn't hear. Weeks went by and my weekly visits to Northworst Airlines showed me only that airfares were climbing and I was losing opportunity and money. Every week I asked my boss and got answers like "everyone wants to use their vacation time." Well DOH! That's what it's there for. In the meantime, mine continues to accrue to levels I've never seen in my time bank, and I can't use it.

This "not a team player" comment burned like someone had thrown acid on me. I've done lengthy visits to cover both my colleague, who has been on leave since May, and the east side of town. I'm the west side nurse--covering the east side adds 50 miles to my day. I've never turned down an assignment. I may not be happy about them, but I never turn them down. If that's not a team player, then the definition is lost on me. I know this is about me questioning the decisions of people who schedule my time, but too bad. It's personal now.

So I met with my supervisor to discuss these issues. For once, I was able to articulate my feelings without using the F word. Though I thought it, I didn't say it. I did say a lot of other things, including the fact that I feel like Cinderella on this night shift; alone and forgotten until there is an issue, like me being a smartass to the the schedulers. I also told her I've reached the point of frustration with these vacation issues and during the middle of our conversation, we were interrupted by a dayshift nurse who is starting her 2 week vacation today and wanted to know if she should turn in her computer. It was a poetic moment. Everyone, except me, has had vacation time off this summer, and I'm not talking a long weekend here, I'm talking weeks.

"Perhaps," I told my boss, "I'm seething with resentment because you won't give me time off, and this is reflecting in my work." I continued to tell her, "you know, this hospice work takes a toll on a nurse's psyche. We should all have a little downtime." I'd have loved a photo of her face in that moment.

We'd been planning to go to Rhinebeck in the the fall, but now we've waited so long to get a hotel, that this will not be possible--every town in a 50 mile radius is booked. Who wouldn't get a bit of an attitude in the face of this? I saved the best for last: the girl who schedules my shift and complains about my smart mouth is on vacation for the next ten days. She just started her J.O.B. Poor girl must have been overworked.

Thanks for listening--at least at work, nobody else does.

Needle in a Haystack

Shenandoah National Park

I'm taking everyone's advice and setting the knitting aside for now. I know it'll come back to me soon. It better be back by the end of September when I go to Virginia. Mareseatoats signed us up for a class with Jane Slicer Smith. I don't know which class or classes we're taking, but the idea of learning some new techniques is exciting--it may be just what I need to knit my way out of this rut. In any case, it should be a fun 4 day weekend. My baby brother is flying out with me so we'll have a bit of a family reunion. We'll be short one brother, unless he changes his mind. I hope he does.

On a search for music to match my feelings this week, I got to thinking about the soundtrack of my life. You know, it wasn't half bad. I used to feel sorry for my kid's generation because they just didn't have what I did growing up. Oh wait a minute...yes they did! They were my captives for so long that they had no choice but to listen to my music. Later, I became a bit of a captive to their sounds. Although I can't get into all of what they listen to, surprisingly, I like a lot of it, like Eminem, Kid Rock, Greenday, RHCP and Jason Mraz. It's an eclectic selection to be sure, but just can't compete with the sounds of my youth.

For some reason, even though this song is about lost love, I feel like dancing when I listen to this music. It's not knitting, but it may just be the next best thing for this funk I'm in.

Here's a taste of Philadelphia's response to the Motown machine:

And yes, I'm spinning wool in addition to spinning records.

Photo: RudeeK

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Send Out the Search Party

It seems it'll take an entire posse to find what I've lost--maybe a bit of humor and these Pips can help:

Did you see Tropic Thunder? Maybe the reason Robert Downey Jr. makes a rather smooth Pip is because he had practice. This video is hilarious, but alas, I still don't feel like knitting--even after I caved and put the pink socks on dp needles. Sigh...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who Stole My Mojo?

Somewhere along the way, I seem to have misplaced my drive to knit. I've looked everywhere for it since the beginning of August. I wonder if it's because of all of the knitting I did this summer with the shawl, three pair of socks and the three blanket squares. Maybe it's because I'm all caught up wondering how the shawl did in judging last night. What does it matter? It appears to be lost and I don't know what to do about this. I have been spinning, but usually I don't let this interfere with knitting. This morning I feel that if I never knit again, well so what? Meh.

I've cast on the creamsicle yarn and knit almost an entire front of a tank top and then I stopped because I'm not thrilled with what I have. I think the yarn is better suited to be a little bolero, so there it sits on the needles in a time out while it takes me forever to decide its fate. Do I continue knitting what I think I won't like, or start all over again? I know the answer, I'm just missing the drive to fix the problem.

My pink socks from a year ago sit next to me on the sofa scoffing at me. You remember, don't you? They're the ones I took to the Breast Cancer Three day (A YEAR AGO) to fiddle with while I crewed at the event. To write about those socks in the plural is a bit misleading. I'm still on the first sock. Part of the problem is that it's on 2 circular needles and while I don't mind knitting socks that way, it's not my preferred method. I'm a double point needle sock knitter. Why do I keep trying to reinvent the way I knit? It's too late to switch now and that's why it sits there. Also, I don't love the yarn. It's Dream In Color Smooshy. What's not to love about superwash merino?

In addition to the socks and the tank, I have the bulky sweater mostly done. It's lacking only trim at this point--a day or two knitting at the most. I never finished my daughter's green sweater. It's missing only two sleeves. I became frustrated with it because I knit one sleeve thinking it would be fine, but it's not. Following the shaping decreases made it too small, so now I have to rip out one sleeve and start over. I'm not thrilled about that, but again, that's only a day's worth of knitting. There is another shawl I was fiddling around with before I started on Ruby. It's more than half way done, but I have no desire to finish the thing. And it's pretty. I've brought out all of these mostly completed projects in an attempt to find my inspiration, but it only depresses me.

Perhaps I should get out the thermometer and take my temp. I must be sick if I can't knit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Dark Side

One pound of Black Plum Merino roving

Working the afternoon shift, I can't help but notice the sun setting a little bit earlier each day. A month ago, I was still making visits in broad daylight at 9 PM. I have appreciation for that because even with a GPS device, some addresses can be a challenge to find at night, especially in the city of Detroit where street signs routinely go missing.

One half pound of Corriedale/Shetland blend

There are other signs that although summer just began here a week ago, autumn is close at hand, like the crickets that are making quite a frenzied racket at night--as though they must be heard before the first frost. When watering the garden on Friday, I noticed some of the leaves on the Japanese maple were already bright red. The yellow jackets seem to be in a hurry, too. Or maybe they're just busy looking for new digs since Bill the Bug Killer wiped out their nest on my front porch.

One half pound of skirted alpaca

The surest sign of all that autumn is at hand is the color of yarn I'm buying. Sure, the fiber festival vendors had lots of beautiful, bright and summery offerings, but I was drawn to the darker colors. The colors of winter and the promise of many long days spinning and knitting for warmth.

My friend Sarah who went with me, was sticking to a theme of colors for her Etsy shop. A collection, so to speak. I guess I inadvertently did the same. With the exception of the blue Merino/Tencel blend, I bought a matching set. There was no intention to buy colors that go together, but this is what spoke to me while I was looking. I like to think I'll look at the blue yarn in the depths of winter and dream of the Carribean or the beauty of a bright winter sky after a snowfall. If you want to see what it's looking like all spun up, go take a look on my spinning blog.

Now this I didn't buy. Sarah gave me this. She is a budding indie-dyer and I think she's doing some amazing work. She wants me to spin it up to see how I like it. It's so pretty, I almost hate to unbraid the roving, but if I must...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Doesn't Like a Surprise?

The owner of this fine Angora goat thought she was a little fat.

She wasn't really. She was just in that way.

To the surprise of all and the delight of festival attendants, this morning she gave birth. Twice.

Don't be fooled by this little thief. She may be soft, but she grabbed my camera strap and wouldn't give up without a fight.

I think there was a celebrity siting at the 2009 Michigan Fiber Fest. With hair like that, it can only be Rod Stewart. For some strange reason, I can't get the song, You Wear it Well, out of my head.

I'm too tired for show and tell right now, but my friend Sarah and I had to make more than one trip back to the car when our bags got too heavy. There were dozens and dozens of vendors and more yarn, herding dogs, roving, weavers, shepherds, fleece, wheels, knitters, goats, bunnies, spinners, sheep and elephant ears than you could shake a stick at. One day really wasn't enough, but for now, it'll have to do.

The Clan

At 6:30 this morning, I'll be heading west and leaving the dull roar of the annual Woodward Dream Cruise behind. Others will spend today lining the street to see ancient cars parade up and down the route for hours and hours. I'm hoping this will mean everyone else will stay off of I-94 and leave the way clear for the caravan traveling to the fiber festival.

As I was getting ready to go late last night, my son asked me who else from my clan was crazy enough to spend 3 hours driving 172 miles to go see sheep. You see, he will spend twice the amount of time driving half as many miles to cruise Woodward in a muscle car.

Instead of looking at sheep, he'll be looking at the cars at Mustang Alley. He'll be inhaling exhaust all day while I get to inhale the sweet aroma of sheep and their wool. Really, I think I have the better plan for the day.

I think the above photo is representative of how the clan plans to spend its day. We'll see tomorrow when I show you my own photos. Today's are courtesy of Google Images.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 14, 2009

She's Lost Her Head

Cap Shawl
Pattern: Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
Yarn: Alpaca With a Twist, Fino
Yardage: 1,700 yards
Color: Ruby Slipper

Good bye! Good bye, Ruby! Good Luck! Don't take money from strangers. Be nice to those judges on Tuesday! And hey, lay off of the fair food. See you soon. I hope you're wearing a big blue ribbon the next time I see you, better yet, the rosette for best in show!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Sitting around the last few days, I found myself wondering when I'd get confirmation of my State Fair entry that I sent in a couple of weeks ago. Well wonder no more, here it is. Sometime this weekend, I have to find time to re-block my shawl so it's looking perfect, manage a way to get my piece labeled so it's identified as belonging to me (it's lace-no way to hide a label), find a dress form for display, and take it to the fairgrounds. It's due by 4PM Sunday.

Saturday is out since the spinning posse is caravanning to the Michigan Fiber Festival to indulge in whatever it is spinners do when surrounded by fleece. Good thing Friday is payday.

Who had this hair-brained idea of entering this piece in a fair? I can't help wondering how many judges will look at it and immediately pick out flaws. I must be crazy.

I have to tell you, I've had a real eye opener just by googling dress forms and mannequins. Who knew there were such kinky people out there? There's one Detroit man who smashes windows and steals the female mannequins. He must be lonely...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Everyday People

About 30 years ago, I lost my mind and married a man I thought was an OK sort of guy. For the sake of this story, we'll call him bastard George. It didn't take long to figure out that along with 80 proof blood, George had poison running through his veins. I should have had a clue that something wasn't quite right with this man when having missed the turn, he thought nothing of parking the car in the middle of the lawn at 2 in the morning. I was a little slow to catch on. Only two good things came from that union. The first is my beautiful daughter, Sebba, and the other is my best friend, Fanette. You see, Fanette is my ex husband's niece-his sister Runaway's child. Technically that made her my niece, but really, we're very close friends.

If you have it handy, now would be a good time to get a piece of paper and a pen. You'll need that to keep score.

Prior to my own fall into matrimonial folly, George had been married to Jane, who herself was a piece of work and they had 3 sons. George and Jane had a contentious divorce that was filled with as much drama as their marriage had been. In the midst of all this drama, George's sister, Runaway, Fanette's mother, ran off with Jane's brother, deserting her own husband and 4 daughters under the age of six. Are you still with me? In spite of their parents and families, Fanette and her sisters turned out OK, too.

Never in my life have I met a more venomous gang of people as George and Jane and their relatives. George's mother was the ring leader. Her kids could do no wrong. Never mind that George, a drunk, was a serial groom who would wed any girl dumb enough to say I do, her own daughter Runaway was elevated to sainthood in her eyes. How do you even begin to justify deserting 4 young girls to go live free and easy in California? You can't run further away from life on this continent without falling into the ocean. Over the years, Runaway has rewritten her personal history that's complete with an ogre (the husband she deserted), and chock full of excuses that to her, ring true. George's mother embraced every excuse her daughter dished out as gospel. She was all about appearances. She simply couldn't accept that her daughter may have been a hussy and when all was said and done, it was really all about the sex.

To give you an example of how mean the woman was, a couple of years after I married George, I sat rocking my newborn Sebba. With complete sincerity, my mother in law looked me in the eyes and said, "I hope some day soon, my Georgie and Jane will get back together so they can be a family again." She was all fuzzy and sweet that way. I was dumbfounded and filled with antipathy for that woman. She was incredibly cruel and not surprisingly, very lonely. After many years of living by herself in Detroit, my ex mother in law moved to California to be near her daughter. I heard she died in a chair in her living room, all alone with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.

As dramas go, this family had (and continues to have) doozies. As history begins to repeat itself (as it tends to do), I am watching more family drama unfold as one of George's sons gets divorced. How my daughter found herself smack in the middle of this circus side show is beyond me. I have no advice except to say that she needs to consider the source(s). She may also be in need of a priest to perform some sort of blessing or exorcism. If all else fails, she may want to use the freezer method of eliminating people with bad karma.

Photo: google images

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Speak to Me

Bring on winter! Oh, I'm not talking about being tired of summer. Yet. This weekend feels like it's the first summer weather we've had, complete with wicked storms.

No, I'm not wishing for cool weather. I'm just looking forward to autumn knitting. I can't believe the fall issue of Interweave Knits. Each page is better than the page before, but it's the cover photo that's calling my name. Is that not the most beautiful sweater? I haven't done the math to figure out what this would cost, but my local yarn store does have this yarn. In that color. In stock.

When I left the spinning circle yesterday and sat down to read this issue, I had to force myself to stay home. The urge to cast on for this was mighty strong. I was afraid I was going to run back up there and buy all the Manos del Uruguay. Torrential downpours saved my bank account, but for awhile there, it was touch and go.

If you don't have this issue yet, don't miss out. I don't usually fancy every single pattern in each issue, but I do for this one.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flirting With Disaster

ETA: Apparently, google seems to think I'm some kind of computer robot querying thousands of websites. One minute I'm checking out your websites and the next, I'm banned. The last spot I visited was the Rainey Sisters where I tried to view a photo link. Your knitting nurse is being held hostage by google and cannot visit any blogger websites which I find ludicrous. Of course, getting help from google is simply impossible. Like a dog chasing its tail, each help or contact button I press for google sends me back to the original site. It sucks. Sigh.... If you have any savvy in this area, can you please enlighten me? I know CPR, indeed, I know advanced life support. I can ease pain in the most distraught of people. I understand medicalese like you can't believe, but unless it's point and click and rather idiot proof, I'm at a loss with this high falutin' internet thing. Please advise. If all else fails, send Bill Clinton...



As a small child with long, dark tresses, I innocently went to bed one night and awoke to some creature biting the hell out of my neck. It was a wasp, and those nasty things sting more than once. Since that time, I've been deathly afraid of stinging insects. I recall the fright from having that thing tangled in my hair and stinging me repeatedly. I can still see the dead wasp from that night more than 4 decades ago. In my mind's eye, it's the size of a pterodactyl.

About two weeks ago, I began to pay attention to the hive of activity going on behind my favorite spot on my front porch. Whatever had been flying up the pillar on my porch began to outgrow their lodgings. There was always a flurry of activity around that spot whenever I went out to water the plants. When I'd sit in the swing, none of them bothered me, but the watering drove them nuts. I haven't been able to wash the porch in 2 weeks either and the spiders were beginning to take over what the winged insects hadn't. Since I thought the flying insects were bees, I didn't want to disrupt them-bees are in enough trouble. But... when nature began to take over the porch, I paid notice.

Last Thursday, I finally called the rental management company and asked them to send a professional exterminator out to fix this problem. After about a week, Bill the Bug Killer came by to take care of business-that's him behind the swing. I thought it was a bit over the top when he donned the bee keeper hat and gloves, but when he began to spray up that pillar, the WASPS began to buzz his head as though they were insane. For several hours after he left, the flying critters were trying their damndest to get back into the pillar he'd sprayed, powdered and plugged up. Bill says they'll give up and go elsewhere after a couple of days. He also said there were likely hundreds of them living in there in their nasty little tunnels. Busy little buggers.

So, I've pondered enough, done the math, brewed enough coffee and cast on for the tank top. As you can see, I'm not much of a sketch artist, and the arms on this sketch seem ginormous, but I think you get the general idea. I'm shooting for a V neck tank with a pretzel type cable called Flirtation (from Vogue Stitchionary, Volume 2, Cables, p. 55) going right up the middle. I'm only showing arms on the sketch because I think I want to knit a peek-a-boo cap sleeve onto this. What do you think? Cap sleeve showing bare shoulders or no? I think I'm going to call this piece, Flirt.

Disclaimer: I snapped the photo of Bill from INSIDE the house which is why you can't see much. Once bit, twice shy...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Suum Cuique

In other words: to each his own...

Plain sock with eye of partridge heel, knit in Jitterbug's Raphael.

What is art? I consider some of my knitting to be art. Not all of it to be sure, but some of it. Like my circular cap shawl. That was made of blood, sweat, tears and lots and lots of time (not to mention a bit of money). I didn't design the pattern, nor spin the yarn, but just the same, I consider it a work of art. Some of the socks I've knit are works of art, too. Maybe not the stitches per se, but the beauty only one of a kind dyed yarns can achieve makes them art. Besides, I adore sock architecture. Every single time, indeed, every single sock I knit leaves me in awe of the knitters who went before, and even worked out that with a few fancy maneuvers, they could achieve an article of clothing that would cover the foot. With one piece of string no less. Artists. Every last one of them. The foot is not such an easy appendage to design an article of clothing for. Think about that the next time you slip on a sock (even if you are unlucky enough not to know how to make something special for your feet, or better yet, have someone make it for you).

I did spin the Creamsicle colored yarn and I think it's special. Art. Shown here in two ply, it's wound and ready to be knit into something completely unique. Something I'm going to design with a little help from those who have blazed the trail before me. Maybe a cute little tank top with leaves and a trellis knit in relief climbing right up the middle. I haven't decided yet. I'll be sure to take copious notes in the event it's a success and others will want to knit this.

The yarn is mostly wound up now-displayed here on a tatted piece of art that was made by my grandmother, Irma. Right next to it is the mug I won from Debra. I swear my coffee tastes ten times better when I sip it from this beautiful work of art. Is it because it's a pretty little thing, or is it because it's made by someone special? Either way, I'm holding art in my hands that contains something warm to sip while I ponder what that yarn will be. Perfection.

Where do you get your fill of art?

That's enough musing for today. I'm off to design a cute little top that I can wear to showcase my flair. I'll leave my fellow Detroit area residents with a blast from our pasts.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Stalker

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you. 

I was soundly trounced on my first day back to work and I know it's that damned full moon's fault.  Since it's so pretty, I'm going to try hard to ignore that it plans to ruin my week.  

Bella Luna by Jason Mraz.  Top photo by Rudee K

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Weekend Away, MI Way

By the time we were finished cleaning up a few odds and ends on Friday, it was after 2 PM when we hit the road. Undecided which direction to head, we elected to spend our hard earned dollars in our home state and took north bound I-75 out of town.

At 6 PM, we were up near the tip of the ring finger. We'd thought about going a little further north into da UP, eh, but given how little we packed temperature wise, we were north enough. We landed smack in the heart of cherry country in the middle of the 5th annual Traverse City Film Festival. Not so bright given that we had no hotel reservations.

No worries though, we stayed on the street side of Grand Traverse Bay and snagged a room at the Hampton Inn. It was pretty chilly for July, but after dinner, we bought a bottle of Cab, 2 wine glasses and a bottle opener and walked across the street to a park. It was a perfect night to be out of doors, out of town and out of the car.

Saturday was cold and dreary but we didn't let that stop us. We got back in the car and drove to that inlet above the deer's tail, Charlevoix. It felt like someone had snagged up the residents of Grosse Pointe and dropped them smack in the middle of this town. We had lunch in a little spot near the marina where we watched yachts go in and out in the rain. I'm amazed anyone still has enough money in this state to operate those monstrosities, but they must.

Sunday dawned with a few beautiful clouds, but mostly sun and blue skies. We hung out at the beach that's part of a state park that includes a campground and a small stretch of beach. It was beautiful. The birds are a little aggressive while looking for food. There are no trash bins in this park-strictly a carry in and carry out policy, but that didn't stop those birds from looking. Some people were feeding the birds despite the signs requesting they refrain. Feeding the birds increases the chance that the beach will become polluted by e-coli. Makes perfect sense to me.

Locals say it's the coldest summer they can recall up north. Even with the sun yesterday, it didn't get much higher than 70 degrees. The breeze off the bay was chilly and I was thankful I'd taken a bit of wool along with me. We didn't take in any of the movies since we didn't want to be indoors. The festival did have one late night outdoor venue with a giant inflatable movie screen that showed older movies. Situated in the park along the bay, it looked like it would have been fun to watch a movie there if we'd brought coats, blankets and a lot more wool. Maybe next year.

Back home and refreshed, I'm thinking it's not so healthy to wait so long to take a mental health break and play footsies on the beach.

Photos: Michigan map courtesy of State of Michigan and Google Images. All other photos from Rudee K and a Nikon D40 Digital Camera