Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yes, the earth is cycling again. It turns and rumbles around in space, despite whatever horrible things humans can do on earth. Humans are such bizarre creatures. They think they are so important, when actually we humans are not so important in the scheme of things.

The universe is such a marvelous place. It is good to look at the big picture and realize that we are just specks in the whole picture. Just little motes of dust!

The SAD is finally wearing off. I have been going out in the yard and working in the flower beds. I am trying to prepare things for the cycle of Spring. Things are beginning to poke up through the ground. I think it is a silly thing that I am trying to dig out the grass that has made a home in the big flower bed in front. But that is what I did. I dug up a lot of things I did not want in the place that it had found for a home. It sounds rather cruel, but actually in the big picture I am preparing the space for things that will support the bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Last year I had more bees than I have seen in a long, long time. Thank goodness for that. Of course, I remember that the stupid Japanese beetles decided to invade too.

I am feeling some creativity seeping in. That is good. I actually started a pair of socks! Yes, I know. Something small, but it will be really nice. I am using a pattern from Folk Socks of Estonia. It is a goats-eye pattern. Yes, I know. I mumble and groan when I do these stranded colorworks. But I like something that will give me a little more challenge. I am using some yarn I dyed with Padauk sawdust and some brown that I found in the sock yarn bowl. It will be nice, I think. I just started the pattern work. When I get a little ways along I will put out a picture.

I had a moment of insanity on Friday. I actually had an estimate done to remodel the tub in the hall bathroom. I just looked at the total amount and thought, "This is so stupid!" But I actually fretted about it and thought about it for a long, long time. Then the insanity passed, and the moment is gone. I am not going to fork out that many bucks for the vanity of a "nice" bathroom. I can do a little bit of freshening up with paint, new vanity, new fixtures in the tub, a new backsplash, and new lighting. And it will look okay with the big bucks. But I am not going to do anything any time soon.

I have been seriously thinking about what it is I really want in my life right now. A new bathroom is not on the list. What I want is a place that is comfortable for me to find creativity and a space that I can create within. I have always said that my house is really my studio. I just have more room in my "studio" than I have ever had. It is convenient that I can designate spaces for knitting, for spinning, for dyeing, for sewing, etc.

I will maintain my space as needed and update as needed, because some day it may have to be sold. I bought this space as an investment against the future needs that occur as one ages. I can easily change the "studio" to a home and move on. But I do know that I like my space to be in some order and some cleanliness. I finally got the floor cleaned after the snow mess, and I noticed that I tracked in some dirt from the garden yesterday.

I gave myself permission to live an unorthodox life in a culture that doesn't understand what I am doing. But as long as I understand, I guess it doesn't really matter. I am reminded at times that I can slip up and want the same things as culture dictates (a new bathroom), but usually insanity is only temporary.

I was discussing with CS at Knit Night Thursday that I am often reminded that the majority of people do not "do things". I was telling her about everyone at the wedding kept telling me how beautiful the quilt was that I gave R & H for Christmas. I thought it was strange, because to me it was just a quilt. It was pretty, but it was just a quilt. My girlfriend CF reminded me that I take for granted that people "make things." I grew up in a family that made things all the time. But I know that for many, many years (1980's and 1990's) I found that many people did not do the things I do.

I remember that I was at work (I used to be an occupational therapist) and one girl was leaving early to run by Wal-Mart to buy her husband some socks. Without thinking I asked about this. She said all his socks had holes in them. I asked why she didn't darn them! I know, stupid question. I won't give you the whole conversation-you can imagine that!

But later I was discussing this with a male friend on the phone. When he picked up, I asked him what he was doing. He was darning some socks that I had made for him ten years prior. I laughed and told him darning was not acceptable any more. I told him about the conversation. He listened and answered with, "Well, I guess you didn't tell her you spin your own yarn and knit your own socks, did you?" So it became a joke between us.

So now my friends are people who "do things" like I do. I meet lots of people that say"I could never do that. It takes too much time" I don't know if it is age or what, but I just smile and go on. I become overwhelmed when I have gone to fiber events, and everyone there is so remarkable and doing what I do. My type of creativity is usually found in a solitary life, and I find validation through my friends. I think that is why I am looking forward to the dyeing class online. I can do this alone on my own time, but I have the connection to the "others" through chats and forums. We will see.

Well, this has been a rambling mess. I just have been doing some thinking, and trying to move out of the cycle of SAD. I am trying to flow with the energy of the earth at the moment. I am feeling more energy out of the trees, too. But it is way to early for them to bring their sap up. We still have to get through March. It is enough that I am watching little things poking up and looking for the light of the sun.

A new storm is moving in today. Then nice, sunny days this week for three days! Yeah! Well, good-bye to February. The cycles are occurring as we go about our little lives. It will soon be Equinox! The light has changed, the winds have changed, the earth has warmed. Keep on moving! On with March!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Simple Pleasures!

The wedding quilt is done. It is washed, and dried, and folded up into its storage bag. It took three tries to get the label on, but it is on. Whew!
This is a close-up of the quilting. I LOVE it! I always leave it up to the quilter to pick a pattern. I told her it was a wedding quilt, and that maybe hearts would be too corny. But don't you just love it! I do! To me it looks like a meandering vine with heart-shaped leaves. It was the perfect balance for the geometric-ness of the blocks. I am very pleased with the outcome!

And this week I finished the sage-dyed romney wool. I started it a while back, but I just putzed along with it. It came out really a pretty soft green, and it is more of a semi-solid shading. I am finishing up the red wool that I started mixing and quit mixing. I will have to see if it enough to do a pair of socks. If there is enough yardage it will be gifted to a friend of mine who has requested some sock yarn. It is coincidental that it is her favorite colorway. I hope, hope, hope there is enough yardage.
Wow! There is some serious thunder overhead right now. It is too early for a Spring storm, but here it is.
I have the wandering-itis, and I really have been perusing fiber shows, etc. The difficulty is the cost. My gosh! It is getting to be just too expensive to go on a trip. The cost of gas is going to sky-rocket, and the headlines today mentioned airline prices are going up too. The other downside is now fiber shows are getting to be too expensive. Now that fiber-related stuff is zooming along, so are the prices for the workshops. I think the marketers think that we are rich. Well, there are some rich people, but there are some not-rich people too.
I am trying out some new ideas. I signed up for an online course in Shibori dyeing of silk. I think the ideas I learn will be able to translate to other fabrics as well. I am excited to learn something new. I got my packet of dyes and materials, and now I just wait for the class.
I think the internet use for classes makes sense to me. I can't afford the cost of travel, and the cost on the internet is much cheaper than taking a class at a fiber show.
My friend CJE called yesterday and told me she sold her first short story. It will be in a collection that is coming out in March!
It is getting darker, so I guess a storm is brewing! Yikes! It is only February. I hope this doesn't mean a long storm season this Spring! I hate Spring storms. So unpredictable and unstable!
I am now floundering around looking for a new project that inspires me. I am looking through old magazines and studying patterns. Surely the knitting thing will start again. I just don't want to knit. I don't know what's wrong! Usually I have a pair of plain-ole-socks on the needles and I can trudge along through these hiatuses (spelling?). Nada on the socks. I just don't want to knit.
At least I am still spinning. I am listening to the stupidest book on tape. I go to NetLibrary and download audiobooks. This one is stupid. I should just quit listening, but I have a thing about just quitting a book. But this may be a good thing to do with this one. I don't have to concentrate and I just kind of zone out as I am spinning. It is a pleasant way to pass some time.
Oh! Another sign of weather changes-Noodles starts screaming at 7:30 am. I am still locking his cat door at night, and he wants out. He goes by light and his light-clock says it is time to go out! I was in a very deep sleep and dreaming when he started his yowling this morning. It took some time to arouse myself and come out of sleep. But he was very persistent. Even Patty got into the game and started nosing me. I was not a happy camper-needless to say! I looked at the clock and saw 7:48 a.m. I groaned and tried to just lie there a while. No luck! YOWL! NUDGE, NUDGE! SIGH!
It is raining now! Guess I better get off the computer for a while.
Hope you have good plans for the weekend! Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Is Only a Sneak Preview!

I have a few friends that think the latest weather is Spring. No this is not Spring. This is not a green-up Spring. This is February. Not March. I know it is so pleasant to sit out in the sun and be warm. But in the shade it is still coolish. The ground is not totally thawed yet. It is just mucky on the surface. I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

We have gotten snow even into April, although it is a wet, sloppy snow that melts quickly. But it just means that it is not Spring yet. I mentioned last year that my friend in Little Rock always called it the Snow Tire and Daffodil Festival days. My daffs are just peeking up. My girlfriend CF has buds that are ready to open. Who knows?

I ordered a few new seeds in January, and I am just waiting until after the Equinox to think about it.

I haven't been knitting much. I just am working on the handspun sweater. I am almost ready to begin the lace part.

What I have been working on is the quilt for my son and daughter-in-law. I got it back from the quilter last week, got the binding sewn on, and now I am doing the handwork. I am slow and it will take this week to finish all four sides of the binding. I will put the label on, wash it, and then off it will go to Little Rock. I am so pleased with it. The quilter put scrolling vining meandering around the quilt and hearts hanging from the vines that look like leaves. It is so pretty. It makes the quilt.

Last weekend was the Home and Garden Show. Somehow the Garden part was forgotten. There was one landscaper there. The most expensive stuff was displayed everywhere. To me it was so frivolous. Who needs faucets that look like sculptures? I just need a plain-ole showerhead that sprays water and rinses the soap off. I guess some folks have been watching the DIY shows on t.v. There was tons of outdoor "rooms" set up with very expensive furniture, lamps, umbrellas, etc. There was the most expensive set of washer/dryers I've ever seen. They were very pretty. But who can afford that much money for a set like that?

I did visit with my girlfriend JE. Her business was there and she and her parents manned the booth. She stopped by Saturday night to unwind before coming home. We caught up on magazines and books I have gotten since I last saw her. I didn't have much knitting to show her. Just the clown socks and the gray socks. She has seen everything else. And I did show her the quilt, since I was sewing on the binding when she came over. I showed her the latest spinning projects. That's it. Not much, huh?

I have been going through some weird dream cycles lately. I have these dreams that I call "story dreams". They are like a t.v. movie or something. It is hard to describe. I often wonder why I have these kinds of dreams, but it has been happening all my life in certain cycles. I just know that eventually I will cycle out of these and into another type of dream.

I drove up to Harrison to pick up my quilt last week. I took some back roads and went to visit my friend CF afterwards. We went into Jasper and had lunch, and then I headed home over the mountain route. I did not see any elk or any of the swans in Boxley Valley. But it is interesting to observe all the shades of gray, gray-brown, and the various greens of everygreens. I like the tones this time of year. They are very soft and muted. I always think of watercolors this time of year. That soft bleed of color around the shadows. It makes me want to paint again.

Today is a rainy day. It is a female rain with wind and cooler weather. It is soaking into the ground easily. The chickweed and early weeds are quite happy. The heavy bell I have is making a nice deep tone next to the tinkling of the wind chimes. Noodles is going in and out of the cat door this morning and he seems to be eating quite a bit. That is always a sign that it is cooler.

Have a good week. Just relax. Spring will come; it always does. I am as antsy as the next person. But I will not fool myself into thinking "This is IT!" We still have to get through March.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sun Is A Wonderful Thing!

I know it has only been less than a week, but it seems a lot more to me. I knew I was in trouble when the snow was up to my crotch. And we had record low temps too.

Today it is all a memory, except for the snow that is left in the yards and parking lots. The sun is hot and melting everything it can. I have been sitting on the deck in my chair and reading a book. It is marvelous! I have my sweats pulled up to my knees and a short-sleeved t-shirt. It is beyond marvelous! It is luxurious!

So what if it is global warming? I am enjoying the sun!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Clown Socks-Check!

Here's the pink socks drying on the rack in the laundry. Okay-why clown socks! Well, really-look at that pink yarn! Someone left it on the table during a stash exchange. I just stuck the balls of yarn in my bag while cleaning off the table after our meeting. Somewhere I wondered what to do with it. So the only thing I could think would tame the colors would be to use a solid. Try to find a solid pink sock yarn that would go with those colors and I ended up with this light pink. I found the Scandinavian Pattern Socks in the Little Book of Socks by Charlene Schurch. And now I have these really loud, pink stranded knit socks! We had such a lovely day yesterday! It actually got above freezing, the sun was shining, and some melting got done. There is a crunch now in the snow from the ice on top. Today we have clouds again, and the weather people say more snow. We will see. Then another mess on Wednesday. Really! Can't we just get on with Spring?

So for the first time in a long, long time, I have no socks on the needles! Can that be? Not even baby socks! So I finished the grey socks and the pink socks, and do I need more socks? I thought I could do a pair for H for her birthday in March. Maybe. But I am happy to focus on the sweater right now. I am still going to get going on the afghan for my nephew. Isn't it strange to not have a ton of projects going at one time? Maybe. But it feels good just to focus.

There is a show on NBC called "Who Do You Think You Are?" It is focused on famous people, but it is really interesting to me. I gave up on genealogy last year. But then I see this show. I think the question I want to answer right now is "What is Steve's story?" He was my paternal grandfather. He died in 1945 at the age of 42. I didn't realize until a while after my grandmother's death that she never ever talked about him. I think as a child we hear stories that our parents, grandparents, and maybe great-grandparents (in my case anyway) tell us. It is the story that they want us to know at that time. I know my grandmother's story before Steve and after Steve. But I know nothing about them as a couple. How did she meet him? Where did she meet him? I have found pictures of them together, especially with my father. So I tried at one time to find out the flow chart of genealogy with the usual searches of census records. I have found that frustrating because it allows ten years in between. There are large gaps. So I stopped and put it away. So today I am starting a new tactic. I have ordered his death and birth certificates. Maybe that can give me more info about his parents. I hope anyway. I just want to know Steve's story.

Well, let's see. It's Sunday. I am listening to NPR, and I am going to spend the day spinning the green yarn. And wait for the weather to change.

Have a good week. Be safe and watch out for the ice!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sigh! Is It Over Yet?

I am not going to even do the usual griping about the weather. It doesn't change a thing. It is not fun, it is not going away, and it is not over yet. Today is the only day that will be above freezing, and the sun is out. A week ago I was enjoying the sun and sitting outside on the deck. I had the windows and the back door open. Today there is snow and more snow and some more snow. Yesterday was supposed to be a "light dusting, maybe up to an inch of accumulation". Well, it snowed all day and I got probably 3-4 inches of accumulation. Enough to cover up all the footpaths I had made so Patty could potty.

So take a deep breath. It is not over. Tomorrow there is some more and Wednesday looks like more.
I haven't done a whole lot of creative. I have been lying in bed with Patty and reading a lot. I have read two books this week. I have done a little bit of knitting. I have maybe an inch to go on the pink sock to start the toe decrease. I have been ploughing along on the sweater. I have maybe an inch to go of the waist shaping. I like to do the cables better than I do the lace. But it is all good. I finished the book on tape and one bobbin of the green sage wool and have almost finished the second bobbin. I downloaded a new book from NetLibrary yesterday so I can get that second bobbin finished.
I did pick up the crocheted afghan I am making for my nephew's wedding gift. I did get another color finished on that.
I did get a little bit antsy yesterday about maybe starting another project. I went on Ravelry and Knitty and looked at patterns. I got distracted and even went to Knit Circus. But then it became more of a lurking around at patterns. I lost interest. I am not into knitting right now. Which is okay. I got the quilt pieced and sent off to the quilter.
Poor Noodles is having to use the kitty litter. That is a serious situation. He will go outside for a little bit; then as soon as he slides through the cat door, he goes to the litter box. It is just an awful situation for him. I am trying to help by keeping it clean. He justs looks out the back door and scans for any place that may be safe to go to. Then he walks back to one of his window seats and sleeps for a while.
The birds have been frantic about feeding. I am feeding them 3 times a day now. The bullies are out. The big black birds and red-winged blackbirds are taking over. I will be glad when the snow is gone and they can go back to the fields.
So nothing is new. I have been house-bound and have not been out in the car. My road is still pretty treacherous. I think the main roads are cleared enough to drive, but getting there is not easy. If it continues to warm up today I may try to go to the grocery store. We will see.
Stay warm, stay safe and snuggle in wherever you may be. It is not over yet.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

47 Days Until Spring!

Well, unless you are living under a rock or in a cave somewhere other than the U.S., there is a massive storm moving through. This one is the BIG ONE! We are holding our breath, hoping there will be no power outages. Two years ago we had the BIG ONE, and I did not have power for six days! Some of my rural friends had it much worse.

I have fuel in my lanterns, and I can hunker down really well. I know the animals are very unhappy right now. Both went out for potty breaks, but both are on separate beds curled under blankets. The real secret is my hot water bottle. I can use the top burners of my stove, and I can heat up food and water. My hot water tank is gas, so I can use that. I will not have heat, since there is an electric thermostat/control on my gas furnace. Camping in the house!

I did check the trees, and they are coated with ice. There is one limb over my power line, and if that puts enough pressure on the power line, that's it.

The birds are frantic! They are squawking and scrabbling like it is serious to get food right now.

This past Saturday it was in the 60's and I was able to sit in the sun for long stretches of time. It was heavenly! And now just a memory!

CJE came over for a short time on Sunday to get away from her house for a while. We played with our "stuff" and went for a nice lunch. Then she had to return to reality and home to check on her mother-in-law that lives with them. AE was going to a meeting and she promised him to be home between 3:30 and 4 p.m. A short break from insanity.

I wonder where the term "weather the storm" comes from? I like to think I am doing that. I have food, shelter, and all the necessities. I filled the gas tank in my car just in case-of what, I don't know. I can't drive anywhere. Oh, I know it has something to do with the gas line freezing.

I just talked to my friend in Kansas. She works for Red Cross on blood drives. They actually sent them out to Independence last night. Of course, the community college that was going to sponsor the drive is closed. So she is holed up in a motel with a book and not much to do. The Red Cross is a business, just like any other business. Since they are not having the drive today, they are making them take PTO time. Isn't that crappy?! At least they get their motel rooms paid for.

Well, I am going to go hunker down and try to not look out the window so much. I keep watching the power line. I am getting to the end of my book, which is getting to the good part now. It is a complex book, and I have to go back and reread things. It is a good distraction. I also have my knitting. I am decreasing the gussets on the pink sock, and I am shaping the waist on the sweater.

I am also going to take a shower and wash my hair. I know that doesn't make sense. If the power goes off, I do not take showers when there is no heat. I spot wash. And my hair does not get washed without a shower.

Hunker down, get a warm spot, find a good book, get your knitting out, and weather the storm. I know I am there now.