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Archive for June, 2004

On a Deadline

Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

I’m busy today in the last stages of a submission for publication. I’m working on making sure the numbers are right for five different sizes of this sock.

I am also working on cleaning up a graph/chart for the sock, using Stitch Painter Gold. I don’t know, I teach computer programs but this one is really confusing me. Other people say it is intuitive, but it is not for me. I did use it for a good part of the chart but then I took it into PhotoShop, where I am comfortable, to do text labels.

While I do this work, I have one person checking my pattern for technical errors and inconsistencies in the text. I also have another person knitting my sample which will be used for photographs. I swore I never wanted to be a boss but here I sort of am. The difference is, the two women I’m working with are peers more than anything. And they are pros in every sense. I’m delighted to have this team going.

Anyway, I need to go back to my work so this will be short… but,

…a quick note: My father died 31 years ago today. This week I remembered something he used to say quite often. As we would prepare to leave the house, maybe to go visit a friend or attend an event, mom would say “be careful.” Of course, she did. That is what mothers everywhere seem to say.

But Daddio? He would follow Mom’s caution with a booming: “Be MEAN!!!”

I think he knew that I would tend to be afraid. And he knew darned well I would not actually be mean. But he was giving me permission to be bold. He was giving me permission to step out with confidence, and not concentrate on the scary stuff.

My Dad was quite a treasure. I’m glad I can remember him so well. Lucky me.

Two Days, Two Nights in the Trees

Tuesday, June 29th, 2004

Well, I told you I was going away to camp, and I did. Brian and I joined his family camping trip on Sunday and Monday, and then Tuesday morning. It rained a lot on Sunday night. I was not too happy outdoors but I was committed so I just put on lots of wool. The second night was warmer and dry, but the wind blew like crazy and it was so loud!!! Between Lake Michigan and the trees, I kept waking up because of the noise. You can see, the trees are sometimes breathtakingly beautiful. I can see why others want to do this… that is, go outdoors for days at a time. It is just gorgeous. However, I can’t imagine ever really wanting to do it, myself. I just am spoiled a bit. I like being warm and dry.

On the bright side, I did get to sleep in reasonably late both days, which was definitely a plus. I also started my purple/blue Reggio sox (yarn from Yarn for Ewe pictured here a few days back). In fact, I did the cuffs and feet, but since they are afterthought heel sox, I need now to do the heels and toes. Then I will have a new pair already! So the knitting was pretty good, at least in the car there and back.

I took a lot of pictures. It was very pretty there (Muskegon State Park, on Lake Michigan.) I guess I would have been happy to make it a day trip… go there, take pictures, hug friends, go home. But I did get more time with Kathy, Pedro, and Jennifer. We all enjoy one another a lot. Here you can see the backs of Pedro, Kathy, Jennifer, and Brian, as they enjoy the sun-heated sand after spending a wet evening in tents.

Jennifer lives in Washington DC and Kathy and Pedro are in Jacksonville, Florida. We all enjoy similar food (they are entirely vegetarian, and I eat/cook mostly vegetarian) so we shared meals while others were eating hot dogs and hamburgers. One lunch we had Indian food (which comes in boiling packs, easily heated on a camp stove) and one dinner we had grilled veggies… red onions, green and orange bell peppers, and asparagus, plus we had tortillas and refried beans and avocados. It was wonderful, especially the grilled onions which got almost carmelized. Yum!

Brian made sure I got my hot tea (it is comfort food as well as caffeine) each day. He really does care if I am comfortable. I really can’t be comfortable outdoors more than a handful of hours, but he really tried to make it better. First note the coffee shop with the large Elvis image on the wall. This was Koinonia coffee shop, where they were extra friendly. They were my kind of ladies… each tea cup was a different color and they chose the mug for each person based on the colors the person was wearing… so I got a purple mug, of course! This photo has Jennifer on the left, then Kathy and Pedro.

And here is RuthAnn’s ice cream shop and camping store. It’s right outside the campground. It was here I got most of my hot tea. The colors are just right, don’t you think??? And you should have seen her garden! I even saw a swallowtail butterfly in her flowers, but by the time I found my camera the butterfly was across the street. That was a disappointment.

I took so many photos I’ll have to give you a few here and there as I have days without current photos. However, I really like this last sweet photo of Kath and Pedro on the beach. I tell you, these two are some of my most precious friends. Occasionally I consider I might like to live in Jacksonville… just so I could spend more time with them. It is a shame they live so far away, but we do see them usually at least twice a year, at Christmas and camping. Sometimes I also pop through Jacksonville if I go down to Florida to see my mother. It makes a too-busy itinerary, but it’s sort of worth it for a few hugs from these fine people! I’m so lucky to know them.

It occurs to me that folks not from this area, may not realize how large Lake Michigan really is. It really is more like a sea than a lake. You can not see across it, although in photos sometimes you see low clouds that look like land. It takes hours to cross it. The beaches have a wonderful soft white sand, as well. And it is not all that far from my house. I guess I’m a spoiled person, really, to have this luxury so close by, and then to not use it as much as I could. There are a good handful of beaches less than 2 hours away from home.

Hey you guys, I missed you… I really try not to miss posting every day… it’s a real goal of mine to make at least 28 posts a month. I had gone about 2.5 months so far without missing a day, and proud of it… honestly, it would have delighted me to have access to the internet while I was gone. In reality, because of the sand dunes, even my cellphone would not work properly. I had to give in to the experience. I did get to talk to a lot of folks who I enjoy, though. And Monday night, we played and sang our music for Brian’s father. He really loves our music. It was great to play for him, knowing how much he enjoys it. That part was quite nice.

I was happy to get home, though, and get a hot bath. And go back to work, first for a computer client and then teaching my beginning knitting class at Foster Center. I had so many emails waiting for me when I returned, that I may have bounced a few because of a full mailbox (if you tried to reach me and that happened to you, please try again). But I tell you, work or not, I am one happy girl to be home with a roof over my head! Aaaaahhhh…. Time to sleep in my wonderful, warm, soft bed.

Jam-Packed Friday

Saturday, June 26th, 2004

Wowie, what a busy Friday I had. I had lunch with my Goddaughter, Sara. Then we took my New Beetle to an empty parking lot at a school, and she practiced driving my stick shift. She does a pretty decent job of it, considering how afraid she is of doing it wrong. We are preparing to go on a trip out east and I want her to be able to drive part of the way. I will be sure to drive the hilly areas in Vermont, for example. It should be pretty easy for her to do a good job when we drive through Ontario from Port Huron/Sarnia to Niagara.

After my time with Sara, I called a few yarn shops back, and we scheduled some classes. I’ll be doing my ColorJoy Stole at A Gathering Basket in Chelsea on November 6 & 13, and Buttons/Beads in Polymer Clay at Yarn Garden in Charlotte, on September 11. I’m excited to do these classes. I love teaching!!!

Then I took some yarn to my knitter, Wendy, because we’re working on my 3rd design in the series of 3 Turkish-inspired designs, for Heels and Toes Gazette. And she happens to be really close to City Market so I stopped in there. I got some petunias to add to my geranium pots, since the geraniums refuse to bloom (although their variegated leaves are totally gorgeous). I wanted more color. I got dark purple and salmon (matches the flamingos).

I also talked to my computer student, Glenn, who runs the cheese booth at the market with his wife, Ruth. And then I worked my way around to Seif Foods… to talk to Magda and get some of her wonderful food. I got a veggie wrap which was incredibly good. Then I bought some baklava which is quite different than the Lebanese version so commonly found around here these days. It was more like a triangular wrap of filo dough with a large amount of sweetened walnuts as a filling inside, and drizzled with sugar syrup. Very lovely.

After I got home, we went to Charlotte Bluegrass Festival to jam with some friends we only see once or twice a year. That was very very fun. Other than the cold and mosquitos, that is! We had to finally get going home about 11:30, a little early for us, because it was just getting too cold to be fun any more.

I had such a busy day I didn’t take any photographs. Today (Saturday) I did a tour around the house and watered every plant that needed it. I planted the petunias I bought yesterday (the pots are quite overpopulated with plants now, but beautiful).

And I was delighted to see that my pot of lettuce is really looking healthy. I moved the pot in the last few days, because it was sitting in the sun in the late afternoon, and Laura told me lettuce doesn’t like afternoon sun. Well, the lettuce loves its new place, I think. It hasn’t been there long but at least a few plants have 1/4″ leaves. And the parsley we planted (from small plants, not seed), is so big I need to start harvesting it very soon. It’s making shade on top of the Swiss chard. What a happy problem that is!

Off to do more work on the Turkish-style sock, and then to perform as The Fabulous Heftones at Altu’s, 6:30-8:30. May you all have a great weekend.

Big Shopping and Wool Weather

Friday, June 25th, 2004

Wednesday I went to Yarn for Ewe, determined to finally spend my gift certificates I got for my birthday (November 28) and Christmas. Woohoo, was I there on the right day!!! They had just received a bunch of new socknitting yarns.

Now, each yarn store has its own personality, right? Well, Marlene Osborn, the owner of Yarn for Ewe, is a prolific socknitter and an amazing knitter of sweaters, many of them Aran style. So she carries some amazing excellent quality wool yarns for sweaters… and she sure knows what socknitting yarns to buy as well.

She has many customers, of course, who take the excellent socknitting classes there (taught by several of her staff members, including Marlene, Ruth, Wendy, who knits my sample sox for me when I publish in the Heels and Toes Gazette, and Marcia… and perhaps others). With all these socknitters in and out of the shop, it means these yarns will be snapped up in a matter of days. I have learned that if I go home trying to figure out which sockyarns I want to get, by the time I go back, they are gone.

Perfect timing for the gift certificates, then! I was glad I had held on to them as long as I had, because I could grab an armful and not feel guilty at all. From Left to Right: Lane Cervinia Forever Jacquard, color 220 (blue, green turquoise stripes with navy/white jacquard bits), Regia Color in color 5572 (gorgeous subtle khaki greens, I’ll use a contrast for rib/heel/toe in a pair for Brian), Regia Jacquard Color in color 5175 (thin stripes of taupe, gray and black, with dark gray and white bits, and Reggio Exclusive in color 715 (purple blue and charcoal stripes with dark gray and white bits, in sportweight rather than fingering). Nice stuff, all of it. I figure the turquoise and purple are mine, and the green and taupe are Brian’s. I’m going to enjoy waiting in line, knitting these yarns!

Oh, and on top of all these gorgeous yarns, I ordered a bag of Cotton Twist yarn by Berrocco in a gorgeous aqua/turquoise. This yarn is so gorgeous! It is cotton/rayon, which makes it shiny and drapey, and it comes in several colors that really make me happy. I am going to make the Cross-Over Top from Sally Melville’s Purl Stitch book (see page 81 if you have it). It can be a felted vest or a summer sleeveless top. The summer version in the book is actually also in the Cotton Twist, a lucky coincidence, since it looks as if it drapes really well for a short summer top. I already have some pewter-colored metal clasps to close it (rather than buttons) and am looking forward to wearing it. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to knitting it, but this is something I’ve adored looking at for so long I’m willing to go through the effort… I hope.

I forgot while I was at the store, that I had brought some CDs for Ruth, Marlene and Marcia (Wendy already has hers). Drat. Ruth, I know you are out there reading this… don’t be shy next time I’m in there… please ask for your copy of Moon June Spoon… OK?

Ruth was the woman who got me going on my first pair of sox, for those of you who have not been tuning in very long. I had made garter stitch scarves for 20 years and then quit knitting for about a dozen more years. Then I found the Socknitters.com website one day, and I had to knit socks! So I wandered into Yarn for Ewe as soon as I finished my big project for a client… and told her I wanted to knit sox. So she sold me some needles and some yarn and a pattern. And ten days later, I finished my first pair of sox ever. Ninety-some pairs and three years ago, that was. Great job, Ruth!

In other news, it’s reeeeeally cold here for this time of year. It was 52F at dinnertime. It feels like fall… I came home and put on my mohair sweater and a turtleneck and legwarmers. Brian and I decided to go on a walk to the Quality Dairy store (maybe 10 blocks from our house) so I could buy canned pumpkin and bake pumpkin pies. And that was after I’d already bought a butternut squash and put it in the oven for dinner. (It was really really good, with a little margarine and a sprinkling of nutmeg.)

So right now as I type this, it’s 11pm Thursday night, and the pies will be out of the oven in maybe 15 minutes. After that, they need to cool down before they are edible (I am allergic to eggs so I make a pie that must be cooled to be cut… no, they don’t contain gelatin; they have flax seed meal to hold them together, believe it or not). Maybe we will have to just have a small taste before bedtime, and then eat pie for breakfast! And why not?

This Saturday we are performing at Altu’s as The Fabulous Heftones, so I need to go practice with Brian. Actually, we practice almost every night now, and it’s really a wonderful thing to do together.

The flowers were brought in to Foster Center by one of the younger summer staff members. I guess her family has prizewinning roses, and she shared them with us. They were so wonderful I just had to dig out my camera right there in the office and take a picture.

Knitting Update

Thursday, June 24th, 2004

Fast Florida Footies by LynnHWell, one benefit to selling yarn (and therefore needing to ship packages frequently) is that I wait in line a lot. Hey, wait! Did I really say that?? Well, yes, I did. I knit in line. So I’m getting some knitting done. Imagine that!

I finished another pair of Fast Florida Footies, in the same colorway I used when I knit them for Mom the first time (before I wrote up the pattern). This time I think I might actually save them for myself. I said that last time, then I gave them to Heritage Spinning as a sample for my class. That is, after they had sat in a knitting bag for months and months unworn. I just have no particular interest in wearing cotton socks. I sometimes wear very thin storebought cotton-lycra socks which fit in my sandals really well, but as beautiful as this yarn is, I don’t feel like wearing the sox.

It’s interesting. I did not like knitting the cotton/wool sockyarn I used for a pair of Brian’s socks once. Those sox took me 6 months to finish because I didn’t like the feel of knitting them at all. And they were denim/natural in color, both colors I don’t enjoy. I’ve learned now, never knit yarn you don’t love. Even if it is for someone else, I had better like it or it won’t get finished!

I love wool. I passionately love wool yarn and sweaters and socks. I love scratchy wool, soft wool, washable and handwash. I like mohair, too, and I adore alpaca. But I’m not a big cotton fan, not even with storebought clothing. I almost never wear woven cottons, although I do wear cotton knits sometimes, especially with lycra. In summer I wear cotton knits or woven rayon which is very drapey on this small body I have… drape is everything in clothing a small, somewhat curvy body. Every once in a while I find a full, colorful skirt in super-lightweight, gauzy cotton… usually from India, and that fabric drapes fine as well. However, I’ve preferred wool ever since I discovered it, when I was old enough to have my own money.

So here I am knitting these sox, these Fast Florida Footies. From yarn I chose originally for my mother, not for me! All sorts of people knit this pattern. People write to me about it often. The web page for the pattern gets tons of hits. Then every once in a while, someone asks me how the sox feel. And I honestly don’t know! I tell them that many folks have knit the pattern multiple times, so they must feel fine to someone… but I prefer wool on my feet, and haven’t tried wearing these sox yet.

OK, I could make the footies out of wool yarn in the same gauge. At least one person has done that and sent me a photograph. But the interesting thing is, that because it stretches, I do enjoy knitting with the Cascade Fixation cotton/lycra yarn. It’s just fine. Actually, it would make a wonderful tank top! And the colors… well, there are some gorgeous colors… solids and multicolors. You should have seen the apricot solid Joan Sheridan Hoover sent me from Heritage Spinning! Yum. Good enough to eat.

So now I have a new pair of purple and turquoise Fast Florida Footies, in my size. I wonder if I’ll really wear these? At least this time it’s the right season for it!

Oh… and the Surf & Turf Skirt in Bernat Boa (color: Peacock) and an unknown wool fingering weight yarn, is looking quite lovely. I’m on the 4th skein of yarn (the skeins are pretty small) and have about 6″ (15cm) of tube knit up. The fabric is wonderful, made on size 6 US needles. I showed it to my friend Altu today and she buried her hands in it, because it feels so good.

I don’t know if the skirt will look good on me when I’m done, but I am really pleased with how the knitting looks on the needles right now. I also hope I have enough yarn. I think I have 9 skeins, at 2-1/2 inches each. Then the fabric skirt which will be my waistband/yoke, fits low on the hips and takes up a few inches in length as well. I do not want this to be a miniskirt, so I hope if I need more yarn it will be available.

The skirt is good brainless knitting when I can sit still (the fingering wool is on a cone so it’s clumsy for waiting-in-line knitting, though not impossible). I’ll be knitting it tomorrow night at Foster Center when I’m at the computer lab for adults… assuming I’m alone or nearly alone as I was last week. The Kids Kamp lab is two hours just after lunch, and I do not sit still for a minute during that time… but the later lab is quieter and I sometimes actually get to knit a little.

Anyway, the goal for the skirt is mid-September. I want to wear it to the Ukulele Festival in the Pocanos Mountains of Pennsylvania. That is going to be three days of big fun! And there will be all sorts of pseudo-Hawaiian stuff there, so why not a fake grass skirt? It seems so right…

Heading Outdoors

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

Wowie, it’s cold again this morning. It’s officially summer finally, but I don’t feel it in my bones. I have my body wrapped up in long pants, thick wool socks, and a wool blanket. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and my shoulders are also wrapped in a small lap blanket made for me by my sister-in-law, Diana. It was 66 degrees F when I checked last, but I’m sure it’s warmer now. The sun is actually shining, although the wind is blowing and they are expecting the wind to bring in thunderstorms for two full days.

I am not very good at being outdoors for any length of time. The gardening bug has been good for me this year, because at least I get outside to pull weeds or water, for 20 minutes to an hour each day. Typically I spend my outdoor moments on the porch in my hammock. However, this year is not typical at all. We have had so much rain that we have had large numbers of mosquitos even in our yard which is usually bug-free until dark. I got one long day and one short moment in the hammock this year before the rains arrived, and I’m very sad about that loss.

However, I’m heading into a few weeks here where I’ll be outside a bit more than my comfort level. The Charlotte Bluegrass Festival is this week, people are already camping down there (for a lot of folks, they drive in from another state and they stay over a week). We will probably go down just to jam with our friends one night, but that place is a mosquito haven on a good year. I am not looking forward to that part of it. I will enjoy the singing and the tunes, though.

Then Brian’s family is camping together for over a week. This is something they do every year and they really look forward to it. I look forward to seeing the folks who come in from out of state, but I will never understand this thing we in this society call “camping.”

I never camped as a kid, except a few times in tents with Girl Scouts which always ended in rain. I did like church camp as an adolescent, but we had cabins and so we had a good roof over our heads most of the time. But this thing we call camping where lots of people have these big metal boxes they call RVs, or these little fabric bubbles we call tents, and then they all go to the same place and cram a zillion people in two square feet of space, and call it getting away… well, my idea of getting away does not involve having a bunch of people I have never met, within listening range… especially if they have had too many Budweisers.

I just don’t tune out conversations well at all, camping or elsewhere. That’s one reason I don’t do well in restaurants with TV sets going, and why I prefer tea with one friend to a party with a zillion people all at once. At Bloomiefest I remember one time I was sitting between two conversations and it was painful, because my brain was trying to pay attention to both at the same time. The other night I had dinner alone at a restaurant and the table next to me was talking about reality TV and maggots and worms… in a restaurant! It was very hard to tune that out. Thank goodness the conversation did not happen when I was actively trying to eat my meal. I still fail to understand why eating worms when you don’t want to, has anything to do with reality.

Another difficult outdoor thing… you get dirty camping (I don’t like dirt on my hands or feet, at all) and you usually get wet… it’s sometimes really hot and sometimes really cold, and then you get smoke in your eyes from trying to get warm at the fire. Plus you get bit by bugs, and perhaps get a sunburn. Nope, not my idea of fun at all. I prefer my porch… at least, when there are no mosquitos.

We will not go camping very long, maybe overnight, maybe once or we might return for a second overnight. Last year I went for one overnight… Brian stayed longer. It was cold and rainy and I got an allergy headache. I was no fun to anyone at all! I am having better luck with allergies this year, at least.

It’s a big deal to see the family members who come in from out of town, though. I can’t wait to see them. So I will do my best to pray for good weather and a good attitude.

I can see I need to adjust to the out-of-doors more. I will probably be in the July 3 parade in Lansing with the Habibi Dancers, and I will be at the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan this year again (though not in my tiny tent this time). And then there is Renaissance Festival, where the Habibis dance several times a summer but I tend to only be able to make one performance a year.

So somehow the universe is telling me to get a grip and make friends with rain and dirt. We’ll see how I do!

I do like the dirt in my gardens, and that is a new development. Today’s picture is the front garden by the porch. This area is almost all shade, all day long. We planted the hostas a couple of years ago when we built the porch (there used to be very old spindly bridal wreath bushes there). All the hostas but one have thrived, we lost one last winter somehow. There are also purple-leaf coral bells in there, and one lonely lily of the valley (we planted at least a dozen a few years back and this year one popped up). Oh, and you can see we have another young climbing rose on the downspout in the foreground, which will no doubt take over in a year or two. It is a low-maintenance garden and very lush and pretty from the sidewalk. I’m pleased with how it looks.

A Fun Class

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004

Wowie, I taught a class of five beginning knitters today at Foster Center! It was so much fun, I was just flying high emotionally when I got home. Does anyone else get a rush from teaching, the way I do? It was just wonderful.

We are knitting little pouches (with a buttoned triangular flap on the front) out of wool. We will partially full/shrink them by hand when we are done. I never full by machine, anyway, I just don’t trust the machine to stop at the right time… and we don’t have a machine at Foster Center anyway. I just want to firm up the fabric a little, anyway… I’m not looking to reduce the size of the pouches by a third. And fulling can camoflauge minor defects such as uneven gauge, which should make the ladies pleased as well.

I made sure my students learned to purl the same day they learned to knit. I want it to not feel as odd to them as it did to me, when I learned to purl 20 years after I learned to knit. So this project is knit flat in a strip, and that lets them knit stockinette by knitting one row and purling the next. It also offers me an opportunity to teach them how to sew a mattress stitch vertically. Not bad for a six-hour class, I think.

As you all know, I usually knit in the round (mostly socks, of course) and I never quite learned to love purling. I do what I can to avoid a lot of purling if I can help it. But this pattern I developed for them has garter stitch and stockinette stitch, casting on and binding off, increasing and decreasing, a K2Tog/YO buttonhole and optional I-cord. I am pretty pleased with the project right now. We’ll see how the students like the project when I see them next week. They will have most of the pouch done when I see them next. I’ll just have to guide them through the decrease/triangular flap and then a handle if they want one.

Oh… Happy Happy Summer!!!! I’m so delighted it’s here. OK, so I’m wearing thick wool socks and a wool/angora sweater right now (all day, actually) because it’s in the 60s F right now, never got much above 70. However, it’s summer and the sun stayed out really long! I love this time of year. Now if the mosquitos would only stay away!

I don’t have a finished pouch photo today. I do have a lovely photo of the garden on the garage wall. We have daylilies, gorgeous climbing roses, a snowball bush, and rhurbarb hiding behind the snowballs, from left to right.

Also, you can not see it, but in front of the roses is my tiny plot of herbs and vegetables. I have chives, sage and parsley already set for picking (the first two come up every year and the last I bought as grown plants). I also have planted dill seeds, swiss chard and carrots there.

My lettuce is planted in a container on the north side so it will avoid afternoon sun. This garden (in the picture) is on the east side and it gets sun until at least 2pm these days. The chard is already about 2 inches tall, so I’m starting to get hopeful that it will actually mature for me. We’ll see!

Knitted Tank Top List

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Knitting Maniac has a nice listing of free patterns for tank tops. I’m particularly impressed with the quality of the Berrocco patterns.

Perfect timing, for summer knitting. Now which to knit???

Missing My “Daddio”

Sunday, June 20th, 2004

Today is Fathers’ Day in the USA. I am sad. My dad died in 1973. I think of him often. I do not need a special day for this. I used to just ignore it, but now that I’m married to Brian and he has a living father, I have to face it again.

Last year, Mom found some old cassette tapes from around 1971, and had them made into CD’s, one for each of us (Mom, my brother and me). I listened to the CDs last summer. Some of them are incredibly long and contain very little of interest 30 years after they were recorded.

The day I listened most, I was alone working at home. It was hot, incredibly hot, and there I was trying to clean off my desk while listening to these 90 minute tapes. There was some storytelling (some by Daddy) but it was mostly children (including me) giggling and telling silly jokes. Oh, and me singing “White Coral Bells” about a zillion times. And then, at the very, very end of one tape, my father recorded this right on top of the silly nonsense:

Dumb, dumb Daddy loves Lynn Troldahl…. immeasurably.

I broke down and bawled. 30 years after my father died, he was telling me again that he loved me.

No wonder I’m sad today.

(Photo is my dad in 1951, his High School portrait… and me, about 1967. So where did I get my eyes???)

Dancing in Lansing

Saturday, June 19th, 2004

Today I woke up late, I just could not wake up when the alarm said I should! I did make it to the post office in time to send a package of yarn to Wales (Hi, Marie!!!) and then go see my dear friend Ulyana. My friend who I just do not see enough of, for some crazy reasons that make no sense in retrospect.

We have so many things in common, that every time we do get together, we can not cover all the things we wanted to share. It’s wonderful to have a friend so much on my wavelength. She’s alike me in artful ways, and in the foods she eats… healthy by choice. She and I are both dancers… in fact, she invited me to the contra dance about 8 years ago when Brian and I started dating. We are going to share plants from our gardens this year, I think… although she may not need any plants I can spare, but I’ll try. Yet we seem to always be busy and we have a hard time connecting.

Even today, I was at her house for several hours, but most of the time working on her computer while she did a massage for a client in another room. I did get to see her beautiful daughter, Sofia, who will be a Senior in High School next year if I remember right. It was lovely to see Sofia again.

At 6pm, though, I headed home, and then we all (Ulyana, Sofia’s friend, Sofia, Brian and I) went to the Central United Methodist church in downtown Lansing (an absolutely beautiful building) for a Contra Dance.

Actually, first there was a potluck dinner and then there was a dance. It was a celebration of 25 years of this dance organization (Looking Glass Music and Arts). Brian has played in the band for these dances a very long time… and our friend Mike, who is still in the band, was there playing for the very first Looking Glass dance.

I only stayed until 9:30, and I spent most of my time talking to folks and taking photographs. I did not want to dance tonight for some reason. It worked out fine, anyway. I guess I really wanted to be somewhere that was not that crowded! I know a good number of the people there, and I really enjoy their company. However, I tend to prefer a cup of tea with one friend, over a room full of nice people. I just don’t filter out visual clutter and noise very well. So I headed somewhere quiet.

(Photos: 1. Crowd dancing at Central United Methodist church, isn’t it a beautiful building? 2. Dancers, photo taken from balcony. Ulyana is dancing with the child at the bottom left of the photo, both of them in blue dresses.)

I thought I was going home but I found myself having a cup of tea at the Fleetwood Diner. It was very quiet and peaceful (they are open 24 hours and when I’m lucky I catch their slow times). I knit on my Surf & Turf skirt and talked to one of the owners of the restaurant. She has been very friendly to us and I appreciate her warmth. Tonight she went out of her way to go back in the kitchen and read the ingredient labels on several of their foods, to see if I could perhaps eat those things. It turns out there is actually one thing on the menu (besides salad with veggies only) that I can eat… the chicken stir fry. I’m very excited about this development! I want to support businesses in my neighborhood but I just was sure I could not eat there. Now I can. Yippee!

So after I had that nice quiet time at the diner, I headed home. I listened to Annette Hanshaw and ate black licorice (Panda Brand, the real thing) and drank Kukicha tea, and read emails from people I really enjoy. I was very happy for the down time. Then Brian came home after 11 and it was good to see him, too.

Tomorrow Brian will visit his father and I may go along… to spend time with Brian, for the most part. It depends on my mood tomorrow, no doubt. I do really appreciate Brian’s dad… for bringing this great husband of mine into my world, *and* for inventing/bulding the Heftone Bass I play and thoroughly enjoy.

Yet I really do not like Father’s Day, it is a sad day for me. My dad will have been gone 31 years at the end of this month. I do remember him pretty frequently, I don’t need a day to set aside for that. But it just sort of makes me sad to think of Father’s Day. My father really loved me, and he would be very proud of me, singing these days. He loved music and taught me so much. I wish I could give him a copy of our CD, you know? He would be beaming!

I hope all of you who are fathers, or who have fathers still on this earth with whom you have reasonable relationships, can enjoy this day in a way I can not. Hugs to you all.

My Yarn in Germany!

Friday, June 18th, 2004

I got a note from Susan today. Susan and I traded some yarn a while back. She sent one of the skeins she got from me, to a friend in Germany. It happens to be the same colorway/batch as the pair Sharon P just finished knitting.

The website is written in German, and I tried the babelfish/altavista translation service (http://babelfish.altavista.com/), and still can not make sense of the page. But I can tell that the second picture on the German-language blog is a sock knit from my yarn.

You know, I love sunny greens. I particularly love them with turquoise. Today I bought a lightweight short-sleeved cotton sweater at a garage sale, for $0.75, in a pale sunny green. Now, I don’t look good in this color. I sometimes wear it as trousers or a skirt, so that the color is not near my face. But I love this color so much that today I bought exactly the wrong version of that green, for exactly the wrong place on my body to not flatter me at all.

In my favor, the sweater is really well made and fits me perfectly. I’m thinking maybe I can figure out some way to put a turquoise trim on the neckband or something? Or at least use that sweater to figure out the dimensions on a totally new sweater I can knit up for myself. As if I don’t have enough projects…

But I’ll be dyeing yarn soon again (I’m winding yarn into skeins today, I expect to start the dyeing process in the studio next week). And I’m thinking spring/hot green heading into the dye session. I’ve also been thinking coral or something like these daylilies in the garden. We’ll see what I actually do next, when I get down in that studio and have the dyes in hand.

Life is always an adventure. There is always something new. Today it’s a pair of sox in Germany, and the climbing roses. They opened up yesterday for the first time, and today is gloriously sunny so they just look prime and gorgeous. I’ll have to take a better picture soon, before they fade… these are a little fuzzy but I love the shot of the roses in front of the “snowball” bush. I love this time of year!

Garlic Sauce… Yum!

Thursday, June 17th, 2004

Oh, yum. Last night on the way home from Habibi Dancers’ practice, I had a craving for broccoli in garlic sauce. Luckily, Gourmet Village is open until 10pm and I know I can eat their garlic sauce and feel great afterward (so many Chinese places use MSG and corn starch that I can’t eat there).

So I traipsed to Gourmet Village and got my fix. I ate it for dinner last night (when I got home, Brian was already rehearsing with the Scarlet Runner String Band on the front porch). Then today I got to eat it for lunch, too.

If anyone thinks food can’t be art, they have not had Garlic sauce from Gourmet Village. It is heaven.

I’m off now to supervise a computer lab for Kids Kamp at Foster Center. This means I will have 20 or so children all wanting to play the same game at the same time. Not my easiest work, but the kids sometimes are magical and I like that part.

Tonight at 8:30pm I will say goodbye to my last adult computer students for this term. They have been so marvelous, I hate to see them go. They are promising to come back in the fall, so I will look forward to that.

At least during computer lab I get to knit a little. I will continue to knit on my Surf & Turf skirt from Knitty.com. I’ve knit about 2.5″ (maybe 4cm) now, it looks quite promising.

Sharon P’s Sox!

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Well, yesterday was such fun. Sharon P of Knitknacks, went with me to the Ann Arbor Borders’ books knit-in. I love love love this group. And I really enjoyed having Sharon’s company in the car on the way down and back.

Sharon brought as show and tell last night, first her amazing entrelac sweater (which folks absolutely crooned over, which of course was warranted). Second, she showed her springtime socks with ruffles. Which she knit from a skein of my Cushy ColorSport yarn, in a colorway I called Springtime with Sara. Every year when we get past the holiday season, I tend to dye yarn in spring greens. This skein was green and turquoise and white. Sara is my Goddaughter, who has strawberry blonde hair and looks fabulous in that wonderful green.

Well, I sure like those sox Sharon knit. And I am delighted to see how the yarn knit up, it really distributed the colors well. You never know when you are working, how it will play out when put on the needles. Well, I’m pleased this time.

Now, do Sharon the courtesy of going over to her blog (she is a good writer, you will surely enjoy what she says). Be sure to scroll down to June 14 (it’s only a couple of screens from the top) and check out her sox. They are just wonderful with a ruffle at the top. How cheerful!


Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

Oh, drat… I put up the web pages for the yarn at about 5:30pm. Then the phone rang. And I thought I had hit “save” for the post telling you that the yarns were up. But you know what happened… it sat for 5-6 hours while I went to Ann Arbor for a knit-in. Whoops.

At least I did tell you the web page address yesterday.

Um, the yarns are up. See below post for the address, OK?