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Archive for July, 2004

No-Worry Day

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

I am committed to not worrying for 24 hours. I wrote this to my friend Suze in TX, and she sent me a link with quotations about worrying or not. The site is called Quote Garden. Love the name. I had not found that site before.

Here is a sample:

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.
     ~E. Joseph Cossman

Do you want to join me in my no-worry day? I would appreciate company.

Fabulous Heftones Performance Wednesday

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

Hi, friends. I promised Regina (hey, grrl!) that I would put up the information here, about our performance on Wednesday night (tomorrow)… and as much as I know about my dance performance on Saturday, as well.

Brian and I are playing, as The Fabulous Heftones, at Meridian Historical Village on Wednesday, July 21. Our performance is 7:00pm to about 7:45. After us is the wonderful Honest D and the Steel Reserve, from 8:00 on.

Meridian Historical Village is behind the Meridian Mall. Drive past the mall on Marsh Road and at the corner of Central Park Drive, you’ll see a huge clock tower/fancy cellphone tower. Behind the tower is the Meridian Township offices and behind that is the Farmers’ Market… and behind that is a bridge that takes you to the Historical Village. It’s actually sort of behind Nokomis Center, but you park at Meridian Township.

It’s outdoors so the usual warnings for bug spray, etc., apply. I talked to Diane Grettenberger, our contact person, today. She says that they have had excellent luck with weather this year, even on rainy days they have been rain free during the actual performances. So please come out if you are in town, we’d love to see you.

I have to leave immediately after our performance, to go rehearse with the Habibi Dancers. We are performing at the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair on Saturday. The time is 1pm and it’s at Ingalls Mall, wherever that is! Actually, there is a map on their website to help you find it. If you are familiar with Ann Arbor, it’s between Washington, Thayer, North University and Fletcher, not far from the Burton Memorial Tower and a fountain.

Photo here is us (The Fabulous Heftones) playing in Midland on May 7 of this year. It was our first performance after we finished our CD, Moon June Spoon. What a good year it has been for us!

Risk-Taking Article

Monday, July 19th, 2004

There is a new online spinning magazine, handspinners.com, and it has a worthy article on risk taking for fiberartists, authored by Deb Behm. There are also other articles that might interest you, but this one is just excellent.

Photo today is a picture of my Reggio Purple striped afterthought sox. This is my 95th pair, amazing! I got the yarn at Yarn for Ewe with my gift certificate not very long ago. Nice stuff, I really like it. It has a little more wool in it than some other sockyarns and it’s a little thicker, as well. A really nice-feeling yarn on the foot!

Dulcimer Fun Fest

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

Friday night I joined Brian in Evart, Michigan, for the Dulcimer Fun Fest (warning, this website plays music in the background). Neither of us plays any variation of a dulcimer, but it’s basically an acoustic music festival where we fit in well. Brian has taught ukulele workshops there for perhaps three years, and they are well attended and well reviewed.

He had been there since Wednesday if I remember right. I just went for one overnight. It is another of those camping places, where we slept in a tent. I’m not big on that part, but the music was great fun.

Actually, my instrument is the big hit at this show. Everyone wants to know about my bass (it looks like a huge banjo) and where I got it and if it’s for sale. Brian’s father, Larry, built it and has built a good number of other ones but as a hobby. He’s retired and has many interests, not just making Heftone basses. But I sure need to be my best sociable self when I carry that instrument around a festival! It is not for the meek, believe me.

We got to play a lot of music Friday night. We found a small group of folks to jam with for a good long while, and a few other times we just played music by ourselves. We had a great time. We met a few other musicians who were new to us, and we delightfully ran into a bunch of old friends. In fact, the first music I heard as I entered the festival grounds, was “The Flaming Ukulele in the Sky” being played by perhaps a half dozen ukulele players… some of whom we’d met at the Midwest Ukefest in Indianapolis last October. It was great to see them! They said they are planning to go to the Ukefest in the Pocanos mountains of Pennsylvania this September. We’re going, too! I am excited about that.

I think I have more pictures than things to say here… but the first picture is our friends playing ukulele as I first arrived. Next are two shots of folks doing a traditional-style circle dance Friday after dinnertime, and the last two shots are Brian’s beginning ukulele workshop on Saturday morning.

Jennifer’s Cozy Condo

Saturday, July 17th, 2004

My sister-in-law (Brian’s youngest sister), Jennifer, lives in Washington DC these days. She is a very interesting person and I could write a long time about her work. (She has training as a landscape architect and her specialty is working with large cities figuring out how to make them more friendly to do without your car. She rides public transit or a bicycle to get around, and tries to make it easy for others to do the same.)

I guess the job she has now is good enough to stay in DC for a while, because she bought herself a condo apartment. It’s an efficiency apartment but it looks bigger than the one I had in the late 1970s. She ordered a Murphy Bed (the kind you pull down out of the wall) to make it more roomy and comfortable during the day. The Murphy Bed will have bookshelves on it, for storage, that somehow work even when the bed is down for the night. Sounds like excellent use of space to me.

Anyway, she has put up a page with pictures of the space, before and after. I think she did a great job! She says she wishes the color in the kitchen displayed better. It’s a light yellow-green, greener than it shows in the photos. I think she said that the walls in the living room are all painted slightly different colors. She has a lot of the light green, and she also somewhere (the hallway?) painted a few variants on orange.

The transformation job is quite effective I think. I haven’t seen such impressive before/after pictures since we gutted our bathroom.

Congratulations to Jennifer on her new home!

Thank you, Cyndy!

Friday, July 16th, 2004

This is a quick note to acknowledge a very wonderful gift I got from Cyndy in the mail this week. It’s a box full of fun yarns, and I’ll take photos later. Right now I have a day full of obligations, and a tomorrow full as well. I’ll be back with photos before you know it.

Thanks for thinking of me, Cyndy! That was so sweet of you.

Habibi Group Pictures

Friday, July 16th, 2004

Wednesday night, the Habibi Dancers had a group photo session. We all got to dress up really pretty and have fun with being girls. We got to take a few snapshots at the same time. Of course, mine are not as good as the photographer’s shots will be, but mine are quicker to access, he’s still getting the film processed.

The first shot here is my friend April and her baby Isabel. Don’t they look just as beautiful as can be??? Isabel had a fun day, because everyone was holding her and talking to her and making sure she was happy. She was just gurgling away as happy babies do. It was sweet.

The second shot is the three new Habibi apprentice members. On the left is my friend Marie, who I’ve pictured here before. Second is Jennifer and third is Moriah. These ladies are all excellent dancers with wonderful stage presence. They also are good to hang around. I’m glad they are in my life.

The third photo is part of the troupe all together. Unfortunately, my friend Anne/Nyla can only be seen by her hand holding a sword in the front right corner. I might be missing someone else, as well.

You can find me in the group shot, in the back row toward the left. I’m wearing purple but not wearing my glasses.

There were four of us in town who were missing from the photo shoot if I remember right. (One was Sally/Sara, who was busy having her baby… a girl, Beatrice Noel. Congrats go out to Sally and family.) You can see we have a crowd of dancers! It is a fun crowd, indeed.

A Retro/Modern Link

Thursday, July 15th, 2004

My sister in law, Diana, sent me a new link. It is called Design Addict, which they label “retromodern.” I love this stuff… plastic storage columns with slide doors, beautiful chairs and couches, links to exhibitions including one coming the USA called “A Plastic Presence.”

I just checked out a book (and returned it) from the library, on 1960s design. Twiggy, rocketships, inflatable chairs, mini cars, all sorts of fun furniture and architecture. Love that stuff.

Enjoy the link.

You Get First Dibs on New Yarns

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

WooHoo! I finished the web pages for my new batch of ColorJoy yarns. I will be announcing them just after midnight, to the Socknitters list. However, you loyal folks get the first notice if you want them. If you don’t need yarn, I understand. But several of you have been very loyal and I wish to be loyal to you in return.

The top skein here is called Kathy The Confident. It is named after a friend who encouraged me to actually use the colors I loved again, at a time when I was wearing black more often than not. That was 1985 and I’ll never forget the loving words she spoke to me. She said… “Lynn, if you love turquoise and want to paint things turquoise in your house… Go for it!” She kept telling me to go for it (regarding using colors I loved), until I listened. I owe her much.

The second skein is called Mom’s House. My mom has surrounded herself with calming blues and greens in her home. Everything is simple but beautiful. She often wears brighter colors than this, but her home is calming and serene.

The half-pound skeins in ColorSport (knits to DK gauge) have 450 yards, and can make a baby sweater or one to two pair sox. If you have small feet and knit shortish stockinette cuffs, you’ll get two pair. If you knit cables or texture, if you like taller cuffs or have larger feet, you can get one pair for you and a smaller pair for a kid you love. Or enough yarn to combine with a second yarn for a scarf, perhaps… or a small purse/cellphone holder. Or wristwarmers! I love wristwarmers!!!

The half-pound skeins in ColorSox have 875 yards, a lot of yarn. According to my resources, this will make a sweater up to about a 29″ chest for a child. Two skeins would make a luxurious baby afghan. One skein is enough for 2 pair ladies’ sox without worrying about running out (in comparison, Regia 4ply has 229 yards in one 1.75oz skein, and I always have leftovers from 2 balls, even if I’m knitting for Brian who wears a size 8 or 8-1/2 shoe, the equivalent of a woman’s 10 or so).

Oh, and I do have some smaller skeins in both ColorSport and ColorSox, left from the last offering. Some colorways sold out but some did not. I also have some of my once-only yarn offerings left, including some wool/silk yarn in pinks and purples, and some ballerina eyelash in a light version of Seaside.

A Night with Other Knitters
I went to the knit-in last night for the Mid Michigan Knitting Guild, and went home with four skeins fewer than I had when I got there. That was encouraging and exciting. The anonymous woman who finished her In the Garden sox this week, bought another 100gm skein (3.5oz) in a new colorway for her, which I still had in stock from the last batch. It feels good when people like my work well enough to come back again. Thanks, Anonymous!!!

I don’t often go to knit-ins for the guild, as I have so many Tuesday guilds out of town, and classes to teach when I’m lucky. However, I was able to make two weeks in a row this time! I don’t know when I’ll ever feel comfortable in a large group like that… I like all the people but I get sort of overwhelmed trying to listen to more than one conversation at a time.

I am much happier having coffee with Sarah P or Sharon P or Tony or some other individual friend, one at a time. I don’t lose track of conversations that way. Structured guild meetings are different, even though they have more people. There is one thing going on in the room most of the time, and I can enjoy that easily. But I am just getting less and less happy with gatherings where I can not keep up with all the conversations going on within earshot… especially when I find them all so interesting.

I saw Sarah’s finished sweater! She wrote such humorous things about her process of finishing it, that I figured she enjoyed the process (of knitting most parts at least 2-3 times to get them just right). Maybe she didn’t enjoy it so much, but I think she will enjoy wearing the sweater. It has a wonderful texture.

You know what? It seems that every time I see Sarah P, she has a new finished sweater. What is with that? Either she knits like a speed demon or I don’t see her enough. I wonder if it might be both…

The last photo here is a picture my friend Vince took when he visited us a year ago next week. (He gave me permission to put it on my weblog.) It shows the turquoise color of paint I have been using, in four different homes, since I took my friend Kathy’s advice to go for it. It is a lighter color than I usually wear, but houses do better with more subtle colors than people do, in my estimation. That peach color I’ve also used since the mid-1980’s.

I picked these colors originally to go with some natural wood trim that was a bit orangey, in the first house I ever owned (with my ex)… but the colors have looked great in all my houses since then. Can you see the little bit of purple on the baseboard? I added that when I bought myself a house after my divorce. The outside of our footed tub is painted that color right now, with turquoise feet. Such fun!

I’m off to dance rehearsal tonight. Actually, we are having a photo shoot for publicity photographs. This means we get to all dress up, one reason we all enjoy dancing so much! Dress up for grownups, you gotta love it. It should be fun. See you tomorrow.

A Potpourri of Thoughts

Tuesday, July 13th, 2004

Today I’m focusing on getting a web page together for my current batch of yarns. The page will hopefully be up tomorrow, definitely by the 15th. Therefore I will amazingly keep it a little shorter and without photos today.

Monday I met Sharon P of Knitknacks, for an iced tea at the outdoor tables of Beaners on the South Side. For a few minutes it rained and then it immediately got so hot and sunny we had to go inside. It was great being outside at all.

Sharon is knitting two beautiful things. (See photos on her blog.) One is a sunburst purse (knit like a short-rowed beret, where it looks like sections of a pie) out of a soy silk ribbon. It’s dyed beautifully, a perfect summer rainbow.

The other is a pair of socks from Koigu’s Kersti yarn. That yarn is so heavenly, I get tempted every time I see it. Fortunately I don’t see it often!!! I need to make yarn to sell, not buy more for my personal stash. I hope that soon I’ll be using my yarns to design a few patterns specifically for ColorSport. I hope. My dance card is already a little over-full so I don’t know when that might happen.

Anyway, Sharon told me that there has been a Monday knit-in at Schuler’s Books at Eastowne Mall for a while, and she was planning to go for the first time. I thought I might check it out, too… I’ll be booked on Mondays during the school year but could do it this week.

So I went, a bit late since I had some other things to finish first. And I got there, and Sharon P and her beau Lynn were the only ones there, at least in the knitting realm. We sat and knitted and talked for a while, and then gave it up when it was almost 9pm. That was too bad, we thought we might meet new knitters. We *did* have a good time, anyway!

In unrelated news, I was sent a quote today by Anna Freud. It was originally written in German, but fortunately for me it came with an English translation as well.

English – Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.

German – Kreative Gemüter waren schon immer bekannt dafür, jede Art schlechter Ausbildung zu überleben

Grown on Our Own Farm

Monday, July 12th, 2004

Sunday night, I harvested my pot of leaf lettuce. I also harvested some baby leaves of swiss chard, and some amazingly healthy and huge parsley that was actually shading the swiss chard in my tiny garden.

I made salads with the above ingredients, plus some red bell pepper (thanks, mom!) and some flavored-baked tofu (added after I took the picture), and some gomasio, which is ground up sesame seeds with sea salt. I topped it with an absolutely wonderful olive oil that we had purchased at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor a while ago. Dinner was delightful!

Here are pictures of the garden from a distance, the garden close up (notice the huge, dark green parsley in the back, it must be 8 inches tall next to the swiss chard in front of it, which is about 2.5 inches), the lettuce in its container before I harvested it, and the best garden surprise yet this summer… a tomato that turned red overnight. I have seven tomatoes on this plant, one only an inch across, but this larger one decided to turn red. We decided to let it ripen a little more before picking it. I don’t even know how to tell if it is ready!!! I’m not much of a tomato eater but the plants are so beautiful I wanted to try it.

This food gardening stuff is really wonderful. I really enjoy it. This is the first year I’ve harvested anything but a few herbs and one lone bell pepper. I can see that I’ll be trying lettuce and tomatoes again next year, because they do fine with the sort of care I give. Plants that can’t be ignored for 2-3 days in a row, do not thrive in my yard. Yet Laura told me that I should not water every day, that the roots get stronger that way. I’m glad to know it. I won’t feel guilty any more!!!

Today I also bought some petunias, four nice plants that are almost a foot tall already, in white and salmon. I had one container on the front corner of the house that apparently gets too much sun for the impatiens to thrive, and the johnny-jump-ups are very scraggly there. I’m going to add these four petunias so that the pot won’t look scrawny for the rest of the year. The petunias in the sun on the back side of the house are thriving, so I’m hoping this pot which is a little less sunny will be OK for them as well. We’ll see. If it doesn’t work, next year I’ll try something else.

The title of today’s blog has meaning in my family. For a few years when I was in elementary school, my dad tried planting a few food items. We also had a good number of dwarf fruit trees in our yard. And every time we would eat something he’d grown, he’d say in a loud voice: “Grown on our own farm!” I thought it was just a saying, like “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” After all, we were in suburbia and there was no farm within walking distance.

Well, I was wrong. Dad was echoing my mother’s father. Grandpa Bakken had been a principal of a school when the depression hit, so he went back to the farm where he was raised. That made sure he could feed his family of six, when others were struggling. Apparently Grandpa was very proud of his farm. So when they would eat food he (they) had grown, he would say: “Grown on our own farm!”

And now it’s my turn to say the same thing. I’m not in suburbia, I’m in a city neighborhood with a lot that can’t be all of 40 feet wide. Yet I still have some soil, unlike my friends in Chicago and Boston, and at least this year I am fully taking advantage of this fact.

It feels good to grow real food with one’s own hands. I loved eating our own produce for dinner… even though it was not quite enough, we thought it really tasted just great!

Marlene C’s Birthday Party

Sunday, July 11th, 2004

My friend Marlene Cameron had a 50th birthday party this Saturday. I really enjoyed myself. They have some really wonderful friends, some of whom we only typically see at Wheatland Music Festival.

It was a relaxed and enthusiastic crowd… smart people who are not self-centered, interesting people who are easy to converse with. Talented folks… especially when it comes to cooking and music. The food was gorgeous as usual… it’s just a great food crowd. Homemade pies, all sorts of wonderful salads, bean salads, fresh fruit, you name it.

And we played music (actually, one of the children assigned herself the master of ceremonies, it was quite amusing), and laughed and smiled, and sang, and danced. Ben Hassenger, who is a member of both Mystic Shake and Blue Jello (they play at Altu’s on August 31), was the guitarist and kazoo player and singer and creator-of-instant-songs. The rest of us played different percussion instruments, as Marlene and her husband Art tend to collect instruments so there were plenty to go around. Ben made up songs about nearly everyone in the room at one time or another. Very funny, very entertaining.

Marlene is quite an artist in many ways. She and Art have these magnificent gardens (he is a Horticulture professor at MSU). She has been making mosaic stepping stones for the garden, including this eggplant one I photographed. And although it was pretty dark when I was taking the photographs, you can see how lush their garden is on the front bank of their yard. (Notice the reddish nasturtiums in the middle of the photos… hers are thriving!) This area is nearly vertical, a sort of interesting garden challenge that they met with flair! To illustrate how vertical this is, you can see in the second photo, at the very top toward the left, the crowd of people on the deck off the back of the house.

Marlene also spins and knits. She dyes wool, silk, rayon, whatever. She taught me how to dye with commercial dyes on wool, back in August of 2001. She and I share the work of publishing the Working Women Artists newsletter. She also has illustrated a knitting book, at least a decade ago. She’s very talented. And she’s a gentle, kind, thoughtful, artful, colorful person, a real treasure in my life.

Happy Birthday, Marlene!

Fibery Day

Saturday, July 10th, 2004

Saturday morning, Tony and I went to Spinners Flock. I had missed a month I think, and I’ll be missing 2 months after this. I was very happy to go. There are some great people there and I like to buy my magazines there when I can. I like to support our regular book/magazine vendors who are women like me, running a fiber business from their own homes.

This time I got a Spin Off and a INKnitters. I love INKnitters, it is an intelligent magazine with thinking knitter articles. I don’t always love the projects, but then I never seem to knit from others’ patterns anyway. But the articles are fascinating.

We got back in time for Tony to get where he needed to go, by 3pm. I somehow acquired a headache and so I took a nap, then fed myself some good protein and drank a bunch of water and some strong black tea. Miraculously, the headache went away. I’m guessing it was about lack of sleep or lack of good food.

I then went to the Yarn For Ewe Knitters’ Night Out. I had planned to go there at 4pm so I could hang out a little and knit. Instead I picked up a donation Ruth left for me to take to Foster Center (thanks, Ruth!), and chatted a short while with many people. It was very flattering, because a couple of folks wanted to ask me about socks they were knitting.

Even more flattering: two women I knew there had purchased a skein of my ColorSport yarn when I put up the sale pages June 15. Well, the first of those women (who chooses to be anonymous) already finished her pair of sox, from the In The Garden colorway, which has already sold out. I asked if I could see them and take a picture. Aren’t they beautiful? That’s her foot and blue jeans, in front of the display at the store. (Very yummy yarn on display, I must add… yarns with glitter! Makes me want to do another ColorJoy Stole, but I’m already drowning in projects.)

The second woman was most of the way through her first cuff, using my colorway Cool Summer Breeze (it’s on the same page as the above colorway, just scroll down a little bit… still three skeins available). Once she told me she was in the process of knitting the sock, I asked to see it and take a quick picture. Here it is. Isn’t she doing a great job???

After I left Yarn For Ewe, I went to my friend Marlene Cameron’s birthday party. I had a wonderful time there. However, it’s late and I’m tired… so I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Fountain Square Concert

Friday, July 9th, 2004

Today (Friday) I had too much fun and not enough work, I’m afraid. I had lunch with Altu, at Seif Foods, the Egyptian booth at the Lansing City Market (corner of Cedar and Shiawassee). I introduced Magda, the owner of Seif, and Altu, and they had much to talk about.

We ate mujaddara… lentils and rice with spices, and the amazing tomato/garlic sauce Magda puts on it. Wonderful. We also had baklava for dessert, and tea. We both love tea.

Then I actually did go home and work, I dyed more yarn… and then it was time for Brian to go perform with Wally at Fountain Square. I had planned to drive myself after Brian left… I figured I would pop in to New Aladdin’s and watch a little of the performance there by my Habibi friends, then I’d head over to Fountain Square. But at the last minute, Brian asked if I wanted to go with him. I sort of did… we spent a lot of time apart last week and will have a lot of time apart next week. So I went with Brian. I ended up helping Wally sell CDs (he could take time to autograph them, while I was selling them. I felt useful and I enjoyed it.

They had great weather and a good crowd. I saw Regina, a friend from Working Women Artists… and Sharon P, with her beau Lynn. I swear, those three are everywhere I go these days! They sure do get out to all the happening things in this city! I sat with my Mom and her friend Fai (the one who took pictures of me at the parade last Saturday). In the third photo here, you can see mom in the foreground (with the gorgeous silver hair) on the right, and Fai on the left, taking pictures as she loves to do.

Oh, somehow in the middle of all the other things I did, I also got out to look at my yard and in particular my nasturtium flowers on the very front corner of our lot, between the street and sidewalk. I tried growing these last year but started too late and they died from heat and lack of moisture. This year I now have five dark orange flowers! And you might be able to see in there, I also have a little yellow bud from the Stella d’Oro lily. I planted 5 of them last year and none of them bloomed… four came back this year but they were so tiny I was worried. Now I am realizing that it takes transplanted plants sometimes 2 years to look like they are alive, much less thriving. I’m excited that this one might bloom soon!

Oh, I did come back home after the concert and work again. I did another two pounds of yarn after dark. I think I’m getting more accustomed to the process of my new job… the job of wooldyer.

I hope I have a little time to dye more again tomorrow… between Spinners Flock and Knit in, that is. We’ll see. I’m taking my yarns to Spinners Flock tomorrow, we’ll see what happens. I won’t be able to make the next two meetings so I’m happy I can make it this week. And time with Tony is always enjoyable!