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Archive for October, 2008

Photo Catch Up: Philfest

Monday, October 20th, 2008

This photo is older than the others here. I just never felt un-sad enough to post it, I guess.

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Our musician friend Phil Wintermute passed away suddenly in September. We went to the official service at the funeral home later that week. But a few weeks later, there was a gathering at Magdalenas which some called “Philfest.” We sang songs Phil wrote, for the most part, and we told stories and ate good food.

I find that my camera does not do well in low light. The yellow and orange walls in Magdalenas do not work well for me, but someone took this photo with my camera at the end of the event. The place was jam packed, you could hardly move, so the people shown here are just the tip of the iceberg.

It was long enough ago that I can not remember everyone who was there. It seemed everyone who works at Elderly Instruments was there including Libby who had a lot to do with making this event happen. Friends of every age, and musicians from across Michigan, particularly Lansing and northern lower Michigan, were there.

In this photo I can identify musicians Seth Bernard and Daisy May Erlewine; Hall and Morgan; The Fabulous Heftones; Brandon Foote was there, Chris Dorman, Miko Fossum of Magdalena’s Teahouse. And at least one of Phil’s sisters, and at least one Niece.

I am leaving out so many, but trust me, it was a powerful love fest for our wonderful friend. I was glad to be there though it was difficult in some ways.

My favorite story told was a guy who was a new employee when Phil was also new at Elderly. A customer came in to show off what he knew, with friends who didn’t look like they wanted to be tagging along. He grilled this new employee about a particular niche market, asking him tricky questions and then when the worker said things like “I think so” the guy would correct him and say WRONG… blah blah blah.

The young employee was trying to be polite but things were not working out well for him. So the customer started talking to Phil. He asked Phil: Who is the “X-brand” expert here? And Phil answered truthfully, “You are.”

If it’s true, say it. That was Phil.

Here’s a photo I took of Phil (left, in hat) with Paul Bennett. They played out as a band called “Scratch and Sniff.” I love this photo, taken around 11pm in front of Dagwood’s neighborhood pub, with the traffic lights and I-127 in the background.

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Rest peacefully, Phil. Knowing you surely did change my life.

Photo Catch Up: Lil’ Rev at Altu’s

Monday, October 20th, 2008

In September, our music friend Lil’ Rev came to stay with us. He played a Wednesday night concert at Altu’s restaurant which drew a respectable crowd despite the unusual day of the week.

Rev has been at Altu’s for three consecutive Septembers. His friends in town keep multiplying.

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Rev encourages kids to come up and sit by him, to gesture along with his train song, and to just be part of the crowd. You can see that above. These kids have seen Rev before and were looking forward to this concert.

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He invited our friend Jen Sygit to come and sit in with him. He also invited musician David Klein to come in with his cornet.

Above you see a photo of Rev and Jen. Below is a photo taken after David, Brian and I sat in with Rev on his last number of the night.

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It was a wonderful time.

Photo Catch Up: Young Knitter A.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

My knitting kids keep on knitting, even when I do not report it here. I have two photos of knitter A.’s projects. First is a hat she finished while at Altu’s restaurant listening to Brian and I perform as The Fabulous Heftones, a few weeks ago:

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The yarn was handspun by my friend and boss, Rae of Rae’s Yarn Boutique. It was A.’s 14th birthday present.

This kid wasted no time making it into a lovely and perfectly-fitted hat. She was inspired by a pattern Rae wrote, the EZ Fit Hat. I highly recommend this pattern, which can be done in a variety of gauges.

But that is not all! She finished the first sock of her second pair. The first pair was completed this July. I must brag that she is so accomplished that she already was able to make this sock without assistance from me until binding off. It was toe up and she had knit seed stitch (you heard that right) on the cuff. She was not sure how to bind off following seed stitch.

The fancy cuff pattern? She made it up herself.

This child is a knitter. She’s not just a student. A student might not knit without a class. A knitter will knit without me or any other structure or outer expectations. This child knows enough and is inspired enough to not need me any more. She always can learn more, we all can, but she is set for life if she never sees me again.

I’m proud of her. Not proud of my teaching, though it has been an honor to work with her. But proud that she has taken enough initiative to make this artform her own. She is a special person.

So without further ado: Sock 1 of pair 2. I must mention that she’s pretty far through sock 2 of pair 2 by the time I am posting this.

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(She raised her foot on the couch so I could photograph it better. Notice the pink sock on the foot supporting her? That is pair 1.)

Photo Catch Up: Autumn

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

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cynthiaflowers2.jpgI have been trying to really celebrate color this autumn. I found some blossoming flowers in Cynthia and Doug’s yard on October 6, and then last week I took a few photos of trees… one at the MSU golf courses and one just five blocks from my home. Enjoy.
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Photo Catch Up: Knitting

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

hat2.jpgI have been cranking out knitting lately and not taking photos. Here, however, are at least preliminary photos of my Louisa Harding hat (chevron lace and angora with I-cord hatband rather than ribbing).

I should have taken a photo of the back of my head, so you could see the lace better. I was not thinking of that until long after photos were taken. I haven’t given up yet, but this is what I have.

The great news is that I love it. I struggled with the lace because I do not do it much, but I kept going because it was so beautiful.

I cast on and started right in on the body of the hat rath

er than knitting ribbing.

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I then made a 3-stitch I-cord (tube) that I thought would fit my head snugly (I did soak it in water to stretch it out). I grafted the ends together into a full circle and then sewed the hat body to it.

(For the knitters thinking I should have attached the I-cord while knitting it, this would mean I would have to know how many rows I needed to circle my head, before I started. I like to sew and it made sure I had a more accurate fit.)

In the end, I should have made the I-cord a little tight. It likes to fall off my head a little too often. However, I figured out how to use hairpins to attach it to my “do” and it stays put all day, so I call this a winner. I really like how floppy and unobtrusive it is, while being warm and turquoise (both excellent attributes).

Oh, and I also have finished some socks! I completed a pair for me on October 5 and have not remembered to photograph them yet. However, about a week later I finished a pair for Brian and we did a photo shoot tonight. Here they are:

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Pair #164, Louisa Harding Kashmir DK, toe up (I used the easy toe from my First-Time Toe-Up socks with one modification, then used an afterthought heel decreased differently than a toe). He says they are just about perfect. I’m thrilled.

Photo Catch Up: CityKidz Knit/Foster Center Goodbye

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

This one is a bit hard to post. Please bear with me if I meander with my words a bit.

I have worked for the City of Lansing, both as a contractor and as an employee, since probably 1993. I started out as a contracted community education instructor, teaching computers when they got a grant which bought them 4 machines with Windows 3.1 on them.

Over the years I taught computers, then we started a computer lab where I supervised. I would knit while waiting for kids to ask me for a new game, and they started to beg for “sticks” and “string.”

It took me 2 years to talk my then-boss into letting me start a program. I had two adult volunteers, Luann and Jean, and a handful of teens who knew me well and were able to do basic knitting functions. I had piles of kids, but with that support we made it work.

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Over the years that program (I called it CityKidz Knit!) changed and became different things, sometimes after school, sometimes summer program. In recent years it has become harder and harder to make the schedule they needed work for me.

I was a “temporary employee” (on payroll but re-hired every fall) for most of the time I was at Foster Center. This year more paperwork was required for me to be hired, including a doctor’s letter saying I was physically capable of doing my job. Except I was between doctors and nobody would write a letter for me without me paying a fee for a physical (which would probably equal about 1-2 weeks’ pay). This requirement is surely important for a soccer coach; but it was not something I wanted to pay for, to teach knitting 2 hours a week.

I decided that was my cue to just step down and start doing things in a new way elsewhere. So I moved out of my room, maybe 3 weeks ago. It was hard, and I was glad to have some moral support for the day. Some of my knitters from previous terms came by (we had made a date for this on a previous week).

I let them “trick or treat” and take as much yarn home as they wanted and could carry. Above is a photo of me with my CityKidz knitters on my last day at Foster.

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One mom and a brother of a loyal knitter helped me pack up the boxes that contained my own personal belongings I had accumulated there through the years (including my beloved poster of Sojourner Truth with her knitting).

One special item on the wall was a poster-sized electric green version of the poem I use to teach kids to knit (with their right hand controlling the yarn… they don’t all have the coordination to do it any other way). We made the poster for an open house one year and it has been on the wall ever since.

It turned out that my boys at the tifosterbye.jpgme did most of the decorating of the poster. They included names of other kids in the program, although sometimes they were unclear how to spell those names. I find it charming. They also drew a few hand-held electronic game gizmos. Love it!

When I worked with the computer lab, I had kids who wanted to play the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing games. I would not let them do it by looking at their hands, as true typing skill can pay the bills and fill hungry bellies (been there myself).

When I was gifted with a pink feather “boa” wrap for Christmas one year, I took it to the lab to cover hands during that game. Much fun. So on my way to the car on the last day at Foster Center, I wore a pink feather wrap to the car. Sam took a photo of me:

The necklace is a finger-knit boa which was a gift from a kid knitter. I had knitter A. do the photostyling for this photo… thanks to A. and brother Sam and mom, for being my help and my support that day.

For the record, I am teaching kids at Rae’s Yarn Boutique on Wednesday afternoons from 3pm to 4:45. It’s an extension of the program I had this summer. Kids buy a pass good for 4 sessions, for $20. They can share a pass, sell it to a friend, whatever… but there are no refunds. They need not attend every week.

I’m hoping to attract kids from very-local schools after they get out, there are 4 within walking distance. It is a different thing than a walk-in program (CityKidz Knit! was free to the kids) but this is how I have to do it, to make it work for my current life situation.fosterboardsm2.jpg

The new program is called Knitting Rocks! (The kids like this name, and I wanted it to be different than the program at Foster, since it does have different parameters.)

I still can take donated needles and yarn, though the few kid knitters I’ve kept are allergic to acrylic and sometimes other synthetics (yes, really… so is Rae and a baby I know… and I can’t tolerate polyester, myself), so natural fibers are appreciated at this time. I can use a few tote bags, but am not in need of piles of anything but needles and wool/alpaca/mohair at this time.

Oh… for anyone who has given up double-pointed needles in favor of a circ method, if you have double points in sizes 2 to 10.5, we can use those as well. In larger sizes (8 and up) , we have plenty of heavy metal DPNs but not wood, bamboo or plastic.

For the record, donations to Foster Center were tax deductable. Donations to my kids now only pay back in good karma. For some of you, that will be enough. Others, I do understand if you go elsewhere.

I don’t know who wrote the first “I love you Lynn!” note on the board. Young D. added to it. That touched my heart. Since I still work on the East Side and I dance at Foster, I still do see “my Kidz” from time to time. They know I still like them but it’s hard for all of us to adjust.

It went rather well, really. What will tomorrow bring?

Photo Catch Up: Harvest Gathering

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

I’m just going to post a bunch of photos for several posts, just to show you photos I took and never put up here. Usually you guys like pictures, so I’m thinking this might be fun for all of us, delay or no.

Back in September, about a month ago (dang), we went to Harvest Gathering up in Lake City, MI and had a great time. We stayed just one night and crammed in as much as we could while we were there.

Here’s a moody photo of Jen Sygit’s set, with Brandon Foote at left and Drew Howard/Captain Midnite at right:

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Another of Jen’s set, this time with Katie Grace and Cap’n. Notice the bouquet in sap bucket I showed earlier in a mood shot:

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Here is a closeup Brian took, again moody because of the odd lighting and my camera’s quirky moods with stage lighting. Behind the bass is me (in beret), then a woman whose name I think is Darlene, then Susan Fawcett in the straw hat, then Jen herself. I was honored to be included, it was really fun to be part of this one piece:

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Here’s Chris Bathgate and his zillion-piece backup band called “the Hail Mary’s” including a brass section up in the rafters, top left:

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Drew Howard in a rare lead performance, with friends. After a month I can still identify Brandon Foote, Seth Bernard, Jen Sygit, “Daisy” May Erlewine, probably Laura Bates, Mike Shimmin on percussion, and Susan Fawcett. This is an all-star Lansing/Northern Michigan roster of musicians, let me tell you:

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It was just plain a lot of fun, and this year was not frigid as it had been last year. Maybe next year we will stay for 2 days. It’s a thought…

And the Winners Are…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

OK, I maybe finally have my act together. Maybe. Enough to have a photo of the prizes, anyway.prizes.jpg

My favorite answer (to the question of how to adjust to the end of summer) was to have a picnic in the living room, suggested by Chelle. She wins a Grand Prize of one skein of Socks That Rock heavyweight (worsted) in colorway County Clare (four greens and one turquoise), and a First-Time Toe-Up Socks pattern.

Congratulations, Chelle! (Chelle, I know you have some of my patterns already, so let me know if I need to substitute a different one.)

I pulled names for 5 more yarn/pattern prizes, and the rest of you who responded before the deadline all win a pattern.

Charlotte: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK. The label says it’s Blues/Purples but I say it’s Green-Turquoise-Blue if you ask me (I see no purple), and my First-Time Toe-Up Socks pattern or Wristwarmer pattern, you choose (this is handwash yarn if that helps you decide).

Rachel: One skein of what I’m just sure is Cherry Tree Hill sock-weight merino Supersock, colorway is probably Monet (it’s missing the label, unfortunately, but the yarn s so gorgeous I’m sure she will forgive me), and my First-Time Toe-Up Socks pattern.

Deborah Robson: one skein of Ella Rae Classic (worsted-weight wool) in a lovely solid blue color which is romantically named “41,” and a Wristwarmer pattern.

Riin: One skein of handpainted sockyarn by Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm, in greens and blues, and my First-Time Toe-Up Socks pattern

Diana Troldahl: Two balls Merino Big, one in plum and one in turquoise, and any of my patterns you don’t already have.

Valerie: ZigBagZ Mini Collection pattern (since you are in Australia, let me know if you prefer a PDF version or will wait for a printed copy).

Debbie: Wristwarmers (any gauge) pattern.

Kristi: Wristwarmers (any gauge) pattern.

I will be sending all of you an email to ask for a mailing address. Thank you for being a part of my life. Apologies for the wait, but maybe winning will make that wait worthwhile.

A YouTube Smile

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Three musicians and a tractor (as drummer) playing Georgia Brown and Bye Bye Blues. If you need a smile, the video is just under 5 minutes long.

Lake Lansing Natural Area Preservation

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

There is an area at Lake Lansing, where there are paths which are located on private land. The owner of the land has declared that the use will cease soon.

The citizens of the area and those who use the paths are working hard to purchase that land from the owner. They wish for it to remain undeveloped, and continue to be available to the public. My friend Art wrote this:

If you have note yet had a chance to help on our effort to preserve the North Lake Lansing Trails – please consider a gift now!

We have three weeks to raise the last $7500!! Check out the website for more information

www.preservelakelansingtrails.org

Fabulous Heftones in Ann Arbor Friday!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I’m pretty excited, we are playing at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room in Ann Arbor this Friday (Oct. 17, 8:30). Our friend, Sam Corbin, has played there for a while and he arranged for us to share a show.

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Ann Arbor is one of my favorite places in Michigan. I spent much fun time there in the late 1970’s/early ’80s.

On a beautiful day in Ann Arbor, people go into the city and sit at cafes, chatting and watching other folks walk by. On a beautiful day in Lansing, people go home and work in their yards. It’s a cultural difference, and I’m more bi

g city in my blood than small town. I resonate with the vibe of Ann Arbor.

We have played Ann Arbor a few times. In April 2005, we played with Gerald Ross for AACTMAD (a local coffeehouse venue), and in March 2006 we played in the Uke-tacular Uke-athon at Kerrytown Concert House. I would say if that was our last gig in Ann Arbor, we are overdue for some fun!

We are thinking we may go down early and get some food, probably at Zingerman’s Deli or Seva’ vegetarian restaurant. If the weather is dry we can walk around the downtown area, Main Street to Liberty to State for those who know the area. I am looking forward to it.

I’m put

ting a small version of the concert poster here. If you click it, you will go to a letter-sized PDF version of the poster which can be printed (or just read more clearly).

I know a few of you out there are in the Ann Arbor area. Riin, Erica, Diana, Oscar, Tessa, a few more as well, no doubt. Please come on by if you can, we would love to see you. And do bring a friend if you know someone who would enjoy it. The more, the merrier.

Three Seasons

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

This photo represents 3 seasons. I see spring on the left, with peony leaves. Most of the photo is a bush which grew as a “volunteer” as Mom would say (probably a dropping from a bird planted it here), with beautiful fall berries. And looking through the berry branches at bottom right, you can see one lone nasturtium flower, total summer.

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Art is everywhere, even accidental additions to the garden.  The peonies came with the house and perhaps were planted in the 1920’s, the bush has been there at least 3 years, and the nasturtiums were an impulse purchase, a seed packet back in springtime. I love the round nasturtium leaves as much as the flowers.

By Special Request

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

OK, I give. I tried to get good photos of the guy across the street snowblowing a dry sidewalk in his shorts. By the time I recovered from my amazement, grabbed my camera, waited for it to wake up, and took a shot, this was the best one I got.

Mind you, at this point he was at the very back corner of his lot going into the driveway. My telephoto doesn’t do well at that distance.

It’s a shame you can’t see his headgear. I could hear his extra-sized machine across the street (with the windows/doors closed), but he could not.

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Surreal

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

It’s in the 70’s F today, people are enjoying the weather wearing shorts after a week of sweater-chilly days. So I’m working in the living room and there is this very loud motor sound which is proceeding extremely slowly. I think to myself, “street-sweeping truck?”

The sound takes longer than I would expect to proceed past my home. I get up and look out the window.

My neighbor across the street is wearing shorts and heavy-duty construction-style ear protectors, pushing his huge full-sized SNOWBLOWER down the empty cement sidewalk toward my house. Then he slowly turns it around, and proceeds slowly back the way he came.

There has been no frost yet in our neighborhood this season. We probably will not have snow for another few weeks, not even flurries. It won’t stick until Thanksgiving or later.

Odd.