Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Sunday, July 20, 2003  

Saturday evening

Ahhhh. the long slow afternoon of a summer Saturday. I’ve just woken from my nap - much needed - and the house is empty - but the sink is not, so I know BigDarling has eaten, (I know, he is indulged, but it’s his mother’s fault.) I can fix myself a bowl of couscous with vegetables and Yack! Ick! It’s tuna!! Oh well. At least now there are no cans of tuna in the house. Okay - and it’s only 2 pts not 6 like the chicken. That means ice cream sandwich for later.

I used to feel so sorry for kids who’s moms packed them tuna fish sandwiches, because you could smell them in the little locker space we used to keep our lunches in - whew!

I digress, though, for I really wanted to post about the Happy Birthday Party. It was a perfectly heavenly success! It was also the hardest secret I have ever had to keep. Countless times over the past month I’ve had to bite my lips closed over the words I wanted to share - or whisper into god-daughter Emma’s ear or slip into the conversation. I never have parties or events that I don’t share and discuss, endlessly with my cousin H. She’s my soul sister. She carries my burdens when they’re too heavy for me, she points out truths I need to hear, and always in the nicest way for me to listen to.

Mama and my utterly adorable nephew got here first, since they were on their own schedule and staying the night. I haven’t seen my nephew since 1999, when he was a sort of little rascal looking mop-head with freckles and a snappy come-back for every comment. He’s now a high school football player - offensive and defensive lineman of the year for single A schools in Oregon - and absolutely oozes masculinity and strength. He’s still just as witty and funny but has developed the skill of application so that his jokes leave you laughing and wanting to hug him at the same time. Gotta give his mom 100% of the credit ‘cause she raised her boys completely alone and man-o-man - she did a good job.

The idea was for folk to come about 5 for swimming and 7 for dinner. That way, people who don’t do bathing suits wouldn’t miss out on the fun. Only we had a whopper of a thunderstorm, black clouds, angry lightening bolts and whistling winds, pouring in from the north west - so most people opted to come about 6:30, after H’s family had gotten here in bathing suits. She lives the farthest away and local weather systems wouldn’t be visible from her house. So she didn’t get the full impact of a crowd of people jumping out shouting Happy Birthday - but she got plenty of surprise as car after carload of people showed up, bearing gifts.

The storm cooled air lingered long after the storm clouds blew off, so we could still grill outside, little kids could still slam screen doors, with that slap of wood against wood, dogs could still slink in looking for fallen tidbits only to be hugged ‘round the neck by little arms till they gladly begged to be put out. It was a happy party that spanned every age group except the 20-somethings - from not quite 1 to 81. My favorite sort of party - with high energy, endless conversation, lots of grabbing and hugging of little kids and enough chairs for everyone.

Continued on Sunday Morning

But I’ve been running on empty for a good while and crashed hard that night - didn’t wake up till 7, with Mama already awake - so yesterday was a no-post day. Mama is the source of all art in our family - a superb artist herself, and an outstanding teacher as well. Though she doesn’t knit she was utterly enthralled with my color experiments. We spent a happy morning with dyed roving and swatches while BigDarling took nephew out in the NewBoat

The house was empty of all but us in the afternoon and after sleeping till the evening, BigDarling and I walked out to the landing in the corn-scented mist. Topsy doesn’t come on walks any more, but the two young dogs wouldn’t miss one for the world. Deer are thick in the fields these days. They like to nibble the young soy beans. And the dogs like to try to catch them. They never do, but they never tire of the attempt either.

The avenue of corn that transverses my praying place is as straight as a row of lombardy poplars, thick with gnats and dragonflies coming to terms with food chain activities. The walk goes south, along the woods, then west, straight down the corn stalks to the center of the large field, then south again to the edge of the property where a little stream forms the boundary, then west then north to the end of the property again and onto Robert’s - where the landing is - an old steamboat landing, long since silted up beyond use. No one is left to tell us, but I believe the steamboats would send lighters in with cargo and return with passengers, but this spot was never a regular stop on any of the passenger lines. For that you had to go upriver to Saunders Wharf. My mother-in-law took the steamboat to Fredericksburg when she was 4, and had recovered from a year in bed after being horribly burned as a 3-year old. Her parents decided they would have a family photograph taken in the big city: the year, 1911. The photo hangs on our wall today.

Today I have 2 little 4-H girls coming to learn about spinning fleece into yarn to knit with. This is a new class for me to teach so I’m suitably nervous about my ability to keep them interested. One girl I know well enough to feel confident she’ll be interested but the other girl I only know slightly and she always seems quite shy to me. Let us hope I can light a spark for each of them. I’ve got the spindles, dog combs, several types of netting for keeping locks tidy while being washed, and lots of roving for them to begin with. I also have my first sad attempts at spinning to show them so they won’t be discouraged. I don’t plan to let them spin on the wheel at this first class but later they’ll get the chance to fiddle around with one. I want them to see they can make a useable yarn with a spindle first.

The class has been shortened to 4 weeks.

· Week 1 Learn to handle spindle, grade, skirt and wash fleece- homework: spin all roving, wash more locks
· Week 2 Learn to spin own locks - homework - spin up lots of locks
· Week 3 Discuss colors they want to use and dye yarn w/koolaid - homework: spin more locks, dye more yarn
· Week 4 Design a garter stitch or single crochet rug using dyed yarn, cast on and begin

After they go I am thinking I may dye a little more roving myself, but now that I’ve had a chance to show all the roving to Jen, I may just spin up all the pieces I’ve dyed already. I shan’t have much time this week to play with anything since I have to stuff 5 days of work into 3.5. Thursday I take Mama to Pennsylvania and don’t expect to return till late Saturday; just in time for the 4H girls’ second class. Then there is a week of respite with no obligations and then the FamilyReunion - and after that I have only smooth sailing summer days. Sounds pretty good to me.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM