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

1 Comments:

Catholic school all the way here, too. And bad Latin teacher, too, though not as bad as yours. And as for taking PE anywhere near boys - forget it. We had a PE teacher who specialized in dance! But I am glad for my education experience overall.
I applaud your willingness to tackle tough projects (books that aren't easy reads). I read for entertainment and therefore don't really want to work at it. Lazy, I know.

By Blogger Linda, at 10:36 AM  

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004  

I knew we were having a busy summer at work, but it ramped into hyperdrive yesterday. I haven't checked the back stats, but it just may have been our busiest day ever. We're not quite a one horse operation but we limp like one. My assistant was doing a puppet making workshop in the early afternoon and when she came back at lunch and saw the crowd waiting for her she almost turned around and walked back out. Only half the crowd was future puppet-masters, though, the other half was comprised of younger siblings, infants, and mothers, so she knew I had equal share in the crowd control.

Well, it's nice to be a success - and we always have a slow day thrown in sometime during the week. (please?!?) Just not today, since today is Wednesday, and Wednesday means story hour.

My knitting and spinning are all taking a back seat these days, to a favorite activity BD and I share - reading out loud to each other. Both of us like the listening and the reading, but this time I'm doing all the reading. It began with a series of lectures on tape from Recorded Books that the library just got in - The Modern Scholar. The one I'm listening to is called Monsters Gods and Heroes: approaching the epic in literature. The lecturer is Timothy B. Shutt of Kenyon College. He has a good voice, a little gravely, but passionate - the way scholarly people can sound when they're really having fun. He covers the two Homers, the Aenead, Beowulf, the Divine Comedy, The Faerie Queene, and Paradise Lost. I've read the first two, Beowulf and parts of the DC and PL. BD read big chunks of FC to me about a year ago when he tackled it. (Not my cuppa’, though I'm usually the fairy type) But somehow I never read the Aenead. We have both the Dryden translation and a modern one by Robert Fitzgerald, (BD was, and still is, a classics scholar) and of the two, the Fitzgerald is better for reading out loud. Or at least, I can catch the cadences better with this one. The Dryden reads delightfully to myself, but makes me stumble when I try to read it out loud.

Anyway, after listening to the tapes, I suddenly had this lust to get to know Virgil. My own brief brush with anything remotely classical was 2 abysmal years of high school Latin, taught by an ancient nun who evidently held enormous power within the convent, though she was not the school principal. She had been a debutante (so she claimed) in 1910, so presumably she was born about '92. 1892. She taught Latin and beginning French to little clutches of Catholic girls in green uniforms, certainly as late as 1970 - perhaps even longer. Or should I say, she suffered us to crowd her space as late as 1970. The year she taught my class freshman Latin, she merely had us correct the second year class' homework. Evidently we were supposed to soak up the mysteries of grammar and vocabulary via osmosis. We didn't. The next year, when it came time for Caesar, we were in hot water. Nobody knew a thing. To make it worse, we had her twice a day, first period for French I and third period for Latin II.

It may not have been so bad, had we not also had phys.ed. 2 days a week in between those two classes - and PE was taught at the boy's school a few blocks down the street, in the only gymnasium available. Those teachers insisted, rightfully, that a healthy body was as important as a healthy mind, but not an adult in that school could coordinate clocks. Invariably we were late getting back down the street 2 days a week - and late arrivals were not allowed into Latin class. So on Monday and Thursday, girls whose last names began with A-K stood out in the hall, and on Tuesdays and Fridays, the M-Z gals loitered.

There was a little trepidation when the first report cards came out, but we found that as long as you handed in one page of Caesar every day, and filled in all the blanks on the tests with something, (truly anything at all) you got a C. The translated pages didn't have to be unique, either. You would hand in one page on Monday, another on Tuesday, when you got Monday's homework back, and on Wed, you erased the date and page number on Monday's returned page and offered it up as legitimate. When the pages got too grubby, you had to come up with a new one, but someone was sure to have an older sister who would help a tangled scholar and it was considered only sporting, if you had a new page translated, to give it to everyone to copy. It was also the job of the students who made it into the classroom to see that the hall lingerers' homework was handed in along with theirs.

One day, in the middle of the school year, the principal noticed a group of us standing in the hall, walked down towards us, black habit fluttering, witchy shoes clicking loudly. 15 throats gulped as she neared, but she only peered into the classroom through the doorwindow, made a sort of sighing sound, turned and clicked back down the hall. At the end, she flicked on the light.

I don't think a single parent believed our complaints about this situation and, like the cynics most teens are when it comes to adults, we soon accepted this weird situation. I think back on it now and am appalled - but not actually surprised. I suppose it was an object lesson in the inefficiency, wastefulness, and stupidity of institutions - be they government, religion, or business. Anything that's really big, that is structured in such megalithic, Byzantine hierarchy, is bound to be 50% sham. It survives purely by it's monolithic size. It's death is assured, sooner or later, not as an enormous collapse, but as a slow inner decay.

On record, I learned Latin. In fact, I did not. It’s not a good idea for grownups to display such hypocrisy and falsehood to teens. Every adult; parents, teachers, and administration, let us down big time, all to appease a turf war in a commune. It really turned me off to group activities of any sort and convinced me that, if everybody is going along with it, it’s probably a hoax.

Of course, much, even most, of my Catholic School experience was extremely good and I don’t even really mind the loss of a classical education. I am a naturally lazy woman when it comes to obeying others, quick to slack if I can find a way to stay out of trouble, and in my book, that is mostly what school was - obeying others. Heck. It is mostly what I thought the whole of childhood was. I do regret that Caesar isn’t taught - in English, please - to everybody. What I managed to decipher from my cursory efforts was really interesting.

But hey - it’s never too late to correct that sort of omission and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m so enjoying Virgil I begin to suspect that, at last, in my 5th decade, I’m ready to tackle long poems. An entire genre lies open before me. Pretty darn good, I’d say, for someone half way through the journey!

posted by Bess | 5:41 AM

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004  

Man - it's hard to get going these mornings. 4 days mostly away from the keyboard has done wonders for my hands and it's a little hard to put them on the front lines again. In addition to that, for those who are government employees I need say only it is June 29. For the otherwise employed, that means the EndOfFiscalYear - the time when more calculators are used and more invoices are discovered, than any other time of the year - even April 14th. My brain has been occupied with the economic transactions of Peter and Paul.

The weekend was delicious. Two dear friends visited with their families and filled the house with energy, conversation, and good will. The friends are fiber friends, so we had wheels spinning and needles clicking. The weather gods smiled upon us (forecast had been for 90's and rain - ick) and Chesituxent spread out her prettiest robes of green and golden sunshine - at least enough of the time. Best of all, the guys played nicely with others. They even went off to play on the river, leaving the spinsters at home with their toys.

I was particularly thrilled to get my hands on some CVM (California Variegated Mutant) fiber from Jen. I've been whining for some ever since she opened her business and this stuff really is gorgeous. I'm such a sucker for Hershey's chocolate brown. She said she had some oatmeal CVM too and I began to envision stranded colorwork in a Norwegian sort of design. Yum.

Work is utter madness these days. We always expect things to get busier during our summer reading program, but this year we are completely swamped with little bodies clutching books, their eyes big with excitement, their mama's anxious about school reading lists. Very little of what we thought might get done ever even begins. Thank goodness, there's nothing looming for the next few weeks (She foolishly says, tempting the fates) Fortunately my part timer is funded for more hours starting Thursday - which can't come soon enough.

Hey! I suddenly realized that I'm going out of town on the 8th & 9th (for play) and that just happens to fall in the same week as the 5th, which is a day off. Woo woo! a 2 day week coming up next week! Well. That puts me in such a good mood I think I'll go spin some CVM.

TA.

posted by Bess | 6:43 AM

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Saturday, June 26, 2004  

Whew. Touched some cords with yesterday's post, I see. Well, we women tend to be brought up to be nice. Nice is good, but nice is not always the right way to be. Old habits are hard to forget. I even had to teach myself to throw up. And no, I don't think I'm particularly anal, either. Had my stomach pumped when I was a tot - you don't forget something like that. Alas, I was one of those kids who was pretty regularly in emergency rooms. My poor parents; thank goodness they had me in the 50's before the era when all bruises get attributed to child abuse.

Today is a happy day, albeit a bit damp. The sun is out now, so things ought to dry up soon. And, fiber friends are visiting. Hooray for pretty weather and summertime play. This will be a return visit for the gals and first time visits for their families. We haven't had little ones here for a fairly good while - all my young cousins have become teenagers, with the exception of my god daughters and they already know where the cool stuff is and have their favorite play mapped out when they get here.

I usually experiment with food when I have guests. I believe I've read in several entertaining books that this is a strict No-No. No matter. I also always have some standbys, which, in summertime, means corn and cook-out foods. I'll report which are successes and which are not.

And with that I'd best be off, if I want to whip this place into shape.

posted by Bess | 7:03 AM

3 Comments:

Bess, I continue to think we're sisters separated at birth...! I too, suppress, to the point it has me wearing a guard for my teeth -- and even so, darn it, I just broke a bottom molar and need a crown to protect what's left, to the tune of many $$$ (several knitting projects worth...) :-( I have had some heavy duty moaning and groaning sessions, but have to be sure no one's around...

By Blogger Margaret, at 8:18 AM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:22 PM  

BTW, I didn't intentionally remove a post, I just played with the trashcan icon and my post vanished. It just said I had continued the theme on my blog. :-)

By Blogger Catherine, at 4:54 PM  

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Friday, June 25, 2004  

I am singularly uninspired today, in spite of Catherine's most excellent comments on women (really, it's true for anyone) suppressing their anger. This topic is dear to me because a.)I'm a suppresser, and b.) I had the most amazing experience, once, when I blew the lid off - and it's such a tale it's worthy of sharing. Seems a shame, though, to write about it when I'm feeling so dull. Heavy humidity rolled in last night and I woke at 4, so by now I'm pretty bleary eyed.

Virgo. Middle child. Tender hearted. Irish tempered dad. It's no wonder I was never one to let my anger show - and it has taken my entire adult life, which now amounts to several decades, to learn even the basics of expressing the negative stuff to anyone who matters. And if the other doesn't matter, I'm hardly likely to have negative emotions about him. But I did have one very trenchant, very object lesson, a few years ago and I make much more of an effort now, to tell it like it is.

The first time I heard about primal scream therapy I was rather repulsed. The idea of someone just screaming out his fury made me enormously nervous. I grew up in a house with lots of screaming and my first inclination still is to duck for cover when voices are raised. Not for me, the temptation to join in the fray. In a world full of things to think about, talk about, and do, why not just drop the ugly stuff and pick up the beautiful?

This is very difficult for the debaters in my family - the Ds, who are fascinated with the tug and pull and victory of argument. Love goes a long way towards helping us accept each other's limitations, but natural inclination doesn't just disappear, even when one chooses to cooperate with a partner who's bend is not a parallel curve.

Several years ago a family situation developed, slowly, and stealthily, which put me in a very difficult position, opposite another family member. It eventually decayed into an untenable one. The penultimate moment came when I developed an ovarian cyst which necessitated making severe changes in the household routine. "Don't lift anything over 5 pounds," my dr. insisted, "We will schedule the operation for next week."

The ultimate moment came a few days later, when all of the relevant facts of the situation became known to me. I was at home at the time, 1/2 a mile from the mail box and 2 miles from my nearest neighbor. As I hung up the phone, after hearing the ugly details, I really let go with my anger. I screamed. I yelled. I howled. I stalked the front yard waving frantic arms. My fingers curled into claws as I scratched the air in fury. BD stared like some cobra victim, unable to blink, unable to speak. The dogs stood beside him, all of them about 4 feet away, riveted to this virago (yea, not virgo now) spewing out months of pent up rage. My body seemed to open up, flowing with intensity, nothing was held back.

As I paced about the yard I had this intense craving for fruit and I knew it was a cellular need to cleanse myself. We had a little peach tree with small bitter peaches on it. I stormed over to it and began cramming them into my mouth. The bitter wetness seemed like a purge. And every step I took, BD and the dogs followed, tied to me by some invisible bond, unable to come any closer than 4 feet, but unable to get away either. I remember stopping in my passion and asking him how people who live in towns or suburbs ever get rid of such anger? Then more heaving screams poured out as my very spirit asserted its need to vent.

The whole episode took maybe 30 minutes - although it may have been less, or more. But it was a good bit of time and I through it all I had this dual emotion of utter gratitude that I lived in the back of beyond where I could just let it all go. Nobody was going to call the police or the psychiatrist. Nobody would know and nobody would care. I could just dump it all and by golly I sure did.

And the next day that cyst was gone.

Yep. I went to the dr. and told him all about it. I tried to ask him if it was possible to scream away a cyst and he just didn't want to know. "Oh it wasn't psychosomatic. You really did have an enormous cyst." he tried to reassure me. Well, hell, I knew that. I could see the darn thing poking my belly out like I was 5 months pregnant. And it wasn't important that he didn't want to go into any feel-good discussions. I know what happened and I know that I was darned lucky the interpersonal crap blew up when it did, 'cause otherwise I'd have had to have that operation.

So. It was an object lesson to me; don't hold in my anger. I'm still inclined to do so, of course, and enormously clumsy when I do open up. But at least I know for sure it's a better to spit it out than to hold it in.

Thanks Catherine. I need reminded of that now and then.

posted by Bess | 6:47 AM

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Thursday, June 24, 2004  

My hands are killing me today so this post will be short. You aren't missing much anyway, since I haven't had much fiber inspiration this whole week. My self imposed methodical approach to stash reduction doesn't seem to be working. Not that I want to buy more, but I have been trying to work on one thing at a time - and evidently the brat in my soul is throwing a floor kicking breath holding tantrum. I'm just not doing anything now. Well, I have always known I do better when multi-tasking. Probably ought to start a second project.

Fortunately, 2 Muses will be visiting this weekend and I'm bound to be inspired by them. In the mean time I shall pull out my cookbooks and find things to experiment with. Produce is coming into the local markets big time and eating ought to be a real adventure.

Where is that motrim?

posted by Bess | 6:18 AM

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004  

Too late.

I meant to get around to writing a paean on the joys of a fabulous haircut. Really I did, but other things crowded it out and now my own perfect cut has grown beyond perfect into merely nice and a news flash this morning warns the haircut trolls have already escaped confinement in Florida. I am sure that within 10 days, when my next haircut is scheduled, they’ll have crept north into Virginia. This is not a happy thought.

So what is it about a haircut? Why does it loom so darkly on the monthly horizon of so many women? Why does hair have to grow anyway? Why can’t we have a dial to set, a button to push, so that when our hair is at that moment of perfection, we can freeze it there till we’re ready for a change.

Of course, the face is the place people go, look, focus, when they want to deal with the person of you, not just your function. That’s where your eyes are, where your expression sends out all the secret animal messages people need, to be able cooperate with you. It is the portrait of you. And like any good picture, it requires an equally appropriate frame.

Alas, I venture to say there are more good frame shops than beauticians. (We still say Beauty Parlor, here in T-town.) And why is it so difficult to communicate with the wielder of scissors? Why is there, not only secret haircut language, but also generational haircut language. Did you know that asking for layers is not the same thing as asking for a stack? Even though in both cases some hair is cut shorter than the rest? Did you know that a stack from a 50 year old hairdresser won’t be the same thing her 28 year old sister will give you?

It does seem to me that most folk cut other people’s hair the way they want their hair to be cut. And since most haircutters have thick, sometimes coarse, or curly hair, and I have only a few limp wisps of stick straight stuff, we are start out at a verbal impasse. Perhaps it is because the wispy haired among us are already bummed out enough about our own hair. We choose between two defense moves; either cut it all off in some quasi guy’s haircut, look like a gym teacher and say blithely “It’s so easy to care for” (well, ugly is always easy) OR if we are lucky, we find that one haircut that looks okay (or if we’re really lucky, actually looks good) and never ever ever change it. For sure, we don’t go into the haircutting business, where we’re forced to care about hair. That’s why we so seldom find anybody who understands what it is we want.

All this ranting may sound like so much empty vanity. Puffery; fluff; silly womanish clutter to occupy a weak mind. It is not. The subject here isn’t about vanity, but about armor. Or if one dislikes the military reference, it is about being prepared to get down to business. When one’s hair, like any other physical part of one’s life, is in order, one can free one’s mind for weightier topics. When one’s hair is well cut, one looks capable, efficient, trustworthy. When one has a dumpy, dowdy, cutsie, juvenile, or just plain ugly haircut, others immediately categorize that one as incapable. And of course, there’s some truth in the assumption. After all, it is obvious that one is, at the least, incapable of finding a decent barber and then effectively communicating with him. I mean, if you can’t even ask for an appropriate haircut, how can I trust you to get the contract in on time, negotiate the lease for a good price or defend me from that shark over there with the great haircut? Can you find out who does her hair for me?

In my little town, if you like to have your hair cut on a regular schedule, you don’t shop around for hairdressers much. You pretty much stick with the one your mother first took you to. In my case I have been fairly lucky with the gal who cuts my hair. I’ve had the same haircut for about 10 years. Each month we have the same conversation, when I remind her that I want it as short in the back as she can take it, with a fairly high stack, but I want it as long on the sides as she can make it. And she always says “well, you know I can’t take the back too short because your hairline is so low, and if I leave the sides too long there won’t be a nice line between the sides and the back.” And I always answer “yeah, I know, but go as short in back as you can”. This is how I remind her to put the stack in the back, because the previous 10 years she cut my hair in a straight bob across the back and I don’t want her to forget and revert to that earlier cut. This is experience talking. Besides, her hair is thick and full of body and she spends a good bit of time trying to depress its natural sproing. When she gets a head like mine, with stick straight falling down stuff, it’s hard for her to believe I want it to sproing a little.

Once reminded, she will put the stack in. My hair always looks within a parameter of acceptability. And to give her all the credit she is due, now and then, including this last time, she cuts my hair into a perfect shape. I walk out of the building feeling like Jose Eber just told me to "shake my haid, dahling." And I do - shake my head, that is. And feel great for weeks, while my hair just sits there, doing nothing, being the perfectly polite, self-enhancing frame it was meant to be. There really is nothing quite so uplifting as a perfect haircut. Since we get so few of them, I suppose the only thing we can do is appreciate them when they come - and get our photo taken.

And that is my fiber talk for today.

posted by Bess | 6:47 AM

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Too late.

I meant to get around to writing a paean on the joys of a fabulous haircut. Really I did, but other things crowded it out and now my own perfect cut has grown beyond perfect into merely nice and a news flash this morning warns the haircut trolls have already escaped confinement in Florida. I am sure that within 10 days, when my next haircut is scheduled, they’ll have crept north into Virginia. This is not a happy thought.

So what is it about a haircut? Why does it loom so darkly on the monthly horizon of so many women? Why does hair have to grow anyway? Why can’t we have a dial to set, a button to push, so that when our hair is at that moment of perfection, we can freeze it there till we’re ready for a change.

Of course, the face is the place people go, look, focus, when they want to deal with the person of you, not just your function. That’s where your eyes are, where your expression sends out all the secret animal messages people need, to be able cooperate with you. It is the portrait of you. And like any good picture, it requires an equally appropriate frame.

Alas, I venture to say there are more good frame shops than beauticians. (We still say Beauty Parlor, here in T-town.) And why is it so difficult to communicate with the wielder of scissors? Why is there, not only secret haircut language, but also generational haircut language. Did you know that asking for layers is not the same thing as asking for a stack? Even though in both cases some hair is cut shorter than the rest? Did you know that a stack from a 50 year old hairdresser won’t be the same thing her 28 year old sister will give you?

It does seem to me that most folk cut other people’s hair the way they want their hair to be cut. And since most haircutters have thick, sometimes coarse, or curly hair, and I have only a few limp wisps of stick straight stuff, we are start out at a verbal impasse. Perhaps it is because the wispy haired among us are already bummed out enough about our own hair. We choose between two defense moves; either cut it all off in some quasi guy’s haircut, look like a gym teacher and say blithely “It’s so easy to care for” (well, ugly is always easy) OR if we are lucky, we find that one haircut that looks okay (or if we’re really lucky, actually looks good) and never ever ever change it. For sure, we don’t go into the haircutting business, where we’re forced to care about hair. That’s why we so seldom find anybody who understands what it is we want.

All this ranting may sound like so much empty vanity. Puffery; fluff; silly womanish clutter to occupy a weak mind. It is not. The subject here isn’t about vanity, but about armor. Or if one dislikes the military reference, it is about being prepared to get down to business. When one’s hair, like any other physical part of one’s life, is in order, one can free one’s mind for weightier topics. When one’s hair is well cut, one looks capable, efficient, trustworthy. When one has a dumpy, dowdy, cutsie, juvenile, or just plain ugly haircut, others immediately categorize that one as incapable. And of course, there’s some truth in the assumption. After all, it is obvious that one is, at the least, incapable of finding an decent barber and then capably communicating with him. I mean, if you can’t even ask for an appropriate haircut, how can I trust you to get the contract in on time, negotiate the lease for a good price or defend me from that shark over there with the great haircut? Can you find out who does her hair for me?

In my little town, if you like to have your hair cut on a regular schedule, you don’t shop around for hairdressers much. You pretty much stick with the one your mother first took you to. In my case I have been fairly lucky with the gal who cuts my hair. I’ve had the same haircut for about 10 years. Each month we have the same conversation, when I remind her that I want it as short in the back as she can take it, with a fairly high stack, but I want it as long on the sides as she can make it. And she always says “well, you know I can’t take the back too short because your hairline is so low, and if I leave the sides too long there won’t be a nice line between the sides and the back.” And I always answer “yeah, I know, but go as short in back as you can”. This is how I remind her to put the stack in the back, because the previous 10 years she cut my hair in a straight bob across the back and I don’t want her to forget and revert to that earlier cut. This is experience talking. Besides, her hair is thick and full of body and she spends a good bit of time trying to depress its natural sproing. When she gets a head like mine, with stick straight falling down stuff, it’s hard for her to believe I want it to sproing a little.

Once reminded, she will put the stack in. My hair always looks within a parameter of acceptability. And to give her all the credit she is due, now and then, including this last time, she cuts my hair into a perfect shape. I walk out of the building feeling like Jose Eber just told me to "shake my haid, dahling." And I do - shake my head, that is. And feel great for weeks, while my hair just sits there, doing nothing, being the perfectly polite, self-enhancing frame it was meant to be. There really is nothing quite so uplifting as a perfect haircut. Since we get so few of them, I suppose the only thing we can do is appreciate them when they come - and get our photo taken.

And that is my fiber talk for today.

posted by Bess | 6:47 AM

1 Comments:

Bess, Luv, you make me grin. I now have great mind pictures of you and the Little Reader wandering the 'isles' -- of Skye, or Fair, or Islay, or Shetland...scouting for great 'yarns'! Hugs!!

By Blogger Margaret, at 10:37 AM  

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004  

Whew! Yesterday was absolutely mad. First day of Summer Reading Club combined with major crash in the computer network - what a screwup of a day. Thank goodness I was still riding the crest of the ThankGodTheUsedBookSaleIsOver wave. The whole town was actually up there with me, blissful that the festival was both a success and over. Nobody got putout by the lengthy waits while we used digital computers to take down card numbers and bar-codes. Several dozen kids signed up for the SRC. Especially fun were the wide eyed 3 year olds who are in here for the first time, usually with grandparents, and two boys who came an hour before closing time. Coltrane Conklin. Is that a name, or what?! Gotta be the cutest thing on 2 legs I'd seen in a month of Sundays. I noticed him immediately, when his class came to the library on a field trip a few weeks ago. Got the scoop on him and his brother while we wandered the isles picking out cool books. The brother, who's no slouch in the charm department, was definitely into soldiers. Thank goodness he had a dad who wasn't too rigidly liberal to let him check out what he wanted - Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Winter on the Farm - good boy stuff.

The big thrust will come today, though, when we have the Learn to Draw Dinosaurs class in the afternoon. Self is teaching it and is enormously grateful for Ed Emberly & his son Michael, who wrote the drawing books I wanted, but never could find, when I was a kid. When LD was a first grader he was sick enough to stay home from school for a week, but not all that miserable. I checked out Ed Emberly's Make a World, bought us both drawing pads, brand spanking new markers, and we drew every picture in that book - front to back. When we were done, LD had the confidence to draw and from then on became the designated class artist. I've used the Emberly books ever since, to teach boy scouts, library staff, and even the odd adult patron, not so much how to draw, as how to not be afraid to draw. Can't say enough good things about these books. If you know a frustrated artist, these make great gifts. NAYY.

I was utterly bushed, though, at the end of the day. BD willingly ate leftover stuff and afterwards we just got in bed and read. Alas, the crest of the euphoria wave has passed, sucked away by the chaos of yesterday, but there is still a glow of relief that the clutter of the book sale is over and done with. Besides, I get Friday off, to get my house ready for guests!!! Welcome guests, wanted guests, (some of them)visiting for the first time guests! For all that last Sunday was gorgeous, it was too cool for swimming, so I'm a little glad this weekend is supposed to be warmer. I hope it's not crushingly humid, but one can't expect too many weather god gifts in any given summer.

I knit only one row on the purple lace last night and when I finished it I realized I made a mistake the first 2 stitches, so it's tink-back time today. Thank goodness I love the process. Thank more goodness I've grown up enough to actually finish things.

BTW, in the great clean the house for the painters effort, I never did find Goldie, the sweater. I guess it's gone forever. This is a major blow to the wardrobe, since the yarn was a discontinued one and the sweater was particularly becoming to me. After all we went through together, there is an emotional hole as well. Probably I should knit another ASAP; part of the great stash reduction effort, though, with no Byzantine gold flecked yarn hidden in the drawers, I will probably use a different cable design. Maybe even do some sort of YO lacy panel knit with that Brown Sheep peacock blue stuff. Hmmm. Using up that stuff would be such a triumph, I might count it as 2 projects!

I got in a fantastic session with TtPT. That was part of why the day felt so hectic. I go to the gym at lunch time and I have an hour for lunch. If I'm only doing a 30 minute cardio workout this doesn't present much of a problem. But if I have a session with TtPT it always takes 90 minutes. But with the computer network down, and the expensive network magician having to leave at 3 and my lunch hour beginning at 1, I began to get really cranked up emotionally. Would I get back in time to finalize all the details of his efforts? Would he get the network up and running before he had to leave? Was he going to have to come back tomorrow? Alas, there was a bag of mini Oreo cookies open in the staff kitchen and two handfuls of choc-O-bites leapt into my mouth. The sugar high that produced made my legs shaky and of course, we were working on lower body that session. After a while TtPT asked, "what's wrong with your legs?", as she watched them tremble all on their own. Let me advise you, an hour with a personal trainer, working on large muscle development will press out a lot of the bad ju ju caused by scarfing down little tiny Oreo cookies.

So, there it is. Another day in the life of the One who is Like the Queen.

posted by Bess | 6:48 AM

4 Comments:

Bess, if you're getting old, than so am I, because the thoughts the spam you received engendered in you are the same for me.

I don't think the spammers know or care who we are and what our demographics are. Otherwise, I'd not be getting advertisements offering to enlarge or otherwise enhance a certain anatomical part I do not have.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 9:48 AM  

Heck, Bess...you ain't seen nothin'! I get our firm's e-mail on my computer, and you have no idea what spammers think an incorporated company looks like/is capable of in the Sexually Weird department!!

By Blogger Margaret, at 10:56 AM  

If that's your rational for "you know you're old when" then I've been old since I was 17... ick to all that stuff.

No, they neither know nor care who you are... and double ick to them sending it.

By Blogger Amie, at 11:45 AM  

Yes, you're old when "Make love like a RockStar" conjures up frighting images of a gasping, sweaty Keith Richards. Remember Bloom County? Isn't Keith Richards like the human Bill the Cat? Aaaack! (Apologies to the young ones going "Huh?" - Google it, you'll get my point.)

Along with women who do nothing but complain about men, let me add "women who do nothing but complain about their rotten kids." Especially when it's pre-emptive complaining - endless eye-rolling about how rotten he's going to be as a teenager. Yes, I'm sure he will be, now. People will live down to your expectations.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:14 PM  

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Monday, June 21, 2004  

WARNING - 2 rantoliscious posts



Start0Rant

Found in my email this morning.

doItRight.com make love like a RockStar

You know you are getting old when the images this engenders are horrifying, not stimulating. This particular bit of spam caught my eye just because it did prompt disgusting images of drugged-out, tattooed, sweaty bodies jerking and twitching in hotel rooms.

So. I figure every demographic about me is already known by the great digital spyware machine. The guys who send this crap out have to know I’m a hair-dyeing, granny-aged librarian who knits, fer cryin’ out loud! Why do they spam me with this. I’m never going to click onto their site. I’m always going to hate them. They get relegated to my trash bin, but since I also designate all e-mail that's not from personal friends, as trash, and I like some junk mail, (like adds from some yarn shops), I always do at least read off the subject headings in the trash bin.

Are 100% of all commercial sites run by people who share DNA with hackers and virus creators? That’s the only assumption I can make. It ought to be easy to use all this spy gathered data they have about me to put me in the correct target group. I suppose these ad-execs with pierced brains just figure no work at all is easier than smart work.

sigh.

End0Rant.

Start0Rant

I was watching Monarch of the Glen - British TV on CD. I usually love the quality of BBC's programming. But why oh why is it considered a. funny, b. appropriate, c. normal, for women to be mean and men to be weak or batty? I am sick, sick, sick, of bitchy women who make nasty quippy comments about how crappy men are. I’m made equally nauseous by watching bumbling men blink helpless eyes at these verbal thrusts, then offer up juvenile “yeah, well, same to you” responses. This show could be fantastic - a man trying to blend his family history with the modern world. It could deal with our longings for a slower pace or throw our fears of sucking technology into bas relief. It could even just be a boy meets girl sort of love story. Instead it’s just an opportunity for cardboard cutouts of women portrayed as real stinkers and men as major losers.

This literary trend is particularly hard for me when it comes to the written word, because I have to buy thousands of dollars worth of fiction every year and 99% of it is about this type of woman relating to that type of man. It’s become so ubiquitous - the mean woman/weak (but sensitive) man combo - like supersized fast food or manufacturer’s rebates - that I have almost completely quit reading fiction. My moment of crisis climaxed with Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams, when I identified the exact outline of my disgust, and I’ve been floating fiction-free ever since. Any time I read a book review that says “crisp snappy dialogue” I know that means she’s going to be saying 40 versions of “Men are Pigs”, and when it continues with “probing the psyche of the modern man” I know he’s going to be a guy who wishes he were, not just a woman, but a Stepford wife. Ick Yuck. Who are these people who like to read this stuff? Am I so completely within my pod I haven’t a clue? The library patrons seem, for the most part, fairly normal people. Perhaps all this dysfunctional little game playing in fiction feeds some pre-teen wound the great masses are carrying around within. Sheesh - I’d have been divorced fifty times over, not just from BD, but from any man I’d have found desirable, if I’d been so snappy and adaptive and dishonest.

End0Rant

I had ment to begin today with an apologia to the Dads of my life since I wrote nary a word about Father’s Day yesterday. It’s not a holiday we are particularly into, at our house, none of the HalmarkCard-Days are. Our big thing is Birthdays and Christmas, of course, and anniversaries. But I do send my own dad a card and I did indulge BD with all my attention, though he gets a lot of it most of the time. We spent the day from lunch/breakfast, about 12:30, till 8, outdoors. First we took a magnificent 2 hour hike through the woods and fields (I even went through White Oak Swamp a little ways, to check out the cypress trees, now becoming part of the top storey, though not the whole trek, since I was wearing shorts). The dogs have cleaned out the bunnies in the west field, but they treed a groundhog and jumped several deer. The sun shining through the forest canopy made the leaves shimmer like so many emeralds. Time to walk and talk, that’s what we had. Then it was out on the river, to watch the waves change color from brown to green to amethyst, beneath dancing breezes.

This new boat, tentatively called the Lucky Boy, took us smoothly down to Lowrey’s Point. This is where the H family (that’s us) used to spend their summer vacation. I became a part of the family near the end of this routine, because the same summer we moved to the farm, Grandma bought the house in town, and from then on, she spent the summers, playing house mother to all her grandchildren. I wanted to see the changes, since Isabell really trashed the point last summer. I think every cottage there was destroyed - certainly all the construction is new, not repair work. Best of all, the ride is so smooth that knitting-on-board is a real option, so next time we take a long trip, I think I’ll take along some small project; socks, perhaps.

I did get in some knitting, though. Moving up the back shoulders of the lace mohair. I regret to say it won’t be finished this Saturday (shame on me) but it at least be further along.

Yikes! Almost 9:00! Time to dress for work. Ta.

posted by Bess | 8:30 AM

2 Comments:

My husband's theory on craft fairs was that you should have to be licensed to own a band saw. Any plans to make cutesy signs or those "bloomer ladies" for the garden should be grounds for the Tacky Police to confiscate your tools. I never buy things at craft shows either, except foody things like herbs and spices, or handmade soap. I see no point in purchasing other people's crafty crap since I can create crap on my own, thank you. I look at that stuff and see clutter. I hate clutter.

By Blogger Catherine, at 5:25 PM  

Your husband was right on target. I like to make cutsie crap too, btw.

By Blogger Bess, at 8:08 PM  

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Sunday, June 20, 2004  

The north wind has spun around and given us a perfect day. Crisp clear skies, bracing air, visibility all the way to the horizon. Everything smells clean. Everything feels silky. Every living being is singing for joy. And it is Sunday - and I don't plan to do a single darn thing other than what I want to do. Just be and savor and exist.

Yesterday's festival was great fun and a testimony to good organizational groundwork, both for the festival as a whole and for the book sale in detail. I only had to work 1 hour of sale duty and, so long as I checked back every hour when the shifts changed, to make sure everyone knew what was required, I could spend the rest of the time milling about in the crowd, looking at the booths and catching up with people.

Most of the time I am not interested in the stuff sold at craft fairs. I don't mind picking up that interesting bar of handmade soap (Peppermint Pattie it's called, and I think it will feel delicious on really dog hot days of summer) that the middle school art teacher was selling. And I did fall in love with (and purchased) a spinning thing for the garden. Mesmerizing, it was, and will act as the soundless windchime I've longed for. BD hates them, and LD rather does too - wind chimes. Wait. No. They both like them, but resent the fact that man-made chimes can't be turned off when they want to hear nature's chimes instead. A fair complaint; so we've never had wind chimes in the garden. But I've wanted something moving and magical and I don't want water. That's more work than I want to do. This twirly thing (I haven't any idea how to describe it - it spins in the wind and creates the hypnotic look of growing fatter then thinner as it twirls) makes no sound and will give me just the other-worldly effect I've wanted. And there's no reason to go to a craft fair if you aren't going to buy earrings - which I did. Copper leaves that dangle.

Beyond that, though, all those tole painted signs and ruffly fabric things leave me unmoved. Wait! No! Again! They actually depress me most of the time, because I am crushed by the sensation of TOO MUCH JUNK they engender. I'm utterly creeped out by the presence of someone who would paint little sayings on boards over and over and over again. I hope they feel like each painted motto is unique, even if, to me, it's indistinguishable from it's mate. I would at least like to think these folk were not stuff-making robots, but were, indeed, creative, energized souls. I did a little ceramic production work for a brief time and making that third pitcher with the lavender blossoms splashed across it just about brought me to a standstill. I believe I eventually quit pottery altogether, not just because I was afraid of the heat of the kiln, but because the thought of one more pitcher with splashes of color on it became a less attractive offer than solitary confinement.

Hmmm. There you have it, unintended I've plugged into the Overmind - since Catherine & Amie are having this craft/art discussion over at BossyDog. Besides, I never mind seeing the results of production mode people who produce things I want. It's just that I don't want painted plaques on my walls, or if I want one, I'll paint the one I want myself, or ask for a custom one from a gifted plaque painter. Since I am never going to want a ruffled fabric wreath, I am not going to look at a booth with 50 of them and I wonder how someone could make something I don't like so many times. There it is: A shopper's subjectivity.

Anyway, I had a grand time wandering familiar streets and chatting with familiar faces and encouraging people to go buy used books at the book sale. Perhaps the most wondrous thing was seeing all the new babies! Of course, new babies are cute, anyway, and some of them were breathtakingly beautiful, but, these are the babies of the children I read to at story hour; of the boys who used to hang out at the library after school because I talked to them as if they were grownups; of the girls who used to ask me for the next Sweet Valley High, or Saddle Club volume. Man - these are kids who graduated from high school after my son did and now they're mamas and daddies. All around me, my contemporaries are beaming, proud grandparents, loving like they never thought they could.

I hope you realize what this means. That I am moving firmly into the OldGuys category. Oh - mind now, I could still slip into the Woman’s Club building and hug really OldGuys. Believe me, I did, but I wonder now if there was just a little relief mixed among the genuine affection I feel for these lovely women. As long as they’re still around to hug, I’m not a ReallyOldGuy myself.

I also loved the strangers who came to town for the event; especially when they came by the book sale, because I can talk books with the best of them and can chat up a stranger with a will. I particularly love it when I'm with middle school kids - because, as I said, I really do know how to talk to them as if they were grown-up. Mama did that with me. I did it with LD. It's easy to give a kid some respect and boy do they blossom with it. Listening to a 13 year old's opinion is one of the neatest ways to stay in touch with tomorrow.

This is only the second year our little town has had this festival so there's lots of energy about putting it on. It was about twice as big as last year, with lots more food vendors and lots more kiddy games. Hot air balloon rides had been on the agenda too, but it was too windy so they were canceled. Alas. No soaring for us.

Okay - got called away from this post and now I am back I see that it hasn’t been much of a knitting blog in ages. I’m afraid it shan’t have much fiber content today either, but hey - it’s my blog, right? And besides, I do intend to do a little fiber stuff today. And besides, there were Cotswold sheep at the festival with a guy sheering the little ones. Didn’t even realize anybody was raising them around here. This place is so wet. So. There’s the knitting content. I saw a sheep.

Maybe next week I’ll do better.

BTW. I can't open my blog. I can get into it via the archives, but I can't see today's post. I can get into everybody else's bolg, just not mine. I hope it's just a blogger thing, or an ISP thing or an electricity thing. I never post here that I don't worry that I've screwed something up.

posted by Bess | 8:04 AM

1 Comments:

I am glad I am not the only one left cold by painted plaques and ruffled dust catchers! By the way, if you have the "accelerated" dial up internet, it will block you from looking at your blog (rather, it does not let it refresh). I used to have that problem, then I discovered I could de-activate the acceleration when I wanted to look at something important.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 12:08 PM  

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Saturday, June 19, 2004  

I have about 5 minutes to say it all - which shan't be much. I am restraining myself from giving an hourly countdown lest it sounds like I won't have any fun today. I truly will. In fact, yesterday, BH and I walked down town for lunch (all of 3 blocks) and stood around enjoying the preparations. As we sat in the window booth at one of the restaurants she commented that she just loved Tappahannock and I realized one of the many reasons why I adore this woman. I love it too. It's quaint and provincial and corny and predictable and patriarchal and intimate and generous and forgiving and really, just a place I'm very glad I live in. Living here is like going to a continuous, gigantic, family reunion, with all the requisite squabbles and devotion. I love having a place here.

And before I get distracted and begin to prose on about small town Amurika, I'd best finish up my original thought, log off and get dressed. BH is my right hand lady today and as we discussed the schedule, I could feel the energy picking up. By the end of lunch we knew we were going to have a fantastic time at the fesitval. Mind, now, I still had more books to organize, more boxes to lable and more posters to put together, but knowing that Saturday was going to be pure fun really pumped me up. And you can rest assured that sometime during the acute angle of the sun, I'll be sipping wine on the back porch. Weather dot com promises that tomorrow will be in the 70's, with no rain and no humidity. I plan to knit. And relish both the time off and the caressing weather.

posted by Bess | 6:28 AM

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Friday, June 18, 2004  

I just spent all my blogging time writing a looooong post on KR Forums. You can read it here if you’re curious, though I suspect most of my blog readers are also Forumites. The question revolves around purchasing a Golding spinning wheel. Having tried one last May at MS&W, I’m seriously considering saving up for one. It’s one of those long term projects, though, and not deserving of much discussion at this moment. Certainly not duplicate discussions.

34 hours till I’m sipping that wine on the back porch, btw.

Yesterday I was talking to BD about the humidity and slippery floor (and he did keep the fan on all day and the floor was dry when I got home). I said I wished I had some silicone gel to sprinkle on the floor, and by golly, look what I found at the grocery store that afternoon? DampRid. Hmmm.

I know, I can’t dehumidify the world and in this house, sans A/C, the world is definitely with us. But on the absolute worst days - those times when you just can’t stand to walk around, maybe this will help. I opened up the package and overnight all the little gel beads solidified, but I have to admit, the floor in the kitchen is pleasant and in the office it’s still a little sticky. This stuff just might do the trick when I really need it.

Yesterday I thought of two topics I wanted to cover in future blog postings. One was worthy of weighty thought. Alas, I have now forgotten where that thought was to have weighed. The other was about the importance of a good haircut. Unfortunately, my hands are telling me to get off this keyboard and I must obey.

Not a stitch was knit last night, but Margaret - I’m knitting mohair lace - light fluffy clouds, not stifling blankets. It’s a dropped stitch pattern that gets about 1 stitch and 4 rows to the inch. I’m also mostly knitting only in the early morning, before the day grows miserable. And Amie - I’ll give it a try because the issue really is tension. If it’s a struggle to learn a new movement while adjusting the tension I’ll stick with the known and just tighten up on the yarn.

posted by Bess | 7:01 AM

2 Comments:

How on *earth* do you work with mohair in hot humidity?! You are one dedicated knitter, gal. :-) I now live in so-called "dry" heat, and have trouble with furry, fluffy yarns in the summer (which might actually arrive here this weekend!).

By Blogger Margaret, at 10:52 AM  

Have you tried knitting the back and forth sections in combination? On my tank, I found it much easier to adjust to the change from all knit circ to k&p combi than to go to continental purling... just a thought...

By Blogger Amie, at 2:47 PM  

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Thursday, June 17, 2004  

Okay. No more whining. At least for today.

I make no promises about complaining about the weather though. It's gawdawful hot and soppingly humid. My refrigerator is sweating so, I begin to fear its compressor is sliding into the repair zone. BD won't run the fan if he isn't in the room but we have stone floors that get slippery when wet. We're going to have it out over this one and I wasn't helped any by the SmartestPersonInTheWorld, who said, in a recent Sunday column, that running the fan actually makes the air hotter and it only feels cooler because moving air evaporates moisture from your skin. Well, my floors need moisture evaporated from them too!

I overheard some town heavies muttering about how glad they will be after this weekend is over. Putting on a town festival is such a lot of work. It's definitely the sort of thing you're glad you did, but oh the lead up to it. Last year was the first time in almost a decade that we've made such a big splash and this year we are remembering why we let big festivals fade. They are so much darn work.

I'm using one of my favorite tricks for approaching demanding activities. I tell myself, "In 58 hours it will all be over. In 57 hours I'll be sipping wine on the back porch." That target, moving ever closer into range, helps me set aside dread and speed the passage of time. Suddenly it's here and then it's over and what do you know? I'm sipping wine on the back porch!

In casting back over the past few posts, I see there hasn't been much fiber talk. Well. I am knitting on the lace mohair. (Mohair lace?) It's a dropped stitch pattern, the sweater body knit in the round to the armhole bindoffs. I'm working on the chest and upper back portions, which are knit back and forth and my fingers are so slow in adjusting to the purl rows. Especially purling back when dropping the triple wrap. It's also a geometric challenge for me to bind off a wrapped stitch. I haven't yet seen the patterns so I am literally knitting one stitch at a time.

Pattern recognition has always been one of my strongest assets. It's why I can play back a song the first time I hear it - because all songs are made up of patterns, many of which I already know. It's the same with story lines. If you don't want to know how the movie ends till the fat lady sings - if you are savoring the petal-by-petal revelations - if suspence feeds your soul - don't sit with me at the theater. My brain is scurrying around picking up cues right and left and within 10 minutes of most films, I've figured out the end. Even facial cues are patterns to me. When the ....

Well darn. Already I'm sliding away from fiber talk on this so-called knitting blog. Huh. Must not want to write about knitting. And I'm not spinning right now because I'm trying to be methodical about completing projects. Hmmm.

Okay, one last bit about MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEME and I'll log off. I think I don't want to write about knitting because I'm not creating something new with my needles. I'm finishing something I already understand. What is going on in the fiber mind is a series of mathematical binary dreams about knitting. I wake up, at 3 am, from absolutely frightening dreams of stitches popping up on needles in hyperspeed. You never see the knitter - not even her hands. Just these stitches exploding in designs and shapes and patterns. I don't usually have surreal dreams, but my subconcious been creating vivid, Stanley Kubrick knitting dreams for days now. All that's needed is a little Richard Strauss soundtrack and I'll be ready to start shooting.

I assure myself that I'm not being visited by spirits, but am, in fact, preparing myself for the first cool days, when I can begin working on a multi-directional sweater knit from my stash yarns. That's what I really want to be working on. But not in a drippingly humid June. And not before I finish this light fluffy purple mohair lace. Oh. Yes. And I also have to finish that spinning project. Oh. Yeah, and the knitted squares. La! A knitter's work is never done.

posted by Bess | 7:06 AM

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004  

I'm running on empty today. Woke up at 3, but before I could meditate myself back to sleep (I've been having a little success using that technique to deal with menopausal insomnia.) BD woke up and wanted to talk. It's now 6 a.m. and I'm afraid to try to go back to sleep. It is, after all, Wednesday and Wednesday means Story Hour, and I don't have a craft ready for the kiddies so I have to go in early to put one together.

Along with an empty fuel tank, the brain seems curiously fog-filled. And I'm feeling extraordinarily weepy because several more people have looked through me this week so that I begin to wonder if I am really a horrible person who offends everybody and now they've finally decided to just pretend I'm not there. My more logical brain tells my feelerbrain to quit being so Virgo-esque, with my picky, but scathing, self-criticism. My flakier self reminds the feelerbrain that my horoscope for this week said to take the bad vibes with several grains of salt - that this week is full of the ebb of life and that in two weeks it'll be back to the flow.

It does seem that I'm cursed to see the very traits I've criticized in the Greater Human Body finding such a comfortable home in myself. Several times in the past few days I've come up against the hypocrisy that is self, with all my erudite criticisms of others reflected, via some magnifying lens, in my own behavior. And the more I type the more unworthy I see myself and I wonder why I am even writing all this wretched verbiage. This begins to sound more and more like the diaries of my youth.

And Bess yanks herself back into the world of knitting in a vain attempt to shut off the pity valve, only to remember that, in her attempt to share all the wonderful knitting knowledge she gained at the Lily Chin class with the Tuesday Night Knitters, she probably hogged the whole night and bored everybody to tears.

It is time to shut up.

posted by Bess | 5:54 AM

2 Comments:

I always thought those ruffle-edged skirts made a person look unfinished somehow, like she had put on her slip but forgotten the skirt.

And you know, you're right; it's hard to find nice plain non-mini skirts any more (just as it's darn near impossible to find slacks that aren't low-rider any more). There are lots of cute dresses out there, but that's all because of this Stepford Wives thing and the idea that American women will want to dress like automatons from a camp-horror movie.

Wine-glasses on a skirt? Eeee-yah. Alison Lurie would have a field day with that.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 3:01 PM  

You aren't cheering me up with visions of success on my mall expedition. But you nailed it - cropped pants, silly bright prints, miniskirts up to There or big full Stevie Nicks skirts down to the ankle, that's all that I see, even in normally good places like Ann Taylor. I don't mind the moderately low-rider pants but barely-clinging-to-butt is not going to work. I'm not looking forward to the trip but I have to make it. I'm really running out of clothes.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:59 PM  

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004  

First of all, Howdy Nancy! Glad to see you dropping by! Yes, that's the same W who had the twin brothers. Cute, huh?

I see where Catherine is off to the malls soon. I would say this is a direct result of telepathic persuasion, since I went yesterday afternoon, and thought of her the whole time. But I can't, since I know she has been having the same trouble I had yesterday. Stores full of clothes, but nothing you could wear! Does everybody on earth live on vacation? Are all women, who buy clothes at department stores, school teachers with wealthy husbands or something?

I had very simple needs. I needed about 3 new knee length skirts in plain colors that I could wear with my neutral linen jacket so that I could look professional, but not suited up, when I go to work. I have 4 of them from heftier days, and while I do wear them, they are a little weird looking, blurging out on the sides in stiff linen wings that run the length of my thighs. They aren't hideous - just frumpy looking and ... it's another occupational hazard. Librarians care about style. Don't believe me? Look here.

So. What I needed were a brown skirt and a black one and a beige one, okay? Not something with flirty georgette ruffles around the hem (that make you look utterly stupid - what could make hips look wider than a 2 inch flare at the knee?) Not edge stitched voile with an asymmetrical hem that dips down to mid-calf on the outside but rises to above the knee in front and back. (Poor little match girl in silk?) No thank you to the Hawaiian print or golf print cotton either. They are cute enough to party in, or shop, or just hang out in. But they are far too casual to wear to work and still come across as if you were in charge - or even as if you knew where the bathroom is.

What I found, eventually, was one beige skirt, one white embroidery on white cotton skirt that is a little frou frou, and a black & white houndstooth check. I suppose that means I was successful, but those were 3 of the only 4 skirts I found in an entire shopping mall. Wait - I can't quite say an entire mall, since I didn't go into Sears, and that doesn't count the mini skirts, which are cute, but look tragic on a 51 year old, even if she has great legs. But in all the rest of that place I can safely say there were 4 skirts and 4,928,874,656,987,984,086,972,986 pairs of dork producing cropped pants with matching tops. And perhaps 1,987 skirts with splashy floral designs or with wine glasses or sea horses embroidered all over them.

So the whole time I was shopping I had a mental image of Catherine with me, muttering darkly "See? I told you there was nothing to buy." I would have liked more color in the skirts - maybe a red one, even lime green can work in fluorescent lighting. But dull neutrals will do and at least these don't have thigh wings.

While shopping I thought about what a ritual it has become, for me to buy new clothes after the June State Library Board meeting. I have been going to that meeting for eons. At times I've had a role to play there, other times I'm merely an observer. This time I confess, I went to gloat. Or, at least, to see the reactions to this year's legislative activity, which so pointedly swung things my way. Interesting to see who is still glad to see me and whose eyes slide away when I stand in front of them. Actually, it's very nice to see that there are still some who are glad to see me. Well, all things flow, as the Greeks like to say, including some people, who flow right on out of your life. Some stay, and that is enough.

The meeting nearly always ends around 1:30 or 2:00, which gives me an afternoon in the city to do with as I please. Over the years I have tended to hit the malls after this meeting because by then I know which pieces of my warm weather wardrobe are useless and must be replaced. The triumph of yesterday, though, was a lovely straw hat that makes me feel like Catherine Hepburn when I put it on. Every woman needs a hat like that, no?

During the boring parts of yesterday's meeting I sketched out some sweater designs, inspired by the Lily Chin Class. I'm so excited about digging up stash balls and making some interesting multi-textured sweaters for cold weather. I also picked up the pattern for the purple mohair lace - I'd left it at work last Friday. I split the front and back today and begin working the upper half of the body. I'm thinking I'll alter the pattern slightly, though, and put a little crochet edge around armholes and sleeve caps. I think it will not only sew up nicer, it'll give a little more support at the seams. Just a thought though. I'll decide when I get there.

And so - the real week begins today. Since I have to stage manage the book sale at our town's summer festival this Saturday, it's not really a short week. But I can take comp time for that later in the summer. Busy days begin for us now. Summer in vacation land. Aren't I lucky?

posted by Bess | 7:07 AM

1 Comments:

Oh I feel so much better...if you and Catherine can't find clothes either, well, then, I can RELAX. I thought it was just ME, that I should suddenly somehow WANT to have seahorses and wineglasses plastered all over a badly fitting skirt, but no, I really DON'T want to pay that for half a yard of material, thanks anyway. Now that the QUEEN doesn't want it either, those malls just might snap to attention and DO something about it, eh?
Greta

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:09 AM  

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Monday, June 14, 2004  

It's another White Rabbit morning - I'm late I'm late I'm late. I should have left 15 minutes ago for a meeting in Richmond and I'm still in pajamas. I'm resigned to skipping the most interesting but gawdawful earliest of the 3 sessions.

Just a note to say, happily, gleefully, proudly, that I have completed all 8 repeats of the 4 row pattern on the lace sweater. Time to divide for the underarm bindoffs. 1/3 done? 2/5? This is good good good.

My horoscope says that east or west, home is best, and quit thinking the grass is greener somewhere else - I wouldn't even BE here if this weren't the right place for me. Also, we must all accept that there is an ebb and a flow in life and if Dark Thoughts start rolling in on us, just know that they'll roll on out again.

Good advice for the week.
TA

posted by Bess | 6:58 AM

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Some of my fond memories as a child were when our family would take trips, whether on a family vacation or a visit to see relatives. During these long, long rides,in the mind of a child, we would sing songs. Each family member would take turns chosing a song, and all would sing. I wish I could go back and appreciate what a gift I was being given each time we traveled.

By Blogger Nancy, at 11:28 PM  

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Sunday, June 13, 2004  

I had forgotten - shame on me! Of course BD is the KeeperOfSentiment around here, but you'd think I'd remember anyway, what with my desultory attempts to write down the Pioneer Story. Yesterday was June 12th, 29 year anniversary of our great move to the country. TheLord was all full of nostalgia anyway because he was just in from a camping trip with BothHisBoys, down the Rappahannock and up the Potomac to Glebe Creek where his family had a summer home and he spent years hiding in the woods, where nobody could give him a chore to do.

That was how it was when we were kids. No child would willing linger closer than, say, 2 rooms down, to any adult. If a grownup saw you, he'd put you to work, unless he intended to scold you for some misdemeanor. Since nearly anything that might look like fun was probably also off limits, (Don't play in the woods, there are snakes. Don't pop wheelies on your bike, you'll kill yourself. Don't touch that bird, it has germs.)the best course for any child was to play Ninja and be invisible.

I'm often amazed at how much children seem to linger around adults these days. I admit it, I enjoyed having LD hang around me a lot - but then I have always rather liked kids anyway. I liked being BigSister to kids, and I loved being mama to one. But normal for us, in the 1950's and early 60's, was to lay low, get out of sight, and stick with our own kind. Besides, those grownups were sooooo boring.

The only un-boring - and safe - grownup I knew was my mother, who knew fortylevendyhundred songs and almost as many stories and had a sweet pretty voice. She also, if it was a rainy Sunday, would play with us. In my memory, that was the only time she would, but oh my goodness, her play was such fun! She was extraordinarily creative, artistic, and generous with her tools and supplies. I remember we once spent an entire afternoon making an enormous mural on a huge roll of paper, telling a story in cartoon fashion. In the evening we unfurled it for Daddy as if it were a movie.

Of course, what my memory holds on to - which is almost all feelings, and very little detail, is a pastiche of childhood. In fact, we spent a lot of time with grownups - just that - none of it was play. Play was stuff you were in charge of. Anything that involved an adult meant you were not, never would be, never could be, in charge. But just because it wasn't play doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable. I really rather liked school, with the exception of 5th grade. And frequently Mama took us with her on whatever fascinating path she followed and we thoroughly enjoyed it. But we knew it wasn't really play. We knew we had to be on Company Manners Mode - OR ELSE. It's just that, being polite wasn't all that hard, and the reward - getting to go with Mama to the pottery studio or some other really cool place - was worth keeping your hands in your pockets and a lid on your mouth.

The thing about being around a grownup was - you were always there on his terms. You had been invited into the mysterious world of ThoseWhoAreInCharge. You knew you had to play by their rules, but in return, you got to do something grown up; something you could brag about to peers the next day at school. That is as it should be. That's really what all kids are trying to do - become grownups. To learn the skills we need to become one of the guys in charge. Some just grab and hold power by bullying, others don't like being in charge, but most of us understand that if we learn how to do it, we'll get to become bosses - of ourselves at least, if not of others. So the opportunity to do grownup stuff is often worth the risk of being with grownups.

One of my strngest memories was of how, in the morning, Mama would sit with Dad in the living room with a second cup of coffee. It was a time for discussion, day planning, and talking about the world. Then he'd leave for work. I remember vividly how impressed I was the year my big sister was invited to join them with a cup of coffee all her own! I knew she had moved away from us then. She was no longer one of the kids who hid, but was a true apprentice adult. It happened to me too, sometime around 13. I was invited into the inner sanctum of grown upedness. Sipping my sweet white coffee, talking about real things, like elections or art, giving an opinion as if it really mattered what I thought. Sweet sweet moment of passage.

Of course, I'm looking at my childhood and remembering how I felt as a kid. I look at kids now from an adult perspective. They may feel exactly the same way I did - that life is tricky, grownups are difficult to read and best avoided, and what they don't know is probably going to keep you out of trouble. I overheard the boys last night, reminiscing, and it's interesting how the remember things: pretty close to how I remember them, but not quite the same.

Anyway, BD had a happy day being nostalgic and paternal. He took out the old army pup tent we camped in all those years ago, and set it up in the front yard. Then he took out the campaign tent we bought from a re-enactor’s supply store and set that one up. He has just finished reading the Freeman biography of Robert E. Lee and he set up some chairs and a little wooden folding table in the campaign tent. Right away, LD asked if this was the adjutant’s headquarters - completely stroked his dad's feelings with that comment.

So now the front lawn (my term for it) is covered in canvass. No - I did not sleep in the pup tent last night. I am a good and kind and generous and loving and understanding wife - but I did my camping 29 years ago. I will, out of my magnanimous heart, sleep in the tent next year, on the 30th anniversary of moving down here (I did it on the 20th, in the rain, on a work night), but I don’t want this thing to become some sort of annual event. Every 10 years is enough camping for me now. And I lured BD inside with clean sheets and the promise of a short story.

We took an Auld Lang Sine walk through the woods, got into a squabble about Clethra, (which I must tell him he won, btw), had a fantastic dinner of salmon with pistachio nut crust, and went for a night time spin in the boat, to watch the stars come out. What a wonderful day. What a perfect June moment.

I haven’t been much of a fiber blogger lately - but I did knit another 4 row pattern on the purple lace mohair. I’ll hop to it some more today - and see if I can get to pattern repeat # 6, or even #7. How wonderful it would be. It’s an easy pattern to remember, but it is very loopy and lacy and easy to screw up if you don’t keep an eye on it. (The easy screw up is to pick up an extra stitch by accidentally knitting into one of the long dropped stitches.)

I haven’t spun any in a good while - I’m feeling very much inspired to knit instead. Tuesday night knitters comes this week and I want to show the folk there what I learned from Lily Chin. Still not tempted to even visit a yarn shop or even read a newsletter from any of the on-line places. But I am having fun imagining what project #3 will be.

Best be off to work on project #2.

posted by Bess | 7:31 AM

2 Comments:

I don't like stoic sufferers either. I saw a movie last night that had one, and I wanted to shake her and make her change her behavior, but I didn't and she didn't.

By Blogger Nancy, at 12:54 AM  

Some of us have faced demonic forces in our lives, but we may have never recognized them as what they were. I'm sure I faced demonic forces for many years and didn't recognize them, until I started visiting the Franklin County Jail. During the eighteen years that I have been visiting the F.C. Jail, the Lord has allowed me to recognize demonic forces on several occasions. I'm sure it wasn't like the movie, which I haven't seen yet, but each occasion was real to me.

By Blogger Nancy, at 1:12 AM  

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Saturday, June 12, 2004  

We went to see Harry Potter 3 last night, BH, GF, and I. This girls’ night out was a first for us, and a chance to see a NotForDarlings type of movie. The Darlings, supposedly on a camping trip, were chased in by deplorable weather, though, and at 5:30, just as we were leaving for dinner, I got a call from the BD.

“We’re back!”

“Wonderful. We’re going to the movies, though, in an hour.”

“You mean I’m not invited?”

Moderate pause

“Of course. But you must be at the theater at 7. We’re going to see Harry Potter.”

Much longer pause.

“That is the one movie I would least like to see in the world.”

“Well then, we’ll see you about 10”

BD didn’t like the first one and I watched HP2 by myself. As noted before, I read the first 4 books in a 4 day marathon back in 2000. I didn’t read all of book 5, though perhaps I shall now. I only had a brief time to give it a go, since all our copies were on the reserve list. I just skimmed a bit; decided I didn’t care for the sour sulky boy he was becoming, even if most people think that is both normal and typical of teens; read the last 2 chapters to see who died; and returned the book.

So this brings me to an archetype I have a lot of trouble with - which people seem to find endearing. The silent sufferer. Peter Mayle did it in A Year in Provence. James Herriot did it in All Creatures Great and Small et. al. Chaim Potok did it with The Promise; to the point it made me sick. The one who is put upon and never complains. The one who is tormented, trashed, crushed and destroyed without complaining. What is it about complaining when injustice is done to you that is considered ... unmanly? impolite? rude? weak?

Why would anybody admire the little Spartan youth for letting a fox chew through his body? He sure won't make much of a soldier now. Why is he so afraid of the punishment he’s going to get he’d rather die? And what if no punishment is involved? Why in the heck does Harry Potter sulk around and mutter under his breath and take blow after blow and never ever goes to anybody in authority to ask for help?

In the end, the complaint of even the Columbine killers: “we were teased and tormented by the cool kids” rings hollow in my ear. If you are so miserable, so tortured in your daily life, why don’t you complain to those with the authority to change things? If you are merely being ignored, you aren’t being tormented - find something to do with your time. Believe me, among all the wealth of this world, there is plenty to do. But if you are being tormented enough to make you want to kill your tormentor - you are a fool not to find help. You don’t deserve my sympathy.

I hated it at the end of book 5, when Dumbledore weeps about not giving HP enough credit (at 15, fer god’s sake, in England you can rent an apartment at 16!) to understand the entirety of his position. I mean, it’s not as if he hasn’t had evidence of the threat he faces already nor given proof of both his understanding and ability to fight back. What about just sitting down, leveling with the kid, and enlisting his obviously superior talents in his own defense? I'm supposed to think Dumbledore thought what was happening to him hadn't already eliminated the chance for a normal childhood? Give me a break.

But there would be no story, you say? No drama? No action? No suspense and tension and resolution?

Well. Yes. That’s the difference between drama and real life. You have to have people act like idiots so that near disaster swoops in and our hero can save the day with his heroic abilities.

But if, as I believe, we are supposed to get our societal cues from our literature, I think the stoic sufferer who turns sulky is a reeeeealy bad cue. I would much rather read about someone who acted with logic, practicality and wisdom, and still mounted the seemingly insurmountable. I would have a lot better opinion of the author of said drama. Is it hard to do? You betcha. At least, it’s hard if you are trying to keep the story interesting. But it’s a worthy goal.

Okay. About the movie.

I really enjoyed it. I hadn’t read HP3 in 4 years, so I’ve forgotten much of the story and all of the details. What I remembered was that HP&Co. hid from the Prisoner till they discovered he was a good guy. I’d even forgotten Sirius could become a dog. That made the movie much more enjoyable for me, because I wasn’t too upset about anything that was left out.

That central plot movement - of tracking the prisoner while hiding from him - was the right thing to pick and since they had set a time limit for the movie, I think they did a good job. It’s fun to see these kids all growing older. It was interesting to see more diversity among the students. There were cameo shots of darker skinned children among the students. Filming to an American audience? British? I don’t know. It was just a little something I noticed. The big change in this story was the emphasis on the DigitalActionHero stuff - the digital animation, which I didn’t care for. I kept waiting for Skelator to come out of the forest. Well, that’s wrong. I didn’t mind it, I just wished it hadn’t given such a center stage role. I prefer live actors to pixels. (I admit it - I gagged at the promo for The Polar Express - with digital Jacky Chan waiters doing mega-flips in the dining car.)

The thing I liked the least was the short shrift Snape was given. I think he’s the most important character in the stories, outside of HP himself. I think the relationship between the him and HP is the most important one. How that is resolved will, imnsho, be what makes these books classics or leaves them just above the Animorphs series, in children’s literature. This is one of the universal issues a child has to deal with in order to grow up - the adult who hates him, for no reason, and is unfair. How those two work it out is the crucial issue after the obvious one of surviving annihilation by the Demonic Force. Since most of us won’t have a DemonicForce to worry about, the issue of Someone Who Hates Me and Has Power Over Me (teacher, boss, bad spouse, parent) is much more important.

Of course, these are my opinions. Who knows what the author wants to do. I certainly understand that action is required in a move-ie. Character development is difficult enough to portray on the written page. Transferring it to film requires a clever and concise mind and a precise eye.

A friend complained that there was no awarding of points at the end of the year. I think I agree with her - but only because it’s one of those things I remember from the book and always felt good about. I loved all the wizardy stuff that had to do with what the school was really like. I suppose the producers figured the audience already knows. They have videos and dvds of the first two films. They don’t need to be reminded of it. But that was a lot of the charm of the books and the films. There was one scene of quiddich and one with the magical candy - but I could have sat another half hour to watch a few more. I missed them, though I don’t think the lack of them ruined the movie.

In fact, the movie works well as a stand alone flick. It’s a fun, just scary enough, magic story. Definitely worth the $6 admission I paid and yep yep, I’ll enjoy watching HP4 when it comes out.

No fiber news at all. Bad Bess, Baad Baad Baaad. But I have a lovely long weekend free of obligations. Let us see what I can accomplish.


posted by Bess | 10:20 AM

3 Comments:

Bess, I want to go to the Heaven you describe!

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 11:09 AM  

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By Blogger fillyjonk, at 11:09 AM  

DJs get those same questions. People apparantly think we aren't actually given any information that we talk about on the air, that we just know it intuitively. And the question that every DJ gets at least once a day is "who sings that song? You know, the one about love? I think it's a guy, but it could be a girl..."

I like this thought of Catherine's - the great Overmind... hmmm... must ponder for the weekend... you may hear about my "puzzling heaven" in Monday's blog...

By Blogger Amie, at 1:04 PM  

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Friday, June 11, 2004  

The best laid plans can go aglang and aglee so it is no surprise I didn’t get back to the blog yesterday. Oh well, I am nothing, if not flexible.

To return to Catherine’s thoughts on the Great Overmind - that current of like-think that sometimes flows between people, so that, as a team, they are greater than the sum of their individual parts. Hyper-math of the brain. Synergy, I believe I’ve heard it called, in convention speeches at library conferences and continuing ed lectures. Maybe it’s because I am in one of the help-you professions, but we’re always working on honing our skill at plugging into the Overmind.

There is a story famous in reference librarianship about a woman who came in wanting a book about gerbils for her kid. She rejected every book on pet rodents the librarian showed her. Librarian dug a little deeper. What exactly did the child want to know and the lady finally blurted out “you know, it caught on fire and everybody inside was killed.” She meant dirigibles, of course.

So - when your work involves figuring out someone means the Hindenburg and not small furry mammals, you tend to keep your antennae flicking all the time. Thinking we can always answer the question (which, btw, nobody can do - it’s just a star to aim for) - thinking we are supposed to always answer every question - is just an occupational hazard. Since we’re probably 75% successful, most people think we “know everything”, but it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. We do get good at synonyms and that makes searching easier for us, and then we get to know our collection and our community - and therein lies one of the really important components for getting into the Overmind. Good tools.

When folk have similar tools, they can make the connections easier. Of course, if they have the same tools but opposing values, ooo - then you have Family Quarrels. That’s where beloved cousin H and I often smash into trouble. She and I really share deep values and we’re also very skilled at similar organizational type activities. When we work on a project, twice as much stuff gets done than we thought we could do - in half the time. But our values are really different from the most of the family and we’re constantly coming up against their truths and being utterly flummoxed. We just don’t get it when we have to deal with their weird ideas. Of course, they don’t understand us either, and that’s why we say they’re not “our” kind of people. Mind now, it’s not as if we’ve never misunderstood each other. It’s just that I’ve never said something and gotten that dead blank stare of rejection from her. If she doesn’t get what I was saying, past experience leads her to believe that I’m using new or rusty tools, not that I’m from another planet. So trust is another component in connecting to the flow. She assumes I’ll get better with my tools - so far I always have - and she trusts me enough to give me time to find a new explanation that she’ll understand - which, so far, I’ve also been able to do.

Tools. Values. Trust. There may be other essential components, but I think those three will nearly always get you into the groove - the flow - the current.

I think about the times I’ve had that bond - that connection to someone through the Great Overmind - with tremendous satisfaction and happiness. With some folk, we can only do it for a particular project - something we’ll begin, develop and complete - and then we part. With some, we can do it in just a part of our lives - knitting, or gardening or child rasing. With a few, that combination of tools, values and trust permeates the whole of our relationship. Those are the people who become our best friends; our spouses, if we’re lucky; our children. People who can tell you things just with their eyes or their body language. Those are our precious people. Our partner’s in the quest.

In fact, I should think that heaven will be when all of us can plug into the Great Overmind and nobody will ever misunderstand anybody again.

posted by Bess | 7:53 AM

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Thursday, June 10, 2004  

The Great Blog Overmind - Oh! Catherine is brilliant today and I want so much to take this and run with it. Alas, I have an 8:30 appointment in town and the Darlings are bustling about packing for their camping trip. No time! no time! no time! I feel like the white rabbit.

But I'll be back at lunchtime and have my say. As BH says, "They're our kind of people."

posted by Bess | 6:44 AM

3 Comments:

Once again the Psychic Twins Network has turned on, I need to link to this and just say "What she said." LOL re 1hungdud - obveeuslee hookd on fonics didnut wirk fer him.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:40 PM  

I didn't know that you had had very large parties in the spring with around 200 people. That number of guests is mind boggling to me. I have planned for around 50 before, and I thought that was a big party. You will have to tell me how you did it, especially by not spending hundreds of dollars. I'm very interested.

By Blogger Nancy, at 3:29 AM  

Or maybe Hooked on Phonics did work, and he is, in fact, one hung dud! We should feel sorry for him...

By Blogger Amie, at 12:15 PM  

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Wednesday, June 09, 2004  

So, it's not only that folk are tiring of keeping blogs, but that, across the board, readership is down. Veddy intairesting.

(and bess quickly goes to check her blogger stats)

Yep yep , I'm with the trend. But I'd noticed it some time ago. And felt the same way I feel when the library stats go down. They have been going up up up since summer 2000 when we moved into the new building, but when we slapped the filter on the Internet computers, after the supreme court ruling last July, the numbers dropped about 5%. The number of 12-15 year olds visiting the library dropped about 95%, too. Duh. No more Yahoo Chat or Black Planet. And I say Thank God! I'll take the statistical drop any day, over the angst I felt knowing that these kids with log-in names like Reddy4IT! and 1hngdud (really, I kid you not - he never learned phonics, see) weren't my responsibility any more.

Of course, their parents had signed every paper known to lawyers saying that "absolutely they knew the internet had BadStuff on it and they had had serious discussions from their little preteeny hormone-driven carbon based ambulatory bi-ped and OfCourse Their little Janie or Johnny weren't going to do SomethingLikeThat" but hey. Who's kidding whom? And the kids were sure that if there were no pictures and they couldn't see me, then - I would never know. Well. I was 13 once. I remember.

I say "just gimmee those filters, baby."

So there - I seldom really know where my writing is going to go when I sit down at the computer in the morning. I always save my blog post for last. Then, if something in the news, or my favorite knitting sites, or my personal e-mail, pricked a vein, I can fit it into my posts. Of course, sometimes when I start writing, DeepInnerStuff will pour out uninvited. Hadn't realized I was still upset about the kids on the chat groups. I intended to offer up my contribution to the discussion of WhyWeBlog - the result of a spate of GoodbyeBlogworld farewells. And to sort out my thoughts about the difference between public and private writing.

I have scores of diaries filled with private writing. It's pretty boring too. Gushing with emotions and feelings and soppy language and just the teensiest bit of information. Not long ago, I had a chance to read a diary written when I was 10 and was a little embarrassed to find it sounded exactly like the diaries I'd written in my 30's. I was also interested to find that I don't really feel the need to put those particular emotions down on paper any more. It's not that I don't roil with passion any more - but that I have a different avenue for expressing them. They were the steam valves of my psyche. I have my praying places now and I can go puke out my guts there and don't seem to need written proof that they are now expunged.

Ahhh, but public writing. Hmmm. Yes. I admit it. I do write for an audience. Not that I am not a part of that audience, but this is intended for public consumption - otherwise I'd just put it in a .doc file. I do want the comments, the feedback. And no, I don't go to controversial places, either. I'm not particularly interested in changing someone else's mind. My venting will always be personal. Nor will I offer up my family's laundry, dirty or clean. (Well, I may trash my sister in law, but hey, she deserves it.) If I don't want my boss to read it, I probably won't put it on the blog.

Proof that logic has no place here.

I guess I blog because:

A.) I've always talked too much, I suspect because I've so often seen myself in the 3rd person; as someone about whom I could gossip, since I had all the scoop on her. Myself as "other" has colored my entire life.

B.) I like to take a bit of a thought and see where it goes - or where it came from. For a feeler, really asking myself what I think about something is always a journey into the unexpected. I'm often surprised to find that my intense feelings are prompted by an actual intellectual choice. Hey - I didn't know I had a reason! I actually had an opinion.

Eh. There. To quote my friend L, "It's all about me, isn't it?"

Well, it's somewhat about me knitting. And the knitting report is good. I got in 2.75 complete patterns on the mohair lace. I could have done more but I found a mistake, which I will correct, not re-knit. But correcting mistakes in a car in the evening dusk is not a good idea, so it's set aside till this evening.

And the art exhibit was delightful. And we ate wicked Chocolate Charlotte afterwards, and drank exotic coffee. What a thing to do on WW night!

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM

2 Comments:

The last time Girl was home she devoured four Harry Potters in three days and took the fifth one home with her - she hadn't read them before because of the weight of her schoolwork and job, and she was instantly hooked. She's already seen the newest movie, the little rat. I have contractors in my house all weekend again, so I don't know when I'll get there, but I will go soon. I think I'll watch the other movies on DVD to whet my appetite.

By Blogger Catherine, at 5:56 PM  

Blogger hasn't recognized me in a very long time. Not that that's any consolation. Several of my daily read blogs have noted the decline in readership or number of hits. I wonder if it's a seasonal thing or if the novelty has worn off.

I'm excited to see the latest HP movie but I'd rather have a new book. Isn't it supposed to be out soon?

By Blogger Larry, at 10:01 PM  

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004  

I've quit telling Blogger to remember me. It refuses, so I am resigned to having to log in each time I open the program. I've also noticed that more and more of the blogs I read on a daily basis are shutting down, shifting gears or going into hibernation. While I feel a twinge of sadness when someone stops blogging, I also understand exactly how something that was fun can stop being fun. I have no trouble utterly abandoning things that no longer feed me.

For years I gave big parties in the spring. BIG parties. 200 guests. I had a lovely garden full of roses to show off. I enjoy being in a crowd when I'm on secure turf. I like to perform. It was always fun to see how elegantly I could pull something off on my budget (which is extremely small) It was the only way I could justify buying a(nother) really fluttery dress and flowerdy hat. But the year I realized that everybody, husband included, expected me to give a party, even began telling me what to serve and what to offer, was the year I stopped. Dead in the water, I haven't given such a big party in 4 years.

The itch is on me again, though, and very possibly I will throw one next spring. Just that ... I'm not obliged to.

To the busy, tired, or bored ones who have moved on I send you my thanks for your lively, entertaining words and good wishes for your new ventures.

Yesterday was such a drag - having to be at work when I could have been designing new sweaters. And if only I had arms like Shiva I could knit two sweaters at once! Of course, since Shiva is the destroyer, maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.

My reward, though, for being such a good girl and actually going to work and even doing a little labor while there, was to find this and this in my mailbox when I got home. I haven't done a strict page by page comparison of this new Nicky Epstein book with her Knitted Embellishments, but I see enough different designs to justify the second book. This newer book has lots of ruffles - something I am interested in mastering. The Fair Isle book was pure indulgence. I know I will knit a pair of them. I suspect I shan't knit all that many, though. And I already had both glove and mitten patterns, so I didn't actually need a whole book on the topic. As I said - this was indulgence.

Another treat coming my way is a half day today - or at least a partial day. A dear friend is hostessing me at a reception and showing of Van Gogh at the Virginia Museum in Richmond. (Hmmm. Is that the verb I am seeking? Members and guests, the invitation said, so, since I am a guest and she is a member doesn't that make her one of the hostesses?) We'll take off sometime in the early afternoon and get home about the same time I usually get home on Tuesdays. An added bonus will be that I'll have that lovely drive to get in some knitting. I am 2 rows behind my proposed knitting schedule. I would like to catch up.

Step-son B will show up today and later in the week all three darlings will head out for a camping trip down the Rappahannock and up the Potomac. I think I'll take advantage of the resulting empty evenings to go see Harry Potter. I have thoroughly enjoyed the other movies and I expect to enjoy this one. I don't remember enough about the 3rd book to be upset if they don't give a blow by blow account of each detail. I read the first 4 books all in a spell of about 4 days, one summer, when I needed to escape from reality. A good way to do it if you can get away with it. As I recall, I never got out of bed till about 5 o'clock, when I insisted that BD take me to a restaurant for dinner so I wouldn't have to bother with kitchen duty. He did, too. 3 days in a row. He really is one of the good guys.

So - looks like there's a little time to knit purple mohair. Off we go, then.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM

2 Comments:

So, you really liked her! And you actually got a lot out of the class! I'm up to my chin in envy.

By Blogger Larry, at 9:55 AM  

Yes. I liked her very much. She was really clever and really generous, and just funny enough without trying to be a clown.

My head is at least 4 inches bigger around there's so much new stuff in it.

By Blogger Bess, at 10:40 AM  

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Monday, June 07, 2004  

Man, the Internet is so slow today I have to waaaaait for any screen to pop up. May as well work on this post between screens. How fortunate I am a completely distractible, fractured ENFP.

My head is completely a-buzz with ideas after the Lily Chin class. What an amazing knitting artist. She had been teaching for 2 days already when it was my turn, but even though it became evident she was getting tired by 5 o’clock, she never really flagged. So first and foremost - if you ever get a chance to take a class from her - do so. She is worth every penny you will spend. She’s very professional, makes a point of learning your name, always acknowledges your contributions to the discussion and can pour out information for 6 hours without running dry. And the samples she pulls out of her boxes - you will have a hard time not breaking that 10th commandment. I had major sweater lust all afternoon.

So - the class was in mutli-directional knitting. I didn’t get any homework pages till quite late and the week didn’t allow for as much knitting as I’d have liked. The swatches were 9 little sweaters for Barbie.

(rats. my hands are starting to hurt even though I haven’t used a computer in 2 days. this report may be shorter than I would have liked)


From the git-go I was inspired with knitting possibilities, even as I worked on the homework, which, by the by, I didn’t complete. Most of the students hadn’t completed them all and it didn’t exactly matter. The swatches consisted of some side to side garter stitch that could be used as ribbing, some bias strips that I’ve been wanting to experiment with, a little wrist-to-wrist sweater, a bottom up and over the shoulder tank top, a top down flat sweater construction and a top-down saddle shoulder sweater. With that one I really stumbled because it was so tiny it was fiddly beyond enjoyment. I commented on that and Ms. Chin agreed, but pointed out that saddle shoulder sweaters were always fiddly and sewing in those saddles is very difficult to do neatly. And the full sized sample of that technique was drop dead gorgeous - an Aran design that I coveted on sight. There were 3 more bitty sweaters I didn’t get to. One of them was the top down raglan which is a particular sweater architecture I’ve always wanted to learn, and it was the one I never really got a handle on. I don’t look that good in raglans - I never buy them at all - till lo - the ballet neckline raglan sweaters that suddenly flooded the market this spring actually look great on me, so now I’m interested. How about a sideways knit cable collar with a top-down raglan sweater with fitted waist? There was an interesting bias garter shaping which I would have passed by if I’d only read about it, but which, since I saw samples of it - I know now I will probably knit up soon. There was also a sweater constructed of rectangles that was anything but blockish - or it could be blockish if you wanted that.

So - there - I feel as if I’ve got a handle on what were the basics of knitting architecture that were covered, now I can give you the scoop.


A was taking the class on reversible cables which was on Saturday a.m. so I met her at the studio at 1. When I got there the class was still going on and I was surprised at the deep voice of Ms. Chin. You know your prejudices are showing when you expect all tiny oriental women to have high pitched voices. Eh. well. She was all in Purple, except for the crimson shoes. The class looked like it had maybe 12 - 16 folk - just the right size, actually.

The only real frustration with this class - and it was minor, in hindsight, was the disorganized way the homework/handouts were distributed. I was not the only person who got them late, and in fact, I wasn’t the only person who didn’t get them till I asked for them. Nor was I the only one who only got some of the handouts ahead of time. We all did get them eventually and it really didn’t interfere with my learning, so I shan’t grouse that much. I already knew that the shop owner’s strengths lie elsewhere, anyway.

We were both starving, so we went off to Applebees to try out the weight watcher’s lunches - only to find that what I remembered was an Applebees was really a Ruby Tuesday. These two restaurants have always been interchangeable in my mind, but they have now chosen two paths that will make it very easy to distinguish them. While Applebee’s has WW friendly meals, RT has LowCarb stuff - which means nothing to me, except that the dressings on the sandwiches will be heavy with fats. Alas. I always liked RT better. Eh. Neither are much of an option for me unless I’m visiting a city and one can find either restaurant in any good size metropolitan area.

Visiting with A made me aware of what fun it is to be the age I am now - because she is exactly the age my son is and yet, there’s none of that feeling of being with a different generation. We’re all just grownups and we’re all just having fun trying something new. I hope I can keep that energy to the end.

We caught up on news, checked out GotYarn, where, though I am awash in fiber at home, I did pick up the summer Knitters (not too bad, really) a button and a single ball of red Aurora8. It is the one color I don’t have and it’s sorely missing in a multi-colored hat I’m knitting. There were some really friendly clerks at the shop and one of them had her 4 year old daughter, sleek in satin pajamas and proud of it. There was a reception planned for LC at the shop from 5:30 to 7, but I knew my folks were really looking forward to our company at dinner and A was ready to go along with pretty much anything.

One of the special things about A is that she is a DogPerson. An animal person, actually. You say you like dogs too? Yes. I do too. We all like our pets. But within the broad category of animal lover, there are those who are attune to animals in a special way and A is one of them. This means that she will be able to tolerate the BigDogs at my folks. These dogs are Present in every way. Sight, scent, and ... in your lap - even the great Dane.

That night A showed me how to do reversible cables - which is, like most of the best knitting tricks I’ve learned, a real No Duh technique. We pulled out our other show-n-tell things and made plans for latter get-togethers this summer. She was such a perfect guest - she turns out to be a lark! In my family, we’re all such dawn prowlers that sleeping to 7 is probably cause to see a doctor. But by 9 we were in cars, heading down the highway, A for home and me for my class.

As I have said, the class was a complete success. I am so full of design ideas I’m afraid I’ll forget more than I’ll remember. I have a notebook full of sketches, some design math, and 15 pages of handouts (which I re-read before I went to bed last night - I really do feel greedy about not forgetting things) Ms. Chin had us take bust, back of neck to wrist, and preferred overall length measurements and when we did sketches, we did them all with our own numbers plugged in. Then she had a little lecture on the use of both standard graph paper and knitters graph paper. Her design process is very visual. She comes up with shapes and then knits enough stitches to fill in the shapes. She said that as a girl, working at garment factories, she actually did custom knitting that way, plugging in enough stitches to fill up a paper pattern shape. I’ve always thought that would be an easy way to knit but have never tried it - who knows what I will come up with now.

Then she began discussing each of the garment shapes we’d swatched - offering ideas for using these shapes to advantage, covering strengths and weaknesses of each of them. The samples she pulled out were enough to make you drool. I truly coveted my neighbor’s goods throughout the day. There were hooded jackets and enormous shawl collars and fabulous lace borders. There were sweaters knit in every possible direction, stitches picked up here or there and taken there or here, to give you something stylish, lovely, fitted, fancy; pretty much anything you might like. She had a couple of the sample sweaters that I’d seen in Knitters and one of them I plan to go back to for inspiration on a challenge garment I’m making this summer.

The hours were packed with pure solid knitting creativity. I had told BD that the class ended at 2 so I could be expected home sometime around 5. Ha! the class lasted till 5 and I wanted to stop by to see dear friends. Thank goodness too, since it ment I could call home and tell the answering machine, who had begun to get worried, that I would be quite late.

Of course, East or West, home is best, and I was mighty glad to get back. I’m also glad I only took the one class, though I ache to learn more from LC and will take other classes from her when I get the chance. But truth is - I don’t know if my brain has the ability to retain any more info than I got yesterday. I feel like I could knit for 3 years on what she gave us.

Hey! Suddenly, I’m really glad I have all that stash!

posted by Bess | 8:23 AM
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