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

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004  

Wow. We got lots of rain yesterday, but my goodness, I don’t think it was anything like what happened in Richmond. At least - I hope not - I haven’t tried to drive out yet.

Storm clouds were scudding my way yesterday morning when I left for Williamsburg - little puffs and wisps of heavy brown vapor. But mostly the sky was bright blue. The forecast was for rain to start around lunchtime and move north all afternoon. I met Carolyn at her hotel (after I’d driven past it and across town to where my memory told me all the bigger places were) and, after some giddy hugs we drove on down to D of G Street, where we could just sit on the benches and talk and spin. We did more talking than spinning but she did try my little Boswell and the BFL. I’m ever amazed at her skill with fiber, she has the most deft hands. BTW, she’s working on a gorgeous red mohair shawl and I can just see it matched with Christmassy dresses or holiday velvet. But mostly we chattered. In spite of the fact that we’ve met up at several events and written back and forth and read each other’s blogs, there’s still a lot of getting-to-know-you to do.

After a while it became obvious that the clock was ticking past lunchtime and since we were just across the street from The Trellis, it was too easy to slip on over and check out the day's menu. It was cloudy and a tad blustery, but no rain had fallen yet. I asked about being seated outside.
The waiters said the patio wasn’t open due to the promised storms. Inside, the food was good, as expected - though a little heavy on the fish - as in: the only thing offered - and which I’ve eaten a lot of recently. The Tomato Soda bread was exquisite and we were too stuffed for desert so we decided to try a little ice-cream later.

Actually getting anywhere for a later was quite an adventure. The heavens had opened while we were eating and man was it storming. My poor umbrella, truly on it’s arms (?), barely sheltered us as we crossed the street to the shop that sells CW reproductions. (I’d give you a link, but their website is so graphically cluttered, and consequently so poky to load, I don’t want to bother finding a map.) That shop covers the whole block and has a door out the back. By the time we’d meandered through it the rain had let up a tad and we could scuttle on back to the parking lot just in time for the wind ‘n water to rev up again. It was like that the rest of the day - heavy rain, a little pause, then another down pour. Alas, my shoes were soaked. Fortunately the water was not cold.

We had ice cream at the outlet mall and pulled out our spinning, to the delight of other storm dodgers. It was hard to say good-bye, we actually sat out chatting in the car like teenagers another 15 minutes, but it’s 2 hours to my house and the weather was promising to worsen so at last I drove off, leaving a bit of my heart behind. There were some bad spots along 30 just east of West Point but I outran most of the storm.

As for photos - I had intended to put one of the hat up - I will, too, once I finish up that roll of film and get it to the developers. I also wanted to write witty satire about the language of fashion and the use of tweed coats over silky cropped pants (this is for you Catherine - take a peek here.)

but there just doesn’t seem to be time and anyway, this blog is waaaaaay too wordy. I will slip in the happy report that my Ram Wools catalog came yesterday and they again have that brick colored Cashmerino. It was frighteningly absent from their summer catalog and though it’s 65 cents more expensive than last year, I am sorely tempted to pop for enough to do an aran sweater in it. Maybe a birthday gift to myself? Hmmmm. Maybe.

posted by Bess | 7:20 AM

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Monday, August 30, 2004  

Off to play with Carolyn. Be back tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 7:10 AM

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Sunday, August 29, 2004  

Now my house is ready for company. Spick and span and all the laundry, not just done, but put away. I invite you to come walk barefoot on my floors. (That’s as high as I aim, mind, and it’s no small achievement, when you live at the end of a half a mile of dirt road)

We had the strangest weather yesterday. It was quite hot and the air felt humid - about average for this time of year - but it looked crystal clear - like an autumn day, with every leaf on every tree etched against vivid blue sky, not a mote or a droplet in the air - It was so strange to gaze out across the porch and see October while you felt August. Here’s hoping today, with no vacuums to heft, no mops to wield, no baskets to tote between house and clothesline - I get a repeat!

The day started slowly, with BD reading passages from Rowing to Latitude, about a woman who rowed a boat from Seattle to Alaska. I love sea adventure stories - the scarier the better. I don’t have any desire to attempt them, but ooo, ooo, I love to shiver while listening to them. They are my DarkAndStormyNight thrill. The most vivid, and as such, my favorite, is a story in a collection gathered by Alan Villiers, and printed in My Favorite Sea Stories, about a square rigger carrying a load of grain (loose) in it’s hold, from Australia to England. Blown up along the west coast of Chile in a Cape Horn gale, the cargo shifted and the boat began to sink. The tale of how those men managed to right her makes the hair on my head stand up and I still get that quaking feeling when I remember the vivid descriptions of 30 foot waves crashing onto a listing hull, while men frantically shoveled wheat below deck. Ahh - Give me a ship to dream about.

Anyway, while Darling BD read to me I spun samples of stubborn, slightly felted, handpainted merino from my stash on the Golding and that is a great way to begin a weekend. But I am very disgusted with my early attempts at handpainting. I don’t like having to tear away at these matted strips of roving. My hands are always flirting with stiffness now that I’m 50+ and the difference between really carefully dyed fiber that hasn’t felted a whit (like my blue faced leicester) and the grabby stiff stuff I handpainted last summer, is geometric. From now on, if I handpaint anything I’m going to be dai-gone darned careful about it.

I’m pleased with myself for finding the two items I was looking for, while relieving my house of the accumulated grit of a typical week in summer: my copy of the Big Book of Knitting and the instructions to a sweater I want to do. The latter was on loose pages, far more easily lost, and it was no small sigh I heaved when I found it. I did finish the i-cord edging on my blue hat - when BD&GF show up for lunch today I’ll ask her to model it for the photo. She’s a blonde and this is a blonde’s blue. Or Snow White’s. I do have to sew the two ends together and I spent some time dreaming about that in the twilight state one traverses just before waking. Fortunately, it’s only 3 stitches.

And today unfolds before me with all the options open. There is knitting to do. There is spinning to do. There is a sleekly clean house. There is a refrigerator full of food. There are no demands beyond the urge of the moment. What a wonderful day. May you have the same.

posted by Bess | 9:50 AM

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Saturday, August 28, 2004  

Well, I would have written this in blogger but it’s taking so creepingly, forever long to open up (ahh the joys of dial up) I finally opened up word and will deal with the asci apostrophes later - maybe.

There is this whole weekend lying before me - with no company, no traveling, no thing I absolutely have to do. My house could use an hour or 2 of attention, which it will get, and I really should get some exercise. I have let my body slide this summer - with both food and exercise - and isn't it interesting that bodies are the only thing that slide up, against gravity's natural pull - when one lets go? Up in size, up in weight. Bummer.

I realize I have this cap in my head over which I don't intend to rise - but my goodness - I'm squished right up there against the lid. I got in a great workout yesterday and I hope it is the first of many. But not any at the gym this weekend. Unless we drive up to F'burg so BD can have some Texas Chili, I don't intend to leave the farm.

And all the other chore types of things don't really count as burdens. I actually like a little housework when it is of the "get to know your house again" nature. When my place has been full of company it gets so adjusted I like to take some time to make it a 2 person house again.

But

Other than that I really have a weekend to play with fiber. My blue hat is almost done. I have about 1/2 the circumference to knit an i-cord binding onto and I have film in the camera so there'll be a photo - mmmm - Tuesday. Monday, I'm taking off and will drive down to Colonial Williamsburg for a play date with Carolyn - who only recently escaped from The Woolery dot com. Man oh Man am I jealous!! Well. Not really. I don't want to buy another thing, ever, as long as I live, for ever'n-ever amen. That is, till I do again.

It's good that she got her fix in North Carolina, though, because we had intended to meet at the Knitting Sisters, till I finally, yesterday, got around to looking at their website. Yeah, I know. Most yarn shops are closed on Monday. They're no exception. But CW is such a cool place to visit, I don't really mind that I can't drop $ I don't have on yarn I don't need. I'll take my drop spindles and we'll impress the tourists. Now... do we want to do The Trellis for lunch, or one of the taverns - or something entirely different?

What's that? BD is awake? He wants to play? Well. One dosn’t turn down such an offer. 'Specially when one hasn't anything else to say, except "Ta".

posted by Bess | 7:43 AM

1 Comments:

Yay for the hair and the beauty that is you!

Could you send me the recipe you have for your rose liquor? I'd like to compare it with what I think I have in my book....

By Blogger Amie, at 2:04 PM  

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Friday, August 27, 2004  

Not a moment to write a thing this a.m. but I am snatching these few seconds to cheer! I got another one of those perfect hair cuts. Yippee!

There will be a real post tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 1:03 PM

2 Comments:

yup! Jealous Jealous Jealous! I want details!

By Blogger Amie, at 10:52 AM  

Ditto!! :-D

Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 2:34 PM  

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Thursday, August 26, 2004  

In all the busy bustle of saying good-bye there was no time to post yesterday. I have to leave today at 8:15, so, again, only time for a brief post.

To make those of you in the know jealous - I had another session with Lucy yesterday - ooooo. I’ll tell you all about it when we meet face2face. After that it was late enough, and I was hungry enough, when I got home to just have dinner and crash on the sofa. Lucy’s mom lent me a video of an old Mary Tyler Moore show - my goodness, it’s fun to watch those old fashions strut across the screen. They were pretty nice, most of them, though, it’s amazing how just a little touch, like a button or a slight flare to the jacket or pant leg, can date a garment. This was the show about Chuckles the Clown, which I listened to on the radio but didn’t watch. The weird thing was to imagine her playing the role of an ingenue. She looked great, but she didn’t look like a 20, or even much of a 30-something.

Anyway - it was an extremely nostalgic experience. Alas, I can’t watch TV and knit or spin. Just don’t have the right wiring.

I’ll be in a car for 2 hours today so I’ll finish up the brim on the blue hat. I think I’ll edge the brim in a purl i-cord. That word - finish - should send tingles up and down your spine - it means a photo is on the way. Lucky you.

Now I’m off. Ta.

posted by Bess | 7:36 AM

2 Comments:

Dagnabbit! Multiple posts again. sheesh!

Okay - everybody is here for breakfast and then everybody will scatter in different directions. No time for a real post but just imagine - I'll be all alone tonight!

How the world turns!

By Blogger Bess, at 7:22 AM  

I'm finding what you're finding with fashion. It's extremely hard to find clothes that look "professional" (without resorting to 80s style blue skirted suits with the little floppy bow tie).

I gave up reading fashion mags about 10 years ago, I am a much happier person now. I realized I would never attain the "look" that the people in the mags had - most models are, to be frank, genetic freaks of height and metabolism. Also, I'm unwilling to spend 2 hours a day on hair and makeup.

I just wish it was possible to find dress slacks that are not either (a) cut as low-riders (a look that flatters very few) or (b) made out of a fabric that feels like a polyester prison after a few hours wearing on an 80 degree day.

sometimes I think it might be easier to chuck it all and join a "naturist" colony, and just wear my shawls and handknit socks when I get cold.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:53 AM  

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004  

Mean old Blogger is eating up my posts. Here is today's entry, da capo.

Huh - It seems I’m repeating myself with my blog entries - it is just your good fortune that I do so in microsoftword, so I can delete them before they ever get posted. I’d written a long meander about fashion magazines not having anything of value in them for the 50+ ... at least, I was going in that direction, but I think I’ve already written that numerous times before. Suffice it to say that I find this look cute, but useless for someone who wants to look like the grownup who is in charge. The language, too, is just too jejune for me. Ick. But I’m also just a teeensy bit jealous ... no... nostalgic for ... the day when I could wear that look. Alas, my ankles couldn’t hold up even if I were at that point in my life where all I had to do was look good. But I remember a day when I walked to work up New Hampshire Ave, in Maryland, wearing 4 inch heels.

Sigh.

Fashion is for the young.

HA! I can’t accept that. Maybe retro, Minnie Mouse shoes are, but there is a lot of fashion that is for the young. I just have to dig deeper for the nuggets I can use. For sure, it will never be a Hermes anything. Their S&M inspired photo shoot in the September issue of Vogue is just too too creepy for me.

I knit a few inches of the new blue hat brim last night - a pretty textured brim in seed stitch. I’ve been practicing the Combination Purl on little swatches this summer and I’m comfortable enough with it. I don’t believe I’ll ever knit exclusively in one style or another, but for seed stitch, you can’t beat that Combination Technique! woo woo it goes smoothly and fast. Of course, seed stitch is just a complicated garter stitch and I seldom knit garter because I like my rows to move along faster, but seed stitch used to be excruciatingly slow, knit either Continental or American. With Combo it zips along at a steady clip with little of that sensation of “ugh, purl” coming around every other stitch.

We still have guests so the schedule is a little different as we adapt to each other’s activities. Today I believe the guys will be going down to Jamestown but I’m not exactly sure. I still have to go to work, so I can’t be much of a hostess, but a little down time might be just what the non-touring need. I believe they’re headed to D.C. tomorrow and then for the great north where snow lies on the ground all winter! Imagine that!

Another sad loss occurred this weekend. I bid a sad farewell to Charlie Waller, a golden throat that can still send chills up and down my arms. We went to one of his concerts only a year ago. How glad I am I did, too. I won’t get another chance.

posted by Bess | 11:37 AM

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Huh - It seems I’m repeating myself with my blog entries - it is just your good fortune that I do so in microsoftword, so I can delete them before they ever get posted. I’d written a long meander about fashion magazines not having anything of value in them for the 50+ ... at least, I was going in that direction, but I think I’ve already written that numerous times before. Suffice it to say that I find this look cute, but useless for someone who wants to look like the grownup who is in charge. The language, too, is just too jejune for me. Ick. But I’m also just a teeensy bit jealous ... no... nostalgic for ... the day when I could wear that look. Alas, my ankles couldn’t hold up even if I were at that point in my life where all I had to do was look good. But I remember a day when I walked to work up New Hampshire Ave, in Maryland, wearing 4 inch heels.

Sigh.

Fashion is for the young.


HA! No. I can’t accept that. But there is a lot of fashion that is for the young. Like retro, Minnie Mouse shoes. I just have to dig deeper for the nuggets I can use. For sure, it will never be a Hermes anything. Their S&M inspired photo shoot in the September issue of Vogue is just too too creepy for me.

I knit a few inches of the new blue hat brim last night - a pretty textured brim in seed stitch. I’ve been practicing the Combination Purl on little swatches this summer and I’m comfortable enough with it. I don’t believe I’ll ever knit exclusively in one style or another, but for seed stitch, you can’t beat that Combination Technique! woo woo it goes smoothly and fast. Of course, seed stitch is just a complicated garter stitch and I seldom knit garter because I like my rows to move along faster, but seed stitch used to be excruciatingly slow, knit either Continental or American. With Combo it zips along at a steady clip with little of that sensation of "ugh, purl" coming around every other stitch.

We still have guests so the schedule is a little different as we adapt to each other’s activities. Today I believe the guys will be going down to Jamestown but I’m not exactly sure. I still have to go to work, so I can’t be much of a hostess, but a little down time might be just what the non-touring need. They’re headed to D.C. tomorrow and then for the great north where snow lies on the ground all winter! Imagine that!

Another sad loss occurred this week. I bid a sad farewell to Charlie Waller, a golden throat that can still send chills up and down my arms. We went to one of his concerts only a year ago. How glad I am I did, too. I won’t get another chance.



posted by Bess | 7:38 AM

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Huh - It seems I’m repeating myself with my blog entries - it is just your good fortune that I do so in microsoftword, so I can delete them before they ever get posted. I’d written a long meander about fashion magazines not having anything of value in them for the 50+ ... at least, I was going in that direction, but I think I’ve already written that numerous times before. Suffice it to say that I find this look cute, but useless for someone who wants to look like the grownup who is in charge. The language, too, is just too jejune for me. Ick. But I’m also just a teeensy bit jealous ... no... nostalgic for ... the day when I could wear that look. Alas, my ankles couldn’t hold up even if I were at that point in my life where all I had to do was look good. But I remember a day when I walked to work up New Hampshire Ave, in Maryland, wearing 4 inch heels.

Sigh.

Fashion is for the young.


HA! No. I can’t accept that. But there is a lot of fashion that is for the young. Like retro, Minnie Mouse shoes. I just have to dig deeper for the nuggets I can use. For sure, it will never be a Hermes anything. Their S&M inspired photo shoot in the September issue of Vogue is just too too creepy for me.

I knit a few inches of the new blue hat brim last night - a pretty textured brim in seed stitch. I’ve been practicing the Combination Purl on little swatches this summer and I’m comfortable enough with it. I don’t believe I’ll ever knit exclusively in one style or another, but for seed stitch, you can’t beat that Combination Technique! woo woo it goes smoothly and fast. Of course, seed stitch is just a complicated garter stitch and I seldom knit garter because I like my rows to move along faster, but seed stitch used to be excruciatingly slow, knit either Continental or American. With Combo it zips along at a steady clip with little of that sensation of "ugh, purl" coming around every other stitch.

We still have guests so the schedule is a little different as we adapt to each other’s activities. Today I believe the guys will be going down to Jamestown but I’m not exactly sure. I still have to go to work, so I can’t be much of a hostess, but a little down time might be just what the non-touring need. They’re headed to D.C. tomorrow and then for the great north where snow lies on the ground all winter! Imagine that!

Another sad loss occurred this week. I bid a sad farewell to Charlie Waller, a golden throat that can still send chills up and down my arms. We went to one of his concerts only a year ago. How glad I am I did, too. I won’t get another chance.



posted by Bess | 7:38 AM

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Monday, August 23, 2004  

True to one of those little dictums about not being given more than one can handle, I have an easy week at work. This is good because I have had a busy weekend and still have a full house. Our quasi surprise sailboat guests from Michigan had been chased by horrible rainy weather all across New England and down the east coast. It's only right that Virginia, Vir GINNNNN Ya . . . Earth's OOOOOOOnly Paradise, should fling out her Sir Raleigh-ish cloak of beauty and offer them a beautiful sunshiny day with low humidity and very low 80 degree weather, crisp green rainwashed leaves, chirppy happy birds, including bold bald eagles, and of course, lots of boat rides. It was too cool for me to go swimming, but our Michiganders only laughed at me and complimented the bathtub temperature of the river.

It's been a packed weekend, though and I have to abandon everyone today for dooty. Pleasant dooty, but ... needs must. Our guests have been invited to use the house as a base, from which to tour this fascinating state. We're 100 miles from the ocean and 100 miles from the nation's capital and between here and there are a number of other interesting places. I even whispered to mama and papa that there are two large amusement parks, probably unknown to their teenaged sons - just in case.

While A was visiting, with her men, I finished plying up the painted cormo. It had dried by yesterday and I finally cut off the disastrous boucle brim of the soft blue merino hat. I've picked up stitches around the bottom using the cormo, but I was just too zonked out sleepy to even complete a whole round. I think a brim in seed stitch will bring out the beauty of this yarn, with it's multitude of colors and bumpy texture.

As soon as I have enough knit to show something, I'll post a picture.

And now it's off to begin another week. I have a lunch date with Lucy the hypnotist, and a group of women friends who have wanted to meet her. Several days of good weather have been promised - and may even be delivered! Thursday are some interesting meetings of the local library director's group - be interesting to see how the new legislation for library directors shakes down in a smaller group. These folk are mostly friends. Next Monday I meet up with Carolyn in Williamsburg (my all time favorite Go-To-Play place). I should say "things are good". In fact, I will.

Things are good!

posted by Bess | 7:29 AM

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Saturday, August 21, 2004  

Yeah! Friday is done gone and I've gone and done with the last gasp of the summer reading program. The sound you now hear is of a middle aged knitting lady skipping madly about with hysterical laughter streaming from her throat.

Yep, Carolyn, I couldn't resist. Had to slip those spinning references into the game. We don't have a buzzer board, and besides, I've never seen one that allowed more than 8 kids to play at a time. So Library Jeopardy is a little different from the TV show. You still have to give the answer as a question - that's one of the ways we level the playing field. If you just give the answer, or if you shout it out - MAAAAA - wrong. I also use the little growly timer from the Scattergories game to lend tension and distraction to the play. The kids are sitting in a ring and we just go to the next person in the circle. That means that a clever kid who knows the answer, but doesn't word it as a question, pretty much gives it to the kid beside him. Often this is a younger or less sharp child. Add to that all the tension of the minutes buzzing away - it's a surprisingly fair game.

You think you can answer the TV questions? Just you put a nasty little buzzer beside you and get 17 12-year olds staring at you with ants in their pants. Ha!

We've got fisherman guests down on the pier and expect spinning, swimming and boating guests later in the morning. Sailboat guests will show up sometime in the next 24 hours. This is what is known as a full house.

And yesterday's weather dot com promise of 20% chance of rain has been upgraded to the more normal (for this year) 80%. How nice that some things never change - until they do.

Hmmm. There just might be a little time to twirl the Bosworth.


posted by Bess | 7:29 AM

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I see you managed to work spinning into a couple of the trivia questions.!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 3:51 PM  

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Friday, August 20, 2004  

Here are the library jeopardy questions for 12 year olds:


1. This man loves green eggs and ham.
2. This little fellow lives with a man who wears a yellow hat.
3. Voldemort wants to kill him.
4. Jack and Annie, a brother and sister team, can travel through time and they write about their adventures in this series of books.
5. These girls couldn’t get their feet into the glass slipper.
6. This boy came home from a magical trip and brought back a musical instrument and a bird and he was never poor again.
7. You live at this school and learn how to cast spells and play quidich.
8. This little fellow managed to carry the ring back to Mt. Doom and toss it in the lake of fire.
9. This baby girl had several godmothers, but one of them wasn’t very nice.
10. This sister and her two brothers live with their mother and father in a tree house.
The father is pretty foolish, but the mother is wise.
11. This little French girl lives in an old house in Paris with 11 other friends. They leave the house at half past nine in two straight lines.
12. This girl had such long hair it fell from the top of the tower to the ground below.
13. This well dressed cat helped his master gain riches and a beautiful wife by tricking an ogre into turning into a mouse.
14. A brave little tailor killed 7 of these with one blow.
15. This boy’s dog is named Ribsy and he goes to school with Beezus.
16. This series of books is in the form of diaries about children who have had adventures throughout the history of the United States.
17. Vigo Mortenson played him in the movie Lord of the Rings.
18. This man could spin straw into gold.
19. All of these tools in the kingdom were burned by order of the king, after the wicked fairy godmother vowed that her niece would dye by pricking her finger on one.




posted by Bess | 2:59 PM

3 Comments:

Ah, but Bess, Blogger DID let you post yesterday, it only told you it didn't. If'n you scroll down a bit on your blog, you'll see the missing posts right there.

That has happened to me more times than I care to admit. I've become pretty speedy with the delete button when I notice it.

I will say though that I've been getting funky errors from Blogger on a regular basis. And I couldn't even prepare a post for part of the day yesterday - wouldn't let me open the posting window, gave me a 500 error.

I hope that the IPO of Google isn't somehow bollixing things up, or that someday Blogger will be deemed "unprofitable for the stockholders" and spun off or dropped. But then again, I'm just a worrier.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 10:27 AM  

Man - posts in multiples! Nothing like making a fool of the user, huh? Thankgoodness there's a delete key.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:05 AM  

Hello, Bess Dear! I check in regularly, and when I can't get your blog to behave I just sigh heavily and try again later! As I consider you and I to be long-long-distance SoulSistersWhoKnit, I try not to miss a day, but have been a bit out of it of late, of course. Life has happened with a vengeance.

Then there will be the extra computer time I'll garner when my 19-year-old DS goes back to university on Labour Day...

Hugs from Calgary...

By Blogger Margaret, at 12:09 PM  

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Huh - so - Blogger just wouldn't let me post yesterday. I kept getting this message saying the server encountered an error and what did I do to cause it. Whell!

Anyway, for the addicted, yesterday's post follows this one. Which got me to wondering just when my blog is going to disappear into the great beyond, gone forever in a massive hard drive implode. I have not kept my own copies of this thing and, for all it's not particularly earth shattering information, it is the longest running diary I've ever kept. Something tells me I ought to print out the archives. Not here, of course, where the antedeluvian machine and rural phone dial-up access would keep me chained to the chair for an entire lunar month. But I could go in to work early one day and use the whizzbang equipment and T-1 access. I really would hate to see all my literary efforts melt into that great cloud of lost pixels.

So - do you perform backups on your blog?

Another little quirk of mine is to peek in on the blogger stats now and then. It's fun to see who's been visiting. Only about half of the referring sites show up on the Stats program, but one of the most interesting is the search engine reference. Say someone is looking for hexagonal picnic tables and posts a query on Google. Guess who shows up! Moi! Yep. Because somewhere in some archive of the queen is a post that talks about hexagonal somethings and picnic tables. Funniest of all is what this search engine links me with! Click here for a true internet stew of an answer to the search for hexagonal picnic tables.

Well, there now. I've always said knitting was my favorite kind of math.

I got the t-shirts done - first time I've ever made a batch without ironing one or more of the transfers on upside down. Yea me! The goodie bags are filled, the Library Jeopardy questions are written out and saved daggumit. Somehow I didn't save them last year and had to reinvent the wheel yesterday. I'll photocopy the Scattergories pages, since there is a chance I'll have 18 guests - I sent out that many invitations. Of course - I may have 6. But one must be prepared.

It is a good thing I like to throw parties.

I've been doing very little fiberwise the past few days. A little spinning on the Bosworth, but nothing else. BD and I are reading Posted Missing by Alan Villiers. He's my favorite sea writer but now that I've begun this volume I remember trying to read it several years ago and bogging down in the pedantic lists of admiralty hearings. That time, though I was using an inter-library loan copy - I bought this one from Alibris dot com and I can take my time with it. If the ends of each chapter get turgid, the beginnings, when he writes about the ships, describing their build, their history and their crew, are pure seafaring Villiers and sea writing doesn't get much better than that. I ordered, at the same time, his book By Way of Cape Horn. I can't begin to tell you why I get such a thrill out of hearing about dangerous storms at the bottom of the world. I certainly have no desire to experience one, but lawsee I love to read about them.

The weekend bids fair to be a busy one. Dear friends are supposed to be coming in today, maybe, seeking a camping spot. More good friends are due tomorrow and brand new friends are expected Sunday. This was not really planned as a pack-it-full weekend, but it has certainly turned into one. Well, that is summertime in the country and it's almost over. One of these days I have to get over to visit my folks. I haven't seen them since June.

But first I have to make it through the Pizza Party - and I'd best get hopping. Think of me at 11:30 - with 18 12-year olds.

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM

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Yesterday's Post



The peaches are safely tucked away in their bed of sugar and pectin. Enough peach preserves to last the winter plus some to give away at Christmas. Nice, huh? I was rummaging through the cabinets, looking for empty jelly jars and found rather a lot of ancient jellies from long ago potion making sessions; honeysuckle jelly, violet jelly 1997!! Yikes! I suspect they all ought to slip down the drain. If I garner the energy this weekend, they shall. If not, they weren’t really in the way. I notice there aren’t any jars of gingered peach preserves, though.

I’ll spend today making T-shirts and planning games for tomorrow’s Pizza Party - last gasp of SRC and it can’t come soon enough. All the other meetings went well this week, so I have plenty on my plate for the fall. I’ve finally scheduled the knitting classes for October, too. I’ll do a kids class, a beginner class and a sock class. That plus Montpelier sucks up every Saturday of the month but it covers everything I’ve had requests for. There isn’t really enough information to learn while knitting a sock to use up 4 classes but between cuff and heel is surely more than 2 hours of knitting for most; ditto between heel turn, gusset and toe. So I’m thinking I might teach a Design&Make a Christmas Stocking class rather than a wearable sock. The structure can be the same, but the yarn is easier to work with and there’d be time in the classes to experiment with cables or stranded colorwork or intarsia. Also, it’s a little more timely for an October class. But that’s still up in the air.

I’m also wondering if I ought to cram 6 hours of teaching into a single day. That may overload the circuits. But I don’t want to tie up any evenings this fall. I’m needing snuggle at home time this fall and I plan to get it. I may drop one class - depends on my energy level. I don’t have to make any announcements till Sept. And is September ever rushing down on us! Wow! less than 2 weeks. How I love September. I’ve always loved the turn of the season, and with a birthday in the middle of it, I feel like it’s also the beginning of the Christmas season. Plenty to do, but somehow always easier to do when it’s not so durn hot&humid. Who knows - maybe I’ll actually finish something in September.

Okay - off to the T-shirt factory. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:42 AM

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004  

Still cooking peaches. One batch to go.

I took my little Boswell to the airport with me, along with the blue faced leicester. Good thing, too since we were there 3 hours. My how that thing fills up. I have some cormo on the Golding and it takes twice as long to spin that - it's much more full of neps and noils and constantly clumps up, then thins out, despite my predrafting - it clumps when I predraft it. But it's just a little bit of yarn and it's such a lovely colorway. It's going on the blue disaster hat I made last April; the one with the laughable boucle brim.

Hump day. Yea! I've a heavy duty meeting this afternoon. A day tomorrow to make t-shirts, and a pizza party Friday. Then comes a sweet day with A&Co. Next week looks so empty. No plans, no obligations - well - I best not say more, since my calendar is at work and I may be completely off base. But after that comes September - my birthday month - when I refuse to be upset by anything.

oops - pots a-boiling. gotta run.

posted by Bess | 6:40 AM

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Is she going to be around Saturday? Please please!?!? What FUN!!

By Blogger Amie, at 1:47 PM  

'Fraid not. She's visiting family on the weekend. But I think I can give you sunshine - and a boat ride.

By Blogger Bess, at 6:39 AM  

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004  

Huh - another post fled to the ether. It wasn't much of a post, though. I was busy preserving the Bedford peaches our cousins brought last weekend. You have about 18 minutes to get them packed away for the next year or they sprout hair. Peaches are just a delicate food and if you want to enjoy them out of season you have to hustle.

I like to add ginger to my peach preserves and pies. Gives them a special zing.

And I'm off to the airport to pick up Lucy (just do a word search on her name) at the airport. Not only is she a captain and a pilot, she's also a hypnotist who does past life regression work. But best of all, she's a friend and she'll be here 2 weeks this year, not just 1.

I'm taking the Boswell and the BFC to spin with while I wait.

posted by Bess | 12:19 PM

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For your challenge yarns, you might want to look at how the Koigu colors are blended in the Charlotte's Web shawl. You knit x number of rows of Color A, then alternate two rows of Color A with Color B for x number of row and then x number of rows with B and then alternate with Color C, etc. It's amazing how well that blends all the sometimes odd looking combinations together.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:39 PM  

Well, Fiona and myself and my two footed boys will be there soon to help inspire!

By Blogger Amie, at 11:11 AM  

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Monday, August 16, 2004  

Yeah, well. Weathermen lie. Warn your children that if they don’t tell the truth, they'll have to be weathermen when they grow up. Besides, we're pretty used to it now and at least it’s not hot and rainy - just wet wet wet.

I'm finding it hard to believe that we're over the hump of another reunion weekend again. I'm trying to find out where in the year I am, and where that fits into what has to be done this week. It's an extraordinarily busy week, sort of like starting off with a bang - only at the end of something. I just can't seem to get the feel for my coordinates - for where I am in the universe of time and space.

The house has been almost put back in order - there are still some bed linens to be washed and/or stored away. The stairs need to be swept - though the rest of the house has been vacuumed. All the leftovers other than cake were eaten up by noon Sunday - poor BD wandered around the kitchen looking for grazing materials and had to settle for cans of soup and the sole piece of friend chicken still in the refrigerator. There's enough laundry to keep a washerwoman busy for a day, but enough clean clothes to cover the work week. Still there’s a lingering sense of "stuff to do" hovering about my shoulders that makes it difficult to settle down. Can I remember everything I feel obliged to do?

Ignore this if you don’t like the naval gazing chatter. It's really only important to me. And it's really all about how I feel, anyway. Incomprehensible stuff to any but the feelers of this world. But by Friday I'll have finished, utterly, with all children's summer activities, by hosting a pizza party for the middle schoolers who volunteered at the library. I remember two great book/word games we played last year - at least, I remember that there were two great games, but for the life of me I can't remember what they were. And I must make 18 T-shirts with cool looking iron on transfer pictures on them. I like these kids and I like to give parties, but I also know there is a level of tension till the party's come and gone and it doesn't go till Friday at 1.

Then there is an English as a second language task force meeting on Tuesday - this ought to be fun since everyone involved is so cool and interesting - but it's charting new ground for us. It would have been productive to have done more preparation for it, i.e. seeing what other small communities have done when the population began to shift, but there hasn’t been enough time to do so - so this will be more of an initial sort of thing rather than a list making/task assigning activity. In the middle of the week is a library board committee meeting - yikes - I best call up the committee members - it's so easy to forget those things.

OK - lots of organizational stuff this week. Then 2 more weeks of official summer, with fiber friends filling up my days. Just typing that makes me smile. Rewards for doing good jobs. Or rewards even if I do bad jobs, huh? Hmmm. Well, I'll do good enough jobs.

BD & I talked all through July about going north for a vacation the first two weeks of September. Nova Scotia if we could, or if not, Maine. Then, creeping out of our respective pasts came all these little reminder messages about things we'd committed ourselves to do - some of these commitments made months ago!! - and now it looks like there shan't be any vacation at all! BD promised to be somewhere September 9, I promised to lead a discussion group Sept. 13. LD’s GF has a birthday on the 18th and we want to be there for hers. Mine comes on the 21st and not only do I want to celebrate that here at home, but I have a series of library meetings following immediately. The first weekend in October is the fall fiber festival in Montpelier, where I plan to work in Jen's booth. I also want to teach a series of knitting classes in October. That sucks up every weekend for that month. November opens with a bang at the KRRetreat. Then we have 3 weeks to Thanksgiving, but who wants to travel north in November?

It looks like a vacation trip is out for 2004. Sigh.

One of these days I'll get around to posting about knitting. Heck. One of these days I'll get around to knitting. I don't know where this knitters block has come from, but it's really hunkered down in my life. I've got lots of snips and bits and nothings - but there are no completed projects to show for it - and not even any completed concepts in my brain to write about. I pulled out some yarns a friend sent me last Christmas - a bag of challenge project yarns - and once again sat flummoxed as to how to combine 7 different colorways and textures. I pulled open the drawers of color coordinated orphans and decided none of them go together (probably not true - just the mood I'm in). I did spin up a lovely length of the blue faced leicester on my tiny Boswell spindle - I think there will eventually be enough to make a pair of socks out of that. C bought a twin ball of that at Maryland Sheep & Wool. I wonder what she’s making from it. Perhaps I shall write her and ask.

Oh La! It’s 8 o'clock. I have to dash. Well, I didn't have anything much to say anyway. Ta, then. Good knitting to the rest of the world.

posted by Bess | 7:21 AM

2 Comments:

Glad for the rain to stop for you.
Thanks for sharing the lovely memory of your father and the comfort his voice brought to you.
Sounds like the Reunion has been wonderful!

By Blogger Kimberly, at 11:23 AM  

hahaha i dont know wut im doin here

-mango

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 PM  

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Sunday, August 15, 2004  

Whew!

Sometimes you just get so lucky. Yesterday was my turn.

Reunion weekend is one of those landmark days in my year. It's an old and long standing event - 151st year this year - and it's something I have always really loved. Back when we were poor young newlyweds and our table consisted of only the cheapest and most essential meals, the lavish display of goodies was big attraction. As a bride it was both terrifying and thrilling to be swirled around with so many people who were yours - with whom you were associated, connected, bonded. For an ENFP Pod-Person, it was one of the few times I could really enmesh myself with a group. As a mother of One Of The Sons I had assured position, and as a happy and good friend of my mother in law, I had status. Living on the river also made us one of the secondary hosts - one of the households where lingering guests could come for the weekend, for the second stage of dining, visiting and playing. There have been as many as 30 folk here for the evening fun.

A few years ago, as the previous generation grew tired of organizational responsibility, BH and I took over the behind-the-scenes activity of this reunion and of course, we brought our own style to the production. One of the first things I did was to pay someone to set up and take down the furniture - and to haul off the trash. I'm not going to be some family slave who has to come early and stay late - and later and latest. We also began gathering family information because A) I’m a librarian and B) after so many years, the generations are so far apart they may begin to wonder what the connection is. Why go to some event full of people you don’t know - don’t even know why they have your address? BH and I have always loved this grand party and would hate to see it fade away. We’re full of plans and thoughts about how to make it, not only fun, but viable.

One idea is to put together a web site for diaries, photos, and reminiscences. The work involved though, is enormous and while we’ve made a good start, there are years when other things suck up all the energy needed to follow up on the good starts. For sure, this year was one of them. Among many serious family issues, BH is involved in a very mean divorce and two close relatives decided to push the Mean-0-Meter deep into the red zone. These two women are not only of the previous generation, but are ambitious enough to want to be important within the gathering. Both BH and I have been dreading this event since January because of them, and it was such a reward for doing our dooty, that it not only turned out well, but we actually had fun.
And when everything was all over, she and I collapsed in each other’s arms, laughing and hugging and beaming and bursting into a final giggle when I whispered to her that I'd tasted Mean-0-Meter Aunt #1's grapes and they were sooooo sour! How fitting. Really, sometimes there is perfect ironic justice in life and you get to see it.

The emotional undercurrents of this year's reunion were such that little things like tropical storms rather slid off my consciousness. We got rain, but we've been getting so durn much rain this year, it ended up being just ... more rain. We didn't get any winds above 20 mph. In fact, the storm was not really in issue, for which I am deeply thankful. It was too cold to swim, but that only made it more fun for the girls to snuggle on my bed and talk - first 3, then 4, then 6. Intrepid sportsgirls and guys went for some cross country practice, snoozy cuddly ones peeled off for naps. Brainy boys played unknown computer games with no instructions and, believe it or not, people continued to grazed on leftovers.

A second meal was comprised of leftover reunion fare and hamburgers, smacked into shape by the two youngest girls; 5 and 8 respectively, and proud as punch to be the cooks. And while I was out in the kitchen with them, I suddenly realized that, true to my PodPersoness - I built that kitchen the way I did; small, enclosed, but central, with three doorways in and out of it - so that I could step back and listen to whatever social stew I'd stirred up in the rest of my house. I could just be there; happy, knowing, listening, feeling all the love and camaraderie; the interest and hunger, the chatter and the talk and the display.

I'm an auditory person, not a visual. The stuff I take in through my ears is the stuff that goes the deepest and stays the longest. This was evident from the very git go. Mama tells of when I was a newborn, sick as a dog, allergic to milk, coming home from the hospital swollen with skin rash. Evidently I came into the world wailing and didn't stop for days and days - screamed till I lost my voice and continued to do so silently after that. Mama says in the car I was inconsolable till Daddy spoke when, immediately, I was comforted and for the first time I stopped screaming. Truth is, I can still feel the utter security I felt when Daddy would sing to me, just by remembering what it was like - that it was so.

So - last night was a symphony of fun and joy and coziness - and believe me, it don't get much better than that.

And the forecast for today - No Rain. Thank God.

posted by Bess | 8:20 AM

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Saturday, August 14, 2004  

Our intrepid travelers arrived about midnight, accompanied the last 50 or so miles by torrential rains. This precious family has stayed with us on reunion weekend for about 12 years. In many ways this family’s visit is the reunion for us. That first time they came, the kids were 1, 3 and 5. Now they are 13, 15, and 17. As the heavens opened yesterday I thought about how rare such rain in August is for Virginia and was glad that if it was going to be deluvian, I’m glad nobody is trying to hustle the sleeping babes up our front walk.

By the time the older girls were 7 and 8 they were spending a week with us, sometimes the week after, but usually the week before the reunion. I have a house rule: You can’t spend a week here without your parents till you are 7. A sleep over is one thing, but a whole week is too long for a kid under 7. Not all the canoe trips or tree house forts can make homesickness go away when the stars come out and the crickets sing. It was one of life’s hard lessons, that the 5 year old boy mastered, the first time he had to drive away, leaving big sisters free to roam the forests and fields or play with all of Cousin Bess’ cool toys.

I would bet, though, it was worth the wait, for the year he did turn 7 LD was home, a month old college graduate with a scant 2 weeks to go before he shipped out to Navy OCS. He undertook the role of host and gave that little fellow a week of boy-heaven. He made the trip up to Bedford to pick up W and when they got to the James, just outside of Lynchburg he pulled over and they went swimming - and did the same in every creek or river that falls between the Blue Ridge mountains and the Atlantic coast. Their schedule that week was to get up early, fish for breakfast, eat that around 10, go fish for lunch, cook that mid-afternoon, fish till early evening and dine on their catch after dark. On days they didn’t fish, LD took W up to the farm where he’d worked since high school and they drove tractors and played with LD’s adopted soul-siblings. That child never even opened his suitcase, he wore his bathing suit all week. It was a perfect slice of time for a boy and a big boy.

There have been other fun summers. Weeks when they toured the sites of Tidewater VA. Weeks when they made wonderful things, slept late, experimented in the kitchen, or went to work with Cousin Bess. But there never could be another week like the week during the summer W turned 7 - not for him, surely, nor for LD, but not for those of us fortunate to watch either.

So - there are full up beds, mattresses on all the floors and yrs trly is still up at Crack-0-Dawn. Only one dedicated cross country trainer has asked to be wakened at anything like a morning hour. I realize that, though I went to that stupid grocery store every day last week, I never bought any cereal - and whatever boxed breakfast food I have in the house is sure to be full of mealy bugs - dang - it is so hard eliminate all the Proof of Sloth in a kitchen. This means I’ll have to do some cooking - which I try to never do till supper time on reunion weekend. What a fool I am.

The weather promises to be awful today - rain, then some rain, and then a big rain storm and then rain. 4-6 inches of rain. It’s a heart break what hurricanes do anywhere south of Cape Hatteras, but they can do some pretty serious damage here too. At least we’re supposed to get only the westerly winds, and those only about 45 mph. My prayer is that it all starts up in the late afternoon - which is the forecast.

And thank goodness I have a gas cookstove and a gas grill and a box of Bedford peaches.

In a final note, I wish to bid a farewell to one of the greats.

Julia Child - you filled my wide eyed youth with a great love, not just of cooking, but of trying. You are the Elizabeth Zimmermann of food. I’m glad I lived on this earth along side of you. Farewell.

posted by Bess | 7:27 AM

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Friday, August 13, 2004  

Well rats.

I just wrote a lovely erudite post full of pith, wit, charm, and humor.

So of course blogger ate the darn thing.

And though it had been written in word, I closed that out once I'd finished editing it here.

rats rats rats

So - without any literary style I'll report that the refrigerator is clean, the porch is too, the grass is cut, the downstairs is vacuumed, mopped and dusted, there are clean towells and sheets and I did it all by myself - well, with help from BD. Nothing left to do but wait for the guests - and the rain - which is predicted to get here today and linger all weekend.

Happy Friday to you all.

posted by Bess | 7:17 AM

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Thursday, August 12, 2004  

Okay - I am limiting myself to 20 min. on the computer this morning so it’s hard to cram in much of a post. I have both huge rainstorms and lots of guests coming for the weekend and my refrigerator/science project must be emptied today. I’m crossing my fingers that the wonderful Sheryl will get here before it’s too late to mop the floor. I’ve given up on the chance of Caleb making a difference to the grass. It will be wet for the next week. Really wet. And what we’ll do with 10 people in this house in a storm . . .

Hmmm I wonder if anybody will want to learn to knit?

I’m knitting little squares these days - I had a yen to perfect my seaming, especially garter stitch seams and fancy rib seams. I don’t do much flat knitting but I’d like to have more skill with finishing. I also keep meaning to write about learning the Eastern Cross technique a.k.a. combination knitting that Annie Modesitt so strongly advocates. I always have thought it was a more logical way of knitting - just that I’d already learned two other ways and didn’t want to go through the physical retraining needed to get comfortable with it. But I’ve had a tremendous number of little flat squares I needed to make this summer so I thought I’d use this opportunity to practice. I’m getting more and more comfortable with it and of course, it does create a much more even tension. Who knows - maybe one day I’ll be a fast knitter! Though, that’s doubtful. I tend to do everything at the same pump pump pace of my heartbeat - knitting, spinning, housecleaning, walking - pretty much everything except typing.

And once again I can’t find any durn long size 7’s. Where do they go? I suspect they’re party animals and sneak off in the night to guzzle Euclan or synthropol.

okay - I’m 1 minute over my allotted time. Gross refrigerator crud - prepare to die!

posted by Bess | 7:41 AM

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10 days and you get hugs, in person, from two redheads and offspring!

By Blogger Amie, at 1:47 PM  

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004  

Whoa! Nothing like technology - the phone line was out all down our road last night. A call from work to Verizon this morning assured me that the line will be back up by 9 tonight!

Needless to say, I couldn't log on this morning and consequently couldn't post. Probably a good thing. I sure didn't mean to come across so blue yesterday - I really wasn't all that blue - feeling more irrationally irritated than down.

Alas - I haven't much fiber news, though - just little dribs and drabs of knitting and spinning - and since I'm posting this while my weight watchers meal gets nuked in the staff lunchroom it will have to be brief. B had her new niddy noddy at Tuesday Night Knitters along with several packets of sample colors and fibers from Paradise Fibers. We all oooed and ahhhed and stroked. My favorite was the merino/silk blend, at least, to touch. They put that blend up mostly in blues and cool colors with only two warm, but unfortunately quite pale, colorways. That's why I've never bought that particular blend from them. Wish they'd put it up in some sort of bonfire red. I have a hankering for a red sweater.

Thank you all for your dear kind thoughts from this cranky old Virgo.

posted by Bess | 12:21 PM

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Bess--Paradise Fibers is essentially my LYS (local fiber store?) and Kate is a good friend of mine. She, like Jen, is a great example of a semi-rural entrepreneur who does well through great customer service. Martina dyes the Rhapsodies. If you are interested in how they look spun and navaho plied, drop me a note and I can take a picture.
Ellen
eefdgatyahoodotcom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:30 AM  

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004  

I'm feeling decidedly non-literary today. Usually when I'm feeling this way it's because I have strong emotions that I don't want to share.

Yep - a quick peek into the Inner Sanctum of Bess confirms this. Of course I don't want to share them because they are centered around the behavior of others, of which I strongly disapprove - and yet, these others are really none of my business, what they are doing is not wicked or evil or criminal, they are merely choosing to do things I think are stupid. And now and then, a little rude. Rudeness and stupidity really do offend me and when I'm confronted with either, face to face, up close and personal, of course I have every right to make my position clear using the most pithy and acerbic language I can muster. But when I am just standing in the role of observer, I really ought not to care so darn much.

The great masses have always moved in ways that, while not mysterious to me, are slightly grating. My reaction to mass movement tends to be suspicion rather than delight or familiarity. I'm far more inclined to think that if everybody likes something, they're probably being hoaxed. Spin seems to blind 99% of the world. In my role as a library director I have to suspend my natural inclinations a lot, as I put your tax dollars to work creating a repository of culture and ideas. I spend a lot of money on things I consider trash, but others consider treasure. Standing behind the desk I receive even more nuggets of gold/dross as people make their thoughts and wants known. It's a strange place to be, for a gal who doesn't have television in her house. (What would I do without People Magazine?)

I worked the circulation desk most of yesterday and the flow of humanity was running pretty high, even for a Monday. For every energizing soul who came with an idea, 3 lumps felt the need to assert dominance over the lady behind the desk. Fer cryin' out loud - what if I'd been some volunteer? Would they be that rude then? Or is it me? Personal? Am I sending out Ruin-My-Day pheremones? Are there Ruin-My-Day pheremones - hmmm - no, no, those are supposed to attract potential mates, not adversaries.

Anyway, I've managed to fill a lot of space with chatter when I haven't anything to say. Recognizing this need to talk, coupled with my sense of being a PodPerson - a person apart, even from myself, ought not to surprise me. I've been listening to the tapes of Please Understand Me II as I drive to and from work. There is nothing so weird as hearing yourself described to a T. That divided person who has to tell everybody what is going on, what the reason behind it is, and what conclusions one ought to be drawing from it all, is a perfect description of yrs trly, the Apollonian ENFP; interpreting what the gods want, even if it drives you crazy - like the poor priestesses of Delphi. Alas - I just can't help myself.

So...Please understand me, huh?

. . . . .

Ah - but I just took a peek out the window to see golden glints of sunshine streaming through the east woods. That delicious rich grain smell is wafting in from the fields to the west. The air has a nip to it - making September out of August. Shame on me for such a cranky post.

Besides - isn't this supposed to be at least a fiber blog, if not a knitting one?

Okay - I spun a little of the cormo roving I dyed on Saturday. I really like those two colorways I made, though of course, there's not much of either; maybe 2 oz. - perhaps enough for hat brims or mitten cuffs. One is a lovely clear blue - a blue I particularly like to dye - with some lavender and a surprise of green and fire red dotted about. The other is mostly green with some yellow, lavender and blue. These are the first rovings I've dyed that had a single dominant color with accents, rather than more balanced distributions of colors. This is an idea I've long wanted to experiment with, as all my first rovings were more evenly balanced, colorwise. They made very pretty rovings that, unfortunately, spun up and knit up into something more speckled than I wanted. Nice enough, just not what I wanted.

While Navajo plying would keep colors more distinctly separated, I don't care to Navajo ply because it makes a thicker and slightly stiffer yarn than I want to work with. I prefer to knit with us 5-7 needles whenever I can. I'll use a 9 but I won't have much fun. Besides, it still wouldn't give the eventual garment any dominant color - or rather - the dominance would be caused by the actual pigments, not the amount of yarn in any one color. Darker blues and greens would overpower the lighter yellows, greens or pinks. Navajo plying also uses up tremendous amounts of fiber in proportion to the number of yards of yarn one makes. That translates into heavy garments. I like to wear light airy yarns. Remember, I live in the south, even if at its northern limits.

Well - everything is on bobbins or spindles right now, so I can't really tell what I'm gong to end up with. I'm so far down the slope of this learning curve - each step up is still full of surprises. I think I'll spin the green into a spiral yarn, and I think I'll make the blue a 2-ply of itself. But that is for tomorrow - or tomorrow. Whatever I end up with I will photograph and post. Till then, you must join me in the land of Wait-and-See.

Hey - did you know the word "blog" isn't in Blogger's spell check? I mean - are some things just so stupid?!?

posted by Bess | 7:25 AM

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Monday, August 09, 2004  

10 good things about today.



1. The week at work opens up with nice jobs to accomplish, but nothing onerous or looming - nothing where I will end up looking like a fool if I don't do a perfect job.

2. The weather promises to stay lovely for the next 10 days, with just enough rain to keep the grass green, but not so much as to wash away the road again.

3. We had a glorious day on the river yesterday, starting with a trip to Cedar Island with LD&GF, then a second trip all the way down to L'isle Joyeux. One of those golden days you go back to in your mind when dead of winter seems to have stolen all the warmth from your world.

4. I finished knitting up an on-demand project and like the results.

5. I dyed up some cormo roving with the leftover colors the girls had used and created two really pretty colorways.

6. This week is Tuesday Night Knitters.

7. I’m still feeling proud of myself that by last Friday I had completed all the tricky preparation for the family reunion .

8. This week the Cousins from Bedford arrive!

9. This week Caleb comes to cut the grass!! and Sheryl comes to clean my house!!!

10. Even though I ate Martha Stewart Butter'N'Sugar all last week, I didn't gain any weight.

posted by Bess | 6:30 AM

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Sunday, August 08, 2004  

Sleepin' in late this morning. Yesterday I got in one good session of fiber dying with the girls and a long happy chat with mama while everybody else went out on the river. Now we have an empty house for 6 days and then reunion company arives to make things lively again. Lots of laundry and lots of vacuuming and the promise of good weather. Yum.

But first - lots of lazing about. Maybe even a nap.


posted by Bess | 9:05 AM

1 Comments:

The autumnal weather sounds glorious! Will you order some up for the end of the month, too? After reading your statements about stash, maybe we should BOTH stand outside and peer in the window of Knitting Sisters, since I have a ton of fiber I need to spin also.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:57 AM  

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Saturday, August 07, 2004  

Shiver!

It's 53 this morning. Delicious, delightful, scrumptuously shivering 53 degrees!

Time to knit a sweater!

Lawsee the air smells so much like harvest! I always forget that heavenly fragrance of ripening corn, plus autumn evening, until the earth rolls back around the sun to August and CaliforniaWeather. If you ever want to feel truly rich, go find a cornfield on a crisp dry evening and just suck it up. Ahhhhh. Not all the panorama of Disney-Technicolor could equal that sensation. I can hear the violins now.

I completed the last dootiful task related to the family reunion and there's nothing left now but to buy 150 plates, cups, knives, forks and napkins - of the plastic variety, thank you, and the lemonade and tea mixes. I'll be reimbursed for that. The laughing secret about this reunion is that I never take any food. I used to - back when I was jockeying for position in the family, proving my worth as a bride. LD&GF told me yesterday they planned to make a chocolate cake. That warmed my heart because it brought back such memories of those happy early years. But that only reinforces my decision to skip the cooking. So many others bring so much that even though I bring nothing, I usually have something to take home. Mind, now, I truly do my share. I keep the mailing list, buy the stamps and send the invitations, as well as arrange for the set up and take down. I just don’t have to heat up my kitchen in summer. Now and then BD bakes a ham, a real Virginia Ham, shaved so thin you can see light through the slices. But that’s up to him. If he doesn’t get around to it I don’t care.

Ha! I just read my entry for last year’s reunion and I see I felt exactly the same about getting ready for it then as I have this year. Perhaps it is nice to see that some things never change, or perhaps I ought not twist myself up into such a knot each year. Or perhaps that too is something that won’t ever change. Anyway - it’s next Saturday. Between then and now are 7 lovely days that promise little, if any, rain. Yes.

R comes today to take away BD’s playmates. I hope he can recover this sudden abandonment. We have a long slow Sunday tomorrow, perhaps my company will prove a little compensation. Perhaps not, though, for I have no desire to be tutored out of my boat bimbo-ness. But one can not be sad when the CaliforniaWeather shows up. I’m sure I’ll find some way to keep him on the cheerful path.

The box from Ohio Valley Fiber Mill arrived yesterday. My Falkland Island Polworth and Correidale rovings fluffed out like clouds, one a Constable white and the other a Beethoven Pastorale gray. They did a superb job on them both - but oh oh oh - my stash overfloweth. I simply must get some of this stuff spun. I must also never ever ever walk into another fiber shop as long as I live!

Carolyn - I will stand on the sidewalk in Williamsburg while you visit the Knitting Sisters.
Well, no, I shan’t do that. I am at least grown up enough to not buy what I don’t need, can’t use and really don’t even want.

Margaret, I will try running this post through a different WP program to see if that eliminates the creepy asci glitches. Let me know if this post displays more clearly.

And I see now that the literary brain has flat-lined, so, with nothing more to say I shall say nothing more.


posted by Bess | 7:27 AM

3 Comments:

Thoughts on The Princess Bride and Bend it Like Beckham? We had the music from TPB playing in the lobby before the wedding. The book is really much better, but the movie's quite cute, too, I think.

By Blogger Amie, at 11:19 AM  

Bess, Dear,

I've read all your posts lately and am distracted by the "?" where the "'" should be (typical Virgo that I am). Is your keyboard giving you fits?

By Blogger Margaret, at 8:47 PM  

Nah - in fact, it's not happening on my browser - it has to do with that - and with blogger. It's also got to do with writing my blog entry in Word (where I can do a proper spell check quickly) and copying it to blogger. When that happens, on some browsers and some computers, the asci symbols get screwed up.

I'm sorry that's what you see. When I can catch it I do - but I won't give up a decent spell check and bloggers is just entirely too slow on my dial up account.

By Blogger Bess, at 9:07 PM  

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Friday, August 06, 2004  

Dinner at Chez Femme was an event last night. BD called me at work about 11 and asked me to leave the car at the library, because he was bringing the girls to town to do some shopping - via boat. The water journey to town takes just over an hour, followed by a 15 minute walk from the dock to the library. The sky had been low and threatening all morning but by noon it had let loose with both barrels - both rain barrels. The crew came tumbling in a few minutes later, damp but undaunted, and looking so much like a general with his aides de camp. I don’t know when he’s had so much fun.

At the end of the day I walked into the house to be met with waving arms and squeals of "don’t look in the kitchen!!"; a command I was pleased enough to obey. I could smell chocolate. So my after work duties were to read the newspaper and knit a bit on a lace swatch. I could get so used to this. At least, I could get so used to the lack of responsibility. I don’t think I can go on eating quite so much butter&sugar but I am forgetting that without the food production responsibilities, I would have that much more time to go to the gym....

In payment, I brought back Bend it like Beckham and fulfilled my promise to finish watching Princess Bride. We watched movies till past midnight. Shame how the body responds to routine, though, waking up at 5 anyway. I could have used an extra hour of sleep.

Tonight LD&GF will join us for steamed crabs and tomorrow the evil parents come to steal BD’s girls away. If we didn’t have cousins coming next weekend I think his heart would break - it may anyway - but he really mustn’t go on eating like this, any more than I.

Yesterday’s rains have given way to a Va. phenomenon I call CaliforniaWeather. It’s an August shift in the winds that brings dry and cool weather to the otherwise dank slime of a Tidewater Va. summer. I dubbed it so back in the ‘80’s when, each year BD’s brother would fly in from Sacramento, the humidity would plummet and the air would clear up like an autumn Saturday afternoon. Everyone would cheer up at the advent of weather perfection except my SIL, who complained that the damp east coast made her hair frizz. The BIL moved back east some years ago, but we still appreciate the CaliforniaWeather. It’s supposed to be breezy and 78 today.

Hmmm 5 paragraphs of weather and food does not a knitting blog make. Oh. Yes. There is a sentence about knitting up there somewhere. Well - that is all I have to say about it anyway. No photos. No progress to brag on. Truly this is a shameful state. Maybe I ought to just go do something fiberly instead of nattering on about doing nothing at all. Besides, a lap full of wool doesn’t seem so daunting on a CaliforniaWeather Day.

Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:36 AM

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Thursday, August 05, 2004  

Happy happy news came last night. My all time favorite cousins from away are coming for the reunion and they’re spending the whole weekend with us! Suddenly the event has taken on such bright happy colors. Suddenly I don’t even mind doing the one dreadful thing I had left to do to get ready. Suddenly I can’t wait to call BH and give her the grand news! Suddenly suddenly suddenly .... it feels like happiness.

We are growing enormously fat this week - I fear I’ll have to attack with WW tools and much vigor starting Sunday. The scenario combines 2 girls, both just 14, with some simplified Martha Stewart recipes, carte blanche in a fairly well stocked kitchen and a doting 61 year old man with a car (now fixed) and checkbook who will gladly make the 26 mile round trip to town to purchase anything their putty diddel ol’ hearts desire.

As I recall, back in the Mesozoic era, when I was 14 and learning to cook, pretty much everything I made started with 1 cup of butter and I’m finding that things haven’t changed much in the intervening eras. Young teens with metabolisms that race like formula 1 cars do not think in terms of Points Values and high fiber.

With company in the house I haven’t liked to stay late at the gym this week, but I am going to have to hit the place at lunchtime today. Things have really gotten out of ... waistband?

I’ve been perusing my back issues of knitting magazines. I have a nice collection of about 40 or so. I thought if I could flip over some pages I would get inspired or at least informed. In the African issue of Knitters (‘98?) I found the Lily Chin sweater that she showed us back in June. (gad was it only June when A and I took those classes? it feels like a year ago) Of course she showed us many sweaters, but one I remembered having seen in one of my magazines, and that was the one that has stayed the longest in my mind. It’s as if there are certain design concepts that, once understood, become yours in a way you don’t ever have to "read" or "follow" again. The Elizabeth’s percentage sweater is another such construction technique that has become "mine" as well. These processes that you just "know" - that you internalize at some cellular level - become organically yours, like your handwriting is yours. You just know you can write whatever you need to write because the skill of writing is yours.

This is a modular technique and is wonderful for showcasing different stitches or yarns. I have 3 drawers full of coordinating, but not matching, yarns in a warm melony gold, a rich selection of greens and some delicious rusts. I could have 3 sweaters if I got off my duff. Maybe I shall.

Yikes! After 8! My schedule is so shot up I wonder if I’ll ever be normal again. (Why of course getting up at 5 is normal? What did you think I ment?)

posted by Bess | 8:08 AM

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004  

One of the fun things about living au naturelle is the sensual thrill one gets when the weather clears. And clear it did yesterday - into one of the most glorious of summer days, complete with crystal clear air, lush green landscape and river water that you can see into for 3 feet. The promise is for one good hot day (so nice for swimming) followed by a string of ever cooling ones - making for a delicious weekend.

Best of all, my horoscope guru promises me:

VIRGO (Aug 24 - Sep 23) Another day, another mountain to climb? Another set of adverse circumstances? Another package of heavy responsibilities to carry carefully? Actually... no! ... You are about to put a long-running saga of struggle behind you... and keep it there!

Uncanny. Just yesterday I was assailed by this smothering blanket of exhaustion as I wondered (whiningly) just how much longer I was going to have to live with this sensation of burdens rumbling onto me. I am so tired of dreading the future - a Particularly Painful situation for a P Personality type. Not that there was some specific horridness looming up ahead. It was just a sensation of one more burdensome thing, in a string of burdensome things, heading my way. It’s been such a long time since I had a sense of being carefree. In fact, it’s been since February ‘03. Hmm. About the time I started this blog - back in the days when I felt like I could tackle something interesting, something fun, something challenging - since I knit Goldie, the lost sweater.

More hmmms. The trip to England cost more than I had budgeted for and I’ve been playing money catch-up ever since. And in August Dad got sick and BH began her divorce journey. And in September we had Isabel - I still grieve over the loss of those big trees - and the 5-year Plan - and the crap at the State Library, hmmm. And then there was the IRS audit, and Greg’s death. Well, heck. It’s a wonder I can smile at all!

So. Let us put all our faith in the stars. At least they are promising something nice.

As for learning curves and fiber - I am working with some superwash fiber. I’ve been experimenting with different grists, twists, and combos of this stuff. It’s a merino superwash and it’s as slippery as a basket of eels. My first attempt was way too loose - though it knit up into a swatch that feels nice to the touch and only has a slight "loving hands at home" look to it. My second attempt was deliberately tighter - alas - too tight - it kinks even after being plied and wet set. And the tighter twist makes the unevenness of it pop out to both eye and fingertip. Effort # 3 is on the wheel now - an attempt to make something in between that will ply up into a worsted weight yarn - 5 st. and 7 rows to the inch. Thank goodness I have lots of this stuff, because I also want to get a handle on a sock weight yarn. Jen has such a number of lovely superwash braids - one of them reminding me of polished agates - I can just feel a pair of socks made out of that stuff gliding across my feet.

I’ve posted a query about spinning superwash on the new handspinners digest forum thingee - goodness I just realized I haven’t a clue what these different types of on-line discussion groups are called! What sort of librarian am I?!? - That’s a pretty quiet group but so far I’ve gotten 2 responses. One encourages serious pre-drafting - a trick I plan to apply. Jen also advised pre-drafting a lot. It’ll be interesting to see how much my spinning improves.

(Note the confidence displayed in that statement. The stars must already be havng their effect.)

Oh - and the car I just dropped $$$ on repaid me by dropping a muffler somewhere down around Deltaville yesterday. BD wants so badly to shirk the responsibility for this, but cars are his department. I will be driving the truck till the car no longer sounds like a ‘50’s hot rod.

posted by Bess | 7:22 AM

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004  

Just to be sure, I threw away the CS bag. The reward? I finished stage one of the project I was having so much trouble with on Sunday.

And guess what? It’s raining. Thank you, Hurricane Alex. Just what we need - more rain.

Yesterday was a very pleasant sort of day with a bit of blue sky thickening to grey north easter clouds in the early afternoon. We took the girls out on the river and BD gave them both lessons on operating an out board motor. Remember, I am a boat bimbo - so he’s cock a whoop about having willing students - heck, he’s pretty much beside himself with just having girls around who want to go swimming at midnight, take walks in the dark, play with the dogs all day and chatter non stop. He always did want a daughter and it was one of the sad facts of our 30 years together that we never could have one.

I’m not sure if he already knew this or if it was serendipitous fun, but when we motored into Hoskins Creek, the tugboat attached to the grain barge was named the Nicki C and just above the bridge was a fishingboat called the Julia B. Coolest of all, as we were motoring up to the bridge a white van drove across it and laid on the horn something fierce. It was LD! in the surveyor’s van. Doncha just love a small town?

Alas, I have to go to work today. I could get so used to this every-day-at-home stuff so fast. I’m not sure if the girls will start out with me and get picked up by BD (in the boat, of course) later, or if they’ll sleep late and he will bring them down in the p.m. We’re on a flexible schedule. They came prepared to cook this week and so far I haven’t had to make a meal yet. They’re quite good too and I have never been proprietary about my kitchen. The rule has always been: If it’s in the kitchen and you want it, you can have it. If I don’t want you to have it, you won’t know about it.

When LD was little, and I was far more assiduous about building a strong body in 12 ways (who remembers that Wonder Bread commercial?) I kept a 100% junk food free house. I can’t stand arguments about food (can’t stand arguments, really) so junk food just wasn’t an option. BD eats what gets put before him and goes without till either food appears or I announce that I’m not cooking tonight. There are spouses who would be driven crazy by this type of guy, but I am not one of them. I just cook lots when I do cook.

While I can be truly bored with cooking, I do like to cook for company. Still, I’m finding it extremely easy to let company cook for me. Also, I remember how much fun it was to be given freedom in the kitchen. My own mother was an indifferent cook who would far rather have been working in the studio than the kitchen. She gave us free rein in hers. It’s an attitude I’ve copied.

One little fiberly update. I’ve been knitting with the superwash yarn I spun. I had been very worried that I’d spun it too softly and that the garment would get a ratty look to it when worn, due to the slipperiness of the fibers. I haven’t tried to torture the piece I’m working on, but I have fondled it pretty thoroughly. It has a nice feel so it’s fun to stroke. But I’m not seeing any telltale wisps yet.

There are always surprises when you play with fiber. Hmm. There’s a little time left to go play right now. Ta, then.

posted by Bess | 6:51 AM

1 Comments:

I can identify with your dilemma of saving the good stuff for when your skills are better. I am going through a similar thing - I do not feel that my spinning is improving. Or, maybe, as you say, my critical side is becoming overdeveloped.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:41 AM  

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Monday, August 02, 2004  

Humph. I knit all the way to R’s and much of the way back and in the end I ripped the whole thing out. This is not a happy prospect. In the end I set it down because I subscribe to Mama’s dictum: 3 mistakes and you set it down. This is an old sewing technique she taught me when I was young. When it comes to fiddly, dexterous activities that involve fiber, and possibly scissors, one’s inner pulse must beat in time to the activity. Both she and I are rather weighted on the intuitive side of life and when our inner pulse is off, we can not intellectualize our way out of a problem. We must feel the answer first - and then we can implement it.

But I am wondering if I jinxed the project because I was using the Creative Strands bag I got in PA last month. There was bad juju at that event and perhaps it permeated even such talismans as free tote bags. Hmmm. Better empty that thing toot sweet.

I also plied up the Sugar Maple singles that had been sitting on the bobbin’s for about a year. This is some hand painted merino top I bought at the first KRRetreat back in ‘02. I started spinning it up last summer but set it aside for some other project. Later I just bought more bobbins, but that only let me fill more bobbins, it didn't help me complete any projects. I want to finish some things. So, though there is still more top to make into singles, I plied these to bobbins together. I don’t really like the quality of my spinning from a year ago - though it is not as bad as I thought it would be last week, while filling up that second bobbin. It’s "Eh" quality - shruggable, usable, but not anything I’d brag about. My only regret is that I’ve put so-so spinning into a fiber that had been dyed an absolutely gorgeous color. But hey - it's perfectly acceptable to learn a skill - to practice - with beautiful materials. It's not as if I will never have the opportunity to work with this color merino top again. Heck, I can dye more.

This concept of saving gorgeous things for a moment, or an occasion, or a time when my skill with the medium has become worthy of it’s beauty, while not precisely wrong, is too likely to apply itself to all occasions, moments or eras. It grows out of a mistaken belief in the scarcity of good things. It makes one focus on the flaws of the present at the expense of the perfections. It pushes one beyond critical into knit-picky. It’s creates unmanageable yarn stashes; shameful stockpiles of languishing beauty that serve no purpose beyond, possibly, engendering a sense of wealth. Alas, for me it seldom does even that. Instead, the contents of my SavedForJustTheRightMomentStash gets forgotten, even damaged in storage (this stuff is one of the 4 food groups for bugs). When rediscovered, chagrin and even a little shame, is far more likely to assail me than excitement or a sense of opportunity.

So what is so fabulous about later that it completely trumps now when it comes to being worthy of special? Ahh - I know it’s the P in my EFNP - that open ended Possibility that down the road is Something Better. I have always liked the part of me that sees opportunity up ahead. I am proud that I am a good problem-solver, someone with the creativity to come up with several ways of doing things, a flexible type who can adapt when change thrusts its way into my universe. What I am not so pleased with is this tendency I have to live only for tomorrow - and ignore today. Skimming lightly over the here and now is a useful survival tool when things are crummy but only time will fix them. Making a lifestyle out of it is a tragedy that robs one of the fulfillment of all those tomorrows one had anticipated.

So - the question is - are there some things in my life that I don’t like but have to suck up anyway - or have I slipped into a seriously bad habit of buzzing off on life and need to smack myself up side the head?

The answer, of course, is YES.

So.

SMACK

and

wait.

And let us see what the future holds.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM

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Sunday, August 01, 2004  

No time for a real post today - off to gather the girls. BD is so excited he woke up at 6:30 this a.m. We haven't had kids in the house in several years and these two are his all time favorites anyway.

You will be pleased to know that there is no grey mold growing anywhere in my house. Ick. Summer in VA is ... like living in a bayou without the Cajun food.

Ta for now - I'm off to wind up some yarn to knit in the car. I'm taking tomorrow off since we have the girls. I was supposed to be in Richmond for a meeting, the topic of which I have completely forgotten. There was nobody at the state library on Friday who could clue me in, so it can't have been that important. Whatever, the office calander said "Bess in Richmond". My staff had not been expecting me there tomorrow. Therefore, they shall not see me. Heh. Wicked bad me. This is the advantage of working in a tiny organization.

Good knitting.

posted by Bess | 7:53 AM
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