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


Sorry to hear about the bead class. That is a bummer! I've done that sort of thing, too, and it is always so irksome!

On another note, my Tupperyarn party went well, and I made enough to send in my $$ for MAFA ... though I really should save it to put towards the new transmission, I don't think I will. Shame on me ... I REALLY want my car back badly, but not badly enough to hold off my MAFA application!

Hugs to you! Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 9:11 AM  


I just tagged you with a Music Meme on my blog :-)

Also ... maybe my worst time mistake will make you feel a tad better ~ Brett and I were a full hour early to a client's house for a party. Argh. Talk about embarrassing!!

Hope you're having a nice snow day!

xxoo Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 10:29 AM  

So sorry to hear about missing your class -- I did that once with a 1-hour demo. Thought it ran from 11 a.m. to 12 noon; arrived at 10:45 to discover it ran from 10 to 11 (sigh). Somehow, it put a damper on the day (is that a Virgo thing?) Still, glad you found a way to redeem your time and have a Happy Birthday lunch! Hugs!

By Blogger Margaret, at 10:42 AM  

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Monday, February 28, 2005  

Some days I am stupid. Some days I am really stupid. Some days I am stupid beyond belief. I was Really Stupid two weeks ago when I registered S and self for the beading class. I am absolutely positive the gal said the class ran from 2 to 4. Turns out, that certainly you will be in class at 2 and at 4 because it begins at 12:30 and runs to 4:30. So we made the 100 mile trip, not quite for nothing, because we did have a pleasant birthday lunch, but for much less pleasure than we had anticipated.

I am reeeeeeally disappointed because I want want want to learn how to bead and when I saw what people were doing I knew it was all the stuff I want someone to teach me how to do. Salivating and begging to be fit into the class one hour late (because of course, we had gotten there at 1:30 to be sure we were on time)I had to accept defeat. Alas - it was really too crowded anyway, evidently they let in some late comers. But by golly - I’m still having a hard time not being grumpy about things. Since I had pre-paid, I would have been even more grumpy and probably more insistant, but they let us reschedule for April.

S, on the other hand, is still laughing and has threatened to spread a description of my menopausal memory all over town. Since I am not the sort to be embarrassed by stupidity - only by shameful behavior - I can let her have her fun with this. But dang. And rats. & crumbs.

And just to be sure I keep my list of pleasurable experiences at a nice low level, there is a winter storm creeping into the area, today and tonight - when I was supposed to hold the first session of the My First Sweater class. Sleet and rain, sleet and snow, then rain then sleet and rain then snow again - that’s what’s promised. There’s a film of slush on everything right now. Bummer. I can postpone the class if I must - and I shall, but I’ll wait till later in the afternoon before deciding.

This class is important on several fronts. I need to brush up my skills in teaching it - and these knitters are all ready to go to this next step and I need the $ because I am going to MAFA this year and I need to send in the check this week. I’m hope hope hoping I can spend the entire weekend with Patsy Z, but I found enough interesting classes to fill in second and third choices without being disappointed.

But you are not to be worried that my cup of happiness has run dry. There was some good creative progress to top off Sunday. I began the second sleeve of the Mountains of Hearts sweater. I’ll knit that to the underarm bind-off and then see how much of the solid color I have left - and knit the shoulder portion of the sweater and sleeves with the yarn I have. I’m wondering how the border lace pattern would look knit into the shoulders - it might be very pretty. It forms its own scalloped edging - what if I switched to the variegated yarn and did one round of that pattern, then switched to stockinette for the very tops of the shoulders - just how would those scallops lie over the solid color heart-eyelet portion of the sweater?

I also plied the two balls of Bluefaced Leicester singles I’d spun on my little Bosworth spindle lo those many months ago. It came to 100 yards so now I have 300 and enough roving to spin into at least another 200 yards. This yarn is destined for socks and it’s mostly blue and it may just become a blue entry into the Md. Sheep & Wool competition.

The final drop of joy in my Cup-0-Happiness - I popped for some blue and crystal seed beads and a very fine needle plus needle threader. An interesting yarn is a-birthing in my brain for a hat brim for a hat for another competition. (Note - Bess’ theory of competition is that the blue one always wins. This is good for me, because otherwise I would never have any reason to knit with blue yarn)

Normally I would end with a
"Think Snw"
plea, but today I am chanting “Snow on Wednesday, please)

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM


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Sunday, February 27, 2005  

I want it to be the day in that photo of Cary Street. Obviously early fall. Clear day, may have been wee bit humid after lunch, but I know that street - the sun is on the down hill side of the day. Probably 5:30 and probably on a Sunday since there is almost no traffic around. La - I love that time of year. They look like Bradford pears, too. Fools. They’ll split sooner or later.

Anyway, I am off to that street in that city today and ready to be pleased. I am sure I need another arty craft to add to my stash opportunities. Beaded scarves and shawls, socks with beaded cuffs, Sweaters with beaded hems. Yes. yes. and earrings. watchbands. yes. I see it all.

Actually what is really driving me these days is the lust to make felt hats. Now, you must understand, I adore hats. I have loved them my entire life. I loved them as a little girl, I loved them as a teen, when they were quite passé. I bought my first fur hat before I was 15 and my second in '72 smack in the middle of the hat-less years. I spent the very last $70 I had one year, at Gigi’s, at Main and Fooshie, on the most glorious small Victorian rolled brim hat with a cascade of ostrich feathers tumbling down the back and wore it to a luncheon at the Woman’s Club. I was so glad when Princess Diana came along with her beautiful hats and made them almost popular again. Like those glorious British sweaters of the 1980’s which tagged along with her fame, it was at last possible to find attractive felt hats in the stores. They seemed to flicker out of sight a bit as the millennium wound down, but there have been some very nice ones available the past few years.

Last December, GD and I were shopping for TheWedding and paused at a hat display in Hechts to try some on. There was this extravagant light olive green thing that just begged to be worn home. I couldn’t quite swing my mind around to spending $ on hats for me - and in fact, I didn’t have either the coat or suit to wear with that hat - but it’s too bad - it was so becoming. A woman looking at scarves and gloves murmured a compliment to me and added that she couldn’t wear hats - and I burst into laughter at this silly statement. Everyone can wear hats - just not every hat. My own enthusiasm tempted her to begin trying them on and while several were nice on her, there was one that absolutely made her eyes sparkle and her face glow. Like a nimbus or halo or spotlight, that hat transformed her from a middle aged woman who woke up depressed to glamorous star shooting across the heavens and, oh by the way, making a pass through her home town while she was at it. Not only did she buy the hat, but our excitement attracted several other customers. Really, Hecht’s should have paid me a commission that day.

Well, anyway, I went back to the Hat Shapers web page and watched their hat making slide show. (At work on the fast T1 line) Oh - I want to make felt hats. I am in love with them. I want to make BD hats. I want to make GD hats. I want to give mama beautiful hats. And all my friends. I want to own all the hat blocks and make gorgeous hats that sell for $$ and $$$ and become rich and famous as the Milliner Extraordinaire of Renown at home and abroad, with a list of clients who court my attention and wait anxiously for the next confection to appear in my little leaded glass windowed shop.

Whew! Ahem. Excuse me. Got a little carried away there.

But I am still dwelling on the hat making lust and we shall just see where it takes me. I know myself well enough to skirt very wide of anything that smacks of production work. But hats - ahh - well - all hats must be unique to the wearer - hats... hmmm.

Yes. Well. I shall certainly make myself a hat or two (dozen) and while showing the Baabaajoe’s felted hat to GD last night, I saw the gleam in her eye - so I shall buy a block that fits her head. She shall not go hatless into fall of 2005. After that - well - we shall just have to see.

We had a house full of happy friends last night. M&C with kids and P were down from Nelson County, full of boat talk, I suspect. C had brought her own knitting, including fabulous felted mittens, and we had a show and tell. I took her into Aladdin’s Cave and was again shamed by my stash - at least, shamed enough to water down any flickerng yarn purchasing flames which might have sprung up during the past week. I have a yarn shop’s worth of beautiful fibers. It’s time I spent time there.

And now - ‘tis off to become a bead babe.

posted by Bess | 7:22 AM


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Saturday, February 26, 2005  

We get, though, a right angle between Mars and Jupiter once every couple of years. There's one this week. Expect action, adventure and drama.

Hmmmm. That’s not what I would choose for any given week, but I have no other choices so....

Obviously I was getting mighty bored yesterday. I don’t usually play with my blog when I’m at work, unless it’s after hours. That T1 line does make a difference, but I have a powerful streak of guilt dominated work ethic. My only defense is that it was almost closing time. That, and the fact that this whole month has felt so weird, I am glad to think it’s almost over. My attention span has been all over the map - focused one day, scattered the next. I’ve had days when I have stayed on the WW program with pleasure and satisfaction and other days when the licorice jelly beans leaped down my throat by the handful. I completed most of the body and most of a sleeve of the Mountain of Hearts sweater and now I’m obsessing on not having enough yarn - which is a guarantee that I will stop knitting on it. Rats. Ah well. Perhaps if I get done with the income taxes I will feel a little less fractured. And I am broke again which drives me absolutely bonkers.

Well, by broke, I don’t mean we can’t pay the bills or buy food. It means I don’t have any play money. And I want to spend. And I just can’t. So I had best just suck it up. And it’s not as if I can’t/won’t/haven’t any play money to spend on pleasing me. I’m taking My First Beading Class tomorrow - about which I am duly excited. I drive off to the city with S, who is the birthday girl, and will treat her to a fabulous lunch, after which we shall stroll on down Cary Street

and peek in at the shops and then go to the bead shop and become bead artists. I’ll be leaving BD with some sailing buddies, so I don’t have to worry about happy attitudes when I get home, either. In fact, writing about this reminds me that I’m not all that broke.

But the other broke feeling has to do with time. Free time. Vacation time. Play time. Because we’ve been so short staffed all the years I’ve worked at the library, I’ve never used up all my leave. Each July I usually have at least half of it left in reserve, and the feeling that I “own some extra time” has made me feel so rich. A time savings account. I’ve been here long enough that I earn 4 weeks vacation a year with 12 holidays thrown in to boot. That’s 6+ weeks off throughout the year. Begins to have that European sound to it.

When we went to England I used up a big chunk of time, but I began right away to accumulate a reserve. I wasn’t exactly flush with available time off, but I wasn’t in short supply, till TheWeddingShopping took off in earnest in November. I was taking a day off a week, but earning only 1.6 a month. You do the math. By January I had 0 vacation days left. Of course, there are those 12 holidays, but the stretch between “President’s Day” and Memorial Day is a looooong one and I’m just at the beginning of it.

Hmmm. Perhaps that’s why I’m eating so much these days - If I can’t have a store of time or money by golly I’ll have a nice store of fat. Now ain’t that stupid!

Where is zat Fraaaaainch Boook? I need an attitude adjustment.

posted by Bess | 6:50 AM


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Friday, February 25, 2005  


You Are a Little Scary

A Little Scary!

You've got a nice edge to you. Use it.

How scary are you?


You Are Scary


You even scare scary people sometimes!

How scary are you?

Of course, these things never really give you the right choices for answers. I don't know if I was cool or a dork or if I had any friends or not. I don't remember really, but I think I was liked enough for a pod person.

You can tell it's Friday and I am not really that into the work I'm supposed to be doing. And here are some photos too:

Wool of the Andes Tam at last

And my favorite shot of BD after the wedding. Is this a man who takes his responsibilities seriously?

posted by Bess | 3:59 PM


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I’m a little sheepish now, since it snowed hard enough in the a.m. to justify closing the library but by 2 it was raining and the roads were clear. Still, I did not go in to work and everyone in the county had to be book-less for 24 hours. I shall be back in the office today, like the good girl I am and come to think of it, I’ll be back tomorrow too. The High Priest of Networking will be in tomorrow to install the new computers, help me with my back-up system, and go over the issue with the website - the one that demands a password for anybody to read the catalog. Ugh!

I cracked open Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and Animals in Translation yesterday. AIT is very very interesting and speaks to lots of things I have thought and wondered about. It’s well constructed, so it is a comfortable read and if you are fascinated by animals, or people, you are likely to find this a treasure. MDTaW is not my cup of tea. I suspect the plot will be interesting enough, but way too serious, way too modern, and way too concerned with bedroom activities . P&P is not ment to wring your soul, you know. It’s to help you "make sport for your neighbors and laugh at them in return." A quote early in the book ( or in the preface? or the thank you part?) from Our Miss Bronte, complaining that Our Miss Austen does not wring your soul or sweep you with passion, tells you a whole lot about what motivated the author of MDTaW. Well, there you have it. It’s always a bad idea to write a sequel to someone else’s book. Now and then, and just barely now and then, another medium - television, film, opera, theater - can present a favorite book to you without violating your inner camera, but I have never ever been pleased with a different author tampering with beloved fictional character’s futures. I won’t read any more. And yes, I did read the last 4 or 5 pages to see how she tied everything up - cementing my decision to skip the innards. I found it a major Yuk.

In fact, I feel like I almost watched a French movie - another fairly offensive sensory exposure I usually remember to protect myself from. But speaking of things Fraaaaainch, I did buy Ze Fraaaaaainch Booook - about why zair woomenz don’ gait fat. And it is not anywhere near as snooty as the NYT reviewer claimed. It’s provincial, but it is actually a rathernicely put reminder that it’s all about portion control. All your pleasure comes in the first few bites so why not just savor those and skip the rest. I’m trying to incorporate this attitude into my repertoire, particularly during a Chocolateless Lent, substituting delicious berries or other marvelous tastes for my daily chocolate fix. I’m not doing what I would could really call "well" with this, but at least I am not being resentful, the way I sometimes am when I give up something I had grown waaaaay too dependent upon. I have yet to try her leek soup - that sounds a little too Fraaaaainch for me, but I may yet. In the mean time, I am at least moving in the right direction, if I am not actually getting there. And though my diet is usually shot full of holes by the end of the day, I am staying faithful to the exercise routine.

I knit the sleeve of the Mountains of Hearts cardigan up to the point where I must create the sleeve cap. I have never devised my own sleeve cap before, other than my famous short row shoulders technique, and that is not how I am knitting this sweater. Although I wonder if I might. Hmmm. Lawzee! As I type here I am thinking that really might be the way to go. I’ll have to sew up the sleeve seam before I knit it into the sweater body but if I were to use that technique, I would know if I were running out of the solid color at the same spot on both body and sleeves. Hmmm. This is a serious possibility.

But then again - I would like to know if I can design a flat knitt sleeve cap. I would like to know if I could sew it in beautifully instead of hideously. Hmmm. Things to ponder. I believe I will succumb to temptation and start the second sleeve while I think about this.

Two years ago I knit one of those Baabaajoe’s/FiberTrends felted hats up for Mama for her birthday. I ended up giving her my already felted hat and never did get around to felting the second one - till yesterday, when I popped it in the washing machine. I had since bought a nice hat block, one of those plastic ones, and the hat is stretched over the block.

Blocks help hats to dry faster I’ve found, for this one is nigh on to dry. These big sailor hats really are cute. I can’t wait to show it to my beginner class next Tuesday.

I know, this has been a singularly pictureless blog, for a looooong time. I did take some photos of the Wool of the Andes Tam but I forgot to pick them up from the 1-hour place. I will do so today and scan them into the machine. I really must get myself a digital camera - but happy me, in April I am taking a class on using a digital camera and perhaps then I will plunk down some $ on one. La - how illustrative this blog shall be then!

My weekend, along with out of town guests (boat guys, I don't have to be here except to cook) and a Saturday with Mr.WiseComputerPriestNetworkGuy, includes a super treat. I am taking a beading class at last. As a gift to S for her birthday, I enrolled us both in the Sunday beading class at the little bead shop in Carytown (cool shopping place in Richmond, where Ze $700 Fraaaainch Wedding cake was tasted). Too bad it’s this weekend, in a way, though, because look what is happening in Richmond on March 1st.

So - some days I dither for hours over this post and some days it just types itself. I’ve got an hour to go cast on that second sleeve. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:55 AM


Sounds like some intriguing reading. I sure wish there were a "librarian exchange" progam, and you could come down here for about 6 months and pump some life into ours. (And we could do lots of fiber stuff while you were here, too LOL!)

By Blogger Carolyn, at 9:00 AM  

Thanks for reminding me that I need to revisit our library and see if they've gotten any new kniting books.
Also thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment about Brooks Fiber Farm yarn. I heard about them from another blog just before Stitches West, and their yarn is just lovely. So far, I'm just fondling it, but one hank may have determined its destiny...we'll see! I suspect I may be ordering from them soon, even though I have SABLE already!

By Blogger diann, at 12:42 PM  

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Thursday, February 24, 2005  

First the really good news! I found the error in my knitting, it was an easy fix and I’m back in my happy knitting mode. I discovered the error (a forgotten YO, the easiest fix of all) on Tuesday night, when I was very tired, and I just couldn’t see the ... the hole for the fabric. Well rested on Wed. morning I was delighted to find the problem just popped in front of my eyes. Whew is the word - even if the spell-check doesn’t agree.

Second - I hate weathermen. At least I hate TV news weather forecasts. For the past 2 days we’ve been hearing the screaming heads blare out StormOfTheCenturyWe’reAllGoingToDieDieDie! weather forecasts. Severe weather systems heading our way. Extreme living for you fat suburbanites - actual flakes will fall on your car.

So what is really going to happen? Will I get a nice day off due to snow, as any sane person would hope for? NooOOoo. I wake up to find nothing has fallen and what’s predicted is ... rain. Or maybe not. Or maybe winter mix. Rats. I had soooooo hoped for another day out of the blue to play.

I’m so fixated on this hoped for day off because: A. Winter is almost over, it might be the last chance for a snow storm, and B. I am working Saturday. Now, I don’t really mind working Saturday. I actually rather like it - because I know that nobody who works a regular 40 hr. 9-5 job is at work on Saturday. Only retail and front line public service folk ever work on Saturday, so I can’t get any calls from officialdom. Only from people who want to know how to spell license and do I have any books about ears. Even the clientele is different on Saturdays; more dads and teens.

Ahh well. I am prepared. Besides, I hadn’t really contemplated any unexpected holidays until Tuesday night, so I haven’t been longing for one, just sort of hoping.

I am mind-melding again with Catherine, as we both reunite with our gyms and fit our bodies into the world again with more efficiency. I am ever amazed at the difference exercise makes and ever more amazed that I could find any excuse at all to let it slip out of my daily routine. I know I sing this song so often, the tune is boring, but la - I do appreciate the difference and I am mystified by the idiocy of human behavior.

A box of books came into the library yesterday that had been tailor made for TheQueen. (Well, yeah, of course, I did the ordering, so what should I have expected?) So, here are the titles I expect to enjoy reading:


The list is in no particular order - Just the way the invoice was printed. And 3 of them have already been checked out - If you can get your hands on the travel guide to Molvania you are likely to split your pants laughing. That one went to RC immediately - but he had to let me read him passages from it first. Reminded me of a cartoon spread by Gahan Wilson on why he hated to travel abroad. The Pride & Prejudice re-write may not work, but since that is my all time favorite novel, I couldn’t resist at least trying to see what someone else does with my favorite heroine. I brought that one home with me, and Animals in Translation - by Dr. Temple Grandin, an autistic woman of great renown in the worlds of both animal research and autism. Two knitting books also made it home with me as well along with Dream Lovers, by Dodd Darin. Well, I wonder when I think I am going to read all these books. And, in fact, I probably will skim the fiction, and of course, I’ll just look at the knitting books, Lavish Lace and Beyond Wool. But one never knows about a book. There is no telling which one is going to turn out to be compelling.

Ahh well. No snow yet, so I had best go get ready for work.

Post Script
And now that I've spent 30 minutes finding and copying reference links to all the titles, guess what? It's snowing!

posted by Bess | 7:23 AM


I remember (20 or more years ago, now) how dreary most of the YA-lit was at my local library. Lots of "problem novels," which to a relatively happy and secure young teen just seemed pointless and depressing.

I think I remember reading "Summer of my German Soldier" and some book on Robin Williams (this was before the whole drug mess) but that's the sum total of books I checked out (and enjoyed) from the YA section.

I was also somewhat shocked when I bought a used copy of "The Secret in Miranda's Closet" (a book about a girl with a mother who, because of some misguided ideas about what feminism is, won't allow her to have dolls. Miranda is given one and builds a whole world for her in the back of her closet) and found the word "chickensh*t" (spelled out though) used in it - I KNOW I read the book around age 8, and I KNOW I would have been shocked and horrified to find that word in there.

maybe I got a bowdlerized version, I don't know. I do know I'd've remembered it, seeing as it would have been my first introduction to an Anglo-Saxonism in print.

What am I trying to say? I don't know. Maybe YA lit has always had grittiness in it and it's just become more obvious lately.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 11:20 AM  

My own "YA" reading consisted of Shakespeare, Alex Haley, Harper Lee and Irwin Shaw... I still swear that the reason Ken & I had a SECOND conversation was because in our FIRST conversation, when he said he liked reading, and I asked what his favorite book was, he didn't claim it was Catcher in the Rye,which is what all guys say when they're trying to impress a girl, because they had to read it in school, which makes it "brainy" and Holden curses, which makes it "bad"... I think it's crap.

But the books in the sections I should have been going to by library/bookstore standards when I was in middle school were those HORRID V.C. Andrews books - she wrote the same book fifteen times, and the plot ALWAYS consists of horrible abuse and hidden incest. Disgusting.

No, no, give me To Kill a Mockingbird, Rich Man; Poor Man, Roots, and Midsummer Nights Dream... I can still re-read all of those for the millionth time today and find something new and inspiring....

By Blogger Amie, at 11:52 AM  

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005  

Well durn, I just don’t feel inspired today. Not by stories about KAGOY (Kids are getting older, younger) and the collateral proof of this phenomenon hammered home by ALA’s recent award for excellence in young adult literature to Francesca Lia Block, who writes gritty stories about unwed teen mothers living in a world of rough sex and hard core drug use, compensating by tossing sparkle lace across the back of broken furniture. Uh, excuse me? Who is this young adult and just how old is she and is that what I want to offer 12 year olds in my collection and for god’s sake, why do we call teens "Young Adults" when we don’t even let these them sign contracts? Does self-esteem-speak really demand that a term once reserved for those who could be held accountable be offered pre-menstrual girls?

But neither can I slide into flitterglitterchitter about Europe’s fall offerings. Usually I can spew about clothing at the least provocation. Today I just feel flat, so I shan’t try. This slide show might be worth a peek, though. You decide.

I suppose it is because I have a knitting conundrum that is nagging at me. I’ve been speeding through the Brooks Farm Mohair Lace Cardigan - on the sleeve now, at the elbow, and I suddenly find an error. It’s one of those "devil or the deep blue sea" issues - at least, it offers two unpleasant paths to the solution: Ignore or Rip. This is lace. Admittedly, it’s eyelet lace, but holes nonetheless, and YO’s and K2togs, and geometry! I haven’t figured out how I made the mistake and until I do, I can’t move forward. I can’t pick either solution unless I know where I went wrong, because with lace you can compound a slight error into a major disaster if you don't know how it happened, and start repeating it. This halt before the Mohair-Wall-0-Math error in my knitting has me sort of distracted - and so - I shan’t try to write another thing, but instead, just go look hard at my knitting.


posted by Bess | 7:30 AM


Oh Bess! This must be a Virgo "problem". I'm not a big movie watcher, but I do have my favourites (84 Charring Cross Road, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, It's a Wonderful Life, The Preacher's Wife...). And then there are the Books! I too have never given m'self permission to loll about all day either watching or reading. For all the reasons you list...but now! Your permission has become mine! Just wait! :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:02 AM  

No one ever mentions 84 Charring Cross Road. What a wonderful film. The Starz network has shown it twice recently and I watched it both times. A young Anthony Hopkins, an even younger Ann Bancroft and a small but delightful part for Dame Judi Dench. I am delighted you liked the film. Judith

By Anonymous Judith, at 8:47 PM  

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005  

Some childhood taboos are so deep you never really violate them without much effort and an equal amount of guilt. This is good - some of society’s taboos are essential to its smooth functioning. But now and then, it doesn’t do any harm to smash some cultural barriers and yesterday I did. I watched (what is essentially) television all day. We don’t actually have television reception here - down in the river bottom and sans antenna or satellite dish. But we do have a VCR player hooked up to the television and yesterday I wallowed.

I had been wanting to do this for a long time, but had been unable to give myself permission. When I can’t let myself do something I blame anything and anyone who might be near by. I have too much housework to do. I have bills to pay. I have to get the laundry done. I should be exercising. I need to take a walk. It’s BD’s fault. He will:

think I am a lazy brain dead low life
think my choices in movies are moronic (sometimes they are)
will ask me if I have done some chore he’ll think up for me
will tell me I can’t (?!?!?!?!?)

Of course, when I won’t let me do some innocent but non-productive activity and then blame the nearest carbon-based ambulatory biped, you better watch out. The BitchGoddess arriveth. Fortunately, when I get to that point of ridiculousness, I tend to look reality in the face and say to myself “go buzz off you imbecile. It can’t be worse for your intellectual development than your present circular thinking.”

And so I did.

I sat and watched movies and knit away on my lace cardigan. I watched my favorite Shirley Temple movie, Captain January, and since I haven’t seen it since way before I met BD, it was fun to see just what I loved about it. All her movies have her singing and dancing, which she does with amazing skill for a child. One need only listen to any 5th grade class trying to sing America the Beautiful to realize that most children can’t carry a tune in a bucket. This movie, though, was more of a musical than her usual play with a song or two. It's very well staged, has lots of embrionic MTV effects and includes one of my favorite musical songs, Codfish Ball. It has some really silly bits in it, but it also has one of my favorite actors, Buddy Ebsen, of Beverly Hillbillies fame, tap-dancing. Wow. That man looked like a rubber band.

Well, I always claimed my heart pumps sugar water instead of blood.

That was followed by Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in Father’s Little Dividend - which was such a slice of “We are so NORMAL now that the war is over”-1950’s ‘murakin dream. Honestly, if you aren’t in the mood to time travel, either to be really glad things aren’t like that any more, or to wish for it to be like that - don’t waste your time. I always loved ST, both as an actor and because he looked like the Anglo version of my Franco/Irish dad.

Hmmm. Then I watched an episode of P&P, which I own.

Someone had given a bag full of videos to the library. We don’t keep R rated movies, I don’t want the hassle with parents, but I often watch them myself before I put them on the sale shelf. By this time BD had joined me while I watched City by the Sea with Robert de Niro and Broken Arrow with one of my favorite bad guys, John Travolta. ( I can watch Face/Off, an admittedly implausable concept, over and over, because my other favorite bad guy is Nicholas Cage.)

During most of this mind vacation, my fingers were busily knitting away on the lace cardigan. I'm working on the sleeves even though I haven’t finished the body because I don’t know how much yarn they will take and that information has direct design implications. I am making both body and sleeves with about 8 inches of lace along the bottom edges in the variegated yarn and switching to the solid color to knit the rest. There is plenty of variegated yarn to knit the lace parts, but I’m not sure if there is enough solid. I can deal with that by bringing the variegated back into the sweater at the shoulders, but I’d rather not. So - I shall knit a sleeve and see how much yarn is left. Let us hope there’s enough. I’m knitting all the pieces flat because when I tried to start the sleeve in the round I screwed up the count for the lace pattern 3 times. I figured the yarn was trying to tell me something and since I switched to the combination style of knitting, I don’t really mind knitting flat anymore. I still prefer knitting in the round, but hey - I can be flexible.

I’m well up this first sleeve and very pleased with the look of things. Let us just send up a prayer to the yarn-goddess. “May there be enough solid stuff for Bess”.

Not particularly reverent, but succinct.

Tonight I have my beginner class and a third student is supposed to join me. One of the original ladies who wanted this class. Next week the MyFirstSweater class begins. I have 3 already signed up for that and 3 maybes in the wings.

Oh la! It’s after 8 already! Ta.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM


Big hugs to you today...

By Blogger Amie, at 11:28 AM  

P.S. MY bicycle was named "Sapphire" and was also really a horse!

By Blogger Amie, at 11:31 AM  

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Monday, February 21, 2005  

Sandra Dee has died. She was 63, a year older than BD. Who would have thought? Liver damage.

Now, for the BoomerBabe I am, smack at the peak of the bell curve, she was about as close to an icon as any media produced image could be. I have always been sensitive to pop culture, though slightly repulsed by it, be it the Consumeristic California Girl or the frizzled Woodstock Woman. Fairy tales appealed to me, not because handsome princes (rich, of course) swept away all life's problems, but because the girls wore pretty dresses and spun on spinning wheels, played lutes, and knew about herbal magic. I’m far more witch woman than Stepford, um, daughter. When my generation swung from Gidget to Janice Joplin, I was appalled by the drug scene, rather despised the music, but was grateful that the uniform was so easy to procure. Knowing how to be undetectable is a wonderful thing, being able to afford it is even better.

But long before I threw away my bra (for those brief years before LD) I was enchanted by Sandra Dee. I wasn’t really a tom boy, but I was not either a squealing sissy girl. Though I knew that, to win at Red Rover you ran between two girls, I resented any games that required hitting balls with sticks, or having my shins bruised. Still, I loved most of the rolls brought to life by Sandra Dee; Gidget, Tammy, Molly. I suspect she shaped my hopes, and guaranteed my disappointments more than any other media image. I really yearned to be able to wear stylish clothes with her panache. I ached to have script writers put the perfect words in my mouth. And I sparked with the hardly latent sexuality of the raging hormones set. I believe that sexuality was the thing I really zeroed in on, all wrapped up in teenage love. La, as I type this, the theme from Summer Place is dancing through my head. What 14-19 year old hasn’t burned with the fire of summer love? Do you remember yours?

Still, I knew I wasn’t the stuff of California Girlz, and I didn’t have either rich parents or the type of freedom depicted in her movies. My life was very strictly regulated and I knew TheFearOfDad. Besides, I had such a fun mother, I was hardly likely to be all that rebellious. It was more fun to laugh with Mama than to fight. And I remember us laughing till we wept when we watched my favorite of all Sandra Dee movies, If A Man Answers.

It was just the two of us. In my memory, there are so many times it was just the two of us, watching something really uproariously funny ; Tiny Tim, on the Laugh-in Show, Zero Mostell in The Producers, and Sandra Dee (with Bobby Darin and Caesar Romero) in the silliest story about keeping your husband interested in you by making him think you had a lover. That was the first time I realized that an older guy could be, well, sexy. Mama pointed out how dashing Mr. Romero was and suddenly I didn’t think “eeew gross, who would want to kiss him?” Mind now, as a little girl I had had crushes on older guys - but the fantasy then was to be their sister or daughter, not their girlfriend. And even acknowledging the attractions of Mr. Romero, I understood that my generation was still at that “be guided by your elders” stage. But I remember suddenly thinking that one day I would be “like them” - and by that I ment, in charge, not either rich, manipulative, or materialistic, or any of the other attributes displayed in the media. Just in charge. Boss of my own world. One of the old guys - the grown ups.

Well, I suppose Sandra Dee and her not-quite-yet Valley Girl roles shaped a whole generation. She can’t have been any worse as a role mold than Bart Simpson or Reese Witherspoon. And she is gone now. It’s hard to remember, sometimes, how many calendar sheets have been torn away since those days. I can tell, sometimes, when I look in the mirror. I can tell, when I realize I can no longer wear Wool of the Andes tams. I can tell when I hear that Sandra Dee has died at 63 of liver damage.

posted by Bess | 7:32 AM


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Sunday, February 20, 2005  

Yow! You’d think, after last weekend, I’d remember that other harbinger of spring - skunk! Yep, that dainty little lady, Priss, has tangled again with one of the dark raiders. This time the hit was so close to home the odor woke me with a sinus aching forehead in the middle of the night. Dang. And what is it with this fascination for skunks? I always thought the bad odor was supposed to warn off enemies. With my dogs it only seems to intrigue them more. I remember reading in an outstanding book about relationships (who’s title escapes me, dangit all) that when someone gets out of a bad/broken/dead relationship, the very next one she gets into will be with the same type of person. It’s as if she can’t believe she was so wrong and has to try it again, so she hunts out the same situation to try to get it right this time. I believe Priss must be doing the same thing, lying awake at night, thinking “that smell couldn’t have been that bad.” So when she hears a rustling in the bushes, she just has to try it again.

Whatever the prompting, though, she is banished from the house for the rest of this weekend. Phew!

We headed off to Richmond yesterday to pick up the stereo system. BD found someone who repairs electronics - mostly audio systems and televisions. Turns out ours only needed cleaning, but WOW what a difference that made! Neither of us can remember this system sounding so good, even when it was new. BD stayed up to the wee hours rediscovering all the grand music we own on CD’s.

I, of course, knit away on the lace cardigan. I’m into the solid color now. The alternating rows of solid and variegated yarn in the last pattern repeat was very effective. Then I knit a few little eyelet patterns in a swatch at one end of the sweater to see what I wanted and settled on a 16 row repeat with a 3 hole eyelet that looks like a heart, alternately spaced every 10 stitches. Since the more elaborate lace pattern knit in the variegated yarn looks like mountain peaks I am thinking of calling this sweater Mountains of Hearts or Hearts over the Mountains or something like that. I am reeeeeeeealy enjoying this project. I have about 10 inches of body done. I think I shall knit 13 inches and then some short rows on either end (It’s being knit back and forth in a continuous piece, splitting for shoulders). I’ll close up the shoulder seams and knit the sleeves in the round (I think). It will be fully fashioned, with short row sleeve caps, not with squared off sleeves. This type of design and this particular yarn just cries out for a tailored look. Besides, I like that sort of shoulder the best.

The sky is white outside - and the air is chilly - the promise is for rain tonight and all day tomorrow. Just the thing for sitting by the fire and knitting. While I know spring is on its way, I know it isn’t here yet. Not even any daffodils have opened up, though one just by Topsy’s grave is about to pop.

And that’s about all the opining and news I have left. Off to knit!

posted by Bess | 8:16 AM


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Saturday, February 19, 2005  

Nope, Margaret, we don’t get Good Friday off. Separation of church and state, you know. Neener Neener to you miss Catherine, but remember I am paid less than a school teacher - your tax dollars at work, you know.

Yesterday was a productive day at work. We finally had a staff meeting. New staff came on board just as I began TheWeddingPlanning and while I could help them get going on day to day stuff and yes, I did give everybody a copy of the 5-year plan to read, we hadn’t yet sat around and kibitzed about TheBigPicture. Even yesterday I did most of the talking, but I was pleased to see the new ones offering some ideas and, more important, giving me clues about the sort of things they like to do. I’ve found you get 10 times more from an employee if you can give them the work they like to do and since I can't give them that much money they like to spend... Well, I’m that way myself, so why shouldn’t other folk be?

But as the day wore on I sort of dragged. By the end of the day I was drop-dead tired and my arms and shoulders ached. Now, it’s true, I have been working out at the gym this week pretty seriously. And since TheWedding, on those days when I put in 30 min. on the eliptical machine (a killer cardio workout) I tend to poop out - but it’s also true that a half dozen people were in the library yesterday, happy to tell me that they either had the flu, were coming down with the flu or just getting over the flu. God I don’t know why people feel the need to share this sort of knowledge. The natural Virgoian hypochondria in me is always glad to latch onto those little sickness enzymes that are seeking permanent receptors. I can often fend off invitations from BD’s germs, but when it comes to the general public I seem to have very little defense.

I had to battle my way through the Friday evening Wal-mart grocery shopping crowd and didn’t get home till nigh on to 7:30, long after BD had given me up and started his own dinner. Why does Wal-mart staff their cash registers with 50 clerks between 1 p.m. and 4:59, but at 5:00 they send everyone home; especially on Fridays! By the time I sat down to dinner I’d already scarfed down two bags of snack crackers and a diet Pepsi ( I know, who needs that much sodium?) I crashed at 8:30 and slept straight through to 6:30.

I still feel a little off, but not actually sick. But if I waste a perfectly good illness on a 3 day weekend, man I am going to be royally ticked.

Still, dawn has come with golden arms to encircle the globe in her shining embrace. It’s truly gorgeous outside. Cold, but not wicked cold, and the sun is higher in the sky, so the light looks different, it looks spring-like, even if the air still has winter's kiss. Lots of spring type things will be happening today. Papa birds will be scouting out good nesting sites. Daffodil flower heads will be bulging fat and pale yellow; in fact, I should check along the highway, because, on some protected banks there will be actual daffodil flowers, nodding hello to the cars as they whiz by. The skeletal branches of the bare trees will have little bumps all along them, harbingers of the real spring that’s just around the corner. Sometime in March, I will be driving down our lane towards home, out in my praying place, and I’ll notice the tulip poplar that fringes the woods right above the spring box. It will be a mist of pale green. And I will know that, regardless of the calendar, it will be official. It will be spring.

Maybe there will be a lace cardigan to wear this spring. Maybe. If I log off now and go start knitting. Well. Maybe I just will.

Have a great one.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM


Last long weekend till May?? Huh? Don't you folks have Good Friday off?

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:33 PM  

Lucky! I don't get Presidents Day OR Good Friday off. My next three day weekend on the company's dime is Memorial Day.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:05 AM  

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Friday, February 18, 2005  

Hello Friday! Sweet delicious gift day, forever a red colored day for me, full of the promise magic possibilities, restorative hours, opportunities for rich happiness.

Well. Isn’t Bess in a good mood today? Yep yep yep. Today is the beginning of the last 3 day weekend till Memorial Day and I intend to wallow in this delicious idle down time. It’s just too bad that we use up our 3 day dalliances just when the weather begins to ease up beyond all chance of getting a snow day holiday. In the 29.75 years I’ve lived down here, we’ve only had one serious snow storm in March. It was so serious and so unexpected that now, when you sigh about the passing of winter, people shake their heads and warn that “You can still get winter in March”, but the truth is, we know we’re past all point of hope.

Well Rats. KR forums are down today. (Yes, I multi-surf when I’m on-line in the a.m. It’s the only way dial up can be endured.) That ought to get me through my morning routine in a jiffy.

Anyway, I am skippingly ready for a long stretch of time to devote to self. I plan to knit. (of course) and to sit down at my wheel for the first time in months, and to pick up the little Bosworth spindle and twirl a bit of blue faced leicester, and to read and to cook something new. And to go off with BD to Richmond to pick up the stereo system that has been in the repair shop. Nothing like riding in a car for 3 hours, for some solid knitting time. Of course, these are all just plans. Time will tell if I really get to do all this stuff.

The cooking, though, is a must. I haven’t really gotten my serious think about where I am going time with myself yet. When I’ve had the time alone I’ve been too durn tired, and when I have not been too durn tired I’ve been ... well, not spending it quite and alone. I feel as if I’m winging it this year, without any clear goals to work towards. Nevertheless, I did make a modest commitment to return to my WW goal weight and to that purpose I also promised myself to cook one new recipe from my WW cookbooks each week. I suspect I am not alone when I confess I have bought many more cookbooks than I shall ever cook from. I tend to make the same dishes I already know how to make because I am efficient with them and swift, plus, I probably have those ingredients in the kitchen. But I’m bored with all the healthy dishes I’ve memorized. If I don’t add some new recipes to my repertoire I’ll probably fall back on the old standbys of grilled cheese and ice cream when I’m tired and getting home late. (I am not one to worry about osteoporosis, no, not I)

Since I have all these cullinary and diet wise promises sandwiched between soft covers, I am determined to cash in on them. Delicious, filling and nutritious food? Alright, give it to me. I’ve cooked two new recipes so far; one a bust, one a success. What constitutes a successful recipe? It’s a dish that not only I like, but also one, about which BD doesn’t say “Is this one of those Diet things?” The Boeuf Bourguignon was a spectacular hit - rich, piquant, a real company dish. The lentil soup was way too vegan tasting to please me. It was in the Best of Weight Watcher’s Magazine, just in case you were curious.

So, along with getting back with my wonderful TthePT and her magic performing exercises (I am already taking up less space in the world and feel like dancing even when the muscles are tingling), I am sharing the adventure with BD via culinary investigation.

On the fiber front - I will take the photo of the Wool of the Andes tam this a.m. and post it late in the day. Alas, I am too old for tams. They are darling hats, fun to knit, fabulous for showing off just a little bit of stranded colorwork knitting skill, and, of course, they are traditional designs. I am sad to say, though, that this particular hat shape accentuates all the effects of time and gravity on my face. I will knit more of them, but they will all get given away. boo hoo for me, but really there are many other wonderful hat shapes out there I can wear, so I am not all that sad about it. And the upside of this admission is that once I put the hat on and saw how awful it looked on me, all desire to knit a suit to match it melted away like snow in the sunshine. Whew! No great loss, without some small gain.

Instead I will think about those silk and mohair harem pants I plan to knit out of Jen’s wonderful Spirit Trail stuff.

And with that I shall totter off to work.

posted by Bess | 7:40 AM


Stats, schmats! I just like to read what you write. :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:52 AM  

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Thursday, February 17, 2005  

Well! Stats wrong? I’m shocked. Imagine a computer gathering information and then crunching the numbers incorrectly. Who would think of such a thing!

Thank you for the encouragement dearlings. And I’m not really upset about the stat numbers. I mostly keep this blog for myself and as a sort of running Christmas Letter for people to keep up with whatever is going on in the castle. And at least this stat counter let me block my own views so that every time I fiddle with the thing it doesn’t count as another hit.

I’m still struggling with effectiveness. My own effectiveness, that is. Trying to make myself spend my work hours on priority issues instead of fiddly things that look busy even if they are both delagate-able and really, put-off-able. I did cross 2 important issues off my list, but sheesh - what in the heck took up the rest of the afternoon?

Oh, yeah. Well. Yes. I took an extra long lunch break to work out with TthePT on upper body stuff. Now, I first started going to her because my arms had gotten saggy after the weight loss. I went to her for arm work and she, after appropriate tsking, convinced me that the whole body had to be worked on if I wanted to see real results. I was convinced. In fact, I found lower body much easier to do than upper - especially arm work, which was what I needed the most and disliked the most too. So - those are the exercises I am always glad to skip, put off, do another day, and am too tired to think about most days. So, that’s what we worked on yesterday. We ran way over the hour I’d allotted for this, but we covered everything.

Part of the problem is that, not only is my entire left side a lot weaker than my right, but also, my left arm has an ancient stress injury, the result of 15 years of playing violin for 3+ hours a day. When I curl my left arm up, something inside pops. If it happens once it’s okay, but if it happens two or three times more, my arm begins to hurt. It’s not a bone thing. It’s in the middle of the bicep and it is probably a tendon, who knows...? but it is a serious enough issue that when I’m working out I can tell myself that today is not a good day for upper body, that I don’t have time, that I don’t really want to do arm work today. Not good. This time she held my arm while I did a full curl and she suddenly felt the pop. And completely tailored the workout to exercise around it.

We spent almost 2 hours together yesterday - working, figuring, deciding, fine tuning things. La! What a glorious 2 hours that was. And how happy I was the rest of the day. I tend to forget that a serious workout that includes deep muscle weight training can lift my mood to a level of calm happiness that lasts for hours and hours. I completely understand how people become body builders - and it’s not about ego and a weird desire to look like HeMan dolls. It’s because the high is so soaring and rich and fantastic. It’s the mental thing that is so addictive.

I came home feeling really great and coddled BD, who has a fever. Both of us are pretty healthy but when we have to be sick, we both prefer a fever with no other symptoms. It means sleeping all day but not being all that uncomfortable. It means food still tastes pretty good and chests don’t ache with burning misery. It has been so warm this week that we let the fire go out a few days ago, but last night the weather changed and I built it back up again. And after dinner I sat by that fire and finished up the Wool of the Andes tam. It’s drying on a dinner plate (because I lost the wheel BD made me! Argh! Buried in my studio-less stash). I’ll photograph it today or tomorrow and post. That means I am back on the lace cardigan with a vengeance. Might as well photograph that at the same time.

So - something to look forward to.

posted by Bess | 7:04 AM


I at least come to actually read :) Stats lie, anyway! :)

Myshelle10 (from KR)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:26 AM  

Well, I come every day and read! I hope you know that!

I love that Knitting Fairy that helps out in my classes. She's shown me yarn overs and split stitches from across the room... She recently whispered great help which I've used repeatedly in describing what we mean by "front" and "back" of the work... Just like Dirty Dancing, this is my dance space, this is your dance space... My dance space is the front of my work, your dance space is the back of my work.

By Blogger Amie, at 1:26 PM  

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005  

Huh. I just put a new stat counter on my blog and it tells me that 92% of the visitors spend less than 30 seconds there. That means that only about 8 people a day actually wanted to come here. How lowering. I almost wish I didn't know.

posted by Bess | 9:59 AM


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You don't have endless time or money. That's OK, you don't need either. You've got enough. Whenever we lack a particular resource, we assume that the required amount is enormous. We imagine that we will never attain the desired target. It really isn't a question, though, of getting more. You just have to use what you've got as wisely and as purposefully as possible. A small step today could produce a big result.

I am endlessly surprised at just how close to the bull’s-eye this guy gets on such a regular basis. It’s true - I have a work life full of fraying issues, little tasks undone, little efforts not made, that are beginning to scratch away the surface of my happiness. I’m just a little short on everything, but mostly time and money. Yet what is needed isn’t a lot more money or a lot more time. Just a better, wiser, and more decisive use of the $ and time I have. Little steps - that’s all I need to take, to make my work life, and perhaps even my home life, all fixed.

Though, home life right now is particularly sweet. And I didn’t give BD nearly the praise and credit he deserves for the 2 dozen stunningly beautiful roses and the precious Valentine poem that showed up on Monday evening. He doesn’t even know I’ve given up chocolate for Lent (It’s also possible he doesn’t know that chocolate is a traditional Valentine gift) and he does know that I’m back on the WWWagon. Lavish and non caloric - that’s a very nice combo.

BTW, I went down 1 lb. last night. Not bad. There are still plenty of lbs to go but I don’t feel so far behind the starting line as I did 2 weeks ago. And I got in a couple good workouts at the gym. Monday was the first time I’d been able to do a weight routine since I’d worked with TthePT. Thank goodness I still remembered what it was supposed to feel like. What is cool is that the joints are so comfortable, while the muscles feel worked at a far deeper level than ever before. She and I have another session today and just knowing it makes the day seem richer.

Two students showed up for the beginner class last night - but the two students I had actually set this class up for did not! I am not sure if they forgot the day or forgot the location or changed their minds, but I’ll see them both tomorrow, since they both work at the nail salon I frequent, and will find out. If it was a mental slip, and not a change of heart, I will just let them come next week and work with folk at two different stages. With only 4 people it’s not too difficult to help some with ribbing and some with color work. I’ve taught this class enough to know how most people progress. I can actually see if it will “take” within the first hour. If the student can “see” what she’s doing - if she can begin to read her knitting, then she will learn to knit at a brisk pace. If she can’t read her knitting by the end of the 2 hours, she probably won’t enjoy knitting and will move on to something else. The two women who showed up last night were reading their knitting within the hour.

The fun thing for me was a revelatory moment when I read a knitting error and could instantly explain why it occurred. It’s a common enough beginner's mistake; to somehow add stitches to their knitting - add unwanted stitches, that is. Both of my students were doing that while ribbing away on their hat brims. The sudden cry of “Oh I’ve made a mistake!” was answered with Knitting Fairy words drawn from some deep understanding I didn’t realize I had. The knitter was not moving the yarn to the front to purl, or to the back to knit, as she ribbed away. This hooked the yarn around the needle as if she were making a YO. So I knit a lot of those mistakes, both in purl and in knitting, and showed them what to look for when they came to their errors and how to fix them. I’m really pleased that I found such a verbal, as well as physical, way of addressing this common mistake.

I didn’t finish the Wool of the Andes tam last night. I’m down to about 8 stitches to a section in the wheel decrease - I’ll finish it up before I go to work today. It’s a thick cushiony hat, fat with stranded color work in a worsted weight yarn. I really like it, but I wonder if it will be too hot for any but the most icy days. Eh. I will find out. What I really want to do, though - is to knit a suit in this yarn. A suit to match the hat. (God - let us hope the hat is unbecoming to me so this feeling will go away.) I am seeing a gored skirt knit in the 3 stitch garter/seed stitch that Jen was using to make her sweater sleeves last weekend. That flare of increases to create a sleeve begged to be copied into a skirt gore. And then a little belted sweater jacket. In this blueberry color. With the pumpkin and blueberry hat? In a size 0 I suppose. That is the balloon pricking issue, isn’t it. So much knitted fabric might merely make me look like the Michelin tire man.

Oh curse the DNA that didn’t give me one of those 5’10” long’n’lean bodies. Imagine Pillsbury Doughboy in a belted knitted jacket.

Well. Perhaps this fantasy will go away. Perhaps I will get skinny. Perhaps 3 extra inches will suddenly grow between rib cage and hip bone. All these are possibilities of one sort or another. But one surety is that it’s nigh on to 8 o’clock and today is Wednesday - and we all know what that means.

Off to story hour. Ta.

posted by Bess | 7:37 AM


Hey, girl, sounds like your classes would be fun...even though I am long past a first sweater!

RE: that class, was cotton not an option?

I have a good circular hat pattern if you can't find yours...


-- Marg

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:57 PM  

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005  

Another student signed up for the Tuesday night beginner class! This really makes it worth my while to stay late one night a week and teach knitting. Now - if I can only find the hat pattern! Yikes! I had it last fall when I offered the beginner class but everybody knows what has been happening around here since last fall. Let us hope it's upstairs in LD's old room.

As many as 5 people have told me they'd like to take the My First Sweater class, but we shall see how the math adds up come Feb. 28. I'm making a change in that class. In the past I've taught it every other week and we've made an adult sweater. If it were earlier in the year or if it were autumn, I might consider teaching that way again. But I've come to see that only the most besotted among us really enjoy knitting in warm weather and even if we have some cool spells, we'll have mostly warm - rising to hot - weather come April 1. So the MFS class will make a little sweater; doll's size or at least, no bigger than a 2 year old's size. The last class will be how to take the skills learned in the little sweater and supersize them.

I've set the lace sweater aside for a day or two while I finish up the Wool of the Andes tam. I'm in the decrease section, down from 20 st. a segment to 14, so there isn't much left to do. It won't be blocked but it'll be done by class time tonight. I'll take my blocking circle (that BD made me 2 years ago) and show them how it works. Then I shall be back on the lace cardi. I left it with one more repeat of the pattern to knit, during which I plan to phase in the solid color. I'm extremely pleased with how that is turning out - the lace texture enhances the handpainting - something that doesn't always happen when you combine lace and handpaint.

Photos of all will be up within a day or two.

And in praise of Big Darlings the world over, I sing paeans to my own BD for the two dozen roses, and the little rhyme, that blossomed on the dining room table last night. You know, one doesn't have to be very skilled at arranging flowers, when one has 2 dozen roses to put in a vase.

I have an early morning meeting today and haven't long to linger here, eloquent and interesting. It's off to find the pattern, for me.

posted by Bess | 6:21 AM


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Monday, February 14, 2005  

I have often thought about putting up one of those 100 things about me lists, but when I’ve sat down to write one, I tended to get bored with making the list. I could write a list of 100,000 things about me, and bore everyone else, and probably still leave out my favorite bit of self-trivia. So I thought I’d put up a list that changed at random times and contained only 10 equally random tid-bits about The Queen.

The truth is, I am feeling the first stirrings of html curiosity in a long, a very long, time and am fiddling a bit with the blog. I don’t exactly dislike the beige business suit look of the thing, but as my little spot of earth seeks a little more sunshine I could use some spring colors on this thing. So, the $64,000 question is: Will Bess waste precious time, time that could be spent writing witty piercing essays, or - great Scott! - even knitting, to dabble in code insertion or will she find some other outlet for her latent geekiness? Something like updating the security on her home computer or finding out what is actually wrong with the library web site and fixing it?

Stay tuned to this channel for the next exciting episode in the life of the queen, or at least, of someone Like The Queen.

It was hard to wave good-bye to Jen and C yesterday. They fit in the house so well, comfortably moving from room to room, easily finding things in the kitchen - a sure sign that someone belongs, dovetailing bathroom occupancy, and just being all round fun and welcome guests. BD got to cuddle with a 5 year old girl - one of his favorite activities. He found a lost toy out in the cornfield on Saturday and C and he took it apart to see why it didn’t work. It was so cute to see the two heads bent over a collection of plastic bits.

But my guests have men-folk of their own who were waiting for them in the far north so, well before I was ready, they drove off. The day didn’t continue as brightly golden as dawn’s promise, but it stayed fairly mild. The sky grew overcast. Somehow, come late winter, that grayish light really brings out the dusty look of my house. It’s funny how heating with wood is so welcome and lovely from about October through January, yet as the days grow ever longer, all that wood stove dust and woodpile clutter begins to overwhelm my cleaning abilities, even with the bi-monthly aid of the Marvelous Sheryl.

So once I found myself alone in the house, out came dust cloths and vacuum, mop and bucket. I didn’t bother with the upstairs, but I did get the downstairs clean & tidy and made the living room a nice place for sitting and knitting.

I worked exclusively on the Wool of the Andes tam, ripping out the design I’d put in and knitting something I liked better. An afternoon of knitting got me to the decrease part at the top, when, somehow I miscounted the number of stitches or knit the pattern wrong or something. At that point I knew it was time to stop knitting and do something else. I’ll pick it up again in a few minutes and see what I need to do to finish this hat. I’d like to have it finished by tomorrow because I’m teaching a beginner knitting class on Tuesdays and I always start my students off with a hat. It’s great if I have several different kinds of hats to show them and I don’t have a tam right now.

I did interrupt the afternoon of knitting with a wonderful walk out to Robert’s Landing, accompanied by BD. Robert’s Landing is about a mile and a half from the house and it’s a sweet stroll I never tire of. The long-standing, shared joke about this familiar trek is that BD always wants to take the woods path and I always want to walk out into the middle of the field, via my praying place. Yesterday the forest won. But we also got a grand sight of Mr. and Mrs. B. Eagle, still perched on the pine tree at the bottom of our back yard. And once we got out to Robert’s Landing, they gave us a whistle across the bay.

Another good thing about taking this walk is that it got me to exercise - which is my segue into a sad confession about my diet efforts. They have been meager at best, and most of the time they’ve been down right feeble. For all that I was so high about getting together with TthePT last week - I’ve only been back to the gym once since then. I haven’t followed the WW program at all - even though it requires just a little discipline. Worst of all, since I gave up chocolate for Lent, I have been eating a lot of sugar, mostly in the form of those Valentine Conversation Hearts, as a substitute. The idea was to eat fruit in place of my daily chocolate hit.
Well. It is Monday. Let us hope I can do better this week. And let us hope the scales at WW on Tuesday night won’t be too condemning.

And let us hope we all have a Happy Valentines Day.

posted by Bess | 7:04 AM


See, now that's my idea of a girly weekend!

Oh gosh, I just previewed this and now they have pictures next to our comments. How...weird.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:51 AM  

Oh, how envious am I???? What a wonderful weekend you're having. Hugs to all!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM  

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Sunday, February 13, 2005  

The house is so quiet - everyone’s asleep. Only Sol and I are stirring - for the sun is pouring through the windows, leaving sharp little patterns on the walls. I felt like I’d really indulged, because my body stayed asleep the full 8 hours. When I do that, I always wake up feeling as if I ought to thank my body - that thing I live in that has a mind of its own - for taking care of me. Ack! PodPerson talking here. Ignore.

Woops. So I just type that everyone’s asleep and I hear someone moving about upstairs. This may be brief.

Jen and I had a simply wonderful day yesterday - after we banished Priss from the house. On Friday night, just as I was falling asleep, I heard a different sort of "yip" from her. Skunked! In this cold weather with windows shut, you don’t always smell fresh skunk on a dog, till she shoulders her way indoors, dashes up the stairs and leaps on your bed. Man - she sure woke everybody up early yesterday. I had to wash all my bedding.

B&LD had plans for the day that took them off in trucks, so we had a pure total girlie girl day. A leisurely breakfast complete with knitting was just the trick while the first load of laundry went through - the really stinky load. Once that was on the line we went into town for some shopping therapy. We stopped first at the library so I could show off the great knitting collection. We brought home a 24" stack of knitting books to pour over as well as the first EZ video, since Jen had never seen her.

Next came some boutique shopping. Several cute little stores have opened up in town. They sell the darlingest things, at Tappahannock prices. You can get really great little token gifts for $5 and a little girl with $3 can walk away with rings or lip gloss or tiny china dolls that fit in her pocket. I really don’t have any disposable income these days - or at least, I ought not to consider I do. Income tax season is just around the corner and our car windshield cracked in the hard freeze of January - it will have to be replaced before the end of March. So I would not have bought anything at all, if they hadn’t put out these darling bracelet watches that just cried out for springtime at only $20.00. I am a Cheap Watch Junkie. And that tan leather bracelet just promised chic-edness with a little neutral colored linen suit, come Easter time.

We are fortunate, in my little town, to have an old fashioned restaurant. What makes it old fashioned is it’s smell - it smells like restaurants from my youth. It makes me remember festive times when Daddy took us all out to eat - a rarity in those pre-fast food, pre-2 paycheck home days of nostalgia world. You can order a la carte or take the lunch special. You can buy just applesauce and chocolate milk if that’s all your toddler will eat. And they have a plywood well with fish at the bottom and each kid gets a fishing license. After she eats she can catch a fish and exchange it for a gum ball prize at the cashier’s counter. When LD was little, that was the only place he ever wanted to eat. No MacDonalds play land for him, he wanted to go to Lowery’s for his birthday. He never ate a bite, but he loved to walk around and talk to other diners and then go fishing.

After lunch we headed home, to overtake BD walking back from LD’s house. He offered to take us out in the boat to hunt for eagles. Mr. and Mrs. Bald Eagle watched our progress as we nosed the boat up into the little gut between Robert’s land and ours. The nest is still in the old pine tree on his land, but they were spending the day in the big pine on our bank. Up Farmer’s Hall Creek we startled a third eagle. I wonder if that is the baby that was raised her last summer. I really ought to learn more about the life cycle of Bald Eagles, now that we have a resident family.

We puttered up Occupacia Creek a ways, passing a snagged tree branch angled up out of the water, just showing it’s tip. "It’s a turtle" claimed Jen and BD. "Never" I argued, because they never let you get so close. The bickering went on till BD turned around to get a second look. Just as we came up on it, Mr. Turtle ducked beneath the water and I had to take their jeering with good grace - which any Virgo can do easily, of course.

Back home we stalked up close to the Eagle tree and got some good views of their stately majesty. They let us get just so close - and then flew off, sweeping the sky with their enormous wings, whooshing away to the north.

The rest of the day was spent idling, nibbling, watching Shirley Temple movies and looking at knitting books. We girls, exhausted from staying up way past our bedtimes on Friday night, didn’t try to burn midnight oil on Saturday. Today is another cool crisp slice of weekend and we’ll take advantage of it as long as we can. Alas, they must leave before lunch, but we’ll savor the memory of these sweet hours of friendship a long time.

Just how long is it till Maryland?

posted by Bess | 8:13 AM


So jealous of your girlie girl weekend - I'm sure it will be lovely, and please each of you give an extra hug for me, please!!!

By Blogger Amie, at 5:06 PM  

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Saturday, February 12, 2005  

The silence yesterday was caused by having to dash out of the house at Crack-0-Dawn to get to a class at the far campus of the local community college. We’re taking a year long series of technology classes, taught the first 2 Fridays of every month. Every other month we go to the campus that’s an hourand a half away. Leaving here at 7:30 really curtails my morning Internet routine.

The teacher we had for the past 2 months was one of the best teachers I’ve ever listened to - and he was teaching what could be the dullest subject on earth - an overview of computer networking plus network maintenance and security. Not that it isn’t a riveting subject for many; just ask any of the new priests. But for middle aged librarians - you know, those traditional bookworms - English majors - that sort - trying to grasp tcp/ip and packet switching and a whole host of acronymious secret code stuff can be excruciating. A bright, articulate, clear speaking, eye-twinkling teacher can carry us all much further down the knowledge path.
I hope he teaches some of the other classes.

On the knitting front, I came to a decision with the lace cardigan. The pattern I was following was from a Vogue Knitting mag from a few springs ago. It has a pretty, scalloped lace pattern along the bottom - first a 10 stitch pattern for about 3 inches and then 16 stitch pattern for another 2 or 3 inches. Now - fitting 16 over 10 is not easy. Think this sort of fraction: 16/10 or 8/5. Worse than that, the 16 stitch pattern wasn’t even centered. It began with 5 knit stitches, had 4 lacey holes in the middle and ended with 7 knit stitches. I mean, why not begin with 6 and end with 6? I already had a beef with this design because it called for casting on X # of stitches, knitting for 3 inches then decreasing by 20% at the switch from the 10 st. to the 16 st. pattern. Now - think if what a sweater would look like if you knit the bottom for 3 inches and then decreased the sweater by 20% after that. Yeah, a trapezoid.

Now, if that’s the shape you want, well, okay. And if that is the shape the garment is going to be, why in the blankety blank did the photographers at VK give us a photo that makes the sweater look like it drops straight down from the underarms? Why? I’ll tell you why. Because a sweater knit to those specs makes even a fashion model look dumpy (ugly, fat, unfashionable) The photographer took one look at that garment and had his assistant pin the back of it together till it hung straight and looked attractive on the model. Of course you'll never know that till you’ve started knitting - and then you’ve got something all your fiber instinct will warn you about, but you’ll keep looking at the photo and going back to the pattern and trying a little more. In time you’ll realize you’ve been bamboozled and rip it all out, drastically reduce the number of stitches you’re working with and begin again.

This happened to me at cast on and again, when I switched to the 16 st. pattern, following the written directions. Lace is nothing if it is not precise. Imagine how bad bad geometric shapes scattered here and there over different geometric shapes will look. After ripping the yarn out twice I decided to skip the second lace pattern, incorrectly graphed, btw, and instead, to continue knitting the 10 stitch pattern till I had the depth I wanted in my border.

Ahhhhh. Yes. Nothing feels as good as a making a good decision.

In addition to not liking the math of the two patterns together, the second pattern (which I really do like and will use in something else) had a lot more stockinette knitting in it and I don’t care as much for this particular variegated yarn in flat st. st. knitting. It’s more stripy than I really like. I adore it in the lace pattern, which breaks up the stripes and color blocks into beautiful dynamic pulsing shapes. Sometimes a variegated yarn doesn’t look so good in a textured design, but this yarn looks good in this lace. Just goes to show you that there is a pattern for every yarn.

The pattern is knit for 8 rows and I will knit it at least 6 times. At some point I’ll switch to a solid colored yarn. I’ll experiment with making the change within the lace - I think that might make the transition more fluid, not so abrupt. Once in the solid yarn I’ll knit it up in a diagonally arranged eyelet stitch.

The weekend unfolds before me in the most delightful way. Jen is visiting with her daughter C, a knitterly sleepover. We haven’t’ seen each other since November, at the KRRetreat. BD is off to do some woodsy stuff with LD, while GD is visiting friends away, so it will be a girlie girl weekend. Nothing planned beyond having fun. Fortunately, Jen is a good enough friend I don’t have to clean up for her, since this is not Sheryl’s week to perform magic in my house and I didn’t get home early enough to make much difference in the dust&dog hair department.
It’s cold, but it’s sunny. What a great woolly weekend. Ta.

posted by Bess | 7:17 AM


The only thing missing from your studio vision is the little step up "stage" (throne? altar?) complete with Golding spinning wheel and matching chair, close to the fire and the sleeping lab, but not too close so as to dry the wheel out too much.

There. I've added it to the vision ~ now it's perfect! :-D

xxoo Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 8:55 AM  

Isn't it amazing how we fill our space until there is no more? I moved into a space that was already pretty full, but insisted on putting my own mark on it, and now it's beyond full... ugh.

But I love the thought of being able to have hobbies that can be near each other... it's why so much of my yarn ends up in the room where GB is... a revelation of sorts, I'll have to share it with him tonight...

By Blogger Amie, at 11:22 AM  

Yes! that was what hit me - I didn't want to be playing with my toys in isolation from BD. I want to hear him nearby.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:39 AM  

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Thursday, February 10, 2005  

My stuff is just so darn old. My car squeals like a stuck pig every time I step on the clutch. It has lost all of its hubcaps, rolled away into ditches on foreign roads. The glove compartment doesn’t open any more so the registration is in a little cubbyhole beneath the dash board. I keep waiting for The warm blustery day that it just blows out the window.

My computer was a re-con from AT&T back in 1995 that was upgraded to Windows98 in ‘99. It freezes on you if you sneeze - catching a cold? I wonder. It is used by the man who can’t stand to click a mouse so everything he writes is in one of 4 files. Four enormous, behemoths containing several books worth of text, that will bring the system to a halt if you try to write in Word. The last of the 56K dial-ups in America will be what connects us to the Internet for the next 2 decades, so things like video and sound can go hang - and probably will - leaving me bereft of my technological umbilical cord. While there’s decent virus protection on the machine, I suspect spyware is so thick in the bowels of this machine I will be tracked by every mail-order catalog in America.

Our CD player is gummed up now too and we can only pick up satellite radio, which, fortunately, has some good classical stations on it. The last time we took the system in for a cleaning the repair man asked BD if he kept the thing in a stable. (Only, much more crudely) That is because of the wood stove - which belches out smoke when we get this marginal weather - too warm in the day for a fire, too cold at night to be without one. The chimney doesn’t stay hot so cinders build up. BD promised me, the next warm afternoon he’ll clean that out. That just might be today - while he’s driving the squealing car around to find out what’s wrong with its innards.

The radio station has played so many great new recordings, BD is all a-whoop to go shopping for NewMusic and last night he got on-line to look up what’s where and for how much. As his list grew longer and longer I questioned him about just how much $ he was planning on spending. Talk about pricking the balloon of happiness. “yeah, buying CD’s when the player isn’t working doesn’t make much sense” he sighed and dallied a little longer on-line just to prove that he didn’t stop shopping just because I said so.

* * * *

Well. Humph. I didn’t mean to complain so much. That is merely my First-Response to the computer freezing so that I had to shut it down and while I waited for it to scandisk I walked around grumbling about all the other inconveniences in my life like: I have no place to put my fiber things in an orderly way so I own 4,000 tapestry needles and can’t find any of them and I need one to fix the crapola mistake I made in the lace cardigan.

What I need is a studio!!! A big airy room with lots of light and beautiful shelves and a big table and cabinets specifically fitted for my things and wired for speakers and with a fireplace and a big Labrador dog lying on the rug before it.

Yeah! Don’t you think I need that? Yes. I thought you did.

Actually I have yearned for “my own space” for ever. It’s what made me build the garden. It was always open to all, but it belonged to me, so nobody dared tell me how to "do it better." I might still be satisfied with that if I hadn’t developed middle age allergy syndrome. If I don’t make it through this spring without developing bronchitis, I will dig the whole thing up and plant a boxwood garden. Imagine looking at 40 rose bushes all abloom and thinking “god I wish those flowers were gone”. But when your chest feels like it’s actually a coal furnace and your eyes are swollen to twice their size - flowers are not attractive.

Anyway - in 2000 I drew up a modest little wall unit with a desk and some shelves, a drop down craft table and some drawers and showed it to BD. “Could you make me this?”

The answer to that was yes. The answer to “Would you make me this” was a long prevarication and idleness.

How glad I am for that answer too, because what I’d sketched was so far below what I need, but had he made it for me I could never have felt comfortable about asking for a whole studio - which I did just recently.

Actually, I told him I needed it about a year and a half ago and he flinched. I knew it was too soon to ask for it, but he and LD had started talking about building a boat shed and I knew I better get in there with my priority claim quick. Besides, I’m a gardener and I know about planting seeds. But I brought it up again the other day and in a different context. Our house is actually only 3/4ths finished. When it was designed it had a living room and an additional upstairs bedroom off the west end. We built what we could pay for at the time, and, thinking eventually we’d have so many kids we’d really need the rest, counted on the future to take care of that. Our future never included any more children, though. What we had was pretty close to enough space for anything but a winter time party for more than 20 people. $ did not flow swiftly through our coffers. We were comfortable and content.

But we are at a different stage in life now. We have the $ to make the addition. But now there are only 2 of us - the need for space is actually less than it was when there were 3. Unless one looks in the den at my fiber stash, packed, stuffed, and all but useless, because there is no way to organize it. Or if one looks at the dining room table where all the knitting projects are heaped. Or if one looks at the pile by my bed. Or the shelves in LD’s old bedroom. Durn it, my stuff is all over the house, but shoved into by-the-way spaces. Some how we got to talking about the addition to the house and I suggested we build it and give me the downstairs as a studio. “That way, I can be near you when I’m working on my stuff instead of in a building outdoors, shut away from you.”

Hey, do I know how to talk to this guy?

It’s true, though. A separate building would mean we’d be struggling all the time about how to pursue our separate activities without having separate lives. It’s okay when it means I bring home a paycheck. That is sort of just the way life is. That is work time. But when our play time sets up into the conflict of time together vs. time doing what we want, the goal ought to be integration. For the first time he actually responded in a positive, creative - even excited- tone of voice. So. Who knows? The living room that goes with the rest of this house would make a fabulous studio. Furnished appropriately it could double as a living room for big gatherings or just as another comfortable place to be. It would be big enough to hold classes in. Hmm. A retirement business? Who knows? Maybe. Thoughts worth thinking about....

And who ever knows what muse will prompt me when I sit down to write the day’s entry? I had thought to write about my Lenten decisions, but they were fairly meager. My choice? Chocolate.
A very brief word here about that before I must dash off to work.

I like chocolate. I don’t consider myself a chocolate freak or a chocoholic or any other excessive descriptive designation. I like it. BUT. I also eat it every day. Yes. Every Single Day I have something chocolate. It’s usually small but it’s always there. So maybe I am a chocolate freak. I don’t actually know. But since what I am looking for is something that will force me to pause, to consider what it means to feel the pinch of sacrifice, to give thanks for my rich life, and then to get back to work in a more grateful frame of mind - this daily partaking of chocolate seemed to be the perfect choice.

So. Who’da thought?

Now, off to work for me!

posted by Bess | 8:04 AM


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Wednesday, February 09, 2005  

Glad you think I’m cute. What I am today is sore, which doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm for TthePT and her demands, but it did make me give pause to the fitness regimen and will cause me to put off another session with weights till tomorrow. I’ll hit the cardio machine this afternoon and sleep like a new baby tonight.

I am also as puffy as a marshmallow - I even have sore abs and I never get sore abs - and it showed on the scales at WW last night. Every one of those muscles was holding on to water, big time. In spite of being pretty much on target all week, I gained a pound. I know it was water - even my shoes felt tight yesterday. So I couldn’t be disappointed about it. Officially I now have 18 lbs to go - but I bet that won’t be true next week.

Last night my knitter’s group met, augmented by an old friend who is interested in taking my EZ sweater class. Fingers crossed that both beginner and sweater class makes up because I would like to teach this spring and I would also like to put some $ into the Golding Wheel Fund. It has about $300 in it right now so I’m what, 10% there? Well, that may mean I get the wheel as a retirement gift to myself, but then again ... stranger things than Bess buying a luxury item have happened before.

Everyone was interested in seeing and touching the Knit Picks yarns. I think what pleased people most was that none of them are novelty yarns. I feel such a sense of ennui among people who have knit a while, concerning these glittery things. Something else that came up last night was my abhorrence for Noro yarns. I swear, when I see those yarns knit up they are so pretty. But when I look at it on the shelves of yarn shops I feel wicked steel points popping out all over and my whole body cringes. I have been on the verge of buying some several times, I’m fascinated by the long color changes, but I must have been some poor kidnapped Korean child who was forced to slave away in a Japanese fiberworks in another life, because I have a real and physical and hostile response to the stuff. Last night several women had Noro yarn on needles. They were so pleased with both the exciting colors and the projects they planned - and lo - there was K, shivering and shrugging and backing off from it and then forcing herself to say nice things to our friends. Our eyes met. We started to laugh, and then confessed how much we hate Noro yarns.

Well, there you have it - we’re all individuals, even when we’re also all knitters. It’s nice we can pick what we like and leave the rest. And don’t have to write songs about it either. I’m thinking here about the retreat Catherine almost got sucked into - and remembering why I like to make my friends one at a time, not en masse. It’s also why I don’t join clubs. Even wonderful clubs full of people I like. Not unless they are gathering to play/work/discuss/volunteer for something particular I want to play/do/talk about/give.

Today is the first day of Lent. Since I wasn’t able to do the New Year’s Resolution thing in January, I am in particular need of some Lenten reflections. That requires some quiet thought - and that’s just what I’m off to do. Think, in quiet, about what detritus I’d like to sweep from my life - what golden light I would like to let in. May this season of contemplation and insight bring us all some bright clear view.

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM


Bess is very cute all the time, and even more so when she's enthusiastic.

Lent snuck up on me this year! I have many "sacrifices" to make, not the least of which is clutter in my body and in my home!

By Blogger Amie, at 3:26 PM  

All of us Virgos benefit from your blog posts: I have been feeling so many of the new moon energies w/out ever knowing about the new moon energies - glad to now know about this.
Yes, you are a cutie poototie when you are enthusiastic & your cuteness shines forth 24/7!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:11 PM  

This new moon is draining me dry, I'm waiting for that surge of energy. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:06 PM  

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005  

For us all:

New Moon days are often a little edgy. There's a kind of tension that builds up in the air. Unlike Full Moon tension, though, which is usually heated and dramatic, most folk become a little more inward at this time of the month. We may grow moody, anxious or despondent. Or, we may feel as if we simply cannot accept a certain situation for a moment longer. Within hours that feeling gives way to a sense of renewed hope and enthusiasm. The moon is new today in California at 2.28pm, in New York at 5.28pm and in London at 10.28pm.

And for Virgos in particular:

Mercury is forming a conjunction to Neptune, stimulating your imagination. A further antagonistic angle to Mars is putting you under pressure and causing you to feel restless. Today's New Moon, meanwhile, occurs in the part of your chart governing 'dedication to duty'. You may have a lot of unresolved issues from the past - and pressing concerns about the future - but the cosmic factors influencing you now all have a potential to lift you up and out of any such state of mind - and to keep you out of it too.

Well, I must have gotten my new moon-edness yesterday because my Eureka moment came while driving to work. After yesterday’s whiny post; very cathartic, thank you, I knew I had to attack the ISSUE at work. I know that when I don’t do something I’ve promised to do, there is often a very real reason I’m so reluctant, lying at the bottom of my behavioral pit.

So it was with this issue. In fact, there were layers of reasons that were flattening me into that corner of indecision and immobility. I’d already made the commitment to act on this before Lent begins and while driving to work, one of the lovely contemplation periods in my life, all the answers opened up like clouds parting after a storm. Of course I had to include the Chamber of Commerce in this. And of course I had to have that teen advisory council before I began the teen program. And of course it’s okay to put that off till later if I am going to have Pam Bundy in to give that speech. Well, of course. And the first person I have to talk to is Joanne of the Library Board and Chamber of Commerce Executive Board and well . . of course.

And, just as I suspected, once I’d shifted the stupid boulder, I could deal with all those boxes of new computers in the workroom and scheduling Iris’ lessons in cataloging and all the rest of the stupid stuff that was also NotGettingDoneWhileILurkedInMyOfficeFeelingGuilty. Which made the day zip along in a haze of satisfying accomplishments.

Among those wondrous accomplishments was a session with TthePT. (Tanya the Personal Trainer) Ohhhhhhhh. I am still feeling sooo gooooooood and it’s been 24 hours now. La, I love those sessions. I’d not worked out with weights since last fall. First, I was infectious, then I was busy and then I had inner ear disorder and was afraid I’d drop the weights. I know it was wise to take that break, but everybody knows how easy it is to put off going back to the gym. And since I already knew the difference between weights with and without a PT, I really didn’t even want to start up again without her. And am I ever glad. No. I am Glad! No. I am GLADISSIMO!

I felt a little like we were just getting to know each other, and as if we were old partners, during this session. She taught me things she hadn’t gotten to before. I told her things I had trouble with and right away she identified what I was doing wrong. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating again and again. Lifting weights should never, ever hurt. Ever. At all. If you like to lift weights (or don’t actually hate it) and you ever think “god, I hate that movement”, it’s because you are doing it wrong. And unless you have someone who knows how to do it right watching you closely, you will keep doing it wrong. And you will make your tendons do all the work, probably you’ll pull one; and then you’ll quit. And then … well … your muscles get weak and you will pull that over stretched tendon during some routine task and the next thing you know, some orthopedic surgeon wants to cut your body up.

But if you are lined up right, if you keep that movement all within the muscle, it grows strong and supports those supple tendons, holds them in check when you have to lean over your desk and move the fax machine and you won’t hurt yourself. If you are lined up right, it actually feels delicious – yummy - it makes you feel free - like you could fly. You realize you have a muscle there that you didn’t even know you had.

(And isn’t Bess cute when she gets all enthusiastic?)

Okay, I’ll shut up. Just know that I am still high from the fantastic session with TthePT. I am a little puffy from working muscles I haven’t worked in 3 months. I suspect I’ll retain water and won’t show any weight loss tonight. But I don’t care. I feel so durn good and I know I ate well last week. The scale will move down in time. I would count this week a success no matter what it says.

And tonight is Tuesday Night Knitters. Sweet. Like a reward for being good at work and good to the body. I’ll take along my Knit Picks yarns to show folk, as well as the lace cardigan.

Not much knit talk beyond that. I must go. Happy Fat Tuesday to all. I am just in the mood for a Lenten Broom to sweep away some sloppy habits. Looking to be “all fixed” for spring. Ta.

posted by Bess | 11:34 AM


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Monday, February 07, 2005  

La, how did Monday get here so fast? The first Monday of February! Monday before Ash Wednesday! 320 days till Christmas!!!

Do you guess I am sensing time slipping by? I am, of course, because I have something to do that I have been putting off for months. It wasn’t onerous. It wasn’t difficult. It just demanded a little thinking time (very little, like, say 20 minutes) and I didn’t give it the time. And now it’s dragging on and on and on and the sticking point is nothing but the shame of letting it drag on so long. Of course, as it lay there like a rock in the middle of a sluggish stream, other little bits of my life, drifting leisurely by, tangled around it like a fringe. The assembling clutter could be ignored as long as something Important, like TheWedding, took up my attention, but now, in the quiet aftermath of post-nuptial depression, my whole life feels messy.

I am not a fanatic about tidiness, but I do have a Virgo soul beneath the lazy cluttery surface. That core self is what makes me keep the living room tidy even if my bedroom is a wreck, and makes me clean up my bedroom even if the closets are a disaster. It is why, when I get the flu, weak, shivering with fever chills, I will change the sheets first and vacuum the floor, before I collapse into bed. It's why the library is clean and tidy, but the workroom is heaped with ever-mutating shape-changers. I need tidy public spaces but I can function a long time in a messy work space.

I can not function forever in a messy work space. In fact, the bit about functioning in a messy work space isn’t really accurate. I can ignore a messy work space if I am not really working there. And as long as I was really only working (and thinking and caring and living for) TheWedding, I could ignore the rats nest I, and my poor suffering staff, have had to stumble through every day. So. Now that I am back from PrincessBrideFairyTaleLand, it’s time to put my house in order. And how perfect that it’s coming on to Lent. What a grand time to put things to rights.

When a stream is dammed by a large boulder, or a huge fallen tree, it’s obvious that if you could shift the biggest block, most of the little stuff will be released too. So it is in my life right now. I must attack the big issue today - the grown stupidly big thing that is really nothing at all and if I were not such a goof it would have never gotten this way. I do not leave the library until I have made that phone call and sent that e-mail. It will be fun to see what else floats away once I shift that stupid rock.

And now you see how TheQueen’s brain works when she is trying to find out why she spent an entire beautiful sunshiny blue-sky Sunday being as grumpy as a troll. Everything on earth hurt my feelings. Imagined slurs streaked across my sky. No eagles in the pine tree, only buzzards. Nobody loved me, least of all, TheQueen, herself. She is disgusted with my procrastinating ways. She sits in my brain, shaking her head and going “tsk tsk” and murmuring “um um ummmm”.
I know that when TheQueen finally gets disgusted with me, it’s time to quit acting like a fool, survey the landscape, identify the blocked up stream, and get out the shovel. That is what this day holds for me. I’m posting it here as an added spur to action.

Well. There. And just as I typed this, beautiful golden sun rays streamed through the window on the landing, flooding the entire house with the promise of spring. A hint of daffodils. An echo of birdsong. Don’t you just love omens?

And yes. I have always been able to talk about myself in the third person.

On a happy fiberly note, I finished all the repeats of the first pattern of the Brooks Farm Lace Cardigan and started on the second pattern. It’s only 18 rows long so I should be done with that this week. At some point after I finish this pattern and switch to a simple eyelet stitch, I’ll change to the solid color yarn. I am thinking I want the switch to be a little bit gradual and am considering knitting the first inch or so in stripes - maybe 1 solid followed by 3 variegated, then 2 solid and 2 variegated , then 3 solid and 1 variegated - something like that. It might be very effective. I shall have to see. It looks as if there will be plenty of yarn, though.

I also knit a wee bit on the Wool of the Andes Tam. I did tell you it was to be a tam, didn’t I? Hmm. Probably not. But it will be. With a heart pattern in the deep teal blue on the gold background. Photos when it’s done.

Altogether, a productive knitting day, even if I was as sour as a lemon. I stuck to the WW program with great difficulty. Weekends are the hardest times because there is so much to tempt me at home. I mean it. I can be tempted by soda crackers, if that’s all there is in the house. Ha! So. There is a reason to be delighted it’s Monday at last.

posted by Bess | 7:53 AM