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


Bess -- What lovely word pictures you paint! Virginia sounds like heaven on earth when you write.

By Anonymous diann, at 10:38 AM  

Virginia in the spring sounds glorious seen through your eyes and hands!! And BTW, there is maybe a teensy possibility we will get up there this summer, but the good news is that I have talked Bill in to a trip to the FFF at Montpelier for October!! Yeah!!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 10:33 PM  

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Monday, May 30, 2005  

It’s as if all the gods and all the fairies and all the fates have decided to give us a glimpse of paradise this weekend, as clear blue skies cap an emerald world, sparkling with sunbeams and shadows and the flitting color of red and blue birds darting through the canopy of the forest. We have had 2 years of augmented rains, oh so welcome after several years of droughts so bad the trees dropped their leaves in August. This heavenly elixir seems to have encouraged everything to grow, to expand, to recover lost ground and claim new territory. Couple this with a slightly cooler spring, free of those devastating heat waves that leave even the early blossoms gasping through the night, and the glory of heaven could hardly surpass the glory of this Virginia spring.

Slipping into the woods by the home path you walk through the skeletons of trees felled by the hurricane in September of 03. All around is the succulent green of sunshine’s babies; pokeweed, fat, luscious and promising to stain your shirt come autumn, little blackberry tendrils, too young to produce berries this year, but just you wait a year or two, and the huge leaves of yearling trees, their wide flat surface drinking in the sunshine that is their major source of nourishment. It shan’t be long before all is forest again, but for a while we walk as giants, looking down on the treetops.

In the dappled sunshine at the edge of the forest are swaths of Enchanters Nightshade and Devil’s Walking Sticks. The nightshade will be misted with tiny white blossoms soon, but BD snaps off the walking sticks. They are the serpent plants of our particular Eden and they’ll rip the flesh from your body with their wicked thorns. They are true devils, because they’re so beautiful as plants. In any season they offer beauty and pain combined, their thorns so evil and so prolific, their swaying branches so tempting and their lavish berries offering a promis not worth redeeming.

A walk down the path to the swamp bridge takes you through maturing forest, with little undergrowth, but the swamp is full of life this year, so rich with surprises. I’ve lived here 30 years and this is the first spring the little islands in the swamp have been covered with violets. They have to have blown down the path - which is no small distance, perhaps 1500 yards of curved forest and river bank, from the old vegetable garden I mulched with topsoil dug up from the flower garden way to the west of the house. It’s an enormous right angle through the woods, where the minute, fertile seeds could find a home in the moist ground of tiny little high spots in the swamp. The islands look like places where elves or pixies might hold a party. Lizard’s Tail are beginning to send up budded shoots and Clethera is already telling us it will perfume the whole swamp in a few weeks.

The major understory plants in our woods are mountain laurel and holly. The holly has been extra fragrant this spring, but their days are almost at an end. All along the woods paths is a carpet of tiny cream colored blossoms, like a dusting of snow, inviting you to stir their lingering sweetness with your footsteps. The mountain laurel is so heavy with blossoms their branches bow to the ground. Each huge pompom of clustered flowers looks like a bride’s bouquet - or at least, what a bride ought to carry in her bouquet. The more sunshine these flowers get, the pinker they become so that along the creeks they glow a clear pink, almost darkening to red. Deeper in the forest they are pure white with only their veins that vivid cherry color.

Wild animals abound in the forests and streams as well as wild and beautiful flowers. They live in the trees and under the ground, still as landscapes, immobile in their defenses, until a little dog sniffs out their secret. Then the world explodes into a chorus of splashes and crashes, dives and chases, leaps, yelps and panting. Old dogs with years of practice still find it almost impossible to take a prey; younglings merely watch and follow, experimenting with the ancient, instinctive scent of food and the cool splash of mud on soft puppy fur. There is an old beaver mound, hollow and rotting away, but still strong enough to hold two people, just in case they might want to step deeper into the wetlands of Jacob’s Gut. The beaver left a while back, but not before they had re-engineered the entire area, their shallow pond killing all the trees in the great cycle of birth and death that is nature. In their place, young growth is getting it’s chance; among them, several dozen cypress trees, planted by the boy darlings.

Where Jacob’s Gut crosses the lane the culvert has hollowed out the dog’s swimming pool. There’s never a walk that doesn’t take in a stop to cool the belly and wet the lolling tongue of a dog. Once it was Holly or Tuck and Dan, then it was Tru, then Pokey, then Ike. Now it’s Priss and Socks and Jack. But always, it seems, there’s the little snake, twined among the branches of his leafy overhang. The sandy creek bed stirs up a cloud when little dogs dive in, but the heavy grains settle quickly and the water runs clear by the time we walk to the mailbox and back.

The crops are late this year. Cool rainy days and almost frosty mornings have kept the corn low and spindly - their rows gapped here and there where germination failed. Barley is only just now turning gold, but what a gold it is, rippling with breezes or quaking as a mighty hunter skitters down the narrow grassy aisles, nose close to the ground. Then the miracle occurs - the wheat dolphins appear. Legs curled beneath their bodies, brown fur or golden soars high above the feathery carpet of grain as the big dogs scan the fields for movement. Priss is the most beautiful when she leaps, her lighter body and stronger legs lifting her high and forward in a bound so long she looks as if she were flying. Socks is the bigger dog, though and sometimes merely stands on hind legs to claim her vista, her golden yellow head the exact color of the ripening grain, looking like some aboriginal corn goddess stalking through her temple. Jack is too small still to do any real hunting in the grain fields, but he boldly leaps in after the aunts and each day he ventures deeper into the jungle. He’ll dash down a row some few dozen yards then hop back out, proudly claiming praise from his humans, who generously bestow it.

Along the lane Toadflax and Venus’ Looking Glass fringes every field with purple. In the sunshine, the leaves of the sorrel turn brown, while in the cool dappled shade of the garden they stay softly green. Either way, their blossoms are sunshine yellow and deliciously sour to the taste. The cooler nights have kept the wild daisies fresh and perky, their pretty white petals stretched out almost as wide as the hybridized Shastas. Blackberry, that most painful of the rose family, is in full blossom and if you sniff closely you can still get that hint of wild rose fragrance. Like everything else this spring, it seems more lavish and abundant than years past. I have already marked several patches I will monitor and visit come July. Ditto for the blueberries and huckleberries. The competition for them is fierce and the birds all have the edge on me, since I have to go to work most days, but with a little effort, and some very tough shirtsleeves, I ought to be able to have a few jars of huckleberry jam and a few more of blackberry. And if I grow too lazy or forgetful, I can take pleasure in the thought of woodland creatures smacking lips and or clacking beaks over juicy meals.

Black mud coated white puppies are the very ones who decide they don’t care to go for a swim once we reach Robert’s Landing. Yesterday the sun was warm enough to tempt me, though and shoes and socks were soon doffed. The creek bottom at Robert’s is a soft sand, not an evil, secret hiding muck, and there has been enough sunshine to take the worst of the chill out of the water. In shorts I could wade over my knees, where the water is deep enough to clean off cute little baby puppies if they follow Mama. I stood a long time trying to decide if I wanted to strip off the rest of my clothes, but in the end I decided I would wait a few more days. It will still be cool enough to wrest a gasp from me next weekend, especially since we are promised rain for the next several days.

There is something particularly blessed about walking across a fruitful landscape on a Sunday morning. I don’t subscribe to any particular religion, but I have a deep reverence for the sacred gifts of the earth and my life on it. Two hours outdoors in the glorious springtime goes so swiftly. My ears fill with the real sounds of the earth and the remembered sounds of Handle’s great hymns, the uncontainable colors of the fields and skies and forests, the remembered colors of the holy paintings of the masters. All of it - the magic, the truth and the promise, pulses around and through a body till I can let go of my humanity and become one with it all. The very pores of my skin open up, my mouth tingles and my head seems to have no top. Roots grow out of my feet even as I walk.

These are the times to savor and store, experience and hoard, because these are the real facts of life that keep me sane and healthy and walking the true path. They are the signposts along the quest that reassure me and guide me. They lift my head out of columns of numbers and self-imposed duties. They wake me from the sleep of routine and siphon off all sorts of hidden tensions and anxieties.

It may be that God rested on the 7th day, but he is God, and I am merely a human. I like to savor. And give thanks.

posted by Bess | 11:33 AM


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Sunday, May 29, 2005  

Typing with 1 hand while sleepy baby puppy, weighing in at 25 lbs, sits in mommy’s arms. Though yesterday was another sweet one it lacked the thrill of Fri.’s serendipity. Also, I believe my frozen fiber creativity is caused by my calcified procrastination over the checkbook and bills. I know I have to sit down and balance the thing but I have been putting it off so long now it will take all day. sigh. So there is no way today can be a perfect day but then - who expects a weekend full of perfection. I will take an afternoon - as reward for doing the bookkeeping.

And do not ask why I don’t have a nice easy routine about bill paying. I have lived too many years with the King of Math-0-Phobes to escape the taint of at least some of his sloth. Besides, it is always soothing to blame Somebody Else.

But I did cast on a rolled brim hat from the KnitPicks Andean Silk. I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to knit a hat that I know would be becoming on me. Me. The Hat Lady. Sheesh.

Okay - this pup is heavy - and I have nothing wise to say. Best go submit to somnolence.

posted by Bess | 8:07 AM


Dare I say it? Perfect! Just perfect! I so enjoyed hearing about your fantastic day. And I didn't even feel any envy. Only happiness for you and BD et al. Hope it continues through the weekend, well, actually, forever.

By Blogger Larry, at 10:21 AM  

Oh, dear dear Larry - thank you. Of course, it was Friday that was the PerfectDay but I'd scanned the puppypictures just before we headed out for Jamestown.

I wish I could bottle up yesterday and give it away to the whole world.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:38 AM  

Just dreamy, sweetheart, and exactly what you needed. Thank you for sharing it with us. Hugs to you, hunko'man and darling puppers!



By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:58 AM  

You're welcome, hon. I'll pass along the hugs and pats.

By Blogger Bess, at 8:05 AM  

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Friday, May 27, 2005  

Vision Loss Is Reported in a Few Users of Viagra

Oh Wicked dreadful me - you know my first thought was “well, he was always lead by his ....anyway..." And no, I didn't read the article - who needs to, with titles like that!?

And for the curious - the answer is


I did get a perfect haircut yesterday. Because yesterday was supposed to be a PerfectDay and one can’t have perfect if one’s hair looks like limp brown paint on a chubby cheeked face. But on a PerfectDay the scissors will snip exactly the right amount to give hair body but not put static into it. On a PerfectDay the Perfect Haircut will take so little time that you can get to the gym, do a 4 point workout (WW talk here) and get a shower in time to drop your film off at the 1-hour photo place before work. On a PerfectDay you’ll get to work with time to prepare for the staff meeting and it will take only one hour to cover all the bases. You’ll get your two articles for the newspaper done by 11:30 on the day everything has to be in by noon. On a PerfectDay you’ll remember everything you wanted the Technology Priest to pray over when he visits Saturday morning. On a PerfectDay the car wash guys will have a special and you’ll get the $22 job for $17.99. On a PerfectDay gas will be $1.89 a gallon and when you get back to work with the full tank, your BD will call and say “Hey - wanna go to Jamestown - Right Now? I have a HUGE delivery to make.”

And even though you realized, at the staff meeting, that you are so far behind the 8-ball at work you are about to be knocked into a pocket - you say “YES!”

And you know how it is on a PerfectDay - you have extra staff on a PerfectDay and sure, they can stay till 6 and you can drive Mr. Heart Attack Man who isn’t supposed to drive, or load 12 times 30 lbs worth of books into the truck and you make sure you load them into the car and then unload them at the two museums in Jamestown. But, since it is a PerfectDay, there is someone to take them into the museum at the “Settlement” and on the Island, not only is there a loading helper, but there is time for an author to sign all 72 books and sell two of them while he’s there and 4 History Women can swoon and flirt, but in the nicest, cutest way, with your husband, so you feel smug that you got him and nya nya nya, again, in the nicest, cutest way, because you have to be big time way cool if he’s Your Big Darling.

But PerfectDays have even more in store for you than a great drive in the country with your Object of Desire Husband who just made a Big Sale and can take you Out To Dinner. PerfectDays have one of your best friends working at “The Island” and he walks into the museum shop just when you finish all the delivering and signing and selling and there are hugs all around and you have lots of sunshine and warm weather and you can take the very slow trail around to the point of the island and look out on the Lower James and D, a man who is really still 12 years old says to BD, who is really still 12, “See those earthworks over there? That’s one of 9 Confederate forts on the island” and of course the two 12 year olds get out and scramble all around the earthen breastworks and even when they come back covered in seed ticks you don’t really care because on a PerfectDay, D has a lint remover in his satchel and they can catch all the ticks with sticky tape. (Really, that is the best way to get rid of seed ticks, though masking tape works well too.)

So you take the rest of the perfect drive around the island and then decide to go to dinner. Of course, on a PerfectDay D remembers to call his SO, who you tell your friend he really ought to just marry, and who is P from the wedding, and she’s at her restaurant and instead of eating dinner at some fast food place outside of Williamsburg, you just take that shady forested Route 5 back to Richmond, past all the James River plantations and the ancient farms and over Curls Neck, where the Curls Neck Dairy used to be, and you long for your far away girlfriends because you want to show them your beautiful Virginia and then you go have dinner at P’s restaurant where you eat the world’s absolute best Prime Rib au Jus and nearly pass out it tastes so good - even if the restaurant is very honky tonk and doesn’t have a no smoking room because bikers all smoke. And you don’t mind, because the line dancers cavorting in front of the band are so cute and the food is so good and the friendship is so warm and flowing.

And on a PerfectDay you don’t get sleepy driving home after 9:30. On a PerfectDay you step out of the car and your Cute Little Baby Puppy runs up to you first to get hugs and lovin’, even though he spends all day with BD because you are HisMommy!. On a PerfectDay you can forget everything but how good life can be.

PerfectDays are rare jewels in an otherwise mixed bag world, so on a PerfectDay you just soak up the good stuff and say Thank You.

Of course - if you were a Cute Little Baby Puppy - all your days are perfect - see?

Mighty Hunter Capt. Jack of Chesituxent

Capt. Jack "necks" himself up.

Capt. Jack proves he is a Water Dog.

posted by Bess | 2:23 PM


ahhhhhhhhhh he is so cute
gee I miss my dog
give him a big smushy kiss for me ok?

By Blogger vi, at 2:11 PM  

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4 weeks has finally divided into the months in such a way that I get a hair cut twice in May. That means I have to be outta hear so dang early there's hardly time to find my shoes (which cute little baby puppy finally pretty much ruined - but they were 3 years old and he is so cute).

I would be grumbling about having to go in so early except I took yesterday off and we have a staff meeting at 10 and I am, at 6:49 a.m., not ready for it. Soooooo

All my fiber news is of the shopping variety. On the way home I stopped at Barnes and Noble - yes Jane - at Your Barnes and Noble - and wrote down the ISBN of all the new knitting books the library really needs to own. I found another new British knitting magazine on the racks, but it was just so so so very YouCanKnitTooEZKnittingProjects I didn't buy it. Nevertheless, it is nice to see 9 - you count 'em - NINE knitting magazines out there. Too bad they are all summer mags, none of them particularly drool inducing. I did buy InKniters for the instructions on the Origami sweater. The two books I had to bring home were:


and the most unbelievably expensive craft magazine - $15!!! - but with rather a lot of interesting ideas in it - certainly art-crafts not kitch.

Thank the lord for long weekends. Thanks to the Magnificent Sheryl I plan to play through it all.

I leave now with this question to ponder. Can TheQueen get lucky and get The Perfect Haircut today?

posted by Bess | 6:43 AM


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Thursday, May 26, 2005  

Ahh Marfa - I discovered the Deb Menz videos when I was trying to buy her first book - and found it sold out! The videos actually have all the basic information the book has, but in it’s own condensed format. Get them both - since they cover different aspects of fleece manipulation and color. One concentrates more on actually putting dye into the fiber and the other is more about carding and combing and color theory. They are Victorian videos productions but I bought the library copies from Baker & Taylor - so your library will have no trouble getting them via their usual sources. Of course, the book Color in Spinning has been reissued so get the book too.

Little stinky poo puppy was all white and fluffy and clean when I got home last night, ready to play for just a little bit and then beg to sprawl across my chest and go to sleep. Of course, little is relative when speaking of dogs. On Monday he weighted 22.5 lbs but that’s still little enough to pick up and carry around. I will weep when he is too big for me to do that.

I had such an odd day yesterday. Wednesdays, because the first half of them are taken over by the chaos that is pre-schoolers, are always sort of intuitive days. One must be open to what is offered on Wednesdays. They are days when surprises happen. Except for the 4 times a year when we have a library board meeting, I never really feel like they are serious days; days when one must Be Sober And Fill In All The Blanks On Life’s Forms - In Triplicate. They’re more like Glenda the Good Witch days or Fairie Days or Let’s just do something different days. A Wednesday before I take a Thursday to go play is even more loosey goosey because then it has about it the added sensation of TheDayBeforeVacation. So it was no surprise when I looked up from the circ desk and saw T smiling on the other side. It’s always exciting to see T because she always brings the freshness of Away with her. Though she grew up here and our friendship goes way way back, she lives InTheCity (a real city, not like Richmond, which, in spite of sprawl, is a Southern City and thus, still immediately connected to it’s agricultural marketplace origins.) We had lunch together and she listened to catch-up news from Bess, who had both a Wedding and a Heart Attack to tell about. She has a new (to her) red jeep type car that was fun to zip around town in. For the most part, I don’t care about cars - A Purse on Wheels, one woman I know used to call them. But now and then I can actually have an opinion about a car.

Anyway, seeing T wasn’t the odd part of the day, but nattering on about my spiritual side to her seemed to prime some sort of pump and soon I was blabbering to everyone else who came within orbit afterwards. I don’t go on much about What I Believe (in a spiritual sense), and it’s corollary What I Have Experienced on the blog because it is supposed to be a fiber blog and besides, I prefer to get twilight zoney face to face. But I did go from T right into my doctor’s office and blabbered on about it there (well, he asked!) and then, back at work, somehow started flowing on with our Wednesday volunteer who I really did shock - though in the most pleasant way - because she had assumed I was a .... hmmm .... rock ribbed traditionalist from a No Outside Options church. Which made me laugh so because, really, I’m the daughter of a druid and a lapsed bogeyman catholic. So blabbering to three people about TheInnerBess was what made the day so odd.

No wonder I had weird dreams and woke up mega early.

What made the day so nice (more evidence of the Fix-it Faeries) was a fax I got about the library's web site, which has been mostly to all the way down for months because of a series of unfortunate events. It should be back up and functional in June! Hooray!

On the fiber front - alas - all I did yesterday was leaf through the latest KnitPicks catalog daydreaming of all the books I might buy. The thought of buying more yarn sort of makes me sick - and I have my Brooks Farm sweater to finish and baby booties I could knit on or any number of things I might do - but I have a great need to finish something. I believe I shall make a rolled brim hat from stash yarn. That ought to go fast and it might be just the stimulation I need. Or I might just daydream the weekend away.

I got the notice from MAFA about the classes I singed up for. I am so thrilled that I got both the Patsy Zawistoski classes I’d hoped for. My third class will be one on spinning fur and I have a sweet little bag of Priss fur to take with me. I am thinking very seriously about buying a set of combs to take with me, since they are on the list of recommended tools to have along. I believe it’s not necessary to have all the tools suggested, but it is advised. I have cards. I have always wanted combs, though I would rather have a hackle. We shall just have to see. It may be that I’ll borrow when I’m there and then buy after I’ve had a chance to try some tools. Anyway - all that fun is for July - 7 weeks away.

Here is wishing Jen of Spirit Trail Fiberworks another super weekend on the fiber festival trails. She’ll be at Mass. Sheep & Wool.

Oh - is that a cute little baby puppy I hear barking at me? Best go check that out.

posted by Bess | 6:41 AM


Poor little guy, so proud of himself for finding that little dead thing, and mom and dad don't seem to understand how cool it is!

By Blogger Amie, at 11:50 AM  

I've just re-read your thoughts on gifts - I completely agree. I like to give gifts, but it's not as much a "let me give a gift" as it is a "I knew you would like this, I care about you, and want to be part of making you happy" or something like that. Gifts are because I love - never to be made an obligation.

By Blogger Amie, at 5:49 PM  

How do.
Fingers crossed that we all don't have drought conditions this summer !!!
Why don't I know about Deb M. videos? I am looking for more knitting & spinning items for the Library's collection.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:50 PM  

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005  

Rain rain rain - it is a rainy spring; a cool spring; a very pretty spring. Round ‘cheer it’s what’s called an English spring and everybody knows that Anything English has to be better - except the food because English food is Virginia food without the cornmeal.

The last time I remember a spring where it never warmed up, my niece Margaret (who’s 41 now) was in high school and Grandma took us all out in her little rowboat to watch the 4th of July fireworks. Almost immediately after that we had one of those Virginia droughts where it was a zillion degrees every day with no rain but a zillion percent humidity. We were living in the yurt then and it was hot as the proverbial ... I wonder what it will be like to have a long cool spring and a hot sticky droughty summer. (Note - I have already decided we will have the same weather in 2005 that we had in 1980.)

The car is still not fixed. I believe it will cost more than a Lendrum spinning wheel and accessories to fix it. Sorry about that confusion, guys. I would love to buy a new wheel, but the only one I really want is the $ x K Golding and I have to sell the Triplet Celtic II harp first. BD said he would sell it for me and he’s a much better merchant than I and I thanked him profusely for his offer. Nevertheless - I will somehow ransom my car between now and tomorrow morning and drive it to Richmond and hug my parents.

At MSW, B bought a Fricke drum carder (pant pant pant) and she’s been playing with it for 2 weeks. A friend brought her some brand X fleece and she has carded it alone and with some other fibers she had. She brought them to WW with her last night (where I actually gained 1 lb but it is all salt, I know, onna counta I can zip into the spandex skirt without needing the spandex) to let me play with them and the look of thrill and excitement on her face is enough to light up a rain dark evening. If I can slip away on Sunday I plan to drive over to her house and play with it too. I gave her the two Deb Menz videos to check out. How I long to try that technique she did of stacking all those blended bats and then pulling them into that huge long stretch of what she calls "complex" roving.

Having only one vehicle means that I have to start getting ready for work early. Dear Darling Sweetest BD is constitutionally incapable of meeting another’s schedule. His invariable response to "Time To Go" is to wander off and start a project. Knowing this about him, I know also that I must issue that dread command (TTG) far ahead of the Real Time To Go (RTTG). So - I am off to Get Ready for RTTG!

And what is wrong with me that I can’t seem to knit or spin or do a single thing fiberish except talk about other peoples fiber adventures.

Okay - gross out time - I had the front door open so I could concentrate on my witty scintillating blog post and Cute Little Baby Puppy could go pee if he had to and instead he brought in some horrid dead thing he’s been chewing on all night and took it upstairs to show Daddy. We just now got him cornered and with copious amounts of day-old newspaper we got his prize away from him and back out into the forest where it belongs. He’s a philosophical little chap. His response was to go find a toilet to drink out of. Ahh well. Somethin’s always happ’nin on a farm.
Off to open all the windows.

posted by Bess | 7:55 AM


Wait - a new wheel?! Did I miss this when I arrived at MDSW only for the second day, or is it a new puchase since then? How exciting for you - a travelling wheel, and the Lendrum is so nice, too. Congratulations!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 AM  

oh, oh, fingers going too fast in my excitement. I meant "purchase" of course.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:48 AM  

Woo woo! You sort of just slid that Lendrum comment in there, you sly thing! You deserve it, dear heart, so enjoy to your heart's content. Is it on order or did you actually get your hands on one?

By Blogger Carolyn, at 10:56 AM  

I thought the cost of fixing the car was the equivalent of the wheel, No?

My feelings on gift giving is like with everything else. If I choose to do it I'm all for it. If I'm EXPECTED to do it then I resent it.

I'm so glad your boys are off the hook. Just coincidence they scampered.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:09 AM  

Oh, silly of me, but no, I didn't get a new wheel. I just have to pay that kind of money to get my car fixed.

But how I wish.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:09 AM  

Talking of random gift giving has me thinking...I'm from a small town where wedding showers were really thought to be rude and tacky. All those people are giving wedding gifts, you should ask them for tea or a drink, but not another gift. Now my daughter's getting married in the city, times have changed but...did your wedding couple give favors to the guests at the reception? Does everyone do this? Jane

By Blogger jane, at 5:32 PM  

Don't worry, dear girl - you'll NEVER have to pay me to entertain you!

Miss you bunches!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:08 PM  

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005  

What a difference a week makes. First thing at work yesterday I met the new cleaning person - and the sparkling fresh library! I had not realized just how sloppy and dreadful the stupid shiftless boy who quit last Friday really was. Of course I understand that with time anyone who merely comes in to clean, but doesn’t have to stay and work in an environment, will grow less attentive to detail, but man are we enjoying the sparkly fresh difference that having someone else clean the place has wrought.

And in the afternoon I had a visit from the Town Police Chief and his More Senior Deputy (who looks just like the boy who came last week, only maybe a year or two older). I showed them over the scene of the crime and they asked me if I had any suspicions about who might have broken in. With a little sad reluctance I told about the group of youths who still haven’t shown up to use the computers. In explaining how we had put all the pieces together ourselves I showed them the file cabinet, bent and dented and obviously pried by some idiot who has never used a file cabinet before - and in a flash they’d whipped out a photo - Had I seen this man? (No - he was to generic looking) Had my staff? (no again - but then - he was about as bland a looking person as you could be.) They then informed me that there had been a string of petty burglaries at non-commercial places around town; the Catholic church, us, another office type work-place. In all cases he’d come in through the window, used a screwdriver to pry open drawers and stolen only cash - and not all the cash, at that! As if he wouldn't get the full punishment if he didn't take it all. And there was a warrant out for his arrest and they had evidence to convict him in the church robbery. Whether they could get information out of him concerning the others was not clear, but they were confident they’d nab him.

And I was never so glad to have my suspicions negated in my life, because the thought of those young boy/men, who I have watched grow up, being thieves was so hurtful and the relief that I hadn’t seen them all week was so palpable because I don’t think my attitude could have remained unchanged had they come in last week. It just might be that they actually went to school last week instead of skipping class to play on library computers.

If that was Monday - it is enough to set the tone up for the rest of the week. And since today is Tuesday, Tuesday means I can pick up my car (after lightening my check book by the cost of a Lendrum wheel with accessories) and Thursday means I can go visit mom. Nice. Doubly nice since that is the only day that isn’t supposed to pour with rain all week.

All this goes to show that when life sucks, it can sometimes be a good idea to Forget About It All, instead of trying to figure it out or worrying about it. When I left the library last Friday I left 100% of it behind. Never gave it a thought, made no plans, no mental rehearsals, tried to understand nothing about it, merely locked the door on it and went to my happy place. I napped, walked, cooked, talked, and read. I played with puppies and looked at beautiful scenery and let anything that was good in my universe wash itself around me. If the library was getting robbed again - so be it. If the car wouldn’t be ready for days and days, such is life. While I had the opportunity to enjoy anything, by golly - I would.

And what do you know - the Fix-it Fairies got busy and took care of all sorts of things and I didn’t have to lift a finger. Let’s hear it for us ostriches!

Nevertheless - I am still meeting with the rep from a security company at 10 and I have a proposal coming in from another sometime later this week. Fool me once...

And in honor of Tuesday also being WW day here is an interesting article explaining about nonexercize activity thermogenesis - or - people who move more are slimmer. Sort of a no-duh bit of research, but the study showed that even if fidgeters gain weight through diet, they continue to fidget and slugs who lose weight do not become more active. Biologically prone to lie about or twist, our environment can make us fatter merely by making it easier to sit than stand and easier to ride than walk. So - are we condemning all those ADD kids, without gym classes and sucking up ritalin, not only to neurological haze, but obesity as well? One wonders.
And the doctor who did the study (and looks like a Pritikan devotee) is named Dr. James Levine - which puts Smetena’s Moldau in my head because that is who is conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker on one of my favorite CD’s.

BD and I went out to dinner last night and then to see Star Wars - which is nowhere near as exciting as the first 4 movies, but is fun enough. I got just a wee bit tired of the light saber fights, though they weren’t inappropriate - merely boring. Besides, this was just the important transition story of the birth of Darth Vader. I remember being so surprised at how many women found him a sex fantasy figure - because that plastic helmet he always wore never failed to make me think of just how bad his breath must have been. Lawsee - and just think of how bad plastic smells when it finally does take on an odor. Hey, though - who knows what turns some people on, right? Pretty boys don’t do it for me either - so the choice between Anakin and Vader is pretty even - and decidedly unexciting.

And I do not have my curmudgeonly words about gifts yet - because I feel guilty and mean spirited about how I feel about gifts all the time every where coming in all over the place. And it’s none of my business what other people want to do except that once enough people take up a practice it solidifies into etiquette and then it will be required that we all bring a gift every time we set foot in another’s house or be thought rude. And what happens to the speciallness of a birthday gift or a Christmas gift if one is bombarded with acts of kindness gifts out of the blue from strangers, friends or even foes? And do my friends think I am a. mean, b. stingy, c. mad at them when I don’t come up with a gift every time we get together? And have you any idea how guilty I feel even writing this down - or perhaps, guilty isn’t the word, but vulnerable, like I am letting people see what a selfish old witch I am by my questioning this phenomenon of the ROAK web-ring? And worse than that - is it creepily hypocritical that I never go anywhere without bringing BD a gift back? Usually the smallest of treats - but always a gift?

Cute little not so baby puppy has finally fallen asleep here by my feet. Officially, on Thursday, he will enter dogdom and leave puppydom behind. Little Jack will be 12 weeks old and I will have to bring him a birthday present home from the city, right?

Ahh - I never said I made sense - I only felt grumbly and am too cheap to buy gifts for anybody but the men in my life.

So - off I go to discover what new anti-last week event will occur today?

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM


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Monday, May 23, 2005  


I had a super sweet weekend of not thinking, even for a moment, about the library. It was completely restorative. Sleep came to me like it does to a healthy babe. It never rained till after sundown. There is no morning fog. I have been wrapped in love and was able to escape into video mode to watch cute [not so] little baby puppy antics.

On our lovely walk out into Virginia's verdure, Capt. J. got to help corner, dig for, chase and lose his first bunny, he took his first long foray into unknown territory without mama and daddy, and he jumped off the bank into Farmer's Hall Creek and then scrabbled his own way back up. He's now, officially, BigChampion.

Absolutely no fiber this weekend and now I'm off to pay bills. Will return sometime with a long (ranting?) thoughtful (picky) trenchant (caustic) post (diatribe) about gift giving. But first I have to face the world of Carless Librarian with Deadbolts, Deadlines and Departed Janitor.

posted by Bess | 7:14 AM


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Sunday, May 22, 2005  

Today is the day you should come visit me because today my house sparkles. It’s clean and all but one box of papers has been sorted, read and discarded. The slipcover that doesn’t fit has been tucked back into the cushions so that it looks like it might fit. All the get-well cards have been piled up in BD’s office. The cobwebs in the windowsills have been swept away. Floor mopped. Tub scrubbed. Most laundry done. Some laundry actually folded and put away. Hurry - if you want to see the palace before it becomes the pen - you’d best visit before 3.

Golden and Green was the day, too - every time I went outside springtime leaped around me like a puppy cavorting with excitement. Blue blue blue skies. Green green green forest. Gold Gold Gold barley ripening in the field. The boy D’s took a long walk yesterday so I could have scrambled around cleaning house in that atmosphere of productivity a man-less set of rooms offers, but the other thing that whispers temptingly when Nobody is in the house but ME - is to read a book and I hid behind the enormous pile of last week’s laundry, heaped upon the bed, and stole sweet moments with a favorite novelist.

Capt. Jack (yes I have photos I just have to get them developed) has discovered barking. He now braces his little feet and Bark Barks to let you know it is time for you to meet his needs. If you dawdle too long, he’ll go get his empty food or water bowl and drag them up to you - or worse - he’ll just pee by the door. Can’t punish a puppy when he gave you fair warning, but that has not happened too much. And now we are having warm enough days to just leave the front door open so he can meet those particular needs by himself. He is definitely boss dog around here already. Socks and Priss had some hidden carrion jerky they brought up out of the woods and Jack decided to help himself. Aunt Priss showed all her teeth and all her gums and the snap she gave him made his whiskers tremble, but he just kept right on chewing away on one end of it.

It’s interesting to see Jack’s individuality develop. He is the bravest dog we’ve ever had. But he is also a little on the sleepy/slow side. He seems to drop off to sleep more than I remember other dogs of mine doing. Of course, it’s difficult not to compare and contrast him with Ike, but there was never a dog with such bounding energy and length of focus as IketheDog. He would play till his body dropped into coma-like sleep. Jack plays till he’s either distracted by something more interesting or till he is bored and then he does other things. Ike was fanatical about balls but that seems to be the one toy Jack could pass on. He adores squeaky things. Ike liked them too but his passion was to find the squeaker. Jack just likes to carry them around or chew on them gently. He has the softest mouth - even with little needle puppy teeth he is careful to not hurt. His only destroy-toy is cardboard boxes.

In fact, he’s BARK BARK BARKING right now so I think I’d best obey.

We had a splendid time at T&P’s last night. Daughter D is fresh from college with an art degree in jewelry making and metalsmithing! Oh Oh - Beautiful stuff.

Okay - can’t resist dog barks. can’t resist dog barks.

posted by Bess | 8:30 AM


you could come clean my house....
that is if you can FIND any of the rooms under the laperm induced mess.....cause of course MOI had nothing to do with it....
and the thousands of books scatter all over cause we need at least 5 more library sized bookstack has NOTHING to do with it

By Blogger vi, at 8:15 AM  

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Saturday, May 21, 2005  

Hell if I know what Blogger is up to today but the links are:

Opening paragraph

and I shan't try to do anything emphatic about the look of the thing because the DeletedPost that had all the cool internet stuff coded in was disasterous.

Thank god it is a weekend.

posted by Bess | 8:49 AM


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The Full Moon obliges us to identify messy parts of our lives that need clearing up, but it also prevents us from remaining in blissful ignorance. But though it is often thought of as a 'mixed blessing' - and though this week's Full Moon is due to be exceptionally intense, it is always a positive influence. Prepare for a week of revelation and transformation.

Well - after this past week I suppose I should like some transformations. What a dreadful week. Everything from finding porn web sites on the reference desk computer on Monday when we get to work, through finding the petty cash gone, the car needs major cash infusions, a friend dies and the guy who does the janitorial work (and looks at porn on the computers on the weekends) gets into a quarrel with me when I call him on it, stomps off and quits his job with the cleaning agency, who calls to complain to me about it, claiming that he was “Only checking his e-mail”, to which I reply “How’s about I come over and check my e-mail on your office computer?”. This is too much to even be funny about. Any transformation has to be better than that.

Part of me would like to be able to turn this all into a hilarious stand-up monologue. A bigger part of me would like it to all go away. Mostly, I’d say my life has plenty of messy parts, about now - and a week like this makes me question just how sloppy have I been over the past ___ of time. This is because Virgo’s can always find a reason it is All Their Fault. Worse than battling my virgoian hypochondria (I know I have cancer cells growing in my body somewhere!) is battling my hypofaultia. The impulse to strive towards perfection is strong within us. I am sure that most Jedi knights are Virgos.

And speaking of things StarWarian - we plan to go watch TheMovie this weekend. And if the lines are too long or the kids are too rowdy we will watch Hitchhiker’s guide - though I have lower expectations of that. One generation’s animated version of the previous generation’s idea of wacko is not likely to be satisfactory. I expect the film to be aimed at the twenties and thirties crowd, not us old farts who read the book when it first came out. Still, one of the great statements of philosophy came out of Hitchhiker’s guide - to which I cling, especially after weeks like this past one. “Just what I thought ... I’m a pretty neat guy.”

We are also going over to T&P to celebrate their daughter D’s graduation from college. This is a very old friendship that has ebbed and flowed like the tide, over the decades. While our activities have pulled us out of each other’s daily, or even monthly, orbit, the fondness remains, so that we can reconnect easily when time and opportunity allows.

Sunday night, probably when we go watch a movie in town, we’ll drop off the little car at MrAutoMan’s, where it will have all night to cool down and can be operated on first thing Monday morning. We are assured that a timing chain takes 8 $37.00 hours to replace. But after that I am going to have my little chariot professionally cleaned and drive right down to NAPA and pick up brand new hubcaps. Those red neck wheels have bugged me long enough.

I have had a very good 11 days following the WW program. Got in some good workouts - which always make the diet part of this so much easier to take. I bought one of those 12 week food journals 2 weeks ago. The idea is that by the time it is full, I will be back at goal and my reward will be an all new gym outfit - from bag to water bottle to shoes, socks, shorts and top.

So. Knitting Blog. Fiber arts stuff. Well. I have nothing to show for this week other than the wad of pretty lavender blue merino singles that fell off the Kundert. I suppose I will wind it, extremely slowly, into a center pull ball and ply it. About the only joy I’ve had in fiber this week has been to gaze at the rest of that beautiful bag of merino while I loll about in bed. It’s on the dresser in the corner of the room and is one of the first things I see in the morning and last I see at night.

I make no promises for the future, either. Just gonna see what happens. And play with puppies.

posted by Bess | 8:46 AM


OH, Bess... just catching up with you - what a terrible week. Glad you're dealing as best you can...

By Blogger Melissa, at 3:47 PM  

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Friday, May 20, 2005  

Thanks Sheila - and everyone else who sent messages of support. It is a crummy thing but we will adapt.

It's raining like a monsoon month outside and I just brought in 2 wet sandy dogs. Aunt Priss is off doing Prissish things but Aung Socks and Capt. Jack know where the good stuff is - soft beds, dog biscuits, chew toys.

Suitable weather for a funeral mass - early, before work.

We can only hope there will be fiber news over the weekend.

posted by Bess | 7:29 AM


I am so sorry about your break-in, and all of the other things that seem to be happening, all at the same time! I was off-line most of yesterday, so didn't see what happened until today. Hope all is much better going forward!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 AM  

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Thursday, May 19, 2005  

Yesterday was better than Tuesday. Nobody returned to the library in the dark-0-night. (and neither did those youths who have up till Tuesday clustered around the computers for hours at a time - and since there is a large group of them this is highly suspicious.) I found a source for a security system that would be under $2K. I got my hands on some sample RFP’s for security systems. I had cute little boys for story hour. I got in a good workout at the gym. Gas is now $1.95 a gallon.

But it was not all better since I also found out my car needs a timing chain operation for $500 and I can’t get it till next week and in order to go visit Mama and Daddy I have to decide “Just how lucky I think I am.”

Based on this week’s events I would say the car would die on me on 295 - the only _95 I have ever been known to willingly steer a car onto.

And in today’s local obits I hear of the death of a slightly more than acquaintance who is one year younger than I; someone who I had no idea was anywhere near sick enough to die. She caught a staff infection about 10 years ago and has never been able to recover from it. So I think I had best postpone my visit to the far side of the James.

There was no fiber play yesterday. I was feeling very active instead, so we went for a sweet walk before dinner. BD is training Jack to a leash - he goes for his 11 week shots today - and Jack is being stoic about it. At the half mile point in our usual walk we get to the place in the lane where Jacob’s Gut crosses it. Crystal clear water gushes through the culvert there, it’s weight and movement scouring out a perfect watering hole for dogs. It’s about 3 feet deep, fringed on both sides with little understory plants - soft green things that have no blossom and no fruit that we can see so we have never discovered their names. In one bush a little snake has coiled for years and years, waiting for supper to come to the watering hole as if this were the jungles of India and his name was Kaa. We’ve watched him grow from a little thumb sized snake to a nice fat thing about as thick as a garden hose. One year we had such a drought we didn’t see him at all and it made us so sad. We still call him “TheLittleSnake” even though he’s not so little anymore.

He doesn’t pay the least attention to the dogs - lying still even if they brush his perch. BD says he sometimes waits on the north side of the stream now, but last night he was coiled among the branches of his usual bush, almost invisible, his bark colored skin folded among the new green leaves.

Remember - snakes are your friend - especially when they willingly stay half a mile from your home and don’t move at all even when your puppies bark at them.

At the mile point we heard Aunt Priss give the alarm - a yelping repeating bark. Aunt Socks, who is far less likely to seek trouble, but much more willing to defend, approached in stages, where the two of them took great exception to an invader on Haile territory. Little Jack was both curious and worried and BD said he hoped it wasn’t a skunk - that usually when their barks got that particular high pitched sound to it, that ment skunk. Thankfully it was not skunk but a groundhog - we slept peacefully last night.

I will never understand why dogs don’t learn the Secret of Skunks - which is: no matter how interesting they look they always spray you and it’s not only wretched to smell, but painful on the eyes and nose. We had a big male lab who seemed to have a fatal attraction to skunks - like some miserable heroin addict. LD said that the routine for Poky was to:

Attack skunk
Get sprayed smack in the face
Try to wipe off face in sandy road
Run fast back to master and wipe face on pants leg
Vow to get that sucker next time

Either we don’t have as many skunks these days - or the aunts are smarter. Jack is too young to play those smelly games right now - let us hope the aunts teach him discretion.

These long evenings are very sweet now that my body has finally adjusted to daylight savings time. Too bad I won’t be getting a summer off, like the kids who come in after school. You can see in their eyes that they’ve really quit going to school - at least, their minds have. Their bodies may be imprisoned behind desks, but their souls are on the river, on their bicycles, at the swim team meet, sleeping late and eating bad lunches while mama is at work.

Ahh well. Thank goodness for the seasons; that huge tumbrel of time, rolling round and round. And speaking of time - mine is running out. I’d best be getting ready for work. TA.

posted by Bess | 7:04 AM


Oh, dear - how awful! Thank goodness no one was hurt! And you know that it wasn't your fault, so you just eliminate that right now!

I'm just grateful that nothing happened to YOU!

Take care, hon.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:24 AM  

F*ers. You know people in the Fed. Don't forget that. We've got your back.

Love you.

By Blogger Amie, at 10:42 AM  

I'm so sorry to hear about all the negative excitement around the library. The main thing is that you and all of your staff were not harmed. Here's wishing you an infinitely better day today.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 11:38 AM  

How do.
A break-in & the resulting theft are horrible to endure. I'm sorry for you & your staff. Sounds as tho' you handled it perfectly & called in just the right folks to help.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:59 PM  

Oh, No, I'm so sorry that you got robbed-I can't believe that someone robbed a LIBRARY. Pitiful! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:07 PM  

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005  

Robbed! - Really.

Yesterday was unusually slow in the morning. One of those days when you just feel things are quiet - nobody in on the computers - nobody making copies. I still had bill paying to do - bureaucratic bill paying is different from your personal bill paying. You have to have copies of every bill you pay, even if the bill is a single sheet of very heavy copy paper with no duplicate printed tally beneath a tear- on-the-dotted-line. You must sign each of them, date them and include your title. Sometimes you get a return envelope and sometimes you have to address one. You can use the fast but networked public printer then, or the S. L. O. W. HP5 at your desk - you pick: zip, walk out to the circ desk, zip, walk out to the circ desk ... or f. e. e. d., w. a. i. t., f. e. e. d., w. a. i. t.

Anyway you get the idea - it’s an all morning job. So - back from lunch I begin to hang some high school art in the kid’s section of the library and notice the screen is out of the window. Well - my prejudices whisper cynically that a cheap modern screen popped loose and a lawn mower guy bumped into it and was too trifling to put it back in - just propped it against the windows. I open the window, notice it’s not just out, but bent - in fact, so bent I’m going to have to push it from the outside while someone inside closes the little flanges and double dang! One flange is bent so go get the pliers.

Cheap aluminum screen back in window I am hanging pictures when my assistant returns from lunch and informs me that, not only is the little box with copier dimes and dollars missing from the front desk (probably $20) but the two vinyl bank bags in the drawer in my desk are also gone! My prejudices kick in again, completely erasing immediate previous handywoman efforts from consciousness - "she doesn't know what she's talking about-they were just there yesterday evening" - and I go look for myself. Yep. Gone. This is a bigger loss but I can’t really remember how much $ was in those. We make bank deposits about once a month and I try to keep $100 in cash to make change and to mail ILL books back. The $ loss is frustrating, but the sense of violation is much worse. "Someone has been in my desk," growls Boss Bear, "and stolen my petty cash!"

This is sober stuff.

I call the county administrator, who actually hasn’t any more idea what to say than I - no - he has less to say than I. So I begin telling him what I'm going to do - that I have absolute faith in my staff, onnacounta, hell, they could pilfer forever and nobody would know but outright taking the bags is gonna show up immediately, right? I tell him I’ll call the cleaning agency and the sheriff and he is glad I have an idea what to do because he doesn’t. I do both, speaking to the cleaning lady and leaving a message for the sheriff to call me back. I’m already thinking the cleaning crew, which has swapped around for a while, is probably guilty when I go out to the workroom and I notice the file cabinet has been broken into too! And for god’s sake - it wasn’t even locked!

Like a kaleidoscope, the pieces tumble into place - it was a break-in. By now, the sheriff has called back, listened to my tale, and promised a deputy - who turns out to be one of my little story hour boys of 20 years ago and I feel so old and so sad. And he’s so cute in blue and has this white blonde hair in a crew cut and I’m wondering which little high school girl has fallen in love with him, all spiffy in his uniform. I see him at the gym sometimes, becoming muscular and big and powerful and strong. He’s got the best qualification I know of to be a policeman - he’s quiet and calm. Still, I can tell he’s excited to get the chance to take fingerprints around the window - where he gets a great set - which are probably mine.

So I let my board pres. know about it and tell the county admin. it was not a real inside job, although my guess is that someone unlatched the window during the day and we forgot to check the locks, but a break-in. And his first reaction was how glad he is that it wasn’t employee theft - which is a comfort, of course, only now I feel a hell of a lot more exposed and vulnerable and besides, once the word gets out how easy it is to break in - it will happen again. And now we face the greater threat of electronics theft or vandalism. And now we will have to spend K$ on a security system. And the absolute worst of all is that I have a little inside feeling that this job was done by some youths who live near by and use the computers all the time, and did NOT come by yesterday even once - and are stupid enough to take only money and not the expensive PDF in the same drawer which looks like a cheap plastic calculator and they don't go to school anyway so they don't need to know how to find the answer to a math problem.

And mostly I am thinking shit shit shit shit and am really sad.

We will also get the sheriff in next Friday when we have our staff meeting and have him go through the place for security leaks and wise routine checks and hell, I ought to have done this long ago but was lulled into a lazy trust by 27 years of never having any problem at the library. And what if someone wanted to trash the books or just be plain mean - and crapola I have had enough excitement for the past 2 years that I really don’t need any more.

And then I was checking the restrooms and found a backed up toilet so I got to whine to Jerry who is such a darling and he told me his house was burgled so bad they even took the chicken his wife had planned to cook for dinner but that was a burgling ring and I think this was done by someone[s] I know and see all the time and he says he’ll be right over to fix the toilets which is such a comfort because even though I have faith I can handle Serious Problems, it’s so nice to have a kind and cheerful man with tools around.

And of course, I can’t help but feel ashamed and embarrassed that a burglary occurred on my watch and I know that is stupid but I feel that way anyway.

And then I was spinning with my Kundert drop spindle when . . . all the yarn just fell off the end and then spiraled around itself!

And then Dean didn’t call and tell me he was bringing me my car and it was 3 miles away and what the heck he locks the keys in the building and when I called at a little after 5 nobody answered and BD isn’t supposed to drive so how in the hell am I going to get home? (though I remember the 12 hide-a-keys and calm down) And besides, by now I am not capable of getting flapped and anyway - there’s no point. I just feel like I am being punched by life.

Well hell. I was.

So - the string of crappy things finally came to a halt at WW where I lost 1.2 lbs which is something to cheer anybody up.

And now it’s Wednesday - hump day - so that means the weekend isn’t far away and I am going to see my parents on Saturday and I’m just so happy to think about that I can’t possibly be blue. Besides, I got email from P yesterday too and I have missed her so while she’s been so busy but there’s promise that we can get together soon.


full of so many wonderful things, you’d think we’d all be happy as kings, right?

posted by Bess | 8:05 AM


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Tuesday, May 17, 2005  

Lawsee - it's nigh on to 8 o'clock - thank goodness I have nothing to say so I ought to be able to fill the paragraphs quickly.

Yesterday I spent the day paying bills for the library. I finally got them done - when in walked my treasurer to help me pay TheOtherBills. Didn't get outta there till 6! Now I only have to spend the rest of my budget before June 30. I make a very good bureaucrat. Did you ever think how much being a government employee is really just being a catalog shopper?

No fiber - except the sort you eat. Tonight is WW. There are 4 of us, now, driving to Warsaw on Tuesdays. L, who masks her nervousness by being critical and cranky and M, who hides it behind sweet laughter. Both are still new enough to be nervous - in a few months they will either quit or succeed and stop being nervous. B and I just plug along. This week was successful for me, but I refused to see what damage MSW did last week - so it may only look as if I am treading water.

I got the new KnitPicks catalog yesterday and all those scarves on the cover looked sort of like one of those Colinette affghans - and I suddenly thought about making one for myself. Hmmmm it would be $$$$$$ less than buying the welsh yarn. Might just calculate it out and compare.

okay - after 8 - time to go make breakfast.

posted by Bess | 7:47 AM


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Monday, May 16, 2005  

Funny the things that catch your eye after big life changing events - (uh, duh, Bess). The 9-screen article in the NYT about one’s post heart attack care and its link to one’s income is just the sort of thing I would have harumphed about in the past - tell me something new besides poor people don’t fare as well as rich people - and clicked on to the fashion page. Instead, I read it and in the end reached the same conclusion. But now I can try to place myself on Ms/Mr. Scott‘s chart and see whether we are upper, middle or lower class.

Bad eating habits and silly health routine - Low Class
911 called (when he finally decided it was serious) - Upper/Middle Class
Clot buster as first line of battle - Middle Class
Stent inserted within 5 hours of attack (though Melanie had seen him that afternoon and said he was really moving slowly - so who knows when the attack began) - Upper Class
Wildly Supportive Family with great wisdom, self educating, willing to make enormous changes in routines so that patient will not mind making substantive changes in lifestyle - Upper Class
Willingness of patient to make almost all substantive changes in lifestyle (with only a little nudging by Wildly Supportive Family Member) - Upper Class
Low stress environment with time to move back into work when ready - Upper Class
Income somewhere between $23K and $73K - probably Low Class
Safe easy place to walk - Upper Class
Cardiac rehab program available, probably not going to follow through though - Middle Class

Of course, the term class is an uncomfortable one in this day of Very Careful Use Of Language. I don’t believe I have used it publicly since I was in high school. So - what is class? Is it just a combination of money and education? Must it include family heritage or can one earn enough money to enter a higher level of class? And in the case of heart disease, does family heritage (i. e. cooking habits and attitudes towards the medical world) negate the benefits of income? What about the well educated with questing minds who don’t chose to work in high paying jobs? Are they low class and destined for bad health care or can the weight of knowledge balance out the lack of ready cash or supportive health insurance?

Well - I suppose I don’t really care - in fact, I wish I hadn’t started down this road - but I did so little this weekend I hardly have anything to post. And I am somehow bothered by the emptiness of that article. I like reading about things which have a direct impact on me (mememememe) and mine (mineminemineminemine) but I never did get the point of this article which so banaly points out the obvious, but then adds the juicy details. It seems the author ought to have been an advocate for something, if he/she was going to write that many words about it. Even the old True Crime or True Romance articles used to come to some sort of conclusion besides Health Care is Expensive.

I am a little skeptical that any doctor would tell a patient, even one with limited English to start eating as an aid to quit smoking. But hey - this is the NYT - bastion of the convenient statement regardless of truth.

As for what TheQueen did yesterday, well, mostly I slept and when I wasn’t sleeping I was lolling. It was a grey day with occasional bouts of drizzle and one real shower and I just vegged with BD, books, puppies and the briefest bits of spinning. I napped, I grazed the kitchen, and watched videos. A complete recuperative weekend with time for the body and the psyche to build up new reserves to face the future.

Which is here today - Monday Monday, can’t trust that day. Fortunately I don’t have to - I have just pleasant work to do with time to do it in. There are no meetings, no appointments and no deadlines awaiting me. There may even be a little time to clear off my desk!

In the mean time, I will try to keep my inner Virgoan scold from pricking my maxed out psyche with exhortations to BeUseful and BeProductive. I will try to remind myself that to go from TheWeddingHigh to TheHeartAttack in the space of 3 months is a lot of emotional roller coastering and a little buzz-off down time is what is called for. Let’s just do the nap thing on weekends and, who knows - I might just be able to knit on that BriccaTheAran sometime long about September.

posted by Bess | 8:03 AM


Oh, you're tempting me with that Stony Mountain Fiber merino... I want to finish a small project with some wool/angora/silk first before I start a new spinning project... But maybe just a touch of that on a spindle wouldn't be cheating???

Of course I've got that cashmere for my big summer project...

By Blogger Amie, at 9:48 AM  

Of Course it's not cheating. Why - everyone knows I'm knitting the Sigvaldi sweater from The Best of Lopi and have a casmerino aran sweater waiting to be worked on next.

A little drop spindle spinning is just, you know, a warm up exercise.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:32 AM  

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Sunday, May 15, 2005  

In the midst of sweet Sundays.
Half way through this gentle time I am sleeping most of the hours away. 9 hours last night - a nap yesterday afternoon - I plan to indulge again today. There is almost nothing to report beyond the joy of swaying days of soft breezes kissing your arms. BD finished the bedroom screens and we can open the windows at night. He also fixed the ripped screen on the porch door, after 30 minutes of cynical grumbling about the tawdry way people manufacture things these days and how (in the halcyon days) Aunt Mimi had copper screens and they never ripped no matter how often their dog Jeb scratched on them.

I got only spindle spinning done yesterday, with the pale soft purple merino top I bought at Stony Mt. Fibers last weekend. I think I shall spin the entire lot with the Kundert spindle. I intend to spin more Liberty Ridge Farm colors today. But that’s all I intend to do - besides napping and taking Capt. Jack and the aunts on a walk.

Half a do-nothing day equals all the pleasure I want.

posted by Bess | 8:09 AM


You said it, gal! Even to us "retired" types, the prospect of Sat/Sun stretching out there is de-licious!

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:13 AM  

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Saturday, May 14, 2005  

Sweet sweet weekends with nothing pressing and only delicious pleasures to enjoy. In marked contrast to last week’s energy packed whirlwind, this weekend spreads out like a calm blue lake on a windless day. My house is clean. I slept like a rock for 8 hours so I’m awake and functioning (rather than awake, but on autopilot) at an early hour. I have a spinning wheel with some sea green fiber already wrapping the bobbin with moderately even singles. I’ve found the pattern I want to contemplate for a while. I have a box of New Books brought home from the library - one is trashy (as in the maximum trashy mode - it’s Gangsta Romance [?!?!] - set in the mean streets [?!?!] of Richmond, Virginia) - one is an interesting sounding biography of another Stuart royal with a tragic life - one is an interview of Orphan Train boys from the 1870-1920’s and then there are two new videos - a retrospective of Julia Child’s early television shows and a documentary about Amazon River dolphins.

The day should be hot - but it’s so early in the season the house will stay cool. Before it can heat up, the Weather Dot Com guys promise a return to cooler temperatures, early next week. BD has almost finished painting the screens for upstairs - crisp new white screens instead of those ratty dingy gray things - so we can leave the windows open at night. The possibility of thunder storms is promised but they would be welcome enforcers of pollen obedience - so let us hope those WDC guys are right for a change.

Sweet, sweet midpoint of this perfect sounding weekend will be a birthday celebration for LD at TheDarling’s. We could walk over or we could drive. We’ll share in the pleasure of their company and see some friends we haven’t seen in months. Best of all, we can amble on home, feeling proud and (I’ll confess it) a little smug and brag to ourselves about our children - and then sleep late on Sunday.

I love that sensation of banked time, available to spend. So much of life seems to be already spent - given over to jobs and doctor appointments and community commitments. Even my vacations get gobbled up by doing things. So when I get that rare freedom to do nothing at all I have to sit back and smile - or perhaps - I will just go back to bed.

posted by Bess | 7:47 AM


So glad you feel better, sweets! Enjoy a leisurely, puppycuddle day.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:16 AM  

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Friday, May 13, 2005  

Cherilyn gets the prize for first sweetheart knitting buddy to remember where that article on the kimono sweater was hidden! It’s in the Interweave Press F1999 issue!! I am so excited I could skip and dance. She has just given me a whole morning of sweet hours to play with my spinning now that I don’t have to dig through every issue of every knitting magazine I own. After my first, unsuccessful, cursory perusal I was trying to figure out which magazine might have had an article like this and I’d eliminated Cast On and Knitters. That left Vogue, IK, and Knit’N’Style. My money would have been on K’N’S because they tend to have better articles, but now I know, so I don’t have to shuffle the bookshelves.


On the health front - I have stepped outside the box in the great Battle Of The Allergies and gone to a chiropractor who gave me two treatments. One is an ionizing treatment that supposedly draws toxins out of the body through the feet. The other was to put a vibrating thing on my throat and chest that shook something out of the rocks that were my glands and superior vena cava. Do not ask me to explain - or rather - accept only that I walked in there feeling sick enough to take the day off and I walked out feeling well enough to stay at work all day. Of course, I didn’t. Hey - the body was willing, but the mind was weak and the accumulated sick leave is way beyond the allowable limit. I finished up the work at hand, and left at lunch. I was sleepy - I just didn’t feel like I had a piece of lava lodged in my chest.

Now - I am always suspicious of anything that claims to pull toxins out of the body. The very word "toxins" sounds like witchcraft jargon to me. I had an aunt who detoxed herself to death using alternative treatments for breast cancer. I am not a physician nor versed in ancient healing lore. It is not that I have either no confidence nor complete confidence in western medicine. I only know that there are many paths to the truth. If one path is not taking you to your destination it is wise to chose a different path.

Would I have started to feel better anyway, had I just let time do its thing? I don’t know. I don’t even care. I am just glad that I feel better now. And I am glad I arranged to go home early yesterday and go in late today. I’ve got meetings on into the evening - I’m still giving the library it’s 8 hours.

Though we talked to LD yesterday, we will celebrate at a birthday party on Saturday at their house. Sweet, sweet times, to be able to have a happy birthday celebration that lasts 2 weeks. Of course they still haven’t learned to celebrate the whole month, but they may in time.

I plied up the ratty looking yarn I’d spun on HeyBaby and changed the drive band on her too. When I first got HB, I tied the knot in the drive band at such a point that I can’t use it on the smaller whorl. When I want to spin lace weight I have to use a different band because the knot in the original band is so tight it would never come undone. But on the bigger whorl it is so perfect I’m not tempted to try a third band that can switch from whorl to whorl. So - there are 2 bands that take turns on the wheel, while the unused one loops around one of the wheel shafts - at the perfect height for a cutelittlebabypuppy to play with ... till his mama smacks his little nose and says "NO".

It’s a cool day today - slightly cloudy - the promise of rain, but a vain one. I don’t think it will really rain until smack in the weekend. I don’t have any laundry on the line, so what would be the point in raining? It is also a sweet Friday and my house is magically pristine thanks to the Marvelous Sheryl. No more lava rocks in my chest. A lawn’n’leaf bag full of fibers? Sounds like the perfect combination. I think I’ll go indulge.

posted by Bess | 8:33 AM


Oh, hey, I think I knew this, too!

Happy Birthday, William!

I have it on good authority that magically for the rest of our lives you will be older than me, although I must admit I thought that was going to start on my next birthday, when I cease to age ever again....

Take care, dear Bess. Lots of fluids, and wool is good for a pollen allergy. Honest.


By Blogger Amie, at 10:54 AM  

Just wanted to drop in and say HI! I've been down sick this week, too ~ 102 degree fever started on Tuesday afternoon, achey all over, headache, chills, major fatigue. Yuck!

Love, love, love having you in my booth! Will take you absolutely any and every time you can help out! Frankly, it wouldn't quite be the same without you! :-D

Off to rest again now! Hope you're on the mend soon, and can beat these nasty allergies! Ick.

Hugs, Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 1:39 PM  

Oh, No! Hope you're MUCH better by the weekend! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 5:32 PM  

Arrrgh! Sending up a prayer for your allergies... BE GONE!!

And HappyBirthdayWilliam, whoever you are!

By Blogger Margaret, at 6:39 PM  

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Thursday, May 12, 2005  

In the Great Allergy Rematch:
Allergies 2
Bess 0

That’s right folks. I’m not sure if it was the new carpet at the gym, where I sat for almost 2 hours with TthePT and reworked my Personal Weight Training Routine Chart using 14 point type so I could read it sans glasses AND where they just put down new cheap industrial carpet that smells like a toxic waste dump, but by my 4 o’clock board meeting my chest was a hot ball of congested fire. Instead of being unable to speak because of a clogged throat I’m croaking now because I have only 25% of the air needed to vibrate my vocal chords. Fortunately, I’d mailed out my entire report, with supporting documents, and the meeting took only 40 minutes. Still, I 'bout liked to die before I got outta there.

I will drag myself into town today because I must get with the board treasurer and pay bills and I am going to go see a different sort of doctor - because obviously I am not finding better living through chemistry. But I am coming home at noon and I plan to skip tomorrow morning’s class on Front Page. With luck, sleep, and lots of fluids, I may be able to give my report to the Friends at their spring dinner meeting tomorrow evening - but by golly - I am mighty glad the weekend is so close.

In other good news - TheMarvelousSheryl comes today to erase all evidence of my slovenliness.

Thanks to all for the comments about both fur and fiber. Aren’t cute little baby puppies a treasure? BD reported that yesterday he fell off the pier (they have to do that sometime or other) and decided he liked it down there. He also managed to climb back up onto the pier - demonstrating his monkey blood. No wonder we couldn’t keep him in the pen at night! But he knows his own mind and if he doesn’t want to take a walk - by gum - he won’t. Last night BD said that halfway down the lane, Aunt Socks turned around and went back to keep her adopted son company. She is off on a jaunt with Aunt Priss right now, but he is up in the BigBed.

I’ve spun a little of the Liberty Ridge pretties and knitted up a small swatch of the dark green shot with fire orange and red. Wow! I have an idea for this yarn, but it requires digging through my stash of magazines to find a sweater buried among the pages. It’s a sweater based on a sewing pattern for a kimono type garment. All the pieces are rectangles and you can make each rectangle a different color, different yarn, different stitch pattern and put it all together in a most sophisticated garment. In the article in the magazine which I can not remember - a woman in California took the sewing class, transferred the idea to knitting and talked the members of her knitting group into making them. The article had photos of several sweaters and if any of my dear friends can remember seeing this article - PLEEEEEEASE tell me what magazine it was in! Otherwise I’ll have to go through all fortylevendyhundred of them in my collection!

In closing I say only this:

Happy Birthday William!

posted by Bess | 7:44 AM


Wowee! Such beautiful yarn and fiber. And the bag is simply stunning.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:22 AM  

Fabulous yarn & fiber (excellent colors!). Cap'n Jack is such a sweet prince. Love that bag too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:42 AM  

Can I come back as one of your dogs, too?

Your haul looks lovely lovely lovely!

By Blogger Amie, at 10:38 AM  

I don't know if I love the fiber pictures or the puppy pictures better! They're both great! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 7:55 PM  

1. Like children, sometimes one wishes pups/kitties would never grow up!

2. Fabulous yarn/fibre! I am drooling as I type...

By Blogger Margaret, at 8:19 PM  

Oh, love the way the bag turned out! Cap'n Jack is just too wonderful and obviously loving his life as one of your very lucky dogs. He's a fine little hunk o' dogflesh indeed. Girl sends her cooing approval too.

By Blogger Catherine, at 9:27 PM  

Oh Bess, I would love to play in those piles of beautiful colored fiber too!

By Blogger erica, at 3:34 PM  

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005  

Photos from Maryland

I forgot to take a camera so I only have photos of the effects of Maryland.

The beautious silk yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks

What's in the bag, mommy?

Oh! Pretty Colors!

A closer look at Liberty Ridge mohair/wool blends.

Catherine points out our similarities and just to prove it - here you see our matching chairs. That white background makes such a foil for bright colored yarns, doesn't it?

The Spring Fling bag unfelted . . .

and felted.

posted by Bess | 7:50 AM


Eh, CJ has it made!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:24 AM  

oh man, now I want a puppy
and here I was awash in goats, sheep, horses, chickens, alpacas and a peacock yesterday, now I want a pup
it has been 18 years since I had a pup
(yes THAT vi)

By Blogger vi, at 5:40 AM  

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005  

Cute Little Baby Puppy Photos

Awwww. Sleepy time puppy.

I can swim now!

The young prince of the yard.

Yum. Mommy tastes so good!

Yes. It's a skull!

Where mommy wishes she were right now.

posted by Bess | 1:51 PM


Well, if I am not as lucky as you, I am nearly so, for I have someone like you to spend fibery weekends with over the summer... LOVE YOU!

By Blogger Amie, at 4:04 PM  

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Sometimes I feel so sorry for everyone in the world who isn’t me. I am one of the luckiest people ever born because I get to live out here in the country, in Virginia, overlooking the river, and in May, I wake up inside a jewelbox world of gold and emeralds and sapphires. The sun rays stream out of their blue heaven, through the rich golden green of young leaves and scatter all over the ground like some liquid soul balm. In the afternoons I can stand in the green fields and watch the Wheat Dolphins leap high into the blue blue air, hunting, as dogs are ment to do, scurrying mammals who hide and lurk. I can stroll out to Robert’s Landing and gaze out over the three creeks that assemble into the bay behind Paynes Island, before slipping out into the river. Ebony and ivory feathers of Mr. and Mrs. Bald Eagle blazon the path ahead when I start down the lane that leads up to my house - or out to my praying place. Along the marshy banks of Jacob’s Gut I can sit and listen to the chorus of frogs accompanied by the splashes of my dogs as they cool their bellies after a splendid chase through the woods. The red winged blackbirds tune: doodleloo do do dooo seems like musical raindrops falling all around me.

I know there are other splendors, in other places, which other people enjoy, but I wish I could bottle up the joy that living here brings me and ship it out free to the rest of the world. To be filled with glory and beauty and splendor, with peace and calm and oneness, to feel like your very feet grow out of the soil and your arms and head really float in the clouds, is one of the times when we come closest to God. Imagine a whole month of days where walking out your front door puts you there!

How glad I am I took Monday off. I always do, of course; take the day after a frenzy of fiber filled fun off. I would be useless at work anyway. No point in trying to fake it. It is far better to stay home and ground myself. Besides, this year I need more time with BD and that’s just what yesterday was full of. We didn’t really do anything, other than take some glorious walks in the May Magic. My throat is almost well, but it’s still too raw to talk much. He got a full report of the weekend, but not much other chit chat. In the early afternoon he read to me from David Copperfield till I fell asleep. There was a little time to spin on the wheel, and more time, in the late afternoon, when we both sat in lawn chairs in the front yard and watched the puppy. I spun on the spindle some then and he studied maps for a project he’s working on. In the evening I cooked him a yummy veggie dinner.

The June issue of National Geographic has a nice quote from him on the page about the settling of Jamestown, as well as a complimentary credit to him on the map on the facing page. We got 3 copies of that issue in yesterday’s mail, but the ink is so stinky I couldn’t really read the article. Of course I took a good look at the quote and beamed proudly. This guy is so cool.

All day things were floating back up to the surface and becoming memories for me as I thought about the MSW festival. I remembered so many wonderful people who spoke to me. V, from the ‘04 KRRetreat who promised to email me and even visit. LWLY, who got such a beautiful new haircut. M, who has a weekend place down here and who made sure to stop in at Spirit Trail to say hello. Each time someone swam into my consciousness I would feel the happiness all over again.

The other thing I did was spin on HeyBaby. Oh My Goodness - I am SO out of shape. I haven’t spun on her in months. I had to set her aside while I worked on TheWeddingDress and I didn’t really feel like spinning lace weight mohair - which was what was on the bobbin - after January. I spun a tiny bit of it, but it just didn’t seem to be what the soul was longing for. Of course, now that I have 3 new empty bobbins I can start up something new! which I did - and that is when I realized my fingers need to get back into the spin of things. They are very clumsy - far more clumsy than when they spindle spin. I sat down with some of the Bag-O-Color and filled half a bobbin with red magic. I realize now I need to change back to the longer drive band and the bigger whorl - which I shall do this morning - but I also need to spin more. (Poor me, huh? nothing like needing to do what you want to do.)

And so I shall. I shall spin up yards and yards of colored mohair/wool blend and when I have just a Heap-0-Color I will knit something special with it.

Below is something I was putting together last week. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why - but I’m sure it has something to do with wanting a Golding Spinning Wheel.

Things you could spend $10,000 on.

One night at this hotel.

Several sips of this.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM


I am so glad I saw you!. I wished we could have talked more 9as always) but your hug was the best thing to remind me that I was "home" among friends.

PS I DID get a wheel!

By Blogger purlewe, at 11:19 AM  

Yes yes yes, Miss Purlewe is "one of us" now!!!

And Bess... oh, my so beloved Bess... Can't I just quit work and come play with you forever? I so adore you and every moment spent with you....

By Blogger Amie, at 11:22 AM  

I'm glad you made it home safely and are on the mend! Spending any time with you is a true joy. Very sorry I didn't get to say goodbye properly. xoxoxoxo

By Anonymous Clara, at 12:37 PM  

Oh how happy I was to see you, BessH!!! You are as lovely in person as you are on-line. And, boy, can you drop a mean spindle...

I am so bad that I bought stuff from Spirit-Trail even though there was already a box in the mail for me at home!

By Blogger Carol, at 1:27 PM  

There's nothing like a hug to/from Bess to make a special day supreme. I miss you a great deal, and so sorry you weren't feeling well! You two take care of each other.

Love you lots -

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:07 PM  

Hey sweets.
So lovely to read your MD saga - what a joy to have time w/you & time w/you at Jen's booth. It's like I told ya: you'd charm the daylights out of everyone - & you did ^..^
Thanks so much for your support.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:33 PM  

Oh, I'm so glad you had such a great time and are safely home.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 10:10 PM  

Oh yes, Bess's Giant Green Trash Bag of Fiber! Those colors are almost enough to make me want to spin, but I'd still rather weave. Maybe after I retire, if I ever get to!

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:30 AM  

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Monday, May 09, 2005  

And so another Maryland Sheep and Wool festival has come and gone - and what a festival it was. I’ve spent the past 10 minutes just trying to figure out how to begin recording the wild ride of emotion, sensation and action that was the past 3 days of the biggest wool festival of the year.

so where to begin . . ?

Friday morning - no Thursday evening I came home to find a huge pile of firewood by the stove. Now, this has been the coolest spring I can ever remember. Like something out of a Canadian climate bag - we have needed a fire in the stove more nights than not. I had called LD to come after work and bring in a load because Mr.HeartAttackMan isn’t supposed to lift more than 10 lbs yet. “But none of the logs are more than 10 lbs - see? They’re all small pieces” - was just not good enough for me. So - how was I going to drive off for the weekend iin someone else's car? What if he tried to launch the boat? Cut down a tree? Build an addition to the house?

I don’t like to get into wrangles about other people and their bodies and how to care for them. Not with children and not with adults. When I was BossLady of children I just created a house where there was almost nothing that was off limits. Don’t want your kid to eat candy? Don’t ever have any in the house. Don’t want to quarrel about messy kids rooms? Keep their doors closed. I loved being a mother and, now that I’ve adjusted to the empty nest, I don’t ever want to be one again. This is an adult house hold and all adults are responsible for themselves. Nevertheless - I don’t want my adult partner to go heart attacking himself all over the place while I’m gone either. I have plans for that guy and I’m not ready to send him on his heavenly journey.

So I had a pretty sleepless night Thursday and woke Friday with the exact perfect wife angel words needed to wring a promise of self-care from the man. I also woke with a decision. I would not ride up to J’s house and ride along with her to the fairgrounds. I would (gulp) pull out DeLorme’s, (clench teeth) chart a course, (take 10 deep breaths) and drive past the border and into the land that says Here Be Dragons (somewhere north of Fredericksburg) all by myself. Yes. It’s true. The highway wimp actually put rubber to the road in that vast sea of frenzied, harried, impatient, crazed OthersInCars.

Not that I drove up I-95 or onto any of the other -95’s that you must brave in order to hack your way past D.C. No sirree, not me. I found the coolest little path through the madness that got me from my house to the Howard County Fairgrounds in 3 hours without a single screech of tires or sweat bead popping out on my fair brow. I am so proud of myself. I am still amazed that I actually strode into that orange zone of the map all by myself. I am completely excited at the thought that now I can go visit A all by myself! I don’t have to wait till she has time to drive down to see me! Wooee. This girl has moxie!

And the biggest joke of all was that I got to the fair before J did. The huge building was only just filling up - though there were vendors who were almost finished their displays. It was cool in the building - for the day was cloudy. The weather forecast was for sunshine and high 70’s which makes wool buying and wool selling so much fun. I had a chance to walk around the booths - sit down for a good 15 minutes with the Goldings and talk turkey about the Flora wheel I intend to own - check out which buildings the two vendors I was planning on actually buying from were going to be.

There was a drumbeat of excitement coursing through my body and my energy level was sky high when I looked up and saw M walking across the main building floor. Shouts, laughter, hugs and there was J, looking like she was crushing down her own giddy excitement while she tried to concentrate on the ThingsWhichMustBeDone to set up a booth at the Mecca of wool festivals. I showed them where her booth space was, near the big open end of the building - big enough to pull her trailer up into the building and still leave room for 2 other trucks and all the foot traffic. Swiftly she told us which things went first and we began unloading the trailer while she went to register. We’d hardly begun when Princess C showed up with her impish smile and willing hands. Before we were finished, Dear B arrived after having wandered around Frederick looking for the hotel and finally deciding it would be easier to find us and then follow us back. So there were many hands and we made light work of setting up the booth.

There are so many superlatives about the MSW that it’s too bad there is one really sucky drawback: Finding a restaurant that doesn’t have a 1 hour wait for a table anywhere within a 30 mile radius of the show. I left my car at the show the whole weekend and rode back and forth with DearB and J left her car and rode with C&M. We were in Frederick by 7:30 on Friday and couldn’t find a place to sit down - there was just NoRoomAtTheInn. I figured it would be bad on Saturday and we’d planned to make dinner reservations since there was likely to be an even bigger group that night. Alas, everything close to the hotel was a chain restaurant and none of them will make reservations. We were all too exhausted to check out the in-town restaurants, nor was there time anyway. We had a delicious, but extremely noisy meal at the Longhorn Steakhouse and were back at the hotel by 9-ish to call home, hear that Mr.HeartAttackMan was being quiet and good, and help J skein up sock yarn.

Saturday morning - early enough - we were gathering in the lobby for breakfast. Everyone there was a sheep’n’wooler, but we were the only vendors + friends. DearB was in the same hotel as we and so was Catherine. The fun of helping at a booth at the festival is three-fold. You get to park close to the action. You can go in early. You eventually get to see everybody because you stay in one place and they all pass by. The Saturday crowd started out healthy, swelled to unbelievable proportions and was still ejecting stragglers 20 minutes after the show closed at 6. M, the incomparable, manned the cash box. She never gets flustered, she remembers to get all the information needed, she understands how to work the calculator that computes sales tax, and keeps the bigger bills out of the way in her belt so that mostly there are only ones in the cash box. I am completely amazed at her unflappability because when I sit there to give her a break I am stupid, hold up the line being too chatty, forget to write everything down and take hours to fill out the sales slips. In fact - I bet I am more of a hindrance than a help, though J is too sweet to say so and waits patiently for M to return and do it right. What I can do is point out my favorite fibers to customers, and eventually remember to Shut Up and let them make up their own minds. I can also keep my eyes peeled for sticky fingers and pilferers. Also, it’s probably good to see several people in any booth at any given time. At least, I am always a tee tiny bit intimidated if there is only the booth owner in a space - afraid I’ll be pounced on - something that’s happened to me a few times at craft fairs. And that is only true if the booth is not one I am specifically curious about. If I really want to talk about the product (seldom, but it does happen) then of course I like it best to get the owner’s undivided attention.

With 3 warm bodies, though, there were several opportunities for me to peel off with Catherine or DearB and have a look around. The biggest crowd throughout the weekend was Little Barn. They always have fabulous prices, but this year they were selling Alpaca Yarn for some unbelievable price like $2.95 a skein. The line stretched on and on and on. They had bags of silk waste threads and I would love to have bought one but I didn’t want to bother them on Friday while they were setting up and I was not going to stand in some line for an hour during the show. I can mail order the silk threads, because they were not the big ticket item. The sad thing though, was that his long lines blocked the booth beside him. I wouldn’t be surprised if it blocked two or three booths beside him and I am mighty glad we weren’t one of them. I suspect they’ll be moved next year to a corner spot so the line can trail out a door.

Passing by Jen’s booth were so many wonderful KR friends - too many to try to mention for fear of leaving someone out. What was fun was to hug and laugh and smile and remember. What was more fun was to see new customers find Jen’s unbelievable offerings. Her yarns really are special - and it was too bad she had so few of them. They almost leapt off the racks, especially the sock yarns. Her fibers are so unique - and she has so many of them - that spinners are almost dumfounded when the walk into the booth. I heard spinners say that they had thought they were knowledgeable about wool till they saw this booth - One woman told me that Spirit Trail had become her favorite booth at the fair. Several folk came back twice, opening wallets and clutching bags. When I think that this is her first year at the show and she was such a last minute vendor she didn’t appear in any of the publications - I can’t wait to see what happens next year! I hope she’ll invite me back as a booth babe and perhaps between now and then I can become less sales-slip challenged.

Still, among the folk I bumped into at the fair, were two really neat surprises. One came when I was just wandering around the main building. Suddenly a vaguely familiar smiling face called out “Like the Queen!” and it was Janie! We’d never met in person but her knitting group meets at the B&N near my parents house so I feel like she’s a kind of neighbor. I knew she was coming - the surprise was that she recognized me from this blog. TheQueen is so much my alter ego/vent/inner self that being recognized from here really makes you an instant friend. You already know so much about me!

The other surprise was when FF walked past the booth. Not that she would be unexpected at MSW - she’s a serious knitter - in fact, she is one of the inspirations that pushed me back into knitting - but she’s from that Other Life - the library world. I felt like the kid at the grocery store who suddenly sees his school principal in the bread isle. Do you remember how it felt? “How did He get here? I thought he was kept chained up in the school building.” And one of the first things she did was ask about Mr.HeartAttackMan. Now - how did she find out about him? Hmmmm. I don’t think I’ve told any library folk yet.

Well, it was cool to see her and wonderful to see everyone. Half the reason I go to these things is to see the people. I sure don’t need to see more wool. Of course, life is not just filling necessities either.

Late in the afternoon, A showed up with the unbelievable yarns she’d spun during 3 and a half days of instruction. She was already a pretty durn good spinner to begin with but my goodness - you should see her work now. She’d taken the pre-festival classes with Judith MacKenzie McCuin (We got so we referred to her as Judy Mac and I hope she would have laughed had she heard us since we are all big fans of her) and I can’t wait to corral her alone and make her teach me everything she learned.

No doubt about it - we were exhausted by 6 o’clock. A Group Of Seven had gathered, all of us staying at the same hotel, so we made plans for dinner as we covered up the booth. DearB had a card from the steak house who had told us they would accept a call in reservation 30 minutes before we expected to get there (where we could wait another 30 minutes probably) so she called them. Oh Ho - that promise was only good for tables of 4 - if we wanted to seat 7 we could wait 2 hours. Yes. I kid you not - the wait was 120 minutes. And it never got any better no matter what we did. Olive Garden - hour and a half. Ruby Tuesday - 30 minutes - Pizza Hut delivery boy? 45 minutes. Really. It was awful. There has to be a better way to eat in Frederick Md. than the ChainstoreChowline and before next year I am going to discover it. I don’t care if it is mother’s day weekend and I don’t care if 30,000 people have flooded that town. Other people had tables where they could sit and eat and by golly I am going to find one for us.

We were tired, dusty, hungry and in spite of several bottles of water, slightly to severely dehydrated. In the general high gear excitement that had been juggernauting through our collective psyches the past few days, idiotic things had crashed around us. My only jeans had split in the rear. Catherine had left her gas cap at some pump station along the road. Cell phone calls had not made it through the hazy reception. Worse yet for me - I could feel the beginnings of a pollen encrusted throat closing allergy attack coming on. Serious liquid refreshment was needed and Catherine, DearB and I decided to hit the WalMart for repairs while others phoned home.

Decency and safety restored, fortified by a stop at the liquor store, we returned to the hotel to await Mr.PizzaMan. 7 women in a hotel room with 2 6-packs and a gallon of pizza-wine is a dangerous thing. It might even be called a coven if they were all spinners and knitters. How fortunate that there was no-one with a tape recorder, though the wit was scintillating. Some things are better allowed to float into the atmosphere. Fortunately, a second glass of wine at least put me in a better frame of mind. Unfortunately - I had forgotten something important.

I can do wine and I can do Pizza Hut and I can even do both if I do it in Xtreme Temperate Mode. But 9 hours after lunch I am unlikely to be very temperate. The combination of gurgling wine soaked pizza and pollen encrusted lungs made for a very sleepless night for me. Though we turned off lights and crashed to the pillows by midnight, I was awake till 3:30 praying that I had not developed an allergy to wool and when I finally did drift into an uneasy sleep it was only to awake croaking like a frog.

It was then I was really glad that I’d driven myself. There was no way I was going to be worth jack in Jen’s booth. Nobody was going to believe I didn’t have consumption. Thank the good lord that Sheila was flying in and planned to hang out with us. She even told me she’d been fiber faired out as a customer and was glad to switch roles. She’s an old hand as a booth babe anyway and is far more knowledgeable than I. Better still, I bet she’s more help at the cash box too. So though I might have felt like I was letting Jen down - I knew I really wasn’t. What I knew was that I hated to leave the fun. And in spite of mix ups, allergies, and any other slight inconveniences, I really was having fun.

DearB - who had fulfilled all her shopping ambitions (with a Fricke drum carder and a merino fleece!!) - and Catherine who had found her loom at last - wandered the fair with me while I made the two important stops I absolutely had to make. Stony Mountain Fibers for 3 new bobbins for HeyBaby was the first stop. Yikes! Bobbins have gone from $6.00 to $9.00 since last year! Is that the weak dollar? Dang. Well - I have 10 bobbins now and that had better be enough. Next stop was Liberty Ridge Farms where I fulfilled (and filled a lawn’n’leaf bag) my Color Needs. Yes. I stood there and plucked color from their Wall-0-Wool. Almost 5 lbs of it. Reds and Greens and Yellows and Purples and Blues and Oranges and all of it whistle clean. These are colored bats of merino/mohair blends. Liberty Ridge isn’t the only place that sells this sort of thing, but I like their colors the best and the cleanliness of their fibers is without equal. They are also one of the first booths I ever shopped at that first year I came to MSW and there’s something sweet about returning to the source. But I wouldn’t do so if they didn’t offer top quality.

After that we had lunch - I had a lamb gyro that was simply delicious. A final stop at Spirit Trail to bid my dear ones good-bye and I was in my yellow pollen-mobile and on my way home. There was more traffic than on Friday but the drive was still pretty easy. I stopped several times to get even MORE water - I never did feel like I could quench this allergy thirst - but was home just before 3. BD and TheDarlings were at a bluegrass festival - my birthday gift to LD. When I drove up to the house, Aunt Priss and Capt. Jack were snuggled together at the corner of the house. Happy puppy wags - head tucking big dogs were my warm welcome home. I took an hour to change sheets, photograph my haul (Promise Promise - I’ll post them tomorrow) and take a bath. After that I was dead to the world till about 7 when I woke to the sweet green and gold light of a springtime evening. In pajamas and sandals I puttered around the house till I saw the springy lope of BD, walking down the lane. We met him where the lane curves out of sight - big dogs first, dashing up for pets and strokes, cutelittlebabypuppy next, all flop ears and tail wags. But the biggest hugs were for me - huge loving bear hugs complete with kisses and squeezes and laughter and grins and smiles and gladness.

The circle is complete now - and I have today off. My throat is better and since we aren’t in full pollen season I have real hopes of being all fixed by tomorrow. I shan’t talk much today but I’ll bask in the happiness of home and ... spin up some color. I’m thinking of a sampler sweater in all those magnificent colors ...

posted by Bess | 9:10 AM