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

2 Comments:

I happen to have the book on the desk beside me - you need 2 23" I-cord handles. Personal taste, of course, but I always add a few inches so I can tuck a bag over my shoulder. I'm finishing a second Vintage Bubble Bag this weekend, I need to start I-cording too!

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:56 AM  

disagreeable weather for MD Sheep and Wool? Oh, I hope not! There's nothing better than a snoring pup in the bed...SO glad your guy is doing well and feeling fine.
Greta

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:56 PM  

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Saturday, April 30, 2005  

For the first time since Sunday I’m at the computer without cutelittlebabypuppy. He has graduated to that blissful stage of sleeping through the night. This is because we have quit trying to keep him penned up in the downstairs bathroom (that died after the 4th night) and have done the unforgivable: he sleeps in the big bed now.

Funny how I would never, ever accept a human baby in the big bed. With LD I was always afraid I’d roll on him and crush him as per the King Solomon story. Talk about imprinting a child! That story horrified me much more for the idea that a person could roll on top of a baby and smother it without waking up first, than the quarrel between the two mothers that sprang up the next morning - or even the weird idea that two women and two babies would all be sleeping in the same bed. I also never invited LD, or any other child for that matter, to sleep with me. Come to think of it - none has ever asked.

But a puppy?

Ah. Well. That is a different matter. Different - and possibly disgusting to some - so I shan’t yammer on about it. Suffice it to say that we have long silent nights these days without the serenade of grief, loneliness and misery that is the wail of a newbabypuppy locked in the downstairs bathroom. And the newbabypuppy also has a name; Chesituxent’s Captain Jack. He also has a dozen or so nicknames: Gentleman Jack, Jumpback Jack, PeePeePooPooPuppy, Big Champion ....

He’s a big bold fellow. He’s not afraid of loud or sudden noises. He just looks, with fascination, at the vacuum - that monstrous weapon of death that has chased every dog I’ve ever owned out of the house. BD said he fell asleep beside the table saw yesterday. He’s already running ahead of us when we take him on walks and last night BD shot the gun off a few times and Jack just stood there between BD’s legs, waiting patiently. He’s also brining home trophy pine cones, so all his retriever instincts seem to be blossoming apace.

We’ve invited BH and her girls for dinner tonight, to introduce them to the newbabypuppy. I love to watch young kids and young dogs play. Priss and Socks are adjusting, with more or less fascination, to their fate. The day will come, though, when the great big man about the house will lead them all. Just the nature of those chromosomes.

Ooops - spoke too soon. I just heard the thump and grunt of puppy on the floor.

It is 6 days and counting till the Joy of Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival begins. The weather promises to be disappointing but it is impossible to not have fun when you are surrounded by fiber and friends. I’ll be leaving here on Friday morning and riding up to J’s mother’s house. We plan to hit Frederick by mid-afternoon where we will prowl around the old federal town, hunting out the Candy Kitchen - the retail outlet for a small family owned chocolate factory that sells chocolate to die for. Even I, of the most plebeian chocolate taste, know when I have sunk my teeth into perfection, and the 11 year old memory of those caramel filled chocolate bears can still make my mouth water.

I still can’t think of anything I really want to buy this time ‘round. I believe this year I’ll be urging others to spend instead. Fortunately C has extra $. What fun it will be to say "go on, who deserves it more?" I wonder if she’ll smack me if I add "than the secretary". Oh wicked Bess. For myself, the only image I can draw up from my pool of lust is TheQueen, standing in front of the wall at Liberty Ridge and plucking out handfuls of color to stuff into a bag. I have enough. I have all I want. I want only to savor the atmosphere and my friends companionship, this year.

This doesn’t mean I shan’t spend like a drunken sailor - but if I do I will be broke till September so I hope I show restraint.

Between now and then there are probably things I ought to do - but for the life of me, I can’t think of ‘em. We got a bill from the emergency room on Thursday. $10,875.59. That’s what it costs to spend 2 hours to save a life. Doesn’t sound too bad to me. But goodness - the pharmacy charged almost $8K of that. I wonder why it is so expensive. They have to be common enough drugs. Way too many people have heart attacks for this to be experimental stuff. I’d have expected the rent of the room or the staff salaries to be the big expense. Although I had remembered to call the insurance company and tell them to look for a bill from the local hospital, I had never told the hospital I had insurance. Sheesh. I am sure I’ve done a lot of other stupid things like that already and am likely to do a lot more. Eh. Well. The business office said they’d submit the paperwork. I will just wait and see what happens next.

And there are thank you notes to send. Lawsee - I really had better make a list. That has been the strangest part of this all - how fuzzy my mind has been when it has had to turn itself to ThingsMedical. BD is doing splendidly. He’s careful about both diet and physical effort. He is sometimes hungry but not ravenous. The 3 meals a day have really curbed his appetite. He’s accepting of some of the sad changes he’s had to make - like - no more 2 cups of tartar sauce on his fish. I suspect when he thinks about what he’s eating, he can find that greaseless food offers its own flavors that delight. And of course, I’m not serving him a fat free diet - just a monounsaturated fat diet. Lots of olive oil, lots of nuts - new tastes. Tonight, though - will be the big test: grilled lean hamburgers. I am thinking I may add a few bread crumbs to the meat to give it some tenderness. All in all, he’s a splendid delightful patient.

I am still grinding away on i-cord - well - mostly I’m thinking I ought to go grind away on it - and I believe I left the book at the library and now can’t remember how many inches of the stuff I need to knit. But by golly, I will finish it today, because I intend to felt the Spring Fling bag tomorrow - when the rain is supposed to stop. I hear little patter sounds of gentle rain already. We actually haven’t had much rain for the past 2 weeks and a good soak wouldn’t do us any harm. I got all my laundry done during the week so I wouldn’t mind if it rained all weekend - but we have been given the promise of sunshine tomorrow.

And with that weather forecast I am going to sign off. I have to work today - my bi-monthly Saturday. It’s a short day and an easy day because nobody will call. Life is good.

posted by Bess | 6:09 AM

1 Comments:

About the winter coats...it's been down to -8C each of the last 2 nights, and we had snow on Wednesday...The only happy people are the Spring Skiers!

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:30 AM  

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Friday, April 29, 2005  

For once I don’t have newbabypuppy in my lap. Aunt Priss and Aunt Socks are supposed to be puppysitting, though yikes! I see them both sleeping on the stair landing just outside the office door and I hear the pad of little feet upstairs.

I have only a second to fit in a few words but I’ll be back in an hour or so to wax eloquent about Fridays Off and the possibility of a Perfect Haircut and that first day of exquisite spring, now so late it’s almost May and why, here in the capital of the Old South, we are still wearing our winter coats to work.

posted by Bess | 6:50 AM

4 Comments:

You'll be helping me spend money. I bought a Lotto ticket on impulse yesterday and hit on 4 out of 6, which should throw somewhere between $50-100 extra into my MDS&W splurge bank! That puppy is too precious - I saw that cute commercial with the little lab puppy at camp and thought of your little boy. Less than a week till we have Puppy Breath around here!

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:28 AM  

Oh, I think I'm going to be spending lots of time here, looking at that sweet little boy. I agree with Catherine's assessment on his lines and build - he's adorably precious now, but he'll be quite handsome as an adult. Thanks for the pick me up.

Is it time for MD yet? I need a great big Bessy Hug!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:10 AM  

What a little manly man he is! And a handsome hunk to boot. Love seeing the photos of you all & the other puppers w/him. Kisses to all.
XOXO,
Marfa

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:24 AM  

Such cute pictures!!! What a doll he is ~ boy, do I love that puppy smell!

So glad Ed's check up went well, and the Doc gave him such sensible advice! :-D

See you in 9 days!!!

Hugs

By Blogger Jennifer, at 10:05 AM  

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Thursday, April 28, 2005  

Once again I'm typing 1-handed, while a cute baby puppy sits /sleeps in my lap. Slow going that, so I must be brief. No real news anyway. Ed improves apace. I'm swamped at work because we're short staffed this week. Spring is creeping across the land. I haven't knit a stitch since Tuesday. I'm finished with the Spring Fling bag except for the utterly tedius i-cord.

I'm checking weather dot com for MSW weekend weather and counting the days - can't count any pennies because I don't realy have any. Or, not many. I don't mind, though. I'm not a first time visitor. I am rich with fiber treats already. I will try to limit myself to $100 total. Of course, I may fail but hey - this is fiber = we're only required to try.

Now - everybody please visit KnitDad's blog and urge him to take his snapped wrist to the doctor.

Beyond that - Good Knitting to all!

posted by Bess | 6:12 AM

6 Comments:

What a sweetie! He's adorable (so are your other two dogs, but that puppy!)

By Blogger Melissa, at 5:23 PM  

Awww... Your adorable doggies/puppy send a smile to my heart, but hearing BD is doing great sends an even greater one.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 6:42 PM  

He's beautiful!!! I'm a picky amateur judge of dogflesh and he is just a lovely, chubby blond baby! Love the bone structure, even in his baby form you can see he's going to be a fine, sturdy Lab boy. I hope our new baby is as fine a specimen, he comes home next Tuesday. My parents looked at his "baby pictures" on the breeders' website and pronounced him a fine Boston, so I hope their venerable judgment is sound.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:54 PM  

Okay...I'm smitten!

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:52 PM  

Okay, I'm smitten! :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:53 PM  

I am overwhelmed by puppy-lust! What a cuttie! I can't wait until I can have a dog again!

By Blogger Heidi, at 1:08 PM  

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005  

More puppylove



"What is this thing?"
"I don't know, sniff it and see."



"Yuck!"



"I'll be your friend!"
"GRRRRRRRRR"
"HMMMMM"



"How could they do this to me?"



Mama's boy.

posted by Bess | 4:35 PM

4 Comments:

Even a non-dog person would have to melt a little at that. What a handsome group!

By Blogger Larry, at 11:13 PM  

cute, cute, cute!
Congratulations on the great check-up! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:52 AM  

So adorable! Thanks for sharing the photos :) And great news on the check up!
Myshelle10

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:33 PM  

YAY! BD for his excellent check up!

YAY! Doc for knowing who the real boss is! ;)

YAY! LD for reminding Priss that she's the beautiful princess girl dog now!

YAY! Socks for keeping BP in line!

YAY! BP for picking such a great family!

By Blogger Amie, at 1:57 PM  

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005  

Getting to know you




I could be posting but I'd have to put down the babypuppy. He wins. besides - the only news is BD had a splendid check-up, The cardiologist actually smiled, then told him to obey me. This could be fun!

posted by Bess | 8:05 PM

2 Comments:

Big kisses to you, Ed & Mr. Man, aka Big C.
Look forward along w/Amie & everyone else to photos of the doodlebug puppy.
XOXO,
Marfa

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 AM  

11 days 11 days 11 days 11 days!!

Yippee hooray, can't wait to see you!

Send my love and hugs to BD ~ so glad he's feeling better! Look forward to seeing him soon, too!

xxoo Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 9:04 AM  

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Mea Culpa, Amie - But I don’t have a digital camera. I’ve got some on film to take to the 1-hour folk and if there is a chance tonight I’ll post them. So - check back after 7:30. P.M. that is. It’s an ungodly hour right now: 4:30 a.m. and I’ve been up for an hour or so. I would probably be pissed off if this were an ordinary insomnia attack. Instead I can murmur little soothing sounds to myself about TimesOfStress and Being Patient With My Body. And what can’t be blamed on stress can be blamed on the all night serenade from the puppy - imprisoned in the downstairs bathroom and not happy about it at all.

The first day back at work was not too bad - though of course most of the day I spent telling the story of BD and the MI. People wanted all the juicy details and I enjoyed telling them. I know that telling stuff over and over takes away most of its scary effects. All the really bad things in my life have poured out of my mouth in the form of Self in the Third Person Tales-O-Bess. I have been able to exorcise nearly all my demons that way, though it’s possible I have bored people far beyond the claims of friendship.

I did get my office desk uncluttered - a rehearsal for the job I’ll have to do here at home with the table tops. Knit Dad talks about the real possibility of seeing the top of his tables in some happy future moment. And how I envy him. We have really only two tables in the house, the dining room table/heap holder and the RealAntiqueButTooRicketyToPutAnythingOnIt Clover table by the couch. This doesn’t count the bedside tables which are merely heapettes - mostly full of books. I can sometimes keep on top of junk and junque and zhoongk and I sometimes stuff it all into brown paper bags and forget about the contents for a year or two. But before the avalanche of medical correspondence begins to crush its way into my house - I had better clean off the tables and set up the new file box.

I have HMO insurance and over the past decade all they’ve ever had to pay is little piddly $30 co-pay bills for me every 6 months or so. Now I’m going to be cashing in the chips. I hadn’t read the fat Explanation of Benefits booklet in a very long time and of course, when I opened it up yesterday morning the first thing I saw was, "You must call within 48 hours of being admitted to a hospital for a critical event. Failure to do so could result in loss of benefits." And of course, I hadn’t called them yet and it had been well over 48 hours. Evidently, though, the hospital had called and set everything up and we were already in the system. Yesterday I got a letter from them saying BD was fully covered for his stay at the hospital and he got a phone call from the HMO folk strongly urging him to take advantage of the 18 weeks of pulmonary rehab he was eligible for. The helicopter ride is covered too - according to the EOB booklet. I’ve heard so many horror stories about insurance companies making really sick patients jump through spine contorting hoops. Let us hope I am more fortunate than that (though I have amazing flexibility and can also wait longer than anyone I know.)

Well - these are just the dull little details of MajorMedicalEvents. If that is all I can find to write about I think I ought to go finish the Spring Fling bag. Puppy was rescued from his prison and is snuggled in the Big Bed with BD. Priss and Socks are working their way up to accepting him into the pack. They were pretty jealous yesterday and to prove they were still as cute as any puppy, they played their kissing game for half an hour out in the front yard. BD said Priss rolled the pup over and gave an angry snap after one serious canine protocol violation, but her teeth never came near any puppy flesh. Happily, the little fellow is too self absorbed to be cowered and besides, he’s a guy. He seems to take for granted that he’ll be Boss Dog soon enough. Ahh biology.

We still haven’t completely settled on a name. We are now toying with Captain Jack but that’s not a definite yet. I know his real name is Big Champion. Best thing about him isn’t his name, anyway - it’s the happy distraction he provides BD and the furry snuggles he gives us both.

Photos tonight.

posted by Bess | 5:09 AM

3 Comments:

Nothin' like a new life to breathe life into the old folks! Enjoy, dears.

Love -
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 PM  

Oh, it's just horribly cruel of you, when you know I've had a rough weekend, to not post pictures of the little chub. What about naming him after a past or literature king or god? Hercules... John... Atlas...

I'm excited already for a visit this summer that will include puppy kisses!!!!

By Blogger Amie, at 2:15 PM  

LOL! From your description of Priss' and Socks' reaction to Puppy, I thought they were cats!! :-)

Ah, nothin' quite like puppy love, eh?

By Blogger Margaret, at 8:26 PM  

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Monday, April 25, 2005  

PUPPY! PUPPY! PUPPY! PUPPY! PUPPY!



I have a brief few seconds while Puppy is not sitting in my lap - I’ll try toss out an update.

ThePatient is doing well. We had a late-ish breakfast; as in, late for me and way early for BD, in bed, while we tried to imagine how long it would take TheDarlings to get home with our NewBabyPuppy. BD is strictly in charge of his own meds and is doing a good job with it. We took several walks yesterday - one of them the full one mile circuit down the lane and back through the woods. We went slowly, more of an amble than a walk, and I watched him closely, because the dr. had said no more than 1/4 a mile. Later in the day he complained of being light headed so we called the doctor who told him to take one of his morning pills in the evening from now on and to expect a little lightheadedness right at the beginning. So long as he had no shortness of breath nor pain nor sweating we need not worry and he’d see us on Tuesday. I pointed out to him the necessity of taking shorter walks and treating his heart as if it were a sprained ankle. One doesn't walk on a sprained ankle and one doesn't walk on a strained heart. He agreed, so I know that faintness worried him. He ate 3 meals and 2 snacks again - and just as yesterday, consuming both a far smaller and far better balanced total in every way; fat, sugar, protein and carbs. This is looking good.

TheCaregiver is doing better too. I still felt mighty tired in the afternoon but I never did get around to falling asleep. The careful eating isn’t doing me a whit of harm either. And as would be expected, just having time to talk and talk and talk with this special man of mine has been doubly sweet. We are great talkers anyway, but when we think of what could have been the outcome of this past week ...

TheKnitter finished the body of the Spring Fling bag and is probably going to start on the flap and straps a little later this morning. I know I have a mesh lingerie bag around here somewhere and I will spend a little time digging for it in the heap. If I am unsuccessful in finding it, I’ll use the sure method of finding lost things: Buy a new one. I sense a serious felting era dawning.

TheProudParentsOfNewPuppy were watching a BBC Masterpiece theater video, about 5:30, when in walked a great big man with a fat little puppy. Off went the television. Up reached our arms. Laughter filled the room. Hugs wrapped around everybody. Kisses and strokes and giggles and snuggles and licks and tickles and cooing exclamations completed the welcome of NewBabyPuppy. He still hasn’t told us his name. We thought Beau at first, but that sounds too much like No. I said it should be a noble name because his head is so aristocratic; Duke would be my choice, but that didn’t suit Papa. Gus - short for Augustus - sounded good and quite noble, almost imperial, but now BD is saying it’s too much like Priss (?) and what about Captain - which I don’t like, though I could call him Cap’m only ... he doesn’t look like a Cap’m.

And speaking of Priss and Socks - They Are Not Pleased. Well, Socks is fascinated, but not quite sure. Priss is pretty sure, but she is willing to be have her mind changed so long as he keeps away from her tail. That will be hard because she has a real fox tail - thick and bushy and so chewable. Socks can’t stay away but she can’t stand to get close either and the worried expression on her face, the sniffing and mouthing and drooling all over his back is evidence of her dilemma. Priss gives him a little low growl but has so far neither snapped nor mouthed at him.

Well - they will adjust. Priss has always been just a little on the detached side and I hope this doesn’t really upset her. I could see her running away because of this addition to the pack, though I’m not expecting it. Socks, while sometimes the dominant dog with Priss, is actually much more submissive to us. We got her as a puppy and rescued her from abandonment and starvation to boot. She’s known want and feels whatever there is of dog gratitude, combined with attachment. Priss has lived rough and, also abandoned, raised her litter on her own before bringing them to our house to start her new life. She has a more ranging nature, a less obedient temperament. She will come in our direction if we call her but she won’t ever come to us. That’s why we never take her off the farm unless it’s for shots or medical care.

So the family expands. How will I ever go to work today? I can’t believe I’m supposed to care about summer reading club or whatever novel some local wants to read or ... those Baker and Taylor bills! Sheesh! Dear friends sent a casserole over yesterday - and since she’s a nurse she knew to make it low fat. Tomorrow we visit the heart dr. Since that is Weight Watcher’s night I’ll be glad to know BD has a good dinner waiting for him. And NO. I do not want him to go to WW with me. That is an important girl thing I do with B and BH. Besides, I know him well enough to know he’d actually be bored with it. In fact, when he felt faint yesterday I asked him if he’d like me to read to him about heart attacks (or even diabetes) from our home health encyclopedia he got that "Oh God No" look on his face. I just laughed and got him the dr.’s phone number. No. He can skip WW. We shall just let him benefit from my enthusiasm.

Sweet Little As Yet Nameless Puppy would like to go for a walk now (says she who really wants to watch him in the great outdoors). Be glad for us. From the ashes of yesterday we are rising up with such glorious feathers.

posted by Bess | 6:27 AM

2 Comments:

Sweets,
Glad you were able to revive yourself w/both nap & water therapy - what a duo to care for the soul, brain, body, heart & spirit. The new systems for meds & appts. sound solid. You & BD are finding good ways to make some lemonade out of this ^..^
XOXO
Marfa

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 PM  

We CAN hear your heart, dear. Which is why we like to keep it humming by feeding it our love.

Love to Ed -

LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:45 PM  

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Sunday, April 24, 2005  

The Crash Cameth



As I probably knew it would. I was in the grocery store yesterday, something I do once a week anyway, but this time with a longer and different list, when a wave of such overwhelming exhaustion swept over me I nearly fell out on the floor. Thank goodness I was holding on to the cart - and I was standing in the check out line too. I had intended to do some other chores, but decided that they can all wait till Monday.

So I hurried home, put all the stuff that might otherwise spoil into the refrigerator and crept up into bed, where I slept for 2 hours. When I woke I was shivering as if I had a fever, so I hopped into a very hot bath and let my favorite medicine do it’s work. I am a compete believer in AquaTherapy of all sorts. Drink it, soak in it, shower beneath it, listen to it tumble in fountains or waterfalls, and gaze at it. I know that Virgo is an earth sign, but water represents healing to me. Warm at last I fixed some dinner and was back in bed at 8:30. Slept the night through, in spite of the full moon beaming it’s light into the bedroom.

BD and I had a wonderful long discussion yesterday about how to organize bottles of pills for a man who has never been sick before. We came up with a simple identifying system. (color coded caps for the different times of day, on a shelf with nothing but his stuff on it) We talked a lot about food also. And about purchasing and setting up a new file box just for his health info. And about the to-do lists he’s going to have to keep for a while, as he tries to remember all the appointments and Drs. and things he’s got to do in this early stage. It was a very easygoing discussion and it reminded me that when he has to, BD can be the most sensible, open minded and wisest of fellows. All I had to do was ask a question or two and he would open up that fabulously creative mind of his and come up with some truly useful answers - that were, in effect, commitments to the right living he really has to do now.

Where I can pour out all my need to "mudder my poowah widdle baybeee" is into meals - dinner especially, which I would have cooked anyway. I know the greatest enemy to eating right, and eating well, is eating fast. Eating as if it were something to hurry through so you can get on to better things. I know this is the message in the French Women book. Of course, right now, doing things the right way is a mighty high priority. Still, we are having fun making a big deal out of our meals. I hope we can keep up a high level of interest in dining and continue to pay it the proper respect. Breakfast is not a problem because I have always been a breakfast eater and I love all the good things he’s supposed to eat. Dinner is pretty much the same. In fact, it’s going to be a lot easier, because for 2 years I’ve cooked 2 different dinners every night. I do have to laugh, though, because last night I made a chicken stir fry over brown rice - which is one of my all time favorite dishes - and BD exclaimed over it in delight. My dear friends, this is almost the very dish he has rejected at least 20 times with a sighing "I don’t care for those chicken things on rice. There’s just no flavor!" He also had 3 meals and 2 snacks yesterday, that all came to a pretty nutritious total.

And for the first time since I joined Weight Watchers, I haven't felt like I had to ...hmm...how to put this... pretend I wasn't really enjoying myself. There had always been a subtle disapproval from BD that I wasn't eating what he ate. And he was begining to eat in defiance of any pleasure he might get, stuffing himself with food long past the point where he was uncomfortable, insisting that he could still eat like a teenager when he was 62. I think there really was some slight resentment that translated into "you may have slimmed down but I am eating stuff that tastes good." It wasn't true and I realize now that I had begun to either retreat into a sort of hurried, hidden eating or just gone along with his diet. (Though I have not been able to eat into the pain zone for years.) Dinner last night was really fun. We talked and we savored and we took our time. At the risk of turning everything into something about me and while I am not looking for personal benefits from these changes, I am glad to get them if they come along.

So far, so good, is the verdict so far. So. Good.

Needless to say, I didn’t get the Spring Fling bag finished. First off, it didn’t rain til late in the day, when I was napping. And second off, LD came over and puttered about the house with us, helping me haul out the screens and wash them off. Usually BD hauls them up to the house and I scrub them, so this was a bonus. They are dreadfully shabby looking, though and LD, with a kind of courteous scorn, prompted us about painting them. They aren’t heavy and we could set them up on the porch, on saw horses, and BD could quietly sit and paint them all next week. So we didn’t hang them and this morning I’ll run it past the boss man. He doesn’t really like to paint but these don’t need scraping - he used a white stain when he made them. We have lots of paint left over from last spring (when he should have paid the professional to paint them - what was he thinking?).

It’s funny how the separate household of TheDarlings is peopled by two souls so powerfully bonded to, yet totally independent from us. Often enough I feel like they have expectations of us that are way too high. I could never really be the paragon my son thinks I am. (Or once thought I was) Yet having someone think so highly of me does inspire me to live up to that height. But when I fail - as with the shabby screens that I’ve put up year after year, though they’ve looked like crap for decades - it’s almost funny to hear the disapproval in his voice. And to hear the gentle way he tries to urge me to get back up on the pedestal.

They have offered to go pick up the puppy for us today. It’s a long drive and we haven’t been able to get in touch with the breeder. I suspect her school was holding it’s Prom and she’d told me she was in charge of it. If that is so, I suspect, also, that she’d commandeered her entire family as chaperones. But whatever the reason, we couldn’t raise them on the phone and I am not sending TheDarlings on a 300 mile trip to find nobody home. I’ll call in an hour or two but if we can’t get them, we’ll just have to wait till next weekend. This is not nearly the disappointment it would have been last week - but then we are not where we were last week, either. We are in a NewPlace.

So - I hope to knit today. I can’t think of anything else I have to do. I may play with beads too. That is almost as much fun as fiber play. I am officially NOT going to enter anything in the MSW contest. I like to work to deadlines, but I don’t like to play to them. And I suspect I could get really addicted to felted bags. Especially with KnitPick’s $1.79 worsted weight wool. If MSW wasn’t so close I might even place an order. But I can do so in the summer.

Again, my dear wonderful friends - thank you SO SO SO much for the emails and messages. I feel almost greedy for them. They seem to validate me and cocoon me and open doors for me all at the same time. ALL your ideas are good - even if I’ve already had them - because they remind me and make me think and even praise me. This enormous web of support from the world of friends has truly sheltered me through this whole thing.

Thank you is such a tiny thing to say with text - but if you could hear my heart you would know that it’s being sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and has golden sunshine rays shooting out from behind it.

posted by Bess | 7:13 AM

4 Comments:

I'm glad you're both home, now. Good luck with the life changes ahead! I agree with you about the shoes-I've reached an age that my feet deserve to be happy and comfortable! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 10:42 AM  

Bess, sweetie, the best gift you can give him is the independence to see to his own future. He will then be able to be proud of his successes and feel the drive that accomplishment inspires. You have wisely concluded that have a husband, not a son. You both have my most fond wishes for a speedy recovery and happy, healthy futures.

And Ed - No, you may NOT have some cheese with that whine!

Love you both -
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:39 PM  

I can do high shoes but pointy is just wrong. My feet are not pointy. They know this and object. I have some pointy shoes that are okay for short runs, like church, but no way would I wear them to the office. Strappy sandals are too iffy too - they may feel and look fine for an hour, but by hour four they are slicing off parts of your feet. You just can't tell in the store, so I don't risk it.

I work with young things who will limp around in 3 inch heels and pointy toes because they look so good, while whimpering that their feet hurt. I've always been too old for that nonsense. When they are my age and have bunions and hammertoes I hope they remember those shoes.

My feet have never heard of a bunion. VERY long ago in my first pass through collge I sold designer shoes in a high end department store, and you would not have believed the gross deformed feet that came through. I saw the effect of years of wearing those shoes on 40-50something feet and it put me off them for life.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:45 PM  

Oh and I agree with LWLY, you are right to make taking care of his health his job. Don't let him become like your son or your patient, because you will lose your husband and lover. Cook healthy meals and exercise with him, thats good for both of you and something pleasant you can share, but his meds and such are his responsibility, and he'll adjust. If you make it your job your relationship will change and you don't want that.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:48 PM  

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Saturday, April 23, 2005  

We are home! We are home! We are home! We are home! We are home!



Yes. We are home and from the hospital all the way to Champlain, I couldn’t stop grinning. Then, once I sat down with that bag full of pills - I became scared. I believe these are the two poles between which the needle of my psyche will be wobbling over the next few weeks.

I'll admit, one of my early reactions when BD had his heart attack was "thank god. Now he will begin to eat properly." Throughout the past few days, there has even been a little excitement about the important challenges we now face. We have ThingsToLearn and NewPatternsToDevelop. It will be like moving to a new town or a different house. The idea of having to grow and expand and become Even Better has been a constant prod all my life. Mama once told me my reaction to praise, even as a tiny tot, was to say "That’s nothing! Just wait till you see what I do next!" The thrill of success has always stimulated me to try the NextThing. BD calls them "Bess’ passions", these NewThings that capture my interest: pottery, gardening, music, fiber. But last night - when we got home with the bag full of pills and the pill box sorter - I began to quail. Would BD ever follow such a complicated routine? And then he began to sulk and mutter that "well, so that doctor says" and "You mean I have to have a podiatrist now too?" and I had to steady myself. This attitude is the reason he nearly died to begin with!

And so - the exciting new challenge will come with some hard struggles. And he did back off from the brat behavior quickly - and tell me soberly "I will do this".

We shan't be perfect right away - but we shall be successful. I think the reason the endocrinologist determined that he truly is diabetic is not so much because of blood sugar levels, which were normal almost all day, but because he's had both a detached retina and a heart attack. Talk about knocking on the door!! And I have to keep reminding myself that he isn’t in the full blown most serious stage - or even type - of diabetes. He is borderline type 2 diabetic. We can reverse some of the worst effects and prevent the development of others. The combination of healthy heart and healthy blood diets will do him nothing but good. In fact, I plan to incorporate the Weight Watcher’s way of eating into his life. I even expect to take off the WeddingWeight I put on this winter at the same time.

But at times, the changes we’re facing are really frightening. Big things - like death - and little things like erasing 31 years of assumptions we have. Assumptions I have, especially. The first hint of the magnitude of what we face came last night when I had to unload the car. I never unload the car. I walk in the front door, get a glass of water, kick off my shoes and plop down on the couch. Unloading the car is not my job. It’s something BD has always done. Not because I ever asked either, but because he does it. It’s what he does. He does it from love and tenderness and responsibility and because it is supposed to be done and because that is his job.

As is bringing in the firewood and carrying other heavy things for me and doing BIG things and HEAVY things and POWERFUL things and all the ManlyStuff. These are sometimes so small that I can’t even think of what they are - but the next time I expect one of those things to be done - and then I realize I have to do it - it’s going to hit me again. KAPOW. We had been a team and, for a while at least, I will be flying solo. Thank goodness it’s springtime and I don’t need to bring in a load of firewood.

I am resisting the driving urge to baby him by taking on all the responsibility for his health. My natural inclination is to be everybody’s mother. It’s so imbedded in my soul that I pretty much attract all the waifs for miles around. I’ve always done all the cooking around here anyway, which has never been onerous because BD never ate breakfast and over the years he stopped eating lunch. He would just wait till I got home and eat mountains of whatever I prepared. When the diabetes counselor heard that she almost fainted. Her reaction was so strong and so swift and so powerful, I know he'll take care to eat more often - but ... if I do all the Mama stuff - that will mean I have to leave him 2 meals before I go to work AND cook when I get home. So. I love being a mama - but I don't want to be a slave. Yes. He will have to learn to cook.

The same with counting out his medicines. Part of me wants to do it all because:

a. it is the sort of thing I like to do - little fiddly detail stuff - I am a Virgo, after all and
b. I’m fascinated by the science of it all and
c. That’s what Mama Does - heal the sick and
d. If I do it I’ll know it gets done and
e. If I do it I’ll know it’s done right

But there is another part of me - a wiser, less co-dependent, less manipulative, less frightened, stronger, and finer part that says:

a. If I do all the work, he won’t be the sick one - I will - both in his mind and in reality
b. Eventually I will grow resentful and even possibly bitter about the burden of it all
c. What if I died or had to be away - would I come home to a crisis?
d. I might just quit!

As I sat there looking at the pill box organizer and the bags of medicines and the leaflets and pamphlets and instructions I realized that we were going to have to do a lot of talking about our new routines. This prior discussion is a new thing for us. We have so naturally divided the responsibilities between us over so many years that it may feel a little like 1971 again - as we divvy up the Chores of Health. All morning I have been gathering my CloakOfCalmness about me, for there will be some heat in our discussion. I will have to wear the EarPlugsOfUnderstanding to filter out the whining and brattiness and gently apply the SteelyHandOfTruth to any tense moments that crop up. When I hear defeat and sulkiness and the "I Wont And You Can’t Make Me" of the 2 year old - I’ll have to resist the urge to shrug and say "okay - your life". Equally as important - I’ll need the MuffleOfManipulation so that I don’t become an intolerable BossyBigSister to my BabyBrotherHusband. The S.H.O.T. must be applied equally to both BigDarling and TheQueen.

So - as if the heavens wanted to confirm the absolute Rightness of these first baby steps into our new future, here is my horoscope from Mr.NailOnTheHead himself:

Your week ahead: As children, we all play with building blocks. Early in this process we discover that, when creating a tall tower, it is important to have a strong, solid, level base. The same is true of any construction process. Get the foundation right and the rest will be much easier to deal with. Sometimes though, we don't quite realize that we are at the start of something - and that the future depends on what we do next. Or we do realize this... but we are in too much of a hurry to care. Look hard at the precedents you are setting now. Above all else, you need stability.

And just to prove that there is balance in my life, even at a time like this - Just read this!
I was so relieved to find out I’m not the only person who can’t wear those Barbie Doll Shoes that are so popular right now. Not that I would try to, except for the pair I bought that has lights that flash when I walk - and those are only for wearing to story hour, which I do sitting down. No. Just that I have always felt that my feet must be not just huge, but ugly and bad and awful because I can’t wear those wretched "strappy sandals" that are photographed in 100% of all fashion layouts, magazines, catalogs, and in the film world too. I’m not defective - it’s just that all the designers are sadists and all those women are masochists.

Also - I thoroughly enjoyed knitting on the Spring Fling Purse. I’ll finish it today on this Thunderstormy Saturday. It’s cute. It’s fast. It’s even a candidate for a summertime Learn To Knit class.

But I can’t leave without thanking you all again for your tender contact. It has been of immeasurable help. You are all so good.

posted by Bess | 8:15 AM

5 Comments:

Sweets,
The 1st thing I wanted to see this AM was your blog - I hoped to read about Ed & just as I did when I read your Thursday post, I cried. I am so grateful for the positive & hopeful news. Thanks for letting us know how BD is. Sending you lotsa love.
XOXO,
Marfa

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 AM  

Oh yeah, I know this story well! The borderline diabetes, the calcium and the heart are related and stem from the same DNA issues. The good news is a lot of it can be helped by diet and exercise changes. You might want to pick up a copy of the South Beach Diet book - Dr. Agatston is a cardiologist, he explains the issues very clearly.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:31 AM  

Oh my goodness... Just saw this. I'm sorry for the stress, but I'm so glad to hear that things sound positive and hopeful from here. Hopefully that new puppy will also want to cuddle indoors!

Myshelle 10 (from KR)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:42 PM  

This woman is incredible and I've only met her once. Her words and thoughts are so very inspiring and optimistic.

She and I were to meet for a second time tomorrow and she took the time, amidst all of this turmoil, to message me and advise me of this which will men more time until we meet again.

My heart's with ya, Bess....

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 PM  

This woman is incredible and I've only met her once. Her words and thoughts are so very inspiring and optimistic.

She and I were to meet for a second time tomorrow and she took the time, amidst all of this turmoil, to message me and advise me of this which will mean more time until we meet again.

My heart's with ya, Bess....

Martha (oh, hit that enter key too soon before)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 PM  

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Friday, April 22, 2005  

My dear and most beloved friends. Those of you who have posted here. those who have written to me or called. How I love you. How strong is the net you have knitted to catch me if I were to fall. The knowledge of it is such a powerful support. It keeps terror, not just at bay, but out of the picture all together. It covers my back so that I can go forward, really hearing what the doctor is saying, sleeping soundly at night, and only overindulging in the littlest bit of Shopping Therapy, that spending of money we do when we need to fill up the black hole of fear in our hearts. In fact, apart from that brief bit of time while BD’s blood pressure was bottoming out, right at the beginning, I haven’t really been afraid throughout this whole awful thing. How can I ever thank you?

And if you were to see the HeartPatient, you would think "What sort of game is being played here? This is no sick man - this is a fake." This is the most vigorous, powerful looking, voluble heart attack victim you’ve ever seen. He looks like someone taking a vacation, not someone who’s blood pressure flatlined 2 days ago. He’s bored. He says over and over "I can’t believe I’m supposed to be sick. I feel perfectly normal." And he really does look - not just normal, but better than he has for a long time.

This is also the first time my goofy guy has had a physical since the draft board got to him back in 1962 - and all sorts of not very good things are finally being revealed. BD has an enormous presence - a yoga instructor once said his aura spread out 15 feet - and that’s about right. If you are at all sensitive to personal space, you bump into his just about the moment you walk into any room he’s in. His voice carries across the miles. You really do get a lot of him when you get him - and even when he’s still he seems to be just about to chop down trees or heave boulders about. This enormous presence has always been something I liked. It made me feel like I could be all sorts of big loud things and it would never be too much for him to handle. And all of this bigness seems to be holding his creaky health together, at least long enough for him to be butt kicked into a doctor’s office where he has learned that, not only does he have plaque in his arteries, but he also has early stages of Type II diabetes and a parathyroid condition that has his calcium regulator stuck in overdrive. This fellow is going to be very pharmaceutical in the coming months.

As the distracted worry factor has ratcheted down and I have been able to consider and ponder and associate random things into a meaningful understanding, I realize there have been so many warning signs of his underlying health condition. The dichotomy of BD’s overwhelming vigor combined with a matching stubbornness and the normal human frailties of an aging body that’s been used hard, blinded me to what others might have deduced out of a rather black and white list of facts. Part of me is really shocked at how stupid I’ve been. Fer cryin’ out loud - why didn’t we have a blood sugar test after his retina detached 5 years ago? Of course, the doctors then assured him that people as nearsighted as he is often had detached retains, but mostly their patients were all diabetic. Sheesh! How blind can two people be?

Well - the way I have lived with such a huge bull in a china shop that is no bigger than planet earth, has been to state my case, maybe even state it twice, and then, if I couldn’t easily move that table full of bric-a-brac out of the way, just let him walk into it. After the crash I’d hand him a metaphorical broom and let him sweep up the shards. Big hugging arms would always enfold him after he’d cleaned up the mess. Almost never have my warnings been heeded, though I’ll admit, he never has trouble coming back to me and saying "You were right." After 31 years, it will probably be difficult to change many of our ways of relating to each other, but yesterday he promised me he wouldn’t fight me on the food issue. In fact, I was present when the dietitian came in and the three of us had a very lively conversation. It was endearing, too, to watch him gesture towards me several times and say "well, she will take care of that". Whatever there was of the frightened little boy inside him was so glad to have whatever there is of the Big Mama inside me, close by, fully capable of fixing things for him. It really was like going to a parent/teacher conference.

He’s out of the intensive care unit now, and sometime today or tomorrow or, possibly, Sunday, he’ll be discharged. The Magnificent Sheryl came by yesterday and did an extra special job on the house. It gleams with welcome-home shimmers. He can walk up and down stairs so we don’t have to set up a new bedroom. I will be sure to be with him most of today so that as doctors come by and give him their perfunctory instructions - like "no excessive walking" - which he will think means he can’t walk up to Rose Hill, 4 miles away, but surely he can walk the mile out to the mailbox. (Thank goodness I was there when the doctor started talking about one mile hikes! That’s just a stroll out to the mailbox around here.) He has to take it easy for 6 weeks while the trauma to his heart subsides. After that the doctors will assess whatever, if any, permanent damage was done. By then he will have been on Weight Watchers for a month and a half and there should be many signs of improvement - not just in his body, either - for I hope to benefit from the new regimen as well.

TheDarlings promise to go get the new puppy on Sunday. A board member has promised to play hostess at our Japanese Embroidery Lecture and Demonstration this Saturday. I stopped by Ben Franklin and, in spite of the StashFromHeck, bought beautiful green Patons Merino to knit the Spring Fling Bag from this. I don’t really want a hairy purse, so I am using some mohair yarn in variegated pinks, from my stash. I’m working on the body of it now and with size 15 needles it will go very fast.

I am not particularly covetous about bags. I am more of a box person. Boxes stay at home and tempt one with the promise of a surprise inside. Bags or purses are both mobile and utilitarian - sort of like cars - and they have to be easy to learn, easy to memorize and seldom change. I have one expensive brown leather bag I use summer and winter till it gets so shabby even I notice it, and then I go out and buy another expensive brown leather bag. There are a lot of very cute bags and purses in this book I’d like to knit. I hope my friends will enjoy them.

And so my dear friends - thank you so much for caring and for letting me know and for just being who you are.

posted by Bess | 6:25 AM

12 Comments:

Oh my. I'm so glad he's doing well and it sounds like he had outstanding care. This sort of thing runs in my DNA too and I've been through this with my dad. The good news is that cardiac care has advanced hugely in the past couple of decades, and with a few lifestyle changes he may never have another episode like this. Healthy eating is not THAT bad.... :-)

Hugs to all of you.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:28 AM  

Oh darling Bess, {{{{{hugs}}}}} to you and to BD. It sounds like he is in good hands at the hospital, and I KNOW he is in good hands with you, thus on the road to recovery.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:18 AM  

They have wonderful cardiologists in Richmond. A dear uncle of my stepchildren is one of them. If you want more info email me: eefdg AT yahoo DOT com.

You are doing great! Good thoughts from Kentucky (I used to be in WA and enjoy your southernisms from afar)

By Anonymous Ellen, at 8:31 AM  

I'm SO glad he's doing better! My brother in law from Blacksburg had a heart attack in Richmond in December. Very convenient to be so close to so many good hospitals. Best wishes! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 9:33 AM  

Oh, Bess. Glad to hear he is doing well, and in good hands. Take care.

By Blogger Melissa, at 10:22 AM  

bess-
I'm thinking good things for you and BD.. puppy recovery is a wonderful idea! Please know you are in my thoughts.

By Blogger purlewe, at 1:29 PM  

Oh, my. I'm glad to hear that he's doing better, and that they can actually DO something to fix things.

I'm sending out "good thoughts" (if that doesn't sound too icky) for you and BD.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 3:04 PM  

Oh honey, sending lots of good thoughts your way. Puppy distractions sound like a grand idea.

By Anonymous heidigrace, at 5:01 PM  

Sweetheart, you and Ed are gifts, and I love you with everything I have. Please pass on my love to him, and know that your friends will do anything, any time, to help.

Love and hugs -
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:33 PM  

Bess,
You and all your darlings are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your BD has a speedy recovery and adapts well to his new eating style!

Hugs,
Alissa

By Anonymous Alissa Barton, at 11:54 PM  

Oh, Bess, virtual hugs from Illinois. Heart things are not to be taken lightly as my FIL learned a month ago.
Speedy recovery to your husband and also to you. Sad that it takes something like this to make some people wake up to the issues of their health.

I'm sure the new puppy will get him walking and keep his spirits up.
erica :)

By Blogger erica, at 4:49 PM  

Oh, Bess, virtual hugs from Illinois. Heart things are not to be taken lightly as my FIL learned a month ago.
Speedy recovery to your husband and also to you. Sad that it takes something like this to make some people wake up to the issues of their health.

I'm sure the new puppy will get him walking and keep his spirits up.
erica :)

By Blogger erica, at 4:50 PM  

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Thursday, April 21, 2005  

I am having the hardest time not writing some flippant header for this post - like "It’s the big one, ‘Liz-a-beth!" or something else equally denying. After all, laughter can be a great healer. But the sad news is that my own dear BD had a pretty bad heart attack on Tuesday and I’m only now sitting down at the desk, with fingers poised over keyboard, the harsh glare of the monitor my only illumination.

That, of course, is the bad news. The good news is that it is 2005 and the care for heart attack folk is really top notch. The really super duper news is that he’s going to be all right. The unbelievable news is that he has vowed to a number of people to "Eat like his wife". But he said it and I have witnesses.

BD is the most vigorous man I have ever known. It’s one of my favorite traits about him - this crackling energy, boundless, powerful and extraordinarily masculine. Having grown up in a House-O-Girls, frilled with a stint in a Catholic girls’ school, and much preferring things feminine anyway, life with such a masculine sort of guy has always been like a really successful color combination in an important design project: Enough tension to bring out the depth of both, yet utterly complimentary and mutually enhancing. For some little while, though, he’s seemed - subdued is the only word I can find to express it. Not depressed, not really slower - though he has been slower - but muted. He confessed to me after all this happened that he’d been having pain episodes for a month now, but of course, he’s a Haile and they are too smart to ever get sick and besides, if you go to a doctor he will only attach some disease to your records and then you’ll really be sick. I am not kidding. I have known this man for 33 years and he has never, once, in all that time, had a physical. He’s gotten broken things fixed, but that’s it, as far as visiting the Land-of-Doctors. He has taken me to the doctor and horned in on my time by asking for medical opinions about himself - to which my good doctor would mostly answer, "talk to my secretary about scheduling an appointment" but he never did get around to it. You know the routine, if you don’t think about it, maybe it will go away.

Well, this time it didn’t and we had a few scary moments there - scary enough to call in the helicopter to take him to Richmond, where very skilled fingers performed the angioplasty and inserted the stent. This, though, was well after I got the call from the emergency room that "your husband is a patient here". Stupidly I didn’t ask what was wrong, merely jumped in the car and dashed across town. Mind, now, my little town is only about 3 miles long. I was at the hospital in 10 minutes, max, but all the time I kept praying "Please don’t let it be bloody". Eh. We all have our weak places.

He had a clot in the right artery that was causing him a great deal of pain, but his blood pressure was so low he couldn’t take anything for it. They gave him a morphine drip, which doesn’t really relieve pain, it just makes you not too fussy about it. He complained about the pain the whole time he was in the ER, but it never sounded like he ment it. He did, of course, and I hope the memory of it stays with him, because the sort of life changes he will have to make from now on are going to be mighty hard on him. He’d also gotten a clot buster - a kind of Drain-O for the veins. The blood pressure, though was the really serious problem, especially when it tanked about 20 minutes after 3.

I tried to make myself as small as possible, but there was no way I was letting go of some part of him, mostly rubbing his feet and legs. I was at least not enough of a problem to make any of the half dozen folk in medical clothes tell me to get out of the way. I did break away a few times, to make calls to rearrange the World of Bess. In small town ‘murika you use the jungle beat network to get info spread to important places. Tell a few chosen people, and tell them to spread the word, and I can promise you, it is spread. It’s a good way to get things done, better than the Internet, actually.

My assistant called LD’s boss who sent his wife out to the place LD was working, which happened to be just up the road from the hospital. He was with me fast, and even GD made it all the way from Montross to the ER in time to beam her golden smile down into his face and give him a hug and kiss. About the time he was being loaded onto the helicopter the clot began to dissolve so that there was a little flow taking place by the time he was with the surgeon. TheDarlings and I drove off just as the copter lifted off and BD was half way through the operation by the time we got there. By 7:30 I was hearing a sober man in green scrubs tell me how lucky my guy was and that it looked good - somewhere the word recovery was slipped into the conversation, but I don’t remember exactly where. Not too long after that we could all go see him and I was surprised at just how much visiting the CCU(used to be the ICU) station allowed him.

He, of course, was giddy with relief - and was holding forth in his usually lordly host fashion - talking about everything that is important to him - his work projects, his new puppy, his plans for the future. Every other sentence, though, was interspersed with vows and promises. The New Regime. His Reformed Ways. His willing sacrifice of those baby back ribs.
I spent the night at C’s house, mother of the D part of D&P. P took me back to the hospital in the a.m. and I did the important things wives need to do, to feel useful in chrome and tile science institutions. I know the secret places to massage that make my darling fall asleep. I know the real things that ease his worry. I know how tell him that we will make his new diet a culinary adventure - sparking his excitement, instead of trying to make him realize the serious nature of the changes he is about to undertake. The Doctrine of Pleasure. That is our guiding force. It doesn’t have to be hell - it can be a lot of fun.

I’d gotten only about 3 hours of sleep on Tuesday night, but it took me forever to wind down last night and I still popped wide awake at 4:30 this morning. I’m at home, though, thankfully so. I will stay home this a.m. and put a little more order into things. The young darlings have been staunch and will seal their goodness by picking up the new puppy on Saturday so that BD will have a joyful distraction while he is under house arrest - I mean while he’s recovering. With luck he will be home Friday - otherwise it will be Saturday. Somewhere between now and then I’d like to have the house clean and some groceries bought. How lucky I’d already planned to be off today and tomorrow.

Alas, I will miss being the spinning hostess at B’s house tomorrow, during the Va. Garden Week House Tour. It would have been great good fun, but there you have it. We cut our coat to fit our cloth. Funny, all that time I was at the hospital, though I carried around my Golding spindle and some BFL, I didn’t feel like doing anything with it till yesterday afternoon - and even then, only for about 20 minutes. Well - it is a new road we will be walking down. BD is the last male Haile of his generation, among all the brothers, first cousins, second cousins, and even 3rd cousins to have this heart attack issue. There is DNA talking here. And all the other men are doing splendidly now, though of course, they are all eating more chicken. So I have every hope of real recovery and maybe even a new and trimmer husband in the near future.

Posts may be spotty for a while - or they may not. But I promise photos of the new puppy next week.

posted by Bess | 6:49 AM

5 Comments:

Pupppies are in the air! Congratulations! I chose my golden, Bailey, that way - of all the fat little puppies, he was the one who waddled over to sit in my lap and get to know me. Murphy was an arranged "adoption" on the breeder network, and so is our new little boy, who also has no name. I agree, his name will reveal itself when he's home - we're just trying to develop a short list, because Girlchild is infamously indecisive. :-)

By Blogger Catherine, at 5:21 AM  

YAY! I haven't had a chance to respond to your e-mail (training folks at work) but I'm so excited and happy for you! What a lucky little chubster to get to go home with Bess & BD! (How do I get that gig???)

Sounds like BD puts the troops through the same tests they use to decided if a dog can continue service (for the blind/handicapped/law enforcement/armed forces/search & rescue) dog work.... it works for them, do you deserve any less of a dog??? I think not.

HUGS! Can't wait to come visit this summer and meet the new little lover!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:05 AM  

Joining in praise of dogs -- from a Cat Person! Dear heart, I grew up with both. All our dogs were mutts; all our cats, strays who found us and stayed. Love 'em both, but live in the city, and won't have a dog here -- not the kind I like, anyway -- a rollicking lab, or collie/shepherd cross, or beagle/poodle cross -- the ones I remember as a kid. Nope. Gotta have a country place or small town with lots of green spaces for 'em to run.

A cat, now, that's different. We are owned by a Himalayan cross named Fred (came with the moniker) who knows on which side his bread is buttered, and therefore sticks to me like glue! But I love him dearly, and know that most days, he's the only one who truly understands me!

Best wishes for happy years to you and BD and Your Chubby White Pup! :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 9:18 AM  

Oh, a cubby white pup. I'm sure he's adorable stumbling and frolicking around in a way only a puppy can. Hopefully, it will be a quick week for you so you can bring your new little guy home!

I'm a cat lady and love my two crazy kitties. They still act like kittens.

By Blogger erica, at 11:05 AM  

Wa hoo & hot dawg! Lucky little doodlebug to be coming to the home of the Ds. Look forward to hearing more about him & meeting him someday ^..^
XOXO,
Marfa

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:55 AM  

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Monday, April 18, 2005  

Sunday brought us perfect wedding anniversary weather; blue, gold, bright and mild. Not too different from a wedding day 31 years ago. We lolled about taking our time; a little breakfast, a little talk, a sweet breeze coming through the open door. But it was impossible to really just loaf. There was too much excitement between the both of us - Puppy excitement. Perhaps before we even went to bed that night, we’d have a little furball all howling and growling in the bathroom. We went through the Sunday paper, finding most of the pet adds a little confusing - labs, ready for Christmas? In April? What is this? Are they trained hunters? Nope. Just owned by folk who are long range planners.

We had a heck of a time getting anyone on the phone, but one number, a local one, had 10 new black pups - lots of males and ready to leave home in 3 weeks. Another owner lived 150+ miles south but she had both parents and grand parents of her litter and yes, yes, she had several black males, all 5 weeks old. A third fellow, on the south side of Richmond, about half way between the two, had one black boy left. And this one was 7 weeks old and ready to go home that afternoon. So we hopped in the car, armed with newspaper and DeLorme’s, and started our puppy quest.

What is sweeter than a bundle of puppies, shiny black as midnight in the rain, sleek, soft, and nestled on sweet emerald grass? The owner was an old little league teammate of LD’s. The mother was the perfect blend of friendliness and protectiveness. She got between me and her pups, pushed me gently, but steadily away with her shoulder, but immediately obeyed when her owner called her off. We lifted out the two biggest boys and set them on the grass outside their little pen. Waddles and tumbles, grunts and squeals. The yard was full of it. Mama had stopped nursing them a week earlier, their sharp needle teeth proving more painful than she was willing to put up with.

BD asked about the father and they pulled out the cutest photo - Papa, proud black boy, from across the river, in full hunting pose. Honestly - any one of those babies would be a treat and they’re close enough that we could go over and pet them while they matured, but I could sense that BD was just not ready to commit to any particular one. I suspected he really wanted to drive all the way to Southside VA, and since it was a pretty day, and our anniversary, well, why not?

So with a lingering stroke of a furry back, we drove off. It was well past 3 when we got to South Richmond and we had to twist and turn through 1980’s suburbs to find the house, but we got there in the end. There were only 2 pups left, and the boy was really not interested in us. He was happy enough to be held and petted, but if you put him down, he went off and flopped on the porch, his back to the strangers. Even his owner commented that the little fellow wasn’t doing much of a sales job. And again, I could sense this pull on BD. He wanted to drive south.

Keyesville is below the Notaway River, but not as far south as the Meherin - not quite on the North Carolina line, but not that far from it either, in Charlotte County. That’s 9 counties and a big fat city away from the banks of the Rappahannock. It’s a fairly low land down there, though we were a little west of the really swampy parts, into the first rolling hills of piedmont Virginia. Lots of pine trees, very few towns, and, once beyond the Amelia County line, we were out of the suburban sprawl too. Nary a vinyl village on the landscape. Just long straight roads, like ribbons shaken out across the landscape.

The Dirks live at the end of a dirt lane, not too different from ours. They have far better grass than we do, but I am grass cursed. I seem fated to live in a dirt pile. This time of year there are buttercups to make things look a little green, but once their season is passed, we have to beg even the dang wiregrass to spread across our lawn. The Dirks' have dogs. They breed Labrador retrievers. They love them, nurture them, and carefully breed them for size, color and conformity. Mr. D hunts his favorites. Mrs. D keeps every bit of genealogical information in her files. And they had puppies. Three litters!

We are dog people. We have never gone more than a month or two without one. I have two sooners right now, drop-off dogs who came to live with us and fill our hearts with joy. But life without a Labrador is really no life for me. We’ve owned 4 Labs and we’ve had two litters born here on the flats, out of our first Lab, Tru(e). In the first litter was a big whitish yellow lab, fat and rolly polly, with a face to melt my heart. I can’t tell you why a certain dog will speak to you while all the others are merely beautiful, but that big white male spoke to all of us. We sold him and to a good farm life. But we have always regretted him moving out of our lives. When Poky died we knew we wanted to replace him with another male and BD wanted a Black Lab. His heart was the most broken of us all, that sad Christmas 9 years ago, and I can love most any Lab. That’s how IkeTheDog came to live with us and obviously, that was how it was supposed to be.

But this time around, though I was mostly looking for black boys, I really wasn’t locked into a color. And at the bottom of that Charlotte County dirt road was another fat white boy pup - and - yup. He walked into my heart. I believe I knew the moment I saw him that he was the one. I really couldn’t look all that hard at the others, though goodness, they were all magnificent dogs. His dad was a huge stocky blocky male, named Styx, after the river in mythology. His mother was a slender midsize girl with very sweet manners. And he was just what I was looking for. I let BD spend as much time as he wanted with all the other cute puppies. There were beautiful chocolate labs, some dark golden ones, a couple of bright yellow ones, but Big Whitey, Big Champion, Tub-a-lard - well. There really was no other choice.

BD talked. He walked around. He tested several little black boys. He would walk away then call the pup. If it followed he’d walk up to it. If it ducked and ran away he’d say "This one is not bold". If it ran towards him he’d say "that’s a bold fellow" in the sort of approving voice that told me he had his favorites. My white boy passed the test - with enough boldness to satisfy BD. In the end, as the cool of evening crept out of the woods, he said "that’s the one you want isn’t it?" Yep Yep. That one is mine.

We left a deposit. It was so hard to leave him one more week, but both BD and I really do believe a puppy needs a certain amount of time with his litter. But not too long. We discussed it all the way home, but I really already knew - just as soon as my program at the library is finished on Saturday, we are going to be in the car heading south again. I want all of Sunday to play with my big white boy.

We haven’t got a real name for him yet. He has to be here, at his own home, before he can reveal his true name to us - not so different from how a cat does. No point in giving him a name that’s not really his. So we’ll keep him overnight. We’ll take him out into his brand new doggy world on Sunday, along with Aunt Priss and Aunt Socks. He will find the marshes, and Jacob’s Gut. He’ll get to see where the snake likes to wind into the tree branches to wait for tasty meals. He’ll get a boat ride. He’ll snuggle on the BigBed. And sometime on Sunday he’ll tell us his name.

And then I will tell you.

posted by Bess | 8:56 PM

2 Comments:

Ooh! Puppies! I've been thinking puppies, too ~ thinking maybe some of Jordan's goodness would rub off on another dog if we had them together for a while.

Besides, my brother just got a chocolate lab puppy ~ too cute! I want a puppie, too!

Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 9:06 AM  

Oh... I was just this instant looking at Calico kittens and thinking that I might be ready for the right little girl to come to me... of course, my household isn't ready (need more room before I'm allowed to add any other critters) but blog overmind seems to have struck nonetheless...

A puppy would be lucky to find you, and you know the one doing the choosing is more likely to have four feet than two. Good luck to you!

By Blogger Amie, at 1:20 PM  

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Sunday, April 17, 2005  

Well darnation

I can't even blame blogger.

I have just poured my heart out in a tale of IkeTheDog and then stupidly clicked the X in the corner of the Microsoft Word screen and deleted the blooming thing.

There isn't time to write it again and besides, my heart is all open and sore now, having exposed it completely to a stupid pixel screen, only to lose it in the ephemeral context that is word processing.

Rats.

I wonder if I can ever tell you about IkeTheDog again? Well. Not today. He came into our lives and blessed us. He is gone now and it's time to give this earthly dog paradise to another dog, a different dog. We are ready. Gosh. I wish I could have told you about Ike. There was never a dog like Ike before and it has taken me 2 and a half years to be able to write about him.

Bummer.

Well - it can't be helped. The earth rotates and life goes on. And though this 31st anniversary is a glad time to look back, it's also a day to look ahead - to the new puppy we are going start looking for today.

Beside you probably didn't want to read 4 pages about IkeTheDog.

posted by Bess | 8:29 AM

2 Comments:

Happy marvelous play-day/anniversary weekend to you!! I will be interested to see your forays into beading.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:39 AM  

Happy Anniversary! The right PUP is out there...
and will be Blessed to be part of your PACK!
xoxox
Greta

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:34 PM  

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Saturday, April 16, 2005  

Okay - My snit is over, for the time being. I can retreat into a general curmudgeonliness. I’m sorry others suffer with this same irritation, but I am glad I am not alone with it. At least I don’t feel quite so much like some crustacean lurking beneath a rock. And I will probably just fade on out of the KRF’s. For any of you who thought my secondary argument - that your commercial picks may not be something I necessarily want to embrace, was valid, have a look at this article in today’s NYT.

So. On to better things. Like reminiscing about judging the middle school forensics meet at the local private school. What could be cuter than 11 year olds, dead serious, trying to read with drama and passion but without movement? I’m always far more thankful to have been asked than the schools could possibly be that I said yes. Like sneaking back up to Mechanicsville and buying more beads even though I was driving the truck (which gets 10 miles to the gallon) and I was just there yesterday. Like a Saturday with nothing on the schedule but playing with toys. Like a Saturday when it isn’t raining. It’s cold, mind you, but it’s not raining. Seems as if spring wants to really make us earn its warmth. Evidently we haven’t fulfilled our side of the bargain yet - so at night we have to build a fire in the stove. The best the weather dot com guys promise is 70 tomorrow.

Today BD is off to the city again on business so I have this stretch of DayOff-edness all to myself. I plan to go to the gym first, check in at the WW meeting, buy a few grocery items and come home to my new beads and my old Blue Faced Leicester. Alas, the M-Sheryl was sick this week so I will give the floors a swipe with the vacuum cleaner too. But mostly I plan to play with toys.

Now - tomorrow is my wedding anniversary and it is a rare year when I have to wear a coat when we dine out. Usually the windows are open - usually the screens have even been put up. There have been years when we went swimming on our anniversary! 2002 comes to mind, and 1976, the year I was pregnant with LD. Always, though, we eat out. I don’t cook on birthdays or anniversaries - at least, not on mine or BD’s. Even if it’s McDonalds, so long as I didn’t cook it, it still counts as eating out. It will be the same this year.

But we are seriously considering another foray tomorrow. It just might be that we will go look for a brand new baby boy Labrador puppy.

It’s been 2 and a half years since Ike died and left us with broken hearts. We still miss him and actually we always will. We aren’t trying to replace Ike, or even Topsy, but we miss the Labrador personality, cavorting around the yard and leaping into our hearts. We miss having a dog who focuses so much on us; who wants so much to be in on whatever we are doing. We have had 4 Labradors and they’ve all been special. We have two wonderful dogs right now, dogs both interesting and endearing and I feel just a little bit guilty about wanting to add another to the pack. But there it is. I do want to and so does BD and an anniversary is a great time to go looking at puppies.

So tomorrow we’ll open up the classifieds and see what is out there. (I checked last weekend too, but I wasn’t quite yet ready to make the leap.) We are starting out looking for a black male, but we aren’t closed minded about it. The right pup is just as likely to pick us as we are to pick him. One way or the other, though, the Haile family is about to expand.

posted by Bess | 8:20 AM

5 Comments:

Rant away.

I agree with you - I'm a cheapskate and use dialup at home, and can't generally access Knitter's Review there because of the loadtimes for the little pictures and stuff.

I tend to be a substance-over-style sort of girl anyway.

Perhaps someone should post a thread, or ask Clara to comment? Maybe we could make a request like "Hey, some of us still have dialup, and it takes really long with the pictures"

although I suspect we'd be called grouches or worse for asking for such a thing.

I don't know. I'm over cute. Cute gives me hives.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 9:05 AM  

No, sweetie, they don't care. They're all about themselves. Perhaps something I've always said about people who are constantly quoting films, books, etc. is appropriate here, too:

Those who must constantly quote others clearly have never had an original thought of their own.

Three More Weeks! Three More Weeks!

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 AM  

Ah. I see. Hmmm...well, we have our computer hooked up to cable -- which is very fast -- because we have a package deal with Shaw, our television/internet cable service. Cheaper than cable for the tv and dial-up for the computer, and faster too. But as for signature pictures on KR, I think I'd rather just read the content, and the name of the writer. I'm not interested in pictures -- unless they are those of work/WIPs etc. -- fiber content! I mean, does a little picture next to one's name on a post make it easier to remember who you are? Is that the point? I dunno...I'm with Erica. Substance over style. :-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:21 AM  

I don't mind the rant. I've been worried for a long time (since these things have popped up) that they are taking up precious time and bandwidth for clara.. but it sounds like perhaps not the bandwidth (from what clara said) but I think the thing that irks me.. is the need to be cute.. and you state it so well. I am not cute. I never have been. I don't ever want to be. there. i feel better.

the only time I ever put something that was a picture on KR was when I put that pic of the angora bunny being spun.. and I only put it up there for you. hee! But I never plan to make a habit of it. that is what my blog is for.

martha and I missed you last nite.

By Blogger purlewe, at 2:04 PM  

I'm with you. I don't mind on topic fiber photos. I don't even mind off-topic discussions (in their proper place) but the 5767807 little cartoons that get added are nuts!

It supposedly helps differentiate one "KnittinKitten" with another "KittenwhosKnittin" and another "SittingwithKnittin" and so on...

I've got dial up too, and it's no fun to wait and wait and discover you were waiting for a cartoon you didn't care to see to begin with!

Will we see more Things About You eventually? And the story of Pioneer Bess???

MD is TOO far away!

By Blogger Amie, at 2:08 PM  

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Friday, April 15, 2005  

It's a rant anyway




So. I just deleted an incoherent spluttering rant about the sudden crop of graphical signatures a group of people have started using in their Knitters Review Forum posts. It was beginning to sound like I was ... like my DNA was kicking in, and nobody here really needs to witness that. Suffice it to say, I wish people would stop adding these banal cartoons and little photos to their signatures. It slows down the loading of the forum so much I’m inclined to just quit reading the forums altogether. I really don’t have 10 minutes to wait, each time I try to bring up a post. I live at the end of a mile of dirt road, I have a Verizon rural phone system, an underground phone line so long it has to have a booster half way down, and dial up access.

Fer cryin' out loud - it’s a knitting forum - to talk about, learn from and share with others - our knitting, not the many sources we've found, for remote hosting of computer generated animation. Not even their computer generated animation - someone else's! Not their creative energy or clever programing - someone else's! Maybe not even another knitter! Don’t these people realize how much this slows down the loading of the real discussion of fiber? Do they care? Do they think their cute little sheep jumping over cute little fences made of cute little knitting needles make them cute? Let me know something about them? Make me like them more? Alas, I'm afraid in a Karmic sense - they only encourage rage from those of us who have to suffer the consequences of their attempt at cuteness. It’s becoming so irritating to me that I automatically put those folk, who insist upon making me look at their little running kitty or their sheepy knitter, into the the dismissable category, if not the despised.

So. I like cute. I even often lament that I haven’t added cute animated smiley faces to my blog. I am fairly computer literate and have the same access to these bit-hogs. I even sometimes have idle time on my hands. Yet I haven’t and I suspect two deep seeded impulses have so far restrained me. One is that I don’t really want to be known by my association with someone else’s logo. I don’t wear Coca-Cola t-shirts either. Heck, I don’t even wear Maryland Sheep and Wool t-shirts. The other is that I suspect I always knew that if I insist upon filling my life (and my KR posts and my blog) with gratuitous clutter, eventually it would be gratuitous altogether.

I’m glad to wait for your photo of your knitting or garden or pets or children or anything else that’s yours. If I came to your party I wanted to know you. But I don’t want to come to your party and spend it watching television.

Well. So. This has turned into a rant anyway. So. Well.

Rats.

I guess I am just old. My character wasn’t formed by Cartoon Network.

What a sour bitch.

I’m glad it’s Friday. I’m glad I finished up the heavy work yesterday. I’m glad I got to celebrate D’s birthday with D&P&Friends last night at P’s restaurant. I am glad I got the Deluxe Thing-a-ma-jig at Ben Franklin’s yesterday.

posted by Bess | 7:09 AM

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Thursday, April 14, 2005  

Well - I am glad I didn’t come off too snotty - because when you talk about someone who can do it all, more-than-you, it’s easy to sound like sour grapes. I can’t deny there might be a little vinegar deep in my soul, but mostly there is admiration and a pleasant enjoyment of the fruits of more-than-me.

The BigEvent is just 3 weeks and a day away, for at Crack0Dawn on Friday I’ll be heading off for J's mama’s house. Rendezvous there, to speed north to Frederick, MD, where we’re spending the night. I am still trying to think about how much I will spend and what I will spend it on. I almost never buy yarn at MSW, because a. I have a ton of yarn - and b. I always imagine I will do my own dyeing and spinning of my own unique fibers. At this point I don’t have much in the way of empty spots to fill in the StashFromHeck, so shopping this year will be the first time when it will be merely to provide self with the unique, the truly rare, the one-of-a-kind. A tall order to fill, since my arrogance is such that I believe; "I could do that" - about 99.9999999999999999% of the time whenever I see yarn or fiber or even knitted objects.

And perhaps it is not arrogance. Perhaps in some other life I was a master weaver or court spinner or imperial embroiderer and that sense of knowing I feel, when I look at fiber things - that feeling of "Oh yes, I can do that - I’ve done it before" is really some sort of trans-generational memory. The first time I sat down to a sewing machine I knew. The first time I put in a zipper it was perfect. My sewing teacher, way back when I was 12, was utterly amazed and pushed me as hard and as fast as I would go. While the rest of the class was still trying to hem their aprons, I was matching gingham checks in a yoke front dress with placket cuffed sleeves. In a long life of enjoying and looking at and actually doing fiber projects, I have only once looked at something and thought "Oh. I couldn’t do that." One of my library volunteers, K, is a level 20 Japanese embroiderer and when I saw her work I thought "Nope. couldn’t do that. Never did that before." She teases me and says "Of course you can" but I know I can’t. For all the sweeping admiration I have of the work, for all I would actually consider purchasing a piece of it - I know. I know I never did it in a former life. I know I couldn’t do it now.

Happily, K is doing a lecture/demonstration at the library on Saturday the 23rd and I will wallow in the pleasure of listening and watching. And all this chatter was but a prelude to the admission that I just might buy yarn this year at MSW. I sure don't need any spinning fiber.
I got in a little bit of spinning last night. I had to switch to the Golding spindle to do this next bit, because the little Bosworth is just too light to spin anything other than thin laceweight singles. I want to spin some thicker singles, because I’m putting together several different gauges of the same fiber. I love all my spindles, each for its own special features, but in the end I love my Golding the most. I only wish I had a lazy Kate for spindles. Hmmmm. Should that be what I buy at MSW? We shall see. Maybe a second Golding spindle. Hmmmm.

But there shan’t be much spinning or any other fiber treat today because we are off to celebrate a birthday this evening, after work. I will say no more, in case it is a surprise and in the even more rare case that the celebrant is reading this. On the way over, though, I will make BD stop at the Ben Franklin so I can buy a wire jig. I did not go over to Richmond last weekend. My gold filled wire arrived on Monday. I want to be sure to be able to play with it this Saturday. Especially since the Magnificent Sheryl comes today to make all ready for the weekend, and BD won’t be home long enough afterwards to get it all messy again.

Work life is gearing up into a mad spring frenzy. Next week is all library admin stuff - with two board meetings in the beginning of the week and a state wide meeting on Thursday. Friday I’ll be a hostess at B’s house, which is on the garden tour. Saturday is the embroidery program at the library. The following week my only full time staffer goes on vacation so we’ll be short staffed all week. Then comes the heart stopping anticipatory WeekBeforeMSW. There’s a pay day somewhere in that time, along with two whopping income tax days. And an anniversary for us BigDarlings (31 years!) and the week after MSW is LD’s birthday. Then the school tours begin at work, as we try to drum up enthusiasm for our summer reading programs. And then it’s summer. WHEW is all I can say.

posted by Bess | 7:07 AM

3 Comments:

Ooh, thanks for the house and garden/shower tour! (And I don't think you came off snotty sounding at all.)
Do you do crocheted steeks or do you use the sewing machine?

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:31 AM  

I have done both, but this one was a crocheted steek. It was a worsted wt. yarn, though and a little baby sweater so I thought the facing was a bit thick.

By Blogger Bess, at 9:38 AM  

OK, I'm from a small Virginia town and your description of Laura Ann didn't sound snotty at all. I sounded sorta familiar and made me a little homesick for friends of my mother that gave me a shower or two when I got married! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 8:22 PM  

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005  

Alas, the baby sweater was given to the new mom, who is the wife of a cousin who was LD’s roommate in college, unphotographed. I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture because it was a cute design: A 10 stitch repeat with a little lace border and a wide rib repeated up to the top. It was a circular sweater with a steek, but if I do another I shall knit it flat. I didn’t like the facing behind the button band. Too bulky. In fact, it is a very cute design , though and I believe I’ll write it up and knit a sample.

The shower was very ... Laura Ann-ish. Laura Ann is our own local Martha Stewart type - with fresh Normandy butter for her crudités and everything small and fiddly, and enough money to pull it off. Laura Ann lives at Dunluce (named after the castle in Scotland) on Dunluce Road (named after the house, of course) and has a Garden and decorates in perfect replica of the old Victoria Magazine interiors. She is a daffodil judge for the Garden Club of VA and makes potpourri by the gallon. For 15 women she had concocted a dinner of about 35 different dishes. Complete recipes yielding 2-4 dozen of everything spread across glistening antique dining room furniture. 2 dozen little antique dishes, "the real things", scattered about the house, held candied almonds, candied ginger, candied fruit, and plain candy as well as little herbed tidbits. There was lemonade in antique glasses, coffee and tea in antique cups, and strawberry punch in silver punch cups. For desert there was strawberry angelfood cake with whipped cream frosting, as well as heart cookies and bunny cookies and chocolate fudge - all made by Laura Ann from her mother’s recipes. Laura Ann’s living room is dominated by a large grand piano and her garden room is all leaded windows. Laura Ann’s husband has an opinion about the living room - he hires a woman to "do" the windows and floors. He tells Laura Ann to stay outdoors when he is having the windows and floors done. His office is a building just off the front lawn. He went to visit Cousin John and took his dogs with him last night so they wouldn't jump up on the guests' pretty dresses. He is a Virginia Husband.

Dang. I sound so snotty about Laura Ann - when I really don't want to at all. You just can’t be snotty about her. You can be overwhelmed, bowled over, and stormed by Laura Ann - but whatever else she is - she is authentic. She is really a person of great value - perhaps a little like the more publicized Martha Stewart might be. You just get a whole lot of Laura Ann when you get any of her. After knowing her for 25 years, I am still unable to really explain how I feel about her, but within the big picture, she elicits more good responses from me than bad.

Since not a single one of my in-laws, neighbors, or local family ever reads this blog I don’t mind posting about Laura Ann here - though I may think better of it in a day or so, after more serious consideration. If so I will delete it. But I am always left feeling stirred whenever I visit Laura Ann. Today it’s just spilling out onto the screen.

Well - enough about that. There are, after all, other things in my life. Now that the baby sweater is completely off the needles I am going to turn my attention to the BFL yarn. I want to spin up the rest of the fiber - in different gauges, of course, and start doing some swatching for the socks. I believe I will concentrate on these socks exclusively, because there just might be time enough to finish them for the MSW contest.

My young teen lawn boy came yesterday and finished raking the yard - and perhaps of the garden, though it was too dark to see when I got home last night. But he promised to come back to finish the garden if he didn’t get it all done. With the garden cleared of leaves I can take shovel to earth and redefine the beds. LD promised me he would clear out the sassafras and acacia trees that have popped up in the beds. I didn’t get the roses pruned in February (goodness knows why) so I will just let them do their sorry floppy thing and cut them way back after the first blooms. Lilac ought to be in bloom soon. Let us hope my allergies will have abated enough to allow me to smell them.

As for the rest of my life - it is mundane, but precious, busy yet encompassable, filled with activities, but ripe with the promise with leisure up ahead. Truly - I ought not ever ask for more.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005  

I posted a reply to Jahara's comment in Sunday's post. It was such a fabulous treat to hear from her. How I miss her blog.

Of course, Blogger ate my reply and gobbled up her comments too - she is lost and gone again. Rats.

I can’t get my hands on Marlborough’s memoirs, so I borrowed Sir Winston's book about the couple. The Duchess is more accessible and there are many nasty biographies about her too. I borrowed both her own memoirs and a supposedly juicy bio. Since I placed one order to Mary Washington College, whose claim to superiority is the quality of their library, (definitely not the administration, nor the student attitude - which is plebeian at best) I expect to have it this afternoon - via UPS.

Since I have no more Brrrrrrritish nobility to entertain me, other than the faithfully entertaining P&P, I watched another new library video last night: The Art of the Doll Maker.

Among my many sugary sweetness princess lacy silk traits, is a love of dolls. I am the aunt/adult-friend-of-your-mother who would play Barbie - or American Girl - or even DollHouse with you, when those awful, boring, lumbering relatives/grown-ups came to dinner. You remember them. The people who looked to see that you really did wash your hands, not just held them under the faucet for a second. I’m the one who showed you how to make your own paper doll dresses - the good ones, with old timey long skirts and fluffy pinafores. I always ask what your doll is named when you bring her to the library. I understand that they are real. I can hear them talking. I have only one doll left from my childhood but there are several who live in my heart.

I have made a few dolls in my lifetime and lately the urge to get out felting needles and create little people has been pinching my brain. Who knows what may clutter my windowsill over the next few months?

This video is mostly about using dolls to siphon off inner angst through the creative process. There are lots of doll makers cameo-ed throughout the film. Lots of teary moments, as well. The producer states up front that making this film was her way of paying tribute to a little stillborn daughter and many of the doll makers have lost children too. There are just a tad too many long shots of Kansas sunsets with sentimental music running through the background, but mostly you get to see outstanding dolls and hear their creators talk about how and why they made them. It’s quite good.

I watched this while eating my vegetarian supper alone, since BD had to go to the city today to do THINGS. Happily, he got to see D&P while doing those things and came home with good reports and loving hellos. Afterwards I finished up the baby sweater and washed it. It was only the slightest bit damp when I awoke and I will take it to work with me and wrap it at lunch time. If there is film in the camera I’ll snap a picture of it, but tonight is the shower and this little project will leave my hands forever.

The Fire Mountain Gems package arrived yesterday morning. It’s a lot of $ for such a tiny package but mmmm - everything is lovely. Why is it I don’t have one of those jobs with 12 months of paid vacation every year? I could play with toys for a lifetime and still find interesting projects to tempt me.

And we are down to 3/3 to MSW. Three weeks and three days. What a treat!

posted by Bess | 7:49 AM

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Monday, April 11, 2005  

Ha! and it only took me 2 tries to get this:

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Part b>
State'>http://bluepyramid.org/ia/squiz.htm">State
Quizat the blue/'>http://bluepyramid.org">Blue Pyramid.



Thanks, Fillyjonk!

posted by Bess | 11:52 AM

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We bid good-bye to John and Sarah Churchill last night, watching episode 12, getting all riled up at Harley (Haaaawlee) and St. John and Mistress Meecham and weeping a little as Godolphin’s health failed him. The episode I watched those many years ago, with Mama, was #11, which we watched on Saturday, over dinner. BD wasn’t too fond of this series at the beginning but by the end he was as swept up in Restoration Intrigues as I, though he doesn’t have the crush on either Susan Hampshire or John Neville, his stage struck wife has. (How I love those Brrrrrritish accents.) So afterwards, he pulled off Durant’s volume about Louis IV and read to me while I knit swatches for the BFL socks.

Today I shall interlibrary loan in these titles:

Memoirs of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough,: Together with her Characters of her contemporaries and her Opinions and Memoirs of John Duke of Marlborough: With his original correspondence, collected from the family records at Blenheim and other authentic sources. At least, I shall try to borrow them. A quick search on Bookfinder prices out the duke’s memoirs between $524 and $1,165!!!

This video (also available on DVD) was an early effort at BBC’s historical portrayals and shows both it’s theatrical origins and the limitations of filming for television still abounding in the late ‘60’s, but it’s so fresh and so well written, so elegantly presented and so durn much fun to watch. If your library doesn’t have it, perhaps a gentle, written, suggestion would convince them to make the investment.

I finished up everything but the button band on the baby sweater yesterday. I believe it shan’t get blocked before it’s given away. Or perhaps I will block it this morning before I go to work and put the button band on afterwards. It’s such a wee thing it probably doesn’t really need blocking. I am glad I used this wide rib because that will give the sweater a little room to stretch as baby R grows. I am glad it’s done too, though.

I spent a good deal of time spinning up BFL too. I have 4 skeins now and each one of them is a different gauge. I was a little disturbed with this difference until I realized I could do some very fun experiments with these socks using all of the different gauges to enhance various stitches. I believe I shall call them "Variations on a Gauge."

BD and I hiked out to Robert’s Landing yesterday, enjoying the perfect blue dome of the sky and the glittering green of young wheat. I wanted to check the old pine tree to see if there were baby eagles this spring. Alas, Mr. and Mrs. B. Eagle have abandoned that nest. It’s collapsing in the weather, tilted steeply enough to spill out babies, with sticks dangling like bell clappers. Since they are still fishing from my back yard and since one of them circled us while we were on our walk, I know they are still around here, but they do not want me to know where their babies are and be sure, I won’t bother them with any snooping searches. I finally did read up on eagle habits and they definitely do not like to nest where people gather. It is enough that they grace me with their company while hunting and fishing. I don’t need to be the peeping tom in their lives.

And so another sweet weekend comes to a close. This week is not a particularly onerous one, other than the obligations to the IRS man. Somehow, when I took all the paperwork to the accountant I left out my W2. If I can’t find it in the file box I’ll have to get the county to make me a copy. Next week, though, looms as the most monstrous of busy weeks! Two board meetings, a state wide meeting, duty as a docent at one of the houses on the garden tour and our Japanese embroidery program at the library. Whew is all I can say about that week. The following is not so busy, but my assistant is going on vacation so we’ll be short staffed. But after that comes MSW, speeding down upon me, ratcheting up the excitement level, leading me to daydream away long hours of my life, with thoughts of the delights of food, fiber and friendship. Sweet.

posted by Bess | 8:04 AM

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Sunday, April 10, 2005  

It’s shocking how much difference one day of warm sunshine can make in a burgeoning spring landscape. Today there is far less open forest showcasing golden sun rays pouring through a tree bark lattice. Today there are many more green leaves misting both the top and the understorey of our woods. There is shade on the front lawn now. Color is everywhere, in sky, on branch, spread across the ground.

It was a very windy day yesterday - sort of a March day in April - perfect for drying clothes on the line. As I began the Task of Laundry, it occurred to me that I ought to bring the cottons and linens down from the attic, since, even if it is only going to be 58 all next week, the light is just wrong for heavy brown wool. The Great Seasonal Clothing Transfer is always such a chore, I’m far too likely to put it off or do it in short, desperate spurts. This is largely because the light sockets in the attic broke the first year we were in the house and for some reason, they’ve never been repaired. BD put them all down low, on the steep slanting rafters - exactly butt height, and butts quickly backed into them, snapping them off at the threads. Now, to do anything up there, one must use flashlights.

Alas, since it’s a cramped space anyway, most things have just been dumped and stuffed into crannies whenever they’ve outlived their usefulness yet haven’t quite lost their desirability. It’s my Dorian Grey space - that secret view of my inner slob. I can fool most people most of the time with the tidy living room and well swept staircase, but if you want to know if I really am organized, you can find the truth up those narrow stairs.

Of course, bringing down all of last summer’s clothing added fodder to the laundry baskets in the bathroom. But I love doing laundry. It’s the cataloging chore of housekeeping. Both tasks are easy to do because the machines do the heavy, hard, and nasty stuff. They both produce tidiness out of clutter. Doing either makes you feel like you have Moved Ahead. At the end of the day, they both give you access to wonderful things. These are chores that make you feel virtuous! Laundry has an additional virtue - it smells good.

But even laundry attracts the taint of sin to skip about its virtues. It tempts you to do only half the task. Mind now, I am not including ironing in with the rest of the task of laundry. Ironing is too close to a chore. Anyone can be forgiven for letting ironing pile up in a basket in some utility room. That drudgery is best given to people who work in town, in brick buildings with steam coming out the back, along with your hard earned dollars. I am speaking only of washing clothes and household linens that can then be folded and put neatly in drawers or on shelves. Yet, like exercise, another one of those easy and sweet activities that always makes one feel better for having done them, laundry tempts one to do the washing, the drying and the dumping into the basket - but leave the folding and putting away for another day. Once one succumbs to that temptation, the baskets are almost empty by the time one does get around to the folding and putting away. Often the finale to laundry is only brought to the stage because one needs the basket to do - of course - the next week’s laundry!

It would be easy to fold the clothes as they come off the line, or out of the dryer. It would be refreshing to sit listening to fine music, or a book on tape, or even watching television, and swiftly fold those mountains of clothes and linens into neat tidy stacks. It takes very little time to finish up the laundry. It saves you vast amounts of time to have all your clean items where you can reach them swiftly and where the passing of days and the weight of gravity doesn’t put unsightly creases across the bosom or tummy or shoulder of a garment. There is no reason at all to stop the laundry task mid-way between hamper and drawer. Nevertheless, I do it. I suspect you do too. Not all the time. Not more often than I skip going to the gym, actually. But often enough to feel guilty about it. Often enough to really feel virtuous when I do close the last dresser drawer or stack the last towel on the bathroom shelves. Certainly often enough to write two pages about doing laundry.

La! How I wish I had laughing smiley faces for this blog - right now.

You must admit, though, this is a fiber filled post, no?

And in other fiber activities, I’ve about filled a second bobbin with BFL. I’m planning socks for this yarn and think I just may have enough 2-ply with this final spinning, to begin them. I have some other surprise ideas for this fiber and these socks, but it is too early to speak about them yet. There is a good deal of swatching to do first. I also knit another sock yarn baby bootie. I now have 3 tiny booties and one slightly larger one to match the baby sweater which I did not finish up. I must do that today, since the thing needs to be washed and dried and wrapped and given within the next 60 hours. Yikes! I’d best get cracking. Thank goodness it is supposed to hit 70 today.

posted by Bess | 7:22 AM

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I get the darn stuff folded because yes, as you say, wrinkles and creases. But then I stack it to be put in drawers but for some reason I seem to think it needs to sit out for at least 24 hours before making it those last final, but crucial steps.

By Anonymous Jahara, at 7:40 PM  

Jahara! What a treat to hear from you again! I hope all is splendidly well with you and yours. Thanks for a trememdous lift.

By Blogger Bess, at 8:25 AM  

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Saturday, April 09, 2005  

Wow. Today is one of those sapphire and gold days, with colors to make your skin tingle. Spring’s green leaves are still translucent jewels, too small to cast more than a shimmer of dancing shade. A look out my window shows beams of sunshine’s golden blessing slanting through the forest, just steps away from the front door. For two days, lashing rain has washed away the loose pollen, going so far as to pulverize it into the ground, so even we allergy victims will be able to take full advantage of nature’s first golden green. I believe I shall rewrite my plans for today.

Not that I had many plans. Only to finish up the baby sweater, since the shower is on Tuesday. And to get in a couple of long walks. And do the laundry - we have had so much rain this month and it has been sure to fall on weekends. This is a drier-less household, mostly due to laziness and inertia, but a little bit, due to the space considerations. Today's sunshine is a welcome surprise after the promise of storms from the weather dot com guys.

I have finally adjusted to DST, though not without waking Friday at 1 a.m., tossing in the bed for 3 hours and finally getting up to go play with bead toys. Along with a circulatory system and a respiratory system, I have a passion system that pumps a steady stream of creativity, longing and strategic planning from my soul to my brain to my fingers and back again into my soul. Often BD will ask me what I am thinking and when I open my mouth, out pours the B theme from the 2nd movement of Tchaikovsky’s 7th symphony. Lately, the passion system has been all full of wire wrapping. It got so bad on Wednesday that I had to place an order with Fire Mountain Gems, where I depleted some of my precious Maryland Sheep & Wool $ on gold filled wire. I ought to have popped for the jig, too, and now I’m kicking myself. Free form is fun, but I simply drool when I think of balanced swirling metal curves.

This book has so inspired me that today’s plans just might have to be stretched around driving to Mechanicsville, where I know I can pick up a jig.


But I also hear an enamel kiln whispering my name ....


Thursday and Friday were Crack-0-Dawn days for me, when I had to be in town before 8 o’clock. I’m so spoiled by my shop keeper’s hours that an ordinary office schedule can throw my body off kilter. Though I nearly always get up in the wee dawn hours, I consider the morning time-slot to be seriously and deeply personal time. BD is not awake, I can prowl the house touching my things, cleaning it if I am so moved, reading books, caressing my toys - all those things we must do to regain our sense of power and autonomy. The dawn hours are when I recharge my love of humanity by loving only me, feeding my hungers, filling my empty spaces. When I don’t get those leisurely hours, all sorts of strange things stop functioning - whence Thursday’s insomnia.

(several attempts to write something later)

Odd - there is really more to the above than I seem able to express here. It’s as if I can see through the window of my self and watch what’s going on, but if you were to walk up to me and say "Hey. What’s going on in there" I would stammer and stumble all over myself, inarticulate and scattered, and unable to answer. Were it not for the state of flux so many beloved friends are in, I would be more worried - feeling the clutching hand of Nemesis about to grab me from behind. Instead, I feel more like I am approaching a Moment Of Change point in my life - a crisis point - a crossroads. No - I am not yet at the crossroads, but I am fast approaching one. It’s a funny feeling - half anxious dread and half excited anticipation. THINGS are pushing me in new directions. Events happen that sound like so many bells ringing. Something is waiting up ahead.

And Chicken Heart here is one to inch her way down the sliding board, not swoop recklessly into the pool. I will take my sweet good time, until there is no other possible step I can take but the one down the new stretch of highway. In spite of all normal desire for the power to choose, part of me likes to be forced to move. I like to feel like I’m making the only choice and that the only choice will be the right one. I have always found it easy to do the RightThing and throughout my life, the RightThing has usually loomed up, vivid, powerful, inevitable, like a genie from the bottle, bowing it’s noble head, and inviting me to start moving.

Anyway - when I know what I am ready to say I will post it here. Till then, I believe I shall slide on out into this glorious April day. Just think, 4 weeks from today I’ll be on the road to the Howard County Fair Grounds!

posted by Bess | 8:43 AM

1 Comments:

Wow! It sounds like you need some long, lazy "catch up" spinning days :)
I'm not sure I am brave enough to inventory what I have, but then again, I haven't filled up my fireplace with something - that gave me a big chuckle!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:15 AM  

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005  

Warning - A Loooooooooong Fiber Ramble



Lawsee - no sooner than DST kicks in but the pace at work leaps ahead as well. And of course, I’ve overslept - wakened at my healthy normal hour,that is, no thanks to Machevellian clock tampering - and haven’t had a chance to post here for days. In fact, there shan’t be time till Saturday, except for this sweet bit of the day, plopped unexpectedly into my lap, because BD is not back yet from F’burg and I would bet a week’s pay that he brings home Texas Chili.

But I know my fans have waited breathlessly to find out just how many bags of Hershey’s chocolate brown unspun wool I have and the answer is . . .

Five

Yes, friends. I have five pounds (5 lbs.) of deep rich chocolate brown roving, in merino, lambswool and California Variegated Mutant.

I do not have 5 deep chocolate brown sweaters, mind you. Nor 5,000 yards of deep chocolate brown yarn. I merely have bags and bags of my favorite fiber, languishing in the den. I like it all. I have plans for it all. The merino and the CVM will spin beautifully into a DK wt yarn, perfect for stranded color work. There is even a bag of coordinating oatmeal colored CVM to spin into the contrast color for an interesting yoked sweater.

Guess what I shall not be purchasing at MSW?

Yes. But what else was buried in the second part of my stash? First the bags hidden in the never used fireplace, now nicely blocked by the blanket chest. (There lies a tale too complicated to tell in this fiber filled post.)

There was the 1 lb. of natural blue mohair I got last fall at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival. Cecil gave it to me for $20 and I have one bobbin of very thin singles on HeyBaby right now. His natural colored angora goats, blue and cocoa and adorable, are always on display at the show. He also has some mohair spun up, but it’s thick and it’s tightly spun and it’s not alluring, the way the goats are. I want to surprise him with some lace weight yarn and a knitted lace piece to use in his displays. I look dreadful in grey but I know a certain bride who would look lovely with some grey lace tossed over the shoulders of a black wool winter coat.

Then came the 3 bags (3 lbs) of CVM, singing their siren song from their brown paper cradles. Now and then I get something so lovely, so perfect, so much what I want, that owning it is enough. Just knowing it is there makes me feel richer than knowing there was money in the bank. I can live in my dreams so easily, that sometimes I don’t bother to enter reality. Hey, in my dreams I am 30 and slender and wrinkle free, without any bags beneath my eyes. Why deal with the mirror? Never the less, I want a chocolate brown sweater with oatmeal colorwork in it. I also want proof that I can spin enough yarn to actually knit a sweater. So far I’ve only ever spun enough for a vest. These bags of wool ought to be at the front of the que.

Next - an enormous plastic bag with odds and ends - mostly 1 and 2 ounce bats of colorful mohair blends; purple, green, red, orange - all of them marled with other colors. Not enough to really make anything, these are fiddly bits, bought from the same shop, priced the same and all stuffed into their own bag. I’ve spun up several of them, actually, into small bits of color. These all make me so happy - I really must consider MORE COLOR when I go to MSW. Here is the one thing I don’t have enough of. Here is an area where shopping could occur. There was a bag of candy pink locks and white silk tangles, to be rough spun into a wildly textured yarn to make a scarf or some other pretty accessory for GD. There is 8 ounces of merino roving in a peach and natural blend - this is a Bess color for a Bess project. 8 ounces makes a hat and mittens to go with the Hershey’s chocolate brown winter coat. There was a small bag with fire star in three colors, purchased at Little Barn for a song, and another bag full of herbal moth repellent. All this lay in the huge plastic bag - and I spun up some of the colored batts on my Golding spindle and played with the fire star too, carding it into some of the plain wools I had spread about the room.

Still working with stuff in the fireplace cubbyhole, I pulled out 2 bags of mohair/wool blends, about 1.5 lbs of a fiery orange/red/yellow blend called something like Bonfire, and another 8 oz in a greeny/grey mist over the harbor color. I have two bobbins of the greeny/grey stuff on KittyBoy, the wheel sent to me by a most beloved friend, last year. It’s been there all winter. This is shameful. You can bet the twist is dormant in that stuff now.

This all came out of a standard fire place sized hollow.

Then came the blanket chest. This chest is 5 feet long, made by my beloved Father in law, for his only sister, on the occasion of her marriage. It is nigh on to 80 years old and the story behind that would warm your hearts. Some day I shall write it - because I don’t want it forgotten. Upon lifting the lid I revealed:

1 lb. of Finn I won from Misty Mornings Farm last year as a prize for my entry in the Montpelier Show. That is the absolute best show to enter because you get, not only a ribbon, but a fiber gift from one of the vendors. Sweet, sweet. Who needs ribbons, give me fiber!

There was also 1 lb. of undyed mohair roving, intended for the dye pot and the boucle spin. I’ve spun a lot of mohair boucle out of locks and the truth is - I get tired of preparing the locks for spinning. A textured single makes an interesting boucle, but I really want to make the loopy boucle and I think it will be fun to just work with smooth fibers. There was an 8 oz bag of the same mohair top, bought last year at MSW, dyed in a color that, last year, the catalogs called “Azalea”. It is a warm orangy pink and is the only pink I can wear. Since every girl needs some pink in her life - this one is mine. It is, alas, still in it’s combed top state. There is no Azalea loopy boucle garment anywhere in my closet.

Another bag of some other sort of undyed wool roving lay beneath the mohair top - perhaps 8 oz of it - but it is an undetermined fiber. It will be fun to dye - but I haven’t a clue what sort of wool it is.

There was a bag of Shetland/mohair blend - not a full pound of it - I’ve spun a good bit of it, but it always seems a little grey to me. I believe I shall have to dye this if I want to wear it. But it spins very fine.

There was more than a pound of cormo roving - but it’s full of second cuts and neps. I’m not sure about keeping this. I’ve spun roving that has junk in it and it makes a mighty textured yarn - and the lumps don’t always stay in the yarn either - I’m just not sure. It was a purchase made before I realized that only the best will do when it comes to unspun fibers. Besides, I have an enormous great huge box - in the third pile of stash - of my Falkland Island Polworth roving that’s full of second cuts and neps - because I was too stupid and too slap-dash to pick them out before I washed the fleece. It’s not hard to do it when the fleece is still in the grease. It can even be fun, since I think handling fleece is fun. Once washed, though, there’s no plucking those second cuts out. I am not sure if I’ll keep that cormo - or at least, I may use it for felting or with students or ... well, I just don’t know what to do with it.

There was a small bag, perhaps 6 or 8 oz of an angora/wool blend I bought off E-bay. Another hungry spinner’s purchase when I was just starting out. It’s okay, but has a little trash in it. I will purchase via internet, and even via E-bay, in the future, but only from very known sources. Otherwise, I want to touch and see first or pay the extra to get fibers from someone who has a LOT more reputation at stake. Caveat emptor.

Buried in the chest was another E-bay purchase of Wenslydale roving, hand painted in navy, brown and yellow. Not colors I would have chosen, but I may still spin it up. It’s slightly felted - at least, it’s more felted than I would have made it if I had dyed it myself. It’s easy to felt fiber in the dye process - obviously this was pour dyed. But you can be extra careful when you do it yourself and end up with less felting. Separating felted roving is a lot of work and sometimes makes my hands hurt. I’m always borderlining tendonitis, for my job is all typing and my hobbies all involve intense hand use. Fiber that is easy to draft is more important for me than it is for younger, stronger hands.

A bag of mohair locks, dyed in rich luxurious colors - but ACK! packed FULL of trash. Another early purchase when I didn’t realize how much I would hate spinning trashy wool. I have little enough time to spin as it is - having to stop with every other treadle to pluck out hay bits or little burrs is not how I want to spend my spinning time. It’s worth the $ for me, to buy only perfectly clean fibers. Those went in the trash can.

A tiny bag of merino top in a blend called Rose Garden was all that was left of some yarn I spun up for BH a few Christmases ago. There are maybe 3 ounces of it left. It might be fun to just have a tiny little skein of this stuff spun up. Maybe trim a baby sweater with it. I don’t know. It is sitting on top of the armoire, in the BFL basket.

A bag of soy silk, bought to experiment with, won my attention as I sat among all the mounds of fiber, and I spindle spun up a bit of that too. I think I will enjoy making something with what’s left, but there really is only maybe 2 oz of it. But the pound of merino/tensil I have is mighty pretty, even if it is in a color that won’t do a thing for me. It’s a sea blue/green, medium dark; the closest among the very few colors the stuff comes in, to a color I could wear. It’s not particularly a color I’d put on GD, either and LD has my coloring. It would look better on one of those Irish cream skinned redheads - someone like A, actually. Hmmmm.

Last of all was a half pound of some mostly red, multi/colored top - a gift from a beloved friend. I had spun the other half and it was in the bag with the roving. It’s mighty crummy spinning, too. In fact, I didn’t find any spinning of mine, and there was plenty of it, in either stash collection, that I was proud of. I hope this means I’ve given away all the good stuff - ‘cause I can’t believe how uneven and amateurish my spinning looks to me now. This is not good. I had thought myself, at least an intermediate spinner. I believe I am not much better than a rank beginner. I think I need lessons.

All of these, minus the trashy mohair locks, were returned to their storage chest, that treasure chest of fibers. I wrote down the inventory and I will carry it with me to MSW. I may tattoo it on the back of my hand - the one that signs the credit card slip. It’s a lowering thought to realize how much I have bought and how little I have done with it all.

Don’t think I am beating myself up about all this. I created a SilkWeddingDress in only 3 months, from the “Yes, I think I could do that” to the “I do.” But I have got to watch the spending next May, when all around me will be Fleece and Fiber and Color and Yarn and Texture and Cashmere and Roving and Sliver and Top and Golding spindles! The only thing I believe I might consider buying would be colored spinning fibers. The little blotches of colored bats I purchased last year are really such happy temptations. I have very little color among all my wools. I think I could unfold that wallet for some eye candy.

Unless I find yarn that is so fabulous my heart stops beating, I don’t believe I will buy any. Of course I make no hard and fast vows about anything that might happen at MSW. But I believe I will limit myself to spinnable fibers.

And I will discuss with Mr. Golding, the purchase of a new wheel.

Till Saturday, then.

posted by Bess | 7:43 PM
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