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

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Hi Bess,
Sundays are for rest, why are you cleaning the kitchen? Love your comments on KR today,
Rebecca

By Blogger Rebecca, at 2:27 PM  

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Sunday, July 31, 2005  

The bio-hazard that was my kitchen has been detoxed, like some culinary Love Canal, after the bulldozers have been through. Things still look a little raw, the crumbling of the environment around the edges, those parts that had looked pretty good (top of refrigerator, shelves over the doorway) when compared to the scum of disaster in the middle, now have that shabby look of the neighborhood that didn’t get federal funding. But a gentle swipe with broom, dust cloth and WetOnes will put them aright and my kitchen will be ready for company. The kitchen is ready for company.

P did come, in spite of the pouring rain, and, being the easy friend she is, had no trouble sitting in a chair in the doorway talking while I emptied drawers and scrubbed down shelves. She is not a fiber woman, she’s a food maven, but she was all full of a documentary she’d seen about this Alaskan village that was raising musk ox and spinning their fur and had I ever heard of it. Thanks to A I could not only tell her but show her some quiviut, which got me pulling all my pretties out, including the bag of Wall-0-Color fibers.

Later I got some Actual Spinning done - but I shan’t have more than one bobbin full of the red - perhaps 50 yards. Still and all - I don’t need more than 50 yards of it. Plying goes pretty fast. Perhaps I’ll push the hour back to 3 instead of noon. Perhaps I’ll let myself pick the new color any time after the plying is done up - as in, later today. Then again, perhaps not. We’re going to my god daughter’s birthday cake celebration at 6. Well - this scheduling of spinning is a newish thing for me. Only time will tell if it turns out to be both successful and fun.

Damp and cool today, here along the river shore.

posted by Bess | 9:03 AM

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Saturday, July 30, 2005  

I am now driving a car with new axles, new tires, and some other expensive new thing I bought last spring. It no longer growls as I tool on down the highway and I can listen to my Modern Scholar tapes at a less deafening decibel level. If the carpet beneath the gas pedals weren’t wearing away into pock marks, I might think I had a new car. Just so long as I didn’t actually look at it. It’s a white car. There are fortylevendyhundred white cars in the world and mine looks like everybody else’s only rattier. I whined about it a week or so ago, and wise BD reminded me that driving down our lane would make anybody’s car look ratty - it’s why the hubcaps have all flown off all our vehicles’ wheels - even the truck!

With an easily distracted sigh, I accepted my fate of shabby transportation and let my mind drift to other things.

No more fiber news than yesterday. I have been thinking I’ll get in some spinning over the weekend, which, in fact, I may still do - but

There is always that but, though, isn’t there? And the but in this GetOffYerBUTt is that my kitchen cabinets are now official toxic waste dumps. I can go long and long without seeing the crud and dirt and grunge in my surroundings. Just shut the cabinet door, wipe it down and go on to Other, Better, Things. But August looms. Family Reunion is on its way. Guests, comprised of Real Humans, with Hygiene, will run the risk of death by toxic shock while looking for a bowl or a pan or some red food coloring. P is visiting this weekend. What if she were to look in one of those fly blown cabinets? What if she were to see just how slovenly I really am? What if?

Of course, she lives with D and has a Porch. Besides, she loves me, so she would only be disappointed or grossed out or experience some other, milder form of rejection. I doubt she would abandon me. She is also someone with whom I’m comfortable enough to actually let her watch me gut my cabinets. It might be fun to have someone to talk to while I did so. Sort of a sign of true friendship, right? A feminine bonding experience. Sort of an "I’ll show you mine so you won’t ever have to be uncomfortable about me seeing yours." Sort of like telling someone what you weigh.

And then - if there is ever a day when it is neither 98º and/or 98% humidity, I’ll rent the Rug Doctor and clean out last winter’s memories. I would have done it in the spring only we had a puppy - why bother. And since we progressed past the scoop stage, it’s been too H&H. The rugs would never have dried, leaving my house an even spongier petri dish for moldNmildew. So. We will sacrifice to Brigid, He Xiangu and Hestia with prayers for one dry, only warm, day on which, no matter how late at night it is, I will bathe those rugs.

Nevertheless - I will put in a little more time on HeyBaby and come Sunday afternoon I will ply up whatever I have managed to spin. Monday morning I’ll have the fun of picking out a New Color from the color bag.

Well, durn. There was something else I wanted to write about, but I forgot what it was. Menopause Moment, huh?

posted by Bess | 6:49 AM

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Friday, July 29, 2005  

Just a dash through to cheer about The Last Day Of Summer Reading Club.

Not that it has been onerous, this year. It’s actually been great good fun. I’ll miss the darling volunteers I’ve had but they are already planning with me about the after school program this fall - where “couldn’t we put on some plays?” and don’t you know - we could - because the library is walking distance away from the elementary school, where we would have a captive audience of little kids AND a stage. So. Yes. We could.

But - the SRC is staff intensive and my folk need some vacations and I have family stuff coming up over the next 2 weeks. Time to lighten up at work a tad.

Spun about 3 feet of the red yarn yesterday. This wee there won’t be any 140 yards to show for my effort but I knew there would be weeks like this. I’ll have some yarn, and that will be just fine by me.

We take the car in for new axles today. After that, it ought to run as if it were new - although I see now a big hole in the carpet. I wonder what it is like to not drive a car into shreds - but in this marriage I will never know. I was read to recycle the little white thing 2 years ago - but BD has this thing about 250K miles and I am 70K away from that. Ah well. It is just a car - a purse - on wheels - that lugs my junk around.

HP is moving along a little smoother - but I was so bloomin’ tired last night I read only a few pages. Crashed asleep before 9, but only after I got last weekend’s laundry folded and put away. See, I have this thing about not being able to wash this week’s dirty clothes until last week’s laundry is put away.

And here’s a big Thank You to Canada for aiming their trough of cool air our way. Whew.

posted by Bess | 7:21 AM

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We didn't get any high drama wind and thunder, or even any drops of rain but, for whatever reason, the temp dropped a bit last night. It was wonderful to just experience the rapid change. However, I think it's going back the other way again today.

By Blogger Larry, at 10:11 AM  

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Thursday, July 28, 2005  

We gasped our way through the last of the solar oven days yesterday. My car got so hot in the parking lot that I was nearly home before the a/c actually cooled off the metalNglass enough for the conditioned air to actually fill up the interior. Fortunately the library is new enough that the h-vac system actually works. A good portion of the older county buildings have either window units in them or fans. All of them smell like mold, too - what else could you expect from centuries of architecture standing 8 feet above sea level between two marshes?

Though I had been home only an hour or so, the air was so oppressive I couldn’t remember how to make a salad and ended up eating blueberries and bananas for dinner. But about 8 o’clock the front rolled in from the north, complete with dancing forests and lightning flashes and a weird greeny pink sunset. We dashed about the house, throwing open windows and propping doors wide with heavy objects. The air was not cold, like it is when you get a direct hit with the rain, but it was a good 15 degrees cooler than the house. Priss, our one dog who is really bothered by storms, danced in and out of the house, trying to decide where she would be safer - indoors, or wherever mama is. Eventually I decided to remove myself from the lightening strike zone and sit on the back porch, and she settled down in my lap. Been a long time since I’ve been willing to hold a dog on my lap.

We stayed out on the porch for one sweet hour, just enjoying the excitement and movement and coolness. A little bit of rain fell, but not much more than would wet down the walk. The change in temperatures, the furious wind and surrounding storm sounds left me disinclined to go watch a movie with BD so we chose instead, to read to each other. We’ve been working our way through the 15 minute version of the Harvard Classics, and sadly, not finding much that we’re inclined to go back to. I had now idea how pompous Robert Browning was! - but yesterday’s offering, Goethe’s Hermann and Dorothea, turned out to be a rare treat. Yes it’s grammar structure is a little archaic. This translation, pre 20th century, is strong corroborative evidence that something in the water of 19th century England produced a generation of Tolkein-esque grammarians. And they all must have learned German - because really that’s what this sounds like - continental sentence structure written with English words. Nevertheless, we are enjoying the beautiful word paintings.

I am also trying to read Harry Potter VI. I thoroughly enjoyed books 1-4, which I swooped through in a single, 3 day marathon, vacation read. I eagerly looked forward to book V last summer, but it was such a disappointment to me that I only skimmed a few chapters, and actually read only the first and last. I was never a whiny teen and I certainly didn’t raise a sulky brat boy either. Harry at 15 was such a bore. Nor do I find the “I don’t want to talk about it” stoics particularly sympathetic nor interesting. Just a little quirk in my personality. But it seems to me that if you can’t accept something then you ought to speak up about it, for, how can anybody stop irritating you if you don’t tell them exactly where the irritation is?

At the end of the book, when Dumbledore gave HP the weepy speech about how he just wanted Harry to be a normal little boy with a normal little childhood - well, I mean - get real. That’s the same thing that turned my stomach with the John Grisham book The Client. Make me vomit, please, with some pathetic plea for the chiiiiiiiiildrun. Rather turned me off Grisham mysteries altogether. Dumbledore, more than anybody else, ought to have known that a normal childhood for HP wasn’t possible. He would have done better just schooling his little prodigy the way little gymnasts or violinists or ice skaters are trained. That whole book just had too much pop psychology weaving through it, and not enough artistic editing done to it. The bratty pose doesn’t have to be on every page - I get the picture - got it in the first chapter. Art isn’t supposed to copy life - detail, by boring detail - it’s supposed to imply reality, sketch it, give us just the outline and let our minds fill in the rest. Do you really want to read hours of transcripts of the last fight you had with your teenager? Or your mom? I mean - you can just go home if you want that sort of entertainment.

Alas - having only the gist of the plot of Book V - and not remembering some of the important, but new characters - I find Book VI goes a little slowly. HP is a more bearable character now, so I am going to plow ahead. Besides, I’ve already read the ending so I know where he’s headed. I will do my all to find out how he goes about it.

I spun only the littlest bit of the red wool last night. I’m spinning a soft twist yarn similar to last week’s yarn. Goodness - I haven’t even measured to see how many wraps per inch it is. Hmmm. As I contemplate my spinning and the eventual garment, it all takes on more of a “Project” aspect to it - and I am considering making up a whole notebook about my efforts - both the successes and the failures. Besides - there is something so delicious about buying a new notebook.

Of course, I must keep reminding myself, shopping for a notebook does not a swing coat make. La - I do hope this is a project I actually finish. Perhaps I ought to make a project out of finishing all the unfinished ones littering my house. Call it the Come to Completion Project. Ah well. But not today. Today I spin red wool, visit the gym, return videos and try try try to get a full night’s sleep.

posted by Bess | 5:45 AM

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005  

One more day - just one more - and earth will once again be an oxygen rich environment. At 7:15 a.m. it is cool enough to just walk around the house naked but by 10 I suspect even skin will be a burden. Of course, today is Wednesday, which means air conditioned story hour for me, and BD insists he doesn’t mind the heat, so long as he doesn’t have to move. Each of the dogs finds her own cool spot - Socks is under the yurt, Priss is beneath the arborvitae by the front door, Capt. J is down in the marsh - unless he’s in the bathtub. He doesn’t like the shower, though he’ll get in briefly, but he’s happy to sit in the tub if the water’s not running. A dog in my bathtub is a new level of spoildom for this pet owner - but then, Jack is the dog of our mature years. Like a grandchild, he is ours to indulge.

The puppet show went off like a darling laugh-fest. The 12 year old volunteers got into a giggle fit - but since they were performing for 8 year olds, it was utterly appropriate - the entire room fell into a giggle fit. I brought up the idea of an after school program during the school year and they were all enthusiastic. Time to get out the old planner for this project.

In weather such as this, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about fiber but I did ply up the last of the singles on the lazy kate and pulled out a new colorway. A nice warm medium red. Not too many flecks and bits garnetted into the fiber; very few noils either, so it spins up a little more smoothly. It seems to have a bit more mohair in the blend than the green, so I may spin it tight and fine and make a loopy boucle with it. It’s just so easy to pull out mohair thin thin thin. But it is such a pretty yarn when spun loosely - well - I have enough to spin up two batches so I can actually do both.

La - It’s just too hot to keep thinking - much less writing. Stay cool. Drink water. September always does come.

posted by Bess | 7:15 AM

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005  

The lovely post I wrote yesterday morning was vaporized in the blink of an electron so I can’t create for you the glorious day of cool breezes and crisp visibility that was Sunday - for the mug of a Bermuda High has crashed down upon us again and we’re gasping for the few molecules of air sandwiched between H2O misting up off the fields. Now, the best any of us can hope for is to suck in enough oxygen to survive till Thursday, when, we are promised by the weather dot com guys, that the heat will crack open and leave us, spent, panting, beat up, but living still, and ready to face a weekend in the 80’s.

For me, the weekend will carry the added bonus of completion - the summer reading club will be over and we shan’t have to keep that prize box full any more. No more reading logs, no more middle school helpers (cute, but sometimes twice the work) and no more Tuesday afternoon programs. Just nice quiet busywork, audit preparations and annual reports - coupled with vacations, family retreats, and all the other things that are August down on TheRivah.

Yesterday’s post also was a real fiber post with News about Projects. In sterling prose I rolled out the plans for the Wall-0-Color Swing Coat in all it’s gleaming splendor. But the mundane version is:

I filled 2 bobbins of the Bonfires in Forest Green colorway and plied up one bobbin full. It’s a very soft spin. It has to be. It’s carded, garneted wool & mohair with lots of colorful flecks. I’m spinning right off the bats, so a full bobbin came to only 80 yards of not very thick yarn.
I could give you twist and grist only I’d have to get out of this chair and go measure - so just believe me - it’s not very thick but it’s very soft. It also does NOT look good plied with beads. I was so disappointed, since I know that this fiber cries out for beads - but after looking at a sample I realized that not all of the colorways want beads. Only the ones with very few variations. There is a peach and a pale green that will glisten if they’re plied with beads. There are probably some others too - I should think the very purple colorway would look good with purple seed beads twined about the plies. But the colorways with lots of variations are very busy. All these flecks of yellow and red and even tiny bits of turquoise, in among the mossy greens and bonfire orange punctuate the yarn to perfection. Adding the beads is overkill - worse than that - they barely have any impact at all and when glittery beads have no impact - well. Plying beads into your yarn is a LOT of work. Heck! Just stringing the beads onto the thread is a picky, poky job. No point in working that hard to no effect.











So. I will save the 700 beads still on the thread for a different colorway and ply up the rest of the Fiery Greens stuff. And no I will not be setting actual weekly yardage goals. I will just, after today, ply up whatever I’ve done during the week on Sunday afternoons and begin with a new color on Monday mornings. I figure this way the color change will keep me interested while I spin my way to 3K yards of yarn.

As for the project schedule - at the rate I spin I hope to be pretty much done by the beginning of November. Of course, I can begin doing other parts of this project before then: schematic drawing, math, even some knitting. But I’m going to need some of my colors spun into yarn before I can do much beyond the schematic drawing. Every time you do something to fiber you change it. Carding or combing, dyeing, spinning, washing: each of these alters the look so much, it takes a far more experienced fiber worker than I am, to envision the final garment before these steps have been taken. Oh - I have this idea - this flitting image in my mind - mostly of swaths of softly knit color wrapped around my fashion model body (Do you see the flaw in this vision?) - but I don’t trust any of that yet. There is just an urge, a prompting and desire to see if I can create a garment that really does make me feel the way the image makes me feel. If I can, hooray - and if not - well, there. I will have had a lot of fun along the way.

BH and I ended up in Richmond, yesterday, instead of Williamsburg. Mostly we wanted to just hang out together and I wanted to take her by a shop I knew she’d love. We had a fabulous lunch with a mega-chocolate desert, waddled out into the heat and took the quick way west out to a mall. I gave her the Spring Fling bag I knit last April&May. I think it’s a darling bag but I am not a bag person. It needed buttons and we tried to find some at Michael’s - but failed. What we did find was Lion Brand’s Moonlight Mohair blend - which looks a lot like Trendsetter’s Dune, though the colors are perhaps a little less exciting. It costs only $9 instead of $13 - which is saying something. By the time we got there (our very last stop) we didn’t really feel like browsing - so I don’t know if they have the cashmere blend - besides, even thinking about cashmere blend in the heat of a Bermuda High July makes me nauseous. I will just have to go back sometime in the cool of autumn and see what they’re offering.

After that we were ready for home and since she knew a back way out of the city it was a sweet drive. BD was content with salad for supper so we didn’t have to turn on any heat producing appliances. I plan to do the same tonight and tomorrow - either that or I’ll bring home someone else’s cooking.

It’s off to finish up the script for the puppet show now. I'm ready now, for the gentle down hill slope through the rest of the summer.

posted by Bess | 6:39 AM

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Ooh, do I see The Trellis in your near future? Have a great time tomorrow.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 4:33 PM  

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Sunday, July 24, 2005  

Blessed coolness wafts through the window on fairy feet, changing the world from something to endure into something in which to revel. Sweet, soft gentle coolness. It’s just a brief pause in the relentless heat that is expected to crash back down upon us come Monday, but we can worry about that tomorrow - at Tara, where I am sure it is even hotter - being hundreds of miles further south than my little spot on The Rivah. After all, I will be a little south, since tomorrow I am going with BH to Williamsburg to celebrate her birthday. Unless we decide to go somewhere else. Whatever we do it shall be done together. She has been extraordinarily busy the past few months, while I have been extraordinarily moody, internal and gloomy. That combination has left us with only quick phone calls and even quicker hugs, just to make sure that the other is still breathing. But not tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a girly girl day.

And yesterday wasn’t so bad either - I got the essential chores done (hair, shopping, and most of the family reunion invitations mailed), missed out on the exercise (got to stop doing that - why can’t I make gym stops an essential!!?) and got in some great spinning, both on wheel and spindle. I’m determined to have a knitted project, no matter how small, from spindle spun wool. I have about 3 oz of very pretty color blended merino top, just enough to spin fine and make a little lacy thing - maybe lace cuffs for some socks or mittens. (Hmmm. I really like the idea of lacy sock cuffs....) and I am spinning it on the Golding. In the past I have not been very good at filling a spindle, though. It gets just so full, then I decide I want to start spinning a little something else and I wind off the yarn, sometimes wisely storing it, sometimes tangling it into a disaster that has to be thrown away, sometimes storing it but then losing it - EEEK! That’s what sort of housekeeper I am. Distractible.

I do have some yarn spun on the little Bosworth spindle that I plan to knit into interesting socks. I just don't have enough of it yet. I have lots of plans, of course; a whole brain-drawer full of them. I make a great idea generator - just so long as I don’t have to be a completion finalizer.

Nevertheless, I do like to finish things and when I really want something to get finished, done, made, completed... I have to put together a schedule. It’s the tool I taught teen aged LD so he could manage long projects at school. When he had an assignment that covered more than one week I showed him how to take a calendar and write down what he was going to do each day between then and the due date, to be sure he finished the project. Even if he was going to do nothing on a particular day, he was to decide to do nothing, not just drift into doing nothing. It taught him to estimate time, to get a grasp of how much work was going to be required, and to be aware of what needed to be started early in order to be able to take intermediate actions. Of course, he was a better student than I, but then, nobody ever taught me how to do that. He learned early, and then, he’s a Taurus and an ENTJ so clear paths to solutions are his idea of heaven. He was an eager pupil.

Alas - I am far less able to actually fulfill my structured, planned schedules, but I can at least see what needs to be done in order to reach my goal and from time to time I actually do get there; sometimes with a little slipping and sliding towards the end, but an arrival occurs. Today I want to map out the Wall-0-Color project. I’m about to start plying my two bobbins of the first colorway. This is an autumnal green stirred with bonfire reds and oranges. At the moment I’m thinking I will spin a different color every week. I’m not sure if I want to set a goal of two bobbins worth plied, or if I will ply whatever I have spun at the end of the week. The latter might be both easier to actually accomplish, as well as more fun and stimulating to do. It will focus my efforts on process, which is more soothing to me (inveterate sampler that I am) than product. Since this garment is going to be a multicolored piece, small lengths of yarn won’t be irritating - I’d be breaking the yarns off anyway each time I came to a color change. I haven’t decided if I want a crazy quilt effect, a random effect or stripes. I know I want a swing coat with loose sleeves, but fitted shoulders. This means a triangular shape. I had a sewing pattern from the mid-80’s that might work for this garment, but I am not sure if I didn’t pitch it in a fit of organizational frenzy one year. I’ll check today. It was a stunning garment, sewn up in a loose boucle weave that hung like a knit fabric.

Anyway - today I’ll map out a schedule and see what I could accomplish between now and next spring. Deep in my little heart is the desire to enter this into the MS&W show - quite admittedly inspired by the very first MS&W show I attended, when someone had spun and knit a fabulous coat in multiple fibers/yarns/patches. It was blue, of course, which is always going to be the winning color, and as I recall, the patches were squares - which don’t excite me. I am too round a woman to wear square shapes - at least, to wear lots of square shapes. And I am not ever going to make a big project like this for someone besides me, or at the very furthest, GD or or some future GRandDaughter.

So the project shan’t be squares and it shan’t be blue. But it will still be magnificent.

Oh the hubris of typing that! I can already hear Athena smirking and saying “we’ll see about that, miss smarty pants." I better go sacrifice to the goddess. Hmmm. Maybe if I give her all the credit ... what do you think?

posted by Bess | 8:27 AM

2 Comments:

I just finished your infomercial for MAFA. What a blast that must have been. Thanks for filling us in. Sorry I've been so quiet of late. It's just too hot to think or write in whole sentences, let alone do anything email worthy. It was great to see your smiling face.

By Blogger Larry, at 10:26 AM  

I loved you tale of your trip to Leesburg. You have triggered so many memories! I lived and worked in Warrenton from 1975 until 1983- pre by-pass time and the NORVA people were just coming in.. Now they want to commute all the way from Charlottesville--That is truly craziness!! in 1983 I moved to Va Beach!! Left there in 1996 and moved to the country-Southwest Virginia is getting filled up too!!Spinning retreats and seminars are the best! Good food, fiber and friends- Man can live on the 3 F's alone!!! I am now so looking forward to my next spinning reteat. Thanks for the memories and the anticipated future...

By Anonymous Lawre, at 11:13 AM  

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Saturday, July 23, 2005  

Saturday at last. It feels much longer than a week ago that I was sitting down to All-the-donuts-you-can-eat breakfast, stoking up the reserves to get me through a day of spinning against the effects of Jungian ADD. I am sure that combination of Virgoan guilt and ENFP distractibility is why I do so well making swatches. Swatches are Good. They are proof that you are DoingYourHomework. They are FinishedObjects in and of themselves. They are Learning Tools. They MakeYouBetterrrrrr. They mean it’s okay if you are a “look a bird” type because even you can finish a swatch before the ---- hey! Look! another bird.

What is sweet about this Saturday is that I have a day and a half in which nothing is planned. Like money in the bank, unplanned time is a rich treasure. I have about half a day of stuff I want to/must do - and I suddenly saw a way to do it all in my prime time, those few brief hours during which I can multi-task without tripping, and which is any time before noon. I have what I tell BD is a BYOOOOTEEE appointment (which means do not ask me about it) at 11:30, wherein youth will be restored, and the week’s grocery shopping to do, which can be done before the above mentioned half hour of deception, and I’d like to get in a visit to the gym. I am still carrying around MAFA calories. With careful planning I ought to be able to be home by 12:30, buff and byoooteeefied, with nothing on the agenda. But before any of that can be done I must go have sticker fun with the family reunion invitations - now 2 weeks late - how did I get this job? Little Helper Bee Me, I guess. Of course, they are probably now too late - since Mercury has gone into retrograde already. But Mr.Horoscope assures me that business does get done during this backwards time so I will smugly shrug my shoulders if any letters go astray. It is not my fault. Talk to Mercury if you have a complaint.

Isn’t it nice that envelopes, labels and stamps are all manufactured as stickers now?

(hey what? is this a knitting blog or what? - so knit 6 more rounds on the sock foot last night but no spinning)

posted by Bess | 7:30 AM

2 Comments:

i just read your weekend events and now need to take a trip to Carls!!! Loved it since high school when we went there and to Hardees as Culpeper had no fast food and we had to go there for a treat! Thanks for the memories! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:45 AM  

Oh - you are sooo welcome! Isn't it funny how important fast food was, lo those many years ago?

By Blogger Bess, at 7:43 AM  

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Friday, July 22, 2005  













Here's a little photo that has been lingering on the camera for ever. Dear, dear auction hound SD bought this for me one Sunday for $25!!! Check out those wooden gears. And don't miss the MAFA POST immediately following these pictures.

posted by Bess | 1:32 PM

2 Comments:

Well, I'm going to let the great reviews that you and Jen have done speak for me, too! It was great to spend time with you both, and I really enjoyed the classes too, my felting one as well.

By Blogger Shelia, at 4:36 PM  

Darling Bess, I do hope it was BD doing the nibbling! ;-j

Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend, and pics of J & S, whom I never get to see.

Counting the minutes until the 6th!

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:52 PM  

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MAFA Report at last!



Begun on Monday the 18th but not finished till Friday.

I’m back from MAFA, totally refreshed, relaxed and recharged. The perfect - absolutely, completely utterly perfect - antidote to the blues, blahs and bugbears that have been chasing me for the past month. It was just far enough away to be a get-away but close enough to home to get back in 3 hours. It lasted just long enough to fill up all my brain cells but not so long I got dopey. I did remember how to spin, I mastered new techniques, I met my video-mentor and found her infinitely more fun and warm and knowledgeable and generous than I had hoped. I wallowed in the affection of old friends and glowed in the warmth of new acquaintances.

Yep. Perfect.

This is the first fiber conference I’ve gone to where I had no responsibilities and it was really fun. There’s a bit of the helper bee in my personality, it’s always going to clamor for an outlet, but in this case, I got to be the helpee-bee instead and it was fun.

The drive up to Leesburg, which used to be a 100% pleasant drive through the country, is now only a 50% pleasant drive and the rest of it is a slog through NOVA traffic and vinyl villages. This is too bad - but I can’t see any way to stop it. Dreadful $500K town houses crowd the narrow lanes of Rt. 15, with one lane traffic past the new construction and 4 lane turns where the bulldozers and concrete trucks have done their damage. Who are these people and why do they want to live here and spend 3 to 4 hours a day in their cars? It’s a mystery to me.

But at least it wasn’t I95 so I ought not to complain.

And from my house to the center, just outside of Leesburg, you just take 17, 15, 7, and make a left. So I barely needed a map. The National Conference Center is a concrete Chinese Imperial Palace. Parking is in huge lots around the perimeter and there are shuttles to take you back to the center. There are several buildings with graduated tiers of floors but a system of underground tunnels will take you from one building to another. Since J, S and I were not staying at the center we had to learn only the North and the West buildings. Food and classes were in N, registration, shows and vendors were in W.

J&S met me at the front and guarded my possessions after I’d unloaded, then hopped back in my car, parked it and returned. Then they dashed off for a hurried lunch while I signed in. Finding my way around that warren of grey tunnels was frustrating, though eventually I learned how to read the secret iconographic signs. A little more assistance up front would have been welcome, but the truth is, I did learn my way around well enough eventually.

The first class was at 1:30, taught by Patsy Zawistoski; Spinning Downy Fibers. Angora, Camel, Possum - short, crimpless fibers that often slip right out of your hands. She had lots of good handouts - including a card stock sheet for you to hook your samples onto.

Once again I was reminded that you get what you pay for. I have bought camel down at bargain basement prices - and it turned out to be bargain quality - 1 inch long or less. I pretty much decided I didn’t want to bother with camel. Patsy had great samples for us to work with - and the camel was not only longer, by about half an inch, but also in a roving preparation.

She also gave us little dowel sticks to sand smooth and use to make punis. Ooooo I am in love with making punis. They are tiny rolags good for managing short fibers - and on Sunday, when I was working with Priss Fur I was glad I had learned how to make them. All in all we worked with angora, dyed angora blend roving, cashmere, camel and NZ possum blended with wool.


Here are happy spinners learning new skills and practicing old ones.

J, S & I hustled off to check into our motel room between the end of Friday classes and the end of dinner. We had to go perhaps 5 miles, but alas, it was over NOVA roads on a Friday night in the summer at 5 o’clock. It took us about an hour and a half to get there and back. Where are all these people coming from!?!? I believe I would shoot myself if I had to live up there in that congested morass of auto exhaust and asphalt.

The food at the convention center was good institutional food, lavishly offered, with way way way too many desert options. Though I had thought I might eat like a normal person and put all my energy into fiber arts, alas, I succumbed to the herisy that this would be my last chance ever, for the rest of my life, to ingest sugar and made sure I stocked up on a lifetime supply. I ate desert at every meal! I will skip Weight Watchers today - there is no point in rubbing my nose in the obvious.

The fashion show, moderated by Daryl Lancaster, contained lots of beautiful garments. There was a linen ensemble of pants, jacket and shell that was so beautiful my mouth still waters remembering it. And I saw the one and only poncho I have ever admired - would ever consider making for myself. It was two rectangles sewn together, short sides to long, so that the borders on the long edges formed interesting stripes. The corners of the garment were worn over the wrists, giving the garment a sweater look, but not a sweater shape. Mostly I hate ponchos and can’t imagine wanting to wear something so confining and unflattering, but this was anything but that.

We were in bed early and back at the convention center in good time for breakfast. The cost of the convention included meals and we could have stayed there too, but at the time we registered, I didn’t have the $ for a motel room and J still lived within a reasonable commute. In the intervening months I earned some $ and J sold her house, so we chose to take a room in town.

Saturday was 6 hours of spinning long luxury fibers - Llama, alpaca, both Huacaya and Suri, Kid mohair locks, and two novelty yarns, one using a crimpy wool and one using woolly nylon thread. In addition to experimenting around with the different fibers, we worked with some novelty techniques like intentionally pulling threads out of the drafting triangle and tangling it onto the yarn. Patsy called this a hairy spin and it’s fascinating and pretty plied with itself or against a thin smooth yarn.





Here's a shot of the star and the groupie.


She also gave a good demonstration of both long draw and modified long draw. The 2 points of twist long draw had, so far, eluded me but watching up close and personal, while a real pro did it, gave me confidence to try it again. What do you know - I can do it! Not well, mind you, but that will come with practice. Working with so many different fibers gave me a chance to get to know HeyBaby again. I had put her aside last November when I started on TheWeddingDress and hadn’t really picked her back up again. The longer I stayed away from her, the more clumsy I was on those rare moments when I sat down to give her a whirl. That made me begin to wonder if I had any skill/talent/interest in spinning at all. A good solid 12 hours with a good dozen fibers in several preparations reaquainted me with her many fine qualities - and I’ve been spinning at home every day since. (working on the Wall-0-Color project)

Saturday night was shopping night. I have mixed feelings about the shopping experience at fiber conferences. I’ve been in the vendor’s area both as seller and shopper and in both cases I’ve felt a serious problem is being - not ignored - but deiberately unadmitted. The problem is this:

Attendees go first of all to take classes - as many classes as can be stuffed into the time frame as possible. It costs the same to take 12 hours of classes as it does to take 9 or 6 or 3.

Vendors set up at the beginning of the conference, and then wait till meal time for any customers to wander in. If they want to eat, they too must hustle into the lunch area during its brief open hours or else bring food from home.

It’s expensive for a vendor to travel, pay for booth space, hire help, set up, but its part of the cost of doing business. But to sit doing nothing while potential customers are in class, then linger long after class, to chat with their fabulous teachers is rough. It is certainly a terrible expense. Last year when I was at Creative Strands as a booth babe, I watched the vendors drift from booth to booth taking each other’s pulses - and in some sad cases, shopping from each other. The experienced vendor knows that she’s at a show to make money, not spend it - but hours spent undistracted by eager customers, while looking into that booth across the isle, with those baskets, or those spindles, or that roving is enough to weaken the resolve of the steeliest.

One would think a captive customer base, charged up by their teachers and their new skills, ought to be a guaranteed money maker. But those customers have to have some time to actually get into the booths and make their purchases. The best retreats I've seen have a scheduled shopping time and for my part, the best shopping time is not from 8-10 at night - which was the shop till you drop slot at MAFA. But that is only because I am not a night person. I have to give the MAFA folk points for making sure there was a designated shopping time.

I did not, of course, shop till I dropped, but I did drop some $ for a gorgeous 2 oz of dyed silk roving, another delicious 4 oz of alpaca & silk blend in a color called pumpkin that glistened with autumnal highlights. I would have stopped there, but a soon-to-be-open shop in Warrenton, VA had alpaca blends to die for - in all those chocolate QueenColors and 8 oz of it came home with me. Imagine a really great add for a really really great chocolate company - with all the flavors from mocha to dove dark - now imagine it in alpaca - now imagine it in my bag coming home with me. Ahhhh. Pure bliss.

Sunday's class was spinning pet fur - Fuzz, Fluff and Fur - taught by Andrea Mielke, who had simply fabulous garments spun and knit out of mostly dog fur. She walked us through the steps using angora which she provided, but the 4 students in the class were all intent on working with our own pet fur. I had a bag of PrissFur I'd carefully brushed and washed (and washed and washed) and experimented with several different preps; spun very fine by itself, with corriedale spun fairly fine, with finn cut to 1" bits. I rolled all the fur preps into little punis and spun from them. The silkiest of all was the Priss Alone fur. The prettiest was a thicker looser Priss/Finn blend.

What I have in mind is to work up a little dog shape and then spin and knit a little Priss. If it works out - I have a special friend who needs a little dog spun and knit from his beloved pet's fur.

There was time for one more lunch avec desert(S) before loading up the car and heading home. There was a room where you could store your luggage between checking out and driving off - with ample time to eat lunch and even make a final stroll through the vendor area. It was hot and sticky, but you could see a stormy sky threatening the horizon. Just outside of Warrenton the skies opened up and I actually missed the bypass and got shunted into downtown Warrenton because the visibility was so bad. Thirty minutes later the worst had passed and the drive from Opal to Champlain is an easy trip. I took 3 through Falmouth, where the tiny church is, and crossed the Rappahannock on the new bridge. I didn't even stop at Carl's for frozen custard -
though I did pick up some corn and fruit at Sneed's, a favorite vegetable stand on Highway 17.

And then I was home again, hugged, pawed, and nibbled by my darlings. It was a pluperfect weekend that has left its glow all week. I have a bobbin full of Wall-0-Color singles, a second one started, and beautiful merino spun over the fold on my Golding spindle. The jump-start sock is coming down the instep towards a toe and it is already destined to become a Christmas Present!

Life is good. Thank you MAFA for picking Virginia for your conference.

So.....just what is on the schedule at John C. Campbell......?????

posted by Bess | 7:03 AM

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I will post about MAFA. I will. I will. I will.

Just - later.

posted by Bess | 6:58 AM

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Thursday, July 21, 2005  

What? Again no MAFA post? What is wrong with this blog?

Well, nothing but my week is crashed and crammed with stuff and I just can't seem to wrap my brain around my report. All my literary efforts are aimed at a puppet script of The Frog Prince which is to be performed on Tuesday. Lots of work for 10 minutes of literature.

Of course this would be the Budget Board Meeting week and since everyone was on vacation last week, including yrs. trly., we also had to have a budget committee meeting and of course Monday I had to spend reentering reality after the weekend in fiberdise. Now today I am driving down with BD to Virginia Beach - not to splash in the sand&sun but to loll around some medical establishment while he has more tests. Not necessarily serious but then - not not so either. When you have a physical every 27 years a whole lotta issues get revealed - things that would otherwise trickle out over the decades all get presented in one fell swoop.

I took photos of my yarn samples with a disposable camera but alas, tried to take close ups and the focus is so bad I won't post them. I do have some pix but I didn't get a chance to put them up yesterday so with a sigh and with fingers crossed I hint that I might get it up tomorrow afternoon - post with pix.

I'm grateful for this weekend - which is supposed to be abysmally hot - but I have one bobbin of Wall-0-Color singles, one thread full of golden seed beads and maybe - just maybe - I will have a fancy schmancy yarn to show for myself come Monday.

posted by Bess | 5:46 AM

2 Comments:

I know just how he feels!

You've clearly been working him too hard...

By Blogger Amie, at 5:38 PM  

Is that a shana punim (i.e. cute face!) or what?!
XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 12:59 PM  

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005  



Sleepy baby puppy

posted by Bess | 3:24 PM

2 Comments:

We promise, we promise!

(We do NOT, however, promise not to go into a grumpy jealous mopiness)

Yay, for BD! We know he's special, but it's lovely to see others acknowledge it always.

By Blogger Amie, at 8:32 AM  

Oh yes, I would love to have been w/you all as the gingerbread houses were made.
And yes, BD is someone to be proud of!
Good luck w/all your Library work today.
XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 1:26 PM  

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Blogger looks weird on my machine today and of course I'm not finished writing the MAFA report - after all - the woman who can write 3 pages of drivel about a Saturday spent in a car driving around Tidewater Virginia can spend days writing about a long weekend with real spinners and their teachers.

I promise it will be up as soon as I finish it - but then you must promise to read it.

Poor BD is as red as a beet from standing on the river shore for hours, waiting for the planes to fly over or the boats to get on down stream or the waves to stop lapping the shore. Some of our neighbors came down to watch the activitiy, further enhancing his reputation as SomeoneSpecialToBeProudOf - even if the boy is a bit different.

Today is Wednesday, which is not only story hour day but Library Board Meeting Day - and I will be rushed as a rabbit. But there are only 10 more days of summer reading club and we will sink back into our August sloth.

And don't you wish you had been with me yesterday when 20 little 6-10 year olds made 20 little gingerbread houses?

posted by Bess | 7:19 AM

3 Comments:

Sweets,
Can identify w/the "Ekk a dust bunny! Let's vacuum!" tho'ts. NG - wow, how exciting for BD.
Adore your list from your MAFA experience - so glad you had time w/S & J - they're so special. You have taught me that a day off after a week-end of bliss is vital to one's sanity & helps the joy to continue for one more day.
Look forward to your photos.
XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 12:11 PM  

NG?! Wow! My DH subscribes...let me know what issue Mr. J. is s'posed to be in, and I'll keep a watch for the article.

As for housekeeping, DearHeart, have you forgotten the FLYlady motto: "You can do anything for 15 minutes"?!

Take care of yerself, eh?

P.S. Someday I wanna get to your part of the world and go to MAFA and all those wonderful places!

By Blogger Margaret, at 1:13 PM  

NG indeed - and he's already been quoted in the June 2005 issue - on the history page about Capt. John Smith. This is TEE VEE. They'll air the show in about 6 months and then it'll be available on video and dvd. He called an hour or so ago and told me they insisted on filming right on the river bank and kept covering his face with powder. We get complimentary copies - can't wait!

By Blogger Bess, at 5:09 PM  

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005  

Back at the job - reluctantly so, since as I was leaving a film crew from National Geographic drove up; 2 vans and 4 people who look like the rough-it, intrepid type, to interview Mr. Jamestown. BD had told me on the phone Saturday night that they were coming and I had shrieked out that I’d never get the house clean enough. Innocent that he is, he didn’t understand what that had to do with anything but I was up at 5 with the vacuum going this morning. It is suitably rustic looking, now, though still not as nice it would be outside the mold&mildew season. But hey – they’re National Geographic. If they can’t take rustic, who can?

I’ll snap up the last of the pictures on the disposable camera I took to MAFA and get them to the one hour folk late today. Try to get my post about the weekend up late tomorrow. But for a report now – with photos - check out J’s blog.

posted by Bess | 10:24 AM

1 Comments:

Welcome home, love. I was with you in spirit (read: I'M SO JEALOUS!!!)

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:47 AM  

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Monday, July 18, 2005  

I'm back - it was fabulous and I'll give a full report as soon as I have a few photos ready - probably Wednesday.

But the quick and dirty list of goodies achieved includes:

Reuniting with beloved friends
Meeting new ones
Reassuring myself that I do have some skills
Recharging inspirational batteries
Learning new techniques
Being bold enough to try things I'd been too chicken to do before
Buying a hand painted silk that makes my mouth water
Finding out about a new store that is going to teach a weaving technique I want to learn - badly.
Getting back home again

Yep Yep sounds like a perfect weekend to me.

Wise one that I am, I have today off - it will make the rest of the week a bit rushed and hurried but it will be worth it to be able to linger over the gifts of the weekend a few more hours.

Summer has glommed onto us with wicked vengeance. It’s hot, sticky, stormy and gritty down at the end of the dirt lane. Too hot to knit - but not to hot to practice that long draw technique.

Capt. Jack grew 3 inches! Photos this week. I promise. I mean it.

posted by Bess | 7:50 AM

1 Comments:

Sigh - Y'all'll be so close...and yet so far... sniff.

Love,
LWLY

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 PM  

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Friday, July 15, 2005  

I got almost all of it done and what I didn’t accomplish, I managed to rationalize/reason into being of less importance. The big unfinished project was getting the notices out about the family reunion in August. I’ve always tried to get them out 4-6 weeks ahead of the event. But fer cryin’ out loud - this will be the 152nd year of this reunion and it has been on the 2nd Saturday in August since what? 1943? Yeah. I can finish labeling those envelopes next week. I also wanted to get a book order in before I left but that too can wait. Everything else can be done the first 2 hours of Tuesday and I left a little list on my desk reminding me to do them first thing.

So now it’s off to the bucolic splendors of Leesburg, VA - a very pretty, very expensive little Virginia Horse Country town. It’s the sort of place I always tell myself I’m going to come back to - walk around - meander through the shops. I never seem to do it though. It’s just far enough away to forget about, till I hear it mentioned again. Besides, Hunt Country Yarns is between here and there and Middleburg is another very pretty, very expensive little Virginia Horse Country town.

And Mr. Horoscope says (as I am about to go to a fiber conference with vendors) I still have to “appease the great god of Money”, but that my efforts will be rewarded. So - does that mean don’t buy anything at the market? rats. Well. I am taking only a little cash, but also the credit card. And I have looked over my stash(es) to remind myself of that concept “restraint”.

Now it is off to pack. A report on Monday.

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM

2 Comments:

Oh Bess, do redecorate! I am priming up to convert my never-used living room into my "studio" when my son moves his stuff out in September and I can give some things to him/shift others around. I am so excited! Why don't you join me? We can do long-distance home deco planning together -- two sweet Virgos with great ideas! ;-)

By Blogger Margaret, at 12:15 PM  

She-who-remains-blogless has the combs and an extra gift for you.

Have fun this weekend, dearest, please - HAVE FUN. Don't stress, don't worry, just remember that you are beautiful at what you do, and you are beautiful at who you are, and cherish the opportunity to have fun with people you love, doing what you love.

(Man, that sounds quite maudlin, but it really is just me wishing you absolute joy and relaxation after a long summer)

By Blogger Amie, at 2:29 PM  

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Thursday, July 14, 2005  

No spinning yet. Nope. Nada. None. Ahh well. Often my best laid plans are mere puffs of smoke. The good news is that I have half of the VeryImportantThingsWhichMustBeDone ticked off the list. I have this one day today to finish it all up. I reeeeeealy want to go to the gym at lunch and I’ve invited the YD’s for dinner tonight, so I shall have to clip along steadily today if I want to HaveItAll.

I am no longer so worried about my rusty spinning technique. It will de-rust as I move through the weekend and besides, I am already enthused again by my huge bag of colors and my Joseph’s Coat plans. The scales will all flake away soon enough. Even Mr. Horoscope is promising that I am almost at the summit and need only keep trudging steadily upwards before everything opens out into broad vistas and smooth easy strides - or nice long draws, to use more of a spinning metaphor.

It’s as muggy and wet as it’s possible to be without actual rain falling from the sky. We’d had a bit of a dry weather in late June so the wet is welcome, but in my house it tends to help the mold grow. Every day I ask BD to clorox the back porch - an annual spring chore. Every day he says “sure, honey” and of course, every day he doesn’t. So we haven’t used the porch all summer. It is now mid-July. Something is wrong with this picture.

Both of us are starting to talk about being in the mood to think about doing some things to the house. I think that’s sort of cute, really, since we are also both the type to get house things in place and leave them there ForEverLikePawpawDidIt. At least, BD wants everything to be like his ancestors did it and I am too lazy to move things. Honestly. The furniture in my house has been in the same position since 1981. We both of us tend to think ship’s cabins rather than houses.

So in the future perhaps you will be treated to verbose descriptions of Home Redecorating. Or maybe you’ll just get to hear about the meanderings of idle minds thinking about getting into the mood to contemplate......

posted by Bess | 6:59 AM

2 Comments:

Would it be of help to borrow my drum carder or combs? I'll see She-who-remains-blogless tomorrow, and can pass on tools through her, to be returned during visits later this summer....

By Blogger Amie, at 11:29 AM  

"The rest was slurs cast at everyone else who sat upon his legs through the afternoon cobbling his shoes and sewing his shirts."

Yes, exactly. I remember thinking to myself "yeah, great, but what about people who WORK for a living?"

I guess my attitude to it is kind of the same as towards the people who make these giant claims of what we "should" be doing (e.g., "don't shop at wal-mart because of their evil business practices") but who never consider that, for example, for some people to shop elsewhere entails an hour's drive...Idealism can be very nice but practicality is what gets the job done.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:48 AM  

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005  

Sining my song, Erica. I remember now why I never read more Thoreau than was required. I can’t stand him! What a puritanical nagging scold. In 10 pages of Walking he said nothing about walking except that he walked to the southwest. The rest was slurs cast at everyone else who sat upon his legs through the afternoon cobbling his shoes and sewing his shirts.

I make no claims to being an ecologist - though I try to be a good steward to my land - but for my part, a better nature writer is Ewell Gibbons, who not only delighted in his own forays but couldn’t wait to share his bounty when he returned.

I appreciate a simple life and have incorporated many aspects of it into my own. I love to write about the particular attributes of my slower, low maintenance life - about the gifts I’ve received. But I don’t try to compare them to lesser, more unfavorable lifestyles - at least, not when I write. Perhaps it’s hypocritical of me, since I think unfavorably of many of them and smugly pat myself on the back for the choices I’ve made. But I know that is just my own indulgence in arrogance. I don’t deny myself that guilty pleasure, but I don’t inflict it on others.

So. It is nice to know I don’t have to read any more Thoreau. Today it is the Greeks - and taxes!

Last night was the TKN group - very small but happy. I took my colored fibers bought at MSW because I’d spun up a sample and some of the women hadn’t seen the Bag-0-Color yet. As I dumped the beauteous heaps onto the table I suddenly knew exactly what I would knit with the yarns I’d spin from this - I could see it all roll out in front of me - even the type of pleasure I was going to have spinning the different colors. It was just a flash - a visceral reaction - a knowing. But it was such a relaxing experience - that confident sensation that the spark of artistic life was not only still there but had been doing it’s thing all along, buried beneath the emotional swampland of TheQueen’s Angst.

In addition, I am getting really excited about the weekend. Even though my spinning skills are rusty, I believe they’ll be good enough for the classes. I re-read the supply list and, short of a drum carder or combs, I have everything else, including the fragrance free Priss fur.

Thanks to Cindy we will have wet and sticky for another 3 days, just in time for wet and sticky from a different weather source. Evidently the eastern half of the hurricane is sucking WeatherFL up the coast and wrapping it around us. My house smells like wet dog. I am still a little behind on getting those ThingsWhichMustBeDone done - but there is time - and hope. Perhaps by tonight I will feel more of confidence and less of hope. I hope so.

posted by Bess | 7:20 AM

1 Comments:

I hate to admit to this, being an ecologist and all (and therefore, supposedly someone most susceptible to his charms), but I found Thoreau somewhat tiresome.

Perhaps the problem was that I didn't read him until I was over 30; I think his writing is very much more appreciated when you're less worn down by the bad old world, and still idealistic enough to think you can make big changes in it.

Mostly, he seemed awfully full of himself to me. And for someone who protested that he preferred solitude and self-reliance, he spent an awful lot of evenings chez Emerson, probably eating their good food and drinking their good wine and all along congratulating himself on how he "didn't need anybody"

I know that sounds cynical, but Aldo Leopold moved me a whole lot more than Thoreau ever did.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 1:41 PM  

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005  

Only 3 days till I leave for MAFA and there’s such a lot to be done between now and then. I have to have all the family reunion letters printed, stuffed stamped and in the mail. I have to have the board budget completed for the budget meeting on the 19th, and the board minutes and my own report typed and mailed out for the full meeting the 20th. Some trifling paperwork for the state has to be in this week as well. Oh and yes - we need some sort of script for the puppet show on the 26th.

But the really important thing I must do between now and Friday is to practice my spinning and gather all the stuff I’m supposed to take with me. Extra bobbins (sheesh! Better empty some). Extra drive bands. Lazy Kate. Cards. I don’t have combs, though I do have a good dog comb that can straighten out tangles. The bag of Priss fur and the bag of that other dog fur I got so long ago I forgot I had it. Hmmm. I best go over the paperwork MAFA sent and see if I need anything else.

I had some of the green mohair/wool blend I bought at MSW on the wheel and I plied it up last night. I have the glimmer of an idea for this bag-o-wool - a sort of Joseph’s coat in freeform knitting of yarns spun in several techniques. After looking at the yarn this fiber became, though, I believe I’ll need to spin some yarn in smoother fibers to knit into this project. No matter what technique I use on this fiber, there will be lots of fuzzy texture to it. It’s in carded bats and there’s enough garnetting of small bits of different colors in it to guarantee texture in the resulting yarns. I am sure I’ll want some smoother stuff to frame the different colors. In fact - I think either mohair top or silk would be a good choice. And I swear - this stuff simply begs for beads. Well. Musings, yes. Glimmery thoughts.

Yesterday’s reading from the Harvard Classics was from the American astronomer Simon Newcomb’s piece The Extent of the Universe. Mathematicians’ prose is often difficult to follow and his is no exception. In addition, astronomical writing that is 100 years old, and in particular, the most recent 100 years, is riddled with factual errors. But his explanation of parallax was very good - certainly clear enough for this lazy mind to see through. Today’s selection is Thoreau, Thoreau, America’s Rousseau - and as such - someone I’ve always avoided. Odd, you might say, that the Little Girl In the Little House in the Big Woods would avoid the most famous of our nature lovers - but there you have it. I am sure I read something of his in school because we were made to - but I can’t remember a word of it. In the past, I was too jealous of my own ideas, feelings, and thoughts, to have them colored by The Original Simple Lifer. It may be that, at last, I am old enough to appreciate him.

The YD’s were by last night, full of happy talk about their weekend camping trip. There is a Family Event coming up this weekend too - one I will miss, without regret - but it’s been decided that BD will drive me to Leesburg on Friday so he can have the car for the weekend. It means he also has to drive up on Sunday to get me, but hey - that’s a gorgeous drive. Of course, he could always take the truck to Baltimore. It’s hard to decide if 3 long trips in a compact car would burn up more or less gas than one trip in the car and one in the truck, but the car is more comfortable and I am always glad to find someone who will drive me.

I am still grumbling in my heart about the debacle of yesterday’s post. On my computer, with a poky dial-up connection, when I am in blogger the cursor jerks and jumps around so badly I have difficulty controlling the things I highlight. Evidently I clicked and deleted the first half of that post - the really good part - the part that got away. Yesterday I was particularly rushed by the time I got ready to post - a not uncommon problem. The time issue is why there are often grammar or spelling or typo errors. It’s also why I haven’t cleaned up all the stuff on the sidebars. I don’t see any solution to this either. Fortunately, none of this is all that sad because - it is just a blog, fer cryin’ out loud. I will always have something else to say tomorrow - even if I’m not at Tara.

So - off to start Tuesday - in the muggy humid south.

posted by Bess | 6:49 AM

2 Comments:

The rest of my family thinks I'm crazy that I can get all worked up over the waterfalls and buffalo in the Disney movie. We haven't been to Jamestown since youngest was in the 3rd grade, I think a visit is in our future. Jane

By Blogger jane, at 9:05 AM  

Well. The entire first half of that post, including my Ode to a Sock, dissappeared - and I am sure it's that )&^#$%!^$ blogger's fault, combined with my rickety dial-up internet and antiquated computer. This is a bitter blow since I didn't save that post even though I wrote it in word. Rats.

Jamestown Island is really worth the visit now - especially since Bill Kelso discovered the Real Fort. It didn't wash into the river the way you and I were taught in school.

In complete and total Southern fashion, there are two Jamestown places to visit and they're run by two different groups - just like two branches of the family at the reunion. The Jamestown settlement is also worth the visit - that's the one with the ships - but I prefer the island and its archaeology and romantic ruins.

By Blogger Bess, at 10:27 AM  

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Monday, July 11, 2005  

Openchancanough and hauled across Upper Tidewater VA. It’s an affecting story - with some deeply, powerfully sad moments, and some fascinating and thrilling twists and turns. Poor Smith has been thought more braggart than memoirist for so long. It wasn’t till the very end of the 19th century that the contemporary Zuniga map turned up in the Spanish court library, disclosing the capture route and lending verisimilitude to his tale. Of course, Disney gave us Smith as Beach Boy with Hair and some mountains and a water fall or two and cemented his fame forever in the hearts of 6-10 year old girls. All the more reason to give the curious, or those tourists with daughters visiting VA in 2007, (400 years of speaking English in America) something to really see.

BD is working with members of the MPNN tourist bureau to map out a drive on which one can visit the sites of the villages where these things took place. There’s been such a flurry of archaeology the past 5 years, making the quality of the history offered much more accurate. So - come to Virginia y’all. There’s lots to see and you can still get fried pork rinds here, too.

But the sock - ahh that is knit in Trekking (XXL) in a self stripe yarn of dull browns and purples with bands of dull gold and a pink and white speckle. It’s colorful but not vivid and I stupidly cast on 48 stitches and continued to knit wishing I’d cast on 52. But, like driving off the farm, when after the rubber hits pavement, one does NOT turn back, so after knitting the ribbing band of a sock that can fit over the heel, even if it is a bit of a stretch, one does not rip out. This means all the while I’m knitting this sock I am thinking - what would it feel like to knit the second sock at 52 stitches. Would it drive me crazy to have one loose sock and one tight one or would I grow used to it? But the anal virgo in me will never let me do so cavalier a thing as to knit a pair of socks of two different sizes for a pair of feet that are not also two different sizes.
I intended to knit my next pair of socks using the short row heel but I didn’t have the directions with me when I finished the ankle so I went ahead and knit a flap. Since I’ve stopped there and am off to work today (where several books with short row heel directions stand on shelves in the 746.43 section) I may be so bold as to rip out the flap. None of it matters anyway. What is important is that I actually knit real stitches at last.

The other important event of the weekend was that I cleaned the house. Really cleaned it as in unscrewing the fan (essential summertime equipment) and sucking/washing out all the dust accumulated over the past two years. Talk about a gross disgusting job - but when I was done, my bedroom sparkled. There were other equally repulsive places that received the attention of soap, water, dust cloth and vacuum. I have company scheduled to begin visiting the end of the month and I don’t want them to know just how slovenly I am willing to be.

The pristine bedroom ended up being the perfect place for BD and me to begin our next literary venture - the 15 minutes a day of reading the Harvard Classics. A patron donated their 1950’s edition and BD snapped it up from the sale table before it actually got onto the sale table - at the standard $5 a volume, of course. He spent yesterday building a shelf for it while I prepared its chapel. Yesterday’s reading was a selection from the Icelandic odes about Thorvald’s discovery of Vineland. We couldn’t resist reading the selections for July 9 and 8 as well - Bacon’s essays on truth - through parenting and Shelly’s creepy gothic horror play The Cenci.

And there is just enough time now to go read the selection for July 11 - so I am off!

posted by Bess | 7:47 AM

2 Comments:

Hello Precious. I've been out of touch and apologize. Sending a belated hug. I know well whereof you speak re: the SofD. I find Julia Cameron and Oriah Mountain Dreamer do wonders for the spirit...in addition to the Psalms!

I am married to a Mr.C too -- who's been sick and sicker for the better part of 15 years now (that's 1/2 our marriage)...It's a Guy Thing to be crabby when feeling ill (sigh). Only now the price to pay for ignoring pills/advice is very high. Sometimes it feels good just to get into a hot shower and scream at the top of one's lungs!

Hugs to you,

M.

By Blogger Margaret, at 11:47 AM  

Yeah - I am glad you are on the upward swing again. Have a great time at MAFA! I know you will.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 4:33 PM  

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Saturday, July 09, 2005  

Summer Reading Club is half over and it feels sooooo good. This is the gear up feel tense get through it the best you can time of year. It's our busiest month, both item wise and people wise. It's also quarterly board meeting time with budget due. (I have a board meeting 2 days after I get back from MAFA). It's the month that makes us proud - but exhausted. Half done feels mighty fine, yes, mighty fine.

The road out of the Slough of Despond continues it's upward trend. Did some serious good work on the InnerSelf last night, had 2 important insights, fell promptly to sleep and ZZZZZ'd till the morning.

Today, BD and I plan to attend to each other some - we're starting a reading project - and I hope I can convince him to go shopping for new clothes. He looks like a beggar in his baggy old stuff. It is possible I will blitz the house with mop and broom - it is possible I shan't.

But the byword for this day is Generosity. Of spirit, especially.

posted by Bess | 7:38 AM

2 Comments:

I just nearly burned my oatmeal reading your post. But it is worth it. I'm go happy to hear you're getting your spirit back. Maybe prayer works afterall. Have a grand time.

By Blogger Larry, at 11:24 AM  

Dear heart,
As another Virgo, I am always grateful when you include our 'scopes. Recently I have been seeking them out & found similar messages to this one you posted today.
Lotsa XOXO
Martha

By Blogger Martha, at 2:03 PM  

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Friday, July 08, 2005  


Sometimes, we forget how strong we are. We let our fears get the better of us, even when we have nothing to be afraid of. We remember old problems and forget that we have long-since learned how to handle them. We see ourselves as little children, even when we are powerful adults. We feel the need to protect ourselves when, actually, we are in a fine position to protect others. Don't look at what you feel you need, this weekend. Look at your ability to give and then be generous.

Oh. Well. Hmmmm. I see.

If ever in my life I needed a slap up side the head, it is now and it is the above. You would not believe how deep in the hole TheQueen has been for such a loooooong time. This guy has so nailed me I am a little embarassed. And believe you me - I have been wallowing badly - gobbling up whole boxes of CheezIts, albeit the lo-fat version, and telling myself I’ll write it down tomorrow - at Tara.

Well. My plans for the weekend had been for a major clean. The Magnificent Sheryl will be away for an entire month and this is cobweb season. Every bug on the east coast makes a stop by ChezRegina and leaves a calling card of some sort. I intend, still, to be Suzie Homemaker but I promise - nay - vow - to respond generously to whatever pops up to the s urface this weekend. I ought to do it all the time. It’s true. I am an adult and I do know that a box of CheezIt’s will solve no problems.

The other very important thing I plan to do is to tap into my spiritual help. I do have the techniques to find great peace and good answers. I know them - I just haven’t used them. I believe it is that quirk of human nature that makes people not do the very things that feel the best - eat right, exercise, stay in touch with the inner self. Yep. If there is a Satan - he is the imp who scatters Chicken Little Acorns on our heads and then whispers "The sky is falling" into our ears.

A most special thanks goes to A, whose excellent post about knowing she ought to feel glad that she isn’t going to die from cancer but still feeling both blue because of the cost of recovery and bad about the inability to See The Bright Side. Oh how she is singing my song right now. When death is the other option, loosing important things, even temporarily, or even just the adaptations we have to make adjusting to the new regime, is such a better option that we (at least, we Virgos) feel guilty for being depressed, feeling oppressed, being blue, being frustrated, tired, sad or anything other than happy that we didn’t have to take the tougher choice. I’ve been so blue for at least a month and a whole lot of it had to do with the heart attack and I’ve felt like SUCH a whiner - as if anybody who knew what I felt would look at me and say "What is the problem? he lived. he is even getting well?"

What they don’t know is that 33 years of listening to Mister Crabby bitch about every grain of sand in his path, every wisp of breeze ruffle his hair - and just laughing, shrugging my shoulders and letting him make his own mistakes - is over. My armor against his brattiness was to ignore it - but now it’s not so easy to do that. If he stomps around saying "Nobody can keep track of all these (*^&%^ pills!!" it’s not so easy to ignore. I’m having to actually explain why he ought to take my advise instead of letting him crash and burn.

So A, dear, how wonderful the company of misery feels. Thank you sweetie - we’ll get through it - we’ll get C to post for us. She is so good at calling spades spades.

One week to MAFA - and a sweet 4 day weekend, most of it spent with J and S and the SpinningGuru. I’m suddenly a little excited at the thought of being around a real celebrity. So. Maybe, after being generous to one and all, I will be generous to myself this weekend and get a little spinning practice in.

posted by Bess | 8:07 AM

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I'm so in awe of that wonderful lesson!!! Come teach kindergarten with me. We'd have lots of fun and could knit during our breaks! Have a good weekend. Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:46 AM  

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Thursday, July 07, 2005  

Thank you one and all for your prayers for rain. They were answered in full measure with the most splendid Beethoven of a thunder storm rolling across the landscape with all the strum und drang one could hope for. After one more full day of sunshine, to coax the last of the tassels open, blessed rain assured that whole fields were alive with the passion of reproduction. Pollen sprinkled onto ovaries and what stalks have survived the grubs will produce new seeds for sale and planting. It’s not just a satisfying display of fecundity - it carries with it the kaching of income for the H family. Thank you Ceres.

(written Wed. a.m. to be continued....)

The Crafty Story program yesterday was a happy success. The theme was Spinning a Tale. I had my wheel set up and was whirring away as the children arrived. Nothing is quite so fascinating as seeing something out of a fairy tale in real life. The wheel is a beautiful object in itself and it is also that magical thing - a machine. It moves. The way the yarn seems to grow out of that ball of fluff is another glimpse of magic. "How does it work?" is the question in every child’s eyes.

I gave a brief description of the parts of the wheel and demonstrated to them what I was doing. Then I let the yarn pull out of my hand and onto the bobbin so that each child could have a go at pumping the treadle. There were 17 children - a big group but not out of hand.

After everyone had had a chance at treadling I read them Rupelstiltskin, illustrated by Paul Zelinsky - for his golden threads are the most gleaming of all. Then I told them the version of the Three Aunts - in which the spinners, spinning flax, which must be spun wet, and who used the brand new technology of a spinning wheel, had all developed work related injuries - one had an enormous broad foot, one a huge thumb and one a lower lip that had swollen till it hung down to her chest. In return for spinning the gold, the three old crones demanded that the miller’s daughter invite them to the wedding and sit them as the most honored guests at the head table. Seeing the ugly "aunts" the king asked them how they got their deformities and when he heard they were the result of spinning, forbade his new wife to ever spin again! What a lucky break for her, huh?



Next on the program was a demonstration of drop spindling. I like to ask them what do the two tools, wheel and spindle, have in common, and most pick up on the wheel - a good time to talk about simple machines. If spinning wheels fascinate because they have moving parts, spindles really amaze as the yarn looks even more like it is growing out of the spinners fingers. That’s when I like to bring up a fairy tale that always bothered me - Sleeping Beauty. All the kids know the story and many of them have seen the Disney movie - and can tell you the fairy godmother’s names. When asked what the king did after the wicked fairy godmother put her curse on Beauty and most of them knew he burned all the spinning wheels. So I asked the question that always bothered me - What did they do for clothes while Beauty was growing up?

All kids know that clothes come from cloth and cloth is made from weaving. Most of them get the connection between spinning and weaving after the demonstration they’d just seen, before I ever mention it. At this stage in their lives, kids outgrow clothes before the school year is up and all of them have ruined at least one garment by now. I ask them just what did they think people were wearing by the time Beauty was 14 or 15!! There is nothing that so thrills, excites and titillates a child than thinking about people being naked!!!

That’s when I explain how the wheel was a new fangled invention when Sleeping Beauty was first told and how, before that, all spinning was done on some sort of weighted string. I give a little lecture about the first spinner, out in the stony fields where sheep can find something to eat even if farmers couldn’t grow any crops. How the sheep would brush against the bushes and little tufts of fleece would get caught - just like hair gets caught in a brush or comb. And how the shepherds were just standing there watching, waiting and bored. How easy it would be to take some fluff and twist it in your hand. I pass out bits of wool and let them first pull the wool till it parts, then have them twist it and pull and see how hard it is to break the "yarn".

I had gotten 20 rocks, each about 3 inches across, from my lane and had tied string around them several times, leaving a tale into which I tied a small loop. Then I’d cut three pieces of yarn; red, white and blue, into 3 foot lengths and tied them together at one end. Each child got a stone and a hank of yarn. The child was instructed to push the yarn knot through the string loop and tie the yarn to the loop with a single knot. Lots of fine motor skill development stuff with that. Then the child was to spin the rock while holding the strands so that they twisted tightly into a candy cane yarn. When it was good and tight each child was told to grasp the rock and hold the yarn out straight in front of him. I had my middle school helpers with me, four 13 year old girls, and they went around pinching the center of the strand and pulling it out so that the child could double the 3-ply into a fat cabled yarn. That could be either a Friendship Bracelet or an anklet, tied around wrist or ankle.

My big kids had been practicing cats cradle figures all week and they taught the younger ones how to make the broom, the cats cradle, the cup and saucer and the trapped hand.

It was a splendid project. The only thing I would have done differently was to tie the strings around the rocks myself. With 20 rocks to fix up, I’d passed the job along to my 12-13 year olds and many of them weren’t skilled enough to tie the rocks securely. I also think a real "story" about the first spinner, (maybe an ancient ADD child frustrated with having nothing to do and always throwing rocks at the other shepherd children .... ) would be more fun than a sort of lecture. I believe I’ll write it up so I can use it next time.

Anyway - with 17 kids you really do need some helpers - but it’s such a great program. It just nicely filled up one hour, with lots of movement, stories, and finger skills. Might be a good thing to take on the road.

posted by Bess | 7:02 AM

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005  

I'm running late today and have a pile of things to get ready before I go to work. Today's Crafty Stories program is all about spinning and fairy tales. It's a cool program (in theory) and I will post a full report tomorrow.

I am mostly just glad this weekend is over. Most of the oppression of spirits has been contained or channeled and there were some sweet mitigating moments to help lift our attitude out of the pit. This week the weather guy promises a little rain - most needed because the abysmal corn crop has at last tasseled. It is such a bad crop this year - the long cool spring that gave us so much beauty kept the kernels from germinating and before they could get any size to them the grubs had eaten 5% of the crop. Without rain during the tasseling the plants won’t pollinate, so the cobs won’t produce many new kernels. So - think rain this week.

Be back tomorrow after I spin a tale for my kiddies.

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM

1 Comments:

The main advantage to the SBD website IMHO is the recipe database, which is extensive and has some realy good stuff. The book(s) have recipes but the cookbook is somewhat disappointing in that the recipes really are very South Beach - restaurant-y food and a bit frou-frou for every day. (Great if you want to impress people with how good "diet" food can be, of course.) I have a membership to the website (a big six bucks a month, I believe) mostly for the recipe section. If I'm ever organized enough to really sit down and print out all the ones that sound good I could drop the membership.

By Blogger Catherine, at 10:31 AM  

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Monday, July 04, 2005  

Yesterday’s anniversary luncheon was a happy treat. Another sister was able to join us and the final sister phoned while we were all at the house. It’s not really Mama and Dad’s anniversary - that is not till Wednesday, but this was the day most of us could all gather, and that is a rare enough occurrence as it is, with us living all over the place. Happiest of all is seeing daughter #3 with her enamorata - who is a prince of a guy - blooming so. She has been a staunch and brave woman for almost 49 years and seeing her find someone so nice, to help carry life’s burdens, is an absolutely beautiful sight.

I arrived home in the gentle early evening to find BD pouring excitedly over the South Beach Diet website - excited over the idea of using diet to change his heart issues. This is pretty cute because in some ways he is so utterly innocent about anything nutritious or edible other than salt and grease. Of course, he was disappointed to find these diet websites are all commercial, with just the hint of information about their Plans and Programs and, like some weird food porn site, if you want the real scoop/dirt you gotta pony up. The Weight Watcher's site is no different. BD is so naive about nutrition/health/body stuff. In part this is gender based, but to a much greater extent, it’s because he’s always been so very cerebral - to the point of being a cloud dweller. So at 60 he’s in body kindergarten - and everything is new. I assured him we have the book at the library and he need not shell out a website membership yet. I even offered to switch to that particular diet, for I know a few people who have fared remarkably well on it. The phase II of SBD is really the Core Plan on WW. Both are nutritionally sound and any diet that got him to stop trying to find the single food that he can eat exclusively, once a day, like some high octane auto fuel will be a godsend.

I dithered over my knitting all day, and finally cast on the 154 stitches for the back of Ljod. I really love that sweater - or perhaps I should say - I really wish I could look like the model in the photo of that sweater.
Everything about this silhouette is pleasing to me. But - and it’s a mighty big but - that woman is small breasted, slender with a long line from hip to ribcage. And she’s sitting with her legs spread to fan out the beautiful lines of the sweater, so that what you see is a flaring design on the hip that creates a graceful, complimentary angle sloping up the model’s entire body. I, on the pathetically other hand, am far wider at top, the line from shoulder to hip is quite the inverted triangle; a much squashed triangle at that, for I am unfashionably short waisted. In order to get a shoulder/bustline to fit me, I need the size that will create a hip circumference with 17 inches of ease, with the flare somewhere around the middle of my thighs. I had already planned to make the sweater shorter in the body to account for the absence of rib to hipbone inches, but I greatly fear the width at the hem will make this sweater look like a maternity top on me.

Sigh.

In my next life I plan to have one of those long bodies that never carry any weight.

No.

In my next life I intend to petition for whatever Proportions of Perfection are deemed fashionable for the era to which I return!

There is a heck of a lot of knitting in that beautiful sweater. I would hate for it to look hideous on me when I am done. Alas - I foresee another Day of Dithering for TheQueen.

posted by Bess | 8:00 AM

2 Comments:

Congratulations to your Mom and Dad. I understand what you are going through with BD. I am also having to be the calm spirit for D.We love you two and hope your Monday will be that of love, reflection and piece.
Hugs,
Patti

By Anonymous Patti, at 11:11 PM  

Oop's...I meant ..."peace". Yep, I had to be thinking "piece of cake", "piece of Pie".

Your goofy friend,
Patti

By Anonymous Patti, at 11:13 PM  

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Sunday, July 03, 2005  

"Imagine 3-D TV hooked up to the Net," Mr. Mapes says. "I'm in California having shared experiences with friends in Indonesia. Forging deeper connections with people anywhere in the world will be one of the key factors in creating a true global village."

''How do you reconcile the glaring paradox of an ostensibly fossil-fuel-free development that requires tremendous amounts of fossil fuels to transport visitors to the site?'' asks Ashok Gupta, an energy economist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Moreover, there is something eerily postmodern, even postenvironmental, about the whole of Congel's project: the mega-mall is located on the fringes of the Adirondacks, but visitors will experience only virtual meadows, faux ponds, a river replica and a five-story imitation of a mountain peak.

Well - is it any wonder that we can have a 4th of July blow out celebration sale-a-thon while the Supreme Court quietly relegates us to serfdom with it’s June 23rd ruling that any conceivable economic benefit to a government, ergo the public, is justification for taking someone’s private property. If I claim that I will add a porch to the back of your house, thereby raising the property tax generated from that home, I can petition my local government to force you to sell it to me at its assessed value. After all, the public will benefit from the increased revenues of the raised property tax. Besides, it [might be] is For The Children!!!!!!! What wouldn’t Vladimir Lenin have given for such a passive revolution?

Besides, why should you care? You don’t need a real home. Any place where a carbon based ambulatory biped can be corralled will be good enough. You won’t care. You’ll be imagining you’re at that great virtual reality mall in your brain and, depending on the age/gender distinction, either hunkering down on the gridline, purchasing Virtual Virsaces or defeating The Joker in 3-D multi-pixells. Who needs a house?

I’m just glad I don’t have to raise a little school child right now. It would be mighty hard to keep the cynic out of my voice.

Well. It’s rare when TheQueen talks about government or political theory. That is because mostly She is interested in human nature and how its effects on others affects the life of TheQueen. I have no problem admitting I am enormously self-interested. All the social engineers are too, those folk who want to make the world Better for Others and World Peace. It’s just that they feel less guilt when claiming what they want to do is For Your Own Good instead of admitting they either Want It Their Way or they get a power rush out of controlling others. I have yet to meet or accept the biographical claims of a real altruist. I also have complete belief that there are people, motivated by self interest, who’s actions create a better world. This does not seem wrong to me. I have no quarrel with people wanting to profit from their efforts. I grow weary of the cant needed to sop up guilt about individual benefit that so many people with good ideas and a willingness to work hard seem to need, but I can tolerate quite a lot of it, if I can see the truth beneath the apology. I even understand how someone can advocate having it both ways. That simple life of the Little House in the Big Woods still lingers in my heart all the while I am posting my opinions on an Internet Blog!! If I really were up against the wall, and had to choose, I would take the life of scrabbling for food that was the pioneer girl’s over the space age virtuality of the Internet.

We are, after all, complex, and, perhaps, even flawed, beings.

But sooner or later we have to pick our battles, even we woolly bear caterpillars. Fortunately, I have a partner who is willing to shoulder the bulk of this burden, but I will be the Pack Mule of Protest for him - and the sounding board. And in my spare time I will knit.

Silky wool.

Only a swatch so far, and that done with the wrong size needle. Both the ball band and the pattern call for 22 over 4 inches using #6 needles. I stupidly used the #4 needle (the ribbing one) for the swatch and got 23.5 st. over 4 inches, but a simply lovely fabric. Trying with the #6 needle hit gauge right on target but I don’t care as much for the fabric it created. Just a little too holey.

So now the question is:

Do I knit up the sweater with the smaller needle, so as to get the fabric I like, and knit the larger pattern size hoping it will sort of fit?

OR

Do I knit the sweater according to pattern, to gauge, and pretend I don’t think the fabric looks a little sleazy?

OR

Do I knit up the sweater with the smaller needle and the size I would otherwise have chosen, in the (vain?) hopes that by the time the sweater is finished (2008) I will have returned to my WW goal and be small enough to wear whatever size it becomes?

Ha! What would you chose?

Today I go to Richmond to celebrate my parents 59th anniversary with them and my sister & her man. This will be a sweet interlude.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM

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Saturday, July 02, 2005  

One of the reasons I fell in love with BD, oh those many years ago, was his bounding passion combined with the ability to stick with a project to the end. Those twin streams coursing through his veins have created a life that matters - with the boldness to be himself instead of what someone else might want him to be. At times that someone has been me and over the years I have won some and lost some. He is a wordsmith and even when he intends to change his mind, he insists on being talked into it; I am sure, for the sheer love of language. I’ve honed my speaking skills over 34 years.

This is a man who wants things to be real and true and to matter. He reads the Declaration of Independence on the 4th to our assembled guests - or invites their children to stand up and read it, since that's why we celebrate this day. No empty holidays for him. No blow-out 4th shopping sprees. No driving, even. His heart yearns to honor the idea behind the day, not just the vacation from work. He is abysmal at small talk and couldn’t engage in lively banter if his life depended on it. But give him something he believes in and an opportunity to speak and he knows no fear about speaking his heart or his mind. This bravery is a fine shield I frequently duck behind when danger threatens. Alas, his hyperbolic exaggeration sometimes throws more stones in his path than almost anyone else would want to step over, but he is an Aries - one ought not be surprised, and this one is not. Especially when, over this particular political issue he and I are in complete accord.

Sadly, he is in no mood to celebrate the Birthday of the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free this weekend and has begun calling all our Monday guests to tell them not to come. I haven’t the heart or desire to argue with him about it either. My own reaction to political knife prods is very much like the woolly bear caterpillar - curl up into a ball and present my unappetizing bristles while covering my soft underbelly. What with BD not wanting to have company to celebrate the 4th and me not wanting to think about it Till Tomorrow, at Tara it looks like a quiet weekend.

Besides - this is what the stars have on offer:

Before I go I want to mention that July 1-3 should be a sparkling weekend for romance, for Uranus, now based in your relationship sector, will reach out to the Sun in a very positive, affirming way. If you are in a committed alliance you will have the edge over single Virgos.
I can do that.


In other starry news I am supposed to work my A$$ off till the end of the month when I am supposed to lay back and play with friends - who should pour out of the woodwork after a long spell of keeping their distance. Or perhaps it is I who have kept my distance. Whatever - I am to be Little Miss Social Butterfly for a while.

Hmmm. I can do that too.

In fact, as a bit of foreshadowing, I took off yesterday afternoon (after working my *ahem* off all morning and through lunch) to go on a yarn shop hunt with B. She is my temporarily paused WW buddy - she’s feeling stale with our meetings and is trying one nearer her home. We’d heard about a shop in Irvington - 40(?)miles from T-town - and finally decided to check it out. It’s actually called the Bay Harbor T-shirt Shop and Yarn. I swear it - that’s it’s name. And Irvington is a very high dollar retirement town on the lower Rappahannock. It has a super farmer’s market and maybe a dozen darling little shops where you could drop big bucks if you wanted to. Or not. It’s definitely a place to buy $3.95 Frapuchinos. Maybe you can get coffee Slurpees at the 7-11 in Tappahannock, probably for the same price, but I don’t care to drink my calories - so I am not sure. But you get the picture. And the T-shirt shop ladies, lifelong knitters, decided the time was ripe for a LYS east of Richmond and added yarn to their stock. Now that’s the bulk of their merchandise, most of it novelty yarn, but not all. And weren't we the lucky ones? Yesterday they had all their yarn on sale for 25% off up to $100 and over that - 50%.

You will be glad to know that, while I may not have any knitting or spinning ambition these days, I can summon up Shopping Creativity and together B and I popped for enough Lavold Silky Wool (and the book) to knit up Ljod for $35 each!! Not that I needed more yarn. But it would be stupid to not buy something I’ve lusted over for nigh on to 2 years, at half price no less - just because I didn’t need it. It was an act of faith. Belief that I will soon break through the miasma of ennui and begin to create again. For I agree with E, in yesterday’s comments, that the biggest part of my deep wallow in the Slough of Despond is a result of spiritual exhaustion and after the next 3 more weeks of breakneck Dooty Foolfillment I will take a long emotional rest surrounded by love. The stars will force it on me, no?

posted by Bess | 7:38 AM

2 Comments:

Oh my dear! You are having a horrid time this week. It sounds like your present state may have something to do with that medical thing going on with you. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You are an amazing lady. And I was depressed about the eminent domain thing too - scary!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 7:49 AM  

In my limited experience, I find that when my creativity flags, when my interest in things that interest me wanes, when even mystery novels become depressing because there are people Doing Mean Things in them, it means that I've been nearly sucked dry by the demands other people make on me.

It is NOT selfishness to say "no" once in a while. It is NOT selfishness to draw back sometimes, to beg off things, to observe that it's been a difficult spring (and it has been a difficult spring for you, Bess).

If you can, say "no" to some things. Draw back a little. You've had a difficult spring, with lots of unpleasant things happening, and you're just rebounding from it now.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 2:52 PM  

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Friday, July 01, 2005  

Ahh - after a good sob on BD's shoulder I was a little better, only to come home and find him so depressed about the supreme court's eminent domain decision (we were threatened once, by the city of Norfolk, for goodness sake!, 100 miles away!) - he's burnt up all the copies of the constitution we had in the house. It has to be the stars. Or a Bermuda High or something!

but we shall persevere and prevail - somehow.

Thanks y'all for your sweet wishes.

Off to provide a shoulder to a frustrated BD.

posted by Bess | 6:48 AM
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