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


I don't think your heel looks bad, but what do I know?

Yes, I'm very interested to hear how the KnitPicks needles compare with Addi's. I did read that they don't have the needle sizes anywhere on them - you have to use those little tags -- which I would find annoying. I also read that the cables don't come with connectors, so they're not like Denise's in that sense. Maybe their next iteration will solve those minor issues. The blog I read did say that they're nice and slick and pointy and have a good heft to them. Anyway, looking forward to your review.

By Blogger Mary, at 6:51 PM  

Your short row heel looks fine to me. I can't make a decent one to save my life, but that's OK 'cause they don't fit me as well as the traditional heel flap and gusset.

Finding "lost" and "forgotten" UFOs and WIPs is actually rather fun. I've recently found a few more, and it's rather frightening!

By Blogger Diann, at 3:09 PM  

I am craving those Knit Picks circulars too, I have a set of Denise needles and they are great for airline travel because they are plastic, but they aren't slippy enough for a lot of things. And the sharp points on the Knit Picks needles totally turned me on - Clara had me sold at that point of her review.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:17 PM  

My dear VirgoSoulSis, I wouldn't obsess about that heel. Just stitch a wee bit when you're finishing and voila! Those little holes will vanish. :-)


By Blogger Margaret, at 12:01 AM  

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Friday, June 30, 2006  

I wasn't much in the mood to type today. My wrist are aching a bit. So here are some scans of:


I beleive part of the reason my wrists hurt is that I've been fighting with those bad needles. They aren't slick enough and the joins are a struggle - It's a fight each time I push the stitches up onto the shank. I've ordered some of the new KnitPicks circular needles - we shall see if they perform any better. If not - It's More AddiTurbos for me.


The hope is that the colors will show up. This is a rather pretty yarn - sigh - if only it weren't Woolese - which has very little strength. The needles here are Addi's and how much easier this sock is to knit!


This DVD just came in to the library. The hat is woven wool but the embroidery is so cute and you could do it on a knitted hat as well. I think .... yep. One on order for next winter.

posted by Bess | 10:38 AM


Love the Garrison Keillor quote. Reminds me that I need to see that movie (is it out yet?).

You know, Click-and-Clack, the car guys, say that the cheapest car you'll ever have is the one you already own, so I'm with you on clinging to it for as long as they can. HOWEVER, when it becomes continually unreliable, then that's when in my book it's time to consider something new(er).

With computers, on the other hand, I think if you go beyond 5 years old you're doing yourself a disservice. Old = slow, and time is money, so I'll always recommend that folks upgrade to something that's as fast as one can possibly afford, with an internet connection that's as fast as one can possibly afford. But that's just my humble opinion.

By Blogger Mary, at 8:51 AM  

Love the Garrison Keillor quote, too. I'm amazed at how patient the librarians at our library are with some questions. When I'm a librarian, I'll probably be the same way. :)

My parents hold on to cars until they are practically falling apart, too. My first car we were happy to sell for a whopping $100 to the mechanic who could fix it.

And the computer. Maybe it's time for an upgrade in the next year or so. If you just buy the unit itself and not all of the fancy stuff like a new monitor, it can be pretty inexpensive.

Btw, posted a comment in a previous post several, hope you see it. I love your posts, even if I'm three weeks behind on reading, I can just hear you reading them to me. :)

By Blogger erica, at 11:51 AM  


By Blogger Amie, at 12:03 PM  

I tend to keep cars a long time but once they've started costing me upwards of $500 every time I have a mechanic look at them, I get rid of them. I've found I can get a reasonably priced car if I buy one that is a year old, usually a rental car that a dealer is selling. Since I know little about cars, I feel that is a "safe" way to buy a used car since I know the rental company has maintained it. Right now, dealers in my area are having sales on 2006 models because of getting in the 2007 ones. If they still have a 2005 sitting on the lot, you can probably get a real deal. Of course, I also pray about the car buying before I head to the nearest dealer. Just something to think about ...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:40 PM  

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Thursday, June 29, 2006  

What’s that up in the sky? That yellowish thing peeping through the fleecy clouds? Is that the sun? How ... how unusual!

Don’t get me wrong - we got 2 showers yesterday and a nice big rain in the night - but there were whole hours when no rain fell! You didn’t have to have a raincoat or umbrella with you when you stepped outside. No hair fell flat or frizzed up. It was a lovely day that, in comparison to the past week, felt dry even if the humidity was up around 88%. When I got home last night I couldn’t resist checking in with Bella, but she’s still groaning. I’d like to take her to town tomorrow to dry out but everything will depend upon Mr.Mechanic and how well he can bond with our 20 year old truck.

Sometimes I wonder if we are flawed, BD and I, the way we cling to the items we have as if they had some talisman like power, instead of just replacing worn out old junk. Other times I just blame it on that Southern belief that things last forever if you just take care of them. That's an old reconstruction maxim that was offered to TheYoung when they complained that they never got anything new. Our computer was a rebuilt IBM clone when we bought it in 1995. It got an upgrade in ‘99 and has been untouched by geekish hands since then. BD uses the word processor function and we both use it for the Internet - fully aware that with dial-up access, there’s not much point in worrying about speed. Video clips? Forget it. Sound? nada. It’s a giant e-mail/blog/horoscope reader - and it’s even beginning to fail at these simple tasks. It needs to be replaced but trying to pry an ancient, rusted, creaky, but faintly gasping its last breath tool out of BD’s hands is ... well ... it won’t be a pretty sight. As for me? I don’t usually develop permanent bonds with things, but I am inordinately lazy. At least, I am when it comes to machinery. Efforts at buying big ticket items always vie with each other for top space on my list of Most Tedious.

Same with cars. We drive them till every mechanic in a 50 mile radius refuses to work on them any more. Even then, when the last one kicks us out of his shop with the epithet "geeeut up offitt, Eeeud", BD is as likely to explain that we were rejected because the mechanic only liked to work on Buicks driven by octogenarians as he is to think, "hmmmm. Maybe we ought to get a new car."

That truck died on me at the local dump last Friday. BD’s advice was "just let it cool off. It always refuses to start when the engine is hot." It also needs new brakes and may even need to have the drums turned ($$$$$$$$$$$$$) and he knew this last August. Of course, it mostly only goes from our house down the road to the local boat landing and back. But when it has to, it goes further and sometimes I am the one driving it. A car only has to let me down once to move from BD’s problem to TheQueen's and last Friday that happened.

It’s in the shop now and I’m thinking hard about the major upgrades needed all around this place. A new computer. A real second vehicle. I want my rocking chair mended. We ought to be thinking about a new refrigerator. And I’d like my bathroom redone. It’s okay for us - I know it’s clean - but it never looks clean and when we have guests I cringe in embarrassment. The tub needs to be re-enameled and I’m just about ready to give up our 50’s looking tile job. I may balk at the last minute over the re-tiling - because there really is a personal funny happy memory attached to that - but the tub! Ugh!

Nothing like lots and lots of mildew growing tropical heated moisture to make a gal think about sprucing up a place. Now it’s just a matter of $$$.

I know you’re all glad I’ve shared this valuable information.

This week has certainly turned out to be an easier week than last. It’s actually pretty much the same week, but it feels so much better. Last week I couldn’t tell if I had ever been effective at anything and what was I doing anyway? This week I had proof that my plans were good and I’d actually accomplished things. Yesterday was one of those rewarding days that reflected my best side back at me. Everything worked. Everyone was energized. Particularly satisfying was training staff to do a job I wouldn’t be there to do. It was the sort of thing I would have done on the fly because it draws on my particular gifts. But I haven’t hired anybody who thinks like me. I realize I have hired only people with different talents - things I don’t have but that would add so much to the library. And they’re mostly all able to learn some of the things I do if I’d just write them down as steps to follow. Of course, since these are all things I feel, not things I think about, the job for me is to translate feelings into instructions and yesterday it worked again and again. It was a splendid day.

I got only a wee bit of knitting done on BD’s sock heel flap. I’ll turn it this morning and start on the gusset. I also dug out something to spin on HeyBaby. I have PLANS for most every bag of fiber I own - and most of them involve either KittyBoy or Bella. But I did find a bag of cormo/mohair - 4 oz. And I suddenly thought "Sock Yarn!" "Hand Painted Self Striping Sock Yarn!" I’m going to have a dyeing day at B’s house in about 10 days and there is a wonderful article in the summer SpinOff about making a warping board and dyeing your own self striping yarn and I’m going to be having BD do some project carpentry for me anyway......

I am off to King George at noon to do a spinning story time at my friend R’s library. Then it’s the long drive back to my own library so I can run the film night. Let us hope there will be more viewers this week than last. Tomorrow I get off a little early because I must get fitted for new glasses. That will come out of my months of accumulated sick leave, so I shan’t be wasting precious comp time but it still gives me a short day followed by a weekend. Sounds like life is about as good as it can get. Hope it is so for you all, too.

And I leave you with this precious quote - a gift from A - and the author, too, of course.

Librarians, Dusty, possess a vast store of politeness. These are peoplewho get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God's green earth.These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is. --Garrison Keillor, Lives of the Cowboys

posted by Bess | 7:48 AM


I am definitely getting even more motivated to get my act together and get you your camera! If I don't go anywhere for the holiday weekend, then perhaps I'll get done what needs to get done this weekend in order for me to replace it and part with it. One can always hope!

But it was also fun reading about your knitting basket and using my imagination! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 8:25 AM  

Well, I hate cherry flavored things, but that's the kind of lip gloss I am:
You're a total girly girl who's every guy is sweet on.
You take pleasure in the simple things in life, from cute t-shirts to stuffed animals.

Any guy needs to match your romantic idealism to win your heart, which is why few have.
No wonder Cherry your signature flavor. It's delicious, sugary, and fun - like you!

By Blogger Amie, at 6:00 PM  

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006  

Mostly Knitting Content

What a surprise! The Weather Dot Com guys say it is only supposed to be partly cloudy today, although it’s raining right now. But we all know that: rain before seven - quit by eleven. They promise us 4 days without (as much chance of) rain so I had better get the laundry done, because on Sunday they’re promising rain again.

Let us pray for a quick wheat harvest.

Yesterday around 4:30 we got a call from the county FEMA guy - a man who has almost nothing to do and so attacks any opportunity with gusto, with the news that we were under a tornado watch and to get under our desks if we heard any whistling sound. I’m always a little dismissive (except when I am a lot dismissive) about tornado warnings around here. We don’t live in a tornado zone, there are no wide unbroken expanses of geography to invite those black twisting fingers out of the far Canadian north. But we do, from time to time, get fierce, brief whirling wind bursts that do a surprising amount of damage. At least, I’m careful enough to keep the library insurance at maximum replacement just in case, because other than fire, one of those windstorms is about the only thing that would destroy the building.

Ahh well. Weather is only interesting to those of us who are under it. With grace and luck we will be out from under soon.

I am sure it is the cause of my sieve like mind these days. I had intended to take the LL sock into work yesterday to post a scan of it’s HorribleHeel and as I heading out to the car I picked up the bag holding it and BD’s sock ... and stood there just pondering the question “Why would I take my knitting to work?”

And so I didn’t and remembered immediately I got into my office, about scanning and posting and all. I will try to do better today. I did knit a wee bit on BD’s sock. I’m trying a garter stitch heel flap, mostly because I’m bored with the ridged stockinette one. This is sock #1 and BD likes long ribbed cuffs so I suppose I’d best be knitting along on it.

I cleaned out my knitting basket yesterday. Since I am a WomanWithWoolstash, you might wonder “which basket?” It’s the one with WIP’s in it. But even a dynamic active knitting basket can be come a Chaos of Clutter - and very quickly, too. Mine had gotten so jumbled I just upended it onto the floor and worked from what had been on the bottom first.

And first of all was the broken rib pullover I was knitting on last January as well as all the rest of its yarn. Front & back are done and joined. One sleeve is about half done and there is plenty of yarn to finish it up. I’m not going to knit on it this summer - it’s Brown Sheep Handpaint Merino/Mohair and it’s H O T. But it is soft and scrunchy and lovely and it will be the first cool weather thing I pick up. I will finish one sweater in 2006 - I swear I will.

Also in the basket was the cathedral lace swatch, knit in the cashmere/merino/nylon I bought from Elann on the last day of 2005 - before the yarn fast began. My that is truly a lovely yarn. Soft and delicate feeling but strong. I wonder if I would rather have a shawl out of it? Well - it must be knit on #3 needles. Lots of slow knitting. I’ll make up my mind about the actual garment later.

There were the leftover bits of sock yarn from the past 3 pair of socks I’d knit - the cascade fixation, the purply self striping yarn whose ballband I lost ages ago, but which I remember purchasing at Stony Mt. Fibers one lovely winter day, and the camo colored Regia from LD’s Christmas socks. There were also the Lorna’s Laces Sock Of The Bulbous Toe, the cuff of BD’s sock and another cuff knit from some Spirit Trail sock yarn in a vivid red and black and gold combo. I’d begun that sock for BD and stopped cold when he told me he thought the colors were too bright. This man is a Black & Blue Sock guy. How fortunate that I love the colorway and don’t’ mind having another pair of socks - oh no - not at all. There were two more skeins of beautiful Spirit Trail sock yarn, whispering come hither sounds. The Lone Wildfoote Lace sock is languishing in that basket - and may be for some time. It’s going to take quite an effort for me to find the rest of the sock yarn and remember which Barbara Walker lace pattern I used for the cuff. It may be that that pretty sock is destined to be a conversation piece instead of a garment. The pair of Fixation socks were the final sockish basket resident, each with a tapestry needle stuck in the toe, waiting to get busy weaving in the yarn ends.

As I type away at this boringly long litany of What’s In My Basket - I realize that if I had a camera it might be quite an interesting post. It would certainly take less time for readers to gather from it whatever information they wanted. ahh well. She’s such a nice girl. If only she wouldn’t talk so much.

You can see my ENFP nature is urging me to drop this litany but I will persevere.

There were three swatches of the grey corriedale (I have a tragic story to tell about that, on another day.), one of them holding a #3 needle hostage. There were two loose circulars, another #3 and a #4. A couple of bamboo DP’s were lurking in the basket as well. My good metal ruler with the cork backing, a new gadgety type ruler, made of clear plastic that has been treated to sort of magnify what lies beneath, and a pair of scissors are permanent residents and it’s a sign of how little real knitting I’m doing, since they are all present and accounted for. If I were really working on anything, they’d wander off and get themselves lost, leaving me to tear the house apart looking for them at crucial steps along the knitted garment pathway.

A few hastily discarded bits of hand spun singles tangled themselves among the finished yarn, tightly bound together with a long strand of woolly nylon slipping from its cone. There was an empty bead tube and a small handful of paper trash that had managed to jump into the basket. I spent a gentle half hour untangling everything and replacing it in some sort of productive sequence. Sweater yarn and pieces first, then swatches, then sock yarn and then Socks In Progress. Trash was tossed, leftover sock yarn was put in the sock yarn drawer and needles were put in my NeedleBook.

The whole experience was hugely rewarding. I was pleased to see what a lovely sweater I’m capable of knitting. Seeing my swatches again reminds me of my design skills. All that gloriously pretty sock yarn makes me trust my judgment and taste. And then - there is the delight of knowing I have so many socks partly done! Why - I have a pair I could almost wear - if I would just weave in those ends. Perhaps I shall do that tonight! At Tara!

Best of all, though, is the tidy knitting basket - a useful tool, now, ready to offer up any sort of knitting project I might be inclined to take on. May all your knitting baskets be so well disposed.

posted by Bess | 7:00 AM


Keep dry or build an ark - it doesn't seem like it's gonna stop anytime soon!

By Blogger Mary, at 9:15 PM  

Bess, I'm catching up on reading your blog. I'm so behind on reading everything except books. Our library is open on Monday and I have to work. I have a feeling it will be a very slow day.

So sorry to hear that Bella is suffering in the humidity, maybe next year she'll grow to love the humidity and fresh air as much as you do. :)

As for your short-row heel sock, I personally dislike the short-row heel enough to avoid it as much as I can. I'd rather do a peasant heel than to deal with the dreaded yarn-overs and trying to pick them up. I only want holes in my socks if I make them intentionally.

I hope the rain stops soon for all of you. And finally, I so want to hear/see your spinning storytelling. Maybe you could travel a few miles to Illinois and present it at our library.

By Blogger erica, at 11:28 AM  

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006  

Thanks Amie. I’ll keep that in mind if I, once again, give up on the short row heel. Somehow I think I ought to be able to knit a good looking short row heel because other people claim they can. It’s just knitting, after all. But I am prepared to give only so much time to this poor sock. It’s already strange enough looking with it’s bulbous toe and narrow instep. I forgot to take it in to scan a shot of its horrible heel yesterday. I’ll try to remember to do so today - but tomorrow it gets ripped.

I was glancing through my knitting basket and noticed that cuff for BD’s languishing sock, hogging the #3 needles, and realized that, if I become too frustrated with the Lorna’s Laces sock, I can always switch to woolese and get my frustration from the yarn instead of the technique.

I certainly can’t do any spinning, down here in this wet sponge we call Virginia. Even in this era of ExtrEEEEEEEM Weather Reports, a rainstorm in D.C. is hardly news. That ought to tell you how much rain we’re getting. I wonder if the wheat will just go ahead and sprout on the stalk. I wonder if we’ll make diddly squat for the sodden crop this year. It’s almost time to plant late soybeans in the fields where the wheat still stands - that which hasn’t lodged yet.

I’ve put Bella in the Spinning Wheel Corner (most of the time she sits in the middle of the living room where she can be admired by all). HeyBaby isn’t so weather sensitive nor so heavy, so she’s on duty for all the spinning story programs this summer and spinning on her yesterday, I remembered just how wonderful she is. She’s a more laid back tool. She doesn’t spin all that much - slow and steady is her gait. I can fill the bobbins on Bella with twice as fine at twice as fast as I can fill those Ashford bobbins. Yet, there’s a sweetness to such lazy easy spinning. Besides, it seems to suit this dark dank dampness, this miasma of mold, mildew, and moisture that’s blanketing my world. I’m sure that’s why I am so dull. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I put the idea of working on Monday to my staff and would you believe it? Not a one of them wanted to! Imagine that. Not a heart was moved by the plight of TheCitizenry nor could they wrap their minds around the concept of The Greater Good. Of course, none of them will be blamed by irate intellectuals, starved for bibliographic bliss between Saturday afternoon and Wednesday morning. But I don’t have to work this Saturday so I’ve decided to open up Monday and work solo till 3. I would wager that by then all the vacationing bookworms will have made sure their supply of paperbacks and graphic novels was restocked and I can slip home early. The truth is - getting off early sometimes has more of the feel of a holiday than a whole day off. And then, I’d have those extra disposable hours to use for sneaking out early later in the summer - when I may need it.

It’s been 6 months now since I bought any yarn and I’m finding a yarn diet pretty easy to stay with. Any time I think I may need new yarn, I can open up a drawer or paw through a basket and discover I already have new yarn. In fact, I have very good taste and buy really pretty stuff!

Hmmm. Changing my mind about today's post. Changing the post too.

In the mean time, stay dry, guys.

posted by Bess | 7:12 AM


Well, my university has decided to give us the 3rd off as well as the 4th. Which means this week I get a five-day weekend. (I'd actually rather have the day AFTER the 4th off, to recuperate from the lost sleep I'm going to suffer as everyone and his brother in my neighborhood shoots off their "homebrew" fireworks display.)

Hm. Must remember to go up and wet the roof down this coming weekend.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:42 AM  

If you don't like the fit of the short row heel, I do another (toe-up) that is quite close to the cuff-down heel flap. Let me know.


By Blogger Amie, at 2:10 PM  

I don't know how anyone survives a Virginia summer without A/C. Yikes!
You're right about the humidity - my windows are now swollen enough to where they'll stay closed without me having to lock them, which is handy. Here's hoping Bella recovers!

I'll have to read about the short row heel you're doing - I know that the baby socks I learned to knit have a heel flap and a short row heel turn, so it sounds like your pattern doesn't have the flap - it goes straight into the turn?

By Blogger Mary, at 3:57 PM  

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Monday, June 26, 2006  

Poor Bella. She’s so swollen she creaks and groans with every treadle. I’ve decided she’s on medical leave until this extreme dampness blows over.

I’d been a little worried about having such a precision wooden tool in my house in summertime. We live on the banks of a marshy creek that feeds into one of the main rivers that comb tidewater Virginia. Our house isn’t all that old but it’s made from recycled old stuff and has never really been a candidate for air conditioning. Besides, both BD and I like to hear the outdoors. It’s not all that uncomfortable for human occupation. Enough of our furniture is so old it really needs a summer of pumping moisture to keep legs attached. The drawers have long since acclimatized themselves to a Virginia summer.

Alas, my very modern, precisely crafted, wooden New England Golding wheel is just going to have to learn how to take the siesta during summer. If things get too bad I can take her down to work and leave her in the A/C for a while. I used to do that with my violin and bow when I was playing more. But for now, HeyBaby and KittyBoy will be carrying the spinning load.

That includes another story telling gig tonight with our off site summer reading club for kids who live up the county. And another gig on Thursday in King George Co. There’ll be a final program at my own library but I haven’t decided which week. Our programs are held on Tuesdays and we’ll be closed July 4.

The question is - should we be closed on the third also? It’s a real dilemma that I face each time one of those Monday holidays rolls around. Nobody is going to come to the library on July 4 or Christmas Day or even on Thanksgiving Day or New Years. But all the rest of those government holidays are so suspect anyway - Monday Holidays - exactly the time when someone might want to go to the library and what do you know - we’re closed. But the governor is giving state workers Monday off and lots of other counties are doing it as well. I haven’t gotten the word from our county because ... we are the only agency with a day sensitive public function. If we didn’t know 3 weeks ago that we were going to be closed, people will have books out they think are due back on Monday. You can’t imagine how ticked off a person can get when she tries to return a book on the day it’s due and has to use the book drop. But the county administrator and all his staff can never remember this is an issue with us. They’re always making this decision at the last minute, after a board of supervisors meeting, usually the week before the day in question.

July 3 has never been a day off unless the 4th fell on a Saturday and I would be content to keep it that way. But I don’t feel like cheating staff (or self) of a day off either. I’m inclined to tell the Monday staff that if any of them want to take the day off they may but if they work that day they may have comp time for it. And I believe I shall take comp time myself. Especially if it’s going to be this blooming hot and muggy. While I don’t want to sleep in a/c I don’t mind working in it all day. Bella and I can just go down town and dry out together.

I barely did anything fiberwise this weekend. BD and I watched a lot o Eliott Ness Untouchable television instead. And read a lot of Will Durant. I’ve been knitting a short row heel in my toe up sock - again and again and again. I have learned two important things:

Do Not Stop In The Middle While Picking Up Those Wrapped Stitches. With my eyesight and this fine yarn on these tiny needles, I’ll never see where I am - what stitches need picked up - nothing useful. Perhaps when I really know how this technique is done - when I’m not just following instructions, but understanding the heel in it’s Total Mathness - then I can stop in the middle. I’m not there yet so I can’t be sure.

Knit The Heel On 50% of the Stitches - Not 60%. While there are not too many holes along the seam, the seam itself is too long. The size 1 needles are bending as I struggle with this sock heel and my hands cramped up dreadfully - and now I am very unhappy with the heel’s look and feel on my foot. I’m going to have to rip it once again and knit it on fewer stitches. After so much stress, I’m afraid this poor yarn is going to show all the abuse it’s taken.

And yet...I am determined. I will own the skill of the short row heel. I may go back to the heel flap heel but only because I like it, not because I know no other.

MrHoroscope tells me that in the Dark ‘O th’ Moon - right now - I am to hold on to my confidence and not listen to whispers of failure. I am so relieved that this is not last week, but this week, that I can’t imagine worrying about anything. I did it all already.

As for those puppies - oh man they are cute. They’re growling around in the foyer right now. We’ve been feeding them there and leaving the front door open so we don’t have to deal with house training. They just go out when they need to. For the most part they’re staying out doors, but we do bring them in and cuddle with them a lot. Jack is getting a little worried that they’ll never go away and is very cuddlesome. He wants to be Only Baby and Only Boy and these things are cute enough but really, do we have to keep them?

I would consider keeping one if we didn’t already have 3 (count ‘em!) Three dogs already. And if I didn’t like the boy better than the girl. And I, too, want Jack to be the Only Boy. I expect we’ll hear from the Young Darlings sometime today. Ahh well. Let the future unroll as it will. I’m sure it will be good.

And off I go now to begin the day.

posted by Bess | 8:06 AM


Oh man, it would take a will of iron to resist those puppies - adorable!

Glad you're back - was getting worried!

By Blogger Mary, at 11:46 AM  

Insomnia is going around, it seems. Glad your stessful/eventful week is over. Now on to Summer, and sewwt dreams!

By Blogger Jane, at 5:42 PM  

That was supposed to be "sweet" dreams. "Sewwt" sounds like something you put out for birds. Anyway...

By Blogger Jane, at 5:43 PM  

I've been "busy" as you know and haven't checked in - thank God we were both preoccupied and you didn't post a picture of those pups a few days ago - I would have been on a road trip to VA. Those faces melted my heart.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:36 PM  

Those puppies are SO cute...I hope they keep them both! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 10:47 PM  

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Sunday, June 25, 2006  

Sheeeeeeeeeee’s Back!

TheQueen has been resting up after the past week, but at last I’m ready to put fingers to keyboard and update the news from TheCastle.

Last week was a whirlwind of a climaxes, demands, beginnings and climaxes. The summer reading club started on Monday, with dozens and dozens (and dozens) of little children clutching their plastic bags full of word-goodies; bookmarks, mood pencils, reading logs. The county funded a little part time summer help for us so, of course, I doubled the number of library programs we’re offering this summer. We have one for preschoolers, one for elementary kids, middle school kids and a family film night. All of them cranked into gear last week so we got to find out how well our planning went as attendance rendered proof. I’d say it was a B- minus week. Lots of folk for 2 programs, not so many for the other two, but enthusiasm for those who came to the family film night was very high even if attendance was low. Well, they deserve as much fun as twice or thrice their number and they all said they’d be brining friends and neighbors next week. So. We shall see.

The thing about planning these programs for the library is that - until we get them up and going, I worry and obsess and fret myself out of sleeping at night. By Friday I had slept about 6 hours in 60 and was scheduled to do my spinning story telling at a neighboring library two counties away. Fortunately, relief that this was my last scheduled obligation for the week and, I suspect, the healthier diet we’ve been eating, combined to leave me fresh and energetic and ready to have fun. In fact, though I’d been expecting a terrible crash sometime around midday on Friday, the letdown was just a mental lassitude that wasn’t all that trying. I just sort of buzzed around the rest of the day, slightly ticked off because our new(ish) DVD player has quit working just when 3 Netflicks shipments arrived. Happily, the library still has a good video collection and I can always laugh at Dawn French and the rest of the Dibbly folk.

Throughout the week of swarming children we also switched our network over to wireless. That is, we made about 85% of the switch. There’s 15% of machinery and staff training (Me being the staff who has to get the most training)left to do. The day began inauspiciously enough with huge lightening storms dancing about the county. My network administrator, something of a “stranger, upon whose kindness I frequently cast myself”, who lives 2 counties up and one over, had driven all the way down to T-town in order to make all my machines talk to their machines. Fortunately he had a bit of doctoring to do to some of the pc’s so that even if we couldn’t go live that day his trip wouldn’t have been wasted, and even more fortunately, it stopped raining after about an hour and cute guys (including one who used to be in my summer reading club - back in the early 90’s!) swarmed up the town water tower to put up more equipment.

And just as quickly swarmed back down, covered in angry Mother Osprey goo, victims of protective parents dive bombing them from two sides. Turns out some of the babies are not flying yet and as long as they’re nestlings, there will be no carbon based ambulatory bi-peds crawling around up on the water tower. I can still get wireless connectivity - they can add customers from the main office - but I won’t get the sooperdooper high-speed option via the point-to-point bridge I paid $1,500 for till after those babies grow up. Sometime around September, the cute guys with tools will swarm up again and install MoreStuff, (and swarm back down to put EvenMoreStuff in the library) so folk can use their own computers to log onto the internet - after getting the password from library staff, that is. In the mean time, we’ll only have to pay for what’s actually up and running so I am satisfied and the 1.2 mb speed is actually as good as the shared T1 I was getting from the school system. And when little somethings do go wrong I can ask for help from the position of a paying customer instead of a charity case.

Last weekend, friends who’d rented a cottage at one of the NC beaches called and urged us to come for a visit. There was no way I could get away during the week but BD had just completed a major push to get his latest book finished and was ready for some R&R, so on Wednesday he took the car and headed south. That left me with a chariot in the shape of an ancient, slightly unreliable, behemoth sized Ford truck. I am sure its breaks need work and I’m sure it needs to have the freeon topped off. I’m also quite sure there is something very rickety about its starting capabilities. It’s driven so little that repairs on it take absolutely last place on our list of ThingsToPayFor. Its main job is to drive the boat trailer down to the launching point and back again; 3 miles round trip if you really try hard. But when one of us wants to go out of town, the other is left with the truck for transportation.

We’ve been talking about getting a real second vehicle, but we can talk about things like that forever. It’s going to take a crisis to make us actually look - and even to say “us” is an inaccuracy - for BD will do all the looking. TheQueen does not shop for cars. She drives them when the show up in front of TheCastle. As far as I am concerned, that crisis came on Friday. On my last stop of the day, after haircuts, gym visits, story telling and grocery shopping, I pulled into our local trash pickup center and there that truck just stopped. The ground was too flat to get a push. The neighbor who runs the place had jumper cables and he could get it started, but all I could think of was thank goodness this didn’t happen in Nortumberland Co.!

I live down a long dead end road that pierces plenty of forest and farmland in its drive to the sea. From time to time we are the unfortunate recipients of abandoned puppies, left by disciples of Satan who have, so far, escaped capture and death by TheQueen's decree. If, my friends, you ever hear that I have been sentenced to life in prison, you will know that I finally did catch one of those scum-sucking lowlifes and gave him the same treatment he was inflicting on canine innocents. I have no problem with putting newborn pups down. I think it’s sad but I am not horrified by the act. Our county has both a dog warden who will pick them up and loving vets who will gently put them to sleep. But to let these creatures grow enough to open their eyes, grow teeth, begin to attach themselves to the world and then, starve them to death in strange woodlands is an evil that deserves justice - it almost deserves revenge.

I have two precious dogs who were dropped off and I’ve just been grateful there haven’t been any more for the past 5 years. But Tuesday, GD found these darlings and took them home. She kept them till LD could find homes for them, but they had to go away for a few days, so GrandmaBess has them for the weekend. My own dogs are friendly and kind and took very little time to adjust to the newcomers. Jack still remembers being a puppy and jumps around them like he’s discovered a new toy. Socks has taken the little girl to heart and shepherds her everywhere by putting her mouth over the pup’s head. It’s always wet with drool but the little girl doesn’t seem to mind. Priss will give a kiss, but then tell them to “move along now”. I can hear them outside, growling and thundering on tiny paws, after each other, after the big dogs, after toads, after their own feet. Of course my heart is growing very weepy and maternal, but I don’t want 4 dogs. Still, I could well understand the call I got on Friday evening ... “Mom? Don’t find homes for those puppies yet. We’re kind of thinking about keeping one of them.”

So. That was last week and that was why I had neither time nor inclination to post. Even yesterday I was still sort of dopey. BD got home late Friday night and we had lots of catching up to do - and lots of puppy play too. I’m feeling more normal now, a good thing, since the weather has decided to slam us with jungle like monsoon dampness. It’s so humid that poor Bella creaks when I treadle on her and I have to soap her regularly. It rained last night as if all the clouds on earth decided to empty themselves on the farm. I wonder what the wheat looks like. Thank goodness there wasn’t any hail with it. I see one limb down behind the car and I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t some trees down as well.

I did a wee bit of spinning on beautiful Bella yesterday. A sampling bit of Falkland Island Polwarth and then I continued on with the Romeldale. One bobbin just about half full. If the treadle wants to move today I’ll fill that bobbin the rest of the way. If it doesn’t ... I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe nothing. Maybe I’ll daydream the day away. Or read a book. Or play with puppies. Whatever it is - I am sure it will be sweet pleasure. May you have the same.

posted by Bess | 8:16 AM


Oh, how nice to see a picture of your loved ones!

By Blogger Mary, at 5:22 PM  

What a sweet picture -- and it'll do till you have time for a longer post!

By Blogger Jane, at 7:57 AM  

The Mary Stewart book I most remember was Wildfire at Midnight
It sent shivers up and down my spine!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 5:36 PM  

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Thursday, June 22, 2006  

I’m insanely busy and not sleeping much either. Today is the real Hump Day at work; in at 10, out at 7. I know I’m headed for a crash but it can come tomorrow at 3, after which I don’t have to get out of bed till Monday morning – if I don’t want to.

Haven’t knit or spun a stitch or ounce either, but when I surface after the deluge – probably Saturday, I’ll tell you all about it.

In the mean time – here are a couple of lucky ones with a less hectic schedule than mine. Socks is the yellow one, Priss is the brown one, BD is the one with glasses. And of course, the background is ... The Rivah.

posted by Bess | 10:55 AM


Can't wait to see the romeldale! Yum!!

Hugs, Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 11:07 AM  

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006  

Those two bobbins of Romeldale singles plied into 275 yards, so it looks like I’ll get 1100 yards altogether. Though I haven’t tried yet, it just looks like it will knit up at 4 st per inch. This, of course, assumes that I will spin the 3 other bags at the same twist and grist. I certainly will try. I’ve got sample yarns and sample singles. It’s such a neppy fiber it will be textured, in a deep tweedy sort of way. I’m very satisfied with it. And at this rate I’ll have enough yarn to begin a sweater, oh, say, in 6 weeks. In a perfect world. When my attention span lasts. And nothing interrupts.

I think this sweater begs for a loose turtleneck.

The other good news around here is that Virginia has a budget for next year. The game of chicken being played on East Broad Street has not yet been pushed to the next level. We don’t have to find out how a government runs when there is no money to pay the electric bill, the salaries, or the bathroom supply bills. We can save that for the next time. Thank you gentlemen and ladies.

The above news is good news only if you spend the budget, or perhaps, if you receive a benefit from it. If you pay the taxes that supply the budget, you may be slightly dissapointed. If, like me, you do all three - you have deeply mixed feelings.

BTW, today Mr.Horoscope just says - suck it up. And I will. But what I shall also do is concentrate on that 275 yards of yarn. And the delightful fact that come Sunday a cold front is supposed to move through. You must know that means we’re likely to get rain. Rain in June is always good.

Oh man - someone from the Ivory Coast has visited TheCastle! The result of a search engine, at that, not someone trying to spam for porn.

I’ve been dithering around on this post, writing little snippets as I am inspired by thoughts, comments and ideas discovered out there on the KnitterNet. I tend to write during the long slow Download of Deathlike Dial-up, but I just remembered - today is the day the library goes wireless. Men with tools and configuration discs will show up and do their magic. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. It’s also the first of the SRC afternoon programs. We have 4 weekly programs for the next 6 weeks. I’m doing a little more than half of them, because that’s how I can get paid for playing with crafts. We have never done more than 2 a week before and that is why I’ve been so anxious about things. Once I get through the first week I’ll know how many kids to expect and get a feel for how close I got to the entertainment bullseye of middleschoolers. I must keep reminding myself - if it’s a bust well, I’ll only have to struggle through it 5 more times.

A most disorganized post here today, but I will leave you with this discovery - a gift from M.

posted by Bess | 7:26 AM


"I am an advertisement shot for a travel magazine - I am the person you wish you were on an October Saturday."

And with your fancy new do, we ALL want to be YOU! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:04 PM  

No rush at all, love, I'll pick it up on a play day...

By Blogger Amie, at 12:31 AM  

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Monday, June 19, 2006  

Take heart, take comfort, take rest or take a break. Take, indeed, anything you like from life - provided you don't take umbrage, offence or some pessimistic view of a developing situation. Why all this emphasis on taking and not on giving? Because there is something you need to accept, receive or come to terms with. You have a choice as to how you go about this. There is a temptation to argue and perceive a problem in the way things are shaping up. Resist this. Just embrace the good.

I just gotta love MrHoroscope. He’s nailed me, yet again. I have been turning my melancholy gaze at a situation, coloring it as bleak as it can possibly get and then weeping about it - metaphorically, that is. Like the old folk tale The Three Sillies, I’ve been predicting a future of misery and then thoroughly savoring all its pain. This is the Dark Side of Virgos, who tend to be both gloomy and psychic. We’re right so much of the time, if we ever start playing the gloom game we can blackwash the whole world.

Can one blackwash something - disguise reality with all bad thoughts, as one whitewashes away issues with a coat of lime and water? That’s the fun of language, isn’t it? So may ways of describing something. Btw, I gave the book Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies a quick glance last week. It came in a B & T shipment. I’m a sucker for word books anyway so I couldn’t help but be tempted by this title. Alas. I was disappointed in the first chapter because - let’s face it - this is a grammar book, written by a language columnist for some California paper (can’t remember now) and the author not only lambastes the arrogant strangers who love to write and correct her grammar, but also rips into several of her colleagues - most of whom are pretty mild chatter chastisers. Also, the first example she gives of her own writing, as viewed beneath the microscope, though it may be technically correct, is ugly. It’s a conversationally forgivable use of the word wrong as an adverb, as in: "He talks wrong", which Webster concedes, but which no one with any music in her soul would ever use in print. In speech we let the words tumble through the conversations so quickly nobody clings, with unhappy discomfort, to the clumsy, even ugly, choice. We make allowances for body language, any personal attachment we have for the speaker, the real connection we’re trying to make with this person. But in writing - ahh - well. The written word lingers and returns, lies about to remind you just how truly ugly it is. It engenders obsessions with the problem - how could something that looks like it would sound so wrong - or if you are like the 25% of us who actually hear the words we see - how could something that does sound so wrong be correct?

But while Ms Casagrande will not allow James Kilpatrick to stand upon the correct choice between which and that, she insists upon her right to use wrong in such an ugly way because....she is correct. She is a grammar snob herself. And that hypocrisy sort of put me off the book and I took it back to the library without reading any more chapters.

Because I am a Book Snob. My standards are not only high, but uniquely tailored to please me. Any author who violates one of my secret little taboos gets tossed across the room. Well. I don’t actually throw books across rooms. I have only done that once and I am not likely to do it again. But I do set aside any book that trips one of my wires and it is a rare thing for me to ever pick it up again.

So. Now you see yet another demonstration of the distractibility of the ENFP. Let us allow our minds to roam at will for there are too many topics to linger on a single one.

I am pleased to announce that I’m on the second half of the short row heel of my LL sock. It looks like the short row heel may not have holes along its join. I've decided that this time I shan't care, even if it does. I'm just pleased that this time I completely visualized what the short row heel should be doing, without having to read any instructions or even think about how to make one. This triumph is enough to offset any decorative eyelets along the heel seam. I am pretty sure there will be enough yarn to knit the other sock foot. I hope to put about 2 inches of ribbing on each foot before switching to the boucle. I figgure that yarn will have very little elasticity but I am imagining these socks with scrunchy looking cuffs. I just want enough grip to keep them from sliding down into my shoes.

I am even more pleased to tell you that I’m plying those first 2 bobbins of Romeldale. I’m quite happy with this yarn. The fiber was very neppy so the yarn has little bumps. I spun it woolen-ish to take advantage of the texture instead of trying to fight the neps. I also re-watched the Judith MacKenzie video. which I have yet to return to A (baaaad Bess), to sort of hone my plying knowledge before I began. I am always so inspired by her. Her hands are beautiful - pure poetry - they remind me of Meg Swanson’s hands, those magnificent hands which inspired me to learn continental knitting.

So - Thank You A - I promise I’ll return the video as soon as I find its box. . . somewhere in the stash heap.

I can’t wait to see how much the large plying bobbin holds. I filled the smaller bobbins almost to the max, but not so full that the yarn began slipping off. I used up just over one bag of the fiber. I have 4. They began life as 4 oz bags, but I know I’ve plucked bits and pieces from some of them over the years; sampling, trying to decide what I want to make, what the fiber wants to become. Still, I’m hoping to get about 1200 yards out of this fiber. Enough to make a fairly plain sweater. I spun and knit a little sample of it when I first bought it and saw at once that it will make a marvelous HugMe sweater. What is that? It’s the sweater you wear when you want to feel snuggled, protected, loved, cosseted. It’s a rustic sweater, a simple sweater, but strong, reliable, dependable. It’s the Boy Next Door sweater. I can already see myself wearing it on a crisp autumn day, with wheat colored corduroy jeans, on a long hike with BD down a country lane shaded by vividly hued hardwoods. I am an advertisement shot for a travel magazine - I am the person you wish you were on an October Saturday.

Hmm. That’s a lot from 2 bobbins of handspun.

Which only goes to show you that if you make it yourself you get so much more than just the product. You get all the imaginings and daydreams and flights of fancy as well! So may your week be filled with magical musings and successful actions. For that matter. My mine be, also.

posted by Bess | 7:24 AM


Thanks for defining your abbreviations! Now I know! (Let's hope I remember!) ;-)

What I've seen other bloggers do is write a post with their glossary of abbreviations (including knitting ones like LYS, UFO, etc.) and then they put an old date on the post so that it's buried in the archives. But then link to it in the sidebar, in case folks need a refresher. Not a bad idea - I may have to do that myself one of these days....

By Blogger Mary, at 10:27 AM  

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Sunday, June 18, 2006  

About those abbreviations:

Once, in conversation, a colleague, who had visited the house and noticed I frequently called both my husband and my son "Darling", asked for clarification about a reference to one of them, "Big Darling or Little Darling". The term stuck and since then I’ve pretty much thought of my two men as BD and LD. When I began the blog I felt a little shy about bandying their names about in what is essentially a public viewing of my diary. By using unfamiliar terms for pivotal people in my life, it felt a little as if I were protecting their privacy while still explaining both their role and their importance. In fact, it got so that I really didn’t want to use any people’s real names - perhaps to protect the innocent, although I try to do that with everything I write.
When LD got married, a Girl Darling entered the lexicon as GD and so on. Everyone else ended up being identified with the first initial of her name - even though that means that S who cleans my house is different from S who is the library board’s treasurer and P who catered TheWedding is not my sister P.

With the exception of ENFP, which is the Mmes. Myers & Briggs’ term, all the other acronyms are just shortcuts for referencing ImportantThings I’ve already written about; like my ThingsToDo lists. I don’t usually use one unsupported in a post unless it has been heavily used in an immediate past post.

Hope this makes things easier - but I’ll happily answer any posted queries just in case...

As for comparing the Yarn Lounge with GotYarn and Knitting Basket - man - that could be a whole ‘nother post in itself. But the biggest difference is the youthful atmosphere in YL and the big selection of Rowan yarns. KB is the old war horse yarn shop in Richmond. It was around back when - something like 27 years ago, opened just about the time of the Charles & Diana wedding when all those cute Brittish handknits became so popular. That store has benefitted by the competition, becoming friendlier and making prices easier to find, but it still has a Very West End feel to it, if you are at all familiar with Richmond neighborhoods. GY is very NewYorkey - or it was when it first opened. I’m not exactly sure what its feel is now, though I stop in often enough. It had a better book selection when it was in its old location - now the book selection seems very picked over and not refreshed. Lots of novelty yarn. Lots. But also the best selection of Aurora8 I’ve ever seen. There are 3 other yarn shops in Richmond ... man - I could write several posts about them. But day is a’dawning and breakfast hasn’t been started.

Yesterday’s festival was okay - it was suffering a lot from tourist slow down - probably high gas prices, too. I missed it last year so I’m comparing it to 2004 - which was huge, jam packed and had a constant procession of familiar and unfamiliar visitors. This year there were fewer vendors. Many people I know well enough, who had been key festival workers in the past (I am, in fact, one of them, come to think of it) were not present. Nobody was making or selling hand made soaps - which was a frequent offering in years past - and the lady with the beaten copper earrings wasn’t there. There were earrings, I promise you and 3 pair came home with me along with a beaded lizard bracelet. The man with the fabulous wind catchers was there with fancier and prettier than ever (and more expensive) sculptures which I didn’t buy because my garden is such a wreck.

BH had promised to help another mother at the booth run by the little private school their children attend and what do you know, that poor woman had No Other Help At All! So, I worked the booth a little bit, dragged BH off to lunch when other mother’s husband showed up, and then basically went home. Partly it was because I had seen everything and bought what I wanted but mostly because I was in the weirdest unsociable mood yesterday. I had this prickly coat of unfriendliness wrapped around me. I can’t figure out why, though I did get the feeling that was what Mr.Horoscope was talking about in yesterday’s prediction - that life was good and I ought not be such a sourpuss. So - I took myself home early and I wasn’t a sourpuss at all. I took a nap instead. And felt much better for it. And got most of the laundry done. And put the last of the winter clothes in the attic and found the rest of the summer shorts. And found out I have entirely too many t-shirts. And realize that if I don’t take this weight off I will be mostly naked. And made my hair better through chemistry.

And spun a wee bit and knit a wee bit. Nothing worth bragging about since I’m at the long slow midpoint on both projects.

Today, though, I still feel a tee tiny bit ... well... I’ll be switched!

Of course I’m feeling anti-sociable (No I’m not psychopathic - just need to store up "safe at home feelings". Tomorrow the Summer Reading Club begins and there is nothing I can do about it but go forth and entertain. Whew. That makes so much sense. So. By next Friday I’ll know if it’s going to be a flop or a success - at least, if the new activities are flopping like landed fish. If they are moderately successful ... good. If not ... well, we have only 6 weeks of them. No matter how it turns out - I shan’t think about it today. I’ll think about it Tara.
(after I clean out all those dreadfully nasty cabinets in the kitchen)

posted by Bess | 8:53 AM


I like Elwood Thompson's, but don't shop there very often. Sounds like you guys had a nice day in Rivah City! ;-) (Couldn't resist throwing a "Rivah" in there).

By Blogger Mary, at 11:57 AM  

Hi Bess,
I'm an earring,love,love earrings! I'm also really dying for a new haircut. My hair is maybe 3 inches past my shoulders, but I'm hankering for a new summer 'do. So how about some pictures of your new haircut along with your new awesome earrings?

By Anonymous Meredith, at 2:03 PM  

"And how to eat carefully when your two choices are Foodlion and Walmart."

Wow, I hear you on that! In my town we have the WalMart - which isn't so bad except they sometimes seem to forget produce on the loading dock for a couple days - and sometimes they're awfully picked over.

I have reconciled myself to the fact that sometimes it's OK to drive the half-hour out (and back) to be able to go to the organic-foods mart and the Kroger (which also has a decent produce section and sells non-brine "enhanced" meats).

for me, right now, the big issue is walking down the candy aisle at the store - which is necessary as there are other things I need to buy on the aisle - without feeling a little pang of having given something up.

But then I tell myself that not having to cope with Type II diabetes when I hit 60 will make it worth it...

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 4:18 PM  

Bess, is BD for 'Big Dude'? I, too, have a plethora of guesses as to everyone's glossary. I love Ellwood Thompson and Ukrops and would be even bigger were they any closer. I really miss the small health food coops from my youth... I have much curiosity about the Yarn Lounge - how does it compare to Knitting Basket or Got Yarn?

By Anonymous Glenn back in town, at 10:23 PM  

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Saturday, June 17, 2006  

For my Virgo Sisters - a gift from Mr.Horoscope:

Your Weekend: Good things lie in store this weekend. No, really, they do. Very good things - with your name written on them. Wonderful things, that are yours to enjoy. Excellent things, that are no less than you deserve, but a lot more than you expect. So, where's the problem? Well, there isn't one. Or, at least, there doesn't have to be one. But it is true to say that good things are not the only things you now have access to. You can get bad things too, if you want. How? Easy. Just start picking holes in the good things!

The trip to doctorville was very rewarding. The whole day was a pleasure, in fact, but the medical news was the best of all. BD is doing splendidly, vital signs look glowing, doctor was full of praise and seemed to have the time to talk as much as we wanted to, about things. The biggest issue we’ve been dealing with has been some fundamental dietary changes and as Chef in this family it has been as much my journey as BD’s.

I had no idea how much my ego and definition was tied up in the role of Excellent Cook. Well - at least - Really Really Good Cook. Oh, I knew I basked in the confidence that I could go into any kitchen and prepare a meal everyone would like. I’ve even done it when there was only frozen mystery meat and rice and I’d forgotten I’d invited those genealogist 6th cousins from Missouri and I had bronchitis all at the same time. (Her mother thought it was hilarious but she never forgave me - ever.) But though there is still plenty of cooking skill left in my hands, the basic database of food information has had to change and there have been some anxious moments as I tried to combine the right ingredients into something other than salad, protein and warmed up vegetables. We’re switching to an alkalizing diet, a la Edgar Cacey, under the guidance of a holistic MD. He’s not an anal number freak and has lots of time for us to make the adjustments. He also had lots of time for us to ask lots of questions and he wasn’t bothered by a non-patient asking questions too.

The switch isn’t exactly drastic - but it is fundamental and sometimes difficult. A lot like going vegetarian. You can just stop eating meat but then, how do you know you are eating nutritiously? I know an awful lot of vegetarians who mostly eat bread and look horrible. I also know those who glow with health. And we aren’t exactly doing the vegetarian thing either, just cutting out red meats. I had made some of the essential steps 3 years ago when I joined WW. But you can follow that program, lose weight and eat poorly, too. It’s always easy to do the wrong thing. What I’m looking for is ways to do the right thing - with ease and grace.

And how to fit frozen fudge bars into the equation.

And how to eat carefully when your two choices are Foodlion and Walmart.

It’s certainly a juggling act. The fun part is we’re doing this together and though we often slide into a bit of sibling bickering, mostly we’re treating it like a big adventure into a foreign land. Yesterday’s side trip involved the organic grocery store at the west end of Carytown. Mind, now, Carytown is an ab-fab place to visit anyway - with a Bead Store and The Yarn Lounge and the retro Byrd Theater that shows second runs of movies you missed, cheap. And a Ukrops too for more traditional grocery fun. We spent an enormous amount of $ on 2 tiny bags, but we’ll enjoy experimenting around with our new-found treats and as we find things we’ll like, we’ll look for cheaper sources via mail-order.

Food has always been a major pivot in our relationship, so it’s no surprise to me that we’re having such an adventure with it all.

DR also told BD to monitor his blood pressure (he would like to get off as much medicine as he can while still being safe), so we went to a medical supply place on the Blvd., north of Broad St to buy a monitor. As we strolled down the street we saw a sign that said PINBALLS. I asked if BD thought they sold the entire pinball machine or just the balls and he said, "Let's go see." Now - North Blvd. is a pretty seedy looking place. Not only is it just the place you’d find a pinball machine shop, it’s the sort of place I would never stop at all, unless compelled. It has all the charm of railroad yards, bus stations, and the sort of brick warehouse buildings grey-haired, gravel voiced, 50 year old men who smoke find employment. It is industrial.

But it also has these odd surprises, like the PINBALLS store. It was smoky. It was as dark as a movie theater. The man looked like Sean Gilder. He looked exactly like the sort of man who’d made his living in the world of vending machines. And did he have the History of Pinball down pat and ready to share. In answer to the question “Can I help you?” BD said right out that we were wondering if he sold just the balls and the man laughed and said he sold the whole machine but he would give us a ball - which I quite accepted. When BD asked me what I wanted it for, my answer was “Just to hold it”. there is something extremely universal about a heavy round beautiful steel ball. It’s one of those soul connecting things; a sphere, an orb.

We spent the next 30 minutes talking about pinball history, pinball manufacturing, legal, illegal and tacit gambling with vending machines. I also could see that there was just the littlest bit of lust in BD’s eyes. He would like a pinball machine. Not enough to pop for one - but .... it’s just one of those things you know about someone when you’ve lived with them for a long time.

Well. Maybe someday. The information is filed away.

All the long day I knit on that sock. I really did get nervous about the width, especially as I could keep trying it on, it being a toe up sock. Finally I decreased 8 stitches - down to 52 and knit a good bit. It’s odd looking now, with it’s bulbous toe, and of course, now I think I ought to have only decreased to 56 stitches. I’m almost at the point where the leg angles down into the foot and I may increase the stitches there. I had thought these might be gift socks, but I know I’ll knit the second sock at 56 stitches straight up and the two will look so different they won’t make an attractive gift. Ahh. Poor Me. Forced to own another pair of unusual socks, with boucle cuffs, even!

Back home, dinner included some of the newly purchased GoodForYou food and we closed the evening watching the first half of Gone With The Wind. When it was last re-mastered, oh, maybe 10 years ago, I went with S to see it at the Westhampton Theater - a girly girl day in the city and my memory is that BD sort of poopooed GWTW. So imagine my utter surprise a week ago, when he said it was one of his favorite movies! I wish I’d picked up on that bit of denial. I would have loved seeing it again on a bigger screen. But we’re enjoying it now at home, with dogs at our feet. Still slightly skunky dogs, but you all know I don’t care about that.

Today we’ll hang about in town talking with everyone and maybe finding some earrings.

posted by Bess | 8:05 AM


Sounds like a fun long weekend, despite the Drs apt! The Rivahfest sounds great . . . just the kind of thing for a lazy saturday . . . I'm thinking of taking the car (which means taking DH to work and picking him up late, late tomorrow) so we can go to a favorite antique store. Just not sure about grabby baby in cluttered antique shop though ;)`

By Blogger Martheme, at 8:13 AM  

Your lovely "rivah" is often pronounced "rivuh" here, which gives it a dull, unappealing thud instead of a soft, watery ahhhhh.

If your Lorna's is sock yarn, then you will have more than enough to make your socks! Even if it's sport weight, I think you'll be fine. LL has good yardage.

By Blogger Jane, at 8:20 AM  

A lovely weekend, Bess, and so nice to go through it with you via the net! :)

By Blogger Laura, at 11:43 AM  

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Friday, June 16, 2006  

Hmm. Socks are blooming everywhere. I blame it on A, who started the 2006SOX project - though of course other people have had their role in getting this massive flood of sock production on the needles. Not that I haven’t been knitting socks for some good time, mind you. But I am seeing so many people post about the joy they are having clicking away on little needles with fine yarn. And I’m doing it myself. This is the one other type of garment, besides sweaters, I deem worthy of being called “real knitting”. Perhaps it is because you must knit two to finish up, or perhaps it is that clever shaping required at the heel, or perhaps it is the tiny needles, but socks seem impressive to me while a scarf, which may take more knitting and more yarn and more $$ and certainly more patience, is just a big swatch. Funny how our prejudices take root and blossom into entire gardens of stone attitudes. Anyway, to all those who have inspired, challenged and tempted the rest of us into sockedness I say “Yippeee!”

Yesterday was a weirdly good day. It seemed that anything I asked of anybody was granted the first go’round. Neither Mr.Horoscope nor any of the other star gazers had given me a hint that Thursday would be that kind of day so I was unprepared to ask, oh, say, the county administrator for a raise, or the car dealership for a free sample, or oh, hmm, my husband (a.k.a. Big Darling) to dig up the garden for me, but those important Things To Do (TTD) still remaining on my list all obligingly got themselves done yesterday. It was an amazing day.

Today BD and I are heading off to Doctorville somewhere over in Chester to see a specialist about his parathyroid, which is in overdrive and sucking calcium out of his bones. This is the last of the health issues that showed up after TheHeartAttack. Since Chester is about 70 miles away on a drive that takes us Through The City I plan to do a wee bit of shopping. Or maybe a wee bit more shopping. But it also means another Friday Off - which is sweet music to my ears, especially when it means I’ll be in the car knitting for all those lovely Friday hours.

Tomorrow our town his its annual festival - Rivahfest! it’s called. Funny how I love phonetical spelling used for effect, but once it’s been commercialized I despise it with passion. If you’ve lived in VA for any length of time, you’ll begin to open up the suffix -er and soften its terminal “r” into ah “ah”. It’s just the way we talk down here. I rather like it, I think it’s pretty, I’m glad we don’t sound like (ahem. . .) yankees, saying they know betterrrrrrr forrrrrr yew, or that upper-midwestern way of saying “sell” for sail or sale. But I can’t stand the way, all up and down Tidewater Virginia, you find Rivah-this and Rivah-that, on billboards, advertising flyers, real estate books - you name it.

Of course, the folk who make these quaintisms think they are cute and clever, maybe even original! They fail to see they are ubiquitous and predictable. Obviously - they are not Virgos. I rest my case. I also digressed into a cranky diatribe when I really ment to say that tomorrow I will play all day at a sort of quasi craft/concert/field day/fair sort of thing, meandering around town with BH and maybe even spending some $. Last time I went I remember getting some fabulous earrings of beaten copper from a pretty woman with long brown hair. This new haircut just begs for fabulous earrings....

Now about that sock I’m knitting. I’m knitting it up at 60 stitches on #1 needles. I always cast on that many for B&LD’s socks but that’s usually too many for my foot. But I also usually knit on #3 needles and with slightly thicker sock yarn. So I’m obsessing about the sock being too loose and at the same time worrying about not having enough yarn. I actually bought this stuff to knit a scarf in stripes with a coordinating boucle. I hated the stitch pattern and since I already don’t like to knit scarves, especially scarves on smallish needles, probably #3’s, I decided to go for Fashion Socks - the foot in the smooth yarn and the cuffs in the boucle. I believe there will be enough but I don’t know for sure and I’ve long since lost the ball band. These will have to be called the Faith Socks.

posted by Bess | 7:37 AM


Loving that Lorna's Lace's colorway! And I see that you've become quite innovative and are scanning your socks -- how handy that they flatten out so nicely! ;-) Someday soon when I get my act together you'll even have a digi camera to use!

Now, how do you do your cast-on for the toe-up socks? Provisional? Turkish?

By Blogger Mary, at 4:41 PM  

You are such an enabler!!! There were several TNKs that left B&N with the Spin Off magazine. Hoping to make sheepy puppets! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 8:01 PM  

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Thursday, June 15, 2006  

Sock toe ...

on it's way up.

posted by Bess | 9:52 AM


I know what you mean about the Wildfoote, Bess. I just finished a pair in a lovely grey/taupe/pink mix. Definitely not springy, but I enjoyed working with it more than a stiff cotton. The pattern fits snugly (it's 'Conwy' from "Socks on the Road"), but the socks are toasty...perfect for today's cool downpour!


By Blogger Margaret, at 9:41 AM  

The brown sheep folk are geniuses with color. The have the best selection of interesting colored sock yarns I know – especially if you want plain colors. Alas, they don’t always choose the best fibers or even the best manufacturing processes. I don’t care for their Nature Spun either but I certainly love their handpaint mohair/wool blend. Yum. Pure joy to knit with.

By Blogger Bess, at 9:59 AM  

Okay, all the initials in that last paragraph just about blew my mind! Someday you'll have to post a glossary so we know what's what! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 4:39 PM  

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‘Course I’m not disappointed, Cynthia, though I am fascinated that someone would be living so far away and stumble upon me and come to know what was going on in my little world. Like C, I’m also curious about the Maltese Knitter - Malta - that’s where LD was when he called us while on his first Mediterranean deployment - in what, 2000? Statscounter tells me country of origin each time someone looks in on TheQueen and each town, each state or country promises a story to tell about the knitter who reads my ramblings.

Hurricane Alberto spun away leaving us with lots of wet just as the combines were rolling into the wheat fields. That wheat check is coming later this year than I can ever remember! Though statewide, Virginia is suffering from a slight water shortage, we’ve had plenty of it down here. Particularly at Champlain, there have been lovely local storms that have made the twilight days of spring especially beautiful. It is all slated to end tomorrow as temperatures climb into the 90’s. From June through September, any day that doesn’t hit 90 is a good weather day. Once the red creeps over the 9 line everything depends on wind and dry air, which usually desert us and leave their cousins dank, slime and sultry to lounge on our porches and seep into our closets to deposit their mildewy offspring on our good leather shoes. Ah well. There you have it. If one chooses to live in a swamp one gets exactly what one ought to expect, right? Is it any wonder the English died like flies when they first got here?

I’ve been trying to get in some fiber progress every day. Even typing that makes me wonder what sort of sick mind turns pleasure and hobby and creativity into DOOTY and begs the question, “Where did that Puritan streak slip into the gene pool of a bunch of Irish Catholics and married to some Crazy Frenchmen? Then the OtherQueenBrain tells me that it’s just being honest about all the fiber I’ve bought over the past 5 years and there is nothing wrong with actually using my stash and there is less wrong with setting up a structure that shoves me out the door of the RoomOfIdleDayDreams and into the SunporchOfSpinningWheels.

Woops. A little ENFP digression - sorry.

This is, after all, a knitting blog, right? Anyway - (giggling now)


I’m knitting away on the pretty little toe-up sock in an aqua yarn by Lorna’s Laces - and will put a scan-picture of it up later today. I’m also plugging away on the Romeldale while startitis thoughts of Falkland Island Polwarth 4 ply dance through my brain. I will spin that stuff next, I will, I will, I will.

But what I expect the next few weeks of posting will contain will be “More Romeldale spun. Romeldale plied. More Romeldale spun....”

The heavy load of TTD that was pressing my spirit down all last week has been whittled away by time and diligence to just some things to do today. I am either numb to the eminent arrival of the Summer Reading Club and Related Activities, or I’m ready for them. I can’t tell. I have only to assemble samples of the middle school project today and one conference call to nominate officers for the VLA election. This is our second round of trying to find people who will take the helm and I’m wondering if we ought to just pick someone who will is willing to be the defeated candidate - only of course, as luck would have it, everyone would vote for the person who was supposed to take the fall. Nope, the idea is funny but the act would be awful. I suppose my cynicism comes from knowing that I’m only on this committee because they have to have someone representing Region IV. One of the facts about being director of a small rural library is that you really only get to know other library directors - you don’t know the worthy and capable second and third tier folk out in libraryland. Well, I suppose it’s perfectly okay for me to sit mum and stupid during the call.

I was supposed to go play with H today, a long planned outing in my favorite Colonial Williamsburg, but a doctor visit for BD blossomed on the calendar that really calls for my presence as well. The final health issue to reveal itself after last year’s heart attack is waiting its turn to be addressed. Not serious but not something to ignore if we don’t want it to become serious. So another Friday away from the office and I’ll be away next Friday too. I wonder, when was the last time I worked a Friday? What is good about all this is the long drive to the city, when I can knit on my latest sock project. What is great about this is that we will go by D’s house on the way home. And what is sure is that sometime I am going to CW to play with H - for sure.

posted by Bess | 7:26 AM


The sock is beautiful, but I have to agree about the Wildfoote. It is my least favorite sock yarn ever.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 3:15 PM  

Wildfoote is crap. It's not like cotton, it's like bad, cheap wool. Good cotton is much nicer.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:52 PM  

I bought some Wildfoote too and don't like it. I need to unload it somehow. Yarn swap here I come! ;-) That sock is gorgeous, though. Nice cuff!

By Blogger Mary, at 9:41 PM  

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006  

Whew! I am crazy busy and haven't been able to post for 2 mornings. I have been able to dabble in fiber, though. While looking for a pair of #1 needles I found them hidden in this sock!

I started these about 3 years ago - no - at least 4 years ago and never got around to finishing them. The yarn is Brown Sheep's Wildfoot and though the colors are wonderful, the yarn has little spring to it. It's a bit like knitting cotton socks. Not so much fun.

There is supposed to be a mate, but I started a pair out of Lorna's Laces with those needle. Toe up socks in a flat merino with boucle cuffs.

posted by Bess | 10:01 AM


The rain woke me up around 4 am, too! Doggone it, I thought it was supposed to help you sleep, but I had a hard time falling back to sleep after that, especially with the cats all spooked from the thunder. Not complaining, though - we need that rain.

I'm a big fan of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Something about the single working girl strikes a chord in me. But I have no giant letter M on my wall.

By Blogger Mary, at 9:56 AM  

Gosh, that's the most enthusiastic reception I've had in a long time. I hope you won't be disappointed to hear that I am not an Egyptian, only a transplanted Connecticut Yankee who is enjoying life in Alexandria.
I am flying to the States on Thursday for my mother's 94th birthday, and will certainly try to buy the Wendell Berry book while I'm there.....that's exactly the type of book she loves. Thanks for the tip and review.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 PM  

Hi Bess! Thanks for your comments on my blog, nice to know someone is still reading it!

I love your story about the walk in the swamp, wish we had a walking trail like that in our neighborhood!

By Blogger Martheme, at 8:50 AM  

Whoa, wait, Cynthia from Egypt, are you the person reading my blog (Bossy Little Dog) from Egypt? That has blown my mind for months, if it's not you I want to know who it is! I also want to unmask the Maltese Reader, not to be confused with the Maltese Falcon.

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:55 PM  

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Monday, June 12, 2006  

Woops. Blogger is poky again. I wonder if it’s worth it to even write a post. Well - nothing ventured ...

First off - woowoo! Delighted to meet you Cynthia from Egypt!!!! How cool is that? Whenever I grouse about how awful this modern world is and oh it was so much better in the olden days (probably olden of say, about 1969) I need to remember how wonderful it is that I can reach out to someone in Egypt and she can reach back! And I adore all Jane Austen though P&P is my favorite and Northanger Abbey is my second fav. Thanks for posting.

Thank you all for your comments. They’re always welcome; little gems I keep in my happiness box.

It’s raining right now. Soft slow drizzly steady rain. I have kiddy tours at the library beginning at 9 so must leave an hour earlier than normal, and I’m wondering if the children will even come over, since they have to walk about a block to get here. But as the saying goes - rain before seven, quit by eleven, and by golly - it woke me at 4 a.m. (Fortunately, I went back to sleep)

Yesterday BD and I took a long walk through White Oak Swamp. That’s about 35 acres we own across the tar road from home. It doesn’t even touch the farm. When Rennolds Quarters was broken up shortly after the turn of the (19th) century, most of the land around here was open and used as pasture or crop land. The only trees were in WOS - where it was too wet for man and beast. Only trees grew there with any reliability. It was thought that each purchaser ought to have some woodland, so the swamp was also divided into 4 chunks. We cut ours about 16 years ago and used that $ to finish the kitchen and have the house painted. BD planted it in cypress and ash - unlike the max profit tree farming norm: straight rows of loblolly pine. He’s cut paths all around the perimeter and walks them regularly, but they have always been way too brambly and thorny for me.

The cool north wind and clear blue skies made long walks irresistible, yesterday, and when we came to the choosing point in the road where we could take Ray’s new road or go around WOS, something prompted me to chose the swamp route and how glad I am! Sixteen years has wrought a wonderful change. There is still some greenbriar but the maturing woods has shaded out all the blackberry and the shorter tree limbs have died and broken off, raising the leafy canopy well above even BD’s 6 foot head. This is a beautiful forest now - I didn’t get a single bloody scratch. The circuit around WOS is about one mile and this adds a wonderful new ramble to our walks.

By the time we got home, though, we’d been slightly over 4 miles and my, was I beat! Spent the rest of the afternoon watching more Re-TV videos of Dragnet, so camp and so mesmerizing and again, such a time travel back to my youth! This was followed by 2 episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore show - which was a fav of mine in the olden days but is pretty boring now. I could get all political about why I don’t care for it as I did back then, but there isn’t time and besides, I’m almost never political. I never was - not back then and not now. I’m far too opinionated to go into that arena.

I didn’t knit anything, but I did read S’s wonderful handouts about toe up socks and I did wind the Spirit Trail yarn - so I’m ready to get going. Spun a wee bit on Bella - still working on the Romeldale. The goal ... the great yearning desire - is to spin up all 4 bags of that before I start anything new, but the siren song of the Falkland Island Polwarth that wants to be a 4 ply haunts my dreams.

Yikes! Look at the time. Off I go.

posted by Bess | 7:43 AM


Those sheep puppets are so cute! I'll have to get that issue this week at TNK! Lawre says there's also an interesting sweater that one of her friends is knitting. Nice except it ends up witha a point aiming at your rear end with a button on it!! I've got to see that, too!

By Blogger jane, at 9:40 AM  

Beautifully written, Bess, as usual. I live just a few blocks from where you grew up, so I know the corners you mention quite well, although the businesses you frequented are long gone.

And isn't that funny? I've been reading another blogger who has knit that Spin-Off sweater with her own hand-spun. Read about it here:

By Blogger Mary, at 11:06 AM  

Aww, now you've got me crying in my coffee! I must reread your post, more than a few times, to make sure it settles in around my own little heart. You're marvelous (but you knew that, right?).

By Blogger Jane, at 6:45 AM  

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Sunday, June 11, 2006  

Do you want cute?
This is cute!

I’ve been meaning to post something about this for all weeks but other things crowded it out. I’ve been cooing and awwing and eye-mysting for days now. This is just flat out adorable and I hope my non-spinning but knitting viewers take themselves down to the magazine stand and get a copy of this issue. If you don't have handspun - you can use shetland wool.

This is how Interweave Press lured me into handspinning to begin with; a fabulous knitting pattern. It was this autumn 2001 anniversary issue:

I was absolutely smitten with the sweater design and though I didn’t spin, I wanted to make the sweater. Alas, I have yet to do so, but I have the instructions and now I actually have the spinning skill as well - and even the ab-fab Golding wheel!! I didn’t get my first wheel till the following summer but I’ve felt that I was a spinner since I saw that cover.

Anyway - I love SpinOff magazine. It’s different from knitting magazines. There are more articles and fewer projects. In some ways, there’s more information in SpinOff and it rewards frequent re-reading. In those early days - when I didn’t know where to buy fiber - the ads were a treasure trove of information. Now that I have a stash that is as likely to fall down onto your head when you’re sitting in the den, that is less important. I’ve never had any trouble being a consumer. It’s production that I have trouble with since I tend to wallow in sensations rather than march to completion.

I’ve been doing a good bit of another type of wallowing lately - maudlin sentimental nostalgia wallowing. I blame this all on the Olivers, the video industry and the Re-TV folk. You already know that BD has melted into 14 year old heartrending romance memories. I have joined him - not in the romance department, since I’ve always been more in love with myself than is good for me, never quite letting go of the question “Why am I here? What is my mission?”, no matter what else is on my mind. Another ENFP thing. But days-gone-by memories? I'm trapped in 'em.

How did this happen? Ahh well, the above mentioned lovely charming generous couple gave 3 boxes of Re-TV videos to the library the other week. We’ll keep a few of them and pass the rest on, but before they leave for their intended destinations, I’m watching some. Last night we watched the premier episode of Hawaii Five-0 and I have been floating in two worlds ever since. The evening was that delicious temperature when your skin sang with the joy of air. We’d had a grand dinner and C the lawnmower boy had just cut the grass. Its sweet scent poured through the open windows to perfume the entire house. Best of all, BD and I used to watch this TV show religiously - back in the days when we had television. The trip down memory lane was a shared journey.

I make no bones about how much I disliked being a child but that doesn’t mean I had a particularly miserable childhood. I was just born a grownup and those first few decades of childhood always grated on my patience. But there are scenes that float to the surface that remind me of that time of sweet promise and delicious anticipation. From 1968 - when the show premiered, I can remember an evening on the little front porch, all secret, behind it’s heavy shrubbery, even though it fronted a very busy city through street. Talking softly with Mama and Daddy, knowing that soon, soon, we’d be heading down to Ocracoke Island and a real live Anette Funicello Beach Vacation. Boys and bikinis and baking in the sun, slathered in baby oil. And the pretty way the light floated through the living room windows. And rain filling the patio out back with half an inch of water we could slip and slide on. How the kitchen smelled and the secret pantry that ment we always had enough shelves in the kitchen or a place to hide in. The doves that cooed outside my windows, and a bed that overlooked The Boulevard as it rose up from the river. The night sound of trains. The way the house felt at Christmas time, exactly like the song Christmas Time in the City, and how glad I was to live in a carol. The little grocery store at the corner of Forest Hill and The Blvd., where the owner worked the cash register and how sad we were when his son was murdered. The other, bigger grocery store and the time Daddy and I took the sled up to it in that enormous snow storm of 1966, to bring home supplies.

We moved into that house when I was 11 and all the memories from it have that hint of being grown up. There’s very little of toys and make-believe in those memories. Instead, they are all imbued with my first womanly steps. Even when I moved out, there are still memories of that house. There is a picture in my memor-eyes of a blouse I made, white with little red strawberries on it, from fabric I bought at the store up the street from That House. I remember going to lunch with Mama in that blouse. So many memories. So insignificant, but so precious. So... so ready step out into the Big World. Knowing that out there was a life that would be mine, to create, to live, to look back on one day.

And here it is. I am in it. Living in that life on my farm along the river, dogs at my feet, farty dogs who evidently ate rabbits yesterday, but my dogs. Around me are rooms that are mine, suffused with Bessedness and Edness - with little threads back to Mama and Daddy and Grandma and Pop - the pictures of General Lee and General Stuart, the scene of me running to Daddy at Datona Beach, the huge portrait Mama painted of me when I left home in 1970. I am now. I am then. I am both at the same time.

Of all the precious things I have, I love my memories the most. I like to pull them out and look at them. Touch them softly. Kiss them, taste them, croon to them. Then put them back into the little casket that is my heart and tell them to beat in there for me - to keep me real and part of it all - to make me strong.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how many TTD lists point their scolding fingers at me. It isn't important that I manufacutre fears and doubts and dreads out of tomorrow. Or - yes it does matter, but they aren’t the only things that drive me. Faith and knowledge that all that history is filling up my soul - things done, things felt, things known and loved are also who I am. Logic tells me that with all that behind me, I’m not likely to fail too badly in what lies ahead, and logic is one of my favorite companions. I believe I’ll let it hold the rudder this week.

posted by Bess | 7:42 AM


Love it!

By Blogger Mary, at 10:53 AM  

That picture, more than any other I have seen, emphasizes just WHY global warming must be stopped....


By Blogger fillyjonk, at 5:03 PM  

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Saturday, June 10, 2006  

a gift from M

posted by Bess | 2:20 PM


Your purple Cascade Fixation sock? And a digital picture of it? Why, what a wonderful surprise for a Saturday morning! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:27 PM  

Lovely sock!

And I'm your frequent visitor from NY -- I pop in to see if you've posted!

By Blogger Jane, at 12:37 PM  

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Guess what this is.

The other one looks just like it.

posted by Bess | 9:56 AM


When I read your "Day in a Knitter's Life" entry, I thought, "I wonder who reads Bess in Egypt? Oh, good Lord,that must be me." I first linked to your blog after seeing a picture of you with a circular knitting needle in your hair ( Oct.2004?) and watched transfixed as the wedding preparations progressed. Mainly, however, I've stayed for your writing. As someone who has been deprived of the joy of changing seasons, I treasure your evocative descriptions of Virginia throughout the year.
To answer your very natural questions, I'm an inveterate knitter and voracious reader who is currently re-re-re-reading "Persuasion". Have you ever read Fay Weldon's "Letters to Alice"? It's a good book to keep on your bedside and to savor chapter by chapter.

Oh yes, love the sock!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

Congrats on such a productive Friday/Saturday! And I'm jealous that your library is going wireless, thanks to all your hard work. Would that my local branch would go wireless. Since that will require an act of Rivah City Government, it is bound never to happen.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:34 PM  

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The purple socks are done. One bobbin is full of Romeldale singles. One corner of the stash heap in the den has been sifted and I found 4 circular needles, the natural blue mohair lace sample I began last September, my niece R’s 2004 graduation gift, and my original project book. I sorted through the JamBags. These are bags you jammed stuff into to clear off the living room chairs because company was coming - and then forgot about. I used to do this with paperwork and had to go through those JamBags right before tax time to find the old bank statements. I tossed 4 cardboard boxes I’d saved because they looked like they might be good boxes to put gifts in someday, if I ever had that size gift to wrap. There were 2 large shopping bags from Hunt Country Yarns that had torn over the years. They were tossed as well. In fact, any bag that looked crumpled got the heave. I found a place to put the sewing machines slightly more out of sight than right by the side door. This exposed the wonderful rocking chair Grandma left me, in all it’s broken legged suffering - but luckily, as I slept, the name of the furniture repair man I am always forgetting, resurfaced. I will call him today. This chair goes to the chair hospital this week.

And throughout the day I watched syrupy movies - and discovered one of the fundamental moments in BD’s romantic development. He was in love with Tammy. You know, Tammy of Tammy and the Bachelor?

Yep. His romantic patterning was cemented by a turned up nose and a pony tail in the moonlight. Imagine, the man who wishes he were James Joyce secretly yearning for the old hooty owl hooty hooting up above.

Not exactly surprised, though. He is from that sentimentally liquid gene pool called TheEnglish. He could never be a true cynic. Curmudgeon, yes, cynic - never. That is reserved for his genetically ethnic Frainch Wife. And I am not really a cynic, just a healthy Virgo skeptic.

All in all - a productive Friday that was my Saturday. Alas, I am off to work a Saturday that is a Friday today - my arts and crafts day, while smart techie sorts upgrade the library equipment in preparation for the switch to wireless.

posted by Bess | 7:44 AM


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Friday, June 09, 2006  

I thought to continue scratching things off my TTD list but it’s morphed enough that the exercise would be pointless. Instead I have a new list of Major Categories of TTD, all of which have sub-categories and duties and deserve little lists of their own. This reformatting of my Dooty helps me see just why I’m feeling crushed, overwhelmed and cranky these days. I’m juggling 7 fairly demanding projects at the same time. I am sure even my ENFP lust for multi-tasking tops out. I suspect it reaches a comfort maximum somewhere around 4, especially when 2 of them require faking my way through technological lingo and 3 of them involve trying something new that either involve Other People or are watched by an audience.

Staff duties&training
Family Reunion

The easiest task is doing the library budget/s - that is, spending all the $ we have for this year, but not more than we are likely to get next year and planning how much we will spend next year (and on what) when there is no county budget for next year because there is no state budget for next year because the politicians in Richmond are playing chicken. This is a sad example of why pushing the ego envelope is not usually a good thing. A few years ago the state legislature wouldn’t pass a budget during regular winter session and had to come back in the spring to work out an agreement. Now that boundary has been crossed, the only thing to do to make a shocking impact is to let the spring session close without an agreement. Come July 5, I bet my paycheck they’ll compromise.

Ah bosh. I don’t feel like thinking about that.

Or anything else on my TTD list except to remember to go out and clip a bunch of little hooked sticks for my spinning storytelling. What I do feel like cheering about is that I have today off. I have to work tomorrow (when I’ll strike off a few more tasks on the original TTD) so I get a free Friday. In addition to stick clipping I plan to finish up the purple sock and spin today. And maybe read some. And exercise. But mostly I want today to be a fiber day. I think it’s just tragic that my Day In A Knitter’s Life post had not one moment of fiber activity on it. Dreadful!

Happily, the house was cleaned by SomeOneElse so I haven’t any pressing fingerpointing obligations to nag away my playtime. And tomorrow the plan is to do the story board and illustration samples for our Awesome Authors program for middleschoolers - which basically means I get to make a scrapbook using library supplies and get paid for it too. Not such a bad job, humm?

Good knitting to all.

posted by Bess | 7:13 AM


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Thursday, June 08, 2006  

Today's post is over here:

posted by Bess | 11:49 AM


I too, thought the movie was much better than I expected. And I agree that Diaz can't play cute dumb blondes for much longer. Shirley McLean (spelled that wrong, I know), is fantastic, as usual.

By Blogger Mary, at 10:32 AM  

Hated it.

Love Toni, LOVE Shirley, hated the movie.

By Blogger Amie, at 10:10 PM  

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006  

Ahh, Mary - The list is just my Ariadne’s Yarn ball to find my way out of the Labyrinth of Gloom. Others don’t need to care about it, but my saying it out loud - in public - as it were - helps me remember that these mundane things are ImportantToMe. I don't want to forget to do them while I wallow in a blue funk.

And Glenn - I hope you come across the river next Tuesday at 7 for Knitters gathering. 7 p.m. at the library.

As for the Extreme Misery and Flight Desire - it is evidently a Virgo thing. L called yesterday and asked me if I felt like running away and ending it all and how she saw an ad for a 3 bedroom condo, but couldn’t convince her husband to sell the house and you know - I completely understood. And it felt soooo good to be able to blame it on the stars.

And the list helped. I’m not out of the morass but I can at least slog forward to some future Comfort Zone. Here’s yesterday’s tally.

Call AT - and schedule wi-fi activities
Get county guys to assemble DVD table
Get flyers to middle school
Ditto elementary school
Put up SRC posters at gym, walmart, swimming pools, (hmmmm video store? where else do kids hang out?) ALSO marquee stuff
Adjust June schedule, make up July schedule
Story Hour prep

Make prototypes for Awesome Authors program
Make sure all computers have Publisher loaded
Write up SRC instruction sheet for staff&volunteers
PSA to radio
Is there $ for a newspaper ad? not just article? - bet there is
Post schedule of SRC programs for all staff to see
Make reminder calls to SRC guests
Cut new stick hooks for own story program - probably need 25 + tie yarns
Decide scope of summer workers responsibilities and assign regular staff new duties
06-07 board budget - devise then meet ... Call Bill
Talk to board about problem with Hill brothers
Schedule fall auction for Friends
Other auction committee activities including membership list
Staff meeting
Reunion stuff - contact BB, NM, CH for address changes - mailed by June 30
Anniversary Party stuff - big posting board, find kiddy games, borrow S’s cooler
Jane and E-books!!

And now I present you with:

A film review that prompts the question: “Doesn’t she ever stop talking?”

I can’t quite give this movie 5 stars, and I’ll tell you why in a moment, but first the praise because it deserves plenty. The reviews I either read or heard about this movie didn’t do nearly enough of that. Oh, they all talk about the ugly duckling who becomes a swan, but there's more than one blossoming in this movie. Yes, it’s a chick flick. It’s also a movie about redemption - or at least about growth. It’s literature that makes the effort to develop a character and succeeds. It's not your typical movie-land live action cartoon figure blasting through the impenetrable. Mind, now, there’s a place for Crash, Boom, Bang, but it is a peripheral enjoyment of the vegetative state. In Her Shoes is a move to think about.

So - this flick - two sisters, one, a pretty, illiterate, sluttish moocher and one, a homely dumpy workaholic lawyer. Their only bond, other than a DNA link, seems to be a shoe fetish and an inescapable tragedy from their childhood. Typical plot of two people frozen in their familial roles who squabble about ancient injustices, part, seek their dens to lick their wounds and discover Truth and Self and enough Inner Strength to reunite.

What makes it a 4 star is the fine writing, the fine acting and one or two really super lines perfectly delivered. Shirley McClaine is the biggest of the big names in this flick, and she never once overplays it. I kept waiting and she didn’t miss a step. Toni Collette was grumpy, but not so bitter she couldn’t get over it - this is no

Oh!! Hell hell hell hell hell

blogger lost the last half of this review!

Can I recreate it in 7 minutes?

... this is no "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" creepy gothic family. Cameron Diaz is the blonde we all wish we looked like. The boyfriend is sensitive without being too sweet. The cad is not so very wicked and at least he apologized - for the right crime. The wicked stepmother, another part that could be overplayed, is evil enough to hate and to move the plot along. There are some other endearing peripheral characters. This movie meets an essential literary criteria for me - the author really liked the people she created.

Why didn't it get 5 stars? Alas, it was an issue of belivability. Cameron Diaz will never see 20 again, nor 25, nor 29 nor 30. And she looks it. Mind now, she looks fabulous, but she also looks cemented in grown-up-hood. So - here is this woman who's spent 1/3 of a century slutting around, mooching off her sister, stealing from eveyone, failing at everything - even at being a slut since she gets too drunk to hold the interest of her pick-ups. And she is going to be redeemed by living with her long lost grandma and taking care of Old Folks in the Home? Do you belive that?

Me neither. If the actress had been younger, someone who looked like there was still time to get it together, someone who could still smell her teens, a Lindsay Lohan type - well, yeah, okay. Or from a different launch pad - if Diaz had ever once given any evidence that she could actually succeed at anything - had not been a 100% looser, well, then, yes. I could believe there was something to salvage. So that was a writer's mistake. Don't know if it was the book author or the screen writer, but 30 years of complete failure does not a redeemable character make, at least, not without lots of expensive therapy and perhaps - some deeper degradation.

So, a 4 star. Definitely a pleasure. Just make the exisential leap that nobody that pretty could be completely lost, the same way you believe that They lived happily ever after, even if nobody else you know does. And enjoy some killer lines.

Hmm. 13 minutes. Not bad.

posted by Bess | 7:18 AM


I admire your courage to post such a private list so publicly. Even though my lists are so mundane, I still feel they are deeply personal, for some strange reason. Not sure why I think "buy milk, toilet paper, detergent" reveals the inner workings of my soul, but it strikes the fear of God in me should someone read my lists!

By Blogger Mary, at 3:22 PM  

Hmmmm...VirgoSoulSis List Comparison (for Today Only):

- Walk
- H's med list - update
- take H to doctor appointment
- drop off quilt to be quilted
- recycling
- canned goods to church (food bank)
- Call D.P.
- Call S.
- snack for art class?
- order DQ cake (DS' birthday)
- black sharpies
- Freckle's BOM
- p/up H's meds
- p/up H's dressing supplies
- watercolour class homework you have a longer list....and you get to spin (I'm still trying to find time to learn)...


By Blogger Margaret, at 7:38 PM  

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006  

Attention: Might not be worth reading. This is Blogging as Personal Mantra, not entertainment.

Okay - I’m not so bent outa shape anymore. I love a week when there is plenty of work to do - but it’s all work I can do, with just a tee tiny bit of serendipity to keep me awake. It makes a Monday such a sweet day and fills me with that sense of purpose and worthiness and competency that is so important to happiness. Because when it comes to the world outside TheCastle, I am winging a whole host of things these days. I almost never have those positive feelings, especially at work. Instead, I’m as sour as a glass of lemonade without any sugar in it. Contrast that Place-0-Dread with my airy living room with a gorgeous wheel spinning a yarn I like waiting at home for me - well - who wouldn’t write gloomy cranky posts? Too bad for the Day in the Life blog, where I shall probably grouse and whine and schlump all over the place.

Must Be Cheerful. Must Be Cheerful.

Must not dread the future.

Must make list!

Yes!! That’s the answer. Everyone knows that the path out of the Minotar’s labyrinth is made up of a list! A long sheet of paper which enumerates everything you have to do. Make it concrete and it won’t be so intimidating.

Okay - here goes:

Call AT - and schedule wi-fi activities
Make prototypes for Awesome Authors program
Make sure all computers have Publisher loaded
Write up SRC instruction sheet for staff&volunteers
Get flyers to middle school
Ditto elementary school
PSA to radio
Is there $ for a newspaper ad? not just article? - bet there is
Post schedule of SRC programs for all staff to see
Make reminder calls to SRC guests
Put up SRC posters at gym, walmart, swimming pools, (hmmmm video store? where else do kids hang out?) ALSO marquee stuff
Cut new stick hooks for own story program - probably need 25 + tie yarns
Adjust June schedule, make up July schedule
Decide scope of summer workers responsibilities and assign regular staff new duties
06-07 board budget - devise then meet ... Call Bill
Talk to board about problem with Hill brothers
Schedule fall auction for Friends
Other auction committee activities including membership list
Story Hour prep
Get county guys to assemble DVD table
Staff meeting
Reunion stuff - contact BB, NM, CH for address changes - mailed by June 30
Anniversary Party stuff - big posting board, find kiddy games, borrow S’s cooler

Pardon the intimacy of all this tediously boring personal detail. Today, instead of a diary as literature, I’m using it as a psychological lifeline. Let us hope I can get a handle on these ThingsWhichMustBeDone so I can get back to automatic living. . . or at least, automatic library directing. It was all so much easier when we had no money, no staff and no expectations.

No fiber activity yesterday at all! Let us hope for better things today.

posted by Bess | 7:39 AM


Hope all is unfolding as it should and that you are feeling somewhat in charge! Haven't we all had days we need to publish a to-do list or go crazy!
Take care.

By Blogger Susan, at 11:14 AM  

I laughed so hard I now feel "flushed".

(Hee hee - couldn't resist).

By Blogger Mary, at 3:19 PM  

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Monday, June 05, 2006  

Wicked Bad Quiz.
It's still making me laugh.

You scored as quilted toilet paper. That's correct. You're the fancy, quilted kind of toilet paper, like in the Charmin commercials. You're a smooth talker with a gregarious personality. But with your flattering nature, people may accuse you of wiping other people's...feet.

quilted toilet paper


over-dispensing toilet paper


paper napkins


dead leaves


under-dispensing toilet paper


empty roll


public restroom toilet paper


what kind of TOILET PAPER are you?
created with

posted by Bess | 4:47 PM


Bess, I've been wanting to try Cascade Fixation and bought some this weekend. I'll be interested to see how it knits up. I'd love to see a picture of your socks, too!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:07 PM  

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Hmmm. 2 weeks till summer reading club starts and I’m dreading it as much as ever. This, when I started early and did lots of planning and ought to feel confident. Instead, the extra planning time only allowed us (me) to plan more things to do. I have learned my lesson - nothing will eliminate the dread. It will dog me during the first 2 weeks of June forever. Maybe I ought to plan next year’s summer reading in August - when it’s all fresh in my mind, I know what worked and what didn’t and .... I hate the sight of reading logs! That way, I’ll plan just enough - it’ll all be done so springtime can be as leisurely as winter and I won’t be tempted by the extra time to do More More More.

My annual summer dread is made worse this year by the pending retirement of three contemporaries across the parking lot in the school system. Bah! on people with 30 years behind them. I too have almost that much, but only 17 years vested in the pension. I shall get over this once it gets really hot again. A lovely cool weekend with some rain and some clear blue skies and 12 tomato plants in the garden are making me dissatisfied with my lot in life, but I know how fickle my emotions are and how, toddler like, I can be easily distracted by something as minimal as a 98º and 98% humidity.

My I’ve been grumpy for a long time. There’s hardly been a post that doesn’t have some sour thread woven through it. Ahh well. One must take the bitter with the better. Fortunately, the better is how swiftly the Romeldale is spinning up on Bella. When spinning a neppy yarn - with little pills of color twisted into it - I find it difficult to trust my grist and twist. I’m always doubting I’ve pulled out the same number of fibers with each draft - and of course, I haven’t, but I worry that the variation will make the finished yarn too lumpy and bumpy. Grist is the issue with me in all my spinning, but I notice it most when the yarn has neps in it. We shall only say - I like what’s filling the bobbin - and trust that I will like what the yarn turns out to be.

Another better is that I did 21, not 5, rounds on the Fixation sock. If I keep this up I can cast on the glorious Spirit Trial socks by the weekend. I believe these will be the socks I do toe up, in honor of S, who sent me the instructions and J, who is so fond of this method.

I’m still slogging through Gotham. It’s a fairly well written history, just chatty enough to make you feel like you’re listening to a good lecture. Alas, every time I pick up the book, a certain life partner starts talking to me in sentences which end in a question so that I can’t settle into the meat of it. When I’ve finished with the Dutch section, though, I plan to pick my way lightly through the interesting bits. I’m not that curious about New York and the book suffers from a Serious Flaw. The author assumes you know the street layout of NY, constantly telling you that a certain quay abutted ___ Street, now called ____ Street. Yet he never provides a contemporary map. How the heck would I know where Brewery street is? A bit arrogant, if you ask me.

But I do hope someone is intrigued enough to pick up the Wendell Berry I’ve listed on the side bar. I’m still smiling over that one.

So. I’m in early today to start the kiddy tours. Lawsee I’ll be glad - like Elton Penn - when August gets here and summer reading club is over.

posted by Bess | 7:01 AM