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


I'm am getting more and more excited about next week as the days progress! Yippee! Can't wait to see your sweater in progress! I'd love to watch you knit a round or two, just for the lesson of it....

By Blogger Mary, at 12:16 PM  

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Saturday, September 30, 2006  

Ahh that sweet honeymoon stage of sweater knitting. That’s where I am. Where no tiny attention is too minute to give, where each little flaw is lovingly considered and either accepted as part of the charm of it all, or delicately rearranged into something more perfect - since it is the honeymoon stage and we’re already at perfect.

Let me bask here while I may. There are still over 50,000 stitches to go on this sweater. There will be time enough for disillusionment, frustration and negotiation. In the mean time, I will say these happy or true things:

* The yarn is fun to knit with, soft and pleasant.
* It’s so loosely plied it feels a bit like handspun yarn.
* It splits ever so slightly on my Addi Turbos, so think long and hard before you buy KP’s own sharper tipped needles to knit this sweater.
* The color changes come just when you’re getting a little tired of blue and red.
* Pay attention to your own advice - for it is a lonely long thing to tink back to correct 80 blips in a black row because you forgot to knit into the purl stitches when you changed colors!! And this after you’d just advised other knitters to “purl when you can”!
* Colorwork is lots more fun with thinner yarn on smaller needles.

I’ve 8 more sets of purl stitches to switch to knit and then I can start on the orange and green rounds. I would never have done this repair if I weren’t still madly in love with my New Project. I would have just shrugged and explained that those little red blips were intended to look like topstitching (?!?) and then tried to remember to make similar blips when I cast on the button band.

Today we’re off to a happy wedding. It’s in Richmond so that means I have several hours to knit on my pretty. Well, it means a whole lot more than that, but I’m still in knit-talk mode. Please forgive.

Tomorrow is a free open day, almost the last day of my vacation. Certainly the last day I could just do nothing all day long. And really I ought not do nothing. There are a few chores that I will try to clear away.

Monday I get to go be well dressed wife of ImportantHusband at fabulous historical location. It’s at 10 a.m. and a 2+ hours drive away. Early morning things always make me laugh when I think of IH getting out of bed for them. He will. He’ll even fool you that he’s awake. He shan’t be, of course. But his auto pilot works amazingly well.

Tuesday I actually have to go back to work. But I never plan for anything remotely work-like on that first day back. I’ll move piles of paper on my desk from one corner to another. I’ll greet my staff and chat with them about any surprises that cropped up while I was gone. (since I didn’t actually leave town, had there been anything serious, I’d have been called.) Just before lunch, M is coming for a digital camera adoption ceremony as she releases her old camera to my custody. We’ll take pictures and have lunch and talk knitting. And I will show her around my little town.

Wednesday is ... well, Wednesday is story hour day, right?

Thursday is ordinary work day. Friday I’ll be in Chesterfield, telling stories. And on the weekend it’s the Fall Fiber Festival. Whew! What a week, hmm? Sounds like fun. Hope yours is too.

posted by Bess | 8:28 AM


I-64E near the airport and beyond has been wretched for years, (the continuous, horrid whump-whump-whump from driving over the dratted seams), but they've recently worked on it, so here's hoping that'll last awhile.

How exciting about your storytelling biz! If ever a person was meant for that, it's you. :-)

How fun about your knit-along -- I can't wait to see everyone's progress! And that "Purl Where You Can" technique sounds quite handy.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:40 PM  

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Friday, September 29, 2006  

When I took a vacation, I hadn’t intended to vacate the blog too, but even when the whole day lies before me like a wide field covered with freshly fallen snow, I’m still on dial-up and whatever I don’t get done by about 8 o’clock is going to take simply hours to do. It shan’t be till 5 p.m., when the east coast starts its homeward commute and the phone lines open back up, that I can use the net again, and by then, I’m likely to be doing something else. If I didn’t have access to library computers and high speed, I’d definitely have to pop for satellite till that wireless tower across the river (promised last August) goes up. Ugh! Dial-up is evil.

But that is the only downer type of thing I can say today. Everything else in my life is simply deliciously wonderful. The weather this week is Camelotian. Rain after dark. Breezy blue days. High temps between 75 and 80. The trip to C’ville was productive. I found out that I had two bobbin frames (I know where that box of bobbins is, too!) and a warping mill. Both have now been priced to sell. Barbara will offer them in her booth next week. I have asked the universe to send just the right weaver to her booth. :D

Then, of course, there was a wonderful lunch with J, who had brought me yarn for my birthday - gorgeous beautiful soft sock yarn. And magical things she’d made in her kitchen. We had lunch at an Indian restaurant, browsed the book stores (Oh law, there was the most beautiful book about famous illustrators of children’s literature. Just a tad out of my budget, but oh, oh my), picked up an Addi Turbo at the ruinous price of $16.99, and caught up on the important things happening in our lives. It was a glorious afternoon of hangin’ out with a girlfriend I haven’t seen since MS&W!

The drive to C’ville is always half fun and half horrible. The horrible half is 295, the eastern beltway around Richmond. It was built out in the middle of nowhere and even still is largely surrounded by Chicahomany swamp and undeveloped, but it’s heavily used and is the most pocked and pitted and chuck-holey road in the entire Richmond area - perhaps the entire state! Based on the condition of that road you’d think we were a 3rd world country who got an infusion of $ and a crooked contract with a road company back in 1970, but haven’t seen a penny since. Well, maybe a penny. There are some patches on the road, but lawsee - the drive is a nightmare. It’s a high speed road and I’m not sure if going 75 is fast enough to sort of leap over the holes or if it is a guarantee that your alignment is shot for good, along with your shocks. I drive teensy cars and you can feel every clunk in the ride. OTOH, I64, which you pick up at Short Pump, about half way there, is as smooth as silk and the pavement shows nary a sign of wear and tear - even though that road is at least 20 years older than 295.

Hmmm. as if you are interested in the history of road development and construction in Virginia.

Happily I got off at Maidens on the way home, to take the bridge there to my sister’s house. This is the sister of the recent wedding. She and I had some family business to conduct, but we also had some fun play to do. She belongs to a YMCA gym and her husband goes too. She took me along to a killer step aerobics class and, again, I realized just how much I miss those classes I used to take at our gym. I think I’ll hunt out another one in addition to the Wed. Jazzercise class, because I’m ready to ramp it up a bit.

All my chores done in TheCity, I did a little clothes shopping on the way home. My wardrobe is somewhat shabby and I have a cluster of events coming up for which I want something fresh and new. There is a wedding of precious friends on Saturday and if I have to wear that red tapestry fabric dress and jacket again I will hang myself in the closet instead. And on Monday I get to go be a Wife of Important Guest at Westover Plantation - one of the reeeeealy gorgeous James River plantations - and one that is almost never open to the public. You can walk in the gardens but that’s it. But this is Jamestown event and the Governor will be speaking and my own Mr.Jamestown is on the guest list. The chance to see inside Westover isn’t likely to come along again in my lifetime and I’m not letting it pass me by. I wanted a west-endish looking outfit to wear - autumnal, casual chic, fresh looking, new - and I bought one.

I also wanted something special and fun to wear at my Story Telling gig in Chesterfield this coming Friday! Oh! One week from today! I’ve been asked by the principal at J’s school to tell The Story of Cotton at the dedication of the school’s garden. I’m still trying to decide on both “costume” and business name for my (future, but really already here) story telling business. I have a winterish outfit but it’s too hot for September, and I have a summerish outfit and it’s not warm enough for this particular September. So I’ve purchased something that is swingy and has some movement and in warm colors that would invite children to listen. It’s not cotton, which is too bad. But I can work around that. It’s a skirt and sweater outfit, not so costumey I can’t wear it in the rest of my life, but when I settle on the image I want to present, I’ll put together something (or things) that is reserved exclusively for story telling.

As I typed the above I realized that it’s time I sit down with my most trusted advisors and put all that together - name, image, outfit, the works. I think I will make my beloved BD and perhaps my dear friend DC, my sister P and maybe N, or some other children’s librarian, to sit and watch my program and get their input for all those decisions. I’d really like to have a promo package to send out before next summer.

So. That’s the news about me. Except the important news that I have cast on and knit 7 rounds (of 330 stitches each!!) of the Knit Picks Palette Fair Isle Sweater! Yeah me! And I’ve joined a knit-along too - see button to the right - in the hopes of actually finishing this sweater. Yes. Imagine that. Of course, I’ve already decided to change two things about it - the corrugated ribbing - which I’m knitting in Meg Swansen’s “Purl When You Can” technique so that the color changes in the purl columns don’t have those wretched blips. I mean, no point in having checkerboards that aren’t nice clean squares. I’m sure the sample knitter had to do that, but the instructions don’t tell you to.

The other major change I’m making to that pattern is that I will not - not ever - especially in horizontal stripes - knit myself a drop shoulder sweater. The photo in the catalog is such a lie - no offense to the KnitPicks folks. All fashion photos are lies and are never what we’d really like to have. They’re selling the idea, the concept, the image. But if you look at the two pictures in the KP catalog, one woman is slouching in a very dark chair so you can’t see all that extra sweater fabric around the bust and shoulders that has been tucked behind the model. The sweater looks trim and fitted, doesn’t it. In fact, it looks like what you’d like to look like, doesn’t it? In the other photo, which is a more straight on shot, if you look you will see that they have tucked all that enormous extra fabric that results when you make a drop shoulder sweater into two pleats that start at the shoulders. Then they’ve belted it so the fabric doesn’t blouse out around the waist.

Drop shoulder sweaters are only flattering on flat square shaped people - a.k.a. - men. They’re cute on very slender women who look like they’re wearing their big brother’s clothes. On women with bosoms, with round sloping shoulders, with anything that looks like a weight problem (what? 70% of American women?) they look like blankets thrown over camels. Drop shoulder sweaters are easy to knit. They’re a traditional style. They look horrible on most women. I won’t knit a gazillion stitches into a sweater that looks like a camel blanket on me.

So. I’ve given it serious thought and I will knit set-in shoulders and put some sort of solid color stitching where the “seams” meet. The solid colors will create an edge that separates the pattern repeats in the stranded colorwork sections, allowing me to concentrate on fit, not pattern, when I make my decreases.

I’ll be posting here and on the KAL blog (if I can figure out how to access a typepad blog) and there will be photos, thanks to M.

Whew. I didn’t intend for this to be quite such a long post. Sort of a 2 for the price of 1 post. Too bad it’s the last workday of my vacation, but the rest of autumn is packed full of other types of days off. And I do feel refreshed and soothed and loved by my house and my surroundings - in addition to knowing I’ve done some important dootiful things during this sweet week off. Best of all - I have no deliberately added heavy responsibilities up ahead. Life may throw me some, but that can’t be anticipated. One must just shoulder them if and when they come along. But till they do I intend to savor a calm life of steady steps, one each, in front of the other.

Good knitting to you all!

posted by Bess | 8:35 AM


I, too, have lusted over that sweater pattern and am so thrilled to live vicariously through you as you knit it. So, will you have to cut steeks? (Oh, the drama!) I'm psyched that you'll have a camera with which to record (and blog!) your progress!

Enjoy the trip to Stony Mountain Fibers - I'm a bit envious! Looking forward to seeing you next Tuesday and then again next weekend at the FFF!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:04 PM  

Oh, phooey--you came to Charlottesville, and I didn't know. I would have tried to meet you at Stony Mountain Fibers--I've been meaning to call there and see if I can go for a visit of my own. It would have been nice to meet you while I was there. Rats!

By Blogger Nerdy Knitter, at 8:51 PM  

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006  

Day 3 of my vacation and I’m packed and headed to Charlottesville to see one of my all time favorite fiberistas - Barbara Gentry of Stony Mt. Fibers. Besides the fact that I haven’t seen her in ages, or been to her shop in eons, I have business to do and need her expert advice. I have 1 (or 2?) warping boards and 3 enormous wheels of yarn, spun, I’m sure, from the guard hairs of Icelandic sheep that could only be used to knit security fences. It could also, just possibly, be used as warp for carpets. I need to know if the warping boards are complete and what I could expect to sell them for at a small fiber festival if they are priced to move! Fast! Out from under my bed! On which I stub my toe every time I get up. Because, guess what? There is a fiber festival in a week and a half and maybe I can give these babies a new home. They’re far to nicely constructed to burn up in the fireplace. But they are huge and in my way and stuffed into the last bit of stowage in an already crampacked house. As I said. These babies are going to be priced to sell.

I expect to run into another fiberista femme - because we set it up that way - and have lunch downtown. I’ll pick up a wedding gift too, and an extra card, since the gift that was supposed to be shipped to my sister got shipped to me and now it too, needs a card. I plan on spending tonight at sister’s house so that we can do some family business tomorrow.

Yesterday I made my house sparkle. Seems a shame I’m abandoning it for 2 days. But I will come home to that same sparkle, dimmed a bit by September shed and some kitchen clutter, but still showing those wiped off baseboards. Yesterday’s efforts were in the nature of a mini-fall house cleaning. I don’t usually do baseboards.

Best of all - yesterday I cast on the 320 stitches of my Birthday Present From Greatest Husband On Earth Sweater

Yep, the KnitPicks sampler fair isle cardigan.

I’ve lusted for this sweater ever since it came out. My dear friend B gave me a copy of the pattern; she’d accidentally ordered 2. So, all I needed was the box of yarn and GHOE gave that to me last Thursday. I’ve joined that enormous circle. I’m K2P2ing the first round while chanting prayers that I didn’t twist, or twist and twist, or twist and twist and twist, the stitches. That’s one heckuva lot of stitches on size 3 needles. And speaking of size 3 needles - I hope Barbara still has some Addi Turbos. They’re getting harder and harder to find.

Okay - I’m off. Good knitting to you all.

posted by Bess | 8:14 AM


Yipee for vacations... though I can't see you with purple hair. If you do, you must post a picture - LOL!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 6:45 PM  

Sounds great - glad it was so successful! But you're right about the early birds. My dad used to be a manufacturers' representative and at least once or twice a year he'd have a salesman's sample yard sale at our house. People would show up three hours early and start to haggle with him over prices, before the thing had even started! He didn't put up with that, I'll tell ya!

By Blogger Mary, at 8:45 PM  

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Monday, September 25, 2006  

Oh rats rats rats. I just clicked the wrong bleepin’ x on the computer screen and dumped my whole post. Rats rats rats.

It’s not that I can’t rewrite the thing. Not even that I don’t have the time to do it. It’s just that ... the feel of it, the tenor, can’t be recaptured when you’re ticked off about the blanketyblank way computers let you down.


Because this was the elegiac post about being on vacation after you’ve successfully completed a big project in which you’d invested a lot more than time.

And now it’s a rewrite put together by a grouchy typist who would really rather kick her stupid computer than try to recapture any literary bliss.

But the report from TheAuction is really all good. We grossed just a tad under $4,000. Not bad for a first passage through uncharted waters. I won’t know what the net profit was till I get the invoice from my caterer and the school, but it will be close to $3K. I’m pleased, the Friends of the Library is pleased and the auction committee is already thinking of things they want to do next time to make it even better. You know you’ve been successful when the worker bees are ready to do it again!

I’ve written up a big list of ThingsI’dDoDifferently, plus another of ThingsWeDidRight. Among the TWDR was enlisting 4HYMwT (4 Husky Young Men with Trucks) to move everything from the storage unit to the auction site. 130+ things in one hour - and none of them had to move more than one truck load. Sweet. What we could have used was an extra hour for setting up - because who would have thought that folk would show up at 5:15 for an auction that wasn’t going to start till 7 o’clock? We’ll know better next time.

Another thing we did right was to get two young girls from the local private school to act as Vana Whites. Dressed in their pleated skirt/knee socks school uniform, they charmed everyone. They were both from Korea and this was a real eye-opener for them - an opportunity to get up close to the natives. These girls are always present and very visible, but they seldom get to know people in the community. Mostly they remain in their virginal enclave along the river and go back to their own countries thinking everyone in America is an Episcopalian and owns a Volvo.

There was a divine hand guiding us to choose the caterer - or else sheer dumb luck. I had no idea how many caterers would be booked up in September. Turns out, that’s a big wedding month, though once it was pointed out to me I realize that, here in hot’n’humid Upper Tidewater Virginia, if you want an outdoor wedding and you couldn’t get it together by June, you’re going to have to put it off till September. And if you want a big party and don’t want to rent a big hall, outdoors is the only way to go. So. Another reason to skip September when we choose a date for our next auction.

But that caterer. Oh My. Not only is he a great cook, he’s a big hearted man with a booming voice and a twinkle in his eye. Best of all, he’s a shopper and joined the bidders, teasing with the auctioneer and pushing up the price on some of the nicer items. We’ll have him again next time. We were all pleased when the vintage photo of the 1903-04 Tappahannock Baseball Team went to his son for a low price. As soon as people realized what was happening, the bidding stopped and the boy was triumphant.

There are lots of things I’ll do differently next time, not the least of which will be to have a committee chairman with some knowledge of antiques and collectibles, who is responsible for ordering and numbering each item and who will feed them to the Vana White girls in their proper order. That person will definitely not be me because I can’t read when I get excited - my dyslexia kicks in so hard and fast I can’t follow the program. Everything becomes a mishmash blur. Who’da thought?

The TIDD list covers 3 pages. All of them will make the auction run more smoothly for those of us responsible. But none of the things I did this time, but will do differently, were so glaring they hurt our First Ever Auction. Heck. Nobody even realized how many times we’d screwed up. Mostly people just laughed off our mistakes and asked us when we were going to do it again.

So. A happy success. Even having to rewrite this report has reminded me of all the fun it was and how glad I am we did this. My friends group is so proud of themselves. They’re so energized. They’re thinking ahead again, with purpose and energy. New members joined The Friends. It was a 100% plus perfect winner of an evening.

And best of all? I am now on VaCAYtion! Yippee for me. I can do what I wish all day long. I can sleep in the afternoon or watch Elizabeth Zimmermann on video or dye my hair purple if I want. There’ll be a whole week to dye it back! But first I will clean my house. I want it to sparkle the whole week long and I want to be in that sparklyness every day. I am going to savor every sweet moment. And I’m going to knit.

Yes. Sweet reward after hard work. Sounds like a morality tale. Sounds just right.

posted by Bess | 8:20 AM


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Saturday, September 23, 2006  

I’ve barely had a moment to look around the net world this week, what with 3 mornings when I had to be out of the house by 7 after tossing and turning through the night with my brain whizzing over all the TTD that I’d forgotten to list. I don’t have a crack-0-dawn schedule today but I do have to go in to work and continue getting things ready for TheAuction. The program, which probably still has omissions and which I plan to print onto large mailing label stickers and slap on the back, needs to be photocopied and stapled. It ought to have been done yesterday. It would have if I hadn’t had Stops and Starts and Stops and Starts, as foretold by Mr.Horoscope. Eh. Such is life. I think I’m pretty cool with it now.

So. What’s left on the TTD List? Let’s see.

1. Get final list of items Friday a.m. (HA! stuff will still be coming in today, I bet!
2. Call TG, AA, SB and son about moving things from storage to site
3. Give maintenance man final table count - and move tables from library
4. Get those tables from St. Johns (call K-Set up for 4 o’clock. Send husky man to help)
5. Get 2 husky fellows to move television from J’s house to auction site
6. Finish up auction program-worked on it-see #1 above
7. Renumber auction items to spread best items throughout auction
8. Make up Silent Auction sheets - after above is done - give to staff

9. Make up index cards for renumbered items
10. Make up nice cards or envelopes for gift certificates
11. Supervise moving everything from storage to auction site
12. Ditto setting out items for auction - but there are 4-6 folk to do that, and I’m not a control freak
13. Explain duties to 2 St. Mags girls doing the Vana White bit
14. Be sure some of the husky men will still be there to load the few heavy items for people.
15. Have fun at the Spaghetti Supper and Auction
16. Supervise closing up shop
17. Skip out the door with glee - I’ll be on VACATION

Whew. Still sounds like a lot - but I just have to trust it will all happen and accept with grace any surprises that come along.

But, before I go in to work and finish up all those last untidy bits, I’m going to take a stroll through blogland and catch up on my friends.

posted by Bess | 6:50 AM


Hey, I missed it! Happy After-Birthday!

By Blogger Jane, at 12:49 PM  

Bess dear, I am sending you late birthday wishes. A bit behind on the blog reading and had to stop and let you know that you're one year more wonderful than before. Birthdays are such magical days, it's no wonder they are only allowed to come once a year for they'd be a lot less special if they were every day.

Happy Birthday dear Bess!

By Blogger erica, at 1:18 PM  

Glad you had a lovely birthday! Looking forward to hearing about how the auction went, and to seeing you on the 3rd for the adoption ceremony! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 2:40 PM  

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Friday, September 22, 2006  

My Dearest Ones! Thank you for all the happy birthday wishes. They all came true, for it was a fabulously happy birthday. I worked hard all day on Auction Duties and have a nicely checked off TTD List. Darling friends and family, well aware of my No Yarn or Fiber Oath, gifted me with Yarn!!! (Thank you L and BD - photos when I come back after vacation.) Flowers were delivered to my desk. I was dined, and dined, for BH took me to lunch and BD took me to dinner. Love, tenderness, and all round happy day feelings filled all 24 hours.

But you must know that my mind is still heavily focused on TheAuction. Here's the TTDL status as of 10:01 Friday:

1. Meet auctioneer at storage unit to separate silent auction items from rest. Also ask him about a raffle and about displaying items
2. Call C and get 2 teenage girls to carry items to successful bidders
3. Get details about what we can use in school cafeteria and what we can’t.
4. Collect ticket money from two banks, Helen, Joanne, BH
5. Call caterer with final headcount
6. Call D about flowers

7. Get final list of items Friday a.m.
8. Call J about cake
9. Call TG, AA, SB and son about moving things from storage to site
10. Give maintenance man final table count - and move tables from library
11. Call K and see if we can borrow more tables from St. John’s if needed
12. Get 2 husky fellows to move television from J’s house to storage unit
13. Finish up auction program- worked on it
14. Write down instructions for auction clerks - worked on it
15. Write up tip-sheet for radio interviewer - do radio interview at 8 a.m. on Friday!!

16. Renumber auction items to spread best items throughout auction
17. Make up Silent Auction sheets - after above is done - give to staff
18. Make up index cards for renumbered items
19. Supervise moving everything from storage to auction site
20. Ditto laying out items for auction - but there are 4-6 folk to do that, and I’m not a control freak
21. Have fun at the Spaghetti Supper and Auction
22. Supervise closing up shop
23. Skip out the door with glee - I’ll be on VACATION

Cheers to all.

posted by Bess | 9:53 AM


Happy Birthday, Dear Bess! May all your To-Dos soon be Ta-Done! And have a lovely holiday, and lovelier year ahead,


By Blogger Margaret, at 8:39 AM  

I hope your birthday is full of blessings. You deserve them.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:45 AM  

Happy Birthday from the Middle East. As they say in Arabic, "May you live to be 100 and feel like 20."

All my best wishes for the coming year, and good luck on the auction!


By Anonymous Cynthia in Egypt, at 10:49 AM  

The happiest of birthdays to you!

"May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!"

(that's an old Irish blessing, in case you didn't know.)

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 11:26 AM  

Happy Birthday Bess!

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:50 PM  

It's after midnight but Happy Birthday anyway!!!! Much love, Jane

By Blogger jane, at 12:11 AM  

A belated happy birthday!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:38 PM  

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Thursday, September 21, 2006  

I’ve always been delighted that my birthday comes in the autumn, when the last of summer’s misty moisty heat is likely to have blown away in an equinautical gust and a rain washed sky caps a cricket filled landscape of knotweed, goldenrod and many hued morning glories. Now and then there are Septembers when summer can’t seem to depart, but most of the time I can count on feeling good in my clothes and grateful for blankets on the bed. Today is such a day. The first really crisp morning, I can hear geese stirring already on the bay, even though it’s still fairly dark outside. Somebody shifts his wings, a splash echoes across the water, maybe one gander whispers a goosey joke to another and avian laughter spreads over the marshes. But they’re awake and so am I on this Happy Birthday Day.

Usually I can savor every moment of a birthday, with that sensation that nothing pressing has to be done on that particular day. I can make my leisurely way through the morning routines, dabble a little on-line, prose a bit about past birthdays, sip a second cup of coffee with BD. More often than not it will be a work day and I can sort of float from one, not too vital task to another. Lunch will be with a friend or two; of late years, I find a way to fit in a manicure, and I probably slip out of work a little early. I never ever cook on my birthday, so BD and I will go to a restaurant, sometimes with children, sometimes not. Last year, GD served me "on the green" and we watched evening roll it’s star studded velvet carpet across the sky.

Sigh. That is a happy memory.

This year, though, I shan’t have a single float-through-the-day experience till next week. I have so much to do in the next 72 hours I joked yesterday that I’ll have to come back on Monday, just to clear my desk for my vacation. I have this little quirk that I can never go away, either from home or from my office, without tidying everything up first. I can’t bear to come back to clutter and disarray. Well. I may be a tad anal, but I will find time to get that desk top cleared off before Friday night.

As for the rest of the TTD List - well. Things are getting ticked off right along. Here’s where I stand at the moment.

1. Meet auctioneer at storage unit to separate silent auction items from rest. Also ask him about a raffle and about displaying items
2. Call C and get 2 teenage girls to carry items to successful bidders
3. Get details about what we can use in school cafeteria and what we can’t.
4. Collect ticket money from two banks, Helen, Joanne, BH
5. Call caterer with final headcount
6. Call D about flowers
7. Get final list of items Friday a.m.
8. Call J about cake
9. Call TG, AA, SB and son about moving things from storage to site
10. Give maintenance man final table count - and move tables from library
11. Call K and see if we can borrow more tables from St. John’s if needed
12. Get 2 husky fellows to move television from J’s house to storage unit
13. Finish up auction program- worked on it
14. Write down instructions for auction clerks - worked on it
15. Write up tip-sheet for radio interviewer - do radio interview at 8 a.m. on Friday!!
16. Supervise moving everything from storage to auction site
17. Ditto laying out items for auction - but there are 4-6 folk to do that, and I’m not a control freak
18. Have fun at the Spaghetti Supper and Auction
19. Supervise closing up shop
20. Skip out the door with glee - I’ll be on VACATION!

posted by Bess | 6:37 AM


Dearest Bess,
There are many things to celebrate from your post:
* the marriage of your sis to a good man
* the Auction coming together
* the "debriefing" re what has worked well so far & what could be working better
* your buoyant spirit for the Library.
Way to go, hon.
Sending you & your folks lots of good tho'ts.

By Blogger Martha, at 8:31 PM  

happy birthday :D

By Anonymous dee, at 5:27 AM  

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006  


I’ve rounded the corner on AuctionAngst. It’s always a strain to do a NewThing, and the more people involved, the more hopes pinned to the outcome, the further out of your comfort zone you get, the greater the strain. My Friends group was slipping a little as an enthusiastic group with a successful purpose. We had to work so hard to actually build a real library most of us were exhausted once it opened. Even I walked around with tears streaking my cheeks for months as I adjusted to the down after such an incredible high. Adjusting to a bigger building with more staff, more books and 3 times the activity took up enough of my time that I let things slide in other areas. One of those areas was as an idea person and cheerleader for the Friends.

For a few years now, our group has been treading the same ground and the energy and enthusiasm for its very existence has waned. Of course I want an energized and excited friends group and I also want something special for the library to help us celebrate 2007, the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown - which, my dear readers outside of Virginia - was the very first permanent English speaking colony in the new world - the cornerstone of the whole structure we call America today. 400 years of Virginia history. 400 years of American history. Pretty durn exciting for this history minded gal. I want to purchase the back issues of our local paper on microfilm and get the reader/printer to boot. In this preserve of ancestor hunting and genealogy, we’re pretty well stocked for colonial info, but our 19th and 20th century stuff is pitiful. The Friends have rallied around the project and committed to helping us purchase the films and equipment in time for the 2007 celebrations. Spring of 2007, in fact.

So, we cast about for an idea to get the group organized, excited and proud of themselves, and copied this auction idea from a neighboring library. Truly copied it, in fact, with so few changes from Caroline County’s version the auctioneer had to tease me about it. He joined us yesterday for our committee’s last meeting and was full of assurances. We did lots of things right.

We copied a successful project
We met frequently - so nobody could procrastinate for more than 2 weeks
And at lunchtime - the library provided tea, fruit and sandwiches
We had almost enough division of labor - solicitations, publicity, site, caterer, labor - but we forgot to have a ticket selling person. We won’t do that again.
We have enough items to sell. We have more than enough items to sell. Soliciting donations is the easy part.
After twisting my gut into a knot about having all this stuff to sell and nobody to buy it, I personally walked down Prince Street (main street in my little town) and sold tickets - talk about being out of my comfort zone....sheesh!

My biggest fear was that we wouldn’t get enough people to come buy all this stuff we’d collected and then what was I going to do with it all!!??!! Of course, anxiety over that was becoming this looming black cloud trying to send lightening bolts into my stomach while consuming precious hours of sleep. I meditated. I contemplated. I concentrated on how happy I’d be when I was in the big room full of excited buyers. But it wasn’t till I took that first sip of champagne at my sister’s wedding luncheon that I began to put things into perspective. Happy sisters getting married to really nice men are the important things in life. Needful parents who don’t take their medicines are way more important than fundraising auctions for the library. Yesterday’s final meeting with the committee put an end to any other worries or anxieties, though knowing that we'd sold 50 tickets also helped. 50 is enough people to buy this stuff. Especially since 2 of them are in the antique business and can move the less desirable items to other venues and maybe even make a little profit from it.

The main thing for me is that I’ve reached the point where I know every step that has to be taken to get this thing to completion - come Saturday night at about 10:00. And once you know what needs to be done, well, there you have it. It’s just a matter of doing it.

I also have a little list of ThingsWeWillDoDifferently - Next Time. Who would have thought there would be 3 weddings on the 4th Saturday in September and it would be so hard to find a caterer!? Who, with a September birthday, would be so foolish as to schedule anything with responsibilities attached to it that month? Ha! We’ll hold our next one in March - before any interesting springtime activities have started up - when people are bored and looking for something to do.

The next 3 days will be extraordinarily busy. I believe it’s time for another of my Oh So Useful TTD Lists:

1. Meet auctioneer at storage unit to separate silent auction items from rest. Also ask him about a raffle and about displaying items
2. Call C and get 2 teenage girls to carry items to successful bidders
3. Collect ticket money from two banks, Helen, BH, Joanne
4. Call caterer with final headcount
5. Call D about flowers
6. Get final list of items Friday a.m.
7. Call J about cake
8. Call TG, AA, SB and son about moving things from storage to site
9. Give maintenance man final table count - and move tables from library
10. Call K and see if we can borrow more tables from St. John’s if needed
11. Get 2 husky fellows to move television from J’s house to storage unit
12. Finish up auction program
13. Write down instructions for auction clerks
14. Write up tip-sheet for radio interviewer - do radio interview at 8 a.m. on Friday!!

Ahhh. That feels so good. It’s so nice to know what I’m supposed to do next.

Happy knitting to you all. I’ll be knitting happily next week.

posted by Bess | 6:40 AM


Sounds lovely. I'll keep your parents in my prayers.

By Blogger Mary, at 10:49 AM  

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006  

The wedding was simply splendid - at least - the celebration lunch following it was filled with love, conversation, hilarity, and photo ops. There were actually only my sister, her husband, his brother and son at the ceremony. It all took place in such a tiny office in Powhatan Courthouse there wouldn't have been room for all the rest of us - but also, even though I got to Mama's at 9 a.m. and the wedding was at 11, well, we only got to the restaurant exactly 2 minutes before the bride and groom showed up.

TheBride was as pretty as I’ve ever seen her - all that wedding fairy shopping paid off and her outfit was everything she could have wanted it to be. All my sisters have curly hair - ranging from dark blonde to real strawberry blonde to auburn. Those of you who’ve seen me know that I was a changeling - something French or one of those Black Irish. But this sister is the one with hair to die for - like the girl on the cover of the bodice ripper novels whose hair curls in circles down the rock face into the sea as the pirate looms over her. And a beautician friend of hers had figured out how to make that sort of hair look just right for a bride, instead of a captive.

Anyway, we had such fun and we were all so happy and BD was sweet and tender and solicitous to mama. TheGroom’s family is also very sweet, and now I write this I realize that it must be one of those Virginia things - sweet men. Maybe even a Tidewater Virginia thing, since TheGroom and his family are from King&Queen - really next door neighbors. They have tender gentle eyes - all of them, from grandparents down to grandson. They are also far less boisterous than TheBride’s family, even when there were only 3 of us present. (BD is a Haile and they are not boisterous. Lively, entertaining, intelligent, courteous - but definitely not boisterous.)

We ate and chatted and laughed and teased and sipped champagne for 2 and a half hours before parting. BD & I had some things to do in Richmond before going home - not the least of which was to find a Tavern on Mountain Road, in Glen Side - where we are to go to a wedding on the 30th. It was a gloriously pretty day; the sort when you don’t mind riding in a fast car with the window rolled down. As we crossed the Mataponi BD suggested we take a canoe trip down it next week, when I'm on vacation. Maybe from Aylet to Walkerton. I mentioned I might even want to go swimming next week, if it stays warm like this. Just lots of gentle happy talk the whole way.

We got home at 6 o'clock and mama was on the phone. She said Daddy had come in from outside and couldn't remember sister’s wedding at all. A bustling round of tamped down, but panic feeling phone calls later and TheBride was on her way to the emergency room at Johnston-Willis. I am glad this is a second marriage for her - after a long, and modern, courtship. She called around midnight - nothing evidencing a stroke, no aneurysms or embolisms. But this is the Daddy who had a brain tumor removed 3 years ago - so today he'll be back at his regular neurologist for a complete diagnostic probe.


But there you have it. A rich life contains many things and a true life has both a beginning and an end. And thank goodness we are in a land that is full of good things, like EMT guys with ambulances and emergency rooms in hospitals and sisters who fall in love and move east and live only minutes away from aging parents. And cousins who surprise you for your birthday and send you fabulous photographs! Thank you I!!! I really am a fortunate one, if I want to notice the good things instead of the bad.

posted by Bess | 7:11 AM


Hope the wedding is wonderful! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 7:25 PM  

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Monday, September 18, 2006  

Thankee Missy M and Happy Birthday to you, my Virgo Sis. I’m still pretty decided that we have TooMuchStuff for the auction and will let my contribution slide till next year - when we plan to do things differently anyway.

Anonymous mentions that F’n’F is a wavy stitch - and that is exactly what I was wanting for this striped sweater. I think the waves will make the horizontal stripes a little more subtle. Besides - I once saw a sweater done that way and it’s burned into an image in my sweater memory. But that is why I’m planning on doing an EZ seamless circular sweater. No shoulder seams. There will be some deciding to do as I get up to the top. Where and how to decrease with a pattern. I’m inclining towards doing the first decrease - at 1/3 the stitches, using the old EZ formula - and just making the feathers and the fans a multiple of 4 rather than 6. (or 12 rather than 18) That first decrease takes a sweater up to your shoulder bones - almost to boatneck or wide scoop height. From that point on I believe I’ll stop doing the F’n’F lace and knit something more solid. That’s a pivotal point for weight and support. I think solid knit fabric will give the sweater a little more structural support. I wouldn’t worry if this were a light thing made of mohair. It’s not. These yarns are mostly fiber rich wool twists. I don’t want the sweater to stretch or sag at the shoulders.

Speaking of that wavy F’n’F stitch at shoulder seams - Lily Chin wrote a wonderful article about knitting little short rows in the dips of that stitch and flattening it out. It’s in one of the Knitters back issues - probably not earlier than 2000. Looked like a lot of work to me, sort of like entrelac with holes. I can’t imagine choosing to do that much work but one never knows when the urge to do something tedious and fiddly and demanding will strike.

Swatching in the round with stripes is a challenge. 41 stitches are not enough to fit on a large circular needle and these 16 inchers have such short shanks my wrist got pretty tired as I switched to color # 4. That one is the Classic Elite’s Waterspoun in a cantaloupe gold and it’s the one I have the most of. The seed stitch edging is nice - I’m less sure of the seed stitch underarm band - but only because when I get up to the sleeve joins that seed stitch may look a bit odd. I can deal with it in 2 ways - I can make it stockinet - this is just a swatch sleeve. It can be ripped out. Or I can put a band of seed stitch up the sides of the sweater itself so that it will match the underarm seam seed stitch band.

Don’t you just love adjectives?

I’m still working out color sequences and stripe widths. Most of the stripes are 6 rows deep, but with the single skeins of yarn I’ll probably make 4 row repeats, while with the Waterspun I’ll do an 8 row repeat with something fancy in the last 2 rows.

So far, I can’t really get gauge, either stitch or row. Wavy rows on fewer than 50 stitches knit in the round ... hard to flatten that one out. It turns out I’m using #8 needles. I will probably get 4 spi and it looks like 6 rpi, but we’ll have to wait and see. Besides, I haven’t used all the yarns yet. It’s certainly interesting and challenging knitting at the moment. Too bad it must be set aside the rest of the week. But it’s too interesting and challenging to try to work on while the rest of this week unfolds. I’ll save it as my treat for next Sunday.

In the mean time, there was a vital message in Mr.Horroscope’s advice to me for this week:

Sometimes, we have to experiment. It is the only way we can find out how we truly feel about something or someone.

Yep yep yep. I could only experiment. I can’t fail. Yep yep yep. I can only learn. So get me through this learning week, dear lord.

Today my dearest next sister down is getting married to a simply wonderful man who thinks gifts come from jewelry stores. We are driving up at crack-0-dawn plus an hour or so - probably smack into rush hour traffic - so I can help mama get ready for the ceremony. It ought to be an easy drive though, for no one has a better relationship with TheWeddingFairy than I. I’ve already issued her a gilt edged invitation. The day shall be pure bliss. May yours be too.

posted by Bess | 5:52 AM


Dearest Bess,
Ah, we Virgos are having a time of it, aren't we?
Re the sweater & the pattern & the number of repeats, your description painted a vivid picture in my mind. Look forward to hearing more about it.
Good luck w/the auction. And, my dear, anyone would be a lucky duck to have a pair of your socks ^ .. ^

By Blogger Martha, at 7:22 PM  

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Sunday, September 17, 2006  

I have time. The Internet via dial-up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning is relatively quiet. My household is asleep. My house itself is freshly scrubbed with that Sunday sparkle to it.

I could post a nice long catch-up post here. I sit with my hot coffee, in my special hot coffee cup, and the mind just drifts. I realize I am boring. No. no. shut down. That’s the DootifulResponsibility angst, wiping out my brain cells faster than they can replenish themselves. Plus the fact that much of my life this month has involved other people, about whom I really have no right to chatter. I’ll be sharper next week. I may not be any more interesting, but I’ll have more control over the tongue - and fingertips.

But for my beloved blogfriends who wonder what’s going on - here is the news from TheCastle:

I spent yesterday a.m. with BH at the storage unit where we are gathering things for the library auction. That was a two hour stint during which 2 people brought in items. I had wisely taken my bad fairy cursed Auction Sock #2 with me and finished it up nice and tidy. But I am having second thoughts about even bothering to put that knitting basket in the auction. We have 86 items already in the storage unit and I know there are at least another 10 things still out there. I’m not sure I really want to add to the pile. I don’t want this event to last into the wee hours of the morning.

I am not an auction attendee. I am at that stage in life when I have, already, vast quantities of things to dust and clean and put away already. New stuff for me has to target specific areas of my life, not good bargains. Besides, there is seldom spare cash around the house for shopping activity. But I know that auction hounds are no different from any other enthusiastic stash builders. They love the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of the chase, the glow of victory when they strike a deal. It’s just that, I don’t know who they are in my community. There are auctions at least three times a week within a 30 mile drive, so obviously this is a very trendy pastime.

Bah! I ban my brain from thinking about this stupid event for the rest of today.
Instead I will talk about knitting! What?!? Knitting chatter on a knit blog? Yes. At last!

I began fiddling with the stash busting sweater last night. I’ve never knit feather and fan/old shale before but I get the idea of how it works. I’ve been envisioning this sweater as a sort of tunic shape, no ribbing at cuff or hem. I’m using #7 needles and trying to knit it in the round. Since I’m working with stripes of different yarns and an 18 stitch pattern repeat, I’ve decided to just do an EZ yoke sweater with 3 decrease rows, to minimize the math needed to make it work, though, now that I think about it - I could leave off the feather and fan patterning somewhere around that first decrease and just go with stripes - or even a solid top - and have an easier time with the sweatermath. Hmmmm. A little stream of consciousness design rambling here, folks.
I’m doing my swatch on the sleeve. Of course, that entailed sweatermath right away. How does one go about increasing the sleeve width with an 18 stitch pattern repeat. I decided to put in about 6 rows of seed stitch at the edge and cast on 41 stitches to have a band of seed stitch along the underarm seam. (18+18+5) I’ll increase 2 stitches every inch or so and when I have enough stitches to begin another pattern repeat - No - better yet, another half pattern repeat - I’ll do so.

I knit the seed stitch band and a 4 row repeat of the pattern in a solid color, then switched to a different yarn and knit the next 4 row repeat. I had to stop then because most of these stash yarns are in skeins, not pull-out balls. It was almost 9 o’clock anyway so I put it aside till today. But I am thinking that a 4 row repeat is too narrow. It may look too busy. The color changes won’t be distinct enough to give each yarn its opportunity to shine. I’m going to rip out that second pattern and experiment around to see if I’d like a 6 row repeat better or maybe even two 4 row repeats.

So. Even though the concept is there in my brain, there is still a lot of engineering to do before I can really claim to be knitting a sweater. Happily - that is a fun part for me. Actually far more fun than the slow steady progress and stick-to-it-to-the-end knitting that is a real sweater - which we all know is the only real knitting, right? (Wrong, I know. Humor me, please) I’ll keep working on the sleeve today - my only thinking knitting day this week - and switch to mindless sock knitting if I do any other needlework the rest of the week. I hope I have made both some design decisions and discovered an amalgamate gauge by the end of the day. That way I can leap into a Project next Sunday, when I will be ... On Vacation!!

Happy knitting to you all - and for my Virgo Friends - just suck up the week. An eclipse of a new moon in Virgo means you are in for a wild ride. It all works out next Sunday. We can laugh about it then.

posted by Bess | 8:17 AM


I think that must be going around.

I personally prefer the version used by Archie Goodwin: as busy as a one legged man at an *** kicking contest, but that's just me.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 9:23 AM  

Feather and Fan produces a scallopped edge on the bottom and if bound off right after the increase/decrease row on the top. This means you will have to figure out some way to fill in the hills and valleys at the shoulders if you do the entire sweater in feather and fan.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:09 PM  

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Friday, September 15, 2006  

Whew. I'm definitely in the one armed paper hanger category - as in "Busy as..."

I hope to have a bit of time to post this weekend - I ought to, though who knows if there will be any knitworthy news. But I am okay - just swamped. And oh so looking forward to that beautiful day Sunday, September 24th - when I plan to celebrate my birthday.

posted by Bess | 9:52 AM


Howdy! Just dropped in (since I am now able to with my new satellite service) to give you a virtual hug.

Looking forward to FFF!

xxoo Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 1:20 PM  

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006  

Nurture an open mind. Soon, you'll know which ideas you're better off without and you'll also know which ones you definitely need. The latter will be the ones that refuse to go away, regardless of how much chance you give them. Don't try to seize control of the future. Loosen your grip. You are holding on too tightly to certain rigid expectations and assumptions. The outcome of your current drama will be a much better one than you think... provided, that is, you don't think too much!

How I love Mr.Horoscope. He always comes up with just the reminder I need when I begin to start twisting my knickers. The library auction has gone together up to this point so well it seems almost too easy. So - of course I am starting to obsess that we won’t get enough people to come bid on all the items we’ve gathered. Ticket sales are the issue now and I am getting anxious about that. So - I shall do 2 things. First of all I’ll give it up to the universe and let them sell - but second of all, I’ll take a stroll downtown and peddle tickets at all the local businesses this next week. In addition to that I’m going to see if I can rope in a real estate friend of mine, who is extraordinarily social, in a circle I don’t play with, to sell some for me. And after that I’m just going to relax.

There were only 3 of us at knitters last night - not that this group is all that big - there are 5 die hard regulars and 2 fairly regular knitters I usually see at Tuesday night knitters but September is always such a strange month. Labor Day throws everybody off schedule. In fact, I was the only one with knitting, for my knitting buddies were all in between projects. I, alas, knit the whole toe of the AS#2 starting with 30 stitches on one needle and 26 in the other. Well, I’ll finish it up tonight and make up my knitting basket for the auction.

Typical of life, the next 10 days are packed as full as any 3 people could want. Monday is GD’s birthday and my sister’s wedding. Both are private events but extremely important. Next Thursday is my birthday, which we all know is of paramount importance to me, and Saturday is the Library Auction. GD is opening her photography studio the next day, Sunday afternoon. When it all screeches to a halt (for me on Saturday about 11 o’clock) I plan to really kick back. I’m taking the whole week off and reserving at least half of those days for complete immersion into self-ness, navel gazing and room walking. One trip to Charlottesville and Stony Mountain Fibers. Not much else. Let us hope the days will be mild and bright with no equinautical storms.

posted by Bess | 6:57 AM


Ah, vacation. Lovely. Going anywhere?

By Blogger Mary, at 2:15 PM  

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Monday, September 11, 2006  

Whew. Home again home again - and it feeeeeeels soooooooo goooood.

That etherial soft gust you heard - that was me, sighing as I settled back into my own gentle woods. BD, the prince among all princely darlings, had cut the grass and swept the walk. New autumn leaves were sprinkling the lawn with their golden color. Combines were in every cornfield from King William County east. The smell of harvest, ripe like pumpkin pie and hot soup, permeated the air. A puffy comforter of grey clouds is snugged over everything, but they're not full enough to rain.

This is home and this is a home worth coming back to. Silky Priss greeted me politely. Shy Socks tiptoed up to the house to bob and snuggle her head beneath my hand. My boys, Jack and BD, are off somewhere being glad it is today. So I have this gentle time to fit myself back into my natural setting.

Good gladness. That's what it's all about, no?

And thank you all for your kind words. Yep Patti - I do have that magic wedding fairy dust about me, don't I.

No knitting. I ripped out a bad toe from one of the AS#2s. I picked up a pair of pretty wooden #13 scarf needles to go into the knitting basket for the auction. I'll add some fancy yarns, a pattern for an easy scarf, a card good for 2 private knitting lessons and the blue socks. Maybe a measuring tape and defintely a stitch gauge card. And I'm done.

The only other thing I picked up was Interweave Crochet - and I see they are planning to make it a quarterly offering. It's quite good - I thought of C immediately when I saw that lovely red stadium length coat with the buttoned cuff. Handsome. I hope she checks it out.

It's back to my dooties tomorrow. But 2 weeks from now I will be ON VACATION!! Something to cling to, hmmm?

posted by Bess | 4:53 PM


Thanks for sharing about your positive weekend - those make life worth living, don't they? Glad to hear that your sis got a dress and that your mom has gained some strength.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:11 PM  

I am so happy to hear about the gained strength of your Momma. I'm telling you...Bess you just have the fairy light surrounding you when it comes to Weddings. I know, I've experienced it with you! Let's go into the Wedding Business together. Whatcha think? See you soon...


By Anonymous Patti, at 1:57 PM  

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Sunday, September 10, 2006  

The wedding shopper fairy is still with me. My sister and I took a few hours to go on the hunt for the right outfit for a morning wedding that is quite informal. This is a second wedding for them both and they neither of them are of the blushing age - more flushed with joy - which is a timeless and ageless look.

Not only did she find the perfect outfit, but while picking out some nice things that a bride ought to wear on a fabulous honeymoon I got to talking to a man waiting for his wife, also in a dressing room. Well - flirting with their little 1 year old boy was what I was really doing. Sister and wife came out at the same time, but wife had found nothing to please her, while sister found 2 skirts and the absolutely best pair of pants I've ever seen on her. The wife said "Here, I have this coupon for $50 off the purchase of $150 and I didn't find anything I liked. You can have it."

So happy day, my sister got her honeymoon goodies at a great discount.

Does that sound like wedding shopper fairy dust to you or what?

Altogether the visit is turning out to be more plusses than we had any right to hope for. Mama is gaining some strength, which is always a good thing.

posted by Bess | 5:50 PM


Love to you and your family, dear Bess!

By Blogger Jane, at 8:25 AM  

You probably won't see this until you're back home, but if you need a break while you're in town, I hope you'll let me know - I'd be happy to take you to lunch or yarn shopping or whatever....

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

By Blogger Mary, at 5:29 PM  

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Saturday, September 09, 2006  

You darlings - I was not that crippled - but thank you for your kind words.

In fact, after an achy start to the night I woke up just a wee bit stiff and had un-kinked so much by mid-morning I realized that I must go back to that dance class. I’ll get there on time and in time for the stretching warm-ups, but my back and shoulder - which have given me trouble now for over a year - felt better than they have since I fell in July of ‘05!

Even while I was trying to learn the steps and feeling my knees and shins protest, I realized that it was reeeeealy time for me to add a little variety to my workout routines. The elliptical machine is so efficient it’s easy to always use that - 300 calories in 25 minutes - yep yep - why fool around with an hour of aerobics dancing? But my shins told me why - there are other muscles that need attention too - and besides, though I always feel good for working out in any way - dancing is fun!

So - a little shimmy for TheQueen, hmmm?

I didn’t get to posting yesterday because I had an early appointment in town - one does not keep one’s manicurist waiting. She’s so good that if you miss an appointment, well, dearie - you just have to wait till your next scheduled one. I actually book 6 months at a time so that nobody gets my favorite slot.

Manicurist? you ask in disapproval. Ahh. Well. I think grubby looking fingers on a woman of a certain age have such a look of failure, of inability, of .... "can’t she even take care of her hands?" But a woman of a certain age will have eyes of a certain fuzzy focus and nail care is a bit fiddly. So when my eyesight ripened into ... ahem ... middle age, I gave the task of keeping my hands looking capable to a younger woman with matching youthful eyesight. It’s a tiny luxury I’ve never regretted. Even if nobody else in the whole world ever noticed, I feel confident for having tidy looking hands and that is always a plus.

Besides, Susan is a darling and I adore spending 2 hours a month with her.

A knitting blog? you say. HA! It is that when TheQueen says so. Right now it is a queenie blog and TheQueen is dealing with a different thread - the thread of life, Mama’s life, which seems to be moving to a new, perhaps final, stage. I haven’t posted about it much because I know she reads my blog and I don’t want her to be hurt or embarrassed that I would post about this. But I don’t think she will read it any more. She has a health care assistant coming day and night these days and my Dad and sister are looking into other ways of dealing with this end phase. I am going up to their house for the weekend - to stay through till doctor appointments on Monday. Thank goodness I have the sort of job (and maybe thank goodness I’ve done the sort of job) that gives me such freedom.

Sandwiched between parental duties will be the joy of taking a beloved sister shopping for "something to get married in!" as she put it. She’s getting married on the 18th of this month - a very tiny quiet ceremony - but a very, very joyous celebration for us all.

I promise, though, to take my knitting - the toes of the two Auction Socks - and that bag full of yarn for the Stash Sweater. Hmmm. Better go check on that Old Shale pattern.

Be back soon - but not sure when.

posted by Bess | 7:12 AM


Ouch! Ibuprofen is the best, but take it with food and not before bedtime on an empty stomach.

And yes, you were wearing something with orange in it, I believe!

By Blogger Mary, at 10:40 AM  

Oh, Dear Heart!! Can you knit lying down?!

Pray it all works and you feel better soon,


By Blogger Margaret, at 12:09 AM  

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Thursday, September 07, 2006  

Silly me. I took a jazzersize class yesterday:
A. unplanned
B. walked in on it without stretching first

Oh lawsee! What a dope. What an aching dope.

Slept late, with the help of Tylenol. No time to post - probably a good thing too, since I can’t seem to wrap my words around my ideas, lately. But I’ll be back again. I have a big bottle of the Extra Strength version.

posted by Bess | 7:03 AM


Okay, I was reading your "quiz o' the week" over there and I have to say that the first thing I noticed about you was NOT your "understated sexiness". Hope that's okay. ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:33 AM  

Yeay, it's okay - but I bet I was wearing orange.

Time for a new quiz, I think.

By Blogger Bess, at 11:02 AM  

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006  

Alas. No fiber news today. Nothing but gladness that it’s hump day and maybe it will also be dry. That old maxim about rain quitting by eleven, well - they must have meant 11 p.m.! I think we actually got more rain yesterday than we did during Friday’s named storm!

It was an in-and-out sort of day, yesterday, with meetings and deliveries and other things. Today should be quieter. I have a big organizing project to do and I need to consider if I can geeetuhpoffit, as they say around here, and organize some help instead of clutching all this work to my bosom. A good boss delegates, right? can I make that fun for us all?

Good things are happening in my life right now and even the not-so-good things have more of the appearance of sign posts and warnings, not car wrecks and collapsing buildings. But writing about them makes them seem so ... ordinary. Still and all - I would wish that all your ordinary things are good ones. It makes the day so pleasant.


posted by Bess | 6:56 AM


Amen -- crisp autumn weather -- bring it on!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:06 PM  

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006  

The decision is made. I’m motoring down the toe of AS#2 and I don’t want to knit another sock right now. Instead I shall make up a knitting basket to put in the auction that includes the socks, needles, the yarn I purchased to make the next pair of socks and a coupon for 3 sock knitting classes. I figure I have to give away that sock yarn because keeping it would violate the No New Yarn oath. Too bad, since it’s guy colored sock yarn and BD, like the cobbler’s children, is going barefoot, or at least, hand knit sockless. But an oath is an oath. If my copy of Cat Bordi’s book is fresh and new enough looking I’ll include that too. Maybe some fluffy yarn too since I have enough of that to last a lifetime.

I am so ready to start knitting that stash sweater.

It’s raining right now. More rain we do not need, but one ought never reject rain unless it’s flooding. We’ve had the nicest growing season this year - the longest stretch of dry weather we had was those last 3 weeks in August - well after the late beans were up, though they were stressing a little. I heard one combine, over on the island, growling away all day yesterday, though it was a dank sort of day with a white sky. Laundry hung out on Sunday afternoon never really did get dry - it’s spread all over the guest room at the moment.

Happily and hopefully I cling to that maxim: Rain before seven, quit by eleven.

In case you are wondering how either HeyBaby, Bella or KittyBoy are doing - ahh well. They are all swollen with damp and moisture. They are tenderly dusted each week but none of them are being put to any serious tasks. It seems I can concentrate on only so much fiber at a time and the joy and energy I bring to fiberwork shrivels in direct relation to the importance and nearness of any deadlines attached. Knitting socks to order has been a little like doing holiday knitting - something I have completely sworn off. I play with fiber to please me and having to do it for others, well heck, having to do anything suddenly stops it being play.

Never fear though - after Sept. 23 I am going on vacation and plan to play with my toys all week long. I want to spin some cotton - and that beautiful mohair I dyed last July at B's house. Let us hope the equinoctial storms have passed through and left crisp autumn weather and my wheels will have had a chance to dry out.

posted by Bess | 7:06 AM


Dearest Bess,
While I adore all your posts, I particularly love Mr. Horoscope's tho'ts for us Virgos.
Thank you for posting it & thank you doubly for thinking of me. I am so happy to be on the other side of the summer of 2006 ^..^
Glad you all came through the stormy weather intact - hope the canoe did too.
Hugs to you, BD, the LDs & the puppers.

By Blogger Martha, at 11:46 AM  

If you got the recipient a pair of those novelty "light-up" needles, that would really make a swell basket! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 8:40 PM  

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Monday, September 04, 2006  

If life were not sometimes difficult, it would be meaningless. If there were no such thing as struggle, we would never appreciate success. If we lived in a world without conflict, we would take peace completely for granted. Three cheers, then, for stress, hardship and difficulty. What a wonderful service it does for us all. Lately, though, it has made more than enough of an impact on your appetite for simplicity, comfort and ease. Now, it's time to experience some of that - and to appreciate it.

I read this message from Mr.Horoscope and I think first of Margaret, who is adjusting to life after the great loss of a beloved, and then of M, who, today, says adieu to a double work load she’s been carrying all summer. Of course, this couldn’t apply to me, since we all know that my stress load is the normal stress load, right?

(ahh for a smiley face icon)

In fact, I have been working on adjusting my stress issues lately, because I suspect that I tend to dig up stress and put it on like make-up every morning. Totally stupid behavior sprung from some mistaken idea that if I am already suffering, a good universe couldn’t possibly add to my misery, right? huh? right? Hence all those spiritual books - because one thing I do know - I always act based upon what I believe is true. If I’m right - life is so easy . If my beliefs are wacko - so is my life.

But in an effort to de-stress my life I am seriously considering making up a knitting basket for the Friends of the Library auction with some cute big needles, (have to buy those) and some stash balls of novelty yarn I have, the AS#2, which are almost done, yippeee!!! and a coupon redeemable for 3 private knitting lessons - to learn the fair isle hat. hmmm. Yes. I have extra baskets around the house. Tons of extra yarn. Just need to get some extra needles. Shopping instead of knitting! Knitting on demand, that is. I hate knitting on demand. Besides, that means I could begin my Old Shale Stash Sweater. Oooooo! Now that’s a stress free thought.

May your Labor Day be full of stress free thoughts.

from TheQueen, who’s castle sparkles.

posted by Bess | 8:14 AM


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Sunday, September 03, 2006  

There was no evidence of serious damage at the library - the guttering that blew into the back yard came off another building and the leak had stopped shortly after I went home on Friday. So - all’s well and all that.

We were not quite so lucky here at home. The canoe came undone sometime in the storm and dissapeared into the marsh. BD says he’s not too worried, that the winds could only blow it into our own marshes and that once the tides can go down it’ll appear. A purpose for a scavenger hunt is always a good thing, so I’m sure this too will turn out alright. This is the first time, though, that we’ve ever had a boat type loss.

Lowering clouds and heavy atmospheric pressure lingered throughout the day, clearing only in the late afternoon, around 4. BD and I took a long walk out to Robert’s Landing then and by the time we were coming home it was just plain hot. Today will be a good day to get the laundry dry and I’ve already put one load through the washer.

Since I didn’t do my Saturday Housecleaning on Saturday I’ll have to do it today. I need at least one day a week when the house has that sparkle and crispness - and with 3 dogs - sparkle melts away very fast. Other than that - nothing is planned but reading and sock knitting. I’m going down the heel flap of AS#2pB. Thought I’d be done by now. hmmm.

And maybe I’ll play a few of the games in the back of this book:

posted by Bess | 7:02 AM


I, too, like violent weather. Took some pictures yesterday and posted them on the blog. Nothing prize-winning, but I'm glad I documented it.

By Blogger Mary, at 3:57 PM  

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Saturday, September 02, 2006  

Oh - What a surprise silver lining you can sometimes find in a dark hurricane cloud! With so many people out of power, my creaky old dial-up access is working pretty well!

Ernesto punctuated my week with all sorts of bluster. I’d been out of the office for 3 days and this is already a 3 day weekend, so I really felt I should go in to survey the condition of my desk. What I forgot to do was consider if my brain would be capable of doing anything at all, besides marvel at the wind and shiver as the trees danced outside my office window. Nope - it couldn’t. A wild crazy storm always infects me with a giddy thrill. All that power, on display, reminding us that the universe is enormous and wonderful and we get to be a part of it. The river was up over the highway at Mt. Landing Creek and only one lane was open across Marina Creek (really Tignor’s Creek but nobody knows it by that name).

Though I’d been gone several days there was only one phone message and one e-mail that needed immediate attention. My job is a lot like being a housewife and mother of toddlers. There is always work to do - work that never really gets done - work you must be ready to put down the moment a child / a patron needs your personal attention. Frequently, said work actually has to be finished by a deadline - but that is only so that you can begin it once again: annual reports, 5-year plans, summer reading clubs - none of it ever ends. I suspect we’re trying to be a steady state system - bizarre, isn’t it?

Anyway, the advantage of work that never gets done is that you can put it aside anytime and do it - tomorrow - at Tara. As the storm worsened, I decided the library should remain closed. We open at 1 on Fridays anyway, but by then no lanes were open across Marina Creek and I suspect I was one of the last cars through before they closed it. But before going home BH and I and little L went around town looking at the river as it climbed up the ancient colonial streets, lapping at cars foolishly left below the high water mark and tickling the stoop of the old customs house. Those two share my passion for wild weather and we splashed bare feet in a primitive storm dance. Then we went and had warm comfort food at Lowery’s Restaurant; soup, hot rolls, hot tea ... ahhhh.

I got home around 2 to find the power out. Happily, I keep lamp oil on hand for just these occasions. Still, we ate at 5 and went to bed early to snuggle with books and each other. Alas, my 50 year old eyes don’t read in kerosene light as well as my 25 year old eyes once did. The storm winds continued till around 1 or 2 a.m. The quiet woke us. BD opened the window and an owl heralded the departure of wind and storm. Only a little misty rain continued to fall, certainly not enough to keep night creatures from their routines. The power was still off but we talked softly into the darkness, trying to remember the names of all the people we went to music school with back in 1971 and 2.

Around 5 o’clock the lights came back on - every light in the house, it seemed, and I got up to clean up the kitchen. The lawn is littered with leaves and sticks. I don’t suppose any trees came down on our lane, but we won’t know till we drive out - which we must do for I have to go check on the library. Before I left town yesterday I found a piece of gutter in the yard next to us - not in the direction the wind was blowing, and I checked around the building looking for any gaps - but I was really too distracted to see anything. Also - a leak developed in one of the duct vents. I don’t think it’s roof damage - I think wind blew the water in there - but I don’t want to wait till Tuesday to find out I was wrong.

Woops! More breeze just blew up. What could that be?

I had thought, yesterday, to write about seasons and how there are weather seasons and life seasons and for some people, autumn’s slow down comes to both their environment and their lives. The visit with my parents was a little longer than I had planned. There were some little things I could do around the house to help my folks and besides, my niece was still with them and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of 3 generations being together for a little visit. I got in some good knitting time, but I didn’t finish AS#2pB. I am at the heel flap though and I found some lovely brown self-striping Regia at the Knitting Basket, where I also purchased my very first Rowan book ... I forget the # - it’s an older issue - with an article about sewing in sleeves. That’s the real reason I bought it. It also had the most designs I would consider knitting. If I ever get done with knitting socks, that is.

Happy Labor Day weekend to you all. I hope to be back posting more regularly now.

posted by Bess | 7:49 AM