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


Dearest Bess,
Am catching up on blog reading after being off line for a bit.
Thinking of you & am sending lots of love & light to you & all your family.
Big b'day joyous wishes to BD.

By Blogger Martha, at 10:20 AM  

As always, thanks for publishing the Virgo 'scope news - always appreciate hearing what is upcoming for us.

By Blogger Martha, at 10:21 AM  

Hope you had a fun birthday dinner! Mmmmm, steak!

By Blogger Mary, at 6:32 PM  

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Saturday, March 31, 2007  

Whew. It’s a long climb up from tick-dom to librarianship. I’m glad I had to work only 2 days this week. It’s not that I am so tired - but that I’m so ... tick-like - so immobile. I finally had the good sense to sit down at the cataloging computer and download records into the system. It’s one of those mindless tasks like vacuuming - the sort that accomplishes something that needs to be done, even if it is something someone else could do. It’s the task of choice when I can’t really press my brain into active duty, but I am on the clock. At least we now have a couple dozen new items for people to check out.

And after the little set-to I had with a proscribed library user yesterday, I am particularly glad to see what Mr.Horroscope is offering everybody this morning.

Jupiter forms a harmonious, 120 degree angle to Saturn, once every six years or so. This potent alignment famously promotes peace. People who like to keep things the way that they were, find themselves able, at least partially, to agree with those who are promoting dramatic new ideas. Normally, the influence doesn't last long. This month though, Saturn and Jupiter are both standing still. It is as if they have been frozen in space, exactly at the moment when they have started to form their angle. If anyone, anywhere, needs to build a bridge, deepen a bond, proffer an olive branch, pour oil on troubled waters, heal a wound and create a climate of stronger mutual respect they stand a good chance of developing it in April.

This is good news, although my own advice is a little more pro-active and since I’m not quite yet in the mood to behave harmoniously with a certain someone, I am hoping that this person will, instead, harmoniously move on out of my orbit. Lawsee - I never thought of myself as fractious but you just ought to see how rancorous my heart can get!

J - my Friday could swap for your Tuesday - or march along as its twin.

Knitting progress? I worked a little more on samples for the classes I’ll be teaching at On The Lamb, in Staunton, VA. They’re just 2 weeks away! I want to watch the EZ knitting glossary one more time to firm my understanding of the knitted provisional cast on - which I simply adore for doing a double knitted sock cuff. I want samples at different stages of each of the class projects so I can do a demo at each stage of instruction. Hmm. Good thing we’re driving to Richmond today - or driving somewhere - so I can do some steady stockinette knitting.

Yep. I did just get home, but today is BD’s birthday and we’re going to go play somewhere and then eat out. He wants steak and I am perfectly willing to oblige.

The other thing I did was to pull out my pivotal spinning story and re-read it. I’ve been so fortunate as to get a storytelling gig at the Staunton Public Library on the Sunday following my knitting classes!! Whoopee! I am excited about that too. It will pay for the extra night I’m spending up there and give me more exposure as a storyteller. But best of all, it’s a chance to tell stories. Lawsee, I love to do that. Heck. Why do you think I write this blog? Because I can’t stop talking.

And I do love that story. And I do realize I have other stories I want to create and write and tell. And I do realize that it’s time for me to get serious about that desire and just make like Nike and do it.


Off to celebrate the Birthday.

posted by Bess | 8:03 AM


So great to see you on Tuesday -- I'm just sorry for the circumstances that brought you to town. May your next visit be much more pleasant. Have a wonderful, uneventful end of the week.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:33 PM  

Oh, goodness! Well, I'm glad those sweet dogs (minus the dane?) had the castle to go to - it is a lovely doggy home.

Love you!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:26 PM  

Hugs and kisses to you, Sister!

By Blogger Jane, at 8:39 PM  

Bess, I'm dreadfully behind on blog reading. First of all, I'm so sorry to hear about your father's fall. Maybe this will work out in the end and he and your mom will be in a safe place together.

Oh and I must comment on that amazingly beautiful sweater! It's absolutely gorgeous and such a great librariany sweater. Congrats all of your hard work was so worth it.

By Blogger erica, at 11:30 PM  

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Thursday, March 29, 2007  

I’m back, and frankly, I’m sort of stupid from a kind of tiredness that comes from slowing the metabolism down to institutional speed. The trade-off, when you go group, is a big cost benefit in exchange for a world that moves S L O W L Y and involves layers of stake holders who don’t always talk to each other. Monday I checked out re-hab centers and found another one where, if Daddy would go, he would prosper. All day Tuesday we were talking to doctors and nurses and social workers and re-hab centers and Dad was checking out and then he wasn’t checking out and then he was and then it got so late it was obvious he wasn’t. In the end he went to re-hab yesterday but Sister handled the transfer. I came home.

In some ways I wonder if I was of any real use at all because I’m not exactly sure what I went up there to do. I didn’t know how sick Dad was before I left - too sick to let me talk to him, that’s all. I wasnt' sure if it would be his last weekend or if there was going to be time for more family strum und drang. I cleaned up the parents’ house some, covered some issues with Mama at her place, little things like spring rods in her closet at a height where she could reach her clothes, and some bigger things like explaining to housekeeping that if she says her daughter’s going to do her laundry - call the daughter first, because that just may be lalaland talking. Oh. and I could do her laundry too - since it was mid-cycle - and she was out of clean clothes. I also figured out a contradictory fantasy-discussion Mama keeps playing out - that reminds me - I need to explain that to the sisters. Otherwise they could pressure Dad for something Mama doesn’t really want.

Of course, nothing happened sequentially nor did it happen in my time frame. Everything required someone calling me back. Someone who had either been away for 3 days or on vacation all last week or was out of the office. Or wanted answers only Sister knew so I had to forward them on to her and wait for her call too. Lots of waiting.

Happily I have the constitution of a tick in winter, whose heart beats only once an hour. I can wait. There was a moment around mid-morning Tuesday when I wondered if I ought to just go home, but by then I’d talked to J and M and the temptation of spending the evening at TKN with them was irresistible. I stayed that extra day, met J for dinner and had a blissful evening that zoomed by so fast I felt I’d just shaken hands with everyone and it was 9 o’clock.

I had taken knitting with me, but in the emotional turmoil of everything I just couldn’t settle down to knit on anything from home. It all felt so alien. I didn’t knit at all from Friday to Tuesday, but knowing I was going to join a bunch of serious stitchers I stopped at Lettuce Knit and picked up some sock yarn. It was a hot day and I wanted something bright and cheery and summery. I bought this. I thought the colors looked like popcicles.

I didn’t have my glasses on, so I didn’t see the name on the label. Cute, huh?

The nice thing about socks is you can just cast on and start knitting some ribbing, even when you don’t have a pattern or an idea in mind. Most of the evening with the TKNers was chatting anyway and it was a real treat to hug and laugh and talk and touch and exclaim over each other’s projects. Check out M’s blog for photos.

BD came and got me Wed. a.m., but not before Mama had called and then Daddy and then Mama again and then Daddy and then Sister. I packed up Dad’s dogs and brought them home with me. One’s a border collie and the other’s a biggish miniature dachshund. They spent their first night at CampCastle barking till 4 a.m. - or maybe longer but by then I was in really deep sleep. My dogs are always friendly, though there is some hierarchy stuff going on. Priss is the last to make friends, Socks likes to mouth everybody and Jack worries a bit and then makes friends. All the dogs are shedding except Priss, who likes to wait till late April. It’s a hairy place around here.

So. All this energy. All this emotion. All this running around. Did I do any good? I think so. I had an impact on Dad - who was really trying to die. Convinced him to look at re-hab as a sports training camp so he could go home and care for his pets. I managed to do a few little things for Mama. Everything for her takes forever. It has been this way for years. And she’s become extraordinarily [more] (to me, that is) indolent. And this is a lady who’s always sat rather than stood and lay down rather than sat. But it’s a settling in process for her - for us all.

Most of all, I had some alone time in their house, among a lifetime’s worth of things. For all that it looks like the house is full of junk, it’s not really. They did a fairly big purge about 10 years ago. The worst excesses were taken care of then. This time was good for me since I'd been caught a bit by surprise when the sadness kicked in after Mama's move a - yee gads! - was it only 2 weeks ago? Yes. Time alone there let me do a little goodbye ritual stuff.

Now, let's see. What is it I do for a living? Oh. Yeah. Well. Off to work for me.

Labels: ,

posted by Bess | 8:10 AM


Call me if you need anything -- anything at ALL. [I'm at 2EE-7E0E (replace E with the third button on your phone)]. So sorry about your dad's fall and the C.Diff. (I used to test for that stuff back in my lab days - I know about its nastiness).

Blessings to and prayers for you.

By Blogger Mary, at 4:35 PM  

Multi-hugs to you. I am sorry to hear about your dad.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 5:17 PM  

It never rains but it pours! Thoughts, prayers and hugs going your way.

By Blogger KathyR, at 7:47 PM  

Many prayer, hugs and good wishes and blessings for you and your dad. God speed.

By Blogger Beth, at 10:46 PM  

All my love, thought's and prayers to you and your family, Bess.

Are you still in town and if so, why don't you try to call me, maybe we can meet up somewhere. I know you are busy with your family but thought you might like a little break from it. You know my cell number!


By Anonymous Patti, at 8:03 AM  

If I were closer to you geographically I could offer actual help.

But I am not, so I offer the only thing I can - prayers and good thoughts.

I hope this difficult time improves soon.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:21 AM  

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Saturday, March 24, 2007  

Back in Richmond again and using the Chesterfield public library internet access to post.

Daddy fell - and he also has C-Diff which is a very nasty and very contageous disease. I have to wear a hazmat suit to visit him. Staying a few days and hoping to make More Changes on the Home Front with Sister's help.

Missing the other world but I do have some sock knitting to play with.

Hugs to you all.

posted by Bess | 3:19 PM


Ooooo! that third photo. Doesn't she just look like a sour lemon of a librarian about to say "Put that back on the shelf! In alpha BETICAL order!"


She isn't, of course. she says "please leave it on the table when you're done."

By Blogger Bess, at 2:36 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Bess, at 2:36 PM  

Dearest Bess,
Both you & Miz Kip are absolutely stunning!
Congrats, hon, on finishing this beauty of a sweater.

By Blogger Martha, at 8:25 PM  

Congratulations Bess! You and Miss KipFee are BEAUTIFUL. I wish I could see you both in person. Instead, I'll start counting down the days to the next retreat to see you in KipFee with your 2 inch mules!

-Dawn (RipKo)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:01 PM  

"This post has been removed by the author." Hmmph! Could only be because someone foolish tried to post derogatory remarks about Our Bess and her Most Beautiful KipFee. Shame on said person -- er -- writer -- er -- poster. The sweater is Gojus, Dahlink! -- and you in it, equally so. Bravo!


By Blogger Marg, at 11:20 PM  

Ooh, the sweater and your haircut are both fabulous! You look great!

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:27 AM  

You look tres chic in your stunning new creation!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:14 AM  

Lovely work!

By Blogger Momo, at 12:28 PM  

Oh my gosh! If you were a stranger in a country and I didn't speak your language, I would STILL badger you about where I could get me one of those GORGEOUS sweaters you're wearing, because, it is STUNNING. It looks absolutely fantastic on you, better than I ever imagined. You know, I wasn't so sure about the brown and red edging, but, on you, it is PERFECT. It makes a beautiful frame around all that wonderful stranding. Kudos, on a job exceedingly well done. When I grow up, I want to be a knitter like you! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 4:28 PM  

Oh the sweater turned out absolutely fabulous - I don't think I would ever take it off it it were mine. :D

By Blogger rho, at 10:31 AM  

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Thursday, March 22, 2007  

It really is a cute sweater.

Have a look at those nice shoulders

Here is the knitted in sleeve cap (on that fussy looking librarian) so you can see how tidy it is. Love this design.


posted by Bess | 11:10 AM


I was one of the lucky ones yesterday...I got to see you in your BEAUTIFUL Sweater. You looked amazing and sexy! I was thinking about you all day yesterday and remembering how you about a fashion plate! I had this great idea, now before you say "no way" just give it a try....go try on some 2" leather mules with that outfit. You have the legs for it and oh, how stylish and young and fancy free it woudl look. Now, just try 'em, I know you are not a fan of Mules, but I could not help but think how good they would look with that very outfit you had on.
Love you,

By Anonymous Patti, at 8:07 AM  

Bess, I'm so glad I came over to visit your daily blog. So sorry to know of the tornado of personal stress and worry you have about your parents. And so fascinated to learn of your Storytelling interest. I once attended a conference (Women in Aviation) where they had a storyteller. She retold the events of Amelia Earhart's final flight. I was absolutely captivated and so engaged in the story it seemed like there was no one else in the room. Of course I also adore the great storyteller, Garrison Keillor. I must say that just knowing this about you instantly raises you to be among my favorite people in the world. Now I can say... "I know this storyteller..." :)

By Blogger Laura, at 2:02 PM  

Your excitement and joy over the finished KipFee are palpable and infectious. I'm smiling and excited FOR you, as I type this. And oh, so happy for you, too. Congratulations, my friend! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 4:25 PM  

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I love the compliments on MissKipFee. Thank you thank you thank you! With butterflies and smiles and tweety birds and all!

The KipFee made her debut yesterday at the umptyseventieth Ginter Park Womans Club Annual Spring Fashion Show. Thanks to C, who invited me, I was able to bring my darling sweater out in public at a complimentary event. Great fun was had by all, but most of all, by TheQueen, who was definitely in the mood to celebrate. Completing an all over fair isle sweater knit for an ample sized woman on size 3 needles is a triumph under any circumstances. When an ENFP like me, who grieves over every completion, finishes such a project it’s almost a miracle. When she does it the same week her dad falls in the bathroom and can’t get up till sister arrives an hour and a half later and her library’s computer network is taken over in a CYBERsitter coup and crashes to a complete halt ... Well! Well now. I mean, WOW!

Who wouldn’t celebrate?

First to set you at ease on the non-knitting peripherals. Daddy is okay for now, though definitely not in a safe place and resisting a move - but the struggles are weakening and I think a breakthrough is not far away. The IT priest did long-distance incantations and walked me through completely cleaning out the network via a 2 hour telephone call.

Now on to the Good Stuff.

Over the past month I had been avoiding that poor KipFee as it languished in the project bag, giving as my excuse that I didn’t want to knit on her while such turmoil swirled around my life. There was some justification for the delay, for I worried that I’d make mistakes on it, at this finishing stage, that would leave me with a shabby home made looking sweater instead of a high class hand crafted jewel. But there was Plenty of Procrastination going on too. Angst that the sweater wouldn’t fit. Angst that the edging would look shabby. Angst about the bottom curling. Angst that the changes I’d made in this pattern were going to be ALL WRONG. There was just that little danger of this becoming another mouse hotel in my attic.

But just a little.

And it’s worth it to analyze just what made the difference this time. You lucky things, you. Time for a List!

How The KipFee Got Her Groove

1. This sweater was fun to knit. The yarn felt just right and flowed onto the needles obediently. The color changes came frequently enough to keep me wanting to "knit just one more row".
2. I knew the sweater would fit because I’d tried it on several times. Thank goodness for seamless circular sweaters.
3. I am a better knitter than I was the last time I knit a challenging garment - which was when I knit the tragically lost Flidas. I know I can work out difficulties and shaping and, oh, those decide-as-you-knit problems that crop up ... as you knit! I’ve done it before so I can do it again.
4. That Knitters Almanac I wrote last January. It is full of Things I Want To Do! Really want to do. Things I might forget I wanted to do if I hadn’t written them down. And, not only was finishing the KipFee one of the things I wanted to do (Oh. Yeah. I wanted to finish that sweater.) but [also] there were Other Things I wanted to do too. And just how cooperative do you think they would have been if I’d betrayed a gorgeous, almost finished KipFee? I am sure the silk lace I’ve been trying to swatch has done nothing but tangle because it was firmly on the side of it’s sweater sister, Miss KipFee. Can’t you hear it whisper in disgust "Really. I am not having anything to do with a knitter who’d abandon a real honest to goodness, almost finished KipFee. I’m just gonna slip right on off of these needles and tangle myself on the floor. Better yet! I think I’ll wind myself around all those sock yarn bits in the knitting basket."
I really do better with a plan. Life can intervene, so I don’t have to follow the plan to the letter, but I do have to live my life true to the fundamental urges that prompted it.
5. I also believe going public helped. Blogging about this sweater, joining a KAL, sharing it with my knitting group all involved my pride. I couldn’t start another project while folk were waiting to see what the KipFee looked like. I just couldn’t get that close to the end and then walk away, if others were watching. Oh shallow gal who cares what Other People Think.

But man oh man, you Other People, thank you for thinking. Or at least, for letting me think you were thinking, because thinking about you thinking about me kept me from pretending that it would be okay to go think about something else.

Huh. I don’t know where the literary muse went this morning. I’ve spent hours writing this and really - I ought to have more to show for all my cogitating and typing. I wanted to write about the Things I Learned while knitting this sweater - don’t worry - I shall at some future date. There are Many Lists to come out of this sweater. I suppose I’m still just too excited about a Finished Object to wax eloquent. Still doing that Happy Dance.

In fact, I was dancing so happily yesterday I danced right on into a store and bought myself some new spring clothes. Transition stuff that is likely to be too hot for the summer but not warm enough for winter. Three quarter length blouses and the absolutely cutest cargo pants and a very swirly linen skirt that is not ruffly, just swirly. I think I shall wear it today.

If I can get BD to take a good picture of me in TheKipFee, I’ll post it later today.

Labels: ,

posted by Bess | 7:19 AM


Absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to see it on, but I'm just in awe.www

By Anonymous diann, at 5:44 PM  

Simply lovely, Bess, and really worth the wait!

By Blogger KathyR, at 6:25 PM  

Wow. Oops, I mean WOW!! You rock, gal. That sweater is way past awesome.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 6:47 PM  

Beautiful, beautiful sweater. Beautiful.

By Blogger Jane, at 8:43 PM  

Bess, your sweater is amazing! I wonder if I'll ever have the patience for that much colorwork! And goodness, you could almost knit something just from all those snipped ends!


By Blogger Martheme, at 10:44 AM  

Stunning! And the color progression just flows beautifully!

Can't wait to see it modelled on a beautiful queen!

By Blogger Amie, at 8:13 PM  

Hip Hip Hooray for the Kip Kip KipFee!

By Blogger Mary, at 4:20 PM  

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007  

Leftover yarn
Snipped off ends of darned in yarn

Just won't show - forget what it is

beautifully blocked sweater
Let's hope this posts.

posted by Bess | 1:18 PM


No internet access - ack! The dark ages! Hope it comes back for you. Can't wait to see finished KipFee pictures -- especially of you modeling it! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:08 AM  

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Cybersitter has taken control of the library’s entire network and has shut down 100% of the internet. No internet at the library is a little like no fruits and vegetables in the grocery store. You won’t starve, but about half your needs won’t be met. Calcium, check, vitamin C, nope. I also don’t have an in-house IT person. The county doesn’t have one either. We’re all on our own with this sort of problem and my guy is a fellow who leaves for house calls before I get to work and can only be contacted through --- you guessed it --- e-mail. Oh, I can get in touch also via an answering service and I put in a call last night before I went home - after I’d heard from the ISP guy that e-mail is coming in but everything we try to send out, including requests for web sites, is being blocked by the Evil One. The High Priest of Technology may show up. He may call back. I may be told to read the CyberSitter manual, which is probably what I will be doing today. And I will write More the next time I’ve got a little bit of time to wax on and on. Slept a little late this a.m., for tossing and turning all night, worrying about the Situation at work.

Long and short of this is there will be no photos of my beautiful KipFee for a day or so. I have to be out of the office tomorrow, no matter what is going on with our internet access. I will put the pictures on a memory stick, though, and I’ll post them if I am around a high speed machine anytime in the next day or so. Or if wizards show up today and make everything right and tight. Or if a miracle occurred while I was asleep and the connection is working again when I go in. One never knows. Miracles do happen.

Like the finishing of TheKipFee last night. Yes I did. All except the buttons which don’t have to be sewn on before I can wear this lovely thing. I had intended to save it for tomorrow when I want to look fashionable - but I also really want to wear it today because I can. Guess I’ll decide when I get dressed - which - yikes! had better be in 20 minutes.

Ta. (doing happy dance)

posted by Bess | 8:01 AM


Hooray for KipFee! Looking forward to photos! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:26 PM  

Oh, I can't wait to see the photos! I like to wash rather than steam, too -- it just seems right.

By Blogger Jane, at 7:01 AM  

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Monday, March 19, 2007  

I got the KipFee News but No Photos Bloohoos.

Of course I’m not blue at all. I’m delighted and excited. I washed that lovely sweater yesterday, spun it almost dry in the washing machine, and sculpted it out to dry on the dining room table. I intended to post photos today but I left the cable at home. I will remember tomorrow.

I actually wet blocked the sweater before I tacked down the facings, sewed on the buttons or made the final decision about putting an i-cord trim around the bottom edge. That last feature is what drove my decision because I couldn't decide if I wanted the i-cord along the bottom or if I wanted some other finish. Also - I wasn't sure I would like a tiny brown i-cord at the bottom - if it would like strange. Since blocking, I think it will look strange knit in brown and I'm going to do some sort of bottom finish in black. I am probably going to do a single crochet edge because I want to wear the sweater on Wednesday and I won't have time to do an i-cord edging in such a short time-frame. If I don't like the crochet edging I can always take it out and do the i-cord.

Other news about this sweater is that it blooms yet flattens beautifully when blocked. Since I’ve lugged the poor thing around and knit on it in a wood stove heated living room, and it was just plain dirty, I actually washed it. Of course, I always prefer wet-blocking over steam blocking. I always worry that I'll steam in dirt that won't ever wash out when I steam block something. Probably not the case, but it's just a little quirky worry of mine.

The pre-blocked sweater felt all scrunchy and soft and puffy while knitting it, but wet-blocking flattened it out beautifully. This yarn knits a fabric with lots of mobility in it - you can block it a little wider if you think you've knit a bit skimpily - or longer if you think it's a bit too wide or too short. In fact, if I were advising anybody about using this yarn I would tell them to knit a swatch and wet-block it just to see how the fabric behaves. (Not that I do this, oh no. I just start right on knitting and trust to Athena to watch over me.)

So. Happy news. Photos tomorrow. Debut on Wednesday.

posted by Bess | 11:18 AM


This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Mary, at 12:50 PM  

You silly thing! As if you would post something hurtful if you could! Shame shame. I am deleting that comment toot sweet.


I love you!

By Blogger Bess, at 2:14 PM  

Dearest Bess,
Glad you had such a gem of a week-end & hope that it was a total peach for you.

By Blogger Martha, at 7:29 PM  

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Saturday, March 17, 2007  

The things people say. Once someone told me that she didn’t read my blog because I write too much. Even infrequently, it was too hard to keep up with it. Since I hadn’t asked her if she read my blog, her words were a bit of a surprise and it took a while for me to wrap my brain around a motivation that wasn’t intended to be rude. In the end I figured she was just trying to apologize for not keeping up with my life, which is something I don’t expect her, or anyone else, to do anyway. At least, it’s not the reason I keep a blog. I do it for myself mostly, to put the self out there in some third person environment, to look at it with some objectivity or at least, to have a record of what I thought it was when I wrote about it. Almost any comments from others who read this are welcome because they help shed a little light on things I might not be noticing.

And so, today's post is just another one of those attempts at objectivity.

Ahh well. I must take my cue from Bobby Burns, who said
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as ithers see us..."
And the only real rules for blogging are to be courteous and to not take it personally.

As for the Life Of The Queen in Third Person - her Present State came about in a totally unplanned manner. After having made plans to be with friends, then changed them to be with parents, then changed them to be with TheKing and Royal Younglings, then found TheKing and ThePrince off and away, she has suddenly found herself Alone in TheCastle! And is she suddenly glad. Wow!

I have Time Alone and I plan to spend it cleaning, attending a friends gallery opening, going to the gym, reading, writing and knitting. And taking some pictures, of course.

Happy weekend to you all.

posted by Bess | 12:05 PM


You're most welcome. I've reaped many more rewards from that painless gift by seeing great pictures on your blog. As beautiful as you write, sometimes there's nothing like a picture to dazzle and amaze, or just explain.

Plant that weeping willow away from the house and near water (creek, stream, lake, river, etc.,), so that its roots don't invade your water pipes, or else you'll be sorry. They're one of my favorite trees, too. Makes me think of the one(s)? by the lake at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

By Blogger Mary, at 1:52 PM  

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Thursday, March 15, 2007  

When you have bent your mind, and all its powerful creativity, towards something enormous, challenging, but deeply personal, it’s surreal to have to turn back to the mundane world of everyday life and aim at its ordinary targets. I’m still all wrapped up in adjusting my feelings about the past month's events, yet people want me to get creative about items on their agendas. Some of these agendas are also mine, but the well of commitment is dry at the moment. I just don’t care. I will care at some point, but I don’t care now. All I am doing now is reacquainting myself with living life minus a critical anxiety. And how appropriate that this period of rediscovery should happen just as the first gush of spring surges across Virginia.

On my drive home on Tuesday, the weeping willow trees had turned golden. They are always the first trees to leaf out and they were all bare sticks when I drove to Richmond on Monday. Driving down that stretch of backroad between St. Stephen’s Church and Newtown I pass an 18th century farmhouse with 2 weeping willows in the front yard. They were waving like golden flags, reminding me that I have always wanted to have one in my yard. These are fast growing trees. I could have a beauty in 10 years - and I promise myself, here and now, that I am going to plant one this spring.

Springtime songbirds have been serenading us for the past 2 weeks - but they were only letting us know that spring was coming. This week’s temperatures in the high 70’s mean it’s really here. The windows are open upstairs and my front door is propped wide too. Dogs can come and go at will. Before long there will be wheat dolphins in the fields and this year I will try to capture this rare sighting on film and post it for you. Thank you again, Miss M, for the gift of a camera. BD has already taken some trips out on the river. Boating in springtime can be tricky because the tides are so extreme and if low tide wants to be in the middle of the day, no boat, even his flat long sharpie, can get in and out of our dock. The pier in spring is often across mudflats, not water. It’s always a fun guess for me to see how early we can go swimming. Early usually means around mid-May but there was one spring when we dove in on our wedding anniversary - April 17.

Yee gads. That reminds me that I haven’t done our income taxes yet. Sheesh. I believe that I will hold my big darling to it tonight - since most of the gathering has to do with his business, not the household income. Well - we need not talk about that on a fiber blog. We will talk, instead, about what I have been up to with the needles.

Yeah. The white space means not much. There ought to be some real fiber news over the next few days, though. It may be that I have an empty weekend coming up and if that’s so, I will fill it with fiber. I did start on my February Almanac Project, though I’m glad now that it’s March and even a tee tiny big glad DST (which I loathe) burglarized an hour of my precious early morning light, because the FAP is knit in black yarn, which is hard to see in ordinary lamp light. No KipFee knitting. I’m still at the Got To Weave In Those Ends bit before I can finish off the bottom. I am going to quit making promises about working on it. I will just reveal it in all its splendor when it’s done.

So. Precious little fiber news. Still trying to get the internal gyroscope to stabilize my soul. Getting there, though, and feeling the goodness. Loving the world. Can’t ask for much more than, that, hmmm?

posted by Bess | 7:48 AM


Sweetie, you've just leapt a mile high over one of the biggest hurdles we face as adults. Thank you for sharing it so personally with us, because most of us will have to deal with this at some point, and any insight into it has got to help. Luv ya.

By Blogger Mary, at 3:53 PM  

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007  

It’s been such an emotional month, climaxing Monday when we moved Mama and her personal belongings to the large brick block that is her new home. For so long it’s been a priority with me, to get Mama into a place where she has help with the struggles of daily living and can spend her energy on things that fulfilled her life. This seems like such a simple concept, such a logical choice, such a GoodThing, that those who stonewalled this effort frequently took on the shades of evil and cruel and BadGuy. Since September the pressure to place Mama into a safer environment, either by a move or drastic changes in her home, has mounted - to the fever pitch it’s been the past 3 weeks.

The stakes have been rising in this stupid game of TryAndMakeMeChange. Delaying much longer and Mama would die, yet success had never been closer. I sent out the cry for spiritual support to friends far and wide. The return was an avalanche of prayer and meditations, positive mental images, active as well as passive love for me, for Mama, for the very concept of families. It was something I could wrap around me as tackled each step in the process. It kept me kind when others began to fray, it buoyed me up, it strengthened me, it curled my lips into a smile of peace. It walked with me on Monday as we moved Mama into that safe place where there are people to help her with the chores of life so she can spend her energy on the joys.

Monday was a whirl of activity - lots of packing and labeling and thinking about things and lifting and driving and carrying and arranging. And yet, the chest X-ray report was still out there in medical records land and there was a chance Mama wouldn’t be able to move in. Driving down the middle of Midlothian Turnpike, Sister got the call that the last shred of paperwork had been delivered and we could move Mama. Both parents were very stoic about everything. Scudding clouds of tiredness chased frantic looks across Mama's face. Dad wanted to stay home. Mama wanted him to come. Sister’s dear darling husband provided manly strength. We buzzed around Mama like an entourage moving a celebrity into a hotel room. There were lots of little touches of welcome from the staff, including a gift basket with little trinkets and candies, as well as flowers on the table. Mama has a studio apartment and we made it a real studio by setting up a corner with her easel and paints, charcoals and pastels and new art supplies. Lawsee, nothing could make me happier than to see mama drawing again.

Sister had arranged to spend the night and I took the guys away before we could become maudlin. I hadn’t planned to spend the night, but when I heard the tremor in Daddy’s voice as he said "Oh, I’ll be fine. I have to get used to living alone sometime" I knew where I needed to be. L, my dear brother in law, stayed a while, teasing and talking, but once he’d gone home, I took Daddy up to his home away from home, his favorite grocery store, where he could soak up whatever good vibes he could find there. We had a few opportunities to talk quietly about the changes in his life. It feels so sudden to him because he’s had his head stuck in the sand so long. He has never been able to talk about his life, his world, his choices, his situation, his consequences, with too much objectivity. Well then, who can be very objective about his own life anyway? Who isn’t too close to things. But now and then he has talked to me about who he is inside - that secret dark cavern of self that he has rarely ever shared with anybody. We touched on these sharp points lightly, a little, throughout the evening.

There is a terrible psychology of being left - of being abandoned - and that is my Daddy’s fate. The absolute understanding that my sister and I have orchestrated my parents’ divorce crashed down on me Monday night. This is no melodramatic gathering of guilt on my part. It’s a recognition of the consequences of our actions. It is part of why we took so long to get insist upon putting Mama into assisted living. Not that my father wouldn’t benefit from it too if he would allow it to happen. He limps and forgets and suffers from depression caused by lack of relationships too. But he still has a little mobility so he can find solace at Ukrops, flirting with the check out girls. Mama’s mobility was just about nil and she was a prisoner in her house. She was also proof to Daddy that he was a failure at one of the few things he defined himself by - a man who took care of his family. As his ability to care for mama disappeared, every time he looked at her he flared with resentment and offended pride.

Now she is gone and he can only see his reflection in a mirror. Both of them have to adapt to change but he has to do it in familiar surroundings - he’s the one left behind. She has all new things to try out and she is far more emotionally suited to trying new things anyway. There are staff people who’s job it is to see that Mama fits in, finds friends, has fun. Any joy in Daddy’s life he’ll have to find himself - although we daughters will probably do a good bit of manipulation behind the scenes to bring interesting things his way. He needs a project right now. At the moment he’s taking on the absolutely dreaded, and totally unnecessary Sale Of The House. Prayers are still needed that he grows tired of that project before he actually sells it because .... he will quit half way in the middle and Sister and I will get to finish up that project, find him a new house and ... 2 years from now have to sell that one too. And we really need a break right now. Both of us would be mighty glad to only have to sell one house one time - and do it later.

As for Mama - I’d been afraid to let my hopes rise too high. Although I knew her personality well enough to expect her to be very happy in this new environment, to be energized by having people to talk to, to have more energy to get "-ized", by having exhausting chores like dressing and medicine all handled by deft young hands, I’ve also been prepared for this adjustment to take some little time. I need not have gotten so prepared. She called last night - late - full of the most coherent talk and chatter I’ve heard from her in years. She had had the most fun. Everyone was so nice. She’d eaten lunch alone, but gone outside afterwards .... something she hasn’t done in years! ... and found some folk sitting by the "Sunshine Wall" and she invited them to sing songs with her and there was a man who flirted with her and "Oh I always seem to attract the men, you know" and dinner was delicious and she’d shared it with friends and then she’d gotten lost in the hallways severaly times and people would help her find her way back home again ... She even called it "going back home."

That phonecall did so much to help me step lightly past the pity pools and nostalgia traps that line the path of any child who makes a parent undergo drastic changes. Each minute away from Monday afternoon takes me deeper into the meadow of relief and happiness. There are still unknowns up ahead, but that dreadful given - that my parents were going to crash into a horrible end - has been averted. Whatever sort of future they have will at least include physical safety for Mom and that is enough for any child to provide for her parent.

Those of you who have followed the saga - who have loved me and prayed for me and held visions of such a solution for me - you can know that it has all come to pass. No thanks in the world would be enough - except that no thanks are needed. But all the thanks I have are flowing right back at you in huge tickling waves.

Life is good.


posted by Bess | 7:32 AM


Strength and peace to you this day, and may the "asteroid's" orbit take it away from your sphere again.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:19 AM  

May you take comfort in knowing that you do not, in fact, have the world's filthiest house. That honor belongs to me.

So sorry about the asteroid. How would you have us pray about it?

By Blogger Mary, at 11:15 AM  

Beautifully put. Having just found your blog, I'm new to your saga but want to send you a great big hug and Thanks for taking such good care of your parents. I have a certain dread of where you are now, having spent six weeks with my Dad in FL last spring before and after a hospital stay, and six weeks this winter with my Mom in MD for her to have both knees done. My sisters have not helped at all. You are fortunate to have family who can and will be there with you. But still, it is hard for so many reasons, isn't it. And it's what needs to be done.

By Blogger Margaret, at 2:15 AM  

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Sunday, March 11, 2007  

It really does pour when it rains, doesn’t it? Smack in the middle of the mega-mind shift of Mama moving into a nursing home, the only real nemesis of my life manages to come knocking on my door again. An asteroid that did almost irreprable damage the last time it’s orbit crossed mine, is back again. I’d really hoped its arc was greater than that - had hoped it was gone for good. That hope was dashed. Sometimes life really sucks.

It’s too old and too sad and too grimy and too common a story to go into on a fiber blog but I can’t help muttering something an employee of mine used to say. “Life’s a bitch. And then you die.”

And then she died.


But wait! There’s KipFee news. Yes. I finished the i-cord bindoff of the button band. I still need to do an i-cord trim around the bottom - and I need to weave in some few yarn ends before I do that. There is a sleeve to weave to a body - some 22 Kitchener stitches - and all the ends on that sleeve to weave in. I think I shall wet-block before I tack down the facings, since I might do that with sewing thread, which has no give to it. Of course, I may also split the yarn I knit it with into singles and sew the facings down with that. Gotta see how it looks - after everything is smooth, relaxed and blooming.

If I didn’t have the world’s filthiest house I might get to the wet blocking stage today. That would be a rare treat since it would likely be dry by Tuesday for Tuesday Night Knitters. eh. I’ll just have to see how much I can get done. The happiness is that it will be done this week.

My class yesterday was very nice. There were 5 women, one with a little knitting experience, 2 who were sure they couldn’t learn and 2 who were sure they could. One was right, but I believe (hope) there was enough humor and patience for even the one who was right to have a pleasant day. The other 4 all made bunnies and knit a little circle of ribbing on 2 circular needles. Everyone at the meeting - (about 60 quilters) fell in love with those Heartstrings bunnies. We covered gauge, properties of stockinette, fixing common errors, reading your knitting and a host of other knitting knowledge. As I said - I’m pretty durn sure everyone felt they got their money’s worth.

But my goodness. 5 hours of beginner knitting is a lot. Usually when I teach beginners I give them a lesson - cast on, knit, purl - and then they go home and knit 4 inches of ribbing on a small circular needle. One week later they come back with the cuff of a hat knit and we’re ready to start increasing and doing colorwork. Week three is decreases, completion and review. In short, students and teacher get a break when they can assess what they’ve learned/taught so far. Questions can be answered. Minds are ready for New Information. It’s not that a 5 hour beginner session doesn’t’ work. It just works differently.

The delight in teaching something I love to people eager to learn it went a long way to putting me in a better mood though. I keep clinging to those happy moments as I slog my way through these tough days. And I know there are Other Good Things ahead. Other Really Good things like - yippeeee! I am going to be doing a story telling performance on the Sunday the day after I teach in Staunton at On The Lamb this April. (14th and 15th) It will be at the Staunton Public Library - a kick-off program for National Library Week. Cute, hmmm? Just about the only thing I like more than teaching fiber arts is telling stories. To get to do both in the same weekend is pure bliss.

So. Off I go to yank my mind onto Good Things. Strong positive things. Yes stuff. Prosperous Soul Lifting Stuff. Reminding myself to go only where there is joy.

posted by Bess | 7:25 AM


Thinking positive thoughts and sending prayers to you and C.

I envy your lucky students tomorrow, getting such a great teacher to usher them into the wonderful world of knitting.

I just splurged and bought myself Sensational Knitted Socks -- I like a lot of the patterns in there. Have you seen the new Interweave socks book? Any thoughts?

By Blogger Mary, at 1:26 PM  

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Friday, March 09, 2007  


I've heard from my cyber twin C. She's on the mend. She's not seeing all that well and she said that prayers and white light and good juju are accepted down there in Hurricaneville, Florida.

No need to ask twice. Molto prayers are winging their way down from Champlain, VA.

As for the status here, well. It’s hard to write about the past few days. On the one hand I don’t want to get all gloomy. On the other hand, I can’t feel happy, or even relief, till Mama actually moves. On that other extra hand, I don’t want to count chickens before they’re hatched. All sorts of things can go wrong, but all sorts of things can go right. I’m concentrating on that vision of Mama laughing and smiling and telling her wonderful stories to new friends who are glad to see her. I’m seeing her sitting up straight, enjoying life, with younger, swifter, more deft hands doing all the mundane chores for her - those ones that sap all her energy, remind her of what she’s lost instead of what she still has, and suck the joy out of her life. Nobody needs to spend 30 minutes doing a diabetes check, when some young thing ... even some 54 year old thing - can do it for her in a minute and a half.

Nope. I’m concentrating on seeing her with a cute little dog or a purring kitten in her lap. (Did I mention this place allows small pets?) I’m envisioning myself as a guest for the weekend, taking her to the museum, stopping by for lunch in one of the new outdoor bistro restaurants. I see myself telling her one of the mildly risqué jokes she so loves to hear and then both of us laughing till our eyes tickle with tears. Oh La - I see so many happy visions. I’d love to fill a basket with them so that some time in the future I’ll be able to pull them out, like I do the beautiful skeins of yarn in the basket by Pop’s chair, and marvel at the intricate beauty that is the memory of time spent with someone you love.

(Of course, for TheQueen of Loquacity, it doesn’t take long to get the words flowing.)

So. What else is going on in TheCastle?

Tomorrow I will teach knitting to new knitters for 5 hours. That’s a heckuvalotta knitting teaching. This will be my second stint as a fiber arts teacher for the Virginia Consortium of Quilters. Last year I taught spinning for quilters and found that needle women are swift learners, so I have prepared a pretty full day of projects. By the end of the day they should know how to do the Knittin’6-onSticks: cast on, bind off, knit, purl, increase and decrease. All else flows from those six techniques.

We start with this Heartstrings bunny:

Then I'll have them make this little hat for a 14" doll (or bear)

When I wrote up the prospectus I promised I’d also teach how to make a cable without a cable needle. Neither of the projects I’ve planned are suitable for a cable and I’d thought to drop that technique, but when I talked to B, the program chairman, yesterday she specifically mentioned that people wanted to learn that. Thank goodness then, there are 5 hours in the day’s class. I will be able to fit in one more little swatch to teach cable knitting. And I have found that learning something that looks complicated right off the bat is a tremendous confidence booster - in any field.

I make up kits so that we're all starting out on the same page. I'll be teaching the 2 circular method for knitting small tubes. Everyone gets 2 #7 circulars, 2 skeins of yarn, 1 darning needle and some handouts.
If there's time, we might do a little colorwork. You know me and colorwork.

I have been messing about with a gorgeous skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn sent to me by L as a birthday gift last September. It’s the most luscious stuff. It makes me shiver every time I look at it. It is the same yarn that the Koigu folk perform their dyeing magic on and it is what Spirit Trail Fiberworks will be using in her sock yarn starting .... now, I believe. I have knit the toe and one repeat of the pattern of Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. This is a toe up sock and she calls for so many stitches - it’s a 12 stitch repeat. It’s a fabulous looking sock and I think it would look good in this yarn, but I just don’t knit tightly enough for 72 stitches and I’m afraid 48 stitches will be too small. Also, with this darkly patterned yarn it’s difficult to see the stitches and very easy to leave out a YO in one row and get completely off the pattern in the next. I’m going to rip back to the toe, try one repeat of the pattern at 48 stitches and see if I like it. If not I’ll just have to find a different pattern.

The KipFee? She’s checked into rehab, obviously stressed over all the attention she’s [not] getting. Fortunately she hasn’t done anything quite so rash to shave off her cuffs or dye them purple. But we should all leave her alone to find herself. With some good counseling and proper diet and rest we have every reason to believe she will join us soon, in full stranded colorwork splendor.

Off now, my dears, to assemble the kits for my students.


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posted by Bess | 6:19 AM


So glad to hear how well things are going on the family front. Prayer is most definitely a powerful thing.

By Blogger Mary, at 11:02 AM  

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007  

I wish I could let my sister tell you about yesterday in her own words - because they are so eloquent, but it seems a bit like "telling her stuff" and she’s not here to give permission. Suffice it to say she hit 6 out of 6 and if you heard any loud cheering around 5 o’clock, that was her fan club as she walked back to home plate, arms raised above her head.

Upshot - I am back to Richmond today to help her take the parents to lunch at an assisted living facility that Sister truly liked. It was as nice as Sigh,Salisbury,Sigh but a little less expensive - and minus the $1K non-refundable holding fee. If we are all satisfied, Mama moves on Monday. Best of all, there is no immediate (perhaps none ever) pressure for Dad to sell his house. Since an intermediate move would be horribly costly in both our time and emotional strength, and probably cash too, I’d just as soon he stay put. I think he’ll get lonely in that house, by himself, and if Mama is having a good time he might just want to join her.

I’m still holding on to the beautiful images in my heart and mind; the ones where my parents are in safe places, where the daily struggles are eased and all their energy can be expended on pleasures, joys and interests. Where we can visit often and find them with eyes alert and full of things to say. Where it doesn’t feel like a hospital unless one of them is actually sick, not just old.
Even my sister, who thinks prayer is whining, had to admit she’s been praying this past week. But I know that prayer, along with all the other ways we tap into the spiritual world, are the tools we were born to use, the ones we were given right from the start, to make it possible to go over rough ground. I’m not a proselytizer. I pretty much believe in letting people work it out for themselves. But I was glad to hear she had opened up her heart a bit and she told me herself she was saying thank you all the way from Chippenham Parkway to Maidens Road.

So. Is this a knitting blog? Fiber blog? Well, no it’s really just TheQueen’s blog and F stuff has been the important stuff lately. I picked up the supplies for my Saturday class. Yum. Each student gets 2 circular needles, size 7; 2 skeins of yarn, one white one pastel; 1 darning needle and some paper handouts. I’ll start them with the knitted on cast on and we’ll make the little bunny from the Heartstrings website. This will give them a chance to learn cast-on, bind-off, knit and purl. With the square that makes up the bunny body they can learn how to measure gauge and see the nature of stockinette stitch - which curls up and back. The little bunny ears teach how to decrease.

The next thing I’ll show them is how to knit with 2 circular needles and we’ll make a little doll’s hat. (oh. yeah. I better knit one today. Lawsee!) The purpose for the hat is to teach them how to increase and how to combine knit and purl into rib. If there is time I’ll show them how to do a simple little cable and what that looks like on a chart. I have 5 hours to teach, with a break for lunch. We’ll do the bunny in the morning. Right before lunch I want to do a lecture about how to look at knitting patterns (and their lying fashion layout photos) in a critical way so they don’t knit for months on a sweater that makes them look horrible after they put it on. I’ll go re-read Maggie Rhigetti’s chapter on that when I’m done here.

TheKipFee? What’s that? My sweater? Huh?

Oh. That thing.

Well, I looked at it yesterday. About all I had the energy to do. I have had slog work on my desk for weeks. What I did was plow through about 60% of it - maybe 70%. I will get back to TheKipFee sometime. That’s about all I can promise.


posted by Bess | 6:54 AM


You're still in my prayers, and those of my prayer group. God Bless. Have a wonderful, fiber-filled week.

By Blogger Mary, at 10:01 AM  

Dearest Bess,
Been thinking about you & your family - sending lotsa of love & light to you all.

By Blogger Martha, at 7:39 PM  

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007  

Well my loves. The news out of Richmond is that my dad went ballistic when he found he had to give 5 days notice to get out of rehab or Medicare wouldn’t pay for his stay. He said, in such shamefully colorful words I could not reproduce them here, that he’d gladly pay $1,000 to get the aich out of there. Mama was on the phone with tremors in her voice. I have wrung a promise from sister that if they don’t hire a night nurse and she gets a call at 2 a.m. she will not drive over to their house and take them to the hospital. She will call 911 and go back to sleep. (Well, she won’t, unfortunately, but tough love is needed here.) This is budget week for me with a big class to teach on Saturday. If I get a call from CWJ hospital that "this is the big one ‘Lizabeth" - I’ll go over there. But if they’re just in a nasty bind, they will have to get themselves out of it. I actually know how much $ my daddy has and if he won’t "giiiit uhp offitt" then he can just lay down on it.

No. I haven’t done any knitting. I pick up the needles and then put them down. I am just not able to focus. The materials for my kits for Saturday’s classes came in, though. They’re at the post office and I’ll pick them up on the way into work. I hope if I fondle them as I assemble the packages, I will be inspired. I did find the sample bits and pieces I’d knit up. Now it’s just a matter of sewing them together. I have 5 hours to teach these ladies. I hope they’ll have two finished projects to take home.

Ahh yes. Yes. Seeing smiling faces on happy students - in my mind’s eye - is such a balm of a vision. Must remember. Fill head with only beautiful things.

You do the same, my wonderful friends.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM


Bess, I'm glad to hear that you've made some progress with your parents. I'm sure you're exhausted after each day, family stress is the hardest kind, I think. I really hope your dad gets to a place where he realizes what is really best for him. My thoughts are with you and your family.

By Blogger erica, at 9:10 AM  

Thank you for the update on what surely must have been a draining, if productive weekend. May too many wonderful things to count come into your life this week! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:33 AM  

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Monday, March 05, 2007  

Thank you my dear ones, for the many powerful prayers you’ve sent me the past 2 weeks; Prayers, meditations, images, wishes. This weekend we made the first real breakthrough with our parents - the one that I believe will result in both of them being in a safer and ultimately happier place. It was a long weekend, one I dreaded, for it was my job to create a financial profile for my father - a man who still keeps pretty good records, but whose paperwork I have never examined. Unless you are a professional, it is daunting to assemble anyone else’s financial records and it’s even harder to do it when you’re under a time constraint and you have the emotional pressure of family-under-stress.

But I am a librarian. My job is to restore order. And I'm my Daddy’s daughter. And I’ve restored order to BD’s bookkeeping. It was a slow process, but it came to a successful completion and it created not only the financial blueprint for everybody to see, but, of far greater importance, it enabled me to offer Daddy sincere praise for his financial acumen.

I don’t know why a man who had always been quite able to manage his money, was so unable to look at the bottom line this time. Why he dreaded it so. What he thought we were going to think about him, say about him. What demons froze him just at the moment of knowledge and trapped him in the hell of indecision. But I understand how that can happen. It’s happened to me enough times in my life. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have a calm, unjudging hand to clasp mine and lead me up to whatever it was that frightened me so and say "Look. See? It’s nothing to be scared of. In fact, it’s very nice."

Glad I had the chance to play it forward.

Daddy had been released to re-hab on Friday and a nurse has been taking care of Mama from noon to 8. My sister has been filling in the other 16 hours and is about to snap. As I have mentioned, she’s the workin’est woman I know, but she’s not a perpetual motion machine. She’s fraying badly. Mama was much slower this weekend than she was a few days ago - far less mobile and since she has no concept of time passing, pretty much constantly asking for different, even conflicting things. If I let myself, I could fret about how hard it will be on her to be ignored by nursing staff in a group setting. What I do instead is remind myself how much better it will be for her to feel ignored than to feel despised - which is what happens when she’s alone for long stretches with Daddy. His way of dealing with a fretful helpless person is to rage into fury at his inability to help and with someone as needy as Mama - he will be unable to help just about 100% of the time.


He has agreed that she will move to assisted living. He’s just caviling over which. It is my sincere hope that he will see that the difference between the nicest one and the next level down is not worth the price, but sister is in charge of that part. We have told Mama she will be moving within the next 2 weeks. She’s visited the nice place and agrees that it looks like a good place to be. But I know she’s conflicted about living apart from Daddy and living in a strange place and oh - all the many pricks one feels when one must pass through the weedpatch of change.

Truth is, I am conflicted too. This past week that demon-tongue of sadness began licking at the edges of my consciousness. For so long now we have struggled to get our parents to break up their own home and settle into institutional life - because they are frail and falling and sick and breaking and aching and risking their lives and the lives of everyone else driving on Midlothian Turnpike. They can’t care for themselves and they’re tired of failing to take care of each other. They quarrel and fight and shriek and rage at each other, when neither can help being old and frail. Now that they are about to make that change - at least in part, for Daddy insists he will never move into a group setting, I’m forced to look at a life that doesn’t include visiting Mama’s house ever again. As I moved about her house - which is not any place I ever lived, but is where she has lived longer than any place else, images flipped over and over, memories of the past 30 years. Though none of them are childhood memories, they are full of LD growing up, of holidays and ordinary days and long chats and well, they still cover more than half of my own life.

I realize that it would be easier for me, emotionally, if they were both going. It would also have been far easier if they’d made this choice when they were younger and healthier; when they could have made this decision as part of a wise preparation for inevitable extreme old age, instead of as a last desperate effort, long past the time when they could make a happy adjustment. It’s a valuable lesson for me. Lawsee I hope I remember it when I’m about 75.

I still haven’t achieved my vision yet - of Mama in a safe place where people are kind to her and enjoy her and where she is happy, and where Daddy is also safe and happy - but I’m a lot closer than I was 10 days ago. I’m clinging tight to those visions. And I’m mighty thankful for the friends who have reached out to me here. You are all the greatest.

I didn’t knit a stitch the whole time I was gone. I never could settle down to it. I’m teaching a long 5 hour class on Saturday and I really hope to wear TheKipFee that day. Class prep, though, both writing and sample knitting, and getting my 2007-8 library budget through the budget process and story hour and a dentist appointment and all the rest of ordinary life have all lined up in front of me and maybe TheKipFee will get done and maybe it won’t. I certainly won’t knit it in a flurry of stress stitching. I’ll just take it along as show-and-tell - since it’s so beautiful.

I think I shall make a game this week, of seeing how many wonderful things can happen. Yes. That’s a good way to start out a cold, crisp, sunshiny Monday morning. Good knitting to you all, my lovely friends.


posted by Bess | 7:38 AM


Sweetheart, were you just born wise? Or with little wisdom-buds on the tips of your fingers? Or what?


By Blogger Jane, at 7:14 AM  

You seem to have worked out the dynamics of the situation, and found a way of coping.

My prayers go with you.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 9:32 AM  

My prayer for you is peace and comfort and strength and wisdom and patience and guidance and love. May you have a blessed weekend.

By Blogger Mary, at 3:44 PM  

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Saturday, March 03, 2007  

Carpenters never have any shelves in their own homes. Bakers' families are forever running out of bread. When you do something all day long for other people, it is hard to then find enough time to do it for yourself. You are in the reassurance business. Wherever you go, whenever you open your mouth, you make other people feel better about themselves. You inspire trust. Yet secretly, inwardly, you now feel nervous. Don't be. Despite your misgivings, it is going to be a fine weekend.

Mr.Horoscope has never been so accurate for me in all the year’s I’ve been reading him, nor offered so succinctly what I yearn to hear. I am off again this weekend to try to do my part in the Circ de Chaos that is my elderly, infirm parents’ lives. Going as faithful servant too, which is not a comfortable place for me. In my real life I am either a benevolent boss (dictator, my staff might say) or a full partner. Here, I am often nothing more than the tongue that says "there, there". When I have to go up there I repeat the mantra "I am a pillar of love that brings ease and comfort." I have no authority, no body follows my advice, though all agree that it is sound and good and I didn’t offer it till it was asked for. Often when I come home from another stretch up there, I feel as if I’ve done nothing but sink into the torpor of suspended animation, having merely oozed out some sort of Ointment of Sympathy.

If I had a friend who insisted upon doing stupid things that caused injury to herself and pain to those who loved her - and if said friend went years refusing to change, always making stupid choices based on what she remembered having, not upon what she had now, no matter how many options I, or other loved ones presented to her - we would drift apart and she would become a memory.

Ya can’t quite do that with parents.

And had my sister not fallen in love with a wonderful man and moved back east - I would have handled things very differently.

But if’s are not horses. I shall not ride. I shall drive over to that place and do my dooty. And Mr.Horoscope promises success anyway. Cool, hmmm?

Taking socks to knit in the evenings. Be back Sunday night.

posted by Bess | 6:02 AM


Hi Bess,
You will be in my prayers! See you in a little less than two weeks! Yipee!

By Anonymous Patti, at 12:43 AM  

You're in my prayers this weekend, too, in addition to the prayers of the ladies in my prayer group.

I love your sock, and that afterthought heel is way cool -- I need to look into that one of these days.

By Blogger Mary, at 3:40 PM  

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Thursday, March 01, 2007  

Long silences like this aren’t typical of TheQueen but I have had a combination of early morning meetings, hair cuts, trips to Richmond that have kept me away from my normal leisurely stroll across the keyboard. It’s likely to be this way for some time. While we were able to deal with the immediate crisis of aging parents last week, we haven’t actually moved any closer to real solutions. This weekend I’m off again to the House-0-Denial to see if real progress can be made. Heh. So. My loves. I am asking for a new prayer this time around. Please see me finishing up the mining of the paperwork in one weekend. Because I am smack in the middle of budget time at work, teaching schedule in my fiber life and BD needs to drive off with the car in about a week. There are Things To Do.

Poor KipFee weeps in the bag beside Pop’s chair. All the pieces for the samples for March 10th’s class have gone into hiding. I can re-knit them but I would prefer not to - since they then must be sewn up. I ordered the supplies for the kits yesterday but didn’t ask for rush order - I hope they haven’t sent it out yet because I’m going to call and offer to pay the extra for 3 day delivery. It’s bad enough I had to go buy socks for BD because I haven’t been able to do laundry for 3 weeks. There’s a load running right now because I’ll be home early enough to bring it in off the line this evening. Thank goodness we’re moving into spring, not winter.

But the real reason I’ve been so sluggish about posting is that it would just be too easy to start listing the woes and demands clawing at me and making jaded comments about people who can’t play nicely. And then I’d start to sound miserable, when the truth is - outside of the cloak of demands that wants to wrap itself around me - no - in spite of it - I feel really happy. The mornings are so pretty this time of year when the birds are singing their springtime songs, which, believe me, in the country, is quite a chorale. The coffee smells so delicious percolating on the stovetop. Bad dogs have dragged vile things out of the woods and lie in the front yard, warning their siblings with low growls to stay away, while giving me those innocent looks and wagging tails. They know their prizes are safe from me. All the little routines of life are in place and have such a comforting feel to them. Ha! Even knowing I won’t get to clean the house this weekend tickles up a little wistful feeling because that humble tidying of my environment seems like a precious ritual instead of the usual burdensome HouseWork.

I did knit the cutest wee sock as part of a demo kit of sock techniques. I made my first afterthought heel and I am in love. It’s pretty. It’s easy. It’s clever. It’s swift. I am not sure it won’t become my favorite heel. Here is a picture. Too bad it’s in a dark yarn so the stitching may not show up. Clever clever knitters, to think up such fiber engineering. Love that heel

One of these days I will gussie-up-grade the sidebar of this blog. And come this summer, when there is a new computer and satellite internet in TheCastle, I’ll fully re-vamp the whole layout. Those of you who still stop by - especially those of you who comment and send me encouragement - please know how much I appreciate your loving gifts. They, too, are a very big part of why I am happy in spite of all the chaos whirling around right now. I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

posted by Bess | 7:50 AM