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


I seem to recall some pretty peacock pottery at a shop we visited in Tappahannock. Perhaps you need to run back and buy it?

And peacock colors -- don't even get me started. Just take a look at my stash....

By Blogger Mary, at 11:30 AM  

Oh, I can see it too, as you described it - the wall, the shelf - perfect! What is it about peacock colors? My stash is full of 'em too.

By Blogger Catherine, at 5:51 AM  

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Friday, June 29, 2007  

So. I didn't lie -because I had no idea I'd have this wee bit of time to post today. Since I do, though, here is a picture of my Studio Talisman. What? Not a sheep? Not angora bunnies? Nope. Of course, I might find a way to knit peacock lace or to spin peacock feathers into yarn, but what really got me was the color, which, in real life, is a more luminous peacock blue. And it's shape, all sinuous and soaring at the same time. And it is one of the very few things I've seen, out shopping, that made my mouth water and unleashed a visceral urge to reach-out-and-hold bubble up right from my toes. But it was the color first. Because I can see it on an off-white painted shelf against the backdrop of a peach colored wall. On the west wall where the fireplace will be. Just a little happy swoopy curve of peacock blue and teal green with a wink of orange and yellow that whispers of swinging hammocks and green lawns and time to play. That's a lot to get from a bit of clay burnt hard in a kiln.

Getting ready to turn the heel on the first of BD's Regia sock. I've switched to smaller needles for the sole stitches. But it's just a Regia sock yarn in brown and white stripes. It's .. it's just a sock. Not worth a photo.

But there. I will photograph the Christmas Sock Yarns over the weekend and post them on Monday. Un-knit, of course, but selected, at least.

posted by Bess | 8:49 AM


Dearest Bess,
Good luck w/ all you have on your plate!
And good luck as you hit 6/30 - it's the end of the fiscal year for us at work too.

By Blogger Martha, at 8:16 PM  

Just take care of The Queen. Your subjects will wait patiently for her Highness' return. :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:45 PM  

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Thursday, June 28, 2007  

Lawsee. I owe a half dozen people letters. I haven't posted in days. I shan't be able to post tomorrow because I have early meetings and then a mad dash to the parents' to consult with sister and father and real estate man. It's the busiest summer at the library I can remember, though everyone is good spirited about things. Patrons are patient and the programs have all been big hits so far. Of course, tomorrow is the last day of the fiscal year so I'm scrabbling around my desk trying to do the money thing correctly. Yep. It's just that wizzy, busy time in a library.

So. I think I can get back with knitting news or other tidbits of the Life-0-The-Queen by Saturday.


posted by Bess | 6:06 PM


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Tuesday, June 26, 2007  

Do you feel like you’ve rounded a corner and, though the road ahead may be long, at least you can see it, and where it’s going? Hmmm. That’s what we are all supposed to feel now that Neptune and Saturn have parted ways and the tension between idealism and pragmatism has eased. Let us see, then, if we are so lucky.

My tension is certainly cranked down now that I know the performers for today are coming. As for the absolute cock up I made of the QuickBooks program, well. That is just in the accounts receivable chart. It didn’t effect the check register and I can still pay all the bills that have to be paid - and I shall make a call in to the local accountants to see if anybody there wants to do a little moonlighting and clean up our program. If not - I know that J in Northumberland knows someone who does this for a reasonable fee.

So, there you have it. I can at least see the road ahead, hmmm? And I contacted Weston Woods, who does those marvelous film versions of children’s books, and charges a foot and a hand for public performance rights, but not the whole arm and leg. They apologized profusely for completely ignoring my 6 week old film order and promised me the Beverly Cleary films would be shipped yesterday, so I am all right and tight for our family film nights for the rest of the summer.

Hmmm. Altogether, not a bad Monday at all.

Fortylevendyhundred years ago when I first started working at the library I got caught one June with $$$ to spend. This was when I was a simple clerk and the board members responsible for the actual running of the place dropped the ball. Those were the days when there were still some women of substance, who did good works in the community, but who had never written a check or balanced a checkbook. Our board treasurer was such a one and when I found out in mid-June that this was the case and we were about to commit the cardinal sin of bureaucracies - Not Spending The Whole Budget - oh my goodness. I believe that was the moment when I began to take over the duties, and then later the role and title, of library director. I also did a mad dash to a bookstore, probably somebody like Cokesbury’s, and went on a mammoth book buying spree.

Since then I have been careful to always spend the whole budget before June is up, of course, but not more than I am likely to spend next year, factoring in the increase in the county budget and using my prognosticating powers to calculate any emergencies and whether they’ll have to come out of the library budget or if they are big enough to come out of general funds. That’s what librarians really do - that, and chase teenage boys off of computers when their turn is up. Alas, that I must burst your bubble. Though it is a fun enough job, we do not read books all day.

An awful lot of librarians knit, though. I’m always tickled to see the needles gently dipping whenever I’m at a meeting. For the longest time there was really only one true knitter, and she would pull out the most glorious projects. She knit that British sweater with the grape clusters made of bobbles one year and my mouth fairly watered. There was an embroiderer as well, but she has long since retired. At that time, my passion was my sewing machine, which would not have fit in a meeting room at VLA conferences and would have been too noisy anyway. Now though, you see that scoop and loop movement of tiny needles and hooks at all the meetings. I’m very bold about it and always pull out my stichery, though I keep my hands low and my movements small. And if my neighbor twitches or looks at me from the corner of her eye, I put my knitting away before she feels compelled to speak. But 2 weeks ago, when I was at the meeting in Richmond, after the break, almost every woman at my table slipped back to her room and returned with needles and yarn. At the next break we had a little show and tell.

As for what I am knitting now it is ... guess...

Yep. Nice striped Regia socks for BD - unless he says they are too loud - which he might. One never knows with him. They are guy colors, but there is a white stripe in them. He might think they are TooBright. They are also guy sized, though, so I can always give them to the other guy I knit socks for. And I’ve pulled out the Regia Silk socks I’m making in a lace pattern, on a long Addi Lace needle, using the magic loop technique. It’s an easy way to knit socks, especially when you have a good pointy tipped needle with a supple cable. And I reeeeeealy love the pattern I’m using, (a BW, upside down) but you have to shift the stitches around from time to time, because of the decreases in the lace pattern - and honestly? I think this pattern would be easier to knit on DP’s. It’s so much easier to just slip one stitch off a short stiff little DP than it is to draw all that cable through one poor helpless little stitch.

Of course I didn’t know this when I started the sock and I suffer from a numbed nerve in my ring finger when I knit with DP’s, so, though I can, I rarely do knit with them. Only when I want to intimidate or impress people.

I finished the commissioned socks on Sunday night but they were still damp yesterday morning. I’ll ship them out today and pat myself on my back for making my own deadline. I just hope I met my customer’s.

I don’t know what sort of weather you might be having, but we are in a serious bad drought. I have seen only one drought worse than this in my life, but we are still early into the summer. There’s time for this year to catch up with 2002. We haven’t yet seen the scorch of a July sun or the crushing Bermuda Highs of August. If we make $400 from the cornfield this year it will be a miracle. The wheat was harvested yesterday and whatever we make from it will be salted away in the cellar to save for taxes in the fall. Because at this rate - no soybean would sprout in the Sahara-in-the-Making that is this sad Virginia farm.

And yet - I can’t help but ponder the coincidence of a drought during this, the 400th anniversary of Englishmen in the new world. There was an equal, if not worse, drought occurring here at that time. In fact, that summer, a delegation of Pamunkey Indians came to Jamestown and asked the English, whose god was obviously very powerful, to petition their god for an end to this drought. Sort of makes you feel the bond of kinship to those ancient peoples, all those long years ago.

Huh. I didn’t mean to end this on a downer. Obviously the rains did come and they will again. Still and all - maybe I’ll go out and do a little rain dance and see if one of those scattered showers will drift on over my fields.

posted by Bess | 7:31 AM


I'm like you in that I can also not look at what I don't want to see. Problem is, I don't get all that much joy from housecleaning, either, so, pigsty it remains.

Haven't read a single HP book or seen a single HP movie. I know - it's like not owning a television! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 11:23 AM  

Book 3 is my absolute favorite, I think because Sirius reminds me of a certain man I'm married to... this is also likely the reason I found him in the movie to be "all wrong" (of course, he wasn't, he just wasn't a dark version of my husband)

But I did a massive clean this week, and still going, since it involved furniture rearranging - I'm incapable of straightening. Can't do it. I must dive in full steam ahead, make things MUCH worse before they get better, and reorganize everything. And I'm really enjoying the huge empty places where there used to be furniture... so hopefully I can keep the steam up and make more empty spaces and better arrangements!

By Blogger Amie, at 10:19 PM  

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Sunday, June 24, 2007  

I feel a little silly about how really good it feels to have a sparkly clean house. I am sure it’s the Virgo thing, because we are both lazy and clean, which means we can not look at what we don’t want to see a lot better than many other folk, but we know and care more about what we’re ignoring. Anyway, I am feeling really good because the house is clean and the whole of a day stretches before me with only my own choices - nothing that will whisper all day "If you don’t do thissssssssssss now you’ll be ssssssssssorry nexxxxxxxxxxt week."

I am watching the Harry Potter movies again, in preparation for the upcoming summer premier of #5. This was the book I liked the least - the only one I didn’t finish and the one that almost made me skip book #6. I groused about er, critiqued book 5 some time ago, both when it came out or when book 6 did so I shan’t repeat complaints about the very stupid trait that seems so admired by English story tellers, (and their American readers) of never saying what’s on your mind - all the way up to the point of not even warning someone when his life is threatened. And I think JKR went a long way to redeeming herself with #6.

I liked Goblet of Fire the best of all the books. I liked the interesting introduction, that long international quidich match and the overall opening up of the Hogwarts folk to the international wizard community. Of the movies, Sorcerer’s Stone and Prisoner of A. are about tied for favorite for me. #1 because it was such a thrill to see all the magic and #3 because I liked the expansion of the plot to a wider environment. But I was disappointed in the movie version of Goblet of Fire, which I felt was so edited to make it fit into the financial plans of theaters that there was only plot and not much fun magic. So. I hope this year’s blockbusterentertainment will be better, i.e. have more magic. And I’ll get to find out who all those new folk are and what happened in Order of the Phoenix.

Is this a knitting blog?


Socks. I am knitting socks. Who would have believed that?

What is taking so long on these socks. And guess what the July Knitters Almanac says I’m supposed to be knitting?


Yep. Christmas socks that can’t be shown because they are gifts.

posted by Bess | 10:07 AM


Cote d'azur! Man, doesn't that sound wonderful about now? Perhaps we should visit and root out that knitter!

By Blogger Mary, at 11:20 AM  

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Saturday, June 23, 2007  

This is a public blog so there are lots of things I don’t write about. They are either too trivial or too personal or not personal enough, for they involve others. But it is also the only record of my life for the past 4 and a half years. So when a week like this tumbles out of the sky, a week crammed so full my brain quit functioning, and yet it wasn’t a week glorious enough to justify eloquence, I’m sort of inclined to break my Rule Of The BlabberMouth and put down a mnemonic list, just in case I ever want to remember that it really can get worse, that things aren’t so bad.

Because this was the week that:
* SRC began with a kick-off program that was wildly successful, whose other weekday activities were attended by twice the number of children we’ve ever had before. We had 4, count 'em, FOUR, packed programs this week. Imagine giving 4 birthday parties for about 100 children in 4 days.
* A drunk man was sleeping by the front door on Tuesday (Lawsee, I’d forgotten about that. In a town where there are no visible homeless people that’s a real standout.) He spent the day but he wasn’t there on Wednesday.
* Somebody tried to break into the library. Police were swarming around while the children were coming in for story hour
* The expensive alarm system we put in didn’t go off when the person tried to break in, even though it will go off if a mouse creeps across the floor.
* One of my summer workers found out she had to go to summer school and won’t be working after all - try hiring a good temp this late in the summer!!
* There was a mistake in one of my bank deposit records on QuickBooks. Not a math error, just a mis-label. I thought "heck, easy to change that". WRONG. Now there is a BIG math error. And all the books must close - accurately - next Friday. Thank you retrograde Mercury.
* Walked into a restaurant with only one table filled - by my sister in law - of BH’s Horrific Custody Hearing - and my husband’s x-wife. And the only table with comfortable chairs is the one exactly next to them!! I mean, what do you do? Walk out?
No. You can only laugh. And slap on your southern sugar smile. And laugh again, because fate’s other name has to be Anansi.

And all this is going on this week - a week of unbelievable busy-ness at work - at the Same Time that I have out of town guests I reeeeeealy love and want to be with AND we have to drive 100 miles to a crucial-but-fit-you-in doctor visit for BD’s eye. Which is healing nicely, yes, and thank you for asking. He will be just fine after a month of lounging about and taking it easy. Which is funny since he’s the least taking-it-easy sort of fellow, while I, who have been rushed off my feet, could probably be a slug for a month and be glad of it!

Surround this week with no rain at all and corn tasseling at hip height with no ears on it - well. Well. Well what a week!

Wonder what next week will bring?

Oh - and - whoever is reading this from the cote D'azur - Wish I were there.

posted by Bess | 7:57 AM


Amen to that, sistah! I'm officially starting Birthday Week tomorrow (why wait for Sunday), major indulgences are on the to do list!

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:23 PM  

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Friday, June 22, 2007  


And never have I needed it to be Friday more.

posted by Bess | 6:38 AM


You're very welcome, Miss Bess. Glad they're fixed. I actually went back in your archives yesterday to your very first month of posts and started reading, and really enjoyed myself! And I love your little sketches! :-)

Now, what will it take to get you to turn on your RSS feed for those of us now using feed readers? Hmmm? Pretty please? Sugar on top?

By Blogger Mary, at 4:54 PM  

If we toss cashmere and shiny beads your way, will that do it?

Glad you got the archives back -- I browse them every so often, too.

By Blogger Jane, at 6:43 AM  

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Thursday, June 21, 2007  

Just a pop in to say hello. We have guests right now and computer time is scarce. In addition, we’re off to see the dr. for an eye check-up. And work is intensely busy. And the heat broke yesterday giving us the sweetest of days. Still knitting socks. I got new glasses and it is much easier on my eyes now.

Gigantic Bouquet of Thanks goes to M, who lent me a little code to put into the blog - and bring back my archives. What a relief that was. Thank you thank you thank you, Miss M.

I posted my observations about those Addi Lace needles on the KRForums and Karin Skacel wrote a lovely post about metric vs. American sizing. And I know about it, and all. I don’t usually pull out my metric ruler and measure knitting needles and I know that different brands are ever so slightly differently sized, but they’re all pretty close to the same width. And my Addi Lace needles still look thicker than my Addi Turbos. But guess what. They aren’t. The #2 lace needles are 3.00 mm and by gum, the #3 Turbo needles are 3.5 mm. And they look like the same until you put that ruler behind them.

I am guessing it’s the matte coating on the lace needles that both keeps your silky lace yarn from slipping off in your project bag AND makes those needles look thicker.

Mind now. I am only guessing, because they still look thicker to me.

And mind now. I love knitting with them.

In fact, maybe there’s a little time to go knit with them now - so. Ta. I’ll be back.

posted by Bess | 6:29 AM


Hooray - your archives are fixed!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:20 PM  

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007  

The first day of SRC was a smashing success. We don’t usually have a kick-off program, mostly because we’ve been too busy and too poor (end of fiscal year, you know) to put one on. This year we hired Magic4U out of Richmond, in large part thanks to J and N at the Northumberland Public Library who was looking for a partner to get the price down. Well.

Well and well. That was absolutely the best magic act I’ve ever seen. Bar none this show was a riot, was pumped, was fun, and durn if he didn’t worm some Virginia info into his show. I’m still laughing at how much fun this fellow was. Crazy wild goofy fun - just the sort I absolutely love to participate in. He’ll be back with us again and it just so happened that the elementary school PTA president was in the audience and I bet he’ll be doing a show for the school too.

If you’re I the Richmond area and are looking for a bang up program give them a look-see. They do parties too.

I was so impressed with the magician (who does have a name, Brad, I believe) I called J and N to thank them. J answered (she’s my counterpart) and had to thank me for telling her about On The Lamb in Staunton. She’d visited at my urging and had to agree with me. That’s the happiest, most fun place to spend the day. So. It’s official, with the stamp of approval of TWO knitting librarians. You just have to visit this Fun Yarn Shop, in Staunton, VA.

Company coming tonight - best be off getting this place ready.


posted by Bess | 7:38 AM


How is B.D.'s eye?

By Blogger Mary, at 5:10 PM  

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Monday, June 18, 2007  

Heat is here at last. We’ve had a reprieve for the past week. Cool crisp days, some clouds, no rain, some gorgeous blue skies. As I was driving back from the doctor’s on Saturday I thought “Oh, if only every summer day could be like this.” And then I sighed.

But real Virginia summertime is rolling in today. It got up to about 90 yesterday but the humidity was still down in the 60% range. We’re in for it this week so I am glad I’ll be spending my days in the A/C world of library books - even though today is Day 1 of SRC. Yep. It’s that time again, summer reading club for children 3-11. I’m expecting that everything is in order for the opening day. I have good staff. But for the life of me, I don’t know that it’s all right and tight. I just know it’s going to be Some Heckuva Monday.

One nice thing about losing my archives is that I can write the same old stuff all over again. I am sure in the archives-that-were there is a rant about that stupid rainbow fish book. I felt a tad bit guilty writing yesterday’s rant knowing that I’d been over this ground again. But I notice, now that only 20 people a day are logging on and I suspect those are the sort of loyal readers who don’t mind me stepping up on the soap box again.

The ubiquitous sock knitting went on yesterday afternoon, along with some monumental dustbunny eradication via suction. Harry Potter & Co. hunted down the Basilisk. I’m re-watching the first movies, honestly? Just because I like the special effects magic. It’s something I do when BD’s sleeping since he is not an HP fan.

So. It’s Monday. Let us hope it is a smooth sailing one.

posted by Bess | 7:38 AM


Rant on - I tend to agree with you. (I remember hearing someone read the Rainbow Fish book out loud - it came out after my childhood was over - and I couldn't stop thinking, "but doesn't it hurt the poor fish?" And for that matter - how useful is it having just one colorful scale?).

Too often I fall for the trap (being, I suppose, a sympathetic and altruistic Piscean, and also one who is too susceptible to flattery) of people telling me, "Oh, you should take on [thankless volunteer task], you'd be SO GOOD at it!"

And then, four years into doing [thankless volunteer task] (which I had only signed on to do for six months), I do sometimes find myself feeling a bit like a fish who's given his scales away.

(I tend to use the metaphor of monkeybread - that pastry made out of a bunch of little individual rolls stuck together, and the idea is each person pulls off a roll or two...until there aren't any left...)

I really do not mind doing a lot of the things I do, and in fact find many of them rewarding, but I feel like I should be the one who decides whether to do them or not - not someone with a guilt-inducing, "Oh, but you do not have a husband or children to take care of!" (another phrase I truly hate).

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 6:59 PM  

What stood out about the offensive statement to me was the "more" - you couldn't possibly be doing enough for others right now. I do agree that doing for others is important. But I had a wonderful minister once who said it's important not to forget that when we treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves, we need to remember to treat ourselves that way, too.

As for the sock yarn, I hated Tofutsies so much I finished one sock (on the plane, so I was stuck with only that and not my abundant stash) and went back to my LYS, gave them the other half of the ball and the sock and said they could have it as a sample, but I didn't want it at all. I'm wooed by the candy-colors of it, and may eventually buy another ball when time has faded my hatred, but blech.

By Blogger Amie, at 1:05 PM  

That Rainbow Fish story reminds me of people who make comments about ball players or billionaires who shouldn't be paid so much and should instead share their wealth equally with the rest of the world. I read someone's recommended reply to that once, which I thought was amusing. They said that the next time someone rants about "sharing the wealth equally", you should reply with "Oh, I didn't know you were a Communist!" ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 5:08 PM  

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Sunday, June 17, 2007  

How about a new career? Think of all the skills that you don't use as fully as you could. Consider the lights that you hide under a series of bushels. Might we not all benefit if only you would let yourself off the leash and do more of what you are truly capable of? Perhaps you feel that you are not holding yourself back. Others are somehow doing this for you. You are being impeded by circumstances beyond your control. Or are you? Are you just using this as a convenient excuse? This week brings a rare, real chance to manifest the magic that lies in your heart of hearts.

Okay - I am going to indulge in a mini-rant. The above quote is from Mr.Horoscope, who doesn’t really intend to offend and does, I am sure, intend to encourage us C A R E F U L Virgos to dive into life a little deeper. Well and good. But this particular choice of encouraging words: “Do you not owe it to the world to make a more comprehensive contribution?” is one of the most offensive statements I know; in my own case, guaranteed to make me balk, resist and ignore.

It goes along with “You have such a talent for: *.* (music, art, rhetoric, dancing, writing, math, yada yada and yada) You owe it to the world (?!?!HUH!?!?) to *.* (paint, sing, speak, dance, write, enumerate, y.y.y.) more!” It is something I heard often enough as a child, tossed out with the intention of making me willingly give up more of my personal space and scare free time to practicing. I hear it still today far more than I would have believed people would have the effrontery to make. And it is utter wicked jealousy and greed talking.

Just because someone has a talent for something doesn’t mean the rest of the world has a right to demand they perform. Just because the world thinks a capricious fate gave one person a talent for something, does it follow that said fate gave the person a desire to do that thing!

This attitude, that the world has a right to your treasure simply because you have it and the world wants it, is the foundation of the communist mindset. There is an evil children’s book (that I won’t have in the library) called The Rainbow Fish. It’s about a fish with beautifully colored scales. All the other fish want one of its scales and ask the fish to give away “... just one scale. That won’t hurt you will it?” Of course ALL the other fish want just one scale and when the fish refuses, ALL the other fish shun it and refuse to let it join in any fishy games. In the end, the fish is so lonely it gives away one scale to every fish and it’s left with one scale and then we’re all so equal and sharing and isn’t this a nice way to play? Aren’t we all happy that nobody has more than his share? Of course, nothing is said of the fact that ripping the scales off a fish is likely to kill it, but who cares. Everyone deserves to have pretty scales and to destroy the pretty fish who lucked out and got them. Right? It’s only Fair? Right?

Well, that book so horrified me I never replaced it when it eventually got swiped off the shelves, since, of course, just because somebody wanted it soooo badly, really, the rest of the library users ought to be willing to do without it, right?

But there, we try to inculcate those Jeffersonain ideals, but we only succeed so far. And I am heartily glad to be rid of that wicked book. And all this blather is just because of the harmlessly intended statement by Mr.Horroscope about me or anybody else owing the world specific gifts. I think any gift we wish to bestow ought to be thanked for and after that ...

Well. It will be interesting to see just how well I respond to the secrets being revealed by this new moon, now that Mercury’s retrograde is giving me the time to look back over things. Especially since I go back to work on Monday after 3 days of driving up and down the highway to doctors. BD is fine, 90% sure the retina will stay put, under strict house arrest, and sleeping a lot. This time the healing is much less messy and juicy than the last time (he had this surgery).

Oddly, I am still knitting on a prototype sock. I’m just checking on what happens when I use a slightly bigger needle - there really is a difference between a #3 and a #2. And speaking of the difference, has anybody noticed that the new Addi Lace needles are not sized the same as their regular needles? I was 5 minutes away from The Knitting Basket, on Grove Ave, while BD was in surgery so I stopped in to pick up a pair - and to get a ball of that sock yarn with crab shells in it. After all, I live in the land of the blue crab. I had a sock on a pair of 3’s in my purse and when I compared them to the new needles, my old Addi 3’s are the same thickness as their new Lace 2’s. What is going on here?

I love those lace tipped needles, though.

We have company coming this week and my house hasn’t been cleaned in weeks so today I will be the maid. It’s also supposed to turn very hot this week. Eh. Well. These are sailing people. They will be glad of the summer weather when they’re on the boats. And no. BD can’t go out with them. Good thing they are not only sailors, but have the same sailboat!

Okay, where is that vacuum?

posted by Bess | 7:51 AM


I am like you on the "yelping." I tend very much to wear my heart on my sleeve, so I understand.

That said: I am so pleased to hear his surgery went well (and yes, although I didn't have time to post a comment, be assured I knew, and I was praying for him) and I hope he has a continued smooth recovery.

I am happy to hear they have improved the retina surgery; I know someone who had it years ago and it was....well, let's just say, unpleasant.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 3:42 PM  

I'm sticking to my guns. I've decided that I will keep a little notebook of ideas that come to me about things I would make if I had the yarn, and revisit the list when the yarn fast is over and see how many items still give me the urge. I'm betting about 25% will have staying power and I'll eventually buy the yarn to make 'em. The rest are a fleeting impulse.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:27 AM  

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Friday, June 15, 2007  

We had a long day in Richmond. I suppose since BD had to be fitted into their schedule of appointments we should be glad we got in at all, and of course, since we didn’t know exactly where the office was we left a good bit early. The result was 3 and a half hours in the Dr.’s office and we get to go back today for the surgery. It’s the same surgery he had in ‘99 but it’s now outpatient surgery, which means that we get to go back to Richmond tomorrow for the doctor to see how he is healing and take off the bandages. At the cost of gas, these days, we’re almost spending as much as a night in the hospital.

But this is a pretty time of year to be driving up and down the highways. We went home a new way yesterday, meandering through rural Hanover County and coming out of the verdure onto Broaddus’ Flats, through that marvelous tunnel of trees let you peep down the road to Hanovertown. It doesn’t get much prettier than that.

And for all that it is distressing for anybody to have any health issues, neither BD nor I are too bent out of shape about this one. The medicine and treatment for it are sound and well practiced and he is actually happy that now both his eyes will have the same focal length. So. There. We take our pleasures where we find them, hmmm?

I got in lots of knitting time - still making socks. Still not photographing socks. I will get in lots more knitting time today. But this time I will go out to lunch rather than wait around for the doctoring to be done. I suspect BD won’t be too hungry when they’re done with him.

I want to thank all the folk who have written loving encouraging e-mails. I know I tend to yelp out distress calls when BigThingsLoom. Truth is, I do a whole lot better when I feel like there are people who love me and who have my back. I find it weird when people preface spiritual thoughts by saying “I’m not a praying person, but this time ...yada...” I mean, if you don’t get anything out of prayer, fine. But if you do, why stint yourself on it? I get so much out of it that I don’t mind asking everyone out there for a little help. For me it’s an energy thing - a vibrational thing. Like sound waves that have the power to break glass, or cause molecules to unite, I like to have all of that sort of help I can when something spooky or scary or daunting looms up on my horizon. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I believe you made a difference.

And C? Blogger won’t let me post comments today but you stick to your guns with that yarn resolution. I am so glad I did. Doing so was Transformational!

posted by Bess | 9:17 AM


Well, I'm definitely going to watch that movie at some point -- I'm gointg to check my local listings to see if the Nat'l Geo channel will be airing it. Otherwise -- Netflix it is! How exciting!

So sorry about his eye. I'm just thankful it happened in this age of advanced laser surgery. I have a good feeling that things will work out well, and I will also pray for you guys.

By Blogger Mary, at 11:45 AM  

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Thursday, June 14, 2007  

Who would believe TheQueen could be so silent - MrsLoquacity herself - going days and days without posting. But there you have it. Though the Greek’s say, “All things must flow”, obviously sometimes they must lie quiet.

Rest assured I am knitting. But today I want to talk about BD - which stands for Big Darling - who is my husband, Ed Haile, for those who never did catch his real name. I want to brag on him and I want to ask you all to say a prayer for him too.

First the braggy part - If you haven't seen the move The New World....Nightmare at Jamestown, made by National Geographic - do watch it. It's quite good. The title is unfortunate since it’s the same as the Hollywood one that has Collin Farrell playing a neurotic John Smith, complete with the ubiquitous slack jaw and wet mouth that is what passes for sexy among today’s male stars. They (Natn'l. Geo.) really did a good job getting the facts down and while there is a point of view, it’s not either politically correct OR politically incorrect. They do have the obligatory spooky music to crank up your emotional commitment to the tale, but really, they did a splendid job telling the story. I’d say, for a film, it’s smack on accurate, though BD says the maps aren’t. He would know. He’s Mr. Jamestown.

And that’s really why I’m bragging today because - Ta Da - my darling is one of the talking heads in this movie. I think he’s the first one, in fact, but anyway, he’s the Edward Haile, author of Jamestown Narratives ... and it’s really exciting to see him pop up on the screen - to hear his voice coming out of the box. Call me star struck or innocent, but by golly, call me proud. They used two film clips of Ed. Even though this is really Bill Kelso's movie - he's the archaeologist who has made such wonderful discoveries on Jamestown Island - which is as it should be. I was also pleased to see they made mention of Bartholomew Gosnold because he really is one of the unsung and mostly unknown heroes of Jamestown.

But there’s more!

In the special features section they have the short documentary they made about Smith's voyages around the bay. This film was made 2 summers ago. All the footage of Ed was filmed down here, at the end of our road - right smack on the Rappahannock River. It was thrilling and a little giggly, when, one summer morning, 2 big vans drove down our long long long dirt lane, exciting the dogs into barking frenzies. They pulled up, the doors opened and a bevy of earnest young things in Banana Republic outfits, all decked in cameras and rucksacks, hopped out. They filmed all day, much to the delight of our neighbors who live at the end of the road. They made a 20 minute documentary that is used at museums and unveilings and all the Jamestown events that have the equipment to show movies.

So. Here’s an opportunity to watch lots of good history and all the fun of knowing one of the talking heads! It’s available through Netflix but you might also check your public library.

But the not so good news is that last night the retina in BD's other eye detached. We are going in to Richmond today for surgery. Please think loving thoughts, or pray, or envision him in healing white light.

And you all take care of your eyes too. they are so precious!

posted by Bess | 8:03 AM


Next year you'll have to come along with us to the Mannings Spinning Day - you would love it - it's like a little condenced S&W fest...


By Blogger Amie, at 9:03 PM  

Shoot -- if I weren't going to Blacksburg this weekend, I'd be up for Rivahfest -- sounds like a blast!

By Blogger Mary, at 11:41 AM  

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007  

Woo. The Queen hath not vanished. She’s just in and out of range of both a computer and a block of time - at the same time - long enough to post.

Thursday and Friday I was at a library advocacy conference - where both speakers were quite good, the food was too rich, we sat long hours and I didn’t think to take a bathing suit. I knew where the hotel was and the thought of stripping down on North Boulevard in Richmond was just... not appealing.

We spent all of Saturday either in a car or with family and got home after midnight. Our darling girl of a cousin graduated from high school. I went to her sister’s graduation festivities, 2 years ago - right after BD’s heart attack at a time when I was particularly sensitive to the passing of time. I wrote a post that melted all nostalgic; about driving through My Home Town listening to My Version of Oldies Music and remembering My Old Days Long Ago. This time BD was with me and he insisted on me driving after we missed the Chippenham turnoff ... while taking the southside route which I really don’t like - even if it is shorter. It’s grungier. This was not the nostalgia grip of 2 years ago. Thus it always is for the Second Daughter.

This week started with a Bang and a Buck. A buck out the window that is - or rather, a bunch of ‘em. It’s mid June now and every penny in the library coffers has to be spent by the 30th. So I am bookkeeping like crazy. The Computer Wizard also visited and did glorious things with our machinery. He was completely swept away by our new microfilm reader. It’s fun when you can impress a magician.

We’re also all pitching in to load up the supply cabinet with Stuff for the Summer Reading Program - which begins on Monday. It’s that time again, when we are all where we were hurrying up for. New help starts on Wednesday, more new help comes in on Monday. Can’t start too soon for me.

I am knitting. I am working on a project, though that has been commissioned by someone else and it’s not mine to blab about. It’s fun and just a little challenging for me, to be sure I have everything right. I’m such an 80% knitter myself. I let the inherent stretch of the knit stitch and crimped wool cover up my 20%’s worth of mistakes. This knitting can’t have any mistakes so it’s taking longer than usual.

The rest of the week will be a blur. A fun blur, mind, but possibly fuzzy. Saturday is our town’s outdoor festival, Rivahfest! Ha! I haven’t even had time to look at the weather for Saturday. Well. Let us hope I can find a wonderful jewelry vendor who is selling good, cheap earrings, because broke up the last pair I had by loosing a singleton just last week.

Oh goodness. Just thinking about what lies ahead in the next few weeks is giving me mental eye strain. It’s only 8 weeks to the Family Reunion and I never did get the corrected addresses from cousin Nettie.

Where is my carefree summer going?!?

Okay. Time to start making lists. Be back tomorrow.

posted by Bess | 7:43 AM


Yippee for plans and dreams! I think I'm going to pick up a few of those home plan magazines, next time I'm at the store....

By Blogger Mary, at 2:02 PM  

Wow! When you dream, you dream big!! Here's hoping your dreams come true.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 11:14 PM  

Dearest Bess,
Am catching up on my blog reading & have enjoyed reading of your dreams, aspirations for your wonderful studio, your garden, your knitting.
XOXO to you & all the Ds.

By Blogger Martha, at 8:58 AM  

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Thursday, June 07, 2007  

Hey, thanks for the comments! Welcome to my daydreams.

Putting down my thoughts about the studio created a tremendous energy surge, reminding me that sometimes you really just have to do it. Stop thinking about it. Stop avoiding thinking about it. Quit being afraid it won’t happen or you can’t make it happen and just get on with it. That’s how I created my gardens. I dithered and thought and read and daydreamed about them for a long time, but one day I just took spade in hand and begin digging. The garden evolved from square plots to undulating beds over many years but eventually I had something magical, something uniquely mine created out of my imagination, my soul. Guess it’s time to give the studio the same devotion.

Mind now - my poor garden has almost been abandoned. But it fulfilled its mission - to bring me enormous delight - and to sit in a verdant tangle in the back yard. It can come back to life someday, or not. As I said - it gave me what I wanted when I wanted it. Another of Bess’s Passions, as BD calls them.

The one good thing about gardening as a hobby is that you put all your stash outdoors.

The studio will be a more permanent part of my life and it will have to be shared but the space will have a long future life, no matter who is filling it up. Our house has was never built for a re-sale market. We have been able to indulge our whims up to the maximum of our bank account. The result has been a real reflection of who we are, what we love and what we’re up to. Somebody else can put in the H/Vac after we move into the nursing home.

So. With a little time left before I have to go to work, I think I’ll go sketch a few floorplans. Ta.

posted by Bess | 6:55 AM


Wait -- that was a dream? Is it true that I didn't just have a nice visit with you in your beautiful studio? That it was such a vivid dream surely means it will be so, one day.

As I was reading I was transported back to the old studio of my weaving days. Everything was just so, even in a rental house, and I spent many, many creative and happy hours there.

By Blogger Jane, at 9:26 AM  

Aah, to have a studio, with the right light, the right storage, the right FEEL. I hope yours turns out just the way you envision it, Bess.

I'm so glad we met in real life because every time I read your posts, I hear your voice in my head--and it's great!

By Blogger Nerdy Knitter, at 4:46 PM  

I, too, have been thinking constantly lately about my issue of Not Enough Space, and how I want a house with built-in bookshelves, floor-to-ceiling, on every wall in every room. Too much? I think not! I started thinking that I'll never find such a place, one that also has a Florida room, and vaulted ceilings and skylights like my current home. So now I'm toying with the idea of building.... (Apparently I want more complication in my life!)

By Blogger Mary, at 11:54 AM  

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007  


Studio Dreams

So I’m writing to C about decorating and houses in good neighborhoods that are also affordable and the little holographic StuidoFairy fluttering around my head begins chanting “What about me? What about me? What about me?’

Because I have sadly neglected her lately - that dream of mine - that studio I yearn for - that necessary space for both inspiring and allowing me to indulge in the artistic activities that are such nourishment for my spirit. Flowery language, that sentence, but as I typed it I realized it is the absolute truth. I do not have enough space! I don’t spin - not even on the Golding, because she’s heavy and because it means hauling her out into the middle of the room where one of 4 big dogs will bump into her or where the flute playing man will forget to push the music stand back down when he walks away - and it falls onto her. So she stays safely in the corner.

This is no way to live. There are large projects waiting to be started that also never get brought out into the open. I might even say the very studio planning itself is a victim of Not Enough Space! And forget any serious writing. Although I do have some quiet time in the mornings for writing - it’s difficult to spread out notes and jottings in BD’s office - a tee tiny little sliver off the den (that was supposed to be the master bedroom) chock-a-block full of His Stuff. It’s difficult to feel enough at home to write blog posts and e-mails. At least they are news or conversations or something sort of immanent. If I really wanted to write a flight of fancy I’d absolutely have to have my own space. I’m seeing now that the studio is not a luxurious frivolity. It’s an absolute necessity.

Mind Shift.

Woo. The head is wobbling from that.

Hmmmm. So. What do I want in a studio?

The plan shaping in my head is a large rectangular room - built to the Fibonacci proportions. BD designed the (original) master bedroom to those numbers and while the house was being built, before I knew about Fibonacci Numbers, I always wanted to be in that room whenever I walked around the empty house shell.

It will be off what is now the living/dining room, through the doorway put in the west wall of the house when we built it, since we’d always planned to add this room anyway. Unlike the other rooms downstairs, the doorway into it will have doors hung in it. French doors. My house is all white walls with green painted trim - Williamsburg green, please, I am in Tidewater Virginia, after all. It’s very soothing and neutral enough to go with everything. But I want this room with melon colored painted walls and white woodwork.

BD and I have talked about putting in a straight narrow staircase to the upstairs - for there will be another room up there too, but I’m not sure about the architectural logistics of that. It would run along what is now the East wall of the studio. If we do put one in, I’ll want all the space beneath the staircase to be cabinets. Deep ones with pull out drawers. Imagine pulling out a deep strong shelf and voila! There is your drum carder, all set up and ready to use. And then, when you're done, you can push all those sharp pointy things back into a cabinet and ... Shut The Door! If we don’t have the staircase, that space, to the left of the door into the room can still be cabinets. With Doors. Doors paneled with cork board for pinning up inspirational snippets, photos, swatches....

All that will be to your right as you step through the doorway and it will run the length of the entire east wall. Where that wall meets the north facing wall I want a door to the outside - to the deck outside that will run across the north side of the house up to the back porch. That will make a nice place for a gas grill for dyeing fibers outdoors in the summer time. And for entertaining, of course.

Continuing west along the north wall there will be a large window that matches the other downstairs windows. BD bought these windows when he was building the house. They are out of an old store building in Richmond and they still have those brass handles that old-time store windows used to have. They are not quite 6 feet tall. There were 6 pair of sashes. The final 2 pair have been in the attic all these many years, just waiting for their chance to let the sunshine in.

From that window - which just may have a window seat in front of it - with storage beneath - the rest of that wall and all the west wall will be built in shelves and cabinets and a built in desk. I want a corner computer space so that I can swivel in my chair to look out across the deck onto the marsh where Mr. Bald Eagle likes to dine and over the bay where the swans glide every March. Inspired, I can then turn back to my lovely corner desk, with the shelf above it that holds my beautiful peacock vase, and allow the muses to lead my thoughts from my heart onto the page.

In the middle of the west wall, the all-over bookshelves and cabinets and counter space wall, will be a fireplace. I’d really like a gas log fireplace. We have the propane tanks already since I cook with gas. I suspect BD will squawk at that, but I may be able to plead the old age excuse. I don’t want wood fires in my studio but I do like the idea of a warming flame. In the southwest corner of the room will be my DVD player machine for watching all those fabulous Patsy Z spinning videos. Along the south wall, beneath the matching Old Store Window, I’d like another window seat, this one wide enough to double as a bed. Here I would be willing to have plain walls or more shelves. There is something rather nice about not having to purchase much furniture, but having it all built in.

But there would have to be some furniture. I envision a good sized cozy sofa facing the fireplace flanked by two chairs, both suitable as spinning chairs, with Bella the Golding permanently planted in front of one, forming a nice conversational box. The sort of place friends could gather in - at least enough seating for 2 couples. BD has always wanted one of those curved sofas. I think they’re stupid, because you will never get more than 2 people to willingly sit on any sofa. Sofa sitting is just way too intimate. But I would concede to him on this issue - because, hey, you always need something to cave on when undertaking a big construction project.

Between that conversation square and the east wall will be a drop leaf table, something big enough to block a shawl on, but collapsible when not needed. In a perfect world the floor would be tile with lovely rugs. I’d want this one room air conditioned, because my wheels do not like Virginia summers, especially the Expen$ive Bella $pinning Wheel. But a window unit wouldn’t be too difficult to install.

And that ought to be that. It doesn’t sound all that much, but of course, there would the that upstairs room that would have to be added too and all the rearranging of Things Second Floor. But it would make the house far more conducive to guests, since our bedroom could become a guest room and while we are at it, we might as well take down the wall between the den and BD’s office and turn it into a library - and finish off that fireplace with a lovely mantel, and line those walls with bookshelves too. And what the heck. He can have his L shaped sofa there and I can have something smaller in the stuido.

And since we have the carpenter present - I’d like the front door redone to make it a single door with glass window lights around it and maybe a transom above.

And since I’m spending imaginary money, and thus have unlimited amounts, I think I’d like the landscapers in too, to level my lumpy bumpy yard and plant it in real grass.

And then. Well. I think then it would be time to throw a really big party. Don’t you?


posted by Bess | 7:04 AM


I love sweet peas -- I need to remember to plant some next year....

By Blogger Mary, at 11:49 AM  

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007  

Thank you Mary! I’ll try those addresses - on the faster computers in the library. I did try to reset the date in the archives function but it was already set to June 2007. Fortunately I can still find the old posts when I’m in Edit Posts but I wish they showed up. I probably erased something important onetime when I was fiddling with the template.

Here’s something funny about blogger now. Since it automatically saves my posts, when I put a picture in the side bar - which I code by creating a post and the copying the code for it into the template - it save the picture and any comments I make as a draft post. I was wondering where all those draft posts came from when duh... enlightenment dawned. Well. They can be deleted.

As for the needles - I bought 3 #2 circulars from KnitPicks and two of them have turned out to be defective. One just has a kink in the cable but the other had a loose tip that I eventually lost. I like the tips of these needles and the flexible cable and I’m not saying all their needles are defective. Just been my experience with them.

I will always prefer the Addi’s because I like the heft of the Addi tips. I also like the slightly less slick finish on the new lace needles, and their tips are nicely sharp. I just don’t like the heft of the price! But if I were teaching a class on sock knitting and supplying the materials, I’d buy KnitPicks needles. They’re okay.

I was so exhausted yesterday, after conducting 7 class tours of the library, I skipped the gym. Every bone in my body ached - and that is because the plantar fascia of my left foot is acting up and when that hurts, well, the foot tendon is connected to the leg tendon, and the leg tendon is connected to the hip flexor and so on. I probably won’t get there today, though I’m taking my bathing suit just in case. Wednesday the load is lighter, and the rest of the week it will all fall on my assistant’s shoulders. I’m off to Richmond Thurs. and Fri. for a boss librarian meeting. And I’m not driving so I will knit in the car. Yippee!

Here’s what’s blooming I the garden this week:

A climbing White Dawn rose and some sweet peas.

posted by Bess | 7:34 AM


Is it the interchangeable circulars that are coming apart, or their regular (non-interchangeable) circulars? That's a shame either way, but I did buy several sets of the latter, so that I can attempt knitting socks on two circulars. I suppose if I like the method but hate the needles, I can upgrade to Addis. I wonder if I'd prefer the regular Addi Turbos or the Addi Turbo Laces needles for doing socks on 2 circs...? You'll have to share your thoughts on that....

By Blogger Mary, at 6:04 PM  

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Monday, June 04, 2007  

It drizzled all day long and I sat in the den watching movies and old television on DVD and knit socks. Ripped projects and knit socks, rather. I finished the commissioned socks and diddled a bit with the pattern. Then I picked up my Tilli Tomas yarn - the bronze green silk I got at MS&W and knit a few rounds on it before deciding it was monumentally too big and ripped the whole thing out. I have an idea about what I want to make with this yarn, but I need to learn more about the properties of knitted silk.

I had this experience with knitting cotton once and have never again been tempted to make a garment out an inelastic yarn. Mind now, I really would like to own a hand knit silk summer top. I’d like it to have been made by me. But sheesh! I knit a bunch of gauge swatchs, settled on 6 stitches to the inch and I wanted 40 inches around - it ought to have been easy to figure out, right? 240 stitches. Which once knit up, stretched so wide it fitted something closer to 48 inches or ... I just don’t know what. But when I took the knitting off the needles yesterday, and pulled it over my head - ugh I could have worn that ring of silk knitting as a shoulder wrap and still have had room to stretch.

Figuring ease and gauge and my own style/comfort zone is going to be a challenge, but this yarn is so beautiful - such a Queen-ish color - I have to master this. I’ll do some research and I’ll do some more knitting and I may go window shopping to look at clothes that fit (and look good) that are made of a similar fiber, yarn, and construction. Then I’ll try again.

Since I was watching the videobox all day, I switched to sock knitting once I’d wound up all that lovely silk. Started a pair of Christmas gift socks - plain guyish flat ribbed things that can be knit without counting or watching the needles. They’ll probably be BD’s, since he is currently relegated to store socks - adequate, but uninspiring and lacking that delightful spring that hand knit socks offer.

Oddly enough, I’m making these from Regia and on #3 needles and I’m surprised at how my attitude has changed about using #3 needles. I’ve knit most of my socks on #3’s and been very pleased with them - and used plenty of Regia yarn too. And they wear well for me and look tight and snug and satisfying. But lately I’ve been knitting with #2 needles and springier yarn and now my standard sock feels so loose and cheesy. I will continue on the cuff with these Guy Socks as I’ve begun (because I’ve ripped enough this weekend) but I think I’ll switch to #2’s when I get to the foot. Too bad, though, since I have lots and lots of #3 needles but only a few pair of #2’s and they are already in sock ideas at the moment - or on hold for the Next Project.

Well - after we pay the property taxes and the car insurance and buy the new tires and oh yes, the flute repair bill .... well I suppose sometime in August - I will buy some more size #2 needles.

And as a little caveat - they will probably NOT be KnitPicks circular needles. Of the first 3 circular needles I’ve bought, one had a defective tip that flew off all the time and finally flew away too. The second needle’s cable has developed a snag in it that catches my yarn. Cheap price, cheap manufacturing. I’ll stick with my tried and true favorite Addi’s.

posted by Bess | 7:33 AM


It's not raining here but it sure is gloomy. There should be streams of sunlight but there's only the artificial light from the two big lamps in the living room. Enough light so I could see to play with the cat who was insisting that that's what he wanted to do even if it is only 6AM. I do think I'll join you in some crafting. New sock yarn that a friend gave me yesterday needs to be sampled and I'm really tired of all the other things I'm working on. Hope the rain isn't too late to help the corn crop.

By Blogger Larry, at 9:22 AM  

To report an issue to Blogger, go here: or if that long URL doesn't work, try this tiny one:

And don't hold your breath waiting for a response. Again, I'd suggest changing the archive formatting display setting to see if that wakes things up....

I, too, appreciated all the rain we had yesterday, especially as I just planted my hydrangeas on Saturday and so they were getting watered in nicely. Unfortunately, I was feeling below par yesterday so couldn't fully appreciate the freedom of a rainy Sunday.

If it's any comfort, my days were not as scheduled as yours were, as a kid, but my mom didn't play with us much, either. Raising six kids and taking care of the house was enough, no doubt....

By Blogger Mary, at 5:58 PM  

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Sunday, June 03, 2007  

The mystery isn’t "Where are my archives?" but how in the heck to get in touch with Blogger, either via email or by wending through their impenetrable help program. Rats is about all I can say - unless it’s Double Rats. If anybody out there knows how to use the help desk or how to contact a blogger helper or why all my archives except the first year’s worth, have disappeared, please leave word.

Today is one of my favorite kinds of days - a Rainy Sunday. Rainy Sundays are like little gifts from the universe. Gifts of time, that rarest of all commodities. A Rainy Sunday says "Yes. You may stay indoors and knit." You don’t have to work in the yard. You don’t have to clean the house. It is OK to watch television during the day on a Rainy Sunday. It’s especially OK if you have some knitting you’d like to do. Or you could lie abed and read a novel on a Rainy Sunday. You can have popcorn and bananas for dinner if that’s what you want or if that’s all that’s in the house. A Rainy Sunday says "Take it easy."

And a Rainy Sunday after weeks of drought, when your corn looks so pitiful you realize you will get $0 this year from those fields. When it's still only a few inches high after 2 months, and it's yellow!!

Yes. Some Rainy Sundays are even more of a blessing than others!

When I was little Rainy Sundays were just about the only time Mama would play with us. I just realized this was probably the only time she had us all in the house at the same time and she didn’t want us to dissolve into squabbles. When we were children we did not want our parents around and they certainly didn’t want us around unless they had chores for us to do ... which was why we slipped away as soon as the breakfast dishes were done. The idea of parents hanging out with us while we played ball or tag or dolls or spies was not just unwelcome, it was creepy and maybe even horrible.

My parents seemed to have substantially more chores for their children than most and I had multiple hours of violin practicing I was expected to do as well. For all that they weren’t interested in what we wanted to do in our free time, they definitely had ambitions for us and they considered most of the hours in the day theirs to allocate. I’m not sure if my sisters were roped into so much planned activity - since none of them showed a predilection for a specific talent - and who knows what was really going on between parents and siblings. We see things so differently from the eyes of childhood and memory. My gift was tangible and my parents monitored the hours of my day with a strict watch. Sisters still complain that so much attention was proof that Mother Loved Me Best, but I always maintain that my childhood was stolen from me. From age 6 on there was never a day when I could just play all day unless we were in a car or I was sick in bed.

When the family gathers these days the children all cluster around the grown-ups instead of slipping away behind the church or down the alley or off into the woods. They want to play with the grown-ups and listen to the grown-up talk and, heavens! even participate in it. And their parents encourage it. And the media says "you must spend time with your children or they will grow up without confidence and do drugs". And pop culture songs like Cat’s in the Cradle will be all weepy and snotty about the old guy in the nursing home getting just what he deserved and hanging up with a sigh singing "he’d grown up just like me."

And I say BUNK.

And I didn’t raise my son that way - any more than I had to since he ended up being an only child at the end of a mile of dirt road. He did spend rather a lot of time with us, but that is because we were all there was. And he spent enough time away from us to brag to a friend, when he was 9 years old, "Oh yes. I was practically raised by dogs."

Oh. My. Well. I didn’t mean to rant. Especially a rant that makes me sound ridiculous because here I am praising Rainy Sundays because, in my memory, at least, they are the only days Mama played with us - and who knows. It may not even be true. I’m sure she didn’t play with us on all Rainy Sundays nor did she play with us only on Rainy Sundays. In fact - I’m not sure she played with us at all. What I bet she really did, on whatever sort of play day, was to pull out her good toys - her fine artists brushes or huge rolls of paper or the good modeling clay and she’d sit down with us and show us how to make a village of people out of pipe cleaner armatures dipped into plaster of Paris.

And I know that she did that sometimes. Not only can I remember specific Rainy Sundays, but my heart, each time I wake up to an outdoors all cool wetness and grey and maybe green glistening leaves, on a Sunday morning, swells with a happy anticipation of a day to freely play with the good stuff. A day given by the universe, by the Weather Gods, to snip out of the schedule and put into a 3 prong setting of pleasure, leisure and love.

Happy Rainy Sunday to you - whenever it comes. May you have access to all the good toys.

posted by Bess | 8:25 AM


Love foxgloves!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:26 PM  

Time's been getting away with me too, so I know how you feel.

It's nice to have you drop by my blog again. Since you have email woes, I am answering here. Hopefully, we are coming to VA sometime this summer - probably August. Don't think we are doing Montpelier, because we are going to SAFF again.

By Blogger Carolyn, at 8:08 AM  

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Friday, June 01, 2007  

Lawsee! It’s Friday already and I see I haven’t posted since Tuesday. I guess I’m running out of things to say or perhaps I’ve been busy. Yes. That sounds better. I have, of course, but busy is, well, busy is just something that’s always there, like the needs of toddlers. One can be as busy as one wants or sometimes doesn’t want, but no matter how busy you are, you can always be busier.

Of course, I’m all off schedule (I am hearing Breakfast Rumblings from upstairs) because I’m home today, on account of having to work tomorrow and I have already gone over all the reason’s why that makes this a 4 day weekend. I have a big stack of Inter-library Loan books to paw over and knitting of course and a wonderful DVD set of The Grand - which doesn’t seem to have a website anywhere, except on the Internet Movie Database and even that only covers the second season. I promise, when it’s all done (we have 4 more episodes to watch) I’ll write about it and why I am in love with English Television.

In the mean time, here is what’s blooming in the (almost abandoned) garden this week.

posted by Bess | 8:32 AM