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


Apparently there are some bad viruses going around that are taking down webpages for a while. seemed to have been hit.

And I've found I can't get my favorite online classical music station (KING fm, out of Seattle) because their site is down.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 9:36 AM  

William...way cute! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 7:05 AM  

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Friday, July 25, 2008  

Jeez! What is it with TheInternets today? I can barely log on to a web page and when I do it stalls out at least twice? Did I miss some important viral announcement while orchestrating summer reading club activities – like this one:

Yep - a juggler on a unicycle in the library. Just what everybody needs.

Well – dependency on something as ephemeral as this One week more of the summer reading club and then – do things lighten up a little? I don't know. About the time the rush at work subsides a bit the extra summer help goes back to college or off on vacation before high school starts up again. But the extra help this year has been amazingly good – so capable that I can take today off, even though my only other full time staff is also off today. Yup. Off to play with cousin H to celebrate her birthday. We're going to Carytown and act like boulevardiers. That is... if women can be boulevardiers. We shall have a sumptuous luncheon and poke our noses into all the little shops and then tool on home in the late afternoon.

This will be my second trip to the city this week for on Wed, William and I visited my mom

and dad.

Cute, aren't they?

Knitting? Is any knitting getting done? Well. no. I did buy some knitting needles. Well, yes. I did knit two rounds of the lone Christmas Sock. I can only hope that sometime soon either inspiration or industry will ignite. MsHoroscope assures me the stars are arranging just such a surge. Till then – ah well.

posted by Bess | 6:23 AM


What a fun photo of you! I hope you'll share the story behind it. Speaking of which, I loved the bug story -- those kids will remember that day forever! Sorta like when I went to the spider museum as a kid and held a live tarantula, and didn't die!

By Blogger Mary, at 2:28 PM  

Great summer photos! You are looking more rested than you say you are, so you 'carry it' well, Girl!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:04 AM  

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Sunday, July 20, 2008  

Proof of life
and guests


Proof of real fiber activity, though it's mighty little.
This is the beautiful alpaca/silk blend I have been nattering on about. I have another spindle full and will start the second one this week (she says – who knows what this week will hold). I have another bag full of this stuff too so if I'm lucky I'll get 600 yards out of it. Certainly enough for a small shawl – or maybe lace scarf and gloves? Hmmm. Or lace stockings? Oh my yes, over the knee lace stockings. Hadn't thought of that before but wouldn't it be lovely?
Christmas socks are stalled – can't find #2 needles and haven't ordered any yet. Not too happy with the limp yarn either – it's KnitPicks tweed. It's pretty but unsatisfying to knit. I guess I better learn my lesson with their sock yarn. I don't like it.
And here is a great shot of MrJamestown
a reenactment of John Smith being stung by a Stingray on the north point of the mouth of the Piankatank River – thus giving that bulge of sand and pine forest the name Stingray Point.

HotHotHotHotHot down here leaves one literarily uninspired – but I am dabbling with The Historian – Vampire novel – had no idea that was what it was about – and the author leaves me singularly un-horrified, I am pretty sure I've already figured out the plot, but I'm just curious enough to keep on reading a while. I have other options in the house, though, and if I don't get a thrill soon, I'll set it aside and pick up Italian Detectives instead.

posted by Bess | 6:19 AM




By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:19 AM  

I don't know if I ever shared this story, but when I was in grad school they sent the TAs around to do the faculty evaluations. My first semester I was sent to do the evaluation on the Entomology lab.

The prof met me at the door with a big smile. He flourished a plate of cookies and asked me if I wanted one.

I was ABOUT to reach for it, but then my brain went, "Wait. This is an entomology class. This man is offering you a cookie. Something is wrong here."

I was able to quickly say, "Thanks, but I just finished lunch" just as I noticed the little legs sticking out in the cookie. They were his (in)famous Chocolate Chirpies, made with crickets baked in.

While I've probably eaten my share of bug PARTS (if you're to believe the urban legends about food processing), I draw the line where I can actually see LEGS.

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 11:05 AM  

I just sent your wonderful story to my granddaughter who is participating in the summer reading program in Smyrna, GA. I can't wait to hear her response. What a fun librarian you are! Thanks for sharing.

By Anonymous FrequentFrogger, at 2:01 PM  

Good for you, setting such a ... good? example for the kids. :)

By Blogger cathy, at 9:38 PM  

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Friday, July 18, 2008  

I've added a photo of the Crick-ettes to yesterday's post. Just scroll down and have a peep. Thanks for all the "feed" back.

posted by Bess | 7:02 AM


Bravo for having such a great event at the library. I think our events rather mundane in comparison...But there's absolutely no way you'd get me to eat bugs!!!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:48 AM  

To be exact, there are 44 of the 50 states participating in this summer's "Catch the Reading Bug" Collaberative Summer Library Program. I know this because I have challenged my kids to a trivia quiz in August, after the SRP is officially over. There are 10 questions, based on the weekly programs we held here. If 7 out of 10 answers are correct, then the "quizee" wins a prize! Just because the program is officially over doesn't mean that the kids can't continue to have fun and look forward to coming to the library!
Hats off to your bug eating adventure's success! As for me, I'd rather stick to talking about bugs than eating them, thank you!
WOW! I've finally found a food that I DON'T want to try!!

By Blogger Bonnie Bugmuster, at 3:50 PM  

Whoa Nellie! That brings back memories of elementary school. I don't remember if it was a church program, something in Brownies or Girl Scouts, or school, but I distinctly remember chocolate covered ants and fried meal worms.

Thank you, I think.

By Anonymous diann, at 5:10 PM  

Well, that certainly made up for your recent silence. This is possibly the most interesting blog entry ever!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM  

Way to go, Bess! Aren't you glad, though, that you went for crickets and not fried tarantulas? Even typing the word gives me the heebie-jeebies!

By Blogger KathyR, at 8:00 PM  

What a great story!! Cute kids-reminds me that Sept. isn't so far away! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:21 AM  

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008  

Every day seems to fill up with More Things that must be done Right Now! But I have a wonderful story to share and I will just make time to tell it here and now. I'll leave the photos up for a day or two just to prove that it all really happened, then take them down.

The Bug Banquet

The statewide summer reading program theme is Catch the Reading Bug. All across Virginia – and goodness knows how many other states – there are bug themed programs, stories, songs, magicians, puppets and if you are lucky enough to live in my county – banquets. Last June when the school children made field trips to the library to hear about upcoming summer reading fun I told them the story of when I accidentally ate not one, but TWO BIG mouthfuls of bugs – ants, to be precise - and I promised them that if they joined our reading club, sometime in July they would have the opportunity to eat real bugs. Not that they would have to eat bugs, mind you, but if they wanted to ... if they had ever been curious about it ... if they had ever wondered what a bug tasted like, I would have some bugs for them to eat.

Soon afterwards, my order for Crick-ettes (assorted flavors) showed up in the UPS truck and a few days later came the chocolate covered mealy worms and crickets. The chocolate covered ones weren't too different looking from chocolate covered raisins or Chinese noodles. The Crick-ettes were pretty gross – no doubt about them – they are true crickets, complete with little serrated legs and bulging black eyes.
These are bugs and I wasn't sure I could eat one. I pretty much expected to eat them, but each time I'd look at them I'd get a little sick to my stomach.

And yet I know people the world over eat bugs and I even knew from experience that bugs are a tasty addition to the diet – if only I could get over my instinctive repugnance for things that go crackle then squish under my shoe. On Monday, I showed them to my visiting son, who opened up the package, poured them into his hand and popped them into his mouth. “Mmmm, good” he assured me “got a texture like soft shell crabs.” He left one on the table with the comment that I owed it to the kids to eat at least one and then walked away. I knew he was right, pushed the little fried critter to my back molars where it would be closest to my throat and furthest from my taste buds and crunched down.

He was right. They're okay. I'd say they're more like popcorn hulls sprinkled with potato chip flavoring, though there is also a faint buggy mustiness to them. After that first crispy one, it was easy to eat a chocolate covered one and then I knew that I would be able to really gross those kids out by biting the head off first and then crunching into the body, before gobbling the legs. I could milk this for a looooong time.

Thirty four squirming bodies showed up on Tuesday. Thirty four little brains had been obsessing about eating bugs for a month. Thirty four little soldiers wondered if they had what it took to Eat A Bug!

First, of course, came the reading and the maps showing where people who ate crickets lived and where the ones who ate fried tarantulas lived. A picture book of disgusting food held photos of bug food but also haggis and bacteria floating in milk – or ... yogurt. After all, one kid's upset stomach is another's delicacy.

But then came the all important moment – the bug eating time. A lot of children wanted to look and what seemed like a lot wanted to sample too. They had time to pause, to consider, to watch me eat a bug and not fall flat out dead. There was squealing and giggling and not a few tongues stuck way out. But there were a lot of takers, bold children who climbed over their repugnance and sampled something way outside their comfort zone.

After that it was time to make fun candy critters and cookie cricket cages. But while they were assembling their confections I asked how many had actually eaten a bug. Maybe two thirds raised their hands. I then asked them, “Don't you feel proud of yourselves now?”

There was an audible pause and then I saw their little chests lift, their faces light up with dawning realization that they were proud of themselves. They'd faced something they were grossed out by – even afraid of - and they'd conquered their fears. I congratulated them on their bravery and their newly found survival skills. “Now you know that if you're stranded on a jungle island, you can always survive by eating bugs,” I told them. Maybe another half dozen hopped right up, asking to try a bug. Even some of the mothers gave it a go.

We've done a lot of fun programs in the library, but this is the first time I've ever really changed a whole group of children, pushed them to think a little better of themselves, to have a little more confidence in their abilities. I honestly think this is the best thing I've done for the children around here and as a bonus, it was a whole lot of fun!

Now – just to get a picture of what my summer has been like – this lively event was sandwiched between a Friends of the library board meeting at noon and a governing library board (my bosses) meeting at 4 p.m. I really am swamped – and I really will post about knitting or spinning or something fibery – one of these days.

posted by Bess | 9:38 PM


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Thursday, July 10, 2008  

Love you love you love you for your comments.

Guests and long days at work are sucking me away from posting but I will be back I promise I will I will.

posted by Bess | 7:37 PM


Hi Bess, Yummy garden photo! Most of my raspberry bushes aged and died in the past couple of years, but berries are forming on the few left...and I am looking forward to 'em! RE: MsHoroscope: I don't really follow that stuff, but she's right about being 'on the mend'...coming up to 2 years Without H (in a few weeks)...but I am better every day. :-)


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 8:29 AM  

I, too, am glad to see you back blogging; I so do understand the malaise that can drown us at times... I am glad that you are winning the battle and emerging victorious! I am trying to do the same. fondly, Cathy

By Blogger Cat =^,^=, at 12:28 PM  

Let me add my voice to the chorus: welcome back!

By Blogger cathy, at 11:57 PM  

Here's hoping there's been no more of that insomnia! I sympathize with your busy summer, and also empathize because it looks like my fall is going to be that way, and not for any fun reasons. So, in contrast to last year's awesome fiber-full fall, this year's will be all work and no play, and I'm already in mourning. I'm just glad I took advantage of all of last year's opportunities while I had the chance.

By Blogger Mary, at 9:22 AM  

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008  

I suddenly realized I owe all you kind folk who've left comments a great big hugging thank you for welcoming me back to the world of blogging. Not that many folk leave comments here so yours are particularly welcome. I'm glad to think that there are people who enjoy my loquacity for, unlike Mr. Darcy, I do perform for strangers, if not well, at least with gladness. I am still very stretched with new duties here at home and with the busiest summer at work I have ever had and it took a rare bout of insomnia to get me up early enough to turn literary today. By the end of the month we will have a smaller kennel and I hope to be a little more regular with my posts.

And so – to begin:

You really do have it all coming together right now. Can you feel it? If not, it may be that you've allowed mean ol' Saturn to get you into such a regularly negative headspace that you've forgotten what it feels like to give yourself a moment to relax and feel at least a little bit self-satisfied. Let's face it, things might not be perfect but for most Virgos at least, they're on the turn or on the mend. And the good news is that the slow and steady recovery you're going through is by no means over yet.

Thank you MsHoroscope. That is just the sort of message that feels good right now. And I do feel a little more like I have the answers I need, or I know where to find them. This is the classic librarian persona – one who knows where to look – thank heaven, since I have lost something important at work. I'm awake now at this ungodly (3:45 a.m.) hour because I suddenly realized where to find it when I go in today. After the retrograde month of June, I'm profoundly glad to have forward movement and a sweet link between Jupiter and Sun. May the stars shine down upon you too.

We had an extraordinarily good musical program at the library yesterday: C-Shells. This was their first visit to our library but it won't be the last. We had a good turnout too, which is gratifying to us and I am sure inspiring for the artists. Like most of the libraries in VA, we're following the national theme of Catch the Reading Bug and next week we'll have our Bug Banquet. We always have one food related program in the summer and I went all out this year with edible bugs – Crick-ettes and chocolate covered crickets and mealy worms. Not that the kids have to eat bugs – but they'll get the opportunity to. We'll have ants on a log too and we'll make “bug cages” out of cookies and pretzels. The big question is ... will TheQueen eat a Crick-ette? Guess you'll have to find out next week.

Fiber blog? Oh well. Yes. Okay. I am knitting on Christmas socks – have to dig through the stash and find some #1 needles or else order some – the yarn I'm using is just too soft for sock feet knit with #2 needles. And I am spinning and spindling: some green merino sock yarn on HeyBaby and the most beautiful alpaca/silk fingering weight on a pretty little drop spindle I bought from My Favorite Yarn Shop last fall. I am so loving this fiber I hope I can get my hands on more. I'm sure it would be pure pleasure to spin on a wheel.

I keep intending to take photos of recent work and I suppose I will keep on intending till I finally do. Till then here is what's growing in the garden.

Thanks again for stopping by and reading, and especially, for leaving comments.

Happy Hump Day.

posted by Bess | 5:12 AM


Welcome back! I have missed you.

By Anonymous Charlotte, at 12:32 PM  

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Monday, July 07, 2008  

I promise – once I get the time – I will clean out all the old junk on the side bar – especially the May goals, which I am not even sure I met – probably not if any weight loss goals were on the list.

Speaking of lists – I feel one coming on, so I know I'm out of my blue devil pit. Nothing like a list to demonstrate hope and optimism. Oh la. I'd write more but I have to take those dogs out for a walk. We're having so much rain I know I'll come home with wet shoes. Thank goodness the son&heir will be here next week to join me. He is a morning person like his mother.

Real spinning and knitting took place this past weekend. Photos will follow shortly.


posted by Bess | 7:21 AM


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Sunday, July 06, 2008  

posted by Bess | 8:42 AM


I am so glad (and relieved) to see you back. I figured it had to be something like extreme busy-ness or needing a rest. (And told myself, "No, nothing bad has happened to her or to those she loves." I am too good at worrying.)

And I hear you on the high school thing. (Though for me high school was actually a bit BETTER than junior high had been - I was sent to a prep school where at least 15% of the students were former-outcasts like me and we kind of banded together). I remember doing my own version of the "Be More Cool" list while in 7th grade -forcing myself to listen to Top 40 (which I hated) just so I could fit in.

I've come to the conclusion that people who revere their high school days, and make them the focus of How To Live their Adult Lives, probably weren't very happy as adults. Me, I've learned more about how to Live My Adult Life after the age of 30 or so, so I tend to discount those high-school "lessons."

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:33 AM  

Welcome back. You have definitely been missed. I am glad you have come through this spell and have gained some wisdom from it as well.

And by the way, you might not have been "cool" then, but you are the "coolest" now.

Thanks for putting our minds at rest and for your insightful post.

Oh, and Happy Independence Day!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 7:49 PM  

Hi Luv, just checkin' in, and glad to see a new post. I have been in those places too...generally in the midst of one of our long, dark winter days...but I understand. I was a geek in HS too, but found myself in university, then in marriage and now, again, as a widowed "empty-nester"...and we learn something new about ourselves from each of these phases of life, don't we?

Hugs to you for Independence Day!

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:56 AM  

I've been missing you! Glad things are getting better...any trips to Richmond in your future? Have a good holiday, Jane

By Blogger jane, at 3:43 PM  

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Thursday, July 03, 2008  

Oh La. I hadn't meant to fall silent nor to stay so long in the blue pit of sadness. A few folk have asked, though, where I am and this is an edited version of the answer I gave them.

Where did June go?

I have been in such an unproductive place for quite a while and I am just now making the effort to pull myself out of it. Not that a little drift is a bad thing – it can relax you if you let it, and I have managed to relax a bit from time to time. But I have been a little too much of a target lately, not an arrow, and my goodness, it's so easy to just sit there and let life come at me; adapting, dodging, and ducking. And once I started feeling like life was buffeting me, it was hard to reach out to folk without sounding whiny.

I knew this spring would be demanding. Dealing with work, family and personal projects consumed me from the end of February through Memorial Day. It was a period of being at the top of my game and it was fun, hard and good. Then the oddest thing happened. I knew I was sort of tired and was thinking of taking some time off but before I could arrange it, a friend told me about her daughter suffering from bullying at school. She plays the cello and another girl crushed her finger so violently she couldn't play. She didn't tell anyone till her mother finally asked her why she wasn't playing and when it all came out, the school refused to support the daughter or to take any sort of stand about bullying. And while I know the story I heard came from a horrified mother's point of view – and I know that there could be more to the story - the fact of the girls injury, the type, and the way it was handled really bothered me. No. more than bothered, it hit me personally – some connectivity thing must have been going on. You see, I used to play the violin and injured my finger badly enough that I can't really play any more and I was reminded of my own loss when I heard about hers.

But I was also distressed about the bullying issue and society's intense emotional investment in the teen years - the absurd value people give them. Of course everyone wants to be popular and have friends and we all know there are “in” crowds and we wonder why they're “in” and we aren't when they aren't that different from us, when there is nothing identifiable that should make such a difference.

I remember when I was 15 vowing as a new year's resolution, to “Be more cool” and I listed the things I had to do to be cool. I remember one was to learn who the “cool” musicians were among the popular kids at school. I can't remember what else I thought would make me “cool” but I never did achieve that status, either. One can never “be more cool” by copying others. Coolness derives from within. Mind now, I wasn't reviled and there were no bullies that I was aware of at St. G. I just wasn't cool. I wasn't friends with the cool ones. They weren't curious about me and, honestly, when I think back on it – I wasn't curious about them.

In fact, it seems to me that the real bullies are the controlling people who insist that the “cool” kids include the “outies” in their world. I mean, what right does anyone have to insist that someone else like them? One has the right to demand courtesy and even basic respect, but nobody has the right to insist they be part of someone else's group of friends. And of course, when someone, or some group, actively torments another, the adults should step in and stop it. But expecting other people to make you feel good about yourself is the worst form of abdication of your own power. If they really are mean - true bullies - why would you even want to be part of their group, why would you EVER give your power away to such people?

The main thing for me, though, was and is this cult of high school culture that seems to be so supported by adults – venerated, almost worshiped, as some halcyon period of importance and happiness. It is, on average, only 5% of your life. It's just another passage and in some ways, it's just something to get through. Why the years from 14-18 should stand out as something more important than, say, the years between 39-43, was a math equation I could never understand. I didn't intend to stop learning, growing, developing at 18 and I haven't. At that time in my own life I couldn't give it any more than 5% of my attention. I certainly wasn't going to give it my power – especially my power for happiness – not to just 5% of my life. If things weren't the best then, oughtn't I be looking forward to when they would be? Planning for that time, setting myself in the best position to take advantage of another time? Hope has to be better than despair and I certainly had experienced the truth that every year of my life gave me more freedom, more power to choose. It still does! So there is good reason for hope.

Anyway, hearing about this child's experience and how it was being viewed and handled by both her and by the adults in her life really hit me hard. I think this girl is a neat person and I hate like hell to think that she's giving away her power. And I brooded over it way too much – that popularity thing - because I, too, have felt the sting of being left out, of being disliked by someone for no reason other than .... I'm just not her type.

But once I began looking in the gloomy corners I found gloomy corners everywhere! I began to feel the loss of my aging parents and grow weepy – odd, since they were always challenging and difficult people – but they are gone now and in their place are two rather pointless sad huddles with whom you can barely have a conversation. The sound of an old bluegrass song that I used to sing to my cute little William only reminded me that he, too, is gone forever; grown into a man now, living far away. You can see where this is heading.

The man who was keeping William's hunting dog had to go in for neck surgery and we had to take that dog – making for a pack of 5 to care for. This completely rearranged our routines, because there are now two un-neutered males and they need to be dominated in a very dog pack sort of way or they will fight. This means lots of walks with leashes and lots of focus on the dog walk rather than the leisurely amble. So of course, just at this time, my own neck and arm issues flared up from their usual annoying tingling to a weekend of flat out exhausting pain. Hearing about Greg's surgery reminded me that I should take my complaints somewhere – and I did, mind you, and the doctor and I both agree that while surgery could be an option at some time, it's excessive interference at the moment.

But the fact that the idea of surgery with 6 weeks off for recovery looked appealing to me was a sign that I really needed take some time off. And I did, but even that didn't do the trick. My week became about 2 days of rest and 7 days of Other Duties.

And then, while walking with the dogs this weekend it hit me – I was giving away my power. I was giving it to “others” to “them”, to the bullies out there who didn't deserve it. In fact, they weren't even bullies. They were just other people, living their lives, feeling their desires, flinging their arrows without any specific intent towards me at all! I was not choosing, I was only reacting to other people's choices. I wasn't creating, I was adapting. And I remembered how much I enjoy creating. And I felt that surge of energy that comes when I am choosing and I am building and making and doing and loving and I remembered that every single day I can pick, choose, make, love. And the more I do that, the more all the arrows that come flying at me miss the target. They'll keep coming, they just won't hit me. Duh. And I knew that. I just forgot.

So. Now that I have remembered, I am more rested after a day of housecleaning and one Sunday off than I was after a whole week of vacation! And there is a 3 day weekend coming up that is full of opportunity! I wonder what I'll create today?

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posted by Bess | 7:04 AM