Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Monday, July 31, 2006

This is my favorite place

It doesn't really matter that the photos on this post are from my phone. The best camera in the world wouldn't do the view justice. Imagine looking down a hundred feet just to see the treetops. The top of this firetower is is my absolute favorite place.

When I'm worn out, I imagine coming up here in any kind of weather; although in real life I would probably not be brave enough to come up in a lightning storm. The tower is, after all, metal and it is the tallest thing for as far as the eye can see (which is pretty far. This is in Wisconsin and there aren't a lot of lumpy mountains to get in the way.) Isn't this cool?

It's quite a hike to the top (I always try to count the steps and always get sidetracked & forget where I am. Or maybe I run out of oxygen and it's a lack of mental focus thing.) It is also a bit rickety, which for me -- aside from the view -- is the source of its charm. Not everyone wants to be here. I figure it has been standing for a long time, will probably stand for a long time more, and I'm willing to risk it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dry Spell

I have been in a broad, dark, Woody Allen desert of knitting inspiration (or lack of) lately. Maybe it’s the summer doldrums or dog days or a funk of “ginormous” (Cass's word) proportions. You know that feeling you had in middle school when the teacher assigned an essay and you couldn’t think of anything to write about? I haven’t anything to knit about. Knitter’s block, and I don’t mean the good kind.

I’ve been trying, really I have. I took a long car trip – usually a guarantee of miles of pleasant knitting -- but I was driving. Have you seen the bumper sticker? Save a life – don’t knit and drive. I have to admit; over straight, flat Ohio the idea did flit across my mind for a mile or two. Don’t look at me that way – I would have used the cruise control…

I have been reading knitter’s blogs by the megabyte, vicariously visiting Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp with Franklin and Oklahoma with the Yarn Harlot. You may have noticed my own blog is sadly short on knitting inspiration these days. I've tried to distract you with cute dog photos. Did it work?

I took a “field trip” to The Mannings in East Berlin, Pennsylvania, just a bit north of Gettysburg. The first thing I noticed was the comforting “wooly” smell. The ladies there said they hadn’t noticed it, but trust me, it is there. How could it not be? The place is jam-packed with wooly goodies. It’s a barnfull of every book I could imagine, more independent patterns than I’ve ever seen in one place, and miles of yarn with which to knit those patterns. It’s hard not to be at least a little inspired, but everything I start dribbles off into a vague tangle of whatever, and my needles have turned into big, boring stitch holders.

I’m in desperate need of some fresh mojo. What do you do when your knitting muse runs away on summer vacation and leaves you “stranded?”

I'm not the only one in the middle of a drought. Check this out:

Remember how a month ago I said the old bridge piers were covered with water after our 12" rain? Not anymore. A month ago Bull Run may have been flooding; today it's lower than I've ever seen it. Isn't Nature a hoot?

Monday, July 24, 2006

I'm Back!

I haven't written in awhile because I was gallivanting around the country, not that they don't have internet connections in The Land of the Silos (as Cass would put it) but I just had too many other things to do and too little time to do it in.

I took the kids on a quick Grandma Run before being grounded by surgery (not mine) and we drove instead of flying. Vince & Cass travel pretty well, not a single "Are we there yet?" although there were a couple of "I wish we were there"s. Maybe that's a sign that they know their geography well enough to know where we were and it wasn't there.

I did my usual round of visiting well loved friends and family and, as usual, mourn missing a special few. (Next time!) Where else but Wisconsin would you find "Cheese Seafood" at a Chinese buffet? (Have you ever seen a cheese dish on a Chinese buffet? We're talking real cheese here not just that little bit of cream cheese in Crab Rangoon.) I sang my favorite hymn; had a bratwurst, some cheese curds and sauerkraut & dumplings (not all at once, although...) ; drank more coffee than I drink the whole rest of the year (Mom makes good coffee); and went to some thrift stores (I found a white, embroidered, cotton camisole that's light as air and a pair of stretchy black pants with rhinestones that would make Elvis blush) but this visit I also collected literary gems.

James Thurber did an essay entitled "What a Lovely Generalization!" from his book Thurber Country (which also happens to contain "My Own Ten Rules for a Happy Marriage" but that's for another post). Thurber "had decided that the collection of actual objects, of any kind, was too much of a strain, and [he] determined to devote [himself], instead to the impalpable and the intangible." With that in mind I present my own collection of souvenirs from this visit:

"All mall food is good."

"Turn around, don't drown!"

"Honey, lately your low self-esteem is just good common sense." (Cloris Leachman in the movie "Spanglish")

"Blood is very ordinary. Even people who are dirt poor have blood."

"Scooby-Doo can talk."

"Pessimists are always looking down. Optimists are always looking up. But optimists never find any money."

"He'll drive you crazy and charge you for the ride."

And lastly, one of Cass's car entertainments was to think up a poetic epitaph for her tombstone. After a few false starts, she settled on Haiku:

Cassandra Marie
Creative Superfly
Regrettably dead

Besides silos and the broad vistas in which to view them, Wisconsin has some great lakes and we took advantage of one of them.

The drive around Chicago was a delight both ways. (Not. Terrible back ups both times, once on the Skyway, once on the Tri-State and rain to boot on the drive home. But it's like my theory about dogs. If you tell him he is a good dog, he will be a good dog.)

Speaking of dogs, since my own dog is still at the babysitter's and the house does seem empty without him, here is a photo of sweet Buzz to tide us over.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pursuit of Puppiness

Aren't these the cutest puppies you've seen all week? The photo has lost something in translation, but they're still gorgeous and I'm glad their proud owner Rondi sent me the picture. I'm not sure how she got them all to pose simultaneously. I have trouble just getting one animal to flash his cutest look at the same time as the shutter snaps.

If I had sheep, I would need a sheep dog. Maybe if I got the Aussie puppy, the sheep could come later?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Defending his territory

Sunday morning I was awakened by a "plink, plink. Plink-plink" noise. It was a little after sunrise, which in my mind qualifies as early but since it's impossible to sleep "in" when off in the woods, I'm not complaining. The plink-plink was such a curious sound. I closed my eyes and tried to discern what it was through superior mental effort (or tried to go back to sleep, one or the other.) When that didn't work, I looked out the window and this is what I saw:

(great photo of the screen, eh?) That small gray streak is the tail of a bird. Hidden behind the branch (I swear I could see it when I took the picture but the branch must have jumped in the way) is a very shiny trash can we use for recyclables. The bird was having a fight with his reflection in the trash can. Actually, there were TWO birds trying to chase off that pesky interloper and I'm guessing the more aggressive defender was male.

I'd never seen these birds before and I'd ask for your help in identifying them except for the obvious handicap you face from my photography skills. (Really, I could see the bird when I took the picture.) One was dark brown above, one was almost black, they each had orange breasts, longish thin tails (like a mockingbird), bigger than a titmouse, smaller & more slender than a robin, flashes of white on their wings and perky, expressive tails. Orioles, maybe? If they eat mean red-and-black ants, I hope they move in to stay.

There was a fireworks display this weekend:

oooh, aaah

But the knitting didn't go so well. I had plans to finish a nice, soft chemo cap before Monday night's guild meeting. It would have happened, too, if I had brought along more than 1/2 a skein of nice soft yarn to do it with.

(Don't panic; I wasn't left knitless. Those of us who work on more than one project at a time frequently drag around more than one project at a time, but neither is worth showing off right now.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

PostSecret & Keith Haring part two

Since today I'm having trouble putting text and photos together, this post is coming in two parts.

Sunday afternoon we went to see the PostSecret exhibit at the Reading Public Museum. As you might expect in an exhibit about secrets, it is not G rated. But it is thought provoking, sometimes with that "ah, yes" recognition, sometimes with sadness over what a mess humans make, sometimes with laughter at the flat-out truth. I enjoyed it. Although it left me feeling somber, I also left thinking about the effects of truth and planning my own 4" x 6" art project.

There was a bonus! (besides the mummy and the samurai costume that have been there forever) Two floors up was a Keith Haring exhibit -- Journey of the Radiant Baby. Even if you don't recognize the name, you may recognize the style from the Statue of Liberty in part one of this post. My sewing machine even has an embroidery on it of his clones. (Actually, it's a clone of his clones & it was taken off the latter-production machines because of copyright issues.) Maybe because he was a "local boy made good," this exhibit was G rated (or at least PG), which will surprise you if you go searching around the internet for his art. Some is, um, a little graphically dark. That's why I linked to his haringkids website. It was more in tune with the upbeat nature of the exhibit. The exhibit was so bold and so colorful (why does it feel that way when much was in black and white?) and so accessible. It is not an exhibit of subtle, awsome genious; it's an exhibit that makes you say, "Isn't art cool? Let's do some. Now!"

Postsecret and Keith Haring

Monday, July 03, 2006

what I did early saturday morning

You know how when you're really, really excited to see a new movie, a movie that has been thoroughly hyped and much ballyhooed, then when you go to see it you're disappointed?

Superman Returns is not like that.

Actually, I wasn't the one who really, really wanted to see it. Cass was. With a passion not all of us can muster. And the regular theater wouldn't do. It had to be 3D IMAX. The closest venue is 90 miles away, but there's also one a mere 32 miles from Grammy's house (which is lots farther, but hey, we were multi-tasking.)

The whole thing isn't 3D (thank heavens), just 4 or 5 segments and all the previews. I'm not sure that I'd have selected the same scenes to be 3D, but they didn't ask me.

As we stood in line at 8:08 am (for a 9 am show. ok, so we were a little early, but we did get good seats. We already had advance tickets since all the shows the day before were sold out and we found this out the hard way. Don't listen to the guy on the phone when he says they haven't been selling out) Cassie said, "This is going to be so Great!" Uhoh. The cloud of doom passed over our heads. Tempting fate. Just like saying, "This place has the best pizza in Denver." (That particular night, red paste on a cracker will show up at your table. ) We'd driven hundreds of miles and invested 27 Galleons. Cass understands jinxes; how could she say that?

The Jinx Fairy must have been busy raining on tent campers and newly washed cars because when we came out & I asked, "Was it all you expected?" she said "YES!"

I've heard some say it is just a rehash of a previous Super movie. Duh?! Of course it is. All superhero movies have the same plot. Evil Guy (which Kevin Spacey does with the deliciously evil genius you'd expect) aims to get lots of money, destroy world & exploit superhero's weakness. Attractive Female Love Interest gets in trouble. (Nice chemistry between Lois Lane & Superman.) Superhero overcomes by the strength of his heart and goodness of his soul, rather than mere super powers. I laughed. I cried. I cried some more. (It might be a chick flick. After all, Brandon Routh is a hottie.)

The downside? When we stepped out of the theater into the 11:30 AM sunshine, it was disconcerting to step out of Superman's world back into my own.