Sunday, September 28, 2014


We had a little meltdown here the other day.

By "we" I mean those of us who are sixteen years old and passionately attached to our iPhones.  And by "meltdown" I mean a crisis of epic proportions.  A emotional event that, left unchecked, could level a city.

It started when PhoneGirl tried to update the operating system on her beloved companion and ended up with an unresponsive black screen instead of than the highly anticipated iOS8.  This was followed by the usual ranting and raving, and panicked plugging in of phones to this computer and that, all to no avail.  In the depths of her despair, PhoneGirl seems to have tried to comfort herself by hearkening back to the halcyon days of her youth ("Enjoy it now," she loves to tell poor Matthew, who is all of 8 years old, "pretty soon you'll be in High School and its all SUFFERING there!").  That is to say, she found this

and this

and went to work.

Observe now, if you will, the shocking evidence of one teenager's descent into iPhone madness:

Clearly, the suffering was overwhelming.  And, fortunately, fairly short lived.  By the time our damsel in distress was eyeing the activities on page 56, the cherished phone beeped back into consciousness.  It's memory had been wiped, but it had clearly returned from the land of the lost and all was on the way to being well again.

Until the next Teen Drama.

Friday, September 26, 2014


I'm back, which I suppose is an unnecessarily obvious thing to point out.

I still have nothing to say about where my summer went, but before I put on my audiobook and crank out the rest of the rigid heddle table runner that I still have not freaking finished (and let's not even mention the Socks of Eternal Knitting and the Scarf That Refuses to End), here are a few pictures from this past week that I just can't not share.

First, apples and honey for a sweet new year.

 My kids scarfed them down during dinner the other night, even though I had imagined I was serving them for dessert. That's how much I know, right?

Second, it would appear that Freddy and the Gang are either hot on the trail of the next masked creeper or desperately in need of Scooby Snacks, because this is what Isabel and I found in the Target parking lot Tuesday when we did our last minute shop to make sure she and the boys had something decent to wear to Temple on Thursday.

We were neither the sole nor the boldest photographers on the scene:

And last, we have our Wildlife Update. We've been seeing an awful lot of teeny tiny snakes.


This one had the good fortune to still be alive. The others have mostly been lying flattened in the road. Their elders do not seem to have done an effective job of teaching survival skills, such as Not Getting Run Over by Cars.

 That's all, except to wish you all a  Happy Friday!

Friday, September 19, 2014



Well, I, uh, was supposed to show up last Monday with marvelously entertaining tales from the summer that just sped by us.  Since it is, as far as I can tell, no longer Monday, perhaps we are gaining a small understanding of why it is that I think a summer vacation that was fully 10 weeks long (well, minus a day, if you want to be strictly accurate) passed in the blink of an eye. That is to say-- as my eldest and most infuriatingly punctual child is regularly tempted to point out-- I occasionally demonstrate a faulty understanding of time.  I prefer to think that I have such an advanced concept of the matter that I have evolved beyond the need for clocks and calendars. Unlike certain persons of limited imagination and understanding that I could mention. So far I have found very few people who see things my way, which often happens to those of us who seek to enlighten the world with such mind-blowing explanations.

To distract us all from this unfortunate topic, here is a picture of some yarn.

"Oh no!"  I hear you groan.  "Not more knitting!"

And you will be relieved to hear that all this fluff is instead destined for the loom.  Not all in the same project, of course.  I may (or may not, depending on enrollment) be teaching an introductory class in rigid heddle weaving.  The yarn is intended for a sample of the first class project, a scarf.  If I am super-speedy, I will make more than one scarf in order to demonstrate different fabrics and color effects etc. etc., and if I am as slow as usual, I will put the extra yarn away in the drawer and pull up some useful project pictures from Ravelry.

And that's all I have to say for today.  I will be back on Monday at some date in the not too distant future and maybe I will have a finished table runner to show (that's the blue thing underneath all my yarn). Or a new door for the chicken coop.  Or some totally unnecessary goodies from the fiber festival I'm going to tomorrow. At this point, I'm making no promises.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Two months (almost) since my last zucchini-infested post and you might have been wondering where the bleep I've been since then.  That is not, however, the true question.  The true question is where the  bleep my summer has gone, a question that I have no intention of answering right now for the very good reason that today is the last official day of my personal vacation and, in the same way that I refused to stop and blog while summer was available, I refuse to give up the last minutes of my personal time answering questions.

So there.

Here is evidence of what I have been doing for the last week and a half while the kids were at school:

It's not nearly as much as I thought I was going to do, but I suspect now that my original plans, which pretty much amounted to finishing any outstanding project I have ever started, were a teeny little bit optimistic.

My spinning wheel is now empty and my next goals are to:

1. clear off the rigid heddle loom, which looks like this

(ew!  I just realized that I'm not crazy about how this project looks, which is not a lot of incentive to keep working on it.)

2. clear off my floor loom, which looks like this

(boring! no wonder it's been on the loom since December)

3. clear off my in-progress spindles, which look like this

(much cooler picture--maybe I'll work on those next)

4. finish my knitting WIPs, which look like this

(okay--that's just the dumbest picture ever; please ignore it)


5. finish all my quilts, which I can't even show you because they've been in deep storage since I stopped quilting 8 years ago. Just imagine a very large pile of blankets and blankets-to-be.

Numbers 4 and 5 might be problems, particularly as they probably amount to 6 months of full time work and I'm headed back to work next week and will, most likely, have to put in a little overtime to make up for the time I just took off.  Then again,  why plan if you're not willing to plan big, right?

In the mean time, enjoy the weekend and I expect to be back here Monday morning, at about the time the first work-avoidance urge hits.  Then we can talk about where the bleep my summer went.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tip of the Day

Today's helpful garden tip:

Never turn your back on the Zucchini plants.

Those buggers are summa cum laude graduates of the Give-em-an-inch-they'll-take-a-mile school.

First class overachievers.

Workaholics with a breath-taking inability to perceive that size isn't everything.

 I think it's time for some good zucchini recipes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Hurrier I Go . . .

You know the rest.  Spring is a madhouse in my world and I have, as you may have noticed, begun to neglect certain things.  Which is about all I'm going to say to explain the three month gap in blog posts around here.

Also, tonight is one of the first nights I've had without something on the schedule, and you can bet your buttons that I'm not about to spend it futzing around with a long and newsy blog post. No Sir, not me.  Instead, I will spend it working, which I failed entirely to do during normal work hours, hence the unfortunate schedule.

Before I go, though, I have to let you know that I am now a world famous knitter of hats.

Hat,  really, not hats.

And I suppose that, strictly speaking, I'm not actually world famous.  Or any kind of famous, if you insist on using the word in it's traditional, dictionary-definition sense.

But I did get to knit a hat for a book that is about to take the knitting world by storm, which is just about the same and totally counts as a way cool experience, right?

Here is my hat:

I got the gig two years ago through the lovely people at my local yarn shop, which sponsored a weekend  get-together for members of the Ravelry group associated with its on-line persona, Dizzy Sheep (check out my bumper-crop of links-- I am so tech-savvy!).  Master knitter Anne Berk joined us at the weekend and gave an introductory seminar on her technique for knitting intarsia motifs in the round.  This blew our minds.  Those of us who managed to recover from the shock of what she was teaching us (I almost didn't make it--I'm pretty sure I spent a while unable to do anything other than shake my head and blibber "that is sooooo cool") got to choose a pattern and some yarn and knit a project that would -- get this -- BE INCLUDED IN THE BOOK.  An actual real printed book with pages and everything. This doesn't happen to me very often, so I hopped on the yarnwagon and now my little hat, along with a number of other items knit by real live regular knitters, is going to make an appearance in  Annetarsia Knits (that's the Amazon link; if you really want to have fun, try this one, which goes to Ravelry and lets you take a peek at the different patterns).

Years ago I had an unfortunate experience with intarsia in the form of an afghan featuring little scottie dogs. I thought it had ruined intarsia for me, but it turns out there is a lot to be done with the technique that doesn't involve excessively cute animals and a bajillion bobbins of yarn tangling up your needles.  Such as a multi-color lace hat that does not need to be seamed and involves no gauge-restricting stranding.  In addition to the hat and the instructions for the techniques, the book contains patterns for socks, shawls, and a host of other goodies. Not all the patterns in the book are worked in the round and they range in size from coaster-sized things to --no lie-- an entire skirt/top affair.

And now I had better get back to work.  To tide you over until the next post, I'll leave you with a picture of my almost-but-not-quite finished Color Affection.

When people tell you that the end of this shawl takes forever, you should believe them and possibly choose a different project and save yourself years of garter stitch.  Saturday morning I owed 2.5 repeats (30 rows) and two inches of border on this shawl.  15 hours of knitting later, I still owe 3 rows and a bind-off.  I can only hope to have this finished by the end of the week, in which case I might just celebrate by writing a second blog post for this month.  Wahoo.

fyi:  these are not my pictures.  You can tell from the clarity and beauty of them-- and also from the fact that they are labeled with the book name and feature a person I have never before seen in my life, but who is clearly a real live model--that they were professionally taken for the purpose of the book. The photographer is Bill Berk, and I'm pretty sure that he didn't just pop a hat on one of his kids and fire away with his iPhone, as some of us are wont to do.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Chickens

It's been quite a week for the chickens.

It started off with a lovely thaw.  The daytime temperatures -- all 40 degrees of them -- were positively beach-like compared to what we've seen since Thanksgiving and the birds took full advantage.

Unfortunately, the warm temperatures melted the snow and brought on the mud, which is always worst in the coop with its slower drainage and ground that is constantly being churned up by chicken feet.

Poor Mike here looks like she could use a pair of chicken boots.

And now she and Shirley (or is it LaVerne?  I can't tell them apart) look like they were pretending to be Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes.

Except that it's mud, of course, not grapes.

The birds spent a lot of time standing on top of their play house, like a little chicken convention.

This pair doesn't know from mud.  They and their three confederates continue to be indoor chickens.

That changed, for a grand total of 3.5 minutes, when I freshened up the shavings in their apartment, which, due to their complete failure to step outside and their indiscriminate bathroom habits, were in a disgraceful state.

When I toss clean shavings into the coop, the new birds panic like I'm lobbing grenades at them. Last time, they all backed into the same corner and hopped up and down and trampled each other until I went away.  This time, they headed for the opposite corner, which lets onto the exit ramp.    At this point, I may or may not have pushed the lot of them out the hatch--defenestrated them, as it were-- and followed it up by throwing more shavings at them.

Thus they experienced the glories of nature for a second time.

I don't think they cared for it all that much.

They flapped and ran for a bit and were completely stupefied to find themselves on the opposite side of the fence. They could see the mini-coop, but they couldn't figure out how to get back to it.

Eventually they found the cutout in the fence and, barely pausing to snatch up a few grains of the cracked corn I had put out to teach them to love the great outdoors, made their way back inside.

The next day it snowed. A lot.

So much that we got two snow days from school.

My birds don't do snow, but today's temperatures, which were back at a very vernal 42 degrees, were too much to resist.  So they pushed a bunch of shavings out and stood on that.  All of them in one little spot.

I guarantee that they will go no further until the ground is back to its muddy glory.