knit/yarn

The Invader – #5

Since last I told my cancer story, the news has been cautiously good. Sorry for making everyone wait so long for this most recent update – I’ve been caught up with a bunch of things and frankly, since working on my book (7 years now – gotta get serious and fininsh this thing!) I’ve fallen out of the habit of carving out writing time to do a post here and there.

I hope you know, and I’m telling you now, the comments I receive about the blog are deeply encouraging and I am so grateful. It really helps me to find the time to write. I usually have the posts all in my head – I’m just lazy about the typing. If I ever get speech-to-text for my ‘puter, well just WATCH OUT! But back to the Invader.

Since last I wrote, my chemotherapy regime has changed to a more intense therapy and so the side effects have been a good deal more serious. 80% of my hair has fallen out – let me tell you the hair coming out in locks in the shower is a really tough moment. I bought a wig over the Internet – it was a bargain – and oh my was that a mistake – wrong color big time and the style well let’s just say it inspired laughter.

Did you know you can get stones in your salivary glands? I had no idea….until I got one. So I’m already kind of a zombie because it was chemo week and Friday afternoon, while having yet another expensive scan (with radioactive dye which makes me sick every time – did I mention that they are hella expensive?) I got that twinge one gets when one’s salivary glands are gonna swell – like with a cold. I didn’t think much of it til later. By 8:30 that evening, I was in serious pain, even after taking painkillers, so we went to the ER. After hours & hours of waiting (whilst whatever pain killers I had taken wore off) I finally got in to see a dr. They gave me a pain shot which eased it for just a couple of hours, and another CT scan with radioactive resist – my second in less thatn 12 hrs (different parts of the body were scanned each time) and I learned that 1) I had a stone or some blockage of the left side parotid salivary gland (I was unfamiliar with this gland – it’s sort of kidney shaped and kind of wraps around your ear) and 2) the treatment consists of warm moist compresses, massage and chewing lemons and sour candy. The idea behind the lemons and sour candy is to get the gland to produce more saliva to flush out the blockage. And they gave me a prescription for some narcotic pain meds and a course of antibiotics.

I knew I’d be seeing my oncologist on that next Monday, so I tried to follow the instructions….but the pain was SO INTENSE. We called the after hours number for the oncologist to let him know what was happening and Studmuffin spoke to the nurse – she said I could take a double dose of the pain med – THANK GOD. Finally the pain was bearable. Meanwhile my face was swelling more and more – I was producing lots of saliva but it was backing up as the duct was still blocked The swelling was interfering with not only chewing but my breathing. I was sleeping sitting up on the couch so I could keep breathing!

My oncologist upon seeing me postponed my chemo treatment for that week and immediately whipped out his phone and called an ENT friend of his – got me in to see him THAT afternoon; a near impossible feat. I *love* my oncologist for doing that. Anyway, got into the ENT dr. and he affirmed the diagnosis and almost immediately put on gloves and got his hands in my mouth (in my experience as a kid, some ENT’s are quite reluctant to be hands on) to massage and see what was happening. That was very helpful to me because it showed me how much pressure I should be applying (hint: it was a lot more than I had been doing). He essentially told me to keep doing what I was doing, gave me another prescription for the pain meds and to come see him in 5 days. I admit that I cried right there in his office because I felt so hopeless at that point. I felt so awful and this was all the treatment they could offer in 2019? And the pain….

Well let’s talk about pain. I’m not a pain weenie. Every surgery I’ve had, except the colon resection last May, I wound up not taking all the pain meds I was prescribed, because I don’t like taking narcotics unless I absolutely have to and I can bear a fair amount of pain – the crusty New Englander part of me feels the need to point this out. 🙂 Anyway, I have saved those leftover medications over the years and they have come in handy on several occasions – earaches, somebody throws their back out, that kind of thing. I am always very, very, very careful with dosages; these medicines are serious business. When I started taking double the pain meds to make the pain bearable, well I was running out and I am very thankful that I still had a few tablets left from my heart surgery 10 years earlier (FYI – tablets are very, very stable over decades if kept in a reasonable environment (not too hot or cold and low humidity). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any kind of “stash” at all, just a very few tablets left over here and there. This helped me get through. Truly, this has been one of the most painful things I have EVER experienced – and I’ve had heart sugery and given birth 3 times!

So just as I am taking the antibiotic (a pill so big I have to split it into quarters to swallow it) I develop a yeast infection as well. This is TMI I am certain, but I feel I wanna say it because it only added to the over all misery. I had this as well as “elimination follies”* and I was not at all interested in eating; in fact I ate nothing for 3 days at one point. I did, because of a great sacrifice on my husband’s part, get to go to the Affrolachian On-Time Gathering, which was probably the best medicine I could have had. The gathering deserves its own post but I don’t have the energy to do that right now. Just know that all y’all oughta be going next year!

Eventually I was sent to Birmingham to see another ENT who has a nifty scope for this gland – the Duke of Curl had to drive me down and back, and the doc was running WAY late (2.5 hrs late) so none of that was fun. He told me that I was too swollen to scope and that I should take about 2 weeks more antibiotics to clear this thing out. He did not see evidence of what I have been calling my “face rock” so presumably it has passed. I can breathe normally, sleep in my bed and chew normally again, too. I am off narcotics and am not taking anything other than Ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.

This is the really gross part so you might wanna skip this paragraph. I started having some swelling go down and some relief after my first ENT visit and the much stronger massage. The most painful area, and the most swollen, is just in front of and just behind the ear. So the day after I finish the 7 day course of antibiotics I got from the ER doc, I’m massaging behind my ear and the skin ruptures and all this bloody pus comes draining out. I had actually given a good deal of thought into opening that area up myself with a large, sterile needle, but I’m just as happy not to have to do that and that it occurred naturally. It is still draining (almost 2 weeks now) and the B’ham ENT cultured the pus and has as of yesterday given me a new antibiotic to take (very large pills that cannot be split and are quite challenging for me to swallow).

Last week was chemo and it hit me wicked hard. When I can sleep, I have lots of vivid nightmares (my therapist calls them “poison dreams”) and I am much, much weaker than I have been – so weak that I have been afraid to drive myself places. I’m tryna take a trip to NH to see family in a week – it’s a little iffy that I can even go. Still I am feeling better today than in the last 3 weeks.

It’s been six months since my diagnosis so I guess I’m officially down to 18 months life expectancy – that’s not what I say it is and of course God has the final say in all cases. I thank you from the bottom of my soul for all the prayers and I hope you’ll keep on praying for me; the prayers are keeping me going. Next up will be the big liver ablation in November, if I’m well enough to do it. I’ll try to write more frequently and briefly in the future.

Interlude Pt. 2

So to tell more about my vacation – before it slides from my memory…..

So I don’t have that many more photos that I took; I’ll share some that others took…..

One of the things I have wanted to start here in Aba-lama-ding-dong for more than 10 years is a community sing. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on about them but had never attended one, so my lack of experience has been my stumbling block for all this time! I have been to Gospel Sings before, but I knew it would be somewhat different doing a community sing…. So I found one at the Central Pennsylvania Arts Fest that I could go to. It was held at a downtown Presbyterian Church.

Until about 5 minutes before it started, I was the youngest person in there by at least 10 years (except for the sound guy – he looked to be about 20). 2 families came in just before we started with grandparents, parents and grandkids, so a broader range of age was present. I think when it began there were maybe 70 people there. They handed out a booklet of song lyrics, which I later kept as a souvenir though we were asked to turn them in (I’m so rotten I know). Note to self – Beatles songs can be quite difficult to do well in a community sing. There were a couple of hymns sung as well and the fella leading it was quite witty throughout. I’m stealing all his best lines by the way….

I enjoyed it – though I was reminded again that I was up North – almost no one spoke to me or made eye contact, and there were zero people of color in this space. In fact as a group, we sang the very whitest version of “Wade in the Water” I have ever witnessed…… but it was good to take part. Now I feel very sheepish in waiting SO long to start a community sing here – I have all the skills to do it and I have some ideas about involving other good songleaders I know here. Singing is a wonderful way of bringing people together!

As it was Wednesday, the Arts Fest really wasn’t together or in full swing as yet but that was OK by us; we ended up meeting a couple of wonderful folks – 1 in a shop, another taking surveys on the street that we had really good conversations with. Yup, even Studmuffin was talking to folks. 🙂 That night, we stayed at an Airbnb that is usually a Girl Scout camp. Absolutely lovely location and very rustic but we were fine with that too. Could hear the bullfrogs all night long….kind of a balm to my soul really.

The next day we went to visit a family just over the PA/NY border who used to live down here. They moved away about 7 years ago and I was determined to visit them as …well, tomorrow is promised to no one and truly we were within an hour’s drive. We had a splendid visit – we went to lunch at this place that raises turkeys and makes maple syrup (which I bought some for my folks at the gift shop. Yup, Helen almost always finds the gift shop – but I love to give gifts!). So good to spend time with them – and completely forgot to take any pictures of us together. Here ‘s a picture of the restaurant we went to – food was great!

Also, I got a new guitar – a Martin Backpacker. I brought another full size guitar with me, but I knew that I would not be up to carrying it around at Augusta this year, so I got one of these – they weigh less than 5 lbs.

I got this out at our friends’ house and we did a little singing together. So good to see old friends! The guitar is an unusual shape and combined with my own shape, I had trouble playing it and making it sound good. It’s clumsy to use, though I’ve just seen an add-on thing that I might get which would make it better……… But it’s useful and I’m happy to have it. I played it as much as I could during our week’s vacation before Augusta as I knew my calluses on my fingertips were really weak.

We stayed at another lovely Airbnb in Erie PA and met the delightful fella who was the host and his dogs. I so enjoy meeting the hosts. There is such loving care put into the hospitality – it’s a spiritual thing for me. Studmuffin has also come to like it a good bit, though he’s a confirmed hotel rat. He likes the anonymity and the bland decor and not having to talk to new people at hotels. He wouldn’t do Airbnb without me along, but when I’m there to carry the conversation, he rubs along nicely. The hosts in Erie had left a bag of grapes in the fridge for us that were perfectly ripe and delicious – so very thoughtful and we ate every one of those grapes and went to bed early.

It was at this point that I think we went to Falling Water – on our way back to Pittsburgh and then Elkins. I had bought our tickets online because there is no air conditioning in Falling Water and I wanted us to go through the tour before it got really hot outside. It was a good strategy and I really enjoyed the tour. We had a wonderful guide and it was his birthday I found out, so I sang to him later at the end of the tour. Seeing these FLW houses and FLW-inspired houses has really made me want to refurbish all of my flowerbeds this fall – God willing I’ll have the energy- and to get rid of a whole lot of stuff we have. Again energy may be a problem here, and I truly loathe having to sort through our possessions in this way. It’s one of my least favorite activities, but we have lived in our little house for 21 years and the accumulation of stuff over that time period is a bit overwhelming. Our house is just under 1000 square ft, 3 bedrooms and our main bathroom is tiny (2 people can fit if one stands in the tub….). Now that we have only 1 of our progeny living with us, you’d think that I’d be using that other room wisely……alas but no. The comedian Phyllis Diller is my “Spirit animal” and I follow something she said:

“Housework won’t kill you. But why take the chance?”

We stayed at a truly outstanding Airbnb for our last night in PA – it’s called Schnoodleberry Farm and the hosts were fantastic. Really it’s a destination in itself and we were sad that we had so little time there. We hit it off so well that I’m scheming as to how I could maybe stay there again next summer (if I’m healthy enough…).

Yes, they have peacocks, and turkeys, and chickens that like to listen to Prince, and emus…. Amazing place!

So then, Studmuffin had to travel for work the whole next week, so he flew out of Pittsburgh to Southern California. He loves his work deeply, so this was wonderful that the timing all worked out. After dropping him at the airport, I headed back down to Elkins, back to my mother-in-love’s house and time to start Blues & Swing week at Augusta!

So what is Augusta? Augusta is what the Elkins area used be called before it was Elkins. Back in the early 70’s folks were noticing that the old ways of the country people were dying out, so they started the Augusta Festival to celebrate these ways and then started doing classes. Things like weaving and blacksmithing and making pottery and old-time music with dulcimers and dancing and so on. It takes place on the very hilly campus of Davis & Elkins College. I got involved a little over 20 years ago because I was having a fairly difficult pregnancy and we knew we would be in Elkins to visit his parents and grandmother in August and have them meet the baby who would be about 3 months old at that time. Studmuffin insisted that I go to Augusta for Vocal Week – he possibly may regret his insistance ….. Anyway, I went and really learned some things and stayed up late, late, late jamming with others and took a gospel singing class that changed my life permanently. The community that is built for the week at Augusta is equally important as the classes you take. It can be hard for first-timers to make their way in – it can seem like everyone already knows each other though that isn’t really true. I always try to seek out the new ones and encourage them to keep on introducing themselves and hanging out.

So I met up with friends from years before and I have a particular affinity for the dance troupe that comes (Urban Artistry). I cannot dance the way I used to (too many joint issues) but I can still dance some, and the dancers know I love them! Here I am with Russell and Mike – simply wonderful human beings and stone cold dancers!!!

This was at the outdoor concert that week. Wish I’d gotten a photo of Hubby Jenkins playing badminton….
Mike dancing just a few steps with me. My dream is to regenerate my joints to the point I could take a week of dance at Augusta. Unlikely to happen but I can dream can’t i?
Of course we gotta do the silly faces!

I took classes in guitar and voice. I think I can finally (after decades of no success) do an alternating thumb bass on the guitar. Course I haven’t practiced much since I got home. I also got some lessons on bones, gave away a pair and bought a new pair. Definitely gonna have to make time to practice the bones – they make such a satisfying clacking sound….

Augusta is good medicine for me and I didn’t stay out very late (for me) all week. I am very grateful that my oncologist encouraged me to take this time, this vacation. Studmuffin flew black to Pittsburgh on Friday and my sister-in-law was so good to go get him so I could stay at Augusta every last minute. I even wangled time to get a massage. All good!

Then we drove down to Roanoke to spend a little time with my parents. We had a little dinner party with friends we’ve had so long they are family now. Truly a beautiful time we had. I’m so grateful. So much music, nature, good food, laughter, conversation, meeting new folks….tremendous!

Then we went home. We were gone for nearly 3 weeks and it’s great to go, but great to come home and sleep in our own bed and of course see the doggies and cats.

Hope we can go and do something like this again.

Interlude – Reunion, Road trip, FLW & Augusta

So when last I wrote, I was telling you all the horrible news, just before taking off on my wonderful 3 week vacation. Instead of writing tons, I think I’ll do mostly pictures.

First let me say that I had my first chemotherapy treatment which made me WAY groggy for the first 4 days-just in time for the family reunion. There are few pictures that I took and all of them are blurry, so here goes:

Karaoke – Elizabeth singing; James’ legs. I sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” – I always do.
from L to R: the Force of Nature, the Duke of Curl, me, Studmuffin. Wish I could remember what I said to tease the FoN…..Please note that we are holding the frame upside down

So that’s about it for the reunion. It was fun…when I wasn’t sleeping.

The Duke of Curl has been getting into….wait for it….blacksmithing. Yup. He’s joined a local group and wants to get his own forge.

Duke of Curl in Action
Making hooks for Grandmother

So he decided to take a week of blacksmithing classes at Augusta – which originally was scheduled the same week as Blues week. However, when we got the final schedule, it had changed so that Blues week was the week after. Studmuffin thought that we should go ahead and drive the THIRTEEN HOURS back home to Silicon Holler and then, in another week, drive up to WV another THIRTEEN HOURS and then drive back home again THIRTEEN HOURS . Nope nopity nope nope, says I. I decide we are going on vacation in PA & NY state, visiting friends, family and tourist sites for that intervening week. Yes, there will be driving involved, but only in stretches of an hour or two and mostly not highways. I need green and lots of it.

So we visited Studmuffin’s brother and kids in PA as they weren’t at the Reunion. I hadn’t seen the kids in YEARS – we’re gonna make a much greater effort to see them more frequently. Studmuffin & his brother definitely need to see each other more often. I only took pics of the kids so I won’t be posting those. Coming soon – FLW!

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

Before I go there, I read a book recently by Dr. Joan Vernikos called “Designed to Move” She’s retired now, but her whole career involved the biometrics of the human body as it relates to gravity – regular and space conditions. Basically, sitting so much is killing us, so stand up every half-hour. Even if you run 2 hours a day, if you sit for 6 hours, you’re still sedentary. I tried to implement this on our trip, though I changed the time period to 35 or 40 minutes. Fortunately Studmuffin went along with this gracefully. I think it helped me anyway, and we stopped at some very interesting places we wouldn’t have done otherwise. Pictures later.

So Studmuffin is a huge fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and over the years we have visited several houses and building he designed. Back when I was maybe 6 or 7, Mr Rogers visited Falling Water on his show and I have wanted to see it ever since. While on their website, I found this other place called Polymath Park. You can read all about it on the site – I made a reservation for lunch; all the other reservations were filled and that night we stayed overnight in the Balter House.

Designed and built by one of FLW’s apprentices – Balter summer house
Living room/great room. The skylight also is over the kitchen so one doesn’t have to turn on the light in the morning. The acoustics in here were just wonderful!

Time & money permitting, I would love to build a nearly exact replica of Balter House for us to live in. I Loved It!!

The food was very good. Studmuffin always wants to take photos of me in places – I dislike that so I have started doing “dead selfies” (see the backstory here – I think she’s hilarious), so here’s me in the lovely restaurant:

It was deadly but delicious….

Others in no particular order:

Previous lunch in WV
In Knoxville
Inside the Balter summer house
someplace in PA
My absolute favorite so far in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We visited in our stops the Flight 93 crash site & memorial, and the Fred Rogers Center. Mr. Rogers was hugely important to me in case you did not know. They had a little museum and I took pictures:

Queen Sarah Saturday
King Friday
Prince Tuesday
Daniel Striped Tiger
Lady Elaine Fairchild
X the Owl – unfortunately my pic of Henrietta Pusycat didn’t come out. Meow me meow meow sorry meow.
Mr. Rogers taking a selfie…..
The famous trolley
Fred Rogers…a truly great man.

The 2 main FLW houses we went to were Graycliff on Lake Erie and Falling Water near Pittsburgh. Their websites have really good photos so I won’t take up space here with my poor attempts. I loved both houses and they are very different. I had not heard of Graycliff til a NY friend mentioned it and I am so glad we went to it. Not as celebrated as Falling Water but equally as interesting for me. I’ll share just 1 Graycliff photo – the flower arranging sink. So unusual!

You should go and visit these wonderful places…..

Falling Water surprised me in several ways – you could barely hear the water in most spaces, the overall scale of the house is small – it isn’t a grand space, there’s a freshwater swimming pool…… There’s so much to see..you really should go – though not if you have difficulty walking or climbing stairs….I got a sassafrass walking stick by joining their club and they have a simply MARVELOUS gift shop.

We stayed at several AirBNB places – all of which were wonderful in their own ways. Studmuffin let me choose whatever I wanted….once he realized we weren’t going to go visiting various battlefields and disaster sites (Johnstown Flood for instance). I told him I didn’t want to visit all the death-filled places on this trip.

I think I’m gonna have to write a part 2……..I hope by the end of the week.

So I guess enough time has passed now….and I’m so surprised.

So I watched this thing about Linda Ronstadt on YouTube on Tuesday. I always liked her music – no matter what she sang – and when her memoir came out and she was doing the rounds of TV interviews to publicize her book, she was asked again and again if she missed singing (she can no longer sing because of her Parkinson’s Disease).  She of course said she did, but in one interview she said that what she missed even more was being able to knit – again the Parkinson’s Disease. I remember seeing a picture of her knitting back in the day but I didn’t realize she was a real *fibertarian*!

This wasn’t the picture I remember but it doesn’t matter – there are several around. About 1975

Anyway, you know how it is on the YouTube – one video leads to another and there was an interview of her with the guy from the Old Grey Whistle Test I think from maybe 1975 or ’76 where she’s talking about how important the Troubadour (a bar & club in L.A.) was for the music scene she was a part of in southern California and I really enjoyed her interview – she was thoughtful, intelligent, down-to-earth and honest.  I especially liked how much she praised the ability of other musicians she met or heard at the Troubadour, several of which ended up in her backing band and then went on to become the Eagles.

The original 4 – l-r: Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey

Folks who know me well have heard me say many, many unkind things about the Eagles throughout my life. You see, where I grew up, there were few radio stations, and there were several bands/musicians whose music was played so very often I got completely burnt out on them and their music: Led Zeppelin, Boz Scaggs, Creedence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Eric Carmen/Raspberries, Benny Mardones (he’s a little different b/c he just had the one song – that really creepy tune about the girl being underage – I heard it on the muzak at the grocery within the last 6 months and yep, it’s still way creepy). I have always thought it strange that I never got burnt out on the Bee Gees……..

For most of the other artists I mentioned, I have been surprised to learn that with the passage of time and NOT hearing their tunes for years, occasionally it would happen that I might hear one of the songs from the above-mentioned artists and found I could appreciate them anew. This has been lovely and so unexpected. Now, I despise the Doors too, but that’s almost completely for different reasons, though they certainly received FAR too much airplay in my hearing. My hot hate for the Doors burns brightly still.

But the Eagles? Well, the Eagles I have loathed them for sooooooo many years. They got played so much… they get played all the time even now! I cannot remember a time in my life (since 1972 when their 1st album came out when I was THREE) when more than 3 or 4 days pass before I hear one of their songs someplace – I cannot get away from them except for when I went to camp twice as a kid and when I have left the US, though there was that time in Tel Aviv in 1996……..!

Felder, Walsh, Meisner, Henley & Frey

I know the words to almost every song they released, including many “deep” album cuts and I have never EVER tried to learn the words to any of their songs: the lyrics are just there, stuck in my brain without my permission. There are poems, prayers and many quotes from the Baha’i Writings that I *want* to have memorized, that I want in my brain forever, but nope – they cannot take up residence because the effing Eagles lyrics are taking up SO MUCH OF MY MEMORY.  Then, there was that turbulent time in my parents’ marriage and my dad was playing “Desperado” and “Seven Bridges Road” over and over and over on the 8-track as we drove around in the truck. Nope – I have had NO LOVE IN MY HEART for the Eagles since I was about 8 years old.

Circa 1977 l-r Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit

I have even hated the solo work done by Frey and Henley, just on principle. I know it’s unreasonable and kind of stupid – especially when Don Henley writes something d***ed magnificent like “The Heart of the Matter”; I even got mad at India.Arie – one of my favorite artists of the last 20 years – for recording that song (she kills it by the way) because even when I hear her singing it, it reminds me of Don Henley, which reminds me of the Eagles and I get mad at all the space they take up in my musical memory….. I have to admit that there is one exception: I do adore Timothy B. Schmit’s voice and some of his songs (“Love Will Keep Us Alive” is an incredible song and how he sings it….well well well). When Randy Meisner left the band, Schmit became their bassist and he has somehow escaped my ire and animus, and as I am thinking more deeply, I don’t truly hate Meisner, Joe Walsh, Bernie Leadon, or Don Felder either. Maybe I just hate Henley and Frey……No – I admit this rancor isn’t rational or evenly applied, but still I have felt this way for decades.

So in this Ronstadt interview, she talks a good bit about how much she loves the way they all sing together and how first nobody knew Don Henley could even sing ‘cos he was so shy and he was the drummer – a really great drummer. I then watched the thing when Glenn Frey inducted her into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame; I knew he had passed away, but I couldn’t remember why so then off to Wikipedia…I didn’t realize he had Rheumatoid arthritis and was carried off by pneumonia. It’s a sad thing. After watching more interviews with the band on YouTube and part of a BBC documentary and reading more stuff, I went back to YouTube to listen to a little part of just one of their songs – Take It Easy. The professionally filmed and recorded concert from 1977 came up and …. well Sweet Sally Melville, I LIKED it. Those harmonies…….they could really PLAY and sing and write songs. I am appreciating them in a new way, without the angst of the past and – WARNING! PUN AHEAD! it’s a Peaceful, Easy Feeling.  ( I hope my brother who loves puns reads that). I know so much more about music and performing and songwriting, all of which add to my astonishing (to me anyway) change of heart.

Y’all, for me this is like waking up one day, looking in the mirror and seeing a third ear growing out of the middle of my forehead – a crazy surprise. The hate is GONE and I am so happy. Heck, next week I am getting together to jam with a new friend who does some of that late 70’s country rock and who knows? we might even play some Eagles tunes.  Not hating them is a kind of relief, tho’ I still kinda resent their space in my brain. I guess enough time has passed, and I have different kind of appreciation of how challenging it can be to be in a band and get stuff to sound right, or just maybe how it is when we get older. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not gonna go get tickets to one of their shows, nor will I be playing any of their songs on repeat for a few weeks in the summer (this sometimes happens to me with certain bands – my kids HATE it when this comes upon me).

Circa 2018 l-r: Don Henley, Glenn Frey’s son Deacon, Joe Walsh, Vince Gill, Timothy B Schmit.

But I might listen to them some on Spotify and I certainly won’t feel bad when I hear another tune of theirs unexpectedly someplace. As John Prine says, “It’s a big ol’ goofy world.”

I will say that I thank God that the Doors are not nearly as popular as the Eagles.

 

 

FYI – this post was originally gonna be called “D*** Dog! part deux.

We got a beautiful smaller dog last Saturday. Her name is Hexie. I hope to post some pictures soon cos she is SO cute. Because of Petra and her depredations, I’d put away the last project (see last post) and begun to knit on an UFO (UnFinished Object – we are learning things today aren’t we?): the second sock of a pair of socks I’d started back in 2015.

I love the yarn – lavender/purple, grey & black stripes in a wool /alpaca blend, with solid black for heels, toes and in this pair, cuffs. Once I started knitting on it again, I realized why I had put it away: it isn’t a good marriage of yarn to the pattern. So the stripes aren’t really stripes anymore because of the cables, and the cables make the coloring so busy that you cannot see the cables unless you are up VERY close.

My problem is that I have knit so far into this project – all of one sock and about 10% of the second one that I could not decide if I wanted to rip out all the knitting and use a different pattern that I know will be a far better pairing of yarn to sock. I made the decision to finish the second sock in the less attractive pattern because I have SO much sock yarn in the stash ( I really am gonna have to show you everything I got last Nov. & Dec.) that ripping it back (or frogging as it is commonly known amongst knitters) is basically pointless because I care far more about having another pair of handmade socks for than if the socks were perfect. If they were for a gift, I’d frog them for certain but they are for me so no biggie.

Well, Hexie decided to get into the yarn. It’s not nearly so bad as what Petra did to the other project but WHAT IS GOING ON? WHY do my dogs wanna tear apart my knitting and kill my groovy sock knitting mojo? Bad word bad word bad word.

 

OK ok enough. It’s almost 4 am and I must stop writing.

D*** dog!

We have had Petra for 2 months now and we love her….but yesterday she did a big NO-NO!!!

This used to be a lovely, neat ball of yarn attached to a 75% completed sock.

 

The yarn isn’t actually damaged….but it’s gonna take HOURS!!!!!! to untangle and I just don’t have it in me to do that right now. So I’ll find a ziploc bag to put it in “time-out” for a month or a year or so.  SO FRUSTRATING!  It’s killed my beautiful sock mojo….

But never fear – I’m gonna start knitting a cowl instead.

Actual knitted things

Hell-o! Bet you thought the blog was dead, huh? Well, she won’t actually die….tho’ there has been a famine of posts the last FIVE years or so….

Happy blog-i-versary to me- I think it’s 13 years now (11 on WordPress) but I am just too lazy to go look.

On to the knitting!

Socks for the Force o’ Nature-

Twisty Replacement socks

Completed Nov 2017 (more info on Ravelry here)

Force o’Nature really appreciated these during the summer job which required regular inventory of a commercial fridge. Wool socks keep you warm!  So this led to these –

Lou’s Envy

Completed December 2018  Love this pattern – will be making some for me in this pattern SOON.

More info on Ravelry of course.

SO while I was looking for something else, I found the original socks I’d made for the FoN – which needed darning because MOTHS! AND all my darning supplies, so the FoN got both pairs for Christmas.

Moderne Cable Socks

These were completed back in 2014. This was why I made the Twisty replacement socks – first I knit one of the brown ones, then completed the second, then couldn’t find the safe place I’d put the first one. Months passed, then I found them both, gave them to the FoN in June – who said they didn’t want them til winter. Put them away then couldn’t find them AGAIN. Many months passed. Found them but then one had serious moth damage so I needed to darn them but then couldn’t find the remaining matching yarn. More than a year goes by, I suggest I make the FoN different ones – detente achieved.   Finally found everything, darned them and gave them. Phew!  project page on Ravelry here.

Grinchy Green Almondine

Completed December 2018  These are for me. LOVE LOVE LOVE them and they have 10% cashmere in the yarn blend. Luxury! Ravelry project page

A lot of this sock knitting has to do with the fact that I am a complete convert to the Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  I find it makes it easy to make socks that FIT pretty much perfectly. Found out last summer that my sock knitting sister-in-law (she’s far more productive than I am!)  also uses this heel. I recommend it.

Next up – a cowl for a dear brotherfriend-

Mistake Rib Cowl

This has been done for AGES. Finally it is blocked and photographed. Hope to get in the mail this week.

Ravelry project page

And another pair of socks for Studmuffin!

Pour Mon Mari

I’ve never made him socks before. Completed last week! (Jan 2019) And they fit.  They are not IRL as purple as this pic, much more dark green (he loves greeen).  All blocked and photo’ed and gifted. Project page on Ravelry here

Started knitting another pair for me out of a black and magenta Zauberball.  I’ve tried this yarn in 2 other patterns and have not liked the sock I was making and frogged it both times. I am using this pattern Fidelio and although I’m not getting the “rhythm” of the pattern easily, I think I like the socks I’m making, so perhaps the third time’s the charm.

Duke of Curl is up for a new hat, Bought more yarn, will post another time. Need to make something for my momma…..

 

How are you? Happy 2019!

A yarn crime….almost

Hey folks! It’s been a minute….I have no excuses.  So I do still see yarn crimes out and about and of course on the ‘net. Items with pompoms are serial offenders I have to say…..

I saw this just moments ago, but it’s so flippin’ cute, it transcends the criminal nature of the offense IMO. Here ya go!

If you have a dog (or perhaps some other pet/offspring…a POMeranian?!?) willing to wear this, here’s a link where you can get the pattern:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blue-dog-hat

My intention is to post more frequently but less wordily. Maybe that’ll help. 🙂  Love to hear from you in ze comments.

Falling off the “Yarn Diet” wagon

Did anyone hear a loud “THUMP”?  You should have, ‘cos that was me falling off my yarn diet and beginning a binge.

My knitting mojo has been very low for nearly 2 years..but I am thankful it is back! So I have been buying  yarn……which I haven’t done much of for the last 3 or 4 or maybe 5 years.

Aren’t you excited? Actual yarn photos! FYI – all the really good photos are not mine and ganked from the ‘net. Bad photos are mine. Perhaps you’ve already learned this…..

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Patons Kroy Sock yarn  in “Woodsie”  3 skeins

It started with this one – Craftsy was having a supply sale some months ago (last April?) and the Force of Nature was home from college. There’s a*long* story about the 1st pair of socks I knitted for the FoN – I may tell it here some other time – but basically, I needed to knit another pair for my progeny, so I asked her if she would choose some yarn and she did. BTW I just finished that pair a few days ago – they are all finished but for photos. Hopefully I will have photos by next week.

Then, in early November, I was poking around Etsy – always a bad idea if one wishes *not* to buy yarn.  Quite some time ago, I knitted a pair of neon colored socks – “retina -searing” bright colors…and I love them. Love love love them. I didn’t have any more neon sock yarn in the stash (well, not in the the near stash…deep stash – maybe there is, but I’m not yet that brave.) So I ordered this skein –

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Yes, it really does look like this IRL

Sock yarn, wool/ nylon blend, HeartWarmedStudios in “Black Light Bliss”. I ordered another skein of yarn from another Etsy shop the same day – it arrived only yesterday, so I’ll tell about it later.

While visiting my parents in Virginia at the end of October, I went to Wool Workshop.  It’s a terrific yarn store – if you like yarn, I highly recommend it.  I *knew* I couldn’t go in there and just look, and yet I went in ANYWAY.  What can I say? I am an addict. All my good intentions went right out the window when I saw their Wollmeise – like 40+ skeins of it just right there!  I felt very virtuous in only buying 1 skein of it.

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1 skein of Twin in Wasseratz (the blues in my skein are much darker – closer to black)

Once I’d decided to buy some yarn (Wollmeise!!!!)….”In for a penny, in for a pound” I always say.  Just know that it isn’t as if I get ALL the yarn I WANT. If that were true, we wouldn’t be able to pay the MORTGAGE.  No, I only get the ones that I know I will forever regret not buying.  Here they all are:

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colorway – #105 – Happy Summer Days

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colorway – “Nighttime Glam”

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colorway – Born This Way

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colorway – maleficent

Yup, all sock yarns and 1 more – a “bucket list” yarn: Quince & co. One of the limited edition indigo yarns!  Not gonna pass this up, no way.

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tern in “indigo 3”

An expensive afternoon…but oh so worth it.

In my quest for more neon sock yarn, I thought of Knit Picks. They really have good, good yarns for great prices and I’d like to, while I’m in spend mode, give them some business. Of course I found several things on clearance and other things on sale.

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Felici sock yarn – colorway – punch bug; 2 skeins

This one is being discontinued and since I and the Force of Nature *still* play ‘punch buggy’, I HAD to get this 1.

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Stroll Tweed in Wellies heather

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Palette (fingering weight) – Blue Note Heather – 3 skeins.

I think the 2 above reflect my wish to make more mittens with colorwork.

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Alpaca Cloud fingering – colorway- Edmund. This might also be for mittens….

I love their Chroma line – I guess they are Knit Picks version of Noro colorways.  I have at least 2 skeins in different colorways hiding in the stash, but these 2 were ridiculously low priced, so I got them as well.

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Chroma fingering – Lake front

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Chroma fingering Hollyhock

My birthday is coming up in December and I buy my own present for that (I’ll save you the sturm und drang of how that came to be).  I had been thinking a lot/becoming obsessed with knitting a sweater out of this book-

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knit, Swirl! Uniquely Flattering, One Piece, One Seam Swirl Jackets by Sandra McIver (I’ve had the book for 6 years now…..). 

To use the yarn that is used in the book (Mountain Colors mountain goat), for a person of my size, was gonna be a BIG ol’ pile of money- much more than I could afford or justify or have ever spent on yarn in 1 outing. SO, with holiday sales in mind, I started looking on the ‘net.  I wanted something lovely to look at, but also something that was lovely to knit with. My most recent projects’ yarn are kind of crunchy feeling – the yarn blooms and softens when one blocks it after the knitting is done. I know it’s gonna take a while to do this project so I wanted something I looked forward to putting into my hands.

I found several, less expensive yet worthy candidates online….but then I remembered – Small Business Saturday!  Why not got to my LYS ( Fiber Art Work)and see if I could find something I loved, and enough of it to suit me?  Yes, I knew it would cost me more dollars, but I thought I could go a little higher; it’s worth it to me to spend more $ locally for many reasons.

So I got 11 skeins of Malabrigo Rios!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Malabrigo owns my soul. Lovely to knit with, gorgeous colors (really the pictures do not do it justice) and a very good value.

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3 skeins of Purple Mystery (my skeins are much darker and muted)

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2 skeins – Whale’s Road

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1 skein Azul Profundo – my skein is darker and less homogenous in color

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1 skein Solis

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1 skein Candombe – this colorway varies a GREAT deal depending on the skein, but this photo is close enough.

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1 skein Lavanda – another one that varies greatly from skein to skein. Mine is a little lighter in color.

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1 skein Sabaduria

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1 skein Paris Night. My skein has more black in it than this one.

You’ll have to take my word for it – these all really go together IRL. Yes, it’ll probably be a year before I finish this project – there’s a good bit of garter stitch which I find pretty boring – but hey!  I *love* this yarn and I’ma enjoy this knit I think.

But wait!  There’s MORE yarn!  I was at Hobby Lobby near the end of September and I saw this:

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Yup, it’s Red Heart super saver worsted in Parrot.  2 skeins went home with me. Red Heart has definitely upped their game and my yarn lust has overcome my yarn snobbery these days. I already knitted something from this yarn. Hopefully, pictures to come soon.

Finally, I had long admired the self-striping yarns by Berry Colorful Yarnings, and recently on Ravelry, I saw a super beautiful pair of striped socks – with bright, bold colors that drove me to by Berry Colorful Yarnings’ Etsy shop.

OH NO!  She’s closing her shop!!!! Tragedy!  Well, let’s get something….and we’ll eat more beans and rice.

I found a simply gorgeous skein of striping sock yarn in browns – not a color I have much of.  I just had to have it.  I forget now what the delay was – Thanksgiving maybe? – but it arrived yesterday!  Joy! Rapture!

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1 skein Saturated Sock in Bourbon Barrel

PLUS a wonderful SURPRISE!

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1 FREE skein of self-striping yarn – my skein’s “black” is a very dark green, and there’s more orange…

I was so shocked – friends, this just does not happen! So I wrote to the shop saying that I think I got an extra skein by mistake?  If so, I’ll mail to whomever……..?

But NO!  The shop wrote back and it’s MINE MINE MINE!  Since the colorway wasn’t listed on the label, I went looking through all of her previously sold yarn on her Etsy site and I believe I have “Girl on Fire – Hunger Games series”.

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This picture was the inspiration I believe.

Thank you SO MUCH Berry Colorful Yarnings – it was a lovely thing to do. Now back to the yarn diet…..  still I wanna shout from the rooftops:

Hey y’all!  Christmas is now canceled for me ‘cos I gots lotsa yarn!

 

 

A comment that needs to be….

….a blog post. Guess I need to blog more,since I’m writing my long windy comments in response to folks on Facebook.

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A friend on Facebook – that I actually know IRL even, posted this link –

Why Do Men Keep Putting Me In The Girlfriend Zone

A fella in the comments used the term “friendzoned” in his comment and indicated his disbelief that the guy is the problem. He went on to say –

I’m a little befuddled that a perfectly normal and very human instinct (being particularly nice to someone we like, and subsequently being distant when we find out they don’t share our emotions), has been turned into this feminist flash point. When did being human become such a terrible thing?

So I responded:

It’s so not about human instincts and it isn’t “perfectly normal” though I acknowledge it may be so very usual to you that you cannot even see it. It could be like the joke where 1 fish says to the other – what’s this ocean everyone keeps talking about?………. It’s completely an outgrowth of the near total objectification of women – which is a characteristic of patriarchal traditions mixed with rape culture. So it isn’t about being human or being terrible.

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Ocean? I’ve never seen it…….

 

I’m gonna try an analogy here – it may not be useful but I’m up for trying. 🙂 Imagine that you’re about 14 years old & you have a brand new video gaming console that’s really expensive and different and special. A lot of people have them in the world but not everybody – maybe you’re the only one in your class in HS, and absolutely everyone – not just 14 year olds – is excited and dying to play your console!

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Like this, but WAY cooler with lights and groovy noises and lots of shiny chrome…..

So because you have this thing – let’s call it a Zbox – a good number of your classmates are trying to get close to you so that you’ll invite them to play the Zbox. With one group of kids – that’s all they wanna talk about. Before you had a Zbox, they weren’t interested in you at all, but boy howdy, they are always trying to talk to you about it, and you’re getting pretty tired of this -even though it’s true – the Zbox *is* the coolest thing ever! Another group of kids, who were never interested in you before either, they try a subtler approach. They start hanging out with you, inviting you to their homes or to the movies or to do homework together, and you feel like hey, I’ve got a new group of friends! And that would be groovy except that one day, one of them asks why you’ve never invited them over to play with the Zbox….. perhaps you can see where I’m going with this.

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So our Zbox kid – who might really like to share this Zbox with someone else, but perhaps with someone who is interested in an authentic relationship based on digging each other, not centrally focused on the Zbox and access to it – is feeling like there’s no one who gives a damn about them as a person.

For the vast majority of the people without Zboxes – not just the 14 year olds – this group is so focused on getting access to, getting to play the Zbox, that to them, the possession of the Zbox is the single most important aspect to them – by far – about Zbox kid. Not if Zbox kid is a good person, not if Zbox kid writes really funny stories, not if Zbox kid is a genius in economics. And when that circumstance is true, not only does Zbox kid cease to be a whole individual to them; the Zbox kid’s personhood is erased.

The want/need of the non-Zbox-owning group to gain access is deemed so hugely important by them…well, it’s all about them and what they want – not at all about Zbox kid.

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See? We’re smiling so we must be your friends….now give us what WE want. What you want DOES NOT MATTER.

This is my own experience with the whole “friendzone” thing. Yup, it’s sexist as hell.

Goodreads book review …. Headstrong

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the WorldHeadstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We were travelling. We were going through Knoxville – there’s usually a fair amount of traffic – and we stopped at a restaurant we’ve been to before. Around the corner was a used book store and we decided to spend a little time there. I found this book; it looked interesting. Little did I know that my head would be blown wide open!

This has to be one of my top three books that I’ve read in the last 10 years. There are so many scientists who are women that have made tremendous contributions to the world, not just to science, and we don’t know them. We don’t know their names, we don’t know their history, we don’t know the obstacles that were in their way, we don’t know their contributions. And we ABSOLUTELY should. I can just imagine how much more encouraged I would have felt as a girl to go into science had I known about these women. It’s a terrible legacy that their contributions are invisible to most all of us. Terrible not only from a scientific perspective, but also an historical one. I really could go on and on, but I’ll spare everyone the ‘soapbox’ this time.

Even though this is a book that I think you should read, I think everyone should read it, but it’s also incredibly interesting and well-written, which makes it easy to read. Each one of the essays are a couple of pages long, which makes it just perfect for reading in the bathroom.

I very much hope that this book reaches a very large mass of people, and then becomes part of the conversation about history and how we teach it in schools. Who and what gets left out? This book goes a ways into redressing the imbalance.

I give this book my highest recommendation!!!!

View all my reviews

Ten fer Tuesday – 10 things to make yer life better

It’s been quite a while since I posted this. I was thinking of editing it, adding new stuff….but after messing with it for a while, I didn’t improve it any, so here it is. Hope you enjoy it – even tho’ it *isn’t* Tuesday. xxxooo

Knitting & whingeing in Abalama-ding-dong

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  1. laugh & be silly      721510105_b314546e17_mkids_laughing

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Are you smiling yet?

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Really, if you aren’t smiling yet, you need to go do something silly immediately!! A few more for you “hard cases”…

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2.   sing/make music/hear live music

Making music is a human birthright and do not let “performance anxiety” get in the way of that.  Listening to recorded music is wonderful…but it won’t make your life better in the way that making music does. Yer not performing at Carnegie Hall, so silence yer inner critic and make some music EVERYDAY.  And then make a date to go out and HEAR some live music; there’s just something about that energy that is good for the soul.

3.  STOP watching the news

Yup, you really can and still be a well-informed individual.  You can read the news and you’ll get more out of it I reckon.  I dare you to stop watching tv/online video news…

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2014 kNIT WRAP-UP [very long post]

Yeah, I know. It’s 2016 already, so I’m very late (this isn’t news).

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And of course, an end-of-the-year wrap-up is NOT a groundbreaking blog post idea certainly.  But I find it helps me see 1) what I’ve been accomplishing for good or for ill, and 2) how much yarn I will actually use in a given year – which is a serious curb on any urge to enhance the stash. I have NO BUSINESS buying more yarn!  Except maybe more Ultra Alpaca……. Since this is SUPPOSED to be a knitting blog primarily, it’s ACTUAL KNITTING CONTENT. So there. I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway.

Why is this not about 2015’s output? I’ll tell you at the end…a payoff for slogging through all the rest of this.

 

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My cat is a BOSS!

Kali, my mushroom colored calico cat, in the last 24 hours performed a rather amazing feat.

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This is a rather awful Instagram shot of my BOSS cat, Kali.

We’ve had Kali for about 6 or 7 years (or perhaps even longer…I don’t remember) and she started off as a complete ‘fraidy cat – she wouldn’t come out from under the Duke of Curl’s bed for the first month for almost any reason.  Over time, she’s developed her own kind of boldness – the dogs leave her alone – but she still gets bullied by our much younger cat, Emmy.

About 3 or 4 months ago, the Force of Nature noticed something about Kali, and it wasn’t good news.  A little wart-like growth she had on her rear right flank that she’s always had, had grown into a rather large, hairless pink tumor like thing and it was ugly, veined and growing.  By last night, I would’ve estimated it was close to the size of a half-dollar coin. I’ve been sad about this because I cannot afford to take her to the vet for any kind of treatment for it, and I figured it would either kill her or eventually, if she was in pain, we’d have to euthanize her. Neither prospect filled me with joy as you might imagine.

So tonight, Studmuffin, the Force of Nature and I were in my bedroom relaxing and chatting – Kali was in there too, sleeping as per usual. The FoN went to look at the growth…and  and cried out – it was GONE!  I went to look – a thorough examination I made of it too – I couldn’t believe my eyes; it is gone. It almost looks like a surgical scar with stitches recently removed – I think she must have chewed it off or somehow convinced the other cat to do it…..

Who ever heard of such a thing?  Not I, certainly. I try to  imagine what it would take to chew something like that off; I haven’t got the guts to do it.Anyway, the growth is gone completely and it’s probably likely she’ll live healthy and a good deal longer.

 

And like I said – my cat is a BOSS.

Don’t scoff at my poultice, please.

No, my poultice did not look like these – WAY uglier.

 

I’m a little bit allergic to fire ants and yesterday I got 6 bites on my left hand, 3 on the same finger. Man, that finger hurts & it’s pretty swollen…but better today since I soaked the hand in hydrogen peroxide & after I put a poultice on the bites.

Yes, that’s right – a poultice. Studmuffin, who did NOT grow up in the country, makes fun of my poultices and herbal things. He is a bad man.

I think of……

There’s a website I like – http://www.nineteenmonths.com/
really lovely photography on it, and they just started asking some writers to read a quote from the Baha’i Scriptures, then write 95 words about it. Here’s the quote for this round:

“O My servants! Be as resigned and submissive as the earth, that from the soil of your being there may blossom the fragrant, the holy and multicolored hyacinths of My knowledge. Be ablaze as the fire, that ye may burn away the veils of heedlessness and set aglow, through the quickening energies of the love of God, the chilled and wayward heart. Be light and untrammeled as the breeze, that ye may obtain admittance into the precincts of My court, My inviolable Sanctuary.”

 (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p 322-3)

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I decided to write my own 95 words. Here they are:

I think of the earth and how we can be as reconciled and meek as she – quite unfamiliar territory! Still, she is the source of our material well-being, our treasury. What power she holds in her meekness.

I think of the hyacinths coming up so early in the spring – their shape so unusual, colors so bright, that the eyes will find and must take notice, with fragrance so powerful and heady – like an open bottle of perfume the Supreme One hid here to remind us again of His constant love and presence.

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Happy birthday to me!

Yup – I had a birthday last weekend and I’m VERY GLAD to be ALIVE for another year.  I even got some prezzies!!! I got  some books, some earrings and some YARN!

Perhaps I don’t need quite this many candles…..

And instead of cake, I ate a WHOLE package of sugar-free peanut butter wafer cookies. It might not sound celebratory or decadent to you but I really dug it! Then the next day, I went up to southern Tennessee and did some singing with New Jubilee Baha’i Gospel Choir; Studmuffin came along as a gift to me.  I even had somebody tell me that I don’t look as old as my age – for REAL!  That’s never happened to me before.  All good for me on the birthday front!!

So here’s some photos (which I did not take myself FYI)  of the yarns I got:

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A little something for Friday & October birthdays

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I say- whilst listening to some pretty amazing Austrian yodeling on Spotify: “Someday, before I die, I’m gonna learn how to yodel.”

The Duke of Curl (sitting nearby at the kids’ ‘puter): “It’s not that hard.”

Me: “Really?!  Can you do it?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Then how do you know it isn’t hard?”

Him: “If you can teach it to hillbillies, it can’t be that hard…”

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 He has taught himself how to do Tibetan throat singing. WONDERFULLY weird.

I come from a long line of Northern hillbillies, known as “townies”, and even though he doesn’t like it when I say so in this context, Studmuffin’s family is from West Virginia, he himself was born in WV and his parents are first cousins by marriage. Plus we have had – for months – a non-working car in the yard. It isn’t up on blocks, though…..


My little knitting group hasn’t been meeting regularly, but  3/4ths of the group did get out this past week and it was lovely to see them.  One of the the 2 ladies with the same first name, who now has the blog nickname of “SaTwo”, was delighted to show me a “yarn crime”, reminding me in the process that it’s been AGES since I did a yarn crime post. Duly noted and I’ll get right on it…perhaps for Hallowe’en or sometime in November…..  Here’s what she showed me:

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I drew the black marks -fyi.  I love this designer most of the time, but this time…..no. Just no.  I asked the Duke of Curl for a caption, he said, “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….. sick boots.”

Have a lovely weekend and very happy birthdays going out to ALL the friends and family having October birthdays. 🙂

 

This lengthy blog pause has been brought to you by…..

….a whole bunch of things – let’s call it a life tsunami..perhaps tsunami is too big, the wrong scale for what’s been happening, but I’ve been really SWAMPED and overwhelmed.the-wave

I’ve been missing y’all though. So even though my darling readers (both of you) really deserve an extensive update, I’ve not got it in me.  Still, going with the idea that something is better than nothing here’s what I can give tonight: BULLETS.

  • My mobility from the end of February to early August was next to nothing – lots of pain & very hard to get around at all. That, coupled with increasing incontinence (I know – TMI!- but hey….), made gardening this season a joke – even with 2 beautiful keyhole gardens. That’s why no gardening speak on de blog. Sorry ’bout that. I hope to talk some about the garden in the next month, including the story of what happens If You Ask an Engineer to Design a Bean Trellis….
  • Modern medicine to the rescue -I got a steroid shot in the right ankle & another pill to take (vastly decreasing the incontinence(!) at the end of July and therefore was able to go on the first One Human Family Workshop Choir Harvest Tour – the first one in 9 years by my count. The ankle is still going pretty good and I no longer have to carry a towel and a spare set of clothes with everywhere I go…..

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  • Sang way too many low notes on tour ( I spent a good deal of time singing BASS – can you say ‘stoopid’? – & then talked my face off til 2 and 3 and nearly 4 am most nights…so the voice was TOAST when I got back home.  Then I got summer bronchitis….still coughing up nasty stuff 3 weeks after the course of antibiotics and do not have my high notes back yet…..
  • Celebrated TWENTY YEARS of NOT SMOKING on Labor Day weekend. Thank you God so much.
  • I’m still knitting on my Shaelyn shawl…which I’m thinking I will give to a dear friend instead of it being for me.  I had to tink back about 8 or 9 rows because of some really stoopid mistakes, but all is well and if I really knit on it every day I’ll have the knitting done in 5 to 7 days.
  • I’m most of the way thru the foot of a sock in a retina searingly bright neon sock yarn ( I just realized I have not even put a project page in Ravelry for this yet….aack!) and gonna try out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel on this pair.
  • I’m on a hat kick…again.  I’ve made 8 hats since January – here’s a few:      .. . . …. I’ve got one on the needles right now in lovely squishy Brioche stitch and gonna make AT LEAST 5 more pretty soon.  More & better pictures will happen…at some point. STOP LAUGHING!
  • Number One Son is supposed to move from NYC to Northern Virginia soon.  I hope all goes well.
  • The Duke of Curl was supposed to start college this fall as a computer science major, but decided at the absolute very last minute NOT to take on the $10,000 debt( and not allow us to take it on either) that would’ve been necessary for that to happen.  SO he will start at community college in January and is currently looking for work and generally being a sweet fella to be around.
  • The Force of Nature is focused on going into the Coast Guard after graduation from HS in a couple of years – more specifically the Coast Guard Academy and has been visibly doing HOMEWORK and has started running for actual exercise 3 days a week; she informed me today that she is on the A/B honor roll.  We are beginning to think some kind of alien abduction/ switcheroo kind of thing took place while we were in the bathroom probably…..
  • Studmuffin is still sticking with most of my dietary changes and so has lost about 25 pounds.  He has also discovered a deep and voracious love for grapes. Eating about 5 lbs. per week with little help from the rest of us.  I’m not complaining – just a bit amused.
  • The last 3 weekends I was off doing singing things – that’s an unusually high ratio even for me. I will write about 2 of the weekends for sure and soon.
  • The pets are endlessly amusing and every one of them sheds a bunch.  I am sick and TIRED of hair control….. Still, they continue to be charming. Currently, the are two cats surrounding the keyboard, the younger one keeps tryna lick my fingers and then licks the older cat’s head…..weird.
  • My potential career as a 911 dispatcher was cut short by my inability to type 35 wpm (I got 34 wpm) ::::sigh:::::  Need to find some employment – orthodontics aren’t cheap and neither is college tuition.  Plus, we need a new roof and well, you get the idea.
  • Work on the book is ongoing but slow. I am determined to get a first draft completed by the end of December!!!  Of 2014!!!
  • I’ve been flirting with sewing clothing again.  I’ve bought fabric and patterns at least….very little sewing has occurred.
  • Been practicing the piano most days for a good bit of time ( guess what? If you practice, you get better! who knew?)and have the opportunity to do a couple of house concerts too. We’ll see…….
  • I have been horrified at the killing of unarmed black people by the police for some time – I really became aware of Driving While Black about 20-25 years ago and started learning a lot from there on in. This summer has been truly remarkable (and mostly not in a good way) for the 1) wealth of information about white police officers killing/tasering black people with impunity, 2) the staggering naivete/ignorance/apathy of most white people about how different life is for black people in the US especially when it comes to law enforcement, and yes, I am gonna write about it here too.      albert einstein                                 I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook about it and some people close to me really do not like it but I cannot be silent about it!  Even on my knitting blog. I encourage absolutely every person on the planet to investigate what is happening for themselves – do not take “the media’s” word, do not take the police’s word, do not take my word for it – learn about it for yourself. The truth will set us all free and then justice can take place and then unity will appear.

So much for brevity.  How’s by you?

Further stash enhancements

I warned you – I *REALLY* broke the yarn diet…with a bang!  I went to Nashville to drop Studmuffin & the Force of Nature off at the airport – they’re off to Cali for the fab trip with Grandmother. Since it was the morning, I decided to try to visit some stores we don’t have in my part of Abalama-ding-dong & see some friends. There WILL be a separate review of the yarn store I went to since this is meant to be a quick post (yes, Virginia, there really are quick posts…..).

Here we go!

1 skein of Plymouth Jelli Beenz 75% acrylic, 25% wool 214 yds

1 skein of Crystal Palace yarns’ Danube DK, 40% Nylon, 30% Rayon, 30% Wool 163 yards

Eisaku Noro should either be completely furious or immensely flattered by all of the copying of his color sequences by loads of other yarn companies……

1 skein of Diversity by Plymouth Yarn, Fingering / 4 ply, 93% Acrylic, 7% Polyester, 420 yards

I was halfway looking for some Tardis blue sock yarn or some really groovy self-striping yarn. This cover both bases.  YAY! There was a sample sock of this in another colorway that sold me on trying this – acrylic sock yarn!

1 skein of Revel by Plymouth Yarn, Lace / 2 ply, 85% Alpaca, 15% Merino, 275 yards

I don’t know that I would call this laceweight; I do call it gorgeous!

1 skein of Blue Faced Leicester DK by Debbie Bliss, DK / 8 ply, 100% Wool, 118 yards

I was having a SUPREMELY difficult time choosing the yarns to adopt – the yarn fumes*  were very nearly fatal to my bank account! So I decided to use my old trick: choose only yarns I have not previously used/bought.  I used just buy from companies I hadn’t tried before, but this time it was mostly yarn lines I hadn’t used before.  This was one of the exceptions – though I have a couple of her publications, I’ve never bought any of Debbie Bliss’ yarns before. I have a soft spot for BFL yarns I admit.  This may end up as part of a Fake Isle Hat.

10 mini skeins of Rekor Mini by Plymouth Yarn, Sport / 5 ply, 100% Acrylic, 39 yards

Yes I know – more acrylic!  But acrylic is so much better than even 5 years ago….. I’m thinking these are gonna be a part of a handbag I want to make.  My trip to India really changed my feeling about color for the better!!

1 skein of Arroyo by Malabrigo Yarn, Sport / 5 ply, 100% Merino, 335 yards, color: Candomble

I will ALWAYS be a Malabrigo junkie. I tried raelly REALLY hard to leave this at the store…but I just COULD NOT DO IT.  And the name? Candomble is a religion based on African traditions with elements derived from Christianity, practiced chiefly in Brazil.  This may turn into yet another Tessie Lily Hat.

My favorite purchase of the day! So fabulous, it gets TWO photos!

1 skein of Taiyo Lace by Noro, Lace / 2 ply, 50% Cotton, 17% Wool, 17% Nylon, 16% Silk 920 yards

I want to make a shawl for someone I love very much & I have already bought the (super lovely silk) yarn for it but when I saw this, I had to reconsider EVERYTHING I KNOW TO BE TRUE.  (more…)

I broke my diet on vacation – my yarn diet!

weigh-your-options

A Study in Yarn Weight. 🙂

Tis’ true, tho’ I broke it some before then too if I’m honest. More about that at the end of this post.  While we were on the famdamily vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where just up the road last century Orville & Wilbur took that first flight, I decided to check out the local yarn scene.

The OBX – somewhere near Kill Devil Hills

I knew this was a dangerous idea to entertain, but heck!  Yer supposed to break yer diet whilst on vacation, right?  I reckon that’s almost required, innit? I looked in the trusty phone book and found Knitting Addiction and I am so glad I did!

Actual yarn photos follow…

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Don’t fall over, but ….

…there’s actual knitting photos! Always remember and never forget this is a knitting blog….kinda sorta.  Stop laughing!!!!   

Nope, I haven’t found the camera – Studmuffin bought me a tablet!!! It’s little,  almost a baby tablet, so maybe I’ll call it a tablette..AND it has 2 cameras : front and back. Fifteen minutes ago, I used the camera for the first time – it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy. I mean I’m just lying in bed…..

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Moderne Cable socks for the Force of Nature. She loves cables and this color of Brown. Got ’em done on vacation last week ( and broke the yarn diet in a lovely way! More on that in a later post..). It’s the first pair of socks I’ve completed in maybe 2 years. Gonna cast on the next pair as soon as I’m done posting. Ravelry link

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Estonian Rib hat #2 for me. I promise I’ll take a better photo and soon; it’s not really easy to see here because of its rather odd position kinda on its side, kinda upside down. Been on a hat kick lately. Ravelry link
Recently I knitted 2 preemie hats and 2 newborn hats. I hope to post those in a few days, along with my mostly done Shaelyn shawl. I’m well & truly delighted with my new gadget not only ‘cos I can now watch Netflix in bed when I cannot sleep, take photos, and blog and all of its other futuristic functionalities, but because the DH got it for a STEAL!!!!  And it’s kind of an anniversary present too. Happy 26th babycakes. Yes, I’d do it again. 🙂

A bit of a rant….

I keep seeing this same thing over & over, and it’s really bugging me! So, one of the things a blog is for…

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is a rant/lecture/whatchamacallit. Ahem.

+++++

palatenoun – say “PAL-itt”
1. – the roof of the mouth, consisting of an anterior bony portion (hard palate) and a posterior muscular portion (soft palate) that separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.

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2. the sense of taste
3. intellectual or aesthetic taste; mental appreciation.

******This is NOT the same word as:

palletnoun – say “PAL-itt”
1. a small, low, portable platform on which goods are placed for storage or moving, as in a warehouse or vehicle. Often made of wood.

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******Which is ALSO NOT the same word as:

palettenoun – say “pa-LET
1. a thin and usually oval or oblong board or tablet with a thumb hole at one end, used by painters for holding and mixing colors.

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2. any other flat surface used by a painter for this purpose.
3. the set of colors on such a board or surface.
4. the range of colors used by a particular artist.
5. the variety of techniques or range of any art: a lush but uneven musical palette.
—-
Three.

separate.

words.

 

…is it too much to ask that we be less careless about the language we use? Especially native speakers who speak no other language?

:::::sigh:::::

Perhaps this dieting business is making me rather humorless & grumpy……

You may resume your life now. :o)

A really good book -no fooling either!

'Abdu'l-Bahá in Their Midst‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst by Earl Redman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I strongly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those who may be feeling down about the condition of the world, or their own lives/families, or whatever. You do not need to know anything at all about ‘Abdu’l-Baha or the Baha’i Faith to find this book of use.

A few weeks ago, the author was visiting family in the town where my mother lives. She met him, bought the book and raved about it. Last week, while I was visiting her, I started reading and I finished this today.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

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